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


DE RUEHIN #0095/01 0250936
R 250936Z JAN 10




E.O. 12958: N/A

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage January 23-25 on the year-end five city and county
magistrates' elections; on developments in cross-Strait relations;
and on President Ma Ying-jeou's scheduled visit to Honduras and the
Dominican Republic. All major Chinese-language and English-language
papers in Taiwan reported on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's
January 21 speech on Internet freedom and President Barack Obama's
follow-on remarks that he hopes China will provide answers to the
allegation that Google was hacked. In terms of editorials and
commentaries, an op-ed in the China-focused "Want Daily" discussed
changing U.S.-China-Taiwan relations and said there are still some
hard to mediate conflicts among the three sides. An op-ed in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" discussed Google's
threat to quit China and said Google's step "is a courageous move
that has prompted considerable rethinking" among Western companies
and governments about how to approach China. The Taiwan government
should also do its own reflecting, the article commented. End

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A) "Conflicts Difficult to Mediate between Washington, Beijing and

Dr. Cheng Tuan-yao from National Chengchi University's Institute of
International Relations, opined in the China-focused "Want Daily"
[circulation: 10,000] (1/25):

"... Since the Ma Ying-jeou administration assumed office in May,
2008, the ties between Washington, Beijing and Taipei have formed a
triangle of positive and friendly relations, which was unprecedented
over the past six decades -- both unique and extraordinary. Yet it
is undeniable that there are hard to mediate conflicts among the
three sides, which not only were not alleviated because [the two
sides of the Taiwan Strait] tried to shelve their disputes but have
become more evident with the rise of China's power and increasing
exchanges among the three sides. First, conflicts between
Washington and Beijing over their values and power relations are
expanding. ...

"When it comes to U.S.-Taiwan relations, the positioning of the
roles the two sides should play is getting vaguer and vaguer.
Taiwan, which used to be a loyal ally to the United States, has now
moved toward a middle-of-the road strategic line in an attempt to
maintain a friendly interaction with both the United States and
China. It tries to befriend China for its economic interests while
seeking U.S. support for its security interests. As it turns out,
Taiwan turned down the [import of] U.S. beef on the one hand but
requests arms sales from the United States on the other. For the
United States, is Taiwan a liability or an asset for the U.S.-China
relationship after all? Without Taiwan as a burden, will the United
States be able to further expand its cooperation with China? Or is
it that Taiwan still has the democratic and strategic value of
helping the United States obstruct the expansion of China? No
matter what [the answers are], except for the arms sales and
controversy over [U.S.] beef [imports], there does not seem to be
any other issues between Washington and Taipei over the past year
that show their bilateral cooperation. It appears that the apparent
smoothness in U.S.-Taiwan relations has failed to cover up the
draining relations between the two sides.

"In addition, regarding cross-Strait relations, both sides have yet
to shorten their political gap because of their improved relations.
... When we look ahead at the future, it is all right that we keep
an optimistic attitude toward the triangular relationship between
Washington, Beijing and Taipei. Nonetheless, we must not hold
unrealistic expectations for the relationship, because, after all,
the conflicts which are hard to mediate among the three sides still
remain. ..."

B) "Google's Wake-up Call to the World"

Nat Bellocchi, former AIT chairman and now a special adviser to the
Liberty Times Group, opined in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000] (/25):

"... Google's step is a courageous move that has prompted
considerable rethinking among businesses and governments around the
world: People are losing patience with Beijing's heavy-handed ways.
Many in the West are reconsidering the wisdom of engagement policies
that assumed that economic development would lead to political
liberalization in China. Against this background, what are the
implications of rapprochement across the Taiwan Strait? As has been
stated before: Everyone is in favor of reduced tensions -- but under
what conditions? Placating an aggressive neighbor could temporarily
lead to reduced tensions, but in the long run it only temps the
aggressor, aggravating the situation. Three basic conditions that
must be met in order for progress to made in the Taiwan Strait are:
a clear consensus in Taiwan on the way ahead; equity, balance and
transparency in cross-strait negotiations (with mutual respect for

each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty); and the
promotion of Taiwan's international standing and reduction of its
international isolation. ...

"While Western companies and governments rethink how to approach
China, Taiwan's government should do its own reflecting. If it
continues to drift toward China, it will meet increasing hesitation
from Western governments and companies. Until now, the West has
been willing to maintain informal but solid ties with Taiwan. Closer
links with China will widen the gap between Taiwan and the
democratic West. Much will also depend on how the US deals with
these issues. The administration of US President Barack Obama has
said it would lodge a formal diplomatic protest in Beijing over the
cyber attacks against Google and other US corporate interests. But
it needs to go further than that: It needs to engage China
forcefully on the wide array of matters mentioned earlier, including
cyber-security, Tibet and the climate.

"Just as the shot heard around the world in 1775 marked the end of
'business as usual' and the start of a new vigilance, Google's move
should mark the start of a renewed emphasis on the principles of
'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' This should factor
into the US' -- and Taiwan's -- interaction with China."


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