NAPSNet Daily Report 13 August, 2003

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 13 August, 2003", NAPSNet Daily Report, August 13, 2003, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-13-august-2003/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. DPRK on Multilateral Talks
2. DPRK Non-Aggression Pact Demands
3. Russia-PRC on DPRK Security Guarantee
4. US on DPRK Economic Proposals
5. US Aircraft Missile Bust
6. US on Taiwan Anti-Terror
7. Cross-Straits Relations
8. PRC-Taiwan Spy Ship
II. Japan 1. Japan Iraq Troop Deployment
2. Japanese Journalist in Iraq
3. Hiroshima 58th Anniversary
4. Overseas A-Bomb Survivors
5. Japan Military Emergency Legislation
6. LDP Presidential Election
7. US Bases in Japan
8. Japan Anti-Terrorism Measures

I. United States

1. DPRK on Multilateral Talks

Reuters (Paul Eckert and Andrei Shukshin, “NORTH KOREA WARNS US AS ‘ABYSS OF DISTRUST’ LOOMS,” Seoul, Moscow, 08/13/03) reported that Russia spoke on Wednesday of an “abyss of distrust” between the US and the DPRK, as the DPRK warned the US not to treat it like Iraq in their nuclear stand-off. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov met delegations from the DPRK and the ROK separately in Moscow ahead of six-way talks likely to start in Beijing on August 27 to end a stand-off over the DPRK’s nuclear program. “So far there is no ground for a particular optimism,” Losyukov said in televised remarks after his talks. “There are big differences, I would even say an abyss of distrust, between parties, especially the US and the DPRK,” he said. In a show of rigidity that analysts said represented the DPRK’s customary way of leveraging a weak hand, the DPRK’s Foreign Ministry in a statement revived Pyongyang’s long-standing demand for a non-aggression treaty and diplomatic relations with the US. The treaty and diplomatic normalization were needed to demonstrate a “US switchover in its hostile policy” toward the DPRK, the ministry said in the statement published by the DPRK’s official KCNA news agency. “It is clear that as long as the US insists on its hostile policy toward the DPRK, the latter will not abandon its nuclear deterrent force,” the statement said.

2. DPRK Non-Aggression Pact Demands

Reuters (“NORTH KOREA DEMANDS US NON-AGGRESSION PACT,” Seoul, 08/13/03) reported that the DPRK’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that a non-aggression treaty demonstrating that the US had made a “switchover in its hostile policy” was the only way to resolve the nuclear crisis. The statement, issued two weeks before six-country talks on the nuclear crisis are expected to convene in Beijing, rejected ideas floated by the US and others that fell short of a non-aggression pact, including written US pledges not to attack and talk of collective regional guarantees for the regime. The DPRK’s spokesman, in a lengthy statement published by the official KCNA news agency, also dismissed talk of a multi-nation inspection regime for its nuclear facilities as a US ruse to disarm the communist state. “It is clear that as long as the US insists on its hostile policy toward the DPRK, the latter will not abandon its nuclear deterrent force,” said the statement. DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “Therefore, the US switchover in its hostile policy toward the DPRK comes as a precondition for the solution to the nuclear issue,” said the statement. “It will be considered that the US has practically given up its hostile policy toward the DPRK when a non-aggression treaty with legal binding is concluded and diplomatic relations are established between the DPRK and the U.S,” the ministry said.

3. Russia-PRC on DPRK Security Guarantee

The Associated Press (Steve Gutterman, “RUSSIA, CHINA MAY GIVE N. KOREA GUARANTEE,” Moscow, 08/13/03) reported that Russia and the PRC may offer the DPRK security guarantees to back up any US commitments as part of an international effort to ease tensions over the DPRK’s nuclear program, a senior Russian official said Wednesday. But ahead of planned six-way talks including the DPRK and the US later this month, the DPRK is laying down a tough stance, saying it would not give up its “nuclear deterrent” without a non-aggression treaty with the US. Washington has said it would consider making written security guarantees to the DPRK, but ruled out a treaty requiring congressional approval. Russia’s proposal Wednesday aimed to defuse the standoff by broadening security guarantees to the DPRK. It came as Russian diplomats met separately with envoys from DPRK and the ROK. Moscow and Beijing “might offer additional guarantees, if guarantees established by the US fail to meet North Korea’s expectations to the full,” the ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Losyukov as saying. “North Korea’s wish to have security guarantees looks absolutely logical and there is every indication it will be insisting on them,” Losyukov told ITAR-Tass, the state news agency. “Russia and China have an identical vision of the situation.” But the DPRK was cold to the idea. “Only the US is threatening (North Korea),” said a Foreign Ministry spokesman cited by KCNA. “The conception of guarantee of collective security is meaningless and there will be no need of it for us in the future either.”

4. US on DPRK Economic Proposals

Agence France-Presse (“US SAYS NO ‘ECONOMIC PROPOSALS’ FOR PYONGYANG AS IT MEETS JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA,” 08/14/03) reported that the US said it had not put forward economic incentives for the DPRK to end its nuclear program, as it huddled with Japan and theROK to prepare for crisis talks in Beijing. “We have put no economic proposals forward of the kind that were referenced in some newspapers this morning,” Secretary of State Colin Powell said during an impromptu encounter with reporters at the State Department. The New York Times cited unnamed administration officials as saying that the US could be prepared to offer “economic incentives” to Pyongyang, if it came clean on its weapons program or welcomed inspectors. President George W. Bush has previously said that the DPRK could benefit from a “bold approach” of economic and political steps from the US — but only after its nuclear program had been verifiably snuffed out. There is no public sign that Bush’s administration is ready to modify its refusal to bow to “nuclear blackmail” from Pyongyang by offering large-scale aid or financing in return for an end to the nuclear program.

5. US Aircraft Missile Bust

The Associated Press (Steve Strunsky, “FBI: SUSPECTED DEALER SOUGHT 50 MISSILES,” Newark, 08/13/03) reported that a suspected arms dealer ordered held without bond Wednesday began arranging to smuggle 50 more shoulder-fired missiles into the US soon after securing one of the weapons, which he thought was intended to shoot down a jetliner, according to an FBI. The document also said that Hemant Lakhani, dealing with an undercover FBI agent he believed to be a Muslim terrorist, was recorded as saying Osama bin Laden “did a good thing” and “straightened them all out.” Lakhani, 68, a Briton described as a “significant international arms dealer,” is charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to terrorists and acting as an arms broker without a license. “The terrorists who have threatened America lost an ally in their attempts to kill our citizens,” Christopher J. Christie, the US attorney for New Jersey, said after Lakhani’s arraignment. Lakhani and two other men were arrested Tuesday after an 18-month investigation by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark and Russian and British authorities, Christie said. The most serious charge Lakhani faces carries a 15-year maximum prison sentence. Counts against the other men carry a five-year maximum sentence. Lakhani had agreed to deliver a missile to US agents posing as buyers after he obtained it from Russian agents posing as sellers, Christie said.

6. US on Taiwan Anti-Terror

Agence France-Presse (“US PRAISES TAIWAN FOR INTERCEPTING ‘CHEMICAL WEAPONS PRECURSOR’ FROM NORTH KOREA,” Washington, 08/13/03) reported that the US warmly praised Taiwan for intercepting a consignment of toxic cargo from a DPRK ship, which it said could be used to make chemical weapons. The DPRK-registered vessel Be Gae Hong was allowed to leave the southern Taiwanese port of Kaohsiung four days after customs authorities offloaded what they described as a “dangerous chemical.” State Department deputy spokesman Philip Reeker identified the substance as phosphorus pentasulfide. “We understand that the Taiwanese have offloaded 158 barrels of phosphorus pentasulfide, a chemical weapons precursor from a DPRK vessel, Be Gae Hong, and are investigating,” Reeker said. “We applaud Taiwan for its effective action in preventing items from going to proliferators,” he said. The ship arrived Thursday at Kaohsiung from Bangkok with some 2,000 tonnes of aluminum materials and some 40 tonnes of the chemical in transit to North Korea, Taiwanese officials said. Kaohsiung customs chief Li Ko-ming played down the significance of the event, saying the shipment was temporarily being left on the nationalist island. Officials there however said last week that the chemicals would be confiscated if they were determined after testing to be dangerous.

7. Cross-Straits Relations

Reuters (“TAIWAN’S CHEN SEES DIRECT LINKS WITH CHINA BY 2004,” Taipei, 08/13/03) reported that Taiwan should resume talks with the PRC on establishing direct transport links after the March presidential elections and complete negotiations by the end of next year, Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian said Wednesday. “I have absolute confidence I can resolve all political obstacles and the hesitation of the opposite side, to successfully open talks on direct links through a process of mutual respect and equality,” Chen told reporters. “We hope to finish negotiations and gradually push forward and implement measures for direct links by the end of next year, and set a milestone for economic trade and development and peaceful interaction.” Taiwan will hold presidential polls in March 2004 and Chen Shui-bian is expected to seek re-election. Taiwan bans direct transport links with the mainland because Beijing considers the self-governing island a breakaway province and has threatened to attack if it declares statehood. However, businessmen and analysts say direct links are essential for Taiwan to remain competitive internationally and in the greater PRC market, where the island’s companies have invested up to $100 billion since the 1980s. Chen’s top economic adviser said in July direct air cargo shipments would be allowed as a precursor to full-blown links. Chen also reiterated Wednesday that Taiwan and the PRC are “one country on each side” of the Taiwan Strait.

8. PRC-Taiwan Spy Ship

Agence France-Presse (“PRC ‘SPY SHIP’ SPOTTED AHEAD OF TAIWAN’S WAR DRILLS,” 08/13/03) reported that a PRC surveillance vessel believed to be a “spy ship” has been found north of Taiwan as the island’s military prepared a large scale exercise. The Xiangyanghong 6 research ship, linked to the PRC’s National Bureau of Oceanography, was found sailing 39 miles (72 miles) north of the island Tuesday, the Taipei-based China Times reported Wednesday. “The suspected PRC spy ship, armed with weapons, was found by local fishing men,” the paper said. It said the navy and the coast guards sent boats to monitor the movement of the PRC ship. The PRC vessel was spotted as the Taiwanese military prepared for a “Han Kuang (Han Glory) 19” military exercise, the largest of its kind this year, in the northeastern county of Ilan on September 1, the paper said. During the drill, the navy will for the first time launch two Hsiungfeng II ship-to-ship missiles from a locally designed “stealth” boat, the paper said. The drills are to be presided over by President Chen Shui-bian. Military officials refused to comment on the report. PRC “spy ships” are believed to have made about 12 appearances in waters near Taiwan since May 2002.

II. Japan

1. Japan Iraq Troop Deployment

The Asahi Shimbun (“LIMITS OF SDF ROLE ACCEPTED,” Washington, 08/01/03) reported that Japanese defense councilor Kazuki Iihara conveyed Japan’s deployment intentions to his counterpart, Richard P. Lawless, the deputy assistant secretary of defense, saying SDF deployment should be limited to relatively safe areas in southern Iraq. Government sources said US officials “understand” the Japanese position. The central government asserts SDF personnel who go to Iraq will offer humanitarian assistance such as restoring electricity, clean water and medical facilities, rather than rear-echelon support to US-led combat troops. Japanese and US officials have discussed specific destinations for the SDF dispatch since mid-July. Japan had to turn down the initial US request for support in Balad, about 90 kilometers north of Baghdad, because it was considered too dangerous.

Mainichi Daily News (“COUNSELORS TO HELP JAPANESE TROOPS THROUGH IRAQ HORRORS,” 08/03/03) reported that psychiatrists are likely to accompany Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) units to Iraq to help troops deal with combat stress in the event of Japan dispatching its forces to support the postwar reconstruction of the country. The Defense Agency is still only mulling the plan at the moment, but GSDF troops, who have never fired a shot in action or killed an enemy in battle since its formation in 1954, are expected to be faced with a whole new experience in Iraq. If the government goes ahead with the dispatch, which is expected in the autumn of this year, there is a strong possibility that GSDF troops will come under attack from Iraqi groups fighting US forces there. Defense Agency sources said providing mental support is essential because GSDF members are likely to suffer great mental stress seeing people killed in action. In the worst-case scenario, this could result in a reign of confusion throughout the ranks. No team of psychiatrist has ever accompanied Self-Defense Forces operations in abroad.

The Asahi Shimbun (Hajime Yoshioka, “TOP U.S. GENERAL IN IRAQ: IT’S YOUR CHOICE ON SDF,” Baghdad, 08/05/03) reported that the US military commander in Iraq told a group of visiting Japanese lawmakers that Japan must make its own decision on the mission of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in the reconstruction of Iraq. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said SDF troops have the capabilities to make a wide range of contributions, according to a former Foreign Minister and leader of the Lower House fact-finding team Masahiko Komura. Sanchez told the group that 85 percent of the security problems, including assaults on US troops, had occurred in the “Sunni Triangle.” It is an area of Sunni Muslim towns sandwiched between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, stretching north and west of Baghdad and marked at its top by Tikrit — Saddam Hussein’s hometown. “Areas other than that could be regarded as ‘non-combat’ areas as cited by the special measures law,” Komura said, adding, however, the decision must be made by a government mission. Komura’s team also met four members of the Iraqi interim governing council and Paul Bremer, the top US civilian administrator in Iraq, who all said they would welcome SDF troops. The government will send its own team of experts, including SDF officials, later this month.

2. Japanese Journalist in Iraq

Kyodo (“U.S. INVESTIGATES CLAIM OF REPORTER IN IRAQ BEING ROUGHED UP,” Baghdad, 07/31/03) reported that a senior US military official said on July 29 that the US armed forces is investigating allegations that its troops assaulted and detained a Japanese journalist who was covering a raid on civilian houses in Baghdad. Japan Press reporter Kazutaka Sato, 47, was beaten by US soldiers while photographing civilian damage caused by a US raid in Baghdad’s Mansur district, according to Sato’s colleague, Mika Yamamoto, who was on the scene. Yamamoto said US soldiers threw Sato to the ground, tied his hands and detained him for an hour. According to Yamamoto, the soldiers beat up Sato after urging him not to shoot the scene and they did not give any reason why they were banning their reporting. Yamamoto claimed the US soldiers may have been trying to hide the bodies of civilians killed in the operation. The senior US military official said he personally believes the troops did not detain Sato, but authorities are currently investigating.

3. Hiroshima 58th Anniversary

The Asahi Shimbun (Taro Karasaki, “STOPPING THE SPREAD: ANTI-NUKE TREATIES INEFFECTIVE,” Hiroshima, 08/04/03) reported that panelists at an international symposium on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament agreed that current arms treaties are ineffective in dealing with the growing threat presented by such nations as the DPRK and Iran. They called for increased efforts to urge compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as well as safeguards against the exchange of fissile material. The symposium was titled “Towards the Abolition of Nuclear Weaponry — Standing up to the Theory of Power.” A key Japanese official said Japan was banking on multilateral talks with the DPRK, which it recently accepted, to defuse the nuclear crisis in the region. “We must convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear program at these talks,” said Yukiya Amano, director-general for arms control and scientific affairs at the Foreign Ministry. “In light of the current global situation, the NPT regime stands at risk of collapsing,” Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba said in a keynote speech at the International Conference Center Hiroshima. In addition to the DPRK’s nuclear program, Akiba raised concerns about the development of small, tactical nuclear weapons by the US. He said he would continue to push for specific deadlines to dismantle nuclear stockpiles at the NPT Review Conference slated for 2005. The Foreign Ministry’s Amano also expressed concern about US policy. “It is profoundly regrettable that the Bush administration opposes the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,” he said, adding that Japan would continue to press the US. William C. Potter, director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, cited the lack of measures to address the threat of non-nuclear nations and nonstate entities gaining access to nuclear material.

Kyodo (“ANTINUKE GROUP STARTS MEETING IN HIROSHIMA,” Hiroshima, 08/04/03) reported that the Japan Council Against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo) kicked off its annual international conference on Aug. 3 in Hiroshima ahead of the 58th anniversary of the city’s destruction by a US atomic bomb. During the three-day event, people from around the world are expected to call on the international community to step up efforts to abolish nuclear weapons. The organization, which is backed by the Japanese Communist Party, will also host a domestic conference and hold various events here to promote peace. It will also host a similar gathering in Nagasaki. Another major antinuclear organization, the Japan Congress Against A and H Bombs (Gensuikin), will start its annual convention in Hiroshima on Aug. 4. Gensuikin has close ties with opposition parties the Democratic Party of Japan and the Social Democratic Party, as well as the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), the nation’s largest labor group.

4. Overseas A-Bomb Survivors

Kyodo (“A-BOMB PATIENT NUMBERS SURGE,” Nagasaki, 08/04/03) reported that the Nagasaki Prefectural Government said it has agreed to have the South Korean National Red Cross act as the contact in the ROK to facilitate applications by A-bomb victims there for treatment in Japan. The hospital said the number of patients from the ROK increased after a Japanese government aid program came into force last year. Under the program, the state shoulder the travel costs of people coming from the ROK for treatment. It added 10 people were inpatients, and nine others came for hospital visits. Previously, A-bomb victims from the ROK had traveled to Japan at their own expense. On the possibility of more people from the ROK seeking treatment, Hideki Mori, assistant director at the hospital, said the hospital will deal with all applicants in cooperation with medical facilities in Hiroshima.

5. Japan Military Emergency Legislation

The Japan Times (“SDF LAW REVISIONS TO AFFECT NURSES, TRUCKERS,” 08/05/03) reported that doctors, nurses and private railway operators are among those who will be called upon to continue working in the event of a military emergency under revisions to the ordinance to enforce the Self-Defense Forces Law, sources said. Under the draft outline of the revisions, according to the sources, the head of the Defense Agency will be able to request that prefectural governors order people such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists to stay on the job in the event of a military emergency. The governors could also order operators of private railways, bus operators and trucking firms as well as construction firm to keep their businesses open. At the same time, the draft outline says that automobile maintenance and oil supply facilities, including regular gas stations, will be placed under the management of the governor, they said. These specifics were included in the revisions as they were deemed necessary for the SDF to fully carry out its mission in the event of a contingency. The revised ordinance will clearly state that the government will provide compensation for any deaths resulting in the execution of these orders, as well as full reimbursement for any monetary expenses shouldered by the private sector. Revisions to the SDF Law were enacted during the ordinary Diet session that ended late last month. The Defense Agency had been studying how to revise the enforcement ordinance in accordance with the amended law. The revisions to the ordinance are expected to be submitted to the Cabinet for approval sometime in early September, the sources said.

6. LDP Presidential Election

The Japan Times (“MOST LDP CHAPTERS VIEW KOIZUMI RE-ELECTION AS IFFY,” 08/04/03) reported that nineteen prefectural chapters of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) expect more than half of their members and supporters to back Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s re-election as party president, according to the results of a Kyodo News poll. The July 28-Aug. 1 interview survey targeted the secretaries general of 47 LDP prefectural chapters. The results show that only two chapters predict Koizumi opponents will outnumber his supporters in the September race, saying about 60 percent of their voters are unlikely to support the prime minister. Three chapters see Koizumi as having a 50-50 chance of being re-elected, while the remaining 23 chapters answered it is hard to predict. Asked whether they will support Koizumi, 20 secretaries general said they will support him, six said they would not and 21 declined to answer. The LDP’s presidential race is scheduled for Sept. 20, with campaigning set to begin Sept. 8. The poll will involve 1.4 million members and supporters of the party nationwide, who will be allocated a combined 300 votes. The 300 votes will be combined with those of party lawmakers, who will cast ballots Sept. 20 in Tokyo. Several names, including former LDP top policymaker Shizuka Kamei and former Transport Minister Takao Fujii, have been floated as challengers.

7. US Bases in Japan

Kyodo (“MAYOR TO QUIT, RUN AGAIN AMID U.S. HOUSING ROW,” Yokosuka, 08/05/03) reported that the mayor of Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture, announced that he will resign and run again in order to seek a local mandate for his opposition to the central government’s plan to build additional housing for US military personnel. “The state once promised that no more housing units (for the US military) would be built. It’s unacceptable for the government to ignore local residents’ opinions,” the 36-year-old mayor Kazuyoshi Nagashima told a news conference. Last month, Japan and the US agreed in principle to the return of idle land at four sites in Yokohama currently overseen by the US forces. But the agreement was reached on condition that Japan build additional housing in the Ikego residential district of the US military site that straddles Yokohama and Zushi. Under the plan agreed on between the two governments, 800 housing units will be built on the Yokohama portion of the Ikego area. Construction of housing units for the US military at the Ikego district began in 1993. At that time, the central government reached an agreement with the city of Zushi and Kanagawa Prefecture that there would be no construction of additional housing units in the area. The Defense Facilities Administration Agency, which acts as a liaison for the US forces in Japan, maintains that the latest decision does not violate the 1993 agreement involving Zushi because the new housing units will be built within Yokohama city limits.

8. Japan Anti-Terrorism Measures

The Asahi Shimbun (“TOKYO STICKS PORTS WITH MASSIVE ANTI-TERROR TAB,” 08/05/03) reported that Japan’s stepped-up efforts to fight terrorism at its international ports are causing great hardship for local governments forced to foot much of the bill. The anti-terror measures are in line with amendments to a major international pact to ensure the safety of visiting vessels and crews, and the ports themselves. The amendment to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), made late last year in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, stipulates ports involved in the shipment of goods and passengers overseas be equipped with wire fencing, security monitors, guards to patrol the facility, sufficient lighting and other items. Also, ports are required to indicate off-limits areas and draft a security plan. The measures must be in place by July 2004. There are about 140 ports in Japan where international passenger ships and freighters of at least 500 tons berth. These are subject to the amended requirements, according to the transport ministry. Although about half of the many billions of yen estimated for the initial outlay is expected to be shouldered by the central government, the remainder is an unfunded mandate; the local autonomies must pay. Officials of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in March this year requested local governments managing major ports to submit estimates on the initial costs of the security measures at their ports. Yokohama port came to 20 billion yen, Tokyo port 16 billion yen, Nagoya port 12 billion yen and Kobe port 10 billion yen. Shocked, the officials lowered their sights, asking that estimates be provided that would cover constant patrols over smaller areas than first envisioned and other scaled-down measures. Although it is impossible to say exactly how much will initially be needed for all major ports subject to the SOLAS requirement, transport ministry officials put the figure at “a little less than 100 billion yen.” But city officials in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kobe and Kita-Kyushu all insist that, like national defense, anti-terror measures are the responsibility of the central government. Officials at the metropolitan government and other city halls say they might lose out competitively to ports in other countries if they lag behind in taking anti-terror measures. An official at the metropolitan government’s Bureau of Port and Harbor said, “The more we have to pay for anti-terror measures, the more we may have to add to the cost for the use of our facilities. This in turn would make us even less competitive with other countries.”

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