NAPSNet Daily Report 11 March, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US-DPRK Relations
- 2. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 3. DPRK Economy
- 4. DPRK Illicit Arms Trade
- 5. DPRK Food Security
- 6. DPRK Defector Issue
- 7. Inter-Korea Relations
- 8. Soviet Atrocities Before Korean War
- 9. ROK-Turkey Nuclear Cooperation
- 10. ROK Nuclear Energy
- 11. ROK Climate Change
- 12. Japan-US Secret Nuke Pact
- 13. Japan-US Security Relations
- 14. USFJ Base Relocation
- 15. PRC Tibet Issue
- 16. PRC Social Unrest
- 17. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 18. PRC Internet
- 19. PRC Media Control
- 20. PRC Climate Change
- 21. PRC, India on Climate Change
- 22. PRC Civil Society
- II. PRC Report
1. US-DPRK Relations
Associated Press (“NO US INTENT TO FORCE NORTH KOREAN REGIME CHANGE, AMBASSADOR SAYS”, 2010/03/10) reported that the US ambassador to the ROK said Wednesday that the United States had no intention of forcibly ousting the DPRK government, news reports said. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens said her country “has no hostile intent towards the people of North Korea nor are we threatening to change the North Korean regime through force,” the Yonhap News Agency reported. Stephens stressed that Washington was seeking “diplomatic solutions” and would be prepared to hold bilateral talks with the DPRK if it promised to return to six-nation negotiations aimed at ending its nuclear programme.
2. Sino-DPRK Relations
Bloomberg (“CHINA APPOINTS AMBASSADOR TO NORTH KOREA, RADIO SAYS “, 2010/03/10) reported that the PRC’s President Hu Jintao appointed Liu Hongcai as the country’s new ambassador to the DPRK, China National Radio reported today without saying where it got the information. Liu was previously deputy head of the International Department of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, the official Xinhua News Agency said in a separate report.
3. DPRK Economy
Agence France Presse (“N.KOREA LAUNCHES BANK TO WOO FOREIGN CAPITAL”, 2010/03/10) reported that sanctions-hit DPRK on Wednesday formally launched a development bank aimed at attracting foreign funds to revive its economy, state media reported. Directors of the State Development Bank held their first meeting to elect officers and decide on a management structure and annual budget, the Korean Central News Agency said. The bank, set up on the orders of leader Kim Jong-Il, will have “advanced banking rules and system for transactions with international monetary organisations and commercial banks,” the agency said.
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA’S TRADE DROPS 1ST TIME IN 11 YRS IN 2009: THINK TANK “, 2010/03/10) reported that the DPRK’s trade appears to have dropped for the first time in 11 years in 2009 as its trade with the PRC, the ROK and other major business partners declined, a ROK state-run think tank said Wednesday. The Korea Development Institute said in a report that Pyongyang’s trade with foreign countries were projected to have contracted “at least” 5 percent last year compared with a year earlier, citing statistics provided by the PRC’s customs authorities. “Even if its trade with all other nations held unchanged, North Korea is expected to see a decline considering trade figures with China and South Korea,” the report said. “This would mark the first contraction in 11 years since 1998.”
4. DPRK Illicit Arms Trade
Chosun Ilbo (“HOW N.KOREA GOES ABOUT EXPORTING ARMS “, 2010/03/10) reported that curbing the DPRK’s illicit arms trade is difficult since the renegade country launders containers carrying weapons three or four times, a defector who was in charge of illicit arms deals told the Chosun Ilbo. The defector revealed that a factory in Jagang Province, which is believed to produce tractors, is the center of the communist country’s weapons production, including chemical warheads. But international sanctions against DPRK make it difficult to export weapons by conventional means. Its “traders,” who studied at Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies, are fluent in English and Chinese and sign deals with “forwarders” from other countries. Through this process, the DPRK sends containers across the Apnok River to the PRC one third or half filled with weapons. “The forwarder who received this cargo enters a port in a third country, where the containers are filled with freight unrelated to weapons and the paperwork is completed,” he said.
