NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, august 11, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

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I. United States

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1. US-DPRK Talks

The Associated Press ("N.KOREA TERRORISM TALKS PRODUCTIVE," Washington, 8/10/00) reported that the US State Department said on August 10 that the two days of US-DPRK talks on terrorism issues were productive, and that more are planned. US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that the talks in Pyongyang, much like a previous round in New York, focused on what the DPRK must do to remove itself from the list of countries the US alleges sponsor terrorism.

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2. Russia-DPRK Treaty

The Associated Press ("RUSSIA, NORTH KOREA SIGN TREATY," Moscow, 08/11/00) reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that President Vladimir Putin signed a cooperation treaty with the DPRK this week. The statement said, "The treaty gives Russia broader opportunities for the participation in the settlement in Korea, helps normalize the situation in the Korean peninsula." Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov signed the treaty during a visit to the DPRK in February, and both houses of Russia's parliament ratified it last month.

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3. Taiwan President's US Visit

The New York Times (Christopher Marquis, "2 LAWMAKERS RAISE A STORM WITH PLAN TO SEE TAIWAN CHIEF," Washington, 8/11/00) reported that US officials said on Friday that US Representatives Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, and Sam Gejdenson, a Democrat from Connecticut, hope to meet with Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian during his overnight layover in California on August 13. Gejdenson, the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, said, "I hope and expect to meet with President Chen in Los Angeles. President Chen can provide us all with a unique perspective on developments in the Asia-Pacific region, including mainland China." Gejdenson portrayed the proposed meeting as "private," and asserted, "I don't believe that the State Department should attempt to shut off this dialogue." Richard Boucher, the State Department spokesman, said that the transit visa granted to Chen was done "for the safety, convenience and comfort of the traveler" and would rule out public meetings or contacts with the news media. Boucher said, "Let's just stick with the fact that this is a transit. We would expect the activities to be consistent with that. There are certainly not going to be any meetings with administration officials." US administration officials noted, however, that Chen would not be physically restricted to the Los Angeles airport, leaving them largely powerless to bar encounters they view as inappropriate. Yuan Zhang, a spokesman for the PRC Embassy in Washington, said that the PRC had been given assurances by the administration that Chen would not play politics on US soil. Zhang said, "Every time they say it's a private visit, only for the comfort and convenience of the traveler. But once the arrangement is made, the Taiwanese officials take advantage of this to engage in separatist activity." Aides to the US lawmakers said that Chen's supporters had pressed eagerly for the meeting, but Chen has so far failed to commit himself to it because of pressure from the administration. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for August 11, 2000.]

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4. Cross-Straits Relations

Taiwanese Central News Agency ("TAIWAN PRESIDENT ACCUSES BEIJING OF HYPOCRISY OVER DEFINITION OF ONE CHINA," Taipei, 8/11/00) reported that Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian on August 10 accused the PRC of hypocrisy in terms of its definition of "one China," and reiterated Taiwan's rejection of its demand that it embrace the principle on PRC terms. Chen told visiting US Senator Jack Reed that while some PRC leaders have told Taiwan visitors that "one China" does not necessarily refer to the PRC, they stick to the claim on the international stage that "there is only one China of which Beijing is the sole legitimate regime and Taiwan is a part." Chen said that the PRC's differing versions of "one China" only betray its plot to annex Taiwan and make the island a province of the PRC through what it calls "peaceful reunification" and "one country, two systems." Chen said that as a head of state elected by the people, he would be overstepping his authority if he were to accept the PRC's "one China" without the people's mandate, as the majority of the people of Taiwan do not consider the island to be "another Hong Kong or Macao." However, Chen reiterated an offer he made on July 31 that Taiwan was ready to resume contacts with the PRC "in the spirit of 1992" if the PRC backs down on its insistence that Taiwan reconfirm its commitment to the "one China" policy.

