NAPSNet Daily Report 12 June, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Energy Aid Working Group
- 2. DPRK-Japan Relations
- 3. Inter-Korean Relations
- 4. DMZ Land Use
- 5. ROK Politics
- 6. Japan Politics
- 7. Japan Atomic Disease Lawsuit
- 8. Japan Whaling Issue
- 9. Sino-Indian Territorial Dispute
- 10. Cross Strait Relations
- 11. PRC Cyberattacks
- 12. PRC Earthquake
- 13. PRC Environment
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. DPRK Energy Aid Working Group
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA’S ENERGY AID WISH LIST LENGTHENS”, 2008/06/11) reported that the DPRK’s economic and energy aid wish list keeps getting longer. The regime appears antsy, wanting to quickly get its hands on more economic and energy aid. The demands are: first, deliver the remaining batches of heavy fuel oil by September; second, arrange a meeting among the two Koreas and the PRC during the week of June 16 to decide how to complete the delivery of all remaining non-fuel aid; third, adjust the price per ton of heavy fuel oil to reflect the latest surge in prices; fourth, give the go-ahead to build it a coal gasification plant for making fertilizer, with Japan financing the US$40 million facility.
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “N. KOREA URGED TO BE PATIENT ABOUT ENERGY DELIVERY PACE “, Seoul, 2008/06/11) reported that the DPRK’s nuclear dialogue partners have agreed that the delivery of promised energy aid for the DPRK should be accelerated but called on Pyongyang to simultaneously hasten the disablement of its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon, a ROK envoy said. “We have expressed serious concern about the fact that only about 36 percent of the (agreed) energy aid has been delivered,” Hyon Hak-bong, Pyongyang’s deputy chief representative to the talks said. “I don’t agree with it (Hyon’s position),” Hwang Joon-kook, head of the the ROK Foreign Ministry’s DPRK nuclear issue bureau. Hwang, who chairs the meeting, said, “Given the importance of the remaining measures, it is hard to say that North Korea has completed 80 percent of the disabling work.”
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “NORTH KOREA DEMANDS AID GUARANTEE FOR DISARMAMENT”, Seoul, 2008/06/12) reported that the DPRK is refusing to proceed further with its nuclear disarmament unless other countries at arms talks guarantee promised energy aid, an ROK negotiator Hwang Joon-kook said Thursday. “The North has taken the position that if that (energy aid) is not fully guaranteed, it cannot cooperate in making further steps,” Hwang stated. “The North Korean side is now putting considerable importance on the energy and economic aid,” he said.
2. DPRK-Japan Relations
Kyodo News (“JAPAN REPEATS DEMAND ON N. KOREA ABDUCTION CASES ON 1ST DAY OF TALKS”, Beijing, 2008/06/11) reported that Japan repeated its demand that the DPRK get to the bottom of the abduction cases of Japanese nationals by the DPRK’s agents, as envoys from the two countries met for their first formal talks in nine months aimed at normalizing ties. The DPRK plans to explain its position on the abduction cases, which Japan considers the top priority topic, when they meet again Thursday in Beijing, Japan’s envoy Akitaka Saiki told reporters. Saiki said that in talks he also repeated Japan’s call for the DPRK to hand over Japanese radicals who hijacked a Japan Airlines plane to the DPRK in 1970.
Yonhap (“NORMALIZATION TALKS DEPEND ON JAPAN’S N.K. POLICY: PRO-PYONGYANG DAILY”, Seoul, 2008/06/11) reported that the prospect of a new round of normalization talks between the DPRK and Japan depends on whether the latter drops its hostile policy toward the DPRK, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper in Japan indicated. The DPRK “will decide its position after watching the Japanese attitude” during the talks, Choson Sinbo reported, quoting DPRK foreign ministry officials. As an organ of Chongryon, the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, the newspaper usually represents Pyongyang’s position.
