NAPSNet Daily Report 26 March, 2004

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 26 March, 2004", NAPSNet Daily Report, March 26, 2004, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-26-march-2004/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. DPRK-Myanmar Missile Trade
2. DPRK on Third Round of Multilateral Talks
3. Taiwan Presidential Election Declaration
4. US on Taiwan Presidential Election
5. PRC on Taiwan Presidential Election
6. PRC-US Human Rights Relations
7. Japan Court Order Compensation on PRC Forced Laborers
8. Japan’s Role in Iraq Reconstruction
9. ROK on Iraq Troop Dispatch
10. DPRK on EU Human Rights Resolution
11. PRC Diplomatic Strategy

I. United States

1. DPRK-Myanmar Missile Trade

Bloomberg (“NORTH KOREA, MYANMAR SEEK MISSILE TRADE, STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS,” 03/26/04) reported that the DPRK offered to sell surface- to-surface missiles to the military leadership in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, in a trade that concerns the US, a State Department official said. “We have raised this issue of possible missile transfers with senior Burmese officials and registered our concerns in unambiguous language,” Matthew Daley, deputy assistant secretary in the bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said yesterday in Washington, according to a State Department transcript. Myanmar government officials indicated they haven’t accepted offers of such weapons, Daley said in testimony to the House of Representatives International Relations Committee. Daley didn’t say how many missiles may be involved. The military junta, which has ruled Myanmar since 1962, is interested in acquiring a nuclear reactor, Daley said. Reports that a reactor is already being built are “not well founded,” he said, according to the State Department. The US government will continue to monitor the possible sale of missiles and will “deal with it vigorously and rapidly,” Daley said. “Burma and North Korea do have a military and trade relationship.”

2. DPRK on Third Round of Multilateral Talks

The Associated Press (Luis Ramirez, “NORTH KOREA TO PUSH FOR THIRD ROUND OF TALKS ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM,” Beijing, 03/26/04) reported that the PRC’s foreign minister says he has received assurances from the DPRK that it will push ahead for a third round of six-party talks on its nuclear weapons programs. PRC Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing returned to Beijing late Thursday after a three-day visit to Pyongyang. While there, he met with DPRK leader Kim Jong Il for about one and a-half hours in what the PRC diplomat described as a “happy” atmosphere. The PRC official says he and Kim made headway on the issue of ending the DPRK nuclear dispute. “The two sides agreed to work together to push forward the process of the six-party talks and use dialogue to peacefully settle the issue,” he said.

3. Taiwan Presidential Election Declaration

Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN PRESIDENT CONFIRMED AS RE-ELECTION WINNER AS CHINA WATCHES PROTESTS,” 03/27/04) reported that President Chen Shui-bian was officially declared the victor in his bitter re-election battle sparking clashes and warnings from the PRC that it would not stand by and watch if the island descended into turmoil. The pro-independence Chen Saturday won by fewer than 30,000 votes over his sole challenger, Lien Chan, leader of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) sparking days of protests that culminated in the storming of the offices of the island’s main election body in a failed attempt to block an official declaration. The KMT-led opposition said it planned to press ahead with a 500,000 strong demonstration on Saturday, despite clashes between police and protestors Friday as they forced their way into the election body building. Most of the demonstrators left after Chen was declared the winner and the area was calm late Friday. Thousands continued the six day-long protest outside the presidential office but life continued normally elsewhere across the capital Taipei and the island. The opposition has also claimed voting irregularities but appeared to be in some disarray over the last week as it has called variously for a recount, a re-election and in some hardline cases for fighting on the streets. Legislator Chiu Yi, of the People First Party (PFP) — part of the opposition coalition — told crowds Friday that “the horn of the revolution has been sounded”. “We don’t recognise Chen as the president. Lien is the president.”

4. US on Taiwan Presidential Election

Agence France-Presse (“WHITE HOUSE CONGRATULATES TAIWAN PRESIDENT ON WIN, SEEKS STABILITY,” 03/27/04) reported that the White House congratulated Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian after he was officially declared winner in his bitter reelection battle which had sparked clashes and warnings from the PRC. President George W. Bush’s office stressed the need for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and urged Beijing and Taipei to pursue dialogue and refrain from unilateral steps that would alter Taiwan’s status. While the US is a key ally of Taiwan and has pledged to defend it if comes under attack, the US respects the one-China policy in which Beijing defines the island as a part of the PRC. Chen, considered by the PRC to be a dangerous separatist, was officially declared victor by the island’s election body on Friday as opposition supporters clashed with riot police, storming a government building to try to block the move. Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said in a statement that the White House “congratulates Mr. Chen on his victory” and rejected calls for violence. While the White House recognized there were pending legal challenges to the results of the March 20 elections, Taiwan’s people should be applauded for embracing established legal mechanisms and rejecting extra-legal options to resolve their differences, he said. “We reject calls for violence, which threaten the very democratic principles to which we and the people of Taiwan are committed,” McClellan said.

