NAPSNet Daily Report 25 May, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK on Naval Ship Sinking
- 2. ROK Response to Naval Ship Sinking
- 3. US on Naval Ship Sinking
- 4. UN on Naval Ship Sinking
- 5. PRC on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 6. Japan on Naval Ship Sinking
- 7. Canada on Naval Ship Sinking
- 8. DPRK Economy
- 9. ROK Military
- 10. ROK-US Military Relations
- 11. ROK Politics
- 12. USFJ Base Relocation
- 13. Japan-US Military Relations
- 14. Sino-US Military Relations
- 15. Sino-US Relations
- 16. Sino-US Trade Relations
- 17. Hong Kong Politics
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK on Naval Ship Sinking
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA REBUKES LEE’S STATEMENT”, 2010/05/24) reported that the DPRK Monday rebuked President Lee Myng-bak’s statement on the sinking of the Cheonan. Calling Lee a “traitor,” a spokesman for the National Defence Commission said the statement is “another clumsy farce aimed to cover up the true nature of the ‘conspiratorial farce’ and ‘charade’ orchestrated by himself and nothing but sophism let loose by him as an anti-reunification confrontation maniac keen on stifling fellow countrymen. This is a hideous criminal act of totally denying and scrapping the historic June 15 joint declaration and the October 4 declaration (between the two Koreas), the program for implementing it,” Korean Central News Agency quoted the spokesman as saying.
2. ROK Response to Naval Ship Sinking
Yonhap News (“LEE SAYS SEOUL READY TO INVOKE SELF-DEFENSE AGAINST FUTURE N.K. PROVOCATION”, 2010/05/24) reported that the ROK said Monday it will unhesitatingly exercise its right of self-defense in the event of future armed provocation by the DPRK. “From now on, the Republic of Korea will not tolerate any provocative act by the North and will maintain a principle of proactive deterrence,” the president said. “If our territorial waters, airspace or territory are militarily violated, we will immediately exercise our right of self-defense.”
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA TO LAUNCH ANTI-NORTH MILITARY DRILLS, BROADCASTS”, 2010/05/24) reported that the ROK’s defense chief said Monday his military will launch its own anti-proliferation exercise and resume psychological warfare against the DPRK, as parts of its initial military measures to punish Pyongyang for a deadly torpedo attack on a ROK warship in March. The planned military exercise scheduled to take place in the second half of the year to deter proliferation of DPRK weapons of mass destruction will be the first of its kind by the ROK’s military. Defense Minister Kim Tae-young also said the ROK would actively participate in a U.S.-led anti-proliferation drill, known as the Proliferation of Security Initiative (PSI), in and out of the Korean Peninsula, an international effort to stop the shipment of weapons of mass destruction.
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “SEOUL RESUMES PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE WITH PYONGYANG”, Seoul, 2010/05/25) reported that the ROK on Tuesday resumed propaganda broadcasts into the DPRK in retaliation for the sinking of the Cheonan. The ROK military resumed radio broadcasts airing Western music, news and comparisons between the ROK and DPRK political and economic situations late Monday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff . The military also planned to launch propaganda leaflets Tuesday to inform DPRK citizens about the ship sinking.
3. US on Naval Ship Sinking
Reuters (“OBAMA TELLS MILITARY: PREPARE FOR NORTH KOREA AGGRESSION”, 2010/05/24) reported that President Barack Obama has directed the U.S. military to coordinate with the ROK to “ensure readiness” and deter future aggression from the DPRK, the White House said on Monday. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement. “We endorse President Lee’s demand that North Korea immediately apologize and punish those responsible for the attack, and, most importantly, stop its belligerent and threatening behavior,” Gibbs said. “U.S. support for South Korea’s defense is unequivocal” he said.
Agence France Presse (“US LAWMAKERS TO TAKE UP KOREA SHIP ATTACK MEASURE”, 2010/05/24) reported that US lawmakers could vote as early as Monday on a resolution condemning the DPRK for sinking a ROK warship and demanding the secretive regime in Pyongyang apologize for the attack. The symbolic resolution, backed by senior Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives, also expresses US sympathy and condolences to the relatives of the 46 sailors killed in the March 26 strike. The House “condemns North Korea in the strongest terms for sinking the ROKS Cheonan” and “calls for an apology by North Korea for its hostile acts and a commitment by North Korea never to violate the Korean War Armistice Agreement again,” according to the resolution. The measure urges the international community “to provide all necessary support to” the ROK as it “prepares to respond” to its northern neighbor’s actions and calls for full implementation of UN sanctions against the DPRK.
