NAPSNet Daily Report 9 April, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. US Nuclear Summit
- 3. DPRK on Six-Party Talks
- 4. Japan on DPRK Sanctions
- 5. DPRK Internal Situation
- 6. DPRK Detention of American Citizen
- 7. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
- 8. US Nuclear Umbrella
- 9. ROK-US Military Relations
- 10. ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 11. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 12. Japan Nuclear Safety
- 13. Japan-Taiwan Relations
- 14. Sino-Japanese Relations
- 15. PRC on US Nuclear Posture
- 16. PRC on Pakistan Nuclear Program
- 17. PRC on Kyrgyzstan Unrest
- 18. Sino-US Trade Relations
- 19. PRC Media
- 20. PRC on Cyber Security
- 21. Cross-Strait Relations
- II. PRC Report
1. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap News (“U.S. WARNS N. KOREA OF CONSEQUENCES WITHOUT COMPLETE DENUCLEARIZATION”, 2010/04/08) reported that the United States warned the DPRK on Thursday of “real consequences” unless it returns to the six-party talks and takes steps for its complete nuclear dismantlement. “Along with our international partners, the United States is pursuing diplomatic efforts that create real consequences for states such as Iran and North Korea that defy the global nonproliferation regime,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement to mark the signing of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in Prague earlier in the day between President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. “With respect to North Korea, we continue to send the message that simply returning to the negotiating table is not enough,” Clinton said. “Pyongyang must move toward complete and verifiable denuclearization, through irreversible steps, if it wants a normalized, sanctions-free relationship with the United States.”
Yonhap News (Hwang Doo-hyong, “U.S. HOPES NPR NOT TO LEAD TO N. KOREA ENHANCING NUCLEAR ARSENAL”, 2010/04/08) reported that the United States expressed hope Wednesday that the DPRK would see no implicit threat in the new U.S. nuclear weapons policy and bolster its own nuclear arsenal. “We don’t believe there would be any justification for using this NPR for such a reason,” Robert Einhorn, special adviser on nonproliferation and arms control, told a news conference. James Miller, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy said, “Part of the rationale for the negative security assurance and exchange was in fact to encourage North Korea to go the opposite direction and to desire to be one of those states that are compliant with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations.”
2. US Nuclear Summit
Reuters (“NUCLEAR SUMMIT TAKES AIM AT UNSECURED BOMB MATERIAL”, 2010/04/08) reported that although the gathering of 47 countries will not focus on individual nations, the nuclear programs of Iran and the DPRK are expected to come up in Obama’s bilateral meetings with PRC President Hu Jintao and other leaders, as well as in the speeches of Israeli and other participants. A draft communique circulated to countries attending the summit, includes a U.S. proposal to “secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years.” “If leaders at the summit get it right, they could render nuclear power safer to use in the fight against climate change, strengthen the non-proliferation regime, and build further international confidence in … nuclear disarmament,” said Ian Kearns, who is an adviser to Britain’s parliamentary committee on national security.
3. DPRK on Six-Party Talks
Arirang News (“N. KOREA APPROVES CHINA’S PROPOSAL FOR PRELIMINARY 6-PARTY TALKS: ASAHI”, 2010/04/08) reported that the DPRK is found to have approved back in March a PRC proposal of holding a preliminary meeting before the resumption of the stalled six-party nuclear talks. Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun says the United States took Pyeongyang’s consent as a sign of progress and began bilateral discussions with DPRK officials. The two sides, however, failed to move forward in light of the recent capsize of a DPRK naval ship in the West Sea.
4. Japan on DPRK Sanctions
Kyodo (“JAPAN DECIDES TO EXTEND N. KOREAN SANCTIONS BY ONE YEAR”, Tokyo, 2010/04/09) reported that Japan decided Friday to extend its sanctions against the DPRK for one year after the current measures expire on Tuesday, including a ban on DPRK vessels from making port calls in Japan. The decision was made at a meeting of Cabinet ministers as Pyongyang has not fulfilled its promise to reinvestigate cases of Japanese nationals abducted by the DPRK, nor has it returned to the six-party talks aimed at ending its nuclear programs, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said. While noting that the sanctions have produced ”a certain outcome,” Hirano admitted Friday that there are suspicions that trade has taken place between the two countries via a third country. ”This is an issue we must study in the future because cooperation with related countries will be necessary, given that there is a question about whether Japan can handle it alone,” he said.
