NAPSNet Daily Report 13 May, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK on Nuclear Program
- 2. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. US Policy Toward the DPRK
- 4. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 5. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 6. Sino-DPRK Trade Relations
- 7. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 8. ROK Aid to the DPRK
- 9. ROK Afghanistan Support
- 10. US-ROK Security Alliance
- 11. ROK Territorial Boundary
- 12. ROK Environment
- 13. Russo-Japanese Nuclear Cooperation
- 14. Russo-Japanese Energy Cooperation
- 15. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
- 16. Japan Politics
- 17. Cross Strait Relations
- 18. Sino-US Energy Cooperation
- 19. Sino-US Relations
- 20. PRC Swine Flu Issue
- 21. PRC Energy Supply
- 22. PRC Earthquake
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK on Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (“PYONGYANG CLAIMS WEAPONS ARE NUCLEAR DETERRENT”, Seoul, 2009/05/12) reported that the DPRK reiterated that its nuclear weapons are for deterrence and acquiring the deterrence was “entirely just.” “Walter Sharp, commander of the U.S. forces in south Korea, recently blustered that the U.S. would be firmly committed to providing a nuclear umbrella to south Korea, asserting that the ‘U.S.-south Korea Mutual Defense Treaty’ would remain valid even after the transfer of the ‘right to command wartime operations’ to south Korea,” the DPRK’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) noted.
2. DPRK Nuclear Program
Associated Press (“REPORT: NO PROOF YET NKOREA IS PRODUCING PLUTONIUM”, Seoul, 2009/05/13) reported that U.S. and ROK authorities have found no concrete evidence yet that the DPRK is reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods to harvest plutonium, Yonhap News said Wednesday. An unnamed official said U.S. and ROK authorities have been using spy satellites and krypton gas sensors to determine whether the reprocessing work has started, but no concrete proof has been found. ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young said he does not comment on intelligence matters.
3. US Policy Toward the DPRK
Agence France-Presse (“US ENVOY SAYS CONSIDERING VISIT TO NORTH KOREA”, Tokyo, 2009/05/12) reported that Washington’s point man on the DPRK , Stephen Bosworth, said he would consider visiting Pyongyang in a bid to revive stalled talks on dismantling the DPRK’s nuclear programme. Asked about a possible trip to Pyongyang, Bosworth told reporters in Tokyo that “this is something we will be considering over the next few weeks.” “That of course does not depend entirely on us,” he added.
4. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Reuters (“U.S. OPEN TO LIMITED DIRECT DIALOGUE WITH NORTH KOREA: ENVOY”, Tokyo , 2009/05/12) reported that the US remains open to the idea of direct dialogue with the DPRK within a six-way framework, a top envoy said. Stephen Bosworth, special representative for DPRK policy , also said that while a threatened second nuclear test by Pyongyang was a step in the wrong direction , there was no sense of crisis regarding the six-party nuclear disarmament talks . “It is clearly understood the possibility of a direct dialogue between the U.S. and DPRK is very much with us,” Bosworth told reporters. “That of course would be done within the framework of the six-party process.”
5. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Xinhua News (“CHINA CALLS FOR MAINTAINING PEACE, STABILITY ON KOREAN PENINSULA”, Beijing, 2009/05/12) reported that the PRC called for maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. “The maintenance of the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula serves the interests of all concerned parties,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a routine press conference. “I hope the relevant parties could take the overall situation into consideration in a bid to safeguard the peace and stability of the peninsula,” Ma said, expressing the hope that those countries could continue efforts to push forward the six-party talks process.
