NAPSNet Daily Report 30 November, 1998

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 30 November, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, November 30, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-30-november-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

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1. DPRK Underground Construction

The Associated Press (“IAEA HEAD ARRIVES IN SOUTH KOREA,” Seoul, 11/29/98) reported that Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), arrived in Seoul on Sunday for talks about a suspected underground nuclear site in the DPRK. The ROK Foreign Ministry said ElBaradei will meet with ROK President Kim Dae- jung, Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Hong Soon-young, and other government officials during his four-day visit.

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2. Russia-DPRK Treaty

The Associated Press (“RUSSIA, N. KOREA CLOSE TO TREATY,” Moscow, 11/30/98) reported that Russia’s Interfax news agency said Monday that Russia is close to agreement on a new treaty with the DPRK that would drop Soviet-era mutual defense commitments. The report quoted unidentified Russian government sources as saying that just a few items remain to be agreed upon before the treaty can be signed, although no date has been set. It added that diplomats from both countries will hold more trade and economic talks to finalize details on a new treaty.

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3. 2002 World Cup

The Associated Press (“FIFA WELCOMES TALKS WITH N. KOREA,” Seoul, 11/30/98) reported that Sepp Blatter, president of the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), said Monday that FIFA will consider playing 2002 World Cup games in the DPRK. Blatter stated, “FIFA will not close the door. We are open to any dialogue.” He also said that he will visit the DPRK next fall at the invitation of the sports minister. He added, however, that playing World Cup games in the DPRK is a political issue that first has to be resolved between the DPRK and the ROK. Blatter said, “FIFA is a sports organization. And the first step should be made by a political entity, not a sports entity.”

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4. Japanese Emperor’s Trip to ROK

The Associated Press (“S. KOREA’S INVITATION CRITICIZED,” Tokyo, 11/30/98) reported that a broadcast on the DPRK’s Korean Central Radio on Monday called ROK Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil “a pro-Japan traitor” for inviting Japan’s Emperor Akihito to visit Seoul in the year 2000. Kim reportedly made the invitation at a weekend meeting of Cabinet ministers from both nations in Kagoshima, Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi also attended.

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5. ROK-Japan Fisheries Treaty

The Associated Press (“JAPAN, S. KOREA SIGN FISHING ACCORD,” Tokyo, 11/28/98) reported that Japan and the ROK signed an agreement Saturday on new fishing boundaries and quotas. The pact permits vessels from Japan and the ROK to fish within 230 miles of each country’s shores, the limit for exclusive fishing rights under the 1994 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. They also agreed to set up a joint fishing zone around the disputed islets of Tokdo or Takeshima. Both sides also agreed to reduce their fishing catches in each other’s waters. A Japanese government official said that the agreement, which was reached in September, was signed during a meeting of Cabinet ministers from both countries in the southern city of Kagoshima.

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6. Jiang Zemin’s Trip to Japan

Reuters (Benjamin Kang Lim, “CHINA PRESIDENT’S JAPAN VISIT DRAWS MIXED REVIEWS,” Beijing, 11/30/98) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin returned home Monday from a visit to Japan. One unnamed Western diplomat stated, “The Japanese got away with giving nothing. It doesn’t make Jiang Zemin look very good.” Another said, “It would be difficult to describe it as a success. The Chinese have had certain goals which have mostly not been achieved.” Other analysts, however, saw Jiang’s failure to receive a written war apology as keeping alive the issue that the PRC regularly uses to secure Japanese soft loans and investment. During the visit, Japan pledged to give 390 billion yen in loans to the PRC in 1999 and 2000 to finance a variety of projects dealing with the environment, farm productivity, and other areas. Shortly after Jiang left Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi told the Diet, “With President Jiang’s visit to Japan, I believe that we have built a foundation to further promote Sino-Japanese relations.”

