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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04BRUSSELS1081
2004-03-15 08:02:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Brussels
Cable title:  

US-EU COASI CONSULTATIONS PART 1: EAST ASIA

Tags:   PREL  PARM  KNNP  CH  ID  BM  KN  ASEAN  EUN  USEU  BRUSSELS 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 BRUSSELS 001081 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/ERA AND EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/04/2014
TAGS: PREL PARM KNNP CH ID BM KN ASEAN EUN USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: US-EU COASI CONSULTATIONS PART 1: EAST ASIA

Classified By: USEU Poloff Van Reidhead for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

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SUMMARY
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1. (C) On March 5 in Brussels, SA A/S Rocca and EAP PDAS
Keyser -- accompanied by USEU DCM Foster -- discussed US-EU
cooperation in South and East Asia with the EU's COASI
Troika. This cable covers the EAP portion of the
consultations. The SA segment will be reported septel.

-- Indonesia: EU concerned about lack of progress on Aceh and
Papua; will send 200 observers for April and July elections;
interested in coordinating with U.S. on education reform;
Dutch will use EU Presidency to enhance EU support for reform
and moderate Islam.

-- Burma: EU stuck between wanting to take firmer action and
doubts about effectiveness of sanctions; unsure whether
Burmese membership in ARF would be good or bad; will reduce
engagement with ASEAN when Burma assumes chair.

-- ASEAN/ARF: EU wants to engage more with ASEAN/ARF and
member states, which could pave way for eventual EU-ASEAN or
intra-ASEAN FTA; will decrease direct assistance to ASEAN in
favor of cooperating on more equal footing.

-- China: EU moving rapidly to improve and deepen relations,
but remains concerned about human rights; series of high
level visits will culminate in November summit; EU well aware
of U.S. views on arms embargo and keen to avoid transatlantic
fallout.

-- DPRK: EU grateful for readouts on Six Party Talks; stands
ready to help when and as determined by U.S.



--------------------------



--------------------------


Indonesia: Aceh, Papua, Elections, Education, Timor


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (SBU) Leading for the EU, Dutch Asia Director Robert
Milders said that the EU continues to press Jakarta for more
transparency on Aceh, including easier access for NGO's. The
EU is also increasingly concerned that Indonesia is not
following through on its pledge to allow greater autonomy in
Papua. The EU will send 200 observers, 64 of whom will be
"long-term," to the April (parliamentary) and July
(presidential) elections, Milders said, and will examine the
calendar for the best time to send a Ministerial troika to
support the Indonesian reform program. He also noted that
along with Afghanistan, Indonesia would be the Dutch EU
Presidency's highest Asia priority. The Netherlands wants to
use its term at the EU helm (July through December, 2004) to
boost the EU's presence in Indonesia in order to provide more
support for Indonesian reform and counter-terrorism efforts,
"in coordination with the U.S." Another initiative would
focus on developing a "sustained and engaged dialogue with
moderate Islam in Indonesia," he said.



3. (SBU) Keyser said the U.S. shared the EU's concerns about
Aceh and Papua, and desire to support reforms and engage
moderate Islamic forces. The U.S. is also deeply concerned
about the kind of teaching going on in Indonesian schools,
and was looking at a range of options for promoting education
reform. Irish Asia Director Cliona Manahan, representing the
EU Presidency, said that the EU also wanted to increase its
efforts on education and would welcome ideas from the U.S.
Keyser said the U.S. was very interested in coordinating with
the EU on these efforts. The Commission Southeast Asia Rep
noted that the EC is committing 20 million euros for
education in Indonesia this year and was planning 45-50
million euros for the 2005-06 timeframe.



4. (SBU) The EC Rep also expressed concern about the possible
pullout from West Timor this year of the UNHCR, a move that
would strand 40,000 displaced and vulnerable people currently
living in camps on the border. "We hope the U.S. will help
us get the UNHCR to change its mind," he said.



