NAPSNet Daily Report 29 July, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. DPRK Military
- 3. Japan-DPRK Relations
- 4. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 5. Inter-Korean Medical Cooperation
- 6. DPRK-Vietnamese Relations
- 7. DPRK Food Supply
- 8. US-DPRK Relations
- 9. DPRK Cultural Exchange
- 10. Japan Missile Defense
- 11. Japan Disaster Relief Operations
- 12. Japan Politics
- 13. Japan Environment
- 14. Japan-US Security Alliance
- 15. PRC Security
- 16. PRC Environment
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Korea Herald (“N. KOREA CANNOT UNILATERALLY GIVE UP NUKES: PRO-N.K. MEDIA”, 2008/07/28) reported that the DPRK cannot unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons when it is technically at war with the US, a pro-DPRK newspaper published in Japan was quoted as saying. The Chosun Sinbo said Pyongyang cannot easily surrender its nuclear deterrent because it would be tantamount to lowering its guard while facing an enemy. The newspaper then called for a peace regime to be set up between the DPRK and the US. to replace the fragile armistice that ended the 1950-1953 Korean War.
2. DPRK Military
Xinhua (“DPRK TO INCREASE SELF-DEFENSE CAPACITY”, Pyongyang, 2008/07/28) reported that the DPRK will continue to increase its capacity of self-defense, a senior official said. The US was further reinforcing its armed forces in the Asian-Pacific surrounding the Korean Peninsula and the US-led war exercises targeted against the DPRK were frequently staged, said Kim Il Chol, minister of the People’s Armed Forces, in a national meeting marking the 55th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.
3. Japan-DPRK Relations
Kyodo News (“80% OF DIET MEMBERS OPPOSE EASING SANCTIONS ON N. KOREA: SURVEY”, Tokyo, 2008/07/28) reported that nearly 80 percent of Diet members have so far expressed opposition to Japan’s plan to ease its sanctions on the DPRK as long as Pyongyang fails to return more Japanese abduction victims, families of Japanese abductees and their supporters said. The groups of families and their supporters said in announcing the interim result of their questionnaire to lawmakers of both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors that 245 of 722 parliamentarians, or 34 percent, have so far responded.
4. Sino-DPRK Relations
Xinhua (“CPC CADRE DELEGATION LEAVES FOR DPRK”, Beijing, 2008/07/28) reported that a cadre delegation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) left Beijing for a visit to the DPRK, at the invitation of the International Affairs Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea. The six-member delegation is led by Vice President of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee Li Jingtian.
5. Inter-Korean Medical Cooperation
Yonhap News (“MEDICAL COOPERATION BETWEEN TWO KOREAS MAKES HEADWAY IN KAESONG “, Busan, 2008/07/28) reported that medical cooperation between the two Koreas has made headway in Kaesong with ROK doctors being allowed to examine DPRK patients, a local relief group said. Green Doctors, based in Busan, said that an agreement has been reached with DPRK authorities that will permit doctors from ROK and DPRK to work side-by-side at a medical facility in the inter-Korean Kaesong industrial complex, located just north of the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries.
6. DPRK-Vietnamese Relations
Xinhua (“VIETNAM, DPRK VOW TO BOOST BILATERAL TIES “, Hanoi, 2008/07/28) reported that General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nong Duc Manh and visiting Foreign Minister of the DPRK Pak Ui Chun said that both Vietnam and the DPRK will strive to strengthen the bilateral friendship and multifaceted cooperation. Manh said that the Vietnamese party and state always attach importance to ceaselessly preserving, reinforcing and developing the traditional friendly and cooperative relations with the DPRK for the benefits of the two countries, and peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region as well as the world.
7. DPRK Food Supply
Yonhap News (“NORTHEASTERN NK IN SERIOUS FOOD CRISIS: UN WEB SITE “, Seoul, 2008/07/28) reported that the DPRK is facing a dire food crisis in its northeastern regions, according to a United Nations-run Web site, amid rising concerns that the situation may be worsened by soaring grain prices and poor harvests. Assessing internal reports collected as of this week, ReliefWeb, a Web site run by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, declared the DPRK is in an “acute food and livelihood crisis.” Warning that illnesses such as diarrhea may be spreading, the site said the crisis has been brought on by “insufficient food intake, poor dietary diversity, increasing malnutrition rates” and chronic food deficits.
