NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, august 1, 2002

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. DPRK-US Relations

Reuters ("POWELL TO CONSULT BUSH ABOUT NEXT STEP ON N.KOREA," Bandar Seri Begawan, 08/01/02) and the Associated Press (Yoo Jae-suk, "POWELL DEFENDS NEGOTIATING WITH 'AXIS OF EVIL' MEMBER NORTH KOREA," Bandar Seri Bagawan, 08/01/02) reported that US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Thursday that he would consult President George Bush before deciding the next move on the DPRK, whose foreign minister he met briefly on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific security forum in Brunei. Powell told reporters of his meeting with DPRK counterpart Paek Nam-sun at the start of an Asia-Pacific security forum in Brunei on Wednesday. He said he would make a judgment on what the next step would be "after we've had a chance to discuss it and I receive the president's guidance." Powell was asked why he had decided to sit down for 15 minutes over coffee with Paek after Bush had called his country a member of an "axis of evil" seeking weapons of mass destruction and sponsoring terrorism, with Iran and Iraq. "There is nothing inconsistent with our designation of North Korea as a member of what we call the axis of evil, that is just fact and reality," Powell said. "But at the same time we want to enter into dialogue to see if that reality can be changed into a more positive reality, one in which we can bring peace and stability to the peninsula and help the North Korean people achieve a better life." Paek said on Thursday US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James Kelly would visit Pyongyang and the United States might inform them of the date soon. Powell did not mention a possible visit by Kelly.

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2. US-ASEAN Anti-Terror Pact

Agence France-Presse ("US-ASEAN ANTI-TERROR PACT TO DENY SANCTUARY TO TERRORISTS," 08/01/02) reported that an anti-terrorism agreement due to be signed between Southeast Asian nations and the United States is crucial in preventing terrorists from establishing a sanctuary in Southeast Asia, officials said. Terrorism has dominated ministerial meetings in Brunei this week, and in wrap up talks Thursday it was tackled "in the context of transnational crimes, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary General Rodolfo Severino said. Domingo Siazon, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo's special envoy to the meetings, said the ASEAN-US "Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism" would "deny sanctuaries" for terrorists in the region. It was also significant that all 10 ASEAN countries are involved in the pact, he said. The accord would include provisions for technical assistance but does not allow the deployment of US troops.

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3. PRC 75th Anniversary

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA'S ARMY MARKS 75TH ANNIVERSARY WITH TAIWAN THREAT," 08/01/02) reported that the PRC's 2.5-million-strong army has marked 75 years of existence with a fresh threat by the defense minister to re-take Taiwan by force, state media reported. Chi Haotian warned the island Wednesday at a reception in Beijing's Great Hall of the People on the eve of the People's Liberation Army anniversary, according to the People's Daily and other major dailies. "We will try our utmost to achieve peaceful reunification but we will not renounce the use of force," Chi was quoted as saying. Chi said any attempt to push for independence for Taiwan was doomed to failure. "We have the determination and capability to safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said. Chi also said the PLA would seek to increase its strength through greater use of science and technology. "We should step up military training with high-tech weapons and equipment and enhance the troops' combat readiness under high-tech conditions," he said.

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4. Taiwan Response to PRC Military Threat

The Associated Press ("TAIWAN'S RULING PARTY BRUSHES OFF CHINA'S LATEST MILITARY THREAT," Taipei, 08/01/02) reported that Taiwan's ruling party on Thursday brushed off new military threats from the PRC, saying they would do nothing more than "hurt the feelings" of Taiwanese people. The Democratic Progressive Party was referring to PRC Defense Minister Chi Haotian's remark Wednesday that Beijing would seek peaceful unification with Taiwan but "will not renounce the use of force" against the island. Chi made the comment at a celebration of the PRC military's 75th anniversary. The DPP said in a statement that Chi's remark didn't surprise the party and was just a repetition of routine threats. "These types of threats will only further hurt the feelings of the Taiwanese people," the statement said.

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5. DPRK-Japan-US Relations

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA UPBEAT ON TALKS WITH US, JAPAN IN DIPLOMATIC COUP," 08/01/02) and Reuters ("NORTH KOREA FOREIGN MINISTER: US OFFICIAL TO VISIT," Bandar Seri Begawan, 07/31/02) reported that DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-Sun has continued a round of whirlwind diplomacy here and talked up prospects of formal dialogue with the US and normalizing relations with Japan. "We have reached an agreement with the United States that Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly (for East Asian and Pacific Affairs) will visit Pyongyang," Paek told reporters Thursday following a meeting with EU foreign envoy Javier Solana. "The United States will inform us of the exact date of the visit," he said, reiterating for a second time that his talks with Powell forged the way for formal dialogue. However, a senior official traveling with Powell, said the DPRK's assessment was premature. Speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, the official stressed it would take at least several days of consultations in Washington and with US allies Japan and the ROK before steps were taken to fully restart the suspended dialogue. "We'll go back to Washington, we'll report to the president, consult allies, we'll watch what they (the North Koreans) say and do, and we'll get back to them," the official said.

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6. DPRK-ROK Relations

Reuters (Paul Eckert, "S.KOREA SET FOR TALKS AS NORTH COMES IN FROM COLD," Seoul, 08/01/02) reported that ROK officials prepared on Thursday to resume stalled talks with the DPRK at a seemingly propitious time, as the ROK reopens contacts with the US and Japan and takes steps to revamp its troubled economy. The ROK's Unification Ministry said Rhee Bong-jo, an assistant minister in charge of policy, would head a 20-person team departing on Friday for the DPRK's Mount Kumgang resort. The Mount Kumgang meeting will be the first direct contact since the ROK sent a presidential envoy to the DPRK in April. The last formal talks ended in mutual recrimination at the same resort last November.

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7. US on Russia-Iran Nuclear Relations

The Associated Press (Vladimir Isachenkov, "RUSSIA-IRAN NUCLEAR TIES CONCERN U.S.," Moscow, 08/01/02) reported that US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham on Thursday said Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran is a matter of "utmost" concern for the Bush administration, which believes the project helps advance Iran's weapons program. Abraham's comments came just days after Russia announced an ambitious 10-year plan for cooperation with Iran that envisages building five nuclear reactors there in addition to the one already under construction. "The expansion of Russian nuclear cooperation with Iran remains an issue of utmost concern to us," Abraham said at a news conference, wrapping up talks this week in Moscow. "It has been raised to the highest levels, we are in the middle of sensitive discussions on this matter." "We have long been concerned that Iran's only interest in nuclear civil power, given its vast domestic energy resources, is to support its nuclear weapons program," Abraham said. "For that reason, we have consistently urged Russia to cease all nuclear cooperation with Iran, including its assistance to the reactor in Bushehr."

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8. US-Japan Iraq Attack

The Associated Press (David Thurber, "POWELL TELLS JAPAN NO DECISION HAS BEEN MADE ON IRAQ ATTACK," Bandar Seri Begawan, 08/01/02) reported that US Secretary of State Colin Powell told Japan Thursday that the US has made absolutely no decision on what action to take against Iraq, and pledged he would consult other nations, a Japanese official said. Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi told Powell that Japan hopes the United States will keep it informed and work through the United Nations, the Foreign Ministry official said. Bush "has made absolutely no decision on what to do with Iraq, and will definitely consult other countries," the official quoted Powell as telling Kawaguchi. The official briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. Powell and Kawaguchi met on the sidelines of an Asian security forum in Brunei.

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9. Japan-Russia Kuril Islands

The Associated Press ("JAPAN, RUSSIA TO DISCUSS PEACE TREATY ISSUES DURING VISIT BY JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER," Bandar Seri Begawan, 08/01/02) reported that Japan's foreign minister will visit Moscow in October and hopes to resolve a dispute over four Pacific islands to pave the way for the two nations to sign a formal peace treaty ending World War II hostilities, an official said Thursday. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told his Japanese counterpart, Yoriko Kawaguchi, Thursday that Russia would like to discuss the issue thoroughly when she visits Moscow, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said. In response, Kawaguchi "expressed the wish to settle the issue so the two countries can conclude a peace treaty and their relationship can move forward," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The two ministers decided Kawaguchi would visit Moscow October 12-14, the official said.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. US-DPRK Talks

Joongang Ilbo (Oh Young-hwan, "POWELL MEETS NORTH AIDE IN BRUNEI TO DISCUSS START OF NEW TALKS," Brunei, 08/01/02) reported that US Secretary of State Colin Powell and DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun sat down together Wednesday for an informal meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific security talks in Brunei at a multilateral conference, the ASEAN Regional Forum. Powell proposed the meeting just before the forum began Wednesday and later, Richard Boucher, the State Department's spokesman, said the two men discussed a resumption of dialogue. Speaking to reporters later, Paek said that he and Powell had agreed to resume the US-DPRK dialogue. A US official with Powell's party told AFP that Paek's statement was premature. He said US officials would have to consult internally and with ROK and Japan before deciding on talks. In Brunei at the regional forum, ROK Foreign Minister Choi Sung-hong mentioned last month's border clash between the two Koreas' navies, saying it violated the spirit of inter-Korean agreements, but Paek, who spoke earlier, did not mention the clash. Although most ministers conducted several rounds of bilateral talks, DPRK and ROK did not meet privately.

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2. ROK Fisherman PRC Consulate Charge

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, "ESCAPEE BLAMES MISSION IN CHINA," Seoul, 08/01/02) reported that an ROK fisherman, who escaped after being kidnapped and detained by DPRK for 30 years, is seeking the prosecutors' investigation of a diplomat on charges of neglecting duty. Lee Jae-geun, 64, who returned to ROK in June 2000, filed an official complaint at the Seoul District Prosecutors Office against a foreign ministry official, who had served in an ROK mission in PRC. "During the course of my escape and return from North Korea to the South, I sought help at the South Korean Consulate in Qingdao, China, but my requests were rejected," Lee was abducted by a DPRK patrol boat while fishing in the waters west of the peninsula near the maritime demarcation line on April 29, 1970. DPRK authorities kidnapped 27 fishermen including Lee; 19 of them were released after six-month detention in DPRK.

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3. DPRK's Economic Reform

Joongang Ilbo (Oh Dae-young, "PRO-NORTH NEWSPAPERJ ACKNOWEDGES REFORM," Tokyo, 08/01/02) reported that DPRK is implementing a series of economic reforms, like raising workers' wages and consumer prices, according to a pro-North Korea Japanese newspaper. The Chosun Shinbo said Friday, "Starting in July, changes to all prices were implemented in the system, including workers' wages." It added that the cost of rice to consumers rose to 44 won (officially about 25 cents) per kilogram roughly 55 times what it cost at state-run stores in June. The Chosun Shinbo, a quasi-official organ of DPRK, first reported those fact as a pro-North Korea publication. "Too much burden has been placed on the North Korean government because the consumer price of rice and housing have stayed the same for too long. Raising prices will more accurately reflect the government's expenditures," the paper said, adding that the jump in the cost of rice was intended to encourage farmers to be more productive and improve their quality of life.

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4. Inter Korean Working-Level Talks

Chosun Ilbo (Choi Byung-mook, "WORKING-LEVEL TALKS AGREED ON AUGUST 2," Seoul, 08/01/02) reported that DPRK agreed Tuesday to hold working-level talks at the Mount Kumgang resort from August 2 to 4 to discuss the resumption of ministerial talks, which ROK has proposed to be held in Seoul from August 15. The proposed meeting is aimed at setting the timetable and agenda items for the seventh round of inter-Korean ministerial talks. The ministry said Rhee Bong-jo, head of its Policy Department, is expected to be the key representative entering the working-level meeting. ROK government reportedly plans to suggest a separated family exchange for Korean Thanksgiving Holiday on September 21 and the establishment of meeting room for the families will also be included on the agenda. ROK will also promote resuming the ROK-DPRK Economic Cooperation Committee meeting to provide 300,000 tons of grain aid.

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5. DPRK's Rationing System

Chosun Ilbo (Choi Byung-muk, "NK TO MAINTAIN RATIONING SYSTEM," Seoul, 08/01/02) reported that DPRK has told people involved in international organizations, including the UN, that it is keeping its decades-old state rationing system, according to a government source Wednesday. The source said rumors about DPRK abolishing the system as a means to shore up its economy were false, adding that DPRK was planning to maintain the amount of food rationing at 300g a day for an adult at least until September. Since the beginning of this year the amount of rationed has increased by nearly 50% from last year, but it has yet to reach half of the minimum consumption recommended by international organizations he continued.

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

International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
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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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