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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations

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




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations


1. Taiwan dailies focused June 10 on the election for the
new president of National Taiwan University (NTU), and U.S.
President George W. Bush's comments on cross-Strait
relations. The centrist, pro-status quo "China Times" and
the conservative, pro-unification "United Daily News" both
reported on their front pages that Professor Lee Si-chen was
elected as the new president of NTU. Pro-independence
"Taiwan Daily" carried a banner-headline on the front page
that read "If China were to invade [Taiwan,] Bush promised
to defend Taiwan." However, pro-independence "Liberty
Times," Taiwan's largest daily, downplayed both issues; its
front page highlighted the arrest of a local merchant who
sold contaminated flour.

2. Taiwan dailies editorialized and commented June 10 on
local issues, such as the second stage of constitutional
reforms, the protest staged by Taiwan fishermen against
Japanese patrol vessels, and the policy to raise taxes. The
"Taiwan Daily," however, editorialized that the Taiwan
people should unite to counter China's military threat even
though U.S. President George W. Bush has promised to defend
Taiwan if China were to invade. A commentary from the pro-
independence, English-language, "Taipei Time" said although
the "hawkish faction" in China might not want to listen to
President Chen Shui-bian's call for peace, Chen stills needs
to support his words with actions. End summary.

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A) "Only A Unified Taiwan Can Face China's Provocation of
Reviewing The Draft of The `Emergency Status Law.'"

Pro-independence Taiwan Daily [circulation: 150,000]
editorialized that (06/10):

". [C]hina still plans to review the draft of the `Emergency
Status Law' as a supplement law for the `Anti-Secession Law'
to rationalize and internalize its plan to use force against
Taiwan. China's bully behavior, which contradicts Taiwan
public opinion, has imposed again a negative impact on cross-
Strait relations, and has added an influential variable to
the development of cross-Strait relations.

"[T]he United States has also felt China's military threat,
but it is fundamental for Taiwan to make unceasing efforts
to improve itself, to strengthen its military buildup, and
to enrich the Taiwan people's psychological defense
capabilities. Taiwan cannot rely solely on U.S. President
George W. Bush's promise [to defend Taiwan according to the
Taiwan Relations Act], neither can Taiwan wait for the
United States to stretch out friendly hands. Because once a
war erupts in the Taiwan Strait, China will launch a
decisive strike to defeat Taiwan's military as soon as
possible to dissolve Taiwan society's capability to resist
[it]. Hence, we need to strengthen Taiwan's military
buildup, and solidify the Taiwan people's psychology. ."

B) "Voices of Peace Are Barely Audible"

Wang Kun-yi, associate professor at the Graduate Institute
of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang
University, commented in the pro-independence, English-
language "Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000](06/10):

". [T]he national security departments within the People's
Liberation Army (PLA) have extensively studied the issue of
referendums and concluded that the attempt to include these
in the Constitution is the first step toward seeking de jure
independence. On May 28 and 29, China's Taiwan experts
convened in Beihai, Guangxi province, in the hope of setting
the tone for future cross-Strait relations.

"During the meeting, some proposed directly negotiating the
sovereignty issue and the status of Taiwan with Taipei
rather than the impractical suggestion that `all topics are
open for discussion.' Apparently, these people have been
racking their brains to seek ways for both sides to make
concessions and engage in dialogue.

"Such a claim has yet to garner sufficient support within
China. .

". [T]here is still hope for peace. China is monitoring the
various statements coming from the government, but since the
Chen administration does not support its words with actions,
the Chinese officials in charge of Taiwan affairs have been
vexed over what is true and what is not. What they hope for
most of all is for Chen to put his aspirations down on
paper, listing the conditions on which negotiations can be
resumed. Only then might all topics be open for discussion.

"Therefore, to open the `window of opportunity' for peace
across the Taiwan Strait, Chen not only has to make clear
what he is prepared to do for the establishment of a
`mechanism of mutual trust,' he also has to ascertain
whether the `doves' in the Chinese government are willing to
accept his goodwill. Unfortunately, this `voice of peace'
is not able to make itself heard over the voice of those
calling for a `civil war' across the Strait. That is why we
have the current crisis, and that is why US Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld felt it necessary at a conference in
Singapore on the weekend to warn of expanding Chinese
military activity."


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