NAPSNet Daily Report 3 August, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. Alleged DPRK-Myanmar Cooperation
- 2. US-PRC on DPRK Contingency
- 3. Inter-Korean Maritime Incident
- 4. Inter-Korean Relations
- 5. US-ROK Military Alliance
- 6. ROK Military
- 7. ROK Influenza Response
- 8. ROK Energy
- 9. ROK Human Rights
- 10. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 11. Japanese Nonproliferation Controls
- 12. Hiroshima Anti-Nuclear Conference
- 13. Cross-Strait Relations
- 14. Sino-Russian Relations
- 15. PRC-Australia Relations
- 16. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 17. PRC Military
- 18. PRC Environment
- II. PRC Report
1. Alleged DPRK-Myanmar Cooperation
Sydney Morning Herald (“BURMA’S NUCLEAR SECRETS”, Sydney, 2009/08/01) reported that testimony by two Burmeses defectors, one a career army officer, the other a bookkeeper for a Burmese business tycoon, set out a similar story of Myanmar’s nuclear agenda. The bookkeeper claimed his boss controlled much of the shipping in and out of Burma and could organise the transport of equipment to nuclear sites from the port at Rangoon. ‘‘He arranges for army trucks to pick up the containers of equipment from the North Korean boats that arrive in Rangoon and transport them at night by highway to the river or direct to sites.’’
2. US-PRC on DPRK Contingency
Associated Press (Charles Hutzler, “CHINA KEEPS US WAITING ON NORTH KOREA’S FUTURE”, Beijing, 2009/08/02) reported that U.S. attempts to draw up a broad contingency plan in case the DPRK government collapses are being complicated by the PRC’s refusal to talk about it. The U.S. has raised the idea of joint talks in several meetings with senior PRC officials, most recently during a visit to Beijing last month by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg , according to foreign diplomats and Chinese scholars briefed on the meetings. Chinese officials rejected the overtures, although they pledged to work constructively with the U.S. on the DPRK.
3. Inter-Korean Maritime Incident
Associated Press (Kwang-tae Kim, “NORTH ACCUSES SKOREAN BOAT OF ILLEGALLY ENTRY [sic]”, Seoul, 2009/08/01) reported that the DPRK accused an ROK fishing boat of illegally entering its waters and said Saturday an investigation of four seized fishermen was under way. DPRK soldiers towed the vessel to the eastern port of Jangjon, just north of the border, ROK officials said. “North Korea appears unlikely to send them back to South Korea in the next few days, but it is not an issue that could be prolonged,” said Kim Yong-hyun, a DPRK expert at Dongguk University.
4. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap (“N.K. BASHES SOUTH FOR BLOCKING CROSS-BORDER NGO MEETING”, Seoul, 2009/08/02) reported that the DPRK bashed the ROK government for denying approval of a cross-border meeting between non-government groups. “The South Korean government is going to extremes to carry out its maneuvers seeking to completely shut off overseas contacts, which were barely sustained by the non-governmental reunification movement groups,” an article by the Tongil Sinbo carried on the website “Uriminzokkiri” said.
5. US-ROK Military Alliance
Joongang Ilbo (“SOURCE: U.S. TO REPLACE A DOZEN FIGHTER JETS IN KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/08/03) reported that the United States plans to replace the dozen F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft stationed at Suwon Air Base with an equal number of F-15E Strike Eagles by August 20, a military source said Sunday. The Strike Eagles are to be deployed directly from the United States. They will be stationed at Kunsan Air Base for six months along with 400 support personnel. The source said the move is designed to ease concerns caused by the planned withdrawal of a battalion of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from the ROK.
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “US MAY WITHDRAW MORE APACHE HELOS FROM KOREA BY 2012″, Seoul, 2009/08/02) reported that the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) is considering pulling its remaining battalion of Apache attack helicopters out of the ROK by 2012, when operational control (OPCON) of ROK troops during wartime is transferred from the U.S. military to South Korean commanders, according to an official at Lockheed Martin. “The official privy to U.S. military affairs made the comment during a briefing on his firm’s helicopter armament,” a source said on condition of anonymity. “He was quite confident about the information.” A U.S. military source in Seoul questioned the credibility of the comment but agreed that USFK delployments could be changed in a flexible manner, in accordance with evolving security conditions.
6. ROK Military
Korea Herald (Kim Ji-hyun, “SEOUL MAY FORM ATTACK CHOPPER UNIT”, Seoul, 2009/08/03) reported that the ROK may be moving forward with plans to form a separate unit of attack helicopters over the next four years for defense reinforcement purposes, military sources said Sunday. The absence of two U.S. Apache attack helicopter battalions are seen to have accelerated the move. “Our priority lies in upgrading our choppers as they are outdated. We may not actually be seeing the formation of a new division of such choppers,” said Col. Lee Bung-woo of the ministry’s public relations office.
