NAPSNet Daily Report 12 June, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 2. Russia on UNSC Resolution
- 3. PRC on UNSC Resolution
- 4. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 5. Japan-DPRK Relations
- 6. DPRK Sanctions
- 7. DPRK on Nuclear Program
- 8. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 9. US-DPRK Relations
- 10. Mongolia and US-DPRK Relations
- 11. Inter-Korean Relations
- 12. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 13. DPRK-UK Relations
- 14. US on Detained Journalists
- 15. DPRK-Burmese Trade Relations
- 16. ROK Military and Civil Society
- 17. ROK Environment and Public Heath
- 18. ROK Space Program
- 19. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
- 20. Japan Climate Change
- 21. Sino-Afghani Relations
- 22. Sino-Indian Territorial Dispute
- 23. Cross Strait Relations
- 24. PRC on Uighurs Detainee Issue
- 25. PRC Investment Abroad
- 26. PRC Climate Change
- 27. PRC Internet Use
- II. PRC Report
1. US on DPRK Nuclear Test
Kyodo News (“U.S. DETECTS SIGNS N. KOREA PREPARING TO CONDUCT 3RD NUCLEAR TEST: CNN”, Washington, 2009/06/11) reported that t he US has detected signs that the DPRK is preparing to conduct its third nuclear test, CNN television reported Thursday, quoting a US government source. The DPRK conducted the second nuclear test May 25, sparking international condemnation.
Associated Press (Kwang-tae Kim, “SKOREA BRACES FOR 3RD NUCLEAR TEST BY NORTH KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/06/12) reported that given the DPRK’s track record of provocative behavior and defiance of the United Nations, “common sense” would dictate that it is preparing for another nuclear test, ROK Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae told reporters Friday. He said the test was “probably possible.” However, Yonhap news agency quoted an unidentified intelligence official as saying there was no imminent indication that Pyongyang was restoring a test site where the second underground blast took place.
2. Russia on UNSC Resolution
DongA Ilbo (“RUSSIA BLOCKS RESOLUTION ON IMPOSING SANCTIONS ON NK “, Seoul, 2009/06/11) reported that the U.N. Security Council seemed close to reaching an agreement on imposing sanctions on the DPRK but was delayed after Russia raised new concerns. As major world powers reached agreement on the most sensitive issue of ship inspections, passage of the resolution seemed imminent. A high-ranking U.N. official said, however, “We’ve got the makings of a deal, but one delegation still needs to hear back from its capital.” Sources close to the talks said Russia unexpectedly raised concerns over the draft resolution.
3. PRC on UNSC Resolution
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA CALLS FOR ‘BALANCED’ UN RESOLUTION ON N.KOREA”, Beijing , 2009/06/11) reported that the PRC called for an “appropriate and balanced” UN resolution against the DPRK for its recent nuclear test and missile launches after a draft was submitted to the Security Council . “We always believe that the Security Council should pass an appropriate and balanced resolution which is conducive to promoting the de-nuclearisation on the Korean peninsula ,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters. He added the resolution should help “safeguard peace and stability in northeast Asia,” and said the PRC would continue to make efforts in that regard.
4. Sino-DPRK Relations
Kyodo News (“CHINA HINTS POLICY DEPENDS ON N. KOREA ATTITUDE”, Beijing, 2009/06/11) reported that the PRC ‘s policy toward countries including the DPRK depend on what actions they take, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday. While Qin Gang also emphasized that the PRC will continue to develop relations with the DPRK, the comment appeared to indicate a possible impact on commemoration events for the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.
5. Japan-DPRK Relations
Kyodo News (“BILL IN WORKS TO CHECK NORTH SHIPS”, 2009/06/11) reported that the government may prepare legislation to inspect DPRK cargo at sea if the U.N. Security Council adopts a resolution urging member states to clamp down on Pyongyang, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said. “There is a good chance” that the necessary legislation will be passed during the current Diet session through July 28, Kawamura told reporters. The Maritime Self-Defense Force can’t help inspect ships going to and from the DPRK due to limitations under domestic law. Kawamura indicated the government will explore either revising existing laws or creating a new law to deal with the matter.
