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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TAIPEI 002472

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/RSP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - ROBERT
PALLADINO
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: Cross-Strait Relations

SUMMARY:

1. Taiwan dailies June 4-6 carried reports on two topics in
particular: U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's
criticism of China's military expansion and President Chen
Shui-bian's willingness to meet with China's President Hu
Jintao in the United States. With regard to the first
topic, both the pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's
largest daily, and "Taiwan Daily" carried on their front
pages June 5 articles on Rumsfeld's criticism of China. As
to the second topic, the pro-independence "Liberty Times,"
"Taiwan Daily," and the conservative, pro-unification
"United Daily News" carried on their front pages June 4
President Chen's suggestion that he meet with Hu in the
United States.

2. Roughly half of the editorials in the local newspapers
published between June 4 -6 focused on domestic politics:
e.g. local tax reform, press freedom, the minor reshuffle of
the Cabinet, etc. The other half focused on U.S. Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's criticism toward China, and
cross-Strait relations. The pro-independence "Liberty
Times" editorialized that even the United States worries
about China's military buildup -- there is no way for Taiwan
to talk peace to China. The centrist, pro-status quo "China
Times" said in its editorial that Taiwan should monitor
closely whether there is a U.S. policy shift toward China.
The editorial of the pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" urged
Taiwan's Pan-Blue alliance to abandon its dream of accepting
the "One China" principle in exchange for peace across the
Strait.

3. In terms of cross-Strait relations, a pro-independence
"Taiwan Daily" editorial suggested U.S President George W.
Bush invite President Chen Shui-bian and China's President
Hu Jintao to meet in the United States. However, another
"Taiwan Daily" editorial said the timing for such a meeting
is inappropriate for Taiwan. The pro-independence "Liberty
Times" editorialized that Taiwan should not allow Chinese
tourists to visit Taiwan. Finally, an editorial in the
conservative, pro-unification English-language "China Post"
said the Taiwan government still has great hope in the
Straits Exchange Foundation since the government has
appointed a political heavyweight, DPP Legislator Chang Chun-
hsiung, to become the foundation's new chairman. End
summary.

1. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's statement

A) "How Can A Sheep Talk Peace to a Tiger?"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 800,000]
editorialized (6/6):

". Even the United States, located in the eastern part of
the Pacific Ocean, feels the Chinese threat -- how can
Taiwan, located in the western part of the Pacific Ocean and
close to China, continue to be numb [in the face of this
threat]? . China has chosen Taiwan as a target for a
breakthrough [of its containment,] and China also has
planned to absorb Taiwan as a step to entering the Pacific
Ocean. Taiwan's political parties, however, still have the
fantasy that China would bestow peace [to Taiwan], and they
hope China would proactively withdraw and destroy its
missiles [aimed at Taiwan]. As a consequence, the U.S. arms
procurements bill still runs aground in the Legislative
Yuan. Nowadays, some political figures even consider that
Taiwan should not care about its national security. Either
China would show goodwill to Taiwan, or the United States
would come to Taiwan's aid. A country [i.e. Taiwan], under
the gigantic military threat from another country, that does
not talk about defense capabilities but peace is the same as
a sheep that tries to talk peace to a tiger. The miserable
consequence [of such actions] is self-evident."

B) "The Smell of Gunpowder In the Shangri-La Dialogue"

The centrist, pro-status quo "China Times" [circulation:
600,000] editorialized (6/6):

". With regard to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld's statement, Taiwan would be the most concerned
whether the United States would shift its policy again: if
the focus of the United States shifts from the Middle East
to Asia Pacific, will the hawkish views, [like those which]
Rumsfeld holds, return again? Should Taiwan revise its
current attitude of reconciliation with Beijing to act in
accordance with the Bush administration's policy shift?

". One thing is for sure, however, [and that is] that the
Taiwan issue is definitely a part of the triangular
interactions between the United States, Japan, and China.
It is not very clear how the consequent situation might
evolve, and time is needed to conduct analysis."

C) "Rumsfeld's Talk Shows that the United States Has Worried
That China's Military Buildup Would Cause an Imbalance of
Military Strength in Asia, and Taiwan's Political Parties
Should be Vigilant"

The pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" [circulation: 150,000]
editorialized (6/6):

"As to Taiwan, especially the Pan-Blue alliance, U.S.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's warning should wake

SIPDIS
[them] up [from believing] the myth that as long as Taiwan
accepts the `One China' [principle], cross-Strait peace can
be maintained. The Pan-Blue parties and supporters have
always considered that as long as Taiwan accepts China's
preconditions, Taiwan's stability could be maintained. In
fact, cross-Strait relations are not merely the relationship
between China and Taiwan. China not only threatens Taiwan's
security, but world peace as well; cross-Strait issues [are
not composed of] Taiwan being provocative toward China, but
definitely that China threatens Taiwan and the world. As
long as one understands this critical point, insists on
Taiwan's peace plan, and keeps Taiwan's national personality
can Taiwan obtain stability and peace under [Taiwan's]
global strategic plan. ."

