NAPSNet Daily Report 18 June, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. Russia, PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 4. US-DPRK Relations
- 5. DPRK Missile Program
- 6. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 7. Japan on DPRK Interdiction
- 8. DPRK Economy
- 9. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
- 10. Inter-Korean Relations
- 11. Russo-DPRK Relations
- 12. ROK Nuclear Energy
- 13. ROK Anti-Terror Panel
- 14. Japan-Australia Energy Cooperation
- 15. Cross Strait Relations
- 16. Sino-Russian Energy Trade
- 17. Sino-Russian Relations
- 18. PRC-Vatican Relations
- 19. PRC Protest
- 20. PRC Internet Control
- 21. PRC Economy
- 22. PRC Anti-Corruption Drive
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. Russia, PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
The Associated Press (“RUSSIA, CHINA JOIN PRESSURE ON NORTH KOREA TO TALK”, Moscow, 2009/06/17) reported that Russia and the PRC expressed serious concern about tension on the Korean peninsula and, in the face of the DPRK’s rhetoric, joined international pressure for it to return to nuclear talks. A joint statement summing up talks between the Russian and PRC leaders at the Kremlin said they “expressed serious concern in connection with the situation on the Korean peninsula ,” and underscored the need for a peaceful resolution of the tension. Hu and Medvedev called for the “swiftest renewal” of the talks involving their countries as well as the DPRK and ROK , Japan and the US, which broke down months ago.
2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Korea Herald (“P.M. STILL IN SUPPORT OF 6-PARTY TALKS”, 2009/06/16) reported that the ROK’s prime minister yesterday expressed concern over the DPRK’s nuclear ambitions, but emphasized the continued role of six-party talks in disarming the DPRK. “The implications of North Korea’s nuclear test are not confined to the Korean Peninsula alone,” Prime Minister Han Seung-soo said in opening remarks at the special meeting of the Council of Presidents of the General Assembly of the United Nations in Seoul. “It is raising tension in Northeast Asia and across the globe.”
3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
The Associated Press (“US SAYS IT WILL NOT ACCEPT NKOREA AS NUCLEAR STATE”, 2009/06/17) reported that in Washington, President Barack Obama said the US is more than willing to negotiate with the DPRK to bring peace on the Korean peninsula . “But belligerent, provocative behavior that threatens neighbors will be met with significant and serious enforcement of sanctions that are in place,” he said. Sounding the same theme at the Vienna meeting, chief U.S. delegate Geoffrey Pyatt excoriated the North for abandoning the six party negotiations. “We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state ,” Pyatt declared, in comments distributed to reporters. “We believe it is in North Korea’s own best interests to return to serious negotiations.”
4. US-DPRK Relations
The Associated Press (“N. KOREA WARNS U.S. OF MILITARY RETALIATION”, Seoul, 2009/06/17) reported that the DPRK warned of a “thousand-fold” military retaliation against the US and its allies if provoked, the latest threat in a drumbeat of rhetoric in defense of its rogue nuclear program. “If the U.S. and its followers infringe upon our republic’s sovereignty even a bit, our military and people will launch a one hundred- or one thousand-fold retaliation with merciless military strike,” the government-run Minju Joson newspaper said in a commentary. “The nuclear program is not the monopoly of the U.S.,” it said.
5. DPRK Missile Program
Bloomberg News (“KAWAMURA SAYS NORTH KOREA MAY LAUNCH MORE MISSILES”, 2009/06/17) reported that Japan said the DPRK may be planning to launch another missile, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama called the DPRK’s recent actions a “grave threat” to international security. “The government thinks it is undeniable that North Korea may carry out more missile launches,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said today in Tokyo. “We view this with grave concern and are collecting and analyzing information.” Japan hasn’t decided whether it would attempt to intercept a missile launch, he said.
