NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, january 30, 2003

I. United States

II. Japan III. CanKor E-Clipping Service

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I. United States

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1. DPRK Official Response to US State of the Union Address

The Associated Press (Sang-Huh Choe, "NORTH KOREA CALLS BUSH'S STATE OF THE UNION SPEECH 'DECLARATION OF AGGRESSION,'" Seoul, 01/30/03) and the Associated Press (Sang-Huh Choe, "NORTH KOREA CRITICIZES BUSH SPEECH," Seoul, 01/30/03) and the Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA LAMBASTS 'CHARLATAN' BUSH," 01/30/03) reported that the DPRK's foreign ministry has described US President George W Bush's State of the Union address as an "undisguised declaration of aggression". Bush was also described as a "shameless charlatan" in the DPRK's first official response to Bush's speech on Tuesday. In its statement, the DPRK said: "The reckless remarks made by Bush in his official speech dealing with the year's national policy cannot but reflect the stand and policy of the present US administration. "This policy speech is, in essence, an undisguised declaration of aggression to topple our system." The DPRK continues to deny that it has a weapons program, and has criticized the US for failing to live up to its side of the 1994 agreement. On Thursday, however, the DPRK also reiterated its demand for negotiations with the United States on a non-aggression pact.

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2. ROK-DPRK "Check Book" Diplomacy

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, "SOUTH KOREA ADMITS USING SECRET FUNDS FOR NORTH KOREA PROJECTS," Seoul, 01/30/03) and BBC News ("SEOUL PAID FOR SUMMIT WITH NORTH," 01/30/03) reported that the ROK government investigators have said that US$200 million was secretly transferred from a state-controlled bank to the DPRK one week before a landmark inter-Korean summit in June 2000. The summit was seen as a boost for outgoing President Kim Dae-jung's policy of engagement with the DPRK, but critics have dismissed the historic meeting as check-book diplomacy. The government investigators' report was the culmination of a three-month inquiry into loans granted to the ROK conglomerate Hyundai. Kim, who has previously denied knowing about Hyundai's dealings with the DPRK, appeared to acknowledge the report's findings on Thursday when his spokeswoman said that the money was justified "if (it) was spent on promoting South-North economic co-operation". "The unique nature of South-North relations has forced me to make numerous tough decisions as the head of state," Park Sun-sook quoted him as saying. Hyundai funding Sohn Sung-Tae, an official with the ROK's Board of Audit and Inspection which conducted the probe, said the 223.5bn won ($200m) was part of a loan from state-run Korean Development Bank (KDB) to a Hyundai subsidiary. In its report, the Board of Audit and Inspection confirmed that the loans of nearly $400m to Hyundai Merchant Marine were extended one week before the historic inter-Korean summit, and that half of the amount was then transferred to the DPRK. Opposition politicians have alleged that the money was used as a bribe to induce the DPRK to take part in the summit. The Hyundai group has funded numerous inter-Korean economic projects and has played a key role in nurturing better ties between the ROK and the DPRK.

The Associated Press (Jae-Suk Yoo, "SOUTH KOREAN OPPOSITION PARTY DEMANDS PROBE," Seoul, 01/30/03) reported that the ROK's main opposition party asked the outgoing president Thursday to answer allegations that his government "bought" a summit with the DPRK that helped the Kim win the Nobel Peace Prize. The demand came as auditors disclosed that a business group used $186 million from a government bank for projects related to the DPRK. The opposition Grand National Party has long claimed that President Kim Dae-jung and Hyundai used the money as a payoff to "buy" DPRK leader Kim Jong Il's attendance at the historic summit in 2000. Hyundai has previously denied that the $186 million went to DPRK. The company did not immediately return a phone call seeking a comment to Thursday's report. But Kim, who leaves office in late February, said no criminal investigation into the matter should take place. "If the money was spent on promoting South-North economic cooperation, it is not desirable to make it a subject of judicial judgment for the sake of national interests," Kim was quoted as saying by his spokeswoman, Park Sun-sook. "This proves that this government's biggest achievement, the June 15 South-North summit, was bought with money," opposition party spokesman Park Jong-hee said in a statement. "President Kim must explain before the public the suspicion about a behind-the-scene deal with North Korea and apologize," he said. Kim has denied any detailed knowledge of Hyundai's dealings with the DPRK. The opposition party denounced the audit as a cover-up and demanded a parliamentary probe or an investigation by an independent counsel. "President Kim must disclose details of all secret dealings related to the summit, including the total amount of money handed over, and take political and legal responsibility," it said. The party first alleged a payoff to the DPRK last year. It said all or part of $330 million drawn by Hyundai in loans from the state-run Korea Development Bank might have gone to the DPRK. The company was in deep financial trouble when it received the loans. It later paid back the money after its finances improved.

