NAPSNet Daily Report 04 June, 2003

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 04 June, 2003", NAPSNet Daily Report, June 04, 2003, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-04-june-2003/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US Congressmen on DPRK
2. PRC Response to US House Leader’s Censure
3. PRC Tiananmen Anniversary
4. DPRK Drug Seizure
5. ROK DPRK Drug Investigation
II. Republic of Korea 1. DPRK Fishing Boat Across the Limit Line
2. ROK-US Enhanced Military Alliance
3. ROK-Japan Summit Preparation
4. DPRK Nuclear as Negotiation Card
1. Japan’s Role in Iraq Reconstruction
2. Japan US Marines Relocation
3. US Bases in Japan
4. Japan-ROK War Compensation
5. Japan Electricity Shortage
6. Japan Patriotic Education
7. Explosive Remnants of War
8. Japan Photographer Bomb Explosion

I. United States

1. US Congressmen on DPRK

Agence France-Presse (“US LAWMAKERS SAY NORTH KOREA “READY TO DEAL” OVER NUCLEAR ARMS,” 06/04/03) reported that the DPRK is “ready to deal” over its nuclear weapons and gave a positive response to a plan proposed by US Congressmen, members of the group said. Congressman Curt Weldon said he presented the plan to DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-Sun during a private 90-minute meeting in Pyongyang last week. “His response was, ‘It’s very positive. It’s exactly what we are looking for,'” Weldon, who headed the six-member bi-partisan delegation, told reporters here upon his return to the US. No details of the blueprint were disclosed. But Weldon, a Republican member of the House of Representatives, said the delegation “had some ideas that might help our negotiators” which he would present to Secretary of State Colin Powell. “They are certainly ready to deal,” Democratic Representative Eliot Engel said of the DPRKs. The three-day trip by US lawmakers marked the first effort to engage the hermit Stalinist state on a less formal level than diplomatic talks — and try to find ways to defuse the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program, according to congressional officials. Although the group had been briefed prior to the trip at the State Department and the National Security Council, its members denied substantive negotiations were their purpose, or that they did the administration’s bidding.

2. PRC Response to US House Leader’s Censure

Reuters (“CHINA BRUSHES ASIDE US HOUSE LEADER’S CENSURE,” Beijing, 06/03/03) reported that the PRC on Tuesday pointedly ignored scathing remarks made by a senior US politician who described the country’s leadership as decrepit tyrants clinging to a dying regime. “It would be better for a US government spokesperson to explain,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told a news conference when asked to comment on a speech made on Monday by Texas Republican Congressman Tom Delay, the House Majority leader. “The PRC, in my opinion, is a backward, corrupt anachronism, run by decrepit tyrants … clinging to a dying regime,” DeLay said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute. DeLay also said he was trying to convince the Bush administration to begin free trade talks with Taiwan. But many analysts believe Washington is reluctant to antagonize Beijing on the highly sensitive issue of Taiwan, and US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick has displayed no interest in free trade talks with the island. Zhang said President Bush had restated US adherence to its “one-China” policy in a meeting with PRC counterpart Hu Jintao on Sunday in Evian, France, where they were attending a summit of Group of Eight leaders.

3. PRC Tiananmen Anniversary

Agence France-Presse (“BEIJING QUIET ON ANNIVERSARY OF DEMOCRACY PROTESTS,” 06/04/03) reported that there were few signs of commemorations of the June 4 massacre of Tiananmen democracy protesters that took place 14 years ago. Tiananmen square, the immense esplanade in the center of Beijing where the protests took place, was strangely quiet even as life was slowly returning to normal as the two-month old health crisis subsided. Uniformed and plainclothes police easily outnumbered the few visitors on the square that is normally packed with both foreign and domestic tourists at this time of the year. Police Wednesday also made the yearly round to the PRC’s beleaguered political dissidents not yet in jail, warning them not to cause trouble or talk to foreign journalists. “They came to my home and asked if I planned to participate in any activities on June 4 and … they said if reporters want to interview me, to not agree,” said Jia Jianying, the wife of longtime democracy activist He Depu, who was arrested in November on charges of subversion. “They said it’s best not to have any problems,” she said. In the university district, where the protests erupted in April 1989, schools like Beijing University were closed off Wednesday to everyone except students and campus employees due to the SARS epidemic. Those entering the colleges had to furnish identification papers and have their temperature taken for signs of fever, an early symptom of the deadly respiratory disease. Asked about the bloody crackdown 14 years ago, most students refused to respond. “June 4th for me is like any other day, but this is not to say that what happened 14 years ago has left me indifferent,” said Zhao Jingjia, a doctorate student at Qinghua University. “I think that the cause of the students was just, but I’m not in a position to comment on the movement as a whole,” the 25-year-old said. Other students offered similar views. “It is important to continue to move forward with the reforms, but one must not oppose the government,” said a 21-year old economics student named Kang. “In 1989, (opposing the government) ended in a blood bath, this was a tragedy.”

