I. United States
1. Russia NATO Deal
The New York Times (Todd S. Purdum, “NATO STRIKES DEAL TO ACCEPT RUSSIA IN A PARTNERSHIP,” Reykjavik, 05/15/02) reported that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) approved an agreement today accepting Russia into a new partnership with the allies on terrorism, arms control and international crisis management in a post-Sept. 11 world. “Together, the countries that spent four decades glowering at each other across the wall of hatred and fear now have the opportunity to transform Euro-Atlantic security for the better,” the NATO secretary general, Lord Robertson, said at a meeting of foreign ministers here. The British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, called the agreement “the funeral of the cold war,” which he pronounced “kaput.” The NATO rapprochement with Russia occurred not far from the guesthouse where Ronald Reagan and Mikhail S. Gorbachev met in 1986 for the “snap summit” that narrowly failed to end the nuclear arms race but wound up marking the beginning of the end of the cold war. Under the agreement, Russia will for the first time become an equal partner at the table for discussions and actions with the 19 NATO members on a variety of issues, including nonproliferation, military cooperation and civilian emergency planning. But those 19 nations, including the US, will preserve full control over membership in the alliance and over core military decisions and the use of allied troops to defend member nations, and they can vote to restrict discussion of any topic they choose. For Russia, the new arrangement amounts to considerably less than full membership, though it will now have a say on many questions important to it and the prestige of association with the West’s pre-eminent military alliance. For their part, US officials said they expected that the alliance would tap Russia’s expertise on questions like civil defense, growing out of its experience with the nuclear accident at Chernobyl and fighting terrorism. In the end, as Lord Robertson has said, it may be more a question of chemistry than of arithmetic.
2. PRC-Japan DPRK Defectors
Agence France-Presse (“AMBASSADOR TOLD STAFF TO EXPEL NORTH KOREANS,” 05/15/02) and Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN’S BID TO WIN HANDOVER OF NORTH KOREANS UNDERMINED,” 05/15/02) reported that Japan’s call for the PRC to hand over five DPRK asylum seekers appeared to be undermined by reports that Japan’s ambassador to the PRC had ordered would-be refugees to be expelled from the embassy. Japanese media reported the orders were given in an embassy staff meeting only hours before the five DPRK defectors ran into a Japanese consulate in northeast PRC and were dragged out by PRC police. The reports, quoting Japanese diplomatic sources, said ambassador Koreshige Anami had told his staff to expel any “suspicious individuals” who entered the embassy grounds. “If any problems arise with regard to the humanitarian aspect, I will take responsibility,” Anami was quoted as saying by Kyodo News agency . “It is better to drive them out than to let them enter and cause trouble.” The reports upset the ROK’s main opposition Grand National Party. “It is Japan’s two-faced diplomacy with different words and deeds. We suspect that Ambassador Anami’s comments are not his personal thoughts but orders from the Tokyo government. Japan should clarify its true position about the North Koreans,” it said in a statement. But Japan has dismissed the reports. “There is no such fact as reported. Nor has any action been taken to cover up any comments,” Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi told parliament. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda also denied Anami’s reported remarks, saying: “I heard that his instruction was more general.”
Reuters (Masayuki Kitano and Jonathan Ansfield, “CHINA AND JAPAN DEADLOCKED ON NORTH KOREAN ASYLUM SPAT,” Tokyo, Beijing, 05/15/02) reported that the PRC and Japan denied on Wednesday reports they had agreed to send to a third country five DPRK asylum seekers dragged out of a Japanese consulate by PRC police as a way out of a week-long diplomatic spat. At the same time, Canadian diplomats continued to push for the freedom of two other DPRK asylum seekers who stole into the Canadian embassy in Beijing, a Canadian diplomat said. Japanese Foreign Ministry official said Chinese Ambassador Wu Dawei and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Yukio Takeuchi recently agreed only that an urgent solution was important. “I was told that it was a discussion to try to seek a swift resolution of the humanitarian problem in line with international law,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told reporters. He said substantive talks were taking place in Beijing. The PRC’s ambassador also said there was no resolution yet. “We had a frank exchange of opinions. The result is yet to come, there is no result as of yet,” Wu Dawei stated. “A speedy solution is important for the image of Japanese diplomacy in the world,” a Japanese Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi told parliament.
3. DPRK-ROK Relations
Reuters (Martin Nesirky, “SOUTH CONFIDENT TALKS WITH NORTH WILL IMPROVE,” Seoul, 05/15/02) reported that ROK unification minister Jeong Se-hyun said on Wednesday that he was confident relations with the DPRK would soon return from a rocky detour of distrust back on to a smoother path of dialogue, particularly about economic links. The DPRK abruptly cancelled plans for economic cooperation talks between the two countries last week after saying it had taken offense at remarks by the ROK’s foreign minister. ROK analysts said that the DPRK could have decided to focus on preparing for talks with the US, although there is no sign yet those negotiations will happen soon. They also said that the DPRK might simply not have been ready for the talks because they cover projects such as a railway it cannot afford to start, let alone finish. But Jeong said Seoul was sure the DPRK would come back to the table soon. “I am very confident that (North-South) relations will again improve,” Jeong said in a speech to business executives and diplomats. “From what they are indicating I believe that they are ready to come to the table in the imminent future.” He said relations were in a period of transition, far removed from the outright hostility and war of earlier years.
