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China 'paranoid', Philippines 'basket case': Australian cables

world Updated: Dec 15, 2010 11:47 IST
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Top Australian diplomats described China as paranoid and the Phillipines as a "basket case" that could become a haven for terrorists, leaked diplomatic cables published on Wednesday showed.

The memo of October 2008 talks between Australia and the United States, handed to WikiLeaks and published exclusively by the Sydney Morning Herald, gave a scathing assessment of the "troubled" Asia-Pacific region.

The Herald reported top foreign official David Ritchie referring to "an increase in illegal immigration from Indonesia... continuing political instability in Thailand; the basket case of the Philippines."

On East Timor, Ritchie said there was "the continuing burden of providing security and development assistance to East Timor (and) problems of bad governance in many of the Pacific Island states."

Fellow diplomat Graham Fletcher told US officials China was "running rings around Japan" in Southeast Asia but was plagued by internal issues, the published excerpts showed.

"While China might look impressive externally its internal politics were characterised by nervousness, paranoia and uncertainty," Fletcher said, according to the Herald.

Another cable leaked last week revealed that then-prime minister Kevin Rudd also termed China as "paranoid" about Tibet and Taiwan, and "sub-rational and deeply emotional."

The current foreign minister also reportedly urged the US to consider using force against the Asian giant in a worst case scenario.

A separate cable published Wednesday by the Herald said there was an "ongoing downward slide in the Philippines, where the collapse of the peace process in the south threatened to make this area the new regional incubator of terrorist jihadis."

The fresh cables came as support mounted in Australia for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, with activist group GetUp! raising almost 365,000 dollars to fund full-page ads locally and in the United States condemning his treatment.