NAPSNet Daily Report 23 February, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. DPRK Missile Program
- 2. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. DPRK Military
- 4. DPRK Leadership
- 5. Six-Party Talks
- 6. DPRK-UN Relations
- 7. Inter-Korean Relations
- 8. US on Inter-Korean Relations
- 9. US Military in ROK
- 10. ROK Peacekeeping
- 11. ROK Anti-Piracy Dispatch
- 12. ROK Energy
- 13. ROK Environment
- 14. ROK Politics
- 15. Sino-ROK Relations
- 16. Sino-ROK Economic Relations
- 17. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 18. Japan SDF Anti-Piracy Operations
- 19. Japanese Politics
- 20. Japanese Whaling
- 21. Sino-US Relations
- 22. US-PRC Climate Change
- 23. Sino-Russian Relations
- 24. PRC Human Rights
- 25. PRC Tibet Issue
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Missile Program
Arirang News (“N. KOREA ‘READY FOR MISSILE TEST THIS MONTH'”, 2009/02/23) reported Jane’s Defense Weekly said Friday that a satellite detected significant increases in activity this past week at a DPRK missile launch facility. The journal said the activities include installation of radars and the arrival of vehicles to the base. It added that satellite images also captured an engine test stand and maintenance being done on the launch pad.
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Joongang Ilbo (Brian Lee , “CLINTON CASTS DOUBTS ABOUT A NORTH URANIUM PROGRAM”, Seoul, 2009/02/23) reported that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cast doubts on the existence of the DPRK’s purported highly enriched uranium program on Friday. Clinton said, “I think that there is a sense, among many who have studied this, that there may be some program somewhere, but no one can point to any specific location nor can they point to any specific outcome of whatever might have gone on, if anything did.” She added, “I don’t have any doubt that they would try whatever they possibly could. Have they? I don’t know that and nobody else does either.”
3. DPRK Military
Reuters (“NORTH KOREA DEPLOYS NEW MID-RANGE MISSILE: SOUTH”, Seoul, 2009/02/23) reported that the ROK Defense White Paper Monday said the DPRK had deployed a new mid-range missile that can travel up to 3,000 km (1,865 miles) to hit all of its rival Japan and threaten U.S. military bases in Guam . “North Korea’s conventional force, its development and reinforcement of weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons and missiles, and the forward deployment of its troops are a direct and serious threat to our security,” the paper said. The biannual paper said the DPRK had increased the number of its special warfare soldiers by 60,000 to now total 180,000 while modernizing its light infantry to improve its strike force.
Chosun Ilbo (“HARDLINER ‘TO BRING N.KOREAN MILITARY TO HEEL'”, Seoul, 2009/02/23) reported that Rhu Dong-ryeol, a researcher at the ROK’s Police Science Institute, said that power in the DPRK military is expected to be more heavily concentrated in the hands of newly appointed Defense Minister Kim Yong-chun. “With Kim Jong-il’s health problems, the military reshuffles in the North appear to be designed to bring the military under firm control and stabilize it, with Minister Kim Young-chun at the top,” said Rhu.
4. DPRK Leadership
Korea Herald (“N. KOREAN LEADER WATCHES MILITARY ART PERFORMANCE: REPORT”, Seoul, 2009/02/23) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il watched a music performance by a military art squad, the state media said Monday. Kim was accompanied by Kim Ki-nam, secretary of the Workers’ Party central committee, and Jang Song-thaek and Pak Nam-gi, department directors of the party central committee, the KCNA said. The KCNA also reported on Sunday that Kim gave field guidance to the July 7 Complex, a chemical manufacturer in Chongjin, North Hamkyong Province, following visits to the Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex and the Ranam Coal Mining Machine Complex in the same region on Saturday.