3. Inter-Korean Relations
Joongang Ilbo (Jung Ha-won, “ENVOY SAYS PYONGYANG WANTED CASH FOR SUMMIT”, 2008/06/11) reported that Pyongyang asked for $1.5 billion from Seoul in exchange for holding the first inter-Korean presidential summit in June 2000, but Seoul sternly refused the request, according to Park Jie-won, chief of staff and close political confidante of former President Kim Dae-jung. Park, who accompanied Kim to Pyongyang and was Seoul’s special envoy in arranging the summit, revealed several behind-the-scenes stories about the 2000 presidential summit between Kim and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. Park also revealed that the person who came up with the idea of the summit was Chung Mong-hun, who committed suicide in 2003 amid allegations he bribed the DPRK and Park. Park also indicated Chung may have paid $500 million in cash to Pyongyang in exchange for the right to begin business in the DPRK.
4. DMZ Land Use
Korea Herald (Kim Yoon-mi, “LAND USE RULES EASED FOR BUSINESS”, 2008/06/11) reported that the government said yesterday it will ease regulations on the preservation of military facilities and zones that bar construction of homes and factories and provide cheap land for business to spur investment and restore economic vitality. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance announcement said that the government will ease restrictions on the use of 220 square kilometers of land near the demilitarized zone, which divides the ROK from the DPRK, to make it easier to build homes, plants, roads and bridges. To keep the land deregulation scheme from interfering with military missions, those who want to use land within a 500-meter radius of a military facility should have a prior consultation with the military authorities, the ministry said.
5. ROK Politics
Washignton Post (Stella Kim and Blaine Harden, “SOUTH KOREA’S LEADER VOWS TO MAKE NEW START”, Seoul, 2008/06/11) reported that ROK president Lee Myung-bak pledged to “restart” his fledgling administration following protests that began over a decision to allow the importation of U.S. beef but broadened into a backlash against the president himself. In his first comments on demonstrations that drew tens of thousands of people into the streets of central Seoul and other ROK cities, Lee told a group of business leaders that he would “restart the government with renewed resolve” in an effort to regain public support. He indicated, however, that he would not accept the resignations offered by top government officials on Tuesday — at least not all of them. Lee’s entire cabinet offered to resign in order to take responsibility for the beef dispute and to take heat off the president.
6. Japan Politics
The Asahi Shimbun (“UPPER HOUSE APPROVES CENSURE MOTION AGAINST FUKUDA”, 2008/06/11) reported that the opposition-controlled Upper House approved for the first time a censure motion against a prime minister, but Yasuo Fukuda intends to ignore the nonbinding measure. The motion was submitted jointly by opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), the Social Democratic Party and the People’s New Party. The Japanese Communist Party also voted in favor of the motion. Minshuto decided to submit the censure motion to protest the ruling coalition’s blockage of a bill in the Lower House to scrap the new health insurance system. Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura told a news conference that the submission of the censure motion was a mere political performance by the opposition forces.
7. Japan Atomic Disease Lawsuit
Mainichi Shimbun (“PLAINTIFFS, LAWYERS DECIDE NOT TO APPEAL HIGH COURT RULINGS ON A-BOMB SUFFERERS”, 2008/06/11) reported that plaintiffs and lawyers have decided not to appeal recent rulings in the Osaka and Sendai high courts that recognized 11 plaintiffs as sufferers of A-bomb diseases, it has emerged. The government has also decided against appealing, meaning the rulings will be the first in a series of similar lawsuits to become fixed. While the high court rulings accepted that the 11 plaintiffs should be recognized as sufferers of atomic bomb diseases, the courts rejected their claim for compensation.
8. Japan Whaling Issue
Bloomberg (Toko Sekiguchi and Gemma Daley, “RUDD SAYS AUSTRALIA MAY TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST JAPAN WHALING”, 2008/06/11) reported that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, ahead of a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Yasuo Fukuda tomorrow, said he may take action against Japan’s whaling in international courts. “Let’s hope that if diplomacy doesn’t work we can prosecute our differences in an atmosphere of friendship,” Rudd said in Tokyo today. He also vowed to strengthen cooperation with Japan on defense, trade and financial services. Australia has pledged to take a tougher stance against Japan’s whale hunts in seas near Antarctica that Australia considers its territory.