2. Cross-Strait Relations

A) "Objective Conditions Have Not Matured Yet, Now Is Not
the Good Time for a Meeting or Dialogue Between Cross-Strait
Leaders"

The pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" [circulation: 150,000]
editorialized (6/6):

". Just as U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has
openly questioned the evil intention of China's fast
expansion of military forces, we believe that the [Taiwan]
ruling authority, when prioritizing issues related to cross-
Strait relations, should seek alliance with world democratic
nations to urge China to remove its missiles deployed
against Taiwan, build a cross-Strait military confidence
mechanism, and go on to sign a nonaggression agreement
rather than look forward with goodwill to a `Bian-Hu
meeting.' Only after all these objective conditions mature
and form the bases can a `Bian-Hu meeting' or other future
meetings between cross-Strait leaders make any progress that
is helpful for the people on both sides across the Strait."

B) "We Suggest That U.S. President Bush Invite Cross-Strait
Leaders Chen Shui-bian and Hu Jintao to Formally Meet in
Washington"

The pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" [circulation: 150,000]
suggested in an editorial (6/4):

". In addition, concluding from the current cross-Strait
atmosphere, there is indeed the necessity for leaders of the
two sides to hold formal meetings in order to resolve cross-
Strait disputes and ease the cross-Strait situation.
However, under the circumstances that Chen Shui-bian does
not want to go to China and Hu Jintao is unlikely to visit
Taiwan for a `Bian-Hu meeting,' the best alternative is to
follow the formula set in the late 1970s. Through the
mediation of Jimmy Carter, the incumbent U.S. President at
the time, Israel and the PLO signed a `peace treaty' at Camp
David. [Following this,] President George W. Bush can
invite leaders across the Strait to start the historical
`Bian-Hu meeting' in Washington. We believe that this is
the meeting place where both governments can accept. After
all, any meetings on and resolutions to cross-Strait issues
cannot rule out the witnessing and blessing by the
international community.

"Furthermore, since the United States is so eager and
hopeful to see obstacles against the talks be eliminated .
to pave the way for the next-step meetings, probably the
Bush administration can ask the Beijing authorities not to
boycott President Chen's participation in person at the
informal APEC Leaders Meeting. ."

C) "[We Should] Never Open Up for Chinese Tourists to Come
to Taiwan: Securing European, American and Japanese High-
Spending Tourist Is the Best Approach"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 800,000]
editorialized (6/3):
" . China, via policy statements and actions several times,
has made clear its obvious intention to devour Taiwan with
thousands of schemes; the legal war highlighted by anti-
secession law, plus public opinions war, propaganda war, and
frequently-waged reunification war are all China's means to
grab Taiwan and force Taiwan to undergo the communists'
regime. Since China's foremost intention toward Taiwan is
thus, when we evaluate [the issue of] Chinese people coming
to Taiwan for sightseeing, we cannot do without
consideration for the enemy's situation and security
concerns and we cannot only consider the probable bright
side for short-term business opportunities or economic
benefits and ignore the accompanying external cost or
comprehensive negative effects, or even further turn a blind
eye to the Beijing government's penetration and espionage
actions, which certainly will happen, through [Chinese]
tourists coming to Taiwan.

" .It is true that because of a huge population and
prosperous economic development in recent years, the number
of Chinese tourists going abroad has exceeded that of
Japanese tourists two years ago and reached over 16 million
person-time. Although Chinese tourists have brought
commercial benefits to other countries via tourism and
shopping, and especially helped revitalized HKSAR's economy,
they have also generated many negative effects. Things such
as fundamental economic principles have told the public,
there is no free lunch in this world."

D) "Chang Brings Heft to SEF"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China
Post" [circulation: 30,000] editorialized (6/5):

". The appointment of Chang to head the SEF suggests that
the Taiwan government still envisions that the SEF will
remain a conduit for cross-Strait negotiations. Otherwise
there would be no need to appoint a political heavyweight
such as Chang for the role.

"Chang's record speaks for itself in terms of the weight he
carries within the DPP. He has served as premier, as DPP
chairman and as a senior lawmaker. He has also had a close
relationship with President Chen Shui-bian since the time
when the two were defense attorneys at the trial following
the Kaohsiung incident. ."

PAAL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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