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Viewing cable 09BEIJING1634, CDA AND MFA ASIAN AFFAIRS ON DPRK

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BEIJING1634 2009-06-17 06:06 2010-11-30 16:04 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Beijing
VZCZCXRO0731
OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #1634/01 1680645
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 170645Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4582
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIJING 001634

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/CM AND EAP/K

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/17/2034
TAGS: PREL MARR PGOV CH KN KS
SUBJECT: CDA AND MFA ASIAN AFFAIRS ON DPRK

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, a.i., Dan Piccuta.   Reasons 1.4 (b/d
).

Summary

1. (C) In a June 16 luncheon in honor of visiting Hong Kong
CG Joe Donovan hosted by the Charge, XXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX said that
China liked a U.S. proposal described by Ambassador Bosworth
here on June 5 to put all issues related to the
denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula into a package for
negotiation.  XXXXXXXXXXXX maintained that the United States holds the
key to bringing the DPRK back to the negotiation table and
suggested that succession concerns in North Korea might be
causing Kim Jong-il to escalate tensions with the United
States so that his successor, perhaps Kim Jong-un, could then
step in to ease pressure.  XXXXXXXXXXXX acknowledged that China experts
believe the DPRK has been processing highly enriched uranium
but asserted that the program was only in an initial phase.
XXXXXXXXXXXX suggested that ROK envoy to the Six-Party Talks had not
offered any new ideas during his June 9 visit to Beijing and
that Japan's focus on the abductee issue continued to cause
concerns at the MFA.  End Summary.

Chinese Protests to DPRK Have Had No Effect
-------------------------------------------

2.  (C) In a June 16 luncheon hosted by the Charge, XXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX made
clear that the PRC viewed recent provocative actions by the
DPRK as having gone too far.  He assured the Charge that
Chinese officials had expressed Chinese displeasure to North
Korean counterparts and had pressed the DPRK to return to the
negotiation table.  Unfortunately, XXXXXXXXXXXX added, those protests
had had "no effect."  "The only country that can make
progress with the North Koreans is the United States," he
maintained.  XXXXXXXXXXXX said that, although China had assured North
Korean leaders that the United States was ready to have
bilateral talks with them, the North Koreans had insisted
that any message from the United States to the DPRK should be
delivered directly, not through China.  XXXXXXXXXXXX took this as
further evidence that only by having direct talks with the
United States would North Korea return to the Six-Party
Talks.

China Likes a Package Approach
------------------------------

3.  (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX told the Charge that China viewed favorably the
USG proposal of putting all facets of a possible Korean
Peninsula denuclearization agreement into one package.  XXXXXXXXXXXX
characterized Chinese and U.S. core interests in a nuclear
free Korean Peninsula as "shared."  He reminded his hosts
that Punggye, the site of the DPRK nuclear test, was near the
Chinese border and that any accident there could have had
dire consequences for Northeast China.  XXXXXXXXXXXX insisted that
China was as concerned as the United States about
proliferation from North Korea.  The only difference in the
China and U.S. positions, XXXXXXXXXXXX maintained, was "the United
States was the key while China was only in a position to
apply a little oil to the lock."

Building Trust
--------------

4. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX cautioned that building trust between the DPRK and
the United States would be difficult.  In North Korea's view,
XXXXXXXXXXXX explained, the destruction of its nuclear capability was
an irreversible step while decisions by the United States
could be easily reversed.  When CGs Donovan and Goldberg both
pointed out that trust was a two-way street and that North
Korea had not evinced a great deal of it, XXXXXXXXXXXX was evasive.
When pressed whether he believed the DPRK had been
reprocessing highly enriched uranium (HEU), XXXXXXXXXXXX said yes,
adding that Chinese experts believed the enrichment was only
in its initial phases and that any DPRK HEU program would not
be "very useful."

Domestic Concerns in North Korea Influence Talks
--------------------------------------------- ---

5. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX suggested that domestic politics in North Korea
were in a large way responsible for Pyongyang's recent
actions.  He was dismissive of DPRK justifications for the
nuclear test as a response to the UN Security Council

BEIJING 00001634  002 OF 002

Presidential Statement critical of North Korea's April 5
Taepo-Dong 2 launch.  "Kim Jong-il was obviously planning the
nuclear test at the same time as the missile launch so his
justification for the test makes no sense," XXXXXXXXXXXX said.  XXXXXXXXXXXX
opined that the rapid pace of provocative actions in North
Korea was due to Kim Jong-il's declining health and might be
part of a gambit under which Kim Jong-il would escalate
tensions with the United States so that his successor,
presumably Kim Jong-un, could then step in and ease those
tensions.

6. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX told the Charge that he
kept abreast of Western media reports about North Korea.
XXXXXXXXXXXX cautioned that U.S. experts should not assume North
Korea would implode after Kim Jong-il's death.  He said that
PRC analysts concluded that the regime would still function
normally and discounted strongly any suggestion that the
system would collapse once Kim Jong-il disappeared.

ROK has no new ideas - Japan can only scuttle talks
--------------------------------------------- ------

7.  (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX said that ROK Six-Party Talks envoy Wi Sung-lac
had met with VFM Wu Dawei on June 9 but had offered nothing
new.  "The South Koreans have plenty of ideas, but we've
heard them all before," he complained, adding that the ROK
government was too close to the situation in North Korea to
be objective.   Turning to Japan, XXXXXXXXXXXX said that Japan's
obsession with the abductee issue reminded him of a Chinese
expression for an individual who was too weak to make
something work, yet strong enough to destroy it.

Participants
-------------

Charge Dan Piccuta
Joe Donovan, U.S. Consul General Hong Kong
Robert Goldberg, Consul General Guangzhou
Mark Lambert, Regional Unit Chief
Jim Brown, interpreter

XXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX
PICCUTA