NAPSNet Daily Report
monday, january 13, 2003

I. United States

II. People's Republic of China

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I. United States

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1. US on DPRK Nuclear Situation

The Washington Post (Peter S. Goodman, "US MAY OFFER AID TO NORTH KOREA IN DEAL ON ARMS," Seoul, 01/13/03) and BBC News ("US REACHES OUT TO NORTH KOREA," 01/13/03) reported that US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, on a visit to the ROK, also reiterated the US's willingness to hold talks with the DPRK, in spite of the DPRK's statement on Friday that it was pulling out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Kelly's visit came amid intense diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis over the DPRK's nuclear ambitions. Kelly hinted at energy aid following an hour of talks with ROK President-elect, Roh Moo-hyun. "Once we get beyond nuclear weapons, there may be opportunities with the US, with private investors, with other countries to help North Korea in the energy area," Kelly said. Call for dialogue Kelly's offer follows calls by former US diplomat Bill Richardson, who has been in contact with DPRK officials, for the US administration to begin a dialogue. Richardson, who completed three days of unofficial talks on Saturday, said that the combative approach of the DPRK masked a willingness to negotiate. "It's important that direct talks happen. I can't stress how important that is. And it can be at the technical level, low level," Richardson, who met DPRK officials in New Mexico over the weekend. "What I think the administration needs to do, with all due respect, is just pick up the phone, start the preliminary talks," he said. "They don't negotiate like we do" he said. "They believe in order to get something they have to lay out additional cards, step up the rhetoric, be more belligerent," he said.

The Agence France-Presse ("US OFFERS PAYBACK TO PYONGYANG FOR BACKDOWN ON NUKE CRISIS," 01/13/03) reported that a top US envoy kicked off a week of intense diplomacy with a call for the DPRK to scrap its nuclear weapons drive as the DPRK repeated its denial of having such a program. In what may represent a softening in the US's hardline on Pyongyang, the man who launched the nuclear standoff three months ago said the DPRK could gain a reward if it backed down now. "Once we can get beyond nuclear weapons, there may be opportunities with the US, with private investors and other countries, to help North Korea in the energy area," said James Kelly, the senior Bush administration official for Asia. But the DPRK again stated that allegations by the US that it had admitted to developing nuclear weapons were untrue. The country's ambassador to Moscow, Pak Ui Chun, on Monday rejected US allegations that the DPRK had a secret nuclear weapons development program, telling Russian reporters that the allegations by Kelly were "hypothetical." Kelly, opening a five-nation tour of Asia in Seoul, was the Bush envoy who confronted the DPRK with evidence on a visit to Pyongyang in October that it was pursuing a scheme to use highly enriched uranium to produce nuclear weapons.

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2. DPRK-US Relations

The New York Times (Seth Mydans, "US ENVOY STARTS DISCUSSIONS IN SEOUL ON NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 01/13/03) and The Agence France-Presse ("US ENVOY ARRIVES IN SEOUL AS NORTH KOREA STANDS DEFIANT," 01/13/03) reported that a top US envoy arrived in Seoul for talks on the rapidly escalating nuclear crisis in the DPRK as Pyongyang unleashed a new stream of invective after threatening to restart missile tests. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly flew in late Sunday ahead of talks Monday with president-elect Roh Moo-Hyun and Foreign Minister Choi Sung-Hong. Roh, who succeeds Kim Dae-Jung on February 25, has been playing a lead role in ROK efforts to mediate an end to the standoff but the DPRK has so far snubbed all moves to reduce tensions. Kelly last week hosted trilateral talks on the crisis in Washington with the ROK and Japan. After the meeting the US offered to hold talks with North Korea, although it insisted it would not "negotiate" over its demand that the DPRK bring itself back into line with its nuclear commitments. But the DPRK has shown few signs of ending its game of brinkmanship and announced it no longer considers itself bound by nuclear agreements. Kelly's visit is the latest in a series of diplomatic missions. Former Japanese premier Yoshiro Mori is also due in Seoul Monday, acting as an envoy for his successor Junichiro Koizumi. High-level talks between the ROK and the DPRK here expected later this month will also focus on the standoff.

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3. Powell on DPRK NPT Withdrawal

The Washington File ("POWELL SAYS NORTH KOREAN DISRESPECT FOR NPT MUST BE DEALT WITH," Washington, 01/10/03) reported that US Secretary of State Colin Powell January 10 condemned the DPRK's announced intention to withdraw from the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but also expressed his desire "to continue to search for a solution." "The Non-Proliferation Treaty is an important international agreement," Powell told reporters at the State Department, "and this kind of disrespect for such an agreement cannot go undealt with." Powell delivered his remarks following a January 10 meeting with Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in which ElBaradei briefed the secretary on proliferation issues relating to DPRK and Iraq. ElBaradei said the DPRK's withdrawal from the NPT "is a very serious issue," because the NPT remains a cornerstone of nuclear arms control. He said "a country cannot just walk out without ramification, because challenging the integrity of the non-proliferation regime is a matter that can affect international peace and security." The DPRK must come to realize, he said, "that it is only through compliance and not ... defiance that they will be able to move forward with their needs -- security and otherwise."

