NAPSNet Daily Report 29 January, 2003

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 29 January, 2003", NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, 2003, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-29-january-2003/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. DPRK-ROK Relations
2. DPRK response to US State of the Union Address
3. Global Response to US State of the Union Address
4. DPRK US Nuke Withdrawal Demand
5. PRC on Iraq Weapons Inspections
6. DPRK-Japan Espionage
7. PRC Domestic Democratization
II. People’s Republic of China 1. DPRK-ROK Relations
2. PRC-US Relations
3. PRC-Russian Ties
4. DPRK-Russia Relations
5. Russia-US Relations
6. Japan-US Relations on DPRK Nuke Issue
7. DPRK-US Relations
III. Japan 1. DPRK’s View to Neighbor’s Mediation
2. Japan-US-ROK Cooperation Over DPRK Issues
3. US Policy on DPRK Issues
4. Japan’s Debate on Pre-emptive Strike
5. Possibility of Japan’s Nuclear Option

I. United States

1. DPRK-ROK Relations

The New York Times (Don Kirk, “SOUTH KOREAN, SNUBBED BY KIM JONG IL, FAILS IN MISSION TO NORTH,” Seoul, 01/29/03), the Washington Post (“SOUTH KOREAN DELEGATION’S PEACE BID FOUNDERS ENVOY UNABLE TO MEET KIM JONG IL,” Seoul, 01/29/03) and BBC News (“KOREAN TALKS END WITH LITTLE PROGRESS,” 01/29/03) reported an ROK envoy has returned from the DPRK without holding talks with the DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. ROK presidential envoy Lim Dong-won, arriving back in Seoul, said his DPRK hosts told him Kim was on a regional tour. This dashed hopes that the ROK delegation could help resolve a nuclear crisis over the DPRK’s withdrawal this month from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The solution to the dispute would be a “very long and gradual process,” Lim stated. But Lim said the two sides had made progress on the issue of cross-border links. He said a railway linking the DPRK and the ROK should now be completed by March. On Wednesday, the DPRK repeated its call for direct talks and a non-aggression pact with the US. “It is the only way of most fairly solving the ‘nuclear issue’ on the Korean peninsula for the DPRK (North Korea) and the US to have direct talks on an equal footing,” the official Korean Central News Agency reported. The statement made no mention of US President George Bush’s annual State of the Union address, in which he said Pyongyang was an “oppressive regime” that “rules a people living in fear and starvation”.

2. DPRK response to US State of the Union Address

The Associated Press (Sang-Huh Choe, “NORTH KOREA ACCUSES US OF SNAKE-LIKE STRATEGY AFTER STATE OF THE UNION SPEECH,” Seoul, 01/29/03) and the Agence France-Presse (“ANGRY NORTH KOREA HITS BACK AT US AFTER BUSH SPEECH ON NUKE CRISIS,” 01/29/03) reported that the DPRK launched a sustained verbal attack on the US after President George W. Bush called on the DPRK to abandon its nuclear ambitions or face further isolation and poverty. The DPRK’s official media said the US was adopting the tactics of a serpent and wanted to crush DPRK and swallow it whole. However, DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il was more conciliatory and, in response to a private request from ROK President Kim Dae-Jung, offered to give the matter serious consideration, according to a ROK official. Bush’s State of the Union call for a peaceful resolution to the standoff was welcomed in the ROK though officials recognized it offered nothing new. The DPRK made no direct response but the official Korean Central News Agency cranked out a stream of anti-Washington attacks. DPRK official media indicated there was no shift in the DPRK’s demands for a resolution to the crisis and that it was still insisting on a non-aggression pact and other guarantees from the US.

