NAPSNet Daily Report 31 May, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
- 2. PRC on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 3. DPRK on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 4. Russia on ROK Ship Sinking
- 5. Japan on DPRK Sanctions
- 6. US on DPRK Sanctions
- 7. EU-DPRK Relations
- 8. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 9. Inter-Korea Relations
- 10. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation
- 11. ROK on DPRK Human Rights
- 12. US on DPRK Threat
- 13. US-ROK Military Alliance
- 14. ROK Military Exercises
- 15. Japan, PRC on Korean Reunification
- 16. ROK, Japan, PRC Relations
- 17. ROK-Japan Relations
- 18. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 19. Japanese Politics
- 20. Sino-Japanese Relations
- 21. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 22. Hong Kong Government
- II. PRC Report
1. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
Korea Herald (Song Sang-ho, “UNC, DEFENSE MINISTRY MULL DIRECTLY REPORTING CHEONAN FINDINGS TO U.N.”, Seoul, 2010/05/30) reported that the United Nations Command and the Defense Ministry are considering directly reporting to the U.N. the result of the investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan, a high-level government source said Sunday . “The UNC and the ministry are reviewing the option of reporting the result to the U.N. face to face before mid-June,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
2. PRC on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
New York Times (Choe Sang-hun, “CHINA BALKS AT CRITICISM OF NORTH KOREA”, Seoul, 2010/05/30) reported that PRC Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Sunday said that the PRC’s top priority was still ensuring stability and avoiding tensions and a possible military clash between the two Koreas. “Most urgent is to dispel the impact of the Cheonan incident, gradually ease tension and especially avoid a clash,” Wen said. “We must put all our efforts without fail to boost peace and stability in Northeast Asia. Without this, we cannot talk about development, and the achievements we have made with difficulty will evaporate.”
New York Times (Choe Sang-hun, “CHINA OFFERS CONDOLENCES OVER SHIP”, Seoul, 2010/05/29) reported that PRC Prime Minister Wen Jiabao offered condolences on Saturday to the ROK for the sinking of the Cheonan. On Friday, Wen told ROK President Lee Myung-bak that the PRC would make an “impartial judgment” on who was responsible for the sinking, said Lee’s spokesman, Lee Dong-kwan. “Once we have our conclusion, we will not protect anyone,” Mr. Wen was quoted by the spokesman as saying.
Hankyoreh (“CHINA PROPOSES UN MILITARY ARMISTICE COMMISSION CONVENE FOR REINVESTIGATION INTO CHEONAN”, Seoul, 2010/05/29) reported that a diplomatic source who requested anonymity said Friday that the PRC had proposed to the U.S. to conduct a joint investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan with the participation of the UN Command, the PRC, and the DPRK. The source said the PRC made the offer last week through its UN delegation in New York, and that the offer called for convening the UN Command’s Military Armistice Commission. In response, the UN Command special investigation team told the ROK government that they will ask the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army to rejoin the Military Armistice Commission, and will request the DPRK People’s Army also send representatives to the Joint Observer Team.
3. DPRK on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREANS RALLY TO ACCUSE S.KOREA OF CONSPIRACY”, Seoul, 2010/05/31) reported that the DPRK mobilized some 100,000 people in Pyongyang on Sunday morning for a rally condemning the ROK version of the sinking of the Cheonan as a conspiracy. The protesters were said to be expressing “anger and indignation against the traitor group led by [President] Lee Myung-bak.”
Joongang Ilbo (Cho Jae-eun, “POLICE PROBE MYSTERY CHEONAN LETTER”, Seoul, 2010/05/31) reported that local religious and civic groups have received a letter that claims that the results of the ROK’s government’s probe into the sinking of Cheonan were fabricated, according to police on Saturday. Police are investigating whether or not the letter actually was sent by the DPRK’s central committee for the Korean Buddhists Federation, as it purported. Authorities said the Cheontae Order of Korean Buddhism, National Council of Churches in Korea, the Taego Order, Jin-gak Buddhist Order and other groups were faxed or e-mailed a 15-page letter which said that the committee would sever any remaining ties with the ROK.
Joongang Ilbo (“KIM JONG-IL TOLD HU THAT NK NOT INVOLVED IN CHEONAN”, Seoul, 2010/05/29) reported that during his trip to the PRC earlier this month, Kim Jong-il personally claimed, in his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao, that the DPRK was not responsible for the Cheonan sinking. An unnamed senior ROK government official said Kim told Hu that “The DPRK has nothing to do with the Cheonan.”
