Policy Forum Online:
I. United States
1. US-PRC Midair Collision
The Washington Post (William Claiborne and Thomas E. Ricks, "RETURNING CREW TELLS OF COLLISION," Honolulu, 4/13/01) reported that the 24 US crewmembers who were detained in the PRC after their spy-plane landed in Hainan 11 days ago arrived in Honolulu on April 12. The first of the debriefings, which began as the crew was en route from a stopover in Guam, revealed that the US fliers came much closer to losing their reconnaissance plane and their lives than had previously been known. A defense official familiar with the debriefing said that within minutes after a PRC fighter jet collided with their Navy EP-3E on April 1, the propeller-driven aircraft rolled onto its side, plummeted more than 5,000 feet and nearly plunged into the South China Sea. As they sifted through the first-hand accounts, senior US officials also said they had become even more convinced than before that the PRC pilot caused the accident. The US plane, they said, had been on autopilot, flying absolutely straight and level. One US Defense Department official said, "There was no sudden turn" by the Navy plane. Instead, he said, the PRC F-8 fighter made two passes near the US plane, coming three to five feet from its left wing. The official added, "On the third pass, he came in too fast. He tried to decelerate by bringing up his nose, which would bleed off speed. But when that happened, he lost some fine control, and his tail came up under the No. 1 propeller" on the far end of the EP-3E's left wing. Sliced by the propeller, the PRC interceptor broke in two pieces and fell to the sea. A part of the interceptor, or perhaps a chunk of the propeller, smashed against the nose cone of the US plane, which contains its navigational radar and other instruments. The cone spun away and hit a propeller on the right side. With two of its four propellers out of commission, the US plane began rolling over, at one point standing on its left wing at nearly a 90-degree angle. With the nose cone gone, the US pilot had little idea of his airspeed or altitude and no one knows how far the EP-3E fell before he regained control. According to US military officials, as soon as the crew regained control of the damaged aircraft, the main US pilot turned toward Hainan Island and began broadcasting a "Mayday" distress signal. He did so about 10 times. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 13, 2001.]
Agence France Presse ("COLLISION OF FIGHTER AND SPY PLANE CAUSED BY CHINESE PILOT: RUMSFELD," Washington, 4/13/01) reported that US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday that the PRC fighter pilot was at fault in the collision of the US surveillance plane. Rumsfeld said, "It is clear that the pilot intended to harass the crew. It was not the first time that our reconnaissance and surveillance flights flying in that area received that type of aggressive contact from interceptors. We had every right to be flying where we were flying." Rumsfeld noted that the US EP-3 plane had been flying on an "overt reconnaissance mission in international airspace ... on a well known flight path we have used for decades."
2. US-PRC Talks
Agence France Presse ("US AND CHINA TO MEET IN BEIJING ON SPY PLANE DRAMA," Washington, 4/13/01) reported that the US on Friday named Beijing as the venue for the meeting with the PRC to discuss the plane collision. Senior officials said the talks on April 18 will focus on military questions arising from the April 1 mid-air collision. US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage stated, "We intend to press for the release of our aircraft; it's an 80- million-dollar aircraft. It is ours. We feel the Chinese have a responsibility to provide it to us." Other US officials said that the Defense Department would take the lead in the talks but that the US Embassy in the PRC, which played a major role in ending the standoff, would also have a role. An anonymous senior US official said that team members would quiz the PRC on why its planes used "aggressive tactics" against US planes flying in international airspace. The US had previously complained to the PRC about PRC interceptor jets which at times officials said flew within three feet of US planes. The US senior official said that the PRC would also be called to account for detaining the US crew for 11 days.