6. Sino-DPRK Trade Relations
Xinhua News (“CHINA, DPRK TO STRENGTHEN TRADE COOPERATION, OFFICIALS SAY “, Pyongyang, 2009/03/12) reported that officials from the PRC and DPRK pledged to further strengthen the trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. The PRC companies will further deepen the cooperation with the DPRK in the various fields such as processing trade, compensation trade and resources development, Wang Jinzhen, the vice chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said. On his part, the vice minister of foreign trade of the DPRK, O Ryong Chol, said the annual event offered a platform to deepen mutual understanding and bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
7. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap News (Kim Hyun, “N. KOREA FRETS OVER CAPITALIST INFLOW FROM KAESONG JOINT VENTURE: EXPERTS”, Seoul, 2009/05/12) reported that d espite the sizable profits it garners, the DPRK is increasingly concerned about the cultural side effects of the joint industrial complex it runs with the ROK, experts in Seoul said. Such fears have driven the DPRK to consider the possibility of shutting down the joint park in its border town of Kaesong, they said. “The fact that North Korea came to wonder whether it should continue the Kaesong industrial park suggests that from the perspective of the North Korean leadership, its side effects are not easy to deal with,” Yang Moon-soo, professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said in a forum.
8. ROK Aid to the DPRK
United Press International (“S. KOREA CLOSES HUMANITARIAN AID BUREAU”, 2009/05/12) reported that the ROK Tuesday closed its unification ministry’s bureau of humanitarian aid to its communist neighbor. In closing the Humanitarian Cooperation Bureau as part of a government restructuring, the ministry created a new one that it said will more closely analyze the DPRK’s internal politics, Yonhap news agency reported. “The restructuring aims to strengthen the ministry’s long-term unification policy and intelligence analysis and merge overlapped low-level units,” Kim Jung-tae, assistant minister for planning and coordination, told reporters.
9. ROK Afghanistan Support
Yonhap News (“U.S. WANTS S. KOREA TO SEND RECONSTRUCTION TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN: SOURCE”, Seoul, 2009/05/12) reported that t he US has recently conveyed to the ROK its hope that the ally will deploy a group of military engineers to aid reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, a source here said. “I believe officials at the US Department of Defense recently indicated through the Combined Forces Command (CFC) and US generals stationed here that they hope South Korea will contribute a unit of military engineers,” the source said on condition of anonymity. Observers have suggested the US would soon ask the ROK to redeploy troops to Afghanistan, although the Barack Obama administration has yet to make a formal request.
10. US-ROK Security Alliance
The Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “US FIRM ON COMMAND TRANSFER”, 2009/05/12) reported that t he US remains unchanged on the 2012 timeline for the transfer of wartime operational control of ROK troops from the U.S. military to ROK commanders, the top American commander in the ROK said. Gen. Walter Sharp, also commander of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC), reaffirmed the US commitment to the security of the ROK even after the wartime command transition, during his meetings with Pentagon officials in the US, the CFC said in a news release.
11. ROK Territorial Boundary
JoongAng Ilbo (“KOREA SUBMITS PROPOSAL TO EXTEND OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF”, 2009/05/12) reported that t he ROK government has informed a United Nations agency that it wants to extend its continental shelf farther south into the East China Sea, which would expand the country’s ocean exploration rights but also could stir tensions in the region. According to a map released by the Foreign Ministry yesterday, the ROK’s proposed outer limit reaches near the sea off Japan’s Okinawa coastline. An official at the ministry said the ROK has long maintained that its continental shelf limit falls near Okinawa because of the “natural prolongation” of its continental slope into the sea.
12. ROK Environment
Yonhap (“”, Seoul, 2009/05/13) reported that the ROK government will invest 12 trillion won (US$9.6 billion) over the next three to four years into developing green technologies that will create half-a-million jobs, the Presidential Committee on Green Growth said Wednesday. The plan allocates 4.2 trillion won to be spent until 2013 on developing green information technology products, bolstering Internet infrastructure and building efficient, low-carbon transit systems. Research and development of other various green technologies, such as high-efficiency solar batteries and hybrid vehicles, will also receive 8.4 trillion won in investment until 2012.