5. Six-Party Talks
Arirang News (“U.S. NUKE ENVOYS TO COOPERATE CLOSELY”, 2009/02/23) reported that US Acting Deputy State Department Spokesman Gordon Duguid said Friday that special representative to the six-party nuclear talks, Stephen Bosworth, will be coordinating the overall effort by the U.S. government, while Sung Kim will handle day-to-day contact and discussions. Duguid added that although Bosworth will keep his current position as dean of the Fletcher School, he will be fully involved in the denuclearization efforts.
6. DPRK-UN Relations
Yonhap (“N. KOREA REJECTS U.N. ENVOY: SOURCE”, Seoul, 2009/02/22) reported that a group of U.N. delegates led by Lynn Pascoe, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, had planned to visit Pyongyang in early March but the DPRK has rejected the offer, a UN source said. The U.N. official said that he does not know why Pyongyang refused to accept the envoy but added that the missile test-firing might be one of the reasons. Another source denied that the DPRK rejected the envoy, saying the U.N. and Pyongyang are still having talks to decide the best time to dispatch the delegates.
7. Inter-Korean Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“S. KOREANS BLAME NORTH FOR STRAINED RELATIONS”, Seoul, 2009/02/23) reported that 63 percent of ROK citizens blamed the DPRK for strained relations, according to a poll by Gallup Korea for the Chosun Ilbo. 27.4 percent attributed it to the ROK government’s policy. 84.9 percent of supporters of the ruling Grand National Party blamed the DPRK, while supporters of the main opposition Democratic Party were about evenly split. 56.8 percent called for support to the DPRK on condition that it gives up its nuclear and missile development, while 39.2 percent called for support without strings attached.
Korea Herald (“NORTH’S HOSTILITY CAUSE OF STRAINED TIES: UNIFICATION MINISTER”, Seoul, 2009/02/23) reported that ROK unification minister Hyun In-taek on Monday blamed the DPRK for the confrontational mood between the two Koreas. “The South’s policy on North Korea is not the cause of the chill in relations. The cause is the North’s hardline position towards the South,” Hyun was quoted as saying at a meeting with leaders of the ruling Grand National Party (GNP). Hyun said that the DPRK will not likely accept any proposals for talks between working-level officials, but promised the government “will do all that it can” to try to soothe relations.
Chosun Ilbo (“N. KOREA SILENT ON US COMMENTS”, Seoul, 2009/02/23) reported that a spokesman for the DPRK’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said in a statement on Saturday, “We will show with our actions how miserable the Lee Myung-bak group’s last days will be. With the most merciless and firm resolution, we will dispose of the group.” The Minju Chosun called for anti-government protests in the ROK, saying it was “tantamount to suicide to remain idle at a time when a national disaster is about to occur. The people of South Korea have an important role to play.”
8. US on Inter-Korean Relations
Dong-A Ilbo (“CLINTON URGES STOP NK BELLICOSITY TOWARD S. KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/02/21) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday expressed support for the ROK’s stance on the DPRK. “North Korea is not going to get a different relationship with the United States while insulting and refusing dialogue with the Republic of (South) Korea,” she said after a meeting with ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan. Clinton added that the DPRK should stop making provocative, unhelpful threats.
9. US Military in ROK
Korea Herald (Kim So-hyun, “CONTAMINATION FOUND AROUND U.S. BASES”, Seoul, 2009/02/23) reported that Seoul City said Sunday it had found more than 16,000 square meters of area to be contaminated by oil leaked from four U.S. military bases in the capital. “Rainwater seems to be spreading the underground contamination,” a city official said. The city has so far spent 2.1 billion won for the cleanup near U.S. army camps since 2001 and plans to spend another 425 million won this year.
