NAPSNet Daily Report 25 June, 2003

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 25 June, 2003", NAPSNet Daily Report, June 25, 2003, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-25-june-2003/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US on DPRK Sanctions
2. US-DPRK Relations
3. Inter-Korean Relations
4. Korea Summit Scandal
5. ROK Domestic Labor Relations
6. ROK Draft Avoidance
7. Sino-Indian Relations
8. US on PRC Anti-Subversion Law
9. Amnesty International on PRC Anti-Subversion Law
10. PRC Domestic Media
11. PRC SARS Outbreak
12. Japanese Space Program

I. United States

1. US on DPRK Sanctions

Asia Source (Kim Chong-hyuk “STATE DEPARTMENT’S HAWK SAYS SANCTIONS COMING,” Washington, 06/25/03) reported that the US will disrupt trade by the DPRK that provides the foreign currency it needs to develop nuclear weapons and missiles, the undersecretary of states for arms control, John Bolton, said yesterday. Testifying before the US House of Representatives International Relations Committee, Mr. Bolton said the DPRK has been engaged in missile and illegal drug exports to fund its weapons of mass destruction programs and is also engaged in gambling business in Japan. The US will work with other countries to disrupt those activities, he said. The US has concentrated on stopping the flow of funds to the DPRK that eventually leads to its dictator, Kim Jong-il, Mr. Bolton said. The illegal activities, he said, have “funded the greed of the North Korean leadership” and interrupting them will have no effect on the 22 million DPRK people. Mr. Bolton’s remarks are the furthest an administration official has gone in threatening sanctions against the DPRK. While Japan has also been warming to the idea of sanctions against the DPRK, the ROK has been reluctant so far, calling for more dialogue. Mr. Bolton’s remarks were also an elaboration of the Proliferation Security Initiative announced by President George W. Bush in Poland over the weekend, which called for a new effort to combat weapons of mass destruction by stopping and seizing shipments of associated parts and technology. Mr. Bush has said the US would try to resolve the DPRK nuclear issue peacefully, Mr. Bolton said, and the new effort of interdicting threatening shipments is also a part of that peaceful resolution.

2. US-DPRK Relations

Reuters (“MILLION NORTH KOREANS RALLY AGAINST UNITED STATES,” Seoul, 06/25/03) reported that more than a million DPRK citizens rallied on Wednesday to mark the 53rd anniversary of the start of the Korean War, using the occasion to launch another protest against the US. “Pyongyang is swept by waves of mass rallies on the occasion of June 25, the day of anti-US imperialist struggle,” said the DPRK’s official news agency KCNA. “The DPRK has no option but to put further spurs to bolstering its self-defensive nuclear deterrent force as the United States is persistently pursuing its strategy to isolate and stifle it.” Japan’s Kyodo news agency said on Wednesday the US and ROK had agreed to compile a package of proposals for the DPRK, including economic aid, if the DPRK agrees to abandon its nuclear weapons program. The package would be put forward if the DPRK agreed to multilateral talks with the US, PRC, Japan and the ROK, Kyodo said. Quoting Japanese foreign ministry officials, Kyodo said the proposal would include an international guarantee that the DPRK would not be invaded if it dismantles its nuclear program in a verifiable and irreversible manner. Senior officials from Japan, the US, and the ROK will discuss the proposals when they meet in Washington next month to discuss the DPRK, Kyodo added.

3. Inter-Korean Relations

The Associated Press (Soo-Jeong Lee, “SOUTH KOREA URGES NORTH AGAINST NUKES,” Seoul, 06/25/03) reported that the ROK marked the 53rd anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War on Wednesday by urging the DPRK to give up its nuclear ambitions in return for international aid. President Roh Moo-hyun said the ROK could never tolerate the DPRK’s suspected development of nuclear weapons but that the dispute should be resolved peacefully. “North Korea will receive wide assistance from the international community if it gives up its nuclear programs,” Roh said in a speech to 800 Korean War veterans at a Seoul hotel. “North Korea should not miss this opportunity.” Noting that millions of lives were lost during the Korean War, Roh said everything should be done to prevent another war on the Korean Peninsula. “Such a tragedy should never be repeated,” he told Korean, American, Filipino and Turkish veterans. “Everything we achieved will be brought to naught.” Also Wednesday, about 60 Korean and US military chaplains took part in a wreath-laying ceremony to remember the dead and injured at the Korean War museum in Seoul.

