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Cablegate: Media Reaction: President Obama's Speech in Tokyo

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1356 3192342
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 152342Z NOV 09
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2714
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 9500
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0905

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001356

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: PRESIDENT OBAMA'S SPEECH IN TOKYO

1. Summary: On November 15, all of Taiwan's major Chinese-language
and English-language dailies reported on U.S. President Barack
Obama's speech delivered Saturday in Tokyo, while some put a special
emphasis on Obama's remarks regarding China. The pro-independence
"Liberty Times" ran a banner headline on its international news
page, reading "Obama's Trip to Asia: Regarding Itself as a Pacific
Nation, the United States Reiterates [Its] Commitment to Security in
the Asia Pacific." Headlines in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily,"
pro-unification "United Daily News," and the China-focused "Want
Daily" all said that Obama "affirms China's rise without mentioning
Taiwan." Two papers -- the "Liberty Times" and "Apple Daily" --
also carried excerpts of Obama's speech.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "United Daily News"
analysis said Obama's speech sketched a blueprint showing that he
will adopt a policy to promote closer ties with Asia than the
previous Bush administration. But the article also said Obama's
remarks on the rise of China and his failure to discuss China's
military threats to the region and some negative factors in
U.S.-China relations, such as human rights and the Tibet issue, will
likely draw concerns from those who pay close attention to regional
security and development. End summary.

A) "Roping in Asia: Obama Changes First While China's Human Rights
[Situation] Remains Unchanged"

Washington correspondent Vincent Chang noted in an analysis in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (11/15):

"In his speech delivered in Tokyo, U.S. President Barack Obama
declared that the United States is also a 'Pacific nation' and will
engage more proactively in Asia-Pacific affairs. Obama used this
keynote [speech] to sketch the contours of his administrations'
policy that [will promote] closer ties with Asia than [did] the
previous Bush administration. Obama, the first black U.S. president
who was elected by attracting many people with his campaign slogan
'change' last year, has used real actions to 'change' step by step
the long overlooked [U.S. relationship with] Asian-Pacific nations,
which were originally lagging behind as a priority in U.S. foreign
policy. Chances are that Obama, who is well connected with Asia,
will become the U.S. president who has attached the greatest
importance to the security and development in the Asia Pacific
region over the past few decades. ...

"For Asia, at least there is a U.S. president who no longer 'pays
more attention to Europe than Asia' for now -- a 'change' that
should be highly valued. But 'changes' also appeared when it comes
to [the United States'] relations with China, except that Obama
himself did not attempt to change China, but that China has
effortlessly changed Obama and the United States he leads. Obama
talked a lot about China in his speech, but he merely focused on
partnership rather than the differences between the two nations; he
only discussed positive developments in the bilateral relationship
while either not mentioning or merely lightly touching on those
negative factors. ...

"Obama reiterated that the United States will not [seek to] contain
China, and he enthusiastically talked about strengthening military
exchanges with China right in front of Japan. He also stated
[openly] that 'the rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a
source of strength for the community of nations.' Perhaps not many
countries in the international community, particularly in the
Asia-Pacific region, will truly echo such an 'open statement of true
sentiments.' What is even more incredible was that Obama has shrunk
back from issues such as Chinas human rights, religion and the Tibet
issue. ...

"In addition, it may not be necessary for Obama to mention Taiwan in
his speech, but to everyone's surprise, he has totally overlooked
China's military threats to other countries in the region. As a
result, should Obama keep such a tone when he visits China on
November 15, the content of the joint statement he is to issue
jointly with Chinese President Hu Jintao will perhaps leave no room
for expectations, or will even draw concerns from those who are
concerned about China and regional security and development."


STANTON

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