NAPSNet Daily Report
 
monday, december 16, 2002
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CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. People's Republic of China
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I. United States


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1. DPRK-Yemen Missile Shipment

The Associated Press ("YEMEN UNLOADED NORTH KOREAN MISSILES IN AL-MUKALLA, DEFENSE MINISTRY SAYS," Al-Hudaydah, 12/15/02) and the Associated Press ( Ahmed Al-Haj, "YEMEN UNLOADING N KOREAN MISSILES," Al-Hudaydah, 12/14/02) reported Yemen began unloading Saturday the shipment of DPRK missiles that was seized by Spanish and US warships in the Arabian Sea, a port authority official said. Five Scud missiles have been unloaded, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Al-Hudaydah port on the Red Sea, about 90 miles southwest of the capital, San'a, was closed to the media and ringed by security forces. Senior military officers were present as the ship arrived. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived at al-Hudaydah earlier Saturday. His motorcade passed close to the port. The ship, the Singapore-registered Pan Hope, was intercepted Monday by a Spanish warship. Spanish marines boarded the ship and found 15 Scud missiles and other military equipment under a cargo of cement. The US Navy took charge of the ship, but allowed it to sail on after receiving assurances the Scuds would not be transferred elsewhere in the Gulf region. Yemen says the deal with the DPRK was sealed before it agreed not to buy missiles from the DPRK.


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2. DPRK on IEAE Surveillance

The Associated Press ("NORTH KOREA STEP UP PRESSURE ON UN NUCLEAR WATCHDOG," Seoul, 12/14/02) reported that the DPRK hinted Saturday it would remove seals and surveillance cameras from its nuclear facilities on its own if the United Nations' nuclear watchdog doesn't do so immediately. The DPRK announced Thursday it was reviving its frozen nuclear facilities to generate badly needed electricity, and asked the International Atomic Energy Agency in a letter to remove the seals and surveillance cameras. The DPRK's new letter Saturday threatened to take action "unilaterally." The letter asked for the removal of surveillance seals and cameras "at the earliest possible date." "If the IAEA fails to expeditiously take measures to meet our request, we will take necessary measures unilaterally," said the letter by Ri Je Son, director-general of the North's General Department of Atomic Energy, to IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei. The contents of the letter were reported by the Korean Central News Agency. IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming confirmed that the agency had received the letter from the DPRK. She said ElBaradei intends to reply to the DPRK later Saturday, and will urge them again to cooperate with inspectors. "The response won't be significantly different from the letter we already sent, but will spell out more clearly Elbaradei's appeal not to act unilaterally - emphasizing the vital importance of maintaining the seals and surveillance equipment at these facilities," Fleming said.


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3. DPRK on Nuclear Re-activation

The Associated Press ("NORTH KOREA DEFENDS ITS DECISION TO REACTIVATE NUCLEAR FACILITIES," Seoul, 12/15/02) reported that the DPRK on Sunday defended as "just" its decision to reactivate nuclear facilities frozen under a 1994 agreement with the US. The DPRK's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, also said the facilities do not pose a threat to the ROK and the region. Under the 1994 deal, the DPRK froze its graphite-moderated reactors in return for two safer light-water reactors and 500,000 tons of heavy oil annually until the reactors are built. The DPRK said last week that it will resume operation and construction of its reactors. "North Korea's measure to lift the nuclear freeze is a just measure taken to make up for the loss of electricity caused by the US unilateral halt to the supply of heavy oil," a committee spokesman said.


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4. DPRK-US Non-Aggression Pact

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, "NORTH KOREA ESCALATES RHETORIC, PRESSURES US TO SIGN PACT," Seoul, 12/16/02) and The New York Times (Howard W. French, "NORTH KOREA URGES US TO JOIN NON-AGGRESSION PACT," Seoul, 12/16/02) reported that DPRK called today for the US to negotiate a non-aggression pact between the two countries, calling it the only way to avoid a war. The statement was one of the most explicit to date in a series of calls by the impoverished and heavily armed country to the US urging Washington to negotiate the normalization of relations between the two countries. "The only way to prevent a catastrophic crisis of a war on the Korean Peninsula is to conclude a non-aggression treaty between North Korea and the US at an early date," the country's official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said in a report calling the Korean Peninsula "on the verge of war."


