NAPSNet Daily Report 4 August, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US-DPRK Relations
- 2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Issue
- 3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 4. US on DPRK Terror List Status
- 5. US Sanctions on the DPRK
- 6. ROK Sanctions on the DPRK
- 7. ROK Aid to the DPRK
- 8. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
- 9. DPRK Counterfeiting Operations
- 10. DPRK Leadership
- 11. DPRK Economy
- 12. DPRK Book Fair
- 13. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 14. Japan Abduction Issue
- 15. US-ROK Security Alliance
- 16. ROK Space Program
- 17. US Missile Defense System
- 18. US-Japan Security Alliance
- 19. Japan Politics
- 20. Japan Climate Change
- 21. Sino-Indian Environmental Cooperation
- 22. Sino-Australian Relations
- 23. Cross Strait Relations
- 24. Cross Strait Energy Cooperation
- 25. PRC Security
- 26. PRC Plague Outbreak
- 27. PRC Civil Society and the Environment
- 28. PRC Nuclear Power
- 29. PRC Energy Supply
- II. PRC Report
1. US-DPRK Relations
Associated Press (Jean H. Lee, “BILL CLINTON VISITS COMMUNIST NORTH KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/08/04) reported that former U.S. President Bill Clinton made an unannounced visit to the DPRK on Tuesday. DPRK chief nuclear negotiator Kim Gye-gwan and a high-ranking parliamentary official met Clinton on the tarmac as he landed in an unmarked jet, footage from broadcaster APTN showed. The Korean Central News Agency confirmed Clinton’s visit with a brief dispatch but did not say who he would be meeting during his trip.
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “EX-U.S. PRESIDENT CLINTON IN N. KOREA, EXPECTED TO SEEK JOUNRALIST’S RELEASE”, Seoul, 2009/08/04) reported that diplomatic sources said Bil Clinton’s trip to the DPRK is intended to bring the detained US journalists back home. The sources said the DPRK will hand them over to Clinton as related talks have effectively been completed through Pyongyang’s diplomatic mission to the U.N. Clinton is expected to meet DPRK leader Kim Jong-il later Tuesday and fly out of the country as early as Wednesday, according to one of the sources.
2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Issue
The New York Times (“KOREAN CRISIS IS DIFFERENT THIS TIME”, 2009/08/03) reported that t he current crisis over the DPRK’s pursuit of nuclear weapons has unmistakable parallels with the events of spring 1994. Then, as now, the DPRK was plunging ahead to make bomb-grade plutonium at its nuclear complex in Yongbyon. There is, however, one key difference. In 1994, the United States was prepared to attack the DPRK nuclear complex, says Kim Young-sam, who was the ROK’s president at the time. That prospect prompted the ROK to reject any moves against the DPRK.
3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Agence France-Presse (“BUSH URGES UNIFIED WARNING AGAINST NORTH KOREA”, 2009/08/03) reported that former US president George W. Bush said the five nations involved in nuclear disarmament talks with the DPRK must send a unified warning against Pyongyang’s continued defiance. In a speech before a group of ROK business leaders here, Bush said “true verification” would be essential even if the communist state promised to dismantle its nuclear programmes in accordance with UN resolutions. “The five nations must send a unified message to North Korean leaders” that if they continue defying UN resolutions, there will be consequences including economic sanctions by the United Nations, Bush said.
4. US on DPRK Terror List Status
KBS News (“‘NO DECISION MADE ON NK’S DESIGNATION AS TERROR SPONSOR'”, 2009/08/04) reported that t he US State Department says no decision has been made on whether to list the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley told a news briefing that the US will continue to evaluate the DPRK in light of recent provocative moves, which include a nuclear test and missile launches. Crowley said an extensive legal review is required to determine whether a country is removed from or added to the terrorism sponsor list.
