NAPSNet Daily Report 4 June, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Missile Program
- 2. US on DPRK Nuclear Issue
- 3. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 4. US Military in the ROK
- 5. Russia on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 6. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 7. Inter-Korean Maritime Border
- 8. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 9. Inter-Korean Relations
- 10. DPRK Leadership
- 11. DPRK Aid
- 12. ROK-Vietnamese Energy Cooperation
- 13. US-Japan Security Alliance
- 14. Japan Space Program
- 15. Japan Politics
- 16. Japan Climate Change
- 17. Sino-Japanese Development Cooperation
- 18. Sino-Japanese Economic Relations
- 19. Cross Strait Relations
- 20. US on Cross Strait Relations
- 21. Sino-US Environmental Cooperation
- 22. US-PRC Relations
- 23. PRC Investments in Australia
- 24. PRC Protest
- 25. PRC Security
- 26. PRC Economy
- 27. PRC Energy Supply
- 28. PRC Environment
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Missile Program
Agence France Press (“N.KOREA STARTS ASSEMBLING LONG-RANGE MISSILE: REPORT”, 2009/06/03) reported that the DPRK appears to have begun assembling a missile believed capable of striking US soil, a report said. The DPRK is believed to have started putting together a long-range missile that may be a modified version of the Taepodong-2 which it fired over Japan in April. Although the missile is being kept under covers, “the length of its propulsion rocket seems to be longer than the last one fired in April although its shape looks similar,” it quoted a government source as saying.
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Issue
Korea Herald (“N.K. FINANCIAL SANCTIONS ARE STILL ON TABLE”, 2009/06/03) reported that the USand the ROK are not ruling out the possibility of imposing financial sanctions on the DPRK as punishment for its latest nuclear test, US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said. “We discussed a range of options. As you know, there are discussions in New York to look at the kinds of action to take. I don’t want to rule in or rule out specifics right now, except to say that here, we’re focused less on specific actions that can be taken, and more on our long-term strategy and how to proceed,” Steinberg said. A draft resolution submitted to the United Nations Security Council by the US calls for new sanctions including a freeze on overseas DPRK assets and denying the communist nation access to international banking and financial services.
3. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Chosun Ilbo (“SENIOR U.S. OFFICIAL BELIEVES N.KOREA WILL RETURN TO 6-PARTY TALKS”, 2009/06/03) reported that a high-ranking US government official believes the DPRK will return to the six-party nuclear talks as its leadership succession protocol comes to an end. The official was speaking at a conference in Washington D.C. on Korea-U.S. relations under the Obama administration hosted by the Chosun Ilbo and the U.S. Center for Strategic & International Studies better known as CSIS. T he senior official claimed it could be through these talks that the DPRK seeks a bilateral exchange with the U.S.
Bloomberg (“NORTH KOREA TO SEE NEED FOR TALKS, U.S. OFFICIALS SAY”, 2009/06/03) reported that U.S. Special Representative on the DPRK Stephen Bosworth said today the DPRK will come to realize that dialogue is in its best interests. “I don’t think it’s useful to try to persuade them to do what they don’t want to do,” Bosworth said. “In the end they will see that having dialogue is in their interest.”
4. US Military in the ROK
DongA Ilbo (“US GEN. REITERATES DEFENSIVE READINESS VS. NK ATTACK”, 2009/06/03) reported that the deputy commander of US forces in the ROK said that the US Air Force stationed in the ROK is fully ready to suppress and defeat DPRK aggression. Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Remington said this in an exclusive interview with The Dong-A Ilbo at his office in Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. “The Korea-U.S. Combined Air Force is so strong that it can tackle any threat, not to mention aggression by the North Korean air force,” he said.
5. Russia on DPRK Nuclear Test
Reuters (Guy Faulconbridge and Jack Kim, “RUSSIA MAY BACK NEW SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA”, 2009/06/03) reported that Russia has suggested that it may back economic sanctions against the DPRK to persuade Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear arms program. “We support those proposals which have been made — to accept a new, rather serious resolution that condemns what has happened, and to think of introducing certain mechanisms to deter those programs which are being carried out, including by influencing economic processes,” he told US television station CNBC .
