NAPSNet Daily Report 24 July, 2001

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 24 July, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, July 24, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-24-july-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. Alleged Spy in Japan
2. US Troops in Japan
3. Japan-PRC Relations
4. PRC Spying Verdict
5. ASEAN Views of Missile Defense
II. Republic of Korea 1. ASEAN Forum
2. ROK Aid to DPRK
3. DPRK–US Talks
4. PRC on DPRK Defectors
III. People’s Republic of China 1. DPRK View of US NMD Test
2. ROK View on Japanese History Textbooks
3. PRC-US Relations
4. Cross-Straits Relations

I. United States

1. Alleged Spy in Japan

Agence France Presse (“JAPANESE WORKER AT US BASE SUSPECTED OF STEALING MILITARY DOCUMENTS,” Tokyo, 7/24/01) reported that Japanese police spokesman said Tuesday that a Japanese worker at a key US air base in Tokyo has been questioned by Japanese police on suspicion of stealing restricted US military documents. Reports said that the man may have connections with Russian intelligence as he was detained in Russia in 1998 for taking pictures of military aircraft at a Russian air base. The police spokesman said, “He was suspected of photocopying official US air force documents, containing information restricted to internal use, and bringing home the copies twice in January 1997 and October 1998.” The documents included mission reports or the schedule of a US government plane during a visit to Tokyo in 1998 by then US president Bill Clinton.

2. US Troops in Japan

USA Today (Barbara Slavin, “MEETING ADDRESSES TROOPS IN JAPAN,” Tokyo, 7/24/01) reported that US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on July 23 that he sees no need for the US and Japan to renegotiate the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) governing US troops in Japan. Powell told reporters on his plane, “I appreciate the hospitality and the host-nation support that they (the Japanese) have given to our forces for many years. From time to time, incidents will arise.” He cited the surrender of US Staff Sergeant Timothy Woodland by US military authorities as proof that the SOFA is working.

3. Japan-PRC Relations

Agence France Presse (“CHINESE, JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTERS HOLD ‘FRANK’ TALKS,” Hanoi, 7/24/01) reported that the foreign ministers of Japan and the PRC held “frank” talks Tuesday on the sidelines of ASEAN regional security meeting gathering in Hanoi, Vietnam. Speaking after the 45-minute meeting with PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, Japan’s Makiko Tanaka told reporters, “We were very frank.” Tang said “we talked about how to get relations on a good footing in time for the 30th anniversary” of diplomatic relations next year. Tang said that the PRC has not abandoned its anger over Japan’s refusal to revise school history textbooks and a planned visit to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in Tokyo by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, stating “I clearly told [Tanaka] not to go ahead with the visit.” Tanaka is also scheduled Wednesday to hold talks with ROK Foreign Minister Han Seung- Soo, but ROK officials have played down the prospect of a breakthrough on the textbook issue in the Han-Tanaka talks.

4. PRC Spying Verdict

The Associated Press (“U.S. DISMAYED BY VERDICT AGAINST AMERICAN-BASED SCHOLAR, STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS,” Hanoi, 7/24/01) reported that a senior US State Department official said Tuesday that the US is dismayed by the PRC’s guilty verdict and 10-year prison term for spying handed down against Gao Zhan, an American University professor who is a PRC citizen. The official said that the verdict is certain to come up when US Secretary of State Colin Powell visits the PRC on July 28. Powell, referring to the PRC’s prosecution of Gao and Qin Guangguang, who was also found guilty and sentenced to 10 years, said after arriving in Vietnam, “We’re following it carefully and we’ll see what happens next.”

5. ASEAN Views of Missile Defense

Agence France Presse (“SOUTHEAST ASIA HOPES FOR EASING OF TENSION OVER US MISSILE DEFENCE,” Hanoi, 7/24/01) reported that Southeast Asian governments Tuesday said that they hoped for a reduction in tensions in talks between the US and other nations suspicious of the US national missile defense (NMD) system. Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also said that stability in the relationship between the US and the PRC was crucial to the region. The ASEAN ministers said in a joint statement following two days of talks expressing “hope that such dialogues would narrow down the differences and bring new constructive approaches to address the issues related to the NMD in the interest of maintaining world security and stability.” The ASEAN ministers said that they “agreed that the stability of relationship among the major powers, particularly the US and China, is important to the region. We reiterated the important role played by the major powers and called upon them to continue to make their contribution to strengthening peace, security, cooperation and development in the region and throughout the world.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. ASEAN Forum

