NAPSNet Daily Report 9 June, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. UNSC on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 2. PRC on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 3. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
- 4. Russia on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
- 5. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 6. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 7. Inter-Korean Relations
- 8. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
- 9. Japan Abductee Issue
- 10. US-ROK Security Alliance
- 11. ROK Space Program
- 12. USFJ Base Relocation
- 13. Japanese Politics
- 14. Japan Nuclear Energy Technology Export
- 15. Japan Whaling Issue
- 16. Sino-Japanese Relations
- 17. Sino-US Relations
- 18. Sino-Indian Relations
- 19. Sino-Russian Relations
- 20. Sino-Saudi Nuclear Cooperation
- 21. Cross Strait Relations
- 22. PRC Tibet Issue
- 23. PRC Unrest
1. UNSC on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Kyodo News (“U.N. BEGINS INFORMAL TALKS ON SINKING OF S. KOREAN NAVAL VESSEL”, 2010/06/08) reported that the U.N. Security Council began informal talks with some council member states concerning the DPRK’s alleged sinking of a ROK warship in March, according to a Mexican diplomatic source. Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller, who is the Security Council’s rotating president for June, separately met with ROK Ambassador to the United Nations Park In Kook as well as ambassadors from such council members as the United States, PRC, Turkey, France and Japan, the source said. Meetings with the rest of the 15-member council were scheduled to take place through Monday and Tuesday before any formal action would be taken.
2. PRC on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
Xinhua News (“CHINA AGAIN APPEALS FOR RESTRAINT, CALM OVER ROK WARSHIP SINKING”, 2010/06/08) reported that the PRC again appealed for calm and restraint by all concerned parties so as to avoid any further escalation of tension with regards to the sinking of the Republic of Korea (ROK) warship and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. “China has always been firmly committed to safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and has consistently held this position for dealing with related issues,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang at a regular news briefing. Qin called for properly addressing related problems and maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Yonhap News (“CHINA UNLIKELY TO PRESS N. KOREA ON SUNKEN SHIP: BRITISH GURU”, 2010/06/08) reported that the PRC will not likely press the DPRK over its alleged sinking of a ROK naval ship near the disputed inter-Korean maritime border in March, a British expert said. Aidan Foster-Carter, an honorary senior research fellow at Britain’s Leeds University, said the PRC will not exert any pressure on the DPRK “publicly.” “China is very annoyed by North Korea, there’s no doubt about that. The only time they ever say so publicly is when North Koreans test nuclear weapons,” he told reporters here. “Anything else they do, they do behind the scenes.”
3. ROK on Naval Ship Sinking
Yonhap News (“DEFENSE CHIEF CALLS INTERNET RUMORS ON CHEONAN ‘CYBER TERRORISM'”, 2010/06/08) reported that Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said the government needs to deal swiftly against those who spread Internet rumors questioning the results of an international probe blaming Pyongyang for torpedoing a ROK warship, calling their acts “cyber terrorism.” “There are continued attempts of cyber terrorism in our society which distort the truth and slander the government and military,” Kim told a military conference on cyber security.
Xinhua News (“S.KOREAN MILITARY PLANS PERSONNEL SHAKE-UP OVER WARSHIP SINKING”, 2010/06/08) reported that the ROK military is planning to carry out a personnel shake-up over the sinking of its warship in late March. The military is considering conducting a reshuffle as early as next week, after auditors wrap up their investigation into the defense ministry’s dealings with the naval incident, Seoul’s semi- official Yonhap News Agency reported citing an unidentified military source. Lee Sang-eui, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, might be affected by the reshuffle.
4. Russia on ROK Naval Ship Sinking
RIA Novasti (“RUSSIAN EXPERTS TO PROBE CHEONAN ISSUE AT HOME”, 2010/06/08) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry has given materials on the sinking of the Cheonan warship to Russian experts for further investigations, the Russian Defense Ministry said. A group of Russian Navy experts left Seoul after assessing an international investigation that found the DPRK responsible for the sinking of the warship in March. The Russian experts did not draw their own conclusions on the issue. “The South Korean Defense Ministry gave Russian Naval Experts an array of documents and materials for physical-chemical analysis,” the source said, adding that the move would open the investigation to a wider rage of Russian experts.
