NAPSNet Daily Report 9 July, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- UNSC on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- US-ROK Security Alliance
- ROK Military
- PRC on US-ROK Naval Exercise
- Inter-Korean Relations
- US-DPRK Relations
- Japan Sanctions on the DPRK
- DPRK Detention of Americans
- PRC on DPRK Defectors
- DPRK Energy Supply
- ROK Politics
- ROK-Japan Relations
- Japan Politics
- USFJ Base Relocation
- Japan Maritime Security Exercise
- Japanese Whaling
- Sino-Russian Energy Cooperation
- Cross-Strait Relations
- PRC Tibet Development
1. I. NAPSNet
2. UNSC on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
The Associated Press (“UNSC DRAFT CONDEMNS NKOREA FOR SKOREA SHIP SINKING”, 2010/07/08) reported that the US has introduced a draft statement in the UN Security Council that would condemn the deadly sinking of aand express “deep concern” at the finding of an international investigation that blamed the DPRK for torpedoing the vessel. However, the draft statement, obtained by The Associated Press, does not directly condemn or for the March 26 attack. U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters the statement was agreed to by the five permanent council members — the US, Russia, PRC, Britain and France — as well as Japan and the ROK.
The Wall Street Journal (“CHINA STALLS U.N. EFFORTS AGAINST NORTH KOREA “, 2010/07/08) reported that the PRC is blocking a United Nations Security Council move to condemn the DPRK for the sinking of a ROK warship, say diplomats familiar with the negotiations. The PRC is refusing to blame the DPRK for the March sinking of the corvette Cheonan and won’t label the incident an “attack,” according to two Western diplomats. “The Chinese will only allow condemning the attack—but they don’t want to use the words ‘condemning’ or ‘attack,’ ” said one of the diplomats. “We have to find ways to condemn without ‘condemning.’ ” The PRC also insists on calling the incident a “sinking,” the diplomat added.
4. US-ROK Security Alliance
Chosun Ilbo (“U.S. POSTS PICTURES OF NUCLEAR SUB IN ‘SHOW OF FORCE'”, 2010/07/08) reported that the U.S. nuclear-powered submarine Michigan docked at a ROK naval base in Busan from the end of June until last Friday. In an unprecedented move, the U.S. Navy posted a photograph of the docked submarine on its website. Military experts say it was a show of force by the US against the PRC following the DPRK’s sinking of the ROK Navy corvette Cheonan.
5. ROK Military
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA TO BOLSTER DEFENSE AGAINST NORTH’S UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS”, 2010/07/08) reported that the ROK’s defense ministry disclosed details of its proposed defense budget for next year that calls on bolstering defense capabilities against small-scale attacks by the DPRK. The Ministry of National Defense submitted last week its 2011 draft budget worth 31.6 trillion won (US$26.1 billion), up 6.9 percent or 2.05 trillion won from this year. The proposal is due for parliamentary approval at the end of the year. More than one-third of the planned increase for next year would be allocated to weapons programs for acquiring surveillance aircrafts to better detect the DPRK’s unconventional threats with short-range missiles and submarines, the ministry said.
6. PRC on US-ROK Naval Exercise
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA WARNS AGAINST US-S.KOREA WAR GAMES”, 2010/07/08) reported that the PRC warned the US and ROK against holding joint war games near its waters and urged the two nations to guard against exacerbating festering tensions with the DPRK. “China has expressed its serious concerns with relevant parties,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters when asked about the war games. “We are firmly opposed to foreign military vessels engaging in activities that undermine China’s security interests in the Yellow Sea or waters close to China.”
7. Inter-Korean Relations
Agence France-Presse (“S.KOREA SAYS N.KOREA’S BLUNDERS CAUSED TENSIONS”, 2010/07/08) reported that the ROK’s point man on the DPRK blamed the DPRK’s leaders Thursday for icy cross-border relations, accusing them of blunders both at home and abroad. Unification Minister Hyun In-Taek said the DPRK has only itself to blame for its international isolation. “North Korea argues this (soured relations) happened because of our hardline policy, but the North Korea policy of our government is one based on engagement and embracement,” Hyun told business executives.
