NAPSNet Daily Report 8 July, 2008
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. Six-Party Talks
- 2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. PRC on DPRK Sanctions
- 4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 5. DPRK Economy
- 6. DPRK Cultural Exchanges
- 7. Japan Naval Power
- 8. Sino-Japanese Relations
- 9. Sino-Russian Territorial Dispute
- 10. Cross Strait Relations
- 11. PRC Environment
- 12. PRC Media Control
- 13. Mongolia Elections
- II. PRC Report
- III. ROK Report
1. Six-Party Talks
Associated Press (Tini Tran, “NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR TALKS TO RESUME”, Beijing, 2008/07/08) reported that negotiations on the DPRK’s nuclear program will resume this week for the first time in nine months, the PRC said Tuesday. “The six-party talks have made important progress. In order to move forward … all parties have agreed to have a meeting in Beijing on July 10,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters. Qin said the meeting was scheduled for three days, but that could change depending on whether progress is made.
2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (Hwang Doo-hyong, “S. KOREAN PRESIDENT LEE URGES N. KOREA TO ABANDON NUCLEAR WEAPONS”, Washington, 2008/07/06) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak urged the DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons, Japan’s Kyodo News reported. “There is concern that North Korea might want to retain nuclear weapons that they have already produced so, in fact, they can be considered as a nuclear weapon state,” Lee said. Lee said, “We will also follow up on the declaration so that North Korea will not be able to produce any more nuclear-related materials.”
3. PRC on DPRK Sanctions
Joongang Ilbo (Jung Ha-won, “CHINA BACKS OFF ON EASING SANCTIONS ON THE NORTH”, 2008/07/07) reported that the PRC’s ambassador to the United Nations has indicated Beijing may wait until late this year before proposing an end to UN sanctions on Pyongyang. The comments by Wang Guangya suggest the DPRK’s longtime ally may now be taking a more cautious stance on the country. He stressed that mending relations between Washington and Pyongyang is the most crucial issue at the moment. “Given the current political situation, I view that it will be appropriate to make the proposal [at the UN Security Council] around the end of this year,” Wang said.
4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Xinhua (“INTER-KOREAN TRADE SURGES IN H1 DESPITE POLITICAL CHILL “, Seoul, 2008/07/07) reported that Inter-Korean trade went up sharply in the first half of 2008 year-on-year despite the frozen relationship between the two Koreas after President Lee Myung-bak took office in late February thanks to the increase of commercial trade, the ROK Unification Ministry said. The volume of trade amounted to 880 million U.S. dollars, up 23 percent in the first half mainly due to a high increase in the commercial sector, according to the ministry.
5. DPRK Economy
IFES NK Brief (“DPRK SMALL-SCALE PRIVATE COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY GROWING”, 2008/07/04) reported that it appears that the number of people involved in handmade goods manufacturing, trading, and other small-scale, individual businesses is steadily increasing among DPRK citizens. According to a source inside the DPRK on June 30, ever since DPRK authorities announced the ‘Market Stimulation Measure’ in March 2003, the number of small-scale private businesses employing between 1~8 people has continued to grow as citizens in the DPRK have taken to markets aggressively in order to earn money.
6. DPRK Cultural Exchanges
The Times (Lucy Bannerman , “CHILDREN SING FOR PEACE AS NORTH KOREAN MUSICIANS MAKE HISTORIC VISIT”, 2008/07/07) reported that children more used to singing When the Saints go Marching in are now being taught DPRK anthems in preparation for the state orchestra’s first visit outside the DPRK. The unprecedented tour is part of a mission by a former steel worker turned operasinger to bring the 160-piece orchestra beyond the last Cold War frontier to Britain for a one-off performance in Middlesbrough. As one of the few Westerners to be invited to the DPRK, the celebrated soprano Suzannah Clarke has been given permission by Kim Jong Il to bring the ensemble on tour to Britain.
