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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BANGKOK273 2007-01-12 11:27:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION ON BURMA: BURMESE

Tags:   PREL PHUM UNSC BM CH TH 
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RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 3485
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 000273 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/12/2017
TAGS: PREL PHUM UNSC BM CH TH
SUBJECT: UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION ON BURMA: BURMESE
EXILE COMMUNITY VIEWS

Classified By: Political Counselor Susan M. Sutton, reason: 1.4 (b) and
(d).

SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) Exile community members are supportive of the draft
resolution on Burma, but view China as key to resolving the
current political stalemate. The release of five 88
Generation student leaders only served to reinforce the idea
that the draft resolution generated pressure on the junta to
show tangible signs of willingness to address the concerns of
the international community absent UNSC punitive measures.
Some in the exile community openly express they would prefer
the US work with China to devise an acceptable agreement on
encouraging democratization in Burma, or simply dangle the
threat of a resolution over the heads of the junta
indefinitely. End Summary.

UNSC RESOLUTION ON BURMA


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





2. (C) The USG efforts to table the resolution on Burma are
universally appreciated by the exile community, according to
the Embassy's Burmese contacts in Thailand. From political
groups and media outlets to humanitarian focused exile
organizations, all see the UNSCR on Burma as an important
step. Differing views emerge on the possible outcome, but the
over-arching theme that emerged from our discussions was that
Burmese exiles are focused on how this resolution can be used
by the international community as a launch point to discuss
and/or pressure Burma into action.



3. (C) Despite profuse expressions of gratitude, the UNSC's
perceived ability to address the current crisis in Burma
varies, depending on whom you ask. A member of the National
Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) tempered his optimism
with a healthy dose of realism when he said, "it took us 16
years to get to this point, so we do not expect to get a
resolution in six months."



4. (C) A member of the Assistance Association for Political
Prisoners-Burma (AAPP) expressed a great deal of faith in the
USG's and the UNSC's willingness to act on behalf of Burmese
dissidents, but admitted to dwindling faith in other UN
entities' ability to resolve their issues with Burma. The
remarkably unremarkable visit of UN Under Secretary General
Gambari in November was cited as one example.


RELEASE OF 88 GENERATION LEADERS


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





5. (C) Exile community members working in Thailand's
academic community credited the pressure generated on the
regime from the draft UNSC resolution with influencing the
timing of the release of five political prisoners associated
with the pro-democracy uprising of 1988 (the so-called "88
Generation") Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kway, Min Zeya,
and Myint Aye. They speculated that the Chinese are pushing
the regime to demonstrate its willingness to act in concert
with the desires of the international community. Exile
community academics commented that the release of a few
prisoners last week, absent the names of any prominent
activists, was not enough for the Chinese to defend Burma in
the UN Security Council.



6. (C) After confessing ignorance on the UNSC technical
procedures, one member of the exile community commented that
this kind of result demonstrated that it might be better to
keep the idea of a resolution afloat rather than bringing it
to a full vote. This comment tracks with the view of another
exile community member who suggested that such demonstrable
results, such as the release of key pro-democracy activists,
may prompt China to request the US withdraw the resolution
and wait for more positive developments.

CHINESE DIPLOMACY


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





7. (C) Some in the exile community note that the Generals in
Burma may respond to international pressure by speeding up
their National Convention process. The logic being a quick
convention process will dissuade ASEAN countries from taking
a hard line on Burma. Several sources told us that the
Chinese diplomatic community is passing messages directly to
the Generals to this effect. Various exile community groups
added that they were aware of a delegation of exiles that

BANGKOK 00000273 002 OF 002


went to China recently and met with Chinese officials at the
working level.




8. (C) All members of the exile community seem to concur with
the idea that any solution to the current quagmire in Burma
necessitates the involvement of China. From the student
groups to the activists, the question on the tip of every
tongue revolves around the level of U.S. engagement with
China.



9. (C) Members of the AAPP expressed a clear interest in
seeing the United States cooperate with China on a solution
in Burma. In their views, Chinese influence in the region is
undeniable, and they believe a lasting solution in Burma
cannot be resolved without Chinese buy-in and possibly a
Chinese-generated solution.

VIEWS ON ASEAN


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





10. (C) Exile community members believe ASEAN is showing
signs of impatience with Burma, which manifests itself in a
willingness of some nations to speak out against the regime's
abysmal human rights record, and its snail-pace approach to
democratization. However, none of our contacts believed that
ASEAN would act as a unified body in support of the UNSC
resolution on Burma. Concerns regarding Indonesia in
particular and Singapore to a lesser degree continued to
surface.

OUTLOOK


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





11. (C) The Burmese exiles with whom we spoke expressed
gratitude for the USG's strong efforts at the UN to push for
democratization in Burma. They conveyed their hope that we
would continue to advocate forcibly for reforms. Some
expressed concern, however, that other hot-spots, such as
Iraq and Sudan, would distract governments from the situation
in their home country.

COMMENT


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





12. (C) Whether or not the UNSCR passes, exiles in Thailand
have taken note of and welcomed our effort to focus top-level
attention on the plight of those oppressed in Burma. We are
surprised, however, by their perception that the PRC could
play a much more positive role in a solution to Burma's
impasse. This may reflect wishful thinking on the part of
the exiles, clever and effective diplomacy with exiles by the
PRC or its sympathizers, or both.
BOYCE