NAPSNet Daily Report
 
friday, january 25, 2002
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I. United States

II. Republic of Korea
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I. United States


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1. US-Philippines Anti-Terrorism

Reuters (Yoko Kobayashi, "U.S. BUILDS UP FORCES IN SE ASIA AMID TERROR FEARS," Manila, 01/25/02) reported that the US intensified its military build-up in the southern Philippines on Friday. Colonel William Ball, deputy chief of the US special forces command in the Pacific region arrived in the southern Philippine city of Zamboanga along with 30 other officers. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, responding to criticism that the deployment of the US troops was unconstitutional, said, "Before making the decision to approve (the joint exercises with US troops), I was very much aware that it will be an issue used against me and that it entails some political risks. I decided, however, to take the risk for the good of the country so the scourge of the Abu Sayyaf and other terrorists will be ended once and for all, so that we will have a military better equipped and better trained." Arroyo insists that the 660 US troops coming to the southern city of Zamboanga and the nearby island of Basilan are only for the training of local soldiers. However, critics point out that it is highly unusual to conduct military training in areas where there is an active enemy force and suggest that it is a cover-up for allowing US troops into the country in a combat role, which is prohibited by the constitution.

Agence France-Presse ("FIGHTING RAGES IN PHILIPPINE HOSTAGE ISLAND," 01/25/02) reported that an undetermined number of Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebels were believed killed in fresh fighting in the southern Philippines as US troops geared for joint operations against the gunmen. Fighting erupted when army scout rangers caught up with Abu Sayyaf guerrillas in the town of Tuburan in nearby Basilan island, where the rebels are holding captive US Christian missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham and a Filipina nurse. Three soldiers were wounded in the gunbattle while a number of Abu Sayyaf guerrillas were believed killed, according to reports from the field.


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2. Cross-Straits Relations

The Washington Post (John Pomfret "CHINA EASING WAY FOR BUSH VISIT INVITATION TO TAIWANESE OFFICIALS AMONG 'GOOD FAITH' EFFORTS," Beijing, 01/25/02) reported that the PRC announced a significant softening of its policy toward Taiwan today, released another prisoner with US ties and pledged US$150 million to the effort to rebuild Afghanistan. A PRC security official, referring to today's statement, said it was made "with an eye toward Taipei and one toward Washington. We are showing good faith both to Taiwan and the United States."

Reuters (Brian Rhoads and Benjamin Kang Lim, "CHINA URGES TAIWAN TO SEIZE CHANCE FOR TALKS," Beijing/Taipei, 01/25/02) and Agence France- Presse ("CHINA UNVEILS NEW CONCILIATORY LINE TOWARDS TAIWAN," 01/25/02) reported that the PRC urged Taiwan on Friday not to miss a "golden opportunity" to restart reconciliation talks presented by its softer line towards the island's pro-independence ruling party. Vice Premier Qian Qichen signaled the PRC's softer line on Thursday, saying that only a small number of the Democratic Progressive Party were separatists. Qian also invited DPP members to visit the PRC and called for closer economic ties now that both had joined the World Trade Organisation. Chen Ming-tong, a top Taiwanese policymaker on the PRC, responded, "This is an important speech. We have taken notice of it. We are happy to see the other side issue a message that is conducive to positive interaction between the two sides, but we need more time to study."

Reuters ("TAIWAN NEWSPAPERS PLAY UP CHINESE OVERTURES," Taipei, 01/25/02) and Agence France-Presse (TAIWAN WELCOMES BEIJING'S DECISION TO INVITE GOVT TO VISIT,) 01/25/02 reported that Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) welcomed the PRC's move of opening contacts with the pro-independence party. "We think this is a demonstration of goodwill and we would be happy to see its progress," DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh told reporters. "It means that the People's Republic of China has started to understand Taiwan's political situation." Chen Ming-tung, vice chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, said, "We are pleased to see the other side sending messages which are helpful in facilitating cross-strait relations. The government takes the messages seriously and will react in an appropriate time after analysing the latest information." DPP secretary-general Wu Nai-jen said, "The DPP welcomes Qian Qichen's remarks about mainland visits by DPP members. The attitude adopted by the PRC is helpful to enhance cross-strait exchanges and understanding." But he added that the "one country, two systems" platform under which Hong Kong was returned to PRC sovereignty "cannot satisfy such demand."


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3. US Anti-Proliferation

Reuters (Richard Waddington, "US URGES TOUGHER MOVES AGAINST SPREAD OF ARMS," Geneva, 01/24/02) reported that the US sought on Thursday to put pressure on states it said aided the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological arms, insisting they be held accountable for violating international commitments. In a speech to the Conference on Disarmament, US Under Secretary of State John Bolton vowed the US would use "every method at our disposal" to ensure extremist groups did not get weapons of mass destruction. Bolton accused Iraq and the DPRK of violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and interfering with monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). These violations must cease and "I caution those who think they can pursue nuclear weapons without detection by the IAEA -- the United States and its allies will prove you wrong," he told delegates from the 66-member countries of the Conference. Iraqi and DPRK envoys to the talks, denied the charges.

