NAPSNet Daily Report 2 February, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. US-DPRK Relations
- 3. US-DPRK MIA Joint Recovery Operations
- 4. DPRK Missile Program
- 5. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 6. ROK Military
- 7. DPRK Military
- 8. DPRK Unrest
- 9. DPRK Economy
- 10. DPRK Leadership
- 11. Japan-US Non-Proliferation Cooperation
- 12. US Military Exercise
- 13. Japan Climate Change
- 14. Sino-Japanese Relations
- 15. US and Cross Strait Relations
- 16. Sino-US Relations
- 17. PRC Naval Strategy
- 18. PRC Anti-Piracy Operations
- 19. PRC Tibet Issue
- 20. PRC Unrest
- 21. PRC Urban-Rural Disparity
- 22. PRC Media Control
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
World Tribune (“RAND: 400,000 TROOPS NEEDED TO SECURE N. KOREA AND ITS ‘LOOSE NUKES'”, 2010/02/01) reported that if there’s one sure way to infuriate the DPRK, it’s to talk of “regime collapse” and “contingency planning”. Against this background, one should not be surprised if the DPRK sees a study conducted by Rand Corporation analyst Bruce Bennett and Dartmouth College scholar Jennifer Lind as the most conclusive evidence to date that the planning is in an advanced stage. Lind offers specific estimates of what it would take to seize the DPRK ‘s nuclear facilities and disarm the entire DPRK defense establishment as if the collapse of the DPRK regime were almost certain and the US had to lead the charge to fill the vacuum. The study offers a raft of figures on the exact number of needed to subdue the DPRK — 400,000 seems to be the operative figure with six brigades of troops dispatched right away to address the “paramount problem upon the DPRK collapse” — “the prevention of loose nukes”.
2. US-DPRK Relations
Xinhua News (“DPRK NEWSPAPER URGES U.S. TO GIVE UP COLD WAR MINDSET”, 2010/02/01) reported that the Rodong Simun newspaper of the DPRK urged the US to give up the Cold War mindset and conclude a peace treaty. The official newspaper said in a commentary that the DPRK proposal for a peace treaty was an “agile project” and the DPRK made sincere efforts for its implementation. What is most important for settling the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, the commentary said, is for the US to roll back its policy to isolate and stifle the DPRK. It stressed the need to start talks for a peace treaty and confidence between the DPRK and the US as early as possible.
3. US-DPRK MIA Joint Recovery Operations
Reuters (“U.S. REBUFFS NORTH KOREAN OVERTURE ON U.S. MIA REMAINS”, 2010/01/29) reported that the US rebuffed a DPRK offer to reopen talks on finding US soldiers missing since the Korean War, saying Pyongyang must first resume discussions on ending its nuclear ambitions. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the United States believed the DPRK must first return to six-party on its nuclear program. “Our foremost interest right now is to get North Korea back into the six-party process to address … the obligations that they have previously committed to regarding denuclearization,” Crowley told reporters.
4. DPRK Missile Program
Xinhua News (“DPRK DECLARES FIVE MORE NO SAIL ZONES OFF WEST, EAST COAST: YONHAP”, Seoul, 2010/02/01) reported that the DPRK declared five more no sail zone off the west and the east coast, Seoul’s Yonhap News Agency reported. The additional “no-sail” zones, covered western waters off Kyodong Island and the coasts of Chulsan and Sunchon Counties in the DPRK’s North Pyongan province and eastern waters off the coast of Kumya County in North Hamkyong Province, the sources were quoted as saying. All ships are banned from sailing in the zones between 7:00 a.m. local time to 8:00 p.m. local time during the period of Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, Yonhap said. The news raised the concerns over the possibility of a short- range missile launch.
5. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
The Associated Press (“2 KOREAS HOLD TALKS DAYS AFTER EXCHANGING GUNFIRE”, Seoul, ) reported that officials from the two Koreas met to discuss their joint industrial complex just days after an exchange of gunfire at sea emphasized the constant security threat on the divided peninsula. Talks ended Monday without any significant progress. The sides agreed instead to discuss the ROK’s perennial request that border crossings be eased for its workers at separate military talks, the Unification Ministry said in a statement. They also put off addressing the DPRK’s demand for wage hikes for its workers until the next round of working-level talks on the complex, the statement said.
6. ROK Military
Xinhua News (“S. KOREAN NAVY LAUNCHES HIGH-MOBILITY COMBAT UNIT”, 2010/02/01) reported that the ROK navy announced that it has launched its first high-mobility combat unit designed to better protect its maritime areas, just days after the two Koreas exchanged barrages of artillery fires in the disputed sea border off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula last week. Consisting of six destroyers, including the ROK’s first Aegis combat destroyer Sejong the Great, the new combat unit will provide better protection to threats from outside forces, including the DPRK, while conducting missions aimed at supporting the country’s overall defensive posture, the navy said.
7. DPRK Military
Xinhua News (“KIM INSPECTS ARMY UNIT STRESSING ENHANCING COMBAT CAPABILITY”, 2010/02/01) reported that Kim Jong Il, top leader of the DPRK, inspected the command of Korean People’s Army Large Combined Unit 630, the official news agency KCNA reported. Kim said all the soldiers of the unit have discharged their duty in a responsible manner, guarding with high vigilance, against possible aggression by enemies. He also set tasks for the unit as guidelines to increase its combat capability. Kim also praised the unit as an exemplary unit not only in military training, but political and ideological education as well.
8. DPRK Unrest
Joongang Ilbo (“RIOTS AFTER CHANGE IN CURRENCY BY PYONGYANG”, 2010/02/01) reported that t he top ROK intelligence official has revealed that the DPRK’s currency revaluation caused sporadic riots last year, confirming speculation that the move was unpopular with the public. According to multiple sources, Won Sei-hoon, head of the National Intelligence Service, told lawmakers last week that the DPRK people weren’t pleased with the currency revaluation. “The move late last year [Nov. 30] led to riots in some places,” Won was quoted as saying by the sources. “But the North Korean government appears to have them now under control.”
9. DPRK Economy
IFES NK Brief (“DPRK SCHOLAR ADMITS CURRENCY REFORM GOAL WAS EXPANDED PUBLIC FINANCES”, 2010/01/29) reported that the director of the DPR Korea Institute of Social Sciences has publically stated that the shocking currency reforms announced last November were aimed at filling the state’s public finance coffers. In an interview for the Choson Sinbo, a newspaper distributed by the pro-DPRK ‘General Association of Korean Residents in Japan,’ director Kim Cheol Jun revealed, “[last year’s] currency exchange program in was effectively carried out…through the currency exchange, socialist economic management principles could be better realized and a public finance foundation was prepared on which leaping advancements in the lives of the people will be achieved.”
10. DPRK Leadership
Joongang Ilbo (“MISSIONS OF NORTH TIPPED TO SUCCESSOR”, 2010/02/02) reported that t he head of a Seoul-based news agency run by DPRK defectors said yesterday that DPRK embassies overseas have been told to lay the foundation for a leadership change in Pyongyang, making a possible succession of power virtually official. Kim Sung-min, head of the Free North Korea Radio, said the DPRK’s government sent notices to its embassies to “firmly establish the system for the sole leadership” of Kim Jong-un, the third son of the current leader Kim Jong-il. Kim Sung-min said he had been informed by a member of a DPRK embassy but declined to say in which country the embassy was based.
11. Japan-US Non-Proliferation Cooperation
Kyodo News (“JAPAN, U.S. TO LAUNCH TALKS ON COOPERATION IN NUCLEAR FORENSICS”, 2010/02/01) reported that Japan and the US will launch working-level talks in February aimed at promoting cooperation in the field of nuclear forensics, a sophisticated process to analyze the composition of nuclear materials, sources of both governments said. Representatives of Japan ‘s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, an organization under the Department of Energy, will attend the talks. It would be the first intergovernmental consultation on nuclear forensics between Japan and the United States . The possible revelation of such nuclear fingerprints is expected to help deter nuclear powers from providing nuclear materials to third parties and prevent nuclear terrorism.
12. US Military Exercise
Agence France-Presse (“US LAUNCHES LARGEST ASIAN WAR GAMES IN THAILAND”, Rayong, 2010/02/01) reported that the US military began its largest war games in the Pacific region — an annual training exercise with troops from Thailand , Japan , Indonesia and Singapore, now joined by the ROK . At the opening ceremony in the eastern Thai province of Rayong , US Ambassador Eric G. John said that the “Cobra Gold” exercise, now in its 29th year, had become a “multinational showcase event”. “The US continues to view this exercise, which is our premier training event in Thailand, as an important symbol of US military commitment to maintaining peace and security in Asia,” he told the audience.
13. Japan Climate Change
The Financial Times (Mure Dickie, “JAPAN TO FOCUS ON GREEN TECHNOLOGY”, Tokyo, 2010/02/01) reported that Japan should focus its climate change efforts on developing new environmental technology rather than rushing to introduce mandatory emissions trading or other measures to meet ambitious targets for 2020, according to Tokyo’s industry and trade minister. The Democratic Party of Japan pledged in its successful election campaign last year to cut carbon emissions by 25 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020. But Masayuki Naoshima, head of the powerful Ministry for Economy, Trade and Industry, told the Financial Times the target was based on achieving of a global climate pact. Mr Naoshima’s measured approach will cheer Japanese businesses concerned about the cost of strict carbon curbs on the world’s second largest economy.
14. Sino-Japanese Relations
The Associated Press (“JAPAN, CHINA STILL AT ODDS OVER ‘RAPE OF NANKING'”, 2010/02/01) reported that Japan acknowledged its wartime military caused tremendous damage to the PRC in the ” Rape of Nanking ” massacre, but the two sides failed again to agree on the death toll, a joint study said. The report was written by Japanese and PRC historians appointed by the two governments. In it, Japanese scholars confirmed Japan ‘s Imperial Army “massacred” war prisoners, soldiers and citizens in the city of Nanking, now called Nanjing, in the December 1937 attack, and committed repeated rapes of women, arson and looting. But the two sides failed to agree on the death toll.
15. US and Cross Strait Relations
Bloomberg News (“WHITE HOUSE: CHINA SANCTIONS ON US UNWARRANTED”, 2010/02/01) reported that a White House spokesman says it would “not be warranted” for the PRC to slap sanctions on US companies in retaliation for the Obama administration’s plans to sell arms to Taiwan . Beijing announced the unprecedented threat of sanctions to penalize the companies involved in building the arms, although it has not been specific. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the US is working with the PRC on issues of mutual concerns and airing disagreements publicly when they occur.
16. Sino-US Relations
Kyodo News (“U.S. GUARD AGAINST MILITARY PRESENCE OF CHINA, VOWS TO FIGHT TERRORISM”, 2010/02/01) reported that t he Defense Department released a quadrennial paper to review its defense policy, showing increased vigilance over growing military presence of the PRC and pledging to transform US forces so as to better deal with terrorism. ”Lack of transparency and the nature of China’s military development and decision-making process raise legitimate questions about its future conduct and intentions within Asia and beyond,” the report said. The department said the US approach toward the PRC ”must be multidimentional and undergirded by a process of enhancing confidence and reducing mistrust in a manner that reinforces mutual interests.”
17. PRC Naval Strategy
IST News (“CHINA MULLS MILITARY BASE ON PAK SOIL”, 2010/01/29) reported that in the latest moves by Beijing the Red Army is looking to build a base in Pakistan. The PRC has signaled it wants to go the US way and set up military bases in overseas locations including Pakistan. The obvious motivation behind PRC military expansion plans is to exert pressure on India as well as counter US influence in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Indeed there is plenty of evidence that the PRC is trying to cricle India. Firstly, there are the PRC Naval bases in Burma and in Coco Islands. Just last year Beijing struck an agreement with Sri Lanka to modernise its Hambantota port. But the real PRC intent analysts believe, is to get access to a friendly port in the Indian Ocean.
18. PRC Anti-Piracy Operations
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA TO AID SOMALIA ANTI-PIRACY FORCE: DIPLOMAT”, 2010/01/30) reported that the PRC has agreed to cooperate with a coalition of naval forces combating rampant piracy off the coast of Somalia, a top Norwegian official said here. Norwegian foreign ministry official Carl Salicath made the announcement on the first anniversary of the establishment of the so-called Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). “The Chinese delegate heralded this as a very important step forward. I absolutely agree with him. This will make the patrolling more efficient,” Salicath, who chairs the CGPCS, added.
19. PRC Tibet Issue
Bloomberg News (“CHINA REBUFFS TIBETANS, REJECTS GREATER AUTONOMY AS TALKS END”, 2010/02/01) reported that the first PRC-Tibetan talks in 15 months ended as the PRC’s top negotiator rejected calls for greater autonomy for the region, the Tibetan exile administration said today. The talks followed a policy conference in Beijing that may have set the PRC’s Tibet policy for the near future. PRC chief negotiator Du Qinglin “said the so-called ’Greater Tibet’ and ‘high-level autonomy’ violated the PRC’s constitution,” citing a statement from Du’s office. “The door for contacts and talks remained open,” Xinhua said, “only if the Dalai Lama completely abandoned such claims.”
20. PRC Unrest
Kyodo News (“CHINA WARNS OF RISE IN ‘MASS RELIGION-RELATED INCIDENTS'”, 2010/02/01) reported that the chief of the PRC ‘s central religious affairs agency has warned in a Chinese Communist Party journal that mass incidents associated with religions are on the rise in the country in recent years and should be appropriately dealt with to maintain social order. Wang Zuo’an, the head of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, an agency under the State Council that oversees religious affairs, also said that the influence of religions on PRC society is expanding due to a growth in the number of PRC religious believers. Wang pointed out that the rise in “mass religion-related incidents” in the country should be seriously noted and the ability to “accurately” deal with them increased.
21. PRC Urban-Rural Disparity
The Associated Press (“CHINA PLEDGES MORE SUPPORT FOR RURAL POOR”, 2010/02/01) reported that the PRC will boost spending in rural areas and let more farmers migrate to urban areas in a bid to close the widening income gap between villages and cities, government officials said. The PRC’s leaders are worried about lagging rural areas, where thousands of protests a year over living conditions and perceived government indifference threaten to undermine social stability. An exact figure has yet to be announced but Chen Xiwen, director of the Central Rural Work Leading Group, a government advisory body, said the increase in spending on agriculture and rural areas would be proportionally much higher than the central government ‘s overall budget increase this year.
22. PRC Media Control
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA INTENSIFIES CLAMPDOWN ON MEDIA: WATCHDOG”, 2010/02/01) reported that the PRC intensified its clampdown on local and foreign media last year with reporters facing violence, censorship and arbitrary detention, according to a report by an international press watchdog. Beijing also closed down social networking sites and moved to restrict online news under numerous regulations introduced in 2009 by local censors to control what the media says, the International Federation of Journalists said. “Banned topics range from events asssociated with social unrest and public protests against authorities to reports of photos of an actress topless on a Caribbean beach,” the Brussels-based group said.
II. PRC Report
23. PRC Energy Use
China Securities Journal (“NATIONAL ENERGY COMMITTEE LEADS TO MAKE LONG-TERM STRATEGIC PLAN”, 2010/02/01) reported that the newly established National Energy Committee will lead to make a national energy strategic plan. The plan will guide medium and long term energy development and building in the PRC, and the time coverage is expected to be over 20 years, said Wu Yin, vice director of National Energy Bureau yesterday.
24. PRC Civil Society
Xinhua Net (“CIVIL VOLUNTARY SERVICES FLOURISH IN TIANJIN”, 2010/02/01) reported that a “Promise 2010” annual meeting was held yesterday in Tianjin. The sponsor is Tianjin Volunteers’ Federation, one of many civil voluntary service teams in Tianjin. These organizations have been active in helping children, elderly, and disabled people, and other public fields in Tianjin, which forms a good voluntary atmosphere in society.
25. PRC Civil Society and Disaster Relief
Jinghua Times (“HONG KONG GRANTS 8 MILLION TO PEOPLE IN HAITI DISASTER AREAS”, 2010/02/01) reported that Hong Kong Government announced to grant 8 million Hong Kong dollars from disaster relief fund to World Vision Hong Kong, in order to relieve people in Haiti disaster areas. Government also required World Vision to submit report and audited accounts when finishing the project.