NAPSNet Daily Report 6 July, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- UNSC on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- DPRK on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- DPRK-Myanmar Nuclear Cooperation
- DPRK Espionage
- DPRK Defectors
- DPRK Leadership
- DPRK Human Rights
- US Military in ROK
- ROK-NATO Cooperation
- ROK Military
- ROK Military Procurements
- ROK Politics
- Indo-Japanese Nuclear Cooperation
- USFJ Base Relocation
- Japanese Abductee Issue
- Japanese Politics
- Sino-US Relations
- PRC Military Exercises
- PRC Ethnic Unrest
- PRC Internet Control
- PRC Climate Change
- PRC Demographics
1. I. Napsnet
2. UNSC on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Chosun Ilbo (“UN SECURITY COUNCIL NO CLOSER TO DECISION OVER CHEONAN”, Seoul, 2010/07/06) reported that Seoul is discussing with the U.S. and other allies how to persuade the UN Security Council (UNSC) to adopt at least a chairman’s statement condemning the DPRK’s attack on the Cheonan. But the PRC continues to block any term or phrase that would point directly to the DPRK as the culprit. A diplomatic source on Monday said UNSC members feel under pressure to reach some kind of decision. Some government officials are talking about getting the PRC to abstain from voting on a resolution, if it is realistically difficult to persuade all permanent members to adopt a chairman’s statement. A Foreign Ministry official said, “It’s true that the situation hasn’t turned out as we expected. But if we give the impression that we’re pressed for time it may put us at a disadvantage in negotiations.”
3. DPRK on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN ENVOYS ON MISSION TO DENY CHEONAN SINKING”, Seoul, 2010/07/02) reported that Han Bong-ho, the DPRK ambassador to Laos, recently told a senior Laotian government official if Pyongyang had really intended to strike the Cheonan, it would have fired not one torpedo but several. Han also claimed that the propulsion shaft of a DPRK torpedo that the ROK investigation team presented as evidence was either planted there by the ROK government or had lain in the waters for many years.
4. DPRK-Myanmar Nuclear Cooperation
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “‘OIL FIRMS FUEL NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION IN MYANMAR'”, Seoul, 2010/07/05) reported that three oil companies, Total, Chevron and PTTEP, have provided Burma’s military junta with half of their revenue, worth nearly $5 billion earned from the Yadana Natural Gas Project, EarthRights International claimed Monday. The group claimed that “the funds have enabled Burma’s autocratic junta to maintain power and pursue a nuclear weapons program while participating in illicit weapons trade with North Korea.”
5. DPRK Espionage
Joongang Ilbo (“SPYING FOR THE NORTH TO SEE HIS MOM”, Seoul, 2010/07/06) reported that according to Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, a man surnamed Han was arrested on July 2 for spying for the DPRK. In 1969, he was arrested for spying, too, confessed and later defected. The State Security Department of the DPRK won him over in 1996 with a deal that let him see his family in return for spying. He went to the DPRK four times to meet family, and received orders from the department from 1996 to 2007, when his mother died. According to prosecutors, Han’s missions included locating the defector Hwang Jang-yop, reporting recent moves of the Association of North Korean Defectors, and measuring the strength of the National Intelligence Service’s defector investigations.
6. DPRK Defectors
Joongang Ilbo (Jeong Yong-soo, “DEFECTORS COMING BY BARGE SINCE CHEONAN SINKING”, Seoul, 2010/07/05) reported that DPRK defections Koreans via sea barges are on the rise since the Cheonan sinking in March, according to the military. Government sources in foreign affairs and defense said Saturday that two DPRK defectors were spotted by the ROK Navy on an unpowered barge in the East Sea, 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from Sokcho, Gangwon, at 9 a.m. June 26. “On the spot, they said their motive was to defect from the military,” one source said, “and were led to the appropriate government organizations.” The source said intelligence agents are interrogating the defectors, in particular over their backgrounds and their defection route. The sources said defections by sea might stem from strengthened security measures by the ROK on its border with the DPRK. But they might also be an attempt by the DPRK to check security conditions on the ROK coastlines after the Cheonan sinking, using spies disguised as defectors.
