Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-Taiwan Relations, U.S.-Rok Fta


DE RUEHIN #1501/01 1832253
R 022253Z JUL 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage June 30-July 2 on the 2008 presidential election; on Hong
Kong's commemorating a decade of Chinese rule; on the island-wide
university entrance exam; and on a Taiwan High Court ruling last
Friday, which handed down the death penalty on three convicts in a
1991 murder case. In addition, all papers carried news reports on a
decision by the Cabinet's referendum review committee last Friday,
which rejected the DPP's proposal to hold a referendum on Taiwan's
bid to join the United Nations under the name "Taiwan."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" criticized the United States'
intervention in Taiwan's democracy and urged the U.S. executive
branch to follow a House committee resolution to remove its
restrictions on the visits to the United States by high-ranking
Taiwan officials. An op-ed in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" also said "the people of Taiwan are
waiting for Washington to change its view on the status of Taiwan,
and for it to view Taiwan as a country that can participate in
international affairs and have its share of international rights and
obligations." An op-ed in the pro-unification "United Daily News"
discussed the U.S.-ROK free trade agreement (FTA) and said the rapid
economic and trade integration in East Asia and the formation of
FTAs among China, Japan and South Korea will produce a much bigger
impact on Taiwan than an FTA signed between the ASEAN and China.
End summary.

3. U.S.-Taiwan Relations

A) "It Is about Time That U.S. Executive Branch Allows High-ranking
Taiwan Officials to Visit the United States"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 500,000]
editorialized (6/30):

"U.S. House Committee on International Affairs [sic -- House
Committee on Foreign Affairs] recently passed a resolution urging
the Executive Branch to remove its long-standing restrictions on
visits to the United States by high-ranking Taiwan officials,
including its elected leaders. This is not the first time that such
an initiative has been raised, but the fact that this resolution was
passed at a time when the U.S. executive branch expressed opposition
to Taiwan's holding a referendum on 'its UN bid under the name
Taiwan' still carried symbolic significance.

"In fact, such a resolution happened to show that there is a huge
blind spot in the U.S. government's one-China policy, which has
deviated from its diplomatic strategic idea of promoting democracy
all over the world. Congressman Steve Chabot pointed out that the
current U.S. policy is a humiliation for Taiwan, because elected
Taiwan officials are not allowed to visit the capital of the United
States, while leaders of authoritarian China can enjoy treatment as
state guests [in the United States]. Indeed, such a wrong message
[sent by the United States] has reinforced Beijing's aggressiveness
to annex Taiwan, including China's moves to target nearly a thousand
missiles at Taiwan and increase its military threats against the
island, and has thus greatly increased the United States' costs to
maintain peace in the West Pacific.

"Democracies in the world all follow the lead of the United States,
and the U.S. deeds and its attitude toward Taiwan can thus be viewed
as a trial balloon. Over the past decade, the U.S. president has
sent two carrier battle groups to the Taiwan Strait to [help Taiwan]
cope with the crisis of Chinese test-firing missiles at Taiwan; he
has also referred to the island publicly as the Republic of Taiwan
and reiterated [U.S.] commitments toward Taiwan. ... One can say
that, on the level of actual action, the United States has been
treating Taiwan as a sovereign state. ... Now the Taiwan people
want to abolish the [name] Republic of China (ROC), which neither
the United States nor the international community believes still
exists. But the United States says it does not support the Taiwan
people's decision made out of a democratic process. It is really
confusing that neither the United States nor the international
community acknowledges the existence of the ROC, yet they disallow
the name ROC to be changed. Isn't such inconsistency weird?

"Over the past few years, the United States has more than once
reiterated that it does not support Taiwan's moves to uphold its
sovereignty, resulting in this absurd situation whereby 'the [name]
ROC can neither be used or changed.' Such an approach has created a
negative impact on Taiwan's democracy and is thus worth the
attention of the United States. The United States' intervention in
Taiwan's democracy now is akin to establishing a limit for Taiwan's
democracy. It is thus imaginable how the Taiwan people are
disappointed with the United States. ...

"Even though the United States' 'one-China policy' differs from
China's 'one-China principle,' it has after all become incoherent in
its the current status. ... For the constructive development of

Taiwan-U.S. relations, now is indeed the time for the U.S. executive
branch to abolish its restrictions on visits to the United States by
high-ranking Taiwan officials."

B) "History Creates Present Problems"

Chen Hurng-yu, a professor at Tamkang University, opined in the
pro-independence "Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000] (7/2):

"President Chen Shui-bian recently expressed his support for holding
a referendum to decide whether to apply for UN membership under the
name Taiwan. The US State Department said it opposed this plan.
This was not the first time the State Department had said it was
against a referendum in Taiwan, but while in the past it said it did
not support a referendum, this time around it clearly opposes it.
As the US is a democratic country, surely the State Department knows
that this statement is a brazen meddling in the internal affairs of
another country. ...

"Yet, if we look closely at the State Department's statement, Chen
supposedly breaking his pledge is surely only an excuse. What the
US really means is in the second part of the statement, when it
says: 'The United States opposes any initiative that appears
designed to change Taiwan's status unilaterally. This would include
a referendum on whether to apply to the United Nations under the
name Taiwan. Such a referendum would have no practical impact on
Taiwan's UN status, it would increase tensions in the Taiwan
Strait.' ... But the 'status quo' the US talks about is not Taiwan
as neither independent nor a part of China, but Taiwan's status
remaining undetermined. The US opposes any unilateral move that
would change the 'status quo' from undetermined to determined. ...

"If it is US strategy to view Taiwan's status as undetermined, it
should make a public appeal to all the peace-loving people in the
world, especially China's government and its people, to respect the
Taiwanese people's will. As long-term, US allies, the people of
Taiwan are waiting for Washington to change its view on the status
of Taiwan, and for it to view Taiwan as a country that can
participate in international affairs and have its share of
international rights and obligations."


"U.S., ROK Sign the Free Trade Agreement; Will There Be a Stage for

Chinese National Association of Industries Deputy Secretary-General
Tsai Hong-ming opined in the pro-unification "United Daily News"

[circulation: 400,000] (7/2):

"... For Taiwan, the Ministry of Economic Affairs' initial
estimation showed that a U.S.-ROK free trade agreement will impact
Taiwan's exports to the United States to as high as US$2 billion,
and the island's high-tech businesses will also face the problems of
market and technology loss. In fact, what's more noteworthy is that
the rapid economic and trade integration in East Asia and the
formation of free trade agreements among China, Japan and South
Korea, will produce a bigger impact on Taiwan than the 'free trade
agreement signed between ASEAN and China.' ..."


© Scoop Media

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