4. DPRK Drug Seizure

Agence France-Presse (“POLICE SEIZE DRUGS FROM CARGO SHIP THAT DOCKED IN NORTH KOREA,” 06/04/03) reported that the DPRK, accused of selling weapons and illegal drugs to prop up its bankrupt regime, was linked to a major drug seizure in the ROK. The ROK police seized 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of methamphetamine, a banned stimulant drug, in a raid Tuesday in the southern city of Busan, investigators said Wednesday. The ship reportedly came from the PRC through the DPRK before docking at the southern port city of Busan. The US says illegal drugs are one of the DPRK’s top exports, along with missiles, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars into state coffers every year. Nearly 50 percent of illegal drug imports into Japan originate from the DPRK, according to Japanese officials. “We have seized a sack of methamphetamine from a China-registered ship,” an investigator in Busan told AFP, adding the drug was concealed in a container taken off the ship. He declined to give details but news reports identified the ship as the Chuxing and said it had called at the DPRK’s northeastern port of Rajin on its way to Busan. “No arrests have been made so far,” the investigator said. Another official said the origin of the narcotics had yet to be determined. “We need analysis of the drug to check where it came from,” he said. The raid in Busan, the ROK’s largest port, came amid growing concerns in Asia over the DPRK’s alleged state-orchestrated drug smuggling activities. Japanese officials have announced plans to boost inspections of DPRK ships calling at Japanese ports.

5. ROK DPRK Drug Investigation

Reuters (“SOUTH KOREA INVESTIGATES NORTH DRUG LINK,” Seoul, 06/04/03) reported that the ROK is investigating whether a huge seizure of the drug methamphetamine, or speed, may have originated from the DPRK after it was found aboard a PRC container ship. The seizure comes as the US and its allies have been contemplating tightening checks on cargo from the DPRK — proposed measures to squeeze the communist state’s revenues and press it to abandon its attempts to build nuclear weapons. North Korea has since the 1970s been accused of trafficking illegal narcotics to prop up its decrepit economy. Two exiled former DPRK officials told a US Senate subcommittee last month of a 15-year-old state-run opium production program. Media and official accounts of Tuesday’s drug seizure in the ROK port city of Pusan varied on the details in a case that could further undercut Seoul’s attempts to reconcile with Pyongyang by extending economic aid to its poor neighbor. Yonhap news agency quoted sources familiar with the raid as saying police and customs officials seized 176.4 pounds of the banned stimulant philipon from a ship that originated in China and called at North Korea en route to Pusan. But a prosecution official gave a different account. “The ship is Chinese, but we have not confirmed whether it departed from China and stopped by North Korea,” said Kim Myoung-jin, who estimated the drug haul at 88-110 pounds. “We cannot confirm that the drugs are from North Korea at this moment,” he said by telephone. “We are investigating sources and relevant people now.” South Korea’s MBC television news showed film clips of police and customs officials inspecting sacks of the drug, which was mixed in a container of sugar on a cargo ship that the report said had called at the DPRK port city of Rajin recently. Yonhap said initial intelligence tip-off that triggered the raid put the methamphetamine haul at 242.5 pounds and valued at $250 million. Last month Pyongyang angrily denied that its government was involved in a shipment of 110 pounds seized in April in Australia after being dropped ashore from a DPRK-owned ship. Thirty crew members from the DPRK-owned and Tuvalu-registered vessel Pong Su were accused of aiding and abetting the import of heroin and taken into custody in Australia. Some were thought to be communist party officials. Pyongyang’s ruling party newspaper said on Wednesday that it was “ridiculous and preposterous” for Washington to talk of an economic blockade over the nuclear crisis that began last October with North Korea’s admission of a covert nuclear arms program. “Any sanctions against the DPRK means a war,” said the daily Rodong Sinmun, using the acronym for North Korea’s official title, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Fishing Boat Across the Limit Line

