NAPSNet Daily Report Monday, October 31, 2005

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"NAPSNet Daily Report Monday, October 31, 2005", NAPSNet Daily Report, October 31, 2005,

NAPSNet Daily Report Monday, October 31, 2005

NAPSNet Daily Report Monday, October 31, 2005

I. NAPSnet

Preceding NAPSNet Report

I. NAPSnet

1. Six Party Talks

Chosun Ilbo (“NOV. 7 SET AS NEW START DATE FOR SIX-PARTY TALKS”, 2005-10-30) reported that the next round of six party talks will now resume in Beijing on November 7, a source close to the PRC’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday. He said negotiations with the other participants were underway, and if everyone agreed the six party talks would start that day.

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2. DPRK on Six Party Talks

The Associated Press (“REPORT: KIM TO RETURN TO NUCLEAR TALKS”, 2005-10-28) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il promised on Friday to take part in the next round of nuclear talks in November. Kim reportedly told PRC President Hu Jintao that the DPRK was committed to a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. It was the DPRK’s highest-level commitment yet to push ahead with six party talks. “The North Korean side will participate as scheduled in the fifth round of six-nation talks,” Kim was quoted as saying. “North Korea is committed to the denuclearization of the (Korean) peninsula.”

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3. ROK, PRC on Six Party Talks

The Korea Times (“‘NUKE TALKS MOVE INTO ACTION PHASE’”, 2005-10-30) reported that six party have reached an “action phase,” top envoys from the ROK and PRC said over the weekend. The comment came as Song Min-soon, the ROK’s top negotiator, met with PRC counterpart Li Bin in Seoul on Saturday to discuss preparations for the fifth round of talks, which sources suggest are likely to resume in Beijing around November 8. “The talks have already passed beyond the stage of `words for words’ and now it is time for implementation, `actions for actions,’” officials quoted Li as saying during Saturday’s meeting. The PRC ambassador for Korean Peninsula affairs said Beijing and Seoul should steer the negotiations in the right direction to ensure “fruitful and effective” talks.

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4. PRC on Six Party Talks

Agence France Presse (“HU HAS ‘FRANK’ MEETING WITH KIM BUT NO DATE FOR NEXT NUCLEAR TALKS”, 2005-10-30) reported that PRC President Hu Jintao held “frank and fruitful” meetings with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il and won a pledge that the DPRK will return to nuclear disarmament talks. “General Secretary Kim said that he will honour the commitment to participate in the fifth round as scheduled but it is not particularly meaningful to talk about a date,” said Chinese Communist Party spokesman Wang Jiarui. “From what I have observed from the meetings of the leaders and the attitude, we have reason to believe that the meeting will be held as scheduled and will achieve positive results under all sides’ efforts,” said Hu.

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5. DPRK Discussion at APEC Summit

The Korea Times (“APEC TO DISCUSS N. KOREAN NUKE ISSUE”, 2005-10-31) reported that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Busan this month will become a venue for the world leaders to discuss the DPRK’s nuclear issue, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon said. “Even though the APEC summit is designed to address economic subjects, the nuclear issue will naturally be mentioned as five leaders from countries that participate in the six party talks are gathering in Busan,” Ban said. The ROK diplomat, however, declined to say whether the APEC summit will adopt a joint declaration on Pyongyang’s nuclear programs. “It is a matter that the APEC members need to consult with each other,” Ban said.

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6. DPRK on Nuclear Program

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA SAYS U.S PRESSURE HURTS TALKS”, 2005-10-29) reported that the DPRK said on Saturday that US pressure over human rights and other issues threatens the future of international talks on an agreement to end the DPRK’s nuclear arms program. “The basic spirit of the joint statement of the talks is mutual respect and peaceful coexistence,” the Korean Central News Agency said. “The pressure campaign launched by the U.S. under the groundless pretexts of ‘human rights abuse’ and ‘illegal trafficking’ defying this spirit is little short of annulling the statement.” The report said such pressure from the US could heighten tensions and “hamstring the process for denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.”