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5. Taiwan Participation in UN

The Associated Press ("TAIWAN'S ALLIES AND CHINA CLASH OVER U.N. SEAT FOR TAIWAN," United Nations, 8/11/00) reported that Taiwan's allies on August 10 called for Taiwan to join the UN, but the PRC insisted that Taiwan is one of its provinces and not eligible to be a UN member. The attempt to get the UN General Assembly to consider membership for Taiwan when it meets in September will be the eighth such move by Taiwan's allies.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Reunion of Separated Families

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho,"P'YANG'S POLITICAL APPROACH TO FAMILY REUNIONS SPARKS CRITICISM IN SOUTH," Seoul, 08/11/00) reported that when the ROK and the DPRK exchanged their respective lists of 100 participants for the inter-Korean reunion of separated families, DPRK observers saw a sharp contrast between the two rosters. While most of the ROK citizens slated to visit Pyongyang are ordinary individuals, many of those coming to Seoul from the DPRK are famed artists, scholars and scientists. ROK government officials reacted uneasily to the DPRK's carefully calculated list, which demonstrates the DPRK authorities' sense of competition in their dealings with the ROK. They said that the roster shows that the DPRK makes politics its top priority, even in promoting a humanitarian event such as the family reunions. The DPRK also named a well-known ROK defector as the head of delegation. An ROK ministry official said, "It is clear that North Korea is attempting to show that all South Korean defectors live comfortably in the North thanks to what it calls 'General Kim Jong-il's favors. The decision was neither predictable nor appropriate. But the government decided to accept it in order not to jeopardize the family reunions and to make them regular and continuous events in the future."

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2. Repatriation of DPRK Prisoners in ROK

The Korea Times ("SEOUL DISMISSES NK REPORTS ON LONG-TERM PRISONER'S RETURN," Seoul, 08/10/00) reported that the ROK dismissed a DPRK press report on August 9 claiming that it blocked a long-term prisoner from returning to the DPRK as "groundless." The DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry and the ROK Red Cross society had forced the man to "sign a paper giving assurances that he would not go to the North." According to the KCNA, the ROK action can never be justified, as it "downplays the success of the historic Pyongyang meeting, goes against the spirit of the North-South joint declaration and puts a brake on the efforts for inter-Korean reconciliation and unity and the country's reunification." An ROK ministry official said that the DPRK report was misleading as it exaggerated only a limited part of confirming whether he intended to return to the DPRK. ROK officials said that the 83-year-old man will be sent to the DPRK along with other prisoners next month. The official said, "On August 2, Han Chong-ho, 83, told authorities he would not go to North Korea, but changed his mind at the request of his son Yong-su. Therefore, we launched another check to determine whether he really intended to go back and finally he signed a document confirming his will to return."

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3. ROK-DPRK Liaison Office

Chosun Ilbo ("LIAISON OFFICES TO OPEN AT PANMUNJOM," Seoul, 08/10/00) reported that for the first time in four years, the DPRK and the ROK will re-establish liaison offices at the truce village of Panmunjum starting next week. The announcement comes after the relevant officials reached an agreement over the phone on August 10. As a result, working-level talks as well as inter-Korean contacts will be made through the liaison offices. According to the ROK Unification Ministry, the ROK office will be headed by Byun Kyoung-sup, while the DPRK's will be led by Kim Young-chul, chairman of the National Peace and Reunification Committee.

III. Japan

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1. Japanese-DPRK Normalization

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("KONO SAYS THAT DPRK ABDUCTION ISSUE IS NOT LINKED WITH NORMALIZATION TALKS," 08/10/2000) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono discussed the issue of DPRK abductions of Japanese civilians during a session of the Upper House Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting on August 9. Kono said, "It is not appropriate (to discuss with the DPRK) without discussing humanitarian, missile and other security issues. However, it is also true that we have to normalize our relations with the DPRK. (Normalization) would serve to our national security." The report said that Kono's statement indicated that he would not make the solution of the abduction and missile issues conditions for the normalization talks with the DPRK. Kono also said, "It is necessary to recognize the DPRK as a nation-sate, but to do so formally is another matter. We should consider (formal recognition of the DPRK as a nation-state) after making some more progress in the normalization talks and after having more firm views."

