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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; September 3, 2009

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RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 1231
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 SEOUL 001413

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; September 3, 2009

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


Chosun Ilbo
Cities in South Gyeongsang Province Follow Example of Cities in
Gyeonggi Province in Seeking to Merge

JoongAng Ilbo
ROKG, Ruling Party Seek to Revise Workers' Bill So That
Non-regular Workers Can Work After Their Two-Year,
Non-Regular Employment Period

Dong-a Ilbo
ROKG Officially Gives Up President Lee's Election Pledge for 7
Percent Economic Growth

Hankook Ilbo
Survey: 90 Percent of Lawmakers Favor Constitutional Amendment
During Current National Assembly's Term; 53 Percent Favor
Presidential System that Allows President to Seek Second Four-Year
Term after Four Years in Office

Hankyoreh Shinmun
Court Suspends Publication of History Textbook that was Revised
without Consent from Authors to Modify Parts Education Ministry Saw
as "Left-leaning"

Segye Ilbo, Seoul Shinmun, All TVs
Fitch Upgrades Outlook for ROK Economy to "Stable"


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

Unification Minister Hyun In-taek, at a Sept. 2 forum hosted by
ruling Grand National Party (GNP) lawmakers, called North Korea's
recent conciliatory gestures a "tactical change." (Chosun, Dong-a,
Hankook, Hankyoreh, Segye, Seoul)

According to a diplomatic source in Washington, Stephen Bosworth,
the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy, will visit
Seoul tomorrow to discuss pending issues, including North Korea's
nuclear issue. (JoongAng)


INTERNATIONAL NEWS
-------------------

The two U.S. journalists held for illegally entering North Korea
claimed on Sept. 1 that they were on Chinese soil when they were
arrested by North Korean border guards. (All)


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

-N. Korea
---------
Most newspapers carried an inside-page report quoting Unification
Minister Hyun In-taek as saying at a Sept. 2 forum hosted by ruling
party lawmakers: "There has been a change in North Korea's attitude
since July, but we perceive it to be a change in tactics and not in
the fundamentals. We observe no change in the North's attitude on
the Six-Party Talks and the nuclear issue."

Citing a diplomatic source in Washington, right-of-center JoongAng
Ilbo reported from Washington that Stephen Bosworth, the U.S.
Special Representative for North Korea Policy, will visit Seoul from
Sept. 4-6 to discuss pending issues, including North Korea's nuclear
issue. According to the report, Ambassador Bosworth will likely
discuss countermeasures against the North's recent "charm
offensive." The report also commented that the result of his

SEOUL 00001413 002 OF 003


discussion in Seoul will be noteworthy, given the North's invitation
to him to visit this month.

All ROK media gave attention to a report quoting the two U.S.
journalists held in North Korea for 140 days as claiming on Sept. 1
that they were on Chinese soil when they were arrested by North
Korean border guards.


FEATURES
----------

N. KOREA'S CONCILIATORY GESTURES "MERELY TACTICAL"
(Chosun Ilbo, September 3, 2009, Page 5)

By Reporter Lim Min-hyuk

Unification Minister Hyun In-taek on Wednesday said North Korea's
recent charm offensive toward the U.S. and South Korea represents
"tactical changes" but notably omits the most important issue.
"There has been a change in North Korea's attitude since July, but
we perceive it to be a change in tactics and not in the
fundamentals. We obsere no change in the North's attitude on the
Six-Party Talks and the nuclear issue."

He made the remarks in a keynote speech at a National Assembly
seminar hosted by the National Unity Forum, a fraternity of Grand
National Party lawmakers. "Although North Korea has lifted various
kinds of curbs in inter-Korean business, we still have doubts
whether it has made fundamental changes," he said.

"I don't think North Korea has taken a very forward-looking attitude
by lifting the curbs. They were lifted on matters that had already
been agreed on (between the two sides). Everything was belatedly
put back on track."

Hyun called for inter-Korean issues to be solved based on national
consensus. "Any North Korea policy not based on such consensus is
meaningless," he said. Recalling his meeting with a North Korean
delegation during the funeral for former President Kim Dae-jung, he
said it was remarkable "as the first such meeting between senior
government officials from both Koreas since the new government's
inauguration. (However, this was nothing but a small first step. I
believe that whether the first step will lead to a bigger
development depends on North Korea." "How inter-Korean relations
will develop will depend on North Korea," he added.

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


U.S. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR NORTH KOREA BOSWORTH VISITS SEOUL
TOMORROW TO DISCUSS COUNTERMEASURES AGAINST "PYONGYANG'S
CONCILIATORY MOVES"
(JoongAng Ilbo, September 3, 2009, Page 8)

By Washington Correspondent Kim Jung-wook

A diplomatic source in Washington said on September 2, local time,
that U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen
Bosworth will visit the ROK from September 4-6 to discuss pending
issues, including North Korea's nuclear issue, with ROKG officials.

The U.S. Department of State will soon officially announce the
itinerary for Bosworth's visits to the ROK, China and Japan, the
nations involved in the Six-Party Talks.

The source said, "Special Representative Bosworth plans to arrive in
the ROK on September 4 and meet with ROK foreign policy and security
officials, including Seoul's top negotiator to the Six-Party Talks,
Wi Sung-lac, for discussions about the North Korean nuclear issue."

Before or after the Seoul visit, Bosworth, accompanied by key White
House and State Department officials, including Special Envoy for

SEOUL 00001413 003 OF 003


the Six-Party Talks Sung Kim, will also go to Japan and China to
coordinate their overall positions, the source added.

During meetings with officials from the three countries, including
Wi Sung-lac, Ambassador Bosworth reportedly will thoroughly
coordinate the conditions and format that would be necessary for
resuming talks with North Korea and the contents of the
comprehensive package. North Korea has recently been stepping up a
charm offensive.

In particular, the result of his discussion in Seoul will be
noteworthy, given the North's invitation to him to visit this month.
ROKG authorities said that since North Korea has recently expressed
interest in holding talks with the ROK and the U.S., a key issue for
discussion will be how (the ROK and the U.S.) will respond (to the
North's overtures.)

TOKOLA

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