NAPSNet Daily Report 13 June, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US-DPRK Relations
- 2. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. PRC Food Aid to the DPRK
- 4. Japan-DPRK Relations
- 5. DPRK-Japan Relations
- 6. Inter-Korean Relations
- 7. US-ROK Joint Military Exercise
- 8. US-ROK Trade Relations
- 9. Japan Defense
- 10. Japan-Taiwan Territorial Dispute
- 11. Comfort Women Issue
- 12. Cross Strait Relations
- 13. US and Cross Strait Relations
- 14. PRC on Alledged Cyberattack
- 15. Sino-Indian Relations
- 16. PRC on Coordinated Disaster Relief
- 17. PRC Military
- 18. PRC Bird Flu Outbreak
- 19. PRC Earthquake
- 20. PRC Space Program
- 21. Shanghai Cooperation Organization
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. US-DPRK Relations
Xinhua (“DPRK-U.S. NEGOTIATIONS PROVE SUCCESSFUL”, Pyongyang, 2008/06/12) reported that the negotiations between nuclear experts of the DPRK and the US were successful, a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry said. The US delegation headed by Sung Kim, head of the Office of Korean Affairs under the State Department, paid a two-day visit to Pyongyang on Tuesday and Wednesday. They discussed the details on the disablement of the DPRK nuclear facilities with the DPRK officials, the official news agency KCNA quoted the spokesman as saying. The political and economic compensation for the disablement was also discussed, he added.
2. DPRK Nuclear Program
Korea Herald (Lee Joo-hee , “PARTIES SET N.K. ENERGY DELIVERY SCHEDULE”, 2008/06/12) reported that members of the six-party talks on the DPRK’s nuclear programs have agreed on a broad timeframe and speed of the remaining delivery of energy incentives for the DPRK’s denuclearization measures, officials here said. “Although we have not yet decided on the exact target date, we have managed to narrow down our positions to some extent,” said Hwang Joon-kook, the ROK’s deputy chief nuclear negotiator. “The timetable initially requested by the North (on energy delivery) was a much more detailed one than what we came to agree on. But the North has also agreed to endorse (the latest consensus) by taking into consideration the current circumstances,” Hwang said.
3. PRC Food Aid to the DPRK
Yonhap News (“CHINA’S NO. 2 TO DISCUSS FOOD AID WITH N.K. OFFICIALS “, Shenyang, 2008/06/12) reported that PRC Vice President Xi Jinping will discuss his government’s plan to provide food aid to the DPRK when he visits the famine-stricken country next week, diplomatic sources here said. Xi, who concurrently serves as a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, is scheduled to make a three-day trip to the DPRK starting next Tuesday. “China’s food assistance to North Korea tops pending issues between the two countries,” the sources said.
4. Japan-DPRK Relations
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“JAPAN-MADE PUMPS ‘USED AT N-FACILITIES IN N. KOREA'”, 2008/06/13) reported that Japanese-made vacuum pumps used for uranium enrichment were discovered at nuclear facilities in the DPRK during an inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency last year. According to sources, the UN nuclear watchdog notified the Japanese government of the discovery, which prompted a search earlier this month by the Kanagawa prefectural police of five locations. The two companies are suspected of exporting the vacuum pumps without permission in violation of the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Law. The police suspected the pumps were shipped through Taiwan and dispatched investigators to the island in an effort to trace how the pumps reached the DPRK, the sources said.
The Asahi Shimbun (“TALKS WITH N. KOREA CALLED CONSTRUCTIVE”, Beijing, 2008/06/13) reported that Japan and the DPRK ended two days of talks here amid indications that Pyongyang may be ready to soften its stance on the abduction issue. Akitaka Saiki, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, told reporters, “We were able to hold in-depth discussions on important outstanding issues between Japan and North Korea within a serious and constructive atmosphere.” He said DPRK officials did not insist that the abduction issue had already been resolved, as they have so often done in the past.
