NAPSNet Daily Report 28 June, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- DPRK on Nuclear Program
- PRC on Sinking of ROK Ship
- Japan on Naval Ship Sinking
- G-8 on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- US-DPRK Relations
- Inter-Korea Relations
- Sino-DPRK Relations
- PRC on Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- Japanese Abductee Issue
- DPRK Military Exercises
- DPRK Leadership
- DPRK World Cup
- US-ROK Military Alliance
- PRC on US-ROK Military Exercises
- US-ROK Free Trade Agreement
- ROK Space Program
- ROK-Japan Relations
- US-Japan Security Alliance
- Japan-India Nuclear Cooperation
- Japanese Politics
- Japanese Whaling
- Japan-Taiwan Relations
- Cross Strait Relations
- PRC on Regional Integration
- PRC Unrest
1. I. Napsnet
2. DPRK on Nuclear Program
Agence France-Presse (Simon Martin, “N.KOREA VOWS TO BOLSTER NUCLEAR DETERRENT”, Seoul, 2010/06/28) reported that the DPRK vowed Monday to strengthen its nuclear weaponry in the face of what it branded US hostility. Recent developments underscore the need for the DPRK “to bolster its nuclear deterrent in a newly developed way” to cope with persistent US hostility and its military threat, a foreign ministry spokesman said. No details were given. Baek Seung-Joo of the Korea Institute for Defence Analyses said the statement indicates the DPRK would start developing nuclear weapons based on highly enriched uranium.
3. PRC on Sinking of ROK Ship
Yonhap (“HU JINTAO STOPS SHORT OF BLAMING NK FOR WARSHIP SINKING”, Toronto, 2010/06/28) reported that PRC President Hu Jintao remained non-committal Sunday in blaming the DPRK for the sinking of the Cheonan at talks with ROK President Lee Myung-bak. “As North Korea’s continued provocation poses a grave threat to the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the Northeast Asian region, proper international cooperation is necessary to prevent its recurrence,” Lee was quoted as saying. Hu replied, “I fully understand South Korea’s position. Let’s continue close consultations in the process of responding (to the issue) at the U.N. Security Council.” Hu said the PRC “condemns and opposes any act that destroys the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula,” but did not name the DPRK.
BBC News (“US WANTS CHINA ACTION OVER NORTH KOREA SHIP ATTACK”, Toronto, 2010/06/28) reported that US President Barack Obama said he had what he called blunt talks with PRC President Hu Jintao on the sinking of the Cheonan. Obama said he understood the PRC’s position of restraint, but restraint was different to what he called “willful blindness”. Obama said he hoped President Hu would recognise the incident was an example of the DPRK overstepping the line.
5. Japan on Naval Ship Sinking
Asahi Shimbun (“KAN CRITICIZES N. KOREA FOR SINKING”, Toronto, 2010/06/28) reported that in a meeting with ROK President Lee Myung-bak on Saturday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan criticized the DPRK over the sinking of the Cheonan. “The act by North Korea is a threat to the peace and stability of the region and absolutely cannot be allowed,” Kan said. The Group of Eight leaders on Saturday issued a declaration that referred to the results of an international investigative panel that concluded the DPRK was responsible for the attack while not directly condemning the DPRK. “We condemn, in this context, the attack which led to the sinking of the Cheonan,” the statement said.
6. G-8 on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Associated Press (“G-8 CHIEFS CONDEMN NORTH KOREA”, Huntsville, Ontario, 2010/06/26) reported that the leaders of the G-8 on Saturday condemned the DPRK over its suspected sinking of the Cheonan. Japanese officials said the Russians were the only ones to resist tougher language condemning the DPRK. A Russian delegation official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that because Russia still did not consider the results of the commission to be final, condemning Pyongyang further could lead to negative consequences.
