NAPSNet Daily Report 19 May, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. Sinking of ROK Naval Vessel
- 2. US on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 3. OSCE on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 4. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 5. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 6. ROK on Sino-DPRK Relations
- 7. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
- 8. Inter-Korean Maritime Border
- 9. Inter-Korean Relations
- 10. UN-DPRK Relations
- 11. ROK Environment
- 12. Russo-ROK Energy Cooperation
- 13. USFJ Base Relocation
- 14. Cross Strait Relations
- 15. Sino-Russian Relations
- 16. PRC Tibet Issue
- 17. PRC Government
- 18. PRC Earthquake Reconstruction
- 19. PRC Environment
- II. PRC Report
1. Sinking of ROK Naval Vessel
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “S. KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS N. KOREAN ATTACK ‘OBVIOUS'”, Seoul, 2010/05/19) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said Wednesday the cause of the sinking of the Cheonan “came to clear light,” calling the DPRK’s involvement “obvious.” Yu said in a speech to European diplomats and business officials that the probe indicates the ship sank due to “a strong underwater explosion generated by the detonation of a torpedo.” The ROK will take “appropriate measures in a firm and prudent manner,” Yu told members of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea. The measures are “needed to deter any future provocations which will undermine peace and stability in Northeast Asia, thereby representing an opportunity to create more stable regional order,” he said.
2. US on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Yonhap (Hwang Doo-hyong, “U.S. TO DISCUSS REFERRING SHIP SINKING TO U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL: STATE DEPT.”, Washington, 2010/05/18) reported that US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Tuesday it is ready to discuss taking the sinking of the Cheonan to the U.N. Security Council. Crowley said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Seoul on May 26 on her way back home from the PRC to discuss “the next steps regarding what happens in light of that investigation.” “I would expect not only the investigation itself but, obviously, the regional implications of the findings of the investigation will be something that the secretary will discuss with her counterparts in Korea,” Crowley said. “We will be talking to China and Japan and Korea, in light of the anticipated results of the Cheonan investigation. We’ll collectively chart a path forward.”
3. OSCE on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Korea Herald (“EUROPE SECURITY BODY MAY SLAM N.K.”, 2010/05/18) reported that a top European security body may issue a statement denouncing the culprit behind the sinking of a ROK warship following the end of an investigation, one of the group’s officials said. “The chairmanship could, in the light of the information they receive, choose to make a statement,” said Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. “We have done so in very exceptional cases where we believe the gravity of the situation was such that it could have impact,” the secretary general said.
4. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Kyodo News (“6-WAY TALKS WON’T RESUME IF N. KOREA INVOLVED IN SHIP SINKING: JAPAN”, Tokyo, 2010/05/18) reported that top Japanese government spokesman Hirofumi Hirano said that the stalled six-party denuclearization talks should not resume any time soon if the DPRK ‘s involvement in the sinking of a ROK naval vessel becomes evident. “I don’t want to speak hypothetically. But I believe that the six-way talks should not resume soon”, Hirano said .
5. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Program
Mainichi Shimbun (“CHINA SEEKS WORD CHANGES OVER N. KOREA’S NUKE TESTS IN NPT DRAFT”, 2010/05/18) reported that the PRC proposed removing the word “deplores” in reference to the DPRK’s nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 from the draft of a final document to be adopted by the ongoing U.N. conference reviewing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but faced opposition from Japan and the ROK, U.N. diplomatic sources said. The PRC representative proposed the wording of the document instead “should reflect” the UN resolution that denounced the tests, the sources said. The PRC then called for inserting a sentence in the draft document stating that the DPRK cannot be given nuclear-weapon state status in any way, the sources said.
6. ROK on Sino-DPRK Relations
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA ASKS CHINA TO BAN MOUNT KUMGANG TOURS”, Seoul, 2010/05/18) reported that Seoul has requested that Beijing exclude the DPRK’s Mount Kumgang resort from its list of group tour destinations allowed for its people while it seeks understanding on a dispute over the DPRK’s recent illegal freeze of ROK assets there, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism here said.
7. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA HALTS SAND IMPORTS FROM N. KOREA AMID TENSION”, 2010/05/18) reported that the ROK companies have suspended their sand imports from the DPRK, one of the longest-running economic cooperation projects between the countries, as tension mounted over the March sinking of a ROK warship, a Seoul official said. Seven ROK companies have stopped sending cargo vessels to the DPRK since Monday, Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said. He denied that the government pressured the companies into suspending their imports, saying they “voluntarily” halted their operations after the warning.
8. Inter-Korean Maritime Border
Xinhua News (“DPRK FISHING BOAT BRIEFLY CROSSES WESTERN BORDER: GOV’T”, 2010/05/18) reported that a fishing boat from the DPRK briefly crossed the maritime border between the two Koreas early Tuesday but returned to DPRK waters after a warning from the ROK, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. The JCS declined to comment on intentions of the latest incursion.
9. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA ARCHAEOLOGISTS RETURN AFTER EXCAVATING ANCIENT PALACE IN N. KOREA”, 2010/05/18) reported that a group of ROK archaeologists returned home after ending a months-long joint excavation of an ancient palace in the DPRK, a Unification Ministry official here said. The 11 archaeologists had teamed up with their DPRK counterparts since March to excavate the remains of Manwoldae, a royal palace of the Goryeo Kingdom (918-1392), in the DPRK border town of Kaesong. The group decided to return about three weeks earlier than scheduled because enough progress was made, ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said, dismissing speculation that rising tension on the peninsula forced them to come back.
Chosun Ilbo (“ACTIVISTS TO KEEP SENDING PROPAGANDA LEAFLETS TO N.KOREA”, 2010/05/18) reported that activists said they will send some 500,000 propaganda leaflets to the DPRK from the scene of the Navy corvette Cheonan’s sinking off Baeknyeong Island in the West Sea, despite threats by the DPRK to shut off overland travel to ROK business interests. “We’re going to send 500,000 propaganda leaflets, 1,000 CDs showing footage of a skirmish between South and North Korean Navies in waters off Yeonpyeong Island, 1,000 radios, and 3,000 one-dollar bills on three to four occasions until June 7,” said Choi Sung-yong, the leader of a group named Family Assembly Abducted to North Korea.
10. UN-DPRK Relations
Agence France-Presse (“UN TO SEND REVIEW MISSION TO NORTH KOREA”, 2010/05/18) reported that the United Nations will send a team to the DPRK to assess how aid funds have been used in the country, a spokeswoman from the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs told AFP. “A working level UN mission will go to DPRK in late May to review the implementation of central emergency response fund (CERF) funded projects there,” Elisabeth Byrs said. “The mission will comprise four UN staff from OCHA and from the CERF secretariat,” she said. The team would meet heads of UN agencies on site, in order to “better understand how funds provided by CERF are used,” said Byrs.
11. ROK Environment
Xinhua News (“S. KOREA TO LAUNCH GLOBAL GREEN GROWTH INSTITUTE”, 2010/05/18) reported that ROK government approved the budget plan to establish the Global Green Growth Institute aimed at systemizing theories on the so-called green growth, the presidential office said. The institute will be officially launched in Seoul on June 16 at the East Asia Climate Forum, and will be turned into an inter- governmental organization by 2012, Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.
12. Russo-ROK Energy Cooperation
Voice of Russia (“GAZPROM, SOUTH KOREA DISCUSS JOINT EXPLORATION OF KAMCHATKA SHELF”, 2010/05/18) reported that talks are under way between Gazprom and ROK companies over the joint exploration of shelf deposits off the western coast of the Russian Kamchatka peninsula, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin has told reporters in Moscow. The West Kamchatka shelf deposits hold an estimated 1.8 billion tons of oil and 2 trillion cubic meters of gas.
13. USFJ Base Relocation
Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT MAY FIX FUTENMA PLAN WITHOUT CABINET OK”, 2010/05/18) reported that the government is considering settling the dispute over the relocation of the US Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station without getting Cabinet members to sign off on it, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said. “Putting aside whether we’ll obtain Cabinet consent or even submit [the relocation plan] to the Cabinet, the government’s stance will be clear,” Hirano said at a morning press conference. “Another way would be to submit a paper on the prime minister’s statement [to the Cabinet] and regard that as Cabinet consent.”
Kyodo News (“HATOYAMA SHOULD NOT RUSH TO DECIDE FUTEMMA FUTURE: COALITION PARTIES”, 2010/05/18) reported that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama does not have to rush to decide on where to relocate a US Marine Corps base in Okinawa Prefecture, ruling coalition party leaders said. ”This is a tripartite coalition, so efforts should be made by taking our ideas and claims properly into consideration,” Shizuka Kamei, head of the Democratic Party of Japan’s coalition partner, the People’s New Party, said, referring to remarks made the previous day by Mizuho Fukushima, leader of another small coalition member Social Democratic Party.
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN BACKS DOWN OVER US BASE PLAN: REPORT”, Tokyo, 2010/05/19) reported that Japan has told the United States it will back down in a dispute over the relocation of the Futenma airbase and build offshore runways on landfill rather than pylons, the Yomiuri Shimbun said Wednesday. “The US reaction to the pylon option was strong. The atmosphere does not allow us to present the plan for discussion. We are not considering that plan anymore,” a Japanese official was quoted as saying by the Yomiuri.
14. Cross Strait Relations
Associated Press (Annie Huang, “TAIWAN LEADER SAYS CHINA MAY DISMANTLE MISSILES”, Taipei, 2010/05/19) reported that the PRC could feel compelled to dismantle the more than 1,000 missiles it has pointed at Taiwan as cross-strait relations improve, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said Wednesday. “As we try to reduce tensions and improve relations, the closer ties between the two sides will foster peace and prosperity,” Ma said in Taipei . “This does not accord with the mainland having more than 1,000 missiles pointing at us. The mainlanders could feel this way, and our allies, including the U.S. and Japan, could feel this way too.”
15. Sino-Russian Relations
Xinhua News (“CHINA, RUSSIA PLEDGE TO ENHANCE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP”, 2010/05/18) reported that PRC Vice President Xi Jinping vowed to make joint efforts with Russia to enhance the Sino-Russian strategic and cooperative partnership Tuesday afternoon. “The partnership has benefited the two peoples and played a significant role in safeguarding the interests of the two countries. The partnership has also promoted world peace and stability,” Xi said. The partnership is also a cornerstone for international strategic balance and stability, Xi told Boris Gryzlov, chairman of Russia’s State Duma and the United Russia Supreme Council.
16. PRC Tibet Issue
Reuters (“CHINA TARGETS TIBET ARTISTS, INTELLECTUALS: REPORT”, 2010/05/18) reported that the PRC is cracking down on Tibetan intellectuals and artists who have sought to open up discussion of the future of their region after unrest that spread across the area in Spring 2008, an overseas activist group said. More than 30 men and women, including writers, bloggers, singers and environmentalists, have been detained or are imprisoned, mostly after sharing views or information about conditions in ethnic Tibetan areas, the International Campaign for Tibet said in a new report. “Raging Storm: The crackdown on Tibetan writers and artists after Tibet’s Spring 2008 protests” details scores of arrests and long jail sentences for many intellectuals.
17. PRC Government
The Associated Press (“IN CHINA, HIGHER TAXES BRING SOME REPRESENTATION”, 2010/05/18) reported that the people of Wenling, a prosperous city of 1.7 million, have an opportunity few PRC citizens do: to participate in hearings on local government budget plans and suggest ways to spend the money. As society grows richer and individuals pay more taxes, the PRC is slowly being forced to make space for people to have a say in government affairs. “Ordinary people have the right to ask, ‘How are you spending my money? Are you spending it on me? What are you doing with it?’ ” said Li Fan, who runs a private think tank in Beijing.
18. PRC Earthquake Reconstruction
The Hindu (“RIFTS REMAIN IN QUAKE-HIT SICHUAN”, 2010/05/18) reported that two years on, allegations of local-level corruption taint the successful reconstruction effort. Two years on, the PRC’s official media are glowingly celebrating the massive recovery effort. Wenchuan’s residents, however, are not joining in. In the town and its surrounding villages, dozens of residents said in recent interviews that many still have not received promised compensations. Farmers are fighting to hold on to their land, facing growing pressure from development projects and unable to sustain their livelihoods. As the PRC celebrates Sichuan’s rebuilding this week, their stories find little mention.
19. PRC Environment
VOA News (“STUDY: INDOOR POLLUTION KILLS 2.2 MILLION YOUNG CHINESE”, 2010/05/18) reported that a new report released in the PRC says more than two million Chinese youths die each year from health problems related to indoor air pollution, with nearly half of them under five years of age. A new report released by the state-run PRC Center for Disease and Control and Prevention, reveals more than two million young Chinese die each year from in-door pollution. The report says indoor pollution levels can often be 5-10 times higher than those measured in the nation’s notoriously bad outdoor air. The study, which was reported by the PRC’s state media, indicates that one million of those prematurely killed by such chemicals in the home and schools are children under the age of five.
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA REJECTS REPORTS ON DEADLY INDOOR AIR POLLUTION”, 2010/05/18) reported that PRC authorities have rejected state media reports which quoted a government study saying more than two million youths die in the PRC each year from health problems related to indoor air pollution. “The China CDC has issued no specific figures on indoor air pollution leading to mass deaths,” the notice said. “Our centre is actively investigating the matter.”
II. PRC Report
20. PRC Civil Society and the Environment
Guangzhou Daily (“600 RESIDENTS PROTEST WASTE INCINERATOR PROJECT”, 2010/05/13) reported that about 600 residents of Dongguan in Guangdong province protested a planned garbage incinerator in their neighborhood on Sunday. The protestors gathered at the square outside the town government office building and appealed to the government to find a new site for the waste incinerator.
21. PRC Environment
Xiaoxiang Morning News (“SHANDONG TO HOST INTERNATIONAL EXPO ON GREEN INDUSTRY”, 2010/05/18) reported that an international exposition to highlight new environmental-protection technologies will run from July 3 to 5 in Qingdao of Shandong Province. The biennial exposition would focus on technologies conducive to the development of pollution-free buses, organic food, low-radiation electronic products, and environment-friendly building materials and homes.
22. PRC Development
Changsha Daily (“CHANGSHA GOVERNMENT INVITES 20 CITIZENS TO MEETING”, 2010/05/18) reported that the city government of Changsha, capital of Hunan province, is inviting 20 citizens to its executive meeting to be held on May 22. The meeting will deliver reports on the construction of the underwater tunnel of Yingpan road and the city’s railway construction. Other issues concerning city development will also be discussed.