NAPSNet Daily Report 30 November, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
1. DPRK on Nuclear Program
Reuters (“NOW NORTH KOREA BOASTS ADVANCES IN NUCLEAR PROGRAM”, 2010/11/30) reported that the DPRK boasted advances in its nuclear program on Tuesday, making sure it held the world’s attention, saying it had thousands of working centrifuges, as pressure built on the PRC to rein in its ally. “Currently, construction of a light-water reactor is in progress actively and a modern uranium enrichment plant equipped with several thousands of centrifuges, to secure the supply of fuels, is operating,” the Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported. “Nuclear energy development projects will become more active for peaceful purpose in the future,” added the paper, according the state news agency KCNA.
2. DPRK Workers in Russia
The Independant (“EXPATS RECALLED AS NORTH KOREA PREPARES FOR WAR”, 2010/11/30 16:00:00 GMT+0) reported that a mass exodus of the DPRK workers from the Far East of Russia is under way, according to reports coming out of the region. Vladnews agency, based in Vladivostok, reported that DPRK workers had left the town of Nakhodka en masse shortly after the escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula earlier this week. “Traders have left the kiosks and markets, workers have abandoned building sites, and North Korean secret service employees working in the region have joined them and left,” the agency reported. Russia’s migration service said that there were over 20,000 North Koreans in Russia at the beginning of 2010, of which the vast majority worked in construction. Now it appears that some kind of centralised order has been given for the workers to return home.
3. US-DPRK Relations
The Washington Post (“WIKILEAKS REVEALS PLANS FOR NORTH KOREAN COLLAPSE”, 2010/11/27 16:00:00 GMT+0) reported that leaked US diplomatic cables show the PRC’s frustration with the DPRK and speculate Beijing would accept a future Korean peninsula unified under ROK rule, according to the documents released by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. The memos indicate the enormous import American and ROK diplomats place on the PRC’s attitude toward the future survival of the isolated and impoverished hard-line communist regime in Pyongyang. The PRC “would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the US in a ‘benign alliance’ as long as Korea was not hostile towards China,” then-ROK vice foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, is quoted as telling U.S. ambassador to ROK, Kathleen Stephens, in February. The diplomatic cables warned, however, that PRC would not accept the presence of U.S. troops north of the demilitarized zone that currently forms the border between the two Koreas.
4. DPRK Economy
IFES NK Brief (“NEW PYONGYANG MANAGEMENT LAW AIMS AT MODERNIZATION”, Tokyo, 2010/11/30 16:00:00 GMT+0) reported that the DPRK has recently revised the Pyongyang City Management Law in order to support ongoing modernization efforts by increasing the management and operational authority of the Cabinet and of the State Planning Committee. On October 21, the Cabinet newspaper ‘Minju Chosun’ ran an article emphasizing the need to ensure that necessary capital and supplies were guaranteed for the construction of 100,000 new residences in Pyongyang and now it appears the North is backing up this modernization drive with the law.
5. DPRK Military
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA BOOSTS COASTAL DEFENSES AS ALLIED WAR GAMES START”, 2010/11/30) reported that in time with the start of the joint exercise, the DPRK military fired about 30 artillery shells from the Kaemori region north of Yeonpyeong Island into the West Sea as part of a military drill of its own. It also moved some of its 122 mm multiple rocket launchers and opened more camouflaged artillery gates to coastal positions. The DPRK moved SA-2 surface-to-air missiles with a range of about 30 km to the coast and placed surface-to-ship missiles with ranges between 83 and 100 km on launch pads on the western coast. Mig-23 fighters are on standby at Hwangju Air Base.