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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08SHANGHAI273
2008-07-22 08:41:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Consulate Shanghai
Cable title:  

(C) SIX-PARTY TALKS: SHANGHAI ACADEMICS COUNSEL SHORT-TERM

Tags:   CH  ECON  JA  KN  PGOV  PREL 
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R 220841Z JUL 08
FM AMCONSUL SHANGHAI
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RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 1297
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 1268
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 1438
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0220
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 1295
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 1106
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0326
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 7551
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 SHANGHAI 000273 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM, EAP/K, EAP/J
NSC FOR DENNIS WILDER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 7/22/2033
TAGS: CH ECON JA KN PGOV PREL
SUBJECT: (C) SIX-PARTY TALKS: SHANGHAI ACADEMICS COUNSEL SHORT-TERM
PATIENCE, DIVIDED ON PYONGYANG'S ULTIMATE INTENTIONS

REF: SHANGHAI 218

CLASSIFIED BY: Veomayoury Baccam, Acting Pol/Econ Section Chief
, U.S. Consulate General, Shanghai, Department of State.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)



C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 SHANGHAI 000273

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM, EAP/K, EAP/J
NSC FOR DENNIS WILDER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 7/22/2033
TAGS: CH ECON JA KN PGOV PREL
SUBJECT: (C) SIX-PARTY TALKS: SHANGHAI ACADEMICS COUNSEL SHORT-TERM
PATIENCE, DIVIDED ON PYONGYANG'S ULTIMATE INTENTIONS

REF: SHANGHAI 218

CLASSIFIED BY: Veomayoury Baccam, Acting Pol/Econ Section Chief
, U.S. Consulate General, Shanghai, Department of State.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)




1. (C) Summary: Several Shanghai academics believe the
Six-Party Talks can produce continued movement by the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) toward denuclearization and
regional dialogue, but counsel patience since any progress is
likely to be gradual. It is unclear whether North Korea has
made the strategic decision to eventually surrender its nuclear
weapons. Pyongyang may entertain the possibility that India can
be a model for its future relationship with the United States.
One academic asserts that Beijing does not view resolution of
the Japanese abductees issue as central to the Six-Party Talks,
and that Tokyo and Pyongyang should handle the problem
separately. A Northeast Asian Peace and Security Mechanism
(NEAPSM) would complement China's management of relations with
neighbors and efforts to tackle transnational issues. END
SUMMARY.


2. (U) From June 10-18, Poloff conducted separate meetings with
Shanghai academics to discuss the current state of the Six-Party
Talks and possible hurdles to overcome. Experts included: Chen
Dongxiao, Vice President, Shanghai Institute for International
Studies (SIIS); Gong Keyu, Deputy Director, Department of
Asia-Pacific Studies, SIIS; Xia Liping, Deputy Dean of the
School of Law and Politics, Tongji University; and Cui Zhiying,
Center for Asia-Pacific Studies, Tongji University.

STEADY PROGRESS POSSIBLE...
--------------


3. (C) Like other Korea specialists in Shanghai (see reftel),
these academics believe the Six-Party Talks can produce
continued movement by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
(DPRK) toward denuclearization and regional dialogue, but
counsel patience since any progress is likely to be gradual.

Both Cui Zhiying and Xia Liping find it unlikely that
denuclearization can be achieved before President Bush leaves
office. Although Pyongyang is moving in the right direction,
the Six-Party Talks represent a long-term process, Cui argues,
and the other parties should have no illusions about the
investment of time and effort that will be required to succeed.


4. (C) In contrast, Gong Keyu does not dismiss the possibility
that Pyongyang will move quickly to achieve whatever it can
before January 2009. She argues that North Korea undoubtedly
remembers the change in approach that emerged following the
transition between the Clinton and Bush administrations and does
not want to risk similar delays. Pyongyang therefore has an
incentive to maximize its gains while the current administration
remains in power.

