NAPSNet Daily Report 4 March, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US-DPRK Talks
- 2. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 3. US on DPRK-Burmese Military Relations
- 4. DPRK Economy
- 5. DPRK Food Aid
- 6. DPRK Social Unrest
- 7. DPRK Detention of ROK Citizens
- 8. Inter-Korea Relations
- 9. DPRK Defectors
- 10. ROK Aid to Afghanistan
- 11. ROK, PRC, Japan Climate Change Cooperation
- 12. Japan Defense
- 13. Japan-US Nuclear Pact
- 14. USFJ Base Relocation
- 15. Japan Space Program
- 16. Japan Climate Change
- 17. PRC Politics
- 18. PRC Public Welfare
- 19. PRC Space Program
- 20. PRC Civil Unrest
- II. PRC Report
1. US-DPRK Talks
Reuters (“NORTH KOREA PRESSES DIRECT NUCLEAR TALKS WITH U.S”, 2010/03/03) reported that the DPRK said the standoff over its nuclear program should be settled through direct talks with the United States, but first Washington must drop what it called its hostile policies. In a speech to the United Nations-backed Conference on Disarmament, DPRK diplomat Jon Yong Ryong rejected the ROK’s appeal for it to resume six-party talks. “The nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula should be settled between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States from every aspect as it is a product of the hostile policy of the U.S. toward the DPRK,” Jon told the Geneva forum. “It is a pipedream to expect that the DPRK will dismantle its nuclear program without the U.S. dropping its hostile policy toward the DPRK,” he added.
2. Sino-DPRK Relations
Bloomberg (Bomi Lim, “NORTH KOREAN LEADER KIM JONG IL TO VISIT CHINA, MAINICHI SAYS “, 2010/03/03) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong Il is likely to visit the PRC later this month, Japan’s Mainichi newspaper reported today, his first overseas trip in four years. Kim will see PRC President Hu Jintao to discuss aid to the DPRK and the Pyongyang government’s nuclear weapons program, the newspaper said, citing unidentified diplomatic officials in Beijing.“Kim Jong Il would have to show commitment to returning to international dialogue if he wants to get China’s support,” said Park Joon Young, professor of international relations at Ewha Womans University. “Kim’s China visit, which is highly likely, heightens the prospects of the disarmament talks resuming.”
3. US on DPRK-Burmese Military Relations
Washington Post (“WHITE HOUSE WARY OF GROWING MILITARY TIES BETWEEN BURMA, N. KOREA”, 2010/03/03) reported that the Obama administration is concerned that Burma is expanding its military relationship with the DPRK and has launched an aggressive campaign to convince Burma’s junta to stop buying DPRK military technology, U.S. officials said. Concerns about the relationship — which encompass the sale of small arms, missile components and, most worryingly, possible nuclear-weapons-related technology — helped prompt the Obama administration last October to end the Bush-era policy of isolating the military junta, said a senior State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
4. DPRK Economy
Chosun Ilbo (” N.KOREA IN AMBITIOUS 10-YEAR DEVELOPMENT PLAN “, 2010/03/03) reported that the DPRK will implement a 10-year economic infrastructure plan through its official investment agency, the Taepung International Investment Group, and a state development bank to be established soon. The announcement was made by Korean-Chinese businessman Pak Chol-su, the president of Taepung Group. Pak told the Choson Sinbo that the plan “envisages simultaneous implementation of six projects — food production, railways, roads, ports, electric power, and energy. They are completely separate projects from the state budget.” Alongside the state development bank, the DPRK also plans to found a state export-import bank, the daily added.
5. DPRK Food Aid
Financial Times (“DONOR FATIGUE THREATENS AID FOR NORTH KOREA”, Washington, 2010/03/03) reported that the World Food Programme will have to stop delivering aid to the DPRK by July if it does not receive more donations immediately. Although a senior UN official said the Pyongyang office risked closure, Torben Due, the programme’s DPRK representative, said he remained optimistic despite growing donor fatigue. “The WFP can continue to support around 1.4m children and pregnant women with fortified foods until the end of June. However, new contributions are required now or the operation will come to a standstill in July. We are hopeful that donors will come forward with contributions, given the situation,” he told the Financial Times.