The Associated Press (Alexander G. Higgins, "U.S. DEFENDS ARMS CONTROL POLICIES," 01/24/02) reported that the US pledged to support global treaties to control weapons of mass destruction, but said Thursday some accords may need to be strengthened or replaced because of threats from terrorists and "rogue" countries. "It has become fashionable to characterize my country as 'unilateralist' and against all arms-control agreements," US Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton told the 66- nation Conference on Disarmament. "Nonetheless, our commitment to multilateral regimes to promote nonproliferation and international security never has been as strong as it is today through numerous arms- control treaties," he said. Bolton also expressed that widespread criticism of the US for pulling out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty with Russia fails to take note of changes in the world since the end of the Cold War. "Almost every state that actively sponsors terror is known to be seeking weapons of mass destruction and missiles to deliver them at longer and longer ranges," he said. Iraqi Ambassador Samir al-Nima denied Iraq, which has refused to let UN weapons inspectors in since 1998, is pursuing nuclear weapons. DPRK diplomat Ri Thae Gun also denied his country is developing nuclear weapons. "We have no intention of attacking any country in the world unless we are attacked," he said. "We will not tolerate any kind of threat or invasion. We will fight until the last person."


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4. PRC Transfer of Weapons

Washington Times (Bill Gertz, "U.S. HITS CHINA WITH SANCTIONS OVER ARMS SALES," 01/25/02) and Agence France-Presse ("CHINA DEMANDS REMOVAL OF US SANCTIONS OVER WEAPONS TRADE WITH IRAN," 01/25/02) reported that the PRC condemned as "unreasonable" US sanctions imposed on three PRC firms accused of supplying Iran with materials used to make chemical and biological weapons. "The US decision to impose sanctions on Chinese companies using so-called domestic laws and country-specific policy is unreasonable and should be cancelled. China is opposed to any country developing chemical weapons, and furthermore does not help any country develop chemical weapons," the foreign ministry said Friday in a statement. US ambassador to the PRC Clark Randt said, "We do not want Chinese materials or technology involved in the production and delivery of weapons of mass destruction to wind up in the wrong hands," Randt stated. "Our experience to date is that China does not have an effective export control regime for sensitive materials and items. I should be crystal clear on this point. Non-proliferation is a make or break issue for us." US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday restrictions had been placed on Liyang Chemical Equipment company, the China Machinery and Electric Equipment Import and Export Company, and an individual broker and agent named as Q.C. Chen. "The penalties were imposed for the transfer to Iran of equipment and technology that's used for the manufacture of chemical and biological weapons. [The Washington Times article originally appeared in today's edition of the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news summary.]


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5. TCOG-DPRK Strategy

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA TO BE FEATURE OF BUSH'S ASIA VISIT," 01/25/02) and Agence France-Presse ("SOUTH KOREA AND JAPAN DISCUSS NORTH KOREA MOVES," 01/25/02) reported that senior officials from the US, ROK, and Japan met to discuss their coordinated policy towards the DPRK. Friday's one-day meeting of the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG) came as the ROK sought new ways to reinvigorate dialogue with the DPRK while the US made new accusations over its suspected nuclear weapons program. TCOG issued a statement saying that US President George W. Bush's visit to Japan, the ROK and the PRC would "positively contribute to peace and stability on and around the Korean peninsula." The visit would also "provide an important opportunity to discuss matters of common interest including North Korea," they added. Bush is to go to Tokyo on February 17-19, then hold talks in Seoul from February 19-20 before going to Beijing on February 21-22. The main officials at the Seoul meeting were US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, South Korea's Deputy Foreign Minister Yim Sung-Joon and Japanese foreign ministry director general Hitoshi Tanaka.


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6. PRC-US Plane Incident

The Wall Street Journal (Charles Hutzler, "CHINA'S PLANE INVESTIGATION POINTS TO AIR FORCE GENERAL," Beijing, 01/25/02) reported that recriminations over the bugging of a US-made plane intended to serve as the PRC's version of Air Force One are sidelining the career PRC Major General Liu Taichi and throwing a spotlight on the murky business holdings of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Three years ago, PRC leaders and top generals forced the PLA to dispose of most of its commercial holdings out of fear that such activities detracted from national defense and invited corruption. While the move was largely successful, the divestment wasn't total; the PLA managed to hold on to some interests in telecommunications, arms trading, military equipment and to China United. More than the embarrassing discovery of the eavesdropping devices and security lapses that allowed them to be installed, concerns about corruption are now driving the investigation, say military officers. While a Boeing 767-300ER costs between $107 million and $120 million, according to a statement on China United's Web site, millions more were spent outfitting the presidential plane, and millions of dollars more were charged to the government and haven't been accounted for, says Liu's former associate. He says the unaccounted sum could be as high as $20 million.


