NAPSNet Daily Report 12 February, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US-DPRK Relations
- 2. UN-DPRK Relations
- 3. ROK-Japan on DPRK Nuclear Issue
- 4. PRC on Six Party Talks
- 5. Inter-Korean Relations
- 6. ROK-DPRK-Russian Energy Cooperation
- 7. Thailand Seizure of DPRK Arms Shipment
- 8. DPRK Human Rights
- 9. DPRK Economy
- 10. US-ROK FTA
- 11. ROK-Uzbekistan Cooperation
- 12. ROK-Japan Relations
- 13. USFJ Base Relocation
- 14. Japan Politics
- 15. Japanese Whaling
- 16. Taiwan-Somali Piracy
- 17. Cross-Strait Relations
- 18. Sino-US Relations
- 19. Sino-Indian Relations
- 20. Sino-Japanese Relations
- 21. PRC Cybersecurity
- 22. PRC Security
- 23. PRC Climate Change
- II. PRC Report
1. US-DPRK Relations
Reuters (“NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR ENVOY TO VISIT U.S.: REPORT”, 2010/02/11) reported that the DPRK’s chief nuclear envoy will make a visit to the US next month, the ROK’s Yonhap news agency reported. Envoy Kim Kye-gwan was in Beijing this week for discussions on the nuclear talks with officials from the PRC. “His visit to the States has been already set,” Yonhap quoted a diplomatic source in Beijing as saying.
2. UN-DPRK Relations
Associated Press (“UN ENVOY MEETS WITH NKOREA’S NO. 2 OFFICIAL”, Seoul, 2010/02/11) reported that U.N. political chief B. Lynn Pascoe, met with his DPRK counterpart, Kim Yong Nam in Pyongyang. As head of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly , Kim is second in the chain of command after DPRK leader Kim Jong Il . Pascoe, making a four-day trip to the DPRK capital, verbally conveyed a message from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Kim Jong Il . The message and a gift from the U.N. chief later were relayed to Kim himself, Korean Central News Agency reported, without providing details.
3. ROK-Japan on DPRK Nuclear Issue
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA, JAPAN AGREE TO BOLSTER INTELLIGENCE-SHARING ON N. KOREA”, 2010/02/11) reported that ROK Unification Minister Hyun In-taek and Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada met on Thursday agreed to bolster intelligence-sharing on the DPRK, the Unification Ministry said. Noting the DPRK nuclear threat goes beyond the divided Korean Peninsula, Hyun said that a “coordinated response” is key to denuclearizing DPRK, the ministry said. “Okada said the DPRK nuclear problem is an important issue affecting Japan’s national security, and that he will press to quickly resolve it,” the ministry said in a statement.
Reuters (Jack Kim, “SANCTIONS STAY UNTIL NORTH KOREA TALKS: SOUTH, JAPAN”, Seoul, 2010/02/11) reported that sanctions on DPRK will not be removed until Pyongyang returns to disarmament talks and takes serious steps toward scrapping its nuclear arms program, the foreign ministers of ROK and Japan said on Thursday.
4. PRC on Six Party Talks
Xinhua (“CHINA HOPES FOR EARLY RESUMPTION OF SIX-PARTY TALKS”, 2010/02/12) reported that PRC would like to work with the parties involved for an early resumption of the six-party talks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Thursday. Ma told a regular press briefing that the appointment of Wu Dawei as the chief envoy to the six-party talks showed that the PRC government attached importance to the Korean Peninsula situation and the six-party talks. He said, “PRC is willing to work with the parties involved to promote the resumption of the six-party talks at an early date.”
5. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA PROPOSE MILITARY TALKS WITH THE NORTH “, 2010/02/11) reported that the ROK proposed to the DPRK that working-level military officials meet later this month to discuss restrictions hindering transportation and communications in and out of a joint factory park in the DPRK, defense officials said. “We have proposed to the North to hold the talks on Feb. 23 at the House of Peace near Panmunjeom,” said Won Tae-jae, spokesman for Seoul’s defense ministry.
6. ROK-DPRK-Russian Energy Cooperation
Yonhap News (“SEOUL’S NEW ENVOY TO RUSSIA VOWS TO SPEED UP GAS PIPELINE PROJECT”, 2010/02/11) reported that the ROK’s new ambassador to Russia said on Wednesday that he is committed to implementing the envisioned ROK-DPRK-Russia natural gas pipeline. Ambassador Lee Youn-ho, who accompanied President Lee on the Russian trip in his capacity as knowledge economy minister, said that the three-nation gas pipeline project, if realized, will be very meaningful “economically and politically.” “If the South Korea-Russia gas pipeline can pass through North Korea, it can be linked to the construction of electric power and railway networks,” said Ambassador Lee.
