NAPSNet Daily Report 3 June, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
- 2. US on Naval Ship Sinking
- 3. DPRK Defector Issue
- 4. DPRK Leadership
- 5. DPRK-Japan Relations
- 6. ROK-US Military Cooperation
- 7. ROK Politics
- 8. ROK Space Program
- 9. Japan Politics
- 10. USFJ Base Relocation
- 11. Japan-Russia Relations
- 12. Japan, Australia on NPT Conference
- 13. US Public on Japan-US Relations
- 14. Sino-Japan Relations
- 15. Sino-US Defense Relations
- 16. Cross-Strait Relations
- 17. PRC on Iranian Nuclear Program
- 18. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 19. PRC Tiananmen Square Issue
- 20. PRC Public Welfare
- II. PRC Report
1. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
Yonhap News (“ENVOY SAYS ‘MATTER OF TIME’ BEFORE S. KOREA SEEKS U.N. PUNISHMENT ON N. KOREA”, 2010/06/02) reported that it is “now a matter of time” before the ROK takes the sinking of its warship near the border with the DPRK to the U.N. Security Council, a Seoul diplomat said Wednesday as he left for Russia to seek its cooperation in punishing Pyongyang. Wi Sung-lac, the ROK’s envoy on six-nation talks on the DPRK’s nuclear programs, said, however, that his government has yet to fix a date for formally filing its case with the U.N. The timing is “flexible and too uncertain to be predicted,” he said. “There have been sufficient discussions with the U.S., China and Japan, and it is considered that it is now time to hold discussions with Russia,” Wi said, adding he will meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin in Moscow.
2. US on Naval Ship Sinking
Korea Herald (“SEOUL SHOULD SEEK TOUGHEST MOVES FROM U.N.: EXPERT”, 2010/06/02) reported that the ROK should seek out the toughest level of counteractions from the U.N. even though new sanctions are expected to be unlikely, advised a US security expert. The PRC and its long-standing relationship with the DPRK is the reason for urging Seoul to pull out all the stops. “We have to go to the U.N. with a very strong demand,” said Ralph Cossa, president of Hawaii-based Pacific Forum CSIS. “If we try to go with something that China may accept, China will still water it down. So we might as well go with strong stance. Then China can say to North Korea they tried.” Cossa observed that the PRC may relent to an abstention.
3. DPRK Defector Issue
Earthtimes (“NORTH KOREAN ASYLUM SEEKERS OF CONCERN TO UN “, 2010/06/02) reported that there are no official estimates of the number of people fleeing the DPRK, and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) says it is clearly concerned about the asylum seekers. “There are people who may be leaving North Korea legally, travelling between North Korea and China for work, and others using more clandestine ways, for various reasons. It can be for economic reasons,” said Andrej Mahecic, UNHCR spokesman in Geneva. “Others may be in need of international protection and may not be coming through in legal ways, using clandestine ways. China considers these to be illegal migrants,” Mahecic said. “The crucial point is that these people are not sent back, even those who left for economic reasons. They could face persecution and punishment for having left in the first place.”
4. DPRK Leadership
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA’S KIM JONG-IL RESURFACES AFTER DISAPPEARING AMID TENSION”, 2010/06/02) reported that leader Kim Jong-il has apparently made his first public appearance since the ROK blamed the country for the sinking of the Cheonan. The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Wednesday that Kim watched a concert by a military propaganda band, his first public appearance in 12 days. “Kim Jong-il congratulated the performers on their successful presentation,” the KCNA said, quoting Kim as calling his troops “indomitable fighters who cherish the spirit of devotedly defending the leader and the spirit of becoming human bombs.”
5. DPRK-Japan Relations
Kyodo News (“N. KOREA EYES JAPAN FOREIGN POLICY AFTER HATOYAMA’S DEPARTURE “, 2010/06/02) reported that DPRK media as of Wednesday afternoon had not reported Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s announcement that he will step down, but the DPRK is believed to be closely watching how the ruling coalition led by the Democratic Party of Japan will run domestic and foreign policies after Hatoyama’s departure. If a post-Hatoyama government takes a leading role with the ROK in U.N. Security Council deliberations for imposing further sanctions on the DPRK, Pyongyang “will have no choice but to consider a considerable countermeasure,” a DPRK official said.
6. ROK-US Military Cooperation
Agence France Presse (“US CARRIER TO JOIN S.KOREA ANTI-SUBMARINE DRILL”, 2010/06/02) reported that a US aircraft carrier will join a major anti-submarine naval exercise with the ROK next week, reports said Wednesday. The USS George Washington will leave its base in the Japanese port of Yokosuka around Saturday and arrive in the Yellow Sea early next week, Yonhap news agency quoted a military source as saying. Seoul’s defence ministry and a spokesman for US forces in Korea declined to comment. The joint drill was initially planned for late June or early July but was brought forward to send a “strong signal and show off a firm defence posture”, the source said. Yonhap said the nuclear-powered carrier will head a battle fleet comprising some 10 ships including an Aegis destroyer and nuclear-powered submarines. The ROK will deploy a 4,500-ton destroyer, a submarine and F-15K fighter jets.
