NAPSNet Daily Report 15 May, 2003

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 15 May, 2003", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 15, 2003, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-15-may-2003/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US-ROK Presidential Summit
2. US on ROK US Military Presence
3. Defector on DPRK Nuclear Capacity
4. Canada on US Missile Defense
5. PRC SARS Developments
6. Japan-Taiwan Relations
7. PRC SARS Developments
8. Japan-Taiwan Relations
9. Rumsfeld on New US Missile
10. Japan Military Boost
11. Japan Domestic Economy
12. US Anti-Missile Plane Device
13. PRC Dolphin Extinction

I. United States

1. US-ROK Presidential Summit

The White House (“JOINT STATEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA,” 05/14/03) reported that on May 14, 2003, President George W. Bush of the United States of America and President Roh Moo-hyun of the Republic of Korea held a summit meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C. Noting that 2003 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the US-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty, the two leaders pledged to work together to promote the values of democracy, human rights and market economy shared by the people of both nations and to build a comprehensive and dynamic alliance relationship for continued peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. President Bush and President Roh welcomed the fiftieth anniversary of the US-ROK alliance and paid tribute to those who have contributed to the alliance, particularly the Korean host communities and the members of US Forces Korea (USFK) who have devoted themselves to the defense of peace and freedom on the peninsula. President Bush reaffirmed the US commitment to a robust forward presence on the peninsula and in the Asia- Pacific region. The two leaders pledged to work closely together to modernize the US-ROK alliance, taking advantage of technology to transform both nations’ forces and enhance their capabilities to meet emerging threats. In the context of modernizing the alliance, the two leaders agreed to work out plans to consolidate US forces around key hubs and to relocate the Yongsan garrison at an early date.

To read the full joint statement: http://usinfo.state.gov/cgi-bin/washfile/display.pl?p=/products/washfile/latest&f=03051406.tlt&t=/products/washfile/newsitem.shtml

Agence France-Presse (“SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT HEADS TO SAN FRANCISCO,” 05/16/03) reported that ROK President Roh Moo-Hyun headed to San Francisco a day after sealing a new friendship with US President George W. Bush with a tough message for the DPRK on nuclear weapons. Roh was due to meet US business leaders in a sector of California that is famed for its high-tech industries and is the source of a huge chunk of Seoul’s trade relationship with the US, its largest export market. The ROK leader was cheered by his first-ever meeting with Bush, at the White House on Wednesday, which wrapped up with a working dinner in the residential portion of the executive mansion. In a joint statement after their talks, Bush and Roh warned they would “not tolerate” a nuclear DPRK but would seek a “peaceful” end to the showdown over the communist state’s quest for nuclear weapons. Bush moved to assuage fears of a US military response to the showdown with his “axis of evil” foe, but neither side said in detail how it proposed to thwart the DPRK’s drive for nuclear weapons. The US side also promised to retain a “robust forward presence” on the Korean peninsula, but signaled that it would try to ease the burden on the ROK people posed by its 37,000-strong garrison. “I assured the president we will continue to work to achieve a peaceful solution,” Bush said Wednesday in a symbolic joint appearance with Roh in the White House Rose Garden. He cited “good progress” being made towards ending the crisis, despite inconclusive US talks with the DPRK last month also involving the PRC. Roh insists that military force should not be an option in the drama, but the US administration, though preferring diplomacy, says all options remain on the table. Bush says no deals can be made with DPRK until it renounces the nuclear drive. “Both leaders reiterated their strong commitment to work for the complete, verifiable and irreversible elimination of the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program through peaceful means,” the statement said. But they warned that “increased threats to peace and stability” would merit “consideration of further steps.”

2. US on ROK US Military Presence

Agence France-Presse (“US COMMITTED TO “ROBUST FORWARD PRESENCE” ON KOREAN PENINSULA,” 05/15/03) reported that President George W. Bush has reaffirmed the US commitment to a “robust forward presence” on the Korean peninsula and pledged in a joint statement to work with ROK President Roh Moo-Hyun on redistributing US troops within the country. “President Bush reaffirmed the US commitment to a robust forward presence on the peninsula and in the Asia-Pacific region,” said the final statement, provided by Roh’s entourage as the two men wrapped up a 30-minute White House summit preceding a state dinner. “The two leaders agreed to work out plans to consolidate US forces around key hubs and to relocate the Yongsan garrison at an early date,” said the statement Wednesday. “President Bush pledged to consult closely with President Roh on the appropriate posture of (US forces in Korea) during the transition to a more capable and sustainable US military presence on the peninsula,” it added. After their talks, Roh emerged smiling to make post-summit comments in the White House rose garden. “We have reached an agreement that the ROK-US alliance…maintained over the past 50 years…will become more strengthened over the next 50 years and even more,” Roh said. He added: “When I left Korea, I had both concerns and hopes in my mind. After talking with Bush, I got rid of them. I am returning home with hopes only while discarding concerns.”

