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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; September 28, 2009

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 SEOUL 001554

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; September 28, 2009

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


Chosun Ilbo
Progressive Teachers' Group Acknowledges Need
for Teacher Evaluation

JoongAng Ilbo, Segye Ilbo, Seoul Shinmun, All TVs
Mobile Phone Rates to be Cut Starting in November,
Helping Households Save 7 to 8 Percent Annually

Dong-a Ilbo
Separated Families Hold Reunions

Hankook Ilbo
Number of "Working Poor" Jumps by 140,000 in First Half

Hankyoreh Shinmun
Survey: Six out of 10 Citizens Think
Prime Minister Nominee "Unfit for Office"


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

According to diplomatic sources, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama will visit Seoul on Oct. 9 for a summit with President Lee
Myung-bak. His visit comes on the eve of the Oct. 10 trilateral
summit in Beijing between the leaders of the ROK, China and Japan.
(All)

The ROK's Red Cross Chief Yoo Chong-ha said yesterday that his North
Korean counterpart presented an indirect request for ROK rice and
fertilizer aid in return for ongoing reunions of separated families.
(All)


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

Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, during a Sept. 27 press
briefing in Hanoi, said that the U.S. wants its partners in the
Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament to send
Pyongyang a "unified" message to return to the talks. (Segye, MBC)

According to a diplomatic source in Beijing, China's Premier Wen
Jiabao will visit North Korea for two days from Oct. 4 to mark the
60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries. There
is a high possibility that the Chinese premier may meet with North
Korean leader Kim Jong-il to persuade the North to promptly return
to the Six-Party Talks. (JoongAng, Hankook)


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

-N. Korea
---------
Conservative Segye Ilbo and MBC, a public broadcaster, quoted Deputy
Secretary of State James Steinberg as saying during a Sept. 27 press
briefing in Hanoi that the U.S. wants its partners in the Six-Party
Talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament to send Pyongyang a
"unified" message to return to the talks.

Most media on Saturday quoted a senior ROKG official as saying that
the U.S. and North Korea may need more than a month or two to
finalize the details of a bilateral meeting. The official was
further quoted: "The timing and format have not yet been set. The
U.S. will take a careful approach so as to not give the North a
wrong signal."


SEOUL 00001554 002 OF 006


Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo editorialized on Saturday: "The UN
Security Council has unanimously passed a new resolution, No. 1887,
aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. ... It is not news
that international efforts for denuclearization have been emphasized
and highlighted. However, as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said,
this was 'a historic moment, a moment offering a fresh start toward
a new future.' President Obama stressed that 'international law is
not an empty promise, and treaties will be enforced.' By doing so,
Obama hinted at his intentions to deal firmly with the nuclear
ambitions of North Korea and Iran."

-G20 Summit Wrap-Up
--------------------
The ROK's hosting of the Group of 20 Summit in November next year
received prominent press coverage today and over the weekend.

President Lee Myung-bak was widely quoted as saying on Saturday upon
his return from his seven-day trip to the U.S.: "Hosting the G-20
summit gives Korea momentum as the nation continues efforts to
elevate itself to the status of a developed country. It will not
only help Korea stand at the center of diplomacy but also upgrade
Korea's national stature in terms of politics, economy, legal system
and civility."

According to media reports, the leaders of the Group of 20 rich and
developing countries agreed during the third G-20 summit in
Pittsburgh to endorse the G-20 as the premier forum for
international economic cooperation, largely replacing the G-8, a
forum for industrialized nations that has long dominated the world
economy.

Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo editorialized today: "Last year's
financial crisis clearly demonstrated that the G-8 countries alone,
without the emerging economies, cannot deal with global economic
crises properly. ... Now it has become an established fact that the
'central axis' of the world economy has shifted from the G-8 to the
G-20. ... However, the prospects of the G-20 system are still
unclear. It is doubtful whether various countries can communicate
without difficulty since there are big differences of opinion
between developed countries and emerging economies on every issue.
... In this sense, the G-20 Summit, which will take place in the ROK
next November, is highly likely to become a watershed in determining
the stable development of the G-20 system."


