NAPSNet Daily Report 29 January, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. Inter-Korean Naval Clashes
- 2. Inter-Korea Relations
- 3. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation
- 4. ROK on DPRK Situation
- 5. US on DPRK Detention
- 6. US on DPRK Nuclearization
- 7. US-DPRK Relations
- 8. ROK Nuclear Reprocessing
- 9. Japan-ROK Relations
- 10. Japanese Diplomacy
- 11. USFJ Base Relocation
- 12. Cross-Strait Relations
- 13. US on PRC Internet
- 14. US on PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 15. PRC on EU Arms Embargo
- 16. PRC National Energy Commission
- 17. PRC Climate Change
- 18. PRC Environmental Protection
- 19. PRC Water Shortage Crisis
- II. PRC Report
1. Inter-Korean Naval Clashes
KBS Global (“S.KOREA, US DISCUSS NK ARTILLERY FIRING”, 2010/01/28) reported that ROK and the United States have met to discuss DPRK’s continued artillery firing into areas near the maritime border in the Yellow Sea. During the 24th Security Policy Initiative (SPI) meeting in Seoul on Thursday, ROK and the U.S. also discussed bilateral cooperation in their security policies, ROK’s planned dispatch of troops to Afghanistan and the relocation of U.S. bases in ROK. Head of the Defense Ministry’s defense policy office, Jang Kwang-il, led the ROK delegation, while the U.S. delegation was headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Michael Schiffer.
Yonhap (“S. KOREA TO BEEF UP DEFENSE AS N.K. FIRES ARTILLERY FOR 3RD DAY “, Seoul, 2010/01/29) reported that the DPRK fired dozens more artillery shells near the western maritime border with the ROK for the third consecutive day on Friday. “We have heard about 20 more sounds of gunfire from 7:50 a.m. through 11:50 a.m., near Yeonpyeong Island in the West Sea (as South Korea calls it),” Park Sung-woo, spokesman of Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. “Shells did not cross the border, but we will continue closely observing the situation throughout the day.” To better monitor the firings by the DPRK, the ROK is considering positioning an artillery-tracking radar system on islands near the Yellow Sea border, Seoul’s defense minister told a parliamentary meeting Friday.
2. Inter-Korea Relations
The Chosun Ilbo (“S.KOREA WARNS NORTH OVER ARTILLERY FIRE NEAR SEA BORDER”, 2010/01/28) reported that Cheong Wa Dae will postpone scheduled inter-Korean talks if shells fired from DPRK coastal artillery batteries drop in waters south of the Northern Limit Line, the de-facto maritime border in the West Sea. The presidential office made the decision on Wednesday in an emergency meeting right after a DPRK coast artillery battery fired shells in the area. The two sides are to meet to discuss resumption of package tours to Mt. Kumgang and Kaesong and about the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex in DPRK, which is desperate for the cash it earns from them.
Yonhap News (“S. KOREAN BUDDHIST LEADER TO VISIT N. KOREA”, 2010/01/28) reported that the leader of the Jogye order, ROK’s largest Buddhist sect, will travel to DPRK this weekend to promote religious exchanges amid sharpened military tension across the border, his office said Thursday. In the four-day trip to Pyongyang starting Saturday, Rev. Jaseung will meet with leaders of the Buddhist Federation of Korea, DPRK’s body of the religion, to explore ways of “reinforcing Buddhist exchanges and other non-government exchanges between the Buddhist sects of the two Koreas,” the Jogye Order said in a statement.
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “LEE SAYS INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT POSSIBLE THIS YEAR UNDER RIGHT CONDITIONS”, Davos, 2010/01/29) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak said Friday that he is open to a summit with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il any time, even this year. “I think the two sides should have dialogue with their minds open for cooperation and reconciliation,” Lee said. He added, however, a precondition for the summit is that the nuclear issue should be high on the agenda.
3. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation
Yonhap News (Sam Kim, “S. KOREA SEEKS DIALOGUE ON JOINT VENTURE WITH N. KOREA DESPITE TENSION”, Seoul, 2010/01/28) reported that ROK Thursday sent DPRK a list of delegates that will attend next week’s talks on Kaesong Industrial Complex, an official said, as the communist neighbor stoked tension along the western sea border by resuming artillery firing. The list of 17 officials, including chief delegate Kim Young-tak, has been handed over to DPRK through an inter-Korean office in the border town of Kaesong in DPRK, the official here said.
