NAPSNet Daily Report 21 May, 2004

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 21 May, 2004", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 21, 2004, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-21-may-2004/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. PRC-Brazil Relations
2. DPRK-US Nuclear Relations
3. DPRK-UN Special Envoy Meeting
4. DPRK on US-ROK Military Relocation
5. ROK Iraq Troop Deployment
6. DPRK Light Water Reactor Projector
7. US DPRK Policy
8. DPRK-Japan Abduction Issue Visit
9. DPRK-US War Remains Recovery
10. PRC-Taiwan Relations
11. PRC on UN Vote on US Troop Immunity
II. Japan 1. Japan Iraq Troops Dispatch
2. Japan-PRC Territorial Dispute
3. Japan Confidential Document on PRC Invasion
4. Japan Yasukuni Shrine Lawsuit
5. Japan Military Contingency Bills
6. US Bases in Okinawa

I. United States

1. PRC-Brazil Relations

Agence France-Presse (“BRAZIL’S LULA ON OFFENSIVE TO BOOST BRAZIL-CHINA ALLIANCE,” 05/22/04) reported that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva headed for the PRC aiming to boost their alliance at the forefront of developing nations. The left-wing Brazilian leader was due in Beijing late Saturday after brief stops in the Cape Verde Islands and Kiev. Lula, accompanied by a large business delegation, will start what he has said could be the most important visit of his presidential term Sunday. He will go to the Summer Palace and attend the opening of Beijing offices of the Brazilian state oil firm Petrobras. Petrobras and the PRC’s Sinopec are to sign an accord on joint oil exploration, production and refining in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. He will meet President Hu Jintao Monday after attending a Brazil-China trade seminar. Lula will be in Shanghai from Tuesday to Thursday. “Last year, the government made the strategic decision to draw closer to China,” Lula said recently, adding that his visit would “consolidate strategic relations” across the board, including trade, scientific, cultural and military ties.

2. DPRK-US Nuclear Relations

Korean Central News Agency (“US POLICY NECESSITATES INCREASED DEFENCE CAPABILITY,” Pyongyang, 05/21/04) reported that as already reported, there was a meeting of the working group of the six-party talks for the settlement of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)-US nuclear issue in Beijing from 12 to 14 May. At the meeting, the DPRK side put forward the “reward for freeze” proposal as the first phase action to attain the general goal to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and maintained a sincere stance to solve the issue at all costs. It proposed to have an in-depth discussion on the specific and practical issues related to the nuclear freeze including the objects to be frozen, the duration of freeze and the method to verify it and the time to freeze facilities. This proposal includes the core issues that should be implemented at the first phase for the solution of the DPRK-US nuclear issue. The US side, however, again insisted that the DPRK abandon its “nuclear program” first, i.e. CVID (complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlment) and argued it would not discuss the “reward for freeze” proposal or other offer unless the latter accepts the former’s demand. This attitude brought the discussion to a failure.

3. DPRK-UN Special Envoy Meeting

Korean Central News Agency (“DPRK FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS UN SPECIAL ENVOY,” Pyongyang, 05/21/04) reported that DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun met and conversed with Maurice Strong, special envoy of the UN secretary-general, and his party Friday. Present there were an official concerned and the acting UN resident coordinator and representative of the WHO here.

4. DPRK on US-ROK Military Relocation

Joongang Ilbo (Kang Chan-ho, “NORTH’S RHETORIC RISES OVER SHIFT BY,” 05/20/04) reported that a DPRK envoy to the United Nations has denounced planned redeployments of US forces in Korea, but has also raised a new offer of a peace treaty. Han Song-ryol, the DPRK’s deputy UN ambassador said, “Analysts view the announcement on the US’s redeployment in Korea as being aimed at a preemptive strike against the North, raising the potential for a second Korean War.” Han’s statements follow announcements in Seoul and Washington that the US will upgrade US military capabilities here, following the dispatch of Korea-based combat units to Iraq. “DPRK forces are watching this move by the US, and are on high alert,” he said. Separately, in an interview with USA Today on May 13, Han said that the only way to resolve the DPRK’s nuclear program was to have nations with troops on the peninsula, both Koreas and the US, sign a peace agreement. The DPRK has demanded that a peace agreement with the US precede a DPRK-ROK treaty.

