NAPSNet Daily Report 19 August, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
1. Six-Party Talks
Yonhap (Chang Jae-soon, “SEOUL SAYS TIME NOT RIPE FOR 6-WAY TALKS, DESPITE CHINESE ENVOY’S N.K. VISIT”, Seoul, 2010/08/19) reported that the ROK believes now is not the right time to talk about resuming international talks on the DPRK’s nuclear programs. The PRC foreign ministry said Thursday that the country’s chief nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei, visited the DPRK from Monday through Wednesday. The previously unannounced trip included discussions on maintaining the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and on restarting the six-party talks, the PRC said. During the trip, Wu met with Pyongyang’s lead nuclear envoy Kim Kye-kwan, DPRK Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun and other officials, the PRC said. “We’re not in a situation to talk about resuming the six-party talks,” an ROK foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity. “There has been no change in the situation and therefore, our position remains the same.”
2. DPRK Missile Program
Agence France-Presse (“N.KOREA SMUGGLING BANNED MATERIALS: REPORT”, Seoul, 2010/08/19) reported that the DPRK has been smuggling banned materials which could be used for rocket and missile launches, often using forged documents to disguise their destination, Munhwa Ilbo reported Thursday. The ROK has secured evidence that materials related to the weapons of mass destruction were exported to the DPRK through the PRC and other countries, it reported, quoting unnamed government officials. “North Korea has smuggled commodities related to weapons of mass destruction banned by the international community and luxury goods through detour routes such as China, Japan, Mongolia and Russia,” it said.
3. DPRK Economy
Chosun Ilbo (“FOOTAGE SHOWS N.KOREAN MARKETS BUSTLING AGAIN”, Seoul, 2010/08/19) reported that footage obtained by the Chosun Ilbo’s Northeast Asia Research Institute from a DPRK source on Wednesday shows the Chaeha market in the border town of Sinuiju early this month bustling with trade. Images taken in March of a market in Onsong released by the Chosun Ilbo in April showed most of the stalls empty, but the market in Sinuiju is now overflowing with sundries, clothes, hardware, fruits and food. Sources say the authorities have virtually stopped trying to control the markets after former premier Kim Yong-il apologized for the failed currency reform and Park Nam-gi, the former director of the Workers Party’s Planning and Finance Department, was executed.
4. ROK-Japan-India Nuclear Cooperation
Asahi Shimbun (Yoshihiro Makino, “SOUTH KOREA-INDIA CLOSE TO NUCLEAR DEAL”, Seoul, 2010/08/19) reported that ROK and India appear set to reach an agreement on nuclear energy technology cooperation by the end of the year, ROK government sources said. ROK government sources said little concern was expressed among government officials about the agreement with India. Japan and the ROK have been negotiating since July 2009 for an agreement on the mutual supply of parts used in nuclear power generation and technology cooperation. While the two nations have reached an agreement in principle after the fourth round of talks in July, Japan is insisting that the accord clearly state that the ROK would not introduce a nuclear fuel recycling program involving the removal of plutonium from spent fuel. The ROK said no such wording is needed because reprocessing of spent fuel is rejected under a declaration calling for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
5. ROK Environment
MK Business News (“S. KOREA RANKS IN BOTTOM IN GREEN LIVING: SERI”, Seoul, 2010/08/19) reported that Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI) released a report of comparison of ‘Green Living Index’ of the 29 OECD members, including the ROK on Wednesday. SERI measured green living conditions on a scale of zero to one, examining 22 indicators such as public transportation usage, renewable energy, fossil fuels, green acreages, energy efficiency, green technology, environmental regulations, green management and wastes. The report gave the ROK a score of 0.41, lower than the average of the OECD countries, 0.52.