NAPSNet Daily Report 9 April, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Missile Launch
- 2. DPRK on Missile Launch
- 3. DPRK Leadership
- 4. Russia on DPRK Missile Launch
- 5. PRC on DPRK Missile Launch
- 6. ROK on DPRK Missile Launch
- 7. Inter-Korean Relations
- 8. DPRK-Japanese Relations
- 9. Japan on DPRK Missile Launch
- 10. US, Japan on DPRK Rocket Launch
- 11. DPRK Food Supply
- 12. ROK Climate Change
- 13. ROK-Japan Historical Disputes
- 14. Japanese Defense
- 15. Japan on Nuclear Weapons
- 16. Japan Nuclear Power
- 17. US-Japan Security Alliance
- 18. Japan Politics
- 19. Japan Environment
- 20. Sino-Vietnamese Military Relations
- 21. Sino-Russian Energy Trade
- 22. Cross Strait Relations
- 23. PRC Tibet Issue
- 24. Alledged PRC Cyberattacks
- 25. PRC Separatist Movements
- 26. PRC Social Welfare System
- 27. PRC Energy Supply
- 28. PRC Environment
- 29. PRC Stem Cell Research
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Missile Launch
Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT SAYS N. KOREAN MISSILE FLEW 3,200 KM”, Tokyo, 2009/04/08) reported that a Japanese Defense Ministry analysis indicates that the ballistic missile fired by the DPRK on Sunday flew about 3,200 kilometers, sources said Tuesday. According to the analysis that the ministry conducted based on data from the U.S. military and other sources, the missile launched from the Musudan-ri site in northeastern DPRK fell in waters between 2,150 kilometers and 2,950 kilometers east of Chiba Prefecture. The splashdown point was within an area measuring 800 kilometers east to west and 160 kilometers north to south.
2. DPRK on Missile Launch
Reuters (Jon Herskovitz, “NORTH KOREA CELEBRATES LAUNCH, MAKES NEW THREAT”, Seoul, 2009/04/08) reported that the DPRK warned the U.N. Security Council that it would take “strong steps” if the 15-nation body took any action in response to the launch. The reclusive state has threatened to boycott six-way nuclear disarmament talks and restart its plant that makes bomb-grade plutonium if it is punished by the United Nations .
IFES NK Brief (“DPRK LAUNCHES ROCKET TO IMPROVE THE ECONOMY”, 2009/04/08) reported that the April 5 edition of the pro-DPRK Choson Sinbo carried an article that pointed out, “Currently, North Korea’s top priority is the revival of its economy. Development of a large rocket is not unrelated to the people’s lives,” and went on to list some of the ways in which the DPRK would benefit economically from its rocket program, including “the utility of each satellite put into space, civilian uses for vanguard technology emerging from rocket development, commercialization of satellite launchings, and the export of rocket technology.” Emphasizing the economic ‘ripple effect’ of space development, another article in the paper said that vanguard technology would be the mainstay of the Strong and Prosperous Nation.
Associated Press (Jae-Soon Chang, “NORTH KOREA HOLDS MASSIVE PRO-ROCKET RALLY”, Pyongyang, 2009/04/08) reported that the DPRK organized a massive rally Wednesday to celebrate firing a satellite into space, while accusing Japan of trying to provoke conflict and hailing the “hardening” of its military policy through the widely criticized rocket launch. Footage obtained by APTN in Pyongyang showed a massive crowd of neatly dressed people packed in the main Kim Il Sung square — named after Kim’s father, DPRK’s founder — under a banner reading, “We enthusiastically congratulate on the successful launch” of a satellite.
3. DPRK Leadership
Yonhap News (Kim Hyun, “N. KOREA’S PARLIAMENT SET TO REAPPOINT KIMJONG-IL, SHAKE UP POWER ELITE”, Seoul, 2009/04/08) reported that DPRK citizens reaffirmed their support for leader Kim Jong-il on Wednesday ahead of his expected reappointment as the country’s top military commander. He is the great statesman of the general-type who has performed immortal feats to shine forever in history,” the Rodong Sinmun, the country’s main newspaper published by the Workers’ Party, said in an editorial on Kim’s envisioned reappointment. However, the biggest question is how broadly Kim will reshuffle the National Defense Commission and whether he will revise the constitution to restructure state agencies, indicating a policy shift.