8. US-DPRK Relations
Donga Ilbo (“ENGLISH LESSON IN N. KOREA”, 2008/07/28) reported that a group of people dispatched to the DPRK by the Institute for Strategic Reconciliation, a think tank established by Asian-Americans, teach English to the reclusive country’s middle school students. Though the DPRK once educated its teachers by inviting British citizens, it is reportedly the first time for the DPRK to invite Americans to educate their students. The dispatched English education team includes five second-generation Korean-Americans.
9. DPRK Cultural Exchange
Yonhap News (“N. KOREAN CIRCUS TROUPE TO TOUR EUROPE: REPORT “, Seoul, 2008/07/28) reported that the DPRK’s top circus troupe will travel to Europe next month for a three-month tour aimed at strengthening cultural ties with the continent, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper in Japan reported. The Chosun Sinbo, the newspaper published by pro-DPRK residents in Japan, said the Pyongyang Circus Troupe will visit the Netherlands in August and then move to Germany, showing off about 10 different types of stunts during its tour.
10. Japan Missile Defense
Kyodo News (“DEFENSE MINISTRY CONDUCTS MISSILE DEFENSE TRAINING IN TOKYO”, Tokyo, 2008/07/28) reported that the Defense Ministry conducted a training exercise for missile defense in Tokyo on Monday night using the ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 system for intercepting incoming ballistic missiles. It is the first time the ministry has carried out a full-fledged exercise using the system at its main premises in the Ichigaya district, although it conducted a field survey early this year in another area in the Japanese capital.
11. Japan Disaster Relief Operations
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“DISASTER RELIEF TEAM TO TAKE U.N. TEST”, 2008/07/28) reported that the Japan Disaster Relief Team will take the U.N. rescue agency’s evaluation test in the hope of achieving the highest of three classifications from next year, according to government sources. The government hopes that securing the top “heavy” classification from the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) will further boost the capabilities of Japanese rescue teams that are sent to disaster-hit areas around the world.
12. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“CABINET RESHUFFLE UNLIKELY TO TAKE PLACE THIS MONTH”, Tokyo, 2008/07/28) reported that Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will make a final judgment on whether to reshuffle his Cabinet after ministers attending ongoing World Trade Organization negotiations return home, making it unlikely that he will change the Cabinet makeup within this month, political sources said. Fukuda will draw a conclusion after hearing what lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner the New Komeito party have to say about when to convene an extraordinary Diet session.
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“OZAWA: DPJ WON’T CONTINUE DIET BOYCOTT”, 2008/07/28) reported that Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa indicated the party would not boycott deliberations at the next extraordinary Diet session and would instead apply pressure on the government and the ruling bloc through debate. “People’s livelihoods are the top priority, so we shall engage in debate from the viewpoint that politics is meant to protect people’s livelihoods,” Ozawa said, referring to what the party’s basic stance is likely to be in the next extraordinary Diet session. Ozawa expressed his determination to force Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to dissolve the House of Representatives and hold a general election as soon as possible.
13. Japan Environment
The Asahi Shimbun (“CABINET TO OK CO2 ACTION PLANS”, 2008/07/28) reported that the government will start next fiscal year large-scale tests on technology to capture carbon dioxide from sources including thermal power and steel plants and store it underground, according to recently revealed environmental action plans. Under the action plans, carbon dioxide capture and underground storage technology, currently in the research stage, will be tested from next fiscal year, so that it can be put into practical use by 2020.
14. Japan-US Security Alliance
ANI (“JAPAN-US ALLIANCE SHOULD BE EXPANDED BY INCLUDING INDIA, AUSTRALIA”, New Delhi, 2008/07/28) reported that the Japan-US alliance should be expanded with inclusion of countries like India, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the ROK for better strategic and economic safety and better coordination in the fight against terrorism, a Japanese scholar has said. The suggestion came from Professor Robert D Eldridge, Director of the US-Japan Alliance Affairs Division, Center for International Security Studies and Policy, Osaka University, while delivering a talk on “The Japan-US Alliance in Asia: Challenges and Prospects” at Observer Research Foundation, a public policy think tank based in New Delhi.
