NAPSNet Daily Report 26 June, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. PRC on DPRK Sanctions
- 4. US Energy Aid to the DPRK
- 5. US on DPRK Missile Program
- 6. US Interdiction of DPRK Vessels
- 7. Myanmar on DPRK Vessel
- 8. Inter-Korean Relations
- 9. DPRK Economy
- 10. Japan Abduction Issue
- 11. DPRK Food Supply
- 12. DPRK Technology
- 13. ROK Territory
- 14. ROK Afghanistan Support
- 15. Japan Politics
- 16. Japan Energy Supply
- 17. Japan Whaling Issue
- 18. US Relations with Japan, PRC
- 19. Sino-Indian Relations
- 20. PRC-EU Energy
- 21. PRC Human Rights
- 22. PRC Energy Supply
- 23. PRC Environment
- 24. PRC Internet
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Talks
The Korea Times (Kim Sue-young, “FIVE-WAY TALKS WOULD GIVE MORE OPTIONS TO N. KOREA”, 2009/06/26) reported that the ROK and Russia agreed on the need for five-way negotiations which excludes the DPRK among six-party talks participants in a bid to get Pyongyang back to denuclearization talks, but a political science professor reckons the new framework would give the secretive state more options. “The PRC and Russia have urged the DPRK to return to the six-way talks, but since Seoul suggested the five-way negotiation first, it now doesn’t matter whether the DPRK joins the five-way negotiation or the six-party talks,” professor Park Myung-lim at Yonsei University in Seoul. “The suggestion gave the DPRK more options. The five-way negotiations could end up with failure if the PRC doesn’t take part,” he added.
2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (“NEOCON SLOGAN ON N. KOREAN NUKE RETURNS “, Seoul, 2009/06/25) reported that borrowing a slogan often used by the George W. Bush White House, the ROK and the U.S. now say they are seeking a “complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement” (CVID) of the DPRK’s nuclear program. Seoul’s point man on the DPRK, Hyun In-taek, used a slight variation of the phrase when he stressed earlier this week that negotiations for a solution to the DPRK nuclear problem “should pursue complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization.”
3. PRC on DPRK Sanctions
Kyodo News (“CHINA SAYS SANCTIONS SHOULD NOT IMPACT N. KOREAN PEOPLE’S LIVES “, Beijing, 2009/06/25) reported that the PRC reiterated Thursday it is committed to implementing a U.N. Security Council resolution that tightens sanctions against the DPRK, but added the measures should not be allowed to impact DPRK people’s lives. ”China is a responsible member of the international community, and we believe we all have an obligation to seriously implement the relevant U.N. Security Council resolution,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.
Agence-France Presse (“MCCAIN: US NEEDS TOUGHER CHINA MESSAGE ON IRAN, NKOREA”, Washington, 2009/06/25) reported that the United States must take a tougher line on the PRC with regard to sanctions on the DPRK and aiding US goals in Iran , Republican Senator John McCain said Thursday. “China has been unhelpful, especially on the issue of North Korea,” said McCain. McCain dismissed “toothless” UN sanctions to curb the DPRK’s alleged spread of weapons and nuclear know-how, pointing to news reports that a North Korean ship, potentially carrying arms, was headed for Myanmar .
Yonhap (Kim Eun-jung, “U.N. SANCTIONS HOLD LITTLE SWAY ON N. KOREA: U.S. ECONOMIST”, Seoul, 2009/06/25) reported that new U.N. sanctions on the DPRK for its second nuclear test will have little impact on the country’s economy, as China and the North’s other major trading partners are reluctant to seriously enforce them, a U.S. scholar said Thursday. Tough U.N. responses to Pyongyang’s first nuclear test in 2006 did little to curb the communist country’s atomic drive, and the international community should now leave a dialogue channel open with the DPRK, said Stephan Haggard, a professor at the University of California San Diego. Haggard believes that the PRC will not be as hard on the DPRK as the U.S. may expect, as trade between the two allies is more “commercial” than political. Other DPRK trading partners are mostly Middle Eastern countries, like Lebanon and Iran, which are at odds with the U.S.
