NAPSNet Daily Report 25 February, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. ROK on Six Party Talks
- 2. US on Six Party Talks
- 3. US, PRC on Six Party Talks
- 4. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 5. PRC Aid to the DPRK
- 6. DPRK Plane Interdiction
- 7. DPRK Defector Issue
- 8. DPRK Food Security
- 9. Inter-Korea Relations
- 10. ROK-US Defense Relations
- 11. ROK Role in Afghanistan
- 12. ROK-US Nuclear Cooperation
- 13. USFJ Base Relocation
- 14. Japan-Iran Nuclear Cooperation
- 15. Japan Nuclear Disarmament Conference
- 16. Japan Whaling Issue
- 17. Sino-US Relations
- 18. Sino-US Military Relations
- 19. PRC Civil Society
- 20. PRC Tibet Issue
- 21. PRC on Climate Change
- II. PRC Report
1. ROK on Six Party Talks
Yonhap News (“NO SIGN OF N. KOREA NUCLEAR TALKS IN SIGHT: S. KOREAN NEGOTIATOR “, 2010/02/24) reported that countries involved in six-nation talks on ending the DPRK’s nuclear weapons programs are struggling to resume the stalled negotiations, but there is no sign that the talks will resume in the near future, the ROK’s chief nuclear envoy said Wednesday after discussions with PRC officials. “We could not see any significant changes (to North Korea’s demands), but it was very useful to review current conditions with China and see where each of the countries currently stands on the resumption of the six-party talks,” an official said of a meeting between the ROK’s chief nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac and his former PRC counterpart Wu Dawei.
2. US on Six Party Talks
Bloomberg (“U.S. NEGOTIATOR ‘CONFIDENT’ TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA WILL RESUME”, 2010/02/24) reported that U.S. special envoy for the DPRK Stephen Bosworth said he is “confident” that six-nation talks on the country’s nuclear program will resume following discussions yesterday with his PRC counterpart.“I’m confident at some point we’ll have a resumption of talks,” Bosworth said in an interview late yesterday evening in Beijing. “I think the interests of all six countries converge to make that a very optimal outcome.” Bosworth met with Wu Dawei, his PRC counterpart, in Beijing yesterday.
Kyodo (“U.S. PREPARED TO RESUME NUKE TALKS IN ‘VERY NEAR FUTURE’: BOSWORTH”, Seoul, 2010/02/25) reported that U.S. special representative for DPRK policy Stephen Bosworth said after arriving in the ROK on Thursday that the United States is prepared to resume the stalled six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program ”in the very near future.” But a senior ROK official later told reporters that Bosworth’s remarks ”don’t seem to mean (the six-party talks) will be held soon, and seem to mean the United States’ basic position is that it is always ready to attend the talks.” ROK top nuclear negotiator Wi Sung Lac stated, ”What everyone is trying to do now is to find ways to resume the six-party talks, so I believe it is important for the countries to work together to make sure their efforts will lead to a positive outcome.”
3. US, PRC on Six Party Talks
Kyodo News (“U.S., CHINA APPROVE ATTEMPTS TO RESUME 6-PARTY TALKS SOON”, Beijing, 2010/02/24) reported that the United States and the PRC agreed Wednesday to boost diplomatic drives to resume the stalled six-party talks on the DPRK ‘s nuclear program “as soon as we can,” U.S. special envoy on the DPRK said. “I think everybody shares the view that it is important to get back to the negotiating table as soon as we can,” Stephen Bosworth told reporters . When asked whether the United States will hold bilateral talks with the DPRK to help resume the denuclearization process Bosworth said, “I think it would be premature to discuss specific options.”
4. Sino-DPRK Relations
Asahi Shimbun (“N. KOREA SQUIRMS AFTER CHINA RAPS TEST”, ) reported that Pyongyang’s recent change in attitude on the six-party talks and economic reforms followed an unexpectedly harsh reaction from the PRC over the DPRK’s nuclear test in May last year, diplomatic sources said. The Communist Party of China (CPC) told the DPRK to reform and open up its economy, end its hereditary succession of political power and abandon its nuclear development programs, according to party sources. “We had never seen such a strong reaction from China,” said a DPRK source in Beijing.
5. PRC Aid to the DPRK
Agence France Presse (“CHINA SENT 300,000 TONS OF FOOD TO N.KOREA LAST YEAR”, Seoul, 2010/02/24) reported that the PRC is believed to have provided about 300,000 tons of food to the DPRK last year to ease its chronic shortages, ROK officials said Wednesday. Unification Minister Hyun In-Taek gave the figure in a report to a closed session of a parliamentary committee, his office said, adding the food was provided either on credit or as aid. The ministry, which handles cross-border relations, gave no further details. The website of Chosun Ilbo newspaper estimated that 300,000 tons equals one month’s supply for the communist nation’s entire population of 24 million.
6. DPRK Plane Interdiction
Voice of America (Kurt Achin , “ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILES INTERCEPTED FROM NORTH KOREA ALARM SCIENTISTS”, 2010/02/24) reported that a group of American scientists is expressing alarm at a possible attempt by the DPRK to ship portable anti-aircraft missile systems abroad. The missiles were part of an airborne cargo intercepted by authorities in Thailand in December. The Federation of American Scientists, based in Washington, is urging more vigilance by the international community after the discovery. The U.S. group cites a report to the United Nations Security Council as saying the plane contained “five crates” of MANPADS, which stands for man-portable air defense system. “They’ve been used in 48 confirmed instances against civilian aircraft, which has resulted in 45 shoot-downs.” Matt Schroeder, the manager of the FAS Arms Sales Monitoring Project said.
7. DPRK Defector Issue
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA STEPS UP CRACKDOWN ON DEFECTORS “, 2010/02/24) reported that the DPRK has intensified a crackdown on defectors in the border area with the PRC amid growing economic difficulties caused by a disastrous currency reform, according to an activist group in the ROK. Good Friends said party headquarters decided on Jan. 27 to launch an intensive crackdown on defectors in towns in North Hamgyong Province bordering the PRC in February. The provincial party committee has been conducting the crackdown in collaboration with security agencies and border guards since Feb. 1, it said. Officials raid homes every night to check if all are present and correct, the organization said, and if anybody is missing, officials question the family where the person has gone and double-check the next day. If a family is larger than the family register indicates, family members must present themselves at a regional security office for questioning.
8. DPRK Food Security
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (“DPRK REOPENS MARKETS, AUTHORIZES FOOD SALES “, 2010/02/24) reported that suffering from severe food shortages, DPRK authorities ordered that markets be opened unconditionally, and that there be absolutely no crack-down on the sale of foodstuffs within the markets. This is according to a report issued on February 18 by the DPRK human rights organization ‘Good Friends’. Good Friends’ newsletter revealed, “After examining a report on food shortages and the conditions of residents in each region throughout the country by the Office of Economic Policy Review, the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party issued an ‘Order for Absolutely No Regulation Regarding Foodstuffs’ to each law enforcement office.” The order stated that until central distribution is running smoothly, all markets are to be reopened as they were prior to recent government crack-downs, and that under no circumstances were authorities to try to regulate food sales.
9. Inter-Korea Relations
Yonhap News (“KOREAN SUMMIT NEEDED EVEN IF NO NUCLEAR BREAKTHROUGH GUARANTEED: FORMER MINISTER “, 2010/02/24) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak should press for a summit with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il even if such a meeting is unlikely to produce a breakthrough in the standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear programs, a former unification minister said Wednesday. Lee Jong-seok, who served under then-President Roh Moo-hyun in 2006, said a summit is the “most effective way” to build trust between the countries whose relations have limped along over the past two years. But the former minister said that the DPRK’s leader is not likely to promise to give up his country’s nuclear programs in a summit with the ROK because Pyongyang believes the issue should mainly be discussed with the U.S.
JoongAng Ilbo (“MINISTRY TO PREREGISTER KAESONG VISITORS”, 2010/02/24) reported that in a move designed to ensure more transparency in cross-border trips, the Unification Ministry in Seoul announced it would set up a preregistration system for ROK citizens who wish to travel north of the border to the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Under the system, which will take effect March 2, employees and officials of ROK companies operating in Kaesong will have to submit a proof of employment letter or other documents showing they work for a Kaesong-based company.
