NAPSNet Daily Report 03 April, 2002

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 03 April, 2002", NAPSNet Daily Report, April 03, 2002, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-03-april-2002/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. ROK Envoy in DPRK
2. PRC Coastal Missile Development
3. PRC-Japan Relations
4. DPRK-US Relations
5. DPRK-Japan-PRC Sunken Mystery Boat
6. Japan-DPRK Relations
7. Japan Domestic Politics
8. PRC View of Outer Space Weapons
9. ROK US Force Spending
10. ROK Presidential Election
11. Multilateral Submarine Drill

I. United States

1. ROK Envoy in DPRK

Reuters (Paul Eckert, “S.KOREAN ENVOY URGES NORTH TO REVIVE DIPLOMACY,” Seoul, 04/03/02) and Agence France-Presse (“SOUTH KOREAN ENVOY ARRIVES IN NORTH KOREA,” 04/03/02) reported that ROK special envoy Lim Dong-won began three days of talks with the DPRK Wednesday, calling on the DPRK to revive stalled diplomacy with Seoul and its diplomatic allies the US and Japan. Lim met a senior DPRK ruling party official in Pyongyang in the first public contact between the two sides since November. Lim made the appeal to resume diplomatic contacts in more than two hours of “candid discussions” with Kim Yong-sun, a secretary of the ruling Workers Party and a close aide to DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, a Seoul Unification Ministry official said. Lim stated, “I am going to Pyongyang to prevent the build-up of tensions on the Korean peninsula and open the channels of stalemated North-South relations. I will convey fully President Kim’s thoughts on peace and national reconciliation and listen to the views of the highest authorities in North Korea.”

Reuters (Paul Eckert, “N.KOREA REPORT ON TALKS BLAMES SOUTH FOR STALEMATE,” Seoul, 04/03/02) reported that the DPRK in its first substantive official media report on its talks with the ROK’s special envoy, Lim Dong-won, said on Thursday that the ROK and US were to blame for the stalemate in inter-Korean ties. Lim met senior DPRK ruling party official Kim Yong-sun in Pyongyang on Wednesday and urged the DPRK to return to full dialogue and resume North-South projects that they walked away from last year, Seoul officials said. But an account of the meeting by the official DPRK Central News Agency (KCNA) said that the rapprochement “is facing a serious crisis due to the moves of the bellicose forces at home and abroad to provoke a war, our side noted, adding that not only the US but the South side are to blame for this.”

2. PRC Coastal Missile Development

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “CHINESE MISSILES CONCERN PENTAGON,” 04/03/02) reported that the PRC’s buildup of short-range missiles near its southeastern coast is “threatening” to Taiwan and poses a danger to sea lanes and ports in the region, the Pentagon said yesterday. “These missiles are clearly designed to project a threatening posture and to try and intimidate the people and the democratically elected government of Taiwan,” said Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Commander Jeff Davis. “We’re monitoring China’s force modernization opposite Taiwan very carefully, including the [People’s Liberation Army’s] growing arsenal of tactical ballistic missiles,” he said. Davis also stated, “The modernization itself doesn’t bother us. China is a major regional power and it’s appropriate that it has a military commensurate with its stature. What is a concern to us are the things that raise tensions vis-a-vis Taiwan, in particular their missile deployments.” US intelligence officials disclosed to that the PRC in the past three weeks moved some 20 additional CSS-7 short-range ballistic missiles to a base at Yongan, within striking distance of Taiwan. The PRC missile force near Taiwan has increased from fewer than 50 in 1997 to more than 350 today. The Defense Intelligence Agency estimates that the missile force of both CSS-6s and CSS-7s will grow to as many as 650 by 2005. The PRC has purchased two Sovremenny-class destroyers from Russia that are equipped with SSN-22 Sunburn anti-ship missiles, and recently has ordered two more. In addition to missile deployments and ship purchases, the PRC also has acquired advanced Su-27 and Su-30 warplanes and is building a new class of attack submarines. [This article also appeared in the April 3rd edition of the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news summary.]

