NAPSNet Daily Report 12 April, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. Inter-Korea Relations
- 4. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation
- 5. PRC-DPRK Economic Cooperation
- 6. DPRK Internal Situation
- 7. DPRK Human Rights
- 8. Sinking of ROK Naval Vessel
- 9. Inter-Korean Naval Clashes
- 10. ROK Role in Afghanistan
- 11. ROK Anti-Piracy
- 12. US-ROK FTA
- 13. US-Japan Relations
- 14. US-Japan Alliance
- 15. Japanese Constitutional Revision
- 16. Sino-US Relations
- 17. PRC on Nuclear Safety
- 18. PRC on Iran Nuclear Program
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Asahi Shimbun (“DEFECTOR: N. KOREA TO KEEP NUKE PLAN”, Tokyo, 2010/04/10) reported that former secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea Hwang Jang Yop said Pyongyang will never abandon its nuclear development program. But he also said: “Pyongyang is often threatening (other countries), saying that it will soon start a war. But it will not use nuclear weapons.” The defector said the DPRK regime is in no danger of collapsing for the time being because Kim Jong-il has consolidated his power by promoting only those who show unconditional loyalty to him. “The degree of dictatorship has become 10 times stronger than that in the era of his father (Kim Il Sung),” Hwang said. Hwang said 20 percent of the country’s revenues become ruling party funds that can be used freely by Kim. “Fifty percent is used in the military field, and the remaining 30 percent is offered for the lives of the people,” Hwang said.
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA HAS UP TO 6 NUKES, CLINTON SAYS “, 2010/04/12) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a speech on nuclear nonproliferation at the University of Louisville in Kentucky on Friday that the DPRK has up to six nuclear weapons. “The countries that we know that have actively pursued nuclear weapons that are still doing so today — North Korea, which we know has somewhere between one and six nuclear weapons, and Iran,” she said. “And that’s why we’re emphasizing so much international efforts against both of them to try to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons in the first place.”
3. Inter-Korea Relations
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “PROSECUTORS ARREST SKOREAN FOR SPYING FOR NKOREA”, Seoul, 2010/04/11) reported that an ROK man was arrested last week for allegedly spying for Pyongyang, an ROK official said Monday. The 55-year-old man met a female DPRK agent in 1999 in the PRC’s Shandong province, where he was engaged in drug trafficking , the official said. The man, surnamed Kim, traveled to Pyongyang in 2000 for 15 days of spy training and received $10,000 and 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) of narcotics from the DPRK, the official said. Kim was sent back to the PRC and started abducting ROK activists who were helping DPRK defectors. The kidnapped Koreans were sent to the DPRK in cooperation with the female agent, he said. The man also kidnapped DPRK defectors hiding in the PRC and forced them back to the DPRK. He also tried to gather information on ROK intelligence officers operating in Chinese towns near the DPRK, the official said.
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA RATCHETS UP THREATS AGAINST SOUTH”, Seoul, 2010/04/12) reported that on Saturday, the chief of the DPRK delegation to the inter-Korean military talks again demanded that ROK private organizations stop sending anti-DPRK leaflets. Unless the ROK government “works out measures to stop [the propaganda activities] and officially notifies us of the result, our Army will take a decisive measure,” the message said. “The South should not disregard our Army’s solemn warning.” The message warned if the leaflets continue being sent, the DPRK Army will “formally consider if we should continue to comply with the agreement on military safety guarantees for South Korean personnel on east and west coasts.”
4. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “NKOREA TO START QUITTING JOINT TOUR THIS WEEK”, Seoul, 2010/04/11) reported that the DPRK informed the ROK that it will begin quitting the Mt. Kumgang tourism project this week, ROK officials said Sunday. The DPRK said that it will carry out the plan Tuesday, starting with the freezing of the ROK government-owned assets that include a reunion center for families separated by the Korean War , according to the ROK Unification Ministry . It was not clear when the DPRKwould expel ROK personnel, according to Hyundai Asan.
