NAPSNet Daily Report 23 November, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
1. Inter-Korean Skirmish
Wall Street Journal ( Evan Ramstad And Jaeyeon Woo, “NORTH KOREA FIRES ROCKETS AT ISLAND “, Seoul, 2010/11/23) reported that the DPRK fired artillery rockets at the ROK’s Yeonpyeong island near a disputed maritime border Tuesday, setting houses on fire in its small villages, and prompting the ROK to return fire and dispatch fighter jets to the area. One ROK Marine was killed in the skirmish and at least a dozen more were injured, military officials said. Photos sent to ROK TV stations by residents of nearby So-yeonpyeong island showed multiple plumes of smoke rising over its larger neighbor.
Reuters (“WORLD EDGY ON KOREA, RUSSIA SEES “COLOSSAL DANGER””, Tokyo, 2010/11/23) reported that among the DPRK’s neighbors, Russia said it saw a “colossal danger” of an escalation in fighting on the Korean peninsula and the PRC said it was imperative to resume six-party talks aimed at ending the north’s nuclear weapons program. The United States urged the DPRK to “halt its belligerent action,” saying that it was “firmly committed to the defense of our ally, the Republic of Korea, and to the maintenance of regional peace and stability.” Japan’s top government spokesman said that the DPRK’s action was “unforgiveable.” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku told a news conference in Tokyo that Japan “strongly condemns” the strike. “It is necessary to immediately end all strikes,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters during a visit to the Belarusian capital Minsk. “There is a colossal danger which must be avoided. Tensions in the region are growing.” The NATO alliance, the European Union and Britain all condemned the DPRK attack, and Germany joined them in expressing concern and calling for restraint.
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Bloomberg (Nicole Gaouette and Kate Andersen Brower , “U.S. PUSHES NORTH KOREA OVER NUCLEAR PROGRAM AFTER ATOMIC PLANT REVEALED”, 2010/11/22) reported that the U.S. is coordinating a response to evidence that the DPRK has advanced its nuclear program and is taking steps to pressure Kim Jong Il’s regime back to negotiations, a White House spokesman said. “The North Koreans have to be serious about living up to their obligations” to dismantle their nuclear-weapons program if they expect progress in negotiations toward more normal relations with other countries, press secretary Robert Gibbs told a White House briefing yesterday. “We do not wish to talk simply for the sake of talking.” U.S. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said the DPRK often uses advances in its nuclear program as a bargaining chip to draw the U.S. and other countries into negotiations.
The Washington Times (Ashish Kumar Sen, “U.S. OFFICIALS: CHINA MUST ACT ON N.KOREA VIOLATION”, 2010/11/22) reported that the PRC must respond firmly to a violation by DPRK of commitments made by Pyongyang during the course of six-party nuclear negotiations, present and former U.S. officials said on Monday. “Beijing has a special relationship with North Korea and they also have chairmanship of the six-party talks. They do have a special responsibility” to condemn the DPRK’s latest provocation, said Sung Kim, the Obama administration’s special envoy to the talks to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
3. Sino-Japan Relations
Agence-Presse-France (“CHINA, JAPAN BOATS STAND-OFF IN DISPUTED WATERS: REPORT”, Beijing, 2010/11/23) reported that PRC and Japanese patrol boats were involved in a brief weekend stand-off near disputed islands, the PRC’s state media has reported, accusing the Japanese side of “unreasonable interference”. Two PRC fishery patrol vessels were cruising near the islands in the East China Sea on Saturday when they were approached by up to seven Japanese patrol boats and two reconnaissance aircraft that circled above, the Nanfang Daily newspaper reported. The Japanese side asked the PRC boats when they planned to leave, said the report issued Monday. The PRC boats responded by saying the disputed waters were “China’s sacred territory” and they vowed to continue carrying out patrols in future.