NAPSNet Daily Report 20 January, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 2. US, Japan on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 4. Inter-Korean Relations
- 5. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 6. DPRK Leadership
- 7. DPRK Natural Resources
- 8. DPRK Economy
- 9. DPRK Military
- 10. DPRK H1N1 Measures
- 11. DPRK Food Aid
- 12. ROK Peacekeeping Operations
- 13. Sino-ROK Energy Cooperation
- 14. US-Japan Relations
- 15. US on SDF Indian Ocean Refueling Mission
- 16. Japan Politics
- 17. Sino-Japanese Territorial Dispute
- 18. Sino-Indian Relations
- 19. Sino-Indian Trade Relations
- 20. Cross-Strait Relations
- 21. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 22. PRC Media Control
1. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Xinhua News (“US DISMISSES DPRK DEMAND ON PEACE TREATY”, 2010/01/19) reported that the United States dismissed a proposal by the DPRK on negotiating a peace treaty, saying the first and foremost thing for Pyongyang is to return to the six-party talks. “The appropriate next step is for North Korea to return to the six-party talks and to resume deliberations in this context. And within that context, it’s possible to have bilateral interactions and other discussions, not just with the United States but with other countries,” said Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. “It’s important that North Korea make clear that they are prepared to abide by previous agreements in 2005 and 2007,” he added.
2. US, Japan on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (“U.S., JAPAN RECONFIRM CLOSER COOPERATION FOR N. KOREA’S DENUCLEARIZATION”, 2010/01/19) reported that the US and Japan renewed pledges to cooperate closely in international forums to denuclearize the DPRK and cope with the DPRK’s nuclear and missile threats. “The United States and Japan are working closely together and cooperating with their partners through various international fora, including the Six-Party Talks, to deal with the threat from North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs as well as to address humanitarian issues,” said a joint statement.
3. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Agence France-Presse (“SEOUL WOULD STRIKE N.KOREA TO THWART NUCLEAR HIT”, Seoul, 2010/01/20) reported that the ROK would launch a pre-emptive strike against the DPRK to thwart any nuclear attack, Defence Minister Kim Tae-young said Wednesday. “It would be too late and the damage would be too big if, in the case of a North Korean nuclear attack, we had to cope with the attack,” he said.
4. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (“S. KOREAN FM SAYS N. KOREA MAKING UNREASONABLE DEMANDS”, 2010/01/19) reported that the ROK foreign minister dismissed the DPRK’s demand to start discussing a formal end to the Korean War before it returns to nuclear talks, saying such negotiations will only take place after the communist state starts to denuclearize. Speaking at a DPRK forum here, Minister Yu Myung-hwan said the DPRK’s stance on inter-Korean relations is “hard to understand.” “North Korea has taken stance that is hard to understand,” the minister said, “By issuing a statement from a National Defense Commission spokesman that launched serious threats against (South Korea)…while agreeing to accept our humanitarian aid and hold working-level talks on the Kaesong industrial complex.”
5. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Joongang Ilbo (“NORTH, SOUTH VENTURE GETS GO-AHEAD”, 2010/01/19) reported that for the first time, a ROK food processing firm has been authorized to set up a joint venture with a DPRK company in the DPRK’s special economic zone. Merry & Co., headquartered in Seoul, said yesterday it received permission from the DPRK in December to form a joint food processing company in Rason. Jeong Han-ki, the chief executive of Merry & Co., said the joint factory will process fish and agricultural products and export them overseas. Production is set to begin in March.
Yonhap (“DIVIDED KOREAS HOLD TALKS ON IMPROVING JOINT INDUSTRIAL PARK”, Seoul, 2010/01/20) reported that the two Koreas on Wednesday held the second and last round of two-day talks aimed at enhancing their joint operation of the Kaesong industrial park, the Unification Ministry here said. Representatives from the two countries had met a day earlier and held “useful talks while brainstorming ideas for improving the industrial complex” there, ministry spokesperson Lee Jong-joo said in a briefing. “Based on the ideas put forth yesterday, the two sides are having a comprehensive discussion on their proposals for the improvement of the Kaesong complex,” she said. She later told reporters that the talks were extended by a few hours as the agenda, including the arrangement of future meetings, demanded longer discussions.
6. DPRK Leadership
Agence France-Presse (Park Chan-Kyong, “MASS CHAOS IF KIM DIES, WARNS S.KOREA THINK-TANK”, Seoul, 2010/01/20) reported that the Korea Institute for National Unification’s (KINU) “Study on Unification” released this week said that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il may die in two or three years and this could spark upheavals such as a coup, mass unrest or massacres in the communist nation. It also warned that such internal unrest could prompt the DPRK to start a limited war on the peninsula. “There is a high possibility that Kim Jong-Il may not exist in the North by 2012,” KINU said in its report. It said a post-Kim power vacuum would likely aggravate shortages and corruption, sparking civil unrest and a breakdown in order and giving the military an excuse to step in.
