NAPSNet Daily Report 6 May, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK on Nuclear Program
- 2. US on PRC-DPRK Relations
- 3. US on DPRK Human Rights
- 4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 5. DPRK Cyberwarfare Capabilities
- 6. DPRK Military
- 7. ROK Afghanistan Role
- 8. ROK Swine Flu Outbreak
- 9. ROK Politics
- 10. Japan on Climate Change
- 11. Japan on Nuclear Disarmament
- 12. Russo-Japanese Relations
- 13. Japan and Cross Strait Relations
- 14. Cross Strait Relations
- 15. Sino-US Maritime Incident
- 16. PRC Territorial Disputes
- 17. PRC Military
- 18. Sino-US Relations
- 19. PRC on Religious Freedom
- 20. PRC Swine Flue
- 21. PRC Energy Supply
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. DPRK on Nuclear Program
Agence France-Presse (“NORTH KOREA ACCUSES US OF PLOTTING WAR”, Seoul, 2009/05/05) reported that the DPRK vowed it wouldn’t give up its nuclear weapons program and accused the US of working on new plans to attack the country. The Korean peninsula is “on the brink of war because of a new war scheme by U.S. hostile forces,” the DPRK’s ruling party newspaper Rodon Sinmun said in an editorial. It reiterated a promise by Pyongyang to bolster its deterrent, arguing the U.S. has been working on a new “nuclear war scenario for aggression.”
2. US on PRC-DPRK Relations
Korea Herald (“‘CHINA TO INTERVENE IF N. KOREA COLLAPSES'”, 2009/05/05) reported that if the DPRK regime collapses, the PRC military is expected to intervene to stabilize the situation and restore control, according to a recently published U.S. report. “The likelihood is high that the People’s Liberation Army (of China) would be used in the vicinity of the North Korea-China border in the event of instability in North Korea,” said the report published on April 30 by the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Army’s most senior military school. The report also quoted the PRC’s defense minister and high-ranking military officials as saying that “China will not let North Korea collapse.”
3. US on DPRK Human Rights
Yonhap News (“OBAMA URGED TO ADDRESS HUMAN RIGHTS IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH N. KOREA “, Washington, 2009/05/05) reported that a U.S. congressman urged the Obama administration to address human rights in the DPRK in future nuclear and other negotiations with the state. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) was discussing a lack of concrete steps by U.S. President Barack Obama since taking office in January to address the DPRK’s “dismal” human rights record. “Injecting human rights can’t make the six-party talks go any worse than they are now,” Royce said in a forum sponsored by the Heritage Foundation.
4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Agence France-Presse (“TWO KOREAS PREPARE FURTHER KAESONG ESTATE TALKS”, Seoul, 2009/05/05) reported that the DPRK and ROK are holding a preliminary meeting to prepare for a second round of talks on the fate of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, officials said. “Discussions on the second round of talks are under way,” a unification ministry spokesman told AFP. He refused to disclose further details.
5. DPRK Cyberwarfare Capabilities
United Press International (“S. KOREA: N. KOREA ENGAGING IN CYBER-WAR”, 2009/05/05) reported that the DPRK is operating a cyber-reconnaissance unit that targets ROK and US military networks, ROK intelligence personnel said Tuesday. The Korean People’s Army has been operating for years a “technology reconnaissance team,” charged with collecting information and disrupting military computer networks in the ROK and the US. The team has about 100 people — mainly graduates of a military academy in Pyongyang — who hack into ROK and US computer networks, extract classified information and, on occasion, insert a virus into the systems.
6. DPRK Military
Yonhap News (“N. KOREAN LEADER INSPECTS MILITARY UNIVERSITY”, Seoul, 2009/05/06) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il inspected a military university, where he underscored the use of visual aids for “practical education,” state media said. Kim, 67, has more than doubled his public activities this year after recuperating from a stroke he reportedly suffered last summer. The latest trip was his 60th, compared to 24 field trips he made during the same period last year. “He underscored the need for the military educational institutions to take the lead in implementing the WPK’s (Workers’ Party of Korea) line and policies,” it said.
