Cablegate: Media Reaction: North Korea Nuclear Program
DE RUEHIN #1469 2890607
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 150607Z OCT 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0118
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8648
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0097
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001469
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: NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused October 15
news coverage on Taiwan government's decision to cut individuals'
income tax; on the confession of Yeh Sheng-mao, former Director of
the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau (MJIB), regarding the
probe of the former first family's alleged money-laundering; and on
the United States government's decision to inject US$250 billion to
buy shares in banks. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a
column in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily" criticized the Bush
administration's North Korea policy as a failure as it let North
Korea become a member of the nuclear club. End summary.
"A Nuclear Game"
Columnist Antonio Chiang wrote in his column in the mass-circulation
"Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000] (10/15):
"The United States eventually removed North Korea from the list of
countries which support terrorism. [United States President George
W] Bush eventually got out of the embarrassing situation and left
the mess of the Korean peninsula to his successor. North Korea's
Kim Jong-il fooled the United States with his astute negotiation
strategies and eventually forced the White House to have a showdown.
His [Kim's] status of national hero in people's minds was thus
further consolidated. ...
"North Korea's cooperation with Iran and Syria is the most serious
issue in the anti-nuclear proliferation effort. However, the United
States signing a nuclear cooperation deal with India recently
created a hypocritical double standard, which made it difficult for
the United States to speak righteously and sternly to North Korea.
"In fact, naming Iran and North Korea as countries in the axis of
evil was one of Bush's major diplomacy mistakes. Labeling North
Korea as [a country] supporting terrorism was problematic in
"Now, after making herculean efforts, [the Unites States] took the
initiative and docilely removed the label for North Korea. However,
during the whole process North Korea has joined the nuclear club.
[The United States'] efforts were all in vain.
"Making one mistake caused mistakes in every subsequent step.
Bush's anti-terrorism efforts pushed him into a corner and left him
besieged on all sides. [Circumstances in] Iran, Afghanistan, and
Iraq have been difficult to wrap up. Kim allowing the United States
to escape an embarrassing situation barely allowed Bush to retain a
little bit of his legacy in diplomacy, but really brought the
nuclear game into full play."