NAPSNet Daily Report 29 May, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 2. US on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 3. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 4. US, Japan on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 5. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 6. Russia on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 7. UNSC on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 8. Inter-Korean Relations
- 9. DPRK Missile Program
- 10. DPRK Leadership
- 11. DPRK Economy
- 12. US Security Alliance with ROK, Japan
- 13. Funeral of Former ROK President
- 14. ROK Swine Flu Outbreak
- 15. US-Japan Relations
- 16. Japan SDF Anti-Piracy Operations
- 17. Japan Energy Supply
- 18. Japan Environment
- 19. Cross Strait Relations
- 20. PRC Climate Change
- 21. PRC Space Program
- 22. PRC Internet Access
- 23. PRC Swine Flu Outbreak
- 24. PRC Development
- 25. PRC Environment
- II. PRC Report
1. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Test
Korea Herald (“N.K. TEST REIGNITES NUCLEAR SOVEREIGNTY DEBATE”, 2009/05/28) reported that Pyongyang ‘s second nuclear test has reignited a controversy over the issue of “nuclear sovereignty” – the right to process nuclear material as desired. Those in support of the idea that the ROK should have nuclear sovereignty have two reasons – to increase self-defense against the DPRK, and for a stable supply of power as the ROK depends on atomic power for much of its energy. US president Barack Obama told President Lee Myung-bak in a telephone conversation on Tuesday that he wished to make it clear to the ROK that “US military strength and nuclear umbrella were expansive enough to protect South Korea.”
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Test
CNN (“CLINTON SLAMS N. KOREA’S RHETORIC, ‘BELLIGERENT’ ACTIONS”, Washington, 2009/05/28) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had strong words for the DPRK’s nuclear activities and saber-rattling, saying it “has ignored the international community” and “continues to act in a provocative and belligerent manner toward its neighbors.” “They have chosen the path they are on and I am very pleased that we have a unified international community, including China and Russia, in setting forth a very specific condemnation of North Korea and working with us for a firm resolution going forward,” Clinton said, also underscoring the commitments the US “has and intends to honor” toward the ROK and Japan.
3. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Test
Dow Jones (“JAPAN PM HINTS N KOREA MAY RETURN TO TERROR BLACKLIST -KYODO”, Tokyo, 2009/05/28) reported that Prime Minister Taro Aso indicated that the government has been urging the United States to put the DPRK back on its blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism following Monday’s nuclear test by Pyongyang, Kyodo News reported. In response to a lawmaker’s request that Japan pressure the United States to return the DPRK to the list, Aso said, “Things are moving in line with what you hope for, although I cannot tell you what I talked about (with U.S. President Barack Obama) on the phone.”
RTTNews (“JAPAN TO IMPOSE EXPORTS BAN ON N KOREA”, 2009/05/28) reported that Japan has decided to impose an outright ban on exports to the DPRK, reports say. The final decision on when to impose the exports ban will be made after observing how discussions develop at the U.N. Security Council regarding sanctions on the DPRK. The proposed ban, however, is expected to have little impact on the DPRK, as the total value of exports from Japan is relatively small.
4. US, Japan on DPRK Nuclear Test
Bloomberg News (“U.S., JAPAN WANT UN TO CUT NORTH KOREAN FINANCIAL TIES TO WORLD”, 2009/05/28) reported that the US and Japan are seeking a United Nations Security Council resolution to cut the DPRK’s financial ties to the world and forbid the regime selling weapons to raise money, diplomats at the UN said. The US and Japan are pushing to bar the DPRK from receiving loans or grants and to cut its relations with foreign banks, the diplomats said. Other possible sanctions include freezing the assets and banning the travel of top government officials and stepping up inspections of cargoes going to or from the DPRK, they said.
5. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Test
Washington Post (“ANGER MAY HELP BRING NEW U.N. SANCTIONS”, 2009/05/28) reported that the PRC’s leaders have shown their anger over the DPRK’s nuclear and missile tests this week through unusually critical statements and harsh coverage in the PRC’s state media. DPRK leader Kim Jong Il has “gone too far,” said Zhang Liangui, a professor at the Institute of Strategy at the Central Party School in Beijing. Liu Jiangyong, a professor of Northeast Asia studies at Tsinghua University, predicts no real change in the PRC’s policy. If the PRC joins other nations in coming down harshly on the DPRK, he said, “the role of China will be changed from a contact man to the enemy of North Korea.” It is in everybody’s interest for the PRC to keep a steady relationship with the DPRK, he added, because otherwise no country will have regular contact with Pyongyang.
Bloomberg News (“CHINA MAY TEST NORTH KOREA LEVERAGE AFTER KIM’S NUCLEAR BLAST”, 2009/05/28) reported that the PRC is increasingly frustrated by the DPRK’s defiance of United Nations resolutions designed to curb its atomic and missile programs and is concerned that a nuclear-armed government in Pyongyang could spark a new arms race in Asia, analysts and a person familiar with the Obama administration’s policy said. “China may be reaching a point of understanding that Kim is going too far,” said Dennis Wilder , a former Asia director for the White House National Security Council.
6. Russia on DPRK Nuclear Test
Xinhua News (“RUSSIAN ENVOY: UN SECURITY COUNCIL AIMS AT “EVENTUAL DENUCLEARIZATION” OF KOREAN PENINSULA”, United Nations, 2009/05/28) reported that Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that the goal of the UN Security Council action on Pyongyang’s nuclear test is “to have the eventual denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” “Certainly, we all have the goal, I think, to have a political and diplomatic outcome.”
RIA Novosti (“RUSSIA PLEDGES TO BACK UN RESOLUTION ON N. KOREA”, 2009/05/28) reported that Russia will not object to a new UN resolution on the DPRK over the state’s recent nuclear test, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday. “We have no reason to object to a new UN Security Council resolution on North Korea,” Andrei Nestrenko said. “We still don’t see a real alternative for ensuring stability and security other than through political-diplomatic tracks, responsible dialogue with the participation of all interested sides, and above all by resuming six-nation talks,” Nesterenko said.
7. UNSC on DPRK Nuclear Test
Agence France-Presse (“KEY POWERS SUPPORT NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS – DIPLOMAT”, United Nations, 2009/05/28) reported that key powers in the nuclear standoff with the DPRK are committed to broadening sanctions against Pyongyang after its latest nuclear test, a Western diplomat said. “There is a clear commitment by the P5 + 2 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Japan and South Korea) to go for sanctions,” said the diplomat on condition of anonymity. But the diplomat cautioned that the discussions on a broad range of additional punitive measures were still in the “early stage.”
8. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (Tony Chang, “SEOUL URGES PYONGYANG NOT TO USE PSI TO JUSTIFY WAR THREATS”, Seoul, 2009/05/28) reported that the DPRK is “severely distorting” the intention behind the ROK’s recent decision to join a U.S.-led anti-proliferation campaign, Seoul’s foreign ministry said, while urging Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear and missile programs. “North Korea is severely distorting our government’s decision to participate in the international effort, in which 94 countries are already pitching in to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction,” Moon Tae-young, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said in a press briefing.
The Associated Press (“S. KOREA, U.S. TROOPS ON ALERT AFTER N. KOREA’S THREATS”, 2009/05/28) reported that ROK and US troops raised their alert Thursday to the highest level since 2006 after the DPRK renounced its peace treaty with the allied forces and threatened to strike any ships trying to intercept its vessels. The ROK Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae said the ROK-US combined forces command has raised its surveillance from a level 3 to a level 2. A ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff officer, speaking on condition of anonymity citing department policy, said the ROK’s military has also bolstered “personnel and equipment deployment” along its land and sea borders.
