NAPSNet Daily Report 4 August, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. Inter-Korean Relations
- 2. Mt. Kumgang Shooting
- 3. ROK Policy Toward DPRK
- 4. US-ROK Trade Relations
- 5. US-ROK Relations
- 6. Alleged Korean War Atrocities
- 7. ROK-PRC Relations
- 8. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 9. ROK-Japan Relations
- 10. US Military in Japan
- 11. Japanese Politics
- 12. Cross Straits Relations
- 13. PRC Terrorist Attacks
- 14. PRC Censorship
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. Inter-Korean Relations
Associated Press (Kwang-tae Kim, “NORTH KOREA TO EXPEL SKOREANS FROM TOURIST RESORT”, Seoul, 2008/08/03) reported that the DPRK said Sunday it will expel ROK citizens from the Mt. Kumgang resort. The DPRK military unit at the resort said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency that it would expel all ROK personnel “we deem unnecessary.” The DPRK also warned it would take military actions against “even the slightest hostile actions” in the area, and said it would limit the passage of ROK citizens and their vehicles through the Demilitarized Zone.
Korea Times (Kim Sue-young, “TWO KOREAS TRADE ACCUSATIONS”, Seoul, 2008/08/03) reported that the ROK Ministry of Unification regretted the move by the DPRK to expel ROK personnel staying at Mt. Kumgang resort. “We regret North Korea taking unconvincing measures, and not responding to our calls for investigations into the killing,” ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun said. He urged the DPRK to cooperate in preparing appropriate measures to secure safety of tourists and prevent a recurrence of similar incidents, stressing the ROK would not allow its citizens to visit the tourist zone.
Donga Ilbo (“PRES. LEE TO MEET N. KOREA’S NO. 2 MAN IN BEIJING”, Seoul, 2008/08/04) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak will meet Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, in Beijing Friday. The two will meet at a luncheon hosted by PRC President Hu Jintao on the first day of President Lee’s two-day visit to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summer Olympics, a key adviser to President Lee said Sunday. “Though the two are scheduled to meet there, no attempt has been made to establish contact,” said a high-ranking official in Seoul. “Unless one side avoids talks, they could possibly exchange casual greetings and discuss impending inter-Korean issues when state guests wait for the luncheon to begin for some 10 minutes at a VIP room.”
2. Mt. Kumgang Shooting
Chosun Ilbo (“STATE TV INFORMS N.KOREANS OF MT. KUMGANG SHOOTING”, Seoul, 2008/08/04) reported that the DPRK’s official news channel on Sunday reported the fatal shooting of an ROK tourist in Mt. Kumgang for the first time since it happened 23 days ago. On Sunday morning, an announcer from the state-run Korean Central Broadcasting Station reported the news during a bulletin that focused on a statement threatening the expulsion of ROK citizens from Mt. Kumgang. The central radio station reported the news in a similar tone. Observers speculate the DPRK regime decided to make the issue public at home under growing pressure from ROK attempts to publicize it in the international arena.
3. ROK Policy Toward DPRK
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “SEOUL REAFFIRMS DENUCLEARIZATION-FOR-AID POLICY”, Seoul, 2008/08/04) reported that ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung-hwan reaffirmed the government’s DPRK policy Monday aimed at linking improvements in the economic relationship between the two Koreas to the DPRK’s nuclear disarmament. “North Korea recently made political attacks against South Korea in the international community, saying inter-Korean dialogue would be possible only after the South recognizes the Oct. 4 Summit Declaration,” Yu said in a speech he delivered during a monthly meeting with ministry officials in Seoul. “Our government’s position is that South and North Korea should engage in dialogue based on all inter-Korean agreements signed in the past, such as the Oct. 4 declaration, the June 15 declaration and the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement,” he said.