5. DPRK Food Security
JoongAng Ilbo (“U.S. RECOGNIZES DEFECTOR-TURNED-PROF”, 2010/03/10) reported that a DPRK defector-turned-nutritionist called on the international community to resume food aid to the DPRK to help children there suffering from malnutrition. Speaking to reporters at the State Department, Lee Ae-ran, professor of nutrition and culinary arts at Kyungin Women’s College in the ROK, said food aid to the DPRK “should resume regardless of the circumstances,” noting that DPRK children are much smaller than their ROK counterparts owing to malnutrition. “However, we need to develop measures to prevent food aid from being funneled to the military without being distributed to needy North Korean people,” she said.
Korea Herald (“SEOUL ‘WATCHING’ FOOD SHORTAGE IN THE NORTH “, 2010/03/10) reported that the ROK’s Unification Ministry said yesterday it was “closely watching” the DPRK’s food shortage situation and that it was trying to deliver 10,000 tons of corn aid by June. “North Korea’s food production falls short of demand and there are problems of disproportionate food distribution among different classes or regions,” ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo said in a press briefing. “The government is aware that the shortage of food can get worse during the spring season and is trying to deliver the corn aid within the first half of this year.”
6. DPRK Defector Issue
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA INCREASES JOB SUPPORT FOR N. KOREAN DEFECTORS “, 2010/03/10) reported that the ROK will increase financial aid for DPRK defectors who find and keep jobs, the Labor Ministry said Wednesday, a measure meant to encourage them to stay steadily employed. The government will pay the newly-employed defectors 200,000 won (US$176) after one month of employment, and 300,000 won and 500,000 won after three and six months, respectively, on the condition that they are hired 60 days within the completion of their state-provided job training program.
7. Inter-Korea Relations
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA TO ENHANCE CRAB FISHING SAFETY ALONG NORTHERN SEA BORDER “, 2010/03/10) reported that the ROK plans to enhance safety measures for crab fishing along the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in Yellow Sea, the site of three inter-Korean naval clashes since 1999, the government said Wednesday. The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said it plans to place more buoys along the demarcation line near Yeonpyeong Island to prevent ROK boats from straying into “no operation areas” and to work closely with the defense and transportation ministries to set revised sailing guidelines. “Every effort will be made to keep South Korean boats from operating near the NLL and potentially triggering a military response,” an agriculture ministry official said.
8. Soviet Atrocities Before Korean War
Donga Ilbo (“REPORT DESCRIBES SOVIET ABUSES IN N. KOREA”, 2010/03/10) reported that a document released yesterday vividly described atrocities committed by Soviet troops stationed in the DPRK for five months from August 1945. The 13-page report was written by a Soviet lieutenant colonel through visits to the DPRK provinces of Hwanghae and North and South Pyongan on Dec. 29, 1945. The handwritten document in Russian was discovered by the Woodrow Wilson International Center, a U.S. think tank devoted to national security, and translated into English. “The immoral behavior of our servicemen is horrible. Regardless of rank, they indulge in looting, violence and misconduct every day here and there. They continue to do so since few have been punished,” the document said. The lieutenant colonel described the atrocities of the Red Army, which described itself as “liberators” at the time. “The sound of gunfire never stops at night in areas where our troops are stationed,” he said. “Drunk and disorderly soldiers commit immoral behavior and rape is prevalent.”
9. ROK-Turkey Nuclear Cooperation
Agence France Presse (“S.KOREA, TURKEY SIGN DEAL ON NUCLEAR POWER PLANT”, Istanbul, 2010/03/10) reported that the state power companies of the ROK and Turkey signed a preliminary deal here Wednesday aimed at building a nuclear power plant in northern Turkey. Under the deal, the companies will carry out preliminary work and “if a common ground with mutually acceptable conditions emerges, the main agreement between the two governments will be signed”, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. The protocol was inked by officials from EUAS of Turkey and Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO).
