NAPSNet Daily Report 8 January, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Foreign Relations
- 2. US on Sino-DPRK Relations
- 3. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 4. Inter-Korean Relations
- 5. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 6. Inter-Korean Education Project
- 7. DPRK Military
- 8. DMZ Environment
- 9. DPRK Food Supply
- 10. DPRK Economy
- 11. ROK Cyber Security
- 12. ROK Military Exports
- 13. ROK-Jordan Nuclear Cooperation
- 14. ROK-Japan Relations
- 15. US-Japan Relations
- 16. Japan Nuclear Reprocessing
- 17. Japan Whaling Issue
- 18. Japan Territorial Boundaries
- 19. US and Cross Strait Relations
- 20. Sino-Indian Relations
- 21. Hong Kong Government
- 22. PRC Energy Supply
- 23. PRC Human Rights
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Foreign Relations
Xinhua News (“DPRK WILLING TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH HOSTILE COUNTRIES: OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER”, Pyongyang, 2010/01/07) reported that an official newspaper of the DPRK reiterated the government’s consistent stand to improve and normalize relations with countries that had been in a hostile relationship with it “if they roll back their hostile policies towards it and respect it.” The socialism construction of the DPRK was in great need of “a peaceful environment,” said an article carried by the Rodong Sinmun daily. The effort to strengthen the DPRK’s defense forces was aimed at securing peace for the country’s economic construction, the article said.
2. US on Sino-DPRK Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“U.S. ‘WOULD WELCOME CHINA VISIT BY KIM JONG-IL'”, 2010/01/07) reported that the US would welcome it if DPRK leader Kim Jong-il visits the PRC, a senior State Department official said Tuesday. Speaking to reporters, he said PRC officials from the prime minister down paid visits to the DPRK last year, and it would be welcome if Kim visits Beijing in return. He added close attention should be paid to what Kim says and how he acts there. That suggests the US thinks it highly likely that Kim is indeed visiting the PRC, as has been widely speculated.
3. Sino-DPRK Relations
Kyodo News (“CHINA TO APPOINT LIU HONGCAI AS AMBASSADOR TO N. KOREA “, 2010/01/07) reported that the PRC plans to appoint Liu Hongcai, a deputy head of the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party, as ambassador to the DPRK, replacing Liu Xiaoming, PRC government sources said. Liu Hongcai, 54, is known for being familiar with Japanese affairs. He was posted to the PRC Embassy in Tokyo from 1989 to 1992.
4. Inter-Korean Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“BEIJING TIPPED AS NEW CONDUIT FOR INTER-KOREAN TALKS”, 2010/01/06) reported that the new ROK ambassador to the PRC in late December asked a former senior DPRK official in a closed-door meeting for advice on inter-Korean issues, including the possibility of a summit. Yu Woo-ik asked the official what kind of person DPRK Ambassador to China Choe Jin-su is and whether he has direct links with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. This sparked speculation that a new “Beijing channel” will allow the two Koreas to discuss matters like an inter-Korean summit. A senior government official said, “Washington and Pyongyang fine-tune major issues… behind the scenes through the North Korea’s mission to the UN in New York. It is possible that ambassador Yu will open a hotline in Beijing since both Seoul and Pyongyang are currently calling for dialogue.”
Korea Herald (“DP LEADER CALLS FOR INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT”, 2010/01/07) reported that the main opposition Democratic Party leader yesterday called on President Lee Myung-bak to push for a summit with the DPRK to discuss a peace treaty to replace the Korean War armistice. “Now is the time for the leaders of the South and the North to meet and discuss a peace treaty as well as the future of the Korean Peninsula,” Rep. Chung Sye-kyun said. “The outdated armistice must now be abrogated and replaced with a peace treaty.”
5. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Korea Times (“HOTEL TO OPEN IN GAESEONG COMPLEX”, 2010/01/07) reported that t he five-story Hannuri Hotel with 101 rooms will open in the joint Gaeseong Industrial Complex in the DPRK as early as March, a spokesman for the hotel said. It will be the first of its kind in the complex. The hotel will accommodate company employees and buyers. “Foreign buyers can stay there for a long time. The hotel will offer a range of services,” said Lee Im-dong, secretary general of an association of ROK companies in the complex.
Yonhap (“S. KOREA GAVE PYONGYANG OFFICIALS MARKET ECONOMY TRAINING IN 2009: source “, Seoul, 2010/01/08) reported that the ROK helped DPRK officials and trade experts receive up-to-date market economy training last year, a source at the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said Friday. The source said 40 DPRK officials were taught about the stock market, supply of consumer goods, light industrial policies, international trade and intellectual property right protection at the PRC’s Dalian University in October and November. The ministry, however, said that ROK officials were not directly involved in the training program.
