NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, november 7, 2002

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

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I. United States

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1. PRC on Iraq Resolution

Reuters ("CHINA SAYS NEW US TEXT ON IRAQ EASES SOME CONCERNS," Beijing, 11/07/02) reported that the PRC said on Thursday the third US draft resolution on Iraq had eased concerns of some UN Security Council members, but declined to say if it would support the measure and added it favored a swift political solution. "On the whole, we believe the new US proposals have taken into account and considered the worries and concerns of some of us countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a news conference. "China will play a positive and constructive role and push for further consultations over the UN Security Council draft." The six-page draft gives UN arms inspectors far-reaching powers, including unrestricted rights to enter President Saddam Hussein's palace compounds. The resolution, the result of eight weeks of negotiations on scrapping any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons of mass destruction Iraq may have, was formally presented to council members on Wednesday and will be reviewed again on Thursday. It threatens Iraq with "serious consequences" for non-compliance which would constitute a "further material breach" of a 1991 Gulf War ceasefire resolution.

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2. PRC-Mongolian Relations

Reuters ("CHINA BRIEFLY CLOSES MONGOLIAN BORDER AS DALAI LAMA VISITS," Ulan Bator/Beijing, 11/07/02) and ("CHINA SHUTS MONGOLIA BORDER AS DALAI LAMA VISITS," Ulan Bator, 11/07/02) reported that the PRC briefly closed parts of its border with Mongolia as Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, visited its northern neighbour, Mongolian officials said on Thursday. Road and rail links across the entire border were closed partially early on Tuesday morning but reopened on Wednesday afternoon, said Amarsaikhan Sainbuyan, a diplomat at the Mongolian embassy in Beijing. "We don't have any information from the Chinese side," he said. "Right now it's open." During the closure, Chinese officials prevented goods from moving across the border although international passenger and freight trains were allowed to cross after delays of several hours, the Mongolian diplomat said. PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a news conference on Thursday several trains had stopped on the border, but denied there had been any closure. "The border has not been closed. There is no such case. I don't know where you get this report," he said. PRC border officials told their Mongolian counterparts the closure was due to "maintenance", Sainbuyan said

The Associated Press (Joe McDonald, "CHINA RESTORES MONGOLIA RAIL SERVICE," Beijing, 11/07/02) China reopened rail traffic with Mongolia on Thursday after a two-day suspension that drove up world copper prices on fears that Beijing was retaliating for the Dalai Lama's visit to the landlocked nation, a major copper producer. China blamed unspecified "technical problems" for the suspension. But the OsterDowJones news agency quoted an executive in the PRC's copper industry as saying the PRC suspended Mongolian imports due to the visit by the exiled Tibetan leader. PRC railway authorities were ordered to block all shipments, the executive was quoted as saying. PRC officials say the Dalai Lama is using the trip to Buddhist Mongolia, which began Monday, to agitate for Tibetan independence. "I am not seeking independence. I am seeking self-rule. I think that benefits both Chinese and Tibetan people," he said, responding to questions from an audience of academics and Buddhist monks at Mongolian National University. The Dalai Lama is making his first visit in seven years to Mongolia, which shares cultural and religious ties with Tibet. Most of Mongolia's 2.5 million people are Buddhists and regard him as an important spiritual figure.

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3. PRC Domestic Politics

The Agence France-Presse ("CHINA GIVES FIRST HINT OF NEW LEADERSHIP LINEUP ON PARTY CONGRESS EVE," 11/07/02) and The Agence France-Press ("HU JINTAO NAMED HEAD ORGANISER OF CHINA'S PARTY CONGRESS," 11/07/02) reported that the PRC gave the first signals about its possible next leadership line-up with the appointment of likely heir apparent Hu Jintao as head organizer of the vital 16th Communist Party Congress. Hu will be secretary general of the Congress Presidium, a body which chairs the event beginning Friday morning, party spokesman Ji Bingxuan said, fuelling expectations that Hu will succeed President Jiang Zemin as party chief. But significantly, one of Hu's four deputy secretary-generals will be Zeng Qinghong, known as the closest ally of Jiang. Spokesman Ji also announced that the Congress will last for seven days until November 14. The wholesale leadership changes expected to be endorsed by the long-anticipated event are expected to be revealed the following day.

