I. United States
1. Cross-Straits Relations
Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN VICE PRESIDENT ATTACKS CHINA FOR BLOCKING JAKARTA TRIP,” 08/15/02) reported that Taiwan’s Vice President Annette Lu attacked the PRC, accusing it of interfering with her vacation in Indonesia and stressed she had a basic human right to travel. “Taiwan is not part of China and it is totally unreasonable that they (China) blocked me (from entering Jakarta)” ETTV Lu told reporters on Wednesday. Lu was forced to fly to Bali Wednesday after she was denied entry in Jakarta. The Indonesian stand is believed to have followed strong pressure from the PRC, which considers Taiwan a part of its territory. “This is my basic human right (to travel), what right do they (Chinese officials) have to stop me, to control my plans?” she said. “Why do we have to dance to their tune?” Chen Ming-tung, vice chairman of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, said; “Beijing’s suppression would only hurt the feelings of the 23 million Taiwanese people.” Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Chang Siao-yue, meanwhile, said Taiwan would continue efforts at boosting its diplomatic profile despite attempts by the PRC to contain it. “We are a sovereign state and we have to stand up and walk out into the international community,” Chang said.
2. Japan World War II Commemoration
Agence France-Presse (“JAPANESE PM VOICES REMORSE FOR ASIAN VICTIMS ON WAR ANNIVERSARY,” 08/15/02) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi expressed deep remorse for Asian victims of his nation’s aggression during World War II, as Japan commemorated the 57th anniversary of its surrender. Some 6,000 people, including retired soldiers and relatives of war dead as well as Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, attended a ceremony at the Budokan Hall on the edge of the Imperial Palace grounds Thursday. A minute of silent prayer was observed at noon as Japan also marked the 50th anniversary of regaining sovereignty after concluding the 1952 San Francisco peace treaty. “Our country caused huge damage and pain to people in many countries, particularly in Asian nations during the war,” Koizumi said. “Representing the people, I renew our (expression of) deep remorse and offer sincere condolences to the victims,” Koizumi said. “Reflecting on history today, I sincerely hope the disaster of war will not repeat itself,” Akihito said after bowing deeply before a wooden cenotaph on the stage decorated with white and yellow chrysanthemums. The son of Japan’s wartime emperor, Hirohito added: “I sincerely express my condolences for those who fell during the war, and pray for the world’s peace and our country’s further development.”
3. DPRK International Soccer
Reuters (“REPORT: NORTH KOREA SET TO PARTICIPATE IN MORE INTERNATIONAL SOCCER COMPETITION,” Seoul, 08/15/02) reported that the DPRK will participate in more international soccer competitions than before, a soccer official from the DPRK was quoted as saying. “From now on, they will appear more frequently in international soccer matches,” Yoo Sung Il, vice president of the DPRK’s Football Association, said in an interview with the ROK’s Yonhap News Agency. Yoo, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for Wednesday’s Asian Football Association annual congress, also expressed hope for more soccer exchanges with the ROK, Yonhap reported. The DPRK has rarely participated in international competitions in recent years. It shunned this year’s soccer World Cup, which the ROK co-hosted with Japan.
4. ROK Liberation Day
The Associated Press (Paul Shin, “KOREAN CIVIC LEADERS CELEBRATE LIBERATION DAY, Seoul, 08/15/02) reported that hundreds of ROK and DPRK civic leaders gathered Thursday to celebrate the 57th anniversary of the Korean peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule. Traditional dances and songs filled the second of a four-day joint celebration in Seoul, held a day after the two Koreas agreed to restart talks on national reconciliation, stalled by recent political and military tensions. At a university several miles (kilometers) away, 7,000 ROK students and labor activists marked Liberation Day with calls for reunification and anti-US slogans. Some wore shirts with the words “One Korea” and displayed a model wooden “unification train” – a reference to plans to open a railway between DPRK and ROK. They also exhibited pictures of two teenage girls who were fatally struck by a US military armored vehicle in June. “US military that killed the two students go home!” said one banner. Separately, ROK President Kim Dae-jung gave high marks to his nation’s latest effort at reconciliation with the DPRK but said priority should be given to implementing agreements already reached between the two rivals. In his Liberation Day statement, Kim reconfirmed that he would continue to pursue his “sunshine” policy of engaging the isolated communist nation during the remainder of his term, which ends in February.
5. Sea of Japan Map Issue
The Associated Press (Stephen Cannon, “MAP SPAT DEEPENS AS JAPAN FIGHTS ‘SEA OF JAPAN’ NAME CHANGE,” Tokyo, 08/15/02) reported that Japan pledged Thursday to fight an international proposal that would cross out the name “Sea of Japan” from the world’s sea charts, as a lingering map spat deepened between Japan and its neighbors. Under the new plan, floated by the Monaco-based International Hydrographic Bureau, the body of water separating Japan and the Korean Peninsula would simply have no officially recognized international name. The move is meant as a compromise with the ROK, which uses the name “East Sea” and protests the more recognized moniker “Sea of Japan” as a vestige of Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule over the Korean peninsula. The DPRK uses “Korean East Sea.” “This situation is like if Madagascar got into a fight with India and said that ‘Indian Ocean’ is an outrageous name and started using, ‘Madagascar Ocean,'” said Yo Iwabuchi, deputy chief of international affairs at Japan’s Maritime Safety Agency. The 70 member nations of the International Hydrographic Bureau, including Japan and the ROK, will vote on dropping “Sea of Japan” at the end of November. Iwabuchi said Japan will lobby against the switch. The ROK has been campaigning for a name change of the sea at least since 1992, when the United Nations held a meeting on standardizing the world’s geographic names.
6. Taiwan Defense Capacity
Reuters (“TAIWAN SAYS CONFIDENT OF REPELLING CHINA INVASION,” Taipei, 08/15/02) reported that Taiwan, embroiled in a spat with the PRC over the island’s sovereignty, is confident of repelling any PRC invasion, defense minister Tang Yiau-ming said on Thursday. “They cannot afford to pay the price,” Tang told Reuters in an interview. “We have air superiority,” he said, apparently referring to the island’s U.S. F-16 and French Mirage 2000 fighter jets. The PRC’s state media have warned that Taiwan risked attack if the island pressed ahead with a referendum on formal independence from the PRC. But Tang said it was “empty talk.” The PRC has nuclear weapons, but Taiwan’s 385,000 troops are armed to the teeth with billions of dollars worth of US and French fighters and frigates. Military analysts say Taiwan’s forces could give the 2.5 million-strong People’s Liberation Army — the world’s biggest fighting machine — a bloody nose in a conventional fight.
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