NAPSNet Daily Report 17 June, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. Russia on Naval Ship Sinking
- 2. US on Naval Ship Sinking
- 3. Japan on Naval Ship Sinking
- 4. DPRK Military
- 5. ROK on DPRK Threat
- 6. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
- 7. DPRK-PRC Relations
- 8. Inter-Korea Relations
- 9. ROK-US Relations
- 10. ROK-US Military Cooperation
- 11. ROK-US Military Relations
- 12. ROK Military
- 13. USFJ Base Relocation
- 14. Japan-Jordon Nuclear Cooperation
- 15. Japan Textbook Issue
- 16. Sino-Japan Relations
- 17. Sino-Pakistan Nuclear Cooperation
- 18. Sino-Pakistan Defense Cooperation
- 19. Sino-US Relations
- 20. Sino-US Trade Relations
- 21. Sino-Russian Relations
- 22. Cross-Strait Relations
1. Russia on Naval Ship Sinking
JoongAng Ilbo (“RUSSIA ‘NOT AN ALLY’ OF PYONGYANG”, 2010/06/16) reported that Russia’s ambassador to the ROK denied that his country’s historic ties with the DPRK will make it side with its former ally on the Cheonan issue now being debated by the UN Security Council. In a speech yesterday to members of the Korean Council on Foreign Relations, Konstantin V. Vnukov emphasized Russia is no longer the DPRK’s ally. “We can see … journalists mention ‘even China and Russia, as closet allies of North Korea,’ but we are not an ally of North Korea,” Vnukov said. “We don’t have such obligations, so our relationship with North Korea is very practical.”
2. US on Naval Ship Sinking
Arirang News (“US CALLS N. KOREA’S THREAT SAME OLD PROVOCATION”, 2010/06/16) reported that Washington has criticized the DPRK for denying involvement in the ROK’s recent naval disaster at the United Nations, adding its latest threat to use military force is the kind of provocation that has become characteristic of the DPRK. In a press briefing, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley stressed the gravity of the Cheonan sinking, adding that actions have consequences and Pyeongyang must cease its belligerent behavior. Reaffirming his government’s commitment toward easing tensions on the Korean peninsula, Crowley then urged the international community to step up efforts in bringing forth strong punitive measures against the communist country’s hostile actions.
Agence France-Presse (Jun Kwanwoo, “US ENVOY VOWS SOLIDARITY WITH S.KOREA OVER WARSHIP”, Seoul, 2010/06/17) reported that the United States Thursday pledged solidarity with the ROK in its bid to censure the DPRK for the sinking of a warship. “We are here to make clear our strongest possible commitment of solidarity with South Korea,” Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell told reporters before talks with Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan and other officials. “We are determined to show that our alliance is standing very firmly together during an absolutely critical period.”
3. Japan on Naval Ship Sinking
Bloomberg (“JAPAN TO TIGHTEN CONTROL ON SENDING CASH TO NORTH KOREA “, 2010/06/16) reported that Japan will tighten controls on sending money to the DPRK next month as part of additional sanctions in response to a suspected sinking of a ROK warship. The cap on undeclared cash transfers will be lowered to 3 million yen ($32,800) from 10 million yen, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Finance. The ministry also will reduce the amount of money an individual can take into the DPRK to 100,000 yen from 300,000 yen.
4. DPRK Military
Chosun Ilbo (“NORTH KOREA ‘HAS 180,000 SPECIAL FORCES READY TO CROSS INTO SOUTH’”, 2010/06/16) reported that the DPRK operates 40,000 special forces troops, including the 11th or “Storm” Corps whose mission is to infiltrate the ROK and create havoc in case of war. It also has around 10,000 naval special forces and around 5,000 air force soldiers who can cross the border if a war breaks out. The figures were revealed in a speech by former ROK commander of special operations Kim Yun-suk to fellow veterans at the War Memorial in Seoul. Totaling 180,000 troops, the DPRK has the largest number of special ops forces in the world “Ten thousand North Korean special forces are capable of infiltrating simultaneously through underground tunnels or aboard 260 hovercraft or submarines, while 175 AN-2 transport planes and 310 helicopters can transport another 10,000 troops,” Kim said.
