Cablegate: Gvn Frustrated with Burma, But. . .
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HANOI 001677
STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PGOV BM VM ASEAN
SUBJECT: GVN FRUSTRATED WITH BURMA, BUT. . .
REF: STATE 120720
1. (SBU) Summary: Vietnam shares U.S. concerns about the
Constitutional Convention in Burma, and is further worried
about the impact of continuing political problems on the
Hanoi-hosted ASEM 5 summit. At the same time, Vietnam feels
that too much pressure on the Burmese will drive them into
China's arms. The GVN has delivered its own "suitable
steps" message to the Burmese, however. End summary.
2. (SBU) Poloff met June 10 with Nguyen Dinh Tang, the MFA's
Burma expert in the Asia 2 Department, and delivered reftel
demarche and a copy of the May 21 public statement.
Separately, Charge met with Assistant Foreign Minister and
Director General of the Americas Department Nguyen Duc Hung
and also expressed US concern about the continued
imprisonment of NLD leaders and the current Constitutional
3. (SBU) Tang noted that Vietnam and Burma had "long and
friendly relations" dating back to 1947, and that both were
members of ASEAN. However, he added, Vietnam also supported
Burma becoming a "full and strong" member of ASEAN. Tang
noted that the first step of Khin Nyunt's 2003 road map was
the Constitutional Convention, but the "nonattendance" by
the NLD was "not good."
4. (SBU) Tang claimed that "the release of Aung San Suu Kyi,
Tin Oo, and other prisoners is part of Myanmar's internal
affairs." He added "but we would like the internal affairs
of Myanmar to advance peace and progress, and we think the
Constitutional Convention should be inclusive." He noted
that "as the host of ASEM 5 summit in October, we have
consistently encouraged suitable steps for measurable
progress to create favorable conditions" for the ASEM
meeting. Tang noted that in March 2004 the Prime Minister
had sent Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien to deliver a
"suitable steps" message. On June 9, Tang delivered the
same message to the Burmese Ambassador here, he said. The
Burmese Ambassador had responded that the Constitutional
Convention was "very important" and would result in "power
sharing among the parties and the ethnic groups."
5. (SBU) Tang criticized the US approach as putting "too
much pressure" on the Burmese, which would, inevitably,
drive them into the arms of the Chinese. ASEAN countries
and even India understood this, Tang added. India was
especially concerned that Burma "maintain its independence"
and remain as a "buffer" between India and China, he noted.
India preferred that Burma look to its ASEAN neighbors for
support, Tang said, and not China - a goal the U.S. should
also have, he commented.
6. (SBU) Comment: Tang returned to the MFA this January from
Burma, where he was DCM of the Vietnamese Embassy. He has
spent more than nine years in Burma. His frankness
regarding the issue likely reflects both the GVN's (and his
own) frustration with the Burmese and the possibility of the
Burma issue derailing a successful ASEM 5.