5. DPRK-Japan Relations
Agence France-Presse (Harumi Ozawa, “JAPAN LIFTS SOME SANCTIONS ON NKOREA AFTER ABDUCTIONS VOW”, Tokyo, 2008/06/13) reported that Japan announced Friday it would lift some of its sanctions against the DPRK after Pyongyang agreed to open a new probe in its abduction of Japanese nationals. “We believe there has been a certain step forward,” Japan’s chief government spokesman Nobutaka Machimura told a news conference. “I believe North Korea has made a decision by judging that the overall (six-nation) talks won’t move ahead without progress in Japan-North Korea talks, to the deteriment of its national interests,” he said. Japan said it would lift restrictions on the movement of people between the two countries and end a ban on chartered flights. It also said it would allow DPRK ships to dock for humanitarian purposes, although a ferry that was the main link between the two countries would remain shut.
6. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (Shim Sun-ah, “UNIFICATION MINISTER CALLS ON N.K. TO RESUME DIALOGUE”, Seoul, 2008/06/13) reported that Seoul is evaluating the progress that has been made in relations with Pyongyang since the first summit in 2000 and seeks the early resumption of dialogue, a top official said. Unification Minister Kim Ha-joong made the remarks in his congratulatory speech at a civilian ROK event marking the eighth anniversary of the summit. The government “praises certain progress that has been made in relations between South and North Korea, and pursues relations of mutual existence and prosperity to develop them a step further,” the official said.
Korea Times (Kim Sue-young, “‘KIM JONG-IL PROPOSED HOLDING 2ND INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT IN RUSSIA'”, Seoul, 2008/06/13) reported that former unification minister Lim Dong-won said in his memoirs published earlier this week that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il proposed holding the second inter-Korean summit in Russia. According to the book, when Lim visited Pyongyang in April, 2002 as a special envoy to discuss Kim Jong-il’s return visit, Kim told him, “I intended to visit Seoul last spring. But the situation has changed as Bush who keeps a hawkish stance toward the North was elected as U.S. president. As the Grand National Party and other conservative forces are fostering an anti-North Korea mood, my aides advise me not to go to Seoul because it can worsen the situation.” Instead, Kim suggested holding an inter-Korean summit in Irkuck, Siberia. “If necessary, we can discuss ways to link with the trans-Siberian railway through the three-way summit with the Russian president.”
7. US-ROK Joint Military Exercise
Korea Times (Kim Jong-chan, “S. KOREA, US TO INAUGURATE AIR DEFENSE EXERCISE”, 2008/06/13) reported that the ROK and the US will inaugurate a new training exercise for their air forces in mid-June, the US Air Force said. The joint “Max Thunder” will involve more than 450 troops from both sides, about 90 fighter jets and other aircraft, including B-52 Stratofortress bombers, and KC-135 refueling tankers, an official of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command said. “The inaugural exercise will test aircrews’ war-fighting skills in realistic combat situations and involve both air forces’ flying and maintenance units from around the Pacific and continental United States,” the U.S. 8th fighter Wing based in Geunsan, North Jeolla Province, said in a press release.
8. US-ROK Trade Relations
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “SOUTH KOREA MINISTER HEADS TO US OVER BEEF DISPUTE”, Seoul, 2008/06/13) reported that ROK Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon departed Friday for the U.S. to seek limits on beef shipments in an attempt defuse public outrage over health concerns. Kim was scheduled to meet with US Trade Representative Susan Schwab later Friday in Washington to discuss having the U.S. beef industry voluntarily agree not to ship meat from cattle older than 30 months. Deputy Associty Secretary of State Alexander Arvizu said Thursday that the Bush administration supports the use of packaging labels identifying the age of cattle used in beef cuts as a way to address anger in the ROK without altering the April agreement.
