NAPSNet Daily Report 26 May, 2010

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 26 May, 2010", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 26, 2010,

NAPSNet Daily Report 26 May, 2010

Contents in this Issue:

Preceding NAPSNet Report



1. Inter-Korea Relations

Reuters (“NORTH KOREA CUTS TIES WITH SOUTH”, 2010/05/25) reported that the DPRK said Tuesday it was severing all ties with the ROK. “The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea …. formally declares that from now on it will put into force the resolute measures to totally freeze the inter-Korean relations, totally abrogate the agreement on non-aggression between the north and the south and completely halt the inter-Korean cooperation,” the DPRK’s KCNA news agency reported. It will also expel personnel from the Kaesong industrial park. But it was not immediately clear what impact that would have on factories operating there.

Post Chronicle (“NORTH KOREA CUTTING TIES WAS EXPECTED: SOUTH KOREAN ENVOY”, 2010/05/25) reported that the DPRK’s decision on Tuesday to sever all ties with the ROK was largely expected, the ROK’s envoy to the United States said, as Seoul renewed calls for the DPRK to apologize for torpedoing its warship. “Those things are somewhat expected … What is important is that North Korea should apologize and they should penalize the person who is responsible for this,” Ambassador Han Duk-soo told Reuters.

Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “NKOREA THREATENS TO BAN BORDER TRAFFIC”, Seoul, 2010/05/26) reported that on Wednesday, the DPRK cut off some cross-border communication links and expelled eight ROK government officials from the Kaesong joint factory park, the ROK Unification Ministry said. The DPRK military also issued a statement warning it would “totally ban” the passage of ROK personnel and vehicles to an inter-Korean zone in the western coastal area if the ROK does not stop its psychological warfare. The statement said it would shoot at and “blow up” any loudspeakers the ROK installs at the border. “The South Korean puppet warlike forces would be well advised to act with discretion, bearing deep in mind that such measures of the Korean People’s Army will not end in an empty talk,” said the statement, carried by the Korean Central News Agency . Despite the rhetoric, the DPRK still allowed ROK workers to cross the border to enter the Kaesong complex Wednesday, according to the Unification Ministry.

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2. DPRK Response to Naval Ship Sinking

Reuters (“NORTH KOREA THREATENS MILITARY ACTION IN DISPUTED WATERS”, 2010/05/25) reported that the DPRK on Tuesday threatened military action if the ROK continued to violate its waters off the west coast . “Should the South side’s intrusions into the territorial waters of our side continue, the DPRK will put into force practical military measures to defend its waters as it had already clarified and the south side will be held fully accountable for all the ensuing consequences,” the DPRK’s KCNA news agency quoted a senior official as saying.

Reuters (“NORTH KOREA READY TO FIGHT IF ATTACKED: REPORT”, 2010/05/25) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il has told his military it may have to go to war but only if the ROK attacks first, according to a ROK-based group that monitors the hermit state. However, the group of DPRK defectors’ website said the broadcast was made on May 20, before the ROK announced a series of measures to punish its neighbor for sinking one of its warships in March. “We do not hope for war but if South Korea, with the U.S. and Japan on its back, tries to attack us, Kim Jong-il has ordered us to finish the task of unification left undone during the … (Korean) war,” it quoted the broadcast as saying.

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3. ROK Response to Naval Ship Sinking

Yonhap News (“S. KOREA TO PRESS N. KOREA UNTIL PYONGYANG CHANGES BEHAVIOR: MINISTER”, 2010/05/25) reported that the ROK will press the DPRK until the communist state reverses its provocative behavior against Seoul, Unification Minister Hyun In-taek said in a speech on Tuesday. Hyun expressed confidence that the measures will make the DPRK conform to the sort of behavior that Seoul desires from it, saying his government has a “strong resolve” to carry them out. “Inter-Korean relations cannot be the same after the sinking of the Cheonan,” Hyun said. “Such a tragedy may happen again if North Korea’s wrong behavior is not corrected.”