The Korean Central News Agency of DPRK (“US LOUDMOUTHED DIALOGUE FLAILED,” Pyongyang, 01/29/03) carried the following response to the US State of the Union Address: Shortly ago, US President Bush said that the US has a willingness to negotiate with North Korea. And he was followed by the state secretary and a spokesman for the White House who paid lip-service to a dialogue with North Korea. They said that North Korea would receive such benefits as energy support and food aid only if it dismantled its “nuclear weapons program”. This only indicates that there is no change in the US stand that the US will have a dialogue with the DPRK only after it scraps its “nuclear weapons program”, says Rodong Sinmun today in a signed commentary. It continues: The US much ballyhooed energy support and food aid are nothing but bait to force the DPRK to disarm itself. As a nuclear war against the DPRK is made a fait accompli in the US it is now loudly talking about a dialogue with the DPRK in a bid to cover up its criminal aim. This compels the DPRK to be highly vigilant against the US cynical call for dialogue. The DPRK already clarified that it has an idea to settle the nuclear issue through direct negotiations with the US on condition that it recognizes the DPRK’s sovereignty, assures the DPRK of non-aggression and does not stand in the way of its economic development. The DPRK’s principled stand that the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula should be settled through bilateral negotiations between the DPRK and the US remains unchanged. The US should stop paying lip-service to dialogue and its anachronistic offensive to stifle the DPRK by nukes and do what it should do for a fair and peaceful solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

3. Global Response to US State of the Union Address

The Agence France Presse (“SOUTH KOREA TELLS NORTH TO RESPOND TO BUSH’S CALL TO SCRAP NUKES,” Seoul, 01/29/03) and the Agence France-Presse (“ASIAN NATIONS SEE WAR ON BUSH’S AGENDA FOLLOWING ADDRESS,” 01/29/03) reported that US President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address was well-received in Australia and ROK, but there were fears elsewhere in Asia that the rhetoric was leading inevitably to war on Iraq. Asian share markets fell as concern about the impact of a war on Iraq were reinforced by the hawkish tone of the speech. The Nikkei-225 average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 194.31 points or 2.28 percent to close at 8,331.08. Australian Prime Minister John Howard welcomed Bush’s announcement that more intelligence information about Iraq’s weapons programme would be supplied to the UN Security Council by Secretary of State Colin Powell on February 5. “That puts it right at the feet of the Security Council where the matter belongs,” said Howard, who has dispatched troops to the Gulf and been one of the strongest supporters of the US campaign to disarm Iraq and oust President Saddam Hussein. While there was no official comment from the ROK government, a senior foreign ministry official said Bush’s remarks on the DPRK were “balanced and restrained.” “It was a repeat of the general policy of the Bush administration towards North Korea. It was a very balanced and restrained expression of his policy,” said the official, who declined to be named. On Iraq, Bush’s comments seemed to paint war against Bagdhad as an inevitability, according to many in the Asian-Pacific region. A spokesman for Philippines President Gloria Arroyo said war was “imminent” in Iraq. “It looks like war is imminent in the Middle East despite the declaration of President Bush that he would still consult with the United Nations Security Council on February 5 and they will still make a presentation of the alleged violations of Iraq,” Arroyo spokesman Ignacio Bunye said on local television. Bunye reiterated that Manila would support a UN Security Council decision on Iraq. There was no immediate reaction to Bush’s speech from Japan or the PRC. In Jakarta, foreign affairs analyst at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences Riza Sihbudi said Bush appears to see no other choice but war against Iraq. “If we look at the preparations that are already well underway, in fact whatever the outcome of the UN process it won’t greatly influence things,” Sihbudi said, reacting on local radio to Bush’s speech. The Indian Express urged the US to present evidence Iraq has banned weapons, saying the Bush administration has hurt its own case by offering multiple motives for action against Saddam Hussein. “Nothing has emerged so far to justify an early, leave alone immediate, military attack on Iraq,” the newspaper said.

4. DPRK US Nuke Withdrawal Demand

Reuters (“NORTH KOREA DEMANDS US WITHDRAWS NUKES FROM PENINSULA,” Seoul, 01/29/03) reported that the DPRK demanded Wednesday that the US withdraws all its nuclear weapons from the ROK– an action the US says it carried out 12 years ago. The demand appeared to be the latest attempt to portray the US as the real military threat in the crisis over the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program. “The US should immediately withdraw nuclear weapons from South Korea,” the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said quoting state newspapers. “South Korea has turned into the biggest nuclear arsenal in the Far East and a nuclear attack base as over 1,000 US-made nukes are deployed there,” it said. In September 1991, then US President George Bush announced the withdrawal of all US tactical nuclear weapons deployed abroad, including about 100 based in the ROK. The DPRK never publicly acknowledged the move, but the withdrawal did help pave the way for the December 1991 South-North Joint Declaration on the De-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

