NAPSNet Daily Report 3 February, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Missile Program
- 2. US DPRK Policy Team
- 3. US, ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 4. DPRK Leadership
- 5. Inter-Korean Relations
- 6. US on DPRK, PRC Arms Trade
- 7. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 8. ROK Climate Change
- 9. ROK Energy
- 10. ROK Government
- 11. Japan Climate Change
- 12. Japan Nuclear Power
- 13. Russo-Japan Relations
- 14. Japanese Whaling
- 15. Sino-EU Relations
- 16. PRC-UK Relations
- 17. Cross-Strait Relations
- 18. PRC Defense
- 19. PRC Climate Change
- 20. PRC Human Rights
- 21. PRC Unemployment
- 22. PRC Rural Economy
- 23. PRC Earthquake Reconstruction
- 24. Japan, ROK, PRC Space Program
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Missile Program
Reuters (Jon Herskovitz , “NORTH KOREA PREPARING FOR BALLISTIC MISSILE LAUNCH: MEDIA”, Seoul, 2009/02/02) reported that the DPRK appears to be preparing to test-launch its longest range ballistic missile , media reported. The ROK’s Yonhap news agency and Japan’s Sankei Shimbun cited unnamed government sources as saying the DPRK had been moving equipment used in the launch of its Taepodong-2 missile. It will take the DPRK at least a month or two to actually launch a Taepodong-2, the Sankei cited an unnamed Japanese government source as saying.
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “N. KOREA MOVING TO TEST-FIRE LONG-RANGE MISSILE: SEOUL”, Seoul, 2009/01/03) reported that ROK officials and analysts confirmed Tuesday that the DPRK is preparing to test-fire its Taepodong missile. “The intelligence report by Japan appears grounded on facts,” an official at the ROK Ministry of National Defense said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Other defense officials said senior military commanders have begun discussing Seoul’s response. “This new missile is likely to be an upgraded one,” said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea studies professor at Dongguk University in Seoul. “We could even call it a Taepodong-3 missile.”
2. US DPRK Policy Team
Reuters (“CHRIS HILL EXPECTED TO BE NAMED U.S. ENVOY TO IRAQ”, Washington, 2009/02/02) reported that Chris Hill, a career U.S. diplomat who has been Washington’s lead negotiator with the DPRK , is expected to be named US ambassador to Iraq , a US official who asked not to be named said. News that Hill was in line for the job was first reported by ABC News on its website.
3. US, ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (OBAMA, LEE PLEDGE INCREASED SUPPORT FOR 6-WAY N. KOREA TALKS, “”, Seoul, 2009/02/02) reported that US President Barack Obama said his country will increase support for six-nation talks on ending the DPRK’s nuclear program, saying recent developments suggest the multilateral talks are the only way to denuclearize the nation, a spokesman for the ROK presidential office said. The remarks came in a telephone conversation between the U.S. president and his ROK counterpart Lee Myung-bak.
4. DPRK Leadership
Agence France Press (“DPRK’S KIM NAMED TO RUN IN PARLIAMENTARY POLLS -ROK”, Seoul, 2009/02/01) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il was Sunday nominated to run in next month’s parliamentary elections, an ROK official said. Kim is legally required to be a lawmaker in order to be eligible to serve as chairman of the National Defence Commission.
Bloomberg (Seonjin Cha, “DPRK’S KIM VISITS MILITARY UNIT, POWER STATION “, 2009/02/01) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong Il inspected a military unit and a power station, the Korea Central News Agency said. The report didn’t specify dates of the visits.
5. Inter-Korean Relations
All Headline News (“ROK’S NAVY ON ALERT AFTER DPRK ISSUES WARNING OF CONFLICT”, Seoul, 2009/02/01) reported that DPRK issued another warning on Sunday, threatening ROK of a possible military conflict as the former try to restructure its foreign policies against ROK amid mounting tension in the Korean Peninsula. The reports on Sunday said the ROK Defense Ministry officials have indicated that the country’s navy will remain on high alert along the western sea border.
6. US on DPRK, PRC Arms Trade
Associated Press (“U.S. SLAPS SANCTIONS ON OVERSEAS COMPANIES”, Washington, 2009/02/02) reported that the United States is imposing sanctions on several PRC, Iranian and DPRK companies for violating arms export regulations governing missile technology and other proliferation activities. The penalties announced by the State Department in Monday’s Federal Register are the first of their kind from the new administration and affect four firms in PRC, three in DPRK and two in Iran.
