NAPSNet Daily Report 10 November, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. Inter-Korean Naval Clash
- 2. DPRK on Six Party Talks
- 3. US-DPRK Talks
- 4. France on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 5. US on Inter-Korean Summit
- 6. DPRK Environment
- 7. ROK Aid for DPRK
- 8. ROK Aid to Afghanistan
- 9. ROK Environment
- 10. ROK Foreign Envoys
- 11. ROK Military Procurement
- 12. ROK-Latin America Cooperation
- 13. US-Japan Relations
- 14. Japan Aid for Afhanistan
- 15. Japan Indian Ocean Refueling
- 16. US-Japan Military Relations
- 17. Somali Pirates Attack HK Oil Tanker
- 18. Sino-Indian Relations
- 19. Cross Strait Trade
- 20. US and Cross Strait Relations
- 21. PRC-Africa Relations
- 22. PRC Ethnic Unrest
1. Inter-Korean Naval Clash
Agence France-Presse (Lim Chang-Won, “NKOREA BOAT DAMAGED IN NAVAL CLASH: OFFICIALS”, Seoul, 2009/11/10) reported that a DPRK pa trol boat was badly damaged as the navies of the two Koreas exchanged fire on Tuesday, ROK officials said. A DPRK patrol boat crossed the border and sailed south for about 0.7 miles (1.1 kilometres), Seoul ‘s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement. It said an ROK high-speed naval boat sent several warning signals but the DPRK craft held its course. After the ROK boat fired warning shots, “the North’s side opened fire, directly aiming at our ship. Then our ship responded by firing back, forcing the North Korean boat to return to the north,” the statement said. “There were no casualties on our side. We are on the lookout for any further provocations by the North.”
2. DPRK on Six Party Talks
Kyodo news (“N. KOREA WILL RETURN TO 6-WAY TALKS DEPENDING ON DIALOGUE WITH U.S.”, Beijing, 2009/11/10) reported that a DPRK official reiterated Monday that Pyongyang will return to the six-party talks on ending its nuclear ambitions if the country wins results from bilateral talks with the United States, according to a diplomatic source. The results would be “Washington’s withdrawal of a hostile policy against DPRK” and “removal of the U.S. nuclear threat” from the Korean Peninsula, the source quoted Ri Kwang Il, a deputy director at the Disarmament and Peace Institute, a Foreign Ministry think tank, as saying at an academic conference in Beijing.
3. US-DPRK Talks
Yonhap (“U.S., N.K. MAY HOLD TALKS AFTER THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY: SOURCE”, Seoul, 2009/11/09) reported that the United States and DPRK will likely hold bilateral dialogue to make a breakthrough in the stalled six-party denuclearization talks in early December after the American Thanksgiving holiday, a diplomatic official here said Monday. The U.S. State Department in Washington was reportedly expected to make either an official or unofficial announcement of the date of the bilateral talks late Monday or early Tuesday (local time) at the earliest.
Yonhap (Hwang Doo-hyong, “U.S. NOT YET MADE A DECISION ON BOSWORTH’S PYONGYANG TRIP: STATE DEPT.”, Washington, 2009/11/09) reported that the United States said Monday it has not yet made a decision on a possible diplomatic visit to DPRK for a breakthrough in the stalled six-party talks on ending DPRK’s nuclear ambitions. “I have nothing to announce at this time,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.
4. France on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap (“FRENCH SPECIAL ENVOY VISITING PYONGYANG”, Seoul, 2009/11/09) reported that Jack Lang, special envoy of French President Nicolas Sarkozy on DPRK arrived in Pyongyang on Monday, the Korean Central News Agency said, in a visit reportedly aimed at exploring ways of improving relations with the communist state. The envoy is expected to propose economic aid from the EU on condition of progress in Pyongyang’s denuclearization. The French Socialist party member and former culture minister is expected to submit a report on his DPRK visit to Sarkozy after his return from Pyongyang on Friday.
