NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, december 19, 2002

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. ROK Presidential Election

New York Times (Howard W. French, "LIBERAL WINS SOUTH KOREA'S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION," Seoul, 12/19/02) and Reuters (Paul Eckert, "SOUTH KOREA PICKS LIBERAL ROH FOR PRESIDENT," Seoul, 12/19/02) reported that Ruling party candidate Roh Moo-hyun won the ROK's presidential election on Thursday. The unofficial count of 95 percent of ballots showed Roh beat conservative opposition candidate Lee Hoi-chang by 2.5 percentage points in a closely fought election that had become a referendum on how to handle South Korea's unpredictable communist neighbor. "I have failed again in my bid for the presidency," said Lee, who lost the 1997 election to incumbent President Kim Dae-jung. Roh thanked his supporters and vowed to work for every ROK citizen "not just those of you who backed me." The National Election Commission was expected to formally confirm Roh as the winner early on Friday. The voter turnout at 70.2 percent was the lowest in ROK history. The triumph of Roh, 56, a populist human rights and labor lawyer, marks a stunning turnaround after the 11th-hour desertion of his election alliance partner, Chung Mong-joon. Roh has vowed to be tough on the family-run conglomerates that dominate Asia's fourth-largest economy, but continue President Kim's "sunshine policy" of reconciliation with the DPRK despite their nuclear brinkmanship.

Associated Press (Christopher Torchia, "SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT-ELECT WANTS MORE "EQUAL" RELATIONSHIP WITH UNITED STATES, ADVOCATES DIALOGUE WITH NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 12/19/02) reported that the ROK elected a new president Thursday, a former human rights lawyer who vows to be more assertive with the US, and espouses dialogue to resolve concerns that the DPRK is developing nuclear weapons. Roh Moo-hyun, who has said he is not anti-American but won't "kowtow" to US, benefited from rising anti-US sentiment that drew tens of thousands of young ROK citizens to street protests in recent weeks. "I will try to become a president, not just for the people who supported me, but also for the people who opposed me in the election," Roh, 56, said at his party headquarters. Supporters clapped, danced and waved balloons. Roh narrowly defeated opposition leader Lee Hoi-chang, an older conservative whose image as a hardliner on the DPRK may have cost support among young voters who view him as closely aligned with tough US policy. Some ROK citizens view US President George W. Bush as an obstacle to reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula. Roh has never traveled to the US and accused past ROK leaders of "groveling" before their US counterparts. As an activist in his younger days, he called for the withdrawal of the 37,000 US troops stationed in the ROK, but he now says they should stay.

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2. US Missile Defense

Washington File ("MISSILE DEFENSE DEPLOYMENT CALLED RESPONSE TO 21ST CENTURY THREATS," Washington, 12/18/02) reported that senior defense officials say the limited missile defense system to be fielded by the US beginning in 2004 "is intended to be very responsive to the demands of [today's] dynamic and unpredictable security environment," but is not "a fixed or final architecture of any kind." "It integrates new technologies, and our hope is to continue to improve these capabilities," and to augment them, said J.D. Crouch, assistant secretary of defense for international security. This is "a very modest initial interceptor inventory, and an investment that provides a useful defense capability, but one that has limitations ... and we want to be very clear about that," he said. "It allows us to field some capability quickly, employing test assets as we go along, but without making a commitment to serial production and very large-scale investments." Crouch and Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish, director of the Missile Defense Agency, briefed reporters at the Pentagon December 17 shortly after President Bush announced the limited missile defense deployment. Under the plan, which must be funded by Congress, the Defense Department would field a total of 10 ground-based interceptors at Fort Greeley, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, in 2004, and an additional 10 interceptors at Fort Greeley in 2005, to defend against long-range missiles. Short- and medium-range missile threats would be countered with upgraded versions of the Patriot missiles used in the Persian Gulf war. In addition, 10-20 sea-based interceptors would be placed on Aegis-equipped Navy cruisers and destroyers. Kadish said the Defense Department will ask Congress to "add about US$1.5 billion ($1,500 million) to our budget to get this job done over the next two years." This will be in addition to the approximately US$8 billion ($8,000 million) that Congress has appropriated each year for the past two years to fund the "very aggressive" missile defense flight test program, he said.

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3. PRC on US Missile Shield

Associated Press (Ted Anthony, "CHINA CONCERNED BY MISSILE DEFENSE PLAN," Beijing, 12/19/02) and the Agence France-Presse ("CHINA ADDS VOICE TO CHORUS AGAINST US MISSILE PLANS," 12/19/02) reported that the PRC added its voice to a growing international chorus opposing US plans to start deploying a missile shield, which analysts warned could lead to an arms race in Asia. The PRC advocates the "complete prohibition and thorough destruction of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction," the China Daily said Thursday, citing Sha Zukang, the country's top arms control official. "That's why China is opposed to the development and deployment of the National Missile Defense program, which may undermine the global strategic balance and stability," he said. The likely result of the US decision to go ahead with the missile defense is an Asian arms race, with the PRC taking the lead, according to observers. "China will take the logical next step and modernize its missiles and increase their numbers," said Paul Harris, an observer of US foreign policy at Hong Kong's Lingnan University. The PRC foreign ministry Thursday suggested that the PRC could indeed take steps to expand its missile capabilities. "China will make the necessary military deployments in accordance with its national defense needs," Liu Jianchao, the ministry's spokesman, told reporters when asked if the PRC might increase its number of missiles. The PRC has about 20 missiles capable of hitting the US west coast, and has deployed hundreds of medium-range missiles near Taiwan.

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4. DPRK US Ship Seizure Compensation

Associated Press ("NORTH KOREA DEMANDS US COMPENSATION FOR SEIZURE OF SHIP CARRYING MISSILES," Seoul, 12/19/02) reported that the DPRK demanded on Thursday US compensation for last week's seizure of a ship carrying its Scud missiles to Yemen, criticizing the act as "reckless state-sponsored terrorism." The DPRK also claimed that a Spanish warship fired at its ship, and that US sailors looted the ship, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). "The US imperialists should apologize for their serious piracy committed against the ship and compensate for all the mental and material damage done to the ship and its crew," said the DPRK's official newspaper Rodong Sinmun, carried by KCNA in a separate dispatch. The report did not clarify what kind of compensation the DPRK wanted.

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5. DPRK Japanese Abductees Issue

Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, "JAPANESE ABDUCTEES ANNOUNCE THEY WANT TO STAY IN JAPAN, ASK TOKYO TO BRING THEIR FAMILIES FROM NORTH KOREA," Nigita, 12/19/02) and Reuters, (Linda Sieg, "ABDUCTEES WANT THEIR CHILDREN TO JOIN THEM IN JAPAN," Tokyo, 12/19/02) reported that the five Japanese kidnapped by DPRK decades ago said Thursday they want to stay in Japan. Since their return to Japan two months ago, the five have refrained from answering questions about their future plans. The DPRK has claimed they are being kept in Japan against their will. But Yasushi Chimura, who was abducted along with Fukie Hamamoto by the DPRK spies 24 years ago, said the abductees had agreed they would all remain in Japan. "We ask (the government) to be reunited with our families as soon as possible," he said, reading from a letter addressed to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. They also asked the government to continue negotiations with the DPRK. Kaoru Hasuike said he and the other abductees hadn't made up their minds about whether to resettle permanently, and that they remained worried about their children. "We will have to wait until our children come before making a final decision," he said. However, Hasuike added he was concerned that he might never be allowed to return to Japan if he were to go back to the DPRK now. Reflecting their decision, the returnees have removed their DPRK pins, Hasuike said. "But by removing our pins, we are not declaring that the North is our enemy," said Hasuike.

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6. Japan US Marine Rape Trial

Reuters ("JAPAN PROSECUTORS INDICT US MARINE ON RAPE ATTEMPT," Tokyo, 12/19/02) reported that a US marine indicted on charges of attempted rape by prosecutors on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa was handed over to Japanese authorities Thursday, a spokesman for the prosecutors' office said. "He was indicted...and has been taken into custody at a Japanese facility," said a spokesman at the Naha District Prosecutors' Office in Okinawa. The US' refusal earlier this month to hand over Major Michael J. Brown, 39, who police allege attempted to rape a foreign woman in her car on November 2, sparked calls to revise the treaty governing the conduct of US troops in Japan. Brown, who voluntarily submitted himself to Japanese police for questioning on December 4, has denied trying to rape the woman, Japanese media said. A US embassy spokesman said the United States had no immediate comment. The indictment had cleared the way under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) for custody to be granted to Japanese authorities. Earlier this month, Japan called for the US military to crack down on crimes by its personnel.

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7. Russia Response to US Missile Defense

Associated Press (Burt Herman "RUSSIA: MISSILE SHIELD TO SPARK ARMS RACE," Moscow, 12/18/02) and New York Times (Michael Wines, "MOSCOW MIFFED OVER MISSILE SHIELD BUT OTHERS MERELY SHRUG," Moscow, 12/19/02) reported that US moves to build a missile defense system will impede the fight against terrorism and lead to a "new senseless arms race," Russia warned Wednesday after the US said it will start work on deploying the first interceptors in 2004. Russia has long criticized US efforts to build a missile defense system, which was made possible after Washington withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that expired in June. The government stepped up its anti-missile rhetoric after President Bush on Tuesday ordered the US Defense Department to begin work within two years on deploying the first interceptors that are to form the base of the system. "Now, after taking a political decision to deploy in 2004 several strategic interceptors with support from space, the realization of these plans has entered a new destabilizing phase," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a two-page statement. But the head of the Russian parliament's international affairs committee, Dmitry Rogozin, said Russia was studying US proposals on missile defense cooperation. Russia also is considering working with European countries on a continental missile defense system, Rogozin said, according to the Interfax news agency.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:

Ilmin Internationl Relations Institute
BK21 The Education and Research Corps for East Asian Studies
Department of Political Science, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

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

John McKay:
Clayton, Australia

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