NAPSNet Daily Report 12 November, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. ROK on US-DPRK Talks
- 2. DPRK Economy
- 3. DPRK Infrastructure
- 4. Inter-Korea Relations
- 5. ROK Aid to Defectors
- 6. US on Inter-Korean Relations
- 7. ROK Aid to the DPRK
- 8. ROK Military
- 9. ROK-Indonesia Defense Cooperation
- 10. ROK Human Rights
- 11. ROK Climate Change
- 12. Japan-US Military Relations
- 13. Japan-US Relations
- 14. Japan-India Defense Cooperation
- 15. Japan Climate Change
- 16. Sino-Malaysia Relations
- 17. US on Sino-Burmese Relations
- 18. PRC Human Rights
- 19. PRC Public Health
- 20. PRC Climate Change
- II. PRC Report
1. ROK on US-DPRK Talks
Yonhap News (Tony Chang, “SEOUL SUPPORTS U.S. DECISION TO SEND ENVOY TO N. KOREA: SPOKESMAN “, Seoul, 2009/11/11) reported that the ROK supports Washington’s decision to send a special envoy to Pyongyang as part of the six-party process to denuclearize the DPRK, the government said Wednesday. “The government supports the U.S. decision to seek a visit by special envoy Bosworth to North Korea aimed at a swift resumption of the six-party talks and securing the promise of denuclearization, including the accord from the Sept. 19 (2005) joint statement,” Moon Tae-young, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said.
2. DPRK Economy
JoongAng Ilbo (By Han Ae-ran, Jung Ha-won , “EX-ENVOY ADVISES INVESTING IN NORTH”, 2009/11/12) reported that Maurice Strong, former United Nations envoy to the DPRK, said he believes there are lucrative investment opportunities in the Stalinist country. The DPRK has recently ratcheted up efforts to attract more foreign investment, establishing a new corporation in Australia for that purpose, Strong said at the annual Mirae Asset Securities Investment Forum. Strong advised adventurous investors to take the opportunity before it’s too late. Strong contended that in the long term, reunification between the two Koreas is inevitable, and the ROK’s well-developed economic infrastructure, if coupled with ample mining and other natural resources still left undeveloped in the DPRK, would create enormous economic synergy on the Korean Peninsula.
3. DPRK Infrastructure
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (“10,000 APARTMENTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN PYONGYANG “, 2009/11/11) reported that the DPRK is pouring all efforts into the construction of 10,000 family homes in Pyongyang by 2012. Whether this construction plan can be completed within the next three years will weigh on the success or failure of the regime’s goal of establishing a ‘Strong and Prosperous Nation.’ An article run on November 4 in the Chosun Sinbo, a newspaper of the Jochongryeon, the pro-Pyongyang Korean residents’ association in Japan, stated, “Currently, the construction of 10,000 family dwellings is underway in Pyongyang, and the efforts poured into this over the next 3 years will show the strength of the country.”
4. Inter-Korea Relations
China Post (“N. KOREA DEMANDS APOLOGY FROM SOUTH FOR NAVAL SKIRMISH”, Seoul, 2009/11/11) reported that the DPRK’s military told the ROK to apologize for a “grave armed provocation” after their navies exchanged fire Tuesday near the disputed Yellow Sea border. “The South Korean military authorities should make an apology to the North side for the armed provocation and take a responsible measure against the recurrence of the similar provocation,” the military supreme command said. The command, in a report on what it called a “grave armed provocation,” said its patrol boat was on a mission to confirm “an unidentified object” on the DPRK’s side of the border.
New Tang Dynasty Televison (“SOUTH KOREA PROTESTS COMMUNIST NORTH “, 2009/11/11) reported that the brief naval battle between the DPRK and ROK caused a strong reaction among ROK citizens. On Wednesday, more than 150 members of ROK civic groups held a protest against communist DPRK. “We strongly denounce a North Korean ship’s crossing over the Northern Limit Line. We urge the South Korean people as well as the South Korean Navy to smash North Korea’s provocative activities immediately!” Angry protesters criticized the DPRK, burning flags and banners.
Bloomberg (Sangim Han, “S. KOREA APPROVES BORDER CROSSINGS TO SOOTHE TENSIONS “, 2009/11/11) reported that the ROK approved border crossings into the DPRK for business and tourism, seeking to calm tensions stoked by the naval clash between the two countries. Visits to jointly-run factories and tourism areas in DPRK proceeded as normal, Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae Sung told reporters in Seoul. A merchant vessel digging for sand west of the Korean peninsula returned to ROK waters and two non-government groups providing aid to the DPRK canceled visits amid security concerns, Chun said.
