NAPSNet Daily Report 31 October, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. Energy Aid to DPRK
- 3. Japan-DPRK Relations
- 4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 5. US-ROK Security Alliance
- 6. US on ROK Afghanistan Role
- 7. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 8. ROK Economy
- 9. ROK History Book Revision
- 10. ROK Environment
- 11. Japan Politics
- 12. US Elections and Cross Strait Relations
- 13. PRC Tibet Issue
- 14. PRC Protest
- 15. PRC Climate Change
- 16. PRC Civil Code
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Kyodo News (“U.S., N. KOREA AGREE NOT TO PUT ACCORD ON NUCLEAR SAMPLING IN WRITING”, Washington, 2008/10/30) reported that the US and the DPRK have agreed not to clearly state in writing at the six-party talks their recent accord on taking samples from the DPRK’s nuclear facilities for the purpose of verifying Pyongyang’s nuclear declaration, negotiation sources said. The document that the six countries are expected to compile in the near future to cover the recent verbal agreement between US and DPRK negotiators on verification measures will only include an abstract reference to the ”use of scientific procedures,” the sources said.
2. Energy Aid to DPRK
Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT OK’S PLAN OVER ENERGY AID”, Washington, 2008/10/30) reported that Japan agreed to a US move to ask other countries to shoulder Japan’s share of energy aid being provided to the DPRK, according to sources close to negotiators. In response, Japan told the United States it would accept the decision, the sources said. “U.S. officials racked their brains to come up with this plan. This is not something we asked for, so Japan is not in a position to object [to the move],” said Akitaka Saiki, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asia and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, after the meeting.
Korea Herald (“NEW ZEALAND MAY PROVIDE HEAVY OIL TO N. KOREA: REPORT”, 2008/10/29) reported that New Zealand may replace Japan in supplying heavy fuel oil to the DPRK as part of the six-party nuclear disarmament process, a news report was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency. “We’re in discussion with the six-party talk members on options to assist with the cost of heavy fuel oil to North Korea under their process. So we’re in the discussion at this stage,” an unnamed spokesperson of the New Zealand Embassy in Washington said.
3. Japan-DPRK Relations
Kyodo News (“CHONGRYON AFFILIATE RAIDED OVER SUSPECTED TAX ACCOUNTANT LAW VIOLATION”, Tokyo, 2008/10/29) reported that the Tokyo police searched locations including an affiliate of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryon, on suspicion of violating the certified tax accountant law, investigative sources said. The Metropolitan Police Department’s Public Security Bureau suspects that a man believed to be linked to the affiliate — a chamber of commerce and industry in Tokyo’s Shinjuku area — produced a tax declaration document on behalf of a chamber member around 2006 without qualification as a certified tax accountant, they said.
4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap News (Shim Sun-ah, “FIRST INTER-KOREAN JOINT VENTURE LAUNCHES IN PYONGYANG”, Seoul, 2008/10/30) reported that an inter-Korean joint venture firm will start operation in Pyongyang with a ceremony, company officials said. While seventy-nine ROK manufacturers are currently operating at the joint industrial complex in Kaesong no ROK firm until now has managed to set up business in Pyongyang. Pyongyang Hemp Textiles is a cooperative effort between the South’s Andong Hemp Textiles and the DPRK’s Saebyol General Trading Co., with a total investment of US$30 million shared equally by the two sides, according to the officials. Around 1,000 DPRK citizens will be working for the textiles and logistics firm, which is built on 47,000 square meters of land in Pyongyang, they said.
5. US-ROK Security Alliance
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “DEFENSE COST-SHARING TALKS END FRUITLESSLY”, 2008/10/30) reported that the ROK and the US failed to narrow their differences over how to share the cost for maintaining 28,000 US troops on the Korean Peninsula in the coming years, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said. Senior officials from the two countries ended their two-day Special Measurement Agreement (SMA) negotiations in Seoul without substantial results, they said. “The two sides exchanged views on the next defense cost-sharing agreement and related issues,” ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young said. “The sides, in particular, intensively discussed South Korea’s possible provision of military equipment and materials to the U.S. military, instead of cash.”