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3. ROK-DPRK Relations

The Associated Press (Joseph Coleman, "SOUTH KOREA STRUGGLES WITH DIPLOMATIC ROLE," Seoul, 01/30/03) reported that the ROK has gone on a full-throttle diplomatic offensive to engage the DPRK in meaningful talks and earn a central role in negotiating an end to nuclear tensions. Judging from the results so far, it won't be easy. ROK envoys bearing a letter from President Kim Dae-jung returned from Pyongyang on Wednesday after failing to win an expected meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong Il. Last week, high-profile talks between the two sides in Seoul ended with a joint declaration, but without a DPRK commitment on specific steps to resolve the standoff over its nuclear weapons development. The ROK vowed on Wednesday to keep trying. "The fundamental solution of the nuclear issue can be achieved only when the country suspected of building nuclear weapons doesn't feel any security threats and builds relationships of trust with other countries," said ROK presidential envoy Lim Dong-won. Still, the obstacles are many for the ROK to take a pivotal role in persuading the DPRK to abandon nuclear programs that the US says are aimed at producing atomic weapons. Foremost among them is the insistence by North Korea that the nuclear dispute is between the DPRK and the US, and only direct talks with the US will resolve it. "If the North Koreans say, `Yes, yes, yes, but we want to talk to your boss' - basically, the United States - it can become very frustrating for the South Koreans," said Victor Cha, a Korean specialist at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington.

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, "SOUTH KOREA WANTS TO GIVE NORTH KOREA MORE TIME TO CHANGE COURSE," Seoul, 01/30/03) reported that despite the lack of progress in its efforts to break the nuclear stalemate with the DPRK, the ROK still wants to give the DPRK more time to change course, an ROK official said Thursday. He was speaking a day after the apparent failure of an ROK mission to Pyongyang raised the possibility that the U.N. nuclear watchdog might soon take the issue to the U.N. Security Council. "We'll consult with the United States and other allies, but we don't think it's a matter that should be decided in a day or two," said Chun Young-woo, a director at the ROK's Foreign Ministry. "It would be better to have some breathing room." ROK officials said key members of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency were scheduled to meet later Thursday to decide when to hold a new emergency board meeting that would consider referring the nuclear issue to the Security Council.

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4. DPRK-US Diplomacy

The New York Times (James Brooke, "WHITE HOUSE STICKS TO DECISION TO AVOID TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 01/30/03) reported that while the DPRK has sent messages in every way it knows how that it wants direct talks with the US, Bush administration officials are flatly refusing, holding fast to the view that the DPRK should be dealt with multilaterally, either by a group of its neighbors or by the United Nations Security Council. "This is not a US-DPRK problem," a high-ranking US official said here today. "It is very important that the multilateral process start." Before too long, he added, the US will get the issue on the way to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Security Council. The atomic energy agency board of governors is expected to meet in Vienna in February to decide whether the DPRK's expulsion of inspectors and sabotaging of surveillance equipment merits forwarding the case to the Security Council.

