|06AITTAIPEI4073||2006-12-07 10:22:00||UNCLASSIFIED||American Institute Taiwan, Taipei|
VZCZCXYZ0007 RR RUEHWEB DE RUEHIN #4073 3411022 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 071022Z DEC 06 FM AIT TAIPEI TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3371 INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6062 RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 7284
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 004073
1. Summary: As the upcoming Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections
stayed in the spotlight of the Taiwan media, news coverage on
December 7 also focused on Taiwan's winning two gold medals in soft
tennis in the Asian Games in Doha Wednesday. In terms of editorials
and commentaries, an editorial in the pro-unification "United Daily
News" strongly criticized President Chen Shui-bian and his
administration's performance over the past six-and-a-half years.
The article said Taiwan's survival depends on the rapidly declining
legitimacy of President Chen's reign. An editorial in the
limited-circulation, pro-independence, English-language "Taipei
Times," on the other hand, discussed the "absurd" and "meaningless"
name of "Chinese Taipei," a tag Taiwan's athletes have to bear when
they take part in international events. End summary.
2. Taiwan's Political Situation
"Eye of Typhoon: Taiwan's Chance of Survival Lies in the Weakening
of Chen Shui-bian"
The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
"... Over the past six-and-a-half years, Chen Shui-bian has
shattered Taiwan's dreams - in addition to the plunge of the stock
market, the exhausted economic situation, and the island's
marginalization, we have also seen disillusionment over deepening
democracy and frustration in the ideals for reform. ... Now that
there is nothing left of Chen's legitimacy, Taiwan has paradoxically
entered a moment of tranquility, as in the 'eye of typhoon.' For
the island, the moment when the legitimacy of Chen's reign is
rapidly declining, it is exactly where this nation and society's
chance of survival lies. Chen is trying desperately to rise to
power again using this year's Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral
elections. Will Taiwan lose the tranquility of the 'eye of typhoon'
and fall into the heavy storm caused by Chen again should he regain
3. Cross-Strait Relations
"Let's Dump 'Chinese Taipei'"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (12/7):
"Viewers around the world were wowed by the creative spectacle of
Friday's opening ceremony for the Asian Games in Doha. As the
audience applauded the entrance of delegates from 45 Asian nations
and regions into the stadium, many Taiwanese viewers couldn't help
but feel frustrated when they saw the delegation from Taiwan
marching under the absurd 'Chinese Taipei' banner. ... 'Chinese
Taipei' is a meaningless moniker. Taiwan is a sovereign state with
its own government, elections, currency and territory. Taiwan
negotiates its own treaties and has its own president. ... It is
unfair to force the nation's 399 athletes - the fourth-largest Asian
Games delegation after China, Japan and South Korea - to compete
under such a meaningless name when they work just as hard as their
counterparts from other countries.
"It is disheartening to see the oblivious response of the
international community to the obvious unfairness of this situation,
especially when it has arisen just to placate the nation's lunatic
neighbor across the Taiwan Strait. It is even more frustrating to
witness the government's utter failure to make progress on this
issue, even though it has spent a fortune on public relations firms
and commercials to back the nation's bids to participate in the UN
and the WHO. The bottom line is that the DPP has done very little
to highlight the nation's plight on an international stage such as
that provided by the Asian Games, in effect choosing to lamely
accept the ridiculous convention of 'Chinese Taipei.' ..."