7. ROK Politics
Washington Post (“WARSHIP’S SINKING ECHOES IN SOUTH KOREAN ELECTIONS”, 2010/06/02) reported that the DPRK’s apparent torpedoing of a ROK warship has not significantly strengthened the political coattails of this country’s pro-American president, according to exit polls in Wednesday’s local elections. Turnout was unusually high, nearly 55 percent, the highest for a non-presidential election in 15 years. Analysts said the high turnout suggested a large number of voters were young people, who have in recent years have not supported Lee or his conservative Grand National Party (GNP). “The public sentiment to check the GNP and keep the balance seemed to have reduced the gap between the ruling and opposition parties,” said Jeong Han-wool, executive director at the East Asia Institute, a Seoul-based political research group. “The ship incident seems to have reinforced the existing conservative votes for the ruling party, but was not enough to change the minds of independent and left-leaning voters.”
Korea Herald (Song Sang-ho, “DP BASKS IN ELECTORAL VICTORY; GNP GRAPPLES WITH DEBACLE”, Seoul, 2010/06/03) reported that the main opposition Democratic Party in Wednesday’s local elections garnered seven of the 16 mayoral and gubernatorial posts. Oh Se-hoon of the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) won reelection as Seoul mayor against Han Myeong-sook of the DP by a narrow margin of only a 0.6 percentage point. Kim Moon-soo of the GNP also won reelection as Gyeonggi governor against former welfare minister Ryu Si-min of the People Participation Party. Song Young-gil of the DP beat Ahn Sang-soo of the GNP to become Incheon mayor. The ruling party lost in its power bases of Gangwon Province and South Gyeongsang Province.
Yonhap (Shim Sun-ah, “GNP LEADERS TO RESIGN AFTER ELECTION DEFEAT”, Seoul, 2010/06/03) reported that Chung Mong-joon, chairman of the ruling Grand National Party (GNP), said Thursday he will resign to take responsibility for the party’s defeat in the local elections. “I did my best but failed to win the heart of the people,” Chung told senior party leaders in a meeting. “I feel responsible as the one who headed the party’s election committee. I hereby express my intent to resign.”
8. ROK Space Program
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA BEGINS FINAL PREPARATIONS TO LAUNCH SPACE ROCKET “, 2010/06/02) reported that the ROK has begun final launch preparations to send a satellite-carrying space rocket into orbit next week, the government said Wednesday. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said comprehensive examinations of all launch systems will be carried out on the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) until Friday, when major pre-flight checks are to be completed. “Electrical, batteries, guidance, control and other vital systems are being checked to ensure no mishaps,” an official said. He said that various markings have been added to the surface of the KSLV-1, such as the ROK flag.
9. Japan Politics
Associated Press (“JAPAN FINANCE MINISTER TO RUN TO SUCCEED HATOYAMA”, 2010/06/02) reported that Japan’s finance minister says he intends to run for leadership of the ruling party to succeed Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama , who resigned earlier in the day. Naoto Kan said he told Hatoyama that he will run in Friday’s party election to choose the Democratic Party of Japan’s new head, who would almost certainly become the next prime minister. Kan, 63, a former health minister, has been popular with voters after exposing a government cover-up of HIV-tainted blood products that caused thousands of hemophilia patients to contract the virus that causes AIDS.
Yonhap (“KAN GAINING MUCH SUPPORT TO BECOME JAPAN’S NEW LEADER”, Tokyo, 2010/06/03) reported that Japan’s incoming prime minister will form a new Cabinet on Friday, with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Naoto Kan standing a good chance of taking the top post, ruling party lawmakers said Thursday. Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and transport minister Seiji Maehara, who were seen as possible contenders in the race, said they will back Kan to be the DPJ’s new president.
10. USFJ Base Relocation
Agence France Presse (“US EXPECTS BASE DEAL UPHELD DESPITE JAPAN POLITICAL CRISIS”, 2010/06/02) reported that the Pentagon said it expects a recent accord that keeps a controversial US military base on Okinawa to be honored. “This is an agreement between governments, not between politicians,” Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters. “We expect agreements to be respected… that whoever is in power will respect the agreements that have been forged by previous administrations,” he added.
