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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; August 24, 2009

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 SEOUL 001357

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; August 24, 2009

TOP HEADLINES
-------------

Chosun Ilbo
Kim Jong-il: "Let's Hold Inter-Korean Summit"
President Lee: "N. Korea's Abandonment of Nuclear Weapons Should be
Discussed"


JoongAng Ilbo
Kim Jong-il Hopes for Inter-Korean Summit

Dong-a Ilbo, Hankyoreh Shinmun, Segye Ilbo,
Seoul Shinmun, All TVs
Nation Bids Solemn Farewell to
Former President Kim Dae-jung;
He Was Laid to Rest at National Cemetery
after Planting Seeds of Reconciliation and Unity

Hankook Ilbo
N. Korean Leader Seeks to Improve Inter-Korean Ties


DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
---------------------

The nation bid farewell to former President Kim Dae-jung at a state
funeral held at the National Assembly yesterday. (All)

An estimated 20,000 mourners, including President Lee Myung-bak and
former presidents and delegates from 12 countries, attended the
70-minute service. A 10-member U.S. delegation, led by former
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, also took part in the
service. (All)

President Lee Myung-bak met yesterday with the North Korean
delegation that came to Seoul Friday to pay respects to the late
former president. According to Blue House Spokesman Lee Dong-kwan,
the North's delegation relayed a verbal message from North Korean
leader Kim Jong-il regarding progress in inter-Korean cooperation.
(All)

On August 22, chief ROK Delegate to the Six-Party Talks Wi Sung-lac
met with Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. Special Representative for North
Korea Policy, who was visiting Seoul as part of the U.S. condolence
delegation. A senior ROKG official was quoted: "The ROK and the U.S.
have concluded that there has been no change in North Korea's
position of rejecting an irreversible denuclearization. The UN
sanctions against North Korea will continue for the time being.
(Dong-a, Segye)
(Chosun)


MEDIA ANALYSIS
--------------

-Korea Bids Farewell to Late Former President Kim Dae-jung
------------
Yesterday's state funeral for former President Kim Dae-jung received
above-the-fold front-page coverage in most ROK media. According to
media reports, an estimated 20,000 mourners, including President Lee
Myung-bak and former presidents and delegates from 12 countries,
attended the 70-minute service. A 10-member U.S. delegation, led by
former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, also took part in the
service.

Newspapers carried the following headlines: "Citizens Hope Former
President's Passing Sows Seeds of Reconciliation and Unity...
Citizens Mourn as Funeral Motorcade Passes" (Conservative Chosun
Ilbo); "Madeleine Albright, (Former Chinese State Councilor) Tang
Jiaxuan and (Former Japanese House of Representatives Speaker) Yohei
Kono among Foreign Delegates from 12 Countries" (right-of-center

SEOUL 00001357 002 OF 011


JoongAng Ilbo); and "Former President Kim Laid to Rest at National
Cemetery after Planting Seeds of Reconciliation and Unity"
(Conservative Dong-a Ilbo)

-N. Korea
---------
Yesterday's meeting between President Lee Myung-bak and the North
Korean delegation that came to Seoul Friday to pay respects to the
late former president also received wide press coverage. According
to media reports, the North's delegation passed on a verbal message
from North Korean leader Kim Jong-il that indicated he would like to
meet President Lee Myung-bak.

Blue House Spokesman Lee Dong-kwan was widely quoted as saying: "The
message was about the need for progress in inter-Korean cooperation
and expressed a desire for the two sides to 'solve all issues.'"

Conservative Chosun Ilbo claimed in a front-page report that
President Lee told the North Korean delegates that Seoul is willing
to talk at any time and at any level-including a summit-but that in
order to normalize inter-Korean ties, North Korea should make it
clear that it will abandon its nuclear weapons program.

Chosun also quoted a senior presidential official: "The Sunday
meeting led to a consensus between the two Koreas on the principle
that both sides need high-level government-to-government dialogue.
But it remains to be seen when and at what level such dialogue will
be held."

Conservative Chosun Ilbo, moderate Hankook Ilbo and OhmyNews, an ROK
online newspaper, cited local experts' views on the North Korean
delegation's eagerness for contact with ROKG officials as aimed at
escaping international sanctions, as well as a strategy to persuade
the U.S. through conciliatory gestures toward the ROK.

