NAPSNet Daily Report 4 February, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US on DPRK Missile Program
- 2. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. PRC on Inter-Korean Relations
- 4. DPRK-UK Relations
- 5. DPRK Food Supply
- 6. DPRK Refugees
- 7. ROK Economy
- 8. ROK-US Trade Relations
- 9. Japan in Afghanistan
- 10. Japan in Iraq
- 11. Japan on Iranian Nuclear Program
- 12. Japan SDF Anti-Piracy Operations
- 13. Japan-Peru Trade Relations
- 14. Japan Whaling Issue
- 15. Russo-Japan Relations
- 16. PRC Military
- 17. PRC Environment
- 18. PRC Earthquake
- 19. PRC Arms Trade
- 20. PRC Climate Change
- 21. PRC Bird Flu
- 22. PRC Migrant Labor
- 23. PRC Energy Supply
- II. PRC Report
1. US on DPRK Missile Program
Yonhap News Service (Hwang Doo-hyong, “U.S. WARNS DPRK NOT TO PROVOKE WITH MISSILE LAUNCH”, Washington, 2009/02/03) reported that the United States Tuesday warned DPRK not to test fire a ballistic missile, saying any such launch would be a provocation. “A ballistic missile launch by North Korea would be unhelpful and, frankly, provocative,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said in a daily news briefing. “North Korea’s missile activities and, you know, its missile programs are of concern to the region. There’s no secret there.”
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Associated Press (“DPRK URGED TO TAKE ACTION AFTER DISARMAMENT DEADLINE SLIPS”, Seoul, 2009/02/03) reported that the DPRK failed to meet a Saturday deadline to shut down and seal its Yongbyon nuclear reactor. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said Washington was prepared “to hold on for a few more days” after his PRC counterpart, Wu Dawei, asked the U.S. for patience during talks. “We’re not happy that the DPRK essentially has missed this very important deadline,” Hill told reporters Sunday in Beijing. The U.S. sent a message to the DPRK through its embassy in PRC urging it to fulfill commitments.
3. PRC on Inter-Korean Relations
Xinhua News (“PRC URGES IMPROVED RELATIONS ON KOREAN PENINSULA THROUGH PEACEFUL DIALOGUE”, Beijing, 2009/02/03) reported that PRC urged the DPRK and ROK Tuesday to improve bilateral ties through dialogue and promote reconciliation and cooperation. “As a neighbor of the Korean Peninsula, China always hopes that both sides of the peninsula can improve relations through dialogue and push forward conciliation and cooperation,” said Jiang Yu, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. “We hope that the relevant parties can coordinate and work together to bring the talks to a new stage,” Jiang said.
4. DPRK-UK Relations
North Korean Economy Watch (Michael Rank, “NORTH KOREAN PARTY DELEGATION VISITS BRITAIN AMID HOPES FOR RESTART OF DIALOGUE”, London, 2009/02/03) reported that Britain is hosting the first ever delegation from the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) amid hopes that this will help to restart a dialogue between Pyongyang and the European Union on human rights, denuclearisation and other issues and lead to transfers of renewable energy technology to the DPRK. Labour Party member of the European Parliament (MEP) Glyn Ford, one of Europe’s top DPRK experts, told NKEW that he was pressing the delegation to agree to reopen the dialogue that was broken off in 2005.
Yonhap News Service (“DPRK REPORTS BRITISH LAWMAKERS’ ARRIVAL, MUM ON U.S. EXPERTS”, Seoul, 2009/02/03) reported that a British parliamentary delegation arrived in Pyongyang Tuesday, the DPRK’s news agency said, in a visit coinciding with a rare trip by a U.S. team of former government officials and experts. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) made no mention of the expected arrival of the U.S. group.
