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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; August 26, 2009

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC//DDI/OEA//
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RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 1206
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RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2459

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SEOUL 001371

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; August 26, 2009

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

Chosun Ilbo, Dong-a Ilbo, Hankook Ilbo, Hankyoreh Shinmun, Segye
Ilbo, Seoul Shinmun, All TVs
ROK's First Space Rocket Lifts Off Successfully,
but Fails to Place Satellite into Intended Orbit

JoongAng Ilbo
Cabinet Reshuffle Set for Next Week;
Prime Minister Han Expected to be Replaced


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

Red Cross officials from the two Koreas will meet today for
three-day talks to discuss resuming reunions of separated families
for the Oct. 3 Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) holiday. (All)

The reported invitation by North Korea to Stephen Bosworth, the U.S.
Special Representative for North Korea Policy, to visit Pyongyang is
attracting attention because Ambassador Bosworth's visit can be
interpreted as a "prelude" to bilateral talks between the two
countries. (Chosun) However, given Washington's consistent position
that bilateral talks with North Korea are possible only within the
Six-Party Talks framework, the U.S. is likely to decide on the
Ambassador's visit only after verifying the North's seriousness
about denuclearization. (Chosun, Dong-a, Hankook, Hankyoreh, Seoul,
all TVs)


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

-N. Korea
----------
Today's resumption of inter-Korean Red Cross talks to discuss
arranging separated family reunions for the Oct. 3 Chuseok (Korean
Thanksgiving) holiday received wide press coverage. According to
media reports, the meeting, which will take place at the North's Mt.
Kumgang resort until August 28, will be the first of its kind since
the launch of the Lee Myung-bak Administration and is part of the
recent series of "conciliatory gestures" by North Korea toward the
ROK.

Conservative Chosun Ilbo carried a front-page analysis entitled "Two
Koreas to Resume Red Cross Talks Today; N. Korea Makes Conciliatory
Gestures with Nuclear Weapons in Hands." The analysis argued: "At
first glance, inter-Korean relations seem to be getting back on
track. However, this is nothing more than an illusion, because the
North is refusing to budge an inch on its nuclear problem, the key
pending issue between the two Koreas."

Most newspapers and TV networks reported that North Korea had
invited Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. Special Representative for North
Korea Policy, to visit Pyongyang.

Conservative Chosun Ilbo observed that Ambassador Bosworth's visit
to Pyongyang, if realized, can be interpreted as a "prelude" to
direct talks between the two countries on pending issues, including
the North Korean nuclear issue. Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo cited
USG officials and U.S. experts as attributing North Korea's apparent
return to negotiations to UNSC Resolution 1874, which has cut off
the flow of funds to North Korea.

Most newspapers, including Chosun, and TV networks, however, noted
Washington's consistent position that bilateral talks with North
Korea are possible only within the Six-Party Talks framework, and
speculated that the U.S. is likely to decide on the Ambassador's
visit only after verifying the North's seriousness about
denuclearization.


SEOUL 00001371 002 OF 002


In a related development, State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly was
widely quoted: "The atmospherics of the last month or so are
certainly more productive than when the North Koreans were shooting
off missiles and detaining journalists. But I don't see any real
specific movement in (North Korea) towards resuming the Six-Party
Talks.."


FEATURES
--------

N. KOREA 'INVITES U.S. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE'
(Chosun Ilbo, August 26, 2009, page 6)

By Reporter Lim Min-hyuk
Will North Korea find a breakthrough in bilateral talks with the
U.S. by extending an invitation to (U.S. Special Representative for
North Korea Policy Stephen) Bosworth (to visit Pyongyang?)

Recently North Korea has launched a "charm offensive" to realize
bilateral talks with the U.S. and conveyed a message to the U.S.
that it hopes for Bosworth's visit to Pyongyang.

Diplomatic sources in Seoul and Washington on Monday said the North
asked on two or three occasions recently whether Ambassador Bosworth
and Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks Sung Kim could visit
Pyongyang, a clear shift from early this year, when it declined a
visit from Bosworth.

Ambassador Bosworth's visit to Pyongyang, if realized, can be
interpreted as a "prelude" to direct talks between the two countries
on pending issues, including the North Korean nuclear issue. Former
President Bill Clinton's visit to Pyongyang early this month was a
"one-point" approach to secure the release of female reporters.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Bosworth's visit would provide an opportunity
for the U.S. and North Korea to discuss all pending issues including
the nuclear issue.

The prevailing opinion is that Bosworth's visit to the North will
not be made soon. The U.S. government is saying North Korea must
return to the Six-Party Talks and any dialogue would be possible
only within that framework. A decision about a visit from Bosworth
would be made only if North Korea demonstrates its willingness to
scrap its nuclear program. "Bosworth's visit will happen someday,"
one diplomatic source in Seoul said. "But it's not likely to happen
in September." Washington is still maintaining a hard stance. The
U.S. will not hastily pursue talks with the North. State Department
Spokesman Ian Kelly said in a briefing, "I don't see any real
specific movement in (North Korea) towards resuming the Six-Party
Talks."
."

However, other speculation has it that the U.S. government could be
more ready to accept Pyongyang's request if there are hopes of an
early resumption of the stalled Six-Party Talks. In one scenario,
Bosworth will visit North Korea after making prior consultations
with the ROK, China, Russia and Japan to obtain their consent. If
the U.S. engages in full consultations with related parties to
restart the Six-Party Talks, it will give Bosworth a justification
to visit Pyongyang without impairing the major premise that the
bilateral talks should be held within the Six-Party Talks.

(We have compared the English version on the website with the Korean
version and added some paragraphs to make them identical.)


TOKOLA

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