NAPSNet Daily Report 1 June, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. DPRK on Nuclear Test
- 3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 4. UNSC on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 5. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 6. US, PRC on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 7. US, ROK, Japan on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 8. ROK, ASEAN on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 9. DPRK Missile Program
- 10. US on DPRK Missile Program
- 11. DPRK Detention of Journalists
- 12. Inter-Korean Naval Clashes
- 13. Inter Korean Relations
- 14. US Nuclear Umbrella for ROK
- 15. ROK Climate Change
- 16. ROK Civil Unrest
- 17. ROK Influenza Outbreak
- 18. Japan Climate Change
- 19. Japanese Politics
- 20. Cross Strait Economic Relations
- 21. PRC Politics
- 22. PRC Human Rights
- 23. PRC Civic Unrest
- 24. PRC Epidemic Response
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Joongang Ilbo (“EXPERT: NORTH’S TEST NOT A SURPRISE, MORE TO COME”, Seoul, 2009/06/01) reported that Sigfried Hecker, co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, believes the DPRK is “improving its nuclear weapons capabilities, not giving them up,” following its recent nuclear test. “They stated that they would test an ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile], so they likely will test again,” Hecker said. “As for another nuclear test, they are limited by their small plutonium inventory, but one more test is possible.”
2. DPRK on Nuclear Test
Yonhap (“N.K. BRUSHES OFF CRITICISM OF NUKE TEST TIMING”, Seoul, 2009/05/31) reported that the DPRK on Saturday downplayed criticism that the country’s second nuclear test was carried out soon after the death of former President Roh Moo-hyun, suggesting that the test was pre-scheduled. Uriminzokkiri, an official Web site of the DPRK, said the nuclear test “was irrelevant to the political climate of the South and especially the recent tragedy” and added that Pyongyang is also grieving because of the death of Roh, saying the two nations are of the “same blood.”
3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap (“U.S. TO SEEK HELP PRESSURING N.K.”, Seoul, 2009/06/01) reported that an inter-agency team of ranking U.S. officials on a tour of Northeast Asia may ask the PRC and other related nations to step up cooperation on imposing financial curbs on the DPRK, ROK officials said Monday. The delegation, led by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, includes Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey, who is in charge of fighting terrorism-related funds. Other members are Stephen Bosworth, special representative for DPRK policy, Wallace Gregson, assistant secretary of defense for Asian Pacific affairs, and Jeffrey Bader, senior director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC). “(The delegation) will have inclusive and comprehensive discussions on how to respond to North Korea’s nuclear test in various sectors including financial control,” a senior ROK government official said.
Los Angeles Times (Julian E. Barnes, “GATES DRAWS THE LINE ON NORTH KOREA’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM: NO PROLIFERATION”, Singapore, 2009/05/30) reported that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates promised Saturday to hold the DPRK accountable for selling or transferring nuclear material outside its borders. “The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States and its allies,” Gates said in a speech at a security conference in Singapore. “And we would hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences of such action.”
4. UNSC on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yomiuri Shimbun (“DRAFT UNSC RESOLUTION OK’S FORCIBLE CHECKS OF DPRK SHIPS”, New York, 2009/05/30) reported that a draft U.N. Security Council resolution compiled by Japan and the United States includes a provision that allows the use of force in conducting cargo inspections of DPRK vessels, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Thursday. The draft also stipulates that all the U.N. member states should act under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which refers to ways of dealing with aggression and acts threatening peace, including both nonmilitary and military measures, the sources said.
5. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Korea Herald (“LEE WARNS N.K. AGAINST TAKING MILITARY ACTION “, Seoul, 2009/06/01) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak warned Monday that his government would not tolerate the DPRK’s military threats and provocations. Lee said in a biweekly radio address, “I reiterate that there will be no compromise whatsoever on matters that threaten the safety of our citizens and national security.” “The former Soviet Union did not collapse because it didn’t have nuclear weapons,” said Lee. “(The DPRK) must clearly realize that menacing us and world peace would be the biggest threat to the North Korean regime.” “If the North Korean authorities wish to discuss the future of the Korean people with genuinely open hearts, we will work out inter-Korean relations through dialogue and cooperation anytime, anywhere,” Lee said.
