Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; January 8, 2010
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TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; JANUARY 8, 2010
3.11 Million Baby Boomers Face "Unprepared Retirement"
Forced Media Closings Called Illegal
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Says State Should Provide
Compensation for Damages Suffered by the Outlets
Anti-Eavesdropping Device to be Introduced for Notebook Computer
Hankook Ilbo, Hankyoreh Shinmun, Segye Ilbo, All TVs
Former Ruling GNP Chairwoman Park Reiterates Opposition to New
Sejong City Plan
Fine Sought for Owners of Houses and Stores Who Fail to Clear Snow
According to a senior ROKG official, 48 senior North Korean
officials and experts were given a crash course in capitalism at
Dalian University in China late last year with money from the ROKG.
According to Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun, Assistant Secretary of State
for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell said in a recent
interview with the newspaper: "The Six-Party Talks have been
supported by all its players, including China, so I am hopeful the
Six-Party Talks will be restarted, probably soon." (Seoul)
Moderate Seoul Shinmun covered Assistant Secretary of State for East
Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell's recent interview with
Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun, in which he said: "The Six-Party Talks have
been supported by all its players, including China, so I am hopeful
the Six-Party Talks will be restarted, probably soon."
State-run KBS and Yonhap News carried reports quoting Assistant
Secretary Campbell as saying in a Jan. 7 news briefing: "(During
last month's U.S.-North Korea bilateral talks in Pyongyang,) North
Korean interlocutors indicated a potential disposition to return to
those (Six-Party Talks), to that process. We think that that is
essential, and we are making the case that the next step is to
convene a Six-Party process meeting." According to these reports,
this is the first time a USG official has confirmed that North Korea
indicated its intention to return to the Six-Party Talks during the
last month meeting.
U.S. HAS No SPECIFIC PLANS YET TO RATIFY KORUS FTA
(Maeil Business Newspaper, January 4, Page 13)
By Washington correspondent Jang Gwang-ik
On December 22, after the heaviest snow fell on the East Coast,
including Washington, in 126 years, federal government offices were
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shut down for two days. As a result of this (emergency situation)
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was busier than at any other
time. Moreover, since he just returned from Copenhagen along with
President Barack Obama, his schedule was very tight. I had an
interview with Secretary Locke at his office, accompanied by Jeffrey
Dutton, Director of the Office of the Pacific Basin at the U.S.
Department of Commerce, who attended the negotiations on the Korea-
U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) in 2007.
Secretary Locke was guarded in his comments on the KORUS FTA, which
is a contentious matter between the two countries. However, he
enthusiastically talked about the U.S.'s ambitious strategy to
expand exports and develop clean technology.
Q. The world is concerned about protectionist moves that have
emerged in some countries following the economic crisis. President
Obama once said that trade is important in creating new jobs. What
is the USG's strategy to curb the rising trend of global
protectionism and expand free trade?
In the U.S. economy, exports account for 13 percent of U.S. gross
domestic product (GDP) and play an important role in creating 6
million jobs in the manufacturing sector. In order to ramp up
exports, the U.S. plans to revitalize the Trade Promotion
Coordinating Committee (TPCC) which I chair as the Secretary of
We are well aware of some barriers that block U.S. companies from
fulfilling the export potential.
A case in point is the U.S. export management system established in
1950s. This system prohibits the transfer of U.S technology to a
country which was hostile to the U.S. during the cold war era. This
is an inappropriate system in the 21st century. President Obama
directed (related) agencies to review this system in a comprehensive
manner. The Commerce Department will also make additional efforts
to protect intellectual property rights.
Q. The U.S. stresses "rebalancing", urging trade surplus countries
to change their trade-dependent economic structure and increase
domestic demand by boosting domestic consumption. In particular,
the U.S. has been constantly raising this issue with China. What is
the prospect of rebalancing between the U.S. and China and how can
you achieve it?
The G20 leaders who gathered in Pittsburgh in September 2009 adopted
the "Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth." From a
similar perspective, the G20 summit and the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) emphasize that it is important to balance global demand.
