NAPSNet Daily Report 30 July, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. Food Aid for the DPRK
- 3. Inter-Korean Relations
- 4. DPRK Economy
- 5. DPRK Athletics
- 6. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 7. Japan Missile Defense Program
- 8. Japan SDF Iraq Role
- 9. Japan SDF Afghanistan Role
- 10. PRC Environment
- 11. PRC Security
- 12. PRC Human Rights
- 13. PRC Energy Supply
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (Lee Chi-dong, “N. KOREA, REGIONAL POWERS DIFFER OVER NEXT PHASE IN DENUCLEARIZATION PROCESS “, Seoul, 2008/07/29) reported that the DPRK and its five dialogue partners at disarmament talks are sharply divided over the concept of the next phase of the agreed-upon denuclearization process, the ROK’s top nuclear envoy said. “The other five nations called for North Korea to get rid of all of its nuclear weapons and programs in the third and last stage,” Kim told a group of journalists in Seoul. “But North Korea claimed that one or two preliminary stages are needed before doing so.” When asked to elaborate, Kim said that the DPRK asked the other parties to just “aim to dismantle its Yongbyon facilities.”
2. Food Aid for the DPRK
Xinhua News (“NEW ZEALAND TO PROVIDE MORE FOOD AID FOR DPRK “, Wellington, 2008/07/30) reported that New Zealand said it will contribute an additional 500,000 NZ dollars (370,000 U.S. dollars) toward United Nations efforts to address food shortages in the DPRK. Foreign Minister Winston Peters said in a statement “North Korea (DPRK) is facing the most severe food shortages since the famine years of the 1990s. There are fears that large numbers of families are being pushed further into hunger and famine and it is important New Zealand does what it can to assist.”
Associated Press (Henry Sanderson, “UN: NKOREA FACING WORST FOOD CRISIS SINCE 1990S”, Beijing, 2008/07/30) reported that flooding and poor harvests have caused the DPRK’s worst food crisis since the late 1990s, the World Food Program said Wednesday. “Millions of vulnerable North Koreans are at risk of slipping toward precarious hunger levels,” Jean-Pierre de Margerie, the WFP’s country director for the DPRK, told a news conference. While 400,000 metric tons of U.S. food aid have already shipped, there is an urgent need for $20 million to get through the next autumn harvest, de Margerie said. “We are running against the clock here,” he said.
3. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (“S. KOREAN PROVINCE PLANS TO BUILD TOUR COMPLEX IN DEMILITARIZED ZONE “, Seoul, 2008/07/30) reported that a ROK province neighboring with the DPRK unveiled a plan to build a tourism destination in the demilitarized zone to promote peace on the Cold War’s last frontier and prepare for eventual reunification. The eastern province of Gangwon plans to build a “peace city” in the four-kilometer wide Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas, with the mission of attracting international visitors, said Governor Kim Jin-seon in a press conference on the same day.
Joongang Ilbo (Jung Ha-won, “NORTH SEEKING DIPLOMATIC SUPPORT”, 2008/07/30) reported that Pyongyang is poised to take its months-long demand that Seoul respect the principles of last October’s inter-Korean joint declaration to the international community. The DPRK, which managed to present its position during the Asean Regional Forum in Singapore last week, is now pushing the agenda at the annual meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement being held this week in Iran. Pyongyang’s move is likely to put Seoul in a politically delicate position; it has to prove it supports the inter-Korean declaration and that the DPRK, not the ROK, does not.
4. DPRK Economy
IFES NK Brief (“KIM JONG IL STEPS UP ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES”, 2008/07/30) reported that of DPRK leader Kim Jong Il’s public appearances during the first half of the year, fully half of them were to military installations or other defense-related sites, making it the most frequented sector, but compared to previous years, the number of visits to sites related to the economy rose considerably. According to DPRK media sources, from January through June, Kim Jong Il made a total of 49 public visits. Of these, 25 (51%) were to military facilities, while 15 (31%) were to factories, cooperative farms, and other sites related to the nation’s economy.
