NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, october 20, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

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I. United States

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1. ASEM Resolution on Korean Peninsula

Agence France-Presse ("WORLD COSIES UP TO NORTH KOREA, BUT EUROPE AT ODDS," Seoul, 10/20/00) and the Associated Press (Paul Ames, "EU, ASIAN LEADERS COURT NORTH KOREA," 10/20/00) reported that the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) on Friday adopted the "Seoul Declaration for Peace on the Korean Peninsula." The declaration stated, "Leaders renewed their support for the process of rapprochement and cooperation underway between South Korea and North Korea, and encouraged both sides to continue building on the success of the summit for the sake of peace and security in the region." The European Union also pledged financial support to the DPRK, including a US$17 million aid package to develop farming; a relaxation of restrictions on DPRK textile imports, and plans to send EU experts to improve forestry, coal mining and management.

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2. DPRK-EU Relations

The Associated Press (Paul Ames, "EU, ASIAN LEADERS COURT NORTH KOREA," 10/20/00) and Agence France-Presse ("WORLD COSIES UP TO NORTH KOREA, BUT EUROPE AT ODDS," Seoul, 10/20/00) reported that diplomats at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) said that the Netherlands was expected to announce on Friday that it planned to follow Great Britain and Germany in opening up diplomatic relations with the DPRK. However, a senior French diplomat said that his government believes that the moves were "premature." The Belgian foreign ministry on Thursday also criticized such moves, saying it should be left to the European Union (EU) presidency "to take the initiative in this matter." French President Jacques Chirac said in a speech in Seoul that EU-DPRK "relations would evolve in line with progress achieved in human rights and non-proliferation." He also played down disagreement with other EU countries, calling it a "technical matter." Regarding the disagreement, European Commission President Romano Prodi said, "It is not a positive fact, but it is usual." An anonymous high-ranking French diplomat said that the issue would be discussed at the next general meeting of EU foreign ministers in November

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3. Japan-DPRK Relations

Agence France-Presse ("JAPAN VOWS TO TAKE ITS OWN COURSE OVER NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 10/20/00) reported that Japan said Friday that it had no plans to immediately follow Britain and Germany's move in opening relations with the DPRK until the DPRK has given reassurances over its missile program. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori told British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting, "Please understand that we have to take a different stance from US or European action. It will take time for us to normalize relations with North Korea." Mori, however, said that he welcomed US and European efforts, stating, "The United States and other countries are taking constructive action." He added, "It is very important for North Korea to join the international community and take its own responsibility." Mori also told Blair that Japan "seriously" needed answers on the fate of 10 Japanese nationals allegedly kidnapped by DPRK agents since the 1960s. He stated, "This is our biggest problem of issues related with North Korea. Without removing this obstacle, we cannot gain our people's understanding." He added, "Unlike the United States and Europe, we also have the history issue. But we want to solve the issue as quickly as possible."

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4. DPRK-PRC Relations

Reuters ("MILITARY OFFICIALS TO VISIT NORTH KOREA," Tokyo, 10/20/00) reported that the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Friday that the PRC will send a high-ranking military delegation to visit the DPRK in the near future. The delegation will be headed by Chi Haotian, Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the PRC." Foreign diplomats in Beijing have said that the PRC was likely to send Chi for an anniversary ceremony on October 25, the date of the first clash 50 years ago between PRC and US-led UN forces.

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5. Albright's DPRK Trip

The Associated Press (Christopher Torchia, "ALBRIGHT SET TO MAKE N. KOREA TRIP," Seoul, 10/20/00) reported that analysts believe that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will likely receive an enthusiastic reception when she visits the DPRK next week. They added, however, that the talks between Albright and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il will touch on serious issues such as the DPRK's missile program and its desire to get off the US list of terrorism-sponsoring nations. Leon Sigal of the Social Science Research Council stated, "These are very tough. It's going to take a while to work out. Now the North is saying it's time to start." Seo Joo-seok, an analyst at the ROK's state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, said, "Albright may try to draw attention to Clinton's visit by announcing one or two small agreements such as opening liaison offices."

