Oct 202014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07MANILA2707.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2707
2007-08-10 06:59
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

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OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2707/01 2220659
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 100659Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7805
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 6178
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE 0536
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI IMMEDIATE 2361
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL IMMEDIATE 2640
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 3328
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI IMMEDIATE 1547
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002707

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR D AND EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2027
TAGS: ASEAN ETRD PREL EXBS SN
SUBJECT: THE DEPUTY SECRETARY’S MEETING WITH SINGAPORE FM YEO

Classified By: Classified by: CDA Paul Jones, reasons 1.4 c, d

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo des
the United States’ role in the region as a quiet balancing force, inter
only as necessary and offering symbolic support for ASEAN, during a bil
meeting with Deputy Secretary Negroponte at the ASEAN Regional Forum (A
August 1 meetings in Manila. ASEAN member countries are making economi
political gains, although some, such as Vietnam, are progressing more q
than others like Indonesia and Burma. Bilateral relations between the
Singapore remain strong. Regional trade initiatives and market unifica
plans are progressing slowly, but more needs to be done push those goal
forward, Yeo added. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (C) The Deputy Secretary commented that much progress had been achi
the region, and within ASEAN, over the years since he served as ambassa
Manila in 1993-96. He attended an ASEAN meeting in Manila in 1981 and
that then they were not talking about a unified market in 2015. Foreig
Minister Yeo responded that the ASEAN nations have come together, “not
love, but out of fear.”

¶3. (C) FM Yeo stated that this multilateral cooperation is a necessity
the rise of Indian and Chinese power; ASEAN members decided they would
as a coalition. The Deputy Secretary responded that the coalition is a
thing and asked about the U.S. role in ASEAN’s development. FM Yeo sai
the United States should support regional consolidation efforts, but do
have to be as active in the region as it had in the past. Rather, the
should be ready to intervene when needed. Yeo stressed that the U.S. ro
should be supportive in selective situations, and suggested that, when
intervenes, it does so “in a nice way.” He stressed again that as Chin
India increasingly become factors in the region, the U.S. should serve
balancing force.

¶4. (C) As country coordinator within ASEAN, Foreign Minister Yeo said
Singapore strongly defended the U.S. when A/S Hill was unable to attend
dialogue meeting in Washington in June. ASEAN members were also disapp
when Summit talks with President Bush were postponed. Yeo acknowledged
Secretary’s need to be engaged in the Middle East this week. However,

SIPDIS
suggested that the U.S. make symbolic gestures to demonstrate its inter
ASEAN. The Deputy Secretary responded that ASEAN is important and that
U.S. is sincere in its support and interest. He noted that the postpon
events is not an indication that the U.S. is ambivalent about the regio
two agreed that the U.S. would continue to show its support and that th
make efforts to capitalize on official visits to the region.

¶5. (C) FM Yeo asked what message the United States would like to conve
meeting with ASEAN Ministers. The Deputy Secretary responded that he w
like to relay a message of reassurance, commitment, presence, and inter
called the region an “oasis of tranquility.” Yeo agreed, noting that S
Asia must hold together and remain a neutral platform.

ASEAN MEMBERS PROGRESSING AT DIFFERENT RATES

¶6. (C) The Deputy Secretary asked about the individual progress of oth
members. Foreign Minister Yeo noted the progress Vietnam has made. He
speculated that in 50 years Vietnam may be the strongest member of ASEA
Indonesia, on the other hand, is a hard-working nation, but does not ha
internal capacity to become a similar success. Indonesia is crippled b
lack of infrastructure and prevalent corruption. The Deputy Secretary
that the current Indonesian government is the most effective yet. FM Y
agreed, but lamented that it is poorly structured with too much power a
administrative capabilities. Because so many officials have veto power
corruption has spread throughout the government. The Deputy Secretary
that Indonesia also has a large and growing population. Foreign Minist
quipped that Indonesia is “growing by one Singapore a
year.”

¶7. (C) FM Yeo characterized as “good” a recent meeting about human rig
concerns between Burma’s Foreign Minister Nien Win and EAP DAS Eric Joh
Beijing and noted, as an aside, that ASEAN had created a human rights b
averred that Burma has never been an obstruction to ASEAN. While he wa
hopeful that Burma would open its market in the near future, he suggest
the government has taken some promising steps. It held a constitutiona
convention and will draft its main constitutional points within the nex
months. In his view, Burma is “inching forward.” The fact remains, ho
that the back and side gates of Burma are open to China and India, and
Burma remains a strategic imperative. FM Yeo noted that positive thing
happening along the Burmese/Thai border, but that China is powering Bur
economy.

BILATERAL RELATIONS WITH SINGAPORE REMAIN STRONG

¶8. (C) FM Yeo pointed out the large American business presence in Sing
(more than 10,000 U.S. companies) and said that the American School the

MANILA 00002707 002 OF 002

the largest in the world. The Deputy Secretary thanked Singapore for be
shepherd in the region over the last year. The Deputy Secretary commen
that, if ASEAN adopts a unified currency, Singapore might be the gold s
Foreign Minister Yeo jested that Singapore would rather keep a low prof

THE ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM

¶9. (C) The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) has been in existence for 15 yea
The Deputy Secretary suggested that it is time to review the organizati
goals so it can move forward. As regional priorities have changed, ARF
to become more relevant. Yeo stated that ARF will include Bangladesh a
Lanka, but he would like to see a moratorium on new members. He does n
ARF to open membership further to Central Asian nations.

U.S./ASEAN MARKET COOPERATION

¶10. (C) The Deputy Secretary reminded Foreign Minister Yeo that the U.
remains a huge market for consumer products and that, in this regard, t
can help the region move toward a unified market. The two also briefly
discussed the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), a year-o
agreement intended to strengthen trade and investment ties between the
ASEAN. The Deputy Secretary asked whether it is active. Yeo responded
is moving slowly and that ASEAN is approaching it in a practical way. H
TIFA facilitates cooperation in areas like sanitary and phytosanitary i
and standards.

¶11. (C) The Deputy Secretary concluded the discussion by recounting th
history of ASEAN’s formation and noting his own long service in the reg
his view, ASEAN represents an interesting and logical evolution. He lik
ASEAN to the Treaty of Rome and noted the success of Europe 50 years la
Yeo urged the Deputy Secretary to recount his historical perspective wh
meets with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers and to stress U.S. interest in r
success.

¶12. (U) August 1, 2007 ; TIME 08:00; Manila, Philippines.

¶13. (U) Meeting Participants:

U.S.

Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte
Kaye Lee, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of
State
Ted Wittenstein, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary
of State
Jack Andre, Staff, EAP/Regional and Security Policy Affairs
Mireille Zieseniss, Notetaker

Singapore
Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo
Peter Ho, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Jacky Foo, Director/ASEAN Directorate, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs
Simon Tensing De Cruz, Director/Special Duties, Ministry of
Foreign Affairs
Chua Ying Ying, Deputy Director, ASEAN Issues, Ministry of
Foreign Affairs
Chi Chiew Sum, Special Assistant to the Foreign Minister
Tracy Tam, Desk Officer, ASEAN Directorate, Ministry of
Foreign Affairs

JONES

   

 

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