Cablegate: Media Reaction: President Obama's Trip to Asia,


DE RUEHIN #1352/01 3170944
R 130944Z NOV 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage November 13 on the Taiwan government's probe into the toxic
ducks found in Kaohsiung; on the APEC meetings currently going on in
Singapore; and on developments in cross-Strait relations. The
KMT-leaning "China Times" ran a banner headline on page three
reading "[U.S. President Barack] Obama to Arrive in Tokyo Today,
Will Expound [His] Asian Policy."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a column in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" discussed Obama's trip to Asia and
said relations between China and the United States have undergone a
substantive transformation compared with years ago. An op-ed in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" suggested that
Obama take a new approach and discuss clean air as a human rights
matter with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao. With regard to
cross-Strait relations, an editorial in the pro-independence
"Liberty Times" criticized President Ma Ying-jeou's plan to sign a
peace pact with Beijing within his term of office. The article said
the peace pact is nothing but a belated, formal surrender by the
Nationalist Party to the Chinese Communist Party. End summary.

3. President Obama's Trip to Asia

A) "Obama's Trip to Asia"

Columnist Antonio Chiang wrote in his column in the mass-circulation
"Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000] (11/13):

"The United States' influence in the Asia-Pacific region has been on
the decline, while China's influence in the area is growing day by
day. It is already too late if [U.S. President Barack] Obama wants
to take advantage of his nine-day trip to Asia to turn the tide.
But still, Asia has very high expectations for the Obama
administration, a situation quite different from that under the
[former] Bush administration. Ten years ago, [U.S. President Bill]
Clinton made a guarantee to the Congress, saying that Beijing's
accession to the World Trade Organization would strengthen
democratic power in China, and that economic freedom would
eventually lead to political freedom. Such a viewpoint has long
since become extinct. China has become the United States' biggest
creditor -- a kind of change that has made Washington's preaching to
China about human rights sound meaningless. By contrast, [Chinese
Premier] Wen Jiabao, speaking in an admonishing tone of a creditor
to debtor, openly urged the United States to 'keep its credit and
commitment so as to ensure the safety of Chinese assets.' It is
obvious that Sino-U.S. relations have undergone a substantive

"Sino-U.S. ties have turned into an equal and cooperative
relationship of the G2, and Obama needs Hu Jintao's assistance on
issues from North Korea and Iran to climate change. Both sides
share an active and optimistic relationship while there are no new
barriers emerging between them. Such a development differs
completely from the relations between the United States and Japan.

B) "Clean Air Is Key in Talks between Hu and Obama"

Zhu Zhiqun, an associate professor of political science and
international relations at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and
the University's John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur chair in East
Asian politics, opined in the pro-independence, English-language
"Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000] (11/13):

"When US President Barack Obama makes his first visit to China next
week, human rights is likely to be one of the major issues in his
talks with Chinese leaders. While it will be a great opportunity for
him to express his concerns for human rights in China, he should
address it with a different strategy and focus than past US leaders.
Instead of openly challenging the Chinese government on issues like
political freedom and Tibet, which are bound to anger Chinese
leaders and are not really helpful for improving human rights
conditions in China, Obama should promote the idea of clean air as a
human right. ...

"... If Obama continues to talk about human rights only through the
lens of political and religious freedom during his visit, he is
likely to alienate much of the Chinese public. Instead, he should
raise China's environmental degradation as a human rights issue and
offer the US' strong support for a better environment in China.
Clean air is a basic human right that all Chinese care about, but do
not have. ... The Obama-Hu meeting in Beijing will be a litmus test
of how serious they are in curbing greenhouse gases. To a large
extent, a successful Obama visit to China depends on whether the two
countries will agree to cooperate on clean air in China and

4. Cross-Strait Relations

"'Peace' Is Just Another [Way] to Sell Out Taiwan"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 680,000]
editorialized (11/13):

"President Ma Ying-jeou said recently that he is willing to try his
best to fulfill the signing of a peace pact with mainland China
within his term of office. President Ma used the so-called 1992
consensus to resume talks with China and bragged about the false
appearance of peace. [If he] tries 'his best to sign a peace pact
with mainland China,' Taiwan will certainly have to pay the price
with its sovereignty, except that Ma dared not say it so clearly.
The peace pact, as Ma envisions it, is not built on equal
state-to-state relations between Taiwan and China, but is a problem
left behind from the civil war between the Nationalist Party and the
Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Frankly speaking, such a peace
accord is a belated, formal surrender by the Nationalist Party to
the CCP. ... President Ma has not only betrayed those who insist on
Taiwan's sovereignty but also those who believe that he will
safeguard the Republic of China (ROC). Selling out Taiwan on the
one hand while betraying the ROC on the other, President Ma is not a
political moron but an ambitious schemer. ..."


© Scoop Media

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