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “‘GIVE N. KOREA STICKS INSTEAD OF CARROTS'”, Seoul, 2008/08/04) reported that the DPRK tends to use brinkmanship when cornered, and the ROK should consider giving sticks rather than carrots when Pyongyang resorts to that strategy, ROK opposition parties said Monday. Chung Sye-kyun, chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), accused Pyongyang of a “rigid reaction,” referring to the statement issued Sunday by the DPRK following the July 11 killing of a South Korean tourist in Mt. Kumgang. “North Korea wouldn’t keep quiet if one of its tourists was shot dead by a South Korean soldier,” Chung said. “The North should not attempt to translate Seoul’s reaction to the killing in a political and military context.”
4. US-ROK Trade Relations
Agence France-Presse (Laurent Lozano, “BUSH TO MIX SPORT AND POLITICS ON ASIA TOUR”, Washington, 2008/08/04) reported that Dennis Wilder, a top aide to US President George W. Bush on Asian affairs, said American beef was popular in the ROK and he believed “this issue will recede more and more” as more US beef enters the ROK market. “One of the things I think people forget in the midst of some of this is how firmly and strongly the South Korean people believe in the American relationship,” Wilder stated. On ratification of the US-ROK Free Trade Agreement, Bush stated, “I’ve told [ROK] President [Lee Myung-bak] I make no promises, except I’ll push as hard as I possibly can to get it done before I leave the presidency.”
Reuters (Jack Kim, “MASSIVE PROTEST CALLED FOR BUSH VISIT TO SOUTH KOREA”, Seoul, 2008/08/04) reported that ROK activists said on Monday they planned a large candlelight rally to protest U.S. President George W. Bush’s visit on Tuesday and demand the two countries scrap a beef import deal. “We oppose the visit by Bush who sells U.S. beef with its risk of mad cow disease that threatens the health and lives of the public,” a coalition of activist groups said in a statement. “Just as Lee paid a big price to stay at Camp David in April, Bush will be looking to go home with a big catch,” the protest coalition said.
5. US-ROK Relations
Donga Ilbo (“1ST WOMAN U.S. ENVOY TO KOREA SET TO TAKE OFFICE”, 2008/08/04) reported that U.S. ambassador-designate to Seoul Kathleen Stephens received unanimous Senate approval Friday. Stephens still requires an official appointment by U.S. President George W. Bush and a diplomatic agreement from the ROK, but is expected to assume her new post late this month or early next month.
6. Alleged Korean War Atrocities
Associated Press (Charles Hanley and Jae-Soon Chang, “SEOUL PROBES CIVILIAN ‘MASSACRES’ BY US”, Seoul, 2008/08/04) reported that ROK investigators, matching once-secret documents to eyewitness accounts, are concluding that the U.S. military indiscriminately killed large groups of refugees and other civilians early in the Korean War. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is urging the government to seek U.S. compensation for victims. ROK legislators have asked a U.S. Senate committee to join them in investigating another long-classified document, one saying American ground commanders, fearing enemy infiltrators, had adopted a policy of shooting approaching refugees. The commission’s president, historian Ahn Byung-ook, said the US Army helped defend the ROK in the 1950-53 war, but also “victimized” ROK civilians. “We feel detailed investigation should be done by the U.S. government itself,” he said. The U.S. Embassy says it has not yet been approached by the ROK about compensation. Spokesman Aaron Tarver also told the AP that the embassy is not monitoring commission findings.
7. ROK-PRC Relations
Associated Press (“SKOREAN LEADER TO ATTEND BEIJING OLYMPICS”, Seoul, 2008/08/04) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak will make a two-day trip to the PRC this week to attend the Beijing Olympics. The presidential office said Sunday that Lee is scheduled to attend Friday’s opening ceremony of the games and meet PRC President Hu Jintao and leaders of other countries.
8. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
Korea Times (Michael Ha, “SCHOLAR ADVISES STRATEGIC APPROACH ON DOKDO ISSUE”, Seoul, 2008/08/04) reported that Park Chun-ho, a judge serving in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and a professor emeritus at Korea University, should adopt a long-term, cautious approach in dealing with the issue of Dokdo/Takeshima. He said the Japanese government is being “very small-minded” about the issue, but that doesn’t mean Korea needs to resort to raw emotion whenever Japan claims sovereignty over the islets. He argues that calls to scrap or renegotiate the 1999 ROK-Japan fisheries pact should be viewed with caution. He said the ROK fishing industry benefited enormously from the agreement, more so than the Japanese side.
9. ROK-Japan Relations
Yonhap (“RECALLED S. KOREAN ENVOY TO RETURN TO JAPAN”, Seoul, 2008/08/04) reported that Kwon Chul-hyun, ROK ambassador to Japan, will return there on Tuesday, three weeks after being recalled in protest over Japan’s claim to Dokdo/Takeshima, the ROK foreign ministry said Monday. “The ambassador will go back to his office in Tokyo Tuesday because he finished what he was supposed to do here,” Moon Tae-young, spokesman for the foreign ministry, told reporters. Upon returning the envoy will call on Japan’s government to take “a more sincere stance towards building future-oriented relations between the two countries,” Moon said.
10. US Military in Japan
Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPAN WARNED OF POSSIBLE NUCLEAR LEAK FROM US SUB”, Tokyo, 2008/08/02) reported that The U.S. Navy said that one of its nuclear-powered submarines had leaked minimally radioactive water earlier this year. The Navy said Friday it discovered the leak July 17 when a gallon of water spilled from a valve while the submarine was in dry dock for routine maintenance at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. An investigation showed water may have been slowly leaking from the valve since March as the Los Angeles-class submarine traveled around the Pacific. The total amount of radioactivity released into the environment from the USS Houston at each stop was less than one half a microcurie, U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Scott Gureck said. Akihiro Yoshida, a city official in Sasebo where the USS Houston made a port call in late March, said that government monitoring showed no abnormal increase of radioactivity in the area’s waters during the submarine’s calls.
Kyodo (“JAPAN PARTIALLY GAVE UP JUDICIARY ON U.S. SERVICE PERSONNEL’S CRIMES”, Tokyo, 2008/08/04) reported that the Japanese Justice Ministry in 1953 ordered public prosecutors offices and other affiliated organizations across Japan to exercise justice only on crucial crimes in cases where the crimes were committed by U.S. service personnel stationed in Japan, according to multiple internal documents including that of the ministry. The documents, compiled by the ministry’s Criminal Affairs Bureau and the National Police Agency’s Criminal Investigation Bureau from 1954 to 1972, were obtained by Shoji Niihara, a researcher on Japan-U.S. relations, and Kyodo News. The ministry also told public prosecutors to implement a more flexible interpretation on the definition of ”incidents on official duty” specified in the administrative agreement preceding Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement.
11. Japanese Politics
Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPAN’S NEW CABINET BEGINS WORK AFTER SHAKE-UP”, Tokyo, 2008/08/02) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda promised to tackle reforms and address consumer concerns about rising prices Saturday as his new Cabinet held its first meeting after a shake-up intended to regain voter support. “It’s time to press on with the reform policies. I promise to do my utmost to create a society where the people can live with peace of mind,” Fukuda said during the first Cabinet meeting Saturday. “I will work consistently to share the same views as the people.” A survey conducted by Kyodo News agency after Friday’s reshuffle showed that public support for the Cabinet had risen 4.7 percentage points from a month earlier to 31.5 percent.
12. Cross Straits Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN’S MA TO CONFIRM WARMING CHINA TIES”, Taipei, 2008/08/03) reported that Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou plans to bolster the island’s ties with the PRC later this month to coincide with the 50th anniversary of a battle between the two, an aide said Sunday. Ma will fly to Kinmen, a Taiwan-controlled fortified island group just miles off the PRC’s southeastern Xiamen city, on August 23, and deliver a speech “of historic significance,” the United Daily News said. He is expected to extend an olive branch to Beijing during his speech on “rapprochement and peace,” it said.