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6. US-ROK Status of Forces

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) issued a News Release ("JOINT U.S.-ROK STATEMENT ON THE OCTOBER 17-18 SOFA NEGOTIATIONS," Washington, 10/19/00) which said: "Delegations from the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States met Oct. 17-18 at the Pentagon in Washington for negotiation to revise the U.S.-ROK Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Song Min-soon, director general of the North American Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT), led the ROK delegation, which included representatives of the relevant ministries. Frederick C. Smith, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Asia- Pacific affairs, led the U.S. delegation, which included representatives from the Department of Defense and the Department of State. Both sides reaffirmed the importance of the ROK-US security alliance and the need to revise the SOFA as soon as possible to reinforce that alliance. There was significant progress on the issue of criminal custody and associated legal assurances. Although there are a number of areas that still need to be resolved, the two delegations have built a working draft that includes a number of areas of agreement. The two delegations have also had useful and substantial discussions on other significant issues such as the environment; use of facilities and areas by U.S. Forces Korea (USFK); quarantine of animals and plants; working conditions for Korean employees of USFK; control of Korean nationals' access to USFK's non-appropriated fund facilities; civil proceedings; and, the scope of persons accorded status under SOFA. Both sides agreed to hold the next round of talks in November."

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7. PRC View of Japanese Participation in TMD

Agence France Presse ("CHINA RAPS TOKYO'S PLAN TO JOIN U.S. MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM," Seoul, 10/20/00) reported that the PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told his Japanese counterpart Yohei Kono on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) on Friday that the PRC opposed Japan's plan to join the US Theater Missile Defense (TMD) system. Tang stated, "Since we are heading toward tension reduction [on the Korean peninsula] right now, I don't see any reason for carrying out the TMD system." Tang added, "The speed of the improvement of relations between the United States and North Korea was beyond your imagination." Kono responded, "In Japan, there is a concern about China's defense budget issue. Anyway, we want to solve these issues through security dialogue."

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8. US View of PRC Threat to Taiwan

Reuters ("U.S. DOWNPLAYS CHINESE THREATS AGAINST TAIWAN," Washington, 10/20/00) reported that White House National Security Adviser Sandy Berger on Thursday played down the threat in a PRC defense white paper on Monday to use "drastic force" to prevent Taiwan from moving toward independence. Berger said that the document was largely "rhetoric for international consumption." He stated, "I don't think that there was a lot of new ground covered." Berger added, "We have made it very clear to the Chinese that we believe in one China, but we believe this has to be resolved by a cross-straits dialogue and must be resolved by peaceful means."

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9. Spratly Islands

The Philippine Star ("CHINA INITIATING MILITARY DIALOGUES WITH OTHER SPRATLY CLAIMANTS," Manila, 10/20/00) reported that Philippine Defense Secretary Orlando Mercado said on Thursday that the PRC is initiating military-level dialogues with countries that claim the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea. Mercado said that armed forces chief General Angelo Reyes is in Beijing for a five-day visit to meet with his counterparts to discuss the issue. He stated, "I agree it's high time that we in the defense and military establishments also meet. It will be an awkward situation where our leaders talk while we fire shots at each other." Mercado said that the PRC has also invited him, but he asked that his visit be in December when his workload is lighter. He added that the PRC has reportedly also invited officials of other claimant-countries.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Reunion of Separated Families

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "GOVERNMENT PUTS PRESSURE ON NORTH TO QUICKEN PREPARATIONS FOR REUNION," Seoul, 10/20/00) reported that, criticizing the DPRK's delays in inter-Korean humanitarian exchanges, the ROK on Thursday called for the DPRK to speed up preparations for reunions of separated family members. "Such attitudes show that you broke the trust with your dialogue partner and are inappropriate for a new South-North relationship based on reconciliation and cooperation," said ROK National Red Cross President Chang Choong-sik in a letter.

Chosun Ilbo ("RED CROSS URGES NK TO STAY ON TRACK," Seoul, 10/19/00) reported that head of the Korean National Red Cross (KNRC) Chang Choong-sik sent a letter to his DPRK counterpart Thursday, urging him to ensure that relations remain on track and to facilitate an early exchange of displaced family members. He called on the DPRK to exchange lists of 200 candidates and to deliver the list of 100 confirmed family members. He said that to conclude two more rounds of family exchange visits, confirm the status of others and to swap letters before the end of the year, action had to be taken now.

