NAPSNet Daily Report 15 April, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK-US Relations
- 2. US on DPRK Sanctions
- 3. DPRK Internal Situation
- 4. DPRK Military
- 5. Inter-Korea Relations
- 6. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
- 7. Sinking of ROK Naval Vessel
- 8. ROK Nuclear Summit
- 9. ROK-US Nuclear Cooperation
- 10. ROK Nuclear Energy
- 11. ROK Military
- 12. ROK Defense
- 13. USFJ Base Relocation
- 14. Japan-US Secret Nuclear Pact
- 15. Japan Climate Change
- 16. Sino-Japan Relations
- 17. Sino-US Trade Relations
- 18. PRC on Iranian Sanctions
- 19. Sino-Australia Relations
- 20. Hong Kong Politics
- 21. Cross-Strait Relations
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK-US Relations
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA RENEWS CALL FOR PEACE TREATY WITH U.S. BEFORE DENUCLEARIZING”, 2010/04/14) reported that the DPRK renewed its call Wednesday for a peace treaty with the United States, demanding an end to “the vicious cycle of distrust” between them before denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. “It is necessary to direct primary attention to building confidence between the DPRK and the U.S., the main parties concerned with the nuclear issue, in order to put the process of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula back on track,” Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the DPRK’s ruling Workers’ Party, said in a signed commentary.
PR Newswire (“POLL: IRAN REPLACES NORTH KOREA AS THE BIGGEST THREAT TO GLOBAL SECURITY”, 2010/04/14) reported that Stewart and Partners released the latest edition of its America’s Point of View (APOV) Survey which reports 40% of Americans identifying Iran as the country that poses the greatest threat to global security. The PRC (15%) and the DPRK (10%) come in at a very distant second and third place, respectively. This marks a significant shift in U.S. public opinion over the last nine months, when the June 2009 APOV Survey found Americans most likely to point to the DPRK (44%) as the country posing the greatest threat to global security, doubling those who cited Iran (22%) at that time.
2. US on DPRK Sanctions
Yonhap News (“OBAMA WARNS OF CONTINUED SANCTIONS UNLESS N. KOREA RETURNS TO 6-WAY TALKS”, 2010/04/14) reported that U.S. President Barack Obama warned the U.S. will continue imposing sanctions on the DPRK unless it returns to six-party talks on ending its nuclear ambitions. “Sanctions are not a magic wand,” Obama told reporters in a news conference here to conclude a two-day nuclear security summit. “Unfortunately, nothing in international relations is. But I do think that the approach that we’ve taken, with respect to North Korea, makes it more likely for them to alter their behavior than had there been no consequences whatsoever to them testing a nuclear weapon.”
3. DPRK Internal Situation
Chosun Ilbo (“KIM JONG-IL IMPORTS HUNDREDS OF CARS FOR LOYAL OFFICIALS “, 2010/04/14) reported that around 100 PRC-made cars have been brought into the DPRK through a checkpoint on the border with the PRC, probably for DPRK leader Kim Jong-il to give to favored officials. The DPRK regime often seeks to ensure the loyalty of senior officials by handing out the latest foreign-made cars on Kim Il-sung’s or Kim Jong-il’s birthday, but the PRC-made cars imported this time are believed to be gifts for the middle ranks. “To my knowledge, the latest cars are gifts for mid-level officials at North Korea’s prosecution and state security agency and have been allocated to specific people in different regions,” the source said. DPRK watchers believe the cars were bought to boost the morale of such officials, who were hit hard by the botched currency reform in December. “Failing to take care of mid-ranking officials could jeopardize the transfer of power to Kim Jong-il’s third son Jong-un,” said one DPRK expert. “The purpose of the gifts is to appease discontent.”
Associated Press (Sangwon Yoon, “FIREWORKS MARK FOUNDER KIM’S BIRTHDAY IN NKOREA”, Seoul, 2010/04/15) reported that the DPRK marked the “Day of the Sun” with a “kaleidoscope” of fireworks, state media said. Fireworks and a laser display lit up the skies above the Taedong River on Wednesday night, said the Korean Central News Agency . “The evening of fireworks will demonstrate before the world the inexhaustible mental power and indomitable spirit” of North Korea as it pushes ahead its mission to build a “great, prosperous and powerful nation” by 2012, the centenary of founder Kim Il Sung’s birth, KCNA said Thursday.
