NAPSNet Daily Report 23 March, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. DPRK Missile Program
- 2. US on DPRK Missile Program
- 3. Japanese Sanctions on DPRK
- 4. US-DPRK Relations
- 5. DPRK Detention of Journalists
- 6. Inter-Korea Relations
- 7. DPRK Leadership
- 8. DPRK Food Aid
- 9. DPRK Defectors
- 10. DPRK Economy
- 11. ROK Participation in PSI
- 12. ROK Diplomacy
- 13. ROK Anti-Terrorism
- 14. ROK-EU Trade Relations
- 15. Japanese Politics
- 16. Japanese Environment
- 17. PRC Military
- 18. PRC Space Program
- 19. PRC Tibet Issue
- 20. PRC Food Safety
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Missile Program
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA CLOSES 2 AIR ROUTES FOR ‘SATELLITE LAUNCH'”, Seoul, 2009/03/23) reported that the DPRK told the ROK’s Air Traffic Control Center it will close two air routes on Apr. 4-8, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said Sunday. The DPRK said it will close R452, which links the DPRK with Russia’s Vladivostok and G346, which links the DPRK with Japan.
2. US on DPRK Missile Program
Joongang Ilbo (“2 U.S. DESTROYERS REMAINING NEARBY FOR ROCKET LAUNCH”, Seoul, 2009/03/23) reported that two American warships, initially deployed for the U.S.-ROK joint military exercise, will remain in the waters near the Korean Peninsula in preparation for the suspected rocket launch, a military source said Saturday. “The primary mission of the U.S. Navy’s destroyers is detecting and tracking the Taepodong-2 missile that the North is expected to fire sometime between April 4 and 8,” the source said. “Depending on the circumstances, the U.S. warships may intercept the missile in cooperation with the Aegis-class ships of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Forces.”
3. Japanese Sanctions on DPRK
Asahi Shimbun (Toru Higashioka, “DEBATE GROWS OVER SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA”, Tokyo, 2009/03/21) reported that Japanese lawmakers are pushing for tougher sanctions against the DPRK over its plan to launch a rocket. “We will make a comprehensive decision on whether to extend sanction deadlines, as well as whether to impose stronger ones, with the sanction deadline approaching on April 13,” Prime Minister Taro Aso told an Upper House Budget Committee session Thursday. “By taking a strong stance, Japan can assume a leadership role in the international community in dealing with North Korea,” said a member of a special committee of the Liberal Democratic Party dealing with DPRK abductions of Japanese.
4. US-DPRK Relations
Donga Ilbo (“‘N. KOREA YELLING TO SEEK EQUAL FOOTING IN TALKS'”, Seoul, 2009/03/23) reported that Peter Hayes, executive director of the Nautilus Institute, said in an interview Saturday, “The North is doing preparatory work to get what it wants.” Hayes said, “The North intends to send a clear signal to the Obama administration that Pyongyang is not a regime that implores the international community for food aid, and that food is a separate issue from the North Korean nuclear program.” “The technological gap used in a missile and a communication satellite is as huge as the difference between a high-speed train and a bicycle,” Hayes said. “Whether Pyongyang’s claim is true or not will be revealed instantly.” On the Obama administration’s DPRK policy, he said, “Since the U.S. has so many urgent diplomatic agenda items, Washington cannot continue to show patience for long.” “In times of change to come, North Korea might see an opportunity and must not miss the chance as it did during the Clinton administration.”
5. DPRK Detention of Journalists
New York Times (Choe Sang-hun, “N. KOREA SAYS IT IS HOLDING REPORTERS”, Seoul, 2009/03/21) reported that the DPRK confirmed Saturday that it had detained two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, on charges of “illegally intruding” into the country. “A competent organ is now investigating the case,” KCNA said. Washington said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was trying to free the two journalists, who had traveled to the border area to report on DPRK refugees in the PRC, according to Chun Ki-won, a Christian clergyman in Seoul who helped arrange their trip.
Korea Times (Kim Sue-young, “NK MAY RELEASE US JOURNALISTS SOON”, Seoul, 2009/03/23) reported that the DPRK’s confirmation of the detention of two U.S. journalists has triggered speculation that the early confirmation may lead to the early release of the detainees. “It is difficult to generalize the case because we have just a few detention cases. But immediate reports tended to bring prompt negotiations and vice versa,” ROK Unification Ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo said Monday.
6. Inter-Korea Relations
Korea Herald (Kim Ji-hyun, “INTER-KOREAN BORDER REMAINS OPEN”, Seoul, 2009/03/23) reported that the DPRK Monday allowed South Koreans to visit the Gaeseong Industrial Complex after normalizing border traffic over the weekend, the Unification Ministry said.
7. DPRK Leadership
Chosun Ilbo (“KIM JONG-IL RATES WORLD’S THIRD WORST DICTATOR”, Seoul, 2009/03/23) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il ranked third on a list of the world’s worst dictators in the magazine Parade on Saturday. Kim was at the top of the annual list in 2008 but fell behind Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir this year.
8. DPRK Food Aid
Chosun Ilbo (“CONFERENCE TOLD OF N.KOREA ABUSE OF FOOD AID”, Seoul, 2009/03/23) reported that the ninth International Conference on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees in Melbourne on Friday accused the DPRK of grave abuses. The conference was organized jointly by the ROK Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights and the Australian Committee for Human Rights in North Korea under the joint sponsorship of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy, and the Chosun Ilbo. Joanna Hosaniak, the senior program officer for international cooperation for CANKHR, interviewed 40 DPRK children and juveniles and 10 adults in the ROK between 2001 and 2008 and heard that none of them had received rice sent by the ROK or the international community during this period.
9. DPRK Defectors
Korea Times (Kim Sue-young, “THREE CENTERS FOR N. KOREAN DEFECTORS TO OPEN”, Seoul, 2009/03/23) reported that the Ministry of Unification will open centers to help DPRK defectors adapt themselves to new circumstances in the ROK, a ministry spokesperson said Monday. “Many people have raised the issue that North Koreans who completed Hanawon programs have difficulty in adaptation,” the spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo told reporters. “Thus, the ministry will designate a social welfare organ as an adaptation center to help their adjustment at the initial stage,” she said.
10. DPRK Economy
Los Angeles Times (Ju-min Park, “NORTH KOREA ALLOWS CELLPHONE NETWORK”, Seoul, 2009/03/22) reported Egyptian telecom company Orascom Communication since February has reportedly sold 6,500 cellphones in the DPRK. “This is not just about providing 3G mobile services; we are making history in a country that is developing and opening up in a remarkable way,” Orascom Telecom Chief Executive Naguib Sawiris said in a news release. “The monthly pay of the mobile phone subscription is much higher than the monthly salary of the average citizen. Given the circumstance that food is not well supplied to people today, the starving would never think about buying a cellphone,” said Son Jung-hun, who worked at the state-owned trading firm in Pyongyang before defecting to the ROK in 2002.
11. ROK Participation in PSI
Hankyoreh Shinmun (“OPPOSITION TO SOUTH KOREA’S FULL PARTICIPATION IN THE PSI INCREASES”, Seoul, 2009/03/23) reported that opposition lawmakers and DPRK experts say that the ROK government is trying to use the DPRK’s scheduled rocket launch as an opportunity to fully participate in the Proliferation Security Initiative. Kim Yeon-cheol, the head of The Hankyoreh Peace Institute, said, “The agreement on inter-Korean marine transport is intended not just to promote maritime cooperation but also to prevent maritime military clashes. The South’s participation in the PSI could prompt an outcry from the North and invalidate the marine transport agreement, raising the likelihood of military clashes as a result.” “It would cause a backlash not just from the North but form China and Russia as well.”
12. ROK Diplomacy
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “NUMBER OF MILITARY ATTACHES TO BE CUT”, Seoul, 2009/03/23) reported that the Ministry of National Defense plans to reduce the number of its military attaches at diplomatic missions abroad as part of efforts to help cut military spending. The ministry will gradually bring 24 of 83 military attaches serving in 46 nations around the world home, ministry officials said Monday. Most of the returned officers will be from embassies in the United States, Russia, the PRC, Japan and elsewhere where two military attaches or more are working, they said. The ministry will also reduce the number of military attaches at missions abroad whose exchanges with the ROK are low or military officers there have small workloads, they said.
13. ROK Anti-Terrorism
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “PARTIES DIFFER OVER ANTI-TERRORISM LEGISLATION”, Seoul, 2009/03/23) reported that two recent consecutive terrorist attacks against South Koreans in Yemen have led Rep. Kwon Young-se of the Grand National Party (GNP) to address the need for anti-terrorism legislation. “We need to check our counter-terrorism system to see if it is still able to cope with possible future terrorist attacks. We might want to upgrade it, if needed. We should also create a specific action plan in case terrorist attacks indeed occur,” he said.
Korea Times (“105 FOREIGNERS ON ‘TERRORIST’ WATCH LIST”, Seoul, 2009/03/21) reported that the ROK’s intelligence agency is watching closely 105 foreign passport holders for possible terrorist-related activities, a report by the nation’s spy agency submitted to the parliament showed Saturday. Among the 105 foreign nationals, those from the Middle East topped with 87, followed by 10 from Africa and the rest from Asia and the Pacific regions, Yonhap said Saturday. An unnamed lawmaker who is on the National Assembly’s intelligence committee said, “There are quite a number of foreigners in South Korea who are suspected to have ties with terrorist activates. With the Yemen incident, it is my understanding that the authorities ramped up its watch on these individuals.”
14. ROK-EU Trade Relations
Agence France-Press (“SKOREA, EU LOOK TO WRAP UP TRADE PCT NEGOTIATIONS”, Seoul, 2009/03/23) reported that ROK chief negotiator Lee Hye-Min and his EU counterpart Ignacio Garcia Bercero met Monday for what is tipped as the last negotiating session before they initial a free trade agreement . “A successful free trade agreement between South Korea and the EU will send a message that the world should maintain trade liberalism and reject protectionism,” Lee said.
