NAPSNet Daily Report 5 May, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- EU on DPRK Nuclear Program
- Sino-DPRK Relations
- Japan on DPRK Nuclear Program
- DPRK Leadership
- DPRK Food Security
- US on DPRK Internal Situation
- Inter-Korea Relations
- Inter-Korean Economic Relations
- Sino-ROK Relations
- ROK Military
- ROK Military Procurements
- ROK-US Military Cooperation
- ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- Japan-US Security Relations
- USFJ Base Relocation
- Japan Climate Change
- Sino-Japan Relations
- Sino-US Military Cooperation
- PRC Nuclear Program
- PRC Military Procurements
- Sino-Vietnam Relations
- Cross-Strait Relations
- II. PRC Report
1. EU on DPRK Nuclear Program
RIA Novosti (“EU “CONCERNED” BY NUCLEAR PROGRAMS OF NORTH KOREA, IRAN”, 2010/05/04) reported that the European Union is concerned by the nuclear programs of Iran and the DPRK, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy said. “The EU remains gravely concerned by the major proliferation challenges posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran, who have both continued to violate their international obligations,” Catherine Ashton told the NPT review conference. The EU top diplomat called on the international community to ensure “strict compliance” with the non-proliferation treaty and urged it to take “resolute action” against violators.
2. Sino-DPRK Relations
Yonhap News (“CHINA MAY DELIVER U.S. MESSAGE TO N. KOREA: SCHOLAR”, 2010/05/04) reported that the PRC, the DPRK’s most important ally, is expected to deliver a message from the United States to the secretive country amid rising tension on the Korean Peninsula, a PRC scholar said Tuesday. “North Korea needs to know more details about possible engagement or any other ‘soft move’ by the United States toward the regime,” said Zhang Quanyi, an associate professor of political science at Zhejiang Wanli University. “In this regard, the U.S. may have passed some (messages) in soft tones through China to North Korea. North Korea needs to learn about the (situation that it is in), whether it is positive or negative.”
Yonhap (“N. KOREA’S KIM LIKELY TO HOLD SUMMIT WITH CHINESE LEADER THURSDAY: SOURCES”, Beijing, 2010/05/05) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il will likely hold summit talks with PRC President Hu Jintao on Thursday, sources said. As of Wednesday morning, Kim was staying in the port city of Tianjin, 150 kilometers southeast of Beijing. A source in the PRC capital said Kim was expected to head to Beijing later in the day to attend a reception hosted by Hu. Early Wednesday morning, parts of a highway leading to Tianjin were shut down temporarily for apparent security reasons.
3. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Program
Kyodo News (“JAPAN RAPS N. KOREA, IRAN, VOWS TO ACT FOR NUKE ELIMINATION AT NPT MEET”, 2010/05/04) reported that the Japanese delegate to a U.N. conference on the nuclear nonproliferation pact voiced strong concern Tuesday over standoffs involving Iran and the DPRK , while pledging to take an initiative in getting global moves toward elimination of nuclear weapons roaring. In a speech at the review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Tetsuro Fukuyama said, “The series of activities by the DPRK including nuclear tests is a grave threat to the international nonproliferation regime and is absolutely unacceptable.” ” Japan urges the DPRK to take concrete actions to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in accordance with the joint statement of the six-party talks adopted in September 2005 and the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Fukuyama said.
4. DPRK Leadership
Australia Broadcasting Corporation (“KIM JONG IL ARRIVES IN BEIJING ON UNUSUALLY PUBLIC TRIP FOR NORTH KOREAN LEADER”, 2010/05/04) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong Il has arrived in Beijing after spending two days touring the northeast PRC port city of Dalian. On his rare trip outside the DPRK, Kim surprised the international media, normally accustomed to state secrecy, by making his visit very public. His entourage of up to 50 cars, buses, police vehicles, and an ambulance moved in and out of Dalian city for two days, visiting places like the Dalian Development Free Trade Zone where thousands of American, Japanese, and ROK companies own factories. “He is making a statement to the international world that he is still healthy and in control,” said Koh Yu-Hwan, professor DPRK Studies at Dongkuk University in Seoul.
Bloomberg (“KIM JONG IL SHOWN LIMPING AT START OF VISIT TO CHINA”, 2010/05/04) reported that Kim Jong Il, visiting the PRC on his first trip abroad in four years, was seen limping in television images, in a sign the 68-year-old DPRK leader’s health may be worsening. Kim dragged his left foot while walking in the lobby of the Furama hotel in the PRC city of Dalian yesterday images broadcast by Seoul-based KBS television showed. Kim, clad in a khaki suit and wearing sunglasses, also seemed to be losing hair, according to the KBS pictures.