9. DPRK Missile Program
United Press International (“N. KOREA MAY LAUNCH MORE MISSILES”, 2009/04/28) reported that the DPRK , despite international pressure to stop its nuclear and missile testing , may be preparing for more missile firings, a source told Yonhap. The ROK news agency, quoting the ROK defense source, reported there were signs that the DPRK may now use its west coast to launch its short-range missiles following firings of five such missiles from its east coast. “Signs continue to be seen that launches will take place in the west,” the source told Yonhap.
Associated Press (NKOREA TEST-FIRES MISSILE, SLAMS SECURITY COUNCIL, “”, Yeonpyeong, 2009/05/29) reported that the DPRK test-fired another missile from its Musudan-ni launch site on the east coast Friday, an ROK government official said. Another unidentified ROK government official said the missile is a new type of ground-to-air missile estimated to have a range of up to 160 miles (260 kilometers).
10. DPRK Leadership
The Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA IN ‘150-DAY BATTLE’ TO BOOST ECONOMY”, 2009/05/28) reported that on the streets of Pyongyang, posters depict workers soaring into the sky alongside a long-range rocket — part of a 150-day campaign to spur the DPRK to work harder by instilling them with national pride. Some suspect the push is not just a “let’s-work-harder” drive but a political campaign designed to cement national unity as the regime sets the stage for the DPRK’s next leader. The five-month campaign is set to culminate in early October, about the time of the anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party. The DPRK could then hold a national convention — its first in nearly 30 years — to announce a successor to aging leader Kim Jong Il.
11. DPRK Economy
Yonhap News (“N. KOREAN LEADER INSPECTS CHEMICAL COMPLEX”, Seoul, 2009/05/28) reported that the DPRK leader Kim Jong-il inspected a chemical complex and called for the early completion of a gasification project to increase fertilizer production, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Thursday. The KCNA did not say when Kim made the visit to Namhung Youth Chemical Complex in the city of Anju in the DPRK’s South Pyongan Province. According to the KCNA, Kim also said “the most important task facing the complex at present is to finish the gasification process construction in a short span of time to start the fertilizer production.”
12. US Security Alliance with ROK, Japan
Agence France Press (“US UNDERSCORES COMMITMENTS TO DEFEND SKOREA, JAPAN”, Washington, 2009/05/28) reported that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed Wednesday the US commitments to defend the ROK and Japan amid continuing threats from the DPRK. “I want to underscore the commitments the United States has and intends always to honor for the defense of South Korea and Japan,” Clinton said. “That is part of our alliance commitment that we take very seriously.”
13. Funeral of Former ROK President
Yonhap (Shin Hae-in, “TEARFUL S. KOREANS PACK STREETS ON FORMER PRESIDENT ROH’S FUNERAL”, Seoul, 2009/05/29) reported that tens of thousands of grieving ROK Koreans filled the streets of central Seoul Friday, lingering long after the funeral of former President Roh Moo-hyun. At least 180,000 gathered at the Seoul Plaza to attend a memorial rite wishing for the deceased’s peace, according to police. Roh’s supporters estimated 300,000 to 400,000. After watching the ceremony on large screens outside the palace, thousands marched down the streets of Seoul, some shouting at the police lined up to keep the crowd in check. “You are a political murderer!” Baek Won-woo, an opposition party lawmaker, shouted at President Lee as he was offering a flower to the deceased during the funeral.
14. ROK Swine Flu Outbreak
Xinhua News (“SOUTH KOREA CONFIRMS THREE MORE NEW FLU CASES “, Seoul, 2009/05/28) reported that the ROK ‘s Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs reported that three more cases of Influenza A/H1N1 have been confirmed, bringing the number of reported infections to 32 in the country. According to the ministry, a 41-year-old American English teacher, a 38-year-old educator and a 19-year-old Korean were confirmed to have been infected with the new flu virus. The English teacher and the educator worked at the same language institute, where by Wednesday 20 employees, mostly foreign instructors, had been found to be infected with the contagious disease.
