NAPSNet Daily Report 25 November, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 2. DPRK-Russian Relations
- 3. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
- 4. Civil Society and Inter-Korean Relations
- 5. Food Aid for DPRK
- 6. DPRK Leadership
- 7. ROK Anti-Piracy Operations
- 8. ROK Nuclear Reactor Development
- 9. US-ROK FTA
- 10. Japan’s Role in Afghanistan
- 11. US-Japan Relations
- 12. US-Japan Security Alliance
- 13. Japan Politics
- 14. Sino-Indian Trade Relations
- 15. Sino-PRC Relations
- 16. Sino-EU Relations
- 17. International Criminal Networks in East Asia
- II. PRC Report
1. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Xinhua (“CHINA EXPECTS POSITIVE RESULTS FROM U.S.-DPRK DIALOGUE”, Beijing, 2009/11/24) reported that PRC hopes dialogue and contacts between the United States and the DPRK can achieve positive progress, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang Tuesday. He called on all parties to push forward the resumption of the talks in concerted efforts, so as to facilitate the denuclearization process of the Korean Peninsula. Qin said as the host country of the six-party talks, PRC would continue to play a constructive role in promoting the resumption of the talks and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, in a bid to safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
2. DPRK-Russian Relations
Yonhap (“RUSSIAN SPEAKER MEETS WITH N. KOREAN PARTY SECRETARY: REPORT”, Seoul, 2009/11/24) reported that Sergei Mironov, Russia’s parliamentary speaker, met with his DPRK counterpart Tuesday to discuss enhancing ties and bilateral interests, DPRK’s state media said. The Korea Central News Agency reported that Mironov, chairman of the Federation Council of Russia, arrived in Pyongyang and met with Choe Thae-bok, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party in DPRK.
Kyodo (“RUSSIA URGES N. KOREA TO REJOIN 6-WAY DENUCLEARIZATION TALKS”, Beijing/Moscow, 2009/11/24) reported that the head of Russia’s upper house of parliament urged DPRK on Tuesday to rejoin the stalled six-party talks on ending Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency reported in a dispatch from Pyongyang.
3. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
IFES NK Brief (“KAESONG EXPORTS GROW, LABOR SHORTAGES WORSEN”, 2009/11/24) reported that companies in the inter-Korean joint Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) have recorded a growth since the DPRK abolished restrictions on traffic to and from the complex, as well as on the number and length of visits by ROK workers. According to the ROK Ministry of Unification, companies in the KIC recorded September exports worth 3.42 million USD, 21.5 percent higher than the 2.82 million USD-worth of goods exported in September 2008. From May 2008 to July of this year, KIC exports were lower than the previous year every single month, but finally showed a 29% jump in August, the first time in 15 months. The increase in the value of the complex’s exports was helped by exports of machinery and household electrical appliances now being produced there.
4. Civil Society and Inter-Korean Relations
The Korean Herald (“THE DMZ AS A SYMBOL OF PEACE”, 2009/11/25) reported that a civic group kicked off yesterday with the aim of promoting the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean Peninsula as a national brand that represents a clean, well-preserved environment. The group called DMZ Future Union said that it will study and preserve the ecosystem within the military buffer zone between the two Koreas and will introduce the area as a peaceful symbol overcoming the last state of conflict after the Cold War. The 2010 DMZ Peace Forum is also scheduled in August next year, the group said.
5. Food Aid for DPRK
Yonhap (Tony Chang, “N. KOREA CALLS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF INT’L AID COMMITMENTS”, Seoul, 2009/11/25) reported that the Korean Central News Agency said that a DPRK representative gave a speech on November 20 in Rome at the Food and Agriculture Organization’s 36th general assembly, urging the FAO to “take a positive step to ensure that the developed countries unconditionally and sincerely implement the internationally proclaimed aid commitments.” The unidentified representative also noted that the U.N. food agency should “channel primary efforts into creating an international environment for achieving sustainable agricultural development to weather the food crisis.” The FAO, the representative added, should aid its members to “work out agricultural strategies and policies suited to their actual conditions.”
