NAPSNet Daily Report 15 June, 2009

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 15 June, 2009", NAPSNet Daily Report, June 15, 2009,

NAPSNet Daily Report 15 June, 2009

Contents in this Issue:

Preceding NAPSNet Report


I. Napsnet

1. DPRK Nuclear Test

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, “SPIES BEEF UP SURVEILLANCE OF 11 SITES FOR NUKE TEST”, Seoul, 2009/06/15) reported that ROK and U.S. intelligence officials have ratcheted up their monitoring of 11 underground facilities in the DPRK, sources said. According to the source, the ROK and the United States are using KH-12 spy satellites to monitor vehicle movements. They’re also relying on human intelligence to gather information. The two countries suspect a third test could take place at a different site than Punggye-ri in North Hamgyong Province, where the first two tests were conducted.

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2. DPRK On Nuclear Weapons

New York Times (Martin Fackler, “NORTH KOREA VOWS TO PRODUCE NUCLEAR WEAPONS”, Seoul, 2009/06/13) reported that in a statement on the Korean Central News Agency on Saturday, an unidentified spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying that his nation would continue its nuclear program to defend itself against what he called a hostile United States policy. He was quoted as saying that his nation would “weaponize” its existing plutonium stockpiles and begin a program to enrich uranium. “We’ll take firm military action if the United States and its allies try to isolate us,” the spokesman said.

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3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program

Agence France-Presse (“PYONGYANG’S PROVOCATIONS ‘DEEPLY REGRETTABLE’: CLINTON”, Niagara Falls, 2009/06/14) reported that the DPRK’s continued provocations are “deeply regrettable,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday. “We intend to do all we can to prevent continued proliferation by the North Koreans,” Clinton said. The DPRK “have now been denounced by everyone. They have become further isolated. And it is not in the interests of the people of North Korea for that kind of isolation to continue.”

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4. UN Sanctions on DPRK

New York Times (Neil MacFarquhar, “U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL PUSHES NORTH KOREA BY PASSING SANCTIONS”, United Nations, 2009/06/12) reported that the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Friday on an enhanced package of sanctions against the DPRK that, among other things, calls upon United Nations members to inspect cargo vessels and airplanes suspected of carrying military matériel in or out of the country. Aside from a mandatory ban on arms exports, however, the steps are recommendations rather than requirements, so the potential impact depends on the determination of member states. Both China and Russia pushed to dilute some of the mandatory sanctions.

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5. US on DPRK Sanctions

Voice of America (“BIDEN: U.S. COMMITTED TO N.KOREA SANCTIONS”, Washington, 2009/06/15) reported that Vice President Joe Biden says the United States is committed to enforcing enhanced U.N. sanctions against the DPRK. “We are going to enforce the UN resolution,” said Biden. “North Korea is a very destabilizing element in East Asia. Everyone now realizes that. The Chinese realize it. The Russians realize it. They have gone further than they have ever gone in joining us on real sanctions against North Korea. And it is important we make sure those sanctions stick [are enforced].”

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6. Japan on DPRK Sanctions

Asahi Shimbun (“NEW LAW EYED TO HEED SANCTIONS AGAINST N. KOREA”, Tokyo, 2009/06/13) reported that Japan’s ruling coalition will move quickly to ensure new legislation is passed by the Diet to allow it to comply with a U.N. Security Council resolution for cargo inspections of vessels bound for North Korea, sources said. Prime Minister Taro Aso wants the special measures bill submitted to the Diet this month, the sources said. It would allow the Japan Coast Guard, the Maritime Self-Defense Force or both to inspect cargoes in open waters if a vessel due to make a port call in North Korea is suspected of carrying embargoed goods. Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Friday, “In principle, the Self-Defense Forces get involved only when the coast guard cannot deal with a situation.” If Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) opposes the bill, “(In that case) we will loudly maintain that Minshuto is an ally of North Korea,” one Liberal Demoractic Party faction leader said.

