NAPSNet Daily Report 10 August, 2000

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 10 August, 2000", NAPSNet Daily Report, August 10, 2000, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-10-august-2000/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US Troops in ROK
2. Effect of Missile Defense on PRC
3. Alleged PRC Missile Sales
4. PRC Policy toward Taiwan
II. Republic of Korea 1. DPRK on USFK Presence
2. Reunion of Separated Families
3. Inter-Korean Railway
4. Inter-Korean Relations
III. People’s Republic of China 1. DPRK-ROK Relations
2. DPRK-Russian Relations
3. Cross-Straits Relations
4. Chen Shui-bian’s US Visit
5. PRC-US Relations
6. PRC’s View of NMD
7. PRC-Japanese Relations
8. Japanese Visits to War Shrine
9. PRC Nuclear Reactor Development
10. PRC Entry to WTO

I. United States

1. US Troops in ROK

The International Herald Tribune (Don Kirk, “A NORTH KOREAN SHIFT ON OPPOSING U.S. TROOPS?” Seoul, 8/10/00) reported that analysts said on August 9 that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il has opened the way to having at least some US troops stay in the ROK. Kim reportedly made clear his acceptance of a US military presence in the ROK during talks in Pyongyang in June with ROK President Kim Dae-jung. Choi Jin-wook, research fellow at the Korean Institute of National Unification, said, “Those with Kim Dae-jung in the talks have said that Kim Jong-il said that U.S. forces may stay.” Choi said that the remark appeared logical, as another in a series of statements by both Kim Jong-il and his father, Kim Il-sung, suggested that they were in no hurry for US troops to withdraw and would not demand a US pullout as a prerequisite for reunification. The Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun reported on August 9 that Kim Jong- il had interrupted when Kim Yong-sun, secretary of the Workers’ Party, told Kim Dae-jung that “U.S. troops must withdraw.” Kim Jong-il had asked “if there is a problem with U.S. troops on the peninsula, and if so, what are the problems.” According to the Asahi Shimbun, when Kim Yong-sun responded, “No matter what happens, U.S. troops must withdraw,” Kim Jong-il said, “Let’s leave it at that.” The newspaper quoted Kim Jong-il as affirming that “U.S. forces had better stay on to maintain peace even after the two Koreas are unified.” However, a senior ROK official said that the Asahi Shimbun report had presented a skewed account of the meeting. He suggested that Kim Jong-il had indicated that the DPRK’s constant calls for complete withdrawal of US troops were “not exactly identical with what they are really thinking.” The official said there was “some sort of strategic ambiguity on the part of North Korea about this matter. To a certain extent, keeping this ambiguity is a wise strategy.” A US spokesman said that while Kim Dae- jung was understood to have strongly argued that a continued US troop presence could be a stabilizing force on the peninsula after an eventual reunification, the US could not comment on how Kim Jong-il had reacted. Analysts that Kim Il-sung had told Japanese visitors shortly before he died, “We do not want withdrawal of U.S. forces immediately” but favor “gradual withdrawal.” Choi also said Kim Il Sung also told a US emissary in 1991 that “U.S. troops may stay on the Korean Peninsula if their status and role is changed.” Choi said that the most common interpretation of those remarks was that the DPRK wanted the ROK to sever its military alliance with the US while several thousand US troops remained as “peacekeepers” without heavy weaponry. Choi said, “North Korea knows the United States will not withdraw its troops, but as peacekeepers they would no longer be a threat.” [Ed. note: This article was included as a Top Story in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 10, 2000.]

