NAPSNet Daily Report
tuesday, january 21, 2003

I. United States

II. Japan

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I. United States

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1. DPRK-ROK Cabinet Level Talks

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, "SEOUL OFFICIAL: NORTH KOREA SAYS IT HAS NO INTENTION OF MAKING NUCLEAR WEAPONS," Seoul, 01/22/03) and the New York Times (Howard W. French, "NORTH KOREA PLEDGES TO HOLD OFF NUCLEAR ARMS WORK," Seoul, 01/22/03) reported the DPRK and the ROK began their first cabinet-level meetings here today since the start of a crisis last fall over the DPRK's nuclear weapons programs. The chief northern delegate, Kim Ryong Song, a senior cabinet minister, struck an upbeat note about the talks, which are scheduled to last four days, saying, "Let's hold our hands together and move forward." Kim's arrival nearly coincided with that of John R. Bolton, the US under secretary of state for arms control and international security, who flew here from the PRC, where he had discussed presenting the issue of DPRK nuclear proliferation to the United Nations Security Council. But potentially the most important meeting on the crisis, several regional experts said, took place on Monday in Pyongyang. There, a special Russian envoy, Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Losyukov, presented a three-part resolution plan to the North's leader, Kim Jong Il. The plan would involve guarantees of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, written security guarantees for the DPRK from the US, and a package of relief and economic aid for the DPRK. The Russian diplomacy followed an Australian delegation's effort to press the DPRK on the need to abandon its nuclear weapons program. The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, told Australia's Nine Network after the delegation's visit: "I'm a little more confident than I was a few days ago because of the messages the delegation has brought back with them. They had pretty constructive talks."

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2. Russia on DPRK-US Nuclear Stand-off

The Associated Press (Judith Ingram, "RUSSIAN ENVOY: NORTH KOREA IS PREPARED TO REOPEN DIALOGUE WITH UNITED STATES TO DEFUSE NUCLEAR CRISIS," Moscow, 01/22/03) reported that a top Russian diplomat said Wednesday that the DPRK was willing to reopen a dialogue with the US to settle the crisis around its nuclear program. "The North Korean side is prepared for a dialogue with Washington, naturally taking into account the opinions of other countries including Russia, on the question of normalizing (the situation) on the Korean peninsula," Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. However, US Undersecretary of State John Bolton said in Seoul that the U.N. nuclear watchdog was expected to refer the dispute to the U.N. Security Council soon - a move expected to infuriate theDPRK, which insists that its dispute over its nuclear development is purely with the US and does not involve other parties. During his three-day visit to Pyongyang, Losyukov presented Russia's so-called "package" approach to solving the crisis, which consists of three parts: nuclear-free status for the Korean peninsula, security guarantees for the DPRK and a package of humanitarian and economic aid. He said Thursday that he would give Russian President Vladimir Putin a rundown on the Pyongyang talks before revealing details.

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3. United Nations Involvement with DPRK Nuclear Situation

The New York Times (Steven R. Weisman, "DIPLOMACY SHOULD RESOLVE KOREAN CRISIS, POWELL SAYS," UN, 01/22/03), Reuters (Paul Eckert and Teruaki Ueno, "US SAYS NORTH KOREA CRISIS MAY GO TO UN THIS WEEK," Seoul/Tokyo, 01/22/03) and BBC News "UN 'TO TACKLE NORTH KOREA CRISIS,'" 01/22/03) reported that a senior United States diplomat has said he is confident the United Nations will take up concerns surrounding the DPRK's nuclear plans. US Deputy Under Secretary of State John Bolton said a decision to seek UN Security Council involvement could come from the UN's nuclear watchdog by the end of the week. A spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated that no meeting to consider such a move had been scheduled, though one could be held at short notice. Bolton's suggestion is likely to anger the DPRK, which wants direct talks with the US and for the US to sign a non-aggression pact. The US says it would be appropriate for the IAEA to seek broader involvement by the UN. Bolton, the US Under Secretary of State in charge of arms control issues, said: "It's not a question of if it goes before the Security Council, it's only a matter of time. "We hope it will get there by the end of this week," he said after talks with ROK officials in Seoul. Bolton said France and Britain would back UN discussions as would Russia while the PRC would not object. US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell called on the International Atomic Energy Agency today to refer the issue to the United Nations Security Council to decide "what it wishes to do."

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4. ROK US Military Civilian Death

BBC News ("SOUTH KOREAN KILLED BY US ARMY VEHICLE," 01/22/03) reported that a military truck belonging to the US army in ROK has run over and killed a Korean woman, police said on Wednesday. The vehicle, driven by an ROK national, killed a 45-year-old woman near the city of Inchon. Seoul Police said the woman had a hearing impairment, the ROK's Yonhap news agency said. The accident comes at a time of acute sensitivities over the presence of 37,000 US troops in the ROK.