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7. Sino-DPRK Relations

Arirang News (“REPORTS: CHINA SENDING LESS OIL TO N. KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/06/15) reported that the Tokyo Shimbun quoted a source familiar with PRC-DPRK relations as saying that the PRC has been sending less oil to the DPRK since it conducted a nuclear test last month. Another Japanese newspaper, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, has also reported that the PRC is trying to come up with stricter measures to monitor goods crossing the border.

Chosun Ilbo (“CHINESE STRESSES DIALOGUE WITH N. KOREA”, 2009/06/15) reported that the PRC is stressing the need for dialogue with the DPRK despite its support for a UN Security Council resolution. “China is more concerned about the possibility that excessive pressure on North Korea will lead to internal chaos and collapse in North Korea, threatening the stability of China’s northeast,” a diplomat in Beijing said. Zhang Yunling, director of the Academic Division of International Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, “China believes that issues must be solved through dialogue and talks, although it opposes North Korea’s nuclear development. I believe North Korea will return to the six-party talks.”

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8. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program

Korea Herald (“PRESIDENT CALLS FOR 5-WAY TALKS”, Seoul, 2009/06/15) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak said he wants a new approach towards the six-party talks. “The North Koreans have gained, or bought, a lot of time through the six-party-talks framework to pursue their own agenda,” Lee said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Saturday. “I think it’s right now very important for the remaining five countries – which excludes North Korea – to come to an agreement on the way forward.” Lee said he fully supports US President Barack Obama’s call to have a world without nuclear weapons. “But in the meantime we are faced with North Korea trying to become a nuclear power and this really is a question we must deal with now,” he was quoted as saying.

Korea Herald (“FOREIGN MINISTER HINTS AT FIVE-PARTY TALKS”, Seoul, 2009/06/13) reported that five-party talks are one possibility that remains on the table for dealing with the latest DPRK crisis, ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said Friday. “There has been no specific discussions yet, but there is a consensus among the rest of the parties that they may need to meet even if North Korea does not join. So it is still a developing idea,” Yu said.

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9. DPRK on US Nuclear Umbrella

Yonhap (Kim Hyun, “N. KOREA SAYS U.S. NUKE UMBRELLA FOR SOUTH ‘CRIMINAL ACT’ TO START WAR”, Seoul, 2009/06/15) reported that the DPRK denounced the ROK on Monday for “begging” the U.S. for nuclear protection. The Rodong Sinmun said asking for the nuclear umbrella is “an unforgivable criminal act to make South Korea a nuclear powder keg that can explode at any moment and drive the peninsula into a U.S. nuclear battlefield by drawing more U.S. nuclear weapons into South Korea.”  “The group of traitors, setting the fate of the Korean people at naught, asked for it and revealed every shred of its atrocious scheme to wage a second Korean war with nuclear weapons on the back of its U.S. boss,” the paper said.

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10. Inter-Korean Relations

Arirang News (“OPPOSITION PARTIES DEMAND GOV’T UPHOLD JUNE 15 DECLARATION”, Seoul, 2009/06/15) reported that a ceremony marking the ninth anniversary of the June 15th Joint Declaration between the two Koreas was held in Seoul Sunday. Over a thousand people, including members of opposition parties and progressive civic groups, demanded the current ROK administration uphold the declaration. Chairman of the largest opposition Democratic Party, Chung Sye-kyun, called on the Lee Myung-bak administration to get rid of its quid-pro-quo approach to the DPRK and respect the declaration. The ROK unification ministry released a statement saying it is Pyongyang that is not fulfilling its end of the declaration by cutting off communication with the ROK and continuing provocations.

