NAPSNet Daily Report 7 June, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. ROK Response to Naval Sinking
- 2. US on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 3. PRC on Sinking of ROK Ship
- 4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 5. DPRK Leadership
- 6. DPRK Espionage
- 7. DPRK World Cup
- 8. ROK Security
- 9. US-ROK Military Exercises
- 10. Japanese Politics
- 11. US-Japan Relations
- 12. Sino-Japanese Relations
- 13. Sino-US Relations
- 14. PRC-Iran Relations
- 15. PRC Dissidents
- 16. PRC Unrest
1. ROK Response to Naval Sinking
Korea Times (Lee Tae-hoon, “SEOUL CONSIDERS SENDING ENVOY TO BEIJING OVER CHEONAN”, Seoul, 2010/06/06) reported that the ROK is considering sending a senior diplomat to the PRC to persuade it to support Seoul’s call to punish Pyongyang for its alleged attack against the Cheonan, sources said Sunday. Seoul is also considering sending experts, who carried out the investigation into the cause of the ship sinking, to the United Nations headquarters in New York, so that they can brief UNSC members on their findings. “The government may send the experts to persuade UNSC member countries,” a government official said on condition of anonymity. “However, South Korea will provide them only when UNSC members make such a request, as we cannot send them without receiving their consent.”
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “SEOUL REFERS CHEONAN CASE TO UNSC”, Seoul, 2010/06/05) reported that the ROK officially requested the United Nations Security Council to come up with a coordinated international action against the DPRK. Ambassador to the U.N. Park In-kook, on behalf of the government, handed over the official letter to Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller, who holds the UNSC presidency for June, Friday at the U.N. headquarters
Korea Times (Kim Se-jeong, “‘THERE WILL BE NO FULL-SCALE WAR BETWEEN KOREAS'”, Singapore, 2010/06/06) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak said Saturday that chances for a full-scale war on the Korean Peninsula are nonexistent. Lee told a meeting with business leaders in Singapore that he will try to prevent the recurrence of a skirmish between the two Koreas, according to Presidential spokesman Park Sun-kyoo.
Korea Herald (“SEOUL URGES WORLD TO UNITE TO MAKE N. KOREA PAY FOR SINKING”, Yonhap, 2010/06/06) reported that speaking at an annual gathering of defense ministers in Singapore, ROK Defense Minister Kim Tae-young pledged to deter any further DPRK aggressions by strengthening the country’s military posture. “The international community must unite to clearly show North Korea that there comes a corresponding price to pay and responsibility to take for any wrongdoing,” Kim said at the Asian Security Summit. “I ask for your active support and encouragement in ensuring that North Korea does not repeat its misdeeds in the future.”
2. US on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
BBC News (“US MULLS NEW NORTH KOREA MEASURES”, Singapore, 2010/06/05) reported that the US is considering further steps to hold the DPRK to account for the sinking of the Cheonan, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said. He told an Asian security conference in Singapore that inaction would set a “bad precedent”, but did not say if the US was considering more sanctions. Gates said the act was “part of a larger pattern of provocative and reckless behaviour” by the DPRK. “North Korea must cease its belligerent behaviour and demonstrate clearly and decisively that it wants to pursue a different path,” Gates said.
Yonhap (“GATES DISMISSES MILITARY OPTION AGAINST NK”, Washington, 2010/07/06) reported that U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Sunday ruled out a military option against the DPRK. “As long as the regime doesn’t care about what the outside world thinks of it, as long as it doesn’t care about the well-being of its people, there is not a lot you can do about it, to be quite frank, unless you are willing at some point to use military force,” Gates said in an interview with BBC. “And nobody wants to do that.”
3. PRC on Sinking of ROK Ship
Korea Times (“BEIJING, SEOUL HAVE SAME VIEW ON PYONGYANG: AMB. YU”, Seoul, 2010/06/05) reported that the ROK and the PRC have the same views basically on the DPRK to goad it in the right direction so that it can integrate into the international community, but differ on methods and speed in doing so, ROK ambassador to the PRC Yu Woo-ik said in a meeting with other ROK diplomats in Hong Kong, Saturday. Yu stated, “The very fact that the two countries can talk about their differences is the evidence for the improvement of the bilateral relationship. Even though there may be gaps, the two can overcome them by mutual concessions.”
