NAPSNet Daily Report 7 January, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Leadership on Energy
- 2. DPRK Leadership
- 3. US Food Aid to the DPRK
- 4. DPRK Economy
- 5. USFK Base Relocation
- 6. US-ROK Military Alliance
- 7. US-ROK Trade Relations
- 8. ROK International Relations
- 9. ROK Government
- 10. ROK Nuclear Energy
- 11. Japan-PRC, ROK Relations
- 12. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 13. Japan SDF Anti-Piracy Operations
- 14. Japan Whaling Issue
- 15. Japan Energy
- 16. Japan Food Safety
- 17. Japan Environment
- 18. Japan Climate Change
- 19. Sino-Japanese East Sea Gas Dispute
- 20. Sino-Indian Relations
- 21. PRC Government Transparency
- 22. PRC Unrest
- 23. PRC Energy
- 24. PRC Environment
- 25. PRC Bird Flu
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Leadership on Energy
Yonhap News Service (Kim Hyun, “DPRK LEADER VISITS POWER PLANT IN NEW YEAR ECONOMIC DRIVE”, Seoul, 2009/01/06 19:00:00 GMT+0) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il has visited a newly-built hydroelectric power plant, the DPRK’s news agency said Tuesday, amid a brisk campaign to carry out his New Year economic drive. Kim called for greater energy production during his visit to Wonsan Youth Power Station in DPRK’s southeast, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, giving no date for the visit as usual.
2. DPRK Leadership
Reuters (Jon Herskovitz , “DPRK SHAKING UP CABINET, SAYS ROK”, Seoul, 2009/01/06) reported that the ROK’s Unification Ministry said on Tuesday the DPRK had replaced its ministers for railways, forestry, agriculture, electronics and the metal industry with veteran bureaucrats in the past few months. “The large-scale cabinet reshuffle seems to have been carried out with succession in mind,” the Chosun Ilbo quoted an unnamed government official as saying. The sources said the shake-up includes at least four other ministers as well as leaders of the army and the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).
Yonhap News (Kim Hyun, “N. KOREA TO HOLD PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION IN MARCH AMID ECONOMIC CAMPAIGN”, 2009/01/06) reported that the Korean Central News Agency said in a brief statement that the DPRK Presidium of Supreme People’s Assembly announced its decision on Tuesday to “hold the 12th representatives’ election on March 8 in 2009.” The DPRK was expected to hold the elections in 2008, when the assembly members’ five-year term expired, but they did not take place.
3. US Food Aid to the DPRK
Yonhap News (Hwang Doo-hyong, “LATEST BATCH OF FOOD AID SHIPMENT DUE IN N. KOREA THIS WEEKEND: STATE DEPT.”, Washington, 2009/01/06) reported that t he latest food aid shipment from the US will arrive in the DPRK later this week, the U.S. State Department said. “The next shipment of food aid, totaling 21,000 metric tons, is now expected to arrive in the DPRK by the end of this week, with its delayed arrival due to recent rough seas,” the department said in a statement, adding the shipment will be distributed by U.S. nongovernmental organizations.
4. DPRK Economy
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (“DPRK ANNOUNCES PLAN TO SOLVE CLOTHING SHORTAGE”, 2009/01/06) reported that Jo Jong-woong, assistant director of the DPRK Department of Light Industry, announced that this year, efforts would be concentrated on production of daily necessities, with a priority on resolving clothing issues. Jo stated, “Currently, the most important sector is textiles,” and, “regarding the easing of the people’s problems, and regarding our production of necessities as well, we have decided to move forward with resolving issues related to clothing shortages first.” Jo emphasized that the government had been working since 2006 to revitalize the Pyongyang Weaving Factory, and since last year, with all equipment upgraded, quality and production capacity had been increased “several times over.”
5. USFK Base Relocation
Donga Ilbo (“RELOCATION DELAY HURTS PYEONGTAEK, GYEONGGI AREA “, 2009/01/06) reported that with the delay of the relocation of US military bases to the Pyeongtaek area, around half of 1,500 rental houses built over the last five to six years for American servicemen sit empty. Certain builders have drastically reduced rental fees to find tenants, but their losses are snowballing. “The biggest problem is the uncertainty of government policy,” said Lee Heon-hyeon, chairman of the Korea-U.S. Real Estate Association consisting of brokers and lessors in the Pyeongtaek area. “Nothing can be done about the losses incurred so far, but we hope the government can promptly decide on the year of the relocation, whether it be 2014 or 2016, so that we can plan ahead.”
