NAPSNet Daily Report
wednesday, january 15, 2003

I. United States

II. Japan

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I. United States

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1. US DPRK Aid

The Washington File ("BUSH WOULD CONSIDER AIDING NORTH KOREA IF IT ENDS WEAPONS PROGRAM (PRESIDENT, POLISH PRESIDENT KWASNIEWSKI ALSO DISCUSS IRAQ, TERRORISM)," Washington, 01/15/03) and The Washington Post (Glenn Kessler, "BUSH SAYS HE'D CONSIDER AID TO NORTH KOREA FOR DISARMAMENT," 01/15/03) reported that US President Bush made an overt appeal to the DPRK yesterday, offering to consider agriculture and energy aid to the desperately poor country if it dismantles its nuclear weapons programs. President Bush insisted the US would not be "blackmailed" and said he would only contemplate assistance after the DPRK took steps to end its nuclear programs. But Bush's statement provided the clearest sign that the administration is prepared to engage in a dialogue it had once ruled out and would offer broad diplomatic and economic incentives to the DPRK for disarmament. "I had instructed our secretary of state [last summer] to approach North Korea about a 'bold initiative,' an initiative which would talk about energy and food, because we care deeply about the suffering of the North Korean people," Bush told reporters at the White House. "We expect them not to develop nuclear weapons. If they so choose to do so, their choice, then I will reconsider whether or not we will start the bold initiative that I've talked to Secretary [Colin L.] Powell about." The administration has not detailed exactly what was contained in the initiative, since it was never presented to the DPRK.

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2. DPRK Response to US Diplomacy

The Associated Press ("NORTH KOREA REJECTS CONDITIONAL US TALKS," Seoul, 01/15/03) and BBC News ("NORTH KOREA SPURNS US DEAL," 01/15/03) reported that the DPRK on Wednesday rejected "as pie in the sky" U.S. offers of dialogue and possible aid if it abandons its nuclear ambitions, the official news agency said. While US officials recently held out the prospect of food and energy supplies, the DPRK maintained it would not accept any offer of dialogue with conditions attached. The US' "loudmouthed supply of energy and food aid are like a pie in the sky, as they are possible only after the DPRK is totally disarmed," a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman said, according to the news agency KCNA. On Tuesday, President Bush said the United States might consider aid for the DPRK if it agreed to talks and to abandon its nuclear program. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Wednesday there had been no official word on that possible offer from Pyongyang. "That's an additional unfortunate comment that North Korea has made," he said of the North's reported dismissal. According to the agency report, the unidentified spokesman said his country's nuclear issue could be resolved only when both sides negotiate "on an equal footing through fair negotiations that may clear both sides of their concerns."

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3. US on DPRK Diplomacy

The Associated Press, (Ted Anthony, "US ENVOY `VERY REASSURED' AS DIALOGUE WITH ASIAN NATIONS OVER NORTH KOREA CONTINUES," Beijing, 01/15/03) reported that a top US diplomat seeking Asian support in getting the DPRK to give up its nuclear ambitions said Wednesday he was "very reassured" at how talks were going. US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly said he was looking forward to face-to-face contact with his PRC counterparts in his third visit to Beijing in as many months. Kelly arrived from Seoul on Tuesday night. "I had excellent meetings in (South) Korea," he said, leaving his hotel for the PRC Foreign Ministry on Wednesday morning. "I'm very reassured. We have to keep talking with each other to make sure that things are done in the best possible way." Kelly expressed optimism about his latest round of meetings with the PRC. Though he acknowledged the talks would focus on the DPRK he said he didn't expect them to produce "any particular news." "It's just an occasion to work with respected colleagues on problems that concern all of us," he said. "There's no substitute for communication."

