NAPSNet Daily Report 14 April, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. PRC on Six Party Talks
- 2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Issue
- 3. Sino-DRPK Relations
- 4. DPRK Military
- 5. DPRK Economy
- 6. ROK Nuclear Security
- 7. ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 8. ROK Aid in Afghanistan
- 9. Japan on Nuclear Safety
- 10. Japan Politics
- 11. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
- 12. Japan on PRC Environment
- 13. Sino-Japanese East Sea Territorial Dispute
- 14. Sino-US Military Relations
- 15. Sino-Australian Relations
- 16. PRC on Iran Sanctions
- 17. PRC on Nuclear Security
- 18. PRC Environment
- 19. PRC Economy
- 20. PRC Space Program
- II. PRC Report
1. PRC on Six Party Talks
Xinhua News (“CHINA PUSHES TO GET SIX-PARTY TALKS BACK ON TRACK”, Beijing, 2010/04/13) reported that the PRC called on the parties involved in the six-party talks to maintain contacts and dialogue, show more flexibility and work together to create conditions for the resumption of the talks. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular press briefing Tuesday that the parties involved had intensified contacts recently to discuss how to restart the six-party talks. As a friend and neighbor of both the DPRK and the ROK, China believed that improvement of DPRK-ROK relations and promotion of reconciliation and cooperation between them were in the common interests of their people and conducive to regional peace, stability and prosperity, she said.
2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Issue
The Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “LEE URGES GLOBAL COOPERATION ON NK THREAT”, 2010/04/13) reports that President Lee Myung-bak called for more global attention on the DPRK’s nuclear threats in Washington, D.C., Monday, saying the ROK will seek closer cooperation with the international community for a peaceful resolution of the DPRK nuclear issue. During a 90-minute dinner hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama for participants of the Nuclear Security Summit, Lee said Seoul is more concerned about nuclear weapons threats than any other nation as it is directly exposed to Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities.
3. Sino-DRPK Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“CHINESE TOUR GROUPS SET OFF FOR N.KOREA”, 2010/04/13) reports that the first tour groups from across the PRC started off on their way to the DPRK on Monday. The PRC has organized group tours of the DPRK since 1988, but they were available only to provinces bordering the DPRK such as Liaoning and Jilin. But on Monday, a group of 395 Chinese tourists left for the DPRK by air or train from Beijing, Shenyang and Dandong, the China National Tourism Administration said. They will gather in Pyongyang before starting an eight-day tour of tourist spots in the capital like the Kim Il-sung statue and Mansudae, as well as Kaesong, Panmunjeom, Mt. Myohyang and Nampo.
4. DPRK Military
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “N. KOREA CONDUCTS SWEEPING MILITARY PROMOTION AHEAD OF FOUNDER’S BIRTHDAY”, Seoul, 2010/04/14) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il on Wednesday carried out the second biggest promotion of generals since he took power. Kim issued an order promoting a group of 100 general-grade officers “on the occasion of the Day of the Sun,” the birthday of his father, Kim Il-sung, which falls on Thursday, the Korean Central News Agency said in a report monitored in Seoul. “The revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK which President Kim Il-sung founded and led along the road of one victory after another have grown to be a matchless revolutionary army,” Kim Jong-il was quoted as saying as he promoted the generals.
5. DPRK Economy
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA’S INFLATION, EXCHANGE RATE STABILIZING AFTER CURRENCY REFORM SHOCK: SEOUL”, 2010/04/13) reported that the DPRK ‘s market prices and currency exchange rate appear to be stabilizing after severe fluctuations from an abrupt government-led currency reform last year, the Seoul government said. In its latest DPRK report submitted to parliament’s foreign affairs committee, the Unification Ministry said that market prices in the country were on a “downward path” following recent measures by DPRK authorities. A kilogram of rice, which cost around 20 DPRK won immediately after the revaluation, soared to 1,000 won in mid-March but dropped to the 500-600 won range in early April, the ministry said.
6. ROK Nuclear Security
Yonhap News (Lee Chi-dong, “S. KOREA TO SHARE KNOW-HOW ON SAFE NUCLEAR OPERATIONS”, Washington, 2010/04/13) reports that the ROK said Tuesday it will set up an education and training center on nuclear security in 2014 to share the country’s know-how with the international community in the safe and peaceful operation of nuclear energy. President Lee Myung-bak, attending the Nuclear Security Summit here, also announced that Seoul plans to host the general assembly of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) in 2011, a year before the nation hosts the second nuclear summit. U.S. President Barack Obama proposed that the ROK host the next summit and was supported unanimously by other nations.
