NAPSNET Week in Review 5 August, 2002

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United States


1. US Test Ban Treaty

A National Academy of Sciences panel concluded in a report released Wednesday that the US does not need to perform nuclear explosion tests to reliably maintain its atomic weapons. The report rebutted several arguments against the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which the Republican-controlled Senate rejected in 1999. The panel said the United States would be more secure under the treaty, even if some nations try to cheat, than if a test ban was not in force. The United States has held to a self-imposed nuclear testing moratorium since 1992.
“US Test Ban Treaty” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 31, US)


2. US-ASEAN Anti-Terror Pact

An anti-terrorism agreement due to be signed between Southeast Asian nations and the United States is crucial in preventing terrorists from establishing a sanctuary in Southeast Asia, officials said. Terrorism has dominated ministerial meetings in Brunei this week, and in wrap up talks Thursday it was tackled “in the context of transnational crimes, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary General Rodolfo Severino said. Domingo Siazon, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo’s special envoy to the meetings, said the ASEAN-US “Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism” would “deny sanctuaries” for terrorists in the region.
“US-ASEAN Anti-Terror Pact” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 1, US)


3. US on Russia-Iran Nuclear Relations

US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham on Thursday said Russia’s nuclear cooperation with Iran is a matter of “utmost” concern for the Bush administration, which believes the project helps advance Iran’s weapons program. Abraham’s comments came just days after Russia announced an ambitious 10-year plan for cooperation with Iran that envisages building five nuclear reactors there in addition to the one already under construction. “The expansion of Russian nuclear cooperation with Iran remains an issue of utmost concern to us,” Abraham said at a news conference.
“US on Russia-Iran Nuclear Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 1, US)


Korean Peninsula


1. DPRK-ROK Naval Skirmish

The DPRK has offered to meet with the US-led United Nations Command next week to discuss a deadly sea skirmish between the two Koreas in June, the U.N. command said. The DPRK People’s Army suggested that the two sides each send a delegation led by a military general for talks at the border village of Panmunjom early next week. “Today the KPA responded to a request from the U.N. command for general officer talks to reduce tension in the west sea,” said the command in a brief statement.
“DPRK-ROK Naval Skirmish” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, US)
“ROK-DPRK Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 30, US)


2. ROK-DPRK Relations

The ROK on July 30 delivered a telephone message to the DPRK proposing to hold working-level talks on Aug. 2-4 at Mount Kumgang about the opening of the seventh ministerial meeting. In the telephone message to DPRK, the report said that the ROK stated it had noticed the regret expressed by DPRK over the inter-Korean naval skirmish on June 29. ROK also emphasized the importance of the joint declaration signed in 2002 in the telephone and said that the South and the North should make efforts to continue dialogues and cooperation, China Daily reported.
“ROK-DPRK Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, PRC)

“Inter Korean Talks” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 30, ROK)


3. Powell on DPRK-US Relations

US Secretary of State Colin Powell and DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun sat down together Wednesday for an informal meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific security talks in Brunei at a multilateral conference, the ASEAN Regional Forum. Powell proposed the meeting just before the forum began Wednesday and later, Richard Boucher, the State Department’s spokesman, said the two men discussed a resumption of dialogue. Speaking to reporters later, Paek said that he and Powell had agreed to resume the US-DPRK dialogue. A US official with Powell’s party told AFP that Paek’s statement was premature. He said US officials would have to consult internally and with ROK and Japan before deciding on talks.
“Powell on DPRK-US Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, US)


4. US-DPRK Relations

DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-Sun has continued a round of whirlwind diplomacy here and talked up prospects of formal dialogue with the US and normalizing relations with Japan. “We have reached an agreement with the United States that Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly (for East Asian and Pacific Affairs) will visit Pyongyang,” Paek told reporters Thursday following a meeting with EU foreign envoy Javier Solana. “The United States will inform us of the exact date of the visit,” he said, reiterating for a second time that his talks with Powell forged the way for formal dialogue. However, a senior official traveling with Powell, said the DPRK’s assessment was premature.
“US-DPRK Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, PRC)

“US-DPRK Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 30, ROK)


5. DPRK-Japan Relations

DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Num Sun, who was attending the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, met with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi on July 31. In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the report said that the two ministers agreed to “make serious efforts to solve various issues, including issues concerning the settlement of the past, in order to realize the normalization of relations as early as possible.” It said, they also agreed to hold a director-general level meeting in August in order to discuss issues concerning the normalization of bilateral relations and concerns of mutual interest.
“DPRK-Japan Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, PRC)


6. Inter Korean Working-Level Talks

Chosun Ilbo (Choi Byung-mook, “WORKING-LEVEL TALKS AGREED ON AUGUST 2,” Seoul, 08/01/02) reported that DPRK agreed Tuesday to hold working-level talks at the Mount Kumgang resort from August 2 to 4 to discuss the resumption of ministerial talks, which ROK has proposed to be held in Seoul from August 15. The proposed meeting is aimed at setting the timetable and agenda items for the seventh round of inter-Korean ministerial talks. The ministry said Rhee Bong-jo, head of its Policy Department, is expected to be the key representative entering the working-level meeting. ROK government reportedly plans to suggest a separated family exchange for Korean Thanksgiving Holiday on September 21 and the establishment of meeting room for the families will also be included on the agenda. ROK will also promote resuming the ROK-DPRK Economic Cooperation Committee meeting to provide 300,000 tons of grain aid.
“Inter Korean Working-Level Talks” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 1, US)


7. DPRK’s Rationing System

The DPRK has told people involved in international organizations, including the UN, that it is keeping its decades-old state rationing system, according to a government source Wednesday. The source said rumors about DPRK abolishing the system as a means to shore up its economy were false, adding that DPRK was planning to maintain the amount of food rationing at 300g a day for an adult at least until September. Since the beginning of this year the amount of rationed has increased by nearly 50% from last year, but it has yet to reach half of the minimum consumption recommended by international organizations he continued.
“DPRK’s Rationing System” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 1, US)
“DPRK’s Economic Reform following PRC” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 30, ROK)


8. ROK Domestic Politics

The ROK’s parliament vetoed the appointment of the country’s first female prime minister after bitter wrangling mired in allegations of financial impropriety and sexism. National Assembly Speaker Park Kwan-Yong said that of 244 votes cast, 142 lawmakers voted against appointing Chang Sang and 100 voted for her. There was one abstention and one ballot was declared invalid. “I declare the motion for the approval of the appointment of Chang as prime minister has been voted down,” Park said. The decision was seen as a blow to President Kim Dae-Jung who named Chang, then the dean of the prestigious Ewha women’s university, as premier on July 11. The president must now find a substitute for her.
“ROK Domestic Politics” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 31, US)


9. ROK Food Aid to DPRK

The ROK government decided it might extend 300,000 metric tons of rice aid to DPRK depending on DPRK’s attitude at inter-Korean ministerial meeting which the government hopes to resume early next month. The government sent a telephone message Tuesday that suggested a working-level contact take place from next August 2-4, five days after DPRK’s fax that expressed regret over the naval clash that greatly disturbed the Korean peninsula and other nations of concern. The agenda would be centered on five major inter-Korean project known as railway project, Gaesong Complex, Geumgang overland route, reunion of separated families and military confidence. Depending on DPRK’s response the government may promptly extend about 300,000 metric tons of rice aid.
“ROK Food Aid to DPRK” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 30, ROK)


People’s Republic of China


1. PRC Presidential Succession

PRC President Jiang Zemin is not passing quietly into retirement as once expected, having launched a surprise bid to retain authority over his presumed successor, Hu Jintao, US officials say. Jiang’s attempt to retain power could forestall the passing of the PRC’s current generation of leaders, assuming his contemporaries, all 70 and older, would elect to stay on as well, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity. Hu, the current vice president, isn’t ready to roll over in the face of Jiang’s desire to stay, either. The succession question is expected to be settled in the fall at the meeting of the PRC’s 16th Communist Party Congress. The meeting had been expected in September but might be delayed until after Jiang visits the US and Mexico in late October.
“PRC Presidential Succession” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, US)
“PRC Presidential Succession” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 30, US)


2. PRC Domestic Economy

The PRC’s economy could grow more than 7.5 percent this year, the central bank said in an optimistic prognosis for Asia’s star performer on Thursday. Exports, a key driver of economic expansion, may grow more than 10 percent on the year compared to just 6.8 percent in 2001. The latest growth forecast suggested the PRC’s economy would beat its 7.3 percent growth in 2001 after expanding 7.8 percent in the first half of this year on the back of surging exports and heavy capital investment.
“PRC Domestic Economy” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, US)


3. PRC 75th Anniversary

The PRC’s 2.5-million-strong army has marked 75 years of existence with a fresh threat by the defense minister to re-take Taiwan by force, state media reported. Chi Haotian warned the island Wednesday at a reception in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the eve of the People’s Liberation Army anniversary, according to the People’s Daily and other major dailies. “We will try our utmost to achieve peaceful reunification but we will not renounce the use of force,” Chi was quoted as saying. Chi said any attempt to push for independence for Taiwan was doomed to failure. “We have the determination and capability to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
“PRC 75th Anniversary” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 1, US)


4. Taiwan Response to PRC Military Threat

Taiwan’s ruling party on Thursday brushed off new military threats from the PRC, saying they would do nothing more than “hurt the feelings” of Taiwanese people. The Democratic Progressive Party was referring to PRC Defense Minister Chi Haotian’s remark Wednesday that Beijing would seek peaceful unification with Taiwan but “will not renounce the use of force” against the island. Chi made the comment at a celebration of the PRC military’s 75th anniversary.
“Taiwan Response to PRC Military Threat” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 1, US)


5. PRC-ROK on DPRK Policy

PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan promised support for ROK efforts to revive stalled dialogue with the DPRK in the wake of a deadly naval clash. Tang met his ROK counterpart, Choi Sung-hong, in Seoul on Friday, following the DPRK’s recent moves to reconcile with the ROK, Japan and the US. “Minister Tang expressed China’s firm support for our policy of engaging North Korea, and promised to do his best to play a constructive role,” said Kim Hang-kyong, the ROK’s deputy foreign minister.
“PRC-ROK on DPRK Policy” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, US)


6. DPRK-PRC Relations

PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, who was attending the ASEAN Regional Forum meetings in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, met with his DPRK counterpart Paek Num Sun on July 31. During the meeting, the report said, they agreed to further expand the traditional friendship and cooperation between the two neighboring countries. Paek said developing the strategic relationship between China and the DPRK is the common wish of the people’s of the two countries and is in the interests of them both.
“DPRK-PRC Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, PRC)


7. PRC-US Relations

PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and US Secretary of State Colin Powell agreed on July 31 that the recent growing cooperation and consultations between PRC and the US benefited common interests. At a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of ASEAN’s annual meet in Brunei, both sides expressed satisfaction with recent developments in bilateral ties. Tang and Powell noted that the two countries are expanding cooperation in areas of anti-terrorism and trade while keeping consultations on UN affairs as well as regional and global issues such as those in South Asia and the Korea Peninsula.
“PRC-US Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, PRC)


8. PRC-Japanese Relations

PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and his Japanese counterpart Yoriko Kawaguchi exchanged views on bilateral relations on July 30 during regional meeting. Tang told Kawaguchi that although external and domestic environments for both countries have changed, he believes the importance of the PRC-Japan ties has been further enhanced instead of weakening. “China and Japan share a wide range of common interests and have good prospects for future cooperation. It is important to settle all existing problems between the two countries in a proper way, which will help secure smooth development of bilateral relations in the next stage,” Tang said.
“PRC-Japanese Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, PRC)


9. Across-Taiwan Straits Relations

The spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of China on July 30 reiterated calls to establish the cross-Straits three direct links quickly through unofficial talks. “We hope the Taiwan authorities will no longer look for various excuses to hinder the implementation of the three direct links,” the spokesman said in a written statement, said the report.
“PRC-Japanese Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, PRC)


10. Russia-PRC Warplane Sale

Russia plans to sell the PRC 40 of its top of the range Su-30MK warplanes in a US$1.8 billion deal, the largest such sale this year, media reports said on Tuesday. Although the Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport declined to comment, the Vedomosti daily quoted industry sources as saying the PRC was seeking to buy the naval version of the twin-seater fighter. If the US$1.8 billion figure was confirmed, “it would be the biggest airplane deal struck by Rosoboronexport this year”, the paper added. Russia sold 30 Su-30s fighters to China in 1999 for some US$2 billion. A further contract was sealed two years later, although the exact number of warplanes involved in the latter deal was not announced. Russian officials say the PRC air force also has around 80 Russian-built Su-27s, the type of aircraft which crashed at a Ukraine air show at the weekend, killing 83 spectators. It also has a license to build 140 others from scratch or from kits.
“Russia-PRC Warplane Sale” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 31, US)


11. PRC on US-Taiwan Relations

Reuters (Brian Rhoads, “CHINA SERIOUSLY CONCERNED ABOUT U.S.-TAIWAN TIES,” Brunei, 07/31/02) reported that the PRC told the US on Wednesday it was “seriously concerned” about the US increasing military contacts and arms sales to Taiwan. Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan also told US Secretary of State Colin Powell in talks in Brunei that the PRC was improving export controls in response to US charges that the PRC was not doing enough to stem the flow of weapons of mass destruction. In spite of the disagreements, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao described the 50-minute meeting between Tang and Powell as positive and said both sides were looking forward to President Jiang Zemin’s visit to the US later this year. Afterwards, Tang stated, “The Chinese side hopes that the U.S. would stop arms sales to Taiwan and any governmental and military exchanges and refrain from sending the wrong signals to pro-independence elements in Taiwan.”
“PRC on US-Taiwan Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 31, US)


12. Taiwan on Cross-Straits Relations

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian warned the PRC that its refusal to commit to peacefully resolving the dispute over Taiwan’s sovereignty was pushing the island further away. Chen again urged the PRC to renounce any attempt to use force to resolve the dispute. “Under the precondition, we will not alter Taiwan’s status quo,” Chen said, referring to Taiwan’s ambiguous status as a sovereign state but not a new and independent republic. Chen said that the PRC’s commitment to the use of force, along with its continued efforts to squeeze Taiwan’s international space, “is pushing the two sides further away.”
“Taiwan on Cross-Straits Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 30, US)


13. PRC Japan on DPRK Asylum Seekers

PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan demanded Japan prevent any future rows over DPRK citizens seeking asylum in Japanese missions in the PRC. “Don’t let any similar incidents happen in the future and don’t let such incidences affect China-Japan relations,” Tang said, reporting on his meeting with Kawaguchi on the sidelines of a gathering of ASEAN foreign ministers. Tang said he told Kawaguchi that Japan should deal with such incidents “calmly” and that it was important to “respect the facts.” Tang, however, said he stressed that both countries should look to the future and invited Kawaguchi to visit the PRC at an early date. Kawaguchi, who has not visited the PRC since taking office, accepted the invitation, the official said.
“PRC Japan on DPRK Asylum Seekers” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 30, US)


14. PRC-ASEAN Territorial Disputes

Southeast Asian foreign ministers pledged on Tuesday to work closely with the PRC on a code of conduct to help resolve territorial disputes in the potentially oil-rich South China Sea. “We reaffirm that the adoption of a code of conduct in the South China Sea would further promote peace and stability in the region and agreed to work towards a declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea,” ASEAN ministers said in a communique at the close of a two-day meeting. After years of wrangling, talks on a code of conduct picked up speed at this week’s Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) meetings in Brunei. Ministers compromised with an agreement naming the South China Sea but leaving out any mention of the hotly contested Spratly or Paracel islands. It remained unclear whether the PRC would accept the agreement.
“PRC-ASEAN Territorial Disputes” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 30, US)


Japan


1. Japan Anti-Terror

Japan’s military is shifting focus from regional threats such as the DPRK to possible terrorist attacks, and will cooperate more closely with the US, the government said Friday in its annual defense report. Terrorism dominated the 300-page study, which urged better defense against attacks at home and closer cooperation with the US and other countries in countering them. “Through the U.S.-led international efforts to fight terrorism, it became clear America’s overwhelming national strength and international cooperation are crucial,” the Defense Agency’s white paper said.
“Japan Anti-Terror” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, US)


2. Japanese Military Emergency Bills

The Japanese government plans to set up five working groups to study legislation pertaining to the military emergency bills, including measures to protect the public in an emergency. Besides protection of the public, the teams will study legislation to ease restrictions on Self-Defense Forces activities, support for US forces, the treatment of prisoners of war, and punishment for atrocities during emergencies. This latest move to revive the stalled legislation seems to be a tacit acknowledgment by the government that it has done a poor job explaining a broader picture of the legislation to the opposition as well as to a wary public.
“Japanese Military Emergency Bills” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, Japan)
“Japanese Military Emergency Bills” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 31, Japan)


3. Japan-US Relations

US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage plans to visit Japan on August 27-28 for discussions on foreign policy and security issues, informed sources said. During the visit, Armitage will meet with Vice Foreign Minister Yukio Takeuchi to discuss various issues, such as missile defense and the US fight against terrorism, to strengthen bilateral defense ties. At a time when US is stepping up preparations for a military campaign against Iraq, Armitage and Takeuchi are also expected to exchange views on Japan’s possible cooperation in the US action. The meeting, if realized, would be the first strategic bilateral dialogue to be carried out between subcabinet-level officials.
“Japan-US Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, Japan)


4. Japan Nuclear Policy

The Asahi Shimbun published an opinion article by Tetsuya Endo, vice chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, which denied Japanese alleged intention of nuclear armament. Endo raised a few reasons for this. “First of all, anti-nuke sentiments are extremely strong and deep-rooted among the Japanese people-a natural reaction to the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. — Secondly, there are domestic statutes as well as international pacts that require Japan to stick only to peaceful utilization of nuclear power.” Lastly, “I believe Japan should seek regional security under the protection of a solid alliance with the United States (including the U.S nuclear umbrella) and cooperate with its Asian neighbors to nurture mutual trust and regional stability, and work to lower the level of the nuclear balance of power in the world.”
“Japan Nuclear Policy” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 2, Japan)


5. US-Japan Iraq Attack

US Secretary of State Colin Powell told Japan Thursday that the US has made absolutely no decision on what action to take against Iraq, and pledged he would consult other nations, a Japanese official said. Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi told Powell that Japan hopes the United States will keep it informed and work through the United Nations, the Foreign Ministry official said. Bush “has made absolutely no decision on what to do with Iraq, and will definitely consult other countries,” the official quoted Powell as telling Kawaguchi.
“US-Japan Iraq Attack” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 1, US)


6. Japan-Russia Kuril Islands

The Associated Press (“JAPAN, RUSSIA TO DISCUSS PEACE TREATY ISSUES DURING VISIT BY JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER,” Bandar Seri Begawan, 08/01/02) reported that Japan’s foreign minister will visit Moscow in October and hopes to resolve a dispute over four Pacific islands to pave the way for the two nations to sign a formal peace treaty ending World War II hostilities, an official said Thursday. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told his Japanese counterpart, Yoriko Kawaguchi, Thursday that Russia would like to discuss the issue thoroughly when she visits Moscow.
“Japan-Russia Kuril Islands” (NAPSNet Daily Report, August 1, US)


7. Japan Domestic Politics

Japanese lawmakers wrapped up a 192-day session of Parliament Wednesday that was widely panned as marred by scandals and low on the reforms Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had promised to end the country’s economic slump. “We have no choice but to award it a failing grade,” Japan’s leading daily, the Yomiuri Shimbun, said of this year’s session. “It was not a successful session at all,” said Kenichi Suzuki, spokesman for the opposition Democratic Party. “Koizumi gave up tackling real reforms and the reforms he did make don’t move the country forward.” Koizumi has passed several economic packages this year, including two anti-deflation bills and the partial privatization of the country’s postal service.
“Japan Domestic Politics” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 31, US)


8. Japan-Uzbekistan Relations

Japan and Uzbekistan agreed Monday to strengthen economic and political cooperation by launching negotiations over a bilateral aviation pact, taking measures against terrorism and working toward the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and visiting Uzbek President Islam Karimov mark the signing of a joint partnership statement at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence. Karimov praised the swift response of the Maritime Self-Defense Force in sending its ships to the Indian Ocean to offer logistic support in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.
“Japan-Uzbekistan Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 31, Japan)


9. Japan Soldier Bio-Warefare Admission

Yoshio Shinozuka, 78, a former Imperial Army soldier stated that a Japanese court should look to its conscience when it rules next month on the deaths of Chinese used as guinea pigs by a top secret Japanese biological warfare unit in World War Two, a veteran of the programme said on Tuesday. “I was a member of Unit 731 and I have done what no human being should ever do,” said Yoshio Shinozuka who conducted experiments and vivisections on Chinese captives near the northern Chinese city of Harbin. Shinozuka has given testimony on the secret activities of Unit 731 on behalf of 180 Chinese who are suing the Japanese government for compensation and an apology for deaths of family members they say were killed in experiments at the world’s first biological warfare laboratory. “These human beings were called logs. We said we have chopped one log, two logs,” the slight, balding, bespectacled Shinozuka said in an address to foreign correspondents in Tokyo.
“Japan Soldier Bio-Warefare Admission” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 30, US)


10. Japan Domestic Politics

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi survived his first no-confidence vote submitted by opposition parties unhappy with his government’s slow pace of economic reform. “The motion was supported by 185, opposed by 280,” said an administrative official at the lower house of the Diet (parliament). “The motion was denied,” he said. Koizumi bowed several times to the chamber after the vote, the first no-confidence vote against his cabinet since it came into power in April 2001.
“Japan Domestic Politics” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 30, US)


11. Japan Red Army Return

Four members of the Japan Red Army Faction radicals have announced this month that they want to return to Japan – where they face certain arrest – by September, ending their exile in a suburb of the DPRK capital and closing a violent chapter of postwar Japanese history. The hijackers – Takahiro Konishi, 57, Shiro Akagi, 54, Moriaki Wakabayashi, 55, and Kimihiro Abe, 54 – said they decided to leave because they don’t want to endanger their North Korean hosts. “We fear our presence could be used as a pretext to attack North Korea for being a terrorist-supporting regime,” said the statement.
“Japan Red Army Return” (NAPSNet Daily Report, July 30, US)


Nuclear Issues


1. Related News and Analysis

According to a report published by the US State Department, “very senior Saudi officials have held conversations with officials involved in the Pakistani nuclear program.”
“Related News and Analysis” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #25)


Afghanistan


1. Current Situation

The daily Frontier Post, Pakistan, has reported that Pashtuns are “very dissatisfied” with President Karzai. Pashtun leaders in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat have reportedly asked President Karzai to remove the Tajik governor Ismail Khan or risk an armed revolt. However, according to a government mediator, the cease-fire between ethnic Tajik and Pashtun fighters is holding in Herat. According to various reports, Ismail Khan’s refusal to accept Karzai’s offer of a post in the Kabul government has led to increased tension between the two men.
“Current Situation” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #25)


2. Al-Qaeda

Reporter Rahimullah Yusufzai (News, Pakistan) sees no merit in Yossef Bodansky’s – author of ‘Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America’ – claim that Osama bin Laden “is freely able to travel between Afghanistan and Kashmir via Pakistan with support from the Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI).” According to a report in the daily News, two Arabic language websites supporting Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda have recently been shut down. President Karzai has stated that al-Qaeda is “not a military threat” to Afghanistan. A report in the daily Frontier Post, however, claims that there are still suspected al-Qaeda forces along Afghanistan’s eastern flank.
“Al-Qaeda” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #25)


India-Pakistan Tensions


1. News

India’s Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani has stated that infiltration of militants into Kashmir has “somewhat reduced but has not stopped.” Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf, however, rejected India’s claim that Pakistan-based Muslim rebels were still crossing the border in disputed Kashmir. Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha has ruled out early dialogue with Pakistan. Ten Buddhist monks have announced a three-month march from Pakistan to central India to urge peace between the two countries. According to a daily Dawn report, three people were killed and four others wounded in the Indian shelling on Neelum valley in Kashmir.
“News” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #25)


2. Kashmir Situation

The Election Commission (EC) has announced a four-phase schedule for elections to the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) assembly. India’s Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani has rejected any role for international observers in the J&K Assembly elections as suggested by both Javier Solana, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, and the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has reiterated its decision to stay away from the polls. APHC, however, has also stated that it will not have “any problems in contesting elections if they ..are the first step in a comprehensive process to resolve the dispute permanently.” Hizbul Mujahideen, Kashmir’s largest militant separatist group, has also rejected the elections. Pakistan has stated that elections in J&K should not be looked at “with a very great degree of hope or anything.” Meanwhile, a militant group Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen has threatened to kill anyone who takes part in the elections.
“Internal Situation” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #25)


3. China and Kashmir

In their essay for Asia Times, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, authors of 1999 book Unrestricted Warfare, examined China’s position on the Kashmir dispute.
“China and Kashmir” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #25)


4. US and Kashmir

In their respective articles for the daily Hindu, V.R. Raghavan and Raja Mohan examine the implications of US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s visit for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
“US and Kashmir” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #25)


Pakistan and India


1. Pakistan: Domestic Situation

Leaders of Pakistan’s major political parties have criticized President Musharraf’s proposed constitutional amendments. The government has now revised some of the proposed amendments but has retained fundamental discretionary powers to be vested in the president. Farhan Bokhari of the daily News believes that these revisions “may well be a bit too little and perhaps even late.”
“Pakistan: Domestic Situation” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #25)


2. Foreign Relations

According to the daily Dawn, Pakistan, a high-level military delegation from Iran is scheduled to visit Pakistan to explore areas of defense cooperation between the two countries. Various newspapers reported on President Musharraf’s recently concluded visit to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China.
“Foreign Relations” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #25)


3. India: Domestic Situation

Rahul Bedi’s (Frontline, India) looks at the competition between various arms manufacturers hoping to sell India new weapon systems. The Indian parliamentary opposition has criticized the government for its “submissive” attitude towards the US. In an interview published by Frontline, K. Natwar Singh, Rajya Sabha member and Congress spokesman on foreign affairs, discussed a range of issues relating to India’s foreign policy and diplomacy.
“India: Domestic Situation” (SANDNet Weekly Update, V.3 #25)

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