NAPSNet Daily Report 22 October, 2007
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. ROK on US-DPRK Relations
- 3. Inter-Korean Naval Clashes
- 4. Inter-Korean Relations
- 5. DPRK-Syria Relations
- 6. ROK-DPRK Separated Families
- 7. DPRK Refugees
- 8. DPRK-PRC Relations
- 9. ROK-PRC Nuclear Cooperation
- 10. Cross Strait Relations
- 11. PRC Leadership
- 12. PRC Greenhouse Emissions
- 13. Japanese World War II Chemical Weapons
- 14. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
- II. ROK Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Joongang Ilbo (“NORTH NUCLEAR DISABLEMENT COULD START IN WEEKS”, 2007/10/20) reported that Sung Kim, head of the Korea desk at the U.S. State Department, said the next US delegation to the DPRK would go there “within two weeks.” State Department Spokesman Tom Casey told reporters he didn’t know whether other nations would be included in the next group. Casey stated, “Part of what this delegation was looking at, as well as the previous one, was to come up with the specific steps that would be taken to do it. And the group that would go out in, roughly, three weeks would be the ones that would actually carry out those steps.”
2. ROK on US-DPRK Relations
Associated Press (Jae-soon Chang, “S. KOREA: NORTH WANTS BETTER US TIES”, Seoul, 2007/10/19) reported that ROK President Roh Moo-hyun said Friday that the DPRK wants the standoff over its nuclear weapons program resolved in order to forge better ties with the United States. Roh also said that he does not believe that the DPRK would collapse, and that the ROK would therefore not be forced to absorb it at great cost. “North Korea is not a land of danger, but a land of opportunity for us,” he said.
3. Inter-Korean Naval Clashes
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “NKOREA ACCUSES SKOREAN NAVY OF INTRUSION”, Seoul, 2007/10/21) reported that the DPRK Navy Command on Sunday claimed that 54 ROK warships intruded deep into the DPRK’s waters near the Northern Limit Line last week, despite its repeated radio-broadcast warnings to sail back to the ROK. “The behavior is an unpardonable and undisguised provocation” to the inter-Korean joint declaration and “the product of their political and strategic attempt to drive the North-South relations to the phase of confrontation again,” the command said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency. An ROK Defense Ministry official disputed the claim, saying, “It’s a routine claim. We don’t pay attention much to it.”
4. Inter-Korean Relations
Joongang Ilbo (“ROH SAYS HE WILL NOT ASK NORTH FOR APOLOGY”, Seoul, 2007/10/20) reported that ROK President Roh Moo-hyun told foreign correspondents Friday that he does not intend to ask the DPRK to apologize for its past wrongdoings. “There is a disparity between asking for an apology and inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation. I want to ask advocates of a North Korean apology if they are opposed to inter-Korean peace,” Roh was quoted by his spokesperson as saying. He added, “At the end of a war, the loser is supposed to atone for the war damage make an apology. But North Korea did not lose the war. It is not legally realistic to demand the North’s apology.”
5. DPRK-Syria Relations
Arizona Daily Star (“N, KOREA SEEKS TIES WITH RULING PARTY”, Damascus, 2007/10/21) reported that Choe Thae-bok, the speaker of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, held separate talks in Damascus on Saturday with Abdullah al-Ahmar and Mohammed Saeed Bkheitan, both assistant heads of the Baath Party command, Syria’s official news agency reported. His delegation also visited Quneitra, on the Syrian side of Golan Heights, and reaffirmed the DPRK’s support for Syria’s efforts to regain the territory Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
6. ROK-DPRK Separated Families
Korea Herald (“SEOUL PUSHES FOR REGULAR REUNIONS”, 2007/10/21) reported that the ROK government is pushing for ways to make inter-Korean family reunions more regular, in time for the completion of the reunion center in Mount Geumgang next March. “As opening the center is to regularize the family gatherings, we will discuss with North Korea on holding the reunion every month and arranging weekly follow-up meetings for those who have reunited once before,” government sources said.
7. DPRK Refugees
Yonhap (“TWO N. KOREAN WOMEN GIVEN ASYLUM IN U.S.: REPORT”, Seoul, 2007/10/21) reported that the Voice of America said Sunday that two DPRK defectors who were staying in an Asian country while seeking asylum have recently entered the United States. The US has accepted a total of 33 DPRK refugees under the provisions of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004.
8. DPRK-PRC Relations
REUTERS (“CHINA SLOWS RAIL FREIGHT TO NORTH KOREA”, 2007/10/20) reported that the World Food Program and rail authorities said that the PRC has reduced freight traffic to the DPRK due to Chinese trains missing in the DPRK, where they are sometimes disassembled and sold as scrap metal. The move has held up some food aid shipments to the DPRK.
