NAPSNet Daily Report 7 May, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- DPRK on Six-Party Talks
- Six-Party Talks
- US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- Sino-DPRK Economic Relations
- Sino-ROK Relations
- Sinking of ROK Naval Vessel
- Inter-Korea Relations
- Inter-Korean Economic Relations
- ROK Nuclear Energy
- Sino-ROK Maritime Cooperation
- Japan Self-Defense Force
- USFJ Base Relocation
- Japan Whaling Issue
- Sino-Japan Relations
- Cross Strait Relations
- PRC Nuclear Posture
- PRC Media
- PRC Environment
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK on Six-Party Talks
Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “NKOREA’S KIM REAFFIRMS NUKE TALKS ON TRIP TO CHINA”, Beijing, 2010/05/07) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il reaffirmed Friday that he was willing to rejoin the six-party talks. “Kim said that the DPRK will work with China to create favorable conditions for restarting the six-party talks,” Xinhua News Agency said in a report on his meeting with PRC President Hu Jintao . Xinhua also said PRC Premier Wen Jiabao told Kim the two countries enjoyed “big potential for developing economic and trade cooperation.” Kim’s train crossed the border back into the DPRK midmorning after leaving Beijing on Thursday.
2. Six-Party Talks
Agence France Presse (“N.KOREA TALKS SHOULD WAIT FOR WARSHIP PROBE: US”, 2010/05/06) reported that six-nation talks on the DPRK’s nuclear program should wait for the outcome of an investigation into the unexplained sinking of ROK warship, the chief US negotiator indicated Thursday. In line with a statement by the ROK, the US special envoy on the DPRK, Stephen Bosworth, said the United States was in a “posture of waiting” to learn why the Cheonan warship sank. “Our focus is on supporting the ROK as it tries to establish exactly what happened with the Cheonan,” Bosworth said when asked about talks.”I think it would be premature to speculate about where we’re likely to be in the longer term other than to say that I think we remain committed to, obviously, diplomacy and dialogue,” Bosworth said on Thursday.
Agence France Presse (“S.KOREA SAYS NO NUCLEAR TALKS BEFORE WARSHIP PROBE ENDS”, 2010/05/06) reported that efforts to restart talks on DPRK’s nuclear disarmament must wait until the ROK finds out who sank its warship, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Thursday. Spokesman Kim Young-Sun said the United States and the PRC also agreed that any fresh six-party talks must await the outcome of an investigation into the naval tragedy. Kim said, “when investigation results are out, necessary measures will be considered and after that, the six-party talks will be pursued through close consultations among countries concerned.”
3. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Global Times (“US URGES CALM ON IRAN AND NORTH KOREA: REPORT “, 2010/05/06) reported that the United States is trying to calm allies’ nerves about the nuclear programs of Iran and the DPRK, saying Pyongyang is being more cooperative and Tehran has made slow progress on developing weapons of mass destruction, the Financial Times reported. The news report cited an unidentified White House official as saying that the actions of the DPRK have recently been in contrast to its actions last year, when it carried out nuclear and missile tests. The official also suggested that the DPRK’s economic and financial difficulties are making its nuclear ambitions unattainable for the time being.
4. Sino-DPRK Economic Relations
Korea Times (“ECONOMIC COOPERATION EMPHASIZED DURING NK LEADER’S CHINA TRIP”, 2010/05/06) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, on his PRC trip, placed emphasis on economic cooperation. Along his route to Beijing, Kim stopped in the economically vibrant port city of Tianjin, home of a special economic zone. It was his second stop at such a location after touring Dalian. Experts here believe the stops, both at cities enjoying booming success after economic reform, point to the DPRK’s willingness to open up its Rajin-Sonbong Economic Zone, located near the town of Rason. “He visited (the port cities) to give a sign of his willingness to develop the Rason port and seek investment from China and Russia,” Zang Hyoung-soo, an economics expert at Seoul’s Hanyang University, told The Korea Times.
