NAPSNet Daily Report 31 October, 2007
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Disablement
- 2. DPRK Energy Working Group Meeting
- 3. ROK on Korean Peace Treaty
- 4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 5. DPRK-Myanmar Relations
- 6. U.S. Navy Aids DPRK Ship
- 7. ROK-Japan Relations
- 8. ROK Presidential Election
- 9. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
- 10. USFJ Base Realignment
- 11. PRC ASEAN Relations
- 12. Sino-Canadian Relations
- 13. PRC Energy Supply
- 14. PRC Space Program
- II. ROK Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Disablement
Yonhap (“U.S. TEAM HEADS TO N.K. TO BEGIN NUCLEAR DISABLEMENT”, Washington, 2007/10/30) reported that U.S. State Department officials said Tuesday a U.S. team will arrive in the DPRK on Thursday to start physically disabling the nuclear facilities. The interagency team is led by Sung Kim, the department’s director of Korean affairs office, and is made up of experts mostly from the State and Energy departments, the officials said. “They are actually going to be disabling the reactor… doing things to the reactor and the other facilities,” one official said.
2. DPRK Energy Working Group Meeting
Associated Press (Jae-soon Chang, “NKOREA AGREES ON AID IN NUCLEAR DEAL”, Panmumjom, 2007/10/30) reported that the DPRK agreed Tuesday to accept half of the economic aid it has been promised for disabling its nuclear reactor in energy-related equipment and other materials, deputy nuclear envoy Lim Sung-nam said. Japan’s Kyodo News agency reported Tuesday evening that a tanker carrying the first shipment of heavy fuel oil, supplied by the US, had arrived in the DPRK.
3. ROK on Korean Peace Treaty
Yonhap (Byun Duk-kun, “S. KOREAN FM APPARENTLY BACKS U.S. ON TIMING FOR OFFICIALLY ENDING KOREAN WAR”, Seoul, 2007/10/30) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Song Min-soon said Wednesday the Korean War will only be declared officially over when the DPRK’s denuclearization is nearly complete. Song is to travel to Washington next week to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the proposed talks.
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “WAR-ENDING DECLARATION WILL SET STAGE FOR PEACE TREATY”, Seoul, 2007/10/31) reported that Kim Man-bok, director of the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS), said Wednesday a declaration to formally end the Korean War should be made before a peace regime is established on the Korean Peninsula. “We can consider making a declaration of putting an end to the Korean War as a pre-step toward setting up and maintaining a peace regime on the peninsula, given distrust between the United States and North Korea, and South and North Korea still lingers,” he said.
4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap (“INTER-KOREAN TRADE CLIMBS 12.7 PCT TO US$1.23 BLN IN JANUARY-SEPTEMBER PERIOD”, Seoul, 2007/10/31) reported that ROK trade with the DPRK rose 12.7 percent from a year earlier to US$1.23 billion for the first nine months of this year, a report by the Korea International Trade Association said Wednesday. During the January-September period, the ROK exported $700 million worth of goods to the DPRK and imported $530 million
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “LEE BACKS GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR NK ECONOMY”, Seoul, 2007/10/31) reported that Grand National Party (GNP) presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak said he would seek a global partnership with neighboring countries and the European Union (EU) to help the DPRK economy move forward. The ROK will work closely with the U.S., Japan, the PRC, Russia and the EU under the burden-sharing plan, Lee said. He added that dismantling the DPRK’s nuclear facilities is a precondition.
5. DPRK-Myanmar Relations
Associated Press (“MYANMAR OKS NEW N. KOREAN AMBASSADOR”, Yangon, 2007/10/30) reported that Myanmar agreed to the appointment of Kim Sok-chol as the first DPRK ambassador to the country after a 24-year diplomatic rupture, foreign ministry officials said Tuesday. The two countries agreed to resume diplomatic ties during an April visit by DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Yong-il. Myanmar appointed its ambassador to the PRC, Thein Lwin, in August to serve concurrently as ambassador to the DPRK.
6. U.S. Navy Aids DPRK Ship
Yonhap (“U.S. NAVY HELPS CREW OF HIJACKED NORTH KOREAN SHIP”, Washington, 2007/10/30) reported that the U.S. Navy said Tuesday it provided medical assistance and other support to the DPRK crew of a vessel hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia. The USS James E. Williams, an Arleigh-Burke-class destroyer, dispatched a helicopter to investigate after receiving a call from the International Maritime Bureau about the DPRK-flagged ship, Dai Hong Dan, early Tuesday morning, the Navy said in a press release. The U.S. destroyer arrived in the vicinity at midday and contacted the pirates, ordering them to give up their weapons, it said. “At that point, the Korean crew confronted the pirates and regained control of the ship, and then began communicating with the James E. Williams, requesting medical assistance,” the Navy said.
7. ROK-Japan Relations
Joongang Ilbo (“KOREA EXPRESSES REGRET TO JAPAN OVER KIDNAPPING”, Tokyo, 2007/10/31) reported that ROK Ambassador Yu Myung-hwan expressed the country’s “regret” over its government’s role in kidnapping Kim Dae-jung from Japan in 1973. Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura responded, “It’s clear that the incident was an infringement of sovereignty. Prevent such things from happening again.”
8. ROK Presidential Election
Korea Herald (“U.S. AGREES TO EXTRADITE LEE’S FORMER PARTNER”, 2007/10/31) reported that the U.S. State Department has ordered the extradition of Kim Kyung-jun, a former business partner of presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak, the ROK Justice Ministry said Tuesday. The ministry said the decision was made on Tuesday and that it expects Kim to be extradited in about two weeks’ time. Kim and Lee co-headed LK-e Bank, an online financial holding company that invested in BBK, a company Kim ran that was shut down for fabricating investment reports. Kim now claims Lee was the real owner of BBK.
9. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
Agence France-Presse (Shigemi Sato, “COALITION PRODS JAPAN TO STAY IN ‘WAR ON TERROR'”, Tokyo, 2007/10/31) reported that coalition countries involved in the US-led “war on terror” urged Japan to continue its naval support mission which is set to be halted this week due to opposition objections. US ambassador Thomas Schieffer led diplomats from other coalition countries, including Afghanistan, Britain and Pakistan, in a meeting at the Canadian embassy with about 70 ruling and opposition members of the parliament, or Diet. “I hope that after whatever debate goes on in the Diet that Mr. Ozawa will accept the fact that this is an international undertaking and I hope that he will support it in the end,” Schieffer told reporters. Eager to show its continuing role in the “war on terror,” Japan said it was considering boosting economic aid to Pakistan, a frontline ally for the US in its military operations in Afghanistan.
The Asahi Shimbun (“OZAWA STICKS TO GUNS ON MSDF”, 2007/10/31) reported that Japanese refueling operations in the Indian Ocean are set to grind to a halt this week after Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and opposition leader Ichiro Ozawa failed to reach agreement Tuesday on continuing the mission. Ozawa, president of Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), refused to be swayed by arguments that Japan’s refueling of foreign warships was a vital component of the US-led war against terror in and around Afghanistan. Despite the impasse, the two men agreed to meet later in the week to discuss the issue, possibly on Friday.
10. USFJ Base Realignment
Kyodo (“OKINAWA GOV. ASKS FUKUDA TO HEED LOCAL VIEWS ON FUTEMMA MOVE”, Tokyo, 2007/10/31) reported that Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to heed local opinions in moving forth with plans to realign US forces in Okinawa Prefecture, particularly concerning the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station. Nakaima told reporters after their meeting at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo that Fukuda showed such considerable willingness to tackle the resolution of the Futemma relocation issue that he was ”very surprised.”
11. PRC ASEAN Relations
Xinhua (“CHINA-ASEAN SEES INCREASING INTE’L CO-OP PROJECTS “, 2007/10/31) reported that PRC and Southeast Asian businesses will put 6.15 billion US dollars to jointly build machinery, building materials, consumer electronics, farm produce, foodstuffs and other projects, the organizers of the fourth PRC-ASEAN Expo said on Wednesday. This figure represented a 5.28 percent increase from the previous PRC-ASEAN Expo, said Li Jinzao, deputy director of the organizing committee.
12. Sino-Canadian Relations
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA WARNS CANADA AFTER PM MEETS DALAI LAMA “, Beijing, 2007/10/31) reported that the PRC hit out at Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, warning that the move had seriously hurt bilateral ties. Defying warnings from the PRC, Harper met with the Tibetan spiritual leader for 40 minutes on Monday in what the Canadian government described as an “historic meeting”. “This kind of action from Canada has seriously hurt Chinese people’s feelings and seriously undermined Sino-Canadian relations,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a press conference in Beijing.
13. PRC Energy Supply
Reuters (Jim Bai and Rujun Shen , “CHINA FUEL CRISIS SPREADS “, Beijing/Shanghai, 2007/10/31) reported that the PRC’s worst fuel crisis in two years spread to the capital and other inland areas by Wednesday, and one man was killed in a brawl at a petrol station queue, upping pressure on the government to intervene. Diesel shortages in the PRC’s political heart, which escaped previous supply crunches unscathed, highlight tensions between the government and its increasingly independent oil firms about who should pay for the country’s generous fuel subsidies. Top refiner Sinopec on Wednesday pledged more supplies and bought additional diesel fuel abroad, but it may fall to Beijing to end the stand-off by raising domestic prices, easing taxes, promising another year-end pay-off — or simply strong-arming suppliers into selling more fuel at a loss.
14. PRC Space Program
Xinhua (“CHINA’S LUNAR PROBE COMPLETES LAST ORBITAL TRANSFER BEFORE LEAVING EARTH “, Beijing, 2007/10/31) reported that the PRC’s lunar probe Chang’e-1 completed its fourth orbital transfer on Wednesday afternoon, a critical move to push it to fly to the moon “in a real sense.” The probe is estimated to fly another 114 hours before it reaches the moon orbit on Nov. 5.
II. ROK Report
15. Inter-Korean Propaganda
Nocut News (“NO PENCILS FOR LEAFLETS ANYMORE”, Seoul, 2007/10/31) reported that the National Police Agency announced that the regulation on eliminating seditious leaflets from the DPRK has been abrogated. The regulation allowed children who turned in seditious leaflets from the DPRK to police stations to receive pencils and notebooks and gave merit awards to adults who also participated in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The abrogration of the regulation was a move to fulfill the agreement between the two Koreas at general-level talks in 2004 not to conduct propaganda against each other.
16. DPRK Change of Attitude
Chosun Ilbo (An Yong-hyun , “KEEP THE SYSTEM ALONG WITH THE OPENNESS”, Seoul, 2007/10/31) reported that the DPRK has taken on a new aspect recently. For example, major mass media use capitalist-like terms such as “Chosun in the world” and “Self-salvation through strength using modern technology.” An ROK government official said that the DPRK is trying to improve foreign relations to survive, citing Prime Minister Kim Young-il’s visit to Vietnam as an example. DPRK experts also noted that the DPRK has made meaningful gestures for solving the nuclear issue.