|09BEIJING526||2009-03-02 07:07:00||SECRET//NOFORN||Embassy Beijing|
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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIJING 000526
4 (b) and (d).
1. (S) In a February 27 meeting with Assistant Foreign
Minister Liu Jieyi, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
David Sedney noted the positive direction in U.S.-China
relations, and said the just-concluded Defense Policy
Coordination Talks (DPCTs) were a good beginning. Both
agreed on the importance of moving forward with the
U.S.-China mil-mil relationship. Liu's main focus was an
effort to get the United States not to issue the 2009 Chinese
Military Power Report (CMPR) now. Liu said issuing the
report the week of March 1 would result in public criticism,
including by influential bloggers and netizens, that the PLA
had sold out the Chinese people by having a friendly meeting
with the U.S. DOD, which then immediately released a
"hostile" report. Sedney responded that the CMPR was a
Congressionally-mandated report, and therefore must be
issued. (Comment: In a follow up one-on-one with DASD
Sedney, Liu urged that if the report could not be stopped
entirely, that it at least be delayed for 2-3 weeks in order
to prevent damage to U.S.-PRC mil-mil relations. Several
members of the PLA team made the same point at the DPCT
dinner that night. End comment.) Liu said China supported
continued nonproliferation cooperation between the United
States and China, and that both sides should "keep in touch"
about scheduling of bilateral nonproliferation dialogues. On
North Korea, Liu said China had approached North Korea to
discourage a missile launch, but called on all sides to "keep
calm and exercise restraint," a theme later echoed by PLA
officers at dinner. Liu said China was ready to assist with
U.S. remains recovery efforts in China. End Summary.
U.S.-PRC Relations and Mil-Mil Discussions
2. (S) In a February 27 meeting with Assistant Foreign
Minister Liu Jieyi, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
David Sedney noted the positive direction of U.S.-China
relations, and said our aim is to build a positive and
courteous relationship in the military-military relationship.
Liu said the successful visit by Secretary Clinton and the
two phone conversations between President Obama and President
Obama demonstrated that China and the United States were
building a more constructive and positive relationship on the
"basis of respect and core national interests." China was
"pleased" with the current state of the relationship, Liu
said. Sedney noted that the U.S.-China Defense Policy
Coordination Talks (DPCTs) went well earlier in the day, and
took place on the "basis of respect." Although the United
States and China "had our differences" during the DPCT
discussions, "we can still move forward," Sedney stressed.
Sedney pointed out that it was important that each side was
frank with each other. Liu responded that the U.S.-China
mil-mil relationship could improve "based on ideas put forth
by both sides." In a reference to arms sales to Taiwan, Liu
said the United States should "avoid what happened in the
Chinese Military Power Report
3. (S) In anticipation of the impending release of the 2009
Report to Congress on the Military Power of the People's
Republic of China (CMPR), Liu argued the report "did not
serve any useful purpose in building the U.S.-China
relationship," and urged that the United States "not release"
the CMPR "this year or in the future." Sedney responded that
this report was issued by Congressional mandate, and only
Congress could remove that requirement. It would therefore
be a "tragic mistake" for China's senior leaders to believe
that this report was published "because we choose to do so,"
and thereby allow its publication to harm the U.S.-China
relationship. Liu rejoined that "it would be a greater
mistake to issue the report" and harm U.S.-China efforts to
"face common challenges."
BEIJING 00000526 002 OF 002
4. (S) In a one-on-one conversation at the end of the
meeting, Liu argued strongly that if the report had to be
issued, that it at least be delayed for 2-3 weeks to avoid
harming U.S-PRC military relations. Liu said issuing the
report the week of March 1 would open the PLA to criticism by
bloggers and netizens, who would accuse those who held the
DPCTs of selling out their country by having a friendly
meeting with the U.S. DOD, which then immediately issued a
"hostile report." At a dinner later the same day, senior
members of the PLA delegation made the same point in stronger
terms, focusing on the criticism they would face personally
from the increasingly influential web community in China.
5. (S) Sedney urged China to be ready to resume the Assistant
Secretary-level Nonproliferation Dialogue as well as the
Under Secretary-level Security Dialogue once new officials
were in place in the new administration. Liu said China and
the United States shared "common interests" in
nonproliferation, were "cooperating very closely" on North
Korea and Iran, and had "good bilateral cooperation" on "some
specific cases" to "avoid suspicious transfers of controlled
items." China intended "to continue" in this manner, said
Liu, so "let's keep in touch" about the various dialogues.
6. (S) Sedney emphasized the importance of the U.S.-China
collaboration in the Six-Party Talks process, but warned that
a North Korean missile launch would have "serious effects,"
including setting back efforts to denuclearize the Korean
peninsula. "China doesn't have as much influence as you
think," Liu responded, but it had been "talking to North
Korea about this issue." China desired all sides to "keep
calm and exercise restraint." Liu said three things were
very important to China: maintaining peace and stability in
the region; keeping the Six-Party Talks going; and working
with the Permanent Security Council members to address the
7. (S) At the DPCT dinner that night, PLA senior officers
asked about reports that U.S. officials had threatened to
shoot down the DPRK launch vehicle. They pointed out that
such a U.S. "threat" would have the opposite effect than
intended. The North Koreans were very proud and would react
to threats by being intransigent.
8. (SBU) Sedney said the United States appreciates China's
help in facilitating the recovery of the remains of U.S.
servicemembers in China, and noted the upcoming visit in
April by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles Ray to
further these efforts. Liu said China was ready to assist.
9. (U) DASD Sedney cleared this message.