NAPSNet Daily Report 24 June, 2003

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 24 June, 2003", NAPSNet Daily Report, June 24, 2003, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-24-june-2003/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. DPRK on Japanese Port Controls
2. DPRK on US-DPRK Relations
3. ROK Domestic Labor Relations
4. Joint ROK-Russian Space Development
5. Japanese Popular Front
6. PRC Domestic Dissent
7. PRC SARS Outbreak
8. PRC-Indian Relations
9. PRC-Russian Cross Border Poaching
10. PRC-Taiwanese Relations
11. Taiwan Independence Vote
II. Republic of Korea 1. DPRK Leaning Toward Russia
2. Call for Return of the Abductees by DPRK
3. DPRK Stance on Nuclear Issue

I. United States

1. DPRK on Japanese Port Controls

Korean Central News Agency (“REMARKS OF CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY OF JAPAN BLASTED,” Pyongyang, 06/24/03) reported that the Chief Cabinet secretary of Japan at a recent press conference held after Japan blocked the call of the DPRK’s ship “Mangyongbong-92” at a Japanese port blustered that it would take all necessary steps including on-spot inspection to strictly watch all other ships of the DPRK entering Japanese ports. In this regard Rodong Sinmun today says in a signed commentary: This indicates that “economic sanctions” against the DPRK threatened by the Japanese reactionaries have already reached the phase of full implementation. The US is keen to use Japan as a shock brigade in its campaign to pressurize the DPRK over its nuclear issue because Tokyo is rushing headlong into reinvasion using the “war against terrorism” as a golden opportunity for its overseas expansion and militarization. And the Japanese reactionaries are seeking to attain their goal with the backing of their senior ally . It is very dangerous for the Japanese reactionaries to try to gain something from the US campaign. The DPRK regards any sanctions and blockade against it as a war action. Therefore, Japan should stop such perilous rope-dancing. If Japan keeps to the road of reinvasion dancing to the tune of the US, it will meet only self-destruction. The DPRK has already clarified that in case it judges its right to existence and sovereignty is infringed upon even a bit by a blockade operation and economic sanctions against it, it will take an immediate physical retaliatory step to cope with the situation. If Japan dares to infringe upon the DPRK’s sovereignty in league with the US the DPRK will retaliate against it with merciless blows.

2. DPRK on US-DPRK Relations

Korean Central News Agency (“U.S. URGED TO STOP ANTI-DPRK PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE AND BLOCKADE OPERATION,” Pyongyang, 06/23/03) reported that the US is busy with psychological warfare and blockade operation to disarm and stifle the DPRK, while paying lip service to the “peaceful solution” to the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula. The US is resorting to mean acts to isolate the DPRK on the international arena under such absurd pretexts as “drug smuggling,” “counterfeiting of money,” “suppression of religion,” “human traffic” and “training of computer hackers”, instead of sitting face to face with the DPRK for a reasonable dialogue. At the same time, it is barring the routine service of the DPRK-flagged trading vessels under various pretexts while stepping up a preemptive block strategy that calls for intercepting vessels and aircraft of the DPRK. This is, in fact, little short of sea blockade. These actions on the part of the Bush administration are a breach of the armistice agreement and a declaration of war in view of their nature, no matter how hard they may try to cover up them. The US hawkish forces are pushing the worldwide blockade operation against the DPKK at the phase of implementation, asserting that they would increase pressure upon the DPRK and guide it to scrap its nuclear weapons program and that they should deal with the DPRK as they combat SARS. They are also pulling up the DPRK after fabricating lies. This goes to clearly prove what a reckless phase their moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK have reached. The US has gained ill-fame as the biggest drug smuggler, a rogue state and a country with the world’s poorest human rights record and the biggest flesh trafficker. It is ludicrous, indeed, for such a country to bring those charges to the DPRK. The US seeks to establish so-called “allied front” by getting even riff-raffs involved in its psychological warfare and blockade operation against the DPRK. Japan is acting a shock brigade in implementing this plan of the US. The DPRK is neither a rogue state, a groundless label attached by the US to it, nor a country that would yield to the U.S. pressure. If the US and its followers infringe upon the sovereignty of the DPRK even a bit, it will retaliate against them with merciless strikes.