5. PRC on Iraq Weapons Inspections

The Associated Press (“CHINA APPEALS FOR MORE TIME FOR IRAQ WEAPONS INSPECTIONS,” Beijing, 01/29/03) reported that the PRC appealed Tuesday for more time for UN weapons inspections in Iraq, arguing against taking any action while there is a possibility of a political settlement. “We maintain that no conclusion should be jumped to at this stage,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue. Speaking at a regular press briefing, Zhang stressed that the inspectors’ report Monday to the U.N. Security Council asked for more time to complete their work. “We should give continued support to the work of the weapons inspectors, and Iraq should strengthen its cooperation with the United Nations ” she said. The PRC has said it sees no reason to endorse US pressure to attack Iraq. The PRC has pressed instead for a negotiated settlement through the Security Council. “So long as there is a hope for a political settlement, we think the question should be settled diplomatically through the U.N. framework,” Zhang said.

6. DPRK-Japan Espionage

The Associated Press (Kozo Mizoguchi, “JAPAN PROBES NORTH KOREA FERRY FOR SPYING,” Tokyo, 01/29/03) and BBC News (“NORTH KOREA’S JAPAN FERRY ‘SPYING,'” 01/29/03) reported that the only ferry that travels between Japan and the DPRK has been used for spying purposes, according to Japanese police and intelligence sources. The captain of the DPRK ferry relayed espionage orders to a 72-year-old DPRK who was living in Japan, Japanese intelligence said. Japanese police said they were preparing to launch a prosecution case against the man on charges of using a false identity. The man was in charge of a spy network which gathered intelligence on the ROK and recruited collaborators, police said. “We have found out that the man in question was engaged in espionage activities in one form or another for at least eight years after 1993 with directives carried on the North Korean ferry,” one intelligence source reported. The source said there were several hundred people spying for the DPRK in Japan, and at least 70 DPRK agents had been arrested since the 1950-53 Korean War. Written instructions were reportedly handed over to the DPRK and the ship – the Mangyongbong-92 – returned with his reports. The 72-year-old was a former senior official of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryon, Kyodo said. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters on Tuesday: “We must watch (the vessel) closely lest it be used for crime.” Lifeline Mangyongbong-92 makes about 20-30 trips a year between Niigata in Japan and Wonsan in the DPRK. The vessel, which carries both aid for DPRK and Korean residents in Japan on visits to the DPRK, was built in 1992 with funds from Chongryon.

7. PRC Domestic Democratization

BBC News (“CHINA’S LEADERS MAY FACE SCRUTINY,” 01/29/03) reported that the PRC’s top leaders have hinted they may make themselves open to public scrutiny, amid mounting concern that official corruption is eroding the ruling Communist Party’s authority. A meeting of the party’s key Politburo decided that officials at all levels, especially Politburo members, should submit to public supervision, according to the official People’s Daily. No further details were given, though the report pointed out that the meeting was presided over by new party chief Hu Jintao. The move, if confirmed, would be the clearest sign yet that the country’s new generation of leaders, promoted last year, is prepared to tackle subjects that have been taboo since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

II. People’s Republic of China

1. DPRK-ROK Relations

China Daily (“SEOUL PREPARES FOR TALKS WITH PYONGYANG,” Seoul, 01/27/03, P12) reported that leaders of the ROK pressed on with their diplomatic efforts on January 26 to end the DPRK nuclear issue, with a presidential envoy preparing to leave for make-or-break talks in Pyongyang. Lim Dong-Won, who is the architect of the ROK’s “sunshine” policy of engagement with Pyongyang, will lead the delegation to push for the DPRK to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Lim would deliver a letter from ROK President Kim Dae-Jung to the DPRK leader, Kim Jong-Il, and he is also likely to meet the DPRK’s second in command, Jo Myung-Rok and the ruling Workers’ Party secretary, Kim Yong-Sun, among a group of other DPRK senior leaders. As part of the ROK’s diplomatic efforts, a special envoy of president-elect Roh Moo-Hyun met with US Secretary of State Colin Powell on January 25, emphasizing that the issue should be settled peacefully through dialogue based on close co-operation between ROK and US. Powell said US was prepared to negotiate with the DPRK about dismantling DPRK’s nuclear program and has no intention of attacking it. ROK president Kim and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, also discussed the issue and ways to resolve the issue peacefully by telephone on January 24.

