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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05BANGKOK3020
2005-05-04 09:27:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

PACOM COMMANDER ADM FALLON MEETING WITH NATIONAL

Tags:   OVIP  PREL  PINS  PGOV  TH  BURMA  POL  MIL 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 003020 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, EAP/BCLTV
PACOM FOR FPA HUSO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/04/2015
TAGS: OVIP PREL PINS PGOV TH BURMA POL MIL
SUBJECT: PACOM COMMANDER ADM FALLON MEETING WITH NATIONAL
SECURITY ADVISER: SOUTH, BURMA, CHINA, ET AL.


Classified By: AMB Ralph L. Boyce. Reasons 1.4 (a and d)



1. (C) SUMMARY: In a May 3 meeting with visiting PACOM
Commander ADM William J. Fallon, the Chairman of Thailand's
National Security Council, General Winai Phattiyakul,
expressed Thailand's support for the continued "strong
presence" of the US military in the Asia-Pacific region.
Winai commented that the Thai military was in the South to
provide support for the understaffed police and would stay
for at least one to two years to provide stability. He
regretted Thailand's initial assessment that hooligans were
responsible for Southern violence and said that Thai leaders
now blamed the problems on youth who had been misled by
religious teachers. Winai reiterated that Thailand was
trying to win the "hearts and minds" of Thai Southerners.
Regarding Burma, he downplayed joint Thai-Burmese border
patrols as a normal and necessary activity between
neighboring countries. He asserted that Burma would not have
democracy anytime soon, and that the Rangoon government would
surely use the upcoming National Convention to ensure it
stayed in power. He opined that China's regional clout would
continue to grow "faster than everyone expects". END SUMMARY



2. (U) Admiral William J. Fallon, Commander of U.S. Pacific
Command (PACOM) met with the Chairman of Thailand's National
Security Council, General Winai Phattiyakul on May 3 in
Bangkok. Both men expressed their satisfaction with the
state of the military and security relationship between the
U.S. and Thailand, which was apparent in the seamless
U.S.-Thai coordination and cooperation after the December 26
tsunami, and the May 2 inauguration of the latest Cobra Gold

SIPDIS
military exercise. General Winai expressed his pleasure with
the new multilateral nature of Cobra Gold, and Admiral Fallon
commented that the inclusion of the Japanese in the exercise
was a welcome development. General Winai spoke of the
importance of retaining a strong U.S. military presence in
the Asia-Pacific region, which helped maintain stability.

NEW ROLES FOR THE THAI MILITARY



3. (C) When asked about the military presence in the South,
Winai emphasized that Thailand was trying to have its
military play a greater role in assisting national
development and helping with disaster relief in addition to
its traditional combat-oriented duties. He noted that,
although there had been a lot of criticism directed at
Thailand's deployment of troops to the South, the southern
deployment was necessary for the security of the region.
Before the RTA beefed up its presence there, he noted, the
region had "less than 50 percent" of the personnel needed to
effectively police the area. The military was there to help
provide stability and to work "side-by-side" with the police,

he said.

CONTINUED MILITARY PRESENCE



4. (C) Winai added that it was essential for the military to
stay in the South for at least one to two more years.
Nonetheless, he said that lifting martial law was already
being considered in certain districts in the three
Southernmost provinces. Winai asserted that Thailand's
number one priority was to provide safety and security to
innocent people, and regretted that they had not been always
been successful in doing this in the South. Although
Thailand was trying hard to win the hearts and minds of the
people, he noted that many local people remained afraid to
cooperate with government officials. The RTG, he said,
needed to find a way to regain the confidence of the
population.

PAST MISTAKES



5. (C) Winai regretted that the Thai Government's initial
assessment of the situation in the South was "not 100 percent
correct". While Government officials had originally believed
the violence was caused by poverty, unemployment and "young
drug addicts," they were now inclined to believe that the
young men responsible for the unrest had been "indoctrinated
by their religious teachers." When asked whether Thai
Muslims were well represented in local administration, Winai
replied that, although programs encouraging the participation
of Thai Muslims in schools, the armed forces and police
existed, these efforts had backslid in the past few years.
Winai told Admiral Fallon that the RTG was working to improve
Thailand's image in Muslim countries in order to counter
negative perceptions resulting from its handling of the
violence in the South.

FRANK TALK ON BURMA



6. (C) When asked about Thailand's recent invitation to Burma
to begin joint border patrols, Winai replied that Thailand
felt the need to have a mechanism in place to ensure that
minor border disputes did not escalate into larger conflicts,
arguing that these patrols were a normal matter of course for
two neighboring countries. He also noted that Burma "always
accuses" Thailand of assisting dissident groups on the
border, and admitted that in the past there may have been
some merit to the claims. He emphasized that Thailand now
had a policy of not providing any assistance to armed
dissident groups on the border. In his closing comments,
Winai added that Thailand was "embarrassed" that there were
those who perceived its policy towards Burma as being at odds
with that of the international community.



7. (C) Winai noted that there had recently been some major
changes in the Burmese government resulting in the former
Prime Minister being sacked. He also noted that when the
Thai Supreme Commander Chaisit Shinawatra led a delegation to
Burma in February, the Burmese government went to great pains
to emphasize that widespread international rumors of
continued rifts within the governing SPDC were untrue. The
Burmese admitted to "having problems" since October, but said
that they were looking forward to reconvening the National
Convention.



8. (C) Winai said that he did not expect much real progress
to be made on Burma. "If (Americans) expect to see real
democracy in Myanmar," they will be "disappointed." Winai
speculated that the Burmese government would use every means
at its disposal to influence the writing of a new
constitution to maintain its grip on power. It would be
highly unlikely for any government in Rangoon to be able to
meet Western standards for democracy any time soon, he
opined.

CHINA



9. (C) Winai suggested that China's importance as a regional
economic power would definitely continue to grow, "perhaps
even faster than everyone expects." This would probably lead
to the development of a stronger Chinese military. After
Admiral Fallon noted that military expenditures in China were
already on the increase, Winai said that this was yet another
reason that Thailand favored a continued strong U.S. military
presence in the region. Winai added that relations with
China would be a good discussion topic for Admiral Fallon's
May 4 meeting with Prime Minister Thaksin.
BOYCE