NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, january 4, 2001

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. ROK Aid to DPRK

The Associated Press ("S KOREA WAS LARGEST AID DONOR TO N KOREA IN 2000," Seoul, 1/4/01) reported that ROK officials said on Thursday that the ROK more than doubled its aid to the DPRK to US$114 million last year. ROK aid to the DPRK was a dramatic leap from the US$47 million it gave in 1999. The ROK contribution also made up around the total US$220 million given last year by the international community. The other top donors were Japan, the US and the European Union.

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2. PRC-Taiwan Links

Agence France Presse ("TAIWAN'S OPPOSITION IN CHINA TO STUDY FULL LINKS," Taipei, 1/4/01) reported that a group of 46 parliamentarians from Taiwan's two major opposition parties, the Kuomintang (KMT) and the New Party, flew to Beijing on Thursday to study the possibilities of unrestricted direct links between Taiwan and the PRC. Taiwanese party officials said that they were to exchange views with PRC officials on direct links in trade, post and transportation. KMT parliamentarian Chu Feng-chi said, "Many thorny issues are involved which need to be studied. We hope the Chinese authorities can put political disputes aside and enter into discussions with Taipei on the topic."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Inter-Korean Relations

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "ANOTHER BUSY YEAR FOR INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS," Seoul, 01/04/01) reported that ROK officials and analysts said Wednesday that the ROK and the DPRK are scheduled to conduct a series of talks and joint projects this year. The year's opener in inter-Korean contacts will be a joint research of the DPRK's electricity situation this month. In January and February, both sides will also trace the whereabouts of 200 families each, a preparatory procedure for their mail exchanges in March. In late February, they will hold an additional round of family reunions involving 200 families in total. The biggest event, however, will be the visit to the ROK by DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. Observers have said that the Kim's visit, if materialized, will help ease military tension and establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. Prior to Kim's return visit, the DPRK's nominal head of state, Kim Yong-nam, is scheduled to travel to Seoul to prepare the event. In a move to boost economic cooperation, the two sides have also agreed to promote a slew of joint projects this year. In early February, the second round of joint economic panel meetings will also be held in Seoul. At the inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee talks, the two sides will discuss the plans to build a large industrial park in Kaesong, a city just north of the border, and reconnect their severed rail and road links, as well as the electricity issue. The DPRK is also scheduled to send its economic mission to examine the capitalist economy of the ROK. The event was initially set for last October, but delayed by about two months of pause in inter-Korean rapprochement.

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2. New ROK Red Cross Chief

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "RED CROSS CHIEF CREATES POST FOR TALKS WITH PYONGYANG," Seoul, 01/04/01) reported that the ROK's new Red Cross chief said on Wednesday that he would create a new post of special aide, who will represent the ROK in inter-Korean talks for family reunions. In his inaugural ceremony, Suh Young- hoon, president of the Korea National Red Cross, said, "I will appoint a person, who is specialized in inter-Korean talks and, preferably, has a close relationship with the Red Cross to take the post." "I will do my utmost for the family reunion projects as well as general humanitarian aid to the North, as I believe they will greatly help national reconciliation and a peace settlement," Suh said.

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3. Inter-Korean Talks

The Korea Times (Son Key Young, "INTER-KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTERS' TALKS EXPECTED TWICE THIS YEAR," Seoul, 01/04/01) reported that on the heels of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit last October, the largest international conference ever held in Seoul, ROK diplomats will also find themselves hosting or attending a flurry of large-scale diplomatic events this year. Most of all, the inter-Korean foreign ministers' talks are expected to take place twice this year, on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Vietnam in July and at the U.N. General Assembly in New York in September.

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4. Survey on Inter-Korean Relations

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Haing, "SUPPORT FOR RAPPROCHEMENT STRONG, SURVEY SHOWS, BUT CAUTION IS FAVORED," Seoul, 01/04/01) reported that while a majority of ROK citizens support the engagement policy toward the DPRK, many feel that the government is letting the DPRK call the tune in negotiations, a survey showed Tuesday. The opinion poll, jointly conducted by the JoongAng Ilbo and the Korean Unification Forum from December 13-22 with 1,000 people throughout the country, said that 68.9 percent approved the government's engagement policy and 78.9 percent believed that the policy should be continued. However, 72.2 percent said that they were getting the impression that the government was being "passive" in dealing with the DPRK. On whether to give the DPRK aid, 76.1 percent said the government should help, a sharp decrease from the 93.8 percent figure from a survey in August. Also, only 60.9 percent favored economic cooperation, a contrast to the August survey, in which 84.6 percent that inter-Korean economic cooperation should take place. Regarding the pace of rapprochement, 58.6 percent it should be slowed, while 39.8 favored a more rapid reconciliation. Despite many inter-Korean projects, including reunion of separated families, the survey revealed that ROK citizens still fear an outbreak of war, with 74.1 percent saying that President Kim Dae-jung is not paying enough attention to national security. In general, analysts said that people are becoming cautious over rapprochement, especially in economic cooperation, as the domestic economy slows.

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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

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