NAPSNet Daily Report
tuesday, october 15, 2002

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. Japanese Abduction Return

The Associated Press (Eric Talmadge, "AFTER QUARTER CENTURY, JAPANESE ABDUCTEES RETURN FROM NORTH KOREA," Tokyo, 10/15/02) and Agence France-Presse ("ABDUCTED JAPANESE RETURN HOME FROM NKOREA AFTER 24 YEARS," 10/15/02) reported that five Japanese nationals kidnapped by North Korea in the 1970s arrived in Tokyo for their first visit to the land of their birth in 24 years. A chartered Boeing 767-300ER carrying the five and government officials landed at Haneda airport at 2:20 pm (0520 GMT) Tuesday some two hours after it left Pyongyang's Sunan airport. Minutes later the five stepped out smiling at their relatives, who were waiting on the tarmac waving Japanese flags and carrying banners which read: "Welcome back." The group burst into tears at the foot of the aircraft steps as they hugged parents and siblings they had not seen for decades. After about five minutes, the five, clutching huge boquets of red roses, were escorted to a terminal building to continue their family reunions away from the eyes of the massed Japanese media. It was the first time the surviving five, all now in their forties, set foot on Japanese soil since they were kidnapped from coastal towns facing the Korean Peninsula in July 1978. They were abducted to train and give their identities to spies who were to infiltrate South Korea posing as Japanese. The returnees are a 43-year-old woman, Hitomi Soga, and two couples -- Kaoru Hasuike, 45, and his wife, Yukiko Okudo, 46, as well as Yasushi Chimura and Fukie Hamamoto, both 47. The abductees' six children and Soga's husband, reportedly a US citizen who defected to the DPRK while serving in the US military, were not allowed to take part in the visit.

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2. DPRK-ROK Railway Development

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA TO USE SOUTH KOREAN EQUIPMENT FOR RAILWAY LINKS," 10/14/02) reported that the ROK has agreed to lease excavators, trucks and communication cable to the DPRK for the construction of cross-border railways and roads, officials said. The agreement at inter-Korean talks Saturday and Sunday came after the DPRK promised not to use ROK equipment for military purposes, the ROK's unification ministry said Monday. The ROK has pledged a 50-billion-won (39-million-dollar) aid package for the impoverished DPRK to speed up the construction of railway and road links across the world's last Cold War frontier. The package offers the DPRK construction materials and equipment on a credit basis. The first shipment from the ROK includes 78 items such as 30 kilometers (18 miles) of communication cable, 3,000 tonnes of fuel oil, 20,080 tonnes of cement, 9,148 tonnes of iron bars, 34 excavators and 238 trucks, the ministry said. "We have secured a guarantee that our equipment and materials will not be diverted for other purposes," it said in a statement.

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3. US Missile Defense Development

The Associated Press ("US SCORES MISSILE DEFENSE SUCCESS," Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, 10/15/02) reported that an interceptor rocket destroyed a Minuteman II missile high above the Pacific in the latest test of the nation's missile defense system. Monday night's test was the seventh such test for the Missile Defense Agency and the fourth consecutive success, said Lt. Col. Rick Lehner in Washington. Of the seven tests, five in all have succeeded. The test provided a colorful light show for much of California as the launch of the Minuteman II created a fiery trail seen by people from as far north as the San Francisco Bay area and south to Los Angeles. The modified Minuteman II, carrying a mock warhead and an unspecified number of decoys, was launched from this central California base at 7 p.m., sent on a 4,800-mile path toward the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. At 7:22 p.m., an interceptor missile was launched from the Kwajalein Atoll, and it hit the Minuteman six minutes later. "It directly collided with the Minuteman," Lehner said. he ongoing tests cost roughly US00 million each and are part of the Pentagon's drive to develop such a missile defense network. Construction is under way in Alaska on a simple version of the system, which the administration hopes to complete by fall 2004. Critics say the program - which the Pentagon will spend more than US$7 billion on next year - is too expensive and the technology too uncertain.