(return to top) Reuters (“N. KOREAN DIPLOMAT SETS OUT TOUGH NUCLEAR POSITION”, 2005-10-28) reported that the DPRK will give no details about its nuclear programs and atomic weapons until a light-water nuclear reactor has been built for it, according to a senior DPRK diplomat. In an interview with Yonhap news agency, Han Song-ryol, deputy chief of the DPRK’s mission to the United Nations, added that Pyongyang was not interested in Seoul’s offer of electricity if it was meant as an alternative to the reactor. Referring to the DPRK’s existing nuclear program, Han said: “To give up the graphite-moderated reactors, the light-water reactor has to be completed.” (return to top)

7. US on DPRK Nuclear Program

Chosun Ilbo (“N. KOREA ENVOY ‘REGRETS’ BLUSTER: HILL”, 2005-10-30) reported that US chief negotiator Christopher Hill expressed confidence on Sunday that DPRK deputy envoy to the UN Han Song-yrol “deeply regrets” saying his country will keep its nuclear arsenal until it gets a civilian light-water reactor from Washington. Hill said Han made the remarks in the heat of the moment. Hill said he expected the Beijing talks to resume in November as scheduled. “The participants will discuss how to implement principles agreed in the fourth round,” he added.

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8. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation

The Korea Herald (“KOREAS FAILS TO AGREE IN ECONOMIC TALKS”, 2005-10-29) reported that delegates from the ROK and DPRK met on Friday in Kaesong for talks on economic cooperation, but failed to reach any conclusive agreements, the Ministry of Unification said. ROK delegate Park Heung-ryol said the two nations objected to each other’s agendas. He said while Seoul wanted to push its four principal concerns, Pyongyang pressed for details about quantities of raw materials the ROK is willing to provide and how they will be delivered to support the production of clothing, shoes and soap beginning next year. This was agreed upon during the 10th round of talks in Seoul in exchange for consent from the DPRK to allow coal, magnesium and zinc mining in its territory next year. Despite the stalemate, both sides consented to another round of talks, hopefully early next year, Park said.

(return to top) The Korea Herald (“SEOUL PREPARES ‘KOREAN PENINSULA PEACE INITIATIVE’”, 2005-10-31) reported that the ROK government has decided to support the modernization of the DPRK’s economy under a scheme titled “Korean Peninsula’s peace and economy initiative”. The peace plan, currently being envisioned by Cheong Wa Dae and relevant ministries, will go into effect immediately after the six party talks reach agreement on implementing the principles for nuclear dismantlement, Cheong said. The plan focuses on aiding the DPRK with energy, logistics and telecommunication infrastructure and equates this as a “preinvestment for reunification,” government sources said. The plan will be financed by state funds, as well as private and international investment. President Roh Moo hyun is set to receive the latest report on the plan tomorrow. (return to top)

9. Inter-Korean Military Inspections

The Korea Times (“SEOUL COULD WEIGH NK’S NUKE INSPECTION OF USFK”, 2005-10-31) reported that the ROK’s top diplomat has indicated that Seoul could review Pyongyang’s possible request for a nuclear inspection of the US Forces Korea (USFK) to verify the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. “If the North raises the issue of inspection and verification in the South, including the facilities of the USFK, we will cope with it rationally by utilizing the 1992 inter-Korean joint declaration, which contains the principle of mutual inspection,” Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon said. It means the US military installations in the ROK could technically become the target of inspections, if Seoul gives the nod to Pyongyang’s choice of US bases. Such permission from Seoul would raise a serious diplomatic row with Washington, given that the US has sovereignty over its military installations in the ROK.

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10. DPRK-US Relations

Reuters (“N. KOREA SAYS US SPY FLIGHTS HURT NUCLEAR TALKS”, 2005-10-31) reported that the DPRK said on Monday that the US conducted at least 180 espionage flights in October, adding that the missions hurt the chances for a settlement in talks aimed at ending Pyongyang’s nuclear programs. “These aerial espionage flights clearly prove that the U.S. imperialists are desperately trying to stifle the DPRK militarily behind the scene though they are giving lip-service to the negotiated settlement of the nuclear issue,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.

