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Cablegate: Seoul - Media Reaction

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R 210831Z SEP 09
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RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2539

UNCLAS SEOUL 001502


SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KMDR KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - MEDIA REACTION

Subject: Media Reaction; Seoul

G20 PITTSBURGH SUMMIT
--------------------

"What President Lee Should Do at G20 Summit"

Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo editorialized (09/21): "The ROK is
already a member of the meeting of the Group of 20 Finance Ministers
and Central Bank Governors, and will hold the presidency of the
meeting next year. The ROK, which is being touted as the first
country to recover from the global financial crisis, is well
positioned to play a constructive role as an 'honest broker' between
the developed and developing countries. In every respect, it is
natural and reasonable for the ROK to host next year's G20 summit.
This is a point President Lee should stress in Pittsburgh."


MISSILE SHIELD
---------------

"U.S. Policy Switch Is a Victory in Rationalism"

Left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (09/19): "The Obama
Administration's change in policy is, despite its denial, aimed at
improving ties with Russia. Currently, the U.S. is in urgent need
of Russia's help to resolve the issues of Iran and Afghanistan, the
U.S.'s most important foreign policy goals at the moment. The U.S.
also needs to begin discussions on a new agreement to take the place
of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia, which is set to
expire. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has indicated that he
views Obama's decision as a responsible move and intends to respond
in a forward-thinking way. Obama's policy shift has shown the
potential to bring the international order into an age of
cooperation rather than conflict."


EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC: DPRK
----------------------------

"We Should Not Be Overly Reactive to Pyongyang's Hint of Returning
to Multilateral Talks"

Conservative Dong-a Ilbo editorialized (09/19): "In a situation
where the North's return to the Six-Party Talks does not guarantee
the resolution of the nuclear issue, Pyongyang simply mentioned its
intent to hold bilateral and multilateral dialogue. ... North
Korea declared in April that it will never rejoin the Six-Party
Talks. While publicly proposing multilateral dialogue, the North
may demand trilateral or four-party talks in order to drive a wedge
between the Six-Party countries. Judging from its past behavior,
North Korea may also ask for a quid pro quo for resuming dialogue."


"Prepare for a Big Change in Addressing N. Korea"

Moderate Hankook Ilbo editorialized (09/21): "There is nothing wrong
with the ROKG's position that it will make a judgment after
confirming what intentions and conditions the North has behind such
overtures. However, we cannot shake off the feeling that Seoul is
too inactive or passive toward the possibility of a big change in
addressing North Korea's nuclear issue. ... President Lee
Myung-bak left for the U.S. yesterday to attend a meeting of the UN
General Assembly and the G20 Financial Summit in Pittsburgh.
President Lee should use this visit as an opportunity to take a
leadership role while, at the same time, adopting a more active
attitude toward this new development in the North Korean nuclear
issue."


STEPHENS

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