NAPSNet Daily Report 28 August, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 3. DPRK Sanctions
- 4. Inter-Korean Relations
- 5. Reunions of Separated Families
- 6. ROK Aid to the DPRK
- 7. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 8. DPRK Workers in Russia
- 9. US-ROK Joint Military Exercise
- 10. ROK-Russian Relations
- 11. ROK Politics
- 12. US-Japan Emergency Response Drill
- 13. Japanese Politics
- 14. Japanese Influenza
- 15. US-PRC Military Relations
- 16. Cross Strait Relations
- 17. Sino-Burmese Relations
- 18. Sino-Indian Environmental Cooperation
- 19. PRC Culture
- 20. PRC Urban Insecurity
- 21. PRC Climate Change
- 22. PRC Environment
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
KBS News (“‘NK EQUIPPED IRAN WITH NUKE REPROCESSING TECHNOLOGY'”, 2009/08/27) reported that a Japanese daily says Iran received help from DPRK technicians when it built a nuclear reprocessing facility capable of extracting plutonium. The Sankei Shimbun said that the during the past two years, DPRK nuclear technicians and experts have visited Iran to impart knowledge on the reprocessing technologies required to extract plutonium. The paper added that Iran purchased machinery and parts needed for nuclear reprocessing through a business front, as Iran is prohibited from buying such weapons under U.N. Security Council sanctions.
2. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks
KBS News (“CHINA’S ATTEMPT TO BRING BACK NK TO NUKE TALK UNSUCCESSFUL”, 2009/08/27) reported that the PRC was unsuccessful in its recent attempt to persuade the DPRK to return to the six-party nuclear talks. A government source said that the PRC’s top nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei, urged the DPRK to return to the multilateral talks while visiting Pyongyang last week. However, the DPRK wanted a bilateral meeting with the US and turned down the PRC’s support for denuclearization, claiming a US-posed threat against the DPRK. The official went on to say that the resumption of the six-party talks may be difficult for a while unless Pyongyang shows changes.
3. DPRK Sanctions
Chosun Ilbo (“KIM JONG-IL ‘CONTINUES TO IMPORT LUXURY AUTOS'”, 2009/08/27) reported that a Japanese source familiar with the DPRK said leader Kim Jong-il’s penchant for luxury cars continues despite United Nations sanctions and that he is planning to acquire new models this year. The unnamed source said the DPRK leader has about 500 vehicles and that he bought at least 10 Range Rovers and 20 Mercedes 600s since the adoption of a UN resolution in 2006 banning the shipment of luxury goods to the DPRK.
4. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA’S FISCAL HEALTH TO REEL FROM REUNIFICATION WITH N. KOREA: REPORT”, 2009/08/27) reported that the ROK’s fiscal health would reel from the shock of a sudden reunification with the DPRK, due to the huge disparity in incomes between the two countries, a report by a state-run think tank said. The Korea Institute of Public Finance (KIPF) said that while the income level of an average South Korean was 6-8 times higher than North Koreas in 1990, the figure had expanded to 17-fold as of 2007.
5. Reunions of Separated Families
Yonhap News (“FAMILY REUNIONS TO BE ‘WATERSHED’ IN INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS: PRO-N.K. REPORT”, 2009/08/27) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il is determined to break the impasse in cross-border ties, and envisioned reunions of separated families will be a “watershed” in improving relations with the ROK, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper in Japan said. The Choson Sinbo expected the ongoing inter-Korean talks at the DPRK’s Mount Kumgang resort to successfully set up a new round of family reunions, the first in nearly two years.
Agence France-Presse (“TWO KOREAS RESTART FAMILY REUNIONS AS TENSIONS EASE”, Seoul, 2009/08/28) reported that the ROK and the DPRK agreed Friday to restart a reunion programme for families divided by the Korean war. The reunions will be held from September 26 to October 1, the two sides said in a joint statement after three days of talks. “The South and the North will continue to cooperate on the issue of separated families and other humanitarian issues involving the Red Cross,” the statement said. Yonhap news agency said the ROK withdrew its demand that the reunions should include some of the ROK prisoners of war and civilians believed kidnapped by the DPRK.
6. ROK Aid to the DPRK
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA HAS NO PLAN TO RESUME RICE AID TO NORTH DESPITE THAWING TIES”, Seoul, 2009/08/27) reported that the ROK has no immediate plan to resume rice and fertilizer aid to the DPRK, despite the DPRK’s series of fence-mending moves, officials said. “The government’s position over food and fertilizer remains unchanged. To resume massive food and fertilizer aid, there should be consultations first between the two governments,” a ranking Unification Ministry official told reporters at a background briefing.
7. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Dong-A Ilbo (“TOURS TO N. KOREA COULD RESUME NEXT MONTH “, 2009/08/27) reported that Hyundai Asan Corp. said it will resume the Kaesong tour Sept. 14 and the Mount Kumgang tour Sept. 21. Accordingly, the company began practical preparatory steps.
