NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, october 11, 2002

I. United States

II. Japan

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I. United States

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1. DPRK SEZ Governor Arrested

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA ARRESTS HEAD OF N.KOREA'S CAPITALIST ZONE," 10/04/02) reported that PRC authorities reportedly arrested tycoon Yang Bin, the Dutch-Chinese governor of the fledgling DPRK capitalist zone, threatening to throw Pyongyang's already confused scheme into chaos. Police in the northeastern city of Shenyang hauled the orchid tycoon in for questioning over alleged financial impropriety as he prepared to leave the PRC for the DPRK, reports said. Police in Shenyang and authorities in Beijing were unable to confirm the 5:00 am (2100 GMT Thursday) arrest. However diplomatic sources in the PRC capital told the ROK's Yonhap News Agency that it was related to tax evasion, stock speculation and illegal real estate development. Later Friday, the PRC's official China News Service reported that Yang had been placed under house arrest. Police and judicial authorities in Shenyang had "opened a legal file and decided to put him under house arrest," the agency said. The seeming turn of events is a fresh blow to the DPRK's ambitious plan to run a dedicated capitalist enclave in Sinuiju, on the PRC's northeastern border. Questions about Yang's credibility soon emerged after he promised visa-free entry into Sinuiju this week but was then forced to apologize when journalists seeking to enter were turned away. There have also been persistent reports in the PRC press that Yang's Hong Kong-listed Euro-Asia (Agricultural) Holdings Co. Ltd. has been involved in illegal land use and tax evasion, charges the tycoon has denied. The mystery was deepened still further by the lack of any official confirmation of Yang's fate from police and the foreign ministry in Beijing. A government academic at a top-level Beijing research institute said it seemed clear the detention was a sign of Chinese anger. "Why is China arresting Yang Bin now? It's because North Korea appointed this person to head the economic zone without consulting China," said the academic, who asked not to be named. "Such a big thing -- appointing Yang Bin without telling the Chinese government -- that's something someone (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Il can do, but it's very unfriendly action for friendly neighbors."

Reuters ("S.KOREA SAYS YANG'S WOES WON'T AFFECT NORTH'S ZONE," Pusan, 10/04/02) reported that the PRC's detention of the head of the DPRK's new capitalist zone is "unfortunate" but should not affect the project which Pyongyang needs to revive its economy, a senior ROK official said on Friday. Dutch-Chinese businessman Yang Bin, tapped by DPRK last month to run a new special economic zone in Sinuiju, was called in for questioning on Friday by PRC police, Yang's spokesman Duan Xiaohong told Reuters. Asked about the latest twist in the DPRK's plan to build a Hong Kong-style capitalist enclave, ROK Assistant Unification Minister Rhee Bong-jo said Yang's detention was unlikely to derail the DPRK's plans. "I have just learned that Sinuiju Special Economic Zone Governor Yang Bin has been detained on suspicion of breaking the Chinese law," Rhee told reporters in Pusan. "This is an unfortunate thing, but I believe it is a separate matter from the Sinuiju zone," Rhee said. Rhee also stated that as far as the ROK government was concerned, the project was likely to go ahead. The ROK and its businesses had yet to formulate policy on Sinuiju because they had not received concrete information from the DPRK. "There are many things we still must confirm about the Sinuiju SEZ," Rhee said. "I don't think the detention of Yang Bin creates any problems for us in deciding how to deal with the Sinuiju SEZ," he said.

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2. DPRK-US Talks

Reuters (Martin Nesirky, "U.S. ENVOY HOLDS SECOND DAY OF NORTH KOREA TALKS," Seoul, 10/04/02) reported that special envoy James Kelly was holding a second day of talks in Pyongyang on Friday. Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, and his nine-member delegation made the short flight out over the Yellow Sea and on to Pyongyang. In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Kelly had talks with a delegation led by DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan and an informal dinner with the same foreign ministry officials on Thursday evening. "Kelly will be continuing his discussions tomorrow with North Korean officials," Boucher said on Thursday. "His mission explore comprehensive dialogue with North Korea and, based on close coordination with South Korea and Japan, to explain US policy and seek progress on a range of issues of long-standing concern to the United States." Boucher said it was premature to go into the substance of the talks and he did not say whether Kelly would meet DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. Kelly did not take reporters with him to Pyongyang, so it was difficult to pin down details and hard to know how each side perceives the talks until he returns to Seoul on Saturday or the North Korean media report on the outcome.

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3. Japan DPRK Spy Ship

Agence France-Presse ("TOKYO FORMALLY CONCLUDES VESSEL WAS NKOREAN SPY SHIP," 10/04/02) reported that Japan's Transport Minister Chikage Ogi announced that aA vessel salvaged in early September from the East China Sea was definitely a DPRK spy ship. "We have concluded that the ship was a North Korean spy vessel," said Ogi at a news conference on Friday. "Physical evidence backs this up." The government also indicated it was not likely to strongly protest the matter with the DPRK, as it had already received an apology from DPRK supreme leader Kim Jong-Il at an historic summit last month. "There has already been an apology," the government's top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, told reporters. "Clearing up this matter during the normalization talks is appropriate," he said. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and D{RL leader Kim Jong-Il agreed to the normalization talks at their summit meeting last month, during which Kim admitted and apologized for his country's operation of the spy ships. Although the mystery ship was determined to be a spy vessel, Fukuda pointed out "We don't have proof of what exactly its actual mission was." He added it was not clear if Japan could ask for compensation for damage incurred in a firefight with the ship.

