NAPSNet Daily Report 17 March, 2009

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 17 March, 2009", NAPSNet Daily Report, March 17, 2009,

NAPSNet Daily Report 17 March, 2009

Contents in this Issue:

Preceding NAPSNet Report



1. DPRK Missile Program

Chosun Ilbo (“NORTH KOREA ‘SPENT AT LEAST $30 MILLION ON MISSILE DEVELOPMENT'”, Seoul, 2009/03/16) reported that ROK Grand National Party spokesman Yoon Sang-hyun on Friday said his party estimates the DPRK spent about $30 million test-launching the Taepodong-2 missile three years ago. “They should have spent the money to feed and clothe their people,” Yoon added.

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2. DPRK Nuclear Program

Kyodo (“N. KOREA SLOWS DISABLEMENT WORK EVEN FURTHER”, 2009/03/17) reported that the DPRK has slowed disablement work at its Yongbyon nuclear reactor, diplomatic sources said Tuesday. According to the sources, the DPRK recently dropped the pace of disablement work by reducing the number of nuclear fuel rods it removes from the reactor from 15 a day to 15 a week.

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3. Inter-Korean Border

Associated Press (Jean H. Lee, “NKOREA FULLY OPENS BORDER CROSSING”, Seoul, 2009/03/17) reported that the DPRK fully reopened the border Tuesday to South Koreans commuting to jobs at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, ROK officials said. About 280 South Koreans crossed into Kaesong while 200 others returned home, and some 100 others chose to spend the night in the enclave, the Unification Ministry said.

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4. Inter-Korean Relations

Donga Ilbo (“NK DEMANDS APOLOGY FOR STRAINED INTER-KOREA TIES”, Seoul, 2009/03/16) reported that the secretariat of the DPRK`s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said Saturday, “If South Korea is really interested in having dialogue, it must make a public apology for its criminal act of destroying inter-Korean relations by sparking confrontation and bringing the two Koreas close to war.” Rodong Shinmun also said, “The severe recent tension between the two Koreas is the result of the South Korean government’s anachronistic and anti-North Korea schemes.”

Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “TENSION WITH N. KOREA WORSENS KOREA’S GLOBAL IMAGE”, 2009/03/17) reported that about half of foreigners here regard military tension on the Korean Peninsula as the biggest obstacle to the ROK’s efforts to improve its image abroad, a survey showed. In a survey of 1,000 expatriates in the ROK, conducted jointly by the Presidential Council on Nation Branding and the World Research, 48.4 percent of respondents said Seoul’s confrontations with Pyongyang had the most negative impact on the ROK’s global image.

Yonhap News (“N. KOREAN DEFECTORS SEND ANTI-KIM JONG-IL LEAFLETS”, Seoul, 2009/03/17) reported that a group of DPRK defectors flew leaflets critical of the country’s leader Kim Jong-il into the DPRK, defying Seoul’s calls for restraint amid heightened political tensions.   About 20 defectors flew some 100,000 propaganda leaflets from the Imjingak pavilion just south of the inter-Korean border despite calls from the government to halt the campaign. The leaflets, which describe Kim as “the most vicious dictator and murderer,” were sent with DPRK banknotes to encourage people to pick them up.

Xinhua News (“DPRK BLASTS S KOREA FOR INTERNATIONALIZING INTER-KOREAN TIES “, Pyongyang, 2009/03/17) reported that the DPRK criticized the ROK’s attempt to “internationalize inter-Korean relations” by cooperating with the United States and Japan. The ROK government has been busy selling its “policy toward the North” to the United States and Japan, with the intention of inviting foreign forces to interfere in inter-Korean relations and “do harm to the DPRK,” the official daily Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary.

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5. ROK Policy Toward DPRK

Hankyoreh Shinmun (“OPPOSITION PARTIES AND CIVIC GROUPS URGE GOVERNMENT TO REVAMP ITS N. KOREA POLICY”, Seoul, 2009/03/17) reported that the ROK Democratic Party and three other opposition parties, religious leaders and civic and social groups held an “emergency meeting for a breakthrough in the crisis of inter-Korean relations” at the National Assembly on Monday. A statement issued Monday said that “the primary cause for inter-Korean relations racing toward crisis lies in the South Korean government’s effective ignorance of agreements made between South and North Korean leaders and the continuation of a policy of antagonism toward the North.”