5. DPRK Internal Situation
Dong A Ilbo (“`N. KOREA NOT IN DANGER OF IMMINENT COLLAPSE`”, 2010/04/08) reported that the highest ranking DPRK official who defected to the ROK reported that the DPRK will not collapse soon despite its dire situation, a report said yesterday. Hwang Jang-yop, former secretary of the DPRK ruling Workers’ Party, was quoted by Kyoto News Agency in a closed lecture in Tokyo, “In North Korea, the influence of the late leader Kim Il Sung remains strong. So even if Kim Jong Il has health problems, North Korea will see no major upheaval as long as Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Jong Il’s younger sister and a Workers’ Party director, remains in power,” Hwang said. He added that a coup d’état by the DPRK`s military is unlikely since it has been indoctrinated by ideology.
Associated Press (“NKOREA’S PARLIAMENT LIKELY TO FOCUS ON ECONOMY”, Seoul, 2010/04/09) reported that the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly convenes an annual session Friday expected to show solidarity and perhaps indications of the nation’s future leadership and economy. On Thursday, the DPRK elite — senior officials from the Workers’ Party, the military and the government — gathered in Pyongyang to celebrate Kim Jong Il’s 17 years of leadership, the Korean Central News Agency said. Major DPRK newspapers ran editorials praising Kim’s leadership, KCNA said Friday. Floral baskets and congratulatory letters have been streaming in from foreign diplomats and the military attaches, it said.
6. DPRK Detention of American Citizen
Agence France Presse (“US SEEKS AMNESTY FOR AMERICAN HELD IN NORTH KOREA”, 2010/04/08) reported that the United States Wednesday repeated its request for amnesty for an American man sentenced to eight years of hard labor in the DPRK for illegally entering the country. We “continue to believe that he should be granted amnesty” and be released, said State Department Philip Crowley.
The Boston Globe (“KERRY CALLS FOR N. KOREA TO FREE BOSTONIAN”, 2010/04/08) reported that Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts called for Aijalon Mahli Gomes’ freedom. “This is a mother’s worst nightmare and a horrific situation,’’ Kerry said. “This young man belongs in Massachusetts with his family, and I join with them in expressing my hope that North Korea will do the right thing and send him home.’’ Academic specialists in the United States said that they expected the American government to begin low-profile negotiations to secure his release, but that he could face harsh treatment before eventually coming home.
7. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
Agence France Presse (“N.KOREA SCRAPS TOURISM DEAL WITH S.KOREA”, 2010/04/08) reported that the DPRK said Thursday it had scrapped a tourism deal with the ROK and would “freeze” some assets owned by Seoul at Mt. Kumgang. The DPRK also said it was expelling some ROK personnel and would allow an unspecified third party to take over the tours from ROK firm Hyundai Asan and said agreements with Hyundai were no longer valid. The DPRK also threatened to reexamine its joint industrial park with the ROK at Kaesong just north of the border unless relations improve with the Seoul government, which it described as “hell-bent on confrontation”.
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “S. KOREA URGES N. KOREA TO RETRACT DECISION ON TOURISM DEAL”, Seoul, 2010/04/09) reported that the ROK urged the DPRK Friday to withdraw its decision to ditch Seoul as its partner for the Mt. Kumgang tourism project. “We are very regretful,” Unification Ministry spokesperson Chun Hae-sung told reporters, adding his government will maintain an “unwavering stance.””The decision must be retracted immediately,” he said in a briefing. Chun said, however, that no ROK citizens were removed as of Friday morning from the facilities.
Korea Herald (“UNION GROUPS ALLOWED TO VISIT N.K.”, 2010/04/08) reported that the Seoul government approved a planned visit to the DPRK by members of the ROK’s two major umbrella labor unions. Two members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and three of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions are scheduled to meet with their DPRK counterparts in the DPRK’s border town of Gaeseong today to discuss preparations for the joint celebration of the 120th anniversary of Labor Day on May 1.
8. US Nuclear Umbrella
Agence France Presse (“US TO RETIRE TOMAHAWK NUKES “, 2010/04/08) reported that the United States will retire its sea-based nuclear Tomahawk missiles within a few years, believing it has other ways to defend North-east Asia, a Pentagon official said on Wednesday. The elimination of the missile – supported in the past by some policymakers in Japan and the ROK – was part of a policy shift announced on Tuesday by President Barack Obama’s administration to reduce the role of nuclear weapons. ‘The timeline for its retirement will be over the next two to three years,’ James Miller, the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, told a news conference. He said that the United States had held ‘extensive consultations’ with US allies including Japan and the ROK about the decision to retire the nuclear Tomahawk.
