NAPSNet Daily Report 10 April, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Leadership
- 2. DPRK Missile Program
- 3. UNSC on DPRK Missile Launch
- 4. PRC on DPRK Missile Launch
- 5. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 6. Russia on DPRK Missile Launch
- 7. Japan on DPRK Missile Launch
- 8. Japanese Sanctions on DPRK
- 9. US on DPRK Missile Launch
- 10. DPRK Jet Crash
- 11. ROK Development
- 12. Japan Politics
- 13. Cross Strait Relations
- 14. Sino-Indian Relations
- 15. PRC Tibet Issue
- 16. US Missile Defense and the PRC
- 17. Alleged PRC Cyberattacks
- 18. PRC Protest
- 19. PRC Unrest
- 20. PRC Environment
- 21. PRC AIDS Issue
- 22. PRC Space Program
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Leadership
Yonhap News (Kim Hyun, “KIM JONG-IL REELECTED AS N. KOREA’S MILITARY CHIEF, PROMOTES IN-LAW TO TOP POST”, Seoul, 2009/04/09) reported that DPRK reelected leader Kim Jong-il as its top commander and promoted his brother-in-law to a powerful military post, its media said, in possible signs that Kim is gathering his confidantes to prepare for a power transfer. In a parliamentary meeting, the DPRK also decided to revise its constitution for the first time in 11 years, the state media said. The DPRK also removed an inter-Korean cooperation committee from its Cabinet.
2. DPRK Missile Program
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN ROCKET ‘MADE USING CHINESE TECHNOLOGY'”, 2009/04/09) reported that the rocket launched by the DPRK was made using the technology of the Long March-1 rocket the PRC fired in the 1970s. After looking at video footage of the rocket launch, Chae Yeon-seok, a former president of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, said, the external appearance of the rocket shows that the DPRK must have used technology of the PRC rocket to make it. The assembly method also seems to be Chinese.
The Associated Press (Kwang-Tae Kim, “NKOREAN ROCKET RAISES PROLIFERATION CONCERNS”, Seoul, 2009/04/08) reported that the DPRK could still attract buyers for its shorter-range missiles despite problems with its latest rocket launch and will likely continue to cooperate with Iran in developing longer range ones, security experts said. “The problem is long-range missiles in the hands of regimes that aren’t constrained by international norms – countries like Iran and North Korea,” said James Lewis, an expert on defense technology at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “I don’t think the failure of the satellite to reach orbit will affect sales,” Lewis said. “As a missile launch, the test was a success.”
3. UNSC on DPRK Missile Launch
DongA Ilbo (“UN SECURITY COUNCIL CANCELS TALKS ON NK LAUNCH”, 2009/04/09) reported that the U.N. Security Council abruptly canceled a meeting on the DPRK’s rocket launch. U.N. sources said five permanent Security Council member countries and Japan have failed to narrow differences over adopting a binding resolution or chairman’s statement containing a warning against the DPRK.
4. PRC on DPRK Missile Launch
Xinhua News (“SANCTIONS UNHELPFUL FOR A NUKE-FREE PENINSULA”, Beijing, 2009/04/09) reported that the PRC said that pressure and sanctions are unhelpful to resolving the issue triggered by the DPRK’s rocket launch and realizing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Jiang Yu, PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, told a regular press conference that the UN Security Council’s reaction over the DPRK’s rocket launch should be conducive to maintaining unity among its member countries, safeguarding the process of the six-party talks and peace and stability in northeast Asia. “China’s starting point is to maintain peace and stability on the Peninsula, which favors China as well as the international community’s interests. Imposing pressure or sanctions will not help toward making a nuclear-free on the Peninsula,” Jiang stressed.
5. Sino-DPRK Relations
The Wall Street Journal (“ECONOMIC INTERESTS SHAPE BEIJING’S PYONGYANG POLICY “, 2009/04/09) reported that on Tuesday, truck traffic between the DPRK and PRC resumed after a break Monday for a holiday. PRC companies, sometimes with help from the PRC government, are investing heavily in the DPRK’s mining industry, construction and light manufacturing such as textiles. The increased business activity in the DPRK reflects the PRC’s desire to treat the DPRK more as a “normal country” rather than a socialist brother entitled to unlimited assistance, scholars and analysts in the PRC say. They say the PRC also hopes its companies in the DPRK will encourage the DPRK’s government to open its economy as the PRC began to do in the 1980s.