Newspapers carried the following front-and inside-page headlines: "A
Change in the 'Sunshine Paradigm' of Unconditional Aid to N. Korea;
ROK Calls for Nuclear Issue to be Addressed First, while N. Korea
Demands Economic Cooperation First... Bumpy Road Ahead for Summit
Talks" (conservative Chosun Ilbo); "N. Korea's Delegation Starts as
Condolence Delegation but Concludes as 'Special Envoy for Kim
Jong-il'" (right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo); Lee Myung-bak
Administration Sticks to Its Principle on N. Korea... Paradigm Shift
in Sight" (conservative Dong-a Ilbo); and "Drastic Change in N.
Korea's Attitude... ROKG Busy Understanding N. Korea's Intentions"
(moderate Hankook Ilbo).

Conservative Dong-a Ilbo reported on an August 22 meeting in Seoul
between Chief ROK Delegate to the Six-Party Talks Wi Sung-lac and
Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea
Policy, who was visiting Seoul as part of the U.S. condolence
delegation. The report quoted a senior ROKG official as saying:
"The ROK and the U.S. have concluded that there has been no change
in North Korea's position of rejecting an irreversible
denuclearization. The UN sanctions against North Korea will
continue for the time being."

Conservative Chosun Ilbo editorialized: "If the ROKG have an
inter-Korean summit in mind, its first priority should be to resolve
the North Korean nuclear issue. We no longer need an inter-Korean
summit that excludes the Korean Peninsula's biggest issue, the North
Korean nuclear issue."

Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo wrote in an editorial: "As long as
North Korea threatens the ROK and its neighboring countries with
nuclear weapons, there will inevitably be limitations to progress in
inter-Korean relations. President Lee explained the ROKG's
principles on North Korea policy to Kim Ki-nam, the North's chief
delegate, and asked him to convey this message to North Korean
leader Kim Jong-il. ... We believe that North Korea has understood
the ROK's intention to maintain and develop inter-Korean relations
in line with its principles, rather than being bent on just holding
talks."


SEOUL 00001357 003 OF 011


Conservative Dong-a Ilbo editorialized: "If North Korean leader Kim
Jong-il intends to advance inter-Korean cooperation, he should first
remove obstacles to reconciliation. Above all, North Korea should
return to the Six-Party Talks and release ROK fishermen detained in
the North. Unless North Korea expresses change through action, this
meeting (between President Lee and the North Korean delegation) will
lose its meaning."

Moderate Hankook Ilbo editorial stated: "... The speed of
restoration of inter-Korean ties should inevitably be linked to some
progress in the North Korean nuclear dismantlement talks, such as
the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. ... The ROK should not only
take the initiative in dialogue aimed at resolving inter-Korean
relations but also push the North to come to the bargaining table.
If necessary, Seoul should actively consider an inter-Korean summit.
North Korea, for its part, should abandon its lingering desire to
secure nuclear-armed state status and return to the nuclear
dismantlement talks as early as possible."


OPINIONS/EDITORIALS
--------------------

N. KOREA DOES NOT ACCURATELY UNDERSTAND THE U.S.
(JoongAng Ilbo, August 24, 2009, page 43: EXCERPTS)

By Former Prime Minister Lee Hong-gu

Most U.S. experts believe that the provocative acts that North Korea
has conducted since the inauguration of the Obama Administration,
such as a nuclear test and missile launches, are not carefully
planned diplomatic moves but errors made because the North did not
correctly understand President Obama.

It is lucky that North Korea handed over two U.S. journalists it had
convicted as criminals to former President Clinton. However, this
North Korean decision is not likely to be seen as Kim Jong-il's
generous act or a positive sign that it hopes for improvement in
North Korea-U.S. relations. Instead, it may serve as an occasion
that highlights the regime's immorality of using hostages as a
bargaining chip. Since the Obama Administration took office, North
Korea has resorted to provocative acts ()with the intention to test
the will of President Obama. But apparently these provocative acts
were conducted because the North did not fully understand the U.S.
frontier spirit and its determination. The western frontier spirit
can be seen in a sheriff who, even if held at gunpoint, remains
steadfast. North Korea must have been gravely mistaken if it
thought that President Obama would have committed political suicide
by easily backing down from North Korean threats and pressure. We
hope that diplomatic skirmishes (between North Korea and the U.S.)
over the past months will prompt North Korea to rectify its
incorrect perceptions of the U.S.


