NAPSNet Daily Report 23 January, 2003

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 23 January, 2003", NAPSNet Daily Report, January 23, 2003, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-23-january-2003/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. DPRK-ROK Nuclear Resolution
2. ROK-US Relations
3. Japan-US DPRK Diplomacy
4. DPRK UN Involvement
5. US on DPRK Sanctions
6. US DPRK Weapons Inspections?
7. Russia on DPRK-US Diplomacy
8. DPRK on NPT Withdrawal
9. PRC Military Exercises
10. Koizumi Yasukuni Shrine Visit
II. Republic of Korea 1. Two Koreas’ Contrary Opinions
2. Inter Korean Red Cross Talks
3. UNHCR Intervention to PRC Government
4. UNSC’s Involvement into DPRK Issue

I. United States

1. DPRK-ROK Nuclear Resolution

The Associated Press Hans Greimel, “NORTH KOREA AGREES TO WORK WITH SOUTH KOREA ON RESOLVING NUCLEAR STANDOFF PEACEFULLY,” Seoul, 01/23/03), Reuters (Samuel Len, “KOREAS AGREE PEACEFUL END TO CRISIS, KIM TOURS ARMY,” Seoul, 01/23/03), the Agence France-Presse (“KOREAS PLEDGE TO SOLVE NUCLEAR ISSUE PEACEFULLY, BUT NO MAJOR PROGRESS,” 01/24/03) and Agence France-Presse (“PM SOUTH KOREA MAKES TWIN PUSH FOR NORTH TO GIVE UP NUCLEAR PROGRAM,” 01/23/02) reported that the DPRK and ROK agreed to work together to resolve the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula peacefully, a joint statement released at the end of marathon cabinet-level talks said. “North and South Korea have exchanged enough of each others’ positions on the nuclear issue and agreed to actively co-operate to settle this problem in a peaceful manner,” the statement said. However the ROK delegates said they had “failed” to convince their counterparts to issue a public announcement committing theDPRK to abandoning its nuclear weapons program quickly. The ROK Unification Ministry issued a separate statement at the end of the talks, which lasted through Thursday night until 6:00 am Friday (2100 GMT Thursday), expressing its disappointment. “The South Korean side has not produced a progressive position from the North over the nuclear issue but conveyed our and international concerns over the nuclear problem,” the ministry said. A spokesman for the ROK side, Rhee Bong-Jo, stated after the end of the talks that the ROK had “strongly demanded” that the DPRK declare that it would quickly abandon its nuclear weapons program and reverse its recent withdrawal from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. However Rhee said the five DPRK delegates were adamant they were not prepared to give any concessions unless the DPRK could discuss the matter directly with the US. “North Korea kept contending that this nuclear issue should be resolved through dialogue with the United States,” Rhee said. “North Korea has a different view towards the nuclear issue from ours. Of course we have failed to narrow the differences but the agreement to peacefully resolve the issue has significance… and we conveyed enough of what we wanted to say and what we had to say to the North side during the talks.” An opportunity for further negotiations will be available with the joint statement announcing another round of cabinet-level talks from April 7 to 10, in Pyongyang. Separate economic co-operation talks were also announced for February 11 to 14 in Seoul.

2. ROK-US Relations

Agence France-Presse (“ENVOY FOR SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT WANTS GOOD TIES WITH US,” 01/24/03) reported that a special envoy for ROK president-elect Roh Moo-hyun said his boss wanted good relations with the US, despite tapping anti-US sentiment during his election campaign. Yoo Jay-Kun, a member of the ROK’s National Assembly, addressed a conference on US-ROK relations here as part of Roh’s continuing initiative to ease back from inflammatory campaign statements. “We believe we have to come together, just like in the past,” Yoo said, at the conference, marking 50 years of the US-ROK alliance at the School for Advanced International Studies in Washington. “When Korea has been in trouble, America was always a best friend.” Yoo’s remarks followed weeks of simmering anti-American sentiment in ROK, following the acquittal of two US soldiers involved in the deaths of two schoolgirls in a road accident prior to the presidential elections in December. Roh, who has never visited the United States, is expected to come to visit President George W. Bush at the White House soon after his inauguration next month. A team of his national security and foreign policy advisors is expected to arrive here February 2, prior to talks to prepare the summit with members of the Bush administration, an ROK diplomat here said. The White House encounter is expected to be dominated by the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula.