China Daily (“ROK ENVOY TO TRAVEL TO DPRK FOR TALKS,” Seoul, 01/25-26/03, P1) reported that the ROK said on January 24 it would send a special envoy to the DPRK to discuss the peninsula’s nuclear issue. ROK President-elect Roh Moo-hyun announced his own initiative, saying he wanted face-to-face talks with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. “The DPRK must face up to the reality that if it continues to threaten peace, the international community will not simply turn a blind eye. Time is not on the DPRK’s side,” said Roh’s envoy Chung Dong-young. That lack of time was made clear when the UN nuclear watchdog scheduled an emergency board meeting for February 3 to discuss the DPRK, possibly setting the stage for moving the issue to the UN Security Council. Russia on January 24 rejected US efforts to refer DPRK’s nuclear issue to the UN Security Council, warning that this could inflame the current crisis. The DPRK hinted at a shift in its position that the only solution to the dispute over its nuclear ambitions could come through direct talks with the US, saying it could accept mediation from its neighbors, said the report.

People’s Daily (Xu Baokang, “ROK, DPRK RED CROSS SOCIETIES RESULT,” Seoul, 01/23/03, P3) reported that in the third round Red Cross societies meeting held at Mount Geumgang, ROK and DPRK agreed on January 22 to start work of construction of a family reunion center in April and hold another round of family reunions. The report said that the talks are held from January 20-22, in which the two sides finally narrowed their difference and clinched an agreement. The agreement stipulates that the two sides will start building a permanent reunion center in April, which can accommodate 1,000 people under joint design of the two sides. On the family reunions, the two delegations decided to hold the sixth round of separated family reunions on February 20-25 at the DPRK scenic mountain Geumgang, the report said.

People’s Daily (Xu Baokang, Seoul, 01/23/03, P3) reported that the Ninth Inter-Korean Ministerial Meeting was held on January 22 in Seoul. Kim Ryong-song, the DPRK delegation leader stressed at the meeting that the DPRK doesn’t mean to develop nuclear weapons and its current nuclear activities are restricted in electric generation and other peaceful purposes.

2. PRC-US Relations

People’s Daily (“CHINA, US HOLD VICE-FOREIGN MINISTERIAL LEVEL CONSULTATIONS,” Beijing, 01/21/03, P4) reported that Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Guangya and US Under Secretary of State John Bolton held the first round of consultations at the vice-foreign ministerial level on strategic security, multilateral arms control and non-proliferation in Beijing on January 20. The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the current situation of strategic security, international arms control and non-proliferation as well as the Iraq issue and the nuclear issue of the DPRK. The two sides agreed that the consultations helped promote mutual understanding and agreed to continue dialogues on the above-mentioned issues.

People’s Daily (Ding Gang, “TANG MEETS US SECRETARY OF STATE,” New York, 01/21/03, P3) reported that Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan met US Secretary of State Colin Powell on January 19 in New York. Tang sees a positive trend of development of PRC-US relations and said the two sides should continue to implement the consensus reached last October during a meeting in Crawford, Texas, between Chinese President Jiang Zemin and his US counterpart, George W. Bush. The two sides should maintain bilateral contacts at various levels, continue to strengthen coordination on major international issues, and push their relations for further improvement and development in the new year, Tang said. Powell said US-PRC relations are developing in a positive direction and the US side is satisfied with its increasing cooperation with PRC in economy, trade and counter-terrorism. On Taiwan issue, Tang said the issue concerns PRC’s core interests and that handling the issue in a careful and appropriate way is critical to the stable development of PRC-US relations. Powell said the US side understands the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue and that he is willing to reaffirm the commitments on the issue made by President Bush during his meeting with President Jiang last October. As to the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Powell said the US side is seeking a peaceful solution through diplomatic means and DPRK should drop its nuclear program. Noting that PRC is much concerned over the nuclear crisis, Tang reiterated that PRC stands for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and believes that an early resumption of talks between parties concerned is key to the resolution of the crisis, said the report.

3. PRC-Russian Ties

People’s Daily (Guo Lijun, “CHINESE, RUSSIAN FMS HOLD TALKS,” United Nations, 01/22/03, P3) reported that Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and his Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov, held talks in the UN on January 20 on issues of bilateral relations, tensions over Iraq and the Korean Peninsula. Speaking highly of the positive trend of the PRC-Russia relations, Tang said PRC is willing to work with Russia to implement the PRC-Russia friendship treaty and other agreements reached between leaders of the two countries to push forward the bilateral ties. Ivanov agreed with Tang on the assessment of bilateral relations and stressed that Russia will continue its efforts to maintain the current positive trend in bilateral links. As to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, Tang said both PRC and Russia stand for the maintenance of regional peace and stability, a nuclear-free peninsula and a peaceful settlement to the issue through dialogue. Ivanov said Russia shares a similar stance with PRC on the Korean issue and it is willing to work with PRC to push for the political solution of both issues.