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

G-20 SUMMIT SHOULD BECOME THE CORNERSTONE OF WORLD ECONOMIC GROWTH
(JoongAng Ilbo, September 28, 2009, page 46)

Leaders of the third G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh said in a statement
that they will hold the meeting annually starting from 2011. It
seems that the leaders intend to upgrade the G-20 Summit from a
temporary irregular meeting for combating the global financial
crisis to a permanent premier coordinating body. The White House
said that the G-20 leaders reached a historic consensus to designate
the G-20 as the world's premier forum for international economic
cooperation. This indicates that the leaders officially confirmed a
new world economic order, in which the G-8 is being replaced by the
G-20 involving both developed countries and emerging economies.

In fact, the statement provides some concrete evidence that
indicates that the G-20 system is being implemented. The G-20
called for a shift from developed to developing countries in the
proportion of equity share and voting rights in the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (IBRD). In particular, the leaders agreed that the head
of the international organizations should be selected based on
qualifications, not nationality. This shows that emerging economies
including the ROK have a growing voice on the international economic
stage.

This reflects, even if belatedly, the increased status of emerging

SEOUL 00001554 003 OF 006


economies in the aftermath of the global financial upheaval. Even
before the financial crisis, emerging economies had played a key
role in the global economy by achieving fast economic growth.
Therefore, it was meaningless for only the G-8 Summit leaders,
excluding these emerging economies, to discuss the global economy.
Last year's financial crisis clearly demonstrated that the G-8
countries alone, without the emerging economies, cannot deal with
global economic crises properly. It seems natural that the G-20
Summit, which was hastily convened in Washington last December, has
taken hold as a premier coordinating body by reflecting a change in
the structure of the world economy.

Now it has become an established fact that the 'central axis' of the
world economy has shifted from the G-8 to the G-20. The Pittsburgh
G-20 Summit is important in that the ROK was chosen to host next
year's meeting. What carries greater significance is that the G-20
Summit emerged as the premier decision-making body of the global
economy, and the ROK was given an opportunity to take the leadership
role in the historic shift.

However, the prospects for the G-20 system are still unclear. It is
doubtful whether various countries can communicate without
difficulty since there are big differences of opinion between
developed countries and emerging economies on every issue. The G-20
Summit may end up being "an arena of struggle" or a "dysfunctional"
summit which issues only a statement without reaching any concrete
decision. In this sense, the G-20 Summit, which will take place in
the ROK next November, is highly likely to become a watershed in
determining the stable development of the G-20 system. The ROK
should serve as a mediator between developed countries and emerging
economies. This is why the entire world is paying attention to
whether the ROK will exert its capability as a host country.


G20 SUMMIT SHOULD EXPEDITE NAT'L DEVELOPMENT
(Dong-a Ilbo, September 28, 2009, Page 31)

Korea will be the first Asian country to host the Group of 20 summit
in November next year and the fourth country to do so among G20
member states after the U.S. (twice), Britain and Canada. Korea's
participation in the summit in and of itself attests to the nation's
great strides in the international community. Seoul's successful
bid to host the event is also a great achievement in Korean
diplomacy. The country has also secured a monumental opportunity to
raise its international profile.

President Lee Myung-bak expressed his will to host the G20 summit
soon after his return from the first event in Washington in November
last year. A government task force was formed to bid for the
hosting rights immediately. His "personal network of G20 leaders"
added momentum to Korea's bid, and government officials including
former Finance Minister Sakong Il, Chairman of the G20 planning and
coordination committee, visited major member countries to propagate
Korea's successful bid.

The Group of Eight economies had previously dominated the global
economy but failed to effectively tackle all pending global issues.
The G20 was formed at a time when the world required new leadership
in the wake of global challenges, including climate change, nuclear
proliferation and terrorism. The G20 accounts for 85 percent of
global production, so the G8 will likely see its role in the global
agenda gradually decline. G20 leaders in Pittsburgh last week
agreed to make the G20 the world's leading forum, and so chances are
high the G20 will replace the G8 in the economic area.