4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap (“SOUTH ACTION ON KAESONG DEPENDS ON NORTH’S MOVES”, Seoul, 2010/06/07) reported that the ROK will determine the fate of the Kaesong industrial park “at some point”, a senior Seoul official said. “There will be a judgment at some point on whether the Kaesong Industrial Complex can be maintained or not,” the official at the Unification Ministry told reporters last Friday on condition of anonymity. The ROK government will take related measures based on how the DPRK responds, he said. “When it comes to security of our nationals staying at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the normal situation is that they can go in and out of it as they want,” he said. “South-North relations will move forward only when North Korea offers an apology for the Cheonan incident, punishes those responsible for it and promises measures to prevent any recurrence,” he said.
5. DPRK Leadership
Joongang Ilbo (Ahn Sung-kyoo, “NORTH LEADER’S SON DENIES ASYLUM RUMORS”, Macau, 2010/06/07) reported that Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, gave his first-ever interview to ROK reporters last Friday. He denied rumors that he has been trying to seek refuge in Europe. “I have no plans on moving to Europe. Why would I?” he said. “I could go there for a vacation, but I think you have only heard rumors.” His father’s health, he said, is “doing well,” and when asked about the Cheonan, he said “Cheonan? I do not know. Please stop.”
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “N. KOREAN LEADER SHOWS UP AT PARLIAMENT, SHAKES UP POSTS: REPORT”, Seoul, 2010/06/07) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il attended the state’s second parliamentary session on Monday. The Korean Central News Agency said Kim’s brother-in-law Jang Song-thaek, who heads a Workers’ Party department, became a vice head of the National Defense Commission. The report added that Choe Yong-rim, chief secretary of the Pyongyang City Committee of the Workers’ Party, also replaced Kim Yong-il, premier of the Cabinet.
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN EMINENCE GRISE DEAD IN MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES”, Seoul, 2010/01/04) reported that the DPRK on Wednesday evening announced the death in a car accident of Ri Je-gang (80), the first deputy director of the Workers Party’s Organization and Guidance Department. A DPRK source said, “In the 1970s, Kim Chang-bong, the then minister of national defense, died in a car accident after he opposed Kim Jong-il’s succession to power. We suspect that Ri’s death was also related to an internal power struggle, although there is no evidence yet to support the speculation.”
6. DPRK Espionage
Korea Times (Park Si-soo, “ARMY GENERAL ACCUSED OF SPYING FOR N. KOREA”, Seoul, 2010/06/04) reported that the ROK military and state intelligence agency are investigating a two-star army general on suspicion of leaking classified information to the DPRK, the defense ministry said Friday. The major general, identified only as Kim, had allegedly handed sensitive information to a former ROK intelligence agent recruited by the DPRK, according to prosecutors and investigators at the Defense Security Command (DSC). The information is related to Korean and American forces’ military operations drawn up in preparation for the possible breakout of war, they said.
Joongang Ilbo (Cho Jae-eun, “INDICTMENT IN HWANG ASSASSINS CASE”, Seoul, 2010/06/05) reported that two alleged DPRK agents sent to the ROK to assassinate DPRK defector Hwang Jang-yop were indicted Friday. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office indicted Kim, 36, and Tong, 36, on charges of coming to the ROK, posing as DPRK defectors, to assassinate Hwang under an order by the spy agency of the DPRK Ministry of People’s Armed Forces.
7. DPRK World Cup
Joongang Ilbo (“NK SOCCER TEAM PROTECTS SECRECY IN S. AFRICA”, Seoul, 2010/06/07) reported that the Makhulong Stadium in the township of Tembisa near Johannesburg is the training venue for the DPRK’s national soccer team, which will play in its first World Cup in 44 years. The team is staying at the Protea Hotel in Midrand after arriving in Johannesburg Tuesday. A Dong-A Ilbo reporter who wanted to see the team practice could not enter the stadium, which was locked from the inside. A security official said the team has been practicing behind closed doors all the time, restricting access by journalists and visitors.