Reuters (“REUTERS NORTH KOREA SAYS US TROOP CUT IS A PLOY-REPORT,” Seoul, 05/20/04) reported that the planned withdrawal of 3,600 US troops from the ROK is part of a ploy to attack the DPRK rather than a welcome force reduction, a DPRK diplomat was quoted on Friday as saying in an interview. The US is reviewing a possible cut in its military presence in the ROK, where it has 37,500 troops and heavy firepower and surveillance technology to deter the DPRK. It is one of the heaviest US force concentrations outside Iraq. “The purpose of the announced realignment is to begin the second Korean War by launching a preemptive strike against the North, according to experts,” Han Song-ryol, deputy DPRK ambassador at the United Nations, was quoting as saying by the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper. The comments follow an announcement this week that the US will pull out a tenth of its troops stationed in the ROK to redeploy to Iraq. ROK officials said the move was part of the US global troop alignment, which also involves a possible cut in US military in the South. Such a cut would be replaced by enhanced capabilities and not lower the combined US and ROK defense against the DPRK, the two countries have said. Han said the DPRK military had been put “on higher alert” and was closely watching developments. The North has long called for all US troops to leave South Korea.

5. ROK Iraq Troop Deployment

Agence France-Presse (“SOUTH KOREA NOW SET TO DEPLOY TROOPS TO IRAQ BY AUGUST,” 05/21/04) reported that the ROK will send a military mission to northern Iraq next week to finalize plans for the deployment by August of thousands of troops there, officials said. The ROK has elected to deploy the troops to Irbil, in the Kurdish autonomous region of northern Iraq, where the 3,600 troops will carry out relief and rehabilitation work. “The troop dispatch will take place one or two months after the delegation wraps up its mission, given the time needed to establish base camps and other infrastructure,” Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon told reporters. The ROK pledged to dispatch the troops in support of the US-led occupation of Iraq in February but the deployment has been delayed as a result of deepening unrest in the war-torn country. Differences with Kurdish authorities in Irbil over the location of the ROK base and use of local facilities further delayed the deployment but have now been ironed out.

6. DPRK Light Water Reactor Projector

Reuters (“DPRK Nuclear Site to Remain Suspended,” New York, 05/20/04) reported that the construction of the DPRK’s nuclear power project will remain suspended at least until December, despite reports of a push by the DPRK’s to restart it, officials said on Thursday. The board of a US-led consortium overseeing the project said after a one-day meeting in New York that the site of two prospective light-water reactors in the DPRK was being preserved and maintained as planned under a one-year suspension. “The board continues to monitor developments including diplomatic discussions,” KEDO spokesman Roland Tricot said at a news briefing. “The board decision on suspension remains in place until December 1, 2004.”

7. US DPRK Policy

South China Morning Post (Khang Hyun-sung, “FORMER ENVOY ATTACKS US STANCE OVER NORTH KOREA; HE SAYS WASHINGTON’S FLAWED PYONGYANG POLICY IS INCREASING THE NUCLEAR THREAT,” Seoul, 05/21/04) reported that the Bush administration will step up pressure on the DPRK to dismantle its nuclear weapons program if it wins a second term, according to a former top Washington pointman on the DPRK. Charles Pritchard, a special envoy to the DPRK uder the Clinton and Bush administrations, has said both George W. Bush and Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry will both push for the dismantling of the DPRK’s nuclear program, but are likely to differ sharply in their approaches. “If Bush wins another term, I foresee that there is likely to be a tightening of the noose on North Korea, economically and diplomatically,” he said. Pritchard was sharply critical of the US administration for engaging in an “informing, rather than consulting, process” with its allies while trying to resolve the nuclear crisis. “If John Kerry wins the election, what you’ll see is not a change in goal, but how it goes about this, with more sharing of information with allies and a bilateral dialogue,” he said. “We are now 18 months into the crisis, the Bush administration has been steadfast in its refusal to meet with the North Koreans in a bilateral forum and in the 18 months, what do they have to show for it? They have a defacto nuclear North Korea, which may have up to eight nuclear weapons,” he said.

