NAPSNet Daily Report 17 August, 2001

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 17 August, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, August 17, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-17-august-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. TCOG Meeting
2. UN Resolution on Japanese War Crimes
3. Balance of Power in Northeast Asia
4. Alleged PRC Military Sales
II. Republic of Korea 1. Inter-Korean Independence Day Celebration
2. Trilateral Meeting
3. IMF-IBRD Meeting
4. US on Inter-Korean Talks
5. DPRK Official
6. Environmental Contamination from US Bases

I. United States

1. TCOG Meeting

Reuters (“THREE-NATION GROUP TO MEET ON N.KOREA NEXT MONTH,” Seoul, 08/16/01) reported that an ROK official said on Friday that senior ROK, US, and Japanese officials will hold a meeting of the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG) in early September in Tokyo. The official said that the meeting will discuss recent developments in the DPRK, including DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s visit to Russia.

2. UN Resolution on Japanese War Crimes

The Associated Press (“UN BODY PUSHES JAPAN ON WORLD WAR II SEX SLAVES: OFFICIAL,” Geneva, 08/17/01) reported that the UN Subcommission on Human Rights on Friday called on Japan to compensate women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II. A resolution by the commission called upon countries “to provide effective criminal penalties and compensation for unremedied violations … with regard to sexual violence committed during armed conflicts.” It also called on countries to “promote human rights education … ensuring the accuracy of accounts of historical events in the educational curriculum.” Park Soo-gil, vice president of the commission, said that while the resolution did not name Japan, “Who else can we have had in mind?” Park said that the commission “strongly believed that … we must deal with the situation of sexual slavery in World War II and the colonial period.” Park also said that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visit to Yakusuni Shrine had made a difference to the commission, because it “aroused indignation not only in Asia but also the rest of the world.” However, political counselor Masaru Watanabe at Japan’s UN mission in Geneva stated, “There’s no reference to ‘Japan’ in this resolution, it’s purely generic.” He added, “We understand that the legal settlement is not the sole issue. But the treaties were made on behalf of governments and their people, and finalized the compensation question.” Watanabe argued, “Japan has apologized many times, we have expressed our remorse,” pointing to the creation of the privately funded “Asian Women’s Fund.” He also stated, “As far as Japan is concerned we have no distortion in textbooks. Government guidelines say textbooks should discuss the devastation of World War II and say that Japan caused huge suffering. But the government does not interfere in content, because the constitution prohibits censorship – unlike in some countries, where the government writes the books.”

3. Balance of Power in Northeast Asia

The International Herald Tribune carried an opinion article by Michael A. McDevitt, head of the Center for Strategic Studies (“PUT THE PAST BEHIND AND WATCH THE RISE OF CHINA,” Alexandria, 08/17/01), which said that Japan’s failure to adequately deal with its past does not presage future militarist behavior on the part of the Japanese. The author added, “And in any case, the geostrategic, demographic and alliance realities of Northeast Asia today are so different from the 1930s that a remilitarized Japan could not threaten the security of its neighbors in a meaningful way.” The article noted, “In the past it was the political and military weakness of Korea and China that created instability…. It is hard to imagine how these factors could re-emerge in the 21st century.” It argued that stability was maintained in Northeast Asia by a balance of power between the PRC’s sphere of influence on the Asian mainland and the US alliance structure, which can “repel attempts to invade from the continent across the sea to another state, and defeat attempts to invade from one island or archipelagic state to another.” It concluded, “The latest diplomatic flap about Japan’s past should not overshadow the most important geostrategic issue for the future – the rise of China. That means recognizing that the modern history of Northeast Asia provides no reliable guide for the future.” [Ed. Note: This article was included in the U.S.]

4. Alleged PRC Military Sales

The Associated Press (“CHINA SAYS IT HASN’T FOUND EVIDENCE OF COMPANIES AIDING IRAQ’S MILITARY,” Beijing, 08/17/01) reported that the PRC Foreign Ministry on Friday said that it has yet to find evidence that PRC companies are violating UN sanctions by helping Iraq upgrade its air defenses. Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said that any violations “will be seriously handled.” The US Embassy in Beijing said that it had no information about allegations that PRC companies had helped rebuild Iraqi radar installations.

The Asian Wall Street Journal ran an editorial (“BEIJING’S BROKEN PROMISES,” 08/17/01) which said that the PRC has broken its promises not to export missile parts. The article stated, “To put it bluntly, China is fueling an arms race in South Asia. The danger here is that with Beijing’s continued help, Pakistan is likely to succeed sooner rather than later in modernizing its nuclear arsenal with plutonium bombs and thus produce small and lighter warheads, which would result in longer effective ranges for its nuclear-armed missiles aimed at India and elsewhere. Moreover, Pakistan is also a proliferator, a conduit through which Chinese weapons technology has been fed to Iran, Libya and Iraq.” It concluded, “Whatever course the debate takes in the following weeks, Mr. Bush and the Congress should search constructively for policies that work to persuade China to behave in a manner consistent with international norms on nonproliferation, arms control and international trade. Relying on any more promises from Beijing would be a mistake.” [Ed. Note: This article was included in the U.S.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. Inter-Korean Independence Day Celebration

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “IDEOLOGICAL DISPUTES CONTINUE TO MAR S-N LIBERATION EVENT,” Pyongyang, 08/017/01) reported that disputes intensified among ROK civic delegates to the inter-Korean independence day celebration on Thursday. The conflict within the delegation was fueled by the DPRK demand that the visitors attend a ceremony at a politically sensitive location. Some of the 337-member ROK delegation insisted that they join the closing event of the Liberation Day celebration to be held later in the day at a monument symbolizing the DPRK’s unification policy. ROK officials said that they believe that the defiant delegates violated the National Security Law, which bans ROK citizens from engaging in activities with the DPRK for which they do not have previous approval. “We will closely review their activities and take proper actions if necessary,” a Unification Ministry official said.

2. Trilateral Meeting

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “S. KOREA, U.S., JAPAN TO MEET ON N.K. POLICY NEXT MONTH,” Seoul, 08/17/01) reported that senior officials from the ROK, the US and Japan will meet in Tokyo early next month to review their DPRK policy and discuss recent developments on the Korean Peninsula, ROK officials said Thursday. The allies are expected to focus on ways to reopen talks between the DPRK and the US during the latest round of the three-way talks, called the “Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG)” meeting. ROK officials said that the ROK will be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Yim Sung-joon. James Kelly, assistant US secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, and Kunihiko Makita, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, plan to attend the meeting. Observers said that the three allies will also likely reaffirm the importance of US military presence in the ROK.

3. IMF-IBRD Meeting

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Hee-sung, “IMF-IBRD GIVES UP PLAN TO INVITE NORTH,” Moscow, 08/17/01) reported that International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD or World Bank) Thursday decided to give up its initial plan to invite the DPRK as a special guest for the upcoming annual meeting slated from September 29-30 in Washington. The institutions explained that the reason is due to the latest arrangements of the meeting being held only for two days. The very reason for inviting the DPRK is to provide the nation a chance to take part in various seminars and programs and learn about world finances and other related international financial institutions. However, this year’s relatively simplified assembly does not meet those particular conditions for the DPRK, added the IMF.

4. US on Inter-Korean Talks

Joongang Ilbo (“INTER-KOREAN DIALOGUE ESSENTIAL FOR PEACE, SAYS U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT,” Moscow, 08/17/01) reported that the US said that it is aware of the importance of inter-Korean relations to lasting permanent peace in the region and thus values the ROK’s views. Phillip T. Reeker, the deputy spokesman of the US State Department, made clear in Wednesday’s press briefing that as underscored by Secretary of the State Colin Powell earlier, the US considers the ROK a very important ally and values its views as well as that of Japan “particularly on DPRK policy matters.” “As we have said repeatedly, the United States is prepared to undertake serious discussions with the North Koreans at any place, at any time, and without any preconditions,” Reeker said. “And the North Koreans have yet to respond positively to our proposal.” Reeker then explained as discussed earlier in President Bush’s June 6 statement in terms of the Korea issue, the US understands “how essential inter-Korean dialogue is to establishing the lasting peace.”

5. DPRK Official

Joongang Ilbo (“NORTH’S NO.2 MAN JO MYONG-ROK RETURNS HOME,” Moscow, 08/17/01) reported that DPRK’s First Vice-Chairman of the National Defense Commission Jo Myong-rok has returned back to Pyongyang after his successful liver transplant operation in Beijing. A source well-versed in DPRK-PRC relations confirmed Thursday that Jo, after showing improvement after his surgery, returned home on Thursday via plane. Jo was hospitalized in Beijing’s 301 Hospital since last month. He recently underwent a liver surgery receiving the particular organ from an unidentified donor. “It seems Jo is trying to personally receive Chairman Kim Jong-il who is scheduled to return from his Russia trip within this week,” the source said, pointing out that Chairman Kim paid particular interest to Jo’s health conditions, giving direct orders for his medical treatment.

6. Environmental Contamination from US Bases

The Korea Herald (“SOURCES OF OIL FROM YONGSAN GARRISON, NOKSAPYEONG DIFFERENT: ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY,” 08/17/01) reported that the Environment Ministry said that separate analyses conducted by ROK and US experts has shown that a component of oil discovered in the underground water of a US military base in Seoul and a nearby subway station are different. The ministry said that two samples taken from a contaminated area on the US military compound in Yongsan showed traces of gasoline, while two other samples taken from nearby Noksapyeong subway station contained mostly kerosene with only a small amount of gasoline. However, the Environment Ministry said that the findings are not final and that both US Forces-Korea (USFK) and ROK authorities will conduct further tests throughout the year to clarify whether there is a link between the contamination of the two locations. A ministry official stated, “Seoul City will soon conduct six to seven more drillings between the station and the U.S. base. USFK will also conduct more tests while restoring operations at locations that have been confirmed as being contaminated.” [Ed. Note: This article was included in the U.S.]

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Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu: akutsu@glocomnet.or.jp
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin: icipu@glas.apc.org
Moscow, Russian Federation

Yunxia Cao: yule111@sina.com
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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