10. ROK Peacekeeping
Yonhap (“SEOUL TO SIMPLIFY PEACEKEEPR DISPATCH”, Seoul, 2009/02/22) reported that the ROK government said on Sunday it will pass a bill mandating annual parliamentary approval of its U.N. peacekeeping missions to allow for more rapid troop dispatch. The ROK currently requires permission from the National Assembly on a case-by-case basis to send forces overseas. “If this new law is put into effect, the process of sending peacekeeping forces will be much more simplified,” said a ruling party lawmaker. “This will help improve South Korea’s contribution to the international community.” Critics point out that the new act can be seen as a violation of the country’s Constitution, which requires parliamentary approval to send troops overseas
11. ROK Anti-Piracy Dispatch
Korea Herald (“S. KOREA SET TO CONCLUDE LEGAL PROCESS FOR SENDING NAVY SHIPS TO SOMALIA”, Seoul, 2009/02/23) reported that ROK lawmakers are expected to approve later this week the government’s plan to send a 4,500-ton destroyer to Somali waters, officials were quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency. “The National Assembly will likely pass the motion for the dispatch around Feb. 27,” Choe Jong-hyun, deputy spokesman at the foreign ministry said after a weekly meeting of senior ministry officials. If passed, the motion will allow the destroyer and some 310 troops to set sail towards Somalia sometime next month.
12. ROK Energy
Korea Herald (“S. KOREA’S OIL DEPENDENCY TO FALL BELOW 40 PCT IN 2011”, Seoul, 2009/02/23) reported that a report released by the state-run Korea Energy Economics Institute said that dependency on oil is likely to decline steadily in coming years and fall below 40 percent of the nation’s energy needs in 2011. Oil is expected to account for 41.9 percent of ROK energy demand this year, with its demand likely to reach 759.1 million barrels, down 1.2 percent from a year ago. Coal dependency is forecast to rise to 28.2 percent this year, from 25.2 percent in 2007, the report said. Nuclear energy dependency is predicted to fall to 13.4 percent this year from 13.6 percent a year ago, and liquefied natural gas dependency will be lowered to 13.4 percent from 14.1 percent, it added.
13. ROK Environment
Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “KOREA DREAMS OF ‘GREEN REVOLUTION'”, Seoul, 2009/02/22) reported that the ROK wants to share the vision of “low-carbon, green growth” with the rest of the world in order to find a breakthrough during the worst economic recession in decades, Prime Minister Han Seung-soo said Sunday. “South Korea is taking fundamental measures to prepare for a paradigm shift in the global economy,” Han said. “We are ready to participate in global efforts to fight climate change and play a bridging role between advanced and emerging countries in preparing for a new trend.”
14. ROK Politics
Hankyoreh (“SURVEY SAYS LEE IS NOT FARING WELL IN HIS FIRST YEAR”, Seoul, 2009/02/21) reported that in an opinion survey performed Saturday by Research Plus at the request of The Hankyoreh, 57.9 percent of respondents said they would not vote for ROK President Lee Myung-bak if the election were held today, while 28.9 percent said they would. Of those who indicated they had voted for Lee in the presidential election held December 2007, only 48.7 percent said they would vote for him again, 33.4 percent said they would not, while 17.9 percent did not answer the question. 57.6 percent said Lee is performing poorly as president, and only 34.1 percent approve of how he is running the government.
15. Sino-ROK Relations
Korea Times (Sunny Lee, “RENOWNED CHINESE SCHOLAR JIN XIDE ARRESTED FOR ‘SPYING’ FOR SOUTH KOREA”, Beijing, 2009/02/20) reported that Jin Xide, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) was arrested for spying for an ROK intelligence body, Hong Kong’s Mingpao News reported Thursday. Jin “reportedly received bribes from a South Korean intelligence agent in the form of money and sexual favors and, in turn, provided classified information to him,” it said. The newspaper said the information he gave to the ROK agent was about the DPRK, without providing specifics.
16. Sino-ROK Economic Relations
Joongang Ilbo (“KOREAN FIRMS EYE CHINA OPPORTUNITY”, Seoul, 2009/02/23) reported that in a survey of 1,100 ROK manufacturing/distribution companies in the PRC by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 60.4 percent said that they will maintain the scale of their business operations at last year’s levels. A further 12.6 percent said they plan to expand this year while 27 percent said that they are going to reduce operations. “China is a crucial market for Korean companies during this global economic downfall and still has huge potential to grow,” said the KCCI Sunday.