5. DPRK Athletics
Reuters (Melanie Lee, “NORTH KOREA’S OLYMPIC OUTFITTER HOPES FOR PUBLICITY GOLD”, 2008/07/30) reported that hoping to achieve what Michael Jordan did for Nike, a little-known PRC sportswear brand is banking on the DPRK Olympic team for publicity. Top global labels may not be tripping over each to sponsor an isolated country but China Hongxing is hoping for some DPRK gold medals to impress its domestic audience. “The relationship between North Korea and the Chinese is actually very strong,” said Jenny Yeo, spokeswoman for Singapore-listed China Hongxing.
6. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
Korea Herald (Kim Ji-hyun , “P.M. VISITS DOKDO TO DEFEND SOVEREIGNTY “, 2008/07/30) reported that Prime Minister Han Seung-soo visited Dokdo as part of a government campaign to protest Japan’s claim of sovereignty over the nation’s easternmost set of islets. Han took a tour of Dokdo and nearby Ulleung Island to illustrate that the islets are Korean territory. He also participated in a ceremony for installing a marking stone on the islets. “Dokdo, as the affiliate of Ulleungdo, is historically, geographically and legally our land. Nobody has the right to take what is rightfully ours, and we must do our utmost to defend our rights over Dokdo,” the prime minister said.
Xinhua News (“DPRK PROTESTS AGAINST JAPAN’S CLAIM TO DISPUTED ISLET “, Pyongyanf, 2008/07/29) reported that the DPRK condemned the Japanese authorities’ claim to Tok Islet as “robber act,” the official news agency KCNA reported. A spokesman for the History Society of the DPRK said Tuesday that “this clearly proves that the moves of Japan to grab Tok Islet, part of inviolable territory of Korea, have reached the phase of its implementation.”
7. Japan Missile Defense Program
The Associated Press (“JAPAN HOLDS MISSILE SHIELD DRILL IN TOKYO’S CENTER “, 2008/07/29) reported that Japan tested a ballistic missile defense unit in the center of Tokyo on Tuesday, stepping up preparations to secure the capital from what it sees as an increased threat from neighboring DPRK. The exercise at the Defense Ministry headquarters was designed to test the troops’ ability to use the equipment, a ministry spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.
8. Japan SDF Iraq Role
Kyodo News (“JAPAN TO WITHDRAW ASDF FROM IRAQ BY END OF 2008 “, Tokyo, 2008/07/29) reported that Japan will withdraw its Air Self-Defense Force from Iraq by the end of this year in line with the expiration of a U.N. resolution in December, which authorizes the current deployment of multinational forces in Iraq, informed sources said. Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki told a press conference that the government and the ruling coalition will ”have difficulty” in legitimatizing the continuation of the ASDF mission once the U.N. resolution expires because it is deployed in the skies ”of a certain country with sovereignty.” Several government sources also noted the difficulty of continuing the mission beyond the end of the year.
9. Japan SDF Afghanistan Role
Kyodo News (“SCHIEFFER EXPRESSES HOPE FOR JAPAN’S ONGOING SUPPORT FOR AFGHANISTAN”, Tokyo, 2008/07/29) reported that U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer expressed hope Tuesday that Japan will continue its mission to support antiterrorism operations in and around Afghanistan ahead of an extraordinary Diet session which is expected to focus on extending a special antiterrorism law authorizing the mission. “We are very appreciative of the support that Japan has given to the United States and to the international community,” Schieffer told reporters after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.
10. PRC Environment
The Associated Press (“BEIJING AIR IMPROVES WITH WIND AND RAIN”, Beijing, 2008/07/29) reported that environmental officials say their efforts are starting to clear the haze above Beijing, while strong wind and some rain have also raised hopes of blue skies when the Olympic Games start in just over a week. Tuesday’s relatively clearer skies highlighted how much weather conditions play a part in the overall equation for curbing pollution. Winds and rain were a “major factor” in causing pollutants to dissipate, said spokeswoman Zhai Xiaohui with the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
11. PRC Security
The Financial Times (Geoff Dyer, “CHINA ACCUSED OF INFLATING TERROR THREAT”, Beijing, 2008/07/29) reported that only a few months ago the PRC government was aiming to put on “the best Olympics Games in history”. Now officials are talking in more cautious terms about a “safe Olympics”. With dozens of heads of state due to come to the opening ceremony, no government would be taking chances. Yet some analysts believe Beijing is using the security threat as cover for a clampdown on a broad range of other groups.
