|07NEWDELHI1971||2007-04-25 12:04:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy New Delhi|
VZCZCXRO6330 OO RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHPW DE RUEHNE #1971/01 1151204 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 251204Z APR 07 FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5135 INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6031 RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 1989 RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 1222 RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 4872 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC RUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4511 RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 6794 RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI RHMFISS/HQ USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 001971
1. (C) Summary. In an April 25 discussion, new MEA JS (East
Asia) Vijay Gokhale:
-- briefed PolCouns on the latest round of India-China border
talks, saying little progress was made;
-- downplayed the May 1 visit by North Korean Vice-Foreign
Minister Kim Hyong Jun, stating such a meeting was an annual
event and that India was sensitive to U.S. and Japanese
-- supported the concept of informal, senior official-level
talks between the U.S., India, Japan and Australia.
Border Talks: No Significant Progress
2. (C) Recently-installed Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)
Joint Secretary (East Asia) Vijay Gokhale provided PolCouns
with a readout of the ninth round of India-China border
talks, which ended April 22. Responding to PolCouns' inquiry
as to whether there had been any progress, Gokhale said "not
really," but quickly added that the Indian government had not
expected significant progress, noting that discussions have
been continuing for over 30 years. As the two sides work out
a framework for an agreement, he explained, trying to
negotiate specific details causes the pace of talks to slow.
Gokhale intimated that India's approach to the talks depend
on a bilateral approach whereby the border issue should not
detract from other aspects of the India-China relationship,
but felt China's strategy likely involved a broader angle.
According to Gokhale China negotiated the border issue with
its broader regional relationships -- particularly with Japan
-- in mind.
3. (C) Gokhale's assessment was echoed by Chinese Embassy
PolCouns Sun Weidong, who downplayed progress in the border
talks in a conversation with Poloff April 24. Saying "the
strategic dimension of the negotiations cannot be ignored,"
Sun agreed little progress was made between negotiators
Indian National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Chinese
Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo. He added that both sides
agreed to be closed mouthed about the talks, as it distracts
from negotiations when leaked to the media.
Visit By DPRK Vice-Minister "Routine"
4. (C) PolCouns asked Gokhale about a recent press report
saying India will resume foreign office consultations with
North Korea in May. (Note: Ambassador raised this issue with
Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon last week, but received
no substantive response. End Note.) Gokhale confirmed
Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Hyong Jun will visit New Delhi on
May 1 for talks with MEA Secretary N. Ravi, but quickly
asserted that this meeting was part of an annual meeting
between the Indian Secretary and the DPRK Vice-Foreign
Minister going back 25 years. Gokhale admitted that, at the
DPRK request, the 2006 meeting did not take place. Gokhale
explained that this meeting was India's and North Korea's
only mechanism for bilateral talks, and India did not want to
close off its dialogue process. India is sensitive to U.S.
and Japanese concerns about such a visit, he said, and
therefore will not give Kim access to any higher level Indian
officials, nor will there be any joint statements. PolCouns
urged Gokhale to consider the negative perceptions India's
meeting would likely elicit, and stressed the poor timing of
such a meeting, given North Korea's continued intransigence
in foregoing its nuclear ambitions and in implementing
Six-Party Talks agreements. He also said India could send a
better signal by refusing a "business as usual" approach to
the DPRK, but Gokhale reiterated that India's preference was
to keep dialogue open with the DPRK regime. Gokhale offered
to brief PolCouns following Kim's visit.
NEW DELHI 00001971 002 OF 002
Four-Way Talks: Agree To Informal, Initial Meeting
5. (C) Turning to the proposal for an informal, senior
officials level (U.S.-India-Japan-Australia) discussion on
the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum Senior Officials
Meeting in Manila in late May, Gokhale said India supported
such a format and now awaited a proposal on the format and
agenda from Japan. Gokhale agreed with PolCouns on the need
to proceed cautiously on this first meeting so as not to
alarm regional neighbors, but also agreed that the agenda
should be substantive enough to convince those involved on
the benefits of subsequent meetings. Gokhale said the agenda
should not include core security issues.