4. US Energy Aid to the DPRK
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“U.S. HOUSE PANEL CUTS DPRK ENERGY AID”, Washington , 2009/06/25) reported that the US House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee has cut all 95 million dollars (9.1 billion yen) in energy aid earmarked for the DPRK from the U.S. government’s budget for fiscal 2010, sources said Wednesday. The aid budget, which spans the October 2009 to September 2010 period, had been requested by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. The committee revised the bill Tuesday and decided to discontinue energy aid to the DPRK, saying Pyongyang has not complied with an agreement reached at the six-party talks.
5. US on DPRK Missile Program
United Press International (“INTEL: MISSILE LAUNCH TOWARD U.S. UNLIKELY”, Washington, 2009/06/25) reported that a U.S. intelligence officer said it doesn’t appear the DPRK intends to fire a long-range missile, dismissing reports of a possible launch toward Hawaii. The official said warnings issued by the DPRK to sailors indicate the country intends to test-fire short- and medium-range missiles.
6. US Interdiction of DPRK Vessels
Joong-Ang Daily (Yoo Jee-ho, “U.S. IS TRACKING A NUMBER OF NORTH KOREAN VESSELS”, 2009/06/26) reported that the United States said it was monitoring “multiple” DPRK ships suspected of carrying weapons and that it would discuss with its allies what to do with one suspect vessel it is tracking. While the US has been tracking the Kang Nam since last week, the Pentagon said it is closely monitoring several other DPRK ships allegedly carrying weapons.
7. Myanmar on DPRK Vessel
Xinhau News (“MYANMAR OFFICIAL MEDIA DENY HEADING FOR MYANMAR OF DPRK KANG NAM CARGO VESSEL “, Yangon, 2009/06/25) reported that the Myanmar official media have denied the allegation that cargo vessel Kang Nam, owned by the DPRK, left Mingpao port of DPRK for Myanmar on June 17 as rumored by certain foreign news agencies over the past few days. “The authorities concerned have no news about Kang Nam vessel reported by foreign news agencies,” the official newspaper said.
8. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap (“ONLY 22 PCT OF S. KOREANS SAY N. KOREA TRUSTWORTHY”, Seoul, 2009/06/25) reported that about one-fifth of ROK citizens think the DPRK is trustworthy, a poll said Thursday, the lowest level in a decade amid heightened tension over the communist state’s recent belligerent acts. The survey by Hyundai Economic Research Institute showed 22.2 percent of the 623 respondents felt that the DPRK could be trusted as a “partner for dialogue.”
Yonhap (Kim Hyun, “AID WORKERS URGE SEOUL TO LIFT BAN ON HUMANITARIAN VISITS TO N. KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/06/25) reported that ROK aid workers on Thursday urged the Seoul government to ease restrictions on humanitarian visits and aid shipments to the DPRK, saying that humanitarian causes should come before political considerations. Seoul imposed limited restrictions on non-governmental trips to North Korea following the North’s long-range rocket launch in April. The ban was expanded to almost all humanitarian workers after the communist state’s nuclear test on May 25. ROK President Lee has repeatedly said that his government is willing to provide humanitarian aid to the DPRK. Earlier this week, Unification Minister Hyun In-taek insisted that the government does not connect humanitarian aid to the political situation, saying the DPRK only needs to “respond to calls for dialogue.”
9. DPRK Economy
Agence-France Presse (“N KOREA VOWS “DO-OR-DIE” BATTLE TO BOOST ECONOMY”, Seoul, 2009/06/25) reported that The DPRK Thursday vowed a “do-or-die” campaign to revive the sagging economy amid severe food shortages and intensified international sanctions aimed at curbing its weapons programs. The communist state’s official media said had visited about 100 places since Dec. 24, when he relaunched a 1950s campaign for greater production. The country’s official goal is to build a “strong, prosperous and powerful nation” by 2012, the centenary of Kim Il Sung’s birth. “In the flames of the all-out battle, the movement of socialist competition is gearing up with vigor and energy to achieve the production goals commissioned to each unit by all means,” Radio Pyongyang said.
