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Cablegate: Ambassador Hosts Scholte to Congratulate On Seoul

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUL #2078 2970501
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 230501Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2056
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 4878
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 9039
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 4992
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG PRIORITY 3845

UNCLAS SEOUL 002078

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL KS KN
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR HOSTS SCHOLTE TO CONGRATULATE ON SEOUL
PEACE PRIZE

1. (SBU) Summary: The Ambassador hosted a luncheon in honor
of the 2008 Seoul Peace Prize recipient and North Korean
human rights activist Suzanne Scholte on October 11, 2008.
Scholte reflected on her twelve years of experience working
to improve the human rights of North Koreans and highlighted
the needs of North Korean refugees. Among others, Vice
Foreign Minister Shin Kak-soo, Seoul Peace Prize Cultural
Foundation Chairman Lee Chul-seong, Free North Korea Radio
Director Kim Seong-min, and Fighters for Free North Korea
Chairman Park Sang-hak joined in a full discussion of the
human rights situation in North Korea. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Ms. Scholte, in Seoul to receive the prestigious
Seoul Peace Prize in recognition of her efforts to improve
the human rights situation in North Korea, recounted her
experience of twelve years working on the issue. Of all the
North Korean human rights challenges, she said the plight of
North Korean refugees, particularly, was as bad as it had
ever been.

3. (SBU) Scholte encouraged more support for radio broadcasts
to North Korea and balloon drops of pamphlets there as a
means of loosening Kim Jong-il's iron grip on the people.
Free North Korea Radio Director Kim Seong-min said that
recent surveys of defectors showed that North Koreans were
listening to Free North Korea Radio broadcasts. Fighters for
Free North Korea Chairman Park Sang-hak said that recent
evidence from defectors of a DPRK crackdown on people in
possession of illicit pamphlets dropped by balloons indicated
the effectiveness of the information campaign.

4. (SBU) The Ambassador emphasized the importance of the U.S.
and the ROK working together on North Korean human rights and
also underlined China's role. Vice Foreign Minister Shin
said the ROK wanted to confront the DPRK over its human
rights abuses and at the same time draw the DPRK to the
negotiating table. The Lee Administration would be more
aggressive than its predecessors in dealing with North Korean
human rights -- for example, by supporting the UN Third
Committee's upcoming resolution condemning the North Korean
human rights situation -- but ultimately, if there was to be
any improvement, North Korea had to come to the negotiating
table.

5. (SBU) Former ROK Ambassador to the UN Park Soo-gil said
that denuclearization and human rights were not an either-or
proposition; each had to proceed in parallel. He said that
the attention Scholte's receipt of the Seoul Peace Prize had
drawn in the local and international media was an indication
of the level of concern shared around the world for the
people of North Korea. Park said governments and
nongovernmental organizations each had a role to play, and,
by working together, he hoped progress would be made on human
rights in North Korea.

6. (U) Note: The Seoul Peace prize was established in 1990
to commemorate Korea's success in hosting the 1988 Olympic
Games. Previous winners of the prize, which is awarded
biennially, include former International Olympic Committee
President Juan Antonio Samaranch, former U.S. Secretary of
State George P. Shultz, Doctors without Borders, former UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former UN High Commissioner for
Refugees Sadako Ogata, Oxfam, former President of the Czech
Republic Vaclav Havel, and Dr. Muhammad Yunus of the Grameen
Bank of Bangladesh.

7. (U) Participants:

Ambassador Stephens
Suzanne Scholte, Chairman, North Korea Freedom Coalition
Sin-u Nam, Vice Chairman, North Korea Freedom Coalition
Kim Seong-min, Director, Free North Korea Radio
Park Sang-hak, Chairman, Fighters for Free North Korea
Lee Chul-seung, Chairman, The Seoul Peace Prize Cultural
Foundation
Park Soo-gil, Former ROK Ambassador to the UN
Shin Kak-soo, Vice Foreign Minister
Shin Dong-ik, MOFAT Director General International
Organization Bureau
Cho Yoon-su, National Assembly Member
Joe Yun, Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs
Patrick Linehan, Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs
Bill Harwood, Friends of Korea Board Member
Stephen Wickman, Consul General, Shenyang
Phyllis Wickman
Kim Mi-yeon, Interpreter
Craig Hall, note taker
STEPHENS

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