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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; October 8, 2009

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 SEOUL 001598

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; October 8, 2009

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

Chosun Ilbo
ROK Universities Move Up in World University Rankings; Seoul
National University Placed 47th, KAIST 69th

JoongAng Ilbo
Vice Education Minister Lee Joo-ho Vows Not to Aid Universities Next
Year If They Create Controversy in Selecting Students through
Admissions Officer System This Year

Dong-a Ilbo
90 Percent of Parole Applications Approved;
from 2004 to August This Year, 8,820 Heinous Criminals
were Released before Their Prison Terms Expired

Hankook Ilbo
With Countries Poised to Withdraw Stimulus Policies
Following Australia's Rate Hike, ROKG Reiterates
"Too Early to Exit Stimulus"

Hankyoreh Shinmun
Blue House Denies Allegations of Pressuring Telecom Companies for 25
Billion Won in Donations

Segye Ilbo
President Lee to Give More Power to Able State Firm Leaders

Seoul Shinmun, All TVs
Obama to Visit Seoul Nov. 18-19


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

According to the Blue House, President Barack Obama will visit Seoul
from Nov. 18-19 for a summit with President Lee Myung-bak. The two
leaders are expected to discuss pending issues, including the North
Korean nuclear issue. (All)

Visiting U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and
Public Affairs Judith A. McHale visited Chosun Ilbo yesterday. She
was quoted as saying: "Bill Gates' recommendation to go to Korea was
not a joke. Korea's media technological innovations, such as e-books
and T-papers, are amazing." (Chosun)


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

A senior State Department official said on Oct. 6 that the U.S. will
not agree to one-on-one talks with North Korea unless it is given
assurances in advance that the outcome will be an agreement to
resume the Six-Party Talks. (Hankook, Hankyoreh, Segye, Seoul)

Referring to China's recent massive economic aid to North Korea, an
ROK Foreign Ministry official said yesterday that Seoul, via a
diplomatic channel, has reconfirmed that there is no change in
China's commitment to faithfully implement UN Security Council
resolutions against North Korea. (JoongAng, Dong-a)

According to a source in Beijing knowledgeable about North Korean
affairs, China is preparing to provide North Korea with free aid
worth an estimated 200 million Yuan following Premier Wen Jiabao's
visit to Pyongyang. (Dong-a)


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

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

SEOUL 00001598 002 OF 004


Most media gave attention to Oct. 6 remarks by a senior State
Department official, quoting him as saying that the U.S. will not
agree to one-on-one talks with North Korea unless it is given
assurances in advance that the outcome will be an agreement to
resume the Six-Party Talks.

With regard to China's recent offer of massive aid to North Korea,
right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo quoted an ROKG official as saying
yesterday: "China wouldn't have violated UN Security Council
Resolution 1874 against North Korea as one of five permanent UNSC
members. However, it is true that there is concern that China's $20
million aid to North Korea, coming at a sensitive time when the
international community squeezes the North's money flow through
sanctions, may undermine the effect of sanctions directly and
indirectly."

Citing an ROK Foreign Ministry official, right-of-center JoongAng
Ilbo and conservative Dong-a Ilbo reported that the ROKG, via a
diplomatic channel, has reconfirmed that there is no change in
China's commitment to faithfully implement UNSC resolutions against
North Korea.

JoongAng Ilbo editorialized: "China has the greatest leverage over
North Korea. ... This is why China's participation in sanctioning
North Korea following its second nuclear test was so important. The
fact that the sanctions against North Korea have paid off so far is
also due to China's participation. In this regard, regardless of
its scale, China's offer of a 'bag of gifts' to North Korea is
inappropriate, especially when the sanctions against the country
remain in place."


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

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ON N. KOREA SHOULD NOT BE DISRUPTED
(JoongAng Ilbo, October 8, 2009, page 46)

During his visit to Pyongyang, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reportedly
offered massive economic aid to North Korea. This has sparked
concern that international cooperation to enforce sanctions against
North Korea is suffering a setback. Some observers say that China's
offer of economic aid to North Korea may constitute a violation of
UN Security Resolution 1874 which was adopted in June. If this is
the case, it seems to present a serious problem. China, which has
joined in sanctioning North Korea under UN resolutions since North
Korea's second nuclear test, is moving away from international
cooperation. This also deals a blow to Six-Party countries'
"two-track strategy" of sanctions and dialogue.

