NAPSNet Daily Report 23 July, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. Russia on DPRK-Myanmar Relations
- 2. Mongolia on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 3. DPRK Terror List Status
- 4. US on DPRK Vessels
- 5. US on DPRK Sanctions
- 6. Japan on DPRK Sanctions
- 7. US-DPRK Relations
- 8. Inter-Korean Relations
- 9. DPRK Leadership
- 10. DPRK Internal Situation
- 11. DPRK Economy
- 12. DPRK Food Supply
- 13. ROK Government
- 14. ROK Defense
- 15. ROK International Relations
- 16. Japan Politics
- 17. Sino-Russian Military Exercise
- 18. Sino-Indian Relations
- 19. Sino-Australia Relations
- 20. PRC Civil Unrest
- 21. PRC Ethnic Unrest
1. Russia on DPRK-Myanmar Relations
RIA Novosti (“NO NEED FOR U.S. TO FEAR N. KOREA-MYANMAR NUCLEAR TIES – ANALYST”, Moscow, 2009/07/22) reported that Washington has little cause for concern over a possible nuclear link between two rogue states in southeast Asia, a Russian expert on arms control said on Wednesday. “Even if North Korea provides assistance to Myanmar in this [nuclear] sphere, it is still at the very early stage of development, and does not pose a real threat,” said Alexander Pikayev, the director of the Department for Disarmament and Conflict Resolution at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow. “North Korea most likely uses Myanmar territory as storage for part of its nuclear arsenal, or as a transit center for re-export of its nuclear technologies to third countries,” Pikayev said.
2. Mongolia on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Yonhap News (“MONGOLIA PLEDGES TO PUSH NORTH KOREA BACK TO TALKS “, 2009/07/22) reported that the ROK’s defense minister met with his Mongolian counterpart on Wednesday and drew his pledge to press the DPRK to stop raising tension and return to talks. In his meeting with Mongolian Defense Minister Luvsanvandan Bold, Lee called on Ulan Bator to play “a constructive role” in persuading the DPRK to return to talks with the ROK, the Ministry of National Defense said.
3. DPRK Terror List Status
The Hill (“KERRY’S NORTH KOREA AMENDMENT TOPS BROWNBACK’S “, 2009/07/22) reported that the Senate is pressing the Obama administration to file a report on the DPRK’s conduct since it was removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Sen. John Kerry sponsored an amendment to the 2010 defense-authorization bill expressing a sense of the Senate — an opinion that does not make law — that the Obama administration should conduct a review to determine whether the DPRK should be re-listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. The Senate favored Kerry’s sense of the Senate amendment instead of much stronger language eyed by Sen. Sam Brownback.
4. US on DPRK Vessels
Bloomberg (Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, “CLINTON SAYS NORTH KOREA VESSELS TO ‘FIND NO PORT’ IF UN IGNORED “, 2009/07/22) The DPRK must obey a UN resolution on its international shipments or its vessels will “find no port” for commerce, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in excerpts of a planned speech. Clinton said the U.S. is asking countries in the region “to join in demanding transparency” from the DPRK about the contents of its shipments. The U.S. held “intensive” discussions with Asian governments on the matter after tracking a DPRK vessel, the Kong Nam, she said. The ship was suspected of carrying a military cargo banned by the UN, and later returned to its home port.
Stars and Stripes (Kevin Baron, “KEATING: NORTH KOREAN FREIGHTER’S MOVES A MYSTERY”, Arlington, Va. , 2009/07/22) Adm. Timothy Keating said Wednesday that he doesn’t know what was on board a DPRK freighter bound for Myanmar that the Navy was shadowing earlier this month, or why it suddenly turned back. “I don’t know why they turned around,” Keating said. “It’s not crystal clear to anybody, to the best of my knowledge, outside of the DPRK.” But the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command acknowledged that he was “moderately concerned” that air and sea traffic between those countries may be used to transfer nuclear technology from one isolated regime to another.
