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Cablegate: Media Reaction: China's Space Program/Avian

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 004272

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 ESTH
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: CHINA'S SPACE PROGRAM/AVIAN
FLU

1. Summary: Major Chinese-language Taipei dailies
centered their coverage October 20 on DPP Legislator
Lin Cho-shui's proposal to trim the budget for the
financial support of former presidents and vice
presidents- [limiting the timeframe to 10 years of
public support for former presidents, and recalling
financial support for former vice presidents.]

2. Newspaper editorials commented on China's space
policy and avian flu. The centrist, pro-status quo
"China Times" said China is not yet a "super power" in
space and would most possibly focus the development of
space business in the fields of observation,
communications, and positioning.

3. The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei
Times" called upon the WHO to put human lives before
politics, and allow Taiwan become a member state in
order to fight hand-in-hand against avian flu. The pro-
independence, English-language "Taiwan News" said
Taiwan should use the APEC mechanism to contribute to
the research and development of avian flu vaccines, and
added that Taiwan officials should let the public
understand the danger of bird flu. End summary.

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A) "The Success of the Shenzhou XI Would Not Lead to
Global Competition in Space"

The centrist, pro-status quo "China Times"
[circulation: 400,000] editorialized (10/20):

". A more objective statement is that China has become
a major power, but not a superpower, in space via the
Shenzhou XI project. The so-called `major power in
space' means that a country could independently design
and complete a space project of certain scale, and
China has obviously crossed this threshold. A
`superpower in space,' however, needs strong and solid
industrial and economic foundations. . Comparing with
the United States and Russia, China still falls far
behind.

". China started to develop space business in 1956 out
of military concerns, i.e. developing rockets means
developing guided-missiles. Regarding satellites, re-
entry remote sensing satellites with reconnaissance
capabilities were the biggest part. After China
adopted the `reform and open' policy [in 1979], China's
space business was obviously aimed at facilitating
economic development. China's thinking is to
industrialize space technology and promote its
applications. . The most possible direction for
development should be focused on observation,
communications, and positioning in order to support
[China's] joint operations. In the foreseeable future,
it is burdensome and unnecessary for China to move
toward `militarization in the space'

B) "Health Politics and Halting Bird Flu"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (10/20):

". Taiwanese, like everyone else in the world, are
concerned about the spread of this disease. But as
Taiwan is not a member of the World Health organization
(WHO) - because of China's incessant political
interference - it is excluded from the global disease
prevention and control network. As a result, it can
only seek help indirectly from other WHO member
nations. This makes a mockery of the WHO's
humanitarian and sans frontier claims. It also poses a
threat to the Taiwanese population, and leaves open a
loophole in the international public health network.

"Whether looked at from the perspective of Taiwan's
basic rights to healthcare or global disease
prevention, we can never allow the nightmare of our
near-solitary fight against the SARS epidemic in 2003
to happen again.

"Instead, the WHO should accept Taiwan's allocation to
become an observer nation. Human lives must be put
before politics."

C) "Everyone Responsible for preventing Avian Flu"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News"
[circulation: 20,000] said in its editorial (10/20):
"Therefore, our country should take the opportunity
offered by the upcoming meeting of the Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation forum in Pusan, South Korea to
propose cross-border cooperation to research and
develop effective vaccines.
"If we are able to promote the successful development
and production of effective vaccines through the APEC
mechanism, Taiwan will have made a major contribution
to global society.
". Official efforts to raise awareness are especially
critical, given Taiwan's geographic location as a key
stop on the migration paths of various types of birds
in East Asia and its role as a nesting and breeding
spot in the autumn for birds flying from the north from
northeast China, Siberia, the Korean peninsula and
Japan to Southeast Asia or the South China Sea. ."

PAAL

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