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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations

VZCZCXYZ0005
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #2349/01 2901057
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171057Z OCT 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7168
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7370
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8651

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002349

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage October 17 on Taiwan's UN referendum and on the ruling and
opposition parties' reactions to Chinese President Hu Jintao's
proposal at the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of
China Monday for a peace agreement with Taiwan. In terms of
editorials and commentaries, a column in the pro-independence
"Liberty Times" harshly criticized Hu's proposal and described it as
a letter calling for the surrender of Taiwan. An editorial in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" criticized
Washington's positive reaction to Hu's proposal. The article said
"by pushing Taiwanese toward a settlement with a Chinese government
that has no interest in the welfare of Taiwanese, the US pacifies
the same dictatorship that is colonizing Tibet." An editorial in
the centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times," however, discussed
Beijing's strategic thinking behind such a proposal. The article
said "Beijing is trying to create an image in the international
community: Namely, it is Taipei, not Beijing, which is creating
trouble across the Taiwan Strait." End summary.

A) "Hu Jintao's Nonsense Letter Calling for [Taiwan's] Surrender"

The "Free Talks" column in the pro-independence "Liberty Times"
[circulation: 720,000] noted (10/17):

"... First, Hu Jintao proposed the peace agreement [with Taiwan] in
his capacity as Secretary-General of the Communist Party of China
(CPC) and in the party-to-party manner. Since Taiwan is a
democratic country, on what basis can a Chinese political party
propose a peace agreement to another country? Such a proposal is
effectively akin to treating Taiwan as part of China and box Taiwan
in its one-China 'principle.'

"Second, China's one-China [principle] refers to the People's
Republic of China. If one follows Hu's train of thoughts, [the
statement regarding] both sides of the Taiwan Strait discussing a
formal end to the state of hostility would mean to Sinify and
internalize the Taiwan issue. In that case, the peace agreement is
in fact China's letter calling for Taiwan's surrender.

"Third, Taiwan and China are one country on each side [of the Taiwan
Strait], and the KMT-CPC war was between the KMT and the CPC, which
has nothing to do with Taiwan. The current hostility across the
Taiwan Strait was caused by China's attempt to annex Taiwan. If
China really wants to put an end to cross-Strait hostility, it can
end it unilaterally by removing the thousand missiles [targeting
Taiwan] and abolishing the Anti-Secession Law. Such ways would be
real moves to extend an olive branch [to Taiwan]. ..."

B) "Seduced by a 'Moderate' Hu Jintao"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (10/17):

"When Chinese President Hu Jintao suggested at this week's Chinese
Communist Party (CCP) Congress that China and Taiwan could begin
talks -- on condition that Taiwan accept the 'one-China' principle
-- one might have assumed that literate China-watchers would cluck
their tongues, think 'more of the same' and turn to more pressing
internal political matters. Not so with the US' National Security
Council (NSC), whose membership is delighted with Hu's 'moderate
tone.' Spokesman Gordon Johndroe gave sober cross-Strait analysts
cause for mirth when he suggested that Hu's rehash of old strategy
amounted to new and constructive language. ...

"The fact is that the NSC's language assumes deep down that Taiwan
is Chinese territory and that unification is inevitable, blocked
only by technical political disagreements and the wicked designs of
President Chen Shui-bian. The NSC's words make no allowance
whatsoever for the extent of dissent in Taiwan on the 'one-China'
policy or even the existence of such dissent; indeed, the NSC seems
unaware that Taiwan's democracy movement was intertwined with the
realization that independence from China is essential to protect
democracy. All of this lends weight to sources that suggest US
President George W. Bush is now playing a major role in cross-Strait
policy. If this is true, Taiwanese have good reason to be concerned,
and not just because he has been treating his Chinese counterpart
with kid gloves ever since Bush's anomalous promise to defend
Taiwan, 'whatever it takes,' in 2001. ...

"Too many US officials interpret 'one China' as a principle for
unity and stability, yet they concede that on the far side of China
things are far from unitary or stable. If the US values the
integrity of Tibetan people and their religious leader, the Dalai
Lama -- and are prepared to irritate the Chinese in showing it --
why is it that at every juncture so many US government agencies
adopt a stance that emboldens Beijing regarding Taiwan? By pushing
Taiwanese toward a settlement with a Chinese government that has no
interest in the welfare of Taiwanese, the US pacifies the same
dictatorship that is colonizing Tibet, punishing the devout and


making a global hero out of the Dalai Lama. It would be interesting
to hear the NSC explain the reasoning behind this contradictory
strategy."

C) "Beijing's Strategic Thinking behind Its Call for a Peace
Agreement across the Taiwan Strait"

The centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (10/17):

"... Beijing's strategic thinking was very clear when it proposed a
peace agreement [with Taiwan]. One the one hand, it will no longer
dance to the tune of the internal agenda discussed at the
campaigning in Taiwan. Instead, Beijing decided to 'cope with
shifting situation by sticking to a fundamental principle' by
unveiling a bigger framework. Such a framework is not meant to
emphasize the enactment of the 'Anti-Secession Law' but to call
positively for the signing of a peace agreement. For Beijing, the
'one-China' premise is already there, so the 'Anti-Secession Law'
can easily hide behind the scene, and the call for 'signing a peace
agreement' under such circumstances can fully demonstrate that its
fundamental position with regard to cross-Strait relations is to
seek reconciliation and to [resume] dialogue... To a certain
extent, such a declaration by Beijing did not appeal to Taiwan alone
but to the international community, because Beijing knows that the
whole world is watching how Beijing will react to Taiwan's push on
the 'UN referendum.' When it turned out that, while Taiwan is
intensifying its campaign for the 'UN referendum,' Beijing not only
did not make any harsh remarks but has made a gesture of seeking
'peace' and proposed a structure for dialogue, the image that
Beijing has created in the international community is naturally a
positive one. Washington's immediate approval to Beijing was an
evident proof. In other words, Beijing is trying to create an image
in the international community: Namely, it is Taiwan, not Beijing,
which is creating trouble across the Taiwan Strait, and it is
Beijing, not Taiwan, which is pursuing reconciliation and dialogue
across the Taiwan Strait. ..."

WANG

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