NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, march 15, 2001

I . United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I . United States

1. New PRC Missile Base

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, "CHINA PLACES SECOND MISSILE BASE NEAR TAIWAN," reported that the Washington Times learned that a US spy satellite detected a newly completed PRC missile base opposite Taiwan in the past two weeks. US intelligence officials say that the base, located several miles northeast of Xianyou and some 135 miles from Taiwan, is located where the PRC has placed its newest short-range missiles. Officials familiar with intelligence reports said the base is the second short-range missile base for CSS-7s. US White House spokeswoman Mary Ellen Countryman would not say whether US President George W. Bush will discuss the PRC missile buildup with PRC Vice Prime Minister Qian Qichen. US Defense Department spokesman Rear Admiral Craig Quigley declined to comment on the new missile base. However, he said, "It is no secret that China is modernizing and improving its military capability and a lot of that includes capabilities for reaching out to Taiwan. This is something we watch very carefully and it is an element that goes into the decision-making process of meeting the legitimate defense needs of Taiwan." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for March 15, 2001.]

2. PRC Invitation for Bush Visit

Agence France Presse ("BUSH 'PLEASED' AT CHINA INVITATION," Washington, 3/15/01) reported that US President George W. Bush on Thursday welcomed the PRC decision to invite him for a state visit. PRC Premier Zhu Rongji made the invitation public earlier Thursday during conciliatory remarks towards the US, just three days before a key visit to New York and Washington by PRC Vice- Premier Qian Qichen. US White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters that "logistics" for the proposed visit, expected to follow the summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) leaders in Shanghai in October had still to be worked out. Fleisher said, "We have received an invitation from China and the president is very pleased to have received the invitation ... but there is nothing to announce yet." Zhu told a press conference that Bush's visit would smooth tensions between the PRC and the US. Zhu said, "I'm very pleased because this visit would present an excellent opportunity for the two countries to communicate better with each other. Although China and United States are competitors, China and the United States are indeed partners in trade. China and the US also ought to cooperate in other areas so I don't think the difference is very serious."

Agence France Presse ("CHINESE PM CONCILIATORY, AS US GIVES FIRM MESSAGE OVER MISSILES," Beijing, 3/15/01) and The Associated Press ("CHINA: BUSH WILL VISIT IN OCTOBER," Beijng, 3/15/01) reported that PRC Premier Zhu Rongji said Thursday that US President George W. Bush had already promised to make a state visit to the PRC after the October 20 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Shanghai. Zhu said, "I'm very pleased because this visit would present an excellent opportunity for the two countries to communicate better with each other. Zhu also reiterated the PRC opposition to the Bush plan to build a National Missile Defense, saying, "We are opposed to NMD because it is against the Anti- Missile Ballistic Treaty and it can only lead to an international arms race."

Reuters ("BUSH HAS NOT DECIDED WHETHER TO VISIT CHINA," Washington, 3/15/01) reported that contrary to an announcement by the PRC, the White House said on Thursday that US President George W. Bush has not yet decided whether to make a state visit to the PRC in October. Mary Ellen Countryman, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said, "We've been invited to have a state visit. We have not yet made a decision whether to accept the invitation."

3. US-DPRK Relations

Christian Science Monitor published an editorial ("BUSH'S UNNECESSARY LESSON," 3/15/01) which said that US President George W. Bush made a mistake last week and needs a rapid recovery. The paper noted that Bush "rashly" reversed the US stance toward the DPRK and cut off talks. The DPRK then cut off talks with the ROK and the paper noted, "a downward spiral began on the Korean peninsula." Now, the editors continued, Bush's action runs the risk of causing DPRK leader Kim Jong-il to resume making the nuclear material and missiles. The paper said that only the steady diplomatic engagement with Kim and offers of food, oil, and nuclear power plants have helped to bring the DPRK into some dialogue and "this must not stop." Bush's actions, the editor continued, creates the risks of ending that process and creating a perception among US allies that he may actually want a DPRK missile threat to justify his expensive plans for a nuclear missile defense system. In the end, it added, "In dealing with a personality-driven state, the US must avoid raising Kim's fears while offering incentives to save his country from famine and poverty. Why push him back into his old ways?" [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for March 15, 2001.]

II. Republic of Korea

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1. British Envoy's Brief on DPRK

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, "BRITISH ENVOY SEES N.K. CONTINUING PEACE PROCESS DESPITE U.S. STANCE," Seoul, 03/15/01) reported that a ranking British official, who recently visited DPRK, suggested here Thursday that despite Washington's harder stand on Pyongyang, the DPRK hopes that the current inter-Korean rapprochement will continue. "My principal impression is that they were anxious to see the process of reconciliation on the peninsula to continue," said Sir John Kerr, British foreign undersecretary. "They were emphasizing that they favor the process of unification on the peninsula." During his visit to the North March 10-13, Kerr met with North Korean officials, including Kim Yong-dae, vice chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly, and Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun, on diplomatic cooperation between London and Pyongyang.

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2. Inter-Korean Talks

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "SEOUL ATTEMPTS TO RESUME INTER- KOREAN TALKS," Seoul, 03/15/01) and Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, "NK INCREASES CRITICISM OF US," Seoul, 03/14/01) reported that with Pyongyang remaining silent over its sudden postponement of the inter-Korean ministerial talks, ROK officials kept themselves busy Thursday exploring ways to get various talks between the two Koreas back on the right track. Unification Minister Park Jae- kyu, Seoul's chief delegate to the delayed talks, spent the day consulting other related ministers and private analysts over possible follow-up measures before presiding over a National Security Council (NSC) meeting today, ministry officials said. The participants at the NSC meeting are expected to work out measures to resume the inter-Korean dialogue as soon as possible and faciliate Kim Jong-il's visit to Seoul. As if to betray denials from Seoul and Washington of the possible relationship between the talks' indefinite delay and the ROK-US summit in Washington last week, the DPRK maintained its attack on the new US administration of President George W. Bush.

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3. US on Inter-Korean Relations

The Korea Herald ("U.S. REQUESTS PRIOR CONSULTATION FROM SEOUL OVER INTER-KOREAN MILITARY ACCORDS," Seoul, 03/15/01) reported that a top US envoy here called for Seoul's prior consultations with Washington in case that the ROK and the DPRK seek an agreement that would affect US military presence here. The Yonhap News Agency quoted Evans Revere, acting US ambassador to the ROK, as saying, "If the two Koreas promote an agreement or declaration (during a visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to South Korea), Seoul and Washington need to maintain close cooperation on parts that would impact bilateral military alliance and US troops here."

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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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