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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06SHANGHAI6518
2006-10-13 09:42:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Consulate Shanghai
Cable title:  

SHANGHAI SCHOLARS ON NORTH KOREA

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  CH  KN 
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VZCZCXRO8264
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHGH #6518/01 2860942
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 130942Z OCT 06
FM AMCONSUL SHANGHAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4714
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0261
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0243
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0343
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 0259
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 0266
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 5003
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 SHANGHAI 006518 

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/13/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV CH KN
SUBJECT: SHANGHAI SCHOLARS ON NORTH KOREA


CLASSIFIED BY: Simon Schuchat, Deputy Principal Officer, , US
Consulate Shanghai.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)



C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 SHANGHAI 006518

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/13/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV CH KN
SUBJECT: SHANGHAI SCHOLARS ON NORTH KOREA


CLASSIFIED BY: Simon Schuchat, Deputy Principal Officer, , US
Consulate Shanghai.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)




1. (C) Summary: Five of Shanghai's North Korea Scholars told
Poloffs that China would support a UN Security Council (UNSC)
resolution to punish North Korea, but would oppose including any
military action in the resolution. While one scholar said that
China might also move its humanitarian assistance from bilateral
to multilateral channels, others said that China would not cut
back its bilateral assistance; in particular, oil deliveries
were already at the minimum level needed to maintain the
pipeline. Scholars also said that the nuclear test clearly
demonstrated that China had little leverage over North Korea and
the United States needed to be flexible if there was any hope of
resolving the crisis. Most scholars said North Korean conducted
the test to improve their national security and prevent an
attack from the United States. One scholar believed that North
Korean President Kim Jong-Il had agreed to the test to secure
support from the military not only to remain in power but to
ensure succession of one of his sons. End Summary.



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UNSC Sanctions

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




2. (C) Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS)
Department of Strategic Studies Director Xia Liping told DPO
during a lunch on October 12 that China would support
"punishing" North Korea through a UNSC resolution, but would not
support military action against the DPRK. During a meeting with
Poloff on October 12, SIIS Research Fellow Gong Keyu had the
same view as Xia and said that China needed to see how these
sanctions would be used before it could support them. It was
important that any action be effective. She added that China
might support military action, if it was focused and short term.
There would be no support for an Iraq or Afghan style military
action.




3. (C) Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS) Center for

Korean Peninsular Studies Director Liu Ming in his conversation
with Poloff on October 13 added that if sanctions were too
severe, then they would be counterproductive since North Korea
was an abnormal country. Instead of giving in, North Korea
would react strongly to the sanctions and might accelerate its
nuclear program. Xia thought that North Korea might respond to
sanctions with another test. Their ultimate goal was a nuclear
warhead on a long-range missile, and they had now tested both
the missile and the warhead separately - so perhaps they would
try to test them together. The low yield of last weekend's test
might mean that the test was a failure, but it could also mean
that the North's technology was advanced enough to produce a
small warhead.



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China's Leverage Limited

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




4. (C) Jiaotong University Shanghai Center for RIMPAC Strategic
and International Studies Deputy Director Zhuang Jianzhong in a
meeting with Deputy Principal Officer (DPO) and Poloff on
October 11, said that China's attitude toward North Korea had
changed. North Korea was certainly not a friend of China.
China would continue to advise, persuade and criticize North
Korea to get it to return to the Six-Party talks, but that the
United States should not totally depend on China. SASS Liu went
further and asserted that China's leverage over North Korea was
limited. The one thing that North Korea wanted was a

SHANGHAI 00006518 002 OF 003


relationship with the United States. It had created the current
crisis to get the United States' attention. He urged that the
United States be more flexible towards North Korea and find a
way to provide the North Koreans with a face saving way out.




5. (C) Xia said that from a strategic perspective, North Korea
believed it must have a good relationship with the United States
in order to survive. The DPRK saw itself in a similar position
to the Yi dynasty at the end of the nineteenth century, too weak
to protect itself from Japan, China, or the ROK. It made sense,
therefore, to ally with someone far away (the United States);
nearby states were always threats, real or potential.



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

Assistance Will Continue

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




6. (C) Most of the scholars said that China would not
significantly reduce its assistance to North Korea. Zhuang said
that while China might take some economic actions, the
assistance China provided was for North Korean people's basic
needs. One must differentiate between humanitarian and
political assistance. Both Gong and Liu told us that if China
cut off its humanitarian assistance, this would only affect the
common people and not the North Korean leadership. Liu added
that the level of assistance, oil in particular, from China was
the minimum needed to maintain the pipeline from North Korea to
China. Decreasing assistance would jeopardize the pipeline
infrastructure. In addition, China wanted to punish North
Korea, but did not want to cut off all relations with the DPRK.
It wanted to leave room for future contact. According to Xia,
China would continue humanitarian aid, but might stop providing
it on a bilateral basis and instead have it delivered through
multilateral agencies.



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North Korean Motivations

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




7. (C) Xia told DPO that there was a split in the North Korean
leadership, which had influenced the timing of the DPRK nuclear
test. The military wanted to develop and test nuclear weapons,
while Kim Jong-il was less eager to, preferring to concentrate
on economic reform. Kim did not fully control the military,
which in turn did not trust him to the same extent that they had
trusted his father. Because of concern over succession issues,
Kim had to give in to the military leadership on the nuclear
test. Kim had three sons, none of whom were particularly
satisfactory as successors - the oldest was a playboy, the
middle was "something like a woman," and the youngest was still
too young to be seriously considered as a successor. The
military leadership preferred, as successor - or even as leader
- Kim's younger brother, who was currently serving as Ambassador
to Poland. This younger brother resembled Kim Il-Sung much more
than Kim Jong-Il. In any case, because he needed military
support both to remain in power himself and to arrange for a
succession by one of his sons, Kim had to go along with the
military's desire to test its nuclear weapons.




8. (C) Xia added that China was very concerned about
instability in North Korea and that any general who might
succeed Kim would be more hard-line than Kim. Kim was very
conscious of threats to his personal security; he refused to fly
and when he took trains, frequently changed his plans at the
last minute to thwart assassination attempts. Liu had also
heard the rumors about succession issues and added that some
factions supported Kim's illegitimate son who was adopted by his
sister. He said for now Kim was in complete control of North

SHANGHAI 00006518 003 OF 003


Korea and the country was reasonably stable.




9. (C) SASS Research Fellow Liu Aming, who participated in
Poloff's October 13 conversation with Liu Ming, noted rumors
that Kim agreed to the test to please different factions, but
believed that the main reason for the test was North Korea's
desire to increase its own security. North Korea had learned
from the Iraq war that the United State was willing to invade
other countries and it believed that if it had nuclear weapons,
the United States would not attack it. According to Gong, North
Korea felt that having nuclear weapons would make it more equal
to the United States in status. Also, since the United States
was so fixated on nuclear weapons, even the smallest compromise
by North Korea would lead to big concessions from the United
States.




10. (C) All the scholars agreed that the best solution would
be to resume the 6-Party Talks. Liu Ming said he was
pessimistic about the prospects of restarting talks. He heard
that North Korea did not trust President Bush and wanted to wait
until the 2008 elections. All scholars hoped that the talks
would resume quickly as they were the best way to resolve the
crisis.
JARRETT