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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations


DE RUEHIN #2096/01 2550928
R 120928Z SEP 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage September 12 on the UN referendum, on the U.S.-Taiwan
Defense Industry Conference held in Annapolis Tuesday, on the
Olympics torch relay route, and on Taiwan's first draft
"Telecommunication Broadcasting Management Law." The
pro-independence "Liberty Times" ran an exclusive banner headline on
page two that said "The United States Is Now More Capable of
[Carrying out Its Commitment] to Defend Taiwan." The same paper
also ran a news story on page two with the headline "U.S. Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Thomas Christensen: The United States Opposes Taiwan's UN
Referendum Because It Involves a Change of [Taiwan's] National

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "Liberty Times"
editorial commented on the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference.
The article said the conference reminded the island that Taiwan's
strategic values hinge on its determination and capability to defend
itself. A separate "Liberty Times" editorial pointed out that "even
though Washington opposes Taiwan's UN referendum, it opposes far
more strongly the People's Republic of China's (possible) invasion
of Taiwan." An editorial in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily," on
the other hand, criticized President Chen Shui-bian for his attempt
to put the majority Green supporters, the Blue camp, and even the
United States and China on a short leash by pushing for the UN
referendum. End summary.

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A) "Taiwan's Strategic Values Hinge on Its Determination and
Capability to Defend Itself"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
editorialized (9/12):

"... Under pressure from the international community, China has
published its white paper on national defense and has participated
in the UN's military expense transparency system in a perfunctory
manner, but still, all these moves have failed to gloss over its
national defense policy, which is of an offensive nature. Taiwan
poses no military threat to China for now, but China, in return, has
deployed nearly a thousand missiles targeting Taiwan. China's
proactive efforts to strengthen the weapons it would use to launch
sea and air attacks against Taiwan alone are sufficient to reveal
China's lie that its national defense is of a defensive nature.
Besides, [Chinese President] Hu Jintao said immediately after his
meeting with [U.S. President George W.] Bush at APEC that 'the next
two years will be a highly dangerous period for the cross-Strait
situation.' Isn't such a statement typical saber-rattling

"Peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait serve the common
interests of the international community, and Taiwan's security is
thus the focus of attention of the world. This illustrates the
general climate, in which China dares not run the risks of attacking
Taiwan. But Taiwan's stalling in passing the arms procurements
budget and its moves to open investments in China proactively have
constantly given the world the wrong impression, making the
international community believe that the Taiwan people lack the
determination to defend themselves. The 'U.S.-Taiwan Defense
Industry Conference' provides a good opportunity which reminds us
that [our] demonstration of the determination to defend ourselves
and our efforts to strengthen the self-defense capabilities are
exactly where Taiwan's strategic values lie. Both the ruling and
opposition parties must view them as our top priority."

B) "Taiwan Is By No Means Part of the People's Republic of China"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
editorialized (9/11):

"... [Chinese President] Hu Jintao said Monday after his meeting
with U.S. President George W. Bush in Sydney, Australia, that Bush
had reiterated to him his opposition to any alteration in the status
quo across the Taiwan Strait. What is the status quo in the Taiwan
Strait? Isn't it [the fact] that 'Taiwan is an independent
sovereign state, which is independent of the reign of the People's
Republic of China (PRC)'? Bush's reiteration was consistent with
Washington's [position stated in its] formal letter to the UN
Secretariat: Namely, Taiwan is not part of the PRC. It is thus

clear that even though Washington opposes our referenda to join or
rejoin the UN, it opposes far more strongly the PRC's invasion of

"'Taiwan and China are each a country on either side [of the Taiwan
Strait]' is the status quo across the Taiwan Strait. Today, what
lies clearly ahead of us is the fact that it is the PRC that has
been bent on altering the cross-Strait status quo. In order to
realize its dream of the 'one China Empire,' Beijing has resorted to
all the means it can to change the status quo of 'Taiwan being an
independent sovereign state' and the status quo of 'Taiwan being

independent of the reign of the PRC.' We hope that the United
States can see [from China's attempts] that Taiwan's efforts in
pushing for name change, writing of a new constitution and its UN
bid are nothing but self-defense moves to prevent the island from
being annexed by China and thus changing the status quo. It is
China that is the real troublemaker!"

C) "Bian Is Good at Putting Others on a Short Leash"

The mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 540,000]
editorialized (9/12):

"... President Chen told the World Federation of Taiwanese
Associations in Japan during a video-conference Monday that Taiwan
has to be independent, rectify its name, write a new constitution
and enter the UN. An overwhelming majority of the Taiwan people
will support what Chen called for as long as such an objective is
not achieved at the expense of their lives and property. But two
preconditions made us doubt the truth and viability of [Chen's
objectives]: First, China will surely intervene with these
objectives by use of force, and the United States will refuse to
send troops to help defend Taiwan citing the excuse that Taiwan has
unilaterally and proactively altered the cross-Strait status quo.
Second, A-Bian has used such a sacred agenda as a campaign tool so
many times that he has thus denigrated the sacredness of the agenda,
which, as a result, no longer has the charm to attract people. The
Taiwan independence ideal, which has been manipulated by Bian so
constantly, is no longer respected or trusted by the Taiwan people.
... Bian has been working with a small group of Green stalwarts to
put others on a short leash; the minority has put the Green
majority, the Blue camp, Ma Ying-jeou, and even the United States
and China on a short leash. ... What's even more outrageous is that
he has put his party's presidential candidate Frank Hsieh on a short
leash as well. Hsieh is now in a condition that he can neither
support nor oppose Chen; Hsieh is at a loss of what to do and can
only allow himself to be oppressed by Bian. ..."


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