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

VZCZCXYZ0010
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1227 2870941
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140941Z OCT 09
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2488
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 9438
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0852

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001227

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: U.S.-TAIWAN RELATIONS

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage October 14 on American International Group (AIG) Inc's
announcement Tuesday that it will sell its stake in a Taiwan life
insurance company to a Hong Kong-based financial holding company;
and on a controversy involving the Taipei City Government and a DPP
city councilor over the security of a gondola in Taipei. The
pro-unification "United Daily News" ran an exclusive news story on
page six with a banner headline reading: "Opening [Taiwan's Market]
to U.S. Bone-in Beef, 'Hopefully before the End of this Year.'" In
terms of editorials and commentaries, an op-ed in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" discussed what it believes to be
President Ma Ying-jeou's "serious" tilting toward China. The
article cited several cases, including AIT Director William
Stanton's reported remarks on former President Chen Shui-bian's
legal case during his recent visit to Taiwan's Minister of Justice
Wang Ching-feng, and the Ma administration's alleged attempt to
refuse U.S. rescue and relief assistance in the wake of Typhoon
Morakot in early August, and concluded that Taiwan's badly tilting
toward China has finally made the United States see the true face of
Ma. End summary.

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"Ma Ying-jeou Putting the United States Ill at Ease"

Columnist Paul Lin opined in the pro-independence "Liberty Times"
[circulation: 680,000] (10/14):

"The U.S. government had felt much relieved initially when Ma
Ying-jeou assumed the presidency, as relations across the Taiwan
Strait had greatly improved as a result of Ma's pro-Beijing policy.
Yet the follow-on development was not the case because [Ma's]
tilting toward the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has become
surrendering himself to the CCP. [Such a development] has kept the
United States on its toes, which can be illustrated by several
events happened lately.

"New AIT Taipei Office Director William Stanton said during his
visit to Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng on September 30 that
some people outside Taiwan have different views about the legal
cases of [former President] Chen Shui-bian. Why did Stanton want to
comment on Bian's case and run the 'risk of intervening with
Taiwan's internal affairs'? Obviously it was because the United
States felt that it is no longer a purely judicial issue. ... The
editorial in the September issue of 'Taiwan Business Topics'
published by the American Chamber of Commerce also indicated that
Taiwan should strengthen its relations with the United States while
improving cross-Strait relations, because the United States is
Taiwan's most important ally in the international community. ...
Prior to that, Ma's [attempt to] 'eliminate the Green [staffers]' in
the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) had caused the National
Endowment for Democracy supported by the U.S. Congress to write to
Ma, hoping that FOD's independence and quality work would not be
thus jeopardized.

"What did such events tell us? Not only has Ma lost balance in his
handling of [Taiwan's] relations with the United States and with
China, but these events are related to the regression of the basic
values that must be upheld by [Taiwan as] a democratic country.
What made the United States most uncomfortable was the fact that in
the wake of Typhoon Morakot in early August, Ma had sought to stop
U.S. rescue personnel [from coming to Taiwan] on the one hand and
attempted, on the other hand, to allow the People's Liberation Army
(PLA) to come to conduct rescue operations in Taiwan. Until now Ma
has yet to clearly explain what really happened then. ...

"Taiwan's serious tilting toward the Communist Party has made the
American people come to realize Ma's true face. In order to
reinforce Taiwan-U.S. relations, a 'Liberty Times' news report
recently quoted sources from Washington as saying that the Obama
administration has completed an internal policy review toward Taiwan
and is planning to send Eric Shinseki, the Secretary of Veterans
Affairs and a four-star Japanese-American general, to visit Taiwan
in the spring of 2010 -- a move that will break the record that no
Cabinet officials from the Bush administration ever visited Taiwan.
The move will certainly make the PLA, which is aimed at defeating
American Imperialism and liberating Taiwan, ill at ease, and it will
make Ma, who is joining hands with the CCP to restrain Taiwan,
uncomfortable. But with his green card and other relevant
information held in the hands of the U.S. government, will Ma dare
to make the United States uncomfortable just to make China feel
good? ..."

STANTON

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