6. Sino-DPRK Relations
China Daily (Zhang Haizhou and Zhang Xin, “CHINA PLAYS DOWN DPRK VISIT DELAY”, 2009/06/03) reported that the PRC has postponed a senior official’s visit to the DPRK, but Beijing’s policy toward Pyongyang has not changed, the Foreign Ministry said. Chen Zhili, vice-chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, had been scheduled to visit the DPRK this month, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular briefing. But “Chen has postponed the visit to the DPRK due in early June because of the schedule at home”, Qin said. “We are as busy as we were, in general,” Xie Bo, head of the embassy’s political department, told China Daily.
7. Inter-Korean Maritime Border
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA TO DEPLOY FIGHTER JETS IF NORTH KOREA PROVOKES IN YELLOW SEA”, Seoul, 2009/06/03) reported that the ROK will not refrain from launching a fleet of advanced fighter jets to retaliate against the DPRK if the DPRK provokes an armed conflict along their western sea border, its Air Force said. Tension runs high in the Yellow Sea after the DPRK warned last week it will not guarantee the safety of US and ROK naval vessels operating near the Northern Limit Line (NLL). “F-15Ks will lead the operation if North Korea makes an armed provocation along the NLL,” it said, adding KF-16s, F-4s and F-5s will also be deployed.
8. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
The Hankyoreh (“TENANT COMPANIES ARE MOVING OUT OF KAESONG”, 2009/06/03) reported that with tensions between the ROK and the DPRK heightening following the DPRK’s second nuclear test and the ROK’s decision to participate fully in the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) on weapons of mass destruction, a number of businesses have been pulling out of the Kaesong (Gaeseong) Industrial Complex. It was confirmed that some of the tenant companies have been moving facilities south to prepare for a possible closure of the complex, while others have been looking at relocating production bases overseas in countries like Vietnam and Indonesia.
9. Inter-Korean Relations
Korea Times (Do Je-hae, “SOUTH KOREANS INDIFFERENT TO NK THREAT”, 2009/06/03) reported that the DPRK is determined to prove its nuclear capacity to the world and inter-Korean relations are at their worst in recent years, but South Koreans are seemingly indifferent to what some perceive as signs of serious military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula. Despite extensive media coverage of the North’s May 25 nuclear test, coupled with a series of short-range missile launches, life is business-as-usual for most Koreans. That is because South Koreans are now quite used to threats from the DPRK, according to Prof. Koh Yu-hwan of Dongguk University in Seoul. Also, indifference to the DPRK’s military threats is in part due to an established ROK perception that the DPRK is not in a position to start a war, the professor said.
10. DPRK Leadership
Chosun Ilbo (“TELEGRAM CONFIRMS KIM JONG-IL SUCCESSOR”, 2009/06/03) reported that DPRK authorities sent a telegram to several DPRK missions overseas to notify them that Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il’s third son, was chosen after the DPRK’s nuclear test on May 25 to succeed as the leader, members of the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee quoted National Intelligence Service officers as saying. A senior government official said, “We’ve obtained intelligence from some countries that maintain diplomatic relations with both Koreas, but not a copy of the telegram itself.”
Washington Times (“KIM SUCCESSION REPORTS VIEWED SKEPTICALLY”, 2009/06/03) reported that the DPRK appears to be accelerating a process of succession to ailing leader Kim Jong-il, although ROK media reports that Mr. Kim’s third son has officially been named appear premature. However, there has been no official announcement from Pyongyang, which is a source of skepticism among some analysts. Kim Jong-un’s name has not cropped up in official propaganda and — in defiance of predictions of many in South Korea — he was not named on any ballots in the March elections to Pyongyangs Supreme Peoples Assembly, a rubber-stamp parliament. There were unconfirmed reports, however, that he has been named to the National Defense Commission, the most powerful body in the country.
