NAPSNet Daily Report 6 August, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
1. ROK on DPRK-Iran Nuclear Cooperation
Yonhap (Chang Jae-soon, “URANIUM ENRICHMENT COOPERATION BETWEEN IRAN, N. KOREA POSSIBLE: OFFICIAL”, Seoul, 2010/08/06) reported that the ROK should take the Iranian nuclear standoff more seriously as a matter related to its own national security because the Middle Eastern nation could help the DPRK enrich uranium for atomic weapons, a senior government official said Friday. “The countries that still trade weapons and have missile cooperation with North Korea are just Iran, Myanmar and Syria,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “Of them, Iran is the only one that has the uranium enrichment technology North Korea needs.” “We can’t say definitely there is uranium enrichment cooperation between Iran and North Korea because there is no accurate information,” he said. “But we should be suspicious. There is a probability that could happen at any time.”
2. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation
Yonhap (“INTER-KOREAN TRADE FALLS MORE THAN 30 PCT AMID HEIGHTENED TENSIONS”, Seoul, 2010/08/06) reported that according to data provided by the Korea Customs Service, the trade between the two Koreas came to US$123.06 million in June, down 32 percent from April. ROK exports to the DPRK amounted to $56.88 million in June, down 27 percent from April, while imports decreased 36.5 percent to $66.18 million over the same period, the data showed. Inter-Korean trade also dropped 21 percent from May, with its exports to and imports from the DPRK falling 4 percent and 32 percent, respectively. “The reason why the decline was not as sharp as expected is because we still keep a trade channel open in the Kaesong complex, which accounts for around 70 percent of total trade with the North,” a customs official said.
3. ROK-Japan-PRC Trade Relations
Yomiuri Shimbun (Junichi Abe, “MINISTER URGES CLOSER JAPAN-ROK-CHINA TIES”, Seoul, 2010/08/05) reported that ROK Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung Hwan said Japan and the ROK should try to form a bilateral free trade deal–and a similar pact also involving the PRC–to energize efforts to integrate the East Asian economies. “South Korea, Japan and China have no choice other than to divide their roles. All three countries should make efforts to integrate their economies, such as through a trilateral free trade agreement or a bilateral one between Japan and South Korea,” Choi said.
4. Japan Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Kyodo (“FUKUSHIMA GOV. TO OK PLUTHERMAL POWER GENERATION BY TOKYO ELECTRIC”, Fukushima, 2010/08/06) reported that Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato said Friday he will approve a ”pluthermal” power generation operation by Tokyo Electric Power Co. at a power plant in the prefecture. Tokyo Electric is expected to start loading plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel later in August at the No. 3 reactor at Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and begin pluthermal power generation in September.
5. PRC Urban Security
Global Times (Wu Meng, “TALENT FLEEING BIG CITIES CAN EMPOWER THE REST OF CHINA”, 2010/08/05) reported that Chinese people who have spent a few years living and working in metropolises such as Beijing and Shanghai are now escaping to second-tier cities. For any big city, a massive population is a huge headache when developing urban environment. With immense pressure on education, healthcare, employment and social welfare, the big cities are looking tired under these hard-to-meet demands. And young people today, especially those who went to university in first-tier cities, are finding it more difficult than ever to settle down in the big cities. Therefore, going back to the second-tier cities, especially coastal cities or provincial capitals, seems a wise choice for them.