5. US on DPRK Sanctions
Associated Press (Robert Burns, “CLINTON: NKOREA RUNNING OUT OF OPTIONS ON NUKES”, Phuket, 2009/07/23) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday the DPRK has “no friends left” to shield it from U.N. sanctions. “North Korea’s continued pursuit of its nuclear ambitions is sure to elevate tensions on the Korean peninsula and could provoke an arms race in the region,” Clinton said. Clinton said the U.S. will continue to insist that DPRK return to the bargaining table and verifiably dismantle its nuclear program. At the same time, she held out the prospect of normalizing U.S. diplomatic ties to the DPRK and other incentives.
6. Japan on DPRK Sanctions
Kyodo (“JAPAN TO IMPOSE ASSET FREEZE ON 5 N. KOREAN OFFICIALS, 5 ENTITIES”, Tokyo, 2009/07/23) reported that Japan will impose asset freezes on five individuals and five entities from Friday for their involvement in the DPRK’s nuclear weapons and missile development programs in line with a U.N. Security Council resolution, the government said Thursday. Tokyo will also confirm on Friday an entry and transit ban on the five individuals as the sanctions committee of the 15-member Security Council designated them anew last week. Japan urges the DPRK to ”take seriously” a stern message from the international community as expressed in related resolutions and to ”sincerely and fully implement” them, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura told a news conference.
7. US-DPRK Relations
Washington Times (Nicholas Kralev , “FRESH ‘INCENTIVES’ FOR N. KOREA NUKE TALKS”, Bangkok, 2009/07/22) The Obama administration is considering offering the DPRK new incentives if it behaves better and returns to nuclear talks, U.S. officials said Tuesday. A day after she compared the DPRK to a spoiled child throwing a tantrum, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters that “there is obviously a list of incentives and offers that could be made if the DPRK representatives evidence any willingness to take a different path than the one they are currently pursuing.” U.S. officials declined to specify what the DPRK would get if it stopped its belligerent behavior. Mrs. Clinton referred to comments made by Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, about a “comprehensive package” for the DPRK he discussed with officials in Japan, the ROK and the PRC.
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “N. KOREA CALLS ‘COMPREHENSIVE PACKAGE’ OF U.S. INCENTIVES ‘NONSENSE'”, Phuket, 2009/07/23) reported that Ri Hung-sik, director-general of the DPRK foreign ministry’s international organization bureau, on Thursday dismissed a U.S.-proposed “comprehensive package” of political and economic incentives for Pyongyang as “nonsense.” “It is just a replay of the Bush administration’s policy of CVID (complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement),” Ri told reporters. He said the DPRK government does not care about U.N. sanctions imposed on Pyongyang for its nuclear test in May, adding it has been under such sanctions “for half a century.” “The U.S. is telling us to take off all of our clothes,” he said. “The most important thing for us is sovereignty. Sovereignty, security, namely life, should be guaranteed. How can we barter life with money?” Ri said his country is willing to talks with the U.S. if it abandons its hostile policy.
8. Inter-Korean Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“SEOUL DENIES $40 BILLION N.KOREA DEAL ‘FOR NOW”, ) The ROK has denied a report in the Financial Times that it has set up a US$40 billion aid fund to entice teh DPRK back to denuclearization talks. Officials said the report resulted from a misunderstanding that a campaign pledge by President Lee Myung-bak had been turned into policy. But oddly, ROK officials said the article was “not necessarily incorrect from a long-term perspective.” One key government official was even more forthcoming. “With the ROK and the United States reaching an understanding on a comprehensive package that envisages putting all issues on the negotiating table, we need to offer the DPRK a bunch of carrots if it decides to completely abandon its nuclear program,” he said.
9. DPRK Leadership
Yonhap News (“U.S. READY TO EXECUTE CONTINGENCY PLANS AFTER KIM JONG-IL’S DEATH: COMMANDER”, 2009/07/22) reported that the United States has come up with scenarios to cope with any contingencies in the DPRK after leader Kim Jong-il’s death, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command said. “We are prepared to execute a wide range of options in concert with allies in South Korea and in discussions through (the Department of) State, which would have the lead, with countries in the region, and internationally if necessary,” Adm. Timothy Keating said at a news conference at the Pentagon. “I don’t think it is axiomatic that the departure of Kim Jong-il means a national security crisis. We’d hope it wouldn’t. But we are going to be prepared if it does mean that.”
