NAPSNet Daily Report 2 December, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DRPK Economy
- 2. Russia on DPRK Economy
- 3. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 4. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 5. DPRK Environment
- 6. Japan Export Controls on the DPRK
- 7. Inter-Korean Relations
- 8. DPRK Leadership
- 9. ROK Role in Afghanistan
- 10. U.S. Military Bases in Japan
- 11. Japan IAEA Leadership
- 12. Japan on Nuclear Proliferation
- 13. Japan Environment
- 14. Sino-Indian Relations
- 15. Sino-EU Relations
- 16. Cross Strait Relations
- 17. PRC Internet Control
- 18. PRC Climate Change
- II. PRC Report
1. DRPK Economy
Business Week (Moon Ihlwan, “NORTH KOREA TAKES AIM AT THE BLACK MARKET”, 2009/12/01) reported that for most of the decade, the DPRK fed up with the regime’s economic policies have been voting with their wallets, shunning the government’s official stores and instead shopping in free markets launched in 2002. In a rare attempt at economic reform, Pyongyang deregulated prices and introduced street and farmers’ markets, allowing citizens to acquire food and daily necessities from the markets as the government reduced supply of rations. The DPRK shoppers embraced those markets—as well as black markets that developed at the same time.
Washington Post (Blaine Harden, “CHAOS REPORTEDLY ERUPTS AFTER NORTH KOREA REVALUES CURRENCY”, Tokyo, 2009/12/01) reported that chaos reportedly erupted in the DPRK on Tuesday after the government of Kim Jong Il revalued the country’s currency, sharply restricting the amount of old bills that could be traded for new and wiping out personal savings. The revaluation and exchange limits triggered panic and anger, particularly among market traders with substantial hoards of old the DPRK won — much of which has apparently become worthless, according to news agency reports from the ROK and the PRC and from groups with contacts in the DPRK.
2. Russia on DPRK Economy
RIA Novosti (“RUSSIAN EXPERTS CRITICAL OF NORTH KOREAN CURRENCY REDENOMINATION”, 2009/12/01) reported that Russian experts warned that the redenomination of the DPRK’s currency will do little to help the reclusive communist state boost its economy. Alexander Zhebin, the head of the Center for Korean Studies at the Far Eastern Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said the move came against the backdrop of frozen economic ties with the ROK, a decrease in international humanitarian supplies and the accumulation of money supply by the population through the evolving market. “The measure proves that though administrative mechanisms are still used for economic regulation, these levers are not effective enough and cannot be a solution to economic problems,” Zhebin said.
3. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA NOT YET INDICATED IT WILL RETURN TO 6-WAY TALKS: STATE DEPT.”, 2009/12/01) reported that the DPRK has given no indication that it will return to the six-party talks, the State Department said, even as the US point man on the DPRK is set to visit Pyongyang to attempt to revive the nuclear negotiations. “I’m not aware of any kind of diplomatic exchange like that per se, but that is the main goal of Ambassador Bosworth’s trip, to get them to return to the six-party talks,” spokesman Ian Kelly said, when asked if Pyongyang has indicated that it will come back to the multilateral forum. “I am not aware that they have indicated that.”
4. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
The Associated Press (“CHINA SAYS WANTS US TALKS WITH NKOREA TO SUCCEED”, 2009/12/01) reported that the PRC voiced hope Tuesday that a rare direct meeting between DPRK and American officials next week would result in Pyongyang returning to talks on dismantling its nuclear program. “We hope the dialogue between the DPRK and the United States can be held and can be successful,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference.
5. DPRK Environment
Dong-A Ilbo (“REPORT: NK TURNING INTO CHINA`S `INDUSTRIAL WASTE DUMP` “, 2009/11/26) reported that the DPRK organizations in charge of raising foreign currency are bringing in and burying industrial waste from the PRC for money, a report released yesterday said. The report also said DPRK scientists who complained that their country is turning into the PRC’s industrial waste site have been purged in the DPRK. Daily NK, a media outlet on North Korean affairs, quoted a source in the DPRK’s South Hamkyong Province as saying, “The soil survey research center at Hamhung Institute of Technology released a research paper on its study of land pollution resulting from burial of industrial waste from China and a letter urging countermeasures to the Central Committee of the (North Korean) Workers’ Party. The institute was dismantled and senior officials and researchers were all purged.”
6. Japan Export Controls on the DPRK
Kyodo News (“PAIR ARRESTED OVER NORTH EXPORTS”, 2009/12/01) reported that a woman and a man were arrested on suspicion of exporting goods to the DPRK in violation of a ban on all trade with the hermit state, police said. Nakanishi and Ikeyama allegedly exported some ¥5.9 million worth of food, clothes and daily necessities to the DPRK, the police said. An investigation also determined the pair exported about ¥160,000 worth of cosmetics, which are considered luxury items, from Kobe to the DPRK through Dalian, PRC, in October 2008 without obtaining permission from the minister of economy, trade and industry.
7. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (“N. KOREAN SOLDIER TO RETURN AFTER ACCIDENTALLY CROSSING SEA BORDER “, 2009/12/01) reported that a DPRK soldier who was rescued by the ROK Navy earlier this week after his boat drifted south of the border will be repatriated through a truce village straddling the Koreas, the U.N. command here said. The army sergeant underwent questioning by US and ROK authorities after he was rescued in the Yellow Sea on Sunday, officials here said, declining to provide his name. The officials said he was fishing before his boat drifted south.
8. DPRK Leadership
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA’S RULING DYNASTY FIRMLY IN PLACE”, 2009/12/01) reported that it looks as though the DPRK’s hereditary dynasty is firmly in place after all. Kim Jong-un (26), the third son of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il and heir apparent to the throne, is said to be working at the powerful National Defense Commission and deeply involved in major policy decisions. Sources in the DPRK say Kim Jong-un is learning the ropes from his father. “With the tacit approval of Kim Jong-un, the leadership of the Workers’ Party is in the process of appointing new officials,” one source claims.
9. ROK Role in Afghanistan
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “S. KOREA HAILS OBAMA’S NEW AFGHAN STRATEGY”, Seoul, 2009/12/02) reported that the RK expressed support Wednesday for U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. “The government supports the U.S. decision to expand its Afghan aid efforts including the surge in troop levels in a bid to accelerate stabilization and reconstruction there,” foreign ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young said in a statement. The ROK will continue to join such efforts, he added.
10. U.S. Military Bases in Japan
Associated Press (“ALL 3 RULING PARTIES MUST AGREE ON FUTEMMA RELOCATION: HIRANO”, Tokyo, 2009/12/01) reported that Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said Tuesday that he considers an agreement between the three ruling coalition parties indispensable for settling the issue of where to relocate a U.S. military airfield in Okinawa Prefecture. In a related move, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada formally announced that he will visit Okinawa soon for the second time since assuming his Cabinet post, while Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said that a working group set up by Japan and the United States to discuss the issue will meet again later this week.
11. Japan IAEA Leadership
Bloomberg News (“AMANO TAKES IAEA HELM AMID IRAN, NORTH KOREA DEFIANCE”, 2009/12/01) reported that Yukiya Amano, a disarmament negotiator for the only nation attacked with nuclear weapons, faces immediate tests from a defiant Iran and provocative DPRK as he takes over the International Atomic Energy Agency today from Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei. Amano, 62, handled nuclear proliferation issues for Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for three decades. “The situation surrounding the agency is stormy now,” Amano said in Vienna on the first day of his four-year term, according to the agency’s Web site. “We have a lot of difficult challenges, but I would like to do my best,” he said. “I will try to be an impartial, reliable, and professional Director General.”
12. Japan on Nuclear Proliferation
Kyodo News (“JAPAN, ARAB NATIONS SEEK UNIFIED STANCE ON NUKE DISARMAMENT: MOUSSA”, Cairo, 2009/12/01) reported that Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said Tuesday that Arab countries and Japan would seek a common position on nuclear disarmament in the first Japan-Arab Economic Forum slated for this month in Tokyo. ” I’m sure that both the Arab League and Japan are in favor of the non- proliferation of nuclear weapons. For sure, it is a common standing point from which policies, practices, deals and agreement will emanate,” Moussa told Kyodo News a few days before leaving for Tokyo for the forum on Dec. 7 and 8.” I believe we share the same goals in ridding the whole world of nuclear weapons,” Moussa said.
13. Japan Environment
Japan for Sustainability (“75% OF RESPONDENTS WANT TO PRACTICE ENVIRONMENT-CONSCIOUS AGRICULTURE: SURVEY”, 2009/12/01) reported that the Japanese Association for the Promotion of Microbial Protection Agents compiled the results of a survey it conducted at its second annual Environment-Conscious Agriculture Symposium, which was held in March 2009. With a response rate of 62%, the survey found that 97 percent of respondents were interested in practicing environment-conscious agriculture, that 75 percent currently were employing such practices, and that 22 percent hoped to incorporate these techniques in the future.
Kyodo News (“JAPAN ON TRACK TO INTRODUCE ENVIRONMENT TAX IN FY 2010 “, 2009/12/01) reported that k ey members of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s Cabinet agreed that the government will try to introduce an environment tax in the forthcoming fiscal year starting in April, sources familiar with the matter said. With regard to a new tax system aimed at combating global warming, the Democratic Party of Japan’s campaign platform for the last election in August said the party will ”study the introduction,” without specifying a time frame.
14. Sino-Indian Relations
Hindustan Times (“‘INDIA FAVOURS RESOLVING ALL ISSUES WITH CHINA PEACEFULLY'”, 2009/12/01) reported that while authorities in Kashmir stopped work on a mountainous road near the border with the PRC after objections from the PRC army, India on Tuesday underlined that it wants to resolve all outstanding issues pertaining to the PRC peacefully, particularly the border issue. “The issues relating to the boundary question between India and China are in constant focus, as far as the government of India is concerned,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters here when asked about Beijing’s objection to a road along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
15. Sino-EU Relations
Xinhua (“CHINA REAFFIRMS RELATIONS WITH EU HIGH ON DIPLOMATIC AGENDA”, Beijing, 2009/12/01) reported that PRC President Hu Jintao on Tuesday underlined the importance of relations with European Union after their annual summit talks.” The Chinese government has always given one of its diplomatic priorities to the relations with Europe,” Hu told Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and European Commission President Barroso Tuesday. Both Reinfeldt and Barroso came to the PRC for the 12th the PRC-European Union (EU) summit, which took place in Nanjing, capital of east the PRC’s Jiangsu Province, on Monday.
Bloomberg (Dinakar Sethuraman, “CHINA MAY SEEK BIGGER CARBON CUT IN FUTURE, MORGAN STANLEY SAYS”, 2009/12/01) reported that the PRC may eventually aim for a larger cut in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2020 as the recently set target to reduce pollution is not “as large as it seems,” Morgan Stanley said. The PRC’s voluntary goal of cutting the output of carbon dioxide per unit of gross domestic product by 40 percent to 45 percent from 2005 levels doesn’t imply “faster adoption of renewable energy than is already known,” Morgan Stanley analysts Allen Wells and Andrew Humphrey said in a report today.
16. Cross Strait Relations
Reuters (“CHINA APPEALS TO RIVAL TAIWAN WITH ANCIENT TREASURES”, 2009/12/01) reported that a state-run academy in the PRC is hosting the biggest show of treasures to reach rival Taiwan in 60 years, offering a plethora of works including wedding sedans and music to teach the island about its Chinese roots. The Chinese National Academy of Arts displayed 230 rare items in ethnic Chinese Taiwan this week so the public could take a closer look at its neighbor, often regarded as a military threat, and consider helping save their common heritage. “The two sides come from the same roots,” said Tian Qing, an academy professor managing the exhibit, suggesting that Taiwan’s youth should study the treasures, then act to save them.
17. PRC Internet Control
Reuters (Chris Buckley, “CHINA POLICE CHIEF WARNS OF UNREST; INTERNET TESTING CONTROL”, Beijing, 2009/12/01) reported that the PRC ‘s top police officer has warned that the nation’s security forces are struggling keep pace with an increasingly assertive society, and he demanded defter quelling of protests and stricter oversight of the Internet. In an essay that appeared on Tuesday, PRC’s Minister of Public Security , Meng Jianzhu , said the nation’s police suffer “glaring problems and weak links that urgently demand solution.” Meng targeted gaps in control of the Internet and poor handling of protests and riots as failings that could erode Communist Party control over a society being transformed by rapid economic growth and new values.
18. PRC Climate Change
Agence France Presse (“CHINA PRESSES RICH NATIONS OVER EMISSIONS CUTS”, Beijing, 2009/12/01) reported that the PRC called on Tuesday for rich nations to heed the developing world’s position on climate change just days ahead of crunch talks in Copenhagen aimed at tackling global warming . ” Developed countries should pay attention to the concerns and interests of developing countries ,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters. His comments came after representatives from the DPRK, the PRC, India , Brazil , South Africa and Sudan , which currently chairs the Group of 77 developing countries, met in Beijing on Friday and Saturday to talk about climate change.
II. PRC Report
19. PRC AIDS Issue
Xinhua News (“CHINESE PRESIDENT VOWS TO MOBILIZE SOCIETY TO IMPROVE AIDS CONTROL”, 2009/12/01) reported that PRC President Hu Jintao pledged to mobilize the whole society to improve AIDS/HIV control, when taking part in a gathering of AIDS prevention volunteers Monday. It was the fourth time in six years that Hu met medical staff, researchers, AIDS patients and volunteers ahead the World AIDS Day. Beijing now has more than 50,000 volunteers engaged in AIDS prevention and control work.
20. PRC Environment
People’s Daily Online (“CHINA TO INVEST 90 BILLION RMB ON WATER POLLUTION CONTROL”, 2009/12/01) reported that the PRC will invest 90 billion RMB on water pollution control in the next 2-3 years, according to an official of Ministry of Environment Protection yesterday. Now in the PRC, nearly 90% urban rivers suffer pollution at different levels, and about 270 million rural people are threatened by water pollution.
21. PRC Civil Society
People’s Daily Online (“DALIAN NEWLY ESTABLISHES 11 CHARITY FOUNDATIONS”, 2009/12/01) reported that 11 new charity foundations were established by 11 enterprises and individuals in Dalian yesterday. As at now, there are 73 charity foundations in Dalian city of eastern Liaoning province, and the total fund reaches 426 million RMB.