Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; August 25, 2009
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SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; August 25, 2009
Senior Official at Green Cross, a Local Drug Maker: "Global War
Underway to Secure More Antiviral Drugs, with New Flu Pandemic
Expected This Winter"
JoongAng Ilbo, All TVs
Bosworth, Sung Kim to Visit Pyongyang Next Month for First Bilateral
Dong-a Ilbo, Segye Ilbo, Seoul Shinmun
ROK Stockpiles Tamiflu for 5 Million People
President Lee Myung-bak Considering Forming "Young Cabinet"
Democratic, Reform-minded Forces Agonizing over How to Rally
Supporters in Aftermath of Deaths of Former Presidents Kim Dae-jung
and Roh Moo-hyun
The Blue House yesterday denied that North Korea's delegation to
late former President Kim Dae-jung's state funeral had proposed an
inter-Korean summit between President Lee Myung-bak and North Korean
leader Kim Jong-il. The presidential office was quoted: "During the
meeting between President Lee and the North Korean delegation, they
had general discussions on how to improve inter-Korean relations but
did not mention anything at all regarding an inter-Korean summit."
Philip Goldberg, visiting U.S. Coordinator for the Implementation of
UN Security Council Resolution 1874, met yesterday with ROKG
officials, including Chief ROK Delegate to the Six-Party Talks Wi
Sung-lac. He told reporters after the meetings that inter-Korean
tourism projects and the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex are
"issues outside of the resolution." (All) He also stressed that
international efforts to enforce sanctions against North Korea will
continue. (Chosun, Hankyoreh, Segye)
According to a senior diplomatic source in Washington, Stephen
Bosworth, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy,
will travel to Pyongyang next month at North Korea's invitation for
the first bilateral nuclear negotiations between the two countries.
Bosworth will be accompanied by Sung Kim, Special Envoy for the
Six-Party Talks. (JoongAng, all TVs)
- Special Envoy Goldberg in ROK
All ROK media gave wide attention to press remarks in Seoul
yesterday by Philip Goldberg, U.S. Coordinator for the
Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1874, in which he
said that inter-Korean tourism projects and the joint Kaesong
Industrial Complex are (issues outside of the resolution) , while
noting that international efforts to enforce sanctions against North
Korea will continue.
In a related development, right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo quoted an
ROKG official as warning against reading too much into his remarks,
SEOUL 00001363 002 OF 007
saying: "It seems that he just meant to say that such projects pose
no problem in legal terms, not to encourage or support resumption of
tours to Mt. Kumgang."
Newspapers carried the following headlines: "ROKG Faced with Dilemma
of Improving Ties with N. Korea Amid Continued Sanctions"
(conservative Chosun Ilbo); "U.S. Reflects ROK's Position...Some
Obstacles Removed for Tours to Mt. Kumgang" (right-of-center
JoongAng Ilbo); and "U.S. Attaches the Caveat, "At the Moment" ...
It Will Likely Watch North Korea's Attitude" (conservative Dong-a
- N. Korea
Citing a senior diplomatic source in Washington, right-of-center
JoongAng Ilbo and all TV networks reported that Stephen Bosworth,
the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy, will travel
to Pyongyang next month at North Korea's invitation and that he will
be accompanied by Sung Kim, Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks.
JoongAng Ilbo, in particular, noted that this visit will mark the
first bilateral nuclear negotiations between the two countries, and
further quoted the source as saying: "The U.S. principle of having a
bilateral negotiation with the North within the framework of the
Six-Party Talks remains unchanged, but the Obama Administration will
convey its willingness to offer a comprehensive package in return
for the North's denuclearization during the delegation's trip to
JoongAng went on to cite the source as stating that, noting North
Korea's recent series of conciliatory gestures, the USG sees it as
highly likely that the delegation will meet with North Korean leader
Kim Jong-il during their trip.
