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Cablegate: Rok Embraces Its Role As Chair of First Apdp Som

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FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2210
INFO RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK PRIORITY 7689
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 4924
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 8780
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 0209
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI PRIORITY 0010
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA PRIORITY 2511
RUEHKN/AMEMBASSY KOLONIA PRIORITY 0003
RUEHKL/AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR PRIORITY 2693
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA PRIORITY 9064
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 9051
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0701
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 2210
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY PRIORITY 0106
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 5031
RUEHUM/AMEMBASSY ULAANBAATAR PRIORITY 1748
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0544
RUACAAA/COMUSKOREA INTEL SEOUL KOR PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA J5 SEOUL KOR PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMUSFK SEOUL KOR PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 SEOUL 002166

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PHUM KS
SUBJECT: ROK EMBRACES ITS ROLE AS CHAIR OF FIRST APDP SOM

REF: A. SEOUL 1757 ("NO" TO HOSTING)
B. ULAANBAATAR 0331 (PLANNING MEETING)

1. (U) Summary: The Republic of Korea hosted and chaired the
first Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) of the Asia-Pacific
Democracy Partnership (APDP) in Seoul on October 31, 2008.
Twelve countries participated: Australia, Canada, India,
Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the
ROK, Thailand (observer), Timor Leste, and the U.S. Malaysia
was invited but did not attend. The U.S. was represented by
DRL A/S David Kramer. The ROK's agreement to host the
meeting and serve as chair until the next SOM, proposed for
fall 2009, is indicative of Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan's
belief that the ROK should play a more active regional and
global role promoting and protecting democracy. The day-long
series of well-managed and collegial meetings produced
agreements on:

-- supporting elections in the region as the APDP's primary
near-term priority, beginning with the observation of
Bangladesh's December elections,

-- the ROK leading a process for defining the APDP's mission
and membership terms,

-- the U.S. managing the drafting of guidelines for APDP
election observation missions,

-- holding an Inter-Sessional Meeting (subject to
confirmation) on the margins of the Ministerial Conference of
the Community of Democracies in Lisbon, Portugal, tentatively
scheduled for July 2009, and

-- holding an annual SOM meeting. End Summary.

-----------------------------------
The ROK Embracing a Leadership Role
-----------------------------------

2. (SBU) Foreign Minster Yu, in a keynote opening address,
noted the lack of a "multilateral cooperation mechanism
devoted to the promotion of democracy" in the Asia-Pacific
region and urged the APDP to fill the gap. Yu attributed
Korea's democratic and economic success since the Korean War
to the Korean people's desire for democracy and indispensable
assistance from the international community. Welcoming the
opportunity to host and chair the first APDP SOM, Yu said,
"Having come a long and hard way, Korea now strives to do its
part in the global efforts to further spread and promote
democracy." Despite initial bureaucratic reluctance to
hosting the meeting (Ref A), the ROK not only did an
outstanding job preparing for the meetings, but energized the
whole process by agreeing to continue serving as APDP chair
until the next SOM.

3. (U) The SOM was divided into three sessions: the APDP's
mandate, structure, and next steps. Following is a brief
summary of each session, the text of the "Chair's Summary",
and the list of heads of delegations.

--------------
APDP: Mandate
--------------

4. (U) Participants agreed on the importance of the APDP
focusing on practical, action-oriented tasks as a means of
defining the APDP's mandate and developing its partnership.
All agreed that support for regional democratic elections
should be the APDP's primary focus. APDP election
observation missions and election-related capacity building
initiatives were identified as near-term priorities.
Participants agreed to consider sending election observation

SEOUL 00002166 002 OF 005


missions wherever invited in the region, including to APDP
non-member countries.

----------------
APDP: Structure
----------------

5. (U) The second session raised the issue of APDP membership
criteria. Participants agreed to postpone a decision on
whether and when to expand APDP and invite other Pacific
democracies, like Mexico, Chile, or Peru, to participate.
The more immediate issue was whether the APDP would be
inclusive of countries which are not members of the Community
of Democracies (CD). The ROK and the U.S. took the position
that making CD membership a prerequisite would confer a
clearly-defined, easily-explained purpose and composition on
the APDP. Others, including Australia, the Philippines, and
Indonesia, expressed support for including non-CD countries
such as Singapore. Ultimately there was a consensus that
until more formal membership criteria were adopted, CD
membership would be considered &an important factor8 in
determining APDP membership. Moreover, if any of the
founding APDP partners wish to include other countries in
future activities, the meeting participants agreed to notify
the APDP Chair who would, in turn, determine whether any APDP
partners object.

