1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Agence France-Presse (“NKOREA AGREES TO DECLARE, DISABLE NUCLEAR PROGRAMMES”, 2007-10-03) reported that the DPRK has agreed to declare all its nuclear programmes and disable its main atomic reactor by the end of the year under US supervision, according to a six-nation agreement. As part of the second phase, the DPRK will disable its five-megawatt plutonium producing reactor and two other key facilities at Yongbyon by December 31. “At the request of the other parties, the United States will lead disablement activities,” Wednesday’s statement said, adding that US experts would lead a team to the DPRK within two weeks to begin preparations.
Joongang Ilbo (“IMPLEMENTATION DEAL RELEASED ON NORTH’S NUKES”, 2007-10-03) reported that the PRC announced an implementation plan to denuclearize the DPRK. Under the agreement, Pyongyang is to declare and disable all of its nuclear programs by the end of the year. In return, Washington is to remove the DPRK from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and begin the process of terminating its application of the Trading with the Enemy Act on the DPRK. The statement said that the US and the DPRK “remain committed to improving their bilateral relations and moving towards a full diplomatic relationship.”
2. Inter-Korean Summit
Yonhap (“GLOBAL ANTICIPATION MOUNTS AS ROH-KIM DECLARATION IS EXPECTED THURSDAY”, 2007-10-03) reported that ROK President Roh Moo-hyun and his DPRK counterpart Kim Jong-il held two rounds of summit talks in Pyongyang throughout Wednesday before agreeing to announce a joint declaration Thursday morning. Roh’s spokesman Cheon Ho-seon said that the inter-Korean joint declaration will be directly signed and announced by Roh and Kim, noting the document will reflect the two leaders’ commitment to peace on the Korean Peninsula and inter-Korean economic cooperation and reconciliation.
Reuters (“SOUTH REJECTS OFFER TO EXTEND KOREAS SUMMIT “, 2007-10-03) reported that the second ever summit between the two Koreas looked strained when the ROK’s president snubbed an invitation to stay in Pyongyang another day and said the DPRK still did not trust its neighbor. Roh earlier told reporters he had felt a “wall, hard to tear down” in his talks with Kim. “(The North) does not completely trust South Korea. To actively proceed with the things we want to do, we need to overcome this wall of mistrust,” a ROK media pool report quoted him as saying.
Korea Times (“LEADERS SHARE CONSENSUS ON KOREAN PEACE”, 2007-10-03) reported that President Roh Moo-hyun and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il shared a broad consensus on establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula in their two rounds of talks. President Roh, however, said in a meeting with ROK journalists that Kim showed skepticism over his country’s market-opening and economic reform. He said that Kim appeared to distrust the ROK on some points and rejected discussing issues of economic reform in the DPRK and market opening, adding that developing mutual trust would take time and the ROK people should be patient.
3. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap (“N. KOREA URGES S. KOREAN CONGLOMERATE LEADERS TO INCREASE NORTH-BOUND INVESTMENTS “, 2007-10-03) reported that representatives of the DPRK’s industrial community urged visiting ROK conglomerate leaders to expand their investments in the DPRK in order to promote inter-Korean prosperity. They particularly emphasized the need to shift the focus from primary industries and on-demand processing to the more productive areas of joint investment, calling for the ROK’s conglomerates to more actively invest in the DPRK. In response, the ROK’s chaebol leaders pointed out that the DPRK has to improve its investment climate in order to attract more investments from ROK businesses. They also urged the DPRK to gain a wider understanding of the market economy.
4. DPRK-Japan Relations
Kyodo (“JAPAN ‘VALUES’ 6-PARTY DEAL, BUT STILL NO AID TO N. KOREA”, 2007-10-03) reported that top government officials said that Japan “values” the just-unveiled six-party agreement which obliges the DPRK to complete disablement of its nuclear facilities by the end of this year. But Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura told reporters that Japan’s stance “remains unchanged” regarding its refusal to contribute to assistance for the DPRK until progress is made on resolving the issue of the DPRK’s past abductions of Japanese nationals.
Xinhua (“DPRK SEES RELATIONSHIP WITH JAPAN AT WORST STAGE”, 2007-10-03) reported that the bilateral relationship between the DPRK and Japan is at its worst stage, Choe Su Hon, Deputy Foreign Minister of the DPRK said. In an interview held at DPRK’s UN mission, Choe said that Japan is the source of instability in Asia. The Japanese authority is challenging the international community with regard to its past crimes, he said, claiming that “the DPRK-Japan relationship is now at the worst stage.”
5. ROK-US Relations
Seoul (“OPPOSITION PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TO VISIT WASHINGTON DESPITE ‘NO MEETING’ WITH BUSH”, 2007-10-03) reported that the ROK’s opposition presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak will visit Washington as planned this month although the White House has turned down his request for a meeting with US President George W. Bush, his aides said. “Regardless of any meeting with President Bush, Lee will continue pushing for his diplomacy with the Big Four,” the spokesperson said, referring to regional powers the PRC, Japan, Russia and the US that Lee plans to visit to bolster his diplomatic profile.
6. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
The Associated Press (“JAPAN MAY SCALE DOWN NAVAL MISSION FOR AFGHANISTAN”, 2007-10-03) reported that Japan said it may scale down a naval mission supporting US-led forces in Afghanistan to try to resolve a row with the opposition that helped bring down the previous government. Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said Japan would consider ending the refueling of foreign supply ships in the Indian Ocean so that it does not indirectly support military activities outside of Afghanistan. But Japan would continue to refuel non-supply ships in the Indian Ocean.
