thaicables – It's Your Right to know the Truth!

09BANGKOK888 AMBASSADOR AND FM KASIT DISCUSS U.S. TRIP, BURMA, BOUT, REDSHIRTS, THAKSIN, CAMBODIA, LAO HMONG

leave a comment »

“201096″,”4/7/2009 9:14″,”09BANGKOK888″,”Embassy

 

Bangkok”,”SECRET”,””,”VZCZCXRO1335

 

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

 

DE RUEHBK #0888/01 0970914

 

ZNY SSSSS ZZH

 

O 070914Z APR 09

 

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

 

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6666

 

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

 

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1523

 

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 6929

 

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 5401

 

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 9576

 

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 6425

 

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

 

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

 

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

 

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

 

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

 

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2121″,”S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK

 

000888

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, NSC FOR PHU

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2029

 

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PREF, BM, TH

 

SUBJECT: THAILAND: AMBASSADOR AND FM KASIT DISCUSS U.S.

 

TRIP, BURMA, BOUT, REDSHIRTS, THAKSIN, CAMBODIA, LAO HMONG

 

BANGKOK 00000888 001.2 OF 003

 

Classified By: Ambassador Eric G. John, reason 1.4 (b,d)

 

1. (C) Summary. Ambassador hosted Thai Foreign Minister

 

Kasit Piromya April 6 for a two-hour one-on-one lunch.

 

Ambassador and Kasit discussed Kasit\’s priorities for his

 

upcoming trip to the U.S. April 19-24 and Kasit\’s desire to

 

engage the Secretary on strategic issues of interest to both

 

countries; working together on Burma with the shared goal of

 

changing regime behavior, leading to an inclusive dialogue

 

and the release of political prisoners including ASSK; the

 

effort by the judge in the Viktor Bout extradition case to

 

subpoena the MFA; Thai domestic politics, including the

 

upcoming red-shirt march on April 8 and former PM Thaksin\’s

 

seemingly narrowing options; diplomatic efforts to calm the

 

waters after the most recent round of border skirmishes with

 

Cambodia April 3; and ways of resolving the status of Lao

 

Hmong currently held by Thai authorities. End Summary.

 

US Trip April 19-24: strategic approach with S

 

——————————————— –

 

2. (C) Ambassador hosted straight-talking FM Kasit for a two

 

hour lunch at the Residence April 6. Kasit, a former Thai

 

Ambassador to Washington, expressed understanding that

 

Foreign Ministers from Southeast Asia often raise a narrow

 

list of non-strategic bilateral issues in their meetings in

 

Washington, rather than advancing a strategic dialogue. In

 

his planned April 23 meeting with the Secretary, Kasit said

 

he would discuss strategic issues such as

 

Afghanistan-Pakistan and Burma, look to engage in frank

 

dialogue, and not raise a laundry list of \”asks\” such as GSP.

 

3. (C) Thailand was supportive of the new U.S. Af-Pak

 

strategy, Kasit stressed, although it could not contribute

 

troops (note: Thailand sent a contingent of Army engineers to

 

work out of Bagram in 2003. End note). Ambassador suggested

 

that the Royal Thai Government\’s (RTG) successful experience

 

in opium eradication and crop substitution, as well as

 

decades of experience combating heroin trafficking in

 

partnership with DEA, offered the basis for Thai-U.S.

 

cooperation in Afghanistan in this area. Kasit agreed the

 

idea had merit.

 

4. (C) Note: Addressing the long-standing lack of a Thai

 

Ambassador in Washington, Kasit indicated that he was

 

attempting to get Don Pramadwinai sworn in, perhaps by the

 

Crown Prince rather than King Bhumibol, in time for Don to

 

accompany him on the trip and to be accredited at the next

 

scheduled ceremony in late April. If he could not get Don

 

sworn in prior, he would seek to have Don accompany him as

 

Thai PermRep to the UN.

 

Bout

 

—-

 

5. (C) Ambassador informed Kasit of the latest twist in the

 

extradition proceedings of Russian arms trafficker Viktor

 

Bout. Kasit had not heard about the presiding judge\’s

 

subpoena to the MFA to testify about the potential impact the

 

extradition might have on relations with the U.S. and Russia,

 

but he stated that he did not believe the MFA should testify.

 

Kasit agreed that the court should not use its quest for MFA

 

testimony as a means of delaying the case further, and said

 

he would discuss the matter with MFA PermSec Virasak Futrakul.

 

Burma

 

—–

 

6. (C) Citing the Secretary\’s introductory call to him prior

 

to her Asia trip, Kasit said he understood that Burma would

 

be high on the Secretary\’s agenda with him. He looked

 

forward to a good strategic discussion with the Secretary on

 

this topic and openly welcomed the opportunity to work with

 

us on Burma policy. Ambassador raised the challenge of

 

Burma\’s 2010 elections. If we stake out a position that

 

flawed elections would rule out subsequent cooperation with

 

the Burmese government which emerged, we might be stuck with

 

BANGKOK 00000888 002.2 OF 003

 

a fait d\’accompli. Kasit asserted that the international

 

community should attempt to work with the regime on the

 

election, but with tough criteria:

 

–push together on the Burmese to release all political

 

prisoners, including ASSK, within a certain period of time

 

(such as the end of 2009);

 

–demand a clear explanation of the election law; and then

 

–work for a better law, if necessary, and monitor the

 

process closely.

