Cablegate: A/S Campbell February 2 Meeting with Vfm Yabunaka

DE RUEHKO #0214/01 0340658
O 030658Z FEB 10

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TOKYO 000214


E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/02/2020

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Classified By: Ambassador John V. Roos per 1.4 (b/d)


1. (C) During an 80-minute meeting with EAP A/S Campbell
February 2 on regional and bilateral issues, Vice Foreign
Minister Yabunaka agreed on the need for a continued focus on
DPRK denuclearization and cautioned against being distracted
by DPRK calls for peace regime discussions; called on the
United States and Japan to leverage their alliance to shape
China's choices; and welcomed greater U.S. involvement in
regional organizations, including the EAS. Yabunaka also
agreed with A/S Campbell on the utility of Japan proposing a
vice minister-level U.S.-Japan-China trilat, and said that FM
Okada had been invited to travel to Burma in May. VFM
Yabunaka said he would try to address budget and timing
issues involving former American WWII POWs' travel to Japan.
He also pledged to look into ways to facilitate contact
between left behind parents and their children, in addition
to efforts to promote Japan's Hague Convention accession.
End Summary.


2. (C) EAP A/S Kurt Campbell opened his February 2 meeting
with Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka by describing the
current state of play with the DPRK, including ongoing U.S.
efforts to bring North Korea back to the Six Party Talks and
the apparent economic impact of UNSCR 1874 implementation.
The Assistant Secretary stressed that the United States
remained focused on using U.S.-DPRK contacts within Six Party
framework to make progress on denuclearization, and that we
would not allow the North Koreans to change the focus of
discussions from denuclearization to creation of a peace
regime. In light of the DPRK's poor harvest last year and
economic distortions caused by the North Korean won's
revaluation, Pyongyang may need external assistance soon.
That said, there are no signs -- including in North-South
contacts -- that the North will return to the Six Party Talks
anytime soon, A/S Campbell said. Succession issues also
remained unclear, he added.

3. (C) VFM Yabunaka welcomed continued U.S. adherence to a
policy of strategic patience with the DPRK, and said that any
calls for peace regime discussions were a ""trap."" Before any
discussions about peace arrangements, the Six Parties needed
to fully agree on denuclearization. VFM Yabunaka noted that,
in his January 27 meeting with Russian First Deputy Foreign
Minister Denisov, his Russian counterpart offered the view
that 1874 implementation was hurting the DPRK, and that the
resultant lack of certain goods in Pyongyang was even having
a negative impact on the Russian Embassy's operations there,
""including the embassy's in-house dental clinic."" ""Things in
North Korea seemed to be very chaotic,"" Yabunaka said.

4. (C) In response to A/S Campbell's question about reported
DPJ contacts with the North, Yabunaka acknowledged that there
had been some speculative reports, and that any feelers were
likely through the Chosen Soren (Association of North Korean
Residents in Japan). Responding to Asia DG Akitaka Saiki's
query about recent reports of two detained American citizens
in North Korea, A/S Campbell provided an update on U.S.
actions, including efforts to secure consular access through
the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang. Also in response to DG
Saiki's question, ASD Gregson said that future efforts in the
area of Fullest Possible Accounting of U.S. servicemen lost
during the Korean War would have to take place within the
context of overall U.S.-DPRK relations to prevent the North
from using this humanitarian effort for other goals.


5. (C) On U.S.-PRC relations, A/S Campbell noted that Chinese
domestic political imperatives not to appear weak in dealing
with the United States will likely lead to continued ups and
downs in the bilateral relationship. The Chinese reaction to
the Taiwan arms package was one manifestation of this, and
there will likely another negative reaction to the Dalai
Lama's upcoming visit to Washington and senior-level meetings
in his capacity as a spiritual leader. Compounding our

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challenges in the months ahead were personnel changes among
those handling the bilateral relationship, including Vice
Minister He Yafei's transfer to Geneva. In spite of possible
difficulties ahead, the United States would seek to work
closely with China on climate change, cyber-related matters
and Iran, among other issues, A/S Campbell said.

