NAPSNet Daily Report 18 November, 2009

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 18 November, 2009", NAPSNet Daily Report, November 18, 2009,

NAPSNet Daily Report 18 November, 2009

Contents in this Issue:

Preceding NAPSNet Report



1. Pirate Attack on DPRK Vessel

The Associated Press (“SOMALI PIRATES HIJACK SHIP, 28 NORTH KOREAN CREW”, Nairobi, 2009/11/17) reported that pirates off the coast of Somalia have attacked two vessels, and at least one of those has been captured. The European Union ‘s anti-piracy force says pirates hijacked a chemical tanker on Monday named the MV Theresa with 28 North Koreans on board. 

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2. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks

Reuters (“CHINA WOULD WELCOME MEETING BETWEEN U.S. AND NORTH KOREA”, 2009/11/17) reported that the PRC’s Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei said on Tuesday that Beijing expects the United States to hold a bilateral meeting soon with the DPRK and said his government would welcome such a move. “I expect that North Korea and the United States will soon hold talks, and from our perspective we encourage this,” He told a news conference.

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3. Sino-DPRK Relations

Yonghap News Agency (Sam Kim, “N. KOREA SENDS MILITARY DELEGATION TO CHINA DURING OBAMA VISIT”, Seoul, 2009/11/17) reported that the DPRK said it sent a military delegation to PRC on Tuesday, as US President Barack Obama agreed with his PRC counterpart in Beijing to step up cooperation in persuading Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program. The delegation led by Gen. Kim Jong-gak departed from the DPRK capital for PRC, the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency reported in a single-paragraph dispatch, monitored in Seoul. Kim, 63, is first vice director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army.

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4. DPRK on ROK-US Security Alliance

Yonhap News (Sam Kim, “N. KOREA PRESSURES EVOLVING S. KOREA-U.S. MILITARY TIES: U.S. GENERAL”, Seoul, 2009/11/17) reported that DPRK’s belligerence mounts pressure on ROK and the United States as the allies move forward on the scheduled transition of their military partnership, a senior U.S. commander said. Lt. Gen. Joseph Fil Jr., Chief of Staff for the U.S. Forces Korea, said DPRK’s defiant moves, including its May nuclear test, adds to pressure on the allies tasked with the transition.

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5. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation

Yonhap (Kim Hyun, “S. KOREA RULES OUT IMMINENT RESUMPTION OF NORTH KOREA TOUR”, Seoul, 2009/11/18) reported that the ROK reasserted Wednesday that it has no intention yet of reopening the Mt. Kumgang tour.  “At an appropriate time and when the climate of inter-Korean relations and other conditions are ripe, I believe there will naturally be consultations between the South and the North over the issue,” ROK Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said in a press briefing.

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6. ROK on DPRK Environment

Yonhap News (“LEE ORDERS CABINET TO STUDY FORESTATION OF N. KOREA: OFFICIALS”, Seoul, 2009/11/17) reported that President Lee Myung-bak instructed his Cabinet to study the forestation of the DPRK and its impact on the entire Korean Peninsula, according to sources at the presidential office. Referring to ROK steelmaker POSCO’s forestation project in Uruguay, Lee was quoted by the sources as saying,”POSCO is planting trees in South America. But might North Korea be a better place (for the project)? It is closer and has little trees.” The president ordered his Cabinet to analyze the DPRK’s current forest conditions, as well as study the forestation of the DPRK and its effects on the Korean Peninsula, said the sources.

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7. DPRK Development

The Americus Times-Recorder (“FULLER CENTER TO HAVE PRESENCE IN N. KOREA”, 2009/11/17) reported that the Fuller Center for Housing broke ground on an innovative housing project in the DPRK on Nov. 11. This partnership with the DPRK’s Paektusan Academy of Architecture will build 50 new homes in a self-sustaining community at Osan-Ri in the Sunan District near Pyongyang. The initiative will apply the latest in green building technology and will be a model for Fuller Center work throughout the DPRK and around the world. Professionals from the United States and the DPRK will work together to develop house plans that are energy efficient and environmentally sensitive in their construction and maintenance.

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8. DPRK Economy

Xinhua News (“DRPK CONTINUES PROGRAM TO BOOST NATIONAL ECONOMY”, 2009/11/17) reported that the DPRK is halfway through its 100-day drive to advance its national economy, the official news agency KCNA reported. The DPRK’s industrial output has increased 30 percent in the past 50 days as compared with the same period last year, the report said. A series of projects to construct new factories, power stations, and houses has been completed and the country’s four key economic parts — metal, electricity, coal, and railway transportation — have scored considerable success, the report said.

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9. US on DPRK Economy

Yonhap News (“U.S. URGED TO DISCUSS N. KOREA’S OBSERVER STATUS IN INT’L FINANCIAL BODIES: REPORT”, 2009/11/17) reported that the United States was urged to use upcoming bilateral talks with the DPRK to discuss non-nuclear issues, including helping the regime join international financial institutions as an observer and also the resumption of humanitarian aid. The recommendations were made in a policy report by James Schoff, associate director of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, a think tank in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “The United States cannot use bilateral talks with North Korea to determine what a peace regime would look like, but it can address normalization scenarios and conditions, and it can explain what Washington would be willing to support in other multilateral talks,” Schoff said in the report.

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10. Russian Food Aid to the DPRK

Xinhua News (“RUSSIAN FOOD DONATION TO DPRK COMPLETED”, 2009/11/17) reported that t he Russian government’s donation of food to the DPRK has been completed, official news agency KCNA reported. The report said the food donation is “an expression of the traditional friendly relations between the two governments and peoples.”  KCNA didn’t mention the specific amount about the donation.

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11. ROK Afghanistan Dispatch

The Hankyoreh (“DEMOCRATIC PARTY OFFICIALLY OPPOSES AFGHANISTAN TROOP REDEPLOYMENT”, 2009/11/17) reported that a clash is anticipated in the National Assembly as the Democratic Party (DP), Democratic Labor Party (DLP) and New Progressive Party (NPP) unite in opposition to troop redeployment. As President Lee Myung-bak continued to stress the need on Monday for redeploying ROK troops to Afghanistan in a gesture of becoming “Global Korea,” the DP reached a formal decision to oppose the deployment bill.

Yonghap News Agency (Lee Chi-dong, “S. KOREA IN SEARCH OF MILITARY BASE IN AFGHANISTAN”, Seoul, 2009/11/17) reported that a ROK government delegation on Tuesday ended an unannounced visit to Afghanistan aimed at gathering information ahead of a decision on the scale of troops to be dispatched and location of their camp there, the foreign ministry said. The inter-agency team’s weeklong mission demonstrates the government’s intent to re-deploy troops to the war-ravaged nation within the first half of next year despite protests from the opposition party. The ruling Grand National Party, which holds a majority in the 299-seat National Assembly, supports the troop dispatch plan that requires parliamentary ratification.

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Yonhap (“BUSINESSES CALL ON NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TO RATIFY U.S. FTA”, Seoul, 2009/11/18) reported that the ROK’s major business organizations called on the National Assembly to swiftly ratify a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States on Wednesday. “Given gains and losses of the negotiations for the South Korea-U.S. FTA, it’s important for the South Korean National Assembly to ratify the deal before the U.S. Congress ratifies it,” the nation’s five big business groups said in a joint statement.

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13. Japan-US Security Alliance

Reuters (“JAPAN, US OFFICIALS MEET OVER MILITARY BASE ROW”, Tokyo , 2009/11/17) reported that the US and Japan held talks over relocating an American military base but made little progress on resolving a row that has strained ties between the allies, officials said. Little “visible progress” was made in their first gathering, with the US side pushing for the existing plan to be implemented, a Japanese official said. The two sides reconfirmed their shared wish to resolve the issue quickly, Japan’s Defence Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said after the talks.

Kyodo (“OBAMA HINTED AT AGREEING TO MOVE FUTENMA SITE OFFSHORE: SOURCES”, Washington, 2009/11/17) reported that US President Barack Obama said when he met Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama last Friday that the 2006 Japan-U.S. accord on the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Futemma Air Station should be completed, but there would be a possibility of favoring a request by the Okinawa prefectural government to change the relocation site in Nago, northern Okinawa, to some 50 meters offshore, sources close to bilateral relations said Tuesday. The remarks were not made public either in the joint press conference or the press briefings after the meeting.

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14. Japan Politics

Kyodo News (“18 PANELS SET UP UNDER LDP-LED GOV’T ABOLISHED AFTER REVIEW “, 2009/11/17) reported that the government abolished a panel on revitalizing education and 17 other panels set up under the previous Liberal Democratic Party-led government, after reviewing their functions and relevance. The move is based on the decision Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s Cabinet made at the time of its inauguration two months ago to reorganize the government’s policy-related panels, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said at a news conference.

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15. Sino-US Relations

Agence France-Presse (Stephen Collinson, “OBAMA CLOSES CHINA TRIP WITH PM TALKS, GREAT WALL”, Beijing, 2009/11/18) reported that US President Barack Obama ended the official part of his trip to the PRC on Wednesday by meeting Premier Wen Jiabao. “Dialogue is better than confrontation and partnership is better than rivalry,” Wen said in his opening remarks . “I sincerely hope that by making this visit to China, Mr President, we will be able to take the comprehensive, cooperative relationship between the two countries to a new level.” Obama noted that the Sino-US relationship was “now expanding to deal with a whole host of global issues in which US-China cooperation is critical”.

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16. Sino-US Energy Cooperation

The Associated Press (“U.S., CHINA LIST JOINT CLEAN ENERGY PLANS”, 2009/11/17) reported that U.S. and PRC Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao announced Tuesday a package of measures designed to strengthen US-PRC cooperation on clean energy . First, a US-China Clean Energy Research Center will be established, the White House said in a statement. The $150 million center, equally funded by the two countries for five years, will facilitate joint research and development of clean energy technologies by teams of scientists and engineers from the United States and the PRC and act as a clearinghouse to aid researchers in each country.

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17. Sino-US Economic Relations

Associated Press (“OBAMA: CHINA HAS HELPED US PULL OUT OF RECESSION”, Beijing, 2009/11/17) reported that President Barack Obama says that PRC’s partnership has helped the United States pull out of the worst recession in a generation. Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao appeared together and spoke to reporters after a pair of meetings on Tuesday. Obama says a revised economic approach will help increase U.S. exports and create jobs while helping bring about higher living standards in PRC . Obama says his government is committed to a strategy of spending less and saving more.

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18. Sino-US Space Cooperation

Agence France-Presse (“NASA READY TO WORK WITH CHINA ON SPACE EXPLORATION”, Tokyo , 2009/11/17) reported that NASA is ready to cooperate with the PRC in space exploration , the head of the US agency said, as Beijing aims to send a manned mission to the moon by around 2020. “I am perfectly willing, if that’s the direction that comes to me, to engage the Chinese in trying to make them a partner in any space endeavour. I think they’re a very capable nation,” NASA chief Charles Bolden said.

Xinhua News (“CHINA, U.S. SIGN JOINT STATEMENT, TO ENHANCE SECURITY IN OUTER SPACE”, 2009/11/17) reported that according to the PRC-US Joint Statement issued in Beijing Tuesday, the PRC and the United States recognize common interests in promoting the peaceful use of outer space and agree to enhance security in outer space. The statement said the two sides believed that PRC-US cooperation on common global challenges would contribute to a more prosperous and secure world. “China and the U.S. agree to discuss issues of strategic importance through such channels as the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues and the military-to-military exchanges,” said the statement.

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19. Sino-Russian Relations

Agence France-Presse (“CHINA, RUSSIA PRESIDENTS HAIL RELATIONS”, Singapore, 2009/11/17) reported that the presidents of historically mistrustful neighbours the PRC and Russia Saturday hailed the strength of Sino-Russian ties as they met on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore. Hu said that every meeting between the two heads of state “is very positive, plays an important role for Russia-Chinese relations, for our cooperation.” Hu singled out the two sides’ growing energy ties, urging further “cooperation in natural gas , nuclear power and other major spheres on a basis of mutual benefit and win-win outcomes.”

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20. Cross-Strait Relations

BBC News (“MAO AND CHIANG HEIRS BRIDGE GAP”, 2009/11/17) reported that Mao’s granddaughter, Kong Dongmei, met John Chiang as she visited Taiwan as part of a delegation to promote cultural and educational ties. The meeting between John Chiang and Ms Kong is seen as an indication of improving ties between the PRC and Taiwan.

Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN UNIVERSITIES TO ADMIT CHINESE STUDENTS”, Taipei, 2009/11/18) reported that Taiwanese universities plan to admit PRC students for the first time next year, an aide quoted Education Minister Wu Ching-ji as saying Wednesday. However, the Taiwanese universities will be allowed to offer no more than two percent of their available places to PRC students, she added.

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21. PRC Environment

The Associated Press (“DROUGHT STALLS CHINA’S PLAN FOR MASSIVE THREE GORGES DAM”, Beijing, 2009/11/17) reported that plans to raise the water level behind the PRC’s massive Three Gorges dam to full capacity this month — which would mark the symbolic culmination of the decades-old project — have stalled amid a worsening drought and reports of increased landslide risks. “Under the current conditions, less water is coming from the upper reaches and more water is needed to be released to the lower reaches to ease the drought situation. So it’s difficult to reach that level,” a spokesman said. He gave no timetable for when the maximum height would be reached.

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II. PRC Report

22. PRC Climate Change

Science Times (“WWF: SHANGHAI HONG KONG DO WELL IN ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE”, 2009/11/17) reported that according to a report issued by World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), Shanghai and Hong Kong have done well in addressing climate change, comparing with other 9 central cities in coastal areas or river delta areas of Asia.

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23. Sino-US Energy Cooperation

Jinghua Times (“QINGHUA MIT CAMBRIDGE FOUND LOW CARBON ALLIANCE”, 2009/11/17) reported that Tsinghua University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Cambridge have jointly found a low carbon alliance yesterday afternoon. The main cooperative fields are building energy conservation, town planning, industrial energy efficiency and sustainable transportation and so on.