Kyodo News (“U.S. REVIEWING N. KOREA POLICY AS SEOUL TAKES RETALIATORY STEPS”, 2010/05/24) reported that the United States said Monday it has started reviewing its DPRK policy. “In response to the pattern of North Korean provocation and defiance of international law, the president has directed U.S. government agencies to review their existing authorities and policies related to the DPRK,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement. “This review is aimed at ensuring that we have adequate measures in place and to identify areas where adjustments would be appropriate,” the statement said.
4. UN on Naval Ship Sinking
Associated Press (“UN CHIEF CONDEMNS TORPEDO ATTACK, EXPECTS RESPONSE”, 2010/05/24) reported that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined the United States Monday in ratcheting up pressure on the DPRK by recommending U.N. Security Council action for a torpedo attack that kill 46 ROK sailors. The ROK U.N. chief called the evidence “overwhelming and deeply troubling” that Pyongyang was responsible for the March 26 sinking of the Cheonan in the Yellow Sea off the west coast. “My sincere hope is that this will be dealt with by the Security Council, and they should take necessary measures on this matter,” the U.N. chief told a news conference at U.N. headquarters. “There must be some major step to be taken. The evidence is quite compelling. There is no controversy.”
5. PRC on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Agence France-Presse (Jun Kwanwoo, “S.KOREA URGES CHINA TO PUNISH N.KOREA OVER WARSHIP”, Seoul, 2010/05/25) reported that the ROK pressed the PRC Tuesday to support international efforts to punish the DPRK for sinking the Cheonan. ” China seemed to understand the seriousness of the situation,” an ROK foreign ministry official said after senior PRC official Wu Dawei held talks in Seoul with Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan. Wu, Beijing’s special representative for Korean affairs, said he had “closely reviewed” the investigators’ report, according to the ministry official. PRC F oreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the region was in the interest of all parties, and the PRC would not tolerate any actions that would disturb that peace. “We sincerely hope that all parties concerned stay calm and exercise restraint to properly handle relevant issues in order to avoid an escalation of the situation,” Jiang told reporters. “We believe dialogue is better than confrontation.”
6. Japan on Naval Ship Sinking
Bloomberg (“JAPAN MAY RESTRICT NORTH KOREAN FUND REMITTANCES, NIKKEI SAYS “, 2010/05/24) reported that Japan may increase restrictions on fund remittances to the DPRK in response to the communist country’s suspected sinking of a ROK warship, Nikkei English News said, without citing anyone. Japan may lower the 10 million yen threshold at which remittances have to be reported to the finance minister, the Nikkei said. The government may also increase travel restrictions, and bar ships that have gone to the DPRK from entering Japanese ports, the report said.
Kyodo (“JAPAN NOT TO JOINTLY PROPOSE SANCTIONS VS. N. KOREA WITH S. KOREA “, Tokyo, 2010/05/25) reported that Japan has no plans to put forth a joint proposal with the ROK to the U.N. Security Council to seek punitive measures against the DPRK, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said Tuesday. ”This is a South Korean issue, so it won’t be a joint proposal,” but Tokyo will provide strong support to Seoul in dealing with the issue, Hirano said at a news conference.
7. Canada on Naval Ship Sinking
Agence France Presse (“CANADA BACKS S.KOREA ON SHIP ATTACK RESPONSE”, 2010/05/24) reported that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper lent his “unwavering” commitment to back Seoul on its response to the DPRK’s alleged sinking of one of its warships. “Canada is now committed to a coordinated international response, including through the UN Security Council, as a result of this act,” Harper said in a statement. “The government of Canada will take steps to impose enhanced restrictions on trade, investment and other bilateral relations with North Korea, including the addition of North Korea to the Area Control List.”
8. DPRK Economy
Reuters (“SANCTIONS HIT NORTH KOREA’S CRUMBLING ECONOMY: REPORT”, 2010/05/24) reported that the DPRK’s economy is feeling the effects of sanctions for nuclear and ballistic missile activities, the ROK said on Monday. The state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) said the DPRK’s trade, including commerce with the ROK, fell 9.7 percent to $5.09 billion last year from 2008. It said trade with the PRC amounted to about $2.7 billion. “North Korea’s trade this year is seen shrinking further and depending more on China due to the U.N.’s continuous sanctions against the North and possibilities of further measures,” KOTRA said.
Yonhap News (“INTER-KOREAN TRADE HALT TO DEAL ‘DIRECT BLOW’ TO PYONGYANG: KDI”, 2010/05/24) reported that a suspension of inter-Korean trade would deal a “direct blow” to the DPRK by blocking its major source of hard currency needed to govern the reclusive and impoverished country, a Seoul think tank said Monday. The state-run Korea Development Institute (KDI), however, noted in a report that such a move could fail to achieve its intended goal if other global powers like the PRC do not agree, highlighting the importance of securing international cooperation. “With the dollars obtained through inter-Korean trade, the North has expanded its businesses with China. It (the trade with the South) also helped Pyongyang to cushion any negative external risks such as sanctions by Japan, while acquiring dollars needed to govern the country,” the report said.
