NAPSNet Daily Report 13 February, 2003

Recommended Citation

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

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Situation
2. Japan DPRK Pre-emptive Military Action
3. Japan-ROK Role in U.N. Security Council
4. ROK on DPRK-IAEA Relations
5. DPRK US Soldier Prison Sentence
6. ROK on US DPRK Attack
7. US DPRK Missile Assessment
8. PRC-Russia on US-DPRK Diplomacy
9. US on PRC-DPRK Diplomacy
10. US on DPRK UN Sanctions
11. US DPRK-Iraq Two-Front War?
II. Japan 1. Japan’s Position in US Policy
2. Japan’s Position in Anti-landmine Policy
3. IAEA’s Position to DPRK Nuclear Issue

I. United States

1. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Situation

The Washington Post (Doug Struck, “JAPAN ASSENTS TO US VIEW ON NORTH KOREA,” Tokyo, 02/13/03) reported that Japanese intelligence analysts agree with their US counterparts that the DPRK seeks to become a nuclear-armed power and is not simply raising stakes to bargain away in negotiations, a top Japanese intelligence official told a parliamentary panel here today. Until now, Japan has been reluctant to embrace the US’ view of the DPRK’s nuclear intentions, instead calling its nuclear program a chip that would be given up for aid and better relations with the US. But the chief of Japan’s military intelligence agency told a closed meeting of the ruling party’s defense policy committee today that the evidence supports the US conclusions, defense officials and legislators said. The Japanese official, Fumio Ota, gave the committee briefing papers tracing the background of the DPRK’s nuclear moves, concluding, “North Korea is pursuing nuclear weapons development.” A spokesman for Ota confirmed his statement.

2. Japan DPRK Pre-emptive Military Action

Reuters (Teruaki Ueno, “JAPAN SAYS WOULD STRIKE NORTH KOREA IF ATTACK IMMINENT,” Tokyo, 02/13/03) reported that Japan would launch a military strike against the DPRK if it had firm evidence that the DPRK was ready to attack with ballistic missiles, Japanese Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba said on Thursday. “It is too late if (a missile) flies towards Japan,” Ishiba stated. “Our nation will use military force as a self-defence measure if (North Korea) starts to resort to arms against Japan,” he said, adding that Japan could regard the process of injecting fuel into a missile as the start of military attack if it determined that the missile was pointed at Japan. Ishiba steered clear of the expression “preemptive strike” and said Japan would only take such a step as a clearly defensive measure. Known as a hawkish defence expert, Ishiba, 46, also said Japan ought to develop a missile defence system with the US, since it lacks the capability to defend itself from missile attacks from the DPRK. “To develop and deploy (a missile defence system) is one of the major options. Our nation should pursue this,” he said. While Japan has refrained from voicing strong support for the US national missile defence system (NMD), it is jointly studying with Washington a theatre missile defence (TMD) system, a variant of the NMD, aimed at shielding US troops in Asia and its allies.

3. Japan-ROK Role in U.N. Security Council

The Japan Times (“JAPAN EYES ROLE IN UNSC DIALOGUE ON NORTH KOREA,” 02/13/03) reported that Japan plans to consult with members of the United Nations Security Council over the DPRK nuclear weapons standoff following a nuclear watchdog’s decision to refer the issue to the top U.N. panel, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Thursday. Japan and the ROK are not Security Council members and are therefore concerned they may be left out of the loop when the issue is discussed. “There is that problem,” Fukuda acknowledged during a news conference. “We’ll have to talk to Security Council members so they will not make a decision without listening to Japan and South Korea.” Japan is seeking a new dialogue framework involving the Security Council’s five permanent members plus Japan and the ROK. “There is talk of a ‘P5-plus-two,’ and (the five members) should consider this,” Fukuda said.

4. ROK on DPRK-IAEA Relations

Reuters (Paul Eckert, “SOUTH KOREA SAYS IAEA PUTS CRISIS ONUS ON NORTH,” Seoul, 02/13/03) reported that the ROK called on the DPRK on Thursday to seize a window of opportunity to resolve a nuclear crisis that is headed to the United Nations Security Council. As international pressure mounted on the DPRK over the four-month-old crisis, a senior DPRK official ratcheted up the rhetoric, telling a foreign news agency that the DPRK was capable of striking US targets anywhere in the world. “Wherever they are we can attack them,” foreign ministry official Ri Kwang Hyok told France’s Agence France-Presse news agency in an interview in Pyongyang. “There’s no limit to our attack ability. The strike force of the Korean People’s Army will take on the enemy wherever he is,” Ri was quoted as saying.

5. DPRK US Soldier Prison Sentence

BBC News (“US SOLDIER SENTENCED FOR KOREAN ASSAULT,” 02/13/03) reported that a US military court near Seoul has found an US soldier guilty of sexually assaulting an ROK serviceman. US army sergeant Leng Sok was accused of carrying out the assault last year at a military base in at Dongducheon, north of the capital Seoul. Sok, who is of Thai descent, has been sentenced to 30 years in jail. His rank was also reduced to that of private. Two other US soldiers are also suspected of involvement in the assault, and have yet to face trial. All three soldiers and the victim are male. The US Eighth Army said Leng Sok was found guilty of all five charges of “aggravated assault, indecent acts, sodomy, submission of a false official statement and conspiracy”. The victim, one of more than 4,000 ROKs serving with the US military, was attacked in March 2002.

6. ROK on US DPRK Attack

The Associated Press (Sang-Huh Choe “SOUTH KOREA OPPOSES US ATTACK ON NORTH,” Seoul, 02/13/03) reported that ROK president-elect said Thursday that he would not go along with the US in any attack on the DPRK to halt its nuclear program, aides said. The US has said it does not plan to invade the DPRK. US President Bush says he wants a peaceful solution to the standoff, but has also said “all options are on the table.” Roh, who takes office February 25, said in a meeting with labor leaders that he cherished the alliance with the US and that some media were exaggerating differences between him and US leaders over the DPRK nuclear issue. “We must honor the alliance with the United States and cooperate and try to coordinate our views,” Roh was quoted as saying by Chung Sye-kyun, chief policy-maker of Roh’s Millennium Democratic Party. “It is impossible not to have differences and I cannot agree to attacking (North Korea). We can fully cooperate, but not on this one.”

7. US DPRK Missile Assessment

The New York Times (Michael R. Gordon and Felicity Barringer, “NORTH KOREA WANTS ARMS AND MORE AID FROM US,” Washington, 02/13/03) reported that US director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet, said today that the DPRK had settled on a twofold strategy of keeping its nuclear weapons program even as it seeks to improve ties with the US. The DPRK was likely to process the spent nuclear fuel from its Yongbyon reactor, which would provide it with enough plutonium for several additional weapons. Tenet also cautioned that the US could face “a near term” intercontinental missile threat from the DPRK, repeating warnings that the Central Intelligence Agency has made for several years that the DPRK may test and deploy the Taepodong 2 missile. Tenet’s assessment came as the International Atomic Energy Agency voted to refer the DPRK issue to the United Nations Security Council. Tenet also said that the DPRK’s strategy was a subtle blending of both aims. “Kim Jong Il’s attempts to parlay the North’s nuclear program into political leverage suggest he is trying to negotiate a fundamentally different relationship with Washington, one that implicitly tolerates the North’s nuclear weapons program,” Tenet told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Tenet warned that the DPRK’s nuclear program combined with the weakening of international controls would encourage other nations to follow suit. They may conclude, he said, that nuclear weapons provide the best way to keep up with their neighbors and deter threats from more powerful nations. “The desire for nuclear weapons is on the upsurge,” Tenet said. “Additional countries may decide to seek nuclear weapons as it becomes clear their neighbors and regional rivals are already doing so. The ‘domino theory’ of the 21st century may well be nuclear.”

8. PRC-Russia on US-DPRK Diplomacy

The Associated Press (Vladimir Isachenkov, “RUSSIA CRITICIZES NUCLEAR AGENCY’S MOVE TO REFER NORTH KOREA STANDOFF TO SECURITY COUNCIL,” Moscow, 02/13/03) and the Associated Press (Soo-Jeong Lee, “RUSSIA, CHINA URGE NORTH KOREA DIPLOMACY,” Seoul, 02/13/03) reported that the PRC and Russia insisted Thursday that the standoff over the DPRK’s nuclear program should be resolved through direct talks between the US and the DPRK, even though the issue is now before the UN Security Council. The International Atomic Energy Agency referred the DPRK nuclear dispute to the Security Council on Wednesday with the tacit approval of the PRC. By taking that move, the agency set in motion a process that could lead to sanctions against the DPRK. Russia and Cuba refused to join in, saying the decision would detract from diplomatic efforts. The DPRK has said it would consider sanctions a “declaration of war.” The nuclear agency’s decision was a “premature and counterproductive move that doesn’t help to establish a constructive and trusting dialogue between the interested parties,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Russia was ready to support the nuclear agency’s decision if it would help the US and the DPRK “establish a direct dialogue” at the sidelines of the Security Council, it said. In Beijing, the PRC Foreign Ministry said that the PRC’s role in reporting the DPRK’s nuclear intransigence to the Security Council isn’t a flip-flop in policy. “Just because we agreed that the IAEA will report this to the Security Council does not mean we think the Security Council should be involved right now,” said PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue. “We hope that the North Korea issue can still have a political settlement by means of the two sides talking,” Zhang said. “We hope the international community can be more patient.”

9. US on PRC-DPRK Diplomacy

The Associated Press (George Gedda, “US BELIEVES CHINA MAY BE LAST HOPE FOR NUCLEAR-FREE KOREA,” Washington, 02/13/03) reported that the Bush administration is concerned that its goal of a denuclearized DPRK may not be possible unless the PRC uses diplomatic leverage to force a retreat by the DPRK. The PRC’s U.N. Ambassador Wang Yingfan said Wednesday: “We have to handle this. That’s our responsibility. But how to, and when, I think we need some consultation” among members of the U.N. Security Council. The PRC has made clear that it opposes the existence of nuclear weapons on the peninsula. On Thursday, the PRC reiterated its position that it considers direct dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington the only path to a solution. “Just because we agreed that the IAEA will report this to the Security Council does not mean we think the Security Council should be involved right now,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue, at a regular briefing. “We hope that the North Korea issue can still have a political settlement by means of the two sides talking,” Zhang said. “We hope the international community can be more patient.”

10. US on DPRK UN Sanctions

The Associated Press (Edith M. Lederer, “US WON’T CALL FOR UN SANCTIONS AGAINST NORTH KOREA OVER ITS NUCLEAR PROGRAM NOW,” United Nations, 02/13/03) reported that the US said Thursday that it would not call for U.N. sanctions against the DPRK over its nuclear program at this time, a move the DPRK had said would be tantamount to a “declaration of war.” US deputy ambassador Richard Williamson said President George W. Bush’s administration wants to pursue a diplomatic solution. The board of the International Atomic Energy Agency voted on Wednesday to refer the DPRK nuclear issue to the Security Council. Williamson said the United States is waiting for the IAEA resolution to be referred to the council, which should happen soon. “We’ll deal with it in a systematic manner, and diplomatically, and we’re pleased the IAEA acted, and we look forward to discussing and working the issue diplomatically here as the US has been doing in the region for many weeks now,” Williamson said. Asked whether sanctions were a possibility in the near future, he replied, “It’s not an issue right now.”

11. US DPRK-Iraq Two-Front War?

The LA Times (Paul Richter, “TWO-WAR STRATEGY FACES TEST BATTLING NORTH KOREA AMID IRAQ CONFLICT COULD MEAN LONGER FIGHTING AND MORE CASUALTIES,” Washington, 02/13/03) reported that for decades, the US Armed Forces planned and trained to fight simultaneous wars on the east and west ends of Asia if they had to. But the mounting threat from the DPRK, coming as a huge buildup continues in the Middle East for possible war against Iraq, has the Pentagon concerned that key parts of the military would be stretched thin if two wars erupted at the same time, defense officials and military experts say. With airplanes and special forces troops also still tied up in Afghanistan, shortages in certain high-tech aircraft that would be needed in both the DPRK and Iraq, and perhaps also precision munitions and some kinds of troops, mean a second-front war in the DPRK would take longer to win and entail more casualties, the officials and experts say. Ultimately, the outcome of a two-front war would “not be in doubt,” said Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “In gross numbers, the military can do what it is doing in the world today, plus taking on two problems,” he said in an interview with The Times. “What’s at risk is the timeline you’d like to do it on,” Pace said. “Of course, anything that is longer will have more risk.” The issue of whether the Pentagon’s 1.4-million active duty troops are enough to fight two wars has long sparked debate among defense experts. Bush administration officials came into office arguing that using the two wars model to size the force was outdated thinking, and urged the Pentagon to find a new approach. But the administration backed away from a radical change in 2001. And now, the twin crises of Korea and Iraq have convinced some advocates of a large force that they’ve been right all along.

II. Japan

1. Japan’s Position in US Policy

The Asahi Shinbun (Toshiaki Miura, “TAKEUCHI STRESSES NEED FOR UN BACKING ON IRAQI STRIKE,” WASHINGTON, 2/12/03) reported that -Any U.S.-led military action against Iraq should be based on a UN resolution, visiting Vice Foreign Minister Yukio Takeuchi said here Monday. In a so-called strategic dialogue meeting, Takeuchi told US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage he hoped the UN would adopt a new resolution if Washington deems force unavoidable, Foreign Ministry officials said. But Takeuchi avoided giving Japanese backing for a US-led campaign against Iraq. The key, Takeuchi told Armitage, is to pit “international society against Iraq, which possesses weapons of mass destruction.” Armitage responded that Washington fully recognizes the importance of gaining the international community’s cooperation if it decides to initiate hostilities. Armitage said the Bush administration has yet to decide whether to stage a military assault. During the meeting, Takeuchi and Armitage also reaffirmed their commitment to pursuing a peaceful solution to the nuclear crisis triggered by Pyongyang’s admission it pursued a clandestine nuclear development program. The two men also stressed the importance of cooperation between their two countries and ROK in trying to resolve the DPRK issue.

2. Japan’s Position in Anti-landmine Policy

The Asahi Shinbun (“MINE REMOVAL: JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI URGES MILITARY POWERS TO FOLLOW JAPAN’S ANTI-MINE EXAMPLE,” 02/11/03) reported that Japan has eliminated the 25 remaining mines stockpiles by the Self-Defense Forces and sent what Japan’s Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi called a message to the world. “Children who have no connection whatsoever to wars are becoming victims of mines,” the prime minister told reporters after the event. “What do the nations engaged in war think about such a tragedy? We have to foster a mood that mines must be eradicated.” The blast on Saturday afternoon took place in a water tank at a company in Bibai, Hokkaido. Koizumi watched the destruction of Japan’s last mines on a large screen at the ceremony venue in an Air Self-Defense Force base in Shinasahi, Shiga Prefecture. The Japanese government started destroying its supply of anti-personnel mines after then-Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi signed the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. So far, 131 nations have ratified the treaty since it took effect in March 1999. Signatories must eliminate their stockpile of mines by March 2003 and destroy all active mines in their soil by March 2009. In the five years beginning in 1998, Tokyo has provided 10 billion yen for the abolition of mines around the world. The government plans to continue contributing about 2 billion yen a year for the cause and to call on key nations with stockpiles, such as the US states and PRC, to sign the treaty. But countries such as PRC with its long national border, ROK, which faces DPRK over a demilitarized zone, and bitter rivals India and Pakistan, have shown no intention of becoming signatory nations.

3. IAEA’s Position to DPRK Nuclear Issue

Kyodo (“IAEA REFERS N KOREAN NUCLEAR ISSUE TO SECURITY COUNCIL,” 02/13/03) reported that the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) decided Wednesday to refer the DPRK nuclear issue to the UN Security Council but stressed that it wants a peaceful resolution on the nuclear impasse. Russia and Cuba abstained in the vote. PRC joined Japan, the US and 28 other countries in supporting the resolution. Two countries did not show up for the session. The resolution, which accused DPRK of “non-compliance” in its nuclear safeguards agreement with the IAEA, could further push Pyongyang into the corner and escalate its brinkmanship diplomacy. “The Board of Governors decides to report…the DPRK’s non-compliance and the agency’s inability to verify non-diversion of nuclear material subject to safeguards to all members of the agency and to the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations,” the resolution said. The IAEA board underscored that it wants a peaceful resolution to the nuclear impasse, rather than economic sanctions and other punitive measures against the DPRK. The board “stresses its desire for a peaceful resolution of the DPRK nuclear issue and its support for diplomatic means to that end,” the resolution said. Speaking to reporters after the vote, IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei said the agency would continue to work for a diplomatic end to the crisis. “It was the unanimous view of all the board members that we’re looking for a peaceful resolution.” He offered diplomatic incentives for the DPRK to comply with its safeguard obligations.

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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
Berkeley, California, United States

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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