NAPSNet Daily Report 30 July, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. UN on DPRK Missile Program
- 3. US on DPRK Leadership
- 4. Inter-Korea Relations
- 5. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 6. DPRK Economy
- 7. DPRK Communication Technology
- 8. ROK Missile Program
- 9. ROK-Jordan Relations
- 10. ROK-US Relations
- 11. Japan-Venezuelan Energy Cooperation
- 12. Sino-Japan Relations
- 13. Cross-Strait Relations
- 14. Sino-US Relations
- 15. PRC Military
- 16. PRC Executions
- 17. PRC Civil Unrest
- 18. PRC Unrest
- 19. PRC Energy Cooperation
- 20. PRC Environment
- II. PRC Report
1. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Program
Xinhua News (“CHINA URGES U.S. TO ACCOMMODATE DPRK’S “REASONABLE SECURITY CONCERNS””, Washington, 2009/07/28) reported that the PRC urged the United States to accommodate “reasonable security concerns” of the DPRK when it tries to work out a new package solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. “We believe that in order to solve the DPRK nuclear issue, the United States has a very important role to play,” Wang said. “We welcome the willingness of the United States to have direct talks with the DPRK.” As the US considers ways to address the DPRK nuclear issue, “China believes that if the package solution that the U.S. government is thinking about will accommodate reasonable security concerns of the DPRK, it will be attractive to the DPRK side,” Wang said.
2. UN on DPRK Missile Program
Reuters (Patrick Worsnip , “U.N.’S BAN SAYS WILLING TO VISIT NORTH KOREA”, 2009/07/29) reported that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is willing to visit the DPRK to defuse tensions over the communist country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. “Whatever I can do as the secretary-general I am willing to do, including my own visit to Pyongyang at this time,” Ban told a news conference.
Agence France Presse (“UN CHIEF BACKS NKOREA’S CALL FOR DIRECT TALKS WITH US”, 2009/07/29) reported that UN chief Ban Ki-moon voiced support for the DPRK ‘s call for direct talks with the United States on dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program . “I am encouraged by the willingness of DPRK authorities to engage in direct dialogue with the United States,” he told a press conference . “While I believe the six-party talks still can provide a good way for solution through dialogue, if necessary there should be some other form of dialogue,” he added.
3. US on DPRK Leadership
Yonhap News (Hwang Doo-hyong, “N. KOREA MAY FACE ANARCHY AFTER KIM JONG-IL’S DEATH: SCHOLAR “, Washington, 2009/07/28) reported that the DPRK may face anarchy after the death of its leader, Kim Jong-il, due to a lack of a clearly powerful successor despite reports that Kim has anointed one of his sons as heir, a Korea expert said. “The fact that no succession process has been put into place openly makes one thing certain: the potential for anarchy within North Korea following Kim’s death is very real,” Bruce Bechtol, a professor at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, told a forum at the Korea Economic Institute.
4. Inter-Korea Relations
Agence France Presse (“NORTH KOREA REJECTS SOUTH KOREAN AID GROUP’S TRIP”, Seoul, 2009/07/29) reported that the DPRK has rejected a planned visit by ROK activists to discuss humanitarian aid, officials said Wednesday, nixing the first such cross-border trip since Pyongyang’s nuclear test in May. Members of the Korea Sharing Movement had been set to fly into Pyongyang on Wednesday for talks on humanitarian support projects, after a verbal agreement with the group’s DPRK counterpart. But the ROK’s unification ministry, which handles inter-Korean relations, said the journey had to be called off at the last minute.”The trip was canceled because the group did not receive an official invitation from the DPRK,” ministry spokesman Chung Hae-sung told reporters.
Yonhap News (“PRO-UNIFICATION ACTIVISTS BLAST S. KOREA’S ‘ARBITRARY’ POLICY ON INTER-KOREAN EXCHANGE “, Seoul, 2009/07/29) reported that activists rallied on Wednesday to protest the ROK government’s policy on civic exchanges with the DPRK, saying its “arbitrary” approach discriminates against the pro-unification movement. The Unification Ministry recently barred the South Korean Committee for the June 15 Joint Declaration from meeting its DPRK counterpart this week in Shenyang, China, citing frozen political relations. The committee is an umbrella organization of various civic groups aimed at implementing the first inter-Korean summit accord reached on June 15, 2000. “We are enraged by the fact that these arbitrary control measures are concentrated on the June 15 joint declaration committee, which is the largest gathering of the civic unification movement,” Park Deok-shin, co-chairman of the committee, said.
