NAPSNet Daily Report 12 November, 2007
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. DPRK-Vietnam Relations
- 3. US-ROK Free Trade Agreement
- 4. ROK Presidential Election
- 5. Tumen River Development Project
- 6. Ethnic Koreans in Sakhalin
- 7. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
- 8. US-Japan Security Alliance
- 9. PRC Separatist Movements
- 10. Taiwan WHO Membership
- II. Republic of Korea
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Washington Post (Glenn Kessler, “N. KOREA OFFERS EVIDENCE TO REBUTURANIUM CLAIMS”, Washington, 2007/11/10) reported that the DPRK isproviding evidence to the United States aimed at proving that itnever intended to produce highly enriched uranium for nuclearweapons, ROK and U.S. officials said. The DPRK government has grantedU.S. experts access to equipment and documents to make its case, inpreparation for declaring the extent of its nuclear activities beforethe end of the year. “They have shown us some things, and we areworking it through,” a senior U.S. official said on the condition ofanonymity. “Some explanations make sense; some are a bit of a stretch.”
2. DPRK-Vietnam Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“KIM JONG-IL ‘ACCEPTS INVITATION TO VIETNAM'”,2007/11/11) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il told the GeneralSecretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nong Duc Manh, who was ona visit to Pyongyang in mid-October, that he wants to visit Hanoinext year, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported Saturday. Kyodo quoteda senior Vietnamese official as saying that Kim will go via thetrans-Chinese railway. “North Korean officials asked us to keepeverything, including Chairman Kim’s itinerary, secret if his visitto Vietnam materializes at all, and to announce his visit only afterhis departure for Vietnam,” he added.
3. US-ROK Free Trade Agreement
Associated Press (“SOUTH KOREANS CLASH OVER US TRADE DEAL”, Seoul,2007/11/11) reported that tens of thousands of ROK farmers andworkers clashed with riot police Sunday at a massive rally against afree trade agreement with the United States. Police said theyarrested some 100 protesters and that more than 10 riot police werehurt. Organizers said some 50 demonstrators were hurt, mostlysuffering head injuries.
Chosun Ilbo (“RATIFICATION OF KOREA-U.S. FTA UNLIKELY THIS YEAR”,Seoul, 2007/11/12) reported that United New Democratic Partypresidential candidate Chung Dong-young on Saturday said it isunlikely the current regular session of the National Assembly willratify the ROK-U.S. free trade agreement. Grand National Party (GNP)spokeswoman Na Kyung-won said it will be impossible for the ongoingregular session to deal with the FTA since various supplementarymeasures need to be devised and it will take time to persuadelawmakers who oppose the trade pact. This was the case even thoughGNP presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak “is strongly in favor of thetrade treaty and is determined to ratify it.”
4. ROK Presidential Election
Korea Times (Kim Sue-young, “2 PARTIES MERGE FOR SINGLE CANDIDATE”,Seoul, 2007/11/12) reported that the United New Democratic Party(UNDP) and the minor opposition Democratic Party have agreed to mergeand pick a unified candidate to stand against conservative candidatesin the race. Chung Dong-young, the pro-government party candidate andformer unification minister, is favored to become the unified party’sstandard-bearer over Rhee In-je of the DP, sources said.
Korea Herald (Kim Ji-hyun, “PARK THROWS WEIGHT BEHIND GNP CANDIDATE”,Seoul, 2007/11/12) reported that Park Geun-hye, former Grand NationalParty chairwoman, on Monday offered her support to the party’scandidate Lee Myung-bak. “I remain unchanged in my view that theparty must win the election, and I will do my best to help,” Parktold reporters. She added “it is not right for Lee Hoi-chang to compete again.”
5. Tumen River Development Project
Vladivostock Times (“VLADIVOSTOCK WILL BECOME PLACE OF HOLDINGEXTENDED TUMANGAN INITIATIVE”, Vladivostock, 2007/11/11) reportedthat delegations of five countries – Russia, the PRC, Republic ofKorea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Mongolia – plan toparticipate in an expanded Tumen River Initiative to be held inVladivostok on November 15-16. The delegates will discuss issues ofrealization of new investment projects on territory development,creating an Expanded Tumangan Initiative trust-fund, the budget for2008 and some other issues.
