NAPSNet Daily Report 2 April, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 3. Inter-Korean Relations
- 4. ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 5. DPRK Regime Stability
- 6. DPRK Leadership
- 7. DPRK Economy
- 8. US Nuclear Deterrence and the ROK
- 9. ROK Security
- 10. ROK-Japanese Territorial Dispute
- 11. USFJ Base Relocation
- 12. Japan Nuclear Safety
- 13. Japan Climate Change
- 14. Japan Whaling Issue
- 15. Sino-Indian Territorial Dispute
- 16. Sino-Russian Security Cooperation
- 17. Sino-US Relations
- 18. PRC on Iran Nuclear Program
- 19. Cross-Strait Relations
- 20. PRC Military
- 21. PRC Environment
- II. PRC Report
1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Mainichi Shimbun (“U.S. COMMANDER REVEALS TRUE PURPOSE OF TROOPS IN OKINAWA IS TO REMOVE N. KOREA’S NUKES”, 2010/04/01) reported that t he commander of US Marine Corps troops in Asia has recently revealed to Japanese defense officials that the true purpose of stationing Marines in Okinawa is to remove DPRK of its nuclear weapons if its regime collapses. Lt. Gen. Keith Stalder, commander of Marine Corps troops operating in the Asia-Pacific region, r evealed that Marine Corps troops in Okinawa are actually there to counter the threat of the DPRK, according to one of Japanese attendees. Pointing out that there is more chance that Kim Jong Il’s regime will collapse than a military conflict breaking out between the DPRK and ROK, Stalder explained that the most important mission of Marines in Okinawa in such an emergency situation is to promptly rid the DPRK of its nuclear weapons.
2. Sino-DPRK Relations
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA, N.KOREA PLAN YALU HYDROPOWER DAMS: REPORTS”, 2010/04/01) reported that the PRC and DPRK will build two hydro-electric dams on the Yalu River that marks their border, PRC state media reported. The dams will cost a total of 1.1 billion yuan (161 million dollars) and generate a combined 308 million kilowatt hours of electricity when completed, China Central Television reported. Electricity from the dams would help “drive economic growth in Jilin and North Korea,” it added. It was not immediately clear how the two sides would share the cost of the projects or the electricity.
Washington Post (“FACING FOOD SHORTAGES AND SANCTIONS, KIM JONG IL APPEARS TO REACH OUT TO CHINA”, Seoul, 2010/04/01) reported that squeezed by food shortages and financial sanctions, DPRK leader Kim Jong Il appears to be reaching out to the PRC and PRC investors. Kim is attempting to accelerate PRC investment in his destitute country. To that end, he has ordered the creation of a State Development Bank. Officials from the new bank told a ROK professor last week that they intend to allow the construction of foreign-owned factories in major DPRK cities. This would allow PRC firms, many of which are running short of low-cost factory workers, access to the DPRK’s pool of low-wage laborers.
3. Inter-Korean Relations
Xinhua News (“SOUTH KOREA, DPRK TO ADDRESS TOURISM”, 2010/04/01) reported that the ROK has urged the DPRK to resolve cross-border tourism issues through dialogue and not to infringe upon property rights of ROK companies, in the Mount Kumgang resort area. T he ROK Unification Ministry said in a statement that violating their property rights could make the resumption of Mount Kumgang tours “difficult” and that all pending issues can only be resolved through dialogue.
4. ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Xinhua News (“NO DPRK SUBMARINE DETECTED AT TIME OF S.KOREAN WARSHIP SINKING: DEFENSE MINISTRY”, 2010/04/01) reported that the ROK’s Ministry of Defense said that no submarine of the DPRK was detected at the time of its warship Cheonan’s sinking Friday night. In a 27-page press release, the ministry said “no signs of North Korean (DPRK) submarine activity were detected in the area at the time of the incident”. The ministry also said another ROK naval vessel Sokcho fired at an unspecified target toward the north in response after it found a “fast-moving” target in its radars, believing it was a vessel from the DPRK that launched an attack to Cheonan, but the object was found to be a “flock of birds”.
Yonhap (Shin Hae-in, “SEARCH CONTINUES FOR MISSING SAILORS ON SUNKEN S. KOREAN SHIP”, Seoul, 2010/04/02) reported that ROK military rescuers resumed an underwater search for 46 missing sailors from the Cheonan on Friday. During a parliamentary hearing Friday, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said possibilities of a torpedo causing the sinking “appear to be a bit more practical” than that of a sea mine, but did not say if he suspected Pyongyang to be behind the firing.
5. DPRK Regime Stability
CNN (“N. KOREA DEFECTOR TOUTS IDEOLOGY OVER FORCE”, 2010/04/01) reported that the DPRK ‘s highest-ranking defector said “ideological warfare,” not military action, would help topple the regime of Kim Jong Il. “We don’t need to resort to force,” Hwang Jang-yop told a small audience. “We need to use ideology and markets and diplomacy. We need to take a lesson from the cold war.” Hwang said that neither engaging nor attacking the regime would help bring about change in the DPRK. Rather, he said, it was critical to educate North Koreans about human rights abuses taking place in their country.
6. DPRK Leadership
Yonhap News (“RETURN OF N. KOREAN ENVOY IN GENEVA ENHANCES JONG-UN’S SUCCESSION: HK DAILY”, 2010/04/01) reported that the DPRK ‘s top envoy to Geneva, considered one of the closest aides to leader Kim Jong-il, has recently returned to Pyongyang in a move seen as aimed at helping the leader transfer power to his son, a Hong Kong daily said. The PRC-language Takungpao said in a commentary that Ambassador Ri Chol, who has served as a diplomat to Switzerland for 30 years, went back to the DPRK in late March in order to help with the succession of Kim Jong-un, the youngest of Kim’s three sons. “To the author’s view, the most important reason for Ri’s return may be related to making smooth arrangements for Kim Jong-il’s successor,” wrote Li Youqi, a senior commentator at the newspaper.
7. DPRK Economy
The Associated Press (“ECONOMIST SAYS NKOREA TO PHASE OUT PRIVATE MARKETS”, 2010/04/01) reported that the DPRK will phase out private markets and rely on state-controlled outlets, a senior economist said in a rare interview, amid speculation the country’s reclusive leader could soon visit the PRC to secure much needed investment. Ri Ki Song, a professor at the Institute of Economy at the DPRK’s Academy of Social Sciences, told APTN in an interview in the DPRK capital that markets are helping improve the lives of the country’s citizenry, but their days are numbered. “Markets will be removed in the future, by reducing their numbers step-by-step, while continuously expanding the planned supply through state-run commercial networks,” Ri said. “This is our official position on markets. Now, markets are used as a subsidiary means to offer convenience in peoples’ daily lives.”
8. US Nuclear Deterrence and the ROK
Korea Herald (“OBAMA PLEDGES NUKE DETERRENCE, SHIP RESCUE AID”, 2010/04/01) reported that US President Barack Obama called President Lee Myung-bak to offer Washington’s full assistance including expert help in analyzing what caused the naval ship Cheonan to sink. Obama also reaffirmed US commitment to providing the ROK with extended nuclear deterrence against any possible attack, Seoul’s presidential office said.
9. ROK Security
Yonhap (Kim Eun-jung, “POLICE ARREST TWO SUSPECTED TERRORISTS FROM PAKISTAN”, Seoul, 2010/04/02) reported that two Pakistani men who are suspected of being members of a terrorist organization have been arrested for allegedly illegally entering the ROK, police here said Friday. The two men allegedly entered the country via a Pakistani merchant ship that arrived in the southern port of Busan late last year and bypassed an immigration checkpoint by climbing over the wall there, the National Police Agency said. “We are currently investigating why they came and possible links to other terror groups, but no clear evidence has been found yet,” a police officer said.
10. ROK-Japanese Territorial Dispute
Korea Times (“RULING PARTY CALLS DOKDO DIPLOMACY INEFFECTIVE”, 2010/04/01) reported that the chief policymaker of the governing Grand National Party (GNP) demanded that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade rethink its “quiet diplomacy” in dealing with Japan, saying it’s not working. “Early on, I set my expectations high for Japan after the Democratic Party of Japan took power last year (because the party reiterated its willingness to improve relations with Seoul),” said Kim Seong-jo. “But it turned out that Seoul-Tokyo relations have been going backward since then. The recent textbook case is a snapshot illustrating the worsening bilateral relations.”
Yonhap News (“DOKDO MARKED AS KOREAN TERRITORY ON JAPANESE GOV’T MAP”, 2010/04/01) reported that a century-old Japanese government map designating Dokdo in the East Sea as Korean territory was revealed by a ROK research institute, posing a setback to Tokyo’s repeated claims to the easternmost ROK islets. The map of Northeast Asia, published by the Japanese imperial government in 1903, clearly shows that Dokdo belonged to the Joseon Dynasty, which ruled the Korean Peninsula from 1392 until its colonization by Japan in 1910, according to the Dokdo Institute at Daegu’s Yeungnam University.
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “LEE SAYS GOV’T TO BOLSTER CONTROL OF DOKDO AGAINST JAPAN’S CLAIM”, Seoul, 2010/04/02) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak said Friday his administration will study ways to bolster Seoul’s effective control of Dokdo. Lee made the remark during his breakfast meeting with Rep. Chung Mong-joon, chairman of the ruling Grand National Party (GNP). “President Lee stressed that (the government) will positively consider (related measures) and cooperate (with the party),” GNP spokeswoman Chung Mee-kyung told reporters.
11. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo (“OKINAWA GOV. PRESSES TOKYO FOR FUTEMMA RELOCATION PROPOSAL”, 2010/04/01) reported that Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima pressed Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano to brief him on a government proposal for where to relocate a U.S. Marine base in the southernmost prefecture once it becomes concrete. “I got the impression that (the government) isn’t at the stage where it can tell us the proposal, including how much that has been finalized or not finalized,” Nakaima told reporters. “I explained to (Hirano) the mood in my prefecture — that there are strong calls among the people for (the base’s relocation) outside of the prefecture,” he said.
12. Japan Nuclear Safety
The Asahi Shimbun (“CHUGOKU SHUTS MATSUE NUCLEAR PLANT”, 2010/04/01) reported that Chugoku Electric Power Co. started a shutdown of its nuclear plant in this western region of Japan a day after it acknowledged that 123 safety checks had been missed. Among the unchecked items was a motor considered crucial in case of emergency.
13. Japan Climate Change
Kyodo News (“TOKYO GOVT LAUNCHES ASIA’S 1ST EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME”, Tokyo, 2010/04/01) reported that the Tokyo metropolitan government launched a mandatory scheme to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from large office buildings and factories, involving Asia’s first cap-and-trade program allowing entities to purchase emissions credits achieved by others. The government of Tokyo, home to nearly 13 million people, aims to achieve its goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 2000 levels by 2020 through the newly launched scheme. Tokyo ‘s program is expected to serve as a case study for the central government, which plans to design a nationwide emissions trading system within a year.
Kyodo News (“JAPAN PROPOSES MULTILATERAL WORKSHOP ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY”, 2010/04/01) reported that Japan called on other countries to raise energy efficiency through enhanced information sharing and step up the battle against global warming. Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Masayuki Naoshima, speaking to the International Energy Forum in Cancun, Mexico, proposed the IEF hold a workshop on policies to promote energy-saving technologies. “It would be meaningful to share information and boost effectiveness,” Naoshima told the ministerial talks.
14. Japan Whaling Issue
Agence France-Presse (Harumi Ozawa, “JAPAN INDICTS NZ ANTI-WHALING ACTIVIST”, Tokyo, 2010/04/02) reported that Japan on Friday indicted a New Zealand anti-whaling activist of the US-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society who boarded a harpoon ship in Antarctic waters in February. Peter Bethune “was indicted on five charges — trespassing, causing injuries, obstructing commercial activities, vandalism and carrying a weapon,” said a spokeswoman at the Tokyo District Court .
15. Sino-Indian Territorial Dispute
Calcutta News (“INDIA, CHINA CAPABLE ENOUGH ABOUT READDRESSING BOUNDARY ISSUE: MENON”, 2010/04/01) reported that National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said both India and the PRC are confident enough about readdressing the boundary issue. Addressing a seminar on “India and China: Public Diplomacy, Building Understanding,” organised to mark the 60th anniversary of the Indo-China diplomatic ties, Menon said: “Both countries were confident enough to re-address the most complicated and difficult issue that affects bilateral relations, the India-China boundary question, at the political level. “It was decided to entrust the issue to Special Representatives of the leaders” he added.
16. Sino-Russian Security Cooperation
Xinhua News (“CHINA PLEDGES ANTI-TERROR COOPERATION AFTER RUSSIA BOMB ATTACKS”, 2010/04/01) reported that the PRC said it would step up anti-terror cooperation with Russia after a string of bomb attacks in Russia within this week. “We will continue to strengthen cooperation with Russia on security issues and fighting terrorism to jointly combat ‘three forces’ (of terrorism, separatism and extremism), in a bid to safeguard peace and stability in the two countries and in the region,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.
17. Sino-US Relations
Reuters (“CHINESE PRESIDENT HU TO ATTEND WASHINGTON NUCLEAR MEET”, 2010/04/01) reported that PRC President Hu Jintao will attend a summit on nuclear security in Washington this month, the PRC Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, adding to signs that tensions between the two nations are ebbing. It will open days before the U.S. Treasury is due to release a report on whether the PRC is “manipulating” its currency exchange rate to boost its exports. Hu’s attendance at the summit therefore suggests the PRC sees that as unlikely, at least soon after the summit, an analyst said. PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Hu would attend the April 12-13 summit, but declined to say if there would be a bilateral meeting between the two presidents.
18. PRC on Iran Nuclear Program
Kyodo (“CHINA ALSO SEES NEED FOR FRESH SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN: U.S. OFFICIAL “, Washington, 2010/04/01) reported that the United States sees it is high time for the international community to seek additional sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear development program and that the PRC shares the view, US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip Crowley told reporters at a regular briefing. ”I think the fact that China has indicated it’s willing to engage in the substance of this issue is clearly a welcome step,” he said.
19. Cross-Strait Relations
Reuters (“CHINA, TAIWAN MOVE CLOSER TO TRADE PACT BY JUNE”, 2010/04/01) reported that the PRC and Taiwan moved closer to signing a landmark free trade-style deal by mid-year that would give a boost to $109 billion in annual trade between the once bitter political rivals. Officials from Taiwan said the two sides had put aside sensitive items in order to sign an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) by June, a move that would boost the island’s markets and listed companies in the parts of PRC closest to it.
20. PRC Military
South China Morning Post (“PLA’S FIRST CARRIER ‘READY BY 2012′”, 2010/04/01) reported that the PRC could have its first aircraft carrier operational in two years, according to the most senior US military official in the Asia-Pacific region. Admiral Robert Willard, commander of the US Pacific Command in Hawaii, told a recent US congressional hearing that the Soviet-era carrier Varyag, bought from a Ukrainian shipyard in 1998, would be “operational around 2012 and likely be used to develop basic carrier skills” after a 10-year refit. His statement is the most specific yet from the Pentagon on Beijing’s aircraft carrier ambitions.
21. PRC Environment
The New York Times (“A CALL FOR HONG KONG TO CLEAN THE AIR”, Hong Kong, 2010/04/01) reported that top business leaders in Asia’s financial hub are sounding a bit like environmental activists these days, taking a stand against the persistently unhealthy levels of air pollution gripping this city. The Clean Air Network and Civic Exchange, a public policy group, say that the air breathed by Hong Kong’s seven million residents is three times more polluted than New York’s and more than twice as bad as London’s. And when one applies the standards of the World Health Organization, Hong Kong’s air is healthy only 41 days a year, they say. For Hong Kong, pollution is not just about poor visibility and canceled school athletics. Many analysts and business people say the failure to push ahead on controlling emissions also risks tarnishing Hong Kong’s reputation of being one of Asia’s most advanced cities.
II. PRC Report
22. PRC Environment
Xinhua News (“TIBET TO CONTROL 550 ARES DESERTIFIED LAND”, 2010/04/01) reported that Tibet will launch a sand prevention and control project, which plans to treat and control desertified land of 550 ares, accounting for 30% of the whole deserified areas in Tibet, sources with Tibet Department of Environment Protection.