NAPSNet Daily Report 22 July, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- 1. ROK, Russia on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 2. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 4. US on DPRK-Myanmar Cooperation
- 5. US-DPRK Relations
- 6. US on DPRK Missile Program
- 7. Inter-Korea Relations
- 8. ROK Aid to the DPRK
- 9. US-ROK Military Cooperation
- 10. US-ROK Shipbuilding
- 11. ROK Politics
- 12. Japan Politics
- 13. Cross-Strait Relations
- 14. PRC-Australia Relations
- 15. Sino-Russian Military Exercise
- 16. PRC Domestic Policy
- 17. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 18. PRC Internet
- 19. PRC Environment
- 20. PRC Environment
- 21. PRC Energy Supply
- II. PRC Report
1. ROK, Russia on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “S. KOREA, RUSSIA AGREE TO SUPPORT 5-WAY TALKS ON N. KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/07/21) reported that the ROK said Tuesday its defense minister agreed with his Russian counterpart to push for five-way talks aimed at bringing the DPRK back to denuclearization talks.
Xinhua News (“RUSSIA FAVORS NUCLEAR-FREE KOREAN PENINSULA: MINISTER”, Moscow, 2009/07/21) reported that Russia favors a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said. “We believe the Korean Peninsula must have a nuclear-free status,” Serdyukov said after talks with ROK Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee. “The way out is to resume the six-party talks and, within the framework of these talks, to make this region absolutely nuclear-free,” Serdyukov said.
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Bloomberg News (“NORTH KOREA WOULD GET NO REWARD FOR RETURN TO TALKS, U.S. SAYS”, 2009/07/21) reported that the U.S. won’t reward the DPRK simply for returning to negotiations that have stalled over the reclusive nation’s nuclear weapons program, the State Department said. “We’re not looking for half measures,” State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said today in Washington. “We want to see North Korea come back to negotiations. But we also want to see North Korea come back to its obligations that it made in 2005.”
3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Fox News (“OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PREPARING INCENTIVES PACKAGE FOR NORTH KOREA”, 2009/07/21) reported that the Obama administration is consulting with allies on a new “comprehensive package” of incentives aimed at persuading the DPRK to abandon its nuclear programs, senior U.S. officials confirmed. The officials, who are traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Thailand, told reporters that the package is only in its early stages and will not be offered to the DPRK unless and until the allies sign off on it. Pyongyang would also have to first take specific, concrete and “irreversible” steps to begin destroying its arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Agence-France Presse (Lachlan Carmichael, “CLINTON IN THAILAND FOR TALKS ON N.KOREA, MYANMAR”, Bangkok, 2009/07/21) reported that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Thailand on Tuesday for a regional security conference expected to focus on the DPRK nuclear threat, Myanmar ‘s rights record and terrorism. US officials said a key thrust of her debut appearance at the ARF would be how to crank up the pressure on the DPRK to return to multilateral nuclear disarmament talks after its missile and nuclear weapons tests . They said Clinton would meet one-on-one with her counterparts from ROK , PRC, Japan and Russia — all of whom were DPRK’s partners in six years of disarmament negotiations.
4. US on DPRK-Myanmar Cooperation
Washington Post (Glenn Kessler, “CLINTON: U.S. WARY OF GROWING BURMESE, NORTH KOREAN MILITARY COOPERATION”, Bangkok, 2009/07/21) reported that the Obama administration is increasingly concerned that nuclear-armed DPRK is building mysterious military ties with Burma, another opaque country with a history of oppression, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday. “We know that there are also growing concerns about military cooperation between North Korea and Burma, which we take seriously” Clinton told reporters after talks in the Thai capital. “It would be destabilizing for the region. It would pose a direct threat to Burma’s neighbors.” The evidence of growing Burmese-DPRK cooperation since formal ties were restored in 2007 is extensive, but the full extent of the military relationship is unclear. Photographs that have emerged in recent weeks show an extensive series of 600 to 800 tunnel complexes and other underground facilities built in Burma with DPRK technical assistance near its new capital, Naypyidaw.