3. ROK Domestic Labor Relations

Reuters, (Samuel Len and Yoo Choonsik, “S.KOREA BRACES FOR SUMMER OF LABOUR DISCONTENT,” Seoul, 06/24/03) reported that the ROK’s trade union movement, flush from winning a delay to a key bank merger, prepared to strike for higher wages at the country’s top car maker on Tuesday as the nation braced for a wave of summer discontent. Members of the 39,000-strong union at Hyundai Motor Co voted for a strike to push for higher wages, a union official told Reuters as counting was still under way. Official results of the voting are due early on Wednesday. “Clearly it’s not welcome from the point of view it will add the headline risk for investment in Korea,” said Mike Newton, North Asian economist at HSBC Investment Bank in Hong Kong. The country’s second-largest union umbrella group, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, also said about 100,000 workers would down tools for four hours on Wednesday, while 22,000 unionized rail workers are due to strike from Saturday. Hundreds of subway workers at a number of provincial cities walked off their jobs early on Tuesday after negotiations over demands for more staff and wage increases broke down. With the economy already on the verge of entering its first recession in five years, more industrial disruption would dismay authorities and investors — especially as a sovereign rating review by Fitch Ratings is due to begin on Wednesday. Analysts and fund managers have criticized President Roh Moo-hyun, a former labor lawyer, and his four-month-old government for taking a soft line on labor, arguing it has emboldened unions to demand higher pay and to block structural reforms potentially requiring layoffs. Roh defended his approach, saying the government was right to intervene at the weekend to resolve a strike by unionized workers over a bank merger. “The government had no choice but to step in and if the strike had not ended smoothly, the government and the public would have suffered the most damage,” Roh was quoted by his spokesman as telling a cabinet meeting.

4. Joint ROK-Russian Space Development

Asia Pulse (“KOREA AIMS TO SIGN MOU WITH RUSSIA ON ROCKET DEVELOPMENT,” Seoul, 06/24/03) reported that the ROK is endeavoring for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Russia on building rockets for placement of its satellites into orbit, following last month’s initialing of a bilateral agreement on cooperation in space development, the Ministry of Science and Technology said Tuesday. The proposed MOU will likely stipulate Russia’s cooperation in the fields of engines and materials for the first domestically-made satellite-launch rocket named KSLV (Korean Space Launch Vehicle)-1. The two sides agreed in principle to cooperate in research of space, space materials, space communications and spacecraft last month. The deal will be signed by President Roh Moo-hyun and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow within the latter half of the year. “There hasn’t been substantial collaboration because the agreement hasn’t been officially finished. Therefore, Seoul decided to begin the rocket project in cooperation with Moscow prior to other programs,” a ministry official said. The KSLV-1, bearing the 100-kilogram, low-orbit satellite STSAT-2, is expected to be launched in late 2005.

5. Japanese Popular Front

The Associated Press (Hans Greimel, “JAPANESE COMMUNISTS DROP MARXIST JARGON,” Tokyo, 06/24/03) reported that the beleaguered Japanese Communist Party is dropping age-old anti-imperialist battle cries like “Abolish the emperor!” and “Fight the army!” in its biggest, most bourgeois, manifesto makeover yet. The platform changes aim to rekindle a party that has been rendered nearly irrelevant by Japan’s bustling economy and anti-communist opinion fueled by renewed tensions with the DPRK. “We needed to create a more realistic platform to participate in politics,” said Kimitoshi Morihara, of the party’s executive committee. “This is the 21st century.” The new platform will tolerate the existence of the Japanese royal family, as well as the nation’s well-armed and well-trained Self-Defense Forces. “The whole situation has changed,” Morihara said. The party’s support has slumped since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, largely because of its vehement opposition to the US anti-terror campaign. In recent elections, it has lost nine seats in Parliament, and now holds only 40 of 427 seats in both upper and lower houses. Abolishing the monarchy is still a long-term goal, Morihara said, but “there is no urgent need to touch the system” because the emperor is constitutionally barred from politics. In another sign of the times, the new platform wipes away Marxist jargon referring to the party as being in the “vanguard” of public trust. The party is now open to cooperation with other parties to gain a foothold in future coalition governments, Morihara said. Morihara insists the party’s communist credentials are still solid. Membership has “already hit bottom” and is rebounding to 400,000 people, Morihara said. “We need a step-by-step approach,” he said. “But our basic ideas have not changed.”

