NAPSNet Daily Report 28 April, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK-US Relations
- 2. US on DPRK Nuclear Trafficking
- 3. US Missile Defense and the DPRK
- 4. Russia, PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 5. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 6. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 7. Inter-Korean Relations
- 8. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 9. Inter-Korean Trade
- 10. ROK Swine Flu Outbreak
- 11. ROK Environment
- 12. Japan on Nuclear Weapons
- 13. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
- 14. Japan Constitutional Revision
- 15. Japan Space Program
- 16. Japan Energy Supply
- 17. Japan Politics
- 18. Japan Pandemic Response
- 19. Sino-Pakistani Relations
- 20. PRC Pandemic Response
- 21. PRC Public Security
- 22. PRC Maritime Security
- 23. PRC Energy Supply
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK-US Relations
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA VOWS ‘MERCILESS STRIKE’ AGAINST U.S., MARKING KPA ANNIVERSARY”, Seoul, 2009/04/27) reported that the DPRK marked the 77th anniversary of its military with vows of a “merciless strike” against the US and its allies, which it accuses of attempting an invasion. “Should the imperialist U.S. and its followers touch even an inch of our territorial land, air or sea, our troops of the Korean People’s Army will deal a merciless strike of justice to the enemies to destroy them and thoroughly eradicate the roots of war on the Korean Peninsula,” the Rodong Sinmun, the DPRK’s main newspaper published by the Workers’ Party, said in an editorial.
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Trafficking
Agence France-Presse (“NORTH KOREA NOT PROLIFERATING, BUT NOT IN COMPLIANCE: CLINTON”, Washington , 2009/04/25) reported that the DPRK may not be currently spreading nuclear weapons or nuclear weapon-construction knowledge, but Washington will not let Pyongyang “pretend” that it is in compliance, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Fox News in an interview. “As of right now, we don’t have any evidence” of active proliferation,” Clinton told Fox. “We consider North Korea to be a rogue regime that has in the past aided and abetted rogue regimes as well. And one of our highest priorities is to keep nuclear materials out of terrorist networks,” Clinton said.
3. US Missile Defense and the DPRK
Yonhap News (Hwang Doo-hyong, “OBAMA URGED NOT TO DOWNSIZE MISSILE DEFENSE AMID N.K. ROCKET LAUNCH”, 2009/04/27) reported that t he Barack Obama administration was urged not to shrink its missile defense system in light of recent rocket launches by the DPRK and Iran. “The ballistic missile threat has not diminished; in fact, it is growing,” said James Carafano, senior research fellow at the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. “Despite the advance of the North Korean and Iranian long-range missile programs, the administration justified its decision by declaring it was more important to focus on regional missile threats,” he said.
4. Russia, PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Russia Today (“RUSSIA AND CHINA: TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA MUST RESUME”, 2009/04/27) reported that the foreign ministers of Beijing and Moscow say they want to resume the six-party talks with North Korea over its nuclear ambitions. Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, has been meeting in Moscow with his PRC counterpart, Yang Jiechi, for the first time since the DPRK said it would resume its nuclear enrichment program. The ministers noted that Russia and the PRC had similar views on the need to find a settlement, aimed at preserving stability in Northeast Asia, and to resume the six-party talks on the ‘denuclearization’ of the Korean peninsula.
5. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Program
Kyodo News (“KAWAMURA CRITICIZES N. KOREA FOR REPROCESSING SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL”, 2009/04/27) reported that the DPRK ‘s move to start reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods to produce plutonium is “not constructive,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said Monday, calling on Pyongyang to return to the six-party denuclearization talks. “We will demand that North Korea return to the six-party talks and fulfill U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718 by taking a recent presidential statement seriously,” Kawamura said at a news conference.
6. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (Lee Chi-dong, “S. KOREA TO URGE N. KOREA TO REJOIN NPT IN UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL MEETING”, Seoul, 2009/04/27) reported that the ROK plans to reiterate its call for the DPRK to return to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) during a major international meeting early next month, officials here said. the ROK will send Oh Joon, deputy foreign minister for international organization, global issues and treaties, to the Third Preparatory Conference for parties to the NPT to be held in New York from May 4-15, they added. “Deputy Minister Oh will call for North Korea to rejoin the NPT in his keynote speech during the session,” a ministry official said on the condition of anonymity.