Yonhap (Sam Kim, “S. KOREA TO CONTINUE PUNISHING N. KOREA DESPITE THREATS: OFFICIAL”, Seoul, 2010/05/26) reported that the ROK will continue to carry out its retaliatory measures against the DPRK despite Pyongyang’s announcement that it will sever all ties with Seoul, Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung here said Wednesday. Chun also said in a briefing that Pyongyang notified the ROK it was cutting off its hotline at Panmunjom as well as their maritime communication links. “Even though the North should apologize and prosecute those responsible (for the sinking,) it has again taken measures undermining inter-Korean relations,” Chun said. “The South will deal with these North Korean threats unwaveringly and sternly.”

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4. US on Naval Ship Sinking

Kyodo News (“U.S. CALLS ON N. KOREA TO STOP BELLIGERENT BEHAVIOR”, 2010/05/25) reported that the White House on Tuesday criticized the DPRK ‘s severing of ties with the ROK , calling on the country to make transparent the circumstances of the March 26 torpedo attack on a ROK warship. “North Korea should come forward with the facts regarding the attack on the Cheonan and, most importantly, stop its belligerent and threatening behavior, which only serves to further isolate North Korea and its people,” U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Benjamin Chang said.

Associated Press (Matthew Lee, “CLINTON: WORLD MUST ACT ON SKOREAN SHIP SINKING”, Seoul, 2010/05/26) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday the world must respond to sinking of an ROK  warship . “This was an unacceptable provocation by North Korea and the international community has a responsibility and a duty to respond,” Clinton told reporters after talks with ROK leaders. Clinton said the United States would be consulting with the ROK and members of the U.N. Security Council on what the appropriate action would be, but she declined to offer a timeline for action. “We’re very confident in the South Korean leadership, and their decision about how and when to move forward is one that we respect and will support,” she said. “I believe that the Chinese understand the seriousness of this issue and are willing to listen to the concerns expressed by both South Korea and the United States,” she said Wednesday. “We expect to be working with China as we move forward in fashioning a response.”

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5. Russia on Naval Ship Sinking

Yonhap News (“RUSSIA PROMISES ‘CLOSE CONSULTATION’ WITH S. KOREA IN PUNISHING N. KOREA”, 2010/05/25) reported that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev promised on Tuesday “close consultations” with the ROK in its punitive steps against the DPRK for its attack on a ROK warship in March, officials here said. In his 20-minute telephone conversation with President Lee Myung-bak, Medvedev said Russia will “try to send a right signal to North Korea while securing the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula,” according to Lee’s spokeswoman, Kim Eun-hye. The Russian leader told Lee that he “well understands” the ROK’s response.  

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6. Japan on Naval Ship Sinking

Kyodo News (“JAPAN MAY RESTRICT REENTRY BY PRO-N. KOREA GROUP MEMBERS”, 2010/05/25) reported that the Japanese government may restrict reentry into Japan by key members of a pro-DPRK group based in Japan as part of additional sanctions that would follow the deadly sinking of a ROK warship in March, government sources said Tuesday. Those who may be added to the checklist are about 20 members of the decision-making body of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, also known as Chongryon, the sources said, adding the move is intended to prevent the Chongryon leadership from contacting DPRK authorities.

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7. PRC on Naval Ship Sinking

New York Daily News (“LITTLE PROGRESS ON KOREA DISPUTE IN CHINA TALKS”, 2010/05/25) reported that the United States made little progress on winning the PRC’s backing for international measures against the DPRK over the sinking of a ROK warship. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the PRC would take “a period of careful consideration in order to determine the best way forward in dealing with North Korea as a result of this incident,” suggesting there was no immediate prospect of a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the attack.    

