NAPSNet Daily Report 24 July, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- 1. DPRK on Six Party Talks
- 2. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. DPRK-US Relations
- 4. DPRK Aid
- 5. DPRK Human Rights
- 6. US-ROK Security Alliance
- 7. ROK Military
- 8. ROK Politics
- 9. US-Japan Relations
- 10. USFJ Base Relocation
- 11. Japan SDF Anti-Piracy Operations
- 12. Japan Environment
- 13. Japan Politics
- 14. US-PRC Relations
- 15. Sino-US Environmental Cooperation
- 16. PRC Climate Change
- 17. PRC Diplomacy
- 18. PRC Military
- 19. PRC Economy
- 20. PRC Space Program
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK on Six Party Talks
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “N. KOREA REAFFIRMS END OF NUCLEAR TALKS AT REGIONAL FORUM: CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT”, Phuket, 2009/07/23) reported that the DPRK reaffirmed Thursday that it would not rejoin the six-way talks on its nuclear program in response to the international community’s condemnation of its recent nuclear test and missile launches, according to a two-page document summing up the results of this week’s ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). “The DPRK briefed the Meeting of the fact that the ongoing aggravated situation on the Korean Peninsula is the product of the hostile policy of the United States against her, and stated that the Six-Party Talks have already come to an end,” the chairman’s statement issued by Thailand read.
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Reuters (Kittipong Soonprasert and Jack Kim, “CLINTON KEEPS UP PRESSURE ON NORTH KOREA AT ASIA MEETING”, Phuket, 2009/07/23) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Asia’s biggest security community on Thursday to keep the pressure on the DPRK to end its nuclear program and enforce U.N. sanctions against the reclusive state. Reining in DPRK’s nuclear program, counter-terrorism cooperation and maritime security took center stage at Asia’s premier annual security gathering, the ASEAN Regional Forum. “The United States will continue to work through every avenue to persuade North Korea to eliminate its nuclear program and normalize relations with the world,” Clinton said in a speech planned for delivery at the meeting.
3. DPRK-US Relations
CNN (“N. KOREA: CLINTON ‘FUNNY LADY, BY NO MEANS INTELLIGENT'”, Bangkok, 2009/07/23) reported that the DPRK launched a scathing personal attack on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday after she likened the leadership in Pyongyang to “small children and unruly teenagers and people who are demanding attention.” A DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman blasted Clinton for what he called a “spate of vulgar remarks unbecoming for her position everywhere she went since she was sworn in,” according to the state-run KCNA news agency. The spokesman called Clinton “by no means intelligent” and a “funny lady.” “Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping,” the statement said.
4. DPRK Aid
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “S. KOREAN MINISTER DOWNPLAYS PYONGYANG’S OBJECTION TO ‘COMPREHENSIVE PACKAGE'”, Phuket, 2009/07/23) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan on Thursday played down the DPRK’s initial response to an envisioned “comprehensive package” of incentives offered to Pyongyang in return for the “complete and irreversible” dismantlement of its nuclear program.
5. DPRK Human Rights
Agence-France Presse (“DEFECTORS REPORT TORTURE, BEATINGS, EXECUTIONS IN NORTH KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/07/23) reported that defectors from the DPRK report continuing cases of torture, beatings, forced labor and execution without trial, a ROK state think-tank said in a report Thursday. The White Paper on Human Rights in North Korea also cited restrictions on freedom of travel, residence and religion. The Korea Institute for National Unification said its report is based on the testimony of some 200 DPR Koreans who defected to ROK in 2007 and 2008. “The number of public executions in open areas is decreasing, according to testimony by North Korean defectors,” said Park Young-ho, director of KINU’s Center for North Korean Human Rights. “More executions are being conducted secretly than before,” Park said, without giving a reason.The report, citing fresh testimony from former doctors who fled South, said the DPRK had in the past evicted the handicapped from its showpiece capital Pyongyang and forcibly sterilized some of them. The report added that the practice continued until the late 1980s.
Associated Press (Kwang-tae Kim, “ACTIVISTS CLAIM CHRISTIAN EXECUTED IN NKOREA”, Seoul, 2009/07/24) reported that the DPRK publicly executed a Christian woman last month for allegedly distributing the Bible, ROK activists said Friday. Ri Hyon Ok, 33, was also accused of spying for the ROK and the United States and organizing dissidents. She was executed in Ryongchon near the border with the PRC on June 16. Ri’s parents, husband and three children were sent to a political prison camp in the northeastern city of Hoeryong the following day, the report said, citing unidentified documents it says were obtained from the DPRK.
6. US-ROK Security Alliance
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “S. KOREA, U.S. DISCUSS STRONGER DETERRENCE AGAINST N. KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/07/23) reported that ROK defense officials said Thursday they held working-level talks with their U.S. counterparts to discuss ways to follow up on the summit agreement between their leaders last month. In a joint statement, Washington reaffirmed its pledge to provide the ROK with a bolstered deterrent against Pyongyang. The U.S. would deploy bombers and other strategic weapons on top of its nuclear umbrella should the DPRK provoke aggression on the peninsula, according to the summit agreement.
7. ROK Military
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “S. KOREA TO DEVELOP RADAR WITH ISRAEL”, 2009/07/23) reported that the ROK will develop an indigenous mechanically scanned array (MESA) radar for aircraft with the help of Israel, officials at the Defense Acquisition Program (DAPA) said Thursday. LIG Nex1, a leading defense firm in the ROK, will sign a deal with Israel’s Elta Systems on the first phase of development of radars to equip TA-50 light-armed aircraft and FA-50 attack fighters, they said.
8. ROK Politics
Joong Ang Ilbo (“DP SEEKING PROOF THAT VOTE WAS INVALID”, 2009/07/24) reported that although the legislature managed to approve contentious media industry reform measures on Wednesday, warring political parties continued their fight over the issue, while media experts were skeptical over the effectiveness of the changes. Insisting that Wednesday’s voting on the revision of the law governing the broadcasting industry is invalid, the Democratic Party began efforts yesterday to collect photographic and video evidence to back their arguments that some Grand Nationals cast electronic ballots multiple times on behalf of their fellow lawmakers. The Democrats also planned to hold street rallies with other opposition parties and civic groups tomorrow.
Yonhap (“CONVICTED RULING PARTY, INDEPENDENT LAWMAKERS LOSE SEATS”, 2009/07/23) reported that a ruling party lawmaker and an independent lawmaker lost their seats in the National Assembly on Thursday after the Supreme Court convicted them of violating election law. The highest court found Rep. Hong Jang-pyo of the ruling Grand National Party guilty of spreading false information about the wealth of a rival candidate during the general election campaign in March 2008. The court also found Choi Wook-cheul, an independent, guilty of providing free and discounted accomodations, as well as other benefits worth some 8.3 million won (US$6,600), to residents in his electoral district in Gangnung on the east coast in 2007. Hong and Choi were fined 5 million and 3 million won, respectively. A jail term or a fine of over 1 million won, if confirmed by the Supreme Court, results in the nullification of parliamentary seats.
Yonhap (“POLITICAL FEUD DEEPENS AFTER MEDIA LAW REVISIONS”, Seoul, 2009/07/23) reported that the main opposition party on Thursday vowed to nullify standing legislation and oust the deputy Assembly speaker as a political feud deepened over media law revisions railroaded by the ruling party a day ago. Rep. Choi Moon-soon of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), a former head of local broadcaster MBC, submitted his resignation on Thursday, saying he was taking responsibility for failing to protect the freedom of the press. The DP’s top leader, Chung Sye-kyun, had already said he will quit should his party fail to block the bills. The opposition says there were at least six illegitimate votes cast, enough to nullify the passage of the Broadcast Law revision if recognized by the court.
9. US-Japan Relations
Associated Press (Foster Klug, “AMBASSADOR NOMINEE: JAPAN ALLIANCE TO STAY STRONG”, Washington, 2009/07/23) reported that President Barack Obama ‘s nominee for chief U.S. diplomat to Japan sought Thursday to ease lawmakers’ worries that a win by Japan’s opposition party in next month’s crucial elections could signal a weakening in ties with the top American ally in Asia. John Roos, a lawyer and Obama campaign fundraiser, said during his Senate confirmation hearing that there will be no fundamental change to the alliance, even if the opposition Democratic Party of Japan win in Aug. 30 elections. Roos also said that he would focus as ambassador on opening up economic markets and “leveling the playing field” for American companies looking to do business with the world’s second largest economy.
10. USFJ Base Relocation
Agence-France Presse (“US COMMANDER IN JAPAN SAYS BASE MOVES MUST HAPPEN”, Tokyo, 2009/07/23) reported that the commander of US forces in Japan said Thursday a plan for the realignment of its bases there must be completed, speaking weeks before a crucial national election. Lieutenant General Edward A. Rice said the deal, which includes moving some 8,000 Marines from Okinawa island to the US territory of Guam, “is the right agreement for Japan and the people of the United States.” The plan has been controversial, in part because Japan would pay billions of dollars for the move, and because US forces would open new facilities on the island, including a base in a pristine wildlife area.
