NAPSNet Daily Report 7 August, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- 1. DPRK-US Relations
- 2. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 3. Japan on US-DPRK Relations
- 4. ROK on US-DPRK Relations
- 5. Inter-Korea Relations
- 6. Japan-DPRK Relations
- 7. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 8. DPRK Economy
- 9. ROK Military Exercise
- 10. ROK-Japan Relations
- 11. Japan-US Security Alliance
- 12. Japan Missile Defense
- 13. Japan on Nuclear Weapons
- 14. Japan Atom Bomb Survivors
- 15. US-Japan Relations
- 16. Japan Politics
- 17. Japan Space Program
- 18. Sino-Indian Relations
- 19. Sino-Australia Relations
- 20. PRC Civil Society
- 21. PRC Civil Unrest
- 22. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 23. PRC Nuclear Energy
- 24. PRC Climate Change
- 25. PRC Plague Outbreak
- 26. PRC Space Program
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK-US Relations
Reuters (Jeff Mason, “BILL CLINTON BRIEFED WHITE HOUSE ON NORTH KOREA: SPOKESMAN”, Washington, 2009/08/06) reported that f ormer President Bill Clinton has briefed a member of the White House’s National Security Council about his trip to the DPRK , White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Thursday. The former president started formally debriefing White House officials about the trip by speaking to a NSC staffer Wednesday night, Gibbs told reporters. He said President Barack Obama also would meet with Clinton to discuss the trip. Gibbs did not say when the session would take place.
Chosun Ilbo (“CLINTON DEBRIEFING COULD PROVE KEY TO N.KOREA POLICY”, 2009/08/06) reported that former U.S. president Bill Clinton’s unofficial debriefing about his meeting with Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang, which lasted more than two hours, is expected to have some influence on the DPRK policies of the Barack Obama administration. Clinton’s briefing on the state of Kim’s health could lead to changes in the U.S. government’s contingency plans, observers speculate. DPRK state-run media reported that Clinton and Kim held “candid and in-depth discussions on pending issues” involving the two countries. It appears that Kim led the meeting and used the opportunity to discuss his plans to improve U.S.-DPRK relations. Kim is widely expected to have used Clinton as a medium through which he is trying to deliver a message to Obama.
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks
McClatchy Newspapers (Warren P. Strobel, “ADMINISTRATION CAUTIOUS ON TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA”, Washington, 2009/08/05) reported that with two journalists who had been detained in the DPRK safely back on U.S. soil, the Obama administration adopted a wait-and-see stance over whether the humanitarian breakthrough will lead to renewed talks on the more pernicious question of the DPRK’s nuclear weapons. “This can’t hurt, but it won’t necessarily help,” said a senior administration official involved in DPRK policy. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the topic’s sensitivity. “I don’t think we know yet” whether there will be an improved atmosphere for talks, State Department spokesman Robert Wood said. “The ball is really in the North’s court.”
Yonhap News (“U.S. TO CONTINUE SANCTIONING N. KOREA UNTIL IT RETURNS TO 6-WAY TALKS: WHITE HOUSE”, 2009/08/06) reported that the United States warned that it will continue sanctioning the DPRK until Pyongyang returns to the six-party talks on its denuclearization. In a daily news briefing, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, “Regardless of this mission or not — we certainly hope that they’ll come back to implementing the agreements that they entered into, while at the same time we will continue to take the steps necessary to enforce Security Council resolutions to ensure that weapons of mass destruction are not spread by the North Koreans.”
Reuters (“WHITE HOUSE SAYS POLICY TOWARD NORTH KOREA UNCHANGED”, 2009/08/06) reported that t he US held back from making conciliatory gestures to the DPRK after Bill Clinton’s visit there, and Clinton said he wanted to avoid saying anything publicly that might “tip the balance.” In words that may well serve to reassure US allies Japan and South Korea , Gibbs said US policy had not changed as a result of Clinton’s visit. He said the United States wanted to enforce UN resolutions to ensure DPRK weapons of mass destruction are not spread — a familiar stance.
