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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Campaign to Oust President Chen Shui-Bian,

VZCZCXYZ0903
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #3198/01 2580841
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 150841Z SEP 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2144
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5658
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 6870

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 003198

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - DAVID FIRESTEIN
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A


TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: CAMPAIGN TO OUST PRESIDENT CHEN SHUI-BIAN,
U.S. ARMS PROCUREMENTS


1. Summary: Taiwan major Chinese-language dailies gave significant
coverage September 15 to the planned high-profile parade launched by
the "Oust Bian" campaign to "besiege" the Presidential Office and
Residence Friday evening; and a mass "Formosa Sunrise" rally planned
by the Taiwan Society on September 16 on Ketagalan Boulevard in
support of democracy and stability in Taiwan. Most papers expressed
grave concerns over possible clashes that might erupt between the
pro- and anti-Chen protesters this evening and tomorrow. Both the
pro-status quo "China Times" and pro-unification "United Daily News"
front-paged the "siege" slated for this evening, while the
pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's biggest daily, ran a
front-page banner headline that read "Siege versus Supporting
Taiwan: Su Tseng-chang, Ma Ying-jeou Both Call for Peace and
Rationality."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "Liberty Times"
editorial called for peace between the pro- and anti-Chen rallies,
saying violence will only turn Taiwan into "terror governance." A
"United Daily News" analysis, however, said the fact that only one
out of the four DPP heavyweights plans to show up at the pro-Chen
rally tomorrow is, to a certain extent, a manifestation of the
current predicament facing the DPP and President Chen Shui-bian.
With regard to the U.S.-Taiwan arms deal, an opinion piece in the
limited-circulation, pro-independence, English-language "Taipei
Times" said that Taiwan is "at a security crossroads, and further
procrastination in arms procurement could threaten its very
existence." End summary.

3. Campaign to Oust President Chen Shui-bian

A) "Violence Will Turn Taiwan into Terror Governance"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 600,000]
editorialized (9/15):

"... Today, even though the political stances of those who want to
oust Bian and those who support Taiwan may be poles apart,
opposition to violence and adherence to the rule of law should be a
common factor shared by every person. Whether Taiwan's democracy is
moving toward maturity or going backwards depends on whether the
public wants to choose peace or violence. We hope that all
political figures should have a sense of responsibility and should
firmly say no to violence, leaving no room for violence to exist on
the island. Should this be the case, no matter how passionate a
mass movement gets, the shadow of violence will not turn Taiwan's
democracy and rule of law into terror governance."

B) "Drawing a Line [between Themselves] and Bian? Four Heavyweights
in Green Camp Awaiting Prosecutors' Findings"

Journalist Sean Liu noted in an analysis in the pro-unification
"United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (9/15):

"Given the proactive promotion of the Presidential Office, the DPP
Central Standing Committee decided to launch an all-out mobilization
of its supporters to participate in the anti-Oust Bian movement on
Ketagalan Boulevard on September 16. But the 'four DPP
heavyweights' each has his own plan; only DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun
will show up at the rally tomorrow. Such a development, to a
certain extent, reflected the predicament now facing the DPP and
Chen Shui-bian. ...

"It is because they are unsure of whether Chen is really clean that
the four DPP heavyweights each has his own calculation; none wants
to make his stance too plain and harm his own political career.
Among the four, Su Tseng-chang, who now has the upper hand, tried to
avoid lashing out at those people who want to oust Bian, in an
attempt to show his tolerance as the highest administrative chief
and to win recognition from both the Blue and Green supporters. ...
Frank Hsieh, the DPP candidate for the Taipei mayoral race, is also
aware that he has to win the mayoral election first so as to be able
to move up a step in 2008. Given the voters' formation in Taipei
and, in particular, the solid gathering of people joining in the
sit-in over the past few days, Hsieh has more or less realized the
neutral voters' strong anti-graft appeals. He thus chose to 'focus
his attention on city administrative issues' so as to prevent
himself from being dragged into the confrontations between those who
want to oust Bian and those who oppose the 'Oust Bian' campaign.

"Annette Lu, on the other hand, is facing more factors that she
needs to consider. She always regards herself as a clean political
figure and in private, and she has never hidden her displeasure
toward the misdeeds of the First Family. Besides, once the movement
to oust Bian succeeds, Lu, in the capacity of a vice president, will
be the first beneficiary. Lu naturally has expectations for the
post-Bian era, but given the fact that the DPP is generally afraid
of the political situation that would follow her succession to Chen,
Lu's every move is under close scrutiny now and is under strong

criticism by her fellow party members. ... DPP Chairman Yu
Shyi-kun, on the other hand, has no choice but to show strong
support of Bian without any hesitation. ... The four heavyweights
are all taking a wait-and-see attitude. They may very likely make a
big action to draw a clear line between themselves and Bian once the
High Court Prosecutor's Office verifies that Bian has indeed
violated the law and is even involved in corruption."

4. U.S. Arms Procurements

"The Real Threat to Taiwan's Security"

Tu Ho-ting, a Taipei-based journalist and analyst, opined in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] (9/15):

"Following the government's proposed budget for procuring 66 F-16
C/D fighter jets from the US last month, the question of national
defense - the victim of partisan squabbling over the past two years
- is once again the focus of public attention. But, sadly, Taiwan's
security situation is still gloomy, and its implications are
seriously underestimated. ... With the serious security challenges
facing Taiwan and the US strongly critical of Taiwan's laxness
regarding its own defense, it is surprising that KMT Chairman Ma
Ying-jeou's claim that his party's repeated blocking of the arms
bill is not only reasonable but is winning US respect for Taiwan's
prudent attitude on the arms procurement issue. Furthermore, Ma
solemnly argues that the KMT only supports 'reasonable arms
purchases,' which means the purchased weapons should meet Taiwan's
defense need; its budget should not be a financial burden on the
government; and all citizens should support the arms purchase.

"Ironically, these plausible arguments could soon become empty
words. According to the latest reports, under pressure from the US,
Ma has implied that the KMT will dramatically change its position on
the long-delayed arms procurement bill when the new legislative
session begins this month. If this is the case, what the KMT did
over the past two years would prove to have been a politically
motivated farce at the expense of Taiwan's security. The nation is
at a security crossroads, and further procrastination in arms
procurement could threaten its very existence. Although it is still
too early to say whether the arms bill will be passed or not, it
will be the opposition's last chance to decide whether they want to
improve Taiwan's defense capabilities."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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