NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, may 16, 2002

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

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I. United States

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1. PRC-Japan DPRK Defectors

Reuters (Jeremy Page and Masayuki Kitano , "CHINA TAKES TOUGH LINE WITH JAPAN OVER NORTH KOREANS," Tokyo, Beijing, 05/16/02) reported that the PRC refused to budge in a diplomatic deadlock with Japan on Thursday, accusing Japan of being unreasonable in seeking the handover of five DPRK defectors. Two more DPRK refugees who sought refuge in the Canadian embassy in Beijing last week arrived in Singapore and were expected to travel on to the ROK. But the PRC and Japan denied they had reached a similar deal to send the five DPRK defectors to a third country despite an invitation from the Philippines to take them in. The PRC's Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan stated, "In the past few days, Japan has neglected basic objective facts and put forward some unreasonable criticism and demands harming China's international image. As for the problem of these five people, we are looking into their identities. When we verify their identities, we will handle the problem appropriately, independently and according to law."

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2. ROK Domestic Politics

Agence France-Presse ("SOUTH KOREAN PROSECUTORS QUESTION PRESIDENT'S SON FOR CORRUPTION," 05/16/02) reported that ROK prosecutors questioned the youngest son of President Kim Dae-Jung over an alleged graft scandal, dealing a blow to the leader's image as a reform crusader. Kim Hong-Gul, 39, apologized for the cash-for-contracts scandal, which has rocked the ROK for months. All major television stations cancelled their regular programs to cover the son's tearful apology live. "I am sorry. I feel ashamed before my parents and apologize to the people," Kim Hong-Gul said as he walked with his head bowed into the Seoul district prosecutors office. Prosecutors have summoned Kim Hong-Gul for questioning over allegations he took 2.8 billion won (US$2.2 million) in bribes from businessmen. He returned home from the US on Tuesday. President Kim, who is to step down in early 2003, also faces a major political crisis over his second son who is also wanted for questioning over allegations of corruption. Prosecutors have indicated they will summons Kim Hong-Up, to see whether he took bribes from construction firms. But according to a presidential spokeswoman, the ROK leader is taking the investigation into his son in his stride. "The first couple is accepting the reality calmly," she said.

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3. Cross-Straits Relations

Agence France-Presse ("TAIWAN PRESIDENT SAYS CHINA TRIES TO MEDDLE IN ELECTIONS," 05/17/02) reported that Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian said the PRC's leaders have sought to influence elections in Taiwan by backing certain candidates. Chen said there was evidence that the PRC had spent money on "candidates they were fond of... in order to manipulate the elections." In addition, PRC officials had pressured Taiwanese businessmen working on the mainland not to support his party, Chen said. Chen also said he did not think the upcoming leadership changes in the PRC would results in improved relations between PRC leaders and Taiwan. "We cannot be all too optimistic," he said. He said that when PRC Vice President Hu Jintao takes over from President Jiang Zemin as PRC party chief, "other powerful men will be in the background pulling strings." But he said he was ready to continue dialogue with the PRC, even though he rejected the "one China" policy and insisted on the sovereign independence of Taiwan. He said he thought there would soon be tourist flights between Taiwan and the PRC, including direct flights between Taipeh and Shanghai.

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4. Jiang on PRC Leadership Transition

Agence France-Presse ("JIANG URGES NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS TO 'BLAZE NEW TRAILS,' 05/16/02) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin, widely expected to retire as head of the Chinese Communist Party this fall, called on the nation's younger generation of leaders to blaze new trails in the PRC's modernization drive, state press reported. However, in a speech marking the 80th anniversary of the Communist Party Youth League, Jiang also implied that the next generation of leaders must continue to obey party policies and traditions. "Only as new generations surpass earlier generations and the next generation supercedes the present can matters develop and society improve," Jiang said in a speech carried by the leading People's Daily Thursday. "I hope the youth will have the courage to blaze new trails. Bringing forth new ideas is necessary to bring forward the history of mankind," Jiang said.

