NAPSNet Daily Report 19 August, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 19 August, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, August 19, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-19-august-1999/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Missile Talks

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18, 1999,” USIA Transcript, 08/18/99) said that the US has been carefully following the comments made by DPRK officials regarding a possible agreement on missile tests. Rubin stated, “We believe there is a window of opportunity to improve relations with the United States. We have made that point most recently at the highest level by Secretary Albright in Singapore. Based on the ideas that were discussed during former Secretary Perry’s visit, the North Koreans are aware of how that might unfold.” He added, “With respect to missiles, of course, we are and have been willing to have discussions about missiles for some time. We’ve had several rounds of the missile talks with North Korea and we’re hoping to have another round soon.” Rubin stated, “we’ve seen a number of statements that have hopeful elements to it [sic].” Rubin said that former US Defense Secretary William Perry’s report on US policy toward the DPRK “will eventually be available at some level, but it hasn’t been completed yet.” Rubin added, “it’s been our position for some time that we have looked to have North Korea forswear long-range missiles and their export…. That is to limit not only the danger of North Korea itself developing a long-range missile, but limiting or eliminating the danger of North Korea exporting such technology.” He stated, “we have said for some time that there is the potential to normalize relations with the United States. Obviously, normalization of relations with the United States would include the possibility of liaison offices, the possibility of diplomatic representation and the possibility of eliminating or limiting economic sanctions that are in effect.”

Reuters (Bill Tarrant, “SIGNS OF NKOREA MISSILE THREAT EASING,” Seoul, 08/19/99) reported that Song Min- soon, director general at the North American Affairs Bureau of the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, expressed cautious optimism over recent DPRK statements of its willingness to negotiate with the US. Song stated, “We are seeing, and we hope that the momentum of positive discussions will be kept and will make some tangible progress.” Regarding statements by DPRK Workers’ Party Secretary Kim Yong-sun, Song stated, “The cake deal is nothing new. What he meant was give and take not take and take. It’s a basic principle of negotiations. But it’s not negative. It may imply the beginning of negotiations.” Daryl Plunk, senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, stated, “I don’t think Pyongyang will go ahead with [a missile test] since it would bring the North more pain than gain.”

The New York Times (Calvin Sims, “NORTH KOREA OFFERS TO NEGOTIATE ON MISSILE TESTS, EASING CRISIS,” Tokyo, 08/19/99) reported that Western and Asian embassy officials in Japan and the ROK had mixed reactions to the recent statement by DPRK Workers’ Party Secretary Kim Yong-sun. An anonymous ROK diplomat stated, “The missile crisis doesn’t appear to be worsening, but we still have a long way to go before it’s over.” An anonymous Western diplomat argued, “This is a very dangerous country that makes a promise not to do something one day, and totally reneges the next.” One unnamed official said, “This missile is one of the last few leverages Pyongyang has to negotiate with foreign countries.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 19.]

2. DPRK-Japan Relations

The Associated Press (“JAPANESE WOMENS’ GRP PRESSES FOR BETTER N KOREA RELATIONS,” Tokyo, 08/19/99) reported that Sumiko Shimizu, a Japanese Social Democratic Party Diet member and leader of the Japan Women’s Federation of Associations for Solidarity with Korean Women, on Thursday presented the Japanese government with a petition to lift sanctions against the DPRK. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka met with Shimizu and accepted the petition, which was addressed to Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi.

3. US-ROK Military Exercises

The Associated Press (Kyong-Hwa Seok,” U.S., S. KOREA STAGE WAR GAMES,” Seoul, 08/19/99) reported that ROK and US troops held a fourth day of joint exercises on Thursday. Colonel Mark W. Graper, a spokesman for the US Forces-Korea, stated, “The purpose of the exercise is to improve the joint staff coordination … to enhance deterrence against an enemy attack.” The DPRK’s Rodong Shinmun said Thursday, “If the U.S. imperialists continue to pursue confrontation and war, lending a deaf ear to our repeated warnings, they will be wholly responsible for all the ensuing consequences.”