7. Inter-Korean Relations
The Korea Times (Kim Sue-young , “CIVIC GROUPS TO RESUME TRIPS TO NORTH KOREA”, 2009/04/27) reported that despite the DPRK’s rocket launch in early April, ROK civic groups are seeking to resume visits to the DPRK to offer aid. The government is also reviewing the normalization of private exchanges, which have been stalled since the firing of the long-range missile, according to the Ministry of Unification. “We received an invitation from North Korea last week,” said an official of the Movement for One Korea, which plans to hold consultations over constructing a meat-processing plant with DPRK officials. Another civic organization that distributed 50,000 briquettes to the famine-hit state last week is scheduled to deliver 50,000 more briquettes to Goseong on the east coast today.
Agence France-Presse (“SKOREAN FIRM TO START TOURS ALONG NKOREA BORDER”, Seoul , 2009/04/27) reported that a ROK tour operator said it would launch a programme of trips to the world’s last Cold War frontier after its tourism ventures inside the DPRK were shut down. Hyundai Asan said the programme beginning May 2 would include visits to the southern edge of the four-kilometre-wide (2.5-mile) buffer zone dividing the two Koreas . “Along with trips to front-line fences, tourists will be allowed to see wildlife and other places which remained untouched for decades,” a Hyundai Asan official told AFP.
8. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap News (Byun Duk-kun, “SEOUL TO PROPOSE HOLDING TALKS WITH N. KOREA NEXT WEEK: SOURCES”, Seoul, 2009/04/27) reported that the ROK will propose holding inter-Korean talks next week on a troubled joint industrial park project in the DPRK, informed sources said. The talks will be a follow-up to a meeting held last week in Kaesong, where the DPRK demanded negotiations on wage increases for DPRK workers there and an overall review of contracts. “The government will likely send its proposal this week,” a source said, asking not to be identified. An official had earlier said Seoul was considering holding a “preliminary meeting” with the DPRK to discuss the agenda for the next round of talks, as well as the date.
Yonhap (Kim Hyun, “N. KOREAN DEMANDS MAY UNDERCUT ADVANTAGES OF KAESONG COMPLEX: MINISTER”, Seoul, 2009/04/28) reported that ROK Unification Minister Hyun In-taek said Tuesday that demand for wage hikes at the Kaesong joint industrial complex may undermine the venture’s business viability. “I agree with the view that should wages rise excessively or land charges soar, the competitiveness of the Kaesong industrial complex will be substantially reduced,” Hyun said in a meeting with foreign correspondents in Seoul. Hyun said Seoul has yet to decide when to respond and with what position as it is still weighing the position of ROK firms operating at the park.
9. Inter-Korean Trade
Xinhua News (“INTER-KOREAN TRADE PLUNGES IN MARCH AMID POLITICAL TENSION “, Seoul, 2009/04/27) reported that monthly trade between the ROK and DPRK dropped more than 30 percent year on year in March amid heightened political tensions, government data showed. The goods and service exchange between the two nations amounted to 108.74 million U.S. dollars last month, down 31.1 percent from 157.9 million U.S. dollars for the same period last year, the data from the Ministry of Unification said.
10. ROK Swine Flu Outbreak
Yonhap News (“POSSIBLE SWINE FLU CASE REPORTED IN S. KOREA “, Seoul , 2009/04/27) reported that the ROK has spotted a suspected case of swine flu among its nationals who just returned from a trip to Mexico, a government official said Tuesday. “A South Korean citizen who recently returned from a trip to Mexico has been classified as a possible swine flu patient,” the official said, asking not to be identified.
11. ROK Environment
JoongAng Daily (“GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES WATER CONSERVATION PLAN”, 2009/04/27) reported that t wo multipurpose dams and 16 reservoirs will be built by 2012, the government said yesterday when it unveiled details of what will be the country’s largest-ever aqua engineering project. The government announced an interim plan for its four-river revitalization project at an inter-ministerial meeting. These goals are to secure water supplies, enhance flood control, improve water quality, develop riverside areas, and create sources of income for regional governments, where the rivers run.
12. Japan on Nuclear Weapons
The Associated Press (“JAPAN CRITICIZES CHINA OVER NUCLEAR AMBITIONS”, Tokyo, 2009/04/27) reported that Japan’s foreign minister criticized the PRC for withholding information about its nuclear weapons and urged more transparency from Beijing. “China continues to modernize its nuclear arsenals but has not undertaken any nuclear arms reductions,” Nakasone said. “Nor does the country disclose any information on its nuclear arsenals.” Nakasone, speaking at a Tokyo hotel to outline Japan’s initiative for global nuclear disarmament, also urged other nuclear states, including the U.S., Russia, India and Pakistan, to step up their effort toward nuclear disarmament.
13. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Tetsuya Harada, “PM EYES DROPPING CONVENTIONAL APPROACH ON NORTHERN TERRITORIES”, 2009/04/27) reported that Shotaro Yachi, a government envoy on diplomatic issues, has made controversial remarks about four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido, proposing to settle the territorial dispute by seeking to achieve the return of “3-1/2” islands instead of the four islands that are referred to as the northern territories in Japan. The former administrative vice foreign minister was calling for the return of three islands–Habomai (actually a group of islets), Shikotan and Kunashiri–plus part of the largest island, Etorofu, that together account for half of the total area of the four islands.
14. Japan Constitutional Revision
Kyodo News (“OVER 60% OF HIGH SCHOOLERS AGAINST ALTERING ARTICLE 9 OF CONSTITUTION”, Tokyo, 2009/04/27) reported that more than 60 percent of Japanese high school students surveyed are opposed to changing the war-renouncing Article 9 of the country’s Constitution, up from 43.9 percent in a previous survey in a labor union of high school teachers said. Among respondents who said Article 9 should be left unchanged, 73.2 percent cited as reasons that a revision “could open the way to war.” In contrast, 43.3 percent of the students backing a revision of Article 9 referred to the existence of “international issues that cannot be addressed properly under the current Constitution.”
15. Japan Space Program
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“SPACE POLICY TO SHIFT FOCUS TO PRACTICAL USE”, 2009/04/28) reported that a panel of experts reporting to the government’s space development policy team approved a draft basic plan on space development, in which they call for a shift of focus from research to practical use. The draft of the basic plan, the first to be devised since the Basic Law on Space took effect in August, also proposes the development of an early warning satellite system capable of detecting the firing of a missile. Specific measures for the next five years include a plan for the launching of 34 rockets to take satellites into orbit and items to the International Space Station, suggesting that such projects will contribute to Japan’s space diplomacy and the cultivation of the domestic space industry.
16. Japan Energy Supply
Kyodo News (“J-POWER TO UP COAL PLANT CONSTRUCTION IN ASIA”, 2009/04/27) reported that Electric Power Development Co., better known as J-Power, plans to enhance construction of advanced coal-based thermal power plants in Asia, incoming President Masayoshi Kitamura said in a recent interview. J-Power has specific plans to build advanced coal thermal power plants in Indonesia and India, he said. It intends to cooperate with power utilities and other companies to construct a coal thermal power plant that would minimize dust, sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions on coal-rich Sumatra, he said. In India, J-Power is considering projects to combine Japanese financial aid with technology transfers from the company, he said.
17. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“APPROVAL RATING ON ASO CABINET BOUNCES BACK TO 32%: NIKKEI”, 2009/04/27) reported that t he approval rating on Prime Minister Taro Aso’s Cabinet stood at 32 percent, up 7 percentage points from the previous survey in March, a Japanese business daily reported. The disapproval rating fell 8 points to 59 percent, according to the nationwide telephone survey conducted between Friday and Sunday by the Nikkei and TV Tokyo Corp. The approval rating on Aso’s Liberal Democratic Party rose 3 points to 36 percent, while that of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan came to 28 percent, down 2 points.
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN’S OPPOSITION WINS KEY LOCAL ELECTION”, Tokyo, 2009/04/27) reported that Japan ‘s main opposition party won a key weekend local poll in a landslide, official figures showed, handing it a significant and much-needed boost ahead of national elections later this year. “It is very significant that we scored a landslide victory in a major city when a general election is drawing near,” Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) secretary-general Yukio Hatoyama said in a statement. “We will be fully prepared for the general election to topple the government,” he said .
18. Japan Pandemic Response
Kyodo (“JAPAN CALLS ON PUBLIC FOR ALERTNESS, COMPOSURE OVER SWINE FLU “, Tokyo, 2009/04/28) reported that the Japanese government urged the public Tuesday to be on full alert but act calmly following the World Health Organization’s upgrading of its alert level on swine influenza. The government convened the first meeting of a task force headed by Prime Minister Taro Aso to discuss countermeasures against the flu epidemic. Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said in a press conference that Japan will request that its nationals postpone trips to Mexico. Nakasone said Japan will suspend visa waivers for Mexicans to tighten health checks on travelers from the country.