II. Republic of Korea


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1. ROK–DPRK Family Reunions

Joonang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, "ONE MORE TRY ON FAMILY REUNIONS," Seoul, 01/25/02) reported that ROK unification Minister Hong Soon-young said that the ROK plans to propose inter-Korean Red Cross talks with the DPRK perhaps next week. The ROK wants to arrange another separated family reunion on lunar New Year's Day, February 12. Hong stated, "Frozen inter-Korean relations will be improved if we resume reunions of separated families, hold government-level talks to revive the Mount Kimgang tourism business and implement inter-Korean economic cooperation agreements. Restoring the Gyeongui railroad line and building military trust will come next." Hong also called collaborations like the family reunions and other contacts the key to resolving tensions on the peninsula. The Unification Ministry said its agenda for this year includes the institution of a routine system for separated family reunions and the establishment of a basis for an inter-Korean economic community.


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2. ROK–Japan Extradition Treaty

Joongang Ilbo (Oh Young-hwan, "JAPAN, KOREA SET TERMS FOR EXTRADITION," Seoul, 01/25/02) reported that the ROK and Japan agreed on terms for a criminal extradition treaty on Thursday at the fourth round of working- level talks on the subject in Seoul. Government officials said that there are about 20 Japanese fugitives now in the ROK, and that about 100 Koreans have fled to Japan to escape prosecution at home. The treaty will be signed during a planned state visit by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in March. The treaty must be ratified by the legislatures of both countries; officials predict that it will be in force during the World Cup soccer tournament that begins in late May. "The treaty will contribute to reinforcing security in Korea and Japan," said Shin Kak-soo, the head of the Foreign Ministry's Bureau of International Treaties. "It will provide effective measures to forestall crimes during and after the World Cup games." The ROK has signed extradition treaties with 15 countries, including the US and the PRC.


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3. DPRK Human Rights

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Jin, "ABUSES, AID ARE STUDIED," Washington, 01/25/02) reported that Lee Soon-ok, a DPRK defector who served seven years in a DPRK detention camp for political offenses described for a US religious freedom commission Thursday what she called the DPRK's suppression of religious freedom and human rights. Lee described the situation in the concentration camp where she was sent. Lee said that some pregnant prisoners were forced to undergo late-term abortions by injections of a saline solution into their wombs. Lee also gave testimony of public execution by firing squads. "The world should put pressure on the North to change," she said. Jack Rendler, vice chair of the U.S. Committee on Human Rights in DPRK, estimated that some 400,000 prisoners have died in DPRK prison camps since 1972.


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4. ROK–US–Japan Trilateral Committee

Joongang Ilbo ("BUSH VISIT TO DETERMINE N.K. POLICY, SAYS TCOG MEETING," Seoul, 01/25/02) reported that at the Trilateral Committee Oversight, the ROK, the US and Japan agreed that the forthcoming ROK visit of US President George W. Bush would be a great determining factor in securing peace and stability of Korean Peninsula and neighboring regions. The representing officials then urged the DPRK to receive early nuclear inspection from the International Atomic Energy Agency as and ease concerns of international society. "We have reconfirmed the US stance that it would engage in dialogue with the North without any preconditions," Yim Sung-joon of ROK delegation said. The three nations agreed to hold the next meting in April in Japan. The major representatives of the three nations were Yim Sung-joon, deputy minister of foreign affairs of the ROK, James Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affair of the US and Tanaka Hitoshi, deputy director general of North American Affairs Bureau of Japan.


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5. ROK–DPRK Tourism Linking

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "SEOUL CONSIDERING LINKING WORLD CUP, N.K. FESTIVAL IN TOURISM PACKAGE," Seoul, 01/25/02) reported that the ROK government hopes to link the World Cup soccer finals in the ROK with a major DPRK festival, both scheduled to take place around June, to boost tourism and the inter-Korean reconciliation process. A senior ROK official stated, "We believe linking the two events will benefit both sides, and we are currently examining various ways to do so." The DPRK Arirang Festival takes place between April 29-June 29, partly coinciding with the World Cup to be co-hosted by ROK and Japan from May 31 to June 30. "It appears that North Korea ardently hopes its economy will benefit from the events," the official said. He said ROK and DPRK would have to hold negotiations to work out an agreement on how to connect the two events.


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International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
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Hibiki Yamaguchi: hibikiy@dh.mbn.or.jp
Tokyo, Japan

Saiko Iwata: saiko@akira.ne.jp
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Peter Razvin: icipu@glas.apc.org
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Shanghai, People's Republic of China

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Shanghai, People's Republic of China

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