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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; December 8, 2009

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 SEOUL 001928

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

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

Chosun Ilbo
Number of Students who Get Perfect Scores
on College Entrance Math Test Increases Ninefold This Year


JoongAng Ilbo
Senior ROKG Official: "It will be Difficult to Relocate Head Offices
of Large Companies to Sejong City"

Dong-a Ilbo
"Last Chance to Save the Planet"... Climate Conference
Opens in Copenhagen

Hankook Ilbo
ROKG to Present Two Alternative Development Plans
for Sejong City This Year

Hankyoreh Shinmun
Prosecutors Did Not Summon Former National Tax Service Chief Even
After Securing Testimony that the Former NTS Chief Received Money
from Local Shipping Company

Segye Ilbo
ROKG Seeks Electrification of 19 Railways Nationwide

Seoul Shinmun, All TVs
Annual College Entrance Exam Results Announced


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

The ROK and the U.S. will hold their first "two-plus-two" meeting
attended by director-level foreign affairs and defense officials
from the two countries in Washington early next week in order to
prepare for next year's ministerial-level "two-plus-two" meeting.
(Dong-a)


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

According to the Dec. 7 issue of Japan's Asahi Shimbun, the ROK, the
U.S. and Japan have begun drawing up a roadmap for denuclearizing
North Korea in preparation for the North's return to the Six-Party
Talks. (Hankook, Segye, Seoul)


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

-Ambassador Bosworth's Visit to North Korea
------------------------------------------
Most media gave attention to U.S. Special Representative for North
Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth's trip to North Korea today.

Conservative Chosun Ilbo editorialized: "There is concern in the ROK
that North Korea will not give up its nuclear ambitions and that the
countries in the Six-Party Talks may move to bury the North's past
nuclear activities and focus on preventing the North from
proliferating its current and future nuclear weapons and
technologies. Giving tacit approval to the North's past nuclear
activities or putting the issue on the back burner is like throwing
the ROK's future into the North's nuclear shade. ... Ambassador
Bosworth should clearly realize this ROK concern before engaging in
talks with North Korea."

Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo editorialized: "We once again urge
North Korea to express its intention to Ambassador Bosworth to

SEOUL 00001928 002 OF 005


return to the Six-Party Talks. The Six-Party Talks already have a
venue to discuss the issue of signing a peace treaty (on the Korean
Peninsula) as requested by North Korea. Furthermore, the Six-Party
Talks are prepared to offer North Korea massive economic aid and
security assurances in return for its denuclearization. ... If
North Korea truly intends to abandon its nuclear ambitions, there is
no better place than the Six-Party Talks from which it can receive
massive benefits."

Left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun argued in an editorial: "This
(U.S.-North Korea) dialogue should not end up being a mere venue to
deliver the U.S.'s position. The main reason why the Six-Party
Talks have repeatedly stalled is that the two countries have
different demands and different motivations for implementing their
commitments. This is backed by a deep-seated mutual distrust. ...
Accordingly, trust-building should be one of the big objectives of
this dialogue."

-Copenhagen Climate Change Conference
-------------------------------------
Moderate Hankook Ilbo observed in an editorial: "It remains unclear
whether countries can agree to a target of reducing greenhouse gas
emissions, a long-standing issue of contention. ... The U.S., the
world's second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, has recently
shown a change in its attitude, but its reduction target falls far
short of what other advanced countries, including Europe and Japan,
may have hoped for. Furthermore, it is realistically difficult to
expect China and India, which have emerged as major carbon emitters
in the future, to make proactive reduction efforts. ... It is high
time for major world leaders, including President Barack Obama, to
make a decision."


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

BOSWORTH MUST BEAR ROK'S CONCERNS IN MIND
(Chosun Ilbo, December 7, 2009, Page 35)

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth
visits Pyongyang on Tuesday and Wednesday. Bosworth stopped over in
Seoul before heading to North Korea and met here with Kim Sung-hwan,
the Chief Presidential Secretary for National Security, and Wi
Sung-lac, the ROK's point man in nuclear talks.

"We will focus on listening to what North Korea has to say,"
Bosworth said. The U.S. government says Bosworth's objective is to
get North Korea to return to the stalled Six-Party Talks and to live
up to its pledges signed in the Sep. 19, 2005 statement of
principles, in which (North Korea would receive) fuel and other
support in exchange for scrapping its nuclear program.

Iran and North Korea are the two countries clashing with the
international community due to their nuclear weapons programs. The
U.S., EU and even the International Atomic Energy Agency are
employing various methods to resolve the nuclear standoff with Iran.
But it is questionable whether the international community is
exerting as much effort when it comes to North Korea.

North Korea conducted a second nuclear test on May 25 involving an
estimated 20 kt of fissile materials. The first test in 2006
involved only 0.8 kt. ROK and U.S. officials believe North Korea
has enough plutonium to make six to eight nuclear weapons and has
been operating a uranium enrichment program as well. North Korea is
demanding that the international community accept it as a nuclear
state.