To promote balanced global demand, trade deficit countries such as
the U.S. should spend less and save more. This should reverse U.S.
budget deficit. On the contrary, economies that continue to record
massive current account surpluses should prop up domestic demand and
reduce their dependence on exports. It is neither sound nor
realistic for the global economy to seek growth by depending on one
demand (the U.S.)
In order to redress trade imbalance between the U.S. and China, the
U.S. should export more to China instead of importing less from
China. The U.S. will export more goods and services to China.
Q. The U.S. faces an unemployment rate of more than 10 percent,
dimming the prospect of sustainable growth. In December 8, 2009,
President Obama announced measures to create jobs such as tax cuts
for small businesses, investment in social overhead capital and
support for energy efficient homes. How (much benefit) do you
expect from these measures?
Small businesses are the engine for creating jobs. President Obama
has persistently demonstrated his strong commitment to support small
businesses since he took office. A good example is the Recovery Act
which was passed in February 2009. This Act is designed to help
small businesses succeed and create more jobs. The Act provides
funding to states for restoration, repair, and construction of
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highways, bridges, schools and hospitals, and for expansion of
broadband (so that all Americans can have access to it), and for
development of renewable energy and green technology.
Regarding social overhead capital investment, we have invested 24
billion dollars in funding 7,400 construction projects across the
country so far, and over 4,000 of these projects are already under
The U.S. economy is trying to make additional fundamental changes to
provide for sustainable growth.
Thus far, President Obama has made unprecedentedly large-scale
investments at the national level in developing next-generation
computer systems and in the field of solar and wind power. Through
this, he intends to bring the environment and the economy on the
track of sustainable growth.
Renewable energy development, which President Obama is spurring, has
already seen considerable progress, and companies in the field of
solar or wind power generation are rehiring workers laid off from
other industries. That field will surely become the most-growing
industry of the 21st century.
Q. Since its early days, the Lee Myung-bak Administration has
expressed its strong determination toward green growth. Could you
tell us about the USG's way of nurturing the green growth industry?
One of the first pieces of legislation that President Obama signed
after his inauguration was the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act. This Act includes a plan to invest 80 billion dollars in green
(clean) energy. This will double the U.S.'s energy production
capacity in three years and create thousands of jobs. In addition,
President Obama pledged to spend 150 billion dollars in green energy
research and development. We are convinced that the U.S. will lead
the world in the green energy field.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (in the U.S. Department of
Commerce) has started considering a measure to accelerate the
approval of a patent for green technology. Once this review is
done, the period of time necessary to take out a patent on green
technology will be shortened by about a year, thereby making it
possible to guarantee funding to technology development companies,
push for new projects, and put more green technologies into
Q. During President Obama's visit to the ROK in mid-November 2009,
he promised to make an effort to seek Congressional approval for the
ROK-U.S. FTA, and so the ROK government and people are grateful and
have high expectations. What is the USG doing to support the
ratification of the ROK-U.S. FTA? And regarding the timing for the
Congressional approval of the ROK-U.S. FTA, many people think that
the first half of 2010 is the most appropriate. What is your take
The ROK-U.S. FTA is economically the most important deal that the
U.S. has signed over the past 16 years. Therefore, the Obama
Administration is seeking ways to strengthen its economic relations,
including trade and investment, with the ROK. The U.S. is well
aware of the potential economic benefits of a free trade pact.
The Obama Administration does not have any specific timetable or
schedule regarding when to send the ratification bill to Congress.
At present, it is preparing measures focused on dispelling the
concerns about the FTA which have been raised in the U.S. Before
sending the FTA ratification bill to Congress, we think that there
is a need for the administration and Congress to examine the pact
thoroughly in order to gain wide support.
Q. The ROK will be hosting the G20 summit in November of 2010. What
would you advise the ROK to do to make the event a success?
First of all, I would like to congratulate the ROK for hosting the
summit. In particular, President Lee Myung-bak showed great
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leadership in bringing up the issue of trade restriction measures in
some countries at the first G20 Summit.
The ROK is also one of the nations that escaped the financial crisis
at an early stage, and it has much experience (in overcoming a
crisis.) I believe that the ROK will fulfill its role as a G20 host
nation and make the summit a successful event. I also expect that
the U.S., together with the ROK, will make the G20 summit a
productive event where they can achieve their goals.