Korea Herald (“S. KOREAN, CHINESE MINISTERS REVIEW OPTIONS TO OVERCOME ECONOMIC CRISIS”, Seoul, 2009/02/22) reported that ROK Minister of Strategy and Finance Yoon Jeung-hyun and his PRC counterpart Xie Xuren held talks Sunday to discuss ways to overcome the current worldwide economic crisis. On the sidelines of the ASEAN plus three special meeting of finance ministers, the two officials touched on ways to stabilize Asia’s foreign exchange markets and expand cooperation on financial issues.
17. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
Chosun Ilbo (“GOVERNMENT DENOUNCES JAPAN’S ‘DOKDO DAY'”, Seoul, 2009/02/23) reported that the ROK Foreign Ministry expressed deep regret at Japan’s marking of “Takeshima Day,” which took place in Shimane Prefecture on Sunday. Seoul demanded the district stop all celebrations and drop all territorial claims to Dokdo.
18. Japan SDF Anti-Piracy Operations
Asahi Shimbun (“MSDF HOLDS JOINT ANTI-PIRACY EXERCISE”, Kure, 2009/02/21) reported that a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer and two Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels held an exercise Friday ahead of next month’s start of the MSDF’s anti-piracy mission in waters off Somalia. The drill involved 35 of the personnel to be deployed to Somalia, including members of an elite MSDF special security team and coast guard officials.
Yomiuri Shimbun (“MSDF MAY GET MORE POWERS TO FIGHT PIRACY”, Tokyo, 2009/02/22) reported that a bill for antipiracy missions to be submitted to the Diet by the government in early March includes a stipulation that would allow Maritime Self-Defense Forces’ personnel to fire directly at pirate vessels to stop acts of piracy, it was learned Saturday. The bill also stipulates that the government is required to report any dispatch of SDF personnel to the Diet, sources said. The new bill stipulates that the MSDF can safeguard all ships, including foreign vessels, according to the sources.
19. Japanese Politics
Asahi Shimbun (“POLL: 71% WANT ASO TO QUIT; 45% PREFER OZAWA”, Tokyo, 2009/02/23) reported that seventy-one percent of respondents in the latest nationwide poll conducted by The Asahi Shimbun want Prime Minister Taro Aso to resign as soon as possible, with opposition leader Ichiro Ozawa gaining in popularity as choice for leader. Thirteen percent of respondents said they supported the Aso Cabinet; seventy-five percent said they did not. 64 percent saying the Lower House should be dissolved and a snap election called as soon as possible. Even among those who said they supported the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, only 40 percent said they supported the Aso Cabinet, while 44 percent said they did not. Among respondents with no party affiliation, only 3 percent said they supported the Aso Cabinet.
20. Japanese Whaling
Associated Press (Rohan Sullivan, “ANTI-WHALING GROUP: POLICE SEIZED VIDEO OF CLASHES”, Sydney, 2009/02/21) reported that police boarded the ship of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and seized videotapes of clashes between the activists and Japanese whalers, the group said Saturday. Police said they were investigating the clashes after Japanese authorities reported them to Australian officials, but would not to go into further detail.
21. Sino-US Relations
BBC (“CLINTON URGES STRONGER CHINA TIES”, Beijing, 2009/02/21) reported that cooperation between the US and the PRC on global issues such as the economy and climate change is “imperative”, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday. She said that these would take precedence over points of friction between the two governments, such as human rights and Tibet. “We want to deepen and broaden our relationship,” she said. “We believe we have established a solid foundation, but there is much work to be done.”
22. US-PRC Climate Change
New York Times (Mark Landler, “CLINTON PAINTS CHINA POLICY WITH A GREEN HUE”, Beijing, 2009/02/21) reported that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked the PRC to join the United States in an effort to curb greenhouse gases Saturday. “The opportunities for us to work together are unmatched anywhere in the world,” Clinton declared.