9. Japan Defense
Kyodo News (“LOWER HOUSE PASSES MOTION OF CONFIDENCE IN FUKUDA TO COUNTER CENSURE “, Tokyo, 2008/06/13) reported that the ruling bloc-dominated House of Representatives approved a resolution of confidence in Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s Cabinet to counter the passage of a nonbinding censure motion against Fukuda in the opposition-controlled House of Councillors a day earlier. The Diet is expected to adjourn on June 21 in a paralyzed state, given that the Democratic Party of Japan and two other opposition parties have agreed to boycott deliberations following the upper house’s approval of the censure motion, the first passed against a prime minister under the current Constitution. Fukuda and the government, on the other hand, welcomed the lower house’s confidence vote as an endorsement for the Cabinet to carry on its work, but the DPJ said the resolution is ”far from the public’s will.”
10. Japan-Taiwan Territorial Dispute
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN PRESSES SOVEREIGNTY OVER DISPUTED ISLAND CHAIN “, Taipei , 2008/06/12) reported that Taiwan pressed its sovereignty claims over a disputed island chain as protesters demanded an apology from Japan for the sinking of a Taiwanese fishing boat. “Our firm determination to defend the sovereignty of the Diaoyu islands has never changed and never will,” said presidential spokesman Wang Yu-chi. Wang’s comments came after some opposition lawmakers accused President Ma Ying-jeou, who took part in a campaign in the early 1970s to defend the disputed islands, of acting too soft on the issue.
11. Comfort Women Issue
Asahi Shimbun (“NHK ‘COMFORT WOMEN’ RULING REJECTED”, Tokyo, 2008/06/13) reported that the Japanese Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a damages suit against Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK), which was accused of altering a program on sexual violence in World War II. The court overturned a 2007 Tokyo High Court ruling that ordered NHK to pay 2 million yen in compensation to the group Violence Against Women in War-Network Japan (VAWW-NET Japan) for not airing parts of the group’s mock trial that held Emperor Hirohito responsible for sexual slavery during the war.
12. Cross Strait Relations
Reuters (Ben Blanchard, “CHINA AND TAIWAN IN HISTORIC FLIGHTS BREAKTHROUGH: TV “, Beijing, 2008/06/13) reported that long-time political rivals Taiwan and the PRC, in their first formal talks in almost a decade, agreed on Thursday to launch direct weekend passenger flights starting from July 4, the first in nearly 60 years, Taiwan TV reported. In another move that suggests relations are at their warmest in decades, a senior PRC official will also visit Taiwan later this year for discussions on a slew of other issues in what could shape up as a regular exchange, the two sides said. Taiwan TV said the PRC had also agreed to allow tour groups of up to 10 people at a time to visit Taiwan from July 18. A formal accord on the deals is expected on Friday.
13. US and Cross Strait Relations
Washington Post (Glenn Kessler, “TOP U.S. OFFICIALS STALLING TAIWAN ARMS PACKAGE”, 2008/06/13) reported that top Bush administration officials are delaying a long-promised $11 billion arms package for Taiwan, raising the possibility that the issue will be left for the next president, according to sources inside and outside the administration. Now that funding for the package has been approved — and Taiwan’s new government has indicated that it wants the arms as well as a separate package of F-16 aircraft — both Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley have put the brakes on the deal, sources said. No official change in policy appears to have been made, sources said, but administration inaction has resulted in a de facto freeze.
14. PRC on Alledged Cyberattack
Reuters (“CHINA DENIES HACKING INTO US COMPUTERS “, Beijing, 2008/06/13) reported that the PRC denied accusations by two US lawmakers that it hacked into congressional computers, saying that as a developing country it wasn’t capable of sophisticated cybercrime. “Is there any evidence? … Do we have such advanced technology? Even I don’t believe it,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regularly scheduled news conference. “I’d like to urge some people in the U.S. not to be paranoid,” Qin said. “They should do more to contribute to mutual understanding, trust and friendship between the U.S. and China.”
