NAPSNet Daily Report 5 November, 2007
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Missile Exports
- 2. Korean Peace Treaty
- 3. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 4. DPRK Defectors
- 5. ROK Troops in Afghanistan
- 6. Bolton on Japan-ROK Relations
- 7. US-PRC Relations
- 8. Japan on Cluster Bomb Ban
- 9. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
- 10. Japanese Politics
- II. Republic of Korea
1. DPRK Missile Exports
Donga Ilbo (“U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: NORTH KOREA EXPORTS MISSILES TO IRAN”, Washington, 2007/11/03) reported that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a briefing on November 1 that Iran has secured from the DPRK a missile with a range of 2500 kilometers. At the end of 2005, a German newspaper quoted intelligence authorities saying that DPRK provided 18 BM-25 missiles with a 2500-kilometer range to Iran. The remarks by Gates marked the first time for a senior U.S. government official to confirm such reports.
2. Korean Peace Treaty
Joongang Ilbo (“HILL COLD ON IDEA OF PEACE SUMMIT”, Seoul, 2007/11/03) reported that Christopher Hill, Washington’s chief envoy to the six-party talks, said Friday that holding a symbolic peace ceremony to open the negotiating process to formally end the Korean War can only happen after the full denuclearization of the DPRK. “There have been a lot of symbolic gestures, and I would rather we get to work and negotiate these tasks,” Hill stated. “A process of negotiation where everyone knows with great precision what we are doing 15 I think that’s the way to create circumstances for lasting peace and security,” he added.
Asahi Shimbun (Tadanao Takatsuki and Yoshihiro Makino, “ROH: PEACE TALKS WITH NORTH CAN OVERLAP THOSE ON NUCLEAR ISSUE”, Seoul, 2007/11/05) reported that ROK President Roh Moo-hyun said that the two Koreas could hold talks on concluding a peace structure even before the DPRK is totally denuclearized. “There is no possibility of the South Korean government allowing North Korea to (continue to) possess nuclear weapons,” Roh told Yoichi Funabashi, editor in chief of the Asahi Shimbun, in an exclusive interview on Friday.
3. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap (“GOV’T, HYUNDAI OFFICIALS TO SURVEY N. KOREA’S MT. PAEKDU FOR TOURIST PROJECTS: SOURCES”, Seoul, 2007/11/04) reported that the ROK government, together with Hyundai Group, plans to survey Mt. Paekdu in the DPRK this month to prepare for the start of tours next year, industry sources said Sunday. The DPRK’s contract with Hyundai will enable ROK citizens to reach the 2,744-meter mountain by direct flights. Currently, ROK citizens can only visit the ROK side of the mountain.
Yonhap (“HYUNDAI UNION’S NOODLE PLANT IN N.K. EXPECTED TO START PRODUCTION THIS MONTHS”, Ulsan, 2007/11/04) reported that the labor union of Hyundai Motor Co. said Sunday that a corn-noodle plant in the DPRK that was built with funding and equipment from the union is expected to begin production in late November. The 1,800-square-meter plant in Pyongyang’s Moranbong district will produce two tons of corn noodles a day starting on Nov. 20, union leaders said, adding that the plant completed last week could feed about 300,000 people monthly.
4. DPRK Defectors
Yonhap (“N. KOREAN DEFECTORS SUFFER FROM JOB INSECURITY”, Seoul, 2007/11/04) reported that according to a survey by the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights, the jobless rate among DPRK defectors in the ROK was 27 percent in December 2005, 22.4 percent in June 2006 and 16.8 percent in December last year. The comparable figures for native ROK citizens were 3.5 percent, 3.4 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. About six out of 10 defectors said their families earn less than 1 million won (US$1,100) per month, while more than 70 percent answered their monthly family spending is less than 1 million won a month, the survey showed.
5. ROK Troops in Afghanistan
Yonhap (“S. KOREA TO COMPLETE WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN NEXT MONTH”, Seoul, 2007/11/05) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said Monday it will complete the pullout of the 210 ROK troops stationed in Afghanistan before the presidential election in mid-December. The ROK has decided not to extend the deployment of about 60 medics of the Dongui unit and 150 engineers of the Dasan unit, whose mandate expires at the end of this year.
6. Bolton on Japan-ROK Relations
Joongang Ilbo (Kang Chan-ho, “BOLTON TALKS TOUGH ON NORTH KOREA IN HIS NEW BOOK”, Washington, 2007/11/03) reported that in his book, “Surrender is Not an Option,” John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN, wrote that Japan opposed the election of current Secretary General Ban Ki-moon until the end. Bolton also claims that when he was in Seoul in August 2002 to pass on intelligence suggesting that the DPRK was operating a clandestine uranium enrichment program, a speech he gave that was critical of the DPRK was blocked from being broadcast by then-President Kim Dae-jung.
