NAPSNet Daily Report 13 May, 2004

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 13 May, 2004", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 13, 2004, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-13-may-2004/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. DPRK Multilateral Talks
2. DPRK-US Bilateral Talks?
3. PRC on DPRK Multilateral Talks
4. Russia on DPRK Multilateral Talks
5. DPRK Nuclear Inspections?
6. ROK-DPRK Military Talks
7. Union of Concerned Scientists on US Missile Defense Shield
8. US Nuclear Bunker Busters
9. DPRK Ryongchon Victims
10. US Guantanamo Bay Abuse
11. PRC Dissident Imprisonment
12. ROK Domestic Politics
13. Libya Military Trade Cessation
14. Japan Domestic Economy
15. PRC Economic Growth
II. Japan 1. Japan-PRC Territorial Dispute
2. Japan Iraq Troops Dispatch
3. Japan on the US Torture of Iraqi Prisoners
4. US-Japan Relations
5. US Embassy in Japan Bomb Threat
6. Japan Nuclear Waste Reprocessing

I. United States

1. DPRK Multilateral Talks

USA Today (“NORTH KOREA SUGGESTS PEACE TREATY TO SETTLE NUCLEAR DISPUTE BY BARBARA SLAVIN,” Washington, 05/13/04) reported that the DPRK said Wednesday that the best way to resolve its nuclear standoff with the US would be to replace a 51-year-old armistice with a peace treaty ending the Korean War, to be signed by the DPRK, the ROK and the US. The comment, in a rare interview with Han Song Ryol, the DPRK’s deputy representative to the United Nations, appeared to reflect the DPRK’s growing frustration with slow-moving six-nation nuclear disarmament talks in Beijing. Labeled by President Bush as part of an “axis of evil” with Iran and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the DPRK government says a peace treaty would be a deterrent to an attack by the US. The Bush administration says it might talk about a peace treaty but only after the DPRK agrees to the US’ long-standing demand for “complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement” of its nuclear program. Han said the DPRK would show “patience and flexibility” in talks that resumed Wednesday in Beijing, but he doubted they would make progress. He said his country would have to hold onto nuclear weapons unless “all the countries with troops on the Korean peninsula” reach a permanent peace.

2. DPRK-US Bilateral Talks?

Kyodo News Service (“US, NORTH KOREA MAY HOLD BILATERAL TALKS,” Tokyo, 05/13/04) reported that the US and the DPRK are prepared to meet bilaterally Thursday in Beijing as working-group discussions between the six nations dealing with the DPRK’s nuclear ambitions entered their second day, conference sources said. The sources said US chief delegate Joseph DeTrani and his DPRK counterpart Ri Gun may discus a US demand that Pyongyang completely dismantle its nuclear programmes, including a suspected plan to enrich uranium to develop a nuclear arsenal. The bid to have a bilateral meeting is motivated by a belief that improvement in Japan-DPRK ties is linked to progress in the six-nation talks, a Japanese delegation source said. Saiki is deputy head of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau. In Tokyo, speculation has grown that Japan and the DPRK may hold high-level bilateral talks, possibly from Saturday, in the PRC or the DPRK to discus detailed measures to settle the abduction issue.

3. PRC on DPRK Multilateral Talks Agence France-Presse (“CHINA WARNS ‘MAJOR’ DIFFERENCES REMAIN IN N.KOREA NUCLEAR TALKS,” 05/14/04) reported that the PRC warned “major” differences remained on solving the 19-month-old standoff over the DPRK’s nuclear program, as talks in Beijing appeared to reveal a toughening of positions. “There still exist differences between each side in some areas, and sometimes the differences are major,” PRC foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular briefing Thursday. At the start of the working-group discussions at the Diaoyutai Guest HoUse in the western part of the capital, US and DPRK envoys showed little willingness to compromise, according to reports. “Their positions look even tougher now than a few days ago,” a diplomatic source told Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency.

4. Russia on DPRK Multilateral Talks

Reuters “RUSSIA SAYS NO CHANCE OF BREAKTHROUGH AT KOREA TALKS,” Beijing, 05/13/04) reported that the US and DPRK envoys were reported to be planning a face-to-face meeting on Thursday to try to defuse the DPRK’s nuclear crisis, but Russia’s envoy said there was no chance of a breakthrough at second-tier talks. The first day of the six-way talks ended with the US and the DPRK toughening their stands, a Russian negotiator said, while the ROK urged its northern rival to be more flexible.

5. DPRK Nuclear Inspections?

Kyodo News Service (“NORTH KOREA BROACHES NUCLEAR INSPECTIONS AT WORKING-GROUP TALKS,” Tokyo, 05/13/04) reported the DPRK broached the possibility of allowing foreign nuclear inspectors back into the country as a step towards dismantling its nuclear programs during the first day’s session of six-nation working-group talks on Wednesday, conference sources said Thursday. DPRK chief delegate Ri Gun touched on the topic when he presented the country’s position at the outset of the session on a US demand that North Korea scrap its nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, the sources said. They said Ri did not elaborate but his statement was interpreted as being aimed at prompting his counterparts from the US, the ROK, the PRC, Japan and Russia to talk about aid to the DPRK in return for a freeze of its nuclear programs. Ri is expected to hold bilateral talks with his US counterpart Joseph DeTrani on Thursday and may again touch on the inspections issue, the sources said. Ri did not say whether the DPRK was prepared to meet the US demand, either, according to the sources. But his remarks drew attention as he broached the possibility of allowing nuclear inspectors back in although none of the others had urged him to do so, they said.

6. ROK-DPRK Military Talks

Reuters (“SOUTH KOREA TO ATTEND MILITARY TALKS WITH NORTH,” Seoul, 05/13/04) reported that the ROK will attend unprecedented general-level military talks with the DPRK later this month, the ROK’s unification minister said on Thursday. Jeong Se-hyun told reporters it was too early to say why the DPRK had chosen to meet in the resort of Mount Kumgang. “The fact that we are holding these general-level talks shows that North-South relations have developed to a degree where there can no longer be a U-turn,” he said, referring to the DPRK’s initial refusal at discussions last week to set a date despite having agreed to the military meeting earlier. DPRK leader Kim Jong-il had intervened at the last minute in ministerial talks in Pyongyang last week to give the go-ahead for the talks, Jeong has said. Jeong said he hoped the general-level talks would contribute to helping to bring almost non-existent inter-Korean military contacts up to the level of the increasingly thriving economic and social exchanges between the two long-estranged states.

7. Union of Concerned Scientists on US Missile Defense Shield

Reuters (Jim Wolf, “US MISSILE SHIELD WON’T WORK, SCIENTIST GROUP SAYS,” Washington, 05/13/04) reported that the multibillion-dollar US ballistic missile shield due to start operating by Sept. 30 appears incapable of shooting down any incoming warheads, an independent scientists’ group said on Thursday. A technical analysis found “no basis for believing the system will have any capability to defend against a real attack,” the Union of Concerned Scientists said in a 76-page report titled “Technical Realities.” The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency rejected the report, whose authors included Philip Coyle, the Defense Department’s top weapons tester under former President Bill Clinton from 1994 to 2001. “Even the limited defense we are mounting provides a level of protection against an accidental or unauthorized (intercontinental ballistic missile) launch or a limited attack where we currently have no protection,” said Richard Lehner, an agency spokesman. “It would be irresponsible to not make it available for the defense of our nation and our people.” Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the Senate Armed Services, concurred with the report’s findings. The Bush administration should stop buying missile-defense interceptors until they are proven to work through “combat-realistic” operational tests, he said in a statement.

8. US Nuclear Bunker Busters

Donga (Soon-Taek Kwon, “RESEARCH ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS TO DESTROY BUNKER IS NECESSARY,” 05/13/04) reported that regarding the development of “bunker bUSter,” a mini-nuke used for destroying underground bunkers, US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld revealed on Wednesday that, “There is a need to study this matter since the trend of building underground military facilities as seen in the typical case of North Korea is increasing.” To the question “Isn’t the budget for underground nuclear weapons going way further than just simple research?” by Sen. Dianne Feinstein in the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing on this day, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld answered, “North Korea, Iran, and other countries are building military facilities underground and as a countermeasure, we give priority to conventional methods, however, it is also worth studying additional methods (such as bunker busters).” However, he said, “At this stage, the research hasn’t progressed far enough to decide upon its development,” and added, “We have only decided to find whether or not it would be plausible. We will report when it will be at the stage of development, and Congress will make decisions (on the development).” Regarding this issue, Sen. Feinstein said, “Physicists say there is no way to shoot through 240 m to 300 m underground and prevent nuclear fallout,” and doubted the possibility of bunker buster development that gives no radioactive damages above ground while only destroying underground military facilities.

9. DPRK Ryongchon Victims

Korean Central News Agency (“N KOREA SAYS RYONGCHON VICTIMS CONDITION NOT IMPROVING,” Pyongyang, 05/13/04) reported that a lot of patients wounded in an unexpected accident at Ryongchon Railway Station have been carried to the North Phyongan Provincial People’s Hospital, Sinuiju City People’s Hospital No.1 and other medical institutions in the province. Doctors have hurled themselves into strained treatment for the recovery of the patients. However the conditions of six patients including primary and middle school pupils and an honoured disabled soldier did not take a turn for the better. Leader Kim Jong-il who had taken all measures to remove the after-effects of damage as quickly as possible and provide the residents a stabilized life, upon receiving a report about them, showed warm care so that they were urgently airlifted to a central hospital to be treated. The helicopter carrying the patients arrived in Pyongyang Wednesday afternoon. Now the patients are undergoing an intensive medical treatment at the Kim Man-yu Hospital.

10. US Guantanamo Bay Abuse

Agence France-Presse (“AUSTRALIAN TERROR SUSPECT ABUSED BY US CAPTORS: LAWYER,” 05/13/04) reported that Australia is to investigate claims an Australian terror suspect held by the US military in Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay has been criminally abused under a policy ordered by senior US commanders. The allegations were made by Australian lawyer Stephen Kenny who represents David Hicks, one of two Australian men held in the camp. Kenny said he could not provide details of the abuse suffered by his client because of a confidentiality agreement he signed with US authorities. But he said Hicks “has been treated in a manner which I consider to be abusive, a serious violation of his human rights and which constitutes a criminal offence in international law.” “The abuse I am speaking about is not simply what I consider to be an abuse by Use of stress and duress techniques that are well known in Guantanamo Bay,” he said, referring to reports inmates at the facility were exposed to extreme heat, cold, loud music and bright lights as part of their interrogations. “The abuses, the details of which I cannot reveal at this time, and the manner in which the abuses have been carried out, leave me with a very firm opinion that they were carefully orchestrated and organised at high levels of the US command structure,” Kenny said. “These abuses were not simply the excesses of individual guards.” Kenny stressed that he was not referring to the kind of sexually oriented humiliation and abuse that US guards have inflicted on Iraqi prisoners in Baghdad. “Some of the abuses in Iraq have been much worse because they have been quite, quite serious — there are allegations in Iraq of the murder of prisoners and certainly that has not occurred (at Guantanamo Bay),” he said. Hicks, 28, has been held at Guantanamo since being captured fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001.

11. PRC Dissident Imprisonment

Agence France-Presse (“LEADING PRC DISSIDENT YANG JIANLI GETS FIVE YEARS FOR SPYING,” 05/13/04) reported that the PRC has jailed prominent dissident Yang Jianli, a US resident, for five years on charges of spying and illegal entry, ignoring top-level US and United Nations concern over the case. Since his arrest in April 2002, the Harvard University research fellow has been one of the most high-profile dissidents in PRC custody with US Vice President Dick Cheney raising the case during his visit to the PRC last month. “Yang … was directed by a Taiwan spy organization in 1991 in San Francisco to collect confidential papers of the PRC government and he later established his own spy agency with funds from Taiwan to expand his undertakings in China’s mainland,” Xinhua news agency said, citing the court. Mo Shaoping, Yang’s lawyer, confirmed the sentence, but insisted that the charges were baseless and that the court lacked evidence for the verdict. “As his lawyer, I believe all the charges are without basis,” Mo told AFP. “According to PRC law he can appeal the sentence, but I don’t know if he will.” Yang fled the PRC following the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protests and was blacklisted by the government which refused to renew his passport or issue him travel documents to return to his homeland, in violation of international law. He tried to secretly sneak into the PRC in April 2002, but was arrested in southwestern Kunming city. It was unclear Thursday if PRC authorities would release Yang into exile, as they have done in other high-profile cases that have appeared to be political in nature and have lacked evidence and due process.

12. ROK Domestic Politics

Agence France-Presse (“SKOREA PROSECUTORS DEMAND JAIL TERM FOR EX-PRESIDENT’S SON,” 05/13/04) reported that ROK prosecutors have demanded a five-year jail term and hefty fines for a son of former president Chun Doo-Hwan for alleged tax evasion. Chun Jae-Yong is suspected of helping his father hide away million of dollars illegally amassed during his presidential term. The prosecution said it asked a Seoul court to sentence Chun Jae-Yong to five years in jail and 15 billion won (13 million dollars) in fines on the tax evasion charges. Chun was arrested in February after prosecutors found in his possession 16.7 billion won in bonds and commercial paper under aliases. Investigators maintain that the sum is part of his father’s hidden assets. Chun denies the charges. The court is due to rule on May 21, court officials said.

13. Libya Military Trade Cessation

The Associated Press (“LIBYA HALTS MILITARY TRADE WITH NORTH KOREA, SYRIA AND IRAN,” Washington, 05/13/04) reported that Libya will halt military trade with North Korea, Syria and Iran in a move that the Bush administration said Thursday would help stem the spread of dangerous weapons and technology. The decision, announced by Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton and the Libyan government, follows a promise by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to cease programs for developing weapons of mass destruction. That pledge has gained him some relief from decades of diplomatic isolation. But on a trip to Europe two weeks ago Gadhafi threatened to return to the “days of explosive belts” if provoked by Western “evil.” Asked if that was alarming despite Gadhafi’s decision on weapons, a senior administration official said the US had made it clear that Libya had to sever ties with terrorism and end its weapons programs. Bolton said the DPRK had provided Libya with Scud missiles, using the proceeds to develop nuclear weapons. Negotiations are under way in Beijing to try to end those programs. The DPRK is the world’s greatest proliferator of ballistic missile technology and its sale of Scud missiles to Libya “was a pretty substantial money earner” for the DPRK, Bolton said. Bolton said Libya also would promise soon to renounce trade in missile and missile-related equipment with countries that do not subscribe to voluntary international limits on the range of missiles and the weight of their payloads. “We are satisfied with the progress we have made” with Libya on weapons systems, Bolton said.

14. Japan Domestic Economy

The Associated Press (Natalie Obiko Pearson, “JAPAN’S ECONOMY APPEARS TO BE RECOVERING,” Tokyo, 05/13/04) reported that Japan’s economy appears to be recovering strongly after more than a decade of decline and a series of spluttering attempts to bounce back, a top US economic official said Thursday. “We think (this) is a more sustainable recovery than has existed in Japan for a long time,” the US Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, John B. Taylor, said after talks with government officials, business leaders and economists. He said he was encouraged by signs that the economy, which in recent years has experienced short-lived rebounds spurred by hikes in overseas demand for Japanese goods, is now growing because of heightened domestic consumption and internal investment. He said the stronger Japanese economy would benefit the US. “One feeds on the other,” he said. “The US economy is in turn bolstered by a healthy world economy.” Japan’s economy grew at an annual rate of 6.4 percent in the final quarter of 2003, its best performance in 13 years, and economists expect January-March’s figure, due out next week, will top 3 percent.