5. ROK on DPRK Threat
Yonhap (“S. KOREA’S NEW ARMY CHIEF SAYS N. KOREAN PROVOCATION ‘FAIRLY’ LIKELY”, Seoul, 2010/06/17) reported that the ROK’s new Army chief of staff said Thursday chances of the DPRK’s military provocations are “fairly” high. “North Korea is not showing any direct moves for provocations, but when we look at its past pattern of behaviors, there are fair chances of provocations and that’s why we raised” the military alertness, General Hwang Eui-don, the new Army chief, told reporters. “We have to continue to keep a close watch over the North.”
6. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
Chosun Ilbo (“MORE ACTIVISTS LOBBY UNSC OVER SHIPWRECK “, 2010/06/16) reported that another leftwing activist group calling itself Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea has written to UN Security Council members urging the international body to reinvestigate the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan. The group addressed letters to two permanent UNSC members — France and the U.K. — and nine non-permanent members — Austria, Bosnia, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Turkey, and Uganda. It delivered the letters to UN headquarters alongside a Korean-American grassroots organization called “Nodutdol” based in New York, urging a “fair and objective” discussion about the sinking.
7. DPRK-PRC Relations
Bloomberg (“NORTH KOREA COMPENSATES CHINESE SHOOTING VICTIMS, DAILY NK SAYS “, 2010/06/16) reported that the DPRK whose border guards shot dead three PRC citizens on June 3, has paid $3,000 each to the families of the victims, Daily NK reported, citing a DPRK trader in the PRC border city of Dandong it didn’t identify. The DPRK apologized for the incident, which it said was an accident, the Seoul-based news agency reported.
8. Inter-Korea Relations
Korea Herald (“REP. CHUNG DONG-YOUNG CALLS FOR INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT”, 2010/06/16) reported that opposition Democratic Party’s Rep. Chung Dong-young, who served as unification minister under the Roh Moo-hyun administration, urged the government to push for an inter-Korean summit. “The level of tension across the Korean Peninsula now is similar to what we saw back in 1994 when (a DPRK official) spoke of turning Seoul into a sea of fire,” Rep. Chung said during a parliamentary interpellation session on Tuesday. “An inter-Korean summit could be a dramatic breakthrough for the extreme confrontation.”
9. ROK-US Relations
Agence France Presse (“US ENVOY IN S.KOREA FOR TALKS ON WARSHIP SINKING”, 2010/06/16) reported that a senior US envoy arrived in Seoul on Wednesday for talks on the sinking of a ROK warship blamed on the DPRK. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell is due to meet the ROK’s chief nuclear envoy, Wi Sung-Lac, later Wednesday before holding talks with other top officials on Thursday, the Yonhap news agency reported. “The Cheonan issue will be a main topic,” a foreign ministry official was quoted as saying.
10. ROK-US Military Cooperation
Agence France Presse (“US, S.KOREA TO KEEP CLOSER EYE ON N.KOREAN SUBS”, 2010/06/16) reported that US and ROK navies have agreed to forge closer cooperation against DPRK submarines and bolster intelligence-sharing in monitoring their activities, officials said Wednesday. The ROK’s navy said the deal with the United States will help the allies improve sharing of intelligence in their monitoring of DPRK submarines and strengthen joint anti-submarine exercises. The two sides also agreed to cooperate in a US-led anti-proliferation exercise that could be used to stop DPRK weapons traffic in waters around the peninsula, it said in a statement.
JoongAng Daily (“U.S. WILL COMMAND MILITARY EXERCISE”, 2010/06/16) reported that Americans will take back control of the massive annual U.S.-Korea military exercise this summer in response to the DPRK’s recent hostility, a senior military official told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday. “At the Ulji Freedom Guardian drill in mid-August, we will explore the likely scenarios of North Korean provocations and evaluate the U.S. and South Korean troops’ abilities to deter an attack,” said the source. “To this end, the U.S.-led Combined Forces Command will take control, a change of plans because the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff had initially been arranged to lead the drill.” According to the source, the change was made at the request of the top U.S. commander.
