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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; January 13, 2010

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 SEOUL 000051

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; JANUARY 13, 2010

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


Chosun Ilbo, Hankook Ilbo
Feud Deepens in Ruling Camp over Sejong City
Development Plan

JoongAng Ilbo
Survey: 82 Percent of ROK Citizens Want Sejong City Issue
to be Resolved through Referendum or National Survey

Dong-a Ilbo
Apple Admits Using ROK's Patent Technology
without Permission

Hankyoreh Shinmun
ROKG Seeks to Offer Land at Bargain Prices for Firms that Invest in
Other Innovative and Industrial Cities, Drawing Criticism for Giving
Two Much Favor to Companies and Encouraging Reckless Development

Segye Ilbo
President Lee: "It Is Regrettable that Sejong City Issue
is Becoming Political Issue"

Seoul Shinmun, All TVs
ROK's Long-Standing Preference for Sons over Daughters Receding;
Survey Finds More Parents Want Baby Girls


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

According to the Korea International Trade Association, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) has decided to indefinitely postpone recognizing the
ROK as a country free of foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease. The ROK
reported its first outbreak of FMD in eight years on Jan. 7.
(Dong-a)


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

Responding to North Korea's recent proposal for talks on a peace
treaty, the White House and the State Department both said on Jan.
11 that the North should first return to the Six-Party Talks and
take steps toward denuclearization. (All)


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

-N. Korea
---------
Media reaction continues on North Korea's recent proposal for talks
on a peace treaty. All ROK media carried reports from Washington
saying that the U.S. immediately rejected North Korea's proposal.

White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs was quoted as saying: "If they're
willing to live up to those (denuclearization) obligations, then we
will make progress in those (peace treaty) talks." Philip Crowley,
Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, was also widely
quoted: "The first - the key here is that North Korea has to come
back to ... the Six-Party process, start working on its obligations
under the (September 19) joint communiqu - joint statement, and
then we are perfectly willing to have other kinds of discussions."

Most media also noted a report by Japan's Kyodo News Agency that
North Korea's Ambassador to China Choe Jin-su said on Jan. 12 that
Pyongyang will hold talks with the U.S. and China for replacing the
Korean War armistice agreement with a peace treaty, but showed
reservations about holding such talks with the ROK.

SEOUL 00000051 002 OF 004

Right-of-center JoongAng Ilbo editorialized: "(The North's proposal
for peace treaty talks to advance denuclearization) is disappointing
because it amounts to putting the cart before the horse. ... This
(development) has undermined the possibility of progress in getting
the North to give up its nuclear ambitions and has also dimmed the
prospects for establishing a permanent peace on the Korean
Peninsula."

Conservative Dong-a Ilbo wrote in its headline: "Six-Party Talks
Made More Complicated; N. Korea's Peace Treaty Overture Emerges as
New Bone of Contention, Besides Its Human Rights and Uranium
Enrichment Issues"

Moderate Hankook Ilbo observed in an editorial: "The problem is that
North Korea insists on 'denuclearization after signing a peace
treaty,' rather than resumption of the Six-Party Talks. ...
The North would be reckless if it tries to blur the issue of
denuclearization by raising another contentious issue. Pyongyang
should first return to the Six-Party Talks and then discuss a peace
treaty or lifting sanctions against the North. "


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

N. KOREA'S RETURN TO SIX-PARTY TALKS MUST PRECEDE PEACE TREATY TALKS

(JoongAng Ilbo, January 13, Page 30)

The North Korean Foreign Ministry's statement that a peace treaty
should be signed to speed up the denuclearization (of the Korean
Peninsula) is disappointing because it amounts to putting the cart
before the horse. So are North Korean claims that it will resume
the Six-Party Talks if the UN lifts sanctions. The USG dismissed
this proposal in less than a day. The U.S. stressed that if North
Korea returns to the Six-Party Talks and makes progress on
denuclearization, it can discuss overall issues including signing of
a peace treaty. The ROKG has the same position. During the month
following U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen
Bosworth's visit to Pyongyang, the ROK and the U.S. have been
engaging in a tug-of-war with North Korea.

North Korea has demanded a peace treaty with the U.S. for years.
This time, the North further complicated this issue by formally
linking a peace treaty with denuclearization. This North Korean
approach is not genuine. The North is just trying to capitalize on
the ROK and U.S. position that a peace treaty could be signed if
North Korea makes progress on denuclearization under the September
19 Joint Statement. This clearly shows that the North was merely
making a conditional offer when it expressed willingness to Chinese
Premier Wen Jiabao to rejoin the Six-Party Talks. North Korea once
again confirmed that it has an ulterior motive despite its assertion
that it aims to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

This (development) has undermined the possibility of progress in
getting the North to give up its nuclear ambitions and has also
dimmed the prospects for establishing a permanent peace on the
Korean Peninsula. However, we should not stop (the effort to)
persuade the North from abandoning its nuclear weapons program. We
should continue to take a carrot-and-stick approach until we can
persuade the North (that it should denuclearize.) One hopeful sign
is that time is not on the North's side. The North is facing a
succession issue and its currency reform sparked anger among
residents. In this situation, the North is unlikely to keep
pursuing a "hedgehog strategy".

