NAPSNet Daily Report 20 February, 2001

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 20 February, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, February 20, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-20-february-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. ROK-DPRK Relations
2. DPRK Health System
3. PRC-US Relations
4. Alleged PRC-Iraq Military Cooperation
5. PRC-German Talks
6. PRC-Taiwan Diplomatic Rivalry
7. US Policy toward Asia
II. Republic of Korea 1. US-PRC Policy towards DPRK
2. Light-Water Reactor Project
3. DPRK Visit to US
4. Inter-Korean Military Talks
5. Inter-Korean Maritime Trade
6. DPRK-Russia Summit
7. DPRK-Germany Aid Talks
8. ROK Army Chief’s Visit to US and PRC
9. UN Disarmament Official’s Visit to ROK
III. People’s Republic of China 1. PRC View on NMD
2. US Arms Sales to Taiwan
3. Russia-US Missile Disagreements
4. Russia-US Talks on NMD
5. Russian Missile Shield Plan
6. Russian-Japanese Relations
7. South China Sea Disputes

I. United States

1. ROK-DPRK Relations

Reuters (“N.KOREA OBJECTS TO BEING SOUTH’S ‘PRINCIPAL ENEMY’,” Seoul, 2/20/01) reported that the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Tuesday that the ROK insistence on naming DPRK as its “principal enemy” is jeopardizing the recent rapprochement between the two countries. They also took offense to demands by certain ROK groups that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il apologize and pay compensation for an act of terrorism against the ROK. KCNA said that the ROK’s adherence to the idea of the DPRK as its principal enemy “cannot be construed otherwise than a premediated and deliberate provocation intended to put a brake” on implementing the joint declaration agreed at last June’s summit. KCNA also said, “It is clear to everyone that the inter-Korean relations cannot develop smoothly nor the points agreed upon between the North and South be implemented as scheduled under such situation.”

2. DPRK Health System

The New York Times (Elisabeth Rosenthal, “COLLAPSE OF HEALTH SYSTEM ADDS TO NORTH KOREA’S CRISIS,” Youngsong, 2/20/01) reported that UN officials said that the DPRK is less hungry than during the worst food shortages in 1997, thanks in large part to international aid. However, the ongoing deterioration of the country’s infrastructure – particularly its health and sanitation systems and its energy supply – has continued to negatively affect many DPRK Nationals. A recent trip with AmeriCares, a private, US-based relief organization in the DPRK, to inspect the progress of its aid projects in hospitals and orphanages in and around Pyongyang was filled with scenes and tales of deprivation. One aid worker said, “The health sector has just collapsed. You probably have more in your home medicine chest than some county hospitals here have.” David Morton, UN coordinator in Pyongyang, said schools, hospitals and clinics all contain what the DPRK government calls “weak children,” children who have been chronically underfed.

3. PRC-US Relations

The Washington Post (Steven Mufson, “U.S.-CHINA TIES IN THE BALANCE,” 2/17/01) reported that a US State Department official said on February 16 that the department is likely to recommend that the US sponsor a UN resolution condemning the PRC’s human rights record. However, it remains unclear how vigorously the administration will push the human rights measure. Kenneth Lieberthal, senior director for Asia in former US President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council, said that the new Bush administration “is a group that on balance would feel that one should be fairly muscular or tough in dealing with China.” Experts on the PRC said that it is unclear whether the new appointees will prevail over those in the Republican Party who favor free trade and political engagement with the PRC. One defense official said, “The basics of US policy toward China are pretty well established. It’s a matter of degree and individual decisions, not overall policy reviews.”

4. Alleged PRC-Iraq Military Cooperation

Agence France Presse (“CHINESE WERE WORKING TO LINK IRAQI AIR DEFENSE SITES, SAYS PENTAGON OFFICIAL,” Washington, 2/20/01) reported that a US Defense official said Monday that PRC workers have been laying fiber optic links at the Iraqi air defense sites targeted in last week’s air strike near Baghdad. Analysts said that the action would suggest a previously undisclosed role by the PRC government in helping Iraq improve its military communications. The official said that concern over possible PRC casualties was among the reasons why the strike was launched on February 16. The official said, “There was some concern with Chinese working on fiber optic cables,” but added that many other factors also played a role in the timing of the strike.