The Associated Press (Katsumi Kasahara, “CHINA’S JIANG VISITS NORTHERN JAPAN,” Sendai, 11/29/98) reported that editorials Sunday in Hong Kong newspapers branded PRC President Jiang Zemin’s visit to Japan a diplomatic failure. The Chinese-language Ming Pao said, “Japan chose to be confrontational with China because it does not want to see China becoming a major international powerhouse.”

The Associated Press (Martin Fackler, “PROTESTS OVER JAPAN-CHINA SUMMIT,” Tokyo, 11/28/98) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin on Saturday criticized Japan’s wartime atrocities in a speech at Tokyo’s Waseda University. Jiang stated, “Thirty-five million Chinese soldiers and civilians were either killed or injured, and China suffered economic losses worth more than $600 billion.” Protesters tried to drown out Jiang’s speech, criticizing the PRC’s human rights record. Outside, scores of students protested the treatment of Chinese dissidents and the PRC’s nuclear weapons program.

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7. Japanese Apology for World War II

The San Jose Mercury News (Michael Zielenziger, “CHINESE PRESIDENT LECTURES JAPAN FOR ITS FAILURE TO ADEQUATELY APOLOGIZE FOR WWII,” Tokyo, 11/28/98) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin said Saturday that Japan had not “properly laid to rest” its conduct in World War II. Jiang said that relations between the PRC and Japan can proceed smoothly only if Japan “squarely faces” its wartime past. He added that the process not only would help Japan improve its relations with the PRC, but also “would be beneficial to Japan itself.” Jiang stated, “In Japan, there are still certain people, and people in high positions, who constantly distort history and to try to beautify aggression. This continues to hurt the feelings of Chinese people and other people.” He added, “The Taiwan issue is a domestic affair of China. We very much hope the Japanese side will live up to its word” that it would never become involved in efforts to defend the island. Jiang also stated, “We never had a thought of signing [a written] agreement” with Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi.

The New York Times (Nicholas D. Kristof, “BURYING THE PAST,” Tokyo, 11/30/98) reported that Akitaka Saiki, Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s spokesman, said that Japan was willing to apologize in writing to the ROK but not to the PRC because the circumstances were different. Saiki pointed out that Japan had colonized Korea but not China. He added that the Japanese emperor had already gone to the PRC and apologized for the war, while the emperor has not visited the ROK yet. Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura stated, “While [ROK] President Kim [Dae-jung] made it clear that he would like to settle past history, it was not necessarily the case” with Jiang.

The Associated Press (Joseph Coleman, “CHINA DISAPPOINTED IN JAPAN APOLOGY,” Tokyo, 11/27/98) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin told Japanese lawmakers on Friday that he disagreed that the PRC likes “to take up the historical issue too often.” He agreed with Japanese opposition leader Naoto Kan that the apology offered by Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi for Japanese atrocities in World War II was not contrite enough.

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8. Japanese Compensation for World War II

Reuters (Elaine Lies, “JAPAN REJECTS SECOND POW LAWSUIT IN LESS THAN A WEEK,” Tokyo, 11/30/98) reported that a Japanese court on Monday rejected a compensation lawsuit brought by Dutch former prisoners of war and civilian internees of World War II. However, the court did recognize that the treatment the former prisoners received violated their human rights under the Hague Convention. Gerard Jungslager, an attorney for the plaintiffs, stated, “All that has been brought forth by the plaintiffs in the matter of facts of inhumane treatment and violation of human rights has been recognized by the court in relation to the Hague Convention.” He added that they would appeal the ruling because the individual right to claim compensation was not recognized. Judge Taichi Kajimura said, “Based on international law, individuals have no right to demand compensation from a country. International law is on a country level, and in the unusual cases where it can apply to an individual, a clause in treaties is essential.”

