NAPSNet Daily Report 27 January, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. Possible DPRK Missile Test
- 2. US on DPRK Missile Test
- 3. Inter-Korean Naval Clashes
- 4. DPRK on Six-Party Talks
- 5. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 6. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 7. Inter-Korean Relations
- 8. DPRK Economy
- 9. DPRK Defection
- 10. ROK Nuclear Reprocessing
- 11. ROK-Japan Relations
- 12. USFJ Base Relocation
- 13. Japan-US Security Alliance
- 14. Japan Environment
- 15. Japan Energy Supply
- 16. Japan on Climate Change
- 17. Sino-Indian Relations
- 18. Cross-Strait Relations
- 19. PRC Tibet Issue
- 20. PRC Peacemaking Operations
- 21. PRC Government
- 22. PRC Energy Supply
- 23. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 24. PRC Security
- II. PRC Report
1. Possible DPRK Missile Test
Agence France-Presse (“N.KOREA DECLARES ‘NO SAIL’ ZONE IN WEST: MILITARY”, 2010/01/26) reports that the DPRK has announced a shipping exclusion zone off part of its west coast, an ROK military official said Tuesday, a move which in the past has sometimes preceded missile test-launches. The official confirmed to AFP that the DPRK had banned shipping from an area in the Yellow Sea but gave no details. Yonhap news agency said Seoul was watching to see if there were any preparations for a missile launch.
2. US on DPRK Missile Test
Yonhap News (Hwang Doo-hyong, “U.S. URGES KOREAS TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT OVER NO-SAIL ZONE: STATE DEPT.”, 2010/01/26) reported that the United States called on both Koreas to remain calm amid reports that the ROK military is on high alert over the DPRK’s announcement of a no-sail zone along the disputed western sea border. “We’ve heard that notice,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said. “I think we’re looking into it just to determine precisely what might be behind it. But obviously, you know, in any kind of declaration like that, we would encourage restraint on both sides.”
3. Inter-Korean Naval Clashes
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “NKOREA, SKOREA EXCHANGE FIRE NEAR DISPUTED BORDER”, Seoul, 2010/01/27) reported that the DPRK fired artillery rounds toward its disputed sea border with the ROK on Wednesday, prompting a barrage of warning shots from the ROK military. No casualties or damage were reported, and analysts said the volley — which the DPRK announced was part of a military drill — was likely a move by Pyongyang to highlight the need for a peace treaty . The DPRK fired about 30 artillery rounds into the sea from its and the ROK immediately responded with 100 shots from a marine base on an island near the sea border, an officer at the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said. The DPRK said it would continue to fire rounds. He said the DPRK artillery fire landed in its own waters while the ROK fired into the air.
4. DPRK on Six-Party Talks
Bloomberg (Sungwoo Park, “NORTH KOREA URGES LIFTING OF UN SANCTIONS BEFORE 6-PARTY TALKS”, 2010/01/26) reports that the DPRK reiterated that it is unwilling to return to multilateral nuclear disarmament talks while the country is subject to United Nations sanctions. Rejoining six-party talks discussions before sanctions are lifted would put the country in the position of a defendant in front of a judge, the state-run Korea Central News Agency reported, citing a commentary in the Minju Joson.
5. Sino-DPRK Relations
Xinhua News (“SENIOR DPRK OFFICIAL SEES STRONGER DPRK-CHINA FRIENDSHIP”, 2010/01/26) reported that the DPRK would continue to develop and consolidate the friendship with the PRC, a senior DPRK official said. Choe Thae Bok, secretary of the Workers’ Party central committee, told outgoing PRC Ambassador Liu Xiaoming the traditional friendship was established by the elder revolutionary generation of the two countries and the DPRK-PRC friendship was a “common treasure” to the two peoples. DPRK and PRC had held a series of activities last year to celebrate DPRK-PRC friendship year, Choe said.
6. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Xinhua News (“S. KOREA TO PROVIDE A/H1N1 VACCINES FOR KAESONG WORKERS”, Seoul, 2010/01/26) reported that the ROK will start providing vaccinations for the A/H1N1 influenza to DPRK workers at the inter-Korean industrial park of Kaesong, local media reported. The vaccination will be given to some 1,500 workers at the complex starting Wednesday in the border town of Kaesong, with plans to expand it to 40,000 DPRK workers in the coming weeks, Yonhap news agency said citing health ministry officials.
