NAPSNet Daily Report 26 June, 2003

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 26 June, 2003", NAPSNet Daily Report, June 26, 2003, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-26-june-2003/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US on Nuclear Monitoring
2. US on Arms Interdiction
3. US on DPRK and Iran
4. DPRK on US Redeployment in the ROK
5. ROK on KEDO’s DPRK LWR Project
6. DPRK on Inter-Korean Summit Scandal
7. US-PRC Trade Relations
8. Sino-Indian Relations
9. PRC Media Crackdown
10. PRC Religious Freedom
11. PRC SARS Outbreak
12. Taiwan SARS Resurgence
13. Japanese Oil Pipeline
II. Republic of Korea 1. US, ROK, and Japan Meet to Discuss DPRK
2. ROK-US Relations
3. ROK-PRC Relations
4. Inter-Korean Family Reunions
5. Inter-Korean Collaboration
6. Religious Freedom in the DPRK
7. DPRK Human Rights Record
8. DPRK Food Shortages
9. Japan and the ROK on Abductions

I. United States

1. US on Nuclear Monitoring

The Associated Press (Jill Lawless, U.S. CALLS NUCLEAR MONITORING URGENT,” London, 06/26/03) reported that the world must help the US stop Iran and the DPRK from acquiring nuclear weapons if it wants to avoid military action like in Iraq, US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said Thursday. “We don’t ever want to have to deal with the proliferation issue again the way we dealt with Iraq,” Rice told the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “If you don’t want a made-in-America solution, then let’s find out how to resolve the North Korean case and the Iranian case.” The US fears Iran and the DPRK are using civilian nuclear power programs as cover for building atomic bombs. Bush has called for strong action – including “active interdiction” of suspicious cargoes – to stop the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Some fear that, in the wake of the war on Iraq, the US administration plans military attacks on other countries it suspects of possessing such weapons. Rice did not rule out armed action against the DPRK. “I don’t think we can speculate about where an interdiction initiative should lead, but it’s extremely important that countries like North Korea recognize that if they are going to flaunt their international obligations, there will be a cost for it,” she said. “The North Koreans have to be stopped and the world has to stop them. How far it will go, I think none of us can predict.” “The United States cannot face up to this alone,” Rice said. “This is something the international community must do.” In an address to journalists, politicians and foreign-affairs analysts, Rice said the world had nothing to fear from a “unipolar” world with the US as sole superpower.

2. US on Arms Interdiction

Reuters (Carol Giacomo, “U.S. PRESSES NEW STRATEGY TO LIMIT ILLICIT ARMS,” Washington, 06/25/03) reported that the US is accelerating efforts to crack down on the spread of unconventional weapons, pushing for a coordinated effort with its allies to interdict illicit arms shipments. Although much of the public focus has been on the DPRK’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, the US-led initiative will also target Iran and others nations the US suspects of seeking weapons of mass destruction, a senior US official said in an interview on Wednesday. “This is an operational activity designed to do interdictions,” the official told Reuters, noting the effort would encompass more than just the DPRK. “We’re talking about Iran and all of the WMD (weapons of mass destruction) countries.” The effort follows an initial meeting in Madrid on June 12 of officials from the US and 10 other countries. A second session is planned for Canberra, Australia, in July. The Bush administration has circumvented the United Nations in seeking support from other countries for its initiative. It also has sought to avoid new and provocative sanctions by relying on cooperating countries to enforce existing national laws and agreements. “This is not a discussion group about export controls (but) a group intended to put political impetus behind the idea of stopping and seizing WMD shipments,” the US official said. Some countries may find they have gaps in national laws that must be amended and the US-led group may eventually decide new U.N. or other international accords are needed. “But we think we already have broad authority and what we want is for people to exercise it,” he said.

