wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06SEOUL1270
2006-04-18 07:30:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Seoul
Cable title:  

ROKG DISCUSSES BANGKOK SIX AND KIM CHUN-HEE

Tags:   PREF  PREL  PHUM  AGMT  KS  KN 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO5972
OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHHM
DE RUEHUL #1270/01 1080730
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 180730Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7360
INFO RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK IMMEDIATE 5987
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0479
RUEHUM/AMEMBASSY ULAANBAATAR PRIORITY 1173
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 7243
RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI PRIORITY 1944
RUEHPF/AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH PRIORITY 0247
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON PRIORITY 2355
RUEHVN/AMEMBASSY VIENTIANE PRIORITY 1034
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0557
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0887
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 1425
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 8184
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU PRIORITY 0050
RUDKIA/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 0850
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU PRIORITY 1234
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY PRIORITY 0004
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI PRIORITY 0005
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG PRIORITY 2861
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 1771
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA J5 SEOUL KOR
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA J2 SEOUL KOR
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA SCJS SEOUL KOR
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 SEOUL 001270 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

NSC FOR CHA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/18/2015
TAGS: PREF PREL PHUM AGMT KS KN
SUBJECT: ROKG DISCUSSES BANGKOK SIX AND KIM CHUN-HEE

REF: A. BANGKOK 2202

B. STATE 60901

C. SEOUL 1108

D. STATE 60316

E. SEOUL 911

Classified By: POL M/C Joseph Y. Yun. Reasons 1.4 (b), (d).

SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) MOFAT DG for Policy Planning Nam Gwan-pyo on April 18
told POL M/C that Seoul was relieved to hear that the six
North Koreans had arrived safely in Bangkok (ref a). MOFAT
has instructed its Embassy in Bangkok to assist in vetting
and resolving the case quickly and quietly. Seoul was
positively considering some of the logistics, like whether to
provide interpretation services from a South Korean seconded
to UNHCR or another method. If asked by the media, the ROKG
would reiterate its long-standing position of neither
confirming nor denying individual North Korean asylum cases.
Pressed on the Kim Chun-hee case (ref c), Nam said that ROKG
officials were considering whether to raise the broader
concerns about the safety and welfare of anyone forced to
return to North Korea at the inter-Korean ministerials later
this week. END SUMMARY.
.
BANGKOK SIX


--------------------------





2. (C) In an April 18 meeting with POL M/C, Nam Gwan-pyo,
MOFAT's Director-General for Policy Planning, expressed
relief that the six North Korean asylum seekers had safely
arrived in Bangkok. He said that he had been somewhat
concerned given the involvement of several NGOs and the long
distance the North Koreans had to travel. MOFAT has
instructed its Embassy in Bangkok to assist in resolving the
case quickly and quietly. Regarding vetting, he said Seoul
would extend all assistance. For now, he saw no need for
ROKG officials to talk directly with the North Koreans,
unless the USG needed it. The ROKG also stood willing to
respond to any informational inquiries. It was examining how
to best provide interpretation services, perhaps by tasking a
South Korean seconded to the UNHCR or finding other skilled
personnel. Nam said, however, Seoul probably would not
select a diplomat from its Embassy in Bangkok.



3. (C) He had heard that NGOs were involved and foreign
media might be aware of the case. Still, he believed that
the whole situation should be approached with extreme
discretion. If asked by the media, the ROKG would reiterate
its long-standing position of neither confirming nor denying
individual North Korean asylum cases. The most important
thing was to process the case quickly and quietly. Seoul
would respect the free will of the North Koreans in regard to
where they wanted to resettle.
.
IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE CASES


--------------------------





4. (C) Nam noted that the case of the Bangkok Six was
different from what had been generally discussed between USG
and ROKG officials (ref c). Those discussions had been
focused around processing a North Korean who was already in a
refugee camp or otherwise in hiding. In this situation,
however, the North Koreans directly approached the U.S.

SEOUL 00001270 002 OF 002


Embassy upon arrival. He opined that this was unlikely to
escape public attention and might encourage other North
Koreans to do the same. After a successful application for
resettlement to the United States, conservative media outlets
or NGOs might try and instigate other North Koreans to follow
suit.



5. (C) To the question of whether many North Koreans might
seek resettlement outside South Korea, Nam replied that after
recent media coverage of asylum seekers being resettled in
Europe, the numbers of applicants had increased. This was
relatively surprising because Europe was so far away that
some in Seoul had not seen Europe as a viable option. He
speculated that crackdowns in China coupled with increasing
NGO resourcefulness contributed to a greater flow to Europe.



6. (C) He reiterated that if North Koreans approached ROKG
missions and requested asylum in South Korea, Seoul would
consider the person a defacto ROK citizen and would help the
individual relocate. In the event, however, that a North
Korean approached a ROKG mission and asked for asylum in the
United States, which he said had not happened yet, Seoul
would find it hard to do much beyond referring the person to
UNHCR. Seoul would prefer not to contact third country
missions directly but rely on UNHCR.
.
KIM CHUN-HEE


--------------------------





7. (C) POL M/C informed Nam about USG efforts to encourage
governments to follow-up on the case of Kim Chun-hee, also
known as Choi Eun-sun (ref d). Nam said that Seoul had
raised the issue with Beijing several times and was in close
cooperation with UNHCR in China. Pressed further on the need
to make the ROKG position clear, Nam said that there were
different opinions within the ROKG on timing and method for
approaching this issue. It was unlikely that the specific
case of Kim Chun-hee would be raised at the inter-Korean
ministerials in Pyongyang (April 21-24). However, he hoped
that the ROKG side would mention in general terms its concern
regarding North Koreans forced to return to the DPRK.
VERSHBOW