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Cablegate: Media Reaction: G-20 Summit

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1622 3230834
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 180834Z NOV 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0389
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8748
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0201

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001622

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: G-20 SUMMIT

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage November 18 on the Cabinet's plan to issue consumption
vouchers to the general public; on the controversy of the four
agreements signed recently between Taiwan and China; and on the
state of former President Chen Shui-bian's health after Chen started
a hunger strike subsequent to his detention. In terms of editorials
and commentaries, an op-ed in the pro-unification "United Daily
News" said Chinese President Hu Jintao attended the G-20 Summit
because he wants to obtain a better understanding of U.S.
President-elect Barack Obama and the latest U.S. political
situation. An editorial in the conservative, pro-unification,
English-language "China Post" criticized the United States for being
the culprit of the global financial crisis, but one can only wait
until President-elect of the United States Barack Obama assumes
office to solve the problem. End summary.

A) "Obama, Hu Jintao, Will There Be Sparks Coming out When They
Meet?"

Chen Yu-chun, a Taiwan academic now working as a senior research
fellow at China's Tsinghua University, opined in the pro-unification
"United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (11/18):

"[Chinese President] Hu Jintao recently attended the summit
initiated by [U.S. President George W.] Bush to tackle the financial
crisis. Hu did so first because of China's position in the global
economic system nowadays, and second because he wanted to use this
opportunity to obtain a better understanding of the latest U.S.
political situation and to observe [U.S. president-elect] Barack
Obama more closely. For Hu, Obama will be his rival in wrestling
for power over the next four years. As a result, Obama's
understanding of China, his views about geopolitics, U.S. power and
the international system have all added to make Beijing feel that it
is necessary to evaluate the possible challenges the Obama
Administration might pose to Chinese power. ...

"Finally, of course there is the Taiwan issue and the U.S. arms
sales to Taiwan. Even though both Beijing and Washington emphasize
the importance peaceful dialogue across the Taiwan Strait, U.S.
strategic interests lie with 'no unification and no independence,'
whereas China's national strategic goal is to 'oppose independence
and facilitate unification.' Evidently potential dangerous clashes
lie [ahed]. The Obama camp has stressed the importance of the
Taiwan Relations Act, but there are two kinds of views [within the
camp]: One believes that [Washington] can restrain its arms sales
to Taiwan, and the other advocates that [Washington] play the Taiwan
card to restrain China. Beijing, in particular the Chinese
military, is opposed to the Taiwan Relations Act. Even though Hu
expressed his expectations for [the future of] Sino-U.S. relations
when Obama was elected, both sides are still in the break-in
process; whether sparks will fly between the two is an uncertainty
factor."

B) "Waiting for Obama to Lead"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (11/18):

"The emergency meeting of world leaders in Washington over the
weekend was a success because everybody who should be there was
there and a failure because its goal, producing a plan to arrest the
worsening global financial crisis, was beyond reach. Not that the
20 presidents or prime ministers did not have plans to tackle the
crisis, but because the host country, the world's undisputed leader
since WWII, did not have a clear leader to take charge -President
Bush is leaving office in 60 days and it is unconstitutional for
president-elect Barack Obama to step in before Bush leaves. So the
world's worst financial crisis in 80 years must wait. ...

"The leaders also agreed that a dramatic failure of market oversight
in 'some advanced countries' was among the root causes of the
financial crisis, an implicit rebuke of the United States. ... The
final communique was significant in what it did not include. There
was no mention of the creation of a global financial market enforcer
as demanded by emerging countries but opposed by the U.S."

YOUNG

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