US embassy cable - 02ROME5079

NORTH KOREANS SIGNAL NEW OPENNESS AT ENERGY CONFIDENTIAL

Identifier: 02ROME5079
Wikileaks: View 02ROME5079 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Rome
Created: 2002-10-17 13:55:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL ENRG EAID PARM KN ENRG EAID PARM KN ITPREL
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 ROME 005079 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2007 
TAGS: PREL, ENRG, EAID, PARM, KN, ENRG, EAID, PARM, KN, ITPREL 
SUBJECT: NORTH KOREANS SIGNAL NEW OPENNESS AT ENERGY 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  05079  01 OF 02  171439Z 
CONFERENCE IN COMO, ITALY 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: POLMINCOUNS T. COUNTRYMAN FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D) 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.    AT A RECENT CONFERENCE IN ITALY ON NORTH KOREAN ENERGY 
NEEDS, THE DPRK DELEGATION APPEARED TO SIGNAL UNUSUAL 
OPENNESS.  ITS PRESENCE AT A CONFERENCE WITH USG AND ROK 
REPRESENTATIVES WAS ITSELF REMARKABLE, AND ITS FRANK 
DISCUSSION OF SHORTCOMINGS AND REFORMS WAS MORE SO.  DPRK 
REPRESENTATIVES HOPED FOR BUT FAILED TO OBTAIN AID 
ASSURANCES.  IN A MEETING AT THE MFA, EAST ASIAN DIRECTOR 
MARIO ROSSO AND INR TDYER ALLISON HOOKER SHARED INFORMATION 
ABOUT THE POSITIVE VISIT BY JAPANESE PM JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI TO 
THE DPRK, AS WELL AS THE USG'S AND GOI'S RESPECTIVE CONCERNS 
ABOUT PROLIFERATION.  ROSSO OBSERVED THAT THE DPRK'S CHARM 
OFFENSIVE IS AIMED AT OBTAINING AID, PARTICULARLY FOR A 
TECHNOLOGY CENTER.  THIS ITSELF INDICATES MATURATION ON THE 
PART OF THE REGIME, WHICH APPEARED TO BE SEEKING WAYS TO END 
ITS ISOLATION.  ROSSO REQUESTED ONGOING CONSULTATION WITH THE 
U.S. ON THE DPRK.  END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
CONFERENCE PROVIDES FRANK DISCUSSION ON ENERGY, U.S. POLICY 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
 
2.    (C) INR/EAP TDYER ALLISON HOOKER AND EMBASSY ESTOFF 
LORENZO MARTINI ATTENDED A COMO, ITALY CONFERENCE ON 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  05079  01 OF 02  171439Z 
SEPTEMBER 19 AND 20 ENTITLED "DPR OF KOREA:  UPGRADING AND 
INTEGRATING ENERGY SYSTEMS."  ORGANIZED BY THE LANDAU NETWORK 
OF CENTRO VOLTA (LNCV) AND SUPPORTED BY THE MFA, THE 
CONFERENCE WAS DESIGNED TO BRING TOGETHER NORTH AND SOUTH 
KOREAN ENERGY EXPERTS WITH WESTERN COUNTERPARTS.  THIS WAS NO 
EASY TASK.  THE ORGANIZATION'S SECRETARY GENERAL, MAURIZIO 
MARTELLINI, WORKED FOR OVER A YEAR TO GET THE DPRK TO ACCEPT 
HIS INVITATION.  (LNCV IS AN ITALIAN POLICY THINK TANK ON 
ARMS CONTROL, COUNTER-PROLIFERATION AND WMD DISARMAMENT THAT 
FREQUENTLY PROVIDES CONSULTANT CONTRACTOR SERVICES TO THE 
MFA.  IT IS ALSO WORKING ON PROLIFERATION ISSUES IN 
INDIA/PAKISTAN AND IRAN.) 
 
