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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07AITTAIPEI1135 2007-05-21 09:10:00 UNCLASSIFIED American Institute Taiwan, Taipei
Cable title:  

MEDIA REACTION: TAIWAN'S WHO BID, CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS

Tags:   OPRC KMDR KPAO TW 
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VZCZCXYZ0016
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1135/01 1410910
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210910Z MAY 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5322
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6803
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8051
					UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001135 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - LLOYD NEIGHBORS
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: TAIWAN'S WHO BID, CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS




1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage May 19-21 on the Chen Shui-bian Administration's move to
rename Chiang Kai-shek Memorial hall to "National Taiwan Democracy
Memorial Hall" amid clashes Saturday; on the cabinet shuffle; and on
China's decision last Friday to widen the trading band of its
currency and to raise interest rates. The centrist, KMT-leaning
"China Times" ran a banner headline on page two May 19 that said
"For the Sake of Arms Procurements, [Former Chief of the General
Staff] Lee Tien-yu Will Head the Ministry of National Defense;
[Lee's Appointment] Is Finalized on the United States' Nod."



2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" criticized the Chen Shui-bian
administration for toying with Taiwan's bid to join the World Health
Organization (WHO) in an attempt to reap political gains for himself
and for the DPP. An editorial in the limited-circulation,
conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post" called
Taiwan's WHO bid a quixotic gesture intended for domestic
consumption. An op-ed piece in the limited-circulation,
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times," however, urged
Taiwan to use creative approaches to pursue asymmetrical access to
the WHO via modern, non-state-based channels. A "Taipei Times"
editorial, on the other hand, discussed the complex cross-Strait
relations and said "the government requires a firm policy that
weighs economic interests against the need to maintain the nation's
de facto independence and the threat posed by China's missiles and
'Anti-Secession' Law." End summary.



3. Taiwan's WHO Bid

A) "Can Taiwan Enter the International Organization via
'Confrontation'?"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (5/19):

"Taiwan suffered a major defeat in its bid to join the World Health
Organization (WHO), garnering record low support while the number of
member states that voted against [debating Taiwan's bid] hit a
record high. It is noteworthy that not only has Taiwan moved
further and further away from the international community, but the
Taiwan people have also grown indifferent to such diplomatic
setbacks resulting from the ruler's deliberate manipulation. ...
Following the [government's] fickleness over the past seven year,
many Taiwan people have come to realize that Chen Shui-bian does not
really intend to join the WHO; instead, he is just interested in
playing the 'game of access.' Also, they have come to understand
that Chen does not truly want to upgrade Taiwan's status; he was
simply toying with Taiwan to reap political gains for himself and
for the DPP. In this context, Taiwan is akin to being A-Bian's
hostage. Would a kidnapper care about the safety of the hostage?
...

"Chen does not value [Taiwan's] national dignity at all but is only
keen on fooling Taiwan. He not only did not reflect on this year's
setback [of Taiwan's WHO bid] but announced proudly that he will try
it again on Taiwan's UN bid in September. His message was very
clear: It does not matter whether Taiwan succeeds in joining the
UN; [what matters are] the scar that Taiwan bears and the rage of
the Taiwan people, by-products he can take advantage of and
manipulate. ..."

B) "A Futile, Quixotic Effort"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (5/19):

"The government failed in its effort to join the World Health
Organization after the body voted 148-17 against debating Taiwan's
bid on Monday. The failure surprised nobody. The only surprise was
how lopsided the voting result was, showing Taiwan's further
isolation in the international community. This country, after all,
does have 25 diplomatic allies. ... Seen in this light, Taiwan's
persistent attempt to join the WHO is a gesture aimed for domestic
consumption. The island's ruling party and pro-independence
government need such a quixotic show to reap political gains.
Everyone with a bit of common sense knows the bid is a non-starter.
Why demand the impossible? Because the annual ritual, be it in
Geneva or New York, can at least attract a domestic audience and
also helpful in diverting the people's attention from the scandals
and misrule of the administration."

C) "It's Time for Asymmetric Warfare"



J. Michael Cole, a Taipei-based writer, opined in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] (5/21):

"... If the WHO doesn't want Taiwan, then so be it. For the truth
of the matter is, in the 21st century, Taiwan doesn't necessarily
need the WHO. By turning its health system into an innovative model
for research and prevention, and by actively pursuing asymmetrical
access to the global health community via modern, non-state-based
channels, Taiwan could bypass the archaic Cold War mentality that
unfortunately prevails to this day and ensure that the right of its
citizens to full information on health isn't curtailed by Beijing's
narrow-mindedness. It would also help demonstrate, yet again, that
when it comes to responsible global citizenship, Taiwan is light
years ahead of China."



4. Cross-Strait Relations

"Cross-Strait Complexity Increases"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (5/20):

"... Cross-strait exchanges continue to achieve new milestones. Now
the Taiwanese shuttle between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait
regularly. Taiwanese businesses have spent billions of dollars in
China over the past decades in investments. It is estimated that as
many as a million Taiwanese work in China on a regular basis. The
number of cross-strait marriages is leading to a series of new
social and political issues and a new generation of children with
parents from different sides of the Taiwan Strait. Under these
circumstances, the reasons cited by proponents of further
liberalization in cross-strait relations have long gone beyond the
simple 'humanitarian' grounds from the initial opening 20 years ago.
The motives now include business, political and social factors.
With so many interests and ideologies constituting the cross-strait
relationship, the government requires a firm policy that weighs
economic interests against the need to maintain the nation's de
facto independence and the threat posed by China's missiles and
'Anti-Secession' Law."

YOUNG