NAPSNet Daily Report 9 June, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. UN Sanctions on DPRK
- 3. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 4. US on DPRK Nuclear Test
- 5. US on Detained Journalists
- 6. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 7. Inter-Korean Relations
- 8. US-ROK Security Alliance
- 9. DPRK Leadership
- 10. ROK Politics
- 11. ROK Nuclear Exports
- 12. USFJ Base Relocation
- 13. Japan SDF
- 14. Japan Pandemic Response
- 15. Japan Politics
- 16. Sino-Japanese Economic Cooperation
- 17. Sino-Japanese Environmental Cooperation
- 18. Sino-Indian Relations
- 19. Sino-Russian Energy Trade
- 20. Cross Strait Relations
- 21. Sino-Vietnamese Territorial Dispute
- 22. US on PRC Human Rights
- 23. PRC Military
- 24. PRC Internet Control
- 25. PRC Environment
- 26. PRC Swine Flu Outbreak
- II. PRC Report
1. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
Yonhap (Sam Kim, “S. KOREA STRUGGLING TO CONFIRM N. KOREA’S NUCLEAR DETONATION: OFFICIAL”, Seoul, 2009/06/09) reported that the ROK is struggling in its weeks-long effort to produce scientific evidence confirming that the DPRK detonated a nuclear device on May 25, officials said Tuesday. The Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) has failed to find xenon and krypton, two gases that are generated following nuclear testing or reprocessing. “Chances of finding them are getting slimmer as time lapses,” Kim Si-sun, a government official who oversees the KINS project, said. “We may even have to end our search this week.” Sung Ki-tak, a researcher at the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI), stated, “We have not found a meaningful amount of radioactivity in the East Sea,” he said. NFRDI began its second round of maritime searches last Friday, but it is unlikely to be more successful than the first one which took place shortly after the test.
2. UN Sanctions on DPRK
Kyodo News (“U.N. MEMBERS MAY GIVE UP MANDATORY CARGO INSPECTION FOR RESOLUTION”, New York, 2009/06/09) reported that the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Japan and the ROK are leaning toward removing proposed mandatory inspections of DPRK cargo from a draft Security Council resolution, U.N. diplomatic sources said Monday. The revised draft resolution outlined by the seven countries last week would require all U.N. members to inspect DPRK cargo if it is suspected of carrying nuclear or missile-related items, but the PRC has rejected the proposal. The United States, which had not budged, has now begun to show understanding of the PRC’s view on the cargo inspections, the sources said, adding the seven members are leaning toward adopting the phrase ”called upon” instead of ”shall inspect.”
3. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Test
The Associated Press (“CHINA PRESSED ON N.KOREA”, 2009/06/08) reported that Japan pressed the PRC to take a tough stance on the DPRK, saying anything but a ‘strong’ UN Security Council resolution in response to last month’s nuclear test would send the wrong message to the DPRK. But the PRC supported a ‘moderate and balanced’ resolution, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said. the PRC is taking a milder approach. It criticised the DPRK over its nuclear test and subsequent missile launches, but it has consistently rejected economic sanctions that could destabilize the DPRK’s government.
4. US on DPRK Nuclear Test
Agence France-Presse (“US CONSIDERS INTERDICTING N. KOREAN SHIPMENTS: REPORT”, 2009/06/08) reported that the US government has signaled that it was seeking a way to interdict, possibly with the PRC’s help, DPRK sea and air shipments suspected of carrying weapons or nuclear technology . The newspaper said the reference to interdictions — preferably at ports or airfields in countries like the PRC, but possibly involving riskier confrontations on the high seas — was made by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton . But the US focus on interdiction demonstrates a new and potentially far tougher approach to the DPRK than both former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush took.
5. US on Detained Journalists
The Christian Science Monitor (Donald Kirk, “US WEIGHS OPTIONS TO FREE JOURNALISTS IN NORTH KOREA”, 2009/06/08) reported that the sentence of 12 years of hard labor for two American journalists in the DPRK opens a new chapter in efforts at winning their release. “Undoubtedly the North Koreans view them as a trump card,” says Scott Snyder, a Korea expert at the Asia Foundation, but he warns that any dialogue for their release will be “particularly difficult since the US has been moving toward a tougher approach.” One possibility, widely mentioned in recent days, would be for Al Gore, the former vice president and the chairman of Current TV, to go to the DPRK in hopes of bringing the women home – or at least negotiating.