Chosun Ilbo (“GOV’T TO LOOSEN TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS TO N.KOREA”, 2009/07/28) reported that the government is set to take a step-by-step approach to easing travel restrictions to the DPRK. According to the Yonhap news agency, Seoul is considering allowing 10 people to visit Pyongyang this month to pursue business opportunities with medical support organizations in the reclusive state.
5. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
DongA Ilbo (“S. KOREAN WORKERS TO SPEND SUMMER VACATION IN NK”, 2009/07/28) reported that ten employees of a ROK shoe manufacturer will travel to the Kaesong industrial complex in DPRK Saturday through Monday. The Busan-based Samduk Corp. has a factory inside the complex. Between 200 and 700 South Koreans visit the complex every day, but this is the first time for workers of a company operating there to go on vacation there. Samduk assistant manager Ryu Won-ho said, “People seem to believe that the Kaesong industrial complex is facing a crisis. They consider the complex a different world. North Koreans working at our plant are no different than my South Korean colleagues, however. Over my summer vacation, I’ll have a heart-to-heart talk with North Korean workers.”
6. DPRK Economy
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA COMPLETES ‘LUXURY’ RESORT HOTEL”, 2009/07/28) reported that the DPRK celebrated the completion of what it has hailed as a “world-class” hotel in the Majon resort area in Hamhung, South Hamgyong Province, DPRK Central Broadcasting reported. The broadcast said the Majon Hotel “is equipped with top-class accommodation and recreation facilities such as an indoor swimming pool, a steam sauna, a public bath, and even a beach resort.” Although it did not specify the size, the broadcast called the hotel a “creation that illuminates the era of the Korean Workers’ Party,” suggesting it is relatively luxurious.
7. DPRK Communication Technology
Korea Times (“MOBILE PHONE USERS IN NORTH KOREA INCREASING”, 2009/07/28) reported that t he number of people using a mobile phone service provided by Egypt-based mobile operator Orascom Telecom in the DPRK is increasing, according to a report. Since the company began the service on Dec. 15 last year, 48,000 North Koreans subscribed to the service as of late June, the Voice of America reported. The operator plans to expand its service area from Pyongyang to other areas this year, the report said. The company also said it will soon begin the High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) service at the request of foreigners who want to use wireless Internet in the DPRK.
8. ROK Missile Program
Dong-A Ilbo (“EX-GENERAL PROPOSES SK MISSILE RANGE OF 700KM”, 2009/07/28) reported that the country’s missile range should be expanded from 300 kilometers to 700 kilometers, a former ranking military officer said. Ret. Maj. Gen. Kim Kuk-heon, who participated in bilateral missile negotiations with Washington from 1999 through 2001, told The Dong-A Ilbo over the phone, “In the changed security environment caused by North Korea’s nuclear test and missile threats, the guidelines limiting missile range should be reviewed.” Kim said a missile range of at least 700 kilometers should be guaranteed to ensure attack capability against the DPRK if the DPRK starts a war.
9. ROK-Jordan Relations
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “S. KOREA TO SELL MULTIPLE ROCKET LAUNCHERS TO JORDAN”, 2009/07/29) reported that the ROK’s Hanhwa Corporation will export about 20 lightweight 70mm multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) to Jordan, according to officials at the company and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA). Under the proposed contract, Hanwha will help Jordan develop two prototypes of the mid-sized rocket launcher with technology transfer and begin production after two years of trials. `Hanwha will transfer key MLRS technologies regarding a launch pad, fire-and-control system and navigation equipment to Jordan under the deal,” said a DAPA official, who declined to comment on the exact scale of the deal.
10. ROK-US Relations
Yonhap News (“PRESIDENT LEE WELCOMES U.S. DESIGNATION OF KOREAN ARMISTICE DAY”, Seoul, 2009/07/29) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak on Wednesday welcomed the designation of a Korean War armistice day in the United States as a recognition of U.S. veterans’ sacrifice to the defense of the ROK and a celebration of their nations’ alliance. “I welcome the establishment of the National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, which will commemorate the valuable sacrifice of U.S. veterans in the Korean War, and I would like to once again express our country’s deep gratitude for their sacrifice and dedication,” Lee said.
