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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Dpp Presidential Candidate Frank Hsieh's

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1669/01 2060844
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 250844Z JUL 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6136
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7060
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8307

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001669

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD
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, TAIWAN'S UN BID


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage July 25 on Taiwan's failed attempt to join the United
Nations; on DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh's trip to the
United States; on Taiwan's rising stock market index; and on a
financial scandal allegedly involving a DPP legislator. The
pro-unification "United Daily News" front-paged a banner headline
that said "Bian's Application for [Taiwan's] Membership in the
United Nations is Rejected." The same paper also ran a banner
headline on page four that read "[Frank] Hsieh: Taiwan Is Already
Independent; There Is No Need to Hold a Referendum [on
Independence]." The centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" ran a news
story on page three with the headline "U.S. High-ranking Official:
[Taiwan's] UN Bid Has Put Taiwan-U.S. Relations in the Worst
Situation in the Past Seven Years."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a column in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" commented on DPP presidential
candidate Frank Hsieh's U.S. trip. The article said Hsieh is an
expert in the stunt show of rhetoric, and his U.S. trip this time is
a test of his wits and forensic skills, as well as a test to see how
he will survive the trap of oratory. With regard to Taiwan's UN
bid, an editorial in the pro-independence "Liberty Times" criticized
the UN for overlooking Taiwan's rights and will in joining the world
body. An "Apple Daily" editorial, on the contrary, criticized
President Chen Shui-bian's attempt to push for Taiwan's UN bid. The
article called on Taiwan to maintain good terms with the United
States, China and Japan. An editorial in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taiwan News" said the UN' decision to reject
Taiwan's application "makes a mockery of the UN's own declared
values of human rights and self-determination of peoples." End
summary.

3. DPP Presidential Candidate Frank Hsieh's U.S. Trip

"Language as a Swing"

Columnist Antonio Chiang noted in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily"
[circulation: 500,000] (7/25):

"Washington D.C. is a political jungle, and the various people
waiting to meet with Frank Hsieh there do not really hope to
understand his position on different policies. Rather, they want to
test his wits and forensic ability, and they want to see how he will
survive the trap of oratory. Hsieh is a semanticist, who is aware
that each word has its own weight, color, sound and shape. The way
words are arranged and grouped is more important than the
significance of the words themselves. The function of a language is
not necessarily to express [one's views]; it can also be a mask to
cover up and to evade [questions]. Hsieh is an expert in this
respect, and his performance in Washington D.C. is a stunt show of
rhetoric; no one in the DPP can do it better than he does.

"Taiwan-U.S. relations are gradually dwindling during A-Bian's term
of office. The mistrust and impatience the Bush administration has
had toward A-Bian have gradually endangered Taiwan's national
interests, and anyone who is elected the next president will have to
try to fix this problem. Hsieh is facing a difficult task in terms
of his trip to the United States this time, but A-Bian submitted
Taiwan's application for membership in the United Nations just prior
to his departure. This was Hsieh's first test. ...

"One should not lie, but one does not need to tell the truth,
either; even if what a person says is true, he does not need to say
it all at one time. This is the way of survival for politicians.
Words of a politician are always like a swing, which sways as power
pushes it. What [a politician] does not say is always more
important than what he has already said."

4. Taiwan's UN Bid

A) "The United Nations Must Not Overlook Taiwan's Rights and Will in
Joining the International Body"

The pro-independence, English-language "Liberty Times" [circulation:
720,000] editorialized (7/25):

"... Taiwan has a fatal blind spot in terms of its foreign relations
-- namely, it is under an anti-China obsession. If history is able
to teach us a lesson, Taiwan's foreign relations should be
pro-China, pro-U.S. and also pro-Japan. As a small country, Taiwan
cannot afford to challenge irrationally its neighboring ruffians,
not unless it has secured military assistance from other gangsters.
... The United States and other big countries have clearly
expressed their opposition to Taiwan independence. How is Taiwan
going to declare independence without any support? How does it plan
to join the UN under the name Taiwan? What else can it do even if
the referendum [on Taiwan's UN bid] is passed? It is merely a move
to look for trouble and openly offend the United States.
U.S. TRIP, TAIWAN'S UN BID


"The best scenario for Taiwan's foreign relations is to maintain a
friendly relationship with both the United States and China. The
second best option is to be pro-U.S. and anti-China, and the third
best one is to be on good terms with China while keeping a distance
with the United States. The worst scenario [for Taiwan] will be
anti-China, keeping a distance from the United States, or even
anti-U.S. ... Over the past seven years of Chen Shui-bian's term of
office, his most unsuccessful policy was about Taiwan's foreign
relations. His policy has not only stirred up China's antagonism
against Taiwan, but has also alienated the United States and thus
disparaged Taiwan; it has turned the second best situation that
Taiwan was originally in into the worst.

"Maintaining good terms with China does not mean [Taiwan] must
accept the one China [policy] or become a special administrative
region. Rather, it means that [Taiwan] can, given the condition
that it does not violate its principles, refrain itself and act in a
prudent, low-profile manner to maintain the greatest flexibility or
to make compromise. ... Maintaining a friendly relationship with
the United States, Japan and China is in the highest national
interests of Taiwan. President Chen's clumsy and stupid foreign
policy has already put Taiwan in an extremely unfavorable position.
..."

B) "Taiwan Ought Stay on Good Terms with the United States and
China"

The mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 500,000]
editorialized (7/25):

"... President Chen's application [for Taiwan's membership in the
United Nations] was returned by the UN Secretariat, and such a move
has evidently violated relevant UN regulations -- a result that can
be reasonably attributed to the hindrance created by China. Even
so, Chen's first step is of major significance, because it has laid
out the strong will of the 23 million Taiwan people to join the UN
clearly to the international community. Such a way to express [the
Taiwan people's] will itself indicated that the country composed of
23 million Taiwan people is an independent, sovereign state, and
Taiwan is by no means a part of China as Beijing has claimed! ..."


C) "U.N. Rejection Is Not Taiwan's Loss"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (7/25):

"The decision by the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs to
'return' the application for Taiwan's membership in the U.N.,
submitted last Thursday by President Chen Shui-bian, makes a mockery
of the U.N.'s own declared values of human rights and
self-determination of peoples. However, we do not believe that this
action is tantamount to a major substantive 'setback' for Taiwan's
effort to enter the U.N., but rather marks a step forward in a 'long
march' through the U.N.'s institutions and in drawing support for
'democratic Taiwan' in world public opinion. Indeed, the
application by President Chen as Taiwan's head of state with a
majority electoral mandate has forced the U.N. to respond directly
and officially to Taiwan's application and face the reality that the
23 million people of Taiwan are not represented in the U.N. ...

"A similar refusal to handle a direct petition by Taiwan's citizens
for U.N. membership according to proper procedures would be a
serious infraction to the U.N. Charter and a grave self-inflicted
blow to the credibility of both the organization and U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-woon himself. Indeed, such a refusal would

SIPDIS
signal that the U.N., which took decades to demonstrate that it was
not the client of the United States, has instead willingly submitted
to the hegemony of the PRC. ..."

YOUNG

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