NAPSNet Daily Report 26 October, 2007
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. Alleged DPRK-Syrian Nuclear Cooperation
- 4. US Policy on the DPRK
- 5. Japan on US-DPRK Relations
- 6. DPRK on NLL Issue
- 7. US on ROK Role in Iraq
- 8. ROK Politics
- 9. Japan MSDF Indian Ocean Mission
- 10. US-PRC Trade Relations
- 11. Sino-Indian Relations
- 12. PRC Environment
- II. CanKor
- III. ROK Report
1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Reuters (Paul Eckert, “U.S. ENVOY PREDICTS END TO N.KOREA NUCLEAR THREAT “, Washington, 2007/10/25) reported that the US envoy to DPRK nuclear talks told Congress the DPRK’s uranium enrichment program no longer will be a threat by year’s end, and said the diplomatic normalization Pyongyang expects will happen only after full denuclearization. But U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill declined to comment on reports that a suspected Syrian nuclear site targeted in an Israeli air strike last month was constructed with DPRK help. Hill said the deal the DPRK agreed to was structured to prevent Pyongyang from getting rewards before compliance.
2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Reuters (Paul Eckert, “NORTH KOREA SAID UNABLE TO STALL ON NUCLEAR DEAL”, Washington, 2007/10/26) reported that the DPRK cannot afford to stall on or repudiate the six-party nuclear pact, as it has in the past with international agreements, the head of the ROK’s official unification think tank said. “Given the current unstable political and social situation in the North, a long transition period would not be helpful in any respect,” Rhee Bong-jo, president of the Korea Institute for National Unification said. “They need to speed up the process,” Rhee added.
3. Alleged DPRK-Syrian Nuclear Cooperation
The Associated Press (Lee Keath, “IMAGES SHOW SUSPICIOUS FACILITY IN SYRIA “, Cairo, 2007/10/25) reported that commercial satellite images show construction in Syria that resembles the early stages of a small DPRK-model nuclear reactor, a report said Wednesday, speculating that it was the site hit last month by an Israeli airstrike. The report was written by David Albright, a former U.N. nuclear inspector and now head of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, and researcher Paul Brannan. In Damascus, a Syrian Foreign Ministry official denied the satellite photos in the report showed a nuclear reactor.
4. US Policy on the DPRK
The New York Times (Mark Mazzetti And William J. Broad, “THE RIGHT CONFRONTS RICE OVER NORTH KOREA POLICY”, Washington, 2007/10/25) reported that a fight has erupted between conservatives on national security and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the Bush administration’s pursuit of diplomacy with the DPRK in the face of intelligence that the DPRK might have helped Syria begin construction on a nuclear reactor. The debate moved to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, when Ms. Rice had a tense private meeting with Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the senior Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Just days earlier, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen was the co-author of an opinion article questioning the White House approach, which offers incentives to the DPRK to dismantle its nuclear program.
5. Japan on US-DPRK Relations
Agence France-Presse (Giles Campion, “JAPAN WARNS US OVER NORTH KOREA “, Tokyo, 2007/10/24) reported that a senior Japanese official has warned the US that relations will suffer if Washington removes the DPRK from a list of terrorist states, amid stepped up efforts to end Pyongyang’s nuclear drive. Relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang remain tense in part because of the communist state’s kidnappings of Japanese civilians, an issue that arouses deep emotion here. “If the US moves while completely ignoring the abduction issue, you can expect that relations between Japan and the United States will not improve,” Kyoko Nakayama, special adviser to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on the kidnappings.
Washington Post (Glenn Kessler, “ENVOY WARNS OF NKOREA DEAL FALLOUT”, Washington, 2007/10/26) reported that US Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer sent President George W. Bush a cable warning that portions of the pending nuclear deal with the DPRK could harm relations with Japan. He also complained that the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo had been left in the dark while the deal was negotiated by top State Department officials.
6. DPRK on NLL Issue
Yonhap (“N. KOREA COMMITTED TO CREATING PEACE ZONE IN WEST SEA, BUT REJECTS CURRENT SEA BORDER: REPORT”, Seoul, 2007/10/25) reported that the DPRK is committed to easing inter-Korean military tension in the West Sea by creating a peace zone, but insists that a disputed sea border line be redrawn, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper published in Japan said. “A situation to reach a peaceful resolution is gradually being built … North Korea is firmly committed to its intention of making the West Sea a sea of peace,” said the Choson Sinbo. With the NLL largely seen as the cause of conflicts, the newspaper reiterated the DPRK’s claim that the border line should be redrawn farther south.
7. US on ROK Role in Iraq
Chosun Ilbo (“U.S. WELCOMES EXTENSION OF IRAQ TROOP MANDATE”, 2007/10/25) reported that the US welcomed Korea’s decision to extend the stay of ROK troops in Iraq. “We appreciate the fact that they are going to be committed to helping the Iraqis build a different kind of Iraq,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a press briefing. “We are grateful to South Korea for their contributions in the past and going forward.” U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow also hailed the decision to extend their mandate, saying the ROK’s dispatch of the Zaytun Unit to Irbil, northern Iraq was an “important symbol of Korea-U.S. alliance.”
8. ROK Politics
Joongang Ilbo (Lee Min-a , “EX-BUSINESS PARTNER OF LEE TO RETURN HERE NEXT MONTH”, 2007/10/25) reported that a hearing with the potential to embarrass presidential front-runner Lee Myung-bak is still on track before the election in December, as a US court yesterday denied Lee’s motion to keep a former business partner facing criminal charges in Los Angeles. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision means that Kim Gyeong-jun, currently in detention, is likely to arrive in the ROK in late November. The United New Democratic Party has voted to hold a hearing after Kim returns. The party wants Kim to testify about alleged irregularities involving the now-defunct firm BBK.
