NAPSNet Daily Report 30 April, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US on Six Party Talks
- 2. US-DPRK Relations
- 3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 4. DPRK Defector Issue
- 5. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 6. Inter-Korean Relations
- 7. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
- 8. Sino-ROK Relations
- 9. ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 10. ROK Military
- 11. ROK-US Military Relations
- 12. Japan Nuclear Energy
- 13. USFJ Base Relocation
- 14. PRC Human Rights
- 15. Sino-Pakistan Nuclear Cooperation
- 16. PRC Communications Control
- 17. PRC on Iran Nuclear Program
- 18. Sino-EU Climate Change Cooperation
- 19. Hong Kong Politics
- II. PRC Report
1. US on Six Party Talks
United Press International (“U.S. WANTS SIX-NATION TALKS TO RESUME”, 2010/04/29) reported that the United States wants the DPRK to return to denuclearization talks even as the sinking of a ROK ship is being investigated, an official said. U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley, in stating the U.S. position, was responding to a question on whether efforts to restart the talks on the DPRK’s nuclear disarmament would be suspended. “Well, I wouldn’t necessarily link those directly,” Crowley said. “We want to see North Korea come back to the six-party process,” he said. “We’re committed to this with our partners. But, clearly, provocative actions that North Korea takes (have) an impact on the broader environment. So I wouldn’t predict anything going forward.”
Yonhap News (“CLINTON, CHINESE OFFICIAL DISCUSS 6-WAY TALKS REOPENING: STATE DEPT.”, 2010/04/29) reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday conversed with her PRC counterpart on reviving the six-party talks on the DPRK’s denuclearization amid escalating tensions over Pyongyang’s suspected involvement in the sinking of a ROK warship, the State Department said. Clinton had a “lengthy” morning telephone conversation with PRC State Councillor Dai Bingguo, said spokesman Philip Crowley.
2. US-DPRK Relations
Washington Times (“SHIP SINKING COMPLICATES N. KOREA TIES”, 2010/04/29) reported that the sinking of a ROK warship has complicated an already strained relationship with the DPRK according to the U.S. envoy for DPRK human rights issues. Robert King told an audience at a Washington think tank that existing issues with the DPRK have been made “much more complicated in the last month by the sinking of the Cheonan.” “That is going to create difficulties and questions in terms of how we proceed from this point forward,” Mr. King said.
3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
EarthTimes (“IRAN, NORTH KOREA THREATEN KEY NUCLEAR TREATY, US WARNS “, 2010/04/29) reported that the nuclear activities of the DPRK pose a threat to a key nuclear treaty designed to prevent the spread of atomic weapons, a top US official warned Thursday. The DPRK’s withdrawal from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 undermine the goals of the treaty, said Ellen Tauscher, under secretary of state for arms control. “The nuclear non-proliferation regime is under great stress and is fraying at the seams,” Tauscher said. “This cynical path to a nuclear weapon cannot be allowed to serve as a model for others, otherwise it strikes at the very core bargain of the treaty,” she told a gathering at the Center for American Progress, a think tank in Washington.
4. DPRK Defector Issue
KoreaTimes (“DEFECTORS PLAY KEY ROLE IN FIGHT FOR NK HUMAN RIGHTS”, 2010/04/29) reported that with activists and human rights organizations converging in Seoul to promote freedom for DPRK nationals, a special group among them is emerging as leaders of the movement: DPRK defectors. North Korea Freedom Week 2010 has seen defectors from the the DPRK not only participating as they did at prior events held in Washington, D.C., but facilitating as well. The enhancement of their role adds gravitas to the movement at a time when information is seeping at an increasing rate through the borders of the DPRK says Suzanne Scholte, chairwoman of the North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC). Events hosted by defectors have included a seminar on the rights of female defectors and a debate on the conditions faced by those who escape the regime.
