NAPSNet Daily Report 11 June, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK on Terrorism
- 2. DPRK Energy Aid Working Group
- 3. PRC on DPRK-Japan Relations
- 4. Sino-DPRK Cultural Exchange
- 5. US-ROK Security Alliance
- 6. DPRK Bird Flu Outbreak
- 7. ROK Joint Maritime Exercise
- 8. Japan Africa Trade
- 9. US on Japan Afghanistan Dispatch
- 10. East China Sea Maritime Collision
- 11. US, India on PRC Military
- 12. PRC Earthquake
- 13. PRC Politics
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. DPRK on Terrorism
Joongang Ilbo (“PYONGYANG DECLARES IT WILL OPPOSE ‘ALL FORMS OF TERROR’”, 2008/06/10) reported that the DPRK reasserted its opposition to terrorism yesterday in an apparent attempt to bolster its bid for removal from a US blacklist. In a statement from the DPRK’s Foreign Ministry, the country said it “will firmly maintain its consistent stand of opposing all forms of terrorism” and also keep nonproliferation pledges made at the nuclear talks. In the statement, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, the DPRK said it would “take active part in the international efforts to prevent substance, equipment and technology to be used for the production of nukes and biochemical and radioactive weapons from finding their ways to the terrorists and the organizations that support them.” The DPRK also praised anti-terrorism cooperation with the US military last year in the release.
2. DPRK Energy Aid Working Group
Korea Herald (Lee Joo-hee, “PARTIES PLEDGE SPEEDY N.K. ENERGY AID “, 2008/06/10) reported that participants in the negotiation to dismantle the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program gathered in Seoul to reaffirm their pledge to fulfill the delivery of energy aid to the DPRK in return for its denuclearization steps. The parties were set to adopt a plan reaffirming their commitment to fulfill their delivery of energy aid to reassure the DPRK.
Kyodo News (“N. KOREA DEMANDS JAPAN PAY PARTIAL COST FOR GAS-PRODUCING FACILITIES”, Seoul, 2008/06/10) reported that the DPRK has demanded Japan pay $40 million, part of a total sum needed to construct facilities to produce gases from anthracite under an aid-for-denuclearization deal, Yonhap News Agency reported Tuesday. The request was made at working-level talks with the ROK at the truce village of Panmunjeom last Thursday, a diplomatic source told Yonhap.
3. PRC on DPRK-Japan Relations
Xinhua (“CHINA VOICES HOPE FOR “POSITIVE RESULT” FROM DPRK-JAPAN TALKS “, Beijing, 2008/06/10) reported that the PRC hoped bilateral talks between the DPRK and Japan, scheduled in Beijing on Wednesday, would produce positive result so as to promote normalization of the DPRK-Japan ties, said the PRC Foreign Ministry on Tuesday. Ministry spokesman Qin Gang made the remarks at a regular press conference here, saying the PRC welcomed the DPRK-Japan bilateral talks and hoped it would help push forward the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
4. Sino-DPRK Cultural Exchange
Xinhua (“”FLOWER GIRL” BOOSTS CULTURAL EXCHANGE BETWEEN DPRK, CHINA “, Pyongyang, 2008/06/10) reported that the performing tour in the PRC of the famous opera “Flower Girl” of the DPRK was very successful, a DPRK newspaper said. “The unprecedented performance was extremely successful and will be a landmark in the DPRK-China traditional friendship,” the newspaper Minju Joson quoted the head of the opera delegation Choe Chang Il as saying. It will boost the exchange of culture and art between the two countries, Choe added.
5. US-ROK Security Alliance
Yonhap News (Byun Duk-kun, “COMMANDER OF U.S. FORCES KOREA VOWS STRONGER DETERRENT AGAINST N. KOREA”, Seoul, 2008/06/10) reported that US forces stationed in ROK will continue to build upon their joint combat capabilities with ROK allies to quickly end any aggression from the DPRK should the DPRK ever make such an ill-fated decision as to attack, Gen. Walter L. Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said. The American general said he took it as a “very solemn duty” to prepare the combined forces for any possible outbreak of conflict here, adding he is honored to head the joint forces.
Chosun Ilbo (“S.KOREA: FROM U.S. ALLY TO MERE ‘PARTNER’?”, 2008/06/10) reported that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls ROK a “global partner” but Japan and Australia “allies” in an article in the July-August issue of bimonthly journal Foreign Affairs, in what appears the latest manifestation of a subtle shift in America’s regional focus. There is a suggestion that while Rice views Japan and Australia as allies, she regards the ROK as “merely” a partner in U.S. national security matters. The ROK’s strategic value has been falling continuously as the U.S. focuses on the formation of a triangular alliance with Japan and Australia in the Asia-Pacific region.
