NAPSNet Daily Report 31 July, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. US on DPRK Nuclear Problem
- 3. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 5. DPRK Food Supply
- 6. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 7. Japan Politics
- 8. Japan SDF Golan Heights Mission
- 9. Japan Naval Drill
- 10. Sino-Russian Security Relations
- 11. PRC Internet Access
- 12. PRC Earthquake
- 13. US on PRC Human Rights
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Kyodo News (“U.S. TO KEEP N. KOREA ON TERROR LIST IF NO DEAL ON NUKE VERIFICATION”, Washington, 2008/07/30) reported that the US plans to postpone its removal of the DPRK from its list of terror-sponsoring nations unless a regime for verifying Pyongyang’s nuclear declaration is set up, a senior administration official said. Rice warned the DPRK last week of a possible delay in removing the country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, saying, ”Unless we’re satisfied that we can verify the declaration, we’ve been very clear that we’re taking that into our assessment of when to go forward.”
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Problem
Reuters (“U.S. ENVOY GOES TO CHINA TO PUSH N.KOREA VERIFICATION”, Washington, 2008/07/30) reported that a State Department official will visit Beijing this week to discuss with the PRC and DPRK officials ways to verify Pyongyang’s account of its nuclear program, a US spokesman said. Sung Kim, the State Department’s newly named “special envoy for six-party talks,” was to leave on Wednesday for Beijing and to meet separately there with his PRC and DPRK counterparts, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. He did not know whether there would be a trilateral meeting bringing officials of all three countries together at once.
Kyodo News (“SUNG KIM PROMOTED TO U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY ON N. KOREA NUKE MATTERS”, Washington, 2008/07/30) reported that Sung Kim, the State Department’s top DPRK expert, has recently been promoted to special envoy responsible for six-way talks on ending the DPRK’s nuclear drive, sources familiar with the matter said. Kim, a former director of the department’s Office of Korean Affairs, will continue to support Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.
3. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Yomiuri Shimbun (Ichiro Ue, “NEW ABDUCTION PROBE KEY TO TALKS”, 2008/07/30) reported that Japan is finding itself the odd man out in the framework of six-party talks on the DPRK’s nuclear arms program as the six nations are preparing for discussions on a third stage of the reclusive state’s denuclearization. To overcome its diplomatic impasse, this nation must make a painful decision about whether to end some sanctions imposed on the DPRK with the aim of making progress in resolving the abduction issue.
4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap News (Lee Joon-seung, “GOV’T TO CONDUCT SAFETY INSPECTION AT KAESONG INDUSTRIAL PARK “, Seoul, 2008/07/30) reported that the ROK government said that it plans to conduct a joint safety inspection with the private sector on construction operations at the Kaesong industrial park in the DPRK. The Unification Ministry said the inspection that may take place around the end of August reflects the need to review standing safety regulations at construction sites that have claimed eight lives so far.
5. DPRK Food Supply
JoongAng Ilbo (“UN DECLARES FOOD CRISIS IN THE NORTH”, Beijing, 2008/07/30) reported that flooding and poor harvests have caused the DPRK’s worst food crisis since the late 1990s and have put millions at risk, the United Nations’ food body said. The World Food Program said the DPRK’s food shortage has worsened this year after floods in 2007, followed by poor harvests, leading to the threat of widespread malnutrition. “Millions of vulnerable North Koreans are at risk of slipping toward precarious hunger levels. The last time hunger was so deep and so widespread in parts of the country was in the late 1990s,’’ Jean-Pierre de Margerie, the WFP’s country director for the DPRK.
Yonhap News (“SEOUL TO CONSIDER N.K. AID IF WFP MAKES REQUESTS: OFFICIAL “, Seoul/Beijing, 2008/07/30) reported that the ROK will consider offering aid to the DPRK if the U.N. food agency formally requests assistance, a government official said. Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun said Seoul had not been notified about the latest food shortage estimate tallied by the World Food Programme (WFP), so it had no clear understanding of conditions in the communist country. “If a formal report is provided by the agency, the government will convene a meeting of related ministries and make a decision that reflects overall public sentiment,” he said.
6. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
Chosun Ilbo (“KOREA STARTS DOKDO DEFENSE DRILL “, 2008/07/30) reported that a three-day defense exercise began in waters near Ulleung Island and Dokdo in preparation for an invasion of the area by countries including Japan, the ROK Navy announced. The exercise will be carried out according to a step-by-step scenario on the assumption that a vessel invades the territorial waters near Dokdo — from the information gathering stage via reviewing the situation and checking the invading vessel’s identity to the Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force driving the vessel out of the waters in joint operations.
Korea Herald (Lee Joo-hee and Kim Ji-hyun, “U.S. PROMISES MEASURES ON DOKDO CHANGE”, 2008/07/30) reported that upon Seoul’s demand for a correction to the latest US change on Dokdo’s status, US officials expressed understanding and promised to look for viable measures, the Korean Embassy in Washington said. Ambassador to the US Lee Tae-shik met Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and other officials on Tuesday and “strongly demanded appropriate measures” that would include reclassification of Dokdo’s sovereignty to the ROK, the embassy said. “U.S. officials including Assistant Secretary Hill expressed understanding of our position and said they will review appropriate measures,” the embassy said.
7. Japan Politics
The Asahi Shimbun (“PRESSURE INCREASES AGAINST FUKUDA”, 2008/07/30) reported that New Komeito had been relatively quiet while the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) sparred in the Diet. But now, the junior coalition partner is making noise that could change the landscape of the political world. The party is demanding Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda either dissolve the Lower House at an early stage for a snap election or step down as the nation’s leader.
