NAPSNet Daily Report 17 May, 2004

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 17 May, 2004", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 17, 2004, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-17-may-2004/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US Powell on DPRK Multilateral Talks
2. PRC on DPRK Multilateral Talks
3. Japan-DPRK Abduction Issue
4. US ROK Troops Iraq Relocation
5. ROK Presidential Reinstatement
7. Taiwan WHO Bid Rejection
8. PRC on Taiwan Independence
9. Hong Kong Democratization
10. ROK Political Corruption
11. DPRK Asian Development Bank Status
12. US-ROK-Japan Relations
13. DPRK on US as ‘Empire of Evil’
II. CanKor E-Clipping Service 1. Issue #165

I. United States

1. US Powell on DPRK Multilateral Talks Agence France-Presse (“POWELL CALLS FOR CONTINUED INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE ON NORTH KOREA TO DISARM,” 05/15/04) reported that international pressure to disarm the DPRK should continue as six-nation talks in Beijing on the Korean peninsula nuclear crisis have not achieved a breakthrough, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said. He said the DPRK should agree to a US demand for the “complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement” of its nuclear programs before any rewards to the DPRK could be discussed. Powell noted that the working group meeting ended Friday with “no particular breakthroughs” in a 19-month impasse on how the DPRK would meet its security needs in exchange for giving up its unproven and untested nuclear weapons program. The DPRK has vowed never to accept the US demand for the complete dismantling of its nuclear programs. Powell said he believed the six-party negotiations were effective but “we have to be patient and keep applying the pressure” on Pyongyang.

2. PRC on DPRK Multilateral Talks Agence France-Presse (“CHINA VOWS TO COORDINATE NEW TALKS ON NKOREA DESPITE LACK OF PROGRESS,” 05/17/04) reported that working group delegations to six-nation talks on a bitter standoff about the DPRK’s nuclear program left Beijing with few signs of progress, as the PRC vowed to coordinate further talks, officials said. PRC Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo met Saturday with delegation heads from the ROK and the DPRK, the US, Japan and Russia, and reiterated the PRC’s commitment to coordinate further meetings over the simmering 19-month standoff, an East Asian diplomat close to the talks said. “According to our delegation, all sides agreed to meet again, but no concrete date for a second working group meeting has been set and it will be decided through diplomatic channels,” the diplomat said. “The PRC side will coordinate.” The PRC’s representative to the meeting, Ning Fukui, said another working-level group meeting would be held before a slated third round of higher, vice ministerial meetings on the issue due before the end of June, Xinhua news agency said. “It is the hope of the PRC side that all parties would hold consultations in a flexible, practical and patient manner and explore ways to settle the issue,” Ning said. The key sticking point has appeared to be whether the DPRK should give up its entire nuclear program, or only the military part, in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees. US Secretary of State Colin Powell said in Washington Friday that the three days of talks produced “no particular breakthroughs,” and further urged the international community to increase pressure on the DPRK to back down from its nuclear weapons ambitions.

3. Japan-DPRK Abduction Issue

Agence France-Presse (“KOIZUMI MUST BRING ALL ABDUCTED JAPANESE HOME FROM PYONGYANG: FAMILIES,” 05/15/04) reported that families of Japanese citizens kidnapped by the DPRK during the Cold War urged Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to bring all those abducted back to Japan when he visits Pyongyang next week. Some relatives of those who were abducted made a public speech Saturday in Tokyo a day after Japan announced Koizumi would visit Pyongyang next Saturday to hold talks with DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il. The one-day trip will be Koizumi’s second visit to Pyongyang. “I would like the prime minister to make a visit to North Korea determined to let all the victims return,” said Takuya Yokota, 35, brother of Megumi Yokota abducted in 1977 by DPRK agents in Japan. “His negotiators are terrorists. Things cannot always get going in line with optimistic ideas,” he said. Shigeo Iizuka, 65, brother of Yaeko Taguchi, another Japanese abductee, said: “Thorough resolution is a must. I want the prime minister to avoid a partial resolution of the issue.” Only five of the 13 people Pyongyang admitted to abducting survived and have now returned home. Japan also wants the families of the five still in the DPRK to be allowed to settle in Japan. Newspapers also called for a comprehensive settlement of both the abduction issue and Pyongyang’s nuclear development row, urging Koizumi to refrain from providing financial assistance unless the DPRK handles the two issues sincerely.

