NAPSNet Daily Report 30 September, 1998

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

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. People’s Republic of China

I. United States

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1. Implementation of Agreed Framework

Reuters (Grant McCool, “KEDO NEEDS MONEY TO SUPPLY NORTH KOREA ENERGY,” New York, 09/29/98) reported that Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) Executive Director Desaix Anderson said Tuesday that KEDO is “critically” short of money to supply the DPRK with alternative energy under the 1994 Agreed Framework. Anderson stated, “As was the case last year, KEDO remains critically short of funds for heavy fuel oil (HFO) and has a significant debt obligation to individual suppliers that have provided HFO on credit.” He added, “Absent substantial contributions from many countries both inside and outside of the region, however, the financial problems plaguing KEDO’s purchase of HFO will continue.” Anderson also said that preliminary work at the light-water reactor site in Kumho was completed “and we are ready to move on to the full-scale construction. We are trying to put the funding together for that and to complete the contract, it’s almost completed, we have some details and then we will be ready to move forward.”

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2. Four-Party Peace Talks

The Associated Press (“FOUR-PARTY KOREAN PEACE TALKS TO REOPEN IN LATE OCTOBER,” Seoul, 09/30/98) reported that the ROK Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that the US, the PRC, the ROK, and the DPRK will meet in Geneva October 21-25 to resume peace talks for the Korean Peninsula that were last held in March. The US and the ROK have reportedly reversed their earlier stance and agreed that the US military presence in the ROK can be a topic at upcoming talks.

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3. DPRK Rocket Launch

The Associated Press (“CHINA TO SIGN HUMAN RIGHTS DOCUMENT,” Washington, 09/30/98) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said Tuesday that the DPRK’s recent rocket launch was a “manmade satellite boosted by three-stage rockets” that did not achieve the expected results. He stated, “On this matter, we [the PRC] believe that it should be dealt with in a very calm and very prudent manner.”

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4. International Aid for DPRK

The Associated Press (Marcos Calo Medina, “RELIEF AGENCY LEAVES NORTH KOREA,” Hong Kong, 09/30/98) and the Washington Post (John Pomfret, “AID GROUP PULLS OUT OF N. KOREA,” Beijing, 09/30/98, A22) reported that the relief agency Doctors Without Borders on Wednesday withdrew the last of its workers from the DPRK. Doctors Without Borders had earlier withdrawn 11 of its 13 professionals, including nine doctors. The director- general, Dr. Eric Goemaere, said the agency was “forced” to pull out the two remaining doctors as DPRK officials had asked the agency to stop distributing medical aid and to focus on supplying raw materials and chemicals for the production of basic antibiotics at the country’s own plants. Dominique Lafontaine, a French doctor who has been based in the DPRK since August 1997, said that aid workers were concerned that the DPRK government was feeding children from families loyal to the regime while neglecting others. Lafontaine added that they had obtained evidence that orphaned and homeless children had been collected in centers known as “9-27 Camps,” that were established last September to “normalize” the country by forcing people who had left their homes in search of food to return. The officials cited DPRK refugees from those centers who had escaped into the PRC as describing horrific conditions. Goemaere stated, “The new policy of ‘normalization’ has nothing to do with the reality of life in North Korea and will cost the lives of thousands.” Doctors Without Borders has health centers in four provinces north of Pyongyang where it was providing the nation with basic medical equipment and medicines and helping to train local doctors and health workers. The agency also helped more than 15,000 children at 64 feeding centers in the provinces. Enkas Chau, a Red Cross international relief service officer based in Hong Kong, said that the International Red Cross is continuing its work in the DPRK, as it has been able to cover its target areas across the country because of its working relationship with the DPRK Red Cross. In Rome, Tom Shortley of the World Food Program said that he hoped Doctors Without Borders would return. Shortley stated, “I think from our perspective _ and we’ve always approached the children as our top priority _ you have to keep engaged, you have to keep pressing the authorities for access.” An unnamed US official was quoted as saying, “In truth, we don’t know what we’re doing. We’re just sending in lots of food and hoping against hope.” An unnamed Western aid official described US aid to the DPRK as “a bribe, nothing more.”