6. Inter-Korean Education Project
The Asahi Shimbun (“IN PYONGYANG, SCIENCE GETS A SOUTH KOREAN SPIN”, 2010/01/07) reported that after a delay of nearly seven years, a science university jointly established by the two Koreas will finally open its doors in April in the DPRK capital. The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology was originally set to open in 2003, but the standoff over the DPRK’s nuclear ambitions caused a delay in those plans. Most of the facilities have been built and the university has already completed its recruitment of students, according to Kim Chin-kyung, president of Yanbian University of Science and Technology, who has been a driving force behind the new university. In the first year, about 200 undergraduates and 100 graduate students will be enrolled. Most classes will be taught in English by 13 professors from the ROK, the United States and Europe.
7. DPRK Military
Korea Times (“NORTH SHOWS PHOTOS OF ATTACK DRILLS”, 2010/01/07) reported that the DPRK has recently carried out military drills apparently aimed at preparing for attacks on the ROK, the DPRK’s state television station reported. The Korean Central Television in Pyongyang ran 59 still photos of drills by the 105th Armored Division. The country’s leader, Kim Jong-il, visited the base for his first field inspection of 2010 and watched the exercise take place. The exact date of the exercise was not reported. In an indication that the North had directly targeted the South in its exercise, four of the photos showed signs bearing names of ROK cities and highways.
8. DMZ Environment
Korea Herald (“MORE ENDANGERED SPECIES SPOTTED IN DMZ”, 2010/01/07) reported that dozens of endangered species, almost extinct in the rest of the ROK, were found to be inhabiting the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, environment officials here said, as the country seeks to turn the region into an ecological peace belt, according to Yonhap News. Eight near-extinct mammals including the small-eared cat, elk, and 24 endangered birds such as the red-crowned crane were confirmed to be living in the mid-DMZ area according to joint research by Seoul’s environment ministry and the National Institute of Environmental Research.
9. DPRK Food Supply
The Washington Post (“N. KOREAN CURRENCY CRACKDOWN FUELS INFLATION, FOOD SHORTAGES”, 2010/01/07) reported that strong-armed currency reform in the DPRK, which has confiscated the savings of small businesses and forbidden the use of foreign money, is now causing runaway inflation and contributing to food shortages, according to several reports from inside the closed state. Outside economists say suspicion about the value of the won has made residents wary, increasing economic stagnation and worsening food shortages. The central government held a teleconference in late December with officials in every province, city and county “to discuss how to supply consumer goods to residents in the aftermath of the currency exchange,” according to Good Friends.
10. DPRK Economy
Xinhua News (“DPRK TOP LEADER CALLS FOR BUILDING PROSPEROUS NATION BY OWN STRENGTH”, Pyongyang, 2010/01/07) reported that Kim Jong Il, top leader of the DPRK, called for building a powerful and prosperous nation by the country’s own efforts with its own technology and resources, the official KCNA news agency said on Thursday. He made the remarks when he visited the construction site of the No. 2 dam of the Ryesonggang Youth Hydropower Station in the North Hwanghae province, the KCNA said, without giving the date of the visit.
11. ROK Cyber Security
Yonhap (“S. KOREA TO LAUNCH CYBER COMMAND NEXT WEEK”, Seoul, 2010/01/08) reported that the ROK will launch a military cyber command next week to tackle the increasing threat of cyber attacks by the DPRK, the defense ministry said Friday. The command, to be led by a one-star general, will begin official duties on Monday, working on Internet hacking prevention, cyber security and restoration of damaged networks. It will also carry out military operations in cyberspace in cases of emergency, the ministry said in a press release.
12. ROK Military Exports
Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “S. KOREA TO TRANSFER UAV, MISSILE TECHNOLOGIES TO UAE”, 2010/01/07) reported that the ROK promised to transfer technology for its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), following its successful bid to build four nuclear reactors in the Middle East nation, a government source said. Defense Minister Kim Tae-young made the commitment during his visit to the UAE in November to discuss bilateral defense issues as well as to support the landmark $20 billion deal. Kim also offered to provide key arms technologies related to the homegrown Hyunmoo ballistic and cruise missiles to the UAE as part of efforts to expand defense cooperation between the two countries, he said on condition of anonymity.
13. ROK-Jordan Nuclear Cooperation
Xinhua News (“S KOREA, JORDAN TO DISCUSS NUCLEAR POWER PLANT PROJECT”, 2010/01/07) reported that the ROK and Jordan will discuss Jordan’s nuclear power plant construction deal, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said. Seoul’s deputy foreign minister Lee Yong-joon will meet with Jordanian officials in a three-day visit to the country starting on Saturday to discuss the construction project, the ministry said. The country is seeking to strike a similar deal with Turkey, according to local media.