Xinhua News Agency (“S. KOREA, DPRK OFFICIALS MET SECRETLY LAST WEEK”, Seoul, 2009/11/11) reported that senior officials from ROK and the DPRK met secretly in Kaesong, a border city of the DPRK, last week, the ROK’s Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday quoted a government source as saying. “A senior official of Seoul’s Unification Ministry met with his North Korean counterpart in Kaesong on Nov. 7 for discussions on pending inter-Korean issues,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
Agence France-Press (Simon Martin, “S.KOREA WILL PAY DEARLY FOR SEA CLASH: N.KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/11/12) reported the DPRK on Thursday the ROK accused military of staging a naval clash this week to raise tensions on the peninsula. “The South Korean forces will be forced to pay dearly for the grave armed provocation perpetrated by them,” KCNA quoted newspapers as saying. “The artillery pieces of the KPA (Korean People’s Army), convinced of justice and afire with hatred, are now levelled at the provokers,” it quoted Rodong Sinmun as saying.
5. ROK Aid to Defectors
Korea Times (Kang Shin-who, “POLICE TO TAKE BETTER CARE OF NK DEFECTORS”, 2009/11/11) reported that Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said it had introduced a comprehensive program to help DPRK defectors adapt to life in Seoul. So far, police had been focusing on the safety of the defectors but now plan to additionally care for those who are suffering from extreme poverty or serious illness. Also, the deserters will be able to receive free health check-ups and medical treatment at designated hospitals. In addition, the police agency will help them land jobs and provide legal advice every three months.
6. US on Inter-Korean Relations
Bloomberg (Daniel Ten Kate and Sangim Han , “CLINTON PRAISES ‘CALM REACTION’ AFTER KOREAN CLASH, URGES TALKS”, 2009/11/11) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the governments of the DPRK and ROK for their “calm reaction” after a naval clash and said efforts to denuclearize the peninsula would proceed. “We are certainly counseling calm and caution when it comes to any type of dispute, especially one that can cause repercussions and damage that could be quite difficult to contend with,” Clinton told reporters in Singapore.
7. ROK Aid to the DPRK
Korea Herald (Kim So-hyun , “PROTESTS SPREAD TO RESTART N.K. RICE AID “, 2009/11/11) reported that farmers and opinion leaders are upping pressure on the ROK government to send rice aid to DPRK to keep domestic rice prices from falling further amid a chronic oversupply. “Rice is the most suitable item for resumption of humanitarian aid to North Korea as it is the main staple grain for Koreans,” said Choi Young-ok, secretary general of the nongovernmental group committed to inter-Korean summit agreements. “The government’s offer of 10,000 tons of corn is not nearly enough, and sending imported corn instead of homegrown rice is simply unacceptable for farmers.”
8. ROK Military
Agence France Presse (Park Chan-kyong , “S.KOREA DEPLOYS MORE WARSHIPS AFTER CLASH: SOURCES”, Seoul, 2009/11/11) reported that the ROK Wednesday sent two more warships to guard its border after a naval clash left a DPRK patrol boat in flames. Military sources told AFP the 1,800-ton patrol boats would “reinforce vigilance” along the disputed Yellow Sea border, where the navies of the two Koreas clashed Tuesday for the first time in seven years.
Hankyoreh (“SOUTH KOREA DEVIATED FROM PREVIOUS RULES OF ENGAGEMENT IN WEST SEA CLASH”, 2009/11/11) reported that observers say the ROK navy is showing little restraint in preventing naval battles from taking place in disputed West Sea territory. The ROK navy enacted different rules of engagement during the exchange of fire between the DPRK and ROK naval ships on Nov. 10 in comparison with the two previous inter-Korean naval battles. The previous rules of engagement were designed to avoid battles between the DPRK and ROK navies. Observers suggest the new rules of engagement curtail steps that could prevent clashes from escalating.
9. ROK-Indonesia Defense Cooperation
Xinhua News Agency (“INDONESIA GETS 10 TANKS GRANTED BY SOUTH KOREA “, Jakarta, 2009/11/11) reported that Indonesia had got 10 units of landing vehicle tanks (LVT) granted by ROK, as an assistance to boost the defense system in the country, Indonesian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday. The signing of the grant was conducted on Tuesday in Seoul the ministry said in a statement. Vice Defense Minister of ROK Kim Joowon said that his country expected the grants could boost bilateral ties on defense and said that the ROK wanted to assist Indonesia to comply with its defense equipment in the future.
