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05BANGKOK3020 PACOM COMMANDER ADM FALLON MEETING WITH NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: SOUTH, BURMA, CHINA, ET AL

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“31952”,”5/4/2005 9:27″,”05BANGKOK3020″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

“This record is a partial extract of the original cable.

The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

“,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 003020

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, EAP/BCLTV

PACOM FOR FPA HUSO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/04/2015

TAGS: OVIP, PREL, PINS, PGOV, TH, BURMA, China, Southern Thailand, POL/MIL

SUBJECT: PACOM COMMANDER ADM FALLON MEETING WITH NATIONAL

SECURITY ADVISER: SOUTH, BURMA, CHINA, ET AL.

 

Classified By: AMB Ralph L. Boyce. Reasons 1.4 (a and d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: In a May 3 meeting with visiting PACOM

Commander ADM William J. Fallon, the Chairman of Thailand\’s

National Security Council, General Winai Phattiyakul,

expressed Thailand\’s support for the continued \”strong

presence\” of the US military in the Asia-Pacific region.

Winai commented that the Thai military was in the South to

provide support for the understaffed police and would stay

for at least one to two years to provide stability. He

regretted Thailand\’s initial assessment that hooligans were

responsible for Southern violence and said that Thai leaders

now blamed the problems on youth who had been misled by

religious teachers. Winai reiterated that Thailand was

trying to win the \”hearts and minds\” of Thai Southerners.

Regarding Burma, he downplayed joint Thai-Burmese border

patrols as a normal and necessary activity between

neighboring countries. He asserted that Burma would not have

democracy anytime soon, and that the Rangoon government would

surely use the upcoming National Convention to ensure it

stayed in power. He opined that China\’s regional clout would

continue to grow \”faster than everyone expects\”. END SUMMARY

 

2. (U) Admiral William J. Fallon, Commander of U.S. Pacific

Command (PACOM) met with the Chairman of Thailand\’s National

Security Council, General Winai Phattiyakul on May 3 in

Bangkok. Both men expressed their satisfaction with the

state of the military and security relationship between the

U.S. and Thailand, which was apparent in the seamless

U.S.-Thai coordination and cooperation after the December 26

tsunami, and the May 2 inauguration of the latest Cobra Gold

 

SIPDIS

military exercise. General Winai expressed his pleasure with

the new multilateral nature of Cobra Gold, and Admiral Fallon

commented that the inclusion of the Japanese in the exercise

was a welcome development. General Winai spoke of the

importance of retaining a strong U.S. military presence in

the Asia-Pacific region, which helped maintain stability.

 

NEW ROLES FOR THE THAI MILITARY

 

3. (C) When asked about the military presence in the South,

Winai emphasized that Thailand was trying to have its

military play a greater role in assisting national

development and helping with disaster relief in addition to

its traditional combat-oriented duties. He noted that,

although there had been a lot of criticism directed at

Thailand\’s deployment of troops to the South, the southern

deployment was necessary for the security of the region.

Before the RTA beefed up its presence there, he noted, the

region had \”less than 50 percent\” of the personnel needed to

effectively police the area. The military was there to help

provide stability and to work \”side-by-side\” with the police,

he said.

 

CONTINUED MILITARY PRESENCE

 

4. (C) Winai added that it was essential for the military to

stay in the South for at least one to two more years.

Nonetheless, he said that lifting martial law was already

being considered in certain districts in the three

Southernmost provinces. Winai asserted that Thailand\’s

number one priority was to provide safety and security to

innocent people, and regretted that they had not been always

been successful in doing this in the South. Although

Thailand was trying hard to win the hearts and minds of the

people, he noted that many local people remained afraid to

cooperate with government officials. The RTG, he said,

needed to find a way to regain the confidence of the

population.

 

PAST MISTAKES

 

5. (C) Winai regretted that the Thai Government\’s initial

assessment of the situation in the South was \”not 100 percent

correct\”. While Government officials had originally believed

the violence was caused by poverty, unemployment and \”young

drug addicts,\” they were now inclined to believe that the

young men responsible for the unrest had been \”indoctrinated

by their religious teachers.\” When asked whether Thai

Muslims were well represented in local administration, Winai

replied that, although programs encouraging the participation

of Thai Muslims in schools, the armed forces and police

existed, these efforts had backslid in the past few years.

Winai told Admiral Fallon that the RTG was working to improve

Thailand\’s image in Muslim countries in order to counter

negative perceptions resulting from its handling of the

violence in the South.

 

FRANK TALK ON BURMA

 

6. (C) When asked about Thailand\’s recent invitation to Burma

to begin joint border patrols, Winai replied that Thailand

felt the need to have a mechanism in place to ensure that

minor border disputes did not escalate into larger conflicts,

arguing that these patrols were a normal matter of course for

two neighboring countries. He also noted that Burma \”always

accuses\” Thailand of assisting dissident groups on the

border, and admitted that in the past there may have been

some merit to the claims. He emphasized that Thailand now

had a policy of not providing any assistance to armed

dissident groups on the border. In his closing comments,

Winai added that Thailand was \”embarrassed\” that there were

those who perceived its policy towards Burma as being at odds

with that of the international community.

 

7. (C) Winai noted that there had recently been some major

changes in the Burmese government resulting in the former

Prime Minister being sacked. He also noted that when the

Thai Supreme Commander Chaisit Shinawatra led a delegation to

Burma in February, the Burmese government went to great pains

to emphasize that widespread international rumors of

continued rifts within the governing SPDC were untrue. The

Burmese admitted to \”having problems\” since October, but said

that they were looking forward to reconvening the National

Convention.

 

8. (C) Winai said that he did not expect much real progress

to be made on Burma. \”If (Americans) expect to see real

democracy in Myanmar,\” they will be \”disappointed.\” Winai

speculated that the Burmese government would use every means

at its disposal to influence the writing of a new

constitution to maintain its grip on power. It would be

highly unlikely for any government in Rangoon to be able to

meet Western standards for democracy any time soon, he

opined.

 

CHINA

 

9. (C) Winai suggested that China\’s importance as a regional

economic power would definitely continue to grow, \”perhaps

even faster than everyone expects.\” This would probably lead

to the development of a stronger Chinese military. After

Admiral Fallon noted that military expenditures in China were

already on the increase, Winai said that this was yet another

reason that Thailand favored a continued strong U.S. military

presence in the region. Winai added that relations with

China would be a good discussion topic for Admiral Fallon\’s

May 4 meeting with Prime Minister Thaksin.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 7, 2011 at 5:20 am

Posted in Burma, China, Confidential

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