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5. Cross-Straits Oil Exploration

Reuters (Alice Hung, "TAIWAN AND CHINA INK LANDMARK OIL EXPLORATION PACT," 05/16/02) reported that Taiwan's state-run Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC) and its PRC counterpart signed a landmark agreement on Thursday for joint oil exploration, sidestepping political wrangling between Taiwan and the PRC. The deal provides for CPC and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) to invest a total of US$25 million over four years to hunt for oil -- one of the boldest moves to tear down obstacles to trade and investment since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. The move also paves the way for both state firms to jointly develop the exploration block. "As far as I know it's the first large-scale cooperation between two state-owned enterprises across the Strait," said CNOOC President Wei Liucheng after signing the agreement. "This is a very important contract." The deal was the second major commercial deal involving state-controlled companies after China Eastern Airlines signed an agreement last year to sell a 25-percent stake in its cargo unit to Taiwan's China Airlines, in which a government-run fund has a controlling stake. "The signing of the oil deal means our cooperation on oil exploration has moved from joint study to joint investment. In the next stage, we will move from joint investment to joint development," CPC chairman Regis Chen told the signing ceremony.

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6. PRC Internet Freedom

Reuters (John Ruwitch, "CHINA UNBLOCKS FOREIGN MEDIA WEB SITES," Beijing, 05/16/02) reported that the PRC appears to have lifted long-standing blocks on the Web sites of several Western news organizations that were freely accessible through local Internet connections in Beijing and Shanghai on Thursday. There was no official announcement explaining why normally censored Web sites, which included those of Reuters, CNN and the Washington Post, were accessible, some as early as Wednesday evening. Nor was there any immediate indication of a change in policy. "We aren't aware that there's any change," said a CNN spokeswoman in Hong Kong. Foreign news organizations have lobbied hard for the PRC to lift blocks on their sites, but the PRC remains deeply suspicious of foreign media, especially in the run-up to a leadership reshuffle expected later this year. The reason and timing for the apparent lifting of the blocks, which many Web-savvy Chinese had found ways to circumvent with proxy servers, was not immediately clear and it was not known if the measure would last. On Thursday, the sites of the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe and Atlanta Journal-Constitution could also be accessed. Time Magazine, the Voice of America and the BBC's news site, however, appeared to be still blocked. The Ministry of State Security declined comment and officials at the Ministry of Information Industry were unavailable.

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7. Vatican DPRK Visit

Reuters ("VATICAN ENVOYS VISIT NORTH KOREA, BRINGING THE POPE'S SOLIDARITY," Vatican City, 05/16/02) reported that two papal diplomats have visited the DPRK as part of the Vatican's campaign to keep up good relations with the government there, the Holy See said Thursday. It was the sixth time that top Vatican officials had gone to the DPRK. The visit, by Monsignors Celestino Migliore and Luis Mariano Montemayor, "reaffirmed the constant solidarity of the Holy Father for the North Korean population and contributed to giving continuity to the relations established with the government authorities of Pyongyang, particularly with the Foreign Affairs Ministry." The Vatican delegates held talks with leaders of a local Catholic organization and celebrated Ascension Day services with the local and international Catholic community there. The Vatican began diplomatic and humanitarian missions to the DPRK in 1996. John Paul has given thousands of dollars from his charities to the DPRK.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Japan's Rejection to Refugees

Joongang Ilbo (Ser Myo-ja, "JAPAN ENVOY REPORTED TO BAR NORHT'S REFUGEES," Seoul, 05/16/02) reported that just hours before the asylum bids of a DPRK family last week, Japan's ambassador to PRC Koreshige Anami ordered his staff to expel any DPRK defectors from embassy grounds, Japanese media reported Wednesday. Anami reported said, "It is better to drive them out than to let them enter and cause trouble." Kyodo News also reported that Mr. Anami had made similar remarks in 1996, citing sources who then worked with him at the embassy.

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2. DPRK-Russia Relations

Joongang Ilbo ("NORTH'S SECURITY DIRECTLY LINKED TO RUSSIA, SAYS NK MINISTRY," Seoul, 05/16/02) reported that DPRK's Foreign Affairs Minster Paek Nam-sun gave high credit to Russia's stance in easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula and even pointed out that the DPRK's security and peace is directly linked with Russia's security. "Russia expressed understanding to our point that the United States should no longer delay its withdrawal of troops from Korean Peninsula for the sake of peace and security of Northeast Asia region," Paek said. "We have also agreed world peace and security should be guaranteed in non-military way."

