NAPSNet Daily Report 13 October, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. DPRK Terrorism Delisting
- 2. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. Six-Party Talks
- 4. Japan on DPRK Terrorism Delisting
- 5. Abductee Families on DPRK Delisting
- 6. ROK on Terrorism Delisting
- 7. ROK Aid for DPRK
- 8. ROK Contingency Planning for DPRK
- 9. DPRK Leadership
- 10. DPRK Human Rights
- 11. ROK Economy
- 12. ROK Climate Change Response
- 13. ROK Bird Flu Vaccine
- 14. Japanese Role in Afghanistan
- 15. Japanese Politics
- 16. Cross Strait Relations
- 17. PRC Food Safety
- 18. PRC Economy
- 19. PRC Energy Security
- 20. PRC Environment
- II. ROK Report
1. DPRK Terrorism Delisting
Joongang Ilbo (“U.S. TAKES THE NORTH OFF THE TERROR LIST”, Washington, 2008/10/13) reported that the US announced Saturday that it has removed the DPRK from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. Sean McCormack, spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said on Saturday, “Based upon the cooperation and agreements North Korea has recently provided and the fact that the DPRK has met the statutory criteria for rescission, the secretary of state this morning rescinded the designation of the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism, and that was effective with her signature.” “North Korea has stated it will resume disablement of its nuclear facilities. This demonstrates that the six-party principle of ‘action for action’ is working,” McCormack said.
2. DPRK Nuclear Program
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “NKOREA ANNOUNCES PLAN TO RESUME NUCLEAR PLANNING”, Seoul, 2008/10/12) reported that the DPRK said Sunday it will resume disabling its key nuclear complex. The next stage “will be more complicated,” said Cheong Seong-chang, a DPRK expert at the Sejong Institute. “The terrorism delisting is just one step in getting the North to abandon its nuclear program,” Kang Sung-yoon, a DPRK expert at Seoul’s Dongguk University. “I think we’ll face tiresome discussions on how to proceed with the verification.”
3. Six-Party Talks
Yonhap (“SIX-PARTY TALKS TO RESUME BEFORE U.S. ELECTION”, Seoul, 2008/10/13) reported that ROK foreign ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young said Monday that the six parties involved in the DPRK nuclear talks will take into account the upcoming U.S. presidential election and the Beijing summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting on Oct. 24-25 in deciding when to restart negotiations. “China … hasn’t made a specific proposal yet,” Moon said.
4. Japan on DPRK Terrorism Delisting
Kyodo (“U.S. DELISTING OF N. KOREA NO OBSTACLE TO ABDUCTION ISSUE: ASO”, Tokyo, 2008/10/12) reported that the U.S. delisting of the DPRK from its list of state sponsors of terrorism would not pose an impediment to resolving the issue of Pyongyang’s past abductions of Japanese nationals, Prime Minister Taro Aso said Sunday. ”We would be able to hold sufficient discussions on the abductions in the process of negotiations to come. It does not mean a loss of leverage,” Aso told reporters in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture. ”I understand that they took the step, considering it would be better than leaving an issue totally immovable…it’s one way.”
Yomiuri (“GOVT REACTS CALMLY TO DPRK DELISTING”, Tokyo, 2008/10/13) reported that a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry ministry official maintained that there will be no major change in the situation surrounding the DPRK after its removal from the terrorism sponsors list. “Even though North Korea has been delisted, the U.S. government has other sanction options,” the official said. “So the delisting won’t necessarily lead to immediate benefits for the North.” Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone issued a predawn statement Sunday that read, “Following the agreement reached this time between the United States and North Korea, Japan will work toward having a document adopted among the six nations on the framework of concrete measures to verify the nuclear development programs declared by North Korea.”
5. Abductee Families on DPRK Delisting
Asahi Shimbun (“DELISTING OF NORTH KOREA CATCHES JAPAN UNAWARES”, Tokyo, 2008/10/13) reported that families of Japanese abducted by the DPRK expressed their disappointment at the terrorism delisting. “We are shocked,” said Shigeo Iizuka, who heads a group of abductees’ families. “We feel powerless because things have been decided where we do not have a say.” Shigeru Yokota, whose daughter Megumi was abducted in 1977 at age 13, stated, “The abduction issue is essentially a bilateral problem between Japan and North Korea. The U.S. decision was regrettable but unavoidable.”
