NAPSNet Daily Report 8 February, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK on Joint US-ROK Military Drills
- 2. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. Russia on Progress of Nuclear Deal
- 4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 5. US-DPRK Artistic Exchange Televised
- 6. Japan on DPRK Drug Smuggling
- 7. ROK-US Relations
- 8. USFJ Base Relocation
- 9. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
- 10. Sino-Japanese Trade Relations
- 11. Japan Whaling Issue
- 12. Attack on Japan Foreign Ministry
- 13. Japan Education
- 14. US-PRC Military Relations
- 15. PRC Media Control
- 16. PRC Migration
1. DPRK on Joint US-ROK Military Drills
Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA BLASTS US-SOUTH KOREA DRILLS”, Seoul, 2008/02/07) reported that the DPRK criticized joint military exercises planned by the United States and RO Korea next month, saying the annual maneuvers are preparations for an invasion of the country. The six-day exercises – dubbed Key Resolve and Foal Eagle – are to begin March 2 with 27,000 American troops, along with the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and an undisclosed number of South Korean soldiers.
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap (“U.S. ENVOY SAYS NK DECLARATION STILL PROBLEMATIC”, Washington, 2008/02/07) reported that the top US nuclear envoy noted progress in the accounting of the DPRK’s nuclear programs but said some elements still remain “problematic,” including suspected uranium enrichment and proliferation activities. Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state, said he believes the related parties can verify the amount of plutonium the DPRK produced, one of the key issues in finding out the extent of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program. “What we asked for is not only a figure, but a production record that got to that figure,” Hill said.
Kansas City Star (“N. KOREA HASN’T GOTTEN PROMISED OIL, U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS”, Washington, 2008/02/07) reported that State Department envoy Christopher Hill told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the DPRK has slowed the dismantling of its nuclear reactor because it hasn’t received the amount of fuel oil it was promised. The DPRK has received about 20 percent of the 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil that it was promised in exchange for disabling the reactor. Hill blamed the slow oil delivery on the DPRK’s ports which can handle only the delivery of 50,000 tons of fuel oil at a time. The disabling of the reactor could face even more delays because the ROK’s new conservative president-elect, Lee Myung Bak, has said he’ll link humanitarian assistance to progress on denuclearization.
Financial Times (“ENVOY HINTS AT SPLIT OVER STRATEGY ON NORTH KOREA”, 2008/02/07) reported that Christopher Hill suggested the US administration is divided over whether its attempt to persuade the DPRK to give up its nuclear weapons is succeeding. While acknowledging some elements of the disablement had been completed, Mr Hill said shifts at Yongbyon to remove spent fuel rods had come down from three a day to one. He linked this to a DPRK protest over the sluggish delivery of fuel oil, noting the US and other countries have delivered only a fifth of the 1m tons promised. Mr Hill said the US was preparing a shipment of fuel oil and that agreement was near on what he identified as perhaps the chief focus of North Korea’s declaration of its nuclear activities, its production of plutonium, which he said could be between 30kg and 50kg.
3. Russia on Progress of Nuclear Deal
RIA Novosti (“RUSSIA WANTS N.KOREA NUCLEAR TALKS TO RESUME DESPITE SETBACKS”, Moscow, 2008/02/06) reported that Russia believes six-nation talks must press ahead despite denuclearization delays, and that data must be fully shared between parties. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov criticized the United States, one of the six parties to the talks, for its inflexible negotiating stance. Last November, Pyongyang provided a list of its nuclear programs to the United States, which Washington considers to be incomplete. Losyukov said that apart from Pyongyang and Washington, none of the parties to talks know what has been disclosed on the DPRK’s nuclear activities, as dialogue on this issue is being conducted solely between those two countries.
4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Joongang Ilbo (Moon So-young, “TOURISM BOOST TO NORTH IN WORKS”, 2008/02/07) reported that celebrating its ninth anniversary, Hyundai Asan Corporation said yesterday it aims to draw over half a million tourists to its recently opened DPRK tourist resorts this year. “We are focusing on developing various tours and fee systems for the Kaesong project and a construction infrastructure for the Mount Paektu project,” Yoon Man-joon, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Asan, said. “By expanding the existing Mount Kumgang tourism project and activating the Kaesong and Mount Paektu projects, we will open an era that will bring 550,000 tourists to North Korea and 500 billion won ($530.8 million) of sales,” he added.