10. ROK Human Rights
Korea Times (Kwon Mee-yoo, “KOREA CRITICIZED BY GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE”, 2009/11/11) reported that a United Nations body on social rights criticized reduction in workforce, function and authority of the ROK human rights commissions, pointing out that it could lead to the erosion of its overall human rights situation. At the 43rd session of the Committee on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights (CSECR) committee members said that the ROK government had cut the commission’s personnel and budget by 30 percent. They agreed that reducing the size of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) and appointing someone lacking experience as its leader may prove to be detrimental to its human rights promotion.
11. ROK Climate Change
Business Green (Yvonne Chan , “SOUTH KOREA TO ADOPT GLOBAL CARBON LABELLING STANDARD BY 2011”, Hong Kong, 2009/11/11) reported that the ROK is to adopt an international standard for carbon labelling by 2011 in a bid to have the green merits of its export goods recognised by a global criterion. The UK government-backed Carbon Trust yesterday said it is working with the environmental labelling body Korean Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI) to harmonise the country’s existing carbon footprinting scheme with its Carbon Reduction Label system.
12. Japan-US Military Relations
Mainichi (“HATOYAMA TO ASK U.S. TO HAND OVER SOLDIER SUSPECT IN FATAL HIT-AND-RUN IN OKINAWA”, 2009/11/11) reported that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has revealed his intention to ask the United States to hand over a U.S. soldier who is being held by the U.S. army in connection with a hit-and-run accident that killed a man in the Okinawa Prefecture village of Yomitan earlier this month. Hatoyama told reporters that he hopes the U.S. government will hand over the soldier as soon as possible even before indictment and make efforts to resolve the issue. Handing over U.S. soldiers to Japan before indictment is not specified in the current status-of-forces agreement.
13. Japan-US Relations
Agence France Presse (“US WELCOMES JAPAN PLEDGES ON AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN”, Washington, 2009/11/11) reported that the United States welcomed Wednesday a commitment by Japan to give five billion dollars of aid to Afghanistan and to implement quickly an earlier pledge to Pakistan. “We welcome the announcement by the government of Japan to provide approximately five billion dollars over the next five years to Afghanistan and to implement swiftly its April 2009 pledge of one billion dollars for economic assistance to Pakistan,” a White House statement said.
Mainichi (“HATOYAMA, OBAMA TO AGREE ON INTER-GOVERNMENT CONSULTATIONS TO BOOST BILATERAL ALLIANCE”, 2009/11/11) reported that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and U.S. President Barack Obama are set to agree at their summit on Friday that the two countries will initiate inter-governmental consultations to strengthen the bilateral alliance, government sources said. Inter-governmental consultations are aimed at promoting bilateral cooperation in working on a wide diversity of global issues and deepening and expanding bilateral relations over the next 50 years.
14. Japan-India Defense Cooperation
United Press International (“JAPAN, INDIA FORGE AHEAD WITH DEFENSE PLAN”, Tokyo, 2009/11/11) reported that Japan and India have agreed to bolster their defense ties, committing to an action plan that will enhance cooperation in areas including maritime security and counter-terrorism. The two sides also agreed to step up defense cooperation, consenting to joint military exercises, bilateral and regional cooperation in peacekeeping, disaster relief and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
15. Japan Climate Change
Bloomberg (Shigeru Sato and Yuji Okada, “JAPAN’S CO2 EMISSIONS FALL AS RECESSION CUTS FUEL USE “, 2009/11/11) reported that Japan, the world’s fourth-biggest energy user, said the nation’s greenhouse-gas emissions fell 6.2 percent in the year ended March 31 after the recession sapped industrial output and consumption of oil and natural gas. Emissions of heat-trapping gases including carbon dioxide declined to 1.286 billion tons from 1.371 billion tons a year earlier, preliminary data from the environment ministry shows. That’s a 1.9 percent increase from 1990.
Kyodo News (“JAPAN TO REPACKAGE EXISTING CLIMATE AID PLANS BEFORE MINISTERIAL TALKS “, Tokyo, 2009/11/11) reported that Japan will repackage its existing plans to financially and technically aid developing countries in their battle against climate change and present the new government’s idea during an environment ministers’ meeting next week in Copenhagen to prepare for a key U.N. climate conference in December, Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa said Wednesday.