Wall Street Journal (Perris Lee Soong Chiong, “TAIWAN OPENS TO CHINA”, Taipei, 2008/08/02) reported that Taiwan will allow PRC investors to place funds in the island’s stock and futures markets starting in October, Wu Tang-chieh, the Financial Supervisory Commission’s vice chairman, said Thursday. The investments will be carried under the PRC’s Qualified Domestic Institutional Investors program, which allows selected local banks, fund managers and insurers to invest in overseas securities on behalf of their mainland Chinese customers.
13. PRC Terrorist Attacks
Associated Press (“REPORT: 16 POLICE KILLED IN CHINA BORDER ATTACK”, Beijing, 2008/08/04) reported that Xinhua News Agency says an attack on a border patrol station on the PRC’s frontier with Central Asia has killed 16 police officers. The report says the assailants used a dump truck to ram their way into the paramilitary police station in Kashi and then tossed two hand grenades. Besides the dead, Xinhua says 16 officers were injured.
14. PRC Censorship
Washington Post (Maureen Fan, “JOURNALISTS SAY CHINA IS NOT LIVING UP TO OPENNESS PLEDGE”, Beijing, 2008/08/03) reported that Western journalists covering the Olympics are complaining about a lack of access to Internet sites and Tiananmen Square. Authorities had told the International Olympic Committee that reporters would be allowed to cover the Games as they would any other Olympics, but so far, that has not been the case, media advocates say. “They gave pledges that we would be able to report without restrictions, that we would be able to travel anywhere in China and uplink anywhere in China — the same conditions as had applied in previous Olympic Games, and patently that is not happening,” said John Barton, sports director for the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union.
II. PRC Report
15. PRC Social Welfare
XinhuaNet (“CHINA EXPANDS ITS SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM”, 2008/08/01) reported that the PRC paid out 372.4 billion yuan (54.52 billion U.S. dollars) in old age pensions in the first half, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) announced. The figure was up 33.9 percent from the 278.2 billion yuan for the same period last year, said ministry spokesman Yin Chengji. More PRC were benefiting from the country’s social security service and the government’s expansion of its social security coverage, said Yin. By June, 210.29 million people were covered by basic urban pension insurance, up from 201.37 million at the same time last year.
16. PRC Energy
Xinhua Net (“CHINESE VICE PREMIER STRESSES COAL PRODUCTION, ELECTRICITY SUPPLY FOR OLYMPICS “, 2008/08/01) reported that PRC Vice Premier Li Keqiang stressed the importance of coal production and electricity supply during his recent inspection in the coal-rich northern Shanxi Province. Li, also member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said the sufficient energy supply was the pillar stone of stable economic development. He added that coal mines should strive for increasing supply under the precondition of work safety to guarantee the success of the coming Beijing Olympics and people’s daily consumption demand. Shanxi Province produced 630 million tonnes of coal in 2007, accounting for more than a quarter of the nation’s total output.
III. ROK Report
17. ROK Policy Toward DPRK
Heraldbiz (“70% OF NATION: ‘MB’s NORTH POLICY NOT BETTER THAN THE PARTICIPATORY GOVERNMENT'”, 2008/08/04) reported that close to 70% respondents to a poll said that “Lee, Myung-Bak government’s policy toward the North is not better than the Participatory Government’s.” 36.1% of survey respondents responded that Lee’s policy is not different, 33.9% said that it is worse.
Seoul Shinmun (Park Jae-gue, “SOUTH-NORTH COMMUNICATION IN NEED OF RESTORATION”, ) carried an article by the president of Kyungnam University and former Minister of Unification, who wrote that the next week will be a turning point for fulfillment of the DPRK nuclear agreement based on the principle of simultaneous action. Balanced development of DPRK-US relation and ROK-DPRK relations is most important for disbanding the cold-war edifice on the Korean Peninsula, and following that building a peace regime. Number of experts indicated that the Lee administration’s inordinate focus on differentiating themselves from the former government approach toward the DPRK causes problems. For South-North relationship improvement and development, the “framework for communication” has to be managed.