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

VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #3628/01 2971048
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241048Z OCT 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2731
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5820
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 7035

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 003628

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: CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS, U.S.-TAIWAN
RELATIONS


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies put their focus
October 24 on the follow-on movements of the "Oust Bian" campaign;
on the year-end Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral races; on the Center
for Disease Control's decision Monday to suspend the use of flu
vaccines from a French company following the reported death of four
Israelis after injections of the vaccines; and on cross-Strait
medical and agricultural exchanges. The pro-independence "Liberty
Times," Taiwan's largest-circulation daily, is the only paper that
covered a Bloomberg interview with KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou Monday;
the story was run with a banner headline on page two that said "If
Victorious in the 2008 [Election], Ma Wants to Sign [Deal] with
China Using No Independence in Exchange for No Use of Force."
Several papers also reported on inside pages that the U.S. arms
procurement bill will be blocked in the Legislative Yuan again today
until the prosecutor closes the Presidential allowance for state
affairs case.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "Liberty Times"
editorial criticized KMT Chairman Ma's proposed deal with China
should his party wins the 2008 presidential election, as reported in
an interview with Bloomberg. The article lashed out at Ma for using
Taiwan's sovereignty as a tribute to curry favor with China. An
editorial in the limited-circulation, conservative, pro-unification,
English-language "China Post," however, discussed Taiwan's role as a
"revisionist power" and said "the market for Taiwan independence is
fast shrinking at home and abroad." An editorial in the
limited-circulation, pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan
News," on the other hand, urged Taiwan to boost substantive ties
with the United States. End summary.

3. Cross-Strait Relations

A) "Question for Ma Ying-jeou: How Can Taiwan's Sovereignty Be Used
as Tribute to China?"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 600,000]
editorialized (10/24):

"KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou said during an interview with Bloomberg
that [his party] will negotiate a peace agreement with China by 2012
if it wins the presidential election in 2008. ... Sources said the
cross-Strait peace agreement, as Ma claims, will ensure Taiwan's
security from attack from China in exchange for a guarantee that the
island will not seek independence; and a precondition for the deal
is that China remove the 800 missiles it has been targeting at
Taiwan. According to Ma, the peace deal will not include ultimate
unification [with China], which will be decided by Taiwan's 23
million people and could only be achieved after China has evolved
into a country of freedom, democracy and prosperity.

"This paper has analyzed many times that Taiwan's so-called
guarantee that it will not declare independence in exchange for
China's assurance that it will not use force [against the island] is
basically an uneven barter, because such a deal will in reality
sacrifice Taiwan's sovereignty while China's one-China principle
remains intact. If Taiwan guarantees that it will not declare
independence, there will be only one option - the one-China
principle - left for both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Do the Taiwan
people need Ma to sign a contract that sells out Taiwan? It is
evident that Ma's national identity has deviated from Taiwan, as Ma
shows particular interest in a deal that is very unfavorable for the
island. ...

"... If Ma wants China to guarantee that it will not use force
[against Taiwan], it should be a guarantee without any conditions.
Ma should [do so] by urging the international community to impose
pressure [on China], and by strengthening Taiwan's defense
capability. But Ma obviously does not intend to do so; instead, he
plans to use Taiwan's national sovereignty as a tribute to curry
favor with China and to ask the latter not to use force against
Taiwan. This is called surrender rather than peace. ..."

B) "Taiwan a Revisionist Power"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (10/24):

"... Taiwan is also a revisionist power because of the separatism
and anti-China stance of President Chen Shui-bian and the Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP) after their rise to power in the 2000
democratic transfer of government. Ironically, rising China, the
potential challenge to America's sole superpower status, is a
serious promoter of status quo and stability in the Taiwan Strait
and elsewhere. 'Indeed, China is easier to deal with today than
ever before. The United States needs a policy to contend with
China's ability to destabilize Asia, not a policy to deal with a
future hegemony. China is a revisionist power, but for the
foreseeable future it will seek to maintain the status quo.' That's
RELATIONS

the observation of Robert S. Ross, professor of political science at
Boston College and a research associate at the John King Fairbank
Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University. ...

"The market for Taiwan independence is fast shrinking at home and
abroad; it only serves to isolate the island further. Chen must go
sooner or later and the DPP is declining rapidly. Before revising
its independence charter, the party has little chance of winning
majority support."

4. U.S.-Taiwan Relations

"Taiwan Must Boost Substantive U.S. Ties"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (10/24):

"Despite the close historical ties between Taiwan and the United
States and their shared democratic values, it cannot be denied that
the mutual relationship between Taipei and Washington has been rocky
in recent years. The Republican Party administration of U.S.
President George W. Bush has given Washington too many surprises in
cross-Strait issues with the hostile People's Republic of China.
Moreover, Washington officials have repeatedly voiced their view
that the failure to implement a proposed procurement of three
advanced defensive weapon systems shows Taiwan's refusal to accept
responsibility for defense of the country.

"On the other hand, many of Taiwan's citizens feel that Washington
has violated its principles as leader of the world's democratic
community by attempting to unilaterally suppress the voices of
Taiwan's people and by standing in the way of our deepening
democracy and emergence as a 'normal country' and an active
participant in the world community. Despite such differences, it is
essential for leaders of both sides, regardless of party
affiliation, to see beyond short-term tensions to realize their
common interests in facing the potential dangers involved in the
economic and military rise of an authoritarian China into a major
regional and world power. Above all, since Taiwan's democratic
society directly confronts the most threatening aspect of an
expansionist PRC, and the U.S. is the only world power with the
capability and willingness to help Taiwan defend itself, it is
incumbent on Taiwan to enhance substantive ties with the U.S. ...

"Taiwan's top diplomatic priority thus remains to be the deepening
of ties with the United States and re-examination of its current
strategy, especially as Washington nears the arrival of the
post-Bush era. ... Second, Taiwan's policy makers need to intensify
efforts to help counterparts in the U.S. realize that the status quo
of the Taiwan Strait has already been changed dramatically by
factors such as the over 800 missiles and other offensive forces
Beijing has aimed at Taiwan. ... Despite its contributions to
regional security, the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act is inadequate to
cope with these new realities. Moreover, our diplomats should do
more to help the U.S. realize that Taiwan is a democratic society
and that its government should not always be criticized by
Washington, especially by civic or political groups, about
constitutional or legal reforms that aim to consolidate and deepen
our democracy or for even proposing our entry into the United
Nations. ... Third, another reason Taiwan's government should pay
even more attention to cultivating relations with state governments
in the U.S. is that they are also being intensely wooed by Beijing.
Fourth, as noted above, Taiwan's most crucial political battleground
may well be in the U.S. Congress, especially in the House of
Representatives. ..."

YOUNG

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