NAPSNet Daily Report 15 March, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. Six-Party Talks
- 2. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. US, ROK on DPRK Sanctions
- 4. Inter-Korean Relations
- 5. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation
- 6. DPRK Economy
- 7. US on DPRK Human Rights
- 8. DPRK Leadership
- 9. DPRK Internal Situation
- 10. DPRK Defectors
- 11. DPRK Food Security
- 12. DPRK Labor Exports
- 13. US Forces in ROK
- 14. ROK Nuclear Energy
- 15. ROK-Australia Energy Cooperation
- 16. ROK Politics
- 17. ROK-Japan Historical Disputes
- 18. Atomic Bomb Survivors
- 19. Japanese Arms Exports
- 20. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 21. PRC Tibet Issue
- 22. PRC on Climate Change
- 23. PRC Energy Security
- 24. PRC Internet Censorship
1. Six-Party Talks
Korea Times (“NK TO RETURN TO NUCLEAR TALKS IN EARLY APRIL”, Seoul, 2010/03/13) reported that the DPRK plans to return to the stalled nuclear disarmament talks early April, JoongAng Ilbo said Saturday, citing a DPRK official. The DPRK will also “present its own roadmap for denuclearization at the six-nation forum,” the official was quoted as saying. “We will watch how the U.S. will respond to our progressive posture. Now the ball is moving into Washington’s court,” the official said.
2. DPRK Nuclear Program
Chosun Ilbo (“KISSINGER WARNS OF ‘CALAMITY’ IF N.KOREA KEEPS ITS NUKES”, Seoul, 2010/03/12) reported that former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on Thursday warned of “global calamity” if nuclear weapons proliferate due to the DPRK’s nuclear program. Speaking at a lecture at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, Kissinger said, “We have very little fear from North Korea’s nuclear capability. The kind of weapons that North Korea can produce we can surely handle with whatever defensive system we have. But the real danger is, if North Korea, a state which has no significant resources, by starving its population can create nuclear capability, the temptation for other countries to follow that road would be overwhelming.”
3. US, ROK on DPRK Sanctions
Joongang Ilbo (Yoo Jee-ho, “QUIET VISIT FOR U.S. OFFICIAL ON NORTH”, Seoul, 2010/03/13) reported that Daniel Glaser, the deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, and Stephen Mull, senior adviser to the undersecretary for political affairs at the State Department, left the ROK Friday after meeting officials at the Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry. “The two sides talked about matters related to their common interests,” a source said. “South Korea and the United States have cooperated quite well on North Korean sanctions,” the source added. “This was an opportunity for officials from the two countries to evaluate how far they’ve come and talk about where they should go from here.”
4. Inter-Korean Relations
Joongang Ilbo (Yoo Jee-ho, “A GROUP OF BUDDHISTS REJECTED BY PYONGYANG”, Seoul, 2010/03/13) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry on Thursday approved a visit by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism to the DPRK to discuss expanding Buddhist exchanges between the two Koreas. But the Jogye Order said the DPRK asked that the trip be delayed. It was first scheduled to take place Friday. The Jogye Order’s DPRK counterpart, the Korean Buddhists Federation, didn’t provide specific reasons for its postponement. The ROK Buddhists are trying to set a new schedule for the visit.
5. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation
Korea Times (Lee Tae-hoon, “NK ISSUES ULTIMATUM ON TOUR PROGRAM”, Seoul, 2010/03/14) reported that the DPRK issued an ultimatum to the ROK, threatening to terminate its contracts on joint tour programs. “It was the last opportunity and warning against the South Korean government,” Unification News, a weekly journal, reported in its March 13 issue, posted Sunday on the Web site “Uriminzokkiri.” “The South should pay attention to the remarks of the spokesman for the North’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee (APPC) if it does not want to put inter-Korean relations to an irrevocable and a full confrontational stage,” the weekly said.
6. DPRK Economy
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA REVISES RULES FOR FREE ECONOMIC ZONE”, Seoul, 2010/03/15) reported that the DPRK has revised a law on the Rajin-Sonbong Economic Special Zone, making it possible for overseas residents to do business there, it emerged Sunday. Article 8 of the revised law makes it possible for “Koreans” living outside the DPRK to do business in the special zone. It also removes a clause requiring foreign companies to obtain government approval when they open sales offices or branches in the zone, making it easier to enter the DPRK market. Instead, approval is with a new agency overseeing the Rajin-Sonbong zone.
