Cablegate: Media Reaction: Dpp Presidential Candidate Frank Hsieh's
DE RUEHIN #1649/01 2040902
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230902Z JUL 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6103
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7045
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8291
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001649
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - BROOKE SPELLMAN
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: DPP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FRANK HSIEH'S
U.S. TRIP, HSIEH'S VIEW ON TAIWAN CONSTITUTION
1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage July 21-23 on the 2008 presidential poll, on DPP
presidential candidate Frank Hsieh's trip to the United States, on
the Legislative Yuan's passage of the National Annuity Law last
Friday, and on the final debut of "Harry Potter and the Deathly
Hallows." The pro-unification "United Daily News" front-paged an
exclusive news story July 23 with a banner headline that read "Given
the U.S. Pressure, [Taiwan] University Students Will Have to Take an
IPR Test." The paper also devoted more than half of its page two
criticizing a Ministry of Education action plan, which requires all
universities and colleges to give freshmen IPR tests before
enrollment in the first year in schools.
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an analysis in the
centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" discussed Frank Hsieh's U.S.
trip. The article said Hsieh will start by rebuilding trust between
Taipei and Washington and will convince the United States the value
and significance of the DPP's rule for the second round. An
editorial in the pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News"
also said Hsieh "has an opportunity to build a position as a
defender of regional peace and stability and can lay the base for
firmer U.S.-Taiwan relations based on 'love and trust.'" An
editorial in the pro-independence "Liberty Times" discussed the "One
China under the Constitution" position proposed by Hsieh. The
article said Hsieh's proposal is no different from the "ultimate
unification" advocated by KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou,
because both approaches have violated Taiwan's mainstream public
opinion. End summary.
3. DPP Presidential Candidate Frank Hsieh's U.S. Trip
A) "For His First Interview, Hsieh Will Start by Mending Trust
between Taiwan and the United States"
Journalist Tsai Hui-chen noted in the centrist, KMT leaning "China
Times" [circulation: 400,000] (7/23):
"... Since Chen Shui-bian remains as the current president, Frank
Hsieh will have to accept whatever has been done and left by the
ruling DPP party. Hsieh thus chose to define Taiwan-U.S. relations
under the Bian reign as a 'process that the DPP, as a first-time
ruling party, had to go through.' The various attempts by Chen to
seek a way out for Taiwan in his own way have constantly challenged
the United States' bottom line, and the results of such attempts
have indeed altered the red line of Taiwan-U.S. relations. But in
the meantime, they have also put Taiwan-U.S. relations in an
unprecedented deteriorating and uncertain situation. Hsieh's trip
this time was thus aimed at convincing the United States of the
significance and value of the DPP to rule for the second time. ...
"As a result, Hsieh's attitude toward his U.S. trip this time is
very clear. He will not propose the 'Four Nos and One Without'
pledge or any other commitments as Chen did [eight years ago] just
to put Washington at ease. Instead, he will clearly state his ideas
of reconciliation and co-existence and, based on such a framework,
he will talk about Taiwan-centered values, Taiwan's opening and
Taiwan's national security. He will also communicate with
Washington about the latter's fundamental reasons in opposing
Taiwan's bid to join the United Nations under the name of Taiwan.
... Hsieh will stand on the foundation of Chen's eight-year rule and
convey to the United States a stable attitude and quality that are
'different from Bian's or Ma's,' a unique style of Hsieh's. ..."
B) "Hsieh's Challenge on U.S. Journey"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (7/23):
"Democratic Progressive party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh is
now at a crucial point in his campaign to be the next occupant of
Taiwan's presidential palace in the form of his 'love and trust'
visit to the United States. ... Hsieh's journey to Washington D.C.
involves both opportunities and challenges to future Taiwan-U.S.
relations. ... Undoubtedly, the first political hurdle concerns
President Chen's decision last Thursday to directly submit an
application to the United Nations for membership under the name of
'Taiwan.' ... Frankly, we neither expect nor see any reason why
Hsieh should refrain from endorsing the president's move. After
all, during the DPP's presidential primary, Hsieh personally
recalled that the had called for Taiwan to enter the U.N. nearly two
decades ago and said campaigning for Taiwan's entry into the U.N.
would be 'the next step to rectify our name based on reality.'