13. Russo-Japanese Nuclear Cooperation
The Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPAN, RUSSIA AGREE TO BOOST NUCLEAR COOPERATION”, 2009/05/12) reported that Japan and Russia agreed to boost cooperation in nuclear power generation — a deal expected to provide resource-poor Japan access to a stable supply of uranium. “Japan has superb technology in building nuclear power plants, while Russia has rich uranium resources and advanced technology in uranium enrichment,” Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said. Vladimir Putin said his country can offer its expertise in nuclear power engineering and information and telecommunications technologies, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.
14. Russo-Japanese Energy Cooperation
Bloomberg News (Shigeru Sato and Yuji Okada, “JAPAN, RUSSIA TO SIGN SIBERIAN OIL EXPLORATION ACCORD”, 2009/05/12) reported that Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corp., a state-owned explorer, and Russia’s Irkutsk Oil Co. will jointly develop two fields in eastern Siberia as Japan seeks to reduce reliance on supplies from the Middle East. The companies will sign an initial agreement to form a joint venture at 4 p.m. in Tokyo today, said Kazuhiko Uematsu, a spokesman for Jogmec, as the Japanese explorer is known. Jogmec will hold 49 percent stakes in the two fields, he said.
15. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
Kyodo News (“JAPAN, RUSSIA TO STUDY ‘EVERY OPTION’ TO SOLVE TERRITORY ROW AT JULY TALKS “, 2009/05/12) reported that Japan and Russia will discuss ”every possible option” to solve a decades-old territorial dispute when their leaders hold talks in July in Italy, including the idea of the return to Japan of half the area of the four Russian-controlled islands off Hokkaido, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday. ”At the (July) talks, (the two countries) will discuss every possible option for the purpose” of concluding a post-World War II peace treaty, Putin said at a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Aso after their meeting in Tokyo.
16. Japan Politics
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“OKADA, HATOYAMA LIKELY CANDIDATES TO LEAD DPJ”, 2009/05/12) reported that following Ichiro Ozawa’s announcement to resign as Democratic Party of Japan president, the DPJ plans to rebuild party strength by electing a new leader quickly. Party members who have served as president, including Vice President Katsuya Okada and Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama, have been referred to as possible candidates to replace Ozawa. Many members say it is not desirable for the party to drastically change course from Ozawa’s just before the next House of Representatives election. It is possible that Ozawa will remain influential in the party administration.
17. Cross Strait Relations
BBC News (“CHINA, TAIWAN PLAN TO EXPAND COOPERATION ON OIL EXPLORATION”, 2009/05/12) reported that Taiwan’s state-owned oil refiner CCP Corp. is expected to further its cooperation with the PRC-based Chinese National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) , which will expand the range of their oil exploration ventures to cover the northern continental areas of the South China Sea, Ministry of Economic Affairs officials said. The two sides reached a consensus on the issue in March during a visit to Beijing by CCP executives, and are likely to sign the relevant contract by the end of this year, the officials said.
18. Sino-US Energy Cooperation
People’s Daily Online (“SINO-US JOINT VENTURE BUILDS PLANT TO “TURN WASTE INTO ENERGY””, 2009/05/12) reported that US firm Covanta recently announced that it will form a joint venture with Jiangsu Taineng and invest 30 million USD to build a plant to “turn waste into energy,” providing electricity to the cities of Taixing and Yangzhong. The company has signed a long-term garbage-treatment contract with the municipal governments of Taixing and Yangzhong. The plant will have the capacity to treat 350 tons of garbage per day, and once operating will produce 30 tons of steam per hour to generate electricity. Construction on the plant will commence this summer and is scheduled to be completed by June 2011.
19. Sino-US Relations
Washington Times (“CHINA BLOCKS U.S. FROM CYBER WARFARE”, 2009/05/12) reported that the PRC has developed more secure operating software for its tens of millions of computers and is already installing it on government and military systems, hoping to make Beijing’s networks impenetrable to US military and intelligence agencies. The secure operating system, known as Kylin, was disclosed to Congress during recent hearings that provided new details on how the PRC’s government is preparing to wage cyberwarfare with the US. The deployment of Kylin has “hardened” key PRC servers. US offensive cyberwar capabilities have been focused on getting into PRC government and military computers outfitted with less secure operating systems like those made by Microsoft Corp.