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2. Investment in DPRK

The Korea Herald (Lee Joon-seung, "INVESTMENT IN N.K. SAID RISKY," Seoul, 10/20/00) and The Korea Times ("$5.2 MILLION INVESTED IN NK REMAINS IRRETRIEVABLE," Seoul, 10/19/00) reported that although the two Koreas are increasing economic exchanges, investments in the DPRK are still risky, according to a lawmaker's report. The report, which Representative Eom Ho-sung of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) submitted during the parliamentary audit of government agencies Thursday, claimed that ROK investments amounting to US$5.2 million have little chance of being recovered. As of August this year, ROK investments in the DPRK exceeded US$150 million. The sum did not include the funds needed to finance the construction of nuclear power plants by the Korean Peninsula Energy Organization and money spent by the International Corn Foundation. It also said that DPRK partners tend to ignore contracts and original business plans. The GNP has been saying that though civilian cooperation should be encouraged, cash-strapped companies like the Hyundai Group should be discouraged from launching DPRK projects. Eom added that overly high expectations are dangerous and that thorough market research should be conducted before firms invest in the DPRK.

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3. ROK Aid to DPRK

The Korea Herald ("WITH GOV'T HELP, KOICA TO LAUNCH N.K. AID PROGRAM," Seoul, 10/20/00) reported that President Min Hyung-kee of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) said on Wednesday that the agency would embark on an aid program for the DPRK assigned and supported by the government. He made the statements when Secretary-General Donald Johnston of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) called on him at his office.

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4. Inter-Korean Relations

The Korea Times (Sah Dong-seok, "KOREAS FACE STALEMATE IN MILITARY TALKS," Seoul, 10/20/00) and Joongang Ilbo (Lee Soo-jeong, "NORTH KOREA DELAYS ECONOMIC TALKS," Seoul, 10/19/00) reported that inter-Korean military contacts to discuss details on the reconnection of the cross-border railway and road links have hit an impasse over the DPRK's desire to sign an accord on the delegation of jurisdiction in the Demilitarized Zone directly with the UN Command (UNC). According to the ROK Defense Ministry, Colonel Yoo Yong-chol, the DPRK's liaison officer at the truce village of Panmunjom, said during a meeting with his UNC counterpart on Wednesday that the DPRK wants to sign an accord delegating negotiating power to the ROK with the US-led UNC. Yoo's allegations were taken as meaning that the DPRK would not accept the letter sent Saturday by US Air Force Major General Michael Dunn, deputy head of the UNC Chief of Staff, to the DPRK. The letter stated that ROK's Defense Ministry had the authority to negotiate the security arrangements required for mine clearing and construction in the DMZ, on behalf of the UNC. Ministry officials said that the DPRK's demands appear aimed at making clear that the DPRK and the UNC will safeguard the security related to the reconnection project in the DMZ directly. While the Defense Ministry said that the delay of inter-Korean military contacts for the railway and road project did not reflect fresh strains between the two Koreas, critics insisted that the DPRK may be trying to bypass the ROK and deal with the US. directly under its traditional foreign policy.

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5. EU-DPRK Relations

The Korea Times ("ITALY GIVES FULL BACKING TO IMPROVING EU-NK RELATIONS," Rome, 10/19/00) reported that Italy will continue to support European dialogue with the DPRK and encourage inter-Korean confidence and security building measures, Prime Minister Giuliano Amato said on Wednesday. While calling inter-Korean dialogue encouraging, the Prime Minister said that he wants to see more mutual confidence building in the Asian region. He welcomed the proposed Seoul Declaration for Peace on the Korean Peninsula to be adopted at ASEM, saying it will "certainly receive a strong political endorsement by the summit" and contribute to acquiring even greater international support for Korean peace. Asked about EU-DPRK relations, Amato said recent contacts between the two parties "have updated EU assessments and foreseen a new approach." Italy will consistently support further enhancing of political dialogue, the transfer of know-how on confidence and security building measures, and aid and economic measures to rehabilitate the DPRK, he said.

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6. DPRK-UK Relations

Chosun Ilbo ("BRITAIN TO NORMALIZE TIES WITH NK," Seoul, 10/19/00) reported that Minister of Foreign Affairs in Britain, Robin Cook, announced in an interview with the BBC Thursday that the UK's would seek to normalize relations with the DPRK. With regard to this, the spokesman of PRC Foreign Affairs stated "China welcomes Pyongyang's efforts to improve its diplomatic relationship with western countries." One Japanese official also said "Japan is confirming this report but, it is desirable for the North to open itself to the international community."

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7. DPRK-US Relations

Chosun Ilbo ("ALBRIGHT SET TO VISIT NK ON OCTOBER 22," Seoul, 10/19/00) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Thursday that she will leave Washington DC on October 22, and hold a conference in Pyongyang from the 23rd to the 24th. She added that she has received confirmation about meeting DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. Albright said that after her Pyongyang trip, she would visit Seoul and hold a tripartite meeting with the ROK and Japan to discuss the outcome of the talks. She is expected to discuss issues of concern for the two countries such as missiles, terrorism, and nuclear weapons, as well as the opening of a liaison office. If the trip turns out to be successful, President Clinton and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il will hold a summit and perhaps settle a package deal.

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8. DPRK Maritime Development

Chosun Ilbo (Song Eui-dal, "SEOUL WAITING FOR INVITATION TO EXPLORE NK SEAS FOR RESERVES," Seoul, 10/19/00) reported that the ROK government would, if invited by the DPRK, move ahead with crude oil exploration projects in the seas off of the west coast. One official at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOICE) said Thursday that if the DPRK were to propose joint exploration for crude oil or natural gas reserves in its waters, the ROK government would not hesitate to encourage domestic businesses, the Korea Petroleum Corporation, and foreign firms to form a consortium to undertake exploration. He said, however, that it has not received any such proposal to date from the DPRK.

III. Japan

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1. Japan-DPRK Talks

The Daily Yomiuri ("JAPAN, N. KOREA TO TALK IN BEIJING," 10/17/2000) reported that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hidenao Nakagawa announced on October 17 that Japan and the DPRK would hold the next round of normalization talks in Beijing on October 30 and 31. The Japanese delegation will be led by Kojiro Takano, Ambassador in charge of normalization talks, while Jong Tae- hwa will head the DPRK team. The talks would be the 11th round overall, but the third round this year since the two countries resumed normalization talks in April. During the last round of talks in August, Japan proposed the extension of economic cooperation to the DPRK as a way of compensating for Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. A similar formula was adopted when Japan normalized relations with the ROK in 1965. The report quoted that diplomatic observers as saying that in the wake of the recent significant improvement in US-DPRK relations, the focus of attention in the next round of talks between Japan and the DPRK would be on whether the two countries can come up with concrete steps that would lead to normalization of their relations.

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2. DPRK Abduction Issue

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Makoto Katsuta, "MORI SAYS HE PROPOSED SOLUTION TO ABDUCTION ISSUE," Seoul, 10/20/2000) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori revealed during his meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Seoul on October 20 that when Mori visited Pyongyang in 1997 as Liberal Democratic Party Executive Council Chairman, he proposed to the DPRK to solve the abduction issue by making up a story that the abducted Japanese civilians were discovered in a third country, such as the PRC. Mori stated, "Because the DPRK is a country that respects 'saving face,' (making up) a story that the missing civilians were found in Beijing or Bangkok could be a solution (acceptable to the DPRK). However, there has been no response from the DPRK." The report added that at the time of Mori's visit to Pyongyang in 1997, the DPRK's official stance on the issue was that there is no such thing as abduction (of Japanese civilians by DPRK agents).

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3. Japanese Prime Minister's Letter to Kim Jong-il

The Japan Times ("GOVERNMENT ADMITS MORI MET WITH MESSANGER," 10/18/2000) reported that the Japanese government admitted on October 17 that Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori met a Korean journalist alleged to have delivered a secret letter from Mori to DPRK leader Kim Jong Il in August, but denied that Mori sent any letter to Kim. The government's statement came in a written reply to a member of the largest opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), who submitted a set of questions to the Cabinet earlier this month, based on the Diet Law. According to media reports, Mori sent the letter to Kim, calling for a summit in a bid to effect a breakthrough in bilateral relations. Mori did not use official diplomatic channels, despite the two countries being engaged in a series of normalization talks. In his October 6 inquiry to the Cabinet, Jun Azumi, a DPJ member of the House of Representatives, said that national interests may have been damaged if the letter was sent without necessary coordination with the Foreign Ministry. The Cabinet's reply was that it "is not aware that there is any such fact that Prime Minister Mori sent a letter to Kim Jong Il ... in August this year." However, the Cabinet did admit that Mori knows the journalist, Moon Myong-ja, and has met her this year. The report added that Moon is a Korean journalist who lives in the US and reportedly has strong ties with the DPRK. The report also added that Azumi said that the reply was inadequate and that he will make another inquiry to the Cabinet.

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4. Japanese Participation in Mt. Kumgang Tour

The Japan Times ("NORTH KOREA RESORT OPEN TO TOURISTS," 10/20/2000) reported that Mount Kumgang would have its first Japanese visitors on October 20. The report said that a group of 11 tourists from Japan will board a DPRK cruise ship leaving Pusan, the ROK. The ROK's Hyundai group, which organizes the tours, plans to ask the Japanese Transport Ministry for permission to run a regular ferry service from Pusan to the DPRK via Hakata. Once on Mt. Kumgang, tourists can either choose a three-hour course highlighting waterfalls and gorges or a four-hour course that includes a view of the truce line in the demilitarized zone. The report added that the upcoming tours from Japan are priced between 68,000 yen and 180,000 yen and that a Japanese-speaking guide will be on board the cruise.

