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

1. Summary: Most Chinese-language Taipei dailies
focused their coverage August 8 on local issues such as
the water shortage in Taoyuan County, a junior high
school student overpowering an armed bank robber, and a
child abuse case. The pro-independence "Taiwan Daily"
was the only Chinese-language newspaper that spent its
front page (as well as one third of its page three)
reporting on Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi's decision to dissolve the lower house of
Japan's parliament and call for elections after the
upper house rejected a bill to privatize the country's
postal service. With regard to Taiwan's relationship
with the United States, the pro-independence "Liberty
Times," Taiwan's biggest daily, carried a news story on
its page three that was topped with the headline: "[TSU
Legislator] Lo Chih-ming: The United States may likely
agree to allow President Chen Shui-bian to visit [the
United States]." The sub-headline added: "Based on
Lo's information, Bian may even be able to deliver a
public speech in the United States. Lo meets with
Japanese officials and hopes Tokyo would follow suit."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, several
newspapers editorialized on cross-Strait relations
August 5 - 9. An editorial in the pro-unification
"United Daily News" August 9 suggested that Taiwan seek
support from the people on the mainland when dealing
with cross-Strait relations. Former Taiwan National
Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Antonio
Chiang commented on the recently held U.S.-China
strategic dialogue in the mass-circulation "Apple
Daily," saying the dialogue indicates that the
bilateral ties between the two countries will face new
adjustments. A separate August 5 "United Daily News"
editorial urged the Taiwan government to implement a
more proactive cross-Strait policy by liberalizing the
three direct links as soon as possible. An editorial
in the limited-circulation, conservative, pro-
unification, English-language "China Post" predicted
that recent geopolitical changes among the United
States, China, Japan and Russia are likely to
complicate the already volatile relations across the
Taiwan Strait. End summary.

A) "The 1.3 Billion Mainland Chinese: the Variable with
the Highest Potential in Developing Cross-Strait

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation:
500,000] said in an editorial (8/9):

". In short, in addition to the conditions that Taiwan
can control by itself, the two external factors
regarding cross-Strait relations, on which Taiwan must
work, are the United States and China. The U.S. cross-
Strait policy is to realize the U.S. interest. For
Taiwan, the `development elasticity' in relation to
this factor has already reached its utmost limit. As
for the Chinese factor, one certainly can divide it
into two concepts: the `Chinese authority' and the
`mainland people.' The `development elasticity' of the
`Chinese authority' is smaller while that of the
`mainland people' is much larger. This means if Taiwan
can influence the `mainland people' and enable a public
atmosphere, in which the people of both sides across
the Strait will encourage and appreciate each other.
This is not only a `desirable' but also a `feasible'
goal for Taiwan's cross-Strait strategy. .

"When Taiwan's leaders in charge of political affairs
are turning the island into a `Taiwan independence
fortress,' the `mainland people' will be forced to back
the `Chinese authority' on the nationalist `united
front.' In contrast, if the Taiwan authority can
position Taiwan as a `beacon of democracy,' we may be
able to separate the `Chinese authority' from the
`mainland people' and build a consensus or tacit
agreement of mutual-encouragement and mutual
appreciation between the peoples of Taiwan and the
mainland. Whether we want to make the 1.3 billion
people hostile to the `Taiwan independence fortress' or
cherish the `beacon of democracy' should be a strategic
choice that Taiwan must make on cross-Strait relations
in the future. ."

B) "Behind the [Strategic] Dialogue in Beijing"

Former Taiwan National Security Council Deputy
Secretary-General Antonio Chiang commented in the mass-

circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 570,000] (8/5):

"[Former] U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell once
said two years ago that the relations between the
United States and China had never been better. Sadly,
the honeymoon period [between the two countries] did
not last very long, and dramatic changes have happened
to their bilateral relations over the past year. Even
though Washington and Beijing have worked with each
other over a number of issues, they have suspicions
about each other's motives. Two days ago, both the
United States and China had a strategic dialogue in
Beijing, and this move indicated that their bilateral
ties would face new adjustments. .

"Washington suspects that China's economic policy
toward other countries is a political and a plunderer-
like one. [For Washington,] China's plan to purchase a
U.S. oil company is not a business behavior but an
economic strategic approach. Washington also
questioned China's blueprint for Asia, believing that
China's aim is to replace the United States' position,
and the purpose of China's military modernization has
all the more manifested Beijing's strategic ambition.