8. ROK Security
Korea Times (Kim Young-jin, “LEE VOWS TO PROTECT NATION, REVITALIZE ECONOMY”, Seoul, 2010/06/06) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak vowed Sunday to continue to make diligent efforts for national security and a revitalized economy. “Undaunted by any predicament, the government will concentrate efforts, without being swayed at all, on defending the country and reviving the economy,” Lee said during a Memorial Day speech at the National Cemetery in Seoul. He also said the government will redouble its efforts to locate and excavate the remains of soldiers who died in the Korean War, and of the independence fighters who fought against Japan’s colonization of Korea.
9. US-ROK Military Exercises
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “ROK-US JOINT NAVAL EXERCISE POSTPONED”, Seoul, 2010/06/04) reported that a planned naval exercise between the U.S. and the ROK in the West Sea will be delayed, a spokesman for the ROK Ministry of National Defense said Friday. “We were notified of a plan late yesterday to delay the planned naval exercise,” ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae told reporters. “South Korean and U.S. defense authorities are discussing ways of readjusting the timeline and content of their joint maritime exercise in the West Sea,” Won said. Another ministry official said on condition of anonymity that the joint naval exercise would be downscaled to a certain extent.
Korea Herald (“ROK-U.S. JOINT EXERCISES TO BE LED BY SOUTH KOREA”, Seoul, 2010/06/06) reported that a joint military exercise and an antisubmarine drill which the ROK and the U.S. plan to conduct in the West Sea later this month will be led by the ROK military, a Seoul official said. “Defense chiefs of the two countries have agreed during the bilateral talks that the joint military exercise and the antisubmarine drill will be led by the Korean side with the U.S. providing support,” the official said Saturday on condition of anonymity.
VOA News (“PENTAGON DENIES PLAN TO SEND CARRIER TO S.KOREAN EXERCISE”, Washington, 2010/06/04) reported that the Pentagon is denying reports from Seoul that there is a plan for a U.S. aircraft carrier to be involved in any exercises off the ROK coast. In an e-mail, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said “no carriers are going anywhere near the Korean peninsula anytime soon.” Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said, “There have not been any decisions with respect to these reports I see about carrier exercises.”
10. Japanese Politics
Asahi Shimbun (“SUPPORT FOR DPJ SHOOTS UP AFTER RESIGNATIONS AT THE TOP”, Tokyo, 2010/06/05) reported that voters welcomed the resignations of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Democratic Party of Japan Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed Friday. Sixty-two percent of the respondents felt that Hatoyama’s resignation Wednesday was “good,” compared with 27 percent who said it was “not good”. 85 percent said Ozawa’s resignation was “good,” while only 9 percent replied it was “not good.” When asked which party they would vote for in the proportional representation portion if the Upper House election were held now, 28 percent of the respondents picked the DPJ, up from 20 percent in the previous survey conducted May 29 and 30. Twenty percent, unchanged from the previous survey, chose the Liberal Democratic Party, while 6 percent favored Your Party, down from 9 percent.
11. US-Japan Relations
BBC News (“BARACK OBAMA GREETS NEW JAPANESE LEADER NAOTO KAN”, 2010/06/06) reported that US President Barack Obama telephoned Japan’s new leader Naoto Kan to congratulate him and to pledge cooperation. Tokyo officials said Kan promised to make “strenuous efforts” to resolve the issue of the Futenma Air Base. The White House said in a statement that the two leaders had agreed to work closely together on a number of issues. “They emphasized the importance they each place on the US-Japan alliance,” the statement said.
New York Times (Martin Fackler, “JAPAN’S LEADER TELLS OBAMA HE’LL WORK TO FULFILL BASE PACT”, Tokyo, 2010/06/06) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan told US President Barack on Sunday that he would work to fulfill an agreement to relocate the Futenma air base. Kan also reaffirmed that his nation’s security alliance with the United States remained the “cornerstone” of Japanese foreign policy, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said.
