NAPSNet Daily Report Wednesday, February 16, 2005

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"NAPSNet Daily Report Wednesday, February 16, 2005", NAPSNet Daily Report, February 16, 2005,

NAPSNet Daily Report Wednesday, February 16, 2005

NAPSNet Daily Report Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I. United States

Preceding NAPSNet Report

I. United States

1. US on DPRK Nuclear Issue

Donga Ilbo (“U.S.: “DON’T OFFER FERTILIZER AID TO THE NORTH””, 2005-02-16) reported that Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy secretary of defense, reportedly revealed his “negative” point of view on 500,000 tons of fertilizer aid, which the DPRK had demanded, at a meeting with Ban Ki-moon, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, on Monday. According to a U.S. diplomatic source, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz made an earnest request for discontinuance of the fertilizer aid, saying that it is unacceptable to supply fertilizer to the DPRK.

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2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Issue

Korea Herald (“SEOUL TO LIMIT ECONOMIC TIES WITH N. KOREA “, None) reported that Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon said yesterday the government will not promote “large-scale” economic cooperation with the DPRK until it resolves tensions over the nuclear weapons it claims to possess. Regarding the DPRK’s recent request for 500,000 tons of fertilizer, Ban said the government has yet to make a decision, and will evaluate “various situations” before determining its position.

(return to top) Korea Times (“S. KOREA RULES OUT SANCTIONS ON NK ROH URGES NK TO RETURN TO DIALOGUE”, None) reported that the ROK officials said Wednesday that it is time to focus on diplomatic efforts to persuade the DPRK to rejoin the regional talks on its nuclear arms programs and that it’s too early to think about hardline options to pressure the DPRK. Unification Minister Chung Dong-young also echoed the foreign minister’s views, saying that it’s not the time to consider any punitive measures against the DPRK. “I know there are people talking the so-called red line,” he said. “Drawing a line, however, would make the room for possible options even narrower.” (return to top) Joongang Ilbo (“BAN: NO ‘LARGE-SCALE’ COOPERATION”, None) reported that back from Washington and his meetings with top US officials over the DPRK nuclear standoff, ROK Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon said he had assured them that Seoul does not plan to engage in “large-scale economic cooperation” with the DPRK until the crisis is resolved. Mr. Ban said, “I told them that we do not have any plans for large-scale economic cooperation with the North Korean nuclear problem not being solved, but that we are promoting economic cooperation on a humanitarian basis.” (return to top)

3. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Issue

Donga Ilbo (““NK’S STATEMENT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS, A PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE ON CHINA?””, None) reported that a US official concerned with the Korean Peninsula told a reporter in a telephone conversation on February 15, “North Korea’s February 10 declaration was a form of pre-emptive strike on the Chinese government.” According to an official, as the PRC appears confused under the influence of the evidence of the DPRK’s nuclear exports by the US, the DPRK launched a pre-emptive strike to change the situation.

(return to top) Reuters (“REPORT: U.S., S.KOREAN ENVOYS TO VISIT CHINA ON N.KOREA”, 2005-02-16) reported that US Ambassador to the ROK Christopher Hill and ROK Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min Soon will visit Beijing Thursday for emergency talks on the DPRK’s nuclear program, Kyodo news agency reported. Kyodo, quoting unidentified sources in Seoul, said the two would meet PRC Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei. The ROK and the US want to exchange views on the nuclear issue with the PRC before Beijing sends a senior official to Pyongyang at the weekend to try to resolve the crisis over the DPRK’s nuclear ambitions, Kyodo said. (return to top)

4. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Issue

Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVT IN DIPLOMATIC IMPASSE WITH N. KOREA”, 2005-02-16) reported that monday’s debate in the Diet on the DPRK showed the government was unable to make any effective move in dealing with the isolated nation. “North Korea wants to solve the problem by peaceful means,” Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said at the House of Representatives Budget Committee session for intensive debate on diplomatic and economic issues. But he stopped short of presenting specific measures against the DPRK, while ruling and opposition lawmakers appeared to be unsure about how to deal with the DPRK as they posed questions to the prime minister.

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5. DPRK on Nuclear Issue

The Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA MARKS 63RD BIRTHDAY OF LEADER KIM JONG IL AMID NUCLEAR STANDOFF”, 2005-02-16) reported that the DPRK marked the birthday of leader Kim Jong Il amid heightened nuclear tensions on Wednesday. The DPRK flouted the international community last Thursday by announcing it had nuclear weapons and was staying away from international nuclear talks. The announcement was a key theme in the DPRK’s celebration of Kim’s birthday this year, with its propaganda-filled media claiming that last week’s “bombshell” declaration demonstrated Kim’s “incomparable courage.” Kim turned 63 Wednesday.

(return to top) Korea Times (“HEDGEHOG CAN OUTMUSCLE TIGER: RADIO PYONGYANG”, 2005-02-16) reported that Who would win in a fight between a tiger and a hedgehog? The DPRK thinks that the winner is always the hedgehog. In a report on Tuesday, a day before the 63rd birthday of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, the DPRK’s media said Pyongyang will definitely win the current nuclear standoff against the US, comparing it to a tiger-hedgehog fight. The radio broadcast alleged that these remarks clearly showed Kim’s courage, saying that the hedgehog, if armed with courage, can defeat the tiger despite its small frame. (return to top)

6. US on DPRK Nuclear Talks

Chosun Ilbo (“PRESSURE MOUNTS ON PYONGYANG TO RETURN TO TALKS”, 2005-02-16) reported that the US and other world players are virtually ignoring the DPRK’s declaration last week that it has nuclear weapons. Instead, they are trying to bring the country back to six-party talks on its atomic program through a mixed carrot and stick approach. US deputy secretary of state nominee Robert Zoellick reiterated Tuesday that the US would stick to the basic format of the six-party talks, saying, “It is important for the United States to stay constant with the core strategy here.” Meanwhile, Admiral William Fallon, the commander-designate of US troops in the Asia-Pacific area, said during his own confirmation hearing that the US would maintain a strong military deterrence on the Korean Peninsula even while diplomatic efforts are under way to restart the talks.

(return to top) Yonhap (“US CONGRESSMEN URGE NK TO RETURN TO NUKE TALKS”, 2005-02-16) reported that a bipartisan group of six members of the US Congress who visited the DPRK last month urged the DPRK to withdraw its decision to boycott the six-way talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons program. In a letter sent to the DPRK’s No. 2 leader Kim Yong-nam, they said, “We strongly encourage you to reconsider the DPRK’s position on the six-party talks.” (return to top)

7. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Talks

Financial Times (“SOUTH KOREA SEEKS TALKS WITH THE NORTH”, 2005-02-16) reported that the ROK has asked for top-level military talks with the DPRK, the defense ministry said yesterday, the first rapprochement towards Pyongyang since last week’s sudden announcement that the DPRK had manufactured nuclear weapons. Ostensibly to discuss naval incidents along their disputed sea border, the talks would provide a platform to try to coax the DPRK back to six-party talks on dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

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8. PRC on DPRK Nuclear Talks

Reuters (“CHINA TO SEND OFFICIAL TO NORTH KOREA ON NUCLEAR TALKS”, None) reported that the PRC is to send a senior official to Pyongyang at the weekend to try to resolve a crisis over DPRK’s nuclear arms programs and to restore its own diplomatic credentials, a diplomatic source said on Wednesday. In Beijing, a Communist Party official said a delegation from the party’s liaison department would visit DPRK for about a week at the invitation of its DPRK counterpart, but gave no details. Washington plans to urge the DPRK through the PRC to return to the six-party talks soon without preconditions, Kyodo said.

(return to top) Chosun Ilbo (“ROH URGES PYONGYANG TO SEE REASON”, 2005-02-16) reported that President Roh Moo-hyun on Wednesday urged the DPRK to return to six-party talks on its nuclear program as soon as possible. In meeting of security-related ministers at Cheong Wa Dae, Roh said the DPRK must resolve the issue reasonably through earnest negotiations at the multilateral talks. (return to top)

9. Russia and DPRK Nuclear Talks

Xinhua (“RUSSIA, SOUTH KOREA CALL FOR RESUMPTION OF SIX-PARTY NUCLEAR TALKS”, None) reported that Russia and the ROK are calling for the speedy resumption of the six-party talks over nuclear programs on the Korean peninsula, the Russian foreign ministry said in a press release Wednesday. The ministry said Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov held a telephone conversation earlier in the day with his ROK counterpart Ban Ki-moon. The two ministers reiterated the need to create a nuclear-free zone on the Korean peninsula and to search for mutually acceptable compromises during the six-party talks, the ministry said.

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10. DPRK on Nuclear Talks

Korea Times (“NK WANTS AUSTRALIAN ROLE FOR 2-WAY TALKS”, 2005-02-16) reported that the DPRK’s envoy to Australia, Chon Jae-hong, asked Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to deliver a message to the US that the DPRK wants bilateral talks with the US, Australian newspapers reported Wednesday. “We can solve nothing unless (the US and DPRK are) on an equal footing,” Chon told reporters at the Parliament House on Tuesday after holding a meeting with Labor Party’s foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd.

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11. US on DPRK Nuclear Program

The New York Times (“U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS NORTH KOREA COULD BE BLUFFING ON NUCLEAR ARMS”, 2005-02-16) reported that Robert B. Zoellick, a senior government official nominated to be deputy secretary of state, suggested Tuesday that the DPRK’s recent announcement that it now possesses nuclear weapons might have been a bluff. “I would be careful about reading too much into the North Koreans’ most recent statement,” Mr. Zoellick, the US trade representative, said during his Senate confirmation hearing for the second-ranking position in the State Department. He then listed several possible political motivations for the statement, including “pounding one’s chest” for the benefit of DPRK citizens.

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12. US, ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program

Korea Herald (“BAN, RICE TONE DOWN N.K. NUKE THREAT”, 2005-02-16) reported that Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed once again their will to deal with the DPRK nuclear standoff peacefully, but their overall toning down of the issue triggered concerns among Korea watchers. Analysts point out that the ROK and the US are pushing the issue over to the PRC in hopes that Beijing and Pyongyang, as long-time allies, will somehow reach a compromise that other concerned countries cannot arrange.

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13. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Program

Yonhap (“OPPOSITION PUSHES FOR PARLIAMENTARY HEARING ON NK NUCLEAR CRISIS”, 2005-02-16) reported that the country’s main opposition party is pushing to hold National Assembly hearings on government offices to verify and assess nuclear threats from the DPRK, party officials said Wednesday. Representative Park Jin of the Grand National Party (GNP) said his party has decided to question government offices on the validity of the DPRK Foreign Ministry’s claim over possession of nuclear weapons. “We plan to press government offices to find out what and how much they know about North Korea’s nuclear weapons, and to what extent they are cooperating with the international intelligence community,” the GNP lawmaker said.

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14. US on DPRK Missile Tests

Agence France-Presse (“NORTH KOREA COULD RESUME MISSILE TESTS: CIA CHIEF”, 2005-02-16) reported that nuclear-armed DPRK could resume missile tests anytime and has active biological and chemical weapons programs, CIA Director Porter Goss told Congress. “North Korea could resume flight testing at any time … including longer range missiles capable of reaching the United States,” he testified at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. “North Korea continues to develop, produce, deploy and sell ballistic missiles with increasing range of sophistication,” Goss added.

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15. Japan – DPRK Relations

Yonhap (“OUTLOOK FOR JAPAN-N. KOREA RELATIONS ‘NOT ALL PESSIMISTIC’: ENVOY”, 2005-02-16) reported that despite the current slump in efforts to normalize ties between Japan and the DPRK, the outlook is not all pessimistic, as normalization remains one of the top diplomatic goals for the two countries, the ROK’s top envoy to Tokyo said Wednesday. “This issue is very complicated and I don’t think it can be solved easily,” Amb. Ra Jong-yil said. “In the long-term perspective, however, I am not all pessimistic about North Korea-Japan relations.” The envoy said normalizing ties and exchanging dialogue serve the two countries’ national interests.

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16. Japan – DPRK Relations

Kyodo News (“KOIZUMI URGES N. KOREA’S KIM TO BE ‘UNDERSTANDING’ MAN AT 63″, 2005-02-16) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi urged DPRK leader Kim Jong Il on Wednesday to become an ”understanding” man in a message for his 63rd birthday. “I want him to become a counterpart who can understand when we talk as we are of the same age, the same generation,” Koizumi said at his office in Tokyo.

