NAPSNet Daily Report 5 August, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- 1. US-DPRK Relations
- 2. US on DPRK Nuclear Issue
- 3. ROK on US-DPRK Relations
- 4. Japan on US-DPRK Relations
- 5. Russia on DPRK Sanctions
- 6. US-ROK Relations
- 7. Inter-Korea Relations
- 8. DPRK Economy
- 9. DPRK Refugees
- 10. ROK Military
- 11. ROK Environment
- 12. ROK Education
- 13. ROK Civil Society
- 14. Sino-ROK Relations
- 15. Japan Self-Defense Force
- 16. Japan Nuclear Power
- 17. Japan Politics
- 18. US on PRC African Diplomacy
- 19. US Export Controls and the PRC
- 20. PRC Tibet Issue
- 21. PRC-Australia Relations
- 22. PRC Migrant Workers
- 23. Sino-Vietnamese Relations
- 24. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 25. PRC Plague Outbreak
- II. PRC Report
1. US-DPRK Relations
Washington Post (Glenn Kessler and Stella Kim, “N. KOREA SAYS TWO U.S. JOURNALISTS HAVE BEEN PARDONED”, 2009/08/04) reported that the DPRK announced that it had pardoned two detained American journalists, hours after former president Bill Clinton met in Pyongyang with Kim Jong Il. Kim issued an order “granting a special pardon to the two American journalists who had been sentenced to hard labour in accordance with Article 103 of the Socialist Constitution and releasing them,” the Korean Central News Agency said. A source familiar with the planning of the visit said the administration’s consensus choice to travel to Pyongyang was former vice president Al Gore, who co-founded the news channel that employs the journalists. But the DPRK rejected Gore as an envoy.
Associated Press (“CLINTON MEETS WITH NORTH KOREAN LEADER KIM JONG IL”, Washington, 2009/08/04) reported that former President Bill Clinton met with DPRK leader Kim Jong Il on the first day of a surprise mission to Pyongyang to negotiate the release of two Americans, holding “exhaustive” talks on a wide range of topics, state-run media said. Clinton “courteously” conveyed a verbal message from President Barack Obama, the official Korean Central News Agency said in a report from Pyongyang. Kim expressed his thanks, and engaged Clinton in a “wide-ranging exchange of views on matters of common concern,” the report said. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, however, denied Clinton went with a message from Obama.
Agence-France Presse (“BILL CLINTON REWARDING NKOREA FOR BAD BEHAVIOR: BOLTON”, Washington, 2009/08/04) reported that the Obama administration is rewarding the DPRK for its bad behavior by sending ex- president Bill Clinton to Pyongyang to win the release of two US journalists, the former US ambassador to the UN said Tuesday. John Bolton told AFP that Clinton’s mission to Pyongyang undermines a number of public stands held by his own wife, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton . “It comes perilously close to negotiating with terrorists,” Bolton told AFP . The visit also undermines Secretary Clinton’s public remarks in which she separates the case of the two journalist from efforts to force the DPRK to return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks , he said.
Associated Press (Matthew Lee, “HILLARY CLINTON: REPORTERS ‘EXCITED’ TO COME HOME”, Nairobi, 2009/08/04) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that the two journalists released from the DPRK are “extremely excited” to be on their way back to the United States. F ormer US President Bill Clinton , left the DPRK aboard a charter jetliner with Ling and Lee Wednesday. They were flying directly to Los Angeles so the women could be reunited with their families. The Obama administration said Tuesday that the families of the two reporters had asked former President Clinton to go to Pyongyang. A senior administration official said said the former president’s mission did not include any discussions about issues beyond the release of the journalists. Hillary Clinton concurred, and she also rejected an official report by the Korean Central News Agency that Bill Clinton had delivered an apology about the incident to Kim Jong Il .
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Issue
Yonhap News (“CLINTON’S N. KOREAN VISIT IS SEPARATE FROM NUKE ISSUE: WHITE HOUSE”, 2009/08/04) reported that the United States cautioned against any linkage between ex-President Bill Clinton’s DPRK trip for the release of two American journalists and the standoff over the DPRK’s nuclear and missile ambitions. “We look at detainment and other issues separate,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a daily news briefing. “We always hope that the North Koreans would look at it the same way. That’s how this administration has approached this.”