4. Russia on ROK Ship Sinking
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “RUSSIANS TO STUDY WARSHIP SINKING PROBE”, Seoul, 2010/05/31) reported that Russian experts arrived in Seoul on Monday to review findings of an investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan. The Russian team — including torpedo and submarine experts — were to stay in the ROK for several days as they review the investigation results and examine the ship’s wreckage, said an ROK Defense Ministry official. Russia’s Ambassador in Seoul, Konstantin V. Vnukov, told a forum Friday that Moscow will determine its position on the U.N. action on North Korea after the experts study the probe results.
5. Japan on DPRK Sanctions
Asahi Shimbun (“SANCTIONS AGAINST N. KOREA APPROVED”, Tokyo, 2010/05/29) reported that the Japanese government on Friday approved new sanctions against the DPRK. Currently, to send more than 10 million yen ($110,000) to the DPRK, a detailed report of each transaction must be filed with the Japanese government. The amount permitted will be reduced to about 3 million yen under the new sanctions. Travelers from Japan to the DPRK must currently report if they are carrying more than 300,000 yen. The new standard will lower that limit to about 100,000 yen. The government, on humanitarian grounds, decided not to include a measure to limit the re-entry of Korean nationals residing in Japan who visit the DPRK.
Associated Press (“JAPAN PM BACKS SEOUL’S UN BID TO PUNISH NKOREA”, Tokyo, 2010/05/31) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told his PRC Premier Wen Jiabao Monday that he strongly supports the ROK’s plans to bring the PRC before the U.N. Security Council for sanctions or condemnation for the sinking of the Cheonan. Hatoyama said the DPRK should be punished in accordance with international law, said Osamu Sakashita, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office.
Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “JAPAN PM BACKS SEOUL IN SEEKING RESPONSE TO NK”, Jeju, 2010/05/29) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama pledged “wholehearted” support for the ROK Saturday in seeking an international response to the attack on the Cheonan, Cheong Wa Dae said. “Prime Minister Hatoyama vowed to deal sternly with Pyongyang based on firm alliance with Seoul,” said Lee Dong-kwan, senior presidential secretary for public relations. “He showed his deep respect for Lee, saying Seoul has been taking a cool-headed, well-coordinated response to the tragedy under his firm leadership.”
6. US on DPRK Sanctions
Joongang Ilbo (Kang Chan-ho, Yoo Jee-ho, “U.S. NOMINATES SANCTIONS ACE”, Seoul, 2010/05/29) reported that the U.S. government has nominated Robert Einhorn as its new coordinator for implementing UN Security Council sanctions against the DPRK, diplomatic sources in Seoul said on Thursday. Einhorn is currently the special adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for nonproliferation and arms control. “The U.S. administration was seeking more efficient management of implementation of sanctions, which had been divided between the State and the Treasury departments,” the source said. “Philip Goldberg, the assistant state secretary at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, had been doubling as the implementation coordinator, but Einhorn is poised to take over.”
7. EU-DPRK Relations
Radio Free Asia (“EURO PARLIAMENT NIXES VISIT TO N. KOREA “, 2010/05/29) reported that a delegation of the European Parliament has canceled a visit to the DPRK scheduled for next month due to rising inter-Korean tension from the Cheonan sinking. The delay was confirmed by an e-mail sent Friday by David Martin, a member of the delegation, to a rescue organization for those abducted by the DPRK. Martin said that after a broad consultation on rising inter-Korean tension, the delegation decided against visiting Pyongyang though the trip to Seoul will proceed.
8. Sino-DPRK Relations
Asahi Shimbun (Daisuke Nishimura , “SOURCES: CHINA CUTS AID TO NORTH”, Shenyang, 2010/05/31) reported that the PRC government has apparently halted much of its aid to the DPRK following Pyongyang’s claim that it had succeeded in carrying out controlled nuclear fusion, PRC and DPRK sources said. The sources said the PRC government has likely initiated unilateral sanctions on Pyongyang. The movement of trucks that carry rice, corn, chemical fertilizers, machine tools and other goods to the DPRK from trade centers on the border have either ground to a halt or sharply declined since mid-May, the sources said. Beijing is also considering freezing in part joint economic projects. An exception to the freeze would be construction of a new bridge over the Yalu River, the sources said.
9. Inter-Korea Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“MILITARY CLIMBS DOWN OVER PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE”, Seoul, 2010/05/31) reported that the ROK military has decided to delay a plan to float propaganda leaflets across the military demarcation line as part of so-called psychological warfare. A government official on Sunday said the plan was put off last week because of bad weather, but the fresh delay comes for “political reasons.” Chang Kwang-il of the Defense Ministry told reporters, “At the moment we’re taking various situations into consideration. We’ll launch the operation how and when we want after a comprehensive review of the situation.”