The Wall Street Journal (Carla Anne Robbins and Greg Jaffe, "ITS FLIERS SAFE ON U.S. SOIL, WASHINGTON TO GET TOUGH WITH CHINA IN MEETING," Washington, 4/13/01) reported that the US is expected to take a tougher approach toward the PRC now that the crewmembers of a downed US surveillance plane have returned. Among the steps being discussed is a reduction or suspension of exchange programs with the PRC military, while social contacts between US and PRC diplomats could be sharply curtailed. US officials also suggested that they would take another look at the question of whether US President George W. Bush will travel to Beijing this fall, as had been expected, after he attends an Asian economic summit in Shanghai. A US official said, "There will be a price," adding that the US would continue contacts that were clearly in US interests, including trade talks and discussions about security on the Korean Peninsula. However, it was not clear how much of the tough talk signaled a lasting shift in policy and how much was an emotional reaction, or a way to position the US before the April 18 meeting with PRC officials to discuss the cause of the April 1 midair collision and ways of avoiding future incidents. A senior US Defense Department official said that the US will quickly resume those flights, but likely not before the April 18 meeting. US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said in an interview, "China will have to make a decision about what kind of relations it wants with the U.S." He said that the US would be watching closely to see how the PRC handles the meeting. He said, "If it's conducted in a businesslike manner, it may indicate that China wants a productive relationship. If on the other hand they behave in a polemical or shrill manner, it might indicate they haven't made up their mind." Armitage also suggested that the US would be looking for some expression of concern from the PRC to match the US expressions of sorrow over the apparent death of a PRC fighter pilot. He said, "Notwithstanding their loss, China might note that it is a blessing that 24 Americans were not lost." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 13, 2001.]
3. US Reconnaissance Flights
The New York Times (Marc Lacey and Steven Lee Myers, "WITH CREW IN U.S., BUSH BLAMES CHINA FOR COLLISION," Washington, 4/13/01) reported that US President George W. Bush and his national security aides said Friday that the US spy plane definitely did not cause the midair collision. Bush telephoned the 24 crew members to welcome them home, and later appeared in the Rose Garden to warn that the two nations would have to make "a determined choice" to improve relations after the 11-day standoff. Bush said, "The kind of incident we have just been through does not advance a constructive relationship between our countries. Both the United States and China must make a determined choice to have productive relations." Bush defended the actions of US crew members and said he would make sure that at a meeting to be held next week between the two governments the US asked "tough questions" to the PRC about its practice of challenging US aircraft flying over the South China Sea. Bush said, "From all the evidence we have seen, the United States aircraft was operating in international airspace, in full accordance with all laws, procedures and regulations and did nothing to cause the accident." Bush's national security aides were considering when and how to resume the flights, repeating the US resolve to protect its right to fly in recognized international airspace. Officials said US commander of forces in the Pacific, Admiral Dennis C. Blair, had recommended resuming the missions as soon as this week. Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said on the NBC News program Today, "The reconnaissance missions that we use are part of a broad national security strategy aimed at peace through security in the region and aimed also, by the way, at protecting not just us but our allies. And we're not going to do anything that compromises our ability to perform those functions." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 13, 2001.]
The Washington Times (Dave Boyer, "WHITE HOUSE WON'T STOP FLIGHTS," 4/13/01) reported that the US and the PRC are scheduled on April 18 to discuss return of the EP-3E aircraft still in the PRC, and related issues. PRC officials indicated on April 12 that they will not return the plane unless the US agrees to stop the spy flights. PRC's Deputy UN Ambassador Shen Guofang said in New York, "We have to make further investigations on the plane and also to have consultation on their further activities along our coastal areas. I'm not sure whether this kind of collision will happen again if they still will carry out spy activities like this." PRC Foreign Ministry Zhang Qiyue repeated the PRC assertion that the incident is "not over." She said, "China has demanded that the United States stop sending surveillance planes to areas near China's coastal waters." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 13, 2001.]
