07MOSCOW3804, EAP PDAS STEPHENS JULY 27 DISCUSSIONS ON THE NORTH

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW3804 2007-08-02 14:37 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO9358
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #3804/01 2141437
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 021437Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2649
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 003804 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/30/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PARM MNUC KNNP KN KS JA RS
SUBJECT: EAP PDAS STEPHENS JULY 27 DISCUSSIONS ON THE NORTH 
EAST ASIA PEACE AND SECURITY MECHANISM 
 
Classified By: CDA Daniel A. Russell.  Reasons 1.4 (B/D). 
 
1.  (C) Summary.  During a July 27 meeting, EAP Principal 
Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Stephens and a GOR 
representative for the Six-Party Working Group on Northeast 
Asia Peace and Security, Vladimir Rakhmanin, exchanged views 
on the expectations and goals for the group, including plans 
up to and beyond the expected September Six-Party 
Ministerial.  Rakhmanin relayed the GOR's more cautious 
approach and the need to find common ground among the 
conflicting views of the parties regarding the work of the 
Working Group.  PDAS Stephens emphasized the importance of 
looking to the future while not distracting from the 
immediate work at hand.  Rakhmanin said that the GOR is 
likely to convene the Working Group in Moscow August 20 - 21, 
and indicated that FM Lavrov's full schedule might make a 
September Ministerial difficult.  In a separate meeting, a 
group of Moscow's Asia experts expressed a wide spectrum of 
opinions, ranging from a preference for the status-quo to 
support for full engagement with North Korea.  End summary. 
 
------------------------- 
Confidence Building First 
------------------------- 
 
2.  (C) After thanking Ambassador Rakhmanin for Russia's role 
in the Banco Delta Asia issue, PDAS Stephens emphasized the 
importance of Working Group (WG) on a Northeast Asia Peace 
and Security Working Mechanism (NEAPSM), noting its potential 
role in contributing to security in North East Asia as part 
of the Six-Party process.  Rakhmanin agreed, saying that 
Russia is pleased to chair the WG, which he described as "an 
umbrella for the whole process."  Initially, the WG should 
start with the easy tasks and then move on to the more 
difficult ones by focusing on common ground among all 
parties, and nurturing a sense of trust rather than setting 
non-realistic deadlines.  The GOR will seek simple 
confidence-building exercises and welcome the participation 
of both military and civil experts.  One possibility is to 
consider holding a NEACD (Northeast Asia Community Dialogue, 
and established Track II forum) workshop on the sidelines of 
the NEAPSM WG. 
 
3.  (C) The GOR has proposed August 20-21 in Moscow for the 
next meeting of the WG, and North Korea has already confirmed 
its willingness to participate.  Rakhmanin views lack of 
confidence and trust among the participating countries as the 
first obstacle to overcome, and as such the initial meeting 
of the WG should "not be too ambitious."  Rakhmanin suggested 
that the GOR incorporate the concept of addressing "threat 
perception" as part of the WG's agenda. The first issue for 
NEAPSM is to work out what can be accomplished in the foreign 
ministers' meeting. 
 
-------------------- 
Different Priorities 
-------------------- 
 
4.  (C) Rakhmanin perceives each party as having different 
views on the role of NEAPSM.  Some want this WG to provide a 
supportive environment for denuclearization of the Korean 
peninsula which they believe should be the immediate goal, 
while others want to build towards something broader in the 
short term.  He supports a "middle ground" in which the WG 
should aim for broader goals while concentrating on concrete 
measures now. 
 
5.  (C) Regarding the interaction of the WG with a Korean 
peninsula peace process, Rakhmanin stated that the "directly 
related" parties should inform the WG of both the 
commencement and progress of the Peace Process.  He believes 
the Peace Process is an integral part of security in the 
region and that if there were difficulties in the Peace 
Process, NEAPSM could play a contributing role.  He noted 
that even the Russian media is interested in the peace 
process possibility of Armistice replacement. 
 
6.  (C) PDAS Stephens underlined the importance of balance 
among the five WGs, and the need to think how the longer 
range task of NEAPSM fits with the work of the other four, 
without distracting from the immediate goal of 
denuclearization.  The U.S. views the Korean Peace Process 
and NEAPSM as two parallel processes. 
 
