Oct 192014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/07/09MANILA1521.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA1521
2009-07-20 07:57
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO1275
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1521/01 2010757
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 200757Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4665
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001521

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/20/2019
TAGS: PARM PGOV PHUM PREL RP KN BM
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINES PUSHES ASEAN ON NORTH KOREA, BURMA

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

¶1. (C) In a frank private July 20 discussion over breakfast
with the Ambassador, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto
Romulo expressed dismay at ASEAN’s timid stance on issues
pertaining to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
(DPRK) and Burma. Secretary Romulo related his impression of
an informal ASEAN meeting held by the Thai delegation on the
margins of the 15th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
in Cairo July 15 and 16. It was clear, said Romulo, that
Thailand and perhaps other ASEAN members wanted to
“soft-pedal” the DPRK’s recent nuclear test and missile
launches. Romulo said he was “horrified” and pointed out to
the other delegates that everyone, including China and
Russia, had condemned North Korea’s provocative actions. He
told the Ambassador that ASEAN’s reaction to the DPRK showed
the same lack of moral courage it has displayed toward Burma,
where member states seek to avoid controversy by invoking
ASEAN’s principle of noninterference in the affairs of other
members. Romulo said he told his ASEAN counterparts that
they had to stop “soft pedaling” on these important regional
challenges if they wanted to be taken seriously on the world
stage. The Secretary’s comments to the Ambassador are the
strongest he has made to date regarding ASEAN’s apparent
unwillingness to confront difficult regional issues.

¶2. (C) Secretary Romulo said he felt so strongly about
ASEAN’s lack of resolve in addressing the DPRK’s recent
actions that, upon his return to the Philippines, he drafted
a letter to the ASEAN Chair, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit
Piromya, in which he proposes that ASEAN show a united front
and “not fudge” on condemning the DPRK’s continuing
violations of UNSCRs 1718 and 1874. He handed over a copy to
the Ambassador, who thanked Romulo for his leadership and
perseverance in pressing the Philippines’ ASEAN partners to
take a stronger and more proactive stand for regional peace
and stability. The Ambassador noted that the letter
underscores the Philippines’ status as a reliable regional
partner and offers an opportunity for ASEAN to make progress
in dealing with thorny regional challenges such as Burma and
North Korea at the upcoming ASEAN ministerial meeting in
Phuket. Romulo agreed, and added that he looked forward to
seeing Secretary Clinton in Phuket and hoped to be able to
speak with her at least briefly on the margins of the ASEAN
meetings. The complete text of the letter follows:

¶3. (C) Begin text of letter:

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs
Republic of the Philippines
18 July 2009

Excellency,

Allow me to convey my confidence in Your Excellency’s
Chairmanship of the 42nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, Post
Ministerial Conferences, and the 16th ASEAN Regional Forum in
Phuket. With Thailand at the helm, I have no doubt these
meetings will yield significant results to benefit not only
our region but also the international community.

As Chairman, your voice echoes the ideals and
aspirations of the ASEAN countries, as well as the resolve
and strength that characterize ASEAN unity. In this regard,
I propose that the Chairman’s statement during the 42nd
AMM/PMC and 16th ARF should not fudge on condemning the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for conducting
nuclear tests and continuously violating UN Security Council
Resolutions 1718 and 1874. ASEAN should show a united front,
and advance a position no less than the unanimous decision of
the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, which
includes our dialogue partners China, Russia, and the United
States.

ASEAN should join the rest of the international
community in strongly urging DPRK to return to the Six Party
Talks, as this is the only peaceful and diplomatic means to
resolve the international threat posed by DPRK’s nuclear
activities. As President of the 2010 NPT Review Conference,
the Philippines will be at the forefront calling upon the
DPRK, and thus urges the ASEAN to join the clamor, to abide
by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

I strongly believe that a soft statement on DPRK would
be a great disservice to peace and stability not only in the
Korean peninsula or in the East Asian region, but throughout
the world.

Thailand is holding the reins that will steer the ASEAN

MANILA 00001521 002 OF 002

towards greater international preeminence. I understand that
it is an arduous challenge, but a robust statement on DPRK is
the way to manifest the significance of ASEAN in
international affairs.

I express full support for Your Excellency’s
Chairmanship, and wish you continued success in your official
and personal endeavors.

Accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest esteem
and consideration.

Signed, Alberto G. Romulo.
KENNEY

   

 

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