NAPSNet Daily Report
wednesday, january 10, 2001

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. Cross-strait Relations

Agence France Presse ("DESPITE SOFTENING TONE, CHINA STICKS TO TAIWAN HARD LINE: ANALYSTS," Beijing, 1/10/01) reported that despite speculation of a softening PRC stance on Taiwan after a Washington Post interview with PRC Vice Premier Qian Qichen, some analysts believe the PRC is merely playing to the incoming US administration and has not altered its uncompromising stance on reunification. Joseph Cheng, an expert on Chinese affairs at City University of Hong Kong, said, "Essentially, there is no softening." Robert Karniol, Asia-Pacific editor for Jane's Defence Weekly, said, "China is trying to bluff both Taiwan and Washington, and it hasn't changed its attitude at all." Citing a recent PRC proposal to Singapore, traditionally a friend of Taiwan, to join it in military maneuvers, Karniol said, "Apart from rhetoric, Beijing has also stepped up its efforts to isolate Taiwan on the international scene." According to some experts, the PRC had little option but to respond to an initiative by Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian to set up limited ties, allowing direct trade, transport and postal links from the Taiwan- controlled islands of Kinmen and Matsu to the PRC. Jean-Pierre Cabestan, director of the Hong Kong-based French Center for Research on Contemporary China, said, "The message is clearly aimed at the new Bush administration, as Beijing fears it might implement its electoral promises on Taiwan and on the deployment of an anti-missile shield."

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2. US APEC Attendance

Agence France Presse ("BUSH TO ATTEND APEC SUMMIT IN SHANGHAI," Beijing, 1/10/01) reported that PRC Foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Quiye said Wednesday that US president-elect George W. Bush will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Shanghai on October 20 and 21. However, she declined to say whether Bush would also make an official visit to the PRC, saying, "it is too early to say."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. EU on Inter-Korean Relations

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "EU TO CONTINUE BACKING INTER- KOREAN TALKS," Seoul, 01/10/01) reported that a top Swedish envoy in the ROK said on January 9 that the European Union (EU) will continue to support the dialogue process on the Korean Peninsula and fully back the engagement policy pursued by ROK president Kim Dae-jung. Speaking at a news conference to mark Sweden's takeover of the rotating presidency of the EU during the first half of this year, Ambassador Bo Lundberg to the ROK said his country's long involvement in the peninsula will help the EU contribute to inter-Korean dialogue. He was referring to Sweden's diplomatic presence both in the ROK and the DPRK for the past several decades and its participation in the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in the border village of Panmunjom. Lundberg said, "This experience and knowledge of the peninsula will be very valuable in the continuing efforts by the EU to sustain and complement a productive dialogue in the region."

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2. DPRK Nuclear Reactor Project

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "JAPANESE FIRMS TO ASSUME REACTOR PROJECT IN N.K. INSTEAD OF GE" Seoul, 01/10/01) reported that ROK officials said on January 9 that the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) has selected a Japanese business consortium as the supplier of turbine generators for the planned light-water reactors in the DPRK, replacing GE of the US. A senior ROK Unification Ministry official the joint team of Hitachi and Toshiba will supply equipment and place orders for turbine generators worth US$1 million. Some opposition lawmakers in the ROK have also opposed the Japanese firms' participation, saying it will only benefit Japan's economy, while turning the DPRK power stations into a Japanese model instead of Korean. The ministry official, however, refuted the opposition, stressing that the Japanese firms' earnings will not exceed US$250 million, compared to about US$10 billion worth of contribution to be made by Japan.

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3. DPRK Defectors

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-mok, "TEN NORTH KOREANS SEEK ASYLUM ON ARRIVAL AT KIMPO" Seoul, 01/10/01) reported that the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced on January 9 that it is currently investigating whether to accept ten DPRK citizens into the country, following their request for asylum on arriving at Kimpo Airport after residing in a third country. The defectors had been working in a factory in Onsung, North Hamkyung province, but decided to flee, as they could no longer stand the severe food shortage. Among the ten who have asked for admission, are two children.

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4. Inter-Korean Talks

Chosun Ilbo ("DRAFT INTER-KOREAN AGREEMENT DELIVERED TO NK" Seoul, 01/10/01) reported that the ROK government delivered a draft inter-Korean agreement on a number of key issues to the DPRK Monday, which included the provision of electricity, measures to prevent flooding along the Imjin River, joint-efforts to construct rail and road links as well as an industrial complex in Kaesong, the DPRK. An ROK Finance and Economy Ministry official said the document also sets the timing for a special team to determine the extent of DPRK's power shortages and for a joint team of experts to survey the Imjin River. Earlier, at the end of last year, the ROK had agreed to hammer out unresolved issues from the first economic talks held in Pyongyang.

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5. DPRK Defectors to US

Joongang Ilbo (Shin Joong-don, "U.S. REJECTS NORTH KOREANS" New York, 01/10/01) reported that a total of 27 DPRK defectors sought political asylum in the US between 1997 and 1999, but none of them were approved to enter the country. According to a US Justice Department report, 18 DPRK defectors sought such status in America in 1997, eight did so in 1998, and one tried in 1999. No details were released on where the applications for entry were originally filed. Among the applicants, five were rejected by the US government. The remaining DPRK defectors either withdrew or abandoned their applications. The report casts doubt on the whereabouts of one high-ranking DPRK official who supposedly fled to the United States from the North. Choe Ku-hwa, who disappeared while working at the DPRK Embassy in Egypt in 1997, was said to be in the US. But the report that no DPRK citizen were given asylum suggests otherwise.

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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

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