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Cablegate: Cambodian Reaction to North Korea Nuclear Test

VZCZCXRO6694
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #1860 2850744
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 120744Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7446
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

UNCLAS PHNOM PENH 001860

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, IO, AND ISN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PARM KNNP CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIAN REACTION TO NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR TEST

REF: A. A) STATE 169418

B. B) MANILA 4312

1. (SBU) On October 12, then-Charge and Pol/Econ Chief met
with MFA Secretary of State Ouch Borith to deliver reftel A
demarche points as well as provide a copy of President Bush's
October 9 statement. With respect to North Korean actions,
Borith assured us that the RGC condemned the nuclear test.
PM Hun Sen had joined with Australian PM Howard in a strong
public condemnation of North Korea's actions, and both
leaders called for the United Nations to urgently address the
issue. Borith apologized for any confusion regarding the
Cambodian government's position that may have arisen as a
result of earlier press statements by Minister of Information
and RGC official spokesperson Khieu Kanharith. Kanharith was
quoted in the October 10 edition of the Cambodia Daily
newspaper as saying that Cambodia maintained a neutral stance
regarding the reported test. Although Cambodia is a party to
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Cambodia also is
against aggression towards North Korea and opposes any
military solution, he added. In a separate interview with
AFP, Kanharith urged the U.S. to officially declare that
there would be no military strike against North Korea.

2. (SBU) Borith said that he contacted Kanharith following
the Cambodia Daily story and questioned him regarding the
remarks. Kanaharith reportedly offered that he had been
misquoted. Borith noted that he urged Kanharith to contact
the Cambodia Daily and demand that they publish a
clarification. (Note: Following an unrelated October 11
meeting at the MFA where Pol/Econ Chief learned that
Kanharith's remarks had not been cleared within the
government, the Embassy contacted Kanharith on October 11 to
verify what had been said. Kanharith explained he had been
misquoted and planned to seek a correction. End Note.)
Borith went on to stress that Cambodia's position on UN
issues related to nonproliferation matters is clear, and
Cambodia opposes nuclear proliferation; the RGC is not
neutral on the North Korean issue.

3. (SBU) When asked if ASEAN planned to issue a joint
message regarding the nuclear test, Borith provided a copy of
the draft text being circulated by the Philippines (reftel
B), adding that Cambodia supported the text without changes.
Borith cautioned that other ASEAN members may try to alter
the text and whatever final statement is issued could be
different, but Cambodia is fine with the text as it stands.
MUSSOMELI

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