3. US on DPRK and Iran

Agence France-Presse (“BUSH, EU LEADERS CONDEMN NORTH KOREA, WORRY ABOUT IRAN,” Washington, 06/26/03) reported that President George W. Bush and visiting European leaders jointly warned the DPRK to dismantle its atomic weapons program and demanded that Iran cooperate with the UN’s nuclear watchdog. Their joint statement showcased what appeared to be a united front against the two remaining members of Bush’s “axis of evil” as the allies papered over their deep split over the war with Iraq at the annual US-EU summit. Bush said the US and Europe were “working closely to meet the proliferation challenges posed by North Korea and Iran,” and the joint statement released by the White House made no mention of different approaches. “We condemn North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and its failure to comply with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency),” it said. “We call on North Korea to refrain from any action that would further aggravate the problem,” it said. “We strongly urge North Korea to visibly, verifiably, and irreversibly dismantle that program and to come into full compliance with international nonproliferation obligations.”

4. DPRK on US Redeployment in the ROK

Korean Central News Agency (“KCNA FLAILS U.S. ATTEMPT TO LET S. KOREA FIGHT PROXY WAR,” Pyongyang, 06/25/03) reported that US Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz at a hearing of the House of Representatives said that the deterrent force against the DPRK should be increased on the Korean Peninsula despite the redeployment of the US forces in the ROK and the ROK should considerably increase defense spending instead. His outbursts betray the US’s dangerous aim to instigate the ROK authorities to fight a proxy war against their fellow countrymen in the DPRK as what he had in mind was part of the US moves to redistribute its overseas military bases aimed to put into practice its doctrine of a preemptive attack for seizing any region anytime. The US is now working hard to provoke a war against the DPRK with modern reinforced offensive forces involved after publishing the largest-ever “arms buildup plan” of the US forces in the ROK. It is pressuring the ROK to cover the bulk of expenses for the implementation of the plan. In a nutshell, the US seeks to fish in troubled waters by driving the ROK as cannon fodder or a shock brigade in its aggression of the DPRK. It is a trite method employed by the US in waging a proxy war to pit Asians against Asians, Europeans against Europeans and those in the mid-east against those in the mid-east. The pressure put by the US upon the ROK authorities to increase their defense spending in line with its moves for the redistribution of overseas military bases can not be construed otherwise than a sinister plot to drive the ROK troops as bullet shields in its war of aggression against the DPRK and the rest of Northeast Asia. The US and the ROK authorities should think twice over the catastrophic consequences the madcap arms buildup will entail, face up to the reality and behave themselves.

5. ROK on KEDO’s DPRK LWR Project

Korea Times (“SEOUL HINTS AT COMPLYING WITH US TO HALT NUCLEAR PLANT IN NK,” 06/26/03) reported that a senior Chong Wa Dae official yesterday said the ROK concurs with the US that the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) project in the DPRK cannot continue as is, but differs on the timing and methodology. “The US has asked for a stop, citing technical issues including provision of parts, so it is becoming more difficult to insist on continuing the project, said the official, meeting with reporters in the presidential office. Whereas the ROK thinks construction should “look towards a resumption in the future by continuing to set cornerstones at the site, Washington believes an “outright stop of the project is the only way, he said. “Such are merely differences, not a clash, of opinions, the official added. Despite his assurances, the government remains deeply split over whether to agree to the US’s demands, according to sources. At a meeting with ROK and Japanese officials earlier this month, US officials proposed stopping the KEDO project in late August. It also proposed to start discussion of dismantling the international consortium. Both proposals were blocked by Seoul and Tokyo.

6. DPRK on Inter-Korean Summit Scandal

Agence France-Presse (“NKOREA SLAMS SKOREAN OPPOSITON OVER BRIBE PROBE,” Seoul, 06/26/03) reported that the DPRK accused the ROK’s conservative opposition of treachery for seeking a new probe into illegal payments made to the DPRK to secure a 2000 inter-Korea summit. A 70-day investigation conducted by a ROK independent counsel concluded Wednesday and found that the government of former president Kim Dae-Jung paid the PRK 100 million dollars ahead of the summit. The opposition Grand National Party (GNP) is demanding a fuller investigation. It is proposing to put a new bill before the National Assembly authorizing the appointment of a new independent counsel. “The GNP is a group of traitors who were opposed to the North-South summit meeting from the outset,” said Rodong Shinmun, mouthpiece of the DPRK’s ruling Workers Party. “The confab betrays the GNP’s criminal intention to make a mockery of the mindset of the South Koreans and drive the North-South relations to a catastrophic phase.” Two top aides to the former president were indicted along with six others as independent counsel Song Doo-Hwan concluded his probe into allegations that Kim’s administration bribed the DPRK to stage the summit. Kim, 78, who stepped down in February at the end of a five-year term, knew about the payment, according to Song, but was not called to testify in the probe. Song had requested a one-month extension of his probe but was turned down by Kim’s successor, President Roh Moo-Hyun.

