NAPSNet Daily Report 11 August, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 2. DPRK Nuclear Issue
- 3. Inter-Korean Relations
- 4. DPRK Food Supply
- 5. DPRK Arirang Festival
- 6. US-ROK Joint Military Exercise
- 7. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 8. Japan on US Nuclear Posture
- 9. Japan-US Relations
- 10. Japan Aid to Afghanistan
- 11. Japan Politics
- 12. Cross Strait Relations
- 13. Sino-US Energy Cooperation
- 14. Sino-Australian Relations
- 15. Sino-Indian Relations
- 16. PRC Security
- 17. PRC Environment
- 18. PRC Energy Supply
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Talks
The Wall Street Journal (“U.S. SAYS NORTH KOREA SEEKS BETTER RELATIONS, BILATERAL TALKS “, 2009/08/10) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong Il told former U.S. President Bill Clinton last week that Pyongyang wants to improve ties and hold bilateral talks with the U.S., in an apparent effort to break the DPRK’s growing isolation. U.S. officials said Mr. Kim’s overture wouldn’t alter President Barack’s Obama’s strategy in pushing Pyongyang to give up its nuclear-weapons program.
2. DPRK Nuclear Issue
JoongAng Ilbo (“HANS BLIX SAYS SECURITY ASSURANCES ARE THE KEY”, 2009/08/10) reported that Hans Blix, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and veteran diplomat in nuclear issues, believes it will take more than United Nations Security Council resolutions to stop the DPRK’s nuclear development. In an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo in Seoul Sunday, Blix said the international community must assure Pyongyang that it can have security without nuclear weapons. “Until now, [the Security Council resolutions] have not stopped [North Korea’s] activities. That is clear,” Blix said. “If you want to tell North Korea that ‘you don’t need nuclear weapons, you can do without them,’ then the first thing is to reassure North Korea that its security will not be jeopardized by absence of nuclear weapons.”
3. Inter-Korean Relations
Itar-Tass (“SOUTH KOREA ALLOWS PUBLIC GROUP TO VISIT DPRK”, 2009/08/10) reported that the ROK Ministry of Unificaiton has given the go-ahead to a trip to the DPRK of a delegation of the non-governmental group engaged in rendering humanitarian aid to Pyongyang. Active members of the group Green Korea United intend to help their northern neighbor implement projects of planting trees and shrubs and train compatriots in using technologies.
4. DPRK Food Supply
IFES NK Brief (“KIM JONG IL SETS SIGHTS ON INCREASING PROCESSED FOOD RATIONING IN ORDER TO IMPROVE THE DAILY LIVES OF THE PEOPLE “, 2009/08/10) reported that DPRK authorities, recognizing that rationing of processed foods is directly linked to the daily lives of the residents of the DPRK, are concentrating on a policy of increasing distribution as part of the campaign to build a ‘Strong and Prosperous Nation’ by 2012. The policy calls for the construction of regional food processing facilities throughout the country and using domestic ingredients for all processed foods. In addition, the government plans to undertake diversification of small-scale factories in order to produce soybean paste, soy sauce, cooking oil and other staples, as well as noodles, rice-cake and other foods, all kinds of side dishes, and alcoholic beverages.
5. DPRK Arirang Festival
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA OPENS ARIRANG FESTIVAL”, 2009/08/10) reported that the DPRK was expected to begin its Arirang Festival, the world’s largest gymnastics show designed to attract foreign tourists, Monday night. Pyongyang has intermittently held the annual festival, named after Korea’s famous folk song, since 2002, mobilizing some 100,000 people for synchronized acrobatics, gymnastics, dances and flip-card mosaic animations.
6. US-ROK Joint Military Exercise
Korea Times (“KOREA, US TONE DOWN JOINT DRILL NEXT WEEK”, 2009/08/10) reported that the ROK and the US will soften the level of their joint computerized military exercise to be held next week, according to officials of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The move is construed as an apparent bid not to provoke the DPRK at a time when the DPRK appears to want to discuss stalled denuclearization talks with the United States, following former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s landmark visit to Pyongyang last week, analysts say. The Lee Myung-bak administration is also wary of causing tensions with Pyongyang as five South Koreans have been held in the DPRK, they say.
7. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
Korea Times (“‘JAPAN’S CLAIM TO DOKDO THREATENS PEACE IN N-E ASIA'”, 2009/08/10) reported that Japan’s repeated claims to the ROK islets of Dokdo are a potential threat to the peace and stability of Northeast Asia and could disrupt ROK-Japan relations any time, researchers said. The Japanese government’s recent decision to adopt school textbooks describing Dokdo as part of its territory shows how Japan is intensifying its claim over the islets. However, the ROK government is not doing enough to defend its sovereignty over Dokdo, according to the researchers.
8. Japan on US Nuclear Posture
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“ASO RAPS DPJ CALL TO OPPOSE PREEMPTIVE U.S. N-STRIKES”, 2009/08/10) reported that Prime Minister Taro Aso expressed his disdain over to a call by Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Katsuya Okada and other DPJ members for Japan to request the United States renounce preemptive nuclear attacks. “When a nuclear power says it won’t make preemptive [nuclear] attacks, there’s no way to verify this,” Aso said at a press conference at a hotel in Nagasaki. “I question the concept of not making preemptive attacks, in terms of ensuring Japan’s national security.”
9. Japan-US Relations
The Financial Times (“DPJ CHIEF HITS AT ‘US-LED’ GLOBALISM”, 2009/08/10) reported that Yukio Hatoyama, the leader of Japan’s opposition Democratic party who is strongly placed to become prime minister after elections this month, has condemned “US-led market fundamentalism” and vowed to shield his nation from the effects of untrammelled globalisation. He made clear that while security ties with the US would remain a “diplomatic cornerstone”, Japan must do much more to tighten links with Asian neighbours such as the PRC and ROK.
10. Japan Aid to Afghanistan
Kyodo News (“DPJ TO FOCUS ON CIVILIAN CONTRIBUTIONS IN AFGHANISTAN “, 2009/08/10) reported that t he Democratic Party of Japan has decided that it will focus on contributing personnel in Afghanistan, if it wins power in the Aug. 30 general election, after terminating Japan’s antiterrorism refueling mission in the Indian Ocean in January, DPJ sources said.
11. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“DPJ WIDENS LEAD OVER LDP IN LATEST KYODO SURVEY ON GENERAL ELECTION “, 2009/08/10) reported that t he main opposition Democratic Party of Japan has widened its lead over the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in party support, continuing its solid advantage three weeks ahead of a national election, the latest Kyodo News survey showed Monday. In the nationwide telephone poll conducted Saturday and Sunday, 34.1 percent of respondents said they will vote for the DPJ in the proportional representation section of the Aug. 30 House of Representatives election, compared with 34.4 percent in the previous survey a week earlier, while 13.3 percent said they will choose the LDP, down from 16.7 percent.
12. Cross Strait Relations
The Financial Times (“CHINA MISSILES SHIFT BALANCE IN STRAIT “, 2009/08/10) reported that the PRC’s build-up of increasingly advanced short-range missiles near the Taiwan Strait “calls into question Washington’s ability to credibly serve as guarantor of Taiwan’s security in the future”, according to a new report by a global policy think-tank. The report, released last week by the Rand Corporation, said the PRC was increasing both the number and quality of its short-range ballistic missiles, around a thousand of which are deployed near the Taiwan Strait. The growing sophistication and accuracy of these missiles mean that by 2013, the PRC would need to launch just 240 missiles to temporarily disable Taiwan’s entire air force.
13. Sino-US Energy Cooperation
The New York Times (“DUKE ENERGY INKS CLEAN-TECH DEAL WITH CHINA’S LARGEST UTILITY “, 2009/08/10) reported that two of the PRC and the United States’ largest electric utilities signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing today to share information and explore potential initiatives to produce cleaner power from coal and renewable resources such as wind. Executives from Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy Corp. and Beijing-based China Huaneng Group will meet in the coming months to discuss their companies’ experiences generating electricity from gasified coal, wind and other resources. The memorandum leaves open the possibility of Duke — the United States’ third-largest electric utility — and state-owned Huaneng — the PRC’s largest utility — developing projects jointly.
14. Sino-Australian Relations
CNN News (“CHINA LEVELS NEW ACCUSATIONS AGAINST RIO TINTO”, 2009/08/10) reported that the PRC has leveled new allegations in the arrest of employees of one of the world’s largest mining companies, saying Rio Tinto overcharged PRC steel mills by $100 billion over six years. The latest allegations, involving the sale of iron ore, appeared on a Web site affiliated with the PRC’s state secrets administration. A spokeswoman for Rio Tinto said Monday that the company had heard about the new accusations but did not wish to comment on it.