Therefore, we urge Hsieh to stick to his principles and exercise his
ability to communicate directly with U.S. officials, politicians of
all parties and leading thinktanks and academics to explain clearly
why President Chen and the DPP government have taken this action and
why it is necessary for Taiwan's international survival.
"Second, Hsieh will also be asked to explain why and how he will be
able to do a better job as Taiwan's head-of-state than Chen and to
show what makes him a better choice than Ma, especially in terms of
the values and directions of a future DPP administration under the
former premier and Kaohsiung City mayor. ... Given the Bush
administration's belief that Washington needs the cooperation of the
People's Republic of China on issues related to the U.S. war in Iraq
and the North Korean nuclear proliferation crisis, U.S. officials
and many foreign policy analysts maintain that Chen should have
'exercised leadership' by not 'making trouble' for the Bush
administration. We believe that such views are misleading. In our
view, the Bush administration shares responsibility for the 'gap' by
refusing to engage in high level direct dialogue with Taiwan's
directly elected government, for its 'my way or the highway'
attitude toward allies with different views on matters such as Iraq
or the PRC and for its failure to fully appreciate the value of
Taiwan's democracy and the necessity for its consolidation....
"On the question of relations with the PRC, Hsieh's toughest task
will be to convince the Bush administration and other Washington
leaders that he will be able to simultaneously use his political
philosophy of seeking 'reconciliation and co-existence' and
safeguard Taiwan's independence and national security. ... We also
believe that Hsieh should take care to explain clearly his position
that the current Republic of China Constitution is a 'one-China'
constitution. Hsieh stressed during the DPP primary that this
notion is not an 'advocation' but a description of an 'absurd'
status quo and a call for collective effort for change, a position
which is in keeping with DPP policy. ... By contrasting the PRC's
intensifying belligerence and the stereotyped image of Taiwan as a
'troublemaker' with his own philosophy of 'coexistence,' Hsieh has
an opportunity to build a position as a defender of regional peace
and stability and can lay the base for firmer U.S.-Taiwan relations
based on 'love and trust.'"
4. Hsieh's View on Taiwan Constitution
"[Hsieh's] 'One China under the Constitution' Is No Different from
[Ma's] 'Ultimate Unification'"
The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 500,000]
"'One China under the Constitution' is one of the assertions
proposed by DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh. Even though
such a position has aroused deep doubts from the nativist voters,
Hsieh reiterated the same idea during a recent interview with the
Singapore-based 'Lianhe Zaobao' - a gesture indicating his apparent
attempt to explain his position to China. ... The question lies in
the fact that the ROC Constitution is not related to Taiwan in any
way. All Taiwan needs to do is simply to write a new constitution;
why does it need the idea of 'one China under the constitution' to
tie up its hands and legs? Hsieh's reiteration of the
'constitutional one China' idea instead created doubts about whether
he is genuinely supportive of the name-change campaign and the
writing of a new constitution, and whether he is genuinely for of
the referendum on 'the island's UN bid under the name Taiwan.' Will
the so-called 'one China under the Constitution' turn out to be
another way of addressing the '1992 Consensus, with each side having
its own interpretation of one China'? ...
"The so-called 'reconciliation and co-existence' [proposed by Hsieh]
naturally gives no cause for much criticism. Nonetheless, Taiwan
has long since acknowledged that China is an independent sovereign
state, but Beijing continues to see Taiwan as a part of China and it
even enacted the 'Anti-Secession Law.' Given such circumstances,
for Taiwan and China to reconcile with each other and to co-exist
peacefully, China must first abolish its 'Anti-Secession Law' and
acknowledge that Taiwan is also an independent sovereign state. If
this is impossible, the illusion of using the 'constitutionally one
China' idea to ask for China's mercy on [cross-Strait]
reconciliation and co-existence will be no different from the
ultimate unification advocated by Ma Ying-jeou, because both
approaches have violated Taiwan's mainstream public opinion that the
island is an independent sovereign state."