Reuters (Charles Aldinger, “RUMSFELD LEAVES OPEN US TROOP CUTS IN SOUTH KOREA,” Washington, 05/15/03) reported that US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Thursday the US could remove some of its 37,000 troops from the ROK even as it improved peninsula security in a nuclear face-off with the DPRK. He told reporters that the DPRK’s growing nuclear threat had not changed his mind about the possibility of withdrawing some US troops and moving others away from the North-South border while improving mobility and high-tech capability. Rumsfeld and US Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no decisions had been made and that any changes would come only over time after close ongoing consultation with Seoul. They spoke at a news briefing a day after the US and ROK presidents vowed to work with allies to halt Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, striking agreement that papered over differences over how to disarm the communist state. “The ultimate test is how capable, how lethal, how effective is what you have. And it does not necessarily — as we learned in Iraq — go to the total number of forces,” Rumsfeld told reporters.

3. Defector on DPRK Nuclear Capacity

Agence France-Presse (“NORTH KOREA HAS DOZENS OF NUKES, TOP DEFECTOR SAYS IN JAPAN,” 05/14/03) reported that a man claiming to be a former DPRK People’s Army general who fled the impoverished state last year has told a Japanese publication that Pyongyang secretly imported nuclear bombs from the former Soviet Union and developed dozens of its own weapons. The claims were among details about the Stalinist state’s military command and its leader Kim Jong-Il contained in an article in the June edition of the respected Gekkan Gendai (Modern Times Monthly), based on an interview. The general told the magazine that the DPRK secretly imported nuclear bombs from the former Soviet Union in 1983 and now has four Soviet-made nuclear missiles which, with a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles), could reach the west coast of the US. “The North Korean army even has tens of nuclear weapons it has developed itself in addition to those made by the former Soviet Union,” the general was quoted as saying. The four nuclear-tipped missiles are stored at an underground site in Potaeri, in Samjiyon district at the foot of Mount Paekdu on the border with China, he said. The article said the general was the “highest ranked” DPRK defector since Hwang Jang-Yop, top ideologue and secretary of the ruling Workers Party, was granted political asylum in the ROK in 1997. The magazine withheld the man’s name, rank and other details at his request, using the pseudonym, An Yong-Chol. A Gendai editor stated that the general was aged around 60 and lives in an Asian country, and that the interview was held in mid-April. He declined to say where the interview took place. An claimed to have served in the army for more than 30 years, the last 10 years close to Kim Jong-Il, and had met the supreme leader many times. He told the magazine his former position meant that he continued to get information from the DPRK’s elite, adding, “I maintain channels with the Kim Jong-Il family.” Kim has an “operation team” made up some 120 top cadres from the Korean People’s Army and the Korean Workers Party, An said. It is headed by General Kim Tu-Nam and includes Vice Marshal Jo Myong-Rok, director of the army’s general political department and Vice Marshal Kim Yong-Chun, chief of general staff. An also said Kim Jong-Il bought more than 20 sophisticated MiG-31 fighters and deployed them near Pyongyang in 2000. But An’s revelations met with a cautious response from analysts here, who said defectors are often keen to inflate their value or distort information for various purposes.

4. Canada on US Missile Defense

Agence France-Presse (“CANADIAN FM GIVES STRONG SIGN THAT CANADA WILL JOIN US MISSILE SYSTEM,” 05/15/03) reported that Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham gave his strongest indication yet that Canada is almost ready to sign on to the planned controversial US missile defense system. Speaking in the House of Commons, Graham rejected opposition suggestions that the national missile defence system, or NMD, was a space-based missile system. “Canada,” he insisted, “remains firmly opposed to the installation of weapons in space. “The US missile defence system, to be in place by the year 2004, does not include the installation of weapons in space.” Nevertheless, Graham suggested Canada still had some problems, which he did not specify, in the US plan. “We regularly voice our concerns and any discussions we have on NMD will in fact enable us to voice those concerns more clearly and more cogently,” he said. Speaking to a debate on a motion from the regional Bloc Quebecois party calling on the government not to join the US missile defence programme, Graham spoke mostly of the potential benefits to Canada of signing on. He pointed out that Britain had agreed to provide Washington with radar facilities and Denmark was currently negotiating with Washington an agreement to update a military radar site in Greenland. Those two radar sites, combined with facilities in the US, would provide blanket coverage of the whole of North America, he said. Nevertheless, for Canada, said Graham, it was important to realise attacks from rogue states or terrorist groups against the US would automatically affect Canada, and vice versa. “An attack on Seattle,” he said, “will inevitably be an attack on Vancouver, as will an attack on Buffalo (New York) be one on Toronto.”

