NAPSNet Daily Report 4 September, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. DPRK on Espionage Allegations
- 4. ROK Food Aid to the DPRK
- 5. Inter-Korean Relations
- 6. US-ROK Relations
- 7. Japan Politics
- 8. US-Japan Relations
- 9. ROK-Japan Military Relations
- 10. Sino-ROK Environmental Exercise
- 11. Cross Strait Relations
- 12. PRC Military
- 13. Sino-Pakistani Relations
- 14. PRC Energy Supply
- 15. PRC Earthquake
- 16. PRC Security
- 17. PRC Government Reform
- 18. ROK, Japan, PRC Summit
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (Hwang Doo-hyong, “HILL DUE IN BEIJING ON VERIFICATION OF N. KOREAN NUCLEAR PROGRAMS: OFFICIALS”, 2008/09/03) reported that U.S. chief nuclear envoy Christopher Hill will fly to Beijing to meet with ROK and PRC officials on ways to break the deadlock over a verification protocol for the DPRK’s nuclear weapons programs, a senior ROK official said. “Christopher Hill will meet with South Korea’s nuclear envoy, Kim Sook, in Beijing Friday,” the official said, adding Hill will also meet with PRC officials Saturday.
2. DPRK Nuclear Program
Reuters (“U.S. DOES NOT BELIEVE NORTH KOREA REBUILDING YONGBYON”, Washington, 2008/09/03) reported that the DPRK has begun moving around some previously stored equipment at its Yongbyon nuclear plant but does not appear to be trying to rebuild the facility, the US State Department said. “To my knowledge, based on what we know from the folks on the ground, you don’t have an effort to reconstruct, re-integrate this equipment back into the Yongbyon facility,” the spokesman told reporters.
The New York Times (Choe Sang-Hun, “NORTH REBUILDING NUCLEAR COMPLEX, SOUTH KOREA SAYS”, Seoul, 2008/09/03) reported that the DPRK has begun reassembling its main nuclear complex, its only known source of bomb-making plutonium, the ROK government said. In a statement from the ROK’s Foreign Ministry confirming that the DPRK had begun rebuilding, a spokesman, Moon Tae-young, said: “Our government expresses serious concern because this goes against the movement toward denuclearizing North Korea and damages the six-nation process. We urge the North not to aggravate the situation any further.”
3. DPRK on Espionage Allegations
Xinhua (“DPRK SAYS “WOMAN SPY CASE” COOKED UP BY SOUTH KOREA”, Pyongyang, 2008/09/03) reported that the DPRK accused the ROK of cooking up a “woman spy case” recently to tarnish Pyongyang’s image. The case was fabricated by the ROK in a bid to tarnish the international image of the DPRK, the official KCNA news agency said, citing a spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland. The alleged “North woman spy” was “a criminal who fled after committing crimes against the state and the people, and human scum crazy for money, vanity and swindling,” the spokesman said.
4. ROK Food Aid to the DPRK
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA ACCEPTS FOOD AID FROM S.KOREAN CHARITY”, 2008/09/03) reported that the DPRK recently said it will accept food aid from a ROK charity, it was confirmed Tuesday, backtracking on an earlier refusal to accept any food supplies from the ROK. Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun told reporters the impoverished country recently notified a ROK civic group that it will accept food aid from it. The DPRK had previously rejected the same civic group’s offer of food aid saying the time was not yet right.
5. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (“TWO N. KOREANS DRIFTING IN S. KOREAN SEA SENT HOME”, Seoul, 2008/09/03) reported that the ROK sent home two North Koreans whose small boat drifted into waters controlled by the ROK, the Unification Ministry said. The two women, aged 19 and 23, were found by the South Korean Navy in waters 5.6 kilometers west of Yeonpyeong Island around Tuesday at noon, the ministry said in a news release. Seoul returned them through the truce village of Panmunjom on humanitarian grounds, it said.
6. US-ROK Relations
Korea Herald (“S. KOREA, U.S. SHOULD SEEK CLOSER ALLIANCE ON GLOBAL ISSUES: VERSHBOW”, 2008/09/03) reported that the outgoing US ambassador to the ROK said the two nations should broaden their partnership to meet an array of global challenges, Yonhap News Agency reported. Alexander Vershbow pointed out that their time-honored alliance still has important security functions but should diversify its role. In one of his last lectures before ending his three-year stint here later this month, the outspoken envoy focused on broader global issues such as climate change, food security, and multilateral trade, rather than the DPRK nuclear issue or bilateral concerns between Seoul and Washington.
