NAPSNet Daily Report 27 May, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. Inter-Korea Relations
- 2. DPRK on Naval Ship Sinking
- 3. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
- 4. US on Naval Ship Sinking
- 5. US, Japan on Naval Ship Sinking
- 6. PRC on Naval Ship Sinking
- 7. US on Sino-DPRK Relations
- 8. Russia on Naval Ship Sinking
- 9. DPRK Military
- 10. DPRK Demographics
- 11. DPRK-Australia Relations
- 12. DPRK-Canada Relations
- 13. ROK, US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 14. ROK Military
- 15. ROK Arms Exports
- 16. US, Japan on PRC Military
- 17. USFJ Base Relocation
- 18. Japan-Taiwan Relations
- 19. US on PRC Climate Change
- 20. Sino-India Relations
- 21. Hong Kong Politics
- II. PRC Report
1. Inter-Korea Relations
Washington Post (“IN KOREA, A SEMI-HOPEFUL SIGN”, 2010/05/26) reported that about 45,000 DPR Koreans went to work as usual for 121 ROK companies in the Kaesong Industrial Complex on Wednesday. The DPRK allowed several hundred ROK managers and engineers to cross the border Wednesday and go to work. It did cut DPRK-ROK phone lines for some manufacturers. But one company official said that DPRK workers were allowed to work and that ROK managers were allowed to manage. “The situation at Kaesong at this moment is that nothing much has changed,” said Song Ki-suk, former chairman of Korea Micro Filter.
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA YET TO SEVER COMMUNICATIONS WITH S. KOREA: OFFICIALS”, 2010/05/26) reported that despite an announcement that it would sever all communication links with the ROK, the DPRK used its joint military hotline Wednesday to approve the entry of ROK workers into its border industrial estate, the Seoul government said. The DPRK also responded casually to a routine ROK call through a hotline between the liaison offices of the two sides at the truce village inside the Demilitarized Zone, officials said.
Korea Times (“NK VESSEL EXPELLED FROM WESTERN SEA LANE”, 2010/05/26) reported that a DPRK cargo ship approaching the ROK’s western waters was turned away Tuesday after a radio warning radio from the ROK Navy, the Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday. “We sent a warning message to a North Korean vessel approaching our sea lane in the West Sea via radio,” Jang Kwang-il, deputy minister for policy, told reporters. “The ship then left the sea lane.”
Yonhap (“N.KOREA TO SCRAP AGREEMENT PREVENTING MILITARY CLASHES WITH THE SOUTH”, Seoul, 2010/05/27) reported that the DPRK military said Thursday that it will ditch an inter-Korean agreement to ensure the prevention of accidental clashes in the western waters off the Korean Peninsula. The general staff said in a statement that Pyongyang will consider sealing overland passage leading to the Kaesong joint factory park.
2. DPRK on Naval Ship Sinking
Kyodo News (“U.S., S. KOREA BENEFIT MOST FROM ROW OVER SUNKEN SHIP: N. KOREA”, 2010/05/26) reported that the United States and ROK have “benefited more than any others” from the sinking of a ROK naval ship in March that has been blamed on the DPRK , the DPRK’s official KCNA said Wednesday. The KCNA said this “clearly proves” that a multinational investigation team’s conclusion “is nothing but a lie faked up by the U.S. and the South Korean authorities.” KCNA called all evidence to the contrary a “sheer fabrication” and said Washington and Seoul have ulterior motives. Washington “is straining the situation in a bid to beef up its forces in the region and tighten its military domination over it,” it added. KCNA also criticized President Lee Myung Bak, saying he greatly benefited from the case by “maximizing the effect of its conspiratorial farce” ahead of the ROK’s local elections on June 2.
3. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
Korea Herald (“‘RECONNAISSANCE GENERAL BUREAU IS HEART OF N.K. TERRORISM’”, 2010/05/26) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry recently pointed to the DPRK’s Reconnaissance General Bureau as the most likely suspect of the March 26 attack on the Cheonan. “The North merged secret intelligence departments formerly under the Workers’ Party into a new Reconnaissance General Bureau early last year,” said Hwang Won-dong, chief of intelligence at the Defense Ministry here. “We have not reached a clear conclusion that the bureau led the attack, but it is highly possible, considering its (Cold War era) bombing attack” against the ROK presidential delegation and the bombing of a Korean Air flight. Government sources also reportedly said that the “130-ton Yeono class submarines,” one of which torpedoed the ROK warship, are mostly deployed by the Reconnaissance General Bureau instead of the DPRK navy.
