NAPSNet Daily Report 9 March, 2010
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. PRC on Six Party Talks
- 2. DPRK on Nuclear Talks
- 3. DPRK-Iran Cooperation
- 4. DPRK Security
- 5. DPRK Missile Program
- 6. ROK Abductee Issue
- 7. ROK Food Aid to the DPRK
- 8. DPRK Special Economic Zones
- 9. DPRK Energy Use
- 10. ROK Peacekeeping Operations
- 11. ROK-Saudi Energy Cooperation
- 12. ROK-Japan Environmental Cooperation
- 13. USFJ Base Relocation
- 14. US-Japan Nuclear Agreement
- 15. Sino-Japanese East Sea Territorial Dispute
- 16. PRC on Comfort Women issue
- 17. Sino-Russian Energy Cooperation
- 18. Cross-Strait Relations
- 19. PRC Energy Security
- 20. PRC Food Security
- 21. PRC Space Program
- 22. PRC Urban-Rural Disparity
- II. PRC Report
1. PRC on Six Party Talks
Chosun Ilbo (“CHINESE FM OPTIMISTIC ABOUT SIX-PARTY TALKS”, 2010/03/08) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi expressed optimism that six-party talks about the DPRK’s nuclear programs will resume since the parties involved “are committed to the objective of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.” Yang made the remarks on the sidelines of the opening of the People’s Congress. He did not say when he expects the talks to resume.
2. DPRK on Nuclear Talks
Yonhap (“N.KOREA READY FOR TALKS, BUT WILL BOLSTER NUCLEAR ARMS IF U.S. THREATS REMAIN”, Seoul, 2010/03/09) reported that said Tuesday it is ready for both dialogue and war. “The DPRK is fully ready for dialogue and war. It will continue bolstering up its nuclear deterrent as long as the U.S. military threats and provocations go on,” an unidentified foreign ministry spokesman said, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
3. DPRK-Iran Cooperation
Korea Broadcasting System (“‘NK MAY BE HELPING IRAN BUILD ROCKET LAUNCH SITE'”, 2010/03/06) reported that an open-source intelligence publishing group says the DPRK may be helping Iran build new rocket-launch facilities. IHS Jane’s said that a new rocket-launch pad was spotted by satellite in the city of Semnan some four hours east of the Iranian capital of Tehran. According to the London-based intelligence group, analysis suggests that Iran has been collaborating with the DPRK to build the launch pad. Jane’s said Iran made public its “Simorgh” space-launch vehicle (SLV) on February third but did not make public the location of the rocket’s launch complex.
4. DPRK Security
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN ARMY TIGHTENING CONTROL OVER POWS, ABDUCTEES”, 2010/03/08) reported that right after the Lee Myung-bak administration was inaugurated in the ROK in March 2008, the DPRK instructed its army’s Defense Security Command to tighten control over defectors, ROK prisoners of war, abduction victims, and those who own mobile phones. This is confirmed by an internal Security Command document. According to the document obtained by Choi Sung-yong, the president of Family Assembly Abducted to North Korea, the regime ordered security guards in the DPRK-PRC border area to “focus their energy on preventing people of high social status as well as ordinary people from fleeing in groups to China.”
5. DPRK Missile Program
Associated Press (Hyung-jin Kim, “REPORT: NKOREA HAS MEDIUM-RANGE MISSILE DIVISION”, Seoul, 2010/03/09) reported that the DPRK has recently created an army division in charge of newly developed intermediate-range missiles capable of striking U.S. forces in Japan and Guam, Yonhap said Tuesday. The People’s Army recently launched a division supervising operational deployment of missiles with a range of more than 1,860 miles (3,000 kilometers) that it had developed in recent years, Yonhap reported citing an unidentified ROK government source. The ROK Defense Ministry said Tuesday it couldn’t confirm the Yonhap report.
