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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05CANBERRA879
2005-05-23 23:27:00
SECRET//NOFORN
Embassy Canberra
Cable title:  

AUSTRALIA: EAP A/S HILL'S DFAT ROUNDTABLE, SESSION

Tags:  PREL PGOV PTER MARR AS CH TW ID TT ARF APEC NK SK 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 CANBERRA 000879 

SIPDIS

NOFORN

STATE FOR EAP AND EAP/ANP
MANILA PASS KOROR, KOLONIA AND MAJURO
WELLINGTON PASS APIA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/18/2015
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER MARR AS CH TW ID TT ARF APEC NK SK
SUBJECT: AUSTRALIA: EAP A/S HILL'S DFAT ROUNDTABLE, SESSION
ONE: DPRK, CHINA, TAIWAN, EAST ASIAN ARCHITECTURE,
SOUTHEAST ASIA


Classified By: CDA Bill Stanton. Reasons: 1.4 (b/d)

Summary
-------


1. (C) In a May 17 roundtable attended by senior
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
officials, DFAT Deputy Secretary Geoff Raby told EAP
Assistant Secretary Christopher R. Hill that Australia
supports the U.S. approach to the DPRK nuclear problem and
would continue to convey to North Korea, and others, that
the Six Party Talks should resume without delay and without
preconditions. Australia has high hopes for its economic
relationship with China and is keen to see the improvement
in U.S.-China relations continue. PM Howard will convey
this sentiment, along with his optimism about the
opportunity for the U.S. and Australia to dramatically
improve relations with Indonesia, to President Bush when
they meet in Washington in July. The GOA, meanwhile, is
keeping a cautious but hopeful eye on China-Taiwan
relations and believes Australia has overcome Chinese
resistance to its inclusion in the upcoming East Asian
Summit (EAS). Canberra and Dili are putting the finishing
touches on the Timor Sea negotiations, but Australian
officials are worried about the toll that rampant
corruption is taking on the stability of East Timor. The
Australians think it likely that Rangoon will drop its
claim on the 2006 ASEAN chairmanship at some point in
coming weeks. End Summary.



2. (SBU) EAP Assistant Secretary Christopher R. Hill,
accompanied by Charge, met on May 17 with Australian
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Deputy
Secretary Geoff Raby (Under Secretary equivalent) and

SIPDIS
his principal advisers at a roundtable to discuss East
Asian issues. The first session focused on the DPRK,
China, East Asian architecture, and South East Asia.
Septel will report on second session discussions. A full
participants' list is at para 14.

DPRK


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




3. (C) D/S Raby began the meeting by emphasizing
Australia's support of the U.S. approach to the North
Korean problem, and noting that the GOA took every
opportunity to underline Australia's support for the Six
Party Talks (6PT) in both its regional diplomacy and, most
important, its direct contacts with the DPRK. (Note:
Australia maintains diplomatic relations with Pyongyang and
there is a North Korean ambassador resident in Canberra.)
A/S Hill responded to Raby's request for a 6PT update by
describing the USG's most recent initiatives to secure
North Korea's return to the talks.

CHINA...AND TAIWAN


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




4. (C) Foreshadowing the message Australian Prime Minister
John Howard would convey to President Bush when they meet
in July, Raby said that the GOA viewed the deepening of the
U.S.-China relationship post-9/11, and a shift away from
the perception of China as a strategic competitor, as an
important and positive development. U.S. management of the
relationship with China was of critical importance to
Australia, he emphasized, particularly given DFAT's
"perhaps somewhat more sanguine" view of China's rise and
rapidly growing economic ties. Raby said it would be a
pity if disagreements over trade and currency put a "hard
edge" back into U.S.-China relations. Department of Prime
Minister and Cabinet First Assistant Secretary for
International Affairs Ian Kemish added that the rise of
China was exerting a "pull on GOA policy settings," and the
lack of bilateral aggravations in Australia's dealings with
China made it hard for many, especially in the media, to see
China other than as a positive story.



5. (S) A/S Hill responded that the U.S. wanted to see
China succeed as a responsible and stable power. Deputy
Secretary Zoellick's participation in the upcoming

SIPDIS
U.S.-China global dialogue, and an ambitious bilateral
summit agenda for this year, were signs of improvement
in U.S.-China relations. A/S Hill cautioned, however,
that the all-too-frequent "thuggish" behavior by Beijing,
such as its handling of the recent anti-Japan
demonstrations, served to remind us that there were
very good reasons to closely monitor China's rise.
Raby agreed that Beijing's continuing human rights
abuses and its recent support of the anti-Japanese
mobs were "throwbacks" that justified
concern. DFAT First Assistant Secretary (FAS) for
International Security David Stuart amplified the call for
caution, noting that while Beijing had legislated
counter-proliferation regimes, enforcement was "a mixed
picture, with missile technology proliferation...a real
problem."



