NAPSNet Daily Report 1 June, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. DPRK on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 3. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
- 4. ROK Response to Naval Ship Sinking
- 5. US on Naval Ship Sinking
- 6. Sino-DPRK Economic Relations
- 7. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 8. ROK on DPRK Human Rights
- 9. DPRK-Japan Relations
- 10. DPRK Public Health
- 11. ROK Security
- 12. ROK-Burmese Relations
- 13. Japanese Politics
- 14. Japan SDF Medical Dispatch
- 15. Japan Space Program
- 16. Japanese Whaling
- 17. Sino-Japanese East Sea Territorial Dispute
- 18. PRC on UNSC Membership
- 19. Sino-Mongolian Relations
- 20. PRC Leadership
- 21. PRC Unrest
- 22. PRC Earthquake
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
BBC News (“NORTH KOREA ‘TRADING NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY’ SAYS UN PANEL”, 2010/03/29) reported that a United Nations panel has accused the DPRK of continuing to export nuclear and missile technology in defiance of a UN ban. The experts said the DPRK has used front companies and intermediaries to sell weapons and provide illegal assistance to Iran, Syria and Burma. The preliminary report was compiled by a seven-member group that monitors Pyongyang’s compliance with sanctions. The panel has called for further, urgent investigations.
2. DPRK on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA EXPECTED TO MAKE ANNOUNCEMENT OVER SHIP SINKING DURING RARE PARLIAMENTARY SESSION”, 2010/05/31) reported that the DPRK is expected to make an announcement over the sinking of a ROK warship when it convenes a second session of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) on June 7, the ROK’s Unification Ministry said. “North Korea is expected to announce its positions and principles on issues it is faced with, such as the outcome of an investigation into the Choenan incident,” the report said.
3. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
The Associated Press (“SKOREA STEPS UP CAMPAIGN OVER SHIP SINKING”, 2010/05/31) reported that a Russian team — including torpedo and submarine experts — arrived Monday and received a briefing on the Cheonan probe. The ROK was also trying to convince skeptics at home that its Cheonan investigation was correct. The Defense Ministry said Monday that it will invite 70 Twitter users, bloggers and university students to view the wreckage for themselves — the first time ordinary citizens will be allowed to inspect the ship’s remains.
4. ROK Response to Naval Ship Sinking
Yonhap (Chang Jae-soon, “RESTRICTING CASH INFLOW KEY TO PUNISHING NORTH KOREA OVER SHIP SINKING: FM”, Seoul, 2010/06/01) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said in an interview with BBC aired Tuesday morning that restricting cash inflow into the DPRK is one of the most effective ways to punish it for sinking the Cheonan. “If cash inflow into North Korea is restricted, I think it will lower the possibility of nuclear weapons development and deter belligerent behavior,” Yu said. “North Korean provocations should be dealt with through international cooperation,” Yu said. “We will hold North Korea accountable for its wrongdoing through all peaceful means and let it know that provocations come with a price.” “As long as China said it considers this incident grave and won’t defend anyone responsible, I expect it to play a responsible role,” Yu said.
5. US on Naval Ship Sinking
Chosun Ilbo (“U.S. SENATOR IN SEOUL FOR CHEONAN SUPPORT”, Seoul, 2010/05/31) reported that Senator Jim Webb, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific affairs, arrives in Seoul on Monday to meet with ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young, as well as Park Jin, former chairman of the National Assembly Unification, Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee. A diplomatic source said, “Webb, a pro-Seoul senator, will promise to give full congressional support to the U.S. administration’s preparations for sanctions against the North.” Meanwhile, three specialists on Korean affairs from the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs arrived in the ROK on Sunday to meet with officers of the U.S. Forces Korea and government officials, and to pay tribute to the fallen sailors of the shipwreck.
6. Sino-DPRK Economic Relations
Yonhap News (“CHINA SEEN AS SEEKING GREATER ECONOMIC COOPERATION WITH N. KOREA DESPITE SHIP SINKING”, 2010/05/31) reported that the PRC appears to be seeking greater economic cooperation with the DPRK, despite tensions over the DPRK’s sinking of a ROK naval ship, as provincial officials exchange visits and Beijing’s top envoy calls for greater business ties. Wang Min, a top communist party official in the PRC’s northeastern province of Liaoning, visited the DPRK on Thursday last week for economic cooperation talks, according to PRC media reports .
7. Sino-DPRK Relations
Donga-Ilbo (“CHINESE DAILY: N. KOREA NEEDS OPEN-DOOR POLICY”, 2010/05/31) reported that the PRC daily Global Times, an affiliate of the People’s Daily of the PRC Communist Party, urged DPRK to gradually adopt an open-door policy. In an editorial, the Global Times said, “Opening up will pose risks to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but it will face bigger risks if it maintains its current policy. It will find out which way is better. The DPRK should understand that it has to seize opportunities. It probably will not have many opportunities.” The daily added, “Over the past few years, the DPRK has had several chances to ease tension with the U.S., Japan and South Korea, but has not made good use of them. Instead, it has strongly believed that nuclear weapons will be its safeguard.”