7. US-DPRK Relations
New York Times (Choe Sang-hun, “NORTH KOREA REJECTS U.S. PROPOSAL FOR TALKS ON SINKING OF WARSHIP”, Seoul, 2010/06/27) reported that the DPRK on Sunday rejected an invitation from the American-led United Nations Command to hold talks on the sinking of the Cheonan. “The U.S. forces side should no longer meddle in the issue of the North-South relations under the name of the ‘U.N. Forces Command,’ ” the DPRK said in a statement carried by Korean Central News Agency. It reiterated an earlier demand that the ROK accept a visit by DPRK military inspectors to review and dispute the multinational investigation.
8. Inter-Korea Relations
Donga Ilbo (“PRESIDENT LEE URGES N.K. TO APOLOGIZE FOR SINKING”, Seoul, 2010/06/26) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak urged the DPRK Friday to apologize for the sinking of the Cheonan. “North Korea must stop its reckless military provocations and get on the path toward the 70 million Korean people (in both Koreas) to live together,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is peaceful unification, not military confrontation,” Lee reiterated.
Donga Ilbo (“OPPOSITION URGES SHIFT IN N.KOREA POLICY”, Seoul, 2010/06/25) reported that the main opposition Democratic Party urged the Lee Myung-bak administration Friday to change its DPRK policy. In a meeting of the party’s leading officials, party chairman Chung Sye-kyun criticized President Lee for saying he does not fear war with the DPRK.
10. Sino-DPRK Relations
Daily Telegraph (Malcolm Moore, “CHINA REWRITES HISTORY OF KOREAN WAR”, Shanghai, 2010/06/25) reported that PRC history textbooks state that the Korean War began when “the United States assembled a United Nations army of 15 countries and defiantly marched across the border and invaded North Korea, spreading the flames of war to our Yalu river.” The official PRC media stated for the first time that it was the DPRK that dealt the first blow. In a special report, Xinhua’s International Affairs journal said: “On June 25, 1950, the North Korean army marched over 38th Parallel and started the attack. Three days later, Seoul fell.”
11. PRC on Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Korea Times (Lee Tae-hoon, “CHINA TO RESPECT SEOUL’S RIGHTS OVER TOURS TO MT. GEUMGANG”, Seoul, 2010/06/25) reported that in response to Seoul’s request to restrict tourist visits to Mt. Geumgang, Beijing said it “respects” the ROK’s business rights as per international standards, a government official said Friday. “In a response to a letter from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) earlier this month, the National Tourism Administration of China said Beijing respects relevant laws and hopes that issues involving the mountain resort will be resolved through inter-Korean dialogue,” the official said.
12. Japanese Abductee Issue
Asahi Shimbun (“EX-SPY TO MEET ABDUCTEE’S PARENTS”, Tokyo, 2010/06/28) reported that Japan and the ROK are arranging for former DPRK spy Kim Hyon Hui to visit Japan in July or later, government sources said. Kim, who was convicted of blowing up a Korean Air jet in 1987, will meet the parents of abductee Megumi Yokota.
13. DPRK Military Exercises
Reuters (“NORTH KOREA ISSUES NO-SAIL WARNING; MISSILE EYED”, Seoul, 2010/06/26) reported that the DPRK has issued a no-sail warning off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula in what ROK officials said on Friday was likely part of routine military drills. “North Korea has designated a north-west area of the (Yellow Sea) as a no-sail zone for June 19 to 27,” a South Korean Defense Ministry official said. “This appears to be part of training exercises and we have no indications of unusual activities by the North Korean military.”
14. DPRK Leadership
Asahi Shimbun (Yoshihiro Makino, “N. KOREA MOVES TO SOLIDIFY SUCCESSION”, Seoul, 2010/06/28) reported that the Korean Central News Agency said on Saturday that the Politburo of the DPRK Workers’ Party had decided to convene a party representatives meeting in September to select a “supreme leadership organ.” The only other time a party representatives meeting has been convened was in October 1966. ROK officials said the meeting will likely be part of the process of ensuring that Kim Jong Il is succeeded as DPRK leader by his third son, Kim Jong Un. The Politburo gave as reasons for holding the September meeting to select a supreme leadership organ “decisive changes occurring within the moves to create a strong and prosperous state and the juche (self-reliance) ideology.”