5. PRC-German Talks

Agence France Presse (“GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS CHINA, NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE ON AGENDA,” Beijing, 2/19/01) reported that German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping held talks with senior PRC leaders in Beijing on February 18. Scharping, who arrived for the four-day visit on February 17, was later received by PRC General Zhang Wannian, vice president of the Central Military Commission. On Tuesday he is scheduled to meet with PRC President Jiang Zemin. Official German sources in Beijing told AFP that US National Missile Defense will certainly be raised by the PRC. Scharping’s visit to the PRC is the first by a German defense minister since the two countries established diplomatic ties.

6. PRC-Taiwan Diplomatic Rivalry

Agence France Presse (“CHINA URGES SINGAPORE NOT TO BOOST TIES WITH TAIWAN,” Beijing, 2/19/01) reported that the official PRC news agency Xinhua said on Monday that senior PRC defense official Guo Boxiong told Singapore’s second minister for defense Teo Chee Han that the PRC was opposed to any country which has diplomatic relations with the PRC to develop official ties with Taiwan. Guo, executive deputy chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), made the point during talks with Teo on the first day of Teo’s four-day visit to Beijing to meet PRC defense officials. Guo said, “We hope that the related countries shall keep alert for the political attempt of the Taiwan authorities of splitting from the motherland, and observe (the) one-China commitment.” He added that friendly relations between Singapore and the PRC “conforms to the fundamental interest of the people of the two countries, and benefits regional peace and development.” Chen is expected to meet Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew and Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong during his two- or three-day trip later this month. Reports in Taiwan also said that Taiwan and Singapore plan to renew military cooperation later this month. Teo on Monday told Guo that Singapore adheres to the one-China stance.

7. US Policy toward Asia

The Washington Times (Marc Lerner, “BUSH’S PLEDGE, APPOINTMENTS APPLAUDED IN ASIA,” Taipei, 2/20/01) reported that a promise by US President George W. Bush to work more closely with traditional US allies and the appointment of Asia experts to his policy team have convinced some Asian policymakers that the region’s interests will fare better under his administration than they did during the Clinton years. Jusef Wanandi, director of Indonesia’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, said, “We don’t expect the basic thrust of US policy to change, but we’re likely to see a welcome change in emphasis and in implementation. On the security side, we expect to see a lot more attention to Japan, to restoring balance to the strategic triangle of the U.S., China and Japan.” However, Edward J. Lincoln, a Japan specialist at the Brookings Institution, expressed uncertainty about whether the new policy will be “more rhetorical than an actual commitment.” Roh Jae-won, a former ROK deputy foreign minister and the ROK’s first ambassador to the PRC, said, “There needs to be a more realistic position in dealing with North Korea. The Clinton administration listened to Pyongyang and then gave it what it wanted. There needs to be reciprocity, and it seems Bush will insist on that.” Alex Magno, a political scientist in the Philippines, said, “Smaller nations like the Philippines probably won’t get much attention beyond trade issues. We’ll be watching policy formulation in Washington, but we can’t kid ourselves into thinking we’ll have much input.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 20, 2001.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. US-PRC Policy towards DPRK

