NAPSNet Daily Report 15 July, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- 1. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 2. US-DPRK Relations
- 3. US on DPRK-Burmese Relations
- 4. US on DPRK Military
- 5. US on DPRK Policy
- 6. DPRK-Japan Relations
- 7. DPRK Leadership
- 8. DPRK Economy
- 9. ROK Cyberattacks
- 10. US on ROK Missile Program
- 11. ROK Space Program
- 12. ROK Peacekeeping Operations
- 13. ROK Politics
- 14. ROK Poverty
- 15. US-Japan Security Alliance
- 16. Japan Politics
- 17. Japan Nuclear Technology Exports
- 18. Sino-Japanese Relations
- 19. Sino-Japanese East Sea Gas Dispute
- 20. Cross Strait Relations
- 21. Sino-Indian Relations
- 22. Sino-Australian Relations
- 23. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 24. PRC Energy Supply
- 25. PRC Environment
- II. PRC Report
1. Sino-DPRK Relations
Korea Times (Sunny Lee, “CHINA DOESN’T HAVE CONTINGENCY PLAN ON NK”, Beijing, 2009/07/14) reported that the PRC doesn’t have a contingency plan to enter the DPRK in case there is sudden turmoil, because the PRC will continue to provide aid to the impoverished country and keep it from imploding, making the need for such a plan unwarranted from the beginning, a ROK scholar has claimed. “In the past, they were providing free economic aid. But these days, China is keener to have Chinese firms invest in North Korea,” the scholar stated. On the DPRK side, he said, it reportedly abolished residence restrictions for PRC businessmen, and the PRC has begun investing with its own firms in the DPRK. All this indicates that the PRC and DPRK are preparing for a “long-term” future.
2. US-DPRK Relations
Xinhua News (“DPRK AT NAM MEETING SLAMS U.S. NUCLEAR THREAT “, 2009/07/14) reported that the DPRK, at a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), harshly criticized the US nuclear threat on the Korean Peninsula, and defended its recent nuclear test, according to a statement released to the media Tuesday. “The United States has more than 1,000 pieces of nuclear weapons deployed for action in south Korea and escalates the tension on the Korean Peninsula by staging large-scale nuclear war exercises annually,” said the statement, which is presented by the DPRK delegation to the ongoing NAM ministerial meeting.
3. US on DPRK-Burmese Relations
Korea Herald (“‘U.S. EYEING N.K.-MYANMAR NUKE TIES'”, 2009/07/14) reported that the newly-appointed U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific reportedly said Washington was eyeing nuclear ties between the DPRK and Myanmar. RFA reported that Kurt Campbell picked the DPRK and Russia as supporters of Myanmar’s nuclear development, while noting that the Southeast Asian country was not running a nuclear reactor. As the DPRK was strengthening its ties with Burma, Campbell said he would continue to closely watch all external support for Burma’s nuclear development, including those by Russia and the DPRK.
4. US on DPRK Military
Agence-France Presse (“ANY NKOREAN ATTACK WOULD BE SUDDEN BUT FUTILE: US GENERAL”, Seoul, 2009/07/14) reported that a senior US military officer said Tuesday that any DPRK attack on ROK would be sudden and “extremely destructive”, but would ultimately fail. Major General Johnny A. Weida, outgoing deputy chief of staff for the US Forces Korea , also said such an attack is highly unlikely because it would spell the end of Kim Jong-Il ‘s regime. More than two-thirds of the DPRK’s forces are within 90 km (56 miles) of the border with the ROK, Weida said. “It is our assessment that, because of their failing economy and limited support from traditional allies like Russia and China, they could not sustain a major offensive like they did in the first Korean War ,” Weida said.
5. US on DPRK Policy
Los Angeles Times (Paul Richter , “DOUBTS IN WHITE HOUSE ON APPROACH TO N. KOREA”, Washington, 2009/07/14) reported that American diplomatic efforts on the DPRK are coming under fire within the Obama administration from officials who consider talks futile and instead want to focus on halting the regime’s trade in nuclear weapons and missile equipment. The administration’s official goal has been to coax the Pyongyang government back into the six-nation disarmament talks that began in 2003. Yet privately, many senior officials say they have all but lost hope that the DPRK will cooperate, and some are arguing that it is time for a new approach. If containment were used against the DPRK, the strategy would entail blocking shipments of banned equipment by land, air and sea. It also would mean trying to prevent Pyongyang from importing equipment that might be used for weapons programs, including so-called dual-use equipment, which is designed for nonmilitary purposes but can be adapted for weapons.
6. DPRK-Japan Relations
Kyodo News (“N. KOREA SHOWING STRONG INTEREST IN UPCOMING JAPANESE GENERAL ELECTION”, 2009/07/14) reported that the DPRK is showing great interest in the political wrangling in Japan in the run-up to a House of Representatives election slated for Aug. 30, the head of a Japan-DPRK friendship association said Tuesday after a visit to the DPRK. Speaking to reporters in Beijing on his way back to Japan, Mamoru Kitahara, head of the Fukuoka Prefecture-based body and a former member of the Fukuoka prefectural assembly, said the DPRK is keeping a close watch on a possible change of power in Japan after the general election.
7. DPRK Leadership
RIA Novosti (“KIM JONG-IL CANCER REPORTS MAY BE EXAGGERATED – RUSSIAN ANALYST”, 2009/07/14) reported that media reports that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il is seriously ill and will soon cede power to his son should be treated with caution, a Russian expert on the DPRK said. “I would not jump to any conclusions. We have heard similar reports many times in the past. I think they should be treated with caution,” Alexander Vorontsov, head of the Korea and Mongolia department at the Institute for Oriental Studies, said in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti. “Despite rare appearances, the North Korean leader is moving around the country more frequently this year than last year. He is in constant contact with people,” the analyst said.
Associated Press (Jae-Soon Chang, “NKOREA’S KIM JONG IL LOOKS OK IN NEW PHOTOGRAPHS”, Seoul, 2009/07/15) reported that the DPRK released new photographs of Kim Jong-il touring a factory. Wearing sunglasses and a short-sleeved shirt, Kim appeared generally OK in the images released Tuesday night — thin but no worse than in other recent photographs. ROK Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said Wednesday that it is not the first time the DPRK has released photos of Kim sitting during his field-guidance trips. “Only by looking at yesterday’s photos, it’s difficult to determine” Kim’s health, the spokesman said.
Agence France-Presse (Jon Herskovitz , “NORTH KOREA’S KIM KEN KOREA’S KIM TOURS FACTORY AMID HEALTH SPECULATION – REPORT”, Seoul, 2009/07/14) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong Il toured a newly built factory in the capital Pyongyang, state media said, amid a ROK news report that he has been diagnosed with life-threatening cancer. The 67-year-old gave “field guidance” to officials at the Taedonggang Tile Factory and toured its facilities, the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency said late Monday in its latest account of Kim’s activities.
8. DPRK Economy
The Washington Post (“NORTH KOREA TIGHTENING ITS RESTRICTIONS ON MARKETS, FOOD AID”, 2009/07/14) reported that as it noisily goads the outside world with missiles and a nuclear test, the DPRK is quietly tightening screws at home. State controls over the lives of North Koreans have become more onerous this year, and operations of international aid agencies have been shackled. The government of Kim Jong Il is moving aggressively to reel in private markets by limiting what they can sell, reducing their hours of operation and shutting some down, according to reports from several organizations with informants inside the DPRK. “Control of the market is now so tight that people are getting one-third to half the cash income they had before,” said Jiro Ishimaru, who edits Rimjingang, a journal of reports, photos and videos smuggled out of the DPRK by anonymous eyewitnesses. “Many people cannot afford food on sale in the markets.”
Yonhap (Kim Hyun, “N. KOREAN AUTOMAKER AIMS TO RETURN TO PEAK PRODUCTION BY 2012 “, Seoul, 2009/07/14) reported that the DPRK’s sole home-grown automaker seeks to expand its annual production capacity to 10,000 units by 2012, a level not reached since its peak in the 1970s, a pro-Pyongyang paper said Tuesday. The Sungri Motor Complex, which started production in 1958, has gone downhill as the country suffered economic downturns and severe famine in the decades following the 1970s. The Choson Sinbo, a Tokyo-based newspaper that relays Pyongyang’s position to the outside world, said the automaker is aspiring to return to its record production capacity by 2012, the target year for the country to become a “strong, prosperous and powerful nation.”
9. ROK Cyberattacks
International Data Group News Service (Martyn Williams, “UK, NOT NORTH KOREA, SOURCE OF DDOS ATTACKS, RESEARCHER SAYS “, 2009/07/14) reported that the U.K. was the likely source of a series of attacks last week that took down popular Web sites in the U.S. and ROK , according to an analysis performed by a Vietnamese computer security analyst . The results contradict assertions made by some in the U.S. and ROK governments that the DPRK was behind the attack. Security analysts had been skeptical of the claims, which were reportedly made in off-the-record briefings and for which proof was never delivered. The attack server has an IP address in the 195.90.118.x range, Nguyen said. The address is registered to Global Digital Broadcast in the U.K. The company could not immediately be contacted.
10. US on ROK Missile Program
Yonhap News (“U.S. NOT TO ALLOW ENHANCED MISSILE CAPABILITY FOR S. KOREA: GEN. SHARP”, Washington, 2009/07/14) reported that the United States has no immediate plans to allow the ROK longer-range missiles to counter the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, the commander of U.S. troops in the ROK said. The remarks by Gen. Walter Sharp come amid reports that the ROK will soon call on the U.S. to begin talks on improving the ROK’s missile capability, which is constrained to 300 kilometers in range and 500 kilograms in payload under a 2001 agreement.
11. ROK Space Program
Agence-France Presse (“S.KOREA TO LAUNCH ITS OWN SPACE ROCKET”, Seoul, 2009/07/14) reported that the ROK will this month launch a satellite using its own rocket as part of a drive to join Asia’s space race. An experimental satellite weighing 100 kilograms (220 pounds) will be launched into a low earth orbit on July 30 from the Naro Space Centre in Goheung, 475 kilometres (300 miles) south of Seoul . “It will mark the first time that South Korea will launch a satellite from its own territory, using its own launch vehicle,” Park Jeong-Joo, director of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute , told journalists. The 33-metre-high rocket is scheduled to lift off on July 30, weather permitting, and fly south near Japan’s Okinawa islands. Its nose fairing covering the satellite, and the first stage, should fall into waters off the Philippines 230 seconds after launch. And 540 seconds after launch, the satellite should enter an elliptical orbit 300-1,500 km above the earth.
12. ROK Peacekeeping Operations
Yonhap (“S. KOREAN PARLIAMENT EXTENDS TROOP DEPLOYMENT IN LEBANON”, Seoul, 2009/07/15) reported that the ROK National Assembly passed a motion on Wednesday to extend the deployment of ROK troops in Lebanon until the end of next year. Without the extention, the unit’s mission would have expired this weekend.
13. ROK Politics
Yonhap (“RULING PARTY PUSHES CONTROVERSIAL REFORMS DESPITE OPPOSITION “, Seoul, 2009/07/14) reported that President Lee Myung-bak’s ruling conservative party on Tuesday moved to unilaterally put to vote controversial bills on media and labor regulations despite escalating opposition from rival parties. The floor leader of the Grand National Party (GNP) officially asked parliamentary speaker Kim Hyong-o, a former ruling party member, to invoke his authority and call a vote on the disputed bills. The GNP controls 169 seats in the 299-member unicameral house, enough to pass the bills on their own. Ending a six-week-long boycott of the parliament, the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) returned to discussions with its rival this week over the controversial bills.
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “SPEAKER KIM TO PROPOSE REVISION OF CONSTITUTION”, 2009/07/14) reported that National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyong-o plans to propose the establishment of a bipartisan committee to discuss ways of diffusing presidential power, which political scientists say is overly concentrated under the current Constitution. “Kim will elaborate the roadmap for constitutional revision in an upcoming speech at an event to mark the Constitution Day, Friday. He hopes to complete the debate as early as possible so that revision of the Constitution can be completed before the local elections in the middle of next year,” said an aide. Kim added that the drive for constitutional change will lose momentum unless it is completed by the deadline because major elections, including the presidential race, are scheduled to take place afterward.
14. ROK Poverty
DongA Ilbo (“`POVERTY TO WORSEN MORE THAN WEALTH INEQUALITY IN KOREA`”, 2009/07/14) reported that the country’s leading state-run think tank yesterday said poverty will pose a bigger problem to the ROK than wealth distribution. The Korea Development Institute said in a study that the size of the low-income class is expanding much faster than the widening wealth gap. Researcher Yoo Gyeong-jun said the relative poverty rate of urban households rose much faster than the Gini coefficient, which indicates the level of income inequality. “Though the relative poverty rate and income inequality generally move hand in hand, Korea, Japan and Spain have shown a steeper rise in their relative poverty rates.”
15. US-Japan Security Alliance
Kyodo News (“HATOYAMA VOWS TO DISCUSS SECRET NUKE PACT WITH U.S. IF DPJ TAKES POWER”, 2009/07/14) reported that Yukio Hatoyama, chief of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, said Tuesday his party will discuss with the United States a secret Japan-U.S. pact allowing nuclear-armed U.S. ships to stop over in Japan if the DPJ wins the upcoming general election. Hatoyama told reporters at the DPJ headquarters, ”Tokyo and Washington will thoroughly discuss the issue if we take the reins of government. It is most desirable to openly abide by the ‘three nonnuclear principles’.”
16. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“2 LDP BIGWIGS SAY THEY WILL QUIT TO TAKE BLAME FOR LOCAL POLL LOSSES “, Tokyo, 2009/07/14) reported that in a sign of growing turmoil in Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party ahead of a general election, two LDP heavyweights said Tuesday they would resign to take the blame for consecutive losses in major local elections, although party leaders tried to persuade them to stay on. The two are Makoto Koga, chairman of the LDP’s Election Strategy Council, and Hidehisa Otsuji, head of the LDP’s upper house caucus. Prime Minister Taro Aso said he has no intention of accepting the resignation. Analysts say the disarray is expected to deal another blow to the LDP led by the embattled Aso and harm the already slim chances of the ruling LDP-New Komeito coalition’s winning the election over the emboldened main opposition Democratic Party of Japan.
Yomiuri Shimbun (“56% WANTED ELECTION BEFORE AUG. 30”, Tokyo, 2009/07/15) reported that fifty-six percent of Japanese think it would have been better to hold the House of Representatives election earlier than the August 30 date decided upon by Prime Minister Taro Aso, a Yomiuri Shimbun survey shows. 30 percent said the timing was appropriate, and 10 percent said it would have been better to hold the election at a later date. 46 percent said it was good that the Liberal Democratic Party would face the election with Aso as the leader, while 40 percent said it would have been better to replace him. 34 percent said they would vote for Democratic Party of Japan candidates in single-seat constituencies, while 21 percent said they would vote for LDP candidates. Thirty-six percent said they would vote for the DPJ in the proportional representation section, while 21 percent said they would vote for the LDP.
17. Japan Nuclear Technology Exports
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN’S MITSUBISHI EYES LITHUANIA NUCLEAR PROJECT – PM”, 2009/07/14) reported that Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp., one of the world’s leading manufacturers of nuclear reactors, is interested in working on Lithuania’s planned nuclear energy plant, the Baltic nation’s prime minister said Tuesday. “Their interest in our plan is important for us,” Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said, quoted by the Baltic News Service. “We think that we can use this to develop wider contacts as well,” he told reporters in Vilnius.
18. Sino-Japanese Relations
Xinhua News (“CHINESE DEFENSE MINISTER MEETS JAPANESE MSDF CHIEF”, 2009/07/14) reported that PRC Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and Chief of Staff of Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) of Japan Keiji Akahoshi met Tuesday and vowed to enhance bilateral defense cooperation. Liang said both nations had reinforced cooperation in jointly coping with the financial crisis and deepening the strategic and mutually beneficial relations between the two countries. Liang said the bilateral defense exchanges had made positive progress, marked by the first mutual visit of naval ships and the increasing personnel exchanges between the two defense departments.
19. Sino-Japanese East Sea Gas Dispute
BBC News (“JAPAN CONCERNED AS CHINESE VESSELS MOVE IN DISPUTED GAS FIELDS”, 2009/07/14) reported that Japan has conveyed its “serious concerns” to the PRC over moves by its vessels around one of a string of disputed gas fields in the East China Sea, wary that the PRC may be seeking to develop the field on its own, Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said. “We have called on China not to take actions that will undermine confidence,” Nakasone told a press conference, saying the PRC vessels may by carrying materials for future development of the PRC-operated Chunxiao gas field, known as Shirakaba in Japan.
20. Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN TO WELCOME MANY CHINA TOURISTS IN 2009: MA”, 2009/07/14) reported that up to 700,000 PRC tourists are expected to visit Taiwan in 2009 amid improving ties between the two sides, a report here has quoted President Ma Ying-jeou as saying. With mid-July marking the start of peak holiday season, Ma told the Commercial Times that Taiwan is set to welcome 700,000 mainlanders — or 2,000 a day — by year-end, citing a tourism bureau estimate. “I believe many people would be willing to invest (in tourism) if the number can stay to 2,000,” Ma said.
21. Sino-Indian Relations
Peope’s Daily (“CHINA VOWS TO ADVANCE BILATERAL TIES WITH INDIA”, 2009/07/14) reported that a senior PRC official said the PRC was ready to work with India to promote bilateral relations, according to a news release issued by the PRC Foreign Ministry Tuesday. The statement said PRC Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with Nirupama Rao, the outgoing Indian ambassador to the PRC, Monday. Yang hoped Rao could make more efforts to strengthen the friendship of the two countries. The PRC would like to work with India to intensify exchanges, strengthen mutual trust and expand pragmatic cooperation.
22. Sino-Australian Relations
Reuters (Michael Perry and Lucy Hornby, “RUDD PRESSES CHINA TO RELEASE DETAINED AUSTRALIAN”, Sydney/Beijing, 2009/07/14) reported that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Tuesday efforts to free an Australian detained in the PRC over claims of spying took precedent over bilateral ties and he was not worried about antagonizing Beijing . “Australia’s national interest always and under every circumstance comes first,” Rudd told local radio. “That means the wellbeing of any Australian citizen. They come first.”
23. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Bloomberg (“AL-QAEDA GROUP VOWS TO AVENGE UIGHUR DEATHS IN CHINA “, 2009/07/14) reported that Al-Qaeda’s North African wing vowed to avenge the deaths of Muslim Uighurs in the PRC’s Xinjiang province by targeting PRC workers in Algeria, a risk analysis company said in a report. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said it will target the 50,000 PRC workers in Algeria and PRC nationals and projects across northwestern Africa.
24. PRC Energy Supply
The New York Times (“CHINA BUILDS HIGH WALL TO GUARD ENERGY INDUSTRY”, 2009/07/14) reported that when the United States’ top energy and commerce officials arrive in the PRC on Tuesday, they will land in the middle of a building storm over the PRC’s protectionist tactics to become the world’s leader in renewable energy. Calling renewable energy a strategic industry, the PRC is trying hard to make sure that its companies dominate globally. The PRC is shielding its clean energy sector while it grows to a point where it can take on the world. But Mr. Chu and Mr. Locke arrive as Western companies, especially Europeans, are complaining increasingly about Beijing’s green protectionism.
25. PRC Environment
Bloomberg (Mathew Carr, “CHINA WILL BE ‘HERO’ IF ITS EMISSIONS PEAK IN 2020, STERN SAYS “, 2009/07/14) reported that the PRC will be regarded as a “hero” should its greenhouse gas output per person peak in 11 years, former World Bank Chief Economist Nicholas Stern said. The PRC’s emissions per person could be kept to about 9 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per person in 2020, compared with about 6 tons a year now, Stern said today at a London seminar. “They will be seen as historical heroes” for protecting the climate if they achieve those benchmarks, Stern said. Annual emissions per person amount to about 20 tons in the U.S. and 10 tons in Europe, he said.
II. PRC Report
26. PRC Natural Disasters
Xinhua Net (“384 DIED IN NATURAL DISASTERS IN FIRST HALF YEAR”, 2009/07/14) reported that Natural disasters–mainly droughts, storms, hail, floods, earthquakes and landslides–caused 384 deaths and left 24 missing in the first half of this year, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Monday. The disasters affected 220 million people and about 1.21 million people were relocated by the government during the period, it said.
27. PRC Environment
South Daily (“GUANGZHOU TO ENSURE BETTER AIR QUALITY FOR ASIAN GAMES”, 2009/07/14) reported that the local environmental protection authority has vowed to ensure better air quality during the 16th Asian Games next year by spending up to 600 million yuan to tackle the problem of air pollution. The plan also calls for another 1.8 billion yuan to be raised from the private sector, said Yang Liu, deputy director of Guangzhou environmental protection bureau.