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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; September 17, 2009

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 SEOUL 001488

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; September 17, 2009

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


Chosun Ilbo
Will Japan Change?; Hatoyama Takes Office
as Japan's New Prime Minister

JoongAng Ilbo
ROK Has Four Times More Labor Unions
with Full-time Union Members than Japan

Dong-a Ilbo
Faced with 7 Billion Won Damage Suit for Illegal Strikes, Korean
Railroad Union Issues "Struggle Bonds"
to Collect 3.5 Billion Won from Union Members

Hankook Ilbo, All TVs
Korean Won Hits 11-Month High, Raising Concerns that the Won's Rapid
Rise May Impact Local Exporters' Competitiveness, Hampering Economic
Recovery

Hankyoreh Shinmun
Court Accepts Retrial for Kang Ki-hoon who was Convicted in 1991 of
Forging the Will and Testament of His Fellow Activist, Kim Ki-sul,
who Burned Himself to Death in May of That Year in Protest against
Then Military Government

Segye Ilbo, Seoul Shinmun
126.4 Trillion Won Set for Regional Development


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

1. Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg will reportedly
visit East Asia, including the ROK, China and Japan, later this
month to discuss U.S.-North Korea bilateral talks and ways to resume
the Six-Party Talks, among others. (JoongAng, Hankook)


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

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested on Sept. 15 that the
U.S. is prepared to engage in direct talks with North Korea to
encourage the communist state to rejoin the Six-Party Talks on its
nuclear program. She was quoted: "One of the ways we perhaps can get
North Korea to engage is by explaining directly and clearly what the
purpose is and what the possible consequences and incentives could
be." (All)

In a related development, a senior ROKG official raised the
possibility that the envisioned U.S.-North Korea talks may take
place in late October or early November, saying: "Washington will
need some time to prepare for such a meeting. So it should be no
earlier than late October." (Chosun, Hankook, Segye)

According to Yonhap News Agency, an aide to Sen. John Kerry,
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Sept. 15
that the senator received an invitation from North Korea to visit
Pyongyang and that he is positively considering visiting the
communist state. (Chosun, Hankook, Hankyoreh, Seoul, YTN)


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

-N. Korea
----------

All ROK media covered Sept. 15 press remarks by Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton, in which she said: "One of the ways we perhaps can

SEOUL 00001488 002 OF 003


get North Korea to engage is by explaining directly and clearly what
the purpose is and what the possible consequences and incentives
could be. ... The U.S. is not acting in any way that is not part of
agreed-upon - an agreed-upon process that has been worked out with
the Six-Party members."

Conservative Chosun Ilbo commented that Secretary Clinton's
statement has clarified that the purpose of bilateral talks with
North Korea is to bring the North back to the Six-Party Talks, while
putting to rest worries that such talks could replace the Six-Party
Talks. Conservative Dong-a Ilbo, meanwhile, portrayed Secretary
Clinton's statement as an explanation against ongoing criticism that
the U.S. has made a policy shift by accepting bilateral talks with
the North. Left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun quoted a local expert as
speculating that the U.S. is likely to provide details of the
proposed "comprehensive package" of incentives during the bilateral
talks, which would reportedly include normalized ties and a security
guarantee in return for the North's denuclearization.

Most newspapers quoted a senior ROKG official as raising the
possibility yesterday that the envisioned U.S.-North Korea talks may
take place in late October or early November, saying: "Washington
will need some time to prepare for such a meeting. So it should be
no earlier than late October."

In particular, conservative Chosun Ilbo further cited the ROKG
official as surmising that if Washington-Pyongyang talks
materialize, Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. Special Representative for
North Korea Policy, will probably visit Pyongyang and that
Washington wants him to meet Kang Sok-ju, the North's First Vice
Foreign Minister who played a key role in concluding the bilateral
Geneva Accord in 1994.

Most ROK media replayed a Yonhap News report quoting an aide to Sen.
John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as
saying on Sept. 15 that the senator received an invitation from
North Korea to visit Pyongyang and that he is positively considering
visiting the communist state.


FEATURES
---------

CLINTON CALMS FEARS ABOUT TALKS WITH N. KOREA
(Chosun Ilbo, September 17, 2009, Front Page)

By Washington Correspondent Lee Ha-won and Reporter Ahn Yong-hyun

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday said that if the
U.S. and North Korea should start bilateral talks, Washington will
make it clear to North Korea what the possible incentives are if it
commits to denuclearization and what the consequences will be if it
does not. A South Korean government source on Wednesday said the
talks will probably happen in late October or early November.

Clinton indicated that the only purpose of bilateral talks with
Pyongyang would be to persuade the North back to Six-Party Talks,
putting to rest worries that they could replace the multilateral
framework. "One of the ways we perhaps can get North Korea to
engage is by explaining directly and clearly what the purpose is and
what the possible consequences and incentives could be," she said.
"The U.S. is not acting in any way that is not part of agreed-upon -
an agreed-upon process that has been worked out with the Six-Party
members."

The South Korean source said if Washington-Pyongyang talks
materialize, Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. Special Representative for
North Korea policy, will probably visit Pyongyang and that
Washington wants him to meet Kang Sok-ju, the North's First Vice
Foreign Minister who played a key role in concluding the bilateral
Geneva Accords in 1994.

Meanwhile, the Yonhap news agency quoted aides to John Kerry, the
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as saying

SEOUL 00001488 003 OF 003


Tuesday that his office has received an invitation from North Korea
to visit Pyongyang. Aides said that,if he visits (North Korea), it
will be to take a close look at the reality there rather than to
discuss the denuclearization issue.

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


TOKOLA

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