NAPSNet Daily Report
wednesday, march 27, 2002

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

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I. United States

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1. DPRK-ROK Relations

Reuters (Martin Nesirky, "S.KOREA TO TALK TO NORTH, REVAMP 'SUNSHINE POLICY,'" Seoul, 03/25/02) and Agence France-Presse ("SOUTH KOREA TO SEND SPECIAL ENVOY TO NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 03/25/02) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung will send his special assistant for foreign affairs, security and unification, Lim Dong-won, to the DPRK as a special envoy some time in the first week of the next month, Cheong Wa Dae Spokeswoman Park Sun-suk announced Monday. "President Kim has decided to send the envoy to the North in a desire to ease tension on the Korean Peninsula," the spokeswoman said. President Kim recently proposed Lim's dispatch to the DPRK, which in turn responded it positively, she said. "The two Koreas agreed on Lim's dispatch. The primary goal of the dispatch is to prevent the creation of tension on the Korean Peninsula," she said. "While in Pyongyang, Lim will exchange opinions with the North on all pending inter-Korean issues," she said.

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2. ROK-Japan Visit

Agence France-Presse ("KOIZUMI WINDS UP SOUTH KOREA VISIT," 03/23/02) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi wound up his three-day visit to the ROK on Saturday. Koizumi arrived in Seoul on Thursday for a trip very much focused on reconciling the two countries which will co-host football's World Cup finals from June. At their meeting Friday, Koizumi and ROK President Kim Dae-Jung agreed to exchange visits during the soccer tournament from May 31 to June 30 and to push for a free trade bloc between their countries.

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3. PRC-US Relations

The Associated Press (John Leicester, "CITING TAIWAN, CHINA REFUSES TO SAY WHETHER LEADER WILL STILL VISIT US," Beijing, 03/26/02) reported the PRC refused to say Tuesday whether its vice president and expected future leader will still make a planned visit to the US. The trip by Hu Jintao was announced when US President George W. Bush visited Beijing in February, and was expected to take place in April or May. But PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue declined to answer Tuesday when reporters asked at a regular press briefing whether Hu's visit was still on. Without specifically mentioning Tang's trip, Zhang said, "the Taiwan issue is the most important and most sensitive issue at the heart of U.S.-China relations. To secure a healthy and smooth development of bilateral ties, the U.S. side should properly handle this question." She demanded that the US "cease interfering in China's internal affairs by using Taiwan issues and undermining bilateral ties."

Reuters ("CHINA BARS U.S. NAVY SHIP FROM HONG KONG," Hong Kong, 03/27/02) reported that the PRC has denied permission for a US navy destroyer to make a routine port call in Hong Kong as tensions grow over the US decision to allow Taiwan's defense minister to visit the US. "The Chinese government denied a request for the USS Curtis visit Hong Kong April 5 to 9. This would have been a routine port call," Barbara Zigli, a spokeswoman for the US consulate in Hong Kong, told stated Tuesday. "There was no reason given for the disapproval and I am not going to speculate about it," Zigli said. She said the consulate received the notification from the Chinese government on March 18. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told a news conference, "We evaluate and approve all applications by foreign military aircraft or vessels to visit Hong Kong according to relevant regulations of the Basic Law, and moreover, we consider various factors on a case-by-case basis."

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4. ROK-US Joint Military Exercises

Agence France-Presse ("US, SOUTH KOREA END WAR GAMES," 03/27/02) reported that US and ROK troops wound up a week of major war games which have angered the DPRK. The joint drills, which started last Thursday, marked the first merger of two separate exercises with hundreds of thousands of troops involved. As part of the exercises aimed at deterring a military threat from the DPRK, around 100 tanks and armored vehicles were involved in a mock battle Wednesday near Cheongok, a village just south of the heavily fortified inter-Korean frontier. The latest US-ROK drill was dubbed RSOI/FE 02 because it combined the "Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration" (RSOI) computerized war game and the annual "Foal Eagle" exercises. The RSOI and Foal Eagle were previously held separately in spring and in autumn. But they were merged into one from this year.

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5. ROK PRC-RF Visits

Reuters ("SOUTH KOREAN DIPLOMATS TO VISIT CHINA, RUSSIA," Seoul. 03/27/02) reported that the ROK's two top Foreign Ministry officials will make separate visits to Russia and the PRC in the coming week, as the ROK tries to revive the reconciliation process on the Korean peninsula. The two visits come ahead of a trip to the DPRK next week by an ROK presidential envoy to kickstart a dialogue between the two Koreas that stalled last year. ROK Foreign Minister Choi Sung-hong will visit the PRC on Thursday and Friday, for talks his ministry said will cover relations with the DPRK. On Sunday, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hang-kyong will arrive in Moscow for a four-day visit and talks with his Russian counterpart, Alexander Losyukov, Kim's office said in a brief statement. Topics will include the situation on the divided Korean peninsula and bilateral relations, it said.