Associated Press (Jean H. Lee, “NORTH KOREA’S KIM APPOINTED TO 3RD TERM AS LEADER”, Seoul, 2009/03/09) reported that DPRK state media said lawmakers appointed Kim Jong Il to a third term Thursday as chairman of the National Defense Commission. “Having comrade Kim Jong Il at the highest post of our country again is a great honor and happiness for our military and people and a great happy event for all Korean people ,” a newscaster said on state TV.
Agence France-Presse (“N KOREA LEADER’S ELDEST SON: ‘NOT MY FATHER’S SUCCESSOR’ – TV”, Tokyo , 2009/04/08) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il’s eldest son has denied he is to succeed his father as the head of the state, Japanese television reported. “I am free. So I think, if I was the successor, you can’t see me in Macau,” Kim Jong-Nam told a crew from the TBS network in the southern Chinese city. “My father is an important person but I am not,” he said in English.
4. Russia on DPRK Missile Launch
RIA Novosti (“RUSSIA OPPOSES SANCTIONS AGAINST N.KOREA OVER ROCKET LAUNCH “, Moscow, 2009/04/07) reported that Moscow is concerned by Pyongyang’s recent rocket launch, but believes that imposing sanctions against the DPRK would be counterproductive, the Russian foreign minister said. “We are definitely concerned by the recent rocket launch and believe it does not offer grounds for stabilizing the situation in the region,” Sergei Lavrov said, adding that “we also believe that any threat of sanctions would be counterproductive.” The top Russian diplomat said Moscow will not change its stance concerning proposed sanctions against Pyongyang.
5. PRC on DPRK Missile Launch
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA: N KOREA NOT ON AGENDA FOR THAILAND MEETINGS”, Beijing, 2009/04/08) reported that the PRC said it did not want to discuss the DPRK’s rocket launch at an upcoming trilateral meeting with the ROK and Japan. PRC Premier Wen Jiabao is due to hold talks with the leaders of the ROK and Japan in Thailand in a separate meeting attached to a regional summit that kicks off on Friday. “The satellite issue is too specific and I don’t think it should be discussed at the trilateral meeting,” Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue told reporters.
6. ROK on DPRK Missile Launch
The Korea Herald (“CALLS MOUNT FOR BETTER MISSILE ABILITY”, 2009/04/08) reported that the DPRK’s latest rocket launch has sparked calls for the ROK to revise a long-standing missile agreement with the United States and develop longer-range ballistic missiles in order to better protect itself, experts noted. The government appears to agree with the revision proposals. Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and Prime Minister Han Seung-soo both indicated at National Assembly hearings on the need to revise missile guidelines between Seoul and Washington to allow the ROK to develop such weapons.
7. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (Byun Duk-kun, “PRESIDENT LEE CALLS FOR DETAILED N. KOREAN POLICY”, Seoul, 2009/04/08) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak Wednesday called for “thorough” and “detailed” plans to deal with the DPRK. “I hope today’s discussions will provide the basis for concrete plans,” the president said while meeting with his advisers on security and DPRK-related affairs.
8. DPRK-Japanese Relations
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA WARNS JAPAN AGAINST SEARCHING FOR ROCKET DEBRIS”, Seoul, 2009/04/08) reported that the DPRK military warned Japan on Wednesday against trying to find debris from its long-range rocket, saying mobilizing combat ships for the search would be a “military provocation.” The Japanese government was considering salvaging parts from the DPRK three-stage rocket, fired on Sunday, whose first-stage booster fell into the East Sea. A search would be a “vicious espionage, interference in internal affairs, and an unbearable military provocation that infringes upon the sovereign right of our republic,” the General Staff of the DPRK People’s Army said in a statement.
9. Japan on DPRK Missile Launch
Kyodo News (“ASO, KAWAMURA REAFFIRM AIM FOR NEW U.N. RESOLUTION ON N. KOREA”, Tokyo, 2009/04/08) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura reaffirmed Wednesday Japan’s intention to seek a new U.N. Security Council resolution in response to the DPRK’s weekend rocket launch, Japanese government officials said. ”Whether it is a presidential statement or whatever, it will be a global message if it is arranged in a way which utilizes Resolution 1718,” which bans Pyongyang from all activities related to its ballistic missile program, Kawamura had told a news conference.
Kyodo News (“JAPAN TO GIVE UP PLAN TO IMPOSE TOTAL BAN ON EXPORTS TO N. KOREA”, Tokyo, 2009/04/08) reported that t he Japanese government will give up on its plan to include a total ban on exports to the DPRK among additional sanctions to be imposed on the country in response to its weekend rocket launch, government officials said Wednesday. The government determined that the effectiveness of such a ban would be limited, the officials said.