4. Effect of Incident on US-PRC Relations
Agence France Presse ("CHINA AND US LIKELY TO LIMIT SPY PLANE FALL-OUT: ANALYSTS," Beijing, 4/13/01) reported that analysts said that the strong economic interests that bind the PRC and the US together should limit long-term damage to relations from the spy plane crisis, despite resistance from hawks in both camps. Guo Xiangang, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, a think thank attached to the PRC foreign ministry, said, "I'd expect no catastrophic consequences from the standoff." Given the need to keep economic ties afloat, analysts said that it was likely the US Congress would allow the PRC to maintain normal trade relations if the issue comes up again this summer. They said that US politicians are also not expected to put obstacles in the way of PRC accession to the World Trade Organization. Joseph Cheng, a China expert at City University of Hong Kong, said, "Both sides understand there are a lot of problems in the relationship, but at the end of the day they do want and need a healthy relationship." He added that it would not be the first time that the PRC and the US pulled back from the brink to resume a thriving trade relationship quickly. He continued, "During the last days of the negotiations, the US side started taking a pragmatic approach. If the pragmatism continues, it shouldn't have an impact on relations." According to PRC analysts, the spy plane standoff is unlikely to have created any major change in the basic constellations for or against the PRC in domestic US politics. Guo said, "Some politicians in the United States hate China and love Taiwan. They would still hold these viewpoints, whether the spy plane incident had happened or not."
The Washington Post published an opinion article by Samuel R. Berger, former national security adviser to US President Bill Clinton, ("LESSONS FROM A STANDOFF," 4/13/01) which said that what the US has learned from the spy plane standoff is that the US relationship with the PRC remains volatile and can be knocked off the tracks with one wrong turn. Standing firmly on principle, Berger wrote, the Bush administration's rejection of an apology, "is the soundest footing for dealing with the Chinese, as with others, but that we must also have the dexterity to leave a pathway out of the box." However, some lessons are that "the early posturing of the administration (a proclivity toward unilateralism, playing Japan off against China, brandishing 'strategic competition') is not all that helpful when the rubber hits the road." Berger wrote that the administration should also have learned that there is both good news and bad news about the influence of public opinion on the PRC government. He continued, "The good news is that, in a way unimaginable 10 years ago, public attitudes now must be taken into account by Chinese officials. The bad news is that there is as much anti-American sentiment in China as there is anti-China sentiment in America, and it is not difficult to stir a sense of aggrieved nationalism among the Chinese." Berger wrote that perhaps the most important lesson is that "the PRC leadership appears to have made a strategic decision that good relations with the US and the West are critical to its future development--enough so that decisions were made that risked public backlash and overrode more troubling and dangerous instincts of hard-line elements." He continued to noted that while the PRC hurt themselves, in the US and abroad, by not acting more quickly to release our people, the internationalist thrust of the PRC leadership prevailed in the end over reflexive nationalist instincts. Finally, he concluded, "we learned that what is at stake in the US-China relationship is important enough to seek a path away from confrontation, if possible. How China evolves over the next decade - toward integration with other countries or in a more nationalistic and disruptive direction - will be decisive for stability and peace in Asia and beyond. Those decisions will be made by China. But we can influence the choices China makes if we steer between the extremes of uncritical engagement and untenable confrontation." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 13, 2001.]
5. PRC Views of Incident
The New York Times (Elisabeth Rosenthal, "BEIJING DECLARES VICTORY BUT CHAT ROOMS ARE SKEPTICAL," Beijing, 4/13/01) reported that the PRC government went all out Friday to convince its people that it had won a moral victory in releasing the crew of the US spy plane after receiving what it billed as a contrite letter from the US. However, there were plenty of skeptical rumblings, especially on university campuses and in Internet chat rooms. Web site censors sought to stanch popular misgivings about a resolution that a number of Chinese regard as caving in to the US. Comments like, "Our government is too weak - we have lost face," which appeared this morning on Sina.com, were removed just minutes later. This afternoon, visitors to the site repeatedly complained that their comments had disappeared. Also, the full text of the letter was not released by the PRC media, which provided only excerpts in their own reports. However, it is available on the Internet. Some of the big Internet sites got more than 10 million visits on April 11--in a country with an estimated 20 million Internet users--and many of them were angry. An executive at a major Internet company said the site's "editors" had scrambled to delete a huge number of comments deemed too critical of the government, as well as a smaller number deemed too supportive of the US. In the PRC, each chat room and bulletin board is responsible for policing incoming postings and deleting those with content the government might deem offensive. While the government is not directly involved in this process, government monitors log on to major chat rooms throughout the day, to make sure that the job is being done. Internet sites risk losing their license if discipline is lax. The Internet executive acknowledged that chat rooms had allowed a wider range of opinion about what to do with the crewmembers and the plane earlier on in the dispute, when the PRC government had not firmed up its position. He added that now that the government's position is clear, those discussions cannot continue. The Internet executive said that his company had received no special instructions, but that none were necessary. Still, the Chinese Internet is growing so fast that it is hard for the government to control it. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 13, 2001.]