9. Japan MSDF Indian Ocean Mission
The Asahi Shimbun (“AGENCY CONTROVERSY THROTTLES DEBATE ON MSDF BILL”, 2007/10/25) reported that the Diet began deliberating a bill Tuesday to continue the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s refueling mission in the Indian Ocean–even as controversy threatens to dog the proceedings. The government wants to pass the legislation in the current extraordinary Diet session. However, the opposition parties will focus on the cover-up by then Defense Agency officers in spring 2003 of wrong data concerning the volume of fuel that was provided to U.S. Navy ships.
10. US-PRC Trade Relations
Reuters (Paul Eckert, “U.S. URGES CHINESE TRANSPARENCY ON IMPORT SAFETY “, Washington, 2007/10/25) reported that the PRC needs to deal with trade partners’ product safety concerns more transparently, the top US import safety official said. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, head of an interagency panel charged with tightening US import safety measures, said Washington was committed to working with Beijing to meet three major product safety challenges. “China must deal with these concerns in a head-on and transparent way to preserve the made-in-China brand,” he told a conference on US-PRC economic and security ties.
11. Sino-Indian Relations
Agence France-Presse (“INDIA’S SONIA GANDHI BEGINS CHINA VISIT “, 2007/10/25) reported that India’s ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi began a five-day visit to the PRC on Thursday, the latest sign of improving relations between the world’s two most populous nations. Gandhi is scheduled to meet with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao at the invitation of the Chinese Communist Party, a high-profile honour that is normally reserved for heads of state.
12. PRC Environment
The Associated Press (“UN SAYS BEIJING’S FOUL AIR IS A PROBLEM, BUT IOC SAYS EVENTS WILL STAY”, Beijing, 2007/10/25) reported that the International Olympic Committee says the foul air in Beijing will not mean a shift of any events away from the PRC’s capital during next year’s games. But the IOC and the United Nations cite pollution as a major concern. In an overall positive assessment of Beijing’s preparations, an IOC inspection team said air quality was a leading concern and that it was monitoring the situation day-to-day.
13. Report # 295
CanKor (“OPINION: Dissecting the Korean summit”, 2007/10/25)
A number of loyal CanKor readers have been busy authoring insightful commentaries on the results of the inter-Korean Summit of 2-4 October. This issue of CanKor is devoted to “Dissecting the Korean summit”. Without further comment, we present here four OPINION pieces: “North Korea-South Korea Relations: Summit Success?” by Aidan Foster-Carter, “Balancing the North-South Economic Agenda With Multilateral Engagement” by Brad Babson, “Economic Implications of the Summit Agreement” by Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland, and “North-South Summit: Potential Pitfalls Ahead?” by Ralph Cossa.
CanKor (“”, 2007/10/25)
“I look forward to receiving the regular CanKor notices via email. They truly are a wealth of information well worth reading and sharing with others.”
Rev. Daniel Dong-Sung KIM, School of Divinity, New College, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
III. ROK Report
14. DPRK-US Relations
Yonhap (Sin Yu-ri, “DPRK’S MEDICAL TEAM VISITS US”, Seoul, 2007/10/26) reported that 7 members of DPRK’s health system, including a doctor, will visit the US on Oct. 27 and meet with medical practitioners of Houston, according to Minjok Tongshin, an organization of Koreans living in the US. The delegation will have a goodwill forum with a medical college of Rice University and make an inspection of University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Heart Research Center in Texas. Minjok Tongshin reported that their training in US will be led by Malcolm Gillis, who is a former president of Rice University. “Gillis is making the utmost efforts to make that program an important starting point of a private education and economic exchange between the DPRK and US beyond the medical level”, said Goo Gi-bun, who is a vice-chairman of the Federation of Koreans living in the Central and South US. [Ed. Note: An attempt to access Minjok Tonshin’s website (www.minjok.com) found that it is blocked in the ROK by the Korean Commission for Internet Safety as an “illegal site.” The Nautilus Institute has previously published articles by Minjok Tongshin’s senior advisor, Hwal-Woong Lee, a former ROK Foreign Service officer: http://nautilus.org/fora/security/0005F_Lee.html The Korean Internet Safety Commission can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 82-2-3415-0112]
15. ROK-DPRK Relations
Yonhap (Lee Jung-jin, “TWO KOREAS AGREE TO HOLD PRIME MINISTERIAL MEETING ON NOV. 14-16: OFFICIALS “, Seoul, 2007/10/26) reported that prime ministerial meetings agreed to during the ROK-DPRK summit will be held Nov. 14-16 in Seoul to discuss ways on easing tensions and boosting inter-Korean economic cooperation. Each delegation will have seven members, and the DPRK’s delegation will visit Seoul on a direct line through the West Sea.
16. DPRK’s Party Conference
Joongang Ilbo (“DPRK, THE CONVOCATION OF EVERY KEY MEMBERS OF THE WORKERS PARTY AFTER 10 YEARS’ ABSENCE “, Pyongyang, 2007/10/26) reported that the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that the DPRK held a National Party Cell Secretaries Meeting on a nationwide scale for the first time in 10 years on Oct. 26. A party cell is the most basic organization and a party cell secretary is the person in charge of the party cell. Rodong Sinmun, the DPRK Workers’ Party organ, reported that this conference will sum up results and experiences of the party cells during the last 10 years and discuss tasks to strengthen them. This conference is given attention due to its timing, which suggests the recent change of the DPRK’s domestic and foreign situations is seen as a turning point.