NAPSNet Daily Report 9 July, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. IAEA on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. Russia on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 4. US Sanctions on the DPRK
- 5. ROK on Inter-Korean Relations
- 6. DPRK Economy
- 7. DPRK Leadership
- 8. ROK Nuclear Energy
- 9. ROK Energy Supply
- 10. ROK Human Rights
- 11. Japan Territorial Dispute
- 12. Japan on Food Security
- 13. Japan Politics
- 14. Japan Swine Flu Outbreak
- 15. Cross Strait Relations
- 16. US-PRC Climate Change Collaboration
- 17. Sino-Australian Relations
- 18. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 19. PRC Energy Supply
- II. PRC Report
1. DPRK Nuclear Program
Kyodo News (“EVIDENCE OF N. KOREA’S URANIUM ENRICHMENT NOT DETECTED: YONHAP “, Seoul, 2009/07/08) reported that intelligence authorities from ROK and the United States have not detected evidence of the DPRK’s uranium enrichment, Yonhap News Agency reported, quoting a ROK intelligence source. ”After North Korean Foreign Ministry’s announcement on (the North’s) beginning of uranium enrichment on June 13, various suspected places have been put under close surveillance, but no evidence has been detected yet,” the source said.
2. IAEA on DPRK Nuclear Program
Mainichi Shimbun (“INCOMING IAEA CHIEF AMANO SEEKS PROGRESS ON IRAN, N. KOREA; LAUDS OBAMA’S NUCLEAR POLICY”, Vienna, 2009/07/08) reported that incoming International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano gave an exclusive interview to the Mainichi Shimbun, expressing his wish to tackle the issue of nuclear development in Iran and the DPRK. Concerning the challenges presented by the DPRK and Iran, Amano says, “I hope to open the way to success through a steady buildup of achievements, even if small.”
3. Russia on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Xinhua News (“RUSSIA REPEATS CALL FOR DPRK’S RETURN TO SIX-PARTY TALKS”, Moscow, 2009/07/09) reported that Russia urges the DPRK to return to the six-party talks on the Korean peninsula nuclear issue as soon as possible, the country’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin, head of Russia’s delegation to the six-party talks. Russia stressed the need to immediately resume the six-party talks “to search for ways out of the current situation that could deteriorate further, and to continue joint work on the resolution of the nuclear problem on the Korean peninsula, the ministry said in a statement after the meeting.
4. US Sanctions on the DPRK
Chosun Ilbo (“U.S. TO COORDINATE WITH ASIAN COUNTRIES ON N.KOREA SANCTIONS”, 2009/07/08) reported that the US is busy keeping close contact with Asian countries that have vested interests in trade and financial dealings with the DPRK as part of efforts to further tighten the leash on the DPRK. In a bid to fully implement trade and financial penalties against Pyongyang drawn up by the United Nations, Ambassador Goldberg said that the U.S. government will share its information with other countries in hopes of blocking the DPRK’s abuse of the international banking system.
5. ROK on Inter-Korean Relations
JoongAng Ilbo (“LEE: SUNSHINE POLICY MAY HAVE AIDED NORTH NUKES”, 2009/07/08) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak yesterday took a swipe at the DPRK engagement policies of previous administrations, saying Seoul’s financial aid to Pyongyang must have been spent on the DPRK’s nuclear programs. “The past administrations gave North Korea a great deal of economic assistance,” he said, according to excerpts of the interview released by the Blue House. “While a huge sum of money was provided over the past 10 years, there is a suspicion that it was used on the North’s nuclearization, not on helping the North open up.”
6. DPRK Economy
IFES NK Brief (“DPRK MARKET CLOSURE REPORTS DEEMED RUMOR”, 2009/07/08) reported that the DPRK’s main wholesale market, in Pyongysong, was temporarily closed for just over a week during mid-April, but it has reportedly been open and operating normally since then. It was rumored, and reported here, that the Pyongysong Wholesale Market was shut down in mid-June. There was a report that officials felt the market had grown too large, and there was a plan to divide it into East and West Markets. However, reports of these plans have now been deemed nothing more than rumor.
7. DPRK Leadership
Reuters (“NORTH KOREAN LEADER KIM JONG-IL GAUNT ON ANNIVERSARY”, Seoul, 2009/07/08) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il looked gaunt during a rare appearance on state television as the state marked the anniversary of the death of his father and state founder Kim Il-sung. The DPRK TV showed recorded footage of the event, with Kim looking thin and aloof, but he earlier appeared alert and walked briskly on stage followed by top military and ruling Workers’ Party officials. The ROK’s Unification Minister Hyun In-taek has said Kim’s grip on power has become stronger after his moves to bring to the fore figures sympathetic to the succession plans.
