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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05TAIPEI1045
2005-03-11 00:01:00
UNCLASSIFIED
American Institute Taiwan, Taipei
Cable title:  

MEDIA REACTION: CHINA'S "ANTI-SECESSION LAW"

Tags:   OPRC  KMDR  KPAO  TW 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 001045 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/RSP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - ROBERT
PALLADINO
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: CHINA'S "ANTI-SECESSION LAW"



1. SUMMARY: As newspapers in Taiwan continued their coverage
of China's "anti-secession law" March 10, the focus moved to
the U.S. role in the situation. Comments by White House
Spokesman Scott McClellan and State Department Spokesman
Richard Boucher describing the "anti-secession law" as
"unhelpful" ran on the front pages of several Taipei
dailies. The front-page headline of the pro-unification
"United Daily News" read: "The United States urges both
sides of the Taiwan Strait to refrain from taking actions to
counter-attack each other." The newspaper said in an
analysis piece that the U.S. pressure on Taiwan will be
stronger than that on China. The centrist "China Times"
carried a banner headline noting that "Randy Schriver says
China is held responsible to fix the mistake it makes" by
presenting the controversial legislation. Its editorial
criticized China for forcing Taiwan to seek independence by
depriving the island of its international space. A news
analysis in the paper questioned whether the United States
will succeed in persuading China not to enact the law as it
did not succeed in dissuading Taiwan from holding
referendums in 2004. The pro-independence "Liberty Times"
urged the Taiwan authorities to step up the process of
Taiwanization to counter the threat of China's annexation of
Taiwan. End of summary.

A) "People Are Waiting Expectantly"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 800,000]
editorialized (3/10):

". These days, we are deeply concerned about the aberration
of the ruling DPP after the meeting between President Chen
Shui-bian and PFP Chairman James Soong. For the sake of the
interests of all the people of Taiwan, we have harshly and
justly criticized the DPP's loss of direction. The fact of
the anti-secession law proves that Taiwan's political
parties are all wrong regarding their pro-China stances.
Taiwan's current situation is extremely difficult, and we
can no longer be beguiled by any small favors from China
such as cross-Strait charter flights for the Lunar New Year.
Taiwan should not be careless about this crisis. It is time
[for Taiwan] to conduct a thorough review of its cross-
Strait economic and financial policies that carry the name
of `effective management,' but in reality are `proactively
opened' and tilted toward China. The review will assure
Taiwan's national security and make sure businesses remain
in Taiwan. By so doing, Taiwan can keep the capability to
defend itself when China uses force against Taiwan. More
importantly, the anti-annexation plan cannot [consist]
merely of slogans. The government should propose concrete
and firm plans to counter China effectively. The
Taiwanization movement should continue. President Chen Shui-

bian should keep his promise and lead a rally of half a
million Taiwan people March 26 to protest China's
legislation of a bully law that is aimed at annexing Taiwan.
The people of Taiwan look forward to having every political
party attend the rally and speak out loud to the world the
voice of the people of Taiwan."

B) "The Republic of China Has Always Been `Anti-secession'"

The editorial of centrist/pro-status quo "China Times"
[circulation: 600,000] said (3/10):

". According to its Constitution and system [of governance],
the Republic of China (ROC) has always been `anti-
independence' and has insisted on `anti-secession.' How can
there be any `secession' issue? And there is certainly no
need for Beijing's National People's Congress to define or
set rules for Taiwan regarding what conditions equal
`secession' and what situations equal `Taiwan independence.'
.

". Indeed, there is a not insignificant percentage of people
in Taiwan who favor Taiwan independence. The Beijing
authority has also repeatedly claimed that their insistence
in enacting the anti-secession law was forced by certain
Taiwanese who want to achieve `de jure independence' by
holding referendums or instituting a new constitution. Has
Beijing ever thought about why the advocacy for independence
keeps growing in Taiwan? Is it not a result of the fact
that the ROC has been deprived of its international
position? When the ROC is forced to disappear in the
international community and cannot go beyond its door, how
can this be not providing the richest soil for promoting a
new constitution and a change of national name? Does
Beijing not know that it is exactly its own deeds that are
the strongest driving force, which is likely to lead to
Taiwan's separation from China?

". The Beijing authority has never realized that the ROC is
the only common ground agreed to by both the ruling and
opposition parties in Taiwan now, as reconfirmed by the
recent Chen Shui-bian and James Soong meeting. Among the
various entanglements, it is the only historical umbilical
cord between the two sides of the Strait. The only way to
resolve the fast knot of cross-Strait political disputes and
the crisis of cross-Strait separation is to take a positive
view toward the ROC."

C) "The United States Shuttles Back and Forth Across the
Taiwan Strait and `Fights the War' on Two Fronts"

Washington Correspondent Liu Ping wrote in the centrist, pro-
status quo "China Times" [circulation: 600,000] (3/10):

". Regarding the `anti-secession law,' the U.S. strategy is
quite clear, that is to oppose any use of force across the
Taiwan Strait, and any unilateral change in the status quo.
Tactically, the United States has been engaging both China
and Taiwan at the same time. On the one hand, the United
States hopes that the Chinese authorities would have second
thoughts and [decide it is] better not to have the law
legislated; on the other hand, the United States urges
Taiwan remain calm ..

". In a similar vein, the United States adopted the same
strategy when Taiwan was planning to hold referenda in 2003.
At the time the United States kept negotiating with Taiwan
and hoped Taiwan would withdraw the decision; the United
States also asked China to keep calm. Regarding the anti-
secession law, the United States has hoped from the
beginning that China would give up this idea while expecting
Taiwan to remain calm. But in the end, Taiwan held the
referenda and China is enacting the anti-secession law after
all . .

"From the White House, the Department of State, academics,
to public opinion in the United States, the sentence "The
anti-secession law is not helpful" has been repeated again
and again. But when the United States tried to dissuade
Taiwan from holding the referenda, it also repeated the same
"not helpful" line. Did Taiwan listen to this? Then will
China listen?"

D) "Behind the Carrot, the United States Is Waving a Big
Stick. For Beijing, It Appears to Be Only Able to Make
Gestures; for Taipei, Harsh Criticism May Come Any Time
Depending on Reactions"

Washington Correspondent Vincent Chang of the
conservative/pro-unification "United Daily News"
[circulation: 600,000] commented (3/10):

"Once China adopts the legislation, due to the closeness of
current U.S.-China relations, even if Washington is angry
and wants to downgrade its relations with Beijing, the
downgrading would not last long. .

"Therefore, what worries Washington is, in fact, Taiwan's
reaction. Washington certainly does not want to see
Taiwan's rejection and follow-up moves against the anti-
secession law move up to a certain degree and become a
trigger to activate the anti-secession law.

"Although the United States appears to be on Taipei's side,
the comment [by the United States] of no `anti- and counter-
anti' moves is mainly aimed at Taipei. Even [U.S. Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State] Randy Schriver made it clear
that [the United States] hopes Taipei will `make
contributions' to moving toward `the correct direction' and
not `go in the wrong direction' like China.

"The hard fact is that Washington's stick cannot stop
Beijing from making the law but is forcing Taipei to take
the `correct direction' under the shadow of the stick.
While Beijing continues to stride in the `wrong direction,'
Taipei can only [face] to reality and make `self-restraining
contributions.'"

PAAL