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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China, Climate, Mideast, Fao-Summit,

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SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-CHINA, CLIMATE, MIDEAST, FAO-SUMMIT,
EU;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (U.S.-China) Obama Visit
3. (Climate) Copenhagen Conference
4. (Mideast) Peace Process, Palestinian State
5. (Environment) FAO Summit Meeting
6. (EU) Future President


1. Lead Stories Summary

Primetime TV newscasts Heute and Tagesschau opened with the
beginning
of the meeting at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.

Newspapers led with diverse stories, including President Obama's
visit
to China, GM, climate protection, and student protests. Editorials

focused on many different issues.

2. (U.S.-China) Obama Visit

All media (11/17) carried prominent reports on President Obama's
visit
to China, highlighting that he emphasized the significance of human

rights and the advantages of an uncensored Internet during a town
hall
with students in Shanghai. Frankfurter Allgemeine led with the
headline: "Obama urges China to be more open and generous," and
Sddeutsche headlined its lead story: "Obama flatters China-U.S.
President praises Beijing as an equal partner and avoids direct
criticism of human rights violations." Media also report that the
President assured his audience that America would not try to contain

China's rise. "We welcome China as a strong, prosperous and
successful member of the community of nations," Frankfurter
Allgemeine
quotes Obama as saying.

ZDF-TV's Heute (11/16) newscast reported this morning: "During his
visit to China, U.S. President Obama met with President Hu Jintao
for
a second time to discuss economic relations. "Both countries must
appropriately resolve their trade tensions," Hu Jintao commented
after
the meeting. The talks also focused on political topics. In a
speech
to students, Obama called on China to respect human rights.
ZDF-TV's
correspondent in China Johannes said: "Barack Obama went down very
well with young people. Many even said 'we would like him to be our

president.' This was too much for censors and those statements were

deleted right away. Barack Obama made a good impression
particularly
on young people."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/17) editorialized on its front-page:
"Little Strokes Fell Great Oaks. For years, U.S. Presidents have
been
talking about human rights when they visited China. Sometimes, they

are even allowed to do this in public. Nobody knows whether this is

understood. China has seen massive changes, but the state
leadership

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remains stubborn on individual freedoms. It is therefore strange
that
Americans were disappointed that President Obama's statements in
Shanghai were not broadcast throughout China. Why should Beijing
risk
this? The leadership would have shown true greatness and
strength....
But this is not how China works. Criticism has been falling on deaf

ears in the Chinese government for a long time. The weak giant
suddenly is very strong, knowing that the world needs its economic
and
political participation."

Sddeutsche (11/17) opined: "The truth is that there is no
alternative
to finding a compromise with the surly regime in Beijing. Obama's
predecessor quickly learned that confrontation does not get you
anywhere. There is little hope that Obama's soft ball game will
achieve what so many before him have not achieved: luring China's
leadership to accept more freedoms for its people. However, it's
worth a try."

Frankfurter Allgemeine's (11/17) front page editorial noted: "China

benefits from the exchange rate to the dollar, and it does not even

think about giving up this advantage by a gesture of solidarity
towards trade partners.... China has been talking about a
harmonized
world for some time. We hear the words, we just cannot believe
them.
Towards Barack Obama, who is most credible when it comes to
goodwill,
Beijing is currently demonstrating that harmony means that the outer

world should not make demands on China. Whenever China is
constructive (as in the case of North Korea), it is because of its
own
rationale, not because somebody abroad would like to see it. This
would not be too bad, however, we do not have any guarantee that
China
is willing to be constructive, e.g. in climate policy issues."

Die Welt (11/17) remarked in an editorial: "Barack Obama is seeing
the
beginning of the transpacific age, which will succeed the
transatlantic age that has dominated world politics for 60 years.
There will be no way around China anymore, although the country
still
has enormous shortcomings concerning its civil society and has not
yet
come to terms with itself. Only because of its economic power and
its
appetite for energy, China cannot be ignored. Beijing's state
capitalism with the undervaluation of the Yuan results in excellent

export returns. This makes China the biggest creditor of the U.S.
and
inevitably produces unpleasant dependencies."

3. (Climate) Copenhagen Conference

All papers (11/17) reported that Chancellor Merkel will travel to
Copenhagen to attend the climate summit. Sueddeutsche headlined:
"Merkel To Travel to Climate Summit - Chancellor Wants to 'Get the
Maximum out of Summit Meeting' in Copenhagen." In a lengthy report


BERLIN 00001458 003 OF 007


the paper wrote under the headline: "Merkel Dissatisfied with
Climate
Talks," that "Chancellor Merkel criticized the preparations for the

Copenhagen global climate summit. Deputy government spokesman
Christoph Steegmans said that the results that have been known so
far
'have not caused great euphoria.' He added that this is a reason
why
Chancellor Merkel would travel to the UN climate summit in
Copenhagen.
Thus far, Merkel only said that she would travel to Copenhagen, if
the
results were 'promising.' Steegmans added that Merkel's decision
stressed her will to 'make Copenhagen a success' and to 'to get the

maximum out of it.'"