6. ROK on Terrorism Delisting
Agence France-Presse (“SKOREA HOPES FOR BETTER TIES WITH NKOREA AFTER US DEAL”, Seoul, 2008/10/13) reported that ROK Unification ministry spokesman Kim Ho-Nyoun said Monday it hopes a US move to drop the DPRK from the terrorism sponsoring list will warm inter-Korean relations. However, the Chosun Ilbo criticized the delisting in an editorial, stating, “This is an unprincipled concession made by the Bush administration which is desperate for a diplomatic achievement in its final days.”
Joongang Ilbo (“BUSINESSES HOPE NORTH’S DELISTING BRINGS STABILITY”, Seoul, 2008/10/13) reported that the ROK business community Sunday welcomed the delisting. They said reduced tensions could fuel economic cooperation and have a stabilizing effect on the domestic economy, which has been rocked by the current global financial crisis.
7. ROK Aid for DPRK
IFES NK Brief (“ROK’S 09 BUDGET INCLUDES DPRK RICE, FERTILIZER”, Seoul, 2008/10/10) reported that on October 9, the ROK Ministry of Unification announced that funding in the government’s budget for next year includes money for providing 400,000 tons of rice and 300,000 tons of fertilizer to the DPRK as part of an inter-Korean cooperation fund. Because of the increase in world food prices, in the expenditure plan for the inter-Korean cooperation fund, the 72 percent set aside for humanitarian tasks next year is a huge increase over the 43 percent set aside for those projects this year. On the other hand, the budget for economic cooperative projects will be reduced 51 percent, from 610.1 billion won to 300.6 billion won.
Reuters (Jon Herskovitz, “SOUTH KOREA MAY REWARD NORTH FOR NUCLEAR DEAL”, Seoul, 2008/10/13) reported that ROK Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyeon indicated on Monday that the ROK may reward the DPRK for reaching a compromise on the nuclear issue by sending a delayed shipment of steel aid. Kim said the government “may consider the issue of adjusting its position on various projects,” and that “food aid or steel aid are within the range of consideration.”
8. ROK Contingency Planning for DPRK
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “ARMY REVISING CONTINGENCY PLAN FOR NK”, Seoul, 2008/10/13) reported that the ROK Army’s two special operations commands, the Special Warfare Command (SWC) and the Capital Defense Command (CDC), plan to draw up a revised version of OPLAN 5027-04 for DPRK contingencies this month. “Our command is revising an operational plan to help conduct effects-based operations (EBO) regarding surveillance and surgical strikes in the enemy area,” an SWC official said. The CDC, for its part, is also seeking to draw up new tactics to cope with threats posed by the DPRK army’s mechanized units, CDC officials said.
9. DPRK Leadership
Associated Press (Jae-soon Chang, “NORTH KOREA RELEASES PICTURES OF KIM JONG IL”, Seoul, 2008/10/11) reported that the DPRK released pictures of leader Kim Jong-il on Saturday for the first time in nearly two months. Wearing his trademark khaki jumpsuit and sunglasses, Kim was seen standing with uniformed soldiers with his arms folded or his hands behind his back. The photos were taken during a visit to a military unit, and shown on Pyongyang’s Korean Central Television. Kim appeared healthy in the images, though it was unclear when they were taken.
Korea Times (Kim Sue-young , “PICTURES OF KIM JONG-IL RAISE QUESTIONS OVER AUTHENTICITY”, Seoul, 2008/10/12) reported that suspicions are being raised that pictures released this weekend of Kim Jong-il were taken before his alleged brain surgery. A senior official at the ROK Unification Ministry said that the ministry had difficulty identifying when the pictures were taken because the DPRK gave little information about them.
10. DPRK Human Rights
Chosun Ilbo (“LAWYERS CALL FOR ACTION ON N. KOREA HUMAN RIGHTS”, Seoul, 2008/10/13) reported that, according to the Korean Bar Association’s 2008 White Paper on North Korean Human Rights Conditions, fifty-one of 100 DPRK defectors testified that they had seen or heard about people starving to death where they lived. Sixty-seven said they never received rations of food or materials sent by the international community. The most egregious human rights violation according to 23 respondents was suppression of freedom of speech. This was followed threat to survival (12) restrictions of freedom of movement (11), discrimination (5), surveillance (3), guilt by association (3), and public executions (2).