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4. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Situation

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, "SOUTH KOREA WARNS AGAINS NORTH KOREA'S NUCLEAR ISSUE," Seoul, 11/07/02) and the Agence France-Press ("SEOUL URGES NKOREA TO RESOLVE NUKE CONCERN FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION," 11/07/02) reported that the ROK has urged the DPRK to soften its stance on its suspected nuclear weapons program, citing it as a stumbling block to economic exchanges. The demand was made by the ROK's chief delegate, Vice Finance and Economy Minister Yoon Jin-Shik, at the start of an inter-Korean economic cooperation committee meeting in Pyongyang. "It is necessary for the North's nuclear issue to be resolved at an early date in order to expand the ongoing inter-Korean economic cooperation," Yoon stated. It was not known immediately how the DPRK had responded to the demand. But ROK officials hinted they would avoid letting the talks, whose original agenda was inter-Korean projects including railway and road connections, be overshadowed by the nuclear issue.

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5. DPRK on ROK Delegation

Korean Central News Agency ("SOUTH SIDE'S DELEGATION HERE," Pyongyang, 11/07/02) carried a report that read "A delegation of the south side headed by Yun Jin Sik, vice-Minister of Finance and Economy, who is chairman of the south side to the north-south committee for the promotion of economic cooperation, arrived here today to participate in the third meeting of the committee. They were greeted by members of the north side's delegation to the committee at the airport. A working woman presented the head of the south side's delegation with a bunch of flowers. Kim Ryong Song, chief councilor of the DPRK cabinet who is head of the north side's delegation, gave a reception in honor of the south side's delegation."

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6. PRC-Japan Activist Deportation

The Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, "CHINA DENIES DEPORTED JAPANESE ACTIVIST'S ABUSE CLAIMS," Beijing, 11/07/02) reported that the PRC denied a Japanese activist's claims of abuse during his weeklong detention and asserted Thursday that the man had confessed to helping DPRK refugees seek asylum in foreign missions in the PRC. Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said authorities had offered lenient treatment to Hiroshi Kato, co-founder of the Tokyo-based aid group Life Funds for North Korean Refugees. Kato disappeared on October 30 from a hotel in the northeastern city of Dalian. Kato claimed Wednesday after returning to Japan that PRC police beat him and threatened to hand him over to the DPRK government if he didn't confess to their allegations. He said he was forced to sleep shackled to a chair. Kato denied arranging asylum bids for DPRK asylum seekers. Calling Kato's claims a lie, Kong said Kato had been involved with smuggling refugees since at least June 2000, when he helped a group of 12 DPRK defectors reach Japan and the ROK via the PRC. He said Kato had been one of the organizers of a March 14, 2002, asylum bid by 25 DPRK asylum seekers who barged into the Spanish embassy in Beijing, pleading for asylum.

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7. PRC-US Relations

The Associated Press (Robert Burns, "US AND CHINA AGREE TO SHIP VISIT," Washington, 11/07/02) In signs of warming US-PRC relations, the PRC is welcoming a US Navy ship this month and the US will host nearly two dozen touring PRC generals next month, US officials said. Also, the admiral who commands all US forces in the Pacific will visit thePRC in December. Those three events will be the first of their kind since US-PRC military relations were ruptured by political fallout from the collision of a US Navy surveillance plane with a PRC fighter jet over the South China Sea in April 2001. In addition, the Pentagon announced that senior-level defense talks not held since November-December 2000 will resume December 9 in Washington. The decision to proceed with those talks was made during President Bush's meeting in Texas last month with PRC President Jiang Zemin, but no date had been set. The Pentagon delegation at the Washington talks will be led by Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy. US officials said the PRC delegation will be led by Feith's counterpart, General Xiong Guang Kai.

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8. ROK-Japan-Russia Relations

The Associated Press("SOUTH KOREA DEFENSE MINISTER TO VISIT RUSSIA AND JAPAN," Seoul, 11/07/02) reported that the ROK's defense minister will visit Russia and Japan next week to discuss regional security, including the DPRK's recently disclosed nuclear weapons program, his ministry said Thursday. Lee Jun will meet with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov during his four-day trip to Moscow beginning Sunday. He will then visit Tokyo for three days and meet with Japan's Defense Agency chief Shigeru Ishiba, the ministry said in a news release. Topics of the talks will include the DPRK's nuclear program and other regional security issues, it said. Japan, along with the US and ROK, demands that the DPRK abandon its nuclear program "in a prompt and verifiable manner." Russia has expressed its support for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

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9. US-Japan-ROK DPRK Diplomacy

The Associated Press ("JAPAN, US, SOUTH KOREA DIPLOMATS TO MEET SATURDAY ON NORTH KOREA," Tokyo, 11/07/02) reported that top diplomats from Japan, the ROK, and the US will meet in Tokyo on Saturday to discuss the DPRK, Japan Foreign Ministry said Thursday. Lee Tae-sik, ROK deputy foreign minister, and US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly will be meeting with Hitoshi Tanaka, the head of the Asian bureau at Japan's Foreign Ministry. The three sides generally discuss topical issues on North Korea at their meetings, which are held regularly. Japanese public broadcaster NHK said one agenda item this weekend will be whether the US ought to stop shipping oil to the DPRK. A decision on whether to cancel a shipment due to arrive in the DPRK later this month is in the hands of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, KEDO, which will meet Monday.

