NAPSNet Daily Report 28 May, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. Inter-Korea Relations
- 2. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
- 3. PRC on Naval Ship Sinking
- 4. Russia on Naval Ship Sinking
- 5. US on Naval Ship Sinking
- 6. Britain on Naval Ship Sinking
- 7. Japan-DPRK Relations
- 8. DPRK Sanctions
- 9. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 10. US on DPRK Military
- 11. ROK Military
- 12. ROK-US Military
- 13. ROK Public on DPRK Sanctions
- 14. US Public on US-ROK Relations
- 15. USFJ Base Relocation
- 16. Japanese Whaling
- 17. Japan-Taiwan Relations
- 18. Sino-India Relations
- 19. PRC Tibet Issue
- II. PRC Report
1. Inter-Korea Relations
Cable News Network (“NORTH KOREA WARNS IT WILL MEET WAR WITH ‘ALL-OUT WAR'”, 2010/05/27) reported that the DPRK reacted to a ROK anti-submarine exercise early Thursday by saying it would meet “confrontation with confrontation” and war with “all-out war,” according to DPRK state-run media. The news agency referred to ROK leaders as a “group of traitors” and said they would experience “unheard of disastrous consequences” if they misunderstand the DPRK’s will. Also Thursday, the general staff of the DPRK’s military said it was enacting new measures to deal with any “all-out confrontation.”
2. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN TOP LEADERSHIP ‘CLOSELY INVOLVED IN CHEONAN SINKING’ “, 2010/05/27) reported that the DPRK’s Navy Command is believed to have planned the attack on the ROK Navy corvette Cheonan, which was carried out by the Reconnaissance Bureau, according to a radio broadcaster to the DPRK. Ha Tae-keung, who operates Open Radio for North Korea, says the six DPRK sailors aboard the submarine that attacked the Cheonan were given “hero” status. “North Korea’s Navy Command planned the Cheonan attack around Jan. 8,” the birthday of leader Kim Jong-il’s son and heir apparent Jong-un, “and the Reconnaissance Bureau led the mission by deploying a submarine and a mini-sub,” Ha said. Citing sources in the DPRK, Ha said, “The submarine protected the mini-sub, which was carrying two mid-sized torpedoes and two mines for self destruction should the mission fail.” The crew of the accompanying submarine were also awarded top medals, he added. Ha cited three reasons why Kim Jong-il approved the attack: to avenge the DPRK’s defeat in a naval clash near Daecheong Island in the West Sea in November last year, to test out new stealth submarines and strategies, and to ratchet up tensions in order to facilitate the succession.
Yonhap (“S. KOREA’S MILITARY REVIEWING FURTHER MEASURES AGAINST NORTH”, Seoul, 2010/05/28) reported that the ROK is preparing to take additional measures against the DPRK. “Following the rhetoric of threats, we expect that North Korea could actually carry out a military, non-military provocation,” Major Gen. Ryu Je-seung, a senior official at the ROK defense ministry’s policy and planning division, told retired generals and admirals.”So, our military is preparing to take additional military, non-military measures depending on North Korea’s response and attitude,” Ryu said.
3. PRC on Naval Ship Sinking
Associated Press (“CHINA NOT ASSIGNING BLAME IN S. KOREA SINKING BEIJING “, 2010/05/27) reported that the PRC offered no indication Thursday of plans to join the U.S. and its allies in blaming the DPRK in the sinking of a ROK warship, saying the issue remained “extremely complicated.” When asked about the investigation into the incident, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu merely repeated an earlier PRC statement that fell short of assigning blame. “The issue is highly complicated. China does not have firsthand information. We are looking at the information from all sides in a prudent manner,” Ma told reporters.”China’s position on the ship remains unchanged,” he added.