3. Japan on US-DPRK Relations
The Asahi Shimbun (“JAPAN WARY OF BEING LEFT OUT OF U.S.-NORTH KOREA TALKS”, 2009/08/06) reported that while officials in Tokyo welcomed the release of two American journalists held by the DPRK, they wondered whether Japan-U.S. cooperation in dealing with Pyongyang would suffer if Washington decides to meet the reclusive state halfway on the nuclear issue. What government officials do not want to happen is for US-DPRK negotiations to move ahead while leaving Japan behind with its own concerns over the nuclear and abduction issues.
4. ROK on US-DPRK Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“SEOUL STILL BAFFLED BY CLINTON’S N.KOREA TRIP”, 2009/08/06) reported that the ROK government was still reeling Wednesday after former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s surprise visit to the DPRK. A senior government official said, “The worst-case scenario for us would be to see the repetition of the nightmare of 1994.” At the time, the ROK government was completely left out in the cold as the U.S. and DPRK concluded the Geneva Agreed Framework in the wake of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s visit to Pyongyang. Especially, the government is concerned about the possibility of the critical public opinion seething over Seoul failing to seek the release of a ROK man detained at the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
5. Inter-Korea Relations
Agence-France Presse (“UPDATE: N KOREA SILENT ON CALLS FOR RELEASE OF S KOREANS”, Seoul, 2009/08/06) reported that the DPRK stayed silent Thursday on whether it would return a ROK fishing boat and crew, despite its highly publicized release of two U.S. reporters to former president Bill Clinton. When the two Koreas made contact Thursday through maritime communication channels, the DPRK said only that it was still investigating the fishing boat incident, according to ROK’s unification ministry.
Korea Herald (Cho Ji-hyun, “DP FRUSTRATED WITH N. KOREA OVER DETAINEES”, 2009/08/07) reported that the main opposition Democratic Party yesterday expressed frustration at DPRK’s double standard toward American and ROK detainees. “We can’t hide our disappointment that the North, which has stressed the importance of being one nation, discriminates between South Korea and the United States,” said DP floor leader Lee Kang-rae. “We ask North Korea to repatriate the South Korean detainees as soon as possible.” Seoul, however, is not considering sending a special envoy to the DPRK to negotiate the release of ROK detainees, the initiative undertaken by the United States this week to free its reporters. Urging the government to go forward with strong measures to bring back those detained in the DPRK, the main opposition party also said a change of policy was needed in how ROK approaches the communist state.
Associated Press (Jae-soon Chang, “SKOREA DOING EVERYTHING TO FREE CITIZENS IN NORTH”, Seoul, 2009/08/07) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak said Friday the country is “doing everything it can” to win the release of its citizens detained in the DPRK. “The government is fully aware of the concern and interest the people have in this issue.”
6. Japan-DPRK Relations
Xinhau News (“JAPAN OPPOSITION DPJ WON’T SHIFT COURSE ON DPRK”, 2009/08/06) reported that Japan’s opposition Democratic Party will maintain Tokyo’s tough stance towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) if it wins an election this month, a senior party lawmaker said. The party would also insist on progress in a feud over Japanese citizens kidnapped decades ago before giving aid under any multilateral nuclear disarmament deal, said Akihisa Nagashima, deputy secretary-general of the Democratic Party. “There is no practical option for us other than to seek a comprehensive solution linking the abductees problem and the nuclear and missile issues within the framework of the six-party talks,” Nagashima said.
7. Sino-DPRK Relations
Xinhua News (“DPRK-CHINA COOPERATION GOOD: DPRK PARTY CHIEF”, 2009/08/06) reported that cooperation between the DPRK and PRC remains good, the head of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) said. Choe Thae Bok, secretary of the Central Committee of the WPK spoke during a meeting with a Communist Party of China (CPC) delegation in Pyongyang. Choe said he believed the “DPRK-China Friendly Year,” initiated by the top leaders of both countries, would make ample achievements through mutual efforts.
8. DPRK Economy
IFES NK Brief (“150-DAY BATTLE’ DRAWING IRE FROM DPRK RESIDENTS”, 2009/08/06) reported that the campaign was launched by authorities to overcome the DPRK’s economic woes but has only managed to bring more difficulties to the lives of the people. This has led to growing discontent among the public. Authorities have increased controls over every kind of economic activity in order to create an atmosphere conducive to full citizen participation in the ‘150-day Battle.’ Crack-downs are being carried out on the sale of banned goods in markets and street vendors. That has had a devastating impact on the poverty-stricken urban vendors that live hand-to-mouth. Travel restrictions and home inspections have also been stepped-up, leading to growing complaints by residents. Recently, inspections by security forces have even grown to include inspections of backpacks worn by residents out in public.
