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Cablegate: Vietnam On an Asean Troika Approach to Burma

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


2000HANOI02225 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTO0299

PAGE 01 HANOI 02225 050421Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00
FBIE-00 UTED-00 VC-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 VCE-00 NSAE-00
SSO-00 SS-00 USIE-00 IIP-00 DSCC-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00
/000W
------------------8DDE5D 050421Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1016
INFO AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
ASEAN COLLECTIVE
SECDEF WASHDC
JOINT STAFF WASHDC
DIA WASHDC
CINCPACFLT HONOLULU HI//FPA/J5//

UNCLAS HANOI 002225

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV, EAP/RSP, INR/EAP/SEA
SECDEF FOR ISA/EA/LSTERN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL VM BM ASEAN
SUBJECT: VIETNAM ON AN ASEAN TROIKA APPROACH TO BURMA

REF: SECSTATE 185162

1. POLCOUNS AND POLOFF PRESENTED REFTEL POINTS 3 OCTOBER
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 02225 050421Z
TO MFA ASEAN DEPARTMENT DEPUTY DIRECTOR NGUYEN HUU CHI. CHI
SAID THAT, AFTER MEETING WITH UN SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI
ANNAN, VIETNAMESE FOREIGN MINISTER NGUYEN DY NIEN CONSULTED
CLOSELY AT THE UNGA WITH THE THAI AND BRUNEI FOREIGN
MINISTERS ON THE IDEA OF ACTIVATING THE ASEAN TROIKA ON
BURMA. NIEN THEN HAD "CANDID AND FRIENDLY" TALKS WITH THE
BURMESE FOREIGN MINISTER. BASED ON THESE DISCUSSIONS, THE
TROIKA WAS OF THE VIEW THAT THE SITUATION IN BURMA IS "NOT
ONE THAT AFFECTS OVERALL ASEAN STABILITY," AND GETTING THE
TROIKA INVOLVED IS NOT NOW NECESSARY. (NOTE: CHI INITIALLY
CHARACTERIZED THIS AS A GROUP DECISION, BUT LATER NOTED THAT
VIETNAM AS CHAIR MADE THE CALL ON BEHALF OF THE TROIKA. END
NOTE.)

2. CHI CONTINUED THAT THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT FOR THE
TROIKA LAID OUT AT THE JULY BANGKOK MINISTERIAL SPECIFIED
THAT THE TROIKA SHOULD BE CONVENED WITH THE CONSENSUS OF ALL
ASEAN MEMBERS, BUT AS YET NO SUCH CONSENSUS EXISTS ON BURMA.
ASEAN WOULD, OF COURSE, CONVENE THE TROIKA IF BURMA WERE TO
REQUEST IT; HOWEVER, BURMA HAS JUST RECENTLY SENT A LETTER
TO ALL THE ASEAN COUNTRIES ASKING FOR NO OUTSIDE,
SPECIFICALLY TROIKA, INTERVENTION IN ITS INTERNAL AFFAIRS.

3. CHI TOLD POLOFFS HE HAS NO INFORMATION ON A VISIT TO
HANOI BY UN SPECIAL ENVOY ON BURMA RAZALI ISMAIL. AS
VIETNAM HAS NO MANDATE TO ACTIVATE THE TROIKA UNILATERALLY,
IT HAS NO AUTHORITY TO WORK WITH RAZALI, AND THERE HAVE BEEN
NO CONTACTS OF WHICH CHI IS AWARE.

4. POLCOUNS SUGGESTED IT COULD BE USEFUL FOR VIETNAM AND
OTHER ASEAN COUNTRIES TO APPROACH BURMA AND TRY TO NUDGE THE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 02225 050421Z
REGIME IN A POSITIVE DIRECTION, RATHER THAN WAITING FOR A
BURMESE REQUEST. CHI SAID THIS WAS ALREADY DONE, AT THE
UNGA. HE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT SOME OF THE ASEAN COUNTRIES,
SUCH AS THAILAND, FAVOR FURTHER ACTION, BUT THAILAND HAS
AGREED TO FOLLOW VIETNAM'S LEAD. ANY ASEAN APPROACH TO
BURMA WILL BE MADE THROUGH VIETNAM. (NOTE: CHI'S ATTITUDE
SUGGESTED VIETNAM BELIEVES IT DID ITS DUTY IN THAT REGARD AT
THE UNGA. END NOTE.)

5. COMMENT: THE APPARENT DECISION NOT TO PRESS THE IDEA
OF TROIKA INVOLVEMENT IN BURMA WITH ANY VIGOR CLEARLY HAS
VIETNAM'S IMPRINT ON IT. THE RESULTS OF THIS FIRST TEST OF
HANOI'S WILL AS ASC AND TROIKA CHAIR ARE NOT SURPRISING,
DEMONSTRATING VIETNAM'S EVER-CAUTIOUS NATURE AND AVERSION TO
THE TYPE OF OUTSIDE INVOLVEMENT IT WOULD BE LOATHE TO ACCEPT
IN A SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCE. EMBASSY WILL FOLLOW UP ON THE
ISSUE WITH OTHER ASEAN EMBASSIES TO GAIN THEIR PERSPECTIVES;
FOR NOW, HOWEVER, OUR HUNCH IS THAT NOT MUCH SHOULD BE
EXPECTED FROM THE TROIKA ON BURMA WHILE VIETNAM IS ITS
CHAIR. END COMMENT.

PETERSON

UNCLASSIFIED

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