NAPSNet Daily Report 9 February, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. Napsnet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. US on DPRK Missile Program
- 4. DPRK Leadership
- 5. DPRK Defectors
- 6. Inter-Korean Relations
- 7. ROK Policy Toward DPRK
- 8. ROK Aid for DPRK
- 9. US-ROK Military Alliance
- 10. US Military in ROK
- 11. ROK Anti-Piracy Dispatch
- 12. Russo-Japanese Relations
- 13. Japanese Nuclear Energy
- 14. Japan Climate Change
- 15. PRC and Somalia Piracy
- 16. Sino-UK Relations
- 17. PRC Human Rights
- 18. PRC Environment
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA TONES DOWN ITS RHETORIC”, Beijing, 2009/02/07) reported that Stephen W. Bosworth, former US ambassador to the ROK, said Saturday that DPRK officials have expressed their willingness to move forward with denuclearization talks. “We can continue to work towards eventual denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Bosworth said after returning from a trip to the DPRK. “They understand the Obama administration will need some time to sort itself through the policy review and they expressed patience, there is no sense of alarm or urgency.” He added, “We indicated there was concern that they might be preparing for a missile launch; they said that we should all wait and see.”
Dong-A Ilbo (“‘NK SEEKS BILATERAL TALKS WITH US ON NUKES'”, 2009/02/09) reported that Jonathan Pollack, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College who arrived in Beijing from a trip to Pyongyang on Saturday, said the DPRK is aware of the importance of the six-party talks. “But I felt that they favor direct talks with Washington over the multilateral talks,” he said.
2. US on DPRK Nuclear Program
Joongang Ilbo (Jung Ha-won, “CIA DESIGNATE: NORTH TESTED NUKE”, 2009/02/07) reported that U.S. CIA director-designate Leon Panetta said Friday that the DPRK “detonated a nuclear weapon” in a 2006 test. “We know North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon in 2006. But we don’t know whether Kim Jong-il is prepared to give up that nuclear capability once and for all,” said Panetta. He also cited the DPRK as one of the “crucial areas that require good intelligence, along with Afghanistan and Iran.”
Vladivostock Times (“PRC (sic) NUCLEAR PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED WITH HEXAHEDRAL NEGOTIATIONS: USA DIPLOMAT”, Vladivostock, 2009/02/08) reported that Eric Rubin US deputy head of mission in Russia, said on Tuesday at a press conference in Vladivostok that the nuclear problem on the Korean peninsula should be solved through six-way negotiations. He thanked the Russian government for its role in achieving certain successes.
Yonhap (“U.S. COMMANDER URGES N. KOREA TO RETURN TO TALKS, DISCUSS VERIFICATION”, Seoul, 2009/02/09) reported that General Walter Sharp, head of the Combined Forces Command, said the DPRK should first return to dialogue if it hopes to feel secure. “South Korea does not have nuclear weapons, and the demand is for North Korea to verify that they do not have nuclear weapons and to denuclearize,” Sharp said. “I think the answer to that will come out when North Korea finally agrees to sit down and discuss how we’re going to go through a verification regime,” he said. “We, the United States, and the other countries of the six-party talks look forward to that day so that we can work these details out,” he stated.
3. US on DPRK Missile Program
Reuters (“US MILITARY CLOSELY WATCHING NK MISSILE TEST”, Washington, 2009/02/07) reported that Navy Admiral Timothy Keating, the commander of American forces in Asia and the Pacific, said Friday that the U.S. military is closely watching a possible long-range missile test by the DPRK. Keating stated, “North Korea’s unpredictable behavior is a cause for concern. It is not clear if they have launched the missile or not, but we are watching it with a number of countries around the world.” He added, “We`re going to be prepared in a number of different ways if and when the president tells us to respond.”
4. DPRK Leadership
Yonhap (“N. KOREA HOLDS RALLIES TO BACK KIM JONG-IL’S PARLIAMENTARY NOMINATION: REPORT”, Seoul, 2009/02/08) reported that the DPRK has held nationwide rallies to second the nomination of its leader Kim Jong-il for a parliamentary seat, the Korean Central News Agency said Sunday. “Voters’ meetings were held at all the constituencies across the country” to support the Feb. 1 nomination of Kim for the Supreme Peoples’ Assembly, the report said. “It is the greatest happiness and glory of our country” to allow the chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party to be nominated, it added.
5. DPRK Defectors
Yonhap (“NK DEFECTORS ARRESTED IN MYANMAR ARRIVE IN S. KOREA: RFA”, Seoul, 2009/02/07) reported that a group of 19 DPRK defectors arrested in Myanmar last year for illegally entering the country arrived in the ROK this week, Radio Free Asia reported Saturday. Three departed from Thailand two weeks ago and the remaining 16 left the country this week, the report said, citing an official working at a defector relief agency in Thailand.