Agence France Presse ("MILITARY HAILS CHINA'S STRENGTH OVER SPY PLANE STANDOFF," Beijing, 4/13/01) reported that the PRC military on Friday claimed victory over the US in the spy plane stand-off. The People's Liberation Army Daily said that the PRC's rigid stance throughout was a triumph for national dignity in the face of US arrogance. An editorial in the newspaper said, "This struggle indicates that the central government with comrade Jiang Zemin at its core has the ability to completely control the situation. No matter what happens we will get victory through strong leadership." It repeated government condemnation of US surveillance flights close to PRC airspace and insisted that PRC actions would reinforce the support of the people and government behind the military. While the official English-language newspaper China Daily trumpeted Thursday's "humanitarian" release of the crew on its front page, the majority of publications buried news of their departure under anti-US rhetoric. Most papers read the US apology as a clear victory for the PRC and said that the incident was far from over. While the China Youth Daily was among the few publications to carry a front page report of the crew's departure, the official People's Daily put the news on its back page. Instead it highlighted "the people's support for the correct decision of the Chinese government."
6. US Policymaking
The Washington Post carried an analytical article (Steven Mufson and Dana Milbank, "DIPLOMATS RESURGENT IN BUSH'S 1ST TEST," 4/13/01) which said that the US-PRC spy plane standoff was mostly a diplomatic one handled by the US State Department. One senior administration official said, "Because of the nature of the challenge and how it evolved, it became mainly a diplomatic challenge. That is what the State Department does and should do." The article noted that in the past several administrations, the most important breakthroughs in diplomacy with the PRC were handled by the president's national security adviser. It added that the way in which the spy plane standoff was managed showcased the unusual public profile of US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who has made clear his determination to strengthen the standing of the US State Department. It also underscored US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's professed desire to act as a broker of different views, rather than someone who sets policy. The US Defense Department, meanwhile, participated closely in decisions, mostly through Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, a former assistant secretary of state for Asia, but was content to let the State Department do the diplomacy and the talking. To some observers, Bush had raised the stakes in the crisis, and complicated its resolution, by making it a presidential issue during the first days of the standoff, but administration officials asserted that his comments were necessary. A US Defense Department official said, "The first couple of days the Chinese weren't talking to our normal contacts. So we sent a message via the media. Once the diplomatic door opened, the U.S. rhetoric immediately went down." That change also marked the emergence of a PRC crisis team that was a variation of the regular national security team. Its members included Powell, Richard Armitage, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, Wolfowitz, Rice, and Rice's deputy, Stephen Hadley. Rice served as liaison to Bush, conveying the group's decisions to Bush "in real time." A senior State Department official noted that even on the PRC, the US Defense Department "is going to have things to say about reconnaissance flights, military-to-military relations [between the United States and China], arms sales to Taiwan.... We saw the last seven days of this as a diplomatic endeavor." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 13, 2001.]