INTER-KOREAN GOVERNMENT-LEVEL TALKS SHOULD LEAD TO NUCLEAR
RESOLUTION
(JoongAng Ilbo, August 24, 2009, page 42: EXCERPTS)

In the past, North Korea has argued that its nuclear issue is a
matter that only concerns the U.S., not the ROK spurning talks with
the ROK. This (attitude), however, only gave the ROK's doves on
North Korea little room to maneuver. It also made it difficult for
the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun Administrations to pursue
consistent North Korea policies. Few ROK people will buy North
Korea's absurd argument (that the nuclear issue has nothing to do
with South Korea.) . As long as North Korea threatens the ROK and
its neighboring countries with nuclear weapons, there will
inevitably be limitations to progress in inter-Korean relations.

President Lee explained the ROKG's principles on North Korea policy
to Kim Ki-nam, the North's chief delegate, and asked him to convey
this message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The message
presumably indicated that the ROK will proactively seek to provide
aid to North Korea if there is improvement in the North Korean

SEOUL 00001357 004 OF 011


nuclear issue. We believe that North Korea has understood the ROK's
intention to maintain and develop inter-Korean relations in line
with its principles, rather than being bent on just holding talks.

WHAT N. KOREAN LEADER KIM SHOULD DO FOR PROGRESS IN INTER-KOREAN
COOPERATION
(Dong-a Ilbo, August 24, 2009, Page 31; Excerpts)

If North Korean leader Kim Jong-il intends to advance inter-Korean
cooperation, he should first remove obstacles to reconciliation.
Above all, North Korea should return to the Six-Party Talks and
release ROK fishermen detained in the North. Unless the North
expresses change through action, the meeting (between President Lee
and the North Korean delegation) will lose its meaning.

The ROKG should not repeat the mistake of the previous two
administrations, which accepted North Korea's proposal for a loose
form of federated unification and ignored North Korea's nuclear
ambitions, the biggest pending issue, during the inter-Korean
summits. It has already been proved that the ROK cannot change the
North Koreans by providing "unconditional handouts" aimed at
preventing their provocations. The ROKG, excited by contact with
the North Korean delegation, must ensure that it does not lose its
consistency (in its North Korea policy) or cause a crack in
international cooperation in pressuring the North to abandon its
nuclear ambitions through sanctions.


S. KOREA'S RESPONSIBILITY TO MOVE INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS FROM
CONFRONTATION TO COOPERATION
(Hankyoreh Shinmun, August 24, 2009, page 31)

President Lee Myung-bak met with the North Korean mourning
delegation at the Blue House (the ROK presidential residence)
yesterday, and received a verbal message from North Korean leader
Kim Jong-il delivered by one of the envoys. In response,
President Lee conveyed a message of his own. This was the first
indirect contact between the two leaders since the start of the Lee
Administration. The high-level meeting the day before between
Unification Minister Hyun In-taek and Kim Yang-gon, director of the
United Front Department of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party of
Korea (WPK), was also a first. It is said that during the two
exchanges, inter-Korean relations and pending issues were
comprehensively discussed, and the overall mood was good. North
Korea and South Korea now stand at a different starting point to end
the deadlock in inter-Korean relations.

North Korea's active intention towards talks is worth noticing. Kim
Ki-nam, a secretary of WPK and head of the North Korean mourning
delegation, showed a willingness to meet with anyone for the purpose
of holding frank discussions, while Kim Yang-gon said he thought
inter-Korean relations needed to be improved immediately. Although
North Korea's full-scale move towards improving inter-Korean
relations might be intended as a tactic for creating a mood
conducive to dialogue with the U.S. and out of need for regime
stability, how inter-Korean relations are handled ultimately depends
on the ROKG's efforts.

The Lee Administration appeared hesitant to meet with the
delegation. Government officials had been saying that the purpose
of the delegation was nongovernmental and referenced North Korea's
initial contact with representatives from the Kim Dae-jung Peace
Center. They also said that if North Korea wanted to have
government-to-government talks, they should have made direct contact
with the ROKG.

