Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; February 24, 2010
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 SEOUL 000297
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; FEBRUARY 24, 2010
1,093 Residents of Imja Island, South Jeolla Province, Investigated
for Election Law Violations
JoongAng Ilbo, All TVs
National Intelligence Service Chief: "Kim Jong-il
Anxious over Pending Issues"
President Vows to Uproot Corruption in Education
Knowledge Economy and Defense Ministers Receive Highest Job
Performance Ratings on Survey Marking Two Years
Since Inauguration of Lee Myung-bak Administration
Private Education Spending Up Despite Drop in Income
ROK Households Spent 21.6 Trillion Won Last Year
on Private Education
Half of Runaway Female Adolescents Engage in Sex Trade
National Intelligence Service Chief Won Se-hoon informed the
National Assembly yesterday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is
expressing anxiety over resolving pending issues, including
regretting his failure to live up to the teachings left by his late
father Kim Il-sung. (All)
The State Department said yesterday that Special Representative for
North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth will visit Beijing, Seoul and
Tokyo this week to discuss ways to resume the Six-Party Talks on
North Korea's nuclear program. (Chosun, Dong-a, Hankook, Segye,
Seoul, all TVs, VoiceofPeople)
Kim Yong-il, director of the international department of North
Korea's Workers' Party, arrived in China yesterday to meet with
Chinese President Hu Jintao. (Chosun, Dong-a, Hankook, Segye, Seoul,
According to the Feb. 23 issue of Japan's Asahi Shimbun, shortly
after the North's second nuclear test last May, China expressed
opposition over the North's decision to have a hereditary power
succession, and demanded the North open (its doors to the outside
world), discontinue its nuclear ambitions. China's Foreign Ministry,
however, dismissed this report as "unfounded." (JoongAng, Dong-a,
Segye, Seoul, all TVs)
According to Reuters, last November, South Africa intercepted a ship
carrying components of a military tank from North Korea. The ship
was headed for the Republic of the Congo. (Chosun, JoongAng)
SEOUL 00000297 002 OF 004
Most ROK media gave attention to Feb. 22 press remarks by Assistant
Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip Crowley, in which he
said that Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen
Bosworth will visit Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo this week to discuss
ways to resume the Six-Party Talks.
Conservative Chosun Ilbo noted that China's top nuclear envoy, Wu
Dawei, invited only the chief delegates to the Six-Party Talks from
the ROK and the U.S. to Beijing. The newspaper conjectured that
China may be intending to talk first with the U.S. and the ROK,
which have big differences of opinion with North Korea over the
conditions for resuming the Six-Party Talks, and then, depending on
the results of these discussions, will contact the other parties in
the Six-Party process.
Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo observed that the ongoing series of
high-level contacts among countries involved in the Six-Party Talks
are heightening expectations for a resumption of the Six-Party
Talks, and that there is even speculation that the Six-Party Talks
may resume in late March.
Moderate Hankook Ilbo, meanwhile, surmised that China may have won a
concession from North Korea, which has demanded an end to sanctions
and a peace treaty as preconditions to its return to the Six-Party
Talks. Based on this, Hankook went on to say that China may present
the ROK and the U.S. with a compromise proposal which calls for the
issue of a peace treaty to be dealt with in parallel with
denuclearization discussions, even though the lifting of sanctions
Yesterday's arrival in China of Kim Yong-il, director of the
international department of North Korea's Workers' Party, captured
the attention of the ROK media. According to media reports, Kim's
visit is to reciprocate a visit his Chinese counterpart Wang Jiarui
made to Pyongyang earlier this month, but there is speculation that
the resumption of the Six-Party Talks would likely be on the agenda
during his meetings with Chinese leaders. Most media reported that
the North Korean official met with the Chinese President.
PARWAN GOVERNOR SALANGI: "WE WILL NOT FORGET THE ROK'S HELP DURING
RECENT SNOW SLIDE"
(Chosun Ilbo, February 24, 2010, Page 8)
By Correspondent Lee Ha-won from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan
"Although the ROK's Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) team has
not officially started its mission here, we are grateful for the
immediate relief efforts provided by the team during the recent snow
slide in Salang Valley. We believe that those relief efforts
effectively launched the ROK's PRT activities," said Basir Salangi,
Governor of Parwan Province.
As soon as the interview began at the provincial office, Governor
Salangi repeatedly said, "Thank you."
When a snow slide occurred at Salang Valley on February 6, claiming
nearly 200 lives, the ROK Embassy in Afghanistan promptly asked the
headquarters (of the PRT) to help out, and followed up with a
delivery of relief items worth USD100,000. Then-ROK Ambassador to
Afghanistan, Song Woong-yup, and Minister Counselor Park Young-kyu
met directly with local residents at the provincial office to
deliver rice, flour, and clothes to them. Governor Salangi stated,
"We will not forget that the ROK came earlier than any other nation
to help us recover from this disaster."
