US embassy cable - 93SEOUL2885

DPRK ANNOUNCES END OF "SEMI-WAR" STATE

Identifier: 93SEOUL2885
Wikileaks: View 93SEOUL2885 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Seoul
Created: 1993-03-25 09:15:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL KNNP PARM KS KN
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 250915Z MAR 93
FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3676
INFO AMEMBASSY TOKYO
AMEMBASSY BEIJING
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
USMISSION USVIENNA
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
CHJUSMAG SEOUL KS
COMUSKOREA SEOUL KS//CJ-CC/BJ-CM-H/SJS/EJ-J/PAJ//
SA CINCUNC KS
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI//FPA//
JOINTSTAFF WASHDC
SECDEF WASHDC
USCINCUNC SEOUL KS//UNCMAC//
C O N F I D E N T I A L SEOUL 02885 
 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:  OADR 
TAGS: PREL, KNNP, PARM, KS, KN 
SUBJECT:  DPRK ANNOUNCES END OF "SEMI-WAR" STATE 
 
REF: (A) FBIS SK2403053393, (B) FBIS OW2403125093 
 
1.  C - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  ON MARCH 24, DPRK SUPREME COMMANDER KIM JONG IL ISSUED 
AN ORDER LIFTING THE "SEMI-WAR STATE" (REF A) THAT HAD 
BEEN INSTITUTED MARCH 9 IN RESPONSE TO THE BEGINNING OF 
TEAM SPIRIT.  ACCORDING TO THE MOFA INTER-KOREA POLICY 
DIVISION, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THE DPRK HAS OFFICIALLY 
ANNOUNCED SUCH A STEP AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF A TEAM 
SPIRIT EXERCISE.  (COMMENT: WE NOTE THAT IT IS THE FTX 
PORTION OF TEAM SPIRIT '93 WHICH HAS CONCLUDED.  END 
COMMENT.)  MOFA ANALYSTS BELIEVE THAT IN TAKING THIS 
ACTION THE NORTH HAS LINKED ITS "SEMI-WAR STATE" 
SPECIFICALLY TO TEAM SPIRIT, SEPARATING IT CLEARLY FROM 
THE NORTH'S WITHDRAWAL FROM THE NPT.  WHETHER INTENDED OR 
NOT, KIM JONG IL'S ORDER IS ALSO VIEWED BY SOUTH KOREANS 
AS A SIGNAL THAT THE DPRK MAY BE INTERESTED IN IMPROVING 
THE CLIMATE FOR RESOLVING THE IAEA IMPASSE.  IN ADDITION, 
MOFA ANALYSTS SUGGEST THAT THE DPRK NEEDS TO GET ITS 
WORKERS BACK ON THE JOB, AND BY ISSUING A PUBLIC ORDER 
THIS GOAL IS QUICKLY ACCOMPLISHED. 
 
3.  THERE HAVE ALSO BEEN REPORTS (REF B) THAT VISA 
ISSUANCE WILL QUICKLY RETURN TO NORMAL.  JIM GROEN OF THE 
WORLDWIDE LEADERSHIP COUNCIL TOLD POLOFF MARCH 23 THAT HE 
WILL ESCORT A U.S. CHRISTIAN MUSICAL GROUP TO THE DPRK FOR 
A 12 DAY SERIES OF CONCERTS AND PROGRAMS BEGINNING APRIL 
6.  GROEN SAID THE DPRK MISSION IN NEW YORK HAD ASSURED 
HIM THAT THERE WOULD BE NO PROBLEM GETTING THEIR VISAS. 
GROEN ADDED THAT PARENTS OF THE GROUP MEMBERS HAVE BEEN 
PARTICULARLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE "SEMI-WAR STATE" 
ANNOUNCED BY THE NORTH.  THE DPRK MISSION INDICATED TO 
GROEN THAT THE SECURITY SITUATION WOULD CAUSE THEM NO 
DIFFICULTIES. 
 
4.  THE ROK NATIONAL UNIFICATION BOARD TOLD US THAT THE 
SOUTH HAS REQUESTED A MEETING OF LIAISON OFFICERS AT 
PANMUNJOM THE MORNING OF MARCH 26 TO PASS AN INVITATION 
LETTER FROM THE HEAD OF THE SOUTH KOREAN CHONDO CHURCH 
(CHONDOISM IS A NATIVE RELIGION WITH A MODEST FOLLOWING IN 
KOREA) TO HIS COUNTERPART IN THE NORTH.  THE LETTER 
INVITES THE HEAD OF THE NORTH KOREAN CHONDO CHURCH TO 
ATTEND A CHONDO CONFERENCE IN THE SOUTH.  NUB OFFICIALS 
REPORTED LATE MARCH 25 THAT THE DPRK HAS NOT AGREED TO 
ACCEPT THE LETTER, SAYING THAT SUCH INVITATIONS DO NOT 
IMPROVE THE ATMOSPHERE OF N/S DIALOGUE AT THIS TIME.  THIS 
REQUEST FOR A MEETING IS THE FIRST INTER-KOREAN LIAISON 
OFFICE CONTACT SINCE THE RETURN OF LI IN MO ON MARCH 19. 
 
5.  COMMENT: WITH THE CONCLUSION OF THE FTX PORTION OF THE 
EXERCISE, THE DPRK HAS TONED DOWN ITS PUBLIC POSTURING ON 
TEAM SPIRIT.  KIM JONG IL HAS DECLARED VICTORY TO HIS 
DOMESTIC AUDIENCE AND SAID IN EFFECT THAT NORTH KOREANS 
CAN GET BACK TO WORK.  DESPITE ROKG EFFORTS TO FOSTER 
PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE CONTACTS INDEPENDENT OF OTHER FACTORS IN 
THE N/S EQUATION, THE NORTH IS NOT YET WILLING TO MOVE 
FORWARD IN THIS AREA. 
 
 
BURGHARDT 

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