This sentiment was indicated by the fact that contact between the
North Korean mourning delegation and Lee and Hyun first took the
form of courtesy calls. In addition, the meeting with Lee was
concluded after only 30 minutes, an insufficient amount of time
given the heap of pending inter-Korean issues. These run counter to
the sentiment outlined in the presidential address delivered on

SEOUL 00001357 005 OF 011


Independence Day, where Lee said his administration was always ready
to resume inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation on all issues,
regardless of time and level.

Nonetheless, what is most important is how the situation is handled
from this point on. While both sides agree that there must be
dialogue, they still greatly differ on direction and substance.
First, North Korea must cleanly settle the matter of the detained
crew of the ROK fishing boat Yeonan-ho and the Mt. Kumgang tourism
issue. Of course, North Korea should not hold inter-Korean
relations hostage for some other objective it possesses. It must
also sincerely listen to the justified concerns of the international
community on several issues.

The ROK government for its part needs to readjust its North Korea
policy. The view in certain circles that the ROK's hard-line North
Korea policy is leading to changes in North Korea is shortsighted
and has no consideration of changes in the geopolitical situation
surrounding the peninsula. First, the ROK must escape the trap that
has been set by predicating improvement in inter-Korean relations
related to the nuclear issue. Inter-Korean relations and the
nuclear issue should be part of the same positive cycle, but
progress in inter-Korean relations is highly valuable in its own
right. Moreover, it must not just engage in rhetoric regarding the
October 4 and June 15 statements, and make clear its intention to
execute those agreements. In the future, it cannot position the
execution of inter-Korean agreements as collateral. The government
should be consistent and firm in its principles that it speaks about
and not cease in putting them into practice by referring to existing
policy.

It is true that even if there are no guarantees, a golden
opportunity to improve inter-Korean relations has been presented to
North and South Korea, and only proper policy and active realization
will bring about positive results. We hope the government bears in
mind (the people's) voice in resolving the nuclear issue and that
both inter-Korean relations and peace on the Korean peninsula depend
on how it leads.

(This is a translation provided by the newspaper, and it is
identical to the Korean version.)


EVEN THOUGH A BREAKTHROUGH FOR INTER-KOREAN DIALOGUE HAS BEEN
MADE...
(Hankook Ilbo, August 24, 2009, Page 35; Excerpts)

It is too early to anticipate the complete normalization of
inter-Korean relations. This is because it is not clear why the
North has suddenly veered toward active dialogue, and above all, it
is difficult to say whether North Korea is sincere about restoring
its relations with the South. This may be the reason why the ROKG
did not willingly embrace but took an equivocal attitude toward the
North Korean delegation's (about-faced) efforts (for resuming
inter-Korean dialogue) and the recent five-point agreement between
Hyundai Group and North Korea.

The current situation, where the international community maintains
sanctions and pressure on the North, also leaves the ROKG with
little wiggle room. The speed of restoration of inter-Korean ties
should inevitably be linked to some progress in the North Korean
nuclear dismantlement talks, such as the resumption of the Six-Party
Talks. It is undesirable, however, for the ROK be dragged along,
rather than take a leadership role, in dialogue with the North. The
ROK should not only take the initiative in dialogue aimed at
resolving inter-Korean relations but also push the North to come to
the bargaining table. If necessary, Seoul should actively consider
an inter-Korean summit. North Korea, for its part, should abandon
its lingering desire to secure nuclear-armed state status and return
to the nuclear dismantlement talks as early as possible.


SEOUL MUST NOT WAVER IN THE FACE OF N. KOREAN OVERTURES
(Chosun Ilbo, August 24, 2009, page 35)

SEOUL 00001357 006 OF 011

President Lee Myung-bak on Sunday met a delegation of high-ranking
North Korean officials who came to the ROK for the funeral of former
president Kim Dae-jung. It was the first time since Lee's
inauguration that a meeting with a North Korean official took place
at the Blue House (the ROK presidential residence). Lee said, "I
hope South and North Korea can cooperate and resolve all our
problems" and asked that his administration's "consistent and firm
North Korea policy" be conveyed to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il,
according to Blue House spokesman Lee Dong-kwan. The North Koreans
had also delivered a message from their leader, but the presidential
office did not disclose details citing its "sensitivity."

