NAPSNet Daily Report 1 July, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. Six Party Talks
- 2. DPRK Nuclear Declaration
- 3. Japan-DPRK Relations
- 4. DPRK Food Aid
- 5. ROK Food Aid to the DPRK
- 6. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 7. US-ROK Security Alliance
- 8. DPRK Economy
- 9. DPRK Environment
- 10. DPRK African Diplomacy
- 11. ROK-EU Trade Relations
- 12. PRC, Japan, ROK Joint Quarantine Exercise
- 13. Japan SDF Dispatch
- 14. Sino-Indian Relations
- 15. PRC Security
- 16. PRC Earthquake
- 17. PRC Environment
- 18. Mongolia Elections
- II. CanKor
- III. PRC Report
- IV. ROK Report
1. Six Party Talks
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “RESUMPTION OF SIX-WAY TALKS LIKELY AROUND JULY 10 “, Seoul, 2008/06/30) reported that the six-way talks on the DPRK’s nuclear program are expected to restart around July 10, as the DPRK does not want the negotiations to be held this week, a senior ROK government official said. “China, which hosts the talks, is likely to inform participating nations of a proposed date as early as today,” the official told Yonhap News Agency. “If so, the talks will likely resume around July 10, given the time needed for preparations.” The DPRK opposed a proposal to resume the talks this week, citing a “technical problem,” according to the official.
2. DPRK Nuclear Declaration
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA PLUTONIUM FIGURES VARY”, 2008/06/30) reported that a major point of interest in the nuclear declaration that Pyongyang handed over has been the amount of plutonium the DPRK possesses. According to Yonhap News, an anonymous source says the DPRK has acknowledged producing about 30 kg of plutonium from which two kg was used in the regime’s nuclear test in October of 2006. The source says more plutonium remaining at the nuclear facility could increase the total amount to 44 kg. However, American news channel CNN reported earlier citing the US State Department that Pyongyang acknowledged producing 40 kg of plutonium in its nuclear declaration.
3. Japan-DPRK Relations
Xinhua (“DPRK ACCUSES JAPANESE CONSERVATIVES OF HAMPERING DENUCLEARIZATION”, Pyongyang, 2008/06/30) reported that the official news agency KCNA of the DPRK blasted Japanese conservatives’ comments on the U.S. delisting of the country. “It is a criminal act to scuttle the denuclearization process,” said the KCNA, referring to the “regrettable” comments by some Japanese conservatives on the US decision to remove the DPRK from its terrorism and sanctions blacklists.
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN WARNS NKOREA TRYING TO DIVIDE TOKYO AND WASHINGTON “, Tokyo, 2008/06/30) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura warned against the DPRK’s drive to divide Japan and the US following a dramatic turn in Washington-Pyongyang ties last week. “North Korea’s biggest tactics is to estrange Japan from the United States and divide them,” Komura said on the public broadcaster NHK. But neither Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda nor US President George W. Bush would “follow it to please North Korea,” he added. “What is necessary is that Japan and the United States cooperate in dealing with North Korea.”
4. DPRK Food Aid
Agence France-Presse (“NO LINK BETWEEN FOOD AID AND NKOREA DECLARATION: US”, Washinton, 2008/06/30) reported that the US insisted the arrival in the DPRK of a first shipment of US food aid had no link to Pyongyang’s long-awaited declaration last week on its nuclear program. “Look, there is zero linkage here,” said Tom Casey, a State Department spokesman. The World Food Program said in a statement it would in the future be able to feed more than five million people compared to the current 1.2 million.
Washington Post (Blaine Harden, “N. KOREA AGREES TO EXPANDED FOOD AID, ALLOWS U.N. TO MONITOR USE”, 2008/06/30) reported that the United Nations World Food Program said it had signed an anticipated agreement with the DPRK that would increase the international feeding operation there to more than 5 million people, up from the 1.2 million people now being fed. The agreement also promises to give U.N. monitors more access than ever to find out who is eating the free food, a senior U.N. official said. “This agreement provides the best monitoring conditions the WFP has ever had in North Korea,” said Tony Banbury, Asia director for the program. “This marks a major advance in the way we work in this country.”