6. DPRK Leadership
Xinhua (“DPRK TOP LEADER CALLS FOR “TOOLS REVOLUTION””, Pyongyang, 2009/11/24) reported that Kim Jong Il, top leader of DPRK, called for launching a “tools revolution” to improve the nation’s machine-building industry, the official KCNA news agency reported Tuesday. During an inspection of the Unsan Tool Factory in the North Phyongan province, Kim urged the factory to conduct technological updating in a bold and big way to bring about a radical surge in the tool production. Kim said the DPRK is putting the production on a high-speed and precision basis by comprehensively introducing the production system equipped with modern digital machine tools.
7. ROK Anti-Piracy Operations
Korea Times (“SAILORS TO STAY 1 MORE YEAR OFF SOMALI COAST”, 2009/11/23) reported that a National Assembly committee passed a motion to extend the mission of the Navy’s anti-piracy Cheonghae unit in waters off Somalia to the end of next year. The motion has now been submitted to a full parliamentary session for final approval. Last week, a third contingent left for the Somali littorals as part of a four-month rotation. Since being deployed in March, the 300-strong unit has successfully escorted more than 300 domestic and foreign cargo ships through the troubled waters and thwarted nine attempts by pirates to hijack ships.
8. ROK Nuclear Reactor Development
Yonhap (“S. KOREA SEEKS U.S. CERTIFICATION FOR NUCLEAR REACTOR “, Seoul, 2009/11/24) reported that ROK is seeking a “design certification” from the United States for a domestically made nuclear reactor, the Seoul government said Tuesday, hoping it will help overseas sales of the power unit. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said receiving the certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will highlight the safety standards of the Advanced Power Reactor-1400 (APR-1400).
9. US-ROK FTA
Yonhap (Hwang Doo-hyong, “OBAMA URGED TO EXPEDITE KOREA FTA’S RATIFICATION OR LOSE COMPETITIVE EDGE”, Washington, 2009/11/24) reported that the biggest lobbying group for U.S. businesses Monday called on the Barack Obama administration to press for early ratification of the pending free trade agreement with ROK, noting that ROK is forging trade pacts with U.S. competitors. John Murphy, vice president of U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said he fears that any further delay of congressional approval of the ROK FTA will undermine the competitiveness of U.S. products abroad. He pointed to Colombia as well as ROK.
10. Japan’s Role in Afghanistan
Kyodo (“HATOYAMA, UNDP HEAD PLEDGE CLOSE COOPERATION IN AIDING AFGHANISTAN”, Afghanistan, 2009/11/24) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and visiting U.N. Development Program Administrator Helen Clark on Tuesday confirmed that they will continue to work closely together on assisting Afghan police forces and helping in the country’s elections. In a meeting in Tokyo, Clark expressed hope that Japan will take the lead not just on Afghan issues but also climate change and assisting African countries, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said. Tokyo has promised up to $5 billion in nonmilitary aid to Afghanistan over the next five years from this year, some of which will be spent through the UNDP.
11. US-Japan Relations
Kyodo (“U.S. AMBASSADOR ROOS TO VISIT OKINAWA ON NOV. 30”, Naha, Japan, 2009/11/24) reported that U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos will visit Okinawa from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 for his first official trip to the southern island prefecture, the U.S. Consulate General in Naha announced Tuesday. Roos is scheduled to meet with Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima at a time when the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station has become a major sticking point in Japan-U.S. relations. Roos also plans to inspect U.S. military bases in the prefecture and visit the peace memorial park in the city of Itoman, one of the fiercest battlefields in the closing stages of World War II.
12. US-Japan Security Alliance
Kyodo (“FUTENMA RELOCATION EXPENSES MAY BE ALLOCATED IN BUDGET “, Tokyo, 2009/11/25) reported that the Japanese government is likely to allocate expenses for the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station in the fiscal 2010 national budget on a temporary basis, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano indicated Wednesday.
13. Japan Politics
Mainichi Shimbun (“APPROVAL RATING FOR HATOYAMA CABINET DIPS TO 64 PERCENT”, 2009/11/24) reported that the approval rating for the Yukio Hatoyama Cabinet has dropped by eight points to 64 percent since mid-October, while 74 percent of those surveyed supported the government’s ongoing budget-cutting initiatives, according to the latest opinion poll conducted by the Mainichi over the weekend. Although the approval rating declined 13 points from the 77 percent recorded in the poll immediately after the Cabinet’s inauguration in mid-September, the second-highest figure in Japan’s modern history, public support still remains relatively strong for the Hatoyama government, most likely due to its reformist policies, with 78 percent of supporters expressing their expectations for political reform.