KBS Global (“GOV’T TO LAUNCH INTER-KOREAN SHIPMENT MONITORING SYSTEM”, 2010/01/28) reported that the ROK government plans to operate an Internet-based system that will track the real-time flow of inter-Korean shipments. Starting next month, the new system will allow the government to monitor information on products traded between the two Koreas. The information will be shared by the Unification Ministry and the Korea Customs Service. With the new system, ROK plans to prevent the illegal transfer of restricted items to DPRK in accordance with a U.N. Security Council resolution that bans unauthorized shipment of strategic materials and luxury goods to DPRK.
4. ROK on DPRK Situation
Agence France-Presse (“S.KOREA SAYS N.KOREA IS NOT ABOUT TO COLLAPSE”, Seoul, 2010/01/29) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak said the DPRK is not close to collapse. In an interview with the BBC in Davos where he was taking part in the World Economic Forum, Lee said, ” Chairman Kim Jong-Il has somewhat recovered from health problems and although North Korean society is facing very grave difficulties, these are all long-standing phenomena.” “Therefore, I don’t think the North is in an extreme situation or on the verge of collapse. Although we have to be prepared for the worst situation, we don’t see the North’s collapse is around the corner.” “It’s true that North Korea is experiencing some difficulties because of UN sanctions,” Lee said. “However, the North, while posing as if it wanted dialogue, is only seeking to pull itself out of the current economic problems instead of giving up nuclear weapons .”
5. US on DPRK Detention
Yonhap News (Hwang Doo-hyong, “U.S. NOT YET CONFIRMED DETENTION OF 2ND U.S. CITIZEN IN N. KOREA: STATE DEPT.”, Washington, 2010/01/29) reported that the United States said Thursday that it has not yet confirmed a report that a second American citizen is being detained in DPRK, in addition to a U.S. activist held there after sneaking across the PRC border on Christmas Day. “We’ve asked our protecting power, Sweden, to inquire of the DPRK about this report,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said. “It’s obviously something we take seriously. At this point, we haven’t got any specific information to confirm that, but it is entirely possible.”
6. US on DPRK Nuclearization
Washington (Hwang Doo-hyong, “OBAMA THREATENS STRONGER SANCTIONS ON N. KOREA OVER NUCLEAR AMBITION”, 2010/01/28) reported that U.S. President Barack Obama in his first State of the Union address called on DPRK and Iran Wednesday to abandon their nuclear ambitions, warning of stronger sanctions if they continue to pursue atomic weapons in violation of international accords. “These diplomatic efforts have also strengthened our hand in dealing with those nations that insist on violating international agreements in pursuit of these weapons,” Obama told the joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives. “That is why DPRK now faces increased isolation and stronger sanctions, sanctions that are being vigorously enforced.”
7. US-DPRK Relations
The Chosun Ilbo (“U.S. ‘COULD INVITE N.KOREAN ORCHESTRA'”, 2010/01/28) reported that in efforts to improve ties with DPRK, the U.S. could invite the DPRK National Symphony Orchestra to perform in the U.S., Japan?€™s Yomiuri Shimbun reported Wednesday. And a policy think tank with ties to the State Department wants to invite senior DPRK officials including Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan to the U.S. Both events are to happen this spring. The ideas are apparently part of a plan to lay the groundwork through civilian diplomacy for an early resumption of six-party talks aimed at persuading DPRK to give up its nuclear program, the Yomiuri wrote.
8. ROK Nuclear Reprocessing
Yonhap News (Hwang Doo-hyong, “U.S. TO DISCUSS S. KOREA’S DEMAND FOR NUCLEAR REPROCESSING: CAMPBELL”, Washington, 2010/01/28) reported that the United States will discuss next week ROK’s demand for the right to reprocess spent nuclear fuel to help ROK firms make inroads into the global nuclear energy market, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday. “I think we will resume some of the discussions next week when I am in Seoul,” Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told ROK correspondents here ahead of his trip to Seoul next week. “But I anticipate we will be working through this question in the coming weeks or months.”
9. Japan-ROK Relations
Yonhap News (Kim Young-gyo, “JAPAN SEEKS ‘NEW BEGINNING’ WITH S. KOREA IN 2010: JAPANESE ENVOY”, Seoul, 2010/01/28) reported that Japan will seek a new beginning in its relations with ROK in 2010, its top envoy to Seoul said Thursday, a hundred years after the island nation colonized the Korean Peninsula and began a bitter period of history. “This year is very important for the relationship between Japan and ROK,” Ambassador Toshinori Shigeie said. “I hope this year will bring a new advance.” “It is important for Japan to build friendly relations with ROK by humbly accepting the truths of history, and yet the relationship must be based on future-oriented thoughts,” Shigeie said.