14. ROK-Japan Relations
Kyodo (“JAPAN LIKELY TO CONSIDER JOINT SECURITY DECLARATION WITH S. KOREA”, Tokyo, 2010/01/08) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Friday expressed his intention to consider crafting a joint security declaration between the governments of Japan and the ROK. ”This is a topic that has come up amid the growing momentum for boosting cooperation between Japan and South Korea…on the occasion of President Lee’s visit to Japan,” Hatoyama said. He added, ”Although various problems lay between Japan and South Korea, the so-called emotional part (feelings) in the two countries has receded to a fair degree.”
15. US-Japan Relations
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“U.S. TO PUT FUTENMA ON BACK BURNER”, 2010/01/08) reported that the United States will soon start talks with Japan aimed at deepening the bilateral alliance without waiting for the dispute over the relocation of a US airfield in Okinawa Prefecture to be resolved, said US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell. “There are many aspects of our relationship, and we can’t put those other dimensions on hold…So we will begin discussions,” he said. Campbell said the envisaged talks could include discussions on the idea of issuing a new joint declaration on bilateral security. Campbell described the Japan-U.S. accord reached in 2006 over an alternative site for the Futenma base as “the best approach” to the controversy, urging Tokyo to make “an expeditious decision” about where to build the Futenma replacement facility.
16. Japan Nuclear Reprocessing
Kyodo News (“REPROCESSED NUCLEAR WASTE TO ARRIVE FROM BRITAIN AROUND MARCH”, 2010/01/07) reported that high-level radioactive vitrified waste will arrive in Japan from Britain around March, Japan’s four major electric power companies said Wednesday. A total of 28 units of nuclear waste that was packed into solidified glass in Britain will be transferred to the Rokkasho nuclear facility in Aomori Prefecture where it will be stored for 30 to 50 years, and then be buried at a final disposal site. The shipment is the first in a series of consignments from Britain that will bring 850 units to Japan over the next 10 years. Japan had already received 1,310 pieces from France by 2007.
17. Japan Whaling Issue
Bloomberg (“JAPAN PROTESTS WHALING CLASH AS NEW ZEALAND CALLS FOR PROBE”, 2010/01/07) reported that Japan lodged a protest with New Zealand’s government over a collision between a Japanese whaling ship and a vessel carrying activists in the Antarctic. New Zealand said it will investigate the incident. “The Japanese government finds this extremely regrettable,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano told reporters today in Tokyo. “As the boat that hit our ship was from New Zealand, we have made a strong protest. We strongly demand that nothing like this occurs again.” New Zealand will investigate the collision, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said today.
Agence France-Presse (Talek Harris, “ANTI-WHALING SUPERBOAT SINKS AFTER JAPANESE COLLISION”, Sydney, 2010/01/08) reported that the Ady Gil, a high-tech protest boat, sank without trace on Friday after a collision with a Japanese whaling ship. Peter Hammarstedt, first officer of the Sea Shepherd group ‘s “Bob Barker” ship, said the Ady Gil was abandoned overnight after a tow line snapped en route to an Antarctic research base. “It leaves us with no other option but to re-take up the pursuit of the whaling fleet,” he added. “We have no intention of backing down. We will never surrender.” Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Australia’s Tokyo embassy had relayed “very strong concerns” over recent developments, including Wednesday’s crash and claims the fleet chartered spying flights out of Australia. “Our embassy in Tokyo is making high-level representations to the Japanese government,” she said.
18. Japan Territorial Boundaries
Reuters (“CHINA UNHAPPY OVER REPORTED JAPAN PLANS FOR ATOLL “, 2010/01/07) reported that the PRC said today it was unhappy at reported Japanese plans to build a port on a remote Pacific atoll, which Beijing fears Toyko will use to stake a claim to a large swathe of ocean as an exclusive economic zone. Okinotori, also known as Douglas Reef or Parece Vela, is some 1,700 km south of Tokyo. Japan has already built facilities such as a lighthouse there, and poured in concrete to make sure the atoll does not slip totally beneath the waves. The PRC has said previously that the atoll does not meet internationally recognised criteria to be classed as an island, making claims to the waters and continental shelf surrounding it invalid.
19. US and Cross Strait Relations
Reuters (“U.S. CLEARS ARMS SALE TO TAIWAN DESPITE CHINA’S IRE”, 2010/01/07) reported that the US has cleared a sale of advanced Patriot air defense missiles to Taiwan despite opposition from the PRC, where a military official proposed sanctioning U.S. firms that sell arms to the island. The US defense department announced the contract late on Wednesday, allowing Lockheed Martin Corp to sell an unspecified number of Patriots, Washington’s de facto embassy in Taipei said. The sale rounds out a $6.5-billion arms package approved under then US President George W. Bush in late 2008, said Wendell Minnick, Asia bureau chief with Defense News . “This is the last piece that Taiwan has been waiting on,” Minnick said.