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4. DPRK on Nuclear Standoff

Reuters ("NORTH KOREA SAYS US TO BLAME FOR NUCLEAR SPREAD," Seoul, 01/15/03) reported that the DPRK said Wednesday that the United States, the only country to use the atomic bomb in war, bore full responsibility for the spread of nuclear weapons as other nations were only trying to protect themselves. The DPRK said the US was the first country to develop and use atomic bombs and should therefore be the first to disarm. "The world community should place the United States in the dock if it is to bring to justice the true criminal who escalates nuclear proliferation," the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a commentary. "It demonstratively showed off its production and use of nuclear weapons and regarded them as a political and military leverage to threaten, blackmail and dominate other countries. Such moves compelled other countries to competitively step up their nuclear development and, in the long run, triggered off the proliferation of nuclear weapons." The KCNA commentary made no reference to recent U.S. offers to revive a program to give the DPRK food and energy if the impoverished communist state abandons its nuclear weapons. Instead, the state agency blasted the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, as a "servant of the U.S." for the IAEA's condemnation of Pyongyang steady escalation of nuclear brinkmanship since last month.

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5. PRC-US DPRK Diplomacy

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, "CHINA OFFERS TO HOST US TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA, BEIJING INCREASES INVOLVEMENT IN ATTEMPTS TO RESOLVE STALEMATE OVER PYONGYANG'S NUCLEAR PLANS," Beijing, 01/15/03) reported that the PRC told a senior US envoy today that the Bush administration should engage in dialogue with the DPRK government and offered to host any talks on the dispute over its nuclear plans. The offer, communicated by the PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Zhang Qiyue, marked a significant increase in Beijing's willingness to openly participate in attempts to resolve the crisis. It came as US Assistant Secretary of State James A. Kelly arrived from the ROK for talks with the PRC leadership, reportedly to ask for more help in influencing the North Korean government. Kelly was scheduled to meet Wednesday with Li Zhaoxing, the PRC's vice foreign minister who is expected to ascend to the foreign minister's post. Diplomats said Kelly would ask Li to increase pressure on the DPRK to back away from its threats to develop a nuclear weapon and resume testing ballistic missiles. Kelly was also believed to be seeking the PRC's help in convincing the DPRK that the US has no desire to attack. The PRC has said it opposes development of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has criticized the DPRK decision to withdraw from the nonproliferation treaty. But PRC analysts and officials said Beijing's room to maneuver is constrained by a desire to avoid mayhem on the Korean Peninsula, a collapse of the DPRK government and a massive influx of refugees into Manchuria.

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6. ROK Presidential Election Recount

The Associated Press ("SOUTH KOREA VOTE RECOUNT COULD OVERTURN WIN," Seoul, 01/15/03) reported that the ROK Supreme Court ordered a vote recount Wednesday for the ROK's national election, a process that could overturn the victory of President-elect Roh Moo-hyun. But officials at the neutral National Election Committee and both parties say such a result is very unlikely. The order follows doubts about the accuracy of vote-counting machines used at polls across the country. Roh, who is to assume the presidency next month, defeated opposition leader Lee Hoi-chang by a margin of 570,980 votes. Claiming miscounts, Lee's party filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court. The National Election Committee uses machines that simultaneously divide and count ballots cast for each candidate. They can count up to 13,200 ballots per hour. The committee said the machines were used in other elections last year, with no miscounts reported. The opposition party claimed errors were reported in some districts. In one case, 12 ballots for Lee were found mixed with a bundle of 100 ballots for Roh, it said. Of the 24,784,963 votes cast, Roh won 12,014,277. The recount, which will begin before the end of January, will involve 10 million ballots cast at 80 electorates - 17 of them in the capital, Seoul.

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7. DPRK-ROK Cabinet Level Talks

The Associated Press ("KOREAS TO HOLD CABINET-LEVEL TALKS," Seoul, 01/15/03) reported that the ROK and the DPRK agreed Wednesday to hold Cabinet-level talks in Seoul next week amid tension over the DPRK's nuclear weapons development, the ROK said. The ROK accepted the DPRK's proposal to hold the talks on January 21-24, a week later than suggested by the ROK, said Kim Jung-ro, a spokesman at the ROK's Unification Ministry. ROK officials have said they would use the talks to persuade the DPRK to give up its nuclear ambitions. The DPRK and ROK have held eight rounds of Cabinet-level talks since a historic summit of their leaders in 2000. The last round of talks was held in October, days after US officials said that North Korea admitted to having a secret nuclear weapons program using enriched uranium. "If the North and South join forces and take a joint stand, we can protect the nation's dignity and safety and shatter US arrogance," said Pyongyang Radio, monitored by the ROK's national Yonhap news agency.