15. Japanese Politics
Asahi Shimbun (“OZAWA FIRM UNLESS SCANDAL DEEPENS”, 2009/03/23) reported that party sources said over the weekend that Ichiro Ozawa will likely continue as leader of opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) if prosecutors decide they can only indict his aide, Takanori Okubo. Prosecutors have until Tuesday to decide what to do as Okubo’s detention period expires that day. Minshuto sources said Ozawa would hold a news conference as soon as prosecutors announce how they plan to proceed with the case.
16. Japanese Environment
Asahi Shimbun (Keiji Takeuchi and Hidenori Tsuboya, “CFC SUBSTITUTE EMISSIONS ON RISE”, Tokyo, 2009/03/23) reported that according to a survey by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, chlorofluorocarbon substitutes emitted by home air conditioners tripled the estimated amount, while commercial air conditioners and refrigeration equipment discharged five times as much. Since the greenhouse effect of CFC substitutes is more than 1,000 times that of carbon dioxide, the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions for fiscal 2007 will be bumped up by 0.5 percentage point. Factoring in the revised figures, Japan produced 9.2 percent more greenhouse gases in fiscal 2007 than in fiscal 1990, the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol.
17. PRC Military
Agence France-Press (“CHINA TELLS JAPAN IT WANTS AIRCRAFT CARRIER”, Beijing, 2009/03/23) reported that PRC Defense Ministery Liang Guanglie told visiting Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada on Friday that the PRC will build an aircraft carrier, the Oriental Morning Post said. “Among the big nations only China does not have an aircraft carrier. China cannot be without an aircraft carrier forever,” the paper quoted Liang as saying, citing Japanese official sources. “China’s navy is currently rather weak, we need to develop an aircraft carrier.”
18. PRC Space Program
International Herald Tribune (Dan Levin, “CHINESE SQUARE OFF WITH EUROPE IN SPACE”, Beijing , 2009/03/22) reported that in the latest of a series of setbacks for the Galileo navigation satellite project, a European bid to create an alternative to the U.S. Global Positioning System, the PRC is set to claim a frequency that the European Commission wants to use for a security-oriented portion of the service. Talks between European and Chinese officials have failed to resolve the dispute.
19. PRC Tibet Issue
New York Times (David Barboza, “TIBETAN PROTESTORS HELD IN CHINA AFTER RIOT”, Shanghai, 2009/03/22) reported that nearly 100 people, most of them monks, were being held in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Golog in Qinghai Province after a crowd attacked a police station there on Saturday. The authorities, who said they had restored order in the region, said 6 people were arrested and 89 others had “surrendered” to the police. The attack involved monks from the Ragya Monastery .
Los Angeles Times (Barbara Demick, “LARGE PROTESTS BY TIBETANS IN WESTERN CHINA”, Beijing, 2009/03/23) reported that hundreds of Tibetans surrounded a police station and government offices in western PRC. A Tibetan exile news service said the protests were triggered by the suicide of a 28-year-old monk whom they identified as Tashi Sangpo. Sangpo had been arrested several days earlier at the monastery for keeping a banned Tibetan flag and political leaflets in his room, it said. On Saturday, he escaped from the police station and killed himself by jumping into a river.
20. PRC Food Safety
New York Times (David Barboza, “CHINA FIRES 8 TOP REGULATORS OVER MILK SCANDAL”, Shanghai, 2009/03/21) reported that said Friday that eight senior regulators were fired last week for “slack supervision” in last year’s tainted milk scandal. The government said high-ranking regulators in the country’s major food supervisory agencies, including the ministries of health and agriculture and the top food safety watchdog, were stripped of their positions and their membership in the Communist Party.
II. PRC Report
21. PRC Civil Society
Beijing Youth News (“JET LI WINS “2008 CHINA PERSON OF WORLD IMPACT””, 2009/03/20) reported that founder of One Foundation Jet Li was awarded as ““2008 China Person of World Impact”, for his outstanding contribution to the public welfare in 2008. Li, also a famous Chinese Kungfu star, together with his One Foundation, has raised a total of 0.13 billion RMB in 2008. Among them, over 80 million RMB has been put into post disaster reconstruction of 512 Earthquake. Li said he was greatly honored to win the award, and charity would be his life-long career.
22. PRC Social Welfare
Beijing Youth News (“ANNUAL PAID LEAVE SYSTEM FOR SOCIAL WORKERS STARTS IN HAIDIAN DISTRICT”, 2009/03/20) reported that social construction conference was held in Haidian District, Beijing yesterday. According to “Management Method of Social Workers in Haidian District (trial implementation)” issued after the conference yesterday, over 3500 regular social workers in Haidian District can take annual paid leave from now on. It is understood that this is the first time that the annual paid leave system for social workers is instituted in Beijing.
23. PRC Industrial Associations
Guangzhou Daily (Zhou Zuo, “INDUSTRIAL ASSOCIATIONS AND CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE TAKE OVER GOVERNMENTAL FUNCTION”, 2009/03/19) reported that Guangzhou Social Organizations Working Meeting was held in the municipal government’s hall yesterday afternoon. According to the meeting, industrial associations and chambers of commerce have started to take over some functions from the government. Guangzhou Architecture Federation and other 5 organizations are appointed formally as the first pilot sites.