NAPSNet Daily Report 18 June, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. EU on Naval Ship Sinking
- 2. Turkey, France on Naval Ship Sinking
- 3. Japan, France on Naval Ship Sinking
- 4. US on Naval Ship Sinking
- 5. DPRK-US Relations
- 6. DPRK Food Security
- 7. DPRK Internet
- 8. DPRK Human Rights
- 9. Inter-Korean Naval Clashes
- 10. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
- 11. Korean Unification Costs
- 12. Inter-Korean Relations
- 13. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
- 14. DPRK World Cup
- 15. ROK-Russia Relations
- 16. ROK Defense
- 17. Japan Afghanistan Aid
- 18. Japan Whaling Issue
- 19. Japan Nuclear Energy
- 20. Sino-Pakistan Nuclear Cooperation
- 21. Sino-US Relations
- 22. PRC Unrest
- 23. Hong Kong Politics
- II. PRC Report
1. EU on Naval Ship Sinking
Yonhap News (“EU CALLS ON CHINA, RUSSIA TO JOIN EFFORTS TO REBUKE N. KOREA”, 2010/06/17) reported that the European Parliament passed an anti-DPRK resolution Thursday, urging the PRC and Russia to join international efforts to rebuke the DPRK at the U.N. Security Council for torpedoing a ROK warship. In the resolution, the parliamentary institution of the European Union accused the DPRK of sinking the 1,200-ton Cheonan on March 26 with the loss of 46 lives, calling the attack a “provocative act against peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.”
2. Turkey, France on Naval Ship Sinking
Yonhap News (“TURKEY, FRANCE CALL FOR PROMPT SANCTIONS ON N. KOREA FOR NAVAL “, 2010/06/17) reported that Turkey and France, members of the U.N. Security Council, proposed immediate sanctions on the DPRK for its naval attack on a ROK warship in March that killed 46 sailors, a top military officer said Thursday after a trip to the U.N. to brief the Council. “After being briefed on the probe results by a joint investigation team at the U.N. Security Council, Turkey and France said the report is perfect and proposed the start of a process for sanctioning (North Korea),” Gen. Park Jung-yi told President Lee Myung-bak, according to Lee’s chief spokesman.
3. Japan, France on Naval Ship Sinking
Kyodo News (“JAPAN, FRANCE AGREE TO COOPERATE OVER S. KOREAN SHIP, AFGHANISTAN”, 2010/06/17) reported that Japan and France agreed Thursday to cooperate in censuring the DPRK at the United Nations over the fatal sinking of a ROK warship and to work together to help rebuild Afghanistan, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Thursday. Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner agreed during their 15-minute telephone talks that Pyongyang should be held accountable for the sinking of the ROK vessel in March at the U.N. Security Council. Okada said the DPRK’s act was “unforgivable” as it threatened regional peace and stability and that Japan “strongly supports” the ROK over the incident.
4. US on Naval Ship Sinking
United Press International (“ENVOY SEEKS STRONG MESSAGE FOR N. KOREA”, 2010/06/17) reported that a U.S. diplomat in Seoul called on the international community Thursday to take a “strong stance” against the DPRK for the sinking of a ROK warship. Kurt Campbell, an assistant secretary of state, wrapped up two days of talks with ROK officials by telling reporters the deadly March 26 sinking of the Cheonan in the Yellow Sea was an unacceptable provocation, Yonhap reported. “We feel strongly that the international community must take a strong stance in the face of these provocations,” Campbell said, adding a “very clear message” is necessary to make Pyongyang know “how unacceptable this sort of provocation is.”
Korea Times (“CAMPBELL SAYS KOREA, US FIRM ON CHEONAN”, 2010/06/17) reported that a senior U.S. official rejected Thursday the observation that the ROK is backing off from its position on the Cheonan incident at the U.N. Security Council (UNSC). Kurt Campbell, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs said he didn’t see any sign of Seoul wavering over its response to the maritime incident in March.
5. DPRK-US Relations
Arirang News (“CIA: US PLANNED NUCLEAR STRIKE AGAINST N. KOREA’S AGGRESSION”, 2010/06/17) reported that the United States is reported to have been planning to launch a nuclear strike against the DPRK’s military facilities, as well as parts of the PRC close to the border, in case the DPRK attacks the ROK again after the Korean War. The US Central Intelligence Agency in a declassified document from 1954 revealed that Washington had a number of nuclear targets in mind including the DPRK’s military bases and the PRC’s border towns of Jilin, Qingdao, Shenyang and Tianjin. The report went further to list feint operations such as blocking the PRC’s shorelines and an attack on the PRC by Taiwanese forces.
6. DPRK Food Security
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (“DPRK ABANDONS FOOD RATIONS, ORDERS SELF-SUFFICIENCY “, 2010/06/17) reported that as the DPRK’s food shortages worsen and reports of starvation continue to grow, the Workers’ Party of Korea have acknowledged the failure of the central food ration program. Since the end of May, the Party has permitted the operation of 24-hour markets, and the regime has ordered the people of the DPRK to provide for themselves. According to Good Friends, the Workers’ Party organization and guidance bureau handed down an order on May 26 titled ‘Relating to Korea’s Current Food Situation’ recognizing that the food shortages in the DPRK have continued to worsen over the last six months acknowledged the difficulty of providing government food rations. It calls on the Party, Cabinet, security forces and other relevant government agencies to come up with necessary countermeasures.
7. DPRK Internet
International Data Group News Service (“NORTH KOREA MOVES QUIETLY ONTO THE INTERNET”, 2010/06/17) reported that in the past few months, a block of 1,024 Internet addresses, reserved for many years for the DPRK but never touched, has been registered to a company with links to the government in Pyongyang. It is unclear how the country’s secretive leadership plans to make use of the addresses. It seems likely they will be assigned for military or government use, but experts say it is impossible to know for sure.
8. DPRK Human Rights
Korea Herald (“INDONESIAN CHOSEN AS U.N. ENVOY ON N.K. HUMAN RIGHTS”, 2010/06/17) reported that a former Indonesian attorney general will be the next U.N. special rapporteur on DPRK human rights, multiple diplomatic sources said Thursday. Marzuki Darusman will succeed Vitit Muntarbhorn, as the U.N. envoy on the DPRK’s human rights situation. “Darusman is widely recognized by the U.N. human rights council for his wealth of experience in human rights activism,” one source said. The DPRK refuses to recognize the position, calling it an American scheme designed to undermine Pyongyang’s sovereignty. During his six years on the job, Muntarbhorn was never granted a visit to the DPRK.
9. Inter-Korean Naval Clashes
Reuters (“N.KOREA FISHING BOAT INCURSIONS ON THE RISE – SOUTH”, 2010/06/17) reported that intrusions by DPRK fishing boats across the disputed maritime boundary with the South in the Yellow Sea have increased since last year and the frequency has not dropped since the March sinking of a ROK warship, a defence ministry official said on Thursday. It was unclear if the violations were intentional, but some of the fishing boats were known to be operated by the DPRK military, the ROK’s Yonhap News quoted spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Park Sung-woo, as saying. “We’ve confirmed that the North Korean military is operating fishing vessels on the side, but we haven’t yet established whether those ships were equipped with heavy weapons,” Park said.
10. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
Yonhap News (“S. KOREAN FIRMS IN KAESONG TO ASK FOR EMERGENCY FUNDS”, 2010/06/17) reported that ROK companies at a joint industrial complex in the DPRK said Thursday they will ask their government to provide emergency funds, as business conditions worsened amid heightened cross-border tensions. As ROK companies at the joint complex report a sharp drop in orders, representatives of the ROK firms held a meeting and decided to ask their government to provide emergency funds and ease border restrictions.
11. Korean Unification Costs
Yonhap (“KOREAS FACING RISING REUNIFICATION COST DUE TO ECONOMIC, SOCIAL GAPS: OECD”, Seoul, 2010/06/18) reported that the widening inter-Korean economic and social gaps could eventually increase the cost of unification, a report compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed Friday. The report said the ROK’s economy is about 38 times larger than the the DPRK’s and 18 times larger on a per-capita basis as of the end of 2008. The DPRK’s total trade volume remains just 0.4 percent of the ROK’s, while production of electricity and steel stands at a mere 6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. “The large gap in income and health will boost the eventual cost of economic integration,” said the report. “The expansion of trade driven by private sector firms in the South, in line with the government’s strategy of limiting cooperation to projects that are economically viable and that do not overburden taxpayers in the South, provides the best hope for limiting the gap,” it added.
12. Inter-Korean Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“INCHEON MAYOR-ELECT PLEDGES TO RESUME INTER-KOREAN PROJECTS “, 2010/06/17) reported that Incheon mayor-elect Song Young-gil on Wednesday pledged to resume an inter-Korean exchange project that is on hold in the wake of the DPRK sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan. A spokesman for the mayor’s team said inter-Korean relations are at a nadir due to the Lee Myung-bak government, which “inherited former U.S. president George Bush’s failed hardline North Korea policy.” But the new mayor, from the opposition Democratic Party, “will take the initiative to turn the relationship into a forum for reconciliation and exchange.”
13. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
Donga Ilbo (“OPPOSITION KEEPS DOUBTING CHEONAN PROBE RESULTS”, 2010/06/17) reported that the leaders and members of the Democratic Party keep raising suspicions over the finding that the DPRK was responsible, saying they are unconvinced by the investigation results. Party lawmaker Choi Moon-soon spoke on a radio talk show Wednesday and raised a number of suspicions. He said the probability that the DPRK did it is like that of shooting five straight holes-in-one in golf.
JoongAng Ilbo (“GOV’T GOES AFTER CRITICAL CIVIC GROUP “, 2010/06/17) reported that Seoul prosecutors have started an investigation of the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy for breach of national security after the civic group sent a letter to the UN Security Council questioning the veracity of the government’s investigation into the cause of the sinking of the Cheonan. According to Seoul prosecutors, they are planning to summon Lee Tae-ho, a senior official at the PSPD who played a key role in the production of the letter, and Ko Gap-woo, another civic activist who played a role. “It will be hard to punish them if they merely expressed their own opinions as civic activists,” said one prosecutor who asked for anonymity. “But if they intentionally circulated false information, doing so can amount to defamation [against the investigators of the civilian-military joint investigative team].” The prosecutors said they would also look into whether the activists had any intention to “benefit anti-state organizations,” meaning they had an intention to aid the DPRK, or whether their actions disrupted the government’s diplomacy.
14. DPRK World Cup
Agence France-Presse (“FIFA DENIES NORTH KOREAN PLAYERS ARE MISSING”, Johannesburg, 2010/06/18) reported that football’s world governing body FIFA on Friday denied rumours that four DPRK players listed as no-shows for their World Cup match against Brazil have gone missing in South Africa. The official teamsheet for the the DPRK on Tuesday listed substitute goalkeeper Kim Myong-Won, An Chol-Hyok, Kim Kyong-Il and Pak Sung-Hyok as “absent”. “We have no information that the players may have disappeared,” a FIFA said. “Our liaison officer with North Korea hasn’t signalled anything to us.” The DPRK team is expected to hold a press conference in Johannesburg at 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) on Friday, ahead of their next match against Portugal in Cape Town on Monday. An official at the ROK embassy in Johannesburg said it had not picked up any out-of-the-ordinary movements regarding the DPRK squad.
15. ROK-Russia Relations
Korea Herald (“YU SEEKS RUSSIAN COOPERATION ON CHEONAN”, 2010/06/17) reported that Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan on Wednesday requested assistance from Russia in the U.N. Security Council’s discussions for handling the sinking of the Cheonan. In a phone call to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, Yu called for Russia to play a productive role, reminding Russia of its own strategic interests in peninsular affairs.
16. ROK Defense
Korea Times (“MILITARY URGED TO COLLABORATE WITH CIVILIANS “, 2010/06/17) reported that President Lee Myung-bak called on the military Thursday to have an open mind in working together with the civilian sector to find ways to improve its defense capabilities. “It was fishermen who found the wreckage of the sunken Navy vessel Cheonan and the debris of a North Korean torpedo that had hit the warship,” Lee said during a meeting with newly-appointed military commanders at Cheong Wa Dae. “The military should be open-minded in collaborating with civilians to provide better services.” Lee also pledged measures to enhance the country’s risk management system, said Lee Dong-kwan, senior presidential secretary for public relations.
Yonhap News (“SEOUL CITY HOLDS ‘MODERN-WAR SCENARIO’ CONTEST “, 2010/06/17) reported that the Seoul city government said Thursday it is holding a contest for best “modern-war scenarios” by its residents to “promote a public sense of security” as tensions mount, a move raising eyebrows of some civic activists. In a notice put up on its Web site, the city administration asked interested students, adults and public officials to send in their scenarios by June 30 on “what might happen in a modern war.” “We planned this contest to enhance a sense of security among citizens, adolescents and civil servants, and use suggestions in future Ulchi drills,” the notice said, referring to the annual ROK-U.S. military maneuver.
17. Japan Afghanistan Aid
Agence France Presse (“JAPAN PRESSES KARZAI FOR CLEAN GOVERNMENT”, 2010/06/17) reported that Japan pointedly reminded visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai Thursday of the need for better governance in his corruption-riddled nation as it confirmed its massive aid support. “Prime Minister Kan requested firm efforts, including those for good governance , in order to have tax of Japanese nationals effectively utilised,” according to a joint statement issued by the two leaders. Kan said at a joint press conference that he paid “sincere tribute” to Karzai’s efforts, adding: “I said I hope the five billion dollars will be used to the benefit of the Afghan people and to achieve global peace .”
18. Japan Whaling Issue
Agence France Presse (“PACIFIC NATIONS DENY SELLING JAPAN WHALING VOTES”, 2010/06/17) reported that Japan and Pacific nations the Marshall Islands and Kiribati have denied trading cash and favours for votes in support of Tokyo on whaling, ahead of a crunch meeting next week in Morocco. “It is a fact that Japan as a country never pays money to buy votes for the IWC,” said a Japanese Fisheries Agency official who declined to be named. Each country “makes their own decision” on how to vote at the IWC, he said. “There are many countries that support the sustainable use of whales. Japan’s aid for countries is provided regardless of their support for whaling.”
19. Japan Nuclear Energy
Kyodo News (“EMERGENCY SYSTEM NEARLY ACTIVATED AT FUKUSHIMA NUKE REACTOR “, 2010/06/17) reported that a reactor at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture automatically shut down Thursday after detecting abnormality and nearly activated the emergency core cooling system, the last line of keeping nuclear safety, its operator Tokyo electric Power Co. said.
Kyodo News (“TEST RUN OF SPENT FUEL REPROCESSING PLANT TO RESUME”, 2010/06/17) reported that Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. cleared the way for resuming the trial operation of its spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in northern Japan as it said Thursday it has finally retrieved a brick that fell into a facility for high-level radioactive waste. Japan Nuclear Fuel, which operates Japan’s sole commercial-basis reprocessing plant in the village of Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, said it aimed to complete the trial run in October, but that target will be difficult to meet as it has already delayed for six months, analysts said.
20. Sino-Pakistan Nuclear Cooperation
Sify News (“CHINA SAYS PAKISTAN NUCLEAR DEAL ‘PEACEFUL'”, 2010/06/17) reported that a spokesman for the PRC foreign ministry said its plan to provide Pakistan with two new reactors was in line with international obligations. China’s foreign ministry spokesman said: “I want to stress that the civilian nuclear co-operation between China and Pakistan is in line with each side’s international obligations. It is for peaceful purposes, and is under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” he told a news briefing in Beijing.
21. Sino-US Relations
BNO News (“CHINA URGES THE U.S. TO STOP SELLING WEAPONS TO TAIWAN”, 2010/06/17) reported that the PRC government on Thursday urged the United States to fulfill its commitment to stop selling weapons to Taiwan, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. “China has maintained a clear and persistent stance on opposing U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. The U.S. stance undermines China’s core interests,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. On Wednesday, U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein said that the weapon sales were hurting close ties with the PRC.
22. PRC Unrest
India Times (“CHINA MUST LIFT WORKERS’ INCOMES TO PROTECT STABILITY: STATE MEDIA”, 2010/06/17) reported that the PRC must lift the incomes of workers to protect stability and promote domestic spending, the country’s top official newspaper said on Thursday, adding to signs that Beijing is worried about discontented rural migrants. The People’s Daily, echoing comments by PRC Premier Wen Jiabao, said the time had come to narrow the gulf between rich and poor, which it said was stifling consumer demand. The “made-in-China” model is “facing a turning point,” said the newspaper. It urged improved conditions for the migrant workers whose cheap labour has powered the PRC’s export growth.
Asia News (“CHINA: BEIJING ORDERS POLICE TO “STRIKE HARD” TO QUELL SOCIAL TENSIONS”, 2010/06/17) reported that mainland police have been ordered to identify and resolve conflicts before they boil over, as part of a “strike hard” campaign aimed at social tensions blamed for a recent wave of violent crime. Some analysts believe the order was issued with the current wave of industrial strikes in mind. “China, during a process of social and economic transformation, is facing emerging social conflicts and new problems in social security,” Public Security Vice-Minister Zhang Xinfeng was quoted as saying. “Police at all levels must fully realise the complexity of the problem.”
Tamil News Network (“CHINA SEEKS PAK HELP TO DEAL WITH SEPARATISTS ON BORDER”, 2010/06/17) reported that the PRC on Thursday made it clear it is banking heavily on Pakistan’s support to fight the Uighur separatists in the border region of Xingjian. The two countries have devised an anti-terrorism program under which Pakistani security forces will push back Uighur fighters trying to cross the border to seek sanctuary in terrorist camps in Pakistan. PRC defense minister Liang Guanglie asked Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to enhance the involvement of the armed forces from the two sides in the fight against what is called the ‘East Turkistan Islamic movement’ by Uighurs seeking to create an independent nation.
23. Hong Kong Politics
Kyodo News (“H.K. LEADER DEBATES DEMOCRACY ADVOCATE ON POLITICAL REFORM PACKAGE”, 2010/06/17) reported that the leaders of Hong Kong and the territory’s pro-democracy Civic Party challenged each other Thursday in an hour-long debate organized by the government that has been campaigning for a controversial political reform proposal. This is the first time Chief Executive Donald Tsang invited a legislator to a debate, but he allowed no one from the public, and only a limited number of reporters, to attend. “The proposal would bring Hong Kong closer to universal suffrage,” Tsang said during the debate. “All I need is a few more votes (in Legislative Council ). If the proposal is vetoed again, Hong Kong will have to waste another five years waiting. The people can’t afford to lose another five years’ time.” The legislative council will vote on the new proposal next Wednesday.
II. PRC Report
24. PRC Environment
People’s Daily Online (“CHINA RELEASES PLAN ON DRINKING-WATER SOURCE PROTECTION”, 2010/06/17) reported that the Urban Drinking Water Sources Protection Plan (2008-2020), jointly issued by five ministries including the ministries of Environmental Protection and Health, will guide environmental-protection and pollution-control work at drinking-water source areas. Illegal buildings, drain outlets, dump sites and factories will be removed from such areas, according to the plan that was estimated to cost 58 billion yuan. Activities that may pollute the water in the protected areas, such as fish farming, swimming and fishing, will be banned.