Korea Herald (Hwang Jang-jin, “HOMEGROWN MILITARY HELICOPTER UNVEILED”, Seoul, 2009/08/01) reported that the ROK military unveiled the prototype of the first ROK-made helicopter Friday to replace aging transport choppers and compete in the global aerospace market. President Lee Myung-bak and top officials celebrated the production of the Korea Utility Helicopter named “Surion” in a ceremony at the plant of Korea Aerospace Industries in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province. Test flights will begin in March and about 200 units should be in operation around 2012, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said.
7. ROK Influenza Response
Yonhap (“ENTIRE MILITARY TO BE VACCINATED AGAINST NEW FLU”, Seoul, 2009/08/03) reported that the ROK plans to start vaccinating its entire military against type-A influenza at the end of November, Kang Sung-heub, who oversees health affairs at the Ministry of National Defense, said Monday. The 9.2-billion-won ($7.5 million) project comes after 81 soldiers have contracted the virus. “We expect the number of infections in the military to rise as flu could break out more widely in the fall,” Kim told reporters.
8. ROK Energy
Yonhap (“REAL-TIME ELECTRICITY PRICING SYSTEM IN JEJU”, Seoul, 2009/08/02) reported that the ROK said Sunday it has launched a real-time pricing system for electricity on Jeju Island as part of its ongoing effort to build a national “smart grid.” The experimental system will involve 200 households on the island, which has been selected as a testbed to develop new ways of saving energy and using eco-friendly power generation, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said. “Actual service began Friday and the system will be maintained for 18 months,” an official said. The project cost 1.5 billion won (US$1.2 million).
Yonhap (“KOREA HAS POTENTIAL TO INCREASE BIO-GAS PRODUCTION”, Seoul, 2009/08/02) reported that the ROK has the potential to produce enough biogas from land fills and other sources to fuel 16 percent of its buses on the streets by 2012, the Korea Environment and Resources Corporation said Sunday. It estimates that the ROK can produce about 259,000 tons of biogas daily in 2012, an amount enough to power 3.461 buses to run 150 kilometers each. “South Korea needs to step up efforts to commercialize the use of biogas,” the study says, noting that only a small portion of local landfills are currently used for extraction of the gas.
9. ROK Human Rights
Yonhap (“WATCHDOG ASKS INT’L RIGHTS COMMITTEE TO DOWNGRADE KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/08/02) reported that in an open letter to the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for Human Rights, or ICC, the Asian Human Rights Commission criticized the recent appointment of the ROK’s new human rights chief, who was hand-picked by President Lee Myung-bak. The letter also took issue with a government-initiated downsizing of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. The organization asked the ICC to downgrade the ROK commission’s current “A” accreditation to “B.” “We request this on the basis that the NHRCK no longer complies” with international principles, the letter read. “The independence of the body is seriously setback by the administration.”
10. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “JAPAN’S OPPOSITION REKINDLES DOKDO DISPUTE”, Tokyo, 2009/07/31) reported that Katsuya Okada, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, told ROK correspondents based in Tokyo that his party’s description of Dokdo/Takeshima as Japan’s territory in its campaign pledge reflected its traditional position. “I think it’s important for the two governments to try to understand their counterpart’s position on the matter. Regarding Takeshima, it shouldn’t be a big deal to state in textbooks that it is Japan’s territory, in view of the fact that the Japanese government upholds the view,” Okada was quoted as saying. He added both governments should handle the sensitive issue wisely.
11. Japanese Nonproliferation Controls
Yomiuri Shimbun (“BRIEFING DIDN’T STOP N-RESEARCH”, Tokyo, 2009/08/01) reported that Tohoku University professor Hitoshi Mimura continued working on a joint research project with a former student of an Iranian research institute even after the government had explained to the university about a blacklist linking the institute to nuclear weapons research, it was learned Friday. “I’ll decline requests for joint research in the future,” Mimura said. Before coming to Japan, the student had belonged to the Jaber Ibn Hayan Research Laboratories in Tehran, which was added to the government’s watch list in 2004.
12. Hiroshima Anti-Nuclear Conference
Asahi Shimbun (Taro Karasaki, “PANEL PROPOSES INVITING OBAMA TO VISIT HIROSHIMA, NAGASAKI”, Hiroshima, 2009/08/03) reported that experts at a peace symposium on Saturday proposed inviting US President Barack Obama to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Frank von Hippel, who was assistant director for national security at the White House office for science and technology policy under U.S. President Bill Clinton, stated, “(Hiroshima) would be the right place for a summit of the leaders of (all) the nuclear states to discuss disarmament.” The International Symposium for Peace Toward the 2010 NPT Review Committee: The Road to the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, held at the International Conference Center Hiroshima, drew about 450 participants.
13. Cross-Strait Relations
Bloomberg News (Stuart Biggs and Dune Lawrence, “MA SAYS TAIWAN-CHINA ECONOMIC EMBRACE ‘THE BEGINNING’”, 2009/08/01) reported that Taiwanese President Ma-Ying-jeou said Friday he’s only getting started in opening new economic links with the PRC. Ma’s administration says a fuller economic agreement to cut restrictions on trade with the PRC could increase the island’s exports by about 5 percent, or $13 billion based on last year’s figures, and add 273,000 jobs. Sun Zhe, a senior adviser to the Taiwan Affairs Office, the PRC agency for Taiwan policy stated, “There’s the intention or plan to try to enmesh Taiwan’s economy, to consolidate links between the two sides, so in that way it will be more difficult for Taiwan’s independence.”
