NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, january 26, 2001

I. United States

II. Japan

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I. United States

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1. Kim Jong-il's ROK Visit

The Associated Press ("NORTH KOREAN LEADER TO VISIT SOUTH KOREA - SEOUL OFFICIAL," Seoul, 01/26/01) reported that an unnamed ROK government official said on Friday that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il said during a visit to the PRC last week that he will visit Seoul "without fail" for a second inter-Korea summit. ROK officials think that Kim's PRC trip may have expedited his trip to Seoul. The official added that Kim was so impressed by the PRC's economic development that he told Chinese leaders he wanted to build a city in the DPRK modeled on Shanghai. Yonhap news agency said that ROK officials were briefed on Kim's remarks by Chinese officials.

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2. DPRK Economic Reform

The Los Angeles Times carried an opinion article by Michael Parks and Gregory F. Treverton of the Pacific Council of International Policy (NORTH KOREA CONSIDERS 'GOING CHINESE'," 01/26/01) which said that the DPRK's current situation is similar to that of the PRC in the 1970s. After reviewing the history of the PRC's reform, the authors noted, "These changes were possible only with the consolidation of power by Deng [Xiaoping] in 1978, after the death of Mao Tse-tung in 1976, much as Korea's Kim Jong Il consolidated power after his father's death." They argued, "North Korea is not China; it has fewer resources, a much smaller internal market and has never been self-sufficient in food. Its economic crisis is probably deeper than China's was in 1978, and its political sophistication and technical know-how is shallower. However, its situation is not much worse than that of the neighboring Chinese provinces of Manchuria in 1978. Its small size confers some advantages, and its political leadership appears more unified than China's was. And it has a willing partner in South Korea." They noted that Kim Jong-il's trip to the PRC appeared to be more focused on getting his senior military advisors on board with the reform program than in learning about the PRC himself. They stated, "If North Korea went the Chinese way, South Korea would be spared the immense cost of an abrupt, German-style reunification. Reunification would be postponed, and its cost reduced as North Korea grew." They concluded, "There have been accumulating signs that North Korea's leaders have come to understand that they must change course. Going Chinese, adapted to North Korea's circumstances, is not a bad road map."

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3. DPRK View of Bush Administration

BBC World Service ("PYONGYANG ATTACKS BUSH ADMINISTRATION," 01/26/01) reported that a DPRK foreign ministry spokesman criticized US Secretary of State Colin Powell for calling Kim Jong-il a dictator. The spokesman said that Powell's comments reflected the interests of hardliners and arms-makers who wanted relations between the US and the DPRK to remain hostile.

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4. ROK Military Restructuring

The Associated Press ("S KOREAN MILITARY MAY CUT GENERALS IN RESTRUCTURING," Seoul, 01/25/01) reported that an anonymous ROK Defense Ministry official said on Thursday that the military is considering a five- year restructuring plan that would cut senior officers' wages, and possibly some of their jobs. He said that the objective is to use the money saved to modernize the ROK military and enhance its defensive readiness against the DPRK. Officials said that the Defense Ministry wants to lower the percentage of the defense budget that goes to wages from 42 percent in 2001 to 38 percent by 2005. The Ministry refused to give further details of the plan, citing security concerns, but said that it was not intended to significantly cut the total number of military personnel. Officials said that while no final decision has been made, the proposed wage-reduction target could be achieved by reducing the number of generals and other senior officers through early retirement.

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5. Taiwanese Diplomacy

The Associated Press ("TAIWAN CLOSE TO OPENING TRADE OFFICE IN EGYPT OFFICIAL," Taipei, 01/25/01) reported that Taiwan's Central News Agency on Friday quoted Foreign Ministry official Tau Wen-long as denying that the opening of a trade office in Egypt has been delayed because of opposition from the PRC. Tau said that the opening has not been delayed because there was never a specific date for its establishment. Tau noted that the PRC tries to block Taiwan's diplomatic efforts around the world, and that its efforts in Egypt have not been special. Early last month, Taiwan Foreign Minister Tien Hung-mao had said that Taiwan hoped to open the trade office as soon as the end of December 2000.

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6. PRC Human Rights

The New York Times (Erik Eckholm, "CHINA, WITH AN EYE ON CRITICS, SAYS IT WILL RATIFY RIGHTS PACT," Beijing, 01/23/01) reported that Marie Okabe, spokeswoman UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, said that PRC officials told Annan that the PRC will probably ratify International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by the end of March. Okabe said that the officials told Annan during his three-day trip that the covenant "might be or would be ratified during the first quarter by the Parliament, and possibly in March." The move is seen as an attempt to avoid an early confrontation with the US President George W. Bush administration over human rights and to enhance the PRC's chances to host the 2008 Olympics. Mike Jendrzejczyk, an Asia expert in the Washington office of Human Rights Watch, stated, "Ratification would be welcome and could indicate a greater willingness on the part of China to adhere to international human rights standards. But we'll have to see if China makes any significant reservations to the treaty and how strongly they will enforce its provisions."