4. ROK-PRC Defense Talks

Reuters (“S.KOREA, CHINA TO HOLD DEFENCE TALKS FOR FIRST TIME,” Seoul, 08/19/99) and the Associated Press (“CHINA, S. KOREA TO HOLD DEFENSE MINISTERS’ TALKS,” Seoul, 08/19/99) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry announced in a statement on Thursday that ROK Defense Minister Cho Seong-tae would visit the PRC from August 23 to 29 to meet PRC Defense Minister Chi Haotian. The statement said that Cho’s visit would help improve the relationship between the two countries. It added that there had been only low-level military contact between the PRC and the ROK since the two sides normalized diplomatic relations in 1992. The ROK’s Korea Times newspaper quoted an unnamed defense ministry official as saying that Cho would seek the PRC’s help in persuading the DPRK not to test-fire a Taepodong-2 long-range missile. ROK media said that Cho was also expected to propose a joint military exercise, mutual visits of military delegations and naval vessels, as well as regular ministerial talks.

5. US Military Visits to Hong Kong

The Associated Press (“CHINA LETS U.S. AF PLANE LAND IN HONG KONG,” Hong Kong. 08/19/99) reported that Barbara Zigli, spokeswoman for the US consulate in Hong Kong, said that a US Air Force jet landed in Hong Kong on Thursday, the second US military plane to visit Hong Kong since NATO’s bombing of the PRC Embassy in Yugoslavia. The C-21 airplane was to pick up Senator Jack Reed, Democrat-Rhode Island, and then leave for Indonesia on Thursday. The plane also will carry a congressional delegation on an overnight stopover on Sunday. Zigli said that the landings for the unofficial congressional stops were approved separately, with no explanation from the PRC. Zigli said that, since the bombing, three US military aircraft have been refused clearance to land in Hong Kong and 10 US Navy vessels were denied permission to dock.

6. PRC-Taiwan Dispute

The Associated Press (Tom Raum, “CHINA DOESN’T RULE OUT TAIWAN FORCE,” Washington, 08/19/99) reported that PRC Ambassador to the US Li Zhaoxing cautioned the US against interfering in the ongoing dispute between the PRC and Taiwan. Li said that recent comments by members of the US Congress suggesting that the US increase its defense ties with the Taiwan are “very dangerous statements.” Li called Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui a “troublemaker,” suggesting that he had made his “state-to-state” comments in a deliberate attempt to drive a wedge between the PRC and the US. Li stated, “He should stop his state-to-state (statements) otherwise he will go down in history as a national traitor.” He added, “China does love peace. We do long for peace. However, we never will be cowed by military steps or blackmail.” He argued, “We cannot rule out the force option. We want to prepare ourselves to stop any Taiwan independence or foreign intervention.” He also said that the PRC is “firmly opposed” to the US selling missile defense technology to Taiwan.

Reuters (“TAIWAN’S LEE SAYS STATEHOOD CALL CHEERS THE PEOPLE,” Taipei, 08/19/99) reported that Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui on Thursday defended his statement that the PRC and Taiwan have “special state-to- state” relations. Lee stated, “I made the comments to reflect the voice of our people.” He added, “This is for the sake of national dignity and the purpose of our survival. Telling the truth makes everyone feel good, doesn’t it?”

7. PRC-Taiwan Economic Relations

The Associated Press (Dirk Beveridge, “CHINA, TAIWAN ENJOY CLOSEST TIES,” Taipei, 08/19/99) reported that despite the recent downturn in PRC-Taiwan relations, their economies are closer than ever. Daniel Chen, executive vice president at the Industrial Bank of Taiwan, stated, “No matter how the conflict develops, the trend will continue. Economically, they will get closer and closer.” Ray B. Dawn, director of Taiwan’s Institute of Economic Research, argued that if the PRC “decided to wage a war against Taiwan, they would not be considering the economic consequences for China.” Benny Chiu, research manager at Hong Kong Bank, stated, “They need each other, but maybe Taiwan is more vulnerable simply because it is smaller. If there’s any problem, probably Taiwan’s economy will suffer much more than mainland China.”

8. Taiwan Missile Defense

The Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “TAIWAN PLANS ANTI-MISSILE SYSTEM,” Taipei, 08/19/99) reported that Taiwan Premier Vincent Siew told the Cabinet that Taiwan plans to establish an effective early warning system to detect airborne PRC planes and missiles and to build a “total missile defense system.” Taiwan government spokesman Chen Chien-jen quoted Siew as saying that the Cabinet will present its plans to the legislature at the start of the new session on September 1, and that the Defense Ministry may seek funding for it from next year. Chen said that President Lee Teng-hui had pressed the Cabinet to pursue an “in-depth” plan for moving forward. Taiwan’s United Daily News reported that the anti-missile defense system could allow Taiwan to eventually take part in a US-sponsored regional missile defense.

9. Japanese View of Taiwan Missile Defense

Reuters (“JAPAN STAYS MUM ON TAIWAN ANTI-MISSILE REMARKS,” Tokyo, 08/19/99) reported that a spokesman for Japan’s Defence Agency on Thursday declined comment on Taiwan’s announced interest in an anti- missile system. The spokesman stated, “This is not a matter about which Japan should say this or that.”

10. Japanese Biochemical Defense

Reuters (Teruaki Ueno, “JAPAN PLANS MEASURES AGAINST BIOCHEMICAL WARFARE,” Tokyo, 09/19/99) reported that Japanese Defense Agency officials said on Thursday that Japan would set up special units within the Ground Self-Defense Force to guard against biological and chemical warfare. The officials said that the decision was a response to warnings from US Defense Secretary William Cohen last month about the DPRK’s biological and chemical weapons programs. In Vladivostok, Japanese Defense Agency chief Hosei Norota stated, “We have not had any measures to deal with biological weapons. This is the question of how we protect the lives of Japanese people.” He added, “This is absolutely not research with an aim to attack other countries.” Japan plans to send several military officials to the US Army Chemical School and other US institutes next year to study techniques to detect and protect against biological weapons. In its annual white paper issued last month, the Defense Agency said it believes that the DPRK already has facilities capable of producing both chemical and biological weapons. The Agency said that the DPRK has a 100,000-strong special squad assigned to conduct intelligence and terrorist activities. It added that Japan planned to hold military exercises next year simulating a guerrilla attack by DPRK infiltrators on nuclear reactors, airports, and US military bases in Japan.

11. Japanese-Russian Military Relations

The Associated Press (Anatoly Medetsky, “JAPAN, RUSSIA PLAN MILITARY HOT LINE,” Vladivostok, 08/19/99) reported that Russia’s Pacific Fleet said that its commander, Admiral Mikhail Zakharenko, reached an agreement on Thursday with the head of the Japanese Defense Agency, Hosei Norota, to establish a military hot line to warn each other of potential threats at sea. Officials said that the hot line would help Russia and Japan react more quickly to conflicts. The article said that it was unclear whether the hot line would be used in cases involving confrontations between Russian patrol ships and Japanese fishing boats in waters near the Kuril Islands. Alexander Kosolapov, a spokesman for the Pacific Fleet, stated, “We are neighbors and enjoy good relations. That’s why communication like this should be established.”

12. Remains of Japanese Soldiers from World War II

The Associated Press (“JAPAN SEEKS WWII REMAINS IN RUSSIA,” Vladivostok, 08/19/99) reported that Russia’s Interfax news agency said Thursday that a Japanese delegation arrived on Russia’s eastern Sakhalin Island to search for the remains of soldiers killed in World War II. The team from the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare is expected to spend several days looking near two mountains on the southern part of the island. Japanese officials have been making expeditions to Sakhalin since 1990, and the remains of 16 Japanese servicemen were found last year.

