NAPSNet Daily Report 07 May, 2002

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 07 May, 2002", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 07, 2002, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-07-may-2002/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. DPRK Mystery Ship
2. DPRK-KEDO Negotiations
3. DPRK-ROK Relations
4. US View of DPRK-ROK Relations
5. Cross-Strait Economic Relations
6. Chen Shui-bian on Cross-Straits Relations
7. Russia-US Diplomatic Relations.
8. Japan Defense Bills Debate
9. Japan Domestic Politics
10. Jiang meets Bush Senior
II. Republic of Korea 1. Inter Korean Economic Talks
2. DPRK International Trade Fair
3. DPRK-Vietnam Relations
4. US on DPRK-ROK Relations
III. Japan 1. Japanese Logistical Support for US
2. Japanese Security Legislation
3. Japanese Humanitarian Assitance

I. United States

1. DPRK Mystery Ship

The Associated Press, “COAST GUARD CONCLUDES UNDERWATER PROBE OF SUSPECTED SPY BOAT,” Tokyo, 05/07/02) reported that divers on Tuesday finished their inspection of the wreckage of the suspected DPRK boat. The search, which recovered two bodies, was scheduled to finish Monday, but was extended one more day because poor visibility had hindered the end of the probe, a Japan Coast Guard official said on condition of anonymity. The coast guard has been searching the wreck at the bottom of the East China Sea since May 1 to determine whether a salvage is possible. Japan reportedly wants to raise the boat by the end of this month. The Japanese government wants to salvage the ship to prove the boat is of DPRK origin so it can lodge an official complaint. It also wants to cull evidence from the sunken hulk about the DPRK’s suspected spying and drug trade in East Asian waters. On Monday, divers discovered one more corpse, bringing the total number of bodies recovered from the ship to four. In addition to the bodies, four weapons, several cartridges and “an object that looks like a bullet” have been found near the sunken boat, according to the coast guard, which has declined to discuss details of the weapons.

2. DPRK-KEDO Negotiations

Reuters (“NORTH KOREA SAYS NUCLEAR NEGOTIATORS ARRIVE,” Seoul, 05/07/02) reported that the DPRK said a team from the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO) had arrived on Tuesday for talks on how to push forward a deal to build atomic reactors for the DPRK. “A KEDO delegation arrived today by air to participate in the negotiations of experts for the implementation of the agreement of light-water reactors signed between the DPRK and KEDO,” the DPRK’s official KCNA news agency said in a one-sentence report.

3. DPRK-ROK Relations

Agence France-Presse (“SOUTH KOREA CALLS ON NORTH TO HOLD NEGOTIATIONS,” 05/07/02) reported that the ROK demanded that the DPRK return to the negotiating table, while a dispute deepened over a dam in the DPRK that the ROK says is dangerous. Park said of the cancellation: “Maintaining stability on the Korean peninsula through dialogue and cooperation between South and North Korea is a very important pre-requisite for the economy and national events such as the World Cup. In this context, the agreement reached during the envoy’s visit must be implemented without fail. We hope the economic cooperation committee meeting will be held soon.” The US State Department has also called on the DPRK to resume the talks with the ROK. On Monday, the DPRK’s land and environmental protection ministry spokesman accused the ROK of issuing a “sheer lie” over the Imnam Dam. “The security of the dam is fully guaranteed, both in scientific and technological aspects, as it was built as the strongest dam structure in the history of hydraulic power station construction,” he said.

4. US View of DPRK-ROK Relations

Agence France-Presse (“US URGES NORTH KOREA TO RESUME TALKS WITH THE SOUTH,” 05/07/02) reported that the US urged the DPRK to resume economic talks with the ROK, which Pyongyang broke off in protest at what it said were “reckless” comments by Seoul’s foreign minister. “We urge North Korea to reconsider its decision,” said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, a week after the YS announced it was prepared to accept an offer to send an envoy to reopen its own stalled dialogue with Pyongyang.

5. Cross-Strait Economic Relations

Reuters (Alice Hung, “TAIWAN EYES CHINA WITH AMBITIOUS DEVELOPMENT PLAN,” Taipei, 05/07/02) reported that Taiwan mapped out on Tuesday a multibillion- dollar plan aimed at boosting economic growth and bringing down near record unemployment to counter rising competition from the PRC. Premier Yu Shyi-kun said the plan, titled Challenge 2008, would improve the island’s economic health in six years. “When Communist China hosts the Olympics in 2008, the world’s attention will be on Asia. Communist China as a host will also attract attention. We do not want to be marginalised,” Yu told a news conference. The T$2.65 trillion (US$77 billion) six-year plan will boost economic growth to at least five percent on average and slash its near record high jobless rate to below four percent. But the plan did not detail where the funds would come from or where they would be spent. “Taiwan can’t wait any longer. We must accelerate our pace in the six years,” Yu said. The PRC’s “magnet effect” on trade and investment was a worry, the premier added. Taiwan’s economy has been hurt by an exodus of companies to low-cost China, a trend that is accelerating.

Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN TO PERMIT BUSINESSMEN TO TRAVEL TO CHINA VIA KINMEN,” 05/07/02) reported that Taiwan is to allow local businesspeople who have invested in the southeastern PRC province of Fujian to travel to the mainland via the Taiwanese-controlled island of Kinmen, officials said. The liberalization was expected to come into effect after new dock facilities in Kinmen, off Fujian’s coast, were completed in two months time, officials of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said. MAC chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen discussed the relaxation measures with Kinmen County magistrate Li Chu-feng during her visit there Monday, the officials said. Currently, mainland-bound businesspeople and tourists from the main island of Taiwan have to travel through third territories — mostly Hong Kong or Macau — under a half-century ban on direct transport links across the Taiwan Strait.

6. Chen Shui-bian on Cross-Straits Relations

Reuters (Eric Hall and Benjamin Kang Lim, “TAIWAN PRESIDENT SEES NO BREAKTHROUGH IN CHINA TIES,” Taipei, 05/07/02) reported that Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian said on Tuesday he does not expect a breakthrough in relations with Beijing if PRC’s heir apparent Hu Jintao assumes power. “Of course, some things change, but it’s very difficult to have excessive expectations that there’ll be a breakthrough in bilateral relations after he takes over,” Chen expressed. Chen also remarked that it was “very strange” for the 59-year-old vice president to be anointed PRC’s heir apparent without democratic elections. Commenting on Hu’s trip to the United States last week, Chen said: “There was nothing special … nothing new.” “It was a get-acquainted trip. It allowed the world and the US people to further understand Hu. More importantly it allowed Hu to understand what is freedom, democracy and human rights,” Chen added. Chen also remarked, “There will be people with more influence than him,” apparently referring to Jiang, who is expected to continue calling the shots after stepping down. “He’s too prudent and frightened. It’s very difficult to expect that he will have independent thinking and judgment, or be himself,” Chen said.

7. Russia-US Diplomatic Relations.

The Associated Press (“BUSH, RUSSIA CHIEF TALK NUCLEAR CUTS,” Washington, 05/07/02) and Reuters (Patricia Wilson, “BUSH, PUTIN NOTE PROGRESS ON ARMS CUTS DEAL,” Washington, 05/07/02) reported that US President Bush called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to express hopes of reaching agreement on nuclear weapons before their summit later this month. Bush and Putin talked for 15 minutes, said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. They discussed their May 23-26 meetings in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as the Chechnya conflict and a dispute over US chicken exports. Bush urged a prompt resolution to the trade fight, Fleischer said. Bush also said that the negotiators were making progress toward an agreement, and expressed hope that he and Putin can sign it in Moscow, Fleischer said.