Chosun Ilbo (Yoo Yong-won, “VIOLATIONS AT NLL CONTINUE,” Seoul, 06/04/03) reported that a North Korean fishing boat ventured a tenth of a mile south of the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea at 11:53 a.m. on Tuesday, then returned to its side after five minutes as a navy patrol boat fired warning shots. The incident marks the 13th NLL violation by North Korean vessels this year. The patrol boat sent out a warning message and fired eight rounds from a K-6 machine gun immediately after the vessel crossed the maritime border. The fishing boat turned back to DPRK at 11:58 a.m. According to the Joint Chiefs, 40 to 50 North Korean fishing boats were operating on the Northern side of the line, and no signs of movement by the North Korean Navy were detected. North Korean fishing boats have violated the NLL every day since May 26, except for May 29.

2. ROK-US Enhanced Military Alliance

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Chul-hee, “CHANGES PLANNED IN MILITARY ALLIANCE,” Seoul, 06/04/03) reported that the commander of US Forces in Korea, General Leon LaPorte, said Tuesday that there will be modifications to the operations plan of the ROK-US combined forces to beef up defense of the capital region. Speaking to lawmakers at the National Assembly, General LaPorte said the plan to enhance US forces in ROK is not intended to strike an aggressive posture, but rather to make the defense of ROK more effective. His comments Tuesday were the latest in a series of remarks from US and ROK defense officials in recent days that signaled progress in a bilateral review of potential changes in the alignment of the two countries’ military deployments. A joint study of the military alliance began in December, when the two countries’ defense ministers met in Washington. Deputy U.S. Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said Monday in Seoul that the study should conclude this year for agreed changes to be implemented next year. The US forces in ROK and the ROK Defense Ministry over the weekend announced that US would spend $11 billion over the next few years to enhance the mission of its forces in ROK. The changes will strengthen the deterrent effect of the combined US and ROK forces, ROK defense officials have said. General LaPorte said, echoing Mr. Wolfowitz’s remarks in Seoul Monday, that ROK should also increase its investment in defense to complement the US investment. He said an Apache Lowbow helicopter battalion that is now being reequipped in US should be redeployed here soon. But there has been no decision yet on the relocation of US troops and facilities, he said, except to move about 6,000 of the 7,000 soldiers in Seoul out of the capital to an area in southern Gyeonggi province.

3. ROK-Japan Summit Preparation

Joongang Ilbo (Oh Day-young, “ROH TO FACE THE PUBLIC EYE IN JAPAN,” Tokyo, 06/04/03) reported that ROK President Roh Moo-hyun’s 4-day visit to Japan, starting Friday, signals the first attempt by a ROK president to meet with as many members of the Japanese media and public as possible. Mr. Roh has an interview scheduled with the Nihon Gayjai economic daily Friday, a news conference with the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Saturday, a special forum with the Japanese public on the Tokyo Broadcasting System on Sunday, and a speech to the Japanese Diet and a news forum with the Japan Broadcasting Corp. on Monday. Only two foreign leaders have participated in the TV forum scheduled for Sunday; the former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1998 and the former Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji in 2000. On the hour-long program, Mr. Roh will field questions from about 90 audience members. People from the streets of Osaka will also get a chance to question the guest. The North Korean nuclear program heads the list for the joint news conference with Mr. Koizumi Saturday. Both leaders have pledged to cooperate in seeking a peaceful solution to the problem, but additional steps for worst-case scenarios will be discussed in detail at the conference, which will happen after the two leaders meet in private. On the agenda Saturday as well is the issue of increased openness to Japanese cultural products in Korea, along with the proposed Korea-Japan free trade agreement.

4. DPRK Nuclear as Negotiation Card

Chosun Ilbo (Hong Seok-jun, “NORTH MAY HAVE MOVED RODS,” Seoul, 06/04/03) reported that ROK National Intelligence Service has obtained intelligence that some of DPRK’s 8,000 used fuel rods were moved to another location and that the reprocessing is in progress, lawmakers said. The intelligence agency reported at a closed-door meeting of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee, according to legislators in attendance, that it had detected signs of traffic and people at the Yeongbyeon facility, as well as heat from the reprocessing, until April 30, but that all activities had stopped since May. The agency said that the process of reprocessing the used fuel rods and turning them into plutonium could take up to four months, and that it could not say how far DPRK had gotten. The lawmakers said that DPRK’s claim that the reprocessing of the 8,000 used rods was almost complete was likely a negotiation card, and there had been no intelligence suggesting such development. On the question of whether the defector and former North Korean senior official Hwang Jang-yop can visit US, the agency reportedly said that the visit would be permitted as long as US agrees to provide extra measures to guarantee his safety.

III. Japan

1. Japan’s Role in Iraq Reconstruction

Kyodo (“JAPAN APPOINTS YEMEN AMBASSADOR OKI AS ENVOY IN CHARGE OF IRAQ,” Tokyo, 05/30/03) reported that the Japanese government decided at a cabinet meeting last Friday to appoint Japanese Ambassador to Yemen Masamitsu Oki as the country’s ambassador in charge of Iraq. The Foreign Ministry said it decided to set up the post of ambassador in charge of Iraq at the ministry in Tokyo as it cannot formally send an ambassador until an interim administration in Iraq is in place.

The Japan Times (“JAPAN SET TO LIFT SANCTIONS ON IRAQ FROM SATURDAY,” 05/31/03) reported that the Japanese government formally announced last Friday that it will begin lifting economic sanctions on Iraq from Saturday in line with the UN Security Council resolution on May 22 to end the 13-year-old sanctions on the war-ravaged country. The decision will allow Japanese firms to trade with Iraq, which has the world’s second-largest oil reserves, and help Japanese non-governmental organizations already in Iraq to carry out their activities more easily, trade and finance ministry officials said. As an exception to the lifting of the freeze, Japan will continue to ban the removal of assets of Iraq’s central bank and state-run banks held at Japanese financial institutions, worth about 10 billion yen in total, government officials said. Such assets will be transferred to the new Iraqi Development Fund for rebuilding the country, as soon as possible, they added. Japan will also continue to freeze any assets in the names of ousted President Saddam Hussein and other high-ranking officials. But so far, no such assets have been confirmed in Japan, the officials said. The lifting of the sanctions, agreed by the Cabinet on Friday, will be completed by early June.

2. Japan US Marines Relocation

The Japan Times (Kanako Takahara, “OFFICIALS DENY PLAN TO MOVE U.S. MARINES,” 05/31/03) reported that top Japanese government officials on Friday denied that the US plans to move 15,000 of the 20,000 US Marines based in Okinawa out of Japan. “Although Japan and the United States are holding a close security dialogue, we have received no information to this effect from the Pentagon, as has been reported,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told a regular news conference. Fukuda, however, did not rule out a possible future repositioning of US forces, saying the US government, while consulting with Japan, will reach a decision after considering the global composition of its forces and the international situation. Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi also denied the reports, saying the US would not put forward such an important issue without first consulting Japan. Kawaguchi said that when Japan inquired about the news reports, the US denied them. But Okinawa prefectural officials said Friday that a Pentagon press officer told them when asked about the media report that the US is “considering” pulling out marines from the prefecture.

3. US Bases in Japan

Kyodo (“U.S. MILITARY TELLS LOCAL GOV’TS CLEANUP FOR FUEL SPILL OVER,” 05/31/03) reported that the US Air Force’s Yokota base in western Tokyo has told nearby local governments that the base is to end cleaning up jet fuel that leaked in a 1993 fuel-spill accident at the base, local authorities said last Saturday. The authorities said the US military told them on May 16 it intends to finish the cleanup because water quality in and around the base has already met Japanese and US standards. Officials from six local governments hosting the base, including Fussa and Tachikawa, as well as from the Environment Ministry and the Tokyo metropolitan government took part in a briefing. They said that the US decision is expected to be presented to the joint Japan-US committee in June. “We are examining results of water quality presented by the US forces at this stage,” said a local governmental official who took part in the briefing. “If it is really safe, I hope that the central government will soon declare it is so.” The accident happened on Oct. 25, 1993, when it was confirmed that fuel used for aircraft was missing from tanks kept 3 meters below ground inside the base. The US military later announced that 68,000 liters of fuel had leaked.

