NAPSNet Daily Report 28 September, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. ROK on US-DPRK Talks
- 3. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 4. DPRK Human Rights
- 5. US on DPRK Human Rights
- 6. ROK on DPRK Human Rights
- 7. Reunions of Separated Families
- 8. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation
- 9. DPRK Defectors
- 10. DPRK Leadership
- 11. DPRK Internal Situation
- 12. ROK Defense Spending
- 13. US-ROK Military Alliance
- 14. US-ROK FTA
- 15. US-Japan Nuclear Agreement
- 16. Japanese Foreign Policy
- 17. Japanese Politics
- 18. Japanese Climate Change
- 19. Cross Strait Relations
- 20. Uighur Detainee Issue
- 21. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 22. PRC Public Health
- 23. PRC Energy
- II. PRC Report
1. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap (“LIGHT-WATER REACTORS NOT PART OF GRAND BARGAIN FOR N.K. “, Seoul, 2009/09/28) reported that the ROK ruled out the construction of light-water reactors Sunday as part of a “grand bargain” that President Lee Myung-bak had recently proposed. Wi Sung-lac, ROK nuclear envoy, stated, “Construction of light-water reactors is an issue that can be discussed once the North is denuclearized and returns to the NPT regime.”
Korea Herald (“LEE CALLS FOR STRONG STAND AGAINST N.K.”, Seoul, 2009/09/27) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak said Saturday the international community should take a strong stand against the DPRK and not be distracted by the country’s marginal conciliatory gestures in recent weeks. He stressed that the DPRK should be left with no other choice but to denuclearize and that it is “unthinkable” for the world to recognize it as a de-facto nuclear power. “The North Koreans will not readily give up their nuclear program,” he said. “If they are sincere, then we are ready to provide them with whatever is necessary,” he said.
2. ROK on US-DPRK Talks
Donga Ibo (“`N. KOREA-US TALKS ARE NOT IMMINENT`”, Seoul, 2009/09/26) reported that an ROK official Friday denied speculation that bilateral talks between the DPRK and the U.S. are imminent. “Washington hasn’t been in a hurry from the beginning and feels no need to hasten bilateral talks with Pyongyang,” the official said. “Additional contact between the two countries is expected to happen within a month or two.” The official added, “The bilateral contact is not for full-fledged negotiations between the two countries. We will make it clear that internationals sanctions must continue even if bilateral talks begin.”
3. Sino-DPRK Relations
Reuters (Jon Herskovitz, “CHINESE PM TO VISIT NORTH KOREA AMID NUCLEAR STANDOFF”, Seoul, 2009/09/28) reported that PRC Premier Wen Jiabao “will pay an official goodwill visit” to the DPRK from October 4 to 6, the Korean Central News Agency said in a one sentence dispatch on Monday. “There probably will be significant talks between Wen and leader Kim Jong-il not only on their relations, but of events over the Korean peninsula and nuclear arms,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the ROK’s University of North Korean Studies .
4. DPRK Human Rights
Yonhap (“N.K. ASSERTS HUMAN RIGHTS IN NEW CONSTITUTION”, Seoul, 2009/09/28) reported that the DPRK’s new constitution says that its regime “respects and protects” the human rights of its citizens. Article 8 of the constitution, revised in April and obtained on Monday, says, “The State respects and protects the human rights of the workers, peasants and working intellectuals who have been freed from exploitation and oppression and have become masters of the State and society.” The earlier vision adopted in 1998 only stated that the DPRK “defends and protects” their “interests.”
5. US on DPRK Human Rights
Arirang News (“U.S. NOMINATES SPECIAL ENVOY ON N.KOREAN HUMAN RIGHTS”, 2009/09/28) reported that Robert King, once a congressional aid with the U.S. House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, has been nominated to serve as a special envoy on DPRK human rights issues. King, who will be given the rank of Ambassador, has worked on Capitol Hill for the last 25 years where he established and supervised the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.
6. ROK on DPRK Human Rights
Yonhap (“SEOUL LINKS DENUCLEARIZATION TO N.K. HUMAN RIGHTS”, Seoul, 2009/09/25) reported that Hong Yang-ho, ROK vice unification minister, said DPRK citizens will be enriched and happier only after the DPRK returns to the six-party talks, entirely dismantles its nuclear weapons program and forms new relations with international society. “North Korea’s human rights situation cannot be fundamentally improved unless the country shakes off the shackles of chronic economic difficulties stemming from international isolation from the nuclear problem,” Hong said. “One of the various approaches to improving the North’s human rights conditions is complete settlement of the North Korean nuclear problem.”
