2006-04-07 08:11:00
Embassy Seoul
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DE RUEHUL #1154/01 0970811
P 070811Z APR 06
S E C R E T SEOUL 001154 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/21/2014

Classified By: A/DCM Joseph Y. Yun. Reasons 1.4 (b,d).

S E C R E T SEOUL 001154



E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/21/2014

Classified By: A/DCM Joseph Y. Yun. Reasons 1.4 (b,d).

1. (S) SUMMARY: At the seventh U.S.-ROK Security Policy
Initiative (SPI) meeting in Seoul, March 21, the two sides
agreed to work toward a shorter and less detailed
Comprehensive Security Assessment (CSA),noted significant
progress on the Joint Vision Study, and reaffirmed the
commitment to develop a roadmap on future command relations.
On the key issue of camp returns, DUSD Lawless, stressing
that the LaPorte Plan represents the last and final offer on
the issue, outlined the USG's plan for undertaking clean-up
measures related to the return of facilities to the ROK.
With respect to the progress of Yongsan/LPP relocation, the
ROKG insisted on no USFK-funded construction until the
ongoing environmental impact assessment (EIA) and an estimate
on landfill requirements were completed. The two sides
agreed to meet at a working-level to resolve this issue in
the near future. On mission transfers, the ROKG agreed to
finalize the terms of reference (TOR) and have it ready for
signing by the end of March. The two sides also agreed to
seek additional transfers of responsibilities and set a
timetable for implementation. The next round of SPI will be
held on May 18-19 in Washington. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) The seventh round of SPI talks was held in Seoul
March 21. The new Assistant Minister of Defense for Policy,
LTG(R) Kwon An-do, headed the ROK side. DUSD Richard Lawless
headed the U.S. side.


3. (S) After a brief exchange of introductory remarks, the
ROK side described the state of play on the Comprehensive
Security Assessment (CSA). Kwon noted that the assessment
still had many problems and proposed a new approach in which
the report is streamlined into a much shorter and less
controversial assessment. MG Park from the Korea Defense
Intelligence Agency explained that in the "CSA-lite,"
detailed assessments on ROK's neighboring countries would be
reduced significantly. Lawless expressed appreciation for
the ROK's attempt to draft a streamlined CSA without an
annex. However, he noted that the U.S. had already shortened
the part on the threat from China in direct response to ROK

concerns and sensitivities. In return, he requested the ROK
to make appropriate changes in the Japan section, taking into
consideration the political realities of the U.S.-Japan
alliance and the military access granted by Japan to the
defense of the ROK.

4. (S) Lawless also noted that the U.S. position on the CSA
is that the downsized CSA would onlybe acceptable if it
contributed and served as a foundation for the Joint Vision
Study (JVS). If the CSA failed to achieve its intended
purpose, the two sides should consider terminating the CSA.
Responding to Lawless' request for draft "CSA-lite," Kwon
agreed to provide a full copy of the new CSA as soon as
possible, no later than April 15. Lawless said that the U.S.
side would finish review of the nw draft by May 10 and that
if no agreement was reached before the next SPI the two sides
should consider the CSA terminated.

5. (S) On the Joint Vision Study, Lawless stated that the
U.S. had no objections to the results of the study as
presented and was pleased that it had been completed on time.
He proposed presenting the study at the next SCM in October.

6. (S) On the Command Relations Study (CRS),the discussion
centered on questions over the signing of the Terms of
Reference (TOR) and a timeline for the transfer of
responsibilities. Kwon said that there were no problems with
the TOR, and he expected the TOR to be signed at the end of
March. Lawless inquired whether the TOR had any changes and
promised to get back to Kwon after reviewing it. Lawless
emphasized that the TOR must include a timeline and details
on how both sides will proceed. In response, Kwon said the
ROK could give some timelines on mission transfers. However
the TOR states that the timeline will be developed in 2007,
and it would be difficult to set up a detailed schedule on
command relations at this time. MG Thiessen of USFK J-5
pointed out that although it would take a lot of work and
time to develop a timeline, if the target year goals were not
established, there would be no way to provide an execution
timeframe by 2007. Kwon agreed that the ROK would formulate
a target year, including a detailed a timeline with a fixed
target date for transfer of wartime operational control, in
time for this year's Security Consultative Meeting (SCM).

