NAPSNet Daily Report 11 August, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. DPRK Terror List Status
- 2. Japanese Abductees Issue
- 3. Inter-Korea Relations
- 4. DPRK Tourism
- 5. Democratic Party Korean Policy
- 6. ROK Military Procurements
- 7. PRC-ROK Relations
- 8. Bomb Threat Against Air China
- 9. Sino-Japanese Relations
- 10. PRC Terrorist Attacks
- 11. PRC Espionage
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. DPRK Terror List Status
Reuters (“U.S. WON’T DELIST NORTH KOREA ON MONDAY”, Tokyo, 2008/08/11) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Japan that Washington would not remove the DPRK from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism on the initial deadline of Monday, Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said. Komura told reporters that Rice had informed him of the delay in the delisting in a telephone conversation.
2. Japanese Abductees Issue
Kyodo (“JAPAN LISTS DEMANDS FOR N. KOREA’S PROBE INTO ABDUCTIONS”, Shenyang, 2008/08/10) reported that Japan on Monday listed its demands to the DPRK for an acceptable reinvestigation of past abductions of Japanese nationals, as two-day talks aimed at solving bilateral disputes began in Shenyang. ‘We conveyed our position on the reinvestigation, including what kind of method should be used, who should play the main role, what should be targeted and how long it should take,” Japan’s envoy Akitaka Saiki told reporters after the day’s talks. ”I believe there will be more exchanges with the other side tomorrow,” said the director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau. “Since the last talks in June, bilateral relations have deteriorated further,” Song Il Ho, DPRK ambassador for normalization talks with Japan, told reporters separately. ”The abduction issue is not the only matter between the two countries,” he said. ”If the two sides do not try to sincerely implement their promises, relations will worsen. If things stay as they are, there will be concern that the talks will end,” he said.
3. Inter-Korea Relations
Korea Times (Kim Sue-young, “PUBLIC NEGATIVE ON NK AID”, Seoul, 2008/08/11) reported that a government official said that an informal survey showed the dominance of negative views on delivering rice to the DPRK. ROK Unification Minister Kim Ha-joong Monday again urged the DPRK to accept the on-site investigation into the Mt. Kumgang shooting and resume dialogue. “I hope that the Mt. Kumgang tour will resume and inter-Korean relations will improve,” he said. “For this, North Korea should conduct a joint on-spot investigation and study measures to prevent reoccurrence through talks.”
Korea Herald (Lee Joo-hee, “SEOUL EASES STANCE ON N.K. SHOOTING”, Seoul, 2008/08/11) reported that the Seoul government Monday said it was open to discussing how to resolve the July 11 shooting of an ROK tourist by a DPRK soldier. “We have no desire to let this problem aggravate inter-Korean relations,” a high-ranking government official said on condition of anonymity. “This is actually an extremely simple case where a North Korean soldier shot and killed a South Korean tourist and the North already has formally admitted it,” the official said. “This can be solved when North Korea shows a little bit of sincerity and talks with us on how to wrap up this problem,” he added.
New York Times (Choe Sang-hun, “SOUTH KOREA TO HEED NORTH ON QUICK EXIT FROM RESORT”, Seoul, 2008/08/10) reported that the ROK said it would step up the withdrawal of its personnel from the Kumgang Mountain resort in the DPRK on Sunday. The DPRK said Saturday that it would kick out “unnecessary” ROK personnel from Kumgang beginning on Sunday, a move that would effectively shut down the resort. On Sunday, four employees crossed the border to the the ROK, leaving 146 ROK citizens at Kumgang, officials said. About 20 more were expected to return home this week.
