Search

 

Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; November 18, 2009

VZCZCXRO1166
OO RUEHGH
DE RUEHUL #1832/01 3220748
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 180748Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY SEOUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6270
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 9421
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC//DDI/OEA//
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI//FPA//
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC//DB-Z//
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0521
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6940
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 7000
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 1506
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 5315
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 4257
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 7469
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1746
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3052
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2131
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2737

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 SEOUL 001832

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; November 18, 2009

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


Chosun Ilbo, Dong-a Ilbo, Segye Ilbo, Seoul Shinmun, All TVs
ROK to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions 30 Percent by 2020

JoongAng Ilbo
U.S., China Hide Differences and Voice Cooperation

Hankook Ilbo
U.S., China Urge N. Korea to Promptly Return
to Six-Party Talks

Hankyoreh Shinmun
Lee Myung-bak Administration's Race to Implement Policy Causes
Confusion and Conflict


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

President Barack Obama will arrive in Seoul today for a summit
meeting tomorrow with President Lee Myung-bak. The two leaders are
expected to discuss the North Korean nuclear issue and the KORUS
FTA, among other things. (All)

Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan, in a Nov. 17 regular briefing, said
that the ROKG is considering setting up an independent military base
in the Afghan province of Parwan, north of the capital Kabul, when
it sends troops there to protect ROK civilian aid workers. (All)


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

President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed on Nov. 17 to
cooperate on a host of global issues from climate change to North
Korea. (All)

President Obama said during a joint press conference with his
Chinese counterpart: "We agreed on resuming the Six-Party Talks
process as soon as possible. North Korea has a choice between
further isolation and provocation or becoming a full part of the
international community, which can give a better life to its
people." (All)

According to a Japanese weekly magazine, Japanese Prime Minister
Yukio Hatoyama is seeking to visit North Korea next month to resolve
the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents.
(Hankook)


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

-President Obama's Asia Trip
----------------------------
All ROK media covered yesterday's summit meeting in Beijing between
President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, reporting
that the two leaders agreed to continue with the stalled Six-Party
Talks and urged North Korea to promptly return to the multilateral
talks. Most coverage highlighted President Obama's statement during
a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart: "We agreed on
resuming the Six-Party Talks process as soon as possible."

The media also observed that the two leaders remained divided over
key issues, including human rights, trade, and climate change.

Newspapers carried the following headlines: "Obama, Hu Jintao: Same
Bed, Different Dreams ... They Show Differences on Every Major
Issue" (conservative Chosun Ilbo); "U.S., China Hide Differences and
Voice Cooperation; Obama Mentions N. Korea's Isolation In Case of

SEOUL 00001832 002 OF 005


Provocation, While Hu Jintao Stresses Resolution Through Dialogue"
(right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo); "Obama Indirectly Presses for
Yuan's Appreciation... Hu Jintao Remains Silent" (conservative
Dong-a Ilbo); and "U.S., China in General Harmony on Security and
Economic Issues... but Out of Sync on Sensitive Issues, including
Currency Exchange Rates" (moderate Hankook Ilbo)

Conservative Dong-a Ilbo editorialized: "President Obama has
launched earnest efforts to establish a strategic cooperative
relationship with China, a nation which will emerge as the world's
largest economy in the near future. This U.S.-China summit is part
of these efforts. ... At tomorrow's summit, the leaders of the ROK
and the U.S. should come up with specific measures to bring North
Korea back to the negotiating table and present them to Six-Party
nations, including China. We need to make President Obama, who will
visit Seoul for the first time, aware that the North Korean nuclear
issue is more urgent than the Iranian issue. With Washington's
China-focused policy, the strengthening of the ROK-U.S. alliance has
become more desperately needed."

Left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun wrote in an editorial: "This
(U.S.-China) summit leaves something to be desired. ... The two
leaders agreed to work toward an accord at next month's UN-backed
climate change talks in Copenhagen which will have immediate
operational effect, but reiterated their previous positions in terms
of details. Furthermore, Chinese President Hu Jintao, while
stressing cooperation on macroeconomic policies, made no mention of
the yuan peg to a weakening dollar, an issue which has been the
focus of great attention."


