Search

 

Cablegate: Secretary General Surin On Burma, China's Role, and U.S.

VZCZCXRO2611
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #0265 0390257
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080257Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7942
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1503
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4710
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1980
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4393
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 000265

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP
BANGKOK FOR RDM/A

E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: ASEAN EAID KDEM KHIV PGOV PREL ID BM CH
SUBJECT: SECRETARY GENERAL SURIN ON BURMA, CHINA'S ROLE, AND U.S.
ABSENCE

1. (SBU) Summary. Secretary General Surin believes that China gains
a heftier -- undeserved -- stature in ASEAN every time U.S. leaders
are absent from an ASEAN Summit or high-level meeting, to our
detriment. He notes the U.K. has decided to sign ASEAN's Treaty of
Amity and Cooperation; it is not a legally binding document, and the
United States should follow suit. He emphasizes the vital role of
China in nudging Burma forward, and urges us to help press the
Chinese to become more forceful. Surin wants us to look for ways to
engage Burma non-politically; he feels a sanctions-only approach
makes it impossible for ASEAN to make progress with the junta. He
fears that without capacity building in health, education, and other
social sectors, a post-junta Burma will quickly become a failed
state. End Summary.

U.S.-ASEAN Summit: Symbols of Consequence
-----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) During a meeting with Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, ASEAN's new
Secretary General, on February 6, the Ambassador took note of the

SIPDIS
significance ASEAN places on having a U.S.-ASEAN Commemorative
Summit. Surin responded, "Everyone here would like to see Bush
too". He revealed that during last week's ASEAN Senior Officials
Meeting in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee specifically mentioned that
Secretary Rice had twice missed ASEAN Ministers Meetings (AMM). Lee

SIPDIS
had noted, however, that ASEAN hoped for a possible Summit with
President Bush around the dates of the July G8 Summit in Japan or
Beijing Summer Olympics.

3. (SBU) Dr. Surin emphasized that summits and attending ASEAN
high-level meetings, although symbolic, have concrete political
consequences. The U.S. has a real, substantive, engagement with
ASEAN countries, he said, yet every time the U.S. is "distant and
absent" China steps in with a symbolic gesture and reaps the
accolades and political gains that a real partner like the U.S.
truly deserves. Over time, Surin asserted, the U.S. is replaced,
though Southeast Asia was America's to lose.

Everyone Loves Me (Even the Brits) But You
------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Another example is when other countries with little
engagement or investment in ASEAN -- like Russia -- sign up to
ASEAN's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation and gain tremendous
goodwill. The treaty is a political document, not a legally binding
one, Surin continued; the United States only contributes to its slow
displacement in the region by not signing on to the treaty. Surin
revealed that the U.K. has decided to sign the treaty but is
delaying the formal act due to sensitivities about the issue of
Burma. After the U.K., he noted, the United States would be the
only permanent member of the UNSC that has not signed.

You Most Likely Know It as Myanmar, But It Will Always Be Burma to
Me
------------------

5. (SBU) The Ambassador emphasized how seriously we view the issue
of Burma, and that we want to work constructively with ASEAN to move
forward. Surin believes that the U.N. process is stalling and that
the search for a solution will return to the ASEAN region. He
vigorously emphasized the vital role of China in nudging "Myanmar"
towards change. Surin believes that the U.S. should press China to
be more forceful, and that China might oblige if persuaded of the
global "PR" benefits -- ASEAN countries alone cannot convince China
to take this course of action. For a regional intermediary, Surin
suggested, a country like Brunei might be more effective and less
intimidating than a vibrant, vocal democracy like Indonesia.

6. (SBU) Dr. Surin urged the United States to look for ways to
engage and work with Burma in non-political areas. He suggested
infectious diseases/healthcare, education, police training, public
administration -- anything that might make the regime less stubborn
and defensive (in the face of only sanctions) and more amenable to
discussing change with ASEAN neighbors and other interlocutors. Who
will build Burma's future leadership, Surin asked? He expressed the
fear that without serious capacity building in these areas now, a
post-junta Burmese government and state might simply collapse under
the weight of its inadequacies.

HEFFERN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC