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Cablegate: Vietnam Resists Call for Asean Members to Pressure Burma

VZCZCXRO2468
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #1266 3220718
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 170718Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8734
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH PRIORITY 5300
RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0243

UNCLAS HANOI 001266

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR EAP/MLS (SCHEIBE AND BLACKSHAW)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PGOV UNSC BM VM
SUBJECT: VIETNAM RESISTS CALL FOR ASEAN MEMBERS TO PRESSURE BURMA

REF: A) STATE 121418, B) HANOI 1248

1. (SBU) In a November 17 conversation with MFA DDG for Asian
Affairs Ta Duy Chinh, DPolCouns expressed U.S. indignation at the
Burmese regime's recent convictions of lawyers and democracy
activists, the continuing house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, and the
junta's refusal to engage in genuine political dialogue. Per ref A,
he urged Vietnam to make use of its comparatively warm relations
with Burma to press for real progress on the issues raised in the
2007 UNSC Presidential statement, including the release of political
prisoners, and reiterated U.S. calls (ref B) not to support a
no-action motion on Burma at the UN Third Committee. Absent
concrete movement, media coverage of the upcoming ASEAN Summit in
Chiang Mai would almost certainly be dominated by the Burma issue,
he emphasized.

2. (SBU) DDG Chinh promised to pass along the substance of the
demarche to his superiors, but otherwise gave little ground. He
conceded that a lack of progress on Burma continues to impede the
development of U.S.-ASEAN ties; however, he insisted that the onus
was on the United States and EU to "build trust." ASEAN, he
contended, shares Vietnam's view that sanctions on Burma have been
ineffectual, even counterproductive. DDG Chinh implored the West to
take a "broader view" of the situation, arguing that a hard-line
approach simply served to "push Burma into the arms of the Chinese."
DDG Chinh affirmed that Vietnam has counseled Burma to take steps
to open up -- as Vietnam itself did two decades ago -- but declined
to identify any concrete measures the GVN had advised Burma to
take.

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