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11. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation

Dong-A Ilbo (“`SK COMPANIES IN KAESONG WITHHOLD PAY TO NK STAFF”, Seoul, 2009/06/15) reported that certain ROK companies that entered the Kaesong industrial complex in 2007 or after have withheld wages to their DPRK staff this month in protest of the DPRK’s demand for raises. The head of one of the companies that entered the complex in 2007 said about 10 companies undergoing management difficulty there have not paid their DPRK staff this month. “More businesses are following suit because of management difficulties coupled with the North’s excessive demands,” he said. “Until last month, latecomers to Kaesong did not hesitate to take out loans to send money to the North,” he said. “We’ve now come to a point where we cannot take on debt to pay wages considering the situation in Kaesong.”

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12. Alleged DPRK Crimes

Yonhap (“U.S. MAY SANCTION N. KOREA FOR ALLEGED CRIMINAL ACTS: MINISTER”, Seoul, 2009/06/12) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said Friday the United States is expected to slap new sanctions on the DPRK for allegedly counterfeiting U.S. currency and other illicit activities. “The U.S. and Japan are expected to impose bilateral sanctions (on North Korea) aimed at specific illegal activities,” Yu told reporters.

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13. DPRK Leadership

Yonhap (“N. KOREAN LEADER WATCHES OPERA AMID TENSIONS”, Seoul, 2009/06/15) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il watched an opera with his sister and senior Workers’ Party officials, state media said Monday. Kim’s outing comes a day after his reported visit to a frontline unit of the 7th Infantry Division.

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14. ROK Security

Arirang News (“LEE CHECKS DEFENSE READINESS AHEAD OF KOREA-U.S. SUMMIT”, Seoul, 2009/06/15) reported that before embarking on a trip to the US, ROK President Lee Myung-bak checked the nation’s defense readiness on Sunday. Citing possible provocation by the DPRK during his absence, President Lee instructed officials to firmly deal with such threats and called for measures to assure public safety.

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15. ROK Nuclear Energy

Korea Times (Do Je-hae, “RULING PARTY SEEKS TO EAST NUCLEAR RECYCLING BAN”, Seoul, 2009/06/12) reported that the governing Grand National Party (GNP) will advise the government to seek an easing of a ban on recycling spent nuclear fuel, which was stipulated in a revision to the Korea-U.S. Atomic Energy Agreement in 1991. “We came to a conclusion that the forthcoming Korea-U.S. summit should deal with this issue,” Rep. Choi Gu-shik said Friday. “The planned 2014 revision of the agreement should relieve the ban, reflecting Korea’s right to peaceful nuclear energy capacity,” Rep. Choi said. “Experts have maintained that there are enough economic and environmental justifications for seeking the right to reprocess nuclear waste,” Choi added. Rep. Song Min-soon of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) stated, “We must convince the global community that Korea harbors no nuclear ambitions.”

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16. ROK Influenza Response

Arirang News (“2 NEW CASES OF SWINE FLU CONFIRMED”, Seoul, 2009/06/15) reported that two more swine flu cases were confirmed Sunday, raising the total number of infections in the ROK to 61. The two new patients, a seven-year-old who flew in from the United States last week and a 19-year-old lacrosse player from Australia, have been quarantined and are currently undergoing treatment.

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17. ROK Government Transparency

Hankyoreh (“FREEDOM OF INFORMATION BLOCKED DURING PRESIDENT LEE’S ADMINISTRATION”, Seoul, 2009/06/15) reported that according to information released by the ROK Center for Freedom of Information and Transparent Society (CFOI), the rate of information disclosed by prosecutors has dropped to 26 percent in 2008 from 44 percent in 2007 while the rate of information disclosed by police has also dropped to 64 percent in 2008 from 77 percent in 2007. A reporter experienced in submitting requests for information said, “Nowadays, an official who handles requests for information disclosure says that he gets reprimanded for not stopping the media from making full use of information and asks me to cancel my requests.”

