NAPSNet Daily Report 13 January, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US Envoy to DPRK
- 2. DPRK on Nuclear Program
- 3. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 4. ROK, Japan on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 5. DPRK Arms Exports
- 6. DPRK-US Relations
- 7. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 8. DPRK Media
- 9. DPRK Leadership
- 10. DPRK Economy
- 11. US-ROK Relations
- 12. ROK Military
- 13. ROK Climate Change
- 14. Japan-ROK Space Cooperation
- 15. Japan Space Program
- 16. Japan Climate Change
- 17. Japan Politics
- 18. Japan SDF Anti-Piracy Operations
- 19. Sino-Japanese East Sea Gas Dispute
- 20. Sino-US Relations
- 21. Sino-Venezuelan Relations
- 22. PRC Energy
- 23. PRC Media
- 24. PRC Civil Society
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. US Envoy to DPRK
United Press International (“HILL REJECTS DPRK ENVOY JOB”, Washington, 2009/01/11) reported that Christopher Hill, the Bush Administration’s envoy in the six-party talks, has declined an offer to be an envoy to DPRK. Diplomatic sources said Hill will probably stay in that job and eventually move to a higher position in the State Department. A source suggested Hill turned down the special envoy job because the position carries less rank that his current job.
2. DPRK on Nuclear Program
Agence France Press (“NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT WOULD FOLLOW U.S. DIPLOMATIC TIES, DPRK SAYS”, 2009/01/12) reported that DPRK has suggested that it must have a diplomatic relationship with the United States before giving up its nuclear weapons, Kyodo News reported Saturday . An unidentified high-level DPRK official passed on the message during a visit by a contingent from Pyongyang to New York in November, according to one source. Pyongyang would not feel it needed nuclear weapons once it had formal relations with Washington and perceived no threat from the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the official said. The contingent also called on President-elect Barack Obama to maintain the diplomatic program established under the Bush administration for DPRK denuclearization.
3. DPRK Nuclear Program
Associated Press (“CHENEY: DPRK HELPED SYRIA BUILD REACTOR”, Washington, 2009/01/12) reported that Vice President Dick Cheney says DPRK helped Syria build a reactor at a site that Israel suspected of being a nuclear installation and bombed in 2007. In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, Cheney outlined reasons DPRK remains a trouble spot that President-elect Barack Obama will have to address. He says the communist regime has its own nuclear ambitions, for instance, and “helped the Syrians build a nuclear reactor.”
Bloomberg (Roger Runningen, “BUSH SAYS DPRK MAY STILL BE ENRICHING URANIUM FOR BOMB “, 2009/01/12) reported that the DPRK may still be enriching uranium and it and Iran remain two of the biggest threats to the United States, President Bush said today. Both countries continue to pursue advanced weapons and DPRK may be continuing to develop nuclear bomb material, Bush said at the last news conference of his presidency. “North Korea’s still a problem,” Bush said. “In order to advance our relations with North Korea, North Korea must honor the commitments it made” to allow verification of steps to disassemble its nuclear weapons program.
4. ROK, Japan on DPRK Nuclear Program
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“ASO, LEE IN TUNE OVER DPRK “, 2009/01/12) reported that Prime Minister Taro Aso and ROK President Lee Myung Bak agreed Monday to cooperate over the DPRK nuclear issue with the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama. “North Korea might try to split Japan, South Korea and the United States, so it’s important that the three nations work in cooperation with each other,” Aso said. “I would like to confirm with the new U.S. administration the basic policy of pressing North Korea to abandon its nuclear program through the six-party talks.”