4. US ROK Troops Iraq Relocation

Agence France-Presse (“US TO MOVE 3,600 TROOPS FROM SOUTH KOREA TO IRAQ,” 05/18/04) reported that the US has notified the ROK it will withdraw 3,600 US troops from the ROK, where they deter an attack by the DPRK, for combat duty in Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman said. The decision to switch troops defending South Korea dramatically underscored the strains that have been placed on the US Army as it fights Iraqi insurgents. The redeployment is part of a phased rotation of US forces in Iraq, said Lieutenant Commander Flex Plexico, a Pentagon spokesman. “Over a period of months, the army looked at various units and recently, very recently, came to the conclusion that the best unit to provide the support was going to come from South Korea,” he said. Plexico said 3,600 of the estimated 37,000 US troops now stationed in the ROK will deploy to Iraq in “late summer.” The unit tapped for duty in Iraq is the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, said a defense official, who asked not to be identified. Many of the 2nd Infantry are based near the DMZ. In Seoul, officials said the ROK government was notified of the decision earlier Monday. The Pentagon spokesman said it should not be inferred that the move would lead to a permanent reduction of US force levels in the ROK. “Don’t draw that link. This is a deployment, it’s a rotation,” Plexico said. “When we look at it a few months from now, we’ll decide whether it makes more sense for those troops to come back to South Korea or to go somewhere else,” he said.

5. ROK Presidential Reinstatement

Agence France-Presse (“SKOREA’S ROH APOLOGIZES, TAKES BLAME FOR TWO-MONTH POLITICAL CRISIS,” 05/15/04) reported that ROK President Roh Moo-Hyun took responsibility for two months of instability triggered by his impeachment and apologized for corruption scandals involving his aides. In his first public appearance following a Constitutional Court’s ruling Friday to overturn the impeachment motion against him, the 57-year-old leader Saturday blamed his own failings for the political paralysis that followed the March 12 parliamentary vote to remove him from office. “My beloved people, how much you had to pass through over the past two months. All that stemmed from my failings,” Roh said in a speech televised nationwide from the presidential Blue House. The president made a direct apology for corruption allegations targeting his aides and also for his party’s involvement in fundraising abuses surrounding the 2002 presidential elections. Notably, however, he stopped short of apologizing for electoral law violations that were at the heart of the impeachment motion against him. The Constitutional Court ruled that while the charges against Roh were insufficient to remove him from office, Roh was guilty of violating electoral neutrality imposed on government officials by urging voters to support the reformist Uri Party at the April parliamentary elections. “I don’t think I have been freed from moral and political responsibility,” Roh said. “Especially, the blame for the campaign funds and wrongdoings engulfing those around me should be placed on me. I hereby offer my sincere apology again to the people.” 6. DPRK on ROK Presidential Reinstatement

Agence France-Presse (“NORTH KOREA WELCOMES ROK LEADER’S COMEBACK,” 05/17/04) reported that the DPRK has welcomed the reinstatement of ROK President Roh Moo-Hyun, urging South Koreans to launch a battle against US troops. Roh was reinstated last week after the ROK’s constitutional court rejected his impeachment by the National Assembly, ending two months of political paralysis. The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, a cabinet-level state organization in the communist country, said the court’s decision was a public judgment against pro-US conservative forces. “The decision … was prompted by the ROK people. This clearly shows again that the US colonial rule and pro-American flunkyist act of the conservative forces can no longer work in South Korea,” the committee said in a statement issued through the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). It was the DPRK’s first response to the court’s ruling.

7. Taiwan WHO Bid Rejection

Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN FAILS TO END ITS INTERNATIONAL ‘HEALTH APARTHEID,'” 05/18/04) reported that the World Health Organization’s assembly rejected Taiwan’s eighth attempt to become an observer in the agency, despite a call by the island’s health minister urging the PRC to lift its opposition to the move. Member states voted by 133 to 25 to uphold an earlier recommendation from procedural committee rejecting a debate on the issue, effectively scuppering the Taiwanese bid at the end of a lengthy and confused session. Twelve countries abstained or were absent. Only 170 of the WHO’s 192 member states were eligible to vote. Although Taiwan gained the outspoken support of the US and a few African, Pacific and Caribbean states, most members including European Union states sided with the PRC’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan. Security guards asked a group of Taiwanese supporters wearing white surgical masks to leave the assembly hall as the debate got underway. Earlier Taiwan’s Health Minister Chen Chien-Jen said Beijing would have everything to gain if Taiwan were an observer at the WHO. “I would like to urge PRC leaders, to let them know that our humble request to be an observer is a win-win situation for both Taiwanese and PRC people across the Taiwan straits,” Chen told AFP. Taiwan was suffering from “health apartheid” by being left out of international health alert and support systems, Chen said. Its exclusion left a dangerous “loophole” in global measures to protect the world from outbreaks of infectious diseases that could spread around the world rapidly, the minister warned. “We’re totally left out of this system. Once there’s avian flu, pandemic flu or SARS, Taiwan is totally isolated. We call this a health apartheid.”