7. DPRK Natural Resources
Yonhap News (“CHINA EXPANDING MINING RIGHTS IN N. KOREA: REPORT “, 2010/01/19) reported that the PRC has expanded its mining rights in the DPRK to cover as many as 20 sites, a ROK report said. The PRC is a leading investor in the DPRK, which, according to a ROK study, is believed to have enormous deposits of natural resources, including coal, nickel, molybdenum and bronze.
8. DPRK Economy
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA TO PERMIT ONLY FARMERS MARKETS”, 2010/01/19) reported that the DPRK will close down all general open-air markets in major cities and permit only farmers markets by a strict definition of the term, which will open every 10 days, an activist group reported last week. “The North Korean Cabinet has told agencies… that it will replace urban marketplaces with farmers markets that will open every 10 days starting Jan. 14,” the Group Good Friends said. “The cabinet also released market operating rules and a list of items that can be sold, adding that market traders will be permitted to sell only agricultural produce and indigenous local products but not Chinese goods or domestically produced industrial products.”
9. DPRK Military
Yonhap News (“JET FIGHTERS MOBILIZED IN N.K. MILITARY DRILL: SOURCE “, 2010/01/19) reported that the DPRK’s military has mobilized 10 jet fighters as part of a joint drill reportedly overseen by the nation’s leader Kim Jong-il, an intelligence source here said. “North Korea was observed to have conducted the joint army, navy and air force drill in a western coastal area near Pyongyang on Friday,” the source said. “About 10 jet fighters, warships and 240-mm multiple-launch missile systems were mobilized in the training,” it added.
10. DPRK H1N1 Measures
KBS News (“N.KOREA SUBMITS VACCINE DISTRIBUTION REPORT”, 2010/01/19) reported that the ROK Ministry of Unification said the DPRK has sent over a report on how the ROK’s aid of H1N1 flu vaccines was distributed. The ROK had provided the DPRK with vaccines for 500-thousand people on December 18th, 2009. A ministry official said the DPRK Red Cross reported details as to how Tamiflu for 300-thousand people and Relenza for 80-thousand people were evenly distributed in Pyongyang as well as cities and provinces around the DPRK. The remaining 100-thousand people’s worth of Tamiflu and 20-thousand vaccinations’ worth of Relenza were reportedly stockpiled by the DPRK emergency quarantine authority.
11. DPRK Food Aid
KBS News (“WORLD VISION TO SEND 500 TONS OF FLOUR TO NK “, 2010/01/19) reported that t he international relief agency “World Vision” says it is preparing to send 500 tons of flour worth 180 million won, or 160-thousand dollars, to the DPRK. World Vision will send the first 100-ton batch from Incheon on Wednesday to the DPRK’s Nampo Port. One-hundred tons will be sent weekly in the same manner over the following four weeks.
12. ROK Peacekeeping Operations
Xinhua News (“SOUTH KOREA TO CONSIDER DEPLOYING PEACEKEEPERS IN HAITI: MEDIA”, 2010/01/19) reported that t he ROK government is seriously mulling over dispatching military troops to quake-hit Haiti to take part in the U.N. peacekeeping operations (PKO), local media reported. “Due to heightening security concerns in Haiti, the United Nations has been urging member states for an increase in deployment,” a government source was quoted as saying.
13. Sino-ROK Energy Cooperation
Yonhap News (“KOREA, CHINA SEEK RENEWABLE ENERGY COOPERATION”, 2010/01/19) reported that a ROK business body said that it has signed a deal with a PRC business lobby group to enhance bilateral cooperation in the renewable energy sector. The deal was signed in Beijing between the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the All China Federation of Industry Commerce, the KCCI said. “The deal is expected to help Korean companies tap the Chinese green market,” the Korean chamber said.
14. US-Japan Relations
Reuters (“JAPAN, U.S. VOW TO EXPAND TIES DESPITE BASE FEUD”, 2010/01/19) reported that Japan and the US reaffirmed their five-decade security alliance, vowing to expand ties into new areas even as they squabble over the relocation of a US Marine base. In Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement urging a renewal of the U.S.-Japan alliance and a strengthening of ties. “America’s commitment to Japan’s security is unshakable, and our cooperation to meet common challenges is a critical part of our engagement with the world,” the statement said.
