NAPSNet Daily Report 6 August, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. US Food Aid to the DPRK
- 4. Inter-Korean Relations
- 5. DPRK Military
- 6. DPRK Economy
- 7. US on ROK Role in Afghanistan
- 8. US-ROK Relations
- 9. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Refueling Mission
- 10. Yasukuni Shrine Issue
- 11. Sino-Japanese Relations
- 12. PRC Earthquake
- 13. PRC Security
- 14. Sino-US Relations
- 15. PRC Olympics
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Associated Press (Paul Alexander, “BUSH: NKOREA MUST VERIFY DENUCLEARIZATION”, Seoul, 2008/08/06) reported that US President George W. Bush said Wednesday that the DPRK could share in the ROK’s economic prosperity if it first takes concrete steps to live up to a promise to end its nuclear weapons program. Bush said that even if Pyongyang is removed from the terror list, it still will be the “most sanctioned country in the world.” “I don’t know whether or not they’re going to give up their weapons,” Bush said. “I really don’t know. I don’t think either of us knows.”
2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (Lee Chi-dong, “N. KOREA RECALCITRANT ON NUCLEAR VERIFICATION: SEOUL OFFICIAL”, Seoul, 2008/08/05) reported that the DPRK is reluctant to accept basic requirements for checking the authenticity of its recent nuclear account, dampening US hopes of producing a workable verification mechanism within the week, a senior ROK official said. “North Korea is still refusing to agree to some basic stuff,” the official said in a background briefing for reporters. The official added that the six nations would not convene a working denuclearization group unless a deal on the verification protocol comes into view.
3. US Food Aid to the DPRK
The Associated Press (“US FOOD AID SHIPMENT ARRIVES IN NORTH KOREA”, Seoul, 2008/08/05) reported that the DPRK’s official news agency says a new shipment of U.S. food aid to the DPRK has arrived. The Korean Central News Agency says a ship carrying the aid arrived in the western port of Nampo on Monday.
4. Inter-Korean Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“TWO KOREAS UNLIKELY TO MARCH TOGETHER AT OLYMPICS”, 2008/08/05) reported that DPRK athletes arrived in Beijing, but Pyongyang officials are tight-lipped about whether the two Koreas’ teams will be making a joint appearance at next week’s opening ceremony. And when reporters asked a DPRK Embassy official about any joint appearance of the two teams, he responded by asking back why they would question him about something “that is clearly understood,” seemingly ruling it out.
5. DPRK Military
Xinhua News (“TOP DPRK LEADER URGES ARMY TO DEVELOP SIDELINE ECONOMY “, Pyongyang, 2008/08/05) reported that Kim Jong Il, top leader of the DPRK, called on the army to develop sideline economy, the official Rodong Sinmun daily newspaper reported. The Korean People’s Army should “actively develop the sideline economy to provide the soldiers with better living conditions,” said Kim, while inspecting KPA units. He also urged the KPA to “thoroughly establish revolutionary military discipline,” in order to “boost combat capability.”
6. DPRK Economy
IFES NK Brief (“DPRK TIGHTENING THE REIGNS IN ORDER TO SECURE PUBLIC FINANCE”, 2008/08/05) reported that the latest edition of the DPRK’s quarterly economic publication “Economic Research” urged for further regulation of public finance in order to ensure that the public finances necessary for the construction of an ‘Economically Powerful State’ are available. “Economic Research” stresses the following three points for strengthening public finance: 1) further strengthening the coordination of the state’s guidance for economic enterprises, 2) ensuring the utility of economic enterprises, and, most importantly, 3) strictly establishing public finance regulations.
7. US on ROK Role in Afghanistan
Korea Herald (Hwang Jang-jin , “BUSH TO REQUEST BIGGER ROLE FOR SEOUL”, 2008/08/05) reported that US President George W. Bush will request the ROK play a bigger role in securing Afghanistan and other parts of the world during today’s summit with President Lee Myung-bak, a senior aide to Bush said. “Obviously we’d like to see a greater role for South Koreans in Afghanistan, if the South Korean people are willing to move in that direction,” Dennis Wilder, senior director for Asian affairs at the U.S. National Security Council, told reporters aboard Air Force One. “But I think that is going to be at the heart of their discussion.”