7. ROK Afghanistan Role
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA TO ANNOUNCE EXPANDED ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN”, Seoul, 2009/05/05) reported that the ROK is set to officially announce it will contribute more to rebuilding Afghanistan, an effort that will include providing medical and security equipment and increasing the number of civilian volunteers, officials said Tuesday. The announcement, expected to be made on Wednesday after its budget is approved in a Cabinet meeting, will not redeploy troops to the war-torn country, but will focus on reconstruction efforts, government officials said on condition of anonymity.
8. ROK Swine Flu Outbreak
Xinhua News (“A/H1N1 FLU CASES UP TO 9 IN ASIA-PACIFIC AS S. KOREA CONFIRMS NEW ONE “, Hong Kong, 2009/05/05) reported that the ROK Health Ministry confirmed a 44-year-old woman as the country’s second patient affected by the Influenza A/H1N1, bring the number of infection cases in the Asia-Pacific region to nine. The nun, who lived with the country’s first A/H1N1 flu patient, was believed to be infected when she met with the first patient who returned from Mexico at an airport last week, the ministry said.
9. ROK Politics
The Asahi Shimbun (“ASO CONSIDERS EXTENSION OF DIET”, Prague, 2009/05/05) reported that Prime Minister Taro Aso raised the possibility of extending the current Diet session, scheduled to end June 3, if opposition Minshuto blocks voting on key bills. The prime minister also suggested he was willing to dissolve the Diet if faced with delaying tactics from the opposition. “We have to consider various options,” Aso said. “Japanese citizens might say, ‘It’s ridiculous to see a mess in the Diet. Go ahead and dissolve it, after passing the supplementary budget. Other bills can go on the back burner.'” Aso would be happy to have a one-on-one Diet debate with Minshuto leader Ichiro Ozawa “only if the talks do not affect the budget deliberations.”
10. Japan on Climate Change
Agence France-Presse (“MAJOR POWERS MUST SPEARHEAD CLIMATE PROTECTION: JAPAN”, Berlin, 2009/05/05) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said Tuesday that industrialised nations must lead the way in hammering out a new global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto agreement when it expires in 2012. “We need a new framework, as of 2013, to fight climate change and the main polluting countries must assume their responsibilities” in dealing with the issue, he told reporters. “Japan, Germany and other leading industrial countries must play a leading role” in fighting climate change, he added.
11. Japan on Nuclear Disarmament
Kyodo (Seana K. Magee, “HIROSHIMA, NAGASAKI MAYORS BACK OBAMA’S NUCLEAR-FREE COMMITMENT “, New York, 2009/05/05) reported that The mayors of Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki supported U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent commitment to eliminate nuclear weapons in their respective speeches Tuesday to a session of the preparatory committee of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba called the nuclear abolitionists the ”Obamajority,” stating, ”President Obama knows that we are the majority standing on a solid moral foundation.”
12. Russo-Japanese Relations
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN TO GIVE 40 MLN DLRS TO DISMANTLE RUSSIAN SUBMARINES: REPORT”, Tokyo, 2009/05/05) reported that Japan will give another four billion yen (40 million dollars) towards an international project to dismantle decommissioned Russian nuclear submarines in the Far East, a report said Friday. The dismantling will be completed in the spring of 2010 and Japan is also considering helping Russia build storage facilities for spent nuclear fuel, Kyodo said, citing Japanese diplomats.
13. Japan and Cross Strait Relations
Xinhua News (“CHINA DISSATISFIED WITH JAPANESE COMMENTS ON TAIWAN’S STATUS”, 2009/05/05) reported that the PRC voiced strong dissatisfaction towards remarks by the head of the Taipei office of Japan’s Interchange Association who openly drummed up the “uncertainty of Taiwan’s status”. The PRC has lodged a solemn representation to Japan, said a Foreign Ministry spokesman.
14. Cross Strait Relations
Reuters (“TAIWAN TO ALLOW CHINA INVESTMENT IN ITS AUTO SECTOR”, Taipei, 2009/05/05) reported that Taiwan plans to open up its auto sector and part of its flagship technology industry to investments from the PRC, an official said, as both sides forge closer trade ties to spur their economies. Relations between Taiwan and auto-manufacturing giant the PRC have improved since the island’s President Ma Ying-jeou took office, with the pace of cooperation accelerating over the past few weeks after both sides signed a financial deal and a corporate tie-up. “The auto sector is on the list of sectors that we plan to open up to China. This is our initial plan and it’s not finalised yet,” Emile Chang, deputy executive secretary of the investment bureau at the economics ministry, told Reuters.