The ROK's Foreign Ministry yesterday said that the Chinese
government officially explained to the ROKG about the overall
results of Premier Wen's visit to Pyongyang via a diplomatic
channel. The ROKG said that China has reconfirmed that there is no
change in its commitment to faithfully implement UNSC resolutions
against North Korea. According to Chinese and North Korean media,
Premier Wen signed agreements on economic cooperation with Pyongyang
but the details have not yet been disclosed. However, considering
the past record, China is presumed to have offered considerable free
aid including food and energy assistance.

Our common sense is that China, a permanent member of the UN
Security Council and responsible member of the international
community, must have considered whether its offer of economic aid to
North Korea might constitute a violation of UNSC resolutions. But
if China pledged to provide massive economic assistance that goes
beyond the requirements of UNSC resolutions, this should be taken
seriously. UNSC Resolution 1874 calls upon (all nations and
financial institutions) not to enter into new commitments for
grants, financial assistance, and concessional loans except for
humanitarian and development purpose or denuclearization purpose.
Small-scale humanitarian aid such as food or medical assistance is
not a problem but massive free aid could be in violation of UNSC
resolutions.

SEOUL 00001598 003 OF 004

China has the greatest leverage over North Korea. Unless China
takes active steps, sanctions against North Korea will become
meaningless. This is why China's participation in sanctioning North
Korea following its second nuclear test was so important. The fact
that the sanctions against North Korea have paid off so far is also
due to China's participation. In this regard, regardless of its
scale, China's offer of a 'bag of gifts' to North Korea is
inappropriate, especially when the sanctions against the country
remain in place.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il took a dubious attitude by
expressing a conditional willingness to return to the Six-Party
Talks. It is odd that China offered huge gifts to the North to gain
this (small) result. If China unilaterally decided to provide
massive free aid to Pyongyang without prior consultations with the
other Six-Party countries, this casts doubt over China's willingness
to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. In a summit involving the
ROK, China and Japan, which will take place in Beijing in October
10, China should provide a clear explanation of (its actions.)


FEATURES
--------

UNDER SECRETARY MCHALE: "BILL GATES' RECOMMENDATION TO GO TO KOREA
WAS NOT A JOKE"
(Chosun Ilbo, October 8, 2009, Page 30)

By Reporter Choi Woo-suk

U.S. Under Secretary of State McHale visits Chosun Ilbo... "Media
technological innovations, such as e-books and T-papers, are
amazing."

"Korea's media technological innovations, such as e-paper
newspapers, mobile news, e-books, and T-papers, are amazing."

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public
Affairs Judith A. McHale made the statement on October 7 after being
briefed on developments in Korea's media industry. She added,
"Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates recommended visiting Korea to see
technological innovations, and that was not a joke." In particular,
after looking around the "U Media Lab," Chosun Ilbo's exhibition
hall of newspapers of the future, she noted, "I have seen the future
of newspapers. This can set a good example for U.S. newspapers,
which are having difficulty."

Under Secretary McHale, the former CEO of the American prominent
media company, Discovery Communications, also took a lot of interest
in cross-media projects, such as Chosun Ilbo's documentaries on
North Korean defectors (titled "Crossing Heaven's Border") and on
Asian women and alienated children (titled "Our Asia"). "Cross
media" refers to airing the same content through a variety of media
forms, such as newspaper, broadcasting, DMB (Digital Multimedia
Broadcasting) and IPTV (Internet Protocol Television), at the same
time. She said, "Discovery Communications also produced cross-media
programs involving newspapers and broadcasts in partnership with The
New York Times or the U.K.'s BBC. Chosun Ilbo's efforts will
succeed."

Under Secretary McHale, who arrived in Korea on October 5 for the
first time for a four-day, three-night trip, is in charge of
improving the U.S.'s image abroad under the Obama Administration.
She said, "In order to get a deep understanding of Korea, I am only
visiting Korea (on this trip.)." It is highly unusual for a
high-ranking USG official to make an official visit to Korea for
several days.

During her visit to Korea, Under Secretary McHale listened
intensively to the views which Koreans have about the U.S. by
meeting with college students, opposition leaders and

SEOUL 00001598 004 OF 004


businesspeople.

The daughter of a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, Under Secretary
McHale grew up in Britain and South Africa and graduated from the
University of Nottingham in the U.K. and Fordham University School
of Law in New York. After starting her career as General Counsel
for MTV Networks in the 1980s, she moved to Discovery Communications
in 1987 and served as its COO, CEO, and President. During her
tenure, Discovery Channel grew into a renowned global media
enterprise with 1.4 billion subscribers in 170 countries.


TOKOLA

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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