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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations


DE RUEHIN #1538/01 3040957
R 300957Z OCT 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused October
30 news coverage on former Vice President Lien Chan being appointed
as Taiwan's envoy to the APEC leaders' summit in late November; on
President Ma Ying-jeou's remarks Wednesday that he will receive
China's Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS)
Chairman Chen Yunlin next week in his capacity as President; and on
the upcoming talks between ARATS and Taiwan's Straits Exchange

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an analysis in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" criticized President Ma's
appointment of Lien Chan as Taiwan's envoy to APEC. The article
said that Beijing's agreement to Lien's appointment was meant to
favor Lien and suppress Ma and to establish China's suzerainty over
Taiwan. A news analysis in the pro-unification "United Daily News,"
however, hailed Lien's appointment and called it a move of
"reconciliation" for both sides of the Taiwan Strait. A separate
"United Daily News" op-ed piece, on the other hand, criticized the
Ma Administration's wishful reliance on China's goodwill when making
Taiwan's cross-Strait policies. An editorial in the centrist,
KMT-leaning "China Times" alerted Beijing that, for the Taiwan
people, the sovereignty and dignity of their country always comes
first. The article said it would be better that President Ma not
meet with ARATS Chairman Chen if he cannot be addressed as
President. End summary.

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A) "With Lien Chan Appointed as Taiwan's Envoy to APEC, China [Seeks
to] Favor Lien and Suppress Ma [Ying-jeou]; [a Move That] Kills Many
Birds with One Stone"

Deputy Editor-in-Chief Tsou Jiing-wen noted in an analysis in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 700,000] (10/30):

"As expected, China has agreed to [the proposal of having Taiwan's
former Vice President] Lien Chan attend this year's APEC leaders'
summit. Such a highly political arrangement has the effect of
killing many birds with one stone. On the surface, the move allowed
the Ma Ying-jeou Administration to achieve the apparent goal of
'upgrading the level' [of Taiwan's APEC envoy]. But in reality, the
move was meant to befriend those far away and attack those nearby,
conveniently taking advantage of the KMT's power struggles and
breaking up Ma's leadership and control power. In the meantime,
China has firmly established its position as the suzerain state by
'hand-picking' [Taiwan's envoy]. Given such a compromise that is
neither brave nor thoughtful, Mr. Ma is doomed to pay for the move
both in his public and private capacity."

B) "The Reconciliatory Atmosphere across the Taiwan Strait Extends
to APEC"

Journalist Lee Ming-hsien said in an analysis in the pro-unification
"United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (10/30):

"... Be it the meeting between [Taiwan's former Vice President] Lien
Chan and [Chinese President] Hu Jintao or the one between [KMT
Chairman] Wu Poh-hsiung and Hu, both represent occasions where both
sides of the Taiwan Strait reconciled with each other. Beijing's
approval of Lien to attend the APEC non-economic leaders' summit
this time indicates that the reconciliatory atmosphere across the
Taiwan Strait will be extended to the international arena -- a move
with particularly significant political effects and substantial
implications. For Taiwan, such a move [indicates that it has]
finally got rid of its notoriety for being 'a troublemaker.' After
all, the scorched earth diplomacy in the last eight years has only
resulted in reinforced efforts from Beijing to blockade [Taiwan].
By contrast, the Ma Administration has harvested and tasted the
sweetness by promoting the diplomatic truce. ..."

"What really matters is that Beijing's agreement to Lien's
participation in APEC only marks the beginning of its goodwill
gesture. Given the changing international situation in which, under
Beijing's facilitation, the Bo'ao Forum, Shanghai Cooperation
Organization, and even ASEAN are gaining more importance, while
APEC, to a certain extent, is declining, the biggest key lies in the
question whether both sides of the Taiwan Strait can move from
'shelving differences' to 'creating a win-win situation' by allowing
Taiwan really to participate in the international community."

C) "Relying on Beijing's Goodwill; Restrained by Others in Every

Tung Chen-yuan, an Associate Professor at the Graduate Institute of
Development Studies of Taiwan's National Chengchi University, opined
in the pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]

"... With President Ma Ying-jeou's election, the Taiwan people in
general expected that cross-Strait relations would improve
immediately. However, except for the nominal resumption of

negotiations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, the
substantial interaction and the diplomatic truce [between both sides
of the Taiwan Strait] do not show immediate effect. Instead, it
only highlighted that the Ma Administration had overly wishful
thinking in relying on China's goodwill toward Taiwan and was
therefore restrained by Beijing's political manipulation in every
aspect. Such circumstances are really worrisome. ...

"Likewise, the Ma Administration did not announce the appointment of
[former Vice President] Lien Chan as Taiwan's envoy to the APEC
summit until after it was sure that the meeting between [Taiwan's
Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman] P. K. Chiang and ARATS
Chairman Chen Yunlin would definitely be held and that China had
accepted every arrangement [made by Taiwan]. This showed that the
Chinese government was in charge of the tempo of cross-Strait
negotiations and that it knew for certain that the Ma Administration
had no bargaining chips with which to strike back. Furthermore, it
is likely that the Ma Administration has already conceded to Beijing
politically in order to accomplish what was mentioned above. ..."

D) "Without the Title of President, It Is Better That Ma [Ying-jeou]
Not Meet with [Chen Yunlin]"

The centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 220,000]
editorialized (10/30):

"... But the Beijing authorities must clearly realize that for the
Taiwan people, there is a priority with regard to their interests;
for them, the top priority is [Taiwan's] sovereignty. [Taiwan's]
sovereignty and dignity always come first, and no Taiwan people will
trade the sovereignty of their country for any benefit; they will
never do that, even if they are starving to death. As a result,
economic [benefits] and sovereignty are issues of two different
levels. ... By the same token, the Taiwan people's determination to
uphold [Taiwan's] sovereignty and dignity will not flinch under
[China's] intimidation; they are willing to sacrifice their lives to
safeguard their country. Taiwan has survived under Beijing's
military threats over the past decades, during which it underwent
certain missile crises, but the island's resolve to guard its
sovereignty and dignity will only grow stronger, not weaker. ...

"If the Beijing authorities are able truly to comprehend Taiwan's
popular sentiment, it should be aware that nothing can replace
dignity. If [ARATS Chairman] Chen Yunlin is unable to address Ma
Ying-jeou using the latter's title of 'president' during his meeting
with Ma, it will be unnecessary and inappropriate for the two to
meet. Ma is the leader elected by the Taiwan people and thus
represents [Taiwan's] national sovereignty. If he cannot be
addressed properly in his own territory, and if he is willing to be
called by other names such as 'Mr. Ma,' it will not be just Ma
himself who is treated indecently; Taiwan's sovereignty and dignity
will also be insulted. ..."


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