Donga Ibo (“N. KOREA SUMMONS SK OFFICIALS ON ASSET FREEZE “, Seoul, 2010/04/12) reported that in a notice to the Hyundai Group, the Guidance Bureau for Comprehensive Development of Scenic Spots, DPRK operator of tours at the Mt. Kumgang resort, demanded that officials of ROK agencies owning property at the resort, including a family reunion center, spa and duty-free shop, be present at the site of the asset freeze Tuesday, according to the Unification Ministry in Seoul. “We have no plan to comply with the demand,” an ROK government official said.
Korea Herald (“SEOUL OFFICIALS DISCUSS N.K. THREAT”, Seoul, 2010/04/12) reported that the government and the ruling Grand National Party discussed countermeasures to the DPRK’s “freezing” of ROK assets in the Mount Geumgang resort on Monday. The government and the GNP reaffirmed that no inter-Korean cooperation project can be carried out in a situation where corporate property rights are not guaranteed. Rep. Hwang Jin-ha, Rep. Kim Choong-hwan and officials including vice unification minister Um Jong-sik took part in the meeting.
5. PRC-DPRK Economic Cooperation
Yonhap (“CHINESE AGENCIES SELL TOUR PROGRAMS TO NK’S MT GEUMGANG”, Beijing, 2010/04/11) reported that PRC travel agencies are selling tour programs to the DPRK’s Mount Kumgang. Two PRC agencies in the city of Tongcheng and the southern province of Guangdong are taking reservations for tour programs that include the scenic mountain and other sights, including Pyongyang, the ancient city of Kaesong and the border with the ROK, Yonhap quoted tourism sources in Beijing as saying.
Chosun Ilbo (“WILL CHINA TAKE OVER MT. KUMGANG TOURS?”, Seoul, 2010/04/12) reported that the ROK views the prospect of the PRC taking over the Mt. Kumgnag tours as little more than a threat because forecasts say that if the tours were handled from the PRC, they would not generate enough of cash. “North Korean tours catering to Chinese visitors are primarily focused on Pyongyang and Panmunjeom, though I’ve heard some of them include Mt. Kumgang,” Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung told reporters Friday. “We haven’t been able to find out specific details.” According to the Unification Ministry, of the total of 1.95 million tourists who visited Mt. Kumgang since 1998, only 13,000 were non-Koreans. “It takes around six hours by bus or train from Pyongyang to Mt. Kumgang,” said one DPRK defector. “How many foreign tourists would be willing to make that journey?”
6. DPRK Internal Situation
New York Times (Choe Sang-hun, “LEADER IS ABSENT AS N. KOREAN LEGISLATURE CONVENES”, Seoul, 2010/04/10) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il did not show up at the Supreme People’s Assembly on Friday. The legislative session adopted a second constitutional revision in a year, KCNA reported without providing details. Yonhap speculated that the amendment might be intended to help the transfer of power from Kim to his third son, Kim Jong-un. “I think it may have more to do with the economy or a minor readjustment of the Constitution,” said Kim Yong-hyun, a DPRK expert at Dongguk University in Seoul.
7. DPRK Human Rights
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “DAMS UNDER CONSTRUCTION NEAR N. KOREAN GULAGS”, Seoul, 2010/04/12) reported that Professor Hong Seong-phil of Yonsei University claimed Monday that dams are under construction near six gulags in the DPRK to destroy evidence of possible genocide there. “According to intelligence and witness accounts from North Korean defectors, the North may blow up the dams to kill the inmates in the event of a sudden change there,” Hong said. “As those in power in the North are aware of the consequences that their antecedents in other countries had to take after the change, they will want to destroy evidence,” he claimed.
8. Sinking of ROK Naval Vessel
Associated Press (“NKOREA DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN SKOREAN SHIP SINKING”, Seoul, 2010/04/10) reported the DPRK that has denied any involvement in a blast that sank an ROK navy ship last month, a news report said Saturday. A DPRK military delegation told PRC military officials during its trip to Beijing on March 30 that the DPRK was not behind the explosion that sunk the Cheonan, Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported, citing an unidentified diplomatic source.