6. DPRK Bird Flu Outbreak
Yonhap News (“N.K. DENIES RUMORS ON BIRD FLU OUTBREAK: REPORT “, Seoul, 2008/06/10) reported that the DPRK has denied rumors that avian influenza or hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) is spreading in the country, a radio report said Tuesday. The DPRK’s heath authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) that there has been no single case of bird flu or HFMD reported to the authorities this year, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia said.
7. ROK Joint Maritime Exercise
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “KOREAN NAVY TO PARTICIPATE IN PACIFIC RIM EXERCISE”, 2008/06/10) reported that a fleet comprised of ROK destroyers, submarines and maritime aircraft departed for Hawaii to participate in a large-scale international maritime exercise beginning late this month, the Navy said. The Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) is to be held in the waters off Hawaii from June 29 until July 31, the service said in a news release. RIMPAC, which started in 1971, is a biennial multinational power projection and sea control exercise conducted under the leadership of the U.S. Third Fleet. This year’s participants include the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, Japan, Chile, Peru, the Netherlands and Singapore.
8. Japan Africa Trade
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT TO OFFER CUSTOMS HELP FOR AFRICAN NATIONS”, 2008/06/10) reported that the government likely will help African countries improve their customs procedures in the hope it will lead to more effective distribution systems, according to sources. For example, the Finance Ministry is considering helping those African countries whose customs procedures are not currently integrated, by having customs inspections for two neighboring nations conducted at one location. The ministry aims to promote the distribution of products in these countries by cutting costs and simplifying procedures.
9. US on Japan Afghanistan Dispatch
Mainichi Shimbun (“US WELCOMES JAPAN’S EXPANDED ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN”, 2008/06/10) reported that the US would welcome Japan’s move to expand its role in Afghanistan to include non-combat troops on the ground, a top State Department official said Tuesday. Japan’s navy now supports US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan with a refueling mission out of the Indian Ocean. “The US and Japan share a common interest for stability in Afghanistan,” William Burns, the U.S. undersecretary for political affairs, told reporters. “We would welcome any further support that Japan can provide.”
10. East China Sea Maritime Collision
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN, CHINA UPSET AS BOAT COLLIDES WITH JAPANESE “, Tokyo, 2008/06/10) reported that a Taiwanese fishing boat sank after colliding with a Japanese patrol vessel off a disputed island chain, causing no serious injuries but triggering concern in Beijing and Taipei, officials said. The Japan Coast Guard said the Taiwanese boat made an abrupt move as it was speeding away out of the contested area and crashed into the Japanese boat. But the skipper of the Taiwanese boat contended that the patrol boat rammed them. The incident occurred near islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japanese and the Diaoyu in Chinese. Japan administers the chain, which is claimed by Taipei and Beijing and lies near rich energy deposits.
11. US, India on PRC Military
India Times (“CHINA’S GROWING MILITARY CLOUT WORRIES INDIA, US”, 2008/06/10) reported that India and the US came together on Tuesday to discuss the PRC’s massive modernisation of its military capabilities, its spreading arc of influence in the Asia-Pacific region and the basic uncertainty about its long-term aims. Coming as it does just before the India-US-Japan trilateral exercise off Yokosuka near Tokyo Bay on April 17, the move is likely to ruffle feathers in Beijing. The PRC is already suspicious at the emergence of what is being called the “axis of democracy” in the Asia-Pacific region, with India, US, Japan, and Australia upgrading their defence ties. But India continues to remain apprehensive about the PRC’s deep strategic ties with Pakistan, its rapid modernisation of the 2.5-million-strong People’s Liberation Army and military infrastructure build-up in Tibet.
12. PRC Earthquake
The Associated Press (Audra Ang, “CHINA DECLARES QUAKE LAKE CRISIS OVER “, Chengdu, 2008/06/10) reported that water churned through a drainage channel and engulfed empty towns Tuesday after PRC soldiers blasted away the debris that kept an earthquake-formed lake threatening more than a million people downstream. Sichuan province’s Communist Party chief, Liu Qibao, declared “decisive victory” after more than half the 66 billion gallons of water drained off by early evening, easing pressure on a dam formed when the quake triggered a landslide of mud, rocks and other debris, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. More than 250,000 people had already moved to high ground due to concerns that the barrier holding back Tangjiashan lake could break. About 1.3 million people live downstream.