6. (S) Turning to Taiwan, D/S Raby noted that Chen
Shui-bian had been generally circumspect in his behavior
toward China since his setback in the Legislative Yuan
elections last fall and asked whether Washington perceived
an opportunity for a breakthrough on cross-Strait
relations. A/S Hill responded that China was playing a
"high-stakes game" in hosting opposition leaders Lien Chan
and James Soong in Beijing, but that so far the gambit
appeared to be having a positive impact on cross-Strait
ties. A/S Hill thought that better Beijing-Taipei
relations might also make China more amenable to playing
a more constructive role in the 6PT.

EAST ASIAN ARCHITECTURE


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




7. (C) DFAT North East Asia Branch A/S Jeff Robinson began
the session on East Asian architecture by noting that
Australia, Japan, and the U.S. should cooperate to ensure
that China would not dominate the agendas of developing
regional organizations. Raby agreed, adding that despite
China's earlier attempts to block the inclusion of
Australia in the East Asian Summit (EAS), Beijing's
"evolving view" of the EAS signaled its recognition that
ASEAN states were determined to broaden EAS membership
to ensure that China would not dominate it. Raby added
that despite progress on the EAS, it was important that the
U.S. and Australia continue to "build up APEC" as an
influential organ.



8. (C/NF) A/S Hill agreed with Raby on the importance of
APEC and said that many of his ASEAN Plus Three (APT)
interlocutors had spoken positively about Australian
inclusion in the EAS. Raby replied that while he
personally found it "galling," the GOA would probably sign
ASEAN's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), with
caveats, as a precondition to joining the EAS. Australia
was looking favorably at the South Korean model for
acceding to the TAC with reservations that would guarantee
that there would not be an impact on the GOA's
commitment to the ANZUS alliance or its ability
to criticize other EAS members. The deal would also
have to come with an explicit guarantee that Australia
would be invited to participate in the first and all
subsequent EAS meetings.

SOUTHEAST ASIA


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




9. (C) D/S Raby said that PM Howard would emphasize to
President Bush in July the rare opportunity Australia and
the U.S., the two largest tsunami relief donors, had been
given to improve relations with Indonesia. A/S Hill
agreed; the U.S. wanted to make the most of the boost
America's image had received post-tsunami. Indonesian
President Yudhoyono's visit later in the month would
provide a key opportunity. Responding to A/S Hill's query
about the Aceh peace talks, FAS for South and South East
Asia Paul Grigson said that while there had been progress
on the easy elements of the negotiations, the "hard stuff
lies ahead."



10. (C) Turning to ASEAN, Grigson thought it was likely,
but by no means certain, that Rangoon could be persuaded by
other ASEAN members to relinquish its claim to the ASEAN
chairmanship in 2006. Grigson, who had been Australia's
ambassador in Burma, described the Rangoon leadership as
not having a coherent foreign policy, but rather being
"event managers, who will probably step aside six-to-twelve
months out if they assess that the other ASEAN states are
serious" in their demands for political reform as a
precondition of Burmese chairmanship.



11. (C) On East Timor, D/S Raby said that the Timor Sea
negotiations were almost completed, but that corruption was
so rampant in Dili that the prospect of introducing oil
wealth into the country was the source of more pessimism
and fear than optimism within the GOA. The good news, he
said, was that the UN Mission in Support of East Timor
(UNMISET) was over and the shift to peace-building under
the UN Office in East Timor (UNOTIL) might, over time,
increase oversight and accountability at all levels of
government there.

PARTICIPANTS


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




12. (U). Australian participants:

DFAT Deputy Secretary Geoff Raby
Americas/Europe Division First Assistant Secretary (FAS)
Jeremy Newman
International Security Division FAS David Stuart
South and South East Asia Division FAS Paul Grigson
North East Asia Assistant Secretaries Paul Robillard and
Jeff Robinson
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet FAS for
International Policy Ian Kemish.

U.S. participants:

Assistant Secretary Hill
Charge
PolCouns
EconCouns
EAP Special Assistant Koehler
PolOff (notetaker)



13. (U) A/S Hill's delegation has cleared this cable.
STANTON