NAPSNet Daily Report 11 January, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. DPRK Peace Treaty Proposal
- 2. ROK on DPRK Peace Treaty Proposal
- 3. DPRK Nuclear Tests
- 4. DPRK-EU Relations
- 5. US-DPRK Relations
- 6. DPRK Human Rights
- 7. DPRK Economy
- 8. DPRK Food Security
- 9. DPRK Leadership
- 10. ROK Defectors
- 11. DPRK Military Exercises
- 12. US-ROK Military Exercises
- 13. ROK Role in Afghanistan
- 14. ROK Cross-Border Pollution
- 15. ROK-Japan Relations
- 16. Korean Residents in Japan
- 17. US-Japan Nuclear Agreement
- 18. USFJ Base Relocation
- 19. Japanese Politics
- 20. Japanese Whaling
- 21. PRC on US Arms Sales to Taiwan
- 22. Taiwan Export Controls
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Peace Treaty Proposal
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “NKOREA CALLS FOR PEACE TALKS, END TO SANCTIONS”, Seoul, 2010/01/11) reported that the DPRK Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the resumption of the six-nation nuclear talks depends on building confidence between Pyongyang and Washington and called for a peace treaty . “It is our conclusion that it is necessary to pay primary attention to building confidence between the DPRK and the United States, the parties chiefly responsible for the nuclear issue, in order to bring back the process for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula on track,” the ministry said in a statement. The ministry said it “courteously proposes to the parties to the armistice agreement an early start of the talks” to replace it with a peace treaty.
2. ROK on DPRK Peace Treaty Proposal
Yonhap (“S. KOREA SKEPTICAL OF N. KOREAN PROPOSAL FOR PEACE TREATY”, Seoul, 2010/01/11) reported that the ROK is thoroughly reviewing the DPRK’s proposal for talks on replacing the Korean armistice with a peace agreement to ascertain Pyongyang’s true intentions, a foreign ministry official said Monday. “We cannot say it is all good news because what they proposed is somewhat different from our position on such talks,” the official said. “We have to consider the proposal in greater depth before deciding on how to perceive it, but the format for talks on a peace treaty that was agreed to by the six parties of the nuclear negotiations was for a forum separate from the six-party talks,” the ministry official said.
3. DPRK Nuclear Tests
Yonhap (“2ND NUCLEAR TEST SITE PINPOINTED IN NEW STUDY”, Seoul, 2010/01/10) reported that Lianxing Wen, a geophysics professor at the State University of New York in Stonybrook, and his graduate student, Hui Long, located the epicenter of the DPRK’s second nuclear test on May 5 last year with a margin of error of only 140 meters, compared with 3.8 kilometers achieved by the U.S. Geological Survey last year, according to their joint study published in the January-February edition of Seismological Research Letters of the Seismological Society of America. Identifying the coordinates of the 2009 test site as 41°17?38.14?N latitude and 129°4?54.21?E longitude, the scientists said their findings should help Asian monitors to pinpoint the location of another nuclear test should the DPRK ever decide to go ahead with one.
4. DPRK-EU Relations
Arirang News (“N.KOREAN AIRLINE BANNED FROM EUROPE”, Seoul, 2010/01/11) reported that DPRK carrier Air Koryo has been banned from flight services to Europe for the fifth year after failing to meet international safety requirements. Based on a report by the European Commission, Air Koryo not only failed to improve its safety issues but also refrained from truthfully and accurately informing the commission’s safety inspectors.
Chosun Ilbo (“EU BLACKLISTS N.KOREAN LEADERS”, Seoul, 2010/01/11) reported that at a session of the Environment Council in Brussels on December 22, the EU approved new sanctions against the DPRK, including an entry ban on individuals and goods. Twelve officials were blacklisted, many of them thought to be leader Kim Jong-il’s closest advisers. Six of 13 members of the powerful National Defense Committee were blacklisted.
5. US-DPRK Relations
Joongang Ilbo (Yoo Jee-ho, “DELEGATION FROM NORTH HEADED TO THE UNITED STATES”, Seoul, 2010/01/07) reported that a delegation from the Kim Chaek University of Technology in Pyongyang involved in an exchange program with Syracuse University in New York plans to fly to the United States later this month, Korea Society President Evans Revere said. Revere told Radio Free Asia that the delegation will be led by the school president Hong So-hon. He added that no major progress has been made on a possible visit by the State Symphony Orchestra of the DPRK to the United States.
