Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; October 6, 2009
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 SEOUL 001586
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TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; October 6, 2009
Chinese Premier Persuades Kim Jong-il
to "Return to Six-Party Talks"
Path of Succession in N. Korea Growing Clearer by the Day; Kim
Jong-il's Third Son, with Name Clarified,
Gets High Position in Party
ROKG Official: "Seized N. Korean Containers Had
Chemical Weapons Items"
Kim Jong-il, Wen Jiabao Discuss Resuming Multilateral Talks
on N. Korea's Nuclear Issue
Foreign Language High Schools Received Nine Times
More Grants from Education Ministry Last Year
than Ordinary High Schools
Defense Minister: "Seoul Has
List of 100 N. Korean Nuclear Sites"
President Lee: "Child Sex Offenders
Should Be Isolated from Society"
Defense Minister Kim Tae-young, during yesterday's National Assembly
audit of the Defense Ministry, said that the ROKG has a detailed
list of about 100 sites in North Korea that are related to (the
production of) nuclear weapons. (All)
The Defense Ministry, meanwhile, in a closed-door report to the
National Assembly, said that it has detected personnel and equipment
movement in and out of the Punggye-ri nuclear base in North Korea
but that there are no indications of a third nuclear test.
According to an ROKG source, ROK maritime police seized four
containers shipped by North Korea on a Panama-registered freighter
last month and found clothes used to protect the body from hazardous
chemicals. (Chosun, JoongAng, Hankook, Segye, Seoul)
According to China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
held talks in Pyongyang yesterday with North Korean leader Kim
Jong-il. (All) During the talks, Wen seems to have persuaded Kim
Jong-il to give up his nuclear ambitions and to return to the
Six-Party Talks. (Chosun, Dong-a, Segye)
According to North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency,
North Korea and China have signed a deal to build a new bridge over
the Amrok River bordering the two countries. China is likely to
finance the project estimated to cost $144 million. (All)
SEOUL 00001586 002 OF 005
Yesterday's talks in Pyongyang between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il received wide press coverage.
Citing China's Xinhua News Agency, most media reported that the
visiting Chinese premier seems to have persuaded Kim Jong-il to give
up his nuclear ambitions and to return to the Six-Party Talks(by
emphasizing that cooperation with the international community could
help) develop North Korea's shattered economy.
Newspapers carried the following front-and inside-page headlines:
"Return to Six-Party Talks? Or Stick to Bilateral Talks with U.S.?
... All Eyes are on Kim Jong-il" (right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo);
"Kim Jong-il Reconfirms Resolution of Nuclear Issue via Multilateral
Talks" (Conservative Dong-a Ilbo); "Kim Jong-il, Wen Jiabao Discuss
Resuming Multilateral Talks on N. Korea's Nuclear Issue... North's
Return to Six-Party Talks Is Not Verified" (moderate Hankook Ilbo);
and "Kim, Wen Agree to Resolve Nuclear Issue through Dialogue"
(left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun)
On a different subject, all media quoted Defense Minister Kim
Tae-young as saying during yesterday's National Assembly audit of
the Defense Ministry that Seoul has a list of about 100 locations in
North Korea that are related to (the production of) nuclear weapons.
Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo further cited the Defense Ministry as
saying in a closed-door report to the National Assembly yesterday
that it has detected personnel and equipment movement in and out of
the Punggye-ri nuclear base in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea,
but that there are no indications of a third nuclear test.
JoongAng also front-paged a report entitled "Path of Succession in
N. Korea Growing Clearer by the Day." Citing an ROKG report to the
ruling party, the JoongAng report said that leader Kim Jong-il's
third son and heir apparent, Kim Jong-eun, is working at a deputy
director level at the ruling Workers' Party. According to the
JoongAng report, the name of the son had previously been spelled
"Kim Jong-un," but ROK intelligence recently confirmed the correct
spelling to be "Kim Jong-eun." The report went on to claim that
Kim Jong-eun's formal succession would take place between 2010 and
With regard to yesterday's Dong-a Ilbo report about the seizure at
Busan New Port last month of four North Korean containers suspected
of carrying banned items, most newspapers quoted a senior ROKG
official as saying: "The search was carried out in accord with UN
Security Council Resolution 1874 sanctioning North Korea after its
second nuclear test in May. Clothes used to protect the body from
hazardous chemicals were found in the search."