7. Inter-Korean Relations
Associated Press (“N. KOREA EYES INTER-KOREAN EVENT TO MARK 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF DECLARATION”, Beijing, 2010/01/26) reports that the DPRK proposed a joint event to mark the 10th anniversary of the June 15 Joint Declaration issued by leaders of the two Koreas at a summit in Pyongyang, which was aimed at promoting inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation. The official Korean Central News Agency, monitored in Beijing, said the North Side Committee for Implementing the June 15 Joint Declaration made the proposal in an appeal adopted at a general meeting Tuesday.
8. DPRK Economy
Agence France-Presse (“WILD SWINGS FOR N.KOREA CURRENCY EXCHANGE: REPORT”, Seoul, 2010/01/26) reported that foreign exchange rates for the DPRK’s new currency have been fluctuating wildly, a news report said in the latest account of problems following the shock November 30 revaluation. The DPRK’ s central bank early this month set the exchange rate at 138 won to the euro, Yonhap news agency said. But days later the rate had dropped to 40 won before rising to 51 to the euro at Pyongyang hotels, it quoted an unidentified Western diplomat as saying. At the Koryo Hotel where many foreigners stay, the rate swung from 51 won to 120 in the space of a few hours on January 22 , it said.
9. DPRK Defection
Agence France-Presse (“N.KOREA EMBASSY OFFICIAL DEFECTED TO S.KOREA”, Seoul, 2010/01/26) reports that a DPRK embassy official in Ethiopia has defected to the ROK through Seoul ‘s diplomatic mission in the African country, two news reports said Tuesday. Yonhap news agency and YTN cable news network said the 40-year-old medic, identified only as Kim, fled to the ROK embassy in Addis Ababa and asked for political asylum in October. Yonhap said the communist state ‘s embassy protested strongly, making a threatening call to the ROK mission. The DPRK officials used cars to stage protests outside the building where Kim stayed for up to three weeks, YTN said. The ROK foreign ministry officials escorted him to Seoul in early November, it said.
Chosun Ilbo (“KIM JONG-IL ORDERED SHOOT-TO-KILL POLICY FOR DEFECTORS “, 2010/01/26) reports that the DPRK leader Kim Jong-il ordered officials in May 2008 to shoot defectors or imprison them for 10 years of hard labor if they were arrested, according to information obtained by the ROK and U.S. intelligence agencies. Previously only those caught attempting to escape directly to the ROK had been punished so severely. Intelligence agencies in the two countries say Kim started tightening control in 2007, with barbed wire fences and surveillance cameras installed along the DPRK-PRC border and soldiers ordered to shoot defectors. Later that year separate surveillance and inspection teams were dispatched to the border.
10. ROK Nuclear Reprocessing
Yonhap News (“U.S. BAN ON S. KOREA’S NUCLEAR FUEL REPROCESSING TO UNDERMINE BILATERAL TIES: SCHOLAR”, 2010/01/26) reported that t he US ban on the ROK’s right to reprocess spent nuclear fuel will likely undermine the bilateral relationship unless the relevant pact is revised to meet the ROK’s growing role in the global nuclear energy market, a scholar said. “South Korea’s opportunities to provide technology, plants, and services in the nuclear energy sector depend on the successful conclusion of a new bilateral cooperation agreement with the United States, but U.S. denial of an agreement that fits with South Korea’s emerging role would clearly mean a severe economic and political fall-out for the U.S.-ROK relationship,” Scott Snyder, director of the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy at the Asia Foundation, said.
11. ROK-Japan Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“SEOUL URGES TOKYO TO REVIEW PENSION REFUND”, 2010/01/26) reported that the ROK’s foreign ministry renewed its call for the Japanese government to be more sensitive when dealing with its past wrongdoing, urging Tokyo to review its recent decision to pay out inflation-unadjusted pension refunds to Koreans who were forced into labor during World War II. The issue resurfaced Tuesday as the forced laborers held a protest rally outside Seoul’s foreign ministry, accusing the government of giving up efforts to win a sincere apology and payment from Japan.
12. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“HIRANO SAYS GOV’T COULD TAKE LEGAL STEP TO SETTLE U.S. BASE ISSUE”, Tokyo, 2010/01/26) reported that Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano indicated Tuesday that the government could resort to legal action to settle the issue of where to move a U.S. Marine base in Okinawa if it could not secure consent from the local government that has jurisdiction over a relocation site. Hirano also said the government does not necessarily have to obtain a local government’s consent in reaching a conclusion on where to move the Futemma Air Station by the self-imposed end-of-May deadline.