8. US-DPRK Relations
United Press International (“NIXON WEIGHED NUKING NORTH KOREA”, 2010/07/08) reported that US President Richard Nixon mulled using nuclear weapons against North Korea after its fighters shot down a U.S. spy plane in 1969, documents indicate. DPRK jets had shot down the U.S. EC-121 reconnaissance plane with 31 crew members aboard over international waters of the Sea of Japan, leaving Nixon trying to figure out what the appropriate response should be. Nationalreported former U.S. fighter pilot Bruce Charles says after the spy plane was shot down, he was put on alert in the ROK with a nuclear bomb loaded on his aircraft. After several hours, the order came to stand down, he said.
9. Japan Sanctions on the DPRK
Japan Times (“POLICE ARREST 2 FOR ALLEGED ILLEGAL ‘LUXURY’ EXPORTS TO N KOREA”, 2010/07/08) reported that police arrested the operator and an employee of a trading company in Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture, on suspicion of illegally exporting pianos to the DPRK in violation of a ban on the export of ‘‘luxury’’ items to the country, investigative sources said. The company is suspected of having exported several pianos worth some 4 million yen from February to the fall of 2009 to the DPRK via Dalian in northeastern PRC, in violation of the foreign trade control law, according to the sources.
10. DPRK Detention of Americans
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “N. KOREA SAYS DETAINED AMERICAN ATTEMPTED SUICIDE”, Seoul, 2010/07/09) reported that the DPRK said Friday that Aijalon Gomes, an American man it is holding for illegal entry, has recently attempted suicide and is being treated at a hospital. “Driven by his strong guilty conscience, disappointment and despair at the U.S. government that has not taken any measure for his freedom, he attempted to commit suicide,” the Korean Central News Agency said in a brief report. The Swedish embassy in Pyongyang has seen Gomes at the hospital, according to the report.
11. PRC on DPRK Defectors
Bloomberg News (“CHINA WON’T LET NORTH KOREANS INSIDE EMBASSY LEAVE FOR JAPAN, ASAHI SAYS”, 2010/07/08) reported that the PRC is refusing to issue exit permits to more than 10 North Koreans seeking Japanese residency, the Asahi newspaper reported, citing unidentified officials. Some of the North Koreans have been living in Japanese diplomatic offices in the PRC for two years, the report said. The PRC government has asked Japan not to provide refuge to North Koreans in the PRC, the report said.
12. DPRK Energy Supply
Xinhua News (“DPRK’S TOP LEADER INSPECTS POWER STATION, FOOD FACTORY”, 2010/07/08) reported that the DPRK’s top leader Kim Jong Il has inspected a large power station under construction and an army food factory, said the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper. Kim spoke highly of the workers at the construction site of the Wonsan Army-People Power Station. “You are carrying out the huge project with your own efforts under the difficult conditions, demonstrating the indomitable great mental power of the Korean people,” he said. Kim also stressed the need to thoroughly implement the government’s policy on building both large and small power stations to meet increasing demand for electricity of the country’s economic construction and people’s life.
13. ROK Politics
Associated Press (Kwang-tae Kim, “PROSECTORS RAID SKOREA PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE”, Seoul, 2010/07/09) reported that ROK prosecutors raided the prime minister’s office Friday over allegations that its ethics officials illegally investigated a businessman two years ago over the posting of an Internet video critical of the president. Prosecution officials confiscated computer servers and documents from four ethics officials, an official in the prime minister’s office said.
14. ROK-Japan Relations
Xinhua News (“S. KOREA LOOKS INTO JAPANESE OFFICIAL’S REMARK ON REPARATIONS”, 2010/07/08) reported that the ROK foreign ministry said that it is trying to figure out the context of the remark made by a senior Japanese government official about compensation for Koreans during Tokyo’s colonial rule over the Korean peninsula. Yoshito Sengoku, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said Wednesday that Japan should clarify its position on post-war reparations for Koreans who had fallen victim to forced labor and sexual services during Tokyo’s 1910-1945 colonial occupation. He reportedly added that the issue has soured Tokyo’s ties with Seoul and that some “political measures” might be necessary.
