Cablegate: Deputy Secretary Steinberg's Meeting with Xxxxx
OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #2963/01 2990014
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 260014Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6589
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
S e c r e t section 01 of 02 beijing 002963
Pacom for fpa piccuta
E.o. 12958: decl: after korean unification
Tags: ovip (steinberg, james b.), prel, parm, pgov, econ,
etra, mnuc, marr, ch, jp, kn, ks, ir
Subject: deputy secretary steinberg's meeting with xxxxx
foreign minister he yafei, september 29, 2009
Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Aubrey Carlson. Reasons 1.
4 (b) and (d).
1. (SBU) September 29, 2009; 8:30 a.m.; St. Regis Hotel,
2. (SBU) Participants:
Deputy Secretary Steinberg
Laura Stone (notetaker)
1. (S) Summary: Deputy Secretary Steinberg explained U.S.
confidence-building and transparency objectives vis-a-vis
Iran that we planned to pursue at the October 1
P5-plus-1-plus-Iran Political Directors meeting. xxxxx
emphasized the importance of sustaining the
dialogue, expressed hope that U.S. domestic political
pressure would not lead the U.S. to pursue UN sanctions, and
affirmed the need for monitoring, supervision and benchmarks.
The Deputy Secretary rejected the idea that politics were
motivating U.S. Iran policy, and made clear the U.S. position
that we need to resolve, not just monitor and supervise, the
Iranian nuclear problem. On the upcoming POTUS visit, xxxxx
suggested that a joint statement reflect the balanced,
comprehensive nature of the relationship while also
addressing each country's "core" interests. xxxxx expressed
worry that the Copenhagen climate change meeting could
overshadow the trip. xxxxx welcomed the institutionalized
G-20, downplayed the importance of Premier Wen Jiabao's
announced October 4-6 trip to Pyongyang, and bemoaned the
U.S. 421 tire safeguards decision. End summary.
2. (S) The Deputy Secretary explained U.S. objectives for the
October 1 P5-plus-1 Political Directors meeting with Iran.
xxxxx outlined actions in support of the pillars of confidence
building and transparency that Iran needed to undertake to
establish its seriousness in addressing the nuclear issue.
On process objectives, the Deputy Secretary noted that the
nuclear issue would need to remain the primary subject in
follow-up experts meetings, although other agenda topics were
Based on Chinese communications with Iran, xxxxx, xxxxx
thought it would be difficult for Iran to refuse talks, since
entering into dialogue was the only way to diffuse tensions.
xxxxx was less certain about the prospect of Tehran giving up
its nuclear program. xxxxx asserted that because the
weapons program was "not quite there yet" and the facilities
were all dual-use in nature, Iran's assertions that the
program was for peaceful use were "50-percent true." The
key, according to xxxxx, was monitoring and supervision,
while establishing benchmarks that Iran should not cross.
4. (S) xxxxx suggested that the first objective of the
October 1 meeting with Iran should be to keep the dialogue
alive. xxxxx asked that the United States not reject Iranian
attempts to broaden the conversation or create the impression
that the talks were not making progress. Noting that
President Obama had told President Hu Jintao that resolving
the Iran situation was a pressing U.S. interest, xxxxx asked
how long the United States would remain patient in the face
of limited progress. xxxxx expressed hope that "domestic
political pressure" would not lead the United States to seek
new UN Security Council sanctions.
5. (S) The Deputy Secretary stated that domestic political
factors were not driving our approach to Iran, but rather a
Beijing 00002963 002 of 002
conviction -- shared by Britain and France -- of the need to
resolve the Iranian nuclear problem. The nuclear issue
needed to be discussed up front in talks; the process could
not stay alive without Iran committing to some
confidence-building measures. Monitoring and supervision
were not adequate, as the North Korean case had demonstrated.
6. (C) xxxxx asked that the upcoming POTUS visit reflect the
balanced, comprehensive nature of the relationship, including
economic, security, cultural, economic and people-to-people
ties. A joint statement should not be too detailed and
should instead mirror the status of two of the world's most
important leaders. That said, the statement had to address,
in a positive way, both countries' "core" interests. xxxxx
expressed worry that the early-December Copenhagen climate
change meetings could overshadow the POTUS visit, and
recommended that China and the United States focus during the
visit on our respective national commitments in the realm of
7. (C) xxxxx raised xxxxx proposal for a "humanities" MOU that
would cover people-to-people, cultural, and science and
technology exchanges, saying xxxxx hoped to make this one of the
"gems" of the visit. xxxxx suggested that the presidents sign
the clean energy and environmental protection MOU.
8. (C) xxxxx thanked President Obama for his leadership in
institutionalizing the G-20, which had created a
"comfortable" platform for countries like China and India to
play a larger role. xxxxx explained that there had been some
domestic criticism of President Hu's participation in the
G8-plus-5. xxxxx expressed hope that the United States would
coordinate closely with China as we established new rules for
the organization, and that it would not become an
organization that duplicated the United Nations or the G-8.
xxxxx expressed reservations about how fast the G-20 could
expand to handle issues beyond economics and finance, but
noted that if the organization was going to stay relevant for
leaders it's scope would have to grow. xxxxx specifically
mentioned the need for a coordinating mechanism on global
diseases and counter-terrorism.
9. (S) xxxxx downplayed Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming
October 4-6 visit to Pyongyang, stating "we may not like
them," but "they (the DPRK) are a neighbor," and the trip was
part of the 60th anniversary of relations celebrations. xxxxx
stated that the Premier would convey a strong message on the
need to denuclearize, to come back to the Six-Party talks,
and to not abandon the Six-Party Talks framework. xxxxx noted
that North Korea often tried to play China off the United
States, refusing to convey information about U.S.-DPRK
bilateral conversations. Clearly seeking a clarification for
the record, xxxxx asked if the United States were prepared
to accept a nuclear-armed but non-proliferating North Korea.
The Deputy Secretary stated this was not acceptable or
10. (C) xxxxx lamented the United States' recent 421 tire
decision, and expressed concern that lawyers in the United
States were preparing additional cases on products such as
textiles. xxxxx opined that China and the United States relied
too much on "technical" negotiators.
11. (U) The Deputy Secretary has cleared this message.