6. (U) Participants agreed in principle to hold annual SOMs
and, as needed, to hold Inter-Sessional meetings. It was
also agreed that Working Groups would work informally between
meetings to prepare recommendations for SOM approval or to
implement decisions of the SOM.

-----------------
APDP: Next Steps
-----------------

7. (U) Although none of the meeting participants offered to
host the next SOM, there was agreement in principle to hold
an Inter-Sessional Meeting on the margins of the Ministerial
Conference of the Community of Democracies in Lisbon,
Portugal, tentatively scheduled for July 2009. The ROK will
continue as chair until the next SOM. (NB: The ROK asked
Indonesia and the Philippines in advance whether either would
be willing to host the next SOM. Indonesia indicated it
would not; the Philippines will consider the request in
Manila.)

8. (U) In preparation for the Inter-Sessional, the ROK will
lead a Working Group to draft an APDP Mission Statement,
which will include APDP,s mandate, structure and membership
criteria. The U.S. will lead a Working Group to draw up
election observation guidelines and procedures.

9. (U) Assuming invitations from host governments,
participants agreed to support sending APDP election
observation missions to observe Bangladesh's December
elections and Micronesia's March elections. Australia
cautioned that a decision on observing Fiji's upcoming
elections should be delayed until there is confirmation that
Fiji's government will allow for free and fair elections.

---------------
Chair's Summary
---------------

10. (U) Chair's Summary of the meeting:

Begin Text:
1. The First Senior Officials, Meeting of the Asia-Pacific
Democracy Partnership (APDP) was held in Seoul, Korea on 31
October 2008. The following 12 countries attended the

SEOUL 00002166 003 OF 005


Meeting: Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan,
Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of
Korea, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and the United States.
Thailand participated in the Meeting as an observer. The
Meeting was chaired by the Republic of Korea.

2. Recalling the Chairs, Summary of the APDP Planning
Meeting that was held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on 1 July
2008, the participating countries discussed the major issues
relating to the APDP, including mandate, structure, and next
steps.

3. With regard to the APDP mandate, the participating
countries

(1) Reaffirmed the agreements reached at the Planning Meeting
that the APDP should focus on practical activities to promote
democracy in the Asia-Pacific region.

(2) Supported the continuation of dispatching election
observation missions, upon invitation or acceptance by
receiving countries, to the countries in the Asia-Pacific,
including non-member states, as a core component of the APDP
mandate.

(3) Supported the inclusion of election-related capacity
building as part of the APDP mandate, and recognized the
importance of incorporating such activities in development
cooperation programs on a voluntary basis.

(4) Agreed to voluntarily hold workshops on democracy-related
issues as part of the APDP mandate.

(5) Acknowledged the need to draw up a Mission Statement of
the APDP which would contain its overall objectives, mandate
and structure, with a view to adopting a Mission Statement at
the next Senior Officials, Meeting.

(6) Stressed the importance of the role of civil society in
the activities of the APDP, including election-related
capacity building and workshops on democracy-related issues.

(7) Stressed the importance of cooperation between the APDP
and other regional initiatives, with a view to making their
activities mutually complementary.

(8) Agreed to continue the discussion on other issues that
may be considered as part of the APDP mandate at the next
Inter-Sessional Meeting and/or at the next Senior Officials,
Meeting.

4. With regard to the APDP structure, the participating
countries

(1) Discussed the issue of membership criteria, and in light
of the different opinions on how strong a linkage there
should be between the APDP membership and the CD membership,
recognized the following elements as ad-hoc guidelines for
expanding the membership of the APDP, until agreement is
reached on membership criteria.

- A member should be geographically located in the
Asia-Pacific region, and commit itself to democracy.
- Membership of the Community of Democracies is considered as
an important factor.
- The existing members may recommend a candidate for new
membership to be considered by a Senior Officials, Meeting.

