NAPSNet Daily Report 8 July, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- 1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 3. Japan on Interdiction of DPRK Vessels
- 4. Alleged DPRK Cyber Warfare
- 5. DPRK Leadership
- 6. Inter-Korean Relations
- 7. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 8. ROK Military
- 9. ROK Domestic Politics
- 10. Japan-US Security Alliance
- 11. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
- 12. Japan Politics
- 13. Cross-Strait Relations
- 14. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 15. PRC Energy Supply
- 16. PRC Energy
- II. PRC Report
1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Associated Press (“OBAMA SAYS NO WAR IMMINENT WITH NORTH KOREA, RENEWS CALL FOR PYONGYANG TO DROP NUKE AMBITIONS”, Moscow, 2009/07/07) reported that President Barack Obama says he doesn’t think any war “is imminent” with the DPRK. He also said, “I think they understand that they would be overwhelmed in a serious military conflict with the United States.” Obama said in a speech to The New Economic School that the United States and Russia “should be united” in resisting Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.
2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Yonhap (Byun Duk-kun, “S. KOREAN PRESIDENT STEPS UP PRESSURE ON N. KOREA TO RESUME DIALOGUE”, Warsaw, 2009/07/07) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak urged the DPRK Tuesday to stop its provocative missile tests and return to a dialogue with the international community, noting that the DPRK’s military threats are hindering the ROK’s efforts to overcome the global economic crisis.
3. Japan on Interdiction of DPRK Vessels
Agence-France Presse (“JAPAN CABINET TO BACK SEARCHING NKOREA SHIPS”, Tokyo, 2009/07/07) reported that Japan’s cabinet is expected to send to parliament a bill allowing the coast guard to inspect DPRK ships for nuclear- and missile-related materials, in line with a UN resolution. The bill would authorize the coast guard to inspect ships both on the high seas and in Japanese waters. Inspectors however would first be required to get approval from the captain of any ship targeted and from its country of origin. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso ‘s cabinet hopes parliament will pass the bill by the end of this month, officials said.
4. Alleged DPRK Cyber Warfare
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “OFFICIAL: NKOREA BELIEVED BEHIND CYBER ATTACKS”, Seoul, 2009/07/08) reported that the sites of 11 ROK organizations including the Blue House and the Defense Ministry went down or had access problems since late Tuesday, according to the state-run Korea Information Security Agency. Agency spokeswoman Ahn Jeong-eun said 11 U.S. sites suffered similar problems. On Wednesday, the National Intelligence Service told a group of South Korean lawmakers it believes that the DPRK or DPRK sympathizers in the ROK “were behind” the attacks, according to an aide to one of the lawmakers briefed on the information.
5. DPRK Leadership
Yonhap (Lee Chi-dong, “N. KOREA COMMEMORATES ITS LATE LEADER AMONG TENSION OVER NUKE, MISSILE”, Seoul, 2009/07/08) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il attended a national memorial service Wednesday to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the death of his father and the country’s founder Kim Il-sung. Kim limped slightly as he entered Pyongyang Indoor Stadium and took his seat on stage, a recorded video clip by the Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station showed.
6. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap (Tony Chang, “NO SIGNS OF BREAKTHROUGH ON DETAINED WORKER IN N. KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/07/07) reported that Seoul has been left with little leverage over the case of a ROK citizen held by Pyongyang, who on Tuesday spent his 100th day in detention in the DPRK in an undisclosed location, officials said. “The issue of the detained worker is the most important agenda item that cannot be separated from other pending issues on the Kaesong complex,” said Lee Jong-joo, spokeswoman for Seoul’s Unification Ministry. During the three rounds of meetings with the DPRK’s counterpart, Seoul has insisted that securing the release of Yu takes precedence over all pending issues regarding the Kaesong venture.
7. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap News (“HYUNDAI ASAN CONFIDENT TOURS TO N. KOREA WILL RESUME”, 2009/07/07) reported that the top executive of a ROK company that operates tours to the DPRK said he was confident cross-border tourism will resume, despite heightened tension on the peninsula following the DPRK’s recent nuclear test. “Although there are temporary ups and downs, I’m confident of seizing the chance to resume (the tours),” Cho Kun-shik, president of Hyundai Asan, told his employees on the one-year mark since the Kumkang program stalled.
8. ROK Military
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “S. KOREA PUSHING TO DEVELOP ELECTRONIC BOMBS BY 2014: OFFICIALS”, Seoul, 2009/07/07) reported that the ROK’s top defense technology institute is pushing to develop electronic bombs by 2014 that can knock out equipment within a 1km radius. Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) bombs, if exploded, can jam and damage surrounding high-tech defense systems, including radars, ships, aircraft and communication networks.