1. DPRK Spy Controversy
The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "KOREAN PROFESSOR IN GERMANY DENIES SPYING FOR N.K.," Seoul, 04/13/01) reported that Song Du-yul, a Korean-German professor accused by ROK rightists of spying for the DPRK, refuted allegations against him Thursday, claiming that their arguments are aimed at damaging ROK efforts on rapprochement with the DPRK. "All of them are well aware that the South Korean court has yet to adjudicate upon the case of my libel suit against the North Korean defector, Hwang Jang-yop, who said I am a North Korean spy," Song said in a telephone interview with The Korea Herald. "They are attacking me and taking issue up with Unification Minister Lim Dong-won's statement in order to damage the government and other promoters of inter-Korean reconciliation," Song said. Asked whether Professor Song and Kim Chul-su, known as a DPRK ruling Workers' Party member, are the same person, Lim said, "The state intelligence agency understands that they are the same person and I also believe so." Lawmakers also criticized Lim and other government officials for allowing Song to contribute articles to Hankyoreh Shinmun, a progressive daily.
2. DPRK-Switzerland Relations
The Korea Herald ("SWISS VICE FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS N.K.," Seoul, 04/13/01) reported that Vice Foreign Minister Franz von Daniken of Switzerland visited Pyongyang for two days until Tuesday, ROK government officials said Thursday. "During his visit to Pyongyang, Daniken met North Korean Foreign Minister Paik Nam-sun and a vice foreign minister," an official said. Switzerland and the DPRK formed diplomatic ties in 1974.
3. Red Cross Talks
Joongang Ilbo (Kim Hee-sung, "LET'S BE NICE AGAIN, FROM SEOUL TO PYONGYANG," Seoul, 04/13/01) reported that the ROK Red Cross on Thursday asked its counterpart in the DPRK to advance the date letter-exchange related notification from the agreed upon April 15 to April 13. "Why would you bother when we would be doing it anyway?" the DPRK is reported to have replied related to the ROK's request. However they answered that they would give the answer after receiving orders from the above. "This is Seoul's first proposal to North Korea since the cancellation of the fifth inter-Korean cabinet meeting on March 13," said one DPRK expert. "South Korea wishes to resume its relations with the North and this is that cautious little wink Seoul is sending to Pyongyang."
1. Japanese History Textbook
The Daily Yomiuri (Chiharu Mori and Yoshikazu Shirakawa, "SEOUL TRYING TO CALM TEXTBOOK FURY," Seoul, 04/10/2001) reported that the ROK's decision on April 9 to temporarily recall its ambassador to Tokyo demonstrated to those at home and abroad that the ROK is taking a hard line over Japan's approval of a controversial history textbook, but that it also indicated that the government wants to keep the issue from undermining relations with Japan. ROK Vice Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Yim Sung-joon stressed that the ROK government would not hesitate to take a hard-line stance to correct historical facts, which it says are distorted in the history textbook compiled mainly by the nationalist-oriented Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform. The report pointed out, however, that ROK officials would not say whether the ROK government would take any other action, commenting only that the decision would be the subject of further discussion by relevant offices based on experts' analyses. The article said that behind the ROK government's cautious attitude on the issue is its basic stance of trying to take the edge off harsh criticism from domestic mass media and lawmakers of opposition parties while keeping the textbook issue from adversely affecting other fields of bilateral relations. ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Han Seung-soo told a parliamentary committee on April 6 that the ROK would handle the issue in a manner that would not substantially impair ROK-Japan relations. The ROK government has stuck to its current diplomatic schedule in most other areas, sending a delegation to a conference of environmental ministers of Japan, the ROK and the PRC that was convened in Tokyo on April 7. The ROK's main opposition Grand National Party strongly criticized Japan's approval of the textbook and is calling on people to take part in protests against it, such as boycotting Japanese products. Junior members of Kim's ruling Millennium Democratic Party are urging the government to take a firm stand on the issue, including opposing Japan's efforts to obtain a permanent seat at UN Security Council. The Millennium Democratic Party and its coalition partner, the United Liberal Democrats, said they supported the decision made by leagues of ROK and Japanese parliamentarians on April 9 to indefinitely postpone their regular meeting, slated for May 4 in Seoul. The ROK media criticize the government's handling of the issue as lukewarm, pointing out that the PRC government, which also expressed displeasure and lodged a complaint over the textbook, is protesting to the Japanese government in much harsher tones. The ROK government is expected to make further comments about the textbook after ROK experts and others fully analyze it . The report concluded that there is little possibility that the Japanese government will accept the ROK's call for further revisions to the textbook, which was changed at many points in the screening process.