15. Japan Politics
Kyodo News (“SUPPORT FOR KAN CABINET PLUNGES TO 43%: KYODO POLL”, 2010/07/08) reported that public support for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Naoto Kan plunged by 15.4 percentage points from the previous survey in the latter half of June to 43.4 percent in the latest Kyodo News nationwide telephone poll, according to results released Thursday. The disapproval rate for the Cabinet of Kan, who assumed power June 8, increased to 43.2 percent, up 13.2 points, in the poll conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, ahead of Sunday’s House of Councillors election.
Kyodo (“DPJ RETAINS GOAL OF WINNING 54 OR MORE SEATS AMID TOUGH RACE”, Tokyo, 2010/07/09) reported that the Democratic Party of Japan’s goal of winning 54 seats or more in Sunday’s election for the upper house of parliament remains intact, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku said Friday. ”Securing 54 seats is the victory-or-defeat bar and the goal set by the prime minister. So my stance has not changed,” Sengoku said at a news conference.
17. USFJ Base Relocation
The Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT CONSIDERS OPTION OF SOLE OFFSHORE RUNWAY”, 2010/07/08) reported that the government is considering proposing that a single offshore runway be built at the proposed relocation site for a US base in Okinawa Prefecture, as an alternative to the V-shaped pair of runways on reclaimed land Tokyo and Washington agreed to construct in a 2006 deal, according to sources. Some government officials believe, however, it will be difficult to win the United States’ consent for the alternative plan by the end of August, the deadline set under a Japan-U.S. joint statement in May for completion of a study on the location of the runway and the construction method.
18. Japan Maritime Security Exercise
Kyodo News (“JAPAN HOLDS MARITIME SECURITY TRAINING TO PREPARE FOR APEC MEETINGS”, 2010/07/08) reported that Japan held a maritime security training session involving police, customs authorities and the Japan Coast Guard as part of preparations for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meetings in November. Around 250 people, including police investigators, took part in the training session at Tokyo Bay and other locations, which involved measures to deal with the landing of stowaways, protests on vessels and terrorism, officials said.
19. Japanese Whaling
Agence France-Presse (“N.ZEALAND ANTI-WHALING ACTIVIST DEPORTED FROM JAPAN”, Tokyo, 2010/07/09) reported that New Zealand anti-whaling activist Peter Bethune was deported from Japan on Friday after receiving a suspended two-year sentence for obstructing Japanese whaling in the Antarctic Ocean. His sentence was suspended for five years because, the judge said, Bethune had no criminal record in Japan, had apologised and paid for damage he caused, and because he had said he would join no more Antarctic missions.
20. Sino-Russian Energy Cooperation
Xinhua News (“ENERGY COOPERATION BETWEEN CHINA, RUSSIA PROMISING: REPORT”, 2010/07/08) reported that the PRC and Russia have made good progress in energy cooperation and future prospects are promising, a yellow paper released in Beijing Monday said. The yellow paper, named “Report on Development of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (2010)” was issued by the Institute of Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies affiliated to the PRC Academy of Social Sciences. The yellow paper also noted that PRC enterprises had invested over one billion U.S. dollars in the coal industry in Russia, and Russia had provided the PRC with more than one million tonnes of coal.
21. Cross-Strait Relations
Reuters (“TAIWAN MPS IN PHYSICAL BRAWL OVER CHINA TRADE DEAL”, 2010/07/08) reported that Taiwan legislators, splashed water and kicked one another on Thursday, sending two to the hospital in a brawl over how fast to ratify a trade pact with PRC that is shaping up as a pivotal election issue. About a dozen anti-PRC opposition lawmakers set on blocking speedy approval of the economic cooperation framework agreement ( ) signed last week fought against about the same number of ruling Nationalists for control of the podium just minutes after the session opened. A legislator from each side, one of whom fell from the podium, went to the hospital after the fight as the speaker called a recess until Friday.
22. PRC Tibet Development
Xinhua News (“TOP POLITICAL ADVISOR STRESSES TIBET DEVELOPMENT”, 2010/07/08) reported that top PRC political advisor Jia Qinglin said emphasis must be put on improving the living standards of Tibetan farmers and herdsmen. Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks at a conference on deploying “pairing assistance” for Tibet. Under the “pairing assistance” model, which was initiated 15 years ago, other provinces or cities provide technological and financial support, among other things, for the development of areas where Tibetans predominantly live, namely the Tibet Autonomous Region and areas in Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces.