Oct 112014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/03/07TOKYO1185.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TOKYO1185
2007-03-16 10:59
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Tokyo

VZCZCXRO7436
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHGH RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHVC
DE RUEHKO #1185/01 0751059
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 161059Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1774
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 0273
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 2741
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 3786
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 1236
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TOKYO 001185

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/15/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL CH BM TH VM RO IN CB RP JA
SUBJECT: EAP DIRECTOR RAPSON’S MARCH 12 MEETING WITH MOFA

TOKYO 00001185 001.2 OF 003

Classified By: Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer. Reasons 1.4 (b), (d).

¶1. (C) Summary: Officials from MOFA’s Southeast Asia
Division told visiting EAP/MLS Director Robert Rapson March
12 that pressuring Burma to release political prisoners,
promote dialogue on national reconciliation, improve access
for international organizations, and end violence directed at
ethnic minorities are goals Japan shares with the United
States. However, appointing a UN special envoy to Burma is
unlikely to lead to political and human rights reform because
it will not mitigate the regime’s opposition to dialogue,
according to MOFA Senior Foreign Policy Coordinator Maruyama.
He saw little prospect for positive change in Burma as long
as Senior General Than Shwe remains in power. Japan concurs
that, if the regime demonstrates progress towards these
goals, it would be appropriate and helpful for the
international community to respond in reciprocal fashion.
Rapson and Maruyama also briefly discussed relations with
Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. End summary.

¶2. (SBU) Visiting EAP/MLS Director Rob Rapson discussed
Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam with MOFA Foreign
Policy Bureau Senior Foreign Policy Coordinator Ichiro
Maruyama, First Southeast Asia Division Principle Deputy
Director Atsushi Kuwabara and First Southeast Asia Division
Deputy Director Masaki Kawaguchi on March 12.

Burma
—–

¶3. (C) Rapson outlined four major U.S. policy goals for
Burma: the release of political prisoners; the regime
engaging in a meaningful dialogue with pro-democracy and
opposition elements leading toward national reconciliation;
enhanced access for UN agencies, other international
organizations, and NGOs for humanitarian projects; and an end
to regime-perpetrated violence in ethnic areas. The U.S. is
not advocating regime change, he said, but rather the
beginning of a genuine dialogue and process of eventual
political transition towards democracy. If the regime makes
progress through some meaningful, positive step, the
international community, including the U.S., would be in a
position to consider an appropriate reciprocal response.
Japan shares those U.S. goals, Maruyama noted. Japan had
congratulated Burma on the ILO agreement, but was also
waiting for follow-through. He expressed disappointment that
Burma is now denying the International Committee of the Red
Cross access, after initially allowing jail visits.

¶4. (C) Rapson pointed out that the January 12 veto of the
Burma Resolution in the UN Security Council wasn’t seen as a
defeat, but rather as an opportunity. The constructive
comments and criticisms of the regime’s policies by China and
Indonesia (which abstained) in their Explanation of Vote, he
noted, provide a basis for interacting with those countries
and others on finding a way forward on Burma, which we will
pursue. In addition, the U.S. will continue to press for
action on Burma in the UN’s Human Rights Council and other UN
fora. The United States also supports the appointment of a
new UN special envoy on Burma with a broader mandate than
his/her predecessor. There are currently no plans for a new
UNSC resolution, but we intend to keep Burma on the UNSC
agenda.

¶5. (C) Maruyama (who served three tours in Burma) was not
persuaded that appointment of a special envoy would be
especially effective. The special envoy cannot resolve the
issues if the regime and Aung San Syu Kyi hate one another
and are unwilling to talk. At present, there is no incentive
for the regime to talk to her. While China wants Ibrahim
Gambari to continue in the envoy role, Maruyama believes a
special envoy from Asia, someone like former President Fidel
Ramos of the Philippines, might be more effective. In the
end, he said, Burma will only accept an Asian envoy that will
say good things about Burma. Visits by UN special envoys
produce little in the way of concrete results or new avenues
for solving the problem, he added.