...THOUGH ULTIMATE INTENTIONS UNCLEAR
--------------


5. (C) The academics are split on whether North Korea has made
the strategic decision to eventually surrender its nuclear
weapons. Xia is convinced the necessity of healthy U.S.-DPRK
relations for regime stability is forcing Pyongyang in this
direction. To ensure the smooth transition of power to the next
generation, as well as a political legacy, Kim Jong-il must
decrease the risk of conflict and guarantee trade and investment
inflows into North Korea. Only better relations with the United
States can accomplish both goals, Xia believes.


6. (C) Taking a slightly more pessimistic view, Gong reports she
met several North Korean scholars linked to the ruling regime
during a recent trip to Pyongyang. These scholars indicated
that three considerations had motivated Pyongyang to initially
seek nuclear weapons. First, North Korea wanted the strategic
parity and additional bargaining power necessary to prevent
reunification with the Republic of Korea (ROK), should this
become a future possibility, from occurring entirely on Seoul's
terms. Second, North Korea realized it could obtain a supply of
fuel oil and food aid over an extended period of time by merely

SHANGHAI 00000273 002 OF 002


committing to eventual disarmament. Third, Pyongyang feared the
United States might undertake regime change in North Korea, and
sought nuclear weapons as a deterrent.


7. (C) Gong suggests that although Pyongyang is committed to the
Six-Party process, many in North Korea look at warming U.S.
relations and potential nuclear cooperation with New Delhi and
wonder if North Korea could be "the next India." In the final
analysis, Pyongyang may be willing to surrender its weapons,
Gong admits. In the meantime, their possession guarantees good
relations with the United States, and perhaps someday they will
manage to have both.

JAPAN-DPRK RELATIONS A SIDE ISSUE
--------------


8. (C) Gong asserts that Beijing does not view resolution of the
Japanese abductees issue as central to the Six-Party Talks, and
believes that Tokyo and Pyongyang should handle the problem
separately on a bilateral basis. (Note: This view echoes recent
remarks by leading Shanghai specialists on Japan discussed in
forthcoming septel.) While acknowledging the aspirational goal
of regional peace and trust among the Six Parties, Gong notes
the primary goal of the talks is denuclearization of the Korean
Peninsula. Gong believes that China might be willing to mediate
between Japan and North Korea, and points to Beijing's recent
hosting of Japan-DPRK talks as a case in point. Xia argues that
Tokyo will ultimately continue cooperating in the Six-Party
process because, from a national interest perspective, it simply
has "no other choice."

POSITIVE ON LONGER-TERM MECHANISM
--------------


9. (C) The academics are largely positive on the utility of a
potential Northeast Asian Peace and Security Mechanism (NEAPSM).
Chen Dongxiao claims that Beijing has a strong interest in the
creation of discrete multilateral groupings on its periphery.
Groupings like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and
the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) help China manage relations with
neighbors and tackle transnational issues that threaten domestic
peace and stability. A NEAPSM could similarly fill this role.
Xia is also favorably disposed toward a longer-term mechanism,
and suggests that Mongolia, which is similarly oriented toward
Northeast Asia, can perhaps be considered for future membership.


10. (C) Gong concurs that an institutionalized mechanism has the
potential for positively contributing to the region, but claims
that Beijing would be wary of being outnumbered by its erstwhile
partners. Somewhat dramatically, Gong argues that, given the
close relations Washington enjoys with Tokyo and Seoul, a NEAPSM
could become a battleground for "a new Cold War," hampering its
effectiveness from the get-go.

COMMENT
--------------


11. (C) The academics' qualified optimism regarding progress on
denuclearization tracks comments made by other Shanghai experts
(see reftel). At the same time, lack of progress on Japan-DPRK
bilateral ties is giving rise to fears that what are perceived
as side issues might distract the Six Parties from their primary
focus on North Korea's nuclear programs.


12. (C) Washington should disabuse Pyongyang of the notion that
India can ever be a model for a U.S.-DPRK relationship, an idea
Poloffs have heard floated elsewhere in the Shanghai think tank
community. Assuming North Korea is having second thoughts about
retaining its nuclear weapons, allowing this misperception to
endure will only delay Pyongyang's fulfilling its commitment to
abandon them.
JARRETT