NAPSNet Daily Report 12 November, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Leadership
- 2. DPRK Economy
- 3. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 4. Inter-Korean Relations
- 5. US-DPRK Relations
- 6. ROK Aid to the DPRK
- 7. DPRK-Myanmar Relations
- 8. ROK Environment
- 9. ROK Government
- 10. US-ROK Free Trade Agreement
- 11. ROK-Japan Relations
- 12. US-Japan Crisis Planning
- 13. US-Japan Security Alliance
- 14. Japan Energy
- 15. Sino-Indian Territorial Dispute
- 16. PRC Tibet Issue
- 17. PRC Energy
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Leadership
Reuters (Yoko Nishikawa, Jon Herskovitz and Jack Kim , “KIM JONG-IL HAD POSSIBLE SECOND STROKE”, Tokyo, 2008/11/11) reported that U.S. authorities have received information that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il suffered a second stroke late last month, Japanese broadcaster TBS reported. Kim suffered the second stroke in late October and it affected the movement of his left arm and leg and also his ability to speak, TBS reported, quoting a source in ROK close to a U.S. intelligence agency.
2. DPRK Economy
IFES NK Brief (“DPRK ADOPTS SOCIAL SECURITY LAW “, 2008/11/10) reported that Korean Central Broadcasting reported on November 6 that the DPRK Cabinet had adopted a ‘Social Security Implementation Measure’. This measure “laid down in detail questions of principle and methods to be observed in improving the social security work such as the recipients of social security allowances and their standards, their preferential treatment, social security procedures, disbursement of social security fund, organization and management of social security organs, production and supply by subsidiary mechanism.”
The Associated Press (Kwang-Tae Kim and David Guttenfelder, “NKOREA’S SHOWCASE CAPITAL UNDERGOING FACELIFT”, Pyongyang, 2008/11/11) reported that the DPRK is giving its capital city a facelift — resurrecting construction of a hotel that sat idle for years, remodeling some of Pyongyang’s most famous sites and building new apartment complexes. Most of the money appears to be coming from foreign companies, analysts say. And the DPRK likely is exporting minerals to bankroll the project, according to an official from the ROK’s Unification Ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.
3. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap News Service (“SEOUL TO VITALIZE KAESONG INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: UNIFICATION MINISTER”, Seoul, 2008/11/11) reported that ROK will vitalize the inter-Korean industrial park in the DPRK city of Kaesong under any circumstances, the ROK unification minister said Tuesday. “The government will make effort in order not to bring forth an extreme situation of the closure of the industrial complex under any circumstances,” Minister Kim Ha-joong said in a meeting of the parliament’s diplomacy, trade and unification committee.
Yonhap News Service (Shim Sun-ah, “FORMER OFFICIAL SAYS DPRK LIKELY TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST KAESONG COMPLEX”, Seoul, 2008/11/11) reported that DPRK is likely to act on its threat to partially evict ROK firms from an inter-Korean joint industrial complex and Seoul needs to have measures ready for such developments, a former ROK unification minister said Tuesday. “The government needs to devise measures to cope with such an emergency,” said Jeong, who now leads the Seoul-based civic group Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation. The former minister urged Seoul to make its utmost effort in stopping distribution of anti-DPRK propaganda leaflets to prevent Pyongyang from taking any retaliatory action.
Associated Press (Kwang-tae Kim, “NORTH KOREA TO HALT BORDER CROSSINGS WITH SOUTH”, Seoul, 2008/11/12) reported that the DPRK announced Wednesday that it will halt cross-border traffic with the ROK next month. The DPRK military is taking action to “restrict and cut off all the overland passages” across the DMZ beginning Dec. 1, the country’s official Korean Central News Agency said. Inter-Korean relations “are at the crucial crossroads of existence and total severance,” KCNA said Wednesday.
4. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News Service (“DPRK CONDEMNS ROK’S INVESTIGATION OF LABOR LEADER”, Seoul, 2008/11/11) reported that DPRK congratulated an ROK umbrella labor union on its founding anniversary on Tuesday and condemned Seoul’s investigation into the group’s leaders as “an unbearable insult,” union members said. The ROK Confederation of Trade Unions received a fax message from its DPRK counterpart, the General Federation of Trade Unions of DPRK, congratulating it on its 13th anniversary.
5. US-DPRK Relations
Yonhap News Service (Lee Chi-dong, “DPRK, AMERICAN OFFICIALS TO MEET IN BEIJING DURING SECURITY FORUM”, Seoul, 2008/11/11 19:00:00 GMT+0) reported that DPRK and U.S. diplomats will have a chance to meet in Beijing next week on the sidelines of the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue, a PRC government source said Tuesday. (NEACD) is to bring together academics, diplomats, and military officials from the U.S., PRC, Russia, Japan, DPRK and ROK. Key topics at the “track-two” conference, organized by the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California, include regional security condition and ways to establish a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
6. ROK Aid to the DPRK
Korea Herald (“MINISTRY PROPOSES W1.25TR IN N. KOREA AID”, 2008/11/11) reported that the Unification Ministry presented to the National Assembly with a 1.25 trillion-won ($947 million) budget proposal designed to boost Seoul’s relations with the DPRK for next year. The ministry said it has allocated 809 billion won ($612 million) to provide 400,000 tons of rice and 300,000 tons of fertilizer to the DPRK for humanitarian purposes. The ministry also asked for 300 billion won ($227 million) to finance inter-Korean economic cooperation projects.
7. DPRK-Myanmar Relations
Agence France-Presse (“MYANMAR SIGNS VISA DEAL”, Yangon, 2008/11/11) reported that Myanmar and DPRK signed a deal on visa exemptions for diplomats and officials, state media said on Tuesday. The agreement was signed by Myanmar’s deputy foreign minister Kyaw Thu and his counterpart Kim Yong Il in the capital Naypyidaw on Sunday during a five-day visit by a DPRK delegation, the New Light of Myanmar newspaper said. “They cordially discussed and exchanged views on consular matters and development of the two nations, cooperation in trade, economy and technology and further cementing friendly relations between the two countries”, the paper said.
8. ROK Environment
Chosun Ilbo (“DAEGU TO GET ANOTHER BOOST BY HOSTING WORLD ENERGY CONGRESS”, 2008/11/10) reported that the ROK will host the 22nd World Energy Congress (WEC), the largest non-governmental international energy conference, in Daegu in 2013, four decades after the ROK Energy Foundation joined the congress in 1969. “Hosting the energy conference is another honor to Daegu, following the city’s designation as host of the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in 2011,” said Daegu Mayor Kim Beom-il. “It is a good opportunity to promote Daegu to the world. We will make preparations for the city to be reborn as the center of ‘Low Carbon, Green Growth’ through the conference.”
9. ROK Government
JoongAng Daily (Ser Myo-ja, Seo Seung-wook, “LEE RESISTS GROWING DEMANDS FOR CABINET SHAKE UP”, 2008/11/12) reported that though the office of President Lee Myung-bak has repeatedly denied the growing speculation that a reshuffle of his cabinet is imminent. Opposition lawmakers – and even some from the governing party – continued demanding an immediate shakeup of cabinet ministers. In an interview with the Chosun Ilbo, The Times of London and Mainichi Shimbun on Sunday, Lee said that “It is my principle to replace officials with suitable people when necessary and when the timing is right.” Lee also hinted that Finance Minister Kang Man-soo will likely stay on for the time being, despite demands by opposition lawmakers that he be fired.
10. US-ROK Free Trade Agreement
Korea Hearld (Song Sang-ho, “GNP SOFTENS STANCE ON U.S. FTA”, 2008/11/12) reported that Hong Joon-pyo, floor leader of the ruling Grand National Party, yesterday softened his position on the ratification of the ROK-U.S. free trade pact, vowing to seek consensus from opposition politicians. GNP Rep. Park Jin, who chairs the Assembly’s trade committee, said, “We will not force the pact through the Assembly. We will seek to bring up the accord before Monday, if possible, and we will patiently talk with opposition parties.”