6. DPRK Social Unrest
Korea Times (“CRIMES RISE IN N. KOREA AFTER CURRENCY REFORM”, 2010/03/03) reported that burglary, murder and other crimes have increased in the DPRK in the wake of the failed currency revaluation last November, an online news outlet run by DPRK refugees said Wednesday. The report came out after Won Sei-hun, director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), said last week that despite the internal trouble following the currency reform, the Communist country is still under control. However, the NIS said residents in North Hamgyeong Province have been living in horror as several burglary and murder cases have been reported since last month.
7. DPRK Detention of ROK Citizens
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA ‘NEEDS MORE TIME’ TO PROBE ALLEGED TRESPASSERS “, 2010/03/03) reported that the DPRK has promised to assure the ROK of the safety of four ROK citizens it claims are being detained for trespassing once the ongoing probe is finished. DPRK delegates at an inter-Korean meeting said the investigation “by a concerned agency” will take some time, according to the Unification Ministry. The DPRK first announced their arrest on Feb. 26, but has yet to reveal who the four are and how they entered the DPRK.
8. Inter-Korea Relations
Xinhua News Agency (“SOUTH KOREA’S HOSTILE POLICY OBSTRUCTS FUTURE OF KAESONG INDUSTRIAL ZONE: DPRK”, Pyongyang, 2010/03/03) reported that a senior official of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) said the ROK’s hostile policy would not only harm the inter-Korean relations but also obstruct the future of Kaesong Industrial Zone, the official KCNA news agency reported Wednesday. The ROK authorities are getting hell-bent on doing harm to the DPRK by intentionally escalating military tensions, for example, to stage Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military drills with the United States, said Colonel Ri Son Gwon, head of the DPRK delegation at the inter-Korean working-level military talks. The ROK has recently driven the inter-Korean relations to a “catastrophic phase” and obstructed military guarantee for passage, communications and customs clearance for resuming the Kaesong Industrial Zone, said Ri.
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA MUST END HOSTILE TACTICS TO IMPROVE TIES WITH SOUTH: MINISTER”, 2010/03/03) reported that the ROK’s point man on the DPRK called on Pyongyang Wednesday to drop its hard-lined tactics, arguing it will only undermine inter-Korean relations. “Confrontation and discord will benefit neither the North nor the South,” Unification Minister Hyun In-taek said in a speech to a group of reconciliation advocates. “North Korea’s hard-lined measures can no longer serve as (viable) strategies or tactics.”
9. DPRK Defectors
Associated Press (“SKOREA: NKOREA CROSSED BORDER TO HUNT FOR DEFECTOR”, Seoul, 2010/03/04 16:00:00 GMT+0) reported that ROK military spokesman Park Sung-woo said Thursday several DPRK soldiers crossed the border about an hour after a fellow soldier fled to the ROK on Tuesday. He says they retreated after ROK soldiers fired warning shots. Park says the DPRK soldiers did not return fire.
10. ROK Aid to Afghanistan
Yonhap News (“SEOUL CONSIDERS BUILDING POWER PLANT FOR AFGHANISTAN”, 2010/03/03) reported that the ROK is reviewing a plan to build a power plant in Afghanistan to help rebuild the war-torn nation, a government official said Wednesday. The plant, if built, will be part of the ROK’s assistance that includes a 120-member rehabilitation team. The team, known as a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), will be dispatched in July, along with some 320 troops to protect them.