4. Korea Summit Scandal

Reuters (Samuel Len, “PROSECUTOR CHARGES THREE FOR KOREA SUMMIT PAYMENT,” Seoul, 06/25/03) reported that a special prosecutor upbraided the ROK’s former government Wednesday for making secret payments to the DPRK to secure a landmark summit and charged three people in connection with the payments. Special prosecutor Song Doo-hwan, concluding a 70-day investigation, said separate payments by the Hyundai Group to the DPRK were for legitimate business reasons, but alleged the way the overall funding was carried out broke regulations. “The secret funding, which was made without the consensus of public opinion, cannot be justified,” Song told a news conference. “The Hyundai Group in return for obtaining comprehensive economic cooperation rights from North Korea, promised to send $400 million before the summit, while the government promised $100 million,” Song said. Song said former presidential adviser Park Jie-won had asked Chung Mong-hun, the chairman of Hyundai Asan, for help in making a $100 million payment to the DPRK a month before the summit in June 2000. Park was charged with abusing his authority, while Chung and Lim Dong-won, the previous head of the ROK’s spy agency, were charged with violating foreign currency regulations, a statement from the special prosecutor’s office said. The charges will be brought before a court, although no date has been set yet, an official at the special prosecutors office told Reuters. The summit between the then ROK president, Kim Dae-jung, and the DPRK leader Kim Jong-il helped earn the ROK’s Kim a Nobel peace prize. But critics, in particular the opposition, have said the DPRK’s Kim only agreed to the summit because of the payments.

5. ROK Domestic Labor Relations

Reuters (Yoo Choonsik, “SOUTH KOREAN INDUSTRIAL ACTION WORSENS,” Seoul, 06/25/03) reported that the ROK’s government held an emergency meeting on Wednesday as a campaign of strikes to block reforms and raise pay widened to the transportation and car making sectors, threatening to stall economic growth. Unionized workers from the country’s top automaker, Hyundai Motor, started a 10-hour strike over two days in support of a higher pay claim and may stage a longer strike later this week. Elsewhere, more than 50,000 workers from a broad union group, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, staged a four-hour strike. Industrial action also spread to the transport sector, with 22,000 unionized workers out of 30,000 rail workers set to walk out indefinitely from Saturday over privatization plans, a union leader said. With the economy already on the verge of its first recession in five years, more industrial disruption would dismay investors — especially as international ratings agency Fitch Ratings began a review of the country’s sovereign debt grade on Wednesday. The government of President Roh Moo-hyun, a former labor lawyer, has been criticized for talking tough but acting soft on unions during negotiations. Prime Minister Goh Kun, who said those leading illegal strikes would be held responsible, said after the emergency meeting it continued to prefer to negotiate with strikers. The emergency meeting was arranged a day after the 39,000-strong union at Hyundai Motor voted to strike over its pay claim. “The government’s basic principle toward labor-management relations lies on the fact that we will seek to solve problems through dialogue and compromise between the labor and management,” Goh said in a televised speech. The prime minister said politically motivated strikes or industrial action without any direct link to working conditions would not be tolerated.

6. ROK Draft Avoidance

The Associated Press (Sang-hun Choe, “S. KOREANS USE TATOOS TO ESCAPE DRAFT,” Seoul, 06/25/03) reported that Koreans have a curse – “You should be tattooed!” – that reflects the ancient practice of using tattoos to brand thieves and slaves. But a nationwide police search launched this month for men with tattoos has rounded up a new breed of criminals – young men who use the body art to try to evade the country’s mandatory military service, crucial to its defense against the DPRK. About 170 men have been arrested for “willfully tampering with their bodies to avoid military duty” – a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. National media showed the disgraced young men, handcuffed, heads bowed and shirts removed to reveal large tattoos of dragons, scaled fish, birds and roses. Although there is no law against tattoos, ROK citizens consider them symbols of disgrace, often associated with gangsters. Likewise in Japan, tattoos carry a stigma for their association with the “yakuza” gangsters who cover their bodies with them. The ROK’s conscription law rules men with large tattoos unfit for the military because they cause “abomination among fellow soldiers.” Before they reach 30, able-bodied men must serve for at least 26 months in the ROK’s 650,000-member military, which faces the DPRK’s 1.1 million troops across a heavily guarded border. “There is a need to warn those who would do anything to avoid military service,” Judge Kim Sung-keun said this month as he sentenced a 24-year-old father of two young children to eight months in prison for using tattoos to avoid conscription. “In the following days, I had 10 times more people visiting my Web site,” said Kang Ho, a Seoul tattoo artist who calls the ROK’s regulations on tattoos “out of date” and “ridiculous.”