14. Sino-Russian Relations
The Observer (Luke Harding, “RUSSIA FEARS EMBRACE OF GIANT EASTERN NEIGHBOUR”, 2009/08/02) reported that Russian TV recently claimed that Beijing has drawn up a secret plan. According to this top-secret blueprint, the PRC is determined to grab back Russia’s remote, but vast, far east region. The PRC’s strategy includes persuading migrants to settle in Russia, marry local women and steal or co-opt local businesses. In reality, the relationship is far more fascinating than the baseless fears of Russia’s nationalists. Over the past decade the number of Chinese migrants working in Russia’s far east has actually fallen.
15. PRC-Australia Relations
Associated Press (“CHINA SUMMONS AUSSIE AMBASSADOR OVER UIGHUR VISIT”, Beijing, 2009/08/01) reported that PRC Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun summoned Australian ambassador Geoff Raby to protest a proposed visit to his country by exiled Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday. “Zhang expressed China’s strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the Australian side on its allowing the visit,” the ministry said.
16. PRC Ethnic Unrest
New York Times (Andrew Jacobs, “HUNDREDS MORE CHINESE ARE ROUNDED UP”, Beijing, 2009/08/02) reported that PRC security officials have detained an additional 319 people whom they suspect of taking part in the unrest in Xinjiang, the Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday. “Every suspect, without any exception, will be arrested and punished according to the law to root out any hidden danger,” Xinhua said. “It aroused the feelings of local residents, and they had more initiative in exposing those suspects and provided a huge amount of clues,” it said.
Reuters (Lucy Hornby, “CHINA SAYS XINJIANG RIOT MEDIA OPENNESS A SUCCESS”, Beijing, 2009/07/31) reported that the PRC’s central and regional propaganda offices have concluded that their strategy of media openness following ethnic riots in Urumqi was a success, the Xinhua news agency said on Friday. “Openness stemmed from confidence, rumors were stopped by truth, by the rapid and wide dissemination of truth,” Wang Zhen, the vice chief of the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department and director of the State Council Information Office, was quoted as saying. Foreign ministry officials have conveyed similar satisfaction about overall media coverage of Xinjiang this month, although individual reporters and media organizations have been scolded for “biased coverage.”
17. PRC Military
Associated Press (“CHINA ARMY CALLED ON TO KEEP ORDER ON ANNIVERSARY”, Beijing, 2009/08/02) reported that the PRC military celebrated its 82nd anniversary Saturday. The People’s Liberation Daily said the People’s Liberation Army should strengthen coordination with local governments to prepare to deal with all kinds of “unexpected” incidents. “We must closely pay attention to developments in the domestic and international situation … and firmly oppose all violent criminal activities and attempts to split the country,” it said. The editorial echoed comments by Defense Minister Liang Guanglie on Friday in a speech to mark the anniversary.
18. PRC Environment
Associated Press (Gillian Wong, “CHINA SUSPENDS 2 ENVIRONMENT BOSSES FOR POLLUTION”, Beijing, 2009/08/02) reported that authorities in Hunan province central China suspended two environment officials and detained a chemical boss after hundreds of residents protested, claiming the factory polluted a river and caused at least two deaths in the area, an official said Sunday. Nearly a thousand villagers gathered at government and police offices in Zhentou township on Thursday to highlight what they say is deadly pollution being discharged from the Xianghe Chemical Factory in nearby Liuyan City, Xinhua News Agency said Saturday.
II. PRC Report
19. PRC Public Health
Beijing Times (“CHILDCARE CENTERS MAY NOT REFUSE HBV CHILDREN”, 2009/07/30) reported that Ministry of Health drew up a draft yesterday, requiring that childcare centers not refuse HBV (Hepatitis B Virus) children from now on. The draft is now soliciting opinions from the general public.
20. PRC Civil Society
China Youth News (“99% OF CHINESE ENTERPRISES HAVE NO DONATION RECORD”, 2009/07/30) reported that there are over 10 million enterprises in China, but only 100,000 enterprises have a record of charitable donations, which means 99% enterprises having no record of donation, according to the China Civil Enterprise Report 2009, issued by Central University of Finance and Economics and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on July 12 th .
21. PRC Civil Society and Rural Poverty
China Youth News (“POOR AREAS IN CHINA TO GET FREE LEGAL AID”, 2009/07/30) reported that a volunteer group of 30 lawyers and 70 law school graduates left Beijing Thursday bound for 70 counties without lawyers in remote western areas to offer legal aid services. They will work there for one to three years. This is the first group of volunteers of “1+1” China Legal Aid Volunteer Action, a program started in May by China Legal Aid Foundation, aimed at helping poor counties lacking legal services.