9. ROK Military Exercise
Yonhap News (“SOUTH KOREAN SPECIAL FORCES HOLD MARITIME EXERCISES”, 2009/08/05) reported that the ROK’s Special Forces held military drills on Wednesday in Taean, about 170 kilometers southwest of Seoul. Member of the country’s special forces practiced parachuting into the sea as well as various fitness drills. The ROK’s military says the main focus of the exercises is to “nourish the world’s greatest special forces unit.”
10. ROK-Japan Relations
Yonhap (Kim Eun-jung, “ACTIVISTS TO RUN “EAST SEA” ADS IN U.S. NEWSPAPERS”, Seoul, 2009/08/06) reported that a group of ROK activists said Thursday they will run full-page ads in major U.S. newspapers in the coming days stating that the waters between ROK and Japan is called the “East Sea,” not the “Sea of Japan,” as claimed by Tokyo. The ads will appear in The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal this and next week, said Prof. Seo Kyoung-duk, who runs an extensive national promotion campaign.
Korea Times (Na Jeong-ju, “JAPAN’S CLAIM TO DOKDO THREATENS PEACE IN N-E ASIA”, 2009/08/06) reported that Japan’s repeated claims to the ROK islets of Dokdo are a potential threat to the peace and stability of Northeast Asia and could disrupt ROK-Japan relations any time, researchers said Thursday. The Japanese government’s recent decision to adopt school textbooks describing Dokdo as part of its territory shows how Japan is intensifying its claim over the islets. However, the ROK government is not doing enough to defend its sovereignty over Dokdo, the researchers said at a forum in Seoul.
11. Japan-US Security Alliance
Kyodo News (“U.S. NUCLEAR UMBRELLA CRUCIAL: ASO”, 2009/08/06) reported that Prime Minister Taro Aso stressed the need for Japan to stay under the U.S. nuclear umbrella . “Located next to a country possessing nuclear arms and thinking of making an attack by using them, Japan is in alliance with the United States, which tries to use its nuclear arsenal as a deterrence,” Aso told reporters.
12. Japan Missile Defense
Telegraph (“JAPAN CONSIDERS NEW NORTH KOREA MISSILE DEFENCE”, 2009/08/06) reported that the prime minister, Taro Aso, has been advised by his defence advisers to review the constitution to allow Japan the right to exercise collective self- defence to protect the country amid rising security issues in the region. A review of the ban on the exercise of Japan’s right to collective self-defence was recommended to enable the nation to shoot down ballistic missiles launched by the DPRK targeting the US.
13. Japan on Nuclear Weapons
Reuters (“JAPAN OPPOSITION BACKS OBAMA’S NUCLEAR – FREE PLAN”, 2009/08/06) reported that Japan’s main opposition Democratic Party, which has a good shot at winning power in a general election this month, said Thursday it backed U.S. President Barack Obama’s call to rid the world of nuclear arms. “Realising a nuclear-free world as called for by U.S. President Obama is exactly the moral mission of our country as the only atomic-bombed state,” Hatoyama, quoted by Kyodo news agency, told a ceremony marking the 1945 attack.
14. Japan Atom Bomb Survivors
Kyodo News (“ASO, SUFFERERS OF A-BOMB-RELATED ILLNESSES SIGN RELIEF MEASURES”, Hiroshima, 2009/08/06) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and persons suffering from atomic bombing-related illnesses signed an agreement Thursday, under which the government will provide a blanket resolution to all 306 plaintiffs who have sought recognition as suffering from illnesses caused by the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The agreement will bring the six-year-long legal battle involving 306 plaintiffs to an end. Aso told a press conference after the signing, ”Considering that the plaintiffs are aging and they have fought this legal battle so long, we have decided to introduce the new policies to bring relief to them swiftly by paying respect to the legal decision.” Following the event finalizing the deal, groups of A-bomb survivors submitted a petition to Aso, requesting the government to enact a law to relieve all A-bomb disease sufferers, including those who live abroad, and their children.
