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Cablegate: Indonesian Fleet Review: U.S. Navy Dominates the Show And

VZCZCXRO2054
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0076 2390337
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270337Z AUG 09
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0447
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0436
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0005
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0207
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0010
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0172
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHAA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHOVVKG/COMSEVENTHFLT
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0458

UNCLAS SURABAYA 000076

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/PD, EAP/MTS
JAKARTA FOR DAO, PAS, AND POL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KPAO MARR PHSA ID
SUBJECT: INDONESIAN FLEET REVIEW: U.S. NAVY DOMINATES THE SHOW AND
THE MEDIA COVERAGE

1. (U) Summary: The U.S. Navy, led by the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON,
dominated "Sail Bunaken" at the Indonesian Fleet Review (IFR)
2009, hosted by Indonesia in North Sulawesi August 12-20, 2009.
Indonesian officials, the media, and the general public
expressed overwhelming appreciation for the participation of
Admiral Gary Roughead, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and
five U.S. warships. Indonesian officials welcomed the clear
demonstration of the U.S. Navy's commitment to strengthening
relations and cooperation with its Indonesian counterparts.
Media coverage was extensive and universally positive. End
Summary.

U.S. NAVY'S OBVIOUS COMMITMENT
--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. (U) Indonesia welcomed the world's navies to North Sulawesi
for IFR 2009, "Sail Bunaken". Thirty five warships from 15
nations participated in the final parade of ships and aircraft,
led by the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON. An additional 19 countries
sent delegations, with 15 Chiefs of Navy or their
representatives participating. China sent one warship and Rear
Admiral Su Zhiqian, Commander of the South Sea Fleet, who
represented the Chief of Navy; Australia sent one warship, an
oiler, a survey vessel, a customs ship, and its Chief of Navy;
Japan sent three destroyers; and India sent two warships and
Vice Admiral Nirmal Verma, Flag Officer Commander-in-Chief, as
the representative of the Chief of Navy. U.S. CNO Admiral Gary
Roughead, speaking on behalf of the assembled Naval chiefs,
praised Indonesia's initiative in hosting the event as an
opportunity to bring the navies of the world together to discuss
shared security and prosperity.

3. (U) The size and dominance of the U.S. Navy's participation
in Sail Bunaken did not go unnoticed by any of the participants
or the media. Indonesian officials in particular welcomed this
clear demonstration of the U.S. Navy's interest in strengthening
cooperation with Indonesia. As the GEORGE WASHINGTON steamed in
front of the reviewing stand, the Indonesian delegation, led by
the Coordinating Minister for Defense and Security, saluted the
carrier and its crew. As four planes launched from its deck,
the estimated tens of thousands of spectators lining the shore
broke into a sustained standing ovation. After the GEORGE
WASHINGTON and three additional U.S. warships had passed in
single file, the remaining ships steamed past in parallel lines.
The USS MCCAMPBELL concluded the warship parade.

A POSITIVE NEWS STORY
-------------------------------------

4. (U) The GEORGE WASHINGTON, its aircraft, and its four support
ships dominated media coverage of "Sail Bunaken." The U.S. Navy
organized a VIP flight, which included six members of the press,
out to the GEORGE WASHINGTON. Similarly, the Navy invited the
press to tour the USS MCCAMPBELL when it was docked in Bitung.
Both ship visits generated overwhelmingly positive press
reports, with the trip to the aircraft carrier garnering
headlines such as "Spectacular Attraction!", "Wow, How Huge,"
and USS GEORGE WASHINGTON Amazed Manado."

5. (U) Media coverage of "Sail Bunaken" focused almost
exclusively on the U.S. Navy in general and the USS GEORGE
WASHINGTON in particular. MetroTV, for example, broadcast a
report from the deck of the GEORGE WASHINGTON on the weekend
following the event, while papers throughout Indonesia carried
special first-hand accounts of their reporters' "dream come true
opportunity" visit to the carrier. The U.S. Navy's willingness
to invite the media on board their ships and offer members of
their crews for interviews paid huge dividends in positive media
coverage and goodwill. The only complaint came from business
owners disappointed that the vast majority of ships did not
allow their sailors to disembark, and those that did stayed in
Bitung rather than travelling to the provincial capital Manado,
thus limiting the anticipated economic windfall.

MCCLELLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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