NAPSNet Daily Report 14 May, 2004

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 14 May, 2004", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 14, 2004, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-14-may-2004/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. DPRK Six-Way Talks
2. US Powell on DPRK Talks
3. UN on DPRK as Number 1 International Security Concern
4. ROK Presidential Impeachment Overturned
5. Japan-DPRK Abduction Talks
6. PRC-US on Uighur Detainees
7. ROK-DPRK Family Reunions
II. Japan 1. Japan Constitutional Revision
2. Japan Opinion Poll on US-Japan Relations
3. Japan MOX Fuel Go-ahead

I. United States

1. DPRK Six-Way Talks

Reuters (Jack Kim and John Ruwitch, “NORTH KOREA CRISIS TALKS END ON ‘WHOLESOME’ NOTE,” Beijing, 05/14/04) reported that six-party talks on the DPRK’s nuclear ambitions ended in the PRC capital on Friday snagged on the stark differences between DPRK and the US. But a ROK official said the three days of discussions ended on a “wholesome” note, suggesting there had been no breakdown. The open-ended inaugural working-group talks, bringing together host PRC, the DPRK, the ROK, the US, Russia and Japan, are intended to pave the way for higher-level talks by the end of June on ending the DPRK’s nuclear programs. A DPRK delegate said earlier that his government could not go ahead with talks unless the US dropped its demands for a complete dismantling of its atomic arms programs. Pak Myong-kuk was talking to reporters in a hastily called news conference outside the high walls of the DPRK’s embassy in the early hours of the morning. The DPRK’s reiteration of its long-held position underscored remarks by Russia’s envoy on Thursday that he saw no chance of a breakthrough at the second-tier talks and the PRC’s view that major differences persisted between the protagonists. A US embassy spokeswoman said Washington’s policy had not changed. “The US objective remains a complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of North Korea’s nuclear program,” she said.

Yonhap (“DPRK DELEGATION SAYS US DEMAND UNACCEPTABLE,” Seoul, 05/14/04) reported that the DPRK said Friday (14 May) it can never accept the US demand for a “complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement” of its nuclear program, being referred to as “CVID”, but will continue to participate in the ongoing six-nation talks with patience. The DPRK’s delegation held an emergency press conference in front of their embassy in Beijing about 40 minutes past midnight, expressing frustration at the US insistence on “CVID”. “We had expected the US to talk differently about what kind of reciprocal measures the US and related countries will take if we freeze our nuclear program,” said Park Myong-kuk, a Foreign Ministry official who is also a member of the DPRK’s delegation to the working group meeting. “But the US repeated the same position as at the previous talks that discussions (on compensation) are possible only when we commit ourselves to CVID,” he said. The official claimed that the US demand is humiliating and requires the dismantling of even peaceful nuclear programs, a condition it says is imposed only upon on a country defeated in a war. Despite the US demand, however, Park said that his delegation will not boycott the Beijing nuclear talks and that the DPRK will remain committed to the six-party dialogue process.

2. US Powell on DPRK Talks

Reuters (“POWELL URGES PATIENCE ON NORTH KOREA TALKS,” Washington, 05/14/04) reported that US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Friday six-party talks over the DPRK’s nuclear program were “working” and he urged patience with the process. Speaking as another round of the talks ended in Beijing, Powell acknowledged no breakthrough was achieved but said the negotiators had three days of “good open discussions.” “So the six-party process is continuing to work. It’s work in which we have to be patient and keep applying the pressure,” he told a news conference after a Group of Eight foreign ministers meeting in Washington. Powell’s call for patience seemed at odds with reports that the Bush administration is working on a new intelligence estimate that would formally find the DPRK’s program is more advanced and threatening than previously thought. At the G8 news conference, Powell said all parties except the DPRK “are committed to the need for North Korea to have a complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of their nuclear weapons programs, their nuclear programs.” “And we have made it clear to North Korea, once again, that there’s no hostile intent or aggressive action coming from any of us, especially from the US,” he said.

3. UN on DPRK as Number 1 International Security Concern

The Associated Press (Edith Lederer, “U.N. NUCLEAR CHIEF SAYS NORTH KOREA IS NO. 1 INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CONCERN,” New York, 05/14/04) reported that the DPRK poses the world’s No. 1 security problem, and the way the international community responds to its nuclear program will be an important precedent, the U.N. nuclear chief said Friday. Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons “sends the worst signal to the would-be proliferators” that if they accelerate their weapons programs, they will be “immune” and powerful countries will negotiate with them. “We need to make sure that that is not the lesson that people would learn from North Korea,” he said. “I think it’s the No. 1 international security concern. The way we deal with it, the way the international community responds to the DPRK, is very important for the future precedent-setting.” ElBaradei said the DPRK used loopholes in the 1994 agreement and the control system aimed at banning trade in nuclear materials to start a weapons program. It also developed a second track of highly enriched uranium production, he said.

