Viewing cable 05TOKYO1331
Title: VIEWPOINT OF THE SOUTH KOREAN EMBASSY IN TOKYO

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05TOKYO13312005-03-07 09:18:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tokyo
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L TOKYO 001331 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/06/2015 
TAGS: PARM PREL JA KS KN CH MNNUC
SUBJECT: VIEWPOINT OF THE SOUTH KOREAN EMBASSY IN TOKYO 
 
 
Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES MICHAEL W. MICHALAK FOR REASONS 1.4 (b 
),(d). 
 
¶1. (C) ROK Deputy Chief of Mission in Tokyo, Choo Kyu-ho, 
accompanied by First Secretary Jeong Woon-jin, conveyed his 
embassy's viewpoints on North Korea, China, and the status of 
Japan-ROK bilateral relations at a March 7, 2005 lunch with 
the Charge.  DCM Choo presented a rather dismal assessment of 
the prospects for improving Japan-ROK relations in this "Year 
of Friendship" between the two countries.  While 2005 marks 
the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic 
relations between Japan and the ROK, DCM Choo pointed out 
that it is also the 100th anniversary of the Second 
Japan-Korea Agreement under which Korea became a protectorate 
of Japan.  He also mentioned President Roh Moo-hyun's speech 
marking this year's anniversary of the March 1, 1919 
Independence Movement in which Roh made an explicit 
comparison between the DPRK's abduction of Japanese citizens 
in the 1970s, and the forced relocation of Korean citizens by 
Japan during the period of annexation and occupation by 
Japan.  DCM Choo went on to cite a bill recently submitted to 
the Shimane Prefectural Assembly in Japan that would 
designate a "Takeshima Island Day" in Japan (an island 
claimed by the ROK) and the upcoming April release of a new 
middle school history textbook in Japan as major further 
barriers in the relationship.  He confirmed that as a result 
of these irritants, Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon had 
postponed his March 11, 2005 visit to Japan.  DCM Choo said 
there was now even some doubt over an exchange of summit 
visits this year between Prime Minister Koizumi and President 
Roh.  "It will now be a much tougher year in bilateral 
relations between the ROK and Japan," Choo said.  He added 
that people-to-people interchange will continue to grow, but 
said he is now "very much concerned about the status of 
state-to-state relations." 
 
Unhappy with Tokyo's Approach to FTA 
------------------------------------ 
 
¶2.  (C) DCM Choo was highly critical of the Japanese 
government's current proposal for negotiating a Japan-ROK 
Free Trade Agreement.  Prime Minister Koizumi and President 
Roh agreed last year that Japan and South Korea would 
conclude an FTA by the end of 2005, but DCM Choo said that 
negotiations have not even begun.  He said that is because 
the Japanese government has proposed across-the-board tariff 
reductions of 50 percent or less.  He said this would require 
only minor concessions by the Japanese, making it impossible 
for the ROKG to sell such an FTA to the South Korean 
industrial sector.  DCM Choo said METI Minister Nakagawa had 
recently asked to meet with ROK Trade Minister Kim Hyun-jong 
in an attempt to break the impasse, but that Kim had refused 
to meet with him until the Japanese government expresses some 
willingness to negotiate a "real FTA;" one that would 
significantly lower tariffs and expand trade. 
 
DPRK, China, and the United States 
---------------------------------- 
 
¶3.  (C) During his discussion with the Charge, DCM Choo also 
expressed his "personal views" regarding the security 
situation on the Korean peninsula.  On the DPRK nuclear 
issue, DCM Choo said he believes Kim Jong-il is a contrarian 
by nature, and that even if a Six-Party negotiation is 
undertaken, "it will be very difficult to get to CVID."  DCM 
Choo said that the eventual collapse of the DPRK will be 
impossible for South Korea to control.  He called this the 
ROK's "agony."  Finally, he said, although many view 
President Roh as being pro-Pyongyang, the truth is there have 
been no meaningful contacts between North and South Korea 
since former president Kim Dae-jung traveled to Pyongyang in 
June 2000.  As a result, Choo said, "President Roh has grown 
very cool towards the North."  DCM Choo predicted that "a 
certain level" of people-to-people exchange and economic 
activity will continue between North and South Korea, but 
said "no major breakthrough is likely." 
 
¶4.  (C) Finally, when asked about China's role on the 
peninsula, DCM Choo stated that there is a big gap in 
relations between Japan and China, and between Japan and the 
two Koreas, but also noted that a large gap has opened up 
between China and South Korea over the "Kingdom of Kogoryo" 
issue.  For that reason, he said, "the ROK needs a moderate, 
benign power like the United States" to help assure its 
future. 
MICHALAK