NAPSNet Daily Report 7 November, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. US-DPRK Relations
- 3. Inter-Korean Relations
- 4. US on Inter-Korean Relations
- 5. DPRK Leadership
- 6. DPRK Economy
- 7. DPRK-Europe Relations
- 8. ROK-U.S. Military Drill
- 9. US-ROK Security Alliance
- 10. ROK-U.S. Relations
- 11. ROK-Japan Relations
- 12. Japan-US Relations
- 13. Japan Politics
- 14. Japan Urban Insecurity
- 15. Cross Straight Relations
- 16. US and Cross Strait Relations
- 17. Sino-Russian Trade Relations
- 18. Sino-Russian Space Cooperation
- 19. PRC Economy
- 20. PRC Energy Security
- 21. PRC Migrant Workers
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Kyodo News (“N. KOREA NIXES NUCLEAR SAMPLING: SOURCES”, 2008/11/06) reported that the DPRK has told Russia that it will not allow its partners in six-party nuclear talks to take any samples from the reclusive country’s nuclear facilities for the purpose of verifying Pyongyang’s nuclear declaration, negotiation sources said. DPRK Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun relayed the stance to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during their meeting in Moscow on Oct. 15, the sources said. Pak was also quoted as saying the DPRK’s partners cannot bring outside the country any material they would find through the verification process.
2. US-DPRK Relations
Agence France-Presse (“US NUCLEAR ENVOY DUE IN NEW YORK FOR TALKS WITH NKOREAN”, Washington, 2008/11/07) reported that Christopher Hill, the chief US negotiator on the DPRK’s nuclear disarmament, was due for talks in New York with a senior official from Pyongyang, the State Department said. Hill will travel “to New York today… to participate in a working dinner with Ambassador Ri Gun, director general for North American Affairs at the DPRK foreign ministry,” department deputy spokesman Robert Wood told reporters. “They’re going to talk about… the six-party discussions. And we’ll obviously be talking verification,” Wood said.
Associated Press (Jae-soon Chang, “N. KOREA READY TO DO BUSINESS WITH OBAMA ADMINISTRATION”, Seoul, 2008/11/07) reported that DPRK envoy Ri Gun said that Pyongyang is ready to deal with any new U.S. administration. “We have dealt with various U.S. administrations, including an administration that sought dialogue with us and an administration that attempted to isolate and contain us,” Ri said. “Whatever U.S. administration comes forward, we are ready to deal with that administration’s policy.”
3. Inter-Korean Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“ACTIVISTS FLOAT PROPAGANDA LEAFLETS INTO N.KOREA”, 2008/11/06) reported that two ROK activist groups sent a batch of 100,000 propaganda leaflets into the DPRK from the Bridge of Freedom at Imjingak Park in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Wednesday, urging the DPRK to repatriate ROK abductees. Ten members of the Family Assembly Abducted to DPRK and the Fighters for Free DPRK sent 10 large balloons skyward, each carrying 10,000 leaflets. The leaflets carried the names of ROK civilians and prisoners of war thought to be held in the DPRK, as well as comments on the health of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, his family tree and other messages.
4. US on Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “S. KOREA EXPECTS OBAMA TO CONSIDER INTER-KOREAN TIES IN ENGAGING N. KOREA”, Seoul, 2008/11/07) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan expressed hopes Friday that the Obama administration will engage the DPRK in tandem with progress in inter-Korean relations. “As there will be a so-called ‘synergy effect’ when North Korea-U.S. talks are pushed together with South-North Korean dialogue, I think South Korea and the U.S. will have to coordinate a policy in such a direction,” Yu said. “We had experience in close policy cooperation at the end of the Clinton administration and also share a common goal of denuclearizing North Korea,” Yu said. “Since we have maintained sufficient ties and exchanges of opinion, there will be no problem in the coordination of North Korea policy.”