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5. ROK-US Response to DPRK Nuclear Re-activation

The Associated Press (Barry Schweid, "POWELL OFFERS ASSURANCE TO NORTH KOREA BUT RULES OUT NONAGGRESSION TREATY," Washington, 12/16/02) and the New York Times (Steven R. Weisman , "NORTH KOREA'S NUCLEAR PLANS CALLED 'UNACCEPTABLE'; BUSH SEEKS A DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION," Washington, 12/16/02) and the Washington File ("BUSH, SOUTH KOREAN LEADER DISCUSS BILATERAL TIES, NORTH KOREA," Washington, 12/13/02) reported that US President Bush and ROK President Kim Dae Jung today declared "unacceptable" the DPRK's plans to reactivate an idled nuclear plant that is deemed capable of producing nuclear weapons. But the two leaders also committed themselves to resolving this particular nuclear crisis peacefully. The pledge by the two leaders came as the US acknowledged that the nuclear threat posed by Iran was advancing more swiftly than some experts had thought. The developments again provided a contrast with the administration's approach on Iraq, which is singled out as a more serious danger that can be resolved only by the threat of military force. By contrast, administration officials argue that Iran and the DPRK can be dealt with diplomatically. On the DPRK issue, Bush and Kim, the ROK leader, spoke briefly by telephone this morning, a day after the DPRK's announcement of plans to reactivate a nuclear reactor. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell also conferred about the DPRK with the foreign ministers of Russia, the PRC and the European Union, according to administration officials. Administration made it clear, however, that by diplomatic resolution, they meant mainly an effort to exert pressure on the government of President Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang. The officials acknowledge, however, that US allies in the region - including Russia, Japan and the ROK - would be more inclined to coax along the DPRK with offers of aid and other incentives than would the US. Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, reiterated the administration's hard-line view today, saying, "North Korea would like to have an expectation of the world that the more North Korea violates agreements, the more the world will double over backwards to placate North Korea, and the president will not do that. The president will not engage in allowing North Korea to violate its agreements and then have the world come rushing to North Korea to say, 'How can we help you?'" he added.


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6. Japan and ROK on DPRK Nuclear Re-activation

The Associated Press ("JAPANESE, SOUTH KOREAN LEADERS AGREE TO URGE NORTH KOREA TO WITHDRAW DECISION TO REACTIVATE NUCLEAR FACILITIES," Tokyo, 12/14/02) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and ROK President Kim Dae-jung on Saturday agreed to jointly persuade the DPRK to withdraw its decision to reactivate its nuclear facilities, officials said. "The two leaders said they found North Korea's decision to lift its nuclear freeze and its statement to IAEA extremely regrettable, and agreed to urge the North to reverse its decision," said Koizumi's spokeswoman, Misako Kaji. In a 15-minute telephone conversation Saturday, Koizumi and Kim agreed that the DPRK must abandon its uranium enrichment program in a "verifiable manner." The two agreed to monitor the DPRK closely and continue their joint efforts "to peacefully resolve the issue," she said. The leaders also reaffirmed the importance of their cooperation with the US, while also seeking a resolution of the nuclear issue through their own channels. Koizumi told Kim that Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and Defense Agency chief Shigeru Ishiba are heading for Washington on Sunday for talks with their US counterparts, and the DPRK would be key on the agenda.


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7. DPRK Asylum Seekers

The Associated Press ("TWENTY NORTH KOREAN ASYLUM SEEKERS ARRIVE VIA CHINA, PHILIPPINES," Seoul, 12/15/02) reported twenty DPRK asylum seekers who had taken refuge at an ROK consulate in Beijing arrived in the ROK on Monday for permanent settlement. The DPRK asylum seekers flew to Incheon International Airport west of Seoul after transiting through the Philippines overnight. The 11 females and nine males were taken away for debriefing by government officials. More than 150 DPRK refugees fleeing hunger and repression have been permitted to travel to the ROK after seeking asylum in diplomatic compounds and foreign schools in the Beijing since March. More than 1,000 DPRK citizens have defected to the ROK so far this year. The figure was by far more than the total for all of last year, when 583 DPRK asylum seekers fled to the ROK. In 2000, 312 refugees fled, up from 148 in 1999.


