NAPSNet Daily Report 25 March, 2009

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 25 March, 2009", NAPSNet Daily Report, March 25, 2009,

NAPSNet Daily Report 25 March, 2009

Contents in this Issue:

Preceding NAPSNet Report


I. Napsnet

1. US on DPRK Missile Program

Yonhap (“U.S. SEES N. KOREAN MISSILE THREAT AS NEGOTIATING TACTIC: COMMANDER”, 2009/03/25) reported that the DPRK has been upping the ante in future rounds of multilateral nuclear talks with threats to launch a rocket and other provocative actions against the U.S. and its allies, Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of the U.S. forces in Korea said Tuesday. “North Korea’s most recent provocative actions are all an attempt to ensure the regime’s survival and improve its bargaining position at international negotiations to gain concessions,” Sharp said in a House Armed Services Committee hearing. Sharp said the command will “continue to be concerned with the threat posed by North Korea’s large conventional military, artillery, ballistic missiles, and special operating forces, all that are located very near the North-South Korean border.”

(return to top)

2. ROK, PRC on DPRK Missile Program

Yonhap (Sam Kim, “CHINESE MILITARY CHIEF IN SEOUL AMID TENSION OVER N. KOREAN ROCKET”, Seoul, 2009/03/25) reported that General Chen Bingde, Chief of Staff of the PRC People’s Liberation Army,  met with his ROK counterpart in Seoul on Wednesday. “We plan to relay to the Chinese delegation our demand that North Korea heed international warnings and halt its preparations for the launch,” an ROK defense official said. “China is the closest country to North Korea. Its comments carry weight, and we hope it can more actively pressure Pyongyang,” the official said. Wi Sung-lac, the ROK’s chief nuclear envoy, said that he met with PRC Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei to mainly discuss “measures before and after North Korea fires a missile.”

(return to top)

3. EU on DPRK Missile Program

Yonhap (“EU SAYS N. KOREAN ROCKET LAUNCH VIOLATES UN RESOLUTION”, 2009/03/25) reported that the European Union warned the DPRK that its planned rocket launch in early April “would be seen” as a violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution, the Czech Republic said Tuesday. The message was delivered during a trip to Pyongyang by an EU Troika delegation earlier this week that met with the DPRK’s Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun. “The EU delegation emphasized to the DPRK authorities that their announced ‘experimental satellite launch’ would be seen as a breach of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718, and it will send a wrong signal to the international community,” the Czech government said in a press release.

(return to top)

4. DPRK Detention of Journalists

BBC (“N KOREA TREATS JOURNALISTS ‘WELL'”, Washington, 2009/03/25) reported that the United States says it has received assurances from the DPRK that two American journalists who were detained there last week will be treated well. US government spokesman Robert Wood stated, “We have formally requested, through our protecting power in Pyongyang, the Swedish embassy, that the Swedish government be provided with consular access to these two Americans.”

(return to top)

5. US Policy Toward DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (“U.S. STATE DEPT. LACKING N. KOREAN ‘CONTROL TOWER’ “, Seoul, 2009/03/25) reported that the U.S. administration has not yet lined up its DPRK specialists within the State Department, leading in the view of some critics to delays in dealing with the DPRK’s impending rocket launch and detention of two American reporters. Robert Einhorn, a senior adviser in the Center for Strategic and International Studies, had been expected to become the next U.S. undersecretary for arms reduction and non-proliferation. But he has suddenly declined to accept the offer. Ellen Tauscher, a seventh-term Democrat member of the House of Representatives, has been nominated in his place. Kurt Campbell, a former deputy assistant secretary, has not yet been nominated as assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific Affairs.

(return to top)

6. US Food Aid for DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (“U.S. KEEPING TABS ON 90,000 N. KOREANS”, Seoul, 2009/03/25) reported that the United States has secured private data of about 90,000 DPRK citizens through food aid agencies and has used them in the process of monitoring distribution of food aid, it emerged Tuesday. An ROK government official said, “North Korea responded sensitively to the activities by American food distribution monitors who can speak Korean. We understand that they have an unimaginable amount of data of North Koreans.” In addition to monitoring the distribution of the food aid, American officials reportedly tried to find out whether those who had returned after fleeing the DPRK in the early 2000s were still alive and whether there were any changes in the DPRK family structure.

(return to top)

7. DPRK Defectors

Korea Times (Kim Sue-young , “N. KOREAN DEFECTORS EARN LESS THAT W1 MIL. PER MONTH”, Seoul, 2009/03/24) reported that DPRK defectors in the ROK earn less than one million won on average per month, according to a survey released by the Ministry of Unification Tuesday. More than 60 percent of 361 defectors interviewed are not satisfied with their income. The poll conducted last November found that 179 of respondents have a job and their unemployment rate stood at 9.5 percent, more than twice than that of ROK citizens.