The primary focus of the Sep. 19 statement, which Bosworth will ask
North Korea to live up to, involves freezing and disabling the
nuclear programs and facilities. The main focus is to prevent North
Korea from making nuclear arms.

The North is required to voluntarily report its plutonium stockpiles
and nuclear warheads. Considering the limitations in its missile

SEOUL 00001928 003 OF 005


and nuclear technology, the North's achievements so far may not pose
a serious threat to the U.S., and China and Russia may believe North
Korea will not aim its missiles at them. Japan is sensitive to
North Korea's nuclear arsenal for geographic and diplomatic reasons,
but does not face the same threat as the ROK.

There is concern in the ROK that North Korea will not give up its
nuclear ambitions and that the countries in the Six-Party Talks may
move to bury the North's past nuclear activities and focus on
preventing the North from proliferating its current and future
nuclear weapons and technologies.

Giving tacit approval to the North's past nuclear activities or
putting the issue on the back burner is like throwing the ROK's
future into the North's nuclear shade. If the Six-Party Talks fail
to address them, the ROK will have no choice but to look at a range
of fundamental measures to overcome the nuclear imbalance.
Ambassador Bosworth should clearly realize this ROK concern before
engaging in talks with North Korea.

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


BUILDING TRUST IN THE N. KOREA-U.S. BILATERAL DIALOGUE
(Hankyoreh Shinmun, December 8, 2009, Page 35)

Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special representative for North Korea
policy, visits North Korea today as a special envoy of U.S.
President Barack Obama. This marks 10 months since the launch of
the Obama Administration, and four months since former U.S.
President Bill Clinton visited North Korea. Since sufficient time
has passed for preparations for this dialogue, we are hoping for
positive results.

The U.S. and ROK governments say the agenda for the talks is to
press for resuming Six-Party Talks and ensure the execution of the
September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the
Six-Party Talks. They have also drawn a line, saying this is not a
"bilateral negotiation" as demanded by North Korea. This claim
(that it is not a bilateral negotiation) is reasonable since, if the
U.S. and North Korea were to conduct give-and-take negotiations when
North Korea has not clearly expressed its intention to return to the
Six-Party Talks, it could obscure the future of the Six-Party Talks
and the North Korea nuclear issue as a whole.

This (U.S.-North Korea) dialogue should not end up being a mere
venue to deliver the U.S.'s position. The main reason why the
Six-Party Talks have repeatedly stalled is that the two countries
have different demands and different motivations for implementing
their commitments. This is backed by a deep-seated mutual distrust.
It would be difficult to hope for smooth progress, even if the
Six-Party Talks restart, if basic trust cannot be secured at this
time. Accordingly, trust-building should be one of the big
objectives of this dialogue.

More than anything, Bosworth must convincingly present North Korea
with what it could hope to gain. Even if actual talks do not resume
until later, only when the two sides are able to create a consensus
about the big picture will it be likely that North Korea will decide
to return to the Six-Party talks. In addition, in regards to the
related issues of signing a peace treaty and building a peace regime
on the Korean Peninsula, as discussed recently by North Korea, we
hope that these are not aimlessly delayed as some future task.
Indeed, we hope, instead, that the U.S. presents its ideas and draws
in North Korea's agreement.

North Korea must know that now is the right time to return to the
Six-Party Talks. Ever since President Obama has pledged a "world
without nuclear weapons," the will of participating nations to
denuclearize is higher than ever. The Obama Administration is also
more open to negotiations on the North Korea nuclear issue than any
previous U.S. administration. Moreover, the international community
will be watching what attitude North Korea adopts and deciding

SEOUL 00001928 004 OF 005


whether to continue with sanctions.

Some quarters are predicting that following this dialogue the two
sides will meet one more time and will raise the level of the
bilateral talks. Even if there ends up being such a need, the two
sides must use this time to conduct conversations sufficient enough
to draw out a framework. Also, relevant nations, of course,
including ours, must actively cooperate to ensure that the two
countries' dialogue is productive.

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


N. KOREA MEETS BOSWORTH; ITS ONLY CHOICE IS SIX-PARTY TALKS
(JoongAng Ilbo, December 8, 2009, Page 38)

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth
and his team will visit Pyongyang today in order to persuade the
North to rejoin the Six-Party Talks, which were stalled last
December, and to urge the communist state to fulfill its
denuclearization promise. Ahead of Ambassador Bosworth's visit to
Pyongyang, however, the North is talking nonsense, stressing through
The Choson Sinbo that a peace treaty between the U.S. and North
Korea is the biggest pending issue. As the ROKG is also concerned
that the North may raise the issue of signing the U.S.-North Korea
peace treaty, Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan recently proclaimed, "A
peace treaty should be signed by the ROK and the North, with the
U.S. and China participating as the parties to the armistice."
Although this is the first time in a year that the nuclear issue
will be discussed with North Korea) the related countries are
engaging in an intensive war of nerves even before the start of
dialogue.

