NAPSNet Daily Report 24 May, 2010

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 24 May, 2010", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 24, 2010,

NAPSNet Daily Report 24 May, 2010

Contents in this Issue:

Preceding NAPSNet Report


I. Napsnet

1. ROK Response to Naval Ship Sinking

Associated Press (Jean H. Lee, “LEE: NKOREA MUST PAY FOR TORPEDO ATTACK ON WARSHIP”, Seoul, 2010/05/24) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak said Monday his nation will no longer tolerate the DPRK’s “brutality” and that the regime would pay for the sinking of the Cheonan. Lee vowed to take Pyongyang to the U.N. Security Council and said Seoul would cut all trade with the regime. Lee, addressing the nation from the War Memorial , called it a “military provocation” that was part of an “incessant” pattern of attacks by the DPRK, including the downing of an airliner in 1987. “We have always tolerated North Korea’s brutality, time and again. We did so because we have always had a genuine longing for peace on the Korean peninsula ,” Lee said. “But now things are different. North Korea will pay a price corresponding to its provocative acts,” he said. “I will continue to take stern measures to hold the North accountable.”

Washington Post (John Pomfret, “SOUTH KOREA TO HALT ALL TRADE WITH NORTH KOREA OVER SINKING OF CHEONAN WARSHIP”, Beijing, 2010/05/24) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak said Monday that his country is stopping all trade and most investment with the DPRK. Lee then said that “no North Korean ship will be allowed to make passage through any of the shipping lanes in the waters under our control” and that “any inter-Korean trade or other cooperative activity is meaningless.”

Korea Herald (Shin Hae-in, “ASSEMBLY PANEL MEETS ON CHEONAN”, Seoul, 2010/05/24) reported that the first meeting of a National Assembly special committee established earlier this month to independently probe the government’s investigation into the Cheonan sinking was held Monday. “We must not overlook the government’s responsibility in failing to prevent the tragedy,” said Rep. Hong Young-pyo of the Democratic Party. “We plan to demand the president’s official apology as well as resignation, and punishment of government and military officials who were in charge.” Legislators of the ruling Grand National Party said the priority was to come up with coordinated measures in response to Pyongyang’s provocative action. “An internal split is the last thing the nation needs,” said Rep. Kim Young-woo of the ruling party. “Parties must cooperate in coming up with united measures to rightfully punish North Korea.” Hwang Jin-ha, another GNP lawmaker, said his party will strive to “prove to the nation” that the government’s investigations were conducted “objectively and scientifically.”

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2. DPRK on ROK Naval Ship Sinking

Chosun Ilbo (“PYONGYANG CITES FORGOTTEN INTER-KOREAN AGREEMENT FOR DEMANDS”, Seoul, 2010/05/24) reported that DPRK defense minister Kim Yong-chun said the 1992 Basic Agreement between the two Koreas obliges the ROK to “unconditionally allow an inspection group” from the DPRK’s National Defense Commission to look into the accusations that Pyongyang sank the Cheonan. Kim said in a statement sent to Seoul, “There is no reason for the South not to allow in our inspectors if the findings of its probe are objective and scientific. It is also justified based on Chapter 2 Article 10 of the Basic Agreement and Chapter 2 Article 8 of the Annex.” “Blowing up the Cheonan itself was a clear violation of Article 5 of the Basic Agreement stipulating observance of the Armistice Agreement and Article 9 on the non-use of arms,” an ROK Unification Ministry official said. “They’ve now turned on us even though they were in the wrong. It’s like a thief calling stop thief.”

Korea Herald (“PYONGYANG SHUNS U.S. FOR SUPPORTING SEOUL”, Seoul, 2010/05/22) reported that the DPRK on Friday denounced the U.S. for trying to derail international efforts to revive the six-party nuclear talks by blaming Pyongyang for the sinking of the Cheonan. “As (we have) already clarified, (we) have nothing to do with the case,” a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry said, according to the Korean Central News Agency. “The fabrication of the case and the ‘results of the investigation into it’ are, in the final analysis, nothing but a farce orchestrated by the group of traitors with the approval of the U.S. and under its patronage,” the spokesman said. “This indicates that the U.S. is invariably pursuing a hostile policy towards the DPRK to isolate and stifle it.”

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3. US on Naval Ship Sinking

Associated Press (Matthew Lee, “CLINTON: KOREAS SECURITY SITUATION ‘PRECARIOUS'”, Beijing, 2010/05/24) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that the sinking of the Cheonan has created a “highly precarious” security situation in the region. Clinton said all of the DPRK’s neighbors, including the PRC, understand the seriousness of the matter and want to “contain” it. She says she’s in consultations with the PRC and other nations about the next step. “We are working hard to avoid an escalation of belligerence and provocation,” Clinton said. She said the DPRK must get the message that “we are not simply resuming business as usual.”

Chosun Ilbo (“U.S. CONTEMPLATES SEPARATE SANCTIONS AGAINST N.KOREA “, Washington, 2010/05/24) reported that the United States is reviewing sanctions against the DPRK over the sinking of the Cheonan. A diplomatic source in Washington said Sunday, “The U.S. regards North Korea’s attack on the Cheonan as a violation of international law and aggression against an ally, so apart from a joint response with South Korea, Washington is considering taking sanctions on its own.” The U.S. is apparently minded to freeze again the DPRK’s accounts in the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia, which were first locked in 2005. It is also likely to add more DPRK firms and businesspeople to a sanction list, such as a state-run trade company that has been trading weapons with foreign countries despite UN Security Council Resolution 1874.

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4. PRC on ROK Naval Ship Sinking

Joongang Ilbo (Kang Chan-ho, “DIPLOMATS SAY CHINA AGAINST UN SANCTIONS”, Seoul, 2010/05/22) reported that even before the DPRK was identified as the culprit behind the sinking of the Cheonan, the PRC had taken a stand against discussing the matter at the United Nations Security Council, diplomatic sources said Friday. According to one source, PRC diplomats based in Seoul have been telling diplomats from other countries that taking the Cheonan case to the Security Council was “not a good idea” because it could “upset” the DPRK. One foreign diplomat in Seoul said, “Whenever the Cheonan came up during the conversation with the Chinese, the first thing they’d always say, without exception, was that the peace and security on the Korean Peninsula must be ensured.”

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5. Japan on Naval Ship Sinking

Kyodo (“HATOYAMA INSTRUCTS MINISTERS TO CONSIDER MORE SANCTIONS ON N. KOREA “, Tokyo, 2010/05/24) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama instructed Cabinet ministers Monday to consider additional sanctions on the DPRK in the wake of the torpedoing of the Cheonan, the Japanese government said. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano, meanwhile, said Japan will also support the ROK in referring the incident to the U.N. Security Council. The Japanese government held a high-level security meeting Monday, at which Hatoyama and key Cabinet ministers discussed possible responses.

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6. ROK Public on Naval Ship Sinking

Dong-A Ilbo (“72 PCT. SAY NK CAUSED CHEONAN SINKING”, Seoul, 2010/05/22) reported that the Dong-A Ilbo commissioned the Korea Research Center to survey 700 adults. According to the survey, 72 percent said the Cheonan incident was caused by the DPRK as announced by the investigation team. Only 21.3 percent rejected the announcement. The number of respondents opposed to military countermeasures (59.3 percent) was double that supporting the idea (30.7 percent). Asked if the ROK should stop inter-Korean economic cooperation and close the Kaesong industrial complex, 46.1 percent said no and 42.8 percent said yes. On government sanctions on the DPRK via international cooperation such as referring the incident to the U.N. Security Council and imposing financial sanctions on Pyongyang, 75.9 percent were in favor and 15.2 percent opposed.

Korea Herald (Bae Hyun-jung, “POLICE CRACK DOWN ON CHEONAN RUMORS”, Seoul, 2010/05/24) reported that the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency vowed to lead an extensive investigation on false rumors concerning the Cheonan. “We will take the strictest measures against those who spread false rumors or defame the deceased soldiers or their families,” said SMPA chief Jo Hyun-oh on Monday in a meeting of senior police officials. Some of these acts constitute a serious crime against national security and public peace, said officials.

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7. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation

Chosun Ilbo (“KAESONG CLOSURE ‘WOULD COST $500 MILLION'”, Seoul, 2010/05/24) reported that it would cost about US$500 million to shut the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the ROK government estimates. A government official on Sunday said the estimate includes insurance payouts from the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Fund for ROK businesses operating at the industrial park. “Some 100 of 121 South Korean firms at the industrial park are insured with the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Fund,” a Unification Ministry official said. “The indemnity insurance will compensate for up to W7 billion (US$1=W1,199) or up to 90 percent of their investment.”

Dong-A Ilbo (“KAESONG COMPANIES TOLD TO KEEP STAFF TO MINIMUM”, Seoul, 2010/05/24) reported that an informed source on the DPRK said Sunday that a senior ROK Unification Ministry official asked an association of companies operating at the industrial complex in Kaesong to keep their permanent staff there to a minimum. Some 700 of 1,000 permanent ROK workers at the complex returned to the ROK last week for the extended Buddha’s Birthday weekend.