5. Sino-DPRK Relations
Kyodo News (“KIM JONG IL VISIT TO CHINA SLATED FOR LATE APRIL POSTPONED: SOURCES “, 2010/04/29) reported that a visit by DPRK leader Kim Jong Il to the PRC slated to take place from late April to early May has been postponed, sources familiar with DPRK-PRC relations said Thursday. The reason for the postponement remains unclear.
6. Inter-Korean Relations
Korea Herald (“CONTROVERSY REVIVED OVER ‘MAIN ENEMY’ CONCEPT”, 2010/04/29) reported that controversy has resurfaced over whether to revive the official description of the DPRK as the ROK’s “main enemy” in its defense policy paper. Some have argued that military discipline has grown lax as there has not been any particular subject set for the military to fight against. However, others have voiced concern that reviving the term would only cause inter-Korean ties to deteriorate. “It is necessary (to revive the term) with North Korea’s possible involvement in the Cheonan case being mentioned. The North is a serious national threat given that the armed standoff along the demilitarized zone continues and the North poses a nuclear threat,” said Hong Kwan-hee, representative of the Institute for Security Strategy.
7. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA FREEZES MOST S. KOREAN ASSETS AT MOUNT KUMGANG”, 2010/04/29) reported that the DPRK has frozen most of the ROK’s assets at a joint mountain resort on its soil, officials here said Thursday. ROK tourism facilities that were frozen Thursday included a hotel, a gas station, a shopping mall and a vehicle maintenance center, a Unification Ministry official here said. “This concludes the freeze on major tourism and accommodation facilities at Mount Kumgang,” the official said, speaking to reporters.
Agence France-Presse (“N.KOREA EXPELS MOST S.KOREANS FROM RESORT”, Seoul, 2010/04/30) reported that the DPRK on Friday ordered all except 12 employees of Hyundai Asan and four others from a golf course operator to leave the Mt. Kumgang resort, officials said. “This means some 40 South Koreans staying at Mount Kumgang resort have to return home by Monday morning,” a unification ministry spokesman said.
8. Sino-ROK Relations
New York Times (“CHINA GAINS INFLUENCE IN KOREAN AFFAIRS AS NORTH AND SOUTH WARILY SEEK ITS HELP”, 2010/04/29) reported that on Friday, President Lee Myung-bak will travel to the PRC under growing pressure to make the case for crucial PRC support for tough international sanctions against DPRK if it is found responsible for the sinking of a ROK ship. But he is unlikely to win that support, experts say, a reflection of the PRC’s growing role in the Korean Peninsula. “China’s influence has become so important that we can almost say that it can now claim the first and last piece of the apple on the Korean Peninsula,” said Lee Byong-chul, a senior fellow at the Institute for Peace and Cooperation in Seoul, suggesting that the PRC can have whatever it wants. The ROK’s concern “about China’s rising dominance over North Korea in economic terms is well founded,” said John Delury, associate director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society. “However, I think it’s the result of Lee Myung-bak’s decision to let the sunshine policy unravel, rather than a strategic plot by China to ‘colonize’ North Korea economically.”
9. ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Korea Herald (“NAVY CHIEF VOWS REVENGE FOR CHEONAN”, 2010/04/29) reported that the ROK Navy chief swore that his men will find the culprits behind the Cheonan‘s sinking and make them pay for what they did as families bid their final farewells yesterday to 46 sailors killed in a warship disaster last month. “We will not sit back and watch whoever caused this pain for our people,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Kim Sung-chan said during his memorial address at the funeral of the sailors. “We will hunt them down and make them pay a bigger price.” It is the first time a senior ROK official publicly spoke of a revenge against the possible attacker. Kim’s remarks are expected to lead to significant change in the Navy‘s operations near the disputed inter-Korean sea border of the Northern Limit Line.