10. US, Japan on DPRK Rocket Launch
Kyodo (“JAPAN, U.S. EYEING UNSC RESOLUTION WITHOUT ENFORCEMENT OF SANCTIONS”, New York, 2009/03/08) reported that Japanese and U.S. envoys are exploring a watered-down resolution not seeking stricter enforcement of existing sanctions, diplomatic sources said Wednesday. The proposed draft resolution would express only concern over the DPRK’s launch, rather than condemning the action, the sources said. The draft would also refrain from confirming that the missile launch was a violation of Security Council Resolution 1718. Instead, the draft resolution would only reconfirm the content of Resolution 1718 and Resolution 1695.
11. DPRK Food Supply
Xinhua News (“DPRK TOP LEADER CALLS FOR EFFORTS TO INCREASE FOOD PRODUCTION”, Pyongyang, 2009/04/08) reported that Kim Jong Il, the top leader of the DPRK, has called for efforts to increase the output of food products, the official Rodong Sinmun daily reported. Kim inspected a military-run food plant, named Samilpho Special Products Factory, which produces noodles, rice-cakes, cooking oil and other food products. He praised the factory for producing a lot of peculiar foodstuffs entirely in reliance upon available raw materials, and called on all provinces to build similar factories to contribute to improving the standard of people’s living.
12. ROK Climate Change
Korea Times (Jane Han, “CARBON REDUCTION TARGET PLANNED”, Seoul, 2009/04/08) reported that ROK Environment Minister Lee Maan-ee said Wednesday that the ROK government will lessen regulatory burdens and map out concrete incentive programs to make it easier for the private sector to “go green.” Softening land development regulations and shortening the environmental assessment period were among the improvements Lee mentioned during a speech to European business executives in Seoul. The initiative’s core goal is to increase energy self-sufficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the ROK, the world’s 10th-biggest emitter.
13. ROK-Japan Historical Disputes
Agence France-Presse (“SKOREA PROTESTS OVER JAPAN HISTORY TEXTBOOK”, Seoul, 2009/03/09)
reported that the ROK Thursday protested to Japan’s government over its approval of a textbook that Seoul officials say glosses over Japan’s invasions of Korea and other Asian states before and during World War II . “The government strongly protests that the Japanese government Thursday approved the history textbook which justifies and beautifies past wrongdoings based on false historical perception,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. “The government calls for a fundamental correction to this.” The textbook also claims that ancient Korea was once ruled by Japan.
14. Japanese Defense
Kyodo (“JAPAN MUST CONSIDER HAVING EARLY WARNING SATELLITE: DEFENSE MINISTER”, Tokyo, 2009/03/09) reported that Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Thursday that Japan needs to consider deploying an early warning satellite into space to detect a launch of a ballistic missile or other objects that may be aimed at the country. ”An early warning satellite is something we too must think about,” Hamada told a meeting of the House of Representatives Security Committee. ”It’s true that we will have more lead time and material to base our judgment on, if we can react as soon as a launch is made. We are aware of the importance (of the satellite),” he said.
15. Japan on Nuclear Weapons
Kyodo News (“JAPAN CANNOT POSSESS NUKE WEAPONS: KAWAMURA”, Tokyo, 2009/04/07) reported that Japan’s top government spokesman said Japan cannot possess nuclear weapons, responding to a remark made by a Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker that Japan should have them in the face of the DPRK’s weekend rocket launch. “As a nation with three antinuclear principles (not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons on its soil), such an option is unlikely,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura told a news conference.
16. Japan Nuclear Power
Japan Times (“TEPCO NIIGATA REACTOR SAID SAFE”, 2009/04/08) reported that Tokyo Electric Power Co. has won the backing of Niigata Prefecture’s safety committee for improvements to a reactor at the utility’s quake-halted Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear station, bringing Tepco closer to restarting the world’s largest atomic plant. The panel told Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida Tuesday that it agreed with the central government’s verdict that the No. 7 reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa station is safe, Takeshi Kumakura of Niigata’s nuclear safety division said. Also, Kashiwazaki Mayor Hiroshi Aida responded positively to restarting the reactor.
