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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08SEOUL2035 2008-10-15 09:02:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Seoul
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR'S CALL ON NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SPEAKER KIM

Tags:   PGOV PREL PINR KS KN 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SEOUL 002035 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/14/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR KS KN
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S CALL ON NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SPEAKER KIM
HYUNG-O

Classified By: AMB Stephens. Reasons 1.4 (b,d).



1. (C) Summary: In an October 10 meeting with National
Assembly Speaker Kim Hyung-o, the Ambassador and the Speaker
discussed the current state of North Korean affairs and the
support of both governments for a denuclearized North Korea.
Turning to the KORUS FTA, which the government submitted to
the National Assembly two days earlier, Kim emphasized the
importance of the FTA for the continued development of Korea
and for U.S.-Korea relations, although no indication was
given as to the timing of a ratification vote. End Summary.



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


North Korea


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





2. (C) Ambassador Stephens paid an introductory call on
National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyung-o on October 10. In
welcoming her, Kim said that, "the Korean people would fully
support her in carrying out her responsibilities as
Ambassador." He went on to say that the Ambassador had
arrived at a critical moment and that he hoped that a
resolution to the North Korea issue could be found during her
tenure. The Ambassador said that both nations needed to
address how they were going to bring about a lasting peace on
the Peninsula. She emphasized the need for closer bilateral
relations to pave the way for a denuclearized North Korea and
for allowing the North Korean people to enjoy the same
opportunities and freedoms that South Koreans enjoy today.
Kim added that he was appalled by the human rights conditions
in North Korea and said that they were living in worse
conditions than South Koreans were in the 1950s and 1960s.



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


U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement


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





3. (C) Turning to the KORUS FTA, Kim noted that the
agreement had been submitted to the National Assembly two
days earlier. He said that the FTA was necessary for the
continued development of Korea and was also vital in
strengthening the overall relations with the United States.
To that end, Kim said that he was working to obtain the votes
necessary to ratify the FTA in the National Assembly,
although he did not offer his views on when a ratification
vote might be scheduled. The Ambassador thanked the Speaker
for his efforts and said that more work needed to be done to
let the public in the ROK and the U.S. know the benefits of
the FTA. She had spoken with many members of Congress and
their staffers before her departure, and noted that the KORUS
FTA enjoyed broad but often quiet support. Kim also stressed
the importance of "parliamentary diplomacy" in assuring the
ratification of the FTA and suggested that he may travel to
the U.S. next year. He added that he had concerns about some
comments being made about the FTA on the presidential
campaign trail and said that Korea would be disappointed if
the U.S. requested a re-negotiation of the agreement. The
Ambassador noted that the United States played a leadership
role in global trade policy and that she did not expect that
to change.



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


Electronic Democracy


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





4. (C) The Ambassador noted that the Speaker had a Ph.D. in
Electronic Democracy and inquired as to its meaning and
significance. Kim responded that although the term was no
longer utilized, he wrote his dissertation on whether or not
the spread of the internet -- and the subsequent
dissemination of information -- would bring about direct
democracy and render representational democracy obsolete. He
concluded that even with electronic democracy, societies
could not get away from representational democracy because
the government, by its very definition, was designed to be a
representation of the will of the people.
STANTON