5. DPRK Food Security
Bloomberg (“NORTH KOREA’S FOOD AID WILL RUN OUT NEXT MONTH, UN AGENCY SAYS “, 2010/05/04) reported that United Nations food aid to the DPRK will run out the end of next month following a drop in international donations after the country detonated a nuclear device, the World Food Program said. “We have resources to carry us through to June,” Lena Savelli, a Beijing-based spokeswoman for the UN agency, said in a telephone interview today. “We quite urgently need more donors to come forward and give us resources.” The agency is in talks with donors on how to extend the program as it seeks to continue operations, she said.
6. US on DPRK Internal Situation
Kyodo News (“‘MORE BELLIGERENT’ N. KOREA LIKELY, PORTENDS TROUBLE FOR S. KOREA”, 2010/05/04) reported that the DPRK, reeling from failed currency reform, is struggling to isolate its people from the outside world and may take “a more belligerent attitude,” according to a senior U.S. risk management analyst. Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, a major global political risk research and consulting firm in New York, says in an update on the DPRK that recent developments point to “a potentially much bigger challenge than succession — an eroding ability of the North Korean government to effectively isolate its people from the outside world.” Bremmer said the situation in the DPRK poses a serious challenge for the ROK. ” Pyongyang realizing the regime could be on its last legs is much more problematic than Kim Jong Il having that concern personally. That would have serious implications for South Korea — which is massively vulnerable to instability across its border,” he said.
7. Inter-Korea Relations
Xinhua News Agency (“DPRK ACCUSES S KOREA OF BLOCKING INTER-KOREAN SEMINAR ON ‘COMFORT WOMEN’ “, 2010/05/04) reported that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) criticized the ROK for blocking an inter-Korean seminar of women for a solution to the “comfort women” issue, the official KCNA news agency reported. A spokesman for a DPRK committee on the “comfort women” issue said in a statement that the ROK “selectively disallowed” its representatives to participate in the seminar, which had been scheduled for late April. The statement said the act by the ROK was aimed at openly shielding and conniving at wartime crimes of Japan and hurting the dignity of the nation
8. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA WARNS OF MORE PUNITIVE ACTIONS AGAINST S. KOREA OVER JOINT TOURS”, 2010/05/04) reported that the DPRK warned Tuesday of more “punitive measures” if the ROK carries out retaliatory action against Pyongyang for seizing and freezing its assets at their joint mountain resort. The Minju Chosun, a paper run by Pyongyang’s Cabinet, said the ROK is to blame for the recent DPRK actions at the resort because it did not heed warnings. “If South Korean authorities had shown only a little bit of interest in the resumption of the Mount Kumgang tours, things would have not come this far,” it said in a commentary. “We will continue to take firm punitive measures as we announced already if the South Korean authorities continue to worsen the situation with confrontational maneuvers,” the paper said.
Korea Times (“SEOUL TO ADDRESS NK’S EXPULSION OF WORKERS”, 2010/05/04) reported that the government is preparing measures to address the DPRK’s expulsion of most of the ROK personnel at a jointly-run resort in the DPRK, the Ministry of Unification said Monday. Denouncing the move as “illegal and unjust,” ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said, “We are working with related government branches to prepare and review our measures.” Such actions, analysts say, could include Seoul reducing its trade with the DPRK.
9. Sino-ROK Relations
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA CALLS FOR ‘RESPONSIBLE ROLE’ BY CHINA IN DEALING WITH N. KOREA”, 2010/05/04) reported that the ROK asked the PRC Tuesday to play a “responsible role” in dealing with the DPRK amid growing suspicions Pyongyang is behind the deadly sinking of a ROK warship. “It is requested more than ever that China play a responsible role as the current state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula is unfolding in a dynamic way,” ROK Unification Minister Hyun In-taek told new PRC Ambassador to Seoul Zhang Xinsen.
Yonhap News (“SEOUL EXPRESSED REGRET OVER N. KOREAN LEADER’S VISIT TO CHINA: OFFICIAL”, 2010/05/04) reported that the ROK explained its “stance” on DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s visit to the PRC through Beijing’s envoy here, an official at the Seoul foreign ministry said Tuesday, adding that it expressed disappointment at the trip’s timing. ROK Vice Foreign Minister Shin Kak-soo met with PRC ambassador to Seoul, Zhang Xinsen, according to the official. “The government expressed its disappointment and asked China to clarify a few questions it had,” the official told reporters, asking not to be identified. The official did not elaborate what the questions were. “A visit to China by the North Korean leader is, of course, a bilateral issue between China and North Korea. But the government is not happy about the timing of Kim’s trip,” the official said.