7. Japan Naval Power
United Press International (Hiroshi Yamazaki, “JAPAN TO BOOST ITS SEA POWER”, 2008/07/07) reported that Japan is reawakening to its potential as an ocean-going nation after more than half a century of retreat from adventuring into the oceans surrounding the islands. “Next year will be a new start for Japan as a maritime nation,” said parliamentarian Seiji Maehara, one of the promoters of ocean policies at a recent seminar commemorating the one-year anniversary of the enactment of Japan’s Basic Act on Ocean Policy, aimed at protecting and utilizing ocean resources. Since the Basic Act was adopted, the Japanese government has set up an ocean policy office headed by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.
8. Sino-Japanese Relations
Bloomberg (Dune Lawrence and Bradley K. Martin, “HU, FUKUDA WARM CHINA-JAPAN TIES, SHIFTING STRATEGIC BALANCE”, 2008/07/07) reported that when Hu Jintao arrives on Hokkaido island today as a guest of the Group of Eight leaders, it will be his second time on Japanese soil in two months — after a decade in which the PRC’s top leader stayed away. The developing relationship between Asia’s largest economies has implications for their neighbors and around the world. “Most countries in Asia are somewhat uncomfortable with China’s reemergence,” says Steve Tsang, a fellow in modern Chinese studies at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, U.K. “If the Chinese can actually make China-Japan relations stable, it’s very successful diplomacy.”
9. Sino-Russian Territorial Dispute
RIA Novosti (“RUSSIA TO HAND OVER 2 BORDER ISLANDS TO CHINA IN AUGUST “, Khabarovsk, 2008/07/07) reported that Russia could finally relinquish control of two border river islands to the PRC in August, a senior Russian security official said. Under the 2004 agreement, Russia is to hand over to the PRC the Tarabarov and about half of the Bolshoi Ussuriysky islands (around 375 sq km or 145 sq miles) located at the junction of the Amur and the Ussuri rivers and close to a major Russian city, Khabarovsk. General Valery Putov, head of the Federal Security Service’s (FSB) Far East department, said the demarcation of the border section had been completed.
10. Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN DENIES PLAN TO RESTORE CHINA UNIFICATION COUNCIL “, Taipei , 2008/07/07) reported that Taiwan officials dismissed a report that President Ma Ying-jeou plans to reinstate a council which recommended policies on reunification with the PRC, despite a recent thaw in cross-strait relations. The council was considered largely symbolic and had been dormant since Chen was elected in 2000 but his decision infuriated Beijing, which regards the island as part of its territory.
11. PRC Environment
The New York Times (Jim Yardley, “CITIES NEAR BEIJING CLOSE FACTORIES TO IMPROVE AIR FOR OLYMPICS “, Beijing, 2008/07/07) reported that with Beijing struggling to clear polluted skies before the Olympics in August, the nearby industrial port of Tianjin has ordered 40 factories to suspend some operations for two months as part of a broader effort to improve air quality during the Games, state news media reported. The planned shutdowns in Tianjin, about 70 miles east of Beijing, are one piece of a regional plan that is expected to result in temporary factory closings or slowdowns across a large swath of northern PRC during the Games.
12. PRC Media Control
Globe and Mail (Geoffrey York , “CHINA SEEN AS RENEGING ON MEDIA-FREEDOM VOW”, Beijing, 2008/07/07) reported that when 25,000 foreign journalists descend on Beijing next month to cover the Olympics, they will face restrictions that are far from the “complete freedom” the PRC promised in its bid for the Games. Foreign journalists and their sources in the PRC are enduring a system of intimidation, obstruction, surveillance and even beatings and death threats, a new report says. The 71-page report by Human Rights Watch, to be released today, says the PRC authorities have expanded the “forbidden zones” – sensitive regions and subjects that are off-limits to foreign journalists – even as it prepares for the Olympics.
13. Mongolia Elections
Xinhua (“MONGOLIA LIFTS STATE OF EMERGENCY IN CAPITAL”, Ulan Bator, 2008/07/07) reported that Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar declared late Saturday night that the four-day state of emergency in the country’s capital of Ulan Bator was lifted as of midnight Saturday local time (1600 GMT). Enkhbayar said the state of emergency soon calmed down the Tuesday’s riots and kept the order of society. He hoped the parties of Mongolia to deal with the disputed issues of parliament election with rule of laws. The armed forces of Mongolia have pulled out of the main streets of the city. The measures including curfew, restriction of the traffic movement have been lifted.
