NAPSNet Daily Report 17 April, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 2. ROK, Japan on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 3. Russia on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 4. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 5. DPRK Leadership
- 6. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 7. DPRK Food Supply
- 8. Inter-Korea Relations
- 9. ROK Afghanistan Support
- 10. US-ROK Relations
- 11. US-ROK Security Alliance
- 12. ROK Anti-Piracy Operations
- 13. ROK Satellite Launch
- 14. Japan Environment
- 15. Japan Nuclear Power
- 16. Japan Space Program
- 17. Japan Aid to Pakistan
- 18. Sino-Russian Energy Trade
- 19. PRC Energy Supply
- 20. PRC Religious Freedom
- 21. US GNEP Program
- II. PRC Report
1. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Reuters (Chris Buckley, “CHINA INSISTS NORTH KOREA TALKS STILL ALIVE”, 2009/04/16) reported that the PRC insisted that six-party disarmament talks remain the way to defuse conflict over the DPRK ‘s nuclear ambitions, despite Pyongyang abandoning the process and expelling U.N. inspectors. PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu instead repeated her government’s call for calm and said a “consensus” still exists among the negotiating powers. “We hope that all sides will exercise calm and restraint and be far-sighted in paying attention to the big picture, together striving to advance the six-party talks process,” Jiang told a regular news conference.
2. ROK, Japan on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Xinhua News (“JAPAN, S KOREA PLEDGE COORDINATION ON REOPENING 6-PARTY TALKS “, Tokyo, 2009/04/16) reported that Japan and the ROK pledged concerted efforts to resume the stalled six-party talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular. The two nations made the pledge during a meeting between Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone and his ROK counterpart Yu Myung-hwan, Kyodo News reported. Nakasone said that Japan, the ROK and the US need to maintain close contact and consultation to seek the early resumption of the six-party talks.
3. Russia on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Xinhua News (“RUSSIA: CHANCE TO RESUME SIX-PARTY TALKS STILL EXISTS”, Moscow, 2009/04/16) reported that the chance to resume six-party talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula still exists, the Interfax news agency reported, citing Russian Foreign Ministry Special Ambassador Grigory Logvinov. “One way or another, the negotiating process should be preserved. We believe there is a chance to return to the negotiating table, as nobody has burned the bridges, and the door has not been shut,” said Logvinov.
4. DPRK Nuclear Program
Agence France-Presse (“IAEA NUCLEAR TEAM QUIT NORTH KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/04/16) reported that a three-man team from the United Nations nuclear agency that had been in the DPRK arrived in Beijing, but declined to comment about Pyongyang’s atomic programme. One of the men, who would only give his first name of Mikhail, said he was part of the three person team with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that had flown out of the DPRK capital on Thursday morning. Speaking to reporters at Beijing airport, he said he had not been ordered out of the DPRK but declined to make any other comment.
5. DPRK Leadership
The Los Angeles Times (John M. Glionna , “NORTH KOREA’S MYSTERIOUS POWER BROKER”, 2009/04/16) reported that Jang Song Taek has recently emerged as a decisive player in the drama of who might succeed the ailing 67-year-old Kim in a country that remains defiant in the face of international pressure to dismantle its nuclear arsenal. Pyongyang watchers are divided about the move’s significance. Some say Jang could assume power if Kim dies or is incapacitated, while others insist he would merely become the regime’s caretaker, ensuring an orderly succession of power to one of Kim’s three sons.
6. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Bloomberg News (Ed Johnson and Bill Varner, “U.S. CALLS ON NORTH KOREA TO RESUME NUCLEAR TALKS”, 2009/04/16) reported that the Obama administration called on the DPRK to resume nuclear disarmament talks as the communist regime ordered international inspectors to leave. The U.S. and its negotiating partners are “anxious for the North Koreans to come back to the table,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters in Washington yesterday. The State Department said the ejection of a U.S. inspection team is a “step backward” that will further isolate the regime from the international community.
7. DPRK Food Supply
IFES NK Brief (“DPRK ORDERS FOOD SHORTAGE COUNTERMEASURES”, 2009/04/16) reported that amid announcements that it would restart it nuclear programs, the DPRK, anticipating that already weak relations with the international community will not be resolved quickly, ordered each province to plan policies regarding food supplies for June and July. The DPRK Ministry of Agriculture suggested there may be a shortage of food supplies, and has sent word to each regional farming community accounting committee, calling on them to establish countermeasures. In the order handed down to each unit, DPRK authorities stressed the planting of potatoes, barley, and other foodstuffs to provide sustenance until the start of the fall harvest. Ultimately, authorities appear to have chosen not to accept food assistance from the US or ROK.