The G20 summit in Korea will likely cover key agenda items such as a
strategy to overcome the economic crisis, financial regulations, and
reform of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. If
Korea can play a leading role in setting the agenda and generating
solutions as the host country in successfully hosting next year's
event, it can raise its global profile as a key member of the
"post-G8" alliance.

Advanced and emerging economies and developing nations have shown

SEOUL 00001554 004 OF 006


differing views on easing the disparity in the global economy and
overcoming the financial crisis. Korea is poised to join the league
of advanced economies, and has ample experience as a successful
developing country and emerging market. As such, the country is
indeed qualified to play the role of a bridge between developed and
developing economies.

Korea must use the G20 summit as an opportunity to increase its
national image to the level of advanced countries across the
spectrum, encompassing politics, economy and society. The country
was ranked 19th this year in national competitiveness by the World
Economic Forum. Notably, the country is "rock bottom" in terms of
labor competitiveness, including labor-management cooperation, and
lags behind financial market sophistication and soundness of banks,
a shameful level for a country that will host the G20 summit.

Korea needs notable achievements recognized by both the Korean
public and the world in advancing the nation's political culture,
including making Korea's democracy more representative by the time
of the next G20 summit. Otherwise, Korea could face disgrace as an
"underdeveloped democracy" that hosts the G20 summit.

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


G-20 AS DEMOCRATIC GLOBAL ECONOMIC COORDINATOR
(Hankyoreh Shinmun, September 28, 2009, Page 27)

The nations meeting at the G-20 summit, which closed last weekend in
the U.S. city of Pittsburgh, have agreed to turn the G-20 into the
world's top economic forum and to regularize G-20 summits starting
in 2011. This agreement is being interpreted as an acknowledgement
that the international community cannot resolve the economic
problems of the world with just the leadership of the G-8 alone,
which is centered on the advanced countries. In addition, it is
being seen as a confirmation that the G-20 summit, which includes
newly industrialized developing countries, such as China, will
replace the G-8 summits. When one considers that the G-20 accounts
for some 85 percent of the global economy and over half of the total
economy of developing nations, this can be seen as an important
decision that advances the global economic order towards democracy.


The G-20 member states also agreed to adopt mutual evaluations of
policy in order to build a cooperative system for sustainable
balanced growth, reorganize the capital structure of the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank by 2011, and
strengthen regulations on financial institutions. They also
reaffirmed a global economic keynote of openness and clarified the
principle that nations should not use crisis to retreat into
protectionism.

The problem, however, is not only that many of the agreements made
in the past few days lack not only substance, but also binding
force. This is the case with the reorganization of country
representation at the IMF and World Bank, which is directly related
to the democratization of the global economic order. China and
others had pressed to resolve the issue during this meeting but the
summit declaration only provided support for, but no affirmative
action towards, a shift in quota share for the IMF and World Bank in
which 5% and 3%, respectively, of the shares from over-represented
countries would go to under-represented countries. The summit also
confirmed the need to improve global governance by tightening the
lax management of financial institutions that led to the world
economic crisis; however, a decision on setting a concrete
international standard was put off until 2012.

In certain respects, the outcome was predictable. Because the
number of participating nations has grown and the gaps between them
are much larger than those among the G8, reaching agreements on
substantive issues can only get that much more difficult.

The G-20 member countries must refuse to be satisfied with

SEOUL 00001554 005 OF 006


agreements made just for agreement's sake if they want to become the
world's top economic community. The G-20 must not shy away from the
issues that were at the root of the world economic crisis, and
instead should demonstrate the courage to resolve them. In this
regard, the role of newly developed nations, starting with South
Korea which will host next year summit prior to the regularization
of the G-20 summit process, is important. The G-20 countries should
democratize the global economic order by going beyond the interests
of rising nations and make it easier for poor nations, which are not
represented, to be heard.