Associated Press (“FRENCH ENVOY MEETS WITH NKOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER”, Pyongyang, 2009/11/10) reported that DPRK Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun greeted French envoy Jack Lang and his delegation with handshakes before they sat down for talks Tuesday, according to footage aired by television broadcaster APTN in Pyongyang. Lang called Pak’s welcome a “magnificent moment,” APTN reported. Neither side commented after the meeting on the content of their discussions.
5. US on Inter-Korean Summit
Yonhap (Hwang Doo-hyong, “OBAMA SUPPORTS INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT FOR N. KOREA’S DENUCLEARIZATION: OFFICIAL”, Washington, 2009/11/09) reported that the United States fully supports ROK’s effort to seek an inter-Korean summit and pursue a comprehensive, rather than incremental, solution to the DPRK nuclear issue, a senior Obama administration official said Monday. “That is an issue for President Lee (Myung-bak) to decide and we will support his decision,” the official, asking anonymity, said on a possible inter-Korean summit. “One of the many points of commonality between our positions is that we seek a dialogue that will contribute to a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem.”
6. DPRK Environment
Xinhua News (“DPRK COMPLETES NEW PLANT DISTRIBUTION MAP”, Pyongyang, 2009/11/09) reported that DPRK has newly completed the “Korean Plants Distribution Map,” which clearly showed plant stocks in different parts of the country, the distribution of plant resources, and ecological features and utilization of plants, the official news agency KCNA reported on Monday. The map made it possible to survey the distribution features of DPRK plants and their change in a regular way, thus greatly contributing to the protection of the natural environment and proliferation of bio-diversity, said the report.
7. ROK Aid for DPRK
Yonhap (“RED CROSS CHIEF SAYS SOUTH KOREA OPEN TO MORE AID TO NORTH”, Seoul, 2009/11/09) reported that the Red Cross chief here hinted Monday that ROK may give more in addition to the 10,000 tons of corn aid it has offered to DPRK if inter-Korean relations make progress. The remarks by Yoo Chong-ha came even as DPRK remained silent over the small-scale offer made by ROK on Oct. 26. The absence of a reply has raised suspicions here that Pyongyang may have been displeased by the limited amount.
8. ROK Aid to Afghanistan
JoongAng Ilbo (Yoo Jee-ho, “AFGHAN TROOP DISPATCH CAUSES RIFTS”, 2009/11/09) reported that a little more than a week after the government announced plans to dispatch troops to protect aid workers in Afghanistan, debates are raging as to whether sending forces is the right course of action. Political parties are predictably divided, while bureaucrats have been busy trying to defend the decision.
9. ROK Environment
The Korean Herald (Cho Chung-un, “KOREA LEADS WORLD IN GREEN STIMULUS, SAYS WORLD BANK”, 2009/11/10) reported that a World Bank economist yesterday lauded ROK for being a world leader in “green stimulus” and a role model for other countries trying to deal with climate change. “It is the strongest example in the world of a government trying to change the path of development and taking the advantage of crisis to do that,” said Kirk Hamilton, lead economist of the World Bank.
10. ROK Foreign Envoys
The Chosun Ilbo (“LEE TO REPLACE ENVOYS TO CHINA, RUSSIA”, 2009/11/09) reported that President Lee Myung-bak is seeking to replace ROK’s ambassadors to PRC and Russia. A government official on Sunday said, “The government is looking for heavyweights who can win trust from PRC and Russia and implement the government’s foreign policies, with a view to replacing Ambassador to PRC Shin Jung-Seung and Ambassador to Russia Lee Kyu-hyung.”
11. ROK Military Procurement
The Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “PRESIDENT URGES REFORM OF PROCUREMENT SCHEME”, 2009/11/09) reported that President Lee Myung-bak pledged Monday to overhaul the military’s weapons procurement system, saying ensuring transparency in defense budget spending is crucial in helping restore public confidence in the military. The remark followed reports last week that a special investigation team of the Ministry of National Defense had arrested two officers for taking bribes from private equipment suppliers in return for inflating the purchasing prices.
