NAPSNet Daily Report 26 May, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Test
- 2. UNSC on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 3. US on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 4. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 5. Russia on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 6. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 7. Inter-Korean Relations
- 8. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 9. Japan Pre-emptive Strike Capability
- 10. DPRK Missile Program
- 11. DPRK Leadership
- 12. DPRK Communications
- 13. Japan Defense
- 14. Japan Politics
- 15. Japan – Italy Nuclear Cooperation
- 16. Sino-Japanese Swine Flu Cooperation
- 17. Sino-Indian Relations
- 18. Cross Strait Relations
- 19. PRC Economy
- 20. PRC Environment
- 21. PRC Energy
- 22. PRC Swine Flu Outbreak
- 23. Mongolia Elections
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Test
The New York Times (“TIMING OF TEST HINTS AT SUCCESSION ISSUES”, 2009/05/26) reported that some experts say the test was a display of might aimed at showing solidarity with the DPRK’s powerful military, whose support would be essential in securing Mr. Kim’s choice of successor. Others believe the intended audience was the DPRK’s largely impoverished population, in hopes a display of technological prowess could serve as the elder Mr. Kim’s legacy in a regime that has failed to deliver even basic food and electricity. Either way, the DPRK government likely hopes the test will help ensure a smooth transition of power — and, perhaps, show that the elder Kim is still very much in charge, at least for now.
The Los Angeles Times (“NORTH KOREA EXPLODES BOMB TO GET U.S. ATTENTION, ANALYSTS SAY”, 2009/05/26) reported that as the international community condemned the DPRK’s nuclear test and missile launch on Monday, analysts said the tests signaled Pyongyang’s growing disillusionment over the U.S. refusal to conduct bilateral talks. The DPRK’s ailing leader, Kim Jong Il, determined to seek more drastic measures to bring the Obama administration to the bargaining table, might carry out even more nuclear tests as a way to bully the U.S. and its allies, experts said.
2. UNSC on DPRK Nuclear Test
Washington Post (“U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS N. KOREA NUCLEAR TEST”, 2009/05/26) reported that the U.N. Security Council moved swiftly in an emergency meeting to condemn the DPRK’s underground nuclear test, saying it constituted a clear violation of U.N. resolutions prohibiting such tests by the DPRK. Russia’s U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin, speaking on behalf of the council’s 15 members, said the U.N. body would begin discussions on a more formal resolution. “The members of the Security Council voice their strong opposition to and condemnation of the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic Republic of Korea,” said Churkin, who is serving as the council’s president this month.
3. US on DPRK Nuclear Test
The Associated Press (“OBAMA: N. KOREA ‘RECKLESSLY CHALLENGING’ THE WORLD”, Washington, 2009/05/26) reported that President Barack Obama assailed the DPRK for new missile tests, saying the world must “stand up to” Pyongyang and demand that it honor a promise to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Appearing on the White House steps, Obama said that its latest nuclear underground test and subsequent test firings of short-range ground to air missiles “pose a grave threat to the peace and security of the world and I strongly condemn their reckless action.” He noted that the latest tests had drawn scorn around the world. Pyongyang’s actions “have flown in the face of U.N. resolutions” and had deepened its isolation, he said, “inviting stronger international pressure.”
Xinhua News (“CLINTON CALLS COUNTERPARTS OF JAPAN, S. KOREA ON DPRK’S NUCLEAR TEST”, Washington, 2009/03/26) reported that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called her counterparts of Japan and the ROK to discuss a response to the nuclear test conducted by the DPRK. During talks with Japan’s Hirofumi Nakasone and the ROK’s Yu Myung-Hwan, Clinton stressed the importance of a “strong, unified approach to this threat to international peace and security,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.
4. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Test
Bloomberg News (“CHINA ‘DEMANDS’ NORTH KOREA RETURNS TO NUCLEAR TALKS”, 2009/05/26) reported that the PRC “strongly demands” that the DPRK keeps its promise of denuclearization and returns to six- party disarmament talks, the PRC foreign ministry said. The PRC “resolutely opposes” the DPRK’s nuclear test, which was conducted in defiance of international opposition, the foreign ministry said in a statement on its Web site today. The DPRK should cease actions that worsen the situation, the foreign ministry said. The PRC urges calm and for the issue to be resolved through dialogue, it said.