11. ROK, PRC, Japan Climate Change Cooperation
Korea Herald (“KOREA-CHINA-JAPAN FORUM ON GREEN TECHNOLOGY OPENS TODAY “, 2010/03/03) reported that green-technology experts and government officials from the ROK, the PRC and Japan will gather today for a forum to share information on environmentally friendly technologies, and their policies and practices. Hosted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, some 100 people will attend the ROK-PRC-Japan Green Technology Forum at the Ramada Plaza Jeju Hotel on Jeju Island. The forum will seek to establish a network of researchers and scientists specializing in green technologies to foster cooperation among the three Asian economies, which comprise more than 23 percent of global energy consumption
12. Japan Defense
Arirang News (“JAPAN READY TO DEFEND ITSELF FROM N.KOREAN MISSILE ATTACKS”, 2010/03/03) reported that a British daily says that Japan is ready to shoot down any kind of missile that may come from the DPRK. Simon Tisdall, an international affairs columnist for the Guardian, reported that a high-ranking Japanese military commander in charge of the missile unit showed confidence in Japan’s ability to defend itself saying the country views future attacks from the outside as an opportunity. The official’s confidence comes from the arsenal of weapons under his command: an American designed, Japanese built missile battery attached to one of the six ballistic missile defense groups or BMD which have been girdling the country since 2007.
13. Japan-US Nuclear Pact
Kyodo News (“PANEL ON SECRET PACTS TO EXPRESS CONCERN OVER LOST DOCUMENTS”, 2010/03/03) reported that a Foreign Ministry-led panel looking into the alleged Japan – U.S. secret pacts has found that many key documents related to the pacts were lost and it would express strong concerns over the lax management of documents in a report to be issued next week, high-level ministry and panel sources said. The panel of experts has also found that there was information inside the ministry that “related documents were discarded” before an information disclosure law came into effect in Japan in 2001 and has not ruled out the possibility that such a conduct took place.
Mainichi (“DIFFICULTIES IN DEFINING SECRET DIPLOMATIC AGREEMENTS WITH U.S. HINDER INVESTIGATIONS”, 2010/03/03) reported that difficulties in defining “secret diplomatic agreements” have prevented a panel of experts set up by the Foreign Ministry from confirming the existence of two Japan-U.S. secret pacts regarding the reversion of Okinawa and port calls in Japan by U.S. ships carrying nuclear weapons. The panel is likely to conclude that the Japanese government was initially unaware of an accord on calls to Japanese ports by U.S. military vessels carrying nuclear weapons, and later gave its tacit approval after the pact came into force.
14. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“GOV’T PLANS TO END FUTEMMA PANEL TO BEGIN EXAMINING PROPOSALS: HIRANO “, 2010/03/03) reported that the government plans to end consultations by a government committee studying where to relocate a U.S. military base in Okinawa, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano suggested Wednesday. Hirano, who serves as panel chairman, said the government needs to take the next step of examining the feasibility of each proposal to be presented to the panel. ”We want to enter the process of deciding on a candidate site soon,” he said. Hirano’s remarks could spur negative reactions from the Democratic Party of Japan’s coalition partners given that the People’s New Party formally decided the same day to present two alternative plans to the panel.
Kyodo (“JAPAN TELL U.S. EXISTING FUTENMA RELOCATION PLAN OFF THE TABLE”, Tokyo, 2010/03/04) reported that the Japanese government has conveyed to the United States that Tokyo will not go through with an existing plan to relocate a U.S. Marine base in Okinawa, several Japanese-U.S. sources said Thursday. Japan has now begun considering in earnest an alternative plan to reclaim an area between the U.S. Navy facility on White Beach in Uruma and Tsuken Island off the main island of Okinawa, the sources said. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano conveyed Tokyo’s intention to U.S. Ambassador John Roos at a Tokyo hotel on Tuesday, the sources said, quoting him as telling Roos that the current plan ”has become politically difficult to implement.”
15. Japan Space Program
Bloomberg (“JAPAN DECIDES MANNED MISSION TO MOON TOO EXPENSIVE, NIKKEI SAYS “, 2010/03/03) reported that Japan shelved plans for a manned mission to the moon, deciding that the 1 trillion yen ($11 billion) minimum expense to develop a ship and booster rockets would be too great, the Nikkei newspaper reported. The decision, outlined in a draft report, was made by a panel headed by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, the newspaper said.
