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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1231 2880958
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 150958Z OCT 09
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2493
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 9439
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0853

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001231

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. ARMS SALES TO TAIWAN

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage October 15 on developments in cross-Strait relations, and
the year-end city mayors' and country magistrates' elections in
Taiwan. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an op-ed in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" discussed the U.S. National Defense
Authorization Bill, which was recently passed by the U.S. Congress,
and U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. The article said the fact that U.S.
President Barack Obama has yet to express his stance on U.S. arms
sales to Taiwan indicates that Obama still has doubts about the
development of cross-Strait relations. End summary.

"Obama Being a Drag on Ma Ying-jeou"

Professor Emerson Chang, Director of Nan Hua University's Department
of International Studies, opined in the mass-circulation "Apple
Daily" [circulation: 520,000] (10/15):

"A joint congressional session of the U.S. Congress recently passed
the finalized version of the '2010 National Defense Authorization
Bill,' in which Article No. 1226, which has been approved separately
by the Senate and the House three months ago, was removed -- a rare
move indeed. This article is related to strengthening Taiwan's air
force, and its sudden deletion not only will cast a shadow over
Taiwan-U.S. relations but will also generate a profound impact on
the security in East Asia. ... This provision was removed while a
final version [of the bill] was being discussed at the joint
congressional session, and [the bill] was passed by Congress and
will take effect soon with the approval of the U.S. president. This
development must be a result of the strategic and diplomatic
maneuvering of the White House. During the 'U.S.-China Strategic
and Economic Dialogue' in late July, [U.S. President Barack] Obama
emphasized that he had great hopes for Sino-U.S. cooperation on
financial, trade, environmental protection, health, military,
anti-terrorism and non-nuclear proliferation issues. During his
planned trip to Asia in November, Obama will visit China for the
first time. In order to create a good ambiance for Sino-U.S.
cooperation, [we have also seen] similar moves [from the United
States] such as postponing the sale of three weapons systems to
Taiwan (the submarine design, general purpose helicopters, and two
sets of PAC III missiles), refusing to meet with the Dalai Lama, and
stopping the Congress from pushing for arms sales to Taiwan. ...

"... It has been nearly a year since Obama took over the helm, but
the procrastination [over U.S.] arms sales [to Taiwan] has become a
normal state. Along with stalled Taiwan-U.S. relations, it appears
that the United States is re-evaluating and re-defining its
interests in East Asia. Obama's move to stop the Congress from
taking action [to push for U.S. arms sales to Taiwan] was not simply
an action based on his personal considerations -- namely, to prevent
the room for his strategic planning as a president from being
restricted; instead, it has something to do with China's rise and
the United States' need to work with China on certain international
issues. Nonetheless, how the Ma administration has been sizing up
and adjusting its relations with the United States and with China
also played a critical role. ... The fact that Obama has yet to
express his stance on U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and his move to stop
the Congress from doing so indicates that there are still doubts on
Obama's side regarding cross-Strait relations and the importance of
the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Washington's doubts will likely
increase rather than decrease if the Ma administration chooses to
downplay the issue."

STANTON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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