5. ROK Food Aid to the DPRK
Joongang Ilbo (Jung Ha-won, “PYONGYANG REJECTS SEOUL’S OFFER, TAKES U.S. FOOD AID”, 2008/06/30) reported that the DPRK refused to accept 50,000 tons in corn aid the ROK offered in May, providing yet another sign of a widening fissure between the two Koreas. The ROK’s Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun said that Pyongyang rejected Seoul’s offer to give 50,000 tons of corn after Seoul inquired about Pyongyang’s stance for the second time. “We made the inquiry through the Red Cross in Panmunjom last week, and the North’s working-level official said they would not accept the aid,” Kim said.
6. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap (Shim Sun-ah , “FACTORY IN KAESONG COMPLEX CLOSED DOWN OVER DISPUTE “, Seoul, 2008/06/30) reported that a ROK factory operating in the joint industrial complex in Kaesong has been closed for nearly 20 days over a feud with a DPRK controller, government and company officials said. The company, which employs around 300 DPRK workers, took the measure on June 12 after ROK employees and DPRK officials scuffled over supplies, they said. The firm demanded the DPRK authorities replace the DPRK controller who allegedly assaulted South Koreans in the fight, but the demand was not met.
7. US-ROK Security Alliance
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “US TO CHART STEPS AGAINST N. KOREA’S INSURGENCY TACTICS”, 2008/06/30) reported that the US and ROK militaries are discussing ways of countering any Iraq-style insurgency tactics by the DPRK in the event of war on the Korean Peninsula, the top US military commander here said. In an interview with Stars and Stripes newspaper, Gen. Walter L. Sharp, commander of the US Forces Korea (USFK) expressed particular concern regarding makeshift bomb attacks, which have resulted in devastating US casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I do believe that North Korea is taking lessons out of Iraq, and they will change and adapt tactics,” Sharp was quoted by the military newspaper as saying.
8. DPRK Economy
Yonhap (Shim Sun-ah, “SMALL BUSINESSES THRIVING IN N. KOREA “, Seoul, 2008/06/30) reported that small-scale private businesses are quickly spreading in the DPRK with the tacit approval of authorities unable to supply sufficient food and consumer goods for its residents, sources well-informed on the DPRK. “Private startups with less than eight workers have been on the increase, with North Korean residents trying to make the utmost use of the government’s measure to partially introduce a market economy in March 2003,” one of the sources said.
9. DPRK Environment
The Telegraph (Michael Rank, “NORTH KOREA IN BID TO RECYCLE TOXIC WASTE”, 2008/06/30) reported that the DPRK is planning to recycle waste that is so polluted other countries refuse to handle it. The DPRK, which is reputedly a significant poppy grower for the world heroin trade, is now tendering for bids to process toxic waste at a refurbished port close to the capital Pyongyang as part of its desperate efforts to earn foreign currency. Through a PRC-language website the country is seeking supplies of plastic and electronic waste which “can be processed in the port but which other countries and territories are restricted from dealing in”, reflecting the country’s dire economic plight and its scant regard for international norms.
10. DPRK African Diplomacy
Xinhua (“TOP LEGISLATOR: DPRK TO BOOST TIES WITH AU”, 2008/06/30) reported that the DPRK will steadily boost its traditional friendly and cooperative relations with the African Union (AU) and its member states, a top-ranking DPRK legislator said. Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, sent a message of greeting to the AU summit being held in Egypt.
11. ROK-EU Trade Relations
Xinhua (“S KOREA, EU TO HOLD MINISTER-LEVEL TALKS ON FTA “, Seoul, 2008/06/30) reported that trade ministers from the ROK and the European Union (EU) will meet next week to resolve contentious issues such as auto trade and rules of origin in their free trade negotiations, according to officials. Seoul said it would remove all tariffs on industrial goods within three years with some exceptions, and eliminate tariffs on roughly 72 percent of EU goods as measured by value in three years, compared with 68 percent in a previous offer. But the EU expressed disappointment with the ROK’s offer, saying it falls short of the accord Seoul signed with Washington in June 2007.
12. PRC, Japan, ROK Joint Quarantine Exercise
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“JAPAN, CHINA, S. KOREA PLAN FLU OUTBREAK DRILL”, 2008/06/30) reported that the government has decided to conduct its first joint drill with the PRC and ROK, possibly in October, to prepare against the possibility of an outbreak of new strains of influenza, according to sources. Through the joint drill, the three countries hope to determine whether the sharing of information among them and their quarantine measures are satisfactory, using the results of the drill to establish new guidelines.