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4. US Anti-DPRK Protest

The Associated Press (Dafna Linzer, "KOREAN-AMERICAN OPENS FIRE AT THE UNITED NATIONS IN ANTI-NORTH KOREA PROTEST," United Nations, 10/04/02) reported that a Korean-American man fired seven bullets in front of UN headquarters, hitting several offices but injuring no one before he was tackled by US Secret Service agents. The gunman was identified as Steve Kim, a naturalized US citizen who works for the US Postal Service and lives in Des Plaines, Illinois outside Chicago. FBI spokesman Jim Margolin said Kim, who was born in 1945 - most likely in Korea - would be arraigned Friday in Manhattan. The shooting occurred Thursday as the Security Council was meeting on Iraq and Secretary-General Kofi Annan was holding talks on Cyprus in his 38th floor office. US Secret Service agents protecting visiting Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides apprehended Kim in the UN compound just outside the towering Secretariat building. Shots fired from a Smith & Wesson pistol narrowly missed UN employees working inside the building, said UN security chief Michael McCann. Several bullets hit a women's restroom on the 18th floor and an American Express office on the 20th floor. Kim evaded UN security by jumping over a poorly guarded fence surrounding UN headquarters. McCann said. He walked up to the building, fired seven shots in the air and then dropped the pistol on the ground, witnesses and security officials said. He then tossed a stack of leaflets in the air before putting his hands up against a wall, awaiting capture. The leaflets were handwritten in poor English and addressed to "all people who love freedom and justice." "In a shinning and civilized 21st century, most people in the world enjoying peace and freedom. North Korea however is groaning under the weight of starvation and dictatorial suppression. They don't have even the most basic of human rights since all things body and spirit plants and plows belong to one named greatest general Kim Jong Il," it said. It was signed: "A citizen of UN, Steve Kim, Oct. 2, 2002."

II. Japan

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1. Japan Cabinet Reshuffle

The Asahi Shimbun ("ISHIBA BRINGS HOPE TO HAWKS IN AGENCY," 10/02/02) reported that the appointment of Shigeru Ishiba as director-general of the Defense Agency has raised the hopes of fellow hawks that new military emergency legislation will finally pass the Diet. Ishiba is regarded as one of the Diet's most knowledgeable defense policy experts. But that very fact may conversely result in a delay in passage of the bills because Ishiba says he is not satisfied with some aspects of the proposed legislation. Ishiba has insisted provisions be made to deal with terrorist attacks on Japan and intrusions into Japanese waters by suspected spy ships. In its current form, the proposed legislation deals only with a full-scale military attack on Japan. In his first news conference after being named director-general, Ishiba indicated he was willing to consider alternatives before revising legislation. "We should first clarify how we can work with the Japan Coast Guard and the police to deal with such situations before considering what legal revisions are required," he said Monday. At 45, Ishiba is too young to have personal experience of World War II, but he is acknowledged as one of the foremost defense policy experts among the younger generation of Diet members. He favors the active use of the Self-Defense Forces to accomplish policy objectives. High-ranking Defense Agency officials describe Ishiba as one of the few politicians who can effectively participate in all aspects of Diet debate about military emergency legislation.

The Japan Times (Takuya Asakura, "ATTACK-RESPONSE BILLS SHOULD COVER REALISTIC THREATS: ISHIBA," 10/02/02) reported on the newly appointed defense agency chief Shigeru Ishiba. The 45-year-old House of Representatives member said he was instructed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi upon his appointment Monday as the nation's top defense official to put priority on passing the attack-response bills. Ishiba also heads a new Diet members' league to deal with the issue of Japanese abducted by the DPRK in the 1970s and 1980s. Set up in April, the group has demanded the government take a hardline approach on the issue. "There won't be any normalization (with North Korea) before solving the abduction problem," he said, reiterating Koizumi's stance on the issue. He also said Japan should seek compensation. Keen on security matters to the point that he is sometimes jeered as a "military buff," Ishiba has been regarded as a leading figure among junior Diet members who distance themselves from Liberal Democratic Party members, many of whom experienced the war and take a cautious stance in security affairs. He has also maintained that the conventional government interpretation on the war-renouncing Constitution be changed to allow Japan to exercise its right to collective defense. As a first-time Cabinet member, however, he was cautious on this topic. "What I have said in the past, and abiding by the government's interpretation (of the Constitution as a Cabinet member) are different matters," he said. Asked how Japan should react to a possible attack on Iraq by the US, he only said he expects and hopes Iraq will unconditionally accept UN inspections on weapons of mass destruction.

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2. Japan Nuclear Industry Scandal

The Asahi Shimbun ("SCATHING REPORT SLAMS NUKE INDUSTRY," 10/03/02) reported that the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, in an interim report out Tuesday, ripped Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and other power companies for failing to adequately check their nuclear power operations. The report cited "paralyzed checking functions" throughout the industry as the fundamental cause of the scandals. It said TEPCO's in-house inspections had been reduced to a formality and most staff had inadequate understanding of ethical codes for accident prevention. But the report stopped short of calling the lack of reports "illegal." Questions remain as to whether the top echelon of TEPCO executives were actually involved in the cover-ups. The agency report failed to identify who instructed whom to conceal damages. The agency's decision not to pursue criminal responsibility on the part of utilities has only stoked anger of local governments hosting nuclear reactors.

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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,
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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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