7. US-PRC Trade Relations

The Associated Press (“CHINA DENIES BLOCKING U.S. SOYBEANS,” Beijing, 06/26/03) reported that the PRC on Thursday rejected complaints that it has blocked imports of US soybeans, saying mistakes by importers were to blame for delays in shipments. Suppliers accuse the PRC of withholding import permits in violation of free-trade commitments, which they say has contributed to a 37 percent drop in US soybean exports to the PRC this year. Vice minister Ge Zhirong, an official of the PRC’s quarantine authority, denied that the state was blocking trade. He blamed importers who he said violated PRC government rules by signing contracts before applying for an import permit. “The main reason for the problem in the license granting … is these (importers) don’t have a clear understanding of the approval procedures,” Ge said at a news conference. Diplomats and foreign suppliers describe delays in the PRC’s issuance of import permits as a possible attempt to erect barriers to imports. The US also has complained that the PRC is failing to live up to market-opening commitments for other farm goods that it made upon joining the World Trade Organization in 2001.

8. Sino-Indian Relations

Reuters (Sanjeev Miglani, “INDIAN PM PROPOSES INFO-TECH ALLIANCE WITH CHINA,” Shanghai, 06/26/03) reported that India’s prime minister began a visit to the PRC’s economic powerhouse on Thursday by saying the two countries could combine their complementary strengths in information technology instead of competing. Atal Behari Vajpayee, making a landmark trip to the PRC, told a business meeting in Shanghai the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 offered a chance for Indian and PRC tech firms to work together — despite linguistic and cultural barriers. Vajpayee said the two governments could help set the ground rules for a partnership that might simplify a now roundabout contract execution process. Companies from developed countries which won software contracts for major events such as the Olympics in the past would in turn subcontract them to Indian firms, he said. “Indian and Chinese firms could instead join up to provide state-of-the-art solutions at cost-effective prices, thereby also cutting out the middlemen,” Vajpayee told a conference. “It is self-evident that our respective core competence in hardware and software provides a natural ground for an effective alliance in the IT industry,” he said. His comments echoed those of former Premier Zhu Rongji during a visit to India in 2002 when the PRC’s economics Czar applied his stamp of approval to a request by software giant Infosys Technologies to set up a development center in Shanghai. More than a year later, that plan remains wrapped in red tape as Indian software firms battle language, culture and regulators to gain a foothold in the PRC. “Our presence is very limited at the moment,” conceded Kiran Karnik, president of India’s National Association of Software and Service Companies.

9. PRC Media Crackdown

Reuters (Benjamin Kang Lim “SOURCES: CHINA AXES TV SERIES TO PLACATE PRESIDENT,” Beijing, 06/26/03) reported that the PRC has pulled the plug on a popular television series set almost a century ago because it upset President Hu Jintao, Communist Party and television industry sources said Thursday. Hu, struggling to emerge from the shadow of his predecessor Jiang Zemin, was worried the portrayal of court politics in the series “Marching Toward the Republic” may be seen as an allegory justifying Jiang’s powerful role behind the scenes, they said. Plans for a rerun of the 59-part drama on state-owned CCTV and to show it on provincial networks were axed because it portrayed Dowager Empress Cixi (1835-1908) in a favorable light, said the sources, familiar with the decision to axe the drama. “Hu was unhappy,” a Party official who asked not to be identified told Reuters. “Hu’s written instructions were that ‘Marching Toward the Republic’ did not conform with historical truth and ran counter to history’s final verdict on Cixi,” the official said. “Hu was worried people would think it was necessary and even good for Jiang to rule from behind the curtain and that the boy emperor was incompetent,” the official added. “Marching Toward the Republic” was set in the waning days of China’s last dynasty, Qing (1644-1911) and the early years of the republic, which the Communists overthrew in 1949. CCTV accelerated the series by showing three episodes a day and censors cut scenes in which Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), who founded the republic, championed democracy lest viewers wonder why multi-party politics and a democratic parliament were possible in those days but not now. “It sparked a lot of debate about democracy on the Internet,” said Liu, jailed for 20 months for staging a hunger strike in support of student-led demonstrations for democracy in 1989 that were crushed by the army with heavy loss of life.