10. Japan Abduction Issue
Chosun Ilbo (“GROUP RUNS ADS IN S. KOREAN DAILIES ON NK ABDUCTIONS”, 2009/06/25) reported that a group of Japanese nationals placed full-page ads in the ROK’s three major newspapers to ask for help from the ROK in resolving the DPRK’s past abductions of Japanese nationals and human right abuses. The Seven-member Group comprises journalists, scholars and music critics and ran the ads in the form of a letter in The Dong-A Ilbo, The Chosun Ilbo and The JoongAng Ilbo. They urged international organizations, including the U.N., to help address the DPRK’s human right abuses and require improvement of human rights when they provide humanitarian aid; asked the ROK to share information with Japan on the abduction and human rights situations in the DPRK; and proposed an investigation into the victims of kidnapping and conditions in the DPRK’s concentration camps.
11. DPRK Food Supply
Radio Free Asia (“FOOD CRISIS HITS NORTH KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/06/25) reported that DPRK families are feeling the pinch following Pyongyang’s refusal of U.S. food aid earlier this year, with the United Nations saying it already sees a humanitarian crisis in the state. “We do believe there’s a humanitarian crisis right now, especially for some of the more remote rural regions of the northernmost part of North Korea,” World Food Program (WFP) senior spokesman Paul Risely said. “The United States food, when it was being provided, was the backbone of the food that the World Food Program provided over the more than 100 different counties [in North Korea] in which we are permitted to operate,” Risely said.
12. DPRK Technology
Joong-Ang Daily (“MOBILE PHONE OPERATOR SEES SUBSCRIPTION SURGE IN NORTH”, 2009/06/26) eported that Egypt-based mobile operator Orascom Telecom earned $312,000 in first-quarter sales this year from its mobile service in the DPRK on surging demand among the communist nation’s upper class. More than 19,200 people have signed up for Orascom’s mobile phone service as of March.
13. ROK Territory
Chosun Ilbo (“KOREA TO CHART DESERT ISLANDS”, 2009/06/25) reported that the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs will find unregistered islands surrounding the country with a view to registering them as ROK territory waters in the country’s land registry and cadastral maps. Once the project is complete, the ministry said the ROK’s land area will increase by 16.5 sq. km, a little less than Bundang in Gyeonggi Province, from the current 99,720 sq. km.
14. ROK Afghanistan Support
Arirang News (“KOREA PREPARES TO EXPAND AFGHANISTAN SUPPORT”, 2009/06/25) reported that a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Afghanistan on Wednesday to commemorate increased support from the ROK in the region. This follows the ROK’s announcement last month that it will expand aid to the war-torn region, including medical services and vocational training programs starting next year. The job-training program will offer classes such as automobile maintenance, while about 40,000 local residents are expected to benefit from ROK medical services.
15. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“ASO DISMISSES IDEA OF HOLDING LDP PRESIDENTIAL RACE BEFORE ELECTION”, 2009/06/25) reported that Prime Minister Taro Aso dismissed the idea of holding a Liberal Democratic Party presidential race in the run-up to a general election, while saying the lower house dissolution will come ”in the not-so-distant future.” At a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Aso declined to say when to dissolve the House of Representatives, but he hinted at exploring the possibility of its dissolution in early July for an election on Aug. 2 as some have been speculating. Meanwhile, Aso is considering reshuffling three of the LDP’s four key positions ahead of the general election, a ruling party official said later Thursday.
Bloomberg News (“EARLY ELECTION SUICIDE FOR LDP, EX-KOIZUMI AIDE SAYS”, 2009/06/25) reported that Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso should postpone calling elections for as long as possible or face “mass suicide” for his Liberal Democratic Party, a senior aide to former premier Junichiro Koizumi said. Aso needs time for his 25 trillion yen ($260 billion) stimulus plans to take effect, said Isao Iijima, who served as Koizumi’s chief secretary. The premier, who must call elections by Sept. 10, faces growing challenges to his leadership within the LDP, with some members advocating an early August contest. “If Mr. Aso insists on calling early elections at all costs, it will mean mass suicide,” Iijima, 63, said .