5. DPRK Leadership
The Associated Press (“N. KOREA: KIM JONG II ATTENDS CONCERT”, Seoul , 2008/11/06 19:00:00 GMT+0) reported that Leader Kim Jong Il attended a classical music concert, DPRK’s state-run news agency said. Pyongyang appears to be trying to show Washington that Kim is in firm control of the DPRK during the US presidential election, one analyst said. “I think this is a message to the United States,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at Seoul’s University of North Korean Studies. “The message appears to be that: ‘I make decisions on relations with the United States, the nuclear standoff and everything. I’m in control and I’m ready to have direct talks with”‘ US President-elect Barack Obama.
6. DPRK Economy
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA CLAMPS DOWN ON PRIVATE MARKETS “, Seoul, 2008/11/07) reported that DPRK authorities are clamping down on private markets that have cropped up across the country, citing concerns that such business activities can compromise centralized control, a local civic group said. Good Friends claimed in its recent newsletter that the government will allow private markets to operate only once a month beginning in 2009. Markets operate on the first, 11th and 21st days of the month at present.
7. DPRK-Europe Relations
Yonhap News (“N. KOREAN AMBASSADOR TO SWEDEN SERVING AS NEW AS NEW ENVOY TO FINLAND: REPORT “, Seoul , 2008/11/06) reported that the DPRK ambassador to Sweden is concurrently serving as the DPRK’s envoy to Finland, according to a DPRK state radio report. Ri Hui-chol presented his letter of credentials to Tarja Halonen, the president of Finland, on Oct. 31, the DPRK’s Korean Central Broadcasting Station said. Residing in Sweden, Ri also serves as the DPRK’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia and Iceland.
8. ROK-U.S. Military Drill
The Korean Herald (“S. KOREAN, U.S. MARINES HOLD MAJOR LADNING EXERCISE “, 2008/11/06 19:00:00 GMT+0) reported that thousands of U.S. and ROK Marines staged a major joint landing exercise, backed by scores of vessels and aircraft, reported AFP. The drill in the southeastern port of Pohang involved 6,000 ROK Marines and 2,000 US Marines from Okinawa in Japan, military officials said. Also taking part were 27 naval ships, about 30 helicopters and 70 amphibious landing vehicles from both nations. DPRK has condemned the exercise as preparations for an invasion of the state. ROK has said the drill is aimed at enhancing the command capabilities of US-ROK combined forces.
9. US-ROK Security Alliance
JoongAng Ilbo (Namkoong Wook and Ser Myo-ja, “MINISTRY IS SEEKING TO DEVELOP SITE TO FUND BASE”, 2008/11/07) reported that short of more than $678 million to foot the bill for the relocation of US military installations out of central Seoul, the Defense Ministry has asked for cooperation of the Land Ministry to develop the Yongsan Garrison site for commercial purposes, the Joong- Ang Ilbo learned. The plan for commercial development runs counter to a special law governing the Yongsan site stipulating that a park will be built there after US troops leave. According to the document, the Defense Ministry estimated that the ROK’s costs to relocate the Yongsan Garrison will be 8.8 trillion won ($6.63 billion). The amount is nearly double what the ministry first estimated in 2004.
Yonhap (Yoo Cheong-mo, “LEE, OBAMA AGREE TO STRENGTHN ALLIANCE FOR PEACE IN ASIA”, Seoul, 2008/11/07) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak and U.S. President-elect Barack Obama during a telephone conversation on Friday agreed to further reinforce the two countries’ bilateral alliance and to closely cooperate in addressing the global financial crisis and the DPRK nuclear issue, said presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan. The two leaders also agreed to meet in the nearest possible future, raising speculation that they may hold one-on-one talks on the sidelines of the Group of 20 financial summit slated for Nov. 15 in Washington D.C.
10. ROK-U.S. Relations
The Korea Herald (Hwang Jang-jin , “PARTIES STRIVING TO CONNECT TO OBAMA”, 2008/11/06) reported that parties are quickly moving to establish connections with the incoming US administration after Barack Obama was elected as next president. A bipartisan parliamentary delegation will fly to the United States Nov. 17 to meet leaders of the US Democratic Party. The ruling Grand National Party is considering sending a separate team and the main opposition Democratic Party formed a special committee for U.S. relations. Traditionally close to the Republicans, the conservative GNP is finding itself lacking ties with the young US leader and the Democratic Party.
