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Cablegate: Seoul - Press Bulletin; January 20, 2010

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 SEOUL 000080

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; JANUARY 20, 2010

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

Chosun Ilbo, All TVs
Progressive Teachers Union Members Found
Not Guilty of Violating Law Banning Teachers
from Collective Political Activities

JoongAng Ilbo
Essay Questions on the Rise in Schools in Seoul

Dong-a Ilbo, Hankook Ilbo, Seoul Shinmun
Chief Justice and Other Senior Judges Hold Closed-Door Meeting amid
Conflict between Court and Prosecution over Lawmaker Kang's
Not-Guilty Verdict for Violence
at National Assembly

Hankyoreh Shinmun
Ruling GNP Launches Indiscriminate, Ideological Attack
on Court for Controversial Ruling

Segye Ilbo
Seoul Considers Sending Peacekeeping Troops to Haiti


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

The Korea Institute for National Unification said in a recent
publication that there is a high possibility that North Korean
leader Kim Jong-il may not survive after 2012. The report also
raised the possibility that Washington may seek a regime change in
North Korea. (Chosun, Dong-a, Hankook, Hankyoreh, Segye)


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

"ASIA WITHOUT AMERICA," "AMERICA WITHOUT ASIA"
(Chosun Ilbo, January 20, 2010, Page 34)

By Editorial Writer Park Doo-sik

The Asia-Pacific region had initially been the highest priority on
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's travel schedule for this
year. After assuming the post last February, she traveled to the
ROK, Japan, and China for her first official trip, and this year,
she also planned to visit the Asia-Pacific region. Regarding the
fact that,unlike her predecessors, she chose Asia, rather than
Europe, as the destination for her first overseas trip, Secretary
Clinton said, "Half of diplomacy is showing up."

However, right after arriving in Hawaii, she canceled her trips to
Asia-Pacific nations, such as Australia and New Zealand, due to the
devastating earthquake in Haiti. Instead, she fully displayed her
affection for Asia during her speech at the East-West Center in
Honolulu. She stated, "The United States is back in Asia, but I
want to underscore we are back to stay." Secretary of Defense
Robert Gates also recently said, "The United States is not a
visiting power in Asia, but a resident power."

Since the latter half of the 19th century, the U.S. has not left
Asia. But why did the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense
suddenly make such statements? The answer can be found at Okinawa
south of the main islands of Japan. About 55 years ago, the island
was a tragic land. During the 83-day-long battle at Okinawa, which
started on April 1, 1945, about 12,000 U.S. soldiers and 110,000
Japanese troops lost their lives, and 150,000 residents of the
island were killed. Since then, the tragic island became a symbol
of the U.S.-Japan alliance for 55 years. The U.S. had control of
Okinawa until it returned the island to Japanese control in 1972,
and about 74 percent of the U.S. bases in Japan are still located on
this island. The Futenma Air Base is one of them. As U.S. troops

SEOUL 00000080 002 OF 004


stationed at Okinawa play the role of a rapid reaction force in the
event of an emergency on the Korean Peninsula, they are directly
related to security on the Korean Peninsula.

In places with the presence of U.S. bases, there are always
conflicts with local residents. U.S. forces carry out flight
exercises and incidents erupt continuously. After a decade of
negotiations, the U.S. and Japan agreed to relocate the Futenma base
to Camp Schwab in Okinawa in 2006. However, in September last year,
the Hatoyama Government announced it will comprehensively review the
agreement and even stated its preference to move the Futenma base
off Okinawa.

This angered the USG. At the end of last year, a growing number of
hard-liners said that for the future of the U.S.-Japan alliance, the
U.S. should not tolerate the Japanese position. Victor Cha, a
professor at Georgetown University and former Director for Asian
Affairs at the National Security Council, likened the Hatoyama
Government to the Roh Moo-hyun Administration. Cha warned that if
Japan tries to jeopardize the U.S.-Japan alliance without a clear
strategy and alternatives, its security and economy may face
consequences. Others said that the U.S. should not ruin the
U.S.-Japan alliance just because of the Futenma issue. Among them
is Joseph Nye, a professor at Harvard University, who provided a
theoretical rationale for President Obama's "soft power."

Prime Minister Hatoyama's "East Asia ommunity" and "East Asia
Summit" initiatives piqued the U.S. more than the Futenma relocation
issue, because the initiatives exclude the U.S. The (strong
statements) by Secretaries Clinton and Gates that "the U.S. is back
in Asia and is back to stay" constitute a warning against ever
dreaming of an "Asia without America and an America without Asia."

It is still too early to predict whether the cracks in the
U.S.-Japan alliance caused by the Futenma issue will end up as just
a passing wind or will turn into a typhoon that could shake the
foundations of the 55-year-long diplomatic and security framework in
East Asia. It is crystal clear, however, that things that were
unimaginable in the past are happening in East Asia. The U.S.-Japan
alliance that seemed permanent is being shaken, and China and Japan,
which fought against each other throughout the first half of the
20th century, have agreed on joint military drills. At the
epicenter of all these changes in East Asia is China which has grown
(strong) enough to aim for world supremacy.


ROK SHOULD PROVIDE RELIEF AID TO HAITI TO BECOME "GREAT COUNTRY"
(Hankook Ilbo, January 20, Page 39)

Haiti's catastrophic earthquake and global relief efforts are
grabbing international headlines. While the international community
was stepping up relief efforts, the ROKG was only preoccupied with
its internal affairs such as the controversial Sejong City project.
There has been an international outpouring of sympathy toward a
small island in the Caribbean Sea. People in the world are showing
compassion and friendship. A country can be called a true "great
country" when it can provide generous humanitarian aid to a
devastated country regardless of its size. It is a welcome sign
that the ROKG and its civilian sector are making active moves to
provide relief aid to Haiti.

