NAPSNet Daily Report 14 September, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
1. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
Agence France-Presse (“S.KOREA TO EASE RESTRICTION ON N.KOREA FACTORY”, Seoul, 2010/09/14) reported that the ROK said it would allow more of its citizens to work in a jointly-run industrial estate in the DPRK amid growing signs of a thaw in cross-border relations. The Unification Ministry plans to let up to 900 South Koreans work at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, up from the current 600, spokeswoman Lee Jong-Joo told AFP. “There have been many requests from South Korean companies (to allow more South Korean managers to stay in the complex)… the change will likely take place next week,” Lee said.
2. DPRK Leadership
ANI (“SUCCESSION CRISIS IN NORTH KOREA UNLIKELY: EXPERTS”, 2010/09/14) reported that leading Korean Peninsula experts have ruled out the possibility of a “succession crisis” in the DPRK. During a session open to international media on what if there is a “succession crisis” in DPRK, in Davos, leading experts from the PRC, ROK, and Japan agreed that the hypothetical question raised by some people from the international community is “inconceivable.” It’s not about a new leader, but “a new leadership structure,” Xinhua quoted Yang Xiyu, a senior fellow at China Institute of International Studies, as saying.
3. Sino-Japanese Relations
The Christian Science Monitor (“CHINA, JAPAN FISHING BOAT STANDOFF DEEPENS AMID DELAYED TALKS”, 2010/09/14) reported that the RPC ratcheted up the rhetoric in its week-long spat with Japan over a detained PRC fishing boat captain, blaming Japan for “provocation” and again demanding the captain’s immediate release. The PRC at the last minute delayed an official visit to Japan over the dispute, and last week postponed talks planned for this month on a disagreement over natural gas in another area of the East China Sea. “Japan provoked this situation and Japan should take all responsibilities,” said PRC Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu in a press conference. “We urge the Japanese to stop so-called legal procedures and let him return safely and immediately.”
4. ROK Export Controls
The Financial Times (Christian Oliver and Najmeh Bozorgmehr, “S KOREA BAN ENDS TEHRAN’S KIA IMPORTS”, 2010/09/14) reported that Kia Motors of the ROK has suspended exports to Iran, ending one of Tehran’s most successful commercial alliances as international sanctions strike home. Kia is a household name in the Islamic republic and its affordable, boxy Pride represents between 30 and 40 per cent of vehicles on the road. The export suspension comes at a time of heightened tension between Iran and ROK, a US ally that last week imposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran because of its nuclear ambitions. Kia has substantial interests in the US, which it may be trying to protect by cutting links with Iran.
5. Japan Reprocessing Plant
Denki Shimbun (“ANOTHER POSTPONEMENT OF COMPLETION OF REPROCESSING PLANT”, Tokyo, 2010/09/14) reported that Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited (JNFL) announced that completion of the reprocessing plant now under construction for spent fuel from nuclear power stations was going to be pushed back two years. The completion was originally slated for October this year, but has been delayed due to obstacles encountered in trouble-shooting work. This latest postponement is the 18th. JNFL president Yoshihiko Kawai commented that he was determined to do his utmost to see that it would be the last one.