NAPSNet Daily Report 17 June, 2003

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 17 June, 2003", NAPSNet Daily Report, June 17, 2003, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-17-june-2003/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US – DPRK Missile, Drug Crackdown
2. DPRK on US Economic Sanctions
3. US – PRC Relations
4. PRC – SARS Outbreak
5. World Military Spending
6. Japanese Domestic Economy
7. Japanese Space Program
8. Japan Whaling Conflict
9. Taiwan Nuclear Energy
II. Republic of Korea 1. US Preemptive Measure in Dealing with hostile Countries
2. Japan’s Pressure on DPRK
3. Conference on Human Rights
4. ROK Proposal at the TCOG Meeting
5. 3th Anniversary of North-South Summit in DPRK
III. People’s Republic of China 1. Chinese Writer’s Commentary on US Report on Tibet
2. PRC’s Commentary on Roh’s Visit to Japan
3. DPRK’s Stance on Nuclear Deterrent
4. Russia-US Arms Treaty
5. Japan-DPRK Relations
6. UN Hails PRC’s Human Rights Progress
7. DPRK-ROK Relations
8. Relations Across Taiwan Straits

I. United States

1. US – DPRK Missile, Drug Crackdown

Reuters (Paul Eckert, “NORTH KOREA WARNS AGAINST BLOCKADE U.S. AND ALLIES SAY PYONGYANG EXPORTS ARMS AND ILLEGAL DRUGS,” Seoul, 06/17/03) reported that the DPRK vowed on Tuesday to meet any US-led blockade on the communist state with “limitless” retaliation, saying the flames of war would immediately spread to Japan. Isolated DPRK is facing deepening international ostracism and mounting pressure from the US and its allies over its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The nuclear crisis has also thrown a spotlight on the DPRK’s trade in arms and illegal drugs, prompting plans by the US and its allies to curb such traffic. US and ROK officials say any policing action would merely enforce existing laws and not represent sanctions or a blockade. A quarantine would not work without the help of the PRC and Russia, which share borders with the DPRK, experts say. But the DPRK’s official Rodong Sinmun daily said the moves were part of a premeditated war plan. “The DPRK will take an immediate physical retaliatory step against the U.S. once it judges that its sovereignty is infringed upon by Washington’s blockade operation,” said the newspaper in a commentary carried by the North’s KCNA news agency. “Nobody can vouch that this blockade operation will not lead to such a serious development as an all-out war,” it said. Eleven countries including the US agreed to join forces to find a way to block DPRK ships suspected of carrying drugs, counterfeit money or materials for weapons of mass destruction at a meeting in Madrid last week. The DPRK has rejected the trafficking allegations as groundless and part of US attempts to undermine the DPRK in its stand-off with the US over its nuclear weapons ambitions.

2. DPRK on US Economic Sanctions

The Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, “N. KOREA WARNS AGAINST ECONOMIC BLOCKADE,” Seoul, 06/17/03) reported that the DPRK warned Tuesday that any economic blockade by the US and its allies against the DPRK could lead to a war that would include Japan. The warning came as the US, Japan and Australia, began cracking down on the DPRK trade in illicit drugs, weapons and counterfeit money – believed to be key sources of hard currency for the DPRK to buttress its regime and its suspected nuclear weapons programs. The DPRK’s main state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun claimed Tuesday that the US is “laying an international siege to the North and putting a blockade against it as a premeditated scheme to start a new war on the Korean peninsula.” The DPRK will take “physical retaliation,” including “all means and methods an independent country can take,” if it concludes that the recent moves by the allies violate its sovereignty, Rodong said in a commentary carried by the North’s official news agency KCNA. “There is no guarantee that this blockade will not lead to such a serious condition as a full-scale war,” said Rodong. “If war breaks out between the North and the US, it will not be limited to the Korean Peninsula but all the areas where aggressors are lurking will become our targets.” The DPRK accused Japan of turning itself into the “base camp for U.S. aggression against Korea.” A draft statement by the forum of more than 20 Asian-Pacific countries called for a “peaceful solution of the nuclear problem” on the Korean Peninsula “for the sake of durable peace and security in the region.” Japan has been tightening safety and customs inspections of the DPRK ships long suspected of smuggling missile parts and narcotics between the two countries.