15. Sino-Indian Relations
Hindustan Times (“INDIA NO MATCH FOR CHINA, SAYS NAVY CHIEF”, 2009/08/10) reported that Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta publicly admitted that India was no match for the PRC and there was no way New Delhi could bridge the yawning gap in its capabilities against the PRC. He said it would be foolhardy to compare the two nations as equals. Mehta, who retires on August 31 at the age of 62, warned: “In military terms, both conventionally and unconventionally, we can neither have the capability nor the intention to match China force for force…”
The Straits Times (“INDIA, CHINA AGREE TO ENSURE PEACE”, 2009/08/10) reported that India and the PRC have expressed satisfaction over progress they were making in boundary talks, amid rising unease in the relationship of the two giants. Visiting PRC state councillor Dai Bingguo and Mr M.K. Narayanan, India’s national security adviser, met over two days in New Delhi for talks that concluded on Saturday (August 8). Precise details of the 13 rounds of border talks have never been revealed by either side. However, statements from the two sides after the current round said they reiterated their determination to ensure peace and tranquillity along their long border pending a final settlement.
16. PRC Security
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA FREED 1,200 IN TIBET, HOLDS 700 OVER XINJIANG”, Geneva, 2009/08/10) reported that the PRC said that it has released more than 1,200 detainees held over the unrest in Tibet last year while more than 700 people are still being held over last month’s riots in Xinjiang. “After the 1,231 suspects were punished, made to submit statements of repentance and educated by judicial authorities in Tibet, they were freed,” Beijing said.
The Associated Press (“CHINA SAYS 2.75 MILLION SECURITY CAMERAS INSTALLED”, 2009/08/10) reported that the PRC’s police say they have installed 2.75 million surveillance cameras since 2003 and are expanding the system into the largely neglected countryside. The cameras are the most visible components of police surveillance and notification systems installed around the country, mainly in urban areas, according to a news release posted Monday on the Public Security Ministry’s Web site.
17. PRC Environment
Agence France-Presse (“LEAD POISONS OVER 300 CHILDREN IN CHINA: STATE MEDIA”, 2009/08/10) reported that more than 300 children in northern PRC have been diagnosed with lead poisoning suspected of being linked to a smelting factory near their homes, state press reported Monday. The children, all living alongside the Changqing industrial park in Fengxiang county, Shaanxi province, were found to have as much as twice the safe level of lead in their blood, the China Daily said. They sleep more than before, cannot concentrate and react very slowly, the report said, citing local residents.
18. PRC Energy Supply
China Daily (“CHINA TO BUILD SEVEN 10-GW WIND FARMS”, 2009/08/10) reported that the first phase construction of Jiuquan wind farm, the PRC’s frist 10-gW wind power demonstration base was launched on August 8, 2009. Inner Mongolia, Hebei province, northeast PRC, northwest PRC and east PRC coastal regions are focused regions for wind power base construction. The RPC is planning to build seven 10-gW wind farms.
II. PRC Report
19. PRC Civil Society and Public Health
Dahe News (“FIRST CARDIAC EXAMINATION VEHICLE DONATED TO HENAN”, 2009/08/10) reported that the nation’s first cardiac examination vehicle, donated by Beijing Fulun Association and China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, was “settled down” in Zhengzhou Seven Hospital of Henan province. The cardiac examination vehicle will go to the rural areas of the whole province and carry out voluntary census for heart diseases.
20. PRC-Saudi Environmental Cooperation
Jinghua Times (“CHINA’S ENVIRONMENTAL ENTERPRISE GETS THE FIRST DEAL OF INTERNATIONAL WATER BUSINESS”, 2009/08/10) reported that Beijing Sangde Environmental Protection Group yesterday announced that they would go to Saudi Arabia, to upgrade the country’s water treatment plants. The total amount of the contract is 560 million RMB, and it is for the first time that Chinese enterprise get international water business deal.
21. PRC Social Welfare
Guangzhou Daily (“SOCIAL WORKER OFFICE SET UP IN WELFARE HOUSE”, 2009/08/10) reported that Zhongshan Welfare House set up a special social worker office recently. Expert social workers are arranged here to understand each old people’s character and interests in the welfare house, to invite them out of bedrooms and participating in various group activities.