Cablegate: Media Reaction: Six Party Talks

Published: Mon 8 Aug 2005 10:56 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. Summary: Amid the extensive coverage of local politics
and Typhoon Matsa that hit Taiwan last Friday, the major
Chinese-language Taipei dailies also focused their reporting
August 5-8 on the arms procurement bill that is currently
stuck in the Legislative Yuan, and other cross-Strait
issues. The pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's
biggest daily, ran a banner headline on its front page
August 5 that read: "With the Pan-Green camp moving a step
backward, dawn breaks on the arms procurement case." The
sub-headline added: "President Chen directs that part of the
funding designated for the arms procurements can be listed
in [the government's] regular annual budget. The Pan-Blue
camp shows conditional support but stresses that they need
to see a comprehensive budget report first [before making
any final decision]." The pro-unification "United Daily
News" and some other major Chinese-language newspapers also
reported on their inside pages August 5 that Chen stated
that Taiwan's national defense budget should increase
gradually and should equal three percent of Taiwan's GDP
within the next three years.
With regard to cross-Strait relations, the centrist "China
Times" printed on page two of the August 7 edition that
President Chen "updated" his cross-Strait guidelines during
the fourth anniversary celebrations of the founding of the
Taiwan Solidarity Union. The news story was topped with the
headline: "[With regard to] cross-Strait relations and
[Taiwan's] sovereignty, President Chen [announced a policy
of] One Principle, Three Insistences, and Five Oppositions."
The "Liberty Times" and the pro-independence "Taiwan Daily"
also carried similar news stories on their front and inside
pages, respectively.
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, several
newspapers carried commentaries regarding the Six Party
Talks in Beijing. A "China Times" commentary said it is
unlikely that any conclusion will be reached even when the
Six Party talks are resumed three weeks from now - unless
there is genuine mutual trust between Washington and
Pyongyang. Taiwan Think Tank International Affairs Director
Lai I-chung commented in a "Taiwan Daily" column that the
Six Party Talks will push for a strategic reshuffle in
Northeast Asia, and that Washington and Beijing will shift
from cooperation to competition when it comes to the North
Korean issue. A "United Daily News" editorial discussed
President Chen's idea of "a new balance of power in the
Taiwan Strait" by comparing the situation in the Taiwan
Strait with that on the Korean Peninsula. The editorial
called on Chen to learn from Seoul's example and to ponder
upon his own cross-Strait policy. End summary.
A) "What Happens Next after the Six Party Talks Are
The "International Outlook" column of the centrist, pro-
status quo "China Times" [circulation: 500,000] commented
"The Six Party Talks will be suspended for three weeks; it's
like marking a comma rather than a full stop [for the
talks]. But will the differences be removed and problems be
resolved after the talks are resumed three weeks from now?
[The answer is] it is difficult [for the problems to be
resolved]. .
"U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that
resolution of the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula
could wait only for a few weeks rather than 13 months. This
is tough talk. But the truth is that North Korea really has
nothing to fear now. Firstly, Pyongyang is already in
possession of nuclear weapons. Even if it is required to
abandon them, it can still hide some of them while handing
over the others. Secondly, what better options does the
United States have other than to appeal to the United
Nation's Security Council? Will Beijing and Russia not veto
any resolutions to sanction North Korea? Judging from this
perspective, the outcome will not be very optimistic when
the Six Party talks resume, unless there is real mutual
trust between Washington and Pyongyang."
B) "Six Party Talks Will Push for a Strategic Reshuffle in
Northeast Asia - Washington and Beijing Shift from
Cooperation to Competition with Regard to the North Korean
Issue - Part I"
Lai I-chung, International Affairs Director of the Taiwan
Think Tank, observed in the "International Spotlight" column
of the pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" [circulation:
150,000] (8/8):
". Beijing, on its left wing, shows a dominant influence
over the Korean Peninsula, while on its right wing, it has
undermined the United States' leading role in the cross-
Strait issues by taking advantage of the new situation
created in Taiwan following the China visits by [KMT
Chairman] Lien Chan and [PFP Chairman] James Soong. For
China, Pyongyang's possession of nuclear weapons can in
reality intimidate Japan and thus further restrain the
strategic function of the `U.S.-Japan [security] alliance.'
Under such a circumstance, Beijing's strategy is that it
hopes the `Six Party Talks' will go on without reaching a
clear resolution on how to handle the nuclear problems on
the Korean Peninsula. As long as the `Six Party Talks' can
continue, China will be able to keep in its hand a
diplomatic tool that can control the strategic agenda in
Northeast Asia. .
". When [we] look at what China did in the "Six Party
Talks,' . [we can say that] as the trend of strategic
competition between Washington and Beijing intensifies, the
North Korean issue has gradually changed from a lubricant
for U.S.-China cooperation into a dispute between the two.
Nonetheless, neither Washington nor Beijing wants to see
their differences go public. China hopes that the Six Party
Talks will go on, so it starts to place pressure on North
Korea; Washington has no complaint about this part. As a
result, Washington and Beijing continue to maintain a
harmonious relationship on the surface with regard to the
`Six Party Talks,' which has covered up the wrestling under
the table wrestling. Such a development has become one of
the characteristics of U.S.-China interactions in the Six
Party Talks this time. ."
C) "The Presence of Balance: Comparison between the Taiwan
Strait and Korean Peninsula"
The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation:
500,000] editorialized (8/6):
". A more profound analysis shows that Seoul's balance of
power is built on the two parallel axes as advocated by
South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun - `those who are
directly involved play the central role' and have
`international cooperation.' The first axis is aimed at
pursuing South Korea's leadership and dominance over issues
related to the Korean Peninsula and further demand that
interactions between North and South Korea de-link their
relations with other major countries that are involved. The
result, as it stands, is that even though tension exists
between Washington and Pyongyang, the interaction between
North and South Koreas is still maintained on a basis of
stable development. The other axis emphasizes a dynamic
balance of powers between South Korea and other major
countries. As a result, when tension intensifies between
Washington, Tokyo and Pyongyang, the interactions between
Seoul and Beijing also increase.
"[Taiwan] may find an answer for [President Chen Shui-
bian's] `new balance of power in the Taiwan Strait' by
looking at the model of South Korea, including: first, that
a balance of power is a progressive, dynamic balance created
in the status quo; second, if [Taiwan] does nothing but go
lopsided toward the United States, it will not only lose its
independence but will also fail to maintain a balance of
power in the region; third, if [Taiwan] loses its
independence and leadership in its cross-Strait policy, it
will become a bargaining chip for the power trade between
other major countries. ."
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