3.    (C) HAVING ACCEPTED, HOWEVER, THE DPRK REPRESENTATIVES 
PREPARED THOROUGHLY AND BROUGHT SPECIFIC PROPOSALS BASED ON 
THE LATEST RESEARCH.  MORE THAN ADVICE, THEY WERE HOPING THAT 
WESTERN GOVERNMENTS WOULD FIX THEIR ENERGY PROBLEMS OR AT 
LEAST PROVIDE A $50,000 GOI/EU AID PACKAGE.  THAT WAS NOT TO 
BE.  THE CONFERENCE WAS AIMED AT DISCUSSING POTENTIAL 
TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS, NOT INTENSIVE ASSISTANCE.  NONETHELESS, 
THE DPRK REPS SHOWED AN UNUSUALLY OPEN AND FRANK DEMEANOR 
BOTH IN THEIR PRESENTATIONS AND IN SIDELINE DISCUSSIONS WITH 
HOOKER. 
 
4.    (C) DURING THE CONFERENCE, A NON-PROFIT AMERICAN THINK 
TANK WAS THE ONLY PARTICIPANT TO RAISE THE SENSITIVE SUBJECT 
OF THE DPRK'S NUCLEAR ENERGY PROGRAM AND WEAPONS 
PROLIFERATION. 
AT A CONCLUDING ROUNDTABLE, U.S. POLICY WAS TAKEN TO TASK FOR 
DELAYING THE LIGHT WATER REACTOR PROJECT, PUSHING THE NUCLEAR 
AND PROLIFERATION ISSUES, AND PROHIBITING NGO WORK ON DPRK 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        ROME  05079  01 OF 02  171439Z 
ENERGY PROGRAMS. 
 
------------------------------- 
MFA:  DPRK OPENING TO THE WORLD 
------------------------------- 
 
5.    IN A SEPTEMBER 24 MEETING WITH MFA DIRECTOR FOR EAST 
ASIAN AFFAIRS RENZO MARIO ROSSO, HOOKER AND ROSSO EXCHANGED 
INFORMATION ABOUT THE OPENNESS DISPLAYED BY THE DPRK AT THE 
CONFERENCE.  HOOKER NOTED THAT KIM SONG, THE DELEGATION'S 
HEAD, SET THE EXAMPLE FOR AN UNUSUALLY OPEN DIALOGUE BY 
SPEAKING FRANKLY ABOUT THE DILAPIDATED CONDITION OF THE DPRK 
INFRASTRUCTURE.  EACH DPRK PRESENTER DISCUSSED HIS/HER 
RESEARCH FREELY AND ANSWERED QUESTIONS DIRECTLY, WITHOUT 
WAITING FOR GUIDANCE.  MOREOVER, THE DELEGATION SPOKE OPENLY 
ABOUT ECONOMIC PROBLEMS, USING THE WORD "REFORM," PERHAPS FOR 
THE FIRST TIME, IN PUBLIC. 
 
6.    (C) ROSSO, WHO HAD NOT ATTENDED THE CONFERENCE, SHARED 
INFORMATION WITH HOOKER FROM THE CONFIDENTIAL READOUT HE HAD 
RECEIVED FROM CONFERENCE ORGANIZER MARTELLINI.  THE NORTH 
KOREANS OPPOSED THE CONGRESSIONAL MANDATE LINKING THE 
BUILDING OF LIGHT-WATER REACTORS TO NUCLEAR INSPECTIONS BY 
THE IAEA.  NONETHELESS, THEY SEEMED READY TO ACCEPT THE 
INSPECTORS.  HOOKER NOTED THAT IN HER SIDE CONVERSATIONS WITH 
THE DELEGATION, SHE HEARD THE DPRK WAS LOOKING FOR ASSURANCES 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0050 
 