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10. Australia on DPRK Nuclear Issue

The Associated Press ("AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER RENEWS PRESSURE ON NORTH KOREA TO STOP NUCLEAR ARMS PROGRAM," Tokyo, 11/07/02) reported that Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer demanded Thursday that the DPRK "verfiably and immediately" halt its nuclear weapons development program, saying it was a threat to global security. "Australia wants to work with Japan and other countries to reach a peaceful diplomatic solution on this issue," Downer told a forum of academic, political and business leaders in Tokyo. Downer, who arrived on Thursday, was in Japan to meet with Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and other senior officials to discuss terrorism and regional security before flying home on Saturday.

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11. Inter-Korean Economic Talks

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, "KOREAS OPEN ECONOMIC TALKS," Seoul, 11/07/02) reported that the ROK and DPRK opened two days of economic talks in the North's capital Thursday, overshadowed by the DPRK's development of nuclear weapons. A five-member ROK delegation, accompanied by 30 support personnel and journalists, flew to the DPRK via China on Wednesday night for the talks, the third since 2000. "In order to further enliven ongoing inter-Korean economic cooperation, the nuclear issue should be resolved at an early date," said Yoon Jin-sik, the chief ROK delegate, in a speech at the start of the talks. It was not immediately known how the DPRK responded. Yoon's remarks and the activities of the ROK delegation were carried by ROK pool reports. No foreign journalists were allowed to cover the talks

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12. DPRK Asylum Seekers

The Associated Press ("FIFTEEN NORTH KOREAN ASYLUM SEEKERS ARRIVE IN SOUTH KOREA," Seoul, 11/07/02) reported that fifteen DPRK asylum-seekers who had sought refuge at an ROK consulate in Beijing arrived in Seoul early Thursday. The DPRK defectors flew to Incheon International Airport west of Seoul after transiting in the Philippines overnight. The 12 females and three males were taken away for debriefing by government officials. "We're glad," said a woman defector, identified only by her surname, Kim. "We thank all who helped us out." The ROK Embassy in Beijing had declined to comment on when and how they gained access to the consulate.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK Issue

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Young-sae, "NORTH HINTS AT MOVES IN TANDEM," Seoul, 11/07/02) reported that former US Ambassador to Seoul Donald Gregg told the press in Seoul Wednesday that he saw in Pyongyang a backing away from DPRK's insistence that the US move first to resolve the dispute over DPRK's nuclear weapons program. Gregg and Don Oberdorfer, a journalist and DPRK specialist, said after a four-day visit to DPRK that the DPRK seemed to be open to simultaneous steps by DPRK and US; the former ambassador said his group took that to be progress. He said DPRK's fear of US attack seemed genuine, but added that officials in Pyongyang told him they still consider the 1994 Agreed Framework on nuclear issues signed by DPRK and US to be in force. US officials have said that the DPRK told them the agreement was "nullified," and Gregg said of DPRK enthusiasm for the pact, "It's hanging by a thread."

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2. ROK-Russia Relations

Chosun Ilbo (Chung Byung-seon, "MOSCOW REPAYMENT TALKS FAILS," Moscow, 11/06/02) reported that ROK ministry of Finance and Economy announced Wednesday that the two-day working level talks in Moscow on the redemption of the outstanding US$1.95 billion economic cooperation loan from Russia ended without a final agreement. Despite this, ROK government will continue the "Fire Bear Project," importing a total of US$534 million in Russian made weapons. After "purchasing" items on top of an offered list, including T-80 tanks and BMP-3 infantry armored vehicles, the remainder of the repayment will be decided later, a Ministry of National Defense official said. The government is planning to issue bonds next year to pay by proxy banks that provided the load to Russia, and then collect money to be redeemed with the National Treasury according to the results of talks to be resumed early next year. Financial industry watchers say it will be hard to get all the money back from Russia, because it is calling for a huge write-off and working level talks between ROK and Russia have ended without a clear result to date.