Kyodo (“S. KOREA MAY SEEK U.N. ACTION ON SUNKEN SHIP AS EARLY AS NEXT WEEK”, Seoul, 2010/05/27) reported that the ROK plans to bring the sinking of the Cheonan to the U.N. Security Council ”at the earliest possible date,” the ROK foreign ministry spokesman Kim Young Sun told a press briefing Thursday. Kim added, however, the specific timing on bringing the incident to the council has not yet been determined and that will depend on the results of consultations with permanent and nonpermanent members of the council. Earlier, an unidentified ROK foreign ministry official reportedly said, ”I believe we can raise the Cheonan incident with the Security Council as early as next week after putting in maximum efforts to try to persuade China.”
4. US on Naval Ship Sinking
Agence France Presse (“US DEEMS AS ‘ODD’ NORTH KOREA MOVE SEVERING TIES WITH SOUTH”, 2010/05/26) reported that the DPRK’s decision to sever ties with the ROK over Seoul’s charges it torpedoed one of its warships is an “odd” move contrary to Pyongyang’s self-interest, a US official said. “I can’t imagine a step that is less in the long-term interest of the North Korean people than cutting off further ties with South Korea ,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters. A senior State Department official expressed even stronger surprise with the DPRK move when he spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity. “Is it possible for North Korea to be more isolated than it actually is?” the official said. “North Korea is working assertively against its own self-interest.”
Agence France Presse (“US OUTLINES MULTI-PRONGED STRATEGY TO ISOLATE NKOREA”, 2010/05/26) reported that senior US diplomats said Wednesday they are devising a multi-pronged strategy to isolate the DPRK . “We’re in the process of constructing a diplomatic strategy that involves not only the key states of the Security Council , but others in the region,” said a diplomat returning from Asia with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton . “We’re working to get statements out of ASEAN, out of the G8, out of the G20, a number of deliberative bodies to make sure that we bring as much diplomatic leverage as possible,” the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
Yonhap News (“U.S. WAITING FOR S. KOREA TO TAKE SHIP SINKING TO UNSC: AMB. RICE”, 2010/05/26) reported that the United States said it is waiting for the ROK to take the sinking of the warship Cheonan to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions on the DPRK for its involvement. “South Korea has indicated that it will bring this issue to the attention of the Security Council at the appropriate time, and we await South Korea’s decision as to when and how it will bring this to the Security Council,” Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., told reporters. “When it does, we will work not only with South Korea, but other partners on the Security Council to determine the appropriate form and content of a Council response.”
5. US, Japan on Naval Ship Sinking
Agence France Presse (“US, JAPAN VOW ‘UNIFIED SUPPORT’ FOR SOUTH KOREA: US”, 2010/05/26) reported that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa “pledged unified support for the Republic of Korea” in talks in the US capital, and planned to meet with their ROK counterpart at a conference in Singapore in June, press secretary Geoff Morrell said. “Secretary Gates thanked Minister Kitazawa for the Japanese government’s strong response to North Korea’s latest provocative actions,” Morrell said in a statement after the meeting.
6. PRC on Naval Ship Sinking
Chosun Ilbo (“CHINA TELLS N. KOREA TO RESTRAIN ITSELF”, 2010/05/26) reported that the PRC has urged the DPRK to restrain itself over sanctions from the ROK, a senior PRC official has told ROK government officials. Beijing reminded Pyongyang that “peace and stability” are vital for the Korean Peninsula. The PRC ‘s special envoy for Korean Peninsula affairs Wu Dawei, who is on a visit to Seoul, met Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and other officials and told them of the warning. A government official said the PRC “reiterated the importance of stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula and delivered the same message to the North”. “The request could be a warning that Beijing may turn its back on Pyongyang if it should launch further provocations,” a diplomatic source said.
7. US on Sino-DPRK Relations
Post Chronicle (“U.S. OFFICIALS SEE CHINA RETHINKING NORTH KOREA STANCE”, 2010/05/26) reported that the PRC is rethinking its relationship with the DPRK and may signal greater sympathy for the ROK over the sinking of one of its warships when the PRC Premier Wen Jiabao visits Seoul this week, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. The PRC is frustrated with Pyongyang and may soon signal a willingness to discuss how the United Nations should respond to the March sinking of the Cheonan according to the officials.