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

KOREA MUST BE READY FOR THE NEW WORLD ORDER
(Chosun Ilbo, November 18, 2009, Page 39)

The meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese
President Hu Jin-tao in Beijing was an opportunity to signal the
beginning a new world order led by China and the U.S. During his
four-day visit, Obama stressed that Beijing was a "powerful partner"
in U.S. efforts to deal with global challenges. "A strong and
prosperous China can be the source of strength for the international
community and the United States will not seal China off," he said.

Even on the issue of Tibetan independence, Obama practically sided
with China by saying, "We recognize that Tibet is part of the
People's Republic of China." Gone are criticisms of Beijing's human
rights abuses which previous U.S. presidents made during their
visits to China. The U.S. and China both avoided any
unpleasantness. "China's partnership has helped the United States
pull out of the worst recession in a generation," Obama said.

The U.S. recorded a $1.4 trillion deficit over the last year
starting in September of 2008, while the accumulated fiscal deficit
amounts to 80 percent of its GDP. The U.S. government must continue
issuing Treasury Bills in order to run the country. China is
America's largest creditor owning $800 billion worth of U.S.
Treasury notes. The U.S. is no longer in a position to tell China
what to do.

The North Korean nuclear standoff was the first issue where
agreement was announced at the post-summit press conference. "We
agreed on the importance of resuming the Six-Party Talks as soon as
possible," Obama said. "Both of us remain committed to resolving
the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and
consultation," Hu said. "Such a commitment serves the common
interests of China and the United States and all other parties
concerned."

Matters concerning the Korean Peninsula will become staple items on
the agenda of future U.S.-China talks. Both countries have deep
interests on the peninsula. In July, the U.S. government even
proposed strategic talks with China to deal with sudden and

SEOUL 00001832 003 OF 005


unexpected changes happening in North Korea. The North Korean
nuclear problem, Korean reunification and other issues will be
discussed between Washington and Beijing and that will to a large
extent determine how the international community acts.

There is no guarantee that the solutions offered either
independently or jointly by the U.S. and China will always be in
line with South Korea's interests and plans. As a new era dawns,
Seoul's diplomatic strategies must change. It is time to go beyond
the single-track approach and come up with a multi-layered plan.

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


U.S., CHINA SHOULD EXERT MORE PROACTIVE EFFORTS ON GLOBAL ISSUES
(Hankyoreh Shinmun, November 18, 2009, Page 31)

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao had a
summit in Beijing yesterday and agreed to cooperate on a broad range
of issues from macroeconomic matters to space development. Based on
the shared view that a healthy improvement in bilateral relations is
important not only for the two nations but also for world peace and
safety, the two leaders decided to work together to resolve the
global economic crisis, achieve success at the UN climate change
conference, and deter nuclear proliferation.

It is meaningful that the U.S., as the world's superpower, and
China, which is emerging as one of the G2 nations with the U.S.,
have agreed to expand their cooperation on global pending issues.
Especially noteworthy at the U.S.-China summit were discussions
about the nuclear issue. The two leaders decided to fall into step
with each other over the resolution of the North Korean and Iranian
nuclear issues. Instead of taking a lukewarm attitude to the
Iranian nuclear issue as he has always done, Chinese President Hu
said this time that it is very important for the international
community to uphold the international nuclear non-proliferation
regime and properly resolve the Iran nuclear issue through dialogue
and negotiation. It seems that China made significant headway in
resolving the Iranian nuclear issue.

