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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; November 27, 2009

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; November 27, 2009

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

Chosun Ilbo
President Lee: "Compromises Should Not Be Made
with Strikers at Public Company"

JoongAng Ilbo, Hankook Ilbo, Segye Ilbo
Divisions Deepen after President's Address on Sejong City

Dong-a Ilbo
Dreams on Hold for Dubai's Man-made Islands

Hankyoreh Shinmun
President Lee's Nov. 27 Address Backfires... He "Distorts" Facts on
Four-River Restoration Project

Seoul Shinmun
ROKG's Budget to Reduce Child Sex Crimes Too Stingy


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

According to an ROKG source, military authorities are considering
leasing U.S. Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for the
safety of ROK military personnel to be dispatched to Afghanistan.
(Chosun)

According to a recent opinion survey of 1,000 adults across the
nation, 47.3 percent of respondents favored deploying ROK troops to
Afghanistan, with 41.8 percent opposed to the move. (Dong-a)


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

A senior ROKG official said yesterday that prospects for U.S.-North
Korea dialogue are "dim" at the moment, because there is no
confirmed signal that North Korea will return to the Six-Party
Talks. (Chosun, Hankook, Segye, Seoul, all TVs)

According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), Special Representative for North
Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth will come to Seoul on Dec. 6 and then
travel on a military aircraft to North Korea on Dec. 8 via a U.S.
air base in Osan, south of Seoul. (Chosun, Hankook, Segye)


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

-N. Korea
---------
Most ROK media today gave attention to Nov. 29 press remarks by a
senior ROKG official, in which he said that prospects for bilateral
talks between the U.S. and North Korea are "dim," because there is
no confirmed signal that North Korea will return to the Six-Party
Talks. He was further quoted: "Recent foreign news reports say that
the North has hinted at returning to the Six-Party Talks, but they
haven't been confirmed yet, either."

Conservative Chosun and Segye Ilbo and moderate Hankook Ilbo
replayed a Radio Free Asia (RFA) report quoting a diplomatic source
in Washington as saying that Special Representative for North Korea
Policy Stephen Bosworth will come to Seoul on Dec. 6 and then travel
on a military aircraft to North Korea on Dec. 8 via a U.S. air base
in Osan, south of Seoul.

President Obama's Policy on Afghanistan
In a commentary, moderate Hankook Ilbo observed: "The problem is
that President Obama is following the example of President Clinton
by joining forces with the Republicans in order to expand the Afghan
war. ... Some liberal groups warn that President Obama should be

SEOUL 00001875 002 OF 004


cautious about sending more troops to Afghanistan unless he repeats
the history in which the White House's alliance with the Republicans
led to the loss of its power. ... The reason why President Bush
became a 'war president' is not that he was responsible for the
September 11 terror attacks. It is high time for President Obama to
be evaluated by his policy, not by his vision."

-Dubai's Financial Debacle
--------------------------
Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo editorialized on Saturday (Nov. 28):
"The collapse of Dubai vividly shows how the imagination and
ambition of a leader who lacks public support and solid domestic
resources could become a disaster, not a national success."

An editorial in left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun commented: "The Dubai
crisis reminds us that the global financial crisis is far from over.
... Even though policymakers and analysts expected that the
country's exposure to the financial malaise triggered by Dubai would
be limited, given our heavy dependence on overseas trade, we cannot
help but be sensitive to global economic developments. The ROKG
should devise ways to minimize the impact of the Dubai crisis by
seeking to further develop the domestic market."

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

OBAMA IS 'SHARING SAME BED WITH ENEMY'
(Hankook Ilbo, November 30, Page 39: Excerpts)

By Washington Correspondent Hwang Woo-seok

These days, people (in the U.S.) say that President Obama is making
moves just like former Democratic Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Bill
Clinton.

President Johnson made spectacular achievements by passing the Civil
Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act but was branded as a failed
president due to the escalation of the Vietnam War (during his
Administration). This eventually made him lose to Republican
Richard Nixon in the following presidential election.

Sixteen years ago, President Clinton joined hands with the
Republicans to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),
which is the greatest accomplishment during his term. Democratic
supporters such as labor unions, environmental NGOs and consumer
groups strived to block the Agreement, but capitulated to a solid
White House- Republican joint front.

President Clinton passed the NAFTA by "sharing a bed with his enemy"
and was touted as a president who achieved ideology-free pragmatism
and broadened the horizon of the leftists. However in 1994 when
NAFTA took effect, in a mid-term election, Clinton's party lost
ground to the Republican Party due to Newt Gingrich's conservative
revolution.

This is why President Obama, who is expected to deploy an additional
34,000 troops, reminds us of President Johnson and/or Clinton. Now
we are facing an expansion of the Afghanistan war, which is a second
Vietnam War. The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan will increase
to more than 100,000 from 68,000 and the war will cost tens of
billions of dollars a year. The White House hinted that it will end
the war by 2017, saying that the U.S. will not be in Afghanistan
eight or nine years from now.