8. DPRK-Japan Abduction Issue Visit

Yomiuri Shimbun (“KOIZUMI TO VISIT PYONGYANG TO DISCUSS ABDUCTEE ISSUE,” 05/21/04) reported that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will visit Pyongyang on Saturday for talks with DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, in a bid to bring to Japan the eight family members of the former Japanese abductees to the DPRK the same day. During the talks, Koizumi also will confirm with Kim that the two countries will live up to what they have agreed to in the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration, issued in September 2002. Should there be progress on the issue of the abduction of Japanese to the DPRK, the government intends to offer the DPRK humanitarian aid, including food and medical supplies, through international organizations, a government source said. Koizumi is scheduled to leave Tokyo early Saturday, hold talks with Kim at a state guesthouse in Pyongyang the same morning, and fly back to Tokyo in the evening. For Koizumi, it will be the second visit to Pyongyang, following one in September 2002. On Thursday morning, Koizumi met with senior government officials to confirm that the government would try to achieve comprehensive solutions to issues that include the abduction issue, nuclear and missile development problems and to normalize diplomatic ties as early as possible.

The Associated Press (“KEY ISSUES FOR JAPAN-NORTH KOREA SUMMIT,” 05/21/04) reported that key issues for Saturday’s summit between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and DPRK leader Kim Jong Il: ABDUCTIONS: After years of denial, North Korea acknowledged kidnapping 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 80s to train spies in Japanese language and customs. Pyongyang said eight were dead and allowed the five survivors to return to Japan. The former abductees, however, are pushing for the release of eight of their family members left behind in North Korea. Japan also wants more information on the fate of the eight kidnapping victims that North Korea says are dead, and investigations into two others who are unaccounted for and dozens of other Japanese citizens suspected of being abducted by Northern agents. DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS: Japan has never had diplomatic relations with North Korea. In their first summit in 2002, Koizumi and Kim declared they would work toward establishing such ties, but the standoff over the kidnappings and the North’s nuclear weapons programs has blocked progress. Impoverished North Korea is eager to establish ties to win food and energy aid from wealthy Japan. Tokyo sees improved relations as a way of resolving the kidnappings and neutralizing the security threat posed by the North. NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND MISSILES: Japan is one of six nations involved in talks with North Korea aimed at dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programs. The talks – also involving China, the US, Russia and South Korea – have failed so far to stop the North’s programs. Japan, as a close neighbor, is highly concerned about the North’s arsenal and hopes Saturday’s summit will help encourage the North to cooperate in the six-party talks. Japan is also worried about North Korea’s missile capabilities. Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan’s main island of Honshu in 1998, showing it could hit any of Japan’s major cities.

9. DPRK-US War Remains Recovery

Yonhap (“US TEAM SET TO LEAVE NORTH KOREA WITH REMAINS OF WAR DEAD,” Seoul, 05/21/04) reported that a group of US officials who have been working in North Korea to recover the remains of US soldiers missing or killed during the Korean War will return to Seoul next Wednesday (26 May), officials at the US Forces Korea (USFK) said Friday. The 13 US members of the Joint POW/MIA (prisoners of war/missing in action) Accounting Command (JPAC) will return to the ROK after 52 days of work to excavate the remains of US soldiers killed on the two major battlefields of the US forces during the 1950-1953 Korean War, the officials said. The JPAC, which consisted of 13 US members and 13 DPRK officials, has been working around the Changjin Lake and Unsan areas in the DPRK since April 5th. A total of 22 sets of remains – 20 from around the Changjin Lake and two from the Unsan area – have been excavated, according to the USFK. This is the biggest number of remains that have been unearthed since the US and North Korea started jointly conducting excavation efforts in 1996. The USFK said it will hold a ceremonial funeral service at Knight Field in Yongsan Garrison next Thursday with the participation of ROK war veterans associated with the Korea Veterans Association and the Korea Retired Generals and Admirals Association. The remains will then be flown to the US army identification laboratory in Hawaii, according to the USFK official.