Regarding controversy over North Korea's alleged proposal for a
third inter-Korean summit, moderate Hankook Ilbo editorialized:
"Even though North Korea is taking a series of conciliatory
gestures, it is not time to mention an inter-Korean summit. ... In
the first place, we must endeavor to strengthen inter-Korean trust
and cooperation without disrupting international efforts to
denuclearize North Korea. If an inter-Korean summit takes place in
this mature atmosphere, it will not only help North Korea make a
decision to give up its nuclear ambitions but also help the ROK play
a leading role in the denuclearization process."
Shifting Ties with N. Korea Will Be a Long Game
(Chosun Ilbo, August 25, 2009, page 39)
Blue House spokesman Lee Dong-kwan on Monday said the government
believes that the old ways in inter-Korean summits or dialogue "are
no longer permissible" and called for a change in inter-Korean
relations which the media are describing as a "paradigm shift."
"Inter-Korean relations must not be viewed as a special relationship
and remain trapped in that framework, but must be subject to
international principles in order to progress," he said.
The government said the new principle was applied in practice for
the first time when President Lee Myung-bak met a delegation of
North Korean officials who were in Seoul for the funeral of former
President Kim Dae-jung. Previous administrations allowed visiting
North Korean officials to meet government officials at their
convenience. But this time, Lee included the meeting in a string of
similar encounters with officials from other countries who had come
to pay their respects to Kim. And instead of timing it by the
schedule of the North Koreans, they had to wait their turn, with the
result that they extended their stay by an extra day to meet the
president. The government reportedly told the delegation that
fundamental progress in inter-Korean relations is possible only when
the nuclear problem is resolved. With that, the Lee Administration
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has placed an issue at the top of its agenda for talks with North
Korea that previous governments were afraid to address in case it
might anger the regime.
The government did the right thing in deciding to pursue dialogue
but make it clear that the rules have changed. The reason past
inter-Korean talks generated so much debate and conflict in the ROK
lies not only in what was discussed but in the way the talks took
place. Previous administrations approached inter-Korean talks as
their crowning achievement, which only encouraged North Korea's
impudence, acting as though the ROK should be thanking the North for
accepting aid. This has angered many South Koreans. Under the two
administrations of the last decade, the ROK gave US$ 6.9 billion
worth of assistance to the North, but instead of a "thank you,"
North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and test-launched a battery
of missiles. This is why the ROK has been accused of inadvertently
aiding the North's arms development by providing lavish cash support
for the regime and allowing it to gain valuable time.
The Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun Governments handled inter-Korean
ties on the basis of a "special relationship," with some officials
even talking about an "internal approach" whereby North Korea's
antics must be seen from the perspective of its own government. But
by treating inter-Korean relations as a special matter among "one
nation," the ROK ended up rationalizing Pyongyang's grandstanding,
and the internal approach meant turning a blind eye to its vile
human rights abuses.
The government has called for a "paradigm shift" in inter-Korean
relations because it wants to emancipate itself from that
relationship and apply proper international principles to
cross-border ties. But chances that North Korea will simply accept
this are slim. The two Koreas may well end up in a prolonged
tug-of-war, and inter-Korean dialogue could fall apart again before
any fundamental changes can be achieved.
The government will need patience and wisdom as well as flexibility
as it pursues its broad objectives in relations with North Korea.
(This is a translation provided by the newspaper, and it is
identical to the Korean version.)
U.S. Envoy Plans Nuclear Talks with North in Sept.
(JoongAng Daily, August 25, 2009)
By Reporters Kim Jung-wook and Ser Myo-ja
The top U.S. official in charge of North Korea policy will travel to
Pyongyang next month for the first bilateral nuclear negotiations
between the two countries, a senior diplomatic source in Washington
has told the JoongAng Ilbo.
Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea
Policy, will head to Pyongyang at the North's invitation, the source
told the newspaper on Sunday, Washington time. Bosworth will be
accompanied by Sung Kim, Washington's point man for the Six-Party
nuclear talks, he added.