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5. DPRK Energy Crisis

The Associated Press ("NORTH KOREA ACKNOWLEDGES 'ACUTE' ENERGY SHORTAGE," Seoul, 01/30/03) reported that trains run irregularly and power frequently goes out at factories in the DPRK because of an acute energy shortage, the communist country's official media said Thursday. Operation of trolley buses, streetcars and subway trains in the capital, Pyongyang, are also suffering from the energy shortage, the Korean Central News Agency said. "Frequent stoppage of power supply and unstable voltage debase the quality of goods produced by factories and enterprises and brings difficulties to all sectors of the national economy," it said. Trains stop at "irregular intervals" and cause an "interminable vicious cycle" by impeding the transportation of coal to power plants, the report said. "Restaurants, bathhouses and other public services cannot satisfy people's demand," it said. "The limited power supply to residential quarters interferes with the people's cultural and emotional life." The North has acknowledged its energy woes in the past, but Thursday's report was the most extensive description of the shortage since tensions over its nuclear weapons program began to rise in October.

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6. PRC US Citizen Detainment

The Associated Press ("AMERICAN DETAINED IN CHINA, REPORTEDLY FALUN GONG FOLLOWER; DETAINED AUSTRALIAN RELEASED," Beijing, 01/30/03) and the New York Times (Elisabeth Rosenthal, "US CITIZEN HELD IN CHINA," Beijing, 01/30/03) reported that the PRC police have detained a US citizen in connection with efforts by the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement to hijack PRC television and radio stations earlier this year, the American Embassy here said. Member of the movement have repeatedly managed to interrupt normal signals of local broadcasting networks in various parts of the PRC, replacing them with pro-Falun Gong material. The embassy identified the detained US citizen as Chuck Lee, who is from Menlo Park Calif., according to a statement released in the US by Falun Gong. Lee was detained in the southern city of Guangzhou on Jan. 22, the embassy said, and is being held in the coastal city of Yangzhou - President Jiang Zemin's hometown - presumably because that is where the alleged crime occurred. At a news conference today, the foreign ministry spokeswoman, Zhang Qiyue, defended the detention. "Anybody who takes actions like these is violating Chinese laws," she said. "Those who damage China's public facilities will definitely be investigated and punished."

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7. PRC AIDS Situation

Reuters (Jacqueline Stenson, "CHINA SURVEY FINDS 1 IN 6 HAVEN'T HEARD OF AIDS," New York, 01/30/03) reported that as the AIDS virus continues to spread throughout the PRC, survey findings show that most of the population does not know what causes the disease or how to prevent it. Some-about 17%--had never even heard of it. "I was surprised and discouraged because there was such a consistent lack of knowledge on all our measures," said study author Dr. Deborah Holtzman, a scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. The PRC government estimates that 850,000 of the PRC's nearly 1.3 billion people are currently infected with HIV. It's predicted that as many as 10 million people could be infected by 2010. "It's spreading fairly rapidly," Holtzman stated. "Certainly now is the time to deal with it." The findings, based on a December 2000 in-home survey of about 7,000 people ages 15 to 49, revealed that 17% of respondents had never heard of HIV. Of those who had, 73% did not know it was a virus, and 89% did not know how it can be detected. And while 91% of these respondents knew that HIV can be transmitted, 22% could not identify even one route of transmission, such as sexual intercourse or needle-sharing. However, 68% knew that HIV can be spread through sex. Results also indicated that 74% of respondents thought HIV infection is preventable, yet 77% did not know that condoms offer protection and 83% did not know infection could be avoided by not sharing needles. Among those least likely to be knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS were the poorest, the least educated, women and farmers. Most respondents were in favor of HIV/AIDS education: 84% said it was necessary to teach prevention in schools.