8. DPRK Workers in Russia
BBC News (“N KOREANS TOILING IN RUSSIA’S TIMBER CAMPS”, 2009/08/27) reported that in the Amur region of Russia, almost 1,000 miles from the border, the DPRK has created a home away from home at a series of remote logging camps in which nearly 1,500 workers are employed. The DPRK state, which provides the labour through Association No 2, take 35% of the proceeds from their logging operations in Russia – approximately $7m per year. The remainder goes to a firm called Tynda Les, who are owned by the Russian Timber Group – the largest logging firm in the region with around 1,400 North Koreans working on its sites.
9. US-ROK Joint Military Exercise
KBS News (“KOREA-US JOINT MILITARY DRILL ENDS”, 2009/08/27) reported that the nation’s joint military drill with the US has ended. This year’s Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise was led by the ROK military and supported by the US military as part of preparations for the transfer of wartime operational control to Seoul in April 2012. The eleven-day drill included the draft of a new joint operation plan to replace the current Operation Plan 5027 of the combined forces.
10. ROK-Russian Relations
Itar-Tass (“RUSSIA’S FAR EAST ENVOY, S KOREA’S PRESIDENT DISCUSS STRONGER COOP”, 2009/08/27) reported that Russia’s presidential envoy in the Far-Eastern federal district has met in Seoul with ROK President Lee Myung Bak to boost trade, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation. “We discussed basic projects that are being implemented in the Far East, in particular on Kamchatka and Sakhalin. South Korea’s leader expressed great interest in the construction of facilities in the run up to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vladivostok,” Isayev said. “We also focused on stronger cooperation in the oil and gas development, coal deposit exploration, the construction of pipelines and a railway from Russia through the Korean Peninsula,” he said.
11. ROK Politics
Korea Herald (“OPPOSITION PARTY ENDS PARLIAMENTARY BOYCOTT”, 2009/08/27) reported that the main opposition Democratic Party has decided to attend an upcoming parliamentary session to address triple crises of democracy, economy and peninsula peace, its chairman said. The DP shifted gears as the government’s recent initiatives for welfare expansion, political reforms and social cohesion increasingly appealed to public opinion, eclipsing the opposition’s campaign against the new media laws.
12. US-Japan Emergency Response Drill
Kyodo News (“U.S. AMPHIBIOUS SHIP VISITS TOKYO PORT TO TAKE PART IN DISASTER DRILL”, 2009/08/27) reported that the U.S. Navy amphibious transport dock Denver made a port call at Tokyo’s Harumi wharf prior to a disaster drill in Japan’s metropolitan area scheduled for Sunday. The 17,000-ton ship carrying a crew of 420 and a helicopter is scheduled to take part in the drill to be organized by the Tokyo metropolitan government by providing transportation and medical services to simulated casualties under the assumption that a major quake has hit the Tokyo area.
13. Japanese Politics
Associated Press (Eric Talmadge, “CANDIDATES MAKE APPEALS AHEAD OF JAPAN ELECTIONS”, Tokyo, 2009/08/28) reported that according to a poll released Friday by Mainichi Shimbun , 39 percent of respondents said they support the Democratic Party of Japan, an increase of three percentage points from a similar poll it conducted last month. Support for the Liberal Democrats came in at just 20 percent. The Mainichi said the Democratic Party is likely to win more than 320 seats.
14. Japanese Influenza
Kyodo (“150,000 FLU PATIENTS ESTIMATED IN WEEK IN JAPAN”, Tokyo, 2009/08/28) reported that about 150,000 people are estimated to have become infected with influenza in the week ended Sunday, considered mostly the new strain of flu, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases said in a preliminary report Friday. The number of influenza patients reported by about 5,000 designated medical institutions across Japan during the week stood at 11,636, or 2.47 per facility, up from 7,750, or 1.69 per facility, last week.
15. US-PRC Military Relations
The Associated Press (“END MILITARY SURVEILLANCE MISSIONS, CHINA TELLS US”, 2009/08/27) reported that the PRC demanded that the US military cease its surveillance missions off the PRC coast, reviving a dispute that continues to upset relations between the sides. Bilateral ties have been repeatedly roiled this year by standoffs between PRC vessels and US Navy surveillance ships operating inside the PRC’s exclusive economic zone. “China believes the constant US military air and sea surveillance and survey operations in China’s exclusive economic zone had led to military confrontations between the two sides,” the official Xinhua News Agency said, quoting a Defense Ministry statement.
16. Cross Strait Relations
Associated Press (Peter Enav, “CHINA DENOUNCES TAIWAN VISIT BY DALAI LAMA”, Taipei, 2009/08/28) reported that the PRC Thursday denounced Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou’s decision to allow the Dalai Lama to visit. Quoting an unidentified official in the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Xinhua News Agency said “the Dalai Lama is not a pure religious figure.” “Under the pretext of religion, he has all along been engaged in separatist activities,” it quoted the official as saying.