4. DPRK Military
JoongAng Ilbo (“KIM JONG-IL REVIEWS MILITARY DRILLS “, 2010/04/14) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il attended military drills ahead of the 98th birthday of his father, the late former leader Kim Il Sung, DPRK media reported yesterday. They didn’t provide details on when or where Kim Jong-il watched the exercises. According to the media reports, Kim Jong-il watched the combined drills by the Large Combined Unit 567 of the Korean People’s Army. The reports said Kim “mounted an observation platform” for the occasion and that he later offered guidelines that would help develop the DPRK military into a formidable force.
Bloomberg (“NORTH KOREA TO TEST FIREPOWER TO CELEBRATE FOUNDER’S BIRTHDAY “, 2010/04/14) reported that the DPRK is preparing large- scale demonstrations of military firepower to celebrate founder Kim Il Sung’s birthday and the anniversary of the army’s formation this month, the ROK Defense Ministry said. The DPRK’s military is planning the demonstrations that are to take place both on land and in the air, the ministry said today in a report to lawmakers in Seoul, without specifying a date. The late Kim’s birthday is on April 15 and the army’s foundation anniversary is April 25.
5. Inter-Korea Relations
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “N. KOREA HONORS LATE FOUNDER AS S. KOREAN ACTIVISTS SEND ANTI-PYONGYANG LEAFLETS”, Seoul, 2010/04/15) reported that about 150 ROK activists floated balloons to the DPRK on Thursday containing leaflets denouncing the Kim family, a thousand one U.S. dollar notes and DVDs showing life in the ROK. “This is something we’ve been doing for eight years, and we sent the leaflets as scheduled,” Park Sang-hak, head of the group, said.
6. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
Xinhua News Agency (“S KOREA WARNS TO “RESOLUTELY” DEAL WITH DPRK OVER TOUR DEBACLE”, 2010/04/14) reported that the ROK government on Wednesday renewed its call for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to withdraw its unilateral measures further damaging already moribund cross-border tour programs, saying it will “resolutely” deal with it if situations deteriorate. “If North Korea (DPRK) continues to take these unjustifiable measures or further escalates the situation, we will consider it an act seriously damaging inter-Korean relations and resolutely deal with it,” said Seoul’s unification ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo.
7. Sinking of ROK Naval Vessel
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “SOUTH KOREA HOISTS SUNKEN WARSHIP; DEAD REPORTED”, Seoul, 2010/04/15) reported that the ROK lifted part of the sunken warship Cheonan from the sea Thursday. Salvage workers reportedly found many dead bodies in the retrieved vessel. It was to be moved aboard a barge to a naval base to investigate the cause of the explosion while the rest of the ship is to be salvaged as early as next week, military officials said.
8. ROK Nuclear Summit
Yonhap News (“NEXT NUKE SUMMIT SEEN TO SPOTLIGHT NORTH KOREAN IMPASSE”, 2010/04/14) reported that analysts believe that having the ROK host the next nuclear security summit is likely to increase international attention on the continued impasse over the DPRK’s nuclear weapons development, the Korea Herald reported. A ROK official in President Lee Myung-bak’s office said Seoul was chosen to host the next summit with the support of all involved nations on the basis of two factors: its strong record of safe and secure atomic energy activities and because the ROK borders an aspiring nuclear-armed state. While Pyongyang was not asked to participate in this week’s security summit, the involvement of Russia and the PRC indicates that those regional powers might take on a larger role in attempts to end the DPRK’s nuclear weapons work, DPRK studies professor Yu Ho-yeol said. “Although it remains to be seen whether the North would rejoin the six-nation nuclear talks in the near future, the envisioned global efforts for nuclear security would definitely add to pressure on the North to give up its nuclear weapons program,” Yu said.
9. ROK-US Nuclear Cooperation
Korea Times (“Korea, US to Tackle Nuclear Energy Pact”, 2010/04/14) reported that the ROK and the United States have agreed to begin negotiations to revise a bilateral pact on the use of nuclear energy as early as possible, an ROK officials said Wednesday. The nuclear accord, signed in 1974 and set to expire in 2014, requires the ROK to get consent from the United States to reprocess spent nuclear fuel as a measure against its possible use for military purposes. Seoul has demanded a renegotiation as the country’s storage facilities for spent fuel are expected to reach capacity in 2016. “Both sides agreed in principle to renew the accord as early as possible. The negotiations may begin in a few weeks.” an ROK official said.
10. ROK Nuclear Energy
Yonhap (“ENERGY COMPANIES TO SHARPLY INCREASE NUCLEAR-RELATED WORKFORCE THIS YEAR”, Seoul, 2010/04/15) reported that ROK public energy companies and laboratories will increase the number of nuclear energy related engineers and technicians by 2,246 this year as part of the country’s buildup strategy to become one of the world’s top three atomic reactor exporters by 2030, the government said Thursday. The finance and knowledge economy ministries said eight nuclear energy-related companies and laboratories such as Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute will hire 1,609 new workers and re-position 637 existing employees to support atomic energy operations.
11. ROK Military
Korea Times (“MILITARY TO DEPLOY NEW THERMAL IMAGERS IN 2012 “, 2010/04/14) reported that border and coastal defense units in the ROK will deploy longer-range, higher-resolution thermal observation devices (TOD) in 2012 to replace the current equipment that has a short-range and blind spots, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said Wednesday. TOD is used as an observation tool at night by imaging infrared energy emitted from a body or target. The deployment of the Next-Generation TOD (NGTD) has drawn attention as the sinking of the naval ship Cheonan in the West Sea on March 26 has revealed problems with the existing thermal imaging sensors deployed in 1998.
12. ROK Defense
Chosun Ilbo (“SEOUL ‘HAMPERED ITS OWN ABILITY TO SPY ON N.KOREA’ “, 2010/04/14) reported that Unification Minister Hyun In-taek admitted that the fiber optic cables the ROK provided the DPRK have made it more difficult to spy on the DPRK. “I understand that there is a problem or a loophole” in the ROK’s intelligence-gathering ability, he said. Grand National Party lawmaker Chung Jin-suk expressed worries that the ROK ability to gather intelligence was weakened by fiber optic cables. “I suspect that some of the 45 km-long fiber optic cables may have been diverted to lay a communications network between frontline Army units in the North,” he said. It is difficult to wiretap a network of fiber optic cables, Chung added.
13. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“U.S. REJECTS RELOCATING FUTEMMA TO TOKUNOSHIMA OR ARTIFICIAL ISLAND “, 2010/04/14) reported that Washington has effectively rejected Japan’s proposals to relocate a U.S. Marine base in Okinawa Prefecture to an island in Kagoshima Prefecture or an artificial island to be constructed in Okinawa, Japanese-U.S. diplomatic sources said Wednesday, dashing Tokyo’s hopes of settling the matter by May. The rejection of the proposals to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station to Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, north of Okinawa, or a man-made island off the Katsuren Peninsula in Okinawa will likely increase pressure on Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to step down, as he has repeatedly promised to resolve the base relocation dispute by the end of May. U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos conveyed Washington’s rejection when he met with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada saying it would be “extremely difficult” for the United States to accept the latest relocation proposals.
Agence France Presse (“JAPAN ISLANDERS TO REJECT US BASE IN OBAMA LETTER”, Tokyo, 2010/04/14) reported that the mayors of three towns on a Japanese island reportedly slated to host a US military base said Wednesday they will write to President Barack Obama to tell him they reject their government’s plan. Media have reported that Japan’s government is planning to transfer the base to Tokunoshima, an island in Kagoshima prefecture, north of Okinawa. The government has not confirmed the reports but Tokunoshima’s residents have voiced opposition to any such plan, with about 4,000 holding a rally in protest against it last month. The mayors are preparing to stage another protest rally Sunday, which they say will involve about 10,000 residents.”We’ll also send the photos of the rally to the president,” Okubo said.
Associated Press (“HATOYAMA MAINTAINS TO MEET DEADLINE ON U.S. BASE RELOCATION”, Tokyo, 2010/04/15) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Thursday reiterated his promise to win approval from the United States and local governments on alternative sites for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture by the end of May. But Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said every detail of the relocation does not necessarily have to be worked out by then. ”I don’t take the position that there is no agreement or acceptance unless everything has been worked out, including technical details,” Hirano told a press conference.
