이상득 소고기문제와 이명박 대통령의 잘못 언급

1.(C)요약: 미대사와 대통령의형 국회부의장 이상득이 오찬회동을 하며 미국 소고기수입 재개방게획과 이로인한 사태를 논의하였다. 국회부의장 이상득과 최근 재선된 전여옥은 미국소고기 사태가 조만간 가라않지는 않겠지만 소고기시장은 다시 개방될것으로 낙관적으로 보고있다. 이상득은 이명박정부를 위해서 공식적 개방은 6월4일 보궐선거이후로 하는것이 좋겠다고함. 그렇지않으면 한나라당이 보궐선거에서 모두 질수 있고, 그럴 경우 현 정부정책 실행이 어려워질수 있다고 함. 지난 10년동안 진보적 반미 친북정권과 언론들이 장악했었기 때문에 소고기문제와 관련 언론의 편향보도과 조직화된 좌파들을 쉽게 극복하기가 매우 어렵다고 말함. 그렇지만 6월에 한나라당이 장악하고 있는 국회가 열리면 좀더 쉬워질것. 이상득과 친이계의원 전여옥은 이명박정부가 실수들로 인해서 국민들에게 실망을 주었더고 인정했다. 이러한 실수는 이명박대통령의 정치적 감각미숙(lack of political instinct)때문이라고 말했다. 그들은 또 박근혜와 보수리더들이 소고기및 여러가지 문제에서 이명박대통령을 지원하지 않은것에 실망감을 표시했다. 이상득은 미국의 지원이 소고기문제를 해결하는 중요한 열쇠라고 말했다. 이상득은 이명박대통령은 뼈속까지 친일, 친미인 사람이니 그런것은 절대 걱정할 필요가 없다고 하였다. 결국에는 이명박대통령은 미국일본의 우방으로서 잘 해나갈것이며 협력해 나갈것이다. 이상득은 이번국회의 중요한 임무는 한미FTA를 통과시키는 것이라고 말함.

소고기 논쟁

2.(C) 미대사와 이상득의 점심은 화기애애한 분위기였으며, 미대사는 소고기시장 재개방과관련 논쟁을 분산시킬수 있는 방법이 있는지 물었다. 이상득은 말하기를 386세대는 반미,친북, 통일정책에 촛점을 맟추고 시위에 참여하고 있지만 젊은 세대는 그렇지는 않고 이유가 다르다고 말함. 비록 이유는 다르지만 386세대의 이데올로기가 젊은 세대의 소고기개방 반대시위 참여에 영향을 주고있다고 말함. 10년전에는 미국을 북한보다 더 큰적이라고 생각하는 젊은이도 있었지만, 지금의 젊은이는 직장구하는것을 걱정한다고 말함. 일부에서는 소고기반대 정서가 반미감정으로 돌변할수도있지만, 일단 미국소고기가 시장에서 팔리기 시작하면 다 사그러들것이라고 말함. 반미, 친북정권(1998-2008노무현,김대중대통령재임기간) 부터 유임된 사람을 모두 쫒아내고 영향을 없애면 그렇게 큰 문제는 되지 않을것으로 본다고 말함.

3.(C) 이상득은 소고기협정이 최종 승인되고 6월4일 보궐선거이전에 수입이 시작되면, 소고기문제가 선거의 주요이슈가 될것이고 그러면 한나라당 후보자들이 낙선할것을 우려하고 있음. 그렇게되면 이명박대통령에게는 큰 타격이 될것임. 그래서 이상득은 협정의 최종합의는 선거이후로 하는것이 좋겠다고 말함. 미대사는 이미 연기가 된 상황에서 선거이후까지 기다리는 것은 미의회에서 한국의 신뢰도를 떨어뜨릴수 있다고 말함. 이상득은 정부간 신뢰만 있다면 정치적 문제로 연기되는 것은 큰 문제가 되지않는다고 말함. 전여옥은

이상득과 달리 원래 수입시기를 그대로 고수하는 것이 좋겠다는 의견을 밝힘. 이상득도 하루빨리 시장을 개방하여 미국소고기를 한국국민들이 먹을수 있게되기를 바라지만 보궐선거패배에 대한 걱정때문에 마음을 바꿨다고 함.

보수들의 권력복귀

4.(C) 이상득은 보수가 12월 대선과 4월 총선에서 확실한 승리를 거두었으나, 이명박대통령의 보수의 가치를 무시한 실용주의로 인해 일부의 보수는 실망하고 있다고 말함. 이대통령에 대한 실망으로 인해 친미세력 박근헤와 친박세력들이 최근의 위기극복에 관심이 없다고 말함.전여옥은 보수는 이명박대통령 정권교체에 성공한것을 고마워해야 한다고 말함. 그렇지만 이명박 대통령의 지나친 실용주의는 실수이며 일부 보수의 실망은 유감이지만 이해한다고 함.