10. PRC Religious Freedom

The Associated Press (“CHINA DENIES MISTREATING CHRISTIAN LEADER,” Beijing, 06/26/03) reported that the PRC said Thursday the imprisoned founder of an unofficial Christian church was in good health, dismissing reports that he was near death due to beatings. The Ministry of Justice said Gong Shengliang, who was convicted last October of rape and assault and is serving a life sentence, had not been tortured. “Reports that Gong is near death as a result of abusive treatment have no basis in reality,” the ministry said in a statement issued in response to accusations made in an open letter by Gong’s friends and relatives in early June. Gong founded the South China Church in the early 1990s, and at one time it claimed to have 50,000 followers in the central PRC, mostly in Hubei province. He was arrested in 2001. The letter issued by his friends and relatives said he was passing blood and has lost his hearing as a result of poor treatment. They said he was beaten for professing his faith, refusing to admit guilt and requesting an appeal. “His hearing is normal and there are no abnormalities with his health,” said the ministry statement. Communist authorities allow worship only in state-monitored churches. Millions of believers attend unauthorized services, often in private homes, but are subject to arrest and harassment. “There has been no discrimination or torture of Gong,” the statement said. “He has not been involved in fights with other prisoners and has not received internal injuries as a result of beating.” Gong and four other church leaders were sentenced to death last year under anti-cult laws. But after protests by the US government and religious activists, the sentences were later changed to long prison terms.

11. PRC SARS Outbreak

Agence France-Presse (“CHINA VOWS TO REMAIN ON ALERT AGAINST SARS AS NEW CASE REPORTED,” Beijing, 6/26/03) reported that the PRC vowed to remain on high alert for SARS as a new case was reported in southern Guangdong province a day after the World Health Organisation declared the country free of the disease. The new case was a suspected case which later was confirmed as being Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the health ministry said Wednesday. One death was also recorded, in Beijing. WHO spokesman Bob Dietz said it did not affect the UN health agency’s decision Tuesday to declare the PRC SARS-free and lift the advisory against Beijing, globally the last remaining travel warning. “We are concerned, but our concern would be greater if this was a new emerging case and not a case that has developed from an already identified suspected case,” Dietz said. Vice Premier Wu Yi promised WHO’s regional director Shigeru Omi the PRC “will spare no effort to prevent the return of SARS,” according to the Xinhua news agency. “We will remain on high alert and continue to implement all preventive and control measures,” Wu said.

12. Taiwan SARS Resurgence

Reuters (“NEW SARS CASE CASTS DOUBT ON ALL-CLEAR FOR TAIWAN,” 06/26/03) reported that Taiwan posted its 20th straight day without a new SARS infection Thursday, meeting a WHO benchmark for being declared technically free of the disease — but a possible case in Japan cast a cloud over Taiwan’s clean bill of health. The World Health Organization said on its Web site that Japan had reported a probable case involving a 33-year-old Taiwanese tourist who arrived in Tokyo on June 21 and developed symptoms of severe acute respiratory syndrome two days later. “At the moment, there is a case (of SARS) involving Taiwan,” WHO spokesman Iain Simpson said in Geneva. Further testing of the patient is underway and epidemiological investigations have been initiated, the WHO said. A Japanese health ministry official said the likelihood of the man actually having SARS was very low as he was recovering. The official said the ministry must wait for a decision by its panel of experts before taking the case off its probable list. The panel meets on an irregular basis and the date of their next gathering has not been set yet. Taiwan’s Health Minister Chien-Jen Chen, in Thailand for a regional conference, said he hoped Taiwan would soon be lifted from a WHO watch list. “We’re not expecting it to be lifted today, but we expect it to come at any time.” he said. Taiwan lifted a mandatory 10-day quarantine for Taiwanese and visitors from Hong Kong and Macau Thursday, and passengers on public transportation were no longer required to wear masks.

