NAPSNet Daily Report 30 June, 2003

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 30 June, 2003", NAPSNet Daily Report, June 30, 2003, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-30-june-2003/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US Lawmaker DPRK Diplomacy Plans
2. US Exports of Mass Destruction Alliance
3. PRC on Nuclear Free Korea
4. ROK Railway Strike
5. Japan Domestic Politics
6. Japan Troops Role in Iraq
7. Taiwan WHO SARS List
8. PRC ID Card Law
9. PRC-Hong Kong Relations
10. PRC Three Gorges Dam

I. United States

1. US Lawmaker DPRK Diplomacy Plans

Agence France-Presse (“US LAWMAKER UNVEILS DETAILS OF PLAN TO END NUCLEAR STANDOFF WITH DPRK,” Washington, 06/30/03) reported that a Republican lawmaker recently back from DPRK unveiled details of a 10-point plan he discussed with Pyongyang leaders to prod them to abandon their nuclear weapons program. Curt Weldon, vice-chairman of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, outlined the plan in a commentary published in the Philadelphia Enquirer Monday. He recalled that he had taken it up with DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan and received an encouraging response. The two-stage plan would initially involve: a one-year non-aggression pact signed by Washington and Pyongyang. The DPRK’s official renouncement of its nuclear weapons and research programs, with full and unfettered inspection of its nuclear facilities by a US designee. The DPRK’s rejoining the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. A Korean Economic Development and Security Initiative funded by the US, DPRK, ROK, Japan, China, Russia and European partners to the tune of three to five billion dollars per year over the next 10 years. Washington’s official recognition of DPRK and the opening of a mission in Pyongyang. After the one-year period or the satisfactory completion of the first five steps, a second stage would involve, among other things, making the non-aggression pact permanent and DPRK’s ratification of the Missile Technology Control Regime. “Following a detailed discussion of each point, Vice Minister responded that this plan is exactly what the North is seeking,” Weldon wrote. “He stated that with this plan as the starting point, everything was on the table for negotiation.” Asked about the plan Monday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher reiterated that Weldon had not acted on behalf of President George W. Bush’s administration during his trip. “But he was kind enough to come afterward and tell us what he saw, about his conversations and what his views were,” the spokesman added. Asked specifically about the idea of a non-aggression pact, Boucher replied: “We have to have a chance to consider the whole universe of possibilities and decide what the administration wants to do in terms of next steps, along with our allies.”

2. US Exports of Mass Destruction Alliance

Agence France-Presse (“US SEEKING ALLIANCE TO BLOCK WEAPONS EXPORTS BY DPRK, IRAN,” Tokyo, 06/29/03) reported that the US is seeking an international alliance to block exports of weapons of mass destruction and missiles by DPRK and Iran, it was reported here. The report by Asahi Shimbun follows allegations that the US may scuttle an international project to build light-water reactors in DPRK, a deal contingent on the Stalinist state’s adherence to a pact freezing its nuclear arms program. DPRK publicly declared this month it was seeking nuclear weapons. A senior US administration official said Washington would help establish a “voluntary alliance” of countries that would boost inspections of ships and aircraft against the hardware shipments, the Japanese daily said. Leaders of the 11-country bloc are the US, Japan and Australia, which met in Madrid on June 12 to plot strategies to thwart the spread of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and missile components, the influential daily quoted an unidentified official as saying. Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain have confirmed they would make best use of existing laws to intercept such exports, the official said. The countries were to meet July 9-10 in Australia to plan better cooperation in tracking the shipments. China and Russia, both with close links to DPRK, were to be consulted by the US in an effort to pursue “stronger action,” based on a UN resolution, to halt weapons exports, the official said. In December, the Spanish navy stopped and searched a suspected DPRK freighter in the Mediterranean found to be carrying 15 DPRK Scud missiles to Yemen, but US forces had no legal right to seize the cargo as the ship was intercepted in international waters. Meanwhile, US allegations over the weekend indicated Washington would suspend the nuclear reactor project, despite caution expressed by ROK and Japan. On Friday, US Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker said that if Pyongyang does not dismantle its nuclear weapons program, “it is unlikely that the US would support the completion of those reactors beyond the commitments that we’ve undertaken in the framework agreement.”

3. PRC on Nuclear Free Korea

Reuters (Karolos Grohmann, “CHINA WANTS NUCLEAR WEAPONS-FREE KOREAS,” Athens, 06/30/03) reported that the PRC called Monday for a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons and urged a diplomatic settlement to the DPRK nuclear crisis. “China hopes to see a nuclear weapons-free Korean peninsula which enjoys lasting peace and stability,” PRC Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing told reporters after meeting European Union officials and the bloc’s outgoing president Greece. “It is important to address the security concerns of a certain country but should there be disagreements or even conflicts between certain countries the only way to solve them is through dialogue in a peaceful manner,” he said. Zhaoxing, a former ambassador to the US, said a first round of talks in Beijing in April between DPRK, the US and the PRC were positive but more needed to be done. “The PRC government has made persistent efforts … and the Beijing talks represented a good beginning. But they were only a good beginning,” said Zhaoxing.

