Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; February 23, 2010
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 SEOUL 000287
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TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; FEBRUARY 23, 2010
Autonomous High Schools Face Probe over Illegal Admissions
Uncomfortable Truth about University Tuition Fees;
ROK Tuition Fees Second Most Expensive in OECD
Former Ruling GNP Chairperson Park Geun-hye Allegedly Rejected
President Lee's Proposal to Meet
President Lee to Tackle Education Reform Head-on
Blue House Allegedly Secretly Investigated Pro-Park Geun-hye
Lawmakers to Pressure Them on Sejong City Revision
ROK Fast Becoming a "Multicultural Society"
Schools under Criticism for Turning Blind Eye
on School Violence
According to an ROKG official, chief ROK nuclear negotiator Wi
Sung-lac will visit China today to discuss the resumption of the
Six-Party Talks. (JoongAng, Dong-a, Hankook, Hankyoreh, Segye,
Seoul, KBS, MBC)
Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan will meet in Washington on Feb. 25
with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss the North Korean
nuclear issue. (JoongAng, MBC)
According to a study by an ROKG-run institute, hundreds of ROK women
enter the U.S. as sex-trade workers every month. (JoongAng)
Most ROK media covered chief ROK nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac's
Feb. 23-24 visit to China to discuss the resumption of the Six-Party
Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo quoted an ROKG official as saying that
Wi will meet with his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei, to be briefed
on North Korea's top nuclear negotiator Kim Kye-gwan's recent trip
to China, and to discuss ways to resume the multilateral talks.
JoongAng also noted U.S. Special Representative for North Korea
Policy Stephen Bosworth's reported visit to Beijing in the near
future, and the planned Feb. 25 meeting in Washington between
Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton. JoongAng also expected that the relevant parties would
engage in full-blown discussions about resuming the Six-Party
Moderate Hankook Ilbo, meanwhile, reported a senior ROKG official as
saying: "The U.S. is seeking a visit to China by Ambassador Bosworth
to be briefed on recent China-North Korea talks and to discuss the
resumption of the Six-Party Talks. Given that chief nuclear
negotiator Wi is going to China in such a rush, there will likely be
a U.S.-China contact this week."
SEOUL 00000287 002 OF 004
SEX TRADE BRINGS HUNDREDS OF KOREANS TO U.S.
(JoongAng Daily, February 23, Page 2)
By Reporter Hong Hye-jin
Study: Smuggled into the country, some turn to drugs and gambling.
A first-of-its-kind study by a government-run institute has revealed
that hundreds of Korean women enter the United States as sex-trade
workers every month.
Twenty-two Korean prostitutes and industry insiders who worked in
the United States were interviewed by the Korean Institute of
Criminology for four months beginning in May last year.
According to Jang Joon-oh, a senior researcher in charge of the
project, most of the Korean women paid brokers $10,000 to help them
cross various borders leading to the United States. Seven out of 18
Korean sex workers interviewed told Jang they were smuggled into the
United States from neighboring Canada and Mexico. The seven women,
who work in massage parlors or karaoke bars, said they hid in cars
to cross borders, or risked their lives by sneaking past the
U.S.-Mexico border with Mexicans.
The 11 other sex workers arrived in the United States on tourist
All 18 of the sex workers interviewed were illegal aliens in the
country. One earned a green card after she fabricated marriage
documents, but faces deportation to Korea if caught by U.S.
A 36-year-old sex worker who worked in the industry in the United
States for five years confessed she hid herself under the back seat
of a van and illegally entered the United States from Canada. Since
taking up the sex trade, she has acquired a holiday drug and
gambling habit of $10,000 a day.
The study also found that some women who went to the United States
for sex work saw Internet advertisements reading, "Escape recession:
Looking for "unni" (women) who want to work in the U.S."
The respondents said they worked more than 13 hours with seven or
eight customers a day on average. Eighty percent of the clients
were Americans and the sex workers said they were paid around $200
per hour, with $80 of that money going to the owner of the sex
business. The interviewees said they earned at least $10,000 a
Many Korean sex workers in the United States frequently move to
other states to avoid crackdowns. They normally start working in
western cities such as San Francisco or Los Angeles and move to
Dallas, Atlanta and New York. "The sex industry wants to lure new
clients, and they prefer to switch their workers often," Jang
Jang, who conducted his interviews in the United States, said the
women's American dream of a decent life turns upside down quickly.
"Many Korean sex workers don't speak English at all, and they can't
get on the bus alone," Jang said. "It's nearly impossible for them
to live a normal life in the United States."
Korean women in the sex industry in the United States were generally
satisfied with the high salary, but they get homesick and feel
lonely because of the language barriers and other factors. Jang
said many turn to drugs or gambling to escape their reality.
"It's important to determine the illegality of sex work, but we also
need comprehensive research on whether Korean sex workers in the
SEOUL 00000287 003 OF 004
United States were exploited or have had their human rights severely
infringed," Jang said.
(This text was provided in English by the newspaper.)
CHILDREN GIVE U.S. SOLDIERS THUMBS UP AND SAY "PLEASE GIVE ME SOME
(Chosun Ilbo, February 23, 2010, Page 6)
By Correspondent Lee Ha-won from Bagram Air Base
Chosun Ilbo Correspondent Lee Ha-won, boarding a bulletproof armored
vehicle, accompanies U.S. soldiers on their patrol outside Bagram
On the morning of February 21, 1st Lt. Brian Waddy of "Task Force
Gladius" under ISAF (International Security Assistance Force)
Regional Command East came to pick me up. He reached out his hands
to me, saying with a serene look on his face, "Welcome to a far away
land." He was the person in charge of helping me until my
activities under the Embed Program in Afghanistan end.