당내 갈등

5.(C) 4월9일총선이 대통령 취임일인 2월25일로부터 불과 45일후에 치뤄져 안타깝게도 당내갈등이 표출될수 밖에 없었다고 이상득이 말함.인선과정을 이명박계가 독점하면서 갈들이 더 커졌다. 이상득은 이런 독점을 방지하기 위해 지명에 반대할수 있는 제도를 만들었다고 함. 일부는 이로인해 후에 사과도 하였다고 함. 일부에서 이상득이 국회에 남아있는것을 반대하는 사람도 있지만 전여옥 자신은 계속 남아서 역할을 해야 한다고 주장했었음.

커지는 불만들

7.(C) 이상득은 이대통령이 청와대에 자리를 잡기전에 인선과 소고기 문제로 많은 어려움이 있었다고 말했다. 미국에서 교육받은 부자그룹들을 지명함으로써 많은 반발을 일으켰지만 이대통령은 그 이유를 잘 알지못했다. 이상득은 그 이유를 이대통령의 정치적감각의 미숙(poor political instinct)때문이며 오랫동안 한국정치를 직접 관여하지 않아서 그렇다고 말함. 이대통령 측근중 대다수가 국회경험도 전혀 없는 사람이 많다고 함. 그래서 이대통령도 그의 측근들도 발생하는 여러가지 문제를 전혀 파악할수도 없었다고 함.

한국: 친미, 친일, 친중국은 아니다

8.(C) 한국인을 공격한 중국학생에 대한 분노하지 않는 것을 미국이 걱정할 필요는 없다. 이대통령은 친중국이 아니기 때문이다. 한국에는 오랜 시간동안 다져진 반독재와 친북의 토대가 있다. 보수가 연합하여 이런 조직들을 극복하는 데는 시간이 좀 걸린다는 것을 미정부가 알아달라.

9.(C) 전여옥은 최근 역사적으로도 한국은 중국보다 미국과 더 가까운 관계이며 그래서 중국학생들 시위보다 소고기문제에 더 격렬하게 반응하는것이라고 설명함. 전여옥은 친한 친구나 가족간의 갈등이 더 심하다고 말함. 그렇지만 일본은 비자면제프로그램에 속해 있고, 모는 예민한 문제를 다 미국탓으로 돌리지는 않는다고 함. 최근에 자기 딸이 미국에서 유학하고 돌아왔는데, 왜 미국소고기를 문제삼는지 의아해했다고 말함. 더 많은 한국인들이

미국에 가서 보고 미국과 미국소고기에 대한 잘못된 신화를 깰 필요가 있다고 말함.

10.(C) 미대사는 한국내 반대를 보면서 4월18일에 소고기서명을 한 용기를 높이 평가하며 이명박대통령을 더 존경하게 되었다고 말함. 미정부와 부쉬대통령은 이대통령의 지지를 높이 평가하며 한국상황이 매우 어려움을 이해하고 이러한 시기에 어려운 결정을 내리도록 하지는 않을 것이다. 부쉬대통령과의 정상회담에서 어떠한 의제도 한-미관계의 시험대가 될수 없으며 민감한 의제들로 인해 국내적으로 있을수 있는 어려움을 미정부는 이해한다.

11.(C) 이상득과 대통령 이명박은 친미이지만 언론과 기업에 친북적 요소가 남아있다. 따라서 미국은 이러한 요소들이 시간이 지나면서 자연스럽게 없어질수 있도록 이명박대통령을 도울 필요가 있다. 이명박대통령에 의구심을 갖는 사람도 있지만, 이상득은 이명박대통령이 근본적으로 친미, 친일의 시각을 가지고 있음을 잘 안다고 말했다.

Commnet 13. (C) 국회부의장 이상득은 대통려의 형이라는 특수관계와 나이가 많은 보수의원으로 한국국회에서 가장 영향력이 큰 의원으로 여겨진다. 동생에 대한 .실망과 비판으로 볼때 둘사이에는 긴장 갈등관계가 있는것으로 보인다 국회소식통에 의하면 이명박대통령은 형의 6선도전을 만류했으나 이를 무시하고 형이 출마한것에 상처를 입었다. 이로인해 이명박대통령은 정치적으로 약싹빠른 이상득의 정치나 인사에 관한 의견을 더욱 무시하게 되었다. 이상득은 오랜동안 협상지지파 였고,동생 대통령 이명박이 국가운영시에 발생하는 불만들에 대처하는 노우하우를 가지고 있다. 중요한 것은 이명박대통령이 형의 도움을 받아들일것이냐 하는 것이다.