Agence France-Presse (Sharon Singleton, “NORTH KOREAN HOSPITALS CALLED MEDIEVAL,” Hong Kong, 09/30/98) reported that Doctors Without Borders (DWB) director general Dr. Eric Goemaere said Wednesday that, since their drug industry collapsed earlier this decade, DPRK hospitals were 75 percent reliant on traditional Korean herbal medicines which have no effect on serious infectious diseases. He added that surgeons were performing operations with no anesthetic, no sterilization, and rusty instruments, and old beer bottles were being used for intravenous drips. DWB said it had discovered an unusually high level of hospital admissions among the young, with about 50 percent of the patients admitted between the age of 20 and 40. Most had severe gastrointestinal illnesses or other conditions relating to worsening sanitation. DWB field doctor Dominique Lafontaine stated, “There are serious risks of outbreaks of disease from terrible health and nutritional conditions, but there is a problem with the way needs and solutions are prioritized. While there is an urgent need to restructure the water and sanitation system, the government responds with mass vaccination campaigns against cholera.” There are no internationally recognized effective vaccines against cholera, and DWB said it is unsure where the DPRK government was obtaining the cholera vaccines. DWB said that refugees escaping across the border into the PRC told the agency that doctors sell drugs on the black market. The refugees also said food had not been distributed regularly since 1994, although some had seen shipments arrive at ports. Two youths told DWB, “It (food) would then be stored in distribution centers and divided in order of priority between the army and executives. More than 70 percent of the aid would be allotted to them with the remainder being distributed to the people on national holidays.” The refugees said executives in Pyongyang ate well, with food and supplies delivered to the door, although not every army member was well fed.

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5. Escape of Korean War POW

The Associated Press (“KOREAN WAR POW ESCAPES NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 09/30/98) reported that ROK Defense Ministry officials said that Chang Moo-hwan an ROK prisoner of war who had been held in the DPRK since the Korean War, returned to the ROK Wednesday after escaping 45 years of captivity. The officials said that Chang was working at a DPRK coal mine before he managed to escape to the PRC in August and find ROK officials there. Chang had been listed as killed in action.

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6. Clinton Trip to Japan, ROK

Dow Jones Newswires (Alex Keto, “WHITE HOUSE HINTS AT TRIPS TO S. KOREA, JAPAN ON APEC VISIT,” Washington, 09/30/98) reported that White House Spokesman Mike McCurry hinted Wednesday that US President Bill Clinton may add visits to the ROK and Japan to his trip to Malaysia to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group summit. McCurry stated, “He is going to Malaysia, and I sort of hinted where he is not going [India and Pakistan] yesterday so he may go somewhere else.” After saying he would not speculate on the possibility of ROK or Japan trips, McCurry added, “Korea and Japan are two very important allies and we maintain close contact with them. We are doing enormously important work with both governments at the moment.”

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7. Asian Economic Crisis

The Associated Press (Todd Zaun, “JAPAN TO PROPOSE $30B AID PACKAGE,” Tokyo, 09/30/98) reported that Japanese Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa announced Wednesday that he will propose a plan at the Group of Seven meeting this weekend for Japan to spend US$30 billion to aid Asian countries affected by the region’s financial crisis. The plan envisages the Export-Import Bank of Japan guaranteeing debts of its Asian neighbors and buying government bonds from the countries. Miyazawa stated, “Although the situation is severe domestically, we have enough funds to help Southeast Asia. We feel that that is our responsibility internationally.” Japan is expected to offer a large aid package to the ROK when President Kim Dae-jung visits Japan next Wednesday.

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8. PRC Human Rights

The Associated Press (“CHINA TO SIGN HUMAN RIGHTS DOCUMENT,” Washington, 09/30/98) and Reuters (Paul Eckert, “HUMAN RIGHTS WATCHERS ENCOURAGED BY CHINA SIGNING U.N. PACT,” Beijing, 09/30/98) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said Tuesday that his government will sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in New York on October 5. An unnamed Beijing-based Asian diplomat was quoted as saying, “It’s a start of a process, because the whole question of the ratification process could take quite a long time.” He noted that the ratification process “is when they put in so-called reservations about what parts of that they don’t what to sign on to or want to exclude themselves from.” However, he added, “Given that a major part of the reason that they’re doing this is for international consumption and international acceptance, being too extreme in the kind of reservations they put would undermine that.”

