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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.

230901Z Sep 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TAIPEI 003944

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,
U.S. ARMS PROCUREMENTS


1. Summary: Major Chinese-language Taipei dailies
centered their coverage September 23 on President Chen
Shui-bian's invitation to Chinese President Hu Jintao
for a dialogue; the Taiwan Ministry of National
Defense' report that China has built a model of
Taiwan's military airport in Guangdong Province; and
local issues. The pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" ran
a banner headline on its front page that read: "Bian:
Will Talk with Hu Without Any Conditions," while other
Chinese-language newspapers ran similar reports in
their inside pages. In terms of U.S. arms
procurements, both the pro-independence "Liberty Times"
and "Taiwan Daily" carried news stories on President
Chen Shui-bian's meeting with former U.S. Deputy
Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former Deputy

SIPDIS
Assistant Secretary of State Randy Schriver in Miami.
The "Taiwan Daily" carried a news story on page three
that was topped with the headline: "Armitage: Taiwan
Needs to Do Something for Its Self-Defense."

Several newspapers carried in their inside pages
articles on U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert
Zoellick's speech in New York September 21 regarding
future Washington-Beijing relations. The report in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" was topped with the
headline: "Zoellick: U.S.-China Relations Re-Defined,"
while that of the centrist "China Times" was headlined:
"Zoellick Urges China to Move Toward Democracy." The
pro-independence "Liberty Times," however, reported the
news story with the more comprehensive headline:
"United States Urges China to Democratize and Not Just
Think of Expanding [Its] Weaponry and Becoming a
Hegemonic Power."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "Liberty
Times" editorial questioned President Chen's proposal
to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao without any
pre-conditions. The article called Chen's proposal an
unsuccessful publicity strategy that might "sell out"
Taiwan. Washington correspondent Vincent Chang
commented on Zoellick's speech in a news analysis in
the conservative, pro-unification "United Daily News,"
saying it is of great significance for the United
States to treat China as a "responsible stakeholder"
rather than as a mere competitor. A "China Times"
editorial discussed Taiwan's U.S. arms procurement
bill, urging Taiwan to think twice and not to block the
bill any more. End summary.

1. U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations

A) "What [Is Taiwan] to Talk about if It Holds a
Meeting with China with No Pre-conditions?"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation:
600,000] editorialized (9/23):

". The purpose of President Chen choosing to release
such a reconciliation signal [to China] during his
transit in the United States is to tell the
international community that Taiwan is a peace-seeker
rather than a troublemaker, and thereby obliterate
China's attempts to smear Taiwan, and clear up
misunderstandings in the international community. Even
though Chen shows good intentions and motives in doing
so, his proposal to meet with Hu is really unnecessary.
It can not only fail to mitigate tensions across the
Taiwan Strait, but will also create more trouble for
Taiwan. . Chen's proposal is in substance a strategy
for international publicity. Unfortunately, it is not
a successful one. ..

"In a nutshell, if Taiwan is to sit at a negotiation
table [with China], there must be conditions set
beforehand, and the meeting must be held in a third
country, so that both sides can make sure they are
standing on an equal footing. That way Taiwan can
demonstrate to the international community that it is
an independent sovereign state. Given the fact that
China is deploying more than 700 missiles aimed at
Taiwan and has already enacted the Anti-Secession Law,
what can President Chen and [Chinese President] Hu
Jintao talk about? For Taiwan people, a dialogue [with
China] `that is not confined to a specific time period
or location and that has no pre-conditions' is like
selling out the island. It would be better that
leaders of both sides of the Taiwan Strait not to meet
this way."

B) "From Either You Lose or I Lose to Both Being
Bankers"

Washington correspondent Vincent Chang said in a news
analysis in the conservative, pro-unification "United
Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (9/23):

"The Bush administration, after having reviewed its
China policy for some time, and given the fact that
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has taken control

SIPDIS
of Washington's foreign policy, has more or less
settled its direction on `cautiously expanding
interaction with Beijing.' During a meeting at the
National Committee on United States-China Relations
September 21, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert
Zoellick, via a speech that [claims to have] touched
upon all aspects of Washington-Beijing relations, has
concretely and clearly unveiled the United States
objective understanding of `where should China go.'
"It is noteworthy that in his speech, Zoellick more
than once pointed out that Beijing should go beyond its
current role of `just a member' to further become a
`responsible stakeholder,' in an attempt to re-define
the future Beijing-Washington ties. . The United States
is willing to treat China as a stakeholder that shares,
in a wider sense, equal responsibility in handing the
`greater picture' of international affairs rather than
a competitor in a narrow sense. Such a stride [by the
United States] is of great significance. .

"The Bush administration shows clearly its hope to
attempt to shape a whole new Washington-Beijing
relationship, but other than talking about certain
concepts, Zoellick did not mention any concrete
implementation guidelines in his speech. . If such a
policy remains on the level of being a concept [without
real implementation], will it vanish eventually like
the Clinton administration's hope to develop `a
constructive strategic partnership' with Beijing?

"In addition, how the Bush administration, which honors
the U.S. national interests, will persuade a rising
superpower to accept the United States' one-way logic
of expecting a `responsible stakeholder' to undergo
`political transformation' is the key to test this new
policy, and it remains to be seen what will finally
come out of it."

2. U.S. Arms Procurements

A) "Think Twice on the [U.S.] Arms Procurements to
Prevent Losing in Every Aspect"

The centrist, pro-status quo "China Times"
[circulation: 400,000] editorialized (9/23):

". The U.S. official's harsh criticism has, as
expected, triggered various reactions from people of
different positions. . This newspaper believes that no
matter judged from the perspectives of law, Taiwan's
national interests or the political interests of the
opposition parties, the boycotts by opposition caucuses
in the Legislative Yuan to block the arms procurement
bill from being reviewed by the Procedure Committee is
an unwise strategy that can hardly sustain. .

"The argument over whether the arms procurement bill
should be reviewed must be weighed from the angles of
Taiwan's overall national interests and the real
situation the island is in. In terms of Taiwan's
overall national interests, people naturally hope that
at the current stage, the island can maintain the
status quo of not being annexed by Beijing. But the
goal to maintain the status quo cannot be achieved
effortlessly. The real situation is that over the past
few years, Beijing has not only risen rapidly in terms
of its overall national strength, but the advancement
of its defense capabilities has also been really
amazing. In the face of the threat formed under such
circumstances, Taiwan also needs to appropriately
upgrade its strength even just to maintain the status
quo . Another fact in the international community is
that if we look around the globe, the United States is
the only country that is able and dares to provide
Taiwan with sufficient armaments so that it can [create
a] counterbalance to Beijing. Even though the arms
procurement bill may be interpreted as Taiwan paying
protection money to the United States or as a move to
benefit American arms dealers, it cannot change the
fact that if Taiwan really turns down the U.S. arms
procurements, it will have to run the dual risk of an
imbalance of power across the Taiwan Strait
accelerating and the possibility that the United States
might adjust or give up [its plan to] help defend
Taiwan. ."

KEEGAN

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