NAPSNet Daily Report 23 October, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US Nuclear Deterence and the DPRK
- 2. US Nuclear Weapons in the ROK
- 3. US on DPRK Sanctions
- 4. Japan Interdiction of DPRK Vessels
- 5. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 6. Inter-Korean Relations
- 7. Inter-Korean Trade
- 8. DPRK Leadership
- 9. DPRK Food Supply
- 10. DPRK Film Industry
- 11. US-ROK Security Alliance
- 12. ROK Afghanistan Support
- 13. US-Japan Security Alliance
- 14. Sino-Indian Territorial Dispute
- 15. Sino-US Military Relations
- 16. US and Cross Strait Relations
- 17. Cross Strait Relations
- 18. PRC on Nuclear Energy Cooperation
- 19. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 20. PRC Energy Supply
- II. PRC Report
1. US Nuclear Deterence and the DPRK
Korea Times (Lee Tae-hoon, “US REAFFIRMS NUCLEAR UMBRELLA FOR S. KOREA”, 2009/10/22) reported that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that Washington will continue to provide its nuclear deterrent to the ROK. “The United States will continue to provide extended deterrence using the full range of military capabilities including the nuclear umbrella to ensure the security of the Republic of Korea (ROK),” Gates said during annual security talks between the two allies in Yongsan, Seoul. “I want to reaffirm the unwavering commitment of the United States to the alliance and to the defense of the ROK,” Gates said.
Chosun Ilbo (“S.KOREA-U.S. TO SET DOWN NUCLEAR DETERRENCE IN WRITING “, 2009/10/22) reported that the ROK and the U.S. governments plan to deter a DPRK nuclear attack by means of nuclear force, conventional force and missile defense. The plan is to be set down in a resolution concluding the 41st South Korea-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting. In working-level negotiations about an extended deterrence plan that the U.S. promised the ROK, the two countries agreed to set it down Thursday, a government source said.
2. US Nuclear Weapons in the ROK
United Press International (“CALLS FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN SOUTH KOREA”, 2009/10/22) reported that with the US defense chief in Seoul for security talks, a group of scholars and retired military officials have called for a redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the ROK to counter the DPRK’s nuclear drive. Cheon Seong-whun, a researcher at the government-run Korea Institute for National Unification, said the nuclear umbrella was “fragile” and not enough to shield the ROK from the DPRK’s nuclear threats. “There is doubt that the United States could protect Seoul at the risk of nuclear attacks on New York or Los Angeles,” Cheon said at a recent forum. “The United States should consider redeploying tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea to effectively deter North Korea’s nuclear threats.”
3. US on DPRK Sanctions
Agence France-Presse (“N.KOREA SANCTIONS WON’T BE EASED UNTIL DENUCLEARIZATION: US”, 2009/10/22) reported that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said sanctions on the DPRK would not be relaxed until Pyongyang takes “verifiable” steps toward complete nuclear disarmament . “Current sanctions will not be relaxed until Pyongyang takes verifiable, irreversible steps toward complete denuclearization,” Clinton said.
4. Japan Interdiction of DPRK Vessels
Kyodo News (“GOV’T EYES N. KOREAN CARGO INSPECTION BILL WITHOUT SDF INVOLVEMENT”, 2009/10/22) reported that t he government envisions submitting a bill to parliament to enable Japan to inspect ships suspected of carrying banned cargo to and from the DPRK, most likely without the involvement of the Self-Defense Forces, government sources said. The previous government led by the Liberal Democratic Party had eyed similar legislation but it had SDF involvement in mind. The current government is planning to delete any reference to the SDF from its bill, which may be submitted to the extraordinary session opening Monday, the sources said.
5. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Agence France-Presse (“N.KOREA HAS 20 NUCLEAR-RELATED SITES: LAWMAKER”, 2009/10/22) reported that the DPRK has an estimated 3,000 workers at 20 sites related to its nuclear weapons programme, a ROK legislator said. Some 200 scientists and key researchers are among the total staff, lawmaker Lee Mi-Kyung quoted a unification ministry report as saying. Eleven of the facilities are at the Yongbyon nuclear complex and there are also nine uranium-related mines and facilities at Pyongsan in North Hwanghae province and Sunchon in South Pyongan province, she said. “The government needs to set up a concrete plan on how to manage North Korea’s nuclear facilities, its scientists and overall resources” in case of a regime collapse, Yonhap news agency quoted Lee as saying.
6. Inter-Korean Relations
Xinhua News (“S KOREA NOT TO DELIVER MESSAGE TO DPRK AT MULTINATIONAL FORUM: FOREIGN MINISTRY”, 2009/10/22) reported that the ROK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ruled out the possibility of delivering any “message” to the DPRK on bilateral ties during a multinational forum next week in the United States. Reports speculated that Seoul will likely conduct secrete contact with Pyongyang during the forum to discuss issues concerning an inter-Korean summit. In response, the foreign ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young said the ROK has no plan to contact separately with the DPRK during the forum, but “there will likely be a chance for meetings naturally”.
Reuters (Cho Mee-young Cho Mee-young , “TWO KOREAS HELD SECRET TALKS FOR SUMMIT: REPORT”, Seoul, 2009/10/22) reported that the two Koreas met last week in secret in Singapore to discuss a summit, a broadcaster in the ROK said on Thursday. The ROK proposed holding the summit in Seoul , but the North declined due to concerns about bringing its reclusive leader, Kim Jong-il , across the border, an unidentified source told broadcaster KBS. ” North Korea requested this meeting,” the source said, adding the two sides may meet again in a third country.
The Associated Press (“SKOREA TO HELP NKOREA MODERNIZE HOT LINES”, 2009/10/22) reported that the ROK is providing the DPRK with optical cables and other equipment to help modernize military hot lines between the two nations, officials in Seoul said. Pyongyang recently asked Seoul to help modernize the hot lines, Lee said in Seoul. The ROK will provide Pyongyang with $1.7 million in equipment and materials next week, she said.
7. Inter-Korean Trade
Yonhap News (“SEOUL MULLS RESUMING SAND IMPORTS FROM N. KOREA: SOURCES”, 2009/10/22) reported that the ROK is considering resuming imports of sand from the DPRK, government sources here said Thursday, reflecting the thawing relationship between the two neighbors. “The government is reviewing the resumption of imports of the North’s sand, given strong requests from businesses and the overall state of current inter-Korean relations,” an informed government official said, requesting to be unnamed.
8. DPRK Leadership
The Associated Press (Jun Kwanwoo, “FAMILY ROW STOPS NKOREA SUCCESSION TALK: RESEARCHER”, Seoul, 2009/10/22) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il halted a propaganda campaign to promote his youngest son as successor after the son began flexing his muscles prematurely, a leading ROK researcher says. Kim and his son Jong-Un fell out over military personnel management issues, according to Nam Sung-Wook, chief of the Institute for National Security Strategy , which is affiliated with the National Intelligence Service. He said Jong-Un’s uncle Jang Song-Thaek, previously seen as the leader’s right-hand man, has also been sidelined for the time being.
Korea Herald (“SONGS MADE TO PRAISE KIM JONG-UN IN N.K.”, 2009/10/22) reported that Kim Jong-un, the youngest and third son of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, must have been selected as the successor, according to Le Figaro. Arnaud de la Grange, the journal’s special correspondent in Pyongyang, said that the biggest issue in the DPRK right now is the succession of Kim Jong-un, citing how a DPRK businessman he met in a train running from Pyongyang to Beijing said that “everyone talks about it now, although it would be better to keep it discrete.” Songs and education programs that praise the 26-year-old have been widely distributed, said Le Figaro.
9. DPRK Food Supply
Beijing News.Net (“NORTH KOREA MAY BE BURNING FARMLAND”, 2009/10/22) reported that NASA has posted a satellite image which shows large plumes of smoke stretching across northeastern DPRK. While there have been no report of fires in the DPRK state, intelligence specialists have said they are probably a result of fires being intentionally lit to reclaim farmland.
