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Cablegate: Asean Secretary General Meeting with Ambassador Hume

VZCZCXRO3205
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #1931 1970436
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160436Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5447
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 001931

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EAP/RSP, EAP/MTS AND EB/IFD/OMA
DEPT FOR EAP/EP ANDRE
TREASURY FOR IA-BAUKOL
COMMERCE FOR SBERLINGUETTE
USTR FOR DKATZ

E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD PREL ID
SUBJECT: ASEAN SECRETARY GENERAL MEETING WITH AMBASSADOR HUME


1. (SBU) Summary and Action Request. Ambassador Hume paid a
courtesy call on ASEAN Secretary General Ong Keng Yong on July 12 to
discuss cooperation between ASEAN and the United States. Both
Ambassador Hume and Secretary General Ong expressed regret at the
postponement of the ASEAN-US Summit, but they also confirmed their
commitment to maintaining a strong partnership. Secretary General
Ong noted that Indonesia has assumed a stronger leadership role
within ASEAN in recent years after a period of lessened engagement
during the financial crisis and its aftermath. Action Request: Post
requests Department's assistance in identifying ASEAN-US agreements,
projects or other forms of cooperation that are close to completion
that we could push forward as symbols of our strong partnership with
ASEAN. End Summary.

SecGen Ong Regrets Summit Postponement
--------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Ambassador Hume paid a courtesy call on ASEAN Secretary
General Ong Kong Yong on July 12 to discuss cooperation between
ASEAN and the United States. Ambassador Hume extended his sincere
regret that the United States has had to explore an alternative date
for the ASEAN-US Summit to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the
ASEAN-US Dialogue. Ambassador Hume noted that the USG remains
committed to enhancing our partnership with ASEAN. Secretary
General Ong expressed disappointment that ASEAN and the US would not
be able to hold the Summit on September 5 in Singapore as planned.
However, the Secretary General also expressed hope that all ten
ASEAN member countries and the United States could find an
alternative date, noting that a date in 2008 would be acceptable if
it is still within 12 months of September 2007, the actual 30th
Anniversary. Ong also said that he has cautioned his staff and the
ASEAN member countries not to let the postponement of the Summit
undermine strong progress made in recent years on ASEAN-US
cooperation.

Indonesia Assumes Greater Leadership Role in ASEAN
--------------------------------------------- -----

3. (SBU) Secretary General Ong noted that Indonesia has assumed a
stronger leadership role within ASEAN in recent years after a period
of restrained engagement during the financial crisis and its
aftermath. In Ong's view, Indonesia's interest in moving ASEAN's
agenda forward is an important aspect of ASEAN's ability to realize
an ASEAN community by 2015. Ong also noted that when Indonesia or
other large countries become more assertive within ASEAN, the other
countries resentment can manifest in the excessive use of
bureaucratic process and slower decision-making.

4. (U) Indonesia highlighted its commitment to transforming ASEAN
into a unified community in a series of events on July 13-14 to
commemorate ASEAN's 40th anniversary. Embassy representatives
attended the GOI-sponsored ASEAN Youth Ambassador Competition final
on July 12 and the ASEAN Festival on July 13, both of which received
wide local media coverage. The Youth Ambassador Contest judges
required the twenty extremely articulate finalists to answer tough
questions on their vision of ASEAN and Indonesia's role within
ASEAN. The judges selected one female student, Kinanti
Kusumawardani Taufik, 21, and one male student, Yoes Chandra
Kenawas, 22, as the official ASEAN Youth Ambassadors, who will
travel within Indonesia and ASEAN, as well as to Japan, to promote
ASEAN among young people. Some of Indonesia's foremost scholars and
leaders, including Presidential Spokesman Dino Jalal, judged the
event.

Action Request
--------------

3. (SBU) Post requests Department's assistance in identifying any
ASEAN-US agreements, projects or other forms of cooperation that are
close to completion that we can push along and use as symbols of our
strong partnership with ASEAN. Embassy believes we need to find
ways to emphasize our commitment to ASEAN-US cooperation through
concrete examples of our ongoing engagement as soon as possible.

HUME

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