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05BANGKOK3725 SECRETARY RUMSFELD’S MEETING WITH THAI PRIME MINISTER THAKSIN

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“34005”,”6/7/2005 1:38″,”05BANGKOK3725″,”Embassy Bangkok”,

 

“CONFIDENTIAL”,”05BANGKOK3074″,

“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 003725

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, EAP/BCLTV, PM

PACOM FOR FPA (HUSO)

OSD FOR OSD/ISA (POWERS)

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/05/2015

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PTER, PARM, OVIP, TH, Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)

SUBJECT: SECRETARY RUMSFELD’S MEETING WITH THAI PRIME

MINISTER THAKSIN

 

REF: BANGKOK 3074

 

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

 

1. (C) Summary: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld met on June 6

with Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra at Government

House in Bangkok. Secretary Rumsfeld 1) encouraged Thailand

to endorse the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)

Statement of Principles; 2) sought PM Thaksin’s insights into

the nature of the violence in southern Thailand; 3) asked

Thailand to consider a humanitarian assistance contribution

to Iraq; 4) enquired into the situation in Burma; and 5) made

the case for Thailand to purchase the F-16 over its

competitors. PM Thaksin 1) thanked the U.S. for its

assistance following the tsunami; 2) asked to strengthen

intelligence cooperation about southern Thailand; 3) said

that his Foreign Minister was traveling to North Korea and

that he might follow; 4) thought that China would avoid a

collision over Taiwan because that would harm its economy; 5)

suggested that Thailand would endorse the PSI if other ASEAN

partners would; and 6) said that Thailand would consider a

humanitarian deployment to Iraq if it could be done without

alienating the Muslim South. End Summary.

 

2. (C) Post-tsunami military cooperation: Prime Minister

Thaksin thanked the Secretary for U.S. assistance following

the December 26, 2004 tsunami and highlighted the excellent

cooperation between the U.S. and Thai militaries following

the disaster, especially the use of Utapao Naval Air Station

as a regional hub for recovery efforts. The Secretary

commented that the successful cooperation was the fruition of

50 years of joint U.S.-Thai training. Thaksin said that he

appreciates the President’s designation of Thailand as a

Major Non-NATO Ally, noting the importance that Thailand

placed on its relationship with the U.S.

 

3. (C) The Proliferation Security Initiative: The

Secretary raised the importance of cooperative efforts to

 

SIPDIS

stop weapons proliferation, highlighting the importance of

the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) as a key

initiative. The Secretary urged Thailand to endorse the PSI

Statement of Interdiction Principles (SOP). Thaksin said

that the RTG agrees with the SOP in principle. However, he

said Thailand would like to see other ASEAN nations besides

Singapore endorse PSI and that he would work with other

regional leaders on the issue. Foreign Minister Kantathi

Suphamongkhon promised he would remain engaged on PSI.

 

4. (C) Unrest in Southern Thailand: The Secretary asked

the Prime Minister for his assessment of the current

situation in the far South of Thailand. Thaksin said it is

important to put the ongoing unrest in historical context,

noting the region’s long history of violence. Thaksin said

that militants use the region’s history and religious

differences to indoctrinate youth to commit violence.

Admitting that the RTG had been “negligent” in meeting the

educational needs of the Muslim population in the South,

Thaksin said the RTG is working to increase non-religious

educational opportunities for Muslims. The RTG has also

begun to arrest some of the leaders behind the violence. He

said that the Thai government would be patient and follow the

rule of law. Thaksin believes that the media in Bangkok is

exaggerating the level of violence in the south. The Prime

Minister said the RTG’s assessment remains that there is no

“outside influence” in southern Thailand and the issue is a

purely domestic matter. Thaksin said that while the current

intelligence cooperation between the U.S. and Thailand is

good, it could be strengthened. The Secretary said he would

work to raise the level of cooperation on intelligence.

 

5. (C) Future Thai contribution to OIF: The Secretary

inquired about the possibility of a third Thai deployment to

Iraq. Thaksin said they were considering how to respond to

the U.S. request for an additional Thai deployment. The

Prime Minister said that any deployment would have to be

characterized as “humanitarian.” He said the RTG has to

consider the impact of a future deployment on the situation

in southern Thailand, noting the sensitivities of southern

Muslims to Thai involvement. SecDef said he understands the

sensitivities but reiterated his hopes that Thailand would

consider a humanitarian contribution.

 

6. (C) Situation in Burma: The Secretary asked Prime

Minister Thaksin for an update on Burma. Thaksin reminded

the Secretary of the 2,400-kilometer border Thailand shared

with Burma, suggesting it influences every aspect of

Thailand’s relations with its neighbor. He complained that

Thailand is already dealing with over one million illegal

Burmese migrants and an influx of narcotics. Thaksin said

that the RTG continues to attempt to engage the SPDC — and

that he had met with the leadership of the SPDC during a

visit to Rangoon in 2004 — but has found the regime

especially unresponsive since the removal of Khin Nyunt as

Prime Minister. Thaksin said Thailand’s goals vis-a-vis

Burma are the same as the U.S., but the reality of Thailand’s

border with Burma precludes the RTG from pursuing the same

strategy. Thaksin said he has been quietly urging the PRC

leadership to become more engaged on Burma and that — behind

closed doors — the Chinese have taken a tougher line with

the Burmese, urging reform.

 

7. (C) China’s role in the region: Thaksin said the PRC

continued to grow in influence economically and militarily in

the region. Thaksin predicted the Chinese economy would

experience 3-4 more years of growth before a slowdown. On

Taiwan, Thaksin opined that the PRC would continue to avoid

the use of force in the Taiwan Strait. Thaksin said his

impression from regular contact with the PRC is that its

leadership is very calculating in its decision-making,

especially if related to energy and military power.

 

8. (C) North Korea: Thaksin reported that he had met with

Kim Young Nam, President of the DPRK Supreme People’s

Assembly Presidium, on the margins of the April 22-23

Asia-Africa Summit in Indonesia and that they had discussed

the possibility of Thailand playing a mediating role with

North Korea. Thaksin said that he was dispatching Foreign

Minister Kantathi to Pyongyang July 8-12 to meet with the

DPRK leadership (reftel). Thaksin said that, depending on

the outcome of the Foreign Minister’s visit, he might

personally travel to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong Il.

Secretary Rumsfeld highlighted the threat posed by North

 

SIPDIS

Korea’s propensity to sell its WMD technology.

 

9. (C) F-16s: Secretary Rumsfeld urged the Royal Thai Air

Force to purchase the F-16 during its modernization effort.

Thaksin said his primary concern is the impact of the

purchase on Thailand’s current account deficit, which would

not be impacted by a barter trade. Thaksin said that he

understood that Lockheed Martin was ready to propose a barter

trade agreement, and that the RTAF preferred the U.S. F-16.

Thaksin indicated that the Swedish and Russian governments

are also making strong sales pitches to select either the

Swedish Gripen or Russian SU-30 aircraft. Thaksin suggested

a decision on the procurement might be made before September.

 

10 (C) India: Thaksin said he is impressed by India’s

performance in producing 300,000 engineering graduates per

year. Thailand has an MOU on joint naval patrols with India.

SecDef highlighted the growing U.S. relationship with India,

which also includes joint exercises.

 

11. (U) SecDef has not reviewed this cable. Released by ASD

Rodman

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 7, 2011 at 5:32 am

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