3. ROK on US-DPRK Relations
Yonhap (Kim Hyun, “SEOUL WATCHES CLOSELY FOR CLINTON’S EFFECT ON INTER-KOREAN TIES”, Seoul, 2009/08/04) reported that former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s surprise visit to the DPRK, should it prove successful, is likely to influence tense inter-Koreans relations by pressuring Seoul to soften its hardline policy toward Pyongyang. Seoul officials were cautious about the speculating on the outcome of the visit. “We will have to see what results he brings with him,” Unification Ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo said. “It’s difficult to say progress in North Korea-U.S. relations instantly improves inter-Korean relations. But North Korea-U.S. relations are an important background, and their progress certainly is not bad.”
4. Japan on US-DPRK Relations
Kyodo News (“JAPAN MONITORING EX-U.S. PRESIDENT CLINTON’S VISIT TO N. KOREA”, Tokyo, 2009/08/04) reported that Japan is paying close attention to former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s visit to Pyongyang and will analyze the outcome and implications of his trip, Japanese government officials said Tuesday. Amid Tokyo’s concern that the United States may single-handedly try to break the impasse in stalled multilateral negotiations on the reclusive state’s nuclear programs, the government officials said Japan will push for greater unity between the United States, Japan and ROK. The Foreign Ministry has repeatedly urged Washington not to weigh the release of the two journalists against the DPRK nuclear issue, and is wary about the United States engaging in direct dialogue with the DPRK before seeing the full effects of the sanctions.
Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT HOPEFUL OF BREAKTHROUGH”, 2009/08/05) reported that the Japanese government hopes that former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s visit to the DPRK might offer a potential breakthrough in the standoff with the reclusive nation. Tokyo was given prior notice by Washington about the visit, government sources said Tuesday.
5. Russia on DPRK Sanctions
Reuters (“RUSSIA BACKS NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS, NUCLEAR HALT: U.S.”, 2009/08/04) reported that Russia has renewed its support for U.N. sanctions designed to halt the DPRK’s efforts to expand its nuclear arsenal, the U.S. envoy for implementing the sanctions said. Ambassador Philip Goldberg made the comment to Reuters in an interview at the end of his first day of discussions in Moscow with officials in the Russian Foreign Ministry. The PRC made a similar pledge at the United Nations last Thursday.
6. US-ROK Relations
Joong Ang Ilbo (Yoo Jee-ho, “STRONG ALLIANCE WITH U.S. ESSENTIAL TO TACKLE NUCLEAR ISSUE, EX-PRESIDENT SAYS”, 2009/08/04) reported that former ROK President Kim Young-sam said he believes the ROK’s alliances with the United States and Japan are key to Seoul’s DPRK policy, and added that engaging the PRC to try to persuade Pyongyang back to the negotiating table is unlikely to work. Kim said the DPRK policy is a difficult one to pursue because of the regime’s unpredictable nature, and stressed the importance of a “deep and positive alliance” with both the United States and Japan, underlining the United States. Kim also said ROK shouldn’t provide unconditional aid to the DPRK, criticizing the engagement approach, also known as the “Sunshine Policy,” of the past two ROK administrations.
7. Inter-Korea Relations
Bloomberg (Bomi Lim, “NORTH KOREA REJECTS CHINA MODEL SPURNING FURS IN TEST”, 2009/08/04) reported that the closing of Kim Yong Gu’s fur clothing factory in the DPRK may be the beginning of the end for the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Businessman Kim pulled out after his managers were stranded in a government protest of military drills by the U.S. and the ROK. Other manufacturers may follow because of demands they quadruple factory wages and pay 31 times more for land leases, according to Lee Im Dong, who heads a group representing companies at the park.
8. DPRK Economy
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN ECONOMY ‘ON BRINK OF COLLAPSE'”, 2009/08/04) reported that the DPRK has press-ganged people into a “150-day struggle” of farm or factory work since April to produce results for leader Kim Jong-il’s heir apparent Jong-un, but the project has backfired and brought DPRK’s fragile economy to the brink of collapse, experts said Monday. A DPRK expert in the PRC said that police guards round up anyone the moment they see them on streets and send them to the countryside, “but there they loaf about or lie on the bare ground.”
9. DPRK Refugees
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN REFUGEES WANT WIDER DOORWAY TO AMERICA”, 2009/08/04) reported that out of 28 DPRK detainees who wanted to go to America, only eight were able to make it. The problem is a U.S. policy that allows only a minimal number of DPRK refugees to be accepted, a DPRK defector said. “Right now, the U.S. government contacts defectors seeking to enter the U.S. only after they have undergone security screening by South Korean authorities. This process takes too long,” Kim said. Many of the other DPRK defectors imprisoned with him became critical of the U.S. for this reason, he said.