Task Force Gladius is tasked with patrolling and guarding the areas
around Bagram Air Base. On February 21, it was assigned the mission
of patrolling Area G near the airbase and carrying out public
The vehicle that I boarded for my first mission was a Mine Resistant
Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, which is specially designed to
survive mines and explosives. It looked much larger and stronger
than a Humvee, an all-purpose, modern-day jeep which the U.S.
military usually uses in its operational areas. The door of the
MRAP was almost too heavy to open with one hand. My tap on the door
window failed to make a sound due to the vehicle's bulletproof glass
fittings as thick as a finger joint. The state-of-the art
communications equipment installed in the vehicle makes it possible
to communicate with headquarters and other vehicles at any time.
When I asked "What does this vehicle cost? About 100,000 dollars?"
1st Lt. Waddy responded, "It seems to be several times more
expensive than that."
He noted, "MRAP vehicles were deployed to Afghanistan last year
because of poor road conditions. You are lucky." Now that I was
sitting in a military vehicle with body armor and even wearing a
helmet for the first time since my discharge from military service,
I grew more nervous. Before leaving Bagram Air Base for patrol,
soldiers from Bravo Company loaded their rifles with live
ammunition. They had reserve bullets around their waists.
I was sent to the ISAF Regional Command East, where the headquarters
of the U.S. Bagram Air Base is located. The ISAF Regional Command
East controls Parwan, where the ROK's Provincial Reconstruction Team
(PRT) and troops for its protection will be stationed, as well as
Bamyan, Panjshir, and Kapisa.
Area G, where TF Gladius's Bravo Company went out on patrol, is a
relatively safe region, but U.S. soldiers did not let their guard
down. One soldier, sitting in the backseat between the first
lieutenant and me, kept watch in every direction with the upper half
of his body outside the vehicle and his hands on a 360-degree
revolving machine gun. Whenever the machine gun swiveled, making a
big noise, the lower half of his body would move right beside me.
While three MRAP vehicles moved along a narrow road in Afghanistan,
reconnaissance aircraft and transport planes were seen flying in the
sky. Some U.S. military aircraft were flying low enough to look
into every nook and cranny of the region.
In this region, there are two things that antagonize the U.S.
military: rocket launchers and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The Taliban, which mainly controls the southern part of
Afghanistan, does not have much influence over Parwan Province,
where the ROK's PRT will be deployed. However, some members of the
Taliban sneak into Parwan and come close to Bagram Air Base to fire
SEOUL 00000287 004 OF 004
rockets and then run away. Also, U.S. troops remain on high alert
because the Taliban attempt to set off remote-controlled bombs when
U.S. vehicles pass by.
When I arrived at the center of area G, U.S. forces kept their
armored vehicles in line and stood on both sides to start patrolling
on foot. When I deviated from the line for a moment to take
pictures, Lieutenant Waddy approached and warned me not to get out
of the line.
The patrolling company first stopped by a police station which had a
well located in the middle. The building was reminiscent of the ROK
in the 1950s. Deputy Chief Nabi Kohestani welcomed the U.S. troops
with a smile. A soldier took out a large picture he took a few days
prior. The picture was of a U.S. soldier and an Afghan policeman
sharing food together and putting their arms around each other's
shoulders with a beaming smile. One soldier said, "We became
friendly with policemen in this area. We have developed trust in
The Bravo Company went to the center of this area, which was packed
with shops, together with the Afghan police. U.S. troops have made
it a rule to patrol this area with the Afghan police. Sergeant
Rodrigues of the company said, "We can minimize backlash from
residents by patrolling with Afghan police." U.S. forces also
intend to increase residents' trust in them.
Residents in this area are friendly toward U.S. troops. U.S. forces
frequently provide goods for residents and school supplies for
students, striving to shore up their image as U.S. forces extending
a helping hand to residents. Also, many young Afghans have found
jobs at Bagram Air Base. Bagram Base, where tens of thousands of
personnel are stationed, has had a considerable impact on the local
This (the impact on the economy) seems to be why residents now
approach the patrolling U.S. forces without hesitation, and smile as
they hold out their hands to shake (with the soldiers). (Afghan)
children raise their thumbs (in appreciation) of the U.S. forces.
Some of the children approach the armored vehicles, shouting, "Give
me the money."
During their patrol, U.S. forces receive and deal with suggestions
from residents through an interpreter.
By the time the patrol was over, a U.S. soldier was surrounded by
ten Afghan residents. A resident grabbed the young soldier, asking
him to buy a chicken he brought. The resident said, "Fifty, fifty,"
by which he meant the chicken costs fifty dollars. The soldier
refused with a smile, but the resident was persistent in his demand.
Other residents, who had been watching this, also implored the
soldier to buy their chickens. In the end, when the soldiers of the
Bravo Company returned, two chickens were also aboard the MRAP
vehicles. They paid 10 dollars for each chicken.
A soldier said, "We sometimes buy goods to develop friendships with
local residents. Today, I bought a very unique one." Other
soldiers nicknamed the two chickens that boarded the MRAP vehicles