8. PRC on Taiwan Independence

Agence France-Presse (“CHINA VOWS TO CRUSH TAIWAN INDEPENDENCE, OFFERS REWARDS FOR REUNIFICATION,” 05/17/04) reported that the PRC has vowed to “crush” Taiwanese independence moves “at any cost” just days before President Chen Shui-bian is sworn in for a new four-year term, but it also offered to reward the island if it tows the PRC’s line. Taiwan’s leaders must choose between recognizing the island as part of the PRC or “following their separatist agenda to cut Taiwan from the rest of China and, in the end, meet their own destruction by playing with fire,” the PRC said in a tough statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency. The China Daily put it in plain terms: “Taiwan’s leaders at crossroads — peace or war.” While the rhetoric was fiery, the statement also spelled out incentives such as direct trade, transport links and increased access to mainland markets if Chen fell in line and acknowledged that Taiwan was part of ‘one China’. Taiwan’s international status could also addressed as a reward for good behavior, the PRC Party’s Office for Taiwan Affairs and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said in a statement. “However, if Taiwan leaders should move recklessly to provoke major incidents of ‘Taiwan independence’, the PRC people will crush their schemes firmly and thoroughly at any cost,” the statement said. Analysts said the carrot being offered indicated a policy change by the PRC after years of failing to get their way through threats. “This is intended as a very aggressive position at a relatively sensitive time, but it also looks like Beijing is attempting a new recipe, to give Taiwan some actual choices,” said Paul Harris, a {RC specialist at Hong Kong’s Lingnan University. “It is the culmination of analysis of what has and has not been achieved in the past. They are trying to remove some of the ambiguity that existed. “I think a conscious decision has been taken by Beijing that something more concrete has to be done to resolve this situation.”

9. Hong Kong Democratization

Agence France-Presse (“DEMOCRACY ROW DETERS NEW WOULD-BE VOTERS IN HONG KONG: ANALYSTS,” 05/17/04) reported that the PRC’s hardline ruling against full democracy in Hong Kong has deterred citizens in the former British colony from registering to vote in autumn legislative elections, observers say. They said disappointing registration figures ahead of the September 12 election suggested Beijing’s dictat, which followed a blistering four-month row over political reform, had left potential voters cynical and disaffected. Government figures released Sunday night showed 420,000 voter application forms had been received by the end of a six-week, 15 million Hong Kong dollar campaign. Although the government said the number exceeded expectations, a breakdown of applications showed only a third were submitted by first-time voters, boosting the total number of electors in the city of 6.8 million to just over three million. PRC University political analyst Ivan Choy said young and first-time voters had become dispirited. “If they knew that voting would make a difference more would have regsitered,” Choy said. “But they know that voting will note allow them to elect their leader, so why register to vote?”

10. ROK Political Corruption

Agence France-Presse (“FORMER SKOREAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DETAINED FOR CORRUPTION PROBE,” 05/17/04) reported that a former ROK presidential candidate, Rhee In-Je, has been detained for questioning about allegations that he accepted illegal political funds, prosecutors said. Rhee, a presidential candidate in 1997, was taken into custody at his office in Nonsan, 200 kilometers (120 miles) south of Seoul, prosecutors said. He is suspected of accepting 250 million won (420,000 dollars) from the main opposition Grand National Party in 2002 return for his support for then GNP presidential candidate Lee Hoi-Chang. Prosecutors secured an arrest warrant on April 29 after Rhee ignored a summons. He has headed the minor opposition United Liberal Democrats since former leader Kim Jong-Pil retired last month after his party’s defeat in legislative elections.

Agence France-Presse (“ROK ARMY GENERAL INDICTED OVER CORRUPTION,” 05/15/04) reported that an ROK army general who was second-in-command of joint US-ROK forces has been indicted on charges of embezzlement, a spokeswoman of the defense ministry said. General Shin Il-Soon, deputy commander of the Korea-US Combined Forces Command, was immediately suspended from duty after being charged with embezzling 140 million won (118,000 US dollars) in official funds. His replacement as a deputy chief of the combined forces has yet to be appointed. Shin is expected to go on trial within days, a defense ministry official said Saturday. The US military command in the ROK declined to comment on Shin’s arrest.