17. Sino-Burmese Relations
United Press International (“CHINA SEEKS CLOSER TIES WITH MYANMAR”, 2009/08/27) reported that the PRC, already a close friend of the military-ruled Myanmar, will seek to boost bilateral ties with the isolated country, a senior PRC legislator said. “We attach importance to and support friendly exchanges and cooperation between social groups and organizations in China and Myanmar, which will contribute to the development of bilateral ties,” Zhou Tienong, vice chairman of the PRC’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, said in Beijing, Xinhua news agency reported. Bilateral trade between the PRC and Myanmar totaled $2.6 billion last year.
18. Sino-Indian Environmental Cooperation
Times of India (“INDIA, CHINA DEFER AGREEMENT ON HIMALAYAN GLACIERS”, 2009/08/27) reported that India and the PRC have agreed to defer signing an agreement for joint research on Himalayan glaciers till October end, Jairam Ramesh, minister of state (independent charge) for environment and forests, said here on the last day of his three-day visit to Beijing on Wednesday. India is worried about signs of faster melting of glaciers, which feeds major rivers like the Brahmaputra, due to global warming. The PRC is anxious about the massive drought situation in the Tibetan region this year. Ramesh said a comprehensive accord will be drawn up after another round of talks when a PRC delegation of environment scientists and officials visit New Delhi in October.
19. PRC Culture
Agence France-Presse (“BEIJING PLUGS PATRIOTIC FILMS AHEAD OF ANNIVERSARY”, Beijing, 2009/08/27) reported that Beijing cinemas will hand out nearly a million free movie coupons to encourage citizens to watch patriotic films as the PRC tries to foster love of country ahead of the nation’s 60th birthday . State-run Xinhua news agency said movie-goers who buy a regular ticket from September 1 -20 will be given one of the coupons. The give-away period corresponds with the release of patriotically themed domestic films such as “Jianguo Daye “, which chronicles the founding of communist PRC, in the run-up to National Day on October 1.
20. PRC Urban Insecurity
United Press International (“HUGE URBAN INFLUX FORECAST FOR CHINA”, 2009/08/27) reported that the PRC’s urbanization will rapidly accelerate, with 300 million people from rural areas expected to move to cites within 20 years, a senior official said. That is approximately the equivalent of moving the U.S. population to the PRC’s cities. The plus side of such a shift is a huge market demand, Xu Zhongwei, who made the forecast for the Housing and Urban-Rural Development ministry, told China Daily. “We need a balanced policy to prevent people from living a poor urban life in high-rise buildings,” Xu said. “If that happens, fast urbanization is meaningless.”
21. PRC Climate Change
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA SAYS MUST REDUCE EMISSIONS, BUT MENTIONS NO TARGETS”, Beijing, 2009/08/27) reported that the PRC must reorient its economic development to cut greenhouse gas emissions , according to a legislative resolution passed Thursday that, however, made no mention of any reduction targets. The resolution passed by the standing committee of the National People’s Congress reiterated that stance, but also said the PRC must “actively deal with climate change ” by encouraging a more efficient, low-carbon economy. The resolution said the PRC should “accelerate the transformation of our economic model to do our utmost to control greenhouse gas emissions.”
22. PRC Environment
Caijing Magazine (Zhang Ruidan , “A NEW ATMOSPHERIC VILLAIN”, 2009/08/27) reported that a major turning point in the PRC’s campaign to lower pollution and increase energy efficiency appeared to have arrived in 2008. That year, the PRC released only 23.21 million tons of sulphur dioxide, a major atmospheric pollutant, into the atmosphere. This was almost a 9 percent decrease from 2005. Unfortunately, the PRC’s reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions hasn’t brought about a corresponding decrease in the potency of acid rain. This is likely due to rising levels of nitrogen oxides, a class of chemical pollutants that were not addressed in the emissions reduction plan.
II. PRC Report
23. PRC Education
Beijing Morning News (“BEIJING TEACHERS GO TO XINJIANG FOR EDUCATION AID”, 2009/08/27) reported that over 40 excellent teachers chosen by Beijing Municipal Department of Organization started their trip to Xinjiang, for a one-year education aid. The teaching subjects include Chinese, physics, chemistry, biology, English and so on.
24. PRC Civil Society and the Environment
Sina.com (“BLAIR JET LI CO-LAUNCH SOLAR ENERGY PROJECT”, 2009/08/28) reported that former British Premier Tony Blair and founder of One Foundation Jet Li co-launched “Solar Energy to Light Thousand Villages Plan” on August 22 in Guiyang of Guizhou province. The project will promote use of solar energy in 400 villagers of China in the first two year, and other countries such as India and Africa in the last three years.
25. PRC Civil Society
Beijing Times (“PUBLIC BUSINESS PARK TO BE OPEN IN BEIJING”, 2009/08/27) reported that Zhongguancun Public Business Park, sponsored by Zhongguancun Social Workers’ Association, it to be open in next month. The Park will provide 150 booths for free, to relieve the current disorder of business and help university students start business.