8. ROK Nuclear Energy
Korea Times (“LAWMAKER SUPPORTS “RECYCLING’’ SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL”, 2009/07/08) reported that a ruling Grand National Party (GNP) lawmaker, who is spearheading the campaign for the ROK to obtain “programmatic consent” for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, emphasized that his motive has nothing to do with proliferation. “It is understandable for the United States to worry deeply about the possible negative consequence of allowing South Korea to recycle spent nuclear spent fuel,” Rep. Choi Ku-sik said. “But South Korea building nuclear bombs will never become a reality because Seoul is seeking consent purely based on environmental concerns,” Choi stressed.
Korea Herald (“SEOUL CONSIDERING OPTIONS TO IMPROVE NUKE EFFICIENCY”, 2009/07/08) reported that the ROK is considering options for improving the nation’s atomic energy efficiency without triggering international concern, a Foreign Ministry official said yesterday. Self-production of low-enriched uranium – the fuel for operating nuclear reactors – may be among such options, he said. Seoul currently purchases such uranium at high costs. Pyro-processing, a method for recycling nuclear energy without producing plutonium, also could be considered. But he stressed that these were only among several ideas the government is mulling over as it seeks to bolster its nuclear energy industry by revising a contract with the United States.
9. ROK Energy Supply
Yonhap News (Byun Duk-kun, “SEOUL, WARSAW AGREE TO NEW SECURITY, ENERGY COOPERATION”, 2009/07/08) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak and his Polish counterpart Lech Kaczynski agreed during a summit Wednesday to widen bilateral cooperation in energy and other economic fields, officials from the two countries said. The two countries agreed to boost cooperation on energy security and fight climate change, while also strengthening their cooperation in the energy sector, including on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and nuclear and renewable energy,” Seoul’s presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, said in a statement.
10. ROK Human Rights
Korea Times (“‘KOREA ON VERGE OF BECOMING SHAMEFUL NATION'”, 2009/07/09) reported that the outgoing human rights agency’s chief said the ROK is on the verge of being degraded to a “shameful nation” because of the government’s backpedaling on human rights and democracy. Outgoing National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Ahn Kyong-whan urged President Lee Myung-bak to scrap a downsizing plan for the commission and to pay attention to the backlash from international communities.
11. Japan Territorial Dispute
Japan Times (“GSDF MAY BE DEPLOYED ON WESTERNMOST ISLAND NEAR TAIWAN”, 2009/07/08) reported that Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force troops may be deployed on the country’s westernmost island of Yonaguni, near Taiwan, the defense minister said Monday, suggesting a prospect that could unnerve some of Japan’s neighbors. ‘‘The Self-Defense Forces have not been deployed there,’’ Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said at a news conference. ‘‘It would be worth considering deploying the SDF not just from the defense standpoint, but because of the local requests regarding disaster (management).’’
12. Japan on Food Security
Kyodo News (“ASO TAKES AIM AT WEALTHY STATES’ ‘LAND GRABS’ IN DEVELOPING WORLD”, London, 2009/07/08) reported that Prime Minister Taro Aso says he will call on world to develop principles promoting responsible foreign investment in agriculture in the face of “land grabs” of large-scale farmland in poor nations to ensure food supplies for wealthy nations. Aso pointed out that following the skyrocketing global food prices that triggered social unrest and export restrictions last year, food-importing countries rushed to grab land. Aso recommended the adoption of nonbinding principles, including transparent and accountable investments, respect for the rights of local people as well as consideration for recipient countries’ development and environmental policies.
13. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“DPJ TRYING TO TEAM UP WITH OSAKA GOV. HASHIMOTO AHEAD OF ELECTION “, Tokyo, 2009/07/08) reported that a member of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan’s shadow Cabinet on Wednesday met with Osaka Gov. Toru Hashimoto in the hope of teaming up with the popular governor ahead of the lower house election which must be held by October. The meeting came a day after talks between LDP Election Strategy Council Chairman Makoto Koga and Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru, who has been asked by Koga to run in the next general election.
14. Japan Swine Flu Outbreak
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN’S SWINE FLU CASES TOP 2,000: HEALTH MINISTRY”, Tokyo, 2009/07/08) reported that Japan ‘s tally of swine flu cases topped 2,000 but no deaths or serious conditions have been reported among them, the health ministry said. The number of A(H1N1) virus infections in Japan reached 2,033 by midday but most of them have already been cured, the ministry added. The total has increased daily by around 100 cases in the past few days, the ministry said, adding that the infections have been reported in all but one of the country’s 47 prefectures.
15. Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN’S OPPOSITION BOYCOTTS CHINA FORUM”, Taipei, 2009/07/08) reported that Taiwan ‘s pro-independence opposition said Wednesday its members were prohibited from attending what it said was a politically motivated forum in the PRC. Elected government officials of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) or those party members who have served in the government sector will be barred from the two-day forum in Changsha, in Hunan province, the party said. Members who violate the resolution “will be punished in accordance with party discipline ,” the party said in a statement, adding that the ruling “aimed to highlight its determination to safeguard Taiwan’s sovereignty.”