Conservative Dong-a Ilbo, in a front-page report entitled "Seized
N. Korean Containers Had Chemical Weapons," cited an ROKG official
as saying: "The items shipped on the Panama-registered freighter
fall into (a category of prohibited items outlined by) the Australia
Group." According to the Dong-a report, the Australia Group,
established in 1984, is an informal forum of 33 countries including
the ROK to prevent the production and spread of chemical weapons.
"SEIZED N. KOREAN CONTAINERS HAD CHEMICAL WEAPONS ITEMS"
(Dong-a Ilbo, October 6, 2009, Front page)
By Reporters Shin Seok-ho and Whang Geum-cheon
The ROK's Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan yesterday held a
closed-door meeting with lawmakers after an audit by the National
Assembly's Unification, Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee.
Minister Yu confirmed that the National Intelligence Service and the
Korea Coast Guard seized four containers belonging to North Korea at
Busan's New Port on September 22.
According to sources who attended the meeting, Minister Yu said,
SEOUL 00001586 003 OF 005
"The customs authorities seized the containers aboard a foreign ship
and are currently investigating their contents and any connection
with North Korea." Minister Yu reportedly noted, however, "We
cannot provide the details now, but once the investigation is over,
we will disclose the details."
A government official in Seoul, however, said yesterday, "The items
shipped on the Panama-registered freighter fall into (a category of
prohibited items outlined by) the Australia Group."
The official also denied that the items on the freighter were
chemical weapons, saying, "No. They're neither chemical weapons nor
materials used in chemical weapons. They're also not manufacturing
facilities to produce chemical weapons."
The Australia Group, established in 1984, is an informal forum of 33
countries including the ROK to prevent the production and spread of
Speculation has grown that the items are probably clothing to
protect against chemical weapons, but the ROKG has not officially
confirmed or denied this.
A government source in Seoul said, "The (South) Korea Coast Guard
ordered the freighter, which left the port of Busan and sailed
through waters near Geoje Island, to return (to the port) and (then)
seized the containers."
The 90,000-ton freighter left the Chinese port of Tianjin Sept. 19
and arrived in Busan two days later. It then left Busan Sept. 22
and returned to the port late at night on the same day. The
freighter left Busan's New Port again on Sept. 23 and is currently
lying at anchor in Singapore.
ROK intelligence and the foreign and unification ministries said
they cannot confirm anything.
North Korea gave no official response to the incident.
The Associated Press quoted the Dong-a report, saying that, at the
request of intelligence authorities, the (South) Korea Coast Guard
seized containers shipped on a Panama freighter at Busan's New Port.
AFP also said, "Dong-a Ilbo newspaper said the search could be part
of an attempt to enforce U.N. sanctions (Resolution 1874)."
The resolution includes financial sanctions designed to choke off
revenue for Pyongyang's weapons program and tougher inspections of
cargo suspected of containing banned weapons-related items.
(We have compared the English version on the website with the Korean
version, and added the first two paragraphs and deleted some parts
to make them identical.)
PATH OF SUCCESSION IN NORTH GROWING CLEARER BY THE DAY
(JoongAng Daily, October 6, 2009)
By Reporter Lee Young-jong
Kim Jong-il's third son, with name clarified, gets high position in
Leader Kim Jong-il's third son and heir apparent, Kim Jong-eun, is
working at a deputy director level at the ruling Workers' Party,
according to data obtained by the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday.
The information was included in an ROKG report submitted to Grand
National Party lawmaker Yoon Sang-hyun, who is also a member of a
National Assembly standing committee on foreign affairs and
unification. Yoon received the information on the condition that it
would not be discussed publicly during the ongoing National Assembly
audits of ROKG agencies.