5. DPRK Food Supply
Xinhua News (“DPRK TOP LEADER CALLS FOR BOOSTING AGRICULTURE “, 2009/02/03) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong Il called on the people to make efforts to boost agricultural production, the official KCNA news agency said. Improving the agriculture industry is one of the most important tasks in building a great, prosperous and powerful nation, Kim said while visiting a farm in South Hamgyong Province .
6. DPRK Refugees
Yonhap News Service (“ARMY OFFICER ARRESTED ON CORRUPTION CHARGES LINKED TO DPRK DEFECTORS”, Seoul, 2009/02/03) reported that an ROK army officer has been indicted by the military prosecution on charges of corruption linked to his past duty involving DPRK defectors, an official said Tuesday. The lieutenant colonel, identified only by his surname Cho, is believed to have received a total of 26 million won (US$18,700) from defectors and brokers, the defense ministry official said, requesting anonymity.
7. ROK Economy
JoongAng Ilbo (Kim Ki-chan, “MULTI-SECTOR CRISIS GROUP FORMED”, 2009/02/04) reported that leaders from business, government, labor, civic and religious communities announced yesterday that they will work together to overcome the economic crisis and tightening job market. They announced the establishment of an Emergency Measures Conference under Seoul’s Economic and Social Development Commission to effectively communicate with each other. “This economic crisis is likely to continue for a long time, and will affect the already deteriorating employment market. It is now time for economic and social leaders to work together to tackle the crisis,” the group declared in a statement.
8. ROK-US Trade Relations
Reuters (“OBAMA AND ROK’S LEE VOW TO FIGHT PROTECTIONISM”, Seoul, 2009/02/03) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed on Tuesday to fight against trade protectionism, as legislatures in both countries prepare to battle over a bilateral free trade deal.
9. Japan in Afghanistan
Associated Press (“JAPAN TO EXTEND $300 MIL. TO AFGHANISTAN”, Tokyo, 2009/02/03) reported that Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone told his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta over the phone Tuesday that Japan will provide about $300 million to the war-torn country, Japanese officials said. Japan has decided to provide the aid given the unstable security situation in Afghanistan and serious food shortages there, they said.
10. Japan in Iraq
Asahi Shimbun (Toru Tamakawa, “JAPAN TO SET UP AID OFFICE IN NORTH IRAQ”, 2009/02/02) reported that to establish a foothold for providing greater development assistance to Iraq, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will dispatch full-time Japanese staff members to the northern part of the nation as early as this month.
11. Japan on Iranian Nuclear Program
Kyodo (“JAPAN AGREES TO CHAIR U.N. SANCTIONS COMMITTEE ON IRAN: SOURCES”, New York, 2009/02/03) reported that Japan has accepted a request from the United States, Britain and France to chair a U.N. Sanctions Committee on Iran, U.N. diplomatic sources said Tuesday. Japan once told other Security Council members that it was not interested in chairing the Sanctions Committee on Iran but accepted the request after they told Japan that there were expectations for Japan’s positive commitment on the Iranian nuclear issue, the sources said. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice met with her Japanese counterpart Yukio Takasu at the end of January and asked for Japan’s ”maximum” support on the Iranian issue.
12. Japan SDF Anti-Piracy Operations
Xinhua (“JAPAN TO DISPATCH 2 DESTROYERS ON ANTI-PIRACY MISSION”, 2009/02/03) reported that Japan ‘s Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) said that it will dispatch two destroyers on an anti-piracy mission off Somalia once receiving the order from the defense minister. To be sent on the mission are the 4,650-ton Sazanami and 4,550-ton Samidare of the 8th Escort Division of the 4th Escort Flotilla in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, the MSDF said.
13. Japan-Peru Trade Relations
Kyodo News (“JAPAN, PERU TO ENTER FTA TALKS: NEGOTIATION SOURCES”, Tokyo, 2009/02/03) reported that Japan and Peru are set to agree later this month to launch preliminary talks on a bilateral free trade agreement, negotiation sources said Tuesday. The agreement is scheduled to be reached when Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde and Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Mercedes Araoz visit Japan in the final week of February. Japan is hoping Peru will scrap or sharply reduce its duties on automobiles, while Peru wants to expand its access to Japan’s farm and fishery markets.