The U.S. delegation will likely visit the ROK, China and Japan in
early September and then head to the North, according to the
The trip was to be announced officially in early September,
immediately before their departure to Pyongyang, the diplomat added.
Noting North Korea's series of recent positive gestures, the Obama
Administration sees a high possibility that the delegation will meet
with the North's reclusive leader Kim Jong-il during their trip, the
Bosworth, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the ROK from 1997 to
2001, was named by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the
administration's special envoy for the North last February.
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Following efforts to persuade the North to give up its nuclear arms
program in 1994, Bosworth served as the Executive Director of the
Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization to implement the
1994 Geneva Agreed Framework between Washington and Pyongyang aimed
at freezing the North's nuclear activity.
"Since his appointment in February, Bosworth has openly and
repeatedly said he would like to visit North Korea, but Pyongyang
snubbed the offer by conducting missile and nuclear tests," the
source said. "The North, however, recently expressed its intention
to invite Bosworth."
According to the source, Washington has decided to send Bosworth to
Pyongyang as key obstacles in U.S.-North relations have been
removed. Two jailed American reporters were released earlier this
month and former U.S. President Bill Clinton confirmed the stability
of the Kim Jong-il regime, the source said.
The diplomat said Washington has begun discussions with its
"It's likely that Bosworth will travel to Asia to explain the
situation to Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo in early September and then go
to Pyongyang," he said. "A comprehensive package will be offered in
return for the North's denuclearization during his trip to
Pyongyang. The U.S. principle of having a bilateral negotiation
with the North within the framework of the Six-Party Talks will
Another diplomatic source also said the Obama Administration will
never abandon the Six-Party Talks because it sees the root of
Pyongyang's recent peacemaking gestures in the international
community's participation in the UN sanctions against the North.
"Even if negotiations move forward, the UN sanctions will not be
lifted easily," the source said. "Instead, the Obama Administration
will likely provide a de facto assurance for the North Korean
regime's security by promising that it will not intervene in the
succession of the Kim Jong-il regime to his son while pressuring Kim
to give up nuclear programs."
The outcome of Bosworth's planned trip, however, remains to be seen.
A key official who had handled Korea policy in the Bush
Administration says that North Korea will never give up nuclear arms
The ROK's nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac has already met with his U.S.
counterpart Sung Kim and Bosworth in Hawaii earlier this month and
discussed North Korea issues. The discussions were called
brainstorming sessions aimed at finding ways forward, Seoul's
Foreign Ministry said at the time.
Bosworth again arrived in Seoul Saturday as part of a 10-member U.S.
condolence delegation to attend ex-President Kim Dae-jung's funeral
on Sunday. Pyongyang also sent a condolence delegation to Seoul.
Bosworth met with Wi and other Korean officials over the weekend.
It appears that the Obama Administration has chosen the strategy of
carrot and stick to deal with the nuclear-armed North. A team of
U.S. officials handling North Korea issues also arrived in Seoul
Sunday for talks with officials here. Unlike Bosworth, they were to
seek Seoul's support to enforce UN sanctions against the North.
Philip Goldberg, the U.S. diplomat tasked with enforcing UN
Resolution 1874 which was adopted to counter Pyongyang's May 25
nuclear test, met with Wi yesterday. Goldberg led an inter-agency
team composed of officials from the Treasury Department, the Defense
Department, and the National Security Council at the White House.
According to wire reports, Wi said the objective "is a complete,
verifiable denuclearization of North Korea," and Goldberg replied,
"Absolutely, that is certainly our goal."
Following his meeting with Wi, Goldberg addressed the press,
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reconfirming Washington's stance on financial sanctions against
North Korea. "Our goal is to return to the process of
denuclearization, to talks aimed at the goals that are laid out in
the UN resolution," Goldberg said, stressing efforts to implement
While noting that inter-Korean tourism is not in the resolution,
Goldberg said the international community's efforts to enforce
sanctions on Pyongyang will continue.