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8. DPRK Humanitarian Aid

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, "NORTH KOREA ACCUSES US OF USING FOOD AID AS LEVERAGE IN NUCLEAR DISPUTE," Seoul, 12/16/02) and The Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA ASSAILS US FOR LINKING AID TO NUCLEAR STANDOFF," 12/16/02) reported that the DPRK has accused the US of using humanitarian aid as a weapon to win the standoff over the DPRK's nuclear weapons program. The DPRK warned that the ROK can "neither escape from disasters nor can the US go safe" if a war breaks out on the Korean peninsula. "The army and people of the DPRK (North Korea) will deal a telling blow at those who dare encroach upon their dignity and sovereignty no matter from where they come," said the KCNA. "It is the fixed will of the Korean people to counter a war with a war," it said, accusing the US of using the nuclear crisis to disarm the DPRK. The DPRK also accused the US of using humanitarian aid as leverage in the stand-off and said it would reject any aid linked to what it calls the US' "sinister political aim." The US is "obstructing humanitarian aid by every possible means and method," a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement. "This can never be justified as it is an attempt of the US to misuse noble humanitarianism for attaining its sinister political aim," he said. The spokesman, however, stressed that North Korea would warmly welcome "disinterested aid."

The Associated Press ("SOUTH KOREAN DOCKERS REFUSE TO LOAD RICE AID TO NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 12/14/02) reported that ROK port workers have stopped loading 5,100 tons of rice aid to the DPRK to protest the communist country's decision to revive its suspected nuclear weapons program, a labor union said Saturday. "Even if the rice is meant as humanitarian aid, our workers have a strong objection to giving it to the North," said Lee Gang-hee, head of the Kyungin Port and Transport Workers' Union. "The decision to refuse loading is unanimous." The shipment, at the ROK's Incheon port, is part of 400,000 tons of rice the ROK promised in humanitarian aid to the DPRK in September. About 300,000 tons have so far been shipped. Incheon is one of many ports handling the rice shipments. It was not immediately known whether other ports were taking part in the protest. The work stoppage was expected to delay the DPRK's plan to complete the rice shipments by early January. With the onset of winter, the DPRK is facing acute food shortages. A freighter carrying the rice was originally scheduled to leave for the DPRK next Saturday. Another shipment of 5,100 tons was planned for December 25.


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9. ROK Anti-US Sentiments

The Agence France-Presse ("US ARMY OFFICER ATTACKED BY KNIFE-WIELDING SOUTH KOREANS," 12/16/02) reported that an unarmed US army lieutenant colonel has been attacked by knife-wielding ROK men outside a US army base here amid simmering anti-US sentiment, US military authorities said. Three ROK citizens in their early 20s attacked the officer late Sunday as he left Yongsan, the main US military base in central Seoul, and was walking to his home, the US military said. The officer was treated at a US army hospital for a cut on his left side and minor abrasions and bruises, it said. ROK police were looking for the perpetrators. The unprovoked attack came amid growing anti-US sentiment here sparked by the recent acquittal of two US soldiers charged over the deaths of two ROK girls in a road accident involving a US military vehicle. The attack began when the Koreans insulted the officer and cursed at him in English as they approached him in an underpass, according to the US military statement. One of the Koreans then punched the officer between his shoulders, shoving him headfirst into the underpass wall, while a second man lunged at him, attempting to stab him in the stomach with a five-inch knife, it said. "He was able to twist away, but sustained a minor cut to his left side where the knife grazed him," it said. The attack ended when Boylan struck the knife-wielding attacker once in self-defense and left the scene, it said.