The Korea Herald (“S-N DELEGATION IN HANOI FOR FORUM,” Seoul, 07/24/01) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo arrived in Hanoi Monday to attend three Asian regional conferences through Thursday, ROK officials said. Han was expected to officially contact Ambassador Ho Jong, the DPRK chief delegate, Tuesday evening during a banquet for the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting to open Wednesday. In the meeting, Han will deliver the ROK’s hope for an early resumption of inter-Korean talks and exchange views on the section on Korean issues in the ARF chairman’s statement, officials said.

2. ROK Aid to DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Hee-sung, “NORTH KOREA TO RECEIVE ELECTRICITY FROM THE SOUTH,” Seoul, 07/24/01) reported that ROK government has decided to aid the DPRK with electricity. Unification Minister Lim Dong-won announced Sunday that the government will use transmission towers between the ROK’s Munsan and the DPRK Kaesong City, 20 kilometers apart from each other. He added that over 200 ROK firms have expressed a desire to build factories in the complex and through the joint venture, sectors in great need of manual labor such as shoes and textile will see great boost. However some analysts pointed out to some disturbing factors such as the DPRK’s worn- out facilities, the time and cost to upgrade the major installations and possibility of resources being used for military purpose. “Minister Lim puts this year’s highest priority on North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-il’s visit to Seoul,” one observer in Seoul said. “The electricity is another ‘carrot’ to lure Chairman Kim.”

3. DPRK–US Talks

Joongang Ilbo (Brent Choi, “BIDEN MIGHT MAKE IT TO PYONGYANG,” Seoul, 07/23/01) reported that Joseph Biden, a US Democrat and the Chairman to the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee is likely to visit the DPRK. “Chairman Biden has expressed his intention to visit the North through North Korean representatives to the UN,” one diplomatic source in Seoul said Monday. “If all goes well, his trip to North Korea could take place within few weeks at the earliest.” Chairman Biden prior to his request for the trip to Pyongyang has already completed his preliminary contact with DPRK officials.

4. PRC on DPRK Defectors

Chosun Ilbo (Kang In-sun, “CHINA STEPS UP DEPORTATION OF NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES,” Washington, 07/23/01) reported that the Washington Post said Monday that the number of DPRK refugees deported back to the DPRK by the PRC is sharply increasing as security forces have become more vigorous in hunting them down. The article cited a report released by Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF or Doctors Without Borders). The report cited interviews with residents from border regions, which revealed that around 50 people are forcibly repatriated to the DPRK every other day, a drastic increase from 20 per week in the past. According to MSF, since the Beijing government shored up its effort to return DPRK refugees since last May, the number of the deportees is expected to reach thousands.

III. People’s Republic of China

1. DPRK View of US NMD Test

PLA Daily (Xinhua News Agency, “DPRK WILL DEVELOP COUNTERMEASURES TO US’S MISSLE DEFENSE SYSTEM,” Pyongyang, 07/21/01, P4) reported that on July 20 when interviewed by the Korean Central News Agency, a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesperson vehemently criticized the recent US missile interception test, stressing that the DPRK will have to adopt defensive measures to counter the US planned missile shield. He said, “this recent test was the first one after George W. Bush took his position, which means that the controversial missile defense system has entered the phase of putting in practice. Hence, the world-wide arms race is inevitable.” The goal of the US missile shield is to contain other powers both politically and militarily in the 21st century and seek ways to get away from the economic recession by strengthening its armed capability, the spokesperson said. Besides, he pointed out, the US spread rumors of a “missile threat from DPRK” to cover its real intention on developing missile defense system, for which DPRK has to adopt relevant measures. If some bilateral agreement is abolished because of the DPRK’s choice, it will not bring loss to the DPRK, he said.