10. DPRK Film Industry
Xinhua News (“DPRK FILMS LOOKING FOR JOINT PRODUCERS “, 2009/10/22) reported that international partners are being sought for the production of films in the DPRK, according to the website of the Choson Sinbo daily. The website reported Thursday that an international film cooperative subsidiary of the DPRK’s national film committee was seeking joint producers for six Korean films. The films focus on historical themes. One of them tells the story of a loving couple defending their hometown from pirates, one about the last queen of the Ri dynasty (1392-1910) who failed to fight Japanese invaders, and another on a story that Korean and Chinese people saved a Soviet pilot in World War II.
11. US-ROK Security Alliance
Bloomberg News (“GATES PLEDGES ‘ENDURING’ U.S. TROOP PRESENCE IN SOUTH KOREA”, 2009/10/22) reported that Defense Secretary Robert Gates pledged an “enduring” U.S. military presence in the ROK amid concerns the Asian nation isn’t ready to take control of their joint forces as planned within three years. In opening comments at the start of annual joint security talks in Seoul today, Gates and his ROK counterpart, Defense Minister Kim Tae Young, vowed to strengthen their alliance to confront threats from the DPRK . “Key to that deterrent capability is our commitment to an enduring United States force presence on the Korean Peninsula as part of the combined defense posture.”
12. ROK Afghanistan Support
Yonhap News (Lee Chi-dong, “S. KOREA TO CONSULT WITH AFGHAN GOVERNMENT ON FUTURE CONTRIBUTIONS “, 2009/10/22) reported that the ROK plans to consult with the Afghan government over any additional contributions there, a top diplomat said, refuting media speculation that the US may be pressing Seoul to provide military support. Vice Foreign Minister Shin Kak-soo stressed Seoul’s future role in the war-ravaged nation, a front line in the global fight against terrorism, will be decided “independently” in consideration of its capacity and international status, regardless of Washington’s influence. “Basically, it is a matter to be decided at our government’s discretion,” Shin said.
13. US-Japan Security Alliance
Reuters (“JAPAN MINISTER: NO U.S. BASE DECISION BEFORE OBAMA VISIT”, Tokyo, 2009/10/22) reported that Japan cannot sign off on a planned reorganization of US troops in the country before President Barack Obama visits Tokyo next month, its foreign minister said, after the U.S. defense secretary bluntly called for the deal to be implemented. Okada told private broadcaster TBS that more time was needed. “It won’t be the case that in such a short period of time, we will accept what the United States is saying and do it just because it is an agreement between Japan and the United States,” Okada said.
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN URGES US TO RESPECT ‘DEMOCRACY’ OVER BASE”, Tokyo , 2009/10/22) reported that Japan told the United States to respect its democratic process in a row over a US base and that the issue would not be resolved before President Barack Obama ‘s visit next month. “The will of the people of Okinawa and the will of the people of Japan was expressed in the elections,” Okada said on television. “I don’t think we will act simply by accepting what the US tells us, just because the US is saying this, in such a short period of time.”
14. Sino-Indian Territorial Dispute
The New York Times (“DALAI LAMA TO VISIT INDIAN REGION CLAIMED BY CHINA”, 2009/10/22) reported that despite protests by the PRC government, the Dalai Lama is going ahead with plans to visit a heavily militarized Tibetan Buddhist area in northeast India that is the focus of an intense territorial dispute between the PRC and India, a Tibetan official in India said. The Dalai Lama, 74, the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, is expected to visit the state of Arunachal Pradesh from Nov. 8 to Nov. 15, the official said in an e-mail message.
15. Sino-US Military Relations
The Associated Press (“ADMIRAL: US, CHINA MILITARY RELATIONS THAWING”, 2009/10/22) reported that military relations between the United States and the PRC have begun to thaw after a year of limited contact, the admiral in charge of the U.S. Pacific Command said. Talks recently began between the two nation’s military leaders, Willard said, adding that American officials are seeking to reforge US-PRC ties from enlisted troops all the way up the chain of command . “We’ve commenced dialogue where we can,” Willard told reporters. He added: “We’re looking for a range of opportunities to engage. But at the end of the day, China has to want to do this too.”
16. US and Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“NO NEED FOR TAIWAN TO WORRY ABOUT OBAMA’S CHINA VISIT: US”, Taipei, 2009/10/22) reported that Taiwan has no need to be concerned about US President Barack Obama ‘s first visit to the PRC next month, the de facto American ambassador to the island said. William Stanton , director of the American Institute in Taiwan , also told reporters that the US policy on Taiwan remained unchanged under the Obama administration. “To the extent (the agenda) is regional it may be looking in other directions rather than the cross-strait relationship, although I’m sure the issue of Taiwan will arise.”
17. Cross Strait Relations
Straits Times (“TAIWAN’S MILITARY BLASTS CHINA’S PROPOSED PEACE PACT”, 2009/10/22) reported that a proposed peace pact between the PRC and Taiwan was a ploy by Beijing to weaken Taipei’s resistance, said a Taiwan defence ministry report. It also noted that the PRC has stepped up military exercises and patrols in the sea near Taiwan after the United States announced weapon sales to the island in October last year. On a more positive note, the 188-page report mentioned the importance of developing confidence-building measures between the PRC and Taiwan. Such measures could include setting up a hotline as well as limits on military deployments to reduce the risk of war.
18. PRC on Nuclear Energy Cooperation
Xinhua News (“CHINESE VICE PREMIER STRESSES PEACEFUL, SAFE USE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY”, 2009/10/22) reported that PRC Vice Premier Li Keqiang said the peaceful and safe use of nuclear energy requires joint efforts of the international community. Li made the remarks when meeting with heads of some of the delegations attending the third meeting of ministerial level officials of the executive committee of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) in Beijing. Li said GNEP provides a platform for relevant countries to carry out exchanges and cooperation. He expressed the wish that GNEP partners should adhere to the principle of equality and seeking common ground through consultation.
19. PRC Ethnic Unrest
The New York Times (“GROUP TALLIES UIGHURS SEIZED IN CHINA”, 2009/10/22) reported that months after security forces seized them in the wake of ethnic riots in July, at least 43 ethnic Uighur men from far western PRC have disappeared, an advocacy group said in a report released Wednesday. The report, by Human Rights Watch, asserted that the number of vanished Uighurs was probably higher, although the group could conclusively document only 43 cases during weeks of secret investigations in the Xinjiang region. “Their families’ attempts to inquire about the relatives at local police stations or with other law enforcement agencies proved futile,” the report stated. “The authorities either said they had no knowledge of the arrests, or claimed the inquiry was still ongoing without admitting the fact of detention, or simply chased the families away.”
20. PRC Energy Supply
The Los Angeles Times (“CHINA’S PUSH FOR OIL IN GULF OF MEXICO PUTS U.S. IN AWKWARD SPOT”, 2009/10/22) reported that a PRC company’s gambit to drill for oil in US territory demonstrates the PRC’s determination to lock up the raw materials it needs to sustain its rapid growth, wherever those resources lie. The state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp., or CNOOC, reportedly is negotiating the purchase of leases owned by the Norwegian StatoilHydro in US waters in the Gulf of Mexico, the source of about a quarter of US crude oil production. The US could also find it difficult to rebuff the PRC when it has long welcomed other foreign investment in the gulf.
II. PRC Report
21. PRC Security
Beijing Morning News (“COMMUNITY CORRECTION TO BE TRIED IN CHINA”, 2009/10/22) reported that Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, and Ministry of Justice have co-held a national community correction meeting yesterday. The meeting resolved to put community correction into trial use all around the country this year. Juvenile offenders, old & sick prisoners, as well as those first-time offenders will be the focus of community correction.
22. PRC Energy Use
Changsha Evening News (“OVER 60% OF COMMUNITIES TO BE ENERGY-SAVING”, 2009/10/22) reported that by the end of 2010, over 60% of communities in Changsha city of Hunan province will be environment-friendly and energy-saving. The city is starting a selection awards for environment-friendly communities, and the winner will get an award of 20,000 RMB from the government.