NAPSNet Daily Report
monday, september 30, 2002

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. People's Republic of China IV. Japan

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I. United States

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1. Inter-Korean Relations: Asian Games

The Associated Press (Yoo Jae-suk, "NORTH KOREA RECEIVES SUPPORT LIKE HOME TEAM IN SOUTH KOREA," Busan, 09/28/02) reported that while, the DPRK has sent its own 300-member cheering section to the Asian games, thousands of ROK goers joined them in yelling encouragement as the DPRK beat Hong Kong 2-1. Thundering cheers erupted from the 26,000-seat Changwon Stadium as DPRK forward Han Song Chol scored the match's first goal in the 59th minute and again when teammate Hong Yong Jo put in the match-winner in the 82nd minute. "It's OK! It's OK!" the South Koreans shouted when Hong Kong scored the equalizer in the 66th minute. The North Koreans waved red and blue pom-poms, and four cheerleaders in red T-shirts danced a traditional fan dance to a folk song played by their brass band in blue and white uniforms. Others waved their red and blue national flag with a large red star. Sitting in the center section, surrounded by ROK security officials, the DPRK supporters shouted "Go! Go! Our players, go! and shook wooden clappers throughout the match. The band played fast-beat tunes whenever the DPRK advanced on the Hong Kong goal. Except for a few dozen supporters for Hong Kong sitting in one corner, the rest of the stadium rooted for DPRK team, waving the "unification flag" - a white flag emblazoned with a sky-blue image of the Korean Peninsula. "Korea team fighting!" chanted ROK fans, some in red T-shirts with "Korea is one" written on them. "We are not strangers! We are brothers!" read one large banner hung from the stands. Another said: "Welcome! Fellow countrymen from the North." In appreciation, DPRK players bowed to ROK fans in the stands after the match.

Agence France-Presse ("UNITED KOREAN TEAMS LAUNCH ASIAN GAMES AS CHINA STRIKE GOLD," reported that athletes from the DPRK and the ROK struck a sporting blow for peace, marching together in a show of unity at the Asian Games opening ceremony. ROK and DPRK athletes strode into the Busan Main Stadium hand-in-hand and side-by-side at the rear of the 42 other nations competing in an event second only to the Olympics in size. In another sign of improving inter-Korean ties following the resumption of inter-Korean dialogue in August, they followed the neutral unification flag, showing a blue emblem of the Korean peninsular on a white background. The DPRK's football goalkeeper Ri Chong-Hui and South Korean handball player Hwangbo Sung-Il carried the symbol together after the Olympic Council of Asia relented on its protocol of only one athlete being allowed to carry a national flag. ROK President Kim Dae-Jung clapped enthusiastically from the stands as the crowd erupted and the electronic scoreboard flashed up "Korea". Hundreds of DPRK flags, banned in the ROK, were vigorously waved by a DPRK cheer squad shipped in for the event. Underscoring the theme of unity, the Asian Games flame had been lit simultaneously at Mount Halla in the South and Mount Baekdu in the North.

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2. DPRK Passenger Boat ROK Arrival

Agence France-Presse ("FIRST NORTH KOREAN PASSENGER BOAT ARRIVES IN SOUTH KOREA," 09/28/02) reported that a DPRK passenger boat carrying hundreds of Asian Games supporters arrived here in a landmark visit to ROK. The 9,672-ton Mangyongbong 92, carying 343 DPRK supporters, including a 150-member music band, pulled in at Dadaepo Port Saturday amid cheers from hundreds of Busan citizens waving "unification flags" and banners. It marked the first time that a DPRK passenger boat has entered ROK waters and moored at a since the end of the Korean War. It was also at Dadaepo Port where a group of DPRK armed agents landed in 1983, triggering a bloody gunbattle. Civilians and fishermen on some 50 boats rode out to the sea to welcome the DPRK passengers on Saturday as hundreds of the unfication flags were hung from windows of apartment buildings near the port. The DPRK boat was marked with their national flag -- a red star and blue and red stripes --- but it also flew a unification flag, commonly used by the two sides and decorated with the blue Korean peninsula image. "Thank you all for welcoming us so warmly," Li Myong-Won, who led the cheering squad, told the audience. "We'll root for not only our athletes but for the unification of the fatherland."