15. US-Japan Relations
Agence France-Presse (“OBAMA WANTS ‘STRONG’ START WITH JAPAN”, Washington , 2009/08/05) reported that President Barack Obama pledged to get off to a strong, diplomatic start with key US ally Japan , praising his choice for ambassador to Tokyo ahead of his Senate confirmation vote. Obama said the US relationship with Japan was one of the “cornerstones of our security and economic wellbeing,” as he appeared alongside ambassador-designate and Internet lawyer John Roos in the Oval Office . “There is enormous respect between the people of Japan and the people of the United States. It is for that reason that my administration wants to get off on a strong footing diplomatically in our relationship.”
16. Japan Politics
Yomiuri Shimbun (“SUPPORT FOR DPJ REMAINS SOLID FOLLOWING UNVEILING OF MANIFESTOS”, 2009/08/07) reported that a Yomiuri Shimbun survey has found continuing high public support for the Democratic Party of Japan, with 41 percent of respondents saying they intend to vote for the opposition party in proportional representation blocs in the upcoming House of Representatives election, exceeding the 24 percent who said they plan to back the Liberal Democratic Party.
17. Japan Space Program
ZeeNews (“JAPAN LAUNCHES EXPERTS’ DEBATE ON MOON EXPLORATION”, 2009/08/06) reported that a group of experts held an inaugural meeting here to discuss how Japan should explore the moon following the formulation of a national space development project in June that underlined the country’s ambition to send its first manned moon probe . The government’s space development project states that Japan would explore the moon around 2020 with a two-legged robot, with plans to explore the moon in earnest later involving both man and robots.
18. Sino-Indian Relations
Calcutta News (“INDIA DISMISSES PRACHANDA REPORT ON ANTI-CHINA ACTIVITIES”, 2009/08/06) reported that India Thursday dismissed remarks attributed to former Nepal prime minister Prachanda that New Delhi and Washington were teaming up to launch anti-PRC activities through the Nepali territory. ‘These allegations are completely baseless and false,’ the spokesperson of the external affairs ministry told reporters here. He was responding to a question on a report in a Nepali daily which quoted Prachanda as saying that India and the US had a plan to launch anti-PRC activities, including even an attack on the PRC, using the Nepali territory.
19. Sino-Australia Relations
Bloomberg (Gemma Daley and Jesse Riseborough, “AUSTRALIA PLANS TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR SECOND HU CHINA VISIT”, 2009/08/06) reported that Australia will soon be making arrangements for a second consular visit with Rio Tinto Group executive Stern Hu, detained in the PRC for allegedly stealing state secrets, a government spokeswoman said. “According to the consular agreement, visits must take place at least once per month,” a spokeswoman for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who asked not to be named, said today in an e-mailed statement.
20. PRC Civil Society
Associated Press (“FOUNDER OF CHINESE POLITICAL GROUP TO BE TRIED”, 2009/08/06) reported that the founder of a PRC group that challenged Communist rule with a call for multiparty democracy will plead not guilty at his upcoming subversion trial, his lawyer said Thursday. Guo Quan has been detained numerous times since founding the China New Democracy Party in 2007, most recently in November in the central city of Nanjing in Jiangsu province. He goes on trial Friday at the People’s Intermediate Court in the eastern city of Suqian, charged with subversion of state power, according to his lawyer, Guo Lianhui. The broadly defined charge is routinely used to imprison dissidents, sometimes for years.
21. PRC Civil Unrest
United Press International (“CHINA: URUMQI RIOT KILLED MOSTLY CIVILIANS”, Urumqi, 2009/08/06) reported that PRC authorities say of the 197 people killed in the July 5 Urumqi ethnic riots, 156 were innocent civilians. Hou Hanmin, spokesman for the region’s government, said of the 156 dead civilians, 134 were Han Chinese, 11 were of Hui ethnicity, 10 were Uighurs and one was from the Man ethnic group, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The report said 12 others were shot while committing violence or criminal activities, adding the identities of the rest had yet to be determined.
22. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Associated Press (“UIGHUR ACTIVIST CALLS FOR PROBE ON UNREST IN CHINA”, Melbourne, 2009/08/07) reported that Rebiya Kadeer on Friday told protesters waving the light blue flags of the World Uighur Congress that Beijing had blamed her for inciting the violence in Xinjiang province in order to cover up “their heinous crime.” “We’d like to call on the international community, the United Nations and also the Australian government , to call on the Chinese government to reveal the truth of the people who were killed, wounded, injured, imprisoned and those who died in Chinese government custody,” Kadeer said in her native Uighur language to the crowd. “There should be an immediate independent investigation of what transpired on July the 5th,” she said.
23. PRC Nuclear Energy
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA NUCLEAR CHIEF LATEST HIT IN GRAFT CRACKDOWN”, Beijing, 2009/08/07) reported that PRC nuclear chief Kang Rixin is being investigated for allegedly squandering public funds and accepting bribes valued at up to 1.8 billion yuan (260 million dollars), the Chongqing Times reported. Authorities are probing the possibility that Kang took bribes from French nuclear power giant Areva to win a contract for a project in Guangdong province , said the report, which was posted on numerous government websites.
24. PRC Climate Change
Bloomberg (Alex Morales and Jeremy van Loon, “CHINA BALKS AT GLOBAL WARMING-GAS CAPTURE COSTS”, 2009/08/06) reported that the PRC, the world’s biggest carbon- dioxide polluter, is balking at the cost and effectiveness of extracting greenhouse gases from hundreds of coal plants and storing them underground. PRC can achieve larger emissions cuts instead by spending money improving the energy efficiency of buildings and vehicles and investing in alternative power sources such as wind and solar, said Su Wei, director-general of the climate-change unit at PRC’s National Development and Reform Commission. “Carbon capture and storage, particularly for China, is not one of the priorities — the cost is an issue,” Su said in an Aug. 4 telephone interview from Beijing. “If we spent the same money for CCS on energy efficiency and the development of renewables, it would generate larger climate-change benefits.”
25. PRC Plague Outbreak
Agence-France Presse (“DOG SUSPECTED SOURCE OF CHINA PLAGUE”, Beijing, 2009/08/06) reported that a dog is suspected to be the origin of an outbreak of pneumonic plague in northwest PRC that has killed three people and left 10,000 under strict quarantine, state media reported. Initial tests had shown that the herdsman’s dead dog was the likely origin of the outbreak, Xinhua reported late Wednesday, quoting professor Wang Hu, director of the Qinghai disease control bureau. Wang said it was likely that the dog died after eating a plague-infected marmot and that the man became infected when he was bitten by fleas while burying the dead dog. He died three days later. “The first victim buried the dead dog without any protection. After he became infected, his relatives and neighbours were in close contact with him without taking any protective measures, leading to their infection,” Wang was quoted as saying.
26. PRC Space Program
Agence-France Presse (“CHINA’S FIRST MARS ORBITER IN RUSSIA FOR LAUNCH”, Beijing, 2009/08/06) reported that the PR C ‘s first satellite to probe Mars has been transported to Russia for a launch later this year, state media reported Thursday. After entering Mars’ orbit, the orbiter will probe the Martian space environment, with a special focus on what happened to the water that appears to have once been abundant on the planet’s surface.
II. PRC Report
27. PRC Disaster Prevention
Chengdu Evening News (“CHENGDU TO BUILD 4 LARGE DISASTER PREVENTION PARKS”, 2009/08/06) reported that according to the provincial department of construction, Chengdu is to build four large disaster prevention parks at the east, west, south and north sides of the city, to enhance the city’s emergency capacity of disaster prevention and reduction.
28. PRC Environment
Guangzhou Daily (“OLD AND USELESS BATTERY RECYCLING NETWORK FORMED IN SHENZHEN”, 2009/08/06) reported that 100 old and useless battery recycling boxes were set up in Minzhi Street of Shenzhen city, Guangzhou province. The old and useless battery will be recycled and resolved by expert companies.
Jinghua Times (“CHINA’S FIRST VOLUNTARY CARBON EMISSION CASE COMPLETED”, 2009/08/06) reported that the 8026 tons of carbon emission index, yielded during 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, was bought by Tianping Motor Car Insurance Company yesterday in Beijing with a price of 277,600 RMB, to counteract the company’s carbon emission during 2004-2008.