8. ROK on DPRK Human Rights
JoongAng Ilbo (“‘ROAD MAP’ PLANNED TO PROTECT RIGHTS IN NORTH”, 2010/05/31) reported that the ROK will create its first “road map” for improving human rights conditions in the DPRK this year to approach the issue more systematically, a state human rights body said. The National Human Rights Commission said it has recently commissioned a local university to draw up a plan to establish mid- and long-term action plans. The 100 million won ($82,440) project is expected to be completed by mid-November after six months of work by Kyungnam University in Masan, South Gyeongsang, the commission said.
9. DPRK-Japan Relations
Kyodo News (“N. KOREA BLASTS HATOYAMA FOR YIELDING TO U.S. PRESSURE ON BASE ISSUE”, 2010/05/31) reported that the DPRK criticized the government of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama for “yielding to U.S. pressure” over his decision to relocate a US Marine base within Okinawa Prefecture. “The Hatoyama administration has no independent political initiatives, yielded to U.S. pressure and decided to implement an existing relocation plan on Futenma almost as it is,” the Rodong Sinmun said. “The world media ridicule Japan as a politically premature baby for yielding to U.S. pressure,” the commentary said. “The (Japanese) public’s criticism and anger are increasing as time passes.”
10. DPRK Public Health
Agence France-Presse (“N.KOREA HAILS NO-TOBACCO DAY AMID MILITARY TENSIONS”, 2010/05/31) reported that the DPRK staged a special event to warn about the dangers of smoking . Speakers at a Pyongyang event marking World No-Tobacco Day stressed the increasing social concern over the practice, the official news agency reported. The agency, in a separate report, noted that a non-smoking campaign has intensified, with smoking banned in theatres, cinemas, schools, hospitals, sidewalks and other public places.
11. ROK Security
Yonhap (Kim Deok-hyun, “S. KOREAN MILITARY HOLDS ANTI-TERROR DRILL FOR G20 SUMMIT”, Seoul, 2010/06/01) reported that the ROK military conducted mock hostage and hijack drills Tuesday as anti-terror preparations for the November summit of leaders of the Group of 20 nations, officials said. “After the Cheonan incident, the military preparedness of our soldiers has strengthened further. They participated in these drills with their full commitment,” said Lt. Col. Jeong Young-hwan of the Capital Defense Command. The drills involved snipers taking back hijacked bus from terrorists, sniffer dogs and special forces in hostage rescue operations.
12. ROK-Burmese Relations
Xinhua News (“MYANMAR, S KOREAN BUSINESSMEN TO SEEK FURTHER ECONOMIC, TRADE CO-OP”, 2010/05/31) reported that b usinessmen of Myanmar and the ROK are due to meet in Myanmar’s biggest city of Yangon later on Monday for discussions on further economic and trade cooperation, traders said. The ROK side is represented by 10 giant companies dealing with robot games, machinery, cosmetic and pharmaceutical, communication, electricity equipment and transformer, motor car, engine and generator. Meanwhile, Korean Importers Association has sought trade and investment in Myanmar’s mining, agriculture, forestry, marine, pharmaceutical, hotel, construction, electronic and computer sectors.
13. Japanese Politics
Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPANESE LEADER FACES MOUNTING CALLS TO STEP DOWN”, Tokyo, 2010/06/01) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama faced growing pressure Tuesday from within his own party to resign ahead of July elections. “We will stand up against this national crisis,” Hatoyama said, apparently referring to the difficult situation facing the government. We will do “what’s best” for the Japanese people, he said. He said he would meet with senior party members later Tuesday to discuss political management ahead of the elections.
14. Japan SDF Medical Dispatch
Kyodo News (“JAPAN MSDF SHIP ON MEDICAL AID MISSION ARRIVES IN VIETNAM”, 2010/05/31) reported that Japanese medical officers arrived in the Vietnamese port city Qui Nhon aboard a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force transport ship Monday to take part in a U.S. Navy-led medical aid program in the Asia-Pacific region. About 40 medical officers from the Self-Defense Forces are joining 22 members of Japanese nongovernmental groups and take part in medical aid activities for about two weeks under Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s ‘‘Fraternity Boat’’ initiative.
15. Japan Space Program
CNET (“JAPAN PLANS $2 BILLION ROBOT MOON BASE BY 2020”, 2010/05/31) reported that a Japanese government panel has produced a draft paper outlining how humanoid rover robots will begin surveying the moon by 2015, according to a report by the prime minister’s office. As part of the $2.2 billion project, the droids will begin construction of an unmanned base near the south pole of the moon that will be powered by solar panels, according to the panel chaired by Waseda University President Katsuhiko Shirai. Japan believes a moon base is essential for exploration of the solar system, but its financial straits have pushed back lunar colonization to 2020.
