Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07SEOUL3224
2007-10-31 07:26:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Seoul
Cable title:  

BLUE HOUSE ADVISORS: WE WILL LOSE IN DECEMBER BUT

Tags:  PGOV PINR PREL KN KS 
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RR RUEHWEB

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ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 310726Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7188
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3342
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 3475
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUALSFJ/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA
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 003224 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/10/2014
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL KN KS
SUBJECT: BLUE HOUSE ADVISORS: WE WILL LOSE IN DECEMBER BUT
THAT'S OK


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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SEOUL 003224

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/10/2014
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL KN KS
SUBJECT: BLUE HOUSE ADVISORS: WE WILL LOSE IN DECEMBER BUT
THAT'S OK


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


1. (C) SUMMARY: On October 30, Poloffs met with two
working-level Blue House policy advisers. The two, both
typical "Roh-sa-mo" supporters who owe their Blue House jobs
to their work on the Roh campaign in 2002, were pessimistic
about United New Democratic Party (UNDP) Candidate Chung
Dong-young's chances in the December 19 presidential
election, but were optimistic that the UNDP would be more
successful in the April 2008 parliamentary elections. They
noted that they expected the extension of the South Korean
troops to Iraq likely would pass without much difficulty
despite the early rhetoric to the contrary. Both also
predicted that additional revelations about Lee Myung-bak's
past would provide ample fodder for the UNDP and the press to
attack once Lee took office. END SUMMARY.

--------------
TEPID SUPPORT FOR UNDP CANDIDATE
--------------


2. (C) The Blue House contacts admitted that the Roh
Moo-hyun administration had little enthusiasm for backing
UNDP candidate Chung Dong-young. Instead, they said Roh
supporters were working for independent candidate Moon
Kuk-hyun or had already started on former Health and Welfare
Minister Rhyu Si Min's 2012 campaign. Former head of the
southeastern region Roh-sa-mo organization and current Blue
House adviser Kim Tae-whan said the Roh followers had, "all
gone every which way," and "no one voluntarily joined Chung's
camp." They sadly admitted the election of Lee Myung-bak,
the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) candidate, was
inevitable.

-------------- --
FURTHER ALLEGATIONS OF LEE'S PAST IMPROPRIETIES
-------------- --


3. (C) While hints of Lee's past improprieties including the
BBK/Kim Kyung-joon scandal are being highlighted in the
Korean media, the Blue House officials described the
allegations as being "too little, too late" to seriously
impact Lee Myung-bak's candidacy. They predicted that,
although the Korean public's support of Lee as a candidate
was lukewarm, a misguided belief in the effectiveness of
Lee's economic policies would ensure his election.


4. (C) The Blue House officials mentioned two confirmed
accounts of Lee's past arrests or indictments: his 1964
student arrest for protesting President Park Chung-hee's
policies and his resignation from the National Assembly in
1998 for violating election finance laws. In addition, Kim
Tae-whan claimed that there were a minimum of twelve
additional instances of arrest or indictment yet to be
revealed in the media. When Lee registers as a presidential
candidate on November 25 or 26, he must declare all past
transgressions. Again, this might not be enough to keep him
from the Blue House, but it could give the media and the
opposition ample reason to attack Lee from the day he is
elected, which could help the UNDP salvage a victory in the
April National Assembly election.


5. (C) The Blue House contacts speculated that Lee
Hoi-chang, the GNP candidate who was defeated in the previous
two presidential elections, might be mulling another run to
hedge against the possibility that further allegations,
especially those involving BBK, may derail Lee's candidacy.
They dismissed Lee Hoi-chang as a serious threat to win since
he was old and had already been discredited in his past
defeats.

-------------- ---
EXPECTATIONS FOR THE 2008 PARLIMENTARY ELECTIONS
-------------- ---


6. (C) The Blue House officials claimed the mainstream media
may be reluctant to further investigate and divulge Lee's
misdoings because of the potential impact on the upcoming
election. However, they were confident that as these
allegations surfaced in the days following the election, a
jaded Korean public would overwhelmingly elect UNDP
candidates in the April 2008 parliamentary elections.
Responding to questions of whether the UNDP could stay
together until April, Jo Su-jeong, an assistant on the policy
planning staff at the Blue House, said that the UNDP would
stay together because if they do not, they would have lost
control of both the Blue House and the National Assembly.

--------------
IRAQ
--------------


7. (C) Both Kim and Jo agreed the Iraq deployment would be
extended. While UNDP Candidate Chung and the party had come
out strongly against the extension, a compromise had been
reached so the extension could pass the Assembly. They said
the persuasiveness of Roh's speech -- apologizing for
reneging on his promise to end the deployment by the end of
2007 -- was the reason the extension had recently gained more
support in the Assembly and in the public.

VERSHBOW