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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; September 30, 2009

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SEOUL 001566

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; September 30, 2009

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

Chosun Ilbo
New Prime Minister: "ROKG will Consider Modifying Sejong City
Project to Develop Sejong into a Self-Sufficient City
like Songdo"

JoongAng Ilbo
Questions Raised over Water Quality of Four-River Restoration
Project; Environment Ministry Asks for Review of Effects
of 16 Reservoirs

Dong-a Ilbo
2.4 Trillion Won Needed to Offset
Civil Servants' Pension Deficit

Hankook Ilbo
ROKG Urged to Designate 20 More Districts Nationwide as "Property
Speculation Zones"

Hankyoreh Shinmun
ROKG Suspected of Inflating Projections of Tax Revenues
to Push for Tax Cuts

Segye Ilbo
100 Franchise Brands to be Fostered by 2012

Seoul Shinmun
Chief Prosecutor Promises Change


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

Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg arrived in Seoul yesterday
as part of a five-nation Asian tour. He was quoted as saying in
Seoul: "(Washington) is holding useful consultations with relevant
countries (on U.S.-North Korea talks.) I still have nothing to say
(about the timing of U.S.-North Korea talks.)" (JoongAng)

Vice Unification Minister Hong Yang-ho told reporters yesterday that
the resumption of tours to Mt. Kumgang in North Korea is not related
to the North's nuclear issue. (All)


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

Speaking at the UN General Assembly yesterday, North Korea's Vice
Foreign Minister Pak Kil-yon said that if more sanctions were
imposed on North Korea for its nuclear and missile programs, the
North would strengthen its nuclear arsenal in response. He went on
to say that the North would "react to dialogue with dialogue."
(JoongAng, Dong-a, Hankook, Hankyoreh, Segye, Seoul)

Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and
Pacific Affairs, said yesterday that any bilateral discussions with
North Korea would be "designed towards moving back rapidly and very
clearly to a Six-Party framework."(JoongAng, Dong-a, Hankook)

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu, in a Sept. 29 regular
briefing, indicated that China is poised to provide substantial
economic aid to North Korea when Premier Wen Jiabao visits Pyongyang
on Oct. 4-6. (Chosun, Segye)


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

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

SEOUL 00001566 002 OF 002


Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo quoted Deputy Secretary of State James
Steinberg as saying in Seoul yesterday: "(Washington) is holding
useful consultations with relevant countries (on U.S.-North Korea
talks.) I still have nothing to say (about the timing of U.S.-North
Korea talks.)"

Most ROK media noted Sept. 28 press remarks by Kurt Campbell,
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, in
which he said: "I think one of the lessons that the U.S. has learned
in this process is a certain degree of patience pays off. If there
were to be any bilateral interactions between the U.S. and North
Korea, they'd be designed towards moving back rapidly and very
clearly to a Six-Party framework for formal interactions with our
North Korean interlocutors."

Most media also gave wide coverage to North Korea's Vice Foreign
Minister Pak Kil-yon's speech at the UN General Assembly yesterday,
quoting him as saying: "North Korea's position is to react to
dialogue with dialogue and to respond to sanctions by strengthening
nuclear deterrence. If the U.S. comes to dialogue with sanctions,
we will also participate in dialogue with bolstered nuclear
deterrence."

Moderate Hankook Ilbo wrote in the headline: "North Korea Raises
Stakes Ahead of Bilateral Talks with U.S." Left-leaning Hankyoreh
Shinmun portrayed this North Korean statement as a response to the
Obama Administration's "two-track strategy" of dialogue and
sanctions.

Conservative Chosun Ilbo and Segye Ilbo reported that China
indicated its intention to provide substantial economic aid to North
Korea when Premier Wen Jiabao visits the North on Oct. 4-6. The two
newspapers quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu as
saying in a Sept. 29 regular briefing: "A series of cooperation
agreements will be signed with North Korea in areas including
economy, trade, education and tourism."

Conservative Chosun further quoted Jiang as saying: "China's
position is that resolving the North Korean nuclear issue through
dialogue and negotiations will benefit everyone. The Six-Party
Talks are an effective and realistic way to resolve the nuclear
issue."


STEPHENS

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