5. US-DPRK Relations
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “N. KOREA SAYS OPEN TO MEETING U.S. IN REGIONAL FORUM”, Phuket, 2009/07/21) reported that a delegation of five DPRK officials arrived here Tuesday to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), leaving room for a surprise bilateral meeting with U.S. officials on the sidelines of this week’s annual event. When asked whether they will meet with the U.S. side, Ri Tong-il, director of the disarmament department at the DPRK’s foreign ministry, reportedly said “it will depend on the situation.”
Yonhap (Hwang Doo-hyong, “CLINTON SAYS SHE WILL NOT TALK TO N. KOREANS AT ARF”, Washington, 2009/07/21) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that she will not meet this week with DPRK officials on the sidelines of a regional security forum in Phuket, Thailand, instead urging the DPRK to return to the six-party talks on ending its nuclear programs. “We really don’t have any intention of talking to them, at least I don’t, because what we are interested in is North Korea coming back to the table and continuing the negotiation that will lead to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” Clinton said in an interview with the Fox News Channel.
6. US on DPRK Missile Program
CNN (Jill Dougherty, “STATE DEPARTMENT: NORTH KOREA’S DIRECT THREAT TO U.S. ‘INFINITESIMAL'”, Washington, 2009/07/21) reported that the State Department on Monday continued to publicly downplay the threat the DPRK presents to the United States with spokesman P.J. Crowley telling reporters the DPRK “represents an infinitesimal threat to the United States directly.” A senior U.S. official, who did not want to be identified, said there is a “theoretical” question of whether a DPRK missile could hit the United States. “There’s nothing in their recent development,” he said, “which would suggest that their technology is becoming more accurate.” The United States says its primary concerns about the DPRK’s actions are its impact on security in the region and the risk of nuclear proliferation.
7. Inter-Korea Relations
Korea Times (Kim Sue-young, “‘NK TO PROPOSE INTER-KOREAN FAMILY REUNION ON CHUSEOK'”, 2009/07/21) reported that ROK has yet to receive a proposal from the DPRK to hold reunions of displaced family members, the Ministry of Unification said Tuesday. Earlier in the day, local media outlets, quoting sources, reported that the DPRK had decided to propose separated family reunions on the Chuseok holiday in early October. A ROK spokesman indicated that Seoul has no plans to propose reunions, saying that it was difficult to hold them due to the current inter-Korean situation.
8. ROK Aid to the DPRK
Agence-France Presse (“SEOUL REAFFIRMS MASSIVE AID OFFER FOR NUCLEAR-FREE NORTH KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/07/21) reported that the ROK has reaffirmed its offer of massive economic aid for the impoverished DPRK if it scraps its nuclear weapons, officials said Tuesday. It was first proposed by incoming President Lee Myung-bak 17 months ago as part of his “Denuclearization, Openness, 3000” policy. This pledges to raise the DPRK’s gross domestic income to $3,000 in a decade if it scraps its atomic arsenal, through a proposed international aid fund of $40 billion and other major assistance projects.
Korea Times (Kim Sue-young, “SEOUL DENIES $40-BIL. AID FUND FOR PYONGYANG”, 2009/07/21) reported that the ROK Tuesday denied a report that it has drawn up a $40-billion aid fund in a bid to bring the DPRK back to the six-party talks. “After confirmation from our officials including nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac, we found that none of them made such remarks,” an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told The Korea Times, asking to remain anonymous.
9. US-ROK Military Cooperation
Joong-Ang Ilbo (Kim Min-seok and Yoo Jee-ho, “KOREAN NAVY WILL JOIN U.S. BALLISTIC MISSILE DRILLS”, Fort Worth, 2009/06/22) reported that The King Sejong the Great, the ROK’s first Aegis-guided vessel, will take part in its first ballistic missile defense drills near American waters next year. The King Sejong will participate in the Combat System Ship Qualifications Trials, or CSSQT, next year. The date has not been determined, the official said, but the plan will likely be finalized at the Rim of the Pacific Exercise in Hawaii in August. The official also said there was “a high possibility” this CSSQT will test ballistic missile defense.