13. Japan SDF Dispatch
The Asahi Shimbun (“FUKUDA: SDF TO BE DEPLOYED TO SUDAN”, 2008/06/30) reported tha t Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told visiting United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon that Self-Defense Forces members would be sent to southern Sudan to join a U.N. peacekeeping mission. With the pledge, Fukuda demonstrated that Japan has the will and capacity to contribute to the international community ahead of the Group of Eight summit next week in the Lake Toyako resort area of Hokkaido. Fukuda also said he wanted Japan to become a nation seen as an able partner in peace efforts.
14. Sino-Indian Relations
IST (“COMMON STAKES IN FUTURE GUIDE TIES WITH CHINA, SAYS INDIA”, Beijing, 2008/06/30) reported that ties between India and the PRC have witnessed dramatic changes recently and the two Asian giants have many stakes in common in future including development and environmental concerns, India’s ambassador to Beijing Nirupama Rao has said. “We share issues in common”, which dictates the “logical base” for the relationship, she said, adding the relations between the two neighbours had ramifications “far beyond the bilateral”.
15. PRC Security
The Associated Press (Andy Wong, “SECURITY TIGHT IN CHINA TOWN AFTER RIOT “, Weng’an, 2008/06/30) reported that Paramilitary police swarmed the streets of this town in southwest PRC and detained hundreds of people for allegedly torching police and government buildings in an outburst of public anger over the suspected police cover-up of a teenage girl’s death. Authorities rounded up 300 people accused of taking part in Saturday’s riot, a Hong Kong-based human rights organization said. The unrest is especially sensitive for the PRC ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August.
16. PRC Earthquake
The Associated Press (“UN: FARMERS SUFFER $6B IN DAMAGES FROM CHINA QUAKE “, 2008/06/30) reported that the devastating earthquake in the PRC last month caused around $6 billion in damages for farmers in Sichuan province and killed millions of farm animals, a U.N. agency said. An estimated 30 million people in rural communities were affected, many losing most of their assets, the Food and Agriculture Organization said. It will take three to five years to rebuild the agriculture sector in the southwest PRC province, the agency said.
17. PRC Environment
The Associated Press (“ALGAE WOES HIT CHINA’S OLYMPIC SAILING HOST CITY “, Beijing, 2008/06/30) reported that to host the Olympic sailing events, the PRC port city of Qingdao moved a massive boat yard, relocated industries and spent about $850 million on transport links, parks, pollution controls and coastal green belts. But with little more than a month to go until the Games, a different challenge is cropping up: A forest of blue-green algae is choking the coastal waters, suffocating beaches and lying in thick layers along sailing routes. Blue-green algae blooms when nutrients, sometimes caused by excessive pollution, build up in water.
18. Mongolia Elections
BBC News (Michael Kohn , “MONGOLIA VOTES IN KEY ELECTIONS “, Ulan Bator, 2008/06/30) reported that voting has ended in Mongolia’s fifth general election since the economic and political liberalisation of 1990. Voter turnout was high after a long and gruelling campaign between the two main parties, the Democrats and the ruling Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party. Both parties promised large public payouts from budget surpluses provided by the growing mining industry. But a new multi-mandate system of voting means that ballot counting will take longer than usual, because each ballot will have up to three circled names.
19. CanKor # 309-310
CANADA-KOREA ELECTRONIC INFORMATION SERVICE (“DPRK NUCLEAR DECLARATION”, 2008/06/27) Like numerous other countries, Canada conveys official satisfaction over the fact that the DPRK has presented a declaration of its nuclear programmes to the chair of the Six-Party Talks. A day later, the DPRK destroys the cooling tower of its Yongbyon nuclear reactor in a controlled implosion that is meant to symbolize its commitment to dismantle nuclear weapons projects. Pacific Forum CSIS President Ralph Cossa answers some key questions regarding actual and desirable US reactions to these events. In a move designed to ease concerns over the next step to be taken by the USA — the removal of the DPRK from the US list of states that sponsor terrorism — the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues a statement formally renouncing “all forms of terrorism and any support to it”.