The Korea Times (“US, CHINA MAY COMPLICATE RESOLUTION OF KOREAN ISSUES,” Seoul, 02/16/01) reported that the US and the PRC may compound problems on the Korean peninsula due to their differences in approach and means for resolving issues regarding the Korean peninsula, according to a report issued on Sunday by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS) titled “The Inauguration of the Bush Administration and the Outlook for Sino-U.S. Relations.” “Despite the inauguration of the Republican U.S. administration, Sino-U.S. relations are likely to develop into cooperation rather than confrontation,” the report said. The two big powers are also expected to pursue general common interests: preventing war on the Korean peninsula and keeping it free of nuclear arms, it noted. “However, differences in their approaches and means and the realization of their interests might bring about conflicts,” the report stressed. In particular, if the US administration applies a thorough reciprocity principle in resolving problems with the DPRK, it could cause confrontation with the PRC, whose policies put priority on preparing the DPRK for reform and openness. “Under the premise that Washington and Beijing closely cooperate to realize their common goal of peace and stability on the peninsula, the US’ strict application of reciprocity could make the North change its attitude toward pressing issues like the development of weapons of mass destruction.” The report advised the ROK government to make further diplomatic efforts so that the two powers can bridge their differences on Korean affairs.

2. Light-Water Reactor Project

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “U.S. ENVOY TO MEET OFFICIALS ON N.K. REACTOR PROJECT,” Seoul, 02/20/01) reported that Charles Kartman, US special envoy for Korean peace, arrived in Seoul on Monday for a three- day visit to discuss the construction of two light-water reactors in the DPRK and other issues of mutual concern, ROK officials said. During his visit to Seoul, he is scheduled to meet Ambassador Chang Sun-sup, who heads the Korean Office of Planning for Light-Water Reactor Project, on KEDO issues, including the employment of 250 Uzbek workers at the construction site in Shinpo in the DPRK, a Foreign Ministry official said. Kartman also plans to meet Foreign Minister Lee Joung-binn and Vice Minister Ban Ki-moon on pending issues such as preparations for next month’s summit talks between the ROK and the US. The ministry official dismissed speculation that Kartman’s visit may be to discuss a change in the KEDO project. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 20, 2001.]

3. DPRK Visit to US

Chosun Ilbo (Lee Ha-won, “NK ECONOMIC MISSION TO VISIT WASHINGTON,” Seoul, 02/18/01) reported that the DPRK will send a delegation to the US within the end of the month to study economic issues there, according to an ROK government official Sunday. The delegation will reportedly include high-ranking DPRK officials. An ROK official confirmed late Sunday that the deputy ministers of the DPRK’s foreign trade and finance ministries would be accompanied by five to seven bureau chiefs for an economic tour of the US from February 27th to March 3rd, and are scheduled to visit major cities including New York and Washington DC. The visit is being sponsored by the Stanley Foundation, a US nonprofit organization that is trying to help DPRK learn market economics. The DPRK officials will visit economic organizations and institutions, high tech computer industries, and universities. They are reportedly also scheduled to participate in economic seminars sponsored by a private organization.

4. Inter-Korean Military Talks

Chosun Ilbo (Kim Minbae, “MILITARY CONFIDENCE BUILDING TARGETED AT SEOUL SUMMIT,” Seoul, 02/18/01) reported that the ROK government is determined to reach an agreement with the DPRK on several important issues in the second inter-Korean military summit. The top issues to resolve are direct phone connection between the two countries’ command structures, regular meeting of military officials, and advanced notification of military exercises, as well as permanently removing any chances of war. An official said Sunday, “The government intends to include concrete measures to ease tension on the Korean Peninsula in an agreement that will be signed in the second summit. There will be working level meetings before the second summit to draft an agreement.” Another official stated, “President Kim Dae-jung has set the goal to make 2001 the year that ended the Cold War. Accordingly, his priority in the Korea-US summit and Korea-Russia summit will be to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula.” He added that, in this respect, the two summit talks will mostly deal with the ways to improve diplomatic relations between the DPRK, Russia and the US.

5. Inter-Korean Maritime Trade

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “TWO KOREAS TO RESUME SUSPENDED MARITIME TRADE OVER WEST SEA,” Seoul, 02/20/01) reported that the inter-Korean trade over the West Sea will likely resume soon after a three- month hiatus, which was caused by an inter-Korean strife over shipping companies, officials said on Monday. “It has yet to be seen whether the North would allow the third vessel entry into Nampo Port,” said a Unification Ministry official. “Based on recent dialogues with Pyongyang, however, we are confident the North would not refuse them as long as the ships are not from Hansung.” Critics in the ROK had maintained that the government should not accept the DPRK’s denial of Hansung ships as it violates international practices, which enable any businesses to choose a shipping company that will carry their own products. “Nevertheless, we’ve decided to designate the third company, instead of Hansung, as we believe the continuation of inter-Korean trade would be as important as the international rules,” the ministry official said. “We plan to first help resume the trade and later resolve the issue through various government- level channels, including the inter-Korean economic committee,” he added.

6. DPRK-Russia Summit

Chosun Ilbo (Kim Min-bai, “KIM-PUTIN TALKS SET FOR FEBRUARY 27,” Seoul, 02/15/01) reported that the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae announced Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be visiting Seoul on February 27. According to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Joon-young, the Russian leader will be on a two-day state visit whose itinerary includes summit talks with President Kim Dae-jung as well as meetings with Prime Minister Lee Han-dong and key business leaders in Seoul. Putin is also set to give a speech at the National Assembly. Key topics emerging in the latest round of ROK-Russia summit talks include the proposed project to link the severed inter- Korean railway with Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway as well as recent developments in Northeast Asia. They are also expected to reach an agreement on bringing about three way economic cooperation between Russia and the ROK and the DPRK, establishing the Nahotka complex and implementing the Irkutz Gas Development Project.

7. DPRK-Germany Aid Talks

Chosun Ilbo (Shin Yong-kwan, “GERMANY TO DISCUSS BEEF AID WITH NORTH,” Seoul, 02/18/01) reported that the German government announced on Saturday that it will meet with the DPRK delegates in Berlin to discuss food assistance to the DPRK. German Agricultural Minister Renate Kuenast, answered in a press conference that, “the possible food assistance of 40,000 cows that the government is planning to slaughter due to concerns over Mad Cow Disease, can be discussed.” He added that “the German officials will openly discussed the matter with the North. The main agenda, however, will be to discuss what the North wants, whether it be beef or other food.” The DPRK has previously asked the German government to give beef surplus, though the European Union has continually shown concerns over beef assistance to poor countries. “We do not want European beef being dumped in Third World markets destroying domestic ones,” said Gregor Kreuzhuber, agriculture spokesman for the executive body of the 15- nation European Union. Critics also have raised moral concerns over such move to aid surplus beef.

8. ROK Army Chief’s Visit to US and PRC

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, “ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF TO VISIT U.S., CHINA,” Seoul, 02/20/01) reported that ROK Army Chief of Staff Kil Hyoung-bo embarked on a 12-day tour of the US and the PRC Tuesday for talks on military exchanges and cooperation with ranking defense officials of the two nations, the Army said Monday. Kil will be the first ROK Army chief to visit the PRC since the end of the Korean War. During his seven-day visit to the US, Kil is scheduled to meet with ranking US military officials, including Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki and acting Army Secretary Gregory Dahlberg, the Army said. Leading a five-member ROK delegation, Kil is also slated to visit the US Army Headquarters, the Army Training and Doctrine Command, the 3rd Corps, and the National Training Center. “At the talks with U.S. officials, Kil is expected to exchange opinions on security conditions surrounding the Korean Peninsula, maintenance of combined defense preparation and other cooperative matters between the two armies,” said a spokesman for the Army. After his US visit, Kil is to fly to the PRC on February 27 for meetings with ranking PRC military officials, including Defense Minister Chi Haotian, Chief of General Staff Fu Quanyou and Qian Guoliang, head of the People’s Liberation Army’s Shenyang Military Region, the Army said. “During Kil’s six-day visit to China, the first by the ROK chief of staff, he is expected to discuss in detail matters related to military exchanges and cooperation between the two armies,” the spokesman said.