10. US-ROK Shipbuilding
Joong-Ang Ilbo (Kim Min-seok and Yoo Jee-ho, “U.S., KOREAN FIRMS TEAM UP TO MAKE AEGIS SHIP”, 2009/07/22) reported that officials from United States-based Lockheed Martin and Hyundai Heavy Industries said yesterday they would jointly produce an Aegis midsized high-tech guided missile vessel and sell it to a third country. This will be the first time Lockheed Martin has worked with a foreign company to build such a vessel for sale to a third party. The ROK shipbuilder will manufacture the vessel and then Lockheed Martin will equip it with its SPY-1F multifunction naval radar.
11. ROK Politics
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “DP LAWMAKERS TO RESIGN EN MASSE”, ) reported that the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) said Tuesday that its 84 lawmakers will resign en masse if the governing party railroads controversial media bills, which would allow conservative dailies and chaebol to “control broadcasting.” If the bills are railroaded against their wishes, all lawmakers, aides and staff members will step down, leaving the legislature unable to function, it said. A mass resignation would put ROK into unprecedented political chaos. The Assembly would be without lawmakers from the largest opposition party, dealing a blow to the Lee Myung-bak administration.
Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “PRESIDENT INDICATES IMMINENT CABINET RESHUFFLE”, 2009/07/21) reported that President Lee Myung-bak asked Cabinet ministers Tuesday to do their jobs “faithfully” despite reports about a Cabinet reshuffle, saying he wants to see them work hard until they are replaced. It was the first time that Lee has formally mentioned the shake-up since the rumors began circulating a few months ago. Speculation has been growing that President Lee may replace some Cabinet ministers and presidential secretaries around a planned vacation in early August. At the latest, the new line-up will be announced before Liberation Day on Aug. 15, sources said.
12. Japan Politics
Associated Press (Tomoko A. Hosaka, “JAPAN PM URGES VOTERS TO SAY NO TO CHANGE”, Tokyo, 2009/07/21) reported that Prime Minister Taro Aso , who triggered new elections when he dissolved the powerful lower house of Japan’s parliament on Tuesday, launched his party’s fight for survival with a familiar refrain: Reject change. But Japanese voters are leaning sharply toward something new this time, and Aso’s warnings about the dangers of change may not be enough to prevent a historic loss in next month’s elections. Hours after parliament was dissolved, Aso slammed the opposition, led by the Democratic Party of Japan , as having no substantive policies of their own and trying merely to capitalize on his unpopularity. Acknowledging the odds against him, Aso began his remarks with an apology, a bow and a promise to do better. He vowed to revive Japan’s economy and suggested that a power shift now could derail an emerging yet fragile recovery.
Kyodo News (“HATOYAMA AIMING FOR MAJORITY WITH OTHER OPPOSITION PARTIES “, Tokyo, 2009/07/21) reported that Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, said Tuesday that he is determined that the DPJ together with other opposition parties will at least secure a majority in the 480-seat House of Representatives in the Aug. 30 election to realize a ”new government.” The DPJ chief suggested that the party will join hands with the Social Democratic Party and the People’s New Party to wrest power from the LDP and its coalition partner the New Komeito party.
Mainichi (“ASO SAYS HE WILL LEAD LDP INTO ELECTION, APOLOGIZES FOR ‘CONFUSION'”, 2009/07/21) reported that Prime Minister Taro Aso told a meeting of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers Tuesday that he intends to lead the party into the House of Representatives election slated for next month, while apologizing over the decline in support for the party. At the meeting, the prime minister issued an apology over the decline in public support for the party. “I deeply regret the fact that my comments and being told I’m not focused has resulted in public distrust toward politics,” he said.
13. Cross-Strait Relations
Associated Press (“NO PLANS FOR TAIWAN-CHINA MILITARY MEETING”, Taipei, 2009/07/21) reported that a Taiwanese military spokesman said Tuesday that officers have no plans to meet with counterparts from the PRC at a conference in Hawaii next week, contradicting reports that such a meeting was in the works. Yu told reporters that Taiwan will send a delegation to the Hawaii workshop on regional security and crisis management, under the auspices of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies , a think tank with links to the U.S. Pacific Command. However, he said, even if PRC officers attend, “this doesn’t mean we will have contacts with (them).”