Dong-A Ilbo (“NK URGES S. KOREAN VOTERS TO VOTE AGAINST RULING PARTY “, Seoul, 2010/05/31) reported that the Central Committee for Unification and Democracy in the Fatherland, an organization for ROK affairs under the DPRK Workers’ Party, issued a “letter to the South Korean people” Saturday urging ROK voters to punish the Lee administration through the local elections. The Korean Central News Agency quoted the letter as saying, “The local elections in South Korea are not a simple competition between the ruling and opposition parties to secure power in provincial regions, but a serious political confrontation between war and peace and between democracy and fascism.” “The South Korean people must stand up to rally en mass to stage a sacred war to crush anti-national betrayals.”
10. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation
Chosun Ilbo (“HOPE FOR KAESONG COMPLEX AMID MIXED MESSAGES FROM N.KOREA”, Seoul, 2010/05/31) reported that an official with the DPRK’s General Bureau for Central Guidance to the Development of the Special Zone reportedly tried to dissuade ROK firms in Kaesong from removing equipment and facilities to the ROK. The Unification Ministry quoted firms there as saying the bureau sent a signal that appeared to downplay the DPRK military’s threats to shut the industrial park. An executive of an ROK firm said, “The bureau and the Kaesong People’s Committee have told us to continue operation because the industrial park won’t be closed.” But he added, “I don’t know whether that’s happened after coordination with Pyongyang or whether it’s their own assessment.” An ROK security official said, “This shows how seriously the North takes the industrial park. The bureau and the committee worry about the livelihood of more than 100,000 people in Kaesong even though the military is trying to use the industrial park as a stick to beat the South with.”
Korea Times (Lee Tae-hoon, “SEOUL MULLS SAFETY MEASURES FOR WORKERS AT GAESEONG SITE”, Seoul, 2010/05/28) reported that the ROK warned the DPRK Friday that it will take strong action if Pyongyang inflicts harm on ROK citizens working at a the Kaesong industrial complex. Lee Jong-joo, a spokeswoman at the Ministry of Unification, said, “We can neither let North Korea harm our citizens in retaliation to the resumption of psychological warfare against it, nor tolerate such rationale.”
11. ROK on DPRK Human Rights
Korea Herald (Bae Hyun-jung , “SEOUL ACTIVE ON N.K. HUMAN RIGHTS”, Seoul, 2010/05/31) reported that the ROK National Human Rights Commission recently launched a task force to complete a detailed policy road map on DPRK human rights by the end of the year, said officials Monday. “So far, most of the studies on North Korean human rights issues have been rather short-termed,” said an NHRC official. “The road map, once completed, will work as a general guideline for government organizations to refer to while they work on N.K.-related projects or policies.” A budget of 100 million won ($83,000) will be spent on the six-month project, which is to be co-led by the NHRC and the Kyungnam University educational-industrial complex team.
12. US on DPRK Threat
Chosun Ilbo (“U.S. OFFICIAL: N.KOREA MAY ATTACK AGAIN”, Seoul, 2010/05/31) reported that Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, says he is worried DPRK may follow up the attack on the Cheonan with a second provocative act. Mullen said in a U.S. television interview Sunday that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il tends not to stop after a single move.
13. US-ROK Military Alliance
New York Times (Thom Shanker and David Sanger, “U.S. TO AID SOUTH KOREA WITH NAVAL DEFENSE PLAN”, Washington, 2010/05/30) reported that senior American officials say they are planning a long-term program to plug major gaps in the ROK’s naval defenses. They said the sinking of the Cheonan revealed that years of spending and training had still left the country vulnerable to surprise attacks. The attack was evidence, the officials say, of how the DPRK has compensated for the fact that it is so bankrupt that it can no longer train its troops or buy the technology needed to fight a conventional war. So it has instead invested heavily in stealthy, hard-to-detect technologies that can inflict significant damage, even if it could not win a sustained conflict.
14. ROK Military Exercises
Agence France-Presse (Lim Chang-Won, “S.KOREA HOLDS WAR GAMES NEAR TENSE BORDER”, Seoul, 2010/05/31) reported that the ROK staged war games near the Demilitarized Zone on Monday. Thousands of ROK troops staged the military exercise to thwart a simulated attack by the DPRK along a river just south of the border. The show of military strength included about 50 tanks and armoured vehicles, which crossed a floating bridge backed by dozens of attack helicopters and self-propelled guns, military officials said.