¶6. (C) Maruyama agreed with Rapson that Burma should be
discussed at every possible forum, but lamented the lack of a
viable solution. He speculated that perhaps it would be
necessary to wait until after Senior General Than Shwe is no
longer in power. He is “very pessimistic” that things will
change for the better as long as Than Shwe was in charge. He
described Burma’s Foreign Minister as “stubborn,” and “just a
spokesman” and said he does not trust foreigners. Burma

TOKYO 00001185 002.2 OF 003

prefers to deal with Russia, China, and India, rather than
the United States, Japan, or the ASEAN countries. Rapson
noted that U.S. sanctions policy will remain in place as
would our strong advocacy for human rights issues through UN
fora and elsewhere. At the same time, the U.S. will seek to
engage with key regional players in exploring ways forward
consistent with our policy objectives. Maruyama said he
hoped there would be an opportunity for FM Aso to meet with
his Burmese counterpart.

¶7. (C) China is the key, Maruyama agreed, followed by India
and the ASEAN countries, and then Japan and Korea. China has
the best access, Rapson noted, and seems principally
concerned about stability and policy predictability in Burma
rather than human rights and democracy. Rapson mentioned
that EAP DAS Eric John was in Beijing on March 12 to follow
up with the Chinese and gauge China’s intent and interest to
press Burma on reform. State Councilor Tang’s recent trip to
Burma was a positive sign, Maruyama remarked. Rapson assured
Maruyama that the United States is committed to continuing to
coordinate with Japan on Burma policy, even as it engages
more with China on these kinds of issues.

¶8. (C) In response to Rapson’s view that the traditional
ASEAN consensus on Burma has weakened, which has provided an
opening for the organization and its members to press for
reform, Maruyama responded that Malaysia and Singapore are
“fed up” with Burma, particularly since Kin Nyunt was removed
from office. The Philippines has limited relations with
Burma, so its pronouncements are rather hollow, he added.
Maruyama agreed, however, that Indonesia is the key in ASEAN,
by virtue of its good relations with Burma and its position
on the UN Security Council. Rapson concurred on the
importance of a leading role by ASEAN on Burma, Maruyama
lamented that India’s efforts to influence change in Burma
thus far have been disappointing.

Thailand
——–

¶9. (C) In the wake of the September 19 coup, Japan continues
to express its concerns about democracy in Thailand and about
the direction of current economic policies, Kuwabara noted.
He was also concerned that General Surayud is not living up
to expectations that he would improve on Prime Minister
Thaksin’s record in dealing with insurgents in the south.
(Kuwabara was unaware of any specific humanitarian programs
aimed at improving circumstances in southern Thailand, noting
that there were few Japanese ODA projects of any kind in
Thailand, given the country’s relative wealth.) That said,
Thailand remains the most important destination for Japanese
investment in ASEAN, Kuwabara said, and Japan is ready to
sign an economic partnership agreement (EPA) once a few minor
issues are resolved and the Thai are ready. General Surayud
is considering traveling to Japan in April at the invitation
of a university, he noted, but he is unaware of any plans to
schedule official meetings at this time. Rapson reviewed for
the MOFA participants, United States policy views and
objectives in the wake of the coup.

Cambodia
——–

¶10. (C) Rapson described Cambodia as moving in a generally
positive direction, despite endemic problems of governance,
rule of law and corruption. He pointed out that the U.S. is
not directly supporting the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, but is
concerned about the current differences between the
international judges and Cambodian judges which, if not
satisfactorily resolved, could derail the KRT. Kuwabara
noted that Japan and Cambodia are currently in the second
round of negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty, and
predicted there would probably be one further round of
discussions.

Vietnam
——-

¶11. (C) Discussing briefly the U.S. visit of Foreign
Minister Khiem, Kuwabara noted that Prime Minister Dzung had
been Prime Minister Abe’s first official visitor, and that
the two had issued a joint statement calling for efforts
toward a strategic partnership. Abe reciprocated the visit,
Kuwabara noted, taking 130 businesspeople to Hanoi for APEC
in November 2006. Vietnam is getting quite a bit of
attention from Japanese businesspeople, he added.

TOKYO 00001185 003.2 OF 003

¶12. (U) EAP/MLS Director Robert Rapson cleared this cable.
SCHIEFFER

   

 

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