20. PRC Swine Flu Issue
Bloomberg News (“CHINA REPORTS SECOND SUSPECTED CASE OF SWINE FLU, IN SHANDONG “, 2009/05/12) reported that the PRC has a suspected case of swine flu in the eastern province of Shandong, which if confirmed will be the country’s second infection from the disease, the Ministry of Health said. The case involved a student who returned from Canada, the ministry said in a statement on its Web site, identifying the patient as a 19-year-old man with the surname Lu. The patient took flight AC029 which departed from Canada on May 7 and arrived in Beijing on May 8, the statement said.
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA STEPS UP FLU VIGILANCE IN WAKE OF FIRST CASE”, Beijing, 2009/05/12) reported that the PRC ordered stepped up flu monitoring nationwide after confirming the mainland’s first swine flu case. The health ministry ordered its departments nationwide to “completely and effectively control those who came in close contact with the flu sufferer.” Government personnel were also ordered to step up emergency preparedness and stock up on appropriate medical materials.
21. PRC Energy Supply
Bloomberg News (Dinakar Sethuraman, “CHINA NEEDS $190 BILLION IN RENEWABLE-ENERGY SPENDING”, 2009/05/12) reported that the PRC, the world’s second-biggest energy consumer, needs to invest 1.3 trillion yuan ($190 billion) to achieve its target for renewable-energy use by 2020, National Energy Bureau chief Liang Zhipeng said. The nation raised its target for generating power by harnessing sunlight by more than fivefold to 10 gigawatts in 2020, helped by declining costs for setting up solar panels. The PRC is considering giving preferential interest rates on loans to fund renewable-energy projects, said Liang, whose energy bureau is an arm of the National Development and Reform Commission in Beijing, the country’s top economic planner.
22. PRC Earthquake
The Associated Press (“PARENTS’ ANGER UNRESOLVED 1 YEAR AFTER CHINA QUAKE”, 2009/05/12) reported that the PRC marked the first anniversary of a massive earthquake on Tuesday in a somber, nationally televised ceremony filled with flowers and speeches, as the normally distant PRC leadership provided an unusually cathartic public moment. “The great task of earthquake rescue and recovery reminds us again that unity is strength, that victory can only be gained through struggle,” President Hu Jintao said, before leading military and civilian leaders, diplomats, students and emergency services workers in laying white and yellow chrysanthemums — traditional flowers of mourning — before a stone memorial. A trumpet played a plaintive tune in the background as officials bowed their heads in respect.
II. PRC Report
23. PRC Seismic Monitoring
Xinhua Net (“CHINA INVESTS 400 MILLION RMB ON SEISMIC BACKGROUND EXPLORATION PROJECT”, 2009/05/12) reported that “at the end of 2008, China has launched a China Seismic Background Exploration Project, with a total investment of over 400 million RMB. Through the further expansion and perfection of implementation of the project, China’s capacity of earthquake monitoring and research will be improved”, said an official of China Earthquake Bureau on Monday at a news conference.
24. PRC Disaster Relief
Xinhua Net (Li Yajie, Wang Wenshuo, “NATIONAL DISASTER PREVENTION AND RELIEF VOLUNTEER’S WEEK STARTS”, 2009/05/12) reported that May 12 th is China’s first Disaster Prevention and Relief Day. A Volunteer’s Week activity of this theme has been started in Beijing Forestry University on May 9 th . The aim of the activity is to mobilize the youth and teenagers to participate in disaster prevention and relief work by way of voluntary service, and thus to enhance awareness and popularize knowledge of disaster prevention and relief.
25. PRC Civil Society and Education
China News Net (“FIRST PERPETUAL SCHOOL IN DUJIANGYAN CITY FINISHES”, 2009/05/12) reported that Dujiangyan Greenland Tuqiao Primary School was formally completed construction on May 9 th . The school was co-funded by Shanghai Charity Foundation and Greenland Group. The seismic fortification intensity of all construction reaches 8.