3. Japan-US DPRK Diplomacy

Agence France-Presse (“US ARMS CONTROL CHIEF ARRIVES IN JAPAN,” 01/23/03) reported that US arms control chief John Bolton arrived here for talks with Japanese government officials to defuse a crisis sparked by the DPRK’s nuclear ambitions. To open his three-day visit, Bolton was to meet Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and vice foreign minister Yukio Takeuchi late Thursday, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said. He was also to attend a Japan-US meeting on arms control and nuclear non-proliferation Friday. Bolton is expected to promote the US stance that the DPRK’s nuclear violations should be referred to the UN Security Council, similar to efforts he has made during the trip that has also taken him to Beijing and Seoul. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-member board was expected to convene a meeting as early as Friday in Vienna to decide whether to refer the crisis to the council. But an ROK foreign ministry official said Thursday it was now likely to take place the following week or in early February.

4. DPRK UN Involvement

Agence France-Presse (“IAEA BOARD MEETING ON NUKE CRISIS PUT OFF,” 01/23/03) reported that a special meeting of the United Nations nuclear watchdog board to decide whether to refer the DPRK’s nuclear violations to the UN Security Council has been put off, a senior official said here. “International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board members have yet to reach a consensus on the date for their meeting,” the foreign ministry official told reporters. “Taking into account this fact, there is little possibility of IAEA board members’ meeting taking place this week.” The IAEA’s 35-member board was expected to convene a meeting Friday in Vienna but the ROK official said it was now likely to take place the following week or in early February. IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said from Vienna it was uncertain what decision the board would take when it met to discuss the referral of the nuclear issue to the UN Security Council. “No decision has been taken… There is no consensus yet,” he said Wednesday. US arms control chief John Bolton said in Seoul Wednesday that broad international support was emerging to bring the DPRK’s nuclear violations before the world body within days. Bolton said he did not expect any opposition to the move from the five permanent members of the Security Council. But UN officials and diplomats indicated that Russia, which has proposed its own plan to resolve the crisis, wanted more time for diplomacy before the UN was brought into the standoff.

5. US on DPRK Sanctions

Agence France-Presse (“NO IMMEDIATE US PUSH FOR SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA,” 01/23/03) reported that the US will not immediately press for sanctions against North Korea, a US official said, as speculation mounted that the UN Security Council could soon take up the current nuclear crisis. Secretary of State Colin Powell meanwhile cautioned that while he did not expect immediate breakthroughs in the showdown, he was comfortable some progress was being made by escalating international diplomacy. One of his subordinates, US arms control chief John Bolton, earlier injected new urgency into the crisis, by saying in Seoul that the UN Security Council could be involved within days. The DPRK has warned it would deem any imposition of sanctions by the council to punish its twin nuclear programs as a “declaration of war.” But a senior State Department official said on condition of anonymity that it would be wrong to jump to the conclusion that Washington would immediately press for sanctions. “The goal is to make clear to the North Koreans in many different ways that this is an international problem that they have created,” the official said. “That’s the goal of taking it to the Security Council, it doesn’t mean that we jump into sanctions right away.”

6. US DPRK Weapons Inspections?

The Associated Press (Christopher Torchia, “IRAQ-STYLE WEAPONS INSPECTIONS APPEAR UNLIKELY IN NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 01/23/03) carried an analytical story that said that the U.N. weapons inspectors race unannounced to ammunition depots, technical colleges and presidential palaces. Such a scenario is hard to picture in the DPRK, even if it agrees to dismantle its nuclear programs. As one of the world’s most closed and militarized societies, the DPRK is deeply suspicious of outsiders. Even international aid workers cannot move around freely. Verification that the DPRK is not developing nuclear weapons will lie at the heart of any agreement ending the crisis over the DPRK’s nuclear ambitions. But analysts believe it will be difficult to prove the DPRK is free of nuclear weapons as long as it remains a totalitarian state. “Verification would either require a level of intrusiveness far beyond anything that North Korea has hitherto agreed to, or a level of trust and tolerance for ambiguity that would go beyond anything that the U.S. government has been prepared to accept,” said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, an Alexandria, Va.-based research center on security issues. US officials have said that the DPRK, if it is approached in a way it deems acceptable, may be willing to make concessions, allow nuclear inspections, even renounce any intention to acquire nuclear weapons. But any deal would require the DPRK to declare its nuclear material and operations, and international inspectors would have to verify the data with onsite visits.

