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Viewing cable 09BEIJING2868, PRC/BURMA: A/S CAMPBELL'S MEETING WITH ASIAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BEIJING2868 2009-10-14 10:10 2010-12-12 21:09 SECRET Embassy Beijing
VZCZCXRO9594
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHGH RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #2868/01 2871046
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 141046Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6436
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK PRIORITY 6793
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA PRIORITY 2016
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 9400
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 4955
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON PRIORITY 4790
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE PRIORITY 9702
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BEIJING 002868 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/14/2029 
TAGS: PREL PHUM PGOV PARM BM KN CH
SUBJECT: PRC/BURMA: A/S CAMPBELL'S MEETING WITH ASIAN 
AFFAIRS DG YANG YANYI 

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Aubrey Carlson. 
Reasons 1.4 (b, d) 

1. (S) SUMMARY: In an October 13 meeting with EAP A/S Kurt 
Campbell, MFA Asian Affairs Department Director General Yang 
Yanyi said that China saw many positive aspects in the U.S. 
review of its Burma policy and suggested proceeding based on 
its conclusion, despite PRC concern over continuing 
sanctions. Yang asserted that the junta was committed to 
building a peaceful, modern, democratic Burma, but stability 
remained paramount to them "for now." She claimed the regime 
was committed to a fair election in 2010 and was renewing 
efforts on developing the economy. DG Yang cautioned that 
the regime could not be replaced, and counseled patience on 
development and democratization efforts given the complexity 
of Burmese society. Chinese officials had told the Burmese 
to consider China's legitimate interests in dealing with the 
situation in Kokang, but also stressed that China would not 
interfere in the internal affairs of Burma. A/S Campbell 
cautioned that steps by the regime toward progress on nuclear 
technology would make dialogue more difficult and the U.S. 
and China had a shared interest in partnering to prevent such 
progress. END SUMMARY. 

2. (C) A/S Campbell briefed MFA Asia Department Director 
General Yang Yanyi October 13 on the recently concluded Burma 
policy review and expressed U.S. concern over the deplorable 
humanitarian situation in Burma. He sought Chinese views on 
the situation there and how to use dialogue with the junta to 
improve the situation, and explained the deep concerns on the 
U.S. side over possible efforts by Burma to develop nuclear 
technology with the help of the DPRK. 

Positive PRC Reaction to the U.S. Policy Review 
--------------------------------------------- -- 

3. (C) DG Yang replied that the Chinese government remained 
keenly interested in the situation in Burma. On the U.S. 
policy review, Yang said that China saw many positive 
aspects, in particular the conclusion that continued 
isolation of Burma would have direct negative consequences 
beyond Burma's borders, and that the strategic goal of the 
United States was to bring about a unified, peaceful and 
democratic Burma. She reported that China was encouraged by 
U.S. decisions to engage in direct dialogue with the Burmese 
regime and expand humanitarian assistance, as well as by the 
U.S. call for close cooperation on the issue with Thailand, 
Indonesia and Singapore as well as China and India. Yang 
expressed concern over the conclusion in the review to 
maintain existing sanctions and noted U.S. skepticism at the 
2010 elections. Overall, Yang said, China supported and 
encouraged the U.S. to proceed based on the conclusions of 
the policy review. She added that China had been pleased to 
play a role in the first direct meeting between the junta and 
the U.S. side in 2007. 

Burma, the View from Beijing 
---------------------------- 

4. (C) DG Yang acknowledged that the U.S. and China might 
have different views on the current situation in Burma and 
asserted that the junta was committed to building a peaceful, 
modern, democratic Burma. She cautioned that stability 
remained of paramount importance to the junta, "for now." 
Burma viewed positively the advice of the international 
community and recently had taken positive steps, including 
meetings by top Burmese officials with UN leadership and a 
meeting between Senior General Than Shwe and Senator Jim 
Webb. She claimed that Burma had expressed its commitment 
multiple times to free and fair elections in 2010. The 
regime was emphasizing economic development and paying 
increased attention to the needs of the Burmese people, 
particularly in the wake of Cyclone Nargis. The regime had 
taken positive steps, Yang claimed, in advancing the 
democratization process. 

