Cablegate: Media Reaction: Apec


DE RUEHIN #3921/01 3252234
R 212234Z NOV 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies continued to
focus their coverage November 21 on Taichung Mayor Jason Hu's wife,
who is in a critical condition following a serious car accident last
Saturday. News coverage also focused on Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's
alleged misuse of the special mayoral allowance; on the KMT's
ill-gotten assets; and on the upcoming Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral
races. A "United Daily News" survey showed that in the wake of the
controversy over Ma's special mayoral allowance, public support for
Hau Lung-pin, the KMT mayoral candidate for Taipei, has dropped from
44 percent to 42 percent, while support for DPP mayoral candidate
Frank Hsieh rose from 15 percent to 20 percent. The same poll also
found that public support for Huang Chun-ying, the KMT mayoral
candidate for Kaohsiung, remains at 39 percent, while support for
DPP mayoral candidate Chen Chu rose from 24 percent to 26 percent.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-status quo "China Times" urged Taiwan to face and ponder its
current situation in the Asia-Pacific region pragmatically. An
editorial in the limited-circulation, pro-independence,
English-language "Taiwan News" called on the Taiwan authorities to
work on maintaining a sustainable partnership with the current U.S.
administration while reinforcing dialogue and traditional support
from the Democrat-controlled Congress. End summary.

A) "Taiwan Should Pragmatically Face Its Situation in the
Asia-Pacific Region"

The pro-status quo "China Times" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (11/21):

"... Indeed, judging from its content, the 'Hanoi Declaration'
issued at this year's APEC annual meeting was of more symbolic
meaning than of substantive importance. ... This year's [APEC]
declaration was in reality not too different from the ones issued in
the past few years in terms of content, so it proved that when it
comes to trade and economic issues, the APEC annual meeting is
indeed a forum in which dialogue outweighs everything else. But
this does not mean that the APEC annual meeting is no longer
important; on the contrary, since all leaders [of the member
countries] participate in the [APEC] annual meeting every year, it
naturally constitutes a perfect occasion for a leaders' summit.
Each year, leaders of various nations, on top of the summit, arrange
additional bilateral or multilateral meetings on issues such as
politics, economics and security. The importance of these
additional meetings often far exceeds that of the theme of APEC that
year. ...

"Perhaps the APEC will issue a perfunctory declaration each year,
but more and more moves have been taken by the member nations to
engage in trade and economic interaction and integration using the
APEC meeting. Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit India
immediately after the conclusion of the APEC meeting to test the
possibility of signing a bilateral free trade agreement in an
attempt to form the so-called huge 'Himalayan economic zone.' The
move has immediately caused anxiety on the part of South Korea and
Japan, which fear that they will be excluded from the zone. In
other words, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region is changing
every day, and it seems that only Taiwan remains completely
insensitive to the situation it is in."

B) "Bush's Messages and U.S.-Taiwan Ties"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (11/21):

"... In Hanoi, Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
emphasized the significance for the U.S. to strengthen partnerships
with Asian allies to tackle regional challenges associated with
international terrorism, avian flu and the festering nuclear crisis
in the Korean Peninsula. Rice's explicit and aggressive support for
APEC and the emergence of a 'true Asia-Pacific Economic Community'
clearly aimed to counter notions that the Democrats new majorities
in both houses of the U.S. Congress would hamstring the right-wing
Bush administration during the last two years of his second and last
term. Ironically, the shift also marked at least a partial
reaffirmation of multilateralism after six years of Bush
unilateralism. ...

"More substantially, the failure of Taiwan's proposed procurement of
three advanced defensive weapons systems approved by Bush in April
2001 to escape from the irrational boycott by KMT and PFP
legislators has deepened concerns in Washington that Taipei is not
willing to take more responsibility for its self-defense and has
severely damaged the usually firm U.S. congressional support for
Taiwan. In the wake of these trends and the November 7 mid-term
elections, the top priority of the Taiwan government must be to work
on maintaining a sustainable partnership with the current U.S.
administration while reinforcing dialogue and traditional support
from the Democratic Party-controlled Congress for Taiwan's

"Continued democratic consolidation and political reforms are
Taiwan's greatest assets compared with the PRC's authoritarian rule
and its increasingly military and diplomatic belligerence. Taiwan
should therefore strive to secure a status as a partner with the
United States to promote 'bottom-up' grassroots democracy in other
Asian nations. ... At the same time, Washington, including the Bush
administration and the incoming Democratic Congress, should
encourage Taiwan's striving for good governance and political
institutionalization as a solid basis for a sustainable relationship
and assist Taiwan in joining the international community of
democracies, instead of calling on Taiwan to sacrifice its
democratic deepening in order to appease Beijing. ... The U.S.
government needs to consider whether it will be possible to
cultivate Beijing as a responsible stakeholder and foster Chinese
democracy if Taiwan's full-fledged democracy cannot be safeguarded
from the threat of PRC military expansionism."


© Scoop Media

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