4. ROK Presidential Impeachment Overturned

Agence France-Presse (“STRONGER ROH RETURNS TO OFFICE AS COURT OVERTURNS IMPEACHMENT,” 05/15/04) reported that ROK President Roh Moo-Hyun returned to office stronger than ever after the Constitutional Court overturned the impeachment motion against him in a new defeat for his conservative foes. Reformist Roh, who took office in February 2003, had been suspended since the opposition-led parliament voted on March 12 to oust him on charges of electoral law violations, incompetence and corruption. He was reinstated after the court, which has the final word on impeachment, rejected two of the impeachment counts against him and ruled that a third — violation of electoral neutrality — was insufficient grounds for his removal from office. The ruling constituted the second defeat in a month for conservative opponents of the president who used their control of the National Assembly during his first year in office as a platform to frustrate his reformist program of economic restructuring and reconciliation with the DPRK. The judgment vindicated Roh supporters who denounced impeachment as a politically motivated drive by conservatives to boost their fortunes ahead of April 15 parliamentary elections.

5. Japan-DPRK Abduction Talks

Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN PM TO VISIT NORTH KOREA TO DISCUSS ABDUCTIONS, NUCLEAR ISSUE,” 05/14/04) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he would meet DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il in the DPRK next week to discuss the abduction of Japanese citizens and the DPRK’s nuclear arms ambitions. The summit on May 22 will be held amid on-going six-nation talks between the ROK, the DPRK, Japan, the US, the PRC and Russia on the nuclear stand-off, provoking some fear that it could distract the process. Koizumi said his second summit with in 20 months would help break the stalemate in bilateral rapprochement talks stalled by the kidnap and nuclear issues. “I cannot make such a decision unless I have determined that my trip to North Korea will lead to some progress,” Koizumi told reporters at his official residence. He added that Japan had informed the US, the PRC, and the ROK of his planned visit to the DPRK. The abduction and nuclear issues will be discussed “in a comprehensive manner,” the premier said, reaffirming that a package of solutions to the problems is a precondition to the establishment of diplomatic ties.

6. PRC-US on Uighur Detainees

Agence France-Presse (“US DISCUSSES WITH CHINA, OTHER COUNTRIES FATE OF UIGHUR DETAINEES,” 05/14/04) reported that the US has discussed with the PRC and other countries the possibility of accepting several Uighur detainees at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay due for release soon, the State Department said. About a dozen Uighurs are among the hundreds of detainees held at the Cuban base since the US intervention in Afghanistan. The Uighurs, among the PRC’s dominant Muslim groups and of Turkic descent, reportedly face harsh religious restrictions and repression since PRC authorities associate the group with separatism and terrorism in western the PRC. Human rights and non-governmental groups have urged the US not to repatriate them to the PRC as they could face persecution at home. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that the authorities were in the process of identifying Guantanamo detainees who might no longer be of “significant threat or may not be wanted on criminal charges.” Among them were the Uighurs. “We’ve identified some who might be eligible for release. We’re currently considering how that process can work,” he said. “If it’s decided that they can, obviously the situations of individuals need to be taken into account, including their wishes and their ability to go to different places. “We have talked to the PRC and other governments about the situation at this point, but don’t have anything definitive yet on the release or where they might go,” Boucher said.

7. ROK-DPRK Family Reunions

The Associated Press (“SOUTH KOREA PROPOSES MORE FAMILY REUNIONS WITH NORTH,” Seoul, 05/14/04) reported that the ROK Friday proposed to the DPRK that they hold another round of reunions on June 19-24 of family members separated for more than half a century. The Red Cross proposed that the temporary reunions take place at the DPRK’s Diamond Mountain, it said in a statement. The DPRK has yet to respond, it said. The DPRK and ROK have held nine such reunions since 2000.

II. Japan

1. Japan Constitutional Revision

The Asahi Shimbun (“MORE THAN HALF NOW IN FAVOR OF RESHAPING CONSTITUTION,” 05/11/04) reported a recent poll by The Asahi Shimbun found for the first time that a majority of respondents favored revising the nation’s supreme laws. Fifty-three percent of those responding said there was a need to revise the Constitution, up from 47 percent in a 2001 survey. Sixty-seven percent of supporters the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) said the Constitution should be revised, while 53 percent of supporters the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and 52 percent of unaffiliated voters agreed. DPJ supporters were also more in favor of revising Article 9, with 42 percent saying the article should be changed, while only 36 percent of LDP supporters favored revising Article 9. Opinion among DPJ supporters on whether the Self-Defense Force’s existence was constitutional was more evenly split than supporters of other parties. Forty-one percent of DPJ supporters said the SDF was unconstitutional while 46 percent said it was constitutional. From 60 percent to 80 percent of LDP and New Komeito supporters said the SDF was constitutional. About 50 percent of supporters of the other opposition parties — the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party — said the SDF was unconstitutional. When asked the extent to which the SDF should operate overseas, the most popular response among DPJ supporters, at 52 percent, was “only to the extent of UN-sponsored peacekeeping operations. That figure was closer to the 49 percent of unaffiliated voters who gave a similar response, than to LDP supporters, of whom 35 percent said only UN-sponsored peacekeeping operations were acceptable. Opinion was also split among DPJ supporters over the right of collective self-defense. The 37 percent of DPJ supporters who said the Constitution should be revised to allow for the exercise of the right was close to the 35 percent of LDP supporters who gave a similar response. However, the 45 percent of DPJ supporters who said the “position of not exercising the right should be maintained” was closer to the 48 percent of unaffiliated voters who gave such a response, in contrast to the 33 percent of LDP supporters who concurred. DPJ supporters also favored the inclusion of new rights, such as the right to information, privacy and the environment, in a revision of the Constitution. Fifty-one percent of DPJ supporters said such new rights should be included, while 44 percent of LDP supporters gave a similar response. Of 3,000 eligible voters canvassed, valid responses were received from 1,945 individuals April 11 and 12.