8. Japan SDF Golan Heights Mission
The Japan Times (“SDF RECEIVES SIX MORE MONTHS FOR GOLAN MISSION”, 2008/07/30) reported that the government said the Self-Defense Forces’ participation in U.N. peacekeeping operations in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in southern Syria will be extended for six more months until March 31. The extension of Japan’s participation since 1996 in the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force on the Golan Heights came after the U.N. Security Council decided in June to prolong the UNDOF mission, government sources said.
9. Japan Naval Drill
The Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPAN MAY CANCEL NAVY DRILL AMID HIGH FUEL PRICES”, Tokyo, 2008/07/30) reported that Japan’s military may cancel this year’s naval exercise because of soaring energy prices, an official said. The Maritime Self-Defense Force’s annual naval maneuvers, the largest navy drill that involves about 90 warships and 170 jets, has never been canceled since it started in 1954, even during the “oil shock” during the 1970s.
10. Sino-Russian Security Relations
Interfax (“RUSSIA, CHINA COOPERATING TIGHTLY ON SECURITY – DIPLOMAT”, 2008/07/30) reported that Russia and the PRC are cooperating tightly on security, including at the level of relevant agencies, Russia’s Minister Counselor in the PRC Igor Morgulov told a briefing on July 29. “New challenges and threats: terrorism, drug trafficking, and international crime, have made Russia and China cooperate tightly and successfully at the level of relevant agencies,” Morgulov said.
11. PRC Internet Access
The Financial Times (Mure Dickie, “CHINA LIMITS OLYMPICS JOURNALISTS’ WEB ACCESS”, Beijing, 2008/07/30) reported that the PRC is to maintain its censorship of overseas websites even for journalists covering the Beijing Olympics, undermining earlier claims by the International Olympic Committee that international media would enjoy unfettered internet access during the Games. Kevan Gosper, chairman of the IOC’s press commission, said he “regretted” news of the restricted access to the internet for foreign media, but suggested committee colleagues had dealt with the Chinese on the issue without his knowledge.
12. PRC Earthquake
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA EARMARKS 200 MLN DOLLARS TO REBUILD SCHOOLS IN QUAKE ZONE”, Beijing, 2008/07/30) reported that the PRC has earmarked nearly 200 million dollars to repair and rebuild schools damaged in a devastating magnitude-8.0 quake that struck the country’s southwest in May, state media said. The finance ministry has allocated 1.34 billion yuan (196 million dollars) to rebuild schools in badly-hit areas in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, the Beijing Times reported. It has also given out 980 million yuan for schools to buy teaching equipment and facilities, it said.
13. US on PRC Human Rights
The New York Times (Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “BUSH MEETS 5 DISSIDENTS FROM CHINA BEFORE GAMES”, Washington, 2008/07/30) reported that President Bush held private talks with five prominent PRC dissidents on Tuesday, and urged the PRC’s foreign minister to relax restrictions on human rights, as part of an intensifying White House effort to put pressure on Beijing before Mr. Bush travels there in a little over a week for the summer Olympic Games. Mr. Bush received the dissidents — Harry Wu, Wei Jingsheng, Rebiya Kadeer, Sasha Gong and Bob Fu — in the White House residence, where he “assured them that he will carry the message of freedom as he travels to Beijing,” said his press secretary, Dana Perino.
II. PRC Report
14. PRC Civil Society
Qinghai News online (Xie Lina, “SANJIANGYUAN FOUNDATION ESTABLISHED IN BEIJING”, 2008/07/30) reported that on July 27, Sanjiangyuan Foundation, the first Foundation launched by oversea students for Qinghai province was established in Beijng. At present, the Foundation has more than one hundred members which mainly are oversea students, and also absorbs talents in NGOs and other social organizations. The Foundation aims at integrating oversea students, top-level talents and other related human resources to service for the development of economy, society, technology, education and others in Qinghai. It is officially registered in Hongkang and is a non-profit organization. On the opening ceremony, many companies have donated to the Foundation. The Qinghai Government also expressed that it would support and help develop the Foundation and other similar organizations.
15. PRC Environment
Southcn.com (Chen Qinghao, “GUANGDONG LAUNCHES 5-YEAR WATER PLAN”, 2008/07/30) reported that all people living in rural areas of Guangdong will have access to clean drinking water by 2012, the head of the provincial water resource department said on Monday. By that time, 76 percent of rural dwellers will be connected to the main water supply – up from 70 percent now – with the rest served by wells, Huang Boqing, director of the department, said. “In the past few years, an additional 1.8 million rural residents have been given access to clean water. However, millions more in hard to reach areas of eastern and western parts of Guangdong are still without,” he said. Over the next five years, the department will provide safe supplies to an extra 16.45 million rural residents, Huang said. Figures for 2006 show there were 32 million people living in rural areas, of Guangdong, out of a total population of 92 million. The cost of the entire project will be about 7.34 billion yuan (1.07 billion U.S. dollars), Huang said.
III. ROK Report
16. DPRK Food Situation
Goodfriends (“NUMBER OF STARVING PEOPLE DECREASED, FOOD CRISIS STILL URGENT”, 2008/07/31) reported that there were a number of people dying of hunger in the DPRK in May and June, but these numbers were quite decreased after the July. The DPRK people say that thanks to new crops of vegetables and corn, starvation is not to death, however until the fall harvest season, they will have to eat vegetable porridge to survive. Many people are only eating one or two meals a day due to lack of food, and the food crisis is still urgent.
17. ROK Policy Toward DPRK
Yonhap News (“NAM REFLECTS THE ROK POSITION, EVALUATION VARIES”, 2008/07/31) wrote that the 15 th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) minister’s forum adopted a final document which fairly includes the ROK position. There are two different evaluations. Some say that it is positive to include the ROK position, others say that exposure of conflict between the two Koreas at the international stage itself is exhaustive, and how much the ROK position is reflected means less.