NAPSNet Daily Report 11 July, 2003

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 11 July, 2003", NAPSNet Daily Report, July 11, 2003, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-11-july-2003/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. ROK-DPRK Nuclear Talks
2. US PRC Weapons Proliferation Seizure
3. Lockheed Martin US Patriot Missile Contract
4. Australia on DPRK Nuclear Crisis
5. DPRK SARS Quarantine
6. DPRK on Neutrality
7. PRC Flood Developments
8. PRC Sex Health Website
9. US Domestic Politics
10. EU US Steel Tariff

I. United States

1. ROK-DPRK Nuclear Talks

Reuters (Paul Eckert, “S.KOREA AIMS FOR NORTH ATOMIC TALKS IN MONTH OR TWO,” Seoul, 07/11/03) reported that the ROK is doing its utmost to hold multilateral talks on the DPRK’s nuclear weapons ambitions within the next month or two, President Roh Moo-hyun’s foreign policy chief said on Friday. Ban Ki-moon told YTN television the venue could be decided for the talks once the parties had agreed to meet. That still remains a tall order, although Roh urged the PRC during a visit to Beijing this week to persuade the DPRK to join such talks. “We will do our utmost to hold multilateral talks within one month or two,” Ban said. “The venue could be determined after all involved agree on the multilateral talks.” A first round of talks involving the PRC, the US and the DPRK was held in Beijing in April. At that meeting, the DPRK told the US it had nuclear weapons and intended to make more. The DPRK has so far insisted the nuclear issue can only be resolved in bilateral talks with Washington. But Ban said the DPRK had shown a gradual change in its stance and he expected it to seriously consider holding multilateral talks. The ROK, which is holding bilateral economic talks in Seoul with the DPRK, warned Pyongyang on Thursday against aggravating the nuclear crisis on the peninsula. The DPRK-ROK talks were bogged down on Friday over the wording of a joint statement on the nuclear issue.

Asia Pulse (“2 KOREAS STRUGGLE TO REACH ACCORD ON NUCLEAR ISSUE,” Seoul, 07/11/03) reported that inter-Korean high-level talks hit a snag Friday as North Korea showed little interest in a US proposal to hold multilateral talks to resolve the communist country’s nuclear weapons program, ROK officials said. “DPRKs are repeating their previous positions,” said Shin Eon-sang, a ROK spokesman said at a news briefing. “They insist that the nuclear issue is a matter that concerns them and the US only.” The nuclear standoff dominated two days of formal and informal discussions at the Cabinet-level meeting that opened in Seoul Thursday. The meeting was scheduled to end on Saturday. After failing to convene a scheduled full-dress meeting on Friday, working officials of the two sides continued informal discussions to try to resolve differences, Shin said. The two sides’ chief envoys — Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun from South Korea and Kim Ryong-song, a Cabinet councilor from the DPRK — spent over three hours together overnight, discussing the differences, he said. ROK officials were explaining the usefulness of the multilateral approach, stressing that the DPRK can reap sizable economic and other benefits from participating countries that would also include the PRC, Japan, the ROK and possibly Russia.

2. US PRC Weapons Proliferation Seizure

Agence France-Presse (“US SEIZES 400,000 DOLLARS OF CHINESE ARMS EN ROUTE TO EL SALVADOR,” 07/11/03) reported that US authorities announced the seizure of nearly half a million dollars worth of arms that were being shipped from China to the Central American state of El Salvador. The 421,500-dollar shipment, that included 780 handguns, 950 ammunition magazines and 150 pistol grip shotguns, was taken off a ship bound from the Canadian port of Vancouver to El Salvador on June 28, officials said. “The arms were not military weapons and had been sent by a Chinese arms manufacturer from Shanghai to an arms dealer in El Salvador,” Mike Milne of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection told AFP. “There is no indication that this weapons shipment was in any way linked to terrorism or to any military or para-military group — it was a private deal,” he said. A suspicious 20-foot container that turned out to be filled with the guns and ammunition was taken off the ship Nordstrand in the west coast port of Portland, Oregon last week as it wended its way to Central America. Officials became suspicious of the container because the cargo manifest indicated it was carrying frozen trout, while the shipper was an arms manufacturer and the recipient a gun dealer, officials said. They removed the container from the ship on June 28 and then formally seized it Wednesday after confirming with the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department that no permit existed to ship the weapons. “Since September 11, 2001, the US has tightened up scrutiny of all cargo passing through the US even if it is not destined for this country to prevent any sort of terrorist attack,” Milne said. In addition to the cache of handguns, ammunition and pistol-grip shotguns seized, US authorities also detained some 300 standard pump-action shotguns that were also in the shipment. Officials declined to identify either the shipper or the consignee of the cargo of weapons, but said they appeared to have been intended for private use.

3. Lockheed Martin US Patriot Missile Contract

Agence France-Presse (“LOCKHEED MARTIN WINS 260 MILLION DOLLAR PATRIOT MISSILE CONTRACT,” Washington, 07/11/03) reported that US defense giant Lockheed Martin said it received a 260 million dollar US Army contract to improve the Patriot antimissile battery. The program will include software, testing and modification work, among other areas, with flight tests of the new missile to begin in September 2006. Patriot missiles have been deployed by the US around the Middle East as protection against some types of missile attacks. The newest version called the PAC-3 Missile, according to Lockheed, “defeats the entire threat to the Patriot Air Defense System: tactical ballistic missiles (TBMs) carrying weapons of mass destruction, advanced cruise missiles and aircraft.” The new contract “is another example of the implementation of technology maturation to make a great system even better, giving the warfighter a higher level of protection and a larger defended footprint,” said Ed Squires, senior vice president of Air Defense Programs for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

4. Australia on DPRK Nuclear Crisis

Agence France-Presse (“AUSTRALIAN PM PUTS NKOREA CRISIS FIRST IN THREE NATION ASIAN TOUR,” 07/11/03) reported that international security and the threat posed by the DPRK will be the major focus of top-level talks during a visit by Australian Prime Minister John Howard to the Philippines, Japan and the ROK next week. Howard leaves Sunday for Manila on the first leg of the three-nation trip for talks with their leaders. Plans by an alliance of 11 countries to stop the DPRK’s trade in illicit arms and drugs will be high on the agenda, officials said. Australia and Japan are among the 11 nations which have made a commitment under the so-called Proliferation Security Initiative to tackle the trade between perceived rogue states in nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Australia has committed its military, police and intelligence services to take part in maritime exercises as early as September as a first step towards a global operation to stop the international arms trade. During his three days in the Philippines, Howard will also discuss practical cooperation to combat terrorism with President Gloria Arroyo and the two leaders will sign a counter-terrorism agreement. The southern Philippines is beset with an Islamic insurgency. In Japan, Howard and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will also discuss trade and sign a trade framework agreement. Howard’s trip to Seoul just before the 50th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice will emphasise the importance Australia attaches to security on the Korean Peninsula and Australia’s interest in working closely with Seoul on this issue. He said Friday that Australia would promote diplomatic measures to ease tensions with North Korea. “We don’t want to go to war with anybody, the question of how we deal with North Korea is a very difficult question,” he told a Melbourne radio station. “We would like it solved diplomatically, we will try very hard to solve it diplomatically, (but) we can’t walk away from the issue. The Australian people wouldn’t want us to.” However, an Australian expert in regional relations, Adelaide University’s Professor of Asian Studies Purnendra Jain, said Howard faced an uphill battle to gain meaningful results from his trip. He said Australia’s participation in the Iraq war and its pursuit of a bilateral free trade deal with the US were unpopular in Asia. “Australia is now increasingly perceived in Asian capitals as a self-appointed deputy to the US,” Jain said. Howard will be in the Philippines from July 13-15, before visiting Japan from July 15-17 and the ROK from July 17-20.