The Associated Press (“RICHARDSON SEES TALKS ON JOURNALISTS IN NKOREA”, 2009/06/08) reported that former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson called the detention and sentencing of two young women journalists in the DPRK part of “a high-stakes poker game.” But at the same time, the New Mexico governor said in a nationally broadcast interview that the time might be right for the US to work out the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee with the country’s leaders in Pyongyang. He said now that the legal process has been completed, he thinks negotiations for their “humanitarian release” can begin.
6. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Yonhap News (“S. KOREAN FIRM DECIDES TO WITHDRAW FROM KAESONG COMPLEX”, Seoul, 2009/06/08) reported that a ROK apparel maker decided Monday to pull out of an industrial complex in the DPRK due to worsening inter-Korean relations, the company’s president said. “We made the decision as deteriorating ties between the two Koreas resulted in canceled orders and raised concerns over the security of company staff,” the president of the company said. “Related documents have been submitted to the management committee of the complex,” he said. The company, identified only by its initial of S, is the first ROK company operating in the complex to withdraw.
7. Inter-Korean Relations
Korea Times (Kim Sue-young , “SOUTH WANTS JOINT COMMITTEE TO PREVENT DETENTION IN NORTH”, 2009/06/08) reported that Seoul has been considering proposing the establishment of a joint committee to deal with South Koreans’ entry and stay in the DPRK during an inter-Korean meeting slated for Thursday, according to reports. A senior official of the unification ministry confirmed the reports but said the ministry has yet to make a decision whether or not to put the item on the agenda. “It is necessary to establish a joint committee but this was just one of the discussed measures to prevent the South Korean people from being detained in the North,” he told The Korea Times.
8. US-ROK Security Alliance
Yonhap News (Sam Kim, “PRESIDENT LEE CONFIDENT OF S. KOREA-U.S. COMBAT READINESS AGAINST N. KOREA”, 2009/06/08) reported that ROK President Lee Myung-bak met Monday with a group of US general-grade officers serving in his country and expressed confidence that their combined forces can repel any armed DPRK provocation. “South Korea and the U.S. have established an alliance through which we can perfectly defend against any North Korean provocation,” Lee told the group that included U.S. Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of the American forces here.
Yonhap News (“U.S. HAS ABOUT 80 REGULAR COMBAT AIRCRAFT IN S. KOREA: OFFICIAL “, Seoul, 2009/06/08) reported that a bout 80 U.S. combat aircraft are regularly stationed in the ROK to underpin the joint deterrence capabilities of the two allies against the DPRK, a defense ministry spokesman said. Won Tae-jae made the comment while denying local media reports that the Pentagon has slashed the number of its F-16 fighter jets and A-10 attack aircraft here to 45, which would be a 25-percent cut over the past four years. “The basic formations of the U.S. Air Force remains unchanged,” Won said, citing a report submitted earlier Monday by the U.S. Forces Korea. “Nearly 100 are stationed here, if we also include the 20 deployed in rotation.”
9. DPRK Leadership
Chosun Ilbo (“HARDLINE MILITARY ‘TAKING OVER IN N.KOREA'”, 2009/06/08) reported that hardline xenophobic brass are gaining ground in the DPRK after ROK money dried up since the Lee Myung-bak administration was inaugurated, according to AERA, a weekly associated with the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun. “During the 10 years of the left-leaning Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations, nearly 1 trillion yen (approximately W13 trillion) including investment from civilian enterprises went to North Korea,” the weekly said. “Since the Lee Myung-bak administration’s inauguration, South Korea has become tight with money, and this has dealt a severe blow to the North Korean military.”