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5. Former Taiwan Leader's Visit to Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("GOVERNMENT DECIDES NOT TO ISSUE VISA FOR LEE TENG HUI," 10/19/2000) reported that the Japanese government decided on October 18 not to issue a visa for Lee Teng Hui, former Taiwan leader. A source from the Japanese Foreign Ministry stated, "Given our relations with the PRC, it is difficult to issue a visa for him."

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6. Japanese-PRC Issue of History

The Daily Yomiuri (Shigefumi Takasuka, "ZHU URGES RESTRAINT ON WARTIME ISSUES," 10/17/2000) and the Japan Times ("ZHU TONES DOWN STANCE ON WARTIME ATONEMENT, NO MORE APOLOGY," 10/17/2000) reported that PRC Prime Minister Zhu Rongji, who was on a six-day official visit to Japan, toned down his stance on the issue of history between Japan and the PRC. Zhu stated at the Japan National Press Club in Hibiya, "Both Japanese and Chinese people were victims of Japan's militarism. Thus, the Japanese people should not be held responsible for the past war of aggression against China." Although he said in a TBS television program on October 14 that Japan has never apologized to the PRC in any official documents, Zhu said that he does not intend to demand such an apology. The Daily Yomiuri report said that Zhu emphasized that the PRC did appreciate the 1995 apology made by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama for Japan's past aggression toward other Asian countries. However, the Japan Times report said that Zhu expressed dissatisfaction that Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama in his 1995 government statement offered Japan's apologies to the "Asian people" but did not directly mention China.

The Japan Times ("ZHU TONES DOWN STANCE ON WARTIME ATONEMENT, NO MORE APOLOGY," 10/17/2000) reported that Japanese Cabinet Secretary Hidenao Nakagawa said on October 17 that Japan has no plans to make any further written apologies to the PRC for its wartime aggression. Nakagawa made the comment in response to visiting PRC Premier Zhu Rongji's statement that Tokyo has never apologized in an official document to the Chinese people. Nakagawa stated, "The (Japanese) government is not considering issuing another apology in writing." Nakagawa added that Japan has repeatedly expressed remorse and apologized to the PRC.

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7. Japanese Nuclear Disarmament Policy

The Daily Yomiuri (Kazuki Matsuura, "JAPAN SUBMITS PROPOSAL TO EFFECT CTBT IN 2003," New York, 10/15/2000) reported that the Japanese government submitted on October 13 a nuclear arms reduction draft resolution detailing concrete measures for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons to the disarmament committee of the UN General Assembly. The draft proposes 12 items such as applying the principle of irreversibility, or not allowing any increase in nuclear weapons once they have been reduced; encouraging nuclear states to make further efforts on their own or through multilateral negotiations to reduce nuclear arms; improving the disclosure of nuclear weapons' capabilities; further reduction of nonstrategic nuclear weapons; and the implementation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) by 2003. The report said that the draft dropped the words "ultimate elimination" from the previous draft, but that setting a deadline for the implementation of CTBT is a step forward. The report also pointed out that since the new draft resolution includes a deadline for the implementation of the CTBT that was not contained in the final document adopted at the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review meeting, the disarmament committee is likely to be slow to adopt it as some UN member nations oppose setting a deadline.

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8. US View on Japanese Peacekeeping

The Asahi Shimbun ("US AMBASSADOR SAYS THAT JAPANESE PKO 5 PRINCIPLES CONSTRAIN JAPANESE CONTRIBUTION IN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY," 10/17/2000) reported that US Ambassador to Tokyo Thomas Foley said during his speech at the Japanese National Defense Academy on October 16 that the 5 principles of Japanese peacekeeping operations constrain Japan's further contribution to international peace. Foley pointed out that the 5 principles require that a cease-fire agreement be in effect, that all parties to a conflict accept the peacekeeping forces and Japanese participation in them, that the neutrality of the peacekeeping force be maintained, and that Japanese personnel not use weapons except for small arms in self-defense, but that the problem is that all of these principles have to be applied. Foley expressed his expectation that the principles be revised. The report said that Foley's view may influence the ongoing discussion at the Diet on the review of the principles.

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