16. Japanese Whaling
Agence France-Presse (Amy Coopes, “AUSTRALIA BIDS TO CLOSE JAPAN’S WHALING LOOPHOLE”, Sydney, 2010/06/01) reported that Australia has launched legal action at the International Court of Justice to stop Japan killing hundreds of whales a year in the name of science, officials said Tuesday. “The scale of killing, taking and treating carried out under this programme greatly outweighs any previous practice undertaken on the basis of scientific permits in the history of the IWC (International Whaling Commission),” Australia’s complaint said. “Whale-meat caught during JARPA I (a Japanese research whaling programme) was taken to Japan where it was placed on commercial sale,” the application added. Hirofumi Hirano, Japan’s top government spokesman, said the move was “extremely regrettable,” while foreign ministry officials said they were “studying our strategy regarding the lawsuit.” “Details are yet to be decided, but we won’t disclose our strategy even after we make a decision,” an official told AFP in Tokyo.
17. Sino-Japanese East Sea Territorial Dispute
Kyodo News (“WEN OPEN TO TREATY TO END GAS FIELD ROW”, 2010/05/31) reported that PRC Premier Wen Jiabao agreed with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to begin bilateral negotiations on a treaty over gas fields in the East China Sea. Japan and China agreed in 2008 to jointly develop the gas fields, but there has been little progress on implementation. “There was a clear difference” in Wen’s position over the gas fields, said a Foreign Ministry official who attended the summit. “Until now, (Wen) had said that negotiations would begin only when the environment is set, but this time . . . he said that he wanted to put into practice the June 2008 agreement in order to turn (the disputed area) into a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship,” the official said.
18. PRC on UNSC Membership
Calcutta News Net (“CHINA SUPPORTIVE OF INDIA’S UN ASPIRATIONS: PRATIBHA PATIL”, 2010/05/31) reported that the PRC ‘understands’ and ‘supports’ India’s desire for a permanent seat in a reformed United Nations Security Council, President Pratibha Patil said as she returned from her state visit to that country. ‘I focused attention on India’s aspiration for permanent seat in a reformed United Nations Security Council. President Hu (Jintao) and Premier Wen (Jiabao) were understanding and supportive for India’s desire,’ Patil said. ‘We acknowledged that the India-China relationship has gone beyond its purely bilateral aspect and also has a global dimension,’ she said.
19. Sino-Mongolian Relations
Xinhua News (“BORDER TOWN BUSTLING WITH BUSINESS AS CHINA-MONGOLIA TRADE TAKES OFF”, 2010/05/31) reported that c ompared with any port along the prosperous east coast of the PRC, trade figures at the land port of Erenhot, a small Gobi town on the PRC-Mongolia border, are meager. However, about 800 cars, 200 trucks, six trains and 4,000 traders cross the border each day, bringing a bustle to Erenhot’s wholesale markets, shops, restaurants, and hotels that take “International” or “Pacific” in their names. “Now, most of the goods at Erenhot are traded between China and Mongolia,” Erenhot Mayor Meng Xiandong told Xinhua. PRC-Mongolia trade through the port surged from 700 million to 2.1 billion U.S. dollars in the same period as bilateral trade boomed, Meng said.
20. PRC Leadership
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA STUDENTS LACK POLITICAL EDUCATION: OFFICIAL”, 2010/05/31) reported that the PRC’s propaganda chief has said the teaching of communist ideology at universities is lacking, ahead of the anniversary of the 1989 crushing of the Tiananmen democracy protests, state media said. Li Changchun, who ranks fifth in the PRC’s political hierarchy, pledged to step up political education in order to teach a future generation of leaders, the People’s Daily said. “There remains a rather large gap between the political ideological education of university students and the demands and undertakings of the Communist Party and state,” Li was quoted as saying. “We must continue to raise the level of political ideological education work at universities in order to train… and develop qualified builders and successors of socialism with Chinese characteristics .”
21. PRC Unrest
The New York Times (“UNREST MAY SIGNAL NEW PHASE IN CHINA ECONOMY”, 2010/05/31) reported that the biggest eye-opener for multinationals in the PRC recently has been a nine-day-old strike at a sprawling Honda transmission factory here in Foshan, about 100 miles northwest of Hong Kong. The strike, which has forced Honda to suspend production at all four of its joint venture assembly plants in the PRC, has shown that PRC authorities are willing to tolerate work stoppages at least temporarily, even at high-tech operations on which many other factories depend. There were signs that the Honda strike was beginning to test the government’s patience. After two days of allowing surprisingly extensive coverage by state-controlled media, the authorities imposed a blanket ban on domestic coverage, reverting to their usual policy of hushing up labor disputes.
22. PRC Earthquake
The Associated Press (“CHINA SAYS FINAL TOLL FROM APRIL QUAKE NEAR 2,700”, 2010/05/31) reported that the death toll from a devastating earthquake that struck a remote Tibetan region in western PRC has risen to 2,698, officials said. Another 270 people remained missing after the April 14 earthquake that flattened tens of thousands of houses in Yushu county, the official Xinhua News Agency cited Qinghai Vice Governor Zhang Guangrong as telling reporters. The new figure is a jump from the previously reported toll, which stood at a little over 2,200 in late April, with 12,000 injured.