Associated Press (Foster Klug, “SKOREA TO HOST NEXT NUCLEAR SUMMIT”, Washington, 2010/04/13) reports that the ROK president announced Tuesday that his country will host the next global nuclear summit in 2012. But Lee Myung-bak said the DPRK leader Kim Jong Il won’t get an invitation until the DPRK gives up its nuclear weapons ambitions. Speaking to reporters at the current summit, Lee urged Kim to return to stalled six-nation negotiations meant to rid the DPRK of its nuclear programs. “If we can achieve substantial results through such peaceful dialogue, then of course we will be welcoming the DPRK to take part in subsequent meetings, and we hope that will happen,” Lee said through an interpreter.
7. ROK Naval Ship Sinking
JoongAng Daily (“AUSSIE EXPERTS ARRIVE TO JOIN CHEONAN PROBE”, 2010/04/14) reports that three Australian experts arrived in the ROK yesterday to join seven Americans and dozens of Koreans in investigating the cause of the mysterious Cheonan sinking. The Ministry of National Defense announced an Australian commander, lieutenant commander and lieutenant came to Seoul yesterday. A military source said the Australians will offer help in maritime disaster analysis. Navy spokesman Bae Myoung-woo said, however, he wasn?€™t sure about the exact field of their expertise.
8. ROK Aid in Afghanistan
Chosun Ilbo (“KOREA OPENS HOSPITAL, JOB TRAINING CENTER IN AFGHANISTAN”, 2010/04/13) reports that the ROK has opened a hospital and a job training center at the U.S. Air Base in Bagram in southern Afghanistan as part of an effort to help rebuild the war-torn nation.The hospital with two operating rooms and 30 offices will be run by around 50 medical staff while the neighboring vocational center will prepare 75 local job seekers for the labor market.
9. Japan on Nuclear Safety
Asahi Shimbun (“JAPAN TO PROPOSE NUCLEAR TRACKING”, 2010/04/13) reports that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama left Monday to attend the nuclear security summit in Washington, where he was expected to propose the creation of a system to track nuclear material and identify the manufacturer. The system would be designed to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear materials. Sources said Japan would use its expertise in materials analysis and data communications to create the system. Hatoyama would also present a proposal to accept foreign engineers at Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, to teach them how to handle nuclear materials, sources said.
10. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“LDP’S MASUZOE MAY LAUNCH PARTY WITH 2 POPULAR GOVERNORS”, 2010/04/13) reported that former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party is considering teaming up with Osaka Gov Toru Hashimoto and Miyazaki Gov Hideo Higashikokubaru to form a new party, LDP sources said Tuesday. Masuzoe, a popular choice among the public for prime minister, could leave the LDP and launch a party ahead of the House of Councillors election expected to be held in July, the sources said. All three are well known among the public because of their background as TV personalities before they became politicians.
11. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
Kyodo News (“JAPAN, RUSSIA AGREE TO STEP UP TOP-LEVEL TALKS ON ISLAND ROW”, 2010/04/13) reported that J apanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to further promote top-level talks toward settling a longstanding territorial dispute over four Russian-administered islands off Hokkaido, a Japanese government official said.
12. Japan on PRC Environment
Kyodo News (“JAPAN PRESSES CHINA TO RAISE EMISSIONS-CUT TARGET TO CURB WARMING”, Tokyo, 2010/04/13) reports that Japan urged the PRC on Tuesday to raise its current target for mitigating its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 as the country is now the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, but Beijing defended the goal, saying it represents the “maximum efforts” that can be made by the nation, Japanese officials said. Industry Minister Masayuki Naoshima and Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada met separately with Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the China’s National Development and Reform Commission, to press Beijing to present a goal more ambitious than the current target of trimming its CO2 emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40 to 45 percent in 2020, they said.
13. Sino-Japanese East Sea Territorial Dispute
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA, JAPAN LEADERS PLEDGE PROGRESS ON GAS DISPUTE”, 2010/04/13) reported that the leaders of the PRC and Japan pledged to get back on track on a 2008 agreement to jointly develop a gas field near disputed islands that have been a thorn in relations, officials said. Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and PRC President Hu Jintao spoke on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in Washington, the latest meeting between the two as ties steadily improve between Asia’s two largest economies.
14. Sino-US Military Relations
Associated Press (Cara Anna, “CHINA SAYS MILITARY TIES WITH US STILL SUSPENDED”, Tianjing, China, 2010/04/13) reports that military exchanges between the PRC and the United States are still suspended, a People’s Liberation Army spokesman said Tuesday, despite a recent warming of relations between the countries. The PRC cut military ties with the United States earlier this year after the Obama administration said it would go ahead with a planned sale of $6.4 billion in military hardware to Taiwan .