10. ROK Military
Bloomberg (“SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT LEE ORDERS MILITARY TO BECOME ‘STRONGER’ “, 2010/05/04) reported that the ROK’s President Lee Myung Bak called on the military to become “stronger” after one of its naval warships sank near the disputed western border with the DPRK. “The incident should serve as an opportunity for us to become stronger,” Lee said today at an unprecedented meeting with top military commanders in Seoul. “We should overhaul our security posture from scratch.”
Yonhap News (“LEE SAYS PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE WILL BE CREATED FOR MILITARY REFORM”, 2010/05/04) reported that President Lee Myung-bak said Tuesday he will launch an ad hoc task force at his office to lead a planned overhaul of the ROK’s national security system. Lee also said he would create the new post of “special secretary for national security,” a move which his aides said reflects his determination to put more weight on reinforcing national defense during the remainder of his term. “I will immediately form a tentative presidential organization to assess the national security posture as a whole and devise related measures,” Lee said. Lee said the task force will scrutinize the nation’s defense capabilities, crisis management system, military reform drive, and other pending security-related issues and map out corrective steps.
Korea Times (“MILITARY TO BOOST SURVEILLANCE, ANTI-SUB CAPABILITY”, 2010/05/04) reported that Defense Minister Kim Tae-young pledged Tuesday to improve the military’s intelligence, surveillance, and anti-submarine warfare capability in an attempt to thwart any DPRK provocation and invasion. He also called for boosting the defense posture against the DPRK’s threats of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, as well as ballistic missiles, and submarine and special forces attacks.
11. ROK Military Procurements
United Press International (“SOUTH KOREA CONTRACTS FOR IFF SOLUTIONS”, 2010/05/04) reported that the ROK navy has awarded Herley Industries Inc. a contract for delivery of the company’s shipboard Identification Friend or Foe systems. U.S. defense company Herley says its IFF interrogators and transponders technologies are designed to provide naval vessels with mission critical information that prevents incidents of friendly fire. Under the approximately $7.5 million follow-on deal, Herley will provide its IFF units for integration with the radar, fire control system and the electronic support measure systems on ROK navy patrol vessels.
12. ROK-US Military Cooperation
Korea Times (“ROK-US SEARCH AND RESCUE EXERCISE STARTS”, 2010/05/04) reported that a ROK Air Force unit is conducting a weeklong search-and-rescue exercise on a mountain in Gangwon Province, with the assistance of U.S. Air Force instructors, the service said. Hosted by the 6th Combat Search and Rescue Group, the exercise is designed to hone skills to rescue friendly forces in enemy areas, it said in a news release. “The exercise is very helpful as we can learn knowhow from the U.S. military. They have expertise and much experience in real conflicts. It is also a good opportunity for us to help U.S. airmen to become familiar with Korean territory,” said Warrant Officer Kim Young-bong in charge of the training.
Korea Times (“US NAVY ENDS SALVAGE OPERATIONS IN WEST SEA”, 2010/05/04) reported that U.S. navy crew and divers who took part in searching and salvaging the wreckage of the sunken corvette Cheonan have ended their month-long mission in the West Sea (Yellow Sea), U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said. Rescue ship “Salvor” and U.S. Navy divers departed the site on May 1 after completing five weeks of support to the ROK Navy’s salvage operations, it said in a news release.
13. ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Yonhap News (“DEFENSE CHIEF BLAMES ‘SURPRISE ATTACK’ FOR SHIP SINKING, CALLS IT ‘DAY OF SHAME'”, 2010/05/04) reported that Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said Tuesday a “surprise attack” sank one of the ROK’s naval ships in March. Kim made the remark during a report to President Lee Myung-bak at a meeting of top military commanders, but stopped short of directly mentioning the DPRK. “Our naval ship came under a surprise attack on March 26 while on a patrol mission. We bitterly regret that it revealed a hole in the defense posture and that soldiers were killed,” Kim told the meeting. “We will remember this day as a day of shame.”
