NAPSNet Daily Report 29 March, 2002

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 29 March, 2002", NAPSNet Daily Report, March 29, 2002, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-29-march-2002/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US View of Agreed Framework
2. Russia-US Nuclear Relations
3. US Military Bases in ROK
4. ROK View of DPRK-US Relations
5. PRC Domestic Military Policy
II. Republic of Korea 1. ROK Air Force Project
2. Report on DPRK Nuclear
3. Environmental Talks
4. DPRK-US Relations
5. ROK-PRC Relations
III. People’s Republic of China 1. PRC View of DPRK-ROK Dialogues
2. ROK-Japan Relations
3. Japan-DPRK Relations
5. PRC-US Relations
6. Cross-Straits Relations
7. PRC Spacecraft Launch
IV. Japan 1. Japanese Self-Defense Forces
2. Japanese Envoy to CD
3. US Bases in Okinawa
4. US-Japan Relations

I. United States

1. US View of Agreed Framework

Reuters (Carol Giacomo, “BUSH HARD-LINERS SEE END OF N.KOREA ACCORD,” Washington, 03/29/02) reported that hard-liners in the US Bush administration hope a recent decision questioning the DPRK’s compliance with a 1994 nuclear agreement is a prelude to the Agreed Framework’s demise, according to US officials. “The battle remains to be fought (on North Korea) but that’s why this shift in the certification question this year is so important,” one senior official stated. US officials said administration hard-liners who are most suspicious of the DPRK see this year’s certification decision as a first step toward unraveling the agreement altogether. “If they don’t allow the IAEA the kind of access they need (for inspections), then it’s clear they (North Koreans) will have broken the Agreed Framework and the responsibility for that will be unambiguously theirs,” the official said. “You might as well say flatly, ‘You’re in breach of the agreement and it’s over,'” he added. In such a case, he would press the US to stop backing the reactor construction and stop providing oil supplies, although humanitarian aid would continue.

2. Russia-US Nuclear Relations

The Associated Press (Carolyn Skorneck, “U.S.-RUSSIAN NEGOTIATORS MAKE PROGRESS ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS, STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIP,” Washington, 03/29/02) reported that US and Russian negotiators have made so much progress on offensive weapons and a new strategic framework that US President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin may sign agreements on both at their Moscow summit in May, the State Department says. “There are issues that remain to be discussed, as there always are in this sort of affair,” John Bolton, undersecretary for arms control and international security, told reporters Friday at the Foreign Press Center. Among the issues still to be worked out are the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and a US proposal for a new way to count warheads as the US and Russia reduce their strategic arsenals to 1,700-2,200 each. “The nonproliferation question is a very high priority for us,” Bolton said. He said the Bush administration is focusing on sales to Iran and other “countries of concern” that could lead to new nuclear-armed militaries.

3. US Military Bases in ROK

The Associated Press (Choe Sang-hun, “US MILITARY TO CLOSE S. KOREA BASES,” Seoul, 03/29/02) and Reuters (“U.S. TO CUT NUMBER OF MILITARY BASES IN SOUTH KOREA,” Seoul, 03/29/02) reported that the US military will close half of its bases in the ROK in the next 10 years under an agreement signed by the nations Friday, but will not reduce the number of US troops stationed here. A joint statement said the US military will shut down 28 combat and support facilities and three training ranges, returning more than half the land currently occupied by US forces to the ROK government by 2011. “There is no reduction in US forces,” General Thomas A. Schwartz, commander of the US Forces in the ROK, said after signing the agreement with ROK Defense Minister Kim Dong-shin. “We will stay at our current strength level.”

4. ROK View of DPRK-US Relations

Reuters (“SOUTH KOREA’S KIM UPBEAT ON U.S. TALKS WITH NORTH,” Seoul, 03/29/02) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung told defense officials on Friday he saw tentative signs that the DPRK would open dialogue with the US. “I can’t say for certain, but it looks like the United States and North Korea are moving toward dialogue,” Kim said after meetings with ROK defense ministry officials. According to a transcript released by the presidential Blue House, Kim said an expected resumption of DPRK-Japan talks on top of Lim’s trip “makes one think that North Korea might have changed its rejectionist attitude to a stance for dialogue.” Lim told reporters on Thursday he would “convey President Kim’s thoughts on how to prevent unforeseen security threats in the peninsula” and the ROK’s belief that DPRK-US talks were important in that context.