9. ROK-PRC Nuclear Cooperation
Yonhap (Lee Joon-seung, “S. KOREA TO PROPOSE JOINT ATOMIC FUEL REPROCESSING RESEARCH WITH CHINA”, Seoul, 2007/10/21) reported that the ROK Ministry of Science and Technology said that the government will propose joint research on pyro-processing of nuclear fuel with the PRC at talks to be held Monday and Tuesday in Beijing. In addition, the ministry said that the two sides are to discuss such issues as atomic safety, using hydrogen released from very high temperature reactors, and cooperation in the use of nuclear fuel.
10. Cross Strait Relations
Associated Press (Peter Enav, “CHINA CALL FOR TAIWAN ACCORD A BYPASS”, Taipei, 2007/10/19) reported that Taiwanese analysts said Friday that the call by PRC President Hu Jintao for peace talks with Taiwan was not directed at Chen Shui-bian but at his successor after next year’s elections. Alexander Huang, former second-in-command at the Taiwanese government agency responsible for implementing PRC policy, said that the remarks were “intended for the Taiwanese … presidential candidates, who both have more moderate approach to China than President Chen Shui-bian. The Chinese Communist Party has decided not to deal with Chen anymore, so Hu’s Taiwan proposal … is not meant to be carried out before (Chen steps down).” Andrew Yang of the Council of Advanced Political Studies stated, “The call for a peace treaty, the insistence on the one-China framework, these things are not on the agenda of the current Taiwanese leadership. And that means President Chen Shui-bian.”
11. PRC Leadership
Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “CHINA VICE PRESIDENT STEPS DOWN”, Beijing, 2007/10/21) reported that Vice President Zeng Qinghong was not among those selected to a new Central Committee during a weeklong party congress. Aside from Zeng, Xinhua said two other Standing Committee members, the defense minister and two vice premiers were among the more senior officials stepping aside. Their departure from the leadership, especially that of Zeng, appears to be a boost for President Hu Jintao.
12. PRC Greenhouse Emissions
BBC News (“EXPORTS FUEL CHINA’S CO2 OUTPUT”, 2007/10/19 08:10:00 GMT+0) reported that the Tyndall Centre, a UK government-funded body, said that one quarter of the PRC’s greenhouse gas emissions are produced making goods exported to the West. The study argued that the data “suggests that a focus on emissions within national borders may miss the point. Whilst the nation state is at the heart of most international negotiations and treaties, global trade means that a country’s carbon footprint is international.”
13. Japanese World War II Chemical Weapons
Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPAN FIRM BESET BY POISON GAS SCANDAL”, Tokyo, 2007/10/19) reported that investigators launched raids this week on Japanese companies accused of embezzling money paid by the government to remove chemical weapons abandoned in China during World War II. The PRC Foreign Ministry expressed concern the allegations could delay the cleanup of the weapons, which the PRC says have killed 2,000 people since 1945.
14. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
Kyodo (“DEFENSE MINISTRY ADMITS MSDF KNOWINGLY LEFT DATA ERROR UNCORRECTED”, Tokyo, 2007/10/22) reported that the Japanese Defense Ministry admitted Monday that the Maritime Self-Defense Force ”knowingly” left a data error uncorrected for four years after erroneously underreporting the amount of oil Japan provided to the United States in a 2003 refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. The report said MSDF officers were aware on May 9, 2003 of the data input error regarding the Feb. 25, 2003 refueling mission, but failed to immediately report it to their superiors.
II. ROK Report
15. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Maeil Business (Park Yoo-yun, “KDI, ‘BIG EXPECTATION FOR THE PEACE ZONE IN YELLOW SEA'”, Seoul, 2007/10/21 18:10:00 GMT+0) reported that 7 out of 10 economic experts think the second inter-Korean summit was affirmative due to the easing of tensions between two Korea. They picked the Peace Zone in Yellow Sea as the most promising development. Korea Development Institute (KDI) announced the results of a survey they took of 378 economic experts. According to the poll, 51.6 percent did not agree with the statement, “the summit’s agreements on economic cooperation are a lopsided giveaway.” Regarding the overall agreements on economic cooperation, 73 percent had a positive view, while only 10.8 percent had a negative view.
16. DPRK’s denclearization process
Seoul Shinmun (Kim Mi-kyung, “”ROK WOULD NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE DPRK’S DENUCLEARIZATION”, Seoul, 2007/10/22 02:50:00 GMT+0) reported that the ROK would be excluded on the denuclearization process of the DPRK. A diplomatic source said on October 21, “It seems the denuclearization process will begin within three weeks, but according to the October 3 agreement, the U.S will be leading the process as a nuclear power; thus the ROK would not be in the process.” However, there is a belief that after the U.S. pays the early costs, the rest of four countries will also pay their share. Thus the ROK must participate in the process as the primary country concerned.