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tuesday, january 7, 2003
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I. United States

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


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1. US-ROK-Japan on DPRK Situation

Reuters (Arshad Mohammed, "US, SOUTH KOREA, JAPAN BEGIN TALKS ON NORTH KOREA," Washington, 01/07/03), Washington Post (Glenn Kessler, "US AND ASIAN ALLIES DISCUSS NORTH KOREA," Washington, 01/07/03) and Washington Post (Peter S. Goodman, "SOUTH KOREA READIES PLAN TO END STANDOFF WITH NORTH," Seoul, 1/5/03) reported that the Bush administration, facing rising anger in Asia for refusing to negotiate with the DPRK over its nuclear weapons programs, opened a week of high-profile diplomacy yesterday to forge a common front on the DPRK crisis with the ROK and Japan. US diplomats met separately in Washington with senior Japanese and ROK envoys, and officials expect to issue a joint statement pledging common goals and approaches to resolve the crisis after a trilateral meeting today. The ROK's national security adviser will arrive in Washington today for meetings with senior administration officials, including national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, later this week. While Japan has backed the uncompromising US stance in reaction to the DPRK's decision to restart a shuttered nuclear facility and evict UN weapons inspectors, the ROK appeared to disagree. ROK media reported over the weekend that ROK officials were preparing a proposal that would require both the US and the DPRK to make concessions -- perhaps the US giving the DPRK a written assurance that it had no plans for an assault and would resume shipments of heavy fuel oil if the DPRK once again honored its nuclear commitments. But US and South Korean officials said the ROK diplomats offered no such proposal yesterday, instead proposing general ideas on how to manage the situation. One US official said that both sides dismissed what he called "completely overheated" media reports of a split between the two longtime allies.


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2. IAEA on DPRK Compliance

Washington File (Judy Aita, "IAEA GIVES NORTH KOREA CHANCE TO COME INTO SAFEGUARDS COMPLIANCE (NORTH KOREA MUST TAKE FIRST STEP, IAEA SAYS)," UN, 01/07/03) reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors meeting in Vienna January 6 gave North Korea one more chance to come into compliance with its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations, but made clear that unless the DPRK cooperates fully with the agency the issue will be referred to the Security Council. In adopting a resolution by consensus, the board of governors set out a roadmap for the DPRK to follow to come back into compliance with its nuclear obligations and then to begin a dialogue with the international community on its security and economic concerns. The message coming from the board, said IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei at a press conference after the board meeting, is that "the international community is not ready to negotiate under blackmail or under threat, that North Korea has first to fulfill its international obligations. Once they fulfill their international obligations -- particularly with regard to the safeguard agreement they're party to -- then there is a light at the end of the tunnel for them." "The message is: You take the first step," he said. "You come into compliance and then all the doors will be open. We are ready to negotiate; we are ready to discuss with you." "All the pieces of the puzzle are there. There is no fundamental disagreement: The international community is ready to help DPRK (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea), is ready to engage DPRK in a security dialogue, in a dialogue on economic needs, but not under a situation of nuclear brinkmanship, not in a situation where DPRK is defying its international obligations," ElBaradei said.

Washington Post (Peter Finn, "NORTH KOREA WARNED BY NUCLEAR AGENCY UN WATCHDOG OFFERS 'ONE LAST CHANCE,'" Vienna, 01/07/03) reported that the UN nuclear watchdog today gave the DPRK "one last chance" to abandon its plans to build nuclear weapons. The ultimatum, from the International Atomic Energy Agency, followed a resolution by its board, including Russia and the DPRC, condemning the DPRK's "unilateral acts" and pointedly rejecting its attempts to depict the crisis as a standoff with the US. Leaving open the possibility of further diplomatic maneuvering in coming weeks, the agency declined to send the matter immediately to the UN Security Council. Instead, the agency said the DPRK, which expelled nuclear monitors last month and dismantled UN equipment monitoring its ability to produce weapons-grade plutonium, must "urgently" resume compliance with its obligations under international agreements. And the agency's director general warned there would be no negotiation with the DPRK on its economic and security concerns until the impoverished but heavily armed country makes the first move to end its "nuclear brinkmanship." "Compliance and not defiance is the way toward a solution," Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the agency, said at a news conference after an emergency session of the 35-nation board of governors. "The international community is not ready to negotiate under blackmail, under threat... I hope [North Korea] will seize this opportunity." Today's resolution, which was faxed to the DPRK Foreign Ministry, called on the country to give up "any nuclear weapons program expeditiously and in a verifiable manner." ElBaradei said he expected the DPRK to meet with UN officials immediately and to comply with its obligations under international accords in a matter of weeks. Otherwise, he said, the matter automatically would be turned over to the Security Council.


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3. Bush on DPRK Approach

New York Times (David E. Sanger, "BUSH WELCOMES SLOWER APPROACH TO NORTH KOREA," Washington, 01/07/03) reported that the White House sought today to defuse a worsening confrontation with the DPRK, applauding the International Atomic Energy Agency's decision to condemn the DPRK's nuclear activities but delay taking the issue to the UN Security Council for sanctions. President Bush repeated three times this afternoon that he had no intention of attacking the DPRK - an effort, it seemed, both to give the DPRK a security guarantee and ease a diplomatically embarrassing difference with the ROK and Japan over how to handle the crisis. "I'll repeat that," Bush told reporters after a cabinet meeting today to start off a new year of domestic and international initiatives. "We have no intention of invading North Korea." Only a week ago, as Bush vacationed in Texas, his aides were saying they would support the atomic energy agency in taking the issue straight to the Security Council, which would then consider economic penalties. Now that approach appears to have been reconsidered. In recent days, some senior officials have warned that penalties could prompt a military response from the DPRK - just as the administration is preparing forces for the Persian Gulf.


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4. DPRK on US Sanctions

The Associated Press (Hans Greimel, "DEFIANT NORTH KOREA SAYS 'SANCTIONS MEAN A WAR' AS WORLD STEPS UP DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS," Seoul, 01/07/03) and Reuters (Paul Eckert and Arshad Mohammed, "NORTH KOREA SAYS SANCTIONS MEAN WAR, URGES US TALKS," Seoul/Washington, 01/07/03) reported that the DPRK said on Tuesday economic sanctions over its atomic program would mean war as the UN nuclear agency said the DPRK had "only a matter of weeks" to readmit inspectors expelled last week. In Washington, US, Japanese and ROK officials began a meeting on how to deal with the DPRK's nuclear threat. The DPRK's KCNA news agency denounced the brief seizure last month of a shipload of DPRK scud missiles bound for Yemen, calling it "part of the US-tailored containment strategy against the DPRK. "The strategy means total economic sanctions aimed at isolating and stifling the DPRK," the agency said on Tuesday. "Sanctions mean a war and the war knows no mercy. The US should opt for dialogue with the DPRK, not for war, clearly aware that it will have to pay a very high price for such reckless acts," KCNA added.


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5. PRC on US-DPRK Tension

Associated Press ("CHINA APPEALS FOR NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT TO KOREAN TENSIONS," Beijing, 01/07/03) reported that the PRC appealed for a negotiated settlement to tensions over the DPRK nuclear program on Tuesday, but a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman wouldn't say whether the PRC is willing to intervene with its isolated ally. "We hope to see a settlement of the issue through dialogue," said ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue. However, asked several times at a news briefing about what the PRC would do to encourage the DPRK to seek such a settlement, she would say only that the PRC "maintains contact with all sides." The PRC is the North's last major ally and a major donor of food and fuel aid. Yet despite repeated appeals to use its influence, the PRC has so far refrained from publicly committing itself to diplomatic action. Foreign analysts say the PRC is unlikely to pressure the DPRK, partly for fear of the consequences if the regime collapses or goes to war with the ROK. They say it also is unclear what influence the PRC really holds over the DPRK. The PRC and the ROK said last week after a visit by the ROK's deputy foreign minister to Beijing that they would work together toward a peaceful resolution, but neither side would say what that would entail. Zhang said the PRC favors reviving a 1994 agreement under which the DPRK promised to stop work on its nuclear program in exchange for foreign fuel aid from a US-led coalition. Zhang said the PRC wants to see a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, which she said is "important for the region and the world." Zhang also declined to give any details of Chinese aid to the DPRK, saying only that as a "close neighbor," Beijing extended help from time to time.