"Beijing, on the other hand, criticized Washington for
containing it diplomatically and suppress it
economically. [Beijing said Washington] launched the
China threat theory in an attempt to isolate China.
The purpose of the U.S.-Japan security pact, [in
Beijing's eyes], is to stop China from reaching out to
the Pacific Ocean and to stop China from handling the
Taiwan issue. .

"A giant gap exists between the United States and China
in terms of their values and strategic interests. The
Chinese Communist Party is a superpower rising
suddenly, and China is a totalitarian country currently
undergoing transition. It is not essentially necessary
to find a common language for the first-ever dialogue
[between the United States and China]. This dialogue
is just meant to be the beginning of increased mutual
understanding, and there is a long way ahead for both
sides to walk on."

C) "`Loud Thunder Overriding Firecrackers': a
Macroscopic Way of Thinking for Cross-Strait Policy"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation:
500,000] editorialized (8/5):

". First, the policy goals [of the Taiwan government]
should be elevated to the level of the `three direct
links.' For example, the transitional period for
weekend chartered flights should not be too long. The
goal should be moving toward `regular flights' as soon
as possible. Also, the idea for Penghu to be a
transfer point is nothing but a `partial' viewpoint.
If the three direct links will be implemented sooner or
later, then there is no need to waste Penghu's time.
Furthermore, one has learned from Kinmen and Matsu's
`mini three links' that, with its economic and social
conditions, Penghu's opening as a transfer point may
not be beneficial to the country as a whole. Instead,
this will quickly increase Penghu's dependence on the
mainland, just as what has happened to Kinmen and
Matsu. This definitely cannot be considered a good
strategy. As a result, we should give up the
`maintaining partial and harming the whole' way of
thinking and adopt the `stabilizing the whole to save
the partial' strategy.

"The so-called `stabilizing the whole to save the
partial' strategy is to implement the `three direct
links' as soon as possible and try our best to pursue
the goal of developing Taiwan into an `Asian-Pacific
platform.' Only then can we build a so-called `cross-
Strait peaceful and stable interactive development
framework.' Regarding the political dimensions, we
should realize that there is no possibility for `name
rectification and a new constitution' or `de jure
Taiwan independence.' Taiwan should play the role of
`a beacon for democracy and freedom' and maintain a
relationship of mutual encouragement and mutual
appreciation with the 1.3 billion people on the
mainland. It is really not appropriate for those in
charge of political affairs to face the 1.3 billion
mainlanders as `Taiwan independence activists.' This
will only intensify cross-Strait hatred. Only by doing
this can cross-Strait economic and political
interactions gradually bring about mutually beneficial
results. Taiwan can thereby avoid the predication of
continual marginalization of its economy and the
increasing political hostility toward the other side
across the Strait. ."

D) "Geopolitical Antagonisms Snarl Cross-Strait Issue"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" [circulation: 30,000] wrote in an
editorial (8/5):

"The dynamics of recent geopolitical changes among the
Asia-Pacific region's four big powers - China, Japan,
Russia and the United States - are likely to complicate
the already volatile relations across the Taiwan
Strait, raising the potential of this island as a major
flash-point in this part of the world. .

"For all his [i.e. President Chen Shui-bian]
independence rhetoric, however, the fate of Taiwan will
not be determined by Chen. Rather, it is in the hands
of Beijing and Washington. Beijing does not really
want to use force to solve the Taiwan issue and
Washington fully recognizes that. This Chinese
position is obvious: It must maintain a stable
environment, both domestically and externally, so as to
continue to pursue economic growth and other reforms.
Surely, the U.S. does not want to go to war with China
over Taiwan either. But increasingly, Washington's
Taiwan policy goes beyond its original legal obligation
to help defend this island. Beyond that commitment,
the U.S. government, as with Tokyo, wants to get Taiwan
to their side to counter China's rise as the superpower
in the region, eclipsing their longstanding dominant

"As such, Taipei's pro-independence government now is
not the only factor that poses a potential threat to
the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. The
issue of cross-strait security is now complicated by
the rise of new geopolitical antagonisms between the
existing U.S.-Japan alliance and an emerging political
coalition of China and Russia."


© Scoop Media

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