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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Copenhagen Climate Change Conference,

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1442/01 3420756
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080756Z DEC 09
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2886
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 9567
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0957

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001442

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: COPENHAGEN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE,
TAIWAN'S LOCAL ELECTIONS

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage December 8 on the aftermath of the December 5 city mayors'
and county magistrates' elections around the island, its impact on
cross-Strait relations; and on the upcoming fourth round of talks
between Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and China's Association
for Relations across the Taiwan Strait, which will be held in
Taichung.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a column in the
KMT-leaning "China Times" discussed the upcoming climate change
conference to be held in Copenhagen and said the success of
greenhouse emissions cuts all depends on the United States'
sincerity. An editorial in the conservative, pro-unification,
English-language "China Post" urged the state leaders assembled in
Copenhagen to "set realistic goals that address the issues that can
be tackled." With regard to Taiwan's December 5 local elections, an
editorial in the pro-independence "Liberty Times" continued to
lambast what it believes to be President Ma Ying-jeou's
China-tilting policy and said the election results showed that Ma's
policy line and his administration's abilities have been totally
rejected by the Taiwan people. An editorial in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times," on the other
hand, urged the DPP to "rebrand the party as one that is more
middle-of-the-road" so as to be able to stage a comeback in the 2012
presidential election. End summary.

3. Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

A) "It All Depends on the United States' Sincerity Whether the [Goal
of] Reduction in Emissions [of Greenhouse Gases] Will Succeed"

The "International Lookout" column in the KMT-leaning "China Times"
[circulation: 120,000] wrote (12/8):

"U.S. President Barack Obama has altered his schedule for attending
the Copenhagen [climate] summit; in addition to the opening
ceremony, he will also be there at the end. It is generally
believed that [Obama's move] indicated that the United States is
sincere and serious about the conference after all. But if the
United States is unwilling to make some sacrifices or contributions,
the international accord to cut emissions of greenhouse gases will
be [futile]. ...

"According to the 'Kyoto Protocol,' developed countries and
developing countries shoulder different responsibilities in terms of
cutting greenhouse emissions. As a result, developed countries are
obliged to implement the reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases,
while there is no such obligation on the part of the developing
countries. Initially, the United States did not even want to sign
the 'Kyoto Protocol,' then it decided to bring down its emissions
reduction target. Yet, just prior to the Copenhagen summit,
Washington emphasized that developing countries should join the
bandwagon of [countries committing to] binding greenhouse gas
emission cuts, and it threatened to impose carbon tariffs.
[Washington's] harbored evil intentions are as clear as the day.
..."

B) "Warming or Not, We Must End Global Oil Economy"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (12/8):

"Later this month, leaders from all across the globe are scheduled
to converge on the Danish capital of Copenhagen for a conference on
climate change that may end in a new treaty to replace the 1997
Kyoto accord. Of course, the effectiveness of this latest attempt
at getting the world to set aside its differences in order to
present a common front against climate change will be debated,
especially considering that the Kyoto Treaty was never ratified by
one of the planet's most active first-world carbon emitters: the
United States. ... As the world's leaders begin a second round of
climate talks, it would behoove those who question the science
behind global warming to understand that the world's current energy
policy is unsustainable. This means that the proposed carbon
reduction goals will help drive the world toward new sources of
energy -- a good thing for all. The assembled international
presidents and prime ministers must attempt to set realistic goals
that address the issues that can be talked, and new sources of
energy should be at the top of the to-do list."

4. Taiwan's Local Elections

A) "Do [Taiwan] People Have to Endure the Disaster Caused by Ma's
Grossly Erroneous China-Tilting Policy?"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 680,000]
editorialized (12/8):


"On December 5, the Taiwan voters taught a serious lesson to Ma
Ying-jeou, who has taken over the helm for twenty months now. A
majority of the Taiwan people and the international media have all
seen very clearly the message delivered by the voters -- namely,
President Ma has suffered the severest setback since he stepped into
politics, and his policy line and administration's abilities have
been totally rejected by the Taiwan people ... Anyone can tell that
there are two main reasons behind the defeat of the Ma
administration. One is [Taiwan's] stagnant economic situation, as
shown in the island's historically high unemployment rates and the
fact that people [in Taiwan] can hardly survive and complaints can
be heard everywhere. The second is [the Ma administration's]
tilting toward China, to an extent that it is unilaterally pushing
Taiwan's businesses, capital, talents and technology to China and
thereby allowing China to control Taiwan's economy without having to
shed any blood. These two reasons appear to be the cause and effect
to each other, and the vicious circle just goes on and on. But the
key still lies in [Ma's] erroneous China policy. In other words,
Ma's line of ultimate unification is the fault zone that will
possibly trigger a major earthquake, which will eventually destroy
Taiwan's one-hundred-year foundation. ... "

B) "Tsai Soars, But Image Needs a Tweak"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (12/8):

"... Though some interpreted Saturday's elections as a 'mid-term'
exam for Ma and a gauge of the DPP's chances in the legislative and
presidential elections in 2012, the results are not, on their own,
sufficiently positive to represent a shift in the fortunes of the
green camp. ... In a way, if we look at Saturday's elections as a
referendum on the KMT in general and Ma in particular, we could
argue that the party passed, while Ma came close to flunking. This
shows us that voters are capable of distinguishing one from the
other and that Ma's misfortunes will not inevitably drag the KMT
down. As more than two years separate us from the critical
elections, the KMT will have sufficient time to rebuild its image
and perhaps rid itself of members who risk undermining its chances
of remaining in power. This could even mean nixing a Ma candidacy.

"Still, the DPP has been handed an opportunity to regain momentum
and to rebuild itself after years of decline. A main component to
that effort will be rebranding the party as one that is more
middle-of-the-road than that which, in the public eye, had grown
increasingly nationalistic and exclusionary during former president
Chen Shui-bian's second term. This, above all, will require efforts
to convince the public, investors, the business sector and the
international community that it is not anti-business or, as some
media continue to characterize the DPP, 'anti China.' What it must
make its detractors realize is that despite its pro-independence
platform, the DPP does not advocate policies that pretend that China
does not exist, nor does it seek to fuel animosities in the Taiwan
Strait. It is possible to be pro-independence and to seek closer,
friendlier relations with Beijing, which, for the most part, is what
the DPP tried to achieve while in office. The perception of the DPP
as a 'radical' and 'anti-China' party may be unfair, the result of a
smear campaign by Beijing, the KMT and pan-blue media, but as long
as that image endures, the DPP's chances of winning enough people to
its side -- and this means light-blues -- to stage a comeback in
2012 will be slim. ..."

STANTON

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