6. DPRK Human Rights
Agence France-Presse (“N.KOREA MUST IMPROVE RIGHTS RECORD: US ENVOY”, Seoul, 2010/01/11) reported that the DPRK must improve its “appalling” human rights record if it wants better relations with the United States, Robert King , the new US special envoy for DPRK rights issues, said Monday. “It’s one of the worst places in terms of lack of human rights. The situation is appalling,” King said. “As we have said on many occasions a relationship between the US and North Korea will have to involve human rights,” King told reporters after meeting ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan.
7. DPRK Economy
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA CRACKS DOWN ON MONEY CHANGERS”, Seoul, 2010/01/11) reported that DPRK authorities have been rounding up money changers in major cities since January 4, it emerged Friday. Sources in the DPRK said an average of 20 money changers were arrested in each major city, including 17 in Pyongyang and 23 in Sinuiju. It seems the State Security Department and the Ministry of Public Security and members of the village resident organizations secretly investigated people’s dollar holdings prior to the currency reform, the sources said. Heads of the resident organizations from each village reportedly discovered who spent dollars, and the two security agencies investigated foreign currency managers in agencies and enterprises.
8. DPRK Food Security
Chosun Ilbo (“KIM JONG-IL ADMITS FAILURE TO FEED PEOPLE”, Seoul, 2010/01/11) reported that DRPK leader Kim Jong-il has admitted he failed to accomplish his late father Kim Il-sung’s promise to feed the people with “rice and meat soup,” the official Rodong Shinmun daily reported Saturday. The daily quoted Kim as making the remarks during an “arduous march despite a snowstorm” last year. “Now, our country has become a powerful nation in political, ideological and military terms, but we feel many things are still wanting in people’s lives.” “In the past, the leader [Kim Il-sung] always said he wished to feed our people with rice and meat soup, clothe them in silk, and let them live in tile-roofed houses. But we haven’t yet fulfilled his wishes. I will do everything to let our people live a content life by improving their lives in the shortest period possible,” the daily quoted him as adding.
9. DPRK Leadership
Yonhap (“N.K. SUSPECTED OF INFLATING HEIR APPARENT’S AGE”, Seoul, 2010/01/10) reported that the Mainichi Shimbun, citing an unidentified informed source, said it has been confirmed that Kim Jong-un, the third son of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, is now 26 years old, as he was born on Jan. 8, 1984, instead of the previously known date, Jan. 18, 1983. A 25th birthday celebration was held in Pyongyang on Jan. 7 last year in honor of the DPRK heir apparent, the paper insisted.
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “‘KIM JONG-IL SUFFERS FROM DEPRESSION'”, Seoul, 2010/01/10) reported that Cheong Seong-chang, a senior fellow at the Sejong Institute, said Sunday that Kim Jong-il appears to be suffering from post stroke depression (PSD). Cheong said DPRK officials are skeptical over whether Kim can survive for much more than five years, as complications have caused him to suffer from one disease after another. Cheong said Kim is reportedly unable to hold back his tears in front of his bodyguards. “Kim was smoking in a video clip released by North Korea’s Central News Agency last February when he visited a tobacco factory in Hoeryeong, North Hamgyeong Province,” said Cheong. “Kim’s frequent on-site visits last year may have had something to do with depression after a stroke. Neurologists recommended PSD patients to get as much exercise as possible to prevent insomnia at night,” Cheong said.
10. ROK Defectors
Arirang News (“S.KOREAN MAN ‘DEFECTED TO N.KOREA'”, Seoul, 2010/01/11) reported that an ROK man has defected to the DPRK, PRC sources said Saturday. The man, believed to be in his 30s or 40s, crossed the DPRK border by walking over the frozen Tumen River after getting out of a taxi about 2 km from Tumen city. Sources say he spoke to about a dozen DPRK guards and walked away with them.
11. DPRK Military Exercises
Arirang News (“N.KOREAN TANK UNIT STAGES MOCK INVASION”, Seoul, 2010/01/08) reported that officials in Seoul said video clips released Tuesday by the DPRK’s tate-run Korean Central Television show the 105 Tank Division conducting a military drill apparently staged in mock ROK cities and highways.
