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Cablegate: Lee Unveils Official Campaign Leadership Team

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FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
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UNCLAS SEOUL 003137

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C O R R E C T E D COPY CAPTION
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KN KS PGOV PREL PINR
SUBJECT: LEE UNVEILS OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN LEADERSHIP TEAM


1. (SBU) Summary: In forming his campaign leadership team,
Grand National Party (GNP) presidential candidate Lee
Myung-bak tried to combine both party members and outside
figures in what he termed a "2 6" leadership formula - two
campaign chairmen from within the party plus six co-chairs
from outside. The camp features a horizontal structure,
where each aide directly reports to Lee. Reflecting his
extremely businesslike management style, the composition of
his strategy team - younger, reformist, and pragmatic - is
quite different than past "old-boy" GNP election camps.
Meanwhile, Lee has made little progress in fulfilling
promises to engage former GNP chairperson and primary
runner-up Park Geun-hye and her supporters. End Summary.

------------------------------------
THE STRUCTURE: ALL ROADS LEAD TO LEE
------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Lee's organization differs from the traditional
vertical hierarchy common to past political camps which
funneled all decisions through a second-in-command. Instead,
Lee's campaign has a horizontal structure where many aides
report directly to Lee. Some Lee camp members have privately
expressed concern to poloffs that this could lead to
infighting rather than engendering healthy competition within
the camp. Lee himself, in another departure from the norm,
assumed the chairmanship of two key campaign organizations:
the Economic Revitalization Special Committee and the
Strategic Public Relations Coordination Council. The
lawmakers leading his campaign's regional chapters also
report directly to Lee.

3. (SBU) One of Lee's key advisors who guided personnel
decisions, Representative Chung Doo-un, said the campaign
composition focused on policy-oriented outside experts rather
than political figures. These experts are expected to
counsel Lee on areas outside his expertise, e.g. foreign
policy. Even in familiar territory like economics, Lee
brought in former Woori Bank president and financial expert
Hwang Young-ki to be Vice Chair of the Economic
Revitalization Special Committee.

-----------------------------
CO-CHAIRS: FOCUS ON EXPERTISE
-----------------------------

4. (SBU) The two party members who will head Lee's campaign
are Kang Jae-sup, GNP Chairman, and Ahn Sang-soo, the GNP
Floor Leader. The other co-chairmen are: Yoo Chong-ha,
former Foreign Minister; Park Chan-mo, former POSTECH
president; Bae Eun-hee, President & CEO of Lizen Biotech; and
Kim Sung-yi, professor at Ewha Womans University. Lee still
intends to name two more co-chairs from outside to fulfill
his "2 6" leadership plan. Each outside co-chair is assigned
to different policy area: Yoo Chong-ha on Foreign Affairs and
National Security; Park Chan-mo on Education, Science and
Technology; Bae Eun-hee on Future New Industry; and Kim
Sung-yi on Social Welfare. (NOTE: Yoo Chong-ha was Foreign
Minister (1996-98) in the Kim Young-sam Administration.)

5. (SBU) Regardless of the launch of an official campaign
organization, the four most influential Lee Myung-bak
advisers will likely retain their power. They are: Lee
Sang-deuk, Vice Speaker of the National Assembly and Lee's
elder brother; Choi See-joong, former Gallup Korea chairman;
Lee Jae-o, GNP Supreme Council Member; and Chung Doo-un, GNP
lawmaker. Lee Jae-o is Lee's Vice Chairman in charge of
Strategic Public Relations, and Chung Doo-un is the Control
Officer of the Strategic Planning Department, a key component
of the organization. The supreme - albeit informal --
decision-making body of the camp is the "six-member council,"
comprised of Lee Myung-bak, Lee Sang-deuk, Choi See-joong,
former National Assembly Vice Speaker Park Hee-tae, Lee Jae-o
and GNP lawmaker Kim Deog-ryong. They are said to meet twice
a week.

-----------------
ACADEMIC ADVISORS
-----------------

6. (SBU) Some of the academics and former government
officials on Lee's policy advisory team include:

-- Policy Oversight and Counsel: Kang Man-soo, former Vice
Finance Minister; Sakong Il, Chairman & CEO of the Institute
of Global Economics (and former Finance Minister under
President Chun Doo-whan); and Ahn Byung-man, former President
of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies,

-- Policy coordination: Ryu Woo-ik, Seoul National
University; and Baek Yong-ho, Ewha Women's University,

-- Foreign affairs: Kim Woo-sang, Yonsei University; Hyun
In-taek, Korea University; Nam Sung-wook, Korea University;
Kim Tae-hyo, Sungkyunkwan University; Lee Jung-min, Yonsei
University; Kim Dong-sung, Chung Ang University; Nam
Joo-hong, Kyunggi University; and Cho Joong-bin at Kookmin
University,

-- Economy: Kwak Seung-joon, Korea University, who is also
Lee's chief policy aide; Yoo Jang-hee at Ewha Women's
University; and Kang Myung-heon, Dankuk University,

-- Canal project: Cho Won-chul, Yonsei University; and Song
Jae-woo, Hongik University.