Agence French Presse (“NORTH KOREAN FILM OF KIM SHOWS IMPAIRED HAND MOVEMENT – REPORT”, Seoul, 2009/07/22) reported that DPRK state television aired a documentary on leader Kim Jong-Il’s public events in March in which he barely uses his left hand but appears otherwise brisk, Yonhap news agency reported. Yonhap, which monitors the North’s broadcasters from Seoul, said the 40-minute program was entitled “Great Leader Comrade Kim Jong-Il Gives Field Guidance in a Number of People’s Economy Projects.” Yonhap said Kim’s left hand barely moved and his left leg seemed abnormal when he took about four steps during a trip to a new swimming pool at Kim Il-Sung University.
10. DPRK Internal Situation
Associated Press (Kwang-tae Kim, “AT HUGE RISK, NKOREANS WATCH SMUGGLED SOAP OPERAS”, Seoul, 2009/07/23) reported that DPRK citizens are smuggling movies and soap operas from the ROK into the country at a rapid rate. The regime in Pyongyang has mobilized inspection teams to “purge” border cities of those smuggling in illegal foreign films and has publicly executed offenders as a warning against black market dealings in ROK videos, the Korea Institute for National Unification said Thursday. “Many defectors testified that secret viewing of South Korean movies and TV dramas is rapidly spreading all over North Korea,” the report said. DPR Koreans are buying cheap, Chinese-made videocassette players, swapping smuggled tapes, and if caught, are paying off security agents or letting them watch the tapes themselves, it said.
11. DPRK Economy
IFES NK Brief (“NORTH KOREAN EXPORTS TOTAL 1.13 BILLION USD IN 2008”, 2009/07/22) reported that according to a report released by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), mineral products again topped the list of DPRK exports, accounting for 41.3 percent of goods sent out of the country last year. The KOTRA report, “2008 DPRK Trade Trends,” states that the DPRK’s 2008 exports, totaling 1,130,213,000 dollars, increased by 23 percent over the 918.77 million USD-worth of goods exported in 2007.
12. DPRK Food Supply
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA SETS UP FOOD MINISTRY “, 2009/07/22) reported that the DPRK said it has created the Ministry of Foodstuff and Daily Necessities Industry as the country strives to resolve its food shortage within years. The Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly issued a decree on setting up the ministry, the official Korean Central News Agency said in a one-sentence dispatch. It gave no further details.
13. ROK Government
JoongAng Ilbo (Ser Myo-ja , “AFTER FIERCE FIGHT, LAWMAKERS PASS MEDIA BILL”, 2009/07/22) reported that the Grand National Party Wednesday managed to pass three contentious bills expected to reshape the country’s media industry, clearing a path for newspaper companies and conglomerates to enter the country’s broadcasting business. The DP chairman said opposition lawmakers will take their fight to the streets. He also said he and DP floor leader Lee Kang-rae will resign from their legislative posts in protest. Representative Lee insisted that voting on the bills is invalid because the legislature failed to meet a quorum. The National Assembly currently has 294 members and the quorum for voting is 148. The Grand Nationals have 169 lawmakers, enough to pass a bill alone, but not all lawmakers managed to participate in yesterday’s crucial voting as the Democrats physically blocked them from doing so.
14. ROK Defense
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “SEOUL CAPABLE OF DEVELOPING LONGER-RANGE MISSILES”, 2009/07/21) Amid the growing DPRK missile threat, the ROK is seeking to get the “OK” from the United States on loosening eight-year-old guidelines limiting the ROK’s missile capabilities. A chief researcher at the state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD) expressed confidence in developing longer-range ballistic missiles in a short period of time once the restrictions on missile ranges are revised. Defense officials and experts here say a consensus has already been built both in Washington and Seoul that the 2001 guidelines preventing the ROK from building missiles with ranges exceeding 300 kilometers should be revised.