7. Sino-Indian Relations

The Associated Press (Joe McDonald, “INDIA, CHINA TO REOPEN HIMALAYAN BORDER,” Beijing, 06/24/03) reported that India and the PRC have agreed to take a key step toward warmer ties by reopening a section of their Himalayan border where the Asian giants fought a 1962 war, India’s foreign minister announced Tuesday. The agreement opening the border between Tibet and India’s Sikkim region came during a visit to Beijing by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that is billed as a landmark effort to build trade and diplomatic cooperation. It is the first visit to the PRC by an Indian leader in a decade. “I believe we have taken a very important step forward, and I have reason to believe that more will follow,” Indian External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said at a news conference. There was no indication from the agreement released by Indian officials that the PRC had recognized Sikkim as Indian territory, and Sinha wouldn’t give any more details. Vajpayee and his PRC counterpart, Wen Jibe, also said India recognized Tibet as part of the PRC, which Sinha said was no change from earlier Indian policy. A joint declaration by the two leaders said India won’t allow “anti-PRC political activities” by Tibetan exiles, but Sinha said that did not affect the status of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader who lives in exile in India. “I don’t think the question of the Dalai Lama leaving India or asking to leave India arises at this point,” Sinha said. The Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile, based in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, welcomed the improvement in Sino-Indian relations. “We believe that improved relations between India and China will encourage the Chinese leadership to restart negotiations with Dharmsala on the issue of Tibet,” said Thubten Samphel, a spokesman for the government.

8. US on PRC Anti-Subversion Law

Reuters (“CONGRESSMAN SLAMS HK LAW, DEFENDS U.S. SECURITY,” Hong Kong, 06/25/03) reported that a leading US Republican congressman criticized Hong Kong’s planned anti-subversion law Wednesday but defended tough security laws drawn up by his own country after the Sept. 11 attacks, saying the two could not be compared. In an interview with Hong Kong’s government-funded radio station RTHK, Christopher Cox of California said the US laws were clearly aimed at “combatants” and did not muzzle civil liberties and basic rights in his own country. “It is targeting people who are deemed to be combatants and there is a big difference. (In Hong Kong) what we are talking about now is protecting the rights of citizens, people who live in Hong Kong,” he said. Cox, chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee and the Select Committee on Homeland Security, is preparing to move a motion in Congress accusing the Hong Kong government of curtailing basic freedoms. “The manner in which it is being undertaken, the looseness of the proposed legislative language and the enormous discretion that is given to the executive branch of government to take away people’s very basic rights, to communicate with one another, belong to organizations, publish, speak, meet journalists, is breathtaking,” Cox said. Rights groups say the law could be used to jail anyone critical of PRC or Hong Kong leaders. People convicted of treason or subversion could be jailed for life and the state can hold closed-door trials. Two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, President Bush authorized military commission trials for suspects in the US war on terrorism. The US is holding 675 prisoners from dozens of countries without charge or access to lawyers in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, denying them rights accorded to prisoners of war under international treaties.

9. Amnesty International on PRC Anti-Subversion Law

Agence France-Presse (“AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL URGES HONG KONG TO DROP ANTI-SUBVERSION LAW,” 06/25/03) reported that Amnesty International has urged the Hong Kong government to “pull back from the brink of a potential human rights disaster” and not enact next month a controversial anti-subversion law. Amnesty’s Hong Kong branch urged the government in a statement late Tuesday to step back from “its headlong rush” towards the enactment of the legislation which it said would limit the fundamental rights and freedoms of Hong Kong citizens. It expressed fears that the laws would allow the PRC principles of state security to override Hong Kong’s independent legal system. “There is still a window of opportunity for the Hong Kong government to pull back from the brink of this potential human rights disaster and to listen to the hundreds of voices raised in opposition to the serious problems raised by the proposed legislation,” it said. “There is no defeat in allowing for more debate and further refinement in the proposed legislation,” Amnesty International said. “For a government to rush through a hastily worded and poorly drafted bill is both irresponsible and dangerous,” it said.