8. Inter-Korea Relations
Yonhap (Kim Hyun, “S. KOREA SAYS NORTH SHOULD NOT USE DETENTION OF WORKER TO PROTEST PSI”, Seoul, 2009/04/17) reported that the ROK on Friday called on the DPRK to refrain from using its detention of an ROK worker as a means to retaliate against Seoul’s move to join the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). “North Korea should not connect (these two issues)”, Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun said. “A humanitarian issue should not be connected to a political issue,” he said. “This is a basic tenet of the international community.”
9. ROK Afghanistan Support
Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “S. KOREA TO PROVIDE PRACTICAL AID TO WAR-TORN AFGHANISTAN”, 2009/04/16) reported that President Lee Myung-bak said that the government will look for ways to extend practical assistance to Afghanistan in consultation with the US. Lee made the remarks after meeting Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan at Cheong Wa Dae. Holbrooke, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, arrived in Seoul earlier in the day.
10. US-ROK Relations
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “SEOUL-WASHINGTON DIPLOMATIC LINES NOT IN FULL SERVICE YET”, Seoul, 2009/04/17) reported that diplomatic consultation channels between the ROK and the United States, are not in full operation yet ahead of major bilateral schedules, as the Obama administration’s senior post handling regional affairs remains vacant, an ROK government source said Friday. The ROK government customarily coordinates alliance issues with the U.S. through the National Security Council (NSC) and the State Department. “Currently, however, the government mainly handles pending issues in consultations with the team of Jeffrey Bader, senior director for Asian affairs at the NSC,” a foreign ministry source said.
11. US-ROK Security Alliance
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “KOREAN, US TROOPS TO HOLD FRIENDSHIP EVENTS”, 2009/04/16) reported that a friendship week for ROK and U.S. soldiers will start April 20, the 8th Army Republic of Korea Army Support Group here said. During the five-day event, U.S. servicemembers and Korean soldiers serving with the U.S. Army, dubbed KATUSA (Korean Augmentation Troops to the U.S. Army), will hold goodwill events such as cultural tours, music concerts and taekwondo demonstrations, it said in a news release.
12. ROK Anti-Piracy Operations
Xinhua News (“S. KOREAN NAVAL SHIP BEGINS CONVOY MISSION OFF SOMALIA”, Seoul, 2009/04/16) reported that a ROK destroyer began convoying the country’s vessels on Somalian waters, ROK military officials were quoted as saying by local media. The Munmu the Great, with a crew of 300 on board, started escorting a 12,000-ton ROK chemical transporter, Pine Galaxy, at 2300 GMT Wednesday off the coast of Oman, ROK Col. Lee Hyoung-kook told the Yonhap News Agency.
13. ROK Satellite Launch
Aviation Week (“S. KOREA PLANS SATELLITE LAUNCH”, 2009/04/16) reported that as the DPRK keeps the world’s militaries worried with what it claims was a satellite-launch attempt, the ROK is quietly preparing its first satellite mission for a July launch date. Lee Joo-jin, president of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, told a Washington audience late last week that the first Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-1) is scheduled to launch a 100-kilogram (220-pound) scientific satellite into low Earth orbit in July.
14. Japan Environment
The New York Times (“CORAL TRANSPLANT SURGERY PRESCRIBED FOR JAPAN”, 2009/04/16) reported that Japan is using the Sekisei Lagoon Reef, which is named after the broad, shallow lagoon that it created, as a test bed for new techniques that they hope will one day make transplanting coral in the sea as routine as raising tree saplings on land. Critics, however, say the project might be wasted effort. They say transplanting is futile without addressing the problems that caused the reefs to deteriorate in the first place, like coastal redevelopment and chemical runoff from terrestrial agriculture.
15. Japan Nuclear Power
Bloomberg News (Michio Nakayama and Yuji Okada, “SEISMIC WORK ON JAPAN SPENT-NUCLEAR FUEL PLANT BOOSTS COSTS 46% “, 2009/04/16) reported that Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd., owned mostly by the country’s power companies, will spend an extra 60 billion yen ($606 million) to improve earthquake resistance at the country’s first nuclear-fuel recycling plant. The changes, which will drive construction costs 46 percent higher to 190 billion yen, has delayed groundbreaking at the plant by two years, Shigehiro Itou, a company spokesman, told reporters in Tokyo today. The plant, located in Rokkasho village in Aomori prefecture in the country’s north, will produce plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel, known as MOX, to reduce dependence on overseas supplies of uranium.
16. Japan Space Program
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT EYES USING 100 MICROSATELLITES TO MONITOR WEATHER, DISASTERS, TRAFFIC”, 2009/04/16) reported that the government plans to create a cluster of as many as 100 microsatellites in low orbit to serve a range of purposes including capturing images of natural disasters or tracking traffic jams, officials said. The Education, Science and Technology Ministry and the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry hope the multiple satellites, each designed to handle a different purpose, will make it possible to increase the frequency and detail of observations.
17. Japan Aid to Pakistan
Reuters (Chisa Fujioka, “JAPAN TO PLEDGE $1 BILLION TO PAKISTAN AMID WORRIES”, Tokyo , 2009/04/16) reported that Japan promised to pledge up to $ 1 billion in aid for cash-strapped Pakistan at a donors conference as allies pressed the country for commitments to fight an Islamist insurgency and implement economic reforms . “I shared my view that it will be important for the president to express Pakistan’s firm resolve to carry out economic reforms and counter-terrorism measures at tomorrow’s meetings,” Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso told reporters after talks with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari .
18. Sino-Russian Energy Trade
Reuters (“CHINA SECURES 1ST SPOT LNG CARGO FROM RUSSIA-SOURCES”, Beijing, 2009/04/16) reported that the PRC has secured its first spot cargo of liquefied natural gas from Russia and will receive the tanker in a few weeks, industry sources said, attributing the order to revived interest following the collapse of gas prices. The cargo of more than 50,000 tonnes costing less than $5 per million British thermal units is scheduled to arrive at China’s first LNG terminal Dapeng in coastal Guangdong province later this month or early May, several sources said.
19. PRC Energy Supply
Bloomberg (Eugene Tang, “CHINA, KAZAKHSTAN SIGN $10 BILLION LOAN-FOR-OIL AGREEMENTS “, 2009/04/16) reported that the PRC, the world’s second-biggest energy consumer, will lend $10 billion to Kazakhstan in return for a stake in an oil producer in the Central Asian country. China National Petroleum Corp. and KazMunaiGaz National Co. will buy AO Mangistaumunaigas, according to one of 11 agreements that were signed in the presence of President Hu Jintao and his Kazakhstan counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev in Beijing today. The PRC has signed three other loan-for-oil agreements with Russia, Brazil and Venezuela this year, taping its $1.95 trillion foreign-exchange reserves to buy energy assets after oil’s 66 percent decline from July’s record.
20. PRC Religious Freedom
Agence France-Presse (“CATHOLIC HEAD IN HONG KONG URGES RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN CHINA”, Hong Kong, 2009/04/16) reported that the new head of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong said he wanted to see religious freedom for worshippers in the PRC as soon as possible. But Bishop John Tong said he would not take part in the annual June 4 vigil to commemorate those killed after pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago, a key issue for his predecessor Cardinal Joseph Zen. “We will spare no effort… in our role as a bridge Church to the Church in our motherland,” Tong told reporters at his first press conference .
21. US GNEP Program
Nuclear Engineering International (“US GNEP PROGRAMME DEAD, DOE CONFIRMS”, 2009/04/16) reported that a US Department of Energy spokeswoman has confirmed that the US domestic component of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership has been cancelled. “The Department has already decided not to continue the domestic GNEP program of the last administration,” said DOE deputy press secretary Jen Stutsman in a statement on April 15. “The long-term fuel cycle research and development program will continue but not the near-term deployment of recycling facilities or fast reactors. The international component of GNEP is under interagency review.”
II. PRC Report
22. PRC AIDS Issue
Jinghua Times (Li Qiumeng, “BEIJING UNIVERSITIES TO ESTABLISH AIDS PREVENTION ORGANIZATION”, 2009/04/16) reported that according to Beijing AIDS prevention Committee, over 70 universities in Beijing will respectively establish AIDS prevention organizations. Each university is expected to have 200 -300 students joining in the organizations, and the whole city is expected to have a “AIDS Prevention Net” of about 20,000 university students.
23. PRC Employment
Xian Evening News (Zhou Rui, “VOLUNTARY SERVICE IN WESTERN REGION PLAN LAUNCHED”, 2009/04/16) reported that College Student Voluntary Service in Western Region has been completely started. This year’s college students who have the will to service voluntarily in western region can start to apply. The volunteers will be sent to western region to work 1-3 years. During and after the service time, they can enjoy related benefit policies, such as helping to repay their student loans and so on.
24. PRC Civil Society and the 512 Earthquake
Qianlong Net (Guo Jia, “CHINA CHARITY FEDERATION COLLECTS 605 PAINTING AND CALLIGRAPHY WORKS FOR SICHUAN”, 2009/04/16) reported that China Charity Federation hands over 605 painting and calligraphy working they collected during Sichuan earthquake relief to Sichuan Provincial Charity Federation. Director of Sichuan Charity Federation said that these works will be used for fund-raising by way of auction and enterprise subscription, to help Sichuan reconstruction.