I. United States
1. US Nuclear Policy
The Associated Press (H. Josef Hebert, “BUSH WANTS FAST NUKE TEST ABILITY,” 01/09/02) reported that while US President George W. Bush remains committed to upholding the moratorium on underground nuclear weapons testing, he says that the country should reduce the time it will take to resume such tests should they be needed. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said that Bush has not ruled out conducting nuclear testing “to make sure the stockpile, particularly as it is reduced, is reliable and safe. So he has not ruled out testing in the future, but there are no plans to do so.” Members of Congress were briefed Tuesday on the latest, highly classified Nuclear Posture Review. The Nuclear Posture Review annually certifies the reliability of the US nuclear arsenal. According to congressional sources who attended the briefing, the review takes into account plans for deep cuts in the US nuclear arsenal over the next decade as promised by President Bush in November after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The New York Times (James Dao, “PENTAGON STUDY URGES ARMS SHIFT, FROM NUCLEAR TO HIGH-TECH,” 01/09/02) reported that US officials familiar with the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review report that the review calls for sharply reducing US dependence on nuclear weapons by expanding the use of conventional, precision arms and building a missile defense system. The study outlines a new post-cold-war concept of deterrence that is intended to justify reducing the US nuclear arsenal to 1,700 to 2,200 weapons, from about 7,000. However, the review does not call for destroying the weapons removed which raises the likelihood that warheads would be simply put in storage, where they could be reactivated on short notice. Still, Pentagon officials said that the review lays the groundwork for a new strategic relationship with Russia. The document also suggests that significant improvements in munitions could allow the military to substitute powerful, highly accurate conventional bombs and missiles to deter an enemy strike. Deputy secretary of defense, Paul D. Wolfowitz stated, “We’re looking at a transformation of our deterrence posture from an almost exclusive emphasis on offensive nuclear forces to a force that includes defenses as well as offenses, that includes conventional strike capabilities as well as nuclear strike capabilities, and includes a much reduced level of nuclear strike capability.”
2. DPRK-US Relations
Reuters (Paul Eckert, “NORTH KOREA WANTS U.S. EXIT FROM SOUTH AHEAD OF TALKS,” Seoul, 01/09/02) reported that the DPRK demanded on Wednesday that US troops “quit South Korea forthwith” before talks could resume between the US and the DPRK. A commentary carried by the Korea Central News Agency read, “The US should stop paying lip-service to the unconditional DPRK-US dialogue and create a favorable atmosphere and condition for dialogue and drop the attempt to isolate and stifle the DPRK. US troops should quit South Korea forthwith. The US troops present in South Korea are the source of all misfortune and sufferings of the Korean people.” The US has offered talks without conditions since June of last year, but the DPRK has not taken up the offer.
3. Japan-ASEAN Relations
Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN’S KOIZUMI BEGINS ASEAN TOUR WITH PARTNERSHIP PLEDGE,” 01/09/02) reported that Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has begun a week-long trip through Southeast Asia with a pledge that Japan wants to be a “friend indeed” to its regional partners. Koizumi’s plane landed at Manila airport early Wednesday on the first leg of his trip to five key members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. During the regional tour, Koizumi said that he would express Japan’s readiness to take concrete actions to become a true partner of ASEAN. Koizumi stated, “As a frank partner, I would like to look for cooperative relations, considering how Japan-ASEAN ties can contribute to the peace and stability of the international community.” However, 50 anti-Japan demonstrators gathered near a central Manila park where Koizumi laid a wreath by the monument of national hero Jose Rizal. They handed out leaflets which read, “Never again will Filipinos accept Japan’s new bid to establish itself as an imperialist power in the region.”
4. PRC-India Relations
Reuters (John Ruwitch, “CHINESE PREMIER TO GO TO INDIA TO BALANCE REGIONAL TIES,” Beijing, 01/09/02) reported that PRC Premier Zhu Rongji will visit India next week. With India involved in a tense standoff with Pakistan, Zhu is likely to repeat what has become a mantra for the PRC since the crisis began: Both sides should hold their fire and resolve the dispute at the negotiating table. “I think China will try to conciliate the relationship a bit between India and Pakistan,” said Yan Xuetong, head of Qinghua University’s Institute of International Affairs. Though Zhu will not carry a specific message to New Dehli on the issue, Fu Ying, director general of the Asian Affairs Department of the PRC’s Foreign Ministry, said, “I think the visit by the Premier himself to New Dehli is a strong message in itself– a message from China for cooperation with India, good relations with India, and also a message from China for good relations in South Asia.” An unnamed Western diplomat commented, “From what I have seen, at least in public, China wants to show a more balanced approach to India and Pakistan, but what it does in private we don’t know.”
5. Cross-Straits Relations
Taiwanese Central News Agency (Eric Tseng and Sofia Wu, “TAIWAN VICE-PRESIDENT LU URGES BEIJING TO REPLACE ‘ONE CHINA’ WITH ‘ONE CHINESE,'” Taipei, 01/07/02) reported that Taiwan’s Vice-President Annette Lu said that she hopes the two sides of the Taiwan Strait can end their long-running feud and that the PRC might adopt a new approach towards cross-strait relations. Lu expressed that the PRC’s “one China” principle – which downgrades the Republic of China to a local-level government under the People’s Republic of China – is unacceptable to Taiwan.” Instead, Lu suggested that the PRC change their basic concept regarding cross-strait relations to “one Chinese.” Since the people on both sides are of the same race and share a common culture and language, Lu said that she is convinced that the “one Chinese” concept should be acceptable to both sides. “It is now 2002. We should scrap our traditional hatred and use new thinking to handle cross-strait relations,” Lu added.
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