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Cablegate: Singapore Mfa Briefing On Asean-Related Meetings

VZCZCXRO4030
OO RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHGH RUEHPB RUEHVC
DE RUEHGP #2156/01 3391043
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 051043Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4543
INFO RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1901
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0150
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0864

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SINGAPORE 002156

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ASEAN SN BM
SUBJECT: SINGAPORE MFA BRIEFING ON ASEAN-RELATED MEETINGS

REF: A) SINGAPORE 2085 B) SINGAPORE 2086 C) SINGAPORE
2092

1. (SBU) Summary: MFA ASEAN Directorate Director Jacky Foo
said the Government of Singapore sees two major
accomplishments coming out of the ASEAN Summit. First, there
was robust discussion of the Burma issue and consensus that
the issue must not be allowed to block ASEAN integration.
Second, the signing of the ASEAN Charter was an important
step toward ASEAN's becoming a rules-based organization.
ASEAN leaders also agreed to accelerate implementation of the
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint to 2015. At the
various ASEAN-dialogue partner summits, varying levels of
progress were made on free trade and other cooperation
agreements, he said. End Summary.

ASEAN Summit
------------

2. (SBU) Singapore MFA ASEAN Directorate Director Jacky Foo
briefed dialogue partners November 28 on the 13th ASEAN
Summit and related meetings held in Singapore November 18-22.
Foo said the Government of Singapore sees two major
accomplishments coming out of the ASEAN Summit. First, there
was robust discussion of the Burma issue and consensus that
the issue must not be allowed to block ASEAN integration.
Second, the signing of the ASEAN Charter was an important
step toward ASEAN's becoming a rules-based organization, he
stated.

3. (SBU) Foo said a committee was formed to discuss
implementation of the Charter after ratification. It was
hoped that all member nations would ratify the Charter by the
time of the 14th ASEAN Summit to be held in Thailand in 2008.
Thailand offered to commemorate the important occasion by
hosting the meeting in the palace where ASEAN was first
founded 40 years ago. Foo noted that Philippines President
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had specified that ratification by
her country would be dependent upon real democratic change
coming about in Burma.

4. (SBU) Foo noted the reorganization of the ASEAN
Secretariat. The Secretary General will now be supported by

SIPDIS
four Deputy Secretary Generals responsible for: 1)
political/security issues, 2) economics, 3) social/cultural
issues and 4) external relations. Funding for the new
positions has not yet been identified, but Foo said he is
confident appropriate funding will be found. ASEAN remains
committed to the principle of "equal contributions," but
members and dialogue partners can also contribute through the
ASEAN Development Fund and/or the Initiative for ASEAN
Integration. Next steps on Charter implementation will
include defining the Human Rights body and its mandate and
establishing a comprehensive dispute settlement mechanism.
The economic sector already enjoys a robust mechanism that
can act as a model with regard to resolving non-economic
disputes, he stated.

5. (SBU) Foo said ASEAN leaders agreed to accelerate
implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)
Blueprint to realize full implementation by 2015. The AEC
Blueprint would transform ASEAN into "a single market and
production base, a highly competitive economic region, a
region of equitable economic development, and a region fully
integrated into the global economy." The AEC Blueprint would
then serve as a prototype for two other Blueprints,
Political/Security and Social/Cultural. The AEC was done
first because its goals are more easily defined, he stated.
Foo noted that ASEAN leaders signed a declaration to support
the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) process, to support Indonesia in establishing a
post-Kyoto framework, and to promote environmental
sustainability and a green lifestyle within ASEAN.

ASEAN Plus Three
----------------

6. (SBU) Foo said the ASEAN plus China, Japan and Republic
of Korea (ASEAN Plus Three or APT) meeting marked its 10th
Anniversary. The parties discussed measures to deepen
cooperation in financial services, education, trade and
support of the Six-Party Talks, he stated.


SINGAPORE 00002156 002 OF 002


East Asian Summit
-----------------

7. (SBU) Foo indicated that although Burma blocked UN
Special Advisor Gambari from briefing the East Asian Summit
as Singapore had proposed, Gambari did manage to meet
individually with most EAS leaders. On Korea issues, the EAS
agreed to support the Six-Party Talks and encourage
reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula. Japan announced an
East Asia Economic Research Institute (EARI) office would be
set up on a temporary basis at the ASEAN Secretariat in
Jakarta. A committee was formed to review how to follow up
on leaders' discussion. The importance of contributing to
interfaith dialogue was also discussed, he said.

ASEAN Plus China
----------------

8. (SBU) Foo stated that China pledged further cooperation
with ASEAN on the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary
and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and on military
issues. The ASEAN-China FTA is still being negotiated, but
there is agreement on most chapters. Both sides have pledged
to redouble efforts on the investment chapter. Connectivity
between China and ASEAN must also be strengthened. A
strategic initiative for multilateral liberalization that
would promote increased travel between ASEAN countries and
China is in the works, he noted.

ASEAN Plus Japan
----------------

9. (SBU) According to Foo, there has been an intensification
of effort on the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic
Partnership Agreement, with substantive completion. The
document, which will be signed in March 2008, provides for
financial assistance and training for maritime security,
Japan's assistance to upgrade ASEAN's capacity to deal with
Avian Flu and environmental catastrophes in the region, and
for middle school and high school-level student exchanges, he
said.

ASEAN Plus ROK
--------------

10. (SBU) Foo said Korean soft culture now permeates ASEAN
countries, but the cultural presence of ASEAN countries in
the ROK remains limited. It was determined that ASEAN would
establish an office in downtown Seoul and an ASEAN Studies
Center at the university level. A research group was formed
to determine what more could be done to increase ASEAN-Korea
cooperation, he stated.

ASEAN Plus India
----------------

11. (SBU) Foo said FTA negotiations were ongoing at the time
of the Summit and should be completed by March 2008. While
five key products (pepper, coffee, tea, palm oil and crude
oil) were still under discussion, India was committed to:
enhanced integration with ASEAN; more open transport (open
skies); science and technological cooperation with Southeast
Asia; and environment cooperation using a USD five million
green fund, he indicated.

ASEAN-EU Summit
---------------

12. (SBU) Foo stated that was some convergence of views
between ASEAN and the EU on the issue of Burma, with both
sides raising doubts about the effectiveness of sanctions. A
work plan focusing on energy and environmental technology was
issued with an agreement that EU would assist ASEAN on
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issues, he
said.

Visit Embassy Singapore's Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/singapore/ind ex.cfm
HERBOLD

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