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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations


DE RUEHIN #1268 2380945
R 250945Z AUG 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused their
August 23-25 news coverage on the investigation into former
President Chen Shui-bian's money laundering case; on Taiwan
Taekwondo athlete Su Li-wen's show of sportsmanship by sustaining
injuries in a competition and fighting up to the last minute; and on
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's selection of
Senator Joseph Biden as his vice presidential running mate. Local
media also paid close attention to Chen Chih-chung, Chen Shui-bian's
son, and his wife Huang Jui-ching's whereabouts in the United States
and speculated on whether the couple would return to Taiwan. [Ed.
Note: they have since returned.]

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" discussed the development of
cross-Strait relations in the wake of Beijing Olympics. The article
urged Beijing to change itself in terms of its image in cross-Strait
relations, its thinking and inner cultivation so as to move toward
the state of real 'co-existence' with Taiwan. A "United Daily News"
analysis discussed President Ma Ying-jeou's strategy in terms of
Washington-Beijing-Taipei ties after having been office for 100
days. The article said Ma is hoping to put Taiwan in an
indispensible position in such a strategic triangle. End summary.

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A) "Cross-Strait Relations in the Wake of Beijing Olympics"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (8/24):

"... In the wake of the Beijing Olympics, the major variable
affecting the relations across the Taiwan Strait will be the race
between the two sides in term of their 'political systems'; such a
situation already existed before the Beijing Olympics, and it will
do so after the Beijing Olympics. Mainland China is an autocracy,
while Taiwan is a democracy. What is referred to here [in the
article] is exactly the interaction between these two political
systems. Such interaction can be moral competition indicating that
'democracy excels totalitarian authority' on the one hand, and it
can be a contest over efficiency, showing that 'autocracy outrivals
democracy.' ... Beijing's autocracy can carry off an Olympic Games
that everyone marvels at, but the goal it pursues ought to be an
ultimate state where democracy will [prevail] and replace autocracy.

"Before the Beijing Olympics, the landmark of Beijing was the
Forbidden City, but after the Olympics, Beijing's landmark is the
Bird's Nest. This is not only a change in its image but also a
change in its way of thinking, which should also give impetus to
changes in terms of its inner cultivation in the future. In the
wake of the 2008 Olympics, the Beijing authorities should encounter
changes in terms of its image in cross-Strait relations, in
thinking, and in its inner cultivation and truly move toward a state
of 'co-existence and win-win situation' [with Taiwan]."

B) "Ma Ying-jeou's Style of Washington-Beijing-Taipei Strategy
Taking Shape"

Journalist Stella Wang said in the pro-unification "United Daily
News" [circulation: 400,000] (8/25):

"... Previously, the strategic triangular relationship among
Washington, Beijing and Taipei has constantly been in a dilemma
where one aspect is being taken care of while the other is missing.
Now that Washington-Taipei ties have become stabilized again,
President Ma Ying-jeou quickly attended to cross-Strait relations by
tossing off issues regarding offering landing visas [to Chinese
tourists] and the building of a bridge between Kinmen and China's
city of Xiamen (Amoy) -- a move aimed at creating an ambiance of
peace, reconciliation and cooperation across the Taiwan Strait.
Having assumed office for 100 days, Ma is hoping to put Taiwan in an
indispensible position in the triangle formed by the United States,
China and Taiwan and in the meantime setting the tone for his
cross-Strait policy.

"While extending a goodwill gesture [to Beijing], Ma should also
firmly demonstrate Taiwan's determination in defending itself, which
must not become a kind of lip service but should be concretely
showcased in [the government's] national defense budget and arms
procurement items. More importantly, Taiwan's national troops must
truly feel Ma's enthusiasm and determination in attaching great
importance to the island's national defense, and the small-sized but
powerful new national troops will be [Taiwan's] strongest reliance
for peace talks across the Taiwan Strait."


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