10. ROK Politics
The Korea Times (Jung Sung-ki, “63% GIVE POOR GRADE TO PRESIDENT”, 2009/06/08) reported that six in 10 people think President Lee Myung-bak is doing a bad job, a survey said. According to an opinion poll conducted by the Hankook Ilbo, a sister paper of The Korea Times, 63.1 percent of respondents said they did not approve of Lee’s management of state affairs. Of them, 36.1 percent said Lee was doing a very bad job. Only 30.3 percent of those surveyed said Lee was managing state affairs well.
The Korea Times (Kang Hyun-kyung, “57% SAY ROH PROBE WAS POLITICAL RETALIATION”, 2009/06/08) reported that m ore than 57 percent of people believe that political retaliation led former President Roh Moo-hyun to commit suicide last month, according to the latest poll. The poll, conducted by the Hankook Ilbo newspaper to mark its 55th anniversary today, found that only 38.8 percent of those surveyed believed his death had nothing to do with political retaliation, versus 57.1 percent who said it did. According to the survey, 63.8 percent said that the corruption investigation of the late President was unfair, while only 25.6 percent said it was fair.
11. ROK Nuclear Exports
JoongAng Ilbo (“BREAKING INTO NUCLEAR EXPORTS”, 2009/06/08) reported that “Korea’s brand recognition is low, and we have little experience in exporting nuclear power plants,” said Baek Won-pil at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute. “Korea needs to make strategic alliances with foreign companies.” Another obstacle Korea faces to competing in the global market is its limited number of core technologies. “Research on developing Korea’s own technologies such as reactor coolant pumps and management software are currently underway,” said Park Won-seok of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute. Park said that although there is currently a demand for ROK nuclear power plants in the Middle East and South America, there is larger potential in areas where developed countries show little interest.
12. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“NO CHANGE SEEN IN U.S. FORCES REALIGNMENT DESPITE MARINE INDICATION”, 2009/06/08) reported that Japan does not see any need to alter the planned realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, the modification of which was suggested last week by the U.S. Marine Corps chief, Vice Defense Minister Kohei Masuda said Monday. ”The realignment of U.S. forces in Japan is a plan to be steadily implemented according to the road map agreed upon between Japan and the United States in 2006,” the ministry’s top bureaucrat told a news conference.
13. Japan SDF
Japan Times (“DEFENSE MINISTRY PUSHES FOR MORE POLICY CONTROL”, 2009/06/08) reported that in a controversial move, the Defense Ministry might include a Self-Defense Forces officer as one of the three people it appoints as deputy director general at the Defense Policy Bureau, its powerful policymaking body. The move, revealed in a draft of its reorganization plan, could fuel concerns about the robustness of civilian control in the national defense apparatus. No SDF officer has ever been assigned to such a senior post in the elite policy bureau, which is mostly manned by civilian officials. The ministry also envisions setting up a strategic planning division that would be tasked with devising medium- to long-term strategies.
14. Japan Pandemic Response
The Associated Press (“JAPAN EXPLORES USING CELLPHONES TO STOP PANDEMICS”, 2009/06/08) reported that a subsidiary of Softbank, a major Japanese Internet and cellular provider, has proposed a system that uses phones to limit pandemics. The exact details have yet to be fixed, but Softbank hopes to pick an elementary school with about 1,000 students and give them phones equipped with GPS. A few students will be chosen to be considered “infected,” and their movements over the previous few days will be compared with those of everyone else. The stored GPS data can then be used to determine which children have crossed paths with the infected students and are at risk of having contracted the disease. The families of exposed students will be notified by messages to their mobile phones, instructing them to get checked out by doctors. In a real outbreak, that could limit the rate of new infections.
15. Japan Politics
Reuters (“POLL SHOWS JAPAN OPPOSITION KEEPS LEAD BEFORE ELECTION”, Tokyo , 2009/06/08) reported that Japan’s main opposition party has kept its lead among voters over Prime Minister Taro Aso’s long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) before a looming general election, a newspaper poll showed. In the poll by the daily Yomiuri newspaper, 39.1 percent of respondents said they would vote for the Democrats in proportional representation districts for the next election, down slightly from May, but still higher than support for the LDP. Of the 1,057 voters surveyed, 28.7 percent said they would vote for the LDP.
