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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Dalai Lama's Taiwan Visit, Japan's

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1063/01 2440843
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 010843Z SEP 09
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2227
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 9367
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0797

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001063

SIPDIS

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: DALAI LAMA'S TAIWAN VISIT, JAPAN'S
ELECTIONS

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage September 1 on China's reaction to the visit by the Dalai
Lama to Taiwan; on the "surprising" results of the KMT's primary for
the year-end Hualien County Magistrate election; and on the H1N1
epidemic in Taiwan. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an
op-ed in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily" discussed the Dalai
Lama's visit to Taiwan and said the Green camp appears to be the
winner while the Blue camp has made substantive gains from the Dalai
Lama's visit. An editorial in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" lashed out at President Ma Ying-jeou
and called him a "puppet" in handling the Dalai Lama's visit to
Taiwan and cross-Strait relations. With regard to the landslide
victory of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in
nationwide elections Sunday, an op-ed in the pro-unification "United
Daily News" said DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama will seek to form an
equilateral strategic triangle among the United States, Japan and
China. A column in the KMT-leaning "China Times" also discussed the
future direction of Japan's foreign policy and said the DPJ will
draw itself farther away from Washington but closer to Beijing so as
to balance the current situation and pursue Japan's own interests in
its relations between the United States and China. An editorial in
the pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" said the rise
to power of the DPJ "may affect the U.S.-Japan security
relationship" and suggested that the DPP counteract possible efforts
by Beijing and the KMT to take Taiwan out from under the U.S.-Japan
security umbrella. End summary.

2. Dalai Lama's Taiwan Visit

A) "Green [Camp] Saves Its Face While the Blue [Camp] Makes
Substantive Gains"

Professor Chen Mao-hsiung from National Sun Yat-sen University's
Department of Electrical Engineering opined in the mass-circulation
"Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000] (8/31):

"... For the United States, it hopes that the status quo will be
maintained and no conflicts will emerge in the Taiwan Strait. If it
were [Taiwan's] ruling party that came forth and invited the Dalai
Lama to visit Taiwan, not only would cross-Strait relations go
downhill, but also the United States would face a dilemma. But this
time it was the opposition party that made the invitation, and the
ruling party also did something appropriate to draw a clear line
between itself and the Dalai Lama -- a move that not only justified
its decision [to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan] but also
saved the United States from getting into any trouble. ... The
international media firmly believes that the Dalai Lama's visit to
Taiwan will step on the red line drawn by China, [but] that was
because they do not understand the confrontation between the Green
[camp] and the Blue [camp] in Taiwan and the triangular relationship
between the two camps and China. The stronger the Green camp [tries
to] push, the [more] it will draw the Ma administration and China
closer together. Only when the Ma administration tries proactively
to let Taiwan be annexed by China, will the actions by the Green
camp become a [force for] resistance. If the goal of the Ma
administration is to maintain the status quo [across the Taiwan
Strait], the antagonism between the DPP and China will, on the
contrary, create room for the Ma administration to [maneuver] and
bargain [with China]; as a result, the DPP's actions can be regarded
as aiding [Ma]."

B) "Now the Punishment Begins"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (9/1):

"... Beijing also had to act because of its global propaganda
strategy to isolate the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan cause. Muted,
targeted criticism, with an indirect snipe at Ma through its boycott
of the Deaflympics' opening ceremony, was its only option. While it
needs Ma to remain in power and to be able to effect pro-China
policies such as an economic cooperation framework agreement,
Beijing is also using the Dalai Lama's visit to remind Ma who is in
charge. Consequently, Beijing will likely tell the Ma administration
that while it was willing to show flexibility by not reacting too
strongly to the visit, the price for this would come in the form of
concessions -- by Taiwan.

"This development suggests that Ma is in a vicious circle. He is
forced to make political decisions based not on his Cabinet's
assessment of what is best for the country, but as unavoidable
concessions to activist elements such as Morakot victims, the DPP
and Beijing. It's even worse if a president has to make a
concession to mitigate the harm done by a previous concession, as
could happen after Beijing seeks to cash in on its "goodwill" in not
retaliating over the Dalai Lama's visit. When political imperatives
are driven by external forces -- as is the case here -- a president
is no longer a leader. He's a puppet."
ELECTIONS


3. Japan's Elections

A) "Last Wishes of [DPJ Leader] Yukio Hatoyama's Grandfather --
Multilateral, Independent Diplomacy [for Japan]"

Professor He Sishen from Fu Jen Catholic University's Department of
Japanese Studies opined in the pro-unification "United Daily News"
[circulation: 400,000] (9/1):

"... Even though the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will sense more
acutely the pressure from the United States in the wake of its
victory, ... the DPJ will still highlight in its foreign policy [the
need to] construct an equal partnership with the United States. To
accomplish such a goal, Japan will have to strengthen its relations
with its neighboring countries in East Asia, in particular, its
relations with China. It is expected that Sino-Japan relations will
continue to advance after the DPJ takes over the helm. ...