12. US-ROK Military Exercises
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “MARINES TO JOIN DRILLS IN THAILAND”, Seoul, 2010/01/08) reported that about 330 ROK Marines and sailors will participate in the U.S.-led multinational Cobra Gold exercise in Thailand to hone their joint humanitarian and peacekeeping operational skills with other nations, the Navy announced Friday. The exercise will be held from January 28 to February 11, it said in a news release. Cobra Gold is a joint exercise designed to ensure regional peace and strengthen the ability of allied forces to respond to regional contingencies. The ROK has taken part in the drill, which the U.S. and Thai armed forces began in 1982, since 2002 as an observer.
13. ROK Role in Afghanistan
Joongang Ilbo (Yoo Jee-ho, “KOREA READY TO SETTLE ON NEW SITE IN AFGHANISTAN”, Seoul, 2010/01/11) reported that the ROK is poised to settle on a new site for the base camp of its provincial reconstruction team in Afghanistan. Earlier, a Joint Chiefs of Staff document showed that clay soil in a region in the Charikar District in Parwan Province would make construction work difficult. A diplomatic source said that the Afghanistan government had suggested another region, just north of Charikar, as a possible site for the PRT base and the ROK will soon approve it.
14. ROK Cross-Border Pollution
Dong-A Ilbo (“FOREIGN WASTE POLLUTING CLEAN SEA AREAS IN KOREA”, Seoul, 2010/01/09) reported that eleven ROK civic environmental groups said in a report that sea waste from other countries account for 20 percent of garbage found on the country’s southern and western coastal areas in 2008, up from 12 percent in 2006. Waste from the PRC accounted for 74 percent and that from Japan six percent.
15. ROK-Japan Relations
Yonhap (“PATRIOTS AFFAIRS MINISTER SAYS TALK OF JAPANESE EMPEROR’S VISIT PREMATURE”, Seoul, 2010/01/08) reported that ROK Minister of Patriots and Veteran Affairs Kim Yang on Friday expressed his disapproval of any discussion over Japanese Emperor Akihito’s visit to Seoul this year. “I do not think the Japanese emperor should visit Korea until the issues surrounding the two countries’ past are solved,” Kim said. “A proper apology should come first and Japan should be more cooperative on recovering the lost remains of An Jung-geun,” he said. “Korea could face internal division if the government invites the Japanese emperor before key issues are solved first,” he said.
16. Korean Residents in Japan
Asahi Shimbun (Yusuke Fukui, Shiho Watanabe and Masatoshi Nomura, “ASSEMBLIES SAY ‘NO’ TO FOREIGN SUFFRAGE”, Tokyo, 2010/01/09) reported that fourteen prefectural assemblies have adopted statements opposing legislation that would give permanent foreign residents in Japan the right to vote in local elections. Akira Fukumura, secretary-general of the LDP Ishikawa prefectural chapter and a prefectural assembly member, said the assembly’s about-face in its stance on foreign suffrage reflects the “new circumstances brought about by the change in government.” “In the past, we showed support because the legislation was unlikely to happen” under the LDP rule, Fukumura said. “We figured that it was just good policy to preserve the honor of those who wanted to show support.” Seo Won Cheol, secretary-general of a task force on foreign suffrage at the pro-Seoul Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan), said the recent developments are “unfortunate, but in a way, show the true colors” of those who purportedly supported the drive.
17. US-Japan Nuclear Agreement
Yomiuri Shimbun (“JAPAN ‘HINTED TO ROK THAT GOVT HAD SECRET N-PACT WITH U.S.'”, Tokyo, 2010/01/10) reported that Japan indicated to the ROK the existence of a secret 1969 Japan-U.S. agreement on allowing U.S. nuclear weapons into Okinawa in times of emergency, according to Japanese researcher Somei Kobayashi. According to Kobayashi’s paper, presented in the February 2010 issue of the monthly magazine Chuo Koron, after Japan and the United States reached agreement on Okinawa’s return to Japan during a November 1969 summit meeting, then Ambassador to the ROK Masahide Kanayama explained to then ROK President Park Chung Hee the Japanese government’s interpretation that nuclear weapons would be allowed to be brought into Japan in an emergency.