2. ROK View on Japanese History Textbooks

People’s Daily (Xinhua News Agency, Gao Haorong, “ROK: JAPANESE HISTORY TEXTBOOKS PROBLEM SHOULD BE SOLVED,” Seoul, 07/23/01, P3) reported that ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Han Seong-soo stressed on July 22 that the Japanese history textbook issue is the core problem concerning ROK-Japanese bilateral relations and should be solved. He made this remark on a local TV program “Sunday Remarks,” saying that the ROK is keeping close watch on Japan’s reaction. If the Japanese side keeps its position of refusing to revise those parts that distort history, he warned, measurements on stopping bilateral exchanges will continue. He mentioned the cooperation with Japan in 2002 to co-hold the world cup soccer contest, saying that the history textbook problem had better be solved before this activity.

3. PRC-US Relations

Jiefang Daily (Xinhua News Agency, “POWELL: US DOES NOT SEEK TO CONFRONT CHINA,” 07/22/01, P5) reported that at a press conference held before US Secretary of State Colin Powell started his visit to five Asia-Pacific countries on July 20, he said US does not seek to confront the PRC. He said that the US is able to establish more stable and more constructive relations with the PRC. When commenting on PRC military development, he said that the PRC military is in the process of transition to modernization and is increasing its budget, about which he feels no surprise or shock. He said that he does not see the PRC as a potential enemy just because of its military reform. The US encourages bilateral military exchanges and consultations, he said. It will be beneficial if both sides can increase the degree of their military transparency. He said that he will have candid talks with the PRC on issues such as non- proliferation, human rights, religious freedom and so on.

4. Cross-Straits Relations

People’s Daily (Gu Ping, “CHINA’S REUNIFICATION IS INEVITABLE,” 07/23/01, P3) carried an article analyzing the Taiwan question between the PRC and the US, concluding that the reunification of China is historically inevitable. The article said that Taiwan has always been an indivisible part of China from the perspective of international law, although it was invaded and occupied by the imperialist countries in modern Chinese history. Since the founding of the Central Government of the PRC, the Republic of China has ended its history. This is a regime substitution under the situation of an unchanged main body of international law. The PRC enjoys completely China’s sovereignty and has the right to exert its sovereignty, including the sovereignty over Taiwan. Referring to the US factor in Taiwan question, the author said on the eve of the collapse of Jiang Kai-shek’s regime, both the US and Mao Zedong had the intention to engage with each other. However, then-President Truman did not adopt those experts’ ideas. Instead, the US Government intervened in the Korean War, intending to strangle the newly-born PRC in its cradle. Due to the US Government’s wrong choice, the article argued, the PRC and US not only lost the historical opportunity to improve their relations, but also turn into war opponents. On August 28, 1950, General MacArthur defined Taiwan’s strategic position as an “unsinkable aircraft-carrier.” It only disclosed that the US was driven by its hegemonic mentality to intervene in the PRC’s internal affairs. It is based on this wrong choice, after the Korean War, that the US Government shifted its policy of “Giving up Jiang Kai-shek” to “backing Jiang.” The US dispatched its Seventh Fleet to the Taiwan Straits and signed with the Taiwan authorities the “Mutual Defense Treaty.” In 1982, the PRC and the US co-published the Joint Communique committing to reduce arms sales to Taiwan year by year. In the meantime, the US passed the Taiwan Relations Act. In the past 20 years, the US has sold to Taiwan advanced weapons totaling US$38 billion. From all these facts, we can see that some people in the US are still indulged in the circle of Cold War mentality. The article said that the US is in a dilemma on the Taiwan question: it does not want to see a chaotic cross-Straits relations because of Taiwan making trouble; on the other hand, it does not want to see a picture of the mainland’s increasing speed of reunification. Reviewing the challenges and troubles that the US has posed to the PRC’s sovereignty, the article said that there is no room to compromise on this issue. What the US has done on Taiwan question is to put Taiwan in crisis situation, because Taiwan’s future is bound with that of the mainland. In fact, it added, choosing Taiwan independence is to choose war. If Taiwan separatists declare explicitly Taiwan’s independence, the PRC will be forced to use force, which will force the US to response. Just as many US think tanks pointed out, defending Taiwan is not a key US security interest. The US assistant Secretary of State in charge of East Asia and Pacific affairs said on June 12 that East Asia and Pacific is a region with huge economic opportunities, where the US has tremendous trade and economic interests. Once the US is involved in a Taiwan Straits conflict, to some extent arms sales will expand, but at the same time the US will lose its economic interests in China and Northeast Asia.

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Seoul, Republic of Korea

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Tokyo, Japan

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

Yunxia Cao: yule111@sina.com
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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