Washington Post (Edward Cody, “SOME CHINESE OFFICIALS PUNISHED, SOME PROMOTED FOR ACTIONS AFTER QUAKE”, 2008/06/10) reported that the PRC Communist Party has disciplined 28 officials and promoted 50 as a result of their performances during rescue operations after the devastating May 12 earthquake in Sichuan province, the party said. The personnel changes, including the firing of 15 officials for “doing nothing” during the catastrophe, represented the first public accounting of government actions after a prominent warning by a senior party leader that officials’ careers would depend on how well they responded to the crisis. In a sign the party intended the decisions to serve as examples, they were reported prominently in the party’s Sichuan Daily newspaper and relayed nationwide by the official New China News Agency.
13. PRC Politics
Washington Post (“CHINA’S LOCAL LEADERS HOLD ABSOLUTE POWER”, Xifeng, 2008/06/10) reported that despite three decades of widely heralded economic reforms, the CCP has clung tenaciously to its Leninist-inspired monopoly on politics. As a result, most of the PRC’s 1.3 billion people still live under the thumb of local party secretaries who are responsible only to the higher-level party officials who appoint them. The PRC’s leaders have said the country is evolving politically, without setting any timetable for reforms. For the moment the top-down Communist system still insists on concentrating power in the hands of party functionaries who manage local politics and finances beyond challenge from the law.
II. PRC Report
14. PRC Environment
Xinhua News Agency (Zhou Hua, “GUANGXI URGENTLY DEALS WITH YUNNAN DANGEROUS CHEMICAL LEAK”, 2008/06/10) reported that on June 7, a truck carrying 33.6 tons of crude phenol from Yunnan to Jiangxi accidentally overturned half-way. The dangerous chemical flew into Mulberry River on the upper reach of Baise, Guangxi, which would seriously threaten the water security of more than 20 million people in Baise. After the incident, relevant departments of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Baise City launched an emergent “Prevention Plan of City Emergency” to prevent people drinking the polluted water and quickly carry out the clear-up work.
15. PRC Earthquake
Beijing Times (Guo Aidi, “STATE COUNCIL ISSUES POST-DISASTER RECONSTRUCTION STATUTE”, 2008/06/10) reported that on June 8, PRC Premier Wen Jiabao signed the No. 526 State Council Decree and published “Reconstruction Statute of Wenchuan Earthquake” , which was into effect on the very day. This is the first statue that is dedicated response to a local earthquake reconstruction. It marks the post-disaster reconstruction work going into a legal track. There are six principles: combination of self-reliance and self-producing of affected areas with country support and counterpart help; combination of government lead and social participation; combination of site reconstruction with new reconstruction; combination of quality assurance with efficiency attention; combination of current concern with long-term plan; combination of economic and social development with ecological environment protection.
16. PRC Development and the Environment
ScienceNet, http://www.sciencenet.cn/ (Ren Xiaopeng, “HEATED DISCUSSION ON CHINA ECOLOGICAL CIVILIZATION CONSTRUCTION”, 2008/06/10) reported that on June 7, “China Ecological Civilization Construction Forum” was held at Beijing Forestry University. The forum was organized by the China Elder Professor Association, Tsinghua University and other units, with a total of 150 experts and scholars involved. Experts believe that the ecological civilization has a rich variety of content, and is a new form of civilization. Its core is the coordinated development of people, society and nature. Development needs to go forward in science and technology, education, legal system, and many other aspects; public ideological change, strengthening of law-making and theoretical study are also absolutely necessary in China Ecological Civilization Construction.
III. ROK Report
17. DPRK Nuclear Program
Munhwa Ilbo (“DPRK, ANTI-TERRORISM MANIFESTO, SHOULD BE PROVED OF ITS VERACITY WITH NUCLEAR ABANDONMENT”, 2008/06/11) wrote that the DPRK’s anti-terrorism manifesto is to induce the US to remove it from the state sponsor of terrorism list and the Trading with the Enemy Act. However, it is our view that the veracity of the anti-terrorism manifesto can only be proved through nuclear dismantlement. Whether the DPRK nuclear negotiation succeeds or not depends on the willingness of the DPRK to abandon nuclear weapons and nuclear programs so that they can be completely verified and impossible to restart.
18. DPRK-PRC Relations
Yonhap News (“CHINA’S VIEWPOINT OBSERVED THROUGH DPRK-JAPAN RELATION, WELCOMING IMPROVED RELATIONSHIP ON THE OUTSIDE, WORRYING ABOUT DECREASED INFLUENCE OVER DPRK ON THE INSIDE”, 2008/06/11) wrote that as the DPRK shows indications of normalization relations with Japan after improved DPRK-US relations, the PRC, which has had the greatest influence over the DPRK, is concentrating on maintaining the situation to hold on to the DPRK. However, for the DPRK, improving its relationship with Japan is an opportunity to take one step towards its long wish—amity with US—by adopting a progressive gesture regarding the Japanese hostage issue, currently a hindrance for cancellation from the state sponsor of terrorism list.