15. Japan, PRC on Korean Reunification
Chosun Ilbo (“CHINA, JAPAN VOICE SUPPORT FOR KOREAN REUNIFICATION”, Seoul, 2010/05/31) reported that President Lee Myung-bak discussing the political atmosphere in Northeast Asia with PRC Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama over the weekend, said, “The goal of the South Korean government is to maintain peace in the Korean Peninsula and open up North Korea so that both North and South Korea can enjoy prosperity together. We aim to move toward peaceful reunification through that process.” Hatoyama said it is “tragic” for a nation to remain divided for 60 years. “We will provide support for creating a peaceful environment for swift Korean reunification,” he said. “For that to happen, North Korea must give up its weapons.” Wen paraphrased Lee as seeking “peaceful reunification by making the Korean Peninsula a land of peace and prosperity,” and added, “I believe that is an opinion that should be highly regarded, and I wholeheartedly agree.”
16. ROK, Japan, PRC Relations
Joongang Ilbo (Ser Myo-ja, “JEJU SUMMIT NETS PLAN FOR TRILATERAL COOPERATION”, Seogwipo, 2010/05/31) reported that Japan and the PRC will open a trilateral cooperation office in the ROK next year to institutionalize efforts of Northeast regional collaboration, leaders of the three countries agreed on Saturday. According to the Blue House, President Lee Myung-bak, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao also adopted a trilateral cooperation vision, outlining a 10-year road map for their shared economic, cultural and security goals.
17. ROK-Japan Relations
Korea Herald (Kim So-hyun, “LEE, HATOYAMA AGREE TO PUSH FOR RESUMPTION OF FTA TALKS”, Jeju, 2010/05/29) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama agreed on Saturday to speed up efforts to resume negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries. “While agreeing to the need for an FTA (with Japan), President Lee mentioned that major South Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Hyundai Motor had to pull out from the Japanese market due to its non-tariff barriers,” top presidential aide for public relations Lee Dong-kwan said.
18. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
Korea Times (“DOKDO VALUED AT W1 BIL.”, Seoul, 2010/05/30) reported that the Dokdo islets are estimated to be worth 1.09 billion won ($920,000), according to ROK government data Sunday. It marks a 6.3 percent gain from a year earlier, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said. It compares with a 3 percent average gain across the nation. “The rise reflects the discovery of natural resources there and increased public interest following Japan’s territorial claim,” it said.
19. Japanese Politics
Asahi Shimbun (“SOCIALISTS SAY ‘SAYONARA’ TO COALITION”, Tokyo, 2010/05/31) reported that the Social Democratic Party decided Sunday to walk out of Japan’s ruling coalition, following the sacking of its leader Mizuho Fukushima from the Cabinet. Fukushima had been outspoken in her criticism of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s announcement that the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma would be relocated to Nago, Okinawa.
Asahi Shimbun (“HATOYAMA FIRED SDP CHIEF FROM CABINET”, Tokyo, 2010/05/29) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Friday gave dismissed Mizuho Fukushima as state minister in charge of consumer affairs and the declining birthrate. At a meeting of executives of the three ruling coalition parties in the evening, Hatoyama asked Fukushima, 54, and Shizuka Kamei, who heads the People’s New Party, to sign the Cabinet document on the Futenma relocation. When Fukushima said she could not do so, Hatoyama asked to talk privately to her. Unable to persuade Fukushima to change her mind, he fired her.
Yomiuri Shimbun (“‘OBAMA NOD’ PROMPTED FUKUSHIMA DISMISSAL”, Tokyo, 2010/05/31) reported that a conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on a secure phone from Air Force One shortly after 8 a.m. Friday, Japan time, while en route to Chicago, according to Japanese government sources. Speaking in a friendly tone to Hatoyama, calling him “Yukio,” Obama thanked him for compiling a Japan-U.S. joint statement over the Futenma issue and said they would see each other in Canada at a leaders summit meeting next month. A government source said, “The prime minister may have taken a hard-line attitude toward the SDP at the last minute because he was cheered up by the successful discussion with Mr. Obama.”
Kyodo (“HATOYAMA REITERATES RESOLVE TO REMAIN PM, SDP VOWS TO PRESSURE DPJ”, Tokyo, 2010/05/31) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Monday described the Social Democratic Party’s decision to quit his coalition government as ”really disappointing” but added he will strive to ”overcome this situation with a belief (in my policies).” A Kyodo News survey taken over the weekend found that 51.2 percent of respondents said they believe Hatoyama should resign as prime minister compared with 44.4 percent who said he does not need to do so. Public support for his Cabinet hit a new low at 19.1 percent.
