NAPSNet Daily Report 6 May, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- US on Six Party Talks
- Sino-DPRK Relations
- Sino-DPRK Economic Relations
- Sinking of ROK Naval Vessel
- DPRK Military
- DPRK Defector Issue
- ROK Military
- Japan-US Relations
- USFJ Base Relocation
- Japan Politics
- Japan Nuclear Energy
- Japan-Russia Relations
- Sino-Japan Relations
- Sino-Australia Relations
- PRC Ethnic Unrest
- PRC Internet
- PRC Climate Change
- Cross-Strait Relations
- II. PRC Report
1. US on Six Party Talks
Yonhap News (“U.S. HOPES CHINA PERSUADES KIM JONG-IL TO RETURN TO 6-WAY TALKS: STATE DEPT.”, 2010/05/05) reported that the United States Tuesday expressed hope that the PRC will persuade the DPRK to rejoin the six-party talks. “We would trust that if there are meetings with high-level Chinese officials, that they will stress, as we do, that the only route forward for North Korea is through the six-party process,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said.
Chosun Ilbo (“NO 6-PARTY TALKS UNTIL CHEONAN SOLVED: U.S.”, 2010/05/05) reported that Sung Kim, chief U.S. negotiator to the six-party talks, said at a recent forum that the negotiations will not resume before the completion of the probe into the sinking of a ROK warship, participants at the forum said here yesterday. Kim also said if the DPRK is found responsible for the sinking, the other five nations will discuss a joint response. Kim spoke at the fourth annual Seoul-Washington Forum co-hosted by the Brookings Institution and the Korea Foundation. Those who attended the forum, held behind closed doors, said Kim stressed the top priority is to find out what really happened to the Cheonan.
2. Sino-DPRK Relations
Korea Herald (“KIM, HU HOLD TALKS IN BEIJING”, 2010/05/05) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il met with PRC President Hu Jintao yesterday to discuss efforts to rejoin the six-nation nuclear talks and Beijing’s economic aid to the impoverished state, sources said. After the summit and dinner with Hu, Kim is expected to meet with PRC Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice President Xi Jinping. “Pyongyang must have extended its willingness to return to the six-nation talks, otherwise Kim Jong-il’s visit wouldn’t have happened,” said Yang Moo-jin, professor at the University of North Korean Studies here. Choi Choon-heum, senior analyst of DPRK-PRC relations at the Korea Institute for National Unification, said Hu was likely to have reaffirmed Beijing’s commitment to the six-party talks and stressed the importance of inter-Korean relations amid increasing suspicion that the DPRK may have been involved in the recent sinking of a ROK naval ship.
Bloomberg (“CHINA REMAINS SILENT ON KIM JONG IL VISIT AS HE NEARS BEIJING”, 2010/05/05) reported that the PRC maintained its official silence over a visit by DPRK leader Kim Jong Il as ROK media said his train moved closer to Beijing and a summit meeting with President Hu Jintao. The PRC’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu yesterday declined to confirm the trip, even as ROK and Japanese media showed footage of him at a hotel in Dalian. The DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency also hasn’t mentioned the visit, following the same pattern as last time, when the PRC and DPRK only confirmed events after he had returned home.
Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “NKOREA’S KIM SEEN IN CHINA”, Seoul, 2010/05/06) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il met with PRC President Hu Jintao on Wednesday night and was in talks with Premier Wen Jiabao and other officials on Thursday, according to reports in the ROK media. Yonhap reported that Kim told Hu he is ready to return to the six-party talks, but it gave no details.
3. Sino-DPRK Economic Relations
Dong A Ilbo (“CHINA EYEING DEVELOPMENT OF N. KOREAN PORT “, 2010/05/05) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong Il’s visit Tuesday to Dalian, PRC, is known to reflect Beijing’s interest in resolving the port city’s saturation through the development of the DPRK port of Rajin. An informed source on the DPRK said Tuesday that Kim’s trip to Dalian was also aimed at benchmarking the city as a model for the DPRK’s development of Rajin. On the second day of his PRC visit, the reclusive leader toured a pier at Dalian Economic & Technological Development Zone.