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6. DPRK Japanese Abductions

Agence France-Presse ("JAPAN CAUTIOUSLY WELCOMES PYONGYANG'S READINESS TO RESUME KIDNAPPING TALKS," 03/23/02) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi gave a measured welcome to the announcement by the DPRK to resume talks with the Japanese Red Cross Society over alleged abductions of Japanese nationals. "We have been demanding North Korea take proper measures to deal with the abduction cases. If this (announcement) was made as part of those measures, we would welcome it," Koizumi told reporters on Saturday. "But we have to watch their actions to determine how serious they are," he cautioned.

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7. Japan Anti-terrorism

Agence France-Presse ("JAPAN EXTENDS NON-COMBATANT SUPPORT FOR US WAR ON TERROR," 03/26/02) reported that Japan will extend its non-combatant operations in support of the US-led anti-terror war in Afghanistan. Japan sent 1,200 military personnel, three destroyers and two supply ships to the Arabian Sea to back the US campaign, and its mission was scheduled to end on March 31, a spokesman for the Defense Agency said Tuesday. But the government said it would continue its operations until May 19. "We are committed to offering our support as the United States remains engaged in the war," the agency spokesman said. Kyodo News agency said Tokyo might extend its operations again by around six months after May 19, but the agency spokesman declined to confirm the report.

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8. Philippines-US Anti-terrorism

Agence France-Presse ("ARROYO HINTS AT LONGER PHILIPPINES-US MILITARY ACTION IN TROUBLED SOUTH," 03/27/02) reported that Philippines President Gloria Arroyo said more joint anti-terrorism military exercises with the US are on the table this year after a ground-breaking US-Filipino military operation in the south ends in July. The current group of more than 600 US troops taking part in exercises "will be pulled out after six months," Arroyo said. However, more US troops are expected in the Philippines to take part in another training program to begin after July, she said. "Logically, I would like it to continue to be in Mindanao," Arroyo told reporters, referring to the southern third of the Philippines archipelago that is home to a large Muslim minority. Arroyo said future training exercises will involve US soldiers in civic actions, including building of roads on Basilan, where some 160 US Special Forces are currently "training, advising and assisting" the local army against the Abu Sayyaf.

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9. PRC Immigration Policy

Reuters ("CHINA PLANS NEW CRACKDOWN ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS," Beijing, 03/25/02) reported that the PRC will launch a fresh crackdown on illegal immigration in April, state media said on Monday. The official Xinhua news agency said the crackdown would focus on groups of foreigners who either sneak into the PRC in transit to a third country or Chinese smuggled out of the country in cargo containers. The clampdown, announced at a public security meeting on illegal immigration in Beijing on Monday, aimed to "check the increasingly prominent trend of illegal immigration and at the same time to promptly clear out and repatriate foreigners staying illegally in China," Xinhua said.

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10. ROK Fighter Jet Project

Agence France-Presse ("SOUTH KOREA LEANS TOWARD US FOR FIGHTER ORDER," 03/27/02) reported that the ROK government said it would stage a new head-to-head test on two rivals for a major fighter jet order. Boeing and the Rafale maker, Dassault Aviation SA, have hotly disputed the contract in which there are four contenders. The ROK ministry said in a statement: "We will carry out a second-stage evaluation. A final decision will be made in April following full consultations with other government agencies, taking into account the impact on the country's economy, industry as well as diplomatic considerations."

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11. DPRK Economic Policy

The Associated Press (Choe Sang-hun, "NORTH KOREA CALLS FOR MORE VENTURES," Seoul, 03/27/02) reported that DPRK Premier Hong Song Nam stated in a report to the DPRK legislature that the DPRK must "readjust its economic foundations" this year and open itself up to more international trade and cooperation. Nam also said, "The main thrust of this year's economic construction is to make full preparations for technical improvement and modernization of the national economy as a whole while readjusting the country's economic foundations in keeping with the practical demand," Hong said. Delivering a report to the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly at a meeting on the 2002 budget and policies, he said the DPRK must "improve trade and economic cooperation and widely conduct joint ventures and collaboration with different countries and international organizations."