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3. DPRK US Envoy Announcement

Reuters (Martin Nesirky, "NORTH KOREA GOES PUBLIC WITH U.S. ENVOY'S VISIT," Seoul, 09/30/02) reported that the DPRK said for the first time Monday that a US special envoy is to hold talks in Pyongyang this week but did not say which officials he would meet during the highest-level US visit in two years. In the ROK, government officials were working hard to play down media reports that U.S. envoy James Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, could even meet DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. The DPRK's official KCNA news agency said senior State Department, Defense Department and White House National Security Council officials would accompany Kelly on the October 3-5 visit, which has already been announced by Washington. "During his visit he will explain the present U.S. administration's Korea policy and its stand toward the resumption of dialogue with the DPRK," KCNA said. "He will also exchange views of issues of mutual concern." KCNA did not say which DPRK officials Kelly would meet. "Although the official schedule has yet to be set between the two sides, there is a high possibility that Kim Jong-il will stage a surprise show to receive Kelly," the Korea Times quoted the official as saying.

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4. UN Drop in DPRK humanitarian Aid

The Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, "DROP IN DONATIONS FORCES U.N. TO CUT GRAIN RATIONS TO 3 MILLION IN NORTH KOREA," Beijing, 09/30/02) reported that donation shortfalls are forcing the UN to cut grain rations to nearly 3 million people in the DPRK, threatening years of work to end starvation in that country, a UN official said Monday. The halt will take effect over the next two months, with another 1.5 million people threatened with cutoffs early next year, said Rick Corsino, World Food Program country director for the DPRK. Such cutbacks "would cause suffering on a massive scale," Corsino said at a news conference in Beijing. He said about 100,000 metric tons (110,000 tons) of grain were urgently needed to cover the immediate shortfall. The WFP provides food assistance to about one-third of the DPRK's 23 million people. Hundreds of thousands of DPRK citizens have died from hunger caused by the withdrawal of Soviet-era subsidies and failed harvests since the mid-1990s. The WFP provided almost 1 million metric tons of food to DPRK in 2001, but will probably provide only half that amount this year, Corsino said. While primary donors ROK and the US have provided about the same amounts as last year, Japan, which gave 500,000 metric tons (550,000 tons) in 2001, hasn't provided any so far this year. Corsino said that beginning in September, almost 1 million primary school children and 140,000 elderly people lost grain rations that had provided much of their daily food. Next on the list are 460,000 kindergarten children and 250,000 pregnant and nursing women. About 1 million more children of nursery-school age are to lose their rations in November. Corsino said remaining aid will go to the most vulnerable, such as orphans and sick children. They too could face cuts once supplies are exhausted, he said. "We're very much concerned that the really important strides that have been made over the past five or six years - consistently feeding those groups of the population - will be diminished or even lost," Corsino said. Corsino said it wasn't clear how good the DPRK's fall harvest would be. While rainfall has been better than in past years, he said, pests and typhoons have also caused losses. The DPRK recent economic reforms freeing some prices and allowing more private food markets may encourage additional food production, he said. However, because those reforms were taken after crops were planted, they were too late to have any substantial effect this year. Japan suspended food aid after relations soured over the DPRK government's handling of conflicts between the sides, especially the kidnappings of Japanese citizens to train DPRK spies.

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5. PRC on UN Iraq Resolution