8. Japan Defense Bills Debate

Reuters (“JAPAN PARLIAMENT BEGINS DEBATE ON DEFENCE BILLS,” Tokyo, 05/07/02) and the Associated Press (Kozo Mizoguchi, “JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER URGES PASSAGE OF BILL TO BOLSTER MILITARY,” Tokyo, 05/07/02) reported that Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi urged Parliament to pass bills to strengthen Japan’s military, saying Tuesday that the country has to be prepared for the possibility of foreign attack. Japan’s ruling coalition submitted last month three bills that would expand the country’s military role and give the government new powers in case of foreign attack. The package is designed to give greater latitude to the prime minister and the military in time of emergency. Parliament has until mid- June to vote the bills into law. “Japan must be ready before something happens, not after,” Koizumi said as debate opened Tuesday. But opponents of the proposal say its definition of what constitutes an emergency is dangerously vague, a flaw which they say could easily lead to abuses of power and potentially of civil rights. The legislation has been approved by the LDP and its cabinet partners in the ruling coalition, which has a sizeable majority in parliament. But opposition has been vocal, with several protests in recent weeks. Some 100 people gathered outside parliament to protest against the start of the debate, Kyodo news agency said. “Use of force never brings peace,” read one banner held by the marchers.

9. Japan Domestic Politics

Reuters (Linda Sieg, “JAPAN’S KOIZUMI PLEDGES STEPS TO AVOID MORE SCANDALS,” Tokyo, 05/07/02) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged on Tuesday to take steps to stem the scandals that are eroding his public support and casting doubts on his commitment to reform. Koizumi steered clear, however, of overtly urging a former heavyweight in the main ruling party to resign over the latest in the many scandals that have dogged Japanese politics for decades. “I think political scandals damage the public’s confidence in politics. I want to hold discussions on what needs to be done to prevent this kind of thing happening,” Koizumi told a parliamentary panel. “I think more needs to be done.”

10. Jiang meets Bush Senior

The Associated Press (“ELDER BUSH MEETS WITH CHINESE LEADER,” Beijing, 05/07/02) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin told former President George Bush on Tuesday that the PRC will never allow Taiwan to declare its independence. President Jiang Zemin also reiterated an offer to negotiate with Taiwan, but only on a condition that Taiwan’s leaders have thus far refused to accept: that the island and the PRC mainland are parts of “one China.” “I’ve said many times, as long as the Taiwan authorities accept the one China principle, the two sides can resume negotiations and dialogue. Furthermore, any issue can be discussed,” the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Jiang as saying. Xinhua said Bush and Jiang met in Shanghai. The former president, former first lady Barbara Bush, and his former national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, were invited by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, a government-backed body.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Inter Korean Economic Talks

Joongang Ilbo (Oh Young-hwan, “NORTH SCUTTLES MEETING ON ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE,” Seoul, 05/07/02) reported that the DPRK abruptly called off the inter-Korean economic cooperation talks Monday, one day before their planned start, blaming its action on “reckless” remarks by the South Korean foreign minister. The DPRK delegation released a statement citing comments attributed to Foreign Minister Choi Sung-hong during his visit to Washington last month. It insisted that the ROK was responsible for the cancellation. Choi repeatedly stressed Monday that the Washington Post report distorted his remarks and urged prompt resumption of inter- Korean talks. The DPRK demanded that Choi apologize, but the ROK has no plan to do so.

2. DPRK International Trade Fair

Joongang Ilbo (“PYEONGYANG INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR TAKES OFF,” Seoul, 05/07/02) reported that the 5th Pyongyang International Trade Fair took off Monday with the attendance of over 160 companies form 15 nations including PRC, Japan Russia, Britain, Italy and more, reported PRC Radio International. “Riaoning province and Jilin province alone had 100 companies flocking to the exhibition slated till Thursday,” the PRC media said and added that the goods submitted by the companies include automobiles, machine tools, construction resources, textiles among other goods. Ri Kwang-gun the DPRK’s trade minister said in his opening speech for the exhibition that the aim of this year’s trade fair lies in strengthening friendly relations and cooperation with other nations, the report said.

3. DPRK-Vietnam Relations

Joongang Ilbo (“KIM JONG-IL ACCEPTS VIETNAM’S INVITATION TO VISIT,” Seoul, 05/07/02) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il accepted an official invitation to visit Vietnam during talks with Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong on Saturday. President Tran and his top aides visited DPRK from last Thursday to this Sunday exchanging goodwill signs and sealing bilateral pacts involving future economic, trade and legal cooperation.

4. US on DPRK-ROK Relations

Joongang Ilbo (“U.S. URGES NORTH TO RESUME ECONOMIC TALKS,” Seoul, 05/07/02) reported that the US prompted DPRK to resume the inter-Korean economic talks slated which was originally to have taken place Tuesday. The US States Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Monday that the US urges DPRK to reconsider the decision to back away from the expected inter-Korean talks for economic exchange. The above remark came just a week after the US disclosed its will to dispatch special envoy to Pyongyang.

III. Japan

1. Japanese Logistical Support for US

Kyodo (“JAPAN UNLIKELY TO SEND AEGIS DESTROYER TO AID U.S.,” Washington, 05/03/02) reported that Japan will probably not send an Aegis destroyer to assist the US-led antiterrorism campaign in Afghanistan, as requested by the US, a senior ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker stated last Wednesday. Fumio Kyuma, acting chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council, said in a discussion hosted by a Washington think tank that it would be very difficult to dispatch a destroyer equipped with the sophisticated Aegis air defense system “considering the current situation.” After a four-day weekend, the Diet this week will start debating three bills to govern Japan’s response to a foreign military attack. “It will be very difficult to discuss this issue amid the deliberations,” Kyuma said. Kyuma, a former Defense Agency chief who heads a ruling coalition panel on security issues, also said Tokyo cannot send the Self-Defense Forces to support US forces if the antiterrorism campaign expands to the Middle East, because such a step is not covered by the special antiterrorism law enacted last October.

The Asahi Shimbun (“MSDF LOBBIED FOR U.S. AEGIS REQUEST,” 05/06/02) reported that the request by US for the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) to add Aegis warships to the anti-terror campaign appears to have had its roots in lobbying by Japanese naval officers. High-ranking officers of the MSDF approached Rear Admiral Robert Chaplin, commander of US Naval Forces Japan, on April 10 at his Yokosuka office, according to US military and Japanese sources. The Japanese officers asked Chaplin to convince his superiors to request Japan dispatch Aegis warships and P-3C anti-submarine patrol aircraft to the Indian Ocean as part of Japan’s contribution to the US-led fight against terrorism, the sources said.

2. Japanese Security Legislation

The Japan Times (“49.8% SAY BILLS TO COUNTER FOREIGN ATTACK NEEDED: POLL,” Tokyo, 05/05/02) reported that just under half the respondents to a recent poll said new legislation governing Japan’s response to a foreign military attack is necessary, according to Kyodo News. Regarding a set of three bills submitted to the Diet in April, 49.8 percent of respondents said such legislation is necessary, while 38.3 percent said it is unnecessary. At the same time, 47.2 percent said the three bills should not be passed during the current Diet session, while 39.1 percent said they would be comfortable with the passage of the bills. The telephone survey was conducted last Wednesday and Thursday and covered 1,755 people, 1,045 of whom responded. By region, the lowest percentage in the most recent poll who said the emergency legislation is not necessary was in the Hokuriku region, where only 28.3 percent of people said they do not see a need for further legislation. The result likely stems from an incident in 1999 involving two suspected DPRK spy ships in the sea off Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture.

3. Japanese Humanitarian Assitance

The Asahi Shimbun (“CENTER TO BRING TOGETHER HUMANITARIAN BRAINS,” Tokyo, 05/03/02) reported that the center will spearhead international assistance activities not already provided by official aid or the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF). The government unveiled plans last Wednesday for a center that will pool Japan’s expertise in international humanitarian efforts and train new specialists in nation-building. The tentatively named International Peace Cooperation Support Center will bring together the expertise gained by both governmental and nongovernmental organizations during the reconstruction of strife-torn nations such as East Timor and Afghanistan. The government is expected to appoint Yasushi Akashi, former UN undersecretary-general, to head a panel that will convene this month to draw up details for the center. It will come up with a blueprint for the center, scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The new center is a part of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s long-term vision for Japan to “contribute to the consolidation of peace and nation building.” Koizumi, speaking on April 30 during his visit to Sydney, stressed that this policy remains at the core of Japan’s diplomacy. The government plans to use part of the official development assistance budget to cover operating costs at the center.

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International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
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Brandon Yu: napsnet@nautilus.org
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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< /a>
Clayton, Australia

 


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