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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations, Recall Of

VZCZCXYZ0037
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #2110/01 1710757
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 200757Z JUN 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0765
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5332
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6540

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002110

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - ERIC BARBORIAK
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A


TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS, RECALL OF
PRESIDENT CHEN SHUI-BIAN


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused their
coverage June 20 on President Chen Shui-bian's decision to deliver a
televised speech Tuesday evening in response to the recall motion;
the pan-Blue camp's moves to bring Chen down; further investigations
into the alleged role of First Lady Wu Shu-chen in the Sogo
Department Store ownership case; and a local train
accident-turned-murder case. The pro-status quo "China Times" ran a
front-page banner headline that said "Reporting to the People But
Not Taking Questions, Bian Will Deliver Monologue Today, While Ma
Will Challenge Tomorrow." The pro-independence "Liberty Times,"
Taiwan's biggest daily, ran a banner headline on page two that read
"Reporting to the People, Bian Will Appear on TV This Evening to
Counterattack against Reasons for Recall Motion." The
pro-unification "United Daily News" front-paged "Pan-Blue Camp Will
Speed up No-Confidence Motion After It Fails to Recall Chen."

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2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
limited-circulation, pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan
News" criticized China's move to promote "peace" in international
affairs, saying it cannot veil Beijing's expansionism. An editorial
in the limited-circulation, conservative, pro-unification,
English-language "China Post" said U.S. war games in Guam are
Washington's response to China's rapid rise. An editorial in the
limited-circulation, pro-independence, English-language "Taipei
Times," on the other hand, criticized the pan-Blue camp's recall
motion, saying it only "demonstrated to the general public what a
bitter, hateful bunch they really are." End summary.

3. U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations

A) "U.S.-China in Sync on Taiwan"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] wrote in an editorial (6/20):

"For the first time, China's military has a 10-member observation
team at a massive U.S. war game launched yesterday in Guam, the
newly reinforced American base close to Asia's likely trouble spots.
The long-standing danger of Taiwan becoming a reason to go to war
against China has prompted a broad U.S. military realignment in
recent years. The Guam base is America's response to China's rapid
rise....

"Beijing is ready to subscribe to the U.S. designation that Taiwan
is 'a self-ruled democratic Chinese non-state beyond Beijing's
jurisdiction.' And the U.S. has shown greater readiness to comply
with Chinese wishes on Taiwan: no FTA pact, no military
collaboration, no high-profile visit to the U.S. and no membership
in the United Nations and the World Health Organization. As long as
Taiwan calls itself the diplomatically non-existent Republic of
China, Beijing will not force reunification with the island. As
Taiwan's mentor and protector for six decades, the U.S. has the
power and need to guarantee that. With Taiwan's independence
movement restrained, cross-strait tensions can be defused and the
island's economic prospects will brighten up rapidly."

B) "'Peace' Cannot Veil PRC Expansionism"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (6/20):

"... In the past two years, 'peace' has been added to Beijing's
diplomatic recipes in the wake of concerns over China's development
into a regional economic and military powerhouse. In stark
contradiction with its aggressive expansion of its military forces
and its continued build-up of offensive forces directed at Taiwan,
China is energetically flying the banner of 'peace,' one of the
world's paramount universal values. ...

"It is widely believed that Beijing's touting of the concept of
'peace comprises a 'defensive' concept against the United States,
which remains the world's only superpower. In response to China's
projection of military force through its drive to build a
'sea-going' naval force with aircraft carriers and advanced
conventional and nuclear submarines and its regional
alliance-building, the U.S. is now devoting more attention to Asia.
Washington is thus quietly working to bolster its own web of
alliances with Northeast Asia's Japan, South Korea and, to a certain
extent, Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand in Southeast
Asia, India and Pakistan in South Asia and even into Central Asia.
Hence, if China cannot enhance the transparency of its military
build-up, deployments and strategic purpose, Beijing's efforts to
organize regional blocks or alliances will create more tension even
though the ostensive intention is to project a benign image. ..."

4. Recall of President Chen Shui-bian

"Pan-Blue Recall Bid a Sick Joke"


The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (6/20):

"It's about time that the pan-blue camp realized what damage it is
doing to Taiwan and put an end to its ridiculous efforts to recall
the president. ... But the saddest thing about this whole recall
affair is that it has cruelly exposed Ma's weak position. Many
fence-sitting Taiwanese must have had high hopes for Ma and the KMT
after he swept to the chairmanship last year on promises of clean
politics and party reform. ... By letting himself be press-ganged
into supporting the recall bid, Ma has shown that the same deep-blue
elements that cannot stand to see Taiwan ruled by a pro-localization
regime still hold the KMT's reins of power. It has become
increasingly clear that they will stop at nothing in their bid to
oust the president, even if it means creating more division in
Taiwan's already deeply-split society. The high threshold required
to recall the president means that their bid has been doomed from
the start, and the pan-blue camp is well aware of this. They have
only further demonstrated to the general public what a bitter,
hateful bunch they really are."

KEEGAN

© Scoop Media

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