14. Japan-US Secret Nuclear Pact
Kyodo News (“JFBA CHIEF WELCOMES RULING ON DISCLOSURE OF OKINAWA REVERSION PAPERS”, 2010/04/14) reported that Japan Federation of Bar Associations President Kenji Utsunomiya welcomed on Wednesday a Tokyo District Court ruling that ordered the state to disclose diplomatic documents on the 1972 Okinawa reversion while recognizing the existence of a bilateral secret pact over the financing of the reversion. “The ruling has significant meaning by recognizing the importance of the people’s right to know,” Utsunomiya said in a comment, adding there is a need to decide national policies through public discussions based on necessary information. The district court also said in its ruling on April 9 that while it was the plaintiffs’ responsibility to prove the state had compiled and possessed the documents, it was the state’s responsibility to prove it had lost them. Unless the state proved the documents were abandoned, “it should be effectively assumed that the state still possesses them,” it determined.
15. Japan Climate Change
Kyodo News (“2 JAPANESE WEATHER SHIPS TO MONITOR CO2”, Tokyo, 2010/04/14) reported that two Japan Meteorological Agency observation ships left Tokyo Wednesday on a mission to monitor greenhouse gases as part of efforts to address global warming. The 1,483-ton Keifu Maru and the 1,380-ton Ryofu Maru will be deployed in the Pacific around Japan and the East China Sea until April 23 and May 7, respectively, to monitor the concentration ratio of CO2 in the atmosphere and sea as well as water temperature and marine currents, the agency said.
16. Sino-Japan Relations
Financial Times (Mure Dickie in Tokyo and Kathrin Hille , “JAPAN URGES CHINA WARSHIPS PROBE”, 2010/04/14) reported that Japan’s defence minister yesterday called for efforts to establish the intentions of an extraordinarily large group of about 10 PRC warships and submarines that passed through international waters near Okinawa last weekend. The comments by Toshimi Kitazawa highlight concerns in the Japanese security establishment about the PRC’s rapidly growing naval power and its implications for long-standing disputes over maritime territory and resources between east Asia’s premier powers. Mr Kitazawa acknowledged that the PRC vessels, which included submarines, destroyers and frigates, had remained within international waters but said the “unprecedented” nature of the action needed more investigation.
Xinhua News Agency (“JAPANESE PM OFFERS CONDOLENCES TO CHINA OVER QUAKE”, 2010/04/14) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama conveyed his condolences on Wednesday over the deaths of hundreds of people in a strong earthquake that jolted the PRC’s Qinghai Province earlier in the day. In a message sent to PRC President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, Hatoyama said Japan is ready to help with the PRC’s reconstruction efforts, adding that he hopes the affected areas will be rebuilt as soon as possible, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.
17. Sino-US Trade Relations
Agence France Presse (“OBAMA SAYS NO TIMEFRAME FOR CHINA TO ACT ON YUAN”, 2010/04/14) reported that US President Barack Obama has again pushed the PRC to readjust its “undervalued” currency but refused to give any timeframe for Beijing to act despite pressure from American lawmakers. Obama said he raised the prickly currency subject with PRC President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of a two-day nuclear security summit in Washington but that Beijing considered it a “sovereign” issue and was “resistant” to pressure. “I’ve been very clear the fact that it’s my estimation that the RMB (renminbi or yuan) is undervalued and that China’s own decision in previous years to begin to move towards a more market-oriented approach is the right one,” he told reporters at the end of the summit.
18. PRC on Iranian Sanctions
Voices of America News (“OBAMA: CHINA CONSIDERING NEW IRAN NUCLEAR SANCTIONS “, 2010/04/14) reported that U.S. President Barack Obama says the PRC, which has opposed further sanctions against Iran, is now sincerely considering them. President Obama says he is confident the PRC will join other nations in pressing for tough new sanctions on Iran for its nuclear activities. At the end of the two day nuclear summit, Mr. Obama told reporters that the PRC has sent representatives to New York for United Nations sessions on drafting tighter sanctions. “A lot of countries around the world have trade relationships with Iran, and we are mindful of that, but what I said to President Hu and what I have said to every world leader that I have talked to is that words have to mean something-there have to be some consequences,” said President Obama.