4. Sinking of ROK Naval Vessel
Yonhap (Chang Jae-soon, “GUNPOWER DETECTED IN SUNKEN SHIP WRECKAGE”, Seoul, 2010/05/06) reported that investigators have found traces of gunpowder in the wreckage of the Cheonan, an ROK government official said Thursday. “A tiny amount of gunpowder ingredient was detected in the Cheonan’s hull, and a detailed analysis is under way,” the official said. “It will be determined within this week whether this is from a torpedo or not.”
Kyodo (“S. KOREA DENIES CONCLUDING THE N. KOREAN TORPEDO SUNK NAVAL SHIP”, Seoul, 2010/05/06) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry on Thursday denied a report in the Dong-A Ilbo that the ROK and the United States have concluded from evidence analysis that the blast that sank the Cheonan was due to a torpedo attack. Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae Jae said analysis of debris is still under way, with no clear conclusion having yet been made. The newspaper, on its front page, reported that an ingredient of the explosive used in torpedoes was detected from the ship’s body, while aluminum fragments found turned out to be a type used in torpedoes but not in torpedoes of the ROK. ”Given that the torpedoes are not ours, isn’t it clear there is only one country that would attack a (Republic of) Korean naval ship?” it quoted an investigator of a joint investigation team as saying.
5. DPRK Military
Agence France Presse (“N.KOREA DEPLOYS 50,000 SPECIAL FORCES NEAR BORDER: REPORT”, 2010/05/05) reported that the DPRK has completed deployment of about 50,000 special forces along the border with the ROK, a report said Wednesday. The deployment began two or three years ago and seven 7,000-strong divisions are now in place, an unidentified senior government official told Yonhap news agency. “The threat that North Korea may infiltrate special forces for limited warfare has become real,” the agency quoted a separate senior defense ministry official as saying. The defense ministry refused to confirm the Yonhap report.
JoongAng Daily (“NORTH LEADER ORDERED ‘DO-OR-DIE’ SQUADS”, 2010/05/05) reported that following the DPRK’s crushing defeat by the ROK in last year’s skirmish in the Yellow Sea, the communist regime’s leader, Kim Jong-il, directed its navy to intensify training “to raise heroes for do-or-die squads at sea,” the DPRK’s media reported. In an appearance on the DPRK’s Central TV, Kim Gwang-il, an officer of the DPRK’s West Sea Navy Fleet Command, spoke about his leader’s visit and his directive to the command after the defeat. “He also instructed us to upgrade the warships’ weapons systems and combat technologies to meet the needs of modern-day warfare.”
6. DPRK Defector Issue
British Broadcasting System (“NORTH KOREA DENIES PLOTTING TO KILL PROMINENT DEFECTOR “, 2010/05/05) reported that the DPRK has denied sending spies into the ROK to murder the most senior official ever to defect from the Communist country. Seoul said last month it had arrested two men on suspicion of being on a mission to kill Hwang Jang-yop, 87. But Pyongyang said the accusation was a “ridiculous fabrication”, its state-run Uriminzokkiri website reported. The news came two weeks after an apparent death threat against Mr Hwang appeared in Uriminzokkiri warning that “traitors have always been slaughtered with knives”.
Korea Times (“FEMALE NORTH KOREAN DEFECTORS PRICED AT $1,500”, 2010/05/05) reported that young female DPR Koreans have become a commodity in the PRC, where they can be purchased at around $1,500 per head, according to Rev. Chun Ki-won, director of the Durihana Association. The 53-year-old pastor claimed that marriage brokers used to “buy” DPRK women for under $75 and sell them to PRC men for around $150 in the late 1980s, but the price has soared to $1,500. Of the estimated 50,000 to 100,000 DPRK refugees in the PRC, women make up about 80 percent nowadays with more than 90 percent of them falling victims to human trafficking, Chun said in a recent interview with The Korea Times.