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10. ROK Presidential Election

The New York Times (Don Kirk, "SOUTH KOREAN CANDIDATES FOCUS ON THE NORTH," Seoul, 12/16/02) reported that the DPRK's nuclear program dominated the debate in the ROK election campaign today, four days before voters cast ballots for a successor to President Kim Dae Jung. Although both Lee Hoi Chang, the presidential candidate of the conservative Grand National Party, and Roh Moo Hyun, the candidate of the governing Millennium Democratic Party, have called for dialogue with the DPRK, they differed sharply today on how to respond to the North's nuclear threat. Roh said Lee's criticisms of President Kim's policy of reconciliation with the DPRK were worsening tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Lee's "confrontational stance" toward the DPRK, Roh said, "will foster anxiety about war." Lee said Roh was na´ve about the DPRK and "not qualified to resolve the nuclear crisis." Lee, who has been trailing in the polls, clearly saw his chances improved by the DPRK's statement last week that it would restart a nuclear plant capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium and its demand that the International Atomic Energy Agency unseal the canisters in which spent fuel rods are stored at the nuclear complex at Yongbyon. The other issue that has permeated the campaign is the ROK's strained relationship with the US. Both Lee and Roh, however, have muted their criticism of the US despite the continuing anti-American protests in the ROK over the deaths of two girls hit by a US military vehicle in June.


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11. US on PRC Democratization

Reuters (Tamora Vidaillet, "US PUSHES CHINA ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY," Beijing, 12/16/02) reported that US rights envoy Lorne Craner began two days of high-level talks with PRC officials on Monday in which he was expected to press Beijing to free political prisoners and increase religious freedoms. In the first bilateral talks of their kind since October 2001, Craner said he would discuss human rights and democracy issues, but did not elaborate on specific cases he would raise. "We're hoping for a very productive session today and results in the coming weeks and new year," Craner, US assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour affairs, told reporters. China's criminal justice system and workers' rights -- following the imprisonment of labour leaders during mass protests this year -- would also feature in talks with senior PRC Foreign Ministry official Li Baodong and Chief Justice Nan Ying.


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12. Russia Missile Developments

The Associated Press (Vladimir Isachenkov, "RUSSIA TO KEEP ITS HEAVY, SOVIET-MADE LONG-RANGE BALLISTIC MISSILES THROUGH 2020," Moscow, 12/15/02) reported that Russia will retain its most powerful, Soviet-made intercontinental nuclear missiles for nearly two decades to come significantly longer than earlier planned - a top general said Sunday. Col.-Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, the chief of Strategic Missile Forces, said that RS-20 (R-36) missiles - known as SS-18 Satan in the West - would remain on duty until 2016-2020, the Interfax-Military News Agency reported. "Neither we, nor our potential enemy has an equal to this unique missile now, now will we have it in the future," Solovtsov was quoted by the ITAR-Tass news agency as saying. Col.-Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, said earlier this year that Russia would keep its arsenal of some 150 SS-18s on duty until 2010 and possibly longer. The SS-18 and another multiwarhead missile, the SS-19, have formed the core of the Russian strategic forces since the Soviet era. Russia would have had to scrap both types of missiles under the 1993 START II arms reduction treaty, which banned land-based strategic missiles with multiple warheads. But the treaty never took force and Russia formally withdrew from it last June, saying it was annulled by the US withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. A new agreement, signed by US President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin in May, outlines even deeper cuts in strategic nuclear warheads to 1,700 to 2,200 for each country, down from 6,000 or more for the US and about 5,500 for Russia. However, unlike START II, the new arms deal leaves it to each nation to decide which weapons it will scrap, allowing Russia to keep its arsenal of the SS-18 and SS-19 missiles. 13. ROK-DPRK Family Reunions

The Associated Press ("SOUTH KOREA PROPOSES MORE FAMILY REUNIONS TO THE NORTH AMID TENSION OVER NUCLEAR FACILITIES," Seoul, 12/15/02) report in the Red Cross talks with the DPRK, ROK proposed more reunions for family members separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. But the negotiations in the DPRK were overshadowed by tension over the DPRK's nuclear facilities. The ROK's chief delegate Lee Byong-woon made the proposal Monday at Mount Kumgang resort. The ROK delegation arrived Sunday for three-day talks. The meetings were held to follow up an earlier agreement to build a permanent reunion center for separated families, but the nuclear issue has cast doubt on the future of inter-Korean reconciliation projects. The ROK proposed that the two sides organize another round of temporary reunions for hundreds of people around lunar New Year on February 1. ROK media covering the talks did not report the DPRK's response.