Agence France Press (“JAPAN PM PROPOSES ‘PEACE OF MIND SOCIETY'”, Tokyo, 2009/06/25) reported that Japan’s premier on Thursday sought to regain the political initiative amid a spate of scandals, party rifts and poor opinion polls , as he announced improved social welfare support . Prime Minister Taro Aso pledged that his conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) would deliver wider support for families, low-income workers, the unemployed and other groups. Aso is banking on an improvement in social welfare being welcomed by Japanese voters, who are struggling through the country’s worst recession since World War II .
16. Japan Energy Supply
The Associated Press (“JAPAN TO GET OIL FOR ITS RESERVES FROM ADNOC”, 2009/06/25) reported that Japan has concluded a basic agreement with the United Arab Emirates to start receiving oil from Abu Dhabi National Oil Co to help stock up its oil reserves, the government said on Thursday. The joint project with ADNOC, under discussion since March, is expected to start this fall, with stocks of oil from ADNOC being stored in a reserve base of Nippon Oil Corp in Kagoshima, southern Japan, the trade ministry said in a statement. The ministry said the project will help beef up Japan’s energy security by tapping the supply from ADNOC in times of supply shortages.
17. Japan Whaling Issue
Agence France-Presse (“WHALING BAN HOLDS AS CONFERENCE ENDS IN DISARRAY”, 2009/06/25) reported that the International Whaling Commission ‘s annual conference ended in disarray Thursday, keeping in place a ban on commercial whaling amid deep rifts between hunters and conservationists. Joji Morishita, a senior official with the Japanese delegation, said the commission should approve limited commercial whaling by next year, adding: “Without that… the future of the IWC is seriously in doubt.”
18. US Relations with Japan, PRC
Agence France-Presse (“MINDFUL OF JAPAN, US EXPERT URGES CAUTION ON CHINA”, Washington, 2009/06/24) reported that the United States should avoid a formal partnership with the PRC to address global problems as it would hamper the alliance with Japan , an influential US foreign-policy thinker told Congress. Joseph Nye , a Harvard University professor best known for coining the phrase ” soft power ,” said the US needed to work to ease fears in Japan despite the longstanding alliance between the world’s two largest economies. US leaders must “show the high priority we give the alliance and (give) guarantees that we will not engage in what Japan fears will be ‘Japan-passing’ in our relations with Asia,” Nye told a House hearing on US-Japan relations.
19. Sino-Indian Relations
DefenceIndia (“INDIA-CHINA BORDER PEACEFUL: GEN. SINGH “, 2009/06/25) reported that the situation along the India-PRC border “is absolutely stable and peaceful” and “there is really no cause for anxiety,” according to Governor of Arunachal Pradesh J. J. Singh. At a media interaction on the margins of the Water Leaders Summit General (Retd.) Singh said, “We hope the resolution of the [India-China] boundary issue will take place in due course of time.” He said there was a parallel decision at the highest level on both sides to “find, in a peaceful, pragmatic, and mature manner, a resolution of the boundary issue.”
20. PRC-EU Energy
Agence-France Presse (“EU TO HELP FINANCE CLEAN COAL PLANT IN CHINA”, Brussels, 2009/06/25) reported that the announced Wednesday that it would provide financing up to 50 million euros (70 million dollars) to help the PRC build a -fired power plant equipped with new technology to give it near-zero emissions. “The joint efforts of the EU and China are key to the success of the post-2012 climate change negotiations in Copenhagen” in December, said EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. The EU cash will come from a 60-million-euro fund earmarked for cooperation with emerging economies on and carbon capture and storage.
21. PRC Human Rights
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA REJECTS ‘INTERFERENCE’ IN DISSIDENT CASE”, 2009/06/25) reported that the PRC has rejected any foreign interference in its internal affairs after US House speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the arrest of prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo . “Foreign countries should respect China’s judicial sovereignty,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told AFP in a statement. “We firmly oppose anyone’s wrong remarks and deeds that interfere in China’s internal affairs by any means.”
22. PRC Energy Supply
The Associated Press (“CHINA’S SINOPEC MAKES $7.2B GRAB FOR ADDAX”, 2009/06/25) reported that Sinopec of the PRC will acquire oil explorer Addax Petroleum for $7.2 billion in what would be the country’s largest overseas takeover, with Beijing again flexing it’s economic clout. Sinopec, a refiner, would gain access to substantial reserves in West Africa and the Middle East if the takeover of Addax is approved.
