NAPSNet Daily Report 29 May, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. Inter-Korean Maritime Border
- 3. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 4. Inter-Korean Relations
- 5. DPRK Food Supply
- 6. US on ROK PSI Role
- 7. PRC on US-ROK Security Alliance
- 8. Sino-ROK Trade Relations
- 9. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 10. US-Japan Security Alliance
- 11. Japan Earthquake Aid to the PRC
- 12. Sino-Russian Emergency Cooperation
- 13. Cross Strait Relations
- 14. PRC Earthquake
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Kyodo News (“U.S. ENVOY SAYS N. KOREA DECLARATION ONLY AFTER WORKING GROUPS”, Beijing, 2008/05/28) reported that top US nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill said after talks with his DPRK counterpart that Pyongyang is expected to submit a declaration of its nuclear programs only after outstanding issues are worked out in technical meetings over the next few weeks. The talks between Hill and DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan in Beijing dealt with a time frame on the submission of the crucial list, as well as a US promise to take Pyongyang off its list of terrorism sponsors in exchange for denuclearization steps.
Reuters (Lindsay Beck and Chris Buckley, “U.S., N.KOREA MAKE PROGRESS ON NUCLEAR DECLARATION”, Beijing, 2008/05/28) reported that US and DPRK officials made progress toward implementing a long-delayed disarmament agreement, but have yet to pin down a timetable for completing the stage of the nuclear negotiations. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill had said earlier that he hoped talks with his DPRK counterpart would yield an “overall timeframe” to take back to Washington, but cautioned there would be no announcement on it after the meeting in Beijing. “We’re certainly moving ahead but I’m not prepared at this time to announce any timetable,” Hill told reporters. “Obviously completing everything by the end of the year will be a challenge,” Hill said.
2. Inter-Korean Maritime Border
Donga Ilbo (“N. KOREA AGAIN VIOLATES NLL “, 2008/05/28) reported that the DPRK breached the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the Yellow Sea yesterday. Yesterday morning, at around 11:13 a.m., a DPRK patrol boat had sailed 2.1 kilometers south of the NLL, before retreating back north after being warned by ROK naval ships, confirmed the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Joint Chiefs of Staff considered the breach an unintended act.
3. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Joongang Ilbo (Moon So-young, “LUXURY GOLF, SPA RESORT OPEN IN KUMGANG TODAY”, 2008/05/28) reported that the first golf course built by a ROK company in the DPRK is scheduled to open in Mount Kumgang today. The 18-hole golf course at Kumgang Ananti Golf and Spa Resort will host 25 groups of players selected by lottery among its members on its first day, said Kim Min-jung, a spokeswoman for course builder Emerson Pacific Group. Emerson Pacific, a Seoul-based leisure firm, developed the resort that also includes a spa, hotel and restaurants on about 1.7 million square meters (2 million square yards) of land. Emerson Pacific is waiting for Pyongyang to give the company permission to employ about 200 North Koreans, including 60 caddies.
4. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (“TEACHERS FROM SOUTH, NORTH KOREA TO MEET AMID STRAINED RELATIONS”, Seoul, 2008/05/28) reported that leaders of a ROK teachers’ union left for the DPRK for a three-day meeting with their northern counterparts, hoping to boost cooperation amid strained ties between the two countries. “This is a tough situation, but if we have a will, passion and the educational conscience to leave a unified country to our children, no obstacles will stop this meeting,” said Hyun In-cheol, spokesman for the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union. The two sides will exchange views on how to enhance school education on inter-Korean issues and deal with Japanese history textbook distortions over Japan’s wrongdoing in the early 20th century, the union said.
