Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations
DE RUEHIN #2342/01 2891048
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161048Z OCT 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7155
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7362
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8643
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002342
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: CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS
1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies gave extensive
coverage October 16 to the 17th National Congress of the Communist
Party of China currently being held in Beijing, in which Chinese
President Hu Jintao called for a peace agreement with Taiwan and a
termination of cross-Strait hostilities on the basis of the
one-China principle. News coverage also focused on Taiwan's UN
referendum, and on a front-page story in the pro-independence
"Liberty Times" Monday, which quoted a former martial arts movie
star as saying that former KMT authorities had asked him to
assassinate former DPP chairman Hsu Hsin-liang, who escaped to the
United States for a decade to avoid political imprisonment during
the martial law era.
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "Liberty Times"
editorial said Chinese President Hu Jintao's remarks about having
the entire Chinese people decide on Taiwan's future has posed a
serious challenge to the Taiwan people. An op-ed in the
pro-unification "United Daily News," however, said Beijing has
decided to "cope with the shifting cross-Strait situation by
sticking to a fundamental principle." An editorial in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" criticized Hu's
remarks and said "there is no room for 'dialogue' in a situation
where the 'final solution' is imposed as the precondition for
talks." End summary.
A) "Why Does the Future of Taiwan, an Independent Sovereignty, Have
to Be Determined by the Chinese People?"
The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
"... Taiwan is not China's territory, nor are the Taiwan people
Chinese. Hu Jintao's four 'Nevers' and the 'entire Chinese people'
[rhetoric] are nothing but excuses aimed at covering up its evil
ambition to annex Taiwan. All the movements to turn Taiwan into a
normal country, including name change, writing of a new constitution
and the island's UN bid, are efforts to uphold Taiwan's sovereignty
and to put the Taiwan people's fundamental human rights into
practice. Such moves are by no means attempts to 'split Taiwan from
its motherland.' Taiwan is not affiliated with China, the Republic
of China, or the People's Republic of China, so how can it be 'split
from' [China]? ...
"Hu's exaggerated remarks today about having the 'entire Chinese
people' decide on Taiwan's future pose a serious challenge to the
Taiwan people. In order for Taiwan to survive and for the
international community to understand the truth, we must quickly
remove the facade of the Republic of China, so that it will not
bring disaster to Taiwan after having been a parasite on the
B) "In Consideration of the Internal and External Climates, Hu
[Jintao] [Decides to] Cope with Shifting [Cross-Strait] Situation by
Sticking to a Fundamental Policy [toward Taiwan]"
Professor Chao Chun-shan of Tamkang University's Institute of China
Studies, opined in the pro-unification "United Daily News"
[circulation: 400,000] (10/16):
"... As a result, whether it is based on consideration of the
'internal' or 'external' situations, Beijing will surely believe
that the best option for its current strategy toward Taiwan is to
'cope with a shifting situation by sticking to a fundamental
principle.' In particular, given that Taiwan's internal situation is
becoming treacherous and changeable depending on the campaign
[rhetoric] in the run-up to next year's presidential election,
'going farther and faring worse,' so Beijing has effectively tossed
a hot potato to Taiwan and the United States. ...
"It is noteworthy that even though Hu Jintao did not make any harsh
remarks against Taiwan's referendum to 'join' or 'rejoin' the UN, he
emphasized that 'any issues concerning China's sovereignty and its
territorial integrity must be jointly decided by the entire Chinese
people, including our compatriots in Taiwan.' Hu's statement has
clearly indicated that Beijing deems Taiwan's UN referendum as a
move to 'alter the status quo unilaterally,' and he hinted that the
Chinese people also share the rights in deciding on this matter.
"For the United States, accepting such a hot potato is indeed misery
beyond description. The United States surely hopes to maintain the
status quo across the Taiwan Strait, but the problem is that it can
neither convince Beijing that Taiwan will not move toward
independence, nor can it assure Taiwan that Beijing will not use
force against the island. Hu's proposal to 'discuss a formal end to
the state of hostility between the two sides, reach a peace
agreement, and construct a framework for peaceful development of
cross-Strait relations' was meant for the ears of Americans only.
Beijing's attempt to express 'sincerity' for seeking peace was aimed
at forcing Washington to impose pressure on Taiwan, in the hope that
Taiwan's campaign for the 'UN referendum' will not bring the two
sides of the Taiwan Strait to the brink of a precipice. We judge
that there must be U.S. factors behind Hu's decision to handle the
'UN referendum' 'coldly' in his remarks. Perhaps Beijing and
Washington have reached a certain tacit agreement on this matter,
forcing Hu to 'go slowly' at this critical moment. ..."
C) "Hu Sends Message against Democracy"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (10/16):
"The Democratic Progressive Party government correctly dismissed the
latest remarks on cross-Strait relations made by People's Republic
of China President Hu Jintao.
Speaking to the delegates attending CCP's 17th Congress in Beijing's
Great Hall of the People, Hu declared that the PRC would never waver
on its 'one-China' principle, which posits that Taiwan is part of
the PRC, and would also not give up on efforts to seek 'peaceful
unification' of Taiwan into the PRC and would brook no compromise
with so-called 'Taiwan independence.'
"The reason why Hu's statement is absolutely not a 'peace offer'
lies in its making it a condition of discussion that 'an agreement
to end hostilities' on prior agreement with Beijing's 'one-China
principle.' Agreement with this principle, which explicitly posits
that Taiwan is part of China, would be equivalent to surrendering
Taiwan's sovereignty and thus the right of our people for democratic
self-determination of our national status and internal affairs even
before negotiations began. ... The fact of the matter is that there
is no room for 'dialogue' in a situation where the 'final solution'
is imposed as the precondition for talks or unless a Quisling
government in Taiwan agrees to compromise on the 'one-China
principle' and sacrifice our sovereignty and democracy. ...
"Hence, the question of Taiwan identity remains the most fundamental
issue in the upcoming presidential elections precisely because the
stance of the various candidates on Taiwan's identity as either a
'democratic independent state' as maintained by the DPP, or as
comprising both Taiwan and China as upheld by the KMT, will
naturally influence the likely actions to be taken by the future
national leader in the face of Beijing's annexation drive."