3. US – PRC Relations

Reuters (“US ENVOY CHALLENGES HK TO OPEN WAY TO FULL DEMOCRACY,” Hong Kong, 06/17/03) reported that the US’ envoy in Hong Kong has challenged the territory’s government to begin steps toward universal suffrage as it moves to enact a tough and controversial anti-subversion law. Hong Kong’s constitution calls for both the enactment of the anti-subversion law and universal suffrage but does not give a timetable for either. The city’s Beijing-backed government is pressing for the anti-subversion law to be enacted in July, but has repeatedly sidestepped questions about when or even if it will begin public discussions which would lead to greater democracy. James Keith, the US consul in Hong Kong, challenged the government to open the way for full democratization just as it has done for the anti-subversion law. “If the Hong Kong government believes that the time has come for consideration of Article 23, why not democratization in the progress toward the Basic Law’s call for universal suffrage?” Keith told a local newspaper late on Monday. His comments were confirmed on Tuesday by a consulate spokeswoman.

4. PRC – SARS Outbreak

The Associated Press (Sean Young “WHO LIFTS TAIWAN-SARS TRAVEL ADVISORY,” Kuala Lampur, 06/17/03) reported that the World Health Organization gave Taiwan an improving bill of health Tuesday, canceling a month-old travel warning aimed at stopping the spread of SARS while keeping a similar advisory in place against Beijing. The WHO decision underscored claims made at an international SARS conference that the worldwide fight to contain the disease was succeeding – but Canadian officials warned against complacency, noting a second outbreak had struck their country. “This is a turning point for Taiwan,” said Dr. Su Ih-jen, Taiwan’s director of disease control. “If the travel advisory was not removed, Taiwan’s economy could not stand much longer.”

5. World Military Spending

Reuters (Peter Starck “WAR ON TERROR ACCELERATES WORLD MILITARY SPENDING,” Stockholm, 06/17/03) reported that world military spending rose by six percent last year, growing twice as fast as in 2001 to reach $794 billion, largely as a result of the US-led war on terrorism, a respected think-tank said Tuesday. The US accounted for three quarters of the increase, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its Yearbook, a defense and security policy publication widely recognized for the reliability of its data. Russia overtook the US as the world largest arms exporter while the PRC was the largest importer followed by India, locked in an arms race with impoverished nuclear rival Pakistan. But with outlays up 10 percent year-on-year at $336 billion, the US accounted for 43 percent of global military expenditure in 2002, up from 36 percent in 2001. “The rest of the world is not prepared, or cannot, follow the USA’s example in increasing military expenditure,” SIPRI said, noting that combined arms expenditure of the West European members of the NATO defense alliance fell by three percent in real terms between 2000 and 2002. “While in the USA the war on terrorism was a major factor in the huge growth in military expenditure in 2002, this was not the case in Europe.” US defense budget estimates for fiscal year 2003 showed a planned increase in arms procurement of 32 percent over the 2002-2007 period to $78 billion this year. Total US defense spending was set to rise by just over six percent in 2003. Russia’s defense budget was flat in 2002 but looked set to increase by 7-8 percent in real terms this year, SIPRI said. The value of Russian arms exports, on the rise since 1999, increased by more than $1 billion to $4.8 billion last year. With 36 percent of global deliveries, Russia overtook the US as the world’s largest supplier of arms to other countries, primarily the PRC and India. The PRC’s military spending was estimated by SIPRI to have risen by 18 percent in 2002 and would grow 9.6 percent in 2003. The PRC was the No. 1 arms importer last year with 14 percent of the world’s total. India’s arms imports increased 72 percent in 2002, making it the second largest buyer of arms from abroad.

6. Japanese Domestic Economy

Reuters (“TOKYO REPLACES HONG KONG AS WORLD’S COSTLIEST CITY,” Singapore, 06/17/03) reported that Tokyo has replaced Hong Kong as the world’s most expensive city, according to a lifestyle survey that also showed the gap between the world’s costliest and cheapest cities narrowing for a sixth straight year. Moscow held steady in second place, followed by the western Japanese city of Osaka, which went up three places from 2002. At the other end, Asuncion, capital of Paraguay, replaced Johannesburg as the cheapest city in the world. Tokyo, where taxi fares start at $5.61 despite four years of wealth-destroying deflation, was 26 percent more expensive than New York City, according to the survey of 144 cities by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Of the top 20 costliest cities, half are Asian. Hong Kong fell to fourth place from first last year, followed by Beijing in fifth place. Seoul was the world’s eighth most expensive city.

7. Japanese Space Program

The Associated Press (Eric Talmadge “JAPAN’S FIRST MARS PROBE INTO DOUBT,” Tokyo, 06/17/03) reported that Japan’s first Mars-bound probe, the $88 million Nozomi, or “Hope,” appears to be in serious trouble. Mission controllers trying to keep the mission alive face a major test Thursday, when Nozomi is scheduled to make its second swingby of Earth. The maneuver is intended to use the Earth’s gravity as a slingshot to send the probe on its final trajectory to Mars. Experts admit the probe is limping. “We are doing everything we can, but we don’t know whether we will be able to succeed,” Osamu Shimamoto, of the Education Ministry’s Space Policy Division, said Tuesday. “We are praying that this swingby will work.” If Nozomi reaches the planet at all, it will likely arrive at about the same time as the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter and its British-built Beagle 2 lander, and two US Mars rovers. According to Shimamoto, the Nozomi is forecast to reach Mars between late December 2003 and early January 2004. Two other US satellites are already in Mars orbit.

8. Japan Whaling Conflict

Agence France-Presse (“FURIOUS JAPAN SAYS WILL RETHINK ROLE IN WORLD WHALING BODY,” 06/17/03) reported that Japan said it was rethinking its role in the world whaling body and may even consider pulling out after losing a key battle with anti-whaling nations. Officials in Japan’s delegation to the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) held a flurry of talks Tuesday with senior officials in Tokyo. It followed a closely-contested vote Monday when whaling critics succeeded in forcing through a resolution, known as the ‘Berlin Initiative,’ to beef up the protection of whales. Japan is one of the world’s top whaling nations, along with Norway and Iceland, which say the commission vote is an attempt to end all whaling for good. Iceland was also considering how to respond to the decision. “It was a very serious blow to this organization,” said Japan’s delegation spokesman Joji Morishita. “Essentially, it totally transforms this organization from one of resource management to one of total prohibition.” Japan’s commissioner Minoru Morimoto said the decision “has forced Japan to consider all our options concerning our future participation” in the IWC.

9. Taiwan Nuclear Energy

Asia Pulse (“TAIWAN GOVT MAY HOLD PLEBISCITE ON NUCLEAR POWER PLANT,” Taipei, 06/17/03) reported that the Taiwan government is studying the ways and means of holding a plebiscite on the fate of the fourth nuclear power plant, a ruling Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] official said yesterday. DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan made the remarks as one of the two reactors for the nuclear power plant in Kungliao, Taipei County, arrived in Taiwan. Lee said that Presidential Office Secretary-General Chiou I-jen, Executive Yuan Secretary General Liu Shih-feng and DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung have kept in close contact over the matter but have yet to reach a substantial conclusion. He claimed that the people are quite willing to accept a plebiscite, as it would be an exercise of civil rights, so it would be best if the legislature could pass a plebiscite law or an initiative and referendum law to give the government a legal basis to conduct the referendum. Lee reaffirmed that establishing a nuclear-free homeland remains the ruling party’s goal. In addition to the establishment of a committee to push for this goal, it will convene a national conference on a nuclear-free homeland, he added. The conference will focus on the end of the threat of nuclear weapons, a review of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, strengthening the use of regenerated energy, the liberalization and privatization of the power industry and an end to nuclear pollution. According to a plan drawn up by the Executive Yean’s Nuclear-free Homeland Committee, the government will not passively boycott the use of nuclear energy but will develop technology to create clean, efficient and ample supplies of alternative energy.

II. Republic of Korea

1. US Preemptive Measure in Dealing with hostile

Countries

Chosun Ilbo (Joo Yong-jung, “GET READY FOR ‘PREEMPTIVE PREEMTION,” Washington,” 06/17/03) reported that US has drawn up a measure called “preemptive preemption,” by cooperating with allies, to keep countries like DPRK, Iran, Libya and Syria from transporting arms across the allies’ waters or airspace. In the case of DPRK, US and the allies will target not only missiles and nuclear materials but also narcotics, which US says is the DPRK’s main source of hard currency to fund its weapons development. US discussed the measure at the meeting last week in Madrid of 12 countries that are joining efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The US has decided to concentrate its efforts on combining its intelligence with the creative use of the allies’ national laws, rather than rewriting the existing international laws that respect the freedom of the seas, the newspaper said. The US is stepping up its efforts to form a coalition of nations that would allow suspect ships to be boarded and aircraft to be forced down the moment they slip into any cooperative country’s waters or airspace. The Pentagon and the State Department are working on the details of the measure. Japan’s and Australia’s recent recent buildups in surveillance against DPRK ships could be explained in this context, the report said. A related action plan will be drawn up at the meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum opening Wednesday in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with foreign ministers from US, ROK, Japan, PRC, Russia and ASEAN member countries attending.

2. Japan’s Pressure on DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (Jung Kwon-hyoung, “PRESSURE CAN WORK, TOKYO SAYS,” Seoul, 06/17/03) reported that Japan’s steady diplomatic pressure on DPRK will bring a dramatic shift in DPRK’s nuclear weapons policy, said Japan’s deputy chief cabinet secretary, Shinzo Abe. Abe said at a forum of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the Iwate prefecture city of Morioka that it was a mistake to think that the DPRK leader Kim Jong-il would never drastically change his policies. Pointing out DPRK’s worsening food and fuel shortages, Abe said that DPRK should not expect economic aid from Japan if it fails to take the necessary steps to normalize relations between the two countries. Without that aid, DPRK will be unable to rebuild its poverty-stricken nation, he said. He repeatedly stressed the need to build up the pressure on DPRK to change its nuclear arms policy. Regarding DPRK’s abrogation of the Pyongyang Declaration agreed to at the Japan-DPRK talks last year in Pyongyang, Abe said Japan still didn’t need to abandon the pact, even though DPRK had not been clinging to it. Japan should demand, based on the declaration, that DPRK keep its promises, because the declaration has acted as a kind of constraint on the DPRK, Abe said.

3. Conference on Human Rights

Chosun Ilbo (Han Jae-hyun, “ASIA-AFRICA RIGHTS GROUP MEETING HERE,” Seoul, 06/17/03) reported that the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization began a five-day conference Monday in Seoul. The organization, founded in 1956, promotes cooperation between and human rights in its member countries. Prime Minister Goh Kun, representatives from 45 member countries and 200 persons from international organizations including the International Court of Justice attended the opening ceremony at the Westin Chosun Hotel in downtown Seoul. The delegates will discuss measures to prevent global terrorism, corruption and protection of women and children. The 1949 Geneva Conventions on war victims and the international laws on the environment will also be on the agenda. The members are expected to adopt a “Seoul Resolution,” which would unconditionally apply the Four Geneva Conventions of War Victims in case of international armed conflicts, and to help protect civilians and the civilian sector.

4. ROK Proposal at the TCOG Meeting

Joongang Ilbo (Oh Young-hwan, “SOUTH’S PLAN SEES PHASED STEPS TO SETTLE NORTH ISSUES,” Seoul, 06/17/03) reported that ROK has handed US its ideas for comprehensive, step-by-step measures aimed at resolving DPRK’s nuclear programs and guaranteeing its security. The plan in some respects resembles the “bold new proposal” DPRK made in Beijing in April. ROK made the suggestions at a two-day meeting of Japan, ROK and US in Hawaii. Japan presented its own proposals at the meeting. “The governments of South Korea and Japan each offered their proposed resolutions” at the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group meeting, a ROK government official said Monday. “The proposals referred to Pyeongyang’s ‘new bold proposal.’ The Americans said they would review the proposals.” The source said a third country ? presumably PRC ? would review ROK’s and Japan’s proposals. “The third country will contact the North based on its reviews,” he added. ROK’s proposal has two large schemes, the source said. One is a “systemic inclusive measure” that is similar to what DPRK proposed. It seeks to resolve issues between DPRK and Japan, ROK and US together, through step-by-step measures. It reportedly demands that DPRK give up its nuclear programs, allow inspections, stop missile exports and continue its missile-test moratorium. DPRK’s demands for fuel oil supply, regime security, economic assistance and normalization of relations were also included, ROK official said.

5. 3th Anniversary of North-South Summit in DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (Jeong Yong-soo, “NORTH MARKS SUMMIT DATE WITH CALLS FOR COOPERATION,” Seoul, 06/17/03) reported that in contrast to the lack of commemoration in ROK on the third anniversary of the June 15 North-South summit, DPRK is marking the anniversary to stress cooperation between the two Koreas. The DPRK is holding unification festivals, seminars and traditional performances. The move, DPRK watchers say, is intended to balance ROK’s recent diplomatic strides with US and Japan in regard to the North Korean nuclear program. Events planned by both DPRK and ROK for Koreans residing in other countries were canceled due to DPRK’s fear of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Kim Yong-nam, head of the North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly, said last Sunday, regarding the celebration in Pyeongyang. Sensing the international pressure regarding its nuclear program, DPRK emphasized cooperation with ROK along with the necessity of the program as a deterrent to attacks. An editorial published Sunday in the Rodong Shinmun, the North Korean state-run newspaper, said, “Without cooperation from the South, there can be no reconciliation that leads to talks and a move toward unification.” Also, the editorial stressed the fulfillment of the joint statement published at the June 15, 2000 summit.

III. People’s Republic of China

1. Chinese Writer’s Commentary on US Report on Tibet

China Daily (“WRITER REJECTS US REPORT ON TIBET”, 06/11/03, P2) reported that Chinese writer Hua Zi rejected a US report on so-called Tibet negotiations in an article entitled “What is the real intention of the United States”, criticizing the US Government’s “gross interference” in PRC’s internal affairs. On May 8 this year, US President George W. Bush submitted to Congress a report on so-called Tibet negotiations consistent with section 613 of this year’s Foreign Relations Authorization Act. Hua said that the report reiterates that the US recognizes the Tibet Autonomous Region to be part of the PRC but it also claims that US supports the Dalai Lama’s “middle way approach” of seeking “genuine autonomy.” On the one hand, the report that Bush sent to Congress recognizes Tibet to be part of China and does not recognize Tibet as an independent state; on the other hand, it maintains that the Dalai Lama represents the views of the vast majority of Tibetans. Such a view is quite illogical if not in bad faith, Hua said according to the report.

2. PRC’s Commentary on Roh’s Visit to Japan

China Daily (“ROH’S VISIT MORE ECONOMIC THAN POLITICAL”, Seoul, 06/11/03, P4) carried a commentary on Roh’s Japan visit, saying that the ROK’s President Roh Moo-hyun’s Japan trip, bore fruit in terms of bilateral economic and cultural ties but achieved little in the political field. In the joint statement released after Roh’s summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the two leaders vowed to promote and deepen bilateral co-operation, but Seoul-Tokyo relations cooled after some Japanese politicians downplayed Japan’s aggressive history and the impact of its colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula, it commented. The two leaders also agreed to start negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) as early as possible. However, while the ROK and Japan are now closer economically, they are not much further forward in the political field. The Japanese House of Councillors, or the upper house of the Japanese Diet, recently endorsed three controversial war contingency bills approved by the lower house last month, empowering the Japanese military to take counter measures in the event of foreign attack. Roh expressed his concerns over the passage of the contingency bills in the meeting with Koizumi, and they also committed to going “forward to develop future-oriented bilateral ties for the 21st century” while acknowledging the past. But Roh’s stance on the history issue is clear, and on the stand-off over the DPRK’s arms program, they remain some distance apart on the issue. Their joint statement only says that the DPRK’s possession of nuclear weapons cannot be tolerated, and Seoul and Tokyo are willing to attend multilateral talks to help resolve the impasse. In a news conference after Roh-Koizumi’s summit, Roh said both dialogue and pressure could be used against Pyongyang to persuade it to abandon its nuclear programme. “But I want to make the point that the ROK puts more emphasis on dialogue,” he said. Roh’s remarks referred to the tougher line taken by Koizumi, the article stressed.

3. DPRK’s Stance on Nuclear Deterrent

China Daily (“PYONGYANG MAY SEEK NUCLEAR DETERRENT”, Pyongyang, 06/10/03, P12) reported that the nuclear deterrent force of the DPRK is not to blackmail anybody, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a commentary on June 9. If the US does not abandon its anti-DPRK policy and continues to threaten the DPRK with nuclear weapons, the DPRK will have no choice but to seek “nuclear deterrent force,” the commentary said. “The nuclear deterrent force of the DPRK is not meant to blackmail anybody but to reduce the conventional weapons and transfer manpower and funds to economic construction and the people’s life,” the commentary said. In another development, ROK President Roh Moo-hyun told Japan’s parliament on June 9 that Seoul would not tolerate the possession of nuclear weapons by the DPRK, but stressed that the problem must be resolved peacefully.

4. Russia-US Arms Treaty

China Daily (“ARMS TREATY COMES INTO EFFECT”, 06/11/03, P11) reported that Russian-US arms treaty paving the way for dramatic reductions in nuclear weapons came into effect on June 10 after its ratification law was officially published in the Russian government newspaper, Rossiiskaya Gazeta. The treaty, signed last year by Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President George W. Bush, requires each country to reduce its nuclear arsenals by two-thirds, between 1,700 to 2,200 warheads, by 2012. The US Senate ratified the treaty in March, but the Russian parliament postponed ratification because of Moscow’s opposition to the US-led war in Iraq. Both houses of parliament finally approved the accord last month, and Putin and Bush formally exchanged ratification documents at their St. Petersburg summit on June 1, said the report.