16. Sino-Japanese Economic Cooperation
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA, JAPAN PLEDGE TO BOOST GLOBAL ECONOMIC RECOVERY”, Tokyo, 2009/06/08) reported that the PRC and Japan vowed to jointly promote world economic recovery during a meeting of top ministers and senior officials in Tokyo , Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said. “On the global economic and financial crisis, both countries agreed to implement what was agreed at the London summit swiftly and in a solid manner in order to realise the global economic recovery as soon as possible,” he said. They also agreed to push for greater regulation of the global financial system to tackle the deepest global crisis in decades.
17. Sino-Japanese Environmental Cooperation
CCTV (“CHINA, JAPAN EXPAND ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT COOPERATION”, 2009/06/08) reported that from the economic dialogue in Tokyo, the PRC and Japan will promote cooperation on energy conservation and environment protection. National Development and Reform Commission Minister Zhang Ping says closer collaboration will achieve win-win results. The Minister says more cooperative efforts will be made on countermeasures for sandstorms, air pollution and treatment of garbage and sewage in small cities and towns. The PRC and Japan have also agreed to turn Shenyang into a test city for environmental conservation.
18. Sino-Indian Relations
Reuters (“INDIA TO INCREASE TROOPS ALONG CHINA BORDER”, Guwahati, 2009/06/08) reported that India will deploy thousands of additional troops and build airstrips along its remote north-eastern border with the PRC, in a sign of persisting wariness between the two countries despite growing business ties. “Two army divisions comprising 25,000 to 30,000 soldiers each will be deployed along the border in Arunachal,” said J.J. Singh, the governor of the remote state. “It (deployment) was part of the planned augmentation of our capabilities to defend the country … The increase in force strength is to meet the future national security challenge,” Singh said.
19. Sino-Russian Energy Trade
Xinhua News (“OFFICIAL: RUSSIA-CHINA ENERGY COOPERATION IMPERATIVE”, 2009/06/08) reported that i t is imperative for Russia and the PRC to carry out energy cooperation in view of an increasing energy demand from the PRC, a Russian parliament leader told Xinhua. Valery Yazev, deputy chairman of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, spoke highly of the oil cooperation deals on pipeline construction, oil trade and loans that Russia and the PRC signed in February. As for cooperation in the gas sector, Yazev, who is also president of the Russian Gas Society, said the two sides were negotiating on the gas pipeline route and gas prices.
20. Cross Strait Relations
China Post (“TAIWAN HOLDS ANTI-TERROR DRILL, NOT CHINA WAR GAME”, 2009/06/08) reported that Taiwan ‘s president presided over an anti-terror exercise that replaced a live-fire military drill meant to simulate a PRC attack, amid warming ties with the mainland. In Sunday’s drill off Kaohsiung harbor in southern Taiwan, mock terrorists jumped aboard an oil tanker from a speedboat in an attempt to command the ship and take the crew hostage, the Coast Guard Administration said in a statement.
21. Sino-Vietnamese Territorial Dispute
BBC News (“HANOI PROTESTS CHINA FISHING BAN”, 2009/06/08) reported that Vietnam has called on the PRC to stop preventing Vietnamese fishermen from working in what Hanoi says are its territorial waters. The PRC’s ban on fishing in the South China Sea was “interfering” with Vietnamese fishermen, Hanoi said. This is the second time in three weeks that Vietnam has spoken out over the fishing ban and the increase in arrests and fines by PRC naval patrols.
22. US on PRC Human Rights
Agence France-Presse (“PELOSI SAYS CHINA STALLING ON HUMAN RIGHTS”, Washington , 2009/06/08) reported that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she saw no progress in the PRC on human rights, regretting that neither economic reforms nor US pressure were making Beijing budge. But Pelosi vowed to be “relentless” in keeping the heat on Beijing over its human rights record, rejecting suggestions that she backed away from her longtime advocacy on the issue during a recent trip to the PRC. “I know that just our advocacy didn’t accomplish any more freedom in China. So somehow or other we have to find a way to do that,” she told the Brookings Institution.