Chosun Ilbo (“CHINESE NEWSPAPER URGES N.KOREA TO PROVE INNOCENCE”, 2010/05/27) reported that a state-run PRC newspaper urged the DPRK to give an honest explanation of the sinking of the ROK Navy corvette Cheonan proving it had nothing to do with the shipwreck. In an editorial on Wednesday, the Global Times, a sister newspaper of the official People’s Daily, said the DPRK must urgently prove its innocence providing “solid” evidence to prevent tensions on the Korean Peninsula from “spiraling into a regional conflict.” The editorial said evidence pointing to the DPRK’s involvement, which the ROK government presented, has already been approved by many nations such as the U.S. and Japan, and that this has affected worldwide opinion. The editorial accuses the DPRK of failing to present any convincing evidence to the contrary despite furious denials and threats of all sorts of dire consequences.
Associated Press (Kelly Olsen, “SKOREAN, CHINESE LEADERS MEET AMID NKOREA TENSION”, Seoul, 2010/05/28) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak was to lay out the case against the DPRK during talks with PRC Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday, an ROK government official said. “Both countries have built a relationship of strategic cooperative partnership, deepened political trust and have maintained various communication regarding the North Korean nuclear issue,” Wen said in opening remarks at the meeting. Lee’s spokesman Park Sun-kyu said in a statement that the ROK was “fully concentrating on diplomatic efforts to hold North Korea responsible.” He said the matter would be discussed Friday, at the weekend summit and at a security meeting in Singapore in early June.
4. Russia on Naval Ship Sinking
Agence France Presse (“RUSSIA WANTS ‘100% PROOF’ N.KOREA SUNK SHIP”, 2010/05/27) reported that Russia will not support efforts to punish the DPRK for sinking a ROK warship until it is fully convinced Pyongyang was behind the incident, a foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday. “We need to receive 100 percent proof of North Korea’s role in the sinking of the corvette ,” the spokesman, Igor Lyakin-Frolov, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. “Our specialists are currently studying the materials of the investigation. We need to draw our own conclusions about what happened. Everything will depend on the situation and the body of evidence.” In a separate report, a senior source in Russia’s navy suggested that Moscow was unhappy about being excluded from the lengthy multinational investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan.
5. US on Naval Ship Sinking
Yonhap News (“U.S. COMMANDER URGES N. KOREA TO HALT ‘ALL ACTS OF PROVOCATION'”, 2010/05/27) reported that the top U.S. commander in the ROK warned Thursday that DPRK should stop “all acts of provocation” and pledged to support the ROK’s measures to punish the DPRK for sinking one of its warships. “We call on North Korea to cease all acts of provocation and live up to terms of the past agreements including the armistice agreement,” Army Gen. Walter Sharp told audiences at Yongsan Garrison, the main U.S. military headquarters in Seoul.
6. Britain on Naval Ship Sinking
Voice of America (“BRITAIN DEPLORES NORTH KOREA ACTION; SUPPORTS SOUTH KOREA RESPONSE “, 2010/05/27) reported that British Foreign Secretary William Hague says there is no doubt the DPRK was responsible for the sinking of a ROK naval vessel in March that killed 46 sailors. He also lent full support to the ROK’s response to the crisis. Speaking to foreign journalists in London, Foreign Secretary William Hague called the DPRK’s action “deplorable.” He said there is no doubt Pyongyang was behind the sinking of the ROK ship on March 26th. “British experts were part of the team who examined what had happened and … their evidence and the evidence of the people who worked with them shows there is no doubt whatsoever that this was an act of North Korea,” said Secretary Hague.
7. Japan-DPRK Relations
Wall Street Journal (” JAPAN TOUGHENS NORTH KOREA STANCE “, 2010/05/27) reported that Japanese lawmakers moved Thursday to tighten restrictions on the DPRK, signaling Tokyo’s desire to remain a strong and reliable U.S. partner following months of acrimony over U.S. troop deployments. A Japanese parliamentary committee passed a bill Thursday to authorize the nation’s coast guard to inspect DPRK cargo ships in international waters. The bill is expected to pass the main chamber of Japan’s upper house of parliament Friday. The Public Security Intelligence Agency, Japan’s main government intelligence agency, ordered its officials stationed across Japan to strengthen information gathering related to the DPRK.