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8. ROK US Military Base Visit

The New York Times (Howard W. French, "SOUTH KOREA LEADER VISITS US MILITARY BASE," Seoul, 01/15/03) reported that ROK President-elect Roh Moo Hyun moved strongly today to ease concerns about anti-Americanism in the ROK and over his own ambivalence toward his country's alliance with the US. Visiting the US military headquarters in downtown Seoul, Roh hailed sacrifices by G.I.'s during the Korean War. "People have not forgotten and have been thankful to American young men who died guarding peace and freedom," Roh told General Leon LaPorte, commander of the United States Forces South Korea, as he signed a book of friendship, after a 21-gun salute. The president-elect also called the presence of 37,000 US troops here "the driving force of security and the backbone of our prosperity." However, Roh himself has said that he favored the departure of US soldiers, and during his campaign he criticized US policy toward the DPRK as "hard-line" and called for greater parity in diplomatic and security relations with the US. On Monday, however, during a visit by a senior American diplomatic delegation, Roh called the United States-South Korean alliance "precious." He spoke in a similar vein today, saying "U.S. Forces Korea is currently needed here for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and its presence will continue to be needed in the future."

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9. IAEA on DPRK Aid

The Associated Press ("IAEA CHIEF: NATIONS READY TO AID NORTH KOREA," Moscow, 01/15/03) reported that the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Wednesday that other countries are ready to help the DPRK if it resumes compliance with nuclear agreements and that Russia's plan to send an envoy there could be a catalyst in ending the crisis. At a news conference after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Mohamed ElBaradei said he made the assessment based on talks with Secretary of State Colin Powell, French officials and others. "There is full readiness ... once North Korea starts to come into compliance, to look favorably to North Korea's security concerns, North Korea's economic needs," said ElBaradei, who heads the International Atomic Energy Agency. "The elements of a solution are there on the table," he said. "I am heartened that Russia is sending an envoy. I hope that will start the process." Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov leaves for Pyongyang on Thursday, with a stop in Beijing on the way, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

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10. DPRK DMZ Zone

The Associated Press (Hans Greimel, "US MILITARY SAYS NORTH KOREA HAS INCREASED PATROLS IN DMZ; US ENVOY IN BEIJING," Panmunjom, 01/15/03) reported that the US military has spotted increased patrols by DPRK soldiers over the past week in one area of the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean Peninsula, said Lt. Col. Matthew Margotta, who commands a combined battalion of U.S. and South Korean soldiers. But the moves in the 4-kilometer-wide, 241-kilometer-long (2.5-mile-wide, 156-mile-long) DMZ were "not alarming, just unusual," and were probably "triggered by a heightening of tensions," said Margotta. The North Koreans have also occupied a guard tower in the DMZ that hadn't been used in years, he said.

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11. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Capability

Reuters ("NORTH KOREA MUSTN'T HAVE NUKES, SOUTH'S ROH TELLS US," Seoul, 01/15/03) reported that ROK president-elect Roh Moo-hyun, who has pursued a softly, softly approach to try to end the peninsula's nuclear crisis, visited US troops on Wednesday and said the DPRK must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons. Roh, who swept to power vowing never to kowtow to the United States, also reminded the US troops of a friendship that dates back half a century and played down pockets of anti-US sentiment in the South. "North Korea's nuclear weapons program cannot be permitted," Roh told General Leon LaPorte, commander of the U.S.-led United Nations Command in the ROK. "The North crisis should be resolved peacefully. It could also be resolved through dialogue based on mutual cooperation between South Korea and the US with the help of diplomatic efforts among Japan, Russia, and China."