13. Japanese Oil Pipeline

The Associated Press (Eric Talmadge, “TOKYO LOBBIES FOR FOR SIBERIA PIPELINE,” Tokyo, 06/26/03) reported that for energy-hungry Japan, it would be a major coup – a multibillion dollar pipeline pumping at least a million barrels of oil a day out of Siberia to Russia’s Sea of Japan coast. Problem is, the PRC wants the pipeline, too. And there might not be enough oil to go around. After decades in the talking stages, the rival projects to pump Siberian oil to either the northern PRC or the Japan Sea have turned into something of a regional soap opera, with the PRC and Japan courting a very coy Moscow. Until recently, the PRC was seen as the suitor most likely to succeed, largely because its plan, which would have a shorter pipeline ending in its inland city of Daqing, would be cheaper to build. But with increasing signs that a decision may finally be near – possibly as early as this fall – Japan is turning up the heat and offering to open up its checkbook. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made a plea for the Japan Sea plan during a visit to Russia in January, and then again last month. His predecessor followed up last week. And Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi is on her way to Vladivostok on Saturday. But Putin last week acknowledged it was still unclear whether there would be enough oil to fill it. “The Angarsk-Nakhodka option looks preferable because it allows broad access to markets,” he said. “That’s an attractive option, and the only question is whether it’s economically feasible.” Russia’s Cabinet had been expected to make the final choice in May or early this month, but Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov last week said the decision would be made in the autumn.

II. Republic of Korea

1. US, ROK, and Japan Meet to Discuss DPRK

Yonhap news agency (“SOUTH KOREA, US, JAPAN TO HOLD WORKING-LEVEL MEETING ON NUCLEAR ISSUE,” Seoul, 06/24/03) reported that the ROK, the US, and Japan will hold a working-level meeting early next month to discuss strategies aimed at resolving the DPRK nuclear issue, officials said Tuesday 24 June. Seoul’s Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan proposed last week that such a meeting be held to draw up joint proposals to put to the DPRK in the event that a new round of nuclear talks with the DPRK takes place. Yoon made the proposal when he met his US and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Cambodia. “Talks are now underway to organize a meeting among the three countries,” said a Foreign Ministry official asking not to be identified. “A closed-door meeting will take place within two or three weeks.” Another ministry official said the meeting itself may play a part in encouraging the DPRK to participate in multilateral talks by showing that the three allies are prepared to discuss incentives for its participation. “Therefore, it would be effective to hold (the meeting) as early as possible,” he said.

2. ROK-US Relations

JoongAng (Lee Young-jong “SEOUL DEFENSE CHIEF TO MEET WITH RUMSFELD,” 06/25/03) reported that the ROK and the US will hold a meeting of top defense officials Friday to discuss the DPRK’s nuclear program and the relocation of US military bases on the Korean Peninsula. The ROK’s minister of defense, Cho Young-kil, will travel to Washington to meet with US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Seoul’s National Defense Ministry said yesterday. The meeting will be the first consultation between the ROK’s defense minister and the US defense secretary since Roh Moo-hyun became president in February. Mr. Cho will provide details on the ROK’s plans for beefing up its military and improving the ability of its forces, the ministry said. “The talks are geared toward maintaining a close relationship between the two countries before the annual security consultative talks in September,” a ministry source said. Mr. Cho is scheduled to visit the US from Thursday through Monday.

3. ROK-PRC Relations

Chosun (Shin Jeong-rok “SCHEDULE SET FOR SUMMIT WITH CHINA,” 06/26/03) reported that President Roh Moo-hyun will visit the PRC for four days beginning on July 7, the ROK and PRC said Thursday. During his visit, President Roh he will meet with President Hu Jintao to discuss issues such as working toward a peaceful resolution to the DPRK nuclear crisis. Roh will also meet other important persons, including the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Wu Bangguo. Roh will also go to Shanghai, then return to the ROK on July 10. Accompanying Roh will be Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan and 14 other overnment officials. Also in the delegation will be 30 business leaders, including Hyundai Motors Chairman Chung Mong-gu and LG International Chairman Goo Bon-mu. “We will repeatedly request China’s constructive efforts to solve the North Korean problems and try to obtain understanding and support for our administration’s policy toward North Korea,” said Ban Ki-moon, the presidential adviser for foreign policy.