12. Sino-Japanese Relations
Kyodo (“ITOCHU ADVISOR NIWA TO BECOME JAPAN’S NEW ENVOY TO CHINA”, Tokyo, 2010/06/07) reported that Uichiro Niwa, adviser to major trading house Itochu Corporation, will be appointed as Japan’s new ambassador to the PRC, possibly later this month. He will be the first ambassador appointed to one of Japan’s key partners not drawn from the ranks of former bureaucrats. The 71-year-old Niwa, a native of Nagoya and graduate of Nagoya University, served as president and chairman of Itochu before assuming the post of adviser in April this year. He is a member of a group including eminent Japanese, Chinese and South Koreans.
13. Sino-US Relations
Associated Press (Anne Gearan, “GATES PRODS CHINA ON NKOREA, MILITARY TIES TO US”, Singapore, 2010/06/05) reported that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates challenged the PRC to deal realistically with the short-term question of how to respond to the DPRK and the longer-term issue of whether Beijing’s expanding military can establish more durable ties with the U.S. Gates dismissed suggestions by a PRC general that Washington was being hypocritical in criticizing the DPRK but not Israel for its commando raid on an aid flotilla in the Mediterranean Sea this past week. “There is a wide gap in the U.S. attitude and policy to the two instances,” said Major General Zhu Chenghu of the PRC’s National Defense University. The general also took on Gates over the issue of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. “The Chinese are taking the Americans as a partner, as friends, and Americans take the Chinese as enemies,” Zhu said.
Los Angeles Times (Julian E. Barnes, “ROBERT GATES: TAIWAN ARMS SALES SERVE TO KEEP THE PEACE”, Washington, 2010/07/05) reported that US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Saturday that U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are meant to enhance stability in Asia by countering the PRC’s military buildup. “Because China’s accelerating military buildup is largely focused on Taiwan, U.S. arms sales are an important component of maintaining peace and stability in cross-strait relations and throughout the region,” Gates said. “Only in the military-to-military arena has progress on critical mutual security issues been held hostage over something that is, quite frankly, old news,” Gates said. “It should be clear to everyone now — more than 30 years after normalization — that interruptions in our military relationship with China will not change United States policy toward Taiwan.”
14. PRC-Iran Relations
Agence France-Presse (Jay Deshmukh, “IRAN’S AHMADINEJAD TO VISIT CHINA”, Tehran, 2010/06/07) reported that Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is heading to the PRC this week to discuss the threat of new UN sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program. Before heading to the PRC, Ahmadinejad was due to hold a round of meeting in Istanbul where he was attending a regional security and confidence building conference on Monday. He was expected to meet Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia, media reports said.
15. PRC Dissidents
Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “TIANANMEN DISSIDENT RELEASED AFTER ARREST IN TOKYO”, Tokyo, 2010/06/06) reported that Japanese authorities released Wu’er Kaixi, a student leader in Beijing’s 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests, on Sunday after arresting him for allegedly trying to force his way into the PRC Embassy in Tokyo. As he walked out of a police detention facility, he told Japanese broadcaster TBS that he tried to run into the embassy to “request a dialogue” with the PRC government. He also said in the interview that he wanted to return to the PRC to be arrested, if that’s the only way he could see his aging parents. “For 21 years I haven’t been able to see my parents. It’s so sad,” Wu’er said. “I’ve been making efforts to return to my country since last year.”
16. PRC Unrest
Washington Post (Keith B. Richburg, “LABOR UNREST IN CHINA REFLECTS CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS, MORE AWARENESS OF RIGHTS”, Beijing, 2010/06/07) reported that the PRC has been hit with a recent wave of labor unrest, including strikes and partial shutdowns of factories. Shifting demographics, including years of effective population control through the government’s “one child” policy, have left the PRC short of younger workers, particularly in the crucial 15-25 age group that many factories rely on most. These young workers don’t have to travel far from home like their parents did to find work. They are more aware of their rights. And having grown up in a more prosperous PRC, they are demanding a fairer share.