II. PRC Report
14. PRC Corporate Donations
South Daily website, http://www.nanfangdaily.com.cn/Southnews/ (“WHEN WILL THE CHARITY SHOW STOP?”, Beijing, 2008/07/07) reported that Google promised to donate 17 million yuan, but only 5 million had been received; Nokia promised to donate 35 million, but only 16 million had been received. Why did this happen? The author thought that first, PRC enterprises’ utilitarian heart was too much and that they have not developed a charitable way of thinking. Second, the charitable feast held by the major media provided enterprises a show platform that did not lead to actions. Third, the supervision of civil departments and charitable agencies was weak. The PRC’s charity is still in its infant stage. If it wants to improve the system inside and establish credibility outside, it should begin from cracking down the “promise but not donate” charitable show.
15. PRC Civil Society Disaster Response
People’s Daily (Guo Guo, “A SOUND SOCIAL SERVICE SYSTEM NEEDS TO BE ESTABLISHED”, 2008/07/07) reported that at the special lecture Post-Disaster Community Reconstruction and Professional Social Work Participation held by Peking University on July 5, Secretary-General of Narada Foundation Xu Yongguang said, “There are about 100,000, social work graduates a year but only 10% undertake social work after graduation.” Luo Shujun, Vice President of Hong Kong Social Work Association made three recommendations: First, transfer Disaster Relief Command Center to “Community Resources Service Center”, to help reshape the community; Second, promote the establishment of effective national and regional volunteer management and training system; Third, establish knowledge-sharing platforms and promote regular meetings, to regularly publish the experience of reconstruction and research of disaster areas.
16. PRC Environment
West China City News, http://scnews.newssc.org/ (Shi Lifang, “FIRST INTERNATIONAL-AID ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION PROJECT LAUNCHED”, 2008/07/07) reported that, according to the Sichuan Environmental Protection Bureau, the Council of Global Environment Foundation decided to donated 2 million U.S. dollars for environmental protection in earthquake-stricken areas in Sichuan, which was the first rapid international-aid environmental protection project. The project will assess the damaged situation of environment and ecology in disaster areas, and put management objective of biodiversity into the reconstruction process. The monitoring system will be launched in the earthquake zone to protect the damaged ecosystem and relevant endangered species.
III. ROK Report
17. DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (“SIX PARTY TALKS, ON THE VERGE OF NUCLEAR DISMANTLEMENT-SETTLEMENT OF VERIFICATION MECHANISM BEING CORE AGENDA”, 2008/07/08) wrote that the DPRK nuclear six party talks, held on this coming July 10, will be a critical step for the ultimate goal–nuclear dismantlement. This six-party talks session will mainly discuss about settling the DPRK nuclear program report verification structure. Verifying organization, method, agenda, and expense share should be discussed and none of these seems simple.
18. Inter-Korean Relations
Electronic times (“DPRK FOOD CRISIS AND KOREAN PENINSULA ECONOMY”, 2008/07/08) wrote that the dynamics of the Korean Peninsula are rapidly changing as the DPRK nuclear problem is settled. There is need to consider reunification after a peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula. The economic aspect, especially, is very important and development strategy for economy after unification is needed. The most important thing is to develop human resources. In that sense, humanitarian support for teenagers is essential. The DPRK teenagers, a basis for the human resource, are malnourished to the point of even brain damage and cannot normally grow up. The DPRK food support should be done immediately not only for humanitarian aspect but also for future economy of unified Korea.
19. Japan Policy Toward the DPRK
Kukmin Ilbo (“G8, SIX PARTY AND JAPAN”, 2008/07/08) wrote that the Group of Eight forum seems to discuss the DPRK denuclearization matter. Whether Japan, which has been traditionally taken a hard line toward the DPRK, would pursue a change after the G8 meeting or continue its current policy is an interesting issue. Japan’s has three diplomatic agendas for the DPRK: Japanese abductees, DPRK nuclear missiles, and solving the problems regarding history of colonization and normalization of relations. If the diplomatic performance of Prime Minister Fukuda is effective at Toyako, where this G8 forum is held, the Fukuda administration would stretch one step forward to solve three issues, and that will help to develop a creative policy toward the DPRK.