NAPSNet Daily Report
 
thursday, may 30, 2002
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CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan IV. CanKor E-Clipping Service
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I. United States


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1. DPRK-US Relations

The Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, "US CONGRESSMEN SEEK CONTACTS WITH NORTH KOREA," Beijing, 05/29/02) reported that visiting US congressmen said Wednesday they want to open up a new, "non-threatening" channel for stalled contacts with the DPRK if the DPRK will allow them to visit. The DPRK has not issued visas to the delegation, which includes 11 members of Congress, spouses and aides. Representative Curt Weldon, the delegation leader, said they are exploring various channels to try to get the DPRK to invite them. He said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan promised to raise the issue with the DPRK's ambassador to the United Nations. The congressmen want to engage the DPRK leaders "in a very non-threatening and a very peaceful way to simply open the door for discussions," Weldon said at a news conference in Beijing. Representative Alcee Hastings said he hoped to discuss with North Korean officials ways to alleviate severe food shortages in the country.


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2. PRC-ROK DPRK Asylum Seekers

Agence France-presse ("CHINA SAYS SOUTH KOREA ASKS FOR GUIDANCE ON ASYLUM-SEEKERS," Beijing, 05/30/02) reported that the PRC said Thursday that ROK diplomats have asked for guidance on how to deal with the four DPRK asylum-seekers who have taken refuge in the ROK's embassy in Beijing. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry reiterated the PRC's demand that the three men and one woman be handed over to PRC authorities "to be handled." An ROK official said the embassy wants further talks with the PRC on the matter, but declined to comment on any negotiations that might be underway. "Our line of consultations is always open," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said Wednesday that the embassy might consider handing over the four only if the PRC promised to respect the asylum-seekers' wishes and let them leave the country. All four have asked to go to the ROK.


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3. Japan-US Relations

Reuters (Kazunori Takada, "US GENERAL: JAPAN TIES DETER N.KOREA THREAT," Yokota Air Base, 05/29/02) reported that strong US-Japan security ties are necessary to deter military threats from the DPRK which could potentially threaten the Asia-Pacific region, top US military official in Japan and commander of US Forces in Japan, Lieutenant General Thomas Waskow, said on Wednesday. "Currently, it (North Korea) is relatively stable," Lieutenant General Thomas Waskow stated. "But if there were some factors that were introduced that could create instability, then the situation would become very questionable... It could potentially become one (threat to the region)." Waskow said he welcomed the current debate in Japan's Parliament on legislation aimed at beefing up the ability of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to respond to attacks. "I think it's a good thing and it's a decision that Japan must make as the relationship between the United States and Japan continues to grow," said Waskow in the interview, his first with the public media since taking the post last November


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4. Hong Kong Domestic Politics

Reuters (Tan Ee Lyn, "HONG KONG LAWMAKERS BACK PLAN FOR SWEEPING GOVT CHANGES," Hong Kong, 05/30/02) reported that Hong Kong legislators gave strong support on Thursday to a plan for government changes that will concentrate power in the hands of PRC-backed leader Tung Chee-hwa. The plan allows Tung to put his most trusted lieutenants in 14 key new political positions to run the civil service - a move observers say will only tighten his grip on the city. It will be the most dramatic shift in governance since Hong Kong was returned to the PRC in 1997. Critics expect Tung to field in yes-men and his hold on power will ultimately mean more control for the PRC over Hong Kong. Thursday's vote, while non-binding, opens the way for the government to ask the legislature for an extra HK$43 million a year to support the 14 new positions, which oversee key portfolios, make policy and run the civil service. Tung has not announced the lineup although Chief Secretary Donald Tsang, Financial Secretary Antony Leung and Justice Secretary Elsie Leung are expected to stay. Lawmakers will formally vote on the plan on June 19 and, like on Thursday, it is expected to pass by a large margin because the 60-member legislature is dominated by pro-PRC figures. The new system will be in place on July 1 when Tung begins his second five-year-term and the 14 political appointees will be directly accountable to Tung and can be fired by him.