9. ROK Military
Yonhap News (“NAVY STARTS MASS PRODUCTION OF NEW ANTI-SUBMARINE TORPEDO”, 2010/05/24) reported that the ROK’s Navy said Monday it has started mass production of a ship-to-submarine torpedo. The two-stage “Hongsangeo” (Red Shark) torpedo is launched vertically from a destroyer and can fly for about 20 kilometers before submerging into the sea to track and destroy a target, Navy officials said. The Navy’s KDX-II or III destroyers will be loaded with the new 5.7-meter-long torpedo within this year, according to the officials.
10. ROK-US Military Relations
Stars and Stripes (“WILL OPERATIONAL CONTROL TRANSFER BE LAST CASUALTY OF N. KOREAN TORPEDO? “, 2010/05/24) reported that a growing number of critics, including some former ROK military officials, have raised questions about whether the country’s military capabilities are advanced enough to defend against a DPRK attack. The sinking of the Cheonan has bolstered their case and may hasten a decision to delay the transfer, according to several experts. “I think what this does show is the North Korean threat remains ominous, and North Korea’s capability for using [nonconventional] forces continues to be a threat to South Korea,” said Bruce Bechtol, an international relations professor at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. U.S. Forces Korea said Monday it had not received a request from the ROK to delay the transfer, and any discussions about possible changes to the transfer would be handled by the White House.
11. ROK Politics
Yonhap News (“LEE LIKELY TO REPRIMAND OFFICIALS FOR SUNKEN SHIP: ANTI-CORRUPTION CHIEF”, 2010/05/24) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak will likely reprimand some officials for their failure to prevent the tragic sinking of a ROK warship by a North Korean torpedo a Seoul official said Monday. “Aside from the issue of North Korea being responsible for the sinking, I don’t think those related will be able to avoid responsibility,” Lee Jae-oh, chairman of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC), told reporters. Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said Monday that he has already tendered his resignation after the sinking of the Cheonan on March 26.
12. USFJ Base Relocation
Agence France Presse (“ANGER GROWS OVER JAPAN PM’S ABOUT-TURN ON US BASE”, 2010/05/24) reported that activists and politicians on Okinawa have vowed to keep up their battle against a US airbase. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama was met by protesters shouting “Hatoyama, Go home” when he visited the island Sunday to apologise for his decision to relocate the base within Okinawa. A Nago official said Monday: “It’s unlikely that we will compromise with the Hatoyama government. We are currently discussing what measures to take next.”
Agence France Presse (“CLINTON COMMENDS JAPAN PM FOR DECISION ON US BASE”, 2010/05/24) reported that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday commended as courageous a decision by Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to keep an unpopular US military base in Okinawa. “I want to commend Prime Minister Hatoyama for making the difficult but nevertheless correct decision to relocate the Futenma facility inside Okinawa,” Clinton said in Beijing. “As a former politician, I know how hard Prime Minister Hatoyama’s decision was and I thank him for his courage and determination to fulfill his commitments.”
Kyodo (“SDP CHIEF SAYS WILL LOOK CLOSELY AT JAPAN-U.S. STATEMENT ON FUTENMA”, Tokyo/Naha, 2010/05/25) reported that Mizuho Fukushima, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, said Tuesday she will pay close attention to a new Japan-U.S. statement expected to be issued Friday on the relocation of the Futenman Air Base. ”We shouldn’t add more bases to Okinawa than now,” Fukushima said during a meeting with Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima in the prefectural capital Naha in the afternoon, offering to work for the goal together even though she is a member of Hatoyama’s Cabinet. ”I want you to work hard to resolve it in a manner acceptable to the people of the prefecture,” Nakaima said in reply.
13. Japan-US Military Relations
Associated Press (“US AIR FORCE DEPLOYING F-22S TO GUAM, JAPAN “, 2010/05/24) reported that the Air Force plans to deploy the world’s most advanced fighter jet to Guam and Japan this month. The Air Force said it will send a dozen stealth F-22s from Virginia to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. It will deploy another 12 New Mexico-based Raptors to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa in southern Japan. Both units are expected to stay for about four months.