10. ROK Military
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “KOREA MAY EXPORT SELF-PROPELLED GUNS TO AUSTRALIA”, ) reported that chances remain high for Samsung Techwin, teamed with Raytheon of the United States, to win a $450 million deal to provide the Australian army with 155mm self-propelled artillery systems, procurement officials here said Tuesday. The Samsung-Raytheon team is offering the AS-9 gun, a modified version of the K-9 weapon.
Dong-A Ilbo (“ISRAEL MULLING IMPORT OF KOREAN TRAINER JET T-50”, 2009/08/04) reported that the Israeli Air Force will dispatch a three-member delegation to Korea this week to discuss importing the advanced ROK supersonic trainer jet T-50 Golden Eagle. The Israeli daily Haaretz said yesterday that Israel will import 20 to 30 units of the lightweight trainer for use in advanced training for rookie pilots. The Golden Eagle will replace the aging Skyhawk trainer.
11. ROK Environment
Yonhap (Kim Eun-jung, “KOREA PROPOSES GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION PLANS”, Seoul, 2009/08/04) reported that the ROK proposed three options to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, saying it will determine the final implementation plan within the year. The proposals are a follow-up to President Lee Myung-bak’s address last month at the G8 Extended Summit, where he pledged active efforts to combat climate change by setting a specific reduction goal. The Presidential Committee on Green Growth proposed three scenarios that seek to reduce emissions by 21 percent, 27 percent or 30 percent of what they are estimated to reach in 2020 if the current pace continues.
12. ROK Education
Joong Ang Ilbo (“CHANGE COMES TO TEXTBOOK TONE”, 2009/08/05) reported that the Education Ministry has completed guidelines for middle and high school history textbooks to be used starting in 2011 that will emphasize the legitimacy of the Republic of Korea and remove pro-DPRK and leftist content. The ministry said the revamp of the content is intended to end ideological disputes surrounding Korea’s modern history and to boost student pride in the founding the Republic. Under the new guidelines, textbook authors will be required to make it clear that the DPRK started the Korean War by invading the ROK. Regarding Syngman Rhee, who served as the Republic’s first president over four consecutive terms from 1948 until 1960, authors must “objectively state his positive contribution to the establishment of the nation as well as criticism of his dictatorship.” The guidelines also demand that textbooks underscore the “legitimacy of the Republic of Korea” by providing more details on the Korean independence movement of March 1, 1919 and the process of Korea escaping Japanese colonial rule.
13. ROK Civil Society
Joong Ang Ilbo (Ser Myo-ja, “ARRESTS MADE 3 DAYS AFTER PLAZA OPENS”, 2009/08/04) reported that only three days since the official opening of Gwanghwamun Plaza in central Seoul, city police yesterday made the first arrests of activists there on charges of staging an unauthorized protest. Twenty activists and members of four opposition political parties held a press conference at the plaza at 11 a.m., criticizing the decision by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and city police to effectively ban rallies at the newly opened public space. The organization demanded that the regulations governing Gwanghwamun Plaza be scrapped. Noting that the location is in close proximity to the U.S. Embassy and the central government complex, the city said it plans to permit mostly exhibitions on the plaza to reduce noise and guarantee smooth transit of passersby and traffic. After the regulations were announced, civic groups and liberal political parties said the restrictions violated people’s basic rights.
14. Sino-ROK Relations
Yonhap (“CHINESE BOAT SEIZED FOR ILLEGAL FISHING “, Incheon, 2009/08/04) reported that a PRC fishing boat was captured Tuesday for poaching in ROK waters on the West Sea, the local coast guard said. The crew of the 25-ton vessel is accused of illegally fishing in waters about 96km southwest of Socheong Island, which belongs to the ROK’s exclusive economic zone, it said.
15. Japan Self-Defense Force
Reuters (Isabel Reynolds, “JAPAN WEIGHS DEFENSE REVIEW TO BOOST U.S. ALLIANCE”, Tokyo, 2009/08/04) reported that Japan should ease restraints on the military, partly to boost its alliance with Washington, a government panel proposed on Tuesday, but the opposition Democrats said they would re-think such plans if they took power. The panel’s proposals would further stretch the interpretation of Japan’s post-war pacifist constitution, allowing Tokyo to support Washington, for example by trying to shoot down missiles headed for U.S. territory. The committee also suggests relaxing restrictions on the import and export of weapons, to allow Japan ‘s defense industry to develop.
Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT PANEL CALLS FOR EASING OF ARMS EXPORT BAN”, 2009/08/05) reported that a government panel on national security and defense policy called for an easing of the nation’s ban on arms exports and a review of the conventional interpretation of the Constitution on the right to exercise collective self-defense. In the report, the panel considered the changing international influence of the United States, which has shouldered a heavier military burden as a result of the Iraq war and its fight against terrorism. With this in mind, and with the global recession, the panel said it believes U.S. involvement in global security could be scaled back. The panel warned that Japan’s current ban on the export of weapons and related technologies has raised concerns the nation could be left behind technologically in the field.
16. Japan Nuclear Power
The Asahi Shimbun (“JAPAN KEEN TO BE THE GO-TO GUY ON NUKE POWER”, 2009/08/04) reported that with an eye on the vast, emerging Asian market for nuclear power generation, Japanese industry, academia and government groups are stepping up joint efforts to train personnel from the region in legal, technological and safety areas. In June, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry set up a public-private council to pass Japan’s expertise on to countries planning to introduce nuclear power generation. While leading international efforts to manage nuclear materials for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the government also hopes the council will help secure uranium resources overseas and help domestic equipment makers seek business there.
17. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“REFORMER WATANABE PREPARING TO LAUNCH NEW PARTY THIS WEEK”, Tokyo, 2009/08/05) reported that reform-minded former Cabinet minister Yoshimi Watanabe is set to launch a new political party by the end of this week in the run-up to the Aug. 30 general election which will aim for drastic reform of the public servant system, sources close to the matter said Tuesday.
18. US on PRC African Diplomacy
Bloomberg (Janine Zacharia, “CLINTON SEEKS U.S. AFRICA GAINS AS CHINA EXPANDS OIL PURCHASES”, 2009/08/04) reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shifts to economic statecraft this week on an African tour that stops in major oil and mineral exporters as she seeks advantages for U.S. investors in a market where the PRC is making inroads. “China’s influence is increasing at the moment and, to some extent, African policy makers are looking to see what the American response will be,” said Derek Scissors, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington who tracks PRC investment on the continent. Johnnie Carson, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs , said any suggestion that Clinton is making such an extensive trip to counter the PRC’s rise in Africa “is a Cold War paradigm, not a reflection of where we are.”
19. US Export Controls and the PRC
The Associated Press (“3 BEIJING MEN IN LA SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR SHIPPING RESTRICTED TECHNOLOGY TO CHINA”, 2009/08/03) reported that three Beijing men have been sentenced to federal prison for shipping or trying to ship restricted technology from Los Angeles to the PRC. The U.S. attorney’s office said Tuesday that William Tsu was sentenced this week to more than three years for export violations. Prosecutor say Tsu, the vice president of a Hacienda Heights trading company, illegally shipped more than 400 high-tech integrated circuits to China . The technologies are restricted from export because of their potential military uses.
20. PRC Tibet Issue
Associated Press (Eliane Engeler, “DALAI LAMA: GROWING SUPPORT IN CHINA FOR TIBETANS”, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2009/08/04) reported that the Dalai Lama said Tuesday that an estimated 4,000 people who were imprisoned during anti-PRC riots in Tibet last year remain in custody, and he called for an international investigation of the violence. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said he remains encouraged by the growing solidarity and support PRC people and intellectuals are showing for the Tibetan cause. But he said the situation in the region remains tense, despite having calmed since last year’s unrest and crackdown by the PRC government . He said there is increasing awareness in PRC about the discrimination Tibetans are suffering and the region’s need for autonomy. Even PR C government officials were breaking from Beijing’s hardline position, he claimed.
21. PRC-Australia Relations
Reuters (“CHINA AGENCY RETRACTS REPORT ON SUSPENDED ORE TALKS”, Beijing, 2009/08/04) reported that the semi-official China News Service quickly withdrew a report on Tuesday that said PRC had suspended iron ore negotiations with Australian miners, offering no further insight on the status of fraught price talks. Within half an hour it had removed the story from its website, and an official said it had “made a mistake” in quoting the research report — which had cited a CISA statement — without verifying it. It did not say who had issued the research.