10. ROK Military
Chosun Ilbo (“NEW THREAT FROM N.KOREA’S ‘ASYMMETRICAL’ WARFARE “, 2010/04/29) reported that the DPRK has over the last 10 to 20 years been developing what is called an “asymmetric strategy,” which involves focusing on areas, however small, where the ROK is inferior to the DPRK or lacking altogether. One part of this strategy is submarines. The DPRK is believed to have a fleet of around 70 submarines, including some 20 1,830-t Romeo-class subs and 20 330-t Shark-class subs. The subs had been considered only a minor threat, due to their age, noisy engines and inability to operate in the shallow coastal waters of the West Sea. However, there are growing concerns in the ROK military that its anti-submarine warfare capabilities may not be up to the challenge. The ROK Navy’s battleships, 10 submarines and P-3C Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft can detect subs, but there is considerable skepticism about their ability to incapacitate the entire DPRK submarine fleet. Former ROK defense minister Kim Jang-soo said recently that he heard the military is capable of detecting less than 50 percent of DPRK submarines.
11. ROK-US Military Relations
Yonhap News (“S. KOREANS BEGIN LEGAL BATTLE TO DETER EXPANSION OF U.S. AIR BASE”, 2010/04/29) reported that a group of ROK citizens filed an administrative suit Thursday against the ROK defense minister, demanding the cancellation of approval for the construction of a second runway at the U.S. air base in Osan, south of Seoul. In the suit filed with the Seoul Administrative Court, the plaintiffs — a group of 200 residents of Pyeongtaek who live near Osan Air Base — accused the ROK government of approving the U.S. air base’s runway expansion project without conducting an environmental impact assessment or consulting the local municipal authority or residents.
Yonhap News (“KOREAN AIR TO MAINTAIN U.S. NAVY REFUELING AIRCRAFT”, 2010/04/29) reported that the ROK’s Korean Air Lines Co. said Thursday it has signed a deal with the U.S. Navy to maintain a military aerial refueling aircraft for five years until 2015. The ROK’s top carrier, however, did not reveal the value of the deal to maintain the U.S Navy KC-130J.
Korea Times (“1 IN 2 WANT TO DELAY WARTIME CONTROL TRANSFER”, 2010/04/29) reported that nearly half of ROK citizens want to postpone the transfer of wartime operational control from the United States slated for 2012, according to the latest survey. In a telephone poll of 800 adults conducted Saturday by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA), 48.8 percent replied that the transfer of command control should be delayed due to security concerns on the Korean Peninsula. Only 35.8 percent answered that the country should adhere to the original plan, while 15.4 percent declined to comment.
12. Japan Nuclear Energy
Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT ‘TO BACK’ NEW OVERSEAS N-PROJECT FIRM”, 2010/04/29) reported that a semipublic company that aims to win overseas orders for nuclear power reactors will be set up by autumn, partnering three electric power firms with expertise in the field and three reactor manufacturers, it has been learned. The new company will cover the entire process of nuclear power generation, from reactor construction to operation, to compete with rivals in France, the ROK and Russia, according to sources. Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Masayuki Naoshima has stressed the project would promote Japan’s economic growth and help strengthen the domestic nuclear power generation sector by developing new technologies in connection with the project.
Bellona (“COOLANT SYSTEM MISHAP AT JAPAN’S LONG-STALLED MONJU FAST BREEDER SENDS CAUTIONARY NOTE TO OTHER NATIONS PURSUING SAME TECHNOLOGY”, 2010/04/29) reported that the Monju prototype fast breeder nuclear power reactor suffered a temporary glitch in a coolant leakage detector that the Japan Atomic Energy Agency reported had no impact on the environment. However, one Japanese nuclear industry source familiar with the Monju project was quoted as saying in Japan Today that malfunctions of this type – and worse – are “inevitable” in such reactors. That the reactor would still be ailing in its sodium coolant detection system should give pause not only to Japanese authorities but other nations that are considering adding fast breeders cooled by liquid metal sodium to their nuclear power production fleets – most notably the Russia and the United states, the source said.