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18. ROK Climate Change

Korea Herald (Song Sang-ho, “KOREA MOVING TOWARD A SUBTROPICAL CLIMATE”, Seoul, 2009/06/15) reported that the Korea Meteorological Administration Sunday said the average temperature in the ROK from 1999-2008 was 14.1 degrees Celsius, up 0.6 degrees from the 30-year average of the period from 1971 to 2000. The 10-year average precipitation amounted to 1,435.9 millimeters, up about 9.1 percent from the 30-year average. The 10-year average winter precipitation amount was 106.6 millimeters, down 11.5 percent from the 30-year average while summer precipitation was 861.3 millimeters, up 12.9 percent from the 30-year average.

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19. ROK on US-PRC-Japan Talks

Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “S. KOREA NOT OPPOSED TO TRILATERAL TALKS THAT EXCLUDE SEOUL: MINISTRY “, Seoul, 2009/06/15) reported that the ROK government dismissed worries Monday that the country may be left out of discussions on regional issues if the United States, Japan, and the PRC press ahead with an envisioned trilateral policy coordination meeting.  “Even if the U.S.-China-Japan consultation meeting is held, it will touch on global issues such as energy and climate change, not those of the Korean Peninsula,” ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young said. “I don’t think there will be any problems.”

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20. ROK, Japan, PRC Environmental Cooperation

Arirang News (“KOREA, CHINA, JAPAN AGREE TO COOPERATE ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES”, Beijing, 2009/06/15) reported that the ROK, the PRC, and Japan have agreed to work together in tackling environmental issues over the next five years with a focus on climate change. During the 11th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting in Beijing Sunday the three countries signed an agreement covering ten environmental issues, including green growth, prevention of yellow dust and pollution control.

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21. Japanese Politics

BBC (“JAPAN OPPOSITION WINS THIRD POLL”, Chiba, 2009/06/15) reported that Japan’s opposition Democratic Party (DPJ) won the mayoral election in the city of Chiba with a landslide, the third big municipality win for the DPJ in the past two months after both Nagoya and Saitama. The DPJ backed the young, 31-year old Toshihito Kumagai, against the incumbent LDP candidate, 63-year old Kojiro Hayashi.

Kyodo (“ASO CABINET SUPPORT RATE DOWN TO 17.5%; 38.5% SUPPORT DPJ”, Tokyo, 2009/06/15) reported that the support rate for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso was 17.5 percent, down 8.7 percentage points from the previous poll last month, according to a weekend Kyodo News survey released Monday. 38.5 percent of the respondents expressed support for the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, compared with 19.8 percent for the Liberal Democratic Party. The support rate for the LDP was the lowest for a ruling party on record in Kyodo polls. Asked what party they would vote for in the next House of Representatives election’s proportional representation blocs, 47.8 percent named the DPJ and 18.7 percent said the LDP. The disapproval rate for the Cabinet was 70.6 percent.

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22. Japanese Nuclear Energy

Yomiuri Shimbun (“POWER FIRMS DELAY START OF MOX FUEL UP TO 5 YEARS”, Tokyo, 2009/06/13) reported that the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan announced Friday that they will postpone a planned program to utilize recycled nuclear fuel to generate electricity at existing nuclear power plants by up to five years. The initial plan was to start using MOX fuel at 16 to 18 nuclear power plants. However, the companies have so far obtained approval for its use at just seven nuclear power plants.

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23. Uighur Detainee Issue

Associated Press (Tomoko A. Hosaka, “DETAINEE MOVE TO PALAU IS TENTATIVE”, Koror, 2009/06/13) reported that Palau President Johnson Toribiong said the likelihood that 13 Uighurs, will arrive is about “50-50”. “It’s still tentative, it’s not definite yet,” Toribiong said. “Maybe some other country may say if a little island like Palau is willing to accept them, why not us?” The Palau team, which includes a doctor and education specialist, will interview the detainees, assess their medical and psychological conditions and tell Toribiong how his government should prepare for their possible arrival. “Then we wait for the U.S. to tell us whether they agree to bring them here or change their minds,” Toribiong said.

