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friday, may 5, 2000

NAPSNet: World Media Digests

This page provides links to world media digests pertaining to Northeast Asia security issues. The documents are listed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent document listed first.

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Secretary of State Albright's Vist to the DPRK

    October 26, 2000: This report contains excerpts from the United States Information Agency (USIA) Issue Focus. Albright's historic visit to North Korea drew a decidedly mixed set of reactions in the press overseas. Many analysts in Asia and Europe were negative in their assessments, with some expressing concern, others advising caution and still others displaying some cynicism. A smaller number of other commentators, however, were more hopeful, applauding the secretary's "determination" and welcoming the U.S. overture as a positive step which will have sound consequences for regional and global stability.

US-PRC Relations

    May 5, 2000: This report contains excerpts from the United States Information Agency (USIA) Issue Focus. The excerpts provide an analysis by of reactions by the world media to the ROK-DPRK summit meeting scheduled for June 12-14 in Pyongyang.

US-PRC Relations

    April 24, 2000: This report contains excerpts from the United States Information Agency (USIA) Issue Focus. The excerpts provide an analysis of reactions by the world media on Sino-US relations after the United Nations Human Rights Commission's decision not to condemn the PRC's human rights record and the US decision to sell a weapons package to Taiwan that did not include Aegis destroyers.

Taiwan Election

    March 21, 2000: This report contains excerpts from the United States Information Agency (USIA) Issue Focus. The excerpts provide an overview of editorial and opinion reactions to the March 18 Taiwanese Presidential Election from countries in East Asia and nearby regions.

ASEAN Regional Forum

    August 3, 1999: The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting in Singapore and the racheting up of tensions between China and Taiwan in the wake of Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui's "two-states" proposal garnered substantial editorial comment in the region and beyond. Observers perceived signs of a "thaw" in U.S.-China relations following the "friendly lunch" between Secretary Albright and her Chinese counterpart in Singapore, and China's July 29 announcement that it had lifted the ban on U.S. military flights to Hong Kong, imposed after the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in early May. Analysts also weighed in with mixed views on ASEAN's resolve in dealing with two other security "powder kegs" seen to be threatening the stability of the region--namely North Korea and the Spratly Islands dispute.

Naval Confrontation

    June 18, 1999: The standoff in the Yellow Sea between North and South Korea commanded the attention of media commentators in Seoul and a handful of others in Asia and in Europe who sought to come to grips with Pyongyang's "mysterious provocations." The incursions by North Korean fishing boats into the crab-rich waters of a disputed fishing zone between the North and the South, coming just two weeks after former Defense Secretary Perry's visit to Pyongyang, prompted editors in South Korea to debate the value of their government's Sunshine Policy toward North Korea, and moved others to examine whether the North's actions were a "call for help" or a ploy designed to limit efforts--by the U.S. and others--to "open" North Korea to the outside world.

NATO Bombing of PRC Embassy

    May 17, 1999: Analysts overseas devoted considerable editorial ink to the aftermath of the mistaken NATO strikes against the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade last Friday. Nearly all opinionmakers agreed that the "unfortunate" incident was likely to prolong the crisis in Kosovo and seriously complicate efforts to find a negotiated solution to the conflict.

Kumchangri Accord

    March 23, 1999: Analysts in East and South Asia, Europe and Canada expressed varied reactions to the announcement that the DPRK would allow US officials to inspect a suspected underground nuclear facility at Kumchang-ri. Although many welcomed the agreement, which calls for the first inspection to take place this May, most were cautious in their assessments of the DPRK's intentions and whether the deal was the result of diplomacy, "brinkmanship" or "bribery."

DPRK Missile Test

    September 3, 1998: The DPRK's test-firing of a medium-range missile evoked swift condemnation from media outlets in the region and beyond. The missile test, following just weeks after reports that North Korea had resumed construction of an underground facility near the Yongbyon nuclear plant and one of its submarines had infiltrated South Korean waters, prompted editorialists to agree with Seoul's Joong Ang-Ilbo's assessment that "rapprochement is not likely to come easily on the [Korean] peninsula.... The North seems much more interested in an offensive diplomacy than in enhancing peace and coexistence with the South by way of a dialogue."

Clinton's Trip to PRC

    July 9, 1998: The majority of editorialists praised US President Bill Clinton's visit to the PRC, judging that a "giant step" toward peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region had been achieved. Those commentators who were less enthusiastic about the accomplishments of the Sino-U.S. summit maintained that only "time would tell" whether the "problems" still facing relations between the two countries can be overcome.

US-PRC Relations

    June 9, 1998: In advance of President Clinton's planned trip to China later this month, analysts overseas drew together two disparate issues: U.S.-China relations, and the arms race that they perceived to have been launched on the Indian subcontinent following the series of underground nuclear tests carried out by India and by Pakistan last month. A majority of observers in all regions viewed the "strategic partnership" between Washington and Beijing as "key" to preserving stability in Asia, a region where, they contended, "calculations have become more difficult" in the wake of New Delhi and Islamabad's de facto expansion of the number of declared nuclear states from five to seven.

South Asian Nuclear Tests

    June 4, 1998: Editorialists around the world reacted to the recent nuclear tests by Pakistan and India. Apart from papers from Arab states in the Middle East--most of which welcomed the advent of the first "Islamic bomb"--most commentators deplored the notion of a nuclear "arms race" on the subcontinent. These writers also noted that the "defiance" shown by India and Pakistan in carrying out their detonations despite efforts by the U.S. and other nations to dissuade them, could encourage other states, such as Iran and North Korea, to follow suit.