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9. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

The New York Times (Celia W. Dugger, “ANALYSIS: FOR PAKISTAN AND INDIA, ATOM PACT IS A HARD SELL,” New Delhi, 09/29/98) reported that political and policy analysts said that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would face major political difficulties if they signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) without securing concessions from the US. Brahma Chellaney, a national security analyst at the Center for Policy Research, a nonprofit research group in New Delhi, said that India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) “doesn’t have much room to do a deal without getting important concessions. And it’s not clear what the Americans can offer. The president has been weakened and Congress is hostile.”

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10. Sanctions on South Asia

Reuters (“INDIA WELCOMES, CANADA OPPOSES SANCTIONS WAIVER,” Ottawa, 09/29/98) reported that Indian Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha said Tuesday that the possible waiving of US sanctions would give an immediate boost to business sentiment. Sinha stated, “I think it’s a very positive development.” Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy, however, said that he opposed any relaxation of sanctions by his country until India made clear commitments on its nuclear program. Axworthy said that Indian adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is “just one of the elements. We still want a commitment not to weaponize their nuclear capacity, their signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and they should join the discussions on fissionable materials controls as well.”

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11. Clinton’s Trip to South Asia

White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry (“WHITE HOUSE REPORT, SEPTEMBER 29, 1998,” USIA Transcript, 09/29/98) said that he had no “reason to dispute” reports that US President Bill Clinton will not make his scheduled trip to India and Pakistan. He added, “The (India-Pakistan) trip has been under review and the President is in the process of contacting those governments and talking about the importance he attaches to relations and how we see relations unfolding.”

The Washington Post (Peter Baker, “CLINTON SET TO CANCEL SCHEDULED TRIP TO INDIA, PAKISTAN,” 09/30/98, A18) reported that US administration sources said Tuesday that US President Bill Clinton has decided to cancel his planned November trip to India and Pakistan. An unnamed senior administration official was quoted as saying, “You don’t want to look like you’re doing anything that rewards them for breaking out of the international [arms control] regime. But at the same time you want to use a presidential visit to coax the nonproliferation agenda ahead.” Aides said that Clinton would try to reschedule next year after more work on regional tensions such as the dispute over Kashmir and on nonproliferation issues such as controlling missile deployment, technology exports, and the production of fissile materials used for nuclear weapons. An unnamed administration official stated, “This isn’t cancellation as punishment; this is postponement because of progress. We have to have more time to lower tensions significantly. We just don’t have that between now and November.” Pakistan Embassy spokesman Malik Zahoor Ahmad stated, “Pakistan was eagerly awaiting President Clinton’s visit. We hope that he would be able to visit us at the first available opportunity.”

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12. Russian Nuclear Workers Strike

Agence France-Presse (Dmitry Zaks, “ANGRY NUCLEAR SCIENTISTS BLOCK MOSCOW HIGHWAYS,” Moscow, 09/30/98) reported that hundreds of nuclear researchers on Wednesday protested their lack of pay by blockading major roads leading into Moscow and briefly threatening operations at Russia’s space center. The atomic energy researchers said in a press statement issued by their union, “We are forced to these desperate measures because we are in poverty. The scientists have reached breaking point. The cities in which they live are falling apart.”

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK Internal Politics

The DPRK recently arrested seven officials, including Lim Tae-deok, head of the Najin Sonbong Special Development Project, and is purging so- called liberal reformists, according to a Chinese source in Beijing. The source added that Lim’s group was investigated by central party officials on charges of corruption and extorting money from foreign companies seeking to set up businesses there. The office for the project at Yienzi, in China, home to many ethnic Koreans, was closed at the end of July. The arrests appear to be part of a large-scale purge and internal reorganization timed for the 10 Supreme Council Assembly. They are possibly connected to rumors of the execution of Kim Jong-woo and the reduction in size of his Overseas Trade Commission. (Chosun Ilbo, “NK PURGES ‘LIBERALS’,” 09/30/98)

