Cablegate: Media Reaction: North Korea, U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations
DE RUEHIN #1040/01 2390923
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270923Z AUG 09
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2197
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 9356
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0786
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001040
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/P, EAP/PD - THOMAS HAMM
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: NORTH KOREA, U.S.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS
1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage August 27 on the rapid spread of the H1N1 virus in Taiwan
and the Taiwan government's plan to cope with the threat of the
epidemic; on the possible visit by the Dalai Lama to Taiwan to pray
for the victims of Typhoon Morakot; and on U.S. Senator Edward
Kennedy, who passed away in Massachusetts Tuesday. In terms of
editorials and commentaries, a column in the KMT-leaning "China
Times" predicted that the Six-Party talks will survive in name only,
and the United States and North Korea will hold bilateral talks to
resolve their problems. An op-ed piece in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times," on the other hand, discussed the
United States' humanitarian assistance for Taiwan in the wake of
Typhoon Morakot. The article said if Washington could "mobilize so
quickly for disaster relief efforts, then of course it could do the
same in the event of conflict [in the Taiwan Strait]." End summary.
2. North Korea
"The Six-Party Talks Will Survive in Name Only"
The "International Lookout" column in the KMT-leaning "China Times"
[circulation: 120,000] wrote (8/27):
"Will the Six-Party talks on the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue
continue to survive in the future? It is a complex issue, but if
one has to make a generalized conclusion about the matter, one can
say that the Six-Party talks will survive in name only. Only in
this way can the barriers to talks between the United States and
North Korea be removed. ... The spokesman for the U.S. State
Department made an honest comment yesterday: 'We cannot take away
the rights of the other four parties, [because] this is a regional
security issue.' The United States can ignore China and Russia, but
it has to care about Japan and South Korea. Let's just imagine:
Will the two 'allies' -- Japan and South Korea -- trust the United
States faithfully if the latter completely bypasses them? As a
result, Japan and South Korea must be involved in the nuclear issue
on the Korean Peninsula [in one way or another], even if their
rights [to the issue] are confirmed retroactively afterwards, or
they are forced to acknowledge the conclusions reached in the
bilateral talks [between Washington and Pyongyang] in the future.
"If Washington talks to Pyongyang about such a difficult [matter],
the latter will have to take notice of the United States' position.
In any case, it will be like putting on a show. Consequently, the
structure of the Six-Party talks will remain. On the surface, the
talks will act like the key to resolving the problem, but in
reality, the United States and North Korea will be able to act
freely -- they can call a Six-Party meeting if they have some
announcements to make, and they can keep it confidential if they
don't. No matter whether the bilateral talks will succeed or not,
the Six-Party talks will have to swallow whatever results [from the
bilateral talks] anyway."
3. U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations
"Disasters Tell Us Who Our Friends Really Are"
Media commentator James Wang opined in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000] (8/27):
"The government is asking the public not to 'overinterpret' its
negligent handling of the disaster relief effort in southern Taiwan
and its initial rejection of foreign aid before accepting US
assistance. President Ma Ying-jeou, however, insists that US
assistance is a sign of restored trust between Taiwan and the US.
The unspoken implication, of course, is that if former president
Chen Shui-bian and his administration had still been in power, the
US would have stood by and watched Taiwanese die. ...
"The US' actions and a number of phrases used by its officials, such
as 'humanitarian assistance' and assisting 'the Taiwanese people,'
as well as a statement that there is 'no need to inform China,'
highlight the significance of this assistance. The Taiwan Relations
Act (TRA) stipulates that the US shall 'resist any resort to force
or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or
the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan,' making it a
matter of legal implementation. The US does not recognize Taiwan as
part of the People's Republic of China, so it does not have to
inform China of its actions. The US' disaster aid gives a clear
response to the question of who Taiwan's friends and enemies really
are. The US makes no territorial claims on Taiwan, and the TRA
provides unilateral protection for Taiwan's security and well-being,
while China wishes to annex Taiwan, with its 'Anti-Secession' Law
threatening the use of force. ...
"The US' display was also a show of strength as far as China's
military was concerned. If the US could mobilize so quickly for
disaster relief efforts, then of course it could do the same in the
event of conflict. ... The significance of the US' disaster aid
does not lie in mutual trust. Instead, it proves the folly of the
government's policy to move closer to China and distance itself from
the US. The TRA allows the US to assist Taiwan, and the US is the
friend that will help to protect Taiwanese freedom and democracy."