원문 US embassy cable - 08SEOUL1087

LEE SANG-DEUK ON BEEF, PRESIDENT LEE'S MISSTEPS

Identifier:

08SEOUL1087

Origin:

Embassy Seoul

Created:

2008-05-29 02:11:00

Classification:

CONFIDENTIAL

Tags:

PGOV PREL PINR KN KS

Redacted:

This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.

VZCZCXYZ0000 PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUL #1087/01 1500211 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 290211Z MAY 08 FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0199 INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4352 RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 8758 RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 4488 RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 2707 RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI RUALSFJ/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA RUACAAA/COMUSKOREA INTEL SEOUL KOR RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA J5 SEOUL KOR RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA SCJS SEOUL KOR RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DCOSD/ISA/EAP

C O N F I D E N T I A L SEOUL 001087

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/10/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, KN, KS SUBJECT: LEE SANG-DEUK ON BEEF, PRESIDENT LEE'S MISSTEPS

Classified By: Amb. Alexander Vershbow. Reasons 1.4 (b,d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: Over a lunch of U.S. beef, the Ambassador and Vice Speaker Lee, who is President Lee Myung-bak's elder brother, discussed solutions to the continuing controversy over the planned reopening of the Korean market to U.S. beef. Vice Speaker Lee and recently reelected lawmaker Chun Yu-ok were pessimistic the controversy would subside soon, but optimistic that U.S. beef would soon reenter the market. Lee suggested it might be politically better for the Lee government to delay the official opening until after the June 4 by-elections. If not, a sweeping defeat for GNP candidates could damage future ROKG initiatives. Because progressive, anti-American, and pro-DPRK leaders had directed the ROKG and the Korean media for the last ten years, it was difficult now for President Lee to overcome media bias and well-organized leftist groups to resolve the beef issue. He thought, however, the situation would be easier once the GNP-controlled National Assembly started its session in June. Both the Vice Speaker and pro-MB lawmaker Chun Yu-ok acknowledged that President Lee had made some mistakes that had contributed to people's dissatisfaction with his Administration. Most of the President's missteps they attributed to President Lee's lack of “political instinct.” They both also expressed disappointment in Park Geun-hye and other conservative leaders for not supporting President Lee on beef and other issues. Lee emphasized that U.S. support was key to helping the ROKG overcome the beef problem. Vice Speaker Lee said that President Lee was pro-U.S. and pro-Japan to the core so there should be no questioning President Lee's vision. Ultimately, President Lee would do right by the alliance and work well with both the U.S. and Japan. Lee said that the main task in the new National Assembly would be to pass the KORUS FTA. END SUMMARY


BEEF CONTROVERSY


2. (C) During a pleasant lunch with President Lee's elder brother Lee Sang-deuk, the Ambassador asked if there was some way to diffuse the controversy surrounding the reopening of the Korean market to U.S. beef. Vice Speaker Lee explained that the “386 generation” focused on anti-American, pro-DPRK, pro-Unification policies while younger Koreans are now protesting against U.S. beef with a different motive. Despite the different motive, the ideology of the 386-ers had influenced the young people protesting the reopening of the Korean market to U.S. beef imports. While ten years ago some felt that the U.S. was more of an enemy than North Korea, now young people are worried about finding a job. While some worry that anti-beef sentiment could spiral into anti-U.S. sentiment, Lee thought that once U.S. beef was available in Korean stores, anti-beef protests would subside. Eventually, as holdovers from the anti-American/pro-DPRK period (1998-2008 Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Dae-jung presidencies) were pushed out of positions of power and influence, such issues would cease to be big problems.

3. (C) Lee said he was concerned that if the beef agreement were finalized to allow imports of U.S. beef to begin entering Korea before the June 4 by-election, it could become the main election issue and cause GNP candidates to lose. This would deal a heavy blow to President Lee. Therefore, waiting until after the election to finalize the agreement would be helpful. The Ambassador said waiting until after the election would damage Korea's credibility in the U.S. Congress since there had already been delays. Lee replied that if there were trust between the governments, one more small delay due to real political concerns should not make much difference. Rep. Chun disagreed with Lee and said she thought it would be better to keep the current date and start beef imports. Lee conceded that he originally wanted the beef market to reopen as quickly as possible so people could eat U.S. beef but had changed his mind recently because of the potential loss in the by-election.


