NAPSNet Daily Report 12 May, 2004

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 12 May, 2004", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 12, 2004, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-12-may-2004/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. Six-Way DPRK Talks
2. DPRK-ROK Military Talks
3. US-PRC Espionage Affair
4. PRC Anti-Torture Campaign
II. Japan 1. Japan-DPRK Abduction Cases
2. Japan DPRK Ship Port Call
3. Japan Rightists’ Landing on Takeshima (Dokdo)
4. Japan Constitutional Revision
5. Japan Military Emergency Bills
6. Japan to Lift Arms Export Ban?
7. Japan’s PKO Participation in East Timor
8. Japan Permanent SDF Dispatch Law

I. United States

1. Six-Way DPRK Talks

The Associated Press (Jae-suk Yoo, “NORTH KOREA PROPOSES HIGH-LEVEL TALKS,” Seoul, 05/12/04) reported that an ROK report said that the DPRK demanded aid in exchange for freezing its nuclear weapons program as it began low-level talks with the US and four other nations. The Yonhap News Agency, citing unidentified diplomatic sources, reported that DPRK envoys said the success of the low-level talks would depend on whether the US. Also taking part are the PRC, the ROK Russia and Japan. The “working group” talks are meant to help produce an agenda for a third round of high-level talks on the DPRK’s nuclear ambitions, which host Beijing hopes takes place before July. Even as envoys from the six nations sat down to talk, the DPRK government unleashed more vitriol from Pyongyang, with the newspaper Rodong Sinmun accusing the US of using the nuclear issue as a pretext for war. “It is a false propaganda to claim that the US is a ‘friendly country’,” said the commentary, carried on North Korea’s official KCNA news agency. Whether the rhetoric would set the tone for the negotiations was unclear.

The Associated Press (Joe McDonald, “REPORT: N. KOREA SEEKS AID TO FREEZE NUKES,” Beijing, 05/12/04) reported that the DPRK demanded aid in exchange for freezing its nuclear weapons program as it began low-level talks Wednesday with the US and four other nations, a ROK report said. DPRK envoys said the success of the talks would depend on whether the US agreed, the Yonhap News Agency reported, citing unidentified diplomatic sources. Also taking part are the PRC, the ROK, Russia and Japan. The “working group” talks are meant to help produce an agenda for a third round of high-level talks on the DPRK’s nuclear ambitions, which host Beijing hopes takes place before July. “North Korea renewed its reward-for-freeze demand and warned that the success of the talks will depend on whether the US accepts its demand or not,” Yonhap said. The US and its allies say they are willing to provide aid if the DPRK freezes its nuclear facilities and commits itself to dismantling them. The US says such a freeze must be a short temporary step toward permanent dismantling. The DPRK has balked at making such a commitment, and insists on aid and a freeze taking place simultaneously. There was no immediate comment from the US delegation.

New York Times (James Brooke, “A FLURRY OF DIPLOMACY IN ASIA ON EVE OF ARMS TALKS,” Seoul, 05/12/04) reported that Tokyo is abuzz with reports that the prime minister of Japan is planning a visit to the DPRK. Meanwhile, the ROK and the DPRK are organizing a meeting of army generals, the highest level inter-Korean military meeting in decades. Pieces in Northeast Asia’s long frozen security puzzle are starting to shift as envoys from the US, PRC, Japan, Russia and the two Koreas converge Wednesday in Beijing for midlevel talks on the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program. “The North Koreans have been told by the PRC: ‘Cool it, tone down the rhetoric, don’t look like a belligerent power to the world’, ” Selig S. Harrison, an expert on the DPRK, said by telephone from his office at the Center for International Policy in Washington. While the DPRK waits to see what happens in the US presidential election, he said, it is taking conciliatory steps toward the US’ two closest allies in the region, Japan and the ROK.

2. DPRK-ROK Military Talks Agence France-Presse (“TWO KOREAS TO HOLD MILITARY TALKS ON MAY 26: OFFICIAL,” 05/12/04) reported that the DPRK and the ROK will on May 26 hold their first general-level military talks since the war on the peninsula ended five decades ago, defence officials said. “Today, the North offered to hold the first round of general-level inter-Korean military talks at 10:00 am (0100 GMT) on May 26 in Mount Kumgang. We have no problems in agreeing to this,” a defense ministry official stated. Both sides plan to have a border meeting between their liaison officers on Friday to fix details on talks, he added.

3. US-PRC Espionage Affair

Agence France-Presse (“FBI HANDLER ADMITS LYING ABOUT AFFAIR WITH ACCUSED PRC DOUBLE AGENT,” 05/13/04) reported that a former FBI handler who had an affair with an accused PRC double agent admitted in court that he lied about the “sexual relationship” to his bosses. James Smith pleaded guilty to one of four charges related to his liaison with Katrina Leung, a PRC-American businesswoman and one-time Republican party fundraiser, who used Smith as a key source of information. The 60-year-old Smith, admitted one count of making false statements about his longstanding affair. He has also agreed to cooperate into the Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the activities of his 50-year-old former lover. Smith may now escape a prison sentence and the government also dropped charges of gross negligence and mail fraud against the PRC specialist, who spent 30 years with the FBI. Smith worked in the FBI counterintelligence squad in Los Angeles concentrating on the PRC. He recruited Leung to act as an agent in 1982 and one of his principal duties was to be the main contact for Leung, who the FBI paid about 1.7 million dollars over 20 years for her assistance. They started the affair in 1983 and it lasted until December 2002, according to prosecutors. But Leung also allegedly worked for the PRC government and copied classified documents from Smith. She is also alleged to have had another affair with a second FBI agent for seven years. Smith told District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper that he and Leung — who was once considered a key FBI “asset” — carried on an affair for nearly 20 years. The now-retired agent admitted that during routine interviews conducted to update his security status, he did not reveal his relationship with the woman the FBI had code-named “Parlor Maid.” “My response was, ‘No, there isn’t anything in my background (that could be compromising).'” Smith told the judge. “That response was false.”

4. PRC Anti-Torture Campaign

Agence France-Presse (“CHINA ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN TO WEED OUT OFFICIALS WHO TORTURE PRISONERS,” 05/12/04) reported that the PRC announced a campaign to weed out government officials who torture and maltreat prisoners, the latest in a string of moves apparently aimed at the US over the abuse of Iraqi inmates. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate said it would investigate and punish anyone who “commits crimes connected with infringement of human rights”, the China Youth Daily, a leading government-controlled newspaper, reported. “This special movement will last one year, and starts right now,” said vice-general procurator Wang Zhenchuan. He said the campaign would focus on five key human rights areas including illegal detention, torture and maltreatment of prisoners, and malpractices that cause serious losses of people’s lives and property. “Those criminal cases must be investigated wherever they happen,” said Wang. In an unusually frank admission, the Procuratorial Daily said 1,064 cases of human rights violations by officials were carried out last year, largely illegal detention and police extorting confessions through torture. It said 66 people died or were injured in these cases, without going into details. Citing PRC human rights experts, Xinhua news agency Wednesday said the abuse scandal exposed the US as a “hypocrite” with “double standards” on human rights. “The abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers ruined mankind’s dignity and ruthlessly trampled human rights,” the agency cited China Society for Human Rights Studies vice chairman Dong Yunhu as saying.

II. Japan

1. Japan-DPRK Abduction Cases

The Japan Times (“FREED ABDUCTEES ‘WILLING TO REVISIT’ NORTH,” 05/08/04) reported that five repatriated Japanese abductees are willing to accompany Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the DPRK to pick up their families if such a visit is realized, one of their relatives in Japan said. Toru Hasuike, whose younger brother, Kaoru, returned to Japan in October 2002 after being abducted to the North in 1978, said, “It is a fact that the five abductees, while paying consideration to the 10 others who are unaccounted for, have high hopes of the prime minister’s visit to North Korea.” Shigeru Yokota, whose daughter, Megumi, is one of the eight whom the DPRK claims is dead, said he is opposed to Koizumi making a second visit to the DPRK at this time. He said Kim Jong Il should reciprocate and come to Japan instead. Yokota said another trip to Pyongyang by the prime minister should come later, after DPRK provides convincing information on the whereabouts of the eight abductees said to be dead and two others of whom the DPRK claims it has no record. Yokota leads a group of relatives of abductees. Toru Hasuike is the chief of the secretariat of the group.

The Japan Times (“TOKYO, PYONGYANG MULL KOIZUMI VISIT,” 05/09/04) reported that Japan and the DPRK are considering whether Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi can visit Pyongyang to pick up the relatives of Japanese abductees, in an effort to reach a breakthrough on the abduction issue, informed sources said Saturday. The two countries are expected to resume bilateral talks soon to fix a date for a Koizumi visit to the DPRK capital, they said, adding that expectations of a dramatic development on the abduction issue are growing among government officials. The Japanese side unofficially proposed a visit by Koizumi during bilateral talks on May 4 and 5 in Beijing, the sources said. The DPRK officials responded that they would take it back to their government for further consideration.

The Asahi Shimbun (“JAPAN OFFERS AID TO BRING FAMILIES,” 05/10/04) reported that in a bid to break the stalemate over the abduction issue, Japan put humanitarian aid back on the table to encourage the DPRK to allow relatives of returned abductees to join them here, sources said. The next round of talks to hash out details for the departure of abductees’ families could start as early as this week, sources said. “There is no reason Japan cannot provide humanitarian assistance if the eight family members are allowed to come to Japan,” a government source said over the weekend. Japan’s humanitarian assistance to the country was suspended in 2000. Growing public frustration over the DPRK’s nuclear programs and the abduction issue stopped the flow of aid. An exception was made in April after a tragic train explosion killed 150 people and injured 1,300 in Ryongchon. About 11 million yen worth of emergency medical supplies was sent to the DPRK via a UN organization. The government is considering more aid for victims of the Ryongchon explosion. A report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on the case is set for mid-May. The government plans to send Deputy Foreign Minister Hitoshi Tanaka and Mitoji Yabunaka, director-general of the ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, again to the next round of bilateral talks. They will discuss specifics of how the family members will leave the DPRK, including a suggested visit by government and ruling party officials to Pyongyang to accompany the relatives to Japan, sources said.

The Japan Times (“KOIZUMI CAN GET ABDUCTEE KIN: PYONGYANG,” 05/10/04) reported that the DPRK earlier this year told Japan through informal channels that it would allow the relatives of five repatriated Japanese to leave the country if Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi goes to Pyongyang to pick them up, government sources said Sunday. But Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Shinzo Abe expressed caution. A visit by Koizumi to Pyongyang would signify “a very grave decision” by Japan regarding the abductions issue, Abe said on a TV Asahi talk show Sunday. “It is necessary to cautiously study the idea of Koizumi going (to North Korea) under the circumstances in which our people have been taken hostage,” Abe said.

The Asahi Shimbun (“KOIZUMI EYES 2ND VISIT TO N. KOREA,” 05/11/04) reported that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi last month instructed the Foreign Ministry to sound out the DPRK about making a second visit to Pyongyang to settle the abduction issue once and for all, sources said Monday. According to the sources, Koizumi invited Hitoshi Tanaka, a deputy foreign minister, who was a key member of the bilateral talks in the PRC, to his office on April 28. They said Koizumi told him, “I can go to Pyongyang if I can get a definite promise that I can bring the eight family members of the five former abductees to Japan.” Reporters on Monday asked Koizumi to recount exactly what he told Tanaka, but the prime minister declined. “I have nothing to say at this stage,” he said curtly. Asked whether there is a possibility of resolving the abduction issue completely, Koizumi said: “Of course that idea has been talked about. But we must consider the issue based on the Pyongyang Declaration (which Koizumi signed with Kim Jong Il in September 2002) and from the viewpoint of what is necessary for the normalization of diplomatic relations.”

The Japan Times (“GROUP AGAINST KOIZUMI TRIP TO NORTH,” 05/11/04) reported that a support group for people kidnapped to the DPRK and their families protested on Monday a possible visit to Pyongyang by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to pick up five former abductees’ relatives there. The group said in a statement that if Koizumi visits the DPRK now, the reunion of the five former abductees with their relatives would become the focus of attention, leaving the fates of other abductees unexamined. It said Koizumi should visit only when the DPRK is ready to allow all the victims and their kin to come to Japan and disclose all information about kidnapped Japanese. The five, kidnapped in 1978 and repatriated in October 2002, are among 13 nationals the DPRK admitted it had abducted.