6. Inter-Korean Relations
Agence France-Presse (“SKOREA TO STAND FIRM DESPITE NKOREA THREATS: PRESIDENT”, Seoul, 2009/02/09) reported that the ROK will stand firm in its policy towards the DPRK despite a series of threats, President Lee Myung-Bak said Monday. “I am very aware there are people who are concerned about the recent series of North Korean threats. But you do not need to worry too much,” the president said in his regular radio address. “The government is ready to sit down with North Korea at any time and resolve every issue,” Lee said.
7. ROK Policy Toward DPRK
Korea Herald (Song Sang-ho, “HYUN DEFENDS GOVERNMENT’S N.K. POLICY”, Seoul, 2009/02/09) reported that Unification Minister nominee Hyun In-taek on Monday defended the government’s DPRK policy during a parliamentary confirmation hearing. “Although ‘Vision 3000: Denuclearization and Openness’ has been known as a conservative hard-line policy, it is meant for co-prosperity and co-existence for the two Koreas,” he said. “The policy came after the conclusion from economists that based on simulation experiments, it is likely the North would achieve the GDP target within 10 years, should everything go as planned,” said Hyun. “It is a policy that would be carried out in a gradual and stepwise fashion. Under the policy we are to offer the North aid that corresponds to the North’s denuclearization stages.”
8. ROK Aid for DPRK
Yonhap (“S. KOREAN GROUPS STEP UP AID EFFORTS FOR N. KOREA DESPITE TENSION”, Seoul, 2009/02/08) reported that ROK civic groups are gearing up to send humanitarian aid to the DPRK, according to the groups Sunday. Last week, a gathering of some 20 ROK groups held talks with officials at the DPRK’s National Reconciliation Council in China’s northeastern city of Shenyang to discuss details regarding aid shipments later this year, ROK officials said. Lee Yoon-sang, head of Nanum International, one of the ROK groups, said his group will focus on modernizing medical facilities in Pyongyang. Another ROK group, Gyeongnam Unification Cooperative, said it plans to help DPRK farmers build greenhouses to grow fruit in winter and a soybean milk plant in Pyongyang.
9. US-ROK Military Alliance
Korea Herald (Jin Dae-woong, “U.S. SEEN EASING KOREAN CONCERN”, Seoul, 2009/02/09) reported that General Walter Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said Friday at a meeting with ROK lawmakers that he had suggested to superior U.S. Army staff to retain the 8th U.S. Army headquarters on the Korean Peninsula even after the planned 2012 transition of wartime operational control. Sharp told the legislators that his proposal is likely to be accepted, they said.
10. US Military in ROK
Yonhap (“U.S. REPLACING APACHES IN S.KOREA WITH F-16S FROM JAPAN: REPORT”, Seoul, 2009/02/09) reported that the United States plans to deploy an F-16 fleet from Japan to replace a squadron of Apache attack helicopters scheduled to be relocated out of the ROK next month. An official at the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command confirmed the report posted on the Internet by U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes. “The unit from Misawa Air Base, Japan, is gearing up for a six-month deployment to South Korea, where a dozen F-16 fighters and about 400 airmen will temporarily replace an Army attack and reconnaissance helicopter battalion,” the report said.
11. ROK Anti-Piracy Dispatch
Joongang Ilbo (“MILITARY WARSHIP READY FOR PIRATES NEAR SOMALIA”, Seoul, 2009/02/07) reported that the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday the country plans to dispatch a Munmu the Great KDX-II class destroyer for an upcoming anti-piracy operation in the Somali sea. “We recently had several task force team members sent to Bahrain and Djibouti, near Somalia, to check necessary logistics and other operational items for the mission,” said Commodore Choi Soo-yong at the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Choi said the battleship will take about 300 servicemen on board, including repairmen, military commanders and rank-and-file sailors currently training for the mission.
12. Russo-Japanese Relations
Associated Press (“RUSSIA RELEASES JAPANESE FISHING BOAT CREW”, Tokyo, 2009/02/07) reported that Russian authorities on Saturday released all 10 Japanese crew members seized aboard a fishing boat in late January after allegedly straying into Russian waters, Japanese officials said. The president of Hiyoshi Suisan, a seafood processor that owns the boat, announced Thursday that the crew would be released after the company paid an undisclosed fine to Russian officials as part of a negotiated agreement to release the vessel and crew, according to Kyodo news agency.
13. Japanese Nuclear Energy
Yomiuri Shimbun (Keiko Chino, “U.S. N-POLICY COULD HURT JAPAN”, Tokyo, 2009/02/07) reported that in mid-January, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency presented an assessment of U.S. policies during an Atomic Energy Commission panel meeting. The JAEA said the United States planned to use nuclear power to a certain extent, but would attach less importance to it than the Bush administration, which had actively promoted nuclear power. The JAEA has said any review of the U.S. plan for a nuclear waste disposal site in Nevada would have a major impact on Japan, where the government currently is considering a final-stage disposal site for high-level radioactive waste.