Korea Herald (“SEOUL LAUNCHES TEAM TO WATCH INTER-KOREAN PROJECTS”, Seoul, 2010/05/22) reported that the ROK set up a crisis management team Saturday to deal with future DPRK moves that may affect inter-Korean exchanges, a Unification Ministry official said. “The comprehensive response team will promptly report to the presidential office, the defense ministry and the foreign ministry” on DPRK moves and the state of the Kaesong factory complex, ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said.

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8. Inter-Korea Relations

Korea Herald (Shin Hae-in, “NORTH KOREA THREATENS TO FIRE AT LOUDSPEAKERS ON THE BORDER”, Seoul, 2010/05/24) reported that the DPRK said Monday it will fire at any ROK loudspeaker broadcasting propaganda along the Demilitarized Zone. Should new instruments be installed by the ROK military to resume psychological warfare, there will be “firing of direct sighting shots to destroy them,” the DPRK army said in commentary carried by the Korean Central News Agency.  Pyongyang also warned of “a stronger strike” if its “rightful measures” are challenged.

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9. DPRK Espionage

Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN ‘MATA HARI’ HELD”, Seoul, 2010/05/24) reported that the ROK has arrested a woman on charges of spying for the DPRK, the National Intelligence Service said Sunday. Kim Mi-hwa (36) allegedly obtained classified documents about the Seoul subway through a former Seoul Metro employee identified as Oh and reported the information to the DPRK. Prosecutors said that Kim crossed the Duman (or Tumen) River into the PRC in February 2006 and, disguising herself as a Korean Chinese, got a job at a hotel in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province. Running a small travel agency, she allegedly collected information about the ROK from Oh and others she met online.

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10. US-ROK Military Alliance

Chosun Ilbo (“S.KOREA, U.S. PLAN JOINT ANTI-SUBMARINE DRILL NEXT MONTH”, Seoul, 2010/05/21) reported that the ROK and the United States have agreed to carry out a massive anti-submarine training drill in the West Sea sometime next month, mobilizing a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. A senior government official on Thursday said the two allies “decided to hold a large-scale joint drill in June, much earlier than originally planned, to express our strong determination to take steps against North Korea.”

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11. USFJ Base Relocation

Reuters (Linda Sieg, “JAPAN PM POINTS TO NORTH KOREA TO EXPLAIN U.S. BASE PLAN”, Tokyo, 2010/05/24) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said on Monday tension on the Korean peninsula underlined the importance of U.S.-Japan ties and was key to his decision to keep a U.S. airbase on Okinawa . Apologizing for breaking his word, Hatoyama told Okinawa’s governor on Sunday he had concluded the Futenma base should be shifted to the Henoko area of the northern Okinawa city of Nago. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano on Monday held out hope that Okinawans could yet be persuaded to accept the deal. “There will be criticism of course. But if the actual burden is reduced, we will have achieved something for the Okinawan people,” Hirano said. “If people understand this was done for the sake of Japan’s security … this will be seen as progress.”

Asahi Shimbun (“CLINTON EYES VIABLE FUTENMA SOLUTION.”, Tokyo, 2010/05/22) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a stopover in Tokyo on Friday to discuss the Futenma base relocation. “We hope to set the broad direction (for resolving the relocation issue with Washington) and then work to gain the understanding of the Okinawa people,” Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada told a joint news conference after talks that lasted about one hour. Clinton stressed that both sides were working to reach “an arrangement that is operationally viable and politically sustainable.” “We have committed to redoubling our efforts to meet the (May 31) deadline, which has been announced by the Japanese government,” Clinton said, adding she was confident the two sides could resolve the issue. Clinton also met with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama who told her that he hoped to “strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance.”

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12. USFJ Base Relocation

Yomiuri Shimbun (“JAPAN, U.S. AGREE ON HENOKO RUNWAY PLAN”, Tokyo, 2010/05/24) reported that Japan and the United States have reached a basic agreement on a plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture by constructing a runway in a coastal area of the marines’ Camp Schwab in the Henoko district of Nago in the prefecture. The two governments arrived at the agreement in talks Saturday. The two governments will announce the agreement by month’s end in the form of a joint statement at talks of both countries’ foreign and defense ministers, known as the two-plus-two framework.

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13. Japanese Space Program

Asahi Shimbun (“VENUS CLIMATE ORBITER LAUNCHED”, Tanegashima, 2010/05/22) reported that the H-2A Launch Vehicle No. 17 carrying the Akatsuki Venus climate orbiter and other satellites lifted off without a hitch at 6:58 a.m. Friday from the Tanegashima Space Center. Akatsuki is expected to reach its orbit around Venus in December, where it will track the climate of the planet.