6. US, PRC on DPRK Nuclear Program
BBC (“US ‘OPPOSES’ NUCLEAR NORTH KOREA”, Singapore, 2009/05/30) reported that the US “will not accept” a nuclear-armed DPRK, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has told an Asian summit. “The truth of the matter is if they continue on the path they are on, I think the consequences for stability in the region are significant. I think it poses the potential for some kind of an arms race here in this region,” Gates said. “We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in the region or on us,” he added. Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army, stated, “Our stand on the issue is consistent. We are resolutely opposed to nuclear proliferation. Our view is that the Korean peninsula should move towards denuclearisation. Our hope is that all parties concerned will remain cool-headed and take measures to address the problem.”
7. US, ROK, Japan on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap (“SKOREA, US, JAPAN VOW JOINT ACTION AGAINST NK”, Singapore, 2009/05/30) reported that the defense ministers of the ROK, the United States and Japan on Saturday pledged to press the DPRK until it understands it will not be rewarded for its provocation. Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee stated, “We agreed that we are tired of telling the same stories to North Korea, and that there is nothing for North Korea to gain from its wrong behavior.”
8. ROK, ASEAN on DPRK Nuclear Program
Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “ASEAN LEADERS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER NK THREAT”, Seogwipo, 2009/05/31) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak and Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva agreed Sunday to make joint diplomatic efforts to help the DPRK return to the six-party denuclearization talks.“Lee and Vejjajiva called for joint efforts to promote regional peace and stability and agreed North Korea’s provocation will put Asia and the rest of the world in danger,” Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement. On Saturday, Lee held summits with Filipino President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Lee and Arroyo expressed deep concerns over thes recent nuclear test while calling on Pyongyang to observe U.N. Security Council resolutions and to immediately return to the six-party talks. Lee and the Vietnamese leader agreed the nuclear test was a serious challenge to the international nuclear nonproliferation regime and a threat to the peace and stability of Northeast Asia and the world.
9. DPRK Missile Program
Kyodo (“N. KOREAN LONG-RANGE MISSILE POSSIBLY ARRIVES AT LAUNCH SITE”, Seoul, 2009/06/01) reported that a DPRK train believed to be carrying a long-range missile has arrived at a missile launch site under construction at Dongchang-ri on the west coast, an ROK government official said Monday. The train departed from a weapons research center on the outskirts of Pyongyang around Saturday and had been spotted to be headed toward Musudan-ri in northeastern North Hamkyong Province. The information about the movements of the suspected missile has apparently been obtained through U.S. reconnaissance aircraft. Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae Jae said he cannot confirm news reports about the movement of the suspected missile.
10. US on DPRK Missile Program
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “US MAY SHOOT DOWN NK MISSILE”, Seoul, 2009/05/31) reported that Charles McQueary, director of operational test and evaluation at the Pentagon, said in an interview with Bloomberg Friday that U.S. ground-based missile interceptors could take down a long-range DPRK missile before it reaches the U.S. mainland. “I’d put it `likely’ ? than `highly likely’ ? as opposed to putting it `unlikely,”’ he said. If the DPRK launches missiles at the United States Washington would likely launch multiple rockets at the incoming missile to raise the chance of interception, he added.
Los Angeles Times (Julian E. Barnes, “NORTH KOREA’S INTENTIONS UNCLEAR, GATES SAYS”, Manila, 2009/06/01) reported that US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Monday “there were some signs” that the DPRK was putting a Taepodong 2 missile on a launch pad. “At this point it is just not clear what they are going to do,” Gates said. “The 30 interceptors we have are adequate for years to come to deal with the North Korean threat as we see it developing,” Gates said.
11. DPRK Detention of Journalists
Associated Press (Jean H. Lee, “US JOURNALISTS’ TRIAL BEGINS IN NKOREA THIS WEEK”, Seoul , 2009/06/01) reported that the families of Laura Ling and Euna Lee have begun speaking out on their detention and upcoming trial in the DPRK. “To say that this has been stressful would be to grossly understate how hard this has been. Our families have been very quiet because of the extreme sensitivity of the situation, but given the fact that our girls are in the midst of a global nuclear standoff, we cannot wait any longer,” sister Lisa Ling wrote on Facebook. Lee and Ling are journalists “simply doing their job,” the families said. “We can say with absolute certainty that when the girls left U.S. soil, they never intended to set foot onto North Korean territory . If at any point a transgression occurred, we sincerely apologize on their behalf.”