15. Sino-US Maritime Incident
Agence France-Presse (“NEW SEA INCIDENT BETWEEN CHINA, US: PENTAGON”, Washington, 2009/05/05) reported that PTV fishing boats engaged in “dangerous” maneuvers near a US Navy ship in international waters off the PRC , the Pentagon said Tuesday, in the latest provocative encounter with American surveillance vessels. Spokesman Bryan Whitman said a pair of PRC vessels last Friday approached the USNS Victorious, which he said was engaged in “routine operations,” and forced the US vessel into defensive measures. “It is unsafe and dangerous behavior and it needs to be addressed” diplomatically, Whitman said.
16. PRC Territorial Disputes
BBC News (Shirong Chen , “CHINA MOVES TO RESOLVE NAVAL ROWS”, 2009/05/05) reported that the PRC has set up a new department to deal with border and maritime issues, in a move to resolve disputes with its neighbours. The PRC has fixed its land boundaries with a dozen neighbouring countries – only the Sino-Indian border remains to be settled. But maritime boundaries have proved to be a new source of friction. By establishing the new department, Beijing hopes to be more effective in diplomatic negotiations. As more and more natural resources are discovered in the disputed waters, the new department will have an even tougher job ahead.
17. PRC Military
Reuters (“CHINA TO STAGE 50,000-TROOP MILITARY DRILL: REPORT”, Beijing, 2009/05/05) reported that the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army will hold a big training drill later this year to hone the modernizing force’s skills in complex, high-tech warfare. The exercise will involve 50,000 troops from four divisions across four of the PRC’s seven military command regions, Xinhua reported, citing the PLA General Staff Headquarters. It will include infantry forces as well as paratroopers and aircraft. The drill will mark another step in China’s efforts to remake its military as a modern force, capable of complex and far-reaching missions, Xinhua said.
18. Sino-US Relations
Associated Press (Tini Tran, “CHINA REJECTS US CRITICISM OVER MILITARY STRENGTH”, Beijing, 2009/05/06) reported that PRC military officials rejected criticism by Washington that the PRC’s rising military power is focused on countering the United States. An unidentified PRC Defense Ministry official said that recent remarks by Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff , were “irresponsible and worked to the disadvantage of the development of Sino-US military relations.”
19. PRC on Religious Freedom
Reuters (“CHINA REJECT LATEST US REPORT ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM”, Beijing, 2009/05/05) reported that Beijing said a US report criticizing the state of the PRC’s religious freedom was biased and groundless. The PRC sharply restricts religious practices and controls activities of churches and mosques, the report from the congressionally backed US Commission on International Religious Freedom said. “It is a fact that the Chinese government protects its citizens’ freedom of religious belief according to law, and every ethnic group in any part of China enjoys full religious freedom,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement. “The attempt by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to smear China with the report will never succeed,” Ma said.
20. PRC Swine Flue
The Associated Press (“CHINA TIGHTENS RULES ON U.S. VISITORS”, 2009/05/05) reported that the PRC has tightened visa rules for citizens from the US, which has reported the second highest number of H1N1 virus (swine flu) cases in the world. A notice dated May 3 on the Web site for the PRC Embassy and its consulates in the US said that all visa applications would now require six business days to process, with express and rush services for visa applications suspended until further notice. The American Embassy in Beijing said four US citizens are now or have been quarantined in the PRC due to swine flu fears.
21. PRC Energy Supply
Bloomberg News (John Liu, “CHINA DRAFTS PLAN TO BOOST ALTERNATIVE-ENERGY OUTPUT”, 2009/05/05) reported that the PRC, the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, is drafting a stimulus package to more than double the nation’s 2020 output of alternative energy from targets set in 2007, an industry official said. The plan to boost investments in the production of fuel from sources including hydro, wind and solar will be announced this year, Shi Dinghuan, the chief director of China Renewable Energy Society, said today at a conference in Shanghai. China has said it plans to invest 2 trillion yuan ($293 billion) in its alternative energy industry from 2006 through 2020 as the world’s second-biggest energy consumer looks to replace usage of coal and oil with cleaner-burning fuels.
