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

VZCZCXYZ0011
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1430/01 2760948
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 020948Z OCT 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0055
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8625
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0075

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001430

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.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage October 2 on the revamped U.S. financial bailout plan,
which is scheduled for the Senate's vote Thursday morning; on rumors
that a big local bank is suffering financial problems; on the probe
into the alleged money-laundering case involving former President
Chen Shui-bian and his family; and on the Taiwan government's
follow-on measure to tackle the melamine-tainted dairy products from
China. The centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" ran a banner
headline on page seven reading "United States: No Need to Care so
Much about the Timeline of [U.S.] Arms Sales to Taiwan."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a column in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily," citing cases such as open U.S.
support for Taiwan's bid to participate in UN specialized agencies
and the alleged frozen U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, said that neither
the United States nor President Ma Ying-jeou knows what the other is
doing. A "China Times" column discussed the Bush Administration's
financial bailout plan and asked if Washington will eventually seek
help from China to resolve its biggest-ever financial crisis. An
op-ed in the pro-unification "United Daily News" also called for
cooperation between China, the United States and Taiwan jointly to
resolve the global financial crisis. End summary.

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A) "United States and Ma Ying-jeou Have Met Face-to-Face but Never
Get Really Got to Know Each Other"

Former DPP Legislator Lin Cho-shui wrote in his column in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000] (10/2):

"... The United States encourages Taiwan to engage in dialogue with
China, but it is concerned that the two sides will talk about
sovereignty issues. Washington is clearly aware that Beijing's
position is that Taiwan's international status is tantamount to that
of Hong Kong and Macau. Whoever checks with China will get the same
answer. It is stipulated in China's Anti-Secession Law that Beijing
would conduct negotiations about Taiwan's international space under
such a principle. As a result, President Ma and the KMT have
reiterated more than once that they will talk with China about
[Taiwan's] international space. They have been acting in concert
with the Anti-Secession Law; do they really want Taiwan to be like
Hong Kong and Macau? This is something the Americans have problems
figuring out.

"Ma has problems seeing through the United States, and the United
States has problems understanding Ma as well. Even the Taiwan
people have problems figuring out Ma. Does Ma have any idea how to
connect such a series of absurd policies [of his]? ..."

B) "Will the United States Seek Assistance from China to Solve Its
[Financial] Crisis?"

The "International Lookout" column in the centrist, KMT-leaning
"China Times" [circulation: 220,000] noted (10/2):

"... The US$700 billion worth of financial bailout plan is a big
headache for U.S. President George W. Bush, and Secretary of the
Treasury Henry Paulson was even on his knees to plead for the plan.
China, on the other hand, holds US$1.8 trillion in its hands.
Should Beijing be willing to help, maybe it will not be that
difficult to solve this problem. The U.S. government is still too
embarrassed to ask help from China, but it appears that the
international community already determines that the U.S. [financial]
crisis will not be resolved without China's cooperation. It is
already very obvious what the next U.S. administration's China
policy will be like. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said during a
speech at National Defense University the other day that China is
not the United States' enemy. But if Washington adopts an
inappropriate policy towards Beijing, it may well turn China into
its enemy, and that would be a big mistake, Gates added.

"Since the Bush Administration is still seeking internal
(Congressional) support and has yet to turn to the outside world,
the Chinese government thus did not express any view. But reality
is reality. For now, the status of a country is built on its
national strength, which is tantamount to its economic strength."


C) "Under the Financial Tsunami, the Proper Way Is for China, the
United States, and Taiwan to Work with Each Other"

Wang Wu-lang, general-secretary of the Labor Rights Association in
Kaohsiung, opined in the pro-unification "United Daily News"
[circulation: 400,000] (10/2):

"... In order to stop the financial crisis from deteriorating
continuously, [U.S. President George W.] Bush has sent out requests
to the international community asking for joint cooperation. What
caught the world's eyes were perhaps not those G-8 countries which
said they would go along with [Bush's call], but the positive

attention and reaction offered by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. It
goes without saying that such a development was related to the
interactive economic and trade relations between China and the
United States. But it also further pushed the United States and the
Bush Administration to attach great importance to ... the rise of
China, forcing it to consider seriously to restrain its desire of an
'empire' and abandon the old Cold-War thinking.

"This is why despite being driven by the containment policy of
traditional U.S. military, Bush has consequently come to realize
before he steps down that the only proper way is to push Beijing,
Washington and Taipei to move toward and operate in a reasonable
track of cooperation and peaceful development. This is also part of
the implication revealed by the worries over U.S. arms sales to
Taiwan. ..."

YOUNG

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