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12. DPRK-Japan Relations

Reuters ("JAPAN, N.KOREA SET TO HOLD MINISTERIAL LEVEL TALKS," Tokyo, 03/27/02) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Wednesday relations with the DPRK may be showing signs of improvement as the East Asian neighbors prepare for their first ministerial meeting in nearly two years. "This is not something that can be made public now, but there appears to be movement on a number of fronts," Koizumi told a news conference, without elaborating. Earlier, a Japanese official said Japan and the DPRK plan to hold a ministerial level meeting in Singapore in the next few days, the first such contact since their foreign ministers met in Bangkok in July 2000. Japanese Health Minister Chikara Sakaguchi is considering attending the meeting, at which the two sides will discuss the issue of medical support for overseas survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings, the official said. "Nothing has been decided officially, but we are making preparations for the meeting," the official said. Last week, the DPRK Red Cross said that it would resume investigation into missing Japanese who Tokyo believes were abducted by the DPRK.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Inter Korea Relations

Joongang Ilbo (Chun Young-gi, "A KEY AIDE WILL CARYY 'SUNSHINE'TO THE NORTH," Seoul. 03/26/02) reported that the ROK will send a special presidential envoy to the DPRK next week in a bid to ease tensions on the divided peninsula and jump-start stalled inter-Korean relations. Lim Dong-won, special adviser to ROK President Kim Dae-jung for unification, diplomacy and national security, will visit Pyongyang for three days and will meet with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, presidential spokeswoman Park Sun-suk said. "The envoy will discuss pending issues such as preventing the creation of tension on the peninsula and implementing the inter-Korean June 15 joint declaration," she added.

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2. New Route to PRC

Joongang Ilbo ("EX-GEUMGANG CRUISE BOAT TO PAVE NEW ROUTE TO CHINA," Seoul, 03/26/02) reported that the Kumgang boat which used to travel from ROK's East Sea port to the DPRK's tour resort of Kumgang mountain is expected to carry out Chinese tourists this time. "We have been long pushing for a new cruise service from the South Korea's Pyongtaek region to ports of China in order to attract more Chinese tourists to the World Cup finals," the related official of Gyonggi province said Sunday. "And it's likely we'll have our wish soon enough." The region explained Hysong Marine Transport that took over Kumgang cruise from Hyundai Asan last year recently received approval from PRC government to operate its ship from Pyongtak to PRC's Dalian port and from Pyongtak to Tsing Tao port temporarily for next six months from April 31st to September 30. Sources said ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fishery would look into regularizing the operation after reviewing the results of operation during World Cup season in line with the plan.

III. Japan

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1. Japanese New Security Legislation

The Asahi Shimbun (Keisuke Kinomoto, "KOIZUMI: BILLS SHOULD COVER TERRORISM," Seoul, 03/23-24/02) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Thursday that large-scale acts of terrorism should be covered under legislation planned to deal with military attacks. "The basic thinking is how to deal with a military attack on Japan, preparing for terrorism after September 11, as well as incomprehensible activities, such as the suspicious ship," Koizumi told reporters. Government and ruling coalition officials have said large-scale terrorism, suspicious armed vessels and agents, as well as cyber-terrorism should be debated separately from the emergency legislation now under discussion. But Koizumi believes more debate is needed so that the emergency legislation covers a wider area than initially envisioned. He said he has instructed officials to make adjustments on the issue.

Jiji Press ("JAPAN TO COVER CRISIS-LINKED LOSSES," Tokyo, 03/25/02) reported that the Japanese government plans to shoulder losses on people's assets from US military operations to deal with emergency in Japan. The government will set up a legal framework for covering such losses as part of its plans to draw up a comprehensive bill on responding to a military emergency, sources said.

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2. Kawaguchi's Visit to Iran

The Japan Times ("KAWAGUCHI SET TO VISIT IRAN ON FIRST OFFICIAL TRIP," Tokyo, 03/24/02) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi is likely to visit Iran during her first official trip abroad at the end of April, Foreign Ministry officials said Saturday. Kawaguchi will go to Iran from late April to early May as part of Japanese government's efforts to help reconstruct the war-ravaged country, the officials said. Kawaguchi is likely to meet Iranian President Muhammad Khatami, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharzai and other top government officials. She also wants to meet conservative Iranian lawmakers and urge them to commit to participation in the international community to help assist Khatami's moderate reform policy, the officials said. In addition, Japan wants the issue of Iranian missile development to be discussed in talks between Kawaguchi and Iranian leaders. According to ministry sources, resolving the missile issue with Iran could limit missile development in the DPRK because Iran is suspected of exporting missiles to the DPRK. Kawaguchi also hopes to hold talks on how Japan can help Iran with the estimated 1.5 million Afghan refugees there.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:

BK21 The Education and Research Corps for East Asian Studies
Department of Political Science, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China

International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan

Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Brandon Yu:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Young-soo:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hibiki Yamaguchi:
Tokyo, Japan

Saiko Iwata:
Tokyo, Japan

Hiroya Takagi:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Wu Chunsi:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

John McKay:
Clayton, Australia

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