4. DPRK Tourism
Joongang Ilbo (“GUMBALL DRIVERS SET TO ENTER NK TOMORROW”, Seoul, 2008/08/11) reported that more than a hundred participants in Gumball 3000, an annual international rally where luxury car owners join to drive around the world, are expected to visit the DPRK on Wednesday. Participants, who started their eight-day trip at San Francisco last Saturday, are expected to spend a night in Pyongyang on Wednesday before going on to the PRC to watch the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “All participants will get to experience an unprecedented one night in North Korea as part of a global ‘friendship’ initiative, getting to watch the Mass Games (their version of the Olympics) en route to rejoin their cars in Nanjing,” the rally organizer said in its official Web site (http://www.gumball3000.ro).
5. Democratic Party Korean Policy
Korea Times (Michael Ha, “US DEMOCRATS HIGHLIGHT 6-PARTY TALKS”, 2008/08/11) reported that the U.S. Democratic Party said in its new 2008 draft platform that it is committed to maintaining six-party talks to help ensure “a verifiably nuclear-free Korean peninsula.” It went on to state that the Democratic Party supports the “belated diplomatic effort to secure a verifiable end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and to fully account for and secure any fissile material or weapons North Korea has produced to date.” “We are committed to U.S. engagement in Asia,” according to the statement. “This begins with maintaining strong relationships with allies like Japan, Australia, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines, and deepening our ties to vital democratic partners, like India, in order to create a stable and prosperous Asia.”
6. ROK Military Procurements
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “MILITARY RECONSIDERING BUYING US SPY AIRCRAFT”, Seoul, 2008/08/11) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry is having second thoughts on the purchase of four U.S. Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles, in line with a reassessment of arms improvement plans under the Defense Reform 2020 modernization program. A ministry official said Monday that Seoul was offered Global Hawks last month in working-level bilateral defense talks in Washington. The United States said it could sell the aircraft, of which overseas sales are prohibited under a global missile technology control agreement, via a “government-to-government guarantee” mechanism, he said. “The defense reform plan is under review to readjust the target year, priority of weapons procurement and others,” the official said, asking not to be named. “That means the purchase of Global Hawks is also under review.”
7. PRC-ROK Relations
Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “SEOUL, BEIJING TO STRENTHEN TIES OVER NK NUKES”, Korea Times, 2008/08/10) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak returned home Saturday from a two-day visit to the PRC. At his meeting with PRC President Hu Jintao, the two agreed to work together in accelerating the ongoing process of denuclearizing the DPRK through the framework of six-party talks, Cheong Wa Dae said. The two leaders also agreed to map out detailed action plans aimed at upgrading cooperative ties between the two countries during the PRC leader’s visit to the ROK expected in late August, the presidential office said. “President Lee thanked Hu for helping the six-party talks on denuclearizing North Korea, and called for continued joint efforts to get the North to fully abandon its nuclear weapons programs,” a Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said.
8. Bomb Threat Against Air China
Associated Press (“SOUTH KOREAN ARRESTED IN AIR CHINA BOMB THREAT”, Tokyo, 2008/08/11) reported that an ROK man has been arrested for allegedly threatening via an e-mail to blow up Air China planes, which forced a passenger jet to return to Japan last week and caused delays for four other flights, Japanese police said Monday. Lee Hyon-sa, 33, was arrested early Sunday, police spokesman Satoshi Idonuma said. “He allegedly sent the e-mail to Air China’s office in Tokyo from his computer Friday,” Idonuma said. “The e-mail threatened to blow up Air China planes unless the company halted all its flights. It also threatened to force its planes to crash onto Olympics sites.”
9. Sino-Japanese Relations
Yomiuri Shimbun (“KOMURA TO VISIT CHINA ON SATURDAY”, Tokyo, 2008/08/10) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura is set to make a three-day visit to the PRC from next Saturday, government sources said Saturday. During the visit, Komura will meet with his PRC counterpart, Yang Jiechi, and tell him Japan hopes PRC will speed up its probe of cases of food poisoning in Japan caused by Chinese-made frozen gyoza dumplings, with a view to realizing a full resolution of the issue.
