NAPSNet Daily Report 18 November, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Leadership
- 2. DPRK Energy
- 3. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 4. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 5. Inter-Korean Relations
- 6. DPRK Construction
- 7. US-ROK Alliance
- 8. ROK Dirty Bomb Exercise
- 9. ROK Environment
- 10. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Refueling Mission
- 11. US-Japan Security Alliance
- 12. Japan Energy
- 13. Japan Economy
- 14. Japan Environment
- 15. Japan Whaling
- 16. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
- 17. US-Cross Strait Relations
- 18. PRC-US Energy Cooperation
- 19. PRC Climate Change
- 20. PRC Enviroment
- 21. Mongolia Nuclear Security
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Leadership
Dong-A Ilbo (“DPRK’S ELITE CIRCLE UNDERGOING MAJOR CHANGE”, 2008/11/18) reported that officials accompanying DPRK leader Kim Jong Il on his public appearances have changed, possibly indicating a major shift in Pyongyang’s elite circle. Considering the officials who accompanied Kim before he allegedly fell ill Aug. 14 and those who did so after he watched a soccer match Oct. 4, core members of the ruling Workers’ Party have apparently fallen out of favor with the Dear Leader. A DPRK expert said, “It remains to be seen whether the changes in North Korean officials accompanying Kim means a real change in political power.”
2. DPRK Energy
Reuters (Jack Kim , “BLACKOUTS MARK DPRK’S REAL POWER STRUGGLE”, Pyongyang, 2008/11/16) reported that while the world wonders if the DPRK is in the throes of a leadership crisis over Kim Jong-il’s suspected stroke, the real power struggle for ordinary people in the hermit state is coping with electricity shortages. The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a front-page feature article on Friday that workers at the Pyongyang power station were hard at work “in the battle to increase electric power production” under Kim’s guidance.
3. DPRK Nuclear Program
Agence France-Presse (“LATE DPRK LEADER BACKED NUKE-FREE WORLD: REPORT”, Seoul, 2008/11/16) reported that declassified PRC papers reveal DPRK’s late founding leader Kim Il-Sung expressed his desire for denuclearization just months before backing PRC’s atomic ambitions, a report said Sunday. Yonhap news agency, citing a PRC dossier from Beijing’s national archives, said Kim’s wish to rid the world of nuclear weapons was set out in a letter to then PRC Premier Zhou Enlai in 1964. “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has consistently maintained that nuclear weapons should be completely banned and nuclear weapons should be thoroughly destroyed,” Kim said in the letter, according to Yonhap. “The Korean people will stand shoulder to shoulder with the peace-loving people of the whole world for the realization of the complete ban and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.”
4. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Reuters (“ROK LIKELY TO PROVIDE NUCLEAR DEAL AID TO DPRK”, Seoul, 2008/11/16) reported that ROK is likely to provide aid agreed under a deal with DPRK despite differences in the DPRK’s nuclear verification process, ROK’s Yonhap News Agency reported on Sunday, citing a diplomatic source. “With consultations with respective countries, 3,000 tonnes of steel pipes is likely to be processed soon,” Yonhap quoted the source as saying.
5. Inter-Korean Relations
Agence France-Presse (“DPRK SNUBS ROK’S PROPOSAL FOR TALKS”, Seoul, 2008/11/15) reported that DPRK on Saturday rejected ROK’s proposal for talks as mere “wordplay” and insisted Seoul should first scrap military exercises. The proposal for dialogue is “nothing more than wordplay” to avoid responsibility for aggravating relations, Rodong Sinmun, the DPRK’s ruling party newspaper, said in a commentary. ROK should first stop its “provocative” war games, which aggravated inter-Korean relations and hurt “the mood of dialogue and peace,” it said.
Yonhap News Service (Lee Chi-dong, “ROK CALLS FOR DIALOGUE WITH DPRK ON SUSPENDED TOUR”, Seoul, 2008/11/17) reported that ROK expressed hopes Monday for the resumption of cross-border tours to Mount Geumgang. “If South and North Korea meet and have consultations, it will certainly produce a resolution that can be accepted by both sides, thus opening the way for the resumption of the tour to Mount Geumgang,” Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun said.
Yonhap News Service (“DPRK REJECTS PROPOSAL FOR INTER-KOREAN DIALOGUE AS “HYPOCRITICAL””, Seoul, 2008/11/17) reported that DPRK on Monday labeled as hypocritical ROK’s recent proposal for inter-Korean dialogue, claiming the proposal is nothing but an attempt to evade responsibility for the worsening relationship between the two Koreas.
Korea Herald (Jin Dae-woong, “N.K. REPEATS CALLS FOR SEOUL TO IMPLEMENT SUMMIT DEALS”, Seoul, 2008/11/17) reported that the DPRK Saturday reiterated its call for the ROK to implement two summit accords. “Here lies the road to the resumption of Mount Geumgang tourism and a restoration of the North-South relations,” the weekly paper Tongilsinbo said. “As long as the South Korean regime denies the declarations, and only pursues collaboration with foreign forces, neither the Geumgang tourism nor inter-Korean relations will go smooth,” it said.
Korea Times (Kim Sue-young, “SEOUL SEEKS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST NGOS SENDING LEAFLETS TO DPRK”, 2008/11/17) reported that the Ministry of Unification has sought to work out a legal measure to stop civic groups here from sending propaganda leaflets to DPRK, which has elevated tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang, a ministry official said Monday. “We have consistently called for civic organizations to refrain from this activity and are reviewing a range of ways,” ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun told reporters, refusing to elaborate.
6. DPRK Construction
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (“PYONGYANG REMODELLING UNDERWAY”, 2008/11/17) reported that the DPRK Central Broadcasters has reported that a city beautification project is underway in Pyongyang. Pyongyang insiders report that efforts getting underway in this anniversary year marking 60 years since the founding of the country are part of an effort to make Pyongyang a completely new city by 2012, when the DPRK will mark the 100th birthday of its eternal president, Kim Il Sung. Recently, ROK representatives from organizations providing aid to the DPRK have reported being surrounded by new construction of hotels and other buildings and the refurbishment of older buildings. The origin of the capital needed for these large-scale construction projects appears to indicate growing investment from foreign enterprises.
7. US-ROK Alliance
Korea Herald (Kim Ji-hyun, “JCS CHIEF TO CONTROL CFC PERSONNEL APPOINTMENTS”, Seoul, 2008/11/17) reported that the Chairman of the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff is expected to fully control the personnel appointments of the ROK troops in the Combined Forces Command, starting in December, military sources said Sunday. “The Defense Minister believes the (ROK side of the) CFC should be placed under the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, without ministry intervention in order to help a smooth transition and eventually place the JCS at the top of the new operational headquarters that will be formed after the combined command is gone,” said one military official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Korea Herald (Kim Ji-hyun, “S. KOREA READY TO TAKE LEAD: CFC HEAD”, Seoul, 2008/11/15) reported that Gen. Walter Sharp, head of the Combined Forces Command, said Friday that it is high time that the ROK military took charge of defending its nation. “As we proceed with operational wartime command transfer, we enter into an era when Korean people can be proud of not only their strong armed forces, but can also be proud of having the ultimate responsibility of their own defense,” Sharp said. “The transfer would strengthen, not weaken, the alliance,” he said. “The United States will remain in Korea as part of the military alliance and all U.S. resources will be available to support the alliance in the event Korea is threatened in any way.”
8. ROK Dirty Bomb Exercise
Asia Pulse (“SOUTH KOREA HOLDS FIRST ‘DIRTY BOMB’ ATTACK EXERCISE”, Seoul, 2008/11/18) reported that the ROK will hold its first “dirty bomb” attack exercise to assess the preparedness of its emergency response system, the government said. The exercise, planned for Tuesday at Jeju harbor on the country’s largest island, will involve the suppression of terrorists who have hijacked a ship, the simulated detonation of a radiological dispersal device (RDD), or dirty bomb, and emergency evacuation and decontamination efforts, the Ministry of Education, Science and technology said.
9. ROK Environment
PRNewswire (“ROK’S SONGDO INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DISTRICT SETS GLOBAL STANDARD AS ‘ECO-CITY'”, Boston, 2008/11/17) reported that new international standards are being set by Gale International in sustainable building design, systems engineering, and urban infrastructure and planning with Songdo International Business District (IBD), a new city currently under construction off Incheon, ROK, on the Yellow Sea. “Long-term sustainability and the minimization of the city’s carbon footprint have been considered in every design and engineering decision”, according to CEO Hynes. IBD was recently named a winner of the first annual Sustainable Cities Award from the Urban Land Institute, the only project in Asia so honored.
10. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Refueling Mission
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“DPJ TO BOYCOTT VOTE ON ANTITERROR LAW REVISION”, 2008/11/18) reported that the Democratic Party of Japan says it will boycott a vote on revising the new Antiterrorism Law to extend the nation’s refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, following fractious first talks between party leaders of the Liberal Democratic Party and the DPJ. The meeting between Prime Minister Taro Aso and his opposite number, Ichiro Ozawa, leader of the main opposition party, was held at the DPJ’s request.
11. US-Japan Security Alliance
Kyodo News (“U.S. NUCLEAR AIRCRAFT CARRIER OPEN TO MEDIA IN JOINT DRILL WITH MSDF”, Naha, 2008/11/18) reported that the U.S. Navy on Monday opened to the media U.S. nuclear- powered aircraft carrier George Washington, which participated in a joint drill off Okinawa with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force for the first time since its deployment to Japan in September. The joint drill, conducted in the waters several hundred kilometers south of Okinawa, started on Thursday last week and will continue until Wednesday.
12. Japan Energy
Reuters (Risa Maeda, “FRAGMENTED JAPAN POWER GRIDS NEED TO INTEGRATE-IEA”, Tokyo, 2008/11/14) reported that Japan could cut more greenhouse gas emissions if local electricity grids were better integrated to absorb the volatility of higher supply from renewable energy, Nobuo Tanaka, head of the International Energy Agency said on Friday. Consolidating fragmented grid networks into a single and more and more powerful one would help the Japan to catch up with its peers in the fight against global warming, he said. Tanaka also said Japan needs a scheme which encourages utilities to improve energy efficiency.
13. Japan Economy
Associated Press (“JAPAN SAYS ITS ECONOMY IS IN RECESSION”, 2008/11/17) reported that Japan’s economy slid into a recession for the first time since 2001, the government said today, as companies sharply cut back on spending in the third quarter amid the unfolding global financial crisis. The world’s second-largest economy contracted at an annual pace of 0.4% in the July-September period after declining an annualized 3.7% in the second quarter.
14. Japan Environment
Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT TO TACKLE NATION’S COASTAL GARBAGE”, 2008/11/17) reported that the Environment Ministry intends to destroy mountains of garbage that have drifted up onto the nation’s beaches. According to a survey conducted by the Toyama-based Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Center, about 150,000 tons of garbage washes up on Japanese beaches each year, with an estimated 6 percent thought to originate from overseas. One area likely to benefit from the measure is Tsushima, a set of islands in Nagasaki Prefecture, where more than half the garbage sullying its shorelines started life in PRC and ROK.
15. Japan Whaling
Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “GREENPEACE: JAPANESE WHALERS LEAVE FOR ANNUAL HUNT”, Tokyo, 2008/11/17) reported that the mother ship in Japan’s whaling fleet left Monday for the country’s annual hunt in the Antarctic, the environmental group Greenpeace said, as anti-whaling activists vowed to disrupt the expedition once again after high-seas clashes forced an early halt last year. Officials say there will be no changes to their hunting plans despite international protests and slumping demand for whale meat at home.
16. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
Asahi Shimbun (“GROUP BEGINS TOUR OF DISPUTED ISLANDS”, Nemuro, Hokkaido, 2008/11/17) reported that a Japanese fishing cooperative has started providing pleasure cruises offering a glimpse of the Northern Territories/Kuril Islands. The two-hour tour takes participants to within about two kilometers of a lighthouse on Kaigarajima in the Habomai islets. The islet is the closest of the area seized by the former Soviet Union at the end of World War II.
17. US-Cross Strait Relations
Financial Times (” BEIJING UPS PRESSURE ON US OVER TAIWAN ARMS DEAL”, 2008/11/17) reported that PRC’s Defense Ministry hardened its line over US plans to sell US $6 billion worth of advanced weapons to Taiwan. “We demand the US change its ways, cancel its plans to sell weapons to Taiwan and stop its exchanges with the Taiwanese military.” Qian said PRC had cancelled some mutual visits and other exchanges with US defense counterparts, but declined to give further details.
18. PRC-US Energy Cooperation
Xinhua News Service (“CHINA, U.S. TO COLLABORATE ON SOLAR ENERGY TECHNOLOGY”, Beijing, 2008/11/17) reported that PRC and the United States have agreed to work together on research into advanced solar energy technologies. The Institute of Electrical Engineering (IEE) under the PRC Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which is affiliated with the Department of Energy, signed a memorandum of understanding over the weekend. Under the pact, they’ll share research on photovoltaic (PV) power generation technologies. One facet of collaboration, IEE director Xiao Liye said, will be a sophisticated PV cell and module test center, probably in Beijing. The program also includes research data sharing, personnel exchanges and battery-related efforts, Xiao said.
19. PRC Climate Change
Mcclatchy Newspapers (Tim Johnson, “SOME SEE OPPORTUNITY IN PRC’S COALFIELD FIRES”, Beijing, 2008/11/16) reported that the burning Shuixi Gou coalfield in far western PRC is terrible for the environment, belching smoke and noxious gases. Some experts look at the fire, however, and see hope for progress against global warming. A PRC company, Xinjiang Huayu Industry & Trade, which applied last December to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change for the rights to trade in carbon credits in exchange for extinguishing the Shuixi Gou blaze. U.N. experts are hashing out the problems with measuring carbon emissions that bedevil putting a price tag on fighting coal fires.
20. PRC Enviroment
China Tech News (“AQSIQ: PRODUCTS NOT MEETING ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARD MUST NOT BE PRODUCED OR SOLD IN PRC”, 2008/11/17) reported that the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of PRC disclosed that from March 1, 2009, six categories of products must be affixed with an energy efficiency logo and those that do not meet the relevant energy efficiency standard must not be produced, sold or imported into PRC. Since March 1, 2005, more than 800 enterprises have registered to adopt the logo for over 50,000 types of products.
21. Mongolia Nuclear Security
NNSA (“NNSA ACHIEVES FIRST MAJOR MILESTONE IN PROJECT TO PREVENT NUCLEAR SMUGGLING IN MONGOLIA”, Washington, 2008/11/18) reported that this week, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), in cooperation with the Mongolian State Specialized Inspection Agency, commissioned the first five sites on the Mongolian border that have been outfitted with radiation detection equipment, designed to detect illicit smuggling of nuclear and radiological materials. “Mongolia and the United States are working closely together to stop the smuggling of nuclear and radiological materials. This partnership plays a critical role in the global fight against illicit trafficking and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” said Assistant Deputy Administrator for International Material Protection and Cooperation David Huizenga.
II. PRC Report
22. PRC Civil Society and the Environment
Souhu.com (“ENVIRONMENTAL NGOS SUGGEST BEIJING TO CHANGE RATS ERADICATION METHOD”, ) reported that after a one-year observation and research on Beijing’s rats eradication, Friends of Nature, Global Village of Beijing, Green Earth Volunteers and many other environmental NGOs found that the current extensive eradication of rats in Beijing needs to be improved. Otherwise, it not only wastes public funds, but also hurts other animals in the city such as birds, cats and dogs, as the raticide is easily found and eaten by them in public places.
23. PRC Civil Society
China Civil Organizations Network (Lin Weili, “CHINA HOLDS THE FIRST “CHINA AND FOREIGN NGOS FORUM””, 2008/11/14) reported that 160 representatives from the governments and NGOs of 33 countries came to Fuzhou of Fujian province, to participate in the first “China and Foreign NGOs Forum”. This is the largest-scale forum that China has held for the capacity building of NGOs in developing countries. During this forum, Chinese NGOs will fully explain modern China to the developing countries, especially the role of PRC NGOs in the Sichuan earthquake disaster relief and post-disaster reconstruction.
24. PRC Urban Planning
Xinhua News (“ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING OF CHINA URBAN PLANNING ASSOCIATION HOLDS IN NANJING”, 2008/11/14) reported that the third annual general assembly meeting of the China Urban Planning Association was held in Nanjing of Jiangsu province on Nov.15. Vice-governor He Quan said at the opening ceremony that in recent years, Jiangsu province has worked to put urban-rural planning on an important position in order to rationally allocate resource, control economic development, and safeguard public interests. He required the urban-rural planning of Jiangsu province should learn good experiences from other provinces and further enhance the communication and cooperation with other provinces.