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Cablegate: Vietnam Cool to Malaysian Proposal for Asean Fm Meeting On

VZCZCXRO2454
OO RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #0779 2260948
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 140948Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0050
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH PRIORITY 6077
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0329

UNCLAS HANOI 000779

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR EAP/MLS (SCHEIBE)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PGOV BM VM

SUBJECT: VIETNAM COOL TO MALAYSIAN PROPOSAL FOR ASEAN FM MEETING ON
BURMA

REF: STATE 83598

1. (SBU) On August 14, Acting PolCouns met with the Director of the
MFA ASEAN Department's Political and Security Division, Duong Tri
Hien, to reiterate our strong opposition to the August 11 conviction
of Aung San Suu Kyi and to urge Vietnam to support a Malaysian
proposal to convene an urgent meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers.
Per reftel, APol/C encouraged ASEAN to speak with one voice in
condemning ASSK's continued detention. The United States, he said,
remained open to enlarging its relationship with Burma, as Secretary
Clinton had said in Phuket, but ASSK's show trial and conviction had
made this more difficult. Releasing ASSK and other political
prisoners would be an extremely well-received first step, he said,
adding that he hoped that Vietnam would make use of its special
relationship with Burma to convey the message. Finally, APol/C
urged Vietnam to view Burma through an ASEAN lens, noting that the
United States was committed to engaging ASEAN much more robustly,
but that Burma's continued intransigence remained an obstacle.

2. (SBU) Hien responded that the Malaysian proposal would be
discussed when senior officials met in Jakarta next week, and that
Vietnam would "carefully consider" it. At the same time, Hien
voiced skepticism that an emergency foreign ministers meeting on
Burma would go forward. As a technical matter, it would be
difficult to arrange a meeting at this level and on short notice.
Substantively, Hien said that Vietnam was not persuaded that a
meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers would be constructive, since it
would likely not lead to anything different than what was already
said in Phuket. Turning to the Aung San Suu Kyi trial, Hien
asserted that the Burmese authorities had demonstrated some
flexibility in lessening her sentence, though when pressed, he
conceded that this was political theater and that the verdict had
been preordained.

MICHALAK

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