6. Russia on DPRK Missile Launch
RIA Novosti (“RUSSIA WARNS NEW UN SANCTIONS COULD EMBITTER NORTH KOREA”, 2009/04/09) reported that new UN Security Council sanctions against teh DPRK could embitter Pyongyang and push it to take inappropriate measures, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday. “Resolutions 1695 and 1718 have already been adopted by the UN Security Council, and we believe they are quite sufficient,” spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said. “Tightening sanctions could have the opposite effect and inflict irreparable damage to the six-party talks, isolate and embitter North Korea even more, and provoke it to take inappropriate and retaliatory measures,” he said.
RIA Novosti (“RUSSIA ABLE TO SHOOT DOWN NORTH KOREAN MISSILES – AIR FORCE”, Balashikha, 2009/04/09) reported that Russian air-defense systems deployed in the Far East are capable of shooting down missiles of the type recently launched by the DPRK, the Air Force chief of staff said. “Russia’s air defenses in the Far East are capable of shooting down missiles of the type launched by North Korea. As to the recent launch, our radars monitored the missile flight for about 15-20 seconds,” Lt. Gen. Vadim Volkovitsky said.
7. Japan on DPRK Missile Launch
Kyodo News (“JAPAN TO SEEK NEW U.N. RESOLUTION ON N. KOREA: KAWAMURA “, Tokyo, 2009/04/08) reported that Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said that Japan’s stance of seeking a new U.N. Security Council resolution in response to the DPRK’s weekend rocket launch is unchanged. The remark by the Japanese government’s top spokesman indicates a shift from what he suggested the previous day — that Japan may compromise and accept a nonbinding presidential statement rather than a binding U.N. resolution if the Security Council cannot reach an agreement.
The Associated Press (Kelly Olsen, “JAPAN SEEKS NKOREA DEBRIS; MCCAIN WANTS PRESSURE”, Seoul, 2009/04/08) reported that Japan said it wants to press ahead with a search for debris from the DPRK’s rocket launch in hopes of dissecting the country’s missile know-how. “If we can confirm North Korea’s capability to build a multistage rocket and technology to separate it as well as to control its posture and thrust force, that means a possibility that the North’s ballistic missile development is progressing rapidly,” Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada Hamada told lawmakers. Japan sent ships to scour waters about 170 miles (280 kilometers) off the country’s northwestern coast for rocket fragments after Sunday’s launch.
8. Japanese Sanctions on DPRK
Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPAN RAMPS UP SANCTIONS AGAINST NKOREA FOR ROCKET”, Tokyo, 2009/04/10) reported that Japan’s Cabinet reauthorized and ramped up economic sanctions imposed on the DPRK by lowering the cap on remittances that must be reported and reducing the amount of money visitors can carry into the DPRK, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura announced. “North Korea forced a missile firing, the act that our country finds intolerable,” Kawamura told a news conference. “The additional steps are aimed at monitoring the money flow into the North more closely.”
9. US on DPRK Missile Launch
Yomiuri Shimbun (Yoshikazu Shirakawa, “U.S. SOUNDS OUT GOVT ON SOFTER U.N. DPRK ACTION”, New York, 2009/04/10) reported that the United States has begun sounding out Japan about a compromise to tone down their demand for tough U.N. Security Council action to condemn the DPRK’s ballistic missile launch, downgrading it from a resolution to a chairman’s statement, diplomatic sources said. According to the sources, though the U.S. government has not abandoned the possibility of adopting a resolution, U.S. diplomats have begun trying to break the deadlock by instead proposing the issuance of a chairman’s statement.
10. DPRK Jet Crash
Yonhap News (“N. KOREAN JET CRASHED IN EAST SEA BEFORE ROCKET LAUNCH: GOV’T SOURCE “, Seoul, 2009/04/08) reported that a DPRK supersonic fighter crashed into the East Sea a day before Pyongyang launched its long-range rocket, government sources said. The source, who declined to be identified, said the MiG-23 jet was lost Saturday while conducting a reconnaissance flight near the Musudan-ri rocket launch site on the country’s east coast. “The exact cause is not known, but it could have been a problem with the engine, since the fighter was not conducting any difficult moves at the time it fell from the sky,” the expert said.
11. ROK Development
The Korea Times (Do Je-hae, “KOREA TO DEVELOP EX-US MILITARY BASES”, 2009/04/09) reported that the government has set aside 38.8 trillion won to develop areas surrounding former US military bases in Gyeonggi Province into tourist complexes and residential areas. The Ministry of Public Administration and Security presented a comprehensive plan to develop the areas as mechanisms for regional economic growth. Under the initiative, the ROK will implement 552 cultural, residential and business projects in areas neighboring Camp Nimble in Dongducheon, Camp Edward in Paju and elsewhere. Completion is due for 2017.