4. DPRK-Russia Relations

People’s Daily (Zhao Jiaming, “DPRK LEADER MEETS WITH RUSSIAN ENVOY,” Pyongyang, 01/21/03, P3) reported that Kim Jong-il, top leader of the DPRK met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov on January 20. Losyukov delivered a message by Russian President Vladimir Putin on how to resolve the nuclear crisis to Kim , who said he would give his reaction to the message later. Kim and Losyukov talked about bilateral ties and railway construction along the eastern coast of the DPRK during the talks, the report said. The package of proposals put forward by Losyukov includes a nuclear-free status on the Korean Peninsula, security guarantee for the DPRK and resumption of humanitarian assistance and economic aid to the DPRK. The proposals were “good,” said Kim. Kim also gave some suggestions to the proposals and expressed his hope to resolve the nuclear issue through a diplomatic way, said the report.

5. Russia-US Relations

China Daily (“RUSSIA ANGRY OVER TERROR LIST,” Moscow, 01/27/03, P11) reported that Russia expressed impatience on January 26 with the slow pace of US administration moves to place Chechen rebel groups on US’s terror blacklist. “Despite our insistent demands, we cannot get the US administration to enter rebels who are committing crimes in the North Caucasus and Chechnya on the list of terrorist organizations,” Interfax quoted Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov as saying. “This is a dangerous policy of double standards, involving stereotypes and Cold War relapses,” Ivanov said. His comments came three days after US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, on a visit to Moscow, said US was in the process of meeting Russian demands and studying which Chechen guerrilla organizations may be blacklisted, said the report.

6. Japan-US Relations on DPRK Nuke Issue

People’s Daily (Zhang Huanli, Tokyo, 01/27/03, P3) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and US President George W. Bush agreed during a telephone conversation on January 25 night that they will make efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue concerning the DPRK.

7. DPRK-US Relations

People’s Daily (Zhao Jiaming, “DPRK OPPOSES INTERNATIONALIZATION OF NUCLEAR ISSUE,” Pyongyang, 01/27/03, P3) reported that a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman said on January 25 in Pyongyang that the DPRK is strongly opposed to any attempt to internationalize the nuclear issue and urged the direct dialogue between US and DPRK. The spokesman was referring to the “5+5” talks reportedly initiated recently by the US, which include the five permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as the DPRK, ROK, European Union, Japan and Australia. The nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is a product of the anti-DPRK policy of the US, which has inescapable responsibility for the matter and can never run away from it, the spokesman said in the report.

III. Japan

1. DPRK’s View to Neighbor’s Mediation

The Japan Times (“PYONGYANG MAY ACCEPT NEIGHBORS’ MEDIATION,” Seoul, 01/25/03) reported that DPRK said Friday it could accept mediation by neighbors to resolve the nuclear crisis, shifting from its stand that the only solution could come via direct talks with the US. “We can review mediation offers from neighboring countries,” DPRK Foreign Ministry official Oh Sung Chul told Friday’s edition of the Chosun Sinbo, a Korean-Japanese newspaper. “It is a good thing if our neighboring countries look at the nature of this matter and play positive roles,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. Meanwhile Friday, the IAEA, scheduled an emergency board meeting for Feb. 3 on DPRK’s nuclear ambitions, possibly setting the stage for moving the issue to the UN Security Council. Also Friday, DPRK and ROK agreed to try to find a peaceful end to the peninsula’s nuclear crisis, but the ROK voiced disappointment at the lack of more substantive progress. Just hours before the dawn agreement in Seoul, DPRK leader Kim Jong Il visited the front line separating the ROK and the DPRK and told troops he is confident they would triumph in any war with the US, the DPRK’s state news agency said. ROK president Kim Dae Jung will send a special envoy to Pyongyang next week, the presidential Blue House said Friday.

