INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: U.S.-Rok Bilateral Counterterrorism Meeting Held

Published: Thu 24 Dec 2009 03:09 AM
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB
DE RUEHUL #2001 3580309
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 240309Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6559
INFO RUCNKOR/KOREA COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/COMUSKOREA J5 SEOUL KOR
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA J3 SEOUL KOR
RHMFISS/COMUSFK SEOUL KOR
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS SEOUL 002001
SIPDIS
EAP/K, S/CT
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER PGOV KS
SUBJECT: U.S.-ROK BILATERAL COUNTERTERRORISM MEETING HELD
DECEMBER 16
1. (SBU) Summary: In the second round of U.S.-ROK bilateral
counterterrorism consultations, the ROK expressed growing
concern over terrorist attacks on Korean nationals abroad.
Outlining its increasing international and domestic
counterterrorism efforts, the ROK reiterated the desire to
work closely with the U.S., particularly in the areas of
information-sharing, terrorist financing and their planned
PRT in Afghanistan. End Summary.
2. (SBU) The second round of U.S.-ROK counterterrorism
consultations took place in Seoul on December 16. The U.S.
delegation was led by Shari Villarosa, Deputy Coordinator for
Regional Affairs, Office of the Coordinator for
Counterterrorism, and included Embassy Seoul representatives
from DOS, FBI, DEA, ICE and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as
United States Forces Korea. The Korean delegation was led by
Ambassador for International Counterterrorism Cooperation Lee
Joon Gyu and included representatives from the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT), Ministry of Defense
(MND),National Police Agency (NPA) and Korean Coast Guard.
The consultations focused on each country,s domestic and
international counterterrorism policies and activities,
especially with regards to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and how
the U.S. and ROK can work together in the future.
3. (SBU) Ambassador Lee began with an assessment of the
terrorism situation in Korea and the Afghanistan/Pakistan
region, stating that although the threat of a homegrown
terrorist attack is low, the ROK is concerned about the
threat its citizens face overseas. Lee noted that four
Korean tourists were killed in a suicide bombing in Yemen,
for which al-Qaida claimed responsibility, and another Korean
medical worker was killed in a separate incident in
Afghanistan. Lee praised the U.S. for leading the way in
global counterterrorism efforts and welcomed President
Obama,s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.
4. (SBU) Regarding international activities and cooperation,
Lee highlighted the role that Korea, which has joined all
United Nations (UN) conventions on terrorism, has played in
regional counterterrorism fora such as ASEM, APEC and ASEAN
3, including sharing its high-tech computer expertise at the
November 2009 APEC Seminar on Protection of Cyber Security.
Lee also noted the significant progress made in strengthening
Korea,s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance
legislation and thanked the U.S. for its support of Korea,s
accession to the OECD Financial Action Task Force. According
to Lee, U.S.-ROK law enforcement relations are very good.
Earlier this year, the ROK sent police officers to attend
hostage negotiations training with the NYPD.
5. (SBU) On the domestic front, the ROKG has developed
national guidelines that define the roles and
responsibilities of each agency, and is working on
interagency coordination. According to Lee, MOFAT has the
lead role in the case of an overseas attack on Koreans, but
the NPA is responsible for domestic terrorism investigation
and action, and they rely on close collaboration with the
National Intelligence Service (NIS), Interpol and U.S.
agencies. The NPA also provides training to officers from
developing countries, though financial constraints limit the
number of participants the ROK can train. Lee stated that
the ROK will continue to upgrade its readiness, and he
stressed that international cooperation and
information-sharing are vital to success in preventing
terrorist attacks.
6. (SBU) Regarding areas for further cooperation, Ambassador
Lee and Deputy Coordinator Villarosa agreed on the need for
very close collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in
setting up the ROK Provincial Reconstruction Team in
Afghanistan. The Koreans were very interested in U.S. PRT
training and opportunities for their civilians to receive
training before they depart. Ambassador Lee also asked for
closer and more regular talks between the U.S. and Korean
embassies in countries with significant terrorist threats, to
share information that could protect overseas Koreans in
those countries. Villarosa and RSO assured Lee that our
embassies stood ready to cooperate with their Korean
counterparts. She also emphasized that the U.S. and Korea
should continue to work through regional and multilateral
fora to build capacity of others, and suggested cyber
security and critical infrastructure protection could be
potential areas of future cooperation.
STEPHENS
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