13. US-Russian Nuclear Talks

The Associated Press (Nick Wadhams, “U.S., RUSSIA WRAP UP ARMS TALKS,” Moscow, 08/19/99) reported that the US and Russia on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. The two sides said that the ABM treaty “is the cornerstone of strategic stability” between them. They added that no specific proposals were discussed and no major decisions reached on modifying the treaty. They also agreed in principle to start work on a START III treaty to cut nuclear warheads to 2,000 to 2,500 each. Vladimir Lukin, the chairman of the Russian Duma’s committee for international affairs, stated, “The Russian side made it plain that (START II) can be ratified only if there is a mutually acceptable stand” on the ABM treaty.

Reuters (Peter Graff, “MOSCOW WARNS U.S. ABOUT MISSILE SYSTEM,” Moscow, 08/19/99) reported that Grigory Berdenninikov, director of the arms control department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, warned against US attempts to build a national missile defense system. Berdenninikov stated, “The arms race could now leap to outer space.” He warned, “We do not see any variant which would allow the U.S. to deploy a national anti-missile defense system and at the same time maintain the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) treaty.” He added, “If this takes place, talks on a START-3 treaty will be ruined, as well as the existing START-1 and START-2 agreements.” Berdennikov also said that Russia had proposed that the START III treaty call for cuts to 1,500 warheads or below.

14. US View of Indian Nuclear Doctrine

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18, 1999,” USIA Transcript, 08/18/99) said that the US was not encouraged by India’s draft nuclear doctrine. Rubin stated, “We find it a document that describes the Indian desire to develop a nuclear arsenal. That is something we think is not in the security interest of India, the Subcontinent or the United States or the world.” He added, “we are going to continue to urge India to sign and ratify this Comprehensive Test Ban; to not weaponize missiles so that they can carry nuclear weapons; to stop the production of fissile material; and to develop an export control system — the combination of which is certainly not consistent with the broad outlines of this doctrine as we know it.” Regarding India’s claims of a need for nuclear weapons to deter the PRC, Rubin stated, “There’s nothing new about China having nuclear weapons…. That did not generate the need for India to develop and test nuclear weapons. They obviously made the decision based on other factors, in our opinion, and that wasn’t the key factor.”

Reuters (“INDIA DEFENDS RIGHT TO DECIDE SECURITY INTEREST,” New Delhi, 08/19/99) Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raminder Singh Jassal on Thursday rejected US criticism of India’s draft nuclear doctrine. Jassal stated, “As a sovereign country, it is India’s right to decide for itself what is in its larger security interest.” He added, “Our dialogue with all our partners, including the United States of America, is predicated on India maintaining a credible minimum deterrence. This is clearly understood by all of our partners.” He said that US President Bill Clinton had written to Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee during the weekend, and that the letter was part of regular correspondence that deals with subjects such as bilateral relations and the global nuclear architecture.

The Associated Press (Neelesh Misra, “INDIA SHRUGS OFF NUKE CONFLICT,” New Delhi, 08/19/99) reported that Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh on Thursday denied that India is moving toward a nuclear conflict with Pakistan. Singh stated, “I am fully confident that we will be able to assuage the concerns that have been expressed in Washington and Beijing.” Singh said he would meet with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in New York next month at the UN General Assembly session. He stated, “If [the US] wish to take [the draft nuclear doctrine] up with us, I am ready to discuss with them.”

15. Pakistan View of Indian Nuclear Doctrine

Reuters (“PAKISTAN CALLS INDIA NUCLEAR DOCTRINE ‘DANGEROUS’,” Islamabad, 08/19/99) reported that Pakistan Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed on Thursday criticized India’s draft nuclear doctrine. Ahmed said that the doctrine would “intensify Pakistan’s reliance on its nuclear capabilities to deter the use or threat of aggression by India.” He stated, “The Indian assertion of capability for manufacturing the neutron bomb and India’s nuclear doctrine… indicates that India is about to embark on a further and even more dangerous escalation in the nuclear and conventional arms build-up.” He also said that the doctrine “confirms India’s craving to be recognized as a global power.” He stated, “Pakistan does not want a nuclear arms race in South Asia…. However, Pakistan cannot afford to ignore the security implications of India’s new doctrine and its ambitious plan of nuclear weapons development including thermonuclear and Neutron bombs.” He stated, “The development of our nuclear program will be determined solely by the requirements of our nuclear deterrence capability which is now an indispensable part of our security doctrine.”

Reuters Stephanie Nebehay (“PAKISTAN, INDIA CLASH AT U.N. ARMS FORUM,” Geneva, 08/19/99) reported that Pakistani Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament Munir Akram on Thursday accused India of planning to create a “huge arsenal” of nuclear and conventional forces. Akram warned that India’s “dangerous escalation” in both weapons categories would lead Pakistan to boost its own “reliance on nuclear capabilities.” He stated, “Thus, although the Indian document states the purpose of a conventional arms build-up is to raise the nuclear threshold, in fact the conventional build-up will further lower the nuclear threshold and bring closer the danger of nuclear use in the Sub- Continent.” He added, “Since the vast majority of India’s conventional ‘assets’ are deployed against Pakistan, it will be obliged to respond to the Indian build-up. Moreover, the growing imbalance in conventional military capabilities will intensify Pakistan’s reliance on its nuclear capabilities to deter the use or threat of aggression or domination by India.” Akram also stated, “The only hope which one nuclear weapon power [the US] has expressed yesterday is that India will sign the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty). Its signing is hardly relevant to the scope and magnitude of instability and danger which India will provoke by deploying an inordinately large nuclear arsenal which it envisages.” Indian Ambassador Savitri Kunadi called Akram’s remarks “unwarranted and possibly ill-informed.” Kunadi stated, “There is no change in the Indian position on the doctrine of minimum credible (nuclear) deterrence and its elements.” She said that the draft doctrine was for “purposes of public discussion and debate,” adding, “Such an open transparency program may not be familiar for the delegation of Pakistan.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. US-DPRK Talks

Chosun Ilbo (Kang Hyo-sang, “US AND NK TALKS SCHEDULED FOR MONTH’S END,” Seoul, 08/18/99) reported that the US Department of Defense announced on Tuesday that it would hold comprehensive talks with the DPRK on pending issues, including the missile test matters, at the end of this month. Spokesman Kenneth Bacon said at a regular briefing that the US did not expect the DPRK to test fire a missile soon and announced that discussions on current issues are continuous. He added that a Theater High Altitude Area Defense radar would not be installed in Japan as it was unnecessary.

2. DPRK Missile Test

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “N.K. MISSILE THREAT TURNS CORNER, BUT SEOUL OFFICIALS REMAIN WARY,” Seoul, 08/19/99) reported that by most signs from both sides of the Pacific, the DPRK’s missile threat appears to have turned the corner. The ROK and its allies, however, still have a long way to go before they can say it is over, officials and analysts said on Wednesday. Officials at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that a top DPRK official’s remarks during an interview with the Cable News Network (CNN) on Monday should be regarded as a suggestion of the possibility of a diplomatic settlement of the missile issue. ROK officials, while welcoming the latest developments in the DPRK and the US, still remained cautious. “We don’t have to place excessive significance on each and every remark by North Korean officials,” said an ROK foreign ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The only thing we can say for sure is that the missile crisis does not appear to be worsening.”

