NAPSNet Daily Report 12 August, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
1. Inter-Korea Relations
Yonhap (“MILITARY LOOKING INTO WHETHER N. KOREA INTENTIONALLY RELEASED MINES”, Seoul, 2010/08/12) reported that military is looking into the possibility that DPRK land mines that have washed ashore the ROK’s riverbanks may have been deliberately released, officials said Thursday. A total of 126 land mines packed in wooden boxes, 77 of them empty, have been found in ROK border areas since late last month. “We are paying attention to the fact that an unusually high number of North Korean mines was discovered this year, compared with previous years when the North had often been hit by torrential rains,” said an official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “However, at this stage, it is difficult to conclude that North Korea released the mines on purpose,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.
2. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap (“INTER-KOREAN TRADE HITS RECORD HIGH IN H1: REPORT”, Seoul, 2010/08/12) reported that inter-Korean trade soared to a record high in the first half of this year, a government report said Thursday. Two-way trade jumped 52.4 percent on-year to US$983.2 million in the January-June period, according to report by the Korea Customs Service (KCS). It also represents a six-fold increase from the $161.6 million tallied in the same period in 1999. Outbound shipments spiked 66 percent on-year to $430.5 million, with imports from the DPRK surging 44 percent to $552.7 million for a deficit of slightly more than $122.2 million. The report, however, said that with most cross-border exchanges being cut off by Seoul in retaliation for the sinking of the Cheonan inter-Korean trade is expected to drop about 30 percent on-year in the second half.
3. Sino-DPRK Relations
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA OFFERS TO HELP N.KOREA CRACK DOWN ON CRIME”, Beijing, 2010/08/12) reported that the PRC said Thursday it had offered to help the DPRK tackle cross-border crime. Beijing said it had handed over military equipment to the DPRK National Defense Commission during a visit by PRC Deputy Public Security Minister Liu Jing on Sunday. The statement gave no details of what type of equipment China had provided or which type of crimes could be targeted.
4. Sino-Japanese Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“CHINA FEEL LEFT OUT AFTER JAPANESE APOLOGY TO KOREA”, Seoul, 2010/08/12) reported that in a front-page headline story on Wednesday, the PRC’s Global Times said the timing of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s apology to the ROK was “very sensitive.” That it only addressed the ROK “touched a raw nerve in the region.” The daily pointed out that Japan apologized to all its Asian neighbors on the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in 1995, but it has never apologized to the PRC alone. The daily speculates that Tuesday’s statement was the start signal for Tokyo and Seoul to huddle closer together and face off against Beijing.
5. ROK Green Growth
Joongang Ilbo (Jung Seung-hyun, “HYUNDAI HEAVY TO BUILD GIANT SOLAR POWER PLANT”, Seoul, 2010/08/12) reported that Hyundai Heavy Industries said yesterday it had signed a $700 million deal with U.S.-based Matinee Energy on Monday to build the world’s largest solar energy power plant. The plant, which will be located in Arizona, is seen as a breakthrough in Korea’s ambitions to become a leading global supplier of green energy technology. Hyundai will build two facilities: a 150-megawatt solar energy power plant in Dragoon, Arizona, and a smaller 25-megawatt unit in nearby Cochise, both of which are located in the southeastern part of the state.