8. DPRK Sanctions
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (“IMPACT OF THE ROK’S MAY 24 ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST THE DPRK”, 2010/05/27) reported that the cessation of inter-Korean exchanges and other sanctions against Pyongyang will directly impact the DPRK, costing it 250~300 million USD. According to the Ministry of Unification, the DPRK earned 245.19 million USD from inter-Korean cooperative schemes not related to the Kaesong Industrial Complex. This does not include additions monies for customs fees, transportation costs, mediation fees and other incidentals. About 254 million USD worth of goods were produced on commission in the DPRK after raw materials or partially manufactured products were sent from the ROK. 10~15 percent of this (25-38 million USD) covers labor and other costs. Ultimately, the cessation of inter-Korean exchange will cost the DPRK 250~300 million USD.
Yonhap News (“AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CALLS FOR ‘HUMANITARIAN EXEMPTION’ OF SANCTIONS ON N. KOREA”, 2010/05/27) reported that Amnesty International (AI) called Thursday for sparing the DPRK from deep-cutting sanctions that will affect ordinary DPR Koreans and further worsen food shortages. The group said in a statement that any proposal for further sanctions on the DPRK must include “effective humanitarian exemptions to protect the right to life, food and health of North Korean citizens.” “If the proposed sanctions do not incorporate such safeguards and are likely to result in serious human rights violations, Amnesty International would oppose them,” the group said, releasing its annual global report.
9. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap (“U.S. TO USE MULTIPLE MEANS FOR N. KOREA’S DENUCLEARIZATION: WHITE HOUSE”, 2010/05/27) reported that the United States said Thursday it will take multiple avenues to isolate the DPRK and Iran and force them to abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions. “If they ignore their international obligations, we will pursue multiple means to increase their isolation and bring them into compliance with international nonproliferation norms,” a National Security Strategy report released by the Obama administration said. “Both nations face a clear choice. If North Korea eliminates its nuclear weapons program, and Iran meets its international obligations on its nuclear program, they will be able to proceed on a path to greater political and economic integration with the international community.” The report, mandated by Congress, emphasized the shift in national security strategy to multilateralism through diplomacy, but it did not elaborate on the multiple means.
10. US on DPRK Military
Newsweek (“U.S. INTEL OFFICIAL: NORTH KOREA IS BLUFFING”, 2010/05/27) reported that U.S. officials say they’ve seen little physical evidence that the DPRK might actually be preparing to go to war. Two U.S. national security officials, asking for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, tell Declassified they’re not aware of any intelligence reporting on significant military mobilization or redeployments inside the DPRK. The DPRK military is always on the move somewhere, one of the officials said, but at the moment whatever movements are being noted by Western intelligence agencies are regarded as not particularly threatening. A third U.S. foreign policy official, who also asked for anonymity, told Declassified that U.S. agencies are picking up “nothing of extreme concern” in what DPRK forces are currently up to.
11. ROK Military
Agence France Presse (“S.KOREA STAGES ANTI-SUBMARINE DRILL AMID TENSIONS”, 2010/05/27) reported that the ROK’s navy Thursday staged a major anti-submarine exercise, its first show of strength since tensions with the DPRK flared over the sinking of one of Seoul’s warships . About 10 ships including a 3,000-tonne destroyer and three patrol boats took part in the one-day drill, which included the dropping of depth charges and naval gunfire, Yonhap news agency quoted military officials as saying. The defence ministry declined to give details of the exercise. The drill was held off the west coast town of Taean, far south of the disputed Yellow Sea border where the Cheonan corvette was torn in two on March 26.
12. ROK-US Military
Chosun Ilbo (“S.KOREAN, U.S. FORCES RAISE ALERT”, 2010/05/27) reported that ROK and U.S. forces have raised by one notch the level of military alert against possible aggression from the DPRK. A high-ranking ROK government source on Wednesday said the threat of DPRK provocation has risen as sanctions against the DPRK take effect. The source added the two militaries have raised the “Watchcon” (watch condition) level from three to two, which denotes “vital indications” of a security threat.
Korea Times (“S. KOREA, US BRACE FOR HOSTAGE CRISIS AT GAESEONG”, 2010/05/27) reported that the militaries of the ROK and the United States are charting scenarios on a possible hostage crisis at the joint Gaeseong Industrial Complex in the DPRK, the country’s defense chief said Thursday. “There is a possibility that South Korean workers may be held at the Gaeseong site, so the government is discussing countermeasures with the United States,” Minister of National Defense Kim Tae-young said. Kim didn’t elaborate on what kind of scenarios and course of joint military action were being talked about.