Financial Times (“CLINTON OFFERS CHINA PROOF OF SHIP ATTACK”, 2010/05/26) reported that Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, on Wednesday said the US would offer additional briefings and information to the PRC to convince it that the DPRK torpedoed a ROK warship. Mrs Clinton said a 400-page technical report on the sinking by an international team, including experts from the US, led to the “inescapable” conclusion the DPRK was to blame and that action had to be taken. Should the PRC need more information, she said the US would offer it.
8. Russia on Naval Ship Sinking
RIA Novosti (“RUSSIAN EXPERTS TO LOOK INTO WARSHIP’S SINKING IN S.KOREA”, 2010/05/26) reported that President Dmitry Medvedev will send a group of Russian experts to the ROK to examine the results of a probe into the sinking of a ROK warship, the Kremlin said on Wednesday. “Medvedev believes it is crucial to establish the true cause of the loss of the vessel and to establish beyond all doubt who bears personal responsibility for what happened,” the press service said in a special statement. It said Medvedev took the decision in response to a proposal from the ROK.
RIA Novosti (“RUSSIAN MILITARY SAYS TROOPS NOT ON HIGH ALERT IN RESPONSE TO KOREAN CRISIS”, 2010/05/26) reported that troops in the Russian Far East have not been put on high alert following the brewing crisis between the DPRK and ROK, several military officials said on Wednesday. “We have not received any orders from Moscow to put the Pacific Fleet on high alert due to the conflict between the two Koreas. The fleet is currently carrying out scheduled exercises at sea and on land,” a Pacific Fleet spokesman said on Wednesday. The official said the arrival of Russia’s most powerful warships in the Pacific had been planned long ago as part of the biennial Vostok strategic exercises and was not related to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
9. DPRK Military
National Broadcasting Company (“NORTH KOREAN TROOPS NOT ON MILITARY ALERT: REPORT”, 2010/05/26) reported that there is no unusual activity by DPRK troops in light of the tensions between the country and the ROK, and DPRK troops are not on high alert, according to NBC news. Pentagon sources have told NBC that there has been no mass movement of troops along the border between the DPRK and ROK since the ROK banned trade.
10. DPRK Demographics
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA’S POPULATION EXCEEDS 23 MLN: CENSUS”, 2010/05/26) reported that the DPRK’s population totaled 23.34 million in 2008, with nearly 9 percent of its people over age 65, a ROK state think tank said Wednesday, citing the results of the communist country’s latest census. The institute said the rise in the ratio of elderly people is due to a drop off in the number of young people. The Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI) said the 2008 DPRK census showed the population growing an average of 0.85 percent annually from 1993 through 2008. The institute said more than half of the population, or 12.2 million, worked directly for the government, state-operated corporations and agricultural cooperatives.
11. DPRK-Australia Relations
Bloomberg (“AUSTRALIA PLANS BILL ON IRAN, NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS “, 2010/05/26) reported that Australia plans legislation allowing it to impose its own sanctions on countries and respond quickly to international issues of concern such as Iran and the DPRK, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said. The bill will “strengthen Australia’s autonomous sanctions regime,” enabling the country to “apply targeted pressure on oppressive and destabilizing regimes,” Smith said today in an e-mailed statement. The new legislation, introduced to parliament today and to be debated at a date yet to be set, will allow Australia to “participate fully in concerted international action against “individuals, entities and regimes of concern,” Smith said.
12. DPRK-Canada Relations
The Canadian Press (“FEDS DELIBERATELY SNUB VISITING N. KOREAN OFFICIAL”, 2010/05/26) reported that a senior DPRK official recently visited a university in Ottawa and the federal government deliberately chose to snub him. Catherine Loubier, the spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, said the federal government had nothing to do with the visit and made a conscious effort to ignore it. “We didn’t meet with him on purpose, to protest,” said Loubier, adding that the list of reasons included the country’s human rights record and its violation of international obligations.