The ROK's Hyundai Group agreed with the North last week to resume
stalled tour programs to Mt. Kumgang and Kaesong - projects largely
seen as a cash cow for Pyongyang.
"My assessment is that, at the moment, these are issues outside of
that resolution and there are economic and humanitarian developments
that are taken into account in the resolution as well," Goldberg
told reporters. He also added that the Kaesong Industrial Complex
is outside the resolution.
ROKG Faced with Dilemma of Improving Ties with N. Korea Amid
(Chosun Ilbo, August 25, 2009, page 3)
By Reporter Lim Min-hyuk
The U.S. official tasked with ensuring compliance with UN sanctions
against North Korea met with senior ROK officials in Seoul on
Monday. Philip Goldberg arrived a day after a North Korean
delegation met with President Lee Myung-bak in an apparent attempt
to improve relations as the sanctions begin to bite.
Goldberg reviewed Seoul's compliance with UN Security Council
Resolution 1874, which was adopted after the North's nuclear test in
May, with the ROK's top nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac and Deputy
Foreign Minister Oh Joon. He also met relevant officials at the
Ministries of Strategy and Finance and of Defense and the Bank of
"Right now, we are concentrating on the implementation, and full
implementation, of the resolution," Goldberg told reporters Monday.
He said recent conciliatory signals from North Korea would be
welcome if they lead to denuclearization but added sanctions
including financial penalties for North Korean businesses and
individuals involved in nuclear development will remain in place.
A government official here said the U.S. "views the North's
appeasement as designed to crack the firm cooperation system of the
international community, which is why it's putting even more stress
on cooperation from Seoul."
Goldberg expressed support for cross-border business projects like
package tours to Mt. Kumgang, whose resumption was the fruit of a
meeting between Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun and North
Korean leader Kim Jong-il. "My assessment is that at the moment
these are issues outside of that resolution," he said. "And there
are economic and humanitarian developments that are taken into
account in the resolution as well."
However, as Goldberg made a remark with the caveat, "at the moment,"
observers say that this assessment may not be genuine. The U.S. has
frequently complained that the package tours are a major source of
hard currency for the North and alleges that the money has been used
in nuclear and missile development. In the past, Christopher Hill
expressed a complaint that the inter-Korean tourism project seems to
be designed to give money to the North Korean regime. An ROKG
official said that the tourism project may not run counter to
resolutions in legal terms but the U.S. may come up with a different
assessment (of the project) when it is politically interpreted.
But at this point, hopes to improve inter-Korean relations, which
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are essentially a question of giving Pyongyang financial aid, and
international cooperation run in exactly opposite directions. "We
must avoid any moves in inter-Korean relations that go against
international joint efforts for denuclearization," warned Yun
Duk-min, a professor at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and
National Security. "The government needs to stick to the principles
it has maintained if it isn't to be dragged around by the North's
Kim Sung-han, a professor at Korea University, urged the government
to start with humanitarian projects like reunions of families
separated by the Korean War, but go slowly on economic assistance.
He added that the ROK should prioritize issues and take a realistic
approach. He noted that things could turn for the worse if the ROK
attempts to resolve all pending issues at one time.
(We have compared the English version on the website with the Korean
version and added some sentences to make them identical.)
U.S. Reflects ROK's Position...Some Obstacles Removed for Tours to
(JoongAng Ilbo, August 25, 2009, Page 4)
By Reporter Ye Young-joon
Philip Goldberg, U.S. Coordinator for the Implementation of UN
Security Council Resolution 1874, said on August 24 that the Mt.
Kumgang tourism and the Kaesong Industrial Complex business are
"issues outside of the (UN) resolution."
