WikiLeaks cable: Clark says NZ will demarche China on remaining security deliverables

This is one of the diplomatic cables about New Zealand held by Wikileaks.

3 November, 2004

This record is a partial extract of the original cable.

The full text of the original cable is not available.

Classified By: Ambassador Charles J. Swindells, for reasons 1.4 (b), (d), and (g).

1. (C) Ambassador Swindells met with Prime Minister Clark on November 2. He asked that New Zealand urge China to support inclusion of the remaining APEC security deliverables at the upcoming summit. He stressed that despite China's statements to the contrary, the deliverables belong in APEC. Without security in the region, there can be no economic growth. The Ambassador stressed that New Zealand's intervention could carry weight with China, given the two countries' relations.

2. (C) Prime Minister Clark, after demurring that New Zealand has "no muscle and little voice," acknowledged that "in a funny way, China does heed New Zealand because they know our opinions are from the heart." Reviewing the Reftel A and C points that the Embassy had earlier provided, Clark assured the Ambassador that New Zealand agreed with our views on the importance of the three deliverables.

She said she would ask New Zealand's embassy in Beijing to make a general call on APEC issues that would emphasize New Zealand's belief that the three deliverables belong in the APEC summit. She indicated that the presentation would make it clear that the message was coming from the top of New Zealand's government.

3. (C) Clark said that even before becoming Prime Minister five years ago, she had held the view that APEC had to include political/security as well as economic initiatives because there can be no economic health in the region without security. She said that APEC has formally emphasized economic issues because that is the only way to include Taiwan and Hong Kong. In reality, however, the organization has always covered more than economic initiatives, for example its emphasis on East Timor in 1999.

4. (C) The Ambassador said that the United States had parallel views. If an APEC member cannot control its msensitive exports, its entire customs enforcement mechanism will be called into question. Absolutely, Clark agreed. Confidence in the trading system is key, especially after 9/11. She said New Zealand was therefore "thrilled" with the recent container security agreement recently announced by NZ and U.S. customs authorities.

5. (C) The Prime Minister said that on her recent trip to Singapore, she found that government reeling from Chinese criticism over Singapore's granting of a visa to Taiwan's Deputy Prime Minister just before his becoming Prime Minister. She said she believed that the United States is the greatest force for reason with Taiwan, and wondered if the cross-strait tensions would be an undercurrent at the APEC summit. She also said that China's public lashings at Taiwan's leadership were undoubtedly counterproductive to its goal of moving Taiwan away from independence. She likened it to Bin Laden's recent video designed to influence the American elections, calling his attempt "grotesque."

6. (C) The Prime Minister said that she had just learned that she is to take the stage with Malaysia's Prime Minister Badawi at an APEC Counter-terrorism discussion. She remarked that she hoped it would be a more calm discussion than the panel she had co-chaired with then-PM Mathahir on globalisation. She told the Ambassador that she had publicly told Mathahir off during that heated exchange.

6. (C) Comment: While we wish that the Prime Minister herself would make the approach to China, her desire not to do so is consistent with what New Zealand officials have told us in the past -- that they believe as a small country their role is to be a more neutral APEC player. They also do not want to annoy China on the eve of beginning FTA negotiations with that country in January. But we believe the NZ Embassy's approach will be useful in moving China to the right side. As the Ambassador told PM Clark, "If you say it, they will know it is a trend."


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