6. US-ROK Military Alliance
JoongAng Ilbo (Jung Sung-ki, “CABINET ENDORSES DEFENSE COSTS SHARING PLAN”, 2009/01/06) reported that t he cabinet approved a ROK-US agreement that the ROK will provide about 760 billion won to the US Forces Korea (USFK) next year to help maintain 28,500 American troops here. The agreement is awaiting approval from President Lee Myung-bak and the National Assembly before it takes effect. Under the accord reached by the two governments last month, the ROK will increase its share each year in line with the consumer price index, but the annual hike will be capped at 4 percent.
Chosun Ilbo (“SHARP SUPPORTS 8TH U.S. ARMY STAYING IN ROK”, 2009/01/06) reported that U.S. Forces ROK Commander Gen. Walter Sharp late last year told superiors that the headquarters of the Eighth U.S. Army should stay in ROK even under a new command structure once full operational control of ROK troops has been handed to Seoul in 2012.
7. US-ROK Trade Relations
The Financial Times (Christian Oliver, “SEOUL SEEKS TO ALLAY US FEARS OVER TRADE DEAL”, 2009/01/06) reported that the ROK’s trade minister has urged the incoming US administration not to ditch the US-ROK Free Trade Agreement. In an interview with the Financial Times, Kim Jong-hoon said he was confident the deal would soon be ratified by the ROK parliament. “The US has been a primary leader in promoting free trade around the world and the continued leadership of the US is much needed,” Kim said.
8. ROK International Relations
JoongAng Ilbo (“LEE WILL USE 2009 TO BROADEN REACH OF DIPLOMACY”, 2009/01/06) reported that the Lee Myung-bak administration will broaden its foreign policy scope beyond the four superpowers this year, senior Lee administration sources said. The plan is in line with Lee’s request to the Foreign Ministry to diversify diplomacy. “Last year, Lee visited foreign countries eight times, and seven trips concentrated on the four superpowers,” a senior government official said, asking for anonymity. “This year, he will spend more time visiting regions such as Europe, Southeast Asia and Central Asia in line with multilateral talks taking place in those areas.”
9. ROK Government
Associated Press (” ROK PARLIAMENT SIEGE ENDS”, Seoul, 2009/01/06) reported that opposition lawmakers ended their violent, 12-day siege of ROK’s Parliament Tuesday after successfully delaying a key vote on a U.S. free trade deal and other legislation. The main opposition party ended its sit-in after the parliament speaker assured it the ruling Grand National Party had abandoned its bid to ram through the bills before the next U.S. president takes office. Hours later, the rival parties announced a compromise: to postpone a ratification vote until after President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
10. ROK Nuclear Energy
Yonhap News Service (Lee Joon-seung, “ROK’S NUCLEAR REACTOR OPERATIONAL RATE TOPS 93 PCT IN 2008”, Seoul, 2009/01/04) reported that a drop in the number of malfunctions and temporary shut-downs helped raise ROK’s nuclear reactor operational rate to the world’s top rankings last year, a government report said Sunday.The report by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said the average operational rate of the country’s 20 commercial reactors is estimated to have reached 93.4 percent.
11. Japan-PRC, ROK Relations
Dong-A Ilbo (“JAPAN SEEKS TO DEVELOP MARINE RESOURCES IN EAST SEA”, 2009/01/07) reported that Japan plans to develop marine resources in the East Sea and the East China Sea, foreshadowing further territorial disputes with ROK and PRC. Tokyo has created a draft plan to develop marine energy and mineral resources, which stipulates which sea areas to develop and when and how to develop them.
12. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
JoongAng Ilbo (Park Si-soo, “DOKDO VISITORS JUMP 28%”, 2009/01/06) reported that the territorial dispute over ownership of Dokdo between the ROK and Japan helped attract a record number of visitors to Dokdo last year, the government said. According to administration offices at Ulleung Islet and Dokdo, 129,910 people landed on the islets last year, up from 101,428 in 2007. “Japan’s claim of sovereignty also played a substantial role in increasing the number,” an official said. “We will upgrade port facilities to attract more travelers.”
13. Japan SDF Anti-Piracy Operations
Bloomberg (Jason Clenfield, “JAPAN TO CONSIDER BILL TO FIGHT HIGH-SEAS PIRACY, YOMIURI SAYS”, 2009/01/06) reported that the Japanese government will submit a bill to parliament to give the nation’s naval forces a legal basis to fight high-seas piracy, the Yomiuri Newspaper said. The bill would authorize the Japan Coast Guard and the Maritime Self-Defense Force to escort commercial ships and to fire on pirate vessels, the newspaper said, citing officials it didn’t name.