CANADA-KOREA ELECTRONIC INFORMATION SERVICE (“FOCUS: FOOD FOR PEACE”, 2008/06/27) As a backdrop to the nuclear performance, there is another drama unfolding, more immediately damaging to ordinary citizens of DPR Korea. The rise in global food prices, a disastrous 2007 harvest, the continuing decline in North Korea’s economy, combined with a reluctance by traditional donors to send poorly monitored food aid has once again brought the DPRK to the brink of famine. The CanKor Report’s FOCUS on “food for peace” examines the causes and extent of this crisis, as well as the remarkable concessions made by DPRK authorities in order to receive an input of 500,000 metric tons of food from the US Agency for International Development. This food will be delivered over a 12-month period, adding to food aid pledges from China and Russia. Pressures are mounting on ROK President Lee Myung-bak to reverse his suspension of food assistance, as illustrated by a recent appeal from “new settlers”, i.e. North Korean refugee/defectors living in South Korea.
CANADA-KOREA ELECTRONIC INFORMATION SERVICE (“CONVERSATION WITH THE PATRIOT — PART 8”, 2008/06/27) CanKor editor Erich Weingartner continues his fictional conversation with the DPR Korean “patriot”, based on 25 years of close contact with Koreans both north and south of the 38th parallel. In this issue: episode 8, in which Pak Kim Li addresses causes and consequences of the current food shortages, including a peculiar take on its relationship to the nuclear issue.
III. PRC Report
20. PRC Civil Society
Yixing Daily (Yan Wen, “‘FIVE CARE’ ACTION OFFICIALLY STARTED, 363 SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS RESPOND POSITIVELY”, 2008/06/27) reported that “Five Care” action is mainly about ‘care of honesty and self-discipline, care of clients, care of national defense construction, care of community welfare, and care of vulnerable groups’. The municipal Civil Affairs Bureau will take the lead while the project is implemented by various social organizations. 363 social organizations of Yixing City will combine their own characteristics with the work realities, adhering to the principles of people-oriented action, serving the masses, spontaneity and volunteerism, to carry out this action step by step.
21. Tibet Environment
Global Times (Wang Qichao, “TIBET INDEPENDENCE ELEMENTS VILIFIED CHINA’S ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ACT”, 2008/06/27) reported that, full of oxygen bags, backpacks or even the bodies of the victims, Mount Everest has become “the world’s highest garbage dump.” To this end, the Tibet Autonomous Regional Environmental Protection Bureau announced on the 23rd the clean-up of its northern foothills in 2009. This decision is explained as due to an “ulterior motive” by Tibet Independence Elements through the international media. They also think that the time set in 2009 is deliberate, because 2009 will mark the 50 th year of the Dalai Lama’s flight. Actually earlier in 2004 the PRC cleaned Mt. Everest, with 24 volunteers cleaning up 24 tons garbage. And it is the responsibility of Tibet Environmental Protection Bureau to protect the environment of Everest.
IV. ROK Report
22. DPRK Human Rights Issue
Group for Human Lives (“DPRK SHOULD BECOME MORE OPEN”, 2008/07/01) wrote that global society, including the ROK, should not estimate the DPRK human rights situation based on limited information, and should devise various methods, to enhance compatibility and to get unbiased information. Cooperation and interchange is impossible without deep understanding and analysis of the DPRK. On the other hand, the DPRK government should also become more open to global society, especially regarding the human rights situation.
23. DPRK Internal Situation
Goodfriends (“FOOD SUPPORT ARRIVED AT NAMPO, WAS DISTRIBUTED TO PYONGAN-NAMDO”, 2008/07/01) reported that food aid including corn and rice, which arrived at Nampo city Nampo harbor on June 13, was distributed to Pyongan-namdo workers. People from Pyongan-namdo were gathered together to get food aid, and among them were members of the DPRK’s People’s Army.
24. Inter-Korean Relations
Pressian (“THE DPRK KEEPS ISOLATING THE ROK; THE LEE ADMINISTRATION SHOULD TAKE ACTION”, 2008/07/01) wrote that recently, the Lee Myung-bak administration suggested several policies, such as establishing Paju special economic zones(SEZs), to revitalize inter-Korean relations. However these suggestions are widely evaluated as a “failure” in that they do not include the main requirements of the DPRK: a promise to fulfill the 6.15 joint declarations and 10.4 summit declaration rather than supporting food aid. While the DPRK keeps relationships with the US and isolating the ROK, the ROK government will only supply money without having any influence on the changing dynamics of the Korean Peninsula.