11. Japan-Venezuelan Energy Cooperation
Bloomberg News (“VENEZUELA, JAPAN EXPAND ENERGY TIES AFTER DEBT THREAT”, 2009/07/28) reported that Venezuela and Japan accelerated cooperation on energy accords after the Japanese government threatened to cut financing. Venezuela’s National Assembly may approve joint ventures between local and Japanese energy companies for oil production in the Junin and Carabobo areas of the Orinoco Belt in southeastern Venezuela by the end of the year, Oil and Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said in comments on state television.
12. Sino-Japan Relations
Kyodo News (“UYGHUR RIGHTS ACTIVIST KADEER MEETS PRESS IN TOKYO “, Tokyo, 2009/07/29) reported that visiting Uyghur rights activist Rebiya Kadeer spoke at the Japan Press Center in Tokyo on July 29. Kadeer clarified that her World Uyghur Congress is aimed at the right to self-determination by the Uyghur people, and claimed PRC authorities are responsible for causing a peaceful demonstration to turn violent on July 5 in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi.
13. Cross-Strait Relations
Agence France Presse (“TAIWAN LEADER CALLS FOR CHINA TRADE PACT BUT NO RUSH TO MEET HU”, Taipei, 2009/07/29) reported that Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou on Wednesday called for a trade pact with the PRC but said he was not likely to meet his Chinese counterpart soon despite warming ties between the former bitter rivals. “The icy ties are just beginning to thaw and the construction of a bridge (for dialogue) just starting,” Ma said. “So it’s better to wait until the ice has completely thawed and the remaining barriers entirely removed,” he replied when asked about the possibility of a summit meeting with President Hu Jintao in the near future. Ma also called for the signing of a comprehensive trade pact with Beijing and rejected fears that it would be a step towards reunification with the PRC.
14. Sino-US Relations
Los Angeles Times (Jim Puzzanghera , “U.S., CHINA END TALKS WITH SMILES BUT NO PROGRESS ON CLIMATE CHANGE”, Washington, 2009/07/29) reported that relations between the United States and the PRC are getting cozier as their battle against the global recession has drawn them closer together. But things aren’t quite so warm when it comes to some hot-button topics, particularly climate change. U.S. and Chinese officials ended two days of high-level talks in Washington on Tuesday still at loggerheads on the issue, a top priority for President Obama.
CNN (“U.S., CHINA AGREE ON ECONOMIC STRATEGIES”, Washington, 2009/07/29) reported that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the United States will emphasize fiscal discipline on both the federal and personal levels, while the PRC will encourage more domestic spending instead of relying on foreign demand. He called the agreement on complementary economic strategies the “most important strategic achievements” of the talks. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the two-days “unprecedented” in U.S.-PRC relations, noting they were the largest gathering of top leaders from the two countries and covered a wide range of issues.
15. PRC Military
Reuters (“CHINA’S MILITARY CAUTIOUSLY TRIES OUT NEW OPENNESS”, 2009/07/28) reported that the PRC soldiers shot down targets, overpowered black-clad terrorists and then lined up at attention in front of journalists. “Now you are invited to conduct individual interviews!” announced the commander of the Third Guard Division, wrapping up a rare media tour of a Beijing military base on Tuesday designed to show the PRC military’s modernity and openness. The People’s Liberation Army’s new mantra of transparency and public diplomacy is partly meant to reassure outsiders about the PRC’s rising military strength.
16. PRC Executions
Associated Press (Marta Falconi, “NEW REPORT: CHINA REMAINS WORLD’S TOP EXECUTIONER”, Rome, 2009/07/29) reported that the number of prisoners put to death worldwide decreased in 2008, a human rights group said Wednesday, adding that the PRC retained its position as the world’s top executioner. The report said the PRC accounted for at least 5,000 executions — or 87.3 percent of the total — the same estimate as last year.
New York Times (Andrew Jacobs, “CHINA PLEDGES FEWER DEATH SENTENCES”, Beijing, 2009/07/29) reported that the PRC, which executes more people than any other country, says it will show more leniency to those given death sentences. In a series of interviews, the vice president of the Supreme People’s Court said that the PRC was not ready to abolish capital punishment but that the penalty should be reserved for a small number of serious crimes, particularly those that threaten social stability. “Judicial departments should use the least number of death sentences as possible, and death penalties should not be given to those having a reason for not being executed,” Zhang Jun, the court’s vice president said.