15. PRC Security
Reuters (Ben Blanchard, “RADICAL ISLAM STIRS IN CHINA’S REMOTE WEST “, Kashgar, 2008/07/28) reported that in a backstreet of the old Silk Road city of Kashgar, PRC authorities have been spray-painting signs on dusty mud brick walls to warn against what it says is a new enemy — the Islamic Liberation Party. Better known as Hizb ut-Tahrir, the group says its goal is to establish a pan-national Muslim state, or Caliphate. The PRC says Hizb ut-Tahrir are terrorists operating in the far western region of Xinjiang, home to some 8 million Muslim, Turkic-speaking Uighurs, many of whom chafe under PRC rule.
16. PRC Environment
The New York Times (Jim Yardley, “BEIJING WEIGHS ADDED POLLUTION PLANS FOR OLYMPICS “, Beijing, 2008/07/28) reported that less than two weeks before the Olympics, Beijing’s skies are so murky and polluted that the authorities are considering emergency measures during the Games beyond the traffic restrictions and factory shutdowns that, so far, have failed to clear the air, state media reported. On Monday, the PRC’s official English-language newspaper, China Daily, ran a front-page story under a boldfaced headline: “Emergency green plan for Games.” The article warned that officials may force far more vehicles off city streets — possibly 90 percent of the city’s total — and temporarily close more factories.
II. PRC Report
17. PRC Civil Society
China NPO website, http://www.chinanpo.gov.cn/web/index.do (“SOONG CHING LING FOUNDATION LAUNCHED VILLAGE-TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAMME”, 2008/07/26) reported that on July 15, the Starbucks Village-teacher Training Course which was jointly launched by Soong Ching Ling Foundation and Starbucks Coffee Company was unveiled in Yinchuan, Ningxia. More than 500 village-teachers from Sichuan, Chongqing, Yunnan, Shaanxi, and Ningxia will receive a 10-day training. This training aimes at improving the quality of village-teachers and their education skill. It focuses on the remote areas which the teacher training is generally hard to cover. It hires outstanding teachers and education experts to strengthen the guidance of local teaching practice. Many teachers from Sichuan disaster areas also came to participate in this training, and the organizer added a special life education for them.
18. Sino-Russian Energy Trade
Xinhua News Agency (“RUSSIA LAUNCH ENERGY RESOURCES NEGOTIATION MECHANISM”, 2008/07/27) reported that PRC Vice Premier Wang Qishan and visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin launched an energy resources negotiation mechanism here on Saturday. The launch of such a mechanism was an important arrangement according to the consensus by the leaders of the two countries and was also a component in Sino-Russian strategic and cooperative partnership. It will enhance the energy cooperation between the two countries and achieve new breakthroughs.
19. PRC Civil Society and the 512 Earthquake
Xinhua Net, www.xinhuanet.com (Lin Honghai, “SUNSHINE CONVALESCING PROGRAM FOR INJURED HEROIC JUVENILE DURING SICHUAN EARTHQUAKE WAS LAUNCHED BY ZHONGYUAN CHARITABLE FOUNDATION”, 2008/07/28) reported that the Sunshine Convalescing Program for heroic juveniles injured during the Sichuan Earthquake was recently launched by the Zhongyuan Charitable Foundation. The CEO of Zhongyuan Group, Director Wei Jiafu said to journalists on July 24 that, with full support and recommendation from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, 1.35 million RMB has been devoted by the foundation for convalescing facilities and the Sunshine program, which provides injured heroic juveniles commended by 4 national ministries with artificial limbs and other convalescing facilities, meanwhile providing necessary living facilities for injured or disabled elders. Wei Jiafu said that in recent years, Zhongyuan combined enterprise development and social responsibility under the guide of a global bargain, and Zhongyuan is always ready for social investment, charitable and benevolent activities.
III. ROK Report
20. DPRK Economic Policy
Hankyoreh (“TELESCOPE AND THE YEAR 2012”, ) wrote that the terms of office of the two Korean, Chinese, and the U.S leaders all last until 2012. Instability and uncertainty considerably decreases. Thus it is opportunity to set a common goal without a political gap following a change in office. The DPRK clarified in the new year’s speech, that it aims to be an economically developed country by the year 2012. One Chinese Korean Peninsula expert mentioned that the DPRK continuously tries to changed, and the unchanged part is the external world required for the DPRK renovation. The 9.19 joint declaration contains the basis for the DPRK’s plans for the year 2012.