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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
10SEOUL263
2010-02-19 07:21:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Seoul
Cable title:  

SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; FEBRUARY 19, 2010

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  MARR  ECON  KPAO  KS  US 
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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC//DDI/OEA//
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RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0796
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RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 7368
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 1792
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RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0109
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RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3020
						
					
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SEOUL 000263

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR ECON KPAO KS US
SUBJECT: SEOUL - PRESS BULLETIN; FEBRUARY 19, 2010

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

Chosun Ilbo
Korean Medical Association: "Serious Medical Errors
with Not-Guilty Court Ruling on MBC TV's "PD Diary"

JoongAng Ilbo
Study Shows that Students Rely on
Private Institutes over Public School Education

Dong-a Ilbo
19 Universities Seeking to Open Pharmacy Colleges
Pass First Government Screening

Hankook Ilbo, Segye Ilbo, Seoul Shinmun, All TVs
500-Meter Speed Skating Gold Medalist Mo Tae-bum
Adds Silver in 1,000-Meter Event

Hankyoreh Shinmun
Two Years after Launch of Lee Myung-bak Administration, Private
Education Spending Remains
Heavy Economic Burden for Households


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

Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner, in a Feb. 17 regular
briefing, said that the U.S. has no plans to hold additional talks
with North Korea. He also said that he has nothing to announce on
reports that North Korea's top nuclear negotiator, Kim Kye-gwan, may
visit the U.S. next month. (Hankyoreh, all TVs)

According to Good Friends, a Seoul-based rights group, North Korea
has allowed private markets to reopen nationwide and is no longer
cracking down on trading in food at the markets, after its failed
currency reform worsened food shortages and fueled anger directed at
the regime. (JoongAng, Dong-a)


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

-N. Korea
--------------
Left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun and all TV networks carried reports
quoting Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner as saying
during a Feb. 17 regular briefing that the U.S. has no plans to hold
additional talks with North Korea "at this time." He was further
quoted regarding reports of a possible visit to the U.S. next month
by chief North Korean nuclear negotiator Kim Kye-gwan: "I don't have
anything to announce on that."

Hankyoreh Shinmun, however, observed that the U.S. spokesman's use
of the words, "not at this time," indicates that the U.S. has not
completely closed off the possibility of a second round of bilateral

talks with North Korea.

President Obama's Meeting with the Dalai Lama
Most ROK media gave attention to President Obama's Feb. 18 meeting
at the White House with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader in
exile. The media noted that the President met him in the Map Room,
a reception room, rather than in the Oval Office, his official
office, and interpreted this as being aimed at not offending China,
which has strongly opposed the President's meeting with the Dalai
Lama.

Conservative Chosun Ilbo headlined its article: "Obama, Dalai Lama
Meet Quietly." Moderate Hankook Ilbo's headline read: "Obama Meets
Privately with Dalai Lama, Apparently Out of Concern that It Would
Strain Relations with China"


SEOUL 00000263 002 OF 002



FEATURES
--------------

WHY DOES THE KOREAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION RAISE OBJECTIONS NOW?
(Hankyoreh Shinmun, February 12, Page 12)

By Medical Reporter Kim Yang-jung

In a controversial announcement, the Korean Medical Association
(KMA) said that medical circles do not agree with the not-guilty
verdict for MBC TV's "PD Diary," which reported on the risk of mad
cow disease from U.S. beef. (However,) experts on mad cow disease
noted that the KMA's claims are a distortion of basic facts, and
that it is questionable whether the association thoroughly verified
its claims.

The KMA on February 18 issued a press release regarding the court
decision on MBC TV's "PD Diary," in which the association expressed
deep concern, saying that medical circles strongly disagree with
some parts of the court's ruling. The KMA argued that the program
did not provide a balanced reporting of Aretha Vinson's death
because it only conveyed the position of Vinson's family who filed a
suit against the doctor, without presenting her doctor's side of the
story. The KMA also questioned why the court did not see a problem
with the "PD Diary" episode even though an autopsy found that Vinson
died of Wernicke's encephalopathy, not vCJD, a human variant of mad
cow disease. Additionally, regarding the program's report that
Koreans are genetically susceptible to mad cow disease, the KMA said
that the court ruling is seriously flawed because it did not
acknowledge that genetic and environmental factors conspire to cause
the disease.

In this regard, Park Sang-pyo, a policy director of the
Veterinarians' Solidarity for Public Health, pointed out,
"Considering that the episode was broadcast on April 29, 2008, and a
lawsuit by (the mother of) Aretha Vinson came a month later on May
27, "PD Diary" covered the case before the lawsuit was even filed.
In addition, while "PD Diary" interviewed both the patient's
bereaved family and her doctor, the KMA is nevertheless distorting
basic facts."

Woo Suk-kyun, a policy director of the Korean Federation of Medical
Groups for Health Rights, made a rebuttal, saying, "By taking issue
with ("PD Diary") not airing the position of medical doctors on the
cause of death of Aretha Vinson, the KMA is disregarding basic
medical ethics. In the U.S. as well as the ROK, it is against basic
ethical principles and the duties of a doctor to talk about patient
information carelessly in places other than a court."

Regarding the "PD Diary" report that Koreans are particularly
susceptible to the human form of BSE, Woo Hee-jong, a professor of
veterinary medicine at Seoul National University, noted, "It
(Koreans being more susceptible to the human form of BSE) has been
confirmed several times by many domestic and foreign researchers,
including the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and
Hallym University College of Medicine. I also doubt that the KMA
listened sufficiently to the opinions of BSE experts among its
members."

(Editor's Note: Chosun Ilbo also carried a report on the KMA's
statement, focusing coverage on the KMA's disagreement with the
court ruling. Its headline read: "Korean Medical Association:
"Serious Medical Errors with Not-Guilty Court Ruling on MBC TV's "PD
Diary")


STEPHENS