Chosun Ilbo (“STATE WATCHDOG EXAMINES RESPONSE TO CHEONAN SINKING”, 2010/05/04) reported that the Board of Audit and Inspection on Monday began auditing the Defense Ministry, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Navy authorities over their response to the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan in an unexplained explosion on March 26. Twenty-nine inspectors specializing in defense affairs will carry out the audit, which is conducted at Defense Minister Kim Tae-young’s request, until May 19. A spokesman for the state watchdog said the audit aims to “identify problems in the response to the crisis caused by the sinking of the Cheonan on March 26. We’re going to find out whether military authorities’ initial response was insufficient and who was responsible.”
14. Japan-US Security Relations
Kyodo News (“JAPAN, US TO COOPERATE IN COMBATING CYBER ATTACKS”, 2010/05/04) reported that Japanese and US government officials have agreed to expand cooperation in combating cyber attacks, which use the internet to disrupt the operations of firms and governments. The agreement came yesterday in a meeting between Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi, who is on a visit to the United States, and Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, a US government agency. “How we can make the online environment safe will be important in the face of increasing cyber attacks worldwide”, Haraguchi said in Washington.
24. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“CRITICS RAP HATOYAMA’S VISIT TO OKINAWA AS ‘NONSENSE'”, 2010/05/04) reported that critics on Tuesday lashed out at Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s day trip to Okinawa Prefecture as having produced nothing positive for the settlement of a dispute over where to relocate a U.S. military base there. “He did not show any concrete relocation idea, and all he did was merely say, ‘I am working hard, but it is difficult to move the base outside of the prefecture or abroad,’ and seeking understanding,” said political commentator Minoru Morita, adding that the visit was “extreme nonsense for a politician’s behavior.” Opposition leaders also criticized the visit, with Liberal Democratic Party President Sadakazu Tanigaki saying that Hatoyama “clearly violated” the promise he made that he would try to relocate the base outside of Okinawa.
Kyodo News (“JAPAN, U.S. LAUNCH WORKING-LEVEL TALKS ON FUTEMMA ISSUE”, 2010/05/04) reported that Japan and the United States on Tuesday launched full-fledged working-level talks in Tokyo on where to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture. The move coincides with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s visit to the southernmost prefecture the same day and reflects Japan’s hope to step up efforts toward working out a final relocation plan that is acceptable to both the local people and the United States.
Kyodo (“GOV’T TO SEEK OKINAWA UNDERSTANDING OVER U.S. BASE RELOCATION”, Tokyo, 2010/05/05) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano agreed Wednesday that the government will continue seeking the understanding of Okinawa residents over the plan to keep part of the function of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station within the prefecture. At a meeting also attended by foreign and defense ministry officials, participants exchanged views on how to conclude discussions over the issue by the end of this month, according to informed sources.
15. Japan Climate Change
Kyodo News (“JAPAN REJECTS EU PROPOSAL TO EXTEND KYOTO PROTOCOL”, 2010/05/04) reported that Japan has rejected a proposal by the European Union to extend the 1997 Kyoto Protocol beyond its expiry in 2012. The EU proposal to keep the Kyoto framework intact in 2013 and after came during a meeting yesterday between Japanese Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa and European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard on the outskirts of Bonn, Germany. “The option (of extending the treaty) is not possible,” Ozawa said yesterday.
16. Sino-Japan Relations
Xinhua News Agency (“VICE PRESIDENT SAYS NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHINA-JAPAN TIES TO DEVELOP”, 2010/05/04) reported that PRC Vice President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that there were new opportunities for PRC-Japan relations to develop further, calling for more exchanges and cooperation. Xi made the remarks while meeting with a group of Japanese lawmakers from the Japanese Diet’s Japan-China Friendship League. “China-Japan relations are currently developing well and there are great opportunities for further development,” said Xi, urging the two countries to increase political trust, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, widely conduct cultural exchanges, and enhance cooperation and coordination in regional and international affairs.
Kyodo News (“JAPAN SUSPENDS MARINE SURVEY AFTER BEING CHASED BY CHINESE VESSEL”, 2010/05/04) reported that the Japan Coast Guard said Tuesday it temporarily suspended research on seafloors after its survey vessel Shoyo was chased by a PRC marine survey ship about 320 kilometers off northwest of Amami-Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture. The Coast Guard said the waters where Shoyo was conducting the survey on Monday was within the Japanese side of the median line, claimed by Japan to distinguish the exclusive economic zones of the two countries. The Japanese Foreign Ministry lodged a protest against the PRC government on Tuesday following a report from the Coast Guard.