11. ROK-US Military Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“GO SLOW IN HANDING OVER TROOP CONTROL, U.S. THINK TANK SAYS “, 2010/06/16) reported that a U.S. think tank has urged caution in the transfer of full operational control of ROK troops to Seoul, saying the handover planned for 2012 “should not be rushed.” The Council on Foreign Relations advised the presidents of the ROK and the U.S. to “review the progress” in preparing for the handover “based on a technical evaluation of the readiness of the two sides” to handle troop control independently. It said a taskforce debated the handover of wartime control of Korean troops. The taskforce warns that the current deadline of April 17, 2012 “comes during a presidential election year in South Korea, running the risk that the issue could be politicized during the campaign” and “falls only two days after the hundredth anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s birth, creating an opportunity for the DPRK to exploit the transfer for domestic propaganda purposes.”
12. ROK Military
Yonhap News (“AIR FORCE DECOMMISSIONS F-4D FIGHTERS”, 2010/06/16) reported that the Air Force said Wednesday it officially retired about 70 F-4D Phantom fighter jets. First entering service in 1969, the U.S.-built Phantom fighters continued to play a major role in the ROK Air Force throughout the 1970s and ’80s. Since 2007, the Air Force has replaced the aging Phantom fighters, which have become increasingly difficult to maintain, with modern F-15K jets. If the replacement is completed by 2011, the Air Force will have 60 F-15K jets.
13. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“FIXING DETAILS ON FUTENMA RELOCATION BY END OF AUG.”, 2010/06/16) reported that Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku indicated that it would be difficult for the government to meet the deadline of the end of August for hammering out the specifics of relocating a U.S. Marine base within Okinawa Prefecture. Even if the government decides on the details on how to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station by the deadline agreed with the United States, they may end up being “armchair theories” without consent from people in the prefecture, Segoku said at a news conference.
14. Japan-Jordon Nuclear Cooperation
Associated Press (“JORDAN, JAPAN STRIKE NUKE COOPERATION DEAL”, 2010/06/15) reported that Jordan and Japan have agreed on the terms of a nuclear cooperation deal, potentially boosting the hand of a French-Japanese consortium slated to bid to build the Arab nation’s first nuclear plant. Kamal Araj, the deputy chief of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission, said Tuesday the deal helps outline the terms under which Jordan can import a reactor for the planned plant.
15. Japan Textbook Issue
Yonhap News (“U.N. COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS JAPAN TO REVIEW HISTORY TEXTBOOKS”, 2010/06/16) reported that a U.N. children’s rights committee on Wednesday expressed concern about Japanese history textbooks and recommended their review to be more balanced, saying the books present only Japan’s view of events in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child made the recommendation after examining Japan’s implementation at a U.N. rights convention in a session held from May 25 until June 11 in Geneva. ‘‘The Committee is concerned at information that Japanese history textbooks do not enhance the mutual understanding of children from different countries in the region, as they represent a Japanese interpretation of historical events only,’’ the committee, chaired by ROK national Lee Yang Hee, said in a report posted on its Web site, according to Yonhap.
16. Sino-Japan Relations
Channel News Asia (“NEW JAPAN PM TO VISIT CHINA”, 2010/06/16) reported that Japan’s new Prime Minister Naoto Kan yesterday accepted an invitation from his counterpart in Beijing to visit the PRC, during a telephone conversation that also touched on the DPRK. PRC Premier Wen Jiabao invited the Japanese prime minister to visit at a “time of convenience,” the PRC’s state Xinhua news agency said, adding the two men had also discussed the situation on the Korean peninsula.
Reuters (“JAPAN PM WON’T GO TO SHRINE CRITICIZED BY CHINA”, 2010/06/16) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said he would not visit the Yasukuni Shrine for the war dead while in office, in a sign he wants to maintain good ties with the PRC. “I think it is a problem for the prime minister or cabinet ministers to officially pay their respects at the Yasukuni Shrine because Class A war criminals are honored there,” said Kan. “I do not plan to pay my respects there while in office,” he told parliament.