3. US Anti-Missile Radar

Joongang Ilbo (“US DENIES TO USE NEW RADAR TO MONITOR N.KOREA,” Seoul, 08/18/99) reported that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff rejected a commander’s request to use a new missile-defense radar to monitor a potential DPRK missile test, but the US Department of Defense (USDD) denied a report that the decision was politically motivated. USDD spokesman Kenneth Bacon said that Genenal Henry H. Shelton denied the request by General Richard Myers, commander of the US Space Command in Colorado, because he determined the radar would not add substantially to the missile monitoring equipment already in place aboard US ships and aircraft near the ROK. Bacon said that it did not appear that any test launch was “days to weeks” away. USDD has specially equipped ships in the western Pacific to monitor electronic signals from a DPRK missile. The radar Myers requested was developed for use with a missile defense system called Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). The system is still undergoing testing and has not been used against an armed missile. The Washington Times, which first reported Shelton’s decision not to send the THAAD radar to Asia, quoted unidentified critics as saying the USDD bowed to pressure from Clinton administration arms-control officials who opposed sending the radar because it might upset the Russians. Bacon denied that arms control issues influenced Shelton’s decision.

4. USFK to introduce new aircraft

Chosun Ilbo (Yoo Yong-won, “USFK TO INTRODUCE AH-64D,” Seoul, 08/18/99) and The Korea Herald (“U.S. FORCES TO UPDATE APACHE ATTACK HELICOPTER FLEET,” Seoul, 08/19/99) reported that the US Forces Korea (USFK) will introduce 72 helicopters belonging to the latest series of Apache attack aircraft to its fleet beginning next year. USFK sources on Wednesday disclosed a project to replace the present AH-64A Apache helicopters with the latest AH-64D Apache Longbow aircraft by 2003. Longbow’s digitized target-acquisition system can automatically locate and classify more than 128 potential targets and prioritize the 16 most dangerous of them on an on-board computer “library.” It can then pass targeting information to other Apache and Comanche helicopters and attack, all within less than 30 seconds after initiating the radar scan. Other improvements over the AH-64A include additional power, expanded avionics bays, upgraded processors and integrated avionics. The Longbow can be equipped with 16 Hellfire anti-tank missiles. After being fired, this missile can navigate toward the target on its own guidance system. If necessary, the helicopter can also be armed with air-to-air missiles.

5. DPRK-ROK Flood Control

The Korea Herald (“N. KOREA REJECTS OFFER OF JOINT SOUTH-NORTH ANTI-FLOOD MEASURES,” Seoul, 08/19/99) reported that the DPRK has virtually rejected ROK’s offer to take joint measures against the flooding of the Imjin River. The DPRK’s official Central Broadcasting Station said in a commentary aired on Tuesday that the ROK’s offer “was nothing but a magic trick to calm down the anti-government feelings of the people in the area affected by the recent flood.” The flooding of the Imjin was the result of the ROK government’s anti-people policy, which it should therefore discard to prevent the flooding of the river again, it claimed.

6. ROK View of DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Young-ki, “EX NIS CHIEF SPEAKS OUT ON NK,” Seoul, 08/18/99) reported that former ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) head and current National Congress for New Politics (NCNP) deputy leader Lee Jong-chan said that the DPRK is a country ruled by military authorities. Lee said that direct proof of this was the fact that Kim Jong-il was in charge of the National Defense Committee, not head of state. He continued that the military is so powerful that its National Security Headquarters conducted inspections even on embassies overseas, showing that the DPRK Political Security Bureau was not trusted. Lee feels that “North Korea, unless it reforms itself from its currently worsening situation, will inevitably head towards collapse. It should be considered that the countdown for its downfall has already started. These days, even people in its leadership are defecting to the South.” With regard to the DPRK’s armed forces, he said that its capacity is not at a great level, and that the ROK witnessed this in the recent West Sea conflict. Lee also stated that Kim Jong-il’s movements in everyday life are completely followed and are analyzed psychologically. Also, the ROK is monitoring the money flow of dollars given to the DPRK by Hyundai in exchange for the company’s conducting the Kumkang Mountains tour. On the famine issue, Lee said that in a mid-term report he received just before stepping down from his previous post, some 400,000 DPRK citizens were listed as having died of hunger this year. The sources of this information were the NIS DPRK Desk and experts in population census, who worked on a project to estimate the number of casualties from early this year.

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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Lee Dong-young: UNPOL@netsgo.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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Tokyo, Japan

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

Chunsi Wu: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

 


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