NAPSNet Daily Report 02 October, 2002

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 02 October, 2002", NAPSNet Daily Report, October 02, 2002, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-02-october-2002/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. ROK Anti-US Student Protests
2. DPRK-ROK-US Relations
3. DPRK Market Liberalization Credibility
4. PRC Naval Developments
5. PRC National Day
6. Taiwan APEC Representation
7. DPRK-Japan Abduction Suicide
8. Japan DPRK Abduction Fact Finding Mission

I. United States

1. ROK Anti-US Student Protests

Agence France-Presse (“PROTESTS AS US ENVOY PREPARES FOR LANDMARK NORTH KOREA MISSION,” 10/02/02) reported that ROK students staged violent anti-United States protests here as a top US envoy briefed ROK officials ahead of the resumption of high-level US-DPRK talks frozen for nearly two years. James Kelly, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, arrived in ROK to consult with Foreign Minister Choi Sung-Hong and key aides to President Kim Dae-Jung ahead of three days of talks in DPRK from Thursday. During the 40-minute meeting with Choi, more than 2,000 students staged what some witnesses said was the biggest anti-US demonstration seen in the ROK capital since US President George W. Bush took office in January last year. Police had to cordon off the US embassy, across the street from the foreign ministry where Kelly was holding discussions, as students threatened to storm the compound. Anti-US sentiment has been growing in the ROK since Bush reversed US-DPRK reconciliation efforts undertaken by Clinton. Ten ROK students were arrested on Tuesday after breaking into the US embassy compound to demand an apology from Bush over the deaths of two ROK girls in a traffic accident involving a US military armoured car. President Kim on Wednesday issued an unusual appeal to students to rethink their anti-US stand. “The alliance between South Korea and the United States is essential for our security,” he said at a cabinet meeting Wednesday.

2. DPRK-ROK-US Relations

Reuters (“U.S. ENVOY ARRIVES IN SOUTH KOREA EN ROUTE TO NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 10/02/02) and Agence France-Presse (“US ENVOY IN SEOUL AHEAD OF HIGH STAKES NORTH KOREAN MISSION,” 10/02/02) reported that US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly arrived in Seoul Wednesday en route to the DPRK where he will hold security talks with DPRK leaders. Kelly flew from Tokyo, where he met Japanese leaders to discuss his planned DPRK trip from Thursday through Saturday. In Seoul, Kelly was scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Choi Sung-hong and two top national security advisers to President Kim Dae-jung, Yim Sung-joon and Lim Dong-won. After talks in DPRK, Kelly plans to fly back to Seoul and then to Tokyo to brief the two countries on his discussions in Pyongyang. Park Sun-sook, the chief ROK presidential spokesperson, said her government hopes Kelly’s trip will “yield good results in efforts to promote peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.” Kelly will be traveling as a special envoy of US President George W. Bush. The US State Department said last week that Kelly’s agenda will include the DPRK’s missile proliferation, the nuclear program that it suspended in a 1994 deal with Washington, its heavy deployment of conventional weapons along the border with the ROK and human rights issues.

3. DPRK Market Liberalization Credibility

Agence France-Presse (“NORTH KOREA’S CAPITALIST ENCLAVE GETS OFF TO FALSE START,” 10/01/02) reported that skepticism was mounting in the ROK over the credibility of a PRC-born Dutch tycoon who was appointed to run a capitalist enclave in the DPRK. On September 27, Yang Bin, 39, declared that starting September 30, all foreigners, including ROK citizens, could cross the Yalu River from Dandong to the Sinuiju Special Administrative Region (SAR) freely without visas. But this promise never materialized, with foreign and ROK journalists seeking to enter the SAR being turned away by both PRC and DPRK authorities on Monday. At a press conference in the northern PRC city of Shenyang on Monday, Yang apologized for the hitch, saying that the new rule will take effect on October 8, eight days after the initially promised date, according to ROK press reports. “I deeply apologize that the visa-free entry failed to materialize,” Yang was quoted as saying, admitting that there should be further consultations between the PRC and the DPRK about border crossing rules. The ROK news media reported on a series of other reversals in Yang’s remarks about the entry into the SAR. On Sunday, he told ROK journalists that he could arrange for them to have visas from the North to enter the SAR “within an hour.” He had to retract the promise hours later. “It seems that Mr. Yang has been popping up surprising ideas and policies without coordination with pertinent authorities,” said Yoon Deok-Ryong, research fellow at Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP). “He must abandon this politician-like attitude but do one thing after another in a very measured step,” Yoon said. “Otherwise, he would put the whole project in jeopardy, together with his credibility.” Dong Yong-Seung, chief researcher at Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI), said the credibility gap stemmed from “the gap between Yang’s characters and the administrative reality.” “If these kind of problems continue, potential investors would turn back on Sinuiju,” he said. The Joongang daily said that even foreign reporters who received visas were refused entry into Suinuiju by Pyongyang, bringing into doubt the effectiveness of the official documents issued by the administrator.

4. PRC Naval Developments

Reuters (John Ruwitch, “CHINESE NAVY CRUISES TOWARD MODERNISATION,” Qingdao 10/01/02) carried an analytical piece that said at its peak some 600 years ago China’s navy ruled Asia’s waves, sailing unrivalled from the Yellow Sea to Java and west across the Indian Ocean. It wielded the kind of maritime muscle Rear Admiral Ding Yiping, commander of the PRC’s Northern Fleet, dreams of today. Now, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is spending billions of dollars each year on new ships and weapons systems. On September 23, the destroyer Qingdao and a supply vessel returned home to much fanfare after what was billed as the PRC navy’s first circumnavigation of the world, a four-month show of force to build relations with foreign navies. “Due to historical reasons, we have never been able to complete a cruise around the world,” Ding told a news conference on the pier after the boats tied up. “Today I can proudly tell you we have satisfactorily completed the mission entrusted upon us by the motherland of circling the globe.” However, the trip also raised questions about the longer-term goals of PRC naval modernization. Stung by US accusations it is hiding a fat military budget to fund upgrades, the PLA has tried to improve transparency this year, allowing reporters on a rare tour of army and air force bases in July and then aboard the Qingdao. But there is little debate about the immediate tactical direction the PLA navy is developing. In the past decade, the PLA navy has bolstered its mostly indigenous surface fleet with the addition of two Sovremenny-class destroyers from Russia to its eastern fleet based opposite Taiwan. Two more are on order. What makes them worrisome, analysts say, are their supersonic SS-N-22/Sunburn anti-ship missiles. No Asian navy can shoot them down, a report to the US Congress said in July. Below the waves, too, the PRC is enhancing its submarine force, now a collection of 50-60 mostly noisy and outdated boats. The PLA navy has recently added four Russian-made Kilo-class diesel-electric attack submarines. The ships are nearly silent and the PRC has eight more on order. The PRC is also expected to buy about 40 Russian Su-30MKK fighter planes before year-end, equipped with radar systems that let them fire precision air-to-surface anti-ship missiles, Jane’s Defence Weekly reported in August. Finally, the PRC navy has put growing stock in its large arsenal of increasingly sophisticated anti-ship mines, a crucial element in a blockade of Taiwan. For the time being, plans for an aircraft carrier are on the back burner because of the high cost, analysts say.

5. PRC National Day

Agence France-Presse (“CHINA PRAISES LEADERSHIP ON NATIONAL DAY, AHEAD OF EXPECTED CHANGES,” 10/01/02) reported that the PRC marked its 53rd anniversary with a show of confidence ahead of crucial leadership changes, as millions hit the road at the start of a week-long holiday. State-run newspapers Tuesday reassured their National Day readers that reform would continue after the top-level adjustments expected at the 16th Congress of the Communist Party starting November 8. “Our people are self-confident amid rumors outside the country about the expected passage of the leadership to the next generation during the 16th National Congress,” the China Daily said. “We have proceeded so far down the road of reform and opening up that nobody can reverse the trend. Everybody believes that,” it said. The new, or fourth, generation of leaders expected to start taking control next month includes current Vice President Hu Jintao. Hu is widely tipped eventually to take over all or most of the party, government and military posts currently held by President Jiang Zemin, according to observers. Based on “the solid groundwork” laid by the current leadership around President Jiang, the PRC will advance faster in the years to come, the China Daily argued. “This will be further proved when the Party Congress is convened in November,” it said.

6. Taiwan APEC Representation

The China Post (“NOBEL LAUREATE LEE TO REPRESENT TAIWAN AT 2002 APEC SUMMIT,” 10/02/02) reported that Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian’s has won praise for appointing Nobel Prize laureate Lee Yuan-tseh his special envoy to the 2002 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico October 26-27. When he announced the appointment at a press conference yesterday, Chen Shih-meng, presidential secretary-general, quoted Mexican President Vincente Fox, the host of the summit, as saying he was “very impressed by Dr. Lee’s credentials.” The United States, Chen said, also hailed Lee as a “very, very ideal” person to attend the summit on President Chen’s behalf. The president’s chief of staff described Lee as a “very suitable, ideal” representative because he is a “humanitarian,” “academic leader” and a “pioneer in education reform.” Chen said former USPresident George Bush had asked Lee to serve as an advisor to the Energy Department. “Dr. Lee was chosen because he is very close to President Chen and they share their beliefs in democracy, human rights and the promotion of Taiwan’s interests,” Chen told reporters. He added: “One could hardly find a more qualified candidate than Dr. Lee.” At the press conference, Lee said he was greatly honored to be appointed. “As a scientist,” he said, “I care most about seeing world peace and human progress and the APEC forum meeting aims to boost cooperation among Asia-Pacific nations to upgrade society.”

7. DPRK-Japan Abduction Suicide

The Associated Press (Natalie Obiko Pearson, “JAPANESE WOMAN ABDUCTED BY NORTH KOREA AT AGE 13 COMMITTED SUICIDE,” Tokyo, 10/02/02) reported that the DPRK confirmed that a Japanese woman abducted by DPRK spies when she was 13 committed suicide at a Pyongyang mental hospital while being treated for depression, a senior Japanese official said Wednesday. However, another kidnap victim was said to be alive and married to a former US serviceman. The DPRK revealed the circumstances surrounding the woman’s 1993 death and the fates of a dozen other Japanese abductees to a fact-finding mission that returned to Japan on Tuesday, deputy Cabinet spokesman Shinzo Abe said. According to the DPRK, Yokota, who was abducted in 1977, killed herself at a mental hospital in Pyongyang where she was being treated for severe depression, Abe said. She is said to have been survived by a teenage daughter in the DPRK, and the mission brought back some of the girl’s hair for DNA tests and a picture of Megumi as an adult. “This has just reaffirmed for me how horrible a country North Korea is,” said Sakie Yokota, Megumi’s mother. The DPRK was cooperative and provided information confirming the identities of the abductees, Abe said. He added that the DPRK also told the mission that two people were tried in 1998 for their roles in the abductions – one was executed and the other sentenced to 15 years in prison. Many questions surrounding the abductions remained, however. The DPRK says one abductee, Rumiko Masumoto, died of heart disease at age 27. But her brother Teruaki questioned such an illness for someone so young, especially since his family has no history of the disease. “I don’t think we can trust these results at all,” he said. Suspicions had been raised about why two abductees died on the same day, but Abe said the DPRK claimed they died in a car accident. Two others were said to have died after inhaling noxious fumes from a coal stove. Another woman, Hitomi Soga, who was abducted from secluded Sado island in August 1978, married an American soldier. Pyongyang said she was abducted with the help of a Japanese operative whom they refused to identify.

8. Japan DPRK Abduction Fact Finding Mission

Reuters (“TEAM SENT TO INVESTIGATE ABDUCTIONS CONCLUDES STAY IN NORTH KOREA,” Tokyo, 10/01/02) reported that a Japanese government fact-finding team sent to investigate the abductions of more than a dozen Japanese by DPRK spies has completed its mission and left Pyongyang, officials said Tuesday. The delegation’s return to Tokyo, originally scheduled for Tuesday evening, was delayed because of a typhoon threatening the Japanese capital. The flight carrying them from Beijing had to land in Japan’s Kansai International Airport in western Japan before finally arriving in Tokyo around midnight, airport officials said. Chief Cabinet spokesman Yasuo Fukuda said the team would brief officials on what they learned about the abductions after their return. Japanese media reports said the team met directly with some of the survivors, and were hoping to get their fingerprints or tape video interviews with them. Relatives of the victims are also seeking DNA samples or other proof to confirm the identities of the dead. It was not immediately known whether the DPRK would allow the Japanese officials to collect such evidence.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:

Ilmin Internationl Relations Institute
BK21 The Education and Research Corps for East Asian Studies
Department of Political Science, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan

Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Brandon Yu: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Young-soo: yskim328@hotmail.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hibiki Yamaguchi: hibikiy84@hotmail.com
Tokyo, Japan

Saiko Iwata: saiko@akira.ne.jp
Tokyo, Japan

Hiroya Takagi: hiroya_takagi@hotmail.com
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin: icipu@online.ru
Moscow, Russian Federation

Wu Chunsi: cswu@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

John McKay: John.McKay@adm.monash.edu.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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