NAPSNet Daily Report 11 May, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- US on Six-Party Talks
- ROK on Six Party Talks
- PRC on Six Party Talks
- Sino-DPRK Relations
- DPRK-US Relations
- DPRK Arms Trade
- ROK Response to Naval Ship Sinking
- ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- Inter-Korea Relations
- ROK-US Military Relations
- ROK Role in Afghanistan
- ROK, Japan-US Defense Relations
- USFJ Base Relocation
- Japan Politics
- Japan-Saudi Arabia Nuclear Cooperation
- Japan-Australia Relations
- Japan Cyber Security
- Sino-Russian Relations
- PRC on Climate Talks
- PRC Civil Society
- II. PRC Report
1. US on Six-Party Talks
Yonhap (Hwang Doo-hyong, “U.S. TO FOCUS ON CHEONAN INVESTIGATION BEFORE DISCUSSING 6-WAY TALKS: STEINBERG”, Washington, 2010/05/10) reported that the United States said Monday it will give priority to establishing the cause of the sinking of the Cheonan over any discussion of resuming the six-party talks. “No one is trying to hasten unduly the conclusions on this, but we are determined to pursue this thoroughly and to follow the facts where they point,” James Steinberg, deputy secretary of state, told a forum at the Brookings Institution. “And this will, in turn, have an impact on how we proceed in dealing with the challenge of North Korea and its actions, not only on the nuclear front, but in other provocative measures that it takes.” “We can’t be indifferent to this event,” Steinberg said. “This is a deep tragedy for South Korea, and the people of South Korea are entitled to as full an explanation as possible as to what caused it. Until we have clarity about this, I think it’s important for us to be careful about how we move forward, leaving open any of the possibilities.”
2. ROK on Six Party Talks
Kyodo News (“S. KOREA TO SEEK 6-WAY TALKS AFTER SINKING OF WARSHIP IS RESOLVED”, 2010/05/10) reported that the ROK remains unchanged in its position to seek the resumption of the six-way talks on the DPRK ‘s nuclear programs after the incident of its warship sinking in the Yellow Sea is resolved, a Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry spokesman said Monday. “The sinking incident of the naval ship Cheonan is a grave situation that should be dealt with at the level of national security,” Kim Young Sun told a press briefing. “We should thoroughly find out the cause (of the sinking) and take necessary measures in accordance with the results of the investigation,” Kim said. Regarding the reopening of the stalled six-way talks, he said close consultations will be held with related countries after taking necessary measures on the sinking incident.
3. PRC on Six Party Talks
Chosun Ilbo (“CHINA URGES CALM OVER CHEONAN SINKING”, 2010/05/10) reported that the PRC press and experts are taking a positive view of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s expression of willingness to return to the six-party nuclear talks. Jin Linbo of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations under the PRC Foreign Ministry, said, “His remarks about his country’s return to the six-party talks fell a little short of expectations, but they weren’t bad. It would have been difficult for him to declare an unconditional return now that South Korea and the U.S. are not keen to resume talks until after the investigation” of the ROK Navy corvette Cheonan. Meanwhile, PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu commented on the sinking of the Cheonan. She urged both Koreas to “remain cool-headed, restrain themselves, and talk and act prudently until the truth is found out,” according to the official Xinhua news agency.
4. Sino-DPRK Relations
Agence France Presse (“GENERATION CHANGE WILL NOT AFFECT N.KOREA-CHINA TIES: KIM”, 2010/05/10) reported that Kim Jong-Il said ties with the PRC will be unchanged by the “replacement of one generation by a new one,” KCNA said, amid reports he is paving the way for his son to take power. “The long-standing DPRK-China friendship will remain unchanged despite the passage of time and the replacement of one generation by a new one as it stood tempest and test of history,” he said. PRC President Hu Jintao, speaking at a state dinner hosted in Kim’s honour, said the traditional friendship is an asset that both countries have a historic responsibility to maintain and improve “along with the passage of time and convey it down through generations,” KCNA reported.
Kyodo News (“KIM JONG IL SATISFIED WITH VISIT TO CHINA, PARTY OFFICIAL SAYS”, 2010/05/10) reported that Kim Jong Il “is satisfied with results” of his visit to the PRC last week, a senior Workers’ Party of Korea official told a visiting Japanese delegation on Monday. Kim and PRC President Hu Jintao “completely shared views on a wide range of issues including economic issues” during their talks in Beijing, Kim Song Nam, a vice director of the party’s International Department, was quoted as telling a group of the Japan – North Korea friendship association in Fukuoka Prefecture.
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “N. KOREA ALLOWS CHINESE INVESTORS TO TOUR JOINT FACTORY PARK WITH S. KOREA”, Seoul, 2010/05/11) reported that the DPRK invited a group of Chinese investors to the Kaesong factory park early this month. About 20 business executives, led by senior officials of the DPRK’s state investment group, visited the industrial complex on May 1, a Unification Ministry official in Seoul said. “We’re not clear about what the North is trying to achieve by inviting the Chinese investors,” the Unification Ministry official said.
5. DPRK-US Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“U.S. LAWMAKERS MULL PUTTING N.KOREA BACK ON TERROR LIST “, 2010/05/10) reported that there are calls from within the U.S. Congress to put the DPRK back on a blacklist of states sponsoring terrorism after the sinking of the ROK Navy corvette Cheonan. Radio Free Asia, citing a Congress official, said members are pushing for a bill or resolution to list the DPRK again. Republican Congressmen have already discussed the matter and Republican Representative Eric Cantor said if the DPRK was involved in the sinking of Cheonan, then Congress should take the necessary steps.
6. DPRK Arms Trade
Associated Press (“US ENVOY WARNS MYANMAR OVER NORTH KOREA ARMS LINKS”, 2010/05/10) reported that a top U.S. official visiting Myanmar issued a strong warning Monday against its military regime buying arms from the DPRK in defiance of a U.N. embargo, and also said that Washington believes that its election plans lack legitimacy. Campbell said that Myanmar leadership had agreed to abide by the U.N. resolution, but that “recent developments” called into question its commitment.
7. ROK Response to Naval Ship Sinking
Korea Times (“SEOUL MULLS RESUMPTION OF PROPAGANDA BROADCASTS INTO NK”, 2010/05/10) reported that the ROK could resume its broadcasting of propaganda across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and into the DPRK, if the reclusive state is found culpable for the deadly sinking of a Navy vessel, a military official said Monday. The two Koreas exchanged heated propaganda along the 248-kilometer-long border for decades until both sides halted the broadcasts in 2004 as part of reconciliation efforts. “We’re considering resuming loudspeaker broadcasts on the border as part of possible military measures if it is confirmed the North is behind the sinking,” Yonhap News Agency quoted an unnamed military official as saying. “A working-level study into that possibility is now under way.”
Donga Ilbo (“SEOUL STEPS UP DIPLOMATIC RESPONSE TO SINKING”, 2010/05/10) reported that with suspicion growing of DPRK’s involvement in the sinking of the naval patrol ship Cheonan, the ROK is stepping up preparation for a diplomatic response to the incident. Seoul will begin its diplomatic response with its allies based on its bilateral alliance with Washington and seek support from the international community. A ROK official said, “The direction of the countermeasures is both bilateral and multilateral,” meaning Seoul and Washington will pressure Pyongyang through bilateral cooperation with neighboring countries as well as multilateral cooperation worldwide with the United Nations.
8. ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Yonhap News (“SEOUL’S TOP DIPLOMAT TO BRIEF EU OFFICIALS ON SHIP SINKING”, 2010/05/10) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan left for Brussels to meet EU officials for discussions on ways to broaden cooperative exchanges between the two sides. Yu’s three-day trip is mainly aimed at signing a new basic agreement on relations between the ROK and the EU and delivering a speech at the NATO on security conditions in Northeast Asia, his ministry said in a news release. In his meetings with Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton, and NATO leaders, Lee also plans to brief them on the ROK’s ongoing probe into the deadly March 26 sinking of a navy ship, ministry officials said. “Minister Yu’s trip to the EU marks the start of the Cheonan diplomacy,” a senior ministry official said.
Chosun Ilbo (“SENIOR U.S. OFFICIAL TO VISIT FOR CHEONAN FINDINGS”, 2010/05/10) reported that the U.S. will send a senior State Department official to the ROK around May 20 when the results of the investigation into the sinking of the naval corvette Cheonan are expected to be announced. “The visit is to discuss a response to the results, as circumstantial evidence points to the North as responsible,” a diplomatic source said. The decision for the visit apparently stems from the view shared by both countries that they should work together more closely in the light of the PRC’s view on the sinking, and the possibility of the DPRK’s return to the six-party nuclear talks following Kim Jong-il’s visit to the PRC.