4. ROK Railway Strike

Agence France-Presse (“RAILWAY UNIONISTS FACE PUNISHMENT OVER CRIPPLING,” 07/01/03) reported that the ROK’s transport authorities threatened to suspend more than 120 railway unionists from duty after they led crippling strikes into a third consecutive day, officials said. The warning came as most of the striking workers at the state-run Korean National Railroad (KNR) defied the government’s 1300 GMT Sunday deadline for them to return to work. “We are considering suspending 121 leading unionized workers from duty as part of punishment for the defiant unionists,” Son Young-Su, head of KNR’s disciplinary team, told AFP. Some 85 percent of the KNR’s 9,000 unionists have remained off work since Saturday, crippling 70 percent of passenger train services and 88 percent of cargo services nationwide. Thousands of unionists rallied in downtown Seoul Monday to support the walkout by railway workers in defiance of President Roh Moo-Hyun’s call for industrial peace. Some 5,000 members of ROK’s two umbrella labor groups held separate anti-government rallies in Seoul, calling for higher wages and shorter working hours. About 8,000 taxi drivers and truckers stayed off the roads in major cities. Public anger mounted in Seoul and nearby cities as roads clogged with cars. “We will not tolerate any illegal actions and deal sternly with them in accordance with laws and principles,” Roh said, noting that curbing labor unrest was one of the most urgent tasks facing his administration. Unions accused the government of breaching an earlier promise to consult workers over a plan to privatize state firms. Government officials said the privatization could not be subject to labor disputes, a tough stance that followed complaints by business leaders about Roh’s soft approach to union militancy. Labor groups demanded the government shelve plans for special economic zones, which they say would lead to a deterioration in working conditions. But Roh, a former pro-worker activist, said the culture of ROK labor-management relations should change. “We need to establish a win-win situation for labor and management through principles, trust, dialogue and cooperation,” he told a seminar hosted by ROK to attract foreign investment. “We will also take measures to adopt international standards in labor-related institutions and practices, flexibility in employment and protection of the rights and obligations of laborers.” Later Monday Roh said he expected the walkout by railway workers to end soon.

5. Japan Domestic Politics

Agence France-Presse (“MAJORITY IN JAPAN BACKS KOIZUMI REELECTION BID,” 06/30/03) reported that a majority of Japanese voters support Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s bid for reelection in the ruling party’s presidential race, which secures his premiership, according to a poll. Some 52 percent of the respondents said they backed Koizumi’s election in the Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership election in September, the Asahi Shimbun said in its poll, released Monday. Some 29 percent of them were opposed, according to the survey conducted by the daily over the weekend, covering 2,000 voters across Japan of whom 52 percent gave valid responses. Koizumi’s current two-year term as LDP president expires September 30. He took office in April 2001 and was reelected as party leader in September 2001. If chosen again in the upcoming poll, Koizumi could remain in the office until 2006 as the party has extended the president’s term to three years from two years. The LDP, the biggest party in the ruling coalition, chooses a new leader by a vote of its parliament members as well as local chapters. The party president is bound to be named prime minister because of its dominance of parliament in which lawmakers elect the premier. Koizumi has faced few challenges so far from other party members.

6. Japan Troops Role in Iraq

Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN TO SEND OVER 1,000 TROOPS TO IRAQ,” 06/30/03) reported that Japan plans to send more than 1,000 troops to Iraq to help rebuild the war-torn country under new legislation expected to pass by late July. As a first step, some 500 Ground Self-Defence Force troops, the core of the Japanese mission, are likely to be deployed starting in early October, the Tokyo newspaper said. The troops are expected to supply fuel and water to US forces and citizens in Baghdad, the daily said, citing a Defence Agency outline on reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Japanese and US officials plan to discuss the details based on the outline in a meeting Monday, the report said. The Air Self-Defence Force will send three C-130 transport planes while the Maritime Self-Defence Force will deploy an amphibious ship and a destroyer, according to the paper. In all, the number of Japanese SDF personnel is likely to top 1,000, the newspaper said. A Defence Agency spokesman declined to confirm the report. “We cannot comment as the issue has been under deliberation in the Diet,” the spokesman said. Japan’s parliament has debated a bill that would authorise the dispatch of troops to Iraq to help reconstruction efforts but limit their activities to humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in “no-combat areas”. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s Liberal Democratic Party gave the green light for a draft bill after deleting a provision that Japanese troops would be involved in disposing of abandoned weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Removing the provision does not prevent Japanese troops from dealing with WMD but rather leaves the issue ambiguous. With the current parliamentary session extended to July 28, the chances of passing the bill are very high because the ruling coalition controls both the lower and upper houses of parliament. The legislation bans Japanese forces from providing any ammunition and aircraft for combat operations, but allows them to use weapons only to protect themselves and people involved in work related to the reconstruction of Iraq.

