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2005-06-17 08:27:00
American Institute Taiwan, Taipei
Cable title:  

MEDIA REACTION: Cross-Strait Affairs

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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 002658 



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Taiwan dailies June 17 focused on two ongoing
issues: flooding in southern Taiwan and the fishery dispute
between Taiwan and Japan. The pro-independence "Liberty
Times," Taiwan's largest daily, the conservative, pro-
unification "United Daily News," and the pro-independence
"Taiwan Daily" all carried photos of flooded areas in
southern Taiwan on their front pages. The "Liberty Times"
carried a banner headline of its first page that read:
"Heavy Rains Seriously Jeopardized [Southern Taiwan,]
Agricultural Losses Are Worth More Than NT$1.4 Billion."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, Taiwan dailies
focused on local issues (e.g. Premier Frank Hsieh's plan to
deal with the flooding) and the Taiwan-Japan relationship
(e.g. protest held by Taiwan aboriginal Legislator May Chin
in front of Japan's Yasukuni Shrine). Three other
editorials, however, focused on cross-Strait relations from
an economic perspective. The pro-independence "Liberty
Times," for example, focused on China's "incremental
unification" policy toward Taiwan. Its editorial said the
Taiwan government has treated Taiwan merchants based in
China so positively that Taiwan has fallen into a trap of
China's incremental unification policy. The pro-
independence "Taiwan Daily" editorialized that China's
policy to loosen its restriction on the employment of Taiwan
people in China is a form of unification propaganda, and
added that the purpose of China's policy is to lure away all
of Taiwan's talented people. The pro-independence "Taipei
Times" also said in its editorial that China's policy
welcoming Taiwan people to work in China is a reflection of
the "One China" principle, and warned that Taiwan should not
lose its economic edge against China. End summary.

A) "Taiwan Should Worry About [China's] `Incremental
Unification' [Toward Taiwan]"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation:
800,000](06/17) editorialized:

"What is `incremental unification'? [Taiwan's]
internalization of cross-Strait relations and the
normalization of the `One China' principle are one of the
forms; the economic development conference, proactive-
opening [toward China], and cross-Strait charter flights are
the other forms. The former forms belong to the political
aspect, while the latter ones the economic aspect. The
interactions between both aspects lead to an integration.
The economic aspect of incremental unification, especially,
is dissolving Taiwan peoples' psychological defense toward
the threat of China, and blurring the red line between
Taiwan and China. In the beginning, Taiwan merchants (who
invest in China) have a sense of sin for assisting the
enemy, i.e. China. With the [Taiwan] officials'

expectations and blessings, however, those merchants
incrementally become pioneers of the Taiwan economy.
Moreover, they are considered to have contributed to
Taiwan's economy. Whenever there are important Chinese
holidays, cross-Strait charter flights are arranged for them
to allow them return as heroes (Taiwan merchants in the
United States do not have such honorary treatment; they have
to catch airplanes by themselves, and the way home is
farther). When Taiwan merchants based in China return to
Taiwan, they enjoy standardized luncheons, and even the
president [of Taiwan] has to head government officials to
attend the luncheons and learn from them. We can say the
government's policies have centered on China as well as
Taiwan's merchants based in China. When the situation comes
to this stage, there is no way and no spare moment [for the
government] to take care of domestic investments and
constructions for infrastructures. ."

B) "China's Policy That Allows Taiwan People To Work In
China Is An Unification Propaganda That Would Vacuum The
Talented Taiwan People"

The pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" [circulation:
150,000](06/17) editorialized:

". There is a very evident political motive behind the
China's policy to loosen its restrictions on the employment
of the Taiwan people in China. The motive is to attract
talented Taiwan people to leave their country, and to vacuum
Taiwan's human resources. As a result, Taiwan's managerial
and skilled people would leave Taiwan massively, and as a
result, a crisis of Taiwan's economic development might
occur. Since China absorbs a lot of Taiwan's technical
people, there would clearly be a shortage of domestic
managerial people, and a salary rise for technical people.
There would be, however, excess entry-level workers, and
would consequently cause an imbalance in Taiwan's human
resources. Moreover, the imbalance might expand itself to
become a social problem. As the old saying goes: `The water
always goes to low grounds, while a man climbs to a high
ground.' China has set a goal in its unification propaganda
to attract Taiwan's talented people, and would initially try
all the means, release many favorable measures to `invite
them to a trap.' China has tried to utilize the opening of
its job market as a test trial to vacuum Taiwan's talented
people. After China has successfully developed its economy,
and after China's enterprises have cultivated their own
technical people, Taiwan people who seek positions in China
will no longer be hired, and it will to too late for them to
regret. ."

C) "Exodus of Workers Unlikely"

The pro-independence "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000](06/17) editorialized:

". [I]t is unlikely that Beijing's move is unrelated to `one
China' propaganda. The restrictions being lifted are of the
type other countries impose on foreign workers to protect
local employees. For example, the US government imposes
similar restrictions in issuing work visas to foreigners.

"So Beijing's move is once again mostly symbolic --
signifying that Taiwanese receive similar treatment under
Chinese law simply because they too are "Chinese" -- but
without otherwise offering any substantive benefits. .

"The real focus of Taiwan's concern should not be the exodus
of entry-level and non-professional workers to China.
Rather, it is how to maintain the competitive edge of the
workforce, so that foreign and domestic investors will be
willing to invest and create even more work opportunities

"Within the high-technology industry in particular, a high-
priority task is to ensure that the workforce's research and
development capabilities stay ahead of China's."