NAPSNet Daily Report 17 December, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Weapons
- 3. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 4. PRC on Energy Aid to the DPRK
- 5. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 6. Japan-DPRK Relations
- 7. DPRK Economy
- 8. ROK Government
- 9. Japan Missile Defense
- 10. Japan Nuclear Safety
- 11. Japan Environment
- 12. Japan Energy
- 13. Sino-Pakistani Security Relations
- 14. Sino-Indian Relations
- 15. Sino-US Relations
- 16. Sino-US Environmental Cooperation
- 17. PRC Bird Flu
- 18. PRC Human Rights
- 19. PRC Tibet Issue
- 20. PRC Internet Censorship
- 21. PRC Development
- 22. PRC Civil Society
- II. PRC Report
1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News Service (Hwang Doo-hyong, “REPORT CALLS FOR CLOSER INT’L COOPERATION TO CHECK DPRK NUKE PROLIFERATION”, Washington, 2008/12/16) reported that a U.S. congressional report Tuesday called for closer cooperation among nuclear powers and the International Atomic Energy Agency. “It appears that we are at a tipping point in proliferation,” said the report from the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States. “If Iran and North Korea proceed unchecked to build nuclear arsenals, there is a serious possibility of a cascade of proliferation following.”
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “‘US SHOULD TEST PYONGYANG’S MOTIVE FOR NUCLEAR PROGRAMS'”, 2008/12/16) reported that a former U.S. ambassador to the ROK called on Washington to figure out first if DPRK genuinely intends to end nuclear programs when dealing with the state. “We need to test the intentions of the North without any secondary impediments,” said James T. Laney at a special lecture. “That can only be done in the context of a good-faith offer of normalization of relations with the United States and hopefully with South Korea,” Laney said.
Associated Press (“US WANTS WRITTEN NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR COMMITMENTS”, United Nations, 2008/12/16) reported that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday the current administration will keep trying to get the DPRK to make written commitments on inspection of its nuclear programs. “What happened in Beijing was that the North Koreans at this last session wouldn’t write them down,” she said. “But there is, in fact, a verification protocol and a set of assurances that the five are agreed to and that the North Koreans, at least privately before we lifted the terrorist designation, had also agreed to,” Rice said.
2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Weapons
Yonhap News Service (Kim Boram and Byun Duk-kun, “DPRK COULD HAVE AS MANY AS 20 NUCLEAR BOMBS: LAWMAKER”, Seoul, 2008/12/16) reported that DPRK appears to have succeeded in developing small nuclear bombs light enough to be loaded onto conventional missiles, Rep. Kim Hak-song of the Grand National Party said Tuesday. “The U.S. government says North Korea could have produced seven to eight nuclear weapons while South Korea says it could have up to seven. These estimates are correct if we consider that it takes 6-7 kilograms of plutonium to make a 20-kiloton warhead,” Kim said at a security forum. “But I think differently. If North Korea has succeeded in developing small-size nuclear warheads, it takes not 6-7 kilograms but 2-3 kilograms of plutonium to make each nuclear weapon, and if that is the case, the North could have produced over 20 nuclear weapons,” he said.
3. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap News Service (“ROK FIRMS CANCEL PLANS TO BUILD FACTORIES AT KAESONG”, Seoul, 2008/12/16) reported that local companies have started to cancel plans to build factories at the Kaesong industrial complex in DPRK as concerns mount about deteriorating inter-Korean relations, an opposition lawmaker said Tuesday. Rep. Chung Jung-bae’s office said that since October, seven companies have decided against setting up operations at the complex located just north of the demilitarized zone.
4. PRC on Energy Aid to the DPRK
Yonhap News Service (“PRC HINTS IT WILL CONTINUE ENERGY AID TO DPRK”, Beijing, 2008/12/16) reported that PRC said Tuesday that failure to reach an understanding on the verification protocol for DPRK’s nuclear facilities is not sufficient cause to halt energy aid. “The Oct. 3 agreement outlines 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil in exchange for North Korea agreeing to disable its Yongbyon nuclear plant,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao. He added that people must carefully examine the wording of the existing deal.
