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monday, february 10, 2003
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I. United States

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


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1. US DPRK Missile Tests Warning

The Associated Press (Hans Greimel, "TOP US ENVOY WARNS OF NORTH KOREAN MISSILE TESTS, SAYS UNAWARE OF CONCRETE PLAN TO INTERCEPT," Tokyo, 02/10/03) reported that US Ambassador Howard H. Baker warned Monday of a possible DPRK missile test over Japan, and said the US and Japan apparently have no concrete plans for intercepting such a rocket or otherwise reacting. Baker warned the DPRK is ratcheting tension over its nuclear weapons program and that "it would appear that their provocation is not over." "We hear reports that they may engage in a missile test, perhaps overflying the island of Japan," Baker said during a speech at a forum on regional security. He cited various sources, including news reports, for thinking the DPRK might conduct a test. But he did not give a possible time for any expected launch.


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2. ROK PM on DPRK Nuclear Missiles

The Associated Press (Christopher Torchia, "SOUTH KOREA'S PRIME MINISTER BELIEVES NORTH KOREA DOES NOT HAVE NUKES," Seoul, 02/10/03) reported that the ROK's No. 2 official said Monday that he believes the DPRK does not possess nuclear weapons, contradicting US assertions that the communist nation has one or two atomic bombs. The comment by Prime Minister Kim Suk-soo appeared to reflect differences in how the ROK and and the US view the DPRK. Many ROK citizens do not think their neighbor's nuclear development is a serious threat, while US President George W. Bush has defined the DPRK as part of an "axis of evil" intent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction. In Japan, the top US diplomat warned of a possible DPRK missile test over Japan in what could be an effort to ratchet up tension over the DPRK's nuclear programs. In comments in the ROK National Assembly, Kim said there was no evidence that the DPRK had atomic bombs. "North Korea is believed to have extracted enough plutonium to make one or two bombs before 1994," Kim said. "Since there has been no confirmation that it actually has produced nuclear weapons, we believe that they do not have any."


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3. Powell on PRC's Role in DPRK Nuclear Situation

The Associated Press (Christopher Torchia, "POWELL: CHINA SHOULD TAKE MORE ACTIVE ROLE IN NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR DISPUTE," Seoul, 02/10/03) reported that the PRC should take a more active role in urging the DPRK to abandon its nuclear activities, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said. Powell said in US television appearances Sunday that he believed there eventually would be talks between the US and the DPRK. But he said they should occur in a multilateral setting because the situation involved the PRC, Russia, Japan, the ROK and other countries. The DPRK wants bilateral talks with the United States. "We should not let North Korea dictate the terms under which these conversations take place. I think there will ultimately be conversations, but I think other nations have a role to play," Powell said on Fox Sunday News. Powell cited the PRC, which has called for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and is a traditional ally of North Korea. "They have considerable influence with North Korea," Powell said. "Half their foreign aid goes to North Korea. Eighty percent of North Korea's wherewithal, with respect to energy and economic activity, comes from China. China has a role to play, and I hope China will play that role."


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4. ROK-DPRK Summit "Secret Fund"

The Washington Post (Doug Struck, "ALLEGED PAYOFF TO NORTH TARNISHES SOUTH KOREA'S KIM CRITICS WANT PROBE OF LOANS GIVEN BEFORE SUMMIT," Seoul, 02/10/03) reported that allegations that ROK president, Kim Dae Jung, bought his historic summit with the leader of the DPRK in June 2000 are tarnishing the Nobel Peace Prize winner's last days in office. Opposition politicians are demanding that a special prosecutor be named to investigate why government loans worth $186 million were moved through a corporate ally of the president to a North Korean bank account in the days before Kim went to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. The opposition members allege that the money was paid to persuade the DPRK leader, Kim Jong Il, to receive the ROK president for a summit. Kim Dae Jung's office has denied wrongdoing in connection with the payments, but with qualifications that has left the ROK unconvinced, opinion polls show. Some of the president's allies say that funneling payments to the DPRK is the price of opening up its closed society and economy and is therefore in the ROK's interest. A government audit late last month confirmed a complex money trail that funneled money through at least three banks in three countries using 71 checks. The audit has prompted debate on the possibility of charges against Kim Dae Jung. It is complicating plans of the president-elect, Roh Moo Hyun, to continue Kim's "sunshine policy" of assistance to North Korea. "This scandal will be a burden for the new government," said a top official on Roh's transition team, Suh Dongman. "It's a hot issue, so for the time being we can't have economic aid to North Korea."