6. ROK Abductee Issue
Xinhua News (“S KOREA MOVES TO ADDRESS ISSUES OF ABDUCTEES IN DPRK”, 2010/03/08) reported that the ROK government said it has organized a preparatory committee for enforcing a law on ROK civilians believed to have been kidnapped to the DPRK, taking steps toward addressing the sensitive issue Seoul wants to address at a possible summit with Pyongyang. The law states confirming whether the abductees in the DPRK are alive or deceased, bringing them back home, allowing exchanges of letters and meetings between them and their families in the ROK as duties of the government, according to local media.
7. ROK Food Aid to the DPRK
Yonhap News (“SOUTH KOREA’S PLANNED FOOD AID FOR NORTH KOREA HITS SNAG”, 2010/03/06) reported that the ROK’s planned shipment of its first food aid to DPRK in years has hit a snag due to sourcing difficulties, an official said. “Considering shipping costs, it would make the most sense to send Chinese corn” to the DPRK, a government official said. The official said, however, that the plan has faltered because of the PRC’s “grain export quota,” which places restrictions on food exports in order to meet the country’s rising domestic demand. The delay has raised concern that the planned aid may not be delivered by the time the DPRK needs it the most — usually between March and May.
8. DPRK Special Economic Zones
Korea Broadcasting System (“SANKEI: N.KOREA FEZ TO BE FULLY OPENED TO FOREIGNERS”, 2010/03/08) reported that Japan’s Sankei Shimbun says the DPRK has decided to fully open its free economic zone in Rason City to foreign investors in six months. Quoting an official from the humanitarian group “Rescue the North Korean People Urgent Action Network,” the Japanese newspaper said that Jang Song-thaek, who is DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s brother-in-law and a senior Workers’ Party official, announced the decision during an inspection of the Rason region earlier this month. Sankei also said that the ROK government is analyzing information regarding the DPRK’s move to create another free economic zone.
9. DPRK Energy Use
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREAN PARENTS ‘ZEALOUS’ ABOUT CHILDREN’S EDUCATION”, 2010/03/04) reported that DPRK parents are willing to make huge sacrifices to ensure education for their children. PRC-made solar reading lamps are selling like hot cakes in the DPRK. According to a DPRK source, the reading lamps sell for 10,000 to 20,000 DPRK won, a price several times the average monthly wage. The customers are chiefly parents with children preparing for college entrance exams. Due to do the poor power supply, the DPRK except for some parts of Pyongyang is plunged into pitch darkness every night, making it impossible to study. The solar-powered reading lamps provide a measure of independence from the power grid.
10. ROK Peacekeeping Operations
Korea Herald (“KOREAN PEACEKEEPERS ARRIVE IN HAITI”, 2010/03/08) reported that ROK peacekeeping troops have arrived in Haiti and are preparing to begin their mission to rebuild the quake-ravaged region, military officials here said. The 240-member contingent, which was named “Danbi,” is likely to begin clearing debris and maintaining order in the Caribbean state later this week as soon as construction equipment arrives. Danbi is a Korean word meaning “long-awaited rain.”
11. ROK-Saudi Energy Cooperation
Yonhap News (“HYUNDAI HEAVY SET TO WIN US$2 BLN SAUDI POWER PLANT DEAL”, 2010/03/08) reported that a consortium led by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. is set to win US$2 billion deal to build a gas power plant in Saudi Arabia, industry sources said. The sources said the consortium was selected as the preferred bidder by state-run Saudi Electricity Co. to construct the power plant by April 2014 at a location 125 kilometers west of Riyadh, the capital city of the Arab country.
12. ROK-Japan Environmental Cooperation
Korea Herald (“SEOUL, TOKYO TO HOLD TALKS ON SEA CLEANING”, 2010/03/08) reported that the ROK and Japan will hold talks this week on ways to get rid of waste floating in the waters between the countries, Seoul’s foreign ministry said, according to Yonhap news agency. “At the upcoming talks, the sides will exchange information on the current conditions of waste in the seas between the countries and review their own efforts to eradicate the problem,” the ministry said.