Korea Herald (Kim So-hyun, “SEOUL REVIEWS STEPS IN CASE SHIP WAS ATTACKED”, Seoul, 2010/04/09) reported that the ROK government is seeking international help in verifying what caused the Navy ship Cheonan to sink. “The Defense Ministry has asked for U.N. assistance through the U.N. Command,” spokesman of the presidential office Park Sun-kyoo. “If an attack by North Korea is confirmed, it would be a violation of Chapter Seven of the U.N. Charter, so the U.N. Security Council could take certain measures against the North,” a senior foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity. “We cannot say what kind of measures, as Korea is not a member of the Security Council, but U.N. action is likely if an attack can be verified.”
Korea Herald (“‘AT LEAST ANOTHER WEEK UNTIL SHIP IS PULLED UP’”, Seoul, 2010/04/11) reported that the sunken Navy ship Cheonan will be pulled up by next weekend at the earliest, the Defense Ministry said citing rough weather conditions. “The initial plan was to complete the salvage operation by this Thursday, but it is being delayed due to bad weather,” a senior ministry official said.
9. Inter-Korean Naval Clashes
Korea Herald (Song Sang-ho, “‘N.K. NAVY VOWED REVENGE ON SEOUL'”, Seoul, 2010/04/12) reported that the DPRK’s West Sea Fleet Command held a convention in February to vow to take revenge on the ROK for the naval skirmish in November last year that killed some 10 DPRK soldiers, DPRK defector Park Sang-hak, head of the Fighters for Free North Korea, said Sunday. Park also said that since mid March, all DPRK soldiers appear to have been put on standby and banned from taking leave or leaving their bases. “I called one of my sources about 10 days ago, and I happened to hear that the source’s 29-year-old brother belonging to the West Sea Fleet Command could not come home for his scheduled marriage ceremony as his command is on emergency duty,” Park said. According to another source in his early 40s whose cousin is a colonel-level official in the DPRK army, “North Korean leader Kim Jong-il visited the West Sea Fleet Command sometime between Feb. 5 and Feb. 6, and said that the North should take revenge on (the South) for the naval clash through any possible means,” Park said.
10. ROK Role in Afghanistan
Chosun Ilbo (“SOLDIERS JOSTLE TO JOIN KOREAN FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN”, Seoul, 2010/04/09) reported that competition for Army troops volunteering to protect the Korean Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan is almost 10 to 1, the Army said Thursday. Some 908 personnel applied for the 95 available posts. In all, some 320 personnel will protect the Korean team in Afghanistan’s Parwan Province from July 1. Some 238 Air Force troops applied for another 41 positions available, a competition ratio of 5.8 to 1.
11. ROK Anti-Piracy
Joongang Ilbo (“PIRATE TALKS BEGIN, NAVY SHIP RETURNS TO ITS PORT”, Seoul, 2010/04/12) reported that the ROK naval destroyer that has continued to keep short distance from a supertanker hijacked by Somali pirates pulled out of the coast of Somalia on Saturday afternoon, Korean time, according to the Foreign Ministry. The withdrawal came after Samho Shipping Company, the Busan-based operator of the seized 300,000-ton ship Samho Dream, begun negotiations with the pirates for the release of the ship and its crew, the ministry said.
12. US-ROK FTA
Korea Herald (“‘KORUS FTA TO PROMOTE REGIONAL STABILITY'”, Seoul, 2010/04/12) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak said the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement would seal a crucial alliance and promote stability throughout Northeast Asia, in addition to economic benefits for both sides. “When viewed from the U.S. perspective, there aren’t many countries in the Asian region that the United States can sign an FTA with. It is not in a position to enter into an FTA with either China or Japan because of its economic size and other aspects,” Lee said in an interview published by the Washington Post on its website. “I say the KORUS-FTA will have a positive benefit for the Asian region as a whole because of the China factor.”
13. US-Japan Relations
Asahi Shimbun (“STATE TOLD COME CLEAN ON OKINAWA”, Tokyo, 2010/04/10) reported that the Tokyo District Court ordered the state on Friday to disclose documents on a secret Japan-U.S. pact on the 1972 return of Okinawa to Japanese sovereignty, saying the government was “insincere in neglecting the public’s right to know.” The court recognized that a secret pact existed as part of the agreement to hand over Okinawa. Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada indicated the ministry would likely appeal the verdict. He pointed to the March release of an investigation by a committee of experts that failed to find any document related to the secret pact.