6. (C) VFM Yabunaka noted that the U.S.-Japan relationship is
key in helping to shape China's choices, and that the United
States and Japan must work closely together to encourage
China to pursue ""more responsible interactions with the rest
of the world."" On Iran, Yabunaka recalled again his
conversation with Russian First DFM Denisov, who had said
that China would likely approve tougher action through a
UNSCR, would insist on IAEA involvement, and would prefer
diplomatic over military action.

7. (C) The United States did not see Japan's relations with
the United States and China as zero sum, A/S Campbell said.
In fact, Japan's recently improved relationship with the PRC
was positive, and put Japan in a good position to press for a
U.S.-Japan-China trilateral meeting. VFM Yabunaka noted that
he had discussed this matter with outgoing Chinese Ambassador
Cui Tiankai, and Yabunaka agreed with A/S Campbell that it
made sense for Japan to press for a vice minister-level
trilateral in the summer.

Regional Architecture

8. (C) The United States recognizes that it needs to play a
greater role in regional organizations, and to that end will
soon begin a dialogue with Southeast Asian partners on
possible participation in the East Asian Summit, A/S Campbell
continued. For the EAS to be effective, however, it needed
to be better choreographed with APEC, and this process will
take time, A/S Campbell said. A/S Campbell urged Japan, in
discussing regional architecture, to continue to avoid ""Asia
for the Asians"" formulations. VFM Yabunaka welcomed possible
U.S. participation in the EAS and noted that recent GOJ
statements on regional architecture have included a strong
call for U.S. involvement.


9. (C) A/S Campbell noted that discussions with Burma's
senior leadership will not be an easy process, but the United
States will continue to press for progress in democratization
and human rights, and we are grateful for Japan's support in
this area. It remains unclear whether the elections there
will be held in the March/April timeframe, or in October.
VFM Yabunaka said that FM Okada was invited to visit in May,
speculating that the reason for this timing was that the
Burmese might be ready to discuss election preparation

POWs and International Parent Child Abduction

10. (C) A/S Campbell expressed gratitude for Japanese
Ambassador Fujisaki's efforts to promote reconciliation
between Japan and the some 200 American POWs from the
Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor. Significantly, the
Japanese Government had agreed as a gesture of reconciliation
to bring a number of these veterans to Japan. Unfortunately,
timing and budget issues threatened to undermine what could
be a great event that would send a positive message about
U.S.-Japan relations, A/S Campbell said. He urged the GOJ to
seek ways in which to speed up and expand the program to
fully leverage its potential. VFM Yabunaka pledged to look
into it.

11. (C) On the subject of International Parent Child
Abductions, A/S Campbell stressed that Congressional, USG and
public interest in this issue is very high, and that a
continued lack of progress in at least facilitating contact
between left behind parents and their children will further
worsen perceptions of Japan's willingness to address this
urgent humanitarian matter. Ambassador Roos and A/S Campbell
urged the GOJ to take steps to meet the needs of left behind
parents while working towards acceding to the Hague
Convention. Yabunaka promised to seriously examine what

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steps could be taken to actively and publicly deal with the
existing cases and the hopes of left behind parents to meet
with their children.


12. (SBU) USG Participants:

Ambassador Roos
A/S Campbell
ASD Gregson
DCM Zumwalt
EAP Special Advisor Nirav Patel
EAP/J Director Kevin Maher
OSD Senior Country Director for Japan Suzanne Basalla
Embassy Tokyo Political Deputy Marc Knapper

MOFA Participants:

VFM Mitoji Yabunaka
Foreign Policy Bureau DG Koro Bessho
Asia DG Akitaka Saiki
North America DG Umemoto
Embassy of Japan Political Minister Takeo Akiba
North America 1 Director Tomoyuki Yoshida
Security Treaty Director Funakoshi
North American Deputy Director Hideaki Konayaga

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