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9. PRC Laser Development

The Los Angeles Times (Paul Richter, “CHINA MAY SEEK SATELLITE LASER, PENTAGON WARNS,” Washington, 11/28/98) reported that US Defense Department spokesman Captain Michael Doubleday said that a report earlier this month on PRC anti-satellite laser development [Ed. Note: See PRC Laser Development in the US Section of the November 3 Daily Report] constituted an “educated prediction” of the PRC military’s future course. Representative Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), the chairman of the House National Security Committee’s research and development subcommittee, said that the issue of anti-satellite weapons “is real. It is substantive.” Weldon pledged that the new Congress would push for more spending on space weaponry. One unnamed defense official noted that deploying a laser is a complex and time-consuming task and would involve a variety of technical problems. John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists said, however, that the report “is a pretty strong statement, even with all the modifiers.” John Tkacik, a consultant to firms on Chinese affairs and a former US foreign service officer, said that the PRC has been seeking ways to offset US technological superiority and that six years ago they identified satellites as a “strategic center” for doing so. Tkacik said that any PRC anti-satellite effort would almost certainly be aimed at the US satellite fleet, adding, “I can’t think of any other reason they’d be doing this.” Major Mike Birmingham, a spokesman for the US Space Command, said that the military is “fully aware that others recognize our reliance on space” and that it must take steps “to guard against turning our dependence into a vulnerability.” At the same time, he said, officials have taken “prudent steps” to safeguard the fleet, noting that the redundant capabilities of US satellites would require an adversary to disable many craft to shut down the armed forces’ communications and surveillance operations.

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10. Spratly Islands Dispute

The Los Angeles Times (“CHINESE FISHERMEN HELD IN SPRATLYS,” 11/30/98) reported that Philippine military spokesman Major Romulo Gualdrapa said that the Philippine navy has arrested 20 Chinese fishermen who were found near Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands. Gualdrapa said that the Chinese were aboard six fishing boats loaded with fish when they were found by patrol ships about five nautical miles from the reef.

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11. Taiwan Elections

The Associated Press (“VIOLENCE OVER TAIWAN ELECTION,” Taipei, 11/28/98) reported that Chen Ming-chiu, a candidate for the Taiwan Independence Party, got into a fight Saturday with supporters of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The fight broke out when Chen unfurled banners at the Changhua Rail Station in central Taiwan denouncing DPP leader Hsu Hsin-liang as a “partner” of PRC President Jiang Zemin.

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12. US-Pakistan Talks

The Associated Press (“PAKISTAN PM LEAVES FOR U.S.; PLANS TO RAISE KASHMIR ISSUE,” Islamabad, 11/30/98) reported that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left Monday for a two-day visit to the US. Sharif said in his departure statement, “I will underscore the need for greater world attention in resolving the (Kashmir) dispute, the root cause of tension and instability in South Asia.” He also said that Pakistan’s security concerns and nonproliferation issues will be high on his agenda during talks with US President Bill Clinton.

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13. Russian Nuclear Safety

The Los Angeles Times (Elizabeth Shogren, “U.S. WORRIES THAT RUSSIAN NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY NEEDS MORE SAFEGUARDS,” Washington, 11/28/98) reported that the US is growing increasingly worried that Russia’s political and economic crises will increase the pace of nuclear proliferation. However, nonproliferation experts warned that the Clinton administration is not doing enough to stop the outflow. William C. Potter, director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, stated, “The assistance is not commensurate to the threat, which has grown significantly as a consequence of the economic crisis. I don’t discount the progress we’ve made, but it tends to be overwhelmed by the very, very destabilizing economic situation.” He added, “We have to focus more on personnel. We have a tendency to assume we can solve the problem by supplying technology.” Bruce Blair, an arms- control specialist at the Brookings Institution, said, “These programs that we’ve been promoting are just a drop in the bucket compared to what’s really needed. The deterioration of security and safety in Russia has outpaced the effect of our assistance.” He added, “There have been two periods of acute concern: one in early ’90s, during the breakup of the Soviet Union, and today, with another crisis in economical, military and political spheres.” Blair also warned, “I strongly doubt that Russia will be able to maintain adequate safety in their nuclear weapons control, and an incident is quite possible.” White House spokesman P.J. Crowley said, regarding the proliferation of fissile material and knowledge of how to use it, “We have always recognized this as something we had to be concerned about.” However, one anonymous White House official stated, “there is no evidence that there has been a degradation in the strategic rocket forces.” White House officials said that the administration is working on proposals for its next budget that would supplement the existing programs aimed at helping Russia secure its nuclear arsenal.

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14. US Missile Defense

The Washington Post (Bradley Graham, “NAVY WILL GET A SHOT AT MISSILE DEFENSE,” 11/30/98, A01) reported that a high-level US Defense Department panel that authorizes major defense acquisition programs is due soon to approve the Navy’s concept for turning its fleet of Aegis cruisers and destroyers into mobile platforms for launching high-altitude anti-missile interceptors. Intercept flight tests, however, will not begin until 2000, and senior department officials are skeptical that the Navy can meet its aim of developing a modest initial capability by 2005. One unnamed senior defense official stated, “The program has been long on view graphs and short on engineering work.” Thus far, the Navy has invested US$1.1 billion in perfecting the concept for its Theater Wide system since 1995, and the Defense Department’s five-year budget provides another US$1.5 billion for the program. The Navy, however, says it will need nearly twice that amount to meet the 2005 target date. Rear Admiral Phillip Balisle, vice commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command, stated, “One of the advantages that the Navy has is that we’re building on proven systems. But I would not want to lead you to believe we have underestimated the complexity of the mission.” Some Congressional supporters say that if US warships in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans were able to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles, there would be little need for the land-based national plan, which has been costing nearly US$1 billion a year to develop. Using interceptors aboard ships to guard US territory, however, would violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty signed with the Soviet Union. An unnamed senior defense official stated, “The problem with the Navy system is, you have a very limited radar and a really energetic, far-reaching missile. In the [Army system], you have a medium-class missile and a first-class radar. The obvious thing is to take advantage of both and cover the full battle- space. Right now, we’re trying to sort out what are real requirements of each service and what are nice-to-have kind of stuff.”

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK Underground Construction

Chosun Ilbo (“IAEA READY TO RALLY BEHIND ROK,” Seoul, 11/30/98) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung met with Mohamed El Baradei, the director general of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), at Chongwadae on Monday afternoon. The director general told the president that it is necessary to clarify the exact purpose of the suspected underground nuclear arms facility in the DPRK and that the IAEA will support the ROK in urging the DPRK to allow access to the site, according to Chongwadae officials. Kim is known to have answered that the ROK will heed the conclusions of the US and DPRK consultation on nuclear issues planned for early December.

JoongAng Ilbo (“DPRK MAY PERMIT INSPECTION BY U.S.,” Seoul, 11/30/98) reported that there is a possibility that the DPRK will allow US inspectors access to Kumchangri to determine if there is a nuclear reactor. The inspections will likely be restricted to only around Kumchangri, however, the Ministry of Unification (MOU) explained on November 30. MOU analyzed in their weekly report released Monday that the DPRK will not permit inspections for any other places except Kumchangri. The DPRK intends to utilize the issue of suspected underground facilities as a trump card for improving the relationship between DPRK and the US, MOU posited.

JoongAng Ilbo (“ASSEMBLY PASSES ANTI-NUKE RESOLUTION,” Seoul, 11/30/98) reported that the ROK National Assembly on November 30 approved an anti- nuclear resolution, sending a warning to the DPRK. The resolution demands that the DPRK comply with the US request to investigate the suspected underground nuclear facility at Kumchangri. Ruling and opposition representatives of the Unification, Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee also emphasized, “The DPRK’s underground facilities are a threat to the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia. It is a violation of the Geneva Agreement signed by the US and the DPRK. The Assembly moreover expressed serious anxiety over the DPRK’s alleged construction of a nuclear storage facility. The Committee also asked the DPRK to implement a policy that will enable separated family members in the ROK and the DPRK to meet. In addition to these bills, the National Assembly passed another 6 proposals, including an ROK-Canada mutual social security pact and prevention of illegal drug dealing.