Yonhap News Service (Shin Hae-in, “EX-PRESIDENT CALLS FOR PATIENCE, FLEXIBILITY IN TRADE DEAL”, Seoul, 2008/11/11) reported that Seoul should hold off on ratifying a free trade deal with Washington in anticipation of opposition from the new U.S. government, former ROK President Roh Moo-hyun said Tuesday. “If South Korea wants to keep the deal alive, it should prepare thoroughly for renegotiation instead of pushing for immediate approval,” ex-President Roh said on his recently launched Web site Tuesday. “We must use our heads. Will the U.S. Congress be burdened or influenced by our parliament’s ratification? I do not think so,” said Roh, an open advocate of free trade deals. “By saying no to renegotiation, we are saying we want to scrap the deal altogether.”
11. ROK-Japan Relations
Associated Press (“EMPEROR AKIHITO SHOULD MAKE PERSONAL APOLOGY IF HE VISITS ROK: LEE “, London, 2008/11/11) reported that Emperor Akihito should make a personal display of contrition for Japan’s wartime aggression in Asia, ROK President Lee Myung Bak suggested in an interview with three newspapers on Tuesday. In the interview at the presidential Blue House in Seoul with Britain’s The Times, Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun and ROK’s Chosun Ilbo, Lee appeared to suggest that the emperor follow the example of the late German leader Willy Brandt, who in 1970 knelt before a monument to murdered Polish Jews in Warsaw in an act that became symbolic of Germany’s desire for reconciliation.
12. US-Japan Crisis Planning
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“JAPAN, U.S. TO REVIEW CRISIS PLAN”, 2008/11/11) reported that the Japanese and US governments have begun a radical review of a plan that prepares Self-Defense Forces and the US military for a crisis on Japanese soil or emergencies in areas surrounding Japan, such as the Korean Peninsula, sources said. Topics up for discussion include the choice of private airports to be used by the US military in emergencies, the transportation of wounded US servicemen and the designation of medical facilities that will admit them, according to the sources.
13. US-Japan Security Alliance
Japan Today (“OKINAWA DEMANDS GOV’T ENSURE U.S. MILITARY SAFETY, RETURN DRILL ZONES”, Tokyo, 2008/11/11) reported that Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima petitioned Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone to ensure that US forces fully implement safety measures in the wake of a crash-landing of a US military plane in a sugarcane field and an unannounced port call by a US nuclear-powered submarine, the Foreign Ministry said. Nakaima also demanded that air space and waters closed off for US forces’ shooting, bombing and other drills on the islands of Kumejima and Torishima, and east of the main island of Okinawa be returned as the activities are destroying the areas and affecting fishing, according to the petition.
14. Japan Energy
Reuters (“J-POWER TO POSTPONE OPERATION OF NUCLEAR PLANT”, Tokyo, 2008/11/11) reported that J-Power has pushed back the start of its 1,383 megawatt nuclear reactor by more than two years to November 2014, adding to Japan’s woes as it strives to meet its target to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The company officially known as Electric Power Development Co began construction of the plant in Aomori prefecture, northern Japan, in May. “The postponement is partly due to the delay in the start of construction, which was initially August 2006,” a company spokesman said.
Reuters (Mayumi Negishi, “”SOLAR CITY” PROVES ALLURE OF SUN’S ENERGY IN JAPAN”, OTA Japan, 2008/11/11) reported that located 80 km (50 miles) northwest of Tokyo, the 41 hectare (10 acre) Pal Town, dubbed “Solar City,” received free solar panels from 2002 through a 9.7 billion yen state-backed study on how to ensure a steady supply and avoid blackouts. Japan has earmarked 9 billion yen ($92 million) for solar panels for households in this year to March 2009. Its Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is seeking 24 billion yen ($246 million) for subsidies in the year starting April 2009, and estimates that about 100,000 homes would install solar panels next year, with the subsidy.