5. Japan-DPRK Relations

China Daily (“JAPAN TO LET DPRK SHIP LEAVE FOR HOME”, Tokyo, 06/12/03, P11) reported that Japan said on June 11 it would allow a DPRK cargo ship to leave for home since structural problems affecting the vessel had been fixed. The Namsan 3 has handled some of the cargo meant to have been transported by a DPRK ferry, the only direct passenger link between Japan and the DPRK and the ferry’s visit was cancelled after allegations that it had been used for spying and smuggling missile parts from Japan. Another DPRK freighter, the 670-ton Kuksabong-2, entered Maizuru port earlier yesterday. Japanese officials said they found no problems with this vessel. A planned visit to Japan by the Mangyongbong-92 ferry on Monday was cancelled by Pyongyang after opposition from some Japanese angry at the abduction of fellow citizens by DPRK agents, plus a security clampdown by the Japanese Government. The DPRK bitterly criticized Japan for the security clampdown that it blamed for the cancellation of the ferry’s visit, saying that Tokyo’s action constituted “sanctions.”

6. UN Hails PRC’s Human Rights Progress

China Daily (“UN OFFICIAL HAILS NATION’S HUMAN RIGHTS PROGRESS”, 06/12/03, P1) reported that human rights issues are being discussed more frequently and more openly in PRC since the country’s ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights two years ago, as a senior UN human rights official said. In an interview with PRC’s bimonthly magazine Human Rights, Kerstin Leitner, resident representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to PRC, called the ratification of the covenant “a truly milestone event” in PRC’s efforts to embrace international human rights standards. The UNDP representative, who has been in PRC for more than five years, elaborated on the changes brought about by the ratification of the covenant. However, she conceded that there are still many questions which arise when applying human rights to economic, social and cultural, and eventually, to civil and political rights. The UNDP is currently carrying out a program in support of PRC’s legal reforms, which complements the technical assistance co-operation that the Human Rights High Commissioner has worked on with Chinese institutions, she noted in the report.

7. DPRK-ROK Relations

People’s Daily (Xu Baokang, “INTER-KOREAN AGREEMENT ARRIVED ON THE SEVENTH SEPARATED FAMILY REUNIONS”, Seoul, 06/16/03, P3) reported that the seventh round of inter-Korean separated family reunions will be held at Mount Geumgang in the DPRK from June 27 to July 2. The agreement was confirmed through liaison officers at the truce village of Panmunjeom, said the report. About 100 South Korean old people will depart for the mountain north of the demilitarized zone, the buffer area between the two countries, on June 27-30 to meet their relatives living in the DPRK, said the report.

People’s Daily (Xu Baokang, “SEOUL, PYONGYANG TO HOLD CEREMONY TO MARK RE-LINKING OF INTER-KOREAN RAILWAYS”, Seoul, 06/10/03, P3) reported that Seoul and Pyongyang agreed on June 9 to hold a symbolic ceremony in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two countries to mark the re-linking of inter-Korean railways on June 14. On the last day of three-day talks held in Kaesong, a DPRK city near the inter-Korean border, negotiators from Seoul and Pyongyang reached the agreement to hold such an event commemorating third anniversary of the 2000 inter-Korean summit between the then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and DPRK top leader Kim Jong Il, Yonhap reported quoting the South Korean Ministry of Unification. There are about 13 kilometers left in the section of the Gyeongui line, which links Seoul to the DPRK’s northwestern city of Sinuiju via Pyongyang. For the Donghae line, both countries have different rate of progress. The ceremony doesn’t mean the completion of the South-North railway, which still needs certain time to completely finish, said the report.

8. Relations Across Taiwan Straits

China Daily (Xing Zhigang, “TAIWANESE PASSPORT MOVE DENOUNCED”, 06/14-15/03, P1) reported that leading mainland experts on Taiwan studies warned on June 13 that Taipei’s decision to change its passport design threatens to become another creeping pro-independence move that will worsen cross-Straits relations. The researcher’s warning came after the island’s “foreign ministry” unveiled a new passport with the word “Taiwan” written in English on its cover. The “ministry” originally wanted to add “Issued in Taiwan” onto passport covers last year. Beijing, however, insists that the government of the PRC is the sole legitimate representative of the entire Chinese nation and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. Professor Fan Xizhou, former director of the Taiwan Research Institute of Xiamen University in East China’s Fujian Province, described the move as a blatant demonstration of separatist ideology by Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), according to the report.

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