SEOUL 00001586 004 OF 005
The name of the son had previously been spelled "Kim Jong-un," but
ROK intelligence recently confirmed the correct spelling to be "Kim
Jong-eun. Late last month, a photograph of a North Korean
propaganda poster showed the name spelled as Kim Jong-eun in Korean.
The report yesterday also claimed that Kim Jong-eun's formal
succession will take place between 2010 and 2012. According to the
report, the junior Kim was born in 1984 and graduated from Kim Il
Sung National War College, named after the former North Korean
leader and father of Kim Jong-il. The college, located in
Pyongyang, is North Korea's top military academy that churns out
leading military officers. According to the ROK file, Kim Jong-eun
didn't attend the military school on a full-time basis, but instead
received separate one-on-one tutorials from professors and military
officials who visited him. The report noted that the ROK
intelligence community has not been able to confirm some media
reports that Kim Jong-eun also graduated from Kim Il Sung
University. According to the government report, Kim Jong-eun has
not served in the North Korean military. Kim Jong-il also didn't
serve in the armed forces.
Little is known about Kim Jong-eun, who is the second son of Kim
Jong-il's third wife, Ko Yong-hee. There have been conflicting
reports about Jong-eun's academic career, with some arguing that he
had attended the International School of Berne in Switzerland under
a pseudonym and others charging that Jong-eun has never been outside
Kenji Fujimoto, former personal chef of Kim Jong-il, offered some
details about the s-e-c-r-e-t-i-v-e Kim family's background in his
memoir published in 2003. In a Time magazine article dated June 1
this year, Fujimoto called Jong-eun "a chip off the old block, a
spitting image of his father in terms of face, body shape and
The article quoted Fujimoto's book as saying Jong-eun is the
favorite of Kim Jong-il because of his "take-charge" personality.
The succession question was raised last year when Kim Jong-il
reportedly suffered a stroke. Experts have also linked the North's
nuclear test in May to succession, believing the test was an attempt
to prove the regime's unity with the powerful military. In North
Korea, backing from the military is considered a must for transfer
The National Intelligence Service notified lawmakers on a National
Assembly intelligence committee that North Koreans have begun making
pledges of loyalty to Kim Jong-eun.
PYONGYANG AGAIN SIGNALS WILLINGNESS FOR NEW TALKS
(JoongAng Daily, October 6, 2009)
By Reporter Yoo Jee-ho
While ROK defense officials said yesterday they have detected
movement at a North Korean nuclear test site, North Korea has once
again told China that it is open to bilateral and multilateral talks
to deal with its nuclear program.
North Korean Premier Kim Young-il told China's Premier Wen Jiabao
Sunday of the North's "will to realize the denuclearization of the
Korean Peninsula, the behest of President Kim Il Sung, through
bilateral and multilateral dialogues," according to the state-run
Korean Central News Agency early yesterday. The station referred to
the late former leader and father of current leader Kim Jong-il.
China's state television carried a similar report late Sunday night.
The station referred to the late former leader and father of
current leader Kim Jong-il. China's state television carried a
similar report late Sunday night.
But the Defense Ministry said in a closed-door report to the
National Assembly yesterday that it has detected personnel and
SEOUL 00001586 005 OF 005
equipment movement in and out of the Punggye-ri nuclear base in
North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, but that there are no
indications of a third nuclear test.
Wen began a three-day visit to Pyongyang on Sunday. Officially, he
is there to observe the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between
China and North Korea, although analysts have speculated that the
nuclear issue was almost certain to be raised at some point during
his rare trip to the North Korean capital. Wen was expected to have
talks with Kim Jong-il later yesterday. The KCNA also said Kim
Jong-il blamed the United States for the nuclear standoff on the
Korean Peninsula. The North has argued that it must retain its
nuclear capabilities as deterrence to the U.S. nuclear threats.
But the North Korean premier's comments regarding the nuclear talks
serve as the latest indication that Pyongyang is ready to return to
the Six-Party denuclearization talks, which have been on hold since
December last year. The position is similar to (the position that)
Kim Jong-il expressed to Dai Bingguo, a special envoy for President
Hu Jintao, in September during Dai's visit to Pyongyang.