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.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TAIPEI 003057
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/RSP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD -
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS,
CHINESE BID FOR UNOCAL
1. Summary: Amid the extensive coverage July 16-19 of
Typhoon Haitang hitting Taiwan and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-
jeou winning the KMT chairmanship election, almost all
major Chinese-language newspapers in Taiwan also
reported on People's Liberation Army (PLA) Major
General Zhu Chenghu's remarks last Friday about using
nuclear weapons against the United States in a conflict
over Taiwan. The pro-independence "Liberty Times,"
Taiwan's biggest daily, ran a banner headline on its
front page July 16 that read: "People's Liberation Army
speaks boldly of nuclear attacks [against the United
States]; United States furious [about the remarks]."
The "Liberty Times" also spent most of its page three
covering Zhu's remarks; the main article ran with the
headline: "Intimidation of nuke attacks shatters
[China's false impression of] peaceful rising." The
pro-independence "Taiwan Daily," likewise, spent almost
the whole of its page two July 16 reporting on Zhu's
remarks and U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo's demand
for an immediate apology from China over them.
2. In terms of editorials, the pro-independence
"Liberty Times," "Taiwan Daily," and limited-
circulation, English-language "Taipei Times" all
commented on Zhu's remarks. They said Zhu's remarks
have confirmed the "China threat theory" and have
shattered China's false appearance of "peaceful
rising." Several newspapers also editorialized on
China's bid for Unocal. A "Liberty Times" editorial
said China's bid for Unocal highlights its hegemonic
ambition. An editorial in the limited-circulation,
conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China
Post," however, merely said China's appetite for oil
and other resources is too big to be ignored. End
1. U.S.- China-Taiwan Relations
A) "China's Intimidation of Using Nukes [on the United
States] Confirms the China Threat Theory"
The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation:
800,000] editorialized (7/19):
". To promote its plan of becoming a hegemonic power,
China has . not merely created trouble in the
international community to divide U.S. efforts and
attention but also engaged in an energy battle with the
United States by laying its hand on a U.S. oil company.
China's insistence of not letting its Renminbi
appreciate is also a move essential for its trade war
with the United States. .
"In the eyes of the outside world, however, all these
actions [by China] have just helped to prove that the
so-called peaceful rise of China is nothing but a lie
to paralyze the people of the world. The China threat
theory is, instead, a truer picture. . Beijing's
enactment of the `Anti-Secession Law' and the Chinese
military authorities' nuclear challenge to the United
States marks [the fact] that China's `military strength
determining theory' has gained an upper hand. The
Taiwan people, who will be the first to bear the brunt
of [China's threat] must stop daydreaming, remain on
high alert, and strengthen [Taiwan's] national defense
in an attempt to maintain its sovereignty and safeguard
the security of the Taiwan people and their property."
B) "Chinese General Zhu Chenghu's Remarks on `Using
Nukes to Attack the United States' Indicate the Nature
of Beijing's Regime as a Warmonger"
The pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" [circulation:
150,000] noted in an editorial (7/19):
". All these reactions have on the one hand, indicated
the absurdity of [PLA General] Zhu Chenghu's remarks of
using nuclear weapons to attack the United States; they
have, on the other hand, highlighted Chinese military's
warmongering and conceited attitude and its lack of
knowledge of the international situation and world
peace. For a long time, many U.S. military analysts,
political observers, and even the State Department
believed that as long as Taiwan does not provoke China,
no conflicts would occur in the Taiwan Strait. They
also believed that even if there were a conflict, it
would just be a regional battle limited to the Taiwan
Strait. Zhu's statement, however, has posed [a clear]
threat to the United States; it reveals that once a
conflict breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, the hawk
faction inside China's People's Liberation Army will
likely attempt to seize the opportunity to enlarge the
conflict, provoke the United States and let it pay a
price. Zhu's statement was at least sufficient to
remind Washington that the problem in the Taiwan
Strait, or even the threat to world peace, does not lie
in Taiwan but in China. Zhu's statement could also
alert those Western countries that mistakenly believe
China is `rising peacefully' to work out a way to
address the issue. Judged from such a perspective, the
aggressive remarks such as those by Zhu could at least
help the Western World, including the United States, to
better understand China's threat. .
"We believe the U.S. government must thoroughly
recognize that that the Chinese authorities try to
create a false impression of [China's] `peaceful
rising' to the United States while at the same time
threatening to use force against Taiwan in public by
enacting the `Anti-Secession Law and by allowing Zhu to
make such an unfriendly statement to the United States.
China's moves have clearly showed that its guarantee to
Washington that it will `peacefully resolve' the cross-
Strait issue is neither sincere nor reliable. The
United States must see and understand clearly the
warmongering nature of China and start to take
precautions, or it will be too late should any conflict
break out in the Taiwan Strait, followed by a nuclear
attack launched by China against the United States,
which, as a result, will surely challenge world peace.
C) "PLA Recklessness Could Lead to War"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (7/16):
". Taiwan apart, one of the main causes of tension
between the US and China is the question of energy
security. US hopes of keeping oil plentiful and cheap
have not only been frustrated by the Iraq debacle but
also by the soaring demand for oil in China's economy.
This is why the bid for US-owned Unocal by China's
CNOOL is so controversial. After Zhu's remarks, it's
hard to see the US being relaxed enough to let the
takeover go ahead. Add to that the fact that a major
US defense review is being conducted in which China is
likely to figure large, and now even larger, and there
are a number of reasons why Beijing might have
preferred that Zhu kept his mouth shut.
"And yet whatever denials Beijing utters should be
taken with a grain of salt. It is important to
remember that Zhu is the dean of China's National
Defense University. Beijing might say that his remarks
do not represent official policy, but they certainly
represent thinking at the highest levels of the
People's Liberation Army. This is very worrying,
because it backs up what other sources have been saying
for a while about the PLA: That it is the preserve of
gung-ho fantasists who think they can take on the US
and win. ."
2. Chinese Bid for Unocal
A) "Oil Is Not Just an Ordinary Commodity, Nor is China
an Ordinary Country - China's Bid for Unocal Highlights
Its Hegemonic Ambition"
The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation:
800,000] commented in an editorial (7/16):
". The aim of China's expansionism, no matter whether
it is pushed from the economic, diplomatic or military
aspects, is evidently to seek to become a regional
hegemonic power in the short term and to compete with
the United States to become a superpower in the long
term. In the face of China's rising, which has drawn
increasing attention [from the world], both the United
States and Japan have included cross-Strait security as
their common strategic objective starting early 2005.
Democratic Taiwan, when encountering its only rival,
totalitarian China, must be more alert because China
could use economic, diplomatic and military means
against Taiwan. In addition, China's bid for Unocal
also reflects that schemes with regard to political and
military security can usually hide behind apparently
commercial behavior. The United States, from the
general public to Congress, sees and understands
clearly China's nature of attempting to expand itself
by means of its state-run enterprises. How can Taiwan,
which is just a strait apart from China and also its
main target, try to anesthetize itself?"
B) "Beijing's Energy Appetite"
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" [circulation: 30,000] noted in an
". But mainland China's appetite for oil and other
resources is too big to be ignored. It is already the
world's second largest importer of oil. It has been on
a buying spree since last year, trying to grab energy
and natural resources from all over the world to fuel
its hungry economic engine that also drives the world's
economy. Mainland China has a lot of cash to spend.
The Unocal bid, for instance, is US$2 billion higher
than that of the other bidder, Chevron. The mainland's
foreign reserves could top US$900 billion by the end of
this year, displacing Japan as the world's top holder
of foreign exchange reserves."