5. DPRK Arms Exports
Agence France Press (“DPRK ARMS EXPORTS ROSE TO $100 MILLION IN 2008 – REPORT”, Seoul, 2009/01/12) reported that exports of DPRK missiles and other weapons rose in value to about $100 million last year mainly due to tensions in the Middle East, an ROK newspaper reported Monday. Last year the value of its overseas arms sales rose to about $100 million, or more than 10% of total exports. An unidentified Seoul government official said progress in six- party nuclear disarmament talks last year helped DPRK sell more weapons, because purchasers felt less political burden in buying such weapons since the talks had made some headway. “Middle East countries are known to have purchased a large amount of weapons from North Korea due to a military confrontation with Israel,” the official was quoted as saying.
6. DPRK-US Relations
Yonhap News Service (Kim Hyun, “DPRK CRITICIZES U.S. AIR TRAINING AS ‘HOSTILE’ “, Seoul, 2009/01/12) reported that DPRK denounced the US for raising military threats through an ongoing US air drill across ROK, while preparing for an important election that will bring about reshuffles in Pyongyang. US Air Forces Korea stages the quarterly drill this week.
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “US REJECTS DPRK OFFER TO SEND ENVOY”, Seoul, 2009/01/11 19:00:00 GMT+0) reported that The United States has rejected a DPRK offer that Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, chief delegate to the six-party talks on ending Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, to attend the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama, Yonhap News Agency reported Monday. The new U.S. administration wants to engage in talks with DPRK in a more prudent manner and would be unlikely to invite a DPRK envoy until it has established its policy toward the DPRK, the Obama team said.
7. Sino-DPRK Relations
Xinhua News (“DPRK FM MEETS VISITING SENIOR CHINESE DIPLOMAT”, 2009/01/12) reported that Pak Ui Chun, foreign minister of the DPRK, met with visiting PRC Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue. The two sides expressed satisfaction with the development of bilateral ties and pledged efforts to ensure the smooth running of a series of events this year celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the Year of PRC-DPRK Friendship.
8. DPRK Media
Radio Free Asia (“GROWING AUDIENCES FOR FOREIGN PROGRAMS”, 2009/01/12) reported that DPRKoreans manage to gain limited access to foreign media broadcasts in spite of increasing government crackdowns in the DPRK. A growing number are viewing or listening to media from the ROK. “We clamped down on the people watching South Korean television sets, but it wasn’t easy,” a DPRK defector and former policeman who monitored DPRKoreans’ viewing habits said. “You could watch South Korean television such as KBS and MBC in Haeju, Nampo, Sariwon, even in Wonsan… They reach also to the port cities near the sea. But you can’t watch them in Pyongyang because it’s blocked by mountains.”
9. DPRK Leadership
DongA Ilbo (“N. KOREAN LEADER LOOKS HEALTHY: SOURCE”, 2009/01/12) reported that an Italian businessman and economist who reportedly met DPRK leader Kim Jong Il in September last year said Kim is fine, the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun said. Giancarlo Elia Valori told the newspaper in an interview, “Kim looked younger than before and I had the impression that he maintains a firm grip on power.” Valori is said to have met Kim after attending the 60th anniversary of the DPRK government`s foundation ceremony in Pyongyang in September last year.
Times of India (“BROTHER-IN-LAW STANDS IN FOR AILING KIM”, 2009/01/12)
reported that the brother-in-law of Kim Jong-il has taken over the running of the DPRK, stamping on dissent while the dictator recovers from a stroke. A stream of reports has reached exiles about the man wielding an iron fist to keep the country under tight control as its 23 million people endure a hungry winter. He is Jang Song-thaek, who was nominated on December 6 as director of the Korean Workers’ party, a title that conceals his role as head of internal security.
10. DPRK Economy
IFES NK Brief (“DPRK ESTABLISHING YEARLY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLANS”, 2009/01/09) reported that the Jochongryeon mouthpiece, Chosun Sinbo, reported on January 5 that the DPRK is working to boost economic production by establishing “concrete attainment goals” in each sector in a “yearly, phased plan” from last year until 2012 in order to reach the goal of establishing a “Strong and Prosperous Nation” by the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung. The paper reported that the DPRK had not made an official announcement regarding this plan, but that it was currently in the process of implementing a 5-year economic development plan.