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4. PRC on Iraq Arms Inspection

Reuters ("CHINA SAYS ARMS INSPECTORS SHOULD GO BACK TO IRAQ," Beijing, 10/15/02) reported that the PRC said on Tuesday that UN weapons inspectors should return to Iraq before the council decides what action to take against Baghdad. "We think the most pressing matter at the moment is for U.N. arms inspectors to return to Iraq as soon as possible to actually assess the relevant situation and report to the Security Council afterwards," said PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue. "After reading this objective and researched report, the Security Council can decide what action it should take," she told a news conference a day before the council debates a resolution on Iraq. Zhang's comments appeared to back France's proposal for a "two-step" approach requiring a second resolution to authorize the use of force if Baghdad failed to comply with one sending arms inspectors. The US has Britain's backing for a single resolution that would threaten Iraq with military action if it blocked inspections. But UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is visiting Beijing, said last week most UN members preferred two resolutions. Annan discussed Iraq in meetings with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan on Monday at the start of a 10-day visit to China, Mongolia and Central Asia. "Talking about the issue of Iraq, President Jiang stressed that we consistently advocate that peace is the most valuable thing," Zhang said. "We hope the Iraq issue can be solved politically." "As for whether the two sides reached consensus on Iraq during the talks, both sides advocated solving the Iraq issue through political and diplomatic means and especially stressed the leading role of the UN and its Security Council on the issue," she said.

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5. PRC Taiwan Defection

Reuters (Benjamin Kang Lim, "CHINESE LABOUR ACTIVIST JUMPS SHIP AND DEFECTS TO TAIWAN," Taipei, 10/15/02) reported that a PRC man has defected to Taiwan and requested political asylum, Taiwan officials said on Tuesday, in a case that could complicate Taiwan's attempts to improve relations with the PRC. The defection of Tang Yuanjun poses a dilemma for the government of Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, who analysts say is counting on closer ties with the island's rival the PRC to boost his chances of re-election in the 2004 presidential polls. Taiwan authorities said they were still investigating and have not decided whether to grant Tang political asylum. The China Democracy Party, founded in 1998 but banned by the PRC, urged Taiwan to grant the 45-year-old former labour activist asylum. The party said in a statement Tang, a former auto worker, was released from prison in 1997 after serving eight years for organizing protests in his hometown in the northeastern province of Jilin in 1989 in support of student-led demonstrations for democracy in Beijing which were crushed by the army. Taiwan newspapers said Tang travelled from Jilin to China's southeastern city of Xiamen by train and set out to sea in a fishing boat. He jumped ship about 50 metres (164 feet) from the Taiwan-held island of Tatan and swam to shore. "We are still looking into the matter," said Chen Ming-tong, a vice-chairman of the ministerial-level Mainland Affairs Council, which formulates policy towards the pRC. "Taiwan is a free and democratic country. Respecting human rights is our government policy," Chen explained. "But it is also our policy to improve ties with the mainland. We'll see if there's a way to satisfy both sides." There was no immediate comment from China.

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6. PRC-UN Relations

Agence France-Presse ("UN HEAD ANNAN MEETS CHINA'S HEIR-IN-WAITING HU," 10/15/02) reported that the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan held talks in Beijing with the PRC's heir apparent, Vice President Hu Jintao, with discussions expected to focus on international wrangling over Iraq. Annan, who is on the second day of a flying 60-hour visit, met the man tipped to lead China for the next decade, following an imminent leadership changeover, at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing. Hu greeted his guest by referring to "in-depth" talks Annan had with both President Jiang Zemin and Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan on Monday, both of which covered the Iraq situation, according to Chinese state media. "I'd be happy to hear your views" on the international situation, the 59-year-old Hu said before beginning private talks with Annan. Annan emerged from Monday's meeting with Jiang expressing confidence that a consensus would be reached soon within the UN Security Council about Iraq. The PRC expressed concern over US calls for military action against Iraq to rid it of alleged weapons of mass destruction, calling for a political deal instead.

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7. PRC AIDS Crisis

Reuters ("ANNAN SAYS CHINA HAS NO TIME TO LOSE IN AIDS BATTLE," Hangzhou, 10/14/02) reported that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on the PRC's leaders on Monday to step up their fight against AIDS or face an explosive epidemic. "There is no time to lose if China is to prevent a massive further spread of HIV/AIDS. China is facing a decisive moment," Annan said. "For the truth is today, China stands on the brink of an explosive AIDS epidemic," he said in remarks prepared for delivery at Zhejiang University, where he was to receive an honorary degree. According to the latest United Nations estimates, between 800,000 and 1.5 million Chinese were infected with HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS -- at the end of 2001 and about 30,000 have so far died from the disease. But the number could soar to 10 million by the end of the decade if there is no effective action, U.N. officials say. While most HIV infections in the PRC can be traced to unsafe procedures for paid blood collections or the sharing of tainted needles by intravenous drug abusers, sexually transmitted cases are on the rise, Annan said. "Clearly, China has everything to gain if it can stem the tide of the AIDS epidemic now and everything to lose if it fails to do so," he stated.