Yonhap News (“CHINESE POSITION UNCLEAR OVER SUNKEN SHIP: OFFICIAL”, 2010/05/25) reported that the ROK sought to convince the PRC Tuesday that the international community cannot overlook the DPRK’s deadly sinking of a ROK warship, but a senior envoy from Beijing gave no clear response, an official said. On Tuesday, Wu Dawei, the PRC’s special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, held talks in Seoul with ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and chief nuclear envoy, Wi Sung-lac. “The Chinese position still appears to be unclear,” a foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. “What the Chinese side mainly emphasized was stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “CHINA WEIGHING EVIDENCE IN SKOREA SHIP SINKING”, Beijing, 2010/05/26) reported that the PRC Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it was still weighing the evidence over the sinking of the Cheonan. Vice Foreign Ministry Zhang Zhijun said Beijing regards the sinking as “extremely complicated,” but added the PRC has no firsthand information about the cause. “China is carefully and prudently studying and examining the information from all sides,” Zhang told reporters at a briefing. “We hold that dialogue is better than confrontation, and relaxation is better than tension,” Zhang said.

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8. Taiwan on Naval Ship Sinking

Taipei Times (“CONCERTED ACTION NEEDED OVER KOREAN TENSIONS: MOFA”, 2010/05/25) reported that the Taiwan government yesterday called for concerted action from the international community to reduce tensions between the two Koreas. Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang said Taiwan would ally itself with the international community. “As one of the countries in East Asia, we expressed our concerns about the matter on one hand. On the other hand, when the situation escalates to a serious extent, every member of the international community should act in a concerted manner,” Yang said. The ministry issued a statement last night, the government’s first response to last Thursday’s findings of an international investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan. The nation was gravely concerned over the incident and urged both parties to exercise restraint, the ministry statement said.

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9. DPRK Internal Situation

Washington Post Foreign Service (“AMID TENSIONS ON KOREAN PENINSULA, PATTERNS REVEALED IN KIM’S BEHAVIOR”, 2010/05/25) reported that there are revealing patterns in Kim Jong Il’s behavior and how it is sold to his isolated people.   The DPRK’s internal propaganda machine uses Kim’s defiance of the outside world to whip up nationalist fervor and to distract DPRK citizens from the increasingly grim circumstances of their daily lives. “The Kim Jong Il regime has no source of mass support except public pride in military strength,” said B.R. Myers, director of the international studies department at Dongseo University in Busan. “Acts of aggression are built into the North Korean system.”  Myers has found that confrontations with the outside world, especially when they involve the United States, are used to legitimize Kim’s dictatorial authority and explain away chronic poverty.

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10. DPRK Illicit Activities

Washington Times (“NORTH KOREA ELITE LINKED TO CRIME”, 2010/05/25) reported that a group of offspring of senior DPRK communist and military leaders, including Kim Jong-il’s sons, have been linked by Western intelligence authorities to Pyongyang’s illicit activities around the world, including distribution of counterfeit $100 bills and drug trafficking. The unofficial group, known as “Ponghwajo” (“Torch Group”), is led by Oh Se-wan, the son of a senior leader in the DPRK’s National Defense Commission. The group, which operated internationally and inside the DPRK until at least 2005, was disclosed as the United States, ROK and other nations are set to step up pressure on the DPRK.

JoongAng Ilbo (“SPY FOR NORTH SOLD DRUGS TO FUND MINISTRY”, 2010/05/25) reported that the spy arrested in April for trying to kidnap DPRK defectors in the PRC was doing double duty, smuggling methamphetamine into the ROK in order to raise operational funds for the DPRK’s Ministry of People’s Security, according to prosecutors here. “Until now, we hadn’t been able to confirm reports by North Korean defectors here that the North was sending spies selling drugs,” Oh Se-in, a prosecutor at the Seoul prosecutors’ office, said yesterday. “This is the first time that evidence has surfaced that the security ministry of North Korea is directly involved in producing and selling drugs.” Thirty percent of the money was to go to the DPRK’s ruling Workers Party, while the rest was to be used as operational funds for the People’s Security Ministry.

