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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05BANGKOK608
2005-01-24 11:36:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

THAI MFA AND THE NORTH KOREAN IN VIENTIANE

Tags:   PREF  PREL  PGOV  ASEC  TH  DPRK  LA 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 000608 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP (EVANS REVERE AND MARIE HUHTALA),
EAP/BCLTV, EAP/K

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/24/2015
TAGS: PREF PREL PGOV ASEC TH LAOS DPRK
SUBJECT: THAI MFA AND THE NORTH KOREAN IN VIENTIANE

REF: VIENTIANE 97

Classified By: DCM Alexander A. Arvizu. Reason: 1.4 (b, d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 000608

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP (EVANS REVERE AND MARIE HUHTALA),
EAP/BCLTV, EAP/K

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/24/2015
TAGS: PREF PREL PGOV ASEC TH LAOS DPRK
SUBJECT: THAI MFA AND THE NORTH KOREAN IN VIENTIANE

REF: VIENTIANE 97

Classified By: DCM Alexander A. Arvizu. Reason: 1.4 (b, d)


1. (C) On January 24, Polcouns sought clarifications
regarding the Royal Thai Government (RTG) positions in the
matter of An Kyong-Su, the North Korean asylum seeker in
Embassy Vientiane, from MFA's Paisit Boonparlit, Director for
Political Affairs in the Americas Department, and Suraphan
Boonyamanop, Director for Division IV (Indonesia, Korea, E.
Timor and Mongolia) in the East Asia Department.


2. (C) Both officials confirmed that the basic RTG stance --
elaborated by East Asia Director General Nopadol Gunavibool
last week, and reiterated to the Ambassador by Permanent
Secretary Krit Garnjana-Goochorn -- remains: a) openness to

SIPDIS
transit of An through Thailand by air via Don Muang airport
(as long as he is escorted and onward bound, and even if he
lacks documents); and b) opposition to his entering Thailand
by land.


3. (C) Polcouns asked whether, if the air option became
possible, the RTG would allow An to stay in Don Muang transit
for several days for processing by UNHCR and the South Korean
Embassy. He also asked whether, if An were to have his South
Korean travel documents in hand, Thailand would allow him
entry from Laos by land as a South Korean.


4. (C) Paisit, who has only marginal responsibilities in this
case, responded that he would pass the questions on to the
East Asia Department which is handling the case for
senior-level MFA officials. Interestingly, he inquired
whether the U.S. had considered flying An out of Laos aboard
the DAO C-12 to a military airport in Thailand. Surprised to
hear this idea, which first surfaced with Embassy Vientiane
(reftel), floated by an MFA official, Polcouns asked whether
the RTG would agree to such an arrangement. Paisit said he
did not know, but speculating on a personal basis, if he read
the thinking of his colleagues correctly, it might be an
option.


5. (C) Suraphan said he would discuss Polcouns' two questions
with DG Nopadol (the key working level official on this case,
who was not available) and other officials. He asked what we
had in mind by "several days" for processing in an airport
transit, and was told that it probably would require two full
days. On the second scenario of An crossing the border
documented as a South Korean, Suraphan said that he imagined
our intention would be to move him as quickly as possible to
Bangkok airport. Without conceding agreement to a land
entry, Suraphan then outlined that the fastest method would
be to cross by land to Nong Khai, travel by car 55 kilometers
to Udon airport, and then take one of many Udon-Bangkok daily
scheduled flights. Polcouns did not raise Paisit's C-12 idea
with Suraphan.


6. (C) Suraphan said he had been in touch earlier January 24
with the South Korean Embassy in Bangkok and had been told
that their policy was to have verification from a "third
party" of An's North Korean identity and determination from
that third party that he wanted to go to South Korea.
Polcouns explained in detail that both requirements had been
amply met, although UNHCR had not specifically been able to
interview An because the Lao government will not permit them
to enter Laos. Suraphan also said that he had lunched with
the Lao Ambassador, who claimed not to know anything about
the matter. Suraphan said he urged the Ambassador to contact
the Lao MFA and seek flexibility on departure of An by
commercial air to Bangkok for onward travel.


7. (C) Comment: The Thai are holding fast to their basic
positions on An, but clearly have been actively staying on
top of developments and seem to be thinking about ways to
resolve the current impasse. End Comment.
BOYCE