NAPSNet Daily Report
monday, may 21, 2001

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan IV. Russian Federation

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I. United States

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1. Taiwan Patriot Missile Test

Agence France Presse ("TAIWAN TO PROCEED WITH PATRIOT TEST," Taipei, 5/19/01) reported that Taiwan Defense Minister Wu Shi-wen confirmed on May 19 that Patriot anti-missile weaponry would be test-fired next month in the first such exercise conducted outside the US. Wu said that the test-firing would be a routine part of military training programs. Wu said, "It should not be influenced by some other factors," alluding to the island's relationship with the PRC. Wu said that the decision to test-fire Patriot followed approval from the US. Wu did not give details of the drill, but military analysts said that they believed the weaponry would be tested at a military base at Chiupeng in southern Taiwan. Wu said the Taiwan defense ministry would keep a close eye on the PRC military operations in the coming weeks. There have been reports that the PRC People's Liberation Army is planning operations in the South China Sea to coincide with Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's trip to Latin America.

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2. US Policy toward Taiwan

The Los Angeles Times (Robin Wright and Tyler Marshall, "US TILT TO TAIPEI IS SEEN AS RISKY," Washington, 5/21/01) reported that analysts said that US relations with Taiwan are changing at the expense of Sino-US relations. Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and co-editor of the quarterly Journal of Democracy, said, "The Bush administration is more supportive of Taiwan than any administration since the break in relations in 1979, which has been reflected in a series of dramatic demonstrations over the last four months." Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, a specialist in US-Taiwan relations at Georgetown University said, "Bush is much more risk-prone than Clinton on this issue." Analysts said that Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's transit through the US this week and next is merely a well-orchestrated charade masking the warmest welcome the Bush administration can offer without openly inviting trouble. Nicholas Lardy, director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, said, "A visiting Taiwan official has never had the trappings of state before, but this visit is one step toward the trappings of a state visit. It's clear that Bush has moved away from the 2-decades-old policy of ambiguity in relations, not only on strategic issues." Experts said that although Taiwan has been promised greater attention as part of US Republican political campaigns in the past, this time an administration is following through and the island's leaders and envoys are clearly pleased. Chien Jen Chen, the senior envoy at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, Taiwan's de facto diplomatic mission in Washington, said, "Under this administration, our relationship is steadily getting better. This administration is treating our president with more respect and dignity. It treats us as friends, and it's easier to communicate with our counterparts. It is also more positive in our efforts to join international organizations." US analysts warn about the risks of an incremental policy that would either open the way for or implicitly wink at a declaration of independence by Taiwan, an idea that has growing backing in the US Congress. Robert L. Suettinger of the Rand Corporation's Washington office said, "It will generate some sort of response from China. Flaunting relations with Taiwan and rubbing China's nose in it won't help either U.S.-China relations or cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan. These things are not forgotten." Suettinger said, "It would be a horrendous mistake for Bush to go in the direction of scrapping the one-China policy and recognizing Taiwan. U.S.-China relations are already heading in a backward direction, a retrogression symbolized most by Taiwan. The danger is that the steady pace of small steps is cumulatively leading China to conclude that the United States is making much more fundamental changes in policy." Yu-ming Shaw, former deputy secretary-general of the Nationalist Party's Central Committee and now publisher of the Central Daily News, said that any upgrade in relations should be based on Taiwan's role "as a beacon of democracy in the region, not an outpost of American military force. The United States and the PRC have every reason to compete. But we can't afford to be in the middle of that kind of competition. We're too small." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for May 21, 2001.]

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3. Regional Implications of US-PRC Relations

Agence France Presse ("US-CHINA STRAINS WILL TEST ASIAN LOYALTIES SAYS REPORT," Singapore, 5/21/01) reported that according to "The Impact of China and the US on Stability in Asia," a report put out by the Political Economic and Risk Consultancy (PERC), it will become increasingly difficult for Asian governments to remain neutral between the US and the PRC because of the huge economic and military influence wielded by the two countries. The report said that while regional governments would prefer to see the US and the PRC as stabilizing forces, recent events have made this increasingly unlikely. PERC said in the report, "The US is now having a greater destabilising influence." It said that the collision between a US spy plane and a PRC fighter jet, and US President George W Bush's decision to go ahead with a major arms sales package to Taiwan showed that Sino-US ties were heading for difficult times. The report said, "Being simply a passive spectator of the drama that is unfolding between China and the US is not really an option for other Asian countries. Both the North and South of Asia are in the same boat when it comes to being affected by US-China developments." The lack of an Asian response to the spy incident was said to reflect the deep extent of regional concerns about deteriorating ties between the two countries. The report continued, "What was not said speaks volumes about what most Asian governments are worried about. They do not want US-China relations to deteriorate to the point where the only focus is on its competitive nature. Neither do they want one side or the other to win or lose. They (Asia) do not want the US to dictate its values to the region or the rules of trade and investment, but neither do they want it to withdraw from the region and leave China to pursue its economic and political agendas without the US as a counter-balance." It noted that the weak sentiment on the US stock markets and a sharp downturn in its economy have hurt Asia, whereas the PRC economy is continuing to grow but structural flaws remain which have the potential to derail the rest of the region. However, the report said, "As good as China's economic numbers look, the country has huge systemic problems, from an inefficient financial sector to state-owned enterprises badly in need of reform." Apart from India, the report said, the rest of Asia "would prefer to emphasize ways they can work with China to their mutual benefit, while adopting a softer approach to the potential differences." It said, "Even places that have major political differences with the mainland, like Taiwan, have grown increasingly dependent on China both as a market and as a very competitive manufacturing site for producing exports. Asia has had a hard time adjusting to the post Cold War paradigm." However, it concluded, recent events such as the spy plane incident will be "the catalysts that push most Asian governments toward a new type of 'neutrality'."

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4. PRC Response to Indian View of NMD

Agence France Presse ("CHINA CAUTIONS INDIA OVER SUPPORTING THE US MISSILE DEFENCE PLAN," New Delhi, 5/21/01) reported that the Statesman newspaper reported on May 20 that the PRC urged India to exercise extreme caution in backing the planned US National Missile Defense (NMD) system. The paper quoted Zhou Gang, the PRC ambassador to New Delhi, as saying that India might have ignored certain realities in responding positively to the controversial project without analyzing it. Zhou said, "Peace loving countries and people should have an understanding of the NMD's dangers. We oppose it because it promotes strategic imbalances ... and domination of world politics." However, Zhou said that India's positive response to the NMD system "would not come in the way" of improving bilateral ties between India and the PRC.

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5. Thailand-Myanmar Border Dispute

The Chicago Tribune (Uli Schmetzer, "US, CHINA TAKE SIDES IN BORDER SKIRMISH," Bangkok, 5/21/01) reported that some 5,000 US troops are moving into northern Thailand not far from the PRC border this weekend as part of long-scheduled Cobra Gold 2001 military exercises. Thailand and Myanmar have been in dispute over the Doi Lang border area, a longtime stronghold of drug warlords. Periodic hostilities over control of drug trafficking are no novelty, but this time the US and PRC are playing key roles on opposite sides. US Navy Admiral Dennis Blair, chief of the US Pacific Command, confirmed this week at a press briefing that the US has sent Special Forces guerrilla warfare specialists to act as "instructors" for a Thai commando unit known as Task Force 399. Their main enemy on the other side of the border will be the United Wa State Army, an ethnic force loyal to the Myanmar military junta. More than a year ago the PRC persuaded the Wa to move their people, their army and their drug laboratories from the Myanmar-PRC border in the north to Myanmar's border with Thailand at Doi Lang in the south. Asian intelligence sources said that the PRC supplied the Wa with sophisticated weapons and money in exchange for Wa help in constructing a network of roads through Myanmar from the PRC. The road system would give the PRC access to seaports and naval bases on the Myanmar coast. Although the maneuvers are publicized as an anti-narcotics campaign, some Western diplomats said that the extensive military mobilization and US participation also are aimed at containing growing PRC influence in the region. Narcotics experts blame the PRC for precipitating the current tension by urging the Wa to go south. These observers fear the escalating border incidents, with casualties on both sides, have the potential to explode into a conflict drawing the PRC and the US into a confrontation. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for May 21, 2001.]

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Aid to DPRK

The Korea Herald ("UNDP TO HELP REFORESTATION IN N.K.," Seoul, 05/21/01) reported that ROK officials said Sunday that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Caritas International, a network of 154 Catholic relief groups under the Vatican's control, will launch a joint reforestation project worth US$190,000 in the DPRK. The project will help protect the environment and provide firewood, the UN agency said in a new release. The agency said that it would supply seedlings and various forestry equipment to the DPRK for the next two years. It will also restore two tree nurseries in Hichon, Jagang Province, and Tongchon, Kangwon Province, which were damaged after years of natural disaster beginning in 1995.

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2. Inter-Korean Talks

The Korea Herald (Hwang Jang-jin, "SOUTH, NORTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTERS LIKELY TO MEET IN HANOI IN JULY: OFFICIALS," Seoul, 05/19/01) and Joongang Ilbo ("2 KOREAS' OFFICIALS MEET OVER DINNER," Seoul, 05/21/01) reported that ROK officials said Friday that the ROK and DPRK foreign ministers will likely meet on the sidelines of an Asian regional forum to be held in Hanoi in July. On Thursday, the ROK expressed its desire to reopen talks during the senior officials' meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) in Vietnam. "The North Korean side responded positively to our offer," said Lee Sun-jin, director-general of policy planning at the ministry. "The North Korean delegate promised that he will relay the South's proposal to his government and endeavor to make the talks take place," the official said.

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3. DPRK Leader's Son May have Visited US

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yeol, "KIM JONG IL'S SON ALLEGED TO HAVE VISITED US," 05/20/01) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong Il's eldest son, Kim Jong-nam secretly visited the US in June last year, according to a report in Japan's Asahi Shimbun Sunday. The newspaper quoted diplomatic sources as saying that right after the inter-Korean Summit talks in June last year, the younger Kim visited the US for a week, with a forged passport from Grenada, a Central American country. The report said that the purpose of the visit was to attract foreign investment into the DPRK. It said that the US seemed not to have been aware of Kim's secret visit, during which Kim met with pro-DPRK entrepreneurs for investment and financial aid. It added that there were rumors of Kim visiting information technology-related facilities. Furthermore, the Asahi said that the ROK government sees Kim Jong-nam as the person in charge of the DPRK's economic and trade activities with the world. It said that the ROK government has suspicions that the DPRK might be using Europe for payment for missile exports or negotiations with the Middle East, since Kim has visited European countries as well.

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4. DPRK on Missile Issue

Chosun Ilbo (Yoon Jong-ho, "US-NK RELATIONS COULD IMPACT ON SOUTH-NORTH TALKS," 05/19/01) reported that the DPRK representative to the United Nations, Lee Hyung-chul, said Friday that if the antagonism between the DPRK and the US continues, it could have a negative impact in the reconciliation process between the two Koreas. Ambassador Lee attended "Korea Forum International," which is a gathering of Koreans held in New York, and said that the US-DPRK relationship had shown signs of development, but that this positive aspect has deteriorated since the inauguration of the Bush administration. He said that if the US drops its hard line policy, the US- DPRK relationship could progress. He said that the DPRK will come up with ways to counter US policy, and so the US should take full responsibility for the outcome of the development. He added that the improvement of relations between the US and the DPRK concerns not only the DPRK but also the ROK.

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5. DPRK Adopts PRC's Policy

Chosun Ilbo (Yoon Jong-ho, "NK ADOPTING CHINA'S LAND MANAGEMENT POLICY," 05/20/01) reported that the DPRK is believed to be adopting PRC's land management policy. According to Yoo Hai-woong, senior researcher at the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS), the ROK is currently in the process of learning more about the PRC land management system. "We are eager to gain more information about the Chinese land management system since it is the only model that North Korea can adopt under its unique circumstances," he explained.

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6. Kim Jong-Il Inspects Army

Joongang Ilbo ("KIM JONG-IL INSPECTS ARMY," Seoul, 05/21/01) reported that DPRK top leader Kim Jong-il inspected troops on Saturday, according to the DPRK's state run news agency KCNA. "Leader Kim Jong-il ... inspected a battalion ... on May 19," the Korea Central News Agency said. "He acquainted himself with the performance of the battalion's duties and saw soldiers' military training," it said. The ROK's Chosun Ilbo newspaper, citing unidentified diplomatic sources, reported on Saturday that Kim was rumored to be visiting the northeastern PRC, possibly en route to a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Siberia.

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7. Aid to DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Hee-sung, "SOUTH-U.S. DEFENSE MINISTERIAL TALKS LIKELY IN JUNE," Seoul, 05/21/01) reported that the ROK government and the US Bush administration are looking to push ahead with exchange visits of defense ministers, in order to negotiate on Missile Defense plan and other issues of mutual interest. "The South Korean Defense Minister Kim Dong-shin is expected to visit Washington in late June to hold talks with the U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld," said a government official on Friday. "We are also looking into Secretary Rumsfeld's visit to Seoul later on." The series of defense ministerial talks will make comprehensive discussions on US's Missile Defense plan, reduction of 38,000 American troops stationed in the Korean Peninsula and basic directions for DPRK policy, military cooperation and others." If the talks take place as planned in Washington sometime around early June, it would be the first defense minister-level talks between the two countries since the launch of the Bush administration.

III. Japan

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1. Kim Jong-Nam's Entry into Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("KIM JONG-NAM SPENT 17 DAYS IN JAPAN," 05/14/2001) reported that the forged passport used by the suspected eldest son of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il indicates that the passport's owner visited Japan three times last year. According to sources, public security authorities believe that the man, who identified himself as Kim Jong-nam when he was caught at Narita airport on May 1, spent at least 17 days in Japan during the October- December period last year. The man's familiarity with the domestic transport system led officials to believe that he may have visited before, using the same forged passport. Reportedly, the man's forged Dominican Republic passport contained records of entry into Japan, once in October and twice in December last year. The length of stay per visit ranged from five days to a week, the sources said, and the man arrived in Japan by way of Beijing on two occasions and via a Southeast Asian nation in the other instance. According to the sources, public security authorities were informed by overseas intelligence agencies last month that a man believed to be Kim Jong-nam would enter Japan via Singapore on May 1. When the authorities checked the passenger list of a Japan Airlines flight arriving from Singapore on that day, they found the names of a man believed to be Kim Jong-nam, accompanied by two women and a boy who were assumed to be family members. On the day that the flight was scheduled to arrive, the authorities deployed dozens of security officials at Narita airport, mainly from the Immigration Bureau. When the man and his entourage were about to complete the entry process, they were surrounded by security officials. The man then spoke in Japanese to the officials, asking them the reason for the group's detention. The officials reportedly could not observe any individual or party assumed to be awaiting the arrival of the suspected North Koreans. The man was led to a room in the Immigration Bureau facility at the airport. He was not given the physical search that is usually performed on suspected illegal immigrants. Although he refused to answer questions from bureau officials for about an hour, the man eventually started responding in Japanese. He was quoted by the sources as making such responses as "I'm the son of Kim Jong-il" and "We just wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland." The man went on to say, "If we aren't allowed to enter, we would like to return to North Korea by May 7." After spending the night at the airport, the whole party was transferred to the bureau's detention facility for illegal immigrants in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture. The man was housed in the standard male quarters with the boy and ate the same meals as others detained at the facility, the sources said. Behaving in a gentlemanly manner throughout his detention, the man answered questions asked by the officials and even complied with a request for voluntary fingerprinting. While the group was being led out of the facility to be deported, the suspected son of Kim Jong-il reportedly said to the officials, "Thanks for taking care of us." Throughout the evening of May 1, officials from the ministries and the agency conferred over the course of action to be taken regarding the detainees. After failing to reach consensus over whether the detainees should be arrested or deported, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Teijiro Furukawa and other senior officials took over the discussions the following day.