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8. PRC-Japan Economic Relations

The Dow Jones Business News (Owen Brown, "JAPAN REMAINS CHINA'S LARGEST SOURCE OF IMPORTS - XINHUA," Beijing, 01/30/03) reported that Japan remained the PRC's largest source of imports in 2002, ranked ahead of the European Union and Taiwan, state media reports, citing General Administration of Customs figures. Imports from Japan to the PRC rose 25% on year to $53.47 billion in 2002, against a rise in exports of 8% on year to $48.44 billion, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday. That resulted in a $5.03 billion trade surplus in favor of Japan, a turnaround from a $2.16 billion deficit in 2001 when two-way trade was affected by the PRC's ban on imported Japanese autos, air conditioners and mobile hand sets.

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9. Japan Role in Anti-Terror War

The Associated Press ("JAPAN TO DISPATCH TWO MORE MILITARY VESSELS TO SUPPORT ANTI-TERROR CAMPAIGN," Tokyo, 01/30/03) reported that Japan will dispatch two more military vessels early next month in support of the US-led campaign in Afghanistan against remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaida, a defense agency spokesman said Thursday. Japan will send its transport vessel Shimokita and destroyer Ikazuchi to ferry Thai military personnel and construction machinery to repair a US air base in Afghanistan, said the Japanese defense agency spokesman on condition of anonymity. Japan's logistical support for the US military-led campaign began in November 2001, when it sent a fleet of ships to the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea to transport fuel and supplies to US vessels. The government has since extended the mission twice, most recently last November, when it prolonged its support through May 19. A law passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States allows Japanese forces to provide logistical support to the US campaign.

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10. DPRK-Japan Defectors

The Associated Press ("JAPAN HELPS WOMAN WHO ESCAPED FROM KOREA," Tokyo, 01/30/03) reported that a Japanese woman who fled the DPRK after living there for more than 40 years returned to Japan on Wednesday under government protection, the Foreign Ministry said. The ministry declined to give details about the case, citing privacy and safety concerns. But public TV broadcaster NHK said the 64-year-old woman had lived in the DPRK since the 1950s, when she moved there with her husband, a former DPRK resident of Japan. Ten years after arriving in the DPRK, her husband was arrested for political crimes, the TV report said. In November, the woman reportedly fled to the PRC because of economic hardship. A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman confirmed the woman arrived from the PRC in a deal brokered by the PRC and Japan. In a statement released through the Foreign Ministry, the woman said, "I appreciate the handling of my case by both Japanese and Chinese governments." A senior Japanese official acknowledged that the Foreign Ministry has secretly offered help and protection to dozens of Japanese fleeing the DPRK over the years. This was the first case confirmed publicly.

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11. ROK on US DPRK Economic Sanctions

The Associated Press ("SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT-ELECT OPPOSES ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST NORTH KOREA," Tokyo, 01/30/03) reported that ROK President-elect Roh Moo-hyun said in a television interview Thursday that he opposes imposing U.N. sanctions on the DPRK in an attempt to resolve the current nuclear standoff. Speaking to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, Roh did not explain why he was against the idea of the U.N. Security Council leveling sanctions against the DPRK. But he said he didn't agree with sanctions or military intervention. "I don't agree with talk about sanctions or use of force," Roh said, when asked whether he would support calls for the council to implement them.

