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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; December 29, 2009

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6582
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 9555
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC//DDI/OEA//
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI//FPA//
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RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0648
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7095
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 7155
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 1637
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 5468
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 4394
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 7605
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1876
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2252
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2858

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SEOUL 002012

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; December 29, 2009

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

Chosun Ilbo, All TVs
Blue House Poised to Give Former Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee
Year-End Pardon

JoongAng Ilbo
Ruling and Opposition Parties Agree to Discuss Budget for
Controversial River Project Separately from Other State Budgets

Dong-a Ilbo
Security Tightened for U.S.-Bound Air Passengers after Failed Attack
on U.S. Plane

Hankook Ilbo, Hankyoreh Shinmun
Rival Parties at a Crossroads between Compromise and Head-on
Collision in Budget Stalemate

Segye Ilbo
ROK Seeking $20 Billion Nuclear Plant Deal with Turkey

Seoul Shinmun
Survey: Two in Three Sex Offenders "Repeat" Their Crimes


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

The ROKG decided yesterday to donate 26 billion won ($22.2 million)
for humanitarian projects in North Korea via the World Health
Organization, UNICEF and private aid groups. (Dong-a, Hankyoreh,
Segye, Seoul)


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


According to the Dec. 27 issue of The Washington Post, Pakistani
Scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan claimed that North Korea may have been
enriching uranium on a small scale by 2002, with "maybe 3,000 or
even more" centrifuges. He went on to say that during a visit to
North Korea in 1999, North Korean hosts showed him boxes containing
components of three finished nuclear warheads, which he was told
could be attached to missiles within an hour. (Chosun, JoongAng,
Hankyoreh, Segye)

According to Daily NK, an online newspaper focusing on issues
relating to North Korea, Pyongyang recently issued a decree banning
its citizens from possessing or using foreign currencies. (JoongAng,
Dong-a, Segye, Daily NK)


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

-N. Korea
----------
Most ROK media replayed a Dec. 27 report by The Washington Post
quoting Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan as claiming
that North Korea may have been enriching uranium on a small scale by
2002, with "maybe 3,000 or even more" centrifuges. He was further
quoted as saying that during a visit to North Korea in 1999, North
Korean hosts showed him boxes containing components of three
finished nuclear warheads, which he was told could be attached to
missiles within an hour.

-Failed Terror Attack on U.S. Plane
-----------------------------------
Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo editorialized: "As long as Osama bin
Laden-the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks that took
the lives of some 3,000 people-is alive and well, terrorist attacks

SEOUL 00002012 002 OF 002


by (members of) al-Qaida remain a serious threat. In this regard,
the fact that a suspected (terrorist) managed to board a
Detroit-bound airliner wearing an explosive device poses a grave
problem. ... A terrorist attack on a plane is not an issue that a
single country can prevent alone. ... Without close international
information-sharing and cooperation, (these types of attacks) cannot
be prevented. Needless to say, the ROK is not (exempt from
participating in) this international cooperation."


STEPHENS

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