7. Thailand Seizure of DPRK Arms Shipment
Agence France-Presse (Boonradom Chitradon, “THAILAND TO DEPORT NORTH KOREA ARMS CREW”, Bangkok, 2010/02/12) reported that Thailand on Friday was set to deport a five-man plane crew that it detained with a cache of arms from the DPRK after charges against them were dropped. The Belarussian pilot and four Kazakh crew left an immigration centre by van for Suvarhabhumi airport. Thai Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva told reporters that officials had already coordinated with the men’s home countries to organise their reception. Belarus and Kazakhstan petitioned Bangkok to allow the men to be released for trial in their own countries.
8. DPRK Human Rights
JoongAng Daily (Lee Min-yong, “NORTH HUMAN RIGHTS BILL MOVES IN ASSEMBLY”, 2010/02/12) reported that the Foreign Affairs, Unification and Trade Committee of the National Assembly yesterday passed a long-stalled bill aimed at improving human rights conditions in DPRK. The bill calls to establish a government body dedicated to improving DPRK human rights and providing assistance for civic groups trying to advance the situation. “The bill will not help the DPRK people, but rather it provides a reason to suppress and control them,” said DP representative Song Min-soon, who served as the foreign minister for the Roh Moo-hyun administration from 2006 to 2008.
9. DPRK Economy
The Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA CLIMBS DOWN OVER ANTI-MARKET REFORMS”, 2010/02/12) reported that a DPRK source has shed more light on an apology by Premier Kim Yong-il on Feb. 5 which apparently acknowledged that the currency reform in late December went disastrously wrong. Kim indicated that the regime will allow people to use foreign currency, which has been banned since the reform, and permit open-air markets to return to normal after a crackdown that seemed aimed at strangling a nascent market economy. But Kim at the same time stressed the need to stick to state-set prices, adding that the government will strictly crack down on the hoarding of goods.
10. US-ROK FTA
Yonhap (Hwang Doo-hyong, “OBAMA PLEDGES TO PRESS FOR KOREA FTA’S RATIFICATION THIS YEAR”, Washington, 2010/02/11) reported that U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday that he will push for congressional approval of the pending free trade agreement with the ROK this year. In an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, posted on its Web site, Obama said he “would press for passage this year of free-trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia.” Obama, however, cautioned that “different glitches” must first be negotiated with each country.
11. ROK-Uzbekistan Cooperation
Yonhap News (Lee Chi-dong, “S. KOREA, UZBEKISTAN TO DEEPEN ECONOMIC, POLITICAL COOPERATION “, Seoul, 2010/02/11) reported that ROK and Uzbekistan on Thursday signed accords on building a chemicals plant and developing a gas field in the Central Asian country, after their leaders held a summit in Seoul to discuss measures to further boost bilateral economic and political cooperation. The two countries signed a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) on their US$3-billion project to construct a chemicals plant and develop a gas field in the Uzbek region of Surgil, ROK’s presidential office said.
12. ROK-Japan Relations
Yonhap News (Byun Duk-kun, “S. KOREA, JAPAN CALL FOR FRESH START, RESUMPTION OF 6-WAY TALKS”, Seoul, 2010/02/11) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and Japan’s visiting Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada called for joint efforts Thursday to truly mend ties between their countries as the Japanese minister offered an apology for Japan’s colonial rule of Korea. The two ministers discussed other bilateral and regional issues, saying the countries will also work to strengthen their cooperation in dealing with international issues, such as the climate change and the global economic crisis. Okada also stressed the need to maintain what he called a “strategic understanding” among the five other countries involved in nuclear negotiations with DPRK to resume the stalled talks and denuclearize the DPRK.
13. USFJ Base Relocation
Agence France-Presse (“US TERRITORY OFFERS TO HOST TROOPS FROM JAPAN: REPORTS”, Tokyo, 2010/02/11) reported that a US-administered Pacific island territory has offered to take some of the US troops relocating from Japan amid a row between Washington and Tokyo over a military base, reports said Thursday. The governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands made the offer when he met a Japanese delegation in the US territory of Guam Wednesday, Jiji Press and other news reports said.
14. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“INDICTED EX-OZAWA AIDE ISHIKAWA TO LEAVE DPJ, BUT REMAIN IN DIET”, Tokyo, 2010/02/11) reported that Tomohiro Ishikawa, a Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker and former aide to DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa, will leave the ruling party Monday, as his resignation letter was accepted by the party Thursday following his indictment over funding irregularities in connection with a Tokyo land deal. But the 36-year-old House of Representatives lawmaker said he will not give up his status as a Diet member, telling a press conference in the city of Obihiro, Hokkaido, that he will continue to “serve to the local area and nation” and “fulfill my responsibility.”
15. Japanese Whaling
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN ANGRY AT ANTI-WHALING ACTIVISTS”, Tokyo, 2010/02/12) reported that Japan expressed strong anger Friday at the Sea Shepard Conservation Society, after three of the whalers reported minor injuries this week. “It’s outrageous,” said top government spokesman Hirofumi Hirano after the Japanese crew reported “acid-splash chemical injury ” from rancid butter — or butyric acid — stink bombs that activists had hurled at them. “Luckily those were minor injuries, but it is extremely regrettable,” Hirano, the chief cabinet secretary , told reporters. “Claims by Japan that rotten butter caused injuries to sailors is bogus,” the group said on its website. ” Butyric acid is a foul-smelling substance but does not cause harm upon skin contact.”
16. Taiwan-Somali Piracy
Earth Times (“SOMALI PIRATES FREE TAIWAN FISHING BOAT WITH 30 CREW “, Taipei, 2010/02/11) reported that Somali pirates have released a Taiwan fishing boat and its 30 crew after 10 months in captivity, the Foreign Ministry in Taipei said Thursday. The Win Far 161 was released Thursday and the vessel and its crew are on their way home, the ministry said in a statement. The statement did not say whether ransom had been paid, but Somali pirates usually release hijacked foreign ships only after ransom has been paid. The vessel, a 700-ton tuna trawler, was seized near the Seychelles on April 6 and carried 30 crew – two Taiwanese, five Chinese, six Indonesian and 17 Filipino sailors.
17. Cross-Strait Relations
Xinhua (“OFFICIAL: CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS TO STEADILY IMPROVE”, Beijing, 2010/02/12) reported that the year 2010 would be marked by the steady development of cross-Strait relations, said the PRC’s Taiwan affairs chief Wang Yi Thursday. The mainland would deepen cooperation with Taiwan this year, he said, adding that a key task at present was negotiating an economic pact with the island. Cross-Strait relations realized a “historic transition” in 2008, and ties had been “comprehensively improved” last year, he said. Wang said the mainland is ready to further enhance mutual trust, expand exchanges, improve current policies and measures, so as to enable more grass-root people to benefit from the development of cross-Strait relations.
Central News Agency (“LEGISLATIVE SPEAKER BACKS PROPOSAL TO SET UP CROSS-TAIWAN STRAIT PANEL”, 2010/02/11) reported that Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng expressed support yesterday for a proposal to set up a dedicated panel under the legislature to monitor and deal with cross-Taiwan Strait affairs. Wang said such a panel can serve as a communication platform between the legislative and executive branches, which he said was “very necessary” at a time when Taiwan and PRC are working in close interaction to strengthen their cooperation. Wang made the remarks after chairing an inter-party consultation held to discuss the proposal, which was put forth by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party amid the Kuomintang (KMT) administration’s efforts to promote the signing of an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with PRC.
18. Sino-US Relations
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA APPROVES US AIRCRAFT CARRIER’S HONG KONG VISIT”, 2010/02/11) reported that the PRC has given the green light to the visit of a US aircraft carrier to Hong Kong, a US official said Thursday. “We have received clearance from China for the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz to visit Hong Kong in the near future,” a spokesman for the US consulate in the Chinese city told AFP. The South China Morning Post reported that it would arrive on February 17 and stay for several days.
Agence France-Presse (Marianne Barriaux, “CHINA DEMANDS U-TURN ON OBAMA’S DALAI LAMA MEET”, Beijing, 2010/02/12) reported that the PRC on Friday demanded the White House cancel a meeting between US President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama. Foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said, “We urge the US side to fully understand the high sensitivity of Tibet-related issues, and honour its commitment to recognise Tibet as part of China and to oppose ‘Tibet independence’.” He added, “China urges the US… to immediately call off the wrong decision of arranging for President Obama to meet with the Dalai Lama… to avoid any more damage to Sino-US relations.”
