NAPSNet Daily Report 6 October, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
1. US on DPRK Nuclear Issue
The Washington Post (Chico Harlan, “U.S. WON’T PUSH SOUTH KOREA ON NORTH”, Tokyo, 2010/10/06) reported that as hereditary heir Kim Jong Eun assumes a public role in Pyongyang, appearing for photo sessions and watching live fire drills, the Obama administration has clarified at least one thing about its DPRK policy: Everything depends on the ROK. “We’ve tried to have a very consistent policy about what our objectives are on the Korean peninsula,” said Kurt Campbell, the US State Department’s assistant secretary for East Asian affairs, who is visiting the region this week. “First and foremost, quite frankly, is to have the closest possible partnership with South Korea and work with them. . . . What we’ve seen, in many respects, is a renaissance in U.S.-South Korean relations.” The Obama administration’s wait-and-follow policy with North Korea also underscores a lack of attractive options for engagement.
2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Reuters (Jeremy Laurence, “NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR THREAT IS “ALARMING,” SAYS SOUTH”, Seoul, 2010/10/06) reported that mercurial DPRK’s nuclear threat has reached an “alarming level” and it is now trying to miniaturize weapons to improve their mobility and impact, a ROK government official said. “We have judged that North Korea is currently operating all its nuclear programmes, including highly enriched uranium processing and the nuclear facility in Yongbyon,” said Kim Tae-hyo, the president’s secretary for national strategy. “Their nuclear programme is evolving even now at a very fast pace,” Kim told a forum on the future of Northeast Asia, adding the North’s nuclear threat had reached an “alarming level.”
3. Japan Participation in PSI Drill
Xinhua News (“JAPAN’S SELF-DEFENSE FORCES TO JOIN ANTI-PROLIFERATION DRILLS IN S KOREA “, Tokyo, 2010/10/06) reported that the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) will take part in the two-day maritime anti-proliferation drills starting next Wednesday in the port city of Busan in South Korea, local media reported. Japan would send frigates and shipborne helicopters to the exercise for role including searching and tracking, Jiji Press reported, citing officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The naval interdiction exercises under the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Imitative (PSI), titled “Eastern Endeavor,” will be joined by 15 countries including the United States, Japan and Australia, according to the ministry. The PSI is aimed at foiling attempts to spread weapons of mass destruction.
4. US and Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“US LIKELY TO UPGRADE TAIWAN FIGHTER JETS: REPORT”, Taipei, 2010/10/06) reported that the US is likely to help Taiwan upgrade its fleet of F-16 A/B fighter jets to counter a growing military threat from the PRC, Taipei-based media said. The US administration has been evaluating Taiwan’s defence needs for the next five to 10 years, considering whether to supply the island with more advanced F-16 C/Ds or help it upgrade the F-16 A/Bs, said the state Central News Agency. It quoted Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the Washington-based US-Taiwan Business Council, as saying that an upgrade deal could be announced next year while a sale of F-16 C/Ds was likely to take place in President Barack Obama’s first term.
5. ROK Nuclear Technology Exports
Korea Herald (Koh Young-aahb , “KOREA, TURKEY TO DISCUSS NUCLEAR INDUSTRY COOPERATION”, 2010/10/06) reported that officials from Seoul and Ankara will hold talks this week to discuss the ROK’s participation in the construction of a nuclear reactor in Turkey, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said. The two-day meeting, beginning Wednesday in Ankara, will follow up a bilateral pact on their broad cooperation in nuclear energy, signed during the Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s visit here in June. “The two sides exchanged drafts for the negotiation agenda around late last month. The intergovernmental talks will include basic aspects of the project like location, size and business type, and how they will collaborate to carry it out,” the ministry said.