9. Inter-Korea Relations
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “TALKS ON BROADCASTING WORLD CUP MATCHES TO N. KOREA IN LIMBO: BROADCASTER”, Seoul, 2010/05/11) reported that ROK broadcaster SBS said Tuesday its talks with the DPRK to broadcast the country’s World Cup matches to Pyongyang have hit a snag. “We had planned to move forward with the talks in earnest in April and May, but they didn’t progress amid strained inter-Korean ties,” SBS said in a release. SBS and the DPRK have held talks twice in Beijing since last August. The broadcaster said it is not seeking financial rewards but only “North Korean cooperation in the production of the broadcasts.” It did not specifically say what has blocked the negotiations from moving forward, only citing strained political relations.
10. ROK-US Military Relations
Yonhap News (“PRESIDENTIAL SECURITY AIDE SAYS DELAY IN OPCON TRANSFER NECESSARY”, 2010/05/10) reported that the head of the ROK’s new presidential commission on national security said Monday the government should delay the transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON) of the country’s troops from the U.S., scheduled for April 17, 2012. “The OPCON should be transfered to us someday when we are capable of commanding a war independently. For now, however, it is right to delay the transition as (South Korea) is not ready yet partly because of the economic problem,” he told Yonhap News Agency.
11. ROK Role in Afghanistan
Yonhap (“S. KOREA LAUNCHES MILITARY CONTINGENT FOR DISPATCH TO AFGHANISTAN”, Seoul, 2010/05/11) reported that the ROK launched an Army contingent Tuesday tasked with protecting civilian aid workers that the country plans to send to Afghanistan later this year. The 320-member unit will be dispatched to the northern Afghan province of Parwan in July along with the ROK’s provincial reconstruction team, or PRT, which will be comprised of about 100 reconstruction workers and 40 police officers.
12. ROK, Japan-US Defense Relations
Kyodo News (“U.S. CONSIDERED KOREAN PENINSULA RISKS IN NUCLEAR POSTURE REVIEW”, 2010/05/10) reported that U.S. President Barack Obama stopped short of declaring deterrence against a nuclear strike as the “sole objective” of the United States’ possession of nuclear weapons amid concern about contingencies in the Korean Peninsula and the weakening of the nuclear umbrella provided to Japan and other countries, a high-ranking U.S. government official and other diplomatic sources said recently. With Obama pushing for a nuclear-free world, attention had been focused on whether the United States would limit the role of its nuclear weapons to deterrence when he released the Nuclear Posture Review Report in April. But the policy shift was not achieved out of consideration for key allies, including Japan and the ROK the sources said.
13. USFJ Base Relocation
Reuters (“JAPAN GOVERNMENT DENIES DROPPING U.S. BASE DEADLINE”, 2010/05/10) reported that a top aide to Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama denied a report by Kyodo news agency on Monday that the government had dropped an end-of-May deadline for resolving a row over a U.S. Marine base, though there was still no solution in sight. “The prime minister is saying he will resolve the issue by the end of May, that he will do his best for that,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano told a news conference. But he said it would be hard to complete a plan by then.
Kyodo (“GOV’T GIVES UP ON SOLVING FUTEMMA ISSUE BY MAY 31: MINISTER ADMITS”, Tokyo, 2010/05/11) reported that the Japanese government has given up on meeting the May 31 deadline set by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama for settling the relocation of a U.S. Marine base, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa effectively admitted Tuesday. Kitazawa told reporters that it ”cannot be helped that negotiations will go on after that (May 31),” although he said the government aims to establish ”a big framework” for settling the matter by the end of this month. The defense chief said he, Hatoyama and three other ministers concerned agreed at their meeting Monday on a basic government plan on the fate of the Futemma base.
14. Japan Politics
Bloomberg (“HATOYAMA’S APPROVAL RATING FALLS TO 24% IN JAPAN, YOMIURI SAYS “, 2010/05/10) reported that the approval rating of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama fell to 24 percent in a Yomiuri newspaper survey, down 9 percentage points from April. His disapproval rating rose to 67 percent from 56 percent. The governing Democratic Party of Japan has the support of 22 percent, compared with 14 percent for the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, the report said.
Kyodo News (“HATOYAMA CAN STAY ON EVEN IF FUTEMMA NOT SETTLED BY MAY: MINISTERS”, 2010/05/10) reported that some Cabinet ministers said that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama could remain in his post even if he does not meet his self-imposed deadline of May 31 for settling a dispute over where to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture. “I think the prime minister’s determination to set out a certain direction for the issue has not changed, but that does not mean everything will be over,” said Seiji Maehara, minister in charge of Okinawa issues, indicating that some of the processes such as obtaining consent from local people and the U.S. government may be carried over after the deadline.