--------------------------


Burma: Holding the Line


--------------------------





5. (C) Keyser said that the similarity of U.S. and EU views
on Burma offered an opportunity for greater policy
coordination. At the same time, though, the U.S. was
disappointed that the EU did not enact further sanctions
after the May 30 opposition crackdown. The U.S. was also
disappointed by ASEAN's reluctance to increase pressure on
Burma at its October plenary. Manahan said the EU remained
stuck between, on the one hand, wanting to act firmer, and on
the other, the perception that additional sanctions would be
ineffective and possibly detrimental to Burmese citizens or
third countries. The EU was also torn on the issue of
Burmese membership in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), she
said, with the debate hinging on whether Burmese membership
would reflect "constructive engagement or obdurate
ignorance." Milders added that without ideas for a clear way
forward, the EU would probably simply extend its common
position on Burma for another year.



6. (C) Irish Deputy Asia Director Niall Brady said that UNSR
Rizali had briefed the EU in Rangoon immediately following
his March 1 visit. Rizali told the EU that he saw no signs
of softening by the Burmese regime, although he was glad that
he had been able to meet with ASSK. Brady said that when the
EU demarched Rangoon in October, it had been given the usual
line about staying out of internal matters. While the EU was
at a loss about how to increase pressure on Burma, all agreed
that at a minimum "we need to at least get back to May 29,
2003." Brady added that the EU would also be forced to
disengage to a certain extent from ASEAN when Burma assumes
the chair in 2006. Chris Holtby of the Council Policy Unit
said the EU wanted to remain "side by side" with the U.S. on
sanctions and policy, and was concerned that there might be
the impression in Washington that the EU was soft on Burma.



--------------------------


ASEAN/ARF: "Teeth" in the Agenda


--------------------------





7. (C) Keyser said while the U.S. and EU shared a common view
of ASEAN and ARF, there was room for improvement in U.S.-EU
program coordination. He said the U.S. was intent on putting
teeth into the agendas of regional fora to make them more
effective in the war on terrorism. One way to promote this
-- supported by Japan -- would be the creation of a unit
within ASEAN/ARF that could plan agendas and carry out work
between plenary sessions. The U.S. was not opposed to
Japan's signing of the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and
Cooperation, he said.



8. (SBU) Referencing the "New Partnership with Southeast
Asia" paper endorsed by the European Council in 2003, the EC
Rep said that the EU wanted more -- and more effective --
engagement with regional fora and their member states
bilaterally. Such efforts could "pave the way" for the
eventual creation of an ASEAN or EU-ASEAN Free Trade Area, he
said. The EC is also finalizing a draft paper on cooperation
with ASEAN in 2005-06. The paper foresees a reduction in
direct EU assistance to ASEAN in favor of cooperation on the
basis of local ownership. Future EU assistance to ASEAN will
therefore be lower than the 70 million euros provided over
the past five years. He said also that the EC was
considering providing support for ASEAN efforts on border
management.



9. (SBU) Milders said he was pleased with the U.S. desire to
put teeth in ASEAN's agenda, but was worried that "all the
creativity in regional fora were being driven too much by
China and Japan." The EU would like to see others -- and not
just Singapore -- get more engaged. Keyser agreed, but noted
that among the recent creative ideas, the Chinese proposal
for a security forum at deputy defense minister level in
ASEAN seemed worthy of serious consideration.



--------------------------


China: "They're All Over Us These Days"


--------------------------





10. (SBU) Manahan and Milders said that the EU and China were
moving rapidly to improve and deepen relations, although
serious problems remained regarding human rights, Tibet and
Taiwan. Manahan noted that the Chinese Vice FM Zhou Wenzhong
is coming to Brussels soon to meet with the EU Political and
Security Committee, and that Premier Wen would follow soon
after for a first-ever meeting with the EU institutions.
Traveling in the other direction, HiRep Solana plans to visit
Beijing this month and Commission President Prodi will follow
in early April. The EU and China will also hold a summit in
November.



11. (SBU) The Commission East Asia Rep said that the EU just
completed its first "seminar" with China to "give form to the
enhanced relations." The enhanced relationship will be built
around five priorities, he said, reflecting EU support for
economic and political reform: a) strengthened political
dialogue; b) making sure the human rights dialogue works
"favorably;" c) improvements on trade, such as Chinese
implementation of the WTO agenda; d) dialogue on
international challenges such illegal migration; and e)
sectoral dialogues on issues such as culture, education,
competition, nuclear energy, and customs, among others.



