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Reference ID Date Classification Origin
09BEIJING3313 2009-12-11 10:10 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Beijing
DE RUEHBJ #3313/01 3451022
O 111022Z DEC 09
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BEIJING 003313 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/11/2034 
Classified By: Political Minster Counselor Aubrey Carlson.  Reasons 1.4 
1. (C) Under Secretary Burns met with Director of the Chinese 
Communist Party's Central Committee International Liaison 
Department (CCID) Wang Jiarui December 9 to discuss 
U.S.-China cooperation on North Korea and Iran.  Wang said 
that the "ideal outcome" of Special Representative for North 
Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth's current visit to Pyongyang 
would be a meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il.  The very 
fact of the visit, Wang emphasized, was important because it 
sent a signal to the DPRK that the United States was serious 
about negotiating a settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue. 
 The DPRK would be unwilling in the short run to publicly 
announce denuclearization or an immediate return to the 
Six-Party talks, but would not want to lose the opportunity 
presented by Ambassador Bosworth's visit.  The important 
thing was to keep things moving in the right direction and 
prevent the situation spinning out of control. 
2. (C) Wang praised U.S. policy on Iran, calling it a 
"practical" approach.  He said China was in agreement with 
the United States "in principle" that Iran should not be 
allowed to acquire nuclear weapons and that the consequences 
of such an event would have a negative impact on Chinese 
interests.  He also said that China would cooperate in 
persuading Iran to live up to the commitments it made at the 
October meeting in Geneva with the P5-plus-1 to resume 
discussions on the nuclear issue and allow third countries to 
reprocess its nuclear fuel.  However, Wang insisted, 
continued diplomacy, rather than military action or stronger 
sanctions, was the best option at present.  U/S Burns 
stressed the importance of China's cooperation and would not 
close the door on diplomacy but that U.S. patience was 
wearing thin and Iran had to soon show it was complying with 
international agreements or face real consequences.  End 
China Pleased With Bosworth Visit to DPRK 
3. (C) Asked his views on the North Korea nuclear situation, 
CCID Director Wang stated that China was very pleased that 
Ambassador Bosworth was in Pyongyang, noting that the visit 
would be "cost effective" because the North Koreans had made 
clear there could be no resuming the Six-Party Talks without 
first convening a bilateral U.S.-DPRK dialogue.  Ambassador 
Bosworth's visit effectively "kicked the ball" back to the 
North Koreans.  When asked what the likely outcome of the 
talks would be, Wang said the ideal outcome would be a 
meeting with Kim Jong-il, which would send a very positive 
signal, but it was impossible to predict North Korean 
behavior through "normal" means of reading public indicators. 
 Wang said that Ambassador Bosworth would likely meet with 
First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju, who was "a 
hardliner" with "strong views" and whose opinions were valued 
by the DPRK's top leaders.  However, Kang had to follow 
orders from above, Wang noted, and would not want to lose 
such an opportunity to improve relations with the United 
States.  The negotiations with Ambassador Bosworth would be a 
bargaining process, with each side trying to discern the 
other's bottom line. 
4. (C) The North needed a breakthrough in its relations with 
the United States, Wang asserted, both because of its 
domestic situation and the current international environment, 
but it would not be easy for North Korea to make a specific 
promise regarding a return to the Six-Party Talks or to 
announce denuclearization.  Ambassador Bosworth's trip itself 
was important because it demonstrated that the United States 
was serious about preventing a nuclear Korean peninsula and 
was committed to a peaceful resolution of the issue.  Wang 
said China was aware that the United States worried that it 
would be deceived by the North but in China's view there was 
no need to worry because the current process of promoting 
dialogue and negotiations was quite transparent and the 
international community would know what the outcome would be. 
5. (C) Wang reiterated China's long-standing position that 
the key objective at this stage was to prevent the situation 
on the Korean peninsula from spinning out of control and to 
establish a positive direction through dialogue and 
negotiation.  He said that Ambassador Bosworth should make 
clear to North Korea that it was not in U.S. interests to 
prolong the current state of hostility, that the United 
States had no intention of promoting regime change in the 
North, and that international sanctions and relations with 
the DPRK's neighbors could be changed and they could help 
BEIJING 00003313  002 OF 003 
with North Korea's economic development.  This was contingent 
upon a change in North Korean behavior and an eventual North 
Korean pledge to the world that it would not embark on the 
road to nuclear weapons.  U/S Burns responded that the United 
States understood the complexity of the situation and 
emphasized the great importance of joint U.S.-China and 
Five-Party efforts to bring North Korea back as soon as 
possible to the Six-Party Talks and its denuclearization 
Unified U.S.-China Effort Needed on Iran 
6. (C) U/S Burns emphasized that the nuclear weapons 
challenge in Iran required a similarly unified U.S.-China and 
international effort.  The United States was profoundly 
concerned about Middle East stability, which was crucial to 
both U.S. and Chinese security and economic interests.  If 
Iran continued developing a nuclear capability, Israel would 
"no doubt" act, and concern among the Arab states might 
trigger a regional arms race.  President Obama had repeatedly 
reached out to Iran's leaders, but had yet to receive a 
positive response.  Moreover, Iran had not followed through 
on the understandings reached in Geneva in October, including 
Iran's commitment to meet with the P5-plus-1 countries for 
talks focused on the nuclear issue and its initial acceptance 
of the IAEA's TRR proposal.  The United States would continue 
to take a diplomatic, creative and flexible approach working 
with our Russian, Chinese and European partners, but time was 
running short.  By the end of the year, President Obama would 
have to evaluate Iran's actions thus far.  If Iran did not 
live up to its agreements, the United States would work with 
its international partners to make clear to Iran the 
consequences of its unwillingness to engage seriously. 
