NAPSNet Daily Report 19 October, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. US-DPRK Relations
- 4. Inter-Korean Relations
- 5. ROK Aid for DPRK
- 6. Inter-Korean Trade
- 7. US on Inter-Korean Relations
- 8. DPRK Leadership
- 9. DPRK Human Rights
- 10. DPRK Espionage
- 11. ROK Cyber Security
- 12. US-ROK Military Alliance
- 13. ROK Military
- 14. ROK-Russian Space Cooperation
- 15. ROK Politics
- 16. Japan on US Nuclear Policy
- 17. US Military in Japan
- 18. US on PRC-Iran Relations
- 19. Cross Strait Relations
- 20. PRC Human Rights
- 21. PRC Climate Change
- 22. PRC Environment
- 23. PRC Public Health
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap (“N. K. DEMANDS NATIONS TAKE LEAD IN DISARMAMENT”, 2009/10/18) reported that the DPRK called for the worldwide removal of nuclear weapons at the October 12 meeting of the First Committee of the 64th UN General Assembly, Korean Central News Agency reported Sunday. “When the states with the largest nuclear arsenals take the lead in nuclear disarmament, it will positively influence the newly emerged nuclear weapons states in various parts of the world and also contribute to total elimination of nuclear weapons on this globe,” an unidentified DPRK delegate said.
2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Agence France-Presse (“SEOUL: NKOREA URANIUM PROGRAMME ‘VERY WORRYING'”, Seoul, 2009/10/19) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan on Monday described the DPRK’s admission of an enriched uranium nuclear weapons programme as a “very worrying” development. “North Korea indicated in a letter to the UN Security Council chairman that it had attempted to enrich uranium and succeeded to a degree,” Yu said. “Since this is a very worrying development, this issue is expected to be discussed separately by the United Nations.”
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “S. KOREA’S TOP DIPLOMAT URGES N. KOREA TO DISARM”, Seoul, 2009/10/19) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan on Monday pressed the DPRK to take real steps toward nuclear disarmament . Yu said, “In spite of [recent conciliatory] gestures, however, there is no real ground as yet to view the North’s softening stance as an indication of fundamental change in its position on the nuclear issue.”
3. US-DPRK Relations
Yonhap (“U.S. WILL ISSUE VISA FOR RI GUN: REPORTS”, 2009/10/18) reported that the United States has decided to allow Ri Gun, director general of the North American affairs bureau of the DPRK Foreign Ministry, to attend a seminar in San Diego later this month, reports said. Ri has been invited to a seminar in San Diego October 26-27 by the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue, organized by the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California, San Diego. Ri will likely meet with U.S. officials on the sidelines of the seminar to prepare for possible bilateral talks between the two sides.
Korea Herald (Kim Ji-hyun, “U.S., N. KOREA MAY HOLD TALKS IN BEIJING”, Seoul, 2009/10/19) reported that the United States may be considering a “third party” nation such as the PRC as a venue for bilateral talks with the DPRK, the Yomuri Shimbun said citing U.S. government sources. As negotiator, Washington is pushing special representative on DPRK Stephen Bosworth and has requested Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju as Bosworth’s counterpart. “This could be one of the possible formats of the bilateral discussions,” said one high-ranking ROK Foreign Ministry official declining to be identified. “As of now, we can’t be sure of exactly when and where the talks will be held. We also can’t say with certainty that the talks would not occur in South Korea.”
4. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap (“S. KOREA WILL NOT IMPROVE TIES WITH NUCLEAR-ARMED N.K.”, Seoul, 2009/10/19) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan dismissed the possibility of an imminent inter-Korean summit Monday. In spite of recent conciliatory gestures, “There is no real ground as yet to view the North’s softening stance as an indication of a fundamental change in its position on the nuclear issue,” Yu said. “But I would like to say again that the South Korean president is ready to meet Chairman Kim Jong-il anytime and anywhere for discussions on progress in South-North relations and the nuclear issue.”
Korea Herald (Kim So-hyun, “KOREAS FAIL TO AGREE ON MORE REUNIONS”, Seoul, 2009/10/17) reported that inter-Korean Red Cross talks ended Friday as the two sides failed to reach an agreement on Seoul’s proposal to hold more cross-border reunion events for separated families. A Unification Ministry official said, “The North did not deny the need for more family reunions but did not show any positive response either.” “The North requested humanitarian aid, without mentioning the specific items or amount, and the South’s delegation said they would review it in Seoul,” the official said. “The two sides did not get to decide when to meet for follow-up talks.”
5. ROK Aid for DPRK
Yonhap (“SOUTH KOREA SEES NO LARGE-SCALE AID FOR NORTH”, Seoul, 2009/10/18) reported that the ROK is not considering providing any large-scale aid to the DPRK despite Pyongyang’s official request for humanitarian assistance, a senior Unification Ministry official said Sunday. “In the current situation, it’s difficult to provide large-scale aid,” the official said. “The government will consider (small-scale) assistance for vulnerable groups there like infants and children,” he said.
Yonhap (Tony Chang, “SEOUL TO SEND MORE HUMANITARIAN AID TO N. KOREA: OFFICIALS”, Seoul, 2009/10/19) reported that the ROK is considering contributing hundreds of millions of won to private organizations to assist in their humanitarian aid projects for the DPRK, a government source said Monday. The Seoul government will this week finalize its plan to donate the funds, which are expected to go to health and medical aid projects operated by local non-governmental organizations, said the source, adding the total amount will not exceed 1 billion won (US$850,000).
Joongang Ilbo (Kang Chan-soo, Yoo Jee-ho, “SOUTH SPENDS TO SOLVE NORTH ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE “, Seoul, 2009/10/17) reported that the ROK Ministry of Environment last month provided 961 million won ($830,300) to help the United Nations Environment Program resolve environmental problems in the DPRK. Kim Yong-jin, head of the international affairs division at the ministry, said the ministry will try to make it an even 1 billion won by the end of the year and explained, “The UNEP will handle the funds and will also oversee all related projects.” Environmental projects for the North include building eco-friendly homes, raising awareness of the environment, and establishing plans for water quality control on the Taedong River.
6. Inter-Korean Trade
Yonhap (“INTER-KOREAN TRADE GROWS 2.6 PCT IN SEPT.”, Seoul, 2009/10/19) reported that inter-Korean trade grew for the first time in 13 months in September. According to data compiled by the Korea Customs Service, trade amounted to US$173.17 million last month, up 2.6 percent from a year earlier. Shipments to the DPRK totaled $74.47 million, while those to the ROK came to $98.70 million, the data showed.
7. US on Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap (“U.S. SAYS NO SPECIFIC SUMMIT PROPOSAL BY N.K. “, Washington, 2009/10/18) reported that a senior White House official said Sunday that a DPRK delegation met with ROK President Lee Myung-bak in August to discuss ways to improve bilateral ties, but added, “there was no specific invitation to President Lee.” The official’s comments were a clarification of earlier remarks by a senior Pentagon official who told reporters Thursday that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il had proposed a summit with Lee. The White House official said the remarks stemmed from a “misunderstanding.”
8. DPRK Leadership
Yonhap (“N. KOREAN LEADER KIM WATCHES RUSSIAN PERFORMANCE”, Seoul, 2009/10/18) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il has watched a performance by a Russian military ensemble that is visiting the country to mark the 64th birthday of its Workers’ Party. After watching the performance by the Academy Ensemble of the Russian Ministry of Interior, Kim held a “friendly talk” with the ensemble’s chief, Victor Yeliseev, and Russian ambassador to the country, Valery Sukhinin, said the Korean Central News Agency.
9. DPRK Human Rights
Yonhap (“N. KOREA LOCKS UP 154,000 POLITICAL PRISONERS: LAWMAKER “, Seoul, 2009/10/18) reported that Yoon Sang-hyun from the ROK’s ruling Grand National Party said Saturday the DPRK is operating six prison camps where 154,000 inmates remain locked up. The DPRK had around 10 such places holding about 200,000 political prisoners until the late 1990s, but closed down four of the camps in the face of mounting criticism from other countries. Yoon claimed that political prisoners are forced to work more than 10 hours a day and receive only 200 grams of foods a day. They are also denied access to medical care, he said.
10. DPRK Espionage
Yonhap (“S. KOREA FOILS N.K.’S EAVESDROPPING ATTEMPTS “, Seoul, 2009/10/19) reported that ROK agents repeatedly stopped their DPRK counterparts from acquiring coding equipment that could enable the DPRK to eavesdrop on communications between ROK military units. Citing a classified report by the ROK Ministry of National Defense, Rep. Kim Dong-sung said DPRK agents attempted in 2005 and 2007 to buy AD-89T and AS-89 devices while operating in China. The equipment generates noise when an enemy tries to listen on communications between friendly units, Kim said in a statement.
11. ROK Cyber Security
Yonhap (“S. KOREA’S CLASSIFIED INFORMATION WITHDRAWN VIA HACKING: OFFICIAL “, Seoul, 2009/10/18) reported that the Chemicals Accident Response Information System, used by 589 ROK government agencies including fire and police stations, was accessed by hackers on March 5. Hackers appear to have broken into the system using the ID of an ROK army officer whose personal computer was infected by a virus. “We believe the hacker tapped into the system using the ID, withdrawing classified information of 1,350 dangerous chemicals,” an army official said. “The government believes North Korea could be behind the hacking. We are continuing our investigation.”
12. US-ROK Military Alliance
Yonhap (“U.S. HINTS AT POSSIBLE DELAY IN OPCON TRANSFER”, Seoul, 2009/10/19) reported that the United States for the first time has indicated the possibility of rescheduling the transfer of the wartime command of ROK troops in 2012. “Within the agreement, there are very clear directions for continued evaluation of political conditions and an explicit decision before OPCON transfer decision is made,” said a senior administration official. “So we would continue to make progress on the things we need to do to transfer the operational control. But the decision will be made based on how things look in 2012.” “We have absolutely no worries that the military conditions and military capabilities will be there to enable OPCON transfer in 2012,” he said. “The OPCON transfer does not at all reduce our obligations as an ally of Republic of Korea.”
13. ROK Military
Korea Herald (“S. KOREA HOSTS WORLD AIR FORCE CHIEF-OF-STAFF MEETING”, Seoul, 2009/10/18) reported that the ROK hosted a meeting of top air force officers from 12 countries on the eve of the Seoul international aerospace exhibit, the military said Sunday. The Air Force said chief-of-staffs from Japan, Russia, Greece and Germany gathered Monday in Seoul to discuss outstanding issues on training leaders and advancing flight training programs for pilots. Other issues that will be touched include environmental and noise pollution problems near military air fields.
14. ROK-Russian Space Cooperation
Yonhap (“KOREA, RUSSIA TO DETERMINE CAUSE OF ROCKET LAUNCH MISHAP “, Seoul, 2009/10/19) reported that the ROK and Russia will meet for a formal review to determine why a jointly developed space rocket failed to place a satellite into orbit. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said Monday that the failure review meeting (FRB), to be held in Moscow on October 29, is expected to shed light on why one of the two fairings did not separate from the top of the second stage rocket. “Judging by past experience, it may actually be very hard to determine why the launch was not a complete success since it involves fairings,” an official source said.
15. ROK Politics
Joongang Ilbo (Shin Chang-woon, Lee Min-yong, “POLL: CLOSE ELECTION IS IN THE OFFING”, Seoul, 2009/10/19) reported that ahead of the Oct. 28 by-elections to select five new lawmakers, Grand National Party candidates in three regions have the edge while two are experiencing close contests against Democratic Party candidates, according to a poll conducted by the JoongAng Ilbo. The survey of 4,343 eligible voters was conducted between Wednesday and Saturday where five new lawmakers will be elected.
16. Japan on US Nuclear Policy
Asahi Shimbun (Atsuko Tannai and Hiroyuki Maegava, “INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION WEIGHS NO-FIRST USE OF NUKES”, Tokyo, 2009/10/19) reported that a three-day closed-door session of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) began in Hiroshima Sunday. The talks were expected to focus on the need to call on nations to pledge not to use nuclear weapons except in retaliation against a nuclear attack. Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada in a speech in Kyoto on Sunday stated, “It is very debatable whether there is a discrepancy for (the Japanese government) to argue strongly, on the one hand, for the elimination of nuclear weapons while also saying to please use nuclear weapons as a first strike for Japan,” Okada said. “It will be difficult to deny the general direction that is moving toward no-first use of nuclear weapons.”
17. US Military in Japan
Asahi Shimbun (“HATOYAMA PUTS OFF FUTENMA DECISION”, Tokyo, 2009/10/19) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama intends to delay until next year a government decision on where to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture. Hatoyama said Friday the government plans to reach a conclusion “sometime between” the mayoral election in Nago, Okinawa in January and the Okinawa gubernatorial election in late 2010.
Kyodo (“JAPAN SUGGESTS WILLINGNESS TO ALTER ACCORD TO RELOCATE U.S. BASE”, Tokyo, 2009/10/19) reported that Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano suggested willingness Monday to alter an accord reached between a previous government and Washington to realign U.S. forces stationed in Japan. ”It is a deal between the two governments, but the fact that Japan has experienced a change of government also weighs heavy,” Hirano said. ”I understand the agreement, but it is difficult to implement it,” Hirano said, adding the government will ”respect the viewpoint of lightening the burden of people in Okinawa as well as the coalition accord between the Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party and the People’s New Party” in considering the matter.
18. US on PRC-Iran Relations
Wall St. Journal (Jay Solomon, “U.S. ENLISTS OIL TO SWAY BEIJING’S STANCE ON TEHRAN”, Washington, 2009/10/18) reported that the Obama administration is encouraging Arab states to boost oil exports to the PRC in order to reduce Beijing’s reliance on Iranian energy and pare Chinese resistance to tougher sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program. In a step coordinated with Washington, the United Arab Emirates recently agreed to boost oil exports to China to between 150,000 to 200,000 barrels a day from a current level of 50,000 over the next six months, according to U.S. and Emirati officials. Saudi Arabia also appears prepared to offer the PRC more oil to make up for any losses it incurs as part of an international effort to punish Iran, according to people familiar with Saudi thinking.
19. Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN’S PARLIAMENT TO RATIFY CHINA TRADE PACT”, Taipei, 2009/10/18) reported that Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou said Saturday that the island’s trade pact with the PRC will be subjected to parliamentary scrutiny before it is ratified. “I promise all these things will be stated clearly. And once it is signed, it will be submitted to parliament for ratification,” Ma said. He also gave an assurance that the trade pact “must be what the country needs, supported by the people and placed under supervision of parliament.”
20. PRC Human Rights
Associated Press (“GROUP: CHINESE DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST GETS 10 YEARS”, Beijing, 2009/10/17) reported that f ormer university professor and judge Guo Quan was sentenced for “subversion of state power ” by a court in eastern Jiangsu Province on Friday, the New York-based group Human Rights in China said in a statement. Guo had been detained numerous times since 2007, when he founded the China New Democracy Party, which he claimed had 40 million members.
21. PRC Climate Change
Associated Press (Elaine Kurtenbach, “RISING SEAS THREATEN SHANGHAI, OTHER MAJOR CITIES”, Shanghai, 2009/10/18) reported that PRC cities are among the largest and most threatened by sea level rise. “By no means will Shanghai be under the sea 50 years from now. It won’t be like the ‘Day After Tomorrow’ scenario,” says Zheng Hongbo, a geologist who heads the School of Earth Science and Engineering at Nanjing University. “Scientifically, though, this is a problem whether we like it or not,” says Zheng, pointing to areas along Shanghai’s coast thought to be shrinking due to erosion caused by rising water levels.
22. PRC Environment
New York Times (Michael Wines, “BEIJING’S AIR IS CLEANER, BUT FAR FROM CLEAN”, Beijing, 2009/10/16) reported that through September, the Beijing government counted 221 days in which the 0-to-500 pollution index was below 101. It was the greatest number of “blue-sky days,” as the city calls them, since daily measurements were first published in 1998. At the same time, the city has recorded only 2 days with dangerously high air pollution. That is the lowest number in a decade, and fully 17 days fewer than were logged in the same period in 2000. Outside experts caution that the city’s measurements are not just imprecise — they do not measure the tiniest particulates that are most damaging to lungs, for instance — but potentially misleading.
Associated Press (“CHINA STARTS RESETTLING 330,000 FOR WATER PROJECT”, Beijing, 2009/10/18) reported that PRC authorities have started resettling 330,000 people in central China to make way for a massive project to divert water hundreds of miles to the cities in the north, a report said Sunday. The estimated $62 billion water diversion could be nearly three times as expensive as the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project. When completed, the project’s three routes will move billions of tons of water from China’s central, southern and western regions through pipes and canals to Beijing and other fast-growing northern cities. But critics have warned the water diversion will cause environmental damage and still not quench the boomtowns’ thirst.
23. PRC Public Health
BBC (Quentin Sommerville, “CHINA TO MOVE 15,000 FROM SMELTER”, Beijing, 2009/10/19) reported that officials in central China plan to relocate 15,000 residents after more than 1,000 children tested positive for lead poisoning. Zhao Suping, mayor of Jiyuan city in Henan province, said the relocation would cost 1bn yuan ($146m), Xinhua news agency reported.
II. PRC Report
24. PRC Environment
Xinhua News (“2009 ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES LEGISLATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INTERNATIONAL FORUM HELD”, 2009/10/16) reported that the 2009 Environmental Resources Legislation and Sustainable Development International Forum was held in Beijing yesterday. The sponsors appealed to all countries to promote the development of new energy and sustainable energy and address climate change by way of legislative action.
Nanguo Ruban Daily (“HAINAN INVESTS 4 BIL. ON SEWAGE AND WASTE TREATMENT”, 2009/10/16) reported that this year, Hainan province has invested nearly 4 billion RMB on sewage and waste treatment, including 18 sewage treatment projects and 17 waste treatment projects that will be completed by the end of the year.
25. PRC Civil Society and Poverty Alleviation
Public Welfare Times (“XIUSHI FUND ESTABLISHED”, 2009/10/16) reported that the China Social Enterprise Foundation’s first special fund – Xiushi Fund, was formally established on October 11. The Fund will carry out public projects and activities in the fields of education and poverty alleviation.