7. US on DPRK Human Rights
Chosun Ilbo (“NEW U.S. ENVOY WARNS N.KOREA OVER HUMAN RIGHTS”, Seoul, 2010/03/15) reported that the new U.S. special envoy for DPRK human rights issues Robert King has reaffirmed that the U.S. will not normalize relations with the DPRK unless it improves the treatment of its people. King said the U.S. enactment of the North Korean Human Rights Act reflects these concerns. “The six-party talks are not just one little narrow box” but can discuss other agendas, he added.
Dong-A Ilbo (“US: NK HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION ‘DEPLORABLE'”, Seoul, 2010/03/13) reported that the U.S. State Department Friday blasted the DPRK’s human rights situation as “deplorable” in its human rights report for 2009. “There are continued reports of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, arrests of political prisoners, and torture,” it said. The U.S. State Department also spoke of reports of female prisoners being forced to abort and infants murdered immediately after birth. The most notable change in the report is the inclusion of information control through Internet censorship as an important criterion of human rights oppression.
8. DPRK Leadership
Yonhap (“ACTIVIST SAYS N.KOREA PREPARES PORTRAITS OF SUCCESSOR”, Seoul, 2010/03/13) reported that Lee Young-Hwa, head of the Tokyo-based Rescue North Korean People Urgent Action Network (RENK), told Yonhap News that the DPRK is preparing to distribute Kim Jong-un’s portraits as it readies to present him publicly as a successor. “We’ve received information that the North has prepared Kim Jong-un’s portraits en masse,” Lee said. “The North is apparently in a hurry to declare Kim Jong-un as the successor,” he said.
9. DPRK Internal Situation
Arirang News (“N.KOREA ‘EXPANDS COUNTER-INTELLIGENCE FORCE IN CHINA'”, Seoul, 2010/03/15) reported that Radio Free Asia says the number of DPRK counter-intelligence officials stationed at PRC’s Yanji city in Jilin Province rose from six to more than 10 in February. The men are said to be in charge of exposing contacts leaking inside information outside the border and also collecting data on DPRK human rights groups based in Seoul. Quoting an unnamed PRC official, RFA also said the counter-intelligence officials were working to find the names of those who help sources within the DPRK contact people in the ROK.
10. DPRK Defectors
Korea Times (Kim Se-jeong, “KIM IL-SUNG’S FORMER CRONY DENIED ASSYLUM [sic]”, Seoul, 2010/03/13) reported that Kim Jong-ryul, a former associate of the late DPRK leader Kim Il-sung, was denied asylum in the ROK. “I sought political asylum in South Korea. But a Korean Embassy official rejected me, which simply indicated that the South Korean government denied my request.” Kim said, “They did so because they thought I was a hardcore communist with horns.” An official at the Austrian Embassy confirmed the contact with Kim, Yonhap reported. “The conversation didn’t go well. As far as I know, Kim suddenly ended the contact,” the official said without identifying himself.
11. DPRK Food Security
Korea Times (Kim Se-jeong, “NK FAMINE BECOMING WIDESPREAD FOLLOWING CURRENCY REFORM”, Seoul, 2010/03/12) reported that according to Good Friends on Tuesday, the area of Sinuiju has had more than 300 deaths during the first two months of 2010, and another 1,000 are on the verge of starving to death. The Good Friends’ newsletter quoted an anonymous official of the DPRK city saying, “Nothing like this has happened before ? not even during the hardest starvation period in the middle of the 1990s. The situation in my city indicates that it’s even worse in other provinces.”
12. DPRK Labor Exports
Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, “NORTH HARD AT WORK ON CUP STADIUMS”, Seoul, 2010/03/15) reported that sources said Sunday that DPRK laborers are helping to put the finishing touch on stadiums across South Africa ahead of the World Cup, which will kick off in June. “North Koreans have been put to work on four to five stadiums that require renovation, including Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, where the opening and closing ceremonies, plus the final will be staged,” a source said. “There are an estimated 1,000 North Koreans there.”