7. ROK Military
Chosun Ilbo (“MILITARY PROMISES MORE EFFECTIVE DEFENSE STRATEGY”, 2010/05/05) reported that the ROK’s military strategy against the DPRK will shift from thwarting a full-scale, conventional attack to dealing with limited, unconventional acts of aggression, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young told President Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday. “We admit that there are deficiencies in our ability to deal with infiltrations and unconventional tactics and we need to refocus the direction of our military build-up strategy,” Kim said. The military also plans to start special classes for troops within this month to help them understand the security threats.
8. Japan-US Relations
Kyodo News (“JAPAN, U.S. AGREE TO WORK CLOSELY IN NPT TALKS”, 2010/05/05) reported that Japan and the United States agreed Tuesday to work closely during a monthlong U.N. conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Japanese State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Tetsuro Fukuyama said. The agreement was reached in an informal meeting between Fukuyama and Ellen Tauscher, U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. Fukuyama told reporters that he and Tauscher discussed the U.S. position on the NPT and the outlook of the conference in detail, but declined to elaborate.
9. USFJ Base Relocation
Agence France Presse (“JAPAN PM UNDER FIRE OVER US BASE U-TURN”, 2010/05/05) reported that Japan’s embattled Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama faced a barrage of criticism on Wednesday after his U-turn on the relocation of a US base, with calls mounting for him to quit ahead of key elections in July. Major newspapers railed against his decision to scrap plans to move an unpopular US airbase entirely off the island of Okinawa after months of dithering over the issue. “The government’s recent disarray appears shameful,” the top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun said in an editorial. “Needless to say, Prime Minister Hatoyama bears the greatest responsibility.”
Kyodo News (“80% OF TOKUNOSHIMA RESIDENTS ARE AGAINST HOSTING U.S. BASE”, 2010/05/05) reported that a group rallying against the idea of relocating some of the U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa to Tokunoshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, said Wednesday it has collected the signatures of about 20,000 residents of the island, about 80 percent of its population, who oppose such a transfer. The collected signatures will be handed to Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Friday when mayors of the three towns on Tokunoshima Island meet with Hatoyama in Tokyo to convey their opposition. “The opinion of the islanders has been decided already. We will never accept the military base,” said Koei Kabayama, head of the anti- military base group.
Mainichi (“‘QIP’ METHOD FOR NEW MARINE BASE STRONGLY OPPOSED BY OKINAWAN CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES”, 2010/05/05) reported that the modified Futenma relocation plan currently being considered by the government would use a Quick Installation Platform (QIP) method to minimize environmental damage, but the method faces heavy opposition from local construction companies and would still impose some burden on the environment. Because of the technical complexities involved with the QIP method, local companies would not be able to handle the construction themselves, and the job will instead go to specialized public works contractors from outside Okinawa.
10. Japan Politics
Asahi Shimbun (“67% OPPOSE CHANGING PACIFIST ARTICLE 9, SURVEY FINDS”, 2010/05/05) reported that sixty-seven percent of voters are opposed to altering war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed, as the public sheds the view that constitutional amendments will resolve problems in daily life. Opponents of rewriting Article 9 far outnumbered the 24 percent of the respondents who are calling for a change, according to the survey. Seventy percent of those polled said the article is useful for maintaining peace in Japan.
11. Japan Nuclear Energy
EarthTimes (“JAPAN RESTARTS FAST BREEDER AMID SAFETY, SECURITY FEARS”, 2010/05/05) reported that on Thursday, the 280-megawatt Monju reactor is to be restarted, despite technical hiccups and protests by concerned residents. “It is our goal to solve Japan’s energy problems,” said Kazuo Mukai, the general director of the Japan Atomic Energy Authority’s (JAEA) fast breeder research and development centre. While other nations are critical of fast breeders because of the technology’s proliferation and safety risks, Japan plans to develop commercially viable solutions by 2050. However, critics are doubtful of the government’s plans. Monju is already decades behind its original schedule, and the government has so far poured some 900 billion yen (9.7 billion dollars) into the project. Nuclear expert Atsushi Tsuchida sees a more sinister reason for the government’s eagerness to restart Monju. “It is because Monju can produce weapons-grade plutonium. That is its purpose,” said Tsuchida, a former researcher with the Institute for Physical and Chemical Research.
Kyodo (“MONJU NUCLEAR REACTOR RESTARTS AFTER OVER 14 YEARS ON SUSPENSION”, Tsuruga, 2010/05/06) reported that Japan’s Monju fast-breeder nuclear reactor resumed operations Thursday after 14 years and five months of suspension. The reactor restarted at 10:36 a.m. after plant staff pulled out control rods that had prevented nuclear reaction. The reactor, operated by the state-run Japan Atomic Energy Agency, is expected to reach criticality, or the point when a nuclear chain reaction becomes self-sustaining, on Saturday. In Tokyo, the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, an antinuclear power group, demanded that the Japanese government immediately halt the operation of the reactor and withdraw from the development of fast-breeder reactors.
12. Japan-Russia Relations
Kyodo News (“JAPANESE GOVERNORS MAKE PITCH FOR TRADE, TOURISM IN RUSSIA”, 2010/05/05) reported that Japanese governors visiting Russia held talks with Sergey Darkin, regional governor of the maritime province in the Russian Far East, in Vladivostok on Wednesday to promote exchanges between local cities in trade, culture and tourism. Five governors of the National Governors’ Association visited the Far Eastern city after their trip to Moscow to hold the first conference of Russian and Japanese governors in 13 years for the exchange promotion.
13. Sino-Japan Relations
Voices of America News (“CHINA, JAPAN EXCHANGE VIEWS ON EAST CHINA SEA ISSUE”, 2010/05/05) reported that the PRC and Japan “contacted” each other and exchanged views on the East China Sea issue in Beijing on Tuesday, said a statement from the PRC Foreign Ministry. “The two sides exchanged views on relevant issues, considered the contact beneficial and agreed to continue to maintain contacts and make joint efforts,” said the statement. This was the first director general-level, or bureau chief-level, contact since the two countries reached principled consensus on the East China Sea issue in June 2008.
Kyodo News (“PURSUIT OF JAPANESE COAST GUARD SURVEY SHIP PROPER, LAWFUL: CHINA”, 2010/05/05) reported that the PRC said Wednesday that a PRC marine survey ship acted properly and legitimately earlier this week when it chased a Japan Coast Guard vessel that was engaged in seafloor research in an area claimed by Japan as within the Japanese side of the median line in the East China Sea. “The operation was totally proper and legitimate,” China News Service quoted PRC Foreign Ministry deputy spokeswoman Jiang Yu as saying. The PRC does not recognize the median line claimed by Japan.
14. Sino-Australia Relations
Sydney Morning Herald (“CHINA IS NO ALLY OF AUSTRALIA: REPORT “, 2010/05/05) reported that the PRC is no ally of Australia and should be treated like the rival it is. That’s the message from foreign policy expert John Lee in a report published on Thursday. Dr Lee says decision makers are treating the PRC as if it will be content to grow and work within a US-led world order. But he argues that’s misguided. “The idea that the US can manage China is failing, and America, including its allies like Australia, must confront the realities of dealing with Beijing.” Dr Lee suggested US and Australian decision makers should get ready to compete with the PRC, particularly over strategic issues.
15. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Agence France Presse (“CHINA TOUTS TIBET, XINJIANG HARMONY AT EXPO”, 2010/05/05) reported that the restive regions of Tibet and Xinjiang have for years been thorns in the side of the PRC’s ruling Communist Party, but visitors to the World Expo in Shanghai would never know it. The two regions — rocked in recent years by deadly unrest — are presented in the giant PRC pavilion at the just-opened Expo as culturally rich and forward-looking areas steeped in tradition, where ethnic harmony reigns. The advocacy group Free Tibet has called for a boycott of the Tibet exhibit, calling it a “crude attempt by the Chinese administration to gloss over the reality of human rights violations and marginalisation” felt by Tibetans. “To visit this parody is to tacitly endorse China’s policies in Tibet of arbitrary detention, torture, disappearances, patriotic re-education and the occupation of Tibet,” the London-based group said.
