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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; November 3, 2009

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SEOUL 001745

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; November 3, 2009

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

Chosun Ilbo
Board of Audit and Inspection Asks Prosecution to Investigate 16
Cultural and Civic Organizations on Suspicion of
Embezzling 50 Billion Won in Government Subsidies

JoongAng Ilbo
President Lee Says He Won't Duck Sejong City Issue

Dong-a Ilbo
National Tax Service to Bring 270 Trillion Won
Underground Economy to Above Ground

Hankook Ilbo, All TVs
ROKG to Raise "New Flu" Alert to Highest "Red" Level Today

Hankyoreh Shinmun
Land Ministry Lowered Grades of Highly Protected Greenbelt Areas to
Build Low-Cost Apartments

Segye Ilbo, Seoul Shinmun
President Lee Urges Prudence over Sejong City Project


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

A week after the ROKG offered 10,000 tons of corn in food aid to
North Korea, the North remained silent yesterday, putting the ROKG
in an awkward position. (Hankook)


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

A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday that "If
the U.S. is not ready to sit down face to face with us, we will go
our own way." This remark seems designed to press for bilateral
talks with the U.S. (All)


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

-N. Korea
----------
All ROK media covered Nov. 2 press remarks by a North Korean Foreign
Ministry spokesman, in which he said: "If the U.S. is not ready to
sit down face to face with us, we will go our own way." The
spokesman was further quoted: "As we magnanimously clarified our
position that it is possible to hold multilateral talks, including
the Six-Party Talks depending on talks with the U.S., now it is the
U.S.'s turn to make a decision." Most media interpreted this North
Korean statement as designed to press for bilateral talks with the
U.S.

-Afghanistan Election Over
--------------------------
The ROK media gave attention to Afghanistan's election commission's
declaration yesterday that Hamid Karzai will continue as president
after it called off a run-off following the withdrawal of his only
rival.

Newspapers carried the following headlines: "Though Regrettable...
U.S. Again in the Same Boat with Karzai" (conservative Chosun Ilbo);
"U.S. Likely to Speed up Decision on Afghan Troop Deployment"
(right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo); and "Doubts Remain over Legitimacy
of New Government, Including Allegations of Fraud in Favor of
Karzai" (moderate Hankook Ilbo, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun,
conservative Segye Ilbo, moderate Seoul Shinmun)


SEOUL 00001745 002 OF 002

FEATURES
---------

N. KOREA GETS IMPATIENT WITH U.S.
(Chosun Ilbo, November 3, 2009, Page 6; Excerpts)

By Reporter Ahn Yong-hyun

North Korea on Monday warned it will "go its own way if the U.S. is
not yet ready to sit down" for dialogue about the North Korean
nuclear issue.

A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman made the remarks to the
official KCNA news agency. "As we magnanimously clarified our
position that it is possible to hold multilateral talks, including
the Six-Party Talks depending on talks with the U.S., now it is the
U.S.'s turn to make a decision."

A South Korean security official said the remarks sound like
blackmail, warning of some kind of military action "including
increasing its nuclear capability" unless the U.S. jumps into talks.
But he said the substance was a "rehash" of previous statements.

In a recent meeting held between Ri Gun, the Chief of the North
Korean Foreign Ministry's American Affairs Bureau, and Sung Kim, the
Chief U.S. Delegate to the Six-Party Talks, the spokesman complained
that "no discussion" took place "on any substantial issue concerning
the bilateral dialogue."

This can be interpreted as meaning that, during the meeting, the
difference of opinions between the two over issues, such as the
North's return to the Six-Party Talks, was hardly narrowed. The
spokesman claimed the North suffered huge economic losses in the
process of talks to solve its nuclear issue, since it did not
receive the light-water reactor as promised. This is being read as
a broad hint that the North wants greater economic support as a
reward for returning to the Six-Party Talks.

The spokesman already drew lines for future talks by saying that the
Sept. 19, 2005 statement of principles was a "dead document,"
because the U.S. brought North Korea's "satellite launch" - widely
understood to have been a long-range missile test - to the UN
Security Council and invoked sanctions. The 2005 statement
stipulates a stage-by-stage dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear
weapons on the "action-for-action" principle.

(This is a translation provided by the newspaper. We have compared
the English version on the website with the Korean version and added
some sentences in English to make them identical.)


STEPHENS

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