12. PRC Human Rights
BBC News (“CHINA DEFENDS HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD”, Beijing, 2008/07/30) reported that Beijing has rejected claims that the human rights situation in PRC has deteriorated in the run-up to its hosting of the Olympic Games. The PRC’s foreign ministry said a report by Amnesty International showed the group had “tinted glasses”. Foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said: “I hope that Amnesty International can take off the tinted glasses they have been wearing for years and see China in a fair and objective way, and do something more constructive.”
13. PRC Energy Supply
Bloomberg News (Wang Ying, “CHINA’S POWER CRISIS DEEPENS AS COAL SUPPLY DWINDLES”, 2008/07/29) reported that the PRC, the world’s second-biggest energy consumer, is facing a deepening summer power crisis that may persist into the winter months, the nation’s dominant electricity distributor said. State Grid Corp. of China, which more than 1 billion people rely on for power, said electricity shortages have worsened because of inadequate coal supplies. Forty-six percent of the power stations connected to the distributor’s grid have coal stockpiles below the “caution line,” or seven days of consumption, data from the company showed today.
II. PRC Report
14. PRC AIDS Issue
Workers’ Daily (Wang Jiaoping, “MIGRANT WORKERS TO GET HELP IN AIDS FIGHT”, 2008/07/29) reported that the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) Monday launched an ambitious project to prevent the spread of AIDS among the country’s 150 million migrant workers. The three-year project will cover key industries and places that have a high concentration of migrant workers in Guangdong, Yunnan and Anhui provinces and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. China has an estimated mobile population of about 150 million. The project will provide free education and training on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment to as many migrant workers as possible. According to the Ministry of Health, the country had 700,000 HIV/AIDS patients last year, and 51 percent of them had contracted the disease through sexual transmission.
15. PRC Arctic Expedition
Xinhua Net, www.xinhuanet.com (Cui Jing, “CHINA TO DEPLOY FIRST ANNUAL DEEP-SEA SUBSURFACE MOORING SYSTEM IN ARCTIC OCEAN”, 2008/07/27) reported that the PRC will install its first annual deep-sea subsurface mooring system in the Arctic Ocean to monitor the long-term marine changes in the Arctic ocean, members of the PRC’s third Arctic expedition said Sunday. The system will collect data on the temperature, salinity and speed of currents at various depth in the coming year in the Arctic Ocean, thus facilitating studies of the impacts of environmental changes in Arctic Ocean on global climate, especially on the PRC’s climate, they said. A trap, as part of the system, will catch marine lives regularly for scientific research, said the members of the expedition team aboard the Xuelong ice-breaker.
III. ROK Report
16. Inter-Korean Relations
Hankyoreh (“THE GOVERNMENT BROUGHT INTERNATIONAL ISOLATION AS IT IGNORES 10.4 SUMMIT DECLARATIONS”, 2008/07/30) wrote that the ROK government required the ARF declaration to eliminate mention of the 10.4 summit declarations, and is doing the same thing at the non-alliance movement minister-level forum. This performance is anachronistic, and a revision to a sort of exhaustive, confrontational diplomacy. The solution is simple. The ROK government should firmly declare its will to fulfill the 10.4 summit agreement and revitalize inter-Korean dialogue.
17. ROK-US Alliance
PRESSian (“FANTASY OF ROK-U.S ALLIANCE, BRINGING ABOUT THE CRISIS”, 2008/07/30) wrote that reinforcement of the ROK-U.S alliance is strategically required. However, the ROK government should be aware that the relationship with the U.S is variable, always changing after the negotiation with allies. ‘Anything But Roh’ does not seem an effective policy anymore. Koreans’ interpretation of diplomatic terms, such as ‘reinforcement of the alliance’, ‘the blood pledge’, and ‘value-sharing’, does not necessarily coincide with that of Americans.