14. Sino-US Military Relations
Associated Press (“US ADMIRAL CRITIQUES MILITARY TIES WITH CHINA”, Beijing, 2010/05/25) reported that Admiral Robert Willard, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, told People’s Liberation Army deputy chief of staff , Lt. Gen. Ma Xiaotian, on Tuesday that it was regretful that US-PRC military ties were so far behind the “other very mature engagements that occur between our two countries.” “It has been a great pleasure to attend the Strategic Economic Dialogue. I’ve been struck by the maturity and sophistication in the level of exchange between the United States in China in a wide variety of areas,” Willard told Ma. Ma voiced his own frustration, saying PRC plans for military exchanges with the United States in 2010 had been “seriously disrupted” by the Obama administration’s announcement in January that it would go ahead with a sale of military hardware to Taiwan.
15. Sino-US Relations
Financial Times (“US AND CHINA SEEK TO STRIKE CONCILIATORY NOTE”, 2010/05/24) reported that the US and the PRC tip-toed around each other at a summit in Beijing on Monday, going out of their way to avoid open disagreements on the DPRK, exchange rates and other thorny issues that divide them. On the DPRK, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, opted for low-key encouragement of the PRC to back the administration’s criticisms of Pyongyang over the sinking of a ROK warship, the Cheonan , in March. “I can say that the Chinese recognise the gravity of the situation we face,” she said. “They understand the reaction by the South Koreans and they understand our unique responsibility for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.”
Xinhua News Agency (“CHINA CALLS ON U.S. TO PROPERLY HANDLE TAIWAN, TIBET ISSUES”, 2010/05/24) reported that the PRC on Monday repeated its request for the United States to respect its core interests and major concerns, and to pay particular attention to handling sensitive issues such as those regarding Taiwan and Tibet. This was one of the seven proposals the PRC made at the on-going second round of PRC-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogues, said Ma Zhaoxu, spokesman of the PRC delegation. He told a press briefing that the PRC proposed to fully put into practice the important consensus reached by the two heads of state and take substantial steps to steadily build a partnership to address common challenges.
16. Sino-US Trade Relations
Bloomberg (“U.S. AND CHINA SIDESTEP YUAN AS EUROPE DOMINATES BEIJING TALKS “, 2010/05/24) reported that the PRC and the U.S. focused their first day of talks in Beijing on joint efforts to prop up the world’s economy in the face of a European sovereign-debt crisis that pushed off a showdown on the yuan’s value. President Hu Jintao said the PRC will move gradually and independently in altering exchange-rate policy after keeping the yuan pegged to the U.S. dollar for 22 months. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner , who has delayed a report to the U.S. Congress that could name the nation a currency manipulator, said he welcomed the PRC’s commitment to yuan changes.
17. Hong Kong Politics
Reuters (“BEIJING BREAKS ICE WITH HONG KONG OPPOSITION”, 2010/05/24) reported that the PRC’s leadership reached out to Hong Kong’s opposition democrats on Monday in a breakthrough move to resolve a bitter dispute over how to realize full democracy in the city. Li Gang, a deputy director of Beijing’s liaison office, met senior members of Hong Kong’s opposition Democratic Party that has been highly critical of the PRC Communist leadership. “We hope that Li Gang … can take our clear position to the highest levels of the central government and hope they make a response,” said Emily Lau, one of the democrats who met Li. Democratic Party Chairman Albert Ho said such a meeting, formally sanctioned by Beijing, was a first for his party.
II. PRC Report
18. PRC Civil Society
New Century (“NO REGISTRATION FOR NGO IN ZHONGGUANCUN SCIENCE PARK”, 2010/05/24) reported that the Regulations of Zhongguancun National Autonomous Innovation Zone will be submitted to the Standing Committee of Beijing People’s Congress on May 26. Zhongguancun Science Park is a science innovation center located in Beijing. According to the new regulations, NGOs in the Science Park can directly register without finding a business management unit. If the regulations can be approved, then Beijing Zhongguancun Science Park will become the PRC’s second “NGO Special Zone” after Shenzhen.
21 Century News (“NATIONAL FOUNDATION CENTER TO BE ESTABLISHED”, 2010/05/24) reported that a national foundation center is to be established on July 8 of this year. The Center is sponsored by over 20 NGOs and foundations. The Center will operate as an independent social organization and aims at promoting more public fundraising for foundations to in turn grant to grassroot NGOs.
19. PRC Environment
Zhejiang Daily (“ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERTS APPEAL ESTABLISHING ENVIRONMENT STANDARD ALLIANCE”, 2010/05/24) reported that the China Environmental Technique and Standards International Conference 2010 was held in Hangzhou of Zhejiang province on May 23. At the Conference, experts, government officials and entrepreneurs from all around the world appealed to establish an international environment standards alliance to jointly promote the implementation and development of environment standards.