10. ROK Nuclear Energy
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA TO SPEND $60.6 MLN TO ENHANCE NUCLEAR EMERGENCY READINESS”, 2010/03/10) reported that the ROK will spend 68.6 billion won (US$60.6 million) in the next five years to enhance the country’s readiness for emergency situations involving nuclear facilities, the government said Wednesday. The radioactive contingency plan reached at the Atomic Energy Commission chaired by Education and Science Minister Ahn Byong-man is the first medium-term contingency plan established by the country.
Yonhap News (“NUCLEAR ENERGY ONLY WAY TO CUT GREENHOUSE GASES: OFFICIAL “, 2010/03/10) reported that nuclear energy has emerged as the only viable way to fight for greenhouse gas reduction, Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung-hwan said Wednesday, highlighting the ROK’s aim to become a leading exporter in this field. Taking part in the four-day Summit of Honor on Atoms for Peace and Environment (SHAPE) that kicked off earlier in the day in Seoul, the official said the need to control greenhouse gases has generated new interest in atomic energy. A group of nuclear experts met at the SHAPE gathering to promote peaceful atomic energy use and stem global warming.
11. ROK Climate Change
Reuters (Jon Herskovitz , “SOUTH KOREA TRANSPORT GOES GREEN ON RECHARGING ROAD”, Seoul, 2010/03/10) reported that the ROK is trying a new way to turn public transport green by using a technology popular in electric toothbrushes and razors to power buses and cars. The country’s top technology university unveiled a new electric transport powered by recharging strips embedded in roads that transfer energy through magnetic connections. There are no direct connections with wires. Vehicles with sensor-driven magnetic devices on their underside suck up energy as they travel over the strips embedded a few centimeters under the road. “The technological concept behind the idea has been around for about 100 years. We have found a better way to transfer the electricity to make it practical,” said B.K. Park, a project member at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology .
12. Japan-US Secret Nuke Pact
Asahi Shimbun (“PENTAGON WON’T DISCUSS POSSIBLE NUKE STOPS IN JAPAN”, 2010/03/10) reported that following official confirmation from Japan yesterday of a decades-old secret pact with the United States, the U.S. Defense Department declined to say whether it had ever transported nuclear weapons through Japanese territory. “We do not discuss the presence or absence of nuclear weapons aboard specific ships, submarines or aircraft,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told Agence France-Presse. “The U.S. government understands the special sentiment of the Japanese people with regard to nuclear weapons and has faithfully honored its obligations under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security and will continue to do so,” Whitman said.
13. Japan-US Security Relations
Kyodo News (“U.S. SUBS UNLIKELY TO VISIT JAPANESE PORTS WITH TOMAHAWK: OKADA”, 2010/03/10) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said Wednesday that he does not think the United States will load nuclear Tomahawk cruise missiles on its attack submarines when they make port calls in Japan, in line with a U.S. policy to withdraw tactical nuclear weapons on its ships. “There are deep exchanges between the Japanese and the U.S. governments…But I don’t think that Tomahawk will be reloaded,” Okada told a parliamentary committee. Okada’s remarks suggested that the United States may have explained to Japan about a policy to retire its Tomahawk missiles, which is expected to be included in the ” Nuclear Posture Review ” Washington plans to announce possibly by the end of this month.
14. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“OKINAWA LEADER TELLS GOV’T ‘NO’ TO FUTEMMA ONSHORE RELOCATION PLAN “, 2010/03/10) reported that Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima conveyed his opposition Wednesday to a so-called onshore relocation plan for a U.S. Marine base in Okinawa during a meeting with Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano in Tokyo. Nakaima also cast doubt on the other alternative, which is to move the Marines’ Futemma Air Station to an area between the U.S. military’s White Beach Area in Uruma and Tsuken Island by reclaiming the shallow waters in between. While the government intends to coordinate moves with the United States mainly over the two options, the Okinawa leader’s opposition has added yet another layer of difficulty to Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s promise to settle the matter by the end of May. ”This kind of thing is totally incomprehensible,” Nakaima said he told the top government spokesman during their meeting at the prime minister’s office. ”People live on the land. A Marine airfield that would be built closer there is unthinkable,” he told reporters.
15. PRC Tibet Issue
Kyodo News (“THOUSANDS RALLY IN KATHMANDU TO MARK TIBETAN UPRISING ANNIVERSARY “, 2010/03/10) reported that dozens of Tibetan monks and nuns clashed with police Wednesday afternoon around the PRC visa office premises in central Kathmandu. The protesters, who were wearing Free-Tibet T-shirts and chanting anti-PRC slogans, tried to storm the office while police used force to stop them. Earlier, in Kathmandu’s Bouddha area, thousands of Tibetans held prayers in a monastery before beginning a protest rally and heard a message from the Dalai Lama read out by his representative. The situation turned hostile after hundreds of security personnel blocked exits from the area, fearing the Tibetans would march towards central parts of the Nepalese capital.
16. PRC Social Unrest
Associated Press (“CHINA’S TROUBLEMAKERS BOND OVER ‘DRINKING TEA'”, 2010/03/10) reported that police have long tried to shush and isolate potential activists, usually starting with a low-key warning, perhaps over a meal or a cup of tea. Now, the country’s troublemakers are openly blogging and tweeting their stories about “drinking tea” with the cops, allowing the targeted citizens to bond and diluting the intimidation they feel. The movement is an embarrassment for officials, who are suspicious of anything that looks like an organized challenge to their authority. And it can’t help that “drinking tea” stories seem to be spreading among ordinary PRC citizens, including ones who signed a recent online call for political reform. The country’s top political event of the year, the National People’s Congress , has given the stories another bump. More than 200 people say they’ve been invited by police to “drink tea” since just Friday, when the congress began, said independent political blogger Ran Yunfei.
17. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Financial Times (“DALAI LAMA VOICES SUPPORT FOR UIGHURS”, 2010/03/10) reported that the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader, expressed solidarity and support for Muslim Uighurs on Wednesday, raising the spectre for Beijing of closer co-ordination between opponents of PRC rule and minority groups in territories that have seen ethnic rioting in the past two years. “Let us also remember the people of East Turkestan [China’s Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region] who have experienced great difficulties and increased oppression, and the Chinese intellectuals campaigning for greater freedom who have received severe sentences. I would like to express my solidarity and stand firmly with them,” the Dalai Lama said in his statement.
British Broadcast Corporation (“CHINA DENIES SPYING ON UIGHURS IN SWEDEN “, 2010/03/10) reported that the PRC’s foreign ministry has denied that the country has been spying on political refugees living in Sweden. The reaction comes after a Stockholm court jailed a Uighur refugee for 16 months for passing on information about other Uighurs to a PRC agent. The court said the man had infiltrated the World Uighur Congress, a political body for exiled Uighurs. But a ministry spokesman in Beijing said the allegations were “totally groundless” and had “ulterior motives”. Babur Maihesuti, 62, was found guilty of collecting information about other Uighurs and passing it on to a PRC spy posing as a diplomat and journalist.
18. PRC Internet
Agence France Presse (“GOOGLE PREPARED TO QUIT CHINA OVER CENSOR FEUD: EXECUTIVE”, 2010/03/10) reported that a top Google executive reaffirmed Wednesday that the Internet giant is prepared to leave the PRC if Beijing says it must censor Web searches or quit the country. “Google is firm in its decision that it will stop censoring our search results for China,” Google vice president and deputy general counsel Nicole Wong told a key US House of Representatives Committee . The company is mindful that it has “hundreds of employees on the ground” and understands “the seriousness or the sensitivity” of its decision but “we will stop censoring” search results in the PRC, she said.