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3. Japan's Efforts to Validate KEDO

Chosun Ilbo ("TOKYO REAFFRIMS COMMITMENT TO KEDO PROJECT," Seoul, 11/06/02) reported that as officials from ROK, Japan and US prepare to meet for a three-way meeting, with DPRK high on the agenda later this week in Tokyo, Japanese officials reportedly plan to urge US to keep the 1994 Agreed Framework intact in light of security concerns on the Korean peninsula. In addition, Japan is voicing the need to maintain the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, or KEDO project, amid signs US may officially dissolve the 1994 Geneva Agreed Framework signed between US and DPRK. DPRK's recent revelation of its enriched uranium program and its bold stance on the issue, has both US and EU reviewing their involvement in the project. Given these circumstances, Japan plans to call on US to keep the 1994 accord valid in line with efforts to seek a peaceful resolution based on dialogue with regard to DPRK's nuclear ambitions.

III. Japan

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1. DPRK Security Talks

The Asahi Shinbun ("NORTH KOREANS BULK AT SECURITY TALKS AGENDA," 11/20/02) reported that classically intransigent, the DPRK is refusing to set an agenda for talks with Japan on security issues later this month, sources said. In the second day of normalization talks in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, Japanese officials proposed separate negotiations on national security issues be held in November. Although DPRK agreed, it said it could not accept a fixed agenda beforehand. Tokyo wants to discuss DPRK's nuclear weapons and missile development programs, but Pyongyang's refusal to agree to an agenda left Japanese officials puzzled. Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi meantime told her US and ROK counterparts on Thursday she would continue to work closely with them to persuade DPRK to abandon its nuclear aspirations. Kawaguchi promised Japan would continue to take a strong stance on abductions and the nuclear issue. During a telephone call Thursday night, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell reminded Kawaguchi of Washington's concerns about a nuclear-armed DPRK. Choi Sung Hong, Kawaguchi's counterpart in ROK, welcomed Japan's decision to try and tackle the nuclear issue as well. Japanese delegates at the normalization talks made two requests to resolve the abductee issue once and for all, sources said. Tokyo asked for a channel of communications to be set up to discuss it and for consent to dispatch a second fact-finding mission, Japanese officials said they plan to ask DPRK to set up a working-level meeting to specifically discuss the abduction issue. If Pyongyang doesn't agree, Japan will not go ahead with the next round of normalization talks that DPRK seeks before the end of November.

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2. Japan DPRK Aid

The Asahi Shinbun ("TOKYO WAITS TO PLAY AID ACE IN TALKS,"11/02/02) reported that after two days of wrangling in Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo is wondering when to play its key diplomatic card: economic assistance DPRK desperately needs. The hard-line turn in Japan's approach may have been triggered by signs of desperation among North Korean officials during earlier talks. The North has had sudden mood swings in the past that have led to long lulls in talks after its delegates walked out. To avoid such a swing, Japanese diplomats must skillfully dangle the economic assistance card to keep Pyongyang at the table. However, Japanese officials have made it clear that no figures will be discussed until progress is made on the abduction issue. Japanese public opinion is also a factor in how the diplomatic process plays out. Officials are publicly insisting economic assistance will only be implemented after diplomatic ties are established. Naturally, the government has repeatedly said ties can only be normalized after the abduction issue is resolved.

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3. Japan Domestic Politics

The Asahi Shinbun ("Abe: North must cut military,"11/02/02) reported that Normal relations between Japan and DPRK will come at a cost, and the government now says the price is reduction of DPRK's military force. The new policy was spelled out by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe Friday in an exclusive interview with The Asahi Shimbun. Abe has been Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's point man in negotiations with DPRK. On conditions Japan will set before providing economic assistance to DPRK, Abe said: "If they distributed the resources heavily toward the military, to the point that it contributed to maintenance of a million-member military, the issue (of negotiating economic assistance) would be far from settled." But he did not insist that a troop reduction is a precondition for economic assistance. "That is an issue that they have to think about," Abe said. Abe was cautiously optimistic about the prospect of establishing diplomatic ties. "If (North Korea) responds sincerely to the abduction issue and national security concerns, such as nuclear weapons and missile development, we could naturally normalize ties,'" Abe said. He suggested Japan might also decide to change its current policy against using food aid as a diplomatic tool. "We have said the assistance is humanitarian and not a (diplomatic) card," Abe said. "However, we have very few other diplomatic means available to us." The implication was that Japan could treat its food assistance as a policy wedge, as the United States has done. Abe also acknowledged that Japan was informed of the whereabouts of Japanese abducted to DPRK before Koizumi and DPRK's leader Kim Jong Il met in Pyongyang Sept. 17. But he said the information then did not indicate how many Japanese were still alive.