17. US-Japan Security Alliance
The Asahi Shimbun (“NOISE LEVELS SOAR AT KADENA BASE”, Kadena, 2009/04/08) reported that the frequency of uncomfortable noise levels at the sprawling U.S. Kadena Air Base here hit a five-year high in fiscal 2008, according to a town survey. A May 2006 Japan-U.S. agreement to move some of the drills to bases in other prefectures on the Japanese main islands had little effect in reducing noise levels in Okinawa Prefecture, officials said. The town recorded aircraft noise levels of 70 decibels or more–which humans find hard to deal with. This irritation threshold was reached 39,357 times in fiscal 2008, compared with 32,549 times the year before.
18. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“ASO MAY DISSOLVE LOWER HOUSE IF OPPOSITION TRIES TO BLOCK EXTRA BUDGET “, Tokyo, 2009/04/08) reported that Prime Minister Taro Aso indicated that he may dissolve the House of Representatives for an election even before the fiscal 2009 extra budget or a related bill — expected to be unveiled by the government on Friday — clears the Diet. ”I will think about (dissolving the lower house) at an appropriate time,” the 68-year-old prime minister told reporters. “If I have to dissolve it in the midst (of Diet deliberations on the budget or its related bill), I will do so.”
19. Japan Environment
Reuters (Risa Maeda, “JAPAN SOLAR SUBSIDIES LURE FEWER USERS THAN PLANNED”, Tokyo, 2009/04/08) reported that Japan’s subsidies for home solar panels have attracted far fewer applicants than planned, industry data showed on Wednesday, underscoring the likelihood of bold government steps to promote solar power. Greater spending on solar power systems is expected to be a key feature of Japan’s new stimulus plan, its fourth such package in the last year. A top economic and fiscal policy advisory committee said last month that Japan should increase its solar power capacity 20-fold by 2020 from 2005 levels, double its previous target.
20. Sino-Vietnamese Military Relations
Xinhua News (“CHINA VOWS CLOSER MILITARY TIES WITH VIETNAM”, 2009/04/08) reported that PRC Defense Minister Liang Guanglie met with Vietnamese Vice Defense Minister Nguyen Van Duochere, pledging to cement military ties between the two countries. Liang said the PRC-Vietnam friendship fostered by older generation leaders should be treasured. The PRC is ready to make joint efforts with Vietnam to expand win-win cooperation, properly handle existing disputes, and push forward further development of bilateral all-round strategic cooperative partnership.
21. Sino-Russian Energy Trade
China Daily (Zhang Xin, “RUSSIAN PIPELINE TO REACH CHINA SOON”, 2009/04/08) reported that a long-awaited oil pipeline from Russia is expected to reach the PRC within weeks, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said. He told lawmakers that Russian state oil pipe builder Transneft will soon finish laying the pipes. There was no word on when oil would start to flow. Media have reported the 67-km pipeline link – the first between the two countries – will deliver 300 million tons of oil to the PRC between 2010 and 2030. The figure is equivalent to 15 million tons a year, or 7 percent of China’s oil consumption last year.
22. Cross Strait Relations
The Financial Times (“CHINA CUSHIONS DROP IN TAIWAN EXPORTS”, 2009/04/07) reported that Taiwan on Tuesday posted a seventh consecutive month of falling exports, but at a slower rate of decline thanks to stronger demand from the PRC. Recent consumer demand from the PRC, spurred by Beijing’s stimulus measures, has provided some relief to Taiwanese companies. The PRC accounted for 40 per cent of Taiwan’s exports last month, compared with 30 per cent at the beginning of the year.
23. PRC Tibet Issue
Associated Press (Jillian Wong, “CHINA SENTENCES 2 TO DEATH FOR FIRES IN TIBET RIOT”, Beijing, 2009/04/08) reported that a PRC court on Wednesday handed down death sentences to two Tibetans accused of starting deadly fires in last year’s anti-government riots in Tibet , state media and a court officer said. It was the first report of death sentences given out for the March 14 violence in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa , that PRC officials say killed 22 people. The violence led to the most sustained uprising against PRC rule in decades. State media say 76 people have been sentenced and more than 950 detained.
24. Alledged PRC Cyberattacks
The Telegraph (“CHINA AND RUSSIA HACK INTO US POWER GRID “, 2009/04/08) reported that “The Chinese have attempted to map our infrastructure, such as the electrical grid,” a senior intelligence official told the Wall Street Journa l. “So have the Russians.” Officials said water, sewage and other infrastructure systems were also at risk from the intrusions, which happened across the US and grew sharply in number last year. The Pentagon is sure many of the attacks came from the PRC and Russia but could not determine if they were sponsored by the government in either country. Spokesmen for both embassies in Washington strongly denied any suggestion there was official involvement.