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6. PRC on Inter-Korean Relations

The Associated Press (“CHINA VOICES CONCERN AS TENSIONS FLARE IN KOREAS”, Beijing, 2009/03/17) reported that the PRC expressed concern Tuesday over tensions on the Korean peninsula , as the DPRK’s premier arrived in Beijing ahead of his country’s plans to launch a rocket next month. “At present, the situation on the Korean peninsula is rather complicated, with an increasing number of uncertain factors,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang at a regularly scheduled press conference . “We express concern over this.” On Tuesday, Qin said he hoped that “relevant parties can work to settle the issues through dialogue … and maintain peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.”

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7. Sino-DPRK Relations

Associated Press (Tini Tran, “NKOREA PREMIER VISITS CHINA AMID MISSILE TENSIONS”, Beijing, 2009/03/17) reported that DPRK Premier Kim Yong-il arrived in Beijing on Tuesday on a five-day trip that will include talks with PRC President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, and a ceremony marking 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang again stated that the PRC hopes all parties involved “do more to contribute” toward regional peace. “We believe maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia is in the common interest of the relevant parties,” he said.

Reuters (Chris Buckley, “NORTH KOREAN PREMIER PRAISES CHINA AS REGIONAL BULWARK”, Beijing, 2009/03/17) reported that DPRK Premier Kim Yong-il praised the PRC as a regional bulwark before arriving for a visit on Tuesday. “North Korea feels satisfied with the vigorously friendly relations with China during the current complex and changeable international trends,” he wrote in response to questions from the People’s Daily. The bond, he wrote, would “make a real contribution to ensuring the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula , the northeast Asia region and the world.”

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8. DPRK Human Rights

Joongang Ilbo (“NORTH HAS ‘SHOOT ON SIGHT’ POLICY FOR DEFECTORS: UN”, Seoul, 2009/03/17) reported that Vitit Muntarbhorn, UN special rapporteur on DPRK human rights, said in his latest report that the DPRK maintains a “shoot on sight” policy for people caught trying to flee the country, citing unidentified sources. “Over the past year, the situation facing asylum-seekers has become more stringent. More restrictions have been imposed on departures from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and entry into neighboring countries,” he said. “The overall picture of human rights implementation in the country is nonetheless grim, and the situation remains dire and desperate,” he said. “The predicament ensuing from the broad range of systematic and widespread human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea requires urgent attention at all levels, from national to international.”

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Arirang News (“U.S. AMBASSADOR URGES PATIENCE OVER FTA”, Seoul, 2009/03/17) reported that U.S. Ambassador to the ROK Kathleen Stephens urged the ROK government to show patience about ratification of the Free Trade Agreement with the US. At a meeting hosted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the envoy said the delay in ratifying the FTA by the U.S. Congress stems from a change in administration in Washington, the global economic crisis and turbulence in the U.S. automobile sector.

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10. ROK-EU Trade Relations

Donga Ilbo (“‘KOREA-EU FTA TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT MONTH'”, Seoul, 2009/03/16) reported that the European Union seeks to conclude its free trade deal with the ROK early next month when leaders of the Group of 20 hold a summit in London, Seoul officials said. Officials at the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry and the Strategy and Finance Ministry in Seoul said they are positively reviewing the EU’s suggestion that trade ministers from both sides hold talks in London around April 2.

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11. Japan Nuclear Program

Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki , “‘JAPAN MAY GO NUCLEAR IF KOREAS ARE UNIFIED'”, 2009/03/17) reported that Japan may go nuclear if a unified Korea decides to keep nuclear weapons programs developed by the DPRK, which could provoke a tense arms race in Northeast Asia, a recent U.S. congressional report said. “Any eventual reunification of the Korean Peninsula could further induce Japan to reconsider its nuclear stance,” said the Jan. 19 report, titled “Japan’s Nuclear Future Debate, Prospects and U.S. Interests,” released by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). “If the two Koreas unify while North Korea still holds nuclear weapons and the new state opts to keep a nuclear arsenal, Japan may face a different calculation,” it said.

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12. Japanese Nuclear Energy

Asahi Shimbun (“TOWN EYES HOSTING NUKE WASTE SITE”, Naraha, 2009/03/16) reported that the Japanese town of Naraha, site of a nuclear power plant, is considering putting itself forward as the final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste. Naraha Mayor Takashi Kusano said: “There are 10 nuclear reactors in Fukushima Prefecture. Our town’s theme is coexistence with our nuclear plant. If safety can be guaranteed, and if our residents approve, we would like to host the site.”

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13. Japanese Politics

Kyodo (“OZAWA MAY MAKE DECISION ON WHETHER TO RESIGN NEXT WEEK”, Tokyo, 2009/03/17) reported that main opposition Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa said Tuesday that he will make a decision on whether to resign or not after prosecutors reach a conclusion on whether to indict Ozawa’s arrested secretary. ”I hope the prosecution authorities will come up with a fair conclusion,” Ozawa told a news conference. ”As I suppose that they will make a decision in the not-so-distant future…I will make a decision on my future when that conclusion has been reached.”

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14. Japanese Whaling

Asahi Shimbun (Shigeki Tosa and Shinya Minamishima, “NEW U.S. ANTI-WHALING STANCE PUTS MORE PRESSURE ON JAPAN”, Rome, 2009/03/16) reported that on the first day of an International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting on March 9, a representative of the U.S. delegation declared that it was unnecessary to kill whales to conduct research into their populations, breeding habits and other trends. The IWC intercessional meeting in Rome was the first since Obama took office. The 13-strong U.S. delegation, which included White House staff, equaled the Japanese contingent in size. A European government source said the impact of the shift by the United States would be hugely positive for the anti-whaling movement.

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15. Sino-Japanese Relations

Bloomberg (Sachiko Sakamaki, “ASO DELAYS CHINA SUMMIT; ISLAND DISPUTE NOT REASON”, Tokyo, 2009/03/17) reported that Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso postponed a planned visit to the PRC because of scheduling difficulties. “We wanted to have an early summit meeting, but it became difficult for the prime minister to visit in March,” Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said at a press conference. “This is because of circumstances in China, as well as here because of the Diet session. But both sides remain committed to meeting soon.”

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16. Sino-US Relations

The Times (Jane Macartney, “BEIJING RAISES STAKES WITH TIT-FOR-TAT DEPLOYMENT IN SOUTH CHINA SEA”, Beijing, 2009/03/16) reported that the PRC sent a patrol ship to protect fishing boats after the United States deployed a destroyer in the area. The Yuzheng 311, a converted naval rescue vessel, is the largest and most modern patrol ship in the Chinese Navy, the Beijing News said. It was due to arrive in the Paracel Islands Sunday to patrol the PRC’s exclusive economic zone and to “strengthen fishery administration” in the South China Sea. It will patrol the waters around the Paracels and the Spratly Islands, protecting Chinese fishing boats and transport vessels.

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17. PRC African Diplomacy

The Financial Times (Tom Burgis, “BEIJING TO BOOST SPENDING IN AFRICA FUND “, Johannesburg, 2009/03/17) reported that the PRC is to pump a further $2bn into its African investment fund earlier than planned to snap up opportunities left by the hasty retreat of western investors from the continent. Since its launch in late 2006, the China-African Development Fund has invested $400m. It expected to have spent most of its initial capital of $1bn by the end of the year, as much as two years ahead of schedule, said Chi Jianxin, fund chief executive. From next year it would embark on a second, $2bn phase of investments, accelerating towards its goal of $5bn, Mr Chi said.

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18. Sino-Russian Military Exercise

People’s Daily online (“CHINA TO LAUNCH DRILL WITH RUSSIA”, 2009/03/17) reported that the PRC and Russia will launch a joint anti-terror drill in Northeast China this year, a defense official has said. “The defense ministries of the two countries are currently discussing details of the drill,” Qian Lihua, director of the Ministry of Defense’s foreign affairs office, said.  The drill, the second between the two troops, is aimed at promoting bilateral strategic partnership, Qian said.

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19. PRC Tibet Issue

New York Times (David Barboza, “POLICE STATION BOMBED IN TIBETAN AREA OF CHINA”, Shanghai, 2009/03/17) reported that bomb was hurled into a government building in a predominantly Tibetan area of western PRC on Monday. China’s media said Tuesday that no one was injured in what it called a terrorist attack.

New York Times (Edward Wong, “TIBET CABINET SAYS TALKS WITH CHINA ARE WELCOME”, Beijing, 2009/03/15) reported that the Tibetan government in exile in India said over the weekend that it welcomed further talks with the PRC over policies in Tibet, but reiterated that it was still seeking autonomy for Tibetans as outlined in the Chinese Constitution. “On many occasions, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has reiterated that he is not seeking separation from the People’s Republic of China,” the cabinet said. “The Chinese premier’s allegations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama seeking separation is far from the truth.” The first anniversary of widespread Tibetan riots and protests against Chinese rule passed this weekend without any reports of large-scale protests.

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20. PRC Separatist Movements

Associated Press (Henry Sanderson, “CHINA JAILS 2 ETHNIC MINORITIES FOR PROTESTS”, Beijing, 2009/03/17) reported that authorities in Xinjiang have sentenced a man to 15 years in jail for organizing nonviolent rallies and another to eight years imprisonment for raising a separatist flag,  the Washington-based Uyghur American Association said in a statement. The PRC says the man who reportedly raised the flag was jailed for attempting to steal explosives.

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21. PRC Energy Security

Washington Post (Ariana Eunjung Cha, “CHINA GAINS KEY ASSETS IN SPATE OF PURCHASES”, Beijing, 2009/03/17) reported that Chinese companies have been snapping up tens of billions of dollars’ worth of key assets worldwide that became available due to the financial crisis. The deals have allowed the PRC to lock up supplies of oil, minerals, metals and other strategic natural resources. The sheer scope of the agreements marks a shift in global finance, roiling energy markets and feeding worries about the future availability and prices of those commodities in other countries that compete for them.

Los Angeles Times (Borzou Daragahi, “IRAN SIGNS $3.2-BILLION NATURAL GAS DEAL WITH CHINA”, Beirut, 2009/03/15) reported that  Iran announced a $3.2-billion natural gas deal with the PRC on Saturday. Iranian state television quoted a senior government official as saying the deal with a Chinese consortium, would eventually include an unnamed European country as a partner. Under the three-year deal, China will help develop the South Pars field.

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22. PRC on Climate Change

BBC News (“CHINA SEEKS EXPORT CARBON RELIEF”, 2009/03/17) reported that the PRC has proposed that importers of Chinese-made goods should be responsible for the carbon dioxide emitted during their manufacture. The PRC’s top climate change negotiator, Li Gao, said his country should not pay for cutting emissions caused by the high demands of other countries.

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23. PRC Food Safety

Associated Press (Anita Chang, “CHINA’S MILK VICTIMS COMPLAIN OF INTIMIDATION”, Beijing, 2009/03/17) reported that local authorities have been pressuring at least a half-dozen families of victims in the PRC’s tainted milk scandal into dropping lawsuits demanding compensation from the dairies, victims’ advocates said Tuesday. Zhao Lianhai, father of a child sickened by the milk, said the parents were called or visited by local officials wanting the families to accept a government-sanctioned compensation plan giving 2,000 yuan ($290) to most victims. At least one family has done so, Zhao said.

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II. PRC Report

24. PRC Environment

China Environmental News (“DEPUTIES CONCERN ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ISSUES”, 2009/03/17) reported that the 11 th National People’s Congress came to an end successfully in Beijing March 13 th . It is understood that during the congress 518 proposals involving economic, social and many other fields were presented by deputies. Among them, 53 are related with environmental protection, ecology, drinking water safety, and they have been submitted to Environment and Resource Protect Committee of the National People’s Congress for examination.

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25. PRC Civil Society and Public Health

China News Net (“‘AID CHILDREN WITH LEUKEMIA’ HELD IN BEIJING”, 2009/03/16) reported that a large public welfare activity titled “Aid Children with Leukemia” was launched in Beijing March 15 th . The activity was jointly sponsored by Beijing Fuya Coating Company and Aid Children Federation of China Society Association. At the opening ceremony, Manager of Fuya company Jiang Heping donated 20,000 RMB to the hands of the representative of Aid Children Federation, to help Wang Yiying, a little child with leukemia.

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26. PRC Civil Society

Xinhua Net (Sui Xiaofei, “THE 3RD INTERNATIONAL CHARITY FORUM TO BE HELD IN BEIJING IN JUNE”, 2009/03/16) reported that the 3rd International Charity Forum is to be held in Beijing in June. More than 100 domestic and overseas experts will give presentations focusing on the development models, phase characteristics, strategy, volunteer spirit, and international cooperation of charity. The Forum is held by the China International Charity Foundation, China Buddhism Association and others.   Its website is .