Associated Press (“CHINA’S XINJIANG TO GET $1.5 BILLION BOOST”, 2010/05/05) reported that the PRC plans to inject nearly $1.5 billion into a western region that is the site of simmering unrest, boosting its economy in hopes of reducing ethnic tension after riots last year killed nearly 200 people. Various regions across Xinjiang, including 82 cities and towns, will received investment from 19 provinces and municipalities around the PRC next year to help improve housing, employment and education opportunities under the plan, the state-owned China Daily newspaper reported Wednesday. The plan aims to increase living standards, build the region into a “well-off society” after 10 years and maintain long-term stability, the newspaper said.
16. PRC Internet
Agence France Presse (“CHINA COULD FORCE WEB USERS TO DISCLOSE REAL NAMES”, 2010/05/05) reported that the PRC could introduce a system requiring web users to provide their real names before posting comments online, state media reported Wednesday, as authorities move to tighten control over the Internet. “We are also exploring an identity authentication system for users of online bulletin board systems,” Wang Chen, the head of the State Council Information Office, was quoted as saying. Wang, who is also the vice head of the ruling Communist Party’s propaganda department, did not specify when the system would be introduced or how it would work.
Agence France Presse (“CHINA BACKS INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO SECURE CYBERSPACE”, 2010/05/05) reported that the PRC supports international efforts to secure cyberspace but believes each nation’s “Internet sovereignty” must be respected, a top PRC official told a cybersecurity conference. “China, like many other countries, is very much concerned about cybersecurity,” said Liu Zhengrong, deputy director general of the Internet Affairs Bureau of the PRC’s State Council Information Office. But, the official added, the “Internet sovereignty of each country needs to be respected” and “different national and cultural conditions” taken into account.
17. PRC Climate Change
Agence France Presse (“CHINA ISSUES STRICT RULES TO MEET EMISSIONS TARGETS”, 2010/05/05) reported that the PRC said on Wednesday it would punish officials who failed to fulfill emissions reduction targets, warning the nation’s current environmental situation was extremely serious. “The energy-saving, emissions reduction situation is very grim, particularly since the third quarter of 2009 when high energy, high emissions industries increased rapidly,” The PRC’s State Council said. “Energy needs have hugely increased, energy consumption has intensified, the speed of reduction of sulfur dioxide emissions has slowed, and they are even starting to increase again.”
18. Cross-Strait Relations
Agence France Presse (“TAIWAN’S LEADER DEFENDS COMMENTS ON WAR WITH CHINA”, 2010/05/05) reported that Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou on Wednesday defended comments he made about the island’s ability to defend itself, insisting the United States would not get dragged into any war with the PRC. Some politicians from the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party accused Ma of selling out to the PRC. “This accusation is nonsense,” Ma said, according to a statement. “I wanted to let the American people know that their support of Taiwan won’t get them involved in any war with China… As a sovereign state, we must display our determination to defend ourselves.” He justified a continued military build-up as necessary to defend the island from the PRC. “We won’t relax our preparations for a military build-up just because of improved ties with the mainland… because we know they still have more than 1,000 missiles targeting us.”
II. PRC Report
20. PRC Climate Change
Labor News (“2010 LOW-CARBON ECONOMY FORUM HELD IN SHANGHAI”, 2010/05/05) reported that the 2010 Low-Carbon Economy—Shanghai Initiative Forum was held in the UN hall of the World Expo site. This was the first forum to be held at the Expo site. Representatives from the government, enterprise and experts have signed a China Low-Carbon Industry Proposal and suggested to establish a China Low-Carbon Action Alliance.
21. Sino-Japan Relations
China News Net (“NPO LEGAL ENTITY CHINA-JAPAN EXCHANGE AND SUPPORT INSTITUTION ESTABLISHED”, 2010/05/05) reported that a NPO and legal entity named the China-Japan Exchange and Support Institution was formally approved by Japanese Cabinet Office and registered in local office of legal affairs on April 27 th in Japan. The Institution is sponsored by the Japanese ‘Overseas Chinese Duan Yuezhong’, and aims to unite more Japanese friends and overseas Chinese to promote PRC-Japan ties.