II. Republic of Korea


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1. Inter Korean Red Cross Talks

Joongang Ilbo ("RED CROSS DEFEGATIONS BEGIN TALKS IN FAMILIES," Seoul, 12/16/02) reported that ROK's delegation to inter-Korean Red Cross talks arrived at Mount Geumgang Sunday; the two sides will try again to reach agreement on a permanent meeting site for families separated by the 1950-1953 Korean War. "North Korea's nuclear program threatens peace on the peninsula," said Lee Byung-woong, ROK's chief Red Cross delegate before his departure. "We will bring the matter to the negotiation table. The current state of affairs does not help the North or solve humanitarian issues." The agenda also includes a search for people who disappeared during the war. ROK government had said earlier that the three-day Red Cross meeting was an exception to its suspension of inter-Korean exchanges after DPRK announced that it would reopen a mothballed nuclear reactor.


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2. UN Check on US Bases

Joongang Ilbo ("UN CHECK OF U.S. BASES PLANNED," Seoul, 12/16/02) reported that UN will conduct environmental surveys of US military bases in ROK, according to environmentalists. The UN surveys are expected to establish a basis for local authorities that are demanding compensation for alleged ecological damage inside the bases, which South Korean groups have been barred from inspecting. Green Korea United, an environmental activist group, said Sunday the United Nations Environmental Program next year would survey US bases in ROK along with current and past American installations in other Asian countries. The environmental group said the UN body's Asia-Pacific office had sought active participation from ROK, Japanese and Philippine nongovernmental groups. Representatives of civic organizations in the three Asian countries will invite the United Nations Environmental Program to an international workshop scheduled for March in Okinawa, Japan. The groups plan to agree on survey guidelines and methods at the workshop, Green Korea United said. The environmental group said it would provide the United Nations with data about environmental incidents involving US troops here, including the alleged dumping of toxins into the Han River by employees of the Yongsan Garrison in Seoul. Suspected negative effects on residents living near US shooting ranges in Maehyang-ri and Paju, Gyeonggi province, will also be reported.


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3. Comprehensive Cooperation in dealing with DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (Ser Myo-ja, "DIPLOMATS WORKS ON COALITION TO PRESS NORTH," Seoul, 12/16/02) reported that new diplomatic efforts were under way over the weekend to prevent a new nuclear crisis from looming over the Korean Peninsula. US, Russia, PRC, Europe, Japan and ROK and UN agencies are looking for ways to induce DPRK to reconsider its nuclear ambitions. President Kim Dae-jung spoke to US President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi during the weekend to coordinate the three countries' policies after DPRK's announcement that it would reopen a nuclear plant. Japanese and US officials will meet Monday in Washington to ponder the matter. ROK and US officials say ROK and US have begun assembling an international coalition that will include PRC and Russia to press DPRK to reverse its bid to restart nuclear weapons work. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Friday, Washington time, "It's important for all governments to tell North Korea that they should not expect to develop their relations with the world... unless they get rid of these programs that attempt to nuclearlize the Korean Peninsula." Russia's foreign minister will visit Washington this Friday.


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4. ROK-Peru Relations

Chosun Ilbo (Yoon Hee-young, "PERUVIAN VICE-MINISTER VISITS SEOUL," Seoul, 12/16/02) reported that Peruvian Vice Foreign Minister Manuel Cuadros came to ROK to prepare for a state visit by Peruvian President Alexandro Toledo to be held next year, commemorating 40 years' friendship between the two countries. Vice-minister Cuadros visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) last week, and signed a Tourism Cooperation Agreement between the two states. He also discussed formulating a task force to work out the details of concluding a free trade agreement (FTA). Before leaving ROK, the Peruvian official said in an interview that he hoped if ROK and Peru strengthened their ties, more Koreans will visit his country to see Inca monuments. He stressed Peru was politically and economically stable so that foreigners have safe visits. The vice minister also boasted that his country recorded a 4.5 percent growth while most other South American countries were experiencing a depression. He said Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) data showed that Peru and the Dominican Republic were the only states in the area to have decreased their poverty levels.


III. People's Republic of China


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1. DPRK Nuclear Decision

People's Daily (Zhao Jiaming, "DPRK TO REACTIVATE NUCLEAR PROGRAM," Pyongyang, 12/13/02, P3) reported that a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman declared on December 12 that DPRK will "immediately" reactivate nuclear facilities frozen under the 1994 Agreed Framework with the US, and will resume the operation and construction of nuclear facilities required for the production of electric power. The spokesman said that the reason for DPRK's decision is that US stopped providing heavy oil for DPRK from December in violation of the 1994 Agreed Framework, under which the DPRK would stop its nuclear program in return for two light water reactors and heavy oil provided by the US. With the US heavy oil providing ceased, there appeared an electric production insufficiency immediately in DPRK, which forced the latter to revoke the agreement. According to the spokesman, to resolve the nuclear issue on the Peninsula in a peaceful way is a consistent position taken by the DPRK government, however US stopped providing heavy oil and implemented press on DPRK, which bared the US's intention of overthrowing the DPRK current systems. "Whether the DPRK refreezes its nuclear facilities or not hinges upon the US," the spokesman said at last.


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2. ROK Attitude towards DPRK's Nuclear Decision

People's Daily (Zhang Li, "ROK CALLED ON DPRK TO WITHDRAW DECISION," Seoul, 12/13/02, P3) reported that ROK expressed great regression and deeply concerns over DPRK's nuclear reactivation decision on December 13 and called on DPRK to immediately withdraw its decision. A National Security Council (NSC) meeting was hastily convened to discuss the issue following the DPRK's declaration, said the report.


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3. PRC National Security White Paper

China Daily (Hu Qihua, "DEFENSE EXPENDITURES KEPT AT LOW LEVEL," 12/13/02, P1) reported that Chinese military experts stressed that PRC's defense expenditures have been kept at a fairly low level and the increases have been basically of a compensatory nature. Chen Zhou, a researcher with the Academy of Military Science of the People's Liberation Army (AMSPLA) said that PRC's defense expenditures have increased somewhat based on the country's continuous economic growth, but defense spending relative to state financial spending has been on the decline. The white paper released on December 9 indicates that increased defense spending in recent years has primarily been to meet increased personnel expenses, to establish and improve the social security system for servicemen, and increase the standard of living. Money has also gone to progressive office automation and cooperation with the international community on anti-terrorism activities, the report said. Chen also said that PRC's defense expenditures are still at a fairly low level compared with other countries such as US, UK, Japan and France.

People's Daily ("CHINA ISSUED NATIONAL DEFENSE WHITE PAPER," Beijing, 12/10/02, P1) reported that the Information Office of the State Council of PRC issued on December 9 a white paper titled "China's National Defense in 2002," the fourth one of its kind ever released by the PRC government since 1995. The report said that by deploying substantial facts and figures, the white paper further elucidates PRC's national defense policy and progress in national defense development in the past two years, and shows that PRC unswervingly follows a road of peaceful development, pursues an independent foreign policy of peace and implements a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. The 30,000-plus character white paper consists of nine parts, namely Foreword, The Security Situation, National Defense Policy, The Armed Forces, National Defense Building, Armed Forces Building, International Security Cooperation, Arms Control and Disarmament, and Appendices. To continue to propel the modernization drive, to achieve the national reunification of the motherland, and to safeguard world peace and promote common development are the three historical tasks of the PRC people in the new century, says the white paper. The paper also said that PRC will unremittingly put the new security concept into practice, oppose all kinds of hegemonism and power politics, and combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations. PRC will, together with other countries in the world, strive to create an international environment of long-term peace, stability and security, said the white paper in the report.


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4. US-DPRK Relations

China Daily ("US CONDEMNED FOR DETAINING CARGO SHIP," Pyongyang, 12/14-15/02, P8) reported that the US should apologize for invading the sovereignty of the DPRK by detaining a DPRK cargo ship, a Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying on December 13. The spokesman said that the US navy detained a DPRK cargo ship in the Arabian Sea on December 10, and even mobilized Spanish warships and warplanes to capture it. "This is an unpardonable piracy that wantonly encroached upon the sovereignty of the DPRK," said the spokesman. The ship, which was carrying missile components and building materials to be delivered to Yemen under a legal contract, was on a normal voyage along the publicly recognized sea route in compliance with international law, he added. The DPRK has already clarified that it is not only producing missiles to defend itself against the constant US military threat, but exporting them to earn foreign currency, the spokesman said. The US should make an apology for its piracy and compensate for all of the mental and material damage, said the spokesman in the report.