5. Sino-DPRK Relations
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN OFFICIAL HELD IN CHINA FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING “, 2010/06/08) reported that a DPRK provincial government official has been arrested by PRC police on charges of drug trafficking, supporting claims that the DPRK regime has a direct hand in the trade. ROK activist Do Hee-yoon quoting a source in the PRC said that a 33-year-old official surnamed Rim from the Sinuiju city government’s trade bureau was arrested by PRC police on charges of drug trafficking in Dandong. “The Dandong Customs Office has mobilized customs officials from Dalian to probe all aspects of North Korea-China trade.”
6. Sino-DPRK Relations
Bloomberg News (“CHINA PROTESTS AFTER 3 KILLED AT NORTH KOREAN BORDER “, 2010/06/08) reported that the PRC made a formal diplomatic protest to the DPRK after border guards shot dead three of its citizens and injured another in the early hours of June 4. The PRC is investigating the incident, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters today in Beijing. The victims, all from or near the border city of Dandong, were shot inside DPRK territory. “The Chinese government must be becoming increasingly wary of how its own people view its relationship with North Korea to have made this rare public acknowledgement of the incident,” said Kim Yong Hyun, professor of DPRK studies at Seoul- based Dongguk University. “There’s little danger of this creating a huge diplomatic spat between the two countries.”
7. Inter-Korean Relations
Xinhua News (“S KOREAN MILITARY SETS UP PROPAGANDA LOUDSPEAKER ALONG BORDER”, 2010/06/08) reported that the ROK military has set up loudspeakers along the border with the DPRK in preparation for propaganda broadcasts against its northern neighbor, local media reported. The military has installed loudspeakers at two guard posts near the military demarcation line, and is planning to set up more loudspeakers by Wednesday, according to Yonhap News Agency. The military authorities here have yet to decide on when to resume broadcasts.
8. Inter-Korean Economic Relations
Yonhap News (“S. KOREAN FIRMS URGE GOV’T TO LIFT BAN ON TRADE WITH N. KOREA”, 2010/06/08) reported that a group of ROK companies called on their government to suspend its ban on trade with the DPRK, claiming they are on the verge of going bankrupt. The ban has been in effect since late last month, when Seoul announced a series of measures to punish Pyongyang for the sinking of a warship near their Yellow Sea border in March. The companies are “facing a chain of bankruptcies,” one of them said following a meeting in Seoul, asking not to be identified. He said the Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean exchanges, should suspend the ban so the companies can fulfill their existing contracts with local business partners.
9. Japan Abductee Issue
Kyodo News (“ABDUCTION MINISTER RENEWS RESOLVE TO TACKLE ISSUE OF MISSING JAPANESE”, 2010/06/08) reported that Hiroshi Nakai , retained as minister in charge of the abduction issue, renewed his resolve Tuesday to tackle the long- running dispute between Japan and the DPRK over Japanese abductees who remain unaccounted for. New Prime Minister Naoto Kan “was worried about a (public) perception suggesting that he is indifferent to the abduction issue,” Nakai said after being notified by Kan of his reappointment as chairman of the National Commission on Public Safety and as state minister for the issue. “So, he told me, ‘Please do your job to the best of your ability,'” Nakai said. “We will work hard together so that we do not betray (public) expectations of the Democratic Party of Japan. ”
10. US-ROK Security Alliance
Donga Ilbo (“CONGRESS BEGINS TALKS ON DELAYING COMMAND TRANSFER”, 2010/06/08) reported that with the US mulling additional measures against the DPRK for the sinking of the ROK naval ship Cheonan, the US Congress has demanded that the Pentagon ponder delaying the transfer of command of wartime forces to the ROK. Congress asked the Pentagon to submit a report on “under what circumstances the transfer schedule can be revised.” The transfer is scheduled for April 2012. The Senate Committee on Armed Forces asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates May 28 to submit a report on progress in the plan on transferring the command when it passed a “bill on the approval of a defense budget bill for fiscal 2011.” The committee also urged the Pentagon to give a specific answer to under what circumstances the schedule can be adjusted.