18. USFJ Base Relocation
Yomiuri Shimbun (“HIRANO RESETS FUTENMA MOVE”, Naha, 2010/01/10) reported that the Japanese government will consider the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture “from scratch,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said Saturday. Hirano met with the mayors of three municipalities that neighbor the Kadena base at the Chatancho town hall. The mayors expressed their opposition to consolidating the Futenma facility with Kadena, to which Hirano said the panel “would consider [the issue] from scratch.”
19. Japanese Politics
Yomiuri Shimbun (“CABINET APPROVAL RATE KEEPS LEVEL AT 56%”, Tokyo, 2010/01/11) reported that the approval rating for Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s Cabinet was 56 percent in the latest Yomiuri Shimbun survey, almost unchanged from the previous poll in December, while 47 percent of respondents to the latest survey thought the recent appointment of a new finance minister would have a positive impact on the administration. The Cabinet’s disapproval rating was 34 percent. In the previous Yomiuri survey, its approval rating was 55 percent and the disapproval rating 33 percent.
20. Japanese Whaling
Associated Press (Kristen Gelineau, “CONSERVATIONISTS FILE PIRACY CLAIM AGAINST WHALERS”, Sydney, 2010/01/09) reported that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has filed a piracy complaint in the Netherlands against the captain and crew of Shonan Maru No. 2, the whaling vessel that collided with the Sea Shepard’s Ady Gil . Sea Shepherd Deputy CEO Chuck Swift said the complaint argues the whalers are guilty of piracy because they served on a vessel that was used to commit an act of violence. “They have certainly proven that some of them have as much disregard for the law and human life as they do for the law and whale life,” Swift said. “We could have had six dead.” The group chose to file the complaint in the Netherlands because one of the Ady Gil crew members is Dutch and the Sea Shepherd’s main ship, the Steve Irwin , is registered there, according to the complaint. Sea Shepherd is also considering filing charges of attempted murder in New Zealand, where the Ady Gil was registered, Swift said.
21. PRC on US Arms Sales to Taiwan
Associated Press (“CHINA URGES US TO HALT ARMS SALES TO TAIWAN”, Beijing, 2010/01/10) reported that PRC Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei reiterated Saturday the PRC’s opposition to American arms sales to Taiwan , calling them an interference in Beijing ‘s internal affairs that could undermine relations with the United States. He said the PRC expressed its strong dissatisfaction to recent moves by the U.S. government to award contracts for Taiwan-bound weapons to Raytheon Company and Lockheed Martin Corp ., according to the Xinhua News Agency .
22. Taiwan Export Controls
Associated Press (“TAIWANESE FIRM SAYS IT SENT NUCLEAR PARTS TO IRAN”, Taipei, 2010/01/09) reported that Heli-Ocean Technology, a Taiwanese firm, agreed to a request from a company in the PRC to procure sensitive components with nuclear uses and then shipped them to Iran at the Chinese company’s request,Steven Lin, the firm’s head said Friday. Lin said he did not know whether Iran used the parts for military purposes, but he did say they have nuclear applications.
II. PRC Report
23. PRC Environment
Xinhua News (“CHINA SPEEDS CONSTRUCTION OF DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION SYSTEM”, 2010/02/08) reported that China will invest 580 million RMB on a national environmental information and statistics capacity building program, to serve environmental protection agencies at the national, provincial, city and county levels. The program tries to resolve the problems of duplicated data collection, difficulty of sharing information, and so on.
24. PRC Civil Society
NGO communication net (“EU LANCAO PROJECT LAUNCHED IN BEIJING”, 2010/01/08) reported that the EU Assistance in China program allocated 530,000 EUR to launch a three-year Lancao Project in China. The Project aims to train women in minority areas in fabric dyeing, in order to improve their lives.
25. PRC Civil Society and the Environment
Tencent.com (“FIRST LOVE FUND OF SOLAR INDUSTRY FOUND IN BEIJING”, 2010/01/08) reported that the first enterprise special love fund of China’s solar industry was found on January 6 in Beijing. The fund was set by Beijing Sunshine Shijia Solar Industry Company, and the Company promised to draw 1% of its annual profits as initial fund every year.