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12. Japan Defense Bills

The Associated Press (Hans Greimel, "AMID FEAR OF NORTH KOREA, KOIZUMI PLEDGES TO PASS DEFENSE BILLS THIS YEAR," Tokyo, 01/30/03) reported that faced with the growing threat of the DPRK, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged Thursday to pass controversial legislation aimed at bolstering national defense by the end of the current Parliament session. The defense bills, a key element of Koizumi's policy platform, were stymied in last year's Parliament by opponents who said they trampled civil rights and gave too much power to the Japanese military. But Koizumi's spokeswoman, Misako Kaji, said the dual threats of terrorism and the DPRK underline the urgency of making the bills law this time around. "The Cold War has finished 10 years ago. But that doesn't mean that Japan is totally exempt from any attack," Kaji said. "North Korea is always a concern to us these days." Kaji cited the DPRK's 1998 missile test in which they lobbed a rocket over the Japanese archipelago into the Pacific Ocean. She said concerns have been heightened in recent months following revelations that the DPRK had been pursuing a suspected nuclear weapons program. "People are more aware of the harsh realities," she said. The legislation intends to outline the government's role and responsibility in case Japan comes under attack from terrorists or foreign nations, something largely left untouched by post-World War II leaders fearful of being tarred as militarists. Issues addressed include restrictions on Japanese troops passing through or setting up camp on civilian land and other controversial topics that have kept the debate going since 1977. "I don't see any other country that is not equipped with this sort of law," Kaji said. The current session of Parliament is scheduled to end June 18. The bills never even made it to a floor debate last year amid criticism that they threaten civil rights and could potentially rekindle militarism.

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13. Asia Regional Forum on DPRK Nuclear Situation

The Associated Press ("ARF EXPECTED TO ISSUE CALL URGING NORTH KOREA TO REVERSE DECISION TO WITHDRAW FROM NUCLEAR TREATY," Manila, Philippines, 01/30/03) reported that Asia's only security forum was expected to issue a statement Thursday urging the DPRK to reverse its decision to withdraw from a global treaty on nuclear non-proliferation, according to officials and a draft document. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum, or ARF, "is deeply concerned over the current tensions on the Korean peninsula, which could negatively affect peace, stability and security in the region," a draft of ARF chairman Hor Nambong's statement said. The ARF, which groups the 10-member ASEAN, the US and other countries with security interests in the region, is currently headed by Cambodia. Foreign ministers and defense officials from ARF member countries normally meet during the annual ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting in July, at the end of which a statement is issued by the chairman. But a Philippine official said on condition of anonymity that the special statement would be issued Thursday in view of the ARF countries' concern over the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and its effect on regional security.

II. Japan

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1. Japanese Military Emergency Bill

The Japan Times ("WIDEN SCOPE OF DISASTER LAW: ISHIBA," 01/18/03) reported that legislation to protect Japanese nationals in case of military emergencies should be debated within the framework of the existing Disaster Measures Basic Law and will require further discussions with the heads of municipal governments, Defense Agency Director General Shigeru Ishiba said. Ishiba's remarks came during a meeting of Cabinet ministers. "There are several differences between natural disasters and military attacks carried out by other countries," Ishiba said at a news conference later in the day. The main task of the government in the event of natural disasters, according to Ishiba, is to rescue people, while in military emergencies, the government should work to eliminate aggression. Simply having the bill prepared in writing is insufficient, he said, referring to the government's tardy response to the Great Hanshin Earthquake on Jan. 17, 1995.

The Japan Times ("STATE SEEKS CONTROL OF NUCLEAR PLANTS IN CRISIS," 01/20/03) reported that the Japanese government will propose new legislation giving it the authority to shut down nuclear power plants and other facilities handling dangerous substances in the event of a military attack. According to sources, these measures and others are being considered for new legislation regarding the protection of civilians if Japan is attacked. Such legislation is to come into force within two years of the enactment of new laws regarding military emergencies. Under existing laws, the government can order nuclear reactors to shut down in times of disaster, such as earthquakes. According to draft outlines of the proposed legislation for civilian protection, the government will issue a warning when an attack is anticipated. Citizens will then be evacuated through orders by local governments. Orders will also be issued to nuclear power plants and other facilities that handle potentially dangerous substances to suspend operations to ensure safety. The central government will explain the outline of the proposed legislation to local governments and private sector firms providing such vital services as electricity and gas. Opinions and comments from these parties will then be reflected in the drafting of a more detailed guideline, the sources said.

