NAPSNet Daily Report 21 May, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 2. US Sanctions on the DPRK
- 3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 4. US-DPRK Relations
- 5. Inter Korean Relations
- 6. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 7. UNDP Operations in the DPRK
- 8. DPRK Leadership
- 9. US-Japan Relations
- 10. Japan Swine Flu Outbreak
- 11. PRC, Japan, ROK Trade Relations
- 12. Cross Strait Relations
- 13. US-PRC Climate Change Collaboration
- 14. PRC Climate Change
- 15. PRC Protest
- 16. PRC Economy and the Environment
- 17. PRC Environmental Regulations
- 18. PRC Energy Supply
- 19. SCO Disaster Relief Drill
- 20. Shanghai Cooperation Organization
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Yonhap News (“NO U.S. AID TO N. KOREA UNLESS PYONGYANG RETURNS TO 6-WAY TALKS: CLINTON”, 2009/05/20) reported that The United States will not provide any economic aid to the DPRK unless the DPRK returns to six-party talks on ending its nuclear ambitions, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. “We are not going to expend one penny of those funds in the absence of their voluntary return to the six-party talks and their resumption of the obligations that they’ve already agreed to,” Clinton told a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. “This money is, you know, there as a backstop in the event we see the kind of changes in actions that we’re looking for from the North Koreans.”
2. US Sanctions on the DPRK
Yonhap News (“U.S. MAINTAINS WEAPONS TRADE EMBARGO ON N. KOREA FOR LACK OF COOPERATION”, Washington, 2009/05/20) reported that t he United States has maintained the DPRK on its list of countries subject to weapons trade embargoes for their lack of cooperation in U.S. anti-terrorism efforts. “Pursuant of section 40A of the Arms Export Control Act and Executive Order 11958, as amended, I hereby determine and certify to the Congress that the following countries are not cooperating fully with United States antiterrorism efforts: Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Syria and Venezuela,” James Steinberg, deputy secretary of state, said in a statement in the Federal Register dated May 8.
3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Chosun Ilbo (“TOP U.S. ADMIRAL SPEAKS ABOUT N.KOREAN NUKES”, 2009/05/20) reported that America ‘s top military officer has for the first time mentioned the possibility of a second nuclear test by the DPRK. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there are reports indicating that the DPRK leader Kim Jong-il is considering a new nuclear test, but Mullen declined to confirm or deny them. He also voiced concern over the DPRK’s nuclear weapons and said the country was isolating itself further from the international community as a result of its weapons program.
4. US-DPRK Relations
Korea Times (Kim Sue-young , “‘NO MINISTERIAL MEETING BETWEEN US AND N. KOREA'”, 2009/05/20) reported that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her DPRK counterpart Pak Ui-chun will not have ministerial talks during a regional forum in July, according to reports. Clinton and Pak are to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Thailand from July 17 to 23, which triggered speculation that they may hold talks on the sidelines of the forum. The official added that Washington was not even considering having talks between the two top diplomats.
5. Inter Korean Relations
Yonhap News (“OPPOSITION LAWMAKER CHUN VISITS NORTH KOREA “, Seoul, 2009/05/20) reported that a member of the ROK’s opposition Democratic Party (DP) is in the DPRK as part of a delegation from a local civic group dedicated to providing the DPRK with humanitarian aid, sources confirmed. Rep. Chun Jung-bae arrived in Pyongyang earlier in the day as a member of a delegation from the Korean Sharing Movement (KSM), Kang Young-shik, secretary general of the group, told Yonhap News Agency. Chun, who is traveling with seven other KSM officials, arrived via the PRC city of Shenyang and will return home on Saturday, he said.
6. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
JoongAng Ilbo (“NORTH PROPOSES NEW ROAD RULES, FEES IN KAESONG”, 2009/05/20) reported that i n an apparent attempt to tighten its control of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the DPRK gave the ROK a draft proposal late last month for tougher rules on road use in the business park, the JoongAng Ilbo has learned. Under the proposed regulations, the DPRK would ban certain vehicles that cause excessive air pollution and damage roads. It also would assess a range of new fines on ROK businesses and workers in the area, such as $30 for jaywalking and $1,000 for illegally blocking streets. Fees for damaging asphalt or concrete would run $50 per square meter, and the ROK would have to perform year-round road maintenance work or face additional fines.
Agence France-Presse (“SOUTH KOREAN FIRMS IN KAESONG FACE BANKRUPTCY – BUSINESSMEN”, Seoul, 2009/05/20) reported that many ROK companies at a Seoul-funded industrial estate in the DPRK risk bankruptcy, as worsening relations between the two governments lead to plunging orders, representatives said. “As the crisis has been lasting for more than six months now, many businesses are facing the risks of bankruptcy,” said Yoo Chang-geun, vice chairman of the Corporate Council of Kaesong Industrial Complex, which represents the 106 ROK firms there. “Over this situation, we’re lodging a strong protest with both North and South Korean authorities,” he told reporters.
7. UNDP Operations in the DPRK
Yonhap News (“UNDP OFFICIALS TO VISIT N. KOREA TO DISCUSS SUSPENDED PROJECTS”, Seoul, 2009/05/20) reported that officials with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will visit the DPRK later this month to discuss the reopening of its office there and the resumption of projects suspended two years ago, a government source said. UNDP officials visited Seoul last week and discussed the matter with ROK officials, the source said on condition of anonymity, adding that UNDP officials will visit Pyongyang to discuss the resumption of the projects at some point.
8. DPRK Leadership
The Associated Press (“REPORT: KIM JONG IL GROOMING MIDDLE SON AS SUCCESSOR”, Seoul, 2009/05/20) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong Il is grooming his middle son as successor, not the youngest son as has been widely speculated, a news report said quoting a former political aide who defected. Kim Jong Chol is holding a secret high-level post in the DPRK’s ruling Workers’ Party as part of his successor training and reports directly to the leader, Seoul’s Dong-a Ilbo newspaper quoted defector Kim Duk Hong as saying. The 29-year-old “is highly likely to take over the father’s post,” Kim said.
9. US-Japan Relations
The Asahi Shimbun (“SILICON VALLEY LAWYER TAPPED AS NEXT AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN”, Washington, 2009/05/20) reported that a Silicon Valley-based lawyer and key fund-raiser for U.S. President Barack Obama’s election campaign has been tapped as the next ambassador to Japan, despite his lack of connection to the country, sources said. The White House notified Tokyo on Tuesday about the decision to appoint John V. Roos, chief executive officer of a Silicon Valley law firm. However, while Roos, 54, appears to have little or no connection to Japan, the sources said the last-minute decision to switch to Roos was based on his strong personal relationship with Obama.
10. Japan Swine Flu Outbreak
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN’S SWINE FLU EPIDEMIC SPREADS TO TOKYO”, Tokyo, 2009/03/20) reported that Japan ‘s swine flu epidemic spread to the capital Tokyo as a 16-year-old high school girl there tested positive for the virus with the country’s confirmed cases topping 250, officials said. The girl, who lives in the western suburb of Hachioji , returned home from an eight-day trip to the US city of New York with her schoolmates and was cleared by a test at Tokyo ‘s Narita airport, officials said.
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT TO DROP ONBOARD FLU INSPECTIONS”, 2009/05/20) reported that the government plans to end onboard checks of arriving airline passengers for the new influenza strain this week and relax other antiflu measures as it shifts from trying to shut the flu out of the country to limiting the domestic spread of the virus. The government also plans to allow some infected people to recuperate at home rather than at designated medical facilities and to reinforce health care systems as part of a more flexible raft of countermeasures likely to be drawn up within a week.