4. Inter-Korean Rail
The Associated Press (Yoo Jae-suk, “SOUTH KOREA WANTS INTER-KOREA RAIL,” Seoul, 05/15/02) reported that the ROK offered Wednesday to provide US$30 million worth of rails and ties to the DPRK to help build a railway line across their heavily armed border. During a historic summit in 2000, the ROK and the DPRK agreed to reconnect a rail line that was severed during the 1950-53 Korean War. But the project was postponed amid US-DPRK tension last year. The ROK and the DPRK last month agreed to restart inter-Korean projects including work on the Kyong-ui rail line that will connect Seoul and Pyongyang. They also agreed to build another rail line along the east coast. “The delay in the construction of the Kyong-ui line is partly due to a lack of equipment and material in North Korea. We are willing to provide ties and rails to expedite construction,” said Unification Minister Chung Se-hyun during a news conference. Although The DPRK didn’t ask for such aid, Chung said, it will “be beneficial for the nation’s future” as the cross-border railways will help expand exchanges between the ROK and the DPRK.
5. Cross-Straits Relations
The Associated Press (“REPORT: TAIWAN’S PRESIDENT SAYS CHINA’S MILITARY THREATS MAKE UNIFICATION IMPOSSIBLE,” Taipei, 05/15/02) reported that Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian stated on CNN Wednesday that as long as the PRC’s military threatens Taiwan, unification will be impossible for the two sides. Chen expressed, “They point missiles and guns at us. This can’t be tolerated by anyone,” Chen said, according to CNN’s English translation of its interview with the president. However, in the past week, Chen has made two major offers to the PRC. Chen proposed sending a delegation from his Democratic Progressive Party to the PRC in a few months. He also said he was considering making a major concession to start talks on ending a five-decade ban on direct air and shipping links with the PRC. Chen has insisted the negotiations be held by each side’s government, but he’s now willing to let private groups handle the talks. Chen has repeatedly offered to meet with PRC leaders. But they won’t talk to him until he agrees that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China – a precondition Chen says he’s only willing to discuss at a summit. The Taiwanese leader said it was difficult to consider accepting the “one-China” principle because there were few benefits for Taiwan.
6. Okinawa 30 Year Anniversary
Agence France-Presse, (“Okinawa commemorates 30th anniversary of return to Japan,” 05/15/02) reported that Okinawa marked the 30th anniversary of its return to Japanese control with a fresh appeal for more help in hosting US military bases that are unpopular with the local population. Keiichi Inamine, the governor of Japan’s southernmost province, said he would continue to argue to the government that the rest of the country should share the burden. “Every opportunity I get, I will continue to tell the national government that the problem … is an important national issue, and the burden of hosting the bases must be carried equally by the entire Japanese public,” he said. Inamine said his prefecture continued to suffer from high unemployment and a slow pace of industrialisation. Home to 1.33 million people, Okinawa is the poorest of Japan’s 47 prefectures with per capita income in the year to March 2000 of 2.17 million yen (17,000 dollars), 28 percent below the national average.
1. Defectors from DPRK The Japan Times
The Japan Times (Junko Takahashi, “MANUAL FAILED TO PREPARE STAFF,” 05/13/02) reported that a row over the capture of DPRK asylum-seekers by PRC police at the Japanese Consulate General in Shenyang remained nowhere near a solution Sunday. It has become apparent, however, that a sense of urgency was completely lacking at the consulate over the possibility of DPRK defectors rushing in. The Japanese Foreign Ministry created a manual to deal with such cases after 25 DPRK asylum seekers rushed into the Spanish Embassy in Beijing in March. It also placed its embassy and consulates in the PRC on high alert, according to ministry officials. One official in the ministry said the manual did not anticipate a case where PRC police guarding consulates would enter the premises, as happened in Shenyang. “The local police are supposed to guard the consulates outside the premises, so we were not really expecting such a situation,” the official said. “We must admit that there were things that were lacking in the manual.”
The Japan Times, (“EMBASSY WAS TOLD TO BAR ASYLUM SEEKERS, Beijing” 05/15/02) reported that just hours before five DPRK defectors tried to enter a Japanese diplomatic office in Shenyang, northeastern China, to seek asylum, Japan’s ambassador to the PRC had instructed embassy staffers to remove any DPRK asylum seekers who might enter the complex, it was learned Tuesday. Ambassador Koreshige Anami told a regular assembly of embassy staff that if people defecting from the DPRK were to enter the embassy compound, they should be deemed “suspicious” entrants and “be driven out”, sources close to the embassy said. The meeting began at 10 am Wednesday. About four hours later, five DPRK citizens sought asylum at the Japanese Consulate General in Shenyang and were seized by PRC public security officers. Anami also said in the meeting he would tale responsibility if such actions draw fire from a humanitarian standpoint, the sources said. “It’s better to drive them out than to let them in and have it lead to difficult problems,” he was quoted as saying. Japan as a basic rule does not accept people seeking political asylum, but it remains unclear whether Anami’s comments were of his own volition or were based on instructions from the Foreign Ministry.
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