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2. DPRK Chemical Weapons

Korea Herald (“DPRK FACES INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE TO JOIN CHEMICAL WEAPONS BAN,” Seoul, 11/30/98) reported that the highest official of an international body against chemical weapons has agreed to pressure DPRK to sign a treaty to destroy its chemical agents. Meeting with ROK Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek last Thursday, Jose Bustani, secretary general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), promised he would spearhead efforts to pressure the DPRK to join the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), ministry officials said. OPCW inspects the chemical weapons programs of more than 120 CWC member countries. CWC member countries are banned from development, production, acquisition, stockpile and use of chemical weapons, and are required to destroy all the chemical weapons they possess within 10 years. Chun and Bustani shared deep concern over the DPRK’s chemical weapons capability, and called on the DPRK to join the CWC, the ministry officials said. Bustani was quoted as saying that the DPRK’s chemical weapons threat has been placed on the agenda for the coming OPCW general meeting. He also agreed to speak at the UN to urge the DPRK to join the CWC. If the DPRK refuses to sign the CWC, the OPCW will seek an international embargo against the DPRK of chemical materials that could be used for production of weapons, Bustani was quoted as saying. The US Department of Defense last week warned that the DPRK’s biological and chemical weapons are a serious threat to the security in the Korean Peninsula.

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3. Relief Workers in DPRK

JoongAng Ilbo (“ONE HUNDRED RELIEF WORKERS IN DPRK,” Seoul, 11/30/98) reported that an international relief squad of 100 members is staying in the DPRK to help poverty-stricken DPRK citizens. An ROK governmental source said on November 30, “We believe there are approximately 100 relief workers residing in Pyongyang, including World Food Plan (WFP) members acting under the UN. Other than Pyongyang, the WFP is running additional branch offices in Wonsan, Shinuiju, and Hyesan, with 37 personnel. The European Union has 6 members in the DPRK supervising relief provisions.”

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4. ROK Army Reform

Korea Times (“GENERAL TILELLI’S CONCERN ABOUT ROK ARMY REFORM TO BE ADDRESSED,” Seoul, 11/30/98) reported that the future of the tentatively named “ROK Ground Operations Command,” a super army combining the 1st and 3rd ROK Field Armies that is a key part of Defense Minister Chun Yong- taek’s military reorganization plan, will likely attract keen attention following the concern raised over it by General John Tilelli, commander of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC). Ministry officials say that Minister Chun sought the advice of General Tilelli regarding the ROK Army’s reorganization plan in the belief that, as CFC commander who would operationally control frontline ROK troops in times of war, he should be apprised of the plan. “The top ministry brass was caught off guard by General Tilelli’s reaction, which he expressed through a letter detailing point by point observations about the ROK military reorganization plan, especially about the merger of two ROK frontline Armies,” a knowledgeable source at the ministry said. Addressing the concerns that Tilelli raised in his letter and during his meeting with ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Kim Jin-ho, a senior ministry official said that his worries will be fully addressed in the process of translating the reorganization plan into reality.

