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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - U.S. Economy and North Korea

VZCZCXRO2203
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #1863 2260357
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 140357Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5400
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
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RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 5875
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RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0431
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2983
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 6722
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS TOKYO 001863

SIPDIS

STATE FOR I/RF, PA/PR/FPC/W, IIP/G/EA, EAP/PD, R/MR,
EAP/J, EAP/P, PM;
USTR FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
TREASURY FOR OASIA/IMI;
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA;
CP BUTLER OKINAWA FOR AREA FIELD OFFICE;
PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO JA
SUBJECT: TOKYO MEDIA REACTION - U.S. ECONOMY AND NORTH KOREA

1. LEAD STORIES: Front-page stories on Friday morning included North
Korea's release on Thursday of a South Korean worker it had detained
since March.

2. "Resilience of U.S. Economy Remains Weak" The business-oriented
Nikkei editorialized (8/14): "The view has become prevalent in
financial markets that the U.S. economy has emerged from a long
tunnel and is heading toward recovery. Although recent economic
indicators showed some signs of recovery, we should not relax our
guard. We may have overcome the worst, but we should bear in mind
that the economy's resilience is weaker than before."

3. "North Korea Takes Step toward Talks with U.S.?" The
business-oriented Nikkei ran a correspondent's report from Seoul
saying (8/14): "Following the release on August 5 of two female
American journalists, North Korea freed a male worker for South
Korea's Hyundai group on Thursday. The move was apparently aimed at
taking a step toward comprehensive direct talks with the U.S.
Pyongyang apparently intended to demonstrate to the international
community that it has altered the hard-line policy it has been
taking since April, including conducting a nuclear test, and now
seeks dialogue. However, North Korea has consistently refused to
abolish its nuclear programs. We have reached a stage in which
maintaining and strengthening coordination among the U.S., Japan,
and South Korea is called for."

4. "North Korea Seeks Practical Benefits?" The conservative Sankei
wrote from Seoul (8/14): "North Korea on Thursday released a male
worker for South Korea's Hyundai group who had been detained for
four and a half months. Following its release of the female American
journalists as a result of former President Clinton's visit to
Pyongyang, North Korea altered its hard-line approach and showed
flexibility toward South Korea. Although Pyongyang appears to be
looking for 'practical benefits,' such as economic assistance, from
South Korea, it remains unclear whether North-South relations will
improve significantly."


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