5. Sino-ROK Relations
JoongAng Daily (“LEE’S DIPLOMACY COMES UNDER FIRE”, 2010/05/06) reported that facing down criticism that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s trip to the PRC spells a diplomatic failure for the ROK, Blue House officials yesterday defended their capabilities, claiming that there is no rupture between Seoul and Beijing. “Many are concerned about what had happened,” Blue House spokesman Park Sun-kyoo said. “But let me say this clearly: China in the past had never informed us in advance when Kim Jong-il or Kim Il Sung of the North visited the country.” Park insisted there has been no breakdown in cooperation between the PRC and the ROK.
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “LEE SAYS CHINA WILL ACCEPT PROBE RESULTS, ASSUME ROLE ON WARSHIP SINKING”, Seoul, 2010/05/07) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak reaffirmed that his government will notify the PRC of the outcome of the “scientific and objective” probe into the sinking of the Cheonan as soon as it is completed. “If we do so, the Chinese government will be convinced as well and play a role,” Lee said, according to Rep. Cho Hae-jin, spokesman for the Grand National Party. Lee also dismissed criticism of the timing of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s trip to the PRC, saying, “North Korea requested a trip to China several times this year and a schedule was set. But China delayed his trip for several days out of the thought that there is a problem in holding a summit with North Korea before South Korea.” Cheong Wa Dae also said that the PRC government has given Seoul a detailed briefing on the results of Kim Jong-il’s visit. “The Chinese side explained in sincerity the background of Chairman Kim’s visit, what was mainly discussed, and other details,” Kim Sung-hwan, senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and security, told reporters.
6. Sinking of ROK Naval Vessel
Yonhap (“TORPEDO EXPLOSIVE DETECTED IN SUNKEN SHIP: OFFICIAL”, Seoul, 2010/05/07) reported that an explosive substance of which traces were found in the wreckage of the Cheonan has been identified as a bomb ingredient used in making torpedoes, an ROK government official said Friday. “Explosive traces found in the Cheonan’s chimney and the seabed on which the stern’s broken-off side had been lying were all confirmed as those of the high explosive RDX, which is more powerful than TNT,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “This explosive is used in torpedoes, not sea mines.” RDX, which stands for research department explosive, is a white crystalline solid and is considered the most powerful high explosive and a main ingredient in plastic explosives.
7. Inter-Korea Relations
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA ACCUSES S. KOREA OF TRYING TO DRUM UP SUPPORT FOR WAR”, 2010/05/06) reported that the DPRK accused the ROK Thursday of trying to inspire belligerence among its people toward Pyongyang, vowing to mobilize a powerful “war deterrent” if the ROK ever attacks. “These kinds of schemes are intended to create an atmosphere needed for a provocative invasion into the North,” the Minju Chosun said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
8. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
Daily NK (“NORTH KOREA THREATENING ON GEUMGANG STATUS”, 2010/05/06) reported that the Rodong Shinmun has reacted strongly to the ROK’s response to the “freeze” of real estate in the Mt. Geumgang tourist area, stating, “If the South Chosun authorities recklessly challenge us by trying to shift the responsibility for this onto us, a horrible punishment will follow.” The newspaper continued to assert that it was reasonable that the DPRK took steps in late April to freeze assets belonging to the ROK administration and private enterprise. Rodong Shinmun criticized the ROK reaction as an “unfair measure, to break inter-Korean relations,” adding that, “It is a shameless, rash action to avoid responsibility for the breakdown of the Mt. Geumgang tours, like a thief taking a club to his victim.”
9. ROK Nuclear Energy
Chosun Ilbo (“KOREA BECOMES 5TH-LARGEST NUCLEAR PLANT EXPORTER”, 2010/05/06) reported that the World Nuclear Association, an international confederation of companies in the field of atomic power generation, has categorized the ROK as the world’s fifth-largest exporter of nuclear plants. The WNA defined Korea as a “major exporter of nuclear technology” after the country won an order last December to build a power plant in the UAE.