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5. Asian Monetary Fund Proposal

JoongAng Ilbo (“PRIME MINISTER DELIVERS SPEECH AT KYUSHU UNIVERSITY IN JAPAN,” Seoul, 11/30/98) reported that ROK Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil delivered a speech in Japanese at Kyushu University in Japan on November 30. Kim emphasized the importance of the Asia Monetary Fund (AMF) and Japan’s activities in Asia. Kim said, “The Asian economic crisis cannot be solved by the efforts of one certain country. Asia needs regional a community like the economic integration in Europe.” He also argued that Japan should function as the center of northeastern Asia integration, which would be a positive effect on world history. Kim also stressed the positive aspects of Japan and the ROK’s relationship. He argued that the relations between the two countries is not “near but far from each other” but “near and tight.” He said that the unfortunate past was only the seven years of the Japan-Korean War from 1592 to 1599 and the 36 years of Japan’s colonial ruling era. “This is very short compared to more than 1,500 years of relations between two countries.” Kim added, “I really thank the leaders of Japan for the economic cooperation fund support in 1965.”

Korea Times (“AMF PROPOSAL SPARKS CONTROVERSY,” Seoul, 11/30/98) reported that ROK Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil’s surprise proposal to create an Asian version of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during a meeting with Japanese Premier Keizo Obuchi Friday has sparked a controversy. Critics dismissed Kim’s proposal as being unrealistic and speculated that Kim may be risking national interest for his own personal political gains. With respect to Kim’s proposal, the Ministry of Finance and Economy said it is hard to expect the creation of the so-called Asian Monetary Fund in the near future. “Our stance is that the ROK will take part in the creation of an AMF if the US and the IMF don’t oppose the idea. But given opposition by the US and the IMF and the latest international trends in favor of strengthening the role of the IMF as a firefighter against global financial turmoil, the immediate creation of an AMF appears all but impossible,” said Kim Woo-suk, director-general of the international finance bureau at the Ministry of Foreign and Economic Affairs. The official stopped short of flatly dismissing the premier’s proposal but seemed embarrassed to hear that the Prime Minister said what was not the government’s official position.

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6. ROK Economic Crisis

Korea Herald (“RULING PARTY SAYS KIM YOUNG-SAM MUST TESTIFY AT HEARING,” Seoul, 11/28/98) reported that a ruling party leader said Friday that former President Kim Young-sam must testify at the planned parliamentary hearing on the causes of the economic crisis. “Former President Kim must explain the causes of the economic crisis in a responsible manner and then the people will understand what brought about the crisis and we will be able to lay the foundation for reforms,” Representative Cho Se-hyung said. Cho called for Kim Young-sam’s testimony shortly after the ruling coalition issued what was seen as a last warning to the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) that it would push ahead with the planned parliamentary probe of the financial crisis if the opposition continues to reject negotiations. “The rival parties must agree on the details of the planned hearings by no later than next Tuesday if they were to start December 8 as agreed by President Kim and GNP leader Lee Hoi-chang,” said Representative Chung Dong-young, the NCNP spokesman.

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7. Pollution Study on Northeast Asia

Chosun Ilbo (“POLLUTION STUDY PUBLISHED ON NORTHEAST ASIA,” Seoul, 11/30/98) reported that the results of a six-year study on air pollution in Northeast Asia, conducted by the Iowa State University, were published Monday and showed a significant relationship between pollution emanating from the PRC, the DPRK, the ROK, and Japan. According to the report prepared by Professor Carmichael from the university and Dr. Street of the National Argon Institute, the ROK and the PRC contributed 29 percent and 32 percent, respectively, to the acid rain that falls in Kyushu, Japan. In Kinki, the two countries were responsible for 18 percent and 13 percent, respectively. The total amount of sulfur dioxide emission in Northeast Asia is 14.7 million tons, which breaks down into 11.9 million tons from the PRC (81 percent); the ROK, 1.7 million tons (12 percent); Japan, 800,000 tons (5 percent); and the DPRK, 300,000 tons (2 percent). Pollution from the PRC contributed 13 percent to the overall figures for the Seoul/Inchon area of the ROK, while Tokyo’s levels showed an 11 percent contribution from the PRC and 9 percent from the ROK. In the DPRK, 29 percent of its sulfur dioxide is self-generated, with 37 percent and 34 percent coming from the ROK and the PRC respectively.

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