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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations, Apec

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #3886/01 3210923
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170923Z NOV 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3065
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5945
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 7162

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 003886

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: U.S.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS, APEC


1. Summary: Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's admission of his office's
administrative defects in handling the special mayoral allowance
stayed in the spotlight of the Taiwan media November 17. News
coverage also focused on a near mid-air collision in South Korean
airspace, and the surprise victory of the Taiwan baseball team over
Cuba in an intercontinental tournament Thursday. The pro-status quo
"China Times" ran the results of its latest survey on page three,
showing that 40.2 percent of those polled said they believe in Ma's
integrity. The same poll also found that 39.3 percent of
respondents said they support Ma to run for president in 2008 even
if he is indicted, while 31 percent said that Ma should not do so if
indicted.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's largest-circulation
daily, discussed a recent "Washington Times" report on a Chinese
submarine stalking the USS Kitty Hawk in the Pacific. The editorial
said the incident indicated that "China is engaging in military
exchanges with Washington on the one hand, while getting itself
ready for possible future military conflicts with the United States
on the other." The article also urged Taiwan to pass the U.S. arms
procurements bill as early as possible to strengthen its defense
capability. An editorial in the limited-circulation,
pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" condemned China's
efforts to edge out Taiwan in the APEC meetings and expressed
support for the upcoming declaration by the APEC leadership for the
resumption of negotiations in the Doha Round. End summary.

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3. U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations

"Warning Signals to Taiwan of Chinese Submarine Stalking USS Kitty
Hawk"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 600,000]
editorialized (11/17):

"The U.S. 'Washington Times' reported November 13 that a Chinese
submarine stalked the carrier USS Kitty Hawk in the Pacific in late
October and did not surface until it got within firing range.
Earlier, Chinese submarines have also been spotted intruding into
Japanese areas many times. All these indicate that China is
engaging in military exchanges with Washington on the one hand,
while getting itself ready for possible future military conflicts
with the United States on the other. Making a decisive move to
build submarines and naval vessels has been one of the key Chinese
military buildup plans over the past few years, and it explained
China's attempt to control the international waters of Asia. In
addition to its concerns for energy and trade, China wants to
control the international waters in Asia mainly because it wants
counterbalance the United States and Japan, because it has to
outpace these two countries if it wants to become the supreme leader
in the region. ...

"Judged from this perspective, the widely-discussed 'China Threat
Theory' as well as [statements about] the 'imminent conflicts
between China and the United States' are by no means without
foundation. All related countries and the United Nations should
attach great importance to this potential threat to regional
stability and security and must not let China grow into an untamed
monster. Those who desire to diminish China's hegemonic ambitions
via mutual military exchanges also must not overlook this
deteriorating situation, simply because of their impractical
imagination. ... Taiwan, in particular, must be gravely concerned
about possible future crises in the face of military expansion by
China, which is deemed a hypothetical enemy even by the United
States and Japan. It is a big disappointment that Taiwan has yet to
pass the long-stalled defense arms procurement budget due to
political infighting between the ruling and opposition parties, as
the military balance across the Taiwan Strait has long tilted in
favor of China. The remarks made by AIT Taipei Director Stephen
Young in late October, reminding Taiwan to pass the arms procurement
budget as early as possible, were slammed by those who oppose the
arms bill as interference in [Taiwan's] domestic politics. Judging
from the fact that a Chinese submarine was stalking the USS Kitty
Hawk, Young is evidently more concerned about Taiwan's security than
those who oppose the arms bill. ..."

4. APEC

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (11/17):

"... Allowing Beijing's exclusionary position to gain the upper hand
even before serious discussions on a FTAAP have even begun would
place Taiwan in an extremely disadvantageous position, even if
Washington and, perhaps, Japan push for an inclusive concept. At
stake is the nature and degree of Taiwan's continued liberal
integration into Asian economic trade and investment flows and
involvement in human security and other issues of regional concern.

Since nearly 54 percent of Taiwan's merchandise trade takes place in
Asia, any hindrance to our involvement in regional and global bodies
that make the rules governing such trade and resolving related
disputes constitutes a direct threat to our economic prosperity.
Hence, we support the upcoming declaration by the APEC leadership
for the resumption of negotiations for the WTO's Doha Round and for
Taiwan's own active involvement in helping to draft a package of
'model measures' that can help standardize the plethora of bilateral
and regional trade agreements and thus reduce administrative
barriers or transaction costs to our small and medium enterprises.
..."

YOUNG

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