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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations

VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1528 3030810
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 290810Z OCT 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0207
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8675
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0122

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001528

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: CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused October 29
news coverage on the upcoming visit to Taiwan by China's Association
for Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin
and the planned talks between ARATS and Taiwan's Straits Exchange
Foundation (SEF); and on a DPP Tainan City councilor, who claimed
Tuesday that he was the victim of an assault by pro-China gangsters
after having allegedly mobbed ARATS Vice Chairman Zhang Mingqing
along with other DPP supporters last week. In terms of editorials
and commentaries, an op-ed piece in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" said that President Ma Ying-jeou's
planned meeting with ARATS Chairman Chen next week will "severely
damage Taiwan's democracy and sovereignty" because, according to
Ma's characterization of cross-Strait relations, "the international
community will inevitably think that Taiwan is a part of China." An
editorial in the pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News"
also chimed in, saying that Chen's visit will be "a political act of
global importance manifesting the PRC's suzerainty over Taiwan. ..."
End summary.

A) "No Peace at the Cost of the Nation's Sovereignty"

Liu Shih-chung, a member of the Advisory Committee at Taiwan
Thinktank and a visiting scholar at the Center for Northeast Asian
Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, opined in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] (10/29)

"... The major pro-US countries are pleased to see cross-strait
tensions thawing and cross-strait talks resuming. The outgoing
administration of US President George W. Bush and US Democratic
presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama have both recognized the
Ma administration's efforts to promote cross-strait reconciliation.
However, just because the international community looks forward to
cross-strait peace does not mean that the Ma government should curry
favor with Beijing by compromising Taiwan's sovereignty and national
interests. This is an extremely risky move. The US may ignore the
malicious intent hiding behind China's smiles, but Ma, as the
president who won more than 7.6 million Taiwanese votes, must not
abuse the powers entrusted to him to achieve his own ends.

"Ma said in an interview with an international media outlet that the
relationship between Taiwan and China was a "region-to-region
relationship" and that he would try to sign a peace agreement with
China. If Ma really does meet with Chen, the international community
will inevitably think that Taiwan is a part of China. It is
unnecessary to say that Beijing always does one thing to Taiwan
while saying another to the international community. The
international impression of reconciliation on the surface - but
unification in reality - constructed by the Ma administration and
China will severely damage Taiwan's democracy and sovereignty. ...
The Taiwanese people need to unite to let the international
community understand that the future of our nation can only be
decided in a democratic way by the 23 million people of Taiwan. No
single party or individual should sacrifice Taiwan in order to
achieve their own goals."

B) "PRC Envoy to Display Suzerainty over Taiwan"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (10/29):

"... Chen Yunlin might not engage in 'political talks' but his visit
be [sic] a political act of global importance by manifesting the
PRC's suzerainty over Taiwan and by ensuring Ma's compliance with
Beijing's March 2005 'Anti-Secession Law' and the five-point Lien-Hu
April 2005 communique and put Taiwan squarely on an irreversible
path toward unification as scant more than a tributary state. Given
the unwise decision of the electorate March 22 to give the KMT
complete control over all branches of government, the only option
now open to Taiwan citizens who cherish their democracy,
independence and prosperity is to take every opportunity to make
their voices heard in demonstrations or other nonviolent actions
during Chen's stay."

YOUNG

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