Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations, North Korea


DE RUEHIN #2696/01 2210856
R 090856Z AUG 06





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Summary: On August 9, Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies
focused their coverage on the sudden resignation Monday of the
Minister of Transportation and Communications, and on the
controversial highway electronic toll collection system; the
aftermath of Taiwan's break in diplomatic ties with Chad; Foreign
Minister James Huang's meeting with the leader of Hezbollah in
April; and the sea and land warnings for a tropical storm and a
typhoon near Taiwan. The pro-status quo "China Times" front-paged a
letter by former DPP Chairman Shih Ming-teh to President Chen
Shui-bian, urging him to step down. The pro-independence "Liberty
Times," Taiwan's biggest daily, on the other hand, ran a banner
headline on page two that said "Proactive Move to Cement Foreign
Relations; Bian to Visit Palau, Nauru Next Month."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "Liberty Times"
editorial urged the government to freeze all its opening policies
toward China in the wake of Taiwan's break in diplomatic ties with
Chad. Editorials in the limited-circulation, pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" and "Taiwan News" both said the Chad
incident should serve as a wake-up call for Su and his revisionist
line. With regard to North Korea, a "Taipei Times" opinion piece
urged Taiwan to reassess and strengthen its missile defenses to
better address the threats it faces. End summary.

3. Cross-Strait Relations

A) "The Government Should Thoroughly Freeze Its Easing [Regulations]
and Opening Policies to China"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 600,000]
editorialized (8/9):

"... It is still unknown whether the break in diplomatic ties
between Taiwan and Chad will thoroughly wake up the DPP
administration, whose words and deeds have been constantly
inconsistent, from its illusions about China. But we believe that
Taiwan's economy under the DPP's governance has been overly tilted
toward China, so tilted that it has threatened our nation's
survival. As a result, the severance of diplomatic ties between
Taiwan and Chad, to a certain extent, was a result of Taiwan's own
making. If Premier Su's 'revisionist line' really intends to
safeguard the Taiwan-centered awareness, we suggest that Su
completely freeze any opening policies and eased regulations toward
China until 2008, and focus on domestic investments and effectively
reduce Taiwan's reliance on China. This is the 'Su revisionist
line' that Taiwan really needs. ..."

B) "China Fueling Independence Fires"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (8/9):

"On the eve of Premier Su Tseng-chang's departure for Chad, China
forced the African nation to sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
This is the second time this has happened to Su since becoming
premier, and it would be a miracle if he now continued his
China-friendly policies. The deterioration of cross-strait
relations has not been the result of Taiwan's unwillingness to
display goodwill toward China, but rather of China's belligerence.
... The establishment of diplomatic relations between China and
Chad should serve as a wake-up call for Su, who may adjust his
policies. It has also brought a ray of hope to the cause of
Taiwanese independence. The US would do well to retract its
approval of high-level cross-strait dialogue. China's hostile
actions have scuppered a visit by Chen Yunlin, head of China's
Taiwan Affairs Office, which had originally been approved by the
government. ...

"China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs may think that it can buy off
Taiwan's allies to suppress the fact that Taiwan is a sovereign
state, but China's actions are instead driving the Taiwanese
government toward a more pragmatic diplomacy that doesn't focus on
money or how many diplomatic allies the country has. The Taiwanese
public is not blaming the government for losing ties with Chad.
Instead, Beijing is providing the strongest support for the opinion
that Taiwan should follow its own path."

C) "Taiwan Must Put Quality First in External Policy"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] commented in an editorial (8/9):

"Sunday's breakup with Chad just before the departure of Premier Su
Tseng-chang to attend yesterday's third inauguration Chadian

President Idriss Deby was a shock, but it certainly should not have
been a surprise. ... Last but not least, we believe that the
government should itself forego any illusion that a line of
distinction can be drawn between promotion of cross-strait economic,
trade and transportation relations with the PRC and Beijing's
incessant assaults on our formal diplomatic relationships and
oppression of the substantive participation in international
activities by Taiwan NGOs and even individual citizens. Instead, we
should make clear to Beijing that such 'pragmatism' has its limits
and that Taipei also has a 'red line' beyond which we will not be
pushed by Beijing. ..."

4. North Korea

"China Walks Tightrope on North Korea"

Mrinal Menon, a researcher at the Institute for National Policy
Research, opined in the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei
Times" [circulation: 30,000] (8/9):

"... Regardless of the consequences the recent missile launches have
for the Korean Peninsula, the crisis must serve as a wake-up call to
Taiwan. In light of the North Korean missile tests and the
potential for security crises in Northeast Asia, Taiwan must
reassess its own defense capabilities. Taiwan's missile defense
posture is woefully under-prepared to tackle the threat it faces
from the PRC and North Korea. Well within striking range of North
Korean missiles as well as hundreds from the PRC, Taiwan currently
lies open and vulnerable. A domestic missile defense posture more
in line with that of the US and Japan would better prepare Taiwan
for the security landscape of the 21st century. Taiwanese leaders
must act on the North Korean crisis and seriously consider updating
their missile defense capabilities to better address the threats
they face."


© Scoop Media

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