(2) Agreed that a Senior Officials, Meeting is held annually
on the basis of a rotating chairmanship among members to
discuss major policies of the APDP, and that the term of the
APDP Chair is from the time of hosting of the Senior

SEOUL 00002166 004 OF 005


Officials, Meeting to the next Senior Officials, Meeting.

(3) Agreed that an Inter-Sessional Meeting is held, when
necessary, at the level of Senior Officials or their Deputies
between Senior Officials, Meetings to follow-up on the
decisions reached by the previous Senior Officials, Meeting
and to prepare for the next Senior Officials, Meeting.

(4) Agreed on the need of a Steering Group composed of the
former, the current and the next Chairs, which may be created
in due course to maintain continuity and consistency between
Chairs.

(5) Agreed to establish Working Groups to map out specific
and detailed steps necessary to implement the decisions
reached at a Senior Officials, Meeting.

(6) Acknowledged that the funding for attendance at APDP
meetings and participation in APDP activities should
basically be borne by each participating country.

5. With regard to the next steps for the APDP, the
participating countries

(1) Agreed to continue to dispatch election observation
missions to the countries in the Asia-Pacific, starting with
the election to be held in Bangladesh in December 2008,
subject to an invitation by the Bangladesh government and to
consider the possibility of sending election observation
missions to other upcoming elections in the region.

(2) Agreed in principle to hold an Inter-Sessional Meeting on
the margins of the Ministerial Conference of the Community of
Democracies in Lisbon, Portugal, tentatively scheduled for
the first half of 2009, subject to confirmation by the home
governments in the case of some member states.

(3) Agreed to establish two working groups on an informal and
ad hoc basis ) one on the APDP Mission Statement and
Membership, and the other on election observation guidelines
) that will prepare and circulate a draft Mission Statement
and a draft election observation guideline, by the next
Inter-Sessional Meeting.

(4) Welcomed the suggestions by some members to hold
workshops, including the one to follow up on the
recommendations made by the APDP Election Observation Mission
to Mongolia.

(5) Agreed that when a suggestion is made to invite a
non-APDP member(s) to take part in the activities of the
APDP, the suggestion should be circulated to all members by
the Chair and not opposed by any member.

6. The participating countries expressed gratitude to the
government of the Republic of Korea for hosting the First
Senior Officials, Meeting of the APDP.
End Text.

--------------------
Heads of Delegations
--------------------

11. (U) Heads of Delegations:

ROK, Chair: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Minister for
Multilateral, Global and Legal Affairs Oh Joon
Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, First
Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, Information
Management and Services Division Sam Gerovich
Canada: Charge de Affairs Jess Dutton
India: Ambassador to the ROK Skand R. Tayal

SEOUL 00002166 005 OF 005


Indonesia: Department of Foreign Affairs, Head of Policy
Planning and Development Agency Artauli Tobing
Japan: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Policy Division
Official for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau
Mongolia: Member of Parliament and Former Minister of
Foreign Affairs Oyun Sanjaasuren
New Zealand: Deputy Head of Mission Jane Mulryan
Thailand (observer): Minister Counselor Pornpong Kanittanon
Timor Leste: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary General
Vicky Tchong
Philippines: Ambassador to the ROK Luis T. Cruz
U.S.: Department of State, Assistant Secretary for
Democracy, Human Rights and Labor David Kramer

-------
Comment
-------

12. (SBU) The ROK's decision to host the first APDP SOM was a
top-down directive from the Blue House and FM Yu, which
apparently caught MOFAT off guard (Ref A). Nevertheless,
Deputy Minister Oh and his staff took ownership of the
responsibility and did a superb job preparing the ground for
a productive set of meetings. Despite initial reluctance to
being out front on an initiative that risks offending
non-invited neighbors, like China, FM Yu and DFM Oh were,
during the meetings, articulate about Korea being well-suited
for taking on this kind of regional leadership role. The ROK
is to be congratulated for a job well done. As a result of
the ROK,s efforts, APDP is now a sustainable partnership
with the potential to contribute to the consolidation and
expansion of democratic institutions in the region.

13. (U) The U.S. delegation cleared this message.
STEPHENS

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