"Yet if the United States, in its increasing need to work with China
on various international issues, tries to push Japan toward China,
there will be more chances for the 'U.S.-Japan-China leaders'
summit,' currently advocated by Japan, to be held. Needless to say,
the DPJ will try to avoid the possibility of allowing the United
States to replace Japan with China; instead, while seeking to make
Japan get rid of its reliance on the United States, the DPJ will
take advantage of its relations with China to build leverage for its
relations with the United States and thus create an equilateral
strategic triangle among the United States, Japan and China. ..."

B) "The Foreign Diplomacy Direction of the Democratic Party of
Japan"

The "International Lookout" column in the KMT-leaning "China Times"
[circulation: 120,000] wrote (8/31):

"The landslide victory of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in
nationwide elections Sunday was something expected. What one needs
to pay attention to should be the future direction of Japan's
[foreign] policy. What deserves [our] attention are: First, is
Japan moving toward a [diplomatic] objective of a multilateral
approach that [links itself more closely] with the world, or it will
still retain its unilateral [direction] of looking up to the United
States? Second, will it change its previous thinking of 'getting
out of Asia' and return to [join] Asia? Third, how is Japan going
to deal with its relations with the United States and China? Will
it possibly emphasize the trilateral cooperation among the United
States, China and Japan? ...

"A plain and simple observation [shows that] the DPJ government will
draw itself a little farther away from the United States and a
little bit closer to China, in an attempt to balance the current
situation and to pursue Japan's own interests [in its relations
with] China and the United States. [It appears that the] DPJ has
not yet thought of forming an alliance among the United States,
China and Japan."

C) "DPJ Triumph Offers Challenge for Taiwan"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (9/1):

"Japan experienced its most dramatic political turnabout in decades
Sunday when the opposition centric (sic) Democratic Party of Japan
scored a landslide victory over the long-ruling conservative Liberal
Democratic party in lower house Diet elections, a triumph that will
pave the way for DPJ President Hatoyama Yukio to become the first
non LDP prime minister in 16 years. ... At the same time, the rise
to power of the DPJ, which has opposed the dispatch of Japan
Self-defense Naval Forces to the Indian Ocean and closer relations
with the PRC and other Asian neighbors, may affect the United
States-Japan security relationship. In the past, Tokyo had always
followed Washington's lead in exchange for protection by America's
"nuclear umbrella," but the DPJ has already indicated that it has no
intention of continuing this slavish mentality in the future and
will have its own strategic thinking that will reflect the national
interests of Japan and its people, even though it will not consider
abolishing the 2006 U.S.-Japan agreement on the adjustment of U.S.
force deployment.

"Whether the DPJ, which has good ties with the DPP, will also adjust
the content of the U.S.-Japan security relationship to exclude
Taiwan is unlikely, but by no means inconceivable. Since the KMT,
and hard-line "independence" proponents in the DPP, have
traditionally had closer ties with LDP and other elements of the
Japanese right-wing, the sudden rise to power of the center-left DPJ
will leave the rightist KMT government under China-centric President
Ma Ying-jeou in a rather awkward position. ... The DPP should jump
ELECTIONS

to rise out of such narcissism and realize that the DPJ's example
shows that center-left grassroots parties can defeat rich and
rightist one party dominant parties in single seat district
parliamentary elections. Moreover, only active initiatives to
promote dialogue with DPJ parliamentarians by the DPP can counteract
possible efforts by both Beijing and Ma's China-centric KMT
administration to take Taiwan out of the U.S.-Japan security
umbrella and into the PRC's orbit. Proactive party diplomacy on the
DPP's part is essential now to help ensure that the first real
change of skies (sic) in Tokyo in over five decades will lead to
greater strategic independence from both the PRC and the U.S. and
the promotion of interests of Japan's people in terms of the values
of democracy and social justice."

STANTON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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