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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; September 15, 2009

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 SEOUL 001471

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; September 15, 2009

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


Chosun Ilbo
Chuseok (Korea's Thanksgiving) Holiday is a Critical Moment for
Rapid Spread of New Flu; Some 10 Million People Expected to Move
across the Country during Chuseok

JoongAng Ilbo
Public Servant in Charge of Privatization of Public Companies Found
to Have Taken Possession of a Company
He Sought to Privatize

Dong-a Ilbo
Ssangyong Workers Striving to Keep Company Alive

Hankook Ilbo
Schools in Gangnam District Teach Parents to Falsely Register
Addresses to Transfer Children to Better High Schools in the
District; Gangnam is known as being Home to Many "Good" High Schools
that Produce Successful Applicants
to Prestigious Universities

Hankyoreh Shinmun
ROKG's Hasty Pursuit of Reorganization of Administrative Districts
Puts Local Governments at Odds

Segye Ilbo, Seoul Shinmun
Gen. Lee Sang-eui to Head Joint Chiefs of Staff


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


According to a Sept. 12-13 opinion survey by Hangil Research of 800
adults across the country, President Lee Myung-bak's approval rating
rose to 53.8 percent, the level seen just after his inauguration.
(Dong-a, Hankook, Segye)


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

According to diplomatic sources in Washington, Deputy Secretary of
State James B. Steinberg played a decisive role in leading the Obama
Administration to make a policy shift toward holding bilateral talks
with North Korea. (Chosun)

According to sources knowledgeable about North Korea-China
relations, Dai Bingguo, China's State Councilor, will visit North
Korea around Sept. 28 apparently to persuade the North to return to
the Six-Party Talks. (Hankook, Seoul)


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

-N. Korea

Conservative Chosun Ilbo carried an inside-page report citing
diplomatic sources in Washington as claiming that Deputy Secretary
of State James B. Steinberg played a decisive role in leading the
Obama Administration to make a policy shift toward holding bilateral
talks with North Korea.

The report went on to say that the Deputy Secretary coordinated with
Philip Goldberg, Coordinator for the Implementation of UN Sanctions
on North Korea; Stephen Bosworth, Special Representative for North
Korea Policy; and Sung Kim, Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks,
and won approval from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to hold
bilateral talks with North Korea on the premise that such talks will

SEOUL 00001471 002 OF 003


not replace the Six-Party Talks and that they are intended to
persuade the North to return to the Six-Party Talks.

U.S. Imposes Punitive Tariffs on Chinese Tire Imports

Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo editorialized: "We believe that the
U.S. is primarily to blame for this trade dispute. This is because
the U.S. action breached the G20 agreement to resist trade
protectionism. ... Former President George W. Bush rejected four
recommendations to invoke safeguard measures against Chinese
products based on the judgment that trade protectionism, once
started, would spiral out of control. The U.S.'s return to trade
protectionism will not only spark international trade disputes but
also undermine world trade, further delaying the recovery of the
global economy."


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

TRADE CONFLICT BETWEEN U.S. AND CHINA FEARED TO DISRUPT
INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO TURN AROUND GLOBAL ECONOMY
(JoongAng Ilbo, September 15, 2009, Page 46)

A trade dispute between the U.S. and China, the two pillars of the
global economy, is raising concern around the world. The dispute
was sparked by the U.S. first. The USG announced on September 11
that it will impose a tariff of up to 35 percent on low-cost tires
from China under the safeguard provisions. In response, on
September 13, the Chinese government launched an "anti-dumping and
anti-subsidy" investigation into imports of U.S. vehicles and
chicken products. It appears that Beijing retaliated against
Washington's preemptive offensive.

The trade dispute between the two economic powers, which occurred
two weeks before the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, will surely have a
negative impact on global economic recovery and international
cooperation. This is because, when the two economies are
continuously at odds over trade issues, it could pour cold water on
international efforts to revive the global economy and expand the
contracted international trade. We are concerned that "innocent
bystanders may get hurt in a Titanic struggle."

We believe that the U.S. is primarily to blame for this trade
dispute. This is because the U.S. action breached the G20 agreement
to resist trade protectionism. In particular, by invoking the
safeguard measure for the first time, the Obama Administration is
fueling the spread of protectionism in the U.S. Since this
safeguard measure has opened the way for the Obama Administration to
easily impose high tariffs, it will prompt other U.S. industries to
demand that the same provision be applied. Former President George
W. Bush rejected four recommendations to invoke safeguard measures
against Chinese products based on the judgment that trade
protectionism, once started, would spiral out of control. The
U.S.'s return to trade protectionism will not only spark
international trade disputes but also undermine world trade, further
delaying the recovery of the global economy.

The U.S., which triggered the global financial crisis, is
responsible to stave off this catastrophic situation. China also
should not take retaliatory action but cautiously respond in line
with its economic status. We expect that that both countries will
settle trade disputes smoothly through dialogue.


FEATURES
---------

THE MAN BEHIND OBAMA'S N. KOREA POLICY
(Chosun Ilbo, September 15, 2009, Page 4)

By Washington Correspondent Lee Ha-won

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg played a decisive

SEOUL 00001471 003 OF 003


role in the Barack Obama Administration deciding to make some
changes in North Korea policy and agree to bilateral talks with the
North, diplomats say.

According to diplomatic sources in Washington, Steinberg spoke to
Philip Goldberg, the Coordinator for Implementation of UN Security
Council Resolution 1874 which imposes sanctions on the North,
Stephen Bosworth, Special Representative for North Korea Policy, and
Sung Kim, the Chief Nuclear Negotiator. Steinberg reportedly won
approval from Secretary Clinton on the premise that such talks will
not replace the Six-Party Talks and that they are intended to
persuade the North to return to the Six-Party Talks.

Steinberg has been coordinating North Korea policies since the need
for a systematic response to the North became clear after its second
nuclear test in May. Before that, various aspects were handled
separately by Goldberg, Bosworth and Assistant Secretary of State
Kurt Campbell.

Steinberg (56) is said to be inconspicuous in action but to talk
frankly and without reserve in behind-the-scenes negotiations. He
has worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and
the Rand Corporation. He earned the trust of former U.S. President
Bill Clinton and his wife while serving as Deputy Assistant to the
National Security Council during the second Clinton Administration
from 1997 to 2001.

During his time at the National Security Council, he was deeply
involved in formulating U.S. policies towards North Korea when Bill
Clinton considered visiting Pyongyang. Steinberg established a
relationship with then presidential candidate Obama in June last
year, when he took part in writing a speech President Obama was
going to deliver to a session of the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel interest group.

* We have compared the English version on the website with the
Korean version and added some sentences to make them identical.


TOKOLA

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