Viewing cable 08SHANGHAI422, SHANGHAI SCHOLARS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER DELAY IN SIX-PARTY
Every cable message consists of three parts:
- The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
- The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
- The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08SHANGHAI422.
|08SHANGHAI422||2008-09-26 06:06||2010-11-29 21:09||SECRET//NOFORN||Consulate Shanghai|
| Appears in these articles: |
VZCZCXRO2065 RR RUEHCN RUEHGH DE RUEHGH #0422/01 2700640 ZNY SSSSS ZZH R 260640Z SEP 08 FM AMCONSUL SHANGHAI TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7202 INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2156 RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 1437 RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 1408 RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 1592 RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0037 RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0237 RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 1431 RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 1239 RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0370 RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 7789
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 SHANGHAI 000422 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 9/26/2033 TAGS: CH KN PGOV PHUM PREL SUBJECT: SHANGHAI SCHOLARS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER DELAY IN SIX-PARTY TALKS CLASSIFIED BY: Christopher Beede, Political/Economic Chief, U.S. Consulate General, Shanghai, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) ¶1. (S/NF) Summary: xxxxx are concerned about the current impasse in the Six-Party Talks, but each varies in his diagnosis of its causes and prescriptions for U.S. policy. xxxxx claims that a debate has emerged within the Chinese leadership over the merits of quick U.S. delisting, as a result of Pyongyang's allegedly incomplete nuclear declaration. These xxxxx agree that, for the moment, none of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's three sons is likely to be tapped to succeed him. xxxxx, North Korea in August questions the World Food Program's (WFP) forecast of an imminent famine there. END SUMMARY. ¶2. (U) xxxxx Korean politics and the ongoing Six-Party Talks. xxxxx. Deadlock over verification -------------------------- ¶3. (C) xxxxx are concerned about the current impasse in the Six-Party Talks, but each varies in his diagnosis of its causes and prescriptions for U.S. policy. xxxxx view, Washington is primarily responsible for North Korean foot-dragging. Under the "action for action" framework, xxxxx argues, the United States promised to remove North Korea from the State Sponsors of Terror list and Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA) restrictions in return for a complete nuclear declaration from Pyongyang. After forty days, it became legally possible for Washington to delist the North Koreans in August, but this did not occur. xxxxx continues, the United States seems to want international inspectors to be able to access North Korea's nuclear sites virtually "at whim," and to meet with its nuclear scientists. These conditions have given Pyongyang "an excuse for their present inaction." xxxxx North Korea is "truly disappointed" with this development -- its leaders believe "they did something" and are owed something in return -- and, xxxxx opinion, it is "difficult for the other Six-Party states to blame them." ¶4. (S/NF) xxxxx, on the other hand, dissents from this view. According xxxxx, the nuclear declaration North Korea submitted in May was incomplete. xxxxx claims that critical information about secret underwater nuclear facilities located on North Korea's coast. For this reason, a debate has emerged within the Chinese leadership over the merits of quick U.S. delisting, xxxxx continues. One camp believes that continued momentum in the Six-Party Talks is critical to their success, and has concluded that Washington must adopt a more flexible attitude. The other camp, however, has taken the incomplete nuclear declaration as evidence that the regime in Pyongyang is truly "a ticking time bomb," and regard Washington's tough stance on verification as a potential opportunity to finally deal with a persistent regional irritant.xxxxx does not believe the United States should delist North Korea yet, though he argues Washington needs to find some token action it can take now to demonstrate its good faith. ¶5. (C) xxxxx is confident that, if the United States removes North Korea from the State Sponsors of Terror list and the TWEA -- even absent progress on a verification protocol -- its negotiators will act quickly to reciprocate and permit some form of verification. That North Korea has been labeled a state sponsor of terror is "an ongoing source of embarrassment" for the regime, xxxxx argues, and Washington must not underestimate its "desire for face." xxxxx agree that, despite North Korea's recent moves to apparently renew its activities at the Yongbyon nuclear complex, including its removal of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seals on equipment, Pyongyang's threats are largely for show. As part of the Six-Party process, the regime has already taken significant steps toward nuclear disablement, xxxxx out, so North Korean leaders cannot Shanghai 00000422 002.2 of 003 actually accomplish very much in the short term. Kim jong-il's health -------------------- ¶6. (C) Regarding Kim Jong-il's (KJI) purported ill health, xxxxx admit they have been unable to divine what has actually happened, noting such information is "top secret" even to North Koreans. xxxxx claims that KJI has