Search

 

Cablegate: Fatu Committee Deliberates On North Korea Policy,

VZCZCXYZ0005
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUL #2120/01 3040127
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300127Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2135
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4900
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5011
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 9047
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUALSFJ/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA
RUACAAA/COMUSKOREA INTEL SEOUL KOR
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA J5 SEOUL KOR
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA SCJS SEOUL KOR
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC//OSD/ISA/EAP//

UNCLAS SEOUL 002120

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR KS KN
SUBJECT: FATU COMMITTEE DELIBERATES ON NORTH KOREA POLICY,
KORUS FTA AND TERROR LIST

1. (SBU) Summary: In the first parliamentary audit of the
18th National Assembly by the Foreign Affairs, Trade and
Unification (FATU) Committee, the Grand National Party (GNP)
and the Democratic Party (DP) butted heads over North Korea
policy. The parties struggled to reconcile former President
Roh Moo-hyun's October 4 Inter-Korean Summit Declaration and
President Lee Myung-bak's North Korea policy. The FATU
Committee concluded by denouncing the removal of North Korea
from the U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism, citing
diplomatic failure on the part of South Korea. The annual
audit is essentially political theater rather than
action-oriented, but it does provide some insight into the
parties' attitudes on key issues. The Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) also submitted the KORUS FTA bill
to the National Assembly during the audit. The legislation
will first be reviewed in the FATU Committee before it goes
to the plenary. Committee Chair Park Jin and other GNP
lawmakers argued for an early ratification; the DP, while
noting it did not object to the FTA, demanded stronger trade
adjustment measures. End Summary.

---------
The Audit
---------

2. (SBU) The FATU Committee is the most sought after
committee membership in the National Assembly. In addition
to many senior lawmakers, three party leaders are also
committee members -- Chung Sye-kyun (DP), Lee Hoi-chang
(Liberty Forward Party) and Moon Kook-hyun (Creative Korea
Party) along with heavyweights from the GNP, Chung Mong-joon
and Lee Sang-deuk. The FATU Committee scheduled audits of
MOFAT on October 7 and 22 while those of the Ministry of
Unification (MOU) were conducted on October 6 and 23. The
current composition of the FATU Committee is 17 GNP members,
7 DP members, 3 Forward and Creation Alliance members, 1
Pro-Park Alliance member, and 1 independent.

-----------------------------------------
October 4 Inter-Korean Summit Declaration
-----------------------------------------

3. (SBU) At the first audit of the MOU, the GNP and the DP
repeated well-worn conservative versus progressive arguments
about North Korea policy. Specifically, the parties clashed
over the implementation of the October 4, 2007 Inter-Korean
Summit Declaration -- which occurred as former President Roh
Moo-hyun's term was winding down. The GNP, represented by
Kwon Young-se and Yoon Sang-hyun, criticized former President
Roh for failing to get public support on a list of projects
whose estimated cost, if they were to be implemented, would
be upwards of 14 trillion won (USD 10 billion at current
exchange rates). They reminded the Committee that North
Korea was already in violation of both the June 15, 2000
Joint Declaration and the October 4, 2007 Declaration. The
DP, on the other hand, blamed President Lee and his
administration for not adhering to the provisions of the
October 4 Declaration and for allowing politics to get in the
way of a peaceful resolution to the North Korea problem.
Representative Moon Kook-hyun of the Forward and Creation
Alliance also supported the DP's position, saying that the
United Nations passed a resolution supporting the declaration
and it therefore had the approval of the international
community. In a rare show of dissent, fourth-term GNP
Representative and strong President Lee supporter Nam
Kyung-pil said that Lee was culpable for the current impasse
and that the Declaration was vital in restoring relations
between the two Koreas.

-------------------------------------
"Denuclearization, Opening 3000" Plan
-------------------------------------

4. (SBU) President Lee's initial North Korea policy entitled
"Denuclearization, Opening 3000" -- for comprehensive
denuclearization, opening and raising the North's GDP per
capita to USD 3,000 -- received heavy criticism from both
sides of the political spectrum. Led by DP Chair Chung
Sye-kyun, the opposition called for the policy's immediate
abolishment and said that the plan served only to provoke the
North while jeopardizing inter-Korean relations. First-term

GNP lawmaker Hong Jung-wook also remarked that the goals of
the plan were unattainable at best and that the
administration needed to adopt a more practical approach.
The "Denuclearization, Opening 3000" plan, after its
lead-balloon reception in the North, has largely been
replaced by Lee's later "mutual benefit and common
prosperity" plan. In any case, President Lee still included
the "Denuclearization, Opening 3000" plan as one of his 100
policy priorities at a cabinet meeting the next day.

----------------------
Terrorism List Removal
----------------------

5. (SBU) Many of the lawmakers in the FATU Committee
disapproved of the removal of North Korea from the U.S. list
of states that sponsor terrorism. They declared that the
removal was a diplomatic failure on the part of South Korea
and denounced Foreign Minister Yu for approving the U.S.
decision. Representatives Chung Mong-joon (GNP), Park
Joo-sun (DP), and Lee Hoi-chang (Forward & Creation Alliance)
said that the removal was only in the interests of the U.S.
and North Korea, adding that it played to North Korea's
tactic of "tongmi bongnam," or communicating with the U.S.
while blocking South Korea. They lamented the unilateral act
by the United States in light of the fact that it was South
Korea who originally requested that the North be placed on
the list after a DPRK bomb brought down Korean Air Lines
(KAL) flight 858 in 1987.

---------
KORUS FTA
---------

6. (SBU) At the October 7 audit of MOFAT, GNP lawmakers
insisted on the immediate ratification of the KORUS FTA bill,
citing concerns that the next U.S. president may demand a
re-negotiation. Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan argued that
Korea should ratify the FTA first, to help generate
additional pressure on the United States to ratify the bill,
and to forestall any efforts to re-negotiate the text.
Representative Park Joo-sun, speaking on behalf of the DP,
said that his party was not diametrically opposed to the bill
but that common sense dictated that domestic industries
should be given transitional support to cope with the
elimination of tariff protections. MOFAT submitted the bill
to the National Assembly on October 8 and FATU Committee
Chair Park Jin announced that he would work to pass the bill
in the committee after the end of the national audit (end of
October). He claimed that 87 percent of the lawmakers in the
National Assembly supported the bill, quoting his own
internal survey.

-------
Comment
-------

7. (SBU) During the audits, both the Foreign and Unification
Ministers continuously said it was wrong to blame the ROKG
for the worsening of inter-Korean relations. The DPRK, they
claimed, refused to accept repeated South Korean suggestions
to resume inter-Korean talks. Based on the ROKG responses in
the FATU committee audit hearings, the Lee Government seems
unlikely to change its North Korea policy. Meanwhile, the
future of the KORUS FTA in Korea's National Assembly looks
rather promising: The President, government and ruling party
leadership have repeatedly expressed their desire to pass the
bill in this National Assembly. However, it remains unclear
if GNP rank-and-file members share the party leadership's
enthusiasm for prompt ratification, particularly if it looks
like U.S. ratification could slip to 2010. End Comment.
STEPHENS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC