Asia Pacific News

KYODO, 12.11.18.

Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki stepped up his conflict with the central government Saturday over plans for a U.S. military base transfer within the island prefecture, rejecting calls for understanding as the government resumed construction work. Tamaki, who won September’s gubernatorial election on an anti-base transfer platform, met with Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya Saturday morning at the prefectural government office. The governor has been urging the state to move the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma outside the prefecture, where the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan are located. "I was elected by pledging to oppose the relocation to Henoko. The will of the people will not waver," Tamaki told Iwaya. The central government continues to put priority on "removing the dangers of the Futenma air station … and realizing the return of the land (it occupies)," said Iwaya, who was visiting Okinawa for the first time since assuming office last month. Tamaki plans to travel to the United States in the coming week to raise awareness about the issue, as he sees the need for the American side to get involved in finding an acceptable solution.

JIJI, 12.11.18.

Four Chinese Coast Guard ships entered Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture on Sunday. It was the first such intrusion since Oct. 17 and the 19th time ships have intruded this year. The Haijing 2302, the Haijing 2308, the Haijing 2401 and the Haijing 2501 entered waters at a point north-northwest of Uotsurijima, the largest island in the Senkaku chain, between around 10:05 a.m. and 10:25 a.m., according to the coast guard’s 11th Regional Headquarters based in Naha, the prefectural capital. They left the waters west-southwest of the island between around 11:45 a.m. and noon.

Yonhap, 12.11.18.

The commander of United States Forces Korea (USFK) said Sunday he supports an inter-Korean military agreement on reducing tension. Gen. Robert B. Abrams, who took command as head of U.S. troops here last week, made the remarks as he visited the truce village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the Korean Peninsula. Abrams toured the area and was briefed on progress in the implementation of the latest inter-Korean military agreement. The South Korea–US alliance "remains ironclad and will continue to play an important role in preventing armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula and promote peace and stability in the region for many decades to come," the UN Command quoted him as saying. He added his visit showed US support for the continued implementation of the inter-Korean military agreements.

Associated Press, 12.11.18.

The North and South Korean militaries completed withdrawing troops and firearms from 22 front-line guard posts on Saturday as they continue to implement a wide-ranging agreement reached in September to reduce tensions across the world's most fortified border, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said. South Korea says the military agreement is an important trust-building step that would help stabilize peace and advance reconciliation between the rivals. The Koreas plan to destroy 20 of the structures by the end of November, while symbolically leaving one demilitarized guard post on each side. They plan to jointly verify the results in December.

"Mainichi", 12.11.18.

The "Mainichi" newspaper published an article stating that Japanese Prime Minister S.Abe intends to offer Russian President Vladimir Putin to speed up the negotiation process with a view to resolving the territorial dispute over the ownership of the southern Kurils. According to the "Mainichi" newspaper, the prospects for concluding a peace treaty on the basis of the 1956 year Joint Soviet-Japanese Declaration, in which Moscow agreed to consider the transfer of Japan to the Habomai and Shikotan islands after the conclusion of a peace treaty, and the fate of Kunashir and Iturup islands were not affected, will be discussed. As noted by "Mainichi", S.Abe intends to confirm Tokyo’s commitment to the provision of this document that the islands of Habomai and Shikotan can be transferred to Japan after the conclusion of a peace treaty. At the same time, the proposal will also include the possibility of discussing the ownership of the islands of Kunashir and Iturup, which are not mentioned in the declaration.

The Radio of Taiwan, 11.11.18.

The Taiwan’s President Cai Ingwen said about of the necessity to strengthen Taiwan’s defenses against the background of increasing military activity in mainland China in the region and she called on the island’s top military leadership to be ready for a possible repel of the military strike from Beijing. According to her the mainland China currently not only uses a military intimidation but also uses other “unconventional” ways to influence Taiwan’s top military and political leadership such as the spread of misinformation in regional media and social networks. In addition, a nonprofit organization the American Institute in Taipei (Taipei, Taiwan) that serves as the US Embassy in Taiwan said about that Washington should be continue to make military supplies to Taipei in order to strengthen the island’s defense capability, modernize Taiwan’s military and achieve military balance in the region. Meanwhile, the Taiwan Ministry of Defense reported on the admission to the 146th fleet the Taiwan’s Navy (Magong city, Pescador Islands, Taiwan Strait, Penghu County, Taiwan Province) of two Oliver Perry frigates (PFG-1112 "Taylor" and PFG-1115 "Gary") which were acquired by the Taiwanese side in 2017 as part of the implementation of the legislative act signed by the former US President B.Obama in December 2014. The total cost of the frigates is 190 million dollars. The frigates received new names - "Mingtuan" and "Fengjia."

Yonhap, 11.11.18.

The Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Korea reported that in order to strengthen the country's defense the government of South Korea will begin in 2021 to purchase upgraded PAC-3 MSE interceptors from the United States capable of hitting targets at an altitude of 40 km. In addition, the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Korea plans to modernize the outdated Patriot-3 air defense missile system (PAC-3) which can hit targets up to 20 km and currently in service with the armed forces of the Republic of Korea. The Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Korea refused to report on the planned quantity of the purchased PAC-3 MSE interceptors. At the same time, the news agency Yonhap notes that the cost of a single PAC-3 MSE interceptor is $ 5.34 million.

KBS, 11.11.18.

The U.S.-based North Korea monitoring Web site "38 North" has reported about that since August at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Tongch'ang-dong launching range, Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea) has not been dismantling the platform for testing an engine with a vertical arrangement of cylinders, as well as a launch pad. In addition, according to the authors, in July a new ventilation equipment was installed on the roof of the bunker where is stored a rocket fuel.

"Japan Times", 11.11.18.

At a press conference in Tokyo, the Secretary General of the Japanese Government, Y.Suga, reported that from 12 to 13 November this year US Vice-President M.Pence will make an official visit to Japan as part of a week-long tour in the APR. According to Y.Suga, this visit is intended on the eve of the ASEAN summit in Singapore and the APEC summit in Papua New Guinea to "clarify the positions of the two countries on the problem of resolving the North Korean crisis, as well as to confirm the inviolability of the Japanese-American alliance". In turn, the White House said that during his third trip to the Asia-Pacific region, M.Pence intends to "mark America’s leadership in the region" and reiterate the need for the North Korea to be denuclearized.

pref.hokkaido.lg.jp, 11.11.18.

An announcement is posted on the official website of the Hokkaido Prefecture, according to which on November 19–20 this year at the lobby of the "Abashiri Central Hotel" and "Obihiro Grand Hotel" in Obihiro city (Hokkaido Prefecture), seminars will be held on the prospect of implementing joint Russian-Japanese economic activity in the South Kuril Islands. The event was organized by the Northern Territories Administration of Hokkaido Prefecture and the Russian Section of the European Affairs Department of the Japanese Foreign Ministry. The announcement notes that all those who wish to take part in the seminars must complete the corresponding statement published on the website of Hokkaido Prefecture.

Xinhua, 09.11.18.

The Chinese News Agency Xinhua has published an article about possible candidates of American Democratic politicians from California state who can be nominated for key positions in the US Congress based on the mid-term elections which held on 6th November. So, according to the authors of the article the candidacy of Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein may be nominated for the post of the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee or the Senate Intelligence Committee. The candidacy of Democrat Congressman Adamm Schiff can be nominated for the post of chairman of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In addition, the candidacy of the minority faction leader in the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi may be nominated for the post of Speaker of the House of Representatives, which she held in 2007–2011. The authors of the article note that the administration of US President D.Trump will face "great difficulties" if candidates for these politicians are approved, as they will seek to put pressure on him in order to implement possible impeachment.

Reuters, 09.11.18.

The US State Department has published a report, according to which in 2018 FY total exports of US weapons grew by 13% to 192.3 billion dollars. This amount includes both commercial deliveries and interstate contracts. The first ones increased by 33% (from 41.9 billion to 55.6 billion dollars), the second – by 6.6% (from 128.1 billion to 136.6 billion dollars). At the same time, through interstate transactions, the sale of Saudi Arabian warships ($ 6.5 billion) ranks first, the second is the delivery of F/A-18 "Super Hornet" fighter-bomber aircraft to Kuwait ($ 5.1 billion), and the third the contract for the supply of the "Patriot" air defense missile system to Poland ($ 4.6 billion).

The Korea Times, 09.11.18.

The head of the National Security Administration of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Korea Chung Eui-yong said that during a meeting with President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in in September in Pyongyang, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said that he was afraid of delivering a preemptive strike on North Korea from the US in case of providing Seoul and Washington an information about of the development and possession of nuclear weapons in the DPRK. Chung Eui-yong noted that according to Kim Jong-un, the North Korean side will provide data on its nuclear weapons if the United States takes concrete measures to improve relations with the DPRK and stabilize the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Yonhap, 09.11.18.

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea Lee Nak-yeon was expressed "deep regret" in connection with the statements by the Japanese side about the impossibility of paying compensation to the citizens of the Republic of Korea who worked during the Second World War at the Japanese metallurgical enterprises as free labor. As you known on 30th October the Supreme Court of the Republic of Korea issued a decision on the payment by the Japanese company of compensation to four citizens of the Republic of Korea who worked in its factories during the Japanese colonial occupation. He noted that the Japanese government is seeking to unleash a diplomatic dispute with South Korea and destabilize relations with Seoul.

"Nikkei", 10.11.18.

The Japanese newspaper "Nikkei" published an article stating that within the framework of the planned on November, 13–15 in Singapore the Russia-ASEAN summit will host a meeting between the Russian President V.Putin and the Japanese Prime Minister S.Abe. According to the authors of the article, during the talks the parties will discuss further measures to accelerate the socio-economic development of the Far East of the Russian Federation, as well as the prospects for the implementation of joint economic project in the south Kurils. The authors of the article also expressed confidence that the economic cooperation between Japan and Russia will contribute to the achievement of mutually beneficial consensus between the leaderships of the two countries on the issue of signing of a peace treaty.

"South China Morning Post", 09.11.18.

PRC Chairman Xi Jinping at a meeting with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the Beijing House of People’s Assemblies stated that "the United States should respect China’s rights and fair interests based on its own development path, and together with the Chinese side uphold the healthy and stable development of China-US relations". In addition, according to H.Kissinger, "recently negative rhetoric in the United States has increased significantly, and also noted that China firmly adheres to a peaceful path of development, gives all its strength to deepen Chinese-American relations without conflicts and confrontations based on the principles of mutual respect and mutual benefits". In turn, Xi Jinping stated the need to resolve problems with the American side "on the basis of equality, mutual interest and concessions". More over China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi has expressed hope that a China-US summit being arranged at the G20 meeting will make the direction of bilateral ties clear and help advance them.

The Global Times, 08.11.18.

The UN Human Rights Council (Geneva, Switzerland) has published a report stating that the government of the China is actively violating the civil rights and freedoms of the Uyghur's living in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR, China). The authors of the report called on the Chinese side to end the “repressive policy” against the Uighurs and begin to respect their civil rights. In turn, the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the China, Hua Chuning said that the content of this report does not correspond to reality and called on Western countries to stop politicizing the so-called human rights problem in China and not to interfere in the internal affairs of the country.

KBS, 09.11.18.

The foreign ministers of China and Australia met in Beijing on Thursday. They agreed to move forward to improve their sometimes frosty bilateral relations. The ministers stressed the importance of bilateral cooperation. After the talks, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said, "We have very much reinforced the importance and the value of Chinese investment in Australia." Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, "We are happy to see normal, friendly relations and win-win cooperation between Australia and China".

Yonhap, 09.11.18.

The new general in command of US forces in South Korea has stressed that the US military will keep its guard up against North Korea. US Forces Korea Commander General Robert Abrams spoke at a change-of-command ceremony in Camp Humphreys, south of Seoul, on Thursday. Abrams said the current conditions on the Korean Peninsula are as dynamic as they have ever been. He said the responsibility of his forces is to maintain a high level of readiness and fight-tonight capability to defeat external threats. President Moon Jae-in congratulated the new U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) commander, saying "I believe a more stable South Korea-U.S. joint defense posture will be maintained centering on General Abrams," Moon said in a congratulatory address".

"Hokkaido Shimbun", 09.11.18.

On November, 8 the group of secondary school students of Kurobe city (Toyama Prefecture), headed by the Deputy Chairman of the Northern Territories Administration in Toyama Prefecture Masanobu Tahara, visited Nemuro city (Hokkaido Prefecture) with the aim of searching of the Northern Territories' issue and its history. The trip will last until November, 10. According to the organizers of the trip, an excursion in the local museum of history and nature as well as sightseeing of Nemuro city will help the students to raise awareness of the problem.

The South China Morning Post, 08.11.18.

According to a public opinion poll conducted by the South China Morning Post 52.6% of young Hong Kong residents living in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) are against the process of completely merging this administrative region with mainland China. 45% of young people said they did not consider themselves to be citizens of mainland China. In addition, 48.8% of respondents noted that they are opposed to the Hong Kong SAR government establishing contacts with the authorities of mainland China in order to organize internships for students in Chinese universities and search for work in the China.

The Taipei Times, 08.11.18.

The Chairman of the Committee on the Study of the Seas and Oceans of the Government of Taiwan Huang Huanghui said that the military shooting exercises of the Taiwan Coast Guard which plans to be held November 21th-23th in the area of Taiping Island which is part of the disputed Spratly Archipelago (in Chinese cartography — Nansha, in the Vietnamese region — Chyongsha) in the South China Sea would not be of a military nature. He also noted that the US Navy will not participate in these exercises. In addition, Huang Huanghui stressed that the repeated statements of the Vietnamese government that Taiping Island is Vietnamese territory "do not correspond to reality".

KCNA, NHK, 08.11.18.

The KCNA published a message in which it sharply criticized the statement of the Prime Minister of Japan S.Abe about the impossibility of paying compensation to citizens of the Republic of Korea who worked during the Second World War in one of the Japanese metallurgical enterprises as free labor. As you know, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Korea on 30th October issued a decision on the payment by the Japanese company of compensation to four citizens of the Republic of Korea who worked in its factories during the Japanese colonial occupation. The report says that S.Abe “shamelessly” seeks to evade responsibility and that the Japanese side with such actions is trying to prevent such trials in the future.

NBC News, 08.11.18.

On 6th November were held midterm elections to the US Congress. According to the results of the elections, the Democratic Party for the first time since 2011 won the majority of seats in the House of Representatives - 230 out of 435. The Democrats took 46 of the 100 seats in the US Senate. At the same time, candidates from the Republican Party won the majority of the states in the gubernatorial elections held on 6th November including the state of Florida which is considered “key” during the presidential elections in the United States.

news.yahoo.co.jp, 08.11.18.

Japan-language internet-site "Yahoo News Japan" published an article stating that in Chelyabinsk city with the participation of the regional branch of the Russia-Japan Society, a Japanese Film Festival was opened as part of the Cultural Year of Japan in Russia. During the festival, viewers will be able to see the classical Japanese cinema: four feature films and one animated film. The festival of Japanese cinema was opened in The Chelyabinsk State University by showing the drama, directed by Yuzo Asahara "The Tale of Samurai Cuisine. The Story of True Love". According to the organizers of the event, all the films will be shown in origin with the use of subtitles, that will allow viewers to feel the culture and thinking of the people of Japan.

KBS, 07.11.18.

South and North Korea and the United Nations Command (UNC) agreed to set up rules for joint patrols at the truce village of Panmunjeom, at a meeting held Tuesday. The defense ministry said the specifics would be decided through document exchanges. The parties evaluated the verification of removals of several guard posts in the Joint Security Area (JSA) that took place Oct. 26 and 27. They also examined a new guard post that was set up there. As a means to carry out a military accord to disarm the JSA, five guard posts in the North and four in the South were closed earlier. In addition, the Koreas and the UNC inspected how surveillance equipment is managed on each side, and discussed means of adjusting this. They also agreed that when rules on the patrols are established they would seek to enable tourists in the JSA to move freely at the truce village of Panmunjeom. It was the third trilateral meeting on disarming in the JSA.

KBS, 07.11.18.

The outgoing commander of U.S. troops in South Korea on Tuesday emphasized the importance of close teamwork between the allies in coping with security challenges down the road. In a farewell meeting with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, Gen. Vincent Brooks cited "the challenges that awaited us in the past and that still await us in the future." "But going through this as a team has been very important," he said at the start of the meeting at Kang's office. Kang said it's been "luck" to have him as the leader of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) over the two and a half years. The minister said he has served here during "one of the most challenging, dynamic, turbulent but also rewarding moments in the alliance." The general is scheduled to leave the post on Thursday, and his successor will be Gen. Robert B. Abrams.

Associated Press, 07.11.18.

General J.Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking at Duke University in Durham (North Carolina), said that at present Russia and China are challenging the US most seriously because they are trying to prevent American influence in different regions of the world. According to J.Dunford, "the United States must take this into account when determining priorities in their military policy in order to be ready to respond to any one challenge or combination of several challenges". J.Dunford noted that "the US armed forces carry out military planning taking into account all possible surprises", and also stressed that "this rivalry does not have to go into the stage of conflict".

NHK, 07.11.18.

On November, 6 Secretary General of the Cabinet of Ministers of Japan Y.Suga met with the governor of the Prefecture of Okinawa D.Tamaki in Tokyo, during which the parties reached an agreement to start bilateral consultations on the issue of the redeployment of the US Marine Corps of Futema from Ginowan (central part of Okinawa, Okinawa Prefecture) to Nago (Henoko District, north of Okinawa, Okinawa Prefecture). According to D.Tamaki, "the authorities of the prefecture of Okinawa oppose the actual construction of a new base and offer to hold consultations for at least a month in order to reach a solution through dialogue". In turn, Y.Suga noted that the Japanese government considers the current location of the base in the densely populated area of Ginowan dangerous and therefore favors its transfer it to Henoko Bay within Okinawa. According to him, this is the only possible option. Deputy Governor of the Prefecture of Okinawa, Kiichiro Jahana, and Deputy Secretary General of the Cabinet of Ministers of Japan, Kazuhiro Sugita, will take part in bilateral consultations.

"Hokkaido Shimbun", 07.11.18.

On the site of the "Hokkaido Shimbun" newspaper was published an article, where it was said that the Nemuro Regional Development Bureau organized a new interactive project "Blooming Sakura of the Chishima Islands", in which all the Internet users living in Nemuro district (Hokkaido Prefecture) were invited. According to the rules of the project, its participants must place his photo on the project site against the background of blossoming sakura, which is a symbol of the nationwide Japanese movement for the return of the Northern Territories and also give its location data, according to which the position of the participant would be indicated on the interactive map. In addition to the photos, each participant can leave a comment, expressing its opinion about the south Kurils issue.

REUTERS, 06.11.18.

Suicides by Japanese youth have reached a 30-year-high, the education ministry said on Monday, even as overall suicide numbers have steadily declined over the past 15 years. A total of 250 children in elementary school, middle school and high school killed themselves in the fiscal year through March, up from 245 the previous year, according to a ministry survey. That was the highest since 1986, when 268 students took their own lives. "The number of suicides of students have stayed high, and that is an alarming issue which should be tackled," said ministry official Noriaki Kitazaki. It is difficult to determine the factors behind the increase, he said. Out of the 250 cases, 33 children were reported to have had concerns about their future, 31 had family problems, 10 were bullied, while 140 were unknown, the survey showed.

South China Morning Post, 06.11.18.

Taiwan "will consider" a US Navy request should Washington ask to use the largest of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea for regional security purposes, the island’s defence minister said on Monday in response to a series of hypothetical questions from a member of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. At a parliament panel meeting, Yen told Chiang whether it was for humanitarian or regional security grounds, the island’s government would consider allowing US vessels access to Taiping Island if that suited Taiwan. "If it is based on security concerns that would affect the region, we will consider that," Yen said. "This must also be in line with our national interests."

AFP, Jiji, 06.11.18.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday he will meet this week in New York with North Korea’s No. 2 to discuss denuclearization and a possible second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "I expect we’ll make some real progress, including an effort to make sure that the summit between our two leaders can take place where we can make substantial steps toward denuclearization," Pompeo said on CBS’s "Face the Nation." State Department Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Biegun is also expected to accompany Pompeo on his New York visit.

STARS AND STRIPES, 06.11.18.

Hundreds of U.S. and South Korean Marines resumed joint exercises in a southeastern port city Monday, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prepared for another round of nuclear talks with the North. The drills, which are usually held several times a year and are known as the Korean Marine Exchange Program, had been indefinitely suspended along with larger-scale war games after the unprecedented summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June. But South Korea’s Defense Ministry said about 500 Marines began a two-week exercise Monday in the city of Pohang. It didn’t provide more details, but an official with the South Korean Marine Corps said the combined training would include the III Marine Expeditionary Force from Okinawa, Japan, along with Korean amphibious-assault vehicles and live maneuvers.

"Japan Today", 06.11.18.

On the website of the "Japan Today" newspaper an article was published, which stated that in Nemuro city (Hokkaido Prefecture), with the assistance of the Nemuro Regional Development Bureau and the Association for the Return of the Northern Territories, a screening of documentary films covering the life of Japanese residents of Territories, that lived on the islands before the capitulation of militaristic Japan in World War II, was held. According to the organizers of the show, it is very important to hold such events, allowing not only to convey to the Japanese people the nature of life activity of the former residents of the "northern territories", but also to convince them of the need to resolve a territorial dispute with the Russian Federation over the southern Kuril Islands in favor of Japan.