16. Japan Climate Change
Bloomberg (“JAPAN’S DRAFT CLIMATE BILL OMITS MANDATORY LIMIT ON EMISSIONS”, 2010/03/03) reported that draft legislation for a new Japanese climate bill omits mention of a limit on emissions by industry, a sign Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s government may retreat from an earlier promise to start a cap-and-trade system. Japan should start an emissions-trading program at an unspecified time to help cut emissions by 25 percent in the medium term, according to the draft, released by the Environment Ministry Feb. 26. The document doesn’t propose a mandatory cap on emissions, and while it includes a possible carbon tax from 2011, it doesn’t say which industries would be subject to it.
17. PRC Politics
Associated Press (“BEIJING ON ALERT AS ANNUAL POLITICAL SESSION OPENS”, 2010/03/03) reported that black-clad SWAT teams patrolled downtown Beijing on Wednesday as part of the PRC’s security clampdown ahead of this week’s opening of the national legislature’s annual session. The actual legislature, known as the National People’s Congress, begins its nearly two-week session Friday. Police were also cracking down on people visiting Beijing to petition for government assistance over various grievances.
18. PRC Public Welfare
Associated Press (“DROUGHT AFFECTS 6 MILLION IN SOUTHERN CHINA”, Beijing, 2010/03/03) reported that workers have begun tapping into underground water reserves to help the nearly 6 million people who have been affected by the worst drought to hit the PRC’s southern province of Yunnan in 60 years, a local official said Wednesday. Severe water shortages for crops and livestock prompted the local government to send dozens of teams out Wednesday to six major drought-hit regions around Yunnan to pump water from underground sources, said a director at the Yunnan Land Resources Bureau.
19. PRC Space Program
Agence France Presse (“CHINA’S SPACE STATION PLAN DELAYED”, 2010/03/03) reported that the PRC has postponed the next step in its ambitious space station programme until 2011 for technical reasons, state media said Wednesday. The PRC had originally planned to place the Tiangong-1 space module in orbit late this year and undertake experimental docking manoeuvres in subsequent missions, Xinhua news agency cited rocket designer Qi Faren as saying. But the initial launch has now been delayed by a year due to “technical reasons”, Qi said, without elaborating.
20. PRC Civil Unrest
Associated Press (“CHINA ACTIVIST DEMANDS QUAKE RECOVERY BUDGET INFO”, 2010/03/03) reported that a prominent PRC artist and activist has filed a suit against the Ministry of Civil Affairs for allegedly failing to respond to his request for information about the toll and cost of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Ai Weiwei told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he filed a request in November asking the ministry how many buildings fell in the quake, the amount of donations received, the cost of recovery and other details but has yet to receive a response. Ai, an avant-garde artist and high-profile critic of Beijing’s policies, said he filed a suit with the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court on Monday, demanding that the ministry respond to his request.
New York Times (“FOR 13TH TIME, CRITIC OF CHINA’S GOVERNMENT IS BARRED FROM LEAVING COUNTRY”, 2010/03/03) reported that PRC security agents in Sichuan Province detained Liao Yiwu, a prominent author and critic of the government, as he prepared to fly Monday to a literary festival in Germany, human rights activists said. It was the 13th time Mr. Liao had been prevented from leaving the country. The Associated Press reported that he had been placed under house arrest after being questioned by security agents for four hours. “How can this happen?” The A.P. quoted him as saying. “It’s a cultural event, nothing political. Such drama!”
II. PRC Report
21. PRC Climate Change
Technology Daily (“UNIVERSITY STUDENTS ISSUE DONGTINGHU LAKE ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH REPORT”, 2010/03/03) reported that students from Tsinghua University, Peking University, and Beijing Forestry University issued their Dongtinghu Lake (the PRC’s third largest lake located in the Hunan province) Environment Protection Research Report recently. The report showed their opinions on eco-environment status, resource utilization, sustainable development, and other issues about Dongtinghu Lake.
22. PRC Civil Society
Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (“DEMOCRATIC PARTIES PURPOSES GUARANTEEING CIVILIAN BASIC HOUSING RIGHT”, 2010/03/03) reported that the Revolutionary Committee of Chinese Kuomintang has submitted a proposal to guarantee civilian’s basic housing rights to the annual Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) being held in Beijing. The proposal suggests guaranteeing civilian’s housing rights in the Constitution, it also susggest young people’s housing needs should be especially paid attention to by all society.