13. ROK, US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (“LEE, CLINTON AGREE TO PURSUE ‘STRATEGIC PATIENCE’ WITH N. KOREA”, 2010/05/26) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agreed Wednesday on “strategic patience” in dealing with the DPRK, Lee’s aides said. “It is not important for North Korea to return to the six-way talks (on its nuclear program). What is important is to show a sincere attitude toward denuclearization,” the president told the U.S. diplomat, according to Lee Dong-kwan, senior secretary for public affairs at Cheong Wa Dae. “We need to take time in coping with the situation,” the president was quoted as saying.
14. ROK Military
Yonhap News (“SOUTH KOREA SEARCHES FOR NORTH’S SUBS AS DIPLOMACY, RHETORIC RAMP UP”, 2010/05/26) reported that the ROK’s military is on alert after losing track of four DPRK submarines in the East Sea and is trying to locate them. The submarines left their base at the east coast of the Korean peninsula to conduct naval training in the East Sea earlier this week, said a military official in Seoul on Wednesday. The DPRK’s four 300-ton-class submarines disappeared two days ago from the ROK’s maps, the military official said, stressing that everything is being done to relocate them. “We are tracking the four submarines by mobilizing all naval capabilities in the East Sea,” the official said.
Yonhap (“TWO OF FOUR ELUSIVE N. KOREAN SUBS RETURN TO BASE AFTER ROUTINE DRILL: SOURCE”, Seoul, 2010/05/27) reported that two of the four DPRK submarines that eluded surveillance earlier this week have returned to their base after what appeared to be a routine exercise in the East Sea, a defense source said Thursday. The source, however, said the other two 300-ton submarines remained at large.
Korea Times (“DEFENSE REFORM 2020 TO BE REVISED FOR NK THREAT “, 2010/05/26) reported that the five-year-old Defense Reform 2020 plan aimed at building smaller but high-tech armed forces is under intense review. “Last year’s revision of the original Defense Reform 2020 called for boosting a readiness against North Korea’s asymmetrical threats and its weapons of mass destruction. But the new version still ignored its conventional capabilities,” said Cha Doo-hyeon, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA). “A case in point is a submarine attack as seen in the Cheonan sinking. So now we need a critical and comprehensive review of the defense reform plan to look at what are the real threats we’re facing now and then how can we readjust reform plans enough to thwart such threats,” said the researcher.
15. ROK Arms Exports
United Press International (“UAE PICKS RIFLES FROM SOUTH KOREA”, 2010/05/26) reported that the United Arab Emirates has placed an order for K11 airburst rifles, becoming the ROK’s first export customer for the weapon, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said. The emirates placed the order for 40 K11 infantry rifles during the Special Operations Forces Exhibition2010 earlier this month in Jordan. “Once a final contract is signed, it will be the first export sale of the K11, possibly making it one of the country’s major export items together with the T-50 supersonic trainer jet and K2 Black Panther main battle tank,” said a statement from the defense acquisition program.
16. US, Japan on PRC Military
Bloomberg (“GATES, JAPAN DEFENSE CHIEF PLAN TO MONITOR CHINA NAVY “, 2010/05/26) reported that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his Japanese counterpart agreed to work together to watch movements by the PRC’s navy after recent military exercises raised concerns. The two “talked about the recent activities of the Chinese Navy and agreed to continue to cooperate and to monitor Chinese actions in the region,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said in a statement.
17. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“JAPAN, U.S. AGREE TO WORK CLOSELY TO RESOLVE BASE ISSUE”, 2010/05/26) reported that Japan and the United States agreed to keep working closely to resolve the issue of relocating a key U.S. Marine base in Okinawa, Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said after meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Gates told the Japanese minister that although important problems remain unsolved, he welcomes progress in bilateral negotiations on the matter up to now, Kitazawa said. Kitazawa also told reporters, “We have a major goal of resolving the issue of returning the Futenma facility (to Japan). We have now a foundation for moving toward the goal.”
Kyodo (“JAPAN-U.S. PACT TO STATE OKINAWA’S HENOKO AS BASE RELOCATION SITE”, Tokyo, 2010/05/27) reported that a joint statement to be released shortly by Japan and the United States will specify that the Futenma base will be relocated to a coastal area near the Henoko district in Nago in Okinawa, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said Thursday. It is ”quite unlikely” for the two countries to avoid mentioning the area as the relocation site, Hirano said. Hirano said he believes Tokyo’s own paper, now very likely to be released in the name of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, is more important than the joint statement to be prepared by foreign and defense ministers of the two countries.
