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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05TAIPEI1110
2005-03-15 08:30:00
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 03 TAIPEI 001110 

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: Reactions to China's passage of the Anti-
Secession Law dominated news coverage in Taiwan
newspapers March 15, as major Chinese-language dailies
dedicated an average of six pages to the issue. In
addition to denunciations of the law by Taiwan
officials and politicians, all major newspapers carried
comments by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and
Japan Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi; Rice's and
Koizumi's comments were used emphasize that China's law
has international ramifications and to suggest that
Washington and Tokyo might take measures in response to
it. The centrist "China Times" reported that White
House Spokesman Scott McClellan called the passage of
the law "unfortunate" in a front-page story headlined
"President Bush is Displeased with China." The
conservative, pro-unification "United Daily News,"
citing unnamed senior officials, said in a page-three
story that President Chen Shui-bian has put on hold his
formal reaction to the Anti-Secession Law pending
further U.S. announcements on the issue. According to
this report, Taiwan must cooperate closely with the
United States because the United States and Japan are
the ones to do battle with China over the Anti-Session
Law, not Taiwan. The pro-independence "Liberty Times,"
Taiwan's largest daily, said in a page-two article that
China's Anti-Secession Law is seen as a factor for
consolidating the U.S.-Taiwan-Japan alliance.



2. Editorially, all the major Taipei dailies
articulated strong opposition to China's passage of the
Anti-Secession Law. Editorials of the pro-independence
"Liberty Times," "Taiwan Daily," and English-language
"Taipei Times" called Beijing's Anti-Secession Law a
"war bill" and urged the international community to
take concrete actions to express their grave concern
about the law. In addition to expressing opposition to
the law, a centrist "China Times' editorial presented
the law both as a crisis and a turning point. It
cautioned both sides of the Taiwan Strait to exercise
restraint at this critical moment so as not to fall
into a vicious cycle of reaction and counter-reaction.
The pro-unification "United Daily News" also ran an
editorial protesting Beijing's passage of the law, but
called upon Taiwan's rulers to examine their previous
policies, which the editorial said "has misruled the
nation." An op-ed piece in the "China Times" commented
on the challenges the United States will have to face
in the aftermath of the passage of the Anti-Secession
Law. End summary.

A) "The `Anti-Secession Law' Proves That the Soft Means
[of Beijing's Policy] Becomes Hard and the Tough Means
Becomes Even Tougher'"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" editorialized

[circulation: 800,000] (3/15):

". China's legislation of the anti-secession law seems
to be legislation of a domestic law, but actually it
has constitutes aggressive conduct, or at least quasi-
aggressive conduct. China asserts that `Mainland China
and Taiwan belong to one China' despite the fact that
Taiwan's sovereignty does not belong to China. China's
intention to invade and annex Taiwan is not allowed by
international law. .

"Today, we advocate that the international community do
at least the following to express deep concern about
China's passage of the anti-secession law: First, slow
down the speed of investment in China and cut back
China's opportunities for trade. The reason [for this]
is because China does not emphasize human rights and
its economic growth has been used to increase its
[military strength], not to enhance the standard of
living of its people. Second, maintain the arms-sales
ban on China; otherwise, China will increasingly be
able to threaten Taiwan, and [any future resulting]
interference by the international community with
respect to China's use of force against Taiwan will [be
paid with] an unaffordable [high] price. Third,
incorporate Taiwan into the system of regional
security, and be ready to counter China's use of force.
Fourth, demand that China accelerate its democratic
reforms, and avoid the communist style of autocratic
rule that keeps putting the world in jeopardy. ."

B) "[Taiwan] Severely Blasts `Brazen China' for Passing
the `Brazen Legalism' That Boldly Attempts to Use Force
Against Taiwan"

The pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" [circulation:
150,000] editorialized (3/15):

". China has passed its `Anti-Secession Law' in an
attempt to alter the status quo [in the Taiwan Strait]
and to use force to attack Taiwan. Beijing has totally
ignored all the goodwill gestures shown by President
Chen since he assumed office. We believe that
[Beijing's move] is tantamount to provocation against
Taiwan's sovereignty - a highly hostile behavior toward
Taiwan. Under such a situation, our government, of
course, cannot continue adopting moderate cross-Strait
policies without limit. In the future, all cross-
Strait-related policies must be adjusted and suspended
accordingly. In addition, [Taiwan] must appeal to the
international community protesting China's
arbitrariness in passing the `anti-secession law' and
damaging world peace. Taiwan should also declare to
the world it [reserves the right] to conduct a
defensive referendum and enact an `anti-annexation law.
.'"

C) "Taiwan Must Act, But Carefully"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
[circulation: 300,000] commented in an editorial
(3/15):

"China has passed the `anti-secession' law despite
vehement protests in Taiwan and objections from the
international community. The actual wording of the law
mentions the use of `non-peaceful' means - a euphemism
for military action. The law insists on Beijing's
right to use `non-peaceful' means to counter any moves
toward the independence and to bring about unification.
For all intents and purposes, it is a license to go to
war. .

