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“50086”,”1/19/2006 10:45″,”06BANGKOK355″,

“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 000355








E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/19/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, PREL, PTER, TH, Scenesetter,

Southern Thailand, Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI),





Classified By: CHARGE ALEX ARVIZU. REASON: 1.4 (D)


1. (C) Bilateral relations with Thailand have been

generally excellent. Thailand is a security treaty ally and

has been firmly supportive of the Global War on Terror.

American businesses have over $20 billion in direct

investment in Thailand, the second largest investor after

Japan. Thailand and the U.S. have long enjoyed a close

security relationship. Thailand is a Major Non-Nato Ally

(MNNA) of the United States. For years, Thailand has hosted

the Cobra Gold annual exercise, our largest multilateral

exercise in Asia. Over time, that exercise has transformed

from a bilateral event designed to thwart a Vietnamese

invasion of Thailand to a multilateral exercise to train for

peace keeping and disaster relief preparations. Recent

exercises have allowed American and Thai troops to train with

militaries from Singapore, Japan, the Philippines and others.

We are now planning for Cobra Gold 2006 which will include

possible participation by Indonesia in addition to Singapore

and Japan. We are convinced that we and the Thai can work

with other militaries to support key U.S. objectives in Asia

such as improving responses to terrorism, enhancing peace

keeping, promoting interoperability with U.S. forces, and

improving maritime security — while continuing to provide us

a vital platform in the region from which to respond to

future contingencies. In 2004-5, thanks to years of working

with the Thai military, the United States was able to quickly

deploy over one thousand American soldiers, marines, sailors

and airmen to Utapao Naval Air Base and set up a regional

relief operation. Thai cooperation in the Global War on

Terrorism is excellent. The capture of the JI terrorist

Hambali in 2003 highlighted the willingness of Thailand to

work against international terrorism




2. (C) The most pressing security concern for the Thai

remains the unrest in Thailand\’s deep south provinces

bordering Malaysia. The violence continues to occur almost

daily with over one thousand persons reported killed over the

past two years either by militants or government actions.

The ongoing violence has historic roots going back a century

and is based on local grievances from poor treatment by the

government and a desire to separate the region from the Thai

state. There still is not any direct evidence of operational

links between Thai separatists and outside terrorist.

Incidents such as Tak Bai (in which some 80 Muslim men died

in security forces\’ custody following an October, 2004

demonstration), Thaksin\’s harsh rhetoric and often ham-fisted

police tactics, as well as a serious lack of coordination and

information sharing between security agencies have probably

exacerbated the violence and public alienation in the region.


3. (C) The National Reconciliation Commission (NRC),

appointed by Thaksin last year and led by former PM Anand

Panyarachun, one of the most respected leaders in Thailand,

is expected to announce a set of policy recommendations

policy recommendations in March. Critics of Thaksin maintain

that he is likely to pay lip service to the NRC\’s

recommendations while still tending to some of his more

authoritarian tendencies in his approach to the south.

Nonetheless, Thaksin has committed his government to

implementing education and economic reforms to benefit

southerners — a move we encourage — and we urge him to

listen seriously to the suggestions of the NRC. The Thai

government does not seek a U.S. presence in the south and is

sensitive over rumors of U.S. involvement in the violence.

Nonetheless, we have worked closely to find areas where we

can help. We have stepped up our human rights training of

Thai troops rotating into the south to improve their ability

to control crowds and conduct other operations in a way that

complies with international norms. We are also working with

the Thai to improve their intelligence sharing and gathering





4. (C) Despite our efforts since 2003, the RTG has not yet

formally endorsed the PSI Statement of Principles. Prime

Minister Thaksin has told senior USG officials that another

\”Muslim\” ASEAN nation (read Malaysia or Indonesia) should

endorse PSI first or concurrently with Thailand, so as to

avoid the appearance that Thailand is getting too far in

front of its neighbors and because of concern over how

endorsement might be perceived vis-a-vis the situation in the





5. (C) For most of the Thaksin administration, we have been

at odds over our respective approaches to Burma —

essentially agreeing to disagree. The RTG under Thaksin has

claimed that though it agrees that the regime must show

progress in bringing out national reconciliation, Bangkok

must stay engaged with the SPDC in order to keep a dialogue

open on issues that directly affect Thailand such as illegal

immigration from Burma and narcotics smuggling. We have

maintained that Thailand has appeared to go beyond this to

the appoint of being perceived as an apologist for the

regime. Lately, at our urging, the Thai have begun to move

closer to regional and international opinion, by publicly

criticizing the SPDC on its continued detention of Aung San

Suu Kyi and resistance to national reconciliation.


6. (C) We have also criticized the RTG for some of its

human rights practices. A bloody crackdown on alleged drug

vendors during a \”war on drugs campaign\” in 2003 and actions

by security forces in the south, notably the aforementioned

incident at Tak Bai, have been publicly raised by us in our

annual human rights reports and in public fora, as well as in

our private conversations with Thai officials.


7. (C) Your meetings with Thai officials, as well as your

dinner with academic and press observers of the south, will

give you an opportunity to thank the Thai for their

cooperation with us in the Global War On Terrorism, most

notably their deployments of troops to Afghanistan and Iraq,

their capture of Hambali in Ayudhaya in 2003 and their role

in promoting regional cooperation in fighting international

terrorism. It will also be a chance for you to urge the Thai

to sign on to the PSI Statement Of Principles and to

underscore Thailand\’s commitment to fully join the

international community to combat the proliferation of

weapons of mass destruction and their precursors.



Written by thaicables

July 10, 2011 at 3:51 am

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