5. Sino-DPRK Relations
Xinhua News (“CHINESE, DPRK PLEDGE TO ENHANCE TIES, FRIENDSHIP”, Pyongyang, 2008/12/16) reported that officials of the PRC and the DPRK agreed to take 2009, the Year of PRC-DPRK Friendship, as an opportunity to forge closer ties. Taking full advantages of the upcoming Year of Friendship, the PRC will continue to push bilateral ties between the countries to a higher level, said Liu Xiaoming, PRC ambassador to the DPRK.
6. Japan-DPRK Relations
Xinhua News (“DPRK NEWSPAPER CALLS JAPAN TROUBLEMAKER OF SIX-PARTY TALKS “, Pyongyang, 2008/12/16) reported that Japan is a troublemaker of the six-party talks and should be kicked out, the official Rodong Sinmun daily of the DPRK said. Japan refused to honor its commitment on providing economic aid to the DPRK under a disarmament-for-aid deal, said a commentary carried by the Rodong Sinmun. So there was no need to allow the troublemaker to sit at the negotiating table any longer, it added.
7. DPRK Economy
Agence France Press (“DPRK TO REMOVE INACTIVE COMPANIES FROM ECONOMIC ZONE”, 2008/12/16) reported that DPRK is set to remove inoperative foreign companies from a special economic zone, officials said Tuesday, following a report that some PRC firms have already been told to leave. ROK’s Unification Ministry said the DPRK in October conducted a probe into companies that exist only on paper but do not invest in the Rajin-Sonbong zone. Officials said Rajin-Sonbong had not achieved its objectives. “The North failed to lure as much foreign investment as it hoped,” a ministry official said.
Xinhua News (“DPRK, EGYPT SET UP JOINT VENTURE BANK”, Pyongyang, 2008/12/16) reported that a joint venture bank between Egypt’s telecom giant and a bank of the DPRK opened here on Tuesday, the official KCNA news agency reported. The Ora Bank, a joint venture between Orascom Telecom and the DPRK’s Foreign Trade Bank, will help boost friendship and future cooperation between the two countries, said O Kwang Chol, president of the Foreign Trade Bank.
8. ROK Government
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “LEE VOWS POLICY SUPPORT FOR `NEW POOR'”, 2008/12/15) reported that President Lee Myung-bak pledged Monday to provide people he called the “new poor” with tailored policy support so that they receive the basic human necessities. Lee coined the term “new poor,” referring to people who became impoverished due to the economic downturn but are ineligible for social services available to the underprivileged. “The government will feed them, help them so that they can let their children go to school and live in proper dwellings if and when they are evicted by landlords,” Lee was quoted as saying at a breakfast meeting. President Lee pointed out four core policy tasks that he would prioritize, including policy remedies for the new poor, youth employment, job sharing and cutting political costs.
9. Japan Missile Defense
Kyodo News (“DESTROYER’S MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM CLEARS TEST DESPITE FAILURE”, Tokyo, 2008/12/16) reported that Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force said the US- developed anti-ballistic missile system built into a high-tech Aegis destroyer has passed its quality test despite its failure to shoot down a mock ballistic missile in space last month. The Choukai is the second such destroyer in the MSDF fleet whose missile shield equipment has been certified as serviceable, following the similarly equipped Aegis destroyer Kongou.
10. Japan Nuclear Safety
Yomiuri Shimbun (“SEISMIC REFITS TOO MUCH FOR OLD N-PLANTS”, Nagoya, 2008/12/15) reported that Chubu Electric Power Co.’s plan to decommission two long-suspended nuclear reactors and build a new reactor in their place at its Hamaoka power station is mainly due to the old reactors’ deteriorating economic efficiency and the heavy cost expected for retrofitting the current facilities to meet the latest quake-resistance standards. he Hamaoka nuclear plant covers about 1.6 million square meters in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, and is located near the potential epicenter for a major earthquake expected to strike the Tokai region someday.
Kyodo News (“RADIOACTIVE LEAK DRILL HELD ON U.S. AIRCRAFT CARRIER IN YOKOSUKA”, Yokosuka, 2008/12/16) reported that a Japan-US joint drill was held under an assumption to rescue an injured crew member from the nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier George Washington in the event of a radioactive leak in the vessel at its home port in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. The drill did not include the evacuation of residents in the neighborhood, with Yokosuka Mayor Ryoichi Kabaya telling reporters, “As the U.S. side says a radioactive leak outside the base cannot happen, there would be no need of residents’ participation in the joint exercise.”
11. Japan Environment
Christian Science Monitor (Amelia Newcomb, “JAPAN AS GROUND ZERO FOR NO-WASTE LIFESTYLE”, Kamikatsu, Japan , 2008/12/16) reported that Kamikatsu is a town singularly focused on banishing waste – all waste – by 2020. The 2,000 people of Kamikatsu have dispensed with public trash bins. They set up a Zero Waste Academy to act as a monitor. The town dump has become a sort of outdoor filing cabinet, embracing 34 categories of trash – from batteries to fluorescent lights to bottle caps. Kamikatsu has probably pushed the recycling ethic as far as any community in the world. But it’s just one small indicator of a national drive by Japan to position itself as a leader in the world’s urgent quest to live greener.
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“GREEN LAWS PLANNED FOR SEA”, 2008/12/16) reported that areas containing such precious natural features as coral reefs and wetlands are to be designated as national marine parks as part of the Environment Ministry’s efforts to protect the marine environment, sources close to the ministry said Tuesday. The ministry plans to revise the Natural Parks Law to facilitate the creation of the national marine parks, the sources said.
12. Japan Energy
Bloomberg (Chris Cooper, “JAPAN AIR WILL USE CAMELINA BIOFUEL IN TEST FLIGHT NEXT YEAR”, Tokyo, 2008/12/16) reported that Japan Airlines Corp., Asia’s largest carrier by sales, plans to use a biofuel made from camelina, an oilseed plant, to power one engine on a test flight as it helps research to find an alternative to kerosene-based jet fuel. The carrier, which plans to fly a Boeing Co. 747 using the alternative fuel, will hold the test flight on Jan. 30, Japan Air said in a statement released in Tokyo today.
13. Sino-Pakistani Security Relations
Pak Tribune (“DEFENCE TREATY SIGNED BETWEEN CHINA AND PAKISTAN:ISPR”, ) reported that Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) sources said Pakistan and the PRC held Sixth Sino-Pakistani Defense and Security Talks and signed an agreement on defence and security; both the countries agreed to work together to deepen military ties. The PRC leader said his country is standing by Pakistan on its war against terrorism, adding the PRC lauds the sacrifices given by Pakistan in this war.
14. Sino-Indian Relations
PTI (“DEFENCE COOPERATION WITH INDIA WILL REDUCE SUSPICIONS: CHINA”, 2008/12/16) reported that the PRC today said greater defence cooperation with India can help in “reduction of suspicions” between the two countries as both sides stressed on working collectively to defeat destabilising forces of terrorism and religious fundamentalism. “Sino-Indian relations are no longer a zero-sum relationship and defence cooperations can contribute in reduction of suspicions,” PRC Deputy Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Ma Xiaotian said at the second Annual Defence Dialogue (ADD) here.
15. Sino-US Relations
Xinhua News (“CHINA, U.S. REACH BROAD CONSENSUS IN STRATEGIC DIALOGUE”, Washington, 2008/12/13) reported that the PRC and the US reached broad consensus on bilateral, regional and international issues in their sixth strategic dialogue. The meeting, co-chaired by visiting PRC State Councilor Dai Bingguo and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, focused on how to keep the healthy and stable momentum in the development of PRC-U.S. relations and how to enhance the two-way cooperation and coordination on regional and global issues.
16. Sino-US Environmental Cooperation
The News Tribune (Rob Carson, “REGION, PRC SEAL ‘ECOPARTNERSHIP’”, 2008/12/16) reported that the Port of Seattle and the City of Tacoma have entered into partnership with one of the largest ports in PRC, hoping to create a global model for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. U.S. and PRC officials gathered in Seattle on Monday morning to celebrate an “ecopartnership” with the Dalian Port Corp. of Liaoning, PRC. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who has led efforts to expand clean energy cooperation with PRC, announced the agreement, saying it would “establish a model of how our two countries can work together to improve the world environment and our economies at the same time.”
17. PRC Bird Flu
Associated Press (“BIRD FLU FOUND IN CHICKENS IN EASTERN PRC”, Beijing, 2008/12/16) reported that authorities in eastern PRC have killed more than 300,000 fowl after bird flu was discovered in chickens, the Agriculture Ministry said Tuesday. Veterinary officials in Hai’an county and the city of Dongtai, both in Jiangsu province, said chickens in the two areas tested positive for the H5N1 virus, according to a ministry statement. They have also disinfected and quarantined affected zones and banned the transport of fowl and related products from Hai’an and Dongtai. Migrating birds may have been the source of the disease, it said.
18. PRC Human Rights
Reuters (Emma Graham-Harrison and Yu Le , “PRC REPORTER CHASING CORRUPTION CLAIMS DISAPPEARS”, Beijing, 2008/12/15) reported that a PRC newspaper reporter investigating a suspicious real estate deal has not been seen since hotel security tapes showed five men pushing him into a car two weeks ago, his son and a newspaper said on Monday. The case appears to be the second in recent weeks involving journalists who colleagues said were targeted for probing graft in a part of north PRC rich in both coal and corruption claims.
19. PRC Tibet Issue
Agence France Press (“PRC STILL OPEN TO TIBET DIALOGUE: GOVT”, Beijing, 2008/12/16) reported that PRC said on Tuesday it was still open to dialogue with representatives of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, after the United Nations chief urged Beijing to continue the talks. “The Chinese government… always expresses sincerity towards the contacts and negotiations, and the door to talks with the Dalai side is always open,” the foreign ministry said in a statement faxed to AFP. “The key is whether the Dalai Lama examines and corrects his political stance, abandons his wrongful position on ‘Tibetan independence’ and genuinely matches his words with actions.”
20. PRC Internet Censorship
Reuters (Lucy Hornby, “PRC SAYS WITHIN RIGHTS TO BLOCK SOME WEBSITES”, Beijing, 2008/12/16) reported that PRC’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday the country was within its rights to block websites with content illegal under PRC law, including websites that referred to the PRC and Taiwan as two separate countries. Access to the Chinese-language versions of the BBC, Voice of America and Hong Kong media Ming Pao News and Asiaweek has been blocked since early December, according to a report by Asiaweek this week. “We can’t deny that some websites continue to have problems that violate Chinese law,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.
21. PRC Development
Bloomberg News (Dune Lawrence, “CHINESE GRADUATES RECRUITED FOR RURAL WORK”, 2008/12/16) reported that forty years after Mao Zedong forced millions of young people to leave their families and schools for a new life in the countryside, the PRC is seeing another migration for very different reasons. Now the government is encouraging college graduates to help transform the countryside by taking their newly minted skills to rural areas where development has lagged behind the affluent cities and coastline.
22. PRC Civil Society
Duowei News, translated by China DIgital Times (“KANG XIAOGUANG ON CHINESE GOVERNMENT CONTROL OF NGOS”, 2008/12/16) reported that the once marginalized non-governmental organizations have undergone a profound transformation in the PRC over the past 30 years. Nowadays more and more young elites have become full-time employees at NGOs and many white-collar professionals volunteer in these groups. However, the government’s principles for managing NGOs has not changed because of the nature of NGOs – an NGO is essentially an assembly that is capable of collective action and powerfully challenging the government politically.
II. PRC Report
23. PRC Economy
Xinhua News Agency (Sun Chengbing, Zou Shengwen, “CHINA ASSOCIATION FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CELEBRATES ITS 50TH FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY”, 2008/12/15) reported that China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) held a conference celebrating its 50 th founding anniversary at the Great Hall of the People on Monday. PRC President Hu Jintao delivered a speech at the conference, and called for stepped up efforts in turning the PRC into an innovation-oriented country. CAST is the country’s biggest non-governmental organization for scientists, engineers and others working in the fields of science and technology. It was founded in September 1958.