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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-Taiwan Relations, Cross-Strait


DE RUEHIN #2674/01 2200845
R 080845Z AUG 06





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused their
coverage August 8 on the sudden announcement by the Minister of
Transportation and Communications Monday afternoon of her
resignation over the controversial highway electronic toll
collection system; President Chen Shui-bian's alleged "secret" bank
accounts; and a local prosecutor who was taken into custody for
alleged sexual abuse of a female witness. The pro-unification
"United Daily News" ran a banner headline on page four that read
"Impact of Severing Ties [with Chad], Financial Supervisory
Commission 'Closes Door' to Financial Holding Companies and Banks'
Plans [to Open Branch Offices] in China." The mass-circulation
"Apple Daily," on the other hand, carried an exclusive story on page
six that said "Foreign Minister's Secret Visit with Terrorists' Head
Is Exposed," and the sub-headline added "[James Huang] Called on
Hezbollah Chief in April; Scholars: Should Be Cautious in Handling
Foreign Relations."

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2. In terms of editorials, an editorial in the pro-independence
"Liberty Times," Taiwan's biggest daily, discussed the U.S.
Congress' recent move to change the rules governing U.S. relations
with Taiwan. The article urged Washington to modify the "Taiwan
Relations Act" and make it demonstrate Taiwan's status as an
independent sovereignty. With regard to Taiwan's decision to sever
diplomatic ties with Chad, an editorial in the limited-circulation,
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" asked whether the
U.S. State Department will view the Chad incident as an example of
the cross-Strait "status quo" coming under attack. An editorial in
the limited-circulation, pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan
News" strongly urged the DPP government to shut the door to a
possible visit to Taiwan by Chen Yunlin, director of China's Taiwan
Affairs Office. End summary.

3. U.S.-Taiwan Relations

"Taiwan-U.S. Interaction Guideline Should Reveal Taiwan's Status as
Independent Sovereignty"

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

"... But the 'Taiwan Relations Act' was, after all, meant to define
the non-official ties between Taiwan and the United States, so it
has its limitations. The act might be viable back then, but over
the past thirty years, Taiwan has transformed from a foreign regime
into a nativist regime, and its people have elected their president
three times. Taiwan has also become a democratic country along with
the world's third wave of democratization. If Taiwan-U.S. relations
continue to remain on the non-official level defined two or three
decades ago, many obstacles and problems would show up one after the

"For example, the United States regards the promotion of democratic
values in the world as one of the pillars of its diplomatic
strategy. Taiwan is clearly a democratic country of independent
sovereignty now, but the United States still dodges developing
comprehensive diplomatic relations with Taiwan. In contrast, a
totalitarian country like China has won the U.S.'s attention. In
the end, Taiwan's elected president is not allowed to visit the
United States, but China's authoritarian ruler is free to enter the
White House. This is completely against the founding spirit and
democratic strategy of the United States. Over the past few years,
the U.S. administrative branch often complained that the Taiwan
government had failed to inform Washington in advance of its many
major policies, giving Washington no time to react. In reality,
however, the other side of the U.S. complaint is exactly a result of
the limited level of Taiwan-U.S. contact and the lack of close
communication between high-ranking officials of the two. ...

"Honestly speaking, the U.S. administrative branch's fear of
repercussions will only help to make China's appetite grow bigger
and is not fair to democratic Taiwan. Such a move has violated the
objective of 'maintaining and advancing the human rights of all
Taiwan people,' and it is difficult to push China to move towards
democracy in order to ensure peace, security, and stability in the
West Pacific. ..."

4. Cross-Strait Relations

A) "UN Is China's Weapon of Choice"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (8/8):

"... For Taiwan to retain any of its allies in the long term it is
going to have to rely on diplomatic sophistication and not just
dollar diplomacy. ... In the end, however, Taiwan is also up
against forces outside of its control: Allies that require UN
intervention are particularly vulnerable to Chinese blackmail. It

will be interesting to see if the US State Department looks upon the
Chad incident as an example of the beloved cross-Strait 'status quo'
coming under attack and appropriately lodges a protest with Beijing.
Or denounces the role of Chinese arms in the conflicts in Chad and
Sudan as representing the most callous exploitation of a troubled
region. Then again, pigs might fly."

B) "Keep Door Closed to PRC Delegation"

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

"We urge the Democratic Progressive Party government to keep
Taiwan's door firmly shut to the likes of People's Republic of China
Taiwan Affairs Office Director Chen Yunlin, whom the former ruling
Kuomintang has invited to attend an 'agricultural cooperation forum'
in Taipei from October 13 to 18. ... Chen Yunlin's visit clearly
has precious little to do with bilateral 'agricultural cooperation,'
except as a ploy to persuade even more Taiwanese farmers or
agricultural enterprises to sink their funds in the PRC tar pit, in
which over 90 percent of agricultural goods identified as being of
'Taiwan origin are counterfeit. Instead, the proposed visit by the
PRC's chief Taiwan affairs administrator aims to demonstrate in deed
and word the 'hollowing out' or marginalization of Taiwan's
democratically elected government. ...

"In sum, we believe the Taiwan government should consider allowing
Chen Yunlin to visit only if Beijing agrees to enter into direct
consultations over the trip's content and protocol, including a
commitment on reciprocal meetings with Taiwan government officials
of equal rank, and agrees to issue an apology for the handling of
the Chad issue. After Beijing shows respect for Taiwan's national
dignity, then dialogue can commence."


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