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5. US on DPRK Bomber Alert

The Washington File ("WOLFOWITZ CALLS BOMBER ALERT A "DETERRENT" AGAINST NORTH KOREA," Washington, 02/10/03) reported that the Bush administration decision to put US bombers on alert in the Pacific is simply a matter of reinforcing US deterrence against any possible DPRK military action, says Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense. The regime of Kim Jong-Il is "unpredictable" and "seems to be moving along a ladder of escalation in terms of its actions," he explained to a US-Korea relations forum sponsored by the Washington Post February 6. By putting some 24 B-52 and B-1 bombers on alert for possible deployment to Guam, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is simply reinforcing US "deterrent posture, to make sure that North Korea doesn't do anything adventurous or dangerous of a military kind," he said. This US response, Wolfowitz said, does not negate the Bush administration desire for achieving a peaceful solution to North Korea's resumption of its weapons of mass destruction program.


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6. ROK DPRK Humanitarian Aid Dilemma

The New York Times (Don Kirk, "SOUTH KOREA HAS TOO MUCH RICE AND A STICKY POLITICAL PROBLEM," Seoul, 02/10/03) reported that on the Korean Peninsula, millions of people in the North are suffering for lack of rice, the staple of Asia, while people in the South face the opposite problem. There is more rice around than people can possibly eat. No one knows quite what to do about it. "The condition is very severe," said Kim Hyun Soo, director of policy for South Korea's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. "Every year we have a surplus of 150,000 metric tons. We now have 1,500,000 metric tons in storage." Shipping the surplus to the DPRK might seem an obvious way to dispose of it - and the ROK gave the DPRK 400,000 tons of rice last year. But simply giving the rice away is more complicated than it appears. "It's a very sensitive issue," an Agriculture Ministry official said today. Although President-elect Roh Moo Hyun wants to provide aid to the DPRK, the official said, "because of the nuclear issue, many people don't want to send more." The ROK must also worry about conforming to the rules of the World Trade Organization, which wants the forces of supply and demand to control the ROK's rice market. That market has become increasingly distorted because the government tightly restricts imports and pays farmers artificially high prices for rice, encouraging them to grow even more. The ROK government's main solution for the rice glut was announced on Tuesday in a bill that would reduce the price to discourage production. Many politicians, however, are likely to oppose the bill for fear of alienating rice farmers, a powerful political force. Any reduction in price paid to rice farmers would be the first since the founding of the Republic of Korea in 1948, two years before the Korean War.


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7. Cross-Straits Currency

The Associated Press ("TAIWAN MOVING TOWARD DROPPING BAN ON TRADING CHINA'S CURRENCY," Taipei, Taiwan, 02/10/03) reported that the Taiwan government expects lawmakers to soon pass a bill allowing the PRC's currency to be brought to Taiwan and traded on the island, an official said Monday. Taiwanese have not been allowed to bring the PRC's currency - known as the renminbi or yuan - to the island since 1949. If Taiwan dropped the ban, it would be the latest example of the rivals allowing their economies to grow closer together. In recent years, Taiwan has relaxed numerous restrictions on investing in the PRC. Taiwanese official James Ching-sheng Chou said the bill would allow Taiwanese traveling to PRC or working there to carry a limited amount of yuan into Taiwan. The Ministry of Finance would decide the amount after the bill is passed, he said. "We hope to give our people more convenience, and the legislature does not seem to have any disagreement over the bill," said Chou, deputy director of the economics department at the Mainland Affairs Council.