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “GOV’T, AUTOMAKER LAUNCH JOINT MICROFINANCE PROGRAM FOR N. KOREAN DEFECTORS”, Seoul, 2010/07/06) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry agreed Tuesday with Hyundai Motor to launch a joint program aimed at providing low-interest loans to DPRK defectors. The program allows DPRK defectors to receive small-scale business loans from a Hyundai Motor-provided fund after the ministry approves their applications. Minister Hyun In-taek signed the deal with the head of Hyundai Motor Group Smile Microcredit Bank on Tuesday, and the ministry formally began seeking applicants through early August.
8. DPRK Leadership
Chosun Ilbo (“ANOTHER CODE WORD HINTS AT N.KOREAN SUCCESSION”, Seoul, 2010/07/02) reported that in an editorial on Wednesday about a Politburo meeting in September, the Rodong Shinmun said, “We must defend with our lives the party’s Politburo meeting attended by our Great Comrade Kim Jong-il and rally in support around the Party Center.” The term “Party Center” first appeared in an editorial in the Rodong Shinmun in February 1974 after Kim Jong-il was anointed to succeed Kim Il-sung and has been rarely used since the elder Kim’s death in 1994. “It’s likely that ‘Party Center’ refers to Kim Jong-un, the heir apparent,” said a source familiar with DPRK matters. “It could be part of preparations for the appointment of Kim Jong-un as a Politburo member of the central military committee at the September meeting.”
Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, “BIGWIGS IN NORTH VIE FOR POWER OVER INVESTMENTS”, Seoul, 2010/07/05) reported that sources with knowledge of the DPRK said Saturday that Jang Song-thaek and O Kuk-ryol, both vice chiefs of the DPRK’s National Defense Commission, are competing over who can attract more foreign investment. “O Kuk-ryol dominated the foreign investment coming into the North because of his military power,” said one of the sources, “but he is in a hegemony struggle in that area with Jang Song-thaek, who thrust himself into foreign investment promotion later than [O Kuk-ryol].” O and his aides established Choson Kukje Sanghoe (Korean International Trading Company) as the organization solely responsible for foreign investment promotion and received approval for the organization from the presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on July 1, 2009. Meanwhile, Jang named Park Chol-su, a Korean-Chinese businessman, president of Korea Taepung International Investment Group, which he re-purposed to attract foreign investment. “O Kuk-ryol is very displeased that Jang jumped into the foreign investment business that he led,” said the sources. “Currently, Choson Kukje Sanghoe and Korea Taepung International Investment Group are vying against one another.”
10. DPRK Human Rights
Korea Herald (“NKOREAN KILLED FOR SPREADING GOSPEL: REPORT”, Seoul, 2010/07/05) reported that the Associated Press said Son Jong-nam was reportedly tortured to death for spreading the Gospel with 20 bibles and 10 cassette tapes in the DPRK in 2009, 11 years after living in the neighboring area of the PRC in 1998. The wire said it obtained the information from his younger brother Son Jung-hun, who lives in the ROK.
11. US Military in ROK
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “US TO DEPLOY AIRBORNE NETWORK IN SOUTH KOREA”, Seoul, 2010/07/02) reported that the U.S. Air Force is considering deploying an up-to-date airborne communications network system in the ROK in an effort to boost its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities against DPRK threats, Lieutenant General Jeffrey Remington, commander of the 7th Air Force, said Friday. In a speech at a security conference in Seoul, Remington said his command is exploring the deployment of the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) in the ROK theater, as the network system’s effectiveness has been proven in Afghanistan.
12. ROK-NATO Cooperation
Yonhap (Yoo Jee-ho, “NATO WANTS TO INCREASE COOPERATION WITH S. KOREA, NON-MEMBERS: OFFICIAL”, Seoul, 2010/07/06) reported that Dirk Brengelmann, NATO’s assistant secretary general for political affairs and security policy, said Tuesday the alliance is looking to increase cooperation with the ROK and other partners beyond Europe and North America to meet global challenges such as proliferation and piracy. “NATO’s intention is not to become a global police. We intend to remain a Euro-Atlantic organization. But it’s at the same time necessary to do cooperation with these (non-member) partners. There’s an ever-increasing web of partnerships and cooperation,” he said.
