What WikiLeaks Reveals About Attitudes to N.Korea

      December 01, 2010 12:27

      In January, then Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said a number of high ranking North Korean diplomats overseas recently defected to the South. "Their defection remains as a secret in order for the intelligence authorities of South Korea and the United States to obtain as much information as possible," according an American embassy cable published by WikiLeaks on Tuesday.

      Yu made the remarks to Robert King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean Human Rights who was visiting the South. He added that the situation in North Korea was becoming more and more chaotic.

      In another cable, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping, then ambassador to Kazakhstan, told his U.S. counterpart Richard Hoagland on June 8, 2009, "It seems that the succession to Kim Jong-il in North Korea is being hastily carried out, rather than in a meticulously planned manner, because his health is deteriorating. North Korea didn't have time to make plans for the succession."

      WikiLeaks divulged some 250,000 U.S. diplomatic telegrams since Sunday, picked up by the New York Times and the Guardian. The New York Times reported on Monday, "Over an official lunch in late February, a top South Korean diplomat confidently told the American ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, that the fall would come 'two to three years' after the death of Kim Jong-il, the country's ailing leader, Ms. Stephens later cabled Washington. A new, younger generation of Chinese leaders 'would be comfortable with a reunited Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the United States in a benign alliance, the diplomat, Chun Young-woo, predicted'"

      Chun was a second vice foreign minister at the time and is currently a senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security.

      Unification Minister Hyun In-taek, during his meeting with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell on July 20, 2009, said although Kim Jong-il has a firm grip on the regime, he seems unlikely to live beyond 2015. Hyun added that the succession process is taking place in a hasty manner, and that there is possibility that cash-strapped North Korea would sell nuclear weapons technology as well as that of plutonium abroad.

      The government and officials are vexed at the publication of sensitive remarks made privately among South Korean and U.S. diplomats.

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