14. Japan Whaling Issue
Associated Press (eric talmadge, “JAPAN WANTS ANTI-WHALING SHIP BARRED FROM PORTS”, Tokyo, 2009/01/06) reported that Japan said Tuesday it plans to ask Australia and possibly New Zealand and Chile to ban an anti-whaling protest ship from using their ports to refuel, heightening a cat-and-mouse game in Antarctic waters between Japan’s whaling fleet and the conservationists.
15. Japan Energy
Telegraph.co.uk (Danielle Demetriou , “JAPAN TAPS INTO POWER OF VOLCANOES WITH GEOTHERMAL ENERGY PLANTS”, Tokyo, 2009/01/06) reported that a string of geothermal power plants are to be developed by a number of firms keen to capitalise on the active volcanic landscape that spans the country, while the government is also currently compiling guidelines supporting the development of such energy sources.
16. Japan Food Safety
Dong-A Ilbo (“JAPAN TO SELL CLONED BEEF AND PORK THIS YEAR”, 2009/01/06) reported that the Japanese government will announce cloned beef and pork made from cloned eggs or body cells are safe, allowing their commercial sale this year, Japanese media reported yesterday. The Yomiuri Shimbun and other media quoted experts at the Japanese Food Safety Commission as saying they concluded the quality of meat and ingredients of milk from cloned cows and pigs are as safe as those of normal meat.
17. Japan Environment
Bloomberg (Takashi Hirokawa, “JAPAN AIMS TO CREATE JOBS THROUGH GREEN TECHNOLOGY, SAITO SAYS”, Tokyo, 2009/01/06) reported that Japan plans to create “millions” of jobs by promoting energy-saving products and other environment friendly technologies. “I received orders from the Prime Minister to draft a Green New Deal plan,” Environment Minister Tetsuo Saito told reporters in Tokyo today. “The orders were to create something that would create jobs by the millions and will fundamentally change Japanese society.” Prime Minister Taro Aso wants to exceed a plan to expand the market for green products to about 100 trillion yen ($1.1 trillion) by 2015, Saito said.
18. Japan Climate Change
JCN Newswire (“JAPAN AIRLINES LAUNCHES CARBON OFFSET”, Tokyo, 2009/01/05) reported that o n February 3 2009, Japan Airlines (JAL) has teamed up with Recycle One, the Japanese agency of the CarbonNeutral Company to start offering via its website a carbon offset program which will enable passengers using its flights to voluntarily offset the CO2 gases generated by their trips.
19. Sino-Japanese East Sea Gas Dispute
Kyodo News (“CHINA SAYS JAPAN SHOULD NOT ‘DISTORT’ GAS FIELD AGREEMENT”, Beijing, 2009/01/06) reported that the PRC said Japan should not “distort” a deal reached last year between the two countries over disputed gas fields, as tensions continued over Japan’s complaint that Beijing is continuing exploration work at one of them. “We hope the Japanese side does not distort the relevant principles and consensus reached by the two sides,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular press conference.
20. Sino-Indian Relations
Xinhua News (“SENIOR CPC OFFICIAL SAYS TO PUSH FOR CLOSER CHINA-INDIA TIES”, 2009/01/06) reported that a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said the PRC side is ready to enhance exchanges with major political parties of India to further push forward country-to-country ties. Liu Yunshan, head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks in his meeting with a delegation from the National Democratic Alliance of India, led by Sri Bal Apte, vice president of the Indian People’s Party. He called on both sides to handle bilateral ties from strategic and long-term point of view, and properly settle respective concerns, so as to lift up China-India ties to a new level.
21. PRC Government Transparency
Caijing Magazine (“OFFICIALS IN XINJIANG PARTIALLY DECLARE THEIR INCOMES”, 2009/01/06) reported that Altay city in Xinjiang made public the income statements of 55 officials on January 1. The only documents made available to the public were salary slips showing that each of these 55 officials earns from 20,000 to 40,000 yuan per year. On paper none of them, nor any of their relatives, admitted accepting cash, gifts or securities from job-related organizations or individuals. In addition, many more declarations were labeled classified, including money inherited, received as gifts or won in a lottery, and personal property worth more than 100,000 yuan.