11. US-ROK Relations
Korea Times (“FOREIGN MINISTER UPBEAT ON SEOUL-WASHINGTON TIES”, 2009/01/12) reported that t he ROK-US relations will be further developed to strategic and cooperative ones following the inauguration of the new US administration, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myong-Hwan said in a press briefing. “South Korea and the United States will be able to more closely cooperate and coordinate issues of mutual concern,” Yu said. As for the DPRK nuclear issue, the minister said his government would soon begin consultations with the Obama administration to discuss ways of finalizing a stalled verification issue and start talks over the DPRK’s nuclear dismantlement.
12. ROK Military
Defense Industry Daily (“SOUTH KOREA ORDERS 6 MORE U-214 AIP SUBMARINES”, 2009/01/12) reported that ThyssenKrupp announced that the ROK’s DAPA procurement agency has signed a contract for contract for 6 “material packages” used to build Class 214 submarines. These packages consist of unassembled submarine parts and partial assemblies, which are integrated in the purchasing country to “manufacture” the item in question.
13. ROK Climate Change
Chosun Ilbo (“KOREA LOOKING FORWARD TO NEW CLIMATE”, 2009/01/12) reported that the average annual temperature on the Korean Peninsula has risen 1.5 degrees Celsius over the last century, and will likely rise another four over the next century. Jeju Island is poised to turn into a subtropical region and the queritron will replace the pine tree as the representative tree of the peninsula. A Korea Forest Research Institute team led by Dr. Lim Jong-hwan is to announce these predictions at a joint workshop of think tanks on climate change in Jeju on Wednesday.
14. Japan-ROK Space Cooperation
Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPAN TO LAUNCH SATELLITE FOR ROK”, Tokyo, 2009/01/12) reported that Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said Monday it has signed an agreement to send an ROK satellite into orbit, the first commercial order for use of a Japanese-made rocket. The TOK satellite, to share a ride with a JAXA-developed environmenal monitoring satellite, is meant to provide geographical, environmental and agricultural data and monitoring ocean through high resolution optical images, including greenhouse gas monitoring.
15. Japan Space Program
The Associated Press (“JAPAN TO LAUNCH MULTI-SATELLITE MISSION”, 2009/01/12) reported that Japan got its first commercial order to launch a satellite on a homegrown rocket, a deal that Japanese officials hope will grow into a business that could support the country’s cash-strapped space program. The agreement — which targets a liftoff date after April 2011 — comes less than two weeks before Japan plans to launch eight satellites into space to show that its H2A rocket can compete with rivals in Russia, the United States and Asia’s new space powerhouse, the PRC.
16. Japan Climate Change
Yomiburi Shimbun (“TOKYO WANTS MOORED SHIPS TO SHUT ENGINES”, 2009/01/12) reported that the Tokyo metropolitan government will begin efforts in fiscal 2009 to encourage large ships moored in Tokyo Bay to shut down their engines, in a bid to eliminate carbon dioxide and airborne pollutant emissions as part of the PRC’s plan to reduce emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. The Tokyo government plans to supply the ships’ power from land for a fee as early as fiscal 2011, which could cut CO2 emissions by 1 million tons a year–about half the current levels of emissions, even after taking into consideration the land-based power generated for moored ships. “[In this way], we might be able to reduce airborne pollutants by 90 percent or more,” a ministry official said.
17. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“WATANABE TO GIVE LDP LETTER OF RESIGNATION”, 2009/01/12) reported that former administrative reform minister Yoshimi Watanabe said he will submit a letter Tuesday to leave the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Watanabe said he made the decision because his demand that “amakudari” postretirement jobs for senior bureaucrats be curbed was ignored by Prime Minister Taro Aso, the LDP president. “I have decided that I’d like to stir a public movement by going out (of the party) first by myself,” Watanabe said in Otawara, Tochigi Prefecture.