5. US-DPRK Artistic Exchange Televised
New York Times (“PBS WILL BROADCAST CONCERT FROM NORTH KOREA”, 2008/02/07) reported that the New York Philharmonic’s concert in the DPRK on Feb. 26 will be broadcast that evening on WNET, Channel 13, and distributed two days later on PBS. In an unusual arrangement, ABC News will cooperate with WNET, New York’s public television station, to produce the broadcast. Bob Woodruff, a correspondent for ABC News who has reported from the DPRK, will provide “behind-the-scenes coverage” of the concert, WNET said. One place where the broadcast is still uncertain is within the DPRK. Orchestra officials said they had pressed hard to have the concert shown on DPR Korean television, to ensure that it would be heard by more than just a small audience of dignitaries.
6. Japan on DPRK Drug Smuggling
Bloomberg (“JAPANESE POLICE SAY AMPHETAMINE CONFISCATIONS ROSE 160% IN 2007”, 2008/02/07) reported that Japan’s National Police Agency seized a 160 percent increase of stimulant drugs from a year earlier. The increase followed of a major organized crime drug route from the DPRK being cut off, police said. Japan has been one of the biggest buyers of DPR Korea- made stimulants. From 1997 to 2002, for example, 40 percent of the confiscated stimulants in Japan came from the DPRK, police said. The smuggled stimulants in 2007 were seized in 65 criminal cases, including 30 that involved shipments from PRC, 11 via Hong Kong, and seven from Canada, police said
7. ROK-US Relations
Yonhap (“HOUSE CONGRATULATES PRESIDENT-ELECT LEE”, Washington, 2008/02/07) reported that the US House adopted a resolution congratulating the ROK’s newly elected president and wishing him a smooth transition and inauguration. In the Senate, Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced a bipartisan resolution also congratulating President-elect Lee Myung-bak and affirming US wishes to strengthen and deepen bilateral alliance. The House “congratulates Lee Myung-bak on his election to the presidency of the Republic of Korea and wishes him well during his time of transition and on his inauguration on Feb. 25, 2008,” it says.
8. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo (“OKINAWA LEANS TOWARD ALLOWING ENVIRONMENT SURVEY ON FUTEMMA RELOCATION”, Tokyo, 2008/02/07) reported that Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima showed a positive stance over a plan to start an environmental assessment later this month as part of procedures prior to the planned relocation of the US Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station within the prefecture during a meeting with central government officials, participants said. It came after the Defense Ministry resubmitted a report to the Okinawa prefectural government Tuesday containing concrete methods on how to conduct the environmental assessment, meeting a set of requests by Nakaima, who had complained the old report lacked details.
9. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
Kyodo (“TERRITORIAL ROW, COOPERATION SHOULD NOT BE LINKED: KREMLIN SOURCE”, Moscow, 2008/02/07) reported that a Kremlin source expressed the view Thursday that the settlement of a long-standing territorial dispute between Russia and Japan should not be regarded as a condition for expansion of bilateral ties in economic and other fields. Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda called on the government and the people earlier in the day to join hands to resolve the territorial row in a Tokyo rally calling for the early return of all four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido in northern Japan. Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency, however, quoted the high-ranking Kremlin source as saying, “The unsolved problems in the relations with Japan should not impede the development of the multifaceted cooperation of the two countries in different fields.”