19. Sino-Indian Relations
Telegraph (“MISSILE INDIA: MINE IS BETTER THAN CHINA’S”, 2010/02/11) reported that India today claimed that its PRC-specific deterrent, the Agni III missile capable of carrying a 1,500kg nuclear warhead, was ready for use by the armed forces whenever and wherever required. The missile was test-fired by the army wing of the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) from Wheeler’s Island off the Orissa coast on Sunday, the scientific adviser to the defence minister, V.K. Saraswat, said here today. “Yes,” replied Saraswat, when asked if the claim that the missile was “ready for induction” meant the armed forces could deploy the weapon in operations.
20. Sino-Japanese Relations
China Economic Review (“CHINA-JAPAN FRIENDSHIP MEETING OPENS”, 2010/02/11) reported that at the Fifth 21st Century Committee for China-Japan Friendship, which opened at Beijing’s Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on February 7, 2010, PRC Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama respectively sent congratulatory messages to the opening of the meeting. One suggestion made on the first day was the two sides should establish new thinking, seek new areas and explore new spaces. The two sides should focus on sustainable development and strengthen cooperation in energy, the environment, green and low-carbon economy, high-tech, and other fields so as to achieve a mutual benefit and win-win situation.
21. PRC Cybersecurity
International Herald Tribune (“CHINA ALARMED BY THREAT TO SECURITY FROM CYBERATTACKS”, 2010/02/11) reported that in the view of both political analysts and technology experts here and in the United States, the PRC’s attempts to tighten its grip on Internet use are driven in part by the conviction that the West — and particularly the United States — is wielding communications innovations from malware to Twitter to weaken it militarily and to stir dissent internally. “The United States has already done it, many times,” said Song Xiaojun, one of the authors of “ Unhappy China ,” a 2009 book advocating a muscular PRC foreign policy, which the government’s propaganda department is said to promote. He cited the so-called color revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia as examples. “It is not really regime change, directly,” he said. “It is more like they use the Internet to sow chaos.”
22. PRC Security
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA SAYS IT HAS ‘NO DISSIDENTS'”, 2010/02/02) reported that the PRC declared it had “no dissidents”, just hours after a Beijing court upheld an 11-year jail term for one of the country’s top pro-democracy voices. “There are no dissidents in China,” foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters at a regular news briefing. Ma made the comment in answer to a question about leading Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, whose appeal of his conviction on subversion charges was denied early Thursday.
Associated Press (Cara Anna, “CHINA UPHOLDS SENTENCE OF MAN WHO DEMANDED REFORM”, Beijing, 2010/02/11) reported that a PRC court on Thursday upheld the unprecedented 11-year sentence of a prominent academic who called for political reform. The ruling — the third legal defeat this week for veteran Chinese activists — drew a rare public rebuke from the U.S. ambassador, who said Liu Xiaobo should be released immediately. Liu’s hearing at Beijing ‘s high court took less than 10 minutes, and the activist was not given a chance to speak.
23. PRC Climate Change
The Guardian (“CHINA’S FEARS OF RICH NATION ‘CLIMATE CONSPIRACY’ AT COPENHAGEN REVEALED”, 2010/02/11) reported that rich nations furthered their “conspiracy to divide the developing world” at December’s UN climate summit in Copenhagen, while Canada “connived” and the EU acted “to please the United States”, according to an internal document from a PRC government thinktank obtained by the Guardian. The officials’ top point is that “the overall interests of developing countries have been defended” by resisting a rich nation “conspiracy” to abandon the Kyoto protocol, and with it the legal distinction between rich nations that must cut carbon emissions and developing nations for whom action is not compulsory.
II. PRC Report
24. PRC Energy Use
Xinhua News (“CHINA DENMARK ENHANCE COOPERATION ON RENEWABLE ENERGY”, 2010/02/11) reported that China & Denmark Renewable Energy Development Project was launched in Beijing on February 9 th . The time limit of the project is five years and Denmark government will provide financial support of 130 million RMB to the project.
25. PRC Civil Society and Education
China News Net (“CHINA’S FIRST SCIENCE POPULARIZATION FUND FOUND”, 2010/02/11) reported that Guanghua Science Popularization Fund was formally found in Beijing recently. This is PRC’s first science popularization fund. The Fund will put in 3 million RMB to promote science popularization into communities of the country by way of lectures this year.
26. PRC Civil Society and Earthquake Relief
China News Net (“ORPHANS OF WENCHUAN EARTHQUAKE GET FINANCIAL AID”, 2010/02/11) reported that China Charity Federation and Jiangyu Group signed a donation agreement recently in Beijing. Jiangyu Group will donate 1.2 million RMB to aid orphans of Wenchuan earthquake. The fund will be used for supporting orphans in Sichuan Zhixiang Technology School to finish their education.