7. Japan Politics
Reuters (Chisa Fujioka, “ASO DRAWS SUPPORT IN JAPANESE LEADERSHIP RACE “, Tokyo, 2008/09/03) reported that outspoken former Japanese foreign minister Taro Aso is the top choice of voters and of around half of the ruling party’s branches to replace Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who quit suddenly this week, media polls showed. A survey published by Kyodo news agency on Wednesday found 35.3 percent of respondents favored Aso, 67, as the country’s next LDP leader, making him the most popular candidate. Another poll over the weekend, before Fukuda quit, also had him as top choice.
The Financial Times (Michiyo Nakamoto, “TOP LDP WOMAN SET TO RUN FOR LEADERSHIP”, Tokyo, 2008/09/03) reported that Yuriko Koike, the most senior female member of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic party, indicated on Wednesday that she was seriously considering a run for the party leadership against Taro Aso, the favourite to succeed Yasuo Fukuda as prime minister. “I am consulting with various people. You cannot play baseball alone,” Ms Koike said.
8. US-Japan Relations
Agence France-Presse (Hiroshi Hiyama, “PELOSI WINS PRAISE IN HIROSHIMA FOR BOMB VISIT”, Hiroshima, 2008/09/03) reported that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won praise Wednesday for becoming the most senior sitting American official to visit Japan’s atom bomb memorial at Hiroshima. The local Chugoku Shimbun newspaper put its report of Pelosi’s visit ahead of Japan’s political vacuum after the prime minister’s sudden resignation. “The participation of Ms Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker of the United States who comes from the very party that dropped the atomic bomb, is not insignificant,” the newspaper said in its editorial. “It would be difficult for the US president to visit the site of the nuclear bombings, but we hope that this will lead to a visit in the future” by the president, the Chugoku Shimbun said.
9. ROK-Japan Military Relations
Xinhua (“S KOREAN FLEET VISITS JAPAN FOR FRIENDLY MILITARY EXCHANGES”, Tokyo, 2008/09/03) reported that a ROK fleet, consisting of a missile destroyer “Dae Jo Young” and a supply ship “Chunji,” arrived Wednesday at Harumi Pier, Tokyo, for friendly military exchanges. During the four-day stay in Japan, the fleet, carrying some 620 crew members, will conduct a series of military exchange activities with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Forces (MSDF), including a joint military drill, and visit the naval base at Yokosuka.
10. Sino-ROK Environmental Exercise
CCTV (“CHINA HOLDS FIRST INT´L JOINT MARITIME OIL SPILL EXERCISE”, 2008/09/03) reported that the PRC has held its first International Joint Maritime oil spill emergency exercise. The PRC’s Ministry of Transportation, the People’s government of Shandong Province, and the Maritime Police Agency of the ROK co-hosted the exercise on Tuesday in the sea near Qingdao Tuan island.
11. Cross Strait Relations
AFX News (“TAIWAN’S CPC EYES EXPANDED JOINT OIL EXPLORATION WITH CHINA’S CNOOC”, 2008/09/03) reported that Taiwan’s state-owned CPC Corp. said it wants to expand joint oil exploration with China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) to the East China Sea and areas off Australia, Chad and Kenya. “We are interested in oil exploration in any areas that could provide possible opportunities,” CPC’s vice-president Chu Shao-hua said. “We have tendered our request to CNOOC for oil exploration in the East China Sea,” he said. “We are waiting for their response.”
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN ZOO HOPES TO WELCOME CHINA PANDAS IN NOVEMBER “, Taipei , 2008/09/03) reported that officials at Taiwan’s biggest zoo said Wednesday they hoped to welcome a pair of giant pandas from rival PRC as early as November, a move expected to draw millions of tourists to the capital. Taipei’s Mucha Zoo, which was chosen last month to house the endangered animals, has now applied for an import license to bring the pandas to Taiwan as soon as possible. “Considering the climate, November-December is the best season to move the two giant pandas here,” zoo spokesman Chin Shih-chien told AFP.