Kyodo (“HATOYAMA SAYS OPTIONS REMAIN OPEN ON U.S. BASE DESPITE OFFICIAL’S REMARKS”, Tokyo, 2010/01/27) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said various options were open on Wednesday about the relocation of a U.S. Marine base. ”The presence of various ideas is possible in the current process,” the prime minister told reporters, asking the public to watch the development calmly because a government committee is discussing where to relocate Futemma Air Station.
13. Japan-US Security Alliance
FAS Strategic Security Blog (Hans M. Kristensen, “JAPANESE GOVERNMENT REJECTS TLAM/N CLAIM”, 2010/01/26) reported that the Japanese government has officially rejected claims made by some that Japan is opposed to the United States retiring the nuclear Tomahawk Land-Attack Missile (TLAM/N). In a letter sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on December 24, 2009, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada explicitly says that the Japanese government has expressed no such views. If the TLAM/N were retired, Okada says, Japan would of course like to be informed about how this would affect extended deterrence and how it could be supplemented.
14. Japan Environment
Japan for Sustainability (“ENVIRONMENTAL DOOMSDAY CLOCK SHOWS 9:22; REVERSED BY 11 MINUTES”, 2010/01/26) reported that Japan’s Asahi Glass Foundation announced on September 9, 2009, the results of its 18th “Questionnaire on Environmental Problems and the Survival of Humankind.” The foundation has been supporting science and technology, and tackling global environmental issues. The annual survey started in 1992 and the results of the 18th survey suggest that the average time on the Environmental Doomsday Clock, representing the survey respondents’ awareness of the crisis facing human survival, is 9:22. This is an 11-minute reversal from the previous year when the clock showed the greatest advancement ever. The awareness of crisis was the third highest to date, staying at the level of “extremely concerned.”
15. Japan Energy Supply
Japan for Sustainability (“CURRENT STATUS AND FUTURE PROSPECTS OF GEOTHERMAL ENERGY USE IN JAPAN”, 2010/01/26) reported that Japan has the third largest pool of geothermal resources in the world, but it has not yet made the most effective use of these resources, even while there is an increasing need for development of renewable energy sources. In this issue of the JFS newsletter, we provide an overview of the current situation and future challenges of geothermal energy use in Japan, mainly based on an interview with Professor Sachio Ehara, of the Kyushu University Graduate School of Engineering, whose specialty is geothermics, and who also serves as the president of the Geothermal Research Society of Japan.
16. Japan on Climate Change
Associated Press (“JAPAN REGISTERS 25% EMISSIONS CUT GOAL UNDER COPENHAGEN ACCORD”, Tokyo, 2010/01/26) reports that Japan on Tuesday registered with the United Nations its goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 on the condition that all major emitters commit to ambitious targets.Tokyo notified the secretariat of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change of its target under the Copenhagen Accord, which was agreed upon during the U.N. climate summit last month in the Danish capital, ahead of the end-of-January deadline. The government endorsed the registration of the goal during a Cabinet committee meeting, which was attended by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa and other ministers.
17. Sino-Indian Relations
Press Trust of India (“INDIA, CHINA BORDER PERSONNEL MEET TO MARK REPUBLIC DAY”, 2010/01/26) reported that it was a scene of bonhomie as the border personnel of India and the PRC met to mark the Republic Day in Chushul belt along the LAC in Ladakh, putting behind the tension over recent incursions by the PLA in the area. Both sides also agreed on different measures to maintain peace, stability and to work for development of the region.
18. Cross-Strait Relations
Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “TAIWAN ARMS SALE LATEST TEST FOR US-CHINA TIES”, Beijing, 2010/01/26) reports that the PRC warned the U.S. that an upcoming arms sales to Taiwan would further damage their relations . The PRC opposes all arms sales to the island, and will likely suspend U.S. military exchanges in response.
19. PRC Tibet Issue
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA URGES DALAI LAMA TO ‘CHERISH’ NEW TALKS”, 2010/01/26) reported that the PRC urged the Dalai Lama to “cherish” the opportunity of fresh talks with Beijing on the political status of Tibet as the spiritual leader ‘s envoys arrived for the discussions. “At the request of the Dalai Lama, the relevant agencies of the central government arranged for the private representatives of the Dalai Lama to visit China and have consultations,” foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said. “We hope the Dalai Lama will cherish this opportunity and respond positively to the requests of the central government,” he added, declining to answer further questions on the matter.