9. Sino-Indian Territorial Dispute
United Press International (“INDIA WON’T CONFRONT CHINA ON INCURSIONS”, New Delhi, 2008/06/11) reported that India Tuesday said it would follow a non-confrontational approach toward its neighbors, including the PRC, in regard to border disputes. Defense Minister A.K. Antony, while responding to recent reports of PRC incursions and Beijing’s claims over chunks of Indian territory, said: “We are not ignoring (incidents of incursion). To a maximum extent, we will try to avoid confrontation.” There have been more than 150 incursions into Indian territory by the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army troops in the last year.
10. Cross Strait Relations
The Financial Times (“CHINA TO MEET TAIWAN NEGOTIATORS”, Beijing/Taipei, 2008/06/11) reported that negotiators from Taiwan arrived in Beijing on Wednesday for the first meeting between the two sides in almost a decade, though sensitive political issues have been shelved for now. The PRC and Taiwan will talk from Thursday about starting direct flights, banned since defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the close of the civil war in 1949, and opening the doors to masses of PRC tourists. But there is not expected to be any mention of signing a peace treaty, of the missiles Taiwan says the PRC has aimed at the island or of any of the other much trickier subjects both sides are ignoring in favour of first solving more practical matters.
Associated Press (Debby Wu, “TAIWAN, CHINA AGREE TO EXCHANGE OFFICES”, Beijing, 2008/06/12) reported that Taiwan and the PRC agreed Thursday for the first time ever to set up permanent offices in each others’ territories. The agreement to set up the offices, which will coordinate continuing contacts, was reached during talks Thursday morning in Beijing, a spokeswoman for Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation said. Foundation Deputy Secretary-General Pang Chien-kuo told the Xinhua News Agency the offices would “facilitate people’s exchanges and traveling across the Strait.”
11. PRC Cyberattacks
The Associated Press (Pete Yost, “LAWMAKER SAYS CHINESE HACKED CAPITOL COMPUTERS”, Washington, 2008/06/11) reported that a Virginia congressman says the FBI has found that four of his government computers have been hacked by sources working out of the PRC. In remarks prepared for delivery, Rep. Frank Wolf says he has been told by the FBI that four computers in his personal office were compromised. The Virginia Republican says that similar incidents — also originating from the PRC — have taken place on computers of other members of Congress and at least one House committee. A spokesman for Wolf says the four computers were being used by staff members working on human rights issues.
12. PRC Earthquake
Reuters (Nick Macfie, “RAIN THREATENS RESERVOIRS IN QUAKE-HIT CHINA”, Beijing, 2008/06/11) reported that heavy rain hit south and east PRC, threatening reservoirs a day after a dangerous “quake lake” drained to safety in the southwest, state media said. Water levels in at least five reservoirs in eastern Zhejiang province had risen above warning levels, Xinhua news agency said, after days of rain devastated southern Guangdong province and hit record levels in neighboring Hong Kong. In Zhejiang, the rain “affected” more than 930,000 people and damaged or destroyed more than 70,000 hectares (270 sq miles) of crops, halting production at 286 factories and forcing the closure of 115 roads, Xinhua quoted local officials as saying.
Agence France-Presse (Dan Martin , “GRAFT FEARS AS CHINA TURNS TO QUAKE RECONSTRUCTION “, Juyuan, 2008/06/11) reported that the PRC has insisted it will not allow corruption to infect its huge earthquake reconstruction effort, but one month after the disaster not everyone is convinced reality will match the pledge. With so much money sloshing around, and regular admissions from the PRC’s ruling Communist Party that corruption in its ranks is a major problem, there is perhaps forgivable skepticism that some of the aid will be siphoned off en route to those who need it most. “Not all government officials are corrupt, but that’s the way things are done here,” said Juyuan resident He Feng, a 59-year-old farmer.
13. PRC Environment
Agence France-Presse (“POLLUTION KILLS 10,000 A YEAR IN SOUTHERN CHINA: STUDY “, Hong Kong, 2008/06/11) reported that at least 10,000 deaths every year in Hong Kong, Macau and neighbouring southern PRC are caused by the area’s worsening air pollution, according to a study released Wednesday. Air pollution is also responsible for 440,000 hospital bed days and 11 million doctor visits each year, the Hong Kong-based think tank Civic Exchange said in its study. “We estimate that there are about 10,000 deaths occurring which are attributable to daily pollution, 10,000 deaths which are potentially avoidable,” said Anthony Hedley, a professor in the department of community medicine at Hong Kong University who worked on the study.