16. Sino-Malaysia Relations
Bloomberg (Manirajan Ramasamy and Ranjeetha Pakiam, “CHINA’S HU OFFERS MALAYSIA HELP WITH EYE ON RESOURCES “, 2009/11/11) reported that the PRC will help Malaysia build up its transport infrastructure as it seeks to tap more of the Southeast Asian nation’s natural resources. The two countries will work on railway, bridge, water and energy projects as the PRC imports more Malaysian palm oil and timber, according to memorandums of understanding signed on the final day of President Hu Jintao’s state visit to Malaysia.
17. US on Sino-Burmese Relations
Associated Press (“CLINTON SAYS CHINA SHOULD PLAY ROLE IN MYANMAR”, Singapore, 2009/11/11) reported that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has urged the PRC and India to push Myanmar toward democracy. Clinton says “we need a broad response by the nations in the region” to the situation in Myanmar, which has been under military rule since 1962. She told reporters Wednesday that the PRC has an opportunity to play an important role.
18. PRC Human Rights
Agence France Presse (“AMNESTY DENOUNCES CHINA EXECUTIONS”, London, 2009/11/11) reported that Amnesty International condemned the PRC’s execution of nine people over deadly ethnic unrest in its Xinjiang region, and expressed fears more could take place. The London-based rights organisation said on Wednesday the nine had received unfair trials which lasted less than one day, and they were denied legal representation of their choice. “In hastily executing these individuals after unfair trials, the Chinese authorities are perpetuating some of the very injustices that helped trigger the outburst of violence in the first place,” said Roseann Rife, deputy director of Amnesty’s Asia-Pacific programme.
Associated Press (Alexa Olesen, “REPORT: CHINESE WHO COMPLAIN TO GOVT RISK KIDNAP”, Beijing, 2009/11/12) reported that kidnapping people on their way to lodge complaints with the PRC’s central government has evolved into a lucrative cottage industry that police refuse to acknowledge or crack down on, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. The report on the “black jails” is based mainly on interviews with 38 people who said they were nabbed by thugs while trying to bring grievances to the central government. They reported being held for days or months in makeshift detention centers, deprived of food and sleep, beaten and threatened. Police allegedly aided the captors or refused to intervene in several cases, it said.
19. PRC Public Health
New York Times (Edward Wong, “CHINA’S TOUGH MEASURES ON FLU APPEAR TO BE EFFECTIVE “, Changgang, 2009/11/11) reported that quarantines and medical detentions are among the aggressive measures that PRC officials have taken to slow the transmission of H1N1, which quickly spread worldwide after being first diagnosed in North America. Now, PRC and foreign health officials say that some of those contested measures may have helped slow the spread of the disease in the world’s most populous country. The PRC has not had to cope with a crush of cases, and it began administering a vaccine for swine flu in early September, the first country to do so.
20. PRC Climate Change
Associated Press (Tini Tran, “REPORT PREDICTS EXTREME WEATHER ON CHINA’S YANGTZE”, Beijing, 2009/11/11) reported that rising temperatures over the next few decades will unleash storms, floods and drought across the PRC’s Yangtze River Basin, a new report says, raising the prospect of catastrophe for a region that is home to nearly a third of the country’s population. While ecosystems along the PRC’s longest river are threatened by climate change, it’s not too late to save them if proper mitigation measures are taken, said the report by the environmental group WWF.
II. PRC Report
21. PRC Civil Society
NFDaily.cn (“GUANGDONG AND ASEAN INTANGIBLE HERITAGE PROTECTION CONFERENCE HELD”, 2009/11/10) reported that Guangdong and ASEAN Intangible Heritage Protection Conference was held in Foshan of Guangdong province yesterday. On the Conference, Brunei and other ASEAN countries introduced their experience on intangible heritage protection with the help of cooperation between government and NGO, which can be used for reference for China.
22. PRC Civil Society and the Environment
Guangxi News Net (“CHINA YOUTH CLIMATE ACTION DAY HELD IN BEIHAI”, 2009/11/11) reported that October 24 is China Youth Climate Action Day. It is sponsored by China Climate Action Network. On that day, nearly 300 university organizations and over 100 enterprises have gathered in Beihai of Guangxi province and carried out a series of activities to popularize environmental knowledge and care for climate change.
23. PRC Civil Society and Public Health
Public Welfare Times (“FIRST ITT WATERMARK CHINA PROJECT COMPLETES”, 2009/11/11) reported that the first project supported by ITT Watermark Program was completed recently. The project helps primary schools in Hebei build new clean toilets, hand-washing rooms, and water-drinking rooms. This is the first project cooperated by ITT company and China Women Development Foundation.