7. Reunions of Separated Families
New York Times (Choe Sang-hun, “CRIES AND HUGS AT REUNION OF FAMILIES IN NORTH KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/09/26) reported that 97 older ROK citizens met 228 DPRK relatives this weekend whom they last saw during the war. Three South Koreans became too ill on the eve of the reunion to make the cross-border trip by bus.
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “DIVIDED KOREAN FAMILIES BID FAREWELL TO EACH OTHER”, Seoul, 2009/09/28) reported that ROK intelligence chief Won Sei-hoon told lawmakers Monday the government will consider rewarding the DPRK for resuming the family reunions. On Saturday, DPRK Red Cross chief Jang Jae On asked his ROK counterpart Yoo Chong-ha about Seoul rewarding the DPRK for the reunion, according to ROK media reports . The reports said the DPRK appeared to be seeking the resumption of food and fertilizer aid and noted the country made similar demands in the past.
8. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation
Donga Ibo (“COMPANY GIVES NK WORKERS CRASH COURSE IN QUALITY”, Seoul, 2009/09/26) reported that Sunglim, a maker of lids for edible oil bottles, set up a plant in the Kaesong Industrial Complex in April last year. Sunglim manager Lee Je-pyo said, “They were unaccustomed to the concepts of quality or consumers. North Korean workers saw no problems in products that would be considered defective by South Koreans.” The company then started a campaign to help its DPRK staff get a better understanding of quality. Since then, the number of defective products has significantly decreased.
Yonhap (“KEPCO SUFFERS LOSS FROM POWER SUPPLY TO KAESONG PARK”, Seoul, 2009/09/27) reported that the ROK’s state-run power company suffered billions of won in losses by providing electricity to ROK companies operating at an the Kaesong Industrial Park at cheap prices. According to a report submitted Sunday to the National Assembly, the Korea Electric Power Corp. had an accumulated loss of 18.2 billion won ($15.4 million) over the past five years.
9. DPRK Defectors
Yonhap (“OVER 2,800 N.K. DEFECTORS CAME TO SOUTH IN 2008: REPORT”, Seoul, 2009/09/28) reported that a total of 2,809 DPRK defectors arrived in the ROK last year, bringing the cumulative number to nearly 17,000. The 2008 figure was up 11 percent from a year earlier. The annual increase rate was 26 percent and 46 percent in 2007 and 2006, respectively, according to a report submitted by the Unification Ministry to the National Assembly. In the first eight months of this year, a total of 1,896 defectors also arrived in the ROK, the ministry said.
10. DPRK Leadership
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN POSTER SEEMS TO CONFIRM SUCCESSION”, Seoul, 2009/09/25) reported that MBC on Thursday showed images of a propaganda poster taken near Wonsan by a Taiwanese photographer on a recent visit to the DPRK. The poster read, “Kim Jong-eun, a young leader who succeeds the lineage of Mangyongdae and Mt. Baekdu,” along with the full lyrics of a song related to the succession. MBC said the image shot was taken at a collective farm near Wonsan open to visits by foreigners on September 19.
Yonhap (“N.K.’S REVISED CONSTITUTION GIVES MORE POWER TO KIM JONG-IL”, Seoul, 2009/09/28) reported that the DPRK’s new constitution describes its leader Kim Jong-il as the country’s “supreme leader”and also articulates his role and authority. Article 100 of the constitution says, “The chairman of the National Defense Commission (NDC) is the supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” In articles that were not included in the earlier version adopted in 1998, the revised constitution also says the chairman of the NDC “oversees the entire national business, appoints and dismisses major figures in the military sector, and also ratifies or abolishes important treaties with foreign nations.”
Yonhap (“N.K. LEADER PREFERS ‘SOCIALISM’ TO ‘COMMUNISM’ “, Seoul, 2009/09/28) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il said recently that he will “work on socialism in earnest,” while characterizing communism as “hard to fulfill,” an unidentified DPRK official was quoted as saying on Monday. The official was talking to reporters from an ROK press pool covering reunions of separated families. When asked to elaborate, the official explained, “Communism is meant to have a one-class society which does not distinguish the class that exploits from the one that is exploited. But it is hard for the system to exist as long as American imperialism persists.”
11. DPRK Internal Situation
Yonhap (“N.K. AUTHORITIES PROBING STUDENT’S DOWNLOAD OF S. KOREAN BLOCKBUSTER”, Seoul, 2009/09/28) reported that a DPRK college student was recently arrested after watching a bootleg file of the ROK blockbuster “Haeundae” on his computer, lthe North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity said in a news letter posted on its Web site said Monday. An illegal copy of the film was first found in a computer at a Pyongyang university earlier this month, triggering an extensive state probe.
Los Angeles Times (John M. Glionna, “NORTH KOREA REVEALED BY THOSE WHO KNOW IT”, Seoul, 2009/09/25) reported that Rimjingang, a magazine published in Japan, is a quarterly publication consisting of articles written not by outsiders, but by a few North Koreans, farmers and factory workers who risk their lives to provide vignettes and hard-news accounts of life in the DPRK. The reporters use pseudonyms because they know that if they are caught by DPRK authorities, they could be sent to prison or executed as spies.
12. ROK Defense Spending
Yonhap (“S. KOREA PULLS BACK FROM ORIGINAL DEFENSE SPENDING PLAN AMID ECONOMIC WOES”, Seoul, 2009/09/28) reported that the ROK Ministry of National Defense said in a press release that it seeks a 3.8 percent budget increase for 2010 rather than 7.9 percent it had sought in July. The cut is a setback for the ministry that would have otherwise secured an annual expenditure of over 30 trillion won ($25 billion) for the first time in its history. “Despite the reduction in the rate of increase, the new budget will sufficiently help defense projects to be pursued in a stable manner,” the ministry said, citing “worsening financial conditions in the government” as the reason for the slash.
13. US-ROK Military Alliance
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “KOREA, US DEVISE BROADER AIR OPERATIONS COMMAND”, Seoul, 2009/09/27) reported that a broader joint air operations command of ROK and U.S. Air Forces is being set up in tandem with the planned transition of wartime operational control (OPCON) in 2012, a military source said Sunday. The Hardened Theater of Air Control Center (HTACC), the Korea-U.S. combined air operations command led by a three-star American general at Osan Air Base, has been working to expand its roles and missions after being renamed the Korea Air and Space Operations Center (KAOC), the source said. The Master Control and Reporting Center (MCRC), a computer system to monitor and track aircraft on a real-time basis, at the KAOC is also receiving upgrades, he said. “KAOC will be developed further to serve as an integrated joint air force command of the two allies on the peninsula by 2012, effectively orchestrating all operations of the two air forces in the case of an emergency,” the source said.
14. US-ROK FTA
Arirang News (“92% OF STAKEHOLDERS SUPPORT KOREA-U.S. FTA”, Seoul, 2009/09/25) reported that according to the Korea International Trade Association, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative took 318 comments from parties most affected by the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, 292 of which showed support for the trade deal. That is an approval rating of 91.8 percent. The trade office explained that those who contributed to the survey included Koreans and Americans, mainly from business organizations, corporations and related personnel.
15. US-Japan Nuclear Agreement
Asahi Shimbun (“MINISTRY FLIPS BASIS FOR NO-NUKE CLAIMS”, Tokyo, 2009/09/28) reported that the Japanese Foreign Ministry has said a U.S. military ship, the USNS Safeguard, scheduled to arrive at Kochi port next month will not have nuclear weapons aboard because it “is not capable of carrying” them, sources said. The claim represents a departure from the ministry’s long-standing position, which was that U.S. military ships were not bringing nuclear weapons into Japan as long as the United States had not sought prior consultation.
16. Japanese Foreign Policy
Asahi Shimbun (Naotaka Fujita, “HATOYAMA: JAPAN CAN ACT AS ‘BRIDGE'”, New York, 2009/09/26) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Thursday in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly , “Japan will make utmost efforts to become a ‘bridge’ for the world, between the Orient and the Occident, between developed and developing countries and between diverse civilizations.” Hatoyama said that under decades of rule by the Liberal Democratic Party, “Tensions between the politicians and the bureaucrats disappeared. As a result, it cannot be denied that Japan’s foreign policy was somewhat deprived of vitality.”
17. Japanese Politics
Kyodo (“OPPOSITION LDP PICKS TANIGAKI AS NEW LEADER AS IT TACKLES RENEWAL”, Tokyo, 2009/09/28) reported that Japan’s main opposition Liberal Democratic Party chose former Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki as its new leader on Monday. Tanigaki, 64, was elected the 24th LDP president by beating his two younger contenders — former Senior Vice Justice Minister Taro Kono and former Parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, both 46.