6. Ethnic Koreans in Sakhalin
Associated Press (Burt Herman, “EXILED KOREANS RETURN AFTER 60YEARS”, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, 2007/11/10) reported that the last groupof Koreans from Sakhalin Island are returning to the ROK under athree-year repatriation program funded by the ROK and Japan . OnlyKoreans born before World War II ended in August 1945 are eligiblefor relocation and financial support.
7. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPAN DIET COMMITTEE OKS NEWNAVAL BILL”, Tokyo, 2007/11/12) reported that a Japaneseparliamentary committee on Monday approved renewing a limited versionof a naval mission in the Indian Ocean. The bill, which is expectedto be voted on in the full lower house on Tuesday, limits Japaneseships to refueling and supplying water to ships used in themonitoring and inspection of vessels suspected of links to terrorismor arms smuggling.
8. US-Japan Security Alliance
Yomiuri Shimbun (Aya Igarashi, “GATES AGAINST HOST-NATION SUPPORTCUTS”, Washington, 2007/11/10) reported that U.S. Defense SecretaryRobert Gates on Friday expressed his opposition for the first time tothe Japanese government’s plan to cut host-nation support for U.S.military forces stationed in Japan in the next fiscal year. Gatesalso asked for an increase in Japan’s defense budget.
9. PRC Separatist Movements
Associated Press (“CHINA SENTENCES 5 TO DEATH IN XINJIANG”, Beijing,2007/11/11) reported that Xinhua News Agency said that the PRC hassentenced to death five ethnic Muslims from the Xinjiang who wereaccused of separatist activities.A sixth man was sentenced to life inprison by the Intermediate Court in Kashgar on Friday. Xinhua saidthe six were convicted of charges ranging from illegally makingexplosives to leading a terrorist organization.
10. Taiwan WHO Membership
Korea Times (Kim Se-jeong, “TAIWAN PURSUES WHO MEMBERSHIP DESPITEOBJECTION”, 2007/11/11) reported that Wu Shuh-min, president of theFoundation of Medical Professionals Alliance in Taiwan, and threeother members of the foundation arrived in the ROK for a one-day triplast Monday to solicit support from the ROK and other countries forTaiwan membership in the World Health Organization (WHO). “I hopecountries including Korea acknowledge the serious ramifications thatTaiwan’s exclusion from the WHO could bring about, and I urge them tospeak up against China,” Wu said.
II. Republic of Korea
11. DPRK Nuclear Threat
Donga Ilbo (Yoon Sang-ho, “DPRK HAS ABILITY TO MAKE A NUCLEAR ATTACKAGAINST ROK IN AN EMERGENCY”, Seoul, 2007/11/09) reported that KoreaInstitute for Defense Analysis claimed that the ROK Army should moveto neutralize the DPRK’s nuclear arsenal with superior militaryforce, preparing against the DPRK’s ability to use their nuclearweapons to attack the ROK’s field army or military facilities.”Although the real ability to use a nuclear weapon is low, the DPRKwill use it to reduce the US military deterrent, keeping the nuclearumbrella and conventional military force as a nuclear threat”, saidKIDA researchers in the “2007 Analysis and Assessment of NationalDefense Budget and 2008 Outlook.”
12. US Sanctions on DPRK
Nocut News (“DPRK WILL BE REMOVED FROM TERRORISM SPONSOR LIST”,Seoul, 2007/11/11 17:15:00 GMT+0) reported that it is quite clearthat the DPRK will be removed from the terrorism sponsor list as theDPRK’s denuclearization process is ongoing. Minister of ForeignAffairs and Trade Song Min-soon came back from a visit to the U.S.and said he has re-confirmed that the U.S. will observe theagreement. Thus, it is becoming a question of when the eliminationfrom the list of terrorism sponsor and release from the US Tradingwith the Enemy Act will be done.
13. DPRK on ROK Election
Yonhap (“DPRK’S MEDIA CRITICIZE ‘A POLITICAL TRAGICOMEDY'”, Seoul,2007/11/11 17:40:00 GMT+0) reported that the DPRK media iscriticizing former leader of the Grand National Party Lee Hoi-chang’sannouncement on running for the presidency. The DPRK weekly magazineTongil Shinbo pointed at Lee’s two-time failure to be elected asevidence of his “unchanging ambition” and said “it is a politicaltragicomedy.” A cabinet organ, Democratic Chosun and Pyongyangnewspaper also reportedly criticized Lee, but the details are unknown.