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2. Japan on Possible US Attack on Iraq

The Japan Times ("JAPAN MAY SUPPORT SOLO ATTACK ON IRAQ," 01/20/03) reported that Taku Yamasaki, secretary general of Japan's governing Liberal Democratic Party, suggested that Japan may cooperate with the US if it decides to attack Iraq without a UN resolution. Appearing on a Sunday talk show on TV Asahi, Yamasaki expressed concern over what might happen if deliberations bog down and the US attempts to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein without a UN endorsement. But Yamasaki added that there must be clear evidence that Iraq is engaged in developing weapons of mass destruction, and that such a decision should be made by the International Atomic Energy Association. Tetsuzo Fuyushiba, secretary general of the New Komeito party, one of the LDP's coalition partners, echoed Yamasaki's views. He said Japan would have to make a political decision about extending cooperation to the US.

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3. JSF's New Chairman

The Japan Times ("SDF JOINT STAFF COUNCIL GETS NEW HEAD," 01/22/03) reported that Toru Ishikawa, chief of staff of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF), will replace Shoji Takegouchi as chairman of the Joint Staff Council (JSF) of the Self-Defense Forces, the Defense Agency announced. Ishikawa, 58, joined the MSDF in 1967 after graduating from the National Defense Academy. He served in posts such as commander of the MSDF's Sasebo District in Nagasaki Prefecture before taking his current position in March 2001. The council consists of the chiefs of staff of the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces and is tasked with coordinating the three forces.

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4. Japan-US Joint Drill

Kyodo ("YOKOSUKA TERROR ATTACK DRILL HELD," Yokosuka, 01/22/03) reported that local defense and police personnel, and US Navy firefighters stationed at Yokosuka base, participated in drills involving simulated chemical attacks by terrorists. The participants worked together to deal with a scenario in which sarin nerve gas was released inside a hotel, causing health problems to scores of guests. The Ground Self-Defense Force, Kanagawa Prefectural Police and the US Navy's fire brigade stationed at the base participated.

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5. Kawaguchi's Visit to Okinawa

The Japan Times ("KAWAGUCHI PLANS VISIT TO OKINAWA," 01/22/03) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said she will visit Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine on Feb. 2 to introduce newly appointed Ambassador to Okinawa Sadaaki Numata. Kawaguchi said she will also meet separately with Lt. Gen. Wallace Gregson, the US military coordinator of the Okinawa area. Numata, 59, a former ambassador to Pakistan, was appointed as ambassador to Okinawa. He succeeded Hiroshi Hashimoto, who became ambassador to Austria. The post of ambassador to Okinawa was established in 1997 under the Cabinet of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto to emphasize issues concerning Okinawa, including the US military presence there.

III. CanKor E-Clipping Service

1. Issue #115

Diplomatic activity surrounding the DPRK nuclear standoff continues this week. ROK envoy Lim Dong-won returns from Pyongyang after promoting a multilateral approach, but without a meeting with the DPRK leader Kim Jong Il. The official DPRK press issues an article maintaining the position that the nuclear issue can be solved only bilaterally with the USA. The ninth North- South inter-ministerial meeting issues a joint statement that includes reference indicating a mutual willingness to resolve the nuclear issue peacefully. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov returns from Pyongyang, optimistic that a solution can be found. Losyukov presented to Kim Jong Il a three-part Russian plan that includes a nuclear-free status for the Korean peninsula, written security guarantees, and an economic aid package. The European Union plans to send a senior-level diplomatic mission to the DPRK. The desperate plight of North Korean refugees is highlighted as Chinese authorities capture 58 people trying to board fishing boats headed for ROK. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, humanitarian agencies and human rights groups have been critical of China's policy of returning refugees to the DPRK. Returning from his visit to Pyongyang, UN envoy Maurice Strong (a Canadian) urges the international community not to make millions of children innocent victims of a political crisis that does not concern them. A Canadian company is promoting travel to the DPRK for the 16th annual Mangyongdae Prix International Marathon. In Toronto, Miyakoshouji Co. exhibits DPRK artefacts, photographs and health food products.

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