(return to top) Agence France Press (“US LINKS NKOREAN COUNTERFEIT CURRENCY TO WMDS”, 2005-10-28) reported that a US official warned that the DPRK’s mass production and distribution of counterfeit US currency is likely funding the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Stuart Levey, the US Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said his government was extremely concerned about Pyongyang’s production of large amounts of high-quality fake US bills. “There are a variety of ways that counterfeit currency can be put into legitimate financial system and ultimately laundered so it produces value for the government of North Korea,” Levey said. “It’s something that we take extraordinarily seriously,” he said, declining to put a value to the fake notes that have been distributed. (return to top)

11. DPRK-PRC Relations

Donga Ilbo (“CHINA PROMISES NORTH KOREA $2 BILLION”, 2005-10-31) reported that according to Hong Kong’s Wen Wei Po newspaper, the PRC plans to take the lead in ensuring security in the region as the host of the six party talks and, at the same time, to secure natural resources supplies from the DPRK for the sake of its economic growth. The paper observed that to achieve these two goals, the PRC wants to stabilize the DPRK and ease tensions caused by the nuclear crisis by expanding its investment in and financial assistance to Pyongyang. The Hong Kong newspaper reported that the PRC expressed its willingness to provide the DPRK with $2 billion in long-term economic aid to help the country’s economic recovery. In Beijing, journalists think that the DPRK-PRC Agreement on Economic and Technological Cooperation may include a provision for the aid.

(return to top) Chosun Ilbo (“HU URGES N. KOREA TO OPEN UP”, 2005-10-30) reported that PRC President Hu Jintao wrapped up a three-day visit to the DPRK on Sunday that saw him urge his hosts to open up the country. In unusually direct language, Hu recommended the so-called “Chinese Way” of openness and reforms, but although DPRK leader Kim Jong-il offered polite praise of the PRC’s success, he stopped short of announcing any plans to emulate the country. Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported Hu plans to offer around US$2 billion in long-term aid to the DPRK. However, Wang Jiarui, the influential head of the Communist Party’s International Department denied the news. “When North Korea requires our assistance, we will grant it to them to the extent of our ability, but I have heard nothing about a $2 billion aid package,” he said. (return to top)

12. DPRK Reforms

Joongang Ilbo (“EXPERTS ADVOCATE NORTH EMULATE CHINESE MODEL”, 2005-11-01) reported that Northeast Asia experts and former government officials from the PRC and ROK agreed at a Seoul-Beijing forum that the DPRK’s nuclear crisis was one of the key issues in determining progress in the region. Kim Dal-jung, an honorary professor at Yonsei University, said establishing diplomatic ties between Washington and Pyongyang was important and called on the PRC to play an active role. Professor Hyun In-taek of Korea University stressed the need for the DPRK to follow Beijing’s economic model. Ru Xin, an advisor to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, responded that PRC was actively trying to guide Pyongyang to develop its economy along PRC lines and to lecture DPRK experts on the PRC’s reform experiences.

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13. DPRK Food Aid

Agence France Presse (“NORTH KOREA WANTS UN DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE, NOT HUMANITARIAN AID: WFP”, 2005-10-31) reported that the World Food Program (WFP) said it is negotiating a development assistance program for the DPRK. Negotiations, however, have stumbled over the size of the WFP expatriate staff and the “intrusive” methods the UN food program uses to monitor where aid is going, said Richard Ragan, WFP country director for the DPRK. A new program would mean the WFP would most likely offer “slightly less” than the 500,000 tons of food aid that it has been supplying annually. “Development assistance is harder to do than emergency aid as it requires more people and greater transparency,” Ragan said. “They have repeatedly stressed that our monitoring is too excessive, but monitoring by nature is controversial with any host government because we are trying to figure out if people are cheating and to do that you have to be somewhat invasive.”

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14. DPRK Human Rights

Chosun Ilbo (“OPPOSITION URGES GOV’T TO VOTE ON N. KOREA RESOLUTION”, 2005-10-31) reported that the Grand National Party (GNP) submitted a statement on Monday to the National Assembly urging the government not to abstain from voting on a EU-authored resolution against DPRK human rights violations at the UN General Assembly. GNP deputy floor leader Na Kyong-won called for an end to the government’s “cowardly” dodging of the issue. “The government turns a blind eye to human rights violations in North Koreans while the justice minister instructs the prosecutor general not to arrest Prof. Kang Jeong-ku” for pro-Pyongyang remarks, the party said. “It should participate in voting on resolutions against North Korea’s human rights abuses to show the international community that it is committed to improving the abysmal human rights conditions in the North.”