Agence France Presse (“US TO HELP CHINA IF IRAN CUTS OFF OIL: REPORT”, Washington, 2010/04/14) reported that US President Barack Obama vowed to help keep fuel flowing to the PRC if Iran cuts off supplies in retaliation for joining a drive for UN sanctions, a US daily said. The pledge came in Monday talks between Obama and PRC President Hu Jintao as the US leader sought to win PRC support for the gathering drive to impose new UN sanctions on Tehran, the New York Times said. Obama assured Hu that he was “sensitive to China’s energy needs,” the Times said, adding that the US administration had already sounded out other oil producers to help reassure Beijing that there would be no drop in supply.
Los Angeles Times (“CHINA INSISTS IT HAS NOT CHANGED ITS STAND ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM”, Washington, 2010/04/14) reported that the PRC insisted that it has not shifted its approach on Iran’s nuclear program, despite White House claims that Beijing had become more open to sanctions on Tehran. Jiang Yu, a spokeswoman for the PRC Foreign Ministry, told reporters in Beijing that “China has always believed that sanctions and pressure cannot fundamentally resolve the issue” of concern about Iran’s nuclear program, according to the official New China News Agency. She said that the PRC “upholds its consistent stance on the Iran nuclear issue.” Beijing opposes Iran gaining nuclear weapons and supports a “dual-track strategy,” combining negotiations with pressure, she said.
19. Sino-Australia Relations
British Broadcasting System (“AUSTRALIA ARRESTS CREW OF CHINA BARRIER REEF SHIP “, 2010/04/14) reported that Australian officials have arrested the captain and chief officer of a PRC coal ship which ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef. The captain, 47, has been charged with liability for damage to a marine park, while his colleague, 44, was allegedly on watch when the Shen Neng 1 grounded. Officials say the ship leaked tonnes of oil and caused extensive damaged to the fragile coral of the marine reserve. The men face large fines and up to three years in prison if found guilty.
20. Hong Kong Politics
Kyodo News (“H.K. PRO-DEMOCRACY LEGISLATORS TO VETO PROPOSAL ON ELECTION REFORM”, 2010/04/14) reported that pro-democracy legislators said Wednesday the government-proposed reforms for the 2012 elections of Hong Kong’s leader and legislators are unacceptable because they lack a clear definition on universal suffrage. Hong Kong was promised full democracy under the Basic Law, the territory’s mini-constitution in force since the handover that stipulates universal suffrage is the “ultimate goal.” “The party’s caucus has unanimously decided that the proposal is unacceptable,” Albert Ho, chairman of the Democratic Party, said after the government announced a fine-tuned version of the proposal it offered months ago.
21. Cross-Strait Relations
News Provider (“TAIWAN OFFERS RESCUE TEAMS TO CHINA TO HELP VICTIMS”, 2010/04/14) reported that Taiwan today has offered to send search and rescue teams to help victims of the PRC earthquake today of 7.1 degrees which has caused at least 400 victims in the PRC . Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation , the island body responsible for contacts with the PRC in the absence of official ties, expressed their condolences to Beijing for the victims and damage caused by the earthquake. The National Fire Agency has prepared a team of 23 people and high-tech equipment that may be in the PRC within four hours if Beijing is to accept the offer.
II. PRC Report
22. PRC Earthquake
China News Net (“7.1 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE STRUCK IN QINGHAI”, 2010/04/14) reported that according to the PRC Earthquake Administration a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Yushu county of Qinghai province Wednesday morning has caused 400 deaths and many more injuries. More than 85 percent of the houses in the Jiegu Township near the epicenter had collapsed.
23. PRC Environment
Sina.com (“CHINA EVERBRIGHT BANK BECOMES THE FIRST CARBON NEUTRAL BANK”, 2010/04/14) reported that China Everbright Bank recently signed a service agreement with the Beijing Environment Exchange. The Bank will buy carbon credits for neutralizing the carbon emissions of the Bank’s production and operation. This is PRC’s first carbon-neutral bank.
China News Net (“(HUNDRED EXPERTS GATHER IN CHENGDU FOR LOW CARBON ECONOMY”, 2010/04/14) reported that the Sichuan International Clean Energy Summit, sponsored by the Sichuan government and International Clean Energy Association, was formally launched in Chengdu on Tuesday. Over one hundred domestic and foreign experts gathered in Chengdu, to make suggestions for promoting new energy industry development in Sichuan province.