18. Japan SDF Anti-Piracy Operations
Japan Times (“COAST GUARD TO HELP MSDF SHIPS HANDLE PIRATE ARRESTS OFF SOMALIA”, 2009/01/12) reported that Japan Coast Guard personnel with authority to make arrests will man Maritime Self-Defense Force ships during antipiracy activities off the coast of Somalia, government officials said. The unusual cross-service arrangement is being made because Self-Defense Forces officials are not authorized to make arrests. When JCG officials arrest pirates, they will be handed over to the countries concerned or prosecuted in Japan.
19. Sino-Japanese East Sea Gas Dispute
Bloomberg News (Jason Clenfield, “JAPAN, CHINA AGREE TO SPEED EAST CHINA SEA GAS DEAL, KYODO SAYS “, 2009/01/12) reported that Japan and the PRC agreed to move quickly on joint exploration of disputed gas reserves in the East China Sea, Kyodo News reported, citing Japanese officials it didn’t name. Foreign Minister Hiromfumi Nakasone and visiting PRC Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya failed to bridge differences on the PRC’s development of areas still under negotiation, Kyodo said. The ministers reaffirmed the importance of continuing frequent meetings between the nations’ leaders, the officials said.
20. Sino-US Relations
Associated Press (Tini Tran, “CARTER URGES OBAMA TO WORK CLOSELY WITH PRC”, Beijing, 2009/01/12) reported that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, whose administration formalized diplomatic ties with PRC 30 years ago, on Monday urged President-elect Barack Obama to find ways to work more closely with Beijing on global issues. Carter also called the US-PRC diplomatic relationship the most important in the world today and predicted it would continue to greatly benefit both sides for decades to come. “The main thing is for the new administration to work harmoniously with China … and overcome those differences which are inevitable and seek out the best ways to cooperate as partners,” Carter said on the sidelines of a conference commemorating the establishment of ties on Jan. 1, 1979.
21. Sino-Venezuelan Relations
The Los Angeles Times (Chris Kraul , “VENEZUELA DEEPENS TRADE, MILITARY TIES WITH CHINA”, 2009/01/12) reported that Venezuela took control this weekend of a PRC-built communications satellite. Accompanied by PRC technicians at a communications facility in western Guarico state, President Hugo Chavez presided at a ceremony in which Venezuela formally assumed operation of the Simon Bolivar, a $400-million satellite that the PRC launched in October. Also this month, the PRC is delivering 18 military jet training aircraft that can be refitted for combat as well as a missile defense radar system.
22. PRC Energy
China Daily (Xiao Wan , “CHINA’S NATURAL GAS PRICES SET TO GO UP”, 2009/01/12) reported that the PRC will reportedly raise natural gas prices within the year in an effort to ensure healthier profits for the sector, the Shanghai Securities News reported, citing unnamed sources. The country’s largest oil and gas producer, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), has suggested that the central government take that route, said the report.
United Press International (“PRC TO INCREASE SOLAR PLANTS IN 2009”, Beijing, 2009/01/12) reported that PRC will complete two solar plants this year as part of an effort to reduce coal use. The two plants will be built in the western plateau province of Qinghai and the southwestern province of Yunnan. The Qinghai project, which eventually will generate 1 gigawatt, will enter the first phase of construction this year. The $146 million project is expected to be the largest in the world when it is complete, Xinhua reports. The southwestern Yunnan province has just started building its 166-megawatt plant, worth $1.3 billion, the largest PRC investment so far in a solar project.
23. PRC Media
British Broadcasting Corporation (Shirong Chen , “PRC TV FACES PROPAGANDA CHARGE “, 2009/01/12) reported that Chinese intellectuals have signed an open letter that says the PRC’s Central Television (CCTV) has turned its news and historical drama series into propaganda to brainwash its audience. The letter – signed by more than 20 academics and lawyers – lists six broad categories of bias and brainwashing. It says the state TV monopoly has ignored many stories of social unrest and riots, and whitewashed serious events like the recent milk contamination scandal.