Problems Remain, but the Regime Cannot Be Replaced 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 

5. (C) DG Yang cautioned that many problems remained. The 
regime had "tried its best," she claimed, but had been unable 
to realize true national reconciliation and economic 
development. The Burmese people, she noted, were unsatisfied 
with the state of affairs. Despite the problems, the regime 

BEIJING 00002868 002 OF 003 


could not be replaced, and long-term stability and 
development would take time, especially given the complexity 
of the situation in Burma. The people of Burma could best 
determine the course of the country's internal affairs. Yang 
said that during her many visits to Burma, she had found the 
Burmese to be a proud nation but also very sensitive, which 
was one reason that sanctions were ineffective and would only 
isolate Burma. 

The Junta: Illegitimate, and with Total Control 
--------------------------------------------- -- 

6. (C) A/S Campbell responded that one of the basic problems 
in Burma's political system was that the junta lacked 
legitimacy but maintained a total grip on power, while the 
National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi and 
other opposition groups had legitimacy but no access to 
power. He stressed the importance of efforts from the regime 
that would allow opposition groups to participate in next 
year's elections, and called on China to support dialogue 
that could lead to such an outcome. Otherwise, the election 
could be seen by the Burmese people as illegitimate. He 
noted that Aung San Suu Kyi had expressed willingness to 
engage in dialogue with the junta. Yang responded that under 
the new Burmese constitution, next year's elections should be 
open to all groups, and that the Chinese side would encourage 
the junta to implement this rule. 

How to Talk to Than Shwe 
------------------------ 

7. (C) Based on her several meetings with Senior General Than 
Shwe in the past, Yang reported, he was "easy-going" and not 
difficult to engage in conversation. She said that he held 
other countries, including the United States, in high regard, 
and was "not seeking enemies." She suggested engaging the 
junta in a positive way and on an "equal footing," as well as 
avoiding discussing difficult issues at the beginning of the 
dialogue. She claimed that the regime had drawn conclusions 
from the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that led to regime change 
there, and thus lacked confidence in U.S. intentions. She 
added that the regime was committed to dialogue with the 
international community. 

PRC Would "Not Allow Burma to Fall into Chaos" 
--------------------------------------------- - 

8. (C) Responding to A/S Campbell's question about the 
Chinese view on last month's violence in Kokang, DG Yang said 
that with elections next year, the regime had felt it had to 
take some action on the situation there. She acknowledged 
that the regime's actions had had ramifications for China but 
stressed that Beijing hoped the regime was working out the 
situation through dialogue. China opposed use of force to 
resolve issues in the border areas, and "would not allow 
Burma to fall into chaos." Yang added that Chinese officials 
had told the Burmese to consider China's "legitimate 
interests" in dealing with the situation, but noted that 
Beijing had also stressed that China would never interfere in 
the internal affairs of Burma. 

Nuclear Program Barrier to Engagement 
------------------------------------- 

9. (S) A/S Campbell stressed the importance of preventing 
progress by the regime on nuclear military technology. He 
noted the increase the United States had detected in Burmese 
purchases of military equipment and arms from North Korea, as 
well as the alarming increase in students from Burma in 
Russia studying nuclear-related fields. Stressing that the 
United States wanted dialogue to deal with Burma's troubling 
domestic political situation, he cautioned that active steps 
by the regime toward progress on nuclear technology would 
make dialogue more difficult. China, as a neighboring 
country, had a strong incentive to try a new approach to 
achieve progress with the regime in partnership with the 
United States. A/S Campbell extended an invitation for a 
group of PRC officials to open a dialogue with USG 
counterparts to provide advice and suggestions, as well as 
hear about U.S. approaches to humanitarian assistance. Yang 
replied that China was monitoring the situation closely, and 
that China would continue to push the regime to proceed with 
economic development and democratization. 


BEIJING 00002868 003 OF 003 


10. (U) A/S Campbell's delegation cleared this message. 
HUNTSMAN