5. DPRK SARS Quarantine

Reuters (“NORTH KOREA DROPS MANDATORY ANTI-SARS QUARANTINE,” Beijing, 07/11/03) reported that the DPRK has resumed flights and train services from China and dropped a tough anti-SARS measure that forced all travelers into 10 days of quarantine since late April, the PRC’s Xinhua news agency said on Friday. No SARS cases have been reported in the DPRK, which is in dire straits economically and has a failing health system. Neighboring China was the epicenter of the global Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak, which the World Health Organization now says has been contained. The DPRK’s Foreign Ministry notified embassies and international agencies in Pyongyang that incoming passengers were still subject to medical checks and possible deportation if they were suspected of being infected with the SARS virus, the official news agency said. Trains from Beijing to Pyongyang resumed service on Wednesday and the DPRK’s flag carrier Koryo Airlines resumed flights between the two capitals on Thursday, Xinhua said. There are just a handful of international flights per week serving the country of 23 million.

6. DPRK on Neutrality

The Associated Press (Edith M. Lederer, “NORTH KOREA URGES NEUTRALITY IN STANDOFF,” United Nations 07/10/03) reported that the DPRK followed up a letter warning the U.N. Security Council to take a neutral stance on the DPRK’s nuclear program with visits to some council members urging them to be impartial, diplomats said Thursday. Spain’s U.N. Ambassador Inocencio Arias said he plans to report to the council Monday on a visit from the DPRK’s U.N. Ambassador Pak Gil Yon on July 1. “He wanted the council to act impartially,” Arias said. Lower-ranking DPRK diplomats delivered the same message to Britain’s U.N. Mission and other council nations last week, diplomats said. The US wants the Security Council to condemn the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program and demand its immediate and permanent destruction, according to a draft US document circulated to the other permanent council members last month. The DPRKa has warned that any Security Council action would undermine attempts to end the nuclear standoff peacefully. It has said it would see U.N. sanctions as a declaration of war. The five-page letter sent to the council by Pak on June 27 was peppered with fiery language accusing Washington of threatening his country and violating international treaties. The ambassador called on the Security Council not to be influenced by the American position. “The Security Council has an obligation to judge … whether or not it would be justifiable for one member state of the United Nations to stifle another member state,” Pak wrote. While Arias said he would report to the 15-member council Monday on his meeting with Pak, he stressed that no substantive discussion of the DPRK’s nuclear program had been scheduled.

7. PRC Flood Developments

Agence France-Presse (“DEATH TOLL IN CHINA FLOODS HITS 569,” 07/11/03) reported that the death toll from massive floods crippling large parts of China jumped to 569 Friday with half a million homes destroyed as PRC President Hu Jintao ordered increased efforts to fight the annual blight. Up until July 10, more than 505,000 homes had collapsed and 1.33 million houses had been damaged by floods that have mainly occurred in central, east and southern China since mid-May, the Civil Affairs Ministry said in its latest report. At least 2.29 million people have been evacuated while economic losses nationwide have risen to 39.87 billion yuan (4.8 billion dollars). The flooding has mainly occurred in two periods, the ministry said, the first being in mid-May when southern PRC, including Jiangxi, Fujian, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi and Guizhou provinces were hit by torrential rains. Since June 20, those areas and five other provinces in central PRC, including Anhui, Henan and Jiangsu, which bound the central Huai River valley, have also been inundated by incessant storms. More than 260 fatalities have occurred since June 20 as rains in southern Guizhou and in Chongqing municipality sent torrents of water gushing down mountain passes, destroying homes and crops. In the Huai River valley the water levels have reached their highest in 10 years, and the government has evacuated farming communities and blown up dykes in an attempt reduce the amount of water in the swelling river. “In comparison to the same time last year, this year’s flood disaster has been worse in the areas affected, fatalities, number of houses collapsed and economic losses,” the ministry said. “So far it has not reached the level of the big disaster of 1991 or the big disaster of 1998,” it said.

8. PRC Sex Health Website

Agence France-Presse (“CHINA LAUNCHES FIRST EVER SEX HEALTH WEBSITE,” 07/11/03) reported that the first ever website giving advice on sexual health to young people has been launched in the PRC as the population becomes more sexually active and at an earlier age, state press said. The interactive site encourages youngsters to openly discuss their love lives and all matters related to sex, site designer Sang Qing told the China Daily. Most Chinese people have little access to reliable and accurate information on sex due to traditional sensitivities about the issue, but the growing prevalence of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases is worrying authorities. Unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions are also a problem. According to UN estimates, between 800,000 and 1.5 million people in the PRC had HIV by December 2001, and the number could reach 10 million by 2010. Most are in the 15 to 29 age range, according to the Ministry of Health. “In China, where there is a wider gap between puberty and marriage, sexual activity outside marriage has increased and this has increased young people’s vulnerability to HIV and AIDS,” said Liu Liqing, the PRC representative of the non-profit organisation Marie Stopes International. The launch of the website, partly sponsored by the United Nations, follows an announcement in December that the PRC will lift a ban on condom advertisements in an effort to promote safe sex. Family planning associations throughout the PRC meanwhile have been asked to do a better job of teaching the rural and migrant population about safe sex to prevent HIV/AIDS. The website can be found at www.youandme.net.cn.

9. US Domestic Politics

Reuters (Sue Pleming, “DEMOCRATS LINE UP TO ATTACK BUSH OVER IRAQ,” Washington, 07/11/03) reported that Democratic presidential hopefuls on Friday demanded an investigation into false intelligence given to the president over Iraq’s nuclear weapons in what could become an important issue in the 2004 election. Democratic White House contenders and others in the party are daily becoming more critical of President Bush’s handling of the war, the intelligence he used in justifying it and mounting US casualties since the fall of Baghdad. White House rivals in the crowded Democratic race, Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Florida Sen. Bob Graham and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts all called for an investigation into prewar intelligence. “Instead of engaging in bureaucratic finger pointing, he (the president) needs to be honest with the American people. To achieve that goal, we need a full and honest investigation into intelligence failures,” said Kerry in a statement. The White House acknowledged this week that an accusation made by the president in his State of the Union address in January that Iraq had sought to acquire nuclear material from Africa was incorrect. Graham called for a broad, independent and public investigation. “Day after day, the Bush administration fails to confess the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the use of intelligence leading us to war with Iraq,” he said in a statement. Dean, who has made his opposition to the war a hallmark of his campaign, said whoever was responsible for misleading Bush over claims of Iraq’s nuclear weapons program should quit. “Whoever it was who withheld that information, needs to resign,” he said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” show. “We need a full-scale … bipartisan investigation outside of Congress.” Lieberman, who voted in favor of going to war with Iraq as did Kerry, voiced strong concern over news reports on Thursday the Bush administration had ignored the CIA’s objection to including the uranium claim in the State of the Union address. “These are troubling reports that need full and thorough investigation. We cannot and should not play fast and loose with our intelligence information, and however it happened we now know that the information in the State of the Union was false, and misled the American people,” said Lieberman.

10. EU US Steel Tariff

Agence France Presse (“EU, JAPAN, CHINA, OTHERS HAIL WTO RULING AGAINST US STEEL TARIFFS,” Brussels, 07/11/03) reported that the European Union, Japan, China and five other countries welcomed a decision by the WTO that US safeguard measures on steel imports were illegal under international trade rules. The EU initiated the move against the US steel tariffs and was joined by Brazil, the PRC, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the ROK and Switzerland in a complaint lodged at the Geneva-based World Trade Organization last year. “This is not just a partial victory. It’s a full victory. We have been given satisfaction on all accounts,” European Commission spokeswoman Arancha Gonzalez said. However, the US quickly contested the decision by a panel of experts and vowed not give up its tariffs. “Where the panel found against the US, we disagree, and we will appeal,” US Trade Representative spokesman Richard Mills said in a statement after the decision was announced in Geneva. “In the meantime, the steel safeguard measures will remain in place.” Mills added that so-called “safeguard measures” to protect an industry under certain conditions are allowed under WTO rules. But the panel of three independent experts rejected the arguments laid down by the US, finding Washington had failed to provide a “reasoned and adequate explanation” of a link between increased imports and “serious injury” caused to US producers, a WTO report said. The report, more than 900 pages long, confirmed an interim WTO ruling in March. The US slapped three-year tariffs of eight to 30 percent on selected types of steel imports in March 2002 to prop up its ailing steel industry, prompting anger from steel-producing nations.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:

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Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan

Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Brandon Yu: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Young-soo: yskim328@hotmail.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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
Clayton, Australia

 


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