5. US Sanctions on the DPRK
JoongAng Ilbo (“NEW ANTI-NORTH BILL INTRODUCED IN U.S. CONGRESS”, Washington, 2009/08/03) reported that a new bill has been submitted to the United States Congress imposing an arms embargo on the DPRK. The North Korea Sanctions Act of 2009 calls on the Barack Obama administration to “impose certain sanctions on North Korea as a result of the detonation by that country of a nuclear explosive device on May 25, 2009” under the Arms Export Control Act. The AECA bans arms shipments to any countries if the exports “would contribute to an arms race, aid in the development of weapons of mass destruction, support international terrorism, increase the possibility of outbreak or escalation of conflict, or prejudice the development of bilateral or multilateral arms control or nonproliferation agreements or other arrangements.”
6. ROK Sanctions on the DPRK
Korea Herald (“SEOUL TO TIGHTEN FINANCIAL RULES TO FIGHT TERROR”, 2009/08/03) reported that the ROK is moving to strengthen measures to combat terrorism financing and money laundering, which observers say could target the DPRK, which faces international sanctions over its nuclear weapons programs and missile tests. According to sources at the Finance Ministry, the Seoul government has recently commissioned a study on ways to keep the nation’s counter-terrorism finance regulations in line with international standards.
7. ROK Aid to the DPRK
Yonhap News (“SELECTIVE GOV’T FUNDING FOR N. KOREA AID GROUPS CAUSES DIVISION, DISCONTENT”, Seoul , 2009/08/03) reported that the ROK authorized state funding for 10 DPRK aid organizations, resuming humanitarian operations that had been frozen since the DPRK conducted nuclear and rocket tests. But the rare softening move toward Pyongyang drew mixed reactions among aid organizations in Seoul, as 3.57 billion won (US$2.92 million) worth of funding will go to less than a quarter of 47 applicants. Some called the selection “arbitrary” and vowed to boycott it. “The government selected projects that are aimed at helping disadvantaged groups like toddlers and infants, mothers and the disabled on grounds that they contribute to the people’s livelihoods, their urgency and effects,” the Unification Ministry said.
8. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
Agence France Press (“N.KOREA AGREES TO STREAMLINE BORDER CROSSING”, 2009/08/03) reported that the DPRK has agreed to streamline rules for ROK visitors crossing the border to visit a Seoul-funded joint industrial site, officials said. The DPRK’s move stands in contrast to its stance since 2008, which has seen the DPRK toughening its control on South Koreans traveling to the Kaesong estate. The ROK’s Kaesong Industrial Complex Management Committee, which supervises the estate just north of the border, said visitors would no longer need to provide anything more than ID cards and travel permits.
9. DPRK Counterfeiting Operations
KBS News (“‘NK EMBASSY IN PAKISTAN INVOLVED IN SMUGGLING’”, 2009/08/03) reported that Pakistani media have reported on the local DPRK embassy’s alleged involvement in smuggling and illegal exchange of foreign currency. The Karachi-based Daily Sharafat Karachi said local intelligence authorities reported to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry that some of the DPRK’s embassies and legations abroad were involved in smuggling and illegal foreign exchange transactions. The intelligence report claimed Pyongyang’s embassy and its economy and trade mission conspired with local smugglers to illegally import liquor and other items from various locations including Dubai.
10. DPRK Leadership
Asia Times Online (Donald Kirk , “PYONGYANG PURGES FOR A NEW ERA”, 2009/08/03) reported that Kim Kye-gwan, the DPRK vice foreign minister with whom the United States’ Christopher Hill spent years cozying up when Hill was US nuclear envoy and assistant secretary of state for Asia and the Pacific, may have become a scapegoat for hardliners in the ascendancy in the DPRK. In the quest for people to blame for the DPRK’s flirtation with reconciliation with the United States and the ROK, they say, Kim would rank high on the list of those now viewed as “enemies”. A purge of those perceived as soft toward the US and ROK is to be expected, according to this analysis, while the DPRK’s intelligence and security agencies crack down with increasing ferocity on the slightest signs of discontent, much less dissent.
11. DPRK Economy
IFES NK Brief (“KIM JONG IL MAKE 83 PUBLIC APPEARANCES, 36% TO ECONOMICALLY SIGNIFICANT SITES”, 2009/08/03) reported that on July 28, Kim Jong Il made his 83rd public appearance for this year. He has been seen in public considerably more this year than in previous years. Of his 83 public visits, 28 have been to military facilities, 30 have been related to the economy, and 2 dealt with foreign relations. In 2009, 36 percent of on-site visits by Kim have been related to economic campaigns, surpassing the number of visits to military facilities and growing in comparison to previous years. Of the visits to economically significant sites, at least 40 percent have been to machinery or mechanization facilities, as the the DPRK promotes new technology and modernization of its industries.