 

7. (C) Such an approach would not be perfect, Kasit

 

acknowledged, but the other path–ignoring the elections and

 

not working with the SPDC–would yield even worse results

 

inside Burma, and lock us into a difficult position.

 

8. (C) Kasit made a pitch for an expansion of assistance to

 

Burma. He said he supported additional U.S. assistance to

 

the border groups operating out of Thailand, but stressed the

 

need to expand assistance on the inside, as well, moving

 

beyond the Irawaddy Delta affected by Cyclone Nargis.

 

Northern Rakhine State should be the next international

 

priority, given the conditions of the Rohingya community.

 

Kasit suggested that his recent visit to Burma gave reason to

 

believe that the SPDC would allow this. Burma now appeared

 

much more comfortable working with ASEAN than it had before,

 

more willing to listen to opinions from other ASEAN members.

 

9. (C) Kasit expressed understanding for the need for

 

continued sanctions, particularly targeted financial

 

sanctions against the bank accounts and related businesses of

 

regime leaders and key cronies. However, he advocated

 

starting to ease restrictions on certain categories of goods,

 

such as medicines for poultry farms (he said that such

 

antibiotics had to be imported from the U.S. and were not

 

available in Thailand), that support assistance or

 

employment-generating projects going directly to the people.

 

10. (C) Kasit noted that he would meet with representatives

 

of the Karen National Union (KNU) later April 6 at a private

 

location in Bangkok, the start of his efforts to facilitate a

 

dialogue between the KNU and the Burmese regime.

 

Domestic Thai Politics, Thaksin, Crown Prince

 

———————————————

 

11. (C) Kasit did not seemed worried about the large

 

red-shirt rally planned for April 8, suggesting that the

 

red-shirts had moved too soon to mount their self-proclaimed

 

\”D-Day\” rally. He did not see a successful way out for the

 

red-shirts, short of violence. Ambassador suggested the

 

government\’s inability to ensure accountability for previous

 

protest excesses, such as the PAD\’s seizure of Bangkok

 

airports in late 2008, indicated a breakdown in the judicial

 

process and an inability to assert the rule of law in

 

bounding the limits of protest actions. Kasit agreed on the

 

need to pursue justice for all sides.

 

12. (C) Assessing the current battle of perceptions, Kasit

 

asserted that the RTG needed to do a better job of getting

 

its message out on all the airwaves/media, not just via

 

Abhisit\’s weekly appearances on government TV. The Democrat

 

Party needed to transition from a party of old-time elites

 

with a sense of entitlement to a progressive party able to

 

explain its programs effectively to the people. In this

 

sense, the recent no-confidence debate called by the

 

opposition served a useful purpose, prodding the RTG to

 

defend itself publicly.

 

13. (S) Ambassador suggested that if Thaksin thought he could

 

wait out the King and cut a deal after the Crown Prince

 

ascended to the throne, Thaksin\’s current actions, including

 

his open verbal attacks on the Privy Council, would

 

complicate any such rapprochement. Kasit agreed, noting that

 

his recent discussions with the Crown Prince suggested that

 

the Crown Prince is far shrewder than most people believed.

 

The Crown Prince clearly understood the difficulties his

 

personal habits (love of flying and women) presented, and

 

BANGKOK 00000888 003.2 OF 003

 

that he would need to change prior to assuming the throne.

 

While the Crown Prince had promised several years ago to stop

 

flying, he had not yet done so. Kasit remained confident,

 

however, that the Crown Prince could successfully transition

 

from one role to another, and that he would have no use for

 

Thaksin once he became King.

 

14. (C) Ambassador explained to Kasit that former PM Thaksin

 

may travel to the US, and that since Thaksin had a valid

 

visa, there was nothing we would or could do about it. Kasit

 

understood, noting that Ambassador\’s clear statements when

 

the issue of Thaksin\’s visa first arose in the media several

 

months ago had helpfully quelled uncertainty. Thaksin\’s

 

brief stays in each country he visited effectively ruled out

 

RTG pursuit of an extradition request, which took

 

considerable time to prepare.

 

Cambodia – calming the waters

 

—————————–

 

15. (C) On the matter of the April 3 border skirmishes with

 

Cambodia, Kasit revealed that DPM Suthep had traveled to

 

Cambodia April 5 to meet Hun Sen to clear the air. Kasit

 

offered a balanced assessment of what had happened at the

 

border April 3. Although the landmines which claimed a Thai

 

soldier\’s leg April 2 appeared to be fresh, Kasit stated that

 

both sides had subsequently overreacted; discussions over the

 

weekend had helped patch things up.

 

Lao Hmong

 

———

 

16. (C) Ambassador raised recent difficulties with the Thai

 

handling of Lao Hmong returned to Laos. Kasit, who visited

 

the Army detention facility in Phetchabun province recently,

 

said that he would check into the allegations that camp

 

commanders were using arrests on minor infractions to send

 

people back as voluntary returnees. Kasit inquired whether

 

the U.S. was monitoring returnees in Laos. He asked whether

 

the Hmong at Nong Khai who had been screened in with a fear

 

of return could possibly go back to Laos for a very short

 

period, well short of a month, and be processed as political

 

asylum seekers from Laos, as the Lao government was

 

demanding. Ambassador replied that this would not be

 

possible from the U.S. perspective. Kasit stressed that

 

Thailand needed to find some way around the impasse on the

 

Nong Khai Hmong and still maintain its much improved

 

relationship with Laos.

 

JOHN

 

Written by thaicables

June 23, 2011 at 2:19 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: