NAPSNet Daily Report Wednesday, June 22, 2005

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NAPSNet Daily Report Wednesday, June 22, 2005

NAPSNet Daily Report Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I. United States

II. CanKor

Preceding NAPSNet Report

I. United States

1. Inter-Korean Talks

Associated Press (“NORTH, SOUTH OPEN HIGH-LEVEL TALKS”, 2005-06-21) reported that the ROK urged the DPRK to commit to pledges made by leader Kim Jong Il to bridge their divided peninsula as the sides opened high-level reconciliation talks Wednesday. ROK Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, head of Seoul’s delegation, said the delegates had a “productive and constructive discussion” at opening meetings where he proposed that the two sides elaborate on pledges made by Kim when he met with Chung last week in the DPRK’s capital. “I anticipate a productive agreement will be reached at the talks,” Chung said at the end of the opening session.

(return to top) Agence France-Presse (“NORTH KOREA WANTS A NUCLEAR-FREE PENINSULA, SAYS TALK DELEGATE”, 2005-06-22) reported that the DPRK’s ultimate goal is a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and it would have no use for nuclear weapons if the US were friendly, Pyongyang’s top delegate to inter-Korean talks said. “If the US becomes amicable towards North Korea, we will have no reason to have a single nuclear weapon,” he was quoted as saying by ROK spokesman Kim Chun-Shick. (return to top) Donga Ilbo (“INTER-KOREAN MINISTERIAL MEETING HELD IN SEOUL”, 2005-06-22) reported that the 15th round of inter-Korean ministerial meetings was held in the Sheraton Walker Hill Hotel located in Gwangjang-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, on June 21, and is scheduled to last for three days. Delegations from the two Koreas will discuss follow-up measures regarding the agreements drawn up between Unification Minister Chung Dong-young and DPRK leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, on June 17, through official and unofficial talks. In this inter-Korean ministerial meeting, the two Koreas plan to hold intensive discussions on key issues, including a measure to resolve the DPRK nuclear standoff peacefully and the issue of the DPRK’s return to the six-party talks. (return to top) Chosun Ilbo (“N.KOREA UNRESPONSIVE AT SEOUL MINISTERIAL TALKS”, 2005-06-22) reported that ROK Unification Minister Chung Dong-young on Wednesday asked the DPRK to help the Red Cross confirm the fate of ROK POWs and abductees and prepare by video link for a fresh round of reunions of separated families. In his opening speech at the 15th round of inter-Korean ministerial talks, Chung also called for regular general inter-Korean talks starting in July, and for separate talks of the two Korea’s defense ministers. There was no response from Kwon Ho-ung, the head of the DPRK delegation, on most of these points. The military talks were agreed in principle during Chung’s meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il last Friday, while the matter of the POWs and abductees was agreed to during Red Cross talks in September 2002. Kwon only commented on the family reunions slated for August 15. (return to top) Yonhap News (“ROH TO MEET N.K. DELEGATION TO ENCOURAGE INTER-KOREAN TALKS: AIDE”, 2005-06-22) reported that President Roh Moo-hyun will meet the DPRK delegation at an inter-Korean ministerial meeting on Thursday to provide encouragement for rapprochement talks underway here. It is not clear at the moment whether the chief DPRK delegate, Senior Cabinet Councilor Kwon Hung, will call on the president in his capacity as a special envoy for DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. (return to top)

2. DPRK on US-DPRK Relations

Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA PLEDGES NOT TO POSSESS NUCLEAR WEAPONS IF U.S. IS MORE FRIENDLY”, 2005-06-22) reported that the DPRK said it wouldn’t need any nuclear weapons if the US treated it like a friend as the isolated nation joined the ROK on Wednesday for high-level reconciliation talks shadowed by the international standoff over the DPRK’s nuclear ambitions. “If the United States treats the North in a friendly manner, we will possess not one nuclear weapon,” the DPRK delegation said, according to Kim Chun-shick, spokesman for the ROK.

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3. US on Inter-Korean Talks

Chosun Ilbo (“U.S. SLAMS SEOUL’S ROLE AS ‘PYONGYANG’S SPOKESMAN’ “, 2005-06-22) reported that the Bush administration is reportedly disappointed by Friday’s meeting between ROK Unification Minister Chung Dong-young and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, saying Kim wrapped the minister round his little finger. Japan’s Asahi Shimbun said even a former State Department official critical of the Bush administration’s hawkish attitude accused Chung of being “North Korea’s spokesman”.

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4. ROK on US-DPRK Relations

Chosun Ilbo (“SEOUL’S PROTEST OVER ‘TYRANNY’ CATCHPHRASE FALLS ON DEAF EARS”, 2005-06-22) reported that Washington had no official reaction Tuesday to a protest from Seoul over the continued use by US officials of the catchphrase “outpost of tyranny” to describe the DPRK. Korea experts commented Seoul’s unprecedented expression of displeasure to the “outpost of tyranny” phrase was both “incomprehensible” and seemingly made in view of ongoing inter-Korean ministerial talks. Gordon Flake, of the US Mansfield Foundation, said the ROK’s reaction seemed overly sensitive. However, a former DPRK officer in the State Department, Kenneth Quinones, said the repeated use of the catchphrase revealed the strong misgivings the Bush administration continues to have about the DPRK. He recommended both sides should lay off the name-calling and practice “quiet diplomacy.”

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5. Experts on DPRK-US Relations

Associated Press (“KOREA EXPERTS: U.S. SPURNED ’02 KIM EFFORT “, 2005-06-22) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, in a previously undisclosed message to US President Bush in November 2002, said the US and DPRK “should be able to resolve the nuclear issue in compliance with the demands of the new century,” according to two private US Korea experts who delivered Kim’s message to the White House. “If the United States makes a bold decision, we will respond accordingly,” Kim said in a written personal message to Bush that he sent through Donald Gregg, a former US ambassador to the ROK, and Don Oberdorfer, a Korea expert at the School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. Kim’s offer was conditioned on US recognition of DPRK sovereignty and assurances of non-aggression, Gregg and Oberdorfer wrote. They said they took the message to White House and State Department officials and urged the administration to follow up on Kim’s initiative.

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6. ROK on DPRK Return to Talks

Agence France-Presse (“SOUTH KOREA SAYS NORTH MUST SHOW UP FOR JULY SIX-PARTY TALKS”, 2005-06-22) reported that the ROK told the DPRK to return to six-party nuclear talks in July “without fail” in a bid to break the deadlock over its nuclear weapons drive. The forceful demand was made at the first high-level inter-Korean talks in 13 months and came five days after DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il said the six-nation negotiations could resume in July under certain conditions. “Our side stressed both South and North Korea must cooperate to discuss substantial steps … to resume six-way talks in July without fail to resolve the nuclear issue,” said ROK spokesman Kim Chun-Shick.

(return to top) Reuters (“S.KOREA URGES NORTH TO RETURN TO NUCLEAR TALKS SOON”, 2005-06-22) reported that the ROK urged the DPRK at talks on Wednesday to return to six-party negotiations on the DPRK’s nuclear program next month. ROK Unification Minister Chung Dong-young also told the DPRK delegation in Seoul the nuclear crisis could and should also be discussed and solved between the two Koreas. “Our top delegate stressed that the nuclear problem is both an international issue and a national issue,” said a ROK official. “He stressed that the issue must be discussed and resolved at ministerial talks.” (return to top) JoongAng Ilbo (“ENVOY TO U.S. PREDICTS TALKS WILL RESUME SOON”, 2005-06-22) reported that ROK’s ambassador to the US said he expects the DPRK to return soon to the six-party talks. “In the not very distant future, I read a strong signal that North Korea will return to the six-party talks,” the Asahi Shimbun yesterday quoted Hong Seok-hyun as saying. “North Korean leader Kim Jong-il said everything that we wanted to hear in the meeting [last Friday] with Unification Minister Chung Dong-young.” Mr. Hong suggested that there might be more news in store. “Unification Minister Chung was given information [from Mr. Kim] which has not been announced yet,” he said. (return to top)

7. PRC, ROK on DPRK Return to Talks

Associated Press (“CHINA’S PRESIDENT MEETS SOUTH KOREAN PREMIER TO DISCUSS EFFORTS TO DISARM NORTH KOREA”, 2005-06-22) reported that PRC President Hu Jintao met the ROK’s prime minister Wednesday amid a flurry of diplomacy aimed at getting the DPRK to return to six-nation talks on its nuclear program. Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan was in Beijing to seek the PRC’s help in restarting the nuclear disarmament talks.

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8. PRC on DPRK Return to Talks

Reuters (“NORTH KOREA WANTS TO TALK, SAYS CHINA”, 2005-06-22) reported that a top PRC official who met DPRK leader Kim Jong-il this year said on Wednesday he believes the DPRK wants to resume stalled six-party talks. The negotiations were the only “relatively good way” to find a solution and a new round as early as next month was possible, Wang Jiarui, head of one of the key channels through which the PRC deals with the DPRK, told Reuters in a rare interview. “According to our understanding of North Korea from exchanges with them, I think they are still willing to resolve the problem through talks,” said Wang, head of the party’s international liaison department.

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9. DPRK Women Delegates at Inter-Korean Talks

The Korea Times (“FEMALE PRESENCE PROMINENT IN N.KOREAN DELEGATION”, 2005-06-22) reported that three women are included in the DPRK’s 33-member delegation at this week’s 15th round of inter-Korean ministerial talks in Seoul. It is the first time Pyongyang has sent female officials to a Cabinet-level meeting between the two Koreas. The women include two working-level officials and a journalist, the South’s Unification Ministry said yesterday. But Korea experts doubted that the inclusion signals a greater empowerment of women in the government. “In North Korean factories and the regular workforce, women have played an important role,” said Ryoo Kihl-jae, professor at the Graduate School of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “But in politics, things like the Worker’s Party and the Korean People’s Army, no, they do not.”

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10. Shooting Incident at DMZ

Reuters (“S.KOREA OFFERS TO QUIT OVER DMZ DEATHS”, 2005-06-22) reported that the ROK’s defense minister offered to resign on Wednesday over an incident last weekend in which a bullied soldier killed eight comrades near the border with the DPRK, the ministry said. “I feel deeply responsible for this incident and tendered my resignation this morning to President Roh,” ministry spokesman Shin Hyun-don quoted Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung as saying. “The president has not decided whether to accept the resignation or not,” said presidential Blue House spokesman Park Young-kook.

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11. UN on Aid Diversion in the DPRK

Associated Press (“U.N. AGENCY TELLS JAPAN NORTH KOREA PROBABLY DIDN’T DIVERT FOOD AID FOR SALE IN MARKETS”, 2005-06-22) reported that UN officials believe Japanese rice aid for the DPRK hasn’t been inappropriately diverted and sold in the DPRK’s markets. Tokyo had asked the WFP to investigate whether food aid was being properly distributed in the DPRK after Japanese networks aired videotaped footage from a DPRK market showing vendors selling rice from bags marked as Japanese food aid. “WFP officials have told us they can’t confirm from the footage whether the food was diverted,” Seiken Sugiura, deputy Cabinet secretary told reporters. “But WFP also said it’s highly likely that North Koreans recycle the bags containing food aid for use in the markets.”

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12. DPRK Request of Aid from ROK

Forbes (“NKOREA WANTS FOOD AID FROM SOUTH”, 2005-06-22) reported that famine-hit DPRK has requested food aid from the ROK during high-level talks which opened in Seoul. “After thanking the South’s previous aid in brotherly love, the North expressed hope for continued assistance while citing its difficult situation in food supplies,” said Kim Chun-Shick, an ROK spokesman. As to the amount of food requested by the DPRK, Kim said: “It may be at a level of the previous years”.

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13. Medical Equipment for DPRK

Yonhap News (“N.K. NEEDS MORE LASER EQUIPMENT FOR MYOPIA PATIENTS: OFFICIAL”, 2005-06-22) reported that eye surgery using excimer lasers is currently being conducted in the DPRK but the country is in need of more equipment for such procedures, a top DPRK health official said. Kim Su-hak, minister of public health, said in a press conference following a dedication ceremony for a new eye clinic in Pyongyang Saturday that the excimer laser device was the kind of medical equipment which the DPRK needs from the outside world. There is one excimer laser device at the Red Cross Hospital in eastern Pyongyang and laser surgeries are implemented for some myopia patients, Kim said, adding that Pyongyang needs several more devices as there are many near-sighted people.

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14. Inter-Korean Economic Relations

The Korea Times (“NK LAUNCHES BODY FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION”, 2005-06-22) , quoting the KCNA, reported that the DPRK officially launched a government body overseeing Pyongyang’s economic cooperation projects with the ROK. DPRK observers here said, however, that the organization has already been in operation since last year. The existence of the committee became known when the DPRK media reported the attendance of committee officials in functions in Pyongyang to mark the fifth anniversary of the inter-Korean summit last week. Cho Myong-chol, a former DPRK defector who is now a research fellow at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, said, “the North appears to have taken this measure to reflect its will to enhance economic cooperation with the South, which became its second-largest market”.

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15. Inter-Korean History

Yonhap News (“MOUNT GEUMGANG PROJECT PUSHED IN EARLY 1970”, 2005-06-22) reported that the ROK’s intelligence authorities pushed for a cross-border tour to the DPRK’s scenic Mount Kumgang in 1972, a quarter century before the DPRK actually opened up the enclave to ROK tourists, an academic claimed Tuesday. The Korean Central Intelligence Agency formulated the project as a follow-up measure to the historic June 4, 1972 inter-Korean joint communique on the reunification of the divided peninsula, said Kim Sung-hoon, president of Sangji University. The project proposed the development of the demilitarized zone, the ROK’s Mount Seorak and other areas as well as Mount Kumgang, Kim said. The project was aborted after KCIA chief Lee Hu-rak stepped down in 1973, Kim said.

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16. G-8 and DPRK Nuclear Issue

Yonhap News (“N.K. NUKE ROW LIKELY TO BE AMONG G8 SUMMIT AGENDA: SEOUL OFFICIAL”, 2005-06-22) reported that the dispute over the DPRK’s nuclear program will likely be discussed as one of the key agenda items at the G8 summit in Scotland next month.

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17. DPRK-Japan Abductee Issue

Asia Times (“BONES OF JAPAN-NORTH KOREA DISCONTENT”, 2005-06-22) reported that on June 24 a three-day “sit-in” will commence in front of the offices of the Japanese prime minister. Some of Japan’s most influencial and respected citizens, who enjoy powerful backing in the national parliament and media will demand immediate economic sanctions against the DPRK. Only by such means, the organizers argue, can the DPRK be forced to return Japanese citizens they believe are still being held against their will.

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18. Yasukuni Shrine Issue

The New York Times (“A WAR SHRINE, FOR A JAPAN SEEKING A NOT GUILTY VERDICT”, 2005-06-22) reported that while the Japanese have received the bulk of the criticism for the shrine, they are not, however, the only ones to have manipulated the meaning of Yasukuni and its war criminals. So have the Chinese, the Taiwanese and the Americans, each according to their own interests. During America’s six-year occupation of Japan after World War II, Americans spent the first half democratizing the country and prosecuting war criminals. In the second half, with Communists controlling the PRC and the cold war bearing down, Washington reversed course: wartime leaders were rehabilitated overnight in an effort to make Japan strong. Some Class A war criminal suspects, after barely escaping the noose, became postwar Japan’s political and business leaders; one, Nobusuke Kishi, even became prime minister.

(return to top) Agence France Presse (“KOIZUMI SAYS JAPAN NEED NOT HEED PRESSURE FROM CHINA, SKOREA ON SHRINE”, 2005-06-22) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he felt no obligation to bow to pressure from the PRC and ROK to stop visiting a controversial shrine which honors Japanese war dead. Koizumi denied opposition charges that he was jeopardizing Japan’s foreign relations for political gain. “I do not think we should just do as South Korea says nor just do as China says,” Koizumi said in a parliamentary committee. “I do not think Yasukuni shrine is the core issue of Japan-China and Japan-South Korea ties. The core issue is that we should enhance our ties with future-oriented views,” Koizumi said. (return to top)

19. UNSC Expansion

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“G-4 TO SUBMIT RESOLUTION ON REFORM “, 2005-06-22) reported that despite opposition from the US, the so-called Group of Four countries agreed Monday to submit a resolution next week calling for six more permanent seats on the UN Security Council, diplomatic sources said. The exact date of submission to the UN General Assembly will be decided when foreign ministers of the four nations–Japan, Brazil, Germany and India–meet in Brussels on Wednesday, according to the sources. Sources said a vote likely will be held after the July 4-5 African Union summit meeting and the July 3-6 summit meeting of the Caribbean Community, where both groups are expected to decide their position on UN reform.

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20. PRC on UNSC Expansion

Xinhua (“CHINA VOWS TO VOTE AGAINST CONTENTIOUS UNSC EXPANSION PLAN”, 2005-06-22) reported that the PRC reiterated on Tuesday that it would vote against any highly contentious Security Council expansion formula which could split the United Nations membership if such proposal was put to a vote in the UN General Assembly. “China is opposed to artificially setting a time limit for the reform of the Security Council,” PRC Ambassador to the United Nations Wang Guangya told a closed-door General Assembly debate. Wang said the PRC supports the council reform and the reform should include both the increase of membership and the improvement of working methods so as to enhance the authority and efficiency of the council. “The enlargement of the Security Council must give priority to increasing the representation and participation of the developing countries, especially African countries,” he noted.

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21. US on UNSC Expansion

The Associated Press (“U.S. ENTERS THE FRAY ON U.N. REFORMS”, 2005-06-22) reported that at the height of the debate over expansion of the powerful U.N. Security Council, the US has entered the fray with a proposal for fewer new seats — and criteria for membership including economic clout and a commitment to democracy and human rights. President Bush’s administration also made clear its top priorities for reforming the UN are budget and administrative changes and new efforts to promote peacebuilding, human rights and democracy — not Security Council expansion. On Thursday, US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns spelled out the Bush administration’s ideas for the first time — a “more modest expansion” to 19 or 20 seats with the addition of “two or so” new permanent members including Japan, and two or three non-permanent members.

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22. PRC on Arms Ban

Xinhua news (“CHINA REGRETS EU DECISION ON ARMS SALE BAN”, 2005-06-21) reported that the PRC on Tuesday expressed its regret over the EU’s recent failure to foot its pledge of lifting its arms sales ban to the PRC. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao made the remarks at a routine press conference when commenting on the EU’s decision at a summit in Brussels earlier this month. Liu said the PRC still hopes that the EU will materialize its pledge to lift the ban as soon as possible.

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23. PRC Missile Program

Washington Times (“CHINA ADVANCES MISSILE PROGRAM”, 2005-06-22) reported that the PRC has successfully flight-tested a submarine-launched missile that US officials say marks a major advance in Beijing’s long-range nuclear program. “This is a significant milestone in their effort to develop strategic weapons,” said a US official familiar with reports of the test. US intelligence agencies monitored the flight test of a JL-2 missile about 10 days ago, officials said. The missile was launched from a PRC submarine near the port of Qingdao and was tracked to a desert impact point in western PRC several thousand miles away, the officials said.

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24. PRC Bird Flu Outbreak

Washington Post (“CHINA DENIES PROMOTING USE OF DRUG ON CHICKENS”, 2005-06-22) reported that the PRC’s Agriculture Ministry denied Tuesday that the government had encouraged farmers to use an influenza drug intended for people to treat bird flu in poultry, a practice that researchers say would make the drug ineffective if the virus broke out among humans. The PRC strategy for treating avian influenza in chickens focuses on the use of a preventive vaccine rather than antiviral drugs, the ministry said in a statement. “This is groundless and isn’t in accordance with the truth,” the ministry statement said. “Amantadine is an anti-virus medicine for humans. The Chinese government has never permitted farmers to use amantadine to treat bird flu or other virus-related disease.”

(return to top) Agence France-Presse (“UN WARNS OF SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES IF CHINA DOES NOT STOP MISUSE OF FLU DRUG”, 2005-06-22) reported that Food and Agriculture Organization warned there could be serious consequences for the PRC and Asia if the government did not stamp out misuse of a bird flu drug. “If farmers here are provided with amantadine and the virus becomes resistant, that means if something happens to another country or within China, if people take amantadine against the flu, it would be useless,” Noureddin Mona, the FAO’s representative in the PRC, told AFP. “We feel this situation is risky. We have to be very concerned about it and well prepared.” (return to top)

25. PRC Environment

Agence France Presse (“SEVERE POLLUTION BLIGHTS CHINA’S PEARL RIVER DELTA”, 2005-06-22) reported that the PRC’s Pearl River estuary is so badly polluted the fish that once thrived in its waters have virtually vanished. “We found 95 percent of the 2,500-square-metre (26,900 square feet) sea area we examined was excessively contaminated,” said Xia Zhen, head of a study team for the Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey organization. Xia and his team have been testing seawater areas of the estuary in the PRC’s south since 2003, China Daily reported.

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II. CanKor

26. Report #210

CanKor (“KIM JONG-IL WILLING TO REJOIN 6-PARTY TALKS IN JULY”, 2005-06-21) ROK Unification Minister Chung Dong-young returns home from a visit to Pyongyang after a surprise meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, who tells him that six-party nuclear talks could be held as early as July if the USA “recognizes and respects” his country. Kim is also quoted as saying the 1991 South-North Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula remains a valid foundation for talks to end the DPRK’s nuclear programme in exchange for security guarantees from the USA.

(return to top) CanKor (“KOREAS CELEBRATE JUNE 15 ANNIVERSARY IN PYONGYANG”, 2005-06-21) Minister Chung was in Pyongyang to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the 15 June 2000 North-South summit and joint declaration. Forty ROK government officials and 295 South Korean civic leaders traveled on separate chartered flights from Incheon Airport near Seoul to Sunam Airport near Pyongyang in the hopes of reviving inter-Korean relations after a year of tensions related to the DPRK’s nuclear programme. As part of the commemorative events, delegations from the two Koreas have produced a joint statement promoting a unified Korean peninsula. The five-point declaration urges the two Koreas to cooperate in cultivating peace and eliminating risks of a nuclear war in the region. (return to top) CanKor (“OVERLAND TRAVEL BY CAR TO MOUNT KUMGANG COMING SOON”, 2005-06-21) During a media briefing held on Mount Kumgang to mark the one millionth South Korean visitor to the North Korean resort area, Kim Yoon-kyu, vice-chairman of Hyundai Asan announces that ROK tourists would soon be able to travel by car across the DMZ to the scenic mountain in the DPRK. They will also be able to camp out and cook on the beach. (return to top) CanKor (“US SENATORS CHALLENGE ADMINISTRATION ON KOREA POLICY”, 2005-06-21) Members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee tell Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill that the Bush administration’s efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament in North Korea are not working and should be reconsidered. (return to top) CanKor (“DPR KOREAN DEFECTOR RECEIVED IN THE WHITE HOUSE”, 2005-06-21) Defector Kang Chol Hwan, the 37-year old author of “The Aquariums of Pyongyang,” an autobiographical account of ten years as a child in a North Korean labour camp, is received at the White House by US President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley for a 40-minute meeting. A week earlier, Mr. Bush allotted only a few more minutes for a meeting with ROK president Roh Moo Hyun. (return to top) CanKor (“DPRK FACES FOOD CRISIS DESPITE REFORMS”, 2005-06-21) The DPRK faces a food crisis this year unless more international aid is delivered, according to an ROK agricultural expert. Limited progress has been achieved with reforms and incentives to boost productivity, like the sub-division of collective farms into smaller two- or three-family units. (return to top)