NAPSNet Daily Report 15 August, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US, ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. US, PRC on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 4. ROK on Aid to DPRK
- 5. Inter-Korean Relations
- 6. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 7. DPRK-Japan Relations
- 8. DPRK Military
- 9. Sino-ROK Relations
- 10. ROK-PRC Territorial Dispute
- 11. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 12. ROK-Japan Relations
- 13. US-Japan Security Alliance
- 14. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Refueling Mission
- 15. Japan on World War II
- 16. Yasukuni Shrine Issue
- 17. Comfort Women Issue
- 18. Taiwan UN Membership
- 19. PRC Earthquake
- 20. PRC Media
- 21. PRC Security
- 22. PRC Minorities
- II. PRC Report
1. US, ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Korea Herald (Lee Joo-hee , “KOREAN, U.S. NUKE NEGOTIATORS TO MEET”, 2008/08/13) reported that ROK chief nuclear negotiator Kim Sook left for New York to begin talks with his U.S. counterpart on the DPRK’s next denuclearization step. Kim will meet U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill today to establish a verification mechanism for the DPRK’s nuclear activities, the Foreign Ministry said. “I will discuss with Assistant Secretary Hill how to draw up a verification mechanism,” Kim told reporters at the airport. “I’m also planning to discuss wrapping up the second stage (of nuclear disarmament),” he added.
2. US, PRC on DPRK Nuclear Program
The Associated Press (“US DIPLOMAT ARRIVES IN CHINA FOR NKOREA TALKS”, Beijing, 2008/08/13) reported that the State Department’s top Korea expert arrived Thursday in Beijing in a bid to advance efforts to verify the DPRK’s nuclear program declarations. Sung Kim said he would talk with the PRC about issues related to the six-nation talks on the DPRK’s nuclear disarmament, but said he had no plans to meet DPRK officials while in the PRC capital.
3. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “SKOREA’S LEE URGES NKOREA TO ABANDON NUCLEAR BOMBS”, Seoul, 2008/08/15) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak on Friday urged the DPRK to abandon its nuclear program and resume stalled inter-Korean dialogue. “I am not going to give up the dream of both Koreas living well together,” Lee said in a speech marking the 63rd anniversary of the Korean peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule. But to realize that vision, Lee said permanent peace must be achieved on the peninsula. He also said the DPRK’s nuclear program, “which is the source of distrust and conflict, has to be eliminated completely.” “I have expectations that North Korea will come forward for comprehensive dialogue and economic cooperation because now is the most opportune time for the North to make change,” Lee said.
4. ROK on Aid to DPRK
Korea Herald (Lee Joo-hee, “SEOUL DETAILS PLANS TO AID N.K. ECONOMIC GROWTH”, Seoul, 2008/08/15) reported that the ROK on Friday announced more details on how it plans to help spur the DPRK’s economy as it competes three key stages of denuclearization. Based on the policy guidebook published by the Unification Ministry on Thursday, Seoul divides into three stages the process of DPRK’s denuclearization: nuclear facilities disablement, commencement of nuclear dismantlement, and completion of dismantlement. In return for the first phase, the government said it would begin discussions on creating an economic community with the DPRK, and prepare a legal structure for such cooperation. Once the DPRK finishes its nuclear disablement and its nuclear activities are verified, the government would prepare a legal framework to stimulate economic cooperation, assist in trade and investment and liberalize inter-Korean trade. Once the dismantlement process of begins and continues smoothly, the government will enter the second phase of a five-point development plan. The five are economic, education, finance, infrastructure and livelihood. Aid to improve those five fields will accelerate in the third phase, along with a creation of an international cooperation fund worth approximately $40 billion.
5. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (Yoo Cheong-mo, “LEE CALLS FOR STRONGER MILITARY POWER TO NORMALIZE INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS”, Seoul, 2008/08/13) reported that President Lee Myung-bak asked ROK military leaders to further reinforce the nation’s military capabilities to help normalize inter-Korean relations during his first visit to a compound housing Army, Air Force and Navy headquarters. “Inter-Korean relations are now undergoing some difficulties, but I think this is part of the normalization process. Inter-Korean relations must be normalized. Only when we’re perfectly prepared, problems won’t arise (in inter-Korean relations). Then nobody will challenge us. I’m convinced that you military leaders are making such preparations,” the president said.
Yonhap News (Kim Bo-ram, “CIVIC GROUP PROTESTS GOV’T PROHIBITION ON N.K. VISIT”, Seoul, 2008/08/13) reported that a ROK youth group denounced the government Thursday for disallowing its planned trip to the DPRK this month, saying worsening political relations should not affect civilian exchanges. “Civic groups have played a crucial role in thawing tense relations between the North and South,” said Park Hee-jin, deputy chairwoman of the group, at a demonstration held in front of the ministry building in central Seoul. “The government measure to block even civilian exchanges threatens to make it impossible to mend the ties.”
6. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Chosun Ilbo (“S.KOREAN TOURISTS ARE NO LONGER SAFE IN THE NORTH”, 2008/08/13) reported that the DPRK recently changed the wording on an official letter of invitation it sends to South Koreans seeking to visit the communist country. The words “We invite” and “guarantee the safety” of the visitor has been changed to “agree” (to the visit) and “offer accommodation.” We cannot therefore take it lightly that a country like that has gotten rid of the clause “guarantee the safety” and replaced it with a mere “offer accommodation.”
7. DPRK-Japan Relations
Kyodo News (“KIN HOPEFUL REINVESTIGATION WILL BRING ABDUCTEES BACK FROM N. KOREA”, Tokyo, 2008/08/13) reported that relatives of Japanese nationals taken by DPRK agents expressed hope Thursday that circumstances are moving positively toward the return of the missing abductees, after they were briefed by the Foreign Ministry about the agreements with the DPRK on Pyongyang’s reinvestigation of the cases. ”We can finally see the current flowing toward a resolution,” said Shigeo Iizuka, the 70-year-old elder brother of abductee Yaeko Taguchi and head of a group formed by the relatives.
8. DPRK Military
Yonhap News (“N. KOREAN LEADER INSPECTS ARMY UNIT”, Seoul, 2008/08/13) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il has inspected an Army unit, the DPRK’s state-run news agency said. Kim, accompanied by army generals, watched soldiers in the Army’s 1319 unit train and “stressed that all soldiers should own high military skills and combat power,” the Korean Central News Agency quoted him as saying. He also expressed appreciation at the soldiers’ tree-planting efforts, saying the lush forests near the barracks and in the surrounding mountains were a reflection of their “sizzling patriotism.”
9. Sino-ROK Relations
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “‘CHINA MORE IMPORTANT THAN US FOR KOREA'”, 2008/08/13) reported that South Koreans perceive the PRC, not the United States, will have the most significant influence on its politics and economy in the next two decades, an opinion survey says. The latest Korea Times-Hankook Ilbo poll of 1,000 citizens, conducted Wednesday, showed that 50.2 percent of respondents picked the PRC as the country that will exert the biggest impact on the country. The United States came second with 39.8 percent, followed by Japan with 6.7 percent.
10. ROK-PRC Territorial Dispute
Korea Times (Sunny Lee, “TEMPERATURE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KOREA, CHINA OVER IEODO”, Beijing, 2008/08/15) reported that the PRC’s state-controlled media, practically all the newspapers, radio and television in the nation, have been keeping mum on the dispute with the ROK over Ieodo islet. As for the change of the PRC government body Web site that had dropped the territorial claim after a protest from the ROK government, only to reinstate it a day later, an observer in the PRC commented: “My view is that the Chinese were quite alarmed after seeing the overwhelming clamoring on the issue in Korea. So, they hurriedly went ahead to delete it from the Internet. But then, these folks realized that the government’s official stance on the matter hasn’t changed. So, they reinstated it.”
11. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
Xinhua News (“S KOREAN LAWMAKERS APPEALS FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF “DOKDO DAY” OVER DISPUTED ISLETS “, Seoul, 2008/08/13) reported that tens of ROK legislators submitted a petition to the National Assembly Thursday to appeal for the establishment of a “Dokdo Day” over the disputed islets of Dokdo, which Japan calls Takeshima, the ROK’s Yonhap News Agency reported. The petition, signed by more than 59,000 ROK citizens, seeks to set Oct. 25 as a national day to commemorate the country’s ownership of the Dokdo islets, which Japan also claims sovereignty, Yonhap said.
Korea Times (Kang Shin-who, “DOKDO RESEARCH INSTITUTE OPENS”, 2008/08/13) reported that the Northeast Asian History Foundation, under the wing of the education ministry, Thursday opened the “Dokdo Research Institute” to carry through systematic research on the easternmost islets. During the opening ceremony at the institute’s office in central Seoul, Kim Yong-deok, chairman of the Foundation said “We will develop long-term strategies and measures in cooperation with related government bodies to counter Japan’s repeated claims to the islets.”
12. ROK-Japan Relations
Kyodo News (“LEE URGES JAPAN TO FACE HISTORY IN LIBERATION DAY SPEECH”, Seoul, 2008/08/15) reported that ROK President Lee Myung Bak said Friday that Japan should ”face up to history and refrain from making the foolish mistake of repeating the unfortunate past again today.” In a speech in Seoul marking the anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule, Lee appeared to refer to a territorial row with Japan but avoided commenting on it directly.