The two presidents also took similar positions on the North Korean
nuclear issue. In a joint statement, both leaders called for an
early resumption of the Six-Party Talks, repeatedly emphasizing the
need to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue peacefully.
President Hu said, "Both of us remain committed to resolving the
nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and
consultation," adding, "Such a commitment serves the common
interests of China and the U.S. and all other parties concerned."
Now, it is the North's turn to respond to the two leaders'
commitment. Moreover, not only North Korea but also the ROK should
shy away from a confrontational posture and actively engage in
dialogue in order to achieve a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

This (U.S.-China) summit leaves something to be desired given the
international status of the two countries. They made little
progress on pending issues such as the UN Climate Change Conference
in Copenhagen and the yuan's appreciation. The two leaders agreed
to work toward an accord at next month's UN-backed climate change
talks in Copenhagen which will have immediate operational effect,
but reiterated their previous positions in terms of details.
Furthermore, Chinese President Hu Jintao, while stressing
cooperation on macroeconomic policies, made no mention of the yuan
peg to a weakening dollar, an issue which has been the focus of
great attention. Even though they are tricky issues, China should
have shown a more responsible attitude since it has great influence
on the world.


U.S.-CHINA HONEYMOON PERIOD; ROK-U.S. ALLIANCE SHOULD BE FURTHER
STRENGTHENED
(Dong-a Ilbo, November 18, page 35)

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Seoul today following his

SEOUL 00001832 004 OF 005


trip to Japan and China. President Obama is using his first tour of
Asia as an opportunity to reshape the ROK-U.S., U.S.-China, and
U.S.-Japan relations and proclaim the U.S.' Asia policy. Obama
billed himself as "America's first Pacific president," vowing to
strengthen political, economic and military cooperation with Asian
countries. He emphasizes mutual cooperation (with Asia), steering
away from unilateral diplomacy and is extending his hand to Asia.
This Asia-centered policy may spark a change to the ROK's diplomatic
approach. Most of all, we desperately need to respond actively to a
change in the international order, which will likely be triggered by
a "special relationship" between the U.S. and China.

The U.S. and China mark 30 years of diplomatic ties this year. It
appears that President Obama put more emphasis on his visit to China
than his trip to the ROK and Japan, which are the U.S.'s traditional
allies. Obama stayed in China for three days, longer than his
two-day itineraries in the ROK and Japan. With the full-blown G2
era looming ahead, he particularly concentrated on making
coordination with China. It seems that the U.S.-China summit also
yielded good results. During yesterday's press conference,
President Obama stressed the need to cooperate with China to tackle
challenges such as climate change, nuclear nonproliferation and
economic recovery. Chinese President Hu Jintao said in response
that both countries agreed to address global challenges as a
partner.

President Obama intends to use U.S.-China cooperation as a driving
force to develop bilateral relations and resolve global issues. At
the first U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue in Washington in
July, the U.S. already unveiled its strategies to resolve global
pending issues through cooperation with Beijing. President Obama
has launched earnest efforts to establish a strategic cooperative
partnership with China, a nation which will emerge as the world's
largest economy in the near future. This U.S.-China summit is part
of these efforts.

It is noteworthy that the leaders of the U.S. and China approached
the North Korean nuclear issue from the aspect of nuclear
nonproliferation. They gave almost similar attention to the North
Korean and Iranian nuclear issues. Chinese President Hu Jintao
stressed, "We should move ahead with the denuclearization of the
Korean Peninsula and the Six-Party process," adding that like the
Iranian nuclear issue, the North Korean nuclear issue should also be
"resolved through dialogue and negotiations." However, China is
probably well aware that there is a limit to dialogue and
negotiations in dealing with North Korea.

At tomorrow's summit, the leaders of the ROK and the U.S. should
come up with specific measures to bring North Korea back to the
negotiating table and present them to Six-Party nations, including
China. We need to make President Obama, who will visit Seoul for
the first time, aware that the North Korean nuclear issue is more
urgent than the Iranian issue. With Washington's China-focused
policy, the strengthening of the ROK-U.S. alliance has become more
desperately needed.


