NAPSNet Daily Report 15 January, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. Russia on DPRK Nuclear Weapons
- 2. ROK on DPRK Peace Treaty
- 3. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 4. ROK Export Control on the DPRK
- 5. US on DPRK Economy
- 6. DPRK on US-ROK Security Alliance
- 7. Human Rights in DPRK
- 8. DPRK Leadership
- 9. DPRK Culture
- 10. ROK Contingency Planning
- 11. ROK Peacekeeping Operations
- 12. ROK Arms Procurement
- 13. USFK Base Realignment
- 14. ROK Nuclear Reprocessing
- 15. US-Japan Relations
- 16. Japan SDF Refueling Mission
- 17. Japan Politics
- 18. Japan Climate Change
- 19. Cross Strait Relations
- 20. PRC Tibet Issue
- 21. Hong Kong Government
- 22. PRC Internet Control
- 23. PRC Unrest
- II. PRC Report
1. Russia on DPRK Nuclear Weapons
Arirang News (“RUSSIA WILLING TO BUILD RAILWAYS IF N.KOREA GIVES UP NUKES”, 2010/01/14) reported that Russia is willing to construct gas pipes, electrical power networks and railways that could bridge the two Koreas and Russia if DPRK gives up its nuclear weapons. This is according to Russian Ambassador to ROK Konstantin Vnukov, who told Yonhap News that the proposal could be included in the idea of the “grand bargain,” which was proposed by President Lee Myung-bak as a comprehensive rewards package for ROK if it abandons its nuclear program. The ROK government responded positively to Russia’s overture, saying the deal can be reviewed when the six-party talks resume.
2. ROK on DPRK Peace Treaty
Yonhap (Hwang Doo-hyong, “N. KOREA’S PEACE REGIME PROPOSAL SEEN AS EFFORT TO DISRUPT 6-WAY PROCESS: LAWMAKER”, Washington, 2010/01/14) reported that DPRK’s proposal for a peace treaty as a precondition for resumption of six-party talks should be seen as an attempt to undermine international cooperation for DPRK’s nuclear dismantlement, a senior ROK lawmaker said Thursday. “Even if DPRK returns to the six-party talks, it will try to get political and economic rewards rather than resolving the nuclear issue,” said Lee Yoon-sung, the vice speaker of the National Assembly of ROK. “In this context, DPRK aims to break up the unity between ROK and the U.S. and other partners to the six-party talks by insisting on a peace treaty with the U.S. and coming up with excuses to refuse the six-party talks.”
3. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “KOREAS TO MEET ON WAYS TO IMPROVE JOINT INDUSTRIAL PARK: OFFICIAL”, Seoul, 2010/01/14) reported that Officials from the divided Koreas will meet next week to discuss results from their recent joint survey of overseas industrial parks and ways to improve their own factory town in DPRK, a ROK official said Thursday. The Tuesday meeting in the DPRK border town of Kaesong will be the first official contact between the countries after alluding to their intention to enhance ties in their New Year’s messages.
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “N. KOREA PROPOSES TALKS WITH S. KOREA ON RESUMING JOINT TOURS”, Seoul, 2010/01/14) reported that DPRK on Thursday proposed talks with ROK on resuming joint tours to its scenic mountain and a historic border town that had been suspended after inter-Korean ties unraveled in 2008. ROK’s Ministry of Unification spokesman Chun Hae-sung confirmed the proposal was made by the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, which oversees inter-Korean businesses for DPRK. The proposal to hold the talks Jan. 26-27 at Mount Kumgang came after a Chinese operator of tours to DPRK reportedly relayed a message from Pyongyang this week, saying it hopes to attract more foreign tourists this year.
4. ROK Export Control on the DPRK
KBS News (“GOV’T ALLOWS PARTIAL SHIPMENT TO NORTH KOREA”, 2010/01/14) reported that the ROK government has lifted some of its restrictions on shipping products to the DPRK. A Unification Ministry official said it had lifted a shipping embargo on farming and medical equipment worth close to 900-million won. The items have been stored for nine months in a warehouse near the Incheon port. The official said the move was an exception to the ban in response to petitions saying that groups supporting the DPRK were spending tens of millions of won in storage fees. The official said however that the bans on other materials would remain in effect unless there is progress on the DPRK nuclear issue.
5. US on DPRK Economy
Associated Press (Hyung-Jin Kim, “US ENVOY URGES NKOREA TO FOLLOW CHINA, RUSSIA”, Seoul, 2010/01/14) reported that DPRK should follow in the footsteps of Russia and PRC and open up its economic and political systems to improve conditions for its people, President Barack Obama ‘s point man for human rights in the country said Thursday. Robert King , in a live conversation with ROK Internet users held on a U.S. Embassy-run Web site, said he wants DPRK to achieve significant political and economic changes like Russia and PRC have gone through over the past 20 years. “I hope DPRK follows their example and makes economic and political changes,” King said, according to a transcript posted on the Web site.
6. DPRK on US-ROK Security Alliance
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “N. KOREA CALLS FOR REMOVAL OF U.S. TROOPS FOLLOWING PEACE PROPOSAL”, Seoul, 2010/01/14) reported that DPRK renewed its call Thursday for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from ROK, days after it proposed talks on formally ending the Korean War that has served as the basis for the continued military presence. “Without the withdrawal of U.S. troops, no autonomy will be guaranteed for the people of ROK,” the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of DPRK’s ruling Workers’ Party, said in an editorial released through the official Korean Central News Agency.
7. Human Rights in DPRK
Yonhap (“U.S. RIGHTS ENVOY VOWS CONTINUED PRESSURE ON N. KOREA”, Seoul, 2010/01/14) reported that Robert King, special U.S. envoy for DPRK human rights, on Thursday said his country will continue to pressure the communist nation to improve conditions for its people, also noting the U.S. will not normalize ties with a country that systematically abuses the rights of its people. “Human rights conditions will not be improved overnight. But there is a need to continuously apply pressure for an improvement, and we must have patience in the process,” King said through Korean interpreters in a Web chat hosted by the U.S. Embassy here.
Reuters (Jack Kim, “NORTH KOREA TOUGHENS PUNISHMENT FOR DEFECTORS: U.N. ENVOY”, Seoul, 2010/01/15) reported that the DPRK has toughened laws and increased punishments in recent years for those caught trying to leave, U.N. human rights envoy Vitit Muntarbhorn said on Friday. “Over the past year plus, I’ve noted stricter punishment against people leaving the country of origin and we note generally a decline of outflows from the country of origin into neighboring countries,” said Muntarbhorn. “The example of people trying to leave and being punished for trying to leave or sent back and being punished more severely, this is a very worrying state of affairs and that’s gotten worse over the past couple of years,” Muntarbhorn stated.
Yonhap (“U.N. ENVOY HOPES N. KOREAN HUMAN RIGHTS BE WOVEN INTO NUCLEAR TALKS”, Seoul, 2010/01/15) reported that U.N. Special Rapporteur Vitit Muntarbhorn expressed hope Friday that the human rights issue be integrated into the six-party talks. “The current situation is extremely grave, extremely grave,” Muntarbhorn said. “My message is … that the six-party talks, if they will resume, will obviously lend themselves to constructively opening up a space also for human rights and humanitarian discourse and action, even though we know the six-party talks are not primarily about human rights,” he said. Muntarbhorn argued that “various human rights elements,” including the issue of Japanese abducted by DPRK agents in the past, have been introduced into the talks.
8. DPRK Leadership
Kyodo News (“KIM YONG IL MAY HAVE BECOME WPK DIRECTOR FOR INT’L AFFAIRS”, Beijing, 2010/01/15) reported that DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Yong Il may have taken the post of director of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s International Department, according to a report carried Thursday by DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency. KCNA said the department hosted a New Year’s reception for staff members of the PRC Embassy in Pyongyang on Thursday and that “Kim Yong Il, department director of the Central Committee, WPK,” was among the participants.
9. DPRK Culture
Yonhap News (“NEWSPAPER STRESSES USE OF ‘PYONGYANG CULTURAL LANGUAGE'”, Seoul, 2010/01/14) reported that North Koreans should refrain from using foreign words in their daily lives in order to preserve the purity of the Korean language and further promote nationality, Pyongyang’s official newspaper said. “One important aspect of the people’s everyday life is to speak our intrinsic ‘Pyongyang cultural language,’ whose rich expressions make it possible to evince complex ideas and feelings,” Rodong Sinmun was quoted as reporting. “If people use unnecessary foreign words instead of our mother tongue, it is impossible to ward off the imperialists’ ideological and cultural maneuvers to spread the capitalist lifestyle,” the newspaper said.
10. ROK Contingency Planning
The Chosun Ilbo (“SEOUL OVERHAULS N.KOREA CONTINGENCY PLAN”, 2010/01/14) reported that Seoul has recently made massive revisions to a DPRK contingency plan. A government source said on Wednesday previous contingency plans “did not envisage sending government officials to DPRK even if a sudden change occurs there for fear of provoking DPRK. But the latest plan envisions our administrative agencies playing active roles in stabilizing and developing the DPRK region.” In an emergency, “an administrative office… headed by the unification minister will be launched to bring DPRK under emergency rule,” the source said.
11. ROK Peacekeeping Operations
KBS News (“S. KOREA TO DEPLOY OVER 2,000 PKO TROOPS”, 2010/01/14) reported that Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said the ROK would push to increase the number of troops dispatched to U.N. peacekeeping operations from a cap of one-thousand to two-thousand by revising the relevant law. Yu said in a New Year meeting at the Korean Council on Foreign Relations on Thursday morning that the ROK would like to increase the number of forces deployed with the U.N. PKO to one-thousand within 2010 and gradually increase the number to a maximum of two-thousand.
12. ROK Arms Procurement
Yonhap (Shin Hae-in, “S. KOREA AIMS TO CUT OUT MIDDLEMEN IN ARMS DEALS”, Seoul, 2010/01/14) reported that corporate agents will be banned from taking more than five percent in commission from weapons sales beginning this year, ROK’s weapons procurement agency said Thursday, as part of the country’s goal to increase direct government purchases of defense equipment. The plan comes after President Lee Myung-bak called September last year on the country’s defense ministry to push to reduce transaction costs generated when arms dealers are involved.
13. USFK Base Realignment
JoongAng Daily (Yoo Jee-ho , “U.S. BASE IN BUSAN WILL BE RETURNED”, 2010/01/14) reported that the real estate covering the U.S. military base in Busan will be transferred to the city, after a deal was struck Wednesday to end more than four years of negotiations over cleanup responsibility, the government announced yesterday. Busan’s Hayaria base, spread over 528,000 square meters (5.7 million square feet), was closed in August 2006. ROK and the United States have since discussed ways to deal with polluted spots on the base before completing the transfer of possession to ROK.
14. ROK Nuclear Reprocessing
The Chosun Ilbo (“U.S. ‘UNLIKELY TO LET S.KOREA REPROCESS NUCLEAR FUEL'”, 2010/01/14) reported that the U.S. is unlikely to allow ROK to reprocess spent nuclear fuel that is piling up in secure storage facilities until a satisfactory solution to the DPRK nuclear problem is found, a report said this week. The matter is a key issue in negotiations between Seoul and Washington on the revision of the ROK-U.S. Atomic Energy Agreement, which expires in 2014.
15. US-Japan Relations
Reuters (Linda Sieg, “JAPAN SAYS U.S. TIES FIRM, NOT LEANING TO CHINA”, Tokyo, 2010/01/14) reported that J apan’s foreign minister on Thursday shrugged off suggestions Tokyo was cozying up to PRC at the expense of its alliance with the United States and vowed to settle a feud over a U.S. airbase by May. “From the United States, there is a view that Japan is cozying up to PRC and distancing itself from the United States. It’s as if three people were competing over which two are lovers,” said Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada. “PRC, especially its economy, is very important for both Japan and the United States, but it has a different political system, so fundamentally it is not an ally,” he said.
The Japan Times (“HATOYAMA LAUDS SECURITY TREATY”, 2010/01/14) reported that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama voiced appreciation Wednesday for the Japan-U.S. security treaty ahead of next week’s 50th anniversary of its revision, saying it is indispensable for Japan’s defense. In an address to some 170 senior Self-Defense Forces officers and Defense Ministry officials, the prime minister asked, “As a nonnuclear power, can Japan defend itself on its own in a world that has countries that remain nuclear states and nations that have ambitions to go nuclear? “We should be grateful for the presence of the Japan-U.S. security treaty to protect our country,” Hatoyama said.
16. Japan SDF Refueling Mission
Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPAN ENDS 8-YEAR NAVAL REFUELING MISSION”, Tokyo, 2010/01/15) reported that Japan on Friday wrapped up its eight-year naval refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa ordered the destroyer Ikazuchi and supply ship Mashu to pull out of the Indian Ocean on Friday. “We will continue to act positively and proactively to contribute to international efforts against terrorism,” Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said in a statement.
17. Japan Politics
Reuters (“JAPAN PM SAYS OZAWA TO STAY ON AS PARTY NO.2”, Tokyo, 2010/01/14) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said he would keep Ichiro Ozawa on as the ruling party’s No.2, a day after prosecutors searched the office of Ozawa’s funding group over possible irregularities. “We will do our best to make sure that there will be as little impact as possible on parliament,” Hatoyama told reporters. Analysts say support for the government and the party could fall if Ozawa, widely seen as the most influential figure in the Democratic Party, is forced to step down ahead of the election. But it remains to be seen how the investigation will play out.
18. Japan Climate Change
Kyodo News (“GOV’T EYES 100 BIL. YEN LOAN PROGRAM FOR LOW-EMISSION TECHNOLOGIES”, Tokyo, 2010/01/14) reported that the industry ministry said Thursday it is eyeing legislation that would establish a 100 billion yen loan program for companies to develop and manufacture environmentally friendly products such as electric vehicles and solar power generation systems. The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry plans to submit a related bill to the regular Diet session starting Monday as part of its efforts to fight climate change. It is also hoping to encourage smaller firms to lease low-emission equipment and is considering offering government compensation to leasing companies in the event that their customers go bankrupt.
19. Cross Strait Relations
Central News Agency (“CHINA CONTINUES ARMS BUILD-UP DESPITE WARMING TIES WITH TAIWAN:U.S.”, Taipei, 2010/01/14) reported that although Taiwan’s relations with PRC has improved, PRC has continued its military build-up against the island, which raises doubts about whether PRC really wants to adopt peaceful means to resolve cross-Taiwan Strait issues, U.S. officials said Wednesday. PRC’s military expansion and modernization against Taiwan includes the addition of a great number of missiles and strengthening of warfare capability in the air, on the ground and at sea. Therefore, the U.S. will closely watch PRC’s arms build-up in terms of both quality and quantity to fulfill the U.S.’ commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with arms necessary for its self-defense.
Xinhua (“MAINLAND, TAIWAN LIKELY TO EXCHANGE TOURISM OFFICES IN FEBRUARY”, Beijing, 2010/01/13) reported that the PRC and Taiwan are likely to open tourism representative offices on each side of the Taiwan Strait around the Lunar New Year, said a mainland spokesman Wednesday . The offices were expected to open around the Spring Festival that falls on February 14, said Yang Yi, spokesman with the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, at a press conference in Beijing.
20. PRC Tibet Issue
Agence France-Presse (“LEADERSHIP SHAKE-UP IN CHINA’S TIBET: STATE MEDIA”, Beijing, 2010/01/15) reported that Qiangba Puncog has stepped down as the chairman of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and has quickly been named head of Tibet’s People’s Congress, Xinhua news agency reported. Padma Choling, 58, an ethnic Tibetan and a 17-year veteran of the People’s Liberation Army , was also promoted by an ongoing congressional meeting to the chairman’s job, it said. He had been a vice chairman since 2003.
21. Hong Kong Government
Kyodo News (“H.K. CHIEF WARNS OF U.S. RECESSION, DECRIES DEMOCRACY ‘REFERENDUM'”, 2010/01/14) reported that responding to the planned collective resignation by five pro-democracy legislators later this month aiming to force a de facto referendum on democracy, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Donald Tsang said neither mainstream society nor the law supports it. ”There is no clause in the Basic Law that facilitates a referendum in Hong Kong, the so-called five-district referendum has no legal base or validity. The government will not recognize it,” he said. Tsang said political development must abide by the laws.
22. PRC Internet Control
Associated Press (Joe McDonald, “CHINA TELLS WEB COMPANIES TO OBEY CONTROLS”, Beijing, 2010/01/14) reported that in PRC ‘s first official response to Google ‘s threat to leave the country, the government Thursday said foreign Internet companies are welcome but must obey the law and gave no hint of a possible compromise over Web censorship. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, without mentioning Google by name, said Beijing prohibits e-mail hacking, another issue cited by the company. “PRC’s Internet is open,” Jiang said. “PRC welcomes international Internet enterprises to conduct business in PRC according to law.”
Associated Press (Joe McDonald and Michael Liedtke, “CHINA TRIES TO LIMIT GOOGLE DISPUTE FALLOUT”, Beijing, 2010/01/15) reported that U.S.-PRC trade and economic ties will not be affected by any Google decision to withdraw from the PRC, said Commerce Ministry spokesman Yao Jian at a regular briefing. “China will still strictly adopt a policy of openness and offer a good investment environment,” Yao said. “We emphasize that foreign companies including Google should all follow international standards and respect local law and regulations and local culture and customs to shoulder social responsibility.”
23. PRC Unrest
Agence France-Presse (“POLICE SHOOT FIVE IN CHINA LAND PROTEST: OFFICIAL”, Beijing, 2010/01/14) reported that police in south PRC shot and wounded at least five demonstrators in clashes over a land dispute that also left 11 law enforcement officers injured, state media and an official said. The violence, which occurred on Tuesday in the village of Longyatun in the Guangxi region, also left “numerous” other villagers with injuries after police used force to quell the demonstration, the China News Service reported. The clashes erupted after local authorities sought to arrest 12 villagers for obstructing public works, the news report said.
II. PRC Report
24. PRC Civil Society and the Haiti Quake
Sichuan online (“SICHUAN VOLUNTEERS LEAVE TO HAITI”, 2010/01/14) reported that on the 13th, Sichuan volunteer office for emergency got the order from national seismological bureau that they should stand by to leave to Haiti. After the order has been received, the headquarter immediately launched the emergency system, and casualties, social securities, and supplies are being evaluated. The team will leave from Beijing in 15th morning. The headquarter also advocated that all donation from Sichuan citizen will be gathered and sent to Haiti.
25. PRC Civil Society and Poverty Alleviation
Zhongshan Daily (“LOVE DONATION CARD ISSUED IN ZHONGSHAN”, 2010/01/14) reported that a Love Donation Card was formally issued in Zhongshan of Guangdong province yesterday. The card is designed by China Post, and the income of selling the card will be donated to the city’s women and children’s federation, to help poor single-parent families in the city.