11. ROK-Japan Relations
Xinhua (“S. KOREA, JAPAN TO COOPERATE ON STABILIZING REGIONAL FINANCIAL MARKET “, Souel , 2008/11/06) reported that ROK’s Finance Ministry announced that the country agreed with Japan to strengthen cooperation in stabilizing regional financial markets amid current global financial turmoil. Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Kang Man-soo met with Toyoo Gyohten and Yoshiji Nogami, two envoys from Japan, who came to Seoul to deliver a letter from Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso. “During the meeting, the minister and the Japanese envoys shared the opinion that both countries need to make joint efforts to stabilize regional financial systems as well as those around the world,” said Choi Jong-koo.
12. Japan-US Relations
The Mainichi Daily News (“JAPANESE GOVERNMENT MIXED OVER OBAMA’S VICTORY”, 2008/11/06) reported that after enjoying a close relationship with the US over the last two presidential terms, the Japanese government is now scrabbling to find common ground with the new President-elect Barack Obama. “Obama’s win causes a large degree of uncertainty for Japan,” said a former secretary-general to the LDP, who argued that the core of Obama’s policy will be focused on highlighting the differences between himself and incumbent George W. Bush. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), however, was more upbeat.” There’s the chance for Mr. Obama to tackle President Bush’s regressive stance on global warming and disarmament. On these issues, we can look forward to a new strengthening of Japan-U.S. ties.”
Kyodo (“ASO, OBAMA CONFIRM BILATERAL TIES”, Tokyo, 2008/11/07) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and U.S. President-elect Barack Obama during a 10-minute telephone conversation on Friday confirmed that the two countries will strengthen their alliance to tackle issues such as the ongoing financial crisis, Afghanistan and the DPRK, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said. Aso informed Obama of his willingness to meet in the United States at an early date as he travels to or from such international gatherings as the Nov. 22-23 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit in Lima, according to government sources. Later in the day, Aso told reporters he felt Obama was willing to build on the dependability of the Japan-U.S. relationship and had a ”good impression” of Obama as he seemed to be choosing his words carefully when he spoke to Aso.
13. Japan Politics
Reuters (“SKEPTICAL JAPANESE VOTERS LONG FOR THEIR OWN OBAMA “, Tokyo , 2008/11/06 19:00:00 GMT+0) reported that Japan’s opposition hopes it can emulate U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s victory with his promise of change, but many Japanese voters longing for something new doubt their own politicians have what it takes. Polls show many Japanese have grown weary of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party, in power for most of the past 53 years. “Japan doesn’t have any charismatic politicians like Obama who are young and calling for reform,” said 38-year-old Keishi Matsuoka, who works in advertising.
14. Japan Urban Insecurity
Asahi Shimbun (“REVIVING COMMUNITIES”, 2008/11/07) reported that to make life easier in places with aging populations and stem population drain, the central government will start next fiscal year an ambitious initiative to create teiju jiritsu-ken– self-supporting zones that will encourage residents to stay put through collaborative efforts by municipalities. The idea is to concentrate urban functions in each core city for all zone residents to share, so that all living within the zone can enjoy more modern urban amenities. And this, the government believes, should prevent further population drain to major cities.
15. Cross Straight Relations
Bloomberg (James Peng and Joost Akkermans, “MA MEETS CHINA’S TOP NEGOTIATOR ON TAIWAN AFTER HISTORIC TALKS “, Taipei , 2008/11/06) reported that Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou met Chen Yunlin, PRC’s top envoy to the island, on the last day of a visit that marked the highest-level talks between the two sides on the island in almost 60 years. Taiwan’s future will be decided by its 23 million people, Ma said today at a press briefing in Taipei ahead of his meeting with Chen. This week’s talks don’t threaten the island’s sovereignty, they benefit both sides, he said. Ma said his meeting with Chen wouldn’t involve any negotiations.
