NAPSNet Daily Report 11 November, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. Energy Aid to the DPRK
- 3. ROK on US DPRK Policy
- 4. DPRK-US Relations
- 5. DPRK Food Supply
- 6. DPRK Leadership
- 7. ROK-DPRK-US Relations
- 8. Japan-DPRK Relations
- 9. DPRK Space Program
- 10. US on ROK Iraq Role
- 11. ROK Climate Change
- 12. Japan-US Relations
- 13. Japan Emergency Drill
- 14. Japan Climate Change
- 15. Japan Urban Insecurity
- 16. Sino-Indian Relations
- 17. Cross Strait Relations
- 18. PRC Quake Reconstruction
- 19. PRC Food Security
- 20. PRC Climate Change
- II. PRC Report
- 21. PRC Civil Society
- 22. PRC Civil Society and Community Development
- 23. PRC Civil Society and Education
- III. CanKor
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Kyodo News (“N. KOREA SLOWS NUCLEAR DISABLEMENT TO SNAIL’S PACE”, Beijing, 2008/11/08) reported that the DPRK has slowed disablement work at its key nuclear reactor, complaining about the delay in delivery of energy aid it is supposed to receive as compensation, diplomatic sources said Saturday. The number of nuclear fuel rods that are pulled from the reactor and put into an adjacent water pond at the Yongbyon nuclear complex has gone down to 15 a day from last month’s 30 a day, the sources said. More than 60 percent of the 8,000 fuel rods has been pulled so far, falling short of a goal set in July to try to finish the task by the end of October.
2. Energy Aid to the DPRK
Kyodo News (“U.S. TO OFFER 50,000 TONS OF HEAVY FUEL OIL TO N. KOREA BY NOV. END “, Washington, 2008/11/10) reported that the United States plans to provide 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil to the DPRK by the end of this month, a U.S. government source said Monday. Of the promised 1 million tons worth of aid, 500,000 tons have been provided so far.
3. ROK on US DPRK Policy
Joong-Ang Ilbo (Jung Ha-won , “NUCLEAR OFFICIALS SEE NO U.S. SHIFT IN DRPK POLICIES”, 2008/11/11) reported that nuclear negotiators who met with senior aides of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama reiterated that Seoul is unlikely to find itself at odds with Washington’s incoming liberal administration. “We got the impression that the Obama administration’s current plans on North Korea policies are quite similar to ours,” said one ROK diplomat who asked for anonymity. “We realized that the U.S. side has the firm stance that the North Korea nuclear issue should be solved through the framework of the six-party talks,” said the official. “They also emphasized that the North, along with its denuclearization efforts, should work harder to improve relations with South Korea and Japan.”
4. DPRK-US Relations
Agence France-Presse (“DPRK READY TO IMPROVE TIES WITH US “, Seoul, 2008/11/10) reported that the DPRK is ready to improve relations with the United States if incoming president Barack Obama takes a friendly approach towards the country, the Chosun Sinbo newspaper, published by pro-Pyongyang residents of Japan, commented. “If the United States changes, the DPRK will respond to it, and the establishment of new relations is fully possible,” it said.
5. DPRK Food Supply
Agence France-Presse (“DPRK PLAN TO BAN HILLSIDE FARMS WILL INCREASE HUNGER: AID GROUP”, Seoul, 2008/11/10) reported that DPRK plans to replant barren hillsides in an apparent attempt to reduce flooding which has worsened acute food shortages, an ROK aid group said Monday. But the eviction of hillside farmers, which has already begun, will only aggravate hunger in the short-term, according to the Good Friends group. It said a policy decree issued on September 29 calls for all mountains to be reforested by 2012. Lee Seung-Yong, a Good Friends official, told AFP the policy would aggravate food shortages as many in the DPRK make a living out of farming small lots on hillsides. It quoted people in Booryong county of North Hamgyong Province as saying they were only able to survive this year by cultivating mountain slopes.