--------------------------------
CAMPAIGN AIDES: A NEW GENERATION
--------------------------------

7. (SBU) Many of Lee's aides are former student activists now
in their 40's, not the conservative old guard the public is
used to from GNP campaigns.

-- Lee Tae-kyu, Strategy Planning Chief Aide, is a student
activist-turned election strategist. He started his
political career with the Democratic Party in 1990, but later
joined the GNP in 1997. After working (2004-2005) at the
Yoido Institute, a GNP think tank, he worked as a planning
chief for Oh Se-hoon during his Seoul Mayoral campaign in
2006.

-- Kwak Seung-joon, Policy Chief Aide and Professor of
Economics at Korea University, is a Lee policy advisor. They
have known each other since the late 1990s, discussed policy
issues beginning when Lee ran for Seoul Mayor in 2002, and
have had weekly "study sessions" since 2004. Kwak
coordinates on most of Lee's policy pledges. As Chief Editor
of the Korea University Newspaper for six years now, Kwak
also tries to keep in close contact with the younger
generation.

-- Chung Tae-geun, Organization Chief Aide, started out as a
staffer for Lee's rival Hong Sa-duk in the GNP's 2002
nomination race for Seoul Mayor. It was Lee who first
reached out to Chung after that election. Chung joined the
GNP in 2000 in the run-up to the 16th general elections, and
he twice ran and lost in bids for National Assembly seats in
2000 and 2004. After being appointed Vice Seoul Mayor for
Political Affairs in 2005, Chung was instrumental in pushing
forward many of Lee's major projects, including the
Chonggyechon stream project, and in defending against
negative attacks.

-- Ji Seung-rim, Chief Public Relations Aide, is the only
chief aide in his 50's. A former executive at Samsung Group,
Ji is known for his brilliance in shaping, fine-tuning, and
publicizing policies. Some of his products include Lee's
"7-4-7" economic policy and the idea to transform the
reclaimed land of Saemangeum into a Korean version of Dubai.
Former Vice Finance Minister Kang Man-soo introduced Ji to
Lee.

-- Jin Sung-ho, Chief New Media Aide, was originally a
reporter at the Chosun Ilbo specializing in media and the
internet. MB and Jin are said to have become friends while
"fighting" - Jin posted an internet article critical of Lee
in 2005, Lee protested, and they became occasional contacts.
Now Jin serves as MB's sparring partner; he played opposite
Lee to prepare for the "verification hearings" in the run-up
to the party primary.

-- Kim Hae-su, Deputy Chief of Staff, is another student
activist-turned politician. He first joined politics in 1996
as an assistant to Representative Ahn Sang-soo, current Floor
Leader of the GNP. Later he was an aide to former GNP
chairman Lee Hoi-chang and was media chief in the 2002
election. Kim first met Lee Myung-bak in 1996, but got on
board in earnest in 2002 when Lee ran for Seoul Mayor.
Representative Lee Jae-o was crucial in getting him into the
camp.

-- Park Dae-won, Senior Foreign Relations Advisor, was
formerly Ambassador (2002-2005) to Algeria, and Foreign
Relations Advisor (2005-2006) to Lee Myung-bak when he was
Seoul Mayor. He also hails from Lee's hometown of Pohang.


-------------------------
CONTINUING RIFT WITH PARK
-------------------------

8. (SBU) Rival and runner-up in the GNP Primary Park
Geun-hye was named Standing Advisor to the Lee campaign and
other close Park aides were given symbolic roles.
Representative Kim Moo-sung was named Vice Chairman of the
campaign and Representative Choi Kyung-hwan, Executive
Manager of the Economic Revitalization Special Committee.
However, Park does not seem ready yet to actively campaign
for Lee. She recently complained her aides are being
ostracized and excluded from key posts. As long as Lee's
approval ratings stay above 50 percent, the importance of
support from Park and her followers diminishes considerably.
Nevertheless, Lee and Kim Moo-sung, Park's closest aide,
recently shared soju at a street-side bar in Busan to help
bridge the gap between the two camps.
VERSHBOW

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