6. US on ROK Afghanistan Role
Yonhap News (Hwang Doo-hyong, “S. KOREA ASKED TO UP CONTRIBUTION TO AFGHANISTAN: OFFICIAL”, Washington, 2008/10/30) reported that the US has asked the ROK to provide “training, equipment and financial assistance” to help promote stability in Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents are gaining strength, a State Department official said. The official, requesting anonymity, would not elaborate, but the ROK officials have said the U.S. has asked for police officers to train Afghan police forces.
7. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
Korea Herald (Kim So-hyun , “CENTER OPENS FOR RESEARCH ON EAST SEA, DOKDO”, 2008/10/30) reported that a state-funded center for oceanographic research of the East Sea and Dokdo opened yesterday in the eastern coastal town of Uljin, North Gyeongsang Province. The Donghae (East Sea) Research Institute, a branch of the Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute, will study various natural phenomena and resources in the East Sea, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said. In addition to observing climate changes in the area, the facility will be involved in developing marine resources such as deep-sea water and methane hydrate, and new marine farm technology using the water discharged from the thermal power plant in Uljin.
8. ROK Economy
The Korean Herald (Hwang Jang-jin , “LEE CALLS FOR UNWAVERING REFORMS “, 2008/10/30 20:00:00 GMT+0) reported that President Lee Myung-bak said yesterday that the looming economic crisis should not be allowed to slow economic reforms aimed to enhance the nation’s growth potential. “In this emergency, government should speed up deregulation efforts,” Lee said during a meeting with a presidential national competitiveness committee. He stressed the need for labor-management peace as companies will have to tighten their belts to ride out a stagnant economy.
9. ROK History Book Revision
The Korean Herald (Kim So-hyun , “HISTORY BOOKS SUBJECT TO REVISION “, 2008/10/30) reported that the ROK government Wednesday issued an injunction for the partial revision of the high school textbooks of modern Korean history. Those seeking revisions had pointed to a total of 253 items in six modern history textbooks which they claimed were “skewed to the political left.” In 2005, a group of right-wing politicians, economists and senior historians who thought the new textbooks contained “left-tilted” viewpoints began discussions for revisions. The 55 items which the ministry urged revising involve descriptions of major historical developments such as Korea’s liberation from Japan in 1945, the founding of the Republic of Korea in 1948, the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, the popular revolt on Jeju Island in 1947 and engagements with DPRK since 2000.
10. ROK Environment
The Korean Herald (Cho Chung-un , “SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, ECO-FRIENDLY LIFESTYLES COEXIST IN SONGDO”, 2008/10/30) reported that Songdo International Business District, a 5.7 million square meter city being constructed near Incheon, 30 kilometers west of Seoul, is setting a new standard for sustainable urban planning and smart growth based on eco-friendly lifestyles. A significant reduction in the use of potable water and the construction of an extensive network of dedicated bicycle lanes will help the city significantly cut its carbon emission footprint compared to conventional cities of similar size, Gale International, the global real estate and property developer in charge of the city development said. Estimated to cost 24 trillion won ($18.9 billion) for developing an area of more than 5.7 million square meters, the Songdo IBD is one of the world’s largest urban development projects led by the private sector.
11. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“ASO INDICATES HE WILL NOT CALL GENERAL ELECTION ANYTIME SOON “, Tokyo , 2008/10/30 20:00:00 GMT+0) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso indicated Thursday that he is not intending to dissolve the House of Representatives immediately for a general election. At a press conference where he unveiled a new economic stimulus package, Aso said, ”We need to address people’s concerns about their livelihood. That’s a matter of top priority.” Asked when he might dissolve the lower house, he said, ”I will make a judgment myself when the right time comes. I will make a decision by taking various matters into account.” He added, ”The world is thinking it undesirable to see the situation upset by elections in both the world’s largest and second-largest economies.”