PAGE 01        ROME  05079  02 OF 02  171439Z 
ACTION EUR-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   CEA-01   COME-00  CTME-00  INL-00 
      C-00     DINT-00  DODE-00  DOEE-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EAP-00 
      EB-00    EXIM-01  E-00     FBIE-00  VC-00    FRB-00   H-01 
      TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    ITC-01   LAB-01   L-00     CAC-00 
      VCE-00   AC-01    DCP-01   NRRC-00  NSAE-00  NSCE-00  OCS-03 
      OES-01   OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00 
      ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00   SP-00    IRM-00   SSO-00   SS-00 
      STR-00   TRSE-00  T-00     USIE-00  R-00     EPAE-00  SSD-00 
      PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-00   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00 
        /017W 
                  ------------------F9328E  171504Z /38 
R 171355Z OCT 02 
FM AMEMBASSY ROME 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6387 
INFO AMEMBASSY BEIJING 
AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 
AMEMBASSY SEOUL 
AMEMBASSY TOKYO 
AMCONSUL FLORENCE 
AMCONSUL MILAN 
AMCONSUL NAPLES 
CIA WASHDC 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 ROME 005079 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2007 
TAGS: PREL, ENRG, EAID, PARM, KN, IT 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  05079  02 OF 02  171439Z 
SUBJECT: NORTH KOREANS SIGNAL NEW OPENNESS AT ENERGY 
CONFERENCE IN COMO, ITALY 
 
THAT AFTER INSPECTIONS THE PROJECT WOULD BE COMPLETED WITHOUT 
FURTHER CONDITIONS.  HER NORTH KOREAN INTERLOCUTORS ALSO 
DISCUSSED INTERNAL OPPOSITION TO REFORM, AND THEIR HOPE FOR 
RAPID PROGRESS ON THE ISSUE IN ORDER TO OVERCOME OBJECTIONS 
RAISED BY HARD-LINERS. 
 
7.    (C) RELATIONS BETWEEN THE DPRK AND JAPAN WERE ON THE 
UPSWING AFTER THE VISIT OF KOIZUMI, ROSSO STATED.  IN THE 
OFFING WERE NEW COMMERCIAL DEALS, INFORMATION ABOUT JAPANESE 
ABDUCTEES, AND FURTHER DISCUSSION OF THE EXTRADITION TO JAPAN 
OF JAPANESE RED ARMY (JRA) MEMBERS.  ON THE MARGINS OF THE 
CONFERENCE, DELEGATION MEMBERS HAD EXPRESSED THEIR HOPE THAT 
THE RETURN OF JRA MEMBERS WOULD RESULT IN THE REMOVAL OF THE 
DPRK FROM THE U.S. LIST OF STATE SPONSORS OF TERRORISM. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
WHAT IS PYONGYANG AFTER--AND WHAT WILL IT DO TO GET IT? 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
8.    (C) ACCORDING TO ROSSO, THE DPRK IS SEEKING AID AND 
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, 
AS WELL AS THE ACTIVATION OF A SUBSTANTIAL EU SCHOLARSHIP 
PROGRAM FOR RESEARCHERS.  IN PARTICULAR, PYONGYANG WANTS 
FUNDING TO BUILD A PLANNED INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CENTER. 
 
9.    (C) IT APPEARS THAT TO OBTAIN THESE, NORTH KOREA MAY BE 
SEEKING TO ASSUAGE INTERNATIONAL CONCERNS ABOUT WEAPONS 
PROLIFERATION.  ROSSO RECALLED THAT DURING KOIZUMI'S VISIT, 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  05079  02 OF 02  171439Z 
THE DPRK ANNOUNCED A MORATORIUM AFTER 2003 ON ALL MISSILE 
PRODUCTION AND TESTING.  IN EXCHANGE FOR MODERNIZATION AID, 
HE BELIEVES, THE DPRK IS READY TO BAN THE PRODUCTION AND 
EXPORT OF MEDIUM AND LONG-RANGE BALLISTIC MISSILES.  HOWEVER, 
HOOKER NOTED THAT THE USG IS CURRENTLY NOT SUPPORTIVE OF 
PROVIDING COMPENSATION FOR ASSURANCES THAT MISSILE PRODUCTION 
WILL CEASE, AND SAID THAT SHE WAS UNAWARE OF ANY USG PLANS TO 
ASSIST IN BUILDING THE TECHNOLOGY CENTER. 
 
