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05BANGKOK3128 PACOM ADM FALLON MEETING WITH FM KANTHATI: KOREAS, BURMA, CHINA

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“32332″,”5/11/2005 5:04″,”05BANGKOK3128″,

“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 003128

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPARTMENT FOR P, EAP, EAP/BCLTV

PACOM FOR FPA (HUSO)

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/02/2015

TAGS: OVIP, PGOV, MARR, MASS, TH, BURMA, China, North Korea (DPRK), POL/MIL

SUBJECT: PACOM ADM FALLON MEETING WITH FM KANTHATI: KOREAS,

BURMA, CHINA

 

Classified By: Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce. Reason 1.4 (a, d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: In a May 4 meeting with visiting PACOM

Commander ADM William Fallon, FM Kanthati Suphamongkhon

highlighted the close long-term relationship between the U.S.

and Thailand and expressed gratitude for U.S. assistance

during the tsunami crisis and for continuing joint U.S.-Thai

training. Kanthati said on a recent trip to North Korea

officials told him they were afraid the withdrawal of U.S.

forces from the peninsula could signal preparations for a

U.S. attack, and that the North Koreans would continue to

develop their WMD capability as a deterrence. Kanthati said

that Thailand was willing to serve as an intermediary between

the U.S. and North Korea. On Burma, the Foreign Minister

said the Burmese leadership had told him privately that they

would give up their upcoming ASEAN chairmanship, but only on

their own terms. He said Thailand remained committed to

promoting democratization and reconciliation in Burma through

engagement. Mentioning China, Kanthati said the Thai would

approach the relationship as a partnership. END SUMMARY

 

U.S. THAI RELATIONS – \”TSUNAMI CEMENTS RELATIONSHIP\”

 

2. (C) Kanthati said ADM Fallon had assumed a \”heavy

responsibility\” in his new position and offered Thailand\’s

assistance. He noted that Thailand and the U.S. have had

established relations for 172 years, and suggested that ADM

Fallon could draw on this \”rich heritage\” as a resource

during his tenure. Kanthati thanked ADM Fallon for U.S.

assistance during the tsunami crisis, noting that the close

and immediate cooperation between the U.S. and Thai forces

was the dividend from years of joint training together. ADM

Fallon thanked the Thai Government for the use of the Thai

Naval Air Station at Utapao and noted it was the key in the

overall regional relief effort.

 

3. (C) Kanthati highlighted the ongoing Cobra Gold exercise

as a good example of our close working relationship. ADM

Fallon agreed, noting how this year Cobra Gold had evolved

into an exercise that included many countries and civilian

agencies. ADM Fallon said that one of the important lessons

from the tsunami was that the military can provide leadership

and logistics during the initial stages after a disaster, but

longer-term aid will need to be done by civilians. Kanthati

also expressed appreciation for the decisive action by the

U.S. when a group of Somalis attempted to hijack a Thai

fishing vessel, citing the recent action as another good

example of U.S.-Thai cooperation.

 

NORTH KOREA – \”WE\’RE HAPPY TO HELP\”

 

4. (C) Kanthati was eager to discuss North Korea and asked

ADM Fallon for his latest assessment of the situation. ADM

Fallon said that there were many things that were unclear

about North Korea given its isolation and secretive nature.

ADM Fallon said the U.S. was continuing with the Six-Party

Talks process.

 

5. (C) Kanthati said that he had visited North Korea last

year, and noted that Bangkok and Pyongyang had just

\”celebrated\” thirty years of relations. Kanthati said the

North Korea officials had opened up to him because he is a

German speaker, a language shared by many senior North Korean

officers. The Foreign Minister said the North Koreans told

him that they did not want U.S. forces to withdraw from the

peninsula, fearing a withdrawal would allow the U.S. to

attack the North using standoff weapons. Kanthati noted that

interestingly, the North Koreans seemed to have learned the

opposite lesson than the Libyans following the U.S. led

invasion of Iraq. He said the North Koreans had told him

that the U.S. had invaded Iraq because Iraq appeared weak and

did not have WMD; the North Koreans believe that a appearance

of strength through possession of nuclear weapons is the only

way to deter the U.S. Kanthati said the North Koreans had

indicated that they were willing to continue the Six-Party

Talks, but would rather focus on bilateral discussions with

the U.S. Kanthati said that Thailand, and he personally,

would be willing to facilitate negotiations between the U.S.

and North Korea. ADM Fallon thanked the Foreign Minster for

his offer, but indicated we would continue with the Six-Party

framework.

 

BURMA – \”SPDC WILL NOT ASSUME ASEAN CHAIRMANSHIP\”

 

6. (C) Turning to Burma, Kanthati said he continued to

interact regularly with the Burmese Foreign Minister — as

well as other ASEAN Foreign Ministers — on the difficult

issue. Kanthati claimed that he continues to emphasize with

Burmese officials the importance on progress towards

democratization and the need to release of Aung San Suu Kyi

(ASSK). Kanthati said the SPDC was taking a \”break\” from the

constitutional convention, and that the national

reconciliation process would resume in November. Kanthati

said he is optimistic the constitutional process would be

completed in a few months. Kanthati said the Burmese

leadership claimed that if they released ASSK prior to the

completion of the national reconciliation process it would

destabilize the country. Kanthati said he has continued to

press the SPDC on moving the constitutional process forward,

but by all indications November was a firm date for a return

to work.

 

7. (C) Kanthati said that the Burmese had told him

privately that they have \”considered the importance of ASEAN

as a whole\” and are willing to withdraw from assuming the

ASEAN Chairmanship in 2006-2007. The Burmese Foreign

Minister indicated that his Government would back down, but

only at its own initiative. Kanthati said the Burmese are

hopeful that they will not have to \”wait for their next turn\”

before assuming the ASEAN Chairmanship, and could assume the

seat following the completion of the national reconciliation

process.

 

8. (C) Kanthati explained that the necessity for Thailand\’s

engagement with Burma was based on the reality created by

their shared 2,400-kilometer border. He said Thailand would

continue to interact with Burma, but would also continue to

deliver the message of the international community. ADM

Fallon said he recognized the challenges of a shared border,

but questioned Kanthati\’s characterization that the Burmese

were making progress towards national reconciliation.

Kanthati said his assessment was that the regime was indeed

moving forward. He claimed that the other ASEAN Foreign

Ministers agreed with the RTG that ASEAN member countries

needed to continue to engage with the Burmese. Kanthati said

that Thailand shared the U.S. objective of democracy in

Burma. He characterized Thailand\’s approach as similar to

the U.S. approach to China – engagement.

 

CHINA – \”A PARTNER\”

 

9. (C) Turning to China, Kanthati said his assessment is

that China now has the strongest influence on the Burmese

regime. Kanthati said that for their overall relationship

Thailand must engage China as \”a partner.\” He said that the

Thai are well aware that China could be a competitor, but

believes that the relationship can be \”win-win.\” Kanthati

believes that China can play a positive role in the region.

 

10. (U) ADM Fallon has cleared this message.

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 7, 2011 at 5:21 am

Posted in Burma, China, Confidential, Korea

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