Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations
DE RUEHIN #4183/01 3600817
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 260817Z DEC 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3532
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6127
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 7357
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 004183
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - DAVID FIRESTEIN
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS
Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused their
coverage 23-26 on the decision of the chamber in charge of the
Presidential Office Allowance for State Affairs case that the case
does not violate the Constitution; the indictment of former National
Science Council Vice Chairman Hsieh Ching-chih for his alleged
involvement in corruption; the Ministry of Transportation and
Communications' approval of the launch of the high-speed railway
amid safety concerns from scholars and experts; and on Jaw
Shau-kong, former Chairman of UFO Radio, as the final buyer of the
Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC), one of the KMT's assets.
In terms of editorials, the pro-independence, limited circulation,
English-language "Taiwan News" editorialized that Taiwan's Ministry
of Foreign Affairs should adopt a new offensive that "sets fires"
worldwide to force Beijing to spend its resources and time in
The pro-independence, limited-circulation, English-language "Taipei
Times" speculated in its editorial that the postwar situation after
China's possible invasion of Taiwan will resemble the takeover of
Taiwan by the KMT after World War II. The editorial added that two
factors, namely the pragmatism of the Taiwan people to accept their
lot and U.S. economic aid, helped to stabilize Taiwan's social
situation right after the takeover and questioned what China's
strategy will be without these factors. End summary.
A) "New Offensive Needed in Diplomacy"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] pointed out in its editorial (12/26):
"During the past year, Taiwan has regretfully witnessed a
deterioration in our diplomatic position largely due to China's
full-scale offensive to reach out to Taipei's allies in Africa and
Central America, its continued obstruction of our efforts to join
the World Health Assembly [sic] and the United Nations and the
continued absence of the Taiwan president from the annual 'informal
summit' of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. ...
"In our view, the pursuit of a 'pluralist diplomacy,' defined by the
DPP government as a way to utilize Taiwan's democratic achievements
and the energy of civil society, and 'leadership diplomacy' through
overseas visits by Taiwan's national leaders, is still correct.
"However, from the strategic and diplomatic points of view, it is
necessary for the DPP government and especially the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs to mobilize all of its overseas embassies and
representative offices to 'set fires' everywhere in order to force
Beijing to spend its resources and time in 'extinguishing fires.'
"For example, instead of engaging in 'money games' with the PRC,
Taiwan should provide evidence to its diplomatic partners and other
nations that Beijing has not and will not deliver on its extravagant
promises and emphasize the concrete and pragmatic contribution of
Taiwan's assistance efforts to improving grassroots living standards
and capability building [sic].
"Moreover, Taiwan should keep reminding those countries that are
contemplating embracing Beijing of the detrimental effects
accompanied with [sic] the PRC's influence, especially the negative
impact of the dumping of Chinese products on local employment and on
"No less critical is for the Foreign Ministry and the Government
Information Office to launch a concerted publicity offensive
worldwide to shatter the widely held but mistaken image of the PRC
as a 'peaceful rising power' and show the world the true face of
military expansionism and authoritarianism embedded with Beijing's
so-called 'peaceful rise.'
"Most importantly, the DPP government must make more effective
efforts to incorporate civil society into Taiwan's external affairs
and promote deeper participation with equality and respect for
pluralistic views with NGOs. ..."
B) "What Follows a War with China?"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (12/23):
"... China has plans of some nature drawn up for an invasion. But it
is not clear that Beijing has the remotest idea how to govern an
occupied territory that was once a wealthy democracy -- and this
does not factor in the logistics of feeding and sheltering an
occupying army and bureaucracy.
"The idea that Taiwanese civilians would be unwilling to confront
PLA forces and a military government -- especially after atrocities
occur -- is not convincing; what would be needed to mitigate such
problems is a collaborationist administration. An interesting
question that follows is: Who would they choose? And from this: Are
such people identifiable now?
"The likelihood of a collaborationist government being able to
competently deal with the international economic response to an
invasion is low -- indeed, Beijing would probably be struggling hard
to defend 'mainland' China's economic integrity.
"Other changes that might shock Taiwan's middle class from its
stupor would be the expulsion of selected foreigners and
organizations, the purging of universities and possible revoking of
citizenship for people of 'non-Chinese' descent and their title to
property, and restrictions on movement.
"The best-case scenario for China would see a pragmatic public
accept their lot -- much as Taiwanese did following the flight of
KMT troops to Taiwan in the late 1940s and early 1950s. But after
that time the KMT was boosted by US support and sensible economic
reforms that spread wealth across most sectors of society. It is not
clear how China would act in an occupied Taiwan, and whether
'sensible' policy would have much role to play.
"The more one fleshes out a postwar scenario, the more insane an
invasion appears. With Beijing, however, this does not lessen the
likelihood of one. Of prime concern is the certainty that a postwar
administration would quickly earn the contempt -- then hatred -- of
most Taiwanese, a situation mirroring that of 60 years ago. If China
wishes to proceed with this scenario, it had better be prepared to
crush dissent ruthlessly and so destroy its uncertain international
reputation -- and kiss its fantasy of a spiritually united China