13. US-Japan Security Alliance
Kyodo News (“GROUP OPPOSES PLAN TO BUILD REPLACEMENT U.S. MILITARY BASE IN OKINAWA “, Naha, 2008/08/13) reported that a group of 18 intellectuals in Okinawa issued a joint statement Thursday opposing a Japan-US plan to build a replacement facility for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station. Kunitoshi Sakurai, president of Okinawa University, Moriteru Arasaki, professor emeritus at the university, Masaaki Gabe, professor at the University of the Ryukyus, and prize-winning novelist Tatsuhiro Oshiro, were among the group that issued the statement at a news conference at the Okinawa prefectural government office in Naha.
14. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Refueling Mission
The Asahi Shimbun (“FUKUDA ADAMANT ON NEED TO EXTEND LAW ON SDF REFUELLING MISSION”, 2008/08/13) reported that Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, brushing aside objections from his political rivals, has made clear he intends to pass legislation extending the Self-Defense Forces’ refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. Fukuda, during a meeting with Taro Aso, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, confirmed that the government will submit the bill to an extraordinary Diet session to be convened in the fall, sources said. “We must implement various measures to improve the economic situation,” Fukuda was quoted by aides as saying. “This is an extremely high priority.”
15. Japan on World War II
Asahi Shimbun (“JAPAN MARKS 63RD ANNIVERSARY OF ITS DEFEAT IN WWII”, Tokyo, 2008/08/15) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, marking the 63rd anniversary of the nation’s surrender in World War II, vowed Friday that Japan would not allow the lessons from that conflict to subside. “(Japan) inflicted much damage and pain to people in many countries, especially those in Asia,” he said. “I humbly express my condolences to all the victims of the war, and vow to convey the historical facts to future generations without allowing the lessons from the miserable war to fade away.”
16. Yasukuni Shrine Issue
Kyodo News (“FUKUDA OPTS TO SHUN YASUKUNI SHRINE, 3 MINISTERS VISIT”, Tokyo, 2008/08/15) reported that Japan Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda shunned Yasukuni Shrine on Friday. Three of his Cabinet ministers — Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Seiichi Ota, Justice Minister Okiharu Yasuoka and Seiko Noda, state minister in charge of consumer affairs — however, had paid separate visits to the shrine by the end of the day, but they refrained from stating that their visits were ”official.” Fukuda instead visited Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery, where the remains of unknown soldiers and civilians who died overseas during the war are interred, to lay flowers.
17. Comfort Women Issue
Associated Press (“FILIPINO WOMEN SEEK JAPAN’S APOLOGY FOR WWII RAPES”, Manila, 2008/08/15) reported that two dozen elderly Filipino women and their supporters protested outside the Japanese Embassy in Manila on Friday demanding a clear-cut apology and compensation from Tokyo for wartime sexual slavery. “The Japanese government should publicly apologize and put in history how the women were abducted and forced to serve in the comfort women system,” said Rechilda Extremadura, head of a group called Lila-Pilipina that has documented 174 cases of Filipino women who were forced into wartime brothels. About 100 women remain alive.
18. Taiwan UN Membership
Associated Press (“OFFICIAL: TAIWAN NOT BIDDING FOR UN SEAT”, Taipei, 2008/08/15) reported that Taiwan Deputy Foreign Minister Andrew Hsia said Friday that Taiwan is not bidding for United Nations membership this year for the first time since 1992, but is seeking representation in U.N. agencies instead. Hsia says this year’s U.N. proposal is “milder and more feasible” than the previous administration’s efforts, and urges the PRC to accept it.
19. PRC Earthquake
The Associated Press (“CHINA QUAKE REBUILDING TO COST $147 BILLION”, Beijing, 2008/08/13) reported that the PRC’s government estimates it will cost $147 billion to rebuild from the massive earthquake that struck the central part of the country in May, according to state media. The National Development and Reform Commission’s draft rebuilding plan published this week includes new homes for more than 3 million rural households, as well as the creation of jobs for about 1 million people, the China Daily newspaper reported Wednesday.
20. PRC Media
The Associated Press (Gillian Wong, “IOC: CHINA SHOULD NOT PREVENT MEDIA FROM REPORTING”, 2008/08/13) reported that the International Olympic Committee said it frowned on the actions of PRC security officials who allegedly manhandled a British journalist as he tried to report on a pro-Tibet protest in a Beijing park. IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said journalists should not be prevented from doing their jobs, a day after John Ray of London-based ITV News said he was wrestled to the ground and briefly held by police who apparently mistook him for a protester. “The IOC does disapprove of any attempts to hinder a journalist who is going about doing his job seemingly within the rules and regulations,” Davies told a daily press briefing.