5. PRC Domestic Military Policy

The Associated Press (“CHINA BARS SOLDIERS FROM USING MOBILE PHONES, PAGERS,” Beijing, 03/29/02) reported that the PRC has barred its soldiers from using mobile phones and pagers in an effort to keep its military secrets under wraps. Soldiers must have permission from an officer of divisional commander rank or above to use a mobile phone, and then only for work. Even soldiers granted exceptions to the new rules will be barred from taking mobile phones aboard military planes and boats, or into war rooms, intelligence facilities, communications complexes, missile firing areas, or secret conference rooms, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday. The regulations also forbid soldiers from visiting “unhealthy places,” Xinhua said, in an apparent reference to brothels. The regulations were signed by PRC President Jiang Zemin.

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK Air Force Project

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Min-seok, “SEOUL TO DIG DEEP PAYING FOR F-X,” Seoul, 03/29/02) reported that ROK government faces the challenge of trying to raise additional funds for the next-generation fighter jet project, which Boeing of the US seems to have locked up after the first round of evaluation. The Ministry of National Defense aimed to spend no more than 4.3 trillion won (US$3.3 billion) for its purchase of 40 warplanes, but Boeing’s offer was US$4.46 billion, according to the provisional contract signed February 19. The Defense Ministry will drive a hard bargain with Boeing once its F-15K wins the “playoff” against the French-made Dassault Rafale next month. “Even if we have to postpone signing the formal contract, we will beat down the price,” a senior ministry official said. The ministry reportedly plans to use the production line of the KF-16s here for building F-15Ks to save at least US$100 million.

2. Report on DPRK Nuclear

Joongang Ilbo (“WORLD TRIBUNE REPORTS OF HIDDEN NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN THE NORTH,” Seoul, 03/29/02) reported that World Tribune.com the US based Internet paper reported that the DPRK continues to hide its nuclear and fissile material inside underground bunkers citing the words of US experts in the Bush administration on Thursday. The paper pointed out that the DPRK not only conceals unknown quantity of nuclear fissile substances but also at least three nuclear bombs away from the reach of the US and International Atomic Energy Agency in charge of inspection to the reclusive state. With the DPRK standing firm against full inspection to its suspected nuclear region of Yongbyon the paper said DPRK may’ve used Yongbyon and other regions for test on the weaponization of long- range missiles capable of reaching the US.

3. Environmental Talks

The Korea Herald (“YELLOW SAND DRAWS MINISTERS TO SEOUL,” Seoul, 03/29/02) reported that environment ministers from the PRC, Japan and ROK will meet in Seoul on April 20 and 21 to discuss measures to reduce damage from the yellow sand that blows east from the Gobi Desert, clouding the air in all three countries. The Ministry of Environment reported Thursday that the three ministers will talk about technology and funding of the project to plant trees and build irrigation facilities in Neimeng in inner PRC, which is known as one of the areas where the sandstorms have originated. The ministers will also discuss joint research on airborne pollutants, ways to improve the water quality of lakes, information exchanges on environmental projects and forming networks for environmental education, the Environment Ministry said.

4. DPRK-US Relations

The Korea Herald (“NORTH KOREA, UNITED STATES REOPEN NEW YORK CHANNEL,” Seoul, 03/29/02) reported that continued meetings between DPRK representative to the United Nations Pak Gil-yon and Jack Pritchard, the US point man on the DPRK, herald positive signs for relations between the two nations. US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told a group of ROK media correspondents Wednesday that Pritchard met Pak in New York last week, following their discussion only a week before. The New York channel is the only existing contact point between the two governments, but had been defunct since President George W. Bush labeled the DPRK an element of the world’s “axis of evil” earlier this year. Armitage said the two sides exchanged views on the current situation and that US reaffirmed its desire for dialogue with DPRK. The rare rendezvous took place only days before the two Koreas announced their agreement on a visit to DPRK next week by President Kim Dae-jung’s special envoy.