12. (SBU) Holtby drew a parallel between a recent Chinese
paper on its relations with the EU and the EU's new European
Security Strategy (ESS), saying the two were remarkably
similar and pointed to a likemindedness on EU-China
relations. The EU wanted to encourage China's recent
progress on nonproliferation, but would remain critical of
China's human rights record, he said. He noted as well that
the EU was taking seriously the ESS call for a stronger
strategic "partnership" with China. Manahan said that China,
in seeking to use the leverage provided by the EU's desire
for enhanced relations, keeps telling the EU that it should
not apply conditionality to its strategic partners.



13. (C) Keyser said that the U.S. had enjoyed improved
relations with China since 9/11, but was concerned about
Chinese backsliding on human rights during the past year.
The U.S. has not decided yet whether to seek a resolution on
China at the UNHRC this year, and was still hoping that the
pressure of a possible resolution would inspire eleventh-hour
efforts by China to meet its commitments and our
expectations. The Council Secretariat's Ana Ramirez said
that the EU needed to adopt conclusions at the March 25-26
European Council on what to do in the UNHRC this season. The
EU hoped for a U.S. decision soon, she said, as all were keen
to avoid a repetition of last year when the EU had to issue
conclusions before knowing what the U.S. positions would be.
Manahan said she was cautiously optimistic about China's
apparent decision to allow visits this summer by the Special
Rapporteurs for Torture and Religious Freedom.



--------------------------


China: EU Arms Embargo


--------------------------





14. (C) Turning to the issue all had been waiting for, Keyser
said that U.S. firm opposition to the EU lifting its arms
embargo on China was based both on our assessment that
China's human rights record had not improved sufficiently and
on our assessment that lifting the embargo would upset the
strategic balance in the region. If the U.S. were some day
obliged to come to the assistance of Taiwan in response to a
Chinese attack, we would not want to be faced with advanced
weaponry supplied by our European allies. Keyser noted also
that with transatlantic acrimony still evident as a
consequence of divisions over Iraq, the last thing either the
EU or U.S. needed was another major falling out.



15. (C) Manahan said the EU was engaged in a very serious and
very thorough review of its embargo and of its Code of
Conduct on arms exports (which will govern defense trade with
China if the embargo is lifted), and that the Irish
Presidency had no desire to rush the process. The EU was
very sensitive to the implications for transatlantic
relations, she added. Milders said that the arms embargo was
"the most important thing" in EU-China relations right now,
adding that the EU recognized a year ago that it was time to
review the embargo. While the country's human rights record
remains spotty, it is clear that China has made much progress
since 1989.



--------------------------


DPRK: EU Ready to Help When Time is Right


--------------------------





16. (C) Manahan, who visited North Korea as part of an EU
troika in December, thanked the U.S. for providing such
prompt and thorough readouts of the most recent round of
Six-Party Talks. She said the EU would like to help the
process if there was anything it could do, and noted that the
DPRK would be the topic of the EU's June COASI meeting.
(Comment: In a follow on meeting with Council DG Robert
Cooper (septel), Cooper also asked if there was anything the
EU could do to help. Mission desk contacts have also begun
stressing that the EU stands ready to assist when and as
needed. This willingness to help on our terms -- conveyed at
all levels with an unobtrusive openness -- contrasts sharply
with the EU's irritation last year at feeling left out of the
whole process, particularly with regard to the now-defunct
KEDO. The turnaround is due to recent U.S. efforts to keep
the Europeans in the loop on as Six Party Talks proceed. End
Comment.)



17. (C) Keyser briefed the troika on U.S. views about how to
proceed with the Six Party Talks, and said that the parties
were moving toward creating working groups that could remain
operational between the plenary sessions. The EC Rep asked
whether the efforts to disrupt North Korea's illicit
activities were having a significant impact on the regime.
He said also that the EU was "struck" by inchoate efforts at
economic reform and was wondering whether to support them in
hopes of undermining the regime's closed system. Keyser
responded that while what we do not know about North Korea
could fill volumes, the regime appears too strong to be
undermined from within anytime soon. On disruption of
illegal activities, he said that the Proliferation Security
Initiative and the Illicit Activities Initiative appeared to
be getting the regime's attention. But since we don't know
the level of revenue generated by illegal DPRK activities, we
cannot determine with accuracy how much impact the
disruptions are having. In any case, Keyser said, the U.S.
would continue to pursue vigorously the two initiatives on
the merits, since it was the obligation of any nation to
defend its citizens and society against illegal activities.



18. PDAS Keyser has cleared this message.

Schnabel