6. DPRK Sanctions
Washington Post (Blaine Harden, “SANCTIONS SEEM TO HAVE DONE LITTLE TO DETER N. KOREA”, Tokyo, 2009/06/11) reported that as the United Nations moves this week to sanction the DPRK for its second nuclear test, there is strong evidence that a previous international squeeze did not work. Thanks to booming business with neighboring the PRC, the DPRK’s overseas trade has grown substantially since the sanctions imposed after the government of Kim Jong Il exploded its first nuclear device, in 2006. U.N. Security Council sanctions have had “no perceptible effect” on the DPRK’s trade with its largest partners, according to another study by Marcus Noland, a DPRK expert at the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics.
7. DPRK on Nuclear Program
Xinhua News (“DPRK NOT TO SCRAP N-ARMS IF US NOT: MEDIA”, Pyongyang, 2009/06/11) reported that the DPRK would not give up the nuclear counter-attack ability until eliminating the US nuclear threat, the Minju Choson daily said. In a commentary, the newspaper said that the US Defense Secretary Gates providing nuclear umbrella to the ROK proved that the US attempted to ignite war in the Korean peninsula. So the DPRK should strengthen its nuclear counter-attack ability, or , it would become the victim of US aggression. It said the DPRK’s nuclear counter-attack ability was only “the means of preventing wars and protecting the sovereignty.”
8. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Kyodo News (Jun Hongo, “ASSUME NORTH KOREA WON’T GIVE UP NUCLEAR WEAPONS: ARMITAGE”, 2009/06/11) reported that Japan should act on the assumption that the DPRK will never give up its nuclear weapons, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said. At a lecture sponsored by the nonprofit organization U.S.-Japan LINK, Armitage, an expert on Asian issues who advised ex-President George W. Bush until 2005, said countries shouldn’t waste their time resolving the issue through diplomatic means. “There is no possibility of Kim Jong Il giving up his nuclear weapons,” he said, adding that the six-party talks on denuclearizing Pyongyang will probably produce nothing. He also acknowledged that the US approach to handling the DPRK “wasn’t done the way it should have been done.”
9. US-DPRK Relations
Bloomberg News (Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, “U.S. PLANS DEFENSIVE STEPS ON NORTH KOREA DEFIANCE”, 2009/06/11) reported that the DPRK government must end its nuclear provocations and return to international disarmament talks or the US will take steps to guard its security, the special American envoy on the DPRK told a Senate panel. “The United States will do what is necessary to do to defend US national security and the national security of our allies” in the region, Bosworth told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today. For longer-term stability on the Korean Peninsula, the Obama administration believes that the 1953 armistice that ended fighting during the Korean War should be replaced with a permanent peace treaty, Bosworth said today. Bosworth said “it is time to begin talking seriously” about such a treaty.
Reuters (“U.S. SAYS NORTH KOREA UNLIKELY TO TAKE MILITARY ACTION”, Brussels, 2009/06/11) reported that the DPRK is unlikely to respond militarily to planned UN sanctions for its nuclear test , although the possibility should not be completely dismissed, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said. “I don’t think that there has been a commensurate change in the posture of the North Korean military that would suggest an attempt to undertake operations,” Gates told reporters as he arrived in Brussels for a meeting of NATO defense ministers. But he said Pyongyang was so unpredictable that it was probably “not wise” to dismiss out of hand DPRK threats of military action.
10. Mongolia and US-DPRK Relations
The Washington Times (Nicholas Kralev, “MONGOLIA OFFERS TO HELP U.S. WITH N. KOREA”, 2009/06/11) reported that Mongolia has offered to mediate between the United States and the DPRK because of its good ties with both countries, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has expressed interest, Mongolian Foreign Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold said. “Mongolia has kept very close ties with North Korea” since Mongolia was a communist state during the Cold War, the minister said. “We have organized meetings between North Korea and Japan and would be happy to continue in that direction.”