12. US Elections and Cross Strait Relations
Reuters (Ralph Jennings, “MCCAIN TILTS TOWARDS TAIWAN, OBAMA MAY FAVOR CHINA “, Taipei , 2008/10/30) reported that U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain would seek to defend Taiwan and play hard ball with PRC if he comes to office, but Democratic front-runner Barack Obama would further sideline Taipei as he courts Beijing. Analysts say neither candidate would radically change today’s status quo, but the former Vietnam War U.S. Navy pilot McCain is seen favoring Taiwan, which is struggling for an international voice. “It’s hard to predict what a McCain or Obama administration will do,” said Derek Mitchell, Asia director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. Still, he said, “McCain and his people have more of a record on Taiwan.”
13. PRC Tibet Issue
BBC News (“TIBETIANS ‘COULD INCREASE DEMANDS’ “, 2008/10/30) reported that in an interview with the BBC, the Dalai Lama said he will ask Tibetan exiles meeting next month to decide if a new strategy toward the PRC is needed. “My faith, my trust in Chinese government, now becomes thinner, thinner. Unfortunately they always say something, doing something different,” Dalai Lama said to BBC.
14. PRC Protest
Radio Free Asia (“CRISIS DRIVES CHINA LABOR PROTESTS”, Hong Kong, 2008/10/20) reported that the global economic crisis has sparked a series of bankruptcies and factory closures in the PRC’s once prosperous Pearl River Delta region. Around 100 workers laid off by a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Peace Mark Holdings, which owns three factories in Shenzhen, staged a silent sit-in this week at the Lo Wu border crossing that divides Shenzhen from Hong Kong, in protest at unpaid wages and severance benefits.
15. PRC Climate Change
China Daily (“GUANGDONG FACES WARMING THREAT”, 2008/10/30) reported that the average temperature in Guangdong could rise by 5.7 C from 2011 to 2100 unless it turns to greener methods to sustain its economic growth, experts have warned. The temperature will rise by 1 C between 2011 and 2040, by 1.9 C between 2041 and 2070, and by 2.8 C between 2071 and 2100, Lin Xianmin, deputy director of the provincial meteorological administration, said at a forum. Accounting for one-eighth of China’s GDP and one-third of the country’s exports, Guangdong has experienced an average of more than 70 hazy days a year for the past three years. The number is almost three times that of the early 1980s.
China Daily (Li Jing, “CHINA ISSUES POST-KYOTO PLANS ON CLIMATE CHANGE”, 2008/10/30) reported that the clean development mechanism (CDM) should continue to be implemented even after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires, says a white paper on the PRC’s policies on climate change. But the CDM, the carbon trading system established under the Kyoto Protocol, needs to be amended to encourage more technology transfer to developing countries, says the paper, issued by the State Council Information Office. “China will continue to play an active and constructive role at UN conferences to negotiate a post-Kyoto Protocol agreement” to fight climate change, Xie Zhenhua, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, said while releasing the white paper.
16. PRC Civil Code
China Daily (Xie Chuanjiao , “NEW LAWS TO HELP SHAPE CHINA’S CIVIL CODE “, 2008/10/30) reported that PRC is working on two more important laws on civil relations that will help complete the Civil Code by 2013, a senior official said Wednesday. “The Law of Torts and Application of Law in Foreign Civil Relations will complete the Chinese corpus on civil law if both are approved by the National People’s Congress (NPC),” Kan Ke, spokesman for the general office of the Standing Committee of the NPC, said. Kan was commenting on a plan yesterday to review 49 laws by 2013 pertaining to the NPC, food security, postal services, senior citizens, and other civil, criminal and administrative procedures. NPC Standing Committee vice-chairman Li Jianguo said that PRC also intends to formulate a socialist law system with Chinese characteristics by 2010.