25. PRC Separatist Movements
Reuters (“CHINA EXECUTES TWO FOR PRE-OLYMPICS ATTACK IN XINJIANG”, Beijing , 2009/04/09) reported that the PRC executed two men in Xinjiang on Thursday after a court convicted them over a deadly attack on police in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics , Xinhua News Agency said. Abdurahman Azat, 34, and Kurbanjan Hemit, 29, were found guilty of a “terrorist attack on a frontier city’s border police that left 17 dead.”
26. PRC Social Welfare System
Caijing Magazine (“SEARCHING FOR A BETTER SENSE OF SECURITY”, 2009/04/08) reported that stretching the PRC’s social safety net to reach more people with more support has been cited often by government leaders as a key priority for 2009. “Upgrading the level of social security by a wide margin” was a goal underscored at a February 23 meeting of the Politburo, and Premier Wen Jiabao on March 5 mentioned the social security system – including pensions for retirees and basic living subsidies for the poor – in the context of the government’s economic stimulus project. The impact on the general public will be limited. Allocations will focus on improving the social security for poor people by increasing the subsistence guarantees, and raising pension levels in some areas, said Chu Fuling, director at the Social Security Department of the Central University of Finance and Economics.
27. PRC Energy Supply
Caijing Magazine (“SHENHUA PLANS CHINA’S FIRST CARBON CAPTURE PROJECT”, 2009/04/08) reported that Shenhua Group, the PRC’s top coal producer, is developing a carbon capture and storage (CCS) system for its coal-to-liquids plant, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission said in a statement. If implemented, the CCS project would be the first in the PRC, capturing and storing the emissions of Shenhua’s coal-to-liquids plant in Ordos, in northern China’s Inner Mongolia region. The plant, with an annual capacity of 1 million tons, started trial operations at the end of 2008.
28. PRC Environment
Kyodo News (“GREEN GROUP FINDS HEAVY USE OF INSECTICIDES IN CHINESE PRODUCE”, Hong Kong, 2009/04/08) reported that Greenpeace China said Wednesday that consuming vegetables and fruits in the PRC is life-threatening, following a release of test results that show vegetables and fruits sold in supermarkets contain deadly and banned bug repellents. The group tested 45 produce samples bought from supermarkets in three biggest cities — Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou — in the past few months and found 40 of all samples contained insecticide residue.
29. PRC Stem Cell Research
Reuters (“CHINA LOOKS TO EXPAND STAKE IN STEM CELL TECHNOLOGY”, Beijing, 2009/04/08) reported that the PRC will build Asia’s biggest base to develop uses for stem cell medical technology, which the health minister described as having huge potential for development, the Ta Kung Pao , a mainland-run Hong Kong paper reported on Wednesday. “The stem cell and regenerative medicine sector is one of China’s new high-tech biological sectors with the strongest development potential,” Chen said in a message marking the launch of the project in Taizhou in eastern Jiangsu province on Tuesday.
II. PRC Report
30. PRC Civil Society
Sanjin Urban News (Wen Xiuwei, “PUBLIC WELFARE FUND FROM FOUNDATIONS IN SHANXI AMOUNTS TO 29 MILLION YUAN”, 2009/04/07) reported that according to Shanxi provincial Department of Civil Affairs, as to the end of February, 2009, there are a total of 22 registered foundations in the province. They have contributed a lot to the public welfare cause. Last year, they have carried out various activities to help students, poor people, disabled people and so on. The total public expenditure amounted to 29 million RMB.
31. PRC Civil Society and the 512 Earthquake
People’s Daily online (Zhang Yixuan, “REBO MUSIC FESTIVAL STARTS THE “5.12 EARTHQUAKE ANNIVERSARY””, 2009/04/07) reported that as the opening event of “5.12 Earthquake Anniversary”, Rebo International Music Festival will join hands with over ten domestic and foreign NGOs to promote public welfare cause. According to the director of the sponsor, they will publicize public welfare cause by way of donation, exhibition, and game at the site of the festival.
32. PRC Civil Society and the Environment
Shanxi Evening News (Xue Lin, “SHANXI PROVIDES SMALL GRANTS TO UNIVERSITY ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ORGANIZATIONS”, 2009/04/07) reported that recently, Shanxi Office of China Environmental Protection Foundation started a small grants project, to help university environmental protection organizations (including those informal independent activity groups). The application work has started. Those environmental protection organizations that have the will can send their application materials via email or by post.