Xinhua News (“CHINA RENEWS WARNING ON U.S. ARMS SALES TO TAIWAN”, 2010/01/07) reported that the PRC on again warned the US of the severe consequences caused by its arms sales to Taiwan, saying the move will undermine Sino-US cooperation. “China firmly opposes arms sales to Taiwan by the United States. Our stance is consistent and clear,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu at a regular news briefing. “If the United States insists on taking its own way, that will impose negative impact on the long-term and healthy development ofChina-U.S. relations,” said military expert Yang Yi.
20. Sino-Indian Relations
China Daily (“CHINA, INDIA ANNUAL DEFENSE DIALOGUE UNDERWAY”, 2010/01/07) reported that the PRC and India yesterday resumed its annual high-level bilateral talks on defense issues – the first time ever that the Indian defense secretary has visited Beijing for the military dialogue between the Asian neighbors. The People’s Liberation Army Deputy Chief of General Staff Ma Xiaotian and Indian Defense Secretary Pradeep Kumar jointly presided over yesterday’s negotiations, which are expected to last through today. The neighbors agreed on many issues of mutual concern, including “regional security, and relations between the two militaries”, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of National Defense.
21. Hong Kong Government
Agence France-Presse (“BEIJING WARNS HONG KONG TO PROTEST PEACEFULLY: REPORT”, Hong Kong, 2010/01/07) reported that the PRC ‘s top official in Hong Kong made a rare appeal for pro-democracy protests to remain peaceful as a politician close to the central government warned it will send in troops if the demonstrations get out of hand, a report said. The remarks were made after thousands of people took to the streets on New Year’s Day to call for universal suffrage and for the release of jailed PRC dissident Liu Xiaobo . Peng Qinghua, director of the office, warned that “radical” demonstrations would not be tolerated, the South China Morning Post said. “While we respect citizens’ expression of various views and demands, we hope these expressions can take place in a rational and peaceful atmosphere,” Peng, who rarely comments in public, was quoted as saying in the report.
22. PRC Energy Supply
Xinhua News (“CHINA’S POWER GENERATION GOES GREENER WITH TOTAL CAPACITY UP 10%”, 2010/01/07) reported that the PRC’s power generation capacity rose 10.23 percent to 874 million kilowatts by the end of 2009, second only to the US, according to figures. Thermal electricity accounted for 74.6 percent of the total, or 652 million kilowatts, down 1.45 percentage points year on year according to the China Electricity Council. Hydro-power capacity was 197 million kilowatts, or 22.51 percent of the total, up 0.74 percentage points. Wind power capacity nearly doubled in 2009 to 16.13 million kilowatts. Nuclear power capacity was 9.08 million kilowatts, with 23.05 million kilowatts of capacity under construction by the end of last year.
23. PRC Human Rights
The Associated Press (“GROUP SLAMS CHINA’S DRUG USER DETENTION CENTERS”, 2010/01/07) reported that drug addicts are denied proper treatment in the PRC ‘s state-run rehabilitation centers and are sometimes beaten and forced to work without pay, a human rights group said. A 2008 law demanding humanitarian treatment and banning punishment of drug users in detention has been poorly implemented, leading to continuing — sometimes lethal — abuse, Human Rights Watch said in a report. “Warehousing large numbers of drug users and subjecting them to forced labor and physical abuse is not rehabilitation,” Joe Amon, the New York-based group’s director of health and human rights , said in a statement.
II. PRC Report
24. PRC Energy
Technology Daily (“16 NATIONAL ENERGY R and D CENTERS ESTABLISHED”, 2010/01/07) reported that National Energy Bureau announced the establishment of 16 national energy research and development (R and D) centers today in Beijing. These centers involve nuclear power, wind power, highly-efficient power generation and transmission and other major energy industries and areas.
25. PRC Social Welfare
Xinhua News (“GUANGXI 163 MILLION RMB HELP NEEDY PEOPLE”, 2010/01/07) reported that Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Finance have recently allocated maintenance grant of 163 million RMB to needy people suffering from winter disaster in Guangxi province. Guangxi local finance also provided 10 million RMB for support. Now these grant has been allocated and the needy people may receive it before spring festival.
26. PRC Civil Society
Xinhua News (“CHINA USA UNIVERSITY STUDENTS CO-LAUNCH SOCIAL SERVICE PROJECT”, 2010/01/07) reported that 2010 Harvard & Peking University PRC Winter Social Service Project was formally launched in Beijing recently. Nearly 60 university students from Harvard, Peking University, Inner Mongolia University will carry out social service, education aid, and research in primary schools in Beijing and Inner Mongolia, to understand primary education status of different groups in the PRC.