22. PRC Migrant Workers
The Wall Street Journal (“CHINA SEES MIGRANTS HEAD BACK TO WORK”, 2009/08/04) reported that the PRC’s government said most rural migrant workers have found new jobs after mass layoffs last year, indicating the effects of its stimulus are filtering into the job market. Less than 3% of migrant workers who have returned to cities in recent months are still looking for jobs, said Wang Yadong, a deputy director-general at the PRC’s labor ministry. He said 95% of migrant workers preferred to seek work in cities this year rather than go back to farming. He declined to give more detailed figures, and didn’t explain how the estimates were made.
23. Sino-Vietnamese Relations
Agence-France Presse (“VIETNAM SAYS CHINA SEIZES TRAWLER IN DISPUTED WATERS”, Hanoi, 2009/08/04) reported that the PRC has arrested the 13-strong crew of a Vietnamese fishing boat that was sheltering from a tropical storm in waters around the disputed Paracel archipelago, an official said Tuesday. The vessel was seized by a PRC navy boat Saturday, said the maritime official from Vietnam’s Quang Ngai province.
24. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Deutsch Press Agency (“CHINA FORMALLY ARRESTS 83 OVER DEADLY XINJIANG RIOT “, Beijing, 2009/08/04) reported that the PRC has moved closer to prosecuting those involved in last month’s deadly riots in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, as state media Tuesday reported the formal arrest of 83 people. “Those arrested will face charges of murder, intentional injury, arson and robbery,” Utiku’er Abudrehman, procurator of the People’s Procuratorate of Urumqi was quoted as saying by the official figures. Xinhua news agency. This is the first time authorities have made mention of formal charges since clashes between ethnic Uighur and Han Chinese residents brought the western capital Urumqi to a standstill in early July. According to Xinhua, another 718 people have been detained for their involvement in the unrest, which left 197 people dead, and more than 1,000 injured, according to
Agence-France Presse (“UIGHUR LEADER’S CHILDREN DENOUNCE HER ON CHINA TV”, Beijing, 2009/08/04) reported that three children of exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer appeared on PRC TV to denounce her on Tuesday, but it was not possible to confirm if they were speaking of their own free will, with one shown in jail. Kadeer’s relatives were speaking a day after PRC state media published open letters , reportedly written by members of her family, which critical of her alleged involvement in the unrest. Dilxat Raxit, a Germany-based spokesman of the World Uighur Congress (WUC), which Kadeer heads, said on Monday that the letters were forged. However, her daughter Roxingul said on television that the letters were genuine.
25. PRC Plague Outbreak
Associated Press (Henry Sanderson, “CHINA DISINFECTS TOWN WHERE PLAGUE KILLED 3RD MAN”, Beijing, 2009/08/04) reported that authorities killed rats and fleas on Tuesday as they disinfected a town sealed off after three people died of pneumonic plague in a remote farming town in northwestern PRC , according to the provincial health department . Medical staff are disinfecting the area and killing rodents and insects that can be carriers for the bacteria, a notice on the provincial health department Web site said. Authorities are keeping close track of people who came into contact with those infected. Police checkpoints were set up in a 17-mile (28-kilometer) radius around Ziketan and people were not allowed to leave, a resident said. Many shops remained closed Tuesday, residents said, although more vehicles were out on the street.
II. PRC Report
26. PRC Civil Society and Earthquake Reconstruction
Beijing Morning News (“100 NEW UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN DISASTER AREAS WAIT FOR AID”, 2009/08/04) reported that an activity named “Student Sunshine”, sponsored by Beijing Youth and Teenagers’ Foundation and Hope Project Beijing Office, was launched in Beijing the day before yesterday. The activity aims at raising fund form the public, to help 100 new university students in Shifang city of Sichuan province.
27. PRC Civil Society and Poverty Alleviation
Guangzhou Daily (““HELP STUDENT IN GOLDEN AUTUMN” LAUNCHED”, 2009/08/04) reported that Labour Union of Nanshan District of Shenzhen city launched the activity of “Help Student in Golden Autumn” recently. The activity will help students in poor family (monthly income is lower than 550 RMB) in Shenzhen. Students in high school will get 1500 RMB per person; students in university will get 2500 RMB per person.
28. PRC Civil Society and the Environment
Charitarian Magazine (“ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IS SIMPLE”, 2009/08/04) reported that CNature (a domestic public welfare organization) put forward a new environmental protection idea during a public music festival held in Chengdu during May 1-3, 2009. At the site of the music festival, 50 voluntary university students not only cleaned rubbish for 150,000 tourists for three days, but also developed their idea of “Protect Environment is Simple” to the public.