NAPSNet Daily Report 27 May, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. US, ROK, Russia on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. PRC, Russia on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 4. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 5. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 6. Inter-Korean Relations
- 7. DPRK Food Supply
- 8. Japan Investment in Africa
- 9. Japan Emergency Aid
- 10. PRC Earthquake
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Agence France-Presse (“NKOREA MAY HAND OVER NUCLEAR DECLARATION THIS WEEK: REPORT “, Seoul, 2008/05/26) reported that the DPRK may hand over a declaration of its atomic activities during US nuclear envoy Christopher Hill’s trip to Beijing this week or shortly afterwards, a report said. But it is not clear whether Hill’s Pyongyang counterpart, Kim Kye-Gwan, will show up in the PRC capital to meet him, a ROK government source told Yonhap news agency. US State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey has said Hill was open to meeting Kim Kye-Gwan during his trip to the PRC and Russia.
2. US, ROK, Russia on DPRK Nuclear Program
RIA Novosti (“NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR ISSUE TO BE DISCUSSED IN MOSCOW”, Moscow, 2008/05/26) reported that Russia, the United States and the ROK will continue talks on the denuclearization of the DPRK in Moscow this week, Seoul’s Yonhap news agency said. The ROK’s top negotiator at the six-nation talks, Kim Sook, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill are expected to arrive in Moscow on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. They will hold negotiations with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin, the new head of the Russian delegation to the international talks.
3. PRC, Russia on DPRK Nuclear Program
RIA Novosti (“RUSSIA, CHINA CALL FOR PEACEFUL SOLUTION TO N.KOREA NUKE PROBLEM”, Beijing, 2008/05/23) reported that Russia and the PRC have spoken out in favor of finding a peaceful solution to the DPRK nuclear problem, the presidents of the two countries said in a joint declaration. “The sides positively assessed the progress of the six-party talks on the Korean peninsula’s nuclear problem and urge all involved parties to continue dialogue, negotiations and set a course to find a peaceful solution to the problem,” the document said.
4. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Washington Post (Glenn Kessler, “MID-LEVEL OFFICIAL STEERED U.S. SHIFT ON NORTH KOREA”, 2008/05/27) reported that in the twilight of the Bush presidency, the nuclear agreement that Hill has tirelessly pursued over the past three years has emerged as Bush’s best hope for a lasting foreign policy success. In the process, Hill has become the public face of an extraordinary 180-degree policy shift on the DPRK, from confrontation to accommodation. Through deft use of public appearances and the news media, Hill also has become an international figure in his own right. One of the biggest guessing games in diplomatic circles today is how long Hill can keep up his balancing act of pleasing his bosses, negotiating with the DPRK and fending off conservatives eager to see him fail.
5. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Joongang Ilbo (“SEOUL SENDS A LOAD OF COPPER TO PYONGYANG IN 6-PARTY STEP”, 2008/05/26) reported that the ROK will ship 1,000 tons of copper to the DPRK this week in return for the disabling of its nuclear plants, officials said. The shipment, worth 8.9 billion won ($8.5 million) will begin Thursday, the Unification Ministry said. The ROK has already made a shipment of 5,100 tons of steel plates to the DPRK, apparently for use in patching up its decrepit power stations.
6. Inter-Korean Relations
Korea Herald (“N. KOREA ATTACKS SEOUL’S NEW SCHOOL GUIDELINES AS ISSUED BY ‘DIVISION MINISTRY'”, 2008/05/26) reported that the DPRK denounced the ROK’s new educational guideline book on inter-Korean relations as an anti-DPRK book issued by a “Division Ministry,” renewing its verbal attacks on the conservative Lee Myung-bak administration, reported Yonhap News Agency. The DPRK’s main Internet media Uriminzokkiri, meaning “between our people,” said the new book is “nothing but a declaration of confrontation against us” that hopes for the DPRK regime to fall.
7. DPRK Food Supply
Yonhap (Shim Sun-ah , “N.K. NEEDS 200,000 TONS OF FOOD AID TO PREVENT MASS STARVATION: AID GROUP”, Seoul, 2008/05/26) reported that mass starvation is likely in the DPRK within two months, an aid group here said Monday, asking the ROK to send at least 200,000 tons of food in emergency aid to help the communist state avert a spreading food crisis. The 200,000 tons are the bare minimum with which the people can subsist before the first shipment of U.S. food aid arrives in the impoverished country, said Good Friends, a Seoul-based Buddhist group working to help DPR Koreans. The DPRK faces a shortage of 600,000 tons in June and July, it added.
8. Japan Investment in Africa
The Asahi Shimbun (“JAPANESE FIRMS TESTING WATERS IN AFRICA”, 2008/05/26) reported that the lure of doing business in Africa is strong, but it also entails certain risk. Japanese companies must deal with a local workforce that, for the most part, must be trained in basic skills to achieve a level of quality control that overseas consumers demand. A lack of infrastructure is another impediment. Gradually, companies are looking at Africa with optimism–eager to take advantage of a huge, largely untapped labor market in a continent dubbed the “last frontier.” Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is expected to pledge $2.5 billion (258 billion yen) in financial assistance aimed at helping double private-sector direct investment in Africa over the next five years.
9. Japan Emergency Aid
The Associated Press (“JAPAN EARMARKS $54 MILLION IN FOOD GRANTS”, Tokyo, 2008/05/26) reported that Japan allocated $54 million in emergency grants on Friday to the United Nations to help Afghanistan, Africa and Palestinian refugees cope with the ongoing food crisis. The money will be given to the U.N.’s World Food Program and Relief and Works Agency to buy and distribute food in the impoverished areas, the Foreign Ministry said. Sudan, Kenya and eight other countries in Africa are included, it said.