17. PRC Civil Unrest
Agence France Presse (Shaun Tandon , “CHINA PRAISES US LINE ON UIGHUR UNREST”, Washington, 2009/07/28) reported that a PRC official thanked the United States for taking a “moderate” line on recent ethnic violence, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted that human rights remained a top priority. Wang Guangya, the PRCs vice foreign minister, hailed a new spirit of friendship in the talks and praised the US response to this month’s unrest in Xinjiang province, where more than 190 people were killed. The PRC side briefed US officials on the Xinjiang violence and “expressed our appreciation for the moderate attitude of the United States, so far,” Wang told reporters. “The United States unequivocally said that this incident is entirely a domestic affair of the PRC” he said.
18. PRC Unrest
Caijing Magazine (Ouyang Hongliang, Zhang Boling and Zhu Tao, “SLAYING SCRAPS TONGHUA STEEL TAKEOVER PLAN”, 2009/07/28) reported that Beijing-based private steelmaker Jianlong Group has been forced to drop a plan to acquire state-owned Tonghua Iron & Steel Group following the killing of a company executive during a worker protest over potential job losses. The incident prompted SASAC to order Jianlong to permanently abandon its Tonghua plan. The decision was repeatedly broadcast by the company’s television station.
19. PRC Energy Cooperation
Xinhua News (“CHINESE OFFICIAL CALLS FOR STRENGTHENING ENERGY CO-OP “, Mandalay, 2009/07/28) reported that head of PRC delegation Liu Qi, who is vice head of the PRC’s National Energy Administration, stressed at the 6th ASEAN+3 Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM+3) that the PRC will be a more integrated part of energy cooperation including the ASEAN+3 frame work to maintain international and regional energy security. With the theme of “Securing ASEAN’s energy future towards prosperity and sustainability “, the 6th ASEAN+3 meeting officially kicked off in Myanmar’s second largest city of Mandalay. “The Chinese government attaches great important to energy cooperation in the ASEAN+3 framework,” Liu said.
20. PRC Environment
The Associated Press (“WATER POLLUTION SICKENS THOUSANDS IN NORTH CHINA”, 2009/07/28) reported that contaminated drinking water has sickened more than 2,600 people in northern PRC, including 59 who were hospitalized with fevers, diarrhea, stomach aches and vomiting, state media reported Wednesday. Heavy rains caused contaminants to seep into a water supply in Chifeng city in Inner Mongolia , the official Xinhua News Agency reported, without saying what the contaminants were.
Caijing Magazine (Zhang Ruidan, “MERCURY CASTS LONG SHADOW OVER WANSHAN”, 2009/07/28) reported that the local health department estimates at least 200 of the Wanshan region’s 60,000 people have varying degrees of mercury poisoning. This number does not include those who have died or may be afflicted but have yet to display outward symptoms. Guizhou Mercury closed a few years ago. But the legacy of mercury mining persists in a variety of ways. Rice paddies are contaminated, river water is tainted, and people die of cancer. Yet despite a slew of serious health and environmental consequences, illegal mercury mining and smelting continues in the Wanshan area.
II. PRC Report
21. PRC Civil Society and Rural Poverty
People’s Daily (“CHINA SOCIAL AID FOUNDATION FOUND IN BEIJING”, 2009/07/29) reported that China Social Aid Foundation was found today in Beijing. The first project of the Foundation is Adopting Action of Single Elder People in Rural Areas. The Foundation will also carry out projects to help poor students, mentally disabled persons in poor families, migrant workers and so on.
22. PRC-Africa NGO Communication Conference
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (“CHINA-AFRICA NGO COMMUNICATION CONFERENCE HELD IN BEIJING”, 2009/07/28) reported that China-Africa NGO Communication Conference was held on July 27 in Beijing. 36 directors of NGOs from 19 African countries, part of embassadors of African countries’ embassies in China, and directors of some Chinese NGOs have participated in the Conference.
23. PRC Earthquake Reconstruction
Xinhua Net (“ZIGUANG GROUP DONATES 100 COMPUTERS TO SICHUAN SCHOOLS”, 2009/07/28) reported that Zighuang Disaster Relief Education Aid Fund, funded by Zizhuang Group (a computer producer), donated 100 computers to Yanxiu Primary School in Pengzhou city of Sichuan province on July 28, to help establish computerized classroom.