15. Sino-Indian Relations
IANS (“INDIA WILL FACE MORE COMPETITION FROM CHINA ON ENERGY: PM”, New Delhi, 2008/06/13) reported that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admitted that India would face ‘increasing competition’ from the PRC in the area of energy security, while emphasising the need for a peaceful neighbourhood for the country’s growth and prosperity. ‘Now competition and cooperation have to be watchwords. We have to cooperate but have also to recognise that there will be increasing competition from China, from other countries also those who are entrenched, would not like to make way for others – the newcomers,’ the prime minister said. ‘We need a peaceful neighbourhood. And that is why it is very important that our relations with our neighbours whether they are China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka – they are of critical importance in realising our national ambitions,’ Manmohan Singh said.
16. PRC on Coordinated Disaster Relief
Xinhua (“CHINA PROPOSES DISASTER RELIEF COOPERATION PLAN AT 10+3 WORKSHOP “, Shijiazhuang, 2008/06/13) reported that the PRC has proposed a tentative plan of standard operating procedure (SOP) for cooperation on disaster relief by armed forces of the ASEAN plus the PRC, Japan, the ROK (“10+3”) at a workshop held in a north PRC city. The proposal drew great interest from the participants of other countries, while differences on the understanding of some issues still existed, according to the Field Army Commanding Academy of the PRC People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Shijiazhuang, sponsor of the workshop, which opened on Tuesday. Chen Shengwu, a colonel with the academy, said the making of the SOP was of great significance to strengthening the 10+3 disaster relief cooperation in the way of giving full play to the role of the armed forces in regional disaster relief.
17. PRC Military
The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “INSIDE THE RING”, 2008/06/12) reported that the PRC recently conducted a test of its newest submarine-launched ballistic missile, the Julang-2 (JL-2), which will be deployed on Beijing’s fleet of new missile submarines, according to US defense officials. The missile has an estimated range of about 5,000 miles and represents a new generation of strategic nuclear-capable weapons being outfitted on the Type 094 submarine, dubbed the Jin-class by the Pentagon. Hans Kristensen, a specialist on the PRC nuclear forces with the Federation of American Scientists, stated that PRC is expected to deploy its new missile submarines in Bohai because it is easier to protect them in the bay. “From the shallow bay, the Julang-2 missiles could be used to target Guam and Alaska, India, Russia and – at the limit of its range – Hawaii,” he stated.
18. PRC Bird Flu Outbreak
Washington Post (Edward Cody, “HONG KONG ACTS TO CURB AVIAN VIRUS”, Beijing, 2008/06/12) reported that Hong Kong authorities announced that they planned to kill all poultry in the territory’s retail markets because of fears of a dangerous bird flu outbreak. Health officials said they detected the deadly H5N1 virus last week in chickens at a stall in the Kowloon area and slaughtered about 2,700 animals in that neighborhood to prevent its spread. But more cases were uncovered this week at four markets in the New Territories and Hong Kong Island, leading to the order to get rid of all remaining live poultry in retail markets, stalls and stores.
19. PRC Earthquake
The Associated Press (Audra Ang, “CHINA MOVES TO QUELL PROTESTS IN EARTHQUAKE ZONE “, Juyuan, 2008/06/13) reported that police cordoned off quake-hit schools and towns in an apparent attempt to quell protests by parents angry that probes of shoddy school construction have not begun a month after the disaster. Despite an official promise of unfettered media coverage, police barred entry to at least two towns where schools collapsed in the May 12 quake. In the town of Juyuan, a reporter from Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper was detained by police and forced to return to the provincial capital of Chengdu, about an hour away. About a dozen police and paramilitary troops guarded the gate of Juyuan’s destroyed middle school, where 50 people gathered.
20. PRC Space Program
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA MANNED SPACE FLIGHT SET FOR OCTOBER: STATE MEDIA”, Beijing, 2008/06/13) reported that the launch of the PRC’s third manned space flight, the Shenzhou VII, with a crew of three “taikonauts” has been set for October, state media reported. A short-list of six “taikonauts” or astronauts had already been selected for the flight and would be whittled down to a crew of three before the October launch, Xinhua news agency said, citing a spokesman for the mission. “One member of the flight crew will undergo a space walk and undertake relevant scientific experiments,” the spokesman said.
21. Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Xinhua (“RUSSIAN PRESIDENT RATIFIES SCO TREATY ON FRIENDSHIP “, Moscow, 2008/06/13) reported that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ratified a long-term treaty on friendship with the other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing a Kremlin source. The pact, inked in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in August 2007, is aimed at developing a strategic partnership among the SCO members in a bid to enhance peace, security and stability, expand economic cooperation and promote contacts in culture, education, healthcare and science.
II. PRC Report
22. PRC Public Service
Xinhua Net (Yang Weihan, Zhou Yuting, “CHINA TO ESTABLISH EMERGENCY RESCUE SERVICE SYSTEM FOR VOLUNTEERS”, 2008/06/11) reported that the Central Communist Youth League associated with 13 Ministries such as the Ministry of Public Security jointly launched the “China Fire Control Volunteer Activity,” which combined the volunteer service with national rescue system. The volunteer service system started in 1993. In the last five years (as at April 2008), a total of 268 million young volunteers participated in voluntary services such as poverty alleviation and development, community building, environmental protection, emergency rescue, and have played a positive role in youth service, social service, culture communication and so on.
23. PRC Civil Society and Poverty Alleviation
China Siyuan Project Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (“‘LOVE TORCH PLAN’ OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED”, 2008/06/11) reported that on June 7, China Siyuan Project Foundation for Poverty Alleviation held a conference for “Love Torch Plan”, with Olympic champion Luo Xuejuan as the image ambassador. The main task of this plan is to raise money to support female business open in disaster areas and poverty-stricken areas. It will provide the business capital as well as business mentors by a dual support mode.
24. PRC Environment
First Financial Daily (“JINGHANG GRAND CANAL PROTECTION PROJECT LAUCHED”, 2008/06/10) reported that Department of Environmental Protection recently announced that it would start an ecological survey of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal in mid-June to understand the ecological situation of the Canal, to expose the conduct of water pollution and ecological damage, and to revisit the parts which have regional protective restrictions approved by Department of Environmental Protection last year. The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is the world’s earliest, longest and biggest canal project. It starts from Beijing in the north to Hangzhou in the south, with a total length of 1,764 km. At present, the water quality of main Canal remains stable, but the situation of water pollution control and energy-saving of enterprises is still grim along the Canal.
III. ROK Report
25. Inter-Korean Relations
Hankuk Ilbo (“8TH ANNIVERSARY OF JUNE 15TH AN OPPURTUNITY FOR SOLUTION OF INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS IN DEADLOCK”, 2008/06/13) wrote that in the midst of a deadlock in inter-Korean relation since the inauguration of the new administration, the 8 th anniversary of the June 15 th inter-Korean joint declaration is only two days away. The Lee Myung-bak administration is supposedly planning an extensive clean-up for national administration, but the conversion of inter-Korean relations can no longer be postponed. It should obviously begin by accepting the historical meaning of the 6.15 joint declaration and 10.4 summit declaration. In that sense, Kim Ha-joong, Minister of National Unification, participating and making congratulatory address in the commemoration event for the 8 th anniversary of June 15 th in which former president Kim Dae-jung has also participated, draws attention. We ask the Lee Myung-bak administration to deeply ponder upon what is truly pragmatic in inter-Korean relations.
26. ROK Policy Toward DPRK
Yonhap News (“MESSAGE FROM KIM HA-JOONG, MINISTRER OF NATIONAL UNIFICATION TO DPRK IS ‘CONVERSATION'”, 2008/06/12) wrote that the “June 15th message” that Kim Ha-Joong, Minister of National Unification, has proposed to the DPRK in the commemoration event for the 8 th anniversary of June 15 th can be summarized as “since there has been misunderstanding between ROK and DPRK, we should quickly meet and talk.” It is the public opinion that Minister Kim participating in the commemoration event shows the official government position of not denying the June 15 th declaration and that the visit was meaningful in that sense. Preparing a stepping stone for the possible “right time” for normalization of inter-Korean relations along with the DPRK nuclear process and US presidential election—even if the DPRK does not show immediate response—is meaningful.