NAPSNet Daily Report 3 June, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. Six Party Talks
- 2. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. US DPRK Policy
- 4. DPRK Economy
- 5. DPRK Food Supply
- 6. ROK Food Aid to the DPRK
- 7. Japan Afghanistan Dispatch
- 8. Japan Food Aid
- 9. Japan Politics
- 10. Sino-Indian Relations
- 11. PRC Media
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. Six Party Talks
Donga Ilbo (“SIX-PARTY TALKS MAY NOT RESUME THIS MONTH “, 2008/06/02) reported that the six-party talks have faced an unexpected obstacle despite some positive movements after the DPRK turned in documents on its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon to the United States. The talks, which were thought to resume early this month, are being delayed once again. Seoul’s chief negotiator Kim Sook said yesterday, “The United States needs more time, while North Korea`s preparations are almost finished.” His remarks imply that the US is not ready for dropping the DPRK off its terrorism blacklist and ending sanctions imposed under the Trading with the Enemy Act.
2. DPRK Nuclear Program
The Washington Post (Glenn Kessler, “N. KOREA TAKING TOUGHER STANCE, EX-ENVOY WARNS”, ) reported that senior DPRK officials recently said that the US should get used to a nuclear-armed DPRK, and they refused to acknowledge the validity of US concerns about Pyongyang’s interest in uranium enrichment or its nuclear collaboration with Syria, according to Charles “Jack” Pritchard, a former top US negotiator with the DPRK. Pritchard’s report, based on extensive talks in the DPRK capital, appears to undermine the Bush administration’s assertions of progress with the nation and suggests that the nuclear issue will fall squarely in the hands of the next US administration. The DPRK, he said, made it clear that it expects the US to build a new nuclear reactor for the reclusive government in the next three years.
3. US DPRK Policy
The Washington Post (Glenn Kessler, “RICE SAYS POLICY ON N. KOREA IS A TEAM EFFORT”, 2008/05/30) reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wants people to know: The Bush administration’s policy toward the DPRK has been carefully coordinated and developed by many people at different agencies. It also might come as a surprise to Hill, who is quoted in an upcoming book, “Meltdown,” by Mike Chinoy, as saying: “Some of this minimal paperwork business is coming directly from the secretary. She said, ‘Bring it only to me.’ ” “That wouldn’t happen to be accurate,” Rice told reporter Steve Hayes. “I don’t know what he’s referring to. . . . I don’t cut out people of my team. . . . So this has been very much an administration effort.”
4. DPRK Economy
The Economist (“HOW THE OTHER 0.0000001% LIVE “, 2008/05/29) reported that oblivious of rumours that famine is gathering again and that the state’s food-distribution system is breaking down, the DPRK’s pampered elite went on a shopping spree at the Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair, held on May 12th-15th. Originally designed to promote business-to-business contacts, the trade fair, along with a companion event in the autumn, has become one of the few opportunities for North Koreans—or, more accurately, a few thousand residents of the capital—to buy, or gawk at, foreign merchandise.
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN METH ‘FLOODING ASIA-PACIFIC'”, 2008/06/02) reported that methamphetamines made in then DPRK are flooding the Asia-Pacific region including the Philippines, officials say. In an interview with Reuters last Friday, Dionisio Santiago, the director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, said an influx of methamphetamines from clandestine DPRK factories cut the street price of the drug by half, the news agency said. Santiago added that the country’s drug enforcement agency last Wednesday seized a Vietnam-registered ship that attempted to enter Subic Bay with 700 kg of what is believed to be DPRK methamphetamines worth US$100 million.
5. DPRK Food Supply
IFES NK Brief (“DPRK MILITARY EXERCISES GIVE WAY TO FARMING”, 2008/06/02) reported that while the DPRK’s food crisis grows, large scale agricultural projects are underway across the country as the planting season peaks. Not only in the more remote areas, but even along the front line, the DPRK military is taking part in these large scale agricultural undertakings, bringing military exercises practically to a halt. It was reported by the PRC press on May 28th that the DPRK’s government and Workers’ Party organizations have joined hands with regional farming communities by dispatching groups of workers to these rural areas. Additionally, average citizens living in urban areas are also volunteering to help farmers, and are collecting waste and sending it to farms to be used in place of chemical fertilizer.
6. ROK Food Aid to the DPRK
Chosun Ilbo (“WFP ASKS SEOUL FOR FOOD FOR N.KOREA “, 2008/06/02) reported that the UN World Food Program is asking Seoul to send food aid to the DPRK. The DPRK asked the WFP for food aid in mid-May, and the WFP sent a letter to the ROK last Monday, the Ministry of Unification said. The WFP did not specify the amount of food it wants the ROK to provide, the ministry said. The government will consider whether to give food aid to the DPRK after taking into consideration the concrete food condition of the DPRK, which will be disclosed based on the WFP’s analysis, and public opinion on the issue.
7. Japan Afghanistan Dispatch
Kyodo News (“GOV’T EYING DEPLOYING SDF TO AFGHANISTAN FOR NONCOMBAT OPERATIONS “, Tokyo, 2008/06/02) reported that Japan is considering deploying Self-Defense Forces personnel on the ground in Afghanistan to extend logistical support for a multilateral force operating there, government sources said. The government is eying including the plan in a revised antiterrorism special law to continue Japan’s refueling support for multinational antiterrorism operations in the Indian Ocean beyond its expiration in January next year, the sources said. Specifically, the government is considering having the SDF airlift humanitarian assistance materials for Afghanistan as part of nonmilitary activities of the International Security Assistance Force led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the sources said.