The Sankei Shimbun (Katsuhiro Kuroda, "ROK PRESIDENT KIM DAE-JUNG EXPECTS JAPAN'S POSITIVE HANDLING OF HISTORY TEXTBOOK ISSUE," Seoul, 04/11/2001) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said during talks with a delegation led by Masaya Fujimura, chairman of the Japanese-ROK Economic Cooperation, on April 11, "The issue of history is a thing of the past, but it is important to our people. We are having experts review the screening of your history textbooks, and I hope that the Japanese government will do its best. I also request that everyone (in Japan) resolve this issue by good common sense."
2. Japanese Views on US-PRC Air Collision
The Daily Yomiuri (Michio Hayashi, "SPY-PLANE INCIDENT SHOWS PACIFIC'S STRATEGIC VALUE," 04/10/2001) reported that a midair collision between a US EP3 electronic surveillance plane and a PRC F-8 fighter jet that took place over Hainan Island on April 1 is symbolic of the struggle between the two countries for control over the Pacific. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is currently conducting a review of US military forces under the instruction of Bush with the aim of ensuring that the nation's military better suits the post-Cold War era. A major focus of the effort is to attach greater importance to Asia. All this chiefly reflects a strong sense of alarm harbored by the US about the PRC's military buildup. Rumsfeld emphasized the importance of the PRC's military and economic influence on Asia in the future. Rumsfeld also predicted that the Pacific Ocean would constitute part and parcel of US military operations in the near future, urging Bush to shift the focus of strategic importance from the Atlantic to the Pacific. US caution toward the PRC stems in part from the factors that the PRC has been strengthening its ballistic missile deployment along a coastal region across from the Taiwan Straits, that the PRC has steadily modernized its military equipment and has sharply increased its military budget in recent years, and that the PRC is spreading military technology to developing countries, including assistance it has given to Iraq for build air-defense systems. The US has a deep-rooted anxiety that the PRC's military buildup may trigger an arms race involving Japan, the Korean Peninsula and South Asia. At the same time, there are serious fears in the US about the possibility of a proliferation of missiles and missile technology in the Middle East threatening the safety of US forces stationed there. Those factors are all closely connected with the US military's reorganization plan. For example, in his proposal to Bush, Rumsfeld pointed out that the US needs to demonstrate its military presence in Asia to oppose the PRC, that proliferation of missiles and related technology will threaten the safety of US forces stationed in foreign countries, that therefore the US should develop small aircraft carriers as soon as possible because it is much harder for enemy missiles to hit such vessels, and that the US needs to place priority on developing military planes similar to B2 bombers that can participate in battles after flying a long distance directly from the US mainland, without being carried by flattops. The EP3 surveillance plane that collided with the PRC fighter over Hainan Island was on a US military reconnaissance mission to observe details of the PRC's military movements. In this context, the collision has shed light on the reality of the struggle for control over the Pacific Ocean between the US and the PRC.
The Daily Yomiuri ("Hiroyuki Sugiyama, "RELEASE OF CREW SHOWS CHINA SEEKING STABLE TIES WITH US," 04/12/2001) reported that the PRC's decision to release the crewmembers of a US Navy spy plane that collided with a PRC fighter jet on April 1 is based on the desire of the PRC government to stabilize PRC-US relations as early as possible. This view is based on concerns within the PRC administration that a prolonged confrontation could be potentially damaging with respect to issues upon which the PRC places utmost importance--the issue of Taiwan and the spurring of economic development. As US President George W. Bush himself expressed "sincere regret," the PRC has managed to save its face for the time being. The US and Taiwan are likely to begin toward the end of this month military talks that will focus on the sales of Aegis ships. The PRC must have been concerned that the prolonged PRC- US standoff over the collision would work to its disadvantage in the talks. Meanwhile, to maintain the nation's rapid economic growth, which is indispensable for maintaining the stability of the communist government, the PRC needs to maintain its strong relationship with the US as a trading partner. The US is also an active investor in high-tech fields from which the PRC can expect a trade surplus of nearly US$30 billion. There was a possibility that the prolonging standoff would have led to a review of the most-favored-nation status that the PRC enjoys with the US. In addition, the PRC hopes to witness a series of key events this year such as joining the World Trade Organization, securing the 2008 Olympic Games for Beijing, and opening the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation's meeting in Shanghai. PRC leaders have basically made a step forward toward an early repair of PRC-US relations and have resisted the calls of hardliners in their nation such as the People's Liberation Army.
3. Lee Teng Hui's Visit to Japan
The Yomiuri Shimbun ("FIVE CABINET MEMBERS SUPPORT ISSUING VISA FOR LEE TENG HUI," 04/13/2001) reported that after the cabinet meeting on April 13, five cabinet members strongly expressed their support for issuing a visa for former Taiwan President Lee Teng Hui. The cabinet members include Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Takeo Hiranuma, Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Chikage Ogi, Defense Agency Director General Toshitsugu Saito, State Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy/IT Policy Taro Aso, and State Minister for Council for Science and Technology Policy Takashi Sasagawa. The report said that the reasons for their support are that Lee is now a private citizen and that his visit aims at a medical treatment on his heart. In response to the ministers, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono stated, "We want to cautiously deal with (the issue.)" However, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda made no statement, added the report.
The Asahi Shimbun ("JAPANESE GOVERNMENT TO DENY LEE'S VISA APPLICATION," 04/13/2001) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori on April 13 confirmed the decision not to accept former Taiwan President Lee Teng Hui's visa application. The report said that Mori made the confirmation with Foreign Minister Yohei Kono and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda. The report also said that although the government denied earlier that Lee had filed the application, Vice Foreign Minister Seishiro Eto told reporters on April 12 that Lee actually filed the application. Regarding this difference, Kono stated, "There should be consensus within the Foreign Ministry. We will be more careful (to ensure that)." The report pointed out that there is strong support within the ruling party for accepting Lee's visa, but that the Mori administration wants to avoid the PRC's opposition to the administration's acceptance of the visa. The report added that the Taipei office of the Interchange Association said that Lee already filed the application, but that the Japanese government wants to avoid any trouble by maintaining a position that no such application has been received.
The Japan Times (Kyodo, "LEE APPLIES TO ENTER JAPAN FOR HEART CHECK," Taipei, 04/11/2001) reported that former Taiwan President Lee Teng Hui has applied for an entry visa to Japan to undergo a medical checkup later this month, said a source close to the former president and Japan's visa office in Taipei on April 10. The source close to Lee said that Lee handed the application and Lee's passport to Japan's top representative Shintaro Yamashita in Taipei earlier in the day. Hideo Tarumi, secretary general at the Taipei office of the Interchange Association, confirmed that the application has been filed. Tarumi said, however, that Lee's application would not be processed for the time being. Also filed with the application was a letter from Kazuaki Mitsudo, a heart surgeon from Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, underlining the need for a followup procedure to the angioplasty Lee had in Taipei in November, the source told Kyodo News. According to a tentative itinerary, the former president would arrive at Kansai International Airport, near Osaka, on April 21 or 22. He would have the checkup in Kurashiki on April 24 and return to Taiwan before Japan's Golden Week holiday season starts April 28. Lee was mum earlier in the day when asked to comment on his reported plans to visit Japan. Asked whether he would apply for a visa following Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori's indication that one could be issued for humanitarian reasons, Lee said to reporters, "There is no need to talk about this now, you'll know when the time comes." However, Lee's visa application apparently came just as Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda earlier in the day stated, "It will not happen. The case has been settled." Fukuda's statement came after Japanese government sources said that Mori instructed Foreign Minister Yohei Kono to issue a visa to Lee if applies to visit for a medical checkup. The report said that Kono has denied Mori gave the instruction. Japanese surgeon Mitsudo observed the surgery when Lee had angioplasty to widen clogged heart arteries at National Taiwan University Hospital in November. During the procedure stents were introduced into the blood vessels to prevent them from closing up again. Usually, stents are removed about half a year after surgery and Lee hopes to have Mitsudo perform the operation. Mitsudo would violate Taiwan law if he performed the procedure in Taipei. Lee was originally expected to visit his US alma mater Cornell University in late April and planned to visit Japan on his way back to Taiwan. Having recently suffered from an irregular heart beat, he has been advised to postpone the US visit until after returning from his checkup in Japan.