Tagesspiegel carried a lengthy report headlined: "EU Insists on
Ambitious Climate Protection Goals," and wrote: "The EU appealed to

the United States and the big threshold countries to approve
ambitious
climate protection goals at the global climate conference in
Copenhagen. The EU said that, even though it would no longer be
possible to adopt a legally binding climate protection agreement, a

negotiating framework should be finalized with clear targets for the

reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the financing of climate
protection in developing nations."

ARD-TV's late evening newscast Tagesthemen (11/16) broadcast the
following commentary: "There are also different approaches than the

current one for the Copenhagen conference. For the rescue of banks

and states, for economic stimulus programs, governments quickly
established close links. They demonstrated solidarity at the
international level and offered billions of euros for rescue
programs.
Prosperity should not melt away. And what about glaciers? We are
damned to pursue a sustainable development. But the others should
go
first, but where? To Noah's Ark?"

Norddeutscher Rundfunk radio of Hamburg (11/16) aired the following

commentary: "How can the Copenhagen summit turn into a success?
With
such an approach it can no longer become a success. This is a
disappointing end of a promising climate year. The omens at the
beginning of the year have never been as promising. As climate
chancellor, Angela Merkel paved the way for the EU, and President
Obama, when entering office, promised the world a U.S. climate
change
[policy], but the U.S. president has failed. His slimmed down
climate
bill is likely to be adopted only next year. Compared to President

Bush, only the rhetoric has changed. And what about the EU? The
EU,
too, has given up its ambitions at the end of October.... Let us
hope
that the failed APEC summit will mobilize the last forces for real
progress in Copenhagen."

Deutschlandfunk radio (11/16) commented: "Even though the chances

BERLIN 00001458 004 OF 007


for
an agreement are bad right now, the climate summit should take place

notwithstanding. Climate protection activists and environmental
organizations will again exert massive pressure and there may still
be
a chance to move something. On the other hand, the conference will

again demonstrate that time is of the essence. Declarations of
intent
are the last thing the people need right now. The time for nice
speeches is over."

Under the headline: "Trip with a Symbolic Value," Sueddeutsche
(11/17)
argued: "Chancellor Merkel will travel to Copenhagen to contribute
to
achieving a result that can be interpreted as a success. But it is

totally insignificant for the success of a climate conference
whether
this or that state leader will take part in it, even if it is the
president of the most powerful nation on earth. It is uncertain
whether Barack Obama will take part. It may be possible that he is

shying away from a trip to the city where he had to accept his first

defeat a few weeks ago when Chicago was not awarded with the 2016
Olympics."

Die Welt (11/17) editorialized: "The hesitant attitude of the
Asian-
Pacific economic forum and of President Obama towards binding
targets
for the reduction carbon dioxide emissions will not result in the
world going down. This view is only an expression of the things
that
move the people beyond the close German horizon. Is it reasonable
to
jeopardize economic growth on the basis of computer models? This
question is being discussed differently in the threshold countries
than in Germany and growing doubts in the U.S. about these horror
scenarios have added to this [skepticism]. There are different
problems in the world: The number of starving people has been on the

rise and in Rome the FAO is discussing these problems right now.
Unfortunately, global summits tempt us to show off with a well-
sounding policy of symbols. Diplomats cannot perform miracles, the

least when we constantly demand such things from them."

According to an editorial in Handelsblatt (11/17), "we owe it to the

Danish government that it has gotten things straight three weeks
before the beginning of the summit. The confession that, at the end

of the summit, there will only be a political declaration speaks of

its sense of reality. Another result would be desirable, but is
totally out of the question and would be wishful thinking. We can
even take a positive position in view of the current developments:
If
the Copenhagen summit does not have to approve binding legal rules,

the delegations have the opportunity to concentrate on what is
essential instead of getting lost in small print."

Regional daily General-Anzeiger of Bonn (11/17) judged: "Maybe some

BERLIN 00001458 005 OF 007


of
us still remember early 1995. At that time the global climate
conference in Berlin under the wise orchestration of former
Environment Minister Angela Merkel adopted a last-ditch compromise
that resulted in the Kyoto Protocol two years later. At issue in
Copenhagen will be approving a sound political framework that will
be
the basis for a concrete agreement. In this respect, Merkel can
play
a decisive role such as in 1995 - if she only wants it."

4. (Mideast) Peace Process, Palestinian State

Die Welt (11/17) editorialized: "The Palestinian chief negotiator,
Saeb Erekat, revived an old idea: given that no Palestinian state
exists after 18 years of negotiations, one could one-sidedly
pronounce
a state without a peace agreement.... The truth is that
Palestinians
would only lose by such a move. They would not control a square
meter
more than the current 40 percent of the West Bank, which is already

under its control. Even though every Israeli attack would then be a

violation of Palestinian sovereignty-no western country would raise

its hand when Israel arrests Hamas fighters beyond the border. The

one-sided proclamation of sovereignty could in fact lead to in clear

disadvantages. If they cancel to peace process, Israelis would no
longer have to stick to any agreements either. The Oslo agreement,

however, had paved the way for cooperation on a lower level. If
this
were stopped now, it would pose a danger to the survival of a
Palestinian state. Given that Palestinians also know this, the plan

of a unilateral state foundation remains an empty threat."

