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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Taiwan's Referendum On Un Membership

VZCZCXYZ0009
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #2441 3091020
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051020Z NOV 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7296
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7412
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8697

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002441

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: TAIWAN'S REFERENDUM ON UN MEMBERSHIP


Summary: News coverage of Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies
November 3-5 focused on campaign-related issues, including the
opposition KMT's position on the "1992 consensus" regarding
cross-Strait relations, as well as the fast increases in consumer
prices and Taiwan's international competitiveness. In terms of
editorials and commentaries, an op-ed article in the KMT-leaning
"China Times" said Taiwan's UN bid may not help it become a more
"normalized" nation. An editorial of the conservative,
pro-unification, English-language "China Post" criticized President
Chen Shui-bian for making false statements about Taiwan's UN bid.
End summary.

A) "Joining the UN May Not Necessarily [Bring] 'Normalization'"

Journalist Ku Er-teh wrote in the op-ed page of the KMT-leaning
"China Times" [circulation: 400,000] (11/05):

"... If Taiwan's international position can be more normal, it would
indeed help Taiwan's economic development. However, one should not
forget that the 1972 withdraw from the UN was seen as the turning
point of Taiwan's 'abnormalization' in the international community.
But Taiwan's economy developed quickly after that. The severance of
U.S.-Taiwan diplomatic relations in 1979 made Taiwan's international
status even more abnormalized. But it did not affect Taiwan's
economic growth in the 1980s.

"One cannot deny Taiwan's abnormal status. Neither can the
'legality statement of the Republic of China' cover up this
abnormality. However, one cannot naively believe that formal
normalization can resolve all the abnormal issues of Taiwan. And we
should not let the abnormalities inside Taiwan be worsened because
of seeking the formality of normalization.

"'Joining or returning to the UN' is a normal dream. But don't
forget the real purpose of this dream is to pursue a more normalized
Taiwan. And 'normalization' is a relative concept. ... When the
dream of joining the UN will not come true in reality, how to
improve by ourselves Taiwan's substantive normal status is more
important. Whether it is dealing with the internal or external
world, whether it is facing political, economic, or social issues,
Taiwan should work to make itself more normalized than before in
substance."

B) "President Chen Misleading the Public About UN Bid"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (11/4):

"In recent weeks and months, many angry words have been traded with
regard to our government's bid to join the United Nations. Many
people believe that the Democratic Progressive Party-led government
is dedicating too much of its time and resources on generating
publicity for the campaign. But many others support the UN bid, as
well as other efforts seeking to take part in international
organizations, because success would result in the 'normalization'
of Taiwan's political status as a sovereign and independent state.

"No matter what position people may take on this sensitive issue,
there is nothing we dislike more than to see our political leaders
deliberately mislead the people about how membership in the UN can
be obtained.

"When politicians tell bald-faced lies to the people about what it
takes to join the UN, it will be that much harder for the people to
support legitimate efforts aimed at rejoining the international
community.

"Recently, President Chen Shui-bian warned that Taiwan would never
be able to take part in the United Nations if the opposition
Kuomintang's presidential candidate, Ma Ying-jeou, were to win the
presidency in next year's election.

"According to President Chen, a victory by Ma Ying-jeou would spell
the end of current efforts to join the UN under the name of
'Taiwan,' making it utterly impossible for this country to ever gain
a UN seat.

"... President Chen was a maritime lawyer by trade and has no excuse
not to be familiar with the basics of international law. It is
therefore especially reprehensible that President Chen is spreading
these blatant falsehoods about the United Nations and our chances of
ever walking back into the General Assembly again. ..."


YOUNG

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