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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.

290904Z Sep 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 004006

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: Major Chinese-language Taipei dailies gave
extensive coverage September 29 on alleged shady
recruitment practices related to the hiring of Thai
workers for the construction of the Kaohsiung mass
rapid transit system; an extortion scandal linked to a
local TV star; and the possible dioxin contamination of
ducks in central Taiwan. Almost all the newspapers
also reported in their inside pages about a Cabinet
decision allowing banks in Kinmen and Matsu to exchange
New Taiwan Dollars for Renminbi, and vice versa,
beginning October 3. The pro-unification "United Daily
News" ran an exclusive news story on its front page
saying former Taiwan Financial Supervisory Commission
Examination Bureau Director-General Lee Chin-cheng, who
was allegedly involved in illegal stock market insider
trading and judicial scandals, went to AIT Monday and
was approved for an immigrant visa.

In addition, several Chinese-language newspapers
carried news stories on remarks made by President Chen
Shui-bian in St. Kitts and Nevis that Taiwan political
heavyweights, including former KMT Chairman Lien Chan,
incumbent KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou, PFP Chairman James
Soong, and Legislative Yuan President Wang Jin-pyng,
are all aware that the U.S. arms procurement bill will
be passed eventually. The centrist "China Times" ran a
news story in its inside page quoting Chen as saying
that it was due to the United States' strategic concern
that it arranged Chinese President Hu Jintao to visit
the United States before Chen made his transits.

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2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "United
Daily News" commentary discussed the recent testimony
by U.S. Department of State East Asian Bureau Senior
Advisor James Keith before the U.S.-China Economic and
Safety Review Commission. The article said Keith's
unusual revelation of a closed-door conversation
between President Chen and PFP Chairman James Soong
appeared to be meant as a reminder to Chen not to break
his word. End summary

A) "James Keith's Testimony and Reminding"

Journalist Lo Chia-wen said in the "United Notes"
column of the conservative, pro-unification "United
Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (9/29):

"U.S. Department of State East Asian Bureau Senior
Advisor James Keith recently testified before the U.S.-
China Economic and Safety Review Commission that PFP
Chairman James Soong, when calling on Chinese President
Hu Jintao in May, passed on the message to Hu that
President Chen Shui-bian was willing to engage in
dialogue with Beijing, using a flexible formulation
about what constitutes `one China.' Even though Keith
remarks were immediately denied by the Presidential
Office and the PFP, the State Department official still
claimed that Keith's testimony was correct. .

"In fact, a flexible definition of the `one China' is
the position President Chen has been taking when it
comes to resuming cross-Strait dialogue. Even though
Chen refuses to accept terms such as `the 1992
Consensus,' `one China with different interpretations,'
and `one China under the Constitution,' his remarks
that he is willing to promote cross-Strait talks using
the results reached during the Hong Kong talks in 1992
as a basis still imply the attempt to deal with one
China in a flexible manner. Judged from this context,
one could also reach the conclusion that `Keith's
testimony is correct.'

"During his testimony, Keith encouraged Beijing to
start a dialogue with the Taiwan government. He also
revealed the contents of the message Chen asked Soong
to relay to Hu four months ago, a move that seemed to
imply that the Taiwan government should also be held
responsible for `not taking any action' [to resolve the
impasse across the Taiwan Strait]. .

"The normalization of cross-Strait relations and a
tailor-made Constitution [for Taiwan] are the
historical tasks Chen intends to accomplish. But what
happened during the past few months indicated that Chen
has deviated from his [previous] consideration and
planned to stake everything on a singe cast of the
dice. Keith's unusual revelation of the closed-door
conversation between Chen and Soong seemed to be
reminding Chen not to break his word."

KEEGAN

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