08ASTANA2163, KAZAKHSTAN: SOUTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR ON ECONOMIC,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA2163 2008-11-03 05:03 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO1298
PP RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHTA #2163 3080503
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 030503Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3714
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0758
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0157
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0234
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0867
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0320
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0237
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1991

C O N F I D E N T I A L ASTANA 002163 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EAP/K, EUR/RS, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/04/2018 
TAGS: PREL ECON KDEM RS KS KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  SOUTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR ON ECONOMIC, 
DEMOCRACY, AND OTHER ISSUES 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland:  1.4 (B), (D) 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  The South Korean Ambassador in Astana said 
Seoul 
 
-- is considering an economic summit for South Asia as a way 
to raise its profile in the region; 
 
-- would be willing to play a greater "quiet diplomacy" role 
in promoting democracy; 
 
-- considered creating a South and Central Asia Bureau in its 
Foreign Ministry but decided it is still too early to do so; 
and 
 
-- is pulling its hair out trying to get its new embassy 
built in Astana.  END SUMMARY. 
 
SOUTH KOREA TO HOST CENTRAL ASIAN ECONOMIC SUMMIT? 
 
2.  (C) During a courtesy call on October 30, South Korean 
Ambassador Kim Il-Soo said his government wants to pay more 
political attention to Central Asia, especially because of 
"China creep," and is considering organizing an exonomic 
summit for Central Asia, but isn't sure what it really has to 
offer at this time.  Should the project more forward, he 
speculated it might focus on specific issues like commercial 
nuclear energy and agriculture.  Kim commented that Japan's 
pig push on Central Asia a year or two ago seems to have lost 
steam, and he personally doubts South Korea could do more 
than hold a one-off symbolic meeting at this time.  He said 
he has argued in his foreign ministry against such a summit 
unless Seoul is prepared to sustain follow-through. 
 
SOUTH KOREA CAN HELP PROMOTE DEMOCRACY 
 
3.  (SBU) Although South Korea's interests in Kazakhstan are 
primarily commercial, Kim said Seoul would be willing to play 
a greater role in promoting democracy.  He noted South 
Korea's special perspective as an Asian democracy that only 
20 years ago made the transition from authoritarian 
capitalism to free-market democracy.  He said he thought this 
perspective could be especially helpful in quiet diplomacy in 
Kazakhstan and asked to be included in the informal group of 
Western like-minded embassies in Astana.  The Ambassador 
readily concurred. 
 
SEOUL SEES CENTRAL ASIA STILL CLOSE TO RUSSIA 
 
4.  (C) Ambassador Kim asked if the State Department's moving 
the Central Asian states away from the Europe and Eurasia 
Bureau into the new South and Central Asia Bureau has been 
successful.  He commented, "That was a visionary decision." 
Because Seoul follows the United States closely as a model, 
he said his government had considered following this lead, 
but after heated debate had concluded it was too early to do 
so, primarily because of Moscow's strong influence in the 
region. 
 
SOUTH KOREA'S NEW EMBASSY COMPOUND:  STILL A FIELD OF DREAMS 
 
5.  (C) Kim lamented the difficulty of getting South Korea's 
new embassy built in Astana.  He said there was a stand-off 
for two years because the Kazakhstani government, insisting 
on reciprocity, demanded a grant of land in Seoul to build a 
new embassy.  Currently, South Korea has an agreement for 
land in Astana, diagonally across from the U.S. compound, but 
the Kazakhstani parliament must ratify the agreement -- and 
the government in Astana has told Kim that might take another 
six months.  The South Korean property development company, 
Highvill (sic), would build the new chancery, but gearing up 
would take extra time since Highvill has sent most of its 
ex-pat staff back to South Korean because of the credit 
crunch for private-sector construction.  Kim quipped he would 
be lucky to see the foundations poured during his tenure. 
HOAGLAND

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