NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, september 13, 2002

I. United States

II. Japan III. CanKor E-Clipping Service

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I. United States

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1. DPRK-Japan Mystery Ship

The Associated Press (Eric Talmadge, "SPY MYSTERY LOOMS LARGE AHEAD OF KOIZUMI'S UNPRECEDENTED NORTH KOREA," Tokyo, 09/13/02) reported that this week, on the eve of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's unprecedented visit to the DPRJ, Japan raised the mystery ship after a four-month effort. Though a full inspection has yet to be finished, the media is abuzz with tantalizing tidbits of what has been found aboard. The ship's hull was littered with bodies and more were found on the ocean floor around it, Coast Guard spokesman Tomohisa Hashimoto said Friday. He said a smaller boat - perhaps intended for clandestine landings along Japan's coastline - was found in a hidden compartment. Among the weapons aboard or scattered around the ship were an anti-aircraft missile launcher, an anti-tank rocket gun, artillery shells and an automatic rifle. Soon after the ship sank last December, Japanese officials said they strongly suspected it was the DPRK. Japanese Coast Guard ships have frequently spotted similar vessels believed to be engaged in espionage or drug smuggling near Japan's shores. The 5.9 billion yen (dlrs 49 million) salvage operation was ordered to find proof to back up that claim, and reports Friday said such evidence was indeed found. According to the Asahi, a major daily, some of the weapons had markings proving they were of DPRK make. Hashimoto did not confirm that, but said the Coast Guard will do a more detailed analysis of the boat after it is brought ashore this weekend and the ship is confirmed to be safe for inspection.

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2. PRC Role at UN on Iraq

The Associated Press ("CHINA FM URGES IRAQ TO ABIDE U.N.," Beijing, 09/13/02), the Associated Press (Oliver Teves, "CHINA'S LI PENG SAYS U.N. SHOULD APPROVE IRAQ ACTION, URGES RETURN OF WEAPONS INSPECTORS," Manila, 09/13/02) and Reuters (Jeremy Page, "CHINA TO TAKE ACTIVE ROLE AT UN ON IRAQ," Beijing, 09/13/02) reported that UN Security Council member the PRC undertook on Friday to play an active role at the United Nations to resolve the Iraq crisis, following U. President George W. Bush's call for the world to disarm Baghdad. While well short of offering Bush support, the statement reflected a more receptive attitude to action on Iraq than 10 years ago when the PRC abstained from almost all U.N. Security Council votes in the run-up to the 1991 Gulf War, diplomats said. "China is willing to continue to play an active and constructive role alongside the international community to seek a political solution to the question of Iraq within the framework of the United Nations," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. China has a veto at the UN Security Council as one of five permanent members along with the United States, Britain, France and Russia. In the aftermath of the Gulf War, Beijing opposed sanctions on Iraq and was the only permanent member of the Security Council to call for restraint after a missile attack on Baghdad in 1993. The PRC is likely to abstain again in any Security Council vote, but its recent statements reflected tacit support for international action against Iraq. "They could say hundreds of things about opposing hegemony or interfering in the internal affairs of other nations," said one Western diplomat. "It seems to be neutral-positive. What they've said is there is a problem in Iraq which needs a solution."

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3. IMF on PRC Economic Reform

Reuters ("CHINA FACES ENORMOUS REFORM CHALLENGES," Beijing, 09/13/02) reported that the PRC, having kept its economy afloat amid global turmoil, now faces the "enormous challenge" of reforming its ailing banks, farms and state firms, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund said on Friday. PRC Premier Zhu Rongji and Vice Premier Wen Jiabao met Horst Kohler of the IMF this week for briefings on "unfinished economic reform". This included the further overhaul of state-owned firms and banks, the creation of new jobs for those left unemployed by the state sector overhaul, and boosting the incomes of farmers, Kohler said in a statement. "These are enormous challenges, but I am reassured by the way the authorities are approaching them, with careful study and detailed analysis," Kohler said. The PRC government has boosted growth this year through stimulus spending and an expansionary monetary policy. The economy grew eight percent in the second quarter and 7.8 percent in the first half of the year. "We at the IMF support this strategy, in particular the way fiscal policy has been used to support domestic demand in the face of a global slowdown, by putting the country's resources into a major effort to upgrade the national infrastructure, which enhances China's long-term growth potential," Kohler said.