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24. Sino-US Military Relations

Associated Press (“CHINESE SUB, US SONAR COLLISION ACCIDENTAL: REPORT”, Beijing, 2009/06/15) reported that the  China Daily said Monday that a PRC submarine’s reported collision with an underwater sonar apparatus towed by a U.S. destroyer last week in the South China Sea was likely an accident. Yin Zhuo, a senior researcher with the People’s Liberation Army’s Navy Equipment Research Center, said the American destroyer appeared to have failed to detect the submarine, while the Chinese vessel set its distance from the USS John S. McCain assuming it was not carrying sonar arrays, according to the paper. U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Matt Galan said Sunday the multifunction towed array sonar attached to the McCain was damaged Wednesday, but did not say how the damage occurred.

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25. Cross-Strait Relations

Financial Times (Jamil Anderlini and Kathrin Hille, “CHINESE TV HOST ACCUSED OF SPYING”, Beijing, 2009/06/12) reported that the China Daily said Fang Jing, the host of a military affairs show on PRC state television, was suspected of spying for Taiwan. One person familiar with the case confirmed Fang was being investigated, but Fang said the reports were completely false and she had not lost her job or been arrested.

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26. Cross-Strait Economic Relations

Associated Press (Annie Huang, “TAIWAN INVITED TO LIGHT UP CHINESE CITIES”, Taipei, 2009/06/12) reported that at a two-day conference that ended Wednesday, PRC delegates asked leading Taiwanese light-emitting diode makers to participate in a mainland project to light up 10 cities with LED street lights. Wu Qing, an official of Heilongjiang Province, said Taiwanese makers can supply the lights in Harbin. Cooler than standard bulbs, the LED lights could also be installed to light up sculptures in Harbin’s annual ice festival, she said.

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27. PRC Internet Censorship

New York Times (Andrew Jacobs, “EXPERTS SAY CHINESE FILTER WOULD MAKE PCS VULNERABLE”, Beijing, 2009/06/12) reported that the filtering software that the government has mandated for all new computers in the PRC is so technically flawed that outsiders can easily infiltrate a user’s machine to monitor Internet activity, steal personal data or plant destructive viruses, experts who have studied the program say. “Their goal is to limit the access of information, not just pornography,” said Li Fangping, a rights lawyer in Beijing who is challenging the government directive. “I feel like as a citizen, my right to know has been violated.”

Agence France-Presse (“GLITCHES SEEN IN CHINA’S FILTERING SOFTWARE”, Beijing, 2009/06/15) reported that the designers of the new PRC Internet filtering software said they were trying to fix security glitches in the program. “Yes we are trying to fix it. But this is normal. Any software has bugs,” said Bryan Zhang, head of Jinhui Computer System Engineering. “Other parties can say what they want. But I don’t care what they say,” Zhang said, declining further comment.

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28. PRC Environment

BBC (“ENVIRONMENT FEARS HALT CHINA DAMS”, 2009/06/12) reported that the PRC environment ministry has suspended construction of two dams on a tributary of the Yangtze River. The projects on the Jinsha River had been started without environmental assessments or approval from the ministry, officials said. “To protect the management of the environment… and to punish the violation of the environment and illegal acts regarding the environment, the environmental ministry decided to suspend the construction projects in the middle reaches of the Jinsha River,” a statement from the Ministry of Environmental Protection said.

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II. PRC Report

29. PRC Economy

Jiefang Net (“BEST AWARD OF VENTURE PHILANTHROPY REACHES 200,000 RMB”, 2009/06/12) reported that Shanghai Public Venture Philanthropy Competition has formally launched, according to the municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs. The grant fields of the competition include service for elder, youth, disabled, employment, and etc. The winning institutions may get grants form 50,000 to 200,000 yuan, and may get help form NPP public incubator.

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30. PRC Environment

Qianlong Net (“TEENAGER’S ENERGY-SAVING INNOVATION COMPETITION ENDS”, 2009/06/12) reported that Teenager’s Energy-Saving Innovation Competition collects innovative manual works, science and technology invention, DV works, animation and paints from teenagers in Beijing, aiming at cultivating environmental protection awareness, promoting green life style of teenagers. The awarding ceremony will be held on the evening of June 15 th .