15. PRC Economic Growth

The Associated Press (Elaine Kurtenbach, “CHINA MUST DEAL WITH ECONOMIC GROWTH,” Shanghai, 05/13/04) reported that the PRC issued economic data Thursday that gave a conflicting picture of attempts to cool roaring economic growth, saying exports and industrial output were slowing but the country’s money supply was surging. Industrial production rose 19.1 percent in April over a year earlier, down from a 23.2 percent annual growth rate in February, the National Bureau of Statistics reported. It said that was the third straight month of lower growth. Exports rose 32.4 percent in April over a year earlier to $47.1 billion, customs officials reported. That compared with a 42.9 percent annual growth rate in March. But figures issued later in the day showed the amount of money in the PRC’s economy – a key indicator of possible inflation – surged by 19.1 percent in April, far above the official target of 17 percent.

II. Japan

1. Japan-PRC Territorial Dispute

The Japan Times (“JAPAN TO PROTEST CHINA SURVEY NEAR OKINOTORI,” 05/10/04) reported that Japan plans to lodge an official protest with the PRC over its continued oceanographic surveying in Japan’s exclusive economic zone around Okinotori Island, government sources said Sunday. Japan urged the PRC at a working-level meeting in Beijing on April 22 to stop the surveys, but Chinese officials claimed the surrounding waters cannot be regarded as an exclusive economic zone “because Okinotori Island is not an island but rocks.” Japanese officials believe the PRC is conducting the surveys to create a map of the seabed for submarines, the sources said. “China is perhaps claiming that Okinotori Island is just rocks to justify that it can continue its military surveys in waters near the island,” a Foreign Ministry source said. According to the sources, the Japanese government determined that Chinese marine survey vessels have committed Japanese exclusive economic zone violations in 19 cases in the Pacific Ocean since last year. The uninhabited island, also known as the Douglas Reef, is Japan’s southernmost point, located 1,740 km south of Tokyo. It is surrounded by about 10 km of coral reefs. Two rocks on the island remain above sea level during full tide.

The Associated Press (“COAST GUARD BLOCKS BOAT AT SENKAKUS,” 05/11/04) reported that the Japan Coast Guard turned a Chinese fishing vessel away Monday after it illegally entered Japanese waters near a disputed island chain. The Chinese boat was found 20 km northwest of Uotsuri Island, one of five uninhabited islands claimed by both Japan and the PRC. Japan controls the islands, which it calls the Senkaku. The PRC calls them the Diaoyu. A coast guard spokesperson said the Chinese boat entered the Japanese waters illegally and it was not immediately known whether it was there to fish or make a statement about the territorial dispute. After the coast guard issued a warning, the Chinese boat left Japanese waters.

2. Japan Iraq Troops Dispatch

Kyodo (“REPLACEMENTS SHIP OUT TO IRAQ,” Sapporo, 05/09/04) reported that a contingent of 140 Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) troops left Saturday for Iraq via Kuwait as the first replacement unit for troops stationed in Samawah since mid-January. The unit, mainly from the Sapporo-based 11th Division, left on a government plane from the Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) Chitose base in Hokkaido after attending a flag presentation ceremony and receiving words of encouragement from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Two other batches of rotation troops are scheduled to ship out to Iraq this month amid the deteriorating security situation there, as seen in the kidnapping of Japanese civilians and mortar shell attacks in the vicinity of the GSDF camp in Samawah. Vice defense chief Yasukazu Hamada presented a flag to Colonel Yuki Imaura, who represented the troops. At a news conference after the ceremony, Imaura said, “I must admit there is a gap between what locals (in Samawah) want and (what the GSDF troops have been doing),” but added he believes the Japanese efforts will be appreciated as they go along. Koizumi, who arrived at the Chitose base after visiting dairy farms in Hokkaido, told the troops prior to their departure, “Having undergone tough training, I hope you will make use of your capabilities and perform your duties. I pray for your safe return.”