The delegation delivered a message from North Korean leader Kim
Jong-il which said, "I want to meet President Lee Myung-bak," a
government official said. The president met with Kim Yang-gon, a
North Korean Workers' Party director in charge of inter-Korean
relations, who traveled to Seoul in s-e-c-r-e-t in September 2007 to
fine-tune the preparations for the summit between Kim Jong-il and
then president Roh Moo-hyun that year. In his speech on August 15
Liberation Day, Lee said, "Our government is ready to hold dialogue
and cooperate with North Korea at any time and at any level about
all inter-Korean issues."

Lee is said to have told the North Korean delegation that Pyongyang
should involve the ROK in discussing the nuclear issue with the
United States, and that this will help resolve it more easily. He
called the meeting "the start of a new beginning" in inter-Korean
relations and said, "There is no issue the South and the North
cannot resolve if they talk with sincerity." Yet Lee also said a
"paradigm shift" was necessary in inter-Korean relations based on
international principles. In other words, he views inter-Korean
relations from an international perspective rather than as a special
relationship between the Korean people.

North Korea was sanctioned by the UN Security Council this year for
conducting a second nuclear test and launching a series of missiles.
If the international community is to recognize North Korea as a
normal state and offer it support, the North must first give up its
nuclear program and its missiles. And if Seoul intends to develop
relations with the North based on international standards, then it
should start by convincing the North to abandon its nuclear weapons
and missiles.

The reason previous inter-Korean summits caused so much conflict in
the ROK and drew so much concern from the international community
was that they avoided the North Korean nuclear problem. Previous
ROK administrations saw inter-Korean summits as their crowning
achievement and were reluctant to include such a thorny issue on the
agenda for fear of drawing North Korea's ire. If the ROKG has an
inter-Korean summit in mind, its first priority should be to resolve
the North Korean nuclear issue. We no longer need an inter-Korean
summit that excludes the Korean Peninsula's biggest issue, the North
Korean nuclear issue.

North Korea's stance has been that the nuclear issue needs to be
resolved with the U.S. The North Korean delegation is said to have
reiterated that position. Everyone knows that the North is trying
to get the upper hand on the peninsula by talking only with
Washington and excluding Seoul. But the U.S. cannot guarantee North
Korea's survival. Pyongyang may believe that going straight to
Washington would prompt the ROK to offer more money and goods to
stay in the picture, but that is a miscalculation.

Realistically, the ROK is the only country that can be hit by a
North Korean nuclear attack, and it is the only country that can
provide vital food and other aid to North Korea. If Lee intends to
hold a summit with Kim, he needs to make this very clear to the
North Korean leader and let the North revise its survival strategy.


Seoul was active in efforts by the UN Security Council in July to
adopt Resolution 1874 and impose fresh sanctions on North Korea, and
the international community has been implementing them. On Sunday,

SEOUL 00001357 007 OF 011


when Lee met the North Korean delegation, Philip Goldberg, the U.S.
envoy for sanctions against North Korea, arrived in Seoul. His
visit sent a clear signal. Seoul must make sure that its relations
with Pyongyang do not conflict with the international sanctions.

(This is a translation provided by the newspaper, and it is
identical to the Korean version.)


FEATURES
---------

TWELVE NATIONS SEND CONDOLENCE DELEGATION TO KIM'S FUNERAL
(JoongAng Ilbo, August 24, 2009, Page 6; Excerpts)

By Reporters Sun Seung-hye and Kim Min-sang

The U.S. sent a ten-member delegation to the funeral of former
President Kim Dae-jung. The delegation was led by former Secretary
of State Madeleine K. Albright, who had previously met with North
Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang right after the inter-Korean
summit in October 2000. (Shortly thereafter, she also met with
former ROK President Kim.) (During her visit to North Korea,) she
helped create a conciliatory mood between the two Koreas in the
final days of the Clinton Administration.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the ROK Donald P. Gregg, who was also a
part of the delegation, had a deep relationship with the late
President. When former President Kim was sentenced to death by the
new ROK military authorities in 1980, Gregg reportedly delivered the
U.S.'s opposition to then-ROK President Chun Doo-hwan. In his
capacity as Chairman of the Korea Society, Gregg also visited
Severance Hospital of Yonsei University to comfort Lee Hee-ho, wife
of the former President, on August 13.

Also on the list of the delegation were U.S. Ambassador to the ROK
Kathleen Stephens and her predecessors James Laney and Thomas C.
Hubbard, and Korean-American Harold Koh (Korean name Koh Hong-ju),
the Legal Advisor of the U.S. Department of State.