11. PRC, Japan, ROK Trade Relations
Kyodo News (“CHINA CALLS FOR UPGRADING OF TALKS ON FTA WITH JAPAN, S. KOREA”, Beijing, 2009/05/20) reported that the PRC proposed to Japan the upgrading of research on a free trade agreement among the PRC, Japan and ROK from the private-sector expert level to one involving the government, a Japanese government official said. Private-sector experts are currently considering the possibility of the three countries concluding a free trade agreement. They are expected to issue a report on the topic by the end of the year and present it to the governments. The PRC suggested in the day’s meeting the research should be upgraded so it would involve the industrial and academic sectors as well as the governmental.
12. Cross Strait Relations
Bloomberg News (“MA CALLS ON CHINA TO REMOVE MISSILES, VOWS CLOSER ECONOMIC TIES”, 2009/05/20) reported that Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou vowed to prioritize economic ties with the PRC even as he stressed the mainland must remove short-range missiles before any peace agreement can move forward. “If we are to negotiate a peace agreement with the mainland, including military confidence building measures, they should remove the more than 1,000 missiles targeted against Taiwan,” Ma said today. “We certainly do not want to negotiate a peace agreement under the threat of a missile attack against Taiwan.”
13. US-PRC Climate Change Collaboration
The New York Times (“SECRET MEETING BETWEEN U.S. AND CHINA BROKE NEW GROUND ON CLIMATE CHANGE”, 2009/05/20) reported that for two days, the secluded group of top US and PRC officials — including one member of the Bush administration and a handful of now high-level Obama advisers — worked out climate change policy. Participants yesterday said the off-the-record sessions broke new ground and may have laid the foundation for new cooperation between the world’s two largest emitters on the thorny matter of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. “It convinced people in both countries that there was a new spirit of willingness to work this out,” said William Chandler, director of the climate program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
14. PRC Climate Change
Bloomberg (“CHINA ‘HOPEFUL’ OF MEETING 2010 EMISSIONS TARGET, XINHUA SAYS”, 2009/05/20) reported that the PRC’s government is “hopeful” the nation will meet energy-reduction targets next year as part of plans to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, quoting a top economic planner. Cutting energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent by 2010 compared with levels four years ago was a “solemn promise” the PRC had made to the world, Xinhua quoted Xie Zhenhua, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, as saying.
15. PRC Protest
The Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “EASTERN CHINA AUTHORITIES DOWNPLAY STUDENT PROTEST”, 2009/04/20) reported that authorities in eastern PRC downplayed a reported outbreak of university unrest just weeks ahead of a highly sensitive political anniversary. Hundreds of students are reported to have protested in the streets of the eastern city of Nanjing following an incident Monday night in which government security guards enforcing restrictions on peddling allegedly attacked classmates who set up sidewalk stalls. The protest, which reportedly led to numerous injuries, came two weeks before the 20th anniversary on June 4 of the bloody suppression of student-led pro-democracy protests in 1989 centered on Beijing ‘s Tiananmen Square .
16. PRC Economy and the Environment
Bloomberg News (Allen Wan, “CHINA GROWTH WILL COME BEFORE ENVIRONMENT, TRANSINFO SAYS “, 2009/05/20) reported that the PRC will boost infrastructure spending to meet its economic growth forecast of 8 percent this year at the expense of its environmental goals, said China TransInfo Technology Corp., a Nasdaq-listed provider of technology for transportation systems. “Investment in environmental projects will be a lot slower,” Troy Mao, chief financial officer of Beijing-based China TransInfo, said in an interview in New York. “The major focus will be on infrastructure in order to drive the economy.”
17. PRC Environmental Regulations
Caijing Magazine (“CHINA TO ISSUE ENVIRONMENTAL GUIDELINE FOR OVERSEAS INVESTMENT”, 2009/05/20) reported that the PRC ‘s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Ministry of Commerce are jointly drafting a guideline to help PRC firms meet local environmental requirements when investing overseas. With PRC firms’ increasing investment activities in overseas markets, environmental issues have become a major challenge.
18. PRC Energy Supply
Xinhua News (“WB LENDS $80 MLN TO FINANCE COAL-BED METHANE PROJECT IN N CHINA”, 2009/05/20) reported that the World Bank said it approved a loan of 80 million U.S. dollars to help the PRC to increase the development and utilization of coal-bed methane to meet a growing demand for energy and reduce greenhouse gases and local air pollutants associated with coal combustion. The Shanxi Coal Bed Methane Development and Utilization Project will help north PRC’s Shanxi Province to develop and implement an integrated coal-bed methane development plan and policy framework, said the World Bank.
19. SCO Disaster Relief Drill
People’s Daily Online (“CHINA SENDS TEAM TO PARTICIPATE IN DISASTER RELIEF DRILL”, 2009/05/20) reported that t he PRC Firefighting Emergency Search and Rescue Team and the PRC International Search and Rescue Team, both expected to participate in a disaster-relief drill organized by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at Bogorodsk in Russia, departed from Beijing. This is the first time the PRC has sent teams overseas to participate in a disaster relief drill under the framework of the SCO. The SCO “Bogorodsk” disaster relief drill will be held in Noginsk in Moscow, Russia from May 19 to 22, with a theme of emergency search and rescue eliminating the consequences of destructive earthquakes.
20. Shanghai Cooperation Organization
CCTV (“SCO TO STRENGTHEN COOPERATION ON SECURITY”, 2009/05/20) reported that ministers for public security and interior affairs of the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have met in Russia. The meetings are to prepare for next month’s SCO summit. Officials discussed regional security, and the development and cooperation among their public security and interior departments. The PRC put forward a declaration on jointly cracking down on transnational crimes.
II. PRC Report
21. PRC Civil Society and Public Health
China Daily (“NGOS CALL FOR BAN OF GOVT PURCHASES OF CIGARETTES”, 2009/05/20) reported that an anti-tobacco group has called on governments to butt out of the business of buying cigarettes with public money. “It is a shame governments have become the biggest purchasers of brand-name cigarettes. It seriously damages their image,” Xu Guihua, deputy director of Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, told a press conference Tuesday in Beijing. The figures, from Beijing-based NGO Thinktank Research Center for Health Development, show public funds continuing to pay for cigarettes despite surging prices since 2000.
22. PRC Civil Society and Migrant Labor
People’s Daily (Bao Qian, “EMPLOYMENT TRAINING PROJECTS FOR MIGRANT WOMEN WORKERS CARRY OUT IN SHANGHAI”, 2009/05/19) reported that in order to help migrant women workers improve their employment capacity, Shanghai Trade Union and Shanghai Charity Federation have jointly carried out employment training projects for these women recently. The training content includes domestic services, maternal and child care, and so on.
III. ROK Report
23. Inter-Korea Relations
PRESSian (“TWO KOREAS STOP PLAYING SILLY POLITICAL GAME”, 2009/05/21) said in a column that it would be proper to ask for negotiation through a different channel when dealing with the Hyundai Asan employee who is detained in the DPRK. On the other hand, the negotiation on how to manage the Gaesong Complex should start right away. Though it is apparent that the negotiation would last long and be difficult, the two Koreas should maintain their dialogue channel through negotiation until the political atmosphere around the globe becomes softer. That is the only way for the two Koreas to reduce costs for recovery.
24. ROK-U.S Relations
Financial News (“HOW TO REACT TO US’S REGULATION ON AUTO VEHICLE GAS?”, 2009/05/21) reported that the Obama Administration publicized a policy to regulate on gas emissions and improve auto vehicle fuel efficiency. The problem is that it is easier said than done to achieve both goals within three to seven years. It is urgent for the ROK car industry to develop environmentally friendly and safety-oriented technology by forming a consortium. Also, the government should give taxation benefits to owners of cars that use highly efficient fuel. The ROK should recognize that the U.S. regulation this time can be an opportunity to enhance the image of ROK cars.