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17. Japan on DPRK Sanctions

Japan Times (“TRADE SANCTIONS COULD COST NORTH DOLLARS 1 BILLION: LDP”, 2005-02-16) reported that the DPRK’s gross domestic product will decline by up to Dollars 1 billion if Japan initiates a trade ban, a ruling Liberal Democratic Party task force said Tuesday. The group’s report says the DPRK’s GDP will fall by between 1.25 percent and 7 percent if Japan suspends all trade with the country. Japan imported the equivalent of some Dollars 223 million from the DPRK each year between 2000 and 2003. Japan’s exports to the DPRK reached an annual average of Dollars 144 million during the same period.

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18. DPRK Successor

Arirang TV (“KIM JONG-IL’S SUCCESSOR IN QUESTION AHEAD OF DICTATOR’S 63RD BIRTHDAY”, 2005-02-16) reported that all eyes are on the DPRK as it gears up to celebrate DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s 63rd birthday on Wednesday. This year is of particularly keen interest to many DPRK watchers, due to growing talk that the aging dictator may be looking to transfer power to one of his three sons. Some sources say Kim Jong-il’s successor could be chosen this year, seeing how his late father was about the same age when he was named the next DPRK leader.

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19. DPRK Joint Oil Exploration Project

Yonhap (“BRITISH COMPANY OPTIMISTIC ON FINDING OIL IN N KOREA: RPT”, 2005-02-16) reported that a British oil and gas company hunting for potential reserves in the DPRK has expressed optimism on its joint project, and is looking to begin the search in the West Sea, a local Internet news service reported from London on Wednesday., based in Seoul, made the report in a recent interview with Brian Hall, chief executive officer of Aminex PLC. The company signed an agreement in January with Kobril, the DPRK’s state-run natural resources company, to jointly develop oil and gas in the country and its territorial waters, it said.

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20. DPRK Leadership

Yonhap (“KIM JONG-IL’S OFFICE SHOWN ON NORTH KOREAN TV”, 2005-02-16) reported that the DPRK’s state-run television station broadcast images showing the non-descript office of regime leader Kim Jong-il for the first time Wednesday. On Kim’s 63rd birthday, pictures of the interior and exterior of the office, as well as the shape of the building and the district it is situated in, were screened by the Korean Central Television Station (KCTVS).

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21. DPRK Human Rights

Korea Herald (“N.K. DEFECTOR CLAIMS FORCED ABORTIONS”, 2005-02-16) reported that a DPRK defector testified to have witnessed forced abortions and infanticide at a detention camp in the DPRK. “I heard the cries of both mother and child through the curtain (at a hospital). And through the partially open curtain, I witnessed the nurse covering the infant’s face with a wet towel on a table, suffocating it,” a 28-year-old identified as Park Sun-ja told an international conference on DPRK human rights abuses Tuesday.

(return to top) Chosun Ilbo (“CONFERENCE URGES SEOUL TO MIND N. KOREAN HUMAN RIGHTS”, 2005-02-16) reported that the Sixth International Conference on DPRK Human Rights and Refugees ended Wednesday with a resolution calling for an end to political concentration camps and forced repatriation of defectors, and asking Seoul to pay more attention to Pyongyang’s human rights record. The resolution called on ROK and Japanese corporations investing in the DPRK to pay close attention to the condition of workers. It reserved a special call for progressive ROK groups to show an interest in the issue. (return to top)

22. Inter Korean Economic Cooperation

Yonhap (“DONGBU STEEL TO SUPPLY CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL TO KAESONG COMPLEX”, 2005-02-16) reported that Dongbu Steel Co., the country’s fifth-largest steelmaker, said Wednesday it will provide steel to construct a factory at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in the DPRK. “We will supply a pre-engineered metal building (PEB) system or assembly steel frames to Hosan Ace Co., a company in (the complex) Thursday,” it said.

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23. US – ROK Military Cooperation

Korea Times (“CFC PROPOSES ROK-US JOINT MILITARY DRILL”, 2005-02-16) reported that the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC) recently proposed to the ROK military a joint special forces training drill with troops from the US, the US Forces Korea (USFK) said Wednesday. The CFC made the proposal to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Army, asking if the military drill could be held next month and open to the news media, said Kim Young-kyu, spokesman of the USFK. The military drill will be focused on “close air support” in which aircraft are mobilized to support nearby ground combat operations by launching air strikes against the ground enemy.

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24. ROK – Russian Aerospace Cooperation

Korea Times (“KOREA, RUSSIA WILL DEVELOP SATELLITES”, 2005-02-16) reported that the ROK and Russia will work together to develop satellites as the two countries agreed to cooperate in aerospace technology last September, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) said Wednesday. To push the plan forward, a group of Russian scientists will fly to Seoul Tuesday to visit the MOST and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). “Russia wants state-of-the-art technology from Korea to minimize the size of the satellite’s frame. In return, Korea will benefit from Russia’s world-leading aerospace know-how,” MOST official Choi Eun-chul said.

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25. Sino – ROK Relations

Korea Times (“RULING PARTIES OF S. KOREA AND CHINA TO SIGN MOU”, 2005-02-16) reported that the ruling Uri Party will soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to increase cooperation with the PRC’s Communist Party, party officials said Wednesday. “A draft of the MOU was already exchanged between the two sides,” said Rep. Kim Hyun-mee, spokesperson of the Uri Party. “We plan to lay the groundwork for inter-party cooperation through the memorandum, by encouraging personal exchanges and holding regular meetings between the two parties,” Chung said.

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26. Kyodo Treaty

The Los Angeles Times (“KYOTO PACT TAKES EFFECT WITHOUT U.S.”, 2005-02-16) reported that nearly eight years after it was negotiated, the Kyoto Protocol to curtail greenhouse gases believed to cause global warming goes into effect today without the participation of the country that produces roughly a fourth of the world’s heat-trapping exhaust: the US. A total of 140 countries have ratified the pact, the first major international effort to reduce the industrial emissions that many scientists believe are behind the increase in global temperatures during the last century.

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27. Japan Sex Trade Crackdown

The New York Times (“JAPAN, EASYGOING TILL NOW, PLANS SEX TRAFFIC CRACKDOWN”, 2005-02-16) reported that after years of denying it had a problem with trafficking in humans, Japan is now putting the finishing touches on a law that would make the practice illegal in this country and help foreigners forced into the sex industry here. In the months to come, the new law, along with programs to assist victims testifying against traffickers, could begin to stanch the illegal flow of women into one of the world’s biggest destinations for foreign prostitutes.

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28. Sino – Japanese Relations

Japan Times (“BEIJING, H.K. ACTIVISTS STAGE PROTESTS OVER SENKAKU BEACON”, 2005-02-16) reported that about 40 PRC citizens protested outside the Japanese Embassy Tuesday over Tokyo’s assumption of ownership of a beacon built by Japanese nationalists on one of the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The protesters waved banners and shouted slogans demanding the Japanese government rescind its decision to take over the beacon from a rightwing organization and to respect the PRC’s ownership of the uninhabited, Japanese-controlled islands, called Diaoyu in the PRC.

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29. US on PRC Military

Agence France-Presse (“CHINA MILITARY BUILDUP THREATENS US FORCES: CIA CHIEF”, 2005-02-16) reported that the PRC’s military buildup could tilt the strategic balance with Taiwan and also threaten US forces in Asia, CIA director Porter Goss said. “Beijing’s military modernization and military buildup could tilt the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait,” Goss told a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Improved Chinese capabilities threaten US forces in the region,” he added in testimony to the committee assessing the main security threats to the US.

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30. PRC Mine Accident

Los Angeles Times (“DEATH TOLL IN COAL MINE ACCIDENT RISES TO 209”, 2005-02-16) reported that rescuers searching for coal miners trapped by an explosion found six more bodies, bringing the death toll in the PRC’s worst mining disaster in decades to 209, the government said. Another six miners were still missing after the gas explosion Monday in the Sunjiawan coal mine at the town of Fuxin, the official New China News Agency reported.

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