(Editor's Note: This same story has also been carried by other
newspapers. The Dong-a Ilbo reported: "The U.S. delegation, made up
of ten prominent pro-ROK figures, arrived in Osan on a U.S. military
plane on August 22, a day before the funeral. The delegation
included a number of former U.S. officials who were in charge of
foreign policy toward the ROK." The Chosun Ilbo reported: "During
the meeting with ROK President Lee Myung-bak, former Secretary
Albright said, 'Not only Koreans but also people in Northeast Asia
and around the world share grief. Members of the delegation who
attended here had ties with former President Kim, and U.S. President
Barack Obama sent the delegation.' Former Secretary Albright, along
with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen
Bosworth, met with ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan for a
breakfast meeting on August 23 and discussed the North Korean
nuclear issue." The Hankyoreh Shinmun reported: "After laying a
wreath, former Secretary Albright put both hands together and
expressed her condolences to the bereaved family. Former U.S.
Ambassador to the ROK Donald P. Gregg, who, as the CIA's Seoul
Bureau Chief, spearheaded an effort to save former President Kim
when he was abducted in Tokyo in 1973, also bowed before Kim's
portrait." The Hankook Ilbo reported: "Former U.S. Ambassador to
the ROK James Laney played a role in realizing former U.S. President
Jimmy Carter's visit to the North during the first North Korean
nuclear crisis in 1994.")


NORTH ENVOYS MEET WITH LEE FOR FIRST TIME
(JoongAng Daily, August 24, 2009, page)

By Reporter Yoo Jee-ho

Blue House stresses need for dialogue in resolving inter-Korean
tensions


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ROK President Lee Myung-bak yesterday met with the North Korean
delegation, which came to Seoul Friday to pay respects to the late,
former ROK President Kim Dae-jung, to exchange views on the future
of inter-Korean relations.

It was the first time Lee had come in direct contact with North
Korean officials since he took office in February of last year.

Blue House spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said the meeting started at 9
a.m., an hour earlier than scheduled, and lasted for 30 minutes.
The North Korean delegation relayed a verbal message from the North
Korean leader Kim Jong-il "regarding progress in inter-Korean
cooperation."

The Blue House didn't disclose the detailed content of Kim's
message, citing its sensitivity. But a source told the JoongAng
Ilbo that a North Korean official said on Saturday that Kim Jong-il
wants to hold a summit with Lee Myung-bak.

According to the source, Kim Yang-gon, a senior Workers' Party
official, said Saturday that an inter-Korean summit would be
necessary to resolve problems facing the two Koreas.

"We'd like to tell President Lee about Kim Jong-il's wishes for a
third inter-Korean summit," Kim said, according to the source. The
two previous summits were held in 2000 and 2007. "If we miss this
opportunity, it would be difficult to create another chance."

In yesterday's meeting, Lee said the ROK president insisted on
Seoul's "consistent and steadfast principles" on Pyongyang and asked
the North Korean officials to convey this message back to Kim.

According to the spokesman, Lee Myung-bak also thanked the North
Korea officials for their visit and said the Koreas can resolve any
problems through dialogue if they approach them with sincerity. Lee
Dong-kwan called the mood at the meeting "serious and calm."

Lee Myung-bak received other delegations that flew in to extend
their condolences for Kim, who died last Tuesday at age 85. Lee was
accompanied by Unification Minister Hyun In-taek and Blue House
senior foreign affairs secretary Kim Sung-hwan. North Korea was
represented by Kim Ki-nam, a senior secretary for the ruling
Workers' Party, Kim Yang-gon, an influential figure on inter-Korean
affairs at the Workers' Party, and Won Tong-yon, an official with
the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, which handles inter-Korean
businesses.

When asked if this meeting would be a turning point in inter-Korean
relations, an official at the Blue House cautioned that "there's no
need to get ahead of ourselves."

"As President Lee said, there's nothing we can't resolve through
dialogue," the official said. "But we can't do this work alone. We
have to have a counterpart here."

"The North-South relationship is a special one because we are, after
all, one people," the official continued. "But we have to look past
that and develop a relationship that is internationally acceptable
and appropriate in order to take the next step."