Associated Press (William Foreman, “CHINA ENVOY’S TAIWAN VISIT HIGHLIGHTS DIFFERENCES”, Taipei, 2008/11/07) reported that PRC envoy Chen Yunlin declared his trip a success as he ended his visit to Taiwan on Friday. “We have successfully accomplished this memorable voyage,” he said. “We have completed the mission that people across the strait have long desired and have handed over to us.” Chen assured the Taiwanese that if they visit China, they will see “harmony everywhere.” “We believe the future road is long but we will shoulder it and face up to this and that difficulty,” he said.
16. US and Cross Strait Relations
BBC News (“CHINA MAKES TAIWAN PLEA TO OBAMA “, 2008/11/06) reported that PRC government has urged America’s new president-elect, Barack Obama, to oppose independence for Taiwan. A foreign ministry spokesman said the issue was key to good relations. “We urge the United States to honor its commitment… honor the one-China policy and stop selling weapons to Taiwan,” ministry spokesman Qin Gang told journalists in Beijing, after being asked to comment on US-PRC relations following Mr. Obama’s election win.
17. Sino-Russian Trade Relations
RIA Novosti (“CHINA ‘READY TO BUILD NEW BORDER TRANSPORT CROSSING WITH RUSSIA'”, Khabarovsk, 2008/11/07) reported that the PRC is ready to build a permanent border crossing with Russia on an island on the Amur River, recently relinquished by Russia as part of a border demarcation deal, a Russian paper said. “The daily traffic capacity of a new crossing point is estimated at 250 trucks, 50 buses and 1,500 tourists. It could become a major link in the transport corridor between China’s northern provinces and the Khabarovsk Territory,” the paper said.
18. Sino-Russian Space Cooperation
Interfax (“RUSSIA, CHINA LOOK TO EXPAND SPACE COOPERATION – ROSCOSMOS HEAD”, Moscow, 2008/11/07) reported that the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) plans to expand cooperation with the PRC National Space Administration (CNSA), Roscosmos chief Anatoly Perminov said on Nov. 5. “Special attention is currently being given to major and far-reaching research projects, such as the exploration of planets within our solar system and outer space,” Perminov said in an article. The PRC is involved in the Russian experiment Phobos-Grunt, through which a Russian spacecraft will deliver a PRC micro-satellite into a Martian orbit. In addition, Russia and the PRC are cooperating in the exploration of the Moon.
19. PRC Economy
Agence France-Presse (“‘RADICAL’ ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE IN CHINA SOON: STATE MEDIA”, Beijing, 2008/11/06) reported that a radical stimulus package to fight the impact of the global financial crisis on the PRC could be announced this month as the economy enters an “excessive slowdown”, state media said. “Only a radical stimulus package can save the country from excessive slowdown,” a senior Cabinet official, who refused to be named, told the China Daily. The official, who the paper said was close to China’s top decision-makers, said he had submitted a report to the central government urging it to implement an active fiscal policy to encourage government spending and investment.
20. PRC Energy Security
Xinhua (“CHINA, EU HOLD CONFERENCE ON ENERGY COOPERATION “, Brussels, 2008/11/07) reported that the PRC and the European Union (EU) inaugurated a high-level conference on energy resources, aimed at strengthening bilateral energy cooperation. “Energy cooperation between the EU and China has seen significant progress in the past two decades since the first conference held in Brussels in 1994,” said Cao Jianlin, Vice Minister of the PRC Ministry of Science and Technology. Cao said the EU and the PRC have achieved preliminary results in cooperation for a complementary relationship, global energy security and environmental protection.
21. PRC Migrant Workers
BBC News (“CHINESE JOB LOSSES PROMPT EXODUS “, 2008/11/06) reported that tens of thousands of migrant workers are leaving the southern PRC city of Guangzhou after losing their jobs, railway officials say. The increase to 130,000 passengers leaving the city’s main station daily is being blamed on the credit crunch. PRC officials are worried that a sudden increase in unemployment could lead to social unrest. The most badly hit export companies are toy, shoe, and furniture manufacturers. There are already reports of demonstrations and social unrest in the provinces of Zhejiang and Guangdong.