5. PRC on Taiwan Presidential Election

Reuters (Jane Macartney, “TAIWAN, CHINA IN WAR OF WORDS OVER ELECTION DISPUTE,” Taipei, 03/26/04) reported that war of words erupted between the PRC and Taiwan on Friday after Taiwanese authorities declared Chen Shui-bian winner of a bitterly disputed presidential election that has plunged the island into turmoil. Angry supporters of Chen’s rival stormed the election body’s offices shortly before the announcement, smashing windows, throwing stones and eggs and scuffling with riot police. In its strongest statement yet on the crisis, the PRC said it would not sit idly by if the protests spun out of control. Taiwan promptly told the PRC not to interfere. Chen, who was first elected president in 2000, beat Nationalist Party challenger Lien Chan by a margin of just 0.2 percent in last Saturday’s election, one day after surviving an attempted assassination. Lien has demanded a recount. “Truth unclear, suspend declaration,” shouted several hundred demonstrators at the electoral commission office. “Down with the commission.” Their anger was echoed by the PRC, which is anxious to prevent pro-independence activists who support Chen’s policy of greater sovereignty from using the turmoil to promote their cause. “We will not sit by watching should the post-election situation in Taiwan get out of control, leading to social turmoil, endangering the lives and property of our flesh-and-blood brothers and affecting stability across the Taiwan strait,” Beijing’s policy-making Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement.

6. PRC-US Human Rights Relations

Agence France-Presse (“US TAKES SOFT APPROACH IN CHINA RIGHTS RESOLUTION AT UN,” 03/27/04) reported that the US said that it wanted to encourage the PRC to make further reforms, after it started circulating a low-key draft resolution at the UN expressing concern about restrictions on civil liberties in the country. A first draft of the proposed resolution, which the US wants to propose at the annual meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission, stopped short of condemning human rights violations in the PRC, according to copies of the text circulated among diplomats. “It’s not finalised, we’re in consultations now,” US ambassador Richard Williamson told journalists later. The short, seven paragraph, text “expresses concern about continuing reports of severe restrictions on freedom of assembly, association, expression, conscience and religion,” as well as shortfalls in legal processes and arrests of “those seeking to exercise their fundamental rights”. It also “encourages China to permit visits” by UN experts and to cooperate more closely with the international community on human rights. The US draft proposal “invites the government…to make substantive progress in systemic reforms to ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.” The US is now engaged in behind-the-scenes lobbying of the 53 member states in the Commission to try to garner support for the draft resolution.

7. Japan Court Order Compensation on PRC Forced Laborers

Agence France-Presse (“JAPANESE COURT ORDERS GOVERNMENT TO COMPENSATE PRC FORCED LABOURERS,” 03/26/04) reported that in a landmark ruling, a Japanese court ordered the government and a private company to pay damages to 12 PRC nationals and their families who were brought to Japan as forced labourers during World War II. It is the first time that a court here has ordered both the government and a company to pay compensation for former forced labourers. The Niigata District Court ordered the government and Niigata-based harbor transportation company Rinko Corp. to jointly pay eight million yen (75,500 dollars) for each of the 11 former labourers, 10 of whom are still alive with one deceased person represented by two of his relatives. “Their lives, physical safety and freedom were infringed,” Presiding Judge Noriyoshi Katano said in handing down the ruling, according to Kyodo News agency. The plaintiffs, who lodged the case in August 1999, had demanded that the government and Rinko pay a total of 275 million yen in redress.

