wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07AITTAIPEI2663 2007-12-31 11:31:00 UNCLASSIFIED American Institute Taiwan, Taipei
Cable title:  

MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-TAIWAN RELATIONS, PAKISTAN

Tags:   OPRC KMDR KPAO TW 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #2663/01 3651131
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311131Z DEC 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7700
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7601
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8872
					  UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002663 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - NIDA EMMONS
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-TAIWAN RELATIONS, PAKISTAN




1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused
December 29-31 news coverage on KMT presidential candidate Ma
Ying-jeou, who was cleared of corruption charges by the Taiwan High
Court last Friday, thus ensuring his candidacy in the March
presidential race. Coverage also centered on the KMT's decision to
accept the Central Election Commission's (CEC) compromise version of
the "one-step" voting system, putting an end to the
several-month-long voting-format controversy for the January
legislative.



2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an analysis in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" said the result of Taiwan's
proposed UN referendum will affect the relationship among the United
States, China and Taiwan. An op-ed in the mass-circulation "Apple
Daily" said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent
criticism of Taiwan's proposed UN referendum will not achieve
Washington's goals because President Chen Shui-bian will manipulate
the criticism to obtain more voters' support for him. An editorial
in the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times," expressed
concerns about Pakistan's stability after the country's former Prime
Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack. End
summary.



3. U.S.-Taiwan Relations

A) "UN Referendum Will Have Repercussions on
Washington-Beijing-Taipei Ties"

Journalist Su Yung-yao noted in an analysis in the pro-independence
"Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000] (12/29):

"The UN referendum will be held in tandem with [Taiwan's]
presidential election in March 2008, and given the common opposition
shared by international forces such as the United States and China
[to the referendum], the results of the popular vote will surely
become the focus of attention both within and outside Taiwan. In
particular, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has deemed the
UN referendum 'provocative.' As a result, interactions among
Washington, Beijing and Taipei in the wake of the referendum will
have repercussions on the cross-Strait situation. ...

"Unlike Taiwan's previous referendum, which was initiated from top
to bottom by President Chen, the Green camp's referendum on
'Taiwan's bid to join the UN under the name Taiwan' this time came
from the bottom up. Opinion surveys showed that supporters for this
referendum cover both the Blue and Green camps, so it is highly
likely that the UN referendum will become the first popular vote to
be passed in Taiwan. ... The United States has expressed opposition
to Taiwan's plans to hold presidential elections in tandem with
referenda in both 2004 and 2008. The [U.S.] moves were obviously
aimed at accommodating China's Taiwan policy in an attempt to avoid
exacerbating the conflict in the already contentious relationship
between Washington and Beijing relations. In the meantime,
[Washington] is also concerned that Taiwan's new president will
continue to upgrade the level of referenda and challenge
Washington's one China principle. ..."

B) "Bian Has Gambled the Rest of His Life on the UN Referendum"

Professor Emerson Chang, the director of Nan Hua University's
Department of International Studies, opined in the mass-circulation
"Apple Daily" [circulation: 500,000] (12/29):

"U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has set the tone for
Taiwan's UN referendum and called it a provocative policy. The move
has triggered different interpretations from both the ruling and
opposition parties. One side believes that [Rice's statement] was a
warning to the Taiwan government and its people because Washington
is worried that Beijing might use force against Taiwan. The other
side, however, believes that it was simply a feigning movement by
the United States to placate Beijing. Even though these two
interpretations may seem poles apart, they are not that
inconsistent; Rice's intents may have been manifold. This article
maintains that Rice's remarks will not only fail to reduce the
probability of the referendum passing but may have exactly the
opposite effect. ...

"In the wake of the cease of function of the National Unification
Council, Bian's deeds have proved that Beijing's strategy of
'restraining Taiwan via the United States' has failed. Given such
circumstances, it was originally expected that [Chinese President]
Hu Jintao would make harsh comments about Taiwan during his work
report at the 17th National Party Congress of the Chinese Communist
Party. But to everyone's surprise, Hu did not do so. Bian thus
could not [use China's criticism] to play the role of a martyr. As
a result, he could only take advantage of Washington's
discouragement of Taiwan [against the UN referendum], alleging that
the pressure behind the scenes actually came from Beijing, so as to
create the image of him being under repression and suffering. The



higher the level of U.S. criticisms get, the better it can highlight
mounting pressure from Beijing, and the fatter the chances are for
Bian to succeed in playing the role of a martyr. ..."



4. Pakistan

"Volatile Pakistan Devours Bhutto"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (12/29):

"... Washington in particular will be dismayed by the stark fact
that Bhutto's assassination was perfectly avoidable.

"The bigger question that must be asked now is how this
nuclear-armed country can forge some kind of consensus among its
non-militant political and religious groups on restoring confidence
in the government and the political system, the volatility of which,
even under the most optimistic conditions, will unnerve the
international community for years to come. ..."

YOUNG