19. PRC Media Control
New York Times (“EDITOR IS FIRED AFTER CRITICIZING CHINESE REGISTRATION SYSTEM”, 2010/03/10) reported that Zhang Hong, had been deputy editor in chief of the Web site of the Economic Observer, which is based in Beijing, has been forced out of his job. Two PRC media sources reached by telephone said he was fired because of his efforts to unite a group of journalists to criticize the household registration system. In a letter leaked to selected PRC and foreign journalists on Tuesday, Zhang wrote that after the editorial was published, “I was punished accordingly; other colleagues and media partners also felt repercussions.”
20. PRC Climate Change
Agence France Presse (“CHINA ENVIRONMENT WORSENING, COULD MISS ENERGY GOALS”, 2010/03/10) reported that the PRC’s environment is “still deteriorating”, a senior official said Wednesday, as the booming nation burnt record amounts of coal and lagged behind in meeting its energy-saving goals. “Our environmental quality is only improving in certain areas, but overall the environment is still deteriorating,” Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Zhang Lijun told journalists. Zhang said although the PRC was fulfilling its 2006-2010 goals of cutting sulphur dioxide and chemical oxygen demand — major causes of air and water pollution , respectively — emissions of other pollutants were rising.
21. PRC, India on Climate Change
Agence France Presse (“CHINA, INDIA BACK COPENHAGEN CLIMATE DEAL”, 2010/03/10) reported that the PR C and India announced they would back the 11th-hour climate accord hammered out in Copenhagen in December, removing doubts that the world’s two most populous countries fully supported the contested deal. In a letter dated March 9, posted on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change website, Beijing ‘s top climate negotiator, Su Wei, instructed the UNFCCC to add the PRC to the list of countries that support the agreement. In a parallel move, Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh announced on the same day that India would join the more than 100 other countries that have already “associated” with the accord.
22. PRC Civil Society
Associated Press (“TIBETAN CONCERN GROUP BEING SET UP IN H.K.”, 2010/03/10) reported that a Tibetan concern group is being set up in Hong Kong to “defend Tibetans’ core value and promote ethnic harmony in China,” the group said Wednesday. Richard Shum, secretary general and spokesman of the Hong Kong Tibetan and Han-Chinese Friendship Association, said they want to gather people who would defend Tibetan culture and to build strong ties with them. “We welcome anyone’s suggestions toward solving the Tibetan issues,” Shum told Kyodo News. “We do not draw a line. Any suggestion (including Tibet independence) can be discussed.” He said that so far no Beijing officials have contacted them or pressured them against their establishment, but he declined to reveal the association’s membership details.
II. PRC Report
23. PRC Civil Society
Jinghua Times (“SENIOR CITIZEN OVER 80 CAN ENJOY ALLOWANCE”, 2010/03/10) reported that Ministry of Civil Affairs will integrate a senior citizen allowance system, wherein senior citizens over 80 years can enjoy an allowance and day-care centers will be established all over the country for senior citizens, sources with an official of Ministry of Civil Affairs yesterday.
24. PRC Climate Change
China Net (“CHINA TO DEVELOP LARGE METHANE TANK SYSTEM”, 2010/03/10) reported that the PRC is gradually increasing construction of middle and large scale methane storage tanks and enhancing the building of methane tank service systems, said Vice Minister of Agriculture said today at a news conference.
25. PRC Haiti Relief
Hubei Daily (Tao Zhonghui, “HUBEI CHARITABLE FEDERATION DONATED TO HAITI”, 2010/03/10) reported that Hubei Charitable Federation has received 61,220.39 RMB from all around the province for aiding the Haiti earthquake disaster area. It donated yesterday all the funds to the All-China Charitable Foundation, and entrusted the federation to “send on this love from the Hubei people”.