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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; September 29, 2009

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 SEOUL 001559

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; September 29, 2009

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

Chosun Ilbo, Seoul Shinmun, All TVs
National Assembly Approves New Prime Minister; Approval Comes
despite Nominee's Skepticism over Sejong City Project

JoongAng Ilbo
Newly Discovered German Diplomatic Letter Supported
Korea's Liberation from Japan's Annexation

Dong-a Ilbo
Chung Un-chan Confirmed as Prime Minister
despite Opposition Boycott

Hankook Ilbo, Hankyoreh Shinmun, Segye Ilbo
2010 Budget Rises 2.5 Percent to 291.8 Trillion Won


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

According to the Blue House, the leaders of the ROK, China and Japan
will meet in Beijing on Oct. 10 to discuss pending issues, including
President Lee Myung-bak's "grand bargain" proposal on North Korea's
nuclear issue. (All)

A senior Foreign Ministry official said yesterday that the core of
President Lee's "grand bargain" with North Korea is to advance the
dismantlement of the North's nuclear weapons and materials.
(JoongAng)

Blue House Spokesman Park Sun-kyoo, in a Sept. 28 press briefing,
said that Seoul is not considering any massive food or fertilizer
aid to North Korea at this point in time. (Chosun, JoongAng,
Hankook, Hankyoreh, Segye, Seoul)

U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens will hold a concert on Sept. 30 to
mark the Chuseok holiday, Korea's Thanksgiving. (Chosun)


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

There is speculation that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il may make
an announcement during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's Oct. 4-6 visit
to Pyongyang that could provide major momentum to resuming the
stalled nuclear negotiations. (Chosun, KBS)


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

-N. Korea
---------
Conservative Chosun Ilbo carried an inside-page report speculating
that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il may make an announcement during
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's Oct. 4-6 visit to Pyongyang that could
provide major momentum to resuming the stalled nuclear negotiations.
The report noted that the North Korean leader told visiting Chinese
State Councilor Dai Bingguo on Sept. 18 that his country is willing
to engage in bilateral and multilateral talks to resolve its nuclear
issue. The report quoted an ROKG source as saying: "North Korea
will have to give a visiting senior Chinese leader some kind of
gift. Leader Kim Jong-il is apparently under heavy pressure from
Wen's upcoming visit, especially given that Wen cancelled a visit to
the North in the wake of its second nuclear test on May 25."

State-run KBS filed a similar report.

All ROK media reported on the Blue House's announcement yesterday
that the leaders of the ROK, China and Japan will meet in Beijing on

SEOUL 00001559 002 OF 003


Oct. 10 to discuss pending issues, including President Lee
Myung-bak's "grand bargain" proposal on North Korea's nuclear issue.
(All)

Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo quoted a senior Foreign Ministry
official as saying yesterday that the core of President Lee's "grand
bargain" with North Korea is to advance the dismantlement of the
North's nuclear weapons and materials. He went on to say: "There is
no alternative to the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear
program."

Iran Nuclear Confrontation
Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo wrote in the headline: "N. Korea Being
Used as a Benchmark for Nuclear Tug-of-War between the U.S. and
Iran." The sub-heads read: "Iran Discloses New Nuclear Facility
Ahead of Next Month's Negotiations, a Move that Resembles N. Korea's
'Brinkmanship Tactics' to Gain the Upper Hand Ahead of Negotiations
with U.S.;" and "U.S. Portrays Iran's Provocation as Deceiving the
World to Draw China and Russia into International Sanctions against
Iran, a Strategy Akin to the One Washington Used for International
Sanctions to Get N. Korea to Return to Dialogue."


FEATURES
--------

KIM JONG-IL TO MEET CHINESE PREMIER IN EARLY OCTOBER
(Chosun Ilbo, September 29, 2009, Page 5)

By Reporter Lim Min-hyuk

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will visit North Korea on Oct. 4-6,
raising expectations that Pyongyang will take the opportunity to
announce its return to Six-Party nuclear talks.

During a visit from Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, an envoy
for President Hu Jintao, on Sept. 18, North Korean leader Kim
Jong-il said he was "willing to engage in bilateral and multilateral
talks" on the nuclear program. Speculation has it that Wen, as the
senior official, can expect a more specific commitment.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency gave unprecedented
advance coverage to Wen's visit on Monday, saying it comes "in time
for a ceremony on Oct. 6 to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic
relations between the two countries." Speculation is already
mounting in Beijing that "Kim Jong-il might express willingness to
dismantle nuclear programs and present specific ways to do so."

A South Korean government source on Monday said, "North Korea will
have to give a visiting senior Chinese leader some kind of gift.
Leader Kim Jong-il is apparently under heavy pressure from Wen's
upcoming visit, especially given that Wen cancelled a visit to the
North in the wake of its second nuclear test on May 25."

The fact that Washington accepted (the proposal for) bilateral
dialogue with Pyongyang but did not specify a detailed schedule (for
the talks) is expected to serve as a catalyst for Kim Jong-il to
open his mouth. An ROKG official noted, "During Wen's visit, if Kim
Jong-il shows, through his comments, a different attitude regarding
the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, it will smooth the way for
the U.S." In that case, observers say, a visit to Pyongyang by U.S.
Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Bosworth may soon be
realized.

Already aware of such a possibility, the Six-Party nations are
working to coordinate their stances. Deputy Secretary of State
James Steinberg is making a tour of the ROK, China, and Japan from
September 27 to October 1 to discuss the timing and conditions for
U.S.-North Korea dialogue and the goal of a two-track strategy of
pursuing dialogue as well as sanctions against the North.

On September 28, diplomatic officials from the ROK, China and Japan
discussed ways to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue in
Shanghai, China. Observers say that there is a high possibility

SEOUL 00001559 003 OF 003


that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao may bring up issues he will discuss
with Kim Jong-il (during his upcoming visit to Pyongyang) at a
trilateral summit, which will take place in Beijing on October 10.

ROK authorities say that even if Kim Jong-il makes any
forward-looking announcement, this will not steer the North Korean
nuclear process in a direction he wants unless the North
demonstrates its trustworthiness. A senior ROK official noted that
in order to prevent Pyongyang from capitalizing on the ROK's trust
(in the North), sanctions should remain in place through
international coordination even if (U.S-North Korea) talks may be
held.

(We have compared the English version on the website with the Korean
version and added the latter half to make them identical.)


STEPHENS

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