II. PRC Report
14. PRC Earthquake
Beijing Times (Liu Wei, “CRISIS LIFTED OF TANGJIASHAN DAMMED LAKE”, 2008/06/11) reported that yesterday at 17:18, the largest flood peak of Tangjiashan Dammed Lake safely passed Mianyang City at the rate of 7,100 cubic meters per second. The lake water didn’t flow over the Peijiang watercourse, and didn’t reach the one-third submerged line of dam-break. The height of the Tangjiashan Dammed Lake draining channel had ranged between 720 to 721 meters. After having the lake threatening for more than 20 days, the draining of Tangjiashan Dammed Lake was a decisive victory. No one was injured or died during the whole process.
15. PRC Civil Society and the 512 Earthquake
China National Radio, http://www.cnr.cn/ (Zhang Yaran, “MINISTRY OF CIVIL AFFAIRS REGULATES DISASTER RELIEF FUND-RAISING ACTIVITIES OF NGOS”, ) reported that Ministry of Civil Affairs recently issued a notice to regulate disaster relief fund-raising activities of NGOs. The notice requires that public foundations which have carried out fundraising activities without the approval of Ministry of Civil Affairs should go to the same level civil affairs departments for the re-approval procedures in 7 days after the notice was made. Disaster relief donations received by other NGOs should be delivered to civil affairs departments above the county level or social donation-receiving institutions consigned by the government, such as the Red Cross Society, within 15 days after the notice.
16. Cross Strait Relations
Chinanews, http://www.chinanews.com.cn/ (“CHIANG PIN-KUNG TO VISIT MAINLAND”, 2008/06/11) reported that a delegation headed by the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kun left Taipei for Beijing on Wednesday morning to attend talks with the Chinese mainland’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), Taiwan’s media reported. It will be the first talks between the SEF and ARATS since they resumed their talks after a suspension of nine years. Chiang’s visit is said to push the cross-strait relationship to a new high.
III. ROK Report
17. DPRK Internal Situation
Goodfriends (“STUDENTS MOBILZIED TO FARMS IN PYEONGCHANG, GANGWON PROVINCE, FAINTED OF HUNGER”, 2008/06/12) reoprted that middle school students from a school in Wonsan mobilized to farms in Pyeongchang, Gangwon province are having difficulties due to food shortages. The class teacher asked everywhere for food but has only confirmed of their despair. Some of the mobilized students who were not able to eat food for days even fainted.
18. DPRK Nuclear Program
Segye Ilbo (“[editorial] DPRK’S ‘ANTI-TERRORISM’ MANIFESTO SHOULD BE CONTINUED WITH NUCLEAR ABADONMENT”, 2008/06/11) wrote that the DPRK, having promised to fulfill its duty and responsibility as a member of UN in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declaration, seems to have taken a preliminary measure to prepare the atmosphere for its removal from the state sponsors of terrorism list. The veracity of the DPRK’s anti-terrorism manifesto depends on Complete, Verifiable, Irreversible Dismantlement. We see that it will be difficult for DPRK to be removed from the state sponsor of terrorism list if it demands economic support after coming to a nominal negotiation while maintaining the nuclear weapons and materials it already possesses, or if it choose a tit for tat strategy claiming that its demands were not heard by the US.
Kukmin Ilbo (“[editorial] DPRK’S ANTI-TERRORISM MANIFESTO, THE PROBLEM IS ACTION”, 2008/06/11) wrote that the DPRK has declared that it will fulfill all its duty and responsibility for anti-terrorism. We first welcome DPRK’s progressive manifestation of its position. We can understand that DPRK is more serious and sincere about this than any other time. However, the problem of credibility for the DPRK’s declaration still remains. The veracity of the anti-terrorism manifesto shall be judged by the DPRK’s nuclear abandonment.