2. Effect of Missile Defense on PRC

The New York Times (Steven Lee Myers, “U.S. MISSILE PLAN COULD REPORTEDLY PROVOKE CHINA,” Washington, 8/10/00) and the Washington Post (Roberto Suro, “STUDY SEES POSSIBLE CHINA NUCLEAR BUILDUP,” 8/10/00) reported that according to officials who reviewed a highly classified intelligence report entitled “Foreign Responses to U.S. National Missile Defense Deployment,” the deployment of a US national missile defense could create adverse responses from the PRC and Russia. The report warned that the PRC would expand its arsenal of nuclear missiles to a quantity large enough to overwhelm the limited defensive system that the US is considering. One person who has seen the report said that it estimated that the PRC could deploy up to 200 warheads by 2015, prompting India and Pakistan to respond with their own buildups. It also said that although Russia’s economy is unlikely to support a large buildup of its missile forces, it could deploy shorter-range missiles along its borders and resume adding multiple warheads to its ballistic missiles. The report is expected to be sent to members of the US Congress on Thursday. The report also included an annex that repeated the intelligence assessment last year that Iraq, Iran and the DPRK could develop ballistic missiles capable of hitting the US by 2015. In fact, an official said, the threat from the DPRK may be more imminent. The report, also known as the National Intelligence Estimate, represented the collective assessment of the US’ intelligence agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research. One senior official said that the report did not intend to predict with certainty how the PRC, Russia and other countries would respond, but rather simply laid out a range of responses. Another official, arguing that the report did not necessarily undercut the case for a missile defense, said that some of the findings represented worst-case scenarios. The report suggested that the Russians could accept a trade-off that would strictly limit the US defensive system to 100 interceptor missiles based in Alaska, as the administration has proposed building by 2007. However, without an agreement, Russia could respond by increasing the number of warheads on each missile. [Ed. note: Both articles were included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 10, 2000.]

3. Alleged PRC Missile Sales

Reuters (“PAKISTAN DENIES CIA CHARGE ON CHINESE MISSILE HELP,” Islamabad, 8/10/00) and the Associated Press (“PAKISTAN: NO MISSILE AID FROM CHINA THURSDAY,” Islamabad, 8/10/00) reported that Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar on Thursday denied US intelligence reports that the PRC was supplying Pakistan with advanced missile technology. Sattar said, “For the last two years at least we have received no such complaint from the government of the United States.” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan said, “Pakistan and China do not have cooperation in building long-range missiles… The same situation applies with North Korea as far as we are concerned. Pakistan has not received anything from China that is inconsistent with China’s international commitments or obligations, including the guidelines that they voluntarily follow relating to the MTCR, Missile Technology Control Regime.” He said that similar allegations were also made last month just before several senior US officials visited the PRC. Khan said, “At that time, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi had dismissed reports that there was cooperation between China and Pakistan for developing long range missiles. He described those reports as totally groundless and stemming from ulterior motives. The Americans have not raised this matter with us in our dialogue with them but as far as the Chinese position is concerned, whenever the Americans have raised this matter with them the Chinese have made their position clear.”

Agence France Presse (“CHINA SLAMS U.S. ACCUSATIONS OF WEAPONS TECHNOLOGY TRANSFERS,” Beijing, 8/10/00) reported that the PRC on Thursday denied US accusations that it was supplying missile technology to Pakistan, the DPRK and Iran as “baseless,” and continued to urge the US to scrap its plan to build a National Missile Defense (NMD). A PRC foreign ministry spokesman noted, “Recently China and the United States held expert-level consultations on non-proliferation in Honolulu, where both sides exchanged opinions on concerned issues.”

4. PRC Policy toward Taiwan

Reuters (“KEY CHINA SHAKE-UP AS LEADERS TO CONSIDER TAIWAN,” Beijing, 8/10/00) reported that official sources said Thursday that the PRC has reshuffled senior officials responsible for Taiwan. Sources said that Zhou Mingwei, a Harvard-educated technocrat, had replaced retiring Tang Shubei as deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) this week. Zhou would also replace Tang as deputy of the semi-official body which handles Taiwan ties, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS). Analysts said that Zhou’s promotion was pushed by PRC President Jiang Zemin, who must retire in 2003 and is keen to make progress on Taiwan. Major General Wang Zaixi, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) intelligence expert, will join Zhou as one of three TAO deputy directors, replacing retiring Wang Yonghai. Western diplomats in the PRC said, “I don’t see the personnel shift as leading to something dramatic on the policy front. We’ll have to wait at least a couple of weeks to see if there’s any major shift.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK on USFK Presence

Chosun Ilbo (“NK BACKS CONTINUED USFK PRESENCE,” Seoul, 08/09/00) reported that according to the August 9 edition of the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun, DPRK leader Kim Jong-il clearly agreed with ROK President Kim Dae- jung that US forces in Korea (USFK) should remain in the ROK even after unification for peacekeeping and maintaining the balance of power. Citing high ranking ROK officials, the newspaper continued that calls for a withdrawal of the USFK were intended for the DPRK people, and the military which is in “part maintained by tensions.” Kim Jong-il reportedly said that the ROK should ignore the propaganda and asked that surplus electricity generated in the ROK be transmitted for use in the DPRK. During discussions at the summit meeting between the countries’ two leaders, Kim Jong-il said, “The U.S. forces must not attack us. I agree with some aspects of President Kim’s explanation. The U.S. forces need not withdraw now. The U.S. forces had better stay on to maintain peace even after the two Koreas are unified.”

2. Reunion of Separated Families

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “REUNION DELEGATIONS TO USE DIRECT AIR ROUTES ACROSS BORDER,” Seoul, 08/10/00) reported that the ROK and the DPRK managed to hammer out details for the family reunions taking place in their respective capitals August 15-18, agreeing to fly their delegations via direct air routes. With the agreement, a 151-strong group from each side will fly to the other’s capital on August 15 for the four-day event. The family members will have a two-hour group meeting at their respective orientation halls August 15, which will be followed by individual meetings at each visiting family member’s accommodations August 16-17. Officials said that in addition to the official meetings, they will have lunch together twice, but the visitors will not be allowed to either visit their families’ homes or to be accompanied by relatives when visiting tourist sites. All events taking place in Seoul and Pyongyang will be broadcast to the DPRK and the ROK after being taped and will not be televised live.

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, “NORTH KOREAN DELEGATION TO BE LED BY FORMER SOUTH DEFECTOR,” Seoul, 08/09/00) reported that the 151 separated family members from the DPRK who will be reunited with their relatives in the ROK will be led Ryu Mi-young, widow of Choi Deuk-shin, the former foreign affairs minister of the ROK who left the country in self-imposed exile in 1976. Ryu is the current chairwoman of the Central Committee for Chondoism’s Chongu Party – her husband was the former head of Chondoism, a traditional religion indigenous to Korea. Ryu is counted among the upper echelon in DPRK society and reportedly lives a privileged life.

3. Inter-Korean Railway

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, “DEFENSE MINISTRY MULLS LAUNCHING SPECIAL TEAM FOR S-N RAIL PROJECT,” Seoul, 08/10/00) reported that ROK military officials said on August 9 that the ROK Defense Ministry is considering launching an army task force to help support the proposed reconnection of the severed Kyungui (Seoul- Sinuiju) railway. The special Army squad, to be composed of some 2,000 soldiers from several engineering battalions and mine disposal units, will be responsible for removing mines within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and laying the groundwork for the railroad. On August 5, the ROK Defense Ministry said that it would launch mine clearance work in the DMZ as early as mid-September, after consultations with the United Nations Command. He predicted that the joint DPRK-ROK mine-clearing issue would be raised by the ROK at the forthcoming inter-Korean ministerial talks scheduled for August 29 in Pyongyang. Officials said that the DPRK will also likely mobilize troops to construct the railway.

4. Inter-Korean Relations

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “NK TEAM LIKELY TO INSPECT SEOUL’S MILITARY FACILITIES IN NOVEMBER,” Seoul, 08/10/00) reported that ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Lee Joung-binn said on August 9 that a DPRK delegation is likely to make an inspection tour to military facilities in the ROK in November. Lee said in a speech that he requested his DPRK counterpart Paek Nam-sun during their recent Bangkok meeting to dispatch a delegation to an inter-session ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting, slated for early November in Seoul. As part of the inter-sessional meeting on confidence-building measures, delegations from the ARF member countries are scheduled to tour ROK’s military facilities and watch military exercises. Lee said that there has been no response from the DPRK on whether it would dispatch a delegation to the “inter-sessional support group meeting on confidence- building measures,” slated for November 1-2. He said, “However, joining an inter-sessional meeting is the responsibility of a member state. Therefore, we expect North Korea to send a delegation, possibly a military delegation, to Seoul.” Lee said that if the DPRK decides to send a delegation to inspect the ROK’s military facilities, it would mark the first milestone in helping reduce military tension between the two Koreas. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 10, 2000.]

The Korea Times (“S-N DIPLOMATIC CHANNELS IN OPERATION IN NEW YORK, BANGKOK,” Seoul, 08/09/00) reported that ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister said on August 9 that last month’s meeting between ROK and DPRK foreign ministers in Bangkok helped the two states open new channels of diplomatic communications in New York and Bangkok. During the meeting, they reached an agreement to strengthen contacts through diplomatic channels to ensure cooperation in international issues and regularize bilateral talks at future world events. An official said, “The Bangkok channel between embassies of the two Koreas started its operation even before the ministers’ meeting, because we needed to discuss technical issues to arrange the meeting.” After the ministers’ meeting, the two Koreas’ diplomatic missions to the UN opened a new channel of communication, which would help arrange their second meeting to be held on the sidelines of the Millennium Summit in September. The channel will be also used to organize a meeting between ROK President Kim Dae-jung and Kim Yong-nam, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, who is expected to join the world summit.

III. People’s Republic of China

1. DPRK-ROK Relations

China Daily (“KOREAN LEADERS COULD MEET AT UN,” Seoul, 08/08/00, P1) reported that the ROK Foreign Ministry said that ROK President Kim Dae-jung is expected to meet the top-ranking head of the DPRK when the two leaders attend a millennium UN summit in New York next month. It said that the DPRK has notified the US and the UN of the travel plans for Kim Yong-nam, designated head of state as chairman of the DPRK Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly. An ROK media reported that Kim Yong-nam may also meet US President Bill Clinton on the sidelines of the UN summit. An ROK spokesman was quoted as saying that the two Koreas will also push at next month’s General Assembly for a UN resolution supporting agreements reached at the Pyongyang summit.

People’s Daily (Gao Haorong, “DPRK, ROK EXCHANGE DELEGATION LISTS OF SEPARATED FAMILIES,” Seoul, 08/09/00, P6) reported that, in Panmunjom on August 8, the DPRK and the ROK Red Cross exchanged lists of delegation of separated family members that are scheduled to visit each other on August 15. Each list included 100 people.

2. DPRK-Russian Relations

People’s Liberation Army Daily (“PUTIN SIGNED ACT,” Moscow, 08/06/00, P4) reported that, according to the Russian President News Bureau, Putin has signed the Act of “Ratification of Russia-DPRK Friendly Neighboring Cooperation Treaty.” It said that this Treaty will substitute the 1961 treaty that has lost its effect and become the only document to adjust bilateral relations. The DPRK ratified the treaty on April 26, 2000.

3. Cross-Straits Relations

China Daily (“‘TWO KOREAS MODEL’ UNFIT FOT THE TAIWAN QUESTION,” 08/03/00, P4) excerpted passages from an article published in the Hong Kong-based Bauhinia magazine. According to the article, the attempt by those politicians to follow the “two Koreas model” is a ruse to seek independence and avert the one-China principle. Based on its analysis on different historical backgrounds between the Korea issue and Taiwan issue, the article concluded that the “two Korea model” is not suitable for the situation across the Straits. The article responded to the “two China” argument by saying that their reasoning was ridiculous and untenable. It said that early in 1971 the UN reached consensus on the representative rights of the PRC, and since then, more than 160 countries have established diplomatic ties with the PRC, all recognizing that there is only “one-China.” The main reason that both sides are not able to break the deadlock in the negotiations is because the Taiwanese authority fails to recognize the one-China principle. The article said that the central PRC government is sincere in seeking reunification, but also has the capability to stop any separatist activity.

China Daily (“UN TALKS ON TAIWAN NOT NEEDED,” 08/05/00, P1) and People’s Daily (Ding Baozhong, “CHINA HANDS IN LETTER TO ANNAN,” 08/06/00, P2) reported that the PRC spoke out against a proposal by Senegal and other countries to open discussions on Taiwan’s “participation” in the UN. Wang Yingfan, PRC permanent representative to the UN, handed in a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to reiterate the PRC’s attitude and principles regarding the Taiwan question. Xinhua News Agency quoted PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao as saying that Senegal and a handful of other countries “are attempting to create ‘two Chinas’ or ‘one China, one Taiwan’ in the UN.” Zhu said, “this is a flagrant violation of the purpose and principles of the UN Charter and a distortion of the nature of the UN, and represents a gross interference in China’s internal affairs.” He noted that Resolution Number 2758, adopted by an overwhelming majority during the 26th UN General Assembly in 1971, completely resolved the issue concerning the representation of the PRC in the UN. Zhu also said that to settle the Taiwan question at an early date and accomplish the complete reunification of the motherland are common aspirations of the entire Chinese people, including Taiwan compatriots.

4. Chen Shui-bian’s US Visit

Wenhui Daily (Zheng Ruoling, “WHAT ON EARTH IS US DOING?” 08/08/00, P2) carried a commentary about the US government’s approval of Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian’s transit stop in Los Angeles. The writer said that this is not an isolated incident, but rather a wrong step away from normal Sino-US relations. It listed three adverse effects of the issue. First, the article said, the Chen’s stop could be interpreted by the Taiwan separatists as a signal to support their stance, which in turn would impel their challenge to the “one-China” principle. Second, the US government’s attitude will eventually bring the wrong message to the US media, which may lead US’s public opinion to accepting a dangerous military conflict. Last, Chinese people will become more and more doubtful about US intentions, especially the younger generation.

Jiefang Daily (“US BEHAVIOR IS NOT CONSISTANT WITH ITS WORDS,” Beijing, 08/07/00, P7) reported that PRC is strongly unsatisfied and opposed to the US’s approval of Chen Shuibian’s transit in Los Angles on his way to visit Latin America countries. Zhu Bangzao, PRC Foreign Minister spokesman, said that the PRC is always in a position to firmly oppose any official contact between Taiwan and US. Zhu said that the US should obey the principles in the three joint communiques and its relevant commitments.

5. PRC-US Relations

People’s Liberation Army Daily (“CHINA OPPOSES TO BRING ELECTION POLITICS INTO SINO-US RELATIONS,” Beijing, 08/03/00, P4) reported that the PRC on August 2 urged US political parties not to allow election politics to affect bilateral relations. The PRC’s Xinhua News Agency quoted Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhu Bangzao as saying in response to a request for comment on the US Republican Party’s campaign platform, “we have taken note of the fact that in the US election campaign, the Republican Party’s platform criticizes China, and we are concerned and regretful about it.” Zhu said that developing bilateral relations between the PRC and the US is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and promotes stability and prosperity in the world. Zhu said, “We hope that the Republican Party has a clear understanding of the overall situation of Sino-US relations, and will act wisely, abide by the commitments of past US governments, and work to stabilize and improve relations. US presidential election politics should not be involved in Sino-US relations.”

6. PRC’s View of NMD

People’s Daily (“GLOBAL PEACE AND STABILITY IS NOT ALLOWED TO BE UNDERMINED,” 08/03/00, P7) carried an article written by Sha Zukang, Director-General of the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament of PRC Foreign Ministry, on the PRC’s attitude toward US National Missile Defense (NMD). Sha said that the US is becoming the biggest destroyer of global peace and security. He said that with the further development and betterment of the US NMD system, the world is most likely to become more and more chaotic and unstable. Sha explained that the PRC is opposed to NMD because its international position and its security environment determines its attitude. He added that the PRC’s opposition to NMD is not intended to threaten the US or any countries’ security and that the PRC has no intention to blackmail the US with nuclear weapons and will not seek to attain this capability. Sha wrote that the only goal of the PRC’s development of limited defense capability is to maintain national sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity. He noted that the PRC did not, does not and will never conduct an arms race with any other country and that this policy will not be affected by the US NMD program. However, he continued, the PRC will implement necessary measures according to the changes in the global and regional security situation, because the PRC will not put up with another nuclear blackmail. Sha concluded by urging the US to give up its NMD program, and added that the PRC is willing to cooperate with the US and the international community to struggle for global and regional peace and security.

7. PRC-Japanese Relations

People’s Liberation Army Daily (Liang Ming, Ding Zengyi, “DECODING JAPAN’S 2000 GOVERNMENTAL WHITE PAPER ON DEFENCE,” 08/03/00, P5) and People’s Daily (Gu Ping, “NEW EXCUSE TO JOIN TMD,” 08/04/00, P6) reported that Japan is actually repeating the “China Threat” to whitewash its true intention of joining the US-proposed TMD system. The reports said that a change in wording is Japan’s ruse for joining the TMD system. It noted that Japan has been an active advocate for the TMD system since 1998 and in early 1999, it budgeted US$ 8 million for the system. The reports said that Japan had to find an excuse to deceive the people into supporting the plan after the recent developments in the peace process on the Korean Peninsula and the DPRK’s recent promise to give up its missile tests under certain conditions. The reports said that Japan’s excuse of a DPRK threat has become untenable, thus creating the need for a new one. The articles said that this was the first time such words have appeared in a Japanese government document.

8. Japanese Visits to War Shrine

People’s Daily (Zhang Huanli, “YOSHIRO MORI WILL NOT PAY HOMAGE TO YASUKUNI SHRINE,” Tokyo, 08/06/00, P6) reported that, in a press reception held in Hiroshima on August 6, Japanese President Yoshiro Mori said that he will not pay an official homage to Yasukuni Shrine on August 15. When questioned whether he will visit in his private capacity, Mori answered the time is not ripe to make clear statement, and he will decide independently and prudently.

People’s Daily (Yu Qing, Guan Kejiang, “JAPANESE CABINET OFFICIALS DECLARE TO PAY HOMAGE TO YASUKUNI SHRINE,” Tokyo, 08/09/00, P6) reported that, in a press reception, 10 among the 18 Cabinet officials in Mori’s administration declared their determination to pay homage to Yasukuni Shrine on August 15.

9. PRC Nuclear Reactor Development

China Daily (Gong Zhengzheng, “NUCLEAR REACTOR CORE MADE,” Shanghai, 08/03/00, P5) reported that Shanghai Number One Machine and Tool Works announced the completion of PRC’s first indigenous nuclear reactor core with the assistance of the French Framatome Group, one of the world’s leading nuclear equipment producers. The nuclear reactor core is for the Ling’ao Nuclear Power Station in South China’s Guangdong Province. The French firm and the Shanghai plant invested approximately 100 million yuan (US$12 million) in constructing the new machinery. Jean-Francois Terrien, Framatome’s executive vice-president, stated, “Framatome is committed to providing technical assistance to Chinese partners in manufacturing nuclear power equipment.” According to Cheng Yingmin, general engineer at the Shanghai works, the completion of the reactor core has laid a sound foundation for building nuclear equipment in PRC. It reported that the PRC government is considering expanding the role of nuclear power in energy production in the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-2005).

10. PRC Entry to WTO

China Daily (“OFFICIAL: WTO MEMBERS BAR CHINA,” 08/04/00, P5) reported that PRC officials have criticized some individual members of the WTO for deliberately attempting to block PRC’s entry into the world trade body as the country has entered the last phase of its bid to join. Shi Guangsheng, PRC Foreign Trade Minister, said on Wednesday in Tokyo, “some members are trying to seize the opportunity to profiteer in this last phase. I do not think many people will appreciate this.” The world can be assured that PRC will keep its promises after it joins the trade organization because the PRC is a “responsible country” and to join the WTO meets the PRC’s demand for further opening up and reform, Shi said. He added that as a developing country, the PRC is sure to meet difficulties and challenges in the early stages of WTO membership, but it is fully prepared, he said.

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