6. DPRK Leadership
The Times (Richard Lloyd Parry, “NORTH KOREA ‘IS BEING RUN BY KIM JONG IL’S BROTHER-IN-LAW'”, Seoul, 2008/11/10) reported that the DPRK is being governed by the brother-in-law of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Il, who succumbed to serious ill health three months ago, ROK experts have concluded. Government officials and academic DPRK watchers have received intelligence suggesting that Chang Sung Taek, a 62-year old who runs the secret police, is making key decisions while Kim convalesces. They believe that Kim is conscious and probably capable of walking, but that he remains weak after what appears to have been a sudden stroke suffered in the middle of August.
7. ROK-DPRK-US Relations
Yonhap News Service (Shim Sun-ah, “ANALYST CALLS FOR SEOUL TO BE PATIENT WITH PYONGYANG’S STRATEGY”, Seoul, 2008/11/10) reported that ROK should wait patiently even if DPRK tries to drive a wedge between it and the United States, pressuring Seoul to make concessions after Barack Obama’s takeover of the White House, an analyst here said Monday. Many politicians and newspaper editorials in Seoul have called on the government to change its tough policy toward the DPRK, saying the DPRK will probably isolate the ROK if the U.S. president-elect pursues better relations with Pyongyang after taking office in January.
Mainichi Daily News (“ROK PRESIDENT SAYS HE WON’T OPPOSE WASHINGTON-PYONGYANG SUMMIT”, Seoul, 2008/11/11) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak expressed an understanding of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s willingness to hold a summit with DPRK leader Kim Jong Il after taking office. “If the U.S. and North Korea cooperate in solving the problem, it will contribute to the achievement of the goal of the six-party talks.” He also said he wants to meet with the DPRK leader. “I’m prepared to meet with him as many times as possible,” he said. The president also called on Japan to cooperate with its partners in the six-party talks in disabling DPRK’s nuclear facilities.
8. Japan-DPRK Relations
Guardian News and Media (Justin McCurry, “JAPANESE WOMAN ABDUCTED BY NORTH KOREA ‘STILL ALIVE'”, Tokyo, 2008/11/10) reported that a Japanese woman who was allegedly abducted by DPRK agents more than 30 years ago is reportedly alive and could soon be allowed to meet her family. The woman at the centre of the reports, Kyoko Matsumoto, was 29 when she went missing on her way to a knitting class near her home in Tottori, western Japan, in September 1977. Though Pyongyang denies any knowledge of her alleged abduction, the Kyodo news agency reported that Matsumoto, now married, is living in DPRK and works alongside an unidentified Japanese couple who may also have been abducted.
9. DPRK Space Program
Yonhap News (Shim Sun-ah, “N. KOREA SEEKS TO JOIN GLOBAL SPACE RACE”, Seoul, 2008/11/10) reported that the DPRK said the world’s interest in “peaceful” development and research of space is expanding and that it will step up efforts to join the growing trend. “Our republic has been exercising its rights fairly in the field of peaceful expansion into and research of space and will advance more vigorously toward a goal that we have already chosen and put forward,” declared the Rodong Sinmun.
10. US on ROK Iraq Role
Yonhap (Hwang Doo-hyong, “U.S. THANKS ROK FOR ZAYTUN’S CONTRIBUTION TO IRAQI STABILIZATION”, Washington, 2008/11/10) reported that the United States Monday thanked the ROK for its contribution to the stabilization of Iraq for the past four years as part of the U.S.-led war on terror in the Middle East. “The Republic of Korea Zaytun Division has done an outstanding job in Iraq’s Kurdistan region and made important contributions to the progress in Iraq,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said in a daily news briefing.
11. ROK Climate Change
Joong-Ang Ilbo (Cho Jae-eun, “CREATIVE GREEN GROWTH PROJECTS ARE ANNOUNCED”, 2008/11/11) reported that innovative green projects, including the production of petrochemical items using CO2, were discussed during the first Green Ocean Forum held Sunday at the Grand Intercontinental Seoul. During the meeting, hosted by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, around 100 projects aimed at improving living standards, limiting global warming and reducing dependency on crude oil were announced.
12. Japan-US Relations
Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPAN PROTESTS UNANNOUNCED VISIT BY US NUCLEAR SUB”, Tokyo, 2008/11/10) reported that Japan lodged a protest with the United States after an American nuclear submarine made an unannounced visit in southern Japan, the Foreign Ministry said Monday. The USS Providence arrived in the White Beach Naval Facility on the southern island of Okinawa on Monday without prior notice, a requirement under a bilateral agreement, and stayed there for two hours, the ministry said. “It is extremely regrettable that a U.S. submarine visited one of our ports without proper advance notice,” the ministry said in a statement. It said James Zumwalt, the embassy’s deputy chief of mission, responded later Monday that the incident was caused by miss-communication in the U.S. Navy and that the U.S. government regretted it.
13. Japan Emergency Drill
The Associated Press (“JAPAN’S 1ST DRILL AGAINST ‘DIRTY BOMBS’ CONDUCTED IN TOKYO”, Tokyo, 2008/11/11) reported that the Tokyo metropolitan government on Friday conducted Japan’s first drill against radiation-emitting “dirty bombs.” About 1,000 people participated in the drill at the international exhibition center Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward, which was conducted jointly with the Metropolitan Police Department, the Ground Self- Defense Force and the Tokyo Fire Department. The drill was conducted on the assumption that radioactive materials were brought into Japan by an armed group, planted at an event hall outside Tokyo Big Sight and detonated.
14. Japan Climate Change
Kyodo News (“JAPAN TO BEGIN TRADING OF CO2-FREE ELECTRICITY “, Tokyo, 2008/11/10) reported that Japan will begin trading of carbon dioxide-free electricity among power utilities and other power producers as part of its efforts to fight global warming, government sources said Monday. The trading of so-called “green electricity,” such as that generated by water power and solar power, will take place on the Japan Electric Power Exchange, the sources said. Economy, Trade, Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai is expected to announce the plan Tuesday.
15. Japan Urban Insecurity
Agence-France-Presse (“TOKYOITES GO FARMING TO ESCAPE URBAN WOES”, Tokyo, 2008/11/10) as Japan’s capital city struggles with problems from food safety to global warming to unemployment, a growing number of people in the famously crowded metropolis are becoming city farmers, planting crops atop tall buildings or deep underground. City farming also offers a solution for another problem in Tokyo and other major cities — the so-called urban heat-island effect. The vegetables are consumed locally, helping ease another growing worry in Japan — the safety of its food.
16. Sino-Indian Relations
Indo-Asian News Service (“INDIA REJECTS PRC THREAT, READY TO EMBRACE DEMOCRATIC MALDIVES”, Male, 2008/11/10) reported that India Monday rejected speculation about PRC’s threat to its interests in the Maldives and underlined its close and special ties with the Indian Ocean archipelago that it said will continue to thrive under the new democratic dispensation. “I don’t know how credible these reports are,” Ansari replied when asked whether the growing influence of PRC, as reported in a section of international press, posed a threat to India’s interests.
17. Cross Strait Relations
Central News Agency (“PRC DOES NOT DENY SOVEREIGNTY OF TAIWAN, SAYS MAC MINISTER”, 2008/11/10) reported that Mainland Affairs Council Minister Lai Shin-yuan said yesterday that the recent visit to Taiwan by Chen Yunlin, president of the PRC’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS)PRC’s was an indication that Beijing does not deny Taiwan’s sovereignty. Lai made the comment at a forum held by the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission to discuss the topic, “A New Stage of Cross-strait Relations and Mainland China Policy.” “I spoke with Chen during his visit to Taiwan and I told him that the people of Taiwan want peace and development,” Lai said. “Chen will relay this message to China President Hu Jintao.”
18. PRC Quake Reconstruction
China Post (“CHINA TO SPEND US$146 BIL. ON QUAKE RECONSTRUCTION”, Beijing, 2008/11/10) reported that the PRC will spend 1 trillion yuan (US$146.5 billion) over the next three years to rebuild areas ravaged by the Sichuan earthquake, local media reported on Thursday, citing the country’s top planning agency. The funds would have the goal of making “basic living standards and economic development match or exceed pre-quake levels”, the Beijing News said, citing the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
19. PRC Food Security
Economic Observer Online (Li Ping, “GRAIN MARKET RESCUE PACKAGE BREWING IN PRC”, 2008/11/10) reported that stuck with the biggest harvest in a decade while demand slumps under an economic downturn, PRC grain authorities were studying a market rescue package to make up for falling grain prices. Industry observers have long warned that if PRC grain prices fall, it could drive local farmers out of the profession and impair PRC’s food security.
20. PRC Climate Change
Indo-Asian News Service (“PRC SAYS NOT ENOUGH EXPERTISE TO CUT GREENHOUSE GASES”, Beijing, 2008/11/10) reported that the PRC government rejected suggestions that it could use $1.9tn of foreign exchange reserves to pay for cleaner forms of energy to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions rather than asking developed countries to pay for and provide much of it. Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the PRC’s main economic planning body, said, “China is still developing and we need money in many respects, but despite this we are very willing to invest in efforts to tackle climate change.” Xie pointed out that the PRC has already budgeted about $440bn as part of its efforts to reduce energy consumption and pollution in the coming years.
II. PRC Report
21. PRC Civil Society
Xinhua Net (Xu Zuhua, “XI’AN CHARITY FOUNDATION ESTABLISHED”, 2008/11/06) reported that Xi’an Charity Foundation was established in Shanxi province on November 5. This is the first charity foundation set up in Shanxi province. In is understood that the Foundation will collect money from the general public and carry out aiding and investing activities. The establishment of Xi’an Charity Foundation not only increases sources of charitable donations, but also builds a platform where the enterprises can enjoy a tax-free policy after charitable donation.
22. PRC Civil Society and Community Development
China News Agency (Zhang Ximin, “CHINA FIRST COMMUNITY FOUNDATION SET UP IN BEIJING”, 2008/11/08) reported that today the PRC’s first civil foundation providing community-based services – Taoyuanju Commonweal Development Foundation was found in the Great Hall of the People. It is a private foundation and set up by Shenzhen Airlines Co., Ltd. and Shenzhen Taoyuanju Real Estate Group. It will carry out commonweal activities on community elderly care, community education, community environmental protection, community medical care and so on.
23. PRC Civil Society and Education
People’s Daily (Wu Xiuqiong, “1750 POOR COLLEGE STUDENTS GET SCHOLARSHIPS FROM ZENGXIANZI EDUCATION FOUNDATION”, 2008/11/06) reported that 1750 outstanding college students from economically disadvantaged families from 35 colleges and universities of the PRC got scholarships from Zengxianzi Education Foundation today in Beijing . Each student got 3600 yuan. So far, the foundation has awarded to teachers and students a total of more than 100,000,000 yuan.
24. Report # 311
Canada-Korea Electronic Information Service (“FOCUS: PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA’S DPRK POLICIES”, 2008/11/07) reported that Senator Barak Obama’s dramatic victory in the US presidential elections prompts CanKor to FOCUS on the DPRK policies that an Obama White House is likely to pursue. This includes telling quotes by President-elect Obama himself on the subject, as well as two articles by loyal CanKor readers Ralph Cossa and Hazel Smith, offering unsolicited advice to the new Administration.
Canada-Korea Electronic Information Service (“NEW DPRK AMBASSADOR TO CANADA PRESENTS CREDENTIALS”, ) reported that the change in DPRK ambassadors to Canada proceeds almost imperceptibly — without fanfare or media attention — during the summer months. Like his predecessor, incoming Ambassador Sin Son Ho resides in New York City, where he doubles as DPRK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Canada-Korea Electronic Information Service (Erich Weingartner, “CONVERSATION WITH THE PATRIOT — PART 9”, 2008/11/07) reported that after a four-month hiatus, CanKor editor Erich Weingartner reconnects with his fictional DPR Korean “patriot” Pak Kim Li. Episode 9 elicits information about the “re-education camps” that diplomats are required to attend after extended absences from the home country on overseas assignments.