NAPSNet Daily Report 9 October, 2009
Contents in this Issue:
- I. NAPSNet
- 1. ROK, Japan, on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
- 3. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Talks
- 4. Inter-Korean Relations
- 5. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
- 6. US-DPRK Relations
- 7. Sino-DPRK Relations
- 8. DPRK Economy
- 9. DPRK Leadership
- 10. ROK Missile Program
- 11. ROK Military
- 12. ROK Afghanistan Dispatch
- 13. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
- 14. ROK Civil Society and ROK-Japan Relations
- 15. Japan and ROK, PRC Relations
- 16. US-Japan Security Alliance
- 17. Cross Strait Relations
- 18. PRC Ethnic Unrest
- 19. PRC on Climate Change
- 20. PRC Media Censorship
1. ROK, Japan, on DPRK Nuclear Program
Associated Press (Jae-Soon Chang, “SKOREA, JAPAN SAY NO AID UNTIL NKOREA DISARMS”, Seoul, 2009/10/09) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and ROK President Lee Myung-bak agreed Friday the DPRK should not be offered aid until it takes concrete steps to dismantle its nuclear weapons program . “We should not resume any economic assistance unless North Korea shows commitment and takes concrete steps” toward nuclear abandonment, Hatoyama said. Lee’s proposal of a “grand bargain” is “completely correct,” Hatoyama said.
2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program
The Associated Press (Jack Kim, “NORTH KOREA NOT NEAR RESTORING NUCLEAR PLANT: SOUTH”, Seoul, 2009/10/08) reported that the ROK’s foreign minister said there were no signs that the DPRK was in the final stages of restoring an aging nuclear plant, knocking down a report that operations could soon resume at the facility. “What we know is that they are not yet at that kind of stage,” Yu Myung-hwan said.
3. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Talks
Yonhap News (Hwang Doo-hyong, “S. KOREA TO SEEK GRAND BARGAIN FOR COMPLETE DENUCLEARIZATION OF N. KOREA: AMB. HAN”, Washington , 2009/10/08) reported that the ROK will seek the complete denuclearization of the DPRK through a comprehensive deal rather than a piecemeal approach that does not guarantee irreversible disarmament, a top ROK diplomat here said. “We are seeking a comprehensive and bigger framework agreement, rather than a piecemeal approach, to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue in a fundamental way,” Ambassador Han Duck-soo told a group of ROK lawmakers. “We are ready to provide North Korea with a security guarantee and assistance if the North abandons its nuclear weapons and core nuclear materials in an irreversible manner.”
Korea Herald (“YU URGES CLOSER 5-PARTY COORDINATION”, 2009/10/08) reported that Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan yesterday placed emphasis on the importance of close coordination between the remaining five members of the six-party talks aimed at ending the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program. Yu explained that such concerted efforts have become even more significant as the DPRK’s “true intentions” were yet unknown. “North Korea’s true intentions, following Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s visit are of yet unclear. Therefore, it is more important than ever that the rest of the five parties coordinate their views,” the minister said at a briefing.
4. Inter-Korean Relations
Yonhap News (“SEOUL ANTI-COMMUNIST GROUP TO SEND RADIOS TO NORTH VIA BALLOONS”, 2009/10/09) reported that a n anti-Pyongyang group in the ROK said it plans to send 300 pocket-sized radios to the DPRK aboard balloons this week to help people across the border listen to radio programs from here. The Fighters for Free North Korea (FFNK), a group consisting of activists and former DPRK defectors, said in a statement that it will send the radios at the Imjingak border park on Saturday, the day of the 64th founding anniversary of the DPRK’s Workers’ Party.
5. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation
Chosun Ilbo (“SMES AT KAESONG COMPLEX SHORT OF MANPOWER”, 2009/10/08) reported that small and medium-sized businesses at the joint Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex are short-staffed. According to data the Korea Industrial Complex Corporation submitted to Grand National Party lawmaker Kim Gi-hyeon, small factories at the industrial park have asked for more DPRK workers since October 2007, with 969 vacancies as of late September this year. But only five were filled. “South Korean SMEs moved to the Kaesong industrial park because of the cheap labor there, so it’s a big problem if that labor is not available.”
6. US-DPRK Relations
Washington Post (“HELL HATH A JURY”, 2009/10/08) reported that nightmares have pursued William Thomas Massie for decades, vivid flashbacks of his “11 months of hell” in a brutal DPRK prison after he and 81 other members of the USS Pueblo were captured in 1968. Ever since, Massie and many of the other men have struggled with torture’s legacy. Massie, two other Pueblo crew members and the widow of their captain sued the DPRK for their torment. A federal judge in the District awarded them $65 million in damages last year. Their lawyers are trying to locate DPRK assets frozen by the U.S. government that they can seize.