The problem is that President Obama is following the example of
President Clinton by joining forces with the Republicans in order to
expand the Afghan war. While the Democratic Party debates whether to
increase troop levels in Afghanistan, the Republicans call in unison
for an expansion of the U.S.' military presence in the region.
Obama is expected to propose an exit strategy when he announces a
plan on additional troop deployment but it is unclear whether he can
persuade the U.S. public. Some liberal groups warn that President
Obama should be cautious about sending more troops to Afghanistan
unless he repeats the history in which the White House's alliance

SEOUL 00001875 003 OF 004


with the Republicans led to the loss of its power.

President Bush became a "war leader" less than eight months after he
was in office because of the unprecedented tragedy of the September
11 terror attacks. However, even after ten months in office,
President Obama has not produced any tangible results. President
Bush united the Americans, calling for restoring great America amid
the rubble of the World Trade Center three days after the terrorist
attacks. President Obama, however, is having hard time dealing with
the economic crisis, the Afghan war and health care reform.

President Obama said at a fund-raising event in San Francisco,
"We're busy mopping up someone else's mess." This is not the first
time he commented on "mop politics." The reason why President Bush
became a 'war president' is not that he was responsible for the
September 11 terror attacks. It is high time for President Obama to
be evaluated by his policy, not by his vision. He should map out
his own ideas and plans as a president in order not to repeat the
history in the mid-term election and the next presidential election.

FEATURES
--------

U.S. EMBASSY BUILDING TO BECOME "HISTORY MUSEUM"
(Seoul Economic Daily, November 26, 2009)

By Reporter Chung Seung-yang

The U.S. Embassy Building in Gwanghwamun, Seoul will be rebuilt as a
history museum.

Originally, there were plans that the Ministry of Culture, Sports
and Tourism (MCST) building would be remodeled as a history museum.
With the remodeling of the U.S. Embassy Building, however, that
history museum will be doubled in size. The history museum, if
completed, is expected to emerge as a new cultural hub.

According to the MCST on November 26, as the U.S. Embassy unveiled
its plan to relocate its building by 2013, the ROKG has decided to
renovate the U.S. Embassy building to be part of its history museum
idea. A combined area of the U.S. Chancery building and the MCST
building is approximately 4,000 pyeong (one pyeong is equal to 3.3
square meters). The eight-story twin buildings were built at the
same time.

An ROKG official said that the ROKG originally sought to rebuild
only the MCST building as the history museum but decided also to
renovate the Embassy building to create the history museum. The
ROKG will include this revised plan in the basic blue print for the
construction of the history museum, which will be rolled out at the
end of next January.

The history museum will open initially in February 2013. After
completion of the MCST building's remodeling; and the relocation of
the U.S. Embassy building, the second stage of renovation (of the
U.S. Chancery building) will be launched.

U.S. Ambassador to the ROK Kathleen Stephens recently said on her
community blog site that the U.S. Embassy will relocate its
building, adding that it plans to move to a modern, practical new
building by reflecting the importance of a mature U.S.-ROK
relationship.

If this happens, the twin buildings, which went on different paths,
will be transformed into a history museum that follows the same
path. The two buildings were designed and constructed by a U.S.
company and completed in 1961.

The MCST building was used as the office of Park Chung-hee as
Chairman of the Supreme Council for National Reconstruction after
the May 16 coup and the Economic Planning Board building. The
ROKG's five year economic development project was also established

SEOUL 00001875 004 OF 004


in the MCST building. Afterwards, after the Economic Planning Board
moved to Gwacheon in May 1986, the MCST acquired it to use as its
official building.

The U.S. Embassy building was occupied by the U.S. Operations
Mission (USOM) for the early 6 years and then has been used by the
U.S. Embassy for more than 40 years since June 1968.

The MCST will rent a new office nearby around June next year under
the schedule that a ground-breaking ceremony for the history museum
will be held on August 15. However, controversies over the plan
will persist because some people are still opposed to the plan.
Critics say that the MCST is in the list of government ministries
subject to relocation to Sejong City in 2013, while questioning why
the history museum should be located in Gwanghwamun. They also
suggest that it is better to newly construct the history museum than
to remodel the old buildings.


47.3 PERCENT SUPPORT TROOP DISPATCH TO AFGHANISTAN
(Dong-a Ilbo, November 30, 2009, Page 4; Excerpts)

By Reporter Kim Young-sik

Dong-a Ilbo commissioned the Korea Research Center (KRC) to conduct
an opinion poll after President Lee Myung-bak announced his views on
pending national agenda on the TV program "Dialogue with the
President," which aired live Friday night.

The KRC conducted the nationwide survey of 1,000 adults, including
300 people in the Chungcheong provinces and 700 outside of that
region by telephone Saturday afternoon. The margin of error was
plus or minus 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

Q. The ROKG is recently considering sending about 300 troops to
Afghanistan to protect the Provincial Reconstruction Team. What is
your take on this?

I support it 47.3 percent
I object to it 41.8 percent
I don't know/No response 10.9 percent

By gender, 62.8 percent of men approved the troop dispatch to
Afghanistan with 33.5 percent opposing it, and 32.4 percent of women
supported the dispatch with 49.9 percent against it. By age, the
troop deployment won the highest approval among the respondents in
their 50s (56.5 percent), but in the younger generations, opponents
outnumbered supporters. About 49.7 percent of those in their 20s
and 52.5 percent of those in their 30s opposed the troop deployment.


STEPHENS

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