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3. The "Main Enemy" Issue

Joongang Ilbo ("NORTH AGAIN CALLS TO WITHDRAW "MAIN ENEMY" PHRASE IN THE WHITE PAPER," Seoul, 05/16/02) reported that the DPRK has again demanded the ROK do away with the "main enemy" tag, just prior to its release of the 2002 White Paper from the National Defense Ministry in the ROK on Wednesday. The DPRK's pointed out that the Defense Ministry is still intent on using the "anachronistic phraseology" of "principal enemy" and accused the ROK of clinging to the old concept of confrontation. The DPRK claims that phrase not only runs counter to the June 15 Joint Declaration, but also contradicts the recent April 5 joint press release aiming to improve the temporarily frozen inter-Korean ties.

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4. Inter Korean Economic Relations

Joongang Ilbo ("INTER-KOREA TRADE ON STEADY RISE," Seoul, 05/16/02) reported that the trade volume between the two Koreas continues to increase every month, reported the Unification Ministry Wednesday. The recent report from the ministry has it the total volume of inter-Korean trade for last April was 41.971 million, which is 31.6 percent increase from its previous month. So far inter-Korean trade from January to April this year recorded 129.987 million, 21.4 percent increase from same time last year. ROK's import from DPRK recorded $65.357 million, a whopping 57.4 percent increase from last year while export slightly declined by 1.4 percent yielding $64.63 million. Processing trade and other commercial transactions leaped by 37.2 percent with $79.486 million and non- commercial transactions such as light water reactors project and Geumgang tours business recorded plus 2.8 percent with $50.501milllion.

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5. The Inter Korean Railway

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-gu, "RAILWAY MATERIAL MAY BE SUPPLIED TO NOTRH," Seoul, 05/16/02) reported that ROK minister of Unification Jeong Se-hyun said Wednesday that the cabinet was assessing whether to donate W30 billion worth of material, such as railroad ties and rails to DPRK as a means to facilitate the reconnection of the Seoul-Shinuiju, and east coast railways. Jeong told participants at a special lecture held in the Plaza Hotel and hosted by the Korea Chamber Of Commerce and Industry he thought the delay in reconnecting the systems was partially because of a shortage of machines and building materials in DPRK. He added that DPRK has not yet requested aid, but it was worth supplying the material, as the inter-Korean railway connections would be helpful in expanding human and material exchanges. Jeong continued that the estimated cost for reconnecting the Seoul-Shinuiju and east coat railways was about W10 billion and W20 billion, respectively.

III. Japan

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1. Japanese Security Legislation

The Japan Times ("CONDITIONS FOR SDF MOBILIZATION," Tokyo, 05/13/02) reported that the Japanese Diet debate on the new defense bills has raised the question of what kinds of situations would the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) be mobilized? The package says the SDF will go into action in a "military attack situation." Generally, this situation refers to the following three cases: (1) Japan has been attacked from abroad; (2) an attack is imminent; or (3) an attack is anticipated. However, official answers given so far are vague.

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2. Anti-Terror Finance Bill

The Asahi Shimbun ("MIZUHO FUKUSHIMA: ANTI-TERROR BILL MIGHT MAKE DONATIONS ILLEGAL," Tokyo, 05/16/02) reported a comment by Mizuho Fukushima, the secretary-general of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) on the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the pertaining domestic legislation, the anti-terror-finance bill. She stated, "At the outset, since the rationale was supposedly anti-terrorism, many opposition lawmakers supported them, and they have already passed the Lower House. The Upper House is due to begin debate, and it is important to note that both the treaty and the domestic bill in fact contain dangerous aspects similar to the so-called media restraint bills and the military-emergency legislation. More than a few people have experience of giving donations to nongovernmental organizations or refugees. If the treaty and law come into force, we might be punished for giving donations. Both the treaty and the legislation will closely affect people's donation activities, although donations are the most basic form of civic action. As a means to domestically realize the convention, the government has proposed a legislation which, in fact, far exceeds the stipulations of the convention."

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3. Japanese Coast Guard

The Asahi Shimbun ("COAST GUARD GOES UNDERGROUND," Tokyo, 05/14/02) reported that the Japan Coast Guard began selling its annual report at kiosks in Tokyo subway stations to gain wider public exposure. "We wanted ordinary citizens to understand what the Japan Coast Guard does," an official said. The coast guard was pushed into the national limelight after its shootout in December with a mysterious ship that sank in the East China Sea. The 2002 annual report focuses on countermeasures for intrusions into Japanese waters and illegal immigration.

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

Ilmin Internationl Relations Institute
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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