6. PRC Domestic Dissent

Reuters, (Tan Ee Lyn, “PASSIONS BOIL BEFORE HONG KONG HANDOVER ANNIVERSARY,” Hong Kong, 06/24/03) reported that PRC leaders are expected to descend on Hong Kong next week bearing gifts worth billions of dollars to support its ailing economy, but they are unlikely to be welcomed with open arms. Instead, critics of the city’s PRC-backed government say up to 100,000 people will use next Tuesday’s sixth anniversary of the return of the former British colony to the PRC to air their grievances on the streets. If the organizers’ predictions prove correct, the protests will be the biggest in the city in the years since it returned to PRC rule in 1997. “It is a boiling pot that will explode sooner or later. The question is whether the PRC or the Hong Kong government will do something to cool it down,” University of Hong Kong politics lecturer Sonny Lo told Reuters. Hong Kong newspapers that are close to the PRC say Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior officials will be in town for the anniversary and the signing on Monday of a free-trade deal between Hong Kong, which enjoys special administrative status, and the PRC. The immediate target of Tuesday’s protests is an anti-subversion law planned by the Hong Kong government and denounced by critics as a threat to freedoms in the city. Hong Kong must approve the law under its constitution, agreed by Britain and the PRC before the handover, but the draft gives no timetable. The PRC has been pressing Hong Kong to enact it, fearing the city may be used as a base for subversive activities. The government’s refusal to allow more public consultation and widespread anger about its inability to revive the economy have sparked calls for greater democratization in the territory. Lecturer Lo said that by asking for concessions like the trade pact, Hong Kong was speeding up its integration with the PRC and making itself more beholden to the central government. “Hong Kong people see it as a trade-off,” Lo said. “Hong Kong has become increasingly economically dependent on the mainland and its political autonomy has been crushed.”

7. PRC SARS Outbreak

Reuters (Jonathan Ansfield and John Ruwitch, “WHO LIFTS BEIJING SARS TRAVEL WARNING,” Beijing, 06/24/03) reported that the World Health Organization on Tuesday scrapped its warning against travel to the PRC capital, the only remaining place in the world on its SARS blacklist. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which originated in the southern PRC, infected more than 8,000 people worldwide and killed more than 800. Over 190 of those deaths were in Beijing — more than anywhere else. Tuesday’s announcement, which also said Beijing was free of the spread of SARS, underscored the turnaround in the city which was blamed widely for concealing the scale of contagion for weeks before confronting it head on and mobilizing the masses. Just weeks ago, people cowered at home in fear of contracting the virus which has killed more than 300 of their compatriots. “Today is a milestone in the fight against SARS, not only in China but in the world,” Shigeru Omi, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, told a Beijing news conference. Beijing has had more than 2,500 cases of the flu-like illness but has gone 13 days without any confirmed new infections. The WHO announcement was a big boost to Beijing’s 14 million people. Outside a department store on the Wangfujing shopping avenue, about 200 people watched a live broadcast of the WHO news conference on a giant screen. When Omi declared the travel advisory lifted, they erupted in applause and store employees pounded on a giant drum and threw confetti in celebration. Worker Jin Xiangdong, 48, out buying eyeglasses, waved a red flag and shouted “It’s great!” “If it had come earlier, it would have been better, but the situation in Beijing was pretty serious. This will be beneficial for economic life and for all aspects of life here,” said Jin. But Omi said the city would have to ensure SARS did not erupt again. “We have to remain vigilant. There is no room for complacency,” he said.

8. PRC-Indian Relations

Reuters (Sanjeev Miglani “SINO-INDIAN TIES ‘TRANSFORMED,’ SAYS VAJPAYEE,” Beijing, 06/24/03) reported that India’s relationship with the PRC, long bedeviled by mutual suspicion and border disputes, has been transformed by a determination to cooperate and deal with problems, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said on Tuesday. “I must say, with great satisfaction, that my meetings with the leadership of China have been excellent,” he said as the two countries prepared to issue a declaration expected to give a push to resolving territorial disputes. “They have confirmed the desire to build stable, enduring and forward-looking ties of friendships shared by the highest political levels in both countries,” he said after talks with ex- President Jiang Zemin, who commands the PRC’s vast military. “Our present course of developing all-round bilateral cooperation while simultaneously addressing our differences has transformed the quality of our relationship,” Vajpayee said. The two countries signed the declaration Monday. They refused to make it public immediately, but officials from both sides said they expected it to help them work to resolve disputes over their border, which crosses some of the world’s most mountainous and remote terrain. Vajpayee, making the first trip to the PRC by an Indian prime minister in a decade, declared the era of mutual suspicion dead Monday. During his busy six-day visit, he is also due to meet President Hu Jintao, who took over only in March, and Vice President Zeng Qinghong. The two neighbors, whose combined populations comprise a third of humanity, signed a series of agreements Monday laying out their vision of a new, closer relationship.

