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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09SEOUL88 2009-01-16 08:38:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Seoul
Cable title:  

ROK UN PEACEKEEPING: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

Tags:   MARR MOPS PGOV PREL KS 
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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160838Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2951
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA J5 SEOUL KOR
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUACAAA/COMUSKOREA INTEL SEOUL KOR
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC//OSD/ISA/EAP//
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA CC SEOUL KOR
RUEHUL/USDAO SEOUL KOR
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0591
					  UNCLAS SEOUL 000088 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MOPS PGOV PREL KS
SUBJECT: ROK UN PEACEKEEPING: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

REF: SECSTATE 1223



1. (U) Sensitive, but unclassifed. Not for internet
distribution.



2. (SBU) Summary. The ROK has participated in seven
UN-sanctioned peacekeeping operations (UN PKO) in the past.
The ROK currently participates in eight UN PKOs, with its 367
troop contingent in Lebanon being the most significant.
National Assembly members and the ROKG remain favorably
disposed towards UN PKOs, but realize that legislation
allowing the ROKG to quickly deploy troops is necessary. The
two current proposed bills, however, highlight the debate on
whether the legislation should focus on UN PKOs only or
include all multilateral PKOs. The legislative process also
underscores the National Assembly's reluctance about
modifying their obligatory consent, even on a limited basis,
before the ROKG can dispatch troops abroad. Despite the
uncertain fate of the bills, the ROK remains engaged in PKO
training opportunities and enthusiastic on PKO participation.
End summary.



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


Past ROK PKO Participation


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





3. (U) The ROK first participated in UN PKO operations in
Somalia (UN Operations in Somalia II or UNOSOM II) during
1993-1994. From that time, the ROK participated in the
following UN PKO missions: Angola (UN Angola Verification
Mission II or UNAVEM II), East Timor (UN Transitional
Administration in East Timor or UNTAET), Cyprus (UN
Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus or UNFICYP), the Western Sahara
(UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara or MINURSO),
Burundi (UN Operations in Burundi or ONUB), and Nepal (UN
Mission in Nepal or UNMIN). The ROK usually limits its
participation in PKOs to sending administrative forces such
as military engineers, medical assistants, and military
observers. However, the ROK has dispatched military troops
to East Timor (UNTAET) during 1999-2003 and Lebanon (UN
Interim Force in Lebanon or UNIFIL) during 2007-present.



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


Present ROK PKO Participation


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





4. (U) As of December 31, 2008, the ROK had 394 persons
involved in eight UN PKOs in nine countries, of which 369
were troops; 24 were military observers; and 1 was a police
officer. The overwhelming majority of the troops (367 - the
Dongmyeong contingent, dispatched in July 2007) were in
UNIFIL (UN Interim Force in Lebanon), stationed in Sur
(Tyre). The ROK has one soldier in UNMIL (UN Mission in
Liberia) and UNMIS (UN Mission in Sudan). In regards to
military observers, nine were in UNMOGIP (United Nations
Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan), seven in
UNOMIG (UN Observer Mission in Georgia), and one military
observer in UNMIL (UN Mission in Liberia) and UNAMA (UN
Assistance Mission in Afghanistan). (Note. The ROK has
additional, non-UN personnel in Afghanistan. End note.) The
ROK has one police officer in UNMIT (UN Integrated Mission in
Timor-Leste).



5. (U) As of December 31, 2008, the ROK ranked 36th of 120
contributing countries of military and police contributions
to UN PKOs. As of January 1, 2008 the ROK was the 10th
largest provider of assessed contributions to the UN PKO
budget, contributing 2% of the total budget.



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


Future ROK PKO Participation


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





6. (SBU) Members of the National Assembly and the ROKG
remain favorably disposed to continue ROK participation in UN
PKOs, though currently the National Assembly must consent to
any deployment of ROK forces outside the country, UN PKO
participation included. Various National Assembly members
have introduced bills attempting to pre-certify the ROK's
legal participation in UN PKOs and to give the ROKG the legal
ability to form a standing PKO force. Currently there are
two PKO bills up for consideration in the Foreign Affairs,
Trade and Unification (FATU) Committee: one sponsored by
Representative Song Young-sun and the other by Representative
Kim Moo-sung. Though the bills are very similar (both
authorize establishing a standing PKO force), a flashpoint
between the bills is that Song's seeks to facilitate ROK
participation in UN PKOs and other multilateral PKOs, while
Kim's bill limits its scope to UN sanctioned PKOs only.
Neither bill modifies the National Assembly consent that is
mandatory before the ROKG can deploy forces abroad.



7. (SBU) Na Sang-deok, the Deputy Director of the UN
Division within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
(MOFAT), on January 2 told poloff that modifying National
Assembly consent in any form remains a flashpoint with the
representatives. MOFAT, Na claimed, would like the National
Assembly to pass legislation that provides a blanket
authorization, valid for one year, renewed annually, in order
to facilitate PKO planning. However, Na does not know if or
how the National Assembly will resolve this issue. The ROKG,
specifically the Ministry of National Defense (MND), prefers
the bill that pre-certifies UN and multilateral PKO
participation. A staffer for the Foreign Affairs, Trade, and
Unification Committee (FATU) of the National Assembly on
January 13 said that the FATU Committee will convene a
subcommittee to deliberate on legal issues in February 2009,
at which time the subcommittee would likely discuss the two
PKO bills. Any PKO bill that emerges from the subcommittee
must then pass through FATU, after which it goes to the
judiciary committee and then to the entire National Assembly
for ratification.



8. (SBU) The Korean National Police (KNP) do participate in
PKOs. Currently there is one officer in UNMIT in Timor-Leste
and seven police trainers in Afghanistan with the
multilateral forces. Still, Na and Colonel Jeong Jin-pal
(Na's counterpart of the International Peace Cooperation
Division in MND), on January 7 agreed to participate in the
USG's 2009 Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units
(CoESPU). Jeong said that MND is participating in a couple
of similar programs from other countries (Canada and
Australia). Therefore, once he received the scheduling and
program details from the USG, he would consider and
coordinate MND participation in all the programs as a group.



9. (SBU) Comment. The ROK's military participation in
Iraq, Afghanistan, and various UN PKOs reveals that securing
National Assembly consent is a significant, but surmountable
obstacle for the ROKG, depending on the international and
domestic political situations that the ROKG faces. However,
under the existing process requiring National Assembly
approval, it took the ROKG a year to dispatch its troops to
Lebanon following the war in summer 2006. PKO legislation
that pre-certifies ROK participation in UN (and possibly
multilateral) PKOs and allows MND to form a standing PKO
force will make it easier for the ROKG to dispatch
peacekeeping troops and to participate militarily in other UN
forums such as the Contact Group on Somali Piracy. (See
reftel.)
STEPHENS