DE RUEHSM #0364 1360720
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 150720Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3437
UNCLAS STOCKHOLM 000364
SECSTATE FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/PPD, EUR/NB, EUR/PA, EUR/FO
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO PINS PHUM PREF EUN SW SUBJECT: Media Reaction - China and Burma
On May 15, the independent liberal Stockholm morning daily "Dagens Nyheter" in a signed editorial by foreign affairs commentator Per Ahlin urged more pressure on Burma's rulers. It carried headline "China's Dual Responsibility," and said:
"It is really difficult to believe that the (earthquake) pictures come from China...but one explanation to this (new) openness may be that the regime realizes that in this Olympic year people are keeping a close eye to what happens in the country....
"Beijing also is aware of the fact that many compare the situation in China to that in hurricane-stricken Burma, a comparison that unequivocally is to the advantage of China.
"The ruling Burmese junta is playing a cynical game when obstructing or even putting a stop to the international relief work...The international community must not be passive. It must be possible to in some way establish that the well-being of the Burmese population is much more important than that of the generals....
"The last few weeks have been detrimental to China's reputation, not least taking into consideration protests in Tibet and the weapon sales to Zimbabwe. Engagement for the hurricane-stricken Burmese people would quite likely improve China's standing....
"And there are ways to go about it, provided that the issue will come up in the UN. China has previously chosen on several occasions to abstain from voting in the Security Council to mark displeasure with the proposed measure without stopping what other members want to do. Something similar could be done again, which actually is all that will be needed." WOOD