CONSERVATIVES BACK IN POWER


4. (C) Lee said the conservatives won the December presidential and April National Assembly elections convincingly, but some conservatives were disappointed by

President Lee's focus on pragmatism at the expense of traditional conservative principles. Due to disappointment with Lee, many of the pro-U.S. conservatives, such as Park Geun-hye and her supporters, were not interested in helping Lee handle his latest crisis. Representative Chun added that conservatives should thank President Lee for succeeding in changing the government. She admitted, however, that Lee Myung-bak's over-emphasis on pragmatism was a mistake, and the disappointment of some conservatives was regrettable but understandable.


INTRA-PARTY STRUGGLES


5. (C) Because the April 9 National Assembly elections were just 45 days after Lee Myung-bak's February 25 inauguration, the public intra-party struggle was inevitable, Lee lamented. Compounding the issue, some Lee Myung-bak supporters had tried to monopolize power by dominating the nomination process. Lee said he had put a brake on this movement, which led certain GNP lawmakers to sign a petition against his nomination. These people have since apologized, Lee said. Chun said some were opposed to Lee Sang-deuk remaining in the National Assembly, but because Lee has an important role to play, she had defended the choice to nominate Lee.

6. (C) Lee said that he was meeting traditional conservative leaders on behalf of President Lee to try to smooth over differences and convince them to support the President. Both Chun and Lee were not optimistic, however, that the pro-Park lawmakers could assimilate well into the GNP and support President Lee, even if their party membership were reinstated. Chun said that the likely scenario would result in President Lee fighting not only the opposition party but also the pro-Park lawmakers within the GNP. Chun said the reason she was pessimistic was that the pro-Park lawmakers had been critical of the ROKG regarding the beef agreement.


FANNING THE FLAMES OF DISCONTENT


7. (C) Before President Lee settled into office and “found his place,” there was a struggle over nominations and

controversy surrounding beef, Lee said. Compounding these problems, Lee appointed a group of rich, U.S.-educated Blue House senior secretaries and did not understand why Korean people would rally against such appointments. President Lee kicked off his term without assessing the situation and making concessions as needed. The reason for this, Lee said, was that President Lee has “poor political instinct” since he had not been directly involved in Korean politics for very long. Worse still, many of President Lee's close aides had also never run for the National Assembly. Therefore, neither President Lee nor his aides were able to imagine the problems that arose.


ROK: PRO-U.S., PRO-JAPAN, NOT PRO-PRC


8. (C) Lee said that the lack of outrage over the Chinese students who attacked some Koreans should not be a worry to the U.S. since Lee Myung-bak was not pro-PRC. There is a broad base built up over the decades fighting the dictatorships in Korea and supporting pro-DPRK policies, Lee said. USG leaders should realize that it will take time for conservatives to unite and overcome this entrenched organization.

9. (C) Chun pointed out that the ROK was closer to the U.S. than to China due to recent history and this explained why Koreans reacted more vehemently to the beef controversy than to the violence by Chinese students. Chun pointed out that conflicts between close friends or family members can be the most severe. Also, the fact that Japan belonged to the visa waiver program and the ROK did not contributed to sensitivity on all issues American. Chun said her daughter recently returned from study in the U.S. and wondered why there was a debate over U.S. beef. More Koreans needed to have the chance to go to the U.S. to dispel myths about the U.S. and about U.S. beef, Chun concluded.

10. (C) The Ambassador said that President Lee was respected, more in the U.S. than he was on April 18, when the beef agreement was signed, because people now see how difficult his decision was in light of the resultant domestic opposition. The Ambassador assured Lee that the USG appreciated President Lee's firm support of the U.S. and that

the highest levels of the USG, especially President Bush, were sensitive to the political situation in Korea and would not press for controversial decisions while the situation remained difficult. President Bush said during the summit that no issue was a litmus test for the U.S.-ROK relationship since the USG understood there were domestic concerns influencing the handling of sensitive issues.

11. (C) Representative Lee said that President Lee Myung-bak is pro-U.S. but there are still some pro-DPRK elements in the press and in business. Therefore, the U.S. needs to help President Lee until these elements are replaced naturally over time. Some doubted President Lee, but Lee said he knew Lee's fundamental views were pro-U.S. and pro-Japan.


COMMENT


13. (C) Vice Speaker Lee is considered the most influential lawmaker in the National Assembly due to his relationship with President Lee and his status as the most senior conservative legislator. The frustration with and criticism of his brother, however, reflected an underlying tension between the two. National Assembly sources note that President Lee asked his elder brother not to run for National Assembly and was hurt when Lee ignored his advice and ran for a sixth term. This could have contributed to President Lee ignoring the more politically astute Vice Speaker's views on matters of personnel and politics. A long-time proponent of compromise, Lee has the authority and know-how to help his brother address complaints about how he is running the country. The big question is whether President Lee will accept the help. VERSHBOW


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