8. US-ROK Relations
Reuters (Jeremy Pelofsky , “BUSH ARRIVES IN SEOUL, FACES LARGE ANTI-U.S. PROTEST “, Seoul, 2008/08/05) reported that US President George W. Bush arrived in the ROK for talks focused on the DPRK, his visit likely to be marked by anti-US protests even though some disputes with his host have largely been put aside. Bush received a surprise boost when an estimated 15,000 people held a pro-US rally in the centre of the capital, a sharp contrast to months of mass demonstrations demanding the government ditch a deal to allow back imports of US beef. Anti-government groups, who were behind two months of sometimes violent protests against the beef deal, have promised to take to the streets again to protest against Bush’s visit.
9. Japan SDF Indian Ocean Refueling Mission
Kyodo News (“LDP’S ASO SEES HALTING ANTITERROR REFUELING MISSION POSSIBLE “, Tokyo, 2008/08/05) reported that governing Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Taro Aso suggested Tuesday that Japan could suspend the refueling mission in the Indian Ocean for U.S.-led antiterrorism operations when the temporary law authorizing it expires in January. But even so, Japan should keep dispatching the Self-Defense Forces in any way that would help reconstruct Afghanistan, Aso said in an interview with Kyodo News and other media organizations.
10. Yasukuni Shrine Issue
Mainichi Shimbun (“FUKUDA INDICATES HE WON’T VISIT YASUKUNI SHRINE ON WAR ANNIVERSARY”, 2008/08/05) reported that Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda indicated he will not visit Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15 — the 63rd anniversary of the end of World War II. “Take a look at my past actions,” Fukuda told reporters at his office, indicating that he would continue to refrain from visiting the shrine.
11. Sino-Japanese Relations
Kyodo News (“JAPAN ANNOUNCES FUKUDA’S VISIT TO CHINA, MEETINGS WITH HU, WEN “, Tokyo, 2008/08/05) reported that Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will visit the PRC to attend Friday’s Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony and hold talks with PRC President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura announced. In the meetings Friday, Fukuda is expected to confirm the stance of promoting mutually beneficial relations between the countries and exchange opinions on how Japan can cooperate in the PRC’s reconstruction efforts in the wake of a major quake in May in Sichuan Province, the government spokesman said.
The Asahi Shimbun (“TOKYO PROTESTS TO CHINA OVER BEATING, DETENTION OF 2 JAPANESE JOURNALISTS”, Kashgar, 2008/08/05) reported that two Japanese journalists covering Monday’s terrorist attack here that left 16 police officers dead were detained and beaten by local police, prompting an immediate protest from Tokyo. Masami Kawakita, a photographer for The Tokyo Shimbun, and Shinji Katsuta, a Beijing-based reporter for Nippon Television Network Corp., were knocked down, kicked, trampled on and hit in the face at a police facility on Monday night, their respective media organizations said.
12. PRC Earthquake
The Associated Press (“6.0 EARTHQUAKE HITS CHINA’S SICHUAN PROVINCE “, Beijing, 2008/08/05) reported that the US Geological Survey says a 6.0 earthquake has hit the PRC’s Sichuan province, which was devastated by a more powerful quake in May. There have been no immediate reports of damage or injuries from Tuesday’s temblor. It’s the latest of numerous of aftershocks from the 7.9 quake that struck Sichuan on May 12 and killed almost 70,000 people and left 5 million homeless. The USGS says the epicenter of the quake was 30 miles northwest of Guangyuan town and six miles deep.
13. PRC Security
Agence-France-Presse (Karl Malakunas , “CHINA ‘GUARANTEES’ SAFE GAMES AMID TERROR THREAT”, Beijing, 2008/08/05) reported that the PRC declared it could guarantee a safe Olympics three days ahead of the Games, as it tightened security in its remote northwest following a deadly attack blamed on Muslim terrorists. Beijing Olympic organisers sought to reassure the 10,000 athletes and 500,000 other expected foreign visitors coming to the PRC for the Games that they should not be concerned about security. “We can guarantee a safe and peaceful Olympic Games,” organising committee spokesman Sun Weide told reporters.
14. Sino-US Relations
Washington Post (“BUSH SAYS IT’S ‘IMPORTANT TO ENGAGE’ CHINA”, 2008/08/05) reported that three days before he is set to arrive in Beijing for the Olympics, President Bush offered a mixed assessment of the PRC’s role in the world, praising its efforts to curb the nuclear ambitions of the DPRK and Iran, expressing disappointment about its recent move to help scuttle global trade talks, and saying that it is “really hard to tell” whether human rights in the PRC have improved over the past eight years.