4. Inter-Korean Family Reunions

Yonhap news agency (“ELDERLY S KOREANS PREPARE TO REUNITE WITH RELATIVES FROM NORTH,” Seoul, 06/26/03) reported a group of 99 elderly South Koreans gathered Thursday (26 June) at a condominium in Sokcho, Kangwon Province, ahead of a three-day visit Friday to DPRK’s Mount Kumgang for reunions with families from whom they have been separated since the 1950-53 Korean War. The group, who will be accompanied by 91 kin, officials of the ROK Red Cross Society and journalists, are set to leave the port of Sokcho on a ferry for Changjon, a gateway to the mountain on the North’s eastern coast. Suh Young-hoon, chief of the ROK Red Cross Society, will lead the delegation to the reunions, which will be held for the first time since President Roh Moo-hyun came to office in February. Earlier in the day, the group attended a session on necessary information for a trip to the DPRK and received checkups for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The 99 are scheduled to meet their family members through a group meeting and dinner at a hotel on the first day of their trip and hold individual meetings and take part in an excursion to the mountain Saturday before bidding farewell Sunday. The two Koreas will hold the reunions as the DPRK has resumed the Mount Kumgang tourist project. The DPRK suspended the tours due to concerns about severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in April but lifted an entry ban 29 May.

5. Inter-Korean Collaboration

Yonhap news agency (“KOREAS TO HOLD GROUND-BREAKING CEREMONY FOR INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX,” Seoul,, 06/25/03) reported that the ROK and the DPRK will hold a ground-breaking ceremony Monday 30 June to mark the start of a project to build an industrial complex in the Northern city of Kaesong, a Unification Ministry official said Wednesday. The official also said an advance team from the ROK plans to visit the city, located just north of the truce village Panmunjom, Thursday via a temporary road across the western side of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and prepare for the ceremony. A 100-member delegation from each side will take the same route to take part in Monday’s event to be held at 11:00 a.m. The ROK participants will return home the same day after the ceremony. A ministry official said the event will provide an opportunity to reconfirm the DPRK’s resolve to develop the industrial complex. The DPRK promulgated a law on the Kaesong industrial zone in November last year that would allow ROK companies to undertake production and transaction activities within a market environment. The project, which Hyundai and the DPRK’s committee agreed to implement in August 2000, calls for the creation of an industrial complex on a site of 26.4m square meters in Kaesong.

6. Religious Freedom in the DPRK

RInterfax (“FIRST ORTHODOX CHURCH TO BE BUILT IN NORTH KOREA,” Pyongyang/Moscow, 06/24/03) reported that an Orthodox church is soon to be built in the DPRK for the first time in the past 50 years. The first stone of the future Holy Trinity church was blessed by Archbishop Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk in Pyongyang on Tuesday, the deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Foreign Relations Department has told Interfax. Father Nikolai Balashov, the Russian Orthodox Church’s official envoy, has told Interfax that the idea to build an Orthodox church in the DPRK was proposed by DPRK leader Kim Chong-il, who visited a Russian Orthodox church in Khabarovsk during his latest visit to Russia in August, 2001, and was deeply impressed by its decor. Shortly after, a delegation from the DPRK Council of Believers was sent to Moscow to study the architecture of Orthodox churches. “The church to be built in Pyongyang will not be an exact replica of a Moscow church. It will combine the main features of Orthodox churches and individual features of Korean architecture,” Father Nikolai said. The construction project is being financed and implemented by the DPRK. The Russian Orthodox Church is only giving recommendations for the Korean architects on the interior and exterior decoration of the church, which will be consecrated by an important figure in the Russian Orthodox Church. Father Nikolai did not say how many Orthodox believers live in the DPRK. All Orthodox churches in the northern part of the formerly united country were destroyed during the war. “We think, however, that there are still Orthodox believers among DPRK citizens. The DPRK constitution guarantees the freedom of religious confession.