Mainichi Japan (“GOV’T APPOINTS FORMER PRESIDENT OF TRADING GIANT ITOCHU AMBASSADOR TO CHINA”, 2010/06/16) reported that Itochu Corp. executive Uichiro Niwa has been named the next Japanese ambassador to the PRC, the government has announced. During a Cabinet meeting on June 15, the government decided to appoint Niwa, 71, a senior corporate advisor and former president of leading trading firm Itochu Corp. Niwa will be replacing outgoing Ambassador Yuji Miyamoto to become the first non-bureaucrat ambassador to Beijing in Japan’s postwar history. Japan Association of Corporate Executives Chairman Masamitsu Sakurai expressed the expectations of the business community, saying, “We would like him to use his experience as a corporate director to establish diplomatic relations to promote healthy competition between Japan and China for the development of both countries.”
17. Sino-Pakistan Nuclear Cooperation
Global Security Newswire (“U.S. SEEKS DETAILS ON PAKISTANI REACTOR PLAN”, 2010/06/16) reported that the United States has requested details from the PRC on a plan to sell two nuclear power reactors to Pakistan, the State Department confirmed yesterday, noting that a 46-nation nuclear export control panel had not given the arrangement its blessing. Beijing, though, has contended that constructing the new reactors at Pakistan’s Chashma site would not violate its NSG commitments because it had built two reactors at the location before joining the organization. “We’ve asked China to clarify the details of its sale of additional nuclear reactors to Pakistan,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “This appears to extend beyond cooperation that was grandfathered when China was approved for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.”
18. Sino-Pakistan Defense Cooperation
Press Trust India (“KAYANI ON CHINA VISIT TO DISCUSS DEFENCE COOPERATION”, 2010/06/16) reported that Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, on Wednesday, embarked on a five-day official visit to the PRC to discuss bilateral defence cooperation and to enhance ties between the armies of the two countries. Kayani is visiting the PRC at the special invitation of the People’s Liberation Army. He will meet the senior military leadership of the PLA and government officials during the visit, the Inter-Services Public Relations said.
19. Sino-US Relations
Xinhua News Agency (“EXPERT SEES NEED FOR MORE CHINA-U.S. COMMUNICATION CHANNELS”, 2010/06/16) reported that a noted U.S. foreign policy expert said the PRC and the United States should open more channels of communication to solve problems facing the two countries. What the PRC and the United States needed to do was to “open many, many more channels of communication, in order to see how the two of us can move forward, in order to see where our interests coincide and where our interests differ and where they differ,” George D. Schwab, president of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP) said. While praising the Economic and Strategic Dialogue mechanism between the two countries, he said, “I would strongly urge at different levels that mil-to-mil (military to military) would be very important, especially navy mil-to-mil, because friendship between our two countries are essential, absolutely essential.”
20. Sino-US Trade Relations
Agence France Presse (“CHINA MUST ACT SOON ON CURRENCY: US LAWMAKER”, 2010/06/16) reported that the PRC has until just after the Group of 20 summit late this month to change its much-criticized currency practices or face action by the US Congress , a powerful lawmaker warned Wednesday. “Seven years of patience from the United States and the international community have run out,” said Democratic Representative Sander Levin, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee that oversees taxes and trade. Levin said that President Barack Obama’s administration had set June 26-27 the Group of 20 summit in Toronto “as an important juncture for China to change its inflexible currency practices.”
21. Sino-Russian Relations
The Times of India (“WARY OF CHINA, RUSSIA SAYS NO TO DALAI VISIT”, 2010/06/16) reported that Russian diplomats have met their PRC counterparts in Delhi to assure Beijing that Moscow won’t allow the Dalai Lama to visit Russia “under the present circumstances”. Stating that the spiritual leader’s activities had acquired a political tinge, Russian officials said their advice to the Dalai Lama was to improve relations with the PRC and refrain from political activities.
22. Cross-Strait Relations
Reuters (“CHINA OFFERED TO REDEPLOY FORCES FACING TAIWAN: SENATOR”, 2010/06/16) reported that a senior U.S. senator said on Wednesday that PRC leaders have offered to “redeploy back” at least some of their military forces opposite Taiwan in a move that could ease cross strait tensions. But Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, who recently held talks with leaders in the PRC, did not spell out what such a redeployment would entail and what types of troops or military assets could be involved. “In my meeting with some of the leadership, it was mentioned that China had offered to redeploy back. Now I understand the word ‘redeploy’ isn’t ‘remove’. And I understand the nature of what’s there and the number of troops,” Feinstein told a Senate hearing.