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


UN TIDE TURNS AGAINST NORTH
(JoongAng Ilbo, September 26, 2009, Page 34)

The UN Security Council has unanimously passed a new resolution, No.
1887, aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. U.S.
President Barack Obama and other members of the Security Council,
including the permanent members China, Russia, France and Britain,
supported the resolution. It called for preventing the
proliferation of nuclear weapons and related materials, for UN
members to take action to end nuclear testing, and for a
strengthening of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In
particular, the resolution states that if a state that receives
nuclear materials or related equipment doesn't comply with the NPT
or opts out of the treaty, then the country that provided those
materials can require their return. Also, the resolution urges
states to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. This
move puts the last touch on a vision of a nuclear-free world. While
North Korea and Iran weren't directly mentioned in the resolution,
heads of state at the meeting pointed to those two countries as
obstacles to a safe world.

It is not news that international efforts for denuclearization have
been emphasized and highlighted. However, as UN Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon said, this was "a historic moment, a moment offering a
fresh start toward a new future." President Obama stressed that
"international law is not an empty promise, and treaties will be
enforced." By doing so, Obama hinted at his intentions to deal
firmly with the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran. And with
the endorsement of this resolution, there could be a new
international agreement at next April's NPT review summit, which is
designed to strengthen the treaty.

North Korea should take note of this resolution. Considering the
ever-growing international sentiment against nuclear weapons, the
North's "military first" politics can be sustained only for so long.
The North can't live while holding on to nuclear weapons. Its
isolation in the international community will only deepen, and the
North will again have to walk the same path of hardship, dealing
with tens of thousands of deaths from hunger. Today, the
international community is urging North Korea to abandon nuclear
weapons and is offering security assurances and economic aid in
return, within the framework of the Six-Party dialogue. North Korea
must return to the Six-Party Talks immediately. A nuclear weapons
and military first policy will only lead to destruction.

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


NORTH KOREA SHOULD TAKE UNSC'S ANTI-NUCLEAR RESOLUTION SERIOUSLY
(Dong-a Ilbo, September 28, 2009, Page 31)

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1887 on
nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament on September 24.
The heads of the UNSC member nations came forward to spearhead
anti-nuclear efforts in order to save the international community
from nuclear threats. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon attached
significance to the day, describing it as a "historic moment."


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Although the resolution did not specifically mention North Korea and
Iran, the leaders of major nations made it clear that (the
resolution) is targeted at the two nations. President Obama warned
during his speech at the UN General Assembly that "the governments
of North Korea and Iran threaten to take us down this dangerous
slope" and "they must be held accountable." French President
Nicolas Sarkozy said after the adoption of the resolution that for
almost 20 years since 1993, the Pyongyang regime has been developing
nuclear and missile programs and exporting sensitive technologies
overseas, and he urged every UN member nation to supervise and seize
North Korea's illegal weapons and nuclear exports.

The international community's commitment to nuclear
non-proliferation is stronger than ever before. Since President
Obama advocated a nuclear-weapons-free world in April, he has
ambitiously taken the road to nuclear non-proliferation. He will
chair the Global Nuclear Security Summit next March and the NPT
(Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) Review Conference next May. The
reason why the special, summit-level meeting of the UN Security
Council was held after five years was that its member nations
considered nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran to be serious.

Russia is also taking part in the U.S.'s anti-nuclear efforts.
During their summit on September 23, President Obama and Russian
President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to consider imposing additional
serious sanctions on Iran if the nation does not accept the
international community's proposal to end the nuclear standoff. The
two Presidents also promised to come up with a new accord which will
replace the START-1 treaty set to expire this year.

The anti-nuclear resolution, which was adopted by the heads of the
UNSC member nations, carries more weight than an agreement from the
Six-Party Talks attended by vice minister-level officials. Through
the resolution, the UNSC members also showed their willingness to
abide by UNSC Resolutions 1718 and 1874. The latest resolution
even "encourages States to require as a condition of nuclear exports
that the recipient State agree that, in the event that it should
terminate, withdraw from, or be found by the IAEA Board of Governors
to be in non-compliance with its IAEA safeguards agreement, the
supplier state would have a right to require the return of nuclear
material and equipment provided prior to such termination,
non-compliance or withdrawal, as well as any special nuclear
material produced through the use of such material or equipment."
If North Korea continues to ignore these warnings, it will
inevitably be driven into a corner with its regime security
deteriorating.


STEPHENS

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