Wang Pledges Chinese Support... 
7. (C) Wang had high praise for U.S. efforts in the Middle 
East in general and the approach to Iran in particular, 
stating that China viewed U.S. measures in Iran as very 
practical and as based on realities on the ground.  China had 
economic interests in Iran, but, in principle, China had no 
differences with the United States on the nuclear weapons 
issue.  China agreed that Iranian nuclear weapons would bring 
great instability to the Middle East, including possible 
warfare, even on a global scale, with consequences far 
greater than China's economic interests.  China agreed with 
the IAEA proposal and that Iran should live up to the 
commitments it made in Geneva, but unfortunately, Iran had 
not responded positively to this proposal despite many 
efforts by the United States, China, and the international 
community.  China had consistently told Iran that China 
strongly opposed Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.  This 
message, he claimed, has been conveyed in party-to-party and 
government-to-government meetings and in "all channels." 
However, Iran maintained it had no nuclear weapons and was 
simply pursuing the peaceful use of nuclear energy. 
...But Urges Continued Diplomacy 
8. (C) Wang pressed U/S Burns for details on when the limits 
of U.S. patience might be exhausted and counseled further 
efforts to find a diplomatic solution.  Burns replied that 
U.S. patience was nearly exhausted.  Wang acknowledged that 
there was a potential for an Israeli military strike were the 
situation not handled properly, which was of grave concern to 
China, but insisted that harsh actions were not yet 
warranted.  Recent U.S. experience with a military option, he 
said, should teach some lessons, and the outcome of tougher 
sanctions was also unpredictable.  The United States needed 
to understand that Iran was not Iraq, and the best way 
forward was to continue to pursue peaceful dialogue and 
negotiations and to carefully examine previous diplomatic 
efforts to see what changes needed to be made. 
North Korea and Iran Similarities 
9. (C) Wang also claimed similarities between the North Korea 
and Iran nuclear issues.  The solution in both cases was to 
persist over the long haul, continuing intensive efforts with 
the objective of ensuring that the situation did not spin out 
of control.  Wang noted that in his several recent visits to 
Iran anti-American sentiment was strong, everywhere, and 
palpable, which, he said, was not conducive to resolving the 
10. (C) Wang asked U/S Burns for his views on who made final 
decisions in Iran, President Ahmadinejad or Supreme Leader 
BEIJING 00003313  003 OF 003 
Khamenei.  He said it would be very helpful to China if the 
decision-making process in Iran could be sorted out.  Wang 
appeared to agree with the Under Secretary that Khamenei was 
the final arbiter of Iranian policy and concluded by stating 
that there might be a way for direct communication with the 
Supreme Leader.  He said direct engagement would avoid the 
distortions of message that occurred when communicating 
through an intermediary.  Wang noted that there was not one 
country in the international arena that supported Iran's 
quest for nuclear weapons and emphasized that there was a 
need for a unified international view on Iran. 
11. (C) U/S Burns responded that the United States had made 
very clear its willingness for direct diplomacy, but that it 
took both sides to make direct communication work.  He 
emphasized that this was a core national security issue for 
the United States, which could not abide greater Middle East 
instability, and said the United States would continue its 
diplomatic efforts in a creative and flexible manner. 
However, he stated, at some point there had to be results and 
U.S. patience was fast running out. 
U.S.-China Cooperation 
12. (C) Wang said China would continue to make its own 
efforts on the issue but China was willing to do more to 
cooperate with the United States to facilitate a resolution 
to the Iran nuclear problem.  He welcomed further U.S. 
suggestions on measures to achieve a breakthrough and asked 
what the United States would like China to do or whether 
there were areas in which China could make a contribution. 
U/S Burns emphasized that the United States would like to 
cooperate with China and needed to work closely with China to 
find a way to persuade Iran to make the right choices.  The 
current focus was on persuading Iran to live up to the 
commitments it made at the Geneva meetings on the TRR 
proposal and by meeting again soon on the nuclear issue.  The 
two P5-plus-1 tracks -- diplomacy and sanctions -- were not 
mutually exclusive.  The United States had tried many 
approaches to Iran in the past 11 weeks, and none had borne 
fruit.  The United States would not close the door on 
diplomacy, but as in the case of putting pressure on North 
Korea through UN Resolution 1874, we had to work together to 
apply pressure to get Iran back to the diplomatic track. 
Iran had to understand that it faced a clear choice.  Iran 
could choose to pursue the peaceful use of nuclear energy, 
which the United States supported and would work to implement 
if Iran demonstrated the exclusively peaceful nature of its 
nuclear program.  But Iran had to understand there were costs 
to not following this path.  Wang agreed that both sides 
should try very hard to resolve the problem.