10. Japanese Diplomacy
Kyodo (“JAPAN TO PURSUE ACTIVE DIPLOMACY IN ‘NEW ERA’ OF INT’L COOPERATION “, Tokyo, 2010/01/29) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said Friday that Japan will pursue ”active” and ”powerful” diplomacy. On relations with the United States, Okada said in a foreign policy address to parliament that the bilateral alliance remains the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy and vowed to promote understanding among the people of the importance of stationing U.S. forces in Japan as a deterrent. Japan also wants to promote regional cooperation under the long-term vision of creating an ”East Asian community,” but at the same time expects the PRC to act responsibly in the international community and will continue to cooperate closely with concerned countries to denuclearize the DPRK, Okada said. ”Japan should actively take actions and present a vision. By doing so, we are asked to respond to the expectations of the world,” he said.
11. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“HATOYAMA NOT TO LET FUTEMMA STAY, WILL PICK NEW SITE BY END OF MAY”, Tokyo, 2010/01/28) reported that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama made it clear Thursday he will not let the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station stay in the current site in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, and will pick a new relocation site by the end of May as he has promised. Noting that Japan and the United States came up with the relocation plan with the aim of taking the danger of the Futemma facility away from the city and helping local people feel safer, Hatoyama said at a meeting of the House of Councillors’ Budget Committee, ”I’m determined not to let (the facility) go back there.”
Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPAN PM VOWS TO SETTLE US BASE DISPUTE BY MAY”, Tokyo, 2010/01/29) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama pledged Friday to decide by May on where to relocate U.S. Futenma marine base. “We will find what’s best to keep our alliance with the U.S. as a cornerstone of peace in Japan and Asia, while reducing the burden of the Okinawan people,” Hatoyama said. The alliance “has served an indispensable role” for Japan and for regional and global peace, he said. “Its importance will not be changed.”
12. Cross-Strait Relations
Central News Agency (Kelven Huang, “CROSS-STRAIT AGREEMENTS SHOULD BE SCREENED BY LEGISLATURE: SPEAKER”, Taipei, 2010/01/28) reported that legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said Wednesday that regulations ruling that any cross-Taiwan Strait agreements will take effect automatically one month after they are signed should be revised to allow the legislature to screen all such pacts. Wang said the legislature should “substantially” screen all agreements signed during talks between two intermediary bodies on either side — Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS). The legislature has no power to nullify agreements, and this has raised debate, especially after the two sides held their first round of talks Wednesday on a proposed cross-strait economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA).
Central News Agency (Garfie Li and Sofia Wu, “PRESIDENT CALLS FOR CROSS-STRAIT TRUCE ON EXPATRIATE AFFAIRS”, 2010/01/28) reported that President Ma Ying-jeou said Wednesday that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait should not fight each other over expatriate affairs any more and should instead cooperate. Ma, who arrived in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa earlier in the day to attend the country’s presidential inauguration, said Taiwan embassies will not reject appeals for help by PRC expatriates “within certain fields.” “We hope PRC embassies in countries with which the Taiwan does not maintain diplomatic ties can similarly extend help to our expatriates,” Ma said. If Taiwan and PRC can uphold this principle in dealing with expatriate affairs, Ma said, both sides will win recognition and respect in the international community.
13. US on PRC Internet
Associated Press (Matthew Lee, “US DIPLOMAT AIRS INTERNET FREEDOM WITH CHINESE”, London, 2010/01/28) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she has told PRC the United States is concerned about Chinese action that could infringe on Internet freedoms. Clinton told reporters she brought up tensions about alleged restrictions on the U.S.-based search engine Google when she met with her PRC counterpart in London Thursday. Clinton said the exchange was positive and candid, and that PRC feels strongly that it does not get credit for what it considers a policy of openness.
14. US on PRC Ethnic Unrest
Agence France-Presse (“US SEEKS CHINA TRANSPARENCY IN XINJIANG TRIALS”, Washington, 2010/01/28) reported that the United States on Thursday urged PRC to be more transparent in its trials in the Xinjiang region as courts handed down more death sentences over last year’s deadly ethnic unrest. The State Department voiced disappointment that PRC did not agree to US requests to observe the court proceedings . “We continue to urge PRC to handle their detention and judicial processes in a more transparent manner,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.