14. Japan Whaling Issue
The Times Online (Richard Lloyd Parry, “WHALERS ATTACKED US WITH ‘SOUND GUNS’ CLAIM CONSERVATIONISTS”, Tokyo, 2009/02/03) reported that environmentalists accused Japanese whalers of attacking them with high-tech “sound guns” in the latest round of their annual stand-off in the frozen seas off the Antarctic. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said that crew members of the whaler Nisshin Maru used the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) against rubber launches attempting to disrupt their yearly hunt in the Southern Ocean. The devices can cause nausea, disorientation and hearing damage.
15. Russo-Japan Relations
Mainichi (“RUSSIA REFUSED TO CUT RED TAPE FOR JAPANESE HUMANITARIAN MISSION TO NORTHERN TERRITORIES”, Moscow, 2009/02/04) reported that the Russian government never gave a formal response to a request from local authorities to exempt a Japanese delegation bringing humanitarian aid to people living in the Northern Territories off Hokkaido from providing disembarkation cards. Igor Koval, head of the Yuzhno-Kurilsk district on Kunashiri Island, said that he asked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to waive the disembarkation cards for the delegation, but he never received a formal response. Koval said he intended to dispatch their own ship to receive the supplies being kept in Hokkaido.
16. PRC Military
Agence France Press (“CHINA INCREASES SUBMARINE PATROLS – REPORT”, Washington, 2009/02/03) reported that the PRC nearly doubled the number of patrols by its fleet of attack submarines last year, surpassing Russia but still far behind the United States, the Federation of American Scientists reported. The report, based on declassified information provided by US naval intelligence , said PRC attack submarines conducted 12 patrols in 2008, compared to seven in 2007, two in 2006 and none in 2005. “While the increase in submarine patrols is important, it has to be seen in comparison with the size of the Chinese submarine fleet,” said Hans Kristensen, director of the organization’s nuclear information project.
17. PRC Environment
United Press International (“N. PRC PROVINCE ISSUES DROUGHT RED ALERT”, Zhengzhou, PRC, 2009/02/03) reported that PRC’s major grain producing province of Henan has issued a red alert for drought, saying the current dry spell is the worst since 1951. Provincial officials say the drought has affected about 63 percent of its 13 million acres of wheat, the state-run PRC news agency Xinhua reported Tuesday. Anhui Province has issued a red drought alert, forecasting a major dry spell that will affect more than 60 percent of the wheat crops north of the Huaihe River if no rain falls by next week. Shanxi Province, where nearly 1 million people and 160,000 head of livestock were facing water shortages, was placed on orange drought alert Jan. 21. Other provinces such as Shaanxi, Shandong, Hebei and Jiangsu are also reeling from drought, officials said.
18. PRC Earthquake
Agence France Press (Malcolm Moore, “PRC EARTHQUAKE MAY HAVE BEEN MAN-MADE, SAY SCIENTISTS”, Shanghai, 2009/02/03) reported that the 511ft-high Zipingpu dam holds 315 million tonnes of water and lies just 550 yards from the fault line, and three miles from the epicentre, of the Sichuan earthquake. Now scientists in PRC and the U.S. believe the weight of water, and the effect of it penetrating into the rock, could have affected the pressure on the fault line underneath, possibly unleashing a chain of ruptures that led to the quake. Fan Xiao, the chief engineer of the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau in Chengdu, said it was “very likely” that the construction and filling of the reservoir in 2004 had led to the disaster. “There have been many cases in which a water reservoir has triggered an earthquake,” said Mr Fan. “This earthquake was very unusual for this area.
