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Viewing cable 09BISHKEK135, CHINESE AMBASSADOR FLUSTERED BY KYRGYZ ALLEGATIONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BISHKEK135 2009-02-13 11:11 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bishkek
VZCZCXRO1478
OO RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHEK #0135/01 0441151
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 131151Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY BISHKEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1794
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2870
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0711
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0094
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0183
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1217
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 3257
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2643
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO BRUSSELS BE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BISHKEK 000135 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR SCA/CEN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR KG
SUBJECT: CHINESE AMBASSADOR FLUSTERED BY KYRGYZ ALLEGATIONS 
OF MONEY FOR CLOSING MANAS 
 
REF: A. BISHKEK 96 
B. BISHKEK 85 
 
BISHKEK 00000135  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Tatiana C. Gfoeller, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  During a meeting with the Ambassador 
February 13, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yannian ridiculed the 
idea, but did not deny categorically, that China would 
provide Kyrgyzstan a $3 billion financial package in return 
for closing Manas Air Base.  Zhang said Kyrgyzstan was in 
Russia's sphere of influence, and China had only commercial 
interests here.  He also complained bitterly about Chinese 
Guantanamo detainees being shipped to Germany instead of 
China.  Zhang was very interested in whether the U.S. would 
negotiate to keep Manas, and he advised just giving the 
Kyrgyz $150 million a year for the Base.  "This is all about 
money," he said.  End Summary. 
 
LOSING THE ABILITY TO SPEAK RUSSIAN 
 
2. (C) Ambassador met February 13 with Chinese Ambassador to 
Kyrgyzstan Zhang Yannian.  After opening pleasantries, the 
Ambassador mentioned that Kyrgyz officials had told her  that 
China had offered a $3 billion financial package to close 
Manas Air Base and asked for the Ambassador's reaction to 
such an allegation.  Visibly flustered, Zhang temporarily 
lost the ability to speak Russian and began spluttering in 
Chinese to the silent aide diligently taking notes right 
behind him.  Once he had recovered the power of Russian 
speech, he inveighed against such a calumny, claiming that 
such an idea was impossible, China was a staunch opponent of 
terrorism, and China's attitude toward Kyrgyzstan's decision 
to close Manas was one of "respect and understanding." 
 
3. (C) Composing himself, Zhang inquired if maybe the Kyrgyz 
had meant the trade turnover between the two countries, which 
he claimed was about $3 billion a year.  When disabused of 
that notion, Zhang went on at length to explain that China 
could not afford a $3 billion loan and aid package.  "It 
would take $3 from every Chinese person" to pay for it.  "If 
our people found out, there'd be a revolution," he said.  "We 
have 200 million people unemployed" because of the downturn 
in exports, he said, and millions of disabled and others who 
need help from the government. 
 
A SLAP IN THE FACE 
 
4. (C) When the Ambassador asked whether he would 
categorically deny what the Kyrgyz officials had told her 
about a deal with China, Zhang snapped that "releasing 17 
from Guantanamo is an unfriendly act toward us."  He then 
went on at length about what a "slap in the face" it was to 
China that the Uighur detainees were not going to be returned 
to their homeland but instead shipped to Germany, where 
reportedly they had already been granted refugee status. 
While not stating a tit-for-tat reaction on Manas, he did 
imply that the Guantanamo situation had made China look for 
ways to hit back at the U.S.  When the Ambassador inquired if 
maybe the Chinese were favorably disposed toward closing 
Manas because of their SCO membership, Zhang acknowledged 
that the SCO had pronounced for closing Manas, but claimed 
that "that was years ago and nothing has happened since."  He 
denied that the SCO was pressuring the Kyrgyz to close Manas. 
 
 
RUSSIA: A GIFT FROM GOD FOR THE KYRGYZ 
 
5. (C) The Ambassador then asked what Zhang thought about the 
$2 billion plus Russian deal with Kyrgyzstan.  After some 
hemming and hawing, Zhang said it was "probably true" that 
 
BISHKEK 00000135  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
the Russian assistance was tied to closing Manas.  Asked if 
he had any concerns about the Kyrgyz Republic falling ever 
deeper into the Russian sphere of influence and whether China 
had any interest in countering this, he answered that 
Kyrgyzstan was already in that sphere, and China had no 
interest in balancing that influence.  "Kyrgyzstan is 
Russia's neighbor," he intoned (somewhat expansively, since 
Kyrgyzstan does not share a border with the Russian 
Federation -- though it does share a border with China). 
"And when the Kyrgyz ask me about this, I always tell them 
that a neighbor is a gift from God."  As for China's 
interests in the Kyrgyz Republic, he stated flatly:  "We have 
only commercial interests here.  We want to increase 
investment and trade.  We have no interest in politics."  He 
claimed that some Kyrgyz had argued for China to open a base 
in Kyrgyzstan to counterbalance Russian and American 
influence in the country, but China has no interest in a 
base.  "We want no military or political advantage. 
Therefore, we wouldn't pay $3 billion for Manas," he argued. 
 
PERSONAL ADVICE: PAY THEM $150 MILLION 
 
6. (C) Zhang asked the Ambassador whether the U.S. would 
negotiate to keep the Base open.  The Ambassador answered 
that the U.S. side was evaluating its options.  Zhang then 
offered his "personal advice,"  "This is all about money," he 
said.  He understood from the Kyrgyz that they needed $150 
million.  The Ambassador explained that the U.S. does provide 
$150 million in assistance to Kyrgyzstan each year, including 
numerous assistance programs.  Zhang suggested that the U.S. 
should scrap its assistance programs.  "Just give them $150 
million in cash" per year, and "you will have the Base 
forever."  Very uncharacteristically, the silent young aide 
then jumped in: "Or maybe you should give them $5 billion and 
buy both us and the Russians out."  The aide then withered 
under the Ambassador's horrified stare. 
 
7. (C) Commenting on the recent diplomatic corps lunch (Ref 
B), Zhang noted that Russian Ambassador Vlasov had been in an 
expansive mood and dominated portions of the meeting.  "I 
think that's when he found out that they'd reached a deal" 
with Bakiyev to close the Base, he opined.  Zhang, who is 
doyen of the diplomatic corps, said he would be leaving 
Bishkek soon, but did not yet know his next assignment.  "In 
our service," he said, "we don't know our postings until the 
last minute." 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8. (C) Zhang was clearly flustered when confronted with the 
claims of Kyrgyz officials that they were negotiating a 
financial deal with China in return for closing the Base. 
While he ridiculed the notion of such a deal, he did not deny 
it outright.  Perhaps because of his being discomposed, he 
returned several times to the topic of a possible revolution 
in China if the economic picture does not improve and work is 
not found for the millions of unemployed there.  In our 
experience, talk of revolution at home is taboo for Chinese 
diplomats.  While candid at times, the meeting ended on a 
very cordial note. 
GFOELLER