7. DPRK Human Rights Record

JoongAng (Ser Myo-ja “U.S. IS FUNDING 2 KOREAN ANTI-NORTH GROUPS,” 6/26/03) reported that the US government said Monday that it has been funding ROK activist groups to raise international awareness about human-rights abuse in the DPRK. The US Department of State released a report, “Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2002-2003,” listing its activities to end human-rights abuses around the world. The report is separate from the department’s annual report on human-rights practices in other countries. The US government provided the National Endowment for Democracy, a private US-based nonprofit organization, with $250,000 for sub-grants to two ROK nongovernmental groups, “to support monitoring and reporting on human-rights conditions in North Korea.” “We have received the funding since 1999,” Kim Yeong-ja, secretary general of the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights, said yesterday. “We have held international seminars to raise the world’s awareness about the severe rights condition in the North.” Ms. Kim added that her organization also received funding from Korean contributors. An official of the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights said his organization received about $40,000 a year from the US donor. “We use the funding for our monthly newsletter, ‘Keys’,” he said. “We publish Korean, English and Japanese-language versions and circulate them to governments, libraries, policymakers and media.” The newsletter provides monthly updates of North Korean rights conditions and reports about DPRK defectors. “US officials urge other countries to condition bilateral relations with North Korea on concrete, verifiable and sustained improvements in human rights,” the report said. Washington is trying to stop the forcible repatriation by the PRC of DPRK refugees, the report said. Lorne Craner, assistant secretary for democracy, human rights and labor, and the US Embassy in Beijing have raised the concern to the PRC.

8. DPRK Food Shortages

Yonhap news agency, (“S KOREAN NGOS DISPATCH POWDERED MILK TO NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 06/26/03) reported that a ship carrying 1,000 tons of powdered milk departed Inchon Port Thursday (26 June) bound for the DPRK’s Nampo Port, said officials of Good Neighbours and other civic groups arranging humanitarian aid for the DPRK. The Panama-registered freighter will arrive at the DPRK port early Friday before unloading the 2.3bn won (1.9m US dollars) worth of powdered milk aimed at helping the DPRK overcome its food shortage. Good Neighbours, the Korea Racing Association and the Headquarters for Provision of Milk to the Impoverished funded the aid shipment.

9. Japan and the ROK on Abductions

Asahi Shimbun (Ryuichi Kitano Hayami Ichikawa “COMMON CAUSE: JAPANESE AND SOUTH KOREAN FAMILIES OF ABDUCTEES FORM AN ALLIANCE,” Seoul, 06/25/03) reported that the ROK has lived with the abduction issue for half a century, and quietly ignored the fact that tens of thousands have gone missing. Now, in a strange twist to this last vestige of Cold War politics, the arrival of a delegation of families of Japanese abducted to the DPRK has finally brought this issue out into the open. Inextricably linked by a common heartache, families of abductees from both countries are putting up a united front in the belief that only through a concerted effort do they stand any real chance of getting lost relatives back. Meetings this week between the two groups quickly brought into sharp focus the differences surrounding the abductee issue in their respective countries. Here, the government elected to take a soft approach toward the DPRK with the grand prize being reunification. ROK citizens say the abduction issue until now had attracted scant media attention. The meeting closed after adopting a resolution urging the ROK government to take measures to resolve the abduction issue as well as calling for action from the United Nations. The Japanese group was to meet Wednesday with former ROK President Kim Young Sam. Shigeru Yokota, the association representative whose daughter Megumi was abducted at age 13 in 1977, told a joint news conference Monday, “I’m here to raise interest in South Korea and to get North Korea to return all our family members.” Although the administration led by President Roh Moo Hyun has said it is working toward a solution each time there is contact between the governments of the ROK and the DPRK, nothing substantial has emerged. Kim Song Ho of the ROK group of families said after the meeting with the Japanese, “We succeeded in attracting interest in the issue and now we want Roh Moo Hyun and Kim Jong Il to listen to our rising concerns.”

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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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