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31. PRC Civil Society and the Environment

People’s Daily (“WETLAND PROTECTION NETWORK FORMS IN CHINA”, 2009/06/12) reported that as at the end of 2008, there are over 550 wetland nature reserves, 80 wetland parks, and 36 international important wetlands in China. A network for protecting wetland in the whole country has been established basically. An area of 1790 square kilometers, about 49% of the natural wetland has been protected effectively.

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III. ROK Report

32. US Nuclear Umbrella for ROK

PRESSian (MOON JUNG-IN, “OBAMA SHOULD FILTER AMATEURS’ REMARKS WHEN ESTABLISHING NUCLEAR POLICY”, 2009/06/15) said in a column that the ROK government is trying to codify the “nuclear umbrella” during the summit talks with the US. However, such action might worsen the security status on the peninsula, Moon, Jung-in, a professor of Yonsei Univ. Politics and Diplomacy, warned.

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33. Inter-Korea Relations

Future strategy institute (KOO HAE-KOO, RESEARCHER OF PEACEFUL UNIFICATION STRATEGY INSTITUTE, “ROK NEEDS UNIFICATION STRATEGY BEYOND THE PEACE POLICY”, 2009/06/15) reported that the DPRK’s second round of nuclear experiment showed that the ROK needs a fundamental reconsideration of policies regarding peace and unification of the Korean Peninsula. The US future DPRK nuclear policy is likely to be focusing on ‘non-proliferation’. This implies the implicit acknowledgement of the DPRK’s nuclear possession and the ROK will be exposed to the threat of nuclear weapons. That is why a fundamental review upon the peace and unification issue on Korean Peninsula is desperately needed.

Kyunghyang Shinmun (“WILL 6.15 DECLARATION BE DISCARDED?”, 2009/06/15) wrote that what is most worrisome is the almost fatalistic situation of North-South relations. At an interview with the Wall Street Journal just a few days before US-ROK summit meeting, President Lee said “one of the most important reasons for DPRK continuing its nuclear ambitions is to consolidate the power to stay within the Kim Jong Il family,” and also said that “there isn’t much that the government can do (if more companies decide to leave Kaesong Industrial Complex).” Ignoring the extraordinary circumstances DPRK is under, and shutting down the last hope of communication, President Lee’s words raise doubts on his plans to solves issues in the Korean Peninsula.

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34. DPRK Nuclear Program

Chosun Ilbo (“DPRK’S VOW TO BEGIN ENRICHING URANIUM”, 2009/06/15) wrote that among the many points in the DPRK’s latest announcement, the most interesting is its vow to begin enriching uranium. Despite the gravity of the situation, some officials in the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations claimed that suspicions of DPRK’s uranium enrichment program were false claims being made by the US government. They also claimed that DPRK would give up its nuclear ambitions if offered proper rewards, since the DPRK had no desire to possess nuclear weapons. Such misreadings of the DPRK are among the main reasons that the nuclear problem came to this pass.  

Hankyoreh (“FOR A SUMMIT TO IMPROVE INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS”, 2009/06/15) reported that it is essential that a framework be established for firm discussions to peacefully resolve the nuclear issue at the summit meeting with the US president Barack Obama. In order to do so, what President Lee needs most of all is a sense of ownership of the issue, and a will to lead the way in peacefully resolving issues related to the Korean Peninsula. The summit must focus on the real issues that face the ROK. Placing importance on an abstract “declaration of a future vision for the ROK-US alliance,” while neglecting to provide solutions for pending issues such as DPRK’s nuclear program is undesirable for the sake of the future of the alliance. A possible postponement of the transfer of wartime operational command and the redeployment of troops to Afghanistan represent an inappropriate ideological offensive and are inappropriate as main agenda items for the summit.