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11. ROK Politics

Korea Times (“N. KOREA EFFECT OUTWEIGHS ROH EFFECT: POLL”, 2010/05/25) reported that poll results made public Tuesday showed that the gap between incumbents running in the June 2 local elections in three election battlegrounds and their rivals has widened over the past two weeks. The Hankook Ilbo newspaper survey of Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province showed those who agreed with a multinational investigation team, which concluded that the DPRK torpedoed the ROK frigate Cheonan in March, far outnumbered those who were suspicious of the findings. These two factors – the widening gap between the frontrunners and their rivals, and people’s sweeping support for the findings of the cause of the ship sinking – indicate that the “North Korea effect” has been stronger than the late “Roh Moo-hyun effect” in the campaigns.

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12. ROK Military

Yonhap News (“S. KOREA TO REDEFINE N. KOREA AS ‘MAIN ENEMY'”, 2010/05/25) reported that President Lee Myung-bak said Tuesday the ROK military needs to articulate who its main adversary is, giving indications that Seoul will put the label back on the DPRK. “Our military failed to clarify the notion of the main enemy for the past ten years,” Lee said at a meeting with senior opinion leaders including former prime ministers and National Assembly speakers. ROK troops “have ignored threats under their feet and focused on potential threats outside of the Korean Peninsula,” Lee was quoted as saying. “As President Lee pointed out that the main enemy notion has not been clarified, from now on (the government) will review how to discuss the issue and put it in writing,” a spokeswoman said, adding an update of Seoul’s defense white paper will be published in the latter half of this year.

Chosun Ilbo (“NO CHANGE IN MILITARY ALERT SINCE CHEONAN SINKING “, 2010/05/25) reported that the military has not raised the alert level since the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan on March 26, despite a government announcement of tough sanctions against the DPRK and a DPRK threat of “all-out war.” A military spokesman said, “There seems to be a gap between what public and the military perceive as emergencies.”   The Defense Ministry on Monday said the military alert has remained same as before the sinking, with the defense condition (Defcon) at level 4 and the watch condition (Watchcon) at level 3. “There has been no change in our military alertness against North Korea,” a Defense Ministry spokesman said. “We are not taking any special measures as no unusual signs of military action by North Korea have been detected.” But the National Police Agency declared the second-highest alert for all officers nationwide as of 6 p.m. last Friday, citing increased possibility of DPRK provocations.

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13. ROK Military Procurements

Korea Times (“NAVY LOOKING FOR 20 NEW ANTI-SUB HELICOPTERS BY 2014”, 2010/05/25) reported that the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) will open bidding for the procurement of new helicopters for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and naval operations in coming months, a military source said Tuesday. The timeline for the project, which was originally scheduled to begin next year, has been advanced as part of efforts to bolster the country’s coastal defenses against DPRK incursions, the source said on condition of anonymity.

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14. ROK-US Military Cooperation

Yonhap (“U.S. TO ASSUME SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN NAVAL DRILLS AGAINST NORTH”, 2010/05/25) reported that the U.S. navy pledged Tuesday to take on a significant role in planned joint naval drills with the ROK, one of the anti-DPRK measures Seoul will undertake following the deadly sinking of a warship in March. The navies of the two countries will also cooperate closely in Seoul’s military response to the sinking, the ROK Navy said in a statement. Rear Adm. Peter Gumataotao, commander of the U.S. navy in the ROK, was quoted as saying the U.S will assume a role to support the ROK’s measures against the DPRK.

Donga Ilbo (“RESUMPTION OF `TEAM SPIRIT` DRILL MULLED”, 2010/05/25) reported that the resumption of a massive ROK-U.S. military drill similar to Team Spirit is under consideration due to the DPRK’s sinking of the ROK naval ship Cheonan. Team Spirit was halted in 1992. A military official in Seoul said Tuesday, “As part of military countermeasures against North Korea, we are reviewing resuming joint military drills with the U.S. similar to Team Sprit at a working level,” adding, “Watching how North Korea responds, we will make a final decision through talks with the U.S.”