The official added that President Lee and the visiting North Koreans
hadn't discussed the fate of the four ROK fishermen detained in the
North. The fishermen were captured by the North Koreans on July 30,
when their fishing boat crossed the maritime border after their
satellite navigation system malfunctioned.

The meeting came about after North Korean officials told Unification
Minister Hyun on Saturday that they had a message from Kim Jong-il
to deliver to the Blue House.

Initially, however, the ROK presidential office was lukewarm to the
suggestion. A government official said late Saturday afternoon that
"it was going to be difficult" to arrange the meeting between Lee
and the North Koreans on Saturday.

SEOUL 00001357 009 OF 011

The delegation was scheduled to depart for Pyongyang at 2 p.m. on
Saturday but instead left at 12:10 p.m. yesterday. North Korean
officials met with ROK counterparts throughout Saturday.

So far in August, there have been indications that deteriorated
relations will improve.

Earlier this month, Hyun Jeong-eun, chairwoman of Hyundai Group,
paid a visit to Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang and secured the release of
a detained ROK worker.

Following that encounter, Asia-Pacific Peace Committee and Hyundai
Group agreed to resume suspended tourism programs to Mt. Kumgang and
to arrange reunions for Korean families in the fall.

The ROK proposed talks this week with the North to discuss setting
up reunions before Chuseok, Korea's Thanksgiving, on October 3. No
inter-Korean family reunions have taken place since 2007.

STATE FUNERAL HELD FOR FORMER PRES. KIM DJ
(Dong-a Ilbo, August 24, 2009, Front page)

By Reporters Cho Soo-jin and Shin Min-gi

The state funeral for former President Kim Dae-jung was held
yesterday at a plaza in front of the National Assembly in Seoul's
Yeouido district.

President Lee Myung-bak and First Lady Kim Yoon-ok, former
Presidents Kim Young-sam and Chun Doo-hwan, domestic politicians and
foreign delegates from 11 countries attended the ceremony.

The foreign delegates included former U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright, former Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan,
and former Japanese House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono.

In Korea's largest state funeral in history attended by more than
24,000 people, Prime Minister Han Seung-soo offered the eulogy.
Religious services and floral tributes followed.

Following the funeral, the motorcade carrying the body of the late
president headed for Seoul National Cemetery in the city's southern
region, passing through Seoul Plaza and Seoul Station. It also
dropped by Kim Dae-jung's home in Seoul's Donggyo district and the
Kim Dae Jung Peace Center.

When the motorcade passed Seoul Plaza, the late president's widow
Lee Hee-ho got out of her car and told mourners, "My husband
sincerely wants you all to pursue reconciliation and forgiveness,
the values my husband cherished for life, and love, peace and care
for the underprivileged. This is my husband's will."

President Lee met the foreign delegates attending the funeral.

Deputy presidential spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye quoted him as saying,
"Former President Kim devoted his entire life to promote democracy
and improve inter-Korean relations," adding, "I thank you all for
coming here to pay tribute to the late president."

After the burial ceremony, tens of thousands of people visited Seoul
Plaza and the National Assembly, where altars were set up, to pay
their respects to the late former President Kim Dae-jung. No
anti-government demonstrations occurred, however.

With fairness questioned in the process of deciding on a state
funeral for him, the government will face pressure to come up with
clear principles and standards on if a former president gets a state
or people's funeral.

According to the state funeral preparation committee, more than
600,000 people visited 182 altars nationwide to bid farewell to the
late president Tuesday through yesterday.


SEOUL 00001357 010 OF 011


The six-day official mourning period provided a rare opportunity for
national unity and inter-Korean reconciliation. This has led to
hope that Kim Dae-jung's death will pave the way for resolution of
geographical, ideological, class, and factional conflicts and
confrontations.

Politicians also say his death will help warm relations between the
ruling and opposition parties, which have soured since the ruling
Grand National Party railroaded media reform bills through
parliament last month.

The ruling party will reportedly urge the main opposition Democratic
Party to return to parliament without precondition to discuss
pending issues, including those related to the people's livelihood.


For its part, the Democratic Party, which has boycotted the National
Assembly in protest of the passage of the media bills, is expected
to decide its course of action after gathering opinions from its
members.

(This is a translation provided by the newspaper, and it is
identical to the Korean version.)


