Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-Taiwan Relations, Inter-Korean Summit
DE RUEHIN #1866/01 2280852
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160852Z AUG 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6402
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7133
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8381
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001866
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - NIDA EMMONS
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-TAIWAN RELATIONS, INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT
1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage August 16 on DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh's
formal announcement Wednesday that former Premier Su Tseng-chang
will be his running mate in the 2008 presidential election; on the
UN referendum; and on the Taiwan government's decisions to lift the
ban on ractopamine residues in pork, and to set up a giant national
financial holding company. The pro-independence "Liberty Times" ran
a banner headline on page six that said "On UN Referendum, Bian
[Says]: the United States Must Not Draw a Red Line on Taiwan's
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" and an analysis in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" both criticized the Chen
Shui-bian administration for allegedly bowing to the U.S. pressure
and changing its policies all the time. An op-ed in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" urged the DPP
government to manage carefully the United States' attempts to
"interfere in" the UN referendum. An editorial in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News," on the other hand,
discussed the upcoming inter-Korean summit and said it shows a
"lesson of unity." End summary.
3. U.S.-Taiwan Relations
A) "Ractopamine Government"
The mass-circulation "Apple Daily" editorialized (8/16):
"The Department of Health and the Council of Agriculture announced
simultaneously the decision to lift the ban on ractopamine (Paylean)
residues in pork, and such a move has triggered considerable
criticism, including: [people's] worries that the move would put
their health at risk; Taiwan's swine industry would fall apart; ...
and that Taiwan has easily bowed to the United States' bully and
"A constantly shifting public policy is the murderer of a
government's prestige. Only a muddleheaded and incapable government
would change its policies all the time and go back on its word. No
wonder some people believe that [the change of policy on ractopamine
residues] is a big gift A-Bian gives [to Washington] in exchange for
his planned transit in the United States. Should this be the case,
it will be penny-wise and pound-foolish."
B) "Policy Changes Whenever Big Brother Opens Its Mouth"
Journalist Cheng Chia-wen noted in an analysis in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (8/16):
"... Ordinarily, the Council of Agriculture and the Department of
Health tend to give eloquent remarks [about the government's policy
and position]. But when it comes to U.S. agricultural imports - be
it genetically-modified soybeans or corn, apples containing codling
moth larva, beef produced in areas plagued with mad cow disease,
wheat containing Malathion residue, or the ractopamine issue this
time - once the [U.S.] 'Big Brother' opens its mouth, our
government's attitude will change dramatically within a few days
from asserting [Taiwan's] dignity of righteousness and sticking to
its position to accepting whatever [the United States] requests.
C) "Managing US Response to UN Bid"
Liu Kuan-teh, a Taipei-based political commentator, opined in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
"... The difference between the US and Chen's positions [over the UN
referendum] has resulted in a clear political deadlock. More
rhetoric and political gestures are likely to emerge in the next
couple of months, with the Bush administration taking measures to
force Chen to make concessions on the referendum. ... Therefore,
Chen, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leadership and most
importantly, DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh, must formulate
a coherent message emphasizing that the referendum in fact is a
positive indication of the level of Taiwan's democratic progress.
Since the Chinese Nationalist Party has also supported a referendum
on using 'appropriate names' to return the UN, this united voice
must be heard around the world. ...
"The US' attempts to interfere in the referendum should be managed
carefully and relations between the US and Taiwan should not be
sacrificed in the course of the drive to attain membership in the
UN. There is room for adjusting the theme and working the
referendum in order to rebuild trust between Taipei and Washington.
Chen and his government can use this wiggle room as a bargaining
chip to negotiate with their US counterparts."
4. Inter-Korean Summit
"Korean Summit Shows Lesson of Unity"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (8/16):
"... Hence, the decision by both Roh and Kim to hold the first
inter-Korean summit meeting in seven years aims to both deflect
intensifying domestic political pressures and attract further
attention in the international community over the sharply different
problems faced by the two regimes and peoples on the Korean
peninsula. ... The effects are already beginning to surface. For
example, the campaign in South Korea for the year-end elections has
already begun to become slanted toward the inter-Korean summit and
passions over the question of Korean unification have again been
sparked and the prospective summit has also given a shot of
stimulation and unity to the chronically politically fractured and
fractious National Assembly. On the external front, the United
States, the PRC and Japan have separately expressed a high degree of
anticipation for the prospects of a renewal of the inter-Korean
peace process and predictions are being to be voiced over a revival
of the flow of international capital and resources into famine
stricken North Korea. ..."