23. PRC Military
The Associated Press (“CHINA IS NOW WORLD NO. 2 ARMS SPENDER, REPORT SAYS”, 2009/06/08) reported that the PRC has become the world’s second biggest military spender behind the United States, a Swedish peace research group said Monday. Global arms spending rose 4 percent last year, but the PRC increased its spending by 10 percent to an estimated $84.9 billion last year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in its annual report on world arms transfers. “China is continuing to acquire both domestic and foreign arms as it seeks to equip its armed forces for conditions of modern ‘informationalized’ warfare,” it said.
24. PRC Internet Control
The New York Times (“CHINA REQUIRES CENSORING SOFTWARE ON NEW PCS”, 2009/06/08) reported that the PRC has issued a sweeping directive requiring all personal computers sold in the country to include sophisticated software that can filter out pornography and other “unhealthy information” from the Internet. The software, which manufacturers must install on all new PC’s starting July 1, allows the government to update computers regularly with an ever-changing list of banned Web sites. “This is a very bad thing,” said Charles Mok, chairman of the Internet Society, an advocacy group in Hong Kong. “It’s like downloading spyware onto your computer, but the government is the spy.”
25. PRC Environment
Bloomberg (“CHINA BLOCKS $69 BILLION OF POLLUTING PROJECTS TO CUT EMISSIONS”, 2009/06/08) reported that the PRC rejected 473 billion yuan ($69 billion) of polluting projects last year as developed nations urged the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases to adopt limits in heat-trapping emissions. The government turned down 156 highly polluting industrial projects in 2008, Zhang Lijun, the deputy head of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said at a renewable energy conference in Tianjin today. The PRC is also developing clean energy to meet its carbon-reduction goals, Zhang said.
Xinhua News (“CHINA TO LEVY TAX ON POLLUTING FIRMS”, 2009/06/08) reported that the PRC is considering taxing polluting businesses to protect the environment, a senior government official said yesterday. Zhang Lijun, vice minister of environmental protection, said collecting environmental taxes from polluting enterprises would be part of the country’s tax reform. “It has been put on the agenda of the ministries of finance, environmental protection and the state administration of taxation,” Zhang told a press conference. “We are jointly studying the issue, and when conditions are ripe, we’ll launch the taxation system on polluting enterprises,” he added.
China Daily (“RURAL POLLUTION TOP PRIORITY FOR MEP”, 2009/06/08) reported that the PRC will ramp up its investment to curb rural pollution, as environmental problems in the country’s vast countryside are “increasingly prominent”, vice-minister of environmental protection Zhang Lijun told a press conference in Beijing on Friday. Pollution has aggravated in rural areas due to chemical fertilizers, pesticides and livestock breeding, according to a report published by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) on the PRC’s environmental situation. Zhang said the central government would spend 1 billion yuan this year as subsidies for villages to set up pollution treatment facilities.
26. PRC Swine Flu Outbreak
Reuters (“CHINA HAS EIGHT MORE H1N1 FLU CASES”, 2009/06/08) reported that PRC health authorities confirmed eight cases of H1N1 swine flu infection, bringing total confirmed infections on the mainland to 80, the official Xinhua news agency said. There have been no reports of deaths from H1N1 flu in the PRC. In Beijing, a 12-year-old Chinese boy and two foreigners tested positive for the flu, Xinhua quoted the municipal health bureau as saying.
II. PRC Report
27. PRC Education
Information Times (Xue Bing, “GUANGDONG ESTABLISHES PRIVATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION”, 2009/06/08) reported that the opening conference, also the first member congress of Guangdong Private Education Association was held on Guangdong Mansion recently. The Association will urge the private schools to perfect management, prevent education risks, and insist on the public principal of education.
28. PRC Urban Insecurity
CPN website (“URBANIZATION SUMMIT TO BE HELD IN CHINA”, 2009/06/08) reported that CPN China Week 2009 Urbanization Summit is to be held from June 15-20 in China. This summit is organized by China Planning Network. The China Week includes seven conferences and roundtables covering urban ranking and evaluation, urban transportation, urban housing, urban regeneration, comparative planning education, urban environment, urban risk reduction, urban economics and urban policy, as well as receptions, open houses, interviews and field trip.