Reuters (Jeremy Page, "CHINA SAID REFLECTING ON UN IRAQ RESOLUTION," Beijing, 09/30/02) reported that the PRC is reflecting on a draft UN resolution setting tough new terms for Iraq on disarming, which a British envoy discussed with senior PRC officials in Beijing on Monday, a British embassy official said. But PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told his Russian counterpart that the PRC still favored a political solution and the priority was for UN arms inspectors to return to Iraq. The consultations came as Britain and the US lobbied fellow UN Security Council permanent members PRC, France and Russia to back a resolution requiring Baghdad to comply with new arms inspection rules within 30 days or face military action. The PRC is expected to abstain in a vote on the resolution. But diplomats say it is taking a more pragmatic, rather than principled, stance compared to when it abstained on almost all Security Council votes before the 1991 Gulf War and opposed sanctions on Iraq afterwards. William Ehrman, Britain's deputy undersecretary of state for defence and international security, discussed Iraq with PRC Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya, the British embassy official said. "He briefed senior Chinese officials on the U.K. view of the draft resolution on Iraq. They're reflecting on the draft text." The PRC's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Wang had stressed Iraq should obey existing UN resolutions. "China will continue, together with other members of the security council, to promote a political solution to the question of Iraq within the framework of the United Nations," it quoted Wang as saying.

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6. PRC-Japan 30th Anniversary of Diplomatic Ties

Reuters ("CHINA AND JAPAN MARK 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF TIES," Tokyo, 09/29/02) reported that Japan and the PRC vowed on Sunday to forge closer and stronger bilateral ties, as they marked the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji exchanged messages to commemorate the 30th anniversary of forging diplomatic ties, Japan's Foreign Ministry said. "The two countries have strengthened ties in various fields and now both have extremely important responsibilities concerning peace and prosperity not only in the region but the world," Koizumi said in his message to Zhu. "I hope to continue to strengthen wide-ranging cooperative relations with your country," he said, according to a copy of his massage released by Japan's Foreign Ministry. Koizumi had been considering a trip to the PRC in late September or early October to mark the 30th anniversary. In his message to Koizumi on Sunday, Zhu said: "Both Japan and China are mutually important neighbors and under the new circumstances of the 21st century, it is important for the two countries to develop stable, friendly and cooperative relations as good neighbors over the long term."

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7. Japan Cabinet Reshuffle

The Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, "JAPAN LEADER RESHUFFLES NEW CABINET," Tokyo, 09/30/02) reported that Japan Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi fired a top economic adviser Monday in the first reshuffle of his Cabinet since taking office more than a year ago. Koizumi, saying the government needs to help the banking industry eliminate some of its $352 billion in bad loans, sacked Financial Services Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa. Yanagisawa, the country's chief banking regulator, had shied away from using public funds to accelerate the disposal of problem loans. Critics inside and outside Japan have said such a move is necessary to help reinvigorate the nation's flagging economy. Stressing the need for overall continuity, Koizumi retained most of his main ministers - including Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, Trade Minister Takeo Hiranuma, Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa and Heizo Takenaka, the economic and fiscal policy minister. Yanagisawa's position was assumed by Takenaka. "We should understand that Japan's financial system is suffering from severe malaise.... I don't think the financial system is in a panic, but there are places which need fixing," Takenaka said. "I will do all I can to speed up the disposal of bad loans." Five changes were made in the 17-member Cabinet, and one new post - disaster prevention - was added. The new Cabinet includes four women, as did the previous lineup. Also replaced was Agriculture Minister Tsutomu Takebe, who had been strongly criticized for the government handling of Japan's mad cow disease outbreak. In other changes, Shigeru Ishiba was named as head of the Defense Agency, which was involved in a privacy violation scandal, and Sadakazu Tanigaki as chief of the National Public Safety Commission, which oversees police and national security issues.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Inter Korean Sports Exchange

Joongang Ilbo ("TWO KOREAS TO DISCUSS SPORTS EXCHANGE," Seoul, 09/30/02) reported that ministers of the ROK and DPRK gathered Monday to discuss further sports exchanges between DPRK and ROK. ROK's Minister of Culture and Tourism Kim Seong-jae invited DPRK's Chairman of State Physical Culture and Sports Committee Pak Myong-chol and other related North Korean officials to a luncheon meeting to exchange opinions on inter-Korean sports exchanges. Pak is also the head of the DPRK Olympic Committee. Some of the ideas discussed included holding some kind of inter-Korean table tennis tournament to be hosted alternately by each side, regularization of an inter-Korean soccer match and DPRK's attendance at the 2003 Daegu Summer Universiade Contest. Another South Korean delegation will fly to Pyongyang Tuesday to attend a joint civilian-level event marking National Foundation Day that drops this coming Thursday.

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2. Restriction of South Koreans to Sinuiju

Joongnag Ilbo ("NORTH DENIES SOUTH KOREAN, JAPANESE REPORTS ENTRY TO SINUIJU," Seoul, 09/30/02) reported that DPRK rejected an application Monday by a group of ROK journalists for an entry visa to the newly designated Sinuiju special economic zone. The DPRK Consulate General in the northeast PRC city of Shenyang explained it rejected the visa application because "South Koreans are not foreigners." South Korean journalists applied for visas through the Europe-Asia Group owned by Yang Bin. Yang, the chief administrator of the free trade zone, declared last Friday that he and his staff control the consular affairs of the district. But the rejection of the journalists' application proved that to be untrue. Suspicions are growing that the group deliberately asked for ROK to apply for visas knowing they would be rejected in order to avoid any direct blame. A group of Japanese journalists that applied for visas the same day was also rejected.

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3. DPRK and IMF

Joongang Ilbo ("IMF TO INVITE NORTH TO 2003 CONFERENCE," Washington, 09/30/02) reported that the DPRK will be invited to the annual conference of the International Monetary Fund next year, the Ministry of Finance and Economy said Sunday. Horst Koehler, managing director of the fund, told Finance Minister Jeon Yun-churl on Saturday that he will invite DPRK as a special guest at the conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. If DPRK wants to be a member of the International Monetary Fund, Koehler said, it will be provided with technical support to bring its institutions up to international standards, the ministry said. Considering the new movement of DPRK toward opening its economy, DPRK is likely to accept the invitation, an official said.

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4. James Kelly's Visit to DPRK

Joongang Ilbo ("KELLY TO FLY TO NORTH DIRECTLY FROM SEOUL," Seoul, 09/30/02) reported that assistant US Secretary of State James Kelly will travel directly from Seoul to Pyeongyang over the Yellow Sea on Thursday, leading a team of officials for talks with DPRK, a Seoul official said Sunday. US team will be in Tokyo and Seoul before the Pyeongyang visit, which is scheduled to end on Saturday. The Seoul official said that Mr. Kelly would meet with government officials here for consultations on US position toward DPRK. There was no information that he will be carrying a letter for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il from President George W. Bush, he added.

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5. US Comment on DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (Ju Yong-jung, "US URGES CAUTION ONN CHANGES ON NK," Washington, 09/30/02) reported that spokesperson Richard Boucher for US Department of State commented last Friday on DPRK, saying, "We know of several positive developments, but we have yet to see any movement in many fields. Especially in terms of security, there is no change." The statement is interpreted as another call for DPRK to take concrete measures to deal with the problems of the development of weapons of mass destruction and the growth of its conventional military power. "President Bush revealed last year through a declaration that we are prepared for serious discussions on core issues. These discussions are the intention of the U.S. representatives," Boucher said. "Until now, we have repeatedly suggested discussions with North Korea. We will search for a comprehensive solution for our interests, such as North Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction and missiles, nuclear development programs, conventional military posturing, and the human rights of North Korean residents," Boucher added.

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6. DPRK and IAEA

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Kyeong-bok, "NORTH RESUMES NEGOTIATIONS WITH IAEA," Seoul, 09/30/02) reported that the spokesperson for the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, Melissa Fleming, announced Sunday that the organization has already begun negotiations with DPRK on nuclear inspections. The negotiations were prompted by remarks from DPRK's leader, Kim Jong Il, who agreed with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in their September 17 summit to allow international nuclear inspectors into the country. Fleming said in an e-mail interview with The Chosun Ilbo. "Negotiations are underway between the IAEA and North Korea on the scope and timeframe of the inspections." The IAEA and DPRK were to begin working-level talks for the implementation of the Nuclear Safety and Security Treaty in Pyongyang, June 25 to 29, but DPRK called off the talks.

III. People's Republic of China

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1. PRC-DPRK Relations

China Daily (Jiang Zhuqing, "NATIONS TO HOLD JOINT ANTI-TERROR EXERCISES", 09/25/02, P1) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said on September 24 that PRC and Kirghizstan will hold joint anti-terror military exercises on their border areas focusing on the threat posed by Eastern Turkistan terrorists. Zhang said in the report that "to carry out the UN Charter, as well relevant conventions of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization, this is the first bilateral anti-terrorism military exercise since the founding of the organization". It reported that this military exercise will not only strengthen the mutual trust of the two countries, but also have a significant effect on maintaining peace in the border areas of the two neighbors. According to the report, DPRK appointed the governor of the newly-established Sinuiju SAR on September 24, which marked the official establishment of the zone and gained welcomes and supports from PRC. The report said that being close neighbors with a tradition of friendship, PRC and DPRK will strengthen their co-operation to promote, not only the common development of the two nations, but the whole area, as Zhang said.

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2. DPRK-ROK Relations

China Daily ("DPRK AND ROK SET UP MILITARY HOTLINE", Seoul, 09/25/02, P11) reported that the Defense Ministry of ROK set up a hotline on September 24 with the military of DPRK for the reconnection of railways and roads through their heavily mined frontier. It reported that previously the only connection was a rickety Soviet-era landline between the DPRK military and a United Nations guard post in the truce village of Panmunjom, in the heart of the Demilitarized Zone, which bisects the Korean peninsula. The report said that military officials from both sides agreed on September 17 to install the first direct line between their militaries to ensure mine-clearing troops could work safely and without misunderstandings. The report said that testing of the line was carried out on September 24.

People's Daily (Gao Haorong, "DPRK, ROK TO HOLD CONGRESSIONAL TALKS", Seoul, 09/24/02, P3) reported that ROK Congress delegation that just finished visiting DPRK said on September 22 that ROK and DPRK have agreed on holding congressional talks which are under preparations now. According to the report, a delegation member told the press that the president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong-nam met the ROK Delegation on September 20 and agreed on the congressional talks suggestions raised by the delegation. It reported that Kim said at the meeting that DPRK will faithfully implement and firmly support the South-North Joint Declaration signed in July, 2000 and he hoped this visit will promote the reconciliation and cooperation between ROK and the DPRK.

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3. US-DPRK Relations

People's Daily ("BUSH'S ENVOY TO VISIT DPRK", 09/27/02, P3) reported that US White House spokesman Ari Fleischer announced on September 25 that President George W. Bush will send an envoy to DPRK early next month to resume talks between the two countries which have been suspended for close to two years. Fleischer said in the report that in a phone call to ROK President Kim Dae-jung, Bush informed his ROK counterpart of the US decision to send an envoy to Pyongyang in the near future. "The two leaders agreed that real progress with DPRK depends on full resolution of the security issues on the Korean Peninsula, including the North's possession and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles", Fleischer told reporters. It also reported that a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs James Kelly might probably be nominated the envoy.

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4. PRC Attitude towards Korean Peninsula Development

China Daily (Jiang Zhuqing, "KOREAN PENINSULA'S DÉTENTE TREND HAILED", 09/27/02, P1) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said on September 26 that PRC Government welcomes the recent reconciliation trend on the Korean Peninsula. Zhang said in the report that improvement has been apparent recently in the relations between DPRK and US, Japan and Russia, and PRC regards the upcoming US envoy to DPRK "as another positive step". PRC also hopes all sides involved will further improve relations with DPRK to enhance bilateral trust through honest dialogue so as to further promote the trend, said Zhang. According to the report, ROK welcomed the US decision on September 26 and "welcome the resumption of dialogue at an early date, as it will contribute to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula". The report also mentioned that on September 23 and 24 US and DPRK representatives met in New York to discuss the US envoy's visit.

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5. Japan-US Relations

China Daily ("JAPAN ALLOWS CARGOES CHECKS", Tokyo, 09/27/02, P11) reported that Japan agreed to allow US customs officials to help screen US-bound cargo containers docked in its ports for nuclear bombs and other weapons of mass destruction. It reported that since the September 11 attacks, US authorities have feared a potential strike against port cities using chemical, biological or nuclear devices stowed in containers. "Last year alone, almost six million cargo containers entered US ports", "but this system is vulnerable to terrorism, and to the risk that terrorists might use one of these boxes to smuggle a weapon-potentially, even a weapon of mass destruction", US Customs Commissioner Robert Bonner said in the report.

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6. Russian Security Policy

People's Daily (Xie Rong, "RUSSIA TO CONTINUE HELP IRAN BUILD ATOMIC POWER STATION", Moscow, 09/24/02, P3) reported that Russia Atomic Power Minister said on September 23 that Russia will continue to help Iran build atomic power station that will start work by the end of 2003. According to the two memorandums signed between the two countries' nuclear ministry on July, 1998 and July, 2002, nuclear wastes from Iran atomic power station will be sent back to Russia for handling and the minister said that the nuclear wastes issue should be determined in an agreement between governments. The report said that US asked Russia to stop nuclear cooperation with Iran for the reason that Russia-Iran cooperation will possibly render Iran obtain nuclear technologies to develop nuclear weapons. The report said that Russia insists on cooperating with Iran in order to protect its own economic interests and explore market for its domestic high-tech items. It also reported that Russian government passed a plan of long-term cooperation with Iran in technology of peaceful use of atomic power. According to the plan, Russian will help Iran build 5 new nuclear reactor unit in the future 10 years, said the report.

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7. Across Taiwan Straits Relations

People's Daily (Sun Liji, "TAIWAN AUTHORITIES RESPONSIBLE FOR FALUN GONG CULT MEMBERS' TV HIJACKING", Beijing, 09/26/02, P4) reported that PRC Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council spokesman Zhang Mingqing said on September 25 that Taiwan authorities are responsible for the Sino Satellite (SINOSAT) hijacking event made by Falun Gong cult and the Taiwan side must take actions immediately to prevent such things from happening again. It reported that Zhang said television signals illegally broadcast by Falun Gong cult devotees since September 8 have cut into transmissions using SINOSAT system that has severely affected the "TV signals to every village" program of CCTV, the leading national television station in China, the transmission of signals from China Education TV Station (CETV) and of some provincial-level TV stations. Experts traced the source of the illegal TV signals and has pinpointed to Taipei City in Taiwan Province. Zhang said it was a severe crime that violated public moral norms and basic civil communications regulations, and the crime has seriously infringed on the rights and interests of the people on the Chinese mainland and has greatly hurt the feelings of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Zhang stressed that this event told us again that Falun Gong is an evil religious organization that tramples on the conventions, public order and moral principles, while the Taiwan authorities always support and indulge in the Falun Gong cult that has hurt not only the feelings of compatriots across the Taiwan but also the two sides relations. Zhang calls in the report for joint efforts from all walks of Taiwan community to forbid the crime by Falun Gong cult and to preserve the stability and healthful development of the two sides relations.

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8. PRC-Japan Relations

China Daily ("RELAY OF HARD-WON FRIENDSHIP STRESSED", 09/30/02, P1) reported that PRC Vice-President Hu Jintao said in Beijing on September 29 that PRC and Japan should make great efforts to foster new generations of people who will carry on the development of Sino-Japanese friendship. According to the report, Hu made the remarks during a meeting with former Japanese prime ministers Ryutaro Hashimoto and Tomiichi Murayama and former Japanese vice-prime minister Masuharu Gutoda before a grand reception commemorating the 30th anniversary of the normalization of PRC-Japan relations. Hu said that the two countries should work unswervingly for a sound and steady development of their good-neighborly relations of co-operation and stressed that PRC and Japan share the responsibility to push forward bilateral relations in the spirit of "drawing lessons from history and looking ahead to the future". It reported that PRC Premier Zhu Rongji and his Japanese counterpart Junichiro Koizumi exchanged congratulations on the 30th anniversary of the normalization of PRC-Japan ties. The report said that in a message to Koizumi, Zhu expressed his hope of further development of the bilateral relations and in a message to Zhu, Koizumi said that over the past 30 years, the two countries have enjoyed frequent exchanges in political, economic and cultural areas. Koizumi also concluded that PRC and Japan shared common responsibility in maintaining regional and even global peace and prosperity, said the report.