5. PRC SARS Developments

Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN REPORTS MORE SARS DEATHS AMID HOSPITAL OUTBREAKS,” 05/16/03) reported that Taiwan reported three more deaths from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) taking the island’s official death toll to 34, as more outbreaks among medical staff emerged at major local hospitals. Taiwan also reported its highest number of new cases Thursday, 26, bringing total infections to 264, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The official toll does not take into account two other SARS deaths reported Thursday, including that of a doctor who worked at the Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital. Of the 264 SARS cases, 114 have been linked to Hoping hospital. The hospital was closed on April 24 following a mass infection. Twenty other cases are related to the private Jen Chi hospital which has also been shut down after an outbreak among its nurses. At least five hospitals in Taiwan — four in Taipei and one in Kaohsiung — have reported mass infections among their medical staff and patients. On Thursday a SARS outbreak among medical workers forced the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in the southern county of Kaohsiung to announce the closure of its emergency and outpatient services for two weeks. Officials at the 2,300-bed Chang Gung hospital have also quarantined 600 inpatients after 15 members of staff were infected with SARS. “We have informed health authorities and obtained their permission to shut down the emergency ward and suspend outpatient service for 14 days,” said Wu Teh-lang, Chang Gung Hospital’s director of medical facilities. One doctor was listed in critical condition, while the 14 other medical workers were all receiving treatment, Wu said.

Agence France-Presse (“CHINA TO EXECUTE SARS QUARANTINE OFFENDERS AS TAIWAN HOSPITALS STUMBLE,” 05/16/03) reported that the PRC said it may execute SARS patients who violate quarantine in the most radical step so far to contain the epidemic as Taiwan struggled to prevent new outbreaks among health workers. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) claimed four more lives in the PRC, seven in Hong Kong and five in Taiwan, health officials said Thursday. The PRC, the epicenter of the outbreak with 5,163 cases and 271 deaths, reported 52 new infections — its lowest number since the government admitted covering up the epidemic on April 20. In a bid to curtail the spread of the disease the PRC’s judiciary announced that under the country’s infectious diseases law SARS patients who violate quarantine restrictions could face execution or life imprisonment. “Intentionally spreading sudden contagious disease pathogens that endangers public security or leads to serious personal injury, death or heavy loss of public or private property will be punishable by 10 years to life imprisonment or the death penalty,” Xinhua news agency said. The World Health Organization (WHO) immediately expressed concern that the draconian law could deter possible SARS patients from going to hospital. “There is a fine balance with this kind of disease where you need to isolate and quarantine patients, but if you are too heavy handed it may end up only stigmatizing people,” WHO spokeswoman Mangai Balasegaram said.

6. Japan-Taiwan Relations

Agence France-Presse (“JAPANESE GROUP MULLING INVITING EX-TAIWAN PRESIDENT LEE TENG-HUI,” 05/15/03) reported that a Japanese civic group said it was considering inviting former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui to Japan in October. The group that studies the work of Japanese educator Inazo Nitobe, who died in 1933, wants to invite Lee to the 70th anniversary of Nitobe’s death in October, said Ichiro Nakagawa, staff at the Nitobe Center in Morioka, 470 kilometers (294 miles) north of Tokyo. The group, Nitobe Inazo Kai, is associated with the center. Lee, 80, recently published a book in Japan analyzing one of Nitobe’s most celebrated works “Bushido: the Soul of Japan.” “We want Mr. Lee Teng-hui to visit us here,” said Nakagawa. “But we have not made our final decision yet.” Officials from Nitobe Inazo Kai helped revise Lee’s book and met with Lee in April, when the former president, who speaks fluent Japanese, expressed a wish to visit places associated with Nitobe, Nakagawa said. The Japanese foreign ministry said it will make a decision on whether to issue a visa to Lee, if he applies, after considering the international situation and various factors. Lee withdrew his application for a visa for Japan in November after his scheduled speech in Tokyo was cancelled and amid the PRC’s opposition to the trip. In April 2001, Lee made a five-day visit to Japan for a medical check-up, prompting the PRC to cancel visits to Japan by high-ranking officials.

7. PRC SARS Developments

Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN REPORTS MORE SARS DEATHS AMID HOSPITAL OUTBREAKS,” 05/16/03) reported that Taiwan reported three more deaths from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) taking the island’s official death toll to 34, as more outbreaks among medical staff emerged at major local hospitals. Taiwan also reported its highest number of new cases Thursday, 26, bringing total infections to 264, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The official toll does not take into account two other SARS deaths reported Thursday, including that of a doctor who worked at the Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital. Of the 264 SARS cases, 114 have been linked to Hoping hospital. The hospital was closed on April 24 following a mass infection. Twenty other cases are related to the private Jen Chi hospital which has also been shut down after an outbreak among its nurses. At least five hospitals in Taiwan — four in Taipei and one in Kaohsiung — have reported mass infections among their medical staff and patients. On Thursday a SARS outbreak among medical workers forced the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in the southern county of Kaohsiung to announce the closure of its emergency and outpatient services for two weeks. Officials at the 2,300-bed Chang Gung hospital have also quarantined 600 inpatients after 15 members of staff were infected with SARS. “We have informed health authorities and obtained their permission to shut down the emergency ward and suspend outpatient service for 14 days,” said Wu Teh-lang, Chang Gung Hospital’s director of medical facilities. One doctor was listed in critical condition, while the 14 other medical workers were all receiving treatment, Wu said.

Agence France-Presse (“CHINA TO EXECUTE SARS QUARANTINE OFFENDERS AS TAIWAN HOSPITALS STUMBLE,” 05/16/03) reported that the PRC said it may execute SARS patients who violate quarantine in the most radical step so far to contain the epidemic as Taiwan struggled to prevent new outbreaks among health workers. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) claimed four more lives in the PRC, seven in Hong Kong and five in Taiwan, health officials said Thursday. The PRC, the epicenter of the outbreak with 5,163 cases and 271 deaths, reported 52 new infections — its lowest number since the government admitted covering up the epidemic on April 20. In a bid to curtail the spread of the disease the PRC’s judiciary announced that under the country’s infectious diseases law SARS patients who violate quarantine restrictions could face execution or life imprisonment. “Intentionally spreading sudden contagious disease pathogens that endangers public security or leads to serious personal injury, death or heavy loss of public or private property will be punishable by 10 years to life imprisonment or the death penalty,” Xinhua news agency said. The World Health Organization (WHO) immediately expressed concern that the draconian law could deter possible SARS patients from going to hospital. “There is a fine balance with this kind of disease where you need to isolate and quarantine patients, but if you are too heavy handed it may end up only stigmatizing people,” WHO spokeswoman Mangai Balasegaram said.

8. Japan-Taiwan Relations

Agence France-Presse (“JAPANESE GROUP MULLING INVITING EX-TAIWAN PRESIDENT LEE TENG-HUI,” 05/15/03) reported that a Japanese civic group said it was considering inviting former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui to Japan in October. The group that studies the work of Japanese educator Inazo Nitobe, who died in 1933, wants to invite Lee to the 70th anniversary of Nitobe’s death in October, said Ichiro Nakagawa, staff at the Nitobe Center in Morioka, 470 kilometers (294 miles) north of Tokyo. The group, Nitobe Inazo Kai, is associated with the center. Lee, 80, recently published a book in Japan analyzing one of Nitobe’s most celebrated works “Bushido: the Soul of Japan.” “We want Mr. Lee Teng-hui to visit us here,” said Nakagawa. “But we have not made our final decision yet.” Officials from Nitobe Inazo Kai helped revise Lee’s book and met with Lee in April, when the former president, who speaks fluent Japanese, expressed a wish to visit places associated with Nitobe, Nakagawa said. The Japanese foreign ministry said it will make a decision on whether to issue a visa to Lee, if he applies, after considering the international situation and various factors. Lee withdrew his application for a visa for Japan in November after his scheduled speech in Tokyo was cancelled and amid the PRC’s opposition to the trip. In April 2001, Lee made a five-day visit to Japan for a medical check-up, prompting the PRC to cancel visits to Japan by high-ranking officials.

9. Rumsfeld on New US Missile

The Associated Press (Matt Kelley, “RUMSFELD: US USED NEW MISSILE IN IRAQ,” 05/14/03) reported that US tactics in the war with Iraq including use of a new kind of missile that kills people without destroying buildings – demonstrate why the military must evolve into a lighter, faster force, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday. Rumsfeld also defended American efforts to stabilize postwar Iraq under questioning from skeptical senators. “The circumstances of people in that country are better than they were before the war,” Rumsfeld said. “They’re going to get better every day. … We can’t make it like the US in five minutes.” American troops in Iraq made first use of a new kind of helicopter-launched Hellfire missile, Rumsfeld said. The AGM-114N Metal Augmented Charge Hellfire uses a thermobaric warhead, which creates a blast wave that kills people while leaving a building, bunker or cave intact. Rumsfeld said the new missile “can take out the first floor of a building without damaging the floors above, and is capable of reaching around corners, striking enemy forces that hide in caves or bunkers and hardened multiroom complexes.” Marine Corps AH-1 Cobra helicopters used the missile in Iraq. The Pentagon spent $14.8 million developing the new warhead after Marine Corps officials asked for a weapon that would be more effective against enemies in confined spaces such as bunkers or the interior rooms of a large building. Putting a thermobaric warhead on a Hellfire costs $35,000 above the $57,000 cost for each basic missile. American forces used another new kind of thermobaric bomb for the first time during the war in Afghanistan to clear out caves where Taliban and al-Qaida members were hiding. The new Hellfire missile uses a different warhead composition to create a similar blast wave effect. The high-tech Hellfire is an example of the kind of weaponry the Pentagon wants more money to develop, Rumsfeld told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. He was testifying to support President Bush’s $380 billion defense budget request for 2004. The proposal would represent a 4.2 percent increase over this year’s Pentagon budget, not including the more than $62 billion Congress approved for spending on the Iraq war. Rumsfeld said Bush’s budget proposal, despite the increase, took risks in putting money toward forming and equipping a lighter, more mobile military. The spending proposal is part of a four-year Pentagon budget plan that seeks to save $80 billion by 2009 by canceling or scaling back programs which don’t fit into that vision. “We’ve tried to balance those risks and it’s not an easy thing to do,” Rumsfeld said.

10. Japan Military Boost

The Associated Press (Kenji Hall, “JAPAN TAKES STEPS TO BOOST MILITARY,” Tokyo, 05/15/03) reported that a set of bills to bolster Japan’s ability to respond to attack passed a critical vote Thursday, marking a major victory for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi but raising concerns over this country’s commitment to the strictly defensive policy it has pursued since World War II. The legislation, which won approval in Parliament’s lower house, would give the Cabinet and ministries greater control over local governments and other strategically important public and private institutions in case of war. The issue has gained urgency in the last year because of worries about the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs. The legislation would also create guidelines for troops to use privately owned property and allow authorities to punish people who flout emergency laws. Koizumi has called the changes “epoch-making.” But the bills have been extremely controversial in Japan because this country’s postwar constitution renounces war and restricts the government from using troops for anything but defense or non-combat roles in international peacekeeping. Critics say the bills are a first step toward the country’s re-militarization, are dangerously vague and could lead to the abuse of power and civil rights violations. The bills will now go before the less powerful upper house. Passage there is expected before the current session ends June 18. There are currently no laws defining how Japan’s military would mobilize should the country come under attack – or face imminent attack – from abroad.

11. Japan Domestic Economy

Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN’S CURRENT ACCOUNT SURPLUS FALLS 26.6 PERCENT IN MARCH,” 05/14/04) reported that Japan’s current account surplus in March fell 26.6 percent from a year ago to 1.60 trillion yen (13.7 billion dollars) as soaring oil prices pushed up imports, the finance ministry said. The trade surplus fell 19.2 percent to 1.14 trillion yen with exports inching up 0.9 percent to 4.58 trillion yen, for the 12th month of gains, while imports jumped 10.0 percent to 3.45 trillion yen for the seventh monthly rise, the ministry said. “Crude oil prices remained at high levels due to the war in Iraq,” a ministry official said Wednesday. “The acceleration of the rise in imports will continue in the April data.” The value of crude oil imports rose 69.0 percent from a year earlier, while liquid natural gas imports rose 28.6 percent, the ministry said. The dollar price of crude oil rose 59.5 percent from a year earlier. Exports to Asia in March rose 11.8 percent while exports to the US fell 15.5 percent. “The US decline was due to a drop in the export of autos,” the ministry official said. Economists are split on the future outlook of exports, which have helped keep the Japanese economy growing slightly for the last four quarters. Gross domestic product (GDP) for the three months to March, to be announced on Friday, is seen falling 0.2 percent from the previous quarter, with the drop in auto shipments to the US seen as a major swing factor in the outcome. “The main point is how much the American economy will recover in the latter half of the year,” said Junji Ota, an economist with the Okasan Research Institute. “There are a growing number of people with very cautious outlooks.”