10. ROK-US Defense Relations
Xinhua News Agency (“S. KOREAN DM WANTS TO STAY UNDER US SECURITY UMBRELLA “, 2010/02/24) reported that the ROK’s Defense Minister said Wednesday he hopes the U.S. security umbrella would remain intact for long, as the date for the planned transfer of wartime operational control from the United States back to the ROK slowly approaches amid worries over ensuring security on the Korean peninsula, local media reported. “As nuclear and missile threats from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea persist, I am not unlike others in hoping that the current system where the U.S. forces are in control (of the security on the Korean peninsula) would remain in place for long,” Seoul’s defense chief Kim Tae-young was quoted as saying in a speech. Kim’s comment is the latest in a series of similar remarks on the transfer of wartime operational command scheduled to take place in April 2012, which he previously said would be the worst- case scenario for the ROK military.
11. ROK Role in Afghanistan
Asssociated Press (“SKOREA ENDORSES SENDING TROOPS BACK TO AFGHANISTAN”, Seoul, 2010/02/25) reported that the ROK National Assembly approved Thursday a government proposal to send 350 troops to protect ROK civilian aid workers in Afghanistan. The troops will be deployed in central Parwan province from this July to the end of 2012.
12. ROK-US Nuclear Cooperation
Yonhap News (“S. KOREAN GOV’T TO GIVE FULL SUPPORT TO IDAHO NUCLEAR PROGRAM: OFFICIAL “, Seoul, 2010/02/24) reported that the ROK’s knowledge economy minister pledged full support for a proposed nuclear construction program in the U.S. state of Idaho pursued by a ROK power company, official sources said Wednesday. Choi Kyung-hwan sent a letter to Idaho Gov. Clement L. Otter earlier in the month to express Seoul’s interest in ongoing talks between the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) and Alternate Energy Holdings Inc. (AEHI), the sources said.
13. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“LOCAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS REQUEST SEEKING U.S. BASE MOVE OUTSIDE OKINAWA”, 2010/02/24) reported that Okinawa prefectural assembly members voted unanimously to adopt a written request Wednesday urging the central government to relocate the U.S. Marines’ Futemma Air Station outside the southernmost prefecture. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said the adoption serves as the latest expression of the popular will in Okinawa, while stressing there is no change in his government’s policy to come to a final conclusion on the relocation issue by the end of May.
14. Japan-Iran Nuclear Cooperation
Agence France Presse (“JAPAN OFFERS TO ENRICH URANIUM FOR IRAN: REPORT”, Tokyo, 2010/02/24) reported that Japan has offered to enrich uranium for Iran to allow the Islamic republic access to nuclear power while allaying international fears it might be seeking an atomic weapon, according to a report Wednesday. Tehran has not yet given a concrete response to the US-backed proposal, which was made when Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili visited Tokyo in December. Okada told his guest that “Japan strongly hopes Iran’s nuclear issue will be resolved peacefully and diplomatically … and that Iran considers a related UN Security Council resolution seriously”, a foreign ministry spokesman said.
15. Japan Nuclear Disarmament Conference
Global Security Newswire (“JAPAN CALLS FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT CONFERENCE”, 2010/02/24) reported that Japan is looking to organize a major nuclear disarmament conference later this year. Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada suggested the event would occur after June, following the Obama administration’s Global Nuclear Security Summit in April and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference in May. This year is crucial for promoting the goal of a “nuclear-free world” and requires international talks on the matter, he said.
16. Japan Whaling Issue
Agence France Presse (Kyoko Hasegawa , “WHALING PLAN WOULD OK HUNTS BUT SEEK FEWER KILLS”, Tokyo, 2010/02/24) reported that the global body that regulates whaling has proposed giving the green light to Japan to keep hunting the sea mammals in return for reducing the number of animals killed. Greenpeace and the World Wide Fund for Nature harshly condemned the draft plan which aims to unlock stalled talks when the 85-nation International Whaling Commission (IWC) meets next month in Florida. While Greenpeace called it “a dangerous throwback to the 20th century when whales were hunted to near extinction”, the WWF said it “could legitimise ‘scientific’ whaling by Japan in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary”.
17. Sino-US Relations
Agence France Presse (Susan Stumme , “CHINA URGES US TO ‘UNDO DAMAGE DONE’ BY DALAI MEET”, Beijing, 2010/02/24) reported that the PRC demanded the United States “undo the damage done” by a meeting between President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama, while lashing out anew over US arms sales to Taiwan. “China demands that the US side seriously regard China’s position and take credible measures to undo the damage done,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.
18. Sino-US Military Relations
Agence France Presse (“CHINA POSTPONES SOME MILITARY EXCHANGES WITH US: PENTAGON”, Washington, 2010/02/24) reported that the PRC has postponed at least three high-level exchanges with the US military after Washington approved an arms package for Taiwan last month, a Pentagon spokesman said on Wednesday. But Beijing has yet to cut off all military ties with the United States as it has previously over arms sales to Taiwan and other disputes. The PRC “has postponed planned exchanges such as their chief of the general staff’s visit to the United States, the commander of US Pacific Command’s visit to China, and a visit to the US by one of China’s military region commanders,” Major Maureen Schumann told AFP.
Voice of America (“CHINA VOWS SANCTIONS AGAINST U.S. COMPANIES WILL GO FORWARD”, 2010/02/24) reported that the rift between the PRC and the United States looks far from healing as Beijing reiterates its plan to punish U.S. companies following disagreements between the two countries. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang reaffirmed punitive sanctions against American companies would go ahead, because of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. Qin says that the PRC demands that the U.S. seriously regard the PRC’s position and take credible measures to undo the damage done. And, he says, sanctions against U.S. companies will go ahead. Qin refused, however, to say when sanctions would come into effect.
19. PRC Civil Society
EarthTimes (“HONG KONG OXFAM MYSTIFIED BY CHINA’S ACCUSATION OF INFILTRATION “, 2010/02/24) reported that the Hong Kong director of a British charity said Wednesday he was mystified as to why Beijing’s Ministry of Education purportedly labelled Oxfam as “ill-intentioned” and politically involved. Oxfam Hong Kong director-general John Sayer was speaking on the radio station of government broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong in response to the notice posted at PRC universities warning students not to get involved with the organization.
20. PRC Tibet Issue
Real Time Traders News (“‘I DO NOT SEEK SEPARATION FROM CHINA’: DALAI LAMA “, 2010/02/24) reported that the Dalai Lama reiterated he did not seek separation of his country from the PRC but only religious and environment freedom for his people. “We do not want separation from China because Tibet is a land-locked country that needs material benefits. Every Tibetan wants modernization of his homeland. So for this reason, we want to remain with China,” he said.
21. PRC on Climate Change
Agence France Presse (“CHINA’S HU SAYS TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE ‘URGENT'”, Beijing, 2010/02/24) reported that PRC President Hu Jintao has said the country must urgently confront climate change and make it a central part of the government’s development strategy, state media said Wednesday. Hu, addressing a Communist Party politburo “study meeting” said the PRC was committed to fighting climate change, and should boost environmental awareness among the population at large, the China Daily reported.
Reuters (Chris Buckley, “CHINA ENVOY SAYS DEEP DIVIDES THREATEN CLIMATE TALKS”, Beijing, 2010/02/24) reported that Rich and developing countries have little hope of overcoming key disagreements over how to fight global warming, the PRC’s climate change ambassador said on Wednesday, warning of a year of troubled negotiations. The PRC’s Special Representative for Climate Change Negotiations, Yu Qingtai, said as nations seek a new global treaty on climate change by the end of 2010, major players are unlikely to budge on the issues that stymied stronger agreement at the contentious Copenhagen climate summit in late 2009. “There may be some adjustments and shifts in the positions and tactics of the various sides, but I personally believe that on some core issues, the positions of the major parties will not undergo any substantive changes,” Yu said.
II. PRC Report
22. PRC Food Security
China News Net (“CHINA STABILIZES GRAIN YIELD OVER 500 BILLION KILOS”, 2010/02/24) reported that according to website of Ministry of Agriculture today, the PRC will stabilize grain yield over 500 billion kilos by all possible means in 2010, and ensure the grain-sown area over 800 million acres.
23. PRC Civil Society
Zhongnan online (“MINISTRY OF EDUCATION ESTABLISHES SOCIAL ORGANIZATION WORK LEADING GROUP”, 2010/02/24) reported that in order to further enhancing management of social organization, Ministry of Education decided to establish Social Organization Work Leading Group. It main responsibilities are to coordinate social organization management, to research and make development strategy, and to discuss other imported issues of social organization in Ministry of Education.
Hangzhou Daily (“HANGZHOU ESTABLISHES SERVICE CENTER TO HELP GRASSROOT ORGANIZATION”, 2010/02/24) reported that Hangzhou Youth Social Organization Service Center was formally established recently in Hangzhou city of Zhejiang province. The Center is co-sponsored by Hangzhou Volunteer’s Work Leading Center and Hangzhou Volunteers Association, and will provide services to all social organizations in Hangzhou.