22. PRC Unrest
Reuters (“CHINA SEEN FACING WAVE OF UNREST IN 2009”, 2009/01/06) reported that the PRC faces surging protests and riots in 2009 as rising unemployment stokes discontent, a state-run magazine said . The unusually stark report in this week’s Outlook (Liaowang) Magazine, issued by the official Xinhua news agency , said faltering growth could spark anger among millions of migrant workers and university graduates left jobless. “Without doubt, now we’re entering a peak period for mass incidents,” a senior Xinhua reporter, Huang Huo, told the magazine.
23. PRC Energy
Radio Free Asia (“PRC OIL DEPENDENCE SPARKS CONCERN”, Boston, 2009/01/05) reported that PRC passed an energy milestone in 2008 as its oil imports equaled domestic production for the first time, according to industry reports. In separate estimates, state-owned PRC National Petroleum Corp. and its PetroChina subsidiary said the country’s crude oil imports rose to 189 million tons last year, the same level as domestic oil output, official media reported.
New Energy Focus (“GLASGOW CONSULTANCY TO HELP PRC INTO OFFSHORE WIND”, 2009/01/06) reported that renewable energy experts from Glasgow are to show PRC how to make the most of a 10,000 kilometre stretch of its coastline for offshore wind energy generation. Consultancy SgurrEnergy will work with the PRC Meteorological Administration to look into the technical, environmental and economic constraints that might affect a PRC offshore wind industry. The project is funded by the European Union, forming part of the EU-PRC Energy and Environment Programme of international cooperation.
Business Wire (“PRC’S CLEAN AND RENEWABLE ENERGY SECTOR IS POISED FOR MASSIVE GROWTH “, Dublin, 2009/01/06) reported that PRC will receive approximately 23 percent of global investment in renewable energy between 2005 and 2030, equivalent to about $1.2 trillion, said Francois Nguyen, senior advisor to the International Energy Agency on the development of renewable energy in PRC. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the PRC’s primary macroeconomic planner, has targeted renewable energy to make up 10 percent of PRC’s total energy consumption by 2010, and 15 percent by 2020, compared with 7.5 percent in 2005.
New York Times (Andrew Revkin, “PRC’S POWER SURGE ENDS (FOR NOW)”, 2009/01/06) reported that the extraordinary growth in power generation in PRC in recent years, has collapsed under the weight of the global economic implosion — at least for now. Researchers at Stanford University who closely track PRC’s power sector, coal use, and carbon dioxide emissions have done an initial rough projection and foresee PRC possibly emitting somewhere between 1.9 and 2.6 billion tons less carbon dioxide from 2008 to 2010 than it would have under “business as usual” if current bearish trends for the global economy hold up.
24. PRC Environment
Agence France Press (“1 IN 5 CONSIDERING LEAVING HONG KONG DUE TO POLLUTION: SURVEY”, Hong Kong, 2009/01/05) reported that the Hong Kong skyline on January 3 shows air pollution over the city. One in five Hong Kong residents is considering leaving the city because of its dire air quality, a survey released Monday has found, raising fears over the financial hub’s competitiveness.
25. PRC Bird Flu
Agence France Press (Karl Malakunas , “BIRD FLU RE-EMERGES IN PRC AND VIETNAM, ONE DEAD”, Beijing, 2009/01/06) reported that on Tuesday the PRC reported bird flu killed a woman in Beijing and Vietnam said a girl had contracted the virus. The case in the PRC capital saw a 19-year-old woman, Huang Yanqing, die on Monday after she fell ill on December 24, the Beijing Health Bureau said.
II. PRC Report
26. PRC Environment
People’s Daily online (Liu Bing, “CHINA’S BIGGEST INLAND FRESHWATER LAKE GETS ENVIRONMENTAL LOAN OF?35 MILLION”, 2009/01/03) reported that the PRC’s biggest inland freshwater lake, Xinjiang Bositeng Lake, got an environmental loan of $ 35 million from the Kuwait government. The fund will be used in promoting basin environmental protection and construction of ecological governance projects. According to the Xinjiang local government, at the end of December 2008, after the evaluation by experts from Kuwait Economic Development Foundation, the Kuwait government agreed to the loan, and the loan period was planned to be 20 years, from 2009 to 2028.
27. Cross Strait Relations
Southeast News (Chen Yanqing, “TAIWAN CIJI FOUNDATION HELPS NEEDY GROUPS IN FUJIAN PROVINCE”, 2009/01/06) reported that the basketball court of Jingxi Town of Minhou County of Fujian province was very bustling, because 392 poor families received rice and other materials for the coming traditional New Year here yesterday. It is understood that these materials are all from Taiwan Ciji Foundation. Besides Jingxi Town, another 5 towns will receive the festival materials from the Foundation.