12. US Anti-Missile Plane Device

The Associated Press (Leslie Miller, “US TO SEEK PLANE ANTI-MISSILE DEVICES,” 05/15/03) reported that high-tech companies will be asked to propose ways to protect commercial planes from shoulder-fired missiles, lawmakers said Thursday. The Homeland Security Department also will ask two companies to build prototype devices, they said. “This is a real breakthrough,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., who is co-sponsoring a bill to equip 6,800 US airliners with some form of anti-missile device. The cost is estimated at $10 billion. Military aircraft use anti-missile technology, but the cost is high and the reliability open to debate. Still, since last fall’s unsuccessful missile attack on an Israeli passenger jet in Africa, lawmakers and safety advocates have been pressing the government to look into the technology. The federal study was ordered in April by Congress as part of the spending plan for the war in Iraq. Homeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse did not release any details from it but said “the report provides a plan to determine if a viable technology exists to be deployed on commercial aircraft.” Schumer, Sen. Barbara Boxer (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., and Rep. Steve Israel (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., said they were briefed on the study, and they held a news conference to discuss the findings. Under their bill, the government would pay to retrofit commercial airliners now in the fleet, but would require the airlines to pay for the devices, which cost $1 million each, on new aircraft, Schumer said. US airlines, most of which are in financial trouble, say the government should pay all costs related to the devices if it is determined they should be placed on commercial planes. “Aviation security is a national defense function,” said Debby McElroy, president of the Regional Airline Association. The head of the worldwide organization that represents US and foreign-owned airlines said the legislation is well-intended but ineffective. “It would be prohibitively expensive for states to underwrite and very difficult for governments to stay ahead of technologies which continually churn out new instruments of war,” said Giovanni Bisignani, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association. John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, a defense policy group, said infrared devices used to protect Air Force cargo planes from shoulder-fired missiles could be used on civilian aircraft.

13. PRC Dolphin Extinction

Agence France-Presse (“CHINESE DOLPHIN ON BRINK OF EXTINCTION,” 05/15/03) reported that the Yangtze River dolphin is now so rare that it faces extinction within a decade, according to a top conservationists’ report published that sounds the alarm for the world’s cetaceans. There are probably only a few dozen of these baiji dolphins left, according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN) on Wednesday. It places the species (Lipotes vexillifer) in the same category as the vaquita, a porpoise (Phocoena sinus) that lives in the Gulf of California, of which probably only several hundred now survive. Both are rated “critically endangered” on the IUCN’s Red List, the most respected databank on global biodiversity. Under this category, a species is believed to have suffered a fall of more than 80 percent over the past 10 years or three generations, whichever is longer. There is a “very high risk” — more than one in two — that a species in this category will vanish in the wild within a decade. “The claim that humans have not yet caused the extinction of any cetacean species is becoming increasingly tenuous,” the IUCN warns. Surveys in 1985 and 1986 estimated the baiji population to be around 300 animals. But between 1997 and 1999, only 21 to 23 dolphins were spotted, living in the main channel of the Yangtze. Several cetacean species are placed in the “critically endangered” category. They include the North Atlantic and North Pacific right whales, the fin whale and the blue whale, the biggest creature on the planet. The list of threats to cetaceans is long, the IUCN said. They start with industrialised trawling, which can indiscriminately scoop up small species on which many animals depend, and nylon drift netting, which causes a high mortality rate amongst dolphins and porpoises. Then there is damage to habitat caused by coastal development, dam construction and pollution. Hunting of some species, either for food or predator control, also remains a major source of concern. “Long-standing concerns about the disturbance caused by ship noise, seismic operations, drilling and other acoustic inputs to the marine environment have expanded to encompass the likelihood that new types of military sonar can cause lethal trauma to deep-diving cetaceans,” the report said. “Exceptionally high levels of chemical contaminants in the tissues of cetaceans may be affecting the animals’ immune and reproductive systems.”

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Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
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Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Brandon Yu: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Young-soo: yskim328@hotmail.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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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