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5. PRC's Attitude towards DPRK's Nuclear Decision

China Daily (12/14-15/02, P8) reported that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao on December 13 called for dialogue and contacts to peacefully resolve the issue of DPRK's resumption of its nuclear program. "We have noted relevant reports," Liu said, emphasizing that PRC's stance on this issue was "consistent." PRC has always favored de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, has been committed to peace and stability there and upheld that the issue be resolved through dialogue, he added in the report.


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6. Russia-US Nuclear Arms Treaty

China Daily ("PUTIN SUBMITS ARMS TREATY," Moscow, 12/10/02, P11) reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin has submitted the nuclear arms treaty signed last May with US President George W. Bush to the parliament for ratification. Putin submitted the treaty to the State Duma, the lower house on December 7, as was said in a statement, noting that the Duma would discuss the treaty in a hearings soon.


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7. ROK-DPRK Relations

China Daily ("TALKS START ON KOREAN REUNIONS," Seoul, 12/16/02, P11) reported that the Red Cross societies of the ROK and DPRK launched three days of working-level talks on December 15 to discuss the details of setting up a permanent center for reunions of separated family members. According to the report, the two sides' Red Cross officials were due to meet at the Haehumgang Hotel, a floating facility stationed on a vessel off the DPRK port of Changjon, a gateway to the scenic tourist spot of Mount Kumgang.


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8. PRC-US Relations

China Daily ("5TH SINO-US VICE-MINISTERIAL LEVEL MILITARY TALKS CONCLUDE," Washington, 12/12/02, P1) reported that Senior Chinese and US military officials held their fifth round of consultations on defense at the vice-defense ministerial level on December 9 and 10 and agreed to maintain contacts and consultations on friendly bilateral military exchanges in the coming years. During their meetings, the two sides exchanged views on the regional and international security situation, state-to-state relations and bilateral military ties, as well as other issues of common concern. General Xiong Guangkai, deputy chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army of China, and Douglas Feith, US undersecretary of defense for policy, attended the meetings. Xiong said the continued improvement of bilateral ties has created a favorable atmosphere for the resumption and improvement of relations between the two armies. PRC is ready to work with US to remove all disturbances and obstacles that stand in the way of the development of bilateral military ties, Xiong said. Feith said that US side regards the latest meetings as an important channel to exchange views on regional and world issues and gain a deeper understanding of each other's strategies and policies. Xiong also met US Presidential National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, said the report.

China Daily ("US ROLE CITED ON TAIWAN QUESTION," 12/11/02, P1) reported that Chinese President Jiang Zemin met with a US delegation headed by Henry J. Hyde, chairman of the International Relations Committee of the US House of Representatives, saying that PRC trusts US will treat and handle the Taiwan question from a strategic perspective and play a constructive role in its peaceful reunification with the mainland. To achieve reunification at an early date would benefit peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large, the steady advancement of Sino-US relations and the US itself, Jiang said. Hyde said that the US people respected and admired the PRC people's achievements and the bilateral relationship would be one of the most important state-to-state relations of the 21st century.


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9. US-ROK Relations

China Daily ("S.KOREA, US DISCUSS SOFA'S REVISION," Seoul, 12/13/02, P12) reported that ROK and US reached an initial consensus on improving the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) involving American troops in ROK on December 12. The consensus came at a meeting of the sub-committee on crime of the South Korea-US Joint Committee (KUJC) held at the US Eighth Army Command in Yongsan that day. The report said that the two sides agreed to conduct joint probes and allow equal access in the investigation of criminal acts allegedly committed by American servicemen. One of the most significant points of the consensus is that the ROK law enforcement authorities will be entitled to call in accused US soldiers for questioning, even after they have been handed over to US military custody. The two sides will hold a further meeting to finalize the issue, and any agreement reached by the sub-committee attached to the KUJC must be referred to its upper committee for approval, said the report.

China Daily ("TALKS ON TROOP PACT CHANGES," Seoul, 12/12/02, P11) reported that US and ROK official began talks on December 11 on modifying a treaty governing American troops in the country to defuse mounting anger over the deaths of two girls run over by a US army vehicle. The meeting in Seoul followed an apology by US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage on December 10 for the accidental deaths of the teenagers and a commitment to work to improve the Status of Forces Agreement, the report said.



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