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8. PRC Missile Development

CNN News ("CHINA RAMPS UP MISSILE CAPABILITY," Hong Kong, 02/10/03) reported that the PRC's Liberation Army is developing missiles that may soon be capable of penetrating the US proposed national missile defense system as well as threatening US aircraft carrier battle groups. Sources close to the PRC's military say a major focus of the PLA's ambitious arms development and procurement program is to prevent US forces from "interfering" in the Taiwan Strait. The PRC is also anxious to undermine plans by the Pentagon to incorporate Japan and South Korea -- as well as Taiwan -- into an Asia-based missile defense system. The sources said the PRC's Second Artillery Corps, which is in charge of missile development, has been given extra funds and other resources to develop or import hardware that can successfully target US aircraft carriers. PRC strategists believe that should a crisis erupt between both sides of the Taiwan Strait, the US may try to aid Taiwan by moving one or two of its aircraft carrier groups to the Taiwan Strait area. That was what happened in 1996 when two US carrier groups were deployed at either end of the Strait in an effort to deter any PRC military action against the island. To counter that, analysts say, the PRC's strategy focuses on the development of an enhanced medium- and long-range missile capability equipped with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle warheads, also known as MIRVs.


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9. PRC Dissident Life Sentence

BBC News ("CHINESE DISSIDENT JAILED FOR LIFE," 02/10/03) reported that Wang Bingzhang was tried behind closed doors and sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of espionage and leading a terrorist group. Wang Bingzhang, 55, was sentenced by a court in Guangdong province, southern PRC, after a one-day trial behind closed doors in January, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Wang Bingzhang Jailed twice during the Cultural Revolution Permanent US resident Founded two political groups


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10. Russian Bribes and Graft

The New York Times (Sabrina Tavernise, "A RUSSIAN TILTS AT GRAFT (IT COULD BE A QUIXOTIC TASK)," Moscow, 02/10/03) reported that according to a new report by former Yeltsin advisor Georgi A. Satarov's research institute, Information for Democracy, Russian citizens pay about $3 billion in bribes annually - about half of what they pay in income tax. Business owners, meanwhile, were found to fork over a whopping $33 billion to keep things running smoothly, a sum just less than half of all of last year's federal budget revenues. 7,504 Russians were surveyed in what was the first comprehensive picture of Russian graft. Traffic police officers rake in $368 million, beaten only by education employees, who take $449 million. The list goes on. That Russia is corrupt surprised no one. Russians had become blasť about the problem after a decade-long economic roller coaster ride. Satarov's numbers were important, instead, because they showed the sheer magnitude of the problem and helped people realize how much of a drag it was on the economy. "Measuring it let people digest it," said Satarov at his institute.


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11. Japan Domestic Economy

Reuters (Jonathan Standing, "JAPAN'S EXPORTS STRONG, BANKS STRUGGLE," Tokyo, 02/10/03) reported that Japan's export performance stayed strong in the last month of 2002, data showed Monday, easing concern that the economy's last bright spot was starting to fade. But in more signs that things are not as cheery on the home front, bank lending fell for the 61st month in a row, the amount of money in circulation slowed as consumers spent less, and a government poll found pessimism rife among the nation's workers. Exports rose 15.8 percent in December from a year earlier, the ninth straight monthly increase, and were up 6.2 percent for all of 2002, the Finance Ministry said. Still, central bank figures also released on Monday showed lending by Japanese banks fell 4.7 percent in January from a year earlier. Banks are struggling with a 40 trillion yen ($333 billion) mountain of bad loans that has hampered their ability to lend to even healthy companies.


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12. Inter-Korean Anti-Japan Independence Celebration

The Associated Press ("CIVILIAN LEADERS OF TWO KOREAS TO JOINTLY CELEBRATE ANTI-JAPAN INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY," Seoul, 02/10/03) reported that civic leaders of the ROK and the DPRK plan for the first time to hold a joint festival in Seoul next month to mark the anniversary of an independence uprising against Japanese colonial rule in 1919, organizers said Monday. About 100 DPRK civic and religious leaders will travel to Seoul for the festival on March 1-3, said a statement from a pro-unification ROK group, called the Joint National Event Promotion Headquarters. Hundreds of thousands of Koreans rose up for independence against Japan on March 1, 1919, and hundreds of people were killed or injured. The uprising is widely celebrated as a major national holiday in both Koreas. The statement said the joint celebration was agreed on at a meeting of the two sides' representatives in Beijing last week.


