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05BANGKOK5748 REGIONAL ARCHITECTURE – THAI PERSPECTIVES

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“40088”,”9/8/2005 8:07″,”05BANGKOK5748″

,”Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“05BANGKOK5017|05STATE156638”,

“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 005748

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/RSP, EAP/MLS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/07/2015

TAGS: PREL, ECIN, TH

SUBJECT: REGIONAL ARCHITECTURE – THAI PERSPECTIVES

 

REF: A. STATE 156638

B. BANGKOK 5017

 

Classified By: Political Counselor Susan M. Sutton. Reason 1.4(b,d)

 

11. (C) SUMMARY: MFA officials have provided us background

on Thai government attitudes regarding Asia/Pacific regional

institutions and architecture. Overall, the RTG views the

principal regional forums (ASEAN, ASEAN Plus Three, ASEAN

Regional Forum (ARF) and now the East Asia Summit (EAS)) as

parts of an evolving security structure that is creating

\”overlapping communities\” in Asia that the Thai hope will

contain the \”competitive forces\” between the regions major

powers, build trust and increase economic prosperity in the

region. The Thais see the evolving structure — leading

eventually to an \”East Asia Community\” — as an opportunity

to demonstrate regional leadership and clearly want the U.S.

to remain engaged as closely as possible in regional

institutions. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) Using reftel talking points and questions, poloff

discussed Thai attitudes regarding existing and emerging

Asia/Pacific regional institutions and architecture with

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, and

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX from the ASEAN Affairs Division of the

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

 

EAST ASIA SUMMIT (EAS)

———————-

 

3. (C) According to the MFA officers, observer status is

not being discussed for the EAS. There has not been a

decision made on Russia\’s desire to participate in this and

future meetings as ASEAN has not been able to reach consensus

on the issue. The RTG supports Moscow\’s desire to join,

however. Consensus on the frequency of the EAS has not been

reached, but the RTG supports having the meeting every two

years (vice three). MFA officials insisted that ASEAN

remains the \”driving force\” in the EAS process and will

endeavor to remain in control.

 

4. (C) The Thais believe the EAS will overlap to some

degree with the ARF and APEC, but they view the EAS as more

focused on \”strategic issues,\” and a forum for the regions

leaders to get together to \”brainstorm.\” MFA officers

claimed they are not concerned that the EAS will distract

from APEC, ARF or other existing regional forums but rather

will \”reinforce\” these institutions. The EAS will follow the

context of ASEAN plus three, thereby excluding Taiwan.

 

ASEAN

—–

 

5. (C) MFA officials described ASEAN\’s strategic relations

with China, Japan, and South Korea as developing \”very well.\”

They noted that the more closely ASEAN works with China the

more interested the Japanese become in engagement with ASEAN

(and vise versa) — leading to a \”snowballing\” of substantive

political engagement between ASEAN and the regional powers.

They said they are considering deepening relations with India

and are \”working on\” relations with Russia. They indicated

that relations with the EU remain a more \”complicated\” issue

but did not elaborate. They assured poloff that the

relationship with the U.S. is among ASEAN\’s top priorities,

pointing to the success of the U.S./ASEAN dialogue and the

enhanced partnership with the U.S. through the ASEAN

Cooperation Plan.

 

6. (C) The Thais claim they are eager to expand regional

economic integration to include North Asia and that Foreign

Minister Kantathi has called for a 2012 target date. ASEAN

plans to move forward with negotiations with China and Japan

on FTAs that will serve as the basis for the economic

community, and hope to do so at a more rapid pace. MFA

officials claimed that Singapore also supported Thai efforts

to accelerate FTAs and regional economic integration.

 

7. (C) MFA officers indicated that the central ASEAN

principle of \”non-interference\” was open to limited

re-interpretation due to the realities of transnational

issues impacting the region and said democracy promotion

remained one of ASEAN\’s goals.

 

8. (C) RTG officials said they are interested in expanding

outreach to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO),

viewing the SCO as another regional \”confidence building

forum.\” They are particularly interested in possible

\”lessons learned\” from SCO on counterterrorism issues.

\”EAST ASIA COMMUNITY\”

——————–

 

9. (C) The Thais view ASEAN Plus Three as the main forum

for building an \”East Asia Community.\” Building such a

grouping will be a gradual process, undertaken through

sectoral cooperation, that will be built on and linked to

ASEAN Plus Three and the EAS. The goal of the Community is

to promote greater trust and economic progress for the region

and stability in the security environment. The Thais hope

the evolving security structures will create \”overlapping

communities\” in Asia that will contain the \”competitive

forces\” between the regions major powers (read China and

Japan). The Thais described their vision of having ASEAN,

the EAS and the future East Asian Community serve as the

three main processes in regional integration.

COMMENT

——-

 

10. (C) The Thais obviously see the evolving architecture

in Asia as an opportunity to demonstrate regional leadership.

The MFA officials, however, could not clearly articulate

Thailand\’s role in a East Asia Community or what eventual

structure such a community would have. The Thais also seem

eager to expand their ambitious political goals into the

economic sphere but it is not clear how they will accomplish

them. Our normal trade policy interlocutors have not taken

such an optimistic position on regional economic integration

and seem intent of focusing on bilateral approaches. The

Thais clearly want the U.S. to remain engaged as closely as

possible in regional institutions and emphasized that these

groupings would not be exclusive, emphasizing that \”our fate

is tied with the rest of the world.\” END COMMENT

ARVIZU

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Written by thaicables

July 7, 2011 at 6:00 am

Posted in Confidential, Economy

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