9. PRC-Russian Cross Border Poaching

The Associated Press (Anatoly Medetsky, “CHINA POACHERS ACCUSED OF HARMING RIVERS,” Vladivostok, 06/24/03) reported that two PRC poachers pour herbicides into a shallow Russian river, and minutes later dozens of dead frogs come belly up. One of the poachers, clad in a khaki jacket and high rubber boots, wades into the water and stuffs the limp bodies into a plastic bag. Russian border guards videotaped the scene last year as evidence of a practice poachers in the PRC began using widely last year – allegedly poisoning about 10 Russian rivers near the border with the PRC. Officers then detained the pair and handed them over to the PRC. From frogs to endangered leopards, animals in Russia’s Far East have suffered from proximity to the PRC, where poachers cater to a lively trade in creatures believed to have unique healing powers and culinary cachet. Scores of poachers cross the border every year to cull animals and plants from forests, rivers and bays, authorities and ecologists say. Sometimes they use poison, sometimes electricity generators and electrodes that they stick into water to electrocute aquatic creatures. “This is ecological terrorism,” said Pavel Fomenko of the World Wildlife Fund. Albina Proskurenko, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Federal Border Service in Vladivostok, said the poison seized from PRC poachers is normally used to kill insects in rice fields and is very potent. PRC authorities have done what they could to stop the flow of contraband animals and plants. According to Russian border guards, their PRC counterparts regularly erect additional border outposts in the summer, when poachers are especially active. PRC authorities in border areas also arrange public awareness campaigns aimed at discouraging citizens from poaching in Russia. But those measures are too little to counter the threat, Russian ecologists and border officials say. “Poaching will continue as long as it brings money,” Proskurenko said.

10. PRC-Taiwanese Relations

Asia Pulse (“BEIJING WILL NOT STOP SQUEEZING TAIWAN INTERNATIONALLY: CHEN,” Taipei, 06/24/03) reported that President Chen Shui-bian warned the public Monday that the PRC will never stop squeezing Taiwan internationally. Receiving a group of domestic Lions Club leaders at the Presidential Office, Chen said that the PRC will not abandon its attempts to debase Taiwan’s status in the international community and said that the people of Taiwan should avoid being used by the PRC authorities as an instrument to jeopardize Taiwan’s interests. He expressed his regret that someone was still used by Beijing as an instrument to downgrade Taiwan’s international status without any protective preparations having been made. Although the “individual involved in the incident” has been trying to make amends, the damage he did to Taiwan is irrevocable, Chen said. On the other hand, the president encouraged the Taiwan Lions Clubs to defend their own and the country’s interests when participating in international activities. The government was greatly concerned over an attempt by the International Association of Lions Clubs to change the title of Taiwan’s membership into “Taiwan, China” last year, Chen said. Although the domestic Lions Clubs obtained the title “MD300-Taiwan” for Taiwan’s membership in the Lions Clubs International thanks to a series of efforts by the government and individuals, the international volunteer organization is still under tremendous pressure from the PRC on the Taiwan issue because it hopes to bring the PRC into its organization, the president pointed out. Taiwan has now more than 37,000 Lions Club members, whose total annual donation to the Lions Clubs International is in the organization’s top ten list, Chen noted, adding that their performance is a pride of the people of Taiwan. Taiwan’s Lions Club members should not abandon any opportunity to voice support for Taiwan, the president said.

11. Taiwan Independence Vote

The China Post (“KMT TO PROPOSE LAW THAT EXCLUDES INDEPENDENCE VOTE,” Taipei, 06/24/03) reported that the opposition Kuomintang may propose a referendum law to prevent a vote on the island’s formal independence from the PRC, its whip at the legislature said yesterday. KMT Chairman Lien Chan recently has spoken in favor of the people’s rights to make their own choices, but referendums on the nation’s status quo are unconstitutional, said Lee Chia-chin, deputy head of the opposition party’s legislative caucus. When parliament reopens in September, the KMT and its ally, the People First Party, will introduce a bill to legalize referendums on social and economic affairs, Lee said. The opposition’s bill is largely similar to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s version, but the latter allows public vote on such political issues as the nation’s sovereignty, title, anthem, and flag, Lee said. The opposition version also separates referendums from elections, that is, the two votes – one on candidates and the other on national affairs – should not be conducted on the same occasion, he said. The DPP has vowed to schedule a referendum on both the island’s nuclear power policy and its campaign to join the World Health Organization for the same day when voters elect a new president next year. The opposition is worried that the ruling party is trying to manipulate the referendum in favor of President Chen Shui-bian’s reelection campaign. While Lien has voiced support for referendums, his PFP counterpart, James Soong, has dismissed them.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Leaning Toward Russia

