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Cablegate: Brazil Will Open an Embassy in Pyongyang

VZCZCXRO1484
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #1486/01 3191804
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 141804Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2900
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 7200
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0387
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5921
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 7586
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0705
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0149
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0965
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 8688
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 6861
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 3046
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 001486

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/14/2018
TAGS: PREL ETRD PARM PHUM BR KN ZO
SUBJECT: BRAZIL WILL OPEN AN EMBASSY IN PYONGYANG

Classified By: Political Counselor Stephen Liston, reasons 1.4 b and d

1. (C) Summary. Brazil will open an embassy in Pyongyang
next year, and has already selected an experienced diplomat
as ambassador, an Itamaraty official told poloff on November
4. Downplaying the opening's significance, the diplomat said
the timing was "spontaneous" but fulfills a long-standing
commitment, and Brazil's agenda with North Korea can be
expected to remain "minimal," although Brazil hopes to
increase mineral ore exports. Brazil consulted with the
Republic of Korea in 2003 about its relations with Pyongyang,
and they do not have any concerns, the diplomat said. Brazil
intends to have a minimal but positive role in region, and is
not interested in nuclear or military cooperation with the
DPRK. The opening of an embassy in North Korea should be
seen within the context of President Lula's broader foreign
policy emphasis on South-South relationships, which has led
Brazil to open a large number of one- and two-diplomat posts
in the developing world. End summary.

Timing Was "Spontaneous" But Commitment Was Longstanding
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2. (C) Brazil will open an embassy in Pyongyang in the first
half of 2009, and has selected an experienced diplomat to be
ambassador, according to First Secretary Ricardo Portugal,
Korea desk officer at the Brazilian the Ministry of External
Relations ("Itamaraty"), who said he could not reveal the
ambassador-designate's identity. Portugal said the exact
timing of the decision was "spontaneous," but fulfills a
longstanding Brazilian commitment to open an embassy in
Pyongyang dating from the establishment of bilateral
relations in 2001. Brazil decided about a year ago to open
the Pyongyang embassy, but the GOB announced it only last
September 30 in the Diario Oficial, Portugal said. Asked
whether the timing was related to the U.S. decision to remove
DPRK from the state sponsors of terrorism list, Portugal said
it was not, but the USG decision "was a demonstration that
the Brazilian decision to open an embassy now was correct."
In addition, he said, in Brazil's view the six-party talks
have been going well and there has recently been a relaxatin
in regional relations. Portugal said Brazil cosulted with
Republic of Korea officials in 2003 efore the first senior
Brazilian visit to North orea and they did not have any
concerns.

Brazlian Goals
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3. (C) Brazil an North Korea have a "minimal" relationship
with lttle trade and a "superficial" political relationsip,
and Brazil will keep its role in the regiona affairs of
northeastern Asia "minimal," Portuga said. The chief
utility of good relations withthe DPRK, he said, is its
support in multilateralfora such as the UN, especially for
Brazil's topforeign policy goal of a permanent UNSC seat.
Brzil also hopes to increase mineral ore exports to he
DPRK. Another area Brazil hopes to develop i science and
technology cooperation such as coopeative agreements in
agricultural technology.

razil Has No Nuclear or Military Interest, Support UN
Non-Proliferation Position
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- - - - - - - - - - -

4. (C) Portugal refuted a press report (O Estado de S.
Paulo, Oct. 27, 2008, p. A5) that Brazil seeks nuclear
cooperation or exchange with the DPRK, nor does Brazil have
any interest in military cooperation or exchanges with North
Korea. He also said the article's claim that Brazil expects
to help in a governmental transition in the DPRK was
completely untrue. Brazil adheres to UN positions on
non-proliferation, is a signatory to the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty, and favors the denuclearization of
North Korea, Portugal said, adding that Brazil's position on
the Korean peninsula is "similar to China's." Brazil's
positions on North Korean human rights violations have not
changed and Brazil has consistently voted for UN human rights
resolutions on North Korea, Portugal concluded.


BRASILIA 00001486 002.2 OF 002


Young Relationship, Minimal Agenda
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5. (C) Brazil's official relationship with the DPRK dates
to 2001, when diplomatic relations were established, but
senior contacts have been infrequent. North Korea has had an
embassy in Brasilia since at least February 2004, and the
current DPRK ambassador has been in Brasilia since 2005. In
2003 a senior Brazilian diplomat, Ambassador Affonso Celso de
Ouro Preto visited Pyongyang, and two years elapsed before
the next senior Brazilian visit to Pyongyang, when Luiz
Augusto Castro Neves, the Brazilian Ambassador to China, paid
a call in 2005. In March 2008, Itamaraty Under Secretary
Roberto Jaguaribe met with the North Koreans in Pyongyang.
Portugal noted that Brazil's 2003 contacts with the DPRK
occurred when the USG also had more contacts with North
Korea, including Secretary Madeleine Albright's visit to
Pyongyang. He said Brazil and the DPRK signed a "very
generic" Economic-Commercial MOU in 2003 but it was not in
effect and Brazil had not ratified it because the Civilian
Household in the Presidential Palace "had some problems with
it." The GOB recently sent it to the Congress for
ratification, he noted. Portugal emphasized that Brazil has
a minimal agenda with the DPRK, will play a minimal role in
regional affairs, and will maintain a "positive attitude" in
the region.

6. (C) Comment: The opening of an embassy in North Korea
should be seen within the context of President Lula's broader
foreign policy emphasis on South-South relationships. This
has involved efforts both to strengthen relationships with
major players like China, India, South Africa, and Iran, and
to broaden relationships beyond the traditional Latin
American and Lusophone countries to include a greater number
of African, Asian, and Middle Eastern countries. This latter
objective, which has led Brazil to open a large number of
one- and two-diplomat posts in the developing world, has been
the subject of debate among Brazil's foreign policy elite,
many of whom question the value of dispersing Brazil's
limited diplomatic resources in countries in which Brazil has
minimal interests. End comment.
SOBEL

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