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15. ROK-UAE Nuclear Cooperation

Xinhua News Agency (“S.KOREA, UAE SIGN NUCLEAR REGULATORY PACT”, 2010/05/25) reported that the ROK and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday settled a nuclear pact on safety guidelines for reactors to be build in the Middle East, government officials said. According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the deal was signed in Seoul between Vice Science Minister Kim Jung-hyun and Hamad Al Kaabi, the UAE’s nuclear ambassador. The latest nuclear safety pact is a supplementary deal to their previous agreement reached last year to build four 1,400 megawatt reactors in the Middle East country by 2020. “The pact calls for Seoul and Abu Dhabi to share and check safety requirements, technologies and regulations related to the construction of the reactors in the coming years,” an official at the ministry was quoted as saying.

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16. USFJ Base Relocation

Agence France Presse (“JAPAN PM’S COALITION STRAINED BY US BASE DEAL”, 2010/05/25) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama faced a fresh political headache Tuesday when a left-leaning coalition partner attacked his plan to allow a US airbase to be relocated within Okinawa island. Social Democrat leader Mizuho Fukushima, who has threatened to leave the ruling coalition over the contentious issue, visited the southern island and demanded that the unpopular airbase be moved off Okinawa instead. “Building a new base means there won’t be any reduction of the burden for the people of Okinawa,” Fukushima, the state minister in charge of consumer affairs, said.

Kyodo (“GOV’T PLANNING NOT TO SPECIFY FUTENMA RELOCATION SITE THIS WEEK”, Tokyo, 2010/05/26) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is planning not to specify where the Futenma Air Base will be moved to when he sets a course for its relocation within Okinawa later this week, government sources said Wednesday.  Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano briefed the Social Democratic Party (SDP) on the latest plan Wednesday afternoon. During the meeting, Hirano told the SDP that the government is giving ”due consideration” to the concerns of the party, SDP Secretary General Yasumasa Shigeno told reporters. Shigeno indicated that the SDP will stay in the governing coalition after hearing from Hirano that the relocation plan will not likely be finalized ”until August or after.” “I will continue consultations” with the SDP, Hatoyama told reporters outside of his residence prior to the meeting. ”I think the coalition (government) will be maintained steadily.”

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17. Japan Politics

Kyodo News (“JAPAN TO ENHANCE DISCLOSURE SYSTEM OF DIPLOMATIC RECORDS”, 2010/05/25) reported that the Japanese government enforced on Tuesday a set of new rules to enhance the disclosure of diplomatic papers, following a scandal over the so-called Japan-U.S. secret pact on the introduction of nuclear weapons in which key documents are suspected to have been discarded. Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada instructed the Foreign Ministry to implement the new rules which he said would “remarkably” increase the volume of diplomatic records to be released to the public after 30 years of secrecy. Under the new rules, portions in documents to remain classified “should be kept to the minimum necessary” and a panel involving a politician and academics will be newly set up to examine whether to disclose those papers.

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18. Japan Climate Change

Kyodo News (“JAPAN TO CONTRIBUTE $25 MIL. MORE TO BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION FUND”, 2010/05/25) reported that the Japanese government has decided to contribute an additional $25 million to the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund that helps conserve biodiversity hotspots mainly in developing countries, CEPF sources said Tuesday. The decision demonstrates Japan’s ambition to help conserve biodiversity in developing countries before the nation hosts the 10th conference of parties to the biodiversity treaty in Nagoya in October. “Japan is making an important contribution toward the conference that will be required to enhance international efforts to conserve biodiversity,” a CEPF source said.