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN MISSILE TRAIN ON THE MOVE”, 2009/06/17) reported that a special DPRK train which transported a long-range rocket or intercontinental ballistic missile to a launch site in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province in May recently moved from a missile research center in Sanum-dong, Pyongyang to another launch site in Musudan-ri, North Hamgyong Province, a ROK government source said. ROK and U.S. authorities believe the DPRK may have transported a second intercontinental missile to the launch site. Seoul and Washington are wondering whether the DPRK will launch two long-range missiles from both launch sites at the same time or whether the train is just a smokescreen to confuse watchers.
Yomiuri Shimbun (“DPRK ‘MAY LAUNCH MISSILE TOWARD HAWAII'”, Tokyo, 2009/06/17) reported that a long-range ballistic missile the DPRK is believed to have been preparing to launch from its Tongchang-ri facility highly likely will be launched toward Hawaii, which would take it over Aomori Prefecture, according to analysis by the Japanese Defense Ministry. Sources said the ministry also believes such a launch will be made as soon as early next month. A launch toward Okinawa Prefecture and Guam also seen a possibility. If it took the Okinawan path, when the first-stage booster detaches it could fall in the vicinity of a PRC coastal area and might anger the PRC. In the case of the Guam path, the missile must overfly the ROK and Japan’s Chugoku and Shikoku regions, which means the booster would be dumped onto a land area. Therefore, the ministry sees both possibilities as quite low, according to the sources.
6. Sino-DPRK Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“CHINA’S INFLUENCE OVER N.KOREA ‘LIMITED'”, 2009/06/23) reported that the PRC and DPRK are no longer in a close military alliance, and Beijing has only limited influence on the DPRK in the nuclear issue, PRC experts say. Yang Wenchang, president of the PRC People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs and a former minister said, “Many people wonder why China does not exercise influence over North Korea. But history is only history. There has been a big change, and China’s influence over North Korea is inevitably limited.” Yan Xuetong, director of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University, said, “Since North Korea is a country capable of making any kind of dangerous choice, we must maintain three principles — the North and the U.S. should hold dialogue in the long term; inter-Korean relations should be improved; and the North should be included in multilateral talks.”
7. Japan on DPRK Interdiction
The Asahi Shimbun (“JAPAN TO OFFER REAR-ECHELON SUPPORT FOR INSPECTIONS OF VESSELS BOUND FOR NORTH KOREA”, 2009/06/17) reported that Japan will refuel warships and transport personnel of foreign military forces inspecting vessels bound for the DPRK, but Tokyo’s support will not include weapons use, according to a draft bill. Japan’s rear-echelon support will take place in Japanese territorial waters or in open seas surrounding Japan, the draft showed. The draft also stipulates that the Japan Coast Guard or Self-Defense Forces can inspect cargo based on the judgment of the prime minister.
8. DPRK Economy
Agence France-Presse (“NKOREA EMPTIES FOREIGN ACCOUNTS: REPORT”, 2009/06/17) reported that the DPRK is rushing to withdraw money from its overseas bank accounts after the United Nations imposed financial and other sanctions for its nuclear test, a report said. The ROK’s Dong-A Ilbo newspaper, quoting sources in Beijing, said the DPRK had begun withdrawing funds from accounts in Macau and elsewhere for fear they would be frozen. The paper said funds were being pulled out of almost all the DPRK’s foreign accounts held either by individuals or trading firms. It gave no details.
9. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
Korea Times (“SOUTH CAN’T ACCEPT PAY HIKE FOR GAESEONG WORKERS”, 2009/06/17) reported that w ith a couple of days to go before inter-Korean government talks, President Lee Myung-bak said that the ROK cannot accept the DPRK’s “unacceptable demands” regarding the operation of a joint industrial complex in the DPRK. The Ministry of Unification supported his remarks, saying undue demands were not helpful for the development of the Gaeseong complex. “We urge North Korea not to make any unacceptable demands because we really do not know what will happen if they keep on this path,” he added.
Chosun Ilbo (“S.KOREAN FIRM PACKS UP AT KAESONG”, ) reported that the first ROK firm shut up shop at the Kaesong Industrial Complex at a time of crisis for the inter-Korean project after exorbitant demands by the DPRK for more money. Apparel maker Skinnet began removing equipment which DPRK employees had used at the industrial park to its plant in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, 15 km across the military demarcation line. All ROK staff will leave the industrial park on Wednesday after the company pays DPRK staff US$9,400 for June and $6,700 severance.
10. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (“S. KOREAN CIVIC GROUP TO SEND MEDICINE TO N. KOREAN CHILDREN “, Seoul , 2009/06/17) reported that a ROK civic group said it plans to send medicine to the DPRK as part of its program to help children and expectant mothers in the impoverished country. The Seoul-based Medical Aid for Children said the shipment, valued at around 300 million won (US$238,000), will be sent on Saturday, and be used by a hospital that opened in Pyongyang in late April.
11. Russo-DPRK Relations
Itar-Tass (“DIESEL FUEL SPILLS FROM N KOREA’S VESSEL IN VLADIVOSTOK”, Vladivostok, 2009/06/17) reported that the diesel fuel spilled from the DPRK’s Nam San 5 vessel at the port of Vladivostok early on Wednesday, Russia’s state maritime rescue service said. The spill occurred at 5:50 local time. At present, it is being specified how much fuel leaked into the sea. Rescue teams began to eliminate contamination. According to preliminary information, the crew was to blame for the spill.
12. ROK Nuclear Energy
KBS News (“GNP ADVOCATES REPROCESSING FOR PEACEFUL PURPOSES”, 2009/06/17) reported that the ruling Grand National Party’s chief policy-maker says the nation should have the right to reprocess nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes. Representative Kim Sung-joh told a radio program Tuesday that his party supports the reprocessing of spent fuel rods for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. He added that countries worldwide have been using nuclear energy as an inexpensive quality power source for years because it causes less environmental damage than conventional energy sources.
13. ROK Anti-Terror Panel
Yonhap News (“AFTER TRAGEDY IN YEMEN, S. KOREA CONSIDERS SETTING UP ANTI-TERRORISM PANEL”, Seoul, 2009/06/17) reported that the ROK is moving to set up an anti-terrorism panel, parliamentary sources here said, following several attacks on ROK nationals in Yemen. The panel would be charged with maintaining open communication lines with foreign governments and Seoul’s diplomatic missions abroad, along with devising ways to reduce risks to travelers.
14. Japan-Australia Energy Cooperation
Bloomberg News (Shigeru Sato and Yuji Okada, “JAPAN MAY OFFER FINANCING FOR AUSTRALIAN CLEAN COAL PROJECT”, 2009/06/17) reported that Japan may provide financing for the construction of an Australian power plant to buy so-called clean-coal technology from a Japanese manufacturer, the trade ministry said. The possible financing is part of a larger plan to offer loans to power producers in the U.S. and Australia that buy clean coal generators from Japan, a senior trade ministry official involved in drafting the plan said on condition of anonymity. The funding could help drive sales of the plants, costing about $3.1 billion apiece, as part of efforts to benefit from growing demand for less-polluting generators, he said.
15. Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN’S MA DENIES CHINA REUNIFICATION DRIFT”, Taipei, 2009/06/17) reported that a spokesman for Taiwan ‘s PRC-friendly president Ma Ying-jeou dismissed suggestions that the island was drifting towards reunification with the mainland. Wang Yu-chi said the president believed in maintaining “the status quo ” under which the two territories are ruled separately, unless a majority of islanders vote for change. The spokesman’s comments came after Ma was quoted in a recent interview with Taipei -based CommonWealth magazine as saying he would not “rule out” the pursuit of a unified China.
16. Sino-Russian Energy Trade
Xinhua News (“CHINA AND RUSSIA BROADEN ENERGY COOPERATION”, 2009/06/17) reported that the PRC and Russia signed a series of new agreements to broaden their collaborations in trade, investment and mining, including the framework on $700 million loan between Export-Import Bank of China and Russian Bank of Foreign Trade. Memorandums on bilateral gas and coal cooperation are likely to lead the two countries’ energy links to cover all the main sectors, from coal, oil, electricity, gas to nuclear power. During his meeting with Medvedev, Hu said he believed the broadened energy cooperation, especially in the sphere of renewable and new energy, would become new engines to drive the two countries’ strategic partnership of cooperation.
17. Sino-Russian Relations
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA’S HU PRAISES RUSSIA TIES AT PUTIN MEETING”, Novo-Ogarevo, 2009/06/17) reported that PRC President Hu Jintao said that relations with Moscow would always be a “priority” for Beijing , at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin . ” China will always look at its relations with Russia as a priority of its foreign policy,” Hu said in opening remarks at the meeting at Putin’s residence outside Moscow. “In the midst of the global financial crisis , we are actively developing relations in every sphere. In this way we have reached a new level,” he said, speaking through a translator.
18. PRC-Vatican Relations
Associated Press (Nicole Winfield, “VATICAN CHINA ENVOY TO GET TOUGH WITH BEIJING”, Vatican City, 2009/06/16) reported that The Vatican’s top envoy for the PRC says the time has come for the Holy See to get tough with Beijing and not compromise over religious freedom, saying relations are taking a “worrisome slide” for the worse. Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen also said the Vatican shouldn’t give so much importance to re-establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing because such a move could trick people into thinking there is religious freedom in the PRC when there isn’t.
19. PRC Protest
BBC News (“NEW TAX PLAN SPARKS CHINA PROTEST”, 2009/01/16) reported that protesters in the south-eastern PRC city of Nankang have overturned police cars and blocked roads over plans to more strictly enforce payment of taxes. Officials in Nankang said several hundred protesters blocked a major road while others delivered a petition to a local government office. Video posted on the internet showed several overturned police cars and large crowds on a main street. Nankang officials blamed the protest on a misunderstanding over the tax plan.
20. PRC Internet Control
The Financial Times (“BEIJING TO HIRE ARMY OF INTERNET CENSORS “, 2009/06/17) reported that the city of Beijing is planning to hire thousands of internet censors in a fresh sign of the authorities’ attempts to tighten their grip on cyberspace. The city will seek to employ at least 10,000 “internet volunteers” before the end of this year to monitor “harmful” websites and content, said an official at the municipal authority’s information office.
21. PRC Economy
The Financial Times (Jamil Anderlini, “‘BUY CHINA’ POLICY SET TO RAISE TENSIONS”, 2009/06/17) reported that the PRC has introduced an explicit “Buy Chinese” policy as part of its economic stimulus programme in a move that will amplify tensions with trade partners and increase the likelihood of protectionism around the world. In an edict released jointly by nine government departments, Beijing said government procurement must use only PRC products or services unless they were not available The government also said it was launching an investigation in response to complaints from domestic industry associations which accuse local governments of favouring foreign suppliers in procurement related to the country’s economic stimulus package.
22. PRC Anti-Corruption Drive
The Associated Press (“CHINA FIRES TOP OFFICIAL FOR KEY INDUSTRIAL ZONE”, Beijing, 2009/06/17) reported that the Communist Party official responsible for a key industrial zone in northern PRC has been fired and expelled from the party over graft allegations, state media reported Wednesday. Pi Qiansheng had been the subject of an investigation prior to his firing for “serious discipline violations,” the official Xinhua News Agency said, using the party’s standard term for corruption. Expulsion from the party indicates that the internal probe carried out by the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has been completed and the case forwarded to the courts for prosecution.
II. PRC Report
23. PRC Energy Use
Beijing Times (Liao Ailing, “TEN THOUSAND ENERGY-SAVING BULBS DISPENSED FREELY”, 2009/06/17) reported that recently Beijing Consumer’s Association has launched an activity of “Energy-Saving Bulbs into Community”. In the next two months, the Association will enter into 8 communities to dispense free bulbs and correct errors of the public on energy saving.
24. PRC Civil Society
Sichuan Daily (Song Kaiwen, “HONGKONG ENTERPRISES SUPPORTS POST DISASTER RECONSTRUCTION”, 2009/06/17) reported that Generation 2000 Limited from Hong Kong has taken 5000 educational books for children and a project named “Love, Paint the Wish” to Chengdu city of Sichuan province. The Project planes to give training to affected families, and let them express their inner voices after experiencing the earthquake by painting. The paintings will be collected and printed on T shirt for sailing by G 2000. All the sailing incomes except the necessary administrative costs will be used on improvement of people’s life in disaster areas.
China News Net (“CHINA FIRST HOMOSEXUAL CELEBRATION CLOSED IN SHANGHAI”, 2009/06/17) reported that the PRC’s first homosexual celebration came to an end in Shanghai recently. During the activity, participants spontaneously donated to Hong Kong Zhixing Foundation, a NGO serving for homosexuals, with a total raised fund of over 150,000 yuan. According to PRC expert, there are about 30 million homosexuals aged between 15 and 60 currently.
III. ROK Report
25. US-ROK Summit
Ohmynews (Cheong Wook-shik, “ROK-US ALLIANCE JOINT VISION — BACK TO COLD WAR?”, 2009/06/17) said in a column that taking a close look at the content of the ROK-US summit talks, we can find that there is no significant difference between the joint statements adopted during the Roh Administration, and the one adopted by President Lee and Obama. However, two issues have been eliminated during the talks this time. ‘Peace establishment on Korean peninsula’, and the word ‘six-party talks’ were not mentioned at all. Two issues are added on the other hand. One thing is the first official remark about “the nuclear umbrella’” made during the ROK-US summit level. Another thing is the newly added idea of peaceful unification of the two Koreas based upon the principles of liberal democracy and market economy. This idea can be interpreted as “absorbing” the DPRK by the ROK. It is seriously concerning that such a statement is added on the joint vision of the ROK-US alliance, since it may cause the DPRK’s strong objection.
Chosun Ilbo (“ROK AND KOREAN PRESIDENTS SAY ‘EXISTING METHOD WON’T SOLVE DPRK’S NUCLEAR, MISSILE ISSUE'”, 2009/06/17) reported that at the summit meeting, Lee and Obama agreed that “the previous practice of rewarding DPRK’s bad behavior would no longer be acceptable,” and that “improper behavior will lead to consequences.” In other words, there will be no more temporary expedients. The problem is how the two countries will achieve this goal. The two leaders reaffirmed existing military agreements, reflecting Washington’s view that the ROK should handle the bulk of the duties when it comes to military operations on the Korean peninsula. The ROK government must pay close attention to the US position and make sure it is fully prepared to defend itself.
26. ROK on US-DPRK Talks
Chosun Ilbo (“ROK SHOULD PREPARE FOR DPRK SANCTIONS AS WELL AS NEGOTIATION”, 2009/06/18) said in a column that concerning the DPRK’s implicit dependence on the US, the negotiation between the DPRK and the US is inevitable. However, we must note that the US can change their attitude whenever it is needed to preserve their own benefit. The US should not repeat their mistake in the past when they were tricked by the DPRK’s strategy as a result of DPRK-US negotiation. Along with it, the only way the DPRK-US negotiation can have better results is for the ROK, US, PRC, Russia, and Japan to speak up in one voice to pressure the DPRK, so that they actually support DPRK-US negotiations. The ROK government should concentrate on preparing not only for the sanctions on the DPRK, but also a more sophisticated strategy that covers far more.
27. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Program
Joongang Ilbo (“DID ROK AND US LEADERS DISCUSS HOW TO MOVE CHINA?”, 2009/06/17) reported that President Lee suggested a 5-party talk, excluding DPRK, at the summit meeting, but China is still a problem. Therefore, the meeting should have focused on how to move China in order to maximize the effects of imposing sanctions on DPRK. We greatly hope that much discussion was done on this matter. Also, doors to communication should stay open whilst imposing sanctions, though this is time for DPRK to feel pain through sanctions rather than communicating. It is also of great importance that people recognize the ROK to take full control of preparing for emergencies that might occur during the process while other countries assist.