Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations, Taiwan's
DE RUEHIN #2914/01 2350853
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230853Z AUG 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1772
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5565
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6778
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002914
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - SCOTT WALKER
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS, TAIWAN'S
1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies gave
considerable coverage August 23 to an announcement by former DPP
Chairman Shih Ming-teh Tuesday that he has reached his target of
collecting NT$100 million [approximately US$3.1 million] in
donations in support of his campaign to oust President Chen
Shui-bian. News coverage also focused on the many attacks against
Shih's planned movement and his past behavior; and the KMT's party
assets report, which is scheduled to be released today. The
pro-unification "United Daily News" ran a front-page banner headline
that read "[Campaign to] Oust Bian Reaches over NT$100 Million,
Political Situation Tense." The pro-status quo "China Times,"
however, ran a banner headline on page four that said "Judging That
United States Has Not [Moved to] Oust Him, Bian: Scandals Will Not
Scorch Me, Why Step Down?"
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's biggest daily, discussed
China's strategy of "joining hands with the United States to
restrain Taiwan," thereby "using economics to push for unification."
The article criticized many American officials for only paying
attention to the interests of U.S. businesses in Taiwan, but
overlooking the United States' long-term interests and security.
With regard to Shih Ming-teh's campaign to oust President Chen, a
"China Times" editorial urged the ruling DPP to reflect on its role
and think about its future now. An editorial in the
limited-circulation, conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" said Shih and his fellow organizers must build up
popular pressure so strong and so powerful that it would leave Chen
no choice but to resign. End summary.
3. U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations
"Strictly Guard against Strategy of 'Using Economics to Push
Unification' by Means of 'Joining Hands with the United States to
Restrain the Island'"
The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 600,000]
"Following half a century's training and experience, China has come
to realize that the shortest distance to 'restraining Taiwan' is not
a direct line, but through the United States; that is, China has to
expand its battlefield from Beijing and Taipei to Washington, and
achieve the goal of 'restraining Taiwan' via the United States.
China's strategy of 'joining hands with the United States to
restrain Taiwan' has worked successfully until now. The Taiwan
people should still have a fresh memory of the U.S. attitude during
the periods when Taiwan's held its 'defensive referendum' in 2004
and when it 'ceased the functions of the National Unification
Council' last year [sic]. Over these past few years, the pro-China
powers in Taiwan also have gradually sensed that the most effective
way to carry out direct transportation across the Taiwan Strait, to
have Taiwan banks open their branch offices on the mainland, and to
remove the island's restrictions on investments in China is to go
through U.S. businesses, which will exert pressure on Taiwan via the
U.S. government. ...
"The pro-China powers failed to get what they wanted at the
Conference on Sustaining Taiwan's Economic Development, but they did
not give up hope. On August [sic] 13, former AIT Taipei Director
Douglas Paal took the initiative in slashing at Taiwan's
'closed-door policy' at a public speech he made at the U.S.-based
Brookings Institution. Incumbent AIT Director Stephen Young also
followed suit and elaborated in his speech at the 'ROC-USA Business
Council' that in order to seek American businesses' support for
Taiwan signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States,
Taiwan must first remove its restrictions on cross-Strait trade,
economics, investments and transportation. It seems that to meet
the interests of U.S. businesses in Taiwan, these U.S. firms have
joined Taiwan businessmen in China in using the FTA to threaten and
force Taiwan to accept direct transportation and to open up to
China, which will endanger Taiwan's sovereignty. It seems obvious
that many American officials only pay attention to the interests of
U.S. businesses in Taiwan and overlook the United States' long-term
interests and security. They have never contemplated the
seriousness of how the United States is going to defend Taiwan
against China's military threats should the island move toward
unification some day because of economic integration.
"But in the meantime, we must ask ourselves why U.S. government
officials would accept the views of U.S. businesses in Taiwan
without thinking? To be honest, we have absolutely no right to
blame them, because the Taiwan government also holds the same
position as that of AIT's in terms of cross-Strait trade and
economics. ... What AIT officials in Taiwan heard and saw day and
night were the appeals of the American businesses, Taiwan investors,
and pro-unification media outlets to push for westbound direct
transportation, and the Taiwan officials, who support opening and
direct transportation but flinch from doing so all the time.
"The situation in Washington D.C. is more serious. The Taiwan
representative dispatched by the ruling DPP government to Washington
D.C. is a person whose political stance and ideology are those of
the pan-Blue camp, which advocates westbound [investments]. As a
result, the messages he sent to U.S. officials directly or
indirectly are also of the pan-Blue perspective. The trade and
economic delegations organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs
and other government agencies alike were all composed of those
people who uphold westbound investment. [Given such a situation,]
which has lasted for six years, it would be very difficult for U.S.
State Department officials not to 'tilt toward China to restrain
4. Taiwan's Political Situation
A) "The Crisis Thatr the DPP Should Deal with Is by No Means Shih
Ming-teh's Personal Morality"
The pro-status quo "China Times" [circulation: 400,000]
"The 'one million people to oust Bian' campaign' initiated by Shih
Ming-teh has collected as much money as it expected. Even though
there may not be exactly one million donors, it nonetheless
represents remarkable mass power. Both President Chen and the DPP
must never underestimate such public resentment. Since the public
who are discontented with Bian have gathered, and the razor-sharp
barricades that are supposed to suppress riots are ready, it seems
that both sides are ready to fight, and confrontation is imminent.
Under Shih's strong-willed leadership, it is obvious that such a
large-scale mass movement is ready to go and will not stop until it
attains its goal. But still, there are many unpredictable elements
in a long-term mass movement, and different variables may produce
unpredictable results. There are still several days before the
activity to oust Bian will start, and now is perhaps the best
opportunity for the ruling authorities to reflect on and review
B) "'Depose-Chen' Movement Must Win Wider Support"
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (8/23):
"The 'one million people to oust President Chen Shui-bian' campaign
has continued to gain warm support from all walks of life since its
launch a week ago. Yet the success in achieving this goal will
depend on whether the movement can continue to gather momentum in
the weeks ahead and how well its organizers stage their protests.
... Still, for the movement to succeed in ousting the
scandal-plagued leader, Shih and his fellow organizers must build a
popular pressure so strong and so powerful that would leave Chen no
choice but to resign by mobilizing much wider public backing for
their cause. ... True, seeking to unseat the president through
'people power' can cause political turmoil and endanger stability.
But history proves that stability is often a price that a society
must pay in pursuit of greater reform and progress. ..."