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5. ROK on PRC DPRK Asylum Seekers

The Associated Press ("SOUTH KOREA URGES CHINA ON ASYLUM SEEKERS," Seoul, 01/22/03) reported that the ROK urged the PRC on Wednesday not to repatriate dozens of DPRK refugees arrested last week, and offered to accept them if they are sent to the ROK, officials said. Shin Jung-seung, director of Asia-Pacific affairs at the ROK Foreign Ministry, made the offer when he met the PRC charge d'affaires Gwan Huabing in Seoul, said Kim Hyon-ju, a ministry spokesman. PRC police arrested 48 DPRK in mid-January, shortly before they were to be secretly ferried out of PRC and taken to ROK and Japan, said international aid workers in Seoul and Tokyo. The spokesman said Shin told the PRC diplomat that ROK hoped the case would be "dealt with humanely."

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6. Japan UN Financial Contribution

The New York Times (James Brooke, "JAPAN TO CUT CONTRIBUTION TO THE BUDGET OF THE UN," Tokyo, 01/22/03) reported that Japan, the second largest financial contributor to the United Nations, plans to cut its support by one-quarter in coming years, senior foreign policy makers said here this week. Japanese diplomats calculate that Japan's gross domestic product accounts for 14.4 percent of the global economy. Japan pays 19.5 percent of the United Nations budget, or almost US$1 billion a year. By contrast, the US accounts for 30 percent of world gross domestic product, and pays 22 percent. "Japan cannot just give sweet faces to everybody," Yukio Okamoto, chairman of the prime minister's Task Force on Foreign Relations, said in an interview here on Monday. "We have to question: Why are we the only country in the world with inflated cost on our shoulders?" Japan's planned cuts are partly motivated by the nation's worsening financial condition. After a decade of economic stagnation, Japanese taxes will barely cover half of this year's nearly $700 billion budget. Bonds will be printed and sold to cover the rest. "Japan's fiscal situation is worse than Italy's," Mr. Okamoto said from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's office.

7. DPRK Missile Test Resumption

Reuters ("NORTH KOREA TO TEST MISSILES IF UN INVOLVED," Tokyo, 01/22/03) reported that the DPRK will resume tests of ballistic missiles if the United Nations Security Council begins discussions on the crisis over the DPRK's nuclear ambitions, diplomatic sources close to the DPRK said Wednesday. And if the US pushes too hard, the DPRK could declare itself a nuclear state, they added. US Deputy Undersecretary of State John Bolton, Washington's top arms control official, told a news conference in Seoul that he expected the U.N. Security Council to take up the issue by the end of the week.

"The North would lift its self-imposed moratorium on missile launches if and when the issue is referred to the Security Council," said a source with close ties with the DPRK, adding that an actual test launch would follow soon. "Pyongyang will never cave in to threats and will respond with an even harder line," he said. "But we have to see the true intention behind Bolton's remarks."

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8. DPRK on UN Sanctions

The Associated Press (Peter James Spielmann, "UN OFFICIAL SAYS NORTH KOREA WOULD REGARD UN SANCTIONS AS AN "ACT OF WAR,"" UN, 01/22/03) reported that the DPRK says it would regard any sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council to curb its nuclear program as an act of war, a special adviser to the secretary-general said Wednesday. After returning from talks in Pyongyang and briefing U.N. chief Kofi Annan, adviser Maurice Strong told reporters that the DPRK made it clear to him that the U.N. Security Council should not take up the issue. "They have even used the expression that they would regard action by the Security Council to impose sanctions or any similar punitive action as an act of war," he said.

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9. Russia-DPRK Economic Development

The Associated Press (Eric Engleman, "RUSSIA EYES ECONOMIC POTENTIAL OF NORTH KOREA AMID DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS TO RESOLVE CRISIS," Moscow, 01/22/03) reported that Russia is eyeing a number of potential economic prizes in the DPRK amid diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis over the DPRK's nuclear program. Chief among these is a proposed railway linking the ROK to Russia's Trans-Siberian railroad via the DPRK. The rail link would connect the ROK's deep-water port of Pusan, one of the world's busiest ports, with the markets of Europe, earning Russia lucrative transit fees for goods crossing its vast territory. "Russia sees economic potential in this railroad," said Anton Khlopkov, an analyst at Moscow's PIR Center for Policy Studies. "By some estimates, Russia could receive up to 2 billion dollars per year." President Vladimir Putin has stressed his interest in the project, and met with Kim Jong Il last year during the DPRK leader's second train journey across Russia. Russia's railways ministry has pledged to upgrade a stretch of track between the Siberian town of Ussuriisk and the DPRK border city of Khasan. However, major construction remains on hold amid renewed tensions on the Korean peninsula and the unresolved question of who will pay the estimated US$3.3 billion price tag. Trade between Moscow and Pyongyang has plummeted since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with trade turnover falling some 80 percent to US$115 million in 2001. But Russia has much to gain by cultivating ties with North Korea. Russian coal, minerals, and skilled technicians, analysts said. "We can reconstruct factories and electrical stations built with Soviet help, during the Soviet era," said Vadim Tkachenko, director of the Center for Korean Studies at Moscow's Institute of the Far East.