--------------- 
Core Principles 
--------------- 
 
7.  (C) PDAS Stephens reiterated that the initial focus of 
NEAPSM should be peace and security on the Korean peninsula. 
As such, the initial task at the WG should be to formulate 
core principles supporting denuclearization but also 
 
MOSCOW 00003804  002 OF 003 
 
 
providing a vision for the future.  PDAS Stephens noted eight 
principles to be developed: 
 
1) denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula 
(reinforcing the September 2005 and February 13 2007 
documents); 
2) non-proliferation (with reference to the NPT and possibly 
other agree
ments); 
3) existing relationships and recognition of the stabilizing 
role of defensive alliances; 
4) normal bilateral relations (which is the primary focus of 
the other WGs to achieve); 
5) transparency (military and other); 
6) peaceful settlement of disputes and confidence building 
and maybe measures to prevent escalating tensions; 
7) measures to counter common threats (piracy, trafficking 
etc.); and 
8) terms of participation: initially an enterprise of the six 
parties to reinforce denuclearization and peace on the Korean 
peninsula but looking to the day where other parties could 
adhere to the same principles. 
 
8.  (C) Rakhmanin thought that the GOR's principles "would 
not be so contradictory" to those of the U.S.; it was too 
ambitious for now to talk of a "charter"; it is more 
important to "prepare everybody to think about common 
principles.". 
 
---------------------------- 
Details for the Ministerial? 
---------------------------- 
 
9.  (C) Rakhmanin stated that there is no GOR position on 
what to propose to the ministers.  He believes the GOR needs 
to listen to other parties and work out something that is 
acceptable to everybody, seeking balance between the timing 
and the content of the Ministerial.  For the GOR, it is time 
to move beyond the hype surrounding the Yongbyon closure and 
deliver something meaningful.  PDAS Stephens said that 
although it would be too ambitious to try to reach agreement 
on core principles in time for the ministerial, it would be 
good to agree that the ministers could direct the WG to come 
up with some principles to guide the future work of the WG. 
Perhaps the deputies or ministers could thereafter endorse 
them.  She emphasized that the Ministerial needs to be 
substantive and provide tangible impetus to the Talks. 
Rakhmanin warned that, despite an agreement in Beijing in 
July, FM Lavrov's full schedule may make his participation in 
a September Ministerial difficult. 
 
------------------------------- 
Views from Non-Official Circles 
------------------------------- 
 
10.  (C) PDAS Stephens also discussed regional security 
concepts with a group of Moscow Asia experts during a working 
luncheon hosted by the Charge.  The experts agreed that 
Russia's desire to demonstrate its influence as a key 
international player and its own vital strategic interests in 
the region have coalesced around North Korea.  North Korea, 
like Iran, Kosovo, and the Middle East, is another 
"opportunity" for Russia to demonstrate that no significant 
international dispute can be solved without its 
participation.  The North Korean nuclear issue influences 
other international nuclear disputes and Russia wants its 
voice heard.  The Russian leadership is concerned with the 
absence of a vision for the future of the Korean peninsula 
that is acceptable both to China and Russia.  Thus, for the 
time being, Russia prefers the geopolitical status quo. 
Aleksandr Zhebin, Director of Korean Studies, Far Eastern 
Studies Institute, suggested that none of the parties 
involved, including Japan and the U.S. wanted a change in the 
status quo of a divided Korea, adding that a unified Korea a 
U.S. troop presence, in particular, would not be acceptable 
to either China or Russia.  Senior Advisor Balbina Hwang 
suggested a distinction between "preferring" the status-quo 
and strategies to actually prevent changes in the status quo. 
 She also pointed out Korean (both North and South) 
hyper-sensitivity to perceived "interference" by great powers 
and that the future destiny of Korea would have to be 
determined by the Korean people, with the support of regional 
powers. 
 
11.  (C) Most experts welcomed the recent U.S. engagement 
with North Korea, although some thought the complete 
denuclearization of North Korea unlikely.  Anton Khlopkov, 
Deputy Director, PIR Center, believed that North Korea 
already possessed four to six nuclear devices and did not 
"need any more." 
 
12.  (C) Aleksandr Vorontsov, Director of Korean Studies at 
the Institute of Oriental Studies, maintained that all future 
 
MOSCOW 00003804  003 OF 003 
 
 
progress hinged on U.S flexibility.  North Korea would 
endeavor to make its nuclear capability as expensive as 
possible for the U.S., but would be willing in exchange to 
allow the U.S. to be its chief security guarantor. 
 
13.  (C) Zhebin argued that the U.S. presidential election 
could produce a change in U.S. policy as was the case with 
the Clinton and Bush administrations, and believed that North 
Korea's strategy was to wait for the U.S. election outcome. 
Senior Advisor Hwang observed that imminent elections in 
Japan, and in the ROK at year's end were also critical to 
Pyongyang's calculations and had the potential to 
dramatically alter the regional political landscape. 
Fedor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of the journal "Russia in 
Global Affairs," observed that succession in North Korea is 
perhaps the single most important factor in the outcome of 
regional dynamics.  All agreed that even with a clear-cut 
roadmap and U.S.-North Korean diplomatic normalization as the 
end point, the process would be complicated and there would 
be many disappointments along the way. 
 
14.  (U) PDAS Stephens cleared this cable. 
RUSSELL

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