11. Inter-Korean Relations
(Kang Hyun-kyung, “DOVES ADVISE PRESIDENT TO EMBRACE N. KOREA”, 2009/06/11) reported that former government officials who served during previous liberal administrations urged President Lee Myung-bak to modify his hostile neglect policy toward thoughtful engagement with the DPRK. The doves also alleged that Lee’s hawkish DPRK policy was largely responsible for escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula as the sitting President, in collaboration with Japan, is allegedly playing a role in U.S. President Barack Obama’s hardening posture toward the DPRK.
12. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA HAS NO INTENTION TO CLOSE JOINT PARK: SEOUL OFFICIAL”, Seoul, 2009/06/11) reported that the DPRK does not appear to want to shut down an industrial park jointly run with ROK, although it is demanding steep wage and rent hikes that may be unacceptable, Seoul’s representative to Thursday’s talks said.
Agence France-Presse (Park Chan-Kyong, “SKOREAN FIRMS REJECT NKOREA’S DEMANDS OVER KAESONG”, Seoul, 2009/06/12) reported that ROK firms at an inter- Korean industrial estate rejected the DPRK’s demands for huge rent and wage increases. “The Kaesong industrial zone, which was born from the desire for national reconciliation and co-prosperity, now faces a critical moment because of political tensions,” the 106 firms at the estate said in a joint statement. They said they would not accept a “unilateral” demand made by the DPRK in breach of a contract endorsed by both governments, and called for Seoul ‘s help including emergency loans to cover “unbearable operational losses.”
13. DPRK-UK Relations
Reuters (“NORTH KOREA SUSPENDS VISAS FOR BRITISH TOURISTS: AGENCY”, Beijing, 2009/06/11) reported that the DPRK has suspended visas for tourists from Britain, a Beijing-based travel agency said, citing the state-run travel company. “In connection with the recent measures taken by U.K. government not to allow DPRK citizens to enter the U.K., we also will not receive any U.K. citizens as tourists to the DPRK for the time being,” Korea International Travel Co said. “It’s a pity to me that measures like this prevent day-to-day engagement between ordinary people,” said Koryo Tours’ Nick Bonner.
14. US on Detained Journalists
The Christian Science Monitor (“NORTH KOREA MAY SPARE US JOURNALISTS FROM HARD LABOR”, 2009/06/11) reported that whenever the two American journalists imprisoned in the DPRK go home, analysts doubt they’ll emerge with tales from inside the sprawling gulag where 200,000 DPRK are thought to be confined. “North Korea has four or five different kinds of correctional facilities,” says Won Ki Choi, a longtime analyst of North Korean affairs . “A concentration camp – a gulag – is the last possibility.” Analysts agree the DPRK is not likely to subject the women to the horrors of life in a gulag, despite the allusion to “hard labor” in the brief announcement carried by Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency . Lee and Ling “will have no beatings and no hard work,” he says, “but they will get very little food and will be very hungry.”
15. DPRK-Burmese Trade Relations
Korea Herald (“N. KOREA DIGS TUNNELS IN MYANMAR TO EARN DOLLARS”, 2009/06/11) reported that the DPRK has been very innovative when it comes to raising badly needed foreign exchange for the regime in Pyongyang. But there is a less known trade in service that the DPRK has offered to its foreign clients: expertise in tunneling. A fascinating new glimpse of this business has now been offered in secret photos from Burma obtained by this correspondent. The photos, taken between 2003 and 2006, show that while the rest of the world is speculating about the outcome of long-awaited elections in Burma, the ruling military junta has been busy digging in for the long haul – literally. DPRK technicians have helped them construct underground facilities where they can survive any threats from their own people as well as the outside world.