9. ROK-US Military Relations
Yonhap News (“SEOUL LOOKING INTO CONCERNS ABOUT WARTIME OPCON TRANSFER: DEFENSE CHIEF”, 2010/04/08) reported that the ROK is looking at problems that may arise in taking back the wartime command of its troops from the United States, the country’s defense chief told the parliament on Thursday. Addressing the National Assembly, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said the government is “in many ways reviewing” the scheduled transfer, not just at military level, but also at the “national” level. “We continue to monitor military threats posed by North Korea and reflect any changes in situations,” Prime Minister Chung Un-chan said.
10. ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN MILITARY ‘PUT ON ALERT AFTER SHIPWRECK'”, 2010/04/08) reported that the DPRK ordered the entire military to step up alertness in the wake of the sinking of the ROK Navy corvette Cheonan in the West Sea on March 26. Kim Heung-kwang, the head of defector organization North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, on Wednesday said, “For a few days now it has been difficult to keep in touch with our sources in the North, apparently because of the North Korean Army’s heightened alertness.” Radio Free Asia quoted an officer of the DPRK’s Ninth Army Corps in Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province, as saying, “The Ministry of People’s Armed Forces on April 4 sent instructions to all military units” about the sinking of the Cheonan. The ministry reportedly ordered all officers and soldiers to “carefully monitor the enemy’s moves, heighten alertness, and prepare to deal an annihilating blow to the enemy if it launches a provocation.” The ministry said, “U.S. imperialists and South Korean military warmongers are moving to attribute the sinking” to the DPRK.
11. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “SOUTH KOREA TO STAND FIRMER ON DOKDO ISLETS”, 2010/04/08) reported that the government pledged Thursday to stand firm on any attempts to challenge the ROK’s sovereignty over the Dokdo Islets in the East Sea. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade came up with the firmer stance on the matter after Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, according to reports, said there would be no change in Japan’s position that Dokdo belongs to Japan. Kim Young-sun, spokesman of the foreign ministry, told reporters that the government will take every necessary measure step by step to ensure that Dokdo is recognized as ROK territory.
12. Japan Nuclear Safety
Kyodo News (“SAFETY AGENCY OKS RESTARTING NUCLEAR REACTOR IN NIIGATA “, 2010/04/08) reported that the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency on Thursday said a nuclear reactor in Niigata Prefecture is safe enough to resume commercial operation that has been suspended since a major earthquake in 2007. The No. 1 reactor is the third reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant to receive the agency’s permission, but it still needs to gain permission from host municipalities and the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan before it can actually resume operation.
13. Japan-Taiwan Relations
Central News Agency (“EX-JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER CONCLUDES TAIWAN VISIT”, 2010/04/08) reported that former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso returned to Japan Thursday after wrapping up a four-day visit to Taiwan. Although Aso kept a low profile during his stay, the visit drew much attention. President Ma Ying-jeou hosted a luncheon in his honor Wednesday at the Taipei Guest House, during which Aso was quoted as having praised Ma’s modus vivendi approach toward relations across the Taiwan Strait. Aso was said have expressed admiration for Ma’s efforts to improve cross-strait relations and normalize bilateral trade and economic ties.
14. Sino-Japanese Relations
Kyodo (“CHINA EXECUTES 3 JAPANESE DRUG SMUGGLERS “, Beijing/Dalian, 2010/04/09) reported that the PRC executed Friday three Japanese men convicted of drug smuggling, Japanese diplomats and Xinhua News Agency said. Teruo Takeda, 67, and Hironori Ukai, 48, were put to death in Dalian, and Katsuo Mori, 67, in Shenyang, at 9 a.m., according to Japanese diplomats. ”All individuals, regardless of nationality, were treated equally in the application of Chinese law, and China’s retention of the death penalty for drugs crimes helped deter and prevent such crimes,” the Supreme People’s Court said in a statement quoted by Xinhua.
15. PRC on US Nuclear Posture
EarthTimes (“CHINA TO ‘STUDY’ OBAMA’S NUCLEAR ARMS POLICY “, 2010/04/08) reported that the PRC on Thursday said it saw “new expressions” in US President Barack Obama’s strategy for the use of nuclear weapons but said it still needed to study the details before responding. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters, “The United States is the biggest power with a nuclear arsenal”. “It is of great importance to reduce nuclear weapons by a large margin, and further reduce the role that nuclear arms play in national security,” Jiang said.
16. PRC on Pakistan Nuclear Program
Indian Express (“CHINA TO BACK PAK AT NUCLEAR SUMMIT IN US: REPORT”, 2010/04/08) reported that the PRC will back Pakistan at a key nuclear summit in Washington next week on several issues, including its demand for a civil nuclear deal similar to the one India inked with the US and its efforts to improve atomic capabilities for peaceful purposes, the ‘Daily Times’ said on Thursday. The issue of the PRC’s support for Pakistan on these issues was discussed in Wednesday’s meeting of the parliamentary committee on national security chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, the newspaper reported. The parliamentary committee was assured that Pakistan will actively pursue its case for a civil nuclear deal with the US during Gilani’s upcoming visit to Washington.