China Daily ("JAPANESE RETRIEVE WEAPONS", 09/28/02, P1) reported that a team sent by the Japanese Government excavated and retrieved chemical weapons left by Japanese invaders in Sunwu County in Northeast PRC's Heilongjiang Province over the past three weeks. The report said that the team worked in PRC from September 5 to 27 in response to a request from the PRC Government, according to a statement released in Beijing on September 27 by the Foreign Ministry of PRC. It reported that the team uncovered 467 shells including 193 chemical shells, four barrels of toxic chemicals with a net weight of 306.5 kilograms, and 154 toxic canisters and cleaned up 1.8 tons of contaminated soil. Such chemical weapons and contaminated materials will be sealed and placed in special facilities, and then destroyed by Japanese technicians, the report said.

IV. Japan

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1. Japanese Logistic Support for US

The Japan Times ("U.S. HAS NOT ASKED FOR MORE HELP: NAKATANI," 09/28/02) reported that Japanese Defense Agency chief Gen Nakatani on Friday denied media reports that the US has asked Japan to expand the scope of its logistic support for antiterrorism military operations in Afghanistan. Nakatani said, however, that diplomatic and defense authorities of the two countries have been "exchanging information" but declined comment on details of the bilateral consultations. "We have not received any kind of requests," Nakatani told a news conference after the day's Cabinet meeting.

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2. Japanese Nuclear Industry Scandal

The Japan Times ("JAPAN ATOMIC POWER HID CRACKS," 09/26/02) reported that Japan Atomic Power Co. kept running a nuclear reactor in Fukui Prefecture without reporting to the government that it had detected cracks in the core's shroud, company sources said Wednesday. The company found signs of cracks in the shroud of the No. 1 reactor at its Tsuruga nuclear plant, along the Sea of Japan, during a voluntary inspection in 1994, the sources said. Started up in 1970, the reactor is the nation's oldest for commercial use. It later replaced the shroud, telling the national and local governments it did so as preventive maintenance, the sources said. Japan Atomic Power officials said the company determined that it was not required to report the cracks to the government. In a related development, Akira Matsu, parliamentary secretary for economy, trade and industry, said the government should introduce regulations to exert control over nuclear operators' "voluntary" facility checks. "It is strange that the law does not regulate the voluntary inspections of nuclear plants," Matsu said before the Diet on behalf of the industry ministry, which oversees the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. "It is very important that they come under the law."

The Japan Times ("SAFETY AGENCY WANTS STANDARDS FOR ALLOWABLE REACTOR DEFECTS," 09/27/02) reported that voluntary inspections by nuclear plant operators should be regulated and standards introduced for allowable defects to prevent further cover-ups of structural faults like the scandal now rocking the industry, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Thursday. The agency plans to introduce "defect standards" to enable operators to determine whether they should make repairs or take other safety measures when they find defects in facilities and equipment. The government's annual routine facility inspections would be defined as aimed at ensuring safety following the operators' "voluntary" checks, and inspectors would be allowed to check facilities without advance notice. The agency proposed at an open-door meeting of an advisory panel that safety information disclosure be enhanced and penalties imposed for noncompliance. The agency aims to submit bills to the Diet this fall to revise the Electric Utility Law and the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law based on the panel's advice to be presented next Tuesday in an interim report.

The Japan Times ("NUCLEAR SAFETY CHIEF HIT FOR LEAKING WHISTLE-BLOWER'S IDENTITY," 09/28/02) reported that industry minister Takeo Hiranuma on Friday reprimanded the chief of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and five other officials after the agency admitted it leaked to Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) the identity of a TEPCO-related worker who blew the whistle on the company's cover-ups of nuclear plant faults. Hiranuma also said he will return one-fifth of his monthly salary for two months to take the blame for the agency having failed to disclose the scandal for more than two years. Yoshihiko Sasaki, the agency chief, was reprimanded under the National Public Service Law and has offered to return 10 percent of one month's salary.

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Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

John McKay:
Clayton, Australia

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