13. USFJ Base Relocation
Mainichi Japan (“HATOYAMA MAY GO WITH MODIFIED VERSION OF EXISTING FUTENMA RELOCATION PLAN”, 2010/04/29) reported that the administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has begun negotiations with local bodies and the United States towards proceeding with a modified plan to relocate Futenma base to an area off of Camp Schwab in the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa. At the same time, although Hatoyama continues to push the possibility of moving some forces to Kagoshima Prefecture’s Tokunoshima Island, that plan appears increasingly unlikely. According to a source close to Hatoyama, his continued insistence on trying to move some forces to Tokunoshima is designed show that the new administration “has fought for and achieved a step that improves on the original plan.”
Mainichi Japan (“FULL-PAGE ANTI-U.S. MILITARY BASE AD RUNS IN U.S. NEWSPAPER”, 2010/04/29) reported that a full-page ad opposing the relocation of the U.S. Marines’ Futenma base within Okinawa Prefecture appeared in the April 28 edition of the Washington Post. Sponsored by environmental and anti-war groups, the ad carries the message, “Would you want 30 military bases in your backyard?” in large letters at the top of the page, and shows a child clinging to a base’s fence. It also states that “Washington is pressuring Tokyo to ignore the voices of its citizens,” and mentions the anti-base rally held in Okinawa on Sunday while calling on readers to “Stand up for democracy.”
14. PRC Human Rights
Associated Press (“US PANEL NAMES 13 COUNTRIES AS RELIGIOUS VIOLATORS”, 2010/04/29) reported that the PRC is among 13 countries a U.S. government panel named on Thursday as serious violators of religious freedom. This year’s list of 13 “countries of particular concern” included all eight named last year — Myanmar, also known as Burma; the PRC; Eritrea; Iran; the DPRK; Saudi Arabia; Sudan; and Uzbekistan — plus Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam. “In China, the government continues to engage in systematic and egregious violations of the freedom of religion or belief,” the report said. It alleged “a marked deterioration in the past year, particularly in Tibetan Buddhist and Uighur Muslim areas.”
15. Sino-Pakistan Nuclear Cooperation
The Hindu (“CHINESE COMPANY CONFIRMS PAKISTAN REACTOR DEAL”, 2010/04/29) reported that the PRC’s biggest operator of nuclear power plants has confirmed that it will export two 340 MW nuclear power reactors to Pakistan in a $2.375-billion agreement, in a controversial deal that analysts say goes against internationally-mandated guidelines governing the transfer of nuclear technology. The China National Nuclear Corporation, which has already set up two civilian nuclear power reactors in Pakistan, has now signed construction contracts to build two more.
Xinhua News Agency (“CHINA ADOPTS AMENDED STATE COMPENSATION LAW TO BETTER PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS”, 2010/04/29) reported that the PRC’s parliament Thursday adopted amendments to the State Compensation Law that grant citizens greater power to obtain compensation when their rights are violated by the state. The amendments, to take effect on Dec. 1, were approved at the end of the four-day bimonthly session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, or the top legislature. When a citizen is harmed through state negligence, the state will compensate the citizen, according to the amendments which expand the scope of state compensation, China University of Political Science and Law Prof. Ma Huaide said. In the previous law, state compensation would only be granted when state organs violated the law, excluding cases of negligence.
16. PRC Communications Control
Reuters (“CHINA REVISES SECRETS LAW TO INCLUDE INTERNET”, 2010/04/29) reported that the PRC on Thursday adopted a revised law on state secrets, designed to adapt authorities’ wide-ranging powers to officially include telecoms and online communications. The new law retained a broad definition of what constitutes a secret. Earlier this week, authorities also issued definitions of what constituted commercial secrets for the PRC’s state-owned corporations. In addition to military matters and foreign affairs, the seven categories of secrets included in the PRC’s secrets law include secret economic or social development projects, technology secrets, and “other secrets defined by the state secrets authorities”.
Eurekalert (“CHINA’S BUSY BLOGOSPHERE NO HARBINGER OF POLITICAL FREEDOM, OPEN SPEECH”, 2010/04/29) reported that a study by communication researchers at the University at Buffalo confirms what was made evident by the very public Google-PRC government dispute over Internet censorship: the fact that the PRC’s cyberculture is changing and growing rapidly is no harbinger of political freedom and open speech in that country. The study responds to claims that widespread use of blogs threatens the PRC government control over democratic discourse, free speech and civil rights in the PRC’s traditionally closed society.”Some hold that advanced technology and the free flow of information make the Internet uncontrollable,” Hong says, “but there has apparently been no diminution in Chinese government surveillance, and Internet censorship could continue to be one of the most pervasive barriers to regime change.”
Voice of America (“REPORT: MEDIA FREEDOMS DECLINE FOR 8TH STRAIGHT YEAR”, 2010/04/29) reported that a U.S.-based media advocacy group says press freedom declined around the world in 2009 for the eighth straight year. It says governments in the PRC, Russia and Venezuela have been “systematically encroaching” on the comparatively free environment of the Internet and new media. It says sophisticated techniques are being used to censor and block access to information, and monitor citizen activity. The group says independent media in those countries are non-existent or barely able to operate.
17. PRC on Iran Nuclear Program
Associated Press (“EU OFFICIAL: CHINA EYES TARGETED SANCTIONS ON IRAN”, Beijing, 2010/04/30) reported that European Union Foreign Affairs High Representative Catherine Ashton said Friday that the PRC is willing to discuss sanctions on Iran as long as they bolster efforts to curb the Iranian nuclear program. EU said her discussions with Premier Wen Jiabao show that the PRC’s position has evolved from agreeing in principal to discuss sanctions to recognizing that targeted sanctions play a role. “We weren’t discussing whether or not. We were discussing what sort” of sanctions, Ashton told reporters. She said that Wen wants to make sure that the sanctions are not so broad as to affect large segments of the population, but rather are targeted.
18. Sino-EU Climate Change Cooperation
EarthTimes (“EU, CHINA AGREE CLOSER LINKS ON CLIMATE CHANGE “, 2010/04/29) reported that the PRC and the European Union on Thursday agreed to step up long-term cooperation on climate change, as EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso arrived for a three-day visit. After talks between climate change officials in Beijing, the two sides issued a “China-EU joint statement on dialogue and cooperation on climate change,” the PRC government said. The statement said the two sides agreed to enhance consultations on policy, set up a regular dialogue mechanism at ministerial level, and open a climate-change hotline. It said they planned to “exchange views on key problems in international negotiations,” domestic policies and measures, and on the development and implementation of climate change cooperation projects.
19. Hong Kong Politics
Associated Press (“PRO-CHINA PARTY’S HONG KONG RADIO SHOW DRAWS FIRE”, 2010/04/29) reported that a private radio station in Hong Kong has drawn fire for allowing a leading political party run by Beijing loyalists to sponsor a show. Commercial Radio announced earlier this week that Hong Kong’s main pro-Beijing political party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, or DAB, would sponsor one of its shows in a deal reportedly worth more than US$60,000. “The times have changed. Now they are selling their air time to a political party. This is significant departure from previous policy. This will have many ramifications,” pro-democracy legislator Audrey Eu told The Associated Press.
II. PRC Report
20. PRC Earthquake Reconstruction
Sina.com (“AID MATERIALS FORM UNICEF ARRIVED IN YUSHU”, 2010/04/29) reported that under the support and coordination of the PRC government, a shipment of aid materials from United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), including 2000 blankets and 100 tents, finally arrived in Yushu of Qinghai province yesterday. The total value of these materials is over 270,000 USD.
21. PRC Environment
China News Agency (“CHINA ACCUMULATED WASTE TO EXCEED 6 BLN TONS”, 2010/04/29) reported that the accumulated waste in the PRC has reached over 6 billion tons, covering a land area of over 3 million mu, and polluting the environment all over the country, sources from the National Ecological Civilization Forum held in Beijing said. The participating experts suggest a waste-to-energy plant is the best choice to solve this problem.