19. PRC Arms Trade
People’s Daily Online (“PRC TO CONTROL IMPORT-EXPORT OF TECHNOLOGIES WITH POTENTIAL MILITARY APPLICATION”, 2009/02/03) reported that to ensure national security and the public interest of society, as well as fulfilling international obligations such as nonproliferation, anti-terrorism and counter-narcotics, PRC will strictly control imports and exports of items and technologies that can be used for both civilian and military purposes, an official from the Ministry of Commerce said on February 2.
20. PRC Climate Change
Business Green (Tom Young, “PRC LOWERS EXPECTATIONS OF COPENHAGEN DEAL”, Beijing, 2009/02/03) reported that PRC Premier Wen Jiabao has lowered expectations that PRC would commit to a cap in carbon emissions. While emphasizing the work that PRC is already doing to cut emissions, Wen said his country’s relative economic immaturity made it harder to commit to internationally binding targets.
21. PRC Bird Flu
Bloomberg (Simeon Bennett and Theresa Tang, “PRC HAS BIRD FLU OUTBREAK, HONG KONG ADVISER SAYS”, 2009/02/03) reported that PRC has suffered an outbreak of bird flu among poultry even though the mainland government has yet to report such an incident, said Lo Wing-Lok, a Hong Kong government adviser on infectious diseases. “There’s no doubt of an outbreak of bird flu in China, though the government hasn’t admitted it,” Lo said in a telephone interview today.
22. PRC Migrant Labor
China Daily (“DEPUTIES CALL FOR GUARANTEE OF JOBS FOR MIGRANT WORKERS”, 2009/02/03) reported that t he municipal government should set aside certain employment vacancies for migrant job seekers after the Spring Festival holiday, three migrant worker deputies to the city’s people’s congress suggested. With the worldwide financial crisis showing no signs of slowing down, migrant workers returning home are worried about losing their jobs after coming back from the holiday, according to Zhang Xiongwei, Hong Gang and Pan Aifang, the three people elected to represent the city’s five million migrant workers before the local legislative body.
23. PRC Energy Supply
China Daily (“NUKE POWER CAPACITY SET TO INCREASE”, 2009/02/03) reported that the country is poised to revise its energy development plans by nearly doubling its nuclear power capacity in the next decade, energy authorities have said. The revision is still awaiting approval from the State Council, the Chinese-language 21st Century Business Herald yesterday cited sources close to the National Energy Administration (NEA) as saying. NEA head Zhang Guobao last year said the country would raise the share of nuclear power in the national energy mix for 2020 from 4 percent, as set in 2006, to 5 percent. The target capacity for nuclear power was set at 40 GW by 2020.
II. PRC Report
24. PRC Environment
Yunnan Television Network (“44 ENTERPRISES RAISE FUND TO CONSTRUCT SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT”, 2009/02/03) reported that according to the environmental protection principal “polluter pays”, 44 enterprises in Panlong District of Hunming city of Yunnan province have raised fund of more than 1 million RMB, and completed a small sewage treatment plant totally worth of 1.8 million RMB, by cooperating with the government As at yesterday, the city’s first fund-raising sewage treatment plant has operated normally for a month, with a daily treatment capacity of 400 tons.
Xinhua Net (“XINJIANG TO INVEST 75 MILLION RMB FOR REHABILITATION OF ECOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT OF BOSTEN LAKE”, 2009/02/02) reported that to stop the water of Bosten Lake growing “salty”, Xinjing province plans to invest 75 million RMB to rehabilitate the ecological environment of this the PRC’s largest inland freshwater lake. Of the 75 million RMB, central finance will give 30 million, and the others come form the local government. This project will be formally started in 2009.
25. PRC Civil Society
Orient Net (“BILL GATES TO URGE CHINA WEALTHY PEOPLE TO DO MORE IN CHARITY”, 2009/02/03) reported that the world’s richest full-time philanthropist, the former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates said recently at a press conference of Davos World Economy Forum that he would launch a campaign to encourage those most wealthy PRC people to engage in charitable act. He said he would come to the PRC and have a heart-to-heart talk with them.