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA, TURKMENISTAN SEAL LANDMARK ENERGY DEAL”, 2009/06/25) reported that the PRC signed a 30-year deal to increase purchases of natural gas from Turkmenistan by 30 percent, state media reported — a landmark agreement for Beijing as it competes with Moscow for access to Central Asia’s energy wealth. No value was announced for the deal, which also marks another step forward in PRC efforts to find long-term, stable energy supplies. The contract increases gas deliveries to 40 billion cubic meters (52 billion cubic yards) annually the state-run newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan reported.
23. PRC Environment
The Associated Press (Henry Sanderson, “CHINA WILL REVIEW PLANNED DAM THAT THREATENS FISH”, Beijing, 2009/06/25) reported that the PRC’s environment ministry said Thursday that it has ordered an ecological assessment for a proposed River dam that conservationists fear could threaten hundreds of fish species and drive the giant Chinese sturgeon into extinction. PRC environmentalists and scientists are trying to halt the Xiaonanhai dam, saying that it and two other dams would flood most of the last remaining fish reserve on the Yangtze, preventing the migration of rare fish. The Ministry of Environmental Protection’s chief engineer, Wan Bentai, announced the environmental assessment order at a news conference, saying the ministry has the power to reject the project if it is shown to be harmful to the environment.
24. PRC Internet
The Associated Press (Joe McDonald, “PC MAKERS RACE TO COMPLY WITH CHINA’S WEB FILTER”, Beijing, 2009/06/25) reported that computer makers are scrambling to comply with an order to supply Web-filtering software with PCs and worrying what it might do to their reputations. Dell Inc ., Hewlett-Packard Inc. and Taiwan’s Acer Inc. — the top three global producers — are asking regulators for details of the order that takes effect July 1 to provide the “Green Dam Youth Escort” software with every laptop and desktop PC sold in the PRC. Manufacturers could face the same criticism that U.S. Internet services did in 2006 after complaints they cooperated with PRC censorship, said David Wolf , a technology consultant in Beijing. At that time, Congress held hearings and some lawmakers accused the companies of aiding dictators. Manufacturers’ immediate problem is the cost of complying at a time when the global economic slump is slashing profits, said Duncan Clark, chairman of BDA China Ltd., a Beijing research firm. Wolf said costs could rise if regulators decide the software must be pre-installed on every PC. That would force makers that sell computers without software, such as in corporate bulk orders, to pay for operating systems to support the filter.
Agence-France Presse (“CHINA PORN CRACKDOWN INCLUDES HEALTH INFO: STATE MEDIA”, Beijing, 2009/06/25) reported that the PRC’s crackdown on Internet pornography will be extended to health-related sex information, according to new regulations that tighten supervision of such content. Authorities will monitor such information to prevent obscene content slipping through and stop pornographic operations posing as health websites, said the rules posted Wednesday on the health ministry website. “It is strictly forbidden to disseminate vulgar content in the name of spreading sexual knowledge,” it said. The regulation said any websites posting health-related sexual research must clearly state the source of the information and have it verified by an expert as correct and science-based.
Agence-France Presse (“GOOGLE BRIEFLY CUT OFF IN CHINA: STATE MEDIA”, Beijing, 2009/06/25) reported that main English-language website was inaccessible for more than two hours in the PRC, state media reported, as Beijing continued to pressure the to eliminate pornography. The outage occurred Wednesday night, the China Daily newspaper said, adding that its Chinese-language website google.cn was unaffected. Google’s sites in both languages appeared to be working normally on Thursday.
II. PRC Report
25. Civil Society and Cross Strait Relations
Guangyuan Governmental website (“TAIWAN RED CROSS HELPS POOR STUDENTS IN GUANGYUAN”, 2009/06/25) reported that the “Plum Blossom Plan”, granted by Taiwan Red Cross Society and implemented by Chaotian District Red Cross Society in Guangyuan city of Sichuan province, was formally started recently. A total of 80,000 yuan will be granted to 144 poor students from 7 schools.