11. ROK Economy
Agence France-Presse (“SKOREA’S LEE URGES CALM AMID CRISIS IN FIRST RADIO ADDRESS”, Seoul, 2008/10/13) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-Bak vowed to create more jobs and overcome the impact of the global financial crisis in his first radio address early Monday. Lee said foreign currency reserves of almost US$240 billion will shield the country from a foreign exchange crisis. “Following the outbreak of a financial crisis in 1997, as many as 1.49 million people lost their jobs and 58,000 companies went bankrupt. Mindful of the bitter experience, my government will prioritise maximising new job creation and minimising corporate bankruptcies,” said Lee.
12. ROK Climate Change Response
Joongang Ilbo (“AN ERA OF GREEN GROWTH KNOCKS ON KOREA’S DOOR”, Seoul, 2008/10/13) reported that Samsung Economic Research Institute developed the Green Competitiveness Index, or GCI, and analyzed the environmental competitiveness of 15 countries. The ROK ranked 11th in the index, suggesting that both its use of new and renewable energies and its level of energy efficiency are quite low. However, the ROK ranked eighth in the green industrialization index due to ROK companies’ relatively strong position in environmental management and profit-making abilities in the environmental industry.
13. ROK Bird Flu Vaccine
Donga Ilbo (“H5N1 HUMAN VACCINE DEVELOPED IN KOREA”, Seoul, 2008/10/11) reported that ROK’s Chungnam National University professor Suh Sang-hee said Friday that his research team produced a human vaccine against the H5N1 bird flu strain by genetic recombination of H5N1 viruses transmitted to humans. The vaccine is the first of its kind in the ROK and the fourth in the world after the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan, said Suh.
14. Japanese Role in Afghanistan
Yomiuri (“U.S. EYES JAPAN HELP IN AFGHANISTAN”, Tokyo, 2008/10/10) reported that the U.S. government has sounded out the Japanese government on contributing to operations in Afghanistan, including financial assistance for training Afghan troops and providing extensive medical services, sources close to the government said Thursday. However, a review of the request has been put on hold as the Japanese government plans to focus on domestic efforts to continue the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.
15. Japanese Politics
Yomiuri (“ASO CABINET SUPPORT RATE FALLS FOR 46%”, Tokyo, 2008/10/13) reported that the approval rating for Prime Minister Taro Aso’s Cabinet has dropped to 45.9 percent, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey. The approval rating was down 3.6 percentage points from the previous survey conducted Sept. 24 and 25, immediately after the inauguration of the Cabinet. At the same time, the Cabinet’s disapproval rating increased by 5.2 percentage points to 38.6 percent.
Yomiuri (“SURVEY: 58% OF VOTERS FAVOR DPJ GOVT”, Tokyo, 2008/10/11) reported that fifty-eight percent of eligible voters are ready to see the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) replace the current ruling coalition, while 38 percent disagreed with the idea, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey conducted last weekend. 67 percent of the respondents said that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had the ability to run the country, while 46 percent saying the DPJ had the capability and 47 percent said it did not.
16. Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN PRESIDENT VOWS TO IMPROVE ECONOMY, CHINA TIES”, Taipei, 2008/10/10) reported that Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou on Friday pledged to promote peace with the PRC as the island marked its first national day under his government. Ma vowed to build a “clean and able” government to win the respect and recognition of the PRC and the international community. “The people’s mutual expectations are ‘no reunification, no independence and no use of force’ between the two sides. But we will not have wishful thinking, we will firmly uphold Taiwan’s dignity and Taiwanese people’s welfare,” he said. “We will maintain defence capabilities because we can seek cross-strait peace only when we have no security concerns.”
17. PRC Food Safety
Reuters (“CHINA MILK SCANDAL COMPANIES APOLOGIZE”, Beijing, 2008/10/13) reported that three Chinese dairy companies, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, Mengniu Dairy and Bright Dairy Group, have publicly apologized for their involvement in a toxic milk scandal. The PRC’s quality watchdog said a fourth round of tests on baby milk formula and other milk powder from dozens of local brands across 18 provinces had shown no new cases of melamine contamination, Xinhua news agency said in a separate report. But the Ministry of Agriculture had decided to continue sending quality teams across the country to monitor the clean-up of milk stations and animal feed producers, it said in a notice on its website.