II. People's Republic of China


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1. DPRK Nuclear Crisis Development

People's Daily ("DPRK: IAEA HAS NO RIGHT TO DISCUSS ITS NUCLEAR ISSUE," 02/07/03, P3) reported that the DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman declared on February 5 that DPRK reactivated its nuclear plan just for its electricity generation. The spokesman said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has no right to submit the nuclear issue to the Security Council, as the DPRK was neither a member state of the organization nor a signing country of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, said the report.

China Daily ("DPRK °(r)RESTARTS' ATOMIC PLANT," Seoul, 02/07/03, P4) reported that the DPRK says it has restarted-or is poised to restart- the atomic plant at the heart of its suspected nuclear arms, a move the US called dangerous. According to the report, a DPRK's formal Foreign Ministry statement on its nuclear reactor said: "The DPRK is now putting the operation of its nuclear facilities for the production of electricity on a normal footing after their restart." However, an unnamed ROK official told the ROK's Yonhap news agency the statement was less clear in Korea and could be taken to mean "poised to restart." Nuclear experts also said the reactor, with just five megawatts of capacity, is too small to generate much power, but could produce materials for atomic bombs. Although there were some tough words from US, no sign Washington would contemplate ditching diplomacy in favor of a surgical strike on Yongbyon. As for inter-Korean relations, ROK and DPRK will hold two meetings next week on bilateral economic co-operation and construction of a permanent center for reunions of separated families. The Fourth Inter-Korean Economic Co-operation Promotion Meeting and the first joint task team meeting of the Red Cross societies of the two sides in dealing with the permanent reunion center will be held respectively on February 11-14 and February 13-15 in Seoul and Mount Geumgang of the DPRK, said the report.


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2. DPRK-US Relations on DPRK Nuke Issue

People's Daily (Zhao Jiaming, "DPRK WARN ON US MILITARY BUILDUP," Pyongyang, 02/06/03, P4) reported that the DPRK will counter the US's military buildup around the Korean Peninsula with powerful self-defense means, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on February 5. It reported that the Pentagon is considering sending another aircraft carrier to waters off the Korean Peninsula in addition to the Kitty Hawk, as well as sending twelve B-52 and B-1 fighter-bombers to be stationed in the west-Pacific area. The DPRK will face the US military buildup with powerful counter-measures, as US is becoming more undisguised in its bid to throttle the DPRK, the KCNA warned.

People's Daily ("US TO TALK DIRECTLY WITH DPRK," Beijing, 02/06/03, P4) reported that US Deputy Secretary Of State Richard Armitage told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting on February 4 that face-to-face meetings between US and DPRK will take place over the dispute centered on DPRK's nuclear program, but no timeline has been set. Armitage said that Iraq is a more immediate threat than the DPRK to US, because that Iraq wants to "intimidate, dominate, and attack" other countries, while DPRK "wants economic relief". Armitage gave two other reasons why he thinks the Iraqi situation is more pressing: the US has been struggling with Baghdad for 12 years instead of just months and the Korean Peninsula has been a relatively stable region, said the report.


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3. PRC-US Relations

China Daily ("JIANG TALKS WITH CHIRAC AND BUSH," 02/08-09/03, P1) reported that Chinese President Jiang Zemin talked on the telephone with his counterpart George W. bush on February 7 evening. During the call Bush informed Jiang of the US's stance and views on the Iraq issue and the nuclear issue in the DPRK. Concerning the DPRK nuclear issue, Jiang said a nuclear-free, peaceful and stable Korean Peninsula was the consensus of the international community. He said he hoped all parties would make joint efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the DPRK nuclear issue.

People's Daily (Ding Gang, "CHINESE FM MET POWELL, ANNAN," UN, 02/06/03, P4) reported that Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan on February 4 reiterated PRC's position on Iraq when he met with his US counterpart Colin Powell and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Tang exchanged views on PRC-US bilateral relations and other issues common concerned with Powell. Both sides highly praised the development of the bilateral relations and wish to make joint efforts to further promote the Sