1. Six Party Talks
The New York Times (“PLAN TO DISARM NORTH KOREA IS EVALUATED AS TALKS RECESS”, 2007-10-02) reported that talks on dismantling the DPRK’s nuclear program broke Sunday for a two-day recess so delegates could consult their governments on a draft plan and timetable to disable the the DPRK’s nuclear facilities. “Assuming we go forward with this, it really lays out an entire road map through the end of the year,” Christopher R. Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said.
Reuters (“DRAFT SEES NORTH KOREA DISABLEMENT BY YEAR-END”, 2007-10-02) reported that the DPRK could disable its nuclear facilities by the end of this year under a tentative accord reached in six-party negotiations over its atomic programmes, diplomatic sources said. Under the draft agreement, North Korea would disable three facilities at its Yongbyon nuclear complex and declare its nuclear programmes — including its uranium enrichment plans — by the end of the year, diplomatic sources in Tokyo told Reuters.
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA WON’T DECLARE NUCLEAR WEAPONS THIS YEAR”, 2007-10-02) reported that the DPRK has made it clear in six-nation talks that it will report its nuclear programs but not its nuclear weapons by year’s end. The chief DPRK negotiator Kim Kye-gwan reportedly said, “We can’t declare nuclear weapons this year, because if we do it at this stage, our nuclear weapons technology level will be revealed.” He hinted the DPRK wants to keep its nuclear weapons as the last bargaining chip for the negotiations. A senior ROK official said Seoul is willing to accept the DPRK’s position. “We’ve told the North that if it’s not possible to declare the nuclear weapons right now, it should provide a sufficient explanation,” he said.
2. Inter-Korean Summit
The Los Angeles Times (“KOREAN LEADERS MEET IN NORTH”, 2007-10-02) reported that riding dreams of Korean reunification and hoping to nudge history forward, ROK President Roh Moo- hyun journeyed to Pyongyang, today to open a three-day summit that drew the DPRK’s reclusive leader, Kim Jong Il, into a rare appearance before a global audience. Roh was expected to offer a package of incentives that could boost the the DPRK’s economy, and make reunification eventually possible between the suffering DPRK and its far wealthier neighbor. Among the expected enticements is an offer to create a new economic zone in a deep-water port in the DPRK.
Financial Times (“AID PLAN LIKELY TO BE FOCUS OF KOREAN SUMMIT”, 2007-10-02) reported that favouring a massive “Marshall Plan” for the DPRK, Mr Roh has made promoting economic ties the main aim of the summit and is understood to be considering offering as much as $20bn in aid. Underscoring the emphasis on economic development, the delegation includes the chairmen or chief executives of Samsung Electronics, LG, Hyundai Motor, SK Corp and Posco, the steel company, as well as finance, science, agriculture, unification and defence ministers. Local newspapers have reported that the ROK’s Korea Land Corporation has drawn up a plan to develop six DPRK cities as special economic zones and that Seoul wants to launch a “capitalist” movement in the DPRK, similar to the plan that saw the ROK industrialise in the 1960s and 1970s.
Chosun Ilbo (“TWO KOREAS ‘FINE-TUNING’ VIEWS ON PEACE FOR SUMMIT”, 2007-10-02) reported that President Roh Moo-hyun holds a summit with the DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. To enable them to issue a form of joint peace declaration for the Korean Peninsula, officials from the two Korean governments are fine-tuning their views. President Roh Moo-hyun seemed to use the phrase “establishment of permanent peace” as a comprehensive concept that includes measures to ease tension on the Peninsula and expand cross-border economic cooperation as well as the start of talks on establishing a permanent peace framework. He said the two Koreas would discuss military trust-building measures, the signing of a peace treaty and arms reduction once talks for a permanent peace mechanism for the peninsula gain steam, but he warned not everything would “go smoothly.”
3. DPRK Port Development
Korea Times (“NK PLANS LOGISTICS CENTER IN NAMPO”, 2007-10-02) reported that the DPRK is planning to develop its seaport of Nampo into a logistics hub, Seoul officials said. DPRK urban planners have completed the design for a logistics complex that spreads over 9.7 million square meters and will also have a scrap metal processing site, they said. The PRC and Canada will invest in the development of the logistics center, while Canada and Japan will finance the building of the processing site.
4. US-ROK Security Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“USFK CHIEF EXPECTS FORCES TO STAY AFTER PEACE TREATY”, 2007-10-02) reported that the commander of the US Forces Korea has said he expects the USFK to stay even after a peace treaty for the peninsula has been signed. “Even when the day comes and a peace treaty replaces the current armistice, every instinct that I have tells me that we will want to maintain military missions in Korea and Japan, as long as we are welcome and wanted,” Gen. Burwell Bell said.
5. US-ROK Relations
Joongang Ilbo (“EMBASSY DENIES LEE-BUSH MEETING”, 2007-10-02) reported that Lee Myung-bak’s supposed date for a face-to-face chat with President George W. Bush was thrown into question yesterday when the US Embassy in Seoul said there are no plans for such a meeting despite the White House having received a request for an appointment. Nevertheless, Lee’s Grand National Party acted yesterday as if the meeting is still on, while Lee took a wait- and-see approach. Max Kwak, the spokesman for the embassy, said yesterday that the White House “has no plans” to have a meeting with the opposition presidential candidate.
6. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
Japan Times (“DPJ WANTS GOV’T TO DISCLOSE MORE INFO ON ANTITERROR MISSION”, 2007-10-02) reported that the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan urged the Japanese government to disclose more information about the controversial antiterrorism refueling mission in which the Maritime Self-Defense Force has been engaged in the Indian Ocean since 2001, including accounting for how the oil has been used. DPJ chief policy maker Masayuki Naoshima visited the prime minister’s office and made the request in a meeting with Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura, who promised to try to provide as much information as possible, although within limits.
7. Japan Textbook Issue
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN REACHES OUT TO OKINAWA OVER TEXTBOOK ROW”, 2007-10-02) reported that Japan’s government said it may rescind an instruction for references to its military’s role in forced mass suicides during World War II to be deleted from school textbooks. The government, under former premier Shinzo Abe, in March ordered references to the military’s involvement in the suicides of Japanese civilians to be removed from learning materials for the first time. Education Minister Kisaburo Tokai said Tuesday the government would consider any requests by publishers to put back into textbooks references to the Japanese military’s role in the suicides.
The Asahi Shimbun (“OPPOSITION PARTIES PLAN RESOLUTION ON ’45 MASS SUICIDES IN TEXTBOOKS”, 2007-10-02) reported that four opposition parties agreed to submit a resolution to the Diet calling on the government to stop messing with the facts about the 1945 Battle of Okinawa in high school history textbooks. Specifically, the resolution will refer to the education ministry’s instructions to exclude from the textbooks any reference to the Imperial Japanese Army forcing Okinawan civilians to commit mass suicide in the closing days of World War II. “We want to see textbooks compiled in ways that take into consideration the situation in Okinawa and are based on historical facts,” Kenji Yamaoka, chairman of the Diet Affairs Committee of Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), said.
8. Sino-Japanese Relations
Kyodo (“FUKUDA VISIT TO CHINA MAY BE DELAYED TILL NEXT YEAR: KOMURA”, 2007-10-02) reported that Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura indicated that a visit by new Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to the PRC may not be realized until early next year, hinting at a possible postponement from the original plan for a trip by his predecessor Shinzo Abe by the end of the year. The prime minister “will go when it is convenient for both sides. We are not dwelling on whether it will be by the end of the year or early next year,” Komura said.
9. PRC Property Law
Xinhua (“CHINA’S PROPERTY LAW TAKES EFFECT”, 2007-10-02) reported that the PRC’s landmark Property Law that provides equal protection to both state and private properties was put into effect on Monday. The law approved by the national legislature in March after repeated revisions and unprecedented eight readings is seen as a significant step in the country’s efforts to further economic reforms and boost social harmony. The 247-article law stipulates that no units or individuals may infringe upon the property of the state, the collective and the individual.
II. ROK Report
10. Summit Meeting Peculiar
Chosun Ilbo (“DEAR ROH, ON THE WAY TO PYONGYANG”, 2007-10-02) wrote in an editorial that they regard this summit meeting as very peculiar, pointing to the fact that President Roh Moo-hyun has only a few more months left in office, and further has an approval rate of only 20%, which means that the pressure on him would be incredibly heavy. Roh remarked on October 1 that he would put “the peace settlement on Korean Peninsula” as the top priority in the meeting. But the problem is that it is difficult to pursue “real peace”, not “fake peace” which can be abused as no more than a means to hide the intention of invasion. Even so, Roh kept on trying to avoid mentioning the issue of nuclear weapons to Kim Jong-il. What Roh needs to be aware of is what the DPRK is doing currently. They not only still claim that they are one of the countries possessing nuclear weapons, but also deploy a strong military force which is a great threat to the ROK along the border. Roh should rethink about the true meaning of “real peace” and must urge Kim to disable the nuclear program, which is the key for the peace of Korean Peninsula, and the only way that can lead to the survival and economic revival of the DPRK.
11. High Expectations for Summit Meeting
Hankyoreh (“EXPECTATIONS FOR ROH AND KIM”, 2007-10-02) argued that even though the inter-Korean relationship seemed to be getting better through various exchanges and economic cooperation since 2000, it still hasn’t met the expectations of the world. Under such circumstances, how should the two leaders solve the tasks left to them through the meeting? It was appropriate for President Roh to put the peace settlement on Korean Peninsula as the top priority of this meeting. Along with the declaration of peace on the peninsula, Roh also should achieve the regularization of high-level talks to deal with relaxation of tension in border areas such as the West Sea and DMZ, building trust on military problems, etc. Obviously, one of the most crucial purposes is to solve the nuclear problem. On the other hand, economic cooperation should go a step forward. By designating new economic special zones in cities other than Gaesong and improving conditions in Gaesong, the two Koreas should work together not only for economic profit, but also to strengthen the idea of “Inter-Korean economic unity.” It is also time to approach the problems surrounding separated families, military captives, and prisoners in a different manner. Right now is the moment when the neighboring powers such as the U.S. PRC, Japan, and Russia show great concern regarding the inter-Korean relationship, which means that both Koreas should put much effort to rebuild the peace and security in the area. Especially for Kim Jong-il, right now is the time for the DPRK to show that they are also one of the faithful members of global society.
12. Different Summit Atmosphere
Donga Ilbo (“DIFFERENT ATMOSPHERE IN 2000 AND 2007”, 2007-10-02) reported that the atmosphere of the ROK people about this summit meeting is quite different from the one in the year 2000. Compared to then when the whole country was excited, the ROK people are now very calm and even cold. Experts analyze that the changed attitude is due to several affairs such as fighting in the West Sea, the DPRK’s missile launches, and its nuclear test, which threatened the peace on the peninsula. Along with these, consistent excessive one-way support in the economic field toward the DPRK while there still is a lot of controversy also played a role to discredit the meeting.
13. Summit Could Be Opportunity or Crisis
Donga Ilbo (“SUMMIT, OPPORTUNITY OR CRISIS?”, 2007-10-02) said that the summit talks could either be an opportunity or a crisis for both ROK President Roh Moo-hyun and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. For Roh, it is likely to be the very last chance to fulfill the responsibility of national security within his term. Even though the current atmosphere of inter-Korean relationship is quite different from that of seven years ago, when former president Kim Dae-jung visited the DPRK, Roh should try his best to overcome the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula which arose during his tenure. It is also important for Kim to attain incentives from the international community for the survival of his nation by denuclearizing the country.
14. Six-Party Delay Burdens Summit
OhmyNews (“DECLARING SIX-PARTY TALKS TREATY DELAYED”, 2007-10-02) reported that it is likely to take longer than originally planned to announce the denuclearization agreement negotiated in the six-party talks. According to the reports, even though the parties were known to be getting the approval of their governments and planned to announce the deal on October 2, unfortunately there isn’t any news yet. One ROK government official said that they were expecting the announcement to be released before noon, but since some countries have a hard time dealing with the procedure, it hardly seems that the declaration could be done today. One of the “some countries” mentioned by the official is likely to be the U.S., which has not yet decided on whether or not to remove the DPRK from the terrorist-support nations list within this year. Thus contrary to ROK expectations, the summit starting on Tuesday is going to go on without any actions confirmed on the denuclearization, which could be burdensome for ROK president Roh Moo-hyun.
15. Report #293
CanKor (“Current Events”, 2007-10-01) reported that the latest round of Six-Party Talks opens in Beijing on Thursday 27 September with a fair amount of optimism and surprisingly little acrimony, considering recent accusations of a DPRK-Syria nuclear weapons deal and the threat of additional sanctions by the USA and Japan. The DPRK roundly dismisses media reports that it may have provided nuclear technology to Syria as the fabrication of “lunatics” wishing to disrupt progress at the Six-Party Talks and in DPRK-USA relations.
16. Report #293
CanKor (“WHAT READERS SAY ABOUT THE CANKOR REPORT”, 2007-10-01) “First off, many thanks for your great website – You’re a real inspiration!” Chris Springer, author of “Pyongyang: The Hidden History of the North Korean Capital” (2003).