13. ROK Public on DPRK Sanctions
Chosun Ilbo (“60% APPROVE OF SANCTIONS AGAINST N.KOREA”, 2010/05/27) reported that six out of 10 RO Koreans approve of sanctions against the DPRK over the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan in March. In a survey by Gallup Korea for the Chosun Ilbo, 60.4 percent of respondents approved of the government’s sanctions against the DPRK, including a halt to all trade. Some 20.9 disapproved and 18.8 percent gave no answer. Asked what they think of the government’s position that it will immediately exercise its right to self-defense if the DPRK invades ROK territory, 59.7 percent were in favor and 25.7 percent against.
14. US Public on US-ROK Relations
Rasmussen Reports (“47% SAY U.S. SHOULD AID SOUTH KOREA MILITARILY”, 2010/05/27) reported that 47% of U.S. voters think the United States should provide military assistance to the ROK if it is attacked by its Communist neighbor to the north. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 25% oppose U.S. military assistance to the ROK if it is attacked by the DPRK , but another 28% are undecided. Fifty-six percent (56%) say it is at least somewhat likely there will be a war between the two Koreas in the near future, but only 14% say it’s Very Likely. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say war between the DPRK and ROK is not very or not at all likely any time soon. These findings are little changed from a year ago when tensions between the two countries last heightened.
15. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“HATOYAMA ASKS PREFECTURES TO SHARE BURDENS OF HOSTING U.S. FORCES “, 2010/05/27) reported that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama asked prefectural governors Thursday to try to share the burden of hosting U.S. forces in Japan with Okinawa Prefecture. The National Governors’ Association compiled a statement saying that governors would ”respond sincerely on the basis of the views of related municipalities and residents” if there are specific proposals from the central government. But it is uncertain whether the association will accept the central government’s request, with some of the governors clearly showing their reluctance.
Asahi Shimbun (“GATES WELCOMES PROGRESS ON FUTENMA”, 2010/05/27) reported that the U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he welcomed progress in the longstanding Futenma airfield relocation issue, referring to Tokyo’s decision to abide by a bilateral agreement to move it inside Okinawa Prefecture. Gates spoke during a meeting at the Pentagon on Tuesday with his Japanese counterpart, Toshimi Kitazawa, who was visiting Washington.
Yomiuri Shimbun (“NO ‘DELAY’ IN SCHEDULE”, 2010/05/27) reported that a joint document due to be released Friday on the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture is to include a clause stating there will be “no significant delays” in the relocation site’s scheduled 2014 completion, sources close to the issue said Thursday. Washington has requested that such an expression be included in the document, the sources said.
Agence France-Presse (Hiroshi Hiyama, “JAPAN AND US RESOLVE OKINAWA BASE ROW”, Tokyo, 2010/05/28) reported that Tokyo and Washington said in a joint statement Friday that the Futenma marine airbase would be moved, as first agreed in 2006, from a crowded city area to the coastal Henoko region of Okinawa. They announced the deal after a telephone conversation between Japan’s left Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and US President Barack Obama. “We were able to reach an agreement on the Futenma issue by the end of May,” Hatoyama told reporters. The White House said both leaders “expressed satisfaction with the progress made by the two sides in reaching an operationally viable and politically sustainable plan to relocate the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.”
16. Japanese Whaling
Associated Press (Rod McGuirk, “AUSTRALIA TO TAKE JAPAN TO COURT OVER WHALING”, Canberra, 2010/05/28) reported that Australia announced Friday it will take Japan to the International Court of Justice to argue that its annual Antarctic whale kill violates international obligations. The decision to take legal action underlines the government’s “commitment to bring to an end Japan’s program of so-called scientific whaling”, the government said in a statement. Japan’s Foreign Ministry said it was regrettable that Australia was bringing the issue before the court while negotiations continue within the International Whaling Commission on a proposal that would effectively allow commercial whaling for the first time in 25 years. “We will continue to explain that the scientific whaling that we are conducting is lawful in accordance with Article 8 of the international convention for the regulation of whaling,” said ministry Deputy Press Secretary Hidenobu Sobashima. “If it goes to the court, we are prepared to explain that.”
17. Japan-Taiwan Relations
Taiwan News (“TAIWAN CONSIDERING JAPANESE REQUEST TO EXPAND AIR DEFENSE AREA”, 2010/05/27) reported that the government was evaluating a request from Japan to expand its air defense identification zone at Taiwan’s expense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The Japanese government had filed a request for a change, and MOFA had handed it over to the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of National Defense for evaluation, MOFA deputy spokesman James Chang told reporters. He insisted no decision had been reached yet. Ministry of National Defense Vice Minister Chao Shih-chang said any decision would not sacrifice Taiwan’s national security or the country’s rights.
18. Sino-India Relations
The Hindu (“PRATIBHA SEEKS CHINA BACKING FOR PERMANENT UNSC SEAT”, 2010/05/27) reported that in a first for a visiting head of state, President Pratibha Patil on Thursday sought the PRC’s backing for a permanent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) seat for India. Ms. Patil raised India’s Security Council ambitions in her talks with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and again during the summit meeting with President Hu Jintao. In response, the PRC leadership said the PRC understood and supported India’s “aspirations and desire to play a greater role in the U.N., especially in the Security Council.” As a follow-up to this, both sides agreed that the neighbours should “strengthen their co-operation on Security Council reforms,” working specifically towards expanding the representation of developing countries.
19. PRC Tibet Issue
The Hindu (“SIGNS OF CHANGE EMANATING WITHIN CHINA: DALAI LAMA”, 2010/05/27) reported that “There have been many incidents in the recent past which are indicative of strong change within the People’s Republic of China,” said the Dalai Lama on Thursday. In Patna to inaugurate the Buddha Smriti park set up to commemorate the 2550th year of Lord Buddha’s ‘Mahaparinirvana,’ the Tibetan religious leader noted that there were strong signs of socio-political change emanating from within the country. Alluding to the PRC’s revised policy on minorities to substantiate his theory of changing political currents within the country, the Dalai Lama further stated that during the last two years, more than 200 PRC writers had authored almost a thousand articles which were supportive and sympathetic to the question of Tibetan autonomy.
New York Times (“TIBETAN GETS SUSPENDED DEATH SENTENCE IN CHINA”, 2010/05/27) reported that a PRC court has handed down a suspended death sentence to a Tibetan man accused of taking part in the riots that ravaged the Tibetan capital more than two years ago, the state news media reported. The same court also sentenced five other people to lengthy prison terms for their role in harboring the man, Sonam Tsering, who was convicted of “rioting and inciting the public to riot,” according to the Lhasa Evening News, which said the trial took place on Tuesday.
II. PRC Report
20. Sino-US Climate Change Cooperation
China News Net (“, FIRST US-CHINA ENERGY EFFICIENCY FORUM HELD IN BEIJING”, 2010/05/27) reported that the first US-PRC Energy Efficiency Forum was held in Beijing Wednesday. Over 200 representatives from the two countries’ governments, research institutions and enterprises discussed policy and other measures for energy efficiency in the two countries. This Forum is an important part of the “energy efficiency in action plan” sponsored by the Chinese National Committee of Reform and Development and the US State Department.
21. PRC Climate Change
Jinghua Times (“BEIJING TEENAGER’S GREEN DAY LAUNCHED”, 2010/05/27) reported that Beijing Teenager’s Green Day was held Wednesday in Beijing. The sponsor, the Beijing Committee of Youth League, will integrate green resources open to teenagers such as a sewage treatment plant, water protection base and new energy enterprises to help cultivate their green ideas.
22. PRC Civil Society
Sina.com (“BMW SUPPORTS EXCELLENT UNIVERSITY STUDENTS”, 2010/05/27) reported that the award ceremony for the 2010 BMW Excellent University Student Grant was held in Wuhan recently. 100 students from 10 top universities received a grant of 5000 RMN each. This BMW grant has help 500 students in five years and awarded a total of 2.5 million RMB to grant recipients.