12. Japan Politics
Bloomberg News (“ASO GETS JAPAN ELECTION AID FROM NORTH KOREA MISSILE”, 2009/04/09) reported that Kim Jong Il’s missile launch over Japan is giving Prime Minister Taro Aso a much-needed boost in opinion polls before elections he must call by September. Aso’s public support rating rose 9.4 percentage points from last month in a Nippon Television survey completed April 5, the day the DPRK fired its rocket. A separate Yomiuri poll gave him a statistically insignificant 1.1 point increase. The prime minister will look to build on his momentum in the next two days by extending sanctions against the DPRK and announcing a 15.4 trillion yen ($154 billion) stimulus package to help revive the world’s second-largest economy.
13. Cross Strait Relations
China Daily (“NAVY ‘KEEN TO PROTECT TAIWAN SHIPS FROM PIRACY’ “, 2009/04/09) reported that mainland warships will rescue a Taiwan fishing vessel hijacked by Somali pirates if conditions allow, a military source said Tuesday. No political issues will hinder the decision if the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) navy can save the ship, a naval officer said on condition of anonymity. “If the vessel had contacted mainland authorities before reaching the waters and received the PLA navy’s guidance, it would not have been seized by the pirates,” said Peng Guangqian, a Beijing-based military expert on cross-Straits relations.
14. Sino-Indian Relations
Time Magazine (Howard Chua-Eoan, “BEYOND PIRATES: ON THE HIGH SEAS, AN INDIA-CHINA RIVALRY”, 2009/04/09) reported that a drama with far-reaching geopolitical consequences may be brewing in the Indian Ocean, involving two of the nations that have sent warships to fight the Somali buccaneers: longtime rivals India and PRC. New Delhi has had at least one ship in the Gulf of Aden since October, and late last year, with great fanfare, the PRC deployed two warships to the same area. The presence of the PRC and Indian warships underlines Beijing’s and New Delhi’s intense economic and strategic interests in the world’s third largest ocean. Already, the naval strategies of New Delhi and Beijing seemed to be focused on each other. The PRC is constructing naval stations and refueling ports around India, including in Burma, Sri Lanka and in India’s nemesis Pakistan; India has transformed a beautiful bay in the southern state of Karnataka into an advanced naval installation.
15. PRC Tibet Issue
Agence France-Presse (Shaun Tandon, “CHINA DISSIDENT BECOMES TIBET’S UNLIKELY CHAMPION”, Washington, 2009/04/08) reported that as the PRC’s leadership works to glorify its rule in Tibet , one of the PRC ‘s most prominent dissidents is on a very different mission — to document his country’s atrocities in the Himalayan land. Harry Wu, who spent nearly two decades toiling in labor camps as a political prisoner , recently opened an exhibition at his Washington museum on suffering in PRC-ruled Tibet. In a sharp break with the PRC’s line that it liberated Tibet, the exhibition depicts authorities destroying temples and other religious heritage of the region and setting up labor camps — the exact number of which Wu said is impossible to verify.
16. US Missile Defense and the PRC
Global Security Newswire (“MISSILE DEFENSE SHIPS WOULD PROTECT AGAINST CHINA, GATES SAYS”, 2009/04/08) reported that the increasing number of U.S. warships equipped with ballistic missile defense technology would provide greater protection in case of conflict with the PRC, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said. “We’re converting more ships to have ballistic missile defense that would help against China,” he told a PBS interviewer in regard to his budget plan for fiscal 2010.
17. Alleged PRC Cyberattacks
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA DENIES HACKING INTO US POWER GRID”, Beijing , 2009/04/09) reported that the PRC denied a media report that PRC and Russian hackers had attempted to plant viruses in the US power grid , while insisting it was the victim of cyber-attacks. “There’s absolutely no substance in this story about China and Russia attacking the US power grid, so I hope the relevant US press can truthfully handle their reports, particularly about China,” PRC foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters. “China is also the victim of cyber-attacks and is willing to enhance its cooperation with the international community.”
18. PRC Protest
Agence France-Presse (“5,000 CLASH WITH POLICE IN CHINA: RIGHTS GROUP”, Beijing, 2009/04/09) reported that about 5,000 villagers clashed with police in eastern PRC after laying seige to a coal mine blamed for damaging local farmlands, a human rights group said. The villagers had “surrounded and attacked” the coal mine in a rural county of Anhui province on Tuesday, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said in a press release. “They wanted the coal mine to stop operating in the villages because the lands have sunk due to the mining,” a police officer who refused to give his name told AFP by phone.