8. Japan Food Aid
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN’S FUKUDA URGES RELIEF MEASURES AMID FOOD CRISIS “, Beijing, 2008/01/02) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda called Sunday for urgent measures to provide food security to poor nations amid runaway prices that have sparked riots around the world. “We need short, middle and long term solutions to the crisis,” Fukuda said. Fukuda said on the longer term richer nations must help their poor counterparts, particularly in Africa, to be in a position to produce more food and become self sufficient. “We need to export seed and know-how to those countries who need it.”
9. Japan Politics
The Financial Times (David Pilling and Lionel Barber, “OZAWA CONFIDENT OF ENDING LDP RULE”, Tokyo, 2008/06/02) reported that Ichiro Ozawa, leader of Japan’s main opposition party, says he is confident the Liberal Democratic party can be swept from office this year, ending its half-century domination of power. In an exclusive interview with the Financial Times, the veteran politician who led his Democratic Party of Japan to a stunning victory in upper house elections in September said it was only a matter of time before he completed the destruction of the ruling party he once belonged to. “The opposition party will take over power, which means the LDP will collapse and dissolve,” he predicted. “They are already so corrupt and rotten with the power that they have held on to for so long.”
10. Sino-Indian Relations
The Hindu (P. S. Suryanarayana , “CHINA: MILITARY TIES WITH INDIA IMPROVING “, Singapore, 2008/06/02) reported that a high-ranking PRC defence official on Saturday affirmed that “the military-to-military relations between China and India have been moving towards a good direction.” Beijing also appreciated New Delhi’s “cooperative spirit” in the political domain on the Tibet issue. Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army Lieutenant General Ma Xiaotian told The Hindu here, on the sidelines of the seventh Asia Security Summit, that the two countries had already struck a “positive” note about their recent defence exercise.
11. PRC Media
The Financial Times (Tom Mitchell, “BEIJING REINS IN QUAKE COVERAGE”, Dujiangyan , 2008/06/02) reported that the PRC government has instructed domestic media outlets to rein in coverage of the schools that collapsed during last month’s devastating earthquake in Sichuan province, journalists familiar with the directive have told the Financial Times. A notice was sent to media outlets across the country late last week, following a spate of reports about the collapses that killed thousands of students. “It is usually easier for us to write reports critical of local governments elsewhere,” said a journalist who has been sent to the quake zone from Guangdong and was advised of the government’s directive by his editors.
II. PRC Report
12. PRC Environment
China Daily (Wang Jingqiong, “BYE TO PLASTIC BAG FULL OF TROUBLE”, 2008/06/02) reported that following a government order aimed at reducing pollution, retailers stopped giving free plastic shopping bags from Sunday. According to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), at least 1,300 tons of oil is needed to make the bags given out by supermarkets alone every day. The government has banned ultra-thin or thinner than 0.025 mm plastic bags too because the thinner the plastic sheet the more harmful it is to the environment.
13. PRC Earthquake
Beijing News (“ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION DEPARTMENT: DISASTER RECONSTRUCTION WILL BASED ON PLANNING EIA”, 2008/06/01) reported that on June 1st, Pan Yue, Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Department said that during the reconstruction in disaster areas, eco-environmental indicators should be the basis for considering the distribution of productive forces. To this end, the environmental protection sectors plan to study the carrying capacity of environmental resource in disaster areas, while assess the geological disasters, animal and plant habitat, watershed conditions, layout of chemical, petrochemical and other high-risk industries, secondary environmental risk of reservoir safety and so on.
Xinhua Net (“WENCHUAN EARTHQUAKE RECONSTRUCTION PLANNING FORMALLY LAUNCHED”, 2008/06/01) reported that according to the decision of Earthquake Relief Headquarter of the State Council, the National Development and Reform Commission announced on June 1st that the State Wenchuan Earthquake Reconstruction Planning Group was established. It will take charge of the organization post-disaster reconstruction planning and relevant policy studies. It plans to use the three-month’s time to complete the preliminary work and overall plan of the reconstruction, and a three-year period to complete the main task of reconstruction.
III. ROK Report
14. DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (“WHY IS DPRK NUCLEAR REPORT BEING DELAYED?”, 2008/06/01) wrote that considering the comment that Kim Sook, director at office of Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs, made about demand for more time to check and analyze documents on the DPRK nuclear program, the US seems to be troubled by the discrepancy on the amount of plutonium produced found as a result of the first analysis. How to overcome this discrepancy has become the final key. If time passes, the big picture of having agreement on nuclear dismantlement roadmap at least by August, and completing the dismantlement in this year can just end up a mere matter of hope.
15. ROK Food Policy toward DPRK
Seoul Shinmun (“WFP DEMANDS NO MORE DELAY ON DPRK FOOD AID”, 2008/06/03) wrote in an editorial that it is disappointing to see that the ROK government is delaying its decision on DPRK food aid, surveying the specific food situation in the DPRK and public opinion. We hope that the ROK government uses this decision on DPRK food aid wisely as a breakthrough in inter-Korean relations that are currently in deadlock. Therefore, the ROK and DPRK having Red Cross talks or summit-level talks to make agreement on direct aid is the best measure.
16. DPRK Food Situation
Goodfriends (“HOPES FOR MOTHER PARTY TO FULFILL ITS DUTY”, 2008/06/03) wrote that in Hwanghae-namdo, as the distributed food runs out, students mobilized for farm work asked the army at Ryang-jing office for corn originally allotted as provisions and managed to overcome hunger. Giving out the army’s corn to starving students must have been a very difficult decision. Separate from whether the global society shall aid the DPRK or not, the DPRK must pay more attention to its citizens in difficulty and fulfill its duty as the mother party.