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4. DPRK Missile Tests

The Washington Post (Peter S. Goodman and Philip P. Pan, "North Korea Threatens to Resume Missile Tests," Seoul, 01/13/03) reported that the DPRK today threatened to abandon a moratorium on ballistic missile tests, further escalating a confrontation with its neighbors and the United States one day after withdrawing from a global treaty designed to halt the spread of nuclear weapons. The DPRK's ambassador to the PRC, Choe Jin Su, issued the threat at a news conference in Beijing in which he defended his impoverished nation's right to possess "devices to save us from a nuclear attack" and accused the US of adopting "hostile policies." "The development, test, deployment and export of our missiles entirely belong to our sovereignty," he said. "Because all agreements have been nullified by the United States' side, we believe we cannot go along with the self-imposed missile moratorium any longer." Meanwhile, DPRK envoys who met with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson in Santa Fe complained that they have tried for weeks to arrange talks with the Bush administration but have been constantly rebuffed, people involved in the talks said today. The DPRK deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Han Song Ryol, asked Richardson to set up meetings with the administration to discuss the DPRK's nuclear program, these sources said. Han said that no member of the US mission to the United Nations will talk with any member of the DPRK delegation, although the two countries' UN ambassadors met regularly during the Clinton administration. Richardson passed along the request for dialogue to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

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5. Japan-RF Energy Relations

The New York Times (James Brooke, "KOIZUMI VISITS ENERGY-RICH RUSSIAN REGION, SEEKING OIL," Khabarovsk, Russia, 01/13/03) reported that Junichiro Koizumi today made the first visit since 1905 of a Japanese prime minister to the Russian Far East, a sprawling, resource-rich region that stretches from Siberia to disputed islands north of Japan. This time it was not territorial conquest but a geopolitical chess game with the PRC over Russian oil that brought Koizumi to this 19th-century railroad city, where ice sculptures glittered in subzero temperatures. Donning a fur hat in the Arctic cold, Koizumi, leader of the world's second-largest oil consumer, openly appealed for the construction of a 2,500-mile oil pipeline that would bypass the PRC, bringing Siberian oil to the Sea of Japan. "Russia, especially its Far Eastern region, has great energy potential, which must be fully used," Koizumi told reporters, echoing arguments he made in Moscow to President Vladimir V. Putin earlier in his four-day trip. Bringing Siberian oil east for the first time, the $5 billion pipeline would be three times as long as the Trans-Alaska pipeline and would carry one million barrels of oil a day. The pipeline has a potential of cutting Japan's dependence on Middle Eastern oil to 65 percent, from 83 percent today, according to Japanese estimates. Speaking in a city that was occupied by Japanese troops in 1918, Koizumi argued that energy cooperation would help bind together Russia and Japan, two countries that have yet to sign a peace treaty closing their last armed conflict, World War II. "Japan must import most of its oil from abroad," the Japanese leader told reporters. "There is much that we can do for each other."

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6. PRC AID Humanitarian Crisis

The Associated Press (Audra Ang, "HEALTH EXPERTS URGE CHINA TO CONTAIN THE SPREAD OF AIDS," Beijing, 01/13/03) reported that visiting US AIDS experts on Monday urged immediate action by the PRC to prevent further spread of the disease, while PRC health officials said the number of cases and deaths throughout the country had risen in the past year. "The AIDS epidemic is still very serious in China," said Qi Xiaoqiu, director general of the Disease Control Department in the Health Ministry. "Almost all the provinces and regions in China reported new cases of AIDS in 2002." Qi was among 120 participants at a one-day seminar aimed at increasing cooperation between the PRC and the United States in the fight against HIV/AIDS. US Senate Majority Leader William Frist, who is a heart and lung transplant surgeon, was honorary head of the American delegation, which also included representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Department of Health and Human Services. The PRC government says 1 million people have been infected with the AIDS virus, but outside experts warn the number is higher and could reach 10 million by the end of the decade. "We have much work to do in working together to find ways of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS," said Bates Gill, an Asia expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, based in Washington D.C. "We would like to urge Chinese leaders to act pre-emptively now to contain the pandemic and avoid future high costs - socially and economically."

II. People's Republic of China

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1. PRC, US Views on DPRK Issue

People's Daily ("JIANG, BUSH TALK OVER PHONE ON DPRK NUCLEAR ISSUE", Beijing, 01/11/03, P1) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin talked over phone with US President George W. Bush on January 10, saying that PRC disagrees to the withdrawal of the DPRK from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). While stressing the US side objected the action of the DPRK, Bush said that the action the DPRK had taken was not in its own interest, and would damage regional peace and security. The US was still willing to solve the DPRK nuclear issue through talks, Bush said. According to the report, Jiang said PRC would make joint efforts with various sides to work for an early and peaceful settlement of the issue.

People's Daily ("TANG, POWELL EXCHANGE VIEWS ON DPRK ISSUE AND SINO-US RELATIONS", Beijing, 01/10/03, P4) reported that Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan exchanged views on the DPRK's nuclear issue and Sino-US relations in a telephone conversation with his US counterpart Colin Powell on January 9. Powell told Tang that his country holds no hostility towards the DPRK and hopes to find a solution to the nuclear issue and realize a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through constructive dialogue. PRC appreciates the US's willingness to open dialogue with the DPRK on the nuclear issue and hopes the US will take a flexible attitude in conducting dialogue with the DPRK, Tang said. Stressing that only through dialogue can ease the tension, Tang said that the peace, stability and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will not only benefit Northeast Asian peace, stability and development but suits the interests of all parties, including US. The two side both hope a new development of Sino-US relations in the new year, said the report.

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2. DPRK-ROK Relations

China Daily ("PYONGYANG PROPOSES NEW DATES FOR MEETING", Seoul, 01/10/03, P11) reported that DPRK, locked in a nuclear standoff with US, proposed on January 9 holding regular minister-level talks with ROK on January 21-24, a week after the dates proposed by the ROK. "North Korea sent a telegram today about setting the dates", a ROK minister said, adding that his government was discussing the counterproposal on the ninth cabinet-level meeting since 2000. The ROK on January 6 proposed January 14-17 for the talks, the report said.

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3. Global Response to DPRK Nuke Issue

People's Daily (Yan Feng and Tan Weibing, "DPRK, US HELD INFORMAL TALKS", Washington, 01/13/03, P3) reported that former US ambassador to UN Bill Richardson on January 11 described his talks with two diplomats from DPRK as "positive and constructive." Richardson, now governor of US state New Mexico who has dealt extensively with the DPRK, and DPRK's deputy UN ambassador Han Song Ryol ended a three-day meeting, designed to ease the crisis caused by DPRK's withdrawal from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Speaking to reporters after the talks at his governor's mansion, Richardson said Han had promised him that the DPRK did not intend to develop nuclear weapons and told him that the country would discuss US concerns over verifying its nuclear programs. The governor said he had spoken twice the same day with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, briefing him on the details of the meeting, the report said.

People's Daily (Zhao Jiaming, "DPRK'S WITHDRAWAL FROM NPT NOW EFFECTUAL: OFFICIAL", Pyongyang, 01/12/03, P3) reported that the DPRK withdrew completely from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as from January 11, Ri Je Son, director general of the DPRK General Department of Atomic Energy said on January 10. Ri sent a letter to Mohamed El-Baradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on January 10, stating the background and reason for DPRK withdraw from NPT. Ri condemned the US for its anti-DPRK policy that listed the DPRK as part of an "axis of evil" and a "target of preemptive attack". He added that this not only broke the foundations of the DPRK-US Agreed Framework but also violated the basic spirit of the NPT. Ri also criticized the resolution approved by the IAEA on January 6 that the DPRK immediately scrap its nuclear program.

China Daily ("US ENVOY ARRIVES IN SEOUL FOR TALKS", Seoul, 01/13/03, P1) reported that a top US envoy arrived on January 12 for talks on the rapidly escalating nuclear crisis as DPRK unleashed a new stream of invective after threatening to restart missile tests. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly flew in ahead of talks on January 13 with president-elect Roh Moo-hyun and Foreign Minister Choi Sung-hong. The report said that Roh has been playing a lead role in ROK efforts to mediate an end to the stand-off, but DPRK has so far snubbed all moves to reduce tensions. Kelly last week hosted trilateral talks on the crisis with ROK and Japan, the report said.

China Daily ("MOSCOW (r)PACKAGE PLAN'", 01/13/03, P1) reported that in Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said on January 12 that Russia is working out a "package settlement plan" for DPRK's nuclear issue. The spokesman said that Russian diplomats are contacting the governments of all the countries concerned to consider details of the plan, adding that "the general outline of that plan is already clear now". Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who ended his four-day official visit to Russia, said Japan is willing to make joint efforts with Russia to tap a diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis.