The Asahi Shimbun (“SDF TROOPS DO NOT BELONG IN A WAR-TORN IRAQ,” 05/10/04) reported an analytical article by Tetsuo Maeda, a professor at Tokyo International University, on the SDF dispatch to Iraq. Following is an excerpt: “The rapid worsening of conditions in Iraq since last month starkly reflects the collapse of the US-led vision and policy for governing there. It seems fairly clear that the Bush administration’s scenario of driving a wedge between the Shiite and Sunni factions of Islam in Iraq, and then bringing into power a pro-American government, has lost any sense of reality. […] I submit that, in accordance with the special measures law on Iraq, the SDF should be withdrawn at once. At the very least, the troops should be evacuated to Kuwait. Under the special measures law, the proper course of action for Japanese forces facing a likelihood of encountering direct combat is defined as ‘temporary suspension’ (of operations), ‘evacuation’ or ‘discontinuance.’ […] To help Iraq emerge from warfare, Japan must firmly push the United States to transfer control of the country to a governing body overseen by the United Nations. This stance should be phrased as a demand for a policy shift in Iraq, based on the premise that continuing the current approach will leave Tokyo no choice but to withdraw the SDF altogether.”

3. Japan on the US Torture of Iraqi Prisoners

The Japan Times (“JAPAN ‘DISPLEASED’ AT ABUSE IN IRAQ,” 05/08/04) reported that Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said Friday that Japan will convey its displeasure to the US over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US troops. “I have instructed (ministry officials) to convey to the United States Japan’s displeasure because the acts were inhumane and regrettable,” Kawaguchi told reporters. Kawaguchi said she wants the US to unearth the facts about the abuse and take measures to prevent a recurrence.

The Japan Times (“KAWAGUCHI: GENEVA TREATY BREACH?,” 05/11/04) reported that Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said Monday the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers may be a violation of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war. Kawaguchi made the comment during a session of the House of Representatives Special Committee on Responses to Armed Attacks. The Third Geneva Convention states that POWs “must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.”

4. US-Japan Relations

Kyodo (“U.S. LAWMAKERS SUBMIT RESOLUTION HONORING JAPAN,” Washington, 05/09/04) reported that four members of the US House of Representatives on Friday submitted a resolution marking the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and the US and urging even deeper bilateral ties. “Congress recognizes the importance in history of the 150th anniversary” and “calls for expanded political, economic, strategic and cultural ties between the Japanese and American people and their respective governments,” states the resolution presented by the four representatives. They are Henry Hyde, an Illinois Republican who chairs the House International Relations Committee; Tom Lantos, a California Democrat; Jim Leach, an Iowa Republican; and Eni Faleomavaega, a Democrat from American Samoa.

5. US Embassy in Japan Bomb Threat

The Japan Times (“U.S. EMBASSY RECEIVES BOMB THREAT,” 05/11/04) reported that the US Embassy in Tokyo has received a threat via the Internet about a possible bomb attack this week, although it has yet to determine its credibility, the embassy said in an e-mail message sent Monday to American citizens living in Japan. In the e-mail notice sent to registered American residents in Japan, the embassy said, “The US mission in Tokyo has received information, through the Internet, about a possible bomb attack against the American Embassy during the week of May 10.”

6. Japan Nuclear Waste Reprocessing

Kyodo (“LDP MEMBER’S APPEARANCE AT ANTINUCLEAR RALLY PROTESTED,” Aomori, 05/09/04) reported that a lawmaker from the pronuclear Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) made an appearance Saturday at an antinuclear gathering in Aomori Prefecture, host to a core nuclear fuel facility, causing ripples within the governing party. Delivering a speech at the rally in the city of Aomori, Taro Kono urged that uranium testing, which paves the way for full-fledged operations of the spent fuel reprocessing plant, be postponed. “We must pause and deepen national debate” on the issue, he said. Kono’s plan to deliver the speech drew a protest from the LDP’s Aomori prefectural chapter. It sent a letter to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who heads the LDP, to register its objection to Kono’s speaking engagement at the gathering. Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, hosts a major complex of facilities, now being built, to reprocess spent fuel from nuclear power plants.

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Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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