NAPSNet Daily Report 18 August, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
1. Sino-DPRK Relations
Yonhap (“N.KOREAN MILITARY PLANE CRASHES IN CHINA, KILLING PILOT: SOURCE”, Shenyang, 2010/08/18) reported that a DPRK airplane that appeared to be a Soviet-era jet fighter crashed in a PRC border area, killing the pilot aboard who may have been attempting to defect to Russia, intelligence sources here said Wednesday. The crash took place in Fushun Prefecture in the province of Liaoning Tuesday afternoon, the sources said, adding the pilot was the only person in the plane when it crashed.
2. Japan-DPRK Relations
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “N. KOREA LIKELY TO STEP UP DEMAND FOR COMPENSATION FROM JAPAN”, Seoul, 2010/08/17) reported that the DPRK is likely to use the upcoming centenary of Japan’s annexation of the Korean Peninsula as a chance to bolster its demand for massive compensation. Korean victims of Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule laid the ground for such action when about 200 of them reportedly gathered last week in Pyongyang to adopt a letter to the Tokyo government. “We strongly demand that the Japanese government immediately take action to apologize and compensate for its past crimes,” Kyodo News Agency quoted the letter as saying, adding the meeting was organized by a DPRK organ on so-called comfort women.
3. US Forces in ROK
Hankyoreh (Kwon Hyeok-chul, “S.KOREA TO SHOULDER HIGHER USFK FINANCIAL BURDEN”, Seoul, 2010/08/18) reported that the United States has reportedly asked for an extension to the deadline to use South Korea’s defense cost-sharing contribution for the transfer of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) facilities to Pyeongtaek. In particular, as the U.S. request came four days after the announcement of the delay to the transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON), some are pointing to the request as payment for the delay in the transfer. A military source said, “My understanding is that USFK Commander Gen. Walter Sharp met with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young and asked that the time period for using South Korea’s defense cost-sharing contribution for moving the US 2nd Infantry Division to Pyeongtaek be extended a couple years from the originally agreed upon 2013,” said the source. “Sharp said that of the $600 million earmarked by the United States for the transfer, the U.S. Congress had approved only $300 million and of this $300 million, only half could actually be used. So he asked the South Korean government to allow funds from its cost-sharing contribution to continue to be used for the transfer.”
4. Russo-Japanese Territorial Disputes
Itar-Tass (“JAPAN PM CONSIDERS SOUTH KURILES MAJOR UNSETTLED PROBLEM”, Tokyo, 2010/08/18) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan considers the issue of the South Kuriles one of the major unsettled problems of his country. The prime minister said it on Wednesday at a meeting in Tokyo with representatives of the organization uniting former residents of the islands. He reiterated the traditional stance of Tokyo, saying he seeks the signing of a peace treaty with Russia on the basis of the recognition of Japan’s sovereignty over South Kurile Islands.
5. PRC Military
Kyodo (“CHINA SLAMS PENTAGON REPORT, SAYS MILITARY DEVELOPMENT ‘REASONABLE'”, Beijing, 2010/08/18) reported that a PRC military spokesman on Wednesday said that Beijing was ”resolutely opposed” to a recent Pentagon report on the PRC’s military power. ”The report ignores objective facts and makes accusations about China’s normal national defense and military building,” Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng was quoted by the China News Service as saying of the report. ”China’s military development is reasonable and appropriate, and is used for defending national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity,” Geng said. He added that the report is ”not beneficial” to the improvement and development of bilateral military ties, and called on the United States to look at China’s military buildup in an ”objective and fair” manner.