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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07PHNOMPENH191
2007-02-02 10:04:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Phnom Penh
Cable title:  

CAMBODIAN VIEWS OF THE ASEAN AND EAS SUMMITS IN

Tags:   PREL  EAID  PTER  SMIG  CB 
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VZCZCXRO6113
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0191/01 0331004
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 021004Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7962
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3129
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000191 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS; EAP/RSP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAID PTER SMIG CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIAN VIEWS OF THE ASEAN AND EAS SUMMITS IN
CEBU


UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000191

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS; EAP/RSP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAID PTER SMIG CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIAN VIEWS OF THE ASEAN AND EAS SUMMITS IN
CEBU



1. (SBU) Summary. Cambodia came away from the Cebu
meetings pleased with the ASEAN declaration on migrant
workers, the Convention on Counterterrorism, and the
shortened timeframe from 2020 to 2015 for the establishment
of an ASEAN economic community. Cambodia remains keen to see
comprehensive regional integration that can help narrow the
development gap between Cambodia and other ASEAN countries.
Regarding the ASEAN Charter, Cambodia has mixed feelings
regarding the issue of voting versus consensus and will
likely favor a compromise that seeks the middle ground
between the two ends of the decisionmaking spectrum.
Cambodia was also pleased that the Japanese government is
committed to playing a stronger role with the newer members
of ASEAN. The EAS discussion on energy issues was also
important for Cambodia, and appears to have prompted renewed
talks with the Vietnamese on overlapping maritime claims
between the two countries. End Summary.

Cambodia Pleased with Summit Results
--------------


2. (SBU) MFA Secretary of State for ASEAN Affairs, Dr. Kao
Kim Hourn, met with Pol/Econ Chief on January 31 and
discussed RGC reaction to the Cebu meetings of the 12th ASEAN
Summit and the second EAS Summit. Kao Kim Hourn said that
some ASEAN members were unhappy with their Filipino hosts and
felt that the domestic political problems of President Arroyo
had tainted the GOP's ASEAN chairmanship. He also noted that
the meetings were somewhat compressed and that not all
leaders were able to stay for the meetings due to travel
schedules. When asked what had impressed the RGC concerning
the meetings, Kao Kim Hourn immediately pointed to the ASEAN
Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of
Migrant Workers as an outcome of significant importance to
the Cambodian government. As Cambodia will remain a sending
country with bilateral migration issues with its ASEAN
neighbors, the Declaration was an important starting point
for recognizing the collective need to protect migrant
workers, he said.


3. (SBU) Cambodia was also pleased with the collective
ASEAN resolve on the issue of combating terrorism, as
Cambodia will continue to be a responsive regional and
international partner on CT issues, affirmed Kao Kim Hourn.
Increased information sharing and regional cooperation is
needed, and the MFA official expressed satisfaction that
ASEAN member states share a common view on CT issues. Kao
Kim Hourn was also pleased with the desire to narrow the
development gap between the more advanced ASEAN economies and
those in the developing stage, such as Cambodia. The more
economic integration that occurs within ASEAN, the better for
Cambodia's overall development, said Kao Kim Hourn, who
equates integration with investment -- something Cambodia
needs. Kao Kim Hourn acknowledged that more work needs to be
done to develop the kind of regional economic community
envisaged by the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), but the MFA
official remains optimistic that such a vision is in the best
interests of ASEAN in general, and Cambodia, in particular.


4. (SBU) Concerning the ASEAN charter, Kao Kim Hourn said
that he agreed with the report issued by the EPG and was
pleased that ASEAN included the full report on its website,
as it should be available to all citizens of ASEAN. In terms
of its recommendations, however, Kao Kim Hourn allowed that
the voting issue was contentious among ASEAN members. He
said that Cambodia's position was expressed by the Prime
Minister, who said that Cambodia would continue to prefer the
traditional ASEAN approach of reaching consensus on issues of
political sensitivity. At the same time, however, the PM
reportedly said that there may be occasions whereby a
different ASEAN configuration for participation would
acceptable, i.e., ASEAN 8 or ASEAN 9, and that should not
always be dictated by consensus. (Note: The Cambodia PM
remains unhappy that ASEAN is held hostage to the issue of
Burma, and would prefer to see more flexibility in ASEAN
participation in international fora that would not demand the
inclusion of Burma. End Note.) Concerning the issue of
suspending or disciplining members, Hun Sen also reportedly
indicated that Cambodia would support a member's right to
withdraw from the organization. Concerning the issue of
voting versus consensus, Kao Kim Hourn said that two ASEAN
members strongly supported voting (Philippines and
Indonesia), one supported consensus (Burma), and the rest
fell somewhere in the middle. The MFA official speculated
that the eventual report to be considered in Singapore in
November 2007 would likely promote a compromise position on
this issue.


PHNOM PENH 00000191 002 OF 002



5. (SBU) Another issue of interest to Kao Kim Hourn was the
discussion over the role of the ASEAN Secretariat and how the
office might be strengthened. He said that two additional
Deputy Secretary General positions are to be established, and
that the Secretariat will be working more with academic
organizations and regional think tanks to consider how best
ASEAN economic integration should proceed.


6. (SBU) Kao Kim Hourn said that the RGC was very pleased
to see the Government of Japan indicate its intention to workmore closely with
the newer members of ASEAN. The MFA
official said that during the Cebu meetings, Laos, Cambodia,
and Vietnam agreed to support GOJ resolutions against North
Korea at the United Nations, although he said that Laotian
support might be shaky. He noted that Japanese influence and
assistance would help all three countries bridge the
development gap between their economies and those in the rest
of ASEAN.


7. (SBU) On the EAS, Kao Kim Hourn had little to say beyond
what is expressed in the EAS public statements. He did note
that the central theme regarding energy has prompted Vietnam
and Cambodia to more seriously begin discussions regarding
the offshore overlapping maritime claims between the two
countries. There are likely offshore oil and gas reserves in
the overlapping claims area with Vietnam, just as there are
with Thailand, and both the Vietnamese and Cambodian
governments are to begin further discussions regarding the
maritime boundary between the two countries, said Kao Kim
Hourn.

Comment
--------------


8. (SBU) Kao Kim Hourn will be the RGC's representative to
the EPG's high-level drafting committee, which will continue
to refine the draft ASEAN charter for presentation to the
ASEAN Summit in November 2007 in Singapore. There was little
that was surprising in his remarks, as the issues of greatest
concern track with Cambodia's interest in seeing the less
developed members of ASEAN receive the maximum benefits from
a more integrated regional economic bloc. Kao Kim Hourn
acknowledged that there was little discussion regarding Burma
at the meetings, but confirmed to us (again) that the Prime
Minister had been invited to Burma and would be visiting
Rangoon this year. End Comment.
MUSSOMELI