10. Sino-ROK Maritime Cooperation
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA, CHINA AGREE ON INFO-SHARING FOR SHIP SAFETY, RESCUE EFFORTS”, 2010/05/06) reported that the ROK and the PRC have agreed to share maritime location data to intensify cooperation in tracking ships and help search and rescue efforts when a maritime accident occurs in their waters, the Seoul government said Thursday. The agreement on sharing location data from their Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) was reached in a meeting held on Wednesday in Hangzhou between high-ranking maritime officials of the two nations, according to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs.
11. Japan Self-Defense Force
Asahi Shimbun (“JAPAN URGED TO PLAY A BIGGER ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN”, 2010/05/06) reported that with U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement of the July 2011 start of a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, the war-torn country has reached a pivotal moment in its history. Yet, at this critical time, Japan should play, and can play, a bigger role as a coordinator leading to a regional settlement, according to Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist and author. “I think Japan is playing a very important role. It is the second-largest aid donor to Afghanistan after the United States. It has quadrupled its aid. It is now giving $1 billion (93 billion yen) a year.”
Kyodo News (“JAPANESE OFFICIALS TO GO TO SUDAN TO STUDY POSSIBLE CHOPPER OPS”, 2010/05/06) reported that the government is set to send a fact-finding mission to Sudan on Friday to study the feasibility of sending Ground Self- Defense Force helicopters to a U.N. peacekeeping mission operating in the southern part of the African country, government officials said Thursday. A referendum for the right to self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan is planned to be held in the country next January, and GSDF helicopters could be used to help transport ballot boxes under the auspices of the United Nations.
12. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“HATOYAMA GIVES UP ON RELOCATING HELICOPTER UNIT TO TOKUNOSHIMA: SOURCES “, 2010/05/06) reported that the government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has likely given up on the idea of transferring part of the helicopter unit at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture to Tokunoshima Island due to persistent opposition from the United States, several sources close to Japan-U.S. relations said Thursday.
Kyodo (“ISLAND HEADS REJECT HATOYAMA’S REQUEST TO HOST U.S. BASE FUNCTIONS”, Tokyo, 2010/05/07) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Friday asked mayors from Tokunoshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, to accommodate some functions of the Futenma air base. ”It is ruthless to speak about relocation to Tokunoshima…I’m awfully sorry for that,” he also apologized. However, the mayors made it clear during the 30-minute talks open to the media that they were not prepared to accept the prime minister’s request. ”Public sentiment against making any facility will never change,” Isen Mayor Akira Okubo said.
Yomiuri Shimbun (“HATOYAMA FEELS HEAT OVER OKINAWA VISIT”, 2010/05/06) reported that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama came under fire from political allies and foes Thursday over his visit to Okinawa Prefecture, an attempt they said was “too late” to salvage support for a plan to relocate a U.S. base within the prefecture. Mizuho Fukushima, head of the Social Democratic Party, a coalition partner of the DPJ, stressed Thursday that the government should be committed to relocating the U.S. base outside the prefecture, if not the country. “[The government] should work out a policy that considers the opinions of people in Okinawa who don’t want [the Futenma base] moved somewhere else in the prefecture,” Fukushima said.
13. Japan Whaling Issue
Kyodo News (“AUSTRALIA PLEDGES COOPERATION OVER JAPAN’S ANTIWHALING GROUP PROBE”, 2010/05/06) reported that Hiroshi Nakai, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, said Thursday that Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland has pledged to cooperate over Japan’s investigation into an antiwhaling group that obstructed the activities of Japan’s whaling fleet. Nakai said McClelland told him that while they hold different views on whaling, antiwhaling group’s obstruction of the Japanese fleet could not be condoned and that he would support Japan’s position and cooperate in its investigation.
14. Sino-Japan Relations
Reuters (“JAPAN SAYS CHINA SHIP VIOLATES SOVEREIGN RIGHTS”, 2010/05/06) reported that Japan said on Thursday a PRC ship had violated its sovereign rights by approaching a Japanese survey vessel earlier this week in a disputed area of the East China Sea. Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada summoned the PRC ambassador to protest, the Foreign Ministry said. The PRC Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said the PRC ship was acting within its rights. “It’s totally legitimate for a Chinese maritime survey vessel to undertake law-enforcement activities in these seas,” she was quoted as saying.
15. Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (Amber Wang, “CHINA TO OPEN FIRST OFFICE IN TAIWAN”, Taipei, 2010/05/07) reported that the PRC’s Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association said it would formally launch its Taipei office Friday — reportedly its largest outside the mainland — at a gala dinner at the capital’s Grand Hotel. “The office is established to promote exchanges between people and boost travel across the Strait,” it said in a statement.
16. PRC Nuclear Posture
Reuters (“U.S., OTHER BIG POWERS TO REFRAIN FROM ATOMIC TESTS”, 2010/05/06) reported that the five official nuclear powers said on Wednesday they will continue to refrain from conducting any atomic tests and called for all nations to ratify a treaty banning all nuclear explosions. The United States, Russia, the PRC, Britain and France issued their statement at a month-long meeting of the 189 signatories of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is taking stock of the landmark arms control pact. “We reaffirm our determination to abide by our respective moratoria on nuclear test explosions before entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and call on all States to refrain from conducting a nuclear test explosion,” the statement said.
17. PRC Media
International Federation of Journalists (“CHINA: POLICE DETAIN FOREIGN MEDIA “, 2010/05/06) reported that several foreign journalists reporting on a visit to the PRC by DPRK leader Kim Jong-il were detained by police without explanation on May 3. According to local sources, three journalists from Japan were detained for two hours in Dalian while trying to report on Kim’s visit to the area. Asahi has reportedly filed a complaint about the incident with the PRC’s Foreign Ministry. “When we explained that we were allowed open coverage in China under the post-Olympic Games media regulations, the police replied that these were special circumstances, and no media was allowed to report freely,” one of the journalists was reported as saying.
18. PRC Environment
China Net (“CHINA, SOUTH KOREA LEAD IN GREEN TECH FUNDING”, 2010/05/06) reported that the PRC may arguably be the world’s biggest polluter, but it seems the country is also the most serious investor in green tech . A third of its economic recovery package was spent on green-technology investment in the form of high-speed rail trains and infrastructure, wind energy, solar energy , and energy-efficient lighting. It equates to about 3 percent of the PRC’s GDP according to a new United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) book released Wednesday.
Xinhua News Agency (“CHINA SPEARHEADS BIODIVERSITY EFFORTS: UNEP”, 2010/05/06) reported that the UN Environment Program (UNEP) has lauded efforts being spearheaded by the PRC to stem a rapid decline in biodiversity. UNEP spokesman Nick Nuttall said that apart from the PRC’s well known efforts to conserve the panda, the country’s forestry efforts have played a regional and global role in addressing the decline of forests and thus forest biodiversity. “Between 2000 and 2010, Asia had a net gain in forests very much due to China’s efforts,” Nuttall said, noting that the PRC is also engaging on big, transboundary biodiversity projects.
II. PRC Report
19. PRC Environment
South Daily (“GUANGDONG TO BUILD LARGE OFF-SHORE WIND PROJECT”, 2010/05/06) reported that teh PRC’s largest off-shore wind project is to be launched in Shanwei city of Guangdong province. It is said that the planned installed capacity is 1.25 million KWs, covering an area of 240 sq.kms, and that the investment is 20 billion RMB. After construction, it may be PRC’s largest clean energy sources.
20. PRC Civil Society
Public Times (“ANNUAL DONATION MORE THAN 40 BLN RMB”, 2010/05/06) reported that philanthropy in the PRC is developing rapidly. In 2009, total donations exceeded 40 billion RMB, said Li Jing, director of the Public Times at a charitable event. According to official statistics, from 2003 to 2010, the amount donated annually has increased tenfold.
China News Agency (“VOLUNTEER SERVICE HOUR IN HONGKONG REACHES 87 MILLION”, 2010/05/06) reported that according to a survey conducted by the Hong Kong Agency for Volunteer Service, the total volunteer service hours of Hong Kong people reached 87 million hours last year, equivalent to 41,500 full-time jobs and producing an economic value of 5.5 billion HKD.