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Cablegate: U.S.-China Economic and Security Review

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OO RUEHBC RUEHCN RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHGH RUEHKUK RUEHVC
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O 301054Z APR 07
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BEIJING 002907

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL IAEA CH IR RU
SUBJECT: U.S.-CHINA ECONOMIC AND SECURITY REVIEW
COMMISSION ROUNDTABLE WITH CIIS SCHOLARS


Summary
-------

1. (SBU) In response to questions posed by a United
States-China Economic and Security Review Commission
(USCC) delegation led by USCC Chair Carolyn
Bartholomew, scholars from the MFA-affiliated Chinese
Institute for International Studies (CIIS) noted that
China-Russia relations are enjoying the highest level
of cooperation in their history. The scholars said
current India-Iran military ties are superficial but
could develop in the future. China is upholding its
Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) commitments
and is not aiding the development of Iran's missile
program. The Iranian nuclear issue must be resolved
through diplomatic means. China's relations with
Saudi Arabia are rapidly improving, but the United
States should not see increasing China-Saudi energy
cooperation as a threat. China is willing to play a
role to promote peace in the Middle East, but does not
expect a solution in the near future, the scholars
said. End Summary.

China-Russia Relations Reach Historical Zenith
--------------------------------------------- -

2. (SBU) A USCC delegation led by Commission Chair
Carolyn Bartholomew held a roundtable with scholars
from the MFA-affiliated CIIS on April 23.
Participants are listed in para 8. In response to
Vice Chair Blumenthal's query on the status of China-
Russia relations, CIIS Senior Research Fellow on
Russia Wang Chuan said China and Russia have a
strategic partnership. Relations between the two
countries are at the highest point in their history.
China enjoys cooperation with Russia in a wide range
of fields including economics, politics and energy.
Russia holds rich oil and gas resources that China
needs to maintain its peaceful development strategy.
This creates a strong complementary relationship in
the field of energy supply. Beijing and Moscow are
discussing steps, including the construction of a
pipeline, in the field of energy cooperation, but Wang
believes that cooperation needs to be intensified
before the construction on the pipeline will begin.

China Assesses India-Iran Military Relations to be
Minimal
--------------------------------------------- ---------

3. (SBU) In response to Commissioner Wortzel's
question on China's assessment of India-Iran military
relations, CIIS Senior Research Advisor and retired
Major General Xu Lingren said that at present India
and Iran do not have strong cooperation between their
two militaries. It is likely, however, that India
will explore opportunities for deeper cooperation with
Iran because this is in India's self interest. India
maintains military cooperation with a wide range of
countries, including Russia, Western nations and
Israel. China will pay close attention to
developments in India-Iran military relations, stated
Xu.

China Upholding Its MTCR Commitments and Does Not Aid
Iran
--------------------------------------------- ---------

4. (SBU) Wang Chuan said that during the 1970-80's,
China closely cooperated with Iran to develop its
missile program. However, after Beijing became a
signatory to the Missile Technology Control Regime, it
suspended all cooperation with Iran on missile
technology. Wang did not address Commissioner
Wortzel's question on whether China has concerns about
how missile-related sales to Iran in areas not
specifically restricted by the MTCR could affect the
security of shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf.

BEIJING 00002907 002 OF 003

Iran Nuclear Issue Must Be Resolved Diplomatically
--------------------------------------------- -----

5. (SBU) Iran has the right to develop nuclear
technology for peaceful use, but the international
community is very concerned that Tehran's intention is
to build nuclear weapons, stated Wang Chuan in
response to Commissioner Fielder's question on the
likelihood of resolving the Iranian nuclear issue.
Wang, noting that he served in Iran before the Islamic
Revolution, stated that even then the Shah had voiced
his desire to develop nuclear weapons. It is
therefore difficult for the international community to
accept that Iran has committed itself to peaceful
development. Even though Iran has adopted a defiant
attitude in the face of international sanctions, the
nuclear issue can still be resolved through diplomatic
or political means. The international community must
find universal principles and definitions to apply to
nuclear power and nuclear weapons development so that
there can be clear mutual understanding, Wang said.

China's Improving Relations with Saudi "Not a Threat"
--------------------------------------------- --------

6. (SBU) Because of China's rapid economic
development, since 1993 China has had to import oil to
meet its energy needs, stated Major General Xu
Lingren. By the end of 2006, China imported more than
100 million tons of oil, two-thirds of which came from
Middle Eastern countries. Saudi Arabia is the biggest
exporter of oil to China. Since diplomatic relations
were established between China and Saudi Arabia in
1990, the relationship has developed very rapidly,
particularly in recent years. China is cooperating
closely with the Saudi government to establish and
maintain a strategic energy reserve. Xu stated that
China-Saudi relations will not negatively affect other
countries.

China's Role in the Middle East Peace Process
---------------------------------------------

7. (SBU) The Middle East Peace Process is currently
facing a dilemma because the United States, the
European Union and the Arab League are all floating
their own ideas on how to achieve peace, stated Vice
President Gong Xianfu in response to Chairperson
Bartholomew's query on China's role in the Middle
East. China is supportive of the Road Map laid out by
the United States, the European Union, Russia and the
United Nations, as well as the Mecca Agreement between
the two Palestinian parties and the Arab League
Initiative. Beijing is willing to play its unique
role in the process and believes that for a
breakthrough to be achieved, all parties involved must
agree to the UN principles and "land for peace."
China is trying hard to leverage the Israeli and
Palestinian governments and sent its special envoy Sun
Bigan to the Middle East to seek a breakthrough. The
problem is too complicated to resolve overnight.
Trust has to be built between Israel and Palestine.
Neither Palestinian President Abbas nor Israeli Prime
Minister Olmert is strong enough to push forward the
process. Gong added that while the United States
plays an undeniable role in the Middle East Peace
Process, Washington's main focus now is on Iraq.
Israel and Palestine have many basic problems to
resolve such as borders, refugees and the creation of
an independent state. These issues will not be solved
in the short term.

8. (SBU) Participants:

United States-China Economic and Security Review
Commission:


BEIJING 00002907 003 OF 003


Carolyn Bartholomew, Chair
Daniel Blumenthal, Vice Chair
C. Richard D'Amato, Commissioner
Jeffery Fielder, Commissioner
Larry M. Wortzel, Commissioner
Marta McLellan, Analyst

China Institute For International Studies:

Gong Xianfu, Vice President (served in Israel, Saudi
Arabia, Egypt)
Wang Chuan, Senior Research Fellow (served in Russia
and Slovakia)
Xu Lingren, Senior Advisor and retired Major General
(served in Iran)

9. (U) The USCC delegation has cleared this message.
RANDT

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