I. United States
1. ROK-DPRK Joint Anti-Terrorism Statement
The Associated Press (Paul Shin, “S.KOREA PROPOSES TERRORISM STATEMENT,” Seoul, 9/13/01) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung proposed Thursday that his country and the DRPK adopt a joint statement opposing terrorism at upcoming high-level talks. Kim said that an anti-terrorism statement would be a fitting response to September 11’s terrorist attacks in the US. Kim told his aides, “If the two sides can adopt a joint statement opposing terrorism, it will become a big, fruitful success.” Kim said that the upcoming talks have many bilateral issues to tackle such as reunions of separated families and reconnection of a cross-border rail line.
2. ROK-DPRK Talks
Reuters (Paul Eckert, “NORTH KOREA VOWS TO UPHOLD LANDMARK PACT WITH SOUTH,” Seoul, 9/13/01) reported that the DPRK vowed on Thursday to uphold its historic June 2000 agreement with the ROK and confirmed that it would attend talks in Seoul this weekend. However, the DPRK warned the ROK that ties could “deteriorate overnight” in the event of foreign interference in inter-Korean talks. The Korea Central News Agency quoted a DPRK spokesman as saying, “We will as ever make every sincere effort to implement the historic June 15 North-South joint declaration. Whether the overall inter-Korean relations including the North-South ministerial talks develop smoothly or not entirely depends on how the South side respects the spirit of the June 15 joint declaration.” Despite initial concerns the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon would disrupt diplomacy, the ROK confirmed the talks would proceed as scheduled. Overlapping with the Seoul meetings, Red Cross officials from the DPRK and the ROK will meet in Beijing during the period from September 17 to 21 to discuss exchanges of gifts by separated families.
3. Support of US Anti-terrorism Efforts
Reuters (Bill Tarrant, “SUPPORT FOR BUSH ANTI-TERROR COALITION GROWS,” Singapore, 9/13/01) reported that US President George W. Bush’s proposal for a global coalition against terrorism gathered momentum on Thursday, with Japan and the PRC, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan offering at least their moral support for the crusade. NATO, for the first time in its 52-year history, has invoked a mutual defense clause-pledging collective assistance to the US if the New York and Washington attacks are proved to be directed from abroad. The PRC’s official Xinhua news agency reported Thursday that PRC President Jiang Zemin offered to join Bush’s proposed war on terrorism during a phone call to Bush on Wednesday night. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters Bush was ”very pleased” with the reactions of world leaders to his call. However, many in Asia worried that US retaliation would ignite an escalating battle of revenge. The PRC almost surely would not support a military strike against bin Laden. Guo Xiangang, an expert on Sino-US relations at the China Institute of International Affairs, said, “On this question, we must distinguish between attacking terrorist activities and interfering in a country’s internal affairs.”
II. Republic of Korea
1. DPRK on Terrorism
Joongang Ilbo (Kim Hee-sung, “NORTH KOREA ISSUES STATEMENT BLASTING TERROR IN US,” Washington, 09/13/01) reported that the DPRK issued a statement that criticized the acts of terrorism on the US. According to the state-run Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman pointed out that the latest terror committed in World Trade Center Towers and Pentagon was a great shock to international society and stressed the unfortunate tragedy has once again reminded of the hazard of terrorism. The spokesman said, “Our position is that as one of the UN member nations we stand firmly against all kinds of terror acts and refuse to be involved in any of such actions. That’s how we intend to view the latest incident.”
2. ROK-US Talks
The Korea Herald (Hwang Jang-jin, “DELAY LIKELY IN SEOUL-WASHINGTON DIPLOMATIC SCHEDULES,” Seoul, 09/13/01) reported that ROK officials said Wednesday that diplomatic schedules involving the ROK and the US are likely to be affected by the crisis situation in the US administration following terrorist attacks Tuesday. The two nations have set a series of high-level meetings this and next month to discuss DPRK policy and other pending issues. An ROK foreign ministry official said, “Delay and readjustment in the timetable maybe inevitable with the United States currently in chaos.”
3. ROK on Inter-Korean Relations
Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, “GOVERNMENT FEARS EFFECTS OF TERROR ON NK RELATIONS,” Seoul, 09/12/01) reported that the ROK government is paying keen attention to what, if any, the effects of the terrorist attacks on the US will have on its approach to the DPRK and inter-Korean relations. Sources said that the magnitude of the deadly attack may cause the US to fundamentally change its foreign policy. Specifically, it may take strengthened monitoring and sanctions against countries it perceives as unfriendly, or that harbor terrorists. In this respect, analysts said the US approach to the DPRK, which is still classified as a terrorist sponsoring nation, will surely be affected in some way. This, in turn, will have repercussions on US-ROK-DPRK relations. An official from the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that even though the US had proposed unconditional talks to the DPRK, it is unlikely to start dialogue before a complete background analysis of the attacks is conducted. He added that the DPRK is one of the biggest reasons cited by the US for the development of its Missile Defense system, and it may be difficult to resume talks, given domestic sentiment. He noted that resumption of dialogue and its nature will now have a different character than would have been the case had the DPRK responded prior to the attacks. ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Han Seung-soo, currently in New York to take over the chairmanship of the UN General Assembly, said that the attacks were independent of issues in Northeast Asia, including inter-Korean relations, and does not see the attack having adverse effects.
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