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4. DPRK Missile Pledge

The Asahi Shinbun ("PYONGYANG MAY RENEGE ON MISSILE PLEDGE," 11/06/02) reported that frustrated at the lack of progress in normalization talks with Japan, DPRK on Tuesday threatened to end its moratorium on missile tests unless Tokyo softens its stance on abductees and the nuclear issue. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, speaking in Phnom Penh where he was attending an ASEAN summit, indicated in a news conference it would destroy the Pyongyang declaration he signed Sept. 17 in the DPRK capital with Kim Jong Il. A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of DPRK cautioned that some members of the Pyongyang leadership raised the possibility of ending the missile moratorium unless talks with Japan move forward. The official's remarks, reported by the state-run (North) Korean Central News Agency, follow Oct. 29-30 negotiations that ended without significant agreement. In the Pyongyang declaration, North Korea stated it would extend its moratorium on missile launches beyond 2003. However, DPRK on Tuesday indicated it can re-interpret that point if it so desires. In his news conference, Koizumi said he believes Pyongyang will not trample on the principles and spirit of the Pyongyang agreement. "It is our precondition for normalization that North Korea sincerely implements the promises made in the Pyongyang declaration," Koizumi said. "I haven't heard anything that differs from that precondition." Koizumi emphasized that leaders of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), held in September, and the ASEAN Plus Three nations, have agreed to press Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program. Pyongyang, however, refuses to shut it down. It says the issue is a bilateral matter concerning only the United States.

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5. Japan-PRC Relations

The Asahi Shinbun (Kazuto Yamamura, "JIANG BLASTS KOIZUMI FOR VISITS TO YASUKUNI,"11/02/02) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin raised the issue three times during a 45-minute meeting held on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. In requesting Koizumi to stop offending PRC in this way, Jiang called it an issue "that touches on the sentiments of 1.3 billion Chinese people." Koizumi tried to explain his two visits to Yasukuni stemmed from a belief "to show my determination not to repeat the experience of war by expressing my sympathy to the many people who died in battle." Koizumi said visiting Yasukuni does not constitute an act of worship, but Jiang was not mollified. "China has been drawing a sharp line between ordinary Japanese people who were victimized in the war and the militarists who started the invasion war," Jiang countered. "So it's better not to make visits to Yasukuni again, never again," Chinese officials quoted Jiang as saying. Regarding the issues on the DPRK, Koizumi asked Jiang to exert China's influence over the DPRK. "Beijing traditionally has held close ties with Pyongyang, so I expect your assistance and advice for our Japan-North Korea talks," Koizumi said. Jiang answered: "China has firmly supported the state of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should be achieved peacefully, and this is what I told presidents George W. Bush a0nd Kim Dae Jung."

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6. Japan-ASEAN Relations

The Asahi Shinbun ("TOKYO, ASEAN NEARER TRADE PACT," 11/06/02) reported that Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Tuesday signed a joint declaration to negotiate a framework by the end of 2003 for a comprehensive economic partnership. Once the framework is in place, Japan and the 10 members of ASEAN will work toward realizing the partnership, which could include a free trade agreement, within the next decade. The joint declaration is along the lines of the "initiative for Japan-ASEAN comprehensive economic partnership" broached by Koizumi on his tour of Southeast Asia in January. Tuesday's joint declaration comes on the heels of an agreement reached Monday between the PRC and ASEAN members on a similar framework that will finalize a regional free trade agreement in 10 years. The Japan-ASEAN declaration, meanwhile, paves the way for bilateral ties with each of the ASEAN members as well as greater cooperation with Southeast Asia as a whole. After signing the declaration, Koizumi told a news conference: "This region has the potential to become a driving force, and I believe we should deepen Japan-ASEAN ties, especially since 2003 is designated as the year for promoting exchanges between Japan and ASEAN. This will be in the interest of both sides." Asked about his previous coolness to Beijing's suggestion of a trade deal with PRC and the ROK, Koizumi said: "Japan is to promote a comprehensive economic partnership with ASEAN members as well as consider free trade agreements bilaterally with such nations as Thailand and the Philippines, and already has signed a bilateral free trade pact with Singapore. "I have not changed my policy of proceeding with a comprehensive partnership before free trade agreements, and the same goes for our relations with PRC." According to the declaration, Japan and ASEAN will discuss cooperation on not only trade and investment but also financial services. Other areas of partnership could include IT and other science and technology fields, as well as training of personnel, tourism, transportation, energy and food security. The two sides plan to set up a working-level panel of senior officials to hammer out the areas of cooperation and report their recommendations to the Japan-ASEAN summit slated for 2003.

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