NKeconWatch (“NOSOTEK”, 2009/08/01) reported that Nosotek is the first western IT joint-venture company in the DPRK. According to their web page: “In DPRK, software engineers are selected from the mathematics elite and learn programming from the ground-up, such as assembler to C+, but also Linux kernel and Visual Basic macros. Among them, Nosotek has attracted the cream of local talent as the only company in Pyongyang offering western working conditions and Internet access.”
12. DPRK Book Fair
Xinhua News (“INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE BOOK FAIR KICKS OFF IN PYONGYANG”, 2009/08/03) reported that an international architecture book fair kicked off drawing 24 publishers from seven countries and two international organizations. The book fair, first of its kind in the DPRK, will last until Wednesday. The exhibition will help the DPRK people know better about the history and achievements of architecture, recognize its trend in the new century and push forward the friendly cooperation between the DPRK and other countries, said Mun Jae Chol, acting chairman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, at the opening ceremony.
13. Sino-DPRK Relations
Xinhua News (“CPC DELEGATION LEAVES FOR VISIT TO DPRK”, Beijing, 2009/07/03) reported that a five-member delegation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) left for a goodwill visit to the DPRK. Led by Luo Shugang, deputy head of the Department of Publicity of the CPC Central Committee, the delegation was invited by the International Department of the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea.
14. Japan Abduction Issue
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN’S ASO SLAMS N.KOREA AS VOTE CAMPAIGN BEGINS”, Tokyo, 2009/08/03) reported that Prime Minister Taro Aso kicked off a campaigning tour ahead of this month’s general election by focusing on the issue of kidnappings of Japanese citizens by DPRK agents during the Cold War. “We have to take stern action” on the issue, Aso was quoted by Jiji Press as telling reporters after he was briefed by local police officials about how Megumi Yokota was kidnapped in 1977. “What party do you think can protect this country and people’s life? Please make a judgment based on policies,” Aso said.
15. US-ROK Security Alliance
Yonhap News (“U.S. SAYS NO PLAN TO WITHDRAW APACHES IN FORESEEABLE FUTURE”, 2009/08/03) reported that t he US military said it is unaware of any plan to withdraw its entire fleet of attack helicopters from the ROK in “the foreseeable future.” The statement by the US Forces Korea (USFK) and the Eighth United States Army (EUSA) came after local media reports that the US could pull out the Apaches here over the next several years. “The Apache battalion will remain on the Korean Peninsula for the foreseeable future. USFK and EUSA know of no plan for their departure,” the two top military commands said.
16. ROK Space Program
RIA Novosti (“SOUTH KOREA SET TO LAUNCH ITS FIRST CARRIER ROCKET ON AUG. 11”, 2009/08/03) reported that the ROK will launch its first carrier rocket from the Naro Space Center on August 11, the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said. The rocket will bear a small research satellite. The launch was originally planned for July 30, but Russian experts who took part in the development of the rocket asked for additional time to test and adjust on-board systems to ensure its success. “In the event of technical difficulties or bad weather the launch could be rescheduled for any date between Aug. 11 and Aug. 18,” Roscosmos said.
17. US Missile Defense System
DefenseNews (“AEGIS BMD TEST SUCCESSFUL”, 2009/08/03) reported that the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the US Navy carried out a successful ballistic missile defense (BMD) test July 30 near Hawaii, shooting down a ballistic missile target and performing several tracking and engineering tests. The firing event, dubbed Stellar Avenger, featured the destroyer Hopper, which used its Aegis BMD version 3.6 combat system to detect, track and engage a sub-scale, short-range ballistic missile target launched from the Kauai Test Facility.