5. ROK-PRC Relations

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “KOREA, CHINA DISCUSS ENVOY’S VISIT TO PYONGYANG, DEFECTOR ISSUE,” Seoul, 03/29/02) reported that top foreign policymakers from ROK and PRC met in Beijing Thursday to discuss the planned high-level meeting between the two Koreas and the issue of DPRK refugees crossing the border to PRC, ROK officials said. ROK Foreign Minister Choi Sung-hong, who arrived in Beijing earlier in the day for a two-day visit, briefed his counterpart, Tang Jiaxuan, on the background of the April 3-5 trip to Pyongyang by Lim Dong-won, President Kim Dae- jung’s special envoy. Choi asked PRC, the DPRK’s Cold War ally, to continue its effort to improve DPRK’s ties with ROK and US, Foreign Ministry officials said. Also high on the agenda were escalating disputes over hundreds of thousands of DPRK defectors hiding in the PRC and activists helping them seek asylum, according to the officials. Choi expressed his gratitude for PRC’s decision regarding the 25 defectors, but also reaffirmed ROK’s position that DPRK escapees should be dealt with in a humanitarian way rather than repatriated. ROK also promised to instruct ROK Korean NGOs supporting DPRK asylum seekers in PRC to refrain from any activities violating the PRC’s domestic laws, the official said.

III. People’s Republic of China

1. PRC View of DPRK-ROK Dialogues

People’s Daily (Yuan Yi and Zhao Xiaohui, “CHINA WELCOMES RESUMPTION OF DIALOGUE ON KOREAN PENINSULA,” Beijing, 03/27/02, P4) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhang Qiyue said on March 26 that the PRC welcomes the resumption of dialogue between the DPRK and the ROK and looks forward to positive results to be made by the special envoy from the south. The PRC has always held that the Korean Peninsula’s problems should be solved through dialogue and cooperation between the two sides concerned since they are the ones who have the problem, Zhang said at a press conference.

2. ROK-Japan Relations

China Daily (“ROK, JAPAN VOW TO STRENGTHEN RELATIONS,” Seoul, 03/23- 24/02, P8) reported that the ROK and Japan vowed on March 22 to kick off a new era of friendship as joint hosts of the World Cup but officials confirmed Japanese Emperor Akihito would not attend the opening ceremony in Seoul. ROK President Kim Dae-jung and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi met for a summit on the second day of a visit of the Japanese leader, said the report. Japan showed, however, that it is not yet ready to send its emperor to visit Korea for the first time since the occupation, said the report. At their summit, it reported, Kim and Koizumi also agreed to launch a joint study into a free-trade area between their countries and discussed issues concerning the DPRK.

3. Japan-DPRK Relations

China Daily (“SEARCHING MISSING CITIZENS,” Tokyo, 03/25/02, P11) reported that the Japanese Red Cross Society is pushing for talks with the DPRK to establish the whereabouts of the missing Japanese citizens. It report that the DPRK Red Cross Society on March 22 offered to resume the search for the missing, but Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he was not sure of the seriousness of the offer. According to the report, Japanese Red Cross Society spokesman Atsuhiko Hata said his organization had sent a fax to try to confirm the DPRK society’s intentions.