Los Angeles Times (John M. Glionna, “U.S. JOURNALISTS JAILED IN NORTH KOREA ARE EXPECTED TO GET PRISON TERMS”, Seoul, 2009/06/01) reported that after the DPRK’s nuclear test, experts say Laura Ling and Euna Lee could be sentenced to longer prison terms with little chance for negotiation. “If I were these two women’s families, I’d be very worried,” said Marcus Noland, a senior fellow for the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “Even in the best-case scenario, North Korea sees these two as criminals who were presumably up to no good in a very serious way. They want to show their enemies that if people do things like this, illegally enter their country, they will pay a price. And the new tensions have raised the stakes even further.” “If things in North Korea are not business as usual, the journalists could be there for a longer period of time,” said Scott Snyder of the Asia Foundation. “We will know something about the political reality in North Korea either way. But unfortunately because human beings are involved, this is not the way we want to learn this information.”
12. Inter-Korean Naval Clashes
Yonhap (“N.KOREA BANS NAVIGATION IN WEST SEA”, Seoul, 2009/06/01) reported that the DPRK has recently prohibited vessels from navigating in mid and upper parts of the Yellow Sea, prompting the ROK. to monitor the region for possible signs of a provocation. Intelligence sources said the DPRK routinely sets up entry-prohibited areas in its western waters for military training purposes, but the latest ban is unusually long in duration, nearly two months until the end of July. The authorities “are keeping watch over the region, believing the ban could be a possible sign that there could be a provocation,” one of the sources was quoted as saying.
Korea Times (Kim Sue-young, “CHINESE SHIPS LEAVE WEST SEA BORDER”, Seoul, 2009/05/29) reported that PRC vessels fishing illegally in the West Sea have begun to leave the waters near the Northern Limit Line (NLL). Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae said Friday, “We are closely monitoring North Korea’s moves, given that this may signal North Korea’s possible provocative action.” He did not rule out the possibility that the evacuation may have been caused by the closed fishing season which will started June 1 or that the vessels may already have caught enough fish. But another military source said, “About 160 Chinese vessels deserted the area in a day, spawning speculation that either the Chinese authorities or North Korea may have called for immediate evacuation.”
13. Inter Korean Relations
Yonhap (“SEOUL COULD SELL STEEL PRODUCTS SET ASIDE FOR NK”, Seoul, 2009/05/31) reported that the ROK is planning to sell steel products which were supposed to be offered to the DPRK in return for denuclearization. `Given that North Korea conducted the nuclear test, we cannot send the steel products,” an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was quoted as saying. “Besides the storage problem, we cannot keep them any longer because of rust.”
Yonhap (“S. KOREA REFRAINS FROM SPENDING ON NORTH”, Seoul, 2009/05/31) reported that the ROK has executed only 1.8 percent of its yearly budget for economic aid to the DPRK during the first four months. According to Unification Ministry data, the government spent only 26.91 billion won ($21.48 million) out of its inter-Korean cooperation fund worth 1.5 trillion won during the January-April period.
14. US Nuclear Umbrella for ROK
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “US TO REAFIRM NUKE UMBRELLA FOR S.KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/05/31) reported that Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Barack Obama are expected to discuss ways of deterring the DPRK’s nuclear threat as a main topic at their June 16 summit talks in Washington, ROK government officials said Sunday. A clause pertaining to Washington’s provision of an “extended nuclear umbrella” to the ROK may be stipulated in a joint statement to be issued at the end of the summit, they said.
15. ROK Climate Change
Yonhap (“LEE CALLS FOR JOINT EFFORTS TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE”, Seoul, 2009/05/31) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak called on Southeast Asian Nations to form an alliance with his country to fight climate change, Cheong Wa Dae said Saturday. “If we bring Korea’s green technology, which is a fusion of information technology, bio technology and nano technology, together with ASEAN’s limitless opportunities in green growth, we can move a step closer to realizing our common vision of creating ‘low carbon smart cities,'” Lee said in a special article for newspapers in the ASEAN countries.
16. ROK Civil Unrest
Korea Times (Park Si-soo, “72 ROH SUPPORTERS APPREHENDED AFTER CLASHES WITH POLICE”, Seoul, 2009/05/31) reported that more than 72 people were arrested during clashes with riot police in the wake of the funeral service for former President Roh Moo-hyun, police said. Police said more than 2,600 pro-Roh activists from progressive civic groups and labor unions staged rallies around Seoul Plaza and its vicinity over the weekend. One infuriated activist attempted to disembowel himself, but failed, police said.
17. ROK Influenza Outbreak
Korea Times (Kang Shin-who, “4 MORE FLU CASES FOUND”, Seoul , 2009/05/31) reported that four more people have been confirmed contracting H1N1 Influenza A virus, bringing the total number of those infected in the nation to 39, the health agency said Sunday. Among the 39, 21 are U.S. citizens, 13 are Korean nationals and the rest are from other countries, according to the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs.