Korea Times (“‘CHOREOGRAPHER’ BEHIND NK HEIR’S PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN”, Seoul, 2010/06/26) reported that Cheong Seong-chang, a DPRK specialist with the Sejong Institute, said Han Dong-geun, a three-star general, is playing a “key role” in choreographing the propaganda activities for DPRK heir apparent Kim Jong-un, the local Chosun Ilbo said on Saturday. “General Han Dong-guen is playing a key role in creating the atmosphere of propping up Kim Jong-un’s personality cult among military officials and soldiers through ideological education classes,” Cheong was quoted as saying. Cheong also said the Presidium of the Politburo has been on the forefront of the propaganda to elevate the heir’s “greatness” through rallies and lectures under General Han’s supervision, and the organ is playing a more major role than the Workers’ Party’s own propaganda department. Cheong interpreted the reason is that the Presidium of the Politburo exercises a prime influence on the military and it’s particularly important for the young heir, who is still in his 20s, to expand his sphere of influence on the military so as to gain its support.
Chosun Ilbo (“KIM JONG-IL ‘SHOWING SIGNS OF DEMENTIA'”, Seoul, 2010/06/28) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il has been displaying signs of memory loss and occasionally talks nonsense, National Intelligence Service chief Won Sei-hoon apparently told the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee in a closed-door meeting. “Kim has been exhibiting memory loss and saying things that do not make sense during his field visits,” Won was quoted by lawmakers as saying. According to the NIS, Kim said during a recent field inspection at a potato farm, “People should not live on potatoes alone. They need to have rice, too. We should send them rice.”
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA BOOSTS PROPAGANDA FOR KIM JONG-IL’S SON”, Seoul, 2010/06/25) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il is speeding up the transfer of power to his son Jong-un, intelligence suggests. “There is intelligence information indicating Kim Jong-un accompanied Kim Jong-il on an inspection tour last week to North Pyongan Province,” an ROK government official said Thursday. “One thing that is certain is that posters lauding Jong-un were hung in the factory Kim Jong-il toured.”
18. DPRK World Cup
Chosun Ilbo (“GLUM N.KOREAN WORKERS CHEER NATIONAL TEAM IN S.AFRICA”, Seoul, 2010/06/28) reported that the U.S. magazine Newsweek says about 100 men in their 40s and 50s “with uniformly dark and haggard faces” showed up at the grandstand for the DPRK’s World Cup matches against Brazil and Portugal. “The group consisted of migrant bronze workers who had arrived here from Namibia on a 24-hour-long bus ride,” the weekly said. “Seated a few seats away from them were two younger men with healthier complexions who appeared to be their minders.”
19. US-ROK Military Alliance
Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “WARTIME COMMAND CHANGE DELAYED TO DECEMBER 2015”, Toronto, 2010/06/27) reported that the leaders of the ROK and the United States have agreed to delay the transfer of wartime command control to Seoul by some three and a half years to Dec. 1, 2015, given the changing security situation on the Korean Peninsula, Cheong Wa Dae announced Saturday. Under the accord reached at a summit between Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Barack Obama, defense ministries of the two allies will start working-level talks soon to address issues concerning the rescheduling, it said.
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “ALLIES REASSESS NK MILITARY THREAT”, Seoul, 2010/06/27) reported that the agreement to delay the transfer of wartime operational control comes after the US and the ROK reevaluated the threat posed by the DPRK’s asymmetrical and irregular warfare capability. The Cheonan incident revealed loopholes in the defense readiness and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability against DPRK warfare tactics. “To take over the OPCON, our military has prepared to secure enough independent capability regarding ISR, C4I digital command structures and precision striking since the 2007 agreement,” an official at the Ministry of National Defense said. “But the original plan has turned out to be not realistic, and that’s why we’ve agreed to delay the timeline to 2015.”