China Daily (“JAPAN, DPRK SET TO HOLD MINISTERIAL LEVEL TALKS,” Tokyo, 03/28/02, P12) reported that Japan and the DPRK plan to hold a ministerial-level meeting in Singapore in the next few days. It reported that a Japanese official said that Japanese Health Minister Chikara Sakaguchi is considering attending the meeting, at which the two sides will discuss medical support for overseas survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings. “Nothing has been decided officially, but we are making preparations for the meeting,” said the official. 4. PRC-ROK Relations

People’s Daily (Xu Baokang and Du Haitao, “CHINA-ROK ECONOMIC SEMINAR HELD,” Beijing, 03/28/02, P1) reported that the Sino-ROK Economic Seminar co-organized by the People’s Daily and ROK’s Chosun Ilbo was held in the Great Hall of the People of China on March 27. It said, the theme of the Seminar is “China’s Accession into the WTO and Sino-ROK Economic Cooperation”. The subjects for discussion cover: experiences and prospects of the Sino-ROK economic cooperation; experiences of ROK in recovering from the financial crisis and resuming stable economic growth; means and ways of settling trade disputes after the entry into the WTO; and developing strategies of its enterprises as well as prospect to establish Sino-ROK-Japan Free Trade Zones, said the report. It said, PRC Premier Zhu Rongji and ROK Prime Minister Lee Han-dong respectively sent congratulatory messages to the meeting.

5. PRC-US Relations

China Daily (Meng Yan, “US SUPPORT FOR TAIWAN WHO ENTRY CRITICIZED,” 03/27/02, P2) reported that Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue on March 26 reiterated the PRC’s strong opposition to the US support of Taiwan’s efforts to join the World Health Organization (WHO). At a scheduled press briefing in Beijing on March 26, Zhang said: “Taiwan is making a political issue of joining the WHO under the pretence of a health matter.” “Actually, Taiwan is attempting to split the motherland within the organization,” Zhang added. Zhang then said, “We urge the US to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs via the Taiwan question and to strictly abide by the three Sino-US joint communiques and the one-China policy.”

China Daily (Jiang Zhuqing, “US TOLD TO STOP ITS ‘INTERFERING’,” 03/22/02, P1) reported that the PRC on March 21 urged the US to stop interfering in the PRC’s internal affairs via the Taiwan question and to strictly abide by the three Sino-US joint communiques and the one- China policy. PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue was asked whether the recent visit of Tang Yiau-ming, Taiwan’s so-called “defense minister,” will affect the planned trip to the US of Vice-President Hu Jintao. Zhang said, the US side should seriously consider China’s stance by being fully aware of the importance of the Taiwan question to relations between China and the US. The spokeswoman told reporters that the PRC naval fleet has been preparing for a trip abroad but the fleet’s schedule included no US harbors. Zhang also responded to reports that Carl W. Ford, Junior — the US Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research — claimed on March 19 that the PRC army had advanced plans for chemical warfare and that Iran was continuing to acquire chemical- weapons materials, technology and equipment from the PRC and Russia. She said: “China possesses no chemical weapons and strictly adheres to the Convention on Banning Chemical Weapons.” The PRC has drafted a series of laws and provisions to strictly curb the export of the relevant chemical materials, technology and equipment with the aim of preventing them from being used for chemical weapons, added Zhang.

6. Cross-Straits Relations

China Daily (Hu Qihua, “SEPARATISM ‘POISONOUS’ TO STRAITS RELATIONS,” 03/28/02, P1) reported that a Taiwan affairs official said on March 27 that any form of “Taiwan independence” will poison cross-Straits relations and heighten tension and confrontation — eventually damaging the interests of Taiwan compatriots. Proclaiming the so-called World Taiwanese Meeting — with the theme of “independence for Taiwan” held in Taipei on March 17 — a farce, Li Weiyi, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of the PRC, said separatist activity in any form of “Taiwan independence” will be absolutely opposed by the PRC. Also at the regular press conference, Li announced the mainland was willing to set up a non-governmental channel with Taiwan to resolve the problem of a fishing labor exchange across the Taiwan Straits.