India's Nuclear Tests

    May 14, 1998: Editorialists around the world reacted with surprise, shock and no small amount of dismay to the news that India had, on May 11, carried out three underground nuclear tests in the desert of Rajasthan near the Pakistani border--followed by two additional detonations early in the morning of May 13.

Sec. Albright's Trip to Asia

    May 6, 1998: In the wake of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's trip to Asia, China watchers in Asia and Europe perceived a "sea change" in U.S.-China relations leading up to President Clinton's state visit there in June. Analysts in Asia also debated what role Japan should play in security arrangements in Asia. Editors in South Korea reacted sharply to issues discussed during the secretary's visit to Seoul--focusing on reports of a U.S. request for an increase in South Korea's share of financing KEDO.

Sec. Cohen's Trip to Asia

    February 2, 1998: Analysts overseas judged that Defense Secretary Cohen's trip to East Asia--which included stops in seven countries--had served to reassure the region of the US' continued support and interest. Editors in a number of countries adversely affected by the financial crisis in Asia saw the issues of economics and security as being closely tied.

Clinton-Jiang Summit

    November 4, 1997: In reaction to the recent summit meeting between US President Bill Clinton and PRC President Jiang Zemin, the international media was generally positive. Many analysts welcomed the maturation of the US-PRC relationship, seeing the shift from conflict to engagement as a decisive step towards a strategic partnership.

Jiang Zemin

    October 23, 1997: International media reaction prior to the visit of PRC President Jiang Zemin to the US was unanimous in their views that it would constitute a defining of the 21st century international order. There was stark division among analysts, however, on whether the meetings between the two presidents would be problem-free, and whether it would be a success of failure.

Landmine Ban

    September 22, 1997: International media reaction was generally critical to the US decision to withdraw from an Ottawa-led conference to ban the production and use of anti-personnel land mines. While most commentators believed that a functioning treaty without the participation of the United States is better than one with major loopholes, some in Asian nations expressed a degree of support for the US position.

The Revised US-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines

    September 11, 1997: The announcement of the revised US-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines gained substantial international media attention, though there were considerable differences in the interpretation of its implications for stability in the region. There was also much speculation on the nature of the shifting relationships among Japan, The PRC, the US and the ASEAN nations.

The PRC's Role in Asia

    September 10, 1997: The PRC's increasing importance on the world scene has prompted speculation on the nature of its role. Some observers considered the possibility of an emergence of a new bipolarity involving the US and The PRC, as well as its relationships with ASEAN and the trilateral PRC-Japan-US relationship.

Korean Four Party Talks

    August 13, 1997: As the three days of peace talks between the US, The PRC, the ROK and the DPRK broke off, considerable skepticism was expressed by many analysts, believing that the seventeen months it took for the US to persuade the DPRK to take part in the talks was a sign that progress would be slow. Also notable in commentary before and after the talks was speculation about PRC goals and US-PRC relations. To many observers, the two countries have divergent interests which would be exacerbated during the talks.

Four Party Meetings in New York

    March 12, 1997: The international media reaction to US-DPRK-ROK "briefing session" was one which largely credited the "patient mediation of the United States," analysts overseas expressed cautious optimism that a "thaw" between North and South Korea has begun as a result of the previous week's three-party briefing in New York and the subsequent "marathon" meeting between U.S. and North Korean officials.

Northeast Asia

    February 26, 1997: In a digest of international media reaction to events in Northeast Asia at the beginning of 1997, the death of China's "paramount leader," Deng Xiaoping, took center stage. The defection in Beijing of the architect of North Korea's Juche ideology, Hwang Jang-yop also commanded much attention, as well as the visit by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to the region.

Hwang Jang-yop's Defection

    February 21, 1997: Analysts in East Asia, South Asia and Europe continued to monitor North-South Korean relations closely in the aftermath of the defection of senior North Korean Communist Party ideologue Hwang Jang-yop. The view from all geographic areas was that the defection was certain to escalate tensions on the peninsula. Many believing that it was a sign of the rapid degradation of the North Korean regime, some speculating on possible military adventurism by a desperate North. Editorial voices from China, Japan, and Europe responded to the situation with calls for a "calm" and "reasoned" approach to temper the crisis.

DPRK Show of Regret

    January 9, 1997: North Korea's expression of "regret" at the incursion of one of its submarines into South Korean waters in September of 1996 prompted editorialists around the world to speculate on North Korean motives. Most editorialists believed that the North's actions were a sign of more than simply altruistic intentions. One of the more popular theories in South Korea was that the North was using the apology to advance relations with the US and Japan in an attempt to isolate the South.

North Korea, US Still Deadlocked in Nuke Talks

    May 23, 1995: (Barani Krishnaan) At the second day of nuclear talks between the US and the DPRK in Kuala Lumpur, the DPRK rejected the ROK-designed light water reactors (LWR) offered by Washington to replace the DPRK's controversial nuclear program. The ROK-designed reactors have a minimal plutonium producing capability and are ideal to replace the DPRK's reactors, which were suspected of being used to produce nuclear weapons. A DPRK official typified the mutual distrust between the ROK and DPRK by saying, "...we don't know what the South Koreans will provide us."

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