2. Japan-US-ROK Cooperation Over DPRK Issues

The Japan Times ‘”JAPAN, US TOGETHER ON PYONGYANG, 01/25/03) reported that Japan and the US agreed Friday that they and ROK should consult closely with each other in dealing with the standoff over DPRK’s development of nuclear weapons if and when the UN Security Council takes it up. In a meeting at the Foreign Ministry, Foreign Minister, Yoriko Kawaguchi and visiting US Undersecretary of State John Bolton agreed on the need to resolve the crisis peacefully through diplomatic measures, ministry officials. Bolton, Washington’s point man on arms control and international security, hinted during his meeting with Kawaguchi at US reluctance to impose economic sanctions on Pyongyang, noting that reporting to the Security Council and imposing sanctions are “separate matters,” the officials quoted him as saying. Kawaguchi said the nuclear issue should be “calmly and carefully” dealt with in the event the Security Council decides to hold discussions, reflecting Japan’s reluctance to step up pressure on DPRK.

3. US Policy on DPRK Issues

The Asahi Shinbun (Taro Karasaki,”US NOT EAGER FOR SANCTIONS ON NORTH,”01/25/03) reported that the US is not overreacting to DPRK’s withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by asking that the issue be taken up at the UN Security Council, visiting US official John Bolton said Friday. Speaking to reporters at the US Embassy, Bolton, the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, downplayed concerns that doing so would lead to immediate sanctions against DPRK. Pyongyang warned that such action by the council will be regarded as an act of war. “The Security Council is vested by the UN Charter with dealing with threats to international peace and security and obviously DPRK’s ongoing nuclear program amounts to such threats,” said Bolton, who arrived in Tokyo on Thursday following visits to Beijing and Seoul. “The question of getting the matter in the Security Council is separate and a different question from whether or not at some point sanctions would be warranted,” Bolton said. He added Washington was not eager to see sanctions applied. He said he hoped the board of directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency would meet soon to refer the issue to the council. Bolton said he had discussed the matter with representatives of Asian partners, including Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and other officials, and that he continued to regard “consultation with Japan and other key nations as vital to seek a peaceful solution.” Bolton added that he did not “sense any substantial objection” to referring the matter to the Security Council from the governments of the three countries he visited.

4. Japan’s Debate on Pre-emptive Strike

The Japan Times “PRE-EMPTIVE STRILE DEBATED,” 01/25/03) reported that Japan’s war-renouncing Constitution does not prohibit it from requesting a pre-emptive attack against DPRK’s ballistic missile bases if weapons are targeted at Japan and there is no other way for the country to defend itself, Japan’s government ministers told a key Diet panel session on Friday. Shigeru Ishida, director general of the Defense Agency, also told the Douse of Representatives Budget Committee that Japan does not currently have the military capability to conduct pre-emptive attacks against a foreign country. “We will consider the start (of a military attack on Japan)if (a foreign country) expresses an intention to demolish Tokyo and starts fueling its missiles to realize that,” Ishida told the committee. Japan’s Foreign Minister, Yoriko Kawaguchi, who also attended the session, agreed with Ishiba’s interpretation of the Constitution, citing statements made to the Diet by past Defense Agency heads that striking missile bases in foreign countries is within the legal framework of self-defense. She added that under the Japan-US security treaty, the US would deal with such a situation after consultations with Japan because the pact obliges the US to protect Japan should it be attacked by a foreign country.

5. Possibility of Japan’s Nuclear Option

The Japan Times (“NO NUKES FIR JAPAN,” Washington, 01/25/03) reported that Shizuka Kamei, a senior lawmaker of the ruking Liberal Democratic Party, scoffed Thursday at speculation that Japan may seek its own atomic arsenal in response to DPRK’s nuclear arms programs. With DPRK admitting it has a uranium enrichment program for nuclear weapons and restarting operations of facilities believed to be capable of developing plutonium-based nuclear weapons, there has been growing talk in the US about the possibility of Japan arming itself with nuclear weapons. ” we should never repeat what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” said Kamei, a former LDP policy chief. He made the remarks during a question and answer session following a speech at the Washintogn-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. Asked about the possibility of Japan building a nuclear arsenal, Kamei said, “I believe firmly that Japan should not possess nuclear weapons.”

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Hiroya Takagi: hiroya_takagi@hotmail.com
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Peter Razvin: icipu@online.ru
Moscow, Russian Federation

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Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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