(return to top) Donga Ilbo (“UN OFFICIAL REPORTS ON NORTH KOREAN HUMAN RIGHTS”, 2005-10-29) reported that Vitit Muntarbhorn, special rapporteur on the DPRK for the UN`s Commission on Human Rights, urged, “Above all, the right to food and the right to life should be resolved soon in order to improve the North Korean human rights situation,” in his special report to the UN General Assembly Third Committee on Friday. He also pointed out that there has been increasing numbers of DPR Koreans who seek asylum through foreign missions or schools over the last few years, emphasizing, “Neighboring countries should recognize them as refugees or at least not repatriate them to the North, since chances are high that they will be persecuted if sent back to their country.” The European Union is planning to submit a DPRK human rights resolution soon to the UN General Assembly based on the special rapporteur’s report. (return to top)

15. DPRK Defectors

The Korea Times (“SEOUL, BEIJING DISCUSS FATE OF NK ASYLUM SEEKERS”, 2005-10-28) reported that the ROK and PRC are discussing how to handle four men and nine women believed to be DPRK defectors who stormed into a ROK school in the northeastern PRC port city of Qingdao on Thursday, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday. The ROK government is making efforts to bring them to the country’s local consulate through various channels, ministry spokesman Bae Young-han said. “The government will continue efforts to have the issue handled in a humanitarian way, and to have their demands accepted,” Bae said.

(return to top) Chosun Ilbo (“N. KOREAN DEFECTOR TELLS OF SLAVERY IN CHINA”, 2005-10-28) reported that a DPRK refugee told a US congressional hearing on Thursday of her plight when she was sold into modern-day slavery by human traffickers in the PRC after escaping from the DPRK. Ma Soon-hee testified to the abuse DPRK women face in the PRC, saying that PRC authorities stepped up a crackdown on DPR Koreans hiding in the country, and the family who had “bought” her daughters from the human traffickers said they could not protect them anymore. That was when Ma and her daughters decided to make their way to the ROK. She said they felt they would rather die on the way to ROK than be caught and killed in the DPRK. (return to top)

16. US-Japan Military Alliance

Agence France Presse (“JAPANESE PM KOIZUMI EMPHASIZES JAPAN-US ALLIANCE”, 2005-10-31) reported that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi emphasized the importance of Japan’s alliance with the US Monday. “The Japan-US alliance is indispensable to maintaining peace,” Koizumi told a news conference as he explained his policy priorities.

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17. USFJ Base Realignment

Washington Post (“NEW U.S.-JAPAN PLAN TO REALIGN MILITARY DEFENSES”, 2005-10-31) reported that the US and Japan agreed yesterday to move forward with the biggest overhaul of the Pacific alliance in decades, aimed at bolstering military cooperation against new threats while consolidating US forces on the island. The Marine ground and air forces, including the headquarters of the Third Marine Expeditionary Force, will be transferred to Guam to build up forces there. The move, expected to be complete in six years, will reduce the number of Marines on the island of Okinawa from 18,000 to about 11,000, defense officials said. Japan agreed to work with the US to finance and thereby accelerate the move to Guam, in part to alleviate long-standing Japanese frictions with American forces on Okinawa.

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18. Japan on USFJ Base Realignment

The Associated Press (“OKINAWA GOVERNOR OPPOSES U.S. BASE PLAN “, 2005-10-31) reported that Okinawa’s governor told Japan’s central government on Monday that a plan to build a US heliport on the southern island as part of a realignment of the American military presence there was unacceptable. The plan “completely disagrees with the prefecture’s ideas. It is absolutely not acceptable to Okinawa,” Gov. Keiichi Inamine told reporters.

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19. Japan Cabinet Appointment

The Associated Press (“JAPANESE LEADER NAMES NEW CABINET “, 2005-10-31) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi named a new Cabinet on Monday, putting outspoken conservatives — and potential successors — in top positions and retaining his economic team. Koizumi, who has said he will step down at the end of his term next September, named right-leaning Shinzo Abe as his top government spokesman, and Internal Affairs Minister Taro Aso as foreign minister.

