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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Us Cross-Strait Policy

VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #2456/01 3110936
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 070936Z NOV 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7319
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7421
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8706

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002456

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: US CROSS-STRAIT POLICY

Summary: News coverage of Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies
November 7 focused on the meeting in Beijing between US Secretary of
Defense Robert Gates and China's President Hu Jintao and the
reassurance by Gates that the US's Taiwan policy remains unchanged.
Another focus was the Legislative Yuan's adoption of the revised
Election and Recall Law for Civil Servants, which will not bar
people convicted of serious crimes from participating in elections.
In terms of editorials and commentaries, an op-ed article in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" said it is not too far from the
truth to say the US opposes Taiwan independence. An editorial of
the pro-independence "Liberty Times" urged the US to readjust its
cross-Strait policy. Meanwhile, an editorial in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" said that doubt remains after the
Department of Defense clarified a recent news report on US
cross-Strait policy released by the Armed Forces Press Service. End
summary.


A) "The US Opposes Taiwan Independence? A Mistake Not Too Far from
the Truth"

Professor Edward I-hsin Chen of the Graduate Institute of American
Studies, Tamkang University, wrote in an op-ed article in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (11/07):

"... I have asked several AIT and State Department officials about
the reason why the US would not say it 'opposes Taiwan
independence.' Their answers can be summarized as the following
three points. First, the US position is to keep away as far as
possible from the politics of the Republic of China in order not to
give the impression of 'interfering in internal affairs.' Second,
Taiwan is a democratic nation and has the right to decide its own
destiny. Third, although Beijing opposes Taiwan independence now,
it is hard to tell what will happen in the future. Washington would
like to leave space for the future by not clearly stating it opposes
Taiwan independence.

"... Furthermore, during the various meetings between President
George W. Bush and President Hu Jintao, the Chinese side always said
[afterwards] that the US side 'opposes Taiwan independence' and
Washington has never formally denied this statement.

"This time the official who writes press releases for the Pentagon
official Web site might not have gotten hold of the precise US
official wording. Yet his mistake might not be too far from the
truth, as he understands very well the minutes of the statements
made by US officials at the Bush-Hu meetings."

B) "The US Should Revise Its Impractical Cross-Strait Policy"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
editorialed (11/07):

"... In fact, experts of think tanks in Washington recently have had
many discussions over whether the US government should present six
new assurances to Taiwan. We believe, since Taiwan lacks
international status, to remind the world of this issue by
organizing activities related to the referendum on joining the UN
under the name of Taiwan is positive in nature. We also believe
that, in view of the common interests of the US and Taiwan, the US
needs to re-examine its long-time cross-Strait policy using Taiwan's
current situation as the starting point.

"... Just think. If the US really pushes a democratic Taiwan toward
an autocratic China, then how would all democratic nations in the
world, especially those in the process of democratization, view a US
foreign policy which seeks globally to promote democratic values?
Also would many Asian countries choose to take a route closer to
China and farther from the US? ..."

C) "The Key [Issue] Has Not Been Clarified"

The mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 530,000]
editorialed (11/07):

"... There were three main points in the US Armed Forces Press
Service report released two days ago: [President] Bush is against
Taiwan independence; Bush sincerely would like to see peaceful
unification across the Strait; and the US equates the UN bid
referendum to an independence referendum. Now that the US has
clarified the first two points, it only left out the one on the
referendum. However, this is the most serious part. Is there any
special implication or did [they] just forget?

"... But what we must pay attention to is that the US always changes
its Taiwan policy slowly and obscurely. Although one can hardly
notice it in the short run, one can feel it strongly in the long
run. Looking back at US-Taiwan relations over the past 50 years,
one can see clearly signs of changing directions. This feeling goes

deep to the marrow.

"Therefore, when President Bush's attitude toward Taiwan transformed
from a friendly one when he first took office to an agitated and
alienated one later, this can be the beginning of another change of
direction. In particular, the fact that the referendum part of the
report was not clarified is more strange and gloomy. It is either
to intimidate Taiwan into stopping the UN bid referendum or to pave
the way for not implementing the Taiwan Relations Act in the future.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs needs urgently to request that the
US side clarify this most significant part."

YOUNG

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