NAPSNet Daily Report 09 January, 2004

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 09 January, 2004", NAPSNet Daily Report, January 09, 2004, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-09-january-2004/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. DPRK Nuclear Renouncement
2. US on Russian Non-Proliferation Efforts
3. US-PRC-Hong Kong Relations
4. Taiwan Independence Referendum
5. ROK Terror Alert
6. ROK Election Corruption
7. Japan Mad Cow Test Demands
8. Japan Iraq Advance Team Ground Troops
II. Republic of Korea 1. U.S. Puts ROK On Special List For Property Piracy
2. U.S. Has Solid Ideas On Security Assurance For DPRK
3. ROK Unification Ministry Detects Change In DPRK Attitude
4. Parents Of U.S. Soldier In Hit-And-Run Are Angry
5. Stability May Mark Inter-Korea Ties

I. United States

1. DPRK Nuclear Renouncement

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA HINTS IT WON’T RENOUNCE WEAPONS,” Seoul, 01/09/04) reported that the DPRK said Friday that it would be foolish for the US to expect it to follow the example of “some Middle East countries,” an apparent reference to Libya’s decision to renounce weapons of mass destruction. The DPRK has been under international pressure to give up its nuclear weapons programs. But the communist regime is digging in with its hardline rhetoric, heralding tough negotiations. On Friday, a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman hinted that the recent decisions by Libya and Iran to allow intrusive inspections of their suspected weapons programs would not affect its strategy. “The US is hyping recent developments in some Middle East countries, the cases orchestrated by itself,” the spokesman said, without citing Libya and Iran by name. “It is seized with hallucination that the same would happen on the Korean Peninsula and some countries echo this ‘hope’ and ‘expect’ some change.” In comments carried by the DPRK’s official KCNA news agency, he said the DPRK “has never been influenced by others and this will not happen in the future.” “To expect any ‘change’ from the DPRK stand is as foolish as expecting a shower from clear sky,” the spokesman said.

2. US on Russian Non-Proliferation Efforts

Agence France-Presse (“RUSSIAN NON-PROLIFERATION EFFORTS STILL LACKING: SENIOR US OFFICIAL,” Washington, 01/09/04) reported that Russia has been helpful in pressing Iran and the DPRK to address concerns about their nuclear programs, but the US believes it could and should do more to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, a senior US official said. “Could they do more? The answer is yes,” the official said, noting that Moscow has thus far refused to take part in a US-led scheme to seize such weapons in transit. The official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity at the State Department, said Russia was “playing a little hard to get” in response to US calls for it to join the so-called “Proliferation Security Initiative” (PSI). “They are so far not ready to join the process,” the official said. “They are interested but are raising lots of questions about what are the legal authorities that would permit this broader strategy of interdiction to go forward,” the official said. “We’re trying to get them from this interrogatory mode into more active participation,” the official said.

3. US-PRC-Hong Kong Relations

Agence France-Presse (“US IGNORES CHINA WARNING ON HONG KONG, REPEATS BACKING FOR DEMOCRACY REFORMS,” 01/10/04) reported that the US ignored a PRC warning not to meddle in its affairs and repeated a week-old statement in support of calls by people in Hong Kong for democratic reform. “Recent events … reflect the desire of the people of Hong Kong to advance the democratization process, as provided for under the Basic Law,” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. “The US strongly supports democracy through electoral reform and universal sufferage in Hong Kong,” he said in a statement. “These will advance economic and social development as well as contribute to Hong Kong’s prosperity within the ‘one country, two systems’ framework,” Boucher said. His statement was a near verbatim copy of comments made by deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli on January 2 which prompted a protest from the PRC foreign ministry which labelled the remarks “interference.” Boucher said he did not agree with the PRC’s characterization of the US’ position. “I regard them as entirely appropriate, otherwise I wouldn’t be making them,” he told reporters after reading the statement.

4. Taiwan Independence Referendum

Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN SUSPENDS PLAN SENDING TEAMS TO US TO DISCUSS REFERENDUM PLANS,” Singapore, 01/09/04) reported that Taiwan has announced the delay of a mission to the US to explain its controversial plan to hold a referendum, which has strained relations with the US and annoyed the PRC. “It is not good timing,” said the head of the delegation Joseph Wu, who is also a deputy secretary general in the presidential office. “Based on an evaluation of the National Security Council, the delegation will not be able to gain the expected results, so we decided to delay the trip,” he said. The council is made up of government, security and military officials and advises the president. The US mission, made up of officials and academics, had been set to leave Monday for New York, Boston, Washington and San Francisco for discussions with US think-tanks and the media on the controversial referendum. The US trip would be rescheduled, Wu said without elaborating. Similar missions to Europe and Asia would follow their original schedules to depart later this month, he said. Wu said Taipei had decided to delay its trip without any pressure from the US, which has openly opposed President Chen Shui-bian’s plan for a referendum urging the PRC to remove the 496 missiles targeting the island.

5. ROK Terror Alert

Agence France-Presse (“TERROR THREAT SPARKS SECURITY ALERT IN SOUTH KOREA,” Singapore, 01/09/04) reported that the ROK government has ordered a heightened security alert after a terrorist threat was mailed to its embassy in Thailand, officials said. Prime Minister Goh Kun asked his cabinet to strengthen counter-terrorism measures to protect ROK airlines, diplomatic missions and residents overseas, his office said in a press release. The order was issued after the ROK’s embassy in Bangkok received a letter on Thursday warning of attacks on the country’s assets and aircraft in Southeast Asia, the foreign ministry said. Goh held an emergency telephone conference with the foreign minister, intelligence chief and transportation minister early on Friday to discuss the threat. Seoul’s home affairs ministry also held an emergency counter-terrorism meeting. The message to the Bangkok mission, sent by a previously unknown group identifying itself as the “Anti-Korean Interest Agency”, warned of attacks on ROK businesses and organizations in Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia beginning on Wednesday, the foreign ministry said.

6. ROK Election Corruption

Agence France-Presse (“TOP ELECTION CAMPAIGNER ARRESTED IN ROK FUNDING CASE,” 01/09/04) reported that ROK prosecutors have arrested the former campaign chief for President Roh Moo-Hyun in connection with an inquiry into illegal fundraising for the 2002 election. Arrest warrants are being sought for more lawmakers in connection with allegations that millions of illicit dollars flowed into the campaigns of Roh and his conservative opponent during the presidential election cycle. Chyung Dai-Chul, former chairman of the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) who has since joined a breakway reformist group favoured by Roh, known as the Uri Party, has denied allegations that he received 400 million won (340,000 dollars) in illicit contributions from a construction firm. Two top fundraisers for Lee Hoi-Chang, narrowly defeated by Roh in the December 2002 poll, also face arrest. Prosecutors say conservative Grand National Party (GNP) lawmakers Choi Don-Woong, the party financial affairs chief at the time, and then-party secretary Kim Young-Iel, received millions of dollars in under-the-table handouts from big business groups.

7. Japan Mad Cow Test Demands

Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN WANTS MAD COW TEST FOR ALL IMPORTED US BEEF BEFORE LIFTING BAN: PAPER,” 01/09/04) reported that Japan wants all imported US beef to be tested for mad cow disease as the minimum condition for lifting a ban, and Japanese firms may be asked to foot some of the cost, a report said. The agriculture and health ministries will also demand disposal of dangerous parts such as the brain and spinal cord of all animals before reopening to US beef imports, the Asahi Shimbun said. Japan, the largest export market for US beef, was among the first of more than 30 countries to ban imports after the discovery of the first US case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), last month. The US only tests 20,000 cows per year for the brain-wasting disease which is believed to have a fatal human variant, but Japanese agriculture ministry officials believe the added cost of checks on Japan-bound beef is needed to ensure safety and maintain supply, the paper said.

8. Japan Iraq Advance Team Ground Troops

Reuters (Masayuki Kitano, “JAPAN ORDERS ADVANCE TEAM OF GROUND TROOPS TO IRAQ,” Tokyo, 01/09/04) reported that Japanese Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba Friday ordered an advance team of ground troops to be sent to Iraq, launching what could be Japan’s biggest and riskiest overseas military mission since World War II. The team, which Japanese media said would include about 30 members of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF), is expected to leave for Samawa in southern Iraq via Kuwait around January 16, although no date has been announced. Ishiba said he had also issued an order to send a main air force team including C-130 transport planes. “The advance team will conduct activities such as gathering information on the local security situation that is needed for Ground Self-Defense Force units to conduct humanitarian reconstruction aid activities,” Ishiba told reporters. Ishiba said the air force team would initially train in Kuwait, and then conduct airlifts between Kuwait and Iraq. A Defense Ministry spokesman declined to comment on the size or dates of the deployments, on security grounds. But Japanese media reports said 150 to 230 air force personnel would be dispatched under the order later this month, and that advance ground troops would carry light weapons and take eight armored vehicles.

II. Republic of Korea

1. U.S. Puts ROK On Special List For Property Piracy

Chosun Ilbo (Arirang TV, “U.S. PUTS KOREA ON SPECIAL LIST FOR PROPERTY PIRACY”, 01/0/04) reported that U.S. has put ROK on a special watch list of countries for intellectual property piracy. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office on Thursday (local time) accused Seoul of not doing enough to stop the piracy of American movies and pop music, costing U.S. companies millions of dollars in lost revenue. The decision, announced in a statement by USTR Representative Robert Zoellick in Washington, followed a special review completed in late December. ROK now joins 11 other countries already on the priority watch list including Brazil, the EU, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan. The move now makes ROK subject to special monitoring of U.S. government measures to counter piracy. Seoul and Washington are expected to hold talks on intellectual property issues early this year.

2. U.S. Has Solid Ideas On Security Assurance For DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (Arirang TV, “POWELL, “U.S. HAS SOLID IDEAS ON SECURITY ASSURANCES FOR N KOREA””, 01/09/04) reported that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Thursday that U.S. has “good, solid” ideas with respect to security assurances for DPRK. Addressing the Foreign Press Center at the State Department, Mr. Powell stressed Washington is not willing to detail those security guarantees unless Pyeongyang presents a clear statement that they are prepared to bring nuclear programs to a verifiable end. Powell’s comments appeared much less upbeat than his earlier remarks in the week when he called Pyeongyang’s offer to freeze testing or production of nuclear weapons a “positive and favorable” step. He also noted hopes for a new round of six-nation talks on the 14-month-old standoff with Pyongyang appeared to be improving but signaled that the U.S. policy was unchanged on demanding a permanent end to DPRK ‘s nuclear aspirations because it would be like “seeing the same movie over again.” As diplomacy continues to resume multilateral talks involving ROK & DPRK, PRC, Japan, Russia, and the U.S., in Tokyo U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage hinted that the second round may be held in February.

3. ROK Unification Ministry Detects Change In DPRK’s Attitude On Nuclear Issue

Joongang Ilbo (Arirang TV, “UNIFICATION MINISTRY: U.S. DETECTS CHANGE IN N KOREA’S ATTITUDE ON NUCLEAR ISSUE”, 01/09/04 reported that Seoul’s top official for inter-Korean affairs said that Pyeongyang’s latest offer to freeze its nuclear program is a sure sign that DPRK is willing to engage in talks to end the drawn out nuclear standoff. In a weekly press briefing Thursday, Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun also said that Washington may have felt a change in stance by Pyeongyang that it is prepared to return to the dialogue table for detailed negotiations. He explained the reason why the Bush administration welcomed DPRK’s proposal was because Washington has sensed a shift in Pyeongyang’s attitude. As for cross-border exchanges, Minister Jeong said Seoul will try to keep the ball rolling and further stimulate inter-Korean projects this year.

4. Parents Of U.S. Soldier In Hit-And-Run Are Angry

Joongang Ilbo (Ser Myo-ja, “Parents OF U.S. SOLDIER IN HIT-AND-RUN ARE ANGRY”, 01/09/04) reported that The trial of U.S. Army Sergeant Jerry Onken, now in ROK custody on charges of causing a fatal drunken-driving accident, is scheduled to begin Thursday, but the parents of the 33-year-old soldier said yesterday from their home in a tiny town in Minnesota that they have had no information from anyone ? the U.S. military or ROK ? about their son’s fate. “The thing that bothers us is no one has been in touch,” Ron Onken, the father, said in a telephone interview. “I can’t believe that our government turned Jerry over to a foreign country. No one here can believe it. It’s incredible to me.” Sergeant Onken’s mother Karen said, “I first found out about Jerry’s accident on TV.” On Nov. 28 near Osan, Sergeant Onken’s car collided with a vehicle carrying five ROK people, leaving one woman dead and the other four passengers injured. The sergeant and two companions who were with him at the time left the scene. Blood tests conducted after Sergeant Onken was traced to barracks at an air force base in Suwon indicated that he had been under the influence of alcohol when he was driving. Handed over to ROK authorities on Dec. 30, the U.S. soldier was indicted the next day, becoming the first American serviceman to await trial under ROK’s custody. He is being held at the Seoul Detention Center. The news of the accident and their son’s legal problems has shaken the Onkens, and friends and neighbors in Onamia, a town with a population of 847, near Minnesota’s idyllic lake district. Ron and Karen Onken said they received a phone call shortly after the accident from their son, who has served the U.S. military in Bosnia and Afghanistan. “When we spoke to Jerry, he said the U.S. military and ROK government had provided legal assistance,” Mr. Onken said. “But that’s the last we’ve heard. We haven’t spoken to him since he was turned over to ROK government.” With no idea how to contact their son, the Onkens said they intend to write to their congressman and senators to complain. They said they were planning to come to ROK.According to ROK’s Ministry of Justice, the American suspect was treated according to ROK laws governing all pretrial detainees. Sergeant Onken is allowed to make a request for phone calls, and the Seoul Detention Center makes the decision whether to grant it. The sergeant has the right to meet his attorney, the ministry said. An official from the ministry’s correctional bureau declined to say if Sergeant Onken had an opportunity to make a call. Lieutenant Colonel Steve Boylan, chief public affairs officer of the U.S. 8th Army, said the military retained a ROK lawyer who speaks English for the case. The military is also covering the fee. Colonel Boylan said the military adheres to U.S. privacy laws and typically does not inform the family members about events that occur outside the call of duty.

5. Stability May Mark Inter-Korea Ties

Joongang Ilbo (Jung Chang-hyun, “STABILITY MAY MARK INTER-KOREA TIES”, 01/09/04) reported that ROK Institute for National Unification, a government-run research arm, has drawn up its outlook for inter-Korean relations this year. In this three-part series, the JoongAng Daily provides a summary of the report. Relations between ROK & DPRK likely will enter a stable phase this year based on economic cooperation and civilian exchanges. ROK wants to continue a dialogue with DPRK in order to promote its engagement policy, dubbed the peace and prosperity policy by the Roh administration. DPRK, meanwhile, has no reason to give up the South’s economic support, which provides up to $400 million annually. Since 2000, ROK’s food and fertilizer aid has been leading DPRK ‘s economic recovery. Therefore, DPRK will try to continue its exchanges with the South, such as the rebuilding of severed cross-border railroads and roads, tourism programs and ROK civic groups’ visits to DPRK. This year, ROK & DPRK will implement four major inter-Korean economic agreements which took effect last August. Tour programs to Mount Geumgang will likely expand and work on the Gaeseong industrial complex project will likely proceed more steadily. ROK & DPRK will also continue working on the railroad and road projects. They will also open a field office for economic exchanges, such as direct inter-Korean trade. DPRK’s exports to the South are expected to rise rapidly. DPRK, however, may demand compensation for the halt in an international consortium’s project to build light-water reactors in DPRK. The project was stopped last year, after the standoff over DPRK’s nuclear aspirations persisted. If Pyeongyang demands compensation, international and domestic disputes are likely to erupt. ROK’s domestic politics, such as the legislative elections and a possible confidence referendum on the presidency, will also play a role in inter-Korean relations. If the relations between Pyeongyang and Washington worsen over the nuclear issues, inter-Korean relations will also be negatively affected. And yet, such problems can be used as opportunities if ROK & DPRK are able to reach a breakthrough, and that would further improve inter-Korean relations.

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Brandon Yu: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Tokyo, Japan

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Tokyo, Japan

Hiroya Takagi: hiroya_takagi@hotmail.com
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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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