This statement was made at a sensitive moment. It came a week after
Hyundai Group Chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun and North Korea's
Asia-Pacific Peace Committee reached an agreement on the resumption
of inter-Korean tourism projects and the revitalization of the
Kaesong Industrial Complex. Furthermore, the person who made such a
remark was none other than the U.S. Envoy for North Korea sanctions
who leads efforts to tighten the financial noose around North Korea
through sanctions. This is a sharp departure from the existing
stance of the USG, which has directly and indirectly expressed
concerns about the possibility that profits from the Mt. Kumgang
tourism and the Kaesong Industrial Complex business may be diverted
to North Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction.
Goldberg's statement reaffirms that UNSC Resolution 1874 makes an
exception for projects for humanitarian and developmental purposes.
This also reflects the position of the ROKG, which was mindful of
business on the Kaesong Industrial Complex even from the process of
drafting Resolution 1874.
In this regard, ROKG officials warned against reading too much into
Goldberg's remark. One official noted, "It seems that he just meant
to say that such projects pose no problem in legal terms, not to
encourage or support resumption of tours to Mt. Kumgang." That is,
in order to resume tours to Mt. Kumgang, a political will is more
important than a legally authoritative interpretation. Thus far,
there has been no change in objective circumstances surrounding the
resumption of the tourism project. The Ministry of Unification in
charge of the project drew a line, saying, "(The resumption of the
Mt. Kumgang tourism) is a matter to be discussed between the two
government authorities." Another official stressed, "Before
resuming the project, the two Koreas should agree to investigate the
shooting death of an ROK tourist, Park Wang-ja, at the Mt. Kumgang
resort and work out measures to prevent the recurrence of similar
incidents and guarantee the safety of tourists. At the Kaesong
Industrial Complex, too, stricter safety guarantees should be put
Goldberg's statement, however, carries much significance from the
viewpoint of possible improvement in inter-Korean ties. Given an
ROKG official's statement that "tourism at Mt. Kumgang and Kaesong
is a project that the U.S. can make an issue of even without
specific rules," Goldberg's remark is tantamount to removing one of
the several stumbling blocks to the resumption of the tourism. This
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also reflects the ROKG's position well. The ROKG has adhered to the
position that issues related to tourism and the development of
industrial infrastructure (in the North) are not directly subject to
UNSC Resolution 1874. During an August 24 meeting with Goldberg,
Chief ROK Delegate to the Six-Party Talks Wi Sung-lac and Deputy
Minister for Multilateral, Global and Legal Affairs Oh Joon
reportedly emphasized it and secured Goldberg's consent.
The reason why the ROKG leaves room for the resumption of tours to
Mt. Kumgang seems to be that the ROKG may intend to use it as
leverage to persuade the North to abandon its nuclear programs and
to make practical progress in inter-Korean relations. A source
said, "We are not saying that we will resume the projects but will
just open the door and use it." Therefore, the ROKG is expected to
leave open the possibility of resuming the two projects and adjust
the pace of the resumption depending on North Korea's willingness
toward denuclearization and improvement in inter-Korean relations.
"Mt. Kumgang Tourism and Kaesong Industrial Complex Are Outside of
the UN Sanctions"
(Hankyoreh Shinmun, August 25, 2009, page 6: EXCERPTS)
By Reporter Lee Yong-in
Philip Goldberg, U.S. Coordinator for the Implementation of UN
Security Council Resolution 1874, said that UN sanctions against
North Korea, including financial sanctions against North Korean
companies or individuals involved in nuclear development, will
remain in place. He added, "Our goal is to return to the process of
denuclearization, to talks aimed at the goals that are laid in the
UN resolution." When questioned about the possibility of U.S.-North
Korea bilateral talks, Goldberg said, "We are not saying that there
won't be bilateral contact but that it should be within the
(Six-Party Talks) framework." Previously, during a meeting with
Chief ROK Delegate to the Six-Party Talks Wi Sung-lac, Goldberg said
that the ultimate goal of the U.S. is to achieve irreversible
denuclearization of North Korea.