12. PRC Military
The Associated Press (“CHINA’S DEFENSE SPENDING GROWING, BUT U.S. STILL TOP”, London, 2008/09/03) reported that the PRC is among the world’s fastest-growing military spenders and will become an even bigger player in coming years, analyst Jane’s Information Group said Wednesday. But no country is poised to challenge the US as the world’s biggest defense market. A report for compiled last month for Jane’s Industry Quarterly said the PRC currently ranks fourth in the world in defense spending, with a budget of $58 billion in 2008 — a figure that will rise to $360 billion by 2020, if current growth continues. The report identifies Russia and India as other fast-growing defense spenders.
13. Sino-Pakistani Relations
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA URGES PAKISTAN TO RESCUE MISSING ENGINEERS”, Beijing, 2008/09/02) reported that the PRC urged Pakistan to rescue two PRC engineers who went missing near the Afghan border, after Taliban militants claimed responsibility for kidnapping them. “We have requested that Pakistan rescue the two missing staff and ensure their safety,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. Pakistani Taliban militants said Tuesday they had kidnapped the two PRC telecoms engineers and their entourage and would soon issue a list of demands.
14. PRC Energy Supply
Agence France-Presse (Jay Deshmukh, “CHINA TO CHARGE $6 A BARREL TO DEVELOP IRAQ FIELD”, Baghdad, 2008/09/02) reported that Iraq cleared a plan to develop an oil field by China Petroleum National Corp. at a service fee of six dollars a barrel, giving Beijing a foothold into the world’s third largest oil reserves. Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said the cabinet had approved the three-billion-dollar deal that will see a PRC’s state-owned company developing the Al-Ahdab oil field in the central Shiite province of Wasit.
15. PRC Earthquake
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA PREMIER WARNS OF WINTER HARDSHIP IN QUAKE ZONE”, 2008/09/03) reported that Premier Wen Jiabao has warned winter will bring hardship for people in the PRC’s quake zone, as he indicated the confirmed death toll from the disaster was over 80,000, state media said Wednesday. On a trip to southwest China’s Sichuan province on Tuesday to mark 110 days since the 8.0-magnitude quake struck there, Wen said the rebuilding of homes and infrastructure remained the most urgent task, the People’s Daily reported.
16. PRC Security
The New York Times (“UIGHURS ON BOTH SIDES OF CONFLICT IN CHINA “, 2008/09/03) reported that two police officers who were killed and five who were wounded in an ambush in the far west of the PRC were ethnic Uighurs searching for a woman suspected of involvement in earlier violence, a policeman in the village where the ambush took place said. The attackers were also Uighurs. Many Uighurs resent rule by the Han Chinese and advocate greater political freedom and economic benefits or an independent Uighur-run nation. But some Uighurs have also benefited from policies put in place by the Communist Party, including many who work in the security forces or in the local government.
17. PRC Government Reform
The Christian Science Monitor (Peter Ford, “A CHINESE EXPERIMENT IN DEMOCRACY MEETS FIERCE RESISTANCE”, Huiguan, 2008/09/03) reported that when Fang Zhaojuan began organizing her neighbors here to impeach village leaders whom she suspected of corruption, she had no idea that the challenge would lead her first to the hospital and then to jail. PRC law prescribes direct democratic elections for village councils, and provides for recalls if a majority of villagers lose faith in their leaders. Ten years ago, when the PRC’s definitive law on village elections came into effect, many officials and some foreign scholars touted it as heralding broader democracy nationwide. Today, such hopes are sputtering. Fang’s fate illustrates one key weakness of the experiment: It is very hard for grass-roots democracy to thrive in a vacuum where superior levels of government are undemocratic.
18. ROK, Japan, PRC Summit
Joongang Ilbo (“NORTHEAST ASIAN SUMMIT POSTPONED”, 2008/09/03) reported that Japan has decided to postpone the presidential summit scheduled between the ROK, Japan and the PRC after the recent resignation of its prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda. The leaders of the three countries, including Korean President Lee Myung-bak and PRC President Hu Jintao, were originally scheduled to meet in Kobe on Sept. 21. They now are likely to meet before the end of this year in Japan, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Nobutaka Machimura, said yesterday.