15. US on SDF Indian Ocean Refueling Mission
Agence France-Presse (“US REGRETS END TO REFUELING MISSION FOR AFGHANISTAN”, Washington, 2010/01/19) reported that a senior US diplomat voiced regret that Japan ended a naval refueling mission for military operations in Afghanistan , saying Washington had made clear to Tokyo how critical it was. But Kurt Campbell , the assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs, played down how much the move, as well as a row over a US air base, would affect the US-Japanese security alliance. “We have communicated directly to the Japanese government not only our appreciation for the refueling mission,” Campbell said during a briefing to mark the anniversary of the US-Japanese security alliance. “But we’ve also tried to be very clear that it’s made an enormous difference in our ability to operate,” Campbell said.
16. Japan Politics
The Associated Press (“HATOYAMA GRILLED AT DIET OVER FUNDS SCANDALS INVOLVING HIMSELF, OZAWA”, 2010/01/19) reported that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama faced fierce grilling by opposition lawmakers over funds scandals involving him and his ruling Democratic Party of Japan’s No. 2, Ichiro Ozawa, during parliamentary deliberations in the first ordinary session under his four-month-old government. In a plenary session at the House of Representatives, Tadamori Oshima, secretary general of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, demanded that Ozawa appear at the Diet to provide an account on the funding scandal that led to the arrests of three people close to him. Oshima also said, “The DPJ’s ability to cleanse itself is being questioned,” arguing that the governing party is responsible for clarifying matters.
17. Sino-Japanese Territorial Dispute
Xinhua News (“CHINA SAFEGUARDS INT’L INTERESTS IN OPPOSING JAPAN’S ATOLL BID”, 2010/01/19) reported that a PRC Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that the PRC is safeguarding the interests of the international community in objecting to Japan’s claims around the Okinotori atoll. The Japanese government has reportedly submitted a bill to the congress, which will allow it to protect the coastlines of remote islands, including the so-called Okinotori Island. Such a bill, if enacted, would imply Japan’s rights to claim Okinotori’s surrounding area as its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
18. Sino-Indian Relations
Agence France-Presse (“BEIJING DENIES CHINA HACKERS ATTACKED INDIAN GOVT”, Beijing, 2010/01/19) reported that the PRC rejected reports that Indian government computers had been attacked by PRC hackers as “groundless”, one week after US Internet giant Google made a similar accusation. The origin of the cyber attack was unknown at this stage, the source said, but daily newspaper Mail Today reported that the PRC was the chief suspect. “I can say that these accusations are groundless,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters, declaring that China itself was the “biggest victim” of hacking activities.
19. Sino-Indian Trade Relations
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA CALLS FOR STRONGER TRADE TIES WITH INDIA”, Beijing, 2010/01/19) reported that the PRC has called for stronger trade and investment ties with India , stressing the world’s two most populous nations were friends and not enemies. “The scale and level of bilateral trade is far from enough given the size of our two economies,” PRC Commerce Minister Chen Deming told a news conference after meeting his visiting Indian counterpart Anand Sharma .
20. Cross-Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN-CHINA LIKELY TO DELAY TRADE TALKS: OFFICIAL”, Taipei, 2010/01/19) reported that Taiwan and the PRC are likely to delay plans to start negotiations Wednesday on a major trade pact , a Taipei official said, as local media reported disagreements over who should represent the two sides. Taiwan’s premier Wu Den-yih said earlier the first round of talks was due to kick off January 20 in the hope of signing the pact in May but an official told AFP that the time and place had yet to be finalised. “It’d be extremely difficult to begin talks Wednesday as planned as we’re still discussing the details with China,” said Maa Shaw-chang, a spokesman of the quasi-official Strait Exchange Foundation.
21. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Associated Press (Cara Anna, “WHAT INTERNET? CHINA REGION CUT OFF 6 MONTHS NOW”, Liuyuan, 2010/01/20) reported that the 20 million people in Xinjiang have been without links to the outside world since the government blocked virtually all online access, text messages and international phone calls after ethnic riots in July. Every weekend, dozens of people pile off the train in Liuyuan, the first train stop outside Xinjiang, 400 miles east of Urumqui, the regional capital.
22. PRC Media Control
The New York Times (“TEXT MESSAGES IN CHINA TO BE SCANNED FOR ‘ILLEGAL CONTENT’ “, 2010/01/19) reported that expanding what the the PRC government calls a campaign against pornography, cellular companies in Beijing and Shanghai have been told to suspend text services to cellphone users who are found to have sent messages with “illegal or unhealthy content,” state-run media reported. China Mobile, one of the nation’s largest cellular providers, reported that text messages would automatically be scanned for “key words” provided by the police, according to the English-language China Daily newspaper. Messages will be deemed “unhealthy” if they violate undisclosed criteria established by the central government, the newspaper said.