China Elections and Governance (Zhang Qianfan, “FOOD SAFETY CANNOT BE REMOVED FROM MEDIA OVERSIGHT”, 2008/10/10) wrote that the entire powdered milk crisis demonstrates that food safety is obviously the moral responsibility of the company and it is the government’s duty to supervise. The problem is, because of a lack of media oversight, the general public knows nothing about this entire process, cannot do anything to guard against it, and therefore faces a huge health and security risk.
18. PRC Economy
Associated Press (Gillian Wong, “CHINA COMMUNISTS SEEK TO EXPAND INTERNAL MARKET”, Beijing, 2008/10/12) reported that the Chinese Communist Party on Sunday said it would seek to expand its massive internal market to counter the global economic slowdown that has reduced international demand for Chinese goods. “We should step up efforts to boost domestic demand, particularly domestic consumption and keep the economy, the financial sector and the capital market stable,” the party said in a statement released through the official Xinhua News Agency.
Bloomberg (Nipa Piboontanasawat and Li Yanping, “CHINA’S TRADE SURPLUS WIDENS TO RECORD $29.3 BILLION”, Beijing, 2008/10/13) reported that the PRC’s trade surplus widened to a record $29.3 billion in September. “It’s not a bad thing to have a relatively large trade surplus when there’s a global financial crisis,” said Wang Qian an economist at J.P. Morgan in Hong Kong. “China’s foreign- currency holdings will help the country to survive the crisis.”
19. PRC Energy Security
Reuters (“CHINA’S INDEPENDENTS TO SUE OIL MAJORS OVER FUEL”, Beijing, 2008/10/13) reported that frustrated by an unsteady trickle of overpriced fuel, the PRC’s independent oil firms hope to sue the country’s two energy giants Sinopec and PetroChina under a new anti-monopoly law, Beijing News reported on Monday. Two-thirds of the country’s 663 independent wholesalers have gone bankrupt and one third of its 45,064 independent service stations had also closed, the paper said, citing a survey by the China Fuel Distribution Association.
20. PRC Environment
Ministry of Environmental Protection, the People’s Republic of China (“CHINA ENVIRONMENTAL WATCHDOG BLACKLISTS POLLUTED CITIES”, Beijing, 2008/10/10) reported that a report released by the PRC Ministry of Environmental Protection on Wednesday blacklisted such major cities as Xinjiang’s Urumqi and Hubei’s Huanggang for their poor environmental record. It also listed cities having low-level water quality. The report said in 2007 the country’s overall urban environment had improved and local governments had increased spending on environmental protection.
II. ROK Report
21. DPRK Nuclear Program
PRESSian (“2ND STEP OF DENUCLEARIZATION TO BE COMPLETED DURING BUSH’S TERM”, 2008/10/12) wrote that it seems that the second step of the DPRK denuclearization will be completed within Bush Administration’s term. Kim Yon-chol, head of Hankyoreh Peace Institute, said that even though the short-term effect of the terrorism delisting is not as strong, it is one of the most important conditions to lift economic sanctions, which means a lot psychologically.
Hankook Ilbo (“DPRK’S BEING DELISTED, CHANCE FOR PROGRESS IN DENUCLEARIZATION”, 2008/10/13) wrote that the result of the terrorism delisting basically conforms with the denuclearization agreement which was made at six-party talks. In this sense, it is outrageous to criticize Bush Administration, saying that they conceded too much to the DPRK. The analysis that the DPRK made unfair profits by brinkmanship is also a cliché.
DongA Ilbo (“DPRK’S REMOVAL FROM TERRORISM BLACKLIST, BENEFICIAL FOR DPRK ONLY”, 2008/10/13) wrote that it is not true that the DPRK has fulfilled the duty of accurate declaration and complete verification of its nuclear program. The DPRK’s nuclear facilities which they did not declare yet need to be agreed on first to execute the inspection. Verification has now become way more difficult and complicated.
JoongAng Ilbo (“DPRK’S FOLLOWING DUTIES”, 2008/10/13) wrote that despite the removed from the terrorist list, U.S. national law still includes other sorts of DPRK sanctions. The sanction would not be lifted unless the DPRK decides to reform and open the nation. What is urgent at the moment for the DPRK is to abandon the nuclear facilities. Again, Bush Administration’s negotiation with the DPRK this time had no principle at all.