NAPSNet Daily Report 13 September, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
1. ROK on Cheonan Incident
Yonhap News (Kim Deok-hyun , “S. KOREA RELEASES FULL REPORT ON SHIP SINKING, REAFFIRMING N. KOREA’S RESPONSIBILITY”, Seoul, 2010/09/13) reported that the ROK released the full results of a multinational investigation into the March sinking of a warship, reaffirming that it was sunk in a DPRK torpedo attack and providing more details that officials hope will quell doubts and questions leveled at interim probe results. The full report contained some more details, including those on the explosion, to explain how the 73 investigators from the ROK, the US, Britain, Australia and Sweden reached their outcome. The final report also gave details of testimonies by the survivors, describing how the external explosion interrupted the Cheonan’s routine patrol. Such accounts sufficiently substantiated that the ship was sunk and destroyed by a powerful shockwave from a non-contact torpedo explosion, called a “bubble effect,” said Shin Young-shik, a professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and one of the civilian investigators.
2. Inter-Korean Relations
The New York Times (Choe Sang-Hun, “N. KOREA SUGGESTS FAMILY REUNIONS”, 2010/09/12) reported that in a surprise gesture of reconciliation that could ease tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula, the DPRK proposed to the ROK that they arrange reunions of families separated by a war six decades ago. Family reunions have usually been proposed by the ROK, not the DPRK. The DPRK’s initiative showed how the humanitarian program is used as a chip in the complex diplomacy surrounding the peninsula. The ROK was “favorably” reviewing the offer for immediate discussions of family reunions so the reunions could take place in the DPRK’s Diamond Mountain resort around the Sept. 22 Chuseok fall-harvest holiday, a government statement said.
3. ROK Aid to the DPRK
The Associated Press (Hyung-Jin Kim , “SKOREA TO SEND RICE OTHER AID TO FLOOD-HIT NKOREA”, 2010/09/13) reported that the ROK announced plans to send 5,000 tons of rice and other aid to flood-stricken DPRK in a sign of easing tension between the divided countries. The aid would mark the ROK’s first major aid shipment to DPRK since March’s deadly sinking of a ROK warship. The ROK is planning to send 10 billion won ($8.5 million) in relief assistance to help the DPRK recover from heavy flooding that swamped farmland, houses and public buildings in its northwest last month, the ROK’s Red Cross chief Yoo Chong-ha told reporters. The aid would be financed by the ROK government.
4. USFJ Base Relocation
Mainichi Shimbun (“BASE OPPONENTS WIN MAJORITY IN NAGO ASSEMBLY ELECTION”, Naha, 2010/09/13) reported that candidates opposed to a Japan-US plan to relocate a major US Marine base to the city of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, secured a majority in Sunday’s municipal assembly election, giving a boost to Mayor Susumu Inamine, who was elected in January on a platform opposing the plan. The result is likely to hamper efforts by Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s government to win local understanding following its acceptance of a bilateral accord on the relocation signed by the previous administration in May. Kan has promised not to ignore voices in the prefecture. “The citizens have expressed their opinion that they will not allow any new military base to be constructed here, not on land, nor on the water. I think (the election result) only shows their sense of crisis,” Inamine told reporters.
5. Japan-Jordan Nuclear Cooperation
Agence France-Presse (“JORDAN SIGNS NUCLEAR ACCORD WITH JAPAN”, Amman, 2010/09/11) reported that Jordan and Japan have signed an agreement on civilian nuclear energy cooperation in the ninth such accord made by the kingdom, the official Petra news agency reported. It said the deal covers “the exploration for and exploitation of uranium, the construction and operation of nuclear reactors, as well as the protection of the environment from radiation.” Jordan’s Atomic Energy Commission chief Khaled Tukan was quoted as saying that “The agreement will allow Japan to export to Jordan technology for the civilian use of nuclear energy,” Tukan said, adding that Jordan hoped to sign a similar accord with the United States “in the coming months.”