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4. PRC Reversal of Internet Censorship

Agence France-Presse ("GOOGLE MYSTERY DEEPENS AS SITE UNBLOCKED AGAIN IN CHINA," 09/13/02) reported that the PRC's fortnight-long block on the search engine has ended, Internet users said, concluding a sudden clampdown which had mystified -- and angered -- many of the country's web surfers. The US-based site, which had been inaccessible since the start of this month, appeared to be working, users in different parts of the country told AFP. A program devised by the Harvard Law School in the United States which tests blocks on PRC servers also reported Google as accessible. However another US-based search engine, Altavista, which was blocked a few days after Google, remained barred, both users and the Harvard programme showed. Additionally, Google appeared briefly blocked again for short periods later Friday. Observers in the PRC have speculated the blocks are part of a general information clampdown ahead of November's Communist Party Congress, at which it will be announced whether a series of elderly leaders including President Jiang Zemin are stepping down. The PRC's Ministry of Information Industry said Friday it knew nothing about the blocks, a position it has maintained throughout. "The ministry has received no information about Google being blocked, and we have received no information about a block being lifted," said an official from the information section, giving his name as Wang. "It is quite normal with some Internet sites that sometimes you can access them, and sometimes you can't," he told AFP.

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5. Japan on US Attack on Iraq

Asia Pulse, "JAPAN PM URGES BUSH TO SEEK INTN'L COOPERATION IN IRAQ ISSUE," New York, 09/13/02) reported that Japan Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Thursday urged US President George W. Bush to seek international cooperation in resolving issues related to Iraq, but Bush said the US will not rule out military action if diplomatic efforts should fail. Bush indicated his readiness to launch a military campaign against Iraq if the regime of President Saddam Hussein continues to take a defiant attitude toward United Nations demands that Iraq give up its weapons of mass destruction. During a 30-minute meeting in New York, Bush welcomed and supported Koizumi's plan to make a historic visit to Pyongyang for a summit with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. Koizumi and Bush reaffirmed that Japan, the US and the ROK will continue to closely coordinate their policies toward the DPRK. On the issue of Iraq, Koizumi urged Bush to consider measures to upgrade the existing framework of "international coordination." But the president told Koizumi he would seek an early resolution to the problem, not wanting to see Iraq ignore UN resolutions indefinitely. (

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6. Taiwan Independence Referendum

Reuters (Alice Hung, "REFERENDUM BILL TO SPARK DEBATE IN TAIWAN PARLIAMENT," Taipei, 09/13/02) reported that a group of Taiwan legislators said on Friday they will try to introduce an independence referendum bill in parliament this month, threatening to unsettle financial markets and rile the PRC. "We will definitely push it. We will push it all the way," said Lin Jih-jia, secretary general of the Taiwan Solidarity Union, a pro-independence political party with 13 parliamentary seats. "The ruling party does not want to deal with it now. But it can't oppose it either. How can you say you want to have a referendum when there is no legislation?" Lin said. President Chen Shui-bian's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) wants to leave the bill on the back burner after parliament begins a new session on September 24, DPP legislative whip Ker Chien-ming said on Friday. "It is not among our priorities now," Ker told Reuters.

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7. ASEAN-Japan Free Trade Agreement

Reuters (Patrick Chalmers, "JAPAN MUSCLES IN ON ASEAN-CHINA FREE TRADE PLAN," Brunei, 09/13/02) and Dow Jones (Rebecca Thurlow, "ASEAN AND JAPAN AGREE TO CREATE FTA WITHIN 10 YRS," Brunei, 09/13/02) reported that the Association of South East Asian Nations and Japan agreed Friday to form a free trade zone within 10 years. Japan's move puts it back in the running with the PRC for North East Asia's first free trade agreement with the 10 ASEAN-member countries and may surprise many commentators who deemed an ASEAN-Japan free trade area, or FTA, unlikely due to Japan's influential farm lobby. ASEAN economic ministers met Japan Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Takeo Hiranuma in Brunei Friday after meeting with his PRC counterpart to discuss the proposed ASEAN-PRC free trade area. "We have agreed to recommend to our leaders that we would like to establish closer economic ties as soon as possible within ten years," Hiranuma said. "Our basic policy is to negotiate a wide range of sectors, including agriculture, in pursuing economic ties, including a possible FTA." A study prepared by the ministers estimates that closer economic relations with Japan could pump up ASEAN's exports to Japan by 44.2% and Japan's exports to ASEAN by 27.5%. Closer ties could also increase ASEAN's gross domestic product by 1.99% and Japan's gross domestic product by 0.07%, the study found. ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

II. Japan

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1. Japan-DPRK Relations

The Asahi Shinbun ("SUSPECTED SPY SHIP RAISED; NOW THE QUESTIONS," 09/12/02) reported that in a much-awaited salvage operation Wednesday, the Japan Coast Guard raised a foreign ship sunk in a shootout last December-almost certainly offering the first hard evidence that DPRK has been sending spy ships and agents into Japanese waters. While authorities are basically convinced the ship originated in the DPRK, officials say confirmation will not be ready until after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has held summit talks in Pyongyang. The historic meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong Il is set for Tuesday, and officials made clear they do not want to muddy the political waters ahead of the meeting. Investigators said they were preparing to search the vessel's interior to determine its origin and what it was doing when Japan Coast Guard cutters caught up with it. Officials said 21 suspicious ships had been sighted near Japan's territorial waters in the past. But this is the first opportunity for authorities to check out one of these vessels from top to bottom, bow to stern. Once investigators confirm there are no hazards, the ship will be moved to dry dock. This could happen as early as Sept. 21.