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA BLASTS OBAMA’S PICK OF NEW HUMAN RIGHTS ENVOY”, 2009/10/09) reported that the DPRK denounced U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent nomination of a special envoy on the DPRK human rights, calling it part of a hostile offensive motivated by politics. The accusations, carried by the Minju Joson, came as the new nominee, Robert King, was expected to join a U.S. team dealing with the DPRK’s nuclear program. His nomination “testifies that the United States is not confining its hostile policy toward our republic to the nuclear area, but is trying to extend it to the human rights area,” the Minju Joson said.
7. Sino-DPRK Relations
Xinhua News (“DPRK PUBLISHES BOOK ON SUPPORTING CHINA’S LIBERATION WAR”, Pyongyang, 2009/10/08) reported that a book has been published in the DPRK on the country’s support to the PRC’s liberation war in the latter half of the 1940s,the official KCNA news agency said. The book, titled “Aid to Liberation War in Northeast China,” deals with the historical facts that the DPRK people gave material aid and moral support to the PRC people, as well as the DPRK units’ deeds when they fought side by side with the army of the Communist Party of China, the KCNA said.
8. DPRK Economy
Yonhap News (“N. KOREA’S HOUSEHOLD SPENDING ONE-FIFTH OF S. KOREA’S: REPORT”, Seoul, 2009/10/08) reported that the DPRK ‘s average annual household spending level stands at 22 percent of that in the South, a report submitted to a lawmaker said Oct. 4. The findings submitted to Rep. Song Young-sun by the economic research institute at the state-managed Industrial Bank of Korea showed the average DPRK household spends US$1,298 per year, compared to $5,858 for a ROK family unit. “Taking into account that the per capita income of South Korea is 18 times greater than the North, the amount used by a North Korean family is relatively high,” the lawmaker said.
Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA’S ‘STRUGGLES’ AN APPARENT FAILURE”, 2009/10/08) reported that the DPRK launched a “150-day struggle,” a press-ganged mobilization to increase production of collective farms from April 20 to Sept. 19 on the road to building a “powerful and prosperous nation” by 2012. No sooner had the one struggle ended than a “100-day struggle” ensued. But what exactly is the point? A senior DPRK official who recently defected to the ROK said, “Though the 150-day struggle was supposed to raise economic strength to the level of the planned economy in the 1970s and ’80s, its actual aim was eliminating the market economy.”
9. DPRK Leadership
Agence France-Presse (“N.KOREA STOPS PROMOTING KIM’S SUCCESSOR: S.KOREA”, Seoul, 2009/10/08) reported that a ROK minister confirmed that the DPRK has suspended a propaganda campaign to promote the youngest son of leader Kim Jong-Il as his eventual successor. Instead, the communist state is calling for solidarity around the current leader, Vice Unification Minister Hong Yang-Ho said. “Since July 15, North Korean media stopped reports in defence of a hereditary succession,” Hong told a forum. “The North instead is putting great emphasis on protecting its traditional ideology (of its military-first policy),” Hong said.
10. ROK Missile Program
Yonhap News (“S. KOREA STUDYING BALLISTIC MISSILE WITH IMPROVED RANGE: OFFICIAL”, Seoul, 2009/10/08) reported that the ROK ‘s top arms procurement official acknowledged his government has begun researching a ballistic missile that can put all of the DPRK in its striking range. The ROK voluntarily restricts itself from developing a missile with a range of over 300km and a payload of 500kg, a ban supported by the U.S., which fears a regional arms race. Responding to a question at a parliamentary inspection, Byun Moo-keun, head of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, admitted his organization is conducting research into a missile with a range of over 500km.
11. ROK Military
Korea Herald (“KOREA TO START DEVELOPING BOMBS THAT KNOCK OUT ELECTRICITY”, 2009/10/08) reported that the ROK plans to start developing bombs with carbon fiber filaments that can knock out the electricity of enemy bases, its top arms research institute said. In a report presented to a parliamentary inspection of defense affairs, the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) said the prototype of a carbon fiber bomb will be created next year. The bomb contains filaments that can inflict damage on electric wires and facilities and temporarily incapacitate them rather than destroy them.
12. ROK Afghanistan Dispatch
Korea Times (Kim Jae-kyoung, “SEOUL MULLS SENDING TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN”, 2009/10/08) reported that the government is considering dispatching troops to Afghanistan to guard ROK citizens sent there to rebuild the war-torn country, defense sources said. They said the Ministry of National Defense has mapped out a plan to dispatch 300 soldiers to the country where around 30 Koreans are working to provide medical and other non-military services. The government plans to increase the number of the reconstruction team to 85 by early next year. The move comes as concerns are growing over the protection of ROK citizens there.
13. ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute
Chosun Ilbo (“F-15KS PRIMED WITH ‘UNPATRIOTIC’ MAPS”, 2009/10/08) reported that the Air Force’s F-15K fighter jets carried some digital map information that is at odds with their mission to defend the country, it has emerged. The jets carried digital maps that referred to Korea’s Dokdo Islets either by their Japanese name “Takeshima” or as “Liancourt Rocks,” the East Sea as “Sea of Japan,” and Mt. Baekdu in Chinese as “Changbaishan” — all names that are red flags to many patriotic Koreans.
14. ROK Civil Society and ROK-Japan Relations
Yonhap News (Kim Boram, “CIVIC GROUPS URGE HATOYAMA TO APOLOGIZE FOR JAPAN’S WAR CRIMES “, Seoul, 2009/10/08) reported that ROK civic groups representing victims of Japan’s colonial aggressions staged rallies, a day ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s visit here, renewing their demands for compensation and an apology from Tokyo. “We welcome Hatoyama, who has shown a flexible attitude toward historical issues,” members from 33 civic groups said at a press conference in front of the Japanese embassy in downtown Seoul. “We demand an apology and due compensation from the Japanese government for all South Korean victims of Japan’s wartime wrongdoings, including comfort women and forcibly mobilized laborers,” they said.
15. Japan and ROK, PRC Relations
Reuters (“JAPAN NEW PM SEEKS TO BUILD TRUST WITH BEIJING, SEOUL”, 2009/10/08) reported that Japan’s new prime minister will seek to keep periodically fraught ties with the PRC and ROK on track at weekend summits, avoiding rows that could hurt economic links and pitching his idea of an East Asia regional grouping. Hatoyama says he wants deeper ties with Asia and to steer a diplomatic course more independent of the United States. Japan also wants to firm up the idea of forming an East Asian Community inspired by the European Union .
16. US-Japan Security Alliance
Kyodo News (“HATOYAMA DENIES SUGGESTING READINESS TO ACCEPT U.S. BASE ACCORD “, Tokyo, 2009/10/08) reported that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said his remarks the previous day do not suggest his willingness to accept a contentious Japan-U.S. agreement to relocate U.S. forces within Okinawa Prefecture, but remained elusive on the issue despite an upcoming second meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. ”I didn’t imply any such thing yesterday,” Hatoyama told reporters Thursday evening. ”You’ll see that if you listen carefully to what I said.” ”I’ve already said this, but what’s important is to respect the wishes of people in Okinawa,” he said.
17. Cross Strait Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN, CHINA TO COLLABORATE IN ANTARCTIC RESEARCH”, 2009/10/08) reported that Taiwan and the PRC will cooperate on research in Antarctica for the first time, an official said Thursday, in a sign that ties between the two former arch foes are warming even in polar science. Three Taiwanese biologists will join a PRC team in Antarctica for periods ranging up to three months, said Wang Wei-hsien, director of Taiwan’s Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium.
18. PRC Ethnic Unrest
CNN (“AL QAEDA TELLS CHINA’S UYGHURS TO PREPARE FOR HOLY WAR”, 2009/10/08) reported that a high-ranking al Qaeda leader has called on the PRC’s minority Uyghurs to prepare for a holy war against the PRC government. “There is no way for salvation and to lift this oppression and tyranny unless you … seriously prepare for jihad in the name of God and carry your weapons against the ruthless brutal invader thugs,” Abu Yahia Al-Libi said. In his latest message, Al-Libi called on Muslims worldwide to support the Uyghurs. And he vowed that the PRC will suffer the same fate that the former Soviet Union did when it invaded Afghanistan in the 1980s — only to be thwarted by Islamist fighters.
19. PRC on Climate Change
Bloomberg News (“CHINA HOPES U.S. TO COMMIT TO ‘POSITIVE’ EMISSION CUT”, 2009/10/08) reported that the PRC hopes the US, the world’s largest energy consumer, would commit to “positive” carbon emission reductions as rich and developing nations remain deadlocked on how much wealthy countries should cut. There are “positive signals the EU and Japan will commit to positive emission cuts,” Jiang Kejun, director of research at the Energy Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a climate conference in Hong Kong today. China is “hopeful the U.S. will do the same too.”
20. PRC Media Censorship
Associated Press (Alexa Olesen, “CHINA PLEDGES TO PROTECT FOREIGN MEDIA”, Beijing, 2009/10/09) reported that PRC President Hu Jintao pledged Friday that Beijing would protect the rights of international news organizations. “We will continue to make government affairs public, enhance information distribution, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of foreign news organizations and reporters, and facilitate foreign media coverage of China in accordance with China’s laws and regulations,” Hu told the World Media Summit. Hu said foreign media coverage had played an “important role” in telling the world about the changes in the PRC and called on media organizations to promote peace.