Guam Watch News (“JAPAN PM RESIGNS; GUAM LEADERS REACT TO THE NEWS AND BUILDUP IMPACT”, 2010/06/02) reported that acting Governor Mike Cruz said, “The resignation of prime minister Hatoyama is a significant change within the Japanese government itself. The international accord which has necessitated the relocation of U.S. marines to Guam is still in effect and the Guam buildup is still subject to that mandate. Recent North Korean aggression has demonstrated the vital importance of the American-Japanese alliance in this region of the world.” Senator Guthertz added, “Now the impact of this of course on Guam is very obvious. This will make it easier for the buildup to proceed. Perhaps not as quickly as originally planned because of the limited infrastructure capacity we have right now but the buildup will proceed.”
Kyodo News (“SENATE PANEL CUTS OUTLAYS FOR RELOCATION OF MARINES FROM OKINAWA “, 2010/06/02) reported that a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee has cut outlays in a bill for the planned relocation of Marines from Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture to Guam by some $320 million or 70 percent from the government-proposed level under an amendment to the defense authorization bill for fiscal 2011 that it passed late last month. The reason cited by the panel in the document for the cut was that the Okinawa Prefecture governor has not approved a land reclamation plan for coastal waters to build the replacement for the Futenma Marines air station in Ginowan. Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima has yet to approve any specific land reclamation plan for the planned facility, stating it would be extremely difficult to implement the Japan-U.S. agreement on the Futenma base relocation due to strong opposition from local people. The panel’s document notes that the action to obtain the governor’s permit ”has been indefinitely delayed” and the panel effectively urged the U.S. Department of Defense to obtain such a permit as a certification that ”tangible progress” has been made on the issue in order to bring back the cut on outlays for the planned relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam.
11. Japan-Russia Relations
Kyodo News (“HATOYAMA SORRY FOR LEAVING TERRITORIAL ROW WITH RUSSIA UNRESOLVED”, 2010/06/02) reported that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, said he regrets having been unable to make major progress in negotiations with Russia over a territorial dispute. “I was very much looking forward to seriously discussing the territorial issue with (Russian) President (Dmitry) Medvedev three times this year and was determined to achieve certain progress,” Hatoyama told reporters. “I’m really sorry that I’ve lost opportunities to do so.” Some of the former Japanese residents of the islands who live in Hokkaido expressed disappointment Wednesday at Hatoyama’s decision to quit, saying he appeared most likely to resolve the territorial row.
12. Japan, Australia on NPT Conference
Kyodo News (“AUSTRALIA, JAPAN WELCOME ‘UNPRECEDENTED’ AGREEMENT AT NPT REVIEW”, 2010/06/02) reported that Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and his Japanese counterpart Katsuya Okada said Wednesday “unprecedented” agreement had been reached at the recent nuclear nonproliferation conference in New York from May 3 to 28. In a joint statement, the pair said the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons had “unanimously adopted a comprehensive and forward-looking final document which is a strong global commitment to the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.” Smith and Okada highlighted the commitment by countries with nuclear weapons to “reduce and eventually eliminate all nuclear weapons.”
13. US Public on Japan-US Relations
Kyodo News (“CHINA OVERTAKES JAPAN AS MOST IMPORTANT U.S. PARTNER IN ASIA: POLL”, 2010/06/02) reported that the PRC overtook Japan as the most important partner for the United States in Asia for the first time since 1985, reflecting the country’s increasing economic weight, according to the results of a survey covering about 200 U.S. opinion leaders released by the Japanese Foreign Ministry. The U.S. survey commissioned to Gallup in February and March by the ministry also showed that Japan tied with the PRC for the position of the most important U.S. partner in Asia in a poll of some 1,200 people aged 18 or above among the general public. On the Japan-U.S. security treaty, which marked its 50th anniversary this year, 90 percent of the opinion leaders and 86 percent of the general public said the pact “should be maintained,” showing continued strong support for the security arrangement.
14. Sino-Japan Relations
Agence France Presse (“CHINA STILL WANTS STRONG TIES AFTER JAPAN PM QUITS”, 2010/06/02) reported that the PRC said on Wednesday it wants to continue pushing for stronger ties with Japan following Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s resignation. “No matter what the changes in Japan’s political situation, China is willing to work with Japan to keep pushing for Sino-Japanese… relations to continue to develop further,” foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement. Ma said Hatoyama had made ” important efforts ” to promote the healthy development of ties between the two nations.
15. Sino-US Defense Relations
Reuters (“CHINA DELAYS GATES TRIP IN APPARENT SNUB FOR TAIWAN”, 2010/06/02) reported that the PRC has turned down a proposed fence-mending visit by the U.S. defense secretary, Robert Gates, in what some American officials described as a snub to protest U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. The proposed visit by Gates was the highest-level postponement to date and a sign of continued friction in relations. A senior U.S. defense official said the PRC told their American counterparts that it was “not a convenient time” to host Gates but they were not explicit about the reason why. “It certainly wouldn’t be beyond the realm to speculate that this is sort of continued … reaction to the Taiwan arms sale,” the official said on condition of anonymity. Another U.S. official called it a worrisome “rebuke” given heightened tensions in the region.
