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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Trade

VZCZCXYZ0005
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #2626/01 2160749
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040749Z AUG 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1426
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5514
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6724

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002626

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DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - SCOTT WALKER
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

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E.O. 12958: N/A


TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: CROSS-STRAIT TRADE


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies gave significant
coverage August 4 to a Supreme Administrative Court ruling Thursday,
which voided a controversial partnership between the Ministry of
Transportation and Communications and a local company on the
operation of the highway electronic toll collection system. News
coverage also focused on Premier Su Tseng-chang's clarification of
his 'revisionist line,' and President Chen Shui-bian's continued
efforts to clarify the details of the Presidential Office's special
state affairs expense account. The pro-unification "United Daily
News" ran a banner headline on page four that read "Fixing Su's
Revisionist Line? Bian Determines Cross-Strait Trade and Economic
[Policy]." The pro-status quo "China Times," on the other hand,
front-paged an exclusive story about a possible reshuffle of the
Cabinet's economic and financial chiefs.

Most papers also reported in inside pages remarks by Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Christensen Thursday before the
U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Christensen
said the U.S. views the possible visit by China's Taiwan Affairs
Council Director Chen Yunlin to Taiwan as a positive development and
will continue to urge China to engage in direct dialogue with
Taiwan's duly-elected leaders.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's biggest daily, urged
Premier Su to use concrete action to strive for the sustainable
development of Taiwan's economy. An editorial in the
limited-circulation, pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan
News" also praised Su for holding his line on the ceiling on
investments in China. End summary.

A) "Premier Su Should Use Concrete Action to Strive for Sustainable
Development of Taiwan's Economy"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 600,000]
editorialized (8/4):

"... Indeed, people in Taiwan are basically divided into two rival
camps: the pro-China one and the nativist one. The former camp
calls for complete leaning toward and opening to China, viewing the
Chinese market as the only place on which Taiwan's future hinges,
while the other camp sticks to the 'Taiwan first' idea and the
nativist line, and pushes for sustainable development of Taiwan's
economy, in order to consolidate nativist values and Taiwan-centered
consciousness. The two camps have completely different thoughts
about Taiwan's future. Some people have labeled the nativist line
as fundamentalist, meaning that they determine economic affairs with
their ideology, whereas the pro-China camp was described as
pragmatic, as if these people use reason to think about cross-Strait
relations. But the truth is just the opposite. Since cross-Strait
economics is essential to Taiwan's survival, the nativist camp --
which wants to ensure Taiwan's survival and development and is
undeceived by the myth of the Chinese market -- is the real
pragmatist. The pro-China camp, which indulges in wishful thinking
about China and totally disregards China's threats to Taiwan's
survival ... is actually the authentic fundamentalist. ... Luckily,
Premier Su also understands the ill intentions of the pro-China
media and the negative impact of the 'Su revisionist line.' Premier
Su should thus not only orally reiterate his insistence on the
'Proactive Management' policy, but also use concrete action to
manifest the nativist line. Only by doing so can he remove other
people's doubts and set a solid foundation for the sustainable
development of Taiwan's economy."

B) "Su Merits Praise for Holding Line on PRC Ceiling"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (8/4):

"We strongly approve of Wednesday's decision by Premier Su
Tseng-chang that the Democratic Progressive Party-led Cabinet will

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not lift the so-called 'ceiling' on foreign investment by Taiwan
publicly listed companies into the hostile People's Republic of
China. ... As was entirely predictable, business calls for a
lifting of the investment ceiling, which really benefits only large
scale Taiwan conglomerates, and immediate direct air passenger links
with the PRC were met with intense opposition from delegates
representing labor, social welfare groups, environmentalists and
many lawmakers from the pan-green Taiwan Solidarity Union and the
DPP itself. ...

"We also urge business leaders and their media spokespersons to
abandon 'semantic games,' such as the convoluted claim that the DPP
administration should lift the ceiling because a ban on such a move
did not receive 'consensus' support. The best way that proponents
can build support for a lifting of the ceiling is to comply with the
consensus of the 'global deployment and cross-strait economics'
section of the conference on the construction of a genuinely
effective risk management mechanism and show in action their
willingness to 'invest in Taiwan first' without demanding that
Taiwan society reduce our standards of wages, environmental
protection or the human and civic rights of domestic and foreign
labor in exchange."

YOUNG

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