15. PRC on EU Arms Embargo
Xinhua (“CHINA CALLS FOR END TO ‘PREJUDICED’ EU ARMS EMBARGO”, 2010/01/28) reported that PRC Thursday said the European Union’s arms embargo represented political prejudice and called for its early lifting. “The EU’s arms embargo, in nature, is political prejudice against PRC, which runs counter to world tides and PRC-EU all-round strategic partnership,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a regular press briefing. Ma’s comments came after Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said Tuesday that his country, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, was weighing the pros and cons of the embargo.
16. PRC National Energy Commission
Associated Press (Gillian Wong, “CHINA SETS UP ENERGY AGENCY HEADED BY PM”, Beijing, 2010/01/28) reported that PRC has set up a government agency headed by Premier Wen Jiabao to better coordinate energy policy, as world’s second-largest power consumer faces growing domestic demand and struggles with shortages. The establishment of the National Energy Commission reflects PRC leaders’ concern over growing reliance on imported energy as a potential strategic weakness. They are also trying to curb environmental damage from the country’s heavy use of fossil fuels. The high-level commission will draft energy development strategy, review energy security and coordinate international cooperation, according to a notice late Wednesday by the general office of the State Council, PRC’s Cabinet.
17. PRC Climate Change
Xinhua (“CHINA TO CONTINUE EFFORT IN POLLUTION, EMISSION CONTROL: STATE COUNCIL”, Beijing, 2010/01/28) reported that the government and enterprises should continue to step up efforts in pollution and emission control to ensure targets set previously are met, according to a meeting of the State Council. The government set the goal to cut emissions of major pollutants, sulfur dioxide and chemical oxygen demand (COD) by 10 percent from 2006 to 2010, the 11th Five-Year Plan period. According to the meeting, the central task at present is to ensure pollution treatment facilities run normally.
18. PRC Environmental Protection
Xinhua (“CHINA TO INVEST 12 BLN YUAN INTO RURAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION IN THREE YEARS”, 2010/01/28) reported that PRC’s central government plans to spend 12 billion yuan (1.76 billion U.S. dollars) on rural environment protection in the three years to 2012, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in a statement on its website Thursday. MOF Vice Minister Zhang Shaochun said the ministry will work with the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) in the coming three years to help treat rural pollution, a move expected to benefit 100 million rural population. Premier Wen Jiabao urged at a State Council meeting on Wednesday that the nation should accelerate pace in solving pollution problems in the rural areas and strengthen rural hygiene work.
19. PRC Water Shortage Crisis
Xinhua (“WORST DROUGHT IN 50 YEARS HITS SOUTHWEST CHINA, AFFECTS 3 MILLION PEOPLE”, Beijing, 2010/01/28) reported that more than three million people faced water shortage as a worst drought in 50 years hit parts of south and southwest China, according to local meteorological officials. The drought affected 2.91 million people and 1.48 million large livestock in Yunnan, while up to 57.5 percent of crops, or 21.24 million mu (about 142 hectares), in the southwestern province were also affected. In neighboring Guizhou Province, where about 250,000 people suffered drinking water shortage, the government mobilized 61,000 people, 1,140 water transporting vehicles to tackle the problem, according to Guizhou Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
II. PRC Report
20. PRC Energy Use
China Radio Net (“HIGH-LEVEL NATIONAL ENERGY COMMITTEE FOUND”, 2010/01/28) reported that a high-level national energy committee was found Wednesday in Beijing. The members include chief leaders of ministry of foreign affairs, finance, national land and resources, industry and technology and so on. But some experts worry that this committee is just a coordinating agency but not a functional one, and can not fundamentally resolve energy problems.
21. PRC Environment
Xinhua Net (“12 BILLION RMB TO BE INVESTED ON RURAL ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE”, 2010/01/28) reported that 12 billion RMB will be arranged on rural environment governance over the next three years by central government, according to Ministry of Finance today in Beijing. About 100 million rural people will benefit from this.
China Radio Net (“INNER MONGOLIA TO INVEST 1.8 BILL RMB ON GEOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT”, 2010/01/28) reported that Inner Mongolia will arrange 1.8 billion RMB on geological environment control in the next three years, including mining environment control, protection of geological heritage, building of geological park and so on, said by Bai Dun, Director of Department of Land and Resources of Inner Mongolia today in Hohhot, capital city of Inner Mongolia.