China Daily ("DPRK: POLICY INCREASES RISKS", Seoul, 01/09/03, P11) reported that DPRK accused US on January 8 of increasing the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula, just hours after US changed tack and signaled a willingness to talk about the nuclear stand-off. DPRK's KCNA news agency made no mention of the US offer, nor of the UN watchdog's deadline for it to readmit nuclear inspectors within weeks, but decried US's "racket of a nuclear threat". According to the report, US announced its new position on January 7 after discussions with ROK and Japan, but it insisted that it would not allow the DPRK's nuclear program to become a bargaining chip. Meanwhile, in further diplomatic efforts to end the crisis, ROK presidential envoy was due at the White House yesterday and US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly is due to visit Asia at the end of the week. "The US is willing to talk to DPRK about how it will meet its obligations to the international community," the three countries said in a jointly issued statement. People in ROK have been less worried about a perceived DPRK threat than some of their Western allies. The DPRK meanwhile denounced Japan for meddling in its business, said the report.

China Daily ("US GOV'T REMAINS OPEN TO DIALOGUE", Seoul, 01/08/03, P12) reported that US said it remained open to dialogue with DPRK as a ROK's presidential envoy flew to US on January 7 in a fresh bid to defuse the crisis over DPRK's nuclear ambitions. ROK's national security adviser was expected to suggest that the US give DPRK security assurances and promises to resume energy supplies in return for it abandoning its nuclear program. DPRK said on January 7 that economic sanctions over its nuclear program would mean war and urged US to sit down and talk, just hours after US signaled that dialogue was still an option. US President George W. Bush said there would be talks with DPRK, but a US official said dialogue could start only after the country dismantles its nuclear weapon programs. US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly had separate talks with ROK's Deputy Foreign Minister and head of the Japanese foreign Ministry's bureau of Asian and Oceania affairs, the report said.

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4. US Role in Across Taiwan Straits Relations

China Daily (Hu Qihua, "US ROLE IN TAIWAN MILITARY EXERCISE VIOLATES COMMUNIQUES", 01/08/03, P1) reported that US plans to participate in military exercises with Taiwan would damage the country's relations with PRC, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. "We have read relevant reports from the media and I want to point out here that any kind of military cooperation of exchanges between Taiwan and the US is a violation of the three Sino-US joint communiques and also damages Chins-US relations", ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said. According to the report, a local newspaper in Taiwan reported last week that the US military will participate in Taiwan's annual military drills later this year for the first time in 20 years. "The Chinese side has already made solemn representations to the US side urging it to abide by its commitments made to the Chinese side on the question of Taiwan and stop any military exchange with Taiwan", Zhang said in the report.

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5. Japan-Russia Relations on Nuclear Issue

China Daily (Tokyo, 01/08/03, P11) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi leaves for Moscow this week to seek President Vladimir Putin's support to defuse a growing nuclear crisis in DPRK, analysts said on January 7.

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6. ROK-US Relations on Nuclear Issue

China Daily ("NUCLEAR STALEMENT SENDS ROK ENVOY TO US", Seoul, 01/07/03, P12) reported that ROK envoys this week will try to persuade US to open dialogue with DPRK, seeking a peaceful end to the DPRK. ROK was expected to present a compromise settlement at talks with the US and Japan that were to open in US on January 6. The allies routinely hold such talks to chart joint strategy towards DPRK. Citing unidentified government officials, ROK media have reported that one possible ROK proposal would require DPRK to give up its uranium-based nuclear programs, at which point US would resume fuel oil shipments that were suspended in December. Also that day, ROK sent DPRK a telephone message proposing that the two sides hold a Cabinet-level meeting in Seoul on January 14-17, presumably to discuss the nuclear issue. Yim, the ROK's national security adviser, plans to visit US from January 7 for talks with his counterpart and other White House officials, the report said.

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7. PRC's Commentary on Relations Across Taiwan Straits

China Daily (Xun Feng, "DIRECT FLIGHTS NARROW STRAITS", 01/07/03, P4) carried a commentary saying that Taiwan businessmen residing on the mainland will experience a faster trip home when they fly back to the island for this year's Spring Festival. According to the Overseas Edition of People's Daily, on Friday the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China approved the application of Taiwan's Far East Air Transport Corp to operate three round-trip Taipei-Shanghai charter flights during the Chinese New Year. To people who have wished for the opening of cross-Straits direct links, the first-ever Chinese New Year round-trip charter flights bring a renewed hope for more substantial progress that could come later this year. The article said that owing to barriers set by the Taiwan authorities, cross-Straits transactions have to be conducted via a third place, which has caused huge inconvenience and heavy economic loss. At last, the article commented that it is now a well recognized fact that the huge mainland market is the hope for Taiwan to inject vitality into its falling economy. The opening of direct links will serve as a bridge to facilitate smooth business transactions and personnel exchanges across the Straits.

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