7. Taiwan WHO SARS List

Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN HOPES TO BE REMOVED FROM WHO BLACKLIST ON JULY 6,” 06/30/03) reported that Taiwan hopes to be removed from the World Health Organization (WHO) blacklist of SARS-affected areas on July 6, which would mark the required 20 days with no new infections, health authorities said. “Spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) on the island has been effectively contained,” said Lee Ming-liang, chief of the cabinet’s SARS Contingency Committee. “With the last onset of the disease on June 15, Taiwan is expected to be automatically delisted at the zero hour of July 6 if there are no surprises,” Lee said Monday. The number of infections on the island totalled 678 with no new cases reported for the 15th successive day, Lee said. The death toll from the epidemic stood at 84 with 42 people still in hospital, he said. Despite the apparent halt of the spread of the virus, Lee warned the public to stay vigilant to counter a possible resurgence. The WHO on June 17 lifted a month-long warning against non-essential travel to Taiwan because of the improved situation. Taipei had hoped to be taken off the list last week, saying it had recorded no new cases in 20 days since the last patient was quarantined at home on June 6. But the WHO said on its website Friday that the clock started ticking on the 20-day countdown only after isolation of the last case in an infection-controlled medical facility, not on “a SARS case placed in home isolation as a precautionary measure”.

8. PRC ID Card Law

Asia Pulse (“CHINA’S ID CARD LAW PASSED,” Beijing, 06/30/03) reported that the PRC’s top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, passed overwhelmingly the law of citizen identification card on Saturday. The law, compared with the resident ID card regulations adopted in 1985, focused more on safeguarding the citizens’ rights, said Ying Songnian, a member of the Committee for Internal and Judicial Affairs of the NPC and law professor with the National School of Administration. According to the law, no organization or individual has the right to check a citizen’s ID card except for the police holding proper reasons. The police must keep confidential any personal information obtained from citizens’ ID card. The new ID card, with the application of integrated circuit (IC) technology, can be read by computers as well. The new law enlarges the scope of ID card holders by including those below the age of 16, who may thus exercise their civil rights. The low-income citizens will be less or not charged accordingly for the cost of their ID cards in accordance with the law. “The law shows more care for citizens,” said Ying, adding that the legislators took suggestions widely from the public during their discussion of the legislation. Jiang Zhenghua, vice-chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said that the ID card law means a great progress in improving the legal system and protecting citizens’ legitimate rights. The new law will be in effect as of January 1, 2004.

9. PRC-Hong Kong Relations

Agence France-Presse (“PRC PREMIER ARRIVES IN HONG KONG,” 06/29/03) reported that PRC Premier Wen Jiabao has arrived in Hong Kong for a three-day visit during which he will attend the signing ceremony of the first bilateral trade agreement with the former British colony. He was greeted on arrival at the airport by senior officials led by Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. Wen made no comment on his arrival. He is making his first visit to the territory since succeeding Zhu Rongji in March. Wen, 60, is scheduled to visit the Prince of Wales hospital and attend a reception Monday for those who contributed to the fight against the pneumonia like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The devastating outbreak has left 297 dead from nearly 1,800 infections. On Tuesday he will attend festivities marking the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to PRC sovereignty on July 1, 1997 before departing. Police have erected steel barriers to cordon off the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the site of the anniversary celebrations, and the adjacent Grand Hyatt hotel where Wen will stay. Wen is a political survivor who has steadily risen to power. He stayed on after Communist Party general secretary Zhao Ziyang was purged during the pro-democracy protest in Tiananmen Square 1989 and was later named to the party secretariat. He later became a full member of the party’s Politburo before becoming vice premier in charge of finance. Wen gained the number three spot in the party’s new Politburo Standing Committee in November after Zhu retired from formal politics and took up the premier’s post in March.

10. PRC Three Gorges Dam

Agence France-Presse (“THOUSANDS MORE SHIFTED TO MAKE WAY FOR CHINA’S THREE GORGES DAM,” 06/29/03) reported that the third phase of re-housing more than a million people displaced by China’s massive Three Gorges dam project began, state media reported. About 23,400 people now living in the southwestern Chongqing region are to be relocated by the end of next year to other provinces, including the eastern province of Zhejiang more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) away, Xinhua news agency said. During the first two phases of the re-housing, 140,000 people displaced by the dam project left their ancestral homes for other parts of China. In total, more than 700,000 people already been moved and more than 400,000 will be relocated as the water levels of the Yangtze river rise in 2006 and 2009. From June 1-10, the Three Gorges dam, the largest in the world, closed its sluice gates for the first time, submerging 13 towns to form a lake more than 400 kilometres long. The majority of those displaced are being moved to new towns built on higher ground and bordering the lake. Meanwhile, the China Daily reported that the construction of high-tension lines to carry electricity from the hydroelectric dam to central and eastern China has been completed. The dam will begin to produce electricity in August.

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

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

Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Brandon Yu: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
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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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