NAPSNET Week in Review 26 July, 2002

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United States


1. US-Russian Nuclear Relations

US officials want to press Russia for greater access to information about Russia’s nuclear weapons programs as the countries reduce their nuclear arsenals- especially its hoard of smaller, battlefield weapons, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday. He said the Americans would work to get more access to that information through further negotiations with Russia. “There’s no question that, even today, Russia is not transparent. They have a very secretive approach to a great deal of things,” Rumsfeld said. “It is a concern. We’re a good distance from feeling comfortable.”
“US-Russian Nuclear Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 US)


Korean Peninsula


1. DPRK Naval Clash Regret

The DPRK expressed regret over a naval clash last month and proposed the resumption of minister-level talks with the ROK, officials said. The DPRK offered to hold preliminary talks in early August at the Mount Kumgang resort to arrange the high-level meeting, an ROK unification ministry spokesman said. The DPRK’s proposal was sent through the truce village of Panmunjom by Kim Ryong-Song, who led a DPRK delegation in previous talks, to ROK’s Unification Minister Jeong Se-Hyun, he said. “Kim expressed regret for the June 29 clash and called for joint efforts to stop similar incidents,” the spokesman said.
“DPRK Naval Clash Regret” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 25 US)


2. DPRK Free Market Reform

The DPRK is carrying out sweeping economic reforms aimed at turning around its failing centrally-planned economy, a top South Korean official said. “North Korea appears to be moving toward a market economy, following in the steps of China,” said Lim Dong-Won, a special advisor for security to ROK President Kim Dae-Jung. At the center of the changes is the introduction of incentives and a new business management system, in which professional managers replace party officials to run businesses and wages will be dependent on profits. The DPRK hinted earlier this year it might be preparing to plunge more deeply into reform when it announced that the economy had entered “a new phase of radical change”.
“Inter Korean Ministerial Talks” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 ROK)
“DPRK Free Market Reform” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 25 US)
“DPRK’s Economic Reform” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 23 ROK)
“Russia’s Media on DPRK’s Reform” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 23 ROK)


3. DPRK ASEAN Attendance

The DPRK said on Thursday that its foreign minister, Paek Nam-sun, is expected to meet his Japanese counterpart, Yoriko Kawaguchi, next week on the sidelines of a regional forum in Brunei. The meeting, set to take place during the ASEAN Regional Forum gathering from July 31, will be the first high-level one between Japanese and DPRK officials since Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi took office in April 2001. “At the talks the ministers will confirm the bilateral stand on the principled issues and outstanding issues arising in establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries, and exchange views on ways to do so.”
“DPRK ASEAN Attendance” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 25 US)
“DPRK ASEAN Meeting” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 23 US)


4. ROK Response to DPRK Apology

The DPRK’s message of regret for a deadly sea attack and offer to restart talks with the ROK drew mixed reviews in the ROK media on Friday, reflecting sharp divisions in the ROK and wariness about the DPRK. Skeptics said the DPRK’s cabinet’s expression of regret was half-hearted and did not come from the DPRK military, which the ROK believes sparked the June 29 naval clash that killed five ROK sailors and injured 19. Media voices more sympathetic to the DPRK saw good news in what the ROK government called a “de facto apology” and urged the ROK to seize upon the DPRK’s offer to restart talks.
“ROK Response to DPRK Apology” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 US)
“ROK-DPRK Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 US)
“Inter Korean Ministerial Talks” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 ROK)


5. DPRK’s Attitude on NLL

The DPRK foreign ministry said on Wednesday more naval clashes with the ROK were possible unless the ROK and the US ended their adherence to a 50-year-old inter-Korean sea border. The fresh blast of rhetoric from the DPRK, carried on the official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), came three days before the anniversary of the 1953 armistice that ended the three-year Korean War. The DPRK’s foreign ministry stated, “An undesirable armed clash took place in the west sea recently in the wake of that in 1999 and there is the danger of occurrence of more serious incidents in future,” it said. “All this is attributable to the US insistence on the ‘Northern Limit Line’ (NLL) illegally drawn by it,” it added.
“DPRK’s Attitude on NLL” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 ROK)
“DPRK Naval Clash” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 24 US)


6. ASEAN and South China Sea Code

Southeast Asian foreign ministers want to break an impasse over a code of conduct for the PRC and other rival claimants to South China Sea territories, a key military flashpoint in Asia, officials said. The officials preparing for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ministerial meeting on Monday said a new formula was expected to be put forward to ease concerns by some of the claimants on the geographic area to be covered by the code. The proposal, understood to be from the Philippines, is expected to be tabled at an informal dinner meeting of senior officials Thursday, the official said.
“ASEAN and South China Sea Code” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 25 US)


7. ROK-DPRK Relations

The DPRK military exercises have raised alarm in the South as it prepares to salvage a navy boat that was sunk in a deadly clash between the ROK and DPRK last month, officials said. The DPRK has this month been conducting artillery exercises off its western coast, in waters not far from the scene of the clash, in which at least four South Korean sailors were killed. The salvage operation, expected within weeks, could be foiled by the DPRK’s artillery, which has the area where the boat went down in their range during its exercises, defense officials stated. “We are cautiously watching the DPRK’s move as we are preparing to salvage the sunken boat,” a Joint Chiefs of Staff official said.
“ROK-DPRK Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 23 US)


8. ROK-DPRK Relations

A passenger jet of DPRK made a test-flight on a new inter-Korean air route on July 20. It said that the new air route, which links the DPRK’s Sondok Airport and the South Korea’s Yangyang Airport in Gangwon Province, was opened to transport the South Korea’s workers and materials for the construction of light-water reactors in DPRK. The report said, with 14 crews on board, the DPRK’s aircraft underwent about an hour and 25 minutes flight over the East Sea, then arrived at Yangyang Airport and returned to the DPRK with eight workers from the ROK Electric Power Corporation aboard. The successful test-fight created conditions for the two countries to open a direct air-route in the future, said the report.
“ROK-DPRK Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 25 PRC)


9. ROK-PRC RelationsPRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan announced on July 23 that at the invitation of Minister Choi Sung-hong of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, PRC’s Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan will pay an official visit to the Republic of Korea from August 2nd to 3rd.
“ROK-PRC Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 25 PRC)


10. DPRK View on Japanese Red Army

The DPRK on Friday rejected reports that it played a role in prompting four Japanese Red Army members, wanted for a 1970 hijacking, to decide they would return home. Japanese media reported early this month that the four men were planning to return home. They are among nine members of the ultra-left terrorist group accused of hijacking a Japan Airlines Boeing 727 with 129 people aboard and flying it to North Korea on March 31, 1970. The media has speculated that the DPRK was trying to get rid of the four in order to shed its image as a sponsor of terrorism. “Their decision to go back home is their own choice and the Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea, therefore, has nothing to do with it,” KCNA quoted an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.
“DPRK View on Japanese Red Army” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 US)


11. ROK-Russia Relations

Russia can help promote peace on the Korean peninsula because of its smooth ties with the DPRK, Russia’s foreign minister said Friday. Igor Ivanov made the comments after arriving in the ROK to discuss inter-Korean reconciliation efforts and Russia’s possible role as a facilitator in the process. “Russia can contribute to establishing security on the Korean peninsula because relations between Russia and North Korea are proceeding normally,” Ivanov told local reporters at the airport. On Friday, Ivanov planned talks with ROK Foreign Minister Choi Sung-hong and a courtesy call on President Kim Dae-jung. Choi planned to host a dinner for Ivanov. Ivanov is expected to leave Sunday for Pyongyang, where he will meet his DPRK counterpart, Paek Nam Sun, and possibly DPRK leader Kim Jong Il.
“ROK-Russia Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 US)


12. ROK-US Cooperative Salvage Work

The US agreed Thursday to provide support to the ROK Navy in its planned effort next week to raise an ROK patrol boat sunk by DPRK gunfire in the Yellow Sea near the military demarcation line. The chairman of the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lee Nam-shin, met with the commander of US troops here, General Leon LaPorte, Tuesday afternoon to discuss the details of the planned operation. ROK defense officials said the salvage work would begin Tuesday; US and Korean military forces will be in the area to guard against any reaction by DPRK that could threaten the work.
“ROK -US Cooperative Salvage Work” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 ROK)


13. PRC-ROK Deportation

ROK activist, Chun Ki-won, tried in the PRC for helping DPRK asylum seekers leave their impoverished nation was expected to be deported home in the next few days, a diplomatic source said on Friday. Chun Ki-won was fined US$6,000 and sentenced to deportation on charges of “organizing people to illegally cross the national border” some 10 days ago, an official at the Hulunbeier Municipal People’s Court in Inner Mongolia said. But an ROK diplomat said he believed Chun was still in Inner Mongolia because he had not yet paid his fine.
“PRC-ROK Deportation” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 US)


14. PRC DPRK Asylum Seekers

Approximately 10 DPRK asylum seekers have entered the ROK0 consulate in Beijing this month but are likely to be allowed to leave for Seoul with a minimum of fuss, a diplomat said. The asylum seekers, including families, entered in small groups or as individuals shortly after three earlier defectors were allowed to leave the same mission for the ROK on July 15, said the Asian diplomat who is closely following the cases. “The ROK government and PRC side hope that these cases should be dealt with in a low-key way,” said the diplomat, who did not want to be named. An ROK embassy spokesman declined to confirm the report, in keeping with a new policy of playing down asylum cases to avoid embarrassing the PRC. The PRC had not agreed formally to allow the latest batch to depart, but had made it clear it would deal with the cases in a humanitarian manner, the spokesman said. “We interpret that the Chinese position in a very positive way.”
“PRC DPRK Asylum Seekers” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 24 US)


15. Trans Siberian Railway Conference

DPRK officials failed to show up in Vladivostok on Wednesday for an international forum called to discuss the construction of a rail link between the inter-Korean rail system and Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway. Forty experts from seven nations, including ROK, Russia, PRC, Japan, Mongolia and Australia were to take part in the conference, officials in Vladivostok said. No reason was given for the DPRK’s absence. The meeting was to discuss the economic aspects of the railway that would connect the Asia-Pacific region to Europe.
“Trans Siberian Railway Conference” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 ROK)


People’s Republic of China


1. PRC Response to Pentagon Report

A PRC spokesman said in Washington DC on July 22 that two recent reports to the US Congress that regarded PRC as a threat were groundless and harmful to Sino-US relations. It reported that PRC Embassy spokesman Xie Feng said the report issued by the Pentagon and the other by the Sino-US Security Review Commission “are not true to the facts.” Xie pointed out that the PRC’s defense budget is the lowest of the world’s biggest countries. “It is about one-19th of the US’s and half of Japan’s. So I don’t think that, militarily, China poses any threat to any country,” he told a news conference.
“PRC Response to Pentagon Report” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 US)
“PRC-US Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 25 PRC)
“PRC Response to Pentagon Report” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 23 US)


2. Taiwan Defense Policy

Taiwan’s military made public their 2002 national defense report saying they are building up a deterrent designed to stop the PRC from invading the island. “In response to the international strategic environment and the military threats from the People’s Republic of China, the current national defense policy is based on the concept of ‘prevention of war’,” it says. To that end, the report said, the defense ministry is working to set up an early warning system and fast response units, as well as maintain air and naval capability. It said the strategy was designed to make the PRC “think twice” and “dare not rashly invade Taiwan” as they would be made aware they would have to pay heavily. The report did not go into details on the deterrent policy.
“Across-Taiwan Straits Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 25 PRC)
“Taiwan Defense Policy” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 23 US)


3. PRC-US Trade Relations

Trade between the PRC and the US surged 11.7 percent in the first half of the year to nearly US$42 billion even as US exports to the PRC dropped slightly, the government said Friday. Figures released by the General Administration of Customs showed the United States remained the PRC’s second-largest trading partner after Japan. The PRC exported US$29.9 billion worth of goods to the US, up 19.3 percent. Meanwhile, the PRC imports from the US dropped 3.3 percent to $12.1 billion, the agency said. “PRC-US Trade Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 US)


4. PRC-Russian Relations

PRC Vice Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, who was attending the second round of consultations of the Sino-Russian Working Group on Anti-terrorism, met with Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov on July 22. They exchanged their views on international and regional situations, PRC-Russian relations and the cooperation on anti-terrorism, the report said. It said the two sides expressed their satisfaction about current PRC-Russian relations and cooperation. They stressed according to the report that the PRC and Russia will continue to deepen their cooperation in all fields in order to creating a multi-polarized and democratic world and to commonly meeting globally new challenges.
“PRC-Russian Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 25 PRC)


5. PRC’s Commitment to WTO

Shi Guangsheng, PRC minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation (MOFTEC) lashed out last weekend against “untrue” and “malicious” reports on the PRC’s implementation of its commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO). “China has been working very hard to fulfill its commitments to the WTO since its accession to the organization last December. And the PRC, as it has solemnly declared many times, will be a good member and is trying hard to carry out every word of its promises,” said Shi on July 21 during the ministry’s mid-year national conference on exports. “We promised this wouldn’t happen again and the Western media shouldn’t exaggerate and manipulate this incident,” he said.
“PRC’s Commitment to WTO” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 25 PRC)


6. Cross-Straits Relations

Taiwan has ordered local firms to pull out unapproved investments in computer chip companies in the PRC, threatening violators with imprisonment of up to five years. The announcement by the cabinet’s policymaking Mainland Affairs Council late on Tuesday said some investors have admitted to investing in Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (GSMC) and He Jian Technology and promised to withdraw funds. The council did not name the investors.
“Cross-Straits Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 24 US)


7. PRC Response to US Cancellation of UN Funds

The PRC blasted the Bush administration decision to scrap a US$34 million payment to the UN Population Fund, saying on Tuesday it would harm government efforts to stop forced abortions. The administration announced the decision on Monday, despite a State Department report recommending the cash be paid, saying the U.N. fund helped the PRC coerce women indirectly to have abortions under the PRC’s one-child policy. “The United States canceling its donation to the population fund will weaken the population fund’s ability to assist developing countries,” the PRC Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“PRC Response to US Cancellation of UN Funds” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 24 US)
“PRC UN Financed Abortions” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 23 US)


8. Taiwan Diplomatic Relations

Taiwan formally cut off diplomatic ties with Nauru after failing to persuade the tiny Pacific island state to reverse its move to switch recognition to the PRC. The decision came after the expiry of a 24-hour “ultimatum” issued by Taiwan’s foreign ministry demanding a final reply. “We decided to terminate the diplomatic ties with Nauru immediately. The Nauru government must take the full responsibility and consequences of ditching its 22-year friendship with the Republic of China (Taiwan),” said foreign ministry spokeswoman Chang Siao-yue.
“Taiwan Diplomatic Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 23 US)


Japan


1. Moves toward Nuclear Abolition

Fifty Japanese legislators from eight parties put aside their political differences to fight for an end to atomic weapons, forming a nonpartisan lawmakers’ group for nuclear disarmament. The group, Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament Japan, is only the second in the world to be linked to the international association Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament (PNND). Lawmakers from the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito, Hoshuto (New Conservative Party), Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), the Japanese Communist Party, the Liberal Party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Greens Japan Office attended the first meeting of PNND Japan on Wednesday in Tokyo.
“Moves toward Nuclear Abolition” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 Japan)


2. Japanese Military Emergency Bills

The Japanese government on Tuesday expressed its intention to outline legislation aimed to protect the life and property of citizens in the event of a foreign attack on Japan, government officials said. The citizen protection legislation is expected to cover evacuations, recovery of damages, transportation and communications, and public order, Yamasaki said. The proposal will be discussed when an extraordinary Diet session convenes in autumn.
“Japanese Military Emergency Bills” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 Japan)


3. Japan-US Military Cooperation

Japan plans to station two Self-Defense Forces (SDF) officials at the US Central Command in Tampa, Florida as liaison officers, Japanese and US government sources said Wednesday. The dispatch is designed to give the SDF prompt information on moves of the US Central Command, which would be responsible for US military operations against Iraq if President George W. Bush orders an attack. At the same time, however, the dispatch of SDF officials to the US Central Command could raise the possibility that Japan would be requested to provide full support to the US military in the event of an attack on Iraq.
“Japan-US Military Cooperation” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 Japan)


4. Foreign Ministry Reform

An advisory panel on the Japanese Foreign Ministry reform on Monday called for appointing 20 percent of ambassadors from outside the ministry within three years to increase competition for overseas postings. In its final report submitted to Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi on Monday evening, the panel also urged the government to consider ways to integrate official development assistance work now handled by various ministries but fell short of clearly calling for the establishment of a new aid agency. The panel also recommended the ministry keep written records of conversations between bureaucrats and politicians regarding personnel and money-related matters to eliminate “inappropriate pressure” from politicians.
“Foreign Ministry Reform” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 Japan)


5. Japan Domestic Politics

The approval rate for the cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi rose by about eight points to 50 percent as voters welcomed the premier’s renewed backing for reforms, a poll showed. Meanwhile, the disapproval rate for the cabinet fell to 38 percent, down about eight points from a month ago, said the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, which carried out the poll. The Yomiuri contacted 3,000 randomly selected voters on Saturday and Sunday and received 1,902 valid answers. On Monday, the Asahi Shimbun said its poll showed support for the cabient was up 10 points to 47 percent, while the disapproval rate fell eight points to 36 percent.
“Japan Domestic Politics” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 24 US)
“Japan Domestic Politics” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 23 Japan)


6. Japan Emergency Contingency Bills

A Lower House special committee will carry over its discussion of the military emergency bills to the next Diet session, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has decided. The government and the LDP have already abandoned plans to pass the bills in the current Diet session, which ends in July 31. The LDP, however, was divided on how to deal with the bills. One side called for at least a vote on the bills in the special committee before carrying over deliberations to the next Diet session. The other side argued that the bills would require wider support because they deal with national security. That would mean scrapping the bills in the current session and redrafting them after gaining the support of the Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties. The decision was a victory for neither side.
“Japan Emergency Contingency Bills” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 23 Japan)


7. US Bases in Japan

In a meeting in Okinawa Prefecture, the National Governors Association adopted a demand that the government work to fundamentally review the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) to protect the safety and rights of people living near US military facilities. It is the first time governors have made such a request. “Problems surrounding US bases must be tackled in an en bloc fashion by all the people as an important national security issue,” said Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine. “We will ask other governors to take issues regarding Okinawa’s US bases as issues of their own respective prefectures.” In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has no immediate plans to seek any revisions to the agreement. “We must consider other things before” studying a revision of SOFA to deal with such problems, he said.
“US Bases in Japan” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 26 Japan)
“US Bases in Japan” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 23 Japan)


8. Salvage of Mystery Ship

The Japan Coast Guard resumed Sunday the salvage of a suspected spy ship that sank off Amami-Oshima Island after a shoot-out with the coast guard last winter. The operation had halted on July 2 due to bad weather. The salvage operation, expected to be completed by the end of this month, is running significantly behind schedule, officials said.
“Salvage of Mystery Ship” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 23 Japan)


Nuclear Issues


1. Related News and Analysis

Parsa Rao’s essay in the daily Deccan Herald, India, argues that denuclearising South Asia, as called for by Pakistan’s President Musharraf, will not ensure peace in the region. M.V.Ramana writes in the daily Hindu, Pakistan, that censorship of Anand Patwardhan’s anti- nuclear movie by the Indian government “denies people alternatives to the propaganda put out by Governments and hawks.”
“Related News and Analysis” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #24)


Afghanistan


1. Current Situation

According to a daily Frontier Post, Pakistan, report Afghan warlord in Khost province Badshah Khan has refused to accept the authority of the new Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The daily Balochistan Post reported that Kandahar police chief Azizullah Farangwal was killed in an ambush near his home. Meanwhile, President Hamid Karzai has reportedly dismissed his Afghan bodyguards and replaced them with American soldiers. The daily Dawn, Pakistan, reported a rocket attack on a US military camp outside the city of Gardez in eastern Afghanistan.
“Current Situation” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #24)


India-Pakistan Tensions


1. News

Pakistan’s Defense Secretary has stated that his country is “not in a hurry” to open its airspace for over-flight by Indian commercial aircrafts. India has re-affirmed that it will not make further moves to ease the military standoff with Pakistan until Pakistan takes steps to permanently stop what it says is a steady flow of cross-border infiltration. India has voiced its unhappiness over the proposed sale to Pakistan by the US of six C-130 aircrafts. According to the daily Telegraph, India, Pakistan has moved some of its troops along the India- Pakistan border to a “defensive offence” position.
“India-Pakistan Tensions” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #24)


2. Analysis

M.V.Ramana (Daily Times, Pakistan) argues that “given the confusion and chaos of war, ideas about limited war and carefully controlled escalation ladders are wishful thinking at best.” J.N. Dixit (Hindustan Times, India) suggests that “it would be unrealistic to expect any substantive support from Europe or western democracies on our [India’s]concerns about J&K.” Eijaz Haider (Daily Times) believes that proposed sale of Israeli made Arrow-2 ATBM (anti-tactical ballistic missile) to India would lead to further instability in the region. K. P. Nayar (Telegraph, India) reports that India – adopting a strategy used by Israeli lobbyists in Washington – has “chosen the Congressional route to put pressure on Washington to tighten the screws on General Pervez Musharraf.”
“Analysis” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #24)


3. Kashmir Situation

Continued violence in Jammu and Kashmir has claimed more lives. A report in the daily Indian Express analyzes why Jammu is becoming the new target by the militants. Muzamil Jaleel’s essay looks at how “people in the Valley resort to poetry to reveal their pain and document the hidden trauma of tragedy as prose is dangerous.”
“Kashmir Situation” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #24)


Pakistan and India


1. Pakistan: Domestic Situation

All mainstream political parties have rejected the constitutional amendments package proposed by President Musharraf. President Musharraf has amended the Political Parties Order, 2002, removing the condition of bachelor degree for holding any political party office. Pakistan’s Chief Election Commissioner has asked the government to lift the ban on political activities “at the earliest”. Columnist Nasim Zehra (News, Pakistan) believes that the proposed National Security Council will give excessive power to the President and “promote political conspiracy and not ‘good government.'”
“Pakistan: Domestic Situation” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #24)


2. US-Pakistan Relations

Imtiaz Alam (News, Pakistan) writes that Pakistan “can degenerate into a failed state, or become Islamist, if the US continued to perpetuate military dictatorship and scuttle democracy in order to chase the ghost of al-Qaeda.” Shireen Mazari (News, Pakistan) speculates that current wave of visits by US and British officials to Pakistan “could well be to pressurise Pakistan into conceding to Indian demands.”
“US-Pakistan Relations” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #24)


3. Operations against al-Qaeda

According to a daily Dawn report, al-Qaeda is planning attacks on the embassies of some European countries and India in Islamabad, Pakistan. France has closed down its consulate in Karachi. Rauf Klasra (News, Pakistan) reports that the Musharraf government is “deeply frustrated and disappointed” over the poor coordination among Pakistan’s various law enforcement agencies involved in the crackdown on militants.
“Operations against al-Qaeda” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #24)


4. India: Domestic Situation

Mr. V. Venkatesan (Frontline, India) writes that the recent reorganization of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) “marks the completion of the process of L.K. Advani’s takeover” in the party. The Frontline also published an interview with Arun Jaitley, BJP’s new general secretary.
“India: Domestic Situation” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #24)


5. US-India Relations

Rahul Bedi’s article in Frontline, India, examines the spread of US’s military presence “even to hitherto inaccessible areas in Asia.”
“US-India Relations” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #24)

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