North Korea will become increasingly restless because it will find
it difficult to change foreign policy drastically in order to
maintain its regime, and its internal crisis is escalating. This
may prompt North Korea to ratchet up tensions on the Korean
Peninsula. This is why the ROK should take thorough steps to deter
North Korean provocations. We should bolster our military
deterrence while at the same time taking a carrot-and-stick policy

SEOUL 00000051 003 OF 004


appropriately.

(Ed. Note: A hedgehog strategy means that a country will be
belligerent and "show its spikes" so that other nations will be
unlikely to invade them.)


N. KOREA NEEDS TO COME BACK TO SIX-PARTY TALKS BEFORE DISCUSSING
PEACE TREATY
(Hankook Ilbo, January 13, 2010, Page 39)

North Korea proposed peace treaty talks with the signatories to the
Korean War ceasefire in its Foreign Ministry's statement on Monday.
The statement stressed that this year is the right time to hold
peace talks since it marks the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.
However, more noteworthy is the fact that Pyongyang said that the
talks on a peace treaty "could take place within the framework of
the Six-Party Talks." This seems intended to create a justification
for rejoining the Six-Party Talks, which the North declared dead
last July.

North Korea will not, of course, willingly return to the Six-Party
Talks. The Foreign Ministry's statement set the lifting of the UN
sanctions as a precondition. The North demands that justification
be provided for it to return to the bargaining table which it walked
away from on its own. In order for the talks to resume, it seems
inevitable that a compromise must be made to guarantee that there
will be discussions on a peace treaty and that sanctions must be
removed to some extent.

While reaffirming that the North should first rejoin the Six-Party
Talks, the U.S. also took an accommodating attitude. Secretary
Clinton indirectly said that if the North returns to the Six-Party
Talks, an opportunity to consider easing the sanctions will be open.
At the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks in 2005, there was
already an agreement that a peace treaty, along with
denuclearization, should be discussed at separate talks. When U.S.
Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth
visited Pyongyang last December, he reportedly agreed with the North
on the four-party talks involving the two Koreas, the U.S. and China
to discuss a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

The problem is that North Korea insists on "denuclearization after
signing a peace treaty," rather than the resumption of the Six-Party
Talks. It is most desirable that denuclearization should come
before the signing of a peace treaty, which leads to a peace regime,
but it is also difficult to proceed with both of them at the same
time. Judging from North Korea's past behavior, there will be an
obstacle at every step of the way.

In the Foreign Ministry's statement, the North did not specify the
countries that are signatories to the ceasefire. Pyongyang may have
intentionally left it out to be controversial. However, it is
needless to say that the ROK should be a direct party to a peace
treaty and a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. The North would
be reckless if it tries to blur the issue of denuclearization by
raising another contentious issue. Pyongyang should first return to
the Six-Party Talks and then discuss a peace treaty or lifting
sanctions against the North.


FEATURES
--------

ROK'S COWARDLY SILENCE ABOUT NORTH KOREAN HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE
(Chosun Ilbo, January 13, 2010, Front Page)

By Reporter Chung Woo-sang

The world's attention, the ROK's disregard

Recently, foreign officials dealing with the matter of North Korean
human rights are engaging in a flurry of activities in Seoul. U.S.
Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues Robert King met

SEOUL 00000051 004 OF 004


with Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and Unification Minister Hyun
In-taek on January 11 and ruling Grand National Party (GNP) Chairman
Chung Mong-joon, opposition Democratic Party leader Chung Se-kyun,
and former GNP Chairwoman Park Geun-hye on January 12. He also
reportedly said, "Improved relations within the United States and
North Korea will have to involve greater respect for human rights by
North Korea." UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human
Rights in the DPRK Vitit Muntarbhorn, who is also visiting the ROK
to make a report on the North Korean human rights issue, called on
Hanawon, the government resettlement center for North Korean
defectors.

While the international community is making active efforts to
improve human rights conditions in North Korea, the ROK government
and lawmakers are silent or even indifferent to the issue. In
reality, it is true that once the word "North Korean" is added to
"human rights" in the ROK, it is viewed from a political
perspective. The behavior of Robert Park, a Korean-American
missionary who crossed the Tumen River into North Korea from China,
is considered "aberrant" in the ROK. This contrasts sharply with
the close attention paid by ruling parties and the so-called "human
rights groups" when Amnesty International officials visited Seoul to
investigate the police response to candlelight rallies.

Throughout a decade of the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun
Administrations, the North Korean human rights issue was considered
a hurdle to national reconciliation even though it gained great
attention from the international community. A good example is the
North Korean Human Rights Act which is pending in the National
Assembly's Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee. The
bill, which calls on the ROKG to examine the condition of the
North's human rights, was proposed in the 17th National Assembly but
automatically dropped. In the 18th Assembly, the Democratic Party
defined the Act as one of President Lee Myung-bak's "evil laws,"
stalling discussions on this issue.

Freedom House, an international human rights organization, released
a human rights report on 194 countries on January 12. In the
report, North Korea ranks among nine nations with the worst records
along with Myanmar and Sudan. The U.S. and Japanese lawmakers have
passed the North Korean Human Rights Act and various international
organizations such as the UN are making efforts to improve North
Korea's human rights conditions. Regardless of liberal or
conservative, international society is taking an interest in the
North Korean human rights issue. Therefore, it is somewhat absurd
that the North Korean Human Rights Act is regarded as an evil law in
the ROK.


STEPHENS

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