Camp Returns

7. (S) Camp returns and environmental clean up remained a
contentious issue. The ROK Ministry of Environment (MOE),
while not explicit in their rejection of the LaPorte Plan,
presented a counter-proposal. Director Kim from MOE
explained that "bio-slurping" might have the immediate impact
of cleaning up the top layer of ground water but in the long
run contaminants absorbed in the lower levels of the soil
would eventually leach back into the groundwater. Therefore,
MOE proposed to adopt a more exhaustive method to excavate
the contaminated area. In recognition of the U.S. commitment
to the LaPorte proposal, however, MOE called for both the
U.S. and ROK plans to be implemented for a trial 2-3 month
period, after which an experts technical committee would
convene and compare the results. The committee would then
adopt the method of higher performance to be applied to
problematic bases. Kim explained that MOE's plan was not to
go with a plan of higher cost, but a more effective approach
within the allocated budget.

8. (S) Lawless inquired whether MND and MOFAT had any
comments on MOE's presentation. Kwon responded that given
the very technical nature of the matter, MND and MOFAT had
nothing further to add to the discussion. When pressed by
Lawless, Kwon replied that MOE's proposal was the common
proposal of the ROKG. Lawless noted that the MOE
counterproposal seemed to imply that the LaPorte Plan was
unacceptable to the ROK and that it lacked technical merit.
When asked by Lawless to clarify whether any contamination
that the USG would not clean up will eventually be cleaned up
by someone else, Kwon responded that the ROKG would have to
do so since land space was so valuable. Kwon argued that
based on ROK's experience with the excavation method used on
a ROK military base in Busan, he thought it might be
worthwhile to compare both plans.

9. (S) MOE's Kim explained that the ROK did not make any
assumptions as to the effectiveness of the U.S. plan.
However, he was concerned with the rebounding effect that
after six months of clean up, the ROK would have to pick up
the tab on additional remediation work. His ministry's view
was to achieve the best result. COL. Wilson of USFK
questioned the ROK's presentation, which covered remediation
in fourteen locations and cleaning up fuels and heavy metals
in the soil. He observed that the ROK plan was much more
than technical adjustments to the U.S. proposal. Kim
responded that the MOE counter-proposal assumed the informal
cost estimate on bio-slurping represented a programmed dollar
amount and sought to come up with a more effective clean up
method within that budget.

10. (S) Lawless explained that it was unacceptable for the
U.S. to expand the clean up from five camps to fourteen, as
well as to different contaminants. Furthermore, when the
LaPorte Plan was proposed in January, the ROK side--
Ministers of Defense and Environment-- had indicated that the
proposal would be accepted. However, at SPI 6, the U.S. had
asked for a formal ROKG acceptance of the plan, and the ROKG
delegation stated it was not authorized to respond. Instead
of a firm answer, the ROK has made a counter-proposal,
despite repeated explanations that the U.S. offer made at SPI
6 was the United States' last, best, and final offer. He
informed the ROK delegation that OSD would be sending a
letter within the next two weeks on how the U.S. will proceed
with clean up. Kwon and Kim implored the U.S. side to engage
in further dialogue on the issue and hold off on the action
letter in the spirit of the alliance.

Security Cooperation Update

11. (S) The PACOM representative gave a briefing on the
history of Khaan Quest and invited the ROK's participation in
KQ 2006. In a preliminary response, Kwon said the ROK
supported Khaan Quest 2006 but had not made a final decision
on ROK participation in the exercise. He acknowledged that
the exercise was in line with the ROK's commitment to Peace
Keeping Operations (PKO) and built on previous ROK PKO
experience. However, Kwon said the issue required careful
review as all previous ROK PKOs had been on a bilateral basis
and Khaan Quest 2006 would be their first multilateral PKO
exercise. He promised to respond by mid-April on the method
and the scope of participation for KQ 2006 in August. The
ROK was also invited to attend a planning conference on KQ
2006 scheduled for April 17th in Hawaii.

Mission Transfers

12. (S) MG Thiessen of USFK J-5 expressed appreciation for
the ROK's successful rescue of a U.S. fighter pilot after he
crashed in the West Sea and cited this operation as an
example of the ROK's success in accepting the mission
transfer for Search and Rescue operations. Thiessen sought
the ROK's agreement on further mission transfers prior to the
SCM, and stated that this would require signing of the TOR to
meet deadlines and obligations on both sides. Kwon agreed to
establish a working group to identify missions for transfer
and also consider ROK's capability to accept those missions.

