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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06SEOUL1377
2006-04-25 08:19:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Seoul
Cable title:  

A/S HILL'S APRIL 13 MEETINGS WITH CHUNG

Tags:   PREL  PHUM  PNUC  KS  KN 
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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUL #1377/01 1150819
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 250819Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7522
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0542
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 7270
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0622
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA J2 SEOUL KOR
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA J5 SEOUL KOR
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA SCJS SEOUL KOR
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC//OSD/ISA/EAP//
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SEOUL 001377 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

EAP/K PASS USTR

E.O. 12958: DECL: AFTER KOREAN REUNIFICATION
TAGS: PREL PHUM PNUC KS KN
SUBJECT: A/S HILL'S APRIL 13 MEETINGS WITH CHUNG
DONG-YOUNG, PARK GEUN-HYE

Classified By: Pol M/C Joseph Yun. Reasons 1.4 (b/d).

SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) In separate meetings April 13, EAP A/S Christopher R.
Hill discussed the status of Six Party Talks and U.S.-ROK
relations with the leaders of Korea's two main political
parties. Chung Dong-young, Chairman of the ruling Uri Party
and former Minister of Unification, expressed concern that
the confluence of U.S. actions at the Six Party Talks and on
illicit activities gave the impression of a hardening in the
U.S. position. Park Geun-hye, Chairwoman of the Grand
National Party (GNP), stressed the importance of a unified
U.S.-ROK approach to North Korea, saying that the allies must
not let the North Korea issue harm our bilateral
relationship. On other issues, Chung told A/S Hill that
there was some concern within the ruling party that the ROKG
was rushing into FTA negotiations against the deadline set by
the expiration of U.S. TPA authority. He suggested that
inclusion of Kaesong-made products could persuade skeptics to
support the trade agreement. END SUMMARY.



2. (SBU) A/S Hill was accompanied to both meetings by the
Ambassador and NSC Asia Director Victor Cha. Chung was
joined by Reps. Chae Su-chan and Suh Hae-sook. Park was
accompanied by Amb. Lee Jai-chun, GNP International Relations
Committee Chairman, and Rep. Yoo Jung-bok, Chief of Staff to
the Chairwoman.

NORTH KOREA


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





3. (C) In separate meetings April 13, A/S Hill briefed Uri
Chairman Chung and GNP Chairwoman Park on his meetings in
Tokyo on the margins of the April 11-12 Northeast Asia
Cooperative Dialogue (NEACD) conference. He had good
meetings with ROK counterparts, noting the usefulness of the
U.S.-ROK-Japan trilateral meeting. All five parties had
delivered a single message: It was incumbent upon North Korea
to return to the Six Party Talks. A/S Hill expressed
disappointment that the North Koreans had proved unprepared
to discuss a return to the Talks. He acknowledged that other
parties had pressed for him to meet bilaterally with the
DPRK's VFM Kim Gye-gwan, but that he had declined as
Pyongyang's track record suggested that such contact at this
time was unlikely to be productive. A/S Hill stated that
Washington continued to hope to solve the nuclear issue
through the Six Party Talks, but underscored that patience
was running out. He stressed that we must continue to press
Beijing to lean on Pyongyang.



4. (C) Chung agreed that Pyongyang's truculence was
disappointing. It had been seven months since the parties
had agreed to the September 19 Joint Statement. The parties
should be implementing the agreement, but instead we were
forced to waste time standing still. Chung observed that A/S

Hill's refusal to meet with VFM Kim, along with continuing
U.S. action on illicit activities, was creating the
impression that Washington was not only shunning North Korea
but was moving to assume a threatening stance.



5. (C) Separately, GNP Chairwoman Park expressed her full
support for the U.S. approach to the North Korean nuclear
issue, human rights, and illicit activities. She stressed
the importance of the bilateral and trilateral relationships
among Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo, noting that Pyongyang
sought to exploit any differences among the three. She
remarked that, during a visit to Tokyo the previous month,
she had been struck by the fact that Japanese leaders agreed
with her views on North Korea, while current South Korean
leaders did not. Park observed that if the international
community were to speak with one voice that integration was
the only way for the North Korean regime to survive, the
problem would be resolved sooner than expected. Park
speculated that differences in opinion between Washington and
Seoul were encouraging Pyongyang to defer its return to the
Six Party Talks. She also criticized the Roh Administration
for its silence on human rights abuses in North Korea and the
regime's counterfeiting activities. She vowed that the
ROKG's approach to North Korea would be better aligned with
the USG's if and when her party won the presidency in 2007.

(NOTE: Park is a front-runner to be the GNP's nominee in the
December 2007 presidential race. Her main challenger within
the party at this point is Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak. END
NOTE.)



6. (C) A/S Hill told Park that it was important not to allow
problems with the DPRK to weaken the U.S.-ROK relationship.
He said that the biggest difference between Washington and
Seoul was that the ROKG sometimes wanted dialogue for the
sake of dialogue, while Washington wanted results. He also
noted that the media's penchant for exaggerating differences
contributed to needless misunderstandings. A/S Hill
expressed concern that other issues, such as the
re-examination of the USFK/CFC/UNC command structure and FTA
negotiations, could further strain bilateral relations.

FTA, KAESONG


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





7. (C) Asked to comment on the ruling party's stance on a
U.S.-ROK FTA, Chung stated that there was consensus that an
FTA was necessary and useful. That said, reflecting public
opinion, many in the ruling party bridled under the pressure
and sense of haste imposed by the March 2007 deadline for
completing negotiations. Given that there were more than
12,000 items to be covered by the U.S.-ROK FTA, the Korean
public needed to feel that the country had had sufficient
time to prepare for and conduct negotiations. Aside from
rice, Chung noted that Koreans would be particularly
concerned that an FTA could "destroy" the ROK's public
education and public health care systems. He acknowledged
that because the debate over the FTA would be divisive, the
Uri Party would not conduct formal intra-party discussions of
the FTA until after the May 31 nation-wide local elections.



8. (C) Continuing, Chung said that he would lead a
delegation of about 100 Uri lawmakers on a visit to the
Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) at the end of April. He
offered his "personal opinion" that inclusion of KIC-made
products under the terms of a U.S.-ROK FTA would be very
persuasive to those Uri lawmakers currently opposed to the
FTA. Many Uri members believed that KIC-made products should
be included in the FTA not just for political, but also for
economic reasons. After all, if Korean companies were unable
to get their KIC-made products to U.S. and EU markets, it
would limit the KIC's potential. Chung asserted that we
needed to create a situation in which Kim Jong-il came to see
KIC as integral to his regime's survival. He claimed that,
under the ROK Constitution, Kaesong, along with the rest of
the DPRK, was part of the ROK. Responding to A/S Hill's
quey, Chung stated that ROK companies were attracted to KIC
for three reasons: physical proximity, shared language and
culture with North Korean workers, and low monthly wages of
about USD 57 per month. He predicted that, if the nuclear
issue were solved, South Korean companies would flood into
KIC. A/S Hill noted U.S. concerns about the KIC, especially
the issue of wage rates and whether these would constitute an
unfair labor practice or even a human rights issue.
VERSHBOW