Associated Press (Gillian Wong, “CHINA, DALAI LAMA’S ENVOYS NO SIGN OF COMPROMISE”, Beijing, 2010/01/27) reported that the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharmsala, India said Wednesday it hoped the Dalai Lama’s envoys would be able to revisit the proposal for greater autonomy when they meet with the PRC government. “There is a very sincere hope that the Chinese government would base the discussions on the memorandum for genuine autonomy for all Tibetans which we presented to the Chinese side in 2008,” spokesman Thubten Samphel said. “If they wish to resolve the issue of Tibet, I think that’s the only way to go about it.”
20. PRC Peacemaking Operations
China Daily (Huo Yongzhe, “SECOND MEDICAL TEAM LAND IN HAITI”, 2010/01/26) A chartered aircraft carrying a Chinese medical team and aid material arrived at Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, to continue helping with the ongoing quake relief efforts there. On board are a 40-member medical and epidemic-control team and 20 tons of food and medical supplies, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said. It is the second Chinese medical team to help quake victims. The first one, a 50-member China International Search and Rescue (CISAR) team, was among the first to arrive in Port-au-Prince after the earthquake and set up a medical center within days of the quake.
21. PRC Government
The New York Times (“STITCHING THE NARRATIVE OF A REVOLUTION”, 2010/01/26) reported that the records on the Beijing pigeon market, like thousands of other Cultural Revolution documents, lay silent for decades, deemed state secrets by a government hardly eager to highlight Mao’s excesses. But last year, the PRC quietly opened the archives of selected declassified government files from that era, in Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an. And so a veil has begun to lift on this and other prosaic stories of the Cultural Revolution — some sad, some funny, most humdrum to an extreme. Why the government is releasing some documents from the era is unclear. Experts say the files contain little if any material that government censors would regard as incendiary.
22. PRC Energy Supply
China Daily (“CNNC UNIT BUYING URANIUM MINE STAKE”, 2010/01/26) reported that CNNC International Ltd, the listed unit of the PRC’s largest nuclear power plants operator China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), said yesterday it would buy a stake in a uranium mine in Niger from its parent for HK$414 million ($53.3 million), and fund the deal by issuing convertible notes. The Azelik mine comprises three uranium deposits and has an estimated mine life of 17 years. It is estimated that the mine contains resources of around 11,227 tons of uranium, said the statement.
23. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA SENTENCES 4 MORE TO DEATH IN XINJIANG”, Beijing, 2010/01/26) reported that a court in the PRC’s Xinjiang region has sentenced four people to death over deadly riots in July, bringing to 26 the number of those condemned to die for the unrest, a government official said. The verdicts were handed down on Monday by a court in the regional capital Urumqi . “Four people were sentenced to death, one was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and eight others got prison terms of up to life.”
24. PRC Security
Xinhua News (“CHINA TO BEEF UP SECURITY CHECKS AHEAD OF FESTIVAL”, 2010/01/26) reported that the PRC’s minister of public security urged police nationwide to “go deep” into communities when carrying out security checks during the Spring Festival, or the Chinese New Year, which falls on February 14 this year. Minister Meng Jianzhu said at a video-conference that police should work out tailored solutions for areas found with major security problems. Meng voiced security concerns for certain areas, such as urban-rural intersection areas and “villages in the city,” a term for poor residential areas within cities.
II. PRC Report
25. PRC Environment
Xinhua Net (“CHINA TO RECRUIT 30 VOLUNTEERS FOR GIANT PANDAS”, 2010/01/26) reported that a giant panda breeding research center in Southwest China’s Sichuan province launched a program Monday to recruit 30 volunteers from around the world to care for giant pandas during the Spring Festival holiday. Any giant panda fan aged between 18 and 45 and with college degree can apply for the positions, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding said in a statement.
26. PRC Climate Change
Xinhua Net (“CHINA REPORTS DROP OF MAJOR POLLUTANT EMISSIONS”, 2010/01/26) reported that emissions of sulfur dioxide in the PRC dropped 10.4% last year compared with that of 2008, Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian said yesterday. The country’s chemical oxygen demand and emissions of sulfur dioxide fell for four consecutive years since 2006, attributed to the use of desulfurization, said Zhou.