II. PRC Report
19. PRC Environment
Xinhua News Agency (Li Lijing, “ENTERPRISES’ AIR POLLUTION EMISSIONS TO BE AUDITED IN HENAN”, Zhengzhou, 2008/09/03) reported that reported that according to Henan provincial Audit Office, from now on, enterprises’ air pollution emissions will be audited by related audit departments. Through this Green Audit, Henan will get full information about the national and local environmental policy implementation of the enterprises, and find the problems existing in cost input, use, management, and other links of the whole operation of the special environmental protection fund.
20. PRC Civil Society and Disaster Relief
China News online, http://www.chinanews.com.cn/ (“MACAO RED CROSS SOCIETY SENDS ?200,000 FIRST AID FUND TO SICHUAN AND YUNNAN EARTHQUAKE AREAS”, 2008/09/02) reported that according to Macao Daily, Macao Red Cross Society has sent ?100,000 respectively to Sichuan and Yunnan Earthquake Disaster Areas (the Magnitude 6.1 Earthquake happened on Aug.30 ) for first aid. Currently, Macao Red Cross Society and China Red Cross Society, Yunnan and Sichuan provincial Red Cross Societies have maintained close contact and the further work will follow up according to the disaster situation.
21. PRC Energy Supply
China Securities (Zhou Ming, “DAMAGED HYDROPOWER STATIONS ON SCENIC AREAS NOT TO BE RECONSTRUCTED”, 2008/09/03) reported that the National Energy Bureau recently informed that the earthquake damaged hydropower stations which were located on nature reserves, scenic spots, forest parks, geological parks, world heritage sites, and other regions that were prohibited development by the country or the local government, would not be reconstructed in principal.
III. ROK Report
22. Food Aid for DPRK
JoongAng Ilbo (“HUMANITARIAN HUMAN AID, OUR RESPEONSIBILITY”, 2008/09/04) said in a column that the government is considering whether to accept the World Food Program’s (WFP) request to donate food aid to the DPRK. Fundamentally it is better for inter-Korean relations to respond positively to WFP’s appeal. It is unethical for us to let the DPRK people suffer only because they were born up there, despite sharing the same blood. The DPRK should stop pursuing ‘talks with the U.S. while denying the ROK’ strategy, which is quite anachronistic. The only nation willing to support the DPRK is the ROK.
23. DPRK Nuclear Issue
Seoul Shinmun (“BOTH US REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PARTIES FOCUS ON PENINSULA POLICY”, 2008/09/04) said in a column that both the U.S. Democratic Party and the Republican Party’s policy platforms made it clear that there will be no change in the ROK-U.S. alliance since both parties put much importance on the bilateral relationship. Both parties announced that the DPRK should complete the verification mechanism, if they want to be delisted or normalize the relationship with the U.S. For this reason, the DPRK should realize that they will lose more than gain if they keep on procrastinating until the next administration comes into the office. Therefore, I hereby urge the DPRK to be as collaborative as possible to resolve the problem concerning the verification issue.
Yonhap News (“HOW WILL DPRK’S RESURRECTION INFLUENCE INTER-KOREAN RELATIONSHIP?”, 2008/09/04) reported that one expert had expected that the DPRK’s resurrection of the nuclear facilities will bring about even more serious tension on the Korean Peninsula. Even though some government officials have tried to mediate the controversy over the verification issue, progress will be limited unless all communication channels on the peninsula are activated. Kim Sung-bae, from the ROK Institute for National Safety and Security, said that the U.S. is trying to emphasize the importance of the DPRK nuclear issue before the presidential election. He also stated that since the DPRK prioritized its relationship with the U.S. over its relationship with the ROK and escalated tension through the nuclear problem, there is very low possibility for the DPRK to improve the inter-Korean relationship. The ROK’s motivation to resume the DPRK talks actively will be weakened due to the DPRK’s nuclear work, he added.
24. Inter-Korean Relations
Segye Ilbo (Cho Min-ho, Polictical Specialist Report , “PARADIGM CHANGE IN INTER-KOREAN RELATIONSHIP”, 2008/09/04) reported that the inter-Korean relationship seems to be undergoing an adjustment process. It is highly likely that attitudes such as ‘conversation for conversation’ and ‘unconditional DPRK support’ will disappear. A radical change in the paradigm is sensed in various fields which are based on the principles of justice, and practicality. The Lee Administration’s general attitude toward the DPRK is interpreted as a strong demand for them to become one of the healthy members of the global community. One official said, “Even though it may take some time to build a fine relationship, we will make it happen eventually.”