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


DE RUEHIN #3938/01 3260836
R 220836Z NOV 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused their
coverage November 22 on Taichung Mayor Jason Hu's wife, who remains
in a critical condition following a serious car accident last
Saturday; on Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's alleged misuse of the
special mayoral allowance; on the upcoming Taipei and Kaohsiung
mayoral races; and on Morris Chang, who returned from Vietnam as
Taiwan's representative to the 2006 APEC meeting. All papers also
covered on inside pages AIT Taipei Director Stephen Young's speech
to the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei Tuesday, in which he
mentioned the three agreements the United States hopes to sign with
Taiwan and said the United States "encourages Taiwan to negotiate
with China to open the Three Links -- especially direct flights --
as soon as possible."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an analysis in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" discussed Young's remarks and
said this is the first time that Washington has "encouraged" Taiwan
to talk with China over the Three Links issue, a move indicating
that Washington has had a fixed view about this issue which is
essential to the interests of Washington, Beijing, and Taipei. An
opinion piece in the pro-status quo "China Times," on the other
hand, discussed the battle between the United States and China over
their future interests in East Asia. End summary.

3. Cross-Strait Relations

"'Encouraging' [Cross-Strait] Three Links for the First Time, United
States Pressures [Taiwan] to Foster Talks [with China]"

Washington correspondent Vincent Chang noted in the pro-unification
"United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (11/22):

"The U.S. government used to keep a distance to the 'cross-Strait
Three Links' issue; it even used to avoid mentioning these words and
ask both sides [of the Taiwan Strait] to talk about the issue
between themselves. But Washington subsequently relented and had
AIT Taipei Director Stephen Young talk about it in a speech to the
American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei yesterday. During his
speech, which was approved by the State Department, Young has for
the first time expressed that the United States 'encourages the
three links across the Taiwan Strait'; a more important message was
that [Washington] urges Taiwan to 'negotiate' with China over the
Three Links.

"This message of 'negotiation over the Three Links' is simple and
clear, but it is completely different from the contents and level
when compared with the United States' consistent [position] in
calling for a dialogue between leaders of China and Taiwan. Taiwan
has been most concerned about Washington's pressure to 'push for'
talks across the Taiwan Strait ever since the period when Lee
Teng-hui held the helm. But compared with the fact that China has
stated repeatedly that it hopes to establish three links [with
Taiwan], it is self-evident that the United States is targeting
Taiwan this time as the one to foster 'talks' [with China]. ...

"Even though the U.S. government has made its attitude of supporting
the cross-Strait Three Links increasingly clear ever since early
this year, relevant [U.S.] officials continued to avoid using these
words. Thus, Young's request yesterday that both sides negotiate
over the Three Links showed that [Washington] evidently has had a
fixed view about the issue; that it is essential to the interests of
the United States, China, and Taiwan. [Young's remarks], as a
result, were significant in the way that it indicated the change of
attitude on the part of the U.S. government with regard to
cross-Strait interaction. ..."

4. U.S.-China Relations

"Battle between the United States and China over East Asia"

Lin Jo-yun, associate professor at Tamkang University's Institute of
Southeast Asian Studies, opined in the pro-status quo "China Times"
[circulation: 400,000] (11/22):

"... There is little with which Taiwan can exert its power with
regard to the issues mentioned in the 'Hanoi Declaration,' which was
co-signed among the leaders of the 21 APEC economies this year, such
as the resumption of the WTO Doha Round talks, implementation of the
'Hanoi Action Plan,' and sanctions against North Korea. But it is
the United States and China, [namely] their competition in the East
Asia region, and its connection to the East Asia Summit that deserve
our attention. First, the Republican Party headed by U.S. President
George W. Bush has suffered a defeat in the mid-term elections.
This outcome indicated that the American people are displeased with
the war in Iraq, and as a result, Bush has to shift the focus of the
American people to Asia. Second, China's swelling influence in Asia
has put the United States under pressure, and Washington is
concerned that U.S. interests will lose ground in Asia. ...


"Judged from the United States' perspective, while being worried
about China's rise in Asia, it may also gradually lose its influence
among the ASEAN nations. The United States has indeed learned a
lesson from the financial crisis that hit Asia from 1997-1998. The
excessively tough and severe approach adopted by Washington and the
International Monetary Fund in handling the crisis aroused strong
complaints from the ASEAN nations, which then began to turn to
China, who at the time was committed to the policy of 'befriending
your neighbors.' The United States must watch out more carefully
this time in strengthening its relationships with the Southeastern
Asian countries.

"The United States has had its global strategic concerns in the wake
of the September 11 tragedy. To put it simply, on the level of
global strategy, Washington puts Muslim countries in the Middle
East, such as Iran, as its top priority. As to the regional level,
the United States is considering signing a friendly cooperation
agreement with the ASEAN nations on the one hand to test the
possibility of joining the East Asia Summit, while on the other
hand, it is considering showing more support to the ASEAN Regional
Forum (ARF) and APEC. After all, the ARF has become the only
multilateral security mechanism in East Asia, and strengthening the
future development of APEC and the ARF can form a more powerful
bilateral connection between the United States and the ASEAN
nations. ..."


© Scoop Media

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