FEATURES
--------

"OBAMA EFFECT" SOOTHES LIBERAL GROUPS IN KOREA
(Dong-a Ilbo, November 18, 2009, Page 3)

By Reporter Yoon Wan-joon

Korean liberals have had a much milder response to the Seoul visit
of U.S. President Barack Obama than toward those of his
predecessors. The Allied Conference of Civic Groups Opposing
Redeployment of Troops to Afghanistan will hold an anti-war
candlelight vigil today in downtown Seoul opposing the redeployment
of Korean troops to Afghanistan and urging a stop to the U.S.-led
occupation of the war-torn country. The Conference is a gathering
of 60 civic groups, including the People's Solidarity for
Participatory Democracy and Korean Solidarity for Social Progress.

SEOUL 00001832 005 OF 005

A member of People's Solidarity said, "We will demand that the U.S.
not pressure Korea to send troops to Afghanistan. We are not
completely against Obama's visit to Korea." Yet it is unlikely that
the civic groups will hold a protest against Obama while he visits
Seoul, in stark contrast to the fierce demonstration they held when
his predecessor, George W. Bush, came in August last year.

Analysts say the launch of the Obama Administration has dramatically
increased Korean affection for the U.S. Anti-American sentiment,
which peaked with rallies against U.S. beef imports in the spring of
last year, has decreased significantly. In July, the
Washington-based Pew Research Center surveyed 702 adults, aged 18
and older, in 25 countries, and found that 78 percent of Koreans
view the U.S. favorably, the third highest following Kenya, the
birth country of Obama's father, and Nigeria. Korean affection for
the U.S. had steadily decreased from 58 percent in 2000 to 52
percent in 2002 and further to 46 percent in 2003.

Two reasons explain the improvement in the Korean view of the U.S.
First is the election of Obama as President. Koreans recognize the
power of an American democracy that elected its first
African-American chief executive.

This is a reflection of international support for Obama's smart
diplomacy of using dialogue and cooperation. In 2002, opposition
mounted against the Bush Administration's use of unilateral
diplomacy. Whenever incidents, such as the deaths of two high
school girls at the hands of the U.S. military, occurred, anti-U.S.
sentiment erupted. Liberal groups in Korea, however, have not
ignored the meaning of Obama's election and his policies.

University of North Korean Studies professor Gu Gap-woo said,
"Perceptions are changing in a way that there is no reason to hate
the U.S. if U.S. policies are reasonable. Liberal groups also have
raised expectations of the Obama Administration's policies."

The second reason, according to experts, is liberal groups this time
simply lack a sufficient reason to trigger anti-American sentiment
or cause and logical grounds for attacks, but their deep-rooted
hatred of the U.S. remains. The left-leaning Korean group National
Liberty, whose existence is based on anti-Americanism, has
apparently lost a clear target with the launch of the Obama
Administration. "Anti-American sentiment that sees the U.S. as a
persecutor in modern Korean history has not gone away, though the
Korean impression of the U.S. has grown more positive," Seoul
National University professor Jeon Sang-in said. "A friendly
environment should be created among Koreans and Americans through
public diplomacy that goes beyond elite-oriented Korean-U.S.
exchanges."

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


STEPHENS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

IPPPR: The Independent Panel Calls For Urgent Reform Of Pandemic Prevention And Response Systems

Expert independent panel calls for urgent reform of pandemic prevention and response systems The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is today calling on the global community to end the COVID-19 pandemic and adopt a series of bold and ... More>>

NGO Coalition On Human Rights: Call For A Stop To Police Brutality In Fiji

A viral video has circulated online showing two police officers utilising disproportionate and excessive force in detaining the suspect, an individual half their size. In the video it shows the man’s head being pressed down on the ground, his arms being ... More>>

UN: India’s New COVID-19 Wave Is Spreading Like ‘Wildfire’, Warns UN Children’s Fund

7 May 2021 A new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading like “wildfire” across India, leaving many youngsters destitute, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Friday. In the last 24 hours, India registered 3,915 coronavirus deaths and 414,188 ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Economic Recovery Under Threat Amid Surging COVID Cases And Lagging Vaccination In Poorer Countries

New York, 11 May — While the global growth outlook has improved, led by robust rebound in China and the United States, surging COVID-19 infections and inadequate vaccination progress in many countries threaten a broad-based recovery of the world ... More>>

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>