10. PRC-Taiwan Relations

Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN’S NEW CHINA POLICY-MAKER PROMISES TO IMPROVE TIES WITH BEIJING,” 05/21/04) reported that Taiwan’s new the PRC policy-maker pledged to adopt peaceful means to improve cross-strait relations and a resumption of bilateral dialogue, after Taiwan said it would not pursue independence. Joseph Wu, newly appointed minister of Mainland Affairs Council, urged Beijing to respond positively to President Chen Shui-bian’s remarks Thursday that Taiwan would not seek independence or rule out re-unification with the PRC, and asked Beijing to abandon its military threat against the island. “Only through a peace and stable framework can we protect the well-being of people of both sides … we will work to resume cross-strait talks to seek conciliation and temper political confrontation,” Wu told reporters. “We hope both sides can shelve differences, drop military threats, pursue peace and create an atmosphere for an amiable cross-strait interaction,” Wu added. But Wu also stressed the “one country, two systems” policy offered by Beijing for reunification “is not acceptable at current stage.” “But in the future, any form of Taiwan-China relations is possible as long as it is endorsed by the people.”

11. PRC on UN Vote on US Troop Immunity

Agence France-Presse (“CHINA DELAYS UN VOTE ON US TROOP IMMUNITY,” United Nations, 05/21/04) reported that the PRC delayed a UN Security Council vote on a controversial measure to extend the immunity of US peacekeeping troops from prosecution for war crimes. The proposal for a one-year renewal of existing immunity comes amid a mounting scandal over the US abuse of prisoners in Iraq which deepened with new pictures published in The Washington Post. Diplomats said the PRC delegation indicated it had not yet received word from Beijing on how to vote on the resolution, which is expected to pass despite several expected abstentions on the 15-nation council. The measure is now likely to be put to a vote next week. Human rights groups have blasted the US over the resolution, first adopted two years ago to keep US troops in UN peacekeeping operations outside the reach of the International Criminal Court at The Hague. “Given the recent revelations from Abu Ghraib prison, the US government has picked one hell of a moment to ask for special treatment on war crimes,” said Richard Dicker from Human Rights Watch.

II. Japan

1. Japan Iraq Troops Dispatch

The Japan Times (“OFFICIALS CALL FOR INCREASED SECURITY IN SAMAWAH,” 05/12/04) reported that Japan’s government leaders said security measures need to be bolstered for Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) personnel in Samawah following the death of a Dutch soldier there, but denied that the southern Iraqi city is no longer safe enough for the Japanese troops to operate. “I think we should tighten our guard,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Horoyuki Hosoda told a news conference, and Defense Agency Director General Shigeru Ishiba said, “New steps are probable when the situation becomes clear.” But a Defense Agency official who declined to be named said it would be problematic for the SDF troops in Samawah if the Dutch forces, which are in charge of maintaining security in the region, were to pull out. Their comments came in the wake of a grenade attack on the night of May 10 in Samawah that killed one Dutch soldier and wounded another.

The Japan Times (“ENVOYS KILLED BY TERRORISTS, NOT ROBBERS: REPORT,” 05/13/04) reported that last November’s assassination of two Japanese diplomats in Iraq was probably a terrorist attack instead of a robbery, the Foreign Ministry said in a report issued on May 12. “It is conceivable that the incident was not a simple robbery, and the possibility is high that it was terrorism committed by those who had planned to kill them,” says the report, submitted to the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. US forces and Iraqi police have probed the killings but have yet to identify the assailants, it says.

2. Japan-PRC Territorial Dispute

The Japan Times (“CHINA WARNED OVER SENKAKU FORAY,” 05/14/04) reported that Japan lodged a protest Thursday with the PRC after a Chinese marine research vessel entered Japan’s exclusive economic zone without prior notice near one of the disputed Senkaku Islands, Foreign Ministry officials said. Later Thursday, the PRC defended the vessel’s entrance into the EEZ. The research ship’s presence in Japanese waters is “totally legal,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a news briefing in Beijing. “The Diaoyu Islands ocean territory should not belong to Japan’s ocean territory or an economic zone belonging to Japan,” Liu said, referring to the island chain by its Chinese name. In February 2001, Japan and China agreed on a two-month mutual prior notification system for maritime scientific research in waters between the two countries.