"The law's most egregious flaw is its violation of the
international community's consensus about `maintaining
the status quo in the Taiwan Strait,' whereby Taiwan
should not declare independence and China should not
use force. The law crosses the line. Even if Taiwan
does not declare independence, if China decides that
independence is taking place, Taiwan is being
interfered with by `foreign forces,' or the
`possibilities for peaceful reunification should be
completely exhausted' - as Article VIII states -
Beijing can attack Taiwan. ."

D) "The Crisis and the Turning Point of the Anti-
Secession Law"

The centrist, pro-status quo "China Times" observed in
an editorial [circulation: 600,000] (3/15):

". [F]acing objective reality since the anti-secession
law has been legislated and has been put into practice
. we consider it necessary at this critical moment to
remind the authorities and political parties across the
Strait to restrain themselves and to avoid the negative
cycling of countering each other. Since China is the
troublemaker this time, it has to be low-key and to
control itself when facing questions [and] censure from
the international community, especially reactions, oral
objections, or even protests from Taiwan. China also
has to show good will and fix the cleavage [in cross-
Strait relations]. .

"Comparatively speaking, Taiwan is a victim of .
China's legislation of the anti-secession law. Taiwan
should definitely react to the restraints [imposed by
the international community]. Reactions, however,
differ from countermeasures, and the degree of strength
that applies to reactions is a fundamental test of the
wisdom of Taiwan politicians. The worst scenario is to
make a drastic reaction, or even take a risk by
declaring the timetable for Taiwan independence. By
doing so, Taiwan will make itself a new troublemaker,
and will give China an excuse to adopt non-peaceful
measures [toward Taiwan]. The worse scenario is to
reject the three proposals raised by China's Premier
Wen Jiabao, or to even close the door for cross-Strait
exchanges. This would lead Taiwan to a dead end. A
better strategy is to say out loud what Taiwan should
say [regarding its opposition to the anti-secession
law], make use of China's good will and cultivate
Taiwan's competitive ability. The best choice is to
make use of the dissatisfaction of the international
community toward China, to seek space in the
international community for Taiwan, and to enhance the
national dignity of the Republic of China. ."

E) " [Taiwan] Must Protest against China, But
[Taiwan's] Rulers Should Also Review and Examine Their
Responsibilities in Inappropriately Governing the
People and Humiliating the Country"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" editorialized
[circulation: 600,000] (3/15):

". Hence, as far as the authorities are concerned,
although it is time to encourage the public to orally
protest [China's move], the more important thing is
that it is also time to review the inappropriate
governance that has led to the humiliation of the
country, and to elaborate on `conciliation and co-
existence.' Suppose the authorities merely plan to
point the guns toward outside [enemies] and switch the
focus of the people by holding a rally . this is
definitely not in accordance with the principle of
proportions. .

"One year ago, President Chen asserted that `the Five
Nos no longer exist,' started the names-change plan and
constitutional reform, and held a rally; after Chen
forced China to legislate the anti-secession law and
after Chen's incompetent governance of Taiwan, all that
Chen can do is to hold another bigger rally. No matter
if the purpose is to propose a policy (names-change
plan and constitutional reform), or to face the
consequences of failed policy (the presence of the anti-
secession law), President Chen does nothing but plan a
rally?"

F) "The New Strategic Situation among the United
States, Japan, China, and Taiwan"

Lin Cheng-yi, research fellow at the Institute of
International Relations, National Chengchi University,
wrote in an op-ad article in the centrist, pro-status
quo "China Times" [circulation: 600,000] (3/15):

". After the `anti-secession law' has been made public
and put into practice, the challenges for the United
States include: Firstly, the power that dominates the
explanation of the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.
The United States may need to compete with China or
even share with China regarding the interpretation of
the status quo. Secondly, further understanding of the
style of decision-making with regard to Chinese
President Hu Jintao. The United States needs to
monitor Hu's policy toward Taiwan and China's
implementation of the `anti-secession law' before 2012.
Thirdly, regarding Taiwan's constitutional reform and
other political development, the United States should
not only support those with a limit but also keep track
of those developments so that China may not have a
chance to use force against Taiwan by adopting the
`anti-secession law.' Fourthly, the United States
should work on assisting Taiwan with regard to
defending itself from accurate assaults of China. The
United States should also provide methods for Taiwan to
protect its `government sustainability' and `major
fundamental infrastructures.' Fifthly, the United
States will face another dilemma if Taiwan openly asks
the United States to acquiesce on Taiwan's claim to say
no to China. Sixthly, although the United States and
Japan expressed concern toward the peace across the
Taiwan Strait in their `common strategic objectives,'
there should be more substantial consequent movements
including resisting the European Union to withdraw its
arms ban on China. ."

PAAL