NAPSNet Daily Report 30 October, 2007
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Energy Working Group Meeting
- 2. US on Korean War Peace Treaty
- 3. ROK on Korean War Peace Treaty
- 4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 5. DPRK Economy
- 6. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
- 7. US-Japan Relations
- 8. Japan on PRC-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 9. Cross Strait Relations
- 10. PRC Space Program
- 11. PRC Energy
- 12. PRC Environment
- II. Republic of Korea
1. DPRK Energy Working Group Meeting
Yonhap (Byun Duk-kun, “NUCLEAR ENVOYS TO HOLD SECOND-DAY TALKS ON ENERGY AID TO N. KOREA”, Seoul, 2007/10/30) reported that working officials from the six nations in talks on denuclearizing the DPRK were to discuss how to ship energy assistance to the DPRK in their second day of talks, said ROK officials. Lim Sung-nam, the ROK’s chief delegate to the working group on energy and economic assistance, said the DPRK has asked the promised energy assistance be provided “in a timely manner” as it moves to disable its key nuclear facilities by year’s end.
Korea Herald (Lee Joo-hee, “POWER PLANT AID TOPS N.K. LIST IN ENERGY TALKS”, 2007/10/30) reported that members of the six-party talks gathered in the ROK side of the truce village of Panmunjeom yesterday to discuss how to replace some of the heavy fuel oil promised to the DPRK with power generation infrastructure. The DPRK has presented a detailed list of its preferred energy assistance, most of them in steel manufacture, a diplomatic source involved in the talks said on condition of anonymity. “The list proposed by the North basically includes items that are needed to refurbish North Korea’s power generation facilities,” the source told reporters. The DPRK is reportedly seeking to reconstruct and maintain its thermal power plants.
2. US on Korean War Peace Treaty
Yonhap (“U.S. ENVOY REAFFIRMS KOREAN PEACE TALKS WOULD START WITHIN THIS YEAR”, Washington, 2007/10/30) reported that the top US nuclear envoy reaffirmed that negotiations for a Korean peace treaty would start within this year, ROK parliamentary sources said Monday after private talks with him last week. Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state, emphasized that the treaty and other incentives for Pyongyang hinge on the DPRK’s denuclearization, but added there was no reason why the negotiations could not begin, according to the sources who chose not to be identified. The envoy was relatively optimistic, saying the latest suspicions of DPRK-Syria ties and sensitive issues related to Japan would not hinder the start of such negotiations, the sources said.
3. ROK on Korean War Peace Treaty
Reuters (Jack Kim, “SOUTH KOREA SAYS U.S. TROOPS TO STAY AFTER PEACE DEAL”, Seoul, 2007/10/30) reported that US troops will remain on the Korean peninsula even if the DPRK and ROK reach a peace deal to replace the armistice that ended their 1950-1953 war, the ROK’s foreign minister said. “The U.S. military will continue to stay on the Korean peninsula after the establishment of a peace regime and play a role that suits the new security environment in Northeast Asia,” Song Min-soon told a forum.
4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Joongang Ilbo (“HYUNDAI CHIEF MAKING BUSINESS TRIP TO NORTH”, 2007/10/30) reported that the chief of the ROK’s Hyundai Group will leave for the DPRK this week to meet officials in charge of the group’s business projects there, Hyundai said yesterday. During the visit, Hyundai Group Chairwoman Hyun Jung-eun is expected to discuss how to expand the industrial park in the DPRK city of Kaesong and the building of a tourist resort near the DPRK’s tallest peak, Mount Paektu, a Hyundai official said.
5. DPRK Economy
Yonhap (“ECONOMIC DOLDRUMS, RESTRICTIONS ON HAWKING COST JOBS IN N. KOREA: AID GROUP “, Seoul, 2007/10/30) reported that the DPRK has been suffering from chronic job shortages due to worsening economic conditions and a recent move by DPRK authorities to limit the number of hawkers for fear of capitalism spreading in the DPRK, an aid group said Friday. The DPRK has recently forbidden women under the age of 40 from selling merchandise on their own, Good Friends said in its latest newsletter. The previous age limit was 30.
6. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN PM, OPPOSITION FAIL TO EXTEND AFGHAN MISSION “, Tokyo, 2007/10/30) reported that Japan’s prime minister and opposition failed to reach a breakthrough on extending a naval mission supporting the US-led “war on terror” set to expire in two days. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda held talks with main opposition leader Ichiro Ozawa, who has vowed to fight the legislation. “I asked for his party’s cooperation regarding the new anti-terrorism bill and explained the situation, but as of today we did not reach any agreement,” Fukuda told reporters.
7. US-Japan Relations
The Asahi Shimbun (Masaaki Shoji, “”, 2007/10/30) reported that Japan may consider suing the U.S. Embassy over 10 years of unpaid rent on state-owned land in the heart of Tokyo, sources said. The embassy had paid the Japanese government an annual 2.5 million yen in rent for the 13,000-square-meter plot in the Akasaka district of Minato Ward in the central part of the capital. But in 1998, the Japanese government proposed to gradually raise the rent to around 10 times that level. Washington strongly objected, and has since refused to pay anything. Since the statute of limitations for the 1998 rent will expire in mid-December this year, Japan has negotiated with Washington, with the possibility of a lawsuit in mind, the sources said.