7. Russia on DPRK-US Diplomacy

The Associated Press (“RUSSIA THINKS US MUST TALK DIRECTLY WITH NORTH KOREA,” 01/23/03) reported that Russia thinks the US must talk directly with the DPRK to defuse a crisis over that country’s suspected development of nuclear weapons and will work in that direction, its foreign minister said Thursday. “A direct dialogue with Pyongyang and Washington is necessary. We support such a dialogue and from our side we will contribute so that this dialogue takes place,” Igor Ivanov said after meeting with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou. The nuclear standoff with the DPRK and the crisis over Iraq are among the top issues Ivanov will be discussing in Athens during a meeting with European Union representatives. On Friday, Ivanov will discuss those issues and others concerning Russia’s relations with the 15-member during a meeting with Papandreou, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten. Greece holds the rotating, six-month EU presidency.

8. DPRK on NPT Withdrawal

The Korean Central News Agency (“DPRK GOVERNMENT DECLARES ITS WITHDRAWAL FROM NPT,” 01/23/03) issued the following statement: A dangerous situation has been created on the Korean peninsula due to the US vicious hostile policy toward the DPRK, which seriously infringes upon the sovereignty of our nation and the security of the state. The United States instigated the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to adopt another “resolution” against the DPRK on January 6 in the wake of the November 29, 2002 “resolution”. In the US-wirepulled “resolutions”, the IAEA forced us to abandon the alleged “nuclear programme” immediately in a way of making the verification possible, branding us as a “criminal”, in disregard of the essence of the nuclear issue, a product of the US hostile policy toward the DPRK, and our special status that temporarily suspended the effectuation of its withdrawal from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). After the adoption of the “resolution”, the director general of the IAEA issued an ultimatum to the effect that this issue would be brought to the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on us if we fail to implement the “resolution” within a few weeks. This shows clearly that the IAEA still acts as the cat’s paw and the mouthpiece of the US and that it is being used as an instrument of the US tough stance on the DPRK aimed to disarm us and finally destroy our system through the medium of the NPT. The withdrawal from the NPT is the inevitable measure of self-defence taken to cope with US moves toward stifling the DPRK and the unfair step of the IAEA that toes the line of the US. Though we withdraw from the NPT, we have no intention to develop nuclear weapons, and at the present stage our nuclear activity is only limited to peaceful purposes including power generation. If the US abandons its hostile policy to strangle us and refrains from nuclear threat, we may substantiate through a special verification between the DPRK and the US that we do not manufacture nuclear weapons. The US and the IAEA can never shirk their responsibility for compelling us to withdraw from the treaty, ignoring our last efforts to settle the nuclear issue in a peaceful way through negotiations.

9. PRC Military Exercises

Agence France-Presse (“CHINA STAGES MILITARY EXERCISES IN FRIGID NORTHEAST NEAR N KOREA,” 01/23/03) reported that the PRC’s military staged a seven-day extreme weather training exercise in its frigid northeast near North Korea, state media said. Troops from the Shenyang Military Zone, which covers the three provinces in northeast China — Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin, joined the maneuvers, the official China News Service said, without elaborating on the exact location or nature of the exercises. Troops marched 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) over seven days and practised attacking and defensive maneuvers, as well as rapid deployment, the ability to survive in the cold without food or water, and preparations for air attacks. Similar exercises were staged earlier this month in the northeast to improve cooperation by land, air and sea forces under future-war conditions, the news service had reported. Jilin province borders North Korea, and the exercises came as tensions intensified between the United States and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear program. China, North Korea’s closest ally, has repeatedly stated it hopes the current standoff may be solved peacefully through dialogue. But some analysts said it was possible the Chinese military were preparing for the worst, as militaries tend to do, and prepared the exercises in the event of potential hostilities on the Korean peninsula. Other analysts said the military may simply want to practice in cold weather.