11. ROK Space Program
Associated Press (Kwang-tae Kim, “SOUTH KOREA DELAYS SATELLITE LAUNCH”, Seoul, 2010/06/09) reported that the ROK’s planned launch of a space satellite was delayed Wednesday due to a technical glitch. The process was halted due to the malfunction of fire safety facilities at the launch pad, Science Ministry spokesman Pyun Kyung-bum said. ROK and Russian experts were trying to find the cause of the problem and planned to consult on a new launch date, he said.
12. USFJ Base Relocation
Kyodo News (“JAPAN-U.S. FUTENMA ACCORD HARD TO EXECUTE UNDER NEW CABINET: NAKAIMA”, 2010/06/08) reported that Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima said Tuesday it would be difficult for the new central government to implement a Japan-US agreement to relocate the US Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station within the prefecture. It will be “extremely difficult” to move the air field from its current location in a densely populated area in Ginowan to the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa, in light of strong local opposition, Nakaima told reporters in reference to the assumption of office by new Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Cabinet the same day.
13. Japanese Politics
Kyodo (“CABINET’S SUPPORT RATE SURGES TO 62% UNDER NEW PM KAN “, Tokyo, 2010/06/09) reported that public support for new Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s Cabinet hit 61.5 percent, surging from the 19.1 percent logged for the previous Cabinet of his predecessor Yukio Hatoyama, a Kyodo News poll showed Wednesday. The latest telephone poll, conducted Tuesday and earlier Wednesday following the launch of Kan’s new Cabinet on Tuesday, showed public support for his Democratic Party of Japan rose 7.7 percentage points to 43.8 percent from 36.1 percent in the previous survey last Friday and Saturday.
14. Japan Nuclear Energy Technology Export
Reuters (“U.S., FRANCE PRESS FOR JAPAN-INDIA NUCLEAR DEAL: REPORT”, 2010/06/08) reported that the US and France have urged Japan to sign a with India, a move that would clear the way for General Electric Co and France’s Areva to use Japanese suppliers for nuclear projects in the South Asian country, the Nikkei reported. Nuclear giant Areva and a US consortium led by General Electric have each won orders for two reactors in India, but Japan’s technologies are deemed indispensable to completing the projects, the business daily said. Both Areva and GE use reactor vessels made by Japan Ltd. GE, in particular, relies heavily on Hitachi Ltd in nuclear reactor projects, the daily said. Japan has declined to sign a civilian pact with India because the nation is not a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty ( ), thus barring Japanese companies from supplying nuclear products to India, the Nikkei said.
15. Japan Whaling Issue
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN PROSECUTORS DEMAND JAIL FOR GREENPEACE WHALE ACTIVISTS”, 2010/06/08) reported that Japanese prosecutors demanded 18-month jail terms for two Greenpeace activists on trial for committing theft and trespass while investigating alleged embezzlement in the country’s whaling industry . Greenpeace called the prosecutors’ demand “severely disproportionate”, saying that, if implemented, it would be the longest jail term for any member of the organisation in its four-decade history. “The actions of Junichi and Toru have been peaceful at all times and for the public good. It is deeply worrying that any jail term might be imposed,” said Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo in a statement.
16. Sino-Japanese Relations
Xinhua News (“CHINA HOPES TO SEE SOUND, STABLE, SUSTAINED GROWTH OF TIES WITH JAPAN”, 2010/06/08) reported that the PRC hopes to see sound, stable and sustained development of relations with Japan, which is in the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the region, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said here Tuesday. Qin made the remarks at a regular press briefing while commenting on Japan’s new cabinet. Qin said Kan attaches great importance to Japan-PRC relations and that the PRC highly appreciates that.
17. Sino-US Relations
The Washington Post (“IN CHINESE ADMIRAL’S OUTBURST, A LINGERING DISTRUST OF U.S.”, 2010/06/08) reported that on May 24 Rear Admiral Guan Youfei of the People’s Liberation Army said that everything that is going right in U.S. relations with the PRC is because of the PRC. Everything, he continued, that is going wrong is the fault of the United States. Guan accused the United States of being a “hegemon” and of plotting to encircle the PRC with strategic alliances. I nterviews in the PRC with a wide range of experts, PRC officials and military officers indicate that Guan’s rant actually represents the mainstream views of the Chinese Communist Party, and that perhaps the real outliers might be those in the PRC’s government who want to side with the United States.