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7. Japanese Germ Warfare in China

The Associated Press ("CHINESE DOCTORS SAY THOUSANDS KILLED BY JAPANESE GERM WARFARE," Tokyo, 01/24/01) and the BBC ("'JAPAN BOMBED CHINA WITH PLAGUE-FLEAS'," 01/25/01) reported that two Chinese doctors said on Wednesday that Japan's military dumped swarms of infected fleas on China that triggered outbreaks of bubonic plague in the 1940s. Qiu Mingxuan, a 70-year-old physician, said that retreating Japanese forces unleashed fleas tainted with cholera, typhoid, anthrax and bubonic plague in one attack in southwestern Zhenjian province. He said that the attacks had killed 50,000 people in six years. Qiu stated, "Japan's germ warfare has left behind problems that still threaten our lives," and that another outbreak could occur any time. Qiu was testifying at a trial in which about 180 Chinese plaintiffs are demanding compensation and an apology from the Japanese government for the deaths of their relatives. Huang Ketai, a 68-year-old bacteriologist, said in earlier testimony on Wednesday that at least 109 people died of bubonic plague in the last two months of 1940 after Japanese warplanes dumped fleas over the city of Ningbo, south of Shanghai. He added that a single outbreak requires 50 years of follow-up, and that infected buildings were burned and had to be left untouched for decades. The dropping of the fleas mixed with wheat by air has been confirmed by the PRC government and was witnessed by many locals. Huang said that the fleas, a kind not native to the region, were infected with "plague with artificially intensified toxicity," which only Japan's biological warfare Unit 731 could do.

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8. US-Japan Summit

Reuters ("REPORT: JAPAN PM TO VISIT U.S. TO MEET BUSH IN FEBRUARY," Tokyo, 01/24/01) reported that the Yomiuri Shimbun said on Thursday that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori is expected to visit the US for three days from February 10 for talks with new President George W. Bush. Bush telephoned Mori on Wednesday to say he wanted to meet soon.

II. Japan

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1. Japan-DPRK Trade Relations

The Asahi Shimbun ("JAPANESE PRIVATE COMPANIES PLAN TO IMPORT SEA SAND FROM DPRK," 01/23/2001) reported that a group of Japanese construction companies plan to import sea sand from the DPRK to use for landfill. The report said that the group, named the Hamkyongnamdo Institute of Sea Sand Import, established in 1998 and consisting of 10 Japanese construction companies, is expecting this spring to obtain the DPRK's approval for the extraction of sea sand on the east coast of the DPRK. The group wants to import sea sand from the DPRK for landfill because the extraction of sea sand in Japan is becoming more difficult because of governmental regulations for environmental protection. The group estimates that 1 million tons of sea sand can be imported yearly and that the amount would cost around 1 to 2 billion yen. The report also said that another option for the group is to import sea sand from the PRC, but that the DPRK is geographically much closer to Japan. The report added that the progress of the import plan could give a boost to the improvement of Japanese-DPRK relations.

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2. ROK-US Relations

The Asahi Shimbun ("ROK OFFICIALS REVEALED THAT BUSH ADMINISTRATION WOULD EMPHASIZE COOPERATIVE RELATIONS BETWEEN ROK AND US," 01/23/2001) reported that an ROK official revealed that although the ROK government has not announced an official commentary on the inauguration of US President George W. Bush, the ROK government expects an early summit talk between the two nations because it is concerned about the new US administration's policy toward the Korean Peninsula and East Asia. The official said, "We hope that (the ROK and the US) can maintain cooperative relations just as we did with the Clinton Administration. We want to have summit talks with the US as early as possible and frankly discuss the matters of our concern." The report also said that many senior members of the ROK ruling party attended the inauguration ceremony. The report also pointed out that given this fact and the facts that former Liberal Democratic Party leader Kim Jong-pil has good connections with the US Republican Party and that some senior members of the Hannara Party, which is close to the Republican Party, also visited the US, the ROK seems to be keen on establishing firm relations with the new US administration.

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3. Prime Minister's Visit to US

The Japan Times ("MORI PLANS TO VISIT US IN FEBRUARY," 01/26/2001) reported that Japanese Prime Minster Yoshiro Mori plans to visit the US for three days starting February 10 to meet US President George W. Bush. The report said that Japan proposed to the US that the visit take place between February 10 and February 12 to take advantage of a three-day holiday in Japan. Mori and Bush held a five-minute telephone conversation on January 24 and agreed to arrange a bilateral summit as soon as possible. The report added that Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono would be meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington on January 26 and is expected to discuss with him the timing of Mori's visit.

The Japan Times ("MORI, BUSH AGREE TO HOLD EARLY SUMMIT," 01/25/2001) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori agreed on January 24 in a telephone conversation with US President George W. Bush to hold a bilateral summit as soon as possible. According to governmental sources, Mori said to Bush, "To strengthen the Japan- U.S. alliance, I would like to meet you at the earliest possible date and exchange opinions in various fields." Bush, who initiated the conversation, replied that he wants to meet Mori to exchange opinions on matters of common concern for the peace and prosperity of the world. Bush indicated that he would instruct Secretary of State Colin Powell to make preparations for the bilateral summit, they said. Powell was expected to meet Foreign Minister Yohei Kono in the US on Friday. The report added that at the start of the five-minute chat, Mori congratulated Bush on becoming president and that Bush responded that he wants to focus on further strengthening the already close Japanese-US relations.

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4. Japanese-Russian Relations

The Japan Times ("SPLIT IN RUSSIA CAUSED SUMMIT DELAY," 01/24/2001) reported that disagreements among Russian government officials has led Russia to seek a month-long postponement of the planned summit in Siberia between Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and Russian President Vladimir Putin, a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official said on January 23. Kazuhiko Togo, director general of the ministry's European Affairs Bureau, told the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's joint division on foreign affairs, "There is heightened tension within the Russian government over the territorial dispute with Japan. In Russia, there are those who want to delay negotiations over the territorial dispute as much as possible and those who want to have good relations with Japan, and they are engaged in a tug of war." This tension, according to Togo, has prompted Russia to request that the next Mori-Putin meeting be scheduled for late March despite the tentative agreement between Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to slate the Irkutsk summit for February 25-26. Togo also said that Russian officials who want to delay resolving the dispute were threatened by remarks that Putin made during his visit to Tokyo last September, when he said that the 1956 Japan-Soviet joint declaration, stating Moscow will return Shikotan and Habomai to Japan after concluding a peace treaty, is valid.

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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
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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