Sddeutsche (11/17) headlined "A dreamy solution," and commented:
"The
topic is very unpleasant for Washington, Berlin and co. because
there
are reasons that speak in favor of Erekat's plan. By founding its
own
state, the Palestinian would only take the international community
at
its word. They were promised this state. Already in 1993, the
peace
of Oslo formulated this goal and the two-state solution remains the

foundation of today's peace efforts. U.S. President Obama as well
as
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu have committed themselves to it....

Palestinians could also refer to a precedent: the case of Kosovo...

Legally, the Palestinians have the same rights as the people in
Kosovo. However, in real life the plan does not have a chance.
They
know that ever since Yasser Arafat tried the strong man act with
declaration of independence in 1988. Unlike the Albanians freed by

NATO troops, the Palestinians would not be in the position to found
a
state of their own, and this is not just because Israeli soldiers

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still occupy a large part of their country. Their prime minister
noted that working institutions must be created first. In addition,

the state-to-be is divided into two enemy entities. Without an
agreement between the Fatah in Ramallah and the Hamas in Gaza,
Palestinians can't even apply to the UN for recognition."

5. (Environment) FAO Summit Meeting

In a commentary, Norddeutscher Rundfunk radio of Hamburg (11/16)
judged: "the fight against hunger has obviously no high priority.
The
list of participants in the FAO summit in Rome is evidence of it.
Apart from hosting Prime Minister Berlusconi, no state leader from
the
eight leading industrialized countries attended the meeting. Angela

Merkel, Gordon Brown, and Barack Obama have better things to do.
Their representatives and ministers have taken over the task of
selling the meager promises of the summit as a strategic success.
The
final declaration, which has already been adopted, hides this
inactivity in an empty phrase: assistance for the least developed
countries is to be increased 'substantially.' This means in plain
English: more funds, but there are no timetables or binding
promises.
At the summit in Rome, the industrialized countries are again
demonstrating that their own economic output is more important than

the suffering of millions of people in the world. One billion
starving people - this figure has not yet resulted in a rethinking.

The community of nations continues to allow the developing nations
to
literally starve at outstretched arms."

Under the headline: "What Now?" Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/17)
argued:
"Can such a meeting, as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon demanded,
really develop a 'global vision' to fight hunger? Or will there
only
be an appeal to the bad conscience of the wealthy countries? There

are many reasons why there is not enough food for all the people:
climate changes impede agricultural production and subsidies in the

wealthy nations are responsible for the fact that not only an
abundance of food is being produced but that it can also be exported

and push competitors in the poor countries out of the markets.
Robert
Mugabe, however, reminds us of the fact that a rather rich country
can
also be ruined by a bad government."

die tageszeitung (11/17) judged in a front-page editorial under the

headline: "Empty Bellies, Empty Chairs," that "such summit meetings

are reasonable to learn more about international dependencies That
is
why it is all the more disgraceful that that those governments which

could contribute the most to a better agricultural policy are
conspicuous by their own absence. All the Obamas, Hus, Merkels,
Browns, and Sarkozys must give this issue top priority; otherwise,
such a meeting will be a meeting of experts who enter into talks by


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excluding the public. With respect to climate change, politicians
have understood this. Hunger in the world, which is as great a
challenge as climate change, deserves the same kind of attention."

6. (EU) Future President

Welt am Sonntag (11/15) carried an editorial under the headline:
"Vaira Vike-Freiberga for President!" and opined: "Europe will get a

president on Thursday but the problem is that there is still no
European public. That is why there has been no election campaign
for
this most important job in the EU. Let's pretend there would have
been an election campaign, let's pretend we citizens of the European

Union would have a say. What about [former Latvian] Vaira Vike-
Freiberga for president? There is no doubt about the qualifications

of this multi-culturally raised candidate who is patriotic,
intellectually versed and, at the same time, knows every trick in
the
books. But why Vike-Freiberga and not Tony Blair, Jean-Claude
Juncker
or Hermann van Rompuy? She is a woman and in addition, a strong
woman. She represents the new Europe of the former Eastern bloc
countries, and she will represent the interests of the smaller EU
countries. She has no illusions about Russia, would strengthen the

transatlantic partnership and is in a certain sense the Angela
Merkel
of the European Union. The personality of the new EU president will

be decisive of whether the new office will turn into a
crystallization
point of a new European awareness or become a mere secretariat.
That
is why Europe needs a strong personality at the top. Vaira Vike-
Freiberga for President!"

MURPHY

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