Joongang Ilbo (Seo Seung-wook, Christine Kim, “DELAY IN TRANSFER OF TROOP CONTROL ANGERS LIBERALS”, Seoul, 2010/06/28) reported that ROK political parties’ reacted with sharp differences to news that the ROK and the U.S. agreed to delay Seoul’s takeover of wartime operational control. “We strongly protest and warn against this decision, which is basically giving up our military defense rights,” said Jun Byung-hun, the Democratic Party’s chief strategist, during a press conference. “Our party received no reports during the negotiation process of the economic burden on the public purse that will result from this,” said Jun. “[The originally planned date] 2012 is too soon and we are not yet prepared for the takeover considering the overall situation of the Korean Peninsula and public sentiment in South Korea, which thinks it should be delayed,” said Cho Hae-jin, spokesman for the Grand National Party. “We should better prepare ourselves for the takeover,” Cho said.
22. PRC on US-ROK Military Exercises
Korea Times (“CHINA VOICES CONCERN OVER KOREA-US NAVAL DRILL”, Seoul, 2010/06/28) reported that the PRC is concerned about a planned ROK-U.S. naval exercise on the West Sea as it may pose a threat to Beijing’s defense, a PRC newspaper reported in Hong Kong Monday. “(The joint drill) would risk challenging China’s strategic bottom line and its coastal defense,” the English-language Global Times said, quoting Chinese military strategists. “The joint exercise is mainly aimed at deterring North Korea, but the U.S. should consider the interests of concerned countries as the drill is conducted in sensitive waters,” the newspaper quoted Li Daguang of China’s National Defense University as saying.
23. US-ROK Free Trade Agreement
New York Times (Sewell Chan and Jackie Calmes, “WHITE HOUSE TO PUSH FREE TRADE DEAL WITH SOUTH KOREA”, Toronto, 2010/06/26) reported that the Obama administration announced Saturday that it would ask Congress to ratify a free-trade agreement with the ROK after the midterm elections in November. After meeting with ROK President Lee Myung-bak, Obama’s aides said they would try to resolve lingering issues by the time of the next G-20 leaders’ talks in Seoul in November. “We very much welcome and thank President Obama for proposing a date for us to look forward to, and we will work towards that date and objectives,” Lee said.
24. ROK Space Program
Korea Herald (Bae Hyun-jung, “CHEOLLIAN ENTERS ORBIT AFTER LIFTOFF”, Seoul, 2010/06/27) reported that the ROK’s first geostationary satellite was successfully put on its planned initial orbit after its launch from Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guinea, said officials Sunday. The Cheollian satellite opened communication with the Dongara Ground Station in Australia at 7:19 a.m. on Sunday, 38 minutes after liftoff, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
25. ROK-Japan Relations
Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “JAPAN PM STRESSES FUTURE-ORIENTED TIES WITH KOREA”, Toronto, 2010/06/27) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan at a summit here with President Lee Myung-bak on the sidelines of the Group of 20 Summit called for a future-oriented partnership with the ROK on Saturday. “I hope the year 2010 will be a remarkable year for relations between Korea and Japan,” Kan was quoted as saying by the presidential office. “I will face up to history to build a brighter future for both countries.” As this year marks the 100th anniversary of Japan’s colonization of Korea in 1910, the ROK and Japan can begin a new century of friendship this year if they open their minds and seek to cooperate based on mutual trust, the Prime Minister said. Lee and Kan also agreed to work closely together to revitalize talks on the envisioned ROK-Japan free trade deal. Kan said he would fully back the ROK’s bid to make the DPRK pay the price for the sinking of the Cheonan.
26. US-Japan Security Alliance
Kyodo (“JAPAN, US AGREE BILATERAL ALLIANCE CORNERSTONE OF REGIONAL PEACE”, Toronto, 2010/06/27) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed the importance of the security alliance between the two countries, saying it is a cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. The two leaders are also believed to have agreed that Japan and the United States will continue supporting the ROK in seeking tough action against the DPRK over the sinking of the Cheonan. Kan and Obama are also believed to have taken up the issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station.