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “S. KOREAN SOLDIERS INFECTED WITH TYPE-A INFLUENZA: OFFICIAL “, Seoul, 2009/07/07) reported that three ROK nationals who tested positive for the new H1N1 flu this week were soldiers who had been stationed at an international airport to support quarantine activities. The three — two corporals and a sergeant — appear to have contracted the type-A flu via airborne transmission, said Kang Seong-heup, director of health at the Ministry of National Defense.
9. ROK Domestic Politics
Yonhap (Shin Hae-in, Kim Boram, “RULING PARTY VOWS TO PUSH CONTROVERSIAL REFORMS AMID PARLIAMENTARY DEADLOCK”, Seoul, 2009/07/07) reported that President Lee Myung-bak’s ruling party vowed Tuesday to unilaterally put to a vote controversial bills on media and labor regulations, setting the stage for a showdown in the National Assembly. After failing to compromise on the revision bills, the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) said it will soon put them to vote with or without consent from its largest rival.
10. Japan-US Security Alliance
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Keiko Iizuka, “JAPAN, U.S. AGREE TO HOLD OFFICIAL TALKS ON NUCLEAR UMBRELLA”, Washington, 2009/07/08) reported that the government reached an agreement with Washington on Tuesday to set up official talks on the so-called U.S. nuclear umbrella and began scheduling the first session to be held sometime this month. Japan will be briefed by the U.S. side on how nuclear arms would be used in the event of a crisis situation. The two sides will then discuss U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposed large-scale nuclear arms-reduction measures and a review of its nuclear deterrent capabilities, among other issues.
11. Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute
Kyodo News (“JAPANESE TO VISIT RUSSIAN-HELD ISLE, BUT VISA-FREE TRIPS IN QUESTION”, Vladivostok, 2009/07/07) reported that a Russian Foreign Ministry representative in Sakhalin said Tuesday that Russian residents of a disputed island off Hokkaido will accept a delegation of former Japanese islanders as scheduled, denying earlier remarks by Sakhalin provincial government officials that they are refusing a visa-free visit by the Japanese. The officials had said residents of Etorofu Island are rejecting the delegation in protest at the newly enacted amendment to a Japanese law that declares the Russian-held islands to be an ”integral part” of Japan. In the meantime, the upper house of the Russian parliament proposed Tuesday that Moscow introduce a moratorium on visa-free bilateral exchanges.
12. Japan Politics
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“SINGLE-CHAMBER DIET AMONG LDP MANIFESTO PLEDGES”, 2009/07/07) reported that the Liberal Democratic Party’s campaign platform for the next House of Representatives election likely will include a pledge to make the Diet a single chamber and to cut the number of lawmakers by 30 percent in 10 years. According to a draft of the campaign manifesto, the LDP will pledge to cut the number of lawmakers by 10 percent within four years as a midterm target. The party’s election pledges likely will include a restriction that prevents relatives with up to a third degree relationship with a Diet member who held a constituency from being able to run for the same constituency.
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“ASO’S FATE IN BALANCE AFTER SHIZUOKA POLL LOSS”, 2009/07/08) reported that Prime Minister Taro Aso’s political fate is hanging in the balance after the candidate backed by the ruling coalition in the Shizuoka gubernatorial election was defeated by the candidate supported by the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan. “Local election results don’t directly influence national politics,” Aso said Monday, emphasizing that this latest defeat would have no influence on his possible dissolution of the House of Representatives. However, calls are increasing within the ruling bloc for Aso to take responsibility for the loss in the Shizuoka Prefecture poll.
13. Cross-Strait Relations
Agence-France Presse (“TAIWAN OPPOSITION WANTS RIGHTS ON AGENDA IN CHINA TALKS”, Taipei, 2009/07/07) reported that Taiwan’s pro-independence opposition called on the PRC- friendly government Tuesday to raise human rights in future talks with the mainland, following Beijing’s crackdown on protests in Xinjiang. Taiwan has refused to comment on the violence in Xinjiang, the scene of some of China’s deadliest ethnic unrest in decades.
