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Cablegate: Media Reaction in Seoul

R 150738Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2624
USDOC WASHDC 7885
DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
AMEMBASSY TOKYO
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
AMEMBASSY BEIJING
CIA WASHINGTON DC
SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SEOUL 002399


STATE FOR EAP/PD FOR SWALKER, EAP/P, EAP/K
STATE PASS USDA ELECTRONICALLY FOR FAX/ITP SCHEIKH
STATE PASS USTR FOR RCASSIDY
USDOC FOR 4430/IEP/OPB/EAP/JDONIUS
TREASURY FOR OASIA/MGREWE
CINCPAC FOR J-74

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR ECON KS US KPAO KMDR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION IN SEOUL

Subject: Media Reaction; Seoul

East Asia and Pacific: DPRK, nuclear program, Six-Party Talks

"Seoul and Washington Must See Eye to Eye on North Korea"

Conservative Chosun Ilbo editorialized (12/13): "With the collapse
of the latest round of the Six-Party Talks, the ROK and U.S.
governments are talking about suspending a shipment of 450,000 tons
of heavy fuel oil, the remaining balance from 1 million tons
promised to the North in an Oct. 3, 2007 agreement. That stick may
be necessary if North Korea keeps refusing to allow sampling as part
of the nuclear verification process. Seoul and the incoming Obama
Administration will need to share the same road map for navigating
the North Korean nuclear issue. That must be the starting point for
dealing with the matter successfully."


"Six-Party Process Reveals Its Fundamental Limitations"

Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo editorialized (12/13): "The biggest
reason (for the collapse of the latest round of the Six-Party Talks)
is the Bush Administration's failure to grasp the substance of North
Korea's negotiating strategy, wavering between hard-line and
conciliatory policies on the country. Even though the Six-Party
Talks have produced some achievements, they are far from progress in
terms of the substantive goal of dismantling North Korea's nuclear
programs."


"New Momentum for Six-Party Talks"

Left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (12/13): "North Korea
seems to be thinking that it should hold on to the verification
issue as a card to play against the incoming Obama Administration.
There is, of course, some possibility that aspects of Pyongyang's
relationship with Washington could change when Obama is inaugurated,
since he has pledged to have comprehensive negotiations and direct,
high-level talks with North Korea. However, no matter what the
situation, it is crystal clear that there will be no resolution to
the verification issue without agreement on sampling collection. If
the North wants more meaningful dialogue with the Obama
Administration, the best thing for the North to do would be to
respond favorably to the adoption of a verification protocol, and
now would not be too late."


Stephens

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