8. Japan’s Role in Iraq Reconstruction

Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN’S KOIZUMI RENEWS COMMITMENT TO HELP RECONSTRUCT IRAQ,” 03/26/04) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi renewed Tokyo’s commitment to help reconstruct Iraq as the government mapped out its financial aid to the war-torn country. “No matter what will happen, we are going to fulfil our duty when it comes to support for Iraqi reconstruction,” Koizumi told a news conference held to mark Friday’s passage of a national budget for the fiscal year starting on April 1. “The activities of the Self-Defence Forces are highly praised in Iraq and … welcomed by local people,” the prime minister said. “The Japanese government will provide full support for the Self-Defence Forces so that they can readily carry out the work they are engaged in,” he added. He made the remarks hours after the government said most of the 1.5 billion dollars promised by Tokyo for Iraqi reconstruction projects would be spent on rebuilding shattered energy, health and sanitation infrastructure. Koizumi pledged the money in October ahead of a visit to Tokyo by US President George W. Bush. Outlining plans on how 1.2 billion dollars of the aid would be spent, Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said projects would include restoring power plants and hospitals as well as garbage collection and sewage systems. Buying mobile electricity transformers, water purifiers, medical equipment and fire engines featured among other projects to be supported by Tokyo.

9. ROK on Iraq Troop Dispatch

Agence France-Presse (“NO BACK-TRACKING ON IRAQ TROOP DISPATCH: SOUTH KOREA,” 03/26/04) reported that the ROK still intends to send more than 3,000 troops to Iraq, despite scrapping plans for a deployment next month amid fears the soldiers could be drawn into combat, a top government official said. The official also rejected reports that ROK could follow Spain’s lead and consider pulling out of the US-led mission in Iraq. “We will abide by our commitment and we will send our troops as early as possible. If delays are inevitable, we will try to minimize the delay time,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Plans to dispatch the contingent to Kirkuk in northern Iraq were abandoned last week because of the worsening security situation. A decision on the new location would be made in consultation with the US in “a matter of weeks,” he said. “One of our concerns is that by changing the location, we may give the wrong impression to the public and friends that South Korea may back-track on the commitment or that South Korea is trying to delay the actual dispatch,” the official said. “That is something that we have to make clear … we are not moving in that direction.”

10. DPRK on EU Human Rights Resolution

Reuters (“NORTH KOREA BLAMES E.U. HUMAN RIGHTS RESOLUTION,” 03/26/04) reported that the DPRK stubbornly blamed the EU who is leading a presentation of human rights resolution on North Korea in the 60th U.N. Commission on Human Right (UNCHR) on March 25. A councilor of the DPRK Mission to the United Nations in Geneva participated as an observer this day and said that the UNCHR went down to a political stage as well as that the words and actions of the EU are hypocrisy and the resolution is a mere tool of politics. He cross-questioned, saying, “Isn’t the US invasion on Iraq and the endless killing of civilians the most serious human rights violation?” The US and the E.U. intensely discussed the situation of North Korea in the UNCHR that day.

11. PRC Diplomatic Strategy

The Associated Press (Audra Ang, “CHINA TAKES ON TAIWAN, HONG KONG, JAPAN,” Beijing, 03/26/04) reported that flexing its political muscle over territories it claims as its own, the PRC has gone on the offensive, warning archrival Taiwan about its bitter presidential election, entering Hong Kong’s debate over democracy, and upbraiding Japan over an island dispute. The barrage of announcements Friday came as the PRC tries to establish itself as a regional power and global diplomatic player able to enforce its will at the far edges of its sovereignty. “That’s what diplomacy is about,” said Steve Tsang, director of the Asian Studies Center at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford University. “It’s not about facts. It’s not about reality. It’s about how you project the interests of your nation. And that’s what China has successfully done.” On Friday, the PRC warned that it would not “look on unconcerned” if Taiwan’s political crisis worsens following a disputed election. PRC media didn’t inform the PRC public of the March 20 presidential election, but they have reported on the dispute between President Chen Shui-bian and challenger Lien Chan over the outcome and protests by thousands of pro-Lien activists. Tsang said the statement by the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office was measured by comparison to past rhetoric. Meanwhile, the PRC rejected the arrest of seven PRC activists by Japan’s coast guard on a disputed island chain. “We think that it is illegal and it is a challenge to PRC territorial sovereignty,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan. The activists were returned to the mainland Friday and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi acknowledged that Japan wanted to avoid aggravating relations with the PRC. Also Friday, the PRC said it would soon “give interpretations” of Hong Kong constitutional law on choosing the territory’s leader and lawmakers – an issue that has prompted public protests. Critics say such a step could check progress toward the full democracy the former British colony was promised in the mini-constitution written for it by Beijing when it reverted to PRC rule in 1997. Activists want Hong Kong’s leader to be directly elected in 2007, instead of picked by a small assembly approved by the mainland. The activists also seek voting for all lawmakers the following year.

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

Ilmin Internationl Relations Institute
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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

 


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