3. Japan Confidential Document on PRC Invasion

The Japan Times (“DEFENSE PAPER ASSUMES CHINA INVASION OF JAPAN,” 05/15/04) reported that the Japan’s Defense Agency would deploy 7,200 ground troops to protect Japan’s southernmost islands from invading Chinese forces in the event of a conflict between the PRC and Taiwan, according to confidential documents obtained by Kyodo News. It is the first time internal agency documents have been found to assume that the PRC might attack Japanese territory. The agency’s Ground Staff Office believes the PRC might invade the remote islands in Okinawa Prefecture to block joint support operations for Taiwan by Japan and the US, according to the documents obtained Thursday. But the experts called the scenario unrealistic, saying it was a “made-up threat.” It is unlikely that they would choose the highly risky option of engaging in war on two fronts, against Taiwan as well as against Japan and the US, they said. Sources said the documents were compiled by the Ground Staff Office in November as part of operations to revise the defense guidelines. Amid budget cuts on tanks and artillery to make way for an expensive missile defense system after the end of the Cold War, the Ground Self-Defense Forces (GSDF) is trying to shift its focus to the west from the north, given the current security tensions over the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Strait. “It is unrealistic and difficult to imagine that the Chinese army would really invade the Japanese islands, although it is possible Japan would be affected by a conflict between Taiwan and China,” said Tetsuo Maeda, a national security professor at Tokyo International University. “It is better to see this as the GSDF trying to stress its new role under new threats,” Maeda said.

4. Japan Yasukuni Shrine Lawsuit

Kyodo (“YASUKUNI VISITS RULED ‘PRIVATE’,” Osaka, 05/14/04) reported that the Osaka District Court ruled Thursday that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s controversial visits to Yasukuni Shrine were private. It gave no judgment in the lawsuit on whether his visits violate a Constitutional ban on religious activities by the state, even though he signed the visitor register at the shrine as Prime Minister Koizumi. The court also rejected a lawsuit filed by 236 people, including 124 from Taiwan, seeking compensations for the prime minister’s visits to the Shinto shrine in Tokyo, which they said violated the Constitution. The suit was the first to involve plaintiffs from Taiwan, which was under Japanese colonial rule between 1895 and 1945. The Taiwanese plaintiffs include relatives of Taiwanese soldiers who joined the Japanese forces and are honored at Yasukuni among Japan’s war dead. The shrine is contentious because Class-A war criminals are also honored there. The plaintiffs are expected to appeal the ruling to the Osaka High Court. Japanese courts have issued conflicting judgments in several similar cases. The same Osaka District Court ruled Koizumi’s visits as “official” in a separate case in February, and the Matsuyama District Court in Ehime Prefecture in March made no ruling on whether the visits were official or private. The Osaka and Matsuyama courts made no ruling on the constitutionality of the visits. But the Fukuoka District Court ruled that Koizumi’s first visit as prime minister in August 2002 was unconstitutional in terms of separation of government and religion. Similar suits are pending before district courts in Tokyo, Chiba and Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, over Koizumi’s Yasukuni visits.

5. Japan Military Contingency Bills

The Japan Times (“ATTACK LAW ALSO PROTECTS FOREIGNERS,” 05/15/04) reported that the Japanese government will protect and evacuate foreign residents of Japan as well as Japanese citizens in the event of a military attack on Japan, the government said Friday. The measure is based on an interpretation that the protection of basic human rights stipulated in the Constitution can cover foreign residents, the government said in a written response to a question by an opposition lawmaker.

6. US Bases in Okinawa

Kyodo (“U.S. HAS NOT PAID SHARE OF NOISE CASE,” Naha, 05/15/04) reported that the US has not paid its share of 1.37 billion yen in compensation in line with a 1998 ruling concerning noise pollution from the US Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. A court ordered the Japanese government to pay the sum. Under the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement, both countries are supposed to share the burden of such compensation in accordance with their respective responsibilities. In response to questioning by Social Democratic Party lawmaker Kantoku Teruya, the government said in a written reply that the US has not paid its share. It declined to disclose any details of discussions over the issue, saying, “There is concern that it would damage the relationship of mutual trust with the United States.”

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

International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
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Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Brandon Yu: napsnet@nautilus.org
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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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