13. US Forces in ROK
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “USFK DEPLOYS NEW JETS FOR PRECISION STRIKES”, Seoul, 2010/03/12) reported that a U.S. Air Force squadron in the ROK has deployed three new A-10 ground attack jet aircraft capable of carrying precision – guided bombs, which can be used to neutralize DPRK artillery units hidden in mountain caves and tunnels near the inter-Korean border, a source at the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Friday. “Their arrival marks the beginning of the end for the transformation of the A-10 fleet,” the source told The Korea Times. “The new jets’ enhanced capability will provide lethal, precision firepower in any potential close air support scenario.”
14. ROK Nuclear Energy
Chosun Ilbo (“S.KOREA BUILDS EXPERIMENTAL NUCLEAR REPROCESSING PLANT “, Seoul, 2010/03/15) reported that the ROK recently started constructing a test facility for a sodium-cooled fast reactor capable of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel without generating weapons-grade plutonium, an official at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute said Sunday. KAERI said it started constructing the W30 billion (US$1=W1,129) experimental facility last month at a science research and development center in Daedeok, Daejeon, and plans to complete construction in 2014. The facility contains a 1:125 scale reactor enabling researchers to conduct tests under identical pressure or temperature conditions as a real reactor. KAERI plans to use the research data to build a full-scale facility by 2028.
Chosun Ilbo (“SEOUL PLEDGES TO DEVELOP NUCLEAR RECYCLING TECHNOLOGIES”, Seoul, 2010/03/12) reported that Prime Minister Chung Un-chan on Thursday pledged to develop technology that will dramatically reduce radioactive waste and recycle spent nuclear fuel as an alternative resource. Chung said in his opening speech at the 2010 Summit of Honor on Atoms for Peace and Environment, “The premise to the successful worldwide adoption and use of atomic technology is bilateral or multilateral cooperation through sharing of relevant information and experience.” However, former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, on Thursday said, “All new enrichment and reprocessing activities, anywhere in the world, in future should be put exclusively under multilateral control.”
15. ROK-Australia Energy Cooperation
Yonhap (“KOREA, AUSTRALIA AGREE TO EXPAND ENERGY COOPERATION”, Seoul, 2010/03/15) reported that the ROK Ministry of Knowledge Economy said government officials from the ROK and Australia agreed Monday at a meeting held in Perth that ROK companies should be allowed to invest more in Australian projects to develop coal, uranium, copper and zinc. The two countries will also work together to increase the volume of Australian liquefied natural gas imported by the ROK, and strengthen cooperative tie-ups in the development of clean, reusable energy resources and a “smart grid” system that can cut back on use of fossil fuel, according to the ministry.
16. ROK Politics
Korea Times (Bae Ji-sook, “CONSERVATIVE GROUP LISTS PRO-NK LEADERS”, Seoul, 2010/03/12) reported that the National Action Committee for the Development of Korea accused Democratic Labor Party leader Kang Ki-kap, Representative Choe Kyoo-sik of the Democratic Party, bestselling novelist Cho Jung-rae and 97 other social leaders of being “pro-North Korea” on Friday. The late former Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun were dropped from the list amid much controversy, but the members said they will be considered for the next edition, the group said.
17. ROK-Japan Historical Disputes
Chosun Ilbo (“DOCUMENTS CAST DOUBT ON JAPAN’S POSITION OVER COMPENSATION”, Seoul, 2010/03/15) reported that when the ROK-Japan Normalization Treaty was signed settling all compensation claims over atrocities by the Japanese during World War II, the two governments also prepared a document guaranteeing the pursuit of individual victims’ rights. The internal Japanese document written in the months leading up to the signing of the 1965 agreement stipulates that “compensation claims raised by a state take on the form of an entire nation having suffered abuses of rights through violations committed against its citizens, and are grievances raised by one country against another in the arena of international law. As a result, they do not negate the rights of individuals to raise compensation claims according to the laws of the other country.” Two other documents containing similar words were also found. These documents contradict the Japanese claim that by sealing the 1965 treaty, the ROK signed away individual rights to compensation as well.
Korea Herald (Kim Ji-hyun, “SEOUL UNLIKELY TO REQUEST MORE COMPENSATION FROM JAPAN “, Seoul, 2010/03/15) reported that the ROK is unikely to pursue further legal compensation from Japan despite the latest discovery of Japanese official documents. “First of all, the 1965 treaty covers all official indemnities and the compensation has been more or less adequately distributed,” said one ranking Foreign Ministry official. “In addition, many of the issues involving Japan’s past war atrocities have already been solved considerably between the governments of South Korea and Japan.” “With the exception of comfort women, Japan has showed much compassion on the request of the South Korean government,” said Kang Young-il, of the department on Japan at Seoul’s Foreign Ministry.