8. Japan on PRC-Japan Territorial Dispute
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN PROTESTS AGAINST CHINESE ACTIVIST INCURSION”, Tokyo, ) reported that Japan said it lodged a protest with the PRC after Hong Kong-based activists attempted to sail to islands disputed over by Japan, the PRC and Taiwan. “It is a serious problem that they infringed on our nation’s sovereignty, even for a short period of time,” chief government spokesman Nobutaka Machimura told a news conference. The foreign ministry said it delivered a protest to the Chinese embassy in Tokyo late Sunday. In response, “the Chinese side repeated its own position on the territorial dispute and rejected our protest, while requesting that the Japanese side deal with the matter calmly,” a Japanese foreign ministry statement said.
9. Cross Strait Relations
The Financial Times (Kathrin Hille, “TAIWAN MOLLIFIES US WITH WEAPONS PLEDGE”, Taipei, 2007/10/30) reported that Chen Shui-bian, Taiwan’s president, has pledged to consult the US before firing missiles at the PRC in any potential future conflict, in an attempt to mollify the island’s sole military ally following criticism of Mr Chen for ratcheting up tensions. In a meeting with foreign reporters, Mr Chen defended Taiwan’s development of long-range cruise missiles, arguing that Taipei needed a counter-strike capability to discourage the PRC from using its weapons against the island. But he added: “We would not use them without seeking the United States’ opinion first.” Mr Chen also said Taiwan would not use such weapons against non-military targets in the PRC.
10. PRC Space Program
Reuters (“CHINA: FOURTH SPACE LAUNCH CENTER”, 2007/10/30) reported that more than 6,000 people will be forced from their homes on the southern island of Hainan to make way for the country’s fourth space launching center, the Xinhua news agency reported. It is to be completed by 2012 on almost 3,000 acres.
11. PRC Energy
The Associated Press (Elaine Kurtenbach, “COAL USE GROWS DESPITE WARMING WORRIES”, Jungar Qi, 2007/10/30) reported that nowhere is coal bigger than in the PRC. But the explosion of coal comes amid rising alarm over its dire consequences for workers and the environment. An average of 13 PRC miners die every day in explosions, floods, fires and cave-ins. Toxic clouds of mercury and other chemicals from mining are poisoning the air and water far beyond the PRC’s borders and polluting the food chain. So far, attempts to clean up coal have largely not worked. Technology to reduce or cut out carbon dioxide emissions is expensive and years away from widespread commercial use.
12. PRC Environment
The Associated Press (Joe McDonald, “CHINA ANNOUNCES $14 BILLION LAKE CLEANUP “, Beijing, 2007/10/30) reported that the PRC has announced a multibillion-dollar plan to clean up a severely polluted lake where an algae bloom forced the suspension of water supplies to millions of people this summer. The $14.5 billion plan to clean up Lake Tai, in a densely populated area northwest of Shanghai, should take five years, said a statement dated Friday and posted on a government Web site of the nearby city of Taizhou. The move comes amid mounting official urgency about curbing chronic pollution in the PRC’s rivers and lakes that has left millions of people without clean water and disrupted city water systems.
The Associated Press (“BIRTH DEFECTS ON RISE IN CHINA PROVINCE “, Beijing, 2007/10/30) reported that Coal mining regions of northern PRC are reporting soaring levels of defects in newborns, an apparent result of heavy pollution, state media said. Results from eight main coal mining areas in Shanxi province show levels far higher than the national average, according to a Xinhua News Agency report carried by the Beijing News. “The rate of birth defects is related to environmental pollution,” the report said, citing provincial population planning official An Huanxiao.
II. Republic of Korea
13. DPRK Renovation
Chosun Ilbo (“DPRK, RENOVATION WITHOUT CAPITALISM”, Seoul, 2007/10/30) reported that despite the fact when Jung Dong-young, the former minister of unification insisted on 2005 that the DPRK follow the ‘Vietnamese way’, one of the spokesperson of an authoritative committee said such remark discredits the inter-Korean relationship. Hongkong press recently reported that the DPRK leader Kim Jong-il had recently visited Vietnam and said they would benchmark Vietnamese revolution policy ‘Doi Moi’. However, the experts analyze what Kim meant by the ‘Vietnamese way’ would not mean what it is actually like. In other words, since what the DPRK is pursuing currently is not only the maintenance of the regime, but also their economic development, they would just pretend as if they are trying to renovate their nation without getting involved with capitalism. They also added that there would absolutely exist several barriers and limitations unless they thoroughly solve the nuclear problem.
14. Inter-Korean Peace Talks
Hankyure Newspaper (Lee Je-hoon, “THE OPENING OF THE PEACE TALKS, DONE BY HEADS OF SIX PARTY TALKS”, Seoul, 2007/10/30) reported that Chon Ho-sun, the spokesperson of the Blue House announced that the opening declaration of the ‘peace regime negotiation’, and four-party talks that were mentioned during the 10.4 summit are either going to be charged by the head of the six-party talks or by the ministers. He added that the government decided at a meeting dealing with security policies that all negotiations upon peace regime should go along with the denuclearization of the DPRK. They also agreed to discuss matters that are not only possible to realize, but also that permitted by neighboring countries. The government is planning to sound out how the U.S. see the problem when the Minister of National Defense visits the U.S. for minister talks earlier next month. Song Min-soon, the Minister of National Defense stated on 26 th that the government is currently going though negotiations with related nations in order to start the peace regime talks as soon as the denuclearization of the DPRK starts processing more radically.