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10. Japan-ROK Nuclear Evacuation Preparedness

The Associated Press ("REPORT: NUCLEAR-NERVOUS TOKYO READYING PLAN TO EVACUATE CITIZENS FROM SOUTH KOREA," Tokyo, 01/22/03) reported that the Japanese government is making plans to evacuate its citizens from the ROK in the event of a DPRK attack, a major newspaper reported Wednesday. The plans are being drawn up in response to growing tensions on the peninsula over the DPRK's nuclear weapons program, the Yomiuri newspaper said. Some 30,000 Japanese - 17,000 residents and 16,000 visitors - are in the ROK, mainly Seoul, on any given day. The plan seeks to evacuate those people within 70 hours of a DPRK attack to more secure locations in the country's south, as the capital is expected to take the brunt of an initial offensive, the paper said. The evacuation would follow a government advisory asking Japanese to leave the country voluntarily if an emergency were anticipated. Following an attack, those who remained would be transported by train and bus to the country's south or flown by helicopter to Japanese ships on standby in international waters, it said, quoting unnamed government sources. Matahiro Yamaguchi, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, confirmed that the government readies contingency plans to ensure the safety of its citizens abroad, but refused to comment on this specific case. Such a plan would require the cooperation of Seoul, as well as the US military, and Tokyo is considering talks with both countries, the Yomiuri reported.

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11. Inter-Korean Family Reunions

Reuters ("KOREAS SET NEW ROUND OF FAMILY REUNIONS," Seoul, 01/22/03) reported that the DPRK and the ROK agreed on Wednesday to hold a fresh round of reunions of families separated since the peninsula's Cold War division 50 years ago, the ROK's Red Cross said. The February 20 to 25 reunions were agreed at a Red Cross meeting at the DPRK's Mount Kumgang resort, one of three sets of DPRK-ROK talks going on this week while international diplomats tackle the DPRK's nuclear crisis. Next month's round of meetings will be just the sixth set of reunions since August 2000 that have involved only several thousand people among the more than one million ROK citizens with immediate kin in impoverished the DPRK.

II. Japan

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1. Abduction Issues Related to DPRK

The Asahi Shinbun ("POINT OF NO RETURN BEACH KEY ENTRY POINT FOR N.KOREAN AGENTS," 01/20/03) reported that A secluded beach fringed by craggy cliffs in Noto, Ishikawa Prefecture, has become the focus of a police investigation into the abduction of the 15 Japanese by DPRK agents. Ushitsu beach on the east side of the Noto peninsula was a key entry and exit point for agents from DPRK illegally slipping into the country during the 1970s, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department sources say. Yutaka Kume, one of the 15 Japanese listed as abductees by the government, was taken to DPRK from the Ushitsu beach in 1977. Agent Kim Se Ho ordered an ethnic Korean resident in Japan to lure Kume, then 52, to DPRK with an offer of work in a trading firm there, according to investigations. The pair reached Ushitsu beach at midnight on Sept. 19, 1977. Kume was handed to co-conspirators and spirited away by boat from an inlet on the beach screened by cliffs on three sides, police sources say. The area was perfect for hiding vessels and attracted few visitors, the sources explained.

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2. Japan-US Relations over DPRK Issues

The Asahi Shinbun ("TOKYO WANTS IN ON ANY US DEAL WITH N.KOREA," 01/20/03) reported that in a Sunday meeting with visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, Japan's Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said Japan and ROK should be consulted in whatever comprehensive agreement proposal the US might make to DPRK. "We highly evaluate the efforts of the US to resolve the issue through thorough discussions with Japan and ROK and we would like to continue to maintain close discussions in order to determine the best resolution of the issue," Kawaguchi said. Kelly told Kawaguchi that close cooperation with Japan and ROK would be the fundamental starting point for the US. Kawaguchi also touched upon the need to determine DPRK's true intentions regarding its nuclear weapons program. "In its declaration of withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, North Korea said it would not produce nuclear weapons," Kawaguchi told Kelly. "We have to move toward a resolution of the issue by adequately analyzing what North Korea says." Kawaguchi and Kelly agreed on the need to include PRC and RF in asking for cooperation in dealing with the situation. There was also discussion about a framework including Japan and ROK with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council should DPRK's nuclear weapons development program be discussed in that forum. Kelly also met Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda to discuss DPRK's nuclear weapons program.

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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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