16. ROK Military and Civil Society
JoongAng Ilbo (“CRITICS OF NAVAL BASE AIM TO UNSEAT JEJU GOVERNOR”, 2009/06/11) reported that a rdent critics of a plan to build a massive naval base in Jeju are mounting a serious drive to oust the southern resort island’s governor, the latest twist in a saga that stretches back nearly two decades. Opponents of the project say they have gathered 42,963 signatures as of Wednesday supporting an election to recall Jeju Provincial Governor Kim Tae-hwan. That puts the group above the threshold of 41,649 – or 10 percent of the island’s voting population – needed to officially request a recall election.
17. ROK Environment and Public Heath
Korea Times (Bae Ji-sook, “GOV’T TO SHIELD CHILDREN FROM ENVIRONMENT-RELATED DISEASES”, 2009/06/12) reported that the government will support long-term research on environmental causes of disease in children, the Environment Minister Lee Maan-ee said. In a written interview with The Korea Times, he said it was time for the authorities to step up to protect youngsters from possible threats. “It is quite obvious that children are more vulnerable to a bad environment. They are small but eat, drink and breathe much more and their metabolism is more active than adults,” he said.
18. ROK Space Program
Chosun Ilbo (“KOREA’S SPACE CENTER OPENS”, 2009/06/11) reported that t he Naro Space Center, which will serve as the ROK’s center for space development, is dedicated after eight years of construction. The first order of business is the launch of the KSLV-I, the country’s first space launch vehicle, in July, carrying the Science and Technology Satellite-2. With that, the ROK will become the 10th member of the space club of countries that can launch satellites on their own.
19. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
Kyodo News (“RUSSIA BLASTS JAPANESE DIET’S ACTION OVER SOVEREIGNTY OVER 4 ISLANDS”, Moscow, 2009/06/11) reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry blasted the Japanese lower house’s passage of a bill on Japan’s sovereignty over four Russian-administered islands off Hokkaido as “inappropriate and unacceptable.” A statement issued by the ministry said the islands were legally inherited by Russia after they were handed to the Soviet Union after World War II. Therefore, debating whether to return the islands to Japan is impossible, the statement said. Earlier Thursday, Japan’s House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill to emphasize the country’s sovereignty over the four islands, calling them as an “integral part” of Japan.
20. Japan Climate Change
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN DEFENDS ITS EMISSIONS CUT TARGET”, Tokyo , 2009/06/12) reported that Japan defended its greenhouse gas reduction target against attacks from environmental groups who labelled it as dangerously low and a gift to the country’s industrial lobby. Prime Minister Taro Aso “made the best decision possible, after considering the balance between what is feasible and the protection of the global environment,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said. Green groups ridiculed the conservative premier as “George W. Aso” after he said Wednesday Japan would seek to cut its emissions by 2020 by the equivalent of eight percent on 1990 levels, the benchmark year for UN talks.
21. Sino-Afghani Relations
Agence France-Presse (“AFGHANISTAN CALLS FOR CHINA’S HELP AGAINST MILITANTS”, Beijing, 2009/06/11) reported that Afghanistan ‘s foreign minister has called for the PRC to open up their common border as an alternative supply route to help forces battling Islamic militants, PRC state media said. Rangin Dadfar Spanta , who is on a four-day visit to the PRC, made the call in a speech on Wednesday at a PRC think tank, the China Daily newspaper said. “The solution must be comprehensive, regional and international,” Spanta said, adding his “personal wish, which is opening the Wakhan Corridor between Afghanistan and China.”
22. Sino-Indian Territorial Dispute
China Daily (“CHINA REJECTS INDIA’S ALLEGATION OF BORDER CROSSING INCIDENTS”, 2009/06/11) reported that the PRC rejected India’s allegation that there were increasing border-crossing incidents by PRC military forces. “We cannot accept such an allegation and expect relevant Indian figures and media be responsible and do something good for bilateral ties,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular press briefing. The PRC will, through negotiations, strike for a fair and reasonable solution with India, Qin said.