10. PRC Earthquake
The Associated Press (Cara Anna, “1-CHILD POLICY HAS EXCEPTIONS AFTER CHINA QUAKE “, Beijing, 2008/05/26) reported that PRC officials said that the country’s one-child policy exempts families with a child killed, severely injured or disabled in the country’s devastating earthquake. Those families can obtain a certificate to have another child, the Chengdu Population and Family Planning Committee in the capital of hard-hit Sichuan province said. With so many shattered families asking questions, the Chengdu committee is clarifying existing one-child policy guidelines, said a committee official surnamed Wang.
The Associated Press (Audra Ang, “CHINA FIGHTS FLOOD THREAT IN EARTHQUAKE ZONE “, Anxian, ) reported that the PRC grappled with backed-up rivers and reservoirs in danger of collapse, along with looming storms that threatened Monday to compound damage from the country’s worst earthquake in three decades. On Monday, 1,800 soldiers arrived on foot at the new Tangjiashan lake in Beichuan county to fight the flood risk, each carrying 22 pounds of explosives to blast through the debris, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Residents say the lake has been rising by about 7 1/2 feet a day.
II. PRC Report
11. 512 Earthquake
China News Website, http://www.chinanews.com.cn/ (“803 HYDROPOWER STATIONS DAMAGED BY EARTHQUAKE, 481 IN SICHUAN”, 2008/05/26) reported that on May 25, Vice Minister of Ministry of Water Resources E Jingping said, at a news conference of the State Information Office, that 803 national hydropower stations were damaged, of which 481 in Sichuan, and 9 of the larger storage capacity hydropower stations at the upper reaches of Zipingpu of Minjiang River were in danger. 996.4 km length of dam was damaged, of which 686.71 km in Sichuan. The nationwide damage number of water supply facilities was 49,949, with 36,521 km length of damaged water supply pipelines. The impacted rural population was 9.555 million, of which 5.752 million in Sichuan.
Jinghua Times (Zhou Yimei, “”, 2008/05/26) reported that the PRC Psychological Society and other three units specially set up a project team for post-disaster psychological assistance, and are in preparation for the establishment of psychological assistance stations. The psychological assistance may last for 20 years. At present, psychological experts found that the need for psychological assistance work all around was very high. More than 1,000 people from 50 rescue teams rushed blindly to the disaster areas, most of them lack basic post-disaster psychological intervention knowledge and rescue training, which on the country bought an additional burden to the rescue work. Experts recommended that non-professional rescuers should not assist blindly. Experts also called for vigilance of the suicide of survivors which may be gradually increased three months after the earthquake.
Jinghua Times (Chen Qiao, “CHINA POVERTY ALLEVIATION FOUNDATION: 70 MILLION TO CONSTRUCT MOVING HOUSES”, 2008/05/26) reported that on May 25, China Poverty Alleviation Foundation held a news conference to introduce financing, the use of money, and other information for its relief work. Vice President of the Foundation He Daofeng said, the next step is to invest 70 million for the disaster areas, with a permanent aid to the seriously damaged schools. He said that the Foundation planed to set up 7 moving house communities in 6 areas such as Wolong and Wenchuan. In addition, the Foundation will help build 300 simple moving house schools, permanent rural health agencies, 20 rural hospitals and 50 village clinics. He also said, 10 million special fund is expected to be raised recently to help orphans.
Jinghua Times (“EXPERT EVALUATION: 100,000 PEOPLE NEED TO BE MIGRATED”, 2008/05/26) reported that post-disaster evaluation experts said that according to relevant Institute’s interpretation of remote sensing, the land cover of disaster areas was damaged seriously, arable land loss close to 150 million mu in 15 counties and cities, coupled with the difficult reconstruction situation caused by the possible serious secondary disasters, at least 100,000 residents in disaster areas need to be migrated according to a conservative estimate.
III. ROK Report
12. DPRK Internal Situation
Ohmynews (“GOOD FRIENDS DEMANDS THE ROK SEND TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND TONS OF RICE FOR EMERGENCY FOOD AID TO DPRK”, 2008/05/26) reported that Good Friends announced the 2008 Report on Movement in DPRK Society at a press conference, at which it disclosed the food crisis situation in the DPRK and called on the ROK government to send 200,000 tons of barley, corn, and wheat for average citizens out of 600,000 thousand tons needed for emergency food aid during June and July. Chairman of the board of the directors, Bub Ryun, has understood the situation as the early stage of mass death by hunger and emphasized that the food shortage is not a problem of only certain areas and classes of people.
13. Inter-Korea Relations
Yonhap News (“WILL REPRESENTATIVES OF SIX-PARTY TALK FROM ROK AND DPRK BE ABLE TO MEET?”, 2008/05/27) wrote that while active contacts are being made between the US and the DPRK, news of inter-Korean talks not taking place has brought attention toward the causes of phenomenon. They say “although we want to meet, the DPRK won’t approve it.” Some worry that the DPRK is conducting a policy of “open to the US, isolate the ROK” even in the six-party talks. Others suggest that the DPRK might have found the ROK’s role in the six-party talks less successful and feels that inter-Korean meetings are not as attractive.
14. DPRK Nuclear Program
Hankuk Ilbo (“A SUMMIT DIPLOMACY THAT WILL OPEN A NEW HORIZON FOR ROK-CHINA RELATIONS”, 2008/05/27) wrote that President Lee Myung-bak is beginning his four-day visit to China. Cooperation with China in solving the DPRK nuclear issue and peace on the Korean Peninsula is essential. From this point of view, the Lee Myung-bak administration’s less active collaboration and communication concerning the DPRK nuclear issue with China compared to the former regime is alarming. President Lee needs to sufficiently explain the objectives of DPRK policies including the “denuclearization, opening, 3000 plan” and also deepen his understanding of Chinese interests.