Excerpts from the interview are below.
Q. When the ROK's PRT is deployed to Parwan Province this coming
July, what activities do you expect them to carry out?
SEOUL 00000297 003 OF 004
"I hope that they will work in such fields as education, health
care, agriculture, and job creation. If the ROK provides assistance
in these four fields, it will significantly help in the recovery of
this region. In addition, children in this region desire to study
in the ROK. If the ROK offers Afghan students with scholarships to
study in the ROK, it will have a positive impact on the future of
Q. What image does the ROK project in this region?
"The ROK is becoming a 'role model,' which we have to learn from.
With the world as a witness, the ROK delivered necessary relief
supplies, including clothes and food, to people in need. Many
Parwan residents are well aware of the ROK's recent relief
Q. Some Koreans are negative about sending the PRT and troops for
its protection to Afghanistan because of the tragic incident in
2007, in which two Koreans were killed by the Taliban.
"As the Governor of Parwan, I say with confidence that Parwan is a
very safe region in Afghanistan. All residents here do not like the
Taliban. The place where the ROK's PRT will be located is very safe
because it is near a residential area."
Q. What is the overall situation?
"Although there are still some problems in some southern parts (of
the country), we can say that things are much better than a year
ago. It is clear that the situation is improving."
(ROKG) CONSIDERS DISPATCHING HELICOPTER TO PROTECT ITS PRT; NEEDS TO
PREPARE AGAINST POSSIBLE ROCKET ATTACKS
(Chosun Ilbo, February 24, 2010, Page 8)
By Washington Correspondent Lee Ha-won
(We) rode in a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle out
of Bagram Air Base at eight thirty a.m. on February 22, and went
about 20km to the northwest. At the bottom of a snow-capped
mountain, were some shabby buildings where the Afghan police was on
guard. In Charikar, the capital of Parwan Province, the MRAP
suddenly stopped in front of a building that was nestled in the
hills. Sergeant Gilbert Nuno, who was in our company, jumped out of
the vehicle. Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division got out of
another MRAP to stand guard.
Lieutenant Christopher Eubank, who got out of the MRAP, Parwan
Governor Basir Salangi, who wore a suit, and U.S. State Department
representative Ethan Glick all shook hands with one another.
Communicating with each other outside the provincial office, U.S.
forces became more vigilant of their surroundings. They were
gathering for a security meeting, which takes place every month.
Participants included the (Afghan) police chief, UN representative,
security forces chief and intelligence agency director. There was
an air of great tension. In the meeting, the participants discussed
issues ranging from regional stability following the Marjah
offensive to avalanches (at Salang Pass.) The participants asked
me, "When will the ROK's provincial reconstruction team (PRT)
arrive?" There was a black out during the meeting, but the lights
were up again after an hour and fifteen minutes. Governor Salangi
raised his hands in a gesture indicating a sense of relief.
Charikar, with a population of 800,000, is more like a town than a
city. It is hard to find a building with more than two stories.
Small shops are clustered together. It took just five minutes for
us to get out of the downtown area on the armored vehicle.
Residents live in mud huts which were set up near a stream.
Parwan is predominantly inhabited by ethnic Tajiks who are hostile
toward the Pashtun tribes, which comprise the majority of the
Taliban. Parwan's language is Dari, not Pashtun. A Parwan official
SEOUL 00000297 004 OF 004
said, "The southern part of Afghanistan, where the Taliban mostly
operates, is different from this area in culture and thinking. We
abhor the Taliban."
The ROK's 500 PRT personnel, including civilians and protective
forces, will stay in a region 6km to the east of Charikar. There is
a road nearby leading to Uzbekistan in the north. Power lines are
seen at the front and a stream runs along the road. The ROKG
visited this region with U.S. forces last month and marked off the
site using a piece of chalk.
The site where the ROK's PRT will be stationed is located near
residential houses, with a mountain in the back and a road at the
front. An official from Bagram Air Base said it will be easy to
guard this area. Also, in case of an emergency, a helicopter could
be immediately dispatched from Bagram Air Base to provide support.
Local residents have a favorable opinion of the ROK. The ROKG is
considering dispatching a UH-60 helicopter to protect the ROK's PRT
personnel and purchasing or renting an MRAP vehicle. ROK forces,
heavily armed with the most advanced mortars, are expected to be
deployed to protect (Bagram Air) Base.
However, the ROKG needs to come up with ways to protect ROK troops
from a possible rocket attack by Taliban forces who may sneak into
this area. In addition, the ROKG should prepare for the possibility
that the Taliban may detonate an improvised explosive device (IED)
by the side of the road that the ROK's PRT personnel will frequently
take. An official from Bagram Air Base said, "Under current
circumstances, the area where the ROK's PRT will be deployed is
considered relatively safe. But the ROK should thoroughly prepare
against any emergency situation."