12. ROK-Latin America Cooperation
Xinhua News (“S KOREA TO EXPAND ECONOMIC CO-OP WITH LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES”, Seoul, 2009/11/09) reported that ROK said on Monday it is planning to expand economic cooperation with Latin American countries. Under a plan mapped out by 15 ministries in the country, the government will promote cooperation with the region’s countries in trade, investment, energy, green growth, construction and other areas and step up efforts to solidify infrastructure for bilateral ties, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said. The government also plans to provide 260 billion won (about 233 million U.S. dollars) from its overseas economic cooperation funds to the Latin American countries to help support the region’s economic and social development programs.
13. US-Japan Relations
Kyodo News (“OBAMA, HATOYAMA TO REAFFIRM U.S.-JAPAN ALLIANCE IN TOKYO: U.S.”, Washington, 2009/11/09) reported that U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will reaffirm a sound and robust U.S.-Japan alliance during their summit slated for Friday in Tokyo, despite a row over the relocation of a major U.S. military airfield in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture, a senior U.S. administration official said. The official, speaking to a small group of reporters ahead of Obama’s upcoming Asia trip, said the base issue does not imperil the alliance and expressed confidence that the two nations will swiftly reach a satisfactory conclusion.
Yomiuri Shimbun (Yoshinari Kurose, “U.S. HOPES A-BOMBED CITIES MAKE OBAMA HONORARY CITIZEN”, Washington, 2009/11/10) reported that a senior U.S. official expressed hope that U.S. President Barack Obama would be offered honorary citizenships by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two cities devastated by atomic bombs at the end of World War II, in comments made Monday. In the United States, the prevailing view over a potential visit by Obama to the two cities is one of caution. In light of this situation, the official apparently suggested that the Obama administration would be willing to realize a visit by the president if he were invited to the cities for a ceremony to make him an honorary citizen.
Agence France-Press (“OBAMA SAYS WILLING TO VISIT HIROSHIMA: BROADCASTER”, Tokyo, 2009/11/10) reported that US President Barack Obama said in an interview with NHK on Tuesday he is willing to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki while in office but won’t go there during a Japan trip this week. “The memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are etched in the minds of the world, and I would be honoured to have the opportunity to visit those cities at some point during my presidency,” Obama said.
14. Japan Aid for Afhanistan
Kyodo News (“JAPAN TO EXTEND $4 BIL. IN CIVILIAN AID TO AFGHANISTAN OVER 5 YRS”, 2009/11/10) reported that the Japanese government has decided to extend 400 billion yen in civilian aid to Afghanistan over five years from fiscal 2010 to help reconstruct the conflict-torn country, sources close to the plan said Monday. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will convey the plan, which the government will formalize at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, to U.S. President Barack Obama during their meeting in Tokyo on Friday, the sources said. Japan is to furnish the aid package through the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the U.N. Development Programme, the sources said.
Reuters (Yoko Nishikawa, “JAPAN PLANS AID FOR KABUL AHEAD OF OBAMA VISIT”, Tokyo, 2009/11/10) reported that Japan said on Tuesday it would give Afghanistan up to $5 billion in new aid. Hatoyama is expected to present the aid package to US President Barack Obama at a summit on Friday in Tokyo, Japanese officials said. The aid would be delivered over five years. Obama and Hatoyama agreed by phone on Tuesday to strengthen ties and discuss issues such as Afghanistan and climate change at their summit, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said.
15. Japan Indian Ocean Refueling
Mainichi Shimbun (“2 MSDF VESSELS DEPART ON JAPAN’S LAST LIKELY REFUELING MISSION IN INDIAN OCEAN”, 2009/11/09) reported that two Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) vessels have set sail for the Indian Ocean to carry out a refueling mission in support of the U.S.-led military campaign, most likely for the last time as Japan’s special anti-terrorism law expires next January. The MSDF supply ship Mashu left its home port at the Maizuru Naval Base in Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, with about 150 crew members aboard on Monday morning.