15. US-Japan Relations
Kyodo News (“JAPAN WELCOMES U.S. NOMINATION OF JOHN ROOS AS NEXT ENVOY TO JAPAN “, Tokyo, 2009/05/28) reported that t he Japanese government welcomed US President Barack Obama’s nomination Wednesday of California-based lawyer John Roos to become the next US ambassador to Japan. ”We highly appreciate this appointment as it is evidence that the Obama administration is placing emphasis on the Japan-US alliance, as we believe Mr. John Roos has the deep confidence of President Obama,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura told a news conference.
16. Japan SDF Anti-Piracy Operations
Agence France Press (“JAPAN SENDS AIRCRAFT TO JOIN SOMALI ANTI-PIRACY MISSION”, Tokyo , ) reported that Japan dispatched two maritime surveillance aircraft and scores of military personnel to beef up its anti-piracy mission off Somalia, defense ministry officials said. Tokyo in March sent two destroyers with a total of 400 crew to join the U.S., PRC and other countries in the operation against pirates who have attacked ships off the coast of the east African nation. The two P3C patrol aircraft are expected to make Japan’s anti-piracy mission more effective by offering aerial information on suspect vessels.
17. Japan Energy Supply
The Asahi Shimbun (“MINISTER URGES HALT TO COAL PLANT”, 2009/05/28) reported that Environment Minister Tetsuo Saito expressed opposition to a coal-fired thermal power plant project in Onahama, Fukushima Prefecture, citing concerns over its greenhouse gas emissions. In a written report to industry minister Toshihiro Nikai, Saito said the planned thermal power generation plant “does not take sufficient steps to curb carbon dioxide emissions.” Saito said a new coal-fired power plant must be built with state-of-the-art technology to curtail CO2 emissions.
Bloomberg News (“J-POWER IN TALKS TO BUY THREE U.S. PLANTS AS DOMESTIC DEMAND SLOWS”, 2009/05/28) reported that J-Power is in talks to acquire three plants in the United States this year to help more than double its generation capacity in the world’s biggest energy market as demand slows at home, according to one of the company’s senior executives. The utility, officially known as Electric Power Development Co., may sign agreements to buy part or all of three natural gas-fired stations on the U.S. East Coast, said Masayoshi Kitamura, J-Power’s executive vice president. Utilities including Tokyo Electric Power Co. are expanding overseas as a shrinking population and energy-saving measures curb power use in Japan.
18. Japan Environment
The Asahi Shimbun (“TIGHTER ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS PLANNED FOR MINUTE ATMOSPHERIC PARTICLES”, 2009/05/28) reported that the Environment Ministry plans to tighten its environmental standards for minute disease-causing particles in the air, which will likely lead to strengthened regulations on vehicle exhaust and factory smoke, sources said. Under the plan, the ministry’s standards will be as stringent as those of the United States on Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5). The ministry will submit the plan to an experts’ meeting Friday. The plan is expected to receive official approval as early as in autumn.
19. Cross Strait Relations
New York Times (“CHINA: NEW TRADE TALKS WITH TAIWAN”, 2009/05/28) reported that President Hu Jintao of the PRC said talks with Taiwan on a broad “economic cooperation” agreement would start in the later half of this year, according to a report in the official English-language newspaper China Daily. The report said that the agreement, if signed, could result in lower import taxes for Taiwanese products in the PRC.
20. PRC Climate Change
Bloomberg News (“CHINA VOWS ‘CONSTRUCTIVE’ ROLE IN CLIMATE PROTECTION”, 2009/05/28) reported that the PRC , the biggest producer of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, said it will play a “positive and constructive” role to help the world fight climate change, according to US Senator John Kerry . PRC Vice Premier Li Keqiang recognizes the need for his country to address the issue urgently, Kerry said today at the end of his visit to the country. The two governments will start scientific research into clean energy, while the US will transfer technology to the PRC with sufficient protection for intellectual property rights, the US senator said.