18. Sino-Indian Relations
Times of India (“INDIA KEEN ON SCO MEMBERSHIP BUT CHINA MAY PLAY SPOILSPORT”, 2010/06/08) reported that with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a group looked upon by many as a counterweight to NATO in enery-rich central Asia, showing signs of expansion, the politics over India’s likely entry into what is essentially a security organisation is fast gaining momentum. After years of indifference, India warmed up to SCO when PM Manmohan Singh attended the summit last year in Russia. While India is keen on becoming a member, senior officials admit that they are sceptical of support from the PRC.
19. Sino-Russian Relations
Pravda (“CHINA STEALS RUSSIA’S TERRITORY WITH BARGES AND EXCAVATORS”, 2010/06/08) reported that Russian border guards are seriously concerned about the PRC’s actions on the Ussuri River. PRC workers work to deepen the bottom on the river in violation of the border agreement between the governments of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. Russia sent a note of protest to the PRC in November 2009, but the PRC resumed the works in the border river in the spring of the current year. It just so happens that the PRC ignored Russia’s official statements. The dredging works in the Ussuri River do not pose any ecological danger. However, they can displace the river’s waterway, which goes along the border between Russia and the PRC. The waterway can be displaced towards Russia meaning that the PRC may obtain additional territory to Russia’s detriment, officials said.
20. Sino-Saudi Nuclear Cooperation
The Washington Post (“FORMER CIA ANALYST ALLEGES CHINA-SAUDI NUCLEAR DEAL”, 2010/06/08) reported that a former CIA officer who managed intelligence reports on Saudi Arabia has sent an uncleared manuscript to congressional offices claiming that the PRC supplied nuclear missiles to the kingdom early in the George W. Bush administration. “I believe the People’s Republic of China delivered a turn-key nuclear ballistic missile system to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the course of several years beginning no later than December 2003,” writes Jonathan Scherck in a self-published book, “Patriot Lost,” which he provided to SpyTalk on Monday.
21. Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN MINISTER URGES FIRMS TO REDUCE CHINA PRESENCE “, 2010/06/08) reported that Taiwan’s economic minister encouraged local companies to reduce their presence in the PRC, as higher salaries on the mainland make business harder, government-controlled media reported. The reports of Shih Yen-hsiang’s remarks emerged after the island’s IT giant Foxconn unveiled a plan to raise salaries for assembly line workers by nearly 70 percent at its suicide-hit facilities in south PRC’s Shenzhen city. Taiwanese firms should move high-end production back to Taiwan from the PRC, while placing low-end activities in Southeast Asia, Shih was quoted as telling the National Association of Industry and Commerce.
22. PRC Tibet Issue
Agence France-Presse (“CHINA-PICKED RIVAL TO DALAI LAMA TOURS TIBET”, 2010/06/08) reported that the young man enthroned by Beijing as the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism is visiting major religious sites in Tibet , state media reported Tuesday, part of efforts to expand his influence in the restive Tibetan region. The Xinhua News Agency reported that thousands of Tibetan Buddhists gathered Monday to see 20-year-old Gyaltsen Norbu, Beijing’s choice for Panchen Lama , in Lhoka prefecture — a Tibetan region on the PRC ‘s disputed southern border with India. It was his first visit to Lhoka since being handpicked by the PRC government as the Panchen Lama as a 6-year-old boy in 1995, Xinhua reported.
23. PRC Unrest
Agence France-Presse (Susan Stumme, “DOZENS HURT IN CHINA LABOUR UNREST”, Beijing, 2010/06/09) reported that Dozens of striking workers have been hurt in clashes with police in the PRC. The clashes on Monday at a Taiwan-funded rubber factory in the eastern province of Jiangsu marked the first time in recent days that disputes over salaries erupted in violence, with state media saying 50 workers were hurt.