14. US-Japan Alliance
Yomiuri Shimbun (“JAPAN ‘CEDED RIGHT TO TRY U.S. FORCES'”, Tokyo, 2010/04/11) reported that in a 1958 secret agreement with the United States, the government effectively ceded the right to try U.S. military personnel for crimes committed in Japan, Foreign Ministry sources said Saturday. The de facto abandoning of jurisdiction over crimes committed by U.S. military personnel was referred to in a document on Japan-U.S. talks held in connection with a bilateral Administrative Agreement signed in 1952 regarding the status of U.S. military installations and members of U.S. forces stationed in Japan. The agreement was replaced by the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement at the time of the 1960 revision of the bilateral security treaty. The newly found document is a record of the minutes of bilateral negotiations on Oct. 4, 1958, between then Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi and Foreign Minister Aiichiro Fujiyama and the U.S. ambassador to Japan at that time, Douglas MacArthur II, on revision of the Japan-U.S. security treaty, according to the sources.
15. Japanese Constitutional Revision
Yomiuri Shimbun (“POLL: PUBLIC SPLIT OVER AMENDING CONSTITUTION”, Tokyo, 2010/04/10) reported that a Yomiuri Shimbun opinion poll conducted on March 27-28 showed 43 percent of those surveyed supported amending the Japanses Constitution, while 42 percent were opposed. In a survey in March last year, 52 percent supported such a revision and 36 percent were opposed. However, more than 70 percent of respondents in the latest survey said the government should discuss whether and how to amend the Constitution. Thirty-two percent felt Article 9–the constitutional clause renouncing the right to wage war–should be amended as it hampers the country’s ability to deal with related issues because of how the article is interpreted. This number, too, was lower than 38 percent in last year’s survey. Meanwhile, 44 percent of respondents said related issues–such as the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces on international peacekeeping operations–should be dealt with through the conventional interpretation of Article 9. In the previous survey, 33 percent felt this way.
16. Sino-US Relations
Washington Post (John Pomfret, “PRIVATE EFFORTS HELP RESOLVE PUBLIC TENSIONS BETWEEN U.S. AND CHINA”, Washington, 2010/04/10) reported that after almost three months of bickering over Google, arms sales to Taiwan, the PRC’s currency, the Dalai Lama and Iran, the US and the PRC concluded that it was time to move on. As each side issued demands, the United States bent a little. It used appearances by President Obama and Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg to soothe ruffled feathers in Beijing and announced that it would delay a Treasury Department report that was expected to allege that the PRC was keeping the value of the yuan artificially low. But the PRC bent even more, diplomats from both countries say. It acceded to a U.S. request that the PRC join talks on sanctioning Iran for its alleged nuclear weapons program. The PRC said its president, Hu Jintao, would attend the Nuclear Security Summit, which will begin Monday in Washington.
17. PRC on Nuclear Safety
Reuters (Chris Buckley, “CHINA FACES NUCLEAR DIPLOMACY WITH AWKWARD BAGGAGE”, Beijing, 2010/04/11) reported that PRC President Hu Jintao takes tricky baggage to the nuclear security summit opening on Monday, representing a superpower in the making that is a relatively small nuclear arms state, wary of its big peers. The meeting could test the PRC’s approach of staying inside the exclusive club of five official nuclear weapons states and yet sometimes acting as an outsider, critical of the biggest nuclear powers. “China wants to be grouped with the recognized (nuclear) weapons states, but also wants to be seen as a voice for the demands of the non-nuclear developing world,” said Jing-dong Yuan, an expert on the PRC’s nuclear arms policies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California.
18. PRC on Iran Nuclear Program
Financial Times (Harvey Morris, “CHINA BOLSTERS US PUSH FOR IRAN SANCTIONS”, New York, 2010/04/09) reported that the PRC on Friday joined talks at the United Nations in New York to consider a fourth round of sanctions against Iran. But both Beijing and Russia stressed they had not closed the door to a diplomatic solution to the stand-off with Iran over the country’s nuclear ambitions. Li Baodong, PRC ambassador, stated, “The dual-track approach is actually focused on diplomacy.”