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20. Sino-Japanese Relations

The New York Times (“ECONOMIC TIES BINDING JAPAN TO RIVAL CHINA”, 2005-10-31) reported that at a time of rising political tensions, heightened by a growing nationalism, the PRC and Japan are more intertwined economically than they have ever been. Tensions will probably keep rising with Asia’s transformation: the PRC, which had lost its historical role as the region’s economic and political leader to Japan in the last century and a half, is hungry to reclaim it.

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21. Cross Strait Relations

Reuters (“CHINA SENDS TOP TOURISM OFFICIALS TO TAIWAN”, 2005-10-31) reported that the PRC’s top official in charge of tourism began a 10-day visit to Taiwan on Friday, fuelling hopes the trip could open the floodgates for PRC tourists to visit the island Beijing claims as its own.

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22. Sino-Russian Trade Relations

RIA Novosti (“RUSSIA, CHINA SET TO DISCUSS ECONOMIC COOPERATION”, 2005-10-31) reported that the Russian and PRC prime ministers are expected to discuss the program of bilateral trade and economic cooperation for 2006-2010 during their upcoming November 3-4 meeting in Beijing, a source in the Russian delegation said. According to the source, the key issue is the diversification of mutual trade, particularly, the increase of the share of Russian machinery exports to the PRC.

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23. Sino-Russian Space Program Cooperation

The Associated Press (“RUSSIA, CHINA MAY COOPERATE IN LUNAR PROBE”, 2005-10-31) reported that Russia and the PRC may cooperate in a lunar exploration program that would culminate with a manned moon mission within less than two decades, the Interfax news agency quoted a Russian space official as saying Monday. The PRC has asked Russia to help with an unmanned lunar probe program, Interfax quoted Federal Space Agency deputy chief Yuri Nosenko as saying.

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24. Hong Kong Elections

Agence France Presse (“HONG KONG LAWMAKER SAYS CHINA PRESSURING COLLEAGUES OVER REFORMS “, 2005-10-31) reported that an influential Hong Kong lawmaker accused PRC officials of undermining the former British colony’s autonomy by pressuring legislators to end a political row over proposed electoral reforms. Emily Lau, a vocal opponent of Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed government, said PRC officials had been lobbying legislators in a bid to heal divisions over the reforms that threaten to plunge the city into a constitutional crisis.

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25. PRC Political Reform

South China Morning Post (“‘IRRATIONAL’ FEAR OF REVOLUTION BRINGS TIGHTER CONTROLS, SAYS ACTIVIST”, 2005-10-31) reported that the PRC leadership has developed an “irrational fear” of so-called colour revolutions, leading to a tightening of controls over political freedom, human rights activist John Kamm said yesterday. The activist, who has just finished a visit to the PRC, said the PRC leadership had become unnecessarily worried about recent regime changes in Central and Eastern Europe.

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26. PRC Bird Flu

Agence France Presse (“WHO REQUESTS MORE DATA FROM CHINA ON DEAD GIRL IN BIRD-FLU AREA “, 2005-10-31) reported that the World Health Organization (WHO) said the PRC needed to tell it more about the death of a 12-year-old girl in a rural area hit by bird flu, as scared city dwellers stayed away from poultry markets. “We need more information to confirm or deny any association with avian influenza or not,” Beijing-based WHO spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi told AFP.

(return to top) Washington Post (“CHINA ANSWERS BIRD FLU CRITICS”, 2005-10-31) reported that the PRC government said Friday that very few samples of bird flu virus collected here over the past two years showed resistance to a key influenza drug, contradicting complaints by international researchers that PRC veterinary practices had rendered the drug useless if the virus were to spread to people. Jia Youling, a senior Agriculture Ministry official who serves as the country’s chief veterinary officer, acknowledged that PRC farmers have used the drug, amantadine, which is meant for people, on chickens and other poultry. But he said the practice was banned last year and denied that it had resulted in the bird flu virus developing a resistance to the drug. (return to top)

27. PRC Environment

The New York Times (“CHINA’S NEXT BIG BOOM COULD BE THE FOUL AIR”, 2005-10-31) reported that one statistic offered last week by a top PRC environmental official should stimulate genuine alarm inside and outside the PRC. The official, Zhang Lijun, warned that pollution levels here could more than quadruple within 15 years if the country does not curb its rapid growth in energy consumption and automobile use.

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