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

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1752 3540534
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 190534Z DEC 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0591
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8805
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0265

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001752

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.-TAIWAN RELATIONS

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage December 19 on the judges' ruling to uphold the earlier
decision to release former President Chen Shui-bian without bail; on
the cabinet's unveiling of sample consumption vouchers; and on the
crash-landing in southern Taiwan of a United States-built Chinook
helicopter of Taiwan's army. In terms of editorials and
commentaries, an editorial in the pro-independence, English-language
"Taiwan News" pointed out several flaws in the Ma Ying-jeou
Administration's defense concept and urged that the Administration
consult closely with the United States and Japan on Taiwan's
defense.

"Taiwan Needs Caution in Military Rform"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" circulation:
20,000 editorialized (12/18):

"... There are worrisome flaws in Ma's defense concept.

"First, the KMT president's calls for a 'diplomatic truce' or a
reduction or elimination of the over 1,000 missiles deployed by the
PRC military across from Taiwan have gone unheeded, and Beijing
continues to insist on its 'one-China principle,' which arrogantly
posits that Taiwan is part of the PRC, and refuses to renounce the
use of force against Taiwan to ensure 'unification.'

"Second, China's economic rise may be creating business
opportunities but it is also fueling the continued double-digit
expansion of the PRC's military budget that is spurring the
exacerbation of a dangerous imbalance in military force capabilities
in the Taiwan Strait.

"Moreover, there is no certainty that China's economic development
will lead to political democratization or social stability in the
PRC itself. There are also no guarantees that future Chinese
governments, democratic or otherwise, will respect the independence
of Taiwan or the right of free choice of Taiwan's 23 million people
to determine their own national identity or destiny.

"Moreover, Taiwan's military development and defense strategy are
deeply intertwined with democratic allies such as the U.S. and Japan
and their security partners in the Asia-Pacific region, all of whom
will be shocked and discomfited if Taiwan does not consult with them
before retreating from 'active defense' to 'passive defense.'

"Combined with the spreading of illusions that 'peace is breaking
out' in the Taiwan Strait, such a unilateral decision could well
reduce the willingness of Washington and Tokyo to assist Taiwan
defend itself from possible PRC intimidation or active threats if
the touted cross-strait reconciliation falters. ..."

YOUNG

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