23. Sino-Russian Relations
BBC (“RUSSIA DEFENDS SINKING CARGO SHIP”, 2009/02/22) reported that Russia expressed its regret over the deaths of eight Chinese and Indonesian sailors whose ship was fired on by Russian forces, but blamed the incident on the ship’s captain. According to a foreign ministry statement, the guards fired on the cargo ship only after its captain had ignored all warnings – including warning shots – for 18 hours. It said the captain then said he was returning to Nakhodka, but later decided to evacuate his crew, saying the ship’s main engine had stopped and the rudder broken.
24. PRC Human Rights
Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “DISSIDENTS HELD DURING CLINTON BEIJING VISIT”, Beijing, 2009/02/21) reported that more than a dozen Chinese dissidents were questioned, followed or detained during U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s weekend visit to Beijing , fellow activists said Saturday. Blacklisted author Yu Jie said Saturday a pair of plainclothes policemen visited him on Friday and said he would have to report all his movements to them in advance. “They said I was to receive heightened monitoring throughout Clinton’s visit, but that it would end once she left,” Yu said. Zeng Jinyan, the wife of imprisoned activist Hu Jia, said she was barred by police from leaving her home on Saturday morning to meet with visiting AIDS activist Gao Yaojie. Police offered no explanation, but Zeng said she was certain the confinement was tied to Clinton’s visit.
25. PRC Tibet Issue
Los Angeles Times (Barbara Demick, “CHINA EXPECTS TIBET TO CELEBRATE, OR ELSE”, Beijing, 2009/02/23) reported that Tibetans have declared a moratorium on celebrating the Tibetan New Year, or Losar, saying they will instead observe a mourning period for people killed last year during protests against PRC rule. Tibetan groups in Dharamsala, India, announced in a statement last month, “Instead of the usual celebrations marked by singing, dancing and other festivities, silence will be observed and butter lamps will be lit in the temples and homes to pray for the deceased.” The PRC declared a one-week public holiday in Tibet and are offering free admission to museums and parks. The Communist Party in Tibet also gave vouchers worth $120 each to 37,000 low-income families to shop for the holidays.
II. PRC Report
26. Sino-Brazilian Energy Cooperation
Shihua Financial News (“LI WEIJUN, CHINA AND BRAZIL SIGN LONG TERM AGREEMENT ON ENERGY”, 2009/02/20) reported that the PRC and Brazil signed a long term agreement on exploration and development of mining and energy on Feb.19. PRC Vice Present Xi Jinping signed the agreement during a state visit to Brazil. As a part of the agreement, Petroleo Brasileiro SA will provide 100,000 barrels of oil to the PRC per day and will get a loan up to 10 billion U.S. dollars for oil exploration financing from the PRC’s National Development Bank.
27. PRC Environment
Xinhua Net (Sun Bin, “CHINA INVESTS OVER 3 BILLION RMB FOR THE FIRST NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL CENSUS”, 2009/02/19) reported that the “First National Pollution Sources Census Meeting” was held by PRC Ministry of Environment Protection in Nanjing on Feb.18. Vice Minister Zhang Lijun said at the meeting that at present, the central and local governments have invested over 3 billion RMB on environmental census, and have got a great deal of information. The census information provides an important support for accounting of pollution production and emission of key pollution sources.
28. PRC Civil Society
Non Profit Incubator website (Hui JI, “NPI SHOWS INCUBATING PROJECTS TO SHANGHAI CITIZENS”, 2009/02/20) reported that Non Profit Incubator (NPI) and other 9 incubator agencies jointly held a large public welfare activity in Pudong New District of Shanghai city recently. They showed their respective innovative services by various forms and left a deep impression on the public. For example, the “Black 3 Minutes” held by Youai Help Blind Association invited people to blindfold their eyes, walk with eye-seeing stick and experience the life of blind personally.