15. Sino-Australian Relations
BBC News (Nick Bryant, “CHINA SHIP ‘SERIOUSLY DAMAGED’ GREAT BARRIER REEF”, Sydney, 2010/04/13) reports the Shen Neng 1 was refloated on Monday night, in a salvage operation brought forward because of the threat of bad weather and heavy seas. The Australian government has indicated that a prosecution will follow because the ship ran aground in a no-go zone. Divers have now had the chance to deliver an early assessment of the harm done to the reef, and have found coral damage and paint scrapings that stretch for more than 1km (0.6 miles). The head of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said there was significant scarring, and that the cleanup was likely to be the biggest operation ever undertaken on the world heritage-listed reef.
16. PRC on Iran Sanctions
Reuters (Chris Buckley, “CHINA SAYS U.N. ACTION ON IRAN MUST AID DIPLOMACY”, Beijing, 2010/04/13) reports that the PRC said on Tuesday it wanted any U.N. Security Council action on Iran to promote a diplomatic way out of the nuclear standoff, edging closer to openly backing a resolution while hedging on sanctions. The remarks from Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu followed a meeting on Monday between Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama in which, according to a U.S. official, Hu agreed his government would help craft a new Security Council resolution pressing Iran over its nuclear activities.
17. PRC on Nuclear Security
China Daily (“CHINA TO SET UP NUCLEAR SECURITY ‘CENTER OF EXCELLENCE'”, 2010/04/13) reported that in a bid to provide assistance to other developing countries, PRC President Hu Jintao said that China is “considering setting up a nuclear security ‘Center of Excellence’ in order to play a bigger role in regional nuclear security.” Hu also said that as the PRC has cooperated well with IAEA and relevant countries in the field of nuclear security during the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, the PRC will continue with such cooperation in the upcoming Shanghai World Expo.
18. PRC Environment
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA PLANS TO CURB FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN POLLUTING SECTORS”, 2010/04/13) reported that the PRC said it planned to curb foreign investment in polluting sectors and instead direct it into high technology and new energy . The State Council, the nation’s cabinet, said in guidelines on its website that it aimed to “seriously restrict (foreign investment) in high energy, highly polluting… projects”. It added that foreign investment in “high-end manufacturing, high-technology and service industries, and new energy and energy-saving environmental sectors” should be encouraged.
19. PRC Economy
Associated Press (“CHINA’S HU REBUFFS OBAMA ON YUAN, SAYS BEIJING WILL ACT IN LINE WITH DOMESTIC INTERESTS”, Beijing, 2010/04/13) reports that Chinese President Hu Jintao rebuffed U.S. calls to re-value the PRC’s currency, telling President Barack Obama that any tinkering with the yuan will be done by Beijing in accord with domestic interests. Hu defended the PRC’s policy of pegging the yuan to the dollar at a Monday meeting with Obama in Washington and said changes to the exchange rate would not come from U.S. pressure. “Detailed measures for reform should be considered in the context of the world’s economic situation, its development and changes as well as the PRC’s economic conditions. It won’t be advanced by any foreign pressure,” Hu said in remarks released by the China’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.
20. PRC Space Program
Xinhua News (“CHINA TO LAUNCH 2ND LUNAR PROBE THIS YEAR”, Beijing, 2010/04/13) reports that the PRC will push ahead with its lunar exploration program despite the United States’ decision to suspend its return to the moon, a senior space exploration scientist has said. “The PRC should not slow down its pace of lunar exploration even if other countries change their plans,” said Ye Peijian, chief designer of the nation’s first lunar probe, Chang’e-1. The country plans to launch its second lunar probe, Chang’e-2, in the latter half of this year as well as send a lunar lander and rover by 2013, Ye said.
II. PRC Report
21. PRC Civil Society
People?€™s Daily online (“SOCIAL WORK AND VOLUNTARY SERVICE FORUM HELD”, ) reported that the Social Work and Voluntary Service Forum which was sponsored by China Social Workers Association and other two NGOs was held in Beijing on April 10 th . The theme of the Forum is to discuss the development strategies of social work under China situation and exchange experiences among NGOs.
22. PRC Environment
China Business Times (“BOAO FORUM FOR ASIA (BFA) APPEALS FOR GREEN RECOVERY”, 2010/04/13) reported that the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2010 was officially opened last Saturday in south China’s Hainan Province, with a focus on Asia’s sustainable recovery from the economic downturn. Some 2,000 political and business heavyweights and experts from Asia and around the gathered in the island resort for the conference.