10. Koizumi Yasukuni Shrine Visit

Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN’S PM SAYS WAR SHRINE VISIT NOT WRONG,” 01/23/03) reported that Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said his visit to a the Yasukuni war shrine was not wrong, despite protests from Asian neighbors. “I do not think it is wrong for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to visit the Yasukuni Shrine,” he said at a lower-house committee meeting in parliament. Honouring 2.5 million Japanese war dead, Yasukuni is widely seen as a symbol of Japan’s former militarism, particularly since 1978 when it enshrined 14 Class-A war criminals including wartime prime minister General Hideki Tojo. Koizumi visited the shrine January 14, his third visit since taking office in April 2001, triggering renewed protests from Beijing and Seoul. He is only the third prime minister to visit the shrine since 1978. His first pilgrimage to Yasukuni was August 13, 2001, two days before the anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II. Koizumi said Thursday “it was a pity that I could not go on August 15.” “I visited there on the 13th (August 2001) after taking into account the position of China and South Korea,” he said.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Two Koreas’ Contrary Opinions

Chosun Ilbo (“NK DEMANDS ‘NATIONAL COOPERATION’,” Seoul, 01/23/03) reported that DPRK stated Wednesday that the ROk and the DPRK should cooperate in dealing with US with regard to DPRK’s nuclear issue. During the ninth Inter-Korea ministerial talks, DPRK representatives stated in a keynote speech that its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) was a necessary action against the US’s pressing maneuvers, and unfair treatment by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). DPRK delegates also said that the DPRK and the ROK should join in “inter-Korean cooperation to serve peace and security.” DPRK demanded inter-Korean cooperation to be used to tackle the US’s pressure to disarm DPRK, while ROK said it wanted to solve the DPRK nuclear problem through inter-Korean assistance. ROK chief delegate Chung Se-hyun demanded DPRK to withdraw its nuclear development program, stop the reactivation of nuclear facilities, and repeal its withdrawal from the NPT.

2. Inter Korean Red Cross Talks

Chosun Ilbo (“RED CROSSES AGREE ON MEETING POST,” Mount Kumgang, 01/23/03) reported that the ROK and the DPRK came to an agreement on constructing a permanent meeting post for displaced families reunions in Goseung-gun, DPRK during the Inter-Korea Red Cross working level meeting at Mount Kumgang, Wednesday. The construction will start April and will be built to accommodate 1,000 people. Also, the sixth reunions for separated kin will be held from February 20 to 25 at Mount Kumgang; 100 families from ROK and DPRK will take turns during the three days to meet their separated kin. Officials from the ROK and the DPRK have concurred on five issues when ending the third inter-Korea working level meeting this day. ROK will be providing the resources and tools needed for the construction while DPRK will be providing the land and manpower. The meeting post will be constructed in a year and the problems regarding the management of the post will be decided on a month before construction begins. The fourth Red Cross Inter-Korea meeting will be held in April at Mount Kumgang.

3. UNHCR Intervention to PRC Government

Chousn Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yeol, “UNHCR INTERVENES FOR DEFECTORS,” Tokyo, 01/23/03) reported that Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) sent a letter on Tuesday to the PRC government requesting it not to send back DPRK defectors who had tried to flee to ROK and Japan. The Japanese newspaper reported that UNHCR also requested the PRC government to receive UNHCR staff so that they will have access to the defectors, and determine whether they can be classified as refugees. A UNHCR spokesperson is known to have delivered a message to the PRC government that sending defectors back without examining whether they are refugees was not something a member of international refugee convention should do.

4. UNSC’s Involvement into DPRK Issue

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Kyung-bok, “US REPEATS CALL FOR UNSC INVOLVEMENT,” Seoul, 01/23/03) reported that US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton again expressed his wish Wednesday to refer the matter of DPRK nuclear issue to the United Nations Security Council. However, Lim Chae-jeong, head of the Presidential Transition Committee, stated that the issue is not yet a problem to be handled by the UNSC. In an interview with Pyeonghwa Broadcasting, Lim said that there has been no confirmation that the issue of referring DPRK matter to the council is an official position of the US. Bolton, however, suggested that immediate action should be taken on establishing a special council for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer DPRK to the UNSC during meetings with Foreign Minister Choi Sung-hong and Yim Sung-joon, senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security.

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Saiko Iwata: saiko@akira.ne.jp
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Hiroya Takagi: hiroya_takagi@hotmail.com
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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
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