2. Japan Opinion Poll on US-Japan Relations

The Asahi Shimbun (“POLL SHOWS MANY STILL FAVOR JAPAN-U.S. SECURITY TREATY,” 05/11/04) reported that seventy-three percent of the respondents in the April Asahi poll said the Japan-US Security Treaty should be maintained in the future. In three past polls taken since 1996, responses have generally stayed between 70 and 76 percent. More than 70 percent of respondents in all age brackets, with the exception of those aged 70 and over, said they supported the security treaty. Among those in their early 20s, 80 percent supported the security treaty. Classified according to party affiliation, 84 percent of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) supporters, 80 percent of New Komeito supporters and 73 percent of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) supporters were in favor of the security treaty. Even among supporters of the Japanese Communist Party, opinion on the security treaty was nearly evenly divided at 47 percent. When asked to give the reason for supporting the treaty, the most popular response, given by 29 percent of respondents, was “because it reinforces Japan’s defense capability and is beneficial to the peace and prosperity of Japan.” The second most popular response, at 24 percent, was “because it is important for maintaining the overall cooperative relationship between Japan and the US.” Looking at the 15 percent of respondents who said they opposed the security treaty, 6 percent cited “the fear of becoming involved in terrorist attacks or war.” Another 6 percent said “because an equal relationship with the United States cannot be created.” As for the right of collective self-defense, 48 percent of respondents favored change. The figure slightly surpassed the 44 percent who said the interpretation of not exercising the right should be maintained. Close to 60 percent of LDP supporters said the interpretation should be changed and more than 50 percent of the DPJ supporters gave a similar response. Forty-eight percent of unaffiliated voters said the present interpretation should be maintained. Meanwhile, 54 percent of respondents in their 20s and 53 percent of those in their 30s said the present interpretation should be maintained. When asked in what area Japan should focus to ensure peace and prosperity, a majority of respondents — 51 percent — said “aim for a stable framework for national security with Asian nations.” Overall, 24 percent of the respondents said “strengthen the national security functions of the UN.” Sixty percent of those in their 20s and 30s supported an emphasis on an Asian-security framework. Among males in their early 30s, 69 percent stressed Asia. Questions were also asked about the presence of US troops on Okinawa. While 56 percent of respondents said the bases should be phased out gradually, the figure represents a decline from the 63 percent of the 2001 poll. The percentage of respondents who favored the status quo increased from 14 percent in 2001 to 22 percent in the latest poll. Overall, 10 percent of respondents said military bases should be distributed throughout Japan, up slightly from the 8 percent in the 2001 poll. Thirty percent of LDP supporters favored the status quo while only 13 percent of the DPJ supporters concurred. Only 10 percent of Japanese Communist Party and Social Democratic Party supporters favored the status quo.

3. Japan MOX Fuel Go-ahead

The Asahi Shimbun (“SHIKOKU REACTOR SET TO BE 3RD PLUTHERMAL PLANT,” Matsuyama, 05/11/04) reported that the Ikata No. 3 reactor in Ehime Prefecture is likely to become the third facility in Japan to use pluthermal nuclear-power generation. The facility is operated by Shikoku Electric Power Co. (SEPCO), which on Monday informed the Ehime prefectural government of its plans to burn plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel (MOX) there by fiscal 2010. On Monday, SEPCO President Atsushi Onishi submitted a memorandum to Ehime prefectural Governor Moriyuki Kato, seeking approval of the project. “Please explain your plans to the residents in terms they can understand, and make sure that your safety inspections will be complete,” Kato responded. On the same day, Katsumi Ota, vice president of SEPCO, conveyed the plan to the municipal government of Ikata. If both local governments sign off on the plan, the regional utility will seek approval from the central government to change the reactor’s specifications, thereby allowing it to burn MOX. Shikoku Electric Power’s plan follows those of Kansai Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co.

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Monash Asia Institute,
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Brandon Yu: napsnet@nautilus.org
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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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