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6. PRC on US-Iraq Conflict

The Associated Press ("CHINA CALLS FOR SETTLING IRAQ TENSIONS THROUGH UN," Beijing, 01/07/03) reported that the PRC called Tuesday for tensions with Iraq to be settled through the UN, saying it wants the UN Security Council to be given time to review the work of weapons inspectors before taking any action. The appeal reflected PRC anxiety over mounting US pressure to invade Iraq. The PRC opposes an attack, and involving the United Nations - where the PRC has a permanent Security Council seat and veto power over UN actions - would provide a diplomatic means to restrain military action. "We maintain that the question should be solved through political and diplomatic means within the UN framework," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said at a news briefing. "We also maintain that the Security Council should listen first to the result of the inspection by the UN agencies in Iraq before making a conclusion on the question of Iraq." The PRC has both diplomatic and commercial ties with Iraq. In August, Vice Premier Qian Qichen told visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri that ties were "extremely friendly." A series of deals for the PRC to develop Iraqi oil fields are to take effect once UN sanctions on Iraq end.


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7. PRC Domestic Economics

BBC News ("CHINA SCRAPS JOBS GUARANTEE," 01/07/03) reported that the PRC is to end its guarantee of jobs-for-life for government officials, the official China Daily newspaper has reported. The decision was spelt out to a meeting of personnel officials from state-run institutions on Sunday by Vice-Minister of Personnel Shu Huiguo. About 30 million people work in state-run institutions, which range from national and provincial government bodies to academic institutes. Shu said individual employment contracts will be introduced as part of reforms to the government personnel management system. Civil servants join queue State-run factories have already laid off hundreds of thousands of workers as part of phasing out the jobs-for-life system. The pace of market-oriented reforms has quickened since the country entered the World Trade Organisation a year ago. The jobs-for-life pledge was once seen as an important part of the Chinese Communist Party's commitment to protect workers. All of the PRC's 1.3 million state-run institutions will be expected to switch to the new contract system within five years, Shu said. "The move is one of the biggest shake-ups in the field of employment in China and a vital part of the country's modernisation programme," the official Xinhua news agency reported. Job cuts The overhaul "will lead to a number of positions becoming redundant and some employees being laid off", it said, without giving any estimates of how many. Shu has ordered officials to speed up work on drawing up the framework of new regulations needed to implement the reform, such as rules on redundancy payments and changes to the civil service code. To meet the need for new jobs, the PRC's Communist authorities have embraced private enterprise permitting entrepreneurs to join the Communist Party. Private firms are to be allowed to raise money for expansion by issuing corporate bonds for the first time since the 1949 Communist revolution, an official of the State Development Planning Commission said on Tuesday. Privately owned firms, which were illegal 25 years ago, now make up 30% of the PRC's economy.


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8. Hong Kong Missiles Trial

New York Times (Keith Bradsher, "THREE IN HONG KONG AGREE TO FACE CHARGES IN US," Hong Kong, 01/07/03) reported that three men sought by the F.B.I. for having supposedly plotted to trade drugs for ntiaircraft missiles agreed today to their extradition to the US. They had initially fought extradition after their arrest three months ago. The men, two Pakistanis and a US citizen, have been indicted in San Diego on charges of having planned to trade heroin and hashish for four Stinger antiaircraft missiles. The men reportedly told F.B.I. undercover agents here in meetings from September 16 through September 18 that they intended to resell the Stingers to Al Qaeda, and were arrested on September 20 by the Hong Kong police working with the F.B.I. The case drew international attention when the US unsealed its indictment against the men on November 6. The Stinger is a highly effective weapon against low-flying aircraft and there had been widespread concern that Al Qaeda might try to shoot down civilian airliners. A Hong Kong official said tonight that it would take three or four weeks to complete the paperwork, including a formal approval by Tung Chee-hwa, the territory's chief executive, before the three men could actually be sent by plane to the United States. In a court appearance here today, the American, Ilyas Ali, and the Pakistanis, Syed Saadat Ali Faraz and Muhammad Abid Afridi, did not say why they had dropped their opposition to extradition. But if the men had stood trial in Hong Kong, they would have done so before a judge, not a jury. Officials in Hong Kong have gone out of their way in recent months to say that they would have no tolerance for terrorism.