13. USFJ Base Relocation
Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT PARTIES SUBMIT PLANS FOR FUTENMA”, 2010/03/09) reported that the two junior partners in the ruling coalition on Monday presented their official proposals on possible relocation sites for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to a government-ruling bloc panel studying the issue. The Social Democratic Party offered three options, including relocation to Guam or other places outside Japan, while the People’s New Party offered two, including moving the air station to a land-based section of Camp Schwab straddling Nago and Ginozason in the prefecture. The idea to move the base to the land-based section of Camp Schwab is expected to be at the center of the government’s study of the issue.
14. US-Japan Nuclear Agreement
Associated Press (“JAPAN CONFIRMS COLD WAR-ERA ‘SECRET’ PACTS WITH US”, Tokyo, 2010/03/09) reported that a government-mandated panel has confirmed the existence of once-secret Cold War -era pacts between Japan and U.S. on nuclear arms and other issues. Among the secret pacts the panel acknowledged was a tacit agreement that allowed U.S. nuclear-armed warships into Japanese ports in violation of Japan’s non-nuclear principles.
Kyodo (“OKADA SAYS NUKES MAY HAVE ENTERED JAPAN UNDER SECRET PACTS”, Tokyo, 2010/03/09) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said Tuesday he cannot rule out the possibility that nuclear weapons were introduced into Japan under secret pacts reached with the United States. ”We cannot clearly state that there was no nuclear introduction (to Japan). We cannot dispel doubts about it,” Okada said. He added, however, he believes nuclear arms had not been introduced since 1991, when U.S. President George H.W. Bush announced the withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons from U.S. ships and submarines. ”The United States will depend less on nuclear (weapons). I don’t think their introduction in Japan will happen in the future,” he added.
15. Sino-Japanese East Sea Territorial Dispute
Xinhua Net (“CHINA TAKES ACTIVE ATTITUDE TO ADDRESS EAST CHINA SEA ISSUE WITH JAPAN: FM”, 2010/03/08) reported that the PRC has always taken an active attitude to address the East China Sea issue with Japan, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said in Beijing. The PRC has always held that differences between the PRC and Japan on the East China Sea issue should be resolved through consultation and negotiations, so as to safeguard the PRC-Japan strategic and mutually beneficial relations, and ensure the fundamental interests of people in both countries, Yang said.
16. PRC on Comfort Women issue
China Daily (“CHINA GOADS JAPAN FOR QUICK ACTION ON SEX SLAVES”, 2010/03/08) reported that the PRC said that Japan should offer an appropriate resolution to the plight of eight PRC victims forced into serving as “comfort women” for Japanese soldiers during World War II. The PRC’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang called the women’s treatment at the hands of Japanese forces a serious, historical crime against humanity. “The victims are still hurting today, so Japan should take responsibility and provide these women with a justifiable explanation as soon as possible.”
17. Sino-Russian Energy Cooperation
China Daily (“CHINA-RUSSIA OIL PIPELINE TO BE COMPLETED THIS YEAR: FM”, 2010/03/08) reported that the PRC-Russia oil pipeline is likely to be completed by the end of this year and the project will enter into operation in 2011, PRC Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said. Yang said the PRC-Russia relation is one of the priorities of the PRC’s diplomacy and that there is much potential in the practical cooperation and development for both countries. The two countries support each other on issues concerning core interests.
18. Cross-Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN SAYS CHINA NOW HAS EDGE IN AIR POWER”, 2010/03/08) reported that the PRC now has better fighter jets than Taiwan , according to a military report by the island’s defence ministry as the air force renewed its bid to obtain new F-16s from the US. Of the three types of fighter jets in Taiwan’s air force, only the F-16A/Bs have a slight edge over the PRC aircraft, the report by the defence ministry found. The island’s Indigenous Defensive Fighters (IDF) and French-made Mirage 2000-5s were both inferior to the Russian-made Su-30s deployed by the PRC, it said.
Associated Press (“CHINA WARNS AGAINST SELLING F-16S TO TAIWAN”, Beijing, 2010/03/09) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the PRC is firmly opposed to U.S. sales of weapons to Taiwan. Asked to comment on reports that Taiwan is pushing to buy F-16s from the United States, Qin said Beijing hoped the U.S. would “take China’s position seriously and respect China’s core interests and major concerns.”