5. DPRK Food Supply
The Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA MAY FACE FOOD CRISIS FROM COLD WEATHER “, Seoul, 2008/05/28) reported that unseasonably low temperatures are seriously affecting crop growth in the DPRK, the country’s official news agency said, adding to concerns the impoverished nation may face a food crisis. The DPRK’s average high temperature in May has been about 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit lower than in previous years, with temperatures in northern parts of the nation dipping below the freezing point, the official Korean Central News Agency said. “The abnormal weather has seriously affected the growth of maize crops on a vast acreage of fields, cultivation of rice seedlings and the striking of roots of rice seedlings in the west coastal areas, the granary,” it said.
Xinhua (Zhang Binyang and Gao Haorong , “DPRK LAUNCHES NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT FARMING “, Pyongyang, 2008/05/28) reported that the DPRK has launched a national campaign to support farming to ease its food shortage as the planting season comes. Premier Kim Yong Il said in a government report that the country would make great efforts to solve the food problem “at any cost” this year. Under the current situation of “worldwide food crisis and prices jumping,” the only way to solve the food problem of the DPRK was to “rely on itself to decisively increase the yields of crops,” said a commentary carried by the official Rodong Sinmun daily recently. It called on all departments and units of the country to give their labor, material and technology assistance to the farming industry.
6. US on ROK PSI Role
Joongang Ilbo (“U.S. AGAIN URGES SOUTH TO JOIN ANTI-PROLIFERATION ACCORD”, Washington, 2008/05/27) reported that the US reiterated its hopes that the ROK will participate in the global anti-proliferation initiative, a program that marks its fifth anniversary this week as the U.S. goes on an active outreach to expand membership. “We would certainly encourage them to join, and we’ve engaged in a number of discussions with them,” John Rood, acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, told reporters. “The present government in Seoul is, I think, reviewing the issue. We will await the outcome of that,” he said at a media roundtable.
7. PRC on US-ROK Security Alliance
Korea Herald (“CHINA URGES LEE TO RETHINK U.S. MILITARY TIES”, 2008/05/28) reported that President Lee Myung-Bak held talks with PRC leader Hu Jintao as Beijing urged Seoul to loosen its “outdated” military ties with the United States. “As a close neighbour of the peninsula, and a friend of both sides, China will, as always, firmly support the process of reconciliation and cooperation between the North and the South (of Korea),” Hu told Lee. The PRC’s foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang described Seoul’s close military alliance with Washington, which includes having 28,000 US troops on its soil, as a hangover from the past.
8. Sino-ROK Trade Relations
Korea Times (Kim Yon-se, “KOREA, CHINA POSITIVE ON FTA”, 2008/05/28) reported that President Lee Myung-bak and PRC Prime Minister Wen Jiabao agreed that their two countries will actively research the benefits of a free trade agreement (FTA) and fine-tune the timing of opening bilateral negotiations. A six-point statement issued at the end of their meeting in Beijing, Wednesday, detailed the two leaders discussions on ways for practical economic cooperation, ranging from FTA talks to cultural exchange. Lee said a Seoul-Beijing FTA would play a significant role for the development of the economy of Northeast Asia.
9. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
Japan Times (“SCHOOLS TO SKIP ROW ON TAKESHIMA”, 2008/05/28) reported that Japan will refrain from identifying Takeshima — a pair of Seoul-controlled rocky islets in the Sea of Japan known as Dokdo in the ROK – as an “integral part of Japan” in an educational document, a government paper said. The government apparently backed down after sharp reactions from the ROK. Tokyo has told Seoul it has yet to decide on the descriptions in the document, the paper said. Tokyo had received an inquiry from Seoul over the matter.
10. US-Japan Security Alliance
Mainichi Shimbun (“KITTY HAWK AIRCRAFT CARRIER GIVEN FAREWELL IN YOKOSUKA CEREMONY”, Yokosuka, 2008/05/28) reported that a ceremony to mark the departure of the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk from its home port at Yokosuka Naval Base was held Wednesday, with about 600 people seeing the ship off. The aircraft carrier, which departed at about 9 a.m., is heading to Hawaii to be replaced by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington. The Kitty Hawk is due to be decommissioned in January next year.
11. Japan Earthquake Aid to the PRC
The Financial Times (David Pilling and Mure Dickie, “JAPAN’S MILITARY JOINS CHINA AID EFFORT”, 2008/05/28) reported that Japan is poised to dispatch a military aircraft to deliver earthquake relief supplies to the PRC, a mission that would be a dramatic demonstration of deepening ties between the two Asian powers. No aircraft operated by Japan’s Air Self Defence Force has ever visited the PRC. “The Chinese government, through diplomatic channels, did request . . . rescue materials, tents and medical gear, and wondered if it would be possible to send them by aircraft of the Air Self Defence Force,” Tomohiko Taniguchi, a Japanese foreign ministry spokesman, said. Japanese officials said Tokyo was leaning heavily towards meeting a request that marked a “sea change” in PRC attitudes.
12. Sino-Russian Emergency Cooperation
RIA Novosti (“RUSSIA, CHINA TO SET UP REGIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT CENTER”, Moscow, 2008/05/28) reported that Russia and China are planning to set up a regional disaster management center as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a Russian emergencies ministry official said. The SCO, a regional bloc comprising Russia, the PRC, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, primarily addresses security issues, but has recently moved to embrace various economic and social projects. “We are discussing the possibility of setting up an international disaster management center in the Asia-Pacific region with headquarters in Krasnoyarsk [Russia’s Far East],” said Yury Brazhnikov, head of the Emergency Situations Ministry’s international cooperation department. “The prospects for this cooperation are enormous; we need each other,” he said.
13. Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (Sam Yeh, “ACTIVISTS: CHINA PERSECUTING BUDDHIST MONKS IN TIBET “, Beijing, 2008/05/28) reported that PRC President Hu Jintao called for peaceful relations with Taiwan as he met the head of the island’s ruling party in the highest-level contact since the two sides split in 1949. Putting aside decades of tensions that have made the Taiwan Strait one of the world’s potential flashpoints, Hu shook hands with Kuomintang chairman Wu Poh-hsiung during a red-carpet welcome at the Great Hall of the People. Wu said the PRC and Taiwanese should make sure that their people never take up arms against each other again. “We cannot guarantee there won’t be any natural disasters any more on both sides of the strait, but through our mutual efforts, we can ensure there is no war,” he said.
14. PRC Earthquake
Washington Post (Jill Drew, “CHINA FACES AFTERSHOCKS, FLOOD FEARS”, Chengdu, 2008/05/28) reported that more than two weeks after a catastrophic earthquake, a pair of powerful aftershocks collapsed hundreds of thousands of homes in central PRC on Tuesday, as soldiers and engineers worked feverishly to prevent a swelling lake from inundating nearby towns. The tremors in Qingchuan county, in Sichuan province, and Ningqiang county, in neighboring Shaanxi province, were a further reminder that the crisis in this region, and the attendant anxieties of its people, are unlikely to dissipate any time soon. More than 67,000 people have been reported dead, and about 21,000 are missing.
II. PRC Report
15. PRC Civil Society and the 512 Earthquake
NGO Communication Network, http://www.ngocn.org/ (““WWW.XUNREN110.ORG” PROPOSED LOVED ONES SEARCH INFORMATION TO BE DELIVERED WIDELY”, 2008/05/28) reported that 17 hours after the 512 Earthquake, more than 1000 volunteers got together quickly and set up a special network ( www.xunren110.org ) for people to look for their loved ones in the earthquake. As at 23:30 May 26, they have collated a large amount of messages from all kinds of channels nationwide, including 21,958 people searching for information and 129,309 announcing their safety information, of which 3,226 have been successfully matched. Since most of the network volunteers were not from the disaster areas, they can’t send the relevant messages directly to the hands of the party. Therefore, they proposed that all individuals, social organizations and the who can contact people in disaster areas directly when carrying out their own relief work should please send the information of this network to the proper people in an appropriate way as well. The volunteers urged them to put up notices at the survivors’ gathering points or send special relief workers to provide the information.
China Youth Daily (Wan Xingya, “FIRST “SEISMIC HOPE SCHOOL” COMPLETED”, 2008/05/28) reported that on 10 o’clock this afternoon, the first “Seismic Hope School” set up by China Youth Development Foundation in Yuquan town, Mianzhu city, Sichuan province was completed. There are more than 1,400 pupils and middle school students in Yuquan town. During the earthquake, all the primary and middle schools were destroyed. China Youth Development Foundation used donations from P & G (China) Co.Ltd., to set up 31 classrooms on a playground, taking more than 2,000 square meters’ area, which can meet need of all the students to be in classes at the same time.
China Social Entrepreneur Foundation, http://www.youcheng.org/ (“CHINA SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR FOUNDATION DONATED ANIMAL EPIDEMIC PREVENTION VEHICLES TO SICHAUN DISASTER AREAS”, 2008/05/25) reported that the China Social Entrepreneur Foundation donated 50 off-road vehicles and 500 motorcycles worth 7 million yuan to the disaster areas for animal disease prevention and control work. The Animal Husbandry and Food Bureau of Sichuan developed a detailed distribution program, and issued a relevant notice so that all the donated vehicles would be sent to the disaster areas in a timely manner. At the same time, the Bureau requested that animal husbandry and veterinary departments in disaster areas should turn the social care and support into concrete action, and make every effort to do the animal epidemic prevention work in disaster areas.
16. PRC Environment and the 512 Earthquake
China News Network, http://www.chinanews.com/ (“CAS RESEARCHERS: WENCHUAN EARTHQUAKE WILL AFFECT THE PRECIPITATION IN YELLOW RIVER BASIN”, 2008/05/26) reported that the successive two days of rain or even rainstorms after 512 Wenchaun Earthquake has brought great inconvenience to the relief work . It seemed to be an unlucky natural phenomenon; however, some scholars considered that the earthquake itself was closely related to drought and flood. CAS researcher Tang Maocang said that the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that occurred on January 9 in Tibet had leading responsibility for the snow disasters in China early this year. Including the 7.3 magnitude earthquake on March 21 in Kunlun Mountains region and the 512 Earthquake in Wenchuan, all three earthquakes occurred between north latitude 31°~35°. So this summer, the mid-stream of the Yellow River around north latitude 35° may have stronger rainfall. According to history reports, two earthquakes that occurred in 1933 and 1958 in Maowen, dozens of kilometers north of Wenchuan, had a serious impact on the Yellow River floods that occurred that year.
III. ROK Report
17. ROK Policy Toward DPRK
Munhwa Ilbo (“JOINING PSI IS NOT A MATTER TO HESITATE OVER”, 2008/05/29) the ROK government, from the fact that John Rood, Acting US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, has officially asked the ROK government to join the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) at the celebration ceremony of its 5 th anniversary, sees that joining the PSI, which deals with the proliferation of WMD through cooperation among 86 member nations, is not a matter to hesitate over. Not joining PSI to forever avoid conflict by pleasing the DPRK in a situation in which the DPRK remains fully armed with not only nuclear weapons but also missiles and biochemical weapons is a reckless understanding of national security beyond the level of being naïve.
18. DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (“RETARDATION OF DPRK NUCLEAR REPORT…REASON AND PROSPECTS”, 2008/05/29) wrote that as the submission of the DPRK’s nuclear program report is coming later than expected, a fiasco in the six-party talks process will likely occur. There is also the possibility that pending questions between Japan and the DPRK including the Japanese hostage issues will be dealt in order to make the removal process of DPRK from the state sponsor of terrorism list easier. The US must begin its removal process roughly around the time when the DPRK submits the nuclear program report. There is also analysis that the Bush administration without much left in its term of office has reduced its objectives to the level of receiving the report and organizing the verification and monitoring mechanisms.