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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.

132338Z Sep 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 003803

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - ERIC
BARBORIAK
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS


1. Summary: Most of the pages of the major Chinese-
language Taipei dailies September 13 contained articles
on the Executive Yuan's announcement the previous day
of the appointment of a new acting Kaohsiung Mayor,
Minister of Labor Affairs, and Cabinet Secretary-
General; the impact on Taiwan of Japanese Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi's landslide victory in the
country's general election; and the new Legislative
Yuan session that will kick off Tuesday. The pro-
independence "Liberty Times" followed up on an
editorial by the centrist "China Times Express" last
Friday, and ran a banner headline on its page five that
read: "U.S. official secretly visited [Taiwan last
August] to lobby for the lifting of the ban on U.S.
beef imports." The newspaper also carried a follow-up
news story on the same page regarding a report it ran
Monday on Taiwan's Foreign Minister Mark Chen's being
required to undergo security screening procedures at a
U.S. airport last May; the report was topped with the
headline: "The United States has already apologized for
Mark Chen's being searched by security personnel [in a
U.S. airport last May.]"

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In terms of the issue of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, the
pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" printed a banner
headline on its page five that read: "[President Chen
Shui-] Bian urged the opposition parties to let the
[U.S.] arms procurement bill be reviewed by the
[Legislative Yuan's] Procedure Committee quickly."

2. Most Chinese-language newspapers editorialized on
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's landslide
victory in its general election and its impact on
Taiwan's constitutional operations. Journalist Sun
Yang-ming commented on the postponed meeting
(originally scheduled for September 7) between U.S.
President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu
Jintao, saying the meeting is aimed at "setting the
tune" for Washington-Beijing relations for the next
five years. An editorial in the limited-circulation,
pro-independence, English-language "China Post"
discussed U.S.-Taiwan relations and said: "Taiwan and
the United States need more talks between the policy
makers of both democracies without foreign
interference." End summary.

A) "Bush-Hu Meeting That Will Be Held Today Will Probe
[the Possibility of Establishing a] Bilateral
Framework"

Journalist Sun Yang-ming said in a news analysis of the
conservative, pro-unification "United Daily News"
[circulation: 400,000] (9/13):

". Beijing termed [Chinese President] Hu Jintao's
originally planned meeting with [U.S. President George
W.] Bush September 7 as a `journey to set the tune';
namely, the purpose of the meeting is to set the tune
for Washington-Beijing relations for the next five
years. .

"Judged from a certain perspective, the meeting
[originally scheduled for September 7] is in fact a
step showing that both sides are willing, or at least
hoping, to test and build a bilateral framework.
Beijing has even started to consider [possible future
development of] Washington-Beijing relations should any
initial result be achieved with regard to Washington-
Beijing ties. On a deeper level, [we may say] the
United States is in the process of a complete overhaul
of its `China policy. .'

"The purpose of the Bush-Hu meeting is aimed at
ensuring that both sides are walking towards the same
direction from the current crossroads in order to avoid
collisions."

B) "U.S. Should Help Fix Taiwan Ties"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News"
[circulation: 20,000] editorialized (913):

"An impatient attitude toward Taiwan's delay in
finalizing a procurement of advanced weapon systems
from the United States has obviously emerged throughout
virtually all decision-making circles in Washington. .

"An ironic scenario has emerged in which Taiwan, once
an Asian democratic model boosted by the U.S. for
decades (not always with justification), has now made
`big brother' unhappy and impatient, especially after
becoming a truly democratic polity. .

"The relations between Taiwan and the U.S. urgently
need to be repaired in order to balance this new
unfavorable development and both Taipei and Washington
need to adopt proactive positions to do more to improve
bilateral ties.

"First, Washington should realize that Taiwan is now a
democratic country in fact and not rhetoric. Both the
U.S. and the DPP government here should face the
reality that the process of decision-making in
democratic societies can be messy, complex and time-
consuming. Washington needs in particular to engage in
more lobbying with the pan-KMT or pan-blue camp to
cease their senseless boycott of the arms procurement
package.

"The U.S. should show more appreciation for the efforts
by President Chen to promote a suitable increase in the
defense share of the central government budget.
Second, the U.S. should re-examine its own motivations
and strategy for the sale of defensive weapon systems
to Taiwan and show that the objective of selling
defensive arms to Taiwan is derived from moral and long-
term strategic concerns instead of simply commercial
interests only, as pan-blue politicians such as PFP
Chairman James Soong have recently charged. Third, the
U.S. has to lower the barriers of mutual communications
and dialogues. There can never be too much dialogue
between two democracies, especially given the
complicated and sensitive cross-strait environment.

"Taiwan and the U.S. need more talks between the policy
makers of both democracies without foreign
interference. At a time when Beijing so openly engages
pan-blue leaders for the sake of her own political
interests which may be quite contradictory to U.S.
interests, there is no reason for Washington to feel
confined to abide by outdated and empty protocol.
Finally, it is neither dignified or respectable for a
superpower to put all blame and responsibility on a
society that is being oppressed. The people of Taiwan
want to live life and improve their society and have
neither the desire or the capability of encroaching on
the genuine interests of powers such as the PRC. If
Washington takes its role as the arbiter of world peace
seriously, it should demonstrate more boldness to
preach peace to the big bully instead of complaining
about the nerve of the victim to defend himself."

KEEGAN

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