BBC News (“JAPAN PM SETS OUT POLICY AGENDA “, 2007-10-03) reported that Japan’s new prime minister has called for dialogue with the opposition to resolve a row over a controversial naval deployment. In his first speech to parliament, Yasuo Fukuda said extending the mission – which supports US-led troops in Afghanistan – remained an urgent task. Mr Fukuda said that helping build security in the region served Japan’s national interests.
7. Cross-Strait Relations
Reuters (“CHINA READY FOR ‘GRAVE’ TAIWAN SCENARIOS”, 2007-10-03) reported that the PRC cannot compromise on its claim to Taiwan and is ready for “grave” scenarios, a top adviser said, days after the island’s ruling party resolved to recommend a new constitution, with implications of independence from the PRC. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) approved the controversial “Normal Country Resolution”, calling for a new constitution for Taiwan as an independent sovereign state to replace its current one, which still binds the two sides.
The Associated Press (“TAIWAN TO SHOWCASE MILITARY ‘DETERRENT’ IN RARE PARADE”, 2007-10-03) reported that Taiwan’s defense minister Lee Tien-yu said that the military will exhibit its “deterrent” against the PRC in a rare parade next week. Lee’s remarks drew special attention as military analysts expected the ministry to unveil for the first time Hsiung-feng (Brave Wind) 2-E, a locally developed cruise missile which could be used to strike the PRC. “The display of military equipment is a kind of effective deterrent, so that the Chinese communists would be aware that Taiwan is tough,” Lee said.
8. Japan Textbook Issue
Kyodo (“OKINAWA LEADERS ASK MINISTRY TO RETRACT INSTRUCTION ON TEXTBOOKS”, 2007-10-03) reported that Local leaders from Okinawa Prefecture asked education minister Kisaburo Tokai to retract his ministry’s instruction to history textbook publishers to remove references to the Japanese military’s forcing of civilians to commit mass suicides during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa. During their meeting at the ministry in Tokyo, Tokai asked for understanding regarding the current textbook screening process while telling his guests, “I wonder if the parties involved could use their wisdom to make it possible to reflect your feelings.”
9. PRC Border Security
Xinhua (“FROM GUNS TO GREETINGS: DEFROSTING CHINA’S BORDERS”, 2007-10-03) reported that according to the PRC’s white paper on National Defense in 2006, the PRC has signed land border treaties or agreements with 12 of its 14 neighbors, with most of the demarcation disputes settled. It is currently negotiating with India and Bhutan to resolve boundary issues. “China now shares the most peaceful borders with its neighbors since the republic was established in 1949,” says Teng Jianqun, deputy secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.
10. PRC Environment
Xinhua (“CHINESE PREMIER VOWS TO CURB DESERTIFICATION”, 2007-10-03) reported that the PRC should make utmost efforts to control desertification and sandification and rebuild the ecological system, said Premier Wen Jiabao during his visit to Minqin County of northwest PRC’s Gansu Province. Lying between the two deserts of Tengger and Badain Jaran, Minqin county is the only oasis in that area. “We should win ‘the fight for Minqin’ and by no means should welet it vanish from the map,” Wen said. He urged local governments to protect glaciers on upstream Qilianshan Mountain, regulate the water use and plant trees.
11. PRC Space Program
The Associated Press (“CHINA MAY WIN NEW SPACE RACE, NASA SAYS”, 2007-10-03) reported that the PRC may get to the moon before the US can make a return visit. Fifty years after Sputnik became the world’s first artificial satellite, a new race is under way with the finish line on the moon. NASA, the former lunar champion, already is predicting defeat. “I personally believe that China will be back on the moon before we are,” NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said in a low-key lecture in Washington two weeks ago, marking the space agency’s 50th anniversary, still a year away.
II. ROK Report
12. Build Trust for Peace
OhmyNews (“PEACE COMES FROM MILLITARY TRUST”, 2007-10-03) argued that the keyword of the inter-Korean summit is peace and the starting point of that is building trust, especially military trust. Based on trust, the two Koreas can make a positive circulation for advancing peace and constructing more trust. While there is a pretty good level of trust when it comes to economic cooperation and humanitarian enterprise, military trust is hardly found. Getting out of the Cold War system by building military trust, the two Koreas have to make a decisive turning point for moving on to a peaceful structure of the Korean Peninsula and East Asia.
13. Cannot Transcend Ideology
Donga Ilbo (“NATION CANNOT TRANSCEND IDEOLOGY”, 2007-10-03) wrote that it is necessary to figure out the realities of the Korean Peninsula before being intoxicated by a rosy future. The assertion that the more trade and interchange happen between the ROK and DPRK, the higher the understanding of each other will become and that this would lead to peaceful unification is typical unproved idealism. Frequent meetings are not enough to unify liberal democracy and Juche socialism. Recognizing the differences between two Koreas calmly is the only way to coexist.
14. Peace Regime
Pressian (“TOWARD THE PEACE REGIME”, 2007-10-03) reported that the war on the Korean Peninsula is not finished but just stopped for a while. For almost 50 years, ROK society came to not take it seriously and to consider it to be normal. However, putting an end to the war and building the peace regime are urgent for the prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and East Asia. Peace using nuclear weapons is not a real peace but a deterrence, which are definitely different. We should pursue a real peace. For now, Roh Moo-hyun presenting the peace regime as the primary agenda is the right thing.