Joongang Ilbo (“NORTH KOREA MAY TURN TO PUTIN FOR TALKS HELP,” Moscow, 06/24/03) reported that DPRK is seeking Russian support for negotiations with the US to resolve nuclear weapons issues. A well-informed source said Sunday that the DPRK has asked Russia to host bilateral talks with the US in Russia. “At the end of May, Kim Jong-il of the DPRK sent a letter to President Vladimir Putin,” the source said. “Because China has recently shifted its ground in relations with the North, it is possible that Pyeongyang is leaning toward Moscow to convey its messages to Washington.” Mr. Putin told the British Broadcasting Corporation Sunday that Russia was willing to host follow-up nuclear talks, and stressed that his government is in close touch with all the parties concerned to keep up the momentum of the three-way talks in Beijing in April.

2. Call for Return of the Abductees by DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (Kim Min-cheol, “ACTION ON NORTH’S KIDNAPPINGS CALLED FOR,” Seoul, 06/24/03) reported that groups of relatives of Koreans and Japanese kidnapped by the DPRK called on the ROK and Japan to elevate to a top-priority policy the finding and returning of those abducted. At a joint press conference on Monday at the Koreana Hotel in downtown Seoul, a representative of one ROK group said, “During the Korean War, the North Korean administration kidnapped 80,000 civilians. Since then, 500 more have been kidnapped. In Japan, scores of people have been abducted other than the 15 confirmed by the Japanese government. The Roh Moo-hyun administration should put this matter at the top of its agenda, and if DPRK does not comply, we must cut off all our support.” Another speaker said, “North Korea must immediately return the survivors and the remains of those that have died. The international society and the UN must investigate the truth behind the abductions and the terror and find a solution.” The groups also released a report outlining the human rights violations committed by the DPRK, including the abuses inflicted on the kidnapped persons. It also described the groups’ operations and listed proposals from experts.

3. DPRK Stance on Nuclear Issue

The Koreaherald (Seo Hyun-jin, “NK NEEDS SECURITY, AID ASSURANCES: MINISTER,” Seoul, 06/24/03) reported that ROK unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun said Monday that the DPRK will settle for multilateral dialogue to discuss its nuclear weapons development if it is convinced of both the security of its regime and economic aid from US. Jeong also predicted DPRK may demonstrate such a change of heart within a month or two, despite the fact it has rebuffed multilateral talks while insisting on bilateral talks with US first. “North Korea will accept multilateral talks if it is convinced about (US) recognition of (its current leader) Kim Jong-il’s regime and economic assistance,” the nation’s top policy maker for inter-Korean affairs said in an interview with SBS radio. Jeong said DPRK has called for one-on-one talks with US to confirm whether it can acquire a security guarantee for the ruling workers’ party and financial support from its Cold War foe. Attending the 23-member ASEAN Regional Forum in Phnom Penh last week, DPRK Ambassador-at-large Ho Jong also said his country wants to have bilateral talks with US to fathom their political agenda, adding that DPRK is not necessarily opposing a multilateral forum over its nuclear development. Regarding revived US calls for UN to take action on the DPRK, Minister Jeong said the UN Security Council may adopt a presidential statement on the DPRK’s nuclear threat as its first step to acting on the nuclear issue since it took up the problem in February.

The NAPSNet Daily Report aims to serve as a forum for dialogue and exchange among peace and security specialists. Conventions for readers and a list of acronyms and abbreviations are available to all recipients. For descriptions of the world wide web sites used to gather information for this report, or for more information on web sites with related information, see the collection of other NAPSNet resources.
We invite you to reply to today’s report, and we welcome commentary or papers for distribution to the network.

Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:

Ilmin Internationl Relations Institute
BK21 The Education and Research Corps for East Asian Studies
Department of Political Science, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

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

International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan

Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Brandon Yu: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

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

 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.