2. Japan DPRK Ship Port Call

Kyodo (“MANGYONGBONG-92 LEAVES NIIGATA,” Niigata, 05/09/04) reported that the DPRK ferry Mangyongbong-92 left Niigata port on Saturday, carrying about 140 people and about 50 million yen in donations for the victims of the devastating explosion at a railway station in the DPRK last month. It is scheduled to return to Niigata on May 19.

3. Japan Rightists’ Landing on Takeshima (Dokdo)

Mainichi Daily News (“COAST GUARD THWARTS FASCISTS’ ATTEMPT TO CLAIM ISLAND,” Shimane, 05/06/04) reported that a Japanese ultra-right wing political group’s attempt to claim controversial Takeshima island on behalf of Japan ground to a halt on May 6 after the Japan Coast Guard ordered its ship to return to port. Members of the Nihon Shidokai, the rightists based in Takamatsu, were disappointed in not achieving their final goal, but averted a diplomatic incident. The ROK also claims Takeshima, which it calls Dokdo. The ROK government officials said Japanese organizations had never tried to directly claim Takeshima before Nihon Shidokai and fear that its efforts could create diplomatic friction between Japan and the ROK. The ROK has threatened to warn any Japanese ship approaching Takeshima and seize ships or arrest crewmembers if the warning is ignored.

4. Japan Constitutional Revision

The Japan Times (“RALLIES STAGED FOR, AGAINST REVISION,” 05/04/04) reported that both proponents and opponents of revising the Japan’s Constitution held rallies and meetings on May 3 in Tokyo to mark the 57th anniversary since it came into force. About 5,000 citizens and some politicians took part in an event at Tokyo’s Hibiya Park to voice opposition to changing the Constitution. Mizuho Fukushima, head of the Social Democratic Party, said at the event, “Moves to amend the Constitution will accelerate this year. Let us make today the first step to stop the revision.” A citizens’ group advocating constitutional revision meanwhile held a meeting at a public hall in Chiyoda Ward. Kazuo Aichi, former head of the Defense Agency, told the gathering that the question now is not whether to revise the Constitution, but what kind of changes should be made.

The Asahi Shimbun (“LDP PUSHES AHEAD WITH CONSTITUTIONAL REVISIONS,” 05/04/04) reported that Japan celebrated Constitution Day on May 3 as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi led the charge to revise the nation’s fundamental laws that have been untouched since their creation 57 years ago. A project team of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is now compiling the main points of debate on revising the Constitution, with the aim of having the proposal ready in time for this summer’s Upper House election. But the LDP’s coalition partner, New Komeito, has become more cautious lately about constitutional revisions. The Buddhist-backed New Komeito still plans to put together a draft of the main points of contention by June and make its position clear at the party convention in August. However, New Komeito leader Takenori Kanzaki admitted that the momentum for change within the party has slowed, even though the party at one time considered making constitutional revisions a key issue in the Upper House election. Kanzaki has also said that internal party debate should fall in line with the extension of the deadline for revision proposals by the Lower House Research Commission on the Constitution. January was the initial deadline for the commission’s final report, but the commission was given a few extra months to cover all aspects of the Constitution. The mood within the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is also quieter in comparison to the January announcement by leader Naoto Kan that a revision proposal of the party would be put together by 2006. The party has since set up subcommittees within its own research commission to discuss details. The DPJ also talked about putting together an interim report in time for the Upper House election, but the different backgrounds of the party’s lawmakers have hampered efforts to reach a consensus. While a number of younger DPJ members want to clearly approve the exercise of the right of collective self-defense, members who formerly belonged to the old Socialist Party are opposed to even tinkering with Article 9. Both the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party are vehemently against any changes to the Constitution.

5. Japan Military Emergency Bills

The Asahi Shimbun (“PARTIES OK BASIS FOR 7 EMERGENCY BILLS,” 05/04/04) reported that the outline of so-called comprehensive legislation that forms the cornerstone of seven military emergency bills before the Diet has been agreed upon by the ruling coalition and the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). The DPJ had made agreement on the outline as a precondition for not opposing Diet deliberations on the seven emergency bills. As a result of the agreement, it is increasingly likely that the seven military emergency bills will pass the Diet during the current session. The emergency situation basic bill stipulates that Diet approval is required when the Cabinet decides on measures to deal with wars, terrorist attacks and natural disasters. The DPJ had insisted the government obtain Diet approval for measures to deal with emergency situations because such steps could affect the rights of citizens and use of property. The coalition conceded as long as the DPJ was willing to agree on ex post facto approval when the situation is dire. The DPJ’s other demand — establishing an organization along the lines of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — was rejected by the ruling parties. They argued that FEMA has little work to do in non-emergency situations and that setting up such a body went against Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s Cabinet policy of streamlining government jobs. Instead, the three parties are now considering increasing the number of government officials in the prime minister’s office who are in charge of crisis management.

6. Japan to Lift Arms Export Ban?

The Asahi Shimbun (“BAN ON ARMS EXPORTS LIKELY TO FACE REVISIONS,” 05/05/04) reported that a decades-long ban on weapons exports looks likely to undergo possibly major changes following official go-ahead for US-led joint development of a missile defense system. The policy enshrining the three principles banning weapons exports was established in 1967 by the administration of Prime Minister Eisaku Sato. Under this policy, Japan cannot export weapons to communist nations; to nations named in a UN resolution banning arms sales; or to nations involved or likely to be involved in international conflict. There has been minor tinkering over the years, however. In 1976, for example, the administration led by Prime Minister Takeo Miki expanded the ban to cover other nations. And in 1983, Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone decreed that Japan could provide arms technologies to the US. Last December, when the government decided to introduce the missile defense system, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said a review of the three principles “should be considered.” One aspect of joint development of the missile defense system means that Japan will provide weapons parts to the US. Officials stressed that Japan and the US need to sign a cooperative agreement on the missile defense system and then decide what exceptions to make to the three principles enshrined in the arms export ban. On this point, officials said a decision must be made on whether the exception should be limited to certain components, cover all missile defense-related areas or a wider realm of bilateral security. Japan must also decide whether to allow its technologies to be transferred to third nations, sources said. Some lawmakers are even promoting joint development and production of weapons parts with, and exports to, Europe and Southeast Asian nations. In March, a subcommittee of the LDP’s National Defense Division proposed a new set of principles to provide greater latitude. This would entail limiting the weapons ban to nations branded by UN resolutions and others as harboring terrorists and abusing human rights; to nations singled out by UN resolutions for a ban on arms exports; to regions of ongoing international conflict; and to nations whose trade control systems are woefully lacking.

7. Japan’s PKO Participation in East Timor

The Japan Times (“GSDF TO BE WITHDRAWN FROM EAST TIMOR AS MANDATE ENDS,” 05/04/04) reported that Japan will withdraw Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) troops conducting reconstruction assistance in East Timor, following the end of the mandate for the UN peacekeeping mission there May 20. The roughly 400-strong GSDF contingent dispatched to take part in the peacekeeping operations in the Southeast Asian nation will start pulling out later this month and return to Japan in mid-June.

8. Japan Permanent SDF Dispatch Law

Kyodo (“LDP POLICYMAKER CALLS FOR PERMANENT SDF DISPATCH LAW,” Washington, 05/07/04) reported that the chief policymaker of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) stressed the need on May 5 for Japan to enact a comprehensive permanent law on the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces (SDF) troops overseas. “Japan is currently dispatching SDF troops overseas under temporary case-by-case laws, but it is necessary to establish a permanent general law on international cooperation by the SDF,” Fukushiro Nukaga said at a symposium held by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington. Nukaga, former chief of the Defense Agency, is leading a group of Japanese legislators visiting Washington to discuss security issues with US officials. At a news conference later in the day, Nukaga said certain conditions or restrictions should be set for the dispatch of SDF troops overseas under the proposed law, such as a UN Security Council resolution or a Diet resolution. Nukaga said he has not yet instructed the LDP Policy Research Council to study the proposed law. At the Heritage symposium, meanwhile, deputy LDP Secretary-General Fumio Kyuma said Japan should review its long-held arms export policy of limiting the transfer of weapons technologies to the US.

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Brandon Yu: napsnet@nautilus.org
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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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