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5. PRC-US Anti-terror War

The Associated Press ("CHINA, US TO DISCUSS TERROR MONEY," Washington, 05/30/02) reported that PRC and US officials are meeting for three days this week to discuss international efforts to separate terrorists from their money, the Treasury Department said Thursday. "These meetings will not only strengthen cooperation between China and the US in the areas of terrorist financing but will also seek to further strengthen the existing cooperative relationship in the law enforcement and counterterrorism areas between the two countries," Treasury said in a statement. The meetings began Wednesday and will end Friday, Treasury said. When PRC Vice President Hu Jintao visited the White House this month, senior Bush administration officials said the PRC has cooperated well in the war against terror by sharing information and acting to control the flow of money to terrorists. Roughly US$116 million linked to terrorists has been blocked worldwide. Last week, Deputy Treasury Secretary Ken Dam called that figure disappointing and suggested countries in Southeast Asia could be doing a better job.


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6. US on PRC Military Threat

The Associated Press ("CHINA CALLED A POTENTIAL THREAT," Washington, 05/29/02) reported that US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Wednesday it is unclear whether an increasingly strong PRC will emerge as a force for peace in East Asia or as a "threatening power." "China's future is very much to be shaped," said Wolfowitz, speaking to reporters in advance of a trip to Singapore and the Philippines. At present, he said, the PRC cannot be categorized. "You can't put it in a box." He said it was extremely important for "Chinese and non-Chinese" to ensure that the PRC evolves as a force for peace. "It seems almost certain that China is going to be more powerful. That's certainly the trajectory that it's on," Wolfowitz said.


II. Republic of Korea


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1. PRC Special Police

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Chul-hee, "CHINESE TARGETING ETHNIC KOREANS," Seoul, 05/30/02) reported that the PRC has launched a tough crackdown on ethnic Koreans living in three northeastern provinces, claiming that they were helping DPRK defectors, nongovernment organizations and Korean residents said Wednesday. The PRC People's Armed Police Force formed a special investigating team empowered to arrest people suspected of aiding defectors. The PRC formed the special team at the end of March, according to civic groups. On April 12, the team arrested the Reverend Choi Bong-il, a clergyman who helped defectors in Yanbian prefecture. Police reportedly used telephone records and Choi's diary to round up and interrogate ethnic Koreans connected to him, often employing violence.


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2. DPRK Human Rights Situation

Joongang Ilbo (Ser Myo-ja, "RIGHTS GROUP CITES ABUSES OF REFUGEE WOMEN IN CHINA," Seoul, 05/30/02) reported that female DPRK refugees in the PRC were repeatedly raped and forced into prostitution over the last year, according to Amnesty International's annual human rights report Tuesday. The report also added that there had been no tangible improvements in human rights in the DPRK. The DPRK persistently has refused access to independent human rights observers, the report said. "Information reaching Amnesty International suggested that almost three quarters of DPRK refugees in PRC are women. There were reports that many were targeted by organized gangs, repeatedly raped and forced into prostitution."


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3. DPRK Hatred to Opposition Party of ROK

Joongang Ilbo ("PYEONYANG BLASTS LEE ON UNIFICATION," Seoul, 05/30/02) reported that the DPRK forecast Tuesday that inter-Korean relations would return to a Cold War freeze if Lee Hoi-chang, the Grand National Party presidential candidate, comes to power. Lee called last week for a review of the Joint Declaration, signed at the summit in 2000. A spokesman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said Lee had challenged the declaration's Article 2 dealing with reunification formulas. "Negating the second point of the joint declaration means opposing exchange and cooperation between the North and the South and their co-existence and, in a long run, saying no to the joint declaration itself," the statement said. It that said a Lee presidency portended a renewed "state of confrontation."


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4. Precaution against Terrorism in World Cup

The Korea Herald (Hwang Jang-jin, "SEOUL BARS TERRORIST SUSPECTS, HOOLIGANS FOR WORLD CUP," Seoul, 05/30/20) reported that ROK has banned more than 9,200 suspected terrorists and soccer hooligans from entering the nation to ensure the safety of the World Cup soccer finals, officials said Wednesday. The ROK government has also designated areas surrounding stadiums, players' training camps and other key installations special security zones, they said. To cope with possible biological attacks, the government has kept in stock vaccines and other materials to prevent and treat contagious diseases such as anthrax, Health and Welfare Minister Lee Tae-bok said. The military will deploy F-15 fighter jets, anti-aircraft missiles and anti-terror units around World Cup venues, while US and ROK vehicles for detecting biochemical agents will be positioned around stadiums, he said.


III. Japan


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1. Japanese Armed Attack Situations Bill

The Japan Times ("GOVERNORS WARY OF ATTACK-RESPONSE BILLS," 05/29/02) reported that a majority of prefectural governors have not decided yet if they support three bills that would govern Japan's response to a military attack, according to a Kyodo News survey. Eight of the governors said they support passage of the bills and two said they are opposed. Thirty-four governors, however, said they have not yet reached a decision, and one governor responded only to survey questions and did not state his position on the three bills, which are now being debated in the Diet. The Fukuoka and Nagasaki governors chose not to respond on the grounds that the Diet is currently in session. Many of the governors expressed a need for cautious discussion on the matter, particularly as the bills do not clearly define the roles of the national and municipal governments in case of an attack. Nearly all the governors declined to comment on a government proposal that civilian defense organizations be mobilized in case of emergency, saying the details of the plan are still sketchy.

Mainichi Shimbun ("FUKUDA APPROVES TO EXAMINE COLLECTIVE SELF-DEFENSE, Tokyo, 05/30/02) reported that the Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda approved to examine about the use of collective self-defense rights. "There have been so many discussions on the Constitution, taking the change of time into account. I think it is possible to research the issue of collective self-defense from various perspective," said Fukuda at the Lower House Armed Attack Situations Special Committee. He, however, also said, "A lot of legislators have been debated on the article 9 of the Constitution at Diet for fifty years, so we should be very careful if we try to change the interpretation of the Constituion."


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2. Misuse of Personal Data by SDF

The Japan Times ("MSDF OFFICER COMPILED PERSONAL DATA ON PEOPLE SEEKING DEFENSE AGENCY INFO," Tokyo, 05/29/02) and The Asahi Shimbun ("AGENCY KEPT LIST ON BACKGROUNDS OF INFO SEEKERS," Tokyo, 05/29/02) reported that a Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) officer compiled personal data on individuals requesting disclosure of the Japanese Defense Agency information and passed it along to other agency officials. According to the Defense Agency, the MSDF officer compiled personal data on 142 individuals who requested agency-related information between April 2001, when the information disclosure law went into effect, and March. The information included such items as occupations and organizations people belong to, as well as notes on some individuals, such as "antiwar SDF official" and "mother of unsuccessful SDF applicant," according to agency officials. Kyoji Yanagisawa, head of the agency's secretariat, told a news conference such private information is irrelevant in connection to public information disclosure and the officer may have violated the personal information protection law. He said the agency will decide on punishment for the officials involved within the next few days.

The Japan Times ("DATA ROUTINELY COLLECTED ON INFO SEEKERS: MSDF," Tokyo, 05/30/02) reported that a senior Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) official has acknowledged that the MSDF's central investigative team systematically collected data on individuals who requested information from the Japanese Defense Agency under the information disclosure law, agency sources said Wednesday. The statement by the 48-year-old lieutenant commander in charge of information disclosure at the Maritime Staff Office contradicts an assertion made in the agency's in-house report, which was released Tuesday. According to the report, he compiled personal data on such people "for his own use."


IV. CanKor E-Clipping Service


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1. DPRK Terrorism

The US State Department repeats its listing of the DPRK as a state sponsoring terrorism, along with Iran, Sudan, Libya, Iraq, Cuba and Syria in its annual report to Congress. Despite the suspension of North-South economic talks, ten North Korean nuclear experts and airport officials tour South Korean power stations and airports, the latter in the hopes of opening direct flights to service the construction of nuclear reactors in the North. The DPRK sends a delegation to the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting in Brunei. On the humanitarian front, while the WFP repeats warnings of impending food shortages, UNICEF gears up to conduct a follow-up nutritional survey in September. A Vatican delegation visits the Roman Catholic Church in Pyongyang, Handicap International receives funds to continue its groundbreaking work aiding the DPRK's disabled population, and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank ships 7,000 tons of wheat flour to feed three million women and children for a three-month period. This week's Focus examines some of the surprises confronting foreigners who visit the DPRK's Arirang extravaganza.

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