18. Japan-Taiwan Relations
Kyodo News (“JAPAN DENIES TRYING TO RAM TAIWANESE ACTIVIST VESSEL”, 2010/05/26) reported that activists on a Taiwanese fishing boat attempting to land late Tuesday on the disputed Senkaku islands accused the Japan Coast Guard of trying to ram their vessel. Huang Hsi-lin, secretary general of the Chinese Diaoyutai Defense Association, a Taiwan -based activist group that claims to represent fishermen prevented from fishing in the area, told Kyodo News the fishing vessel Chuanchiafu came close to being rammed three times and the Japanese coast guard attempted to board their vessel twice. Japan’s Interchange Association, which is responsible for relations with Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties, issued a press release in Taipei on Wednesday denying any attempt to ram or board the fishing boat, “not even once.”
Kyodo News (“JAPAN TO EXTEND AIR DEFENSE IDENTIFICATION ZONE”, 2010/05/26) reported that the Defense Ministry plans to extend Japan’s air defense identification zone to include waters off its westernmost island of Yonakuni as urged by Okinawa Prefecture, which maintains jurisdiction over the island, ministry officials said Wednesday. The ministry may revise its directory to this end within June, while gaining understanding from Taiwan which lies close to Yonakuni Island, they said. Taiwan has effectively excluded Yonakuni Island and surrounding waters from its own air defense identification zone and is expected to accept Japan’s action.
19. US on PRC Climate Change
Agence France Presse (“US CLIMATE ENVOY URGES TRANSPARENCY ON CHINA TRIP”, 2010/05/26) reported that the US climate change envoy said Wednesday it was crucial that all countries accept outside reviews of their greenhouse gas emissions, speaking during a trip to the PRC, which has rejected such calls. “With respect to the issue of transparency, I think it’s hugely important and we do put a lot of emphasis on it,” said Todd Stern, who led US negotiators at the Copenhagen climate summit. “Countries need to be able to see what track the world is on generally, where we are going,” said Stern. “The only way we can do that is if there are clear and transparent measures with respect to the inventories of greenhouse gases, what measures are being put in place by countries and so forth.”
20. Sino-India Relations
Hindustan Times (“PRESIDENT PLAYS DOWN CHINA’S N-ROLE”, 2010/05/26) reported that India’s President Wednesday played down the PRC’s nuclear role for Pakistan and border disputes to underscore the way forward — a partnership between New Delhi and Beijing that “transcends the purely bilateral”. Patil is the second President (after K.R. Narayanan) in 10 years to visit the PRC on official invitation from her counterpart Hu Jintao. “As ancient civilizations, India and China have had contacts and linkages over millennia” said the President. The historic links, she added, have travelled to the future with both countries eyeing a bilateral trade target of $60 million this year. “But there should be peace and tranquility on both sides of the border till such a solution is arrived at.”
21. Hong Kong Politics
Kyodo News (“BEIJING ENVOY REJECTS POLITICAL REFORM SUGGESTIONS FOR HONG KONG”, 2010/05/26) reported that Li Gang, Beijing’s representative in Hong Kong, said Wednesday after meeting with a moderate pro-democracy group over the territory’s political development that some of the reform proposals are not feasible. The pro-democracy camp has suggested giving all 3.4 million voters in Hong Kong the right to vote in the five new functional constituency seats to be added to the Legislative Council . “To expand the elector base to the whole society would go against the legislative intent and raise doubts on whether (the expansion) complies with the decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, ” Li, deputy director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government, said.
II. PRC Report
22. PRC Civil Society
Tencent.com (“SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP BUSINESS FINAL COMPETITION TO BE HELD”, 2010/05/26) reported that the final Social Entrepreneurship Business Competition is to be held on May 28. The ten teams who entering into the final are all from competing universities. The Competition is sponsored by Tencent Charity Fund and aims to support development of social enterprise in the PRC.
Soufang.com (“SOUTH PHILANTHROPY ALLIANCE ESTABLISHED”, 2010/05/26) reported that the South Daily, the County Garden Group, Media and other enterprises jointly appealed on May 21 to establish the South Philanthropy Alliance. The Alliance aims to help enterprises and media better address disasters and promoting public utility.