EXPERTS URGE CAUTION OVER FRIENDLY SIGNS FROM N. KOREA
(Chosun Ilbo, August 24, 2009, page 4: EXCERPTS)

By Reporter Choi Gyeong-un

North Korea's sudden charm offensive has met with a cautious welcome
from experts but also calls for a careful analysis of the North's
intentions and tactics. On Sunday, President Lee Myung-bak, in the
first high-level inter-Korean meeting of his presidency, spoke with
a delegation from North Korea who was in the ROK to attend the
funeral of former President Kim Dae-jung. The delegation also met
separately with Unification Minister Hyun In-taek.

"It's a positive signal," said a researcher at a state-run think
tank. "But it seems highly likely that it's part of a tactic by
North Korea to get out of the corner it has been driven into by
international sanctions" imposed over its latest nuclear test.

Prof. Yoo Ho-yeol of Korea University also welcomed "the momentum to
break the deadlock" in inter-Korean relations, including the
possibility of official government-level talks, given that the North
Koreans delivered a message from Kim Jong-il acting as de facto
special envoys to President Lee Myung-bak.

But Suh Jae-jean, the president of the Korea Institute for National
Unification, warned the visit was "a tactic to persuade the U.S. by
creating a conciliatory inter-Korean atmosphere at a time when the
international community is enforcing sanctions."

Prof. Nam Joo-hong of Kyonggi University said the North may be
attempting to create a sense of nostalgia in the ROK for Kim
Dae-jung's "Sunshine Policy" of unconditional engagement with the
North at a time when international sanctions are biting.

Experts advise the government to proceed slowly depending on what
North Korea does next, especially watching whether its position on
denuclearization improves, whether the crew of the ROK fishing boat
800 Yeonan, who were towed to the North, are released swiftly, and
whether the North finally apologizes for the fatal shooting of an
ROK tourist at Mt. Kumgang in 2008.

Prof. Kim Sung-han of Korea University said improvements in
relations "should be sought in such a way as to find a solution to
the nuclear issue. The government should maintain certain
principles in terms of denuclearization" in devising its policy.

Experts also agreed that cooperation between Seoul and Washington is
vital. "Improvements in inter-Korean relations should be sought
within the framework of joint ROK-U.S. efforts to persuade the North

SEOUL 00001357 011 OF 011


to abandon its nuclear weapons and return as a regular member of the
international community," Suh said. "An emotional approach to such
issues that ignores this principle would only mean falling for North
Korea's tactics."

(This is a translation provided by the newspaper, and it is
identical to the Korean version.)


INTER-KOREAN TALKS HINT AT 'PARADIGM SHIFT' IN TIES
(Chosun Ilbo, August 24, 2009, page 4: EXCERPTS)

By Reporter Ahn Yong-hyun

A senior ROK official on Sunday spoke of a "paradigm shift" in
inter-Korean relations after President Lee Myung-bak met a senior
North Korean delegation that extended its stay after paying respects
to the late former President Kim Dae-jung.

The Lee Administration has charted a different course in North Korea
policy compared to the previous two administrations under Kim and
Roh Moo-hyun and intends to continue that way. "The previous
administrations put priority on the exceptional nature of the
inter-Korean relations and put the rules of normal international
relations aside," he said. "They were grateful when North Korea
just responded to requests for dialogue. That will no longer
happen."

The remarks show that the Lee Administration is determined to stick
to principles in trying to persuade North Korea to give up its
nuclear weapons program. The fact that Lee said he would be willing
to hold a summit if it can help denuclearization of the Korean
Peninsula supports this view.

The "paradigm shift" was evident in the run-up to the meeting.
Seoul did not make it easy for the North Koreans to meet Lee after
the North had initially informed them-not the ROKG but a private
channel, the Kim Dae Jung Peace Center-that the delegation was
coming. Seoul insisted that the North use official government
channels.

And although Kim Yang-gon, the director of the North's United Front
Department, said he came with a message from North Korean leader Kim
Jong-il, Seoul did not jump to arrange a visit to the Blue House,
and the North Korean delegates had to postpone their return and stay
in Seoul for another day.

During the last two administrations, senior North Korean high
ranking officials met the ROK president eight times, and they never
had to wait. Lee Jo-won, professor in politics and diplomacy at
ChungAng University, said, "The key point is the reaction from North
Korea to the changes in the ROKG."

(This is a translation provided by the newspaper, and it is
identical to the Korean version.)


TOKOLA

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