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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Kmt Chairman Ma Ying-Jeou's Trip to Japan,


DE RUEHIN #2424/01 1990822
R 180822Z JUL 06





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused their
coverage July 18 on President Chen Shui-bian's meeting with
high-ranking DPP officials Monday regarding whether he should step
down, and the cancellation of his planned meeting that evening with
legislators; the Taiwan High Court's request that the Taipei
District Court review whether to withdraw President Chen's
son-in-law's bail; new developments in the Donald Keyser espionage
case; and the plan of several well-known Taiwan doctors to practice
medicine in a hospital set up by a Taiwan business group in China.
The pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's biggest daily, ran a
banner headline on page two that read "Bian Meets with DPP
Heavyweights, Who Urge Him Neither to Resign Nor to Withdraw from
Party." The pro-status quo "China Times," on the other hand,
carried the results of its latest survey on page two, which showed
that 44 percent of those polled supported a recent declaration by
some pro-Green scholars calling for President Chen's resignation; 47
percent said they believe such a move would have a positive impact
on Taiwan's democratic development. The same poll also found that
67 percent of respondents said they are displeased with the DPP's
recent performance, while 48 percent believe that to save the DPP's
image, the party should either expel Chen or he should withdraw from
the party.

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2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "Liberty Times"
editorial criticized KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou's pro-China nature.
A "China Times" analysis discussed President Chen's crisis
management and said the Presidential Office and Chen are both on the
brink of losing control. An editorial in the limited-circulation,
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times," however, said
Chen's resignation would not solve anything and it would not be
helpful to pro-localization forces in the long term. With regard to
the North Korea issue, an editorial in the limited-circulation,
pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" said Taiwan should
focus on expressing its concern for regional peace and opposition to
any military action, including Pyongyang's provocative missile tests
or any "pre-emptive" military action by the U.S. or Japan. End

3. KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou's Trip to Japan

"Ma Ying-jeou's Japan Tour Thoroughly Exposes His Pro-China Nature"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 600,000]
editorialized (7/18):

"Ma Ying-jeou departed hurriedly for a trip to Japan before Typhoon
Bilis hit Taiwan last week. He traveled in the name of observing
Japan's municipal administration, but in reality it was a trip of
political party diplomacy. The real purpose of Ma's trip was to
remove Japan's doubts about his pro-China, anti-Japan mentality.
But Ma's behavior and remarks in Japan not only failed to clear up
his pro-China, anti-Japan image but also helped to expose his
pro-China and anti-Japan nature. ...

"During his trip to the United States in March, Ma called on China
to regard Taiwan independence as its major enemy and the ROC as its
secondary enemy. Since Ma is interested in running for president,
he should at least acknowledge that Taiwan is a sovereign state.
But on the contrary, Ma regards Taiwan the sovereign state as his
enemy, and he even desired to join China to destroy Taiwan's
sovereignty. This is the true essence of Ma's thinking, and while
in Japan, he claimed that he just 'followed Japan's suit' to
acknowledge China. In our views, after Ma's Japan trip, perhaps
more Japanese people would like to ask him: 'Your position is
basically the same as Beijing's. Don't you feel uncomfortable about

4. Aftermath of the Presidential Recall Attempt

A) "Bian's Crisis Management on Brink of Losing Control"

Journalist Wu Tien-jung commented in the pro-status quo "China
Times" [circulation: 400,000] (7/18):

"Despite President Chen's efforts to maintain the image that he is
still in control, his rash decision to call a meeting yesterday
evening but cancel it soon afterwards indicated that both the
Presidential Office and Chen himself are on the brink of losing
control. Let's just put the cases related to Wu Shu-chen aside;
even on the political level, Chen's remarks and behavior appeared to
be in a straitened circumstance. For example, when he met with
pro-independence heavyweights Sunday, he passively expressed that he
is willing to push for rectification of Taiwan's name and writing
Taiwan a new constitution. Yet just a month ago when receiving AIT
Chairman Raymond Burghardt, Chen reiterated his Four Nos pledge.
Burghardt also responded in public that he was glad Chen would no
longer push for constitutional reforms that are related to Taiwan
sovereignty. How is Bian going to resolve such inconsistency?

"The answer is: He can't. In terms of Taiwan-U.S. relations, for
the past two years, in order not to harm Taiwan, Washington has
adopted a way of 'publicly criticizing Bian' to deal with Bian's
repeated failures to keep his commitments. In addition to President
Bush's public criticism, the Bian administration must still remember
the State Department's ruthless remarks early this year. ...

"What's worse than the U.S. criticism is that if Bian really starts
to push for writing Taiwan a new constitution and rectifying
Taiwan's name, Washington's reason for opposing President Annette Lu
to replace Chen will disappear completely. This is because Bian's
unpredictability is higher than that of Lu and he has stronger
motives (i.e., to secure his presidency) than Lu has to push for
extreme independence. ..."

B) "DPP Must Swallow Its Pride"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (7/18):

"... But even then, would the president stepping down solve
anything, and would it be helpful to pro-localization forces in the
long term? The answer is a resound 'No.' It would be an
unmitigated disaster for the pro-localization movement and would
leave a stain on the pan-green camp's reputation that would be hard
to erase. ...

"Some DPP members think the president has become a liability for the
party. They believe it will be difficult for candidates to convince
the electorate that what the president's close aides and family have
allegedly been up to has no bearing on their ability to be a good
councilor or mayor. In a highly partisan political climate this may
be true, but what the pan-green camp needs now more than ever is a
show of unity. The president may have been nave or even downright
foolish, but public requests from people within his own party for
him to step down will only prolong the agony for the DPP and present
the public with the image of a party in disarray. ..."

5. North Korea

"Taiwan Should Focus on Peace in Korea"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] noted in an editorial (7/18):

"... North Korea's missile tests have delivered a stunning blow to
the 'sunlight policy' adopted by former South Korean president Kim
Dae-jung and continued under current head-of-state Roh Moo-hyun and
also aroused greater nationalistic tensions between South Korea and
Japan and even with the U.S. that are rooted in the complex history
of the region during the past century. ... However, the close
relations between Beijing and Kim Jung-il's regime in Pyongyang as
well as between Beijing and Seoul provide the PRC with the space and
influence to play an important 'buffer' role, even if international
media reports indicate that Beijing seems to be losing its capacity
or willingness to rein in its North Korea allies. ...

"Moreover, despite its vow to 'build a human rights state,' Taiwan's
DPP government has shamefully refrained from criticizing Washington
for its blatant use of 'state terror' in violating the Geneva
conventions during the course of the 'war on terror' and the wars in

Afghanistan and Iraq, including the illegal indefinite detention of
prisoners in What Amnesty International has called a 'gulag' in the
U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. In return, Taiwan almost
earned a place on the list of likely targets for extremist Islamic
terrorists and has had its commitment to peace and human rights
questioned in the world progressive community, but did not gain any
noticeable warming in its ties with Washington in return for this
abandonment of principle.

"We therefore believe that Taiwan should focus on expressing our
concern for regional security and peace and opposition to any
military action, including Pyongyang's provocative missile tests or
any 'pre-emptive' military action by the U.S. or Japan, and the
threat posed to the security of Taiwan and Japan itself by the PRC's
provocative deployment of hundreds of tactical missiles. We can
also continue to express our concern and willingness to offer
humanitarian assistance and economic relief to the people of North
Korea as part of peace efforts that focus on the fundamentals of
alleviating poverty."


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