7. Sino-DPRK Relations
Xinhua News (Zhang Binyang, Gao Haorong , “DPRK FM: TIES WITH CHINA TO BE FURTHER STRENGTHENED IN FRIENDSHIP YEAR”, Pyongyang, 2009/02/02) reported that the series of events to celebrate the “Year of DPRK-China Friendship” in 2009 will help deepen the friendship between the two peoples and expand bilateral ties, the foreign minister of the DPRK said. The “Year of DPRK-China Friendship,” a new form of friendship and is being held for the first time in the history of bilateral ties, will greatly push forward bilateral relations between the two countries, Pak said.
8. ROK Climate Change
Bloomberg (Shinhye Kang, “ROK EMISSIONS ROSE IN 2006 ON POWER PLANTS”, 2009/02/02) reported that ROK, the 10th-biggest producer of greenhouse gases, increased greenhouse-gas pollution to 599.5 million metric tons from 594.4 million tons the previous year. Three coal-fired power plants started operation in 2006, adding 1.4 percent to total emissions by energy producers. Emissions from transportation rose 2.7 percent after the number of cars increased 3.2 percent. Carbon-dioxide emissions from the petrochemical industry fell 13.5 percent and pollution by the agricultural sector dropped 6.4 percent.
9. ROK Energy
Bloomberg (Shinhye Kang, “ROK TO FORM 100 BILLION WON CLEAN ENERGY FUND”, 2009/01/30) reported that ROK plans to form a 100 billion won ($72 million) alternative energy investment fund to help reduce its dependence on oil and cut greenhouse-gas emissions. The government will contribute 50 billion won to the fund, while the rest will be raised from private investors. “We will spend more than 50 percent of the fund on building wind power plants and boosting mergers and acquisitions in solar power industry,” said the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. The country targets a 44-fold increase in the supply of solar power to 3,504 megawatts by 2030, a 37-fold gain in wind power to 7,301 megawatts and a 19-fold increase in biofuels supply.
JoongAng Ilbo (Kim Sun-ha, “GREEN TEAM MULLS DAYLIGHT SAVING”, 2009/02/02) reported that the government is looking into adopting daylight saving time in an attempt to promote green growth. The government’s green growth planning team, which will be running the presidential green growth committee, on Jan. 29 requested reports on daylight saving time at the ROK Energy Economics Institute under the Prime Minister’s Office. “Daylight saving time is a system that could create an environment that conserves energy and sound public life,” said a high-level official at the planning team.
10. ROK Government
Yonhap News Service (Kim Hyun, “NEW UNIFICATION MINISTER’S PUBLICATIONS COME BACK TO HAUNT HIM”, Seoul, 2009/02/02) reported that Seoul’s unification minister-designate appears to have hit a pitfall on the road to the Cabinet as allegations of self-plagiarism surfaced on Monday, an explosive issue that has derailed several high-level nominees in the past. The ethical issue signaled a tough road ahead for Hyun In-taek as he is set to be grilled by opposition parties in a parliamentary confirmation hearing next week.
11. Japan Climate Change
Business Green (“JAPAN PROMISES 2020 CARBON TARGET”, 2009/02/02) reported that the Japanese prime minister Taro Aso promised this weekend that the country would unveil a mid-term carbon emissions reduction target by this June. Aso said that Japan would set a “concrete target” for the year 2020 as a means of ensuring progress is made towards its goal of cutting emissions by 60 to 80 per cent by 2050. “We have to be concrete,” Aso told reporters at the World Economic Forum summit. “We must present concrete figures which will show how much it’s going to cost people or how to reduce the financial cost. Otherwise it’s not convincing.”
12. Japan Nuclear Power
Kyodo News (“METI LOOKS TO IMPROVE NUCLEAR WASTE FURNACE”, 2009/02/02) reported that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry and Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. will work together on improving a furnace for disposing of radioactive waste at the spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture. The development cost is expected to exceed ¥14 billion, of which the government will provide about ¥7 billion. Under the plan, METI and the plant’s operator will improve the structure of the melting furnace to prevent platinum-group metals from accumulating on its floor. The furnace’s current configuration makes it difficult to produce vitrified waste.
13. Russo-Japan Relations
Mainichi (“DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION NEEDED TO SOLVE NORTHERN TERRITORIES VISA ROW”, 2009/02/02) reported that visa-free exchanges between Japanese nationals and local residents of four Russian-held islands are endangered after Russian authorities demanded a Japanese delegation who attempted to deliver humanitarian supplies to the islanders submit disembarkation cards. The Japanese delegation refused to comply because submission of such cards would mean that Japan recognizes Russia’s sovereignty over the so-called Northern Territories, and went home without delivering the supplies. The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned Japan by issuing a statement that Russia would not take responsibility if bilateral ties worsen.
14. Japanese Whaling
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN SAYS WON’T END RESEARCH WHALING”, Tokyo, 2009/02/03) reported that Japan said Tuesday that it will not accept any proposal at an upcoming International Whaling Commission meeting to end its whale hunts. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Shigeru Ishiba told reporters that Tokyo “will not be able to accept any proposal that would prohibit Japan from continuing its research whaling.”
