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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.




E.O. 12958: N/A

Summary: Major Chinese-language Taipei dailies
continued to focus their coverage September 30 on local
politics and local scandals, but an opinion piece ran
in the centrist "China Times" commenting on U.S. Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Robert Zoellick's recent remarks
in New York. The op-ed said Zoellick's new definition
for Washington-Beijing relations has found a new
`stakeholder relationship' - namely: peace, dialogue,
responsibility - for the triangular relationship
between Washington, Beijing and Taipei. An editorial
and an opinion piece in the limited-circulation, pro-
independence, English-language "Taipei Times" both
commented on U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Defense
Richard Lawless' recent speech on Taiwan's blocked arms
procurement bill. The editorial urged Washington to be
more creative in helping to resolve the stuck arms
deal, while the opinion piece said Lawless' warning on
the arms bill was unhelpful for reconciling the
different perspectives of the pan-blue and pan-green
camps and will make future Washington-Taipei ties even
more complicated. End summary.

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1. U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations

"The New Stakeholder Relationship between the United
States, China and Taiwan"

Wu Rei-kuo, Deputy Executive Chief of the Cross-Strait
Interflow Prospect Foundation, commented in the
centrist, pro-status quo "China Times" [circulation:
400,000] (9/30):

". The remarks [by U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of
Robert Zoellick at the National Committee on United
States-China Relations in New York] indirectly revealed
two major changes the Bush administration has adopted
in its second term of office in dealing with
international affairs:

"First, the United States will gradually abandon its
`unilateralism' practices and will expand the community
foundation for sharing and maintaining the
international order. Washington's self-willed
reconstruction efforts in the post-war Iraq, including
the matter of whether U.S. soldiers will be able to
`withdraw [from Iraq] safely and gracefully,' have
created irremediable damage [to its foreign relations],
especially its rifts with the European Union. The
recently concluded `Six-Party Talks' and Washington's
approach of asking the UN Security Council to step in
to handle Iran's nuclear energy development have all
indicated that the United States may be able to launch
a war independently, but it is certainly incapable of
bringing peace [to the world] single-handedly.

"Second, the United States will promote a new set of
`behavior guidelines' in the international community,
which will serve as a criteria for [more countries] to
share international responsibilities. .

"The afore-mentioned policy changes will have a direct
and immediate impact on the situation in the Taiwan

"First, [Washington] will ensure `peace' in the Taiwan
Strait: The core question concerning both sides of the
Taiwan Strait is no longer `how to reunify or whether
[Taiwan] can declare independence' but how to `maintain
the status quo and guarantee peace.' Unless Taiwan
declares independence or foreign forces evidently step
in the cross-Strait situation plainly, chances for
China to use force against Taiwan have reduced
significantly or even died out in the wake of the newly
defined `responsible stakeholder' relationship between
Washington and Beijing. Same for the possibility if
Taiwan declares independence.

"Second, the cross-Strait issues have gradually turned
`internationalized: . a consensus will be gradually
formed among those countries or international
organizations who are concerned about peace in the
Taiwan Strait that disputes may be worked out via
`multilateral participation' in the future. Third, the
pressure on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to resume
dialogue will be `systemized': . under the knowledge
that `dialogue is not tantamount to consensus,'
pressure from the international community will force
Beijing and Taipei to look into the necessity of
resuming dialogue.

"The new definition for Washington-Beijing relations
has found a new `stakeholder relationship' - namely,
peace, dialogue, responsibility - for the scalene
triangular relationship between Washington, Beijing and
Taipei. If such a move was interpreted by some as a
way for Washington to restrict or even to dominate the
cross-Strait situation, it can also be viewed as a
choice the United States cannot help but make in the
face of a rapidly rising China. ."

2. U.S. Arms Procurement

A) "US Must Alter Its Approach"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (9/30):

"A new pastime for US officials is to slam Taiwan over
the repeated failure of the special arms procurement
budget bill to pass. It is understandable that
Taiwan's supporters in the US should be frustrated over
the pan-blue camp's efforts to thwart this important
piece of legislation. But simply giving Taiwanese
politicians a tongue-lashing is not enough to make this
issue move forward, and indeed, only exacerbates the

"The US must take concrete action to help resolve this
issue. That can happen with two simple steps.

"The first step is to deny visas to prominent
politicians who oppose the arms deal. .Washington must
be resolved in demonstrating to the people of Taiwan
that undermining US-Taiwan relations has consequences.
But this needn't come at the expense of Taiwan itself -
it should be those responsible for weakening US-Taiwan
relations that pay a price. . The pan-blues will get
the message pretty quickly, but more importantly, so
will the people of Taiwan.

"The next step that Washington should take is very
easy, and very specific. The US Department of Defense
should abandon the nave policy guideline implemented
by former deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz in
2003 that prevents Taiwan from helping to build the
eight diesel-electric submarines that are in the
special budget. Until legislators have a tangible
reason to support the procurement, they will oppose it.
There are too many ideological issues involved for the
bill to pass in its current form. But as soon as
lawmakers see that their constituents will be getting
jobs and their backers contracts from the deal, it will
begin to move forward. .

"The point of all of this is that the US must be more
creative when it addresses Taiwan's domestic political
situation. Having congressmen or bureaucrats shout and
stomp their feet with frustration is ineffective, to
put it charitably. When US officials place blame
anywhere - no matter how vaguely that blame is place -
it only gives local lawmakers sticks with which to beat
each other, furthering the divisiveness in Taiwan's
fledgling democracy.

"And that is the key point. Taiwan has been a true
democracy for less than a decade. There are major
deficiencies in the current system of government, some
of which will take many years to address. But the US
has a responsibility - both in terms of realpolitik and
ideology - to ensure that Taiwan's democracy is secure.
To do this, it must first understand the situation
clearly, and then take considered action which fits
into an overall strategy for Taiwan. ."

B) "US Warnings on Arms Bill Unhelpful"

Philip Yang, associate professor of political science
at National Taiwan University, wrote in the pro-
independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
[circulation: 30,000] (9/30):

"The Pentagon's dissatisfaction with delays over the
arms procurement bill has led it to voice inappropriate
criticism, saying basically that if Taiwan does not buy
weapons to defend itself, then the US has no obligation
to defend us. .

"The development of Taiwan's democracy, the dramatic
changes in the cross-strait relationship and relations
with the US, and the impact of China's `rising' mean
that Taiwan's purchase of arms form the US is not a
simple military problem, but is a complex issue that is
critical to the security of the Taiwan Strait and the
relationship between Taiwan, the US and China. .

"The threats now coming from the US regarding Taiwan's
inability to pass the arms procurement bill will not
only not help reconcile the different perspectives of
the two political camps, but will make future relations
between Taiwan and the US even more complex. .

"Because of the current political climate, propaganda
far outweighs reasoned argument, so it seems likely
that the proposed arms procurement bill, among other
political decisions, must await an election for a final


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