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Cablegate: A/S Hill Reviews Regional and Bilateral Issues

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OO RUEHPB
DE RUEHWL #0785/01 3030022
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 300022Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4844
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0370
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 5006
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY PRIORITY 0699
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 0273
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE PRIORITY 0514
RUEHSV/AMEMBASSY SUVA PRIORITY 0671
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0670
RUEHBN/AMCONSUL MELBOURNE PRIORITY 0120
RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY PRIORITY 0587
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC PRIORITY
RHHJJAA/JICPAC HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC CAMP H M SMITH HI PRIORITY

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 WELLINGTON 000785

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

OSD FOR JESSICA POWERS; PACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/21/2032
TAGS: PHUM PREL KN NZ US
SUBJECT: A/S HILL REVIEWS REGIONAL AND BILATERAL ISSUES
WITH NEW ZEALAND MFAT SECRETARY MURDOCH

REF: WELLINGTON 686

Classified By: Embassy Wellington DCM David J. Keegan. Reasons E.O.
12958, 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (S) Summary. During an October 19 stopover in
Auckland, EAP A/S Christopher R. Hill met MFAT Secretary
Simon Murdoch to review regional and bilateral issues. They
agreed that the Pacific Islands Forum had produced good
results, holding the line on elections in Fiji and RAMSI in
the Solomons. Prospects in Fiji remained uncertain with a
fractured opposition facing a military accustomed to
authority. Hill said he had told Solomons Foreign Minister
Oti that RAMSI is the best thing the Solomons has going
for it. Murdoch then turned to Foreign Minister Peters'
upcoming trip to Pyongyang and his determination to support
the Six-Party process; he asked what topics the U.S. would
want Peters to emphasize or avoid. Hill stressed the need
to emphasize that New Zealand and others could offer
substantial assistance to North Korea, but it was
conditional on DPRK implementation of its Six-Party
commitments. He reviewed the latest Six-Party developments
and next steps on disablement and further denuclearization.
Hill said he had urged Pyongyang to respond to Japan's
concern over abductees, and he recommended Peters do the
same. On bilateral relations, Murdoch indicated that when
Peters meets the Secretary in Washington, he would renew an
invitation for her to visit New Zealand on her way to or
from Ausmin next year. He said New Zealand is actively
considering ways to increase its development assistance in
Afghanistan, initiate training for Afghan police, and
possibly deploy the SAS to Afghanistan. Murdoch said that
Peters also hopes to explain New Zealand's response on the
Asia Pacific Democracy Partnership. Hill urged Peters to
review these developments with the Secretary. End Summary.

2. (SBU) During an October 19 stopover in Auckland
after the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), EAP Assistant
Secretary Christopher R. Hill discussed a range of regional

SIPDIS
and bilateral issues with Secretary Simon Murdoch of New
Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).
MFAT Deputy Secretary John McArthur and America's Division
officer James Waite accompanied Murdoch; Wellington DCM
David Keegan (note taker) and EAP Special Assistant
Christopher Klein accompanied A/S Hill.

PIF Outcomes Positive on Fiji and Solomons
------------------------------------------

3. (C) A/S Hill said the PIF had produced a
good outcome on pressuring the interim government in
Fiji to move toward elections without delay. Commodore
Frank Bainimarama had been looking for the Forum to help give
him a way out of the political crisis he had created, but
that was placing hope over reality. Murdoch said he
had feared that the Forum would "choke" on Fiji and on
RAMSI, but the member states had held the line. Prime
Minister Clark, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir
Michael Somare, and the Samoan Prime Minister Tuila'epa
had all taken a strong position. Australian Foreign
Minister Downer had said he was pleased with the outcome,
especially with Clark's performance.

4. (C) Murdoch added that these positive results
will make it easier to move Fiji forward toward elections
with a carrot and stick approach. Bainimarama had urged the
Forum leaders not to endorse the roadmap laid out by the
PIF foreign ministers, but they held the line. The U.S. and
New Zealand now need to work with the PIF members to
counter Bainimarama's efforts to portray the Forum members
and partners as bullies. He added that New Zealand very
much appreciated that DAS Davies had pushed back during his
meeting with Bainimarama in New York against Chinese
efforts to undercut international and regional pressure on
the Fijian interim regime.

WELLINGTON 00000785 002 OF 003

5. (C) Hill observed that Bainimarama appears to be
casting himself as a Chavez-style populist, but the Fijian
people do not seem persuaded. Still, the U.S. Embassy in
Suva was very concerned that the opposition remained
fractured and apparently incapable of forming a strong
coalition. He concurred with Murdoch's observation that the
Fijian military had had three generations to build itself
into a strong cohesive political and social force.
Nonetheless, it remained for the Fijian people to make
democracy work.