24. PRC Civil Society
China.org (John Sexton, “NGO BLASTS CONDITIONS ON NEW WORLD CONSTRUCTION SITES”, 2009/01/12) reported that a Hong Kong-based NGO has blasted one of the PRC’s biggest private property developers, New World China Land, for the poor working conditions on its projects. Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) said a six-month investigation, during which more than 1,200 construction workers were interviewed at nine New World China Land sites in the PRC cities of Chengdu, Guiyang, Changsha, Wuhan, Shenyang and Guangzhou, showed that the developer was “turning a blind eye” to the PRC’s labor laws.
II. PRC Report
25. PRC Green Food
NO.1 Food Network (“HEBEI PROVINCE ESTABLISHED GREEN FOOD ASSOCIATION”, 2009/01/10) reported that on December 28, the establishment of Hebei provincial Green Food Association was announced. It was formed by famous experts who engage in the scientific research, teaching, and production of green food. It will research on development policy and applied technology on the green food of Hebei province, and will organize experts to participate in the planning of green food base and the green food industrial park.
26. Cross Strait Relations
China Network (“CROSS-STRAIT TOURISM EXCHANGE ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES NEW MEASURES FOR MAINLAND TOURISTS VISITING TAIWAN”, 2009/01/12) reported that Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association recently announced new measures to further facilitate mainland tourists visiting Taiwan. The lower number limit of tour group is changed from “over 10 people” to “over 5 people”. The tour time in Taiwan of tour group is changed from “no more than 10 days” to “no more than 15 days.” The above items are to be implemented 7 days after this notice is announced.
27. PRC Civil Society and Public Health
Qulu Evening News (Cui Yan, “SHANDONG PROVINCE LAUNCHES RED CROSS WARM WINTER MOVEMENT”, 2009/01/12) reported that on noon of January 11, materials worth of over 1.2 million yuan were successfully carried by lorry to Sichuan, which meant the 2009 Red Cross Warm Winter Movement sponsored by Red Cross Branch of Yantai city, Shandong Province was formally launched. The aid targets not only include Sichuan Earthquake disaster victims, but also needy groups, leprosy patients, impoverished college students and others. The first fund and materials of the movement are worth a total of 2.4 million yuan.
III. ROK Report
28. Inter-Korea Relations
Herald Media (“IF INTER-KOREAN ECONOMIC COOPERATION STOPS, 7 TRILLION WON OF ECONOMIC LOSS”, 2009/01/12) reported that People’s Solidarity for North-South Economic Cooperation said through a press conference “if inter-Korean economic cooperation stops completely, there will be 3.5 trillion Won of investment loss and 3.6 trillion Won of business loss.” Kyucheol Kim, the representative of the organization, said that as there was already a 30-60% decrease in orders from Kaesong industrial complex, there is big possibility the North-South relationship will face a diplomatic confrontation. The organization hopes to urge the authorities to take proper measures through revealing the amount of possible economic loss.
29. ROK Policy toward DPRK
Hankook Ilbo (“FOR THE RESTORATION OF ENGAGEMENT POLICY”, 2009/01/12) reported that Zhang Liangui, a Chinese expert on the Korean peninsula, wrote an article entitled “Strained Political Situation between North and South Not Entirely because of Abandoning Sunshine Policy” in the Shanghai’s Morning Post . Professor Zhang insisted that “engagement policy helped ease tensions between North and South but failed to change the nature of inter-Korean relationship, which is similar to a zero-sum game, and instead caused many side effects” . His also pointed out that the engagement policy which attempted to change DPRK rather divided ROK into pro-DPRK and anti-DPRK camps. On the other hand, most of the people who support engagement policy still criticize the Lee administration for abandoning it. It is time for them to look back on the past 10 years to reflect on the shortcomings of engagement policy and make a “revised version of the engagement policy.”