15. Sino-Indian Territorial Dispute
China Economic Net (“CHINA FIRM ON BORDER ISSUE WITH INDIA”, ) reported that India should be “fully aware” that the PRC’s stand on the two countries’ outstanding border issue is always consistent and clear-cut, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. “The Sino-India boundary issue has never been officially settled, and China is always against the illegal McMahon line,” he told a regular press conference in Beijing. Qin made the remark in response to Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s claim in a speech on Sunday that “Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India”.
16. PRC Tibet Issue
Agence France-Presse (“DALAI LAMA STILL WANTS TALKS WITH PRC: AIDES”, Dharmashala, India, 2008/11/11) reported that the Dalai Lama believes dialogue with Beijing is the only way to resolve the deadlock over Tibet, despite the failure of the latest talks with PRC officials, aides said Tuesday. His spokesman Tenzin Taklha told AFP that the exiled spiritual leader “believes the solution to any type of conflict is through dialogue. “There can be no progress if there are no talks. The only solution is dialogue. This has been the consistent stand of the Dalai Lama,” he said.
17. PRC Energy
China Daily (River Lu, “NGO’S ENERGY FORUM UNDERWAY IN BEIJING”, Beijing, 2008/11/10) reported that today marks the start of the Joint US-PRC Cooperation on Clean Energy (JUCCCE) PRC Energy Forum in Beijing, which gathers 300 delegates from around the world in sectors ranging from government to industry to NGOs. Representatives from the US Department of Energy, the US Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, PRC’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Energy Bureau and NDRC Investment Association Committee began two days of dialogs with a call for more international collaboration. Today the JUCCCE team unveiled its “China Energy Blueprint” with partners Augmentum and McKinsey. The web-enabled blueprint is a framework for turning analysis into action, mapping out transformation in energy use with global, multi-sector cooperation. On the second day of the JUCCCE Forum, Director Wang Zhongping of the Mayoral Training Center in Beijing, will sign a commitment to work together to provide mayors with turnkey solutions for city-level energy efficiency programs.
Xinhua News Service (“PRC, IRAQ SIGN OIL SERVICE DEAL”, 2008/11/11) reported that PRC and Iraq signed Monday an oil deal that would allow China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to help develop al-Ahdab oil field in eastern Iraq’s Wasit province. Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani signed the $2.9 billion deal with CNPC President Jiang Jiemin in a ceremony held in his ministry. “This is an important participation from the Chinese side to develop the Iraqi oil fields, and we are looking forward for more participation in rebuilding Iraq,” Shahristani said at the signing ceremony.
II. PRC Report
18. PRC Civil Society and Poverty Alleviation
CCTV.COM (Zhang Qianqian, “CHINA POVERTY ALLEVIATION ASSOCIATION DONATES COMPUTERS TO SICHUAN EARTHQUAKE AREAS”, 2008/11/10) reported that the PRC Poverty Alleviation Association launched a “Green Computer” activity to aid the poor on March this year. They appeal to every enterprises and social units to donate the out-dated computers to children in poverty. When knowing from CCTV that the newly reconstructed Renjiaping primary school in Beichuan county of Sichuan province needs computers, the Association promptly decides to donate the first batch of 20 computers to the school.
19. PRC Labor
Xinhua Net (“CHONGQING TAXI DRIVERS TO SET UP ASSOCIATION”, 2008/11/10) reported that over 8000 taxi drivers went on strike on November 3 to assert their own interests. The strike has caused inconvenience to the public. In order to avoid repetition of similar problem, Chongqing Taxi Association decided to set up a special branch for taxi drivers. If the drivers have any opinions or complaints, they could tell the association and the association will help them express their interest appeals.
20. PRC Public Health
Xinhua Net (“CHINA HOLDS NATIONAL CONGRESS FOR DISABLED”, 2008/11/10) reported that China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) began a three-day national congress Tuesday to discuss goals for helping the country’s disabled over the next five years. PRC President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other state leaders attended the opening ceremony. According to the agenda, 630 delegates representing the country’s 83 million disabled people, will hear and discuss a work report by the CDPF. After debate the plan is to adopt amendments to the federation’s constitution.