Japan Times (“PYONGYANG PURGE SEEN SPEEDING HELM CHANGE”, 2009/06/04) reported that as speculation mounts that DPRK leader Kim Jong Il has selected third son Kim Jong Un to succeed him, information obtained Wednesday suggested a purge has begun of people close to Kim Jong Nam, the dictator’s first son and former heir apparent to the hermit regime. According to information obtained by Kansai University professor Lee Young Hwa through Japanese intelligence sources, the political purge has so far targeted former schoolmates and close aides of Kim Jong Nam, 38.
11. DPRK Aid
Yonhap News (“UNICEF AID FLOWING STEADY IN N. KOREA: PYONGYANG CHIEF”, Seoul, 2009/06/03) reported that the UN children’s agency said its humanitarian aid operations in the DPRK remain steady amid diplomatic tensions, and that Pyongyang will soon sign an agreement to allow a nationwide nutritional survey. “The situation with regard to access and monitoring is the same as it has been in the past,” Gopalan Balagopal, UNICEF representative in Pyongyang, said in an email interview. “UNICEF undertakes regular field visits to monitor progress of work and holds periodic review meetings with counterparts,” he said.
12. ROK-Vietnamese Energy Cooperation
JoongAng Daily (“KOREA TO DEVELOP OIL AND GAS FIELDS OFF VIETNAM”, 2009/06/03) reported that the ROK said it will pursue a joint mineral exploration project with Vietnam in waters off the Southeast Asian country’s shores. An agreement on the venture calls for the state-run Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources and the Vietnam Administration for Seas and Islands to search for potential offshore resources, Seoul’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy said. The 15-1 field produces 120,000 barrels of oil and gas per day, with ROK companies entitled to 27,700 of those. The 11-2 field generates 40,000 barrels on average every day with 75 percent belonging to ROK developers.
13. US-Japan Security Alliance
Kyodo News (“OKINAWA GOV. SEEKS RETURN OF CONTROL OVER DRILL ZONE FOR U.S. TROOPS”, Naha, 2009/06/03) reported that Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima visited a shooting and bombing drill zone for US troops in the southern prefecture Wednesday and reiterated his demand that control of the area be returned to Japan at an early date. Nakaima inspected the drill zone on and around the uninhabited island of Torishima on a boat from about 100 meters offshore and found what he believed to be numerous splintered shells scattered on a beach.
14. Japan Space Program
The Asahi Shimbun (“SPACE PLAN TO DOUBLE SATELLITE LAUNCHES”, 2009/06/03) reported that the government set a target of doubling the pace of satellite launches to 34 over the next five years. In the field of security, the plan called for adding one information-gathering satellite (IGS) to the three currently in operation. Four IGSs will make it possible to view any point on Earth at least once a day. On the pending issue of an early warning satellite to detect a ballistic missile launch from space, the plan only called for further “research on sensors” and stopped short of going into specifics.
15. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (Anna Kitanaka, “JAPAN LDP DELAYS BAN ON LAWMAKERS INHERITING SEATS, KYODO SAYS”, 2009/06/03) reported that Japan ’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party delayed a plan to ban candidates from inheriting parliamentary seats until after the next election, Kyodo News reported , citing unidentified party officials. The LDP failed to agree on the rule that would prevent politicians’ relatives from inheriting electoral districts, support groups and fundraising machines, the report, carried in the Japan Times, said. The postponement clears the way for Shinjiro Koizumi, son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi , to run as the party’s candidate in his father’s constituency, the report said.
16. Japan Climate Change
Kyodo News (“ENVIRONMENT MINISTER SAYS 7% CO2 CUT FOR 2020 ‘NOT AMBITIOUS ENOUGH'”, Tokyo, 2009/06/03) reported that Environment Minister Tetsuo Saito said he believes a plan to slash Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels is ”not ambitious enough” and that the nation should be able to achieve a 15 percent cut. In an interview with Kyodo News, Saito said political will and appropriate policies would enable Tokyo to realize cuts of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases by 15 percent, although a 7 percent reduction was supported by 45.4 percent of respondents in a government opinion poll released in late May.
17. Sino-Japanese Development Cooperation
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA, JAPAN TO TEAM UP ON DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS”, 2009/06/03) reported that Japan and the PRC will jointly provide financial support for development projects in poorer Asian countries in what will be the first such tie-up between the regional giants, a report said. A memorandum of understanding on the programme will be inked when top officials from the two economic powerhouses meet for talks in Tokyo, the Nikkei economic daily said without naming its sources. It would be the first arrangement between Japan and the PRC under which they jointly provide development assistance to third countries.
18. Sino-Japanese Economic Relations
People’s Daily Online (“JAPAN BECOMES CHINA’S 2ND FDI SOURCE”, 2009/06/03) reported that by the end of April this year, the cumulative value of direct investment made by Japanese enterprises in the PRC reached 66.68 billion USD, making Japan the PRC’s second largest source of foreign investment. This is according to Commerce Minister Chen Deming, who commented at a news briefing for the second PRC-Japan economic high-level dialogue on June 2. PRC enterprises have taken initial and active steps to invest in Japan as well, with a group of strong PRC enterprises having entered the Japanese market.
19. Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN MULLS HALVING TROOPS ON ISLANDS NEAR CHINA – REPORT”, Taipei, 2009/06/03) reported that Taiwan is planning to halve the number of troops deployed on three island groups near the PRC, a report said, amid easing tensions between the once bitter rivals. The military is considering reducing the number of soldiers stationed on the Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu islands to fewer than 10,000, the Liberty Times said, citing unnamed top military officials. The move is aimed at making up for a shortage of ground troops defending the main Taiwan island following recent downsizing of the armed forces, the report said.
20. US on Cross Strait Relations
United Press International (“CHINA REMINDS U.S. ON TAIWAN”, 2009/06/03) reported that the PRC urged the US not to create a “two Chinas” situation during Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou ‘s US visit en route to Central America. “We noticed relevant reports, and hope the U.S. side handles the Taiwan issue carefully and properly so as to avoid creating a scenario of ‘two Chinas’ or ‘one China and one Taiwan’,” PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said .
21. Sino-US Environmental Cooperation
China Daily (“PELOSI UPBEAT ON US-CHINA CLIMATE COOPERATION”, 2009/06/03) reported that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday expressed high hopes of cooperation between the United State and the PRC ahead of key climate change talks. “We did see that the Chinese government knows that they have to do something,” Pelosi told a news conference. “It may not be exactly what the United States does in terms of climate change, but it is clear that we have to have some kind of bipartisan agreement on how we negotiate with the other countries who will be participating in Copenhagen.”
22. US-PRC Relations
Agence France Press (“US CONGRESS CALLS ON CHINA TO FREE TIANANMEN PRISONERS”, Washington, 2009/06/03) reported that the US Congress called on the PRC to launch a UN-backed probe of its crackdown in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago and to free all political prisoners. The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly for the resolution offering sympathy to those who died on June 4, 1989 when Chinese troops crushed a pro-democracy uprising in Beijing’s vast central square. A total of 396 lawmakers voted in favor of the resolution and only one opposed it. Thirty-seven lawmakers did not vote.
23. PRC Investments in Australia
The New York Times (“AUSTRALIA FEELS CHILL AS CHINA’S SHADOW GROWS”, 2009/06/03) reported that since three state owned PRC companies said they would buy stakes in Australia’s storied mining industry totaling $22 billion — as much as the PRC’s entire investment here in the last three years — some of this nation’s 21.3 million people have reacted with aggrieved nationalism. The government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, which generally favors the sales, has been savaged as naïvely cozy with the PRC, a view some in his own military appear to share. Opposition politicians have flogged the specter of an Australian future more or less as a giant open-pit mine in which the locals toil, but Beijing takes the profits.
