NAPSNet Daily Report 14 October, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
1. DPRK Missile Program
Aviation Week (David Fulgham, Robert Wall, “IRANIAN MISSILE ENHANCEMENTS APPEAR IN NORTH KOREA”, 2010/10/14) reported that the DPRK military parade last weekend does more than give world exposure to the heir apparent to Pyongyang’s leadership. It also revealed a new road-mobile ballistic missile – a variant of the BM-25 Musudan with a projected range of 3,000-4,000 km. More intriguing, the DPRK’s weaponry is showing design characteristics associated with the Shahab 3, Iran’s most advanced missile. Such evidence is leading some international analysts to the conclusion that the ballistic missile development ties between the two countries is active and producing improvements in the arsenals of both countries. While it would seem doubtful that complete missiles or missile sections are being shipped – given the close scrutiny by the West of DPRK shipping – components and engineering data could move relatively easily by air and diplomatic pouch.
2. PRC on DPRK Leadership
The Chosun Ilbo (“CHINA APPROVES N.KOREAN LEADERSHIP SUCCESSION”, 2010/10/14) reported that the PRC has approved the succession to the leadership by DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s son and heir Jong-un by sending him a gift engraved with a phrase recognizing the “third-generation hereditary succession.” According to the official KCNA news agency, Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China, presented Kim Jong-un with a plate engraved with a photo showing former PRC leader Mao Zedong and DPRK founder Kim Il-sung smiling during a meeting. Also engraved on the plate is a phrase which says, “We extend warm congratulations to you on the 65th anniversary of the Workers Party. We hope you can develop the traditional China-[North] Korea friendship and pass it down generation after generation.” A ROK government official said, “It appears China has effectively approved the succession in writing.”
3. Japan on Six-Party Talks
The Mainichi Daily News (“JAPANESE OFFICIAL IN BEIJING TO DISCUSS JAPAN-CHINA SUMMIT, N. KOREA”, Beijing, 2010/10/14) reported that Senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official Akitaka Saiki met with the PRC Foreign Ministry’s top official on Japan policy and PRC’s envoy in charge of the six-party talks on DPRK’s nuclear program in Beijing on Wednesday. The talks were apparently aimed at laying the groundwork for a possible summit between Japan and PRC later this month on the sidelines of Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings in Hanoi and a potential resumption of the stalled six-party talks.
4. Japan Arms Exports Ban
Washington Post (“JAPAN TO CONSIDER RELAXING WEAPONS EXPORT BAN”, 2010/10/14) reported that Japan will consider relaxing its long-standing ban on weapons exports as the country explores ways to bolster its military capabilities, Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said in an interview Thursday. The move reflects concern among some Japanese leaders that Japan is falling behind in security and weapons technology, even amid potential threats from the PRC and DPRK. A proposed change in the arms exports ban would cause widespread debate within Japan’s government, probably drawing opposition from Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Many members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan view the weapons policy as a pillar in the nation’s pacifist defense posture. But there are growing signs that Maehara and others in Japan might be seeking a more muscular approach, even as Tokyo tightens its alliance with the United States. The newly appointed foreign minister mentioned Japan’s desire to participate in multi-nation technology projects, which is impossible under the under the so-called “three principles,” which ban arms exports.
5. Asia Nuclear Energy Conference
Sify News (“REPROCESSING NUCLEAR FUEL NECESSARY FOR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH: EXPERTS”, 2010/10/14) reported that reprocessing spent fuel is vital for the sustainable growth of nuclear power in the wake of the uranium crisis that is expected to hit the sector in the medium term, experts say. While this was the majority conclusion of experts from France, Russia, India, the PRC and Japan at the closing session of the four-day Asian Nuclear Prospects 2010 (ANUP 2010) conference here late Wednesday, their counterparts from the US disagreed. ‘It is in the long-term good to recycle the available spent fuel and one should take advantage of the existing fuel closing technologies,’ said the French nuclear science expert Bernard Boullis. Referring to the increased interest amongst the Asian nations in opting for nuclear power IGCAR director Baldev Raj said: ‘It is imperative to have research and development collaboration amongst nations as the scale and the challenges are higher now than earlier.’ Speaking on integrating the fuel cycles of fast breeder reactors and other reactors, Russian expert A. Bychkov said the international direction is to create integrated reprocessing systems, even as he stressed his country’s commitment to closing the fuel cycle.