15. PRC Olympics
The Los Angeles Times (Barbara Demick, “CHINA CLEARS STREETS FOR THE OLYMPICS”, Beijing, 2008/08/05) reported that on a hot summer night about 10:30, the many men and women living under an elevated section of highway were trying to nod off when someone shouted, “Police!” The bedtime bust was part of a massive Olympic cleanup, in which thousands of PRC citizens are being booted out of the capital like gate-crashers at a party. All were petitioners who had come to protest mistreatment in their home provinces. The petitioners are living in the streets largely because the PRC government, citing concerns over Olympic security, has in recent weeks closed down thousands of cheap hotels and basement apartments where rooms could be rented for less than $1 a day.
II. PRC Report
16. PRC Civil Society and the Environment
Xinhua News Agency (Zhang Xu, “BEIJING: ENGOS CALL FOR “CAR-FREE DAY” ON AUG.8”, Beijing, 2008/08/05) reported that Nature’s Friend, Beijing Global Village, China Environmental Protection Foundation, Green House and other 16 ENGOs with their more than 200,000 volunteers jointly issued an initiative calling for a “car-free day” on Aug.8. According to relevant sponsor of this activity, 200,000 environmental protection volunteers are required to choose public transport or other green means of transport on Aug.8 and during the whole Olympic Games. It is estimated that this activity will last for two months and will reduce more than 1 million motor vehicles’ travelling.
17. PRC Environment
South Daily (Wang Lijia, “GENERAL OFFICE OF THE STATE COUNCIL: 10 ACTIONS TO SAVE ENERGY”, 2008/08/05) reported that General Office of the State Council recently issued a notice advocating 10 actions for energy-saving. They are: experiencing energy shortage; one “car-free day” a week; strictly controlling the aircraft temperature; less use of elevators; controlling street lamps and landscape lighting; popularizing energy-saving products; using environmental protection shopping bags; less use of disposal products; simple dress in summer; cultivating energy-saving habits.
Xinhua Net (Liang Siqi, “CHINA’S FIRST SEAGRASS MONITORING STATION SET UP IN BEIHAI”, 2008/08/05) reported that the PRC has set up a seagrass monitoring station, which will be part of a global network, in south PRC’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The station was co-sponsored by Guangxi Mangrove Research Center (GMRC) and the Seagrass Monitoring Network of the World Seagrass Association (WSA), which provided internationally standardized monitoring equipment. The seagrass is valuable for its sensitivity to environmental changes. It requires a high light environment, meaning it can reflect harmful changes in the oceans. The Beibu Gulf of Beihai city boasts eight species of seagrass. Findings from the station could help better protect seagrasses.
III. ROK Report
18. Inter-Korean Relations
Goodfriends (“GOVERNMENT SHOULD START SOMETHING”, 2008/08/06) wrote that the ROK and DPRK governments should not bring shame to themselves in global society by discussing the Mt. Kumkang incident anymore. The ROK government should follow the suggestion of the WFP and U.S NGOs to support the food aid, and the DPRK should cooperate to receive the aid. Political issues are to be solved politically, and humanitarian area should be distinguished from the politics.
19. ROK-U.S. Relations
Tongil News (“ROK-U.S. SUMMIT TALK SHOULD BE TALK FOR THE PEOPLE”, 2008/08/06) reported that ROK-U.S. summit talks started on August 6, and representatives of NGOs and several college student groups announced a statement requesting for nullification of the beef pact, withdrawal or postponement of return of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and cancellation of plans to expand the strategic flexibility of U.S. forces in the ROK. They insisted to refuse changing the U.S troops posture to participate in PSI or missile defense, saying that it would sacrifice the peace of the ROK to maximize the benefit of the U.S military industry.
20. ROK Policy Toward DPRK
Yonhap News (“BACKGROUND OF GOVERNMENT POLICY”, 2008/07/31) wrote that the government announced the policy toward the DPRK for five years henceforward, and formulized it as co-existence and co-prosperity. This new policy seems to intend to avoid the strong opposition of the DPRK that might follow of the ‘denuclear·opening·3000 strategy’ continues. There are other opinions that regard it as a way to get sympathy and cooperation of the international society. On the other hand, there are opinions questioning the properness of the announcement, when inter-Korean relations are in deadlock from the Mt. Kumgang incident, and considers it as an expression of a mild approach to the DPRK.