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8. Taiwan PRC Spy Ship

Agence France-Presse ("CHINESE SPY SHIP DRIVEN OFF SOUTHEASTERN TAIWAN," 10/12/02) reported that the Taiwanese navy and coast guard vessels have chased away a PRC spy ship after it sailed close to the island's territorial waters, according to officials. "After we received a tip-off from the Coast Guard Administration (CGA), we immediately sent a warship to the waters off Lanyu to drive the Chinese ship away," a naval spokesman told AFP Saturday. According to the CGA, "Xiangyanghong No. 14," was detected 26 nautical miles (48 kilometers) off Lanyu, an island southeast of Taiwan, on Thursday. "The Chinese ship immediately left the area after the coast guard's 'Hsunhu No. 2' and a naval Lafayette frigate scrambled to the site," a CGA spokesman said. "Since then it has not approached our territorial waters again. On Saturday early morning, it was spotted around 80 miles (128 kilometers) off Taiwan," he said. But the China Times said "Xiangyanghong No. 14" had illegally entered Taiwan's territorial waters when it was detected on Thursday. In May the vessel was detected some 25 nautical miles off Chiupeng base, where most of Taiwan's missile tests have been held.

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9. Cross-Straits Relations

The China Post (Chris Cockel, "MAINLAND CHINA'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS TAIWAN IS CHANGING, SAY EXPERTS," Washington DC, 10/12/02) reported that although a real breakthrough in relations with the PRC is yet to be achieved, the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Hsiao Bi-khim and the People First Party's (PFP) Raymond Wu believe there are initial signs that the PRC has altered its approach to Taiwan. Speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on Thursday, Hsiao stated that "incremental" changes have been seen in the attitudes of the governments on both sides of the Taiwan Strait toward one another. The PRC is moving away from actively encouraging unification, and more toward preventing the permanent separation of Taiwan from the mainland, according to Wu. Before the ruling party's success in last year's parliamentary elections the PRC had hoped that the DPP, as a ruling party, would be a flash in the pan, according to Hsiao. Now, however, the Chinese Communist Party has come to the realization that they will have to deal with the President Chen Shui-bian and the DPP. The mutual suspicion held by the DPP and the CCP toward the other was fueled by unfamiliarity, according to Hsiao. Now there is an active eagerness on both sides to get to know each other, she said. Nevertheless, this does not indicate a breakthrough has yet been reached, she explained. "Neither side has passed a threshold required for us coming up with a resolution to some of the fundamental conflicts," she said. "We're still at a standstill in terms of official dialogue."

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10. PRC on Carter Nobel Peace Prize

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA REFRAINS FROM CONGRATULATING CARTER ON NOBEL PEACE PRIZE," 10/12/02) reported that the PRC on Sunday held back from congratulating former US President Jimmy Carter for winning the Nobel Peace Prize, saying only that the prize should be awarded to someone who truely works for peace. "We have noticed the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Mr. Carter and the Nobel committee's praise for him," foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said. The foreign ministry was responding to reporters' request for the PRC's comment on the decision announced by the Nobel committee Friday. It was also asked to comment on the fact that the committee did not select PRC dissident Wei Jingsheng and the mothers of the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre, who were among the 157 nominees for the prize. "We believe only by awarding the peace prize to individuals or groups that truly make positive contributions to mankind and the cause for peace will the peace prize's aim be realised and be favorable to promoting peace," Zhang said. Carter, 78, on Friday won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for years of tireless efforts as an international mediator, an honour the Nobel committee chairman said also contained a direct criticism of the current US administration's policy on Iraq. Carter has criticized the PRC's human rights record.

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11. Inter-Korean Relations

The Associated Press ("NORTH KOREAN PLANE FLIES TO SOUTH KOREA FOR NUCLEAR PROJECT," Seoul, 10/15/02) reported that a DPRK passenger plane flew to the ROK on Tuesday to pick up ROK nuclear technicians who are helping build nuclear power plants in the DPRK. It was the first such flight since a test run in July, when a DPRK plane picked up 11 workers from the ROK. A Russian-built, 150-seat TU-154 plane from the DPRK's Air Koryo landed at Yangyang International Airport in eastern ROK, carrying 53 ROK workers returning for vacations or job transfers. The plane left two hours later, carrying 11 foreign and 113 ROK nuclear technicians to Sunduck Airport near Sinpo on the DPRK's east coast, where two nuclear reactors are being built, said Lee Shi-hyuk, an airport official.

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

International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan

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

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Clayton, Australia

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