5. Russia on DPRK Nuclear Test
The Moscow Times (“KREMLIN SLAMS N. KOREA NUCLEAR TEST”, 2009/05/26) reported that the Kremlin condemned the DPRK’s decision to carry out a powerful underground nuclear test less than 200 kilometers from the border with Russia. “North Korea’s underground nuclear test in the region adjacent to the territory of the Russian Federation … causes deep regret and the most serious concern,” said President Dmitry Medvedev’s spokeswoman, Natalya Timakova. “We cannot describe the North Korean move other than as a breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1718, which prohibits Pyongyang from carrying out nuclear tests,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
6. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Test
Xinhua News (“S. KOREA SAYS DPRK’S NUCLEAR TEST A “SERIOUS THREAT””, 2009/05/26) reported that the DPRK’s nuclear test on Monday aroused serious concern in the ROK, prompting President Lee Myung-bak to say it is a “serious threat and a “challenge”. The National Defense Committee of the ROK’s National Assembly also adopted a resolution on Monday, which strongly condemned the DPRK and urged governments around the world to take prompt and stern countermeasures against the DPRK.
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA YET TO BE SEEN AS NUCLEAR WEAPONS STATE: S. KOREA “, 2009/05/26) reported that the ROK’s top defense official disputed the claim made by the DPRK on Monday that its “successful” second nuclear test helped consolidate its standing as a nuclear weapons state. “North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests, but it is difficult for South Korea and the United States to conclude from their intelligence that North Korea has clearly improved in terms of its possession of nuclear weapons,” ROK Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee said. The DPRK, “still will not be recognized as a nuclear state,” Lee said.
7. Inter-Korean Relations
Xinhua News (“S KOREA TO DISALLOW CIVILIANS TO VISIT DPRK FOR SAFETY REASONS”, 2009/05/26) reported that the ROK will prevent its civilians from visiting the DPRK, excluding the Kaesong Joint Complex, for safety reasons, starting from Tuesday, the nation’s unification ministry said. Unification ministry spokesperson Chun Hae-sung said, “Visits to the North (DPRK) will be banned for the time being due to safety concerns as the country has conducted a nuclear test.”
8. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Test
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN GOVERNMENT SETS UP CRISIS TASK FORCE AFTER N KOREA TEST”, Tokyo, 2009/05/26) reported that Japan’s government set up a task force in the office of Prime Minister Taro Aso after the DPRK staged a nuclear test, a spokeswoman in the premier’s office said.
Agence France-Presse (“N KOREA NUKE TEST “4 TIMES” POWER OF 2006 BLAST -JAPAN AGENCY”, Tokyo, 2009/05/26) reported that the DPRK’s nuclear test was believed to be four times more powerful than its first atomic test in 2006, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. “The seismic activity detected today was of magnitude 5.3, while that of the previous nuclear test was magnitude 4.9,” said Yasuo Sekita, an official of the Japanese agency which monitors both weather and seismic activity. “The impact of a tremor doubles for every 0.2 in magnitude,” he said, referring to the moment magnitude scale. “This means the energy level of today’s nuclear test was four times bigger than the last one.”
9. Japan Pre-emptive Strike Capability
Reuters (“JAPAN PANEL WANTS “FIRST STRIKES” AGAINST ENEMIES: REPORT”, Tokyo, 2009/05/26) reported that a Japanese ruling party panel is to propose that pre-emptive strikes against enemy bases be allowed despite the country’s pacifist constitution, Kyodo news agency said on Monday. ” Japan should have the ability to strike enemy bases within the scope of its defense-oriented policy, in order not to sit and wait for death,” Kyodo quoted the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) committee as saying in its proposal. The committee also plans to call for Japan to develop early-warning satellites to detect the launch of missiles toward the country, Kyodo said.
10. DPRK Missile Program
Kyodo News (“N. KOREA BANS VESSEL NAVIGATION ON COASTLINE NORTHWEST OF PYONGYANG: JCG “, Tokyo, 2009/03/26) reported that t he Japan Coast Guard said that DPRK has banned navigation by vessels in its territorial waters along its northwestern coast, a move that could suggest the DPRK is planning fresh short-range missile launches. A JCG patrol ship received a navigation warning Monday afternoon issued for vessels operating in areas about 100 kilometers northwest of Pyongyang. The warning is effective between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Monday to Wednesday.
