Search

 

Cablegate: Cambodia Applauds Increased U.S.-Asean Cooperation

VZCZCXRO2282
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0715/01 2661123
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231123Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1207

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000715

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO EAP/MLS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA APPLAUDS INCREASED U.S.-ASEAN COOPERATION

REF: A. STATE 94921
B. PHNOM PENH 602

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a September 22 meeting with the Deputy
Chief of Mission to discuss next steps on the U.S.-Lower
Mekong Ministerial (Ref A), Secretary of State for ASEAN
Affairs Kao Kim Hourn expressed enthusiasm for the initiative
and praised the United States' "reengagement" in Southeast
Asia. He characterized the recent visit by Secretary Clinton
to Phuket as a significant advancement which was greatly
appreciated by ASEAN, and made suggestions for future
engagement. Kao Kim Hourn cited the need for ASEAN to have
good relations with all dialog partners, including the United
States, without alienating others such as China. He then
discussed ASEAN's frustration with Burma and expressed the
desire that the new U.S. administration not allow the Burma
issue to detract from other policy objectives in the region.
END SUMMARY.

EXCITEMENT OVER ENHANCED U.S.-ASEAN RELATIONS
---------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Kao Kim Hourn, who will be traveling with Minister
of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong to the UN General Assembly
later this week, relayed the Minister's enthusiasm regarding
the U.S.-Lower Mekong Ministerial. According to Kao Kim
Hourn, the Minister is so excited about the initiative that
he will highlight it in his speech to the UNGA on September
26. Kao Kim Hourn stated that the current U.S.
administration's apparent shift in policy towards Southeast
Asia is greatly appreciated by ASEAN, which is looking
forward to expanding economic support and cooperation with
all strategic partners such as Japan, South Korea, China and
the U.S. He said that while the U.S. was "busy elsewhere" in
previous years, China had successfully projected its role in
the region as a benign power which offered peace and
stability, without obvious strings attached. However,
according to Kao Kim Hourn, Secretary Clinton's visit to
Phuket and initiatives such as those discussed during the
U.S.-Lower Mekong Ministerial, as well as the appointment of
an Ambassador to ASEAN, have proved to the member states that
"the United States is back" in Southeast Asia, which he sees
as a win-win situation economically for all involved.

BURMA REMAINS PROBLEMATIC
-------------------------

3. (SBU) Kao Kim Hourn expressed concern that, although the
U.S.-ASEAN relationship is expanding, the U.S. policy towards
Burma has been problematic for ASEAN in the past. He stated
that the U.S.-ASEAN relationship should be based on overall
strategic and economic opportunities and not be "held hostage
to a single country." He added that ASEAN was not happy with
Burma, a member state which often causes the others
embarrassment. However, he stressed that the best tactic to
establish democracy and improve human rights in Burma is
through engagement rather than isolation. Echoing Prime
Minister Hun Sen's similar remarks on Burma to visiting
Senator Webb (Ref B), Kao Kim Hourn stated that Burma should
release all political prisoners, especially Aung San Suu Kyi,
and welcome international observers to validate the 2010
national elections.

SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE COOPERATION
----------------------------------

4. (SBU) Kao Kim Hourn offered suggestions for several
"non-traditional security" areas for future U.S. cooperation
with ASEAN, and highlighted energy security as one of them.
While some ASEAN countries, such as Cambodia, are looking
into solar, wind and hydropower as alternative energy
solutions, others, such as Burma, are considering nuclear
energy proposals which could be problematic. Other areas for
cooperation include piracy, small arms/light weapons,
trafficking in persons (including fraudulent adoptions),
cyber crimes, drug trafficking, counterfeiting, and
peacekeeping as a catalyst for reform.

COMMENT
-------

5. (SBU) Prior to accepting a job within the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Kao Kim Hourn
headed a highly-regarded political and economic think tank in
Cambodia. He has been directly involved in ASEAN and
specifically ASEAN-China relations for over 10 years, and was
indispensable to Cambodia's entry into ASEAN in 1999. The
interest and enthusiasm he exhibited for the Lower Mekong

PHNOM PENH 00000715 002 OF 002


Ministerial and enhanced cooperation between the U.S. and
ASEAN bodes well for current and future initiatives in the
region, and we expect him to be a reliable and valuable
partner as these initiatives are developed. END COMMENT.
RODLEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: Violations Of Palestinian Rights Puts Two-State Solution At Risk, Chief Warns
The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to pose a significant challenge to international peace and security, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said on Monday... More>>



Oxfam: Afghanistan Faces Multiple Crises

ActionStation, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, Christian World Service, Oxfam Aotearoa and World Vision New Zealand say that while Afghanistan faces chronic poverty, persistent droughts, war, the Covid-19 pandemic and an economic crisis, winter is about to bring a whole new set of challenges...More>>

AFTINET: New COVID Strain Postpones WTO Meeting

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Meeting scheduled for November 30-December 3 has been postponed indefinitely because the new Omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus in African countries with low vaccination rates prevents many African and other delegations from attending the meeting...
More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs

Food: Three Billion People Cannot Afford A Healthy Diet

Approximately three billion people, almost 40 per cent of the world’s population, cannot afford a healthy diet and another one billion people would join their ranks should further unpredictable events reduce incomes by one-third, the UN food agency said, launching a new report on Tuesday... More>>

COP26: Enough Of ‘Treating Nature Like A Toilet’ – Guterres Brings Stark Call For Climate Action To Glasgow
As the World Leaders Summit opened on day two of COP26, UN chief António Guterres sent a stark message to the international community. “We are digging our own graves”, he said, referring to the addiction to fossil fuels which threatens to push humanity and the planet, to the brink, through unsustainable global heating... More>>


Climate: ‘Vague’ Net Zero Promises Not Enough: Planet Still On Track For Catastrophic Heating, UN Report Warns

New and updated commitments made ahead of the pivotal climate conference COP26 in the past months are a positive step forward, but the world remains on track for a dangerous global temperature rise of at least 2.7°C this century even if fully met, a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned... More>>