23. Cross Strait Relations
China Post (“DPP BLASTS MA’S CHINA PROPOSAL AS TRASHING TAIWAN’S INTEGRITY”, Taipei, 2009/06/11) reported that the opposition camp yesterday blasted President Ma Ying-jeou for what they believed to be his proposal to adopt the PRC’s simplified Chinese characters in Taiwan. Critics from the Democratic Progressive Party accused Ma of trashing the country’s culture while kowtowing to the PRC. But the Presidential Office clarified that Ma only meant to urge people from the PRC to learn the traditional Chinese characters used in Taiwan.
24. PRC on Uighurs Detainee Issue
Reuters (“CHINA DEMANDS U.S. SEND GUANTANAMO UIGHURS BACK”, Beijing, 2009/06/11) reported that the PRC demanded that the United States return 17 Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay to the PRC and not send them to the Pacific island nation of Palau, which has agreed to accept the detainees. The PRC sees the 17 as terrorist suspects, and has repeatedly called for their return. “China demands the U.S. side implement relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council as well as live up to international anti-terrorism obligations, stop the transfer of these suspects to any third country and repatriate them to China,” PRC Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference.
25. PRC Investment Abroad
Reuters (“CHINA TO PUSH AHEAD WITH ‘GO ABROAD’ POLICY – MINISTRY”, Beijing, 2009/06/11) reported that the PRC will steadily push its long time policy of ‘go abroad’, despite risks caused by the financial crisis, its Commerce Ministry said on Thursday, a week after Rio Tinto scrapped a planned tie-up with Chinalco. ‘Opportunities to invest in high-quality enterprises and assets have increased, investment costs have declined and transaction conditions have improved,’ the ministry said in a statement posted on its website. The ministry did not mention Chinalco’s case in the statement.
26. PRC Climate Change
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA SAYS NO TO GREENHOUSE GAS CUTS”, Beijing, 2009/06/11) reported that the PRC will not accept binding cuts in its greenhouse gas emissions , an official said, after the United States said it made progress with Beijing in talks here on a global climate pact. “China is still a developing country and the present task confronting China is to develop its economy and alleviate poverty, as well as raise the living standard of its people,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters. “Given that, it is natural for China to have some increase in its emissions, so it is not possible for China in that context to accept a binding or compulsory target.”
27. PRC Internet Use
Reuters (“CHINA INTERNET FILTER CHALLENGED IN RIGHTS UPROAR”, Beijing, 2009/06/11) reported that a PRC lawyer has demanded a public hearing to reconsider a government demand that all new personal computers carry Internet filtering software, adding to uproar over a plan critics say is ineffective and intrusive. Li Fangping, a Beijing human rights advocate who often embraces controversial causes, has asked the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to allow hearings on the “lawfulness and reasonableness” of the demand, which takes effect from July 1 and was publicized only this week. “This administrative action lacks a legal basis,” Li wrote in a submission to the ministry that was sent to reporters.
II. PRC Report
28. PRC Energy Supply
Dahe Net (“GOVERNMENTAL DEPARTMENTS EXPERIENCE ENERGY SHORTAGE”, 2009/06/11) reported that yesterday is the “Public Institutions Experience Energy Shortage Day” of Henan province. According to the statistics from the provincial energy-saving office, there are a total of 5.2 million people in 45,000 institutions of the province experiencing the energy shortage. Most civil servants chose “green travel”. 8.46 million yuan has been saved in one day.
29. Civil Society and Cross Strait Relations
International online (Liang Jianjun, “HONG KONG TAIWAN TO RESPECTIVELY ESTABLISH NGO FOR COOPERATION”, 2009/06/11) reported that according to Hong Kong government, Hong Kong and Taiwan will respectively establish new civil organizations, to promote communication and cooperation between the two. Apart from the civil interaction, the high-level government officials will also exchange visits, and actively participate in civil activities.