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “N. KOREA LAUNCHES MISSILES AMID TENSION OVER NULCEAR TEST”, Seoul, 2009/05/26) reported that the DPRK fired a pair of short-range missiles Tuesday on its east coast, an ROK official said. “The North is continuing its saber-rattling,” the official said.
11. DPRK Leadership
DongA Ilbo (“`NK REVISES CONSTITUTION TO KEEP KIM JONG IL LEADER` “, 2009/05/26) reported that a Japanese daily said that the DPRK revised its constitution last month to keep Kim Jong Il as its supreme leader and give him more power. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said the DPRK constitution changed Kim’s duties from leadership of national military affairs to all affairs. In other words, the amendment clarifies Kim’s status as the supreme leader who controls not only the military but also the legislative, judicial and administrative branches. Pyongyang will also give more power to Kim by allowing the supreme leader to declare ratification and abolition of significant agreements, pardons and national emergencies.
12. DPRK Communications
The Associated Press (“NKOREA OPENS LIMITED INTERNET CELL PHONE SERVICE”, 2009/05/26) reported that the DPRK has begun limited Internet service for mobile phone users, a government Web site reported, months after launching an advanced network in cooperation with an Egyptian telecoms company. The service allows DPR Koreans to access a Web site through their phones to see news reports carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency as well as news about the capital Pyongyang, according to the government-run Uriminzokkiri Web site.
13. Japan Defense
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN TO RELAX ARMS EXPORT BAN: REPORT”, Tokyo, 2009/05/26) reported that Japan has decided to relax its self-imposed ban on arms exports to allow more joint development and production of weapons with other nations, a report said. The new measure would “enable shipments to countries with which Japan co-develops arms,” said the Nikkei newspaper without citing sources. “The move is aimed at reducing procurement costs and stimulating the domestic defence industry by promoting joint development and production of key arms, such as next-generation fighter jets, with the US and Europe,” it said.
14. Japan Politics
The Asahi Shimbun (“LDP TO CURB DIET SEAT SUCCESSION”, 2009/05/26) reported that looking to steal the thunder from a key opposition pledge, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is expected to curb “family transfers” of Diet seats starting with the next Lower House election, officials said. Under a reform plan, likely to be finalized soon, the LDP will not endorse relatives looking to take over the constituencies of retiring Diet members. That would bar the second son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi from gaining LDP endorsement in the next Lower House election, which must be held by September.
15. Japan – Italy Nuclear Cooperation
Dow Jones (“JAPAN INKS NUCLEAR PWR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION PACT WITH ITALY”, Tokyo, 2009/05/26) reported that Japan and Italy signed over the weekend a memorandum to cooperate in nuclear power development, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Monday. This is the sixth country METI has a nuclear cooperation memorandum with, the others being Jordan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Vietnam and the U.A.E. The memorandum with Italy will remain in effect for three years and can be renewed. Under it, Japan will cooperate with Italy in the education of experts and government policy making among other things, said the statement.
16. Sino-Japanese Swine Flu Cooperation
Kyodo News (“NORTHERN CHINESE CITY DONATES 100,000 FACE MASKS TO KOBE”, 2009/05/26) reported that the northern PRC city Tianjin is donating 100,000 disposable face masks to its sister-city Kobe to help it fight the outbreak of new-flu infections, PRC state media said. In a report on its website, Xinhua News Agency said the city had started an overnight drive to collect the masks after city councilors learnt about the Japanese city’s need. The masks, adorned with a PRC flag and a sticker that reads “Tianjin supports Kobe,” will be flown from Beijing later Friday, Xinhua said.
17. Sino-Indian Relations
DefenceIndia (“INDIA AIR FORCE CHIEF SAYS WARY OF CHINA’S MILITARY”, 2009/05/26) reported that India faces a greater threat from the PRC than Pakistan because New Delhi knows little about Beijing’s combat capabilities, India’s air force chief told a newspaper in an interview. It is the lack of knowledge about the PRC’s military that concerned Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major. “We know very little about the actual capabilities of China, their combat edge or how professional their military is,” Major told the Hindustan Times newspaper. “They are certainly a greater threat.”
18. Cross Strait Relations
The Associated Press (“TAIWAN AND CHINA RULING PARTIES FURTHER WARM TIES”, 2009/05/26) reported that the head of Taiwan’s ruling party promised to push ahead economic ties with the PRC during a visit meant to further the quickly warming relations between the once-rival governments. Nationalist Party chairman Wu Poh-hsiung arrived Monday in Beijing for talks with PRC President Hu Jintao and other Communist Party leaders, part of an accelerating dialogue that has markedly reduced tensions across the Taiwan Strait, a flash point for decades. On the agenda, Wu said, was an overall review of relations.
The Associated Press (“TAIWAN-CHINA BUSINESS TIES GROW AS BARRIERS FALL”, 2009/05/26) reported that the PRC and Taiwan are seeking new business ventures in each other’s territories like never before as investment and travel barriers fall between the once bitter enemies amid warmer political ties. Sharing a common language and similar cultures, Taiwanese and PRC companies are now discussing alliances across a wide array of sectors, including real estate, financial services and even winemaking.
19. PRC Economy
The Financial Times (Kathrin Hille , “CHINA’S STUDENTS PUT JOBS OVER DEMOCRACY”, 2009/05/26) reported that Zhang Hao first heard about the PRC’s 1989 student democracy movement when he was in high school. But now that he is a university student himself he is eager to declare that his views are worlds apart from the generation who gathered in Tiananmen Square to demand democracy. In online debates students spend most of their energy discussing corruption and patriotism. Their biggest personal concern is unemployment. The government estimates that up to 3m from the classes of 2008 and 2007 have yet to find a job, and another 6m will join them on the market next month. Today’s students view themselves as more mature in their approach to politics, the outside world and the PRC’s future.
20. PRC Environment
The Guardian (“‘WE HAVE TAKEN EVERY MEASURE WE CAN THINK OF TO STOP THE DESERT MOVING CLOSER AND SUBMERGING OUR CROPS AND VILLAGES'”, 2009/05/26) reported that dust storms hit his village in Gansu province more often than in the past. The water table is falling. Temperatures rise year by year. Millions of PRC eco-refugees who have been resettled because their home environments degraded to the point where they were no longer fit for human habitation. The government says more than 150 million people will have to be moved. Water shortages exacerbated by over-irrigation and climate change are the main cause. The problem is most severe in the north-west, where desert sands are swallowing up farmland, homes and towns.
21. PRC Energy
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA PLANS 440-BLN DLR STIMULUS FOR GREEN ENERGY”, Beijing, 2009/05/26) reported that the PRC is planning a stimulus package worth 440 billion dollars to expand its renewable energy use, state media said, as the country aims to rely more on cleaner ways to power its growth. The three trillion yuan (439.7 billion dollars) investment will see part of the focus on wind power, the Beijing Morning Post said, citing Liang Zhipeng, a State Energy Administration official. Under the plan, the PRC’s wind power capacity will reach over 100 gigawatts by 2020, the report said, more than triple a goal of 30 gigawatts announced in 2007 in a renewable energy development plan.
22. PRC Swine Flu Outbreak
Bloomberg News (“CHINA’S CONFIRMED SWINE FLU INFECTIONS INCREASE TO 11 “, 2009/05/26) reported that the PRC, the world’s most populous nation, confirmed its 10th and 11th swine flu infections in Shanghai and the eastern province of Zhejiang. The patient in Shanghai is a 30-year-old PRC man who arrived at the city’s Pudong International Airport on May 23 from Melbourne and was found to be running a fever, the Ministry of Health said today on its Web site. A 19-year-old student who returned to the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province from the U.S. on May 22 was also confirmed to have swine flu today, it said.
23. Mongolia Elections
The Financial Times (“OPPOSITION WINS PEACEFUL MONGOLIA POLL”, 2009/05/26) reported that Mongolia’s opposition party won a peaceful victory in the country’s presidential election after a tight race that many feared could spark riots like those that erupted after a close parliamentary election last July. The victory of Democratic Party candidate Tsakhiagiin Ebegdorj could help smooth tortuous negotiations between the government and foreign mining companies hoping to gain access to Mongolia’s rich mineral reserves, according to western mining executives. Mr Elbegdorj, a two-time prime minister, campaigned on an anti-corruption platform and has promised to share more of the country’s mining wealth with the Mongolian public.