18. US-Japan Security Alliance
The Associated Press (“JAPAN OPPOSITION SAYS IT’S READY TO STAND UP TO US”, 2009/08/03) reported that Japan ‘s main opposition party said that if it comes to power in this month’s elections it will confront the US on key military and diplomatic issues, but still regard it as the Asian nation’s most important ally. Katsuya Okada , the secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, says it is time for Japan to become more independent and assertive. Okada, who would likely have a key role in the new government if the opposition party takes power, criticized what he described as Japan’s obedience to Washington. “It’s like Japan hasn’t had its own diplomacy, or its own opinions,” he said at a briefing.
19. Japan Politics
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN OPPOSITION IN STRONG LEAD: POLL”, Tokyo, 2009/08/03) reported that Japan ‘s main opposition has maintained its strong lead over Prime Minister Taro Aso ‘s party ahead of parliamentary elections on August 30, according to a poll published Monday. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they intended to vote for the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) against 22 percent for the ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the Asashi Shimbun daily said.
20. Japan Climate Change
JCN Newswire (“JAPAN’S FIRST CORPORATE NETWORK DEALING WITH CLIMATE CHANGE FROM A BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE”, 2009/08/03) reported that Fujitsu today announced its participation in the Japan Climate Leaders’ Partnership (Japan-CLP). Japan-CLP is Japan’s first corporate network to look at climate change from a business perspective and be proactive at bringing about a sustainable, low-carbon society. Fujitsu views membership in this partnership as a way to strengthen its existing activities to create a prosperous, low-carbon society, as described in its “Green Policy 2020” mid-term environmental vision, and to deliver results from these activities to its customers.
21. Sino-Indian Environmental Cooperation
PTI (“INDIA, CHINA TO COOPERATE OVER HIMALAYAN GLACIERS: JAIRAM RAMESH”, London, 2009/08/03) reported that “We are talking to the Chinese about monitoring the Himalayan glaciers,” Ramesh told the Financial Times. However, he said India would not allow PRC scientists “to climb all over India’s glaciers” but wanted a collaborative research programme.and the PRC are in talks to monitor the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas, a border region crucial to both countries’ water supplies, minister for environment Jairam Ramesh has said.
22. Sino-Australian Relations
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA URGES AUSTRALIA TO RESPECT LAW OVER RIO CASE”, 2009/08/03) reported that a top PRC official has called on Canberra to respect the PRC ‘s legal system, saying a mining executive held in Shanghai would have broken Australian law if his alleged crimes had occurred here. The PRC’s Vice Foreign Minister , Liu Jieyu, who is visiting Australia , defended his government’s highly-contentious arrest of Hu and urged Canberra not to interfere in the case. “The facts of the case would constitute a violation of Australian laws were the facts (to) happen here in Australia,” Liu told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation .
23. Cross Strait Relations
Bloomberg News (“CHINA MUST REMOVE MISSILES FOR TAIWAN THAW, MA SAYS”, 2009/08/03) reported that Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said the PRC must stop targeting the island with hundreds of missiles to extend the deepest thaw in relations in six decades. “People feel uneasy if we go to the negotiating table on security issues while still under the threat of missile attack,” Ma, 59, said in an interview today in Taipei. While ties with the PRC are “good and getting better,” missiles are “very much on the mind” of the island’s people, he said.
24. Cross Strait Energy Cooperation
The Associated Press (“TAIWAN, CHINA OIL FIRMS TO SEEK UNDERSEA RESERVES”, 2009/08/03) reported that flagship oil firms from the PRC and Taiwan will explore again for oil and gas in the Taiwan Strait from September, an official from the Taiwan side said on Saturday. Taiwan’s state-run CPC Corp and the PRC’s CNOOC Ltd plan to drill on a tract covering 15,000 square km of the Strait, Hsu Yung-yao, CPC’s acting CEO of exploration and production, said. “The area is really big, and we think the odds of finding natural gas are pretty high,” he said.
25. PRC Security
Xinhua News (“PUBLIC SECURITY MINISTRY CARRYING OUT MASSIVE GRASSROOTS TRAINING PROGRAM”, 2009/08/03) reported that the PRC ‘s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) is carrying out a large-scale training of heads of public security agencies under the county level, in an effort to improve grassroots police capability, sources with the ministry said Monday. The massive nationwide rotational training will go on till June 2010, with each session taking 10 days. The program follows immediately similar sessions for the heads of county-level public security bureaus and provincial police spokespersons.