21. PRC Space Program
Reuters (“CHINA TO LAUNCH MARS PROBE ATOP RUSSIAN ROCKET”, Beijing, 2009/05/28) reported that the PRC ‘s first Mars probe is expected to be launched in the second half of this year on top of a Russian rocket, said Xinhua, the latest milestone in the nation’s ambitious space program. Yinghuo-1, or Firefly Light-1, weighs 115 kgs (253 lb) and passed an important test, Xinhua quoted Zhang Weiqiang, deputy secretary of the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology as saying. The probe has an expected life of two years and would go into orbit around Mars in 2010 after a 10-month, 380-million-km journey, Zhang said.
22. PRC Internet Access
Agence France Press (“CHINA TO CRACK DOWN ON INTERNET BARS: STATE MEDIA”, Beijing, 2009/05/28) reported that the PRC will launch a four-month crackdown on unapproved Internet cafes, state media said Thursday, signalling heightened vigilance ahead of two politically sensitive anniversaries. The crackdown, lasting from June 1 to September 30, is aimed at preventing youths from gaining access to obscene and violent Web content, the China Daily said. The crackdowns typically purport to shield PRC youths from harmful content but are often invoked in conjunction with sensitive matters.
23. PRC Swine Flu Outbreak
Xinhua News (“CHINESE MAINLAND REPORTS 15TH A/H1N1 FLU CASES, TWO NEW SUSPECTED CASES”, 2009/05/28) reported that the number of confirmed A/H1N1 cases on the PRC rose to 15 on Thursday, after one more case each reported in eastern Fujian Province and Shanghai, while new suspected case each reported in Shanghai and Guangdong, health authorities said. The newly confirmed case in Fujian involved a 25-year-old Chinese male who arrived in Beijing Monday evening on Air China flight CA982 from New York and then flew to Fuzhou, capital of Fujian, on CA1821, the same day.
24. PRC Development
The New York Times (“TO PROTECT AN ANCIENT CITY, CHINA MOVES TO RAZE IT “, 2009/05/28) reported that nine hundred families already have been moved from Kashgar’s Old City. Over the next few years, city officials say, they will demolish at least 85 percent of this warren of picturesque, if run-down homes and shops. Many of its 13,000 families, Muslims from a Turkic ethnic group called the Uighurs , will be moved. Kashgar, though, is not a typical PRC city. PRC security officials consider it a breeding ground for a small but resilient movement of Uighur separatists who Beijing claims have ties to international jihadis. So redevelopment of this ancient center of Islamic culture comes with a tinge of forced conformity.
25. PRC Environment
The New York Times (“CHINA IS SAID TO PLAN STRICT GAS MILEAGE RULES”, ) reported that worried about heavy reliance on imported oil, PRC officials have drafted automotive fuel economy standards that are even more stringent than those outlined by President Obama last week, PRC experts with a detailed knowledge of the plans said on Wednesday. The new plan would require automakers in the PRC to improve fuel economy by an additional 18 percent by 2015, said An Feng, a leading architect of the PRC’s existing fuel economy regulations who is now the president of the Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation, a nonprofit group in Beijing.
II. PRC Report
26. PRC Environment
China Business Net (“ENVIRONMENTAL FACILITY OPERATION FUND SET UP IN CITIES AND TOWNS”, 2009/05/28) reported that in connection with the current situation that most of the environmental facilities are turning from construction into operation in cities and towns, Chamber of Environmental Service Industry of All-China Federation of Industry and Commence suggested yesterday at an interview that the country should set up Environmental Facility Operation Fund in cities and towns, in order the diversify fund resources and increase fund amount.
27. PRC Civil Society and the 512 Earthquake
China Association of Social Organization Promotion (“SOCIAL ORGANIZATION 5.12 ACTION FORUM TO BE HELD”, 2009/05/28) reported that on the occasion of the 1 st anniversary of 512 Earthquake, the whole society are mourning for the victims by various ways. In order to review and sum up experiences of the relief actions of the whole society and the whole nation, some well-known domestic social organizations are jointly preparing a large activity, that is Social Organization 5.12 Action Forum, which will be held in Beijing, at middle of August, 2009.