19. Sino-Pakistani Relations
Times of India (“BORDER TOURISM OPENS BETWEEN CHINA AND PAKISTAN ACROSS KHUNJERAB PASS”, 2009/04/27) reported that the Khunjerab Pass connecting the PRC and as the two nations intensify their people to people contacts. But there is no sign that the PRC has agreed to allow Pakistani tourists to cross the border. This may be due to PRC fears that extremist elements might sneak into its Xinjiang province, which is the scene of a violent movement for creation of an East Turkmenistan nation.has so far been used for joint security drills and a small amount of trade between the two countries. For the first time, the historical pass is being opened up for
20. PRC Pandemic Response
Bloomberg News (Hanny Wan and Sophie Leung, “CHINA, HONG KONG INCREASE ANTI-SWINE FLU MEASURES”, 2009/04/27) reported that Hong Kong and the PRC, worst hit by the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome epidemic, stepped up efforts to prevent an outbreak of the swine flu that has killed more than 80 people in Mexico. Hong Kong said it will hospitalize air travelers who have a fever, while the PRC banned some imports of pork and advised travelers to take precautions.
21. PRC Public Security
Associated Press (Tini Tran, “CHINA LAUNCHES SECURITY CAMPAIGN FOR ANNIVERSARY”, Beijing, 2009/04/28) reported that the PRC announced plans Tuesday to ramp up public security ahead of the 60th anniversary of its founding. The security campaign, which starts in May, is aimed at ensuring “a steady and harmonious social environment ” for celebrations slated for Oct. 1, said Vice Minister of Public Security Zhang Xinfeng, according to the Xinhua News Agency . Police across the country will focus on maintaining social order, cracking down on criminal gangs, and tracking wanted criminals, Zhang said. Robberies and theft must be curbed, he said, as well as fraudulent “phone scams”.
22. PRC Maritime Security
Xinhua News (“CHINA PLA NAVY URGED TO BEEF UP MUSCLE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY”, 2009/04/27) reported that a senior PRC military official urged the navy to beef up its combat capacity to better protect the country’s maritime security. Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC), made the call at a conference here marking the 60th founding anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy. Guo said the navy must follow the Party’s orders, urging the force to enhance its military preparedness, constantly improve ability in completing diversified military tasks in the information age, and gradually form a maritime defense system conforming to the requirements for safeguarding the nation’s sea security and development interests.
23. PRC Energy Supply
Bloomberg News (Angela Macdonald-Smith, “CHINA SET TO OVERTAKE U.S. AS BIGGEST WIND-POWER GROWTH MARKET”, 2009/04/27) reported that the PRC is poised to become the biggest growth market for wind-power generating capacity this year as the recession and credit crisis crimp expansion in the U.S., the head of the Global Wind Energy Council said. The PRC, which has more than doubled its wind power production annually for the last four years, may add about 10,000 megawatts of capacity in 2009, while the U.S. may fail to match last year’s growth of 8,500 megawatts, Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Brussels-based group, said today.
II. PRC Report
24. PRC Civil Society and Elder Care
Economic Reference New (Zhang Yan, “CHINA CHARITY FEDERATION FOUNDS PENSION FUND”, 2009/04/26) reported that “Youfarenhe Pension Fund”, which is co-sponsored by China Charity Federation, Hong Kong Hengshengweiye Group, Zhejiang Renheju Aged People Apartment, is found in Beijing on April 25 th . The first money of the fund comes from individual donation by CEO of Hong Kong Hengshengweiye Group Yin Youfa. Mr. Yin donates 31 pieces of antiques for auction, and the auction income will be used on construction of apartments for the aged and the development of charity cause.
25. PRC Civil Society
Xinhua Net (“2009 CHINA CHARITY LIST ISSUED IN BEIJING”, 2009/04/26) reported that the presentation ceremony of 2009 China Charity List was held in Beijing on April 25 th . There are 121 philanthropists on the list, with a total donation of 1.88 billion yuan; and also 899 enterprises on the list, with a total donation of 11.7 billion yuan (including material donation). The list aims at encouraging those philanthropists and enterprises who have contributed a lot to the charity cause in 2008.
26. PRC Civil Society and Migrant Labor
Xinhua Net (Ren Xiaogang, “QINGHAI TO ESTABLISH BUSINESS FUND FOR ECOLOGICAL IMMIGRANTS”, 2009/04/27) reported that according to Qinghai government, to encourage and support the follow-up industry of the development of Sanjiangyuan ecological immigrants, Qinghai province will establish a special business fund, to help the immigrants create their own business. Since the starting of Sanjiangyuan ecological protection project, nearly 50,000 people have emigrated, but most of them can’t find proper jobs because of losing the original means of production and lacking of life skills. This business fund aims at solving this problem and help immigrants get employed.