Oct 182014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/05/09MANILA1128.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA1128
2009-05-28 08:47
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #1128/01 1480847
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 280847Z MAY 09 ZDK 7027 1491102
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4212
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 001128

CORRECTED COPY – TEXT DELETED DUE TO AUTOMATCI MERGING
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/27/2019
TAGS: ELAB ETRD PARM PGOV PREL PTER RP KN
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINE FOREIGN SECRETARY ON NORTH KOREA, BURMA, GSP PETITIONS

REF: A. MANILA 1112
¶B. MANILA 1081
¶C. MANILA 1065

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: In a free-ranging private discussion over
breakfast May 28, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo
underscored to the Ambassador the gravity with which his
government views recent provocative moves by North Korea, and
he indicated that Philippine President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo intends to raise the issue during her upcoming travel
to South Korea and Russia. He reiterated Arroyo’s concern
over the treatment of imprisoned Burmese pro-democracy
activist Aung San Suu Kyi, and characterized President
Arroyo’s interest in the matter as “passionate.” Romulo
echoed previously expressed desires for a meeting between
Arroyo and President Obama, and remarked on the utility of
his meeting with Secretary Clinton prior to her possible
participation in ASEAN meetings in July. The Foreign
Secretary was visibly worried over pending Generalized System
of Preferences (GSP) petitions against the Philippines, and
committed to facilitating the early visit of an International
Labor Organization (ILO) team. He expressed unease at
upcoming hearings on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in
the Philippine Senate, and closed the meeting by offering
assurances that every possible precaution would be taken to
ensure the safety of former police officers being extradited
to the Philippines in connection with a high-profile 2000
murder case. END SUMMARY.

North Korean Provocations Troubling
———————————–

¶2. (C) The conversation opened with discussion of North
Korea’s May 25 nuclear test, which the Philippines strongly
condemned in terms similar to those of the United States
(reftel A). The Foreign Secretary outlined that President
Arroyo intends to raise the issue again during her travel
later this week to Seoul, as well as with Russian authorities
during her onward travel to that country. Romulo opined that
China had a clear role to play in influencing the DPRK to
become a more responsible member of the international
community, and that to that end it was important to enlist
greater engagement on their part.

President Arroyo “Passionate” about Aung San Suu Kyi
——————————————— ——-

¶3. (C) Turning to the subject of Burma, Foreign Secretary
Romulo underscored President Arroyo’s deep concern over the
well-being of imprisoned opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi,
intimating that Arroyo was “passionate” on the subject
(reftels B, C). Romulo expressed his approval of the
extensive coverage that events in Burma garnered in the
often-insular Philippine media, where editorials in leading
dailies continue to concentrate on Suu Kyi’s plight. He
averred that the Philippine people viewed as abhorrent the
Burmese junta’s treatment of Suu Kyi and the Burmese people.

Keen Desire for Face-to-Face Meetings
————————————-

¶4. (C) The Foreign Secretary alluded once again to President
Arroyo’s strong desire for a face-to-face meeting with
President Obama in the Oval Office, and imparted that
although his government had provided a list of preferred
dates (i.e., June through mid-July), Malacanang remained
flexible. Foreign Secretary Romulo also repeated his own
wish for a Washington meeting with Secretary Clinton, and
explained that in the lead-up to Secretary Clinton’s possible
participation at an ASEAN foreign ministers meeting later
this summer, such a face-to-face private discussion would
offer a unique opportunity to coordinate U.S.-Philippine
strategy on Burma, North Korea, and emerging regional issues
such as expanded cooperation on the environment. In
discussing high-level visits, Romulo also conveyed President
Arroyo’s regret at being unable to meet Defense Secretary
Gates during his May 31 – June 1 visit, together with
Arroyo’s expressed hope that Gates’ visit would prove highly
productive to bilateral relations.

GSP Petitions Taken Very Seriously
———————————-

¶5. (C) The Foreign Secretary frankly acknowledged the
gravity of petitions seeking to strip the Philippines of its
Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits, and
outlined that in a May 27 conversation with Philippine Labor
Secretary Marianito Roque, he had impressed on Roque the
crucial importance of facilitating an early visit by a team
of ILO inspectors. The Ambassador stressed that in its
response to GSP petitions, the opportunity was at hand for
the Philippines to back — with concrete and decisive actions
— its strong advocacy for the UN and its affiliated bodies.
The Foreign Secretary expressed his wholehearted concurrence.

Worries Over VFA Hearings in Senate
———————————–

¶6. (C) Touching on upcoming hearings in the Philippine
Senate over possible renegotiation or abrogation of the
U.S.-Philippine Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Romulo
expressed fears that in the highly charged political
environment already prevailing in the lead-up to 2010
national elections, dialogue regarding the VFA would likely
take on an adversarial and accusatory tone. The Foreign
Secretary pointed to the example of the previous day’s
anti-VFA protest, which had drawn some 600 demonstrators. He
went on to reflect on the increasing sophistication of
leftist organizations orchestrating opposition to the VFA,
who in this case had provided a popular music concert in a
centrally located park in order to attract a larger crowd.
Romulo thanked the Ambassador for the information provided by
the Embassy on benefits derived by the Philippines from the
VFA, and welcomed any additional help the Embassy can provide
in preparation for his appearance before the Senate. He
emphasized the need for vigilance over unforeseen
difficulties as the hearings approached.

Safety Paramount for Those Extradited
————————————-

¶7. (C) Turning to the subject of the imminent extradition to
the Philippines of former police superintendent Cezar Mancao,
who is wanted in connection with a high-profile double murder
case from 2000, the Ambassador reemphasized the critical
importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of Mancao
and others who may be extradited in connection with the case.
The Ambassador went on to opine that unindicted persons
potentially connected to the murders may not wish for Mancao
and others to testify, and suggested that it would be prudent
under such circumstances not to divulge details of the
suspects’ movements or location after their arrival in the
Philippines. Any untoward treatment of Mancao or others
could have a profoundly negative impact on bilateral law
enforcement cooperation. The Foreign Secretary agreed
without reservation, and promised to stress to all relevant
GRP agencies the importance of taking every possible
precaution.
KENNEY

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.