19. PRC Energy Security
Bloomberg (“CHINA STARTS WORK ON GUANGDONG STRATEGIC OIL RESERVES”, 2010/03/08) reported that the PRC has started “preliminary work” on the second phase of its emergency oil reserves in Guangdong to help bolster energy security and meet demand, the head of the province’s economic planning agency said. Construction of storage bases in the cities of Zhanjiang and Huizhou will begin “as soon as possible,” Li Miaojuan, director of Guangdong’s development and reform commission, said. “By the time these new storage tanks are ready, oil prices could be trading well above $80 a barrel,” Gordon Kwan, head of regional energy research at Mirae Asset Securities in Hong Kong, said in an e-mail. “We also expect that the yuan could be revalued higher by at least 10 percent before 2013, thus offsetting the increase of crude import bills.”
20. PRC Food Security
Bloomberg (“CHINA TO KEEP GRAIN STOCKPILES, MAY BOOST SOY IMPORTS”, 2010/03/08) reported that the PRC, the world’s biggest grain consumer, will keep high levels of stockpiles to ensure food security and may increase imports of soybeans, said Bao Kexin, president of China Grain Reserves Corp. “Maintaining 150 million to 200 million tons of grains in inventories at hand is necessary,” because of the “tight balance” between supply and demand in the PRC and given current logistics and infrastructure, Bao said in an interview.
21. PRC Space Program
Xinhua News (“CHINA PLANS TO LAUNCH UNMANNED SPACE MODULE NEXT YEAR”, 2010/03/08) reported that the PRC plans to launch an unmanned space module, Tiangong-1, in 2011, which is expected to accomplish the country’s first space docking and regarded as an essential step toward building a space station, an expert said. Tiangong, or the Heavenly Palace, would finally be transformed into a manned space lab after experimental dockings with three Shenzhou , which are expected to be put into space within two years following the module’s launch, said Qi Faren, former chief designer of Shenzhou spaceships.
22. PRC Urban-Rural Disparity
The Associated Press (“CHINA LOOKS TO NARROW CITY-RURAL DEVELOPMENT GAP”, 2010/03/08) reported that the PRC is boosting representation for its dwindling rural population in the national legislature as part of a new push to narrow the development gap between city and countryside. Once an overwhelmingly rural society, the PRC is urbanizing at an accelerating rate, with 43 percent, or 560 million people, now living in the cities, according to official figures. The urban population has risen 7 percent in the last five years. “This change helps fill the need for equal development rights,” Miao Zhi, a delegate from the western, largely rural, region of Xinjiang, said Monday. “It’s a step forward for the human rights cause.”
II. PRC Report
23. PRC Earthquake Reconstruction
Xinhua Net (“NEW BEICHUAN MIDDLE SCHOOL TO BE FINISHED CONSTRUCTION”, 2010/03/08) reported that New Beichuan School locates in the northeast corner of Beichuan County which was a seriously earthquake-destroyed county in Sichuan province. All PRC Merchant Association donated nearly 200 million RMB for reconstructing Beichuan Middle School in last year. Now the School is to be finished construction by May 12 th this year.
24. PRC Civil Society
International Online (“RECEPTION FOR COMMEMORATING 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF WOMEN’S DAY HELD IN BEIJING”, 2010/03/08) reported that All-China Women’s Federation held a reception for commemorating the 100 th anniversary of Women’s Day in Beijing this afternoon. Over 1500 women representatives from all fields in society have participated in the reception. The chairwoman of the Federation hoped that the PRC’s women undertakings could continuously get support form both domestic and foreign people, governments and NGOs.
25. PRC Civil Society and Public Health
Sina.com (“ALL-CHINA SOCIAL AID FOUNDATION SUPPORTS SMILE MOM PROJECT”, 2010/03/08) reported that Smile Mom is the first project that is cooperated between China Primary Health Care Foundation (CPHCF) and All-China Social Aid Foundation (CSAF).CSAD has recently donated its first 58,000 RMB to CPHCF, for helping 58 rural mothers who were diagnosed of gynecological diseases.