Viewing cable 06SEOUL4165
Title: TIGHTENING INSPECTIONS OF NORTH-SOUTH CARGO

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06SEOUL41652006-12-05 08:38:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Seoul
VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUL #4165/01 3390838
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 050838Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1728
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 1663
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1762
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMUSFK SEOUL KOR PRIORITY
RUEAHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHFJUSC/HQS USCUSTOMS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC//OSD/ISA/EAP// PRIORITY
RUEHUNV/UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SEOUL 004165 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/05/2016 
TAGS: PARM PREL MNUC KNNP KN KS
SUBJECT: TIGHTENING INSPECTIONS OF NORTH-SOUTH CARGO 
 
REF: A. SEOUL 4143 
 
     ¶B. SEOUL 3970 
 
Classified By: AMB. Alexander Vershbow.  Reasons 1.4 (b/d). 
 
¶1.  (C) SUMMARY and Action Request:  Since their inception in 
2004, the East and West Transportation Corridors -- allowing 
goods and South Korean citizens to travel to/from North Korea 
by passing through the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) -- have been 
a monitoring challenge.  The problem has become more acute in 
light of continuing North Korean nuclear and missile 
development activities.  Embassy and USFK are concerned that 
the ROKG does not have adequate safeguards in place to 
enforce fully the requirements of UNSCR 1718.  Embassy 
requests Department's concurrence in seeking from the ROKG a 
more thorough inspection regime for the movement of goods and 
people through the transportation corridors.  Embassy also 
requests Washington's agreement as soon as possible to 
provide export licenses for a radio frequency identification 
device (RFID) system to be placed on both sides of the DMZ 
(Ref A) as a means to enhance monitoring.  See action 
request, para 18.  END SUMMARY. 
 
----------------------- 
The Armistice Agreement 
----------------------- 
 
¶2.  (U) The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a 4 kilometer-wide 
buffer zone divided down the middle by the Military 
Demarcation Line (MDL) that separates North and South Korea. 
According to the 1953 Armistice Agreement, the Korean 
People's Army (KPA) is responsible for the northern two 
kilometers of the DMZ, while the United Nations Command (UNC) 
has jurisdiction over the southern two kilometers. 
 
--------------------------- 
Western Corridor to Kaesong 
--------------------------- 
 
¶3.  (U) During the North-South summit in June 2000, then ROK 
President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il 
pledged to reconnect a railway connecting the two countries 
across the DMZ.  As a result, on November 17 of that year, 
the UNC signed a Subsequent Agreement to the Armistice that 
established a (Western) Transportation Corridor (TC West) and 
transferred administrative control of the corridor to the ROK 
Ministry of National Defense (MND) on the southern half, 
while the KPA retained control over the northern half.  Mine 
clearing for TC West was completed on Christmas 2002 and in 
June 2003, the ROK completed a four-lane paved highway that 
runs through TC West to the MDL.  By October of that year, 
the ROK had added a rail line as well, although it has not, 
as yet, been used. 
 
¶4.  (U) TC West is primarily used to transport raw materials, 
goods and personnel to and from the 16,000-acre Kaesong 
Industrial Complex (KIC), which serves as the signature 
project in North-South economic cooperation.  Operational 
since the fall of 2004, TC West corridor operates six days a 
week and is closed on Sundays. 
 
--------------------------------- 
Eastern Corridor to Mount Kumgang 
--------------------------------- 
 
¶5.  (U) On September 12, 2002, the UNC signed a second 
Subsequent Agreement to the Armistice establishing a second 
transportation corridor (TC East).  As with TC West, 
administrative control over the southern half of the corridor 
was transferred from UNC to MND.  Mine clearing along the 
corridor up to the MDL was completed in May 2003.  TC East 
became operational in the fall of 2004, and since then has 
primarily served to transport South Korean tourists to and 
from the Mt. Kumgang sightseeing resort.  TC East is 
operational seven days a week. 
 
------------------ 
The Role of UNCMAC 
------------------ 
 
¶6.  (SBU) According to the Armistice Agreement, all movements 
through the DMZ fall under the jurisdiction of the United 
Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC). 
UNCMAC has therefore assigned a United Nations Command 
Corridor Control Officer (UNCCCO) to monitor the 
transportation corridors.  The UNCCCO's duties are to: 
 
-- Monitor and ensure Armistice compliance 
-- Maintain UNC presence 
-- Serve as the eyes and ears of the UNC Commander 
-- Serve as a liaison between the TC and the UNC 
-- Screen, staff and monitor MDL crossings 
 
¶7.  (SBU) There is a Standard Operating Procedures Agreement 
between UNC and MND that outlines the MDL crossing approval 
process.  That process is as follows: 
 
a. MND receives the MDL crossing request from the ROK 
Ministry of Unification and forwards the request to the 
UNCCCOs in the TCs. 
 
b. The UNCCCO screens the request and forwards it to UNCMAC 
headquarters. 
 
c. UNCMAC sends approval or disapproval back to the UNCCCO 
and notifies the MDL control center in Seoul of the upcoming 
crossing. 
 
d. The TC situation room sends the approved crossing request 
to the KPA via facsimile. 
 
e. The KPA replies via facsimile to the TC situation room 
(NOTE: The KPA has never, in fact, carried out this 
procedure.  END NOTE.) 
 
f. The TC situation room forwards the reply to both UNCMAC 
and MND, then monitors the actual crossings. 
 
------------------ 
ROK CIQ Facilities 
------------------ 
 
¶8.  (U) The South Korean government operates two Customs, 
Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities at the entrance 
to TC West.  One is for inspecting people, goods and vehicles 
headed into North Korea; the other for people, goods and 
vehicles coming into South Korea from the North.  The ROKG 
has only one CIQ facility at the entrance to TC East, where 
the traffic is limited mostly to buses carrying tourists 
headed to/from Mt. Kumgang. 
 
¶9.  (C) However, unlike CIQ facilities elsewhere in the ROK, 
which are operated solely by the Ministry of Justice, the TC 
East and West CIQs are co-operated by the ROK Ministry of 
Unification (MOU).  Customs officials posted to these 
facilities are seconded to MOU, and it is that ministry, 
rather than the Ministry of Justice, which clearly has 
overall authority over how inspections are conducted at those 
sites. 
 
¶10.  (C) The UNC Corridor Control Officer receives copies of 
the manifests of all items transiting through the 
transportation corridors.  The UNCCCO (a U.S. officer) and/or 
his deputy (a New Zealand or UK officer) review the transit 
manifests, but do not inspect the cargo since the CIQ is 
located outside of the DMZ.  Because the UNCCCO has no 
oversight of the CIQ, he is unable to confirm the frequency 
or quality of CIQ inspections. 
 
--------------------------- 
Quality of ROKG Inspections 
--------------------------- 
 
¶11.  (C) In 2004, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 
team visited the two transportation corridors to assess the 
ROKG's inspections regime.  According to the 2004 CBP Report, 
ROK Customs officials told their U.S. counterparts that all 
materials entering South Korea from the Kaesong Industrial 
Complex would be transported in shipping containers and that 
all containers would be examined.  This statement was refuted 
by the MOU official on-site who claimed no containers would 
be examined, and that all containers would simply "pass 
through" the CIQ.  Asked if a South Korean seal would be 
affixed to the containers that had been opened for 
inspection, the ROK customs official said yes, while the MOU 
official once again refuted that statement and confirmed to 
the CBP Team that "no containers would be examined." 
 
¶12.  (C) The CBP report went on to state that only cursory 
inspections were carried out at the CIQ stations.  These 
"inspections" consisted primarily of a visual screening of 
the exterior of the conveyance and cargo.  The report also 
notes that the ROK customs officials see the same drivers and 
vehicles most every day, highlighting the concern that such 
familiarity may lead to less vigilance in the performance of 
their duties. 
 
------------------------ 
Insufficient Information 
------------------------ 
 
¶13.  (C) The CBP assessment team also found the cargo and 
passenger description information insufficient.  The 
manifests do not contain what customs officials would 
normally consider to be mandatory information, such as the 
time, direction, number of passengers, number of vehicles, 
corridor tracking number, and brief description of cargo. 
 
----------------------------------- 
300 Vehicles and 3,000 People a Day 
----------------------------------- 
 
¶14.  (C) According to UNCMAC, a total of 649,290 people made 
6,273 crossings of the DMZ in 62,223 vehicles during the full 
year of operation of the TC highways in 2005.  At TC East, 
which is primarily used to facilitate bus tours to Mt. 
Kumgang, the CBP Team noted that customs processing time for 
345 travelers returning from North Korea took approximately 
fifteen minutes, and that no vehicles were taken aside for 
further inspection, or individuals for further questioning. 
Commercial cargo shipments through TC East are prohibited. 
However, transportation of materials for construction and 
maintenance related to the corridor and Mt. Kumgang resort 
are permitted. 
 
¶15.  (C) Also troubling, according to both the UNCCCO and 
U.S. Customs, the ROK CIQs at the transportation corridors do 
not have mobile or fixed non-intrusive inspection (X-ray) 
equipment, radiation portal monitors, or other types of 
radiation detection machines.  Furthermore, there are no 
designated areas for the temporary storage of hazardous 
materials.  There are also no canines on site for the 
detection of narcotics, explosives, or persons.  Finally, the 
ROK customs officials assigned to the CIQs are not armed. 
For political and practical reasons, UNCMAC has never 
exercised its authority to inspect items crossing between the 
two Koreas through the DMZ.  At the practical level, UNCMAC 
would have to acquire a significant increase in manpower to 
carry out the inspections.  Moreover, since UNCMAC does not 
have the authority to conduct inspections at the CIQs, which 
are located outside the DMZ, any UNCMAC inspections would 
have to be conducted within the DMZ.  But more significantly, 
even if such resources could be found, the ROKG will not 
allow such inspections by UNCMAC, because doing so would be 
perceived as ceding authority over the two most important 
projects symbolizing South Korea's engagement policy with the 
North.  For these reasons, for the foreseeable future, we 
believe only the ROKG can conduct the necessary inspections 
in the two transportation corridors. 
 
-------------------- 
Tighter Inspections? 
-------------------- 
¶16.  (C) During meetings in November 2006 with visiting Under 
Secretary of State for Arms Control and International 
 
SIPDIS 
Security Robert Joseph to discuss steps the ROKG would take 
to implement UNSCR 1718, Deputy Foreign Minister for Policy 
Planning and International Organizations, Park In-kook, said 
the ROK would tighten inspections at both the East and West 
transportation corridor CIQs (Ref B).  This would take some 
time, Park said, because additional customs officials would 
have to be transferred to those sites and secondary 
inspection areas would need to be established.  He pledged, 
however, that tighter inspections would result. 
 
¶17.  (C) During a more recent meeting with the DCM, Park 
urged USG approval of an export license request for a Rapid 
Frequency Identification Drive (RFID) system at TC West.  He 
said that our approval would enable him to press his MOU 
colleagues for more stringent controls (Ref A).  Embassy 
agrees with Park's assessment and believes that a RFID system 
will be helpful in monitoring cross-DMZ shipments.  Moreover, 
we need to avoid sending mixed signals to ROKG on the need to 
strictly monitor all goods and personnel going in and out of 
North Korea. 
 
-------------------------- 
Comment and Action Request 
-------------------------- 
 
¶18.  (C) To date we have not seen any tightening of 
inspections.  We also believe that without external pressure, 
changes are unlikely because of the tough opposition of the 
Ministry of Unification to any restriction of movement of 
goods and people to and from the KIC and Mt. Kumgang tourist 
sites.  We are, therefore, seeking Department's concurrence 
for us to raise this matter with senior MOFAT officials.  We 
recommend Department's concurrence with the following talking 
points: 
 
-- Over the past six months, the DPRK has tested missiles and 
nuclear devices. 
 
-- The international community including the ROK, has 
responded with unanimous condemnation to these provocative 
actions by the DPRK.  UNSCR 1718 outlines what each member 
nation must do to counter proliferation threats from the 
DPRK. 
 
-- Paragraph 8 of UNSCR 1718 states that all member states 
must prevent direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to 
the DPRK certain military equipment and WMD related systems 
and materiel. 
 
-- In this connection the United States is concerned about 
the adequacy of the ROKG's customs, immigration and 
quarantine services located in the two Transportation 
Corridors. 
 
-- We note that according to a 2004 report by U.S. Customs 
and Border Protection (CBP), the ROKG inspections consisted 
primarily of a visual screening of the exterior of the 
conveyance and cargo.  The team also found the cargo and 
passenger description information insufficient.  The 
manifests do not contain what customs officials would 
normally consider to be mandatory information, such as time, 
direction, number of passengers, number of vehicles, corridor 
tracking number, and description of cargo. 
 
-- The CBP team also found that your CIQs do not have mobile 
or fixed non-intrusive inspection (X-ray) equipment or 
radiation detection monitors.  There were also no designated 
areas for the temporary storage of hazardous material. 
 
--The ROKG should consider strengthening the CIQ inspections 
regime at the East and West Transportation Corridors.  We 
believe an enhanced inspections regime must involve 
additional manpower and other resources, especially the use 
of modern detection equipment. 
 
-- Given the sharp increase in the number of passengers 
passing through the corridors, the ROKG might also consider 
establishing a Passenger Analysis Unit, consisting of 
participants from MOU, MOJ, MND, and UNCMAC, for improved CIQ 
immigration inspection. 
 
-- (If raised) The United States Government is examining your 
request for RFID.  Embassy has conveyed to Washington your 
views that RFID systems will assist in your inspections of 
cross DMZ cargo. END COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST. 
VERSHBOW