18. Japan Climate Change
Yomiuri Shimbun (“GLOBAL WARMING COSTS CALCULATED”, Tokyo, 2009/05/31) reported that if the world does not take any measures against global warming, the financial damage Japan would suffer from related weather damage could be 17 trillion yen per year by the end of the century, according to a report produced by 14 research institutions across the country and released Friday. It also estimates that even if greenhouse gasses were considerably reduced, the cost to the nation could still reach 11 trillion yen per year.
19. Japanese Politics
Yomiuri Shimbun (Shinichi Murao, “ASO STILL CAGEY ON TIMING OF DISSOLUTION”, Tokyo, 2009/05/31) reported that asked by reporters about a lower house dissolution Friday, Prime Minister Taro Aso stated, “You know, I’ve been telling you the same thing over and over again concerning a [lower house] dissolution–I’ll make a decision while taking various factors into consideration.” According to sources, Aso’s basic strategy is to dissolve the lower house immediately before or after the Group of Eight major nations’ summit meeting scheduled for July in Italy, after achieving key political goals such as passing the fiscal 2009 supplementary budget and related bills, the antipiracy bill, and other important bills.
20. Cross Strait Economic Relations
Associated Press (“CHINA SENDS LARGE GROUP TO BUY TAIWANESE GOODS”, Taipei, 2009/05/31) reported that a group of Chinese computer and home appliance manufacturers arrived Sunday with plans to buy billions of dollars worth of goods and components from Taiwan, officials and news reports said. Officials from 46 Chinese companies, including big manufacturers such as Lenovo and Haier, have joined the buy-Taiwan group, group leader Li Shuilin said. The companies have recently won bids to supply Chinese farmers and city dwellers with computers and home appliances in a state-subsidized project, and plan to buy chips and other components from Taiwan, Li said. Local newspapers quoted unidentified Taiwanese officials as saying the total Chinese purchases could amount to $8 billion.
21. PRC Politics
Associated Press (Alexa Olesen, “WEB-SAVVY & CYNICAL: CHINA’S YOUTH SINCE TIANANMEN”, Kaifeng, 2009/05/31) reported that an official survey released this month found 75 percent of college students hoped to join the Communist Party, but 56 percent of those said they would do so to “boost their chances of finding a good job.” The rest wanted to join for personal honor — 29 percent — while 15 percent were motivated by faith in communism. An accompanying commentary said students today are clearly “cold” about politics and cited concern from education experts about “extreme egotism” among the youth. At Peking University, a hub for the 1989 protests, only one political group cracked the top 15 extracurricular clubs — the elite Marxism Youth Study Group , reputed to be good for career networking.
22. PRC Human Rights
The Times ( Jane Macartney, “CHINA SILENCES HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYERS AS TIANANMEN DATE LOOMS”, Beijing, 2009/06/01) reported that PRC authorities effectively disbarred some of the country’s leading civil rights lawyers Sunday. The lawyers described the move as part of a carefully orchestrated government campaign to prevent them from taking on controversial or high-profile cases. About 20 lawyers whose licences were due for renewal by May 31 were not renewed.
23. PRC Civic Unrest
BBC (“HONG KONG PROTEST OVER TIANANMEN”, Hong Kong, 2009/05/31) reported that thousands marched in Hong Kong to mark the forthcoming 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen killings. Police said at least 4,700 people had gathered. Tens of thousands more are expected to attend a candlelit vigil on Thursday.
24. PRC Epidemic Response
Washington Post (Ariana Eunjung Cha, “CHINA’S AGGRESSIVE SWINE FLU MEASURES LAND HEALTHY TRAVELERS IN QUARANTINE”, Beijing, 2009/05/29) reported that the PRC has thrown several thousand foreigners and PRC nationals into quarantine facilities for having little more than a cough, runny nose or slight temperature and having been in contact with someone with a suspected case of swine flu. Of a total of 13,400 confirmed infections worldwide, only 14 have been in the PRC.
II. PRC Report
25. PRC Civil Society
Xinhua Net (Han Chuanhao, “GANSU TO ESTABLISH 1000 HOMES OF LEFT-BEHIND CHILDREN”, 2009/05/28) reported that Home of Rural Left-behind Chindren with a 100% Coverage Project was successfully developed in Gansu province recently, sources with Gansu Provincial Women’s Federation. By the end of this year, the homes will cover 1000 towns of the province. There are 710,000 left-behind children whose parents both go out for work in Gansu. These children need the social care in the aspects of education, psychology, health, personal safety and so on.