Bloomberg News (“CHINESE BANKS PLAN TAIWAN BRANCHES, CHINA MERCHANTS CEO MA SAYS”, 2009/07/21) reported that China Merchants Bank Co. is among at least five PRC banks applying to open branches in Taiwan as relations between the two governments thaw, said Ma Weihua, chief executive officer of China’s fifth-biggest lender by market value. “We’re not the only one applying,” Ma said in an interview in London last week before the opening ceremony for the lender’s first unit in the U.K. capital. “There are five or six.” China Merchants has “participated in the discussion” of a financial-services agreement between the PRC and Taiwan, he said .
14. PRC-Australia Relations
Reuters (Ben Blanchard, “CHINA DASHES AUSTRALIA HOPES FOR HIGH-LEVEL RIO TALKS”, Phuket, 2009/07/21) reported that the PR C’s foreign minister has no plans to meet his Australian counterpart on the sidelines of a meeting in Thailand , a PRC spokeswoman said, dashing Canberra ‘s hopes for high-level talks on detained Rio Tinto employees . Earlier on Tuesday, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said he hoped to raise the detentions of the four Rio staffers at a regional security meeting in the Thai resort of Phuket this week.
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA SAYS HAS PROOF RIO STAFF STOLE STATE SECRETS”, Beijing, 2009/07/22) reported that PRC Vice foreign minister He Yafei said Wednesday he briefed his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith on the detained Rio Tinto executives on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned summit in Egypt last week. “I stressed that we have sufficient evidence showing that the individuals involved obtained China’s state secrets using illegal means,” He said. “The case has entered into the judicial process and I requested the Australian side to respect China’s judicial sovereignty,” he said.
15. Sino-Russian Military Exercise
Agence France-Presse (“RUSSIA, CHINA TO KICK OFF MILITARY EXERCISES – REPORT”, Beijing, 2009/07/21) reported that the PRC and Russia are set to begin massive joint military drills aimed at fighting terrorism and ethnic separatism, state media said Tuesday, after deadly ethnic unrest in the PRC’s Xinjiang region. “The Sino-Russian joint military anti-terrorist exercise is a major action aimed at confronting international terrorism, ethnic separatism and religious extremism,” the paper said. The exercises aren’t aimed at any third country, it stressed. Up to 1,300 soldiers from each side will participate in the exercises that will be headquartered in the PRC’s northeastern province of Jilin, near the two nation’s common border, the paper said.
Agence France-Presse (“RUSSIA, CHINA KICK OFF MILITARY EXERCISES”, Moscow, 2009/07/22) reported that Russia and China on Wednesday launched massive joint military drills. The five-day exercises near the two nations’ common border “must show the international community that Russia and China have the necessary resources to ensure stability and security in the region,” Ria Novosti quoted the chief of Russia’s general staff , General Nikolai Marakov, as saying. “This is not a tribute to a fashionable trend, but a concrete contribution to preparing our armies to jointly counter security threats existing in our region,” Makarov said, calling China “a reliable strategic partner.”
16. PRC Domestic Policy
Agence-France Presse (“CHINA TO ALLOW 2,700 MUSLIMS TO VISIT MECCA: REPORT”, Beijing, 2009/07/21) reported that the PR C will allow over 2,700 Muslims to visit the holy site of Mecca this year, with pilgrims making the trip in 10 groups organized by the government, state press said Tuesday. The pilgrims will come from the major cities in China ‘s Xinjiang region including Urumqi, Yili, Kashgar and Hotan and will undergo training courses covering security concerns and basic language needs, Xinhua news agency said.
17. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Associated Press (“CHINA BLAMES SEPARATISTS, NOT POLICIES, FOR RIOTS”, Beijing, 2009/07/21) reported that the PRC on Tuesday defended its policies on ethnic minorities saying violence in Xinjiang that killed nearly 200 people this month was triggered by separatists and not its treatment of Uighurs. During a televised news conference, the vice minister of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission blamed an underground separatist movement of Muslim, Turkic-speaking Uighurs and said the PRC will never tolerate secession in its far western region. Wu said the PRC intends to continue the “success” of its current ethnic policies that focus on the economic development of the rugged Central Asian region — policies that Uighurs say have diluted or repressed their religion, language and culture in favor of the dominant Han ethnic group.
18. PRC Internet
Associated Press (“CHINA BLOCKS GOOGLE, GMAIL, OTHER WEB SITES”, Beijing, 2009/07/21) reported that both the English and PRC-language versions of Google were inaccessible in parts of the PRC late Tuesday, and Gmail, the search engine’s popular e-mail service, was reportedly blocked from some university campuses. Several PRC Internet sites and parts of popular Web portals went offline Tuesday amid tightening controls that have already left mainland Web users without access to Facebook, Twitter and other well-known social networking sites.
19. PRC Environment
Agence-France Presse (“SAFETY CONCERNS AT HUGE CHINA DAM PROJECT: AUDITOR”, Beijing, 2009/07/21) reported that developers building one of the world’s biggest hydropower projects in southwest PRC are taking dangerous shortcuts, state media reported Tuesday, citing the national auditor. Alarm bells started ringing after builders brought forward their timeframe to finish the Xiluodu dam by more than two years. Budget costs were also out of control and the developers had illegally collected nearly 10 million yuan (1.46 million dollars) in unauthorised fees, the China Daily cited the report as saying. The Xiluodu dam, being built along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River on the borders of mountainous Yunnan and Sichuan provinces , is expected to be the world’s third biggest hydropower project. The construction director of the project, Hong Wenhao, told the China Daily that the auditor’s report “overrated the problem” and that there were no safety issues to be concerned about.
20. PRC Environment
Xinhua News (“CHINESE VICE PREMIER STRESSES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, ENERGY CONSERVATION”, Beijing, 2009/07/21) reported that PRC Vice Premier Li Keqiang called for efforts to intensify energy conservation, emission reduction and environmental protection to ensure clean, safe and sustainable development. Li made the comment at a meeting in Beijing on Tuesday, urging efforts on development of green industry and sustainable economy. He said environmental protection should be strengthened as the environmental problems in the PRC are still severe, such as the water, air and soil pollution.
21. PRC Energy Supply
People’s Daily (“CHINA TO SUBSIDIZE SOLAR POWER PROJECTS”, 2009/07/21) reported that the PRC government started a pilot program on Tuesday to provide subsidies to solar-power projects to boost the solar industry as a new growth point for the country’s economy. The Ministry of Finance said on its Web site that it will offer 50 percent of investments for solar power projects of more than 500 megawatts and the transmission and distribution network over the next two- to- three years. The solar power projects in the remote regions will receive subsidies of 70 percent of the investment.
II. PRC Report
22. PRC Earthquake Reconstruction
Huaxi Urban News (“AFD LOANS ?200 MILLION FOR SICHUAN POST DISASTER RECONSTRUCTION”, 2009/07/21) reported that launching ceremony of Wenchuan Post-Disaster Reconstruction Project, funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD), was formally launched in Sichuan on July 20. AFD will loan 2 million USD for the reconstruction of rural infrastructure and rural methane project in Sichuan province.
23. PRC Public Health
Beijing Times (“BEIJING TOURIST ATTRACTIONS PROMISE ADMISSION FREE TO DISABLED PERSONS”, 2009/07/21) reported that according to Beijing municipal Bureau of Tourism yesterday, the city’s 173 A level tourist attractions have all promised admission free to disabled persons. As from this date, disabled persons no mater living in Beijing or not, can go to these tourist attractions freely only by taking their disability certificate.
24. PRC Civil Society and the Environment
Beijing Times (“SHAOJIU COMMUNITY WINS 20,000 RMB ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION FUND”, 2009/07/21) reported that representatives from 3 communities of Beijing have competed in an environmental protection contest on July 19, and Shaojiu Community from Dongcheng District has finally won and got 20,000 RMB fund from Bureau of Labor and Social Security. The fund will help Shaojiu Community reform on refuse classification and treatment.