a long history of recreational drug use that has resulted in frequent bouts of epilepsy and contributed to his poor health overall. xxxxx recalls hearing an unconfirmed report that, in the last several weeks, a team of five Chinese physicians traveled to Pyongyang, perhaps to tend to KJI. xxxxx cautions against reading too much into what he considers "pure speculation." Even if KJI suffered some medical emergency, illness "does not necessarily mean he is dying or has lost political control, or that regime collapse is somehow imminent." ¶7. (C) At the present time, xxxxx considers it "likelier than not" KJI remains in charge and is making political decisions. xxxxx is less certain, quoting reports that long time consort and former secretary Kim Ok may be caring for Kim and overseeing policy on his behalf. KJI puts a lot of confidence in Kim Ok, notes xxxxx, recalling that she was a member of the North Korean delegation led by General Jo Myong-rok that visited the Clinton White House in October 2000. Contenders for future leadership -------------------------------- ¶8. (C) There is consensus among xxxxx that, at least for the moment, none of KJI's three sons is likely to be tapped to succeed him. xxxxx considers the two youngest sons, Kim Jong-chol and Kim Jong-un, far too inexperienced and incapable of effective governance. xxxxx, observing that KJI's oldest son, Kim Jong-nam, is "too much of a playboy," Kim Jong-chol is "more interested in video games" than governing, and Kim Jong-un is simply too young. Additionally, KJI had been groomed for many years to replace his father and former North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung before the latter passed away. In contrast, xxxxx, none of the sons has received similar preparatory treatment. ¶9. (C) The most likely scenario for succession, xxxxx, is a group of North Korean military leaders, including civilians with close military connections, taking the helm from KJI. xxxxx also believes the military is probably best situated to run the country, at the present time. Still, if KJI remains in charge for another five or ten years, Beijing might then prefer to see Kim Jong-nam -- who is more of a known quantity than an ad hoc lineup of civil-military elements -- rise to power, xxxxx. ¶10. (S)xxxxx that Kim Yong-nam (KYN) -- the president of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly and second in command -- seems the likeliest candidate to lead a new regime. In recent months, KYN has received foreign leaders and represented North Korea at many of the same events KJI would normally attend. xxxxx also reports that a younger brother of KYN's currently heads the Propaganda Department -- a position once held by KJI during his ascent to power -- while another relative runs North Korea's intelligence outfit. KYN is over 80 years old, xxxxx, so even a caretaker leadership role that fell to him would be short lived. xxxxx, it is interesting that KYN's family is seeded in the same "power positions" long considered important by the current ruling Kim family. Perils and promise of external exposure --------------------------------------- ¶11. (C) xxxxx that North Korea is struggling to resolve the contradiction between its need for international engagement and desire to maintain ideological purity. Objectively speaking, exposure to the outside world -- its ways of thinking and quality of life -- is necessary to the regime's survival, xxxxx points out. From Pyongyang's perspective, someone who has seen the world as KJI's sons have might best be equipped to undertake reform in North Korea "on his own terms." At the same time, the regime has traditionally feared external influence, valued ideological purity, and prized ongoing closeness to the regime in its prospective cadres. As a result, xxxxx, those who Shanghai 00000422 003 of 003 have traveled internationally are often marginalized within the insular North Korean leadership or ousted altogether. In this respect, xxxxx, the regime actually resembles China during its ideological heyday. It is "no coincidence" that Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping, who both had overseas experience, were later the victims of purges at home, xxxxx. A glimpse beyond the yalu ------------------------- ¶12. (C) xxxxx extremely poor quality of the main road into Rajin, despite its role as the key route into that city, one of North Korea's special economic zones (SEZ) during the 1990s (the Rajin-Sonbong SEZ) that is also equipped with a harbor. xxxxx recalls watching a television news program commemorating a North Korean military holiday that coincided with his stay, and found it strange that only "still photo footage" aired of KJI reportedly visiting a military unit that day. ¶13. (C) xxxxx not have the opportunity to engage ordinary North Korean citizens -- he spoke "only with his minders" -- but remembers observing many people walking on the streets, riding bicycles, and generally appearing healthy and happy. xxxxx recognizes that xxxxx took him only to a small corner of North Korea, he claims he saw "no signs of starvation" during this time. xxxxx skeptical of the World Food Program's (WFP) recent assessment that North Korea may soon be hit by a harsh famine, perhaps its worst since 1997. xxxxx, argues that whatever happens regarding the food situation, a famine will certainly not threaten the regime's political stability, asserting that North Koreans will sooner "die quietly" of starvation than defy Pyongyang. Comment ------- ¶14. (C) Although difficult to verify xxxxx, our discussions suggest a variety of Chinese opinions regarding how best to approach the North Korean nuclear dilemma. Consensus on the subject continues xxxxx. Camp