6. (C) A/S Hill reported that in his meeting with
Solomons Foreign Minister Patteson Oti he said RAMSI is
the best thing that has happened to the Solomon Islands,
and the government should support it. It would not help the
Solomons to get cross-wise with the countries in the region
that have contributed to RAMSI. Oti responded by insisting
that the government supports RAMSI but has to honor its
own parliamentary processes in completing the current
review of RAMSI, A/S Hill said. These were excuses for the
government's current refusal to support RAMSI. The decision
of the Solomon's Prime Minister to boycott the PIF, citing a prior
obligation to attend the Taiwan meeting of Pacific
heads of government, had not gone over well with the
assembled leaders.


Preparing Foreign Minister Peters' Visit to North Korea
--------------------------------------------- ----------

7. (S) Murdoch then turned to preparations for
Foreign Minister Winston Peters' November visit to North
Korea. He said the Minister is determined to use the
visit to support the Six-Party process in every way
possible. Peters plans to stress to the North Koreans
that he considers it the responsibility of all nations to
support the Six-Party Talks. New Zealand wants to help
bring North Korea out of its isolation, but only provided
that North Korea follows through on its Six-Party
commitments. It would be helpful, Murdoch added, to know
what the "red lines" would be for the U.S.

8. (S) Hill observed that North Korea has something of a
"Cargo Cult" mentality and expects visitors to offer
presents. It might be helpful for New Zealand to offer some
small form of aid during Peters' visit, while saying that it
could do far more, such as provide economic and financial
assistance, and training in English language proficiency,
but only if the North follows through on its Six-Party
commitments. The message would be that New Zealand and
like-minded countries are prepared to offer more, but only
if the DPRK denuclearizes.

9. (S) Turning to the current status of the Six-
Party Talks, Hill observed that the talks are coming to
three critical milestones. The first involves disabling the
plutonium enrichment facilities in Yongbyon. The second step
is securing a full declaration from Pyongyang of all its
nuclear programs. The third is persuading the DPRK to
surrender the enriched plutonium it already possesses. This material
is likely in the hands of the Korean People's Army,
and it will take considerable effort to persuade them to
release it.

10. (S) Murdoch asked where the U.S. stands on the
normalization track of the talks. Hill said that the U.S.
would move ahead with removing North Korea from the list of
state supporters of terrorism and terminating application of
the Trading with the Enemy Act only if the DPRK makes
continued progress on denuclearization. In this context,
Murdoch asked about the current status of Japan's demand
for North Korea to make progress on Japanese abductees.
McArthur noted that Japan had asked New Zealand to raise the
issue in Pyongyang. Noting that abductions had become a

WELLINGTON 00000785 003 OF 003


major political issue in Japan, Hill said he had urged North
Korea to find a way to be more responsive and to help new
Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda make progress on this issue.
He emphasized that he had told North Korea it is in its own
interest to improve relations with Japan -- and for the U.S.
to have good relations with Japan. Meanwhile, normalization
discussions could proceed in parallel with progress on
denuclearization.

11. (S) As for a Korean peninsula peace settlement, Hill
also noted that the ROK Reunification Ministry had sought prematurely
for the North-South summit to make a declaration
that a peace treaty would be completed. MOFA had then worked
to persuade President Roh not to support such a declaration. Against
this backdrop, the U.S. wants to avoid becoming an
issue in the current election campaign in South Korea so we
intend to take a low-key approach. A/S Hill urged Peters to
beware of any reference to a "peace declaration."

U.S.-N.Z. Relations
-------------------

12. (C) Murdoch then turned to U.S.-New Zealand
bilateral relations. He said he was still hearing good
feedback from the Partnership Forum in Auckland in
September. He thanked Hill for attending and noted that the
Forum had strengthened both public and private sector
support for efforts to improve the relationship. Murdoch
recalled that he had mentioned to Hill when they met during
the Forum (Reftel) that a Presidential visit in a year with
elections on both sides might be difficult to manage, but
New Zealand would welcome a visit by the Secretary of
State. He had subsequently spoken to the Prime Minister and
Foreign Minister, and they had both endorsed that
assessment. He suggested that a visit by the Secretary on
the way to or from the AUSMIN would be very welcome, and he
expected the Foreign Minister would renew that invitation
when he visits Washington November 19. Hill responded that
the Secretary very much appreciates the Foreign Minister's
strong support on North Korea and is interested in coming.

13. (C) Murdoch said he considers the coming year a time
to bank the gains we had made over the past year and keep
the public profile of the relationship positive through the
course of our elections. New Zealand is very conscious of the
importance the U.S. attaches to New Zealand's support in Afghanistan.
The government is considering expanding its development assistance,
initiating police training, and
possibly deploying the SAS again. New Zealand is also
considering bringing Afghan police trainees to New Zealand,
probably under NATO auspices. He added that Foreign Minister
Peters would try to have something to say on the Asia Pacific
Development Partnership (APDP) when he sees the Secretary.

MCCORMICK

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