26. PRC Plague Outbreak
Washington Post (Ariana Eunjung Cha, “CHINA SEALS OFF TOWN AFTER SECOND PLAGUE DEATH”, 2009/08/03) reported that PRC authorities sealed off a remote town in northwestern PRC after three people died of pneumonic plague and eight others were infected with the highly contagious lung disease. The Qinghai province health bureau said a 32-year-old herdsman and his 37-year-old neighbor in Ziketan, a Tibetan town of 10,000, have died. A doctor at a nearby hospital where patients are being treated said a third victim, who is 64, died about 6:40 a.m. Monday. He said an additional 13 people are being quarantined at the hospital for observation.
27. PRC Civil Society and the Environment
Reuters (“ACTIVISTS CHEER CHINA’S PLAN TO MOVE REFINERY”, 2009/08/03) reported that the PRC’s decision to shift the location of a planned $5 billion oil refinery and petrochemical plant in the south after years of public outcry is a sign that environmental concerns can shape policy. Wang Yang, the Communist Party chief of Guangdong, said the province would move the plant to an unnamed location because of opposition from the community and lawmakers. The project is a joint venture between China’s Sinopec Corp. and Kuwait Petroleum Corporation. “The decision by the government shows that they do consider the opinions from different stakeholders across the region, which is a positive sign,” said Edward Chan, a Greenpeace campaign manager based in Hong Kong.
28. PRC Nuclear Power
People’s Daily Online (“CONSTRUCTION OF CHINA’S FIRST INLAND NUCLEAR POWER PLANT TO START IN 2010”, 2009/08/03) reported that o n July 31, two AP1000 nuclear power projects were approved by central PRC’s Hubei Province. In addition, the Hubei provincial government reached an agreement with the PRC Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG) to further promote the development of Hubei’s nuclear power industry. Hubei Xianning nuclear power plant is expected to become the PRC’s first inland nuclear power project. The main part of the project is due to start construction in the second half of 2010.
29. PRC Energy Supply
Xinhua News (“CHINA BUILDS WIND ENERGY OBSERVATION NETWORK”, 2009/08/03) reported that the PRC has established a national network to observe wind power, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said Monday. The newly-operational network consists of 400 anemometer towers, ranging in height from 70 meters to 120 meters, CMA deputy director Jiao Meiyan said. It was essential to ascertain the wind’s strength in various places before development to harness its power, he said. The location of a power station should be based on exploitable capacity of the wind there.
Caijing Magazine (“CNPC PUMPING UP MIDDLE EAST AMBITIONS”, 2009/08/03) reported that China National Petroleum Corp’s successful bid to provide technical services to the Rumaila oil field highlights the PRC’s ambitions in Iraq, where profit will be secondary to establishing a local presence for leverage in future resource deals. A senior executive in charge of CNPC’s overseas business told Caijing that the company’s intention is not to make excessive profits overseas. He noted that the company is a “rookie” in terms of overseas projects and evaluates Rumaila’s success on the basis of expanding the PRC’s access to potential reserves.
II. PRC Report
30. PRC Civil Society
Legal Net (“CHINA RECEIVES 13.13 BILLION YUAN CHARITABLE DONATIONS IN FIRST HALF”, 2009/08/03) reported that the PRC’s government and charity organizations received 13.13 billion yuan in donations in the first half. Funds and material donations from outside the PRC accounted for 31.1 percent of the total, said a report jointly issued by the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the China Charity and Donation Information Center recently.
31. PRC Public Health
Guangzhou Daily (Ren Shanshan, “CHINA LAUNCHES NATIONAL SURVEY ON DIAGNOSIS OF OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE”, 2009/08/03) reported that China is to survey the sector in charge of diagnosing occupational diseases to improve administration and rectify problems, the Ministry of Health said Friday. The survey aims to uncover problems in diagnosis and appraisal of occupational disease relating to criteria, procedure, administration, personnel and funding.