13. ROK Military
Chosun Ilbo (“CONSCRIPTION ‘SHOULD BE PHASED OUT SLOWLY'”, Seoul, 2010/07/06) reported that experts say the ROK should not abolish conscription completely after 2020 given the security situation, manpower, people’s perception of military service, and available funds. According to analysis by Dr. Jung Joo-sung of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, the country would need to spend another W6 trillion (US$1=W1,223) per year if it replaces conscripts with volunteers while maintaining forces at 500,000. This would mean an increase of about 25 percent in defense spending. To maintain 500,000 professional soldiers, the country would have to recruit about 120,000 volunteers every year. But analysis shows that it would be difficult to fill the quota, which would at best stretch to 300,000 troops. “If we keep the standing force at 500,000, we’d still need about 59 percent of conscripts even after 2020,” Jung said. “As a preparation to a fully professional military, we’ll need to come up with a mixed system focusing on conscripts and then increase the proportion of volunteers step by step after 2020 by giving priority to them.”
14. ROK Military Procurements
Korea Times (Lee Tae-hoon, “120 NEXT-GENERATION JET FIGHTERS TO REPLACE F-5S BY 2020”, Seoul, 2010/07/04) reported that the ROK Air Force will decommission its entire fleet of F-5 fighter jets by 2020, which have been branded “pilot killers” following a series of crashes in the past decade, a military official Sunday. The F-5s will be gradually replaced with 120 jets to be developed under the KF-X program, which aims to build and produce indigenous aircraft on par with the F-16, the official said on condition of anonymity.
15. ROK Politics
Korea Herald (Kim So-hyun , “P.M. OFFICE STAFF ACCUSED OF ABUSING INVESTIGATIVE POWER”, Seoul, 2010/07/05) reported that the ROK prime minister’s office said Monday it has referred four of its staff members for a prosecution probe as they were found to have violated rules on government officials’ duties. Lee In-kyu, a senior official in charge of inspecting ethics-code violation by public officials, and three lower-level officials allegedly led an illegal probe of a businessman surnamed Kim who posted on his blog a video image of slander against President Lee Myung-bak and his policies. Kim at that time ran a subcontractor of a major bank. A Democratic Party lawmaker and MBC-TV claimed late last month that Lee In-kyu’s people searched Kim’s office and pressured the bank to stop doing business with Kim. The case was then transferred to the police who interrogated Kim on charges of embezzlement and libel against the president.
16. Indo-Japanese Nuclear Cooperation
Asahi Shimbun (Yuzuru Takano, “KAKODKAR: INDIA TO TAKE A HARD-LINE IN NUCLEAR TALKS”, Mumbai, 2010/07/05) reported that Anil Kakodkar, a nuclear scientist and member of India’s Atomic Energy Commission, said Friday that there was little chance India would accept any restrictions in a nuclear deal with Japan beyond the existing international framework. Kakodkar said the talks with Japan would revolve around the framework for cooperation already established through the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the India-U.S. nuclear pact. Japan’s Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada has tried to allay domestic apprehension over providing nuclear technology to a country that has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) by saying Japan will try to include restrictions on India’s nuclear tests in the deal.
17. USFJ Base Relocation
Associated Press (“REPORT: US ASKS JAPAN TO PAY MORE FOR MARINE MOVE”, Tokyo, 2010/07/04) reported that the United States has asked Japan to help shoulder hundreds of millions of dollars in additional fees to transfer Marines from Okinawa to Guam, Kyodo news agency reported. The extra money is needed to help pay for electricity, water and sewage facilities at the new site. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked Tokyo last month to help pick up the tab for the higher-than-expected infrastructure costs at the new base, Kyodo news said, citing unnamed diplomatic sources.
Yomiuri Shimbun (Satoshi Ogawa, “U.S. RETHINKS MARINE CORPS’ SHIFT TO GUAM”, Washington, 2010/07/03) reported that the U.S. government is reconsidering the relocation of some marine corps personnel from Okinawa Prefecture to Guam to enhance its rapid-response capability due to uncertain security conditions on the Korean Peninsula and in the PRC. According to sources close to both governments, Washington has told Tokyo that some of the approximately 8,000 III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) personnel now stationed in Okinawa will remain there. In place of the MEF personnel that will stay in Okinawa, Washington will shift a combat unit of equivalent size from Okinawa to Guam.