24. PRC Protest
Agence France Press (“CHINESE WEB USERS DEMONSTRATE THEIR STRENGTH”, Beijing, 2009/06/03) reported that PRC web users are claiming a temporary victory against censorship after taking up the case of a young woman accused of murdering a local official who she says tried to force himself on her. In what has rapidly become the hottest topic on the Internet, chatroom users and blogs have lionised 22-year-old Deng Yuqiao as a heroine for fighting back against what they say is the PRC’s over-bearing and corrupt bureaucracy. Support groups emerged and lawyers were mobilised, as the case became the symbol of injustice in a society tightly controlled by the communist party.
25. PRC Security
The Associated Press (“CHINA SAYS IT FOUND 7 TERRORIST CELLS THIS YEAR”, 2009/06/03) reported that the PRC uncovered seven terrorist cells in a mostly Muslim city in its western border region in the first four months of this year, though the number of people joining such groups is declining, state media reported Wednesday. The groups were caught in the city of Kashgar near the border with Afghanistan and Pakistan, the city’s Communist Party secretary, Zhang Jian, told the China Daily newspaper. The report gave no further details about the arrests. PRC officials regularly say they have cracked down on terrorist cells in the region, while giving scant details.
26. PRC Economy
Reuters (“CHINA PROTEST SHIFTS WITH ECONOMIC BACKDROP POST-’89”, Beijing, 2009/06/03) reported that twenty years after the crackdown on pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the PRC’s economy has developed to the point that similar protests on the same scale are highly unlikely today. The students and workers at the core of that June 4, 1989 movement faced problems from rampant inflation to the dismantling of a centralized system of job appointments. But people today generally enjoy much better living standards across the board. With that increased affluence, many of the students, professionals and other groups who would be the most likely potential source of organized challenges to the Communist Party rule are generally more occupied with making a living and getting ahead than with political change.
27. PRC Energy Supply
Bloomberg News (“CHINA WON’T BUY OIL FOR STOCKPILE ON STORAGE CAPACITY”, 2009/06/03) reported that the PRC , the world’s second-biggest energy consumer, won’t buy more oil for stockpiling until additional storage tanks are built, a government official said. Until the second phase of the country’s emergency oil reserves is constructed, there will be no additional purchases for stockpiling, Zeng Yachuan , deputy director-general of the policies and laws department at the National Energy Administration, told reporters. Under a second phase, the PRC plans to build underground caverns and storage tanks in inland regions.
28. PRC Environment
Xinkuai News (“KEY WATER, AIR POLLUTANTS DOWN IN CHINA”, 2009/06/03) reported that the PRC experienced a drop in both the amount of chemical oxygen demand and the emission of some key water and air pollutants in 2008, said Zhou Shengxian, minister of environmental protection. He said that in 2008 the emission of sulphur dioxide and the amount of chemical oxygen demand, were down 5.95 percent and 4.42 percent year on year. Last year, the country’s energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped by 4.59 percent compared with the previous year, and 10.08 percent against that of 2005.
II. PRC Report
29. PRC Civil Society and the Government
Jinghua Times (Chen Qiao, “CHARITY ORGANIZATIONS TO GET SPECIAL FINANCIAL SUPPORT”, 2009/06/03) many provinces start to carry out Major Illness Aid for Children Action this year. In the action, charity organizations will cooperate with local governments. Besides raising fund by themselves, the charity organizations will also get special financial support from the government, sources with Ministry of Civil Affairs.
30. PRC Environment
Bright Daily (Feng Yongfeng, “CHINA THEME OF 2009 WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY FIXED”, 2009/06/03) reported that related official of Ministry of Environment released recently the PRC theme of 2009 World Environment Day: Reduce Pollution-Let’s Take into Action”. The theme aims at guiding the public paying attention to pollution prevention and actively involving in energy-saving and emission reduction.