4. Japanese Politics
The Daily Yomiuri ("4 FILE CANDIDACIES IN LDP ELECTION," 04/13/2001) reported that four Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leaders filed their candidacies on April 12 for the party presidential election, kicking off the race to select a successor to Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori as LDP president. The candidates are Taro Aso, state minister for economic and fiscal affairs, Ryutaro Hashimoto, state minister for administrative reform and a former prime minister, LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Shizuka Kamei, and former Health and Welfare Minister Junichiro Koizumi. LDP legislators in both the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors and representatives of the prefectural federations of party branches will cast ballots on April 24. The 47 prefectural chapters will also hold their own preliminary polls before the final voting. The presidential race is likely to focus on economic policy, particularly the choice as to whether to put priority on economic recovery or fiscal reconstruction. Aso, 60, in a morning speech at the opening ceremony for his campaign office in Tokyo, said that conventional methods could not be used to deal with economic issues. Hashimoto, 63, said to his supporters, "Although I chose a drastic fiscal reconstruction policy (during my previous term as prime minister), it was a misjudgment on my part." Hashimoto was speaking at an extraordinary meeting of his party faction. Hashimoto is expected to receive a declaration of support from the LDP faction led by former International Trade and Industry Minister Mitsuo Horiuchi, which has decided to abandon plans to field its own leader in the presidential race. Kamei, 64, told reporters at LDP headquarters, "LDP has to make a sink-or-swim effort for the public. I want to lead the front line of such a movement." Koizumi, 59, announced his decision to resign as chairman of the Mori faction. Koizumi said to faction members, "In line with common perceptions (favoring reform), I want to dedicate myself to changing the LDP and Japan."
1. Event on Post-Cold War Europe
On Thursday, April 26, at 5:45 pm, The World Affairs Council of Northern California will present "The Future of NATO: Reshaping a Post-Cold War Europe." The program will include presentations by Ambassador Peter Burian, Head of the Slovak Republic's Mission to NATO; Ambassador Lazar Comanescu, Head of Romania's Mission to NATO and WEU; and Ambassador Matjaz Sinkovec, Head of Slovenia's Mission to NATO and WEU. The three ambassadors will offer a rare glimpse into the future and significance of NATO, what membership truly means, and the continued relevance of the institution in the wake of the Cold War. Moreover, their presentations will reflect on ten years of building relations between Alliance and Partner countries. The event will take place at the World Affairs Center, 312 Sutter St. (corner Grant), 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108. For reservations, please call (415) 293- 4600. For more information, please see: http://www.wacsf.org/calendar/calendar.htm#nato
2. Missile Defense Discussion
The Stanley Foundation and the Monterey Institute of International Studies present a breakfast policy briefing and discussion on "Getting Around the Impasse: Perspectives From Northeast Asia," on Thursday, April 19, 2001, from 8:30-10:30 am, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Choate Room, 1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036. Featured Panelists include Bates Gill, The Brookings Institution; Robert Manning, Council on Foreign Relations; James Przystup, National Defense University; and Phillip Saunders, Monterey Institute of International Studies. Panelists will discuss the impact of national missile defense and theater missile defense deployments on the security environment in Northeast Asia. The meeting will feature the release of a joint Stanley Foundation-Monterey Institute of International Studies report "Ballistic Missile Defense and Northeast Asian Security: Views From Washington, Beijing and Tokyo."
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