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2. DPRK UN Speech

The DPRK Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Choi Soo-hun, said in a speech delivered at the UN General Assembly Tuesday that proliferation of nuclear weapons cannot be prevented as long as countries possessing nuclear arms are unwilling to give up their monopoly. The nuclear umbrella policy pursued by nuclear-armed countries is a major obstacle in a nuclear non-proliferation treaty, Choi said. He also claimed that the possibility looms larger than ever before that the turn of the century could be marked by another Korean War. To prevent the risk of war, he said, the unification of the Korean peninsula is a must. He stated, “It is our consistent stand to hold dialogue for reunification and to improve relations between the north and south of Korea.” He added, “In order for the Korean people to solve questions on national unity and reunification by themselves, countries concerned, including the United States and Japan, should refrain from acts of hindering the efforts of the Korean people.” He called the US Army in the ROK “the major obstacle” to reunification. Choe said that the DPRK’s first satellite launch on August 31 demonstrated “the might of our scientific and technical development.” He said that the satellite was launched successfully with a multi-stage rocket “developed by ourselves with our knowledge and 100 percent of our own technology and in our own way.” Choe said Japanese authorities “behaved unreasonably, making a fuss to forcibly question our satellite launch and committed a rash act … insisting that the Security Council should ‘respond’ to our satellite launch. If our satellite launch is a serious issue in terms of security, Japan’s satellite launches should come first as an issue to be discussed by the Security Council.” He warned that Japan should not hinder reunification “by aggravating the tense situation on the Korean peninsula” and intimated that it was “attempting to declare war” by following the US. Choe declared that the 21st century should be “peaceful and prosperous,” and said the world would see an independent and peace-loving DPRK develop “into a prosperous power.” (Chosun Ilbo, “NORTH KOREA HINTS AT POSSIBILITY OF FUTURE WAR,” 09/30/98; Hankook Ilbo, “DPRK WARNS ANOTHER KOREAN WAR IS EVER MORE IMMINENT,” Seoul, 09/29/98)

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3. DPRK Tourism Project

The ROK tour of Mt. Kumkang in the DPRK is not likely to be realized before the year’s end. Hyundai Business Group planned to launch the five-day tour before the end of September, but is making no headway in negotiations with its DPRK counterpart. Tongil Group, which jumped into the race to conduct the historic tour after Hyundai, shows no evidence that its negotiations with the DPRK have resulted in any concrete deals. Moreover, the ROK government decided Tuesday to postpone for 20 more days its decision whether to approve or turn down Tongil’s request to conduct a Mt. Kumkang tour program. The government apparently does not want to diminish the business opportunity or undermine the position of Hyundai or Tongil in negotiations with the DPRK. Hyundai also postponed a Tuesday trip by high-ranking company officials to Pyongyang. Observers noted that the postponement hints that the deadlock in the negotiations may be more serious than Hyundai has revealed. ROK government officials commented that the reason the negotiations have not moved ahead is the DPRK’s request for additional tour fees exceeding the US$300 per head originally agreed upon. (Chosun Ilbo, “PROSPECTS FOR MOUNT KUMKANG TOUR GETTING DIMMER,” 09/30/98)

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4. ROK Aid to DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (DPRK JUSTIFIES CATTLE DISTRIBUTION, Seoul, 09/29/98) reported that the Ministry of Unification (MOU) announced on September 29 that the DPRK Red Cross Society notified the ROK of the reason they distributed 500 cows to Hwanghae province near the Demilitarized Zone. Chung Ju-yung, the honorary chief of Hyundai, provided the DPRK with the cows for agricultural use. According to MOU, the cows may have hurt their legs during the long trip to the northern region of the DPRK. On September 22, the DPRK informed the ROK that it distributed 200 cows to Hwanghae province and 100 to Kangwon province rather than Hamkyoung, Jakang, and Kangwon provinces, where Chung originally wanted the cattle to be distributed. A source at MOU said, “Mr. Chung permitted the change, but we expect any exchanges between the DPRK and the ROK to proceed in a credible atmosphere.”

III. People’s Republic of China

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1. US Troops on Korean Peninsula

Jie Fang Daily (“US WILL SEND MORE TROOPS TO KOREAN PENINSULA,” 9/29/98, A12) reported that, according to the 1998 white paper of national defense published by the ROK defense ministry, in case of a military contingency on the Korean Peninsula, the US will send at least 640,000 soldiers to this area.

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2. Japanese Policy toward Korean Peninsula

China Daily (“JAPAN MAY ADJUST TIES WITH DPRK, ROK,” 09/30/98, Tokyo, A11) reported that Japan may issue a statement apologizing to Korea for its past actions during the visit of ROK President Kim Dae-jung next month. Japanese Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Sadaaki Namata told reporters on September 29 that while Japan took an important step in coming to terms with its past by issuing a statement in August 1995 apologizing for its past actions in Asia and elsewhere during World War II, that statement was general rather than specific. In another development, Japan said on September 29 that it would “seriously” consider ending a freeze on financial support for the DPRK nuclear reactor project, imposed after the launch of a rocket that overflew Japan.

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3. PRC-US Relations

China Daily (“FM SEEKS TO IMPROVE SINO-US RELATIONS,” Washington, 09/29/98, A1) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan’s visit to Washington had a mission to help maintain the momentum of development in Sino-US relations. According to the report, the Taiwan issue and the trade imbalance are likely to be among subjects discussed. Recently, the US Defense Department announced a US$350 million arms sale to Taiwan, a move that triggered protests from the PRC. In addition, the US House of Representative last week voted to approve the provision of theater anti- missile systems to the islands. It is expected that the PRC foreign minister would express the PRC’s concerns and urge the US to adhere to the three joint communiques signed by the two countries.

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4. PRC-Taiwan Relations

China Daily (“MEETING HOPES TO PROMOTE DIALOGUE,” 09/25/98, A1) reported that, after meeting the Secretary-General of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), Shi Hwei-yow, vice-chairman of the Beijing- based Association for Relations Across Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Tang Shubei said that talks between the PRC and Taiwan should begin with political issues. Taiwan has publicly expressed the hope that talks will focus initially on general topics, but has not refused to consider political dialogue. Shi, who left for Taipei on September 24, told reporters he was satisfied with the result of his three-day visit to Beijing. Koo, president of the SEF, is scheduled to meet President Jiang Zemin during his stay in Beijing. ARATS has proposed that the meeting be held on October 18.

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5. US-Japanese Relations

People’s Liberation Army Daily (“NO SUBSTANTIVE ACHIEVEMENTS REACHED,” 09/27/98, A4) said that the summit between US President Bill Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi had not reached substantive achievements. However, the analysis said that the meeting seemed rather peaceful, which is different from previous summits between the two economic superpowers. According to the article, there are three main reasons for the phenomenon. First, the Obuchi Cabinet is blocked by the diet and opposition parties and cannot set forward a clear and feasible proposal. Second, President Clinton is confused by his sexual scandal. Third, the US, in view of strengthening its security cooperation with Japan, does not want to damage its relations with Japan. The US and Japan are the two chief economic powers in the world and should play key roles in the world economy. However, the article said, the fruitless summit means that the Asian economic crisis will be more difficult to overcome.

People’s Daily (“US, JAPAN PAY MORE ATTENTION TO MILITARY COOPERATION,” 09/19/98, A6) said that the meeting between US and Japanese officials in charge of foreign and defense affairs reached some substantive achievements compared with the US-Japanese summit at the UN on September 23. Those achievements reached by Japan and the US are all related to Japan-US military cooperation. This suggests that the US and Japan have more interest in security issues rather than economic issues, which are hot topics for other countries.

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6. PRC-Japanese Relations

People’s Daily (“ZHANG MEETS WITH JAPANESE DEFENSE OFFICIAL,” Tokyo, 09/25/98, A6) reported that Zhang Wannian, vice-chairman of the PRC Central Military Commission, told Director-General of the Japanese Defense Agency Fukushiro Nukaga that a clear declaration that Taiwan is not included in the new Japan-US defense cooperation guidelines would be conducive to the elimination of the PRC’s suspicions of Japan-US security cooperation and beneficial to the further development of Sino-Japanese relations.

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7. PRC Nuclear Policy

China Daily (“TANG: CHINA BACKS NUCLEAR BAN,” United Nations, 09/25/98, A1) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told the UN’s 53rd General Assembly that the PRC desires the prohibition and destruction of nuclear weapons. The PRC will maintain its policies of unconditional no first use of nuclear weapons and unconditional no-use or threat-of-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states and nuclear-free zones. The PRC will continue supporting the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva to negotiate and conclude a non-discriminative and verifiable Fissile- Material Cut-off Treaty on the basis of the agreed mandate. Tang urged countries with the largest nuclear arsenals to accelerate their nuclear disarmament process.

The NAPSNet Daily Report aims to serve as a forum for dialogue and exchange among peace and security specialists. Conventions for readers and a list of acronyms and abbreviations are available to all recipients. For descriptions of the world wide web sites used to gather information for this report, or for more information on web sites with related information, see the collection of other NAPSNet resources.
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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Wade L. Huntley: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

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

Choi Chung-moon: cily@star.elim.co.kr
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu: akutsu@glocomnet.or.jp
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin: icipu@glas.apc.org
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China


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