16. US-PRC Climate Change Collaboration
CCTV (“US SEEKS COOPERATION WITH CHINA IN CLEAN ENERGY”, 2009/07/08) reported that United States Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will visit the PRC next week. The energy secretary says the United States hopes to cooperate more closely with the PRC in clean energy. The two US officials of PRC descent will use their visit to promote clean energy cooperation between the two countries and look for business opportunities for US companies. Steven Chu says during his PRC visit, he will hold talks about energy efficiency in the building sector.
17. Sino-Australian Relations
Reuters (“AUSTRALIA PRESSES CHINA TO EXPLAIN RIO DETENTIONS”, 2009/07/08) reported that Australia pressed the PRC to explain why four staff of Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto had been detained amid tense negotiations overexports to the PRC. Rio has been locked in difficult talks with the PRC’s huge steel sector since refusing to submit to the PRC demands for a bigger cut in contract prices and instead shipping material on the . A state-owned PRC company also recently failed in a massive $19.5 billion investment bid in Rio.
18. PRC Ethnic Unrest
The Associated Press (William Foreman, “CHINA PRESIDENT HURRIES HOME FROM G8 AFTER RIOTING”, Urumqi, 2009/07/08) reported that the PRC’s president cut short a G8 summit trip to rush home Wednesday after ethnic tensions soared in Xinjiang territory, and the government flooded the area with security forces in the wake of a massive riot that left 156 dead. Helicopters dropped leaflets appealing for calm among the Xinjiang capital’s 2.3 million residents a day after running battles in the streets involving Han Chinese and minority Muslim Uighurs waving bricks, steel pipes and cleavers.
The Associated Press (“CHINA OFFICIAL THREATENS DEATH PENALTY AFTER RIOTS”, 2009/07/08) reported that as northwest PRC’s Xinjiang Province settled into tense stillness after three days of deadly ethnic violence, a Communist Party leader from the region pledged to seek the death penalty for those responsible for the strife that state news reports say claimed at least 156 lives . Li Zhi, the party boss in Urumqi, the Xinjiang capital and the center of the violence, said that many suspected instigators had been arrested and that most were students. “To those who have committed crimes with cruel means, we will execute them,” he said at a morning news conference. “The small groups of the violent people have already been caught by the police. The situation is now under control.”
19. PRC Energy Supply
China Daily (“OIL GIANTS SPEED UP OVERSEAS EXPANSION”, 2009/07/08) reported that the PRC’s five leading oil companies have all accelerated the pace of their overseas development in the first half of this year due to sliding prices and rising domestic oil demand, said a Shanghai Securities News report today. “These acquisitions imply that some foreign resource enterprises were caught with liquidity difficulties caused by the global financial crisis,” said Zhou Fengqi, former director of the Energy Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission yesterday.
China Daily (“TIANJIN CONFIRMED AS STRATEGIC CRUDE OIL RESERVE BASE”, 2009/07/08) reported that the Tianjin municipal government announced recently that its Binhai New Area will become one of second batch of eight state strategic crude oil reserve bases. China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) will begin to build the bases within this year. According to plans, the first phase of the new project will cost 10 billion yuan ($1.46 billion). Sinopec will build crude oil storage tanks with a total capacity of 3.2 million cubic meters and refined oil storage tanks of 2 million cubic meters, which will occupy a total area of 2.1 sq m.
II. PRC Report
20. PRC Civil Society and Public Health
Sichuan News Net (“LI KA SHING FOUNDATION TO ESTABLISHE PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELING STATION IN SICHUAN”, 2009/07/09) reported that the Training Psychological Counseling Teachers in Disaster Areas Project, funded by Li Ka Shing Foundation, was formally launched in Sichuan yesterday. The Project aims at establishing psychological counseling stations and mental health websites, and training psychological counseling teachers, to achieve resource sharing and enhance capacity of psychological counseling teachers.
21. PRC Civil Society and the Disabled
Xinhua News Agency (“CHINA FOUNDATION FOR DISABLED PERSONS OPENS DONATION INFORMATION TO PUBLIC”, 2009/07/09) reported that China Foundation for Disabled Persons publicized the information of earthquake relief donation to the public yesterday. According to the data, as at April 30, 2009, the Foundation has received donation of earthquake relief of 42394360.18 RMB. At present, fund and materials of 36464978.06 RMB has been allocated and used.
22. PRC Environment
Xinhua Net (“LOW-CARBON ACTION LAUNCHED IN XI’AN”, 2009/07/09) reported that 2009 Low-Carbon Action was launched in Xi’an recently. Five communities will be chosen as pilot sites, and 110 families will be chosen from each of these communities, for urban family carbon-emission survey. Experts and scholars will also be invited to the communities to give lectures of low-carbon and climate change.