11. Japan SDF Anti-Piracy Operations
Kyodo (“JAPAN TO BEGIN ANTIPIRACY OPERATIONS UNDER NEW LAW FROM WED.”, Tokyo, 2009/07/24) reported that Japan’s Self-Defense Forces will begin antipiracy operations off Somalia around next Wednesday under a new law that took effect Friday. The legal basis for Maritime Self-Defense Force operations will be switched from the maritime police action provision of the SDF Law to the new antipiracy law, which was enacted on June 19. Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told a press conference the SDF will be able to ”tackle piracy more appropriately and efficiently,” and expected that the Japanese forces will continue to cooperate with counterparts from other countries in implementing their mission.
12. Japan Environment
Bloomberg (Mathew Carr and Radoslav Tomek, “JAPAN DENIES BUYING ‘HOT AIR’ TO MEET KYOTO TARGET”, 2009/07/23) reported that Japan is defending itself against criticism that it’s exploiting a surplus of Kyoto assigned credits and using “hot air” to meet emission targets. The Japanese government and its largest companies plan to buy more than 350 million tons of emission credits in the five years ending in 2012, said Keiji Hisata, an official in Tokyo’s Kyoto Mechanisms Office at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The purchases, required because Japan will exceed its target under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, may include units assigned to other countries under that pact, he said.
13. Japan Politics
Agence-France Presse (“JAPAN OPPOSITION SURGES IN POLL AHEAD OF ELECTION”, Tokyo, 2009/07/23) reported that Japan ‘s main opposition has a 10-point lead over the ruling party , a poll showed Thursday — the first snapshot of voter sentiment since Prime Minister Taro Aso dissolved parliament this week. The opposition Democratic Party of Japan’s approval rating rose to 40 percent, up three points from earlier in the month, the Nikkei newspaper said. Opposition leader Yukio Hatoyama was regarded as the man most qualified to become the next prime minister among 28 percent of Nikkei poll participants, while only nine percent said the same of Aso. However, 57 percent of survey respondents said neither Aso nor Hatoyama was suited to become the next premier.
Kyodo News (“DPJ TO ZERO IN ON WASTEFUL GOV’T PROJECTS, ABOLISH KEY POLICY PANEL “, 2009/07/23) reported that a government led by the Democratic Party of Japan would consolidate policymaking powers around the prime minister by setting up a national strategy bureau under him to oversee budget compilations and foreign policies, while creating a new body to scrap wasteful government projects, party sources said. The strategy bureau, which would consist of government officials and private-sector experts handpicked by the prime minister, would replace the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, currently the government’s key panel making medium- to long-term fiscal policies, the sources said.
14. US-PRC Relations
Agence-France Presse (Olivier Knox, “OBAMA CHINA PICK VOWS CLEAR-EYED APPROACH”, Washington, 2009/07/23) reported that US President Barack Obama ‘s nominee to be ambassador to the PRC promised Thursday to bring a “hard-headed realist” approach to relations and said he felt personally invested in the fate of Taiwan . Utah Governor Jon Huntsman , who is fluent in Mandarin and Taiwanese, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the sometimes difficult 30-year diplomatic relationship was in “an exceptionally exciting time.” “But I also am a hard-headed realist about what it’s going to take to manage this relationship or being part of that team in circumnavigating the challenges ahead,” said Huntsman. The governor said he would work to improve PRC-US economic and military relations and bolster cooperation on issues like climate change and the DPRK .
15. Sino-US Environmental Cooperation
Associated Press (Foster Klug, “REPORT: US, CHINA MUST IMPROVE CLIMATE COOPERATION”, Washington, 2009/07/23) reported that the United States and PRC should use high-level meetings between the two countries next week to negotiate improved cooperation on curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, says a new report by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The report, released Thursday, says new efforts to address emissions by the United States and PRC, the world’s largest emitters of climate-altering pollution, could be “the key to a global solution” to climate change . The report calls on the countries to raise climate change to the highest level, and warns that winning a climate change policy agreement with fixed commitments from the PRC will “prove extraordinarily difficult.”
16. PRC Climate Change
Agence France-Presse (Dan Martin, “UN’s BAN URGES CHINA TO STEP UP ON CLIMATE CHANGE”, Beijing, 2009/07/24) reported that UN chief Ban Ki-moon called on the PRC Friday to exercise greater leadership in world efforts to curb climate change. “Without China there can be no success this year on a new global climate framework deal,” Ban said during a speech to launch a programme promoting environmentally friendly lighting in China . “But with China there is an enormous potential for the world to seal a deal in Copenhagen.”
17. PRC Diplomacy
Xinhua News (“CHINA TAKES ACTIVE PART IN MULTILATERAL DIPLOMACY, SAYS ENVOY “, 2009/07/23) reported that w ith increasing participation into the international affairs, the PRC’s multilateral diplomacy has become more mature, a PRC envoy said. “We have played increasingly growing role in the international arena in the past many years,” Zhang Yesui, the PRC’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said in an interview with Xinhua. Zhang said the PRC had made active and constructive participation in promoting the settlement of international issues such as Korean Peninsula disarmament discussions, Iran, Myanmar, Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur. The PRC also takes part in many international responsibilities by joining in more than 130 government-to-government organizations and more than 300 multilateral treaties, he said.
18. PRC Military
Associated Press (Tini Tran, “CHINA’S MILITARY TO LAUNCH OFFICIAL WEB SITE”, Beijing, 2009/07/23) reported that the PRC’s Defense Ministry will launch its first official Web site next month in what state media said Thursday was an effort by the secretive military to be more transparent. The Web site — in English and Chinese — will run on a trial basis starting Aug. 1, which marks the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army , the official China Daily said. Its editors say they hope to make it as informative as the U.S. Defense Department’s Web site, the newspaper reported.The Web site appears aimed at reassuring Asian and Western nations that the PLA is becoming more accessible to the outside world, experts told the China Daily.The site will “cover a large amount of information,” featuring regular activities and background of the PRC military.
19. PRC Economy
Associated Press (“CHINA’S LEADERS SEEK ECONOMIC STABILITY”, Beijing, 2009/07/23) reported that the PR C ‘s powerful Politburo said Thursday that economic stability and the success of a $586 billion stimulus package are top priorities ahead of the 60th anniversary of Communist rule in October. The leadership hopes to prevent unrest that could undermine the festivities or the image it hopes to project of a ruling party firmly in control. A stable economy is seen as key to those efforts.
Agence-France Presse (“US TO WARN CHINA AGAINST EXPORT-LED GROWTH”, Washington, 2009/07/23) reported that the United States will press the PRC in high-level talks next week to reduce its dependence on exports as a source of economic growth, US officials said Thursday. The US will tell top-level PRC officials at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington that the role of consumption as a major driver of the US economy is diminishing. “There’s been a fundamental change in the US economy,” a senior administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity at a briefing on the two-day talks to open Monday. The US economy will recover, the official said, but the recovery “is going to be a different type of recovery.”
20. PRC Space Program
Reuters (“CHINA DELAYS LAUNCH OF FIRST SPACE TELESCOPE TO 2012”, Beijing, 2009/07/23) reported that the PRC has delayed the launch of its first space telescope, designed to detect black holes, by two years to 2012 for cost reasons, the Xinhua news agency said on Thursday. The PRC has staked a good deal of national pride in its space program, which gained prominence when it put its first “taikonauts” in orbit in 2003. The 1 billion yuan ($146.4 million) telescope launch had been scheduled for 2010, but it was postponed for two years due to financial problems, Li Tipei, an academic with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the chief scientist of the program, told Xinhua without elaborating.
II. PRC Report
21. Sino-Russian Relations
Xinhua News Agency (“CHINESE STUDENTS FROM QUAKE-HIT AREAS FLY TO RUSSIA FOR REHABILITATION”, 2009/07/23) reported that a total of 550 children from southwest China’s earthquake zone flew to Russia’s Far East Thursday for a three-week rehabilitation program at the invitation of the Russian government. The children will study Russian, and learn songs, dances and handcrafts and meet Russian children.
22. PRC Environment
Xinhua Net (“CHINA EXPECTS MORE COOPERATION WITH WORLD WATER COUNCIL”, 2009/07/23) reported that China is ready to increase cooperation with the World Water Council (WWC) to jointly cope with water-resource challenges, said Vice Premier Hui Liangyu in Beijing on Wednesday. Applauding the WWC’s contribution to establishing the World Water Forum and solving world water issues, Hui hoped the cooperation between China and the WWC would be more comprehensive.