15. Sino-EU Relations
People’s Daily Online (“PRC AND EU MAKE DEALS ON DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION”, 2009/02/02) reported that PRC and the European Union signed an agreement on the financial arrangement of five PRC-EU joint development projects in Brussels on Jan. 30, 2009, when PRC Premier Wen Jiabao visited the European Union headquarters. According to the press release by the PRC Ministry of Commerce, the European Union will offer 48.8 million euro of assistance to support bilateral cooperation on government management, energy, environment and higher education.
16. PRC-UK Relations
Reuters (Adrian Croft, “CHINA CONDEMNS PROTEST AND SAYS WEN SUCCESSFUL”, London, 2009/02/03) reported that the PRC on Tuesday denounced a protester who threw a shoe at Prime Minister Wen Jiabao at Cambridge University . British police said the protester, who shouted that Wen was a dictator during Monday’s incident, had been charged with a public order offence. “The Chinese side has expressed its strong displeasure over this incident,” the PRC’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The facts demonstrate that the despicable conduct of this troublemaker will win no sympathy, and will not hold back the tide of friendly cooperation between China and Britain .” Xinhua News Agency said Wen’s week-long visit to Britain and other European countries was “fully successful.” Official newspapers and television reports in China did not report the shoe-throwing incident.
17. Cross-Strait Relations
Central News Agency (Flor Wang, “‘GRAND PARDON’ OFFERED TO PRC-BASED TAIWAN BUSINESSMEN”, Taipei, 2009/02/02) reported that the Ministry of Economic Affairs on Monday eased penalties on Taiwanese businesses with unapproved investments in PRC, saying it would impose only the minimum fine on most violators if they reported their unlawful investment and made new investments at home.
Dow Jones (“CHINA GRANTS TAX EXEMPTION FOR TAIWAN COS’ DIRECT SHIPPING OPERATIONS”, 2009/01/31) reported that the PRC’s Ministry of Finance said Taiwan companies conducting cross-strait direct shipping services will be exempt from business tax and corporate income tax on their revenue from the PRC. The tax exemption will be retroactive from Dec. 15, 2008, the ministry said in a statement dated Jan. 19, which was posted on its Web site Monday.
18. PRC Defense
Agence France Press (“PRC MILITARY CHIEF VOWS NUCLEAR, CONVENTIONAL BUILDUP”, Beijing, 2009/02/02) reported that PRC will accelerate the buildup of its nuclear and conventional arsenal to form a credible deterrent, the general in charge of the country’s strategic missile force said. “We will accelerate the building of our nuclear and conventional combat strength,” said Jing Zhiyuan, the commander of the Second Artillery Corp, in an article he co-wrote for the authoritative journal Qiushi published Sunday.
Xinhua News (“TOP NUCLEAR GENERALS: “STRATEGIC DETERRENCE” ENHANCED IN INFORMATION AGE”, 2009/02/02) reported that PRC’s top two nuclear forces generals said that their troops had successfully built up “strategic deterrence” by enhancing capability of intercontinental strike and creating a versatile missile inventory. The two generals wrote on the Sunday edition of the semimonthly Qiushi Journal that the Second Artillery has developed itself from nuclear forces to versatile ones that combine both nuclear and conventional missiles.
19. PRC Climate Change
Xinhua News (“WEN: PRC GIVES TOP PRIORITY TO MEETING CHALLENGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE”, 2009/02/02) reported that PRC gives top priority to meeting the challenge of climate change, PRC Premier Wen Jiabao told the Financial Times on Sunday. The premier said PRC has established a national leadership group to tackle climate change and “I’m head of the group.” PRC has formulated a national program on coping with climate change, and not only is it the first program of its kind for PRC, it is also the first of its kind among all developing countries, Wen said. In the 11th five-year plan, PRC has set targets to annually reduce the per unit GDP energy consumption by 4 percent and in total by 20 percent in five years.
20. PRC Human Rights
Associated Press (Audra Ang, “PRC DISSIDENT’S TRIAL POSTPONED, LAWYER SAYS”, Beijing, 2009/02/02) reported that a PRC court has delayed the trial of an activist who criticized the government’s earthquake response, the man’s lawyer said Monday. Mo Shaoping, who is representing activist Huang Qi, said the postponement came after he protested that the original starting time of Tuesday morning — announced only on Monday — left him less than 24 hours to study the indictment and build a defense against the charge of possessing state secrets.
21. PRC Unemployment
British Broadcasting Corporation (Chris Hogg, “PRC MIGRANT JOB LOSSES MOUNT”, Shanghai, 2009/02/02) reported that PRC says 20 million migrant workers have lost their jobs during the economic downturn – three times greater than had been suggested previously. A survey carried out in 15 provinces suggests around 15% of the total migrant labour pool is now unemployed.
