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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Apec

VZCZCXYZ0005
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #3871 3190907
ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 150907Z NOV 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3043
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5932
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 7151

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 003871

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: APEC


Summary: Taiwan's dailies gave significant coverage November 15 to
Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, who was questioned by the prosecutors
Tuesday over alleged misuse of his special mayoral expense fund.
News coverage also focused on the two DPP legislators, who announced
their resignation effective this week in protest of the party's
handling of the corruption scandal implicating President Chen
Shui-bian and his wife; and on the year-end Taipei and Kaohsiung
mayoral races. In terms of editorials and commentaries, the
pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's largest-circulation
daily, is the only paper that editorialized on the upcoming APEC
leaders' summit. The paper said the United States' proposal of
signing a "Free Trade Agreement of Asia and the Pacific" and Japan's
proposal of an "Economic Partnership Agreement" for East Asia should
be interpreted as their reactions to and challenge against the
"ASEAN plus one" and "ASEAN plus three" free trade area directed by
China. End summary.

"Market Is Available Everywhere As Long As Taiwan Befriends the
World"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 600,000]
editorialized (11/15):

"The leaders' summit of the 2006 APEC meeting, the focus of world
attention, will be held on November 18. The United States has
recently made an open proposal to sign a "Free Trade Agreement of
Asia and the Pacific" among all APEC members. Not long ago, the
Ministry of Economics of Japan also proposed the Japanese version of
an "Economic Partnership Agreement" for East Asia. We believe that
the moves by Japan and the United States at this moment can be
interpreted as their reactions to and challenge against the 'ASEAN
plus one' and 'ASEAN plus three' free trade area directed by China.
...

"Regardless of whether the ten plus three or ten plus six
cooperation will come to pass or not, these proposals have
highlighted two problems that are difficult to overcome among the
members: The first problem is about 'China being the one and only
absolute power' [among the members]. ... The second is about the
balance of power among the various powerful countries in the world.
The East Asian area, with countries such as Japan, Taiwan, and the
Philippines in particular, has always been the United States' first
frontline of national defense. But the United States is excluded
from the ten plus one, which China has been pushing most vigorously,
and also the ten plus three or ten plus six [programs]. Washington
certainly will not be happy to see Japan, Taiwan, and the
Philippines become either the inner or outer circles of China's 'ten
plus one' economic zone. This explains why the United States wanted
to take advantage of this year's APEC meeting in Hanoi to propose
the establishment of a free trade agreement among all the APEC
members. ..."

YOUNG

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