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Cablegate: Media Reaction: North Korea, Cross-Strait Relations

VZCZCXYZ0016
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #4135 3490822
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 150822Z DEC 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3460
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6101
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 7330

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 004135

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DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - DAVID FIRESTEIN
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: NORTH KOREA, CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused their
coverage December 15 on First Lady Wu Shu-chen, who will stand trial
today for her involvement in the Presidential Office Allowance for
State Affairs case; on the Green camp's request for a constitutional
interpretation on the legality of prosecutors' questioning of
President Chen Shui-bian over the state affairs allowance case; and
on alleged vote-buying in Kaohsiung. In terms of editorials and
commentaries, a column in the pro-status quo "China Times" discussed
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's statement made early this week

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on North Korea's nuclear program. The article said Rice's remarks
indicated that Washington is ready to compromise diplomatically on
the North Korean nuclear issue. An editorial in the
limited-circulation, pro-independence, English-language "Taipei
Times," on the other hand, discussed the cross-Strait issue. The
article said "what people in China, Washington, and elsewhere must
understand about the nature of Taiwanese 'identity' is that,
regardless of what people here call themselves, virtually everyone
accepts that this society is different from China's." End summary.

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2. North Korea

"Rice's Latest Expression of Her Position Prior to the Six-Party
Talks"

The "International Outlook" column in the pro-status quo "China
Times" [circulation: 400,000] noted (12/15):

"... Two points are noteworthy: First, [Secretary] Rice is
determined to resolve the [North Korean nuclear] issue in two years,
so as to make it a legacy for President Bush and for herself. This
would indicate that Washington will by no means use force to resolve
the problem, but will be ready to compromise diplomatically,
otherwise how can she be sure to achieve her goal? Second, Rice has
acknowledged that the chances are slim that Pyongyang will get rid
of all its nuclear facilities in two years. Since she claimed she
will achieve her goal in two years, but then said she could not stop
Pyongyang from getting rid of its nuclear facilities, the United
States' bottom line for compromise will evidently be to allow North
Korea to reserve some nuclear power. If this interpretation is
correct, the United States obviously intends to acknowledge tacitly
that North Korea is a country that possesses nuclear weapons, and to
use this in exchange for Pyongyang's [promise] not to export nuclear
weapons and related technology. ..."

3. Cross-Strait Relations

"The Reality of the Taiwan Crisis"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (12/15):

"... What people in China, Washington and elsewhere must understand
about the nature of Taiwanese 'identity' is that, regardless of what
people here call themselves, virtually everyone accepts that this
society is different from China's. More than 111 years of cultural
and physical separation, combined with 61 years of autonomous
political development, have created two different societies,
regardless of how many traits they share. ... Some well-intentioned
people (as well as a few opportunists) here and abroad have said
that what Taiwan needs is some kind of interim non-aggression pact
with China. Others say unification is 'inevitable' given economic
interdependence with China.

"But the first assumes that either (a) Taiwanese are willing to
sacrifice their political autonomy, or (b) China is willing to
compromise. The second ignores the reality that economic
interdependence is not an indicator of political dependence.
Dealing with the 'Taiwan Issue' requires accepting reality. The
reality is that there are two distinct societies on either side of
the Strait. One is free and autonomous and doesn't want to be
coerced out of its freedom or autonomy. All other formulations are
just window dressing."

YOUNG

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