Base Relocation/Consolidation

13. (S) While reviewing the progress of Yongsan/LPP
relocation plans, the ROK side expressed concerns about any
visible U.S. construction on land undergoing a four-season
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA),as it would spark a
public outcry, and recommended that the U.S. wait until the
conclusion of the study to begin construction. Kwon noted
that the EIA was on track to be completed by September of
this year. Lawless expressed satisfaction with an earlier
completion date of the EIA. He noted that although in
practical terms it would be impossible for the U.S. to begin
construction on the site until after the projected end of the
EIA, the U.S. had the right to start construction on SOFA
granted land at any time. The SOFA superseded domestic
Korean law. Both sides agreed that further discussion of the
issue at SPI would not be productive and that it should be
addressed at the working level.

14. (S) The ROK expressed concern over public protests on
the base relocation and was actively engaged to prevent
anti-U.S. activists from gaining access to the area to be
used for expansion at Camp Humphreys. The ROK presented a
map of planned modifications around the perimeter of the
area, which included earthwork, fences and guard posts to
limit access and inhibit the ability for residents to plant
crops. The ROK also anticipated that all residents who
agreed to sell their households would be moved by June 2006
and that 315 residents who refused to sell their property
would be relocated by June 2007. The ROK also supported the
U.S. position not to accept land that still had ROK residents
and agreed that areas already vacated would be provided once
they became available.

15. (S) Kwon informed Lawless that an expert group had been
contracted to start a feasibility study to minimize landfill
at Camp Humphreys. Once the feasibility study was concluded
at the end of April, landfill would commence. Kwon also
commented that the landfill project would reduce flooding at
Camp Humphreys. Lawless welcomed the opportunity to review
the study with Kwon in the near future.

16. (S) In response to U.S. questions about the Master Plan
(MP) the ROK side explained that it was confident it would be
completed by the end of May, but that the figures in the
initial master plan (IMP) only represented rough estimates.
If the projected expenditures exceeded the amounts initially
set in the IMP, the ROK would have to seek National Assembly
approval for expenditures greater than initial estimates.
Despite Lawless' repeated and direct requests for a copy of
the IMP and its associated estimated budget given to the
National Assembly at the time when the Yongsan Relocation
Plan was approved, ROK representatives dodged and ignored
this request. The ROK representatives also said that
construction of known facilities and locations could not
begin until the MP was approved and the environmental impact
assessment was completed. Turning to the construction of the
new USFK/UNC/Combined Forces Command Headquarters (CFC HQ),
the ROK representative informed Lawless that the HQ is part
of the Yongsan Relocation Plan, and as such, the HQ program
must be designed by the ROK after the completion of the MP.
Responding to a request to relocate small units stationed at
Yongsan to existing facilities at Camp Humphreys the ROKG
agreed to consider the matter if a formal request was made.

17. (S) When asked by Lawless when the Program Management
Office (PMO) would release the Request for Qualifications
(RFQ),the ROK representative replied that the RFQ was almost
finished. However, there were some minor disagreements with
USFK, thus holding the final release. Lawless pressed the
ROK to release the RFQ since projects were being delayed
pending its release. The ROK side agreed to release the
document as soon as the PM agreements are concluded.

Press Release

18. (U) In coordination with the U.S. side, MND issued the
following press release:

(Begin text)

Seoul, Republic of Korea -- The ROK and U.S. held the Seventh
ROK-U.S. Security Policy Initiative, headed by Assistant
Minister Kwon, An Do from ROK and DUSD Lawless from the U.S.,
on the 21st of March 2006, at the Ministry of Defense.

Both sides agreed to continuously discuss the "Joint Vision
Study of the ROK-U.S. Alliance" and to report the results at
SCM 2006.

Concerning the ROK exercise of wartime OPCON, the study plan
of the Combined Working Group was reviewed and the future
milestones for the way ahead was discussed. Both sides
reaffirmed the basic principle of reporting the wartime OPCON
related Roadmap at SCM 2006.

Concerning USFK relocation, the U.S. expressed its
appreciation for ROK's efforts, and both sides exchanged
opinions on key issues such as the current status of the USFK
relocation project, task priorities & procedures, etc.

(Environmental remediation (pending questions))

Through extensive discussions on the standpoint of both ROK
and U.S., both sides improved the mutual understanding on the
differences. Both sides agreed to continue the required
essential discussions.