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2. Visits by Japanese Wives of DPRK Men

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("16 JAPANESE WOMEN MARRIED TO DPRK MEN TO VISIT JAPAN IN SEPTEMBER," 08/10/2000) and the Japan Times ("PYONGYANG AGREES TO MORE VISITS: JAPANESE WOMEN IN NORTH KOREA TO MAKE HOMECOMING," 08/11/2000) reported that Japan and the DPRK have agreed to a third round of homecomings by Japanese women who married DPRK Nationals. Sixteen women will take part in the tour from September 12-18. The two sides did not go into further detail, but the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it would disclose the women's names and other information after necessary checks are completed. The DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency said that they "will contribute to the promotion of mutual understanding between the two peoples."

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3. Inter-Korean Railway Projects

The Kyodo News Agency ("N. KOREA'S KIM ASKS JAPAN FOR HELP IN RAIL PROJECTS," Seoul, 08/09/2000) reported that according to a diplomatic source on August 9, DPRK Leader Kim Jong-il has asked Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori for cooperation in projects to improve railway networks on the Korean Peninsula, including a railway link between the two Koreas. The report added that Russian President Vladimir Putin conveyed the request as part of a message from Kim when he met with Mori on July 23 in Okinawa after the summit of the G-8 countries there.

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4. Japanese-Russian Territorial Issue

The Sankei Shimbun ("PRIME MINISTER EMPHASIZES THAT TERRITORIAL ISSUE SHOULD NOT BE SEPARATED FROM PEACE TREATY," 08/10/2000) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori said on August 9 that he would not reach any interim treaty with Russia that would postpone the solution of the territorial issue between Japan and Russia. Mori also revealed that Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed to Mori at the G-8 Summit Meeting in July that it was difficult for Russia to return the Northern Territories to Japan. Mori responded, "We should discuss the sensitive (territorial) issue from a wider perspective." He also said, "We did not talk about the interim treaty, and there is no talk of such a treaty within the government." The report noted that Mori's statement indicated that Mori wanted to show to Russia that he had no intention to side with the view within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that the territorial issue can be separated from the issue of peace treaty.

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5. Japanese Official Visits to Yasukuni Shrine

The Daily Yomiuri ("MORI DECIDES AGAINST OFFICIAL YASUKUNI VISIT," Hiroshima, 08/07/2000) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori said on August 6 that he would not make an official visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on August 15, anniversary of the nation's World War II surrender. Mori apparently made the decision after considering possible protests from the PRC and ROK about an official visit to the shrine, which is often viewed by the countries as glorifying Japan's wartime past. However, Mori did not rule out the possibility of visiting the shrine in a private capacity. Mori said, "It is a personal matter. I would like to make the decision carefully and independently."

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6. Japanese Defense Policy

The Asahi Shimbun ("KOMEITO DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN MOVE TO RAISE DEFENSE AGENCY TO DEFENSE MINISTRY," 08/09/2000) reported that 78 Upper House Diet members formed an association on August 8 to raise the status of the Japanese Defense Agency to a ministry before restructuring of the central governing bodies in January 2001. Two thirds of ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Conservative Party Upper House Diet members participated in the association, but Komeito, another member of the ruling coalition, did not join because the party is reluctant about such a move. The association's agenda includes establishing the Defense Ministry in 2001, which is the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Self-Defense Forces.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
International Policy Studies Institute Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China
Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Gee Gee Wong:
Berkeley, California, United States

Robert Brown:
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Yunxia Cao:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

John McKay:
Clayton, Australia

Leanne Payton:
Clayton, Australia

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