Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations
DE RUEHIN #2561/01 3380923
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040923Z DEC 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7509
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7492
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8778
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002561
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: U.S.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS
1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage December 4 on the 2008 legislative elections; on Eastern
Multimedia Group Chairman Gary Wang, who is now in custody for
embezzlement and whose funds were frozen by the Taipei District
Prosecutor's Office Monday; and on the results of an Asian Baseball
Championship game Monday. Both the pro-independence "Liberty Times"
and the pro-unification "United Daily News" reported on AIT Director
Stephen Young's speech delivered at a seminar hosted by the
Foundation on International and Cross-Strait Studies Monday. The
"Liberty Times" story ran with the headline "Stephen Young: UN
Referendum Is Neither Necessary Nor Helpful," while the "United
Daily News" story was headlined "Stephen Young: United States Hopes
That [Taiwan's] New President Will [Resume] Dialogue with China."
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "Liberty Times"
analysis discussed Young's remarks on Taiwan's UN referendum and
said Washington has sensed that it can no longer stop the referendum
and has thus started "damage control." A "United Daily News"
editorial discussed cross-Strait relations and the UN referendum.
The article urged Beijing to clarify and elaborate on its new
cross-Strait discourse. End Summary.
A) "Unable to Stop the Referendum, the United States [Starts] Damage
Deputy Editor-in-Chief Tsou Jiing-wen noted in a news analysis in
the pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000] (12/4):
"AIT Director Stephen Young prepared a written speech draft before
he delivered his remarks at the Foundation on International and
Cross-Strait Studies Monday. Quite a few people present would
surely find Young's remarks on the UN referenda, slated for March,
2008 very unpleasant. But a closer look into the logic behind
Young's statement showed that the United States has sensed that the
referenda can no longer be stopped and it has started the 'damage
control' in advance.
"Between the two referenda on Taiwan's bid to 'join' and 're-join'
the UN, the second one is a useless, bogus referendum that is meant
to spoil the situation only; it has never been the real focus of
this controversy. As for the really meaningful UN referendum
[proposed by the DPP], it has always been the target of China's
strong pressure, which was exerted via the United States both openly
and under the table. But the DPP sent a total of 2.72 million of
signatures it has collected for its referendum to the Central
Election Commission on November 28, and the day was marked as a
watershed, indicating that there is no turning back for the [UN]
"Prior to November 28, the United States might still hope that
Taiwan would apply the brakes on the UN referendum. But after that
day, when such anticipation was gone, what faced [the United States]
was how it would handle the situation carefully, particularly when
it involves Washington's own regional interests! Young did not
mention any names [in his speech] yesterday, but indistinctly he
seemed to be very stern with President Chen; those who are unaware
of the situation might mistake him for the U.S. governor-general in
Taiwan. Yet Young said he hopes that the new Taiwan president
elected in 2008 will create a new situation via negotiation [with
Beijing]. Young was non-committal, while at the same time he
provided a vision for both sides of the Taiwan Strait; the
significance that lies within his speech was quite
thought-provoking. Young seemed to have bundled the UN referendum
with one single person and then drawn a line between that person and
Taiwan. Without a doubt, he was focusing all [the U.S.] complaints
on one certain 'political figure.' The way he dealt with it was
quite self-consoling, and yet it has left more room for maneuver for
the United States, particularly when it comes to its future
management of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. ..."
B) "How to Maintain the Status Quo for a Hundred Years? Beijing
Should Make It Clear: Maintaining the Status Quo Is to Maintain the
Republic of China"
The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
"One of the main reasons why [people] can still manipulate the
Taiwan independence issue is that the Beijing authorities have never
been able to define precisely the 'Republic of China.' If Beijing
fails to put the ROC in a proper perspective, leaving the Taiwan
people to feel that the ROC is intolerable for Beijing, there will
be room for manipulating Taiwan independence. The 'UN referendum'
is an evident example. The psychological appeal behind the 'UN
referendum' was actually not about advocating that 'Taiwan is able
to join the UN.' On the contrary, it was meant to ridicule [the
fact that] 'the ROC was kicked out of the UN.' All assertions
regarding Taiwan independence are quite similar. Their key point
was to highlight the negative effects of 'the ROC being bullied and
oppressed by China,' but they may not necessarily be able to point
out the positive discourse or strategies about 'how the Republic of
Taiwan is able to survive.' ...
"The Beijing authorities have adjusted their cross-Strait discourse
over the past few years: First, to maintain the status quo
naturally implies that they will 'accept the ROC.' Second, they no
longer press for unification, meaning that they have accepted the
status quo that 'both sides of the Taiwan Strait have yet to unify.'
Third, the 'one China' [principle] has changed from the 'future
tense' to 'present tense,' turning it into a theory that 'both
mainland China and Taiwan belong to one China.' One can pretty much
see a complete structure of 'one China with different
interpretations' in this new cross-Strait discourse of Beijing. But
the question is whether Beijing can further clarify the entire
structure and spell things out more clearly. ..."