22. PRC Rural Economy
Reuters (“CHINA ISSUES RURAL SUPPORT PLAN TO FIGHT CRISIS”, 2009/02/02) reported that the PRC’s 750 million-strong farming population faces a tough 2009, the government warned, vowing price support, land controls and curbs on imports to shore up flagging rural incomes and ward off unrest. “At present, the international financial crisis continues to spread, its negative impact on our country’s economy has been deepening by the day, and the shocks to agricultural and rural development are constantly emerging,” said the document. This year would be “extremely arduous” for making any gains in improving the lives and incomes of the PRC’s poor farmers, it said.
Washington Post (Maureen Fan, “CHINA’S SOLUTION FOR UNEMPLOYED COLLEGE GRADS: STATE JOBS IN THE BOONIES”, Beijing, 2009/02/02) reported that PRC officials, spurred by the global financial crisis that has slowed economic growth and nervous about the prospects of more than 1.5 million unemployed college graduates, have stepped up spending and bolstered programs to help graduates get jobs, including a two-year-old plan to send people to work as rural village officials. Unemployment among recent college graduates stands at 12 percent, according to government statistics, nearly triple the overall unemployment rate of 4.2 percent at the end of December, itself the highest in five years.
23. PRC Earthquake Reconstruction
Chronicle of Philanthropy (“CHINA INSTITUTE PROVIDES SUPPORT FOR SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL PROJECT IN SICHUAN PROVINCE”, 2009/02/01) reported that the New York City-based China Institute has announced a $750,000 gift through its PRC Relief Fund to support the PRC-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development, which is working to build sustainable schools in Sichuan, PRC. “We are extremely pleased to be able to support this…initiative to rebuild schools in Sichuan,” said China Institute president Sara Judge McCalpin. “By addressing the educational and safety needs of children in the context of environmentally sound design concepts, the PRC-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development’s international volunteer team will profoundly improve the learning environment for children in Sichuan province.”
24. Japan, ROK, PRC Space Program
People’s Daily online (“CHINA, JAPAN AND S KOREA SET UP WORLD’S LARGEST RADIO TELESCOPE ARRAY”, 2009/02/02) reported that scientists from the PRC, Japan and ROK have just started using the world’s largest radio telescope array, which they have jointly set up to probe into the mysteries of outer space, including the structure of the Milky Way Galaxy and supermassive black holes. The major role of the East Asia VLBI observation network is to improve the image of the Milky Way Galaxy that is being mapped by Japan’s radio astrometry observation program. Japanese scientists believe that the Japan-based radio astrometry observation network that is composed of 12 telescopes plus four PRC-based telescopes and three 21-meter telescopes that have just been established in the ROK will help to dramatically improve the accuracy of star positioning.
II. PRC Report
25. PRC Environment
Xinhua Net (Yao Runfeng, “CHINA FINDS OUT ITS STATUS QUO OF WATER LOSS AND SOIL EROSION”, 2009/01/29) reported that after three years’ scientific research by 28 academicians and hundreds of researchers of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Chinese Academy of Sciences , the status quo of water loss and soil erosion in the PRC has been found out: at present, the PRC’s water loss and soil erosion area reaches 3.5692 million square kilometers; area needed urgent planning is near 2 million square kilometers. 626 counties face serious problem of water loss and soil erosion, among which 82.04% are near Yangtze River and Yellow River.
26. PRC Civil Society and Earthquake Aid
Xinhua News Agency (Zhu Huaying, “HONGKONG HOLDS CHARITABLE WALKING ACTIVITY FOR SICHUAN EARTHQUAKE DISASTER AREAS”, 2009/01/28) reported that 300 volunteers from Hong Kong and 28 teachers and students from Gansu province started from Hong Kong January 28 th , to participate a five-day “Walking to Guangzhou” activity for raising fund for Sichaun earthquake disaster area. The participants will walk for five days, from Hong Kong, by way of Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Panyu, finally to Guangzhou Tianhe Gymnasium. This time, the fund-raising goal is 2.8 million Hong Kong dollars.
27. PRC Civil Society and Public Health
Xinhua News Agency (Cui Jing, “CHINA RED CROSS FOUNDATION DONATES FUND AND MATERIALS A TOTAL OF 0.732 BILLION RMB 2008”, 2009/01/30) reported that learning from the second council meeting of China Red Cross Foundation recently ? in 2008, the Foundation has donated fund and materials worth of 0.732 billion RMB, eight times than last year and much more surpassing its original plan. Two major public welfare projects develop successfully in 2008, involving medical care, professional training, education and many other public welfare fields. This year, the Foundation will focus on Sichan post-disaster reconstruction.