27. Japan-India Nuclear Cooperation
Asahi Shimbun (Yukie Yamao and Yuzuru Takano, “NUCLEAR TALKS WITH INDIA SET TO BEGIN”, Tokyo, 2010/06/28) reported that meetings will be held in Tokyo on Monday and Tuesday between officials of Japan and India on a treaty to allow for export of the nuclear technology. With Russian and South Korean companies also seeking to win contracts to build nuclear plants in India, the American and French governments had been pressing Japan to begin negotiations with India on a nuclear treaty. The bilateral pact would oblige India to declare that it will not divert the nuclear know-how used in the power plants for military purposes.
28. Japanese Politics
Asahi Shimbun (“DPJ UPPER HOUSE CHANCES MURKY”, Tokyo, 2010/06/28) reported that an Asahi Shimbun survey showed ruling Democratic Party of Japan will likely win 50 to 55 seats in the Upper House in the July 11 election. The telephone survey Thursday and Friday was combined with Asahi’s own analysis to make the estimates. The survey indicated there was a possibility the DPJ might fail to win a majority even combined with the People’s New Party, its junior coalition partner. The Liberal Democratic Party, the largest opposition party, may get 40 or more seats as its candidates are vying neck and neck with DPJ rivals in single-seat constituencies.
29. Japanese Whaling
BBC News (Richard Black, “JAPAN ‘REGRETS’ LACK OF AGREEMENT AT IWC MEETING”, Agadir, 2010/06/26) reported that Yasue Funayama, Japanese vice-minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said failure to agree a common way forward at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) annual meeting is “unfortunate”. She said Japan had had to “sweat and bleed” to bring agreement closer. “Of course, if it was indeed the case that zero had to be the number for proper management of the whale stock – if it was in a critical situation – then of course Japan would agree that it had to be brought down to zero,” said Funuyama. “However, we do have evidence that the whale stock is sustainable if it is contained under a certain level of catch, and therefore we fail to understand why it has to be brought down to zero.”
30. Japan-Taiwan Relations
Asahi Shimbun (“JAPAN’S AIR DEFENSE LINE EXTENDED FURTHER WEST”, Tokyo, 2010/06/27) reported that the Japanese Defense Ministry will redraw its primary air defense line to stretch two nautical miles beyond Japan’s territorial airspace off Okinawa Prefecture, officials said Thursday. The move is meant to shift the air defense identification zone (ADIZ) border, currently situated just above Yonagunijima, in the Yaeyama island chain, westward. Taiwan’s diplomatic office issued a statement Thursday, calling the decision unacceptable. Taipei has expressed reservations about shifting the boundary as it could encroach on its sovereignty and airspace.
31. Cross Strait Relations
BBC News (“CHINA-TAIWAN TRADE PACT SPARKS STREET PROTEST IN TAIPEI”, Taipei, 2010/06/26) reported that tens of thousands of demonstrators in Taiwan have been venting their anger at a trade deal with the PRC, to be signed on Tuesday. Leaders of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party are calling for Taiwan to hold a referendum on the pact, known as the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement. Police said around 32,000 people took part in the protests. The opposition said there were 100,000 demonstrators on the streets.
32. PRC on Regional Integration
Korea Times (“CHINA’S THINK TANK PROPOSES EAST ASIAN ‘CURRENCY ALLIANCE'”, 2010/06/26) reported that the three economic powers of East Asia should unify their currencies to form an Asian version of the Eurozone to sever their reliance on the U.S. currency, the Institute of International Affairs at Tsinghua University argued. It also proposed that after the PRC, the ROK, and Japan integrate their currencies into one in what it called “the Asia 3” currency alliance, it can expand other countries, which are members of the ASEAN, to eventually create a pan-Asian currency union.
33. PRC Unrest
BBC News (“CHINA ‘MUST EAST MIGRANT WORKER PRESSURES'”, 2010/06/27) reported that officials in the PRC have urged the government to help ease the pressures caused by a record number of internal migrant workers. A report shows the PRC’s floating population increased to 211 million last year. Workers who move from the countryside to the cities have healthcare, housing and education needs, it says.