10. Sino-Japanese Trade Relations
Reuters (Edwina Gibbs and Fumiya Mizuno, “ACTIVISTS MAY HAVE POISONED CHINA DUMPLINGS: MEDIA”, Tokyo, 2008/02/07) reported that activists opposed to PRC government ties with Japan may have contaminated PRC-made dumplings that caused 10 people in Japan to fall ill, Japanese media quoted a senior PRC food safety official as saying on Wednesday. The discovery of pesticide on the dumplings has received widespread media coverage in Japan, prompted health queries from nearly 4,000 people and led the importer of the dumplings, Japan Tobacco Inc, and rival Nissin Food Products Co Ltd to call off the planned merger of their frozen food operations. “A small group who do not wish development of Sino-Japanese friendship may have taken extreme measures,” Kyodo news agency quoted Wei Chuanzhong, vice minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
11. Japan Whaling Issue
Agence France-Presse (Lawrence Bartlett, “AUSTRALIA HAS ‘SHOCKING’ EVIDENCE OF JAPAN’S WHALING: MINISTER”, Sydney, 2008/02/07) reported that Australia has “shocking” photographic evidence to back an international legal bid to stop Japanese whaling in Antarctic waters, the government said. One picture reportedly showing a mother whale and her calf being dragged aboard a Japanese whaler after being harpooned was described as sickening by Environment Minister Peter Garrett. The picture was one of many taken from an Australian customs vessel tracking the whalers to build up evidence against the kill, and Customs Minister Bob Debus said the pile of “shocking images” would support legal action to stop the annual slaughter.
12. Attack on Japan Foreign Ministry
Agence France-Presse (“RIGHT-WINGER ATTACKS JAPAN’S FOREIGN MINISTRY: OFFICIALS”, Tokyo, 2008/02/07) reported that a self-avowed right-wing activist carrying a protest letter threw a makeshift firebomb at the Japanese foreign ministry on Wednesday before stabbing himself with a kitchen knife. A man forced himself in onto the ministry grounds and threw what appeared to be a beer bottle or a firebomb,” a ministry official said. “He then hurt himself.” No one else was injured and the building suffered no significant damage in the attack on a cold, rainy night, he said.
13. Japan Education
The Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPANESE TEACHERS WIN PATRIOTISM SUIT”, Tokyo, 2008/02/07) reported that a Japanese court awarded 12 retired school teachers and a clerk almost $260,000 after they were denied jobs at schools in Tokyo because they had refused to sing the national anthem at graduation ceremonies. In a rare victory for pacifist teachers, the decision requires the city to pay a total of $258,800 to the 13 plaintiffs, the court said. Tokyo city, led by nationalist Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, has cracked down in recent years on teachers who refuse to honor the national flag or sing the anthem, which many pacifists associate with Japanese militarism in the first half of the 20th century.
14. US-PRC Military Relations
International Herald Tribune (David Lague, “U.S. MILITARY OFFICIALS WARY OF CHINA’S EXPANDING FLEET OF SUBMARINES”, Beijing, 2008/02/07) reported that for a procession of senior US military commanders who have visited the PRC in recent years, the complaint has become almost routine. As part of a sustained military buildup, they say, the PRC is investing heavily in so-called area-denial weapons without explaining why it needs them. The term area-denial weapons refers to a combination of armaments, technology and tactics that could be used to dominate a specific area or keep opposing forces at bay in a conflict. And one of the most formidable examples U.S. commanders identify is the PRC Navy’s rapidly expanding fleet of nuclear and conventional submarines. By the end of the decade, experts say, the PRC will have more submarines than the United States, although it will still lag in overall capability.
15. PRC Media Control
Xinhua (“CHINA REMOVES 200 MILLION “HARMFUL” PIECES OF ONLINE INFORMATION”, Beijing, 2008/02/07) reported that the PRC removed more than 200 million items of “harmful” online information last year, according to the National Office for Cleaning Up Pornography and Fighting Illegal Publications. The office’s local branches also cracked down on more than 4,000 pornographic messages and 150 kinds of pornographic publications, cell phone novels and Internet games. Among these were 3.72 million pornographic publications, 3.2 million illegal newspapers and magazines, 3.36 million smuggled discs and 136 million pirated publications.
16. PRC Migration
Washington Post (Maureen Fan, “IN CHINA, PULLED BY OPPOSING TIDES”, Caotang, 2008/02/07) reported that Huang, 36, is a “sea turtle,” one of the thousands of students who return to the PRC each year after spending time abroad. For many of them, a visit to their family villages during the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, is near mandatory. But such visits also force them to confront changes in modern PRC — changes that may prompt them to swim away again. But the PRC those students return to is not always the PRC they left. The phenomenal economic growth here has led not only to the development of villages and towns, but to a shift in PRC values and priorities. Meanwhile, the sea turtles have experienced changes of their own. Fluent in two cultures, Huang is not quite at home in either.