Discussions on the North Korean nuclear issue made progress on two
occasions: the 1994 Geneva Agreed Framework between the U.S. and
North Korea and the September 19, 2005, Joint Statement by the
Six-Party Talks. However, each agreement fell apart in the middle.
In the meantime, North Korea staged two nuclear provocations, and
the international community pressured the North by adopting the UN
Security Council resolution sanctioning North Korea. Now, the
international community is calling on North Korea to return to the
Six-Party Talks. However, it is unclear whether Bosworth's visit to
Pyongyang will pave the way for the North to rejoin the Six-Party
Talks. Even Ambassador Bosworth is not optimistic about the outcome
of the bilateral talks, saying no one knows how North Korea will
respond.

We once again urge North Korea to express its intention to
Ambassador Bosworth to return to the Six-Party Talks. The Six-Party
Talks already have a venue to discuss the issue of signing a peace
treaty (on the Korean Peninsula) as requested by North Korea.
Furthermore, the Six-Party Talks are prepared to offer North Korea
massive economic aid and security assurances in return for its
denuclearization. These are stipulated by the September 19 Joint
Statement. (Participants of the September 19 Joint Statement)
include the U.S., Northeast Asia powers, such as Japan, China and
Russia, and the ROK which has the greatest interest in the North's
nuclear dismantlement. The Six-Party Talks are the framework that
can satisfy the North's demands if they are reasonable. If North
Korea truly intends to abandon its nuclear ambitions, there is no
better place than the Six-Party Talks from which it can receive
massive benefits.


FEATURES
--------

U.S. SAYS IT IS REVIEWING KORUS FTA AND ROK CALLS FOR HASTENING ITS
RATIFICATION
(Korea Economic Daily, December 8, Page 4)

By Reporter Yu Seung-ho


SEOUL 00001928 005 OF 005


Wendy Cutler, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea
and APEC Affairs, said on December 7 that the U.S. is reviewing the
Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA), adding that the USG
will work together with the U.S. Congress and various interested
parties to draw the broadest support for the deal. She reaffirmed
the U.S.'s previous position that it needs to renegotiate some parts
of the deal, including auto clauses.

Cutler participated in a forum discussing the change in world trade
after the (economic) crisis which was hosted by the Korea
International Trade Association and the U.S.-based Peterson
Institute for International Economics. She said that there has been
an intense debate over the KORUS FTA since it was signed and that
the Obama Administration has been reviewing the pact.

Cutler noted that the U.S. is reviewing the KORUS FTA due to
concerns raised by interested parties including the auto industry
and the U.S. congress. She said that U.S. and ROK leaders are
greatly committed to ratifying the FTA. Cutler emphasized that the
U.S. intends to move the trade deal forward swiftly by discussing
issues of concern with the ROK in a constructive and creative
manner.

Asked if a delay in the effectuation of the ROK-U.S. FTA is causing
damage to U.S. companies, Assistant USTR Cutler answered, "Some
industries are concerned," adding, "At least, we hope that the
ROK-U.S. FTA will take effect around the same time as the ROK-EU
FTA, so that U.S. companies will not be put at a disadvantage over
European companies."

In this regard, Lee Hye-min, the ROK's Deputy Minister for Trade and
Chief FTA Negotiator, emphasized a need for an early ratification of
the (ROK-U.S.) FTA without direct mention of renegotiating the pact.
He remarked, "Since the ROK-U.S. FTA will bring practical benefits
for both nations, we should waste no time ratifying the deal."
Saying, "I hope that the ROK-U.S. FTA and the ROK-EU FTA will be
ratified almost at the same time," he explained, "The ROK's
comprehensive FTAs can play a role in supplementing the World Trade
Organization's efforts at multilateralism." He went on to say,
"Early next year, we plan to launch a feasibility study on an FTA
between the ROK, China, and Japan."

(Editor's note: The same story was also carried by JoongAng Ilbo
under the headline, "Assistant USTR: 'The USG Is Collecting Opinions
of U.S. Auto Industry on KORUS FTA.'" The article reports:
"Regarding the ratification of the ROK-U.S. FTA, Assistant U.S.
Trade Representative Wendy Cutler said on December 7, "The USG is
currently collecting concerns and opinions of interest groups,
including the auto industry," adding, "We will discuss with the ROK
and move forward (on this issue) as quickly as possible." She also
noted, "We are reviewing whether there is any difference between the
ROK-EU FTA and the ROK-U.S. FTA, and whether an earlier effective
date for the ROK-EU FTA would have any impact on the U.S.")

STEPHENS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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