19. Japanese Abductee Issue
Yomiuri Shimbun (“‘DON’T LEAVE ABDUCTEES BEHIND'”, Tokyo, 2010/07/03) reported that in the 9-1/2 months since the Democratic Party of Japan came to power, there has been no notable progress on the issue of Japanese abducted by the DPRK. “It doesn’t do any good if someone just says ‘I’ll resolve the abduction issue.’ There’s no point unless the government shows us concrete plans and shows how they will be carried out,” Shigeru Yokota, whose daughter was taken by DPRK agents, said to reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Naoto Kan on June 10, just after Kan was elected prime minister. Many members of the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea feel they have been tossed aside by politicians. Shigeo Iizuka, 72, chairman of the families association, said: “Election day for the upper house is approaching, but the abduction issue hasn’t been mentioned so much. It’s really disappointing.”
20. Japanese Politics
Asahi Shimbun (“CABINET APPROVAL RATE SAGS TO 39%”, Tokyo, 2010/07/06) reported that the support rate for the Cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan fell sharply to 39 percent from 48 percent a week ago as more voters reject Kan’s handling of the consumption tax issue, an Asahi Shimbun weekend survey showed. The nonsupport rate shot up to 40 percent in the Saturday-Sunday telephone poll, from 29 percent in the June 26-27 survey. Asked which party they would vote for if the Upper House election were held now, 30 percent chose the DPJ, against 17 percent for the Liberal Democratic Party and 6 percent for Your Party. The rate for the DPJ was down sharply from 39 percent in the previous survey, while the LDP’s rate inched up 2 points from 15 percent.
Reuters (“JAPAN PM IN DANGER OF MISSING ELECTION TARGET: REPORT”, Tokyo, 2010/07/06) reported that Japan’s ruling Democratic Party is in danger of missing Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s target in Sunday’s upper house election, the Sankei newspaper said. A July 2-4 survey by the Sankei showed that the DPJ may win between 48 and 55 of the 121 seats up for grabs in the 242-member upper house, in line with other media forecasts saying it will fall short of the 60 it needs for an outright majority. About 20 percent of voters are still undecided and the result could shift in the final days before the vote, the Sankei said.
22. Sino-US Relations
New York Times (Michael Wines, “GEOLOGIST’S SENTENCE IS QUESTIONED”, Beijing, 2010/07/05) reported that US officials reacted with dismay and puzzlement on Monday to the eight-year prison sentence imposed on an American geologist because he bought a database on the PRC’s oil industry. The geologist, Xue Feng, had already spent more than two and a half years in jail while the case dragged on, and had complained to outsiders seeking his release that his captors tortured him by pressing lighted cigarettes into his arms and hitting him with an ashtray. “Now that the Chinese legal system has ruled, I believe the time has come for Dr. Xue, who has already been detained for two and a half years, to be released,” US Ambassador Jon Huntsman said in a statement. “I urge the Chinese authorities to take into account the long ordeal he has suffered and in the spirit of justice allow him to be returned home and be reunited with his family.”
23. PRC Military Exercises
Asahi Shimbun (Kenji Minemura, “CHINA’S SABER-RATTLING NAVAL EXERCISES DESIGNED TO DETER U.S.”, Beijing, 2010/07/05) reported that the PRC People’s Liberation Army is asserting its supremacy over waters off the PRC coast in naval exercises being conducted ahead of United States-ROK war games scheduled later this month. The latest PRC naval exercise appears to be in response to reports that a U.S. aircraft carrier has been dispatched to the Yellow Sea to take part in joint exercises with the ROK. The dispatch of the aircraft carrier, presumably the USS George Washington based at Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, is being characterized as an “attempt to invade the Yellow Sea using the sinking as a pretext,” according to the PRC global affairs journal Huanqiu Shibao (Global Times). The exercises are scheduled to continue through Monday, and the entire area has been closed to maritime traffic. While details of the exercises have been kept under a tight veil, diplomatic sources in Beijing hinted that a new anti-ship ballistic missile known as a “carrier killer” will be tested.
24. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Asahi Shimbun (Atsushi Okudera , “BEIJING KEEPS WATCH ON UIGHURS”, Kashgar, 2010/07/05) reported that while Xinjiang now appears calm, the PRC government keeps residents and the media under control with a heavy hand and an ever-watchful eye. Trucks crammed with heavily armed police patrol the streets. While a slogan on the side of a truck says, “The various ethnic groups are family for eternity,” the police officers carry automatic weapons. Local residents glumly watch as the trucks roll by.
Agence France-Presse (Marianne Barriaux, “WEB BLOCKS REMAIN ONE YEAR ON FOR CHINA’S UIGHURS”, Urumqui, 2010/07/06) reported that access to dozens of websites, largely government-run or national web portals, was restored in Xingjiang earlier this year, and most others came back on stream in May. But three major portals used by Uighurs for news and discussion remain blocked. “If something big happens outside (Urumqi), that’s how we communicate,” said Ruzmammat, a 22-year-old web cafe employee in a mainly Uighur quarter of Urumqi. “But we also use the sites for other stuff like finding jobs,” he said.
Associated Press (Alexa Olesen, “RIOT ANNIVERSARY IN CHINA PASSES OFF PEACEFULLY”, Beijing, 2010/07/05) reported that teams of police patrolled streets in the western region of Xinjiang as part of stringent security controls Monday on the one-year anniversary of riots. Despite tensions, there was no apparent sign of unrest. An ethnic Han Chinese man who runs the Little West Gate Family Hotel in the regional capital of Urumqi said his family spent the day indoors as a precaution. The man, who would only give his surname Zhang, said shoppers had to go through airport-style security checks at the open air market in the city’s center. Bags also were searched at airports, train stations and bus stops, said a receptionist surnamed Fang at the Yilong Hotel.
BBC News (“AMNESTY CHALLENGES CHINA ON XINJIANG RIOT ACCOUNTS”, 2010/07/02) reported that Amnesty International (AI) says it has newly gathered testimonies from Uighurs who fled the PRC after last year’s unrest. They allege that demonstrators were attacked by the security forces, shot in the back or denied protection. The Amnesty report says more than 1,000 people were detained and possibly hundreds subjected to enforced disappearances. AI is calling on the PRC to set up an independent and impartial inquiry into the human rights abuses committed by all participants in the unrest. “The official account leaves too many questions unanswered. How many people really died, who killed them, how did it happen, and why?” said AI’s Asia-Pacific deputy director Catherine Baber.
28. PRC Internet Control
Asahi Shimbun (“CHINESE SOLDIERS SENT TO CYBERIA”, Hong Kong, 2010/07/05) reported that Beijing has introduced a complete ban on Internet use by People’s Liberation Army personnel, according to the South China Morning Post. The embargo reportedly extends to off-duty Net use and use in private homes. Numerous PRC military sources said that soldiers have been prohibited from surfing the Internet or writing on blogs or in chat rooms since mid-June. The measures were introduced after the discovery of numerous instances of military secrets being leaked onto the Internet.
29. PRC Climate Change
New York Times (Keith Bradsher, “CHINA FEARS CONSUMER IMPACT ON GLOBAL WARMING “, Guangzhou, 2010/07/04) reported that PRC Premier Wen Jiabao has promised to use an “iron hand” this summer to make his nation more energy efficient. The central government has ordered cities to close inefficient factories by September. The PRC has also surpassed the rest of the world as the biggest investor in wind turbines and other clean energy technology. And it has dictated tough new energy standards for lighting and gas mileage for cars. But even as Beijing imposes the world’s most rigorous national energy campaign, the effort is being overwhelmed by the billionfold demands of Chinese consumers.
30. PRC Demographics
Reuters (“CHINA’S URBAN POPULATION SET TO SURPASS RURAL FIGURE”, Beijing, 2010/07/05) reported that urban population is to surpass its rural population for the first time by 2015, with the number of Chinese living in towns and cities set to top 700 million, Xinhua news agency reported. Li Bin, director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said that PRC is projected to have 1.39 billion citizens by 2015, up from 1.32 billion at the end of 2008. The number of people over 60 would pass 200 million. The population dependency ratio, the proportion of those too young or old to work, would rise for the first time after falling for over 40 years, while the ratio of those aged 15-59 would peak and then slowly fall.