14. Japan Climate Change
Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOV’T EYES EMISSIONS GOALS FOR EMERGING NATIONS”, Tokyo, 2009/02/08) reported that the Japanese government has compiled a report proposing that the PRC and other emerging economies set energy-saving targets to be pursued by each country and major industries in each nation to complement a post-Kyoto Protocol framework that will be launched in 2013. The report also suggests that each of the developing nations voluntarily draw up an action plan for that purpose. The government has submitted the report to the secretariat of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
15. PRC and Somalia Piracy
Associated Press (“SOMALI PIRATES RELEASE CHINESE FISHING BOAT, CREW”, Tokyo, 2009/02/08) reported that Somali pirates released a PRC fishing vessel and its multinational crew Sunday from nearly three months of captivity. PRC naval ships were escorting the fishing boat, the Tianyu No. 8, to safe waters after its release, Xinhua News Agency reported. Its 24-member crew were safe but would receive medical examinations, it said.
16. Sino-UK Relations
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA URGES CAMBRIDGE TO FORGIVE SHOE-HURLER”, Beijing, 2009/02/09) reported that PRC Premier Wen Jiabao urged Cambridge University to forgive a student who hurled a shoe at him last week during a speech, the PRC foreign ministry said. “I would like to hereby convey the following from Premier Wen: Education is the best help for a young student,” Ambassador Fu Ying was quoted saying in comments posted on the foreign ministry website over the weekend. “It is hoped that the university will give the student an opportunity to continue his studies… As a Chinese saying goes, it is more precious than gold for a young person to turn himself around to redress mistakes.”
17. PRC Human Rights
Reuters (Chris Buckley, “CHINA HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD STIRS STRUGGLE AT HOME”, Beijing, 2009/02/09) reported that PRC activists are speaking out against what locals call “black jails” — detention centers holding protesters without official procedures or right to appeal. “These black jails are clearly against the law. But local officials call them legal study classes, and that shows how they treat the law as just a tool for abusing rights,” said Zhang Jianping, an activist in eastern Jiangsu province who runs a website focused on grassroots rights issues. “In a sense, this is the biggest human rights issue , because it involves so many people, it’s so widespread, and it’s so lacking in legal justification,” said Xu Zhiyong, a Beijing law lecturer and rights advocate who has organized “guerrilla” citizen rescues of detained petitioners.
BBC (Imogen Foulkes, “CHINA TO DEFEND RECORD IN GENEVA”, Geneva, 2009/02/09) reported that the PRC is to make its first report to the UN human rights council in Geneva on Monday. Under the new council system all UN member states must report at regular interviews; a three-nation panel will then make recommendations.
18. PRC Environment
Associated Press (Joe McDonald, “CHINA FIGHTS DROUGHT WITH CHEMICAL CLOUD-SEEDING”, Beijing, 2009/02/08) reported that parts of the northern PRC got light rain after authorities fired shells loaded with cloud-seeding chemicals into the sky, the government said Sunday. “The drought situation will not be eased in the near future,” said a national weather bureau statement. It said clouds were thin and moving out of the region, making conditions poor for more rainmaking.
II. PRC Report
19. PRC Product Safety
China Branded Appeal Network (“FIRST AMERICAN PRODUCT SAFETY AND RESTRICTED GOODS SEMINAR TO BE HELD IN CHINA”, 2009/02/06) reported that China American Apparel Footwear Association (AAFA), American-China Appeal Footwear Association (ACATA) and Jinagsu Appeal Association will jointly hold the first American Product Safety and Restricted Goods Seminar from March 30 th to 31 st in Nanjing city, Jiangsu province. The newly adopted Product Safety Act of the United States has some strict rules on the use of chemical substances for some products, which will affect a lot of PRC enterprises who products clothes, shoes, toys to the United States. The upcoming Seminar will focus mainly on this issue.
20. PRC Environment
People’s Daily (He Linping, “GUANGDONG: FIRST “ZERO SEWAGE EMISSION” ELECTRIC POWER PLANT BEGINS OPERATION”, 2009/02/06) reported that NO.1 machine set of Heyuan Electric Power Plant in Guangdong province was formally put into production a few days ago. This is the largest single investment project since Heyuan city establishes, and also the first environmental protection electric power plant of “zero sewage emission”. Heyuan city locates at the source of East River, is the ecological defense of the upper reaches of the Pearl River Delta. Its water quality is directly related to the lower reaches of Dongguan, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
21. PRC Energy Supply
Xinhua Net (“VICE PREMIER URGES TO BUILD CLEAN, ECONOMICAL ENERGY SUPPLY SYSTEM”, 2009/02/04) reported that PRC Vice Premier Li Keqiang has urged to guarantee energy supplies, continuously raise energy efficiency, speed up the development of modern energy industry and upgrade the energy structure to ensure the country’s sound economic growth. Li said the PRC had suffered a slowdown both in energy demand and the energy companies’ profits. He urged governments at all levels to enhance the infrastructure construction of energy supply to help increase the country’s domestic needs and provide further preparations for economic development.