16. Cross-Strait Relations
Associated Press (TAIWAN URGES CHINA NOT TO BLOCK TRADE AGREEMENTS, “”, 2010/06/02) reported that Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou urged the PRC on Wednesday not to prevent the island from making free trade agreements with other partners. On Tuesday, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Beijing “firmly objects to any official exchanges Taiwan has with China’s diplomatic allies”. Ma told a ruling Nationalist Party meeting on Wednesday that the PRC should refrain from undermining Taiwan’s trade efforts, according to a party statement. “It is a right of the members of the World Trade Organization to pursue free trade agreements with each other, so Taiwan should not face any interference when exercising such a right,” Ma said. “I have also urged China not to prevent Taiwan from signing free trade agreements with our major trade partners.”
17. PRC on Iranian Nuclear Program
Agence France Presse (“CHINA CALLS ON IRAN TO BOOST COOPERATION WITH IAEA”, 2010/06/02) reported that the PRC called on Iran to improve its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog , after the agency said in a report that Tehran was pressing ahead with its controversial atomic programme. “We hope Iran will further step up cooperation with the IAEA and resolve the pending issues at an early date,” foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters, adding the PRC “appreciated” the efforts of the nuclear watchdog.
18. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Wall Street Journal (“CHINA LAUNCHES XINJIANG RESOURCE TAX “, 2010/06/02) reported that the PRC is introducing a 5% tax that the country’s energy companies must pay on oil and gas produced in Xinjiang, part of efforts to improve the economic prospects of the poor western region. The new natural resource tax, which will eventually be rolled out nationwide, will increase the local government’s coffers, but will hurt the profits of the PRC’s two biggest oil and natural gas companies. The new tax will be based on value and is estimated to increase Xinjiang’s revenue from natural resources to five times its current level. Dru Gladney, an anthropologist at Pomona College who studies Xinjiang, called the new tax “a step in the right direction, but it’s not a big enough step.”
19. PRC Tiananmen Square Issue
Agence France Presse (“‘TIANANMEN MOTHERS’ DEMAND CHINA ADDRESS CRACKDOWN”, 2010/06/02) reported that families of those killed in the crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests on Wednesday demanded the PRC end its silence and open a dialogue on the bloodshed. In an annual open letter, 128 members of the Tiananmen Mothers castigated the Communist Party government for ignoring its calls for openness on the crackdown that occurred June 3-4, 1989 and vowed never to give up their fight. “The Chinese communist authorities should have heard our voices, and yet there has been no answer,” the letter said, citing repeated requests for dialogue and an inquiry into the massacre. The group also demanded the government stop persecuting its members.
20. PRC Public Welfare
Bloomberg (“CHINA TO ADOPT RESIDENCE PERMIT SYSTEM, MORNING POST REPORTS “, 2010/06/02) reported that the PRC may gradually implement a residence permit system, relaxing so-called hukou rules that prevent rural residents from enjoying the same social-welfare benefits as city dwellers, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a State Council document. Residence permits are being implemented in 10 cities, the report said.
II. PRC Report
21. PRC Public Welfare
Beijing Times (“ORPHAN-RAISING FAMILIES CAN GET 600 RMB PER MONTH”, 2010/06/02) reported that the PRC is to set up a minimum standard for families raising orphans. The Director of the Welfare and Charity Promotion Division of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Wang Zhenyao, said Tuesday that families raising orphans will get a stipend of 600 RMB per month, and that this plan will be launched in the near future.
22. PRC Environment
Tencent.com (“MOUNT EVEREST CLEANING ACTIVITY COMPLETED”, 2010/06/02) reported that the Zero Mile Mount Everest Cleaning Activity was successfully completed on May 29th. The cleaning activity started in March and did three extreme high altitude cleanings. This is the first Mount Everest cleaning that was supported by a civil fund, which was provided by China Vanke. 3.44 tons of garbage was removed.
23. PRC Civil Society
Sina.com (“ANKANG PLAN SECURITY EMERGENCY EXPERIMENTAL CENTER SET UP”, 2010/06/02) reported that the Ankang Plan Security Emergency Experimental Center was formally set up in at the China Children’s Activity Center in Beijing on June 1 st . The Center is funded by the China Children and Teenager’s Foundation and aims to cultivate children’s emergency response awareness and fully promote their comprehensive emergency response ability.