Kyodo (“5 MARINES ARRESTED SAT. OVER 4 INCIDENTS IN OKINAWA,” 05/31/03) reported that five US Marine Corps soldiers aged between 18 and 22 were arrested early Saturday in Okinawa Prefecture over four separate incidents related to their apparently being drunk, local police said. The first case involved an accident around 12:00 a.m. in which Lance Cpl. Aaron Itsell allegedly caused damage while riding a minibike, the police said. Around 1 a.m., the police were alerted about four US Marines who reportedly left a taxi without paying the fare of some 4,800 yen. The two other incidents involved two Marines stationed at Camp Zukeran in central Okinawa, the police said.

4. Japan-ROK War Compensation

Mainichi Daily News (“FAMILIES OF KOREANS WHO DIED IN WWII SHIP BLAST DENIED COMPENSATION,” Osaka, 05/30/03) reported that the Japanese government cannot be held responsible for an explosion on a naval ship in the Sea of Japan that killed hundreds of Korean workers and their families shortly after the end of World War II, an appeal court here in Osaka last Friday. The incident occurred on Aug. 24, 1945, in Maizuru Bay off Kyoto Prefecture. An explosion occurred on the Ukishima Maru carrying some 4,000 people — mostly Korean conscript workers and their families — killing 524 Korean nationals and 25 crewmembers, the government said at the time. The vessel was heading for Pusan, Korea, from Aomori Prefecture. The cause of the explosion is still shrouded in mystery. It is suspected that the vessel may have hit an underwater mine planted by the US, while some say that a crewmember may have blown it up for fear that they would be stranded on the Korean Peninsula after arriving there. This time, the Osaka High Court overturned a Kyoto District Court ruling that ordered the government to pay 45 million yen in damages to 15 survivors who the lower court recognized were aboard the vessel at the time. “Japan was effectively in a state of war when the incident occurred. Under such circumstances, the government could not be held responsible for its illegal acts,” Presiding Judge Takaaki Okabe said as he handed down the ruling. “The damage the plaintiffs suffered is equal to damage caused by war.” Okabe went on to say that it is justifiable that the government went ahead with the operation of the ship despite the risk of hitting underwater mines, noting that the government was afraid at the time that Korean conscript workers might stage a riot against Japan and join the Allied Forces. The angry plaintiffs are poised to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. “My father died as a Japanese national (under Japan’s colonial rule of Korea and assimilation policy). Why is he discriminated against?” said Jeon Seung-ryeol, 61, one of the 80 plaintiffs whose father died in the accident. “Japan calls itself, ‘a peace-loving country,’ and ‘democratic country,’ but has failed to apologize to the bereaved families or conduct any investigation into the incident. Through this lawsuit, I realized what Japan is really like,” he added.

5. Japan Electricity Shortage

Mainichi Daily News (“TEPCO TO BUY ELECTRICITY TO AVOID POWER SHORTAGE,” 05/30/03) reported that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), which has suspended operations at most of its nuclear reactors for inspections, is likely to avoid a power failure in summer because it has decided to buy electric power from another supplier, company officials said last Friday. TEPCO has decided to buy surplus electric power from Tohoku Electric Power Co., in addition to its planned resumption of operations at three of 16 stalled nuclear power plants by the end of June. If four nuclear power plants are reactivated in addition to the No. 6 reactor at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, which is already operating, the Tokyo power supplier will likely avoid a power failure when electric power consumption peaks in summer. TEPCO intends to reactivate the No. 7 reactor at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture and the No. 3 and No. 6 reactors of its Fukushima Unit 1 plant in Fukushima Prefecture by the end of June. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency is set to declare Sunday that Fukushima’s No. 6 reactor is safe after the government conducts a final safety check on it. The power supplier is also aiming to reactivate two other reactors after undergoing safety examinations and gaining approval from the local community. Meanwhile, Tohoku Electric Power is likely to have enough capacity to generate electric power to help TEPCO as it is set to soon reactivate the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at its Onagawa Nuclear Power Plants in Miyagi Prefecture that have been stalled due to technical problems.