II. PRC Report
17. PRC Economy
Xinhua Net (Liu Juhua, “THE 3RD WORLD INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE ORGANIZATIONS FORUM HELD IN BEIJING”, Beijing, 2008/10/28) the 3rd World Industry and Commerce Organizations Forum sponsored by China Federation of Industrial Economics was held in Beijing Oct.28. The theme of this forum is “dialogue, cooperation and win-win situation”, aiming at enhancing the communication between the Industry and Commerce Organizations all around the world and establishing a multilateral dialogue platform for industries and enterprises.
18. PRC Climate Change
China News online (“CHINA ISSUES ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE WHITE PAPER”, 2008/10/29) reported that the Information Office of the PRC’s State Council issued a white paper titled “China’s Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change”. The paper consists of eight chapters: Climate Change and China’s Situation; Impact of Climate Change on China; Strategies and Objectives for Addressing Climate Change; Policies and Actions to Decelerate Climate Change; Policies and Actions to Adapt to Climate Change; Enhancing Public Awareness in Addressing Climate Change; Enhancing International Cooperation on Climate Change; Institution and Mechanism Building for Coping with Climate Change. The PRC will continue to follow the guidance of the Scientific Outlook on Development, unswervingly stick to the road of sustainable development, and adopt more powerful policies and measures to strengthen the ability to deal with climate change in an all-round way, the paper said.
19. PRC Energy
Xinhua Net (Qiu Yi, “SHANGHAI WORLD EXPOSITION PARK TO USE SOLAR ENERGY ON LARGE AREAS”, 2008/10/29) reported that the construction of Shanghai World Exposition Park is in full swing and the solar energy will be used on large areas, said Hong Haori, director of Shanghai World Exposition Park. It is understood that all the main venues of the Park will install solar energy facilities. In addition, the public transport in the park will achieve “zero emissions”, providing clean transport services for visitors and displaying a variety of new transport technology.
III. ROK Report
20. ROK-U.S. Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“ROK-US SHOULD PREPARE FOR DPRK CONTINGENCY”, 2008/10/30) wrote that making detailed plans for contingencies in the DPRK is one of the most urgent tasks for the US and the ROK. The ROK government should also consider matters other than military issues such as ways to deal with influence on the economy, to support the DPRK people, and to collaborate with neighboring countries or international organizations such as the UN.
21. ROK Policy Toward DPRK
Ohmynews (“EXPERTS OF INTER-KOREAN RELATIONSHIP, NO MORE ‘LOST 10 YEARS'”, 2008/10/30) reported that the Lee Myung-bak Administration and the Grand National Party (GNP)’s remarks about the ‘lost ten years’ is now being criticized from experts on the inter-Korean relationship. Lee Dae-kun, deputy director of Kyunghyang Newspaper, said in a forum titled ‘For Mutual Winning, Prosperity, and Inter-Korean Collaboration’ held on Oct. 29 that Lee Administration’s consistent denial on the past 10 years is problematic. Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun’s achievements on DPRK policies transcended party politics, he added. Others also pointed that the current tension on the peninsula cannot be totally attributed to the Lee Administration.
22. DPRK Human Rights
Tongilnews (“PRC, SEEKING OVERALL WAYS TO SOLVE DPRK DEFECTORS PROBLEM”, 2008/10/30) reported that Kim Kang-il, professor of Yeonbyeon University, said in the fifth international symposium for DPRK human rights that the PRC is seeking an overall solution for the DPRK defectors’ problem. The PRC also thinks that they would help revive the DPRK economy by cooperating with them closely, he added. This means that they support peaceful unification of the two Koreas. However, the first secretary of the US embassy in the ROK urged the PRC government to acknowledge those who flee from the DPRK as ‘refugees’ or to work on alternatives. Kim Yong-hyun, professor of Dongguk University, said that though it is up to the PRC whether to acknowledge them as refugees, alternatives policies for ‘real refugees’ should be prepared.