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12. PRC and ROK on Koizumi Yasukini Shrine

CNN News ("ANGER AFTER KOIZUMI SHRINE VISIT," 01/15/03) reported that the PRC and the ROK have voiced their disapproval and anger over Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to a controversial shrine that honors his country's war dead. The PRC, which has been upset in the past at Koizumi's visits to Tokyo's Yasukini Shrine, said the move could "seriously damage" relations between the two East Asian nations. The PRC says the shrine glorifies Japan's military past and its mistreatment of Chinese during years of Japanese imperial rule. "It hurts the feelings of the Chinese people and other Asian countries," Foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said on Tuesday. "We urge the Japanese government to treat seriously the issue with the correct attitude." The ROK said it felt "rage and great disappointment" at the visit. "We urge a sensible judgment by Prime Minister Koizumi and the Japanese government so the feelings of people who have suffered from Japanese invasion are not hurt again," its foreign ministry spokesman said in statement. Our government cannot understand the logic of those who say they pay for peace, but pay tribute to war criminals who destroyed peace." Koizumi said before Tuesday's visit that it was aimed at promoting peace. "In the new year, I would like to visit the shrine with a new feeling of gratitude about peace and with the thought that we must never start a war again," he told reporters. Koizumi last visited the shrine in April 2002. Asked how he would explain the visit to the PRC and the ROK, Koizumi said: "I explained last year. I would like them to understand that there's been no change in the friendship between our nation and theirs," he responded.

II. Japan

1. Japan's Former Prime Minister's Visit to Next ROK

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The Asahi Shinbun ("MORI, ROH DISCUSS NORTH KOREA ISSUE," Seoul, 01/14/03) reported that a Japan's delegation of Diet members led by former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori met with ROK President-elect Roh Moo Hyun on Monday night to discuss how to best deal with DPRK. Roh told Mori that he intended to continue the sunshine policy of his predecessor, Kim Dae Jung, and seek dialogue with DPRK. "It is important to seek a peaceful resolution through dialogue, rather than pressure," Roh told the delegation. "In principle, I would like South Korea, Japan and the United States to confer." Roh said he planned to dispatch a special envoy to the US later this month, adding that the envoy might also visit Japan to discuss DPRK's nuclear program. Roh also touched upon differences in opinion expressed by ROK and the US. "While the United States has its own arguments, I am confident that President George W. Bush is also seeking a peaceful resolution," Roh said.

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2. PRC and ROK Reactions to Visit to Yasukuni

The Asahi Shinbun (Taro Karasaki,"NEW SHRINE VISIT, MORE CRITICISM,"01/15/03) reported that Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi prayed for the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine on Tuesday, an early visit that was intended to minimize criticism from abroad but instead infuriated two of Japan's partners in trying to defuse the DPRK crisis. Koizumi renewed a pledge that Japan would never again cause war, during his third visit as prime minister to the shrine, where the nation's war dead, including Class-A war criminals, are enshrined. Early on Tuesday, Koizumi appeared confident that the visit would not hurt Japan's relations with PRC and ROK. "It is the new year and I want to affirm anew the virtue of peace and show our resolve not to cause war again," Koizumi told reporters prior to the visit. "As in the past, I have explained (my shrine visits) to both countries. Our friendly relations have not changed, and I hope that they will understand our friendly relations will not change." However, ROK and PRC officials said they could not understand why Koizumi felt the need to pay homage at what critics say is a symbol of Japan's militarism. "Prime Minister Koizumi's mistaken act will undermine the political base of China-Japan relations, and has hurt the feelings of the people of Asian countries, including China," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said in a news conference. Responding to a reporter's question, she said the timing of the visit was irrelevant because the heart of the matter was how Japan's leadership perceived history. Kim Hang Kyung, ROK's vice minister of foreign affairs and trade, summoned Toshinao Urabe, the minister of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to protest Koizumi's shrine visit. "It is incomprehensible that the prime minister decided to visit following last year," Kim said. "Considering the great pain and damage inflicted upon our country during Japan's colonization, we hope that the Japanese government takes sincere measures not to allow further damage." In Tokyo, the Foreign Ministry expressed concern that Koizumi's latest visit might cause problems. "We hope that his motive will be fully understood by neighboring countries and there will be no negative impact on the cooperative relations" in dealing with DPRK, said Jiro Okuyama, assistant press secretary at the ministry.

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3. Japan-RF Relations over DPRK Issues

The Asahi Shinbun ("RUSSIANS TELL KOIZUMI KIM READY TO NEGOTIATE," Khabarovsk, 01/13/03) reported that Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was in the Russian Far East on the last day of a four-day visit to Russia. According to sources, Konstantin Pulikovskii, Russian President Vladimir Putin's representative for federal affairs in the region, who spent a great deal of time with Kim when he traveled to Siberia in August 2002, told Koizumi that Kim "is ready to negotiate as long as he is treated as an equal partner, be it bilaterally or multilaterally." Pulikovskii also reportedly told Koizumi that Kim wants to be "respected by his people and therefore reacts strongly when he appears to be under foreign pressure." Previously, there was speculation that Koizumi would ask Pulikovskii, who is in contact with Kim, to act as a mediator between Tokyo and Pyongyang on issues related to the abduction of Japanese by DPRK.

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4. Japan Anti-war Movement

The Japan Times ("JAPAN NGOS TO HOLD ANTIWAR RALLY," 01/15/03) reported that more than 30 Japanese non-governmental organizations will stage a demonstration in Tokyo this weekend to protest a possible US-led attack on Iraq, they said Tuesday. The rally will coincide with international antiwar protests in Washington and San Francisco that are expected to draw between 500,000 and 1 million people, as well as rallies in more than 25 countries and in more than 15 cities in Japan. The NGOs involved in the rally in Tokyo, which has been dubbed No More War! No Attack on Iraq, include Amnesty International Japan, the Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, Greenpeace Japan and Peace Boat. "The Japanese government says it will contribute to reconstruction of Iraq following a war, and is trying to get NGOs in on the plan," Maki Sato, a member of the No-War Network and the Japan International Volunteer Center, told a news conference. "But it's nonsense. The most important thing is not to go to war."

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5. Japanese Plea for Banning Abductions

Kyodo ("JAPAN ASKS U.N. TO BAN ABDUCTIONS," Geneva, 01/12/03) reported that Japan has asked the UN to make abductions by foreign institutions illegal when international regulations on coercive disappearances are drawn up in the near future, Japanese officials said last Friday. The request was apparently filed to make it clear that the abductions of Japanese nationals by the DPRK between 1977 and 1983 were in violation of international law. Japan also called on the UN to include a clause in the new regulation that will ensure that abductees' children born in foreign countries return to their parents' home countries, the officials said. The planned international standard was originally designed to handle coercive disappearances in international disputes or by dictatorship governments. Japan aims to expand its scope, however, to cover the abductions by the DPRK by applying the new regulation retroactively. It is not yet clear whether the new regulation will be an independent international treaty or a document attached to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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6. Ehime Maru Incident

Kyodo ("FAMILIES OF TWO EHIME MARU VICTIMS CLOSE TO SETTLEMENT WITH U.S. NAVY," Matsuyama, 01/15/03) reported that bereaved families of two victims of a 2001 collision between a US Navy submarine and the Ehime Maru, a Japanese high school fishing vessel, will reach a settlement with the Navy later this month in Tokyo, the families' lawyers said Tuesday. The lawyers said they will sign settlement accords with the Navy at the US Embassy on Jan. 31 on behalf of the relatives of Yusuke Terata, 17, who was a student at Uwajima Fisheries High School in Ehime Prefecture, and Toshimichi Furuya, 47, who was chief engineer of the vessel. The families are the last among relatives of the incident's nine dead and the 26 survivors from the ship to reach a settlement with the Navy.

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