10. PRC Domestic Media

The Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “CHINESE MAGAZINE WITHHELD AMID CRACKDOWN,” Beijing, 06/24/03) reported that copies of a PRC magazine with a cover story on a scandal involving one of the nation’s richest men have been withheld from newsstands, one of its employees said Tuesday amid a government crackdown on media. Distributors of the magazine Caijing – which reports on business misconduct and has begun to deal with a range of potentially sensitive topics – said its June 20 issue had been mailed to subscribers, but wasn’t being sent to newsstands. The issue reported on background of Chau Ching-ngai, a retail and property developer, who is also known as Zhou Zhengyi. Authorities say Chau’s companies are being investigated in connection with loans by the state-run Bank of China. His wife has been questioned by anti-corruption investigators in Hong Kong. A receptionist at Caijing’s complaints hotline said the latest edition wasn’t going to newsstands because there were too few copies. She refused to say why the numbers were reduced. Editors of the magazine weren’t immediately available for comment. The PRC recently ordered a crackdown aimed at tightening controls over increasingly lively state media. The government has loosened controls on media controls in recent years. Yet reporters also have been fired and even jailed after angering authorities by publicizing official abuses. Publication department officials said last week they were reviewing all of the PRC’s magazines and newspapers in line with “media reforms” ordered by the state. Its managing editor, Hu Shuli, has also written commentaries calling for greater government openness in handling financial scandals. Other articles have criticized the lack of public information from the government about the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

11. PRC SARS Outbreak

Reuters (“TAIWAN SAYS IT’S CLOSE TO BEING DECLARED SARS-FREE,” Taipei, 06/25/03) reported that Taiwan posted its 19th straight day without new SARS infections Wednesday, just one day away from meeting a World Health Organization benchmark to be technically free of the deadly respiratory disease. If no new cases are reported Thursday, Taiwan will have 20 days without a new infection from the date the last SARS case was isolated, fulfilling the WHO’s definition of being SARS free. “We are in the process of submitting relevant information to the WHO for review. We are not far away from there, but we don’t know exactly when,” a spokesman from the Department of Health said by telephone. Taiwan’s tally of probable cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) fell to 686 as one patient previously diagnosed with the flu-like disease was found not to have SARS. The death toll remained unchanged at 84, with 50 people being treated for SARS in hospital. Health Minister Chen Chien-jen told a news conference a mandatory 10-day quarantine for people from Taiwan and visitors from Hong Kong and Macau, would soon be lifted and passengers on public transportation will not be required to wear masks from Thursday.

12. Japanese Space Program

The Associated Press (Hans Greimel, “JAPAN AIMS FOR FIRST LANDING ON MERCURY,” Tokyo, 06/25/03) reported that Japan and the European Space are planning a joint mission that would be the first to land a probe on Mercury, a space official said Wednesday. The mission entails three probes, two that would orbit and one that would land, to map the topography and study the origins of the closest planet to the sun, said Masahiko Sawabe of Japan’s education and science ministry. “This would be the first landing,” Sawabe told The Associated Press. “If successful we will collect a lot of new scientific knowledge” To escape the searing heat of Mercury’s rocky surface, where temperatures hit 872 degrees in the day, the probe will land on the dark side of the planet during the Mercury night. Temperatures plunge to minus 361 degrees then. Japan will build one of the orbiting satellites; the Europeans the lander and the other orbiter. Japan embarked on its first interplanetary exploration with the 1998 launching of its Nozomi, or Hope, probe to Mars. It has been plagued by technical problems and made its final flyby of the Earth just last week. It should reach the red planet by year’s end. For the Mercury venture, Japan would chip in $115 million and Europe would contribute $513 million, Sawabe said. The goal of the mission is to study the planet’s surface and environment and try to unlock the mysteries of how the planet evolved.

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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

 


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