15. ROK International Relations
Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju , “KOREA SEEKING GRASSROOTS DIPLOMACY TO ENHANCE GLOBAL IMAGE”, 2009/07/22) The Presidential Council on Nation Branding is focusing on “grassroots diplomacy” to improve the ROK’s international image, sending large groups of volunteers abroad and forming a network of foreign students to promote Korean culture and food. In a report to President Lee Myung-bak Wednesday, the council Chairman Euh Yoon-dae said 20,000 volunteers will be dispatched to less-developed nations around the world by 2013. This year alone, the government plans to send more than 3,700 volunteers to 56 countries to help their governments, schools, non-profit organizations and public firms.
16. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“LDP, DPJ LAUNCH FULL-FLEDGED PREPARATIONS FOR AUG. 30 ELECTION “, Tokyo, 2009/07/22) The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan on Wednesday embarked on full-scale preparations for campaigning toward an Aug. 30 general election, one day after Prime Minister Taro Aso dissolved the House of Representatives. Both parties held meetings with officials from their local chapters in charge of election strategies to try and boost morale for the crucial national election that could determine whether the DPJ seizes power away from the long-dominant LDP.
Mainichi (“FORMER PM KOIZUMI DRAWS FINAL CURTAIN ON LONG POLITICAL CAREER”, 2009/07/22) reported that former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will not run in next month’s House of Representatives election, drawing the final curtain on his political career. Koizumi’s retirement clearly marks the end of a political era, considering that he had led the third-longest administration since the end of World War II. His premiership, which extended for five years and five months from April 2001 through September 2006, was only exceeded by those of Eisaku Sato and Shigeru Yoshida.
17. Sino-Russian Military Exercise
Xinhua News (“RESEARCHERS: SINO-RUSSIAN JOINT MILITARY EXERCISE A WARNING TO TERRORISTS “, Beijing, 2009/07/22) reported that a joint military exercise launched by PRC and Russian armed forces Wednesday is a strong warning and deterrence to terrorists in the region, military researchers said. General of the Army Nikolai Makarov, Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and General Chen Bingde, Chief of General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), announced the commencement of the five-day “Peace Mission-2009” exercise in Russia’s Khabarovsk. “The exercise’s orientation, arrangements and preparations have all revealed its anti-terror nature,” said Major General Luo Yuan, researcher with the PLA’s Military Sciences Academy.
18. Sino-Indian Relations
Indo-Asian News Service (“INDIA, CHINA NOT RIVALS, BUT PARTNERS: KRISHNA”, 2009/07/22) reported that setting aside recent strains in bilateral ties, India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna held his first meeting with his PRC counterpart Yang Jiechi and stressed that India and the PRC are not rivals but partners in an emerging Asia. “India and China may be competitive in economic and trade areas, but they are not rivals. There is enough space for both India and China to grow,” Krishna told Indian journalists after his 20-minute talk with Yang on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN ministerial meetings .
19. Sino-Australia Relations
AFP (“CHINA SAYS HAS PROOF RIO STAFF STOLE STATE SECRETS”, Beijing, 2009/07/22) The PRC has told the Australian government it has “sufficient evidence” that detained Rio Tinto executives stole state secrets, a senior PRC official said Wednesday. Vice foreign minister He Yafei said he briefed his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith of the developments 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 the PRC’s judicial sovereignty,” he said.
20. PRC Civil Unrest
Radio Free Asia (Sarah Jackson-Han, “CHINA FARMERS IN LAND PROTEST”, Hong Kong, 2009/07/22) Farmers in central PRC stage protests against a government land grab as similar demonstrations erupt in the country’s coastal provinces.Villagers in one of the poorest regions of the PRC have vowed they will fight a government proposal to use their farmland for a cement factory, as a deadline for agreement set by local officials passed on Wednesday.
21. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Reuters (“MARKET REOPENS IN CHINA’S RIOT-HIT URUMQI CITY”, 2009/07/22) reported that the main market at the center of the PRC’s riot-torn Urumqi city reopened Wednesday, state media reported, while an exile group said Uighur students had called for the release of those still detained after this month’s riots. Over two weeks later, the normally bustling Grand Bazaar complex has reopened as the city returns to normal, Xinhua said, but added that only a few hundred customers had turned up. Security forces had made the bazaar and nearby mosque at the end of Jiefeng Road a central focus of patrols in Urumqi this month.