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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Bush's Kyoto Speech

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

UNCLAS TAIPEI 004614

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: BUSH'S KYOTO SPEECH

1. Summary: As major Chinese-language Taiwan dailies on
November 18 continued to report on local scandals, campaigns
for the upcoming 3-in-1 elections, and a planned merger
between two local banks to form Taiwan's largest bank,
coverage also focused on the APEC meetings in Pusan and U.S.
President George W. Bush's speech delivered in Kyoto
Wednesday. The pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's
biggest daily, carried a news story on page two that quoted
Taiwan's representative to the APEC summit Lin Hsin-yi as
saying Bush's praise of Taiwan's democracy was merely
confirmation of a known fact. The newspaper also ran a
banner headline on the same page that read: "Bush and
[Japanese Prime Minister] Koizumi Will Have Bilateral
Summits with Lin Hsin-yi."

2. The pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" ran a front-page
headline story quoting some American scholars as saying
Bush's speech indicated that he is sending a new message to
China and Washington will have to review its one China
policy some time in the future. The newspaper also quoted
Taiwan's Foreign Ministry officials as saying Bush's praise
and support for Taiwan would be conducive to Lin's
performance at the APEC meetings. Only one editorial in the
limited-circulation, pro-independence, English-language
"Taipei Times" commented on Bush's speech. The article
welcomed Bush's speech and urged Washington not to treat the
"Taiwan issue" as a subset of the "China issue." End
summary.

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"US Needs to Delink Taiwan and China"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
[circulation: 30,000] commented in an editorial (11/18):

"US President George W. Bush has at long last demonstrated
that he is aware of Taiwan's value as a democracy. Given
recent US attitudes and commentary directed at this country,
Bush is to be congratulated for his sudden enlightenment.
The question that now remains is this: Since the White House
appears ready to accept that Taiwan is no longer an
authoritarian state controlled by a murderous dictator, how
will it translate this knowledge into a meaningful strategy
for Taiwan? .

"Eventually the US must realize that the `Taiwan issue' can
not be treated as a subset of the `China issue.' Many
people in the US have become accustomed to treating
Washington's policy toward Taiwan as a small and irksome
outgrowth of Sino-American relations. This approach may
have had currency in 1951, but it makes little sense now.
From the US' perspective, preserving Taiwan's de facto
independence is not the end game - nor is maintaining
trouble-free relations with China. .

"US policymakers seem to be unable to decide how to deal
with China, and as a result, thy lack a grand vision for US
policy in the region. Merely playing `diplomacy' - which by
current US standards means not doing anything that someone
might find distasteful, ever - is not going to help the US
achieve its aims in the region. The ultimate US goal in
East Asia must be the preservation of the current strategic
situation, with the US as the undisputed guarantor of
regional stability and security. Every policy that
Washington employs should be working toward this end.
Unfortunately, the shortsightedness of successive US
administrations has undermined this strategy, especially
when it comes to Taiwan. .

"Washington is going to have to make a decision about
whether or not it wants to retain the mantle of leadership
in the Asia-Pacific [region]. The choice should not be too
difficult, given that the alternative - letting Japan and
China slug it out for control of the West Pacific - could
well lead to World War III. Taiwan has been compared to
Spain in 1936 - a troubled, fledgling democratic state at
threat internally and externally. The democracies of the
world stood aside as Spain fell victim to authoritarianism,
backed by Nazi Germany. Are they going to wait until it is
too late for Taiwan, as well?"

PAAL

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