10. PRC Terrorist Attacks
BBC (“DEADLY VIOLENCE HITS WEST CHINA”, 2008/08/10) reported that seven militants and a security guard have been killed after a series of bombings in the PRC’s north-western region of Xinjiang, state media says. The pre-dawn violence in southern Kuqa county targeted a police station and other government buildings. The explosions were followed by gunfire in the area.
11. PRC Espionage
BBC (“US-CHINA SPY JAILED FOR 15 YEARS”, 2008/08/08) reported that Tai Shen Kuo, a Taiwan-born US national who admitted passing US military secrets to the PRC, has been sentenced to more than 15 years in a US prison . Kuo used gifts and job promises to convince Gregg Bergersen, a former Pentagon analyst, to hand over secret documents. He then passed the files, which mainly concerned US sales to Taiwan and military communications, to Beijing.
II. PRC Report
12. PRC Environment
Shanghai Securities News (Chen Gang, “ENERGY EXCHANGES LAUNCHED”, 2008/08/06) reported that two environment and energy exchanges were launched yesterday in Shanghai and Beijing, as the country increases efforts in emission cutting and energy conservation. The Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange will collect, filter and publicize information for the environment and energy-related equity and emission credit trading, and provide a platform for such deals between companies or institutions, according to a statement from Shanghai United Assets and Equity Exchange (SUAEE), the sole owner of the environment and energy exchange.
13. PRC Olympics
Xinhua Net, www.xinhuanet.com (Xiao Chunfei, Yang Ming, “BEIJING OLYMPIC GAMES OPEN ON AUG.8”, 2008/08/07) reported that after a hundred years’ waiting and seven years’ preparation, Beijing Olympic Games will be open at China National Stadium at 8:00pm, Aug.8. Delegations of 205 countries or regions will attend the Games. The Olympics will begin on Aug.8 and end on Aug.24. The most outstanding athletes will contest for 302 gold medals on 28 categories. 16,000 athletes will come to Beijing including Iraq athletes. Nearly 7 million tickets have all been sold out, and an estimated 4 billion people will watch the Games on TV.
14. PRC Energy
Xinhua Net, www.xinhuanet.com (Zhou Yingfeng, “STATE ENERGY BUREAU FORMALLY ESTABLISHED”, 2008/08/06) reported that on Aug.8, the State Energy Bureau is established, which sings this government regulatory body of energy industry formally coming into operation. There are 9 divisions in the Bureau including policy-making division, development plan division, energy-saving and technical equipment division, etc. Its specific duties include: drawing out energy development strategy; making recommendation on related system reform; managing oil, nature gas, coal, electric power and other energy resources; managing national oil reserves; developing international energy cooperation, etc.
III. ROK Report
15. DPRK Denuclearization
Kukmin Ilbo (“NO REWARD WITHOUT VERIFICATION”, 2008/08/11) wrote that if removal from the list of state sponsor of terrorism fails, it seems the DPRK would be responsible for that. The DPRK is not considering ‘verification’, which is prerequisite for the removal from the list, and only focusing on getting aid. What the other parties want is complete verification and dismantlement of the DPRK nuclear program.
Yonhap News (“THE REMOVAL FROM THE LIST OF STATE SPONSOR OF TERORRISM AND DPRK NUCLEAR NEGOTIATION”, 2008/08/10) wrote that there is a prospect that the DPRK nuclear negotiations will face deadlock. There is also view that even the framework of the six-party talks might collapse. However there is view that the situation could rapidly change at the last minute. If Japan decides to participate in energy support, the general force of negotiations will be revitalized.
16. Korean Peninsula Situation
Hankook Ilbo (“PROSPECTIVES ABOUT KOREAN PENINSULA SITUATION”, 2008/08/11) wrote that today is a very important day for both inter-Korean relations and the six-party talks. First of all, Mt.Kumgang incident happened exactly a month ago. Today is the day that removal of the DPRK from the state sponsor of terrorism list is administratively possible. However it seems the situation is getting worse, and negotiation between the DPRK and the U.S might go to a serious, long-term deadlock. Does the Lee administration have the ability to overcome these crisis?