14. PRC Ethnic Unrest
Bloomberg (James Rupert, “CHINA BLAMES EXILE ACTIVIST GRANDMOTHER FOR DEADLY ETHNIC RIOTS”, 2009/07/08) reported that the PRC’s official news agency, Xinhua, said yesterday police recorded phone calls in which Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled Uighur activist, “masterminded” the riot. Kadeer “is an ironclad separatist colluding with terrorists and Islamic extremists,” said a commentary in the official People’s Daily. Kadeer denied any role in the riots, telling a July 6 news conference in Washington she had made no calls except to ask her children in Urumqi to stay at home because rising tensions risked violence. The clashes were caused by Uighurs’ “discontent over the severe and comprehensive repression they have suffered for years” under communist rule, she said.
The Associated Press (“MOBS SPREAD ETHNIC STRIFE IN WESTERN CHINA”, 2009/07/07) reported that sobbing Muslim women scuffled with riot police, and PRC men wielding steel pipes, meat cleavers and sticks rampaged through the streets Tuesday as ethnic tensions worsened in the PRC ‘s oil-rich Xinjiang territory, forcing officials to declare a curfew. The new violence in Xinjiang’s capital erupted only a few hours after the city’s top officials told reporters the streets in Urumqi were returning to normal following a riot that killed 156 people Sunday. The officials also said more than 1,000 suspects had been rounded up since the spasm of attacks by Muslim Uighurs against Han Chinese , the ethnic majority.
Agence-France Presse (“US HOUSE SPEAKER URGES BEIJING/UIGHUR DIALOGUE”, Washington, 2009/07/07) reported that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday blamed the PRC ‘s “harsh policies” for fueling resentment among its Uighur population and urged Beijing to seek a dialogue with the Muslim minority . Pelosi deplored “deeply disturbing” reports of violence, saying “The acts of violence and attempts to further exacerbate ethnic tensions on all sides must be rejected.”
Agence France-Presse (Robert J. Saiget, “CHINESE TROOPS FLOOD INTO RESTIVBE URUMQI”, Urumqui, 2009/07/08) reported that mobs wielding makeshift weapons roamed Urumqui Wednesday, with vigilantes pummelling two Uighur Muslims, but a massive show of force by Chinese troops brought some calm. Army helicopters circled overhead as thousands of soldiers and riot police filled the city shouting out “protect the people”.
15. PRC Energy Supply
Forbes (“IRAQI OIL GOES TO CHINA”, 2009/07/07) reported that a week after the PRC was granted a license to develop Iraq ’s largest known oilfield, the three largest PRC oil companies are already gearing up to bid for 11 other oil and gas field contracts in Iraq that will be auctioned off later this year. China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec) are likely to take part in Iraq’s second oil and gas fields auction as the rich oil and gas reserves in Iraq are too attractive to be neglected, China Daily reported Tuesday, citing unnamed sources close to the situation. Fu Chengyu, president of China National Offshore Oil Corp, told the state media last Saturday that the company may also try again in the second bidding.
16. PRC Energy
Agence-France Presse (“ADB BACKS CHINA WIND FARM PROJECT”, Manila, 2009/07/07) reported that the Asian Development Bank is helping to finance a pioneering private-sector wind farm in the PRC’s Inner Mongolia that will help the fast-growing nation fight climate change , officials said. The ADB is lending about 24 million dollars towards the overall cost of 73 million dollars for the facility, the PRC’s first wind farm to be built as a joint venture between PRC and Japanese companies. The 12-square-kilometre (4.5-square-mile) wind farm in Inner Mongolia will produce about 133 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year, and will cut PRC’s carbon dioxide emissions by 140,000 tonnes annually, the statement said.
II. PRC Report
17. PRC Wind Power
Xinhua Net (“CHINA TO START BUILDING FIRST 10 MILLION-KW-LEVEL WIND POWER STATION”, 2009/07/07) reported that workers would begin construction on China’s first 10 million-kw-level wind power station in mid-July in the far northwestern city of Jiuquan, Gansu Province, a local official said Sunday. The would-be largest wind power station was designed to have an installed capacity of 5.16 million kw by the end of 2010, 12.71 million kw by the end of 2015 and 20 million kw by the end of 2020.
18. PRC Public Health
Xinhua News (“CHINA ALLOCATES 10.4 BLN YUAN TO FUND BASIC PUBLIC HEALTH CARE SERVICE IN 2009”, 2009/07/07) reported that the PRC’s Ministry of Finance announced on Monday that the country allocated 10.4 billion yuan (1.53 billion U.S. dollars) in subsidies for nationwide public health care service in 2009. The fund is part of the country’s efforts to carry out the medical reform plan and to improve basic public health care service nationwide, said the ministry in a statement on its website.