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2. Japanese View of NMD

The Daily Yomiuri (Toshio Hiei, "DEFENSE AGENCY HAS MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT NMD," 05/17/2001) reported that the Japanese Defense Agency (JDA) is finding it hard to grasp the difference between the US previous two-pillar missile defense plan and the recent proposal revealed by US President George W. Bush on May 1 at the US National Defense University in Washington. The US had until recently asserted a "two-pillar" missile-defense plan, whereby the national missile defense (NMD) system would protect the US from ICBMs, and the theater missile defense (TMD) system would protect US military bases overseas as well as US allies from short- and intermediate-range missiles. Bush did not refer to either NMD or TMD when he explained the new missile initiative earlier this month, but instead revealed a new missile-defense system that would subsume the two. Some sources at JDA, which is doing research on the TMD system with the US, wonder about the difference between the previous two-pillar plan and the recent proposal. US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who is knowledgeable on Japan issues, visited here May 8 and exchanged opinions with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Defense Agency Director General Gen Nakatani and senior officials at the Foreign Ministry. Japan was the first allied nation to receive US envoys sent on this mission. When Nakatani asked Armitage about the relation between the new plan and the joint research on missile defense between Japan and the US, Armitage said only that the two countries could continue the joint research, which will be used to help in Japan's defense under the new system. Armitage did not clearly explain the difference between the two plans. Japan has been taking a cautious stance about NMD, but the government views TMD as a completely different system from NMD. The Japanese government has not made clear its stance on the new US defense system. During a House of Representatives plenary session on May 10, Koizumi merely acknowledged that he was aware the US was working on a new defense plan. On May 11, Nakatani said at a press conference that it would be rash to evaluate the new plan now as it is still in the conceptual stage. A senior JDA official said, "Although the US says that it does not differentiate between TMD and NMD, there is clearly a difference in technologies between long-range missiles and short-range missiles.... All Japan can do at this point is continue the joint research." This stance reportedly reflects the opinion of many other agency officials. Another official believes that the reason Bush did not refer to NMD in his May 1 speech was out of consideration for Russia's strong opposition to the plan. Russia has argued that the missile-defense system would impair Russia's ability to retaliate against the US, adding that this would trigger a renewed expansion of armaments. Conducting joint technological research in the missile-defense system alone could cost about 20 billion yen to 30 billion yen. It may cost trillions of yen to put the research results into concrete use. Since antiballistic missile-defense system technology is not yet fully established, the government must ask the US for more details about the missile-defense plan.

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3. Japanese-Russian Territorial Issue

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("KOIZUMI TO ASK PUTIN TO RETURN ALL 4 ISLANDS," 05/14/2001) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, in his first letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, expressed Japan's position on the northern territorial issue, emphasizing the need to clarify the return of the four northern islands upon the conclusion of a bilateral peace treaty. In a letter addressed to Putin, Koizumi said, "I would like to exchange opinions over a basic policy for the conclusion of a peace treaty through the settlement of the issue of the reversion of the four northern islands." By saying this, Koizumi has clearly spelled out the need to clarify the return of all four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido at the conclusion of a peace treaty, rather than settling for the idea of having two of the four islands returned first through the conclusion of an interim treaty. The idea of having two of the islands-- the Shikotan and the Habomai group of islets--returned first was sounded out by the administration of Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori in line with the spirit of the 1956 Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration. However, the new Koizumi administration is taking a tougher stance on the long-disputed territorial issue, by insisting on the return of all four islands, including Kunashiri and Etorofu islands, to Japan all at once--a view shared by Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka. A delegation from the Diet League for Japan-Russia Friendship, chaired by former Finance Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka, which is currently visiting Russia, is scheduled to deliver Koizumi's letter either to Putin himself or to Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Monday afternoon, according to government sources. In the letter, Koizumi said, "It is quite important to make progress in bilateral relations between Japan and Russia." Koizumi added, "I hope to have an opportunity to meet Russian President Putin at an early date."

The Daily Yomiuri ("RUSSIA GOV. DENIES TERRITORIAL REMARK," 05/18/2001) reported that Governor Victor Ishayev of Khabarovsk territory in the Russian Far East denied on May 17 an Interfax report of the previous day quoting him as saying that the Russian government should return the four islands it holds off eastern Hokkaido to Japan. Ishayev told ITAR-Tass on May 17 that he had made no mention of returning the four islands. Interfax, another Russian news agency, had reported that Ishayev, speaking at a meeting of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said, "It's obvious from a historical viewpoint that these islands should be handed over."

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4. Japanese History Textbook

The Japan Times ("KOIZUMI REJECTS BEIJING'S DEMAND FOR TEXT REVISION," 05/18/2001) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi rejected on May 17 the PRC's demand to revise a junior high school history textbook, but said that he will work to improve ties with the PRC. Koizumi said, "We cannot carry out revisions. But we will take the criticism in a serious manner and try to improve Japan-China relations by thinking of ways to understand and respect each other's positions." Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, the top government spokesman, also said at a news conference, "We cannot do anything more than closely examine the contents of the request and sincerely deal with it." The government faces a similar demand from the ROK, but maintains that it cannot revise textbooks unless they contain factual errors. A senior official of the Education Ministry said, "All the descriptions China has demanded be revised are points that have already been revised in response to the ministry's instructions. We have used sufficient caution on those points." The official said that the PRC's request caught ministry officials off guard. Akinori Takamori, spokesman for the Society of History Textbook Reform--the group that authored the textbook-- described the PRC's demands as biased. Takamori said, "We hope the Chinese government will understand there are various views on history. It has presented a demand that contains their thoughts, which are more nationalistic and biased compared with those of South Korea. We hope the Japanese government will take a firm stance on the issue." The PRC government summoned a senior Japanese diplomat to the Foreign Ministry in Beijing on May 16 and presented a list of demands to change the contents of the textbook. According to the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, Cheng Yonghua, deputy director general of the PRC Foreign Ministry's Department of Asian affairs, delivered a memorandum detailing the demands to Yoshio Nomoto, the No. 2 official in the embassy. The PRC raised eight issues with the textbook and asked the Japanese government to implement the changes, the embassy said. Among these is the omission of any reference to the biological experiments that the Japanese military conducted on live prisoners of war in the PRC. The PRC's state-run news agency Xinhua said that the PRC demanded that Japan take measures to correct "serious mistakes in the history textbook fabricated by rightist scholars." Xinhua said that Cheng told the Japanese diplomat that the history textbook compiled by the group of rightists "advocates imperialism, and whitewashes and denies Japan's history of aggression." Unless the textbook is revised, the PRC official said, it "will seriously mislead Japanese society and the younger generation in their viewpoint on history."

IV. Russian Federation

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1. RF-PRC Border Situation

Nezavisimaya gazeta's Evgeny Galushko ("RUSSIAN BORDER GUARDS SHOT DEAD A CHINESE POACHER," Khabarovsk, 05//01) reported that a PRC citizen was shot dead in the area of "Novopetrovskaya" border guard station of Blagoveshchensk border guard regiment in the RF Far East. RF border guards found two PRC poachers illegally fishing on the RF river coast and ordered them to stop. Getting three shots in reply, the border guards opened fire sinking the poachers' boat and killing one of the poachers. The other one is missing. The corpse was delivered to PRC authorities. The latter admitted the fact of the border violation.

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2. RF Far East and PRC Crime Expansion

Mir novostey's Mikhail Kharitonov ("'YELLOW PERIL' OVER THE FAR EAST," Moscow, 3, 04/17/01) reported that most RF experts were sure that a mass emigration of Chinese to RF Far East was not only possible, but inevitable. While there are just 5 persons per 1 square kilometer in the RF Far east, there were 130 in the adjacent PRC territories. Some experts believe there are already 2 million Chinese living in the RF Far East and in some near-border areas their number exceeds the local population. According to some RF law-enforcement officers, PRC-based organized crime controls many economic enterprises in the RF Far East and even finance elections of governors and mayors there. The Falun Gong religious sect, numbering 100 million members in the PRC itself, has recently become a new scare. Some compare Falun Gong to the Aum Sinrikyo sect of Japan, some members of which established themselves in the RF with RF authorities' assistance. The article said that some members of Falun Gong, headed by a former military officer Li Hunchi, believing themselves to have become a Buddha, killed their own parents in the PRC. Recently PRC authorities started prosecuting the sect. However, whereas the Aum Sinrikyo of Japan is "internationalist," Falun Gong is "Chinese priority minded." Having emerged within the strict Communist PRC system, it has an enormous survival capacity, against which the weak and corrupted RF bureaucracy is powerless, the article argued. Allegedly, Falun Gong controls many trading enterprises in the RF Far East. Last year its members emerged in Vladivostok handing out its literature to passersby. "The dragon's gonna leap? What should we expect? An attack in a Moscow subway?"

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3. PRC-US Hacker War

Noviye izvestia's Evgenia Slutskaya ("CHINA AND U.S.A. HAVE MADE PEACE: A VIRTUAL ONE," Moscow, 3, 05/12/01) reported that against the negative background of US-PRC fights over US spy plane, US arms to Taiwan and US entry visa to Li Tenghui of Taiwan, there was a least a bright spot, that was the end of "the hackers' war" between the two countries. After the EP-3 was downed on Hainan, US hacker attacked PRC web-sites with messages such as "We'll always hate China and break your sites!" The PRC's "Union of Honkers," that is "union red hackers," replied a month later by sending messages to the US urging them "not to sell arms to Taiwan."

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4. RF-Japan Territorial Issues

Vasiliy Golovin of Izvestia ("MORI'S SENSATION," Tokyo, 1, 05/15/01) reported that "almost written-off" ex- Premier of Japan Yoshiro Mori said that during his last weeks in power he allegedly agreed with RF leaders on "qualitative change" of the formula for the South Kurils' return to Japan, that is a return of two smaller isles with Kunashir and Iturup to be left to RF for a time being, though he conceded that "so far Moscow has not agreed to part with the those territories." Izvestia's author stressed that Mori did not say anything sensational, as RF President Vladimir Putin already stated that the RF recognized the joint Soviet-Japanese Declaration of 1956 providing for return of Shikotan and Habomai islets.

Nezavisimaya gazeta's Maria Belozertseva ("JAPAN'S EX-PREMIER THROWS WORDS OF THE WIND," Moscow, 1, 05/15/01) reported that Japanese ex-Premier Yoshiro Mori's statement that during his premiership RF and Japan agreed to hold separate consultations on separate return of four South Kuril isles caused an upsurge of emotions in Japan. In fact, during his summit with RF President Vladimir Putin, a joint Irkutsk Statement recorded RF readiness to give to Japan Shikotan and Habomai isles after the signing of the peace treaty between the two countries. As concerns bigger Kunashir and Iturup isles, those were to be a subject of further negotiations. The present Japanese Premier Junichiro Koizumi said, on the contrary, that he believed it "impossible to renounce the traditional Tokyo's attitude implying a simultaneous return to Japan of all four 'Northern Territory' isles."

Sovetskaya Rossiya ("SOURCES IN RUSSIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY CONFIRM THE ARRANGEMENT," Moscow, 3, 05/15/01) reported that sources in RF Foreign Ministry confirmed that the RF was ready to solve "the territorial issue" on the basis of the Declaration of 1956. Its Paragraph 9 says that the RF is ready to transfer two of the four South Kuril islands to Japan.

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5. Kuril Transfer Economic Implications

Nils Iogansen of Izvestia ("ONE'S OWN FISHING," Moscow, 5, 05/16/01) reported that some anonymous economists from RF State Committee on Fisheries started commenting on the implications of a possible transfer of two South Kuril isles from the RF to Japan. According to them, Japan's exclusive economic zone waters are depleted almost totally and Japanese fishermen have to wander further and further from their shores in order to catch something. Obtaining the South Kurils from the RF would let the Japanese totally provide themselves with fish and stop being dependent on RF in that respect. Annual RF-Japan marine food trade turnover is US$1- 1.2 billion. RF fishermen catch about the same worth, that is US$1 billion, in Sooth Kuril waters. About 70-95 percent of jobs in the RF Far East depend on fishing there. A lot of jobs and whole industries would die and the RF will lose all of its sea cabbage and one third of its crabs in case of the South Kurils' transfer to Japan

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6. Japanese History Textbook Controversy

Izvestia ("PREMIER SUPPORTED A NEW TEXTBOOK," Moscow, 8, 05/12/01) reported that Japanese Premier Junichiro Koizumi supported a new school textbook on history distorting Japan's role in the world War Two according to the opinion of a number of East Asian countries. The PRC, the DPRK and the ROK have been especially critical. Yet, Mr. Koizumi said that a revocation of the decision approving the textbook was out of question.

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7. RF-DPRK Relations

Nezavisimaya gazeta ("A MEETING WITH D.P.R.K. AMBASSADOR WAS HELD IN THE FOREIGN MINISTRY," Moscow, 1, 05/12/01) reported that RF Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Losyukov had a meeting with DPRK Ambassador in Moscow Park Y Chung talking about "international issues," in particular a European Union visit to Pyongyang. A journalist on duty at the RF Foreign Ministry noticed that the DPRK Ambassador entered the building several minutes before RF-US talks started there on missile defense issues. RF diplomatic sources said, though, that was "a pure coincidence."

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8. DPRK-EU Relations

Nezavisimaya gazeta's I.K. ("E.U. ESTABLISHES RELATIONS WITH D.P.R.K.," Moscow, 6, 05/16/01) reported that European Union (EU) was ready to establish "a direct communication link" with the DPRK by opening its official representative office in Pyongyang, with the DPRK setting up its office in Brussels. It is expected to facilitate DPRK- ROK settlement and delivery of humanitarian aid to DPRK.

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Gee Gee Wong:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Robert Brown:
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun:
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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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