17. Sino-US Military Cooperation
San Francisco Examiner (“U.S.-CHINA OFFICIALS DISCUSS MISSING IN ACTION CASES”, 2010/05/04) reported that Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Affairs Bob Newberry concluded a week-long visit to the PRC last week after meeting with PRC officials to discuss several U.S. missing in action cases. During meetings with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and People’s Liberation Army officials in Beijing, Deputy Assistant Secretary Newberry shared the details of 19 known U.S. losses about which the PRC may have knowledge. There were nine cases from World War II, five from the Korean War, and five from the Vietnam War. Deputy Assistant Secretary Newberry highlighted two of these cases as holding promise for a successful resolution.
18. PRC Nuclear Program
Global Security Newswire (“CHINA VOWS “EXTREME RESTRAINT” IN DEVELOPMENT OF NUKES”, 2010/05/04) reported that the PRC promised that it would show “extreme restraint” in the management of its nuclear arsenal. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told journalists that Beijing “exercises extreme restraint over developing nuclear weapons and we will continue to maintain our nuclear power at the lowest level, only for national security needs.” “We are willing to make joint efforts with relevant countries towards nuclear disarmament and a nuclear weapons-free world,” Jiang added.
19. PRC Military Procurements
Washington Times (“CHINA EAGER FOR RUSSIAN AIR TECHNOLOGY”, 2010/05/04) reported that recent activity in Russia by PRC aircraft-engine-industry employees and intelligence officers highlights Beijing’s continuing dependence on Russian jet-engine technology. A large group of PRC collectors were seen at the recent biennial Russian Aeroengines trade show in Moscow. “By far the largest delegation from any country was a group of about 30 Chinese specialists who had all obviously come to this show with specific assignments for targeted collection of technical data on Russian jet-propulsion systems,” said a Russian aerospace-industry analyst who spoke to The Washington Times. The analyst noted that at this year’s trade show, the PRC was especially aggressive. “It was all too obvious that they had been well-briefed on what their targets were for collecting information.”
20. Sino-Vietnam Relations
Agence France Presse (“VIETNAM TO SPEND BILLIONS ON ISLANDS AMID CHINA DISPUTE”, ) reported that Vietnam has announced an 8.5-billion-dollar economic and defence development plan for a string of islands along its resource-rich coastline, as a broader sovereignty dispute simmers with the PRC. It calls for development over a 10-year period of a string of islands stretching from Phu Quoc near Cambodia in the southwest to Cat Ba off Haiphong in the north near the PRC. The document says authorities aim to boost seafood, tourism, agro-forestry and other sectors under the plan. The plan also calls for increased investment in the islands’ defences. “It is essential to pay attention to security and defence tasks during arrangements for economic and civil projects on islands,” the document says, calling for them to become an “outer defence stronghold”.
21. Cross-Strait Relations
United Press International (“TAIWAN UNVEILS CHINA ATTACK RESPONSE”, 2010/05/04) reported that an estimated 6,500 Taiwanese soldiers, including elite forces, have taken part in the Asian island’s biggest war game exercise in more than a year. The military exercise, officials said, was a simulated type of PRC attack on Taiwan. The drill simulated massive air raids on Taiwan’s major air bases, testing the island’s ability to recover quickly from such a shock. The war game exercise was designed, “to test our ability to repair runways as soon as possible so that fighter jets can takeoff should the air base be attacks,” air force spokesman Lt. Gen. Pan Kung-hsiao told local media.
The Chronicle of Higher Education (“AFTER FIERCE DEBATE, TAIWAN WILL ENROLL STUDENTS FROM MAINLAND CHINA”, 2010/05/04) reported that students from mainland PRC will soon be able to study in Taiwanese universities after Taiwanese lawmakers agreed over the weekend on compromises to settle a bitter and longstanding dispute over the issue, The Taipei Times reported. The Democratic Progressive Party agreed to withdraw its opposition as long as the Ministry of Education accepted extensive amendments that would, among other things, prevent PRC citizens from working in Taiwan after graduation. Overall numbers of PRC students will be restricted, along with the number of colleges allowed to accept them. PRC students will also not be allowed to take the exams required to become teachers or civil servants, the Focus Taiwan News Channel reported. They will be excluded from scholarships and banned from working while studying.
II. PRC Report
22. PRC Environment
China Daily (“WILDLIFE RESERVES DAMAGED BY DROUGHT”, 2010/05/04) reported that the worst drought in 50 years in Yunnan province has damaged local diversity. There are more than 186 natural reserve zones in the province, with 151 types of rare and endangered plants as well as 199 animals under State protection. The drought has forced many animals in the natural reserves to look for water in nearby villages and some have even died of dehydration on their way.