11. DPRK Asian Development Bank Status

The Associated Press (“ADB SAYS NO CONSENSUS AMONG NATIONS TO ADMIT NORTH KOREA,” Jeju, 05/17/04) reported that the DPRK wants to join the Asian Development Bank to seek economic aid for its impoverished people, but the bank’s member nations are split on whether to admit the DPRK, the ADB’s president said Monday. The DPRK has repeatedly appealed for entry to the Manila-based ADB, which is run by 63 nations, mostly from Asia. By joining the bank, the DPRK would be eligible for potentially huge grants and loans the bank doles out to the region’s poorest nations. However, “a consensus has not been reached” on admitting the country, bank president Tadao Chino told reporters at the end of the bank’s three-day annual meeting on South Korea’s resort island of Jeju. Though some Asian nations say the DPRK’s membership might lessen its isolation and force it to reform, the US is staunchly opposed to letting the DPRK join and has used its clout as the bank’s biggest contributor to keep the DPRK out. On Sunday, Treasury Undersecretary John B. Taylor said the US would mull the DPRK’s request only after a standoff over the suspected nuclear weapons program has been resolved.

12. US-ROK-Japan Relations

Agence France-Presse (“BUSH DISCUSSES IRAQ, NORTH KOREA WITH ROH, KOIZUMI,” Topeka, 05/17/04) reported that US President George W. Bush discussed plans to move 3,600 US troops from the ROK to Iraq with ROK President Roh Moo-Hyun and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the White House said. “President Roh expressed his understanding and support” for the shift, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. “Prime Minister Koizumi expressed his support and understanding as well.” Bush and Koizumi also discussed the Japanese leader’s planned weekend trip to Pyongyang for talks with DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il, said the spokesman. Koizumi “made it clear that the trip does not affect Japan’s strong and firm support for the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear program. And he indicated he would reiterate that to North Korea,” said McClellan. Bush also congratulated Roh on returning to official duties after the Korean constitutional court overturned his impeachment two months ago, he said.

13. DPRK on US as ‘Empire of Evil’

The Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA CALLS US ‘EMPIRE OF EVIL’ HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS ACCUSE NORTH KOREA OF NUMEROUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES,” Seoul, 05/15/04) reported that the DPRK on Saturday harshly condemned the US for abusing prisoners in Iraq, calling it an “empire of evil.” The DPRK’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, a ruling party organization, as saying that American soldiers “committed shuddering atrocities without hesitation.” “Yankees have turned Iraq into a chasm of death,” an unidentified committee spokesman said, according to the DPRK’s KCNA news agency. The abuses “are a continuation of hideous terrorism and human rights abuses the US has perpetrated against other countries and nations throughout its history, as it is known to be an empire of evil whose main mission is to commit aggression, murder, terrorism and maltreatment,” the spokesman said.

II. CanKor E-Clipping Service

1. Issue #165

Canada holds working level talks with the DPRK. Canada also sends humanitarian assistance to the Ryongchon region through the Canadian Red Cross. While working group talks proceed in Beijing, the DPRK reiterated that the best way to resolve its nuclear standoff with the United States would be to replace the 51-year-old armistice with a peace treaty, signed by the DPRK, ROK and the United States. The comment, in a rare interview with Han Song Ryol, DPRK’s deputy representative to the United Nations, appeared to reflect a growing frustration with slow-moving six-nation nuclear disarmament talks. The ROK’s Constitutional Court restored President Roh to power, striking down an impeachment widely viewed as an attempt by opponents to thwart his policy of rapprochement with the DPRK. The verdict, as well as losing to the newly- formed Uri party in last month’s elections, prompted extensive changes in many of the opposition party’s original policies, most significantly in its rigid approach towards the DPRK. ROK Defense officials say that North and South Korea will hold general-level military talks on May 26, their first since the war on the peninsula ended five decades ago. DPRK expert Selig Harrison of the Center for International Policy in Washington met with Kim Yong-nam, head of the presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly. DPRK officials vowed to push ahead with their nuclear programs as long as the atomic standoff festers. The officials also promised never to let nuclear weapons fall into the hands of Al Qaeda or other militants. While it is true that all parties (including the DPRK) profess to seek a nuclear weapons-free Korean Peninsula and the others (less North Korea) at least pay lip serve to the “CVID” objective, it is not clear all agree on the definition of its components. Nor has Washington been real specific as to what CVID fully entails. Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), explores the meaning and the significance of the major hurdle in solving the nuclear standoff in this week’s CanKor OPINION. For more details: http://www.cankor.ca

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:

Ilmin Internationl Relations Institute
BK21 The Education and Research Corps for East Asian Studies
Department of Political Science, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

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

International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan

Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

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

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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