Associated Press (“POLLS: SUPPORT FOR JAPANESE PM FALLS TO 17 PERCENT”, Tokyo, 2010/05/31) reported that public support for Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama fell to 17 percent, a survey by the Asahi Shimbun showed Monday. His disapproval rating jumped to 70 percent from 64 percent, Asahi said. A separate survey by the Yomiuri showed Monday some 81 percent of respondents disapproved of Hatoyama’s decision to keep the U.S. base on Okinawa. Nearly 60 percent called for his resignation over the issue.
20. Sino-Japanese Relations
Asahi Shimbun (“JAPAN, CHINA AGREE ON FOOD RULES”, Seoul, 2010/05/31) reported that the PRC and Japan have agreed on new rules on sharing food safety information intended to avoid a recurrence of the tainted gyoza dumplings controversy. A bilateral memorandum to be signed in Tokyo on Monday will stipulate that either country can conduct on-the-spot inspections of hygiene at manufacturing plants in the other country when serious food safety problems occur, according to sources at the trilateral summit in the ROK.
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN, CHINA LAUNCH ‘CARTOON’ DIPLOMACY”, Tokyo, 2010/05/31) reported that Japan and the PRC agreed on Monday to hold joint animation and TV drama festivals to promote grassroots cultural exchange. PRC Premier Wen Jiabao, who arrived in Tokyo on Sunday for a three-day visit, reached the accord in a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Yukio Hatoyama, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said. “We accepted the Chinese proposal because it’s a good offer,” the official said. “It will be a good opportunity for both of us to promote our cultural exchange.”
Kyodo (“JAPAN, CHINA AGREE TO LAUNCH HOT LINE TO AVERT EMERGENCIES”, Tokyo, 2010/05/31) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and PRC Premier Wen Jiabao agreed Monday to aim for the launch of a hot line to discuss important issues in bilateral ties and avert emergencies, a Japanese official said. Hatoyama conveyed his concern over incidents such as PRC navy choppers flying in close proximity to Japanese destroyers in waters off Japan, and urged Beijing not to let similar incidents occur again. The two also agreed the two countries will formally launch talks on signing a bilateral pact over gas exploration in the East China Sea.
21. PRC Ethnic Unrest
New York Times (Edward Wong, “CHINA ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR RESTIVE XINJIANG REGION”, Beijing, 2010/05/28) reported that the new Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang, Zhang Chunxian, on Thursday said the regional government would focus on developing the relatively poor areas of south Xinjiang, the heartland of the Uighurs. Zhang said that a regional work conference had drawn up critical development policies, China Daily reported. One was to promote bilingual education in all schools by 2015, so that all students can speak fluent Mandarin by 2020. Another was to move 700,000 urban families to “safer and earthquake-resistant houses” by 2015 and force 100,000 nomads to settle down.
22. Hong Kong Government
Associated Press (Min Lee, “HONG KONG POLICE CONFISCATE TIANANMEN STATUE”, Hong Kong, 2010/05/29) reported that Hong Kong police on Saturday confiscated a statue mourning victims of the PRC’s 1989 crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square and arrested 13 activists, a participant said. “We’ve staged similar activities before and have never been treated so barbarically and so violently,” pro-democracy lawmaker Albert Ho told reporters. “This is clearly a move designed to crack down on mourning activities for Tiananmen Square.”
II. PRC Report
23. PRC Public Health
Beijing Times (“CHINA’S ORGAN DONATION SYSTEM UNDER CONSTRUCTION”, 2010/05/28) reported that the China Red Cross Society is now cooperated with the Ministry of Health to prepare a national Human Organ donation system, including a Red Cross volunteer organ donation bank, said Wangping, director of the disaster relief sector of the China Red Cross Society.
24. PRC Earthquake Reconstruction
China Daily (“MANY RELICS IN YUSHU TO BE REBUILT BY LOCALS”, 2010/05/28) reported that religious and ethnic considerations must be taken into account in the restoration of cultural relics damaged in the April 14 earthquake in a predominantly Tibetan-populated area bordering Qinghai and Sichuan provinces. Five national-level and 23 provincial-level cultural relic sites were shattered during the earthquake, said Guan Qiang, deputy director of the department of cultural heritage conservation at the State Administration of Cultural Heritage at a briefing in Beijing.