BBC (Michael Bristow, “CHINA DEFENDS PRE-GAMES PROMISES”, Beijing, 2008/08/15) reported that top Beijing Olympic official Wang Wei said the Olympics would allow the PRC to open up further to the outside world. Wang said that when he was secretary-general of the Beijing Olympic bid committee, he was “confronted with many questions”. “I did say that the Olympic Games coming to China will help China open up further and reform better,” he said. “I think China has been stepping forward, and if you ask the ordinary Chinese on the streets they will give you the same answer,” he said. “Everybody is happy. People are optimistic about their own future. That is a fact.”
21. PRC Security
Reuters (Lindsay Beck, “CHINA WARNS OF “LIFE AND DEATH” BATTLE WITH TERROR “, Beijing, 2008/08/13) reported that the leader of the PRC’s restive far-western region of Xinjiang has warned of a “life and death struggle” against terrorism, following a series of attacks that raised fears of threats to the Olympic Games. Xinjiang Communist Party secretary Wang Lequan “pointed out that leaders at all levels must deeply understand that the struggle against the ‘three forces’ is one of life or death,” Thursday’s Xinjiang Daily said, referring to terrorism, separatism and religious extremism, forces the PRC says are threats to its security and unity.
Associated Press (William Foreman, “ANALYSTS: CHINA CRACKDOWN FUELING ATTACKS”, Kuqa, 2008/08/15) reported that a police crackdown in Xinjiang has failed to prevent a surge of attacks, and analysts say Beijing’s tactics may actually be encouraging more violence among the region’s usually moderate Muslims. “The majority of people living in Xinjiang support national unification and are opposed to terrorism, extremists and separatists,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing earlier this week. But Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism expert at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, believes the violence is a sign the latest “Strike Hard” campaign is driving more Uighurs toward militant Islam. Human rights groups say what began as a campaign against organized crime, drugs and pornography has become a cover to crack down on Uighurs.
22. PRC Minorities
The New York Times (“CHINA STEPS UP SCRUTINY OF A MINORITY IN BEIJING “, Beijing, 2008/08/13) reported that the Olympic opening ceremony contained traditional Uighur song and dance. But most of the several thousand Uighurs who work in Beijing have left. “The Uighurs all went home,” said Ma Yiqing, 55, a Chinese Muslim from the northwestern province of Gansu, standing in the mosque’s courtyard after evening prayers. “During the Olympics, they are getting squeezed tighter.” A young Uighur from central Xinjiang also works in the neighborhood. Now he has become a target of surveillance, it appears, because of his ethnic background. “There must be some misunderstanding,” he said.
II. PRC Report
23. PRC Food Supply
Beijing News (“MINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCE: WATER PRICE TO RAISE”, 2008/08/13) reported that since the international food price hikes this year, the future food security has caused a lot of concern. Official of the Ministry of Water Resource said yesterday that the PRC will ensure 95% food supply all by itself in 12 years. Resource product price adjustment will be speeded up this year, and the water price will be raised. The PRC is serious lack of water and 70% of the water is used for agriculture. But the water use efficiency is low. Raising water price will improve the use efficiency.
24. PRC Migrant Workers
South Daily (Ye Minghua, “SHENZHEN HOLDS NATIONAL POETRY COMPETITION OF MIGRANT FARM WOKERS”, 2008/08/13) reported that yesterday Shenzhen Municipal Labor and Social Security Bureau and Sichuan Writers Association jointly launched the first National Poetry Competition of Migrant Farm Workers in Shenzhen. The competition will collect productions to the public all around the country. Besides the inviting bonus, the Municipal Labor and Social Security Bureau also provide a unique encouraging policy that the first 30 awarders will get the residence registration of Shenzhen for free.
25. PRC Food Aid
World Vision (Hui Ji, “WORLD VISION HELP FLOOD VICTIMS IN GUANXI”, 2008/08/13) reported that from Aug.7-12, 2008, World Vision- an international organization for international rescue and development, had handed out 94,875 kg of relief rice in Fuchuan, Guanxi. From June 6-17, rainstorms had attacked this area and caused flooding. 1759 civilian houses were damaged and 446 were collapsed. 170,954 mu of arable land was flooded. The economic loss was serious. Learning this, the World Vision quickly organized its staffs going to the disaster area, dispensing relief rice in Fu chuan and other 3 counties. The victims can receive 15kg good rice per person, which can meet a one month need of the food.