9. UN Disarmament Official’s Visit to ROK

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “U.N. DISARMAMENT OFFICIAL TO ARRIVE IN SEOUL TOMORROW,” Seoul, 02/20/01) reported that under Secretary General Jayantha Dhanapala from the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs will make a two-day visit to Seoul from Wednesday at the invitation of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry, the ministry said. “During his stay, Dhanapala will pay a courtesy call to Foreign Minister Lee Joung-binn and deliver a speech on the U.N.’s role in disarmament at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security,” a ministry official said.

III. People’s Republic of China

1. PRC View on NMD

China Daily (Hu Qihua, “NMD SYSTEM TO TRIGGER NEW ARMS RACE,” 02/13/01, P1) reported that PRC military experts warned that US plans to deploy a NMD system will lead to a new arms race, including one in outer- space. According to Yao Yunzhu, deputy Director of the Asia-Pacific Office of the Department of Foreign Military Studies in the Academy of Military Science of the People’s Liberation Army, “The consequence will be a dangerous arms race in space.” He noted that the recent US war games, simulating military confrontations in outer space, signal US attempts to dominate space operations and the beginning of the militarization of space. Concerning the US January “Colorado Springs” military exercise, Yao commented, “We can not help but be worried about the negative impact and the chain reaction likely to be caused by such an ill-thought-out scenario.” Another military expert, Teng Jianqun, who is the chief editor of “World Military Review,” warned that the recent US moves would upset the whole structure of strategic balance and create prerequisites for a new arms race. With an NMD system in place, the US could be more inclined to launch a first strike against another country while avoiding or reducing the risks of retaliatory strikes, he added. Undoubtedly, this alternation of the ABM treaty will encourage more countries to update and expand their own missile capability to compensate for their perceived strategic disadvantages, said Teng.

2. US Arms Sales to Taiwan

China Daily (Jiang Zhuqing, “SALES OF PAC-III CRITICIZED,” 02/14/01, P1) reported that at a press conference on Tuesday, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhu Bangzao criticized alleged US sales of the PAC-III missile defense system and relevant missiles to Taiwan. “China is strongly opposed to arms sales by the US to Taiwan and to the inclusion of Taiwan in its theatre missile defensive system in any form,” Zhu said. He said that PRC had made strong representations to the US on many occasions and demanded that it understood the harm that its sales of PAC-III and relevant weapons to Taiwan would cause.

3. Russia-US Missile Disagreements

China Daily (“RUSSIA REJECTS NEW US CHARGES,” Moscow, 02/16/01, P12) reported that Russia on February 16 rejected US allegations that Russia was responsible for spreading missile technology. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld accused Russia on Wednesday of being an “active proliferator.” He was backing up his argument that Russia had no reason to reject US plans for a missile defense system. “These words are on the conscience of Mr. Rumsfeld as one can only make such statements when one has the necessary and incontrovertible proof of what the politician is saying,” said the first deputy Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Valery Manilov. “Russia has not violated, does not violate and will not violate its obligations, including in the area of non-proliferation,” he added. Russia had several times asked US politicians not to make what he called “populist statements,” he said. The Russian Defense Ministry’s international relations head, Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, said that the US was increasingly isolated on the missile defense issue. “Even US allies do not believe in the fairy tales about the threats from other states which Rumsfeld talks about,” Interfax news agency quoted Ivashov as saying. Responding to US reports of Russia’s deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergeyev was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying, “This is nonsense, nothing of the sort has happened. It is difficult for me to comment on such fantasies, which have no foundation whatsoever.”

4. Russia-US Talks on NMD

People’s Daily (Sun Zhanlin, “RUSSIA SHOWS WILLINGNESS TO TALK WITH US ON ABM,” Moscow, 02/16/01, P3) reported that Russian first deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Valery Manilov said on February 15 that Russia is willing to seek a way to hold dialogue with the US on the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, although Russia does not want to soften its position. He stated, “Russia is consistent with its position on the 1972 ABM treaty. It is not allowed or acceptable to break the Treaty in any form, no matter modification or withdrawal, which is vital to world peace.” Manilov pointed out that the US can prevent or eliminate the alleged nuclear threat through non- strategic systems, such as political and diplomatic efforts. Besides, the threat will not occur until 10 to 15 years later. He argued that non-strategic systems could surely be set up to deter and fight back against the threat while maintaining the current strategic stability, which Russia prepares to negotiate with US and other NATO countries. In a talk with visiting German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on February 12, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said that Russia pledged to take a “constructive” approach to arms talks, including US plans to build a missile defense shield. He also said that in a forthcoming meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, issues which prompted public expressions of concern in US over Russia’s foreign policy would be cleared up. “Russia will act constructively in talks on strategic weapons and missile defense systems in the interests of preserving and strengthening international stability,” Ivanov told a news conference after talks with Fischer. Russia has proposed an alternative involving cooperation with NATO and Western Europe, but has so far provided few details. Fischer, due to visit US next week, said after arriving for two days of talks that he would sound out the conflicting Russian and US positions on the shield, but he later said that the two sides needed no go-betweens.

5. Russian Missile Shield Plan

Xinhua News Agency (“MOSCOW SAYS ITS EUROPE MISSILE SHIELD PLAN READY,” Moscow, 02/16/01) reported that Russian Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, head of the Defense Ministry’s international cooperation department, said that Russia would be ready with details of its plan for a compact and inexpensive missile shield for Europe when NATO Secretary-General George Robertson visits Russia next week. He said that Russia’s proposal would easily beat the US “Son of Star Wars” plan, which Russia says could drain Europe financially. “It may be a special, mobile, non-strategic anti-missile force,” Ivashov told a news conference. Robertson, who is coming to Moscow to further thaw ties Russia froze during NATO’s 1999 air campaign against Yugoslavia, has asked Russia for more details on a proposal by President Vladimir Putin for a joint anti-missile defense. Ivashov said that Russia’s plan included as a first step a thorough assessment of existing and future missile threats and, if such were detected, joint international efforts to nip them in the bud through political and other non-military means.

6. Russian-Japanese Relations

Jiefang Daily (“RUSSIA DENIES INVADING AIRSPACE,” Moscow, 02/15/01, P4) and Jiefang Daily (“JAPAN AFFIRMS RUSSIA’S INTRUSION,” Moscow 02/15/01, P4) reported that Russia’s military flatly denied on Wednesday that its jets had violated Japanese airspace, saying that the two Russian bombers and two fighters jets only brushed by the nation’s coast. Japanese officials said that four Russian aircraft, including two Tu-22 bombers, crossed into Japanese airspace 1200 kilometers north of Tokyo. “It was the first violation of Japanese airspace by Russian military aircraft since March 1995,” the Japanese spokesman said, adding that the Foreign Ministry was expected to demand Russia’s explanation for the two incidents. The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, “The flight was part of strategic military exercises being conducted by Russia at this time.” Russia’s Air Force said the Tu-22s and two accompanying Sukhoi Su-27s, called “Flankers” in the West, flew along the Japanese coastline but not over it. Interfax quoted Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev as saying, “After the Japanese statement we once again analyzed all the actions of our pilots. There was no invasion of Japanese airspace.”

7. South China Sea Disputes

China Daily (Jiang Zhuqing, “NATION REPEATS ITS SOVEREIGNTY OVER NANSHA,” 02/14/01, P1) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhu Bangzao said at a press conference on Tuesday that the PRC holds indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and adjacent sea areas in the South China Sea. He made the remarks in response to a question about a news report in Vietnam that said that Vietnam would set up government bodies on the Nansha Islands. Zhu said that the PRC is seriously concerned about the report and has demanded that Vietnam clarify the matter. He reiterated that any other country’s unilateral actions over the Nansha Islands constitute an infringement of the PRC’s sovereignty, and are therefore illegal and had no effect.

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