NAPSNet Daily Report 18 September, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK, PRC, Iranian Nuke Cooperation
- 2. DPRK on Nuclear Talks
- 3. DPRK Leadership
- 4. Inter-Korea Relations
- 5. ROK Defense
- 6. ROK Military
- 7. ROK Civil Society
- 8. ROK-US Relations
- 9. Japan-Russia Relations
- 10. Japan Space Program
- 11. Japan-US Relations
- 12. PRC Security
- 13. PRC Climate Change
- 14. PRC Public Health
- 15. PRC Media
- 16. PRC Space Program
- 17. Cross-Strait Relations
- 18. Sino-Russian Military Cooperation
- 19. Sino-US Relations
- 20. Sino-US Trade Relations
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK, PRC, Iranian Nuke Cooperation
Washington Times (Bill Gertz , “INSIDE THE RING”, 2009/09/17) reported that a researcher at MIT reports that he has acquired internal Iranian documents showing the PRC and DPRK’s close involvement in Iran’s missile program. Geoffrey Forden, a research associate at MIT’s Science, Technology and Global Security Working Group, stated on Sept. 14 that he obtained “internal secret Iranian documents” showing how several countries are helping Tehran develop missiles or are providing technology for them. “If my understanding is correct, they indicate that representatives from North Korea and China have been present at all phases of production and flight testing,” Mr. Forden stated.
2. DPRK on Nuclear Talks
Agence France-Presse (Susan Stumme, “N.KOREA’S KIM SAYS OPEN TO NUCLEAR TALKS”, Beijing, 2009/09/18) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il Friday told PRC State Councillor Dai Bingguo that he was willing to engage in bilateral and multilateral talks on his country’s nuclear program. Kim told Dai that Pyongyang “insists on denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula and was “willing to resolve relevant problems via bilateral and multilateral talks”, Xinhua news agency reported. Dai delivered a letter from President Hu Jintao which said that Beijing ‘s “consistent goal” was to “realize the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and to safeguard and promote the peace, stability and development of Northeast Asia”.
3. DPRK Leadership
Chosun Ilbo (“BILL CLINTON’S DOCTOR ‘TOOK CLOSE LOOK AT KIM JONG-IL’ “, 2009/09/17) reported that Bill Clinton’s doctor, who accompanied the former U.S. president to Pyongyang last month, has told the U.S. government that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il is still recovering from what appears to have been a stroke last year but is in stable condition, sources in Washington say.
4. Inter-Korea Relations
Agence France Presse (“S.KOREA RULES OUT DELIBERATE WATER ATTACK BY NORTH”, Seoul, 2009/09/17) reported that the ROK ‘s new defence chief said Thursday there was no evidence that the sudden discharge of water from a DPRK dam which killed six southerners was a deliberate attack. “We have no solid information to say the discharge was for a water attack,” Kim Tae-Young, appointed defence minister on September 3, said in a report to parliament. He said the dam’s floodgates were opened after it was full of water. The report tallies with accounts by the DPRK, which said a sudden surge in the dam’s water level prompted an “emergency” release.
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA ACCEPTS S. KOREAN SPEAKER’S PROTEST LETTER ON DEADLY FLOOD “, Seoul, 2009/09/17) reported that in an unusual move, the DPRK accepted Thursday a protest letter from teh ROK’s assembly speaker demanding an apology for a recent deadly flood unleashed by the DPRK, the parliament said. Seoul is demanding an official apology and a thorough explanation about the abrupt discharge of a large quantity of dam water on Sept. 6.
Yonhap News (“TWO KOREAS EXCHANGE LISTS OF PARTICIPANTS FOR FAMILY REUNIONS “, Seoul, 2009/09/17) reported that the two Koreas on Thursday exchanged finalized lists of people who will participate in upcoming reunions of families separated by the Korean War over half a century ago, ROK officials said. The two sides exchanged the lists, bearing the names of 100 people each who will participate in two separate, back-to-back events to be held at the scenic Mount Kumgang resort on the DPRK’s east coast from Sept. 26 to Oct. 1., the ministry said.
5. ROK Defense
Agence France Presse (“SOUTH KOREA TO BUY ISRAELI RADAR TO DETECT NORTH KOREAN MISSILES”, 2009/09/18) reported that the ROK will buy an advanced radar system from Israel to detect and track DPRK ballistic missiles, officials said yesterday. The defense Acquisition program Administration said it would place an order soon with Israel’s Elta group for its Green Pine Block-B radar system. “If deployed here, the system will significantly improve our anti-missile defense capabilities,” he said, adding it could track any ballistic missiles fired by the DPRK at an early stage. The radars would be capable of monitoring ballistic missiles in flight at ranges of up to 500 kilometers, covering nearly all DPRK soil if deployed in the ROK by 2012, Kim said.
6. ROK Military
Yonhap (“PRESIDENT CALLS FOR AIR-TIGHT DEFENSE AGAINST N. KOREAN THREATS “, Seoul, 2009/09/17) reported that President Lee Myung-bak called on the military Thursday to be fully prepared to counter any DPRK provocations, noting the communist state continues to raise tension on the Korean Peninsula. The president said the military was effectively containing threats from the DPRK, but added its discipline had become “somewhat loose” during the past decade.
7. ROK Civil Society
Korea Times (Park Si-soo, “INTELLIGENCE AGENCY HIT FOR HARASSING CIVIC GROUPS”, ) reported that Park Won-soon, a renowned civic leader, accused the government of suppressing nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) Thursday. “I’ve learned from sources that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) closely monitored my activities and pressured companies not to financially support progressive civic groups, including mine,” Park said in a press conference held at a Seoul auditorium. “The current law bans any kind of censorship by the authorities. But the reality is different.” The government filed a suit against Park, a lawyer and the head of the Hope Institute, a progressive civic group, with the Seoul Central District Court, Tuesday, demanding 200 million won in compensation for what it called “defamatory” remarks against the authorities.
8. ROK-US Relations
Yonhap News (“PRESIDENTIAL COUNCIL TO COOPERATE WITH U.S. THINK TANK “, Seoul, 2009/09/18) reported that a special advisory council to ROK President Lee Myung-bak will sign an agreement with a U.S. think tank on cooperation that will also lead to joint research projects, the presidential office said Thursday. “The agreement between the presidential council and the RAND Corporation is an outcome of efforts by the council to expand the country’s global network and help bring in more global perspectives in setting up its national agendas,” the presidential office said in a press release. “It will also allow the country to use RAND’s world-class research and analysis capabilities when trying to foresee possible changes in the future and establish appropriate measures,” it added.
9. Japan-Russia Relations
Asahi Shimbun (“RUSSIA SEEKS FLEXIBILITY ON ISLES”, Moscow, 2009/09/17) reported that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed hope that new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will take a more flexible approach to the Northern Territories issue than his predecessors. “The only road to success will be moving away from an extreme position,” Medvedev said. “I will make such a proposal to Hatoyama”. Under successive LDP governments, Japan has insisted that only the return of the four islands will resolve the matter.
10. Japan Space Program
Microsoft National Broadcasting Company (Tariq Malik, “SPACE STATION WELCOMES JAPANESE CARGO SHIP”, 2009/09/17) reported that Japan’s first-ever space cargo ship arrived at the international space station Thursday to end a flawless maiden voyage to the orbiting lab. The space freighter, dubbed the H-2 Transfer Vehicle 1 (HTV-1), approached the space station from below after a weeklong chase so astronaut Nicole Stott could pluck it from orbit as both spacecraft flew 225 miles above western Romania.
11. Japan-US Relations
Agence France Presse (“US TO SEE IF JAPAN HAS ‘REVISED’ THINKING ON NKOREA”, Washington, 2009/09/17) reported that a top US envoy is in Tokyo this week in part to determine if Japan’s new government has “revised” the country’s approach to the DPRK’s nuclear disarmament, the State Department said Thursday. The State Department has said that its partners in the six-party disarmament negotiations agreed that the US should hold direct talks with the DPRK in a bid to bring Pyongyang back to the talks they abandoned in April. But Washington consulted its negotiating partners before the new Japanese government was formed. “There is a new Japanese government in place. We’ve had extensive conversations with the Japanese government. Obviously, there’s just been a changeover,” Crowley told the daily news briefing.
Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPAN, US AGREE TO DEEPEN ALLIANCE”, Tokyo, 2009/09/18) reported that Japan’s new Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada on Friday in talks with the U.S. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell promised to deepen the bilateral alliance. “We have issues that still need to be addressed, but I’m committed to deepening the Japan -U.S. alliance to make it sustainable for 30 years, 50 years or even longer,” Okada said. Campbell told Okada on Friday he hoped to “make sure that we as closely coordinate as possible all the issues that confront the United States and Japan in the 21st century.
12. PRC Security
Reuters (Ben Blanchard , “CHINA ANNIVERSARY PUTS SECURITY JITTERS ON SHOW”, Beijing, 2009/09/17) reported that the PRC government is flooding Beijing with armed police and up to one million security “volunteers” to head off any unrest over October’s sensitive anniversary of 60 years of Communist Party rule. The relentless security has grounded pigeons, lined streets with grandmothers and prompted warnings to stock up on food. Domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, in remarks carried by Xinhua last week, called for a “people’s war” to ensure Beijing’s stability. One million “volunteers,” many of them retirees working on Party-controlled neighborhood committees, will swarm through the city’s streets to “guarantee security, communications and celebration activities,” state-run Xinhua said.
13. PRC Climate Change
United Press International (“OUTLOOK BLEAK FOR CHINA EMISSIONS”, Beijing, 2009/09/17) reported that given the PRC’s rapid economic growth, its emissions are not likely to fall low enough to avert a global temperature reduction of 2 degrees — considered the minimum to prevent the worst of— according to an influential think-tank study. The 2-degree limit, formally adopted by the Group of Eight nations in July, does not provide adequate compromises for developing countries such as the PRC, says the report released Wednesday by the Energy Research Institute.
Associated Press (Henry Sanderson , “CHINA’S PROJECTED FOSSIL FUEL USE ‘SHOCKING’ “, Beijing, 2009/09/17) reported that if the PRC’s economy continues to expand rapidly and rely heavily on coal and other fossil fuels until the middle of the century, its power consumption would be unsustainable, according to a study by government think tanks released Wednesday. The two-year study, supported by the U.S.-based Energy Foundation and the international environmental group WWF, also said if the PRC’s energy usage structure remains unchanged, its emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming would reach 17 billion tons a year by 2050. That would represent 60 percent of total global emissions and three times China’s current production, it said.
14. PRC Public Health
Agence France Presse (Robert Saiget , “CHINA RACES TO PREPARE SWINE FLU VACCINATIONS”, Beijing, 2009/09/17) reported that the PRC is scrambling to put a swine flu vaccination plan in place, with the number of cases more than tripling in just a few weeks and tens of millions of infections feared as flu season sets in. The country is at the forefront of international efforts to produce an A(H1N1) influenza vaccine, with at least five companies already receiving government approval, but officials have warned demand will exceed supply. A top ministry official predicted that tens of millions could be infected with the virus in the coming months, leading to “unavoidable” fatalities and possibly putting a severe strain on the nation’s health system.
15. PRC Media
Epoch Times (Gary Feuerberg, “FOREIGN JOURNALISTS STILL STYMIED IN CHINA”, Washington, 2009/09/17) reported that the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) heard testimony from PRC experts on how well the new press rules were working in the PRC . “Unfortunately,in the lead up to the Olympics, [various monitoring organizations] chronicled dozens and dozens of cases in which foreign journalists were harassed, detained, intimidated, and, in some cases, physically assaulted,” said Human Rights Watch Asia researcher Phelim Kine. Similarly, on the one-year anniversary of the May 12 Sichuan earthquake, numerous journalists were permitted in the earthquake zone, but were “detained, harassed, and intimidated, in spite of these rules,” said Kine.
British Broadcasting System (“CHINA CITY ‘TO OPEN UP TO MEDIA’ “, 2009/09/17) reported that government officials in the southern PRC city of Shenzhen will soon be required to be more accountable to the media, the city has announced. From 1 December, officials could be sacked or reprimanded if they do not respond quickly to media requests. Shenzhen’s policy follows a relaxation of restrictions on foreign journalists after the Beijing Olympics. “We are determined to change the random, passive and disorderly situation surrounding government press releases,” Su Huijun, the director of Shenzhen’s municipal press office, said. “Shenzhen’s regulation will provide a meaningful experiment for this issue in China,” Mr Su was quoted as saying by China Daily, the country’s main state-run English language newspaper.
16. PRC Space Program
Agence France Presse (“CHINA SAYS WILL PUSH SPACE PROGRAMME TO CATCH UP WEST”, Beijing, 2009/09/17) reported that the PRC said Thursday its rapidly growing space programme was the crowning achievement of the nation’s high-tech transformation and pledged to continue to develop it to close the gap with Western countries. “I believe a space programme represents a country’s high technology and I believe China has already become a major country in high technology,” Vice Minister of Science and Technology Li Xueyong told reporters. Li said the PRC will invest 35 billion dollars in high-tech development this year, despite a budget squeeze due to an economic slowdown and massive government spending aimed at stimulating the economy.
17. Cross-Strait Relations
Agence France Presse (“CHINA TELLS TOURISTS TO BOYCOTT TAIWAN CITY OVER DALAI LAMA: REPORT”, Taipei, 2009/09/17) reported that the PRC has told tour groups to call off planned trips to a south Taiwan city following a controversial visit there by the Dalai Lama, local media said Thursday. Hotels in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second-largest city, have received thousands of cancellations from the PRC since early this month, the Taipei-based China Times reported. This follows instructions from PRC authorities to mainland tour groups to temporarily stay away from the city, according to the paper, which cited hotels in the area.
Agence France Presse (“TAIWAN REVIEWS HIGH-TECH CURBS ON CHINA INVESTMENT: OFFICIAL “, Taipei, 2009/09/17) reported that Taiwan is to review curbs on investments in the PRC by its high-tech firm’s, an economic ministry official said Thursday, as the industry aims to tap its giant neighbour’s potential. “The restrictions have been under review by the Investment Commission and may be discussed in meetings among several ministries before the end of the year,” the official told AFP. But Taiwan’s opposition, which favours independence from Beijing, has repeatedly warned against easing controls, fearing closer economic integration.
18. Sino-Russian Military Cooperation
Associated Press (“CHINA, RUSSIA NAVIES ON JOINT ANTI-PIRACY PATROLS”, Beijing, 2009/09/17) reported that the Russian and PRC navies have joined forces in anti-piracy patrols off the Somali coast and will stage joint exercises this week, PRC state media said Thursday. The PRC ‘s three-ship flotilla began running joint patrols with Russian ships on Sept. 10, the official Xinhua News Agency said in a dispatch . It said the exercises, titled “Blue Peace Shield 2009,” will take place Friday and include tests of communications links, simulated missions to identify ships from helicopters, coordinated resupply efforts, and live firing of deck guns.
19. Sino-US Relations
Agence France Presse (“US VIEW OF CHINA’S MILITARY THREAT ‘GROUNDLESS’: STATE MEDIA”, Beijing, 2009/09/17) reported that Washington’s view that the PRC’s increasingly advanced weaponry could undermine US military power in the Pacific were “groundless and irresponsible,” the PRC’s defence ministry said Thursday. “China’s military development is always a positive factor for both regional and global peace and stability,” Hu Changming, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defence, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
Associated Press (Chi-Chi Zhang, “CHINA REJECT US CRITICISM OF ITS MILITARY”, Beijing, 2009/09/18) reported that the PRC dismissed U.S. accusations that the growth and modernization of its military poses a threat Friday. Hu Changming, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, said “the U.S. should respect China’s national defense policy and take measures to correct the wrong comments,” according to the Xinhua News Agency .
20. Sino-US Trade Relations
Bloomberg (“CHINA SAYS ‘READY TO WORK’ WITH U.S. FOLLOWING TIRE TRADE SPAT “, 2009/09/17) reported that the PRC said it is “ready to work with the U.S.” to keep ties on a sound footing after the Obama administration imposed duties on PRC tires and said the Asian nation’s arms spending might threaten U.S. interests. “China and the U.S. share extensive and broad common interests and we are ready to work with the U.S.,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters in Beijing. China is ready to “strengthen communication, dialogue and cooperation in various fields and properly deal with our problems,” she said.
Agence France Presse (Marc Burleigh , “CHINA TIRE ROW NEED NOT SPARK TRADE WAR: US OFFICIAL”, Sao Paulo, 2009/09/17) reported that a spat over US tariffs on PRC tires need not trigger a trade war between Washington and Beijing, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said. “I don’t believe it should or need spark any trade war,” Kirk said during a visit to Brazil. WTO chief Pascal Lamy said Wednesday that Washington’s move was a “matter of concern” that could increase the risk of a “tit-for-tat spillover.”
II. PRC Report
21. PRC Climate Change
China News Net (“CHINA ISSUES REGULATION TO CURB MARINE POLLUTION BY SHIPS”, 2009/09/17) reported that China’s State Council issued a new regulation Wednesday targeting prevention and remedies for marine pollution caused by ships. The regulation said transportation departments under the Cabinet should compile emergency plans to deal with pollution caused by ships or related activities.
22. PRC Civil Society
South Urban Daily (“CHINA’S VOLUNTARY BONE MARROW DONORS HIT 1 MLN”, 2009/09/17) reported that the number of voluntary donors to China’s bone marrow databank reached 1 million on Friday, and is expected to be doubled in five years, the Red Cross Society of China said Tuesday.