The Asahi Shinbun ("KOIZUMI ADAMANT ABDUCTEES PRIORITY," 09/10/02) reported that Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will insist on the return of 11 Japanese believed to have been abducted by DPRK agents before Japan and the DPRK normalize their relations, sources say. When Koizumi meets DPRK leader Kim Jong Il on Sept. 17, he will insist on learning of the fate of the 11 Japanese before going any further with normalization talks, the sources said. Pyongyang has implied some progress will be made on the issue. It also has not wavered in its demands for an apology and compensation for Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula. With these points in mind, Japanese officials decided that the abduction and compensation issues go hand-in-hand, the sources said. Since Koizumi announced he would go to Pyongyang he repeatedly has said he will not shelve the abduction issue to enter normalization talks. Officials believe the issue could be resolved in three stages-confirmation of their whereabouts, their reunion with relatives and their return to Japan.

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2. Japan-PRC Relations

The Asahi Shinbun (Shiro Nakamura and Koichi Furuya, INSIGHT: CHINA, JAPAN PUT ON THEIR BEST FACE FPR THE BIG 30TH BASH, Beijing, 09/11/02 ) reported that the word "friendship" keeps cropping up in conversations between Tokyo and Beijing as the two countries prepare to mark their 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations. But no one on either side seems absolutely certain this state of affairs exists. An extravaganza of events is planned to coincide with the Sept. 29 anniversary and here, too, "friendship" is being given priority-even though several issues continue to sour bilateral relations. Two that rankle most are Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's April visit to Yasukuni Shrine, which honors the war dead, including Class-A war criminals, and Tokyo's protests against PRC police handling of DPRK asylum seekers at Japan's Consulate General in Shenyang in May. But PRC, it seems, is determined to turn a blind eye-at least for the moment-to ensure the planned festivities are a resounding success. "This is an unprecedented event in the long history between the two countries, and a very important one," PRC President Jiang Zemin told Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi during her visit to Beijing on Sunday.

The Japan Times ("JIANG REFUSED TO TAKE KOIZUMI TELEPHONE CALL," Beijing, 09/12/02) reported that Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi tried to telephone his PRC counterpart, Jiang Zemin before the announcement Aug. 30 of his coming historic visit to DPRK, but the PRC president refused to take the call, according to Japanese and PRC sources. The PRC action apparently stemmed from lingering resentment toward Koizumi's spring visit to Yasukuni Shrine on April 21, according to the sources, adding that the Japanese side felt snubbed.

Japan's Position to Iraq The Japan Times ("KOIZUMI URGES IRAQ TO SUBMIT TO UN," New York, 09/12/02) reported that Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi urged Iraq on Tuesday to allow UN inspectors to hceck for weapons of mass destruction and said continued refusal could lead to military conflict with the US. Koizumi mad the warning speech in New York on the eve of the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the US and later paid a visit to ground zero, the scene of destruction a year ago in lower Manhattan.

III. CanKor E-Clipping Service

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1. CanKor #98

In recognition of the 54th anniversary of the founding of the DPRK (9 September), CanKor features a story outlining the meaning of the symbols on the national flag. Although the first inter-Korean soccer meet in twelve years ends in a tie, the true star of the event was the "unified" flag depicting the entire Korean peninsula, passionately waved by the 60,000 fans in the stands. The current wave of inter-Korean collaborative exchanges continues, as the two Koreas plan jointly to submit a UN resolution during the upcoming 57th UN General Assembly in New York, calling on member states to support peace and rapprochement on the Korean peninsula. Negotiations between the DPRK and the United Nations Command begin, in preparation for the start of railroad construction across the DMZ. The ROK, Japan and the USA urge the DPRK to allow nuclear inspections and to continue economic reforms. Kin of the Japanese Red Army return to their homeland, a move that analysts speculate might be in preparation for Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to the DPRK. Kim Jong-Il orders the pro-Pyongyang Federation of Korean Residents in Japan, Chosensoren, to remove his and the deceased Kim Il Sung's portraits from the walls and to disband Juche study groups. Typhoon causes damage in Kangwon Province. Based on reports of North Koreans who fled to the South, Pyongyang is said to have conducted a two- month nationwide census last year, showing a reduction of 2 to 2.5 million people in the DPRK population. CanKor publishes a letter from Sook Ja Chung, describing the first visit by status-North Korean women in Japan to their hometowns in South Korea.

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