--------------------------------------- 
RESPONDING TO THE NEW AND IMPROVED DPRK 
--------------------------------------- 
 
10.   (C) ROSSO AGREED THAT THE TECHNOLOGY CENTER IDEA WAS 
"TOO NEW" BUT OBSERVED THAT THE DIFFUSION OF TECHNOLOGY WAS 
NECESSARY FOR POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC MODERNIZATION.  THE FACT 
THAT PYONGYANG WAS PURSUING THIS APPROACH INDICATED THAT 
EITHER THE REGIME WAS MORE CONFIDENT THAN BEFORE OR HAD 
REALIZED THAT TECHNOLOGY WAS IN ITS INTERESTS.  HOOKER 
OBSERVED THAT OTHER COUNTRIES, SUCH AS RUSSIA, WERE 
INTERESTED IN VARIOUS DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS FOR NORTH KOREA 
BUT FINDING MONEY FOR THOSE PROJECTS WAS A MAJOR PROBLEM. 
HOWEVER, BECAUSE NORTH KOREA HAD BEEN WILLING TO RESPOND TO 
JAPANESE CONCERNS ABOUT ABDUCTEES, JAPAN MIGHT BE WILLING TO 
PUSH THE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK TO FUND DPRK PROJECTS. 
 
11.   (C) ROSSO STATED THAT HE WAS INTERESTED IN PERIODICALLY 
CONSULTING AND COORDINATING POLICIES ON THE DPRK, GIVING 
HOOKER AN OPENING TO ASK WHY NORTH KOREA WAS IMPORTANT TO 
ITALY.  GIVING HIS "PERSONAL OPINION," ROSSO REPLIED THAT 
ORIGINALLY THE IDEA OF NEW DIPLOMATIC CHANNELS (I.E., 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        ROME  05079  02 OF 02  171439Z 
OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZING THE DPRK) WAS A BIPARTISAN ONE LED BY 
THE FORMER CENTER-LEFT FONMIN, LAMBERTO DINI.  HOWEVER, THE 
CURRENT CENTER-RIGHT GOVERNMENT WAS COOLER TO NORTH KOREA, 
CONCERNED ABOUT CONTRADICTING THE U.S. STAND ON THE "AXIS OF 
EVIL," AND THUS NOT PARTICULARLY ENGAGED.  AN MFA OFFICER WHO 
JOINED THE MEETING BRIEFLY ADDED THAT EUROPE WAS TRYING TO 
FIND A STRATEGY IN RESPONSE TO THAT DECLARATION.  THE 
QUESTION WAS WHETHER TO TRY TO BALANCE PRESIDENT BUSH'S 
APPROACH OR SUPPORT IT.  ROSSO AGREED THAT THE EU POLICY WAS 
IN FLUX.  IN THE PAST, THE EU'S ROLE WAS TO PURSUE DIALOGUE 
WITH THE DPRK.  "IT WAS THE BEST WE COULD DO AT THE TIME," HE 
SAID. 
 
12.   (C) IN CONTRAST TO THE PERIOD OF OVER A YEAR IN WHICH 
THE DPRK SITUATION WAS PRACTICALLY STUCK, ROSSO SUMMARIZED, 
NOW NORTH KOREA WAS GIVING POSITIVE SIGNALS AND SEEKING 
DIALOGUE AND REESTABLISHED LINKS WITH SOUTH KOREA.  WHILE 
THIS AND KOIZUMI'S VISIT SUGGEST A THAWING, SETBACKS COULD 
STILL EMERGE.  HOOKER AGREED, REMEMBERING THE NAVAL CLASH 
WITH SOUTH KOREA ON JUNE 29 THAT PROBABLY DISRUPTED THE 
DPRK'S PLANS TO ANNOUNCE CHANGES.  SHE STATED THAT POLICY 
MAKERS HAVE BEEN WATCHING WITH INTEREST THE RECENT CHANGES IN 
THE DPRK AND CONSIDERING HOW TO MOVE AHEAD WITH US-DPRK 
RELATIONS.  NOTING THAT THE GOI AND PRC HAD RECENTLY AGREED 
TO SHARE INFORMATION ON THE DPRK, ROSSO REPEATED THAT HE 
HOPES TO CONTINUE CONSULTATIONS WITH US AS WELL. 
SEMBLER 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 
 2002ROME05079 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL 


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