II. PRC Report
24. PRC Civil Society
Shenzhen Business News (Liu Hongchen, “CHENZHEN ASSOCIATION OF SME PROMOTION RAISES 2.7 BLN IN TEN YEARS”, 2009/05/26) reported that Director of Shenzhen Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Promotion said at the Association’s 10 th anniversary held recently that in ten years, the Association has raised money over 2.7 billion RMB by various ways, and the number of enterprises got raised fund accounts for over a half of all the enterprise members.
25. PRC Civil Society and Education
Shanghai Government Website (“NEW LIFE FUND CONTRIBUTION CEREMONY HELD IN SHANGHAI”, 2009/05/26) reported that on the morning of May 24 th , Shanghai Charity Foundation held the “New Life Fund Contribution Ceremony” in Shanghai. 50 university or middle school students got scholarship of 2500 RMB per person. Director of New Life Group also donated materials worth of 5 million RMB to Shanghai Charity Foundation the same day.
26. PRC Energy
People’s Daily online (“CHINA BECOMES THE 4TH LARGEST WIND POWER GENERATION COUNTRY”, 2009/05/26) reported that at present, the cumulative installed capacity of China’s wind generation set has exceeded 12 million kw, and China has become the fourth largest wind power generation country in the world, after the United States, France, and Spain, sources with China’s Vice Chairman of China Science Association Lu Yanchang said at the 5 th China Energy Strategy High-level Forum on 22 nd.
III. ROK Report
27. DPRK Nuclear Program
Kyunghyang Shinmun (“DPRK’S 2ND NUCLEAR TEST THREATS THE KOREAN PENINSULA”, 2009/05/26) reported that DPRK’s real intention remains up to conjecture, but it is certain that DPRK is getting ready to negotiate with the US. The problem is the ROK’s countermove. Due to the tense political situation between North and South, there is less we can do compared to the first nuclear test in October 2006. However, if it is certain that DPRK wants conversations with the US, then there are things we can do. Although the government pledges sanctions on the DPRK through the UN Security Council, it remains only a pressure to DPRK. To solve the problem, wisdom and effort that overpowers UN Security Council sanctions are needed.
Joongang Ilbo (“SECURITY COUNTERMEASURES TO ‘DPRK’S NUCLEAR POWER’ URGENT”, 2009/05/26) reported that ‘DPRK as a nuclear power’ poses a grave threat to security. The US and the ROK need to strengthen their alliance to confront the DPRK. We must request President Obama to reconfirm American nuclear umbrellas at the ROK-US summit meeting next month. We cannot surrender to the DPRK’s nuclear power. We must develop and reserve feasible “carrots and sticks” plans and, at the same time, prepare for multilateral scenarios persuasive enough to move the DPRK in case they agree to negotiate.
Tongil News (“WHY DPRK RUSHED TO A 2ND NUCLEAR TEST? NUCLEAR TEST, “FOR THE US,” NONPROLIFERATION TREATY REVIEW CONFERENCE IN MIND”, 2009/05/25) reported that to the DPRK, nuclear weapons are fundamentally for the US. However, some point out that it’s going too fast. There are people who consider it with Obama administration’s recent decision to hold negotiations after the release of two captured journalists. The DPRK could have thought that conducting nuclear test before the trial for two journalists next month was more advantageous. They needed a safety valve for the nuclear test. Another analysis is related to Non Proliferation Treaty Review Conference to be held next May. They could have thought that becoming a “nuclear power” before the US finished its plan for “a new nuclear order” is strategically more beneficial in future negotiations.
PSPD (“DPRK’S NUCLEAR TEST CORNERS PEACE IN KOREAN PENINSULA AGAIN”, 2009/05/25) reported that ensuring peace and security through nuclear weapons and such weapons of mass destruction that are against humanity is illogical, and is no help in ensuring sustainable peace in the Korean Peninsula. It condemned the DPRK for violating the peninsula’s denuclearization declaration by conducting a nuclear test and worsening the vicious circle of military build-up in Northeast Asia due to increased uncertainty of peace in the Korean peninsula. The US and ROK must work harder, but the DPRK government needs to cooperate. The DPRK must no longer confront and hamper efforts to denuclearize and build peace on the Korean peninsula.