Cablegate: Media Reaction: North Korea, U.S.-China Relations

Published: Tue 15 Sep 2009 09:46 AM
DE RUEHIN #1117/01 2580946
R 150946Z SEP 09
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused
September 15 news coverage on the captain of a Taiwan navy submarine
being swept overboard during a mission; on the confrontation between
Taiwan and Japan vessels over a Taiwan fishing boat's alleged
intrusion into Japanese waters; on the H1N1 epidemic in Taiwan; and
on Premier Wu Den-yih's meeting with Hong Kong politician Leung
Chun-ying during Wu's trip to Hong Kong before Wu assumed the
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a column in the
KMT-leaning "China Times" commented on the United States' recent
decision to hold bilateral talks with North Korea. The column
interpreted the development, saying that it was an indication that
the United States has yielded to North Korea. The development has
also made South Korea uneasy, the column said. Regarding relations
between China and the United States, another commentary in the
"China Times" said the idea that China and the United States form a
"G2" is unlikely, because neither the United States nor China is
willing or interested in pushing forward such an idea to make it
come true. End summary.
3. "North Korea"
"The United States Holds Talks with North Korea, South Korea Does
Not Relish [the idea]"
The "International Lookout" column in the KMT-leaning "China Times"
[circulation: 120,000] wrote (9/15):
"United States Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
Philip Crowley said that the United States will have contact with
North Korea and persuade North Korea to return to the six-party
talks; even the possibility of United States Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton meeting with North Korean diplomats at the United
Nations is not ruled out.
"What matters is that he [Crowley] said, 'any talks that we have
with North Korea will be held within the six-party context.' Such
phrasing is different from that in the past. In the past, the
United States' said that [the bilateral talks] would be held within
the six-party 'framework.' Now, they [the bilateral talks] will be
held within the six-party 'context.' If [the bilateral talks] are
held within the [six-party] framework, the two parties [the United
States and North Korea] must follow the rules set during the
six-party talks and inform other parties what occurred during the
[bilateral] talks. However, [if the bilateral talks] are held
within the [six-party] context, the two parties can make decisions
on their own and it is not a necessity that other countries be
"These circumstances reveal two things. First, the level of contact
by the two countries has risen to the level of ministers of foreign
affairs. Second, as long as the label of six-party talks is not
withheld from them, [the two countries] can hold talks at their own
"If one says that this is not a concession by the United States [to
North Korea], no one will believe it. However, why was the Obama
administration eager to make concessions? The answer is clear
judging from common sense, which is that time is on North Korea's
side. The longer the procrastination, the more powerful North
Korea's nuclear capability becomes and the fewer bargaining chips
the United States has. Now, to take advantage of North Korea's show
of goodwill, Washington needs to make progress. Moreover, domestic
support in the United States for Obama's foreign policy still
exists. In the future, if such support decreases in tandem with the
decline of [President Barack Obama's] reputation, it will be more
difficult to hold [bilateral] negotiations.
"South Korean's conservative newspaper 'JoongAng Daily' pointed out
that even if bilateral talks [between the United States and North
Korea] are held, such talks would just be an old-style, boring
[fight] between defense and attack with no promising prospects.
Such a tone fully shows that South Korea deeply fears that the
United States would make progress with North Korea and abandon South
Korea. Why does [South Korea] assert that North Korea would still
perform 'in the old way?' Why does [South Korea] assert that such
[bilateral] talks would be boring? North Korea has recently shown
consistent goodwill to the United States with clear measures very
different from those in the past. What's more, would the United
States Secretary of State be willing to go into battle only to do
boring things?"
4. "U.S.-China Relations"
"G2, An Expectation Difficult to Realize and an Unnecessary Source
of Worry"
Jia Qingguo, the Associate Dean of the School of International
Studies (SIS) at Peking University, wrote in the KMT-leaning "China
Times" [circulation: 120,000] (9/15):
"... If one carefully analyzes the possibility of China and the
United States forming a G2 in the foreseeable future, one can easily
see that there is no need either to expect or worry about a G2.
Under the current circumstances, the possibility of a G2 forming in
the foreseeable future is remote. Neither China nor the United
States have the willingness or the prerequisites to advance a
so-called G2.
"First, the United States does not have the willingness to advance a
G2. Fundamentally speaking, deep down in their hearts, most
Americans do not regard China as a partner which has common goals
and is able to cooperate with [the United States] in the long run.
Some Americans look at China as a competitor. They believe that the
relationship between China and the United States is a relationship
between a hegemonic country and a rising country. .... There are
more Americans who regard China as a country which holds different
values [from that of the United States]. They do not believe that
China and the United States can work together...without common
values....The United States once had debates about whether to invite
China to join the G8. Most people believed then that it should not
happen because China is not a so-called democratic country. ...
"China does not have the willingness to advance a G2 either.
Fundamentally speaking, deep down in their hearts, most Chinese
people not only do not believe that China has risen, but also do not
believe that China is able to lead in global issues and take
international responsibility in a broad sense....Some Chinese people
regard the United States as a threat to China's peaceful development
and believe that it is impossible for the United States, as a
hegemonic country, to do nothing and merely sit by and watch China's
"To most Chinese people, China is still a developing country. China
still faces many challenges during the process of domestic reform
and development. Before these issues and challenges are properly
managed and solved, it is neither possible for China to -- nor
should China -- excessively care about international issues,
especially in terms of taking on too many international
responsibilities. ..."
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