6. Japan Patriotic Education

Reuters (Linda Sieg, “JAPAN PONDERS PATRIOTISM: TO TEACH OR NOT TO TEACH,” Tokyo, 05/28/03) reported that six decades after Japan’s defeat in World War II, the concept of patriotism is still a touchy topic — especially when it comes to what to teach in the nation’s schools. Conservative politicians are nearing their goal of revising a law on the basic aims of education in what would be the first changes since its enactment during the US-led Occupation. A panel of experts in March urged changing the 1947 law, which aimed to eradicate concepts conducive to militarism and cultivate democracy, to add ideals such as “respect for Japanese tradition and culture” and “love of country and hometown”. Advocates say reform of the education law is overdue. “There’s nothing wrong with the current Fundamental Law on Education, but is it Japan’s? It could be a law for any country,” said Taro Aso, policy chief for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and an advocate of the revisions. “The Japanese education law was written during the extreme situation of the Occupation. But it’s been 57 years since the end of the war and in that 57 years has Japanese education got better? I don’t think anyone would say that,” Aso added. Critics of the proposals agree Japan’s long-admired education system has lots of faults. Academic ability is declining, discipline eroding and the number of dropouts is increasing. But teaching patriotism, they say, isn’t the solution. “Since the 1980s there have been problems in the schools,” said Kyoto Women’s University professor Masaaki Noda. “But these are problems of the whole education system, which doesn’t give children goals. They are trying to fill the gap with patriotism.” Meanwhile, the Education Ministry has already introduced new ethics textbooks which show the effects of the conservative campaign. One such elementary school text, entitled “Notes of the Heart”, urges children not only to “value freedom” and “respect the opinions of others” but to “love one’s hometown and country”. “Patriotism catches fire in wartime or a national emergency, as we saw when (US President George) Bush’s support skyrocketed. But that sort of patriotism is dangerous,” said a retired Japanese high-school principal who was 13 when the war ended.

7. Explosive Remnants of War

Kyodo (“NATIONS THAT USE EXPLOSIVE WEAPONS MUST REMOVE THEM,” 05/31/03) reported that a proposal on explosive remnants of war (ERW), which will feature measures to protect the general public from the dangerous munitions, will be submitted to an international meeting in Geneva in June. The proposal stipulates that countries which have used weapons, including cluster bombs, should take responsibility for removing them. It will be submitted to the Convention on Prohibitions on Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva which starts June 16. It requests that these countries disclose information on the weapons, including types and amounts, and issue warnings so that the general public can avoid them. The proposal will also require signatory nations of CCW to support rehabilitation and social reintegration for those who have been wounded by ERW. According to the sources, the proposal will not be retroactive, for example, cluster bombs dropped by the US in Afghanistan will not be covered. The proposal also leaves the ERW left behind in China during World War II by the Japanese military up to the concerned countries.

8. Japan Photographer Bomb Explosion

Mainichi Daily News (“MAINICHI MAN GETS 18 MONTHS IN JORDAN JAIL FOR EXPLOSION,” Amman, 06/01/03) reported that former Mainichi Shimbun photographer Hiroki Gomi was sentenced Sunday to 18 months in prison over an explosion at an airport in Amman in early May in which a security guard died. The Jordanian State Security Court convicted Gomi, 36, of negligence resulting in death and injury, while acquitting him of illegal possession of explosives on the grounds that he was not aware the object could explode. The sentence can be appealed, but Gomi will not do so, sources said. Gomi and his lawyer are poised to ask King Abdullah II on Monday or later to grant him a pardon. While expressing his apologies to the bereaved family of Ali Al-Sarhan, a killed security guard in the blast, Gomi pleaded not guilty during court hearings to the charges of illegal possession of explosives and negligence resulting in death.

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