17. PRC on Kyrgyzstan Unrest
Associated Press (Anita Chang, “CHINA ‘DEEPLY CONCERNED’ OVER KYRGYZSTAN UNREST”, 2010/04/08) reported that the PRC said Thursday it was “deeply concerned” about the violent uprising in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, where opposition leaders said they had seized power after clashes that left dozens dead. “As a friendly neighbor, we are deeply concerned over the development of the situation in the Kyrgyz capital and other areas, and we sincerely hope that order can be restored as soon as possible and relevant issues can be resolved through legal channels,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement. “Kyrgyzstan is a bordering country for China. Their social stability is an important part of Chinese politics,” said Wu Hongwei, an analyst in the Institute of Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies.
18. Sino-US Trade Relations
Agence France Presse (Allison Jackson , “US TREASURY CHIEF HOLDS ECONOMIC TALKS IN CHINA”, 2010/04/08) reported that US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner held talks in Beijing on economic ties amid signs the PRC may be ready to act on calls for a more flexible yuan. Geithner — who started the day in Hong Kong — met in Beijing with Vice Premier Wang Qishan, the cabinet official in charge of economic and financial issues. “The two sides exchanged views on US-China economic relations, the global economic situation and issues relating to the upcoming economic track dialogue of the second US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, to be held in Beijing in late May,” the US Treasury Department said in a statement.
19. PRC Media
China Daily (“CHINESE OFFICIALS ARE MORE ACCESSIBLE NOW”, 2010/04/08) reported that the PRC media have made phenomenal progress over the years, a senior ROK journalist has said. “The change is all the more striking when compared with what it was like two decades ago,” said Choi Nam-hyun, editor-in-chief of Korea Herald. It is “much easier to conduct interviews in China than before, with no restrictions imposed on travel now,” he said.
20. PRC on Cyber Security
Agence France Presse (“CHINA DENIES CANADIAN HACKER CLAIMS”, 2010/04/08) reported that the PRC denied that hackers based in the country targeted Indian government computers and accessed military secrets. The denial came after Canadian researchers claimed that a PRC-based online spying network leveraged popular Web services such as Twitter, Google Groups and Yahoo! Mail to steal information from the New Delhi government and other Indian networks. “Some reports have, from time to time, been heard of insinuating or criticising the Chinese government… I have no idea what evidence they have or what motives lie behind,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu. “Hacking is an international issue and should be dealt with by joint efforts from around the world,” Jiang was quoted as saying.
21. Cross-Strait Relations
Financial Times (“CHINA SIGNALS SOFTER STAND ON TAIWAN TRADE”, 2010/04/08) reported that the PRC has signalled it may accept an unbalanced deal on agriculture to reach a broad trade pact with Taiwan. The PRC agreed not to demand that Taipei further open up its doors to PRC products and is even considering a request to further reduce its tariffs on certain agriculture items from Taiwan. The gesture by the PRC, a leading exporter of many food products, is aimed at placating Taiwanese farmers, who have emerged as strong opponents of the proposed trade deal. Both governments are keen to sign the deal , which would be seen as a major milestone in improving bilateral relations and pave the way for Taiwan to pursue trade deals with other countries which have been reluctant to annoy Beijing by moving first.
II. PRC Report
22. PRC Public Health
China News Net (“CHINA CONTROL TRAFFIC FOR WORLD HEALTH DAY”, 2010/04/08) reported that the PRC will ban vehicles driving on 493 streets in the country’s 449 cities on April 11th, appealing to the public to cultivate a healthy lifestyle, said Huang Jiefu, vice minister of Health, at a commemorative activity of World Health Day held today in Beijing.
23. PRC Civil Society
Shanxi Evening News (“SUNSHINE BOOKSTORE ACTIVITY LAUNCHED”, 2010/04/08) reported that the “Sunshine Bookstore” was launched in the Xi’an of Shanxi province. The Bookstore is sponsored by Xi’an Education Bureau, Xi’an Red Cross Society, and Communist Youth League Xi’an Committee, and aims at raising funds for 100 school libraries in rural areas of Shanxi province.
Shanxi Evening News (“SHANXI LAUNCHES REFORESTATION CAMPAIGN”, 2010/04/08) reported that government officials, leaders of enterprises and social organizations have participated in a reforestation contribution campaign held yesterday in Taiyuan city of Shanxi province. Through this campaign, people donate to support reforestation efforts, thus to pay for their own carbon emission.