7. US-PRC Relations
Associated Press (Lolita C. Baldor, “GATES ON FIRST MISSION TO CHINA”, En Route to Beijing, 2007/11/03) reported that Robert Gates, making his first visit to the PRC as defense secretary, is expected to press the country to do more to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities. Gates made it clear that he is pursuing closer ties with the PRC, and said he doesn’t see it as a military threat. But at the same time, senior defense officials said the Pentagon is still frustrated by the PRC’s failure to be more open about its military ambitions.
Reuters (Andrew Gray , “CHINA, US AGREE ON DEFENSE HOTLINE AS GATES VISITS”, Beijing, 2007/11/05) reported that the US and the PRC agreed on measures on Monday to boost defense cooperation, including setting up a hotline. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he raised “uncertainty over China’s military modernization and the need for greater transparency to allay international concerns” in talks in Beijing with his PRC counterpart Cao Gangchuan. Cao defended the PRC’s rapid growth in military spending and, according to Gates, did not address U.S. concerns about an anti-satellite missile test earlier this year.
8. Japan on Cluster Bomb Ban
Kyodo (“JAPAN TO PROPOSE PARTIAL BAN ON CLUSTER BOMBS”, Tokyo, 2007/11/03) reported that Japan has decided to propose a ban on urban area use of cluster bombs and measures to reduce dud bombs as much as possible, rather than seeking a comprehensive ban at the meeting of the Convention on Probations or Restrictions on Certain Conventional Weapons that and is slated to open next Wednesday in Geneva. The move is designed to get the support of major military powers such as Russia and China, which have opposed the negotiating process.
9. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Mission
Kyodo (“FUKUDA DENIES TELLING OZAWA HE WOULD NOT DWELL ON REFUELING BILL”, Tokyo, 2007/11/05) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on Monday denied Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa’s claim that the premier had said during their one-on-one talks that he would not dwell on the passage of a bill to resume Japan’s refueling mission in the Indian Ocean if the main opposition party agreed to join the governing coalition. ”We want the new antiterrorism law passed somehow. And we very much would like to do the refueling activities in the Indian Ocean as part of international cooperation. I have consistently maintained that idea,” Fukuda told reporters Monday.
10. Japanese Politics
Reuters (Teruaki Ueno, “JAPAN OPPOSITION ASKS LEADER TO STAY ON”, Tokyo, 2007/11/05) reported that Japan Democratic Party leader Ichiro Ozawa tendered his resignation on Sunday after the party rejected an offer from the prime minister to talk about forming a new grand coalition. “We decided to ask President Ozawa to stay on,” party secretary-general Yukio Hatoyama told reporters after party officials met in emergency session on Monday. Analysts said that even if Ozawa did defect, it was not clear whether he would take enough lawmakers with him to restore a government majority in the upper house.
II. Republic of Korea
11. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Hankyoreh (Kwon Hyuk-chul, “TWO-HOURS FROM SEOUL TO ‘CHUNJI'”, Seoul, 2007/11/04 19:20:00 GMT+0) reported that in the new tours, Hyundai will emphasize the fact that people can go see Mount Paektu mountain via Korean airspace, not through another country. The Korea Transport Institute expects 180,000 people per year will visit the Mount Paektu. The Mount Paektu tour through the DPRK has a comparative advantage against the access through the PRC. It takes only two-hour through the direct line from Seoul to Mount Paektu. It also is competitively priced.
Chosun Ilbo (Ahn Yong-hyun, “DPRK: ‘I LOVE HYUNDAI'”, Seoul, 2007/11/05 00:50:00 GMT+0) reported that the DPRK offering Hyundai Mount Paektu and Gaeseong for tourism can be interpreted as a DPRK’s constant affection toward Hyundai. Korean Central News Agency reported that the DPRK’s top leader, Kim Jong-il, had a cordial talk with the chairman of Hyundai, Hyun Jung-eun, and the president of Hyundai Asan, Yun Man-jun. As the DPRK’s will to earn dollars by tourism and Hyundai’s will to maintain the monopoly of DPRK business correspond at one point, their relationship will continue.
12. Territorial Dispute
YTN (“TERRITORIAL DISPUTE: RUSSIA-ROK CAN STICK TOGETHER”, Seoul, 2007/11/04 03:05:00 GMT+0) reported that a Russian newspaper argued that the ROK and Russia can join together to confront Japan over territorial disputes. The Vladivostok paper introduced Dokdo and emphasized that Korean experts are insisting on Dokdo as a Korean territory based upon historical maps and documents. It also pointed out that the ROK-Japan dispute on Dokdo is similar to the Russia-Japan dispute on South Kuril Islands; hence the ROK and Russia can stick together on this dispute.