18. Atomic Bomb Survivors
Asahi Shimbun (“OVERSEAS HIBAKUSHA WIN RESPITE”, Tokyo, 2010/03/15) reported that overseas survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will no longer have to come to Japan to apply for official recognition as sufferers of radiation-caused illnesses. The Cabinet last week approved a revision to ordinances under the atomic-bomb survivors’ support law that allows hibakusha living abroad to file an application at Japanese embassies and consulates. “We welcome the move, but many hibakusha have died without being able to apply for the recognition because of the government’s cruel requirement on them to come to Japan,” said an official of a citizens group to support hibakusha in the ROK.
19. Japanese Arms Exports
Asahi Shimbun (“CALL TO LIFT ARMS EMBARGO FOR HUMANITARIAN REASONS”, 2010/03/15) reported that the Japanese government is reviewing its longstanding embargo on weapons exports to allow the sale of related equipment for humanitarian purposes. An example of equipment that likely would be exempted from the ban is the US-2 amphibious aircraft used by the Maritime Self-Defense Force in sea rescue operations and for the emergency transport of patients from remote islands.
20. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA TO RAMP UP INVESTMENT IN RESTIVE XINJIANG”, Beijing, 2010/03/15) reported that the PRC will sharply increase investment in Xinjiang in hopes that higher living standards for ethnic Uighurs can quell unrest. “The social situation can only become stable when the problem of people’s livelihood is solved,” China Daily on Monday quoted Xinjiang’s Communist Party secretary Wang Lequan as saying. ” Economic development is the solution… (we expect) investment in fixed assets will jump sharply.”
21. PRC Tibet Issue
BBC (Michael Bristow, “HEAVY SECURITY IN TIBET AHEAD OF PROTESTS’ ANNIVERSARY”, Beijing, 2010/03/13) reported that PRC security forces have launched a “strike hard campaign” ahead of the second anniversary of riots and protests in Tibet. Special police detachments are stationed across the regional capital, Lhasa. Press reports say they have seized guns, ammunition and knives. Police are also checking identity papers and searching homes.
22. PRC on Climate Change
Associated Press (“CHINA ALLEGES DIPLOMATIC SNUB AT COPENHAGEN SUMMIT”, Beijing, 2010/03/14) reported that PRC Premier Wen Jiabao said Sunday he was never formally notified of the late-night meeting of top leaders at the Copenhagen climate summit in December attended by President Barack Obama . “China worked with other countries attending the Copenhagen conference, and with joint efforts we have made the Copenhagen Accord possible,” Wen said. “This result has not come easily and it is also the best outcome that could have been achieved on an issue that concerns the major interests of all countries,” he said.
23. PRC Energy Security
BBC (“CHINA’S OIL DEMAND INCREASE ‘ASTONISHING’, SAYS IEA”, 2010/03/12) reported that the PRC’s demand for oil jumped by an “astonishing” 28% in January compared with the same month a year earlier, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says. The body added that demand for oil in 2010 would be underpinned by rising demand from emerging markets, with half of all growth coming from Asia.
24. PRC Internet Censorship
New York Times (Sharon LaFraniere, “CHINA ISSUES WARNING TO MAJOR PARTNERS OF GOOGLE”, Beijing, 2010/03/14) reported that PRC authorities have warned major partners of Google’s China-based search engine that they must comply with censorship laws even if Google does not, an industry expert with knowledge of the notice said Sunday. Government information authorities warned some of Google’s biggest Web partners on Friday that they should prepare backup plans in case Google ceases censoring the results of searches on its local Chinese-language search engine, said the expert.
Chosun Ilbo (“GOOGLE DRAWS UP PLAN TO PULL OUT OF CHINA”, Seoul, 2010/03/15) reported that Google is drawing up a detailed plan for the closure of its PRC unit. The firm is now “99.9 percent” certain to go ahead with the plan, the Financial Times on Saturday quoted a source as saying. Li Yizhong, PRC minister for industry and information technology, on Friday said if Google “takes steps that violate Chinese laws, that would be unfriendly, that would be irresponsible, and they would have to bear the consequences.”