SEOUL — U.S. Embassy officials are asking users of an Internet message board intended to discuss U.S.-South Korean relations to keep on topic.

Since its debut earlier this month, the Café USA Web site, hosted on the hugely popular “Daum” portal, has drawn many messages from South Koreans severely criticizing their own government.

The site was intended to allow Korean “netizens,” as they call themselves, to interact directly with U.S. Embassy officials and to ask questions about U.S. policy. Café USA, launched Nov. 8, is linked from the embassy’s Web page at

The site asks South Koreans to give “frank and honest” messages and “constructive feedback and ideas on how to better Korea-U.S. relations.”

Messages with vulgarities or advertisements are deleted from the site.

“It is true that in a democracy everyone is entitled to express their views about their government, however we feel that it would be better if people found another Web site that is more appropriate for this purpose,” U.S. ambassador to South Korea Christopher Hill wrote in his weekly message, posted this Monday. “I look forward to sharing more thoughts with you early next week.”

In his first message, posted Nov. 8, Hill laid out high hopes for the site.

“I want to ensure that the U.S. Embassy has not only a Web site but also a voice on the Internet. Café USA is the beginning of our two-way dialogue with the Korean people to listen and understand your feelings on key issues,” he wrote.

Among his priorities, he listed the security alliance, strengthening economic ties, expanding “strategic dialogue” to include global issues, furthering “shared democratic values” and interacting directly with the Korean public.

“I have come back to Korea with a sense that there is so much to learn and understand. I look forward to meeting Netizens online and hearing their different views,” Hill wrote. “I promise a spirit of openness, and that together we will build our relationship and take it to the next level.”

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