7. PRC Spacecraft Launch

People’s Daily (Shan Xiangqian and Ren Jianmin, “‘SHENZHOU III’ SPACECRAFT LAUNCHED SUCCESSFULLY,” Jiuquan, 03/26/02, P1) reported that the PRC launched an unmanned spacecraft, “Shenzhou III”, at 10:15 pm on the night of March 25 (Beijing Time) from Jiuquan Satellite Launching Center of Gansu Province, and ten minutes after blast-off, the spaceship entered its preset orbit. General Secretary of CPC Central Committee, President of PRC and Chairman of CPC Central Military Commission Jiang Zemin watched the successful launch, said the report. Jiang extended his congratulations to scientists and technologists, as well as servicemen of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). He said that the successful launch symbolizes one more milestone for the PRC’s space science and technology, and showed the PRC’s spirit of constantly striving to become stronger.

IV. Japan

1. Japanese Self-Defense Forces

Kyodo (“NEW GSDF UNIT WILL PATROL REMOTE ISLANDS,” Sasebo, 03/28/02) reported that the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) on Wednesday inaugurated Japan’s first infantry regiment designed to respond rapidly to emergencies on remote islands in southwestern Japan, GSDF officials said. The regiment of about 600 troops, which will be based at the GSDF’s Camp Ainoura in Sasebo, is tasked with patrolling and defending 2,522 islands near Kyushu and Okinawa. The regiment will also be mobilized when natural disasters strike inhabited islands. “We organized this infantry with the idea of giving importance to these islands in the Kyushu area, which until now have had poor security,” said an official in the Defense Agency’s Ground Staff Office. The new regiment is far smaller than a normal infantry unit, which usually comprises about 1,000 troops, to enhance mobility and readiness.

2. Japanese Envoy to CD

Kyodo (“SOPHIA PROF EYED FOR GENEVA ARMS POST,” Tokyo, 03/29/02) reported that Kuniko Inoguchi, a Sophia University law faculty professor, is being considered for the post of Japan’s envoy to the Conference of Disarmament—a post that has been vacant since mid-March– -or another appropriate position, sources close to Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said Thursday. Ms. Inoguchi has served on the Defense Policy Review Council and the Administrative Reform Council.

3. US Bases in Okinawa

The Asahi Shimbun (“U.S. AIRMAN GETS PRISON TERM FOR OKINAWA RAPE,” Naha, 03/29/02) reported that US Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Woodland will spend 32 months in prison for raping a woman in Chatan, Okinawa Prefecture, last year, the Naha District Court ruled Thursday. In handing down his verdict finding Woodland, 25, guilty of the June 29 rape, Presiding Judge Soichi Hayashida said the airman had compounded the original crime. “Although the victim greatly suffered both mentally and physically, the accused only made excuses that she had consented, hurting her feelings even after the crime. His criminal responsibility is great,” Hayashida said. Despite the guilty verdict, many Okinawans voiced frustration Thursday about how little has been done to deal with crime and other problems associated with the large US military presence in the prefecture. “Even nine months after the incident, the central government has done nothing to change things for us Okinawans,” said prefectural assembly member Keiko Itokazu.

4. US-Japan Relations

Kyodo (Yoichi Kosukegawa, “U.S. MILITARY CHIEF SEEKING UNLIMITED HELP FROM TOKYO,” Washington, 03/29/02) reported Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, voiced hope Wednesday that Japan will not invoke any time limit upon its support for the US-led war on terrorism, with the campaign expected to last for many years. Myers said this should be Japan’s decision but added in an interview with Kyodo News, “I’m sure the government of Japan will do the right thing when the time comes.” Regarding the issue of US military bases in Okinawa, Myers said the US has no current plans to reduce the number of troops stationed there. He said he opposed Okinawa’s calls for a 15-year limit on US use of an airport that will be built in northern Okinawa. He also voiced hope that Japan would participate in the development and deployment of a theater missile defense system, describing threats from missile attacks as real. Myers is scheduled to visit Japan, the ROK and the Philippines in April.

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

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

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

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

Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

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

Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Young-soo: yskim328@hotmail.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hibiki Yamaguchi: hibikiy84@hotmail.com
Tokyo, Japan

Saiko Iwata: saiko@akira.ne.jp
Tokyo, Japan

Hiroya Takagi: hiroya_takagi@hotmail.com
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin: icipu@glas.apc.org
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< /a>
Clayton, Australia

 


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