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19. PRC Military

Washington Times (“TAIWAN ISSUE SPURS CHINA BUILD UP MISSILE FORCES”, 2010/05/25) reported that the PRC’s rapid development of ballistic and cruise missile forces is altering the balance of power in Asia and threatens U.S. forces in a conflict over Taiwan and beyond, according to a forthcoming report. “Driven in large measure by a Taiwan scenario, China’s capacity to conduct a successful aerospace campaign to quickly gain a decisive advantage in the air is growing faster than the defenses that its neighbors, including Taiwan, Japan, perhaps India, and even U.S. forces operating in the Western Pacific, can field,” stated the report by the Project 2049 Institute, a private research institute, that highlighted “significant advances” in PRC air and missile power. The PRC’s long range precision-strike weapons, such as sophisticated conventional ballistic and ground-launched cruise missiles, are “altering the strategic landscape,” the report said.

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20. Sino-US Military Relations

Financial Times (“US FEARS CHINESE AGGRESSION IN PACIFIC”, 2010/05/25) reported that the commander of US forces in the Pacific has warned that the PRC’s military is asserting the country’s territorial claims in regional waters more aggressively. “There has been an assertiveness that has been growing over time, particularly in the South China Sea and in the East China Sea,” Admiral Robert Willard said. He said the PRC’s extensive claims to islands and waters in the region were “generating increasing concern broadly across the region and require address”. Admiral Willard said the US viewed the PRC’s growing influence in Asia as positive. But Beijing needed to be more transparent, not only with the US but also with its neighbours, about the part of the PLA’s capabilities that could be viewed as aggressive.

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21. Sino-US Relations

Agence France Presse (“CHINA, US CLAIM PROGRESS, AGREE TO WORK ON N.KOREA”, 2010/05/25) reported that the United States and the PRC Tuesday wrapped up two days of key talks on a positive note, with Washington signalling progress on economic issues and Beijing agreeing to work to bring the DPRK to heel. PRC President Hu Jintao said the two sides had had a “candid and in-depth exchange of views”, while Clinton called the dialogue “very productive”. The two sides signed several cooperation agreements on clean energy, nuclear reactor safety , customs and border protection, and student exchanges. They also pledged to continue a dialogue on human rights revived earlier this month after a two-year hiatus, work more closely together to prevent the trafficking of nuclear materials and jointly tackle climate change.

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22. Sino-India Relations

Sify News (“INDIA EXAMINING CHINA-PAKISTAN NUKE DEAL, LEAVES IT TO NSG”, 2010/05/25) reported that India on Tuesday said it was closely examining reports of the PRC selling two nuclear reactors to Pakistan to see if the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines had been applied to the deal.   ‘We are alert to these reports. We are fully aware of what has been announced. These reports say that cooperation is ostensibly for peaceful purposes and one within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards,’ Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters here. ‘We have to see what is the outcome. This matter has to be discussed by the NSG. This matter is under examination. The result of this examination will reveal whether the NSG guidelines have been applied in this case,’ she said.

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II. PRC Report

23. PRC Civil Society

Jinghua Times (“BEIJING COMMUNITY ESTABLISHES ADOLESCENCE EDUCATION BASE”, 2010/05/25) reported that Beijing’s first Community Adolescence Education Base was set up in Xicheng District Experimental School Monday. The Base will provide free physical and mental health counseling to students in nearby schools.

Tibet Daily (“NOURISHMENT DONATED TO ELDER PEOPLE IN TIBET”, 2010/05/25) reported that China Soong Chingling Foundation and Hangzhou Minsheng Prarma Co. recently donated food worth over 2.7 million RMB to the Tibet Department of Civil Affairs, to care for the elderly in Tibet.

Jing News (“SHENZHEN TO ENLARGE NGO SEAT”, 2010/05/25) reported that Shenzhen government has issued several policies to support the develop of social organizations, including the enlargement of NGO’s representation in the Shenzhen party, the People’s Congress, and in the Political Consultative Conference.