Xinhua Net (“FUND-RAISING MANAGEMENT IS ENHANCED ON STREETS OF FUZHOU”, 2009/05/28) reported that Fuzhou municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs will enhance management of fund-raising on streets. Charity Federation and Red Cross of various levels are required to prepare fund-raising license, standardize donation box, and award certificates to people with a large amount of donation over a certain level.
III. ROK Report
26. Inter-Korea Relations
PRESSian (Son Hocheol, “WILL DPRK RESCUE LEE FROM ‘ROH EFFECT’?”, 2009/06/01) carried an article by a professor of Seogang University, who reported that the DPRK’s nuclear test and missile launch are condemnable, but what is more wretched is its timing. Once again, as the progressives have pointed out, “hostile mutual-dependency” or “hostile symbiotic relationship” between the ROK’s extreme right and the DPRK is in play. However, despite the DPRK’s nuclear tests and other such provocative actions, the people don’t seem to be disturbed. Moreover, the general opinion seems to be that the Lee Myung-bak administration failed to tame the DPRK with a hard-line policy due to lack of ability, and rather intensified tensions between North and South.
27. ROK-U.S Alliance
Kyunghyang Shinmun (“IT IS NOT TIME TO REQUIRE REVIEWING TRANSFER OF WARTIME CONTROL”, 2009/05/29) wrote that the ROK Grand National Party (GNP) demanded the government to review the war-time control transfer plan. It is not apparent whether they would only like to review when to transfer or the total procedure itself. It is possible to solve the problem without changing the agreement between the ROK and the US if it is only to discuss when to do it, but reconsidering the whole process is nonsensical. How would the government be able to discuss ‘unification’ if the US has the war-time control?
Segye Ilbo (“WAR-TIME CONTROL TRANSFER, NEEDS TO REVIEW ‘WHEN’ AND ‘HOW'”, 2009/05/29) reported that the DPRK’s second round of nuclear experiment was strong evidence that it is inappropriate to implement the war-time control transfer plan now. It will only result in weakening the joint reaction power of the ROK and the US. The ROK government has to seek ways to postpone transfer of the control, while trying to minimize the downside effects such as loss of trust between the ROK and the US. The US should change their attitude, also, according to the change of situation of the Korean Peninsula.
28. DPRK Nuclear Program
Chosun Ilbo (“FEW CONDITIONS US SHOULD CONSIDER TO RESOLVE DPRK NUKE ISSUE”, 2009/05/29) said in a column that the US must follow several steps in order to resolve the DPRK nuclear problem. First, the US has to present how they are going to compensate if the DPRK listens to their words, and how they will be punished if not. Second, they must strengthen the global collaboration regime in order to encourage the PRC, Russia, Japan and the ROK’s active participation in implementing compensation and punishment. Third, the solutions should be put into practice continuously even after the current administration.
29. ROK Nuclear Program
Choongang Ilbo (“DENUCLEARIZING THE PENINSULA, IS THE ROK A PUSHOVER?”, 2009/05/29) said in a column that there is no need to implement both nuclear armament and the completion of nuclear cycle. However, the DPRK’s onesided abuse of denuclearization declaration should not be overlooked. Concerning the radical change of situation caused by the DPRK’s nuclear experiment, reexamination of the denuclearization declaration is necessary.
Maeil Kyungje (“NOW IS THE TIME TO CONCENTRATE ON PRESSURING THE DPRK TO ABANDON”, 2009/05/29) said in a column that part of the ROK conservatives asserted that the ROK should possess our own nuclear power to protect themselves against the DPRK’s military threat. However, it is still time to focus all our effort on pressuring the DPRK to suspend its nuclear development. Possessing our own nuclear power should be considered more sophisticatedly by following gradual steps.
Chosun Ilbo (“ROK’S RIGHT UPON NUCLEAR POWER SHOULD BE STRONG AS THAT OF JAPAN’S”, 2009/05/29) said in a column that though some conservatives’ nuclear armament theory is unrealistic under the NPT, the ROK should establish enrichment and reprocessing facilities for peaceful purposes within the boundary of the global community’s permission. Restoring the right to nuclear power is not only beneficial in economic sense, but also effective in constraining the DPRK’s nuclear development. However, whether we are able to find the right policy is uncertain since the global community’s reaction to enrichment and reprocessing facilities, which can be used to develop nuclear weapons, is highly sensitive.