Haiti's terrible earthquake left 200,000 dead and 3 million
homeless, and 2 million need food aid. Ban Ki-moon, UN
Secretary-General, described the situation in Haiti as "one of the
worst humanitarian crises in decades." This disaster is more
horrible than the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. The Haiti crisis
was (further) fueled by Haiti's fragile government system. UN
peacekeeping forces have been stationed in Haiti for a long time.

The international community is intensifying aid efforts because the
situation in Haiti is so serious. Old imperialists such as the U.S.
and France have a deep interest in the future of Haiti which led the
independence movement in Latin America. It is symbolic that the
U.S. dispatched 10,000 forces and an aircraft carrier to assist

SEOUL 00000080 003 OF 004


relief efforts. France, which sent navy ships and a hospital ship,
criticized U.S. forces for blocking a French airplane carrying aid
materials from landing, sparking controversy.

What is more noteworthy than this (U.S.-France) squabble is the
action of countries, like the EU and China. The EU earmarked 140
million euros in emergency aid for Haiti. Britain offered 20
million euros in aid and its civilian sector pledged 230 million
euros. This kind of huge aid from countries that have no clear
historical and politico-economic ties and interests is not just
humanitarian aid. This is because they know how to increase their
global image and dignity and to expand their politico-economic
status and influence.

In order to become a truly great country, the ROK, which has
considered itself stingy in providing aid, should make contributions
in line with its international status, including participation in
peace-keeping forces. We (Hankook Ilbo) praise the ROK and its
civilian sector for taking affirmative action and also urge them to
engage in aid efforts in a meaningful way.

FEATURES
--------

CHINA SAYS "WE WILL GIVE ONE MILLION DOLLARS IN AID," TO WHICH
TAIWAN REPLIES "WE WILL GIVE FIVE"
(JoongAng Ilbo, January 19, Page 14)

By Reporter Jeong Hyun-mok

Haiti Becomes Arena of Competition for Relief Diplomacy

Disaster-stricken Haiti is turning into an arena of competition for
"relief diplomacy." Countries are vying to provide relief aid
(apparently) in order to secure their influence in Haiti, which will
be reborn due to international assistance. The most proactive
country is the U.S., which offered $100 million in assistance and
sent a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, along with massive military
forces, shortly after a powerful quake struck Haiti.

The U.S's aim is to expand its influence in the Caribbean. The U.S.
needs to make Haiti, which neighbors Cuba, its ally in an effort to
check Cuba. Some observers say that the U.S. wants to restore its
image which was tarnished in 2004 when the Bush Administration
failed to take active action following the earthquake and tsunami in
Southeast Asia.

Left-wing Latin American countries are not showing a favorable
response to the U.S. move. Venezuelan President Chavez denounced
the U.S's massive troop dispatch as an attempt to occupy Haiti by
taking advantage of the country's earthquake. Nicaraguan President
Daniel Ortega also is calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from
Haiti.

China and Taiwan are also engaging in a tug of war. Haiti is one of
the 23 nations that have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but Haiti does
not have diplomatic relations with China. Conscious of Taiwan,
China rushed to aid the quake-hit nation. It provided a 50 -member
rescue team and 20 tons of equipment and humanitarian aid and
pledged to offer 1 million dollars of earthquake aid. Although
China publicly says that the aid is aimed at rescuing Chinese
servicemen serving the UN peacekeeping operations in Haiti,
observers note that China's true intention is to expand its
influence in the Caribbean, the U.S. backyard. Taiwan also
announced that it would provide 5 million dollars of aid to Haiti,
five times as much as China's aid, suggesting that Taiwan will not
sit back and watch China expand its clout in Haiti. Taiwanese
President Ma Ying-jeou is actively considering a visit to Haiti
during his trip to Central and South America at the end of this
month. Taiwan also rejected China's proposal for the establishment
of a joint rescue and search team in Haiti.


SEOUL 00000080 004 OF 004

REPORT SAYS U.S. CONSIDERS STRATEGIES TO INDUCE CHANGE OF THE
NORTH'S RULING ELITE
(Dong-a Ilbo, January 20, 2010, Page 2)

By Reporter Shin Suk-ho

KINU report says, "There is a high possibility that North Korean
leader Kim Jong-il may not survive after 2012."

The state-run Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), on
January 19, released a series of reports on a North Korean
contingency and the possibility of the U.S. seeking a North Korean
regime change after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
These are the subjects that could not be publicly dealt with under
the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun Administrations.

In its publication titled "Strategic Tasks for a Regime Change in
North Korea and the ROK's Strategies for Cooperation with its four
Northeast Asian countries," the KINU noted, "Although the U.S. is
not publicly mentioning a change of North Korea's ruling elite, it
probably considers it an implicit alternative." It went on to say,
"In order to seek a change of the North's ruling elite or induce the
North's policy change, the U.S. may choose one of the three
strategies: first, putting continued pressure on the North and
getting him out of power through a royal coup d'tat; second, taking
military steps to remove North Korean leader Kim; and third, waiting
until Kim, who is aged and is suffering from disease, dies a natural
death.

The KINU, in another publication titled "Study of Long-range Policy
for Unification," predicted, "There is a high possibility that North
Korean leader Kim Jong-il may not survive after 2012," adding,
"After Kim, emergencies, such as a change of the leadership in power
like a military coup d'tat, civil unrest or riot, a large-scale
massacre, and the occurrence of massive refugees, may likely happen
in North Korea."


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