18. Japanese Climate Change
Asahi Shimbun (Kosuke So and Yasushi Okubo, “‘SUPER-TYPHOONS’ FORECAST FOR 2ND HALF OF CENTURY”, Tokyo, 2009/09/26) reported that researchers from Nagoya University, the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Meteorological Research Institute and other organizations said the effects of global warming will spawn “super-typhoons” packing winds of up to 288 kph in the second half of this century, causing unprecedented damage to Japan’s coastlines. “If a super-typhoon makes landfall in Japan, the surges in tides could bring about more serious damage than that in the Isewan Typhoon,” said Kazuhisa Tsuboki, associate professor of meteorology at Nagoya University and a member of the research team.
19. Cross Strait Relations
Associated Press (“TAIWAN: INTERIOR MINISTER BANS VISIT BY UIGHUR ACTIVIST”, Taipei, 2009/09/26) reported that Taiwan interior minister Chiang Yi-hua said the island would bar a visit by the Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer. Chiang said the decision was made “in consideration of our national interests.”
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN FESTIVAL TO SCREEN UIGHUR BIOPIC: ORGANIZER”, Taipei, 2009/09/28) reported that a Taiwan film festival has put a biopic about exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer back into its official programme. “Many have urged us not to yield to any outside pressure as this is an independent film festival ,” said Liu Hsiu-ying, chief organiser of the October 16 -29 festival in Kaoshiung. “The public has expressed great interest in the film, complaining about the limited seats available at the four screenings last week,” said Liu, adding 800 saw the film last week, while many others had to be turned away.
20. Uighur Detainee Issue
BBC (“PALAU MOVE ‘SOON’ FOR US UIGHURS”, 2009/09/25) reported that US Solicitor General Elena Kagan told the Supreme Court that the US hoped to move eight of the 13 Chinese Uighur Muslims still held at Guantanamo Bay to Palau by 1 October, and so far six had accepted. The court is to decide next week if it will consider a plea by several of the Uighur to be resettled on US soil.
21. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Agence France-Presse (“XINJIANG AUTHORITIES BAN ONLINE SEPARATIST TALK: STATE MEDIA”, Beijing, 2009/09/27) reported that a bill passed by Xinjiang’s standing committee on Sunday bans people in the region from using the Internet in any way that undermines national unity, incites ethnic separatism or harms social stability, the China News Service reported. The bill requires Xinjiang’s Internet service providers and network operators to set up monitoring systems — or strengthen existing ones — and report anyone who breaks the law, the report said. “The introduction of the ‘Information Promotion Bill’ is timely and necessary,” the report quoted the bill as saying. “It ensures Internet criminals can be quickly and effectively controlled in the future.”
Reuters (“CHINA LAYS FIRST CHARGES OVER XINJIANG RIOTS”, Beijing, 2009/09/26) reported that twenty-one people have been charged with murder, arson, robbery and damaging property during ethnic riots that erupted in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, on July 5, Xinhua news agency said. Of the eight “leading” suspects identified in the report, six appear to be Uighurs. Investigations continue.
22. PRC Public Health
New York Times (Andrew Jacobs, “CHINESE TESTS REVEAL LEAD IN CHILDREN NEAR A PLANT”, Beijing, 2009/09/27) reported that officials in Longyan City in Fujian Province in southeastern PRC acknowledged on Saturday that 121 children living near a battery plant had excessive lead in their bloodstreams, according to Xinhua. Nearly half the children who were tested last week showed abnormally high levels of lead.
23. PRC Energy
USA Today (Calum MacLeod, “CHINA SEES UNFULFILLED POTENTIAL IN THE WIND”, Camel Mountain, 2009/09/27) reported that the PRC has doubled its capacity for wind-generated power every year for the past four years. However, many wind farms have been built far from populated areas or transmission grids, making their output largely useless for now. The China Electricity Council, a national industry group, says 28% of the country’s wind power equipment sat idle at the end of 2008.
Chosun Ilbo (“CHINA BECOMES WORLD’S BIGGEST ENERGY PRODUCER”, 2009/09/28) reported that the PRC has become world’s largest energy producer, it said Friday. At a press conference by the State Council Information Office, Zhang Guobao, deputy chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission and director of the National Energy Administration, said the PRC produced 110 times more energy in 2008 than in 1949, with a self-sufficiency rate of over 90 percent guaranteeing energy security.