II. People's Republic of China


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1. US, ROK, Russian Response to DPRK Nuclear Crisis

China Daily ("DPRK CALLS FOR TALKS WITH US," Seoul, 01/06/03, P8) reported that the DPRK on January 5 called for negotiations with the US to end the stand-off over its nuclear program, as diplomatic moves to solve the crisis gathered momentum. The DPRK has consistently called for talks and a non-aggression pact with US but Washington says it will not talk or bargain with the DPRK, said the report. The commentary appears to reflect a toning-down of the rhetoric from DPRK, which said on January 4 that the US was "entirely to blame" for the stalemate. Also on January 5, top ROK officials headed to US for three-way talks with Japan and US. Meanwhile, a ROK delegation currently in Moscow also secured a pledge from Russia "to co-operate with all the parties involved" to find a peaceful solution. The two countries on January 5 pledged joint efforts in defusing tension over the nuclear bid of DPRK. The delegation to US is headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Tae-Shik and includes officials from the foreign, defense and reunification ministries. It was to arrive in the US capital late on January 5 local time. US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly will host the Trilateral Co-ordination and Oversight Group before traveling to northeast Asia at the end of the week. Yim Sung-Joon, senior national security adviser to ROK's outgoing President Kim Dae-jung, was to fly to US tomorrow for talks with his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice, officials in Seoul said.


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2. US-DPRK Relations on DPRK Nuclear Crisis

People's Daily (Tan Weibing and Yan Feng, "US REJECTS DPRK APPEAL FOR NONAGGRESSION PACT," Washington, 01/05/03, P3) reported that US on January 3 reiterated its rejection of a repeated appeal from the DPRK for a mutual non-aggression pact between the two countries, and said that the only way to solve the crisis is for DPRK to dismantle nuclear programs. "The issue is not non-aggression, the issue is whether DPRK will dismantle these (nuclear) programs," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters. US has "no intent to invade the DPRK," and is seeking ways of peaceful solution. Boucher also said that Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly will visit east-Asia next week to discuss the Korean Nuclear issue.

China Daily (Chen Xiao, "DPRK URGES TALKS WITH NO CONDITIONS", 01/04-05/03, P1) reported that DPRK on January 3 called for dialogue with US with no preconditions to seek a peaceful solution to the issue of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. Choe Jin-su, the DPRK ambassador to PRC, told a Beijing press conference on January 3 that US's "aggressive and threatening" actions prompted DPRK to unfreeze its graphite-moderated reactors and related facilities. The ambassador criticized US labeling of DPRK as part of an "axis of evil," listing of the DPRK as a target of US pre-emptive nuclear attacks, and its abnegation of the DPRK-US agreement framework by suspending the supply of fuel oil to the DPRK. Urging US to provide a security guarantee to DPRK, Choe said that the issue should be solved only by the DPRK and the US. Choe also stressed that outside mediators should urge US to give DPRK a security guarantee. Choe's remarks were regarded as a response to Bush's comments on January 2 that the Korean nuclear issue should be solved peacefully, said the report.

China Daily ("DPRK VOWS TO BUILD UP MILITARY", Seoul, 01/02/03, P12) reported that the DPRK vowed on January 1 to build up military power in the coming year as US President George W. Bush said the escalating nuclear crisis could be solved peacefully. Bush said a solution to the crisis with the state Washington views as part of an "axis of evil" could be found through diplomacy, stressing the conflict was not a military showdown. Bush's comment came as the DPRK vowed to beef up military strength in the coming year in a joint New Year editorial. Describing 2002 as the year for "hard struggle," the editorial urged DPRK people to keep themselves ready for their fight against "invasion to the last". Although UN decided to monitor the DPRK's activities, the DPRK's ambassador to Moscow warned his government could no longer honor the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty because the US had threatened it with "a preventative nuclear strike". US policy towards DPRK has been criticized by the ROK President-elect Roh Moo-Hyun, who said on December 31 that US moves to punish DPRK with economic sanctions over its nuclear ambitions could spell disaster for his own country. A top ROK envoy arrived in PRC on January 1 as part of diplomatic moves to avert a showdown over DPRK's nuclear program, said the report.

People's Daily (Tan Weibing and Yanfeng, "US HAS NO PLANS TO ATTACK DPRK: POWELL," Washington, 12/31/02, P3) reported that US Secretary of State Colin Powell reiterated on December 29 that US has no plans to attack the DPRK despite tensions over the DPRK's nuclear issue have escalated over the past week. US has many options to solve the issue, including political, economic, diplomatic and military tools, however, Powell said, US doesn't want to threaten DPRK, creating atmosphere of crisis at this time, said the report.


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3. ROK-DPRK Relations on DPRK Nuclear Issue

China Daily ("ROK SLAMS WASHINGTON ON DPRK NUKE CRISIS", Seoul, 12/31/02, P12) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on December 30 expressed his dissent over US's "tailored containment" strategy of economically isolating the DPRK, and vowed to push ahead with his "sunshine policy". Kim said his government will hold firm with its "sunshine policy," despite the DPRK's recent moves to restart its nuclear plants. Kim reiterated his government's stand that "all matters should be settled peacefully, through dialogue," stressing the need for Seoul to seek a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue through close cooperation with its allies. A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry on December 29 claimed that the nuclear issue should be settled only between the US and the DPRK through dialogue. Meanwhile, in Washington, the US Secretary of State Colin Powell said US had no plans to strike the DPRK, said the report.


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4. PRC Commentary on DPRK Nuclear Issue

China Daily (Hu Xuan, "DIPLOMACY NEEDED TO EASE TENSION", 01/03/03, P4) carried a commentary saying that US President George W. Bush has begun to convert US's policy towards DPRK from damming to dredging. According to the article, Bush said a solution to the tension between the US and DPRK could be found through diplomacy, stressing the conflict was not a military showdown. Bush's comment came after the DPRK vowed on January 1 to build up military power this year. The article said that the hard-line attitude adopted by US towards the DPRK's nuclear issue has done nothing but escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Besides, a military solution to the DPRK's nuclear issue would not even be accepted by US's allies in Northeast Asia, namely, the ROK and Japan, not to mention PRC and Russia. The article commented that a peaceful settlement through dialogue and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as advocated by PRC and other countries concerned, is in the interests of all parties. Because of the huge gap in military strength between the US and the DPRK, the attitude of the stronger, namely the US, plays a decisive role. The right US policy towards the DPRK will only exacerbate tensions between the two sides. The US should first give up its superpower mentality and sanction policy, and then treat the DPRK as an equal sovereign state. Common sense from both sides could help solve the crisis and achieve the goal of denuclearization on the peninsula, the article commented.


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5. Russia's Attitude towards DPRK Nuclear Issue

People's Daily (Lv Yansong, "RUSSIA URGES DPRK TO HONOR INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENTS," 12/31/02, P3) reported that Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on December 30 called on DPRK to strictly abide by its international nuclear non-proliferation commitments. "Pyongyang's latest decision to send the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors out of the country and to resume uncontrolled activity within the nuclear energy industry is regretful," Ivanov said. Russia supports all the international accords aimed at the nuclear free status of the Korean Peninsula, Ivanov stressed. This goal can only be achieved through a constructive dialogue between all interested parties, he noted. Ivanov warned that "aggressive rhetoric and threats, moreover attempts to isolate the DPRK, can only escalate tension, which does not correspond to the interests of regional and international stability."


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6. PRC-Japan Relations

China Daily ("JAPAN CALLED IN OVER DIAOYU ISLANDS (r)LEASE'," 01/06/03, P1) reported that Chinese vice-minister of foreign affairs Wang Yi summoned Japanese Ambassador to China Koreshige Anami on January 4 and made a formal representation to Japan about the issue of the Diaoyu Island. Wang Yi noted that the Diaoyu Island and adjacent islets have been an integral part of Chinese territory since ancient times. Wang demanded the Japanese side correct its wrongdoings and stop any actions harmful to PRC's terrirorial sovereignty and the PRC-Japan relationship. After the Japanese Government's move to "lease" the Diaoyu Islands was exposed, officials of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Asian Department lodged a representation to the Japanese Embassy in PRC, requiring the Japanese side to clarify the matter.


III. Japan


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1. Japan-US-ROK Politics over DPRK Issues

Kyodo ("S.KOREA TO SEND PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY TO U.S., JAPAN," Seoul, 01/05/03) reported that ROK will send a presidential envoy to the US and Japan from Tuesday for talks on DPRK's nuclear development, a presidential spokeswoman said Sunday. Yim Sung Joon, senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security in ROK, will visit Washington from Tuesday to Thursday to meet his counterpart, Condoleeza Rice, and other U.S. officials, Park Sun Sook said. Yim will visit Tokyo on Friday and Saturday to brief Japanese officials on his U.S. trip and discuss tripartite cooperation to resolve the DPRK nuclear issue peacefully, according to the spokeswoman. Senior officials of ROK, the US and Japan will meet in Washington on Monday and Tuesday for a Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group meeting to coordinate policy on DPRK.


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2. Japan-RF Relations

Kyodo ("RUSSIA READY TO HELP JAPAN RESOLVE ABDUCTIONS BY N.KOREA," Moscow, 01/05/03) reported that Russia is prepared to help Japan resolve issues related to DPRK's abductions of Japanese nationals though they are basically bilateral issues, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry official said Sunday. If there is any chance that Russia can help resolve the issues, it is willing to, said Alexander Losyukov, Russia's vice foreign minister in charge of Asia-Pacific affairs, to Kyodo News and other Japanese media ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's four-day visit to Russia beginning Thursday. Japan's resolving the issues would be in line with Russia's basic stance to seek stability in Northeast Asia, he said. Turning to DPRK's nuclear weapons development, Losyukov said Russia will cooperate with Japan, the US, PRC and ROK. But he said they should use mild diplomacy in asking Pyongyang to give up the development.

The Asahi Shinbun ("THAW NOT LIKELY ON RUSSIA TRIP,"01/06/03) reported that Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to Russia on Thursday isn't likely to produce a breakthrough in bilateral relations. The stated goal of the visit is to get negotiations back on track over the Northern Territories, a string of four islands off Hokkaido held by Russia but claimed by Japan. Talks stalled after confusion arose due partly to bribery and corruption scandals involving Lower House lawmaker Muneo Suzuki. As a show of faith, the Japanese government put a possible visit to Germany by Koizumi on the back burner to focus on relations with Russia. The agenda for the meetings between Koizumi and Russian President Vladimir Putin will be based on an action plan covering six areas: peace treaty talks; economic development; international cooperation; deepened political dialogue; cooperation in security and defense; and cultural and personnel exchanges. Japanese officials are betting the meetings will get the two nations moving again along the path from enemies to partners. They hope general progress will jumpstart negotiations on the disputed territories. Koizumi's visit to Khabarovsk will be a chance to show Japan's interest in the Far East region, which includes the Northern Territories. But officials say they won't try to rush a solution to the dispute, an approach that some say led to confusion in basic strategies. Instead, officials are vowing to go "slow and steady" in building relations. The DPRK issue, however, could be the powder keg in an otherwise slow affair. Japan and Russia will likely discuss measures on how to engage the North, which has cranked up tension in the Far East and across Asia by reopening its nuclear facilities. But with Russia's influence over DPRK less commanding than it was during the Cold War, substantial measures to defuse tension aren't likely.



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