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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S-Taiwan Relations

VZCZCXYZ0008
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1143 2180647
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 050647Z AUG 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9664
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8498
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9714

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001143

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: U.S-TAIWAN RELATIONS

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused August 5
news coverage on Taitung County Magistrate Kuang Li-chen, who
returned to Taiwan Monday in the midst of controversy for being away
on a trip to Europe while Taitung County was being pounded by a
major typhoon last week; on the attack in Xinjiang Province just
four days before the start of the Beijing Olympics; and on the death
of Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn Sunday. The
centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" ran a banner headline on page
eight reading "Ma Ying-jeou: [Taiwan] Is Likely to Participate in
the World Health Assembly Next Year." In terms of editorials and
commentaries, an op-ed piece in the pro-unification "United Daily
News" urged the Ma administration not to leave Taiwan's relations
with the United States unattended while seeking to stabilize
cross-Strait relations. End summary.

"Do Not Leave Taiwan-U.S. Relations Unattended While Seeking to
Stabilize Cross-Strait Relations"

Professor Edward Chen of Tamkang University's Graduate Institute of
American Studies opined in the pro-unification "United Daily News"
[circulation: 400,000] (8/5):

"...In the wake of the July visits to the United States by
[Taiwan's] national security officials and the legislative
delegation, respectively, to explain Taiwan's arms procurement
position and mainland Chinese policy, it was reported that the State
Department is expected to inform Congress of the U.S. government's
interest in selling eight weapons systems to Taiwan. U.S. President
George W. Bush even proactively told Asian media representatives in
the White House in late July that he is 'very pleased' with the
current state of cross-Strait relations. Such a development
indicated that the earlier reports alleging that Washington
threatened to freeze its arms sales [to Taiwan] were nothing but a
strategic reflection of Washington's displeasure with the Blue
camp's blocking of the U.S. arms sales over the previous years and
Washington's discontent over the way the Ma Ying-jeou administration
cold-shouldered the United States.

"The impression that the Bush administration is feeling
cold-shouldered by the Ma administration should be an error of
carelessness [on Taiwan's side] while it seeks proactively to
improve cross-Strait relations. Ma's national security team is
certainly aware that [Taiwan] relies almost entirely on the United
States or follows Washington's lead in terms of the island's
strategic planning, weapons purchases, market access, negotiations
over WTO issues, talks about the free trade agreement, its
participation in the international organizations, as well as
realization of the diplomatic truce across the Taiwan Strait. Even
when it comes to the strategic goal of 'stabilizing cross-Strait
[relations] and rebuilding mutual trust,' put forward recently by
the Ma administration, Taiwan sought to put equal emphasis on
cross-Strait [relations] as well as its relations with the United
States. ..."

YOUNG

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