3. PRC-Japan Relations

The Associated Press (“CHINA LEADER CEMENTS BONDS IN JAPAN,” Tokyo, 04/03/02) reported that PRC No. 2 leader Li Peng met Japanese lawmakers Wednesday in an effort to stoke warming relations that were undermined last year by a series of quarrels between the Asian neighbors. The weeklong visit was originally scheduled for last May, but the PRCcanceled the trip in protest of Japan’s granting a travel visa to former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui. Relations were further strained last year by Japan’s approval of a history textbook critics say glosses over World War II atrocities, and by the sinking of a suspected DPRK spy ship just outside PRC territorial waters after a gunbattle with the Japan Coast Guard. Li’s visit, which ends April 9, comes as the two countries celebrate the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations. Li, who is also Chairman of the Chinese parliament, met Tamisuke Watanuki, speaker of Japan’s lower house of parliament early Wednesday before talks with Yutaka Inoue, president of Japan’s upper house. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is scheduled to meet Li on Thursday, when expanding economic ties is expected to be among the issues discussed. “China is a very important player in Asia and increasingly so. We want to see a further warming of relations,” Koizumi spokeswoman Misako Kaji said. Li’s visit is the first from a high level Chinese leader since the October 2000 visit by Prime Minister Zhu Rongji. It could be the first in a flurry of diplomatic overtures. PRC Vice Premier Wen Jiabao is also expected to visit Japan later this year. Koizumi is also considering a visit to the PRC to attend the Boao economic forum of Asian nations from April 12-13 on the southern island of Hainan.

4. DPRK-US Relations

The Associated Press (Sandra Sobieraj, “BUSH READY FOR NKOREA DIALOGUE,” Washington, 04/03/02) reported that the US White House reaffirmed on Wednesday its willingness to reopen a dialogue with the DPRK, even as the DPRK accused the US of engaging in “groundless slanders” against them. White House spokesperson, Ari Fleischer said, “We continue to await a response from North Korea to our long-standing proposal to meet with them on broader issues of concern.” The US officials said Washington received word from the DPRK last week that they intended to resume discussions with the consortium after postponing a scheduled meeting last month. Fleischer was asked if Bush was willing to stop using the term “axis of evil” to describe the DPRK, Iran and Iraq. Fleischer replied: “The president will continue to speak out forthrightly about what he sees as ways to make peace throughout the world.”

The Associated Press (Lee Soo-jeong, “NORTH KOREA SAYS IT WILL START DIALOGUE WITH US-LED CONSORTIUM,” Seoul, 04/03/02) and Reuters (“N.KOREA CONFIRMS U.S. CONTACTS, TO TALK WITH KEDO,” Seoul, 04/03/02) reported that the DPRK confirmed on Wednesday recent contacts with the US and said that it would follow US suggestions and resume talks with the international consortium, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). It was unclear from the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency’s brief English statement whether the DPRK also wants to open dialogue with the US government. Unnamed US State Department officials, said the statement appears to refer only to KEDO. Quoting an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman, the KCNA said the DPRK “carefully examined the U.S. side’s position and decided to resume the negotiations, taking its request into consideration.” The KCNA also quoted a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesperson as saying the DPRK’s envoy to the United Nations had met a US official twice last month in New York.

5. DPRK-Japan-PRC Sunken Mystery Boat

The Associated Press (“CHINA’S NO. 2 LEADER HINTS AT COOPERATION WITH JAPAN OVER ALLEGED NORTH KOREAN SPY BOAT,” Tokyo, 04/03/02) reported that PRC vice-leader Li Peng hinted Wednesday that the PRC might be prepared to smooth the way for Japan to raise a suspected DPRK spy boat that sank in waters where the PRC has exclusive economic rights. Peng was speaking at a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi on the second day of a weeklong visit. Li told Kawaguchi that their countries “should find ways to settle the problem” on the basis of international and PRC law.

6. Japan-DPRK Relations

Agence France-Presse (“JAPANESE MINISTER IRKED AFTER NORTH KOREA POSTPONES TALKS,” 03/29/02) reported that Japanese Health Minister Chikara Sakaguchi voiced irritation with his DPRK counterparts after they postponed talks scheduled for the weekend in Singapore. “Their attitude really lacks sincerity,” Sakaguchi said Friday, adding he had confirmed through a phone call to DPRK representatives in Japan that the DPRK had requested a planned meeting with its Kim Su-Hak on Saturday be postponed. “This (sudden postponement) seems to be an everyday occurence,” Sakaguchi said. “I think it’s very annoying.” The meeting was primarily aimed at discussing how to help survivors of the atomic bombings of Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, but Sakaguchi had intended to raise the issue of Japanese nationals suspected of being abducted by DPRK agents. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said that Japan would continue to press its case on the issue of Japanese abductions. “We will respond very vigorously as a government on this issue,” he said.

7. Japan Domestic Politics

Agence France-Presse (“SUPPORT FOR JAPAN PM KOIZUMI’S CABINET FALLS FURTHER: POLL,” 04/03/02) reported that according to the latest nationwide telephone poll by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, support for the cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has fallen to a new low of 40% marking the first time more people disapproved of the government than approved. The approval rate fell from 44% recorded in the last nationwide telephone poll in March, while the disapproval rate rose to 44% from 40%. Some 86% of respondents said Koizumi had failed to show leadership in handling a series of scandals that led to two top Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) bigwigs leaving the ruling group recently. Only 21% thought the premier’s political stance was a strong point, down from 27% previously. Meanwhile, support for the LDP fell to a low of 25%, “a level approaching the dying days of the Yoshiro Mori cabinet,” the paper said, referring to Koizumi’s predecessor. The survey targeted randomly picked households and had 2,080 respondents out of 3,676 called.

8. PRC View of Outer Space Weapons

Reuters (“CHINA CALLS FOR BAN ON WEAPONS IN SPACE,” Beijing, 04/03/02) reported that the PRC called for a global covenant to prevent an outer space arms race, state media said Wednesday. “The international community should adopt effective preventive measures and make a special international agreement to ban any weapons of destruction from outer space,” the Xinhua news agency quoted Vice Foreign Minister Qiao Zonghuai as saying. The PRC proposed banning weapon experimentation, as well as placing and using any space arms in outer space, on earth, or within the earth’s atmosphere, he told a Sino-UN sponsored arms control conference. Qiao also called for banning the use or threatened use of arms against any object in outer space, Xinhua said. “China is willing to join hands with the international community to exert every effort to come to such an agreement and to strive for peace in outer space,” he was quoted as saying.

9. ROK US Force Spending

The Korea Herald (“CABINET APPROVES U.S. FORCES COST-SHARING PLAN FOR 2002,” Seoul, 04/03/02) reported that the ROK cabinet yesterday approved a proposal that the ROK contribute about US$463 million to US Forces Korea (USFK) for upkeep this year, officials said yesterday. The government sent the cost-sharing accord, struck late last year between the two nations, to the National Assembly. Under the bill, the ROK will contribute US$405 million in won plus US$58.8 million in dollars this year. The two sides agreed to increase the ROK’s payment in won from 62% to 88%, with the exchange rate set at 1,245 won per dollar, down from the previous rate of 1,300 won per dollar. The payment increase is due to take effect in March. [This article also appeared in the April 3rd edition of the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news summary.]

10. ROK Presidential Election

The Los Angeles Times (Barbara Demick, “EX-RULER’S KIN WALKS SOFTLY IN HIS FOOTSTEPS S. KOREA,” Seoul, 04/02/02) reported that Park Geun Hye, daughter of former ROK President Park Chung Hee, is planning on running for president. Park recently stated in an interview, “Different times need different types of leadership. My father was criticized as a dictator, but that should not overshadow his accomplishments in restructuring the country. He brought Korea out of 5,000 years of poverty. What he left unaccomplished was democratization of the system.” The latest polls show that Park would come in a distant third, with no more than 15% of the vote, if she runs in the December 19 election. However, “She is the only political leader who can gather a crowd when she goes to deliver a speech,” said Park Jai Chang, a political scientist at Sook Myong Women’s University in Seoul, who is no relation.

11. Multilateral Submarine Drill

The Korea Times (“5 NATIONS TO CONDUCT SUBMARINE DRILL IN JAPANESE WATERS,” 04/03/02) reported that the ROK will team up with the US, Japan, Singapore and Australia from April 22 to May 2 in Japanese waters for Pacific Reach 2002, the biennial submarine rescue exercise held in the Pacific region, officials said yesterday. This year, Japan will host the exercise, which will be taking place off Sasebo, southwest of Japan’s Kyushu Island. The 11-day drill is designed to promote communications and interoperability among the five countries for submarine rescue operations.

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

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@glas.apc.org
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< /a>
Clayton, Australia

 


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