Cablegate: President-Elect Lee's Advisors Repudiate Sunshine


DE RUEHUL #0020/01 0040444
O 040444Z JAN 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Providing what might be a preview of
President-elect Lee Myung-bak's North Korea policy during a
KBS roundtable broadcast on January 1, 2008, two of Lee's
foreign policy advisors, Park Jin, foreign policy lead on the
transition team, and North Korea specialist Nam Sung-wook
declared that the Sunshine Policy was, in Park's words, a
"failure," and that the incoming government would evaluate
the DPRK "realistically" rather than through the "idealized"
view taken by the current administration. In place of
unqualified aid, the incoming administration would offer
action-for-action economic cooperation as incentives for
concrete goals achieved by the DPRK in the Six Party Talks,
though such aid could be considerable. Park said that the
next administration would not shy away from "tough love" in
the form of healthy criticism directed at the DPRK. Overall,
both Park and Nam emphasized that only the DPRK could make
the choice to denuclearize, thereby putting the onus for the
success or failure of the Six Party Talks squarely on the
DPRK. Two of President Roh Moo-hyun's foreign policy
advisors, Professors Moon Chung-in and Kim Keun-sik, defended
the Roh legacy, pinned the blame of DPRK nuclear testing on
the U.S., and criticized the North-South economic cooperation
ideas of the incoming team as both impossible to implement
and similar to the Roh government's policies. END SUMMARY.

Blaming Roh

2. (U) Sunshine Policy Failure: Park and Nam both pointed out
that, while the Sunshine Policy had been well-intended, it
was a failure on multiple levels. While the ROKG had
obtained a number of joint statements with the DPRK, concrete
results were lacking, said Park. Peace had definitely not
been achieved, despite Moon's suggestion, said Park. Most
glaring was the fact that the DPRK had tested a nuclear
weapon during the ten years of pro-engagement liberal
administrations. Furthermore, the Sunshine policy had failed
to guarantee that the DPRK would denuclearize in the future.
In the process, the progressives had severely damaged the
U.S.-ROK alliance while placating the DPRK. Overall, the
security situation on the peninsula had deteriorated, not
improved, during the ten years of progressive rule. During
this time, the DPRK's economy had shrunk and its human rights
record remained poor. While having achieving some opening of
the DPRK's closed society was positive, overall, the Roh
administration had failed to maintain a "balanced" policy by
assuming an "idealized" version of the DPRK instead of the
reality, said Nam.

3. (U) U.S.-ROK Alliance Damaged: Both sides agreed that the
most important factor to successful DPRK denuclearization was
U.S.-DPRK relations. However, the progressives used this
statement to shift the blame for the DPRK's nuclear test to
the U.S., while Lee's advisors pinned the blame for the
failure squarely on the Roh and Kim Dae-jung administrations.
Nam said that the Roh government's logic of playing the
Northeast Asia "balancer" role had led to "the OPCON transfer
controversy," which in turn had caused "unnecessary friction"
with the U.S. The incoming government would conduct its
diplomacy on a "more balanced logic" that would emphasize
pragmatic and actionable items, Nam said.

NK Policy

4. (U) "We Will Not Tolerate a Nuclear DPRK" (Park): Park Jin
categorically ruled out the possibility of recognizing a
nuclear North Korea. "As an iron-clad rule, we will not
tolerate a nuclear North Korea," he said. Nam, addressing
Kim Jong-il directly, said, "Since Kim Jong-il might watch
this show, I have a message for him: I expect you to be
agonizing between whether to choose the 'Ukrainian model' or
the 'Pakistani model.' As you know, Ukraine gave up its
nuclear arsenal, and in return was richly compensated by the
international community through various assistance packages.
On the contrary, Pakistan has held on to its nuclear
capability thus far. I suspect that you might be tempted to
follow the latter path. But I advise you to get over that
temptation. The new government is ready to set forth a
policy vision, and I ask you to consider it seriously. We
will be ready to talk with you, and explain it to you

further. We strongly recommend the Ukraine model."

5. (U) LMB's USD 3000 GNI DPRK Plan: The Lee advisors
appeared serious about advocating LMB's campaign promise to
raise the DPRK's annual per capita income to 3,000 USD within
a decade. The USD 3,000 marker was important, Nam said,
because it was when South Korea reached a per capita income
of USD 3,300 in 1987 that a consumer base and civil society
became commonplace. Once the DPRK followed through with its
declaration, a USD 40 billion fund for North Korean
assistance programs would be set up. To reach the USD 3,000
marker, Lee's advisors made it clear that a campaign promise
to turn the triangular area between Kaesong, Haeju and Seoul
into a special economic zone was being taken seriously as a
policy initiative. Displaying a map of the area between
Kaesong and Seoul, Park suggested that the first step that
could be taken was to create a new industrial complex at the
mouth of the Han River on a man-made island, which they
referred to as Nadeul Island.

6. (U) "DPRK Needs Tough Love" (Park): Park Jin made it clear
that the Lee administration did not intend to hold back
criticism of the DPRK over its human rights record, even if
the DPRK did not want to hear it. After all, Park noted, the
ROK itself did not appreciate hearing criticisms from the
international community during its own democratization
movement, but in hindsight had needed it. Both aides
suggested that humanitarian aid in the form of fertilizer and
rice could continue, but that the DPRK would have to justify
this aid by reciprocating on POWs and family reunions.
Without greater reciprocation, such aid would have to be cut.

7. (U) All of the conservative and progressive advisors
agreed that the Kaesong Industrial Complex had made
significant progress, and that it should continue to grow in
the future. Park suggested that creating a number of such
industrial complexes in the DPRK would be a "win-win"
situation for both North and South Korea.

8. (U) 6PT Results by Inauguration Date Key: Both advisors
suggested that if the Second Phase of the 6PT could be
finished by the time of the February 25 inauguration, it
would positively impact the North-South engagement policies
of the incoming administration. Specifically, the
declaration and disablement portions needed to be finished.


9. (U) The NLL was a maritime border, said Park, indicating
that the Lee administration would continue to "defend that
territory." Concerning the OPCON transition, Park mentioned
that, as the agreement was officially made between the
governments of the U.S. and the ROK, it should be "respected
for now." However, the exact timing could be "fine-tuned"
depending on the developing security situation.

10. (U) Nam suggested that the ROK would view the
Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and Missile Defense
(MD) issues with greater flexibility, but would not make a
firm commitment to either. "The new government will make
decisions as needed, based on national interest and the
security situation at a given point."

Peace Regime

11. (U) A peace regime was necessary, but peace would not be
realized by a "mere declaration," said Park. Four-party
discussions about the end of war could begin after the
declaration and disablement phases had been concluded.

Outgoing Advice

12. (U) Moon said that he had learned two things about the
DPRK during the October 2007 North-South Summit. First, they
did not like the words "opening" and "reform," instead
preferring "modernization" (hyun-dae-hwa) to express the

changes occurring in their economic system. Second, while
South Korean CEOs of large conglomerates had no interest in
investing in North Korea until denuclearization had been
achieved, medium and small business owners had a strong
desire to invest, and had pressed their DPRK counterparts for
more rapid expansion of the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

13. (SBU) While Lee's presidential campaign only briefly
addressed the North Korean issue, it is becoming increasingly
clear that his foreign policy advisors want to take a "tough
love" stance towards the DPRK. This does not appear to be a
moderate foreign policy team that is attempting to bridge the
gap between the conservative and progressive camps. Rather,
this is a conservative foreign policy team that appears
resentful of what it perceives as ten years of what Park Jin
called "blind engagement" through liberal "appeasement" of
the DPRK. At one point, Moon Chung-in lamented what he
perceived as an "anything-but-Roh" attitude from the
conservative advisors. The Lee transition team, therefore,
appears eager to demonstrate its willingness to take a harder
line toward the DPRK, and to reward the DPRK only after solid
results in the Six Party Talks. However, President-elect Lee
has not yet spelled out his North Korea policy in detail.

© Scoop Media

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