China Daily (“RESEARCHER: CHINA SOLAR SET TO BE 5 TIMES 2020 TARGET”, 2009/05/05) reported that the PRC is set to smash its target for a roll-out of solar power by 2020 more than fivefold and possibly even tenfold, a researcher with the National Development and Reform Commission, the economic planning ministry, said on Tuesday. Under the NDRC’s renewable energy plan set out in 2007, the PRC would have 1,800 megawatts of installed solar capacity by 2020. But Wang Zhongying, assistant director at the NDRC’s Energy Research Institute and head of its Renewable Energy Development Centre, said the country was likely to far exceed that. “The goal that we made originally is probably too low,” he said at a solar energy conference in Shanghai. “By 2020, we can reach 10,000 MW or more.”
II. PRC Report
22. PRC Swine Flu Issue
Xinhua Net (“CHINA SENDS CHARTERED FLIGHT TO MEXICO TO PICK UP NATIONALS”, 2009/05/05) reported that PRC sent a chartered flight late Monday to pick up 200 stranded PRC citizens in Mexico. The plane left Guangzhou for Mexico at 10 p.m. and is expected to return to Shanghai at 9 a.m. Wednesday, China Southern Airlines said. The PRC suspended flights from Mexico to Shanghai starting Saturday after a 25-year-old Mexican man, who arrived in Shanghai Thursday aboard flight Aeromexico 098, was later diagnosed with influenza A/H1N1 in Hong Kong.
23. PRC May 4th Movement Anniversary
Xinhua Net (“CHINA MARKS 90TH ANNIVERSARY OF “MAY FOURTH MOVEMENT” REVIVING PATRIOTISM”, 2009/05/04) reported that China celebrated the Chinese Youth Day Monday, also the 90th anniversary of an important cultural and political movement in modern Chinese history that fought imperialism and promoted democracy and science. A grand gathering to mark the 90th anniversary of the “May Fourth Movement” was held Monday morning at the Great Hall of the People with the top leaders of the country and about 3,000 delegates from nationwide present.
III. ROK Report
24. Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation
Goodfriends (“RICH REPOSITORY OF UNDERGROUND RESOURCES, SAVING DANCHEON TO BENEFIT ROK”, 2009/05/06) writes that last year, during the spring austerity season in mid may, Ryongyang mine in Dancheon city, Hamkyeongnam-do, completely ceased operation. It is because even if they produce magnesium, there is no demand for these materials. Magnesite, an essential mineral for steel industry, is not produced at all in the ROK, so we depend 100% on imports. This is why restarting the North-South Cooperative Resources Project could be an important turning point. Moreover, the DPRK is the one damaged the most from the tight political situation between the two Koreas.
25. DPRK Relations with ROK, US
Donga Ilbo (“ROK SAVES DPRK CARGO SHIP, DPRK LOCKS UP ROK CIVILIANS FOR 38 DAYS”, 2009/05/06) writes that ROK naval forces rescue of the DPRK ship Dabaksolho from pirates can be compared to DPRK’s lock up of a Hyundai Asan employee. On the day of the rescue, the DPRK’s foreign ministry criticized the Obama administration that “it is nothing different from Bush administration.” If the Obama administration is the same as the Bush administration, as the DPRK claims, then this is because the DPRK refuses to change, and shows that the DPRK must change.
26. Inter-Korea Relations
Ohmynews (“RECONCILIATION STARTED IN SOMALIA SEASHORES, COOPERATIVE MEASURES TO PIRATES SHOULD START NORTH-SOUTH RECONCILIATION”, 2009/05/05) wrote that what the two Koreas desperately need right now is humanitarianism and brotherly love as one ethnicity. With humanitarianism and brotherly love forming the base, the DPRK and the ROK must build trust between each other, embrace each other’s wounds, and restart exchanges and cooperation. When they start talking again, they could also discuss taking cooperative measures against pirates in Somalia waters.
27. ROK-U.S. Relations
Seoul Shinmun (“US-ROK MUST COOPERATE TO DEAL WITH DPRK BEFORE AFGHAN”, 2009/05/06) wrote that it is a good decision for the government to decide to support the US in Afghanistan with human resources, utilities, and economic sources, instead of dispatching military power, which could have easily caused a controversial situation. Apart from Afghan support, the government should make the US administration take more interest in the DPRK issue and strengthen the cooperative framework for the right DPRK policies. This is more urgent than Afghan issue.