15. Japan-Saudi Arabia Nuclear Cooperation
Kyodo News (“JAPAN, SAUDI ARABIA TO ENHANCE COOPERATION OVER ATOMIC ENERGY, WATER”, 2010/05/10) reported that Japan and Saudi Arabia on Monday agreed to enhance cooperation in the area of atomic energy and to hold regular policy dialogue meetings on issues related to water businesses. The agreement was reached during a ministerial-level meeting in Tokyo, during which Economy and Planning Minister Khaled Ibn Muhammad al-Qusaibi and others participated. On atomic energy, particularly as it relates to electricity and water, the two countries agreed to conduct exchanges of visits at the government level.
16. Japan-Australia Relations
Kyodo News (“AUSTRALIAN INVESTIGATION INTO WHALING COLLISION INCONCLUSIVE “, 2010/05/10) reported that an Australian investigation into a collision between antiwhaling activists and the Japanese whaling vessel the Shonan Maru No. 2 has failed to determine who was responsible for the incident, authorities said. Australian authorities said they were unable to collect sufficient evidence due to restricted access to information and a lack of response from the Japanese crew of Shonan Maru No. 2. ‘‘The Japanese government subsequently advised the Australian government that it would not be in a position to provide information in response to AMSA’s questions owing to the possibility that this material might be required in any investigation by Japanese authorities,’’ AMSA said in its report.
17. Japan Cyber Security
Kyodo News (“GOV’T SET TO ADOPT STRATEGY TO ENHANCE CYBER-ATTACK COUNTERMEASURES “, 2010/05/10) reported that the Japanese government information security council is set to adopt an information security strategy on Tuesday to better protect the public from attacks on computers via the Internet, government officials said Monday.
18. Sino-Russian Relations
Kyodo News (“PUTIN, HU HOLD TALKS, AGREE TO REINFORCE BILATERAL TIES”, 2010/05/10) reported that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and visiting PRC President Hu Jintao agreed on to keep reinforcing bilateral ties between the PRC and Russia, referring to the two nations’ alliance during World War II, the Russian government said. Hu is visiting Russia and will attend a military parade by Russian forces.
19. PRC on Climate Talks
Financial Times (“BIG ASIAN POWERS SKEPTICAL ON CLIMATE DEAL “, 2010/05/10) reported that India and the PRC said it would be very difficult to achieve a strong international agreement on climate change at the summit in Mexico later this year that will be the follow-up to the Copenhagen conference last December. Xie Zhenhua, the PRC’s lead climate change negotiator, sounded skeptical about the prospects for a more robust international agreement at Cancún. “Climate change negotiations have already made gradual progress, but there is still a relatively long way to go to reach a legally binding agreement,” said Mr Xie, who is a vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission.
20. PRC Civil Society
Associated Press (“CHINA AIDS ACTIVIST FLEES TO US AFTER HARASSMENT”, 2010/05/10) reported that a prominent PRC AIDS activist has fled the PRC for the United States with his wife and 4-year-old daughter to escape increasing government harassment of him and his organization, he said Monday. In March, the government decided to regulate overseas donations to aid groups for the first time, a move that has hurt the funding of organizations like Wan’s Beijing-based Aizhixing Institute. The restrictions on foreign donations and other intimidation tactics drove Wan and his family to leave the PRC. “The attacks from the government had become very serious for my organization and for me personally,” Wan said. “I had concerns about my personal safety and was under a lot of stress.”
II. PRC Report
21. PRC Civil Society
Sina.com (“CHINA CONTEMPORARY PHILANTHROPIST SALON HELD IN BEIJING”, 2010/05/10) reported that the “From Success to Significance – China Contemporary Philanthropist Salon” forum was held in Beijing recently. The forum was sponsored by Sunshine Culture Foundation and aimed to provide a communicating platform for international experts, successful entrepreneurs and philanthropists to share their experiences.
Xinmin Evening News (“OVER HALF DONATION FLOWS TO CHARITY ORGANIZATION”, 2010/05/10) reported that according to the 2010 China Charity List issued by Forbes, among the total 2.59 billion RMN donated in 2009, there is at least 1.45 billion RMN flowing into all kinds of charity organizations, accounting for 56% of the total amount. This is a big significantly higher compared to previous years when most donations flew into teh pockets of government agencies.
22. PRC Environment
Jianghua Times (“ECOLOGICAL COMPENSATION REGULATION UNDER DRAFTED”, 2010/05/10) reported that according to the Ministry of Environment, the leading group, working group and expert consultation committee drafting the Ecological Compensation Regulations were founded recently, which means ecological compensation has formally entered into the legislative drafting stage in the PRC.