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


DE RUEHIN #1250/01 2940956
R 210956Z OCT 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage October 21 on the controversy revolving around the Taiwan
government's plan to impose energy taxes two years from now; on the
Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) that Taiwan is
planning to sign with China; and on an unmanned aerial vehicle
developed by the National Cheng Kung University. Almost all major
Chinese-language papers reported on the speech by U.S. Assistant
Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell at a
seminar on Monday, in which he talked about the United States'
commitments to Taiwan.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a column in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" discussed President Ma Ying-jeou's
recent interview with Reuters, in which he said he would not exclude
the possibility of meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The
article lambasted Ma and said Ma's scheme is to sell out Taiwan by
fostering the island's unification with China. An editorial in the
KMT-leaning, China-focused "Want Daily," however, said that the
political dialogue between Ma and Hu is unavoidable and urged Ma to
ponder how his administration can talk with China to serve Taiwan's
best interests. An editorial in the conservative, pro-unification,
English-language "China Post" discussed a recent report in
Thursday's "Washington Times," which went nearly unnoticed by
Taiwan's media and politicians, saying that the authority to approve
sales of sensitive U.S. missiles and space technology has now been
transferred from the White House to the Commerce Department. The
article said the move "is widely expected to result in new sales of
highly sensitive American technology that will help Beijing improve
the accuracy and efficiency of its growing force of guided
missiles." End summary.

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A) "A Solemn Warning for Ma Ying-jeou!"

The "Free Talk" column in the pro-independence "Liberty Times"
[circulation: 680,000] wrote (10/21):

"... Ma Ying-jeou claimed that 'there is no timetable' for his
meeting with [Chinese President] Hu Jintao, in an attempt to
diminish the Taiwan people's doubts and backlash. But in reality,
his remark has all the more exposed his scheme to push for
[Taiwan's] unification [with China], because no timetable can also
mean that '[the meeting] can be held anytime;' as long as the KMT
and the Chinese Communist Party believe they can effectively
suppress the strong backlash from the Taiwan people, they will
likely go right ahead to hold the meeting.

"Judging from Ma's impatience in wanting to sign an Economic
Cooperation Framework Agreement with China, his move to toss off to
China the united front topic of [negotiating] a peace agreement, and
his constant flirting with China, it is obvious that Ma's thinking
has been completely dominated by the ideology of 'China first.' As
long as there is a way to foster ultimate unification, Ma will try
his utmost to promote it, even to the extent of dreaming crazily of
getting a Nobel Peace Prize award. ..."

B) "Political Dialogue between Ma Ying-jeou and Hu Jintao Is

The KMT-leaning, China-focused "Want Daily" [circulation: 10,000]
editorialized (10/21):

"... On the other hand, when the Bush administration established the
missile defense system in Europe in the name of coping with Iran, it
was actually a move in concert with the eastward expansion of NATO
to isolate Russia. The Obama administration has now renounced the
plan to set up a missile defense system in Eastern Europe and has
shifted its focus to Asia. Evidently [Washington's] move is aimed
at the rise of China. Beijing surely will endure tremendous
pressure, so it is in desperate need of peaceful and stable
cross-Strait relations. Given all these factors, the various
political issues concerning both sides of the Taiwan Strait have
gradually emerged since early this year.

"Taipei's 'cold' attitude in dealing with Beijing's offer of rescue
assistance in the wake of Typhoon Morakot, and the fact that it was
Ma himself who approved the visit by the Dalai Lama to Taiwan to
offer blessings [to the typhoon victims] have made Beijing all the
more convinced of the necessity of political dialogue [across the
Taiwan Strait]. [Beijing] hopes that both sides of the Taiwan
Strait can reach some kind of political commitment during Ma's first
term of office, which is at least sufficient to restrain the DPP,
should it come back to power, from walking toward the road of Taiwan
independence or from hindering cross-Strait stability.

"Beijing reportedly believes that with such a political guarantee,
even if the DPP comes back to power and repudiates the policy made
by the Ma administration, it will at least look like it is Taiwan
that has gone back on its word, and should any conflicts happen
between the two sides, Beijing will not be held responsible. In

other words, Beijing has prepared itself for the worst scenario just
to force Taipei into having political dialogue. .. For the Ma
administration, what it should be pondering now is not how to
procrastinate on the cross-Strait political dialogue (including the
Ma-Hu meeting), but how it can talk with Beijing so as to serve the
best interests of Taiwan and in the meantime contribute to the
peaceful rise of China. In this vein, Beijing is expected to
respond [to Taiwan] with its best intentions."

C) "Missile Threat out of Washington?"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (10/21):

"Over the past two weeks, leaders of the opposition Democratic
Progressive Party have made a huge cry over the growing threat
caused by the ever-increasing number of missiles and high-technology
weapons in Beijing's arsenal. ... For all of the noise they have
been making and alarms they have been sounding, DPP politicians have
completely missed the boat when it comes to raising public concern
about the military threat from mainland China. That's because as
things turned out, the gravest threat to our defense from Beijing's
missiles has emerged not in Beijing, but in Washington. According
to a report published in Thursday's Washington Times, U.S. President
Barack Obama recently delegated the White House's authority to
approve sales of sensitive U.S. missile and space technology to the
Commerce Department. ...

"The move is widely expected to result in new sales of highly
sensitive American technology that will help Beijing improve the
accuracy and efficiency of its growing force of guided missiles.
The Commerce Department has insisted that any proposed sales will be
closely screened just as they were when authority was still with the
White House. But the fact of the matter is that now that this power
has been transferred to the Commerce Department, security experts
and advisers working in the White House will no longer play a
meaningful role in reviewing the sales. The Department of Commerce,
which is more concerned with boosting U.S. exports and creating
jobs, will take over the task of evaluating whether such sales would
improve Beijing's military capabilities. Taiwan's security is not a
major issue in this department. ...

"In Taipei, the Ministry of Defense should explain whether the
government here was ever consulted by Washington about this
important decision affecting our national security. It is the job
of the military attach to our de facto embassy in Washington to
keep an eye on this kind of development and ensure that our opinions
are heard. If we were consulted about the decision and President
Obama made it in spite of our recommendations, then there is nothing
more the government here could have done. ... But for all of the
connections they boast of having in Washington, including a
top-notch pro-Taiwan independence lobbying organization, the DPP has
failed to warn the public about the great danger associated with
reopening U.S. sales of sensitive missile and space technologies to
mainland China. Indeed, this important policy change only came to
light after it appeared in a single American newspaper. Now that
the decision has been made, it is highly unlikely that anything
Taiwan has to say can put this cat back into the bag."


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