16. US-Japan Military Relations
Kyodo News (“HATOYAMA, OBAMA WILL SKIP IN-DEPTH TALKS ON FUTENMA: OKADA”, 2009/11/09) reports that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and U.S. President Barack Obama are unlikely to engage in in-depth discussions on a bilateral dispute over the relocation of a U.S. Marine Corps airfield in Okinawa Prefecture when they meet in Tokyo later this week, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said Sunday. “There has been a tacit agreement (between the two countries) that silliness, in which the top Japanese and U.S. leaders discuss the issue but can’t decide on anything, should be avoided,” Okada said during a TV Asahi program.
17. Somali Pirates Attack HK Oil Tanker
Associated Press (Jason Straziuso, “SOMALI PIRATES HIT OIL TANKER IN LONG-RANGE ATTACK”, Nairobi, 2009/11/09) reported that Somali pirates attacked an oil tanker and fired automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades Monday farther out at sea than any previous assault, suggesting that pirate capabilities are growing as they increase activity off East Africa. Pirates in two skiffs fired at the Hong Kong-flagged BW Lion about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) east of the Somali coast, the European Union Naval Force said. No casualties were reported.
18. Sino-Indian Relations
Associated Press (“INDIA LIMITS MEDIA ON CONTENTIOUS DALAI LAMA TRIP”, Tawang, 2009/11/09) reported that Indian officials clamped down Monday on journalists covering the Dalai Lama’s trip to a disputed border area in an apparent effort to minimize tensions with neighboring PRC . PRC has protested the Tibetan spiritual leader ‘s weeklong visit to the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh that began Sunday after months of rising friction between India and PRC. India refused to allow foreign journalists to travel to Tawang to cover the trip and tried to keep local reporters away from the Dalai Lama on Sunday.
19. Cross Strait Trade
The China Post (“TAIWAN TO DISCUSS TRADE PACT WITH CHINA IN APEC”, Taipei, 2009/11/09) reported that Taiwan’s representative to the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit said Monday he will discuss a trade agreement with the PRC delegation — but not politics. The statement by Lien Chan, a former Taiwanese vice president, also said he will help arrange formal negotiations between Taipei and Beijing on a partial free trade agreement to boost Taiwan’s sluggish economy. However, the Taiwan government has said the pact will not include agricultural goods and will not allow PRC laborers to enter Taiwan.
20. US and Cross Strait Relations
The China Post (“U.S. PRES. OBAMA WILL BE FIRM ON BACKING TAIWAN: AIDE”, Washington, 2009/11/08) reported that U.S. President Barack Obama, set to undertake a visit to PRC this month to boost warming ties, will stay firm on the U.S. policy of supporting but not recognizing Taiwan, an aide said Friday. Jeff Bader, the East Asia director on the White House’s National Security Council, stayed coy on whether Washington would soon authorize more weapons to Taipei, saying only, “Our policy on arms sales to Taiwan has not changed.” Bader welcomed the easing of tensions but said it was not a reason to change U.S. policy.
21. PRC-Africa Relations
Xinhua News (“SUDANESE MINISTER SAYS CHINA-AFRICA TIES BASED ON MUTUAL RESPECT, SUPPORT”, Khartoum, 2009/11/09) reported that Sudanese State Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Karti said Monday that PRC-Africa relations are based on mutual respect and support without any political condition attached. “All the African countries are now aware of the importance of their relations with PRC. They are relations that refrain from dictations and political conditions and stand on respect of the other and provision of assistance, and above all else, the supportive political stances,” said Karti in a statement at Khartoum airport.
Xinhua News (“UGANDA CALLS ON CHINA TO HELP AFRICA GAIN FAIR SHARE OF WORLD TRADE”, Kampala, 2009/11/09) reported that a top Ugandan government official on Monday urged PRC to help Africa gain a fair share of the world trade as it increases its cooperation with the continent. Gaggawala Wambuzi, the minister of state for trade while speaking at a Photo Exhibition at the PRC Embassy here said that the continent is the biggest in size but takes a small percent of world trade.
22. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “9 EXECUTED OVER CHINA’S DEADLY ETHNIC RIOTS”, Beijing, 2009/11/09) reported that PRC has executed nine men, including eight from the Muslim Uighur minority, for crimes committed during July riots that killed 200 people in far western Xinjiang region. The men are the first to be put to death for the country’s worst ethnic violence in decades.