NAPSNet Daily Report 4 November, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
1. Inter-Korean Reunions
The Korea Times (Kim Se-jeong , “FAMILIES RETURN HOME WITH NO PROMISE OF FUTURE REUNION”, 2010/11/04) reported that the second batch of separated Korean family members reunited Thursday at the Mt. Geumgang Resort in the DPRK, bringing together some 94 ROK citizens with 203 relatives from the DPRK. The three-day reunion, which will end today, was replete with stories of separation, loss and remembrance. Seo Ik-hwan, 72, from South Korea, confirmed that his older brother Pil-hwan had passed away last year. The brother Pil-hwan was enlisted in the ROK military in 1949, a year before the outbreak of the Korean War. Only a few weeks into the brutal campaign, his family lost track of him.
2. DPRK-Japan Relations
The Daily Yomiuri (“MINISTRY MAY ASK KOREAN SCHOOLS TO REVISE TEXTS”, 2010/11/01) reported that DPRK schools in Japan may be asked to revise references to the DPRK’s abductions of Japanese nationals in school texts as part of an overhaul of eligibility for receiving subsidies under a free high school education program, education ministry sources said. The Democratic Party of Japan requested that the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry ask DPRK schools to alter the teaching materials as they reportedly contain controversial wording such as “Japan has exaggerated the abduction issue.”
3. ROK Special Forces
The Chosun Ilbo (“KOREAN SPECIAL FORCES TO TRAIN UAE TROOPS”, 2010/11/05) reported that the ROK will send about 130 special troops by the end of the year to the United Arab Emirates, where ROK firms are building nuclear power plants. “The UAE has asked us for the dispatch of special troops and close cooperation for training of its own special forces,” Deputy Defense Minister Chang Kwang-il on Wednesday said. “We plan to send about 130 personnel there by year’s end pending National Assembly approval.” Since the Vietnam War, ROK troops have been dispatched overseas as part of UN peacekeeping activities and multinational military operations in disputed areas, but this is the first time they are going to train soldiers in a peaceful country.
4. Japan-Kazakhstan Energy Cooperation
The Denki Shimbun (“JAPANESE CONSORTIUM TO BID FOR FEASIBILITY STUDY ON KAZAKH HTGR PROJECT”, Tokyo, 2010/11/02) reported that a Japanese consortium will participate in an international bid for a high temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) construction project planned in Kazakhstan. In response to the country’s plan to invite tenders for a feasibility study on its HTGR project, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), Toshiba Corporation and other Japanese companies have formed an alliance to promote the High Temperature Engineering Test Reactor (HTTR) developed by JAEA. As the ROK and PRC are also showing keen interest in joining the international bid, it is expected to be a three-way competition for the contract. In light of the Kazakhstan’s intention to also order the design and construction of the HTGR from the country awarded the feasibility study contract, the Japanese consortium is determined to win the contract by all means.
5. ROK Smart Grid
PR Newswire (Myunghee Son, “IBM DEVELOPS SOUTH KOREA’S FIRST RENEWABLE ENERGY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM”, Seoul, 2010/11/04) reported that IBM today announced its collaboration with POSCO ICT to develop South Korea’s first renewable energy management system for a smart grid. As part of the ROK’s national Smart Grid initiative to achieve the vision of “Low carbon, Green growth,” the intelligent renewable energy management system will be installed as a showcase at the Smart Grid Demonstration Complex located on Jeju Island. Driven by a desire for greater energy security, sustained economic growth, and reduced environmental impact, the ROK government, together with the country’s leading technology companies, has embarked on a bold smart grid strategy. The Smart Grid initiative, spearheaded by the Jeju Island Smart Grid Demonstration Project, is a comprehensive program that covers Smart Power Grid, Smart Consumers, Smart Transportation, Smart Renewable Energy, and Smart Electricity Services. Its goal is to promote economic growth for the country and set a foundation for ROK companies’ technological strength in the global smart grid market.