19. PRC Unrest
The Christian Science Monitor (Peter Ford, “CHINA CRACKS DOWN AHEAD OF SENSITIVE ANNIVERSARIES”, Beijing, 2009/04/09) reported that incidents over the past 10 days highlights a new wave of crackdowns that PRC officials have launched to forestall any hint of unrest, as they brace for a string of politically sensitive anniversaries this year. PRC political reformers, who had hoped for a more relaxed atmosphere after the 2008 Olympic Games went well, have been disappointed. “Things are going backwards,” complains Hu Xingdou, the economics professor whose website was closed last month because local Internet censors in the city of Suzhou, near Shanghai, suddenly objected to articles that had been up on the site for more than a year without causing a stir.
Associated Press (Henry Sanderson, “BEIJING PROFESSOR’S REMARKS SPARK ANGRY PROTESTS”, Beijing, 2009/04/10) reported that about 30 protesters tried to force their way into Peking University on Friday to confront Sun Dongdong, a law professor who said 99 percent of the people petitioning the government with grievances are mentally ill and could be institutionalized. Sun quickly issued a public apology, but his critics have dismissed it as insincere and many are now demanding he be fired.
20. PRC Environment
Caijing Magazine (Deng Hai, “GEOLOGICAL RISKS EMERGE AT THREE GORGES DAM”, 2009/04/09) reported that a severe landslide near the Three Gorges Reservoir in Yunyang County, Chongqing City forced 55 residents to evacuate the region. The Chongqing municipal government said at a press conference on April 7 that state work teams and experts have confirmed the landslide will not block the flow of the Yangtze River or interfere with river navigation. However, the region has been put on yellow alert, requiring intensified supervision and technical support.
21. PRC AIDS Issue
Time Magazine (“HIV/AIDS DEATHS ON RISE IN CHINA”, 2009/04/09) reported that in the PRC, a country whose last decade has been defined by economic growth and social opening, silence still enshrouds many aspects of the nations’ sex life, and not, health experts say, without consequences. While most industrialized nations have seen HIV/AIDS death rates steadily decline in the past 10 years, the PRC announced in February that the HIV virus took the lead as the deadliest infectious disease in the nation in 2008, killing nearly 7,000 people in the first nine months of the year. “It’s very difficult to talk about sex in schools. It’s very difficult to talk about sex in relationships. It’s very difficult to talk about sex in the workplace,” says Bernhard Schwartländer, coordinator of UNAIDS in the PRC. “If they don’t know about it, how can they protect themselves?”
22. PRC Space Program
People’s Daily Online (“CHINA’S FIRST SPACE TELESCOPE TO BE LAUNCHED BETWEEN 2010 AND 2011”, 2009/04/08) reported that “Between 2010 and 2011, China’s first space telescope will be launched, and it will roam in outer space together with the Hubble Space Telescope.” said Su Dingqiang, an academician at the PRC Academy of Sciences recently at the 19th academician and expert rostrum. “Several large-size telescopes independently developed by China in recent years have reached the world’s most advanced level.” Su said that the launch of the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT)– a telescope with the highest sensitivity and space resolution in the world— will mark the “zero breakthrough” for the PRC’s launch of space telescopes.
II. PRC Report
23. PRC on Asia Games
Qianlong Net (“GUANGZHOU: MILLIONS OF TEENAGERS CALL FOR ‘NEW LIFE'”, 2009/04/08) reported that 90 th Anniversary of May 4 Movement, also the Teenagers Welcome Asia Games was started all round on the afternoon of April 7 th in Guangzhou city. Representatives of millions of teenagers in the city put forward a “New Life” initiative to the citizens. It is understood that Guangzhou Youth League Committee hopes to take the chance of holding Asia Sports Games to promote the idea of creating beautiful life in participating voluntary service and to make voluntary service become a new lifestyle.
24. PRC Environment
Dahe News (Zheng Songbo, “‘CHINA ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION CENTURY WALK’ LAUNCHED”, 2009/04/08) reported that “China Environmental Protection Century Walk” activity was unveiled in Henan province. The theme of this activity is “Protect Water Environment According to Law”. It aims at further enhancing the social resource and environment awareness of the whole society, so that energy saving and environmental protection can become the conscious action of the whole society.
Economic Information Daily (Nan Shan, “ABB ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION PROJECT WINS “SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY EXCELLENT CASE”, ) reported that globally famous power and automation technology group ABB announced recently that its “prevention and control of sand and forest” project, jointly carried out with Inner Mongolia Erdos Electric Power Bureau, has won the “2008 Excellent Case of Transnational Corporation’s Fulfillment of Social Responsibility” awarded by China Enterprise News. ABB’s project started in 2007 and would last for three years. It aims at improving the local operating environment of transmission lines and creating a green defence for Beijing.