(return to top)

8. ROK-Indonesian Military Relations

Yonhap (“INDONESIAN NAVY CHIEF IN S. KOREA FOR WEAPONS, TRAINING COOPERATION”, Seoul, 2009/03/25) reported that Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno, Indonesia’s Navy Chief of Staff, arrived here Wednesday on invitation by his ROK counterpart Jung Ok-keun, the Navy said in a statement. The two met at the Jinhae naval base to discuss mutual security issues and ways to boost cooperation in weapons systems, the statement said, adding Tedjo Edhy will also tour RPL manufacturers of naval weapons during the trip. “The visit is part of routine exchanges between the countries, who have increased their cooperation in naval training over the years,” a Navy officer said.

(return to top)

9. ROK Military

Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “KOREA DEVELOPS HOMEMADE STEALTH TECHNOLOGY”, Seoul, 2009/03/24) reported that has developed five types of indigenous radar-evading stealth materials that will be applicable for its warship and aircraft programs beginning this year, the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) said Tuesday. According to the ADD, the homemade stealth technology has satisfied about 70 percent of operational requirements of the country’s military. “The indigenous stealth technology has been proven quite effective,” Lee Hyo-jong, chief researcher of the ADD, said, adding the development began in 1999 with an investment of some 9.1 billion won ($6 million).

(return to top)

10. ROK Climate Change

Korea Times (Yoon Ja-young, “GLOBAL WARMING REDUCES APPLE CULTIVATION”, Seoul, 2009/03/24) reported that according to the National Statistical Office (NSO), global warming has changed the ROK’s agricultural and fishery production. The Korean peninsula had an average temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius over the last 100 years, while the global average temperature rose by just 0.74 degrees. Apple cultivation, which amounted to 43,650 hectares in 1996, contracted to 29,204 ha in 2007, as many of the apple orchards in the south of the country came to halt. “As frost damage is decreasing, peach cultivation is expanding,” a spokesperson at the statistical office explained. Tangerine, a subtropical fruit, which used to be cultivated only on Jeju Island, meanwhile, is now growing in South Jeolla Province and South Gyeongsang Province.

(return to top)

11. ROK Demographics

Yonhap (“NUMBER OF S. KOREA’S NEWBORNS DECLINES IN JAN.”, Seoul, 2009/03/25) reported that the number of babies born in the ROK fell in January from a year earlier. According to the report by the National Statistical Office, the number of newborns totaled 44,100 in January, down 5.6 percent from a year earlier. The birth rate has been declining since March 2008 as people tend to delay weddings and have fewer babies if they get married amid a protracted economic downturn, experts said.

(return to top)

12. Japanese Politics

BBC (“JAPAN’S OZAWA STAYS AMID SCANDAL”, Tokyo, 2009/03/24) reported that Japanese opposition leader Ichiro Ozawa has said he will stay in his post despite a close aide being charged over a fundraising scandal. At a news conference, he said his ultimate goal was to achieve a change in government in upcoming elections.

(return to top)

13. Japan Energy

Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT TO STUDY, EXPLOIT OCEAN RESOURCES”, Tokyo, 2009/03/25) reported that the Japanese government on Tuesday adopted a plan to develop oceanic energy and mineral resources at a meeting of the Headquarters for Ocean Policy held at the Diet. The plan aims to complete an initial study of the resources’ distribution in the sea around the country and develop technologies necessary to extract such resources by fiscal 2018, with full extraction to begin thereafter.

(return to top)

14. Japanese Environment

Yomiuri Shimbun (Keiko Katayama, “NATURAL BEACHES UNDER THREAT FROM MAN”, Tokyo, 2009/03/25) reported that the Nature Conservation Society last year released a survey conducted between 2004 and 2007 on the flora, man-made facilities and other features of 1,308 beaches in 37 prefectures, with the help of 1,232 volunteers. Artificial items such as wave-breaking blocks, concrete embankments, jetties and offshore breakwaters had been constructed at 87 percent of the beaches surveyed. Only 7 percent of the beaches surveyed could be described as environmentally rich–defined as having more than six coastal plant species, such as sea bells and beach peas–and without artificial facilities. Of beaches where few plants were found, 61 percent are believed to be in this condition because of artificial facilities such as long dikes that have been constructed through the middle of them, making them short and shallow.


(return to top)

15. Japanese A-Bomb Victims

Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPANESE MAN CERTIFIED AS DOUBLE A-BOMB VICTIM”, Tokyo, 2009/03/24) reported that Tsutomu Yamaguchi, a 93-year-old Japanese man, has become the first person certified as a survivor of both U.S. atomic bombings at the end of World War II , officials said Tuesday. Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on a business trip on Aug. 6, 1945, when a U.S. B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on the city. He suffered serious burns to his upper body and spent the night in the city. He then returned to his hometown of Nagasaki just in time for the second attack, city officials said. “As far as we know, he is the first one to be officially recognized as a survivor of atomic bombings in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Nagasaki city official Toshiro Miyamoto said. “It’s such an unfortunate case, but it is possible that there are more people like him.”

(return to top)

16. PRC Tibet Issue

Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “YOUTUBE BLOCKED IN CHINA; OFFICIAL SAYS VIDEO FAKE”, Beijing , 2009/03/24) reported that a video that appears to show police fatally beating a Tibetan protester was a fake concocted by supporters of the Dalai Lama, the PRC said Tuesday — the same day the video-sharing network YouTube said its service had been blocked in the PRC. “The Dalai Lama group is used to fabricating lies to deceive the international community and the aim of this video is to hide the truth of the March 14th riot,” Xinhua quoted the official as saying. A spokesman for Google, which owns YouTube, said he couldn’t comment on the  reason for the block. “We are looking into it and working to ensure that the service is restored as soon as possible,” spokesman Scott Rubin said.

BBC (“DALAI LAMA BAN HALTS CONFERENCE”, Pretoria, 2009/03/24) reported that a peace conference for Nobel laureates in South Africa has been postponed indefinitely after Pretoria refused the Dalai Lama a visa, organisers say. This week’s meeting in Johannesburg was linked to the 2010 Football World Cup, which the country is hosting. Despite the controversy surrounding the decision, government spokesman Thabo Masebe confirmed that no visa would be issued “between now and the World Cup”.

(return to top)

17. PRC Unrest

Agence France-Presse (“CALL FOR CALM AFTER VIOLENT PROTEST IN CHINA”, Beijing, 2009/03/25) reported that officials are scrambling to restore peace in a rural area of Hainan, PRC after a teenage brawl caused a violent riot, China Daily said Wednesday. Hundreds of people gathered outside a local government building Monday claiming authorities had failed to properly intervene after the fight. By Monday evening, the crowd had swelled to several hundred people, and some of the protesters set fire to parts of the local government and police buildings, and destroyed three cars and 10 motorcycles, the Hainan Daily said.

(return to top)

18. PRC Energy

Associated Press (“GE GETS $300M CONTRACT FOR CHINA GAS PIPELINE”, Fairfield, Connecticut, 2009/03/25) reported that General Electric Co. said Wednesday it has been awarded a $300 million contract for work on a new east-west natural gas pipeline in the PRC. The PetroChina pipeline will run 8,700 kilometers through 13 of the PRC’s provinces. It will extend from the western provinces to Shanghai , serving 400 million people along its route.

(return to top)

19. PRC on Monetary Policy

Korea Herald (“U.S., EU DISMISS CHINA’S CURRENCY IDEA”, Washington , 2009/03/25) reported that U.S. President Barack Obama and his top two economic officials on Tuesday dismissed suggestions by the PRC that the world move away from using the dollar as the world’s main reserve currency. “I don’t believe that there’s a need for a global currency,” Obama told a prime-time televised news conference, adding that the dollar is “extraordinarily strong right now”.

(return to top)

II. PRC Report

20. PRC Environment

Xinhua Net (“CHINA TO JOIN WORLD WATER COUNCIL SOON”, 2009/03/24) reported that the World Water Council (WWC) is ready for the PRC’s membership, WWC President Loic Fauchon said here Saturday evening.  During his meeting with the PRC Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei on the sideline of the 5th World Water Forum, Fauchon said he welcomes the PRC to “the WWC family,” and “we are ready to sign the agreement” which just need a few days to finalize the details of the pact.

Xinhua News Agency (“BEIJING’S MAJOR WATER SUPPLIER FACES SERIOUS WATER SHORTAGE”, 2009/03/23) reported that north PRC’s Hebei Province, the major water supplier to Beijing, has overexploited its groundwater which caused subsidence and formed “20 hopper areas” of more than 40,000 square km, said a local water conservancy official on Saturday. “Water shortage has become a big problem facing the province’s social and economic development,” Li Qinglin, director of Hebei’s water conservancy department, told a forum marking the 17th World Water Day which falls on Sunday. Li urged the government to take measures to reduce water consumption for the sake of sustainable economic and social development.”

(return to top)

III. CanKor Report

21. CanKor Report # 315-316

CANADA-KOREA ELECTRONIC INFORMATION SERVICE (“FOCUS: STORIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED”, 2009/03/23) In the category of “stories you may have missed”, this issue of the CanKor Report assembles a collection of statements and articles covering a wide variety of subjects, some dating as far back as a year ago.

CANADA-KOREA ELECTRONIC INFORMATION SERVICE (“FICTION: CONVERSATION WITH THE PATRIOT — PART 12”, 2009/03/23) CanKor editor Erich Weingartner continues his fictional conversation with the DPR Korean “patriot” Pak Kim Li. In Episode 12 Weingartner challenges Pak’s claim that his faith in the Juche idea qualifies him as an atheist. This episode has been greatly enhanced by a discussion among Korea experts in the Koreanstudies mailing list.