14. Sino-Indian Trade Relations
Xinhua (“CHINA URGES FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR LABOR SERVICE COOPERATION WITH INDIA”, Beijing, 2009/11/24) reported that PRC on Tuesday called for favorable conditions for labor service cooperation with India, saying the cooperation benefits both countries. “We have insisted that PRC and India should develop trade relationship, promote investment cooperation, and create favorable conditions for labor service cooperation,” said Qin Gang at a regular news briefing. “This complies with the interests of both countries,” Qin said.
15. Sino-PRC Relations
Xinhua (“CHINESE FM, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE DISCUSS CHINA-U.S. TIES”, Beijing, 2009/11/24) reported that Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday spoke positively of President Barack Obama’s visit to PRC and agreed to make the trip a new starting point in advancing PRC-U.S. relations. Yang and Clinton pledged to fulfill the consensus reached by the leaders of their countries and to join hands in building a positive, cooperative and comprehensive PRC-U.S. relationship for the 21st century. They also exchanged views on the Iranian nuclear issue and other matters and agreed that PRC and the United States will work together with other countries to promote world peace and common development.
16. Sino-EU Relations
Xinhua (“CHINA HOPES UPCOMING CHINA-EU SUMMIT PROMOTE STRATEGIC MUTUAL TRUST “, Beijing, 2009/11/24) reported that PRC hopes the upcoming PRC-EU summit in Nanjing will promote strategic mutual trust, said Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun on Tuesday. Zhang said PRC hopes the summit will actively enhance strategic mutual trust and both sides will be more determined to support each other’s choice of path of development. PRC also hopes the two sides will make a general blueprint for the dialogue and cooperation in various fields and show the world their cooperation on global issues including trade protectionism and climate change, Zhang added.
Agence France Press (“CHINA CALLS FOR STEPPED UP CLIMATE COOPERATION WITH EU”, Beijing, 2009/11/24) reported that PRC called on the European Union Tuesday to step up cooperation on climate change , saying global warming would be at the top of the agenda at next week’s PRC-EU summit. “Soon after the summit the international community will have the Copenhagen conference on climate change,” Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun said, referring to the meeting in Denmark to agree a new UN pact on global warming. “PRC and the EU should strengthen coordination and have closer cooperation on climate change because it serves the common interest of both sides and will help advance international efforts to tackle climate change.”
17. International Criminal Networks in East Asia
Mainichi Shimbun (“CRIMINAL GROUPS SHIFTING OPS TO EAST ASIA AFTER CRACKDOWNS ELSEWHERE”, 2009/11/24) reported that east Asian nations such as Japan have become new targets for organized international crime following crackdowns in traditional crime havens, according to law enforcers. Japan’s attractiveness stems in part from its chemical industry, with one source claiming that large quantities of acetic anhydride — used to purify heroin from morphine, and also in producing explosives — are being illicitly exported from Japan and the ROK. According to the International Narcotics Control Board, a succession of busts in 2008 in countries such as Slovenia, Hungary and Turkey has led to criminal groups shifting their focus towards Japan and the ROK, where border patrols are far looser.
II. PRC Report
18. PRC Civil Society and Elder Care
People’s Daily online (“SHANGHAI ESTABLISHES QIAOAIXIN REST CENTER”, 2009/11/23) reported that Shanghai Qiaoaixin Rest Center, sponsored by Shanhai Overseas Chinese Development Foundation and Shanghai Soong Chingling Foundation, was formally established yesterday. The Center will provide rest places to senior returned overseas Chinese, senior working models, senior teachers and so on.
19. PRC Civil Society and Education
Xinhua Net (“CHONGQING CHUNLEI PLAN HELPS 60,000 GIRL DROPOUTS”, 2009/11/23) reported that according to Chongqing Municipal Women’s Federation, since 1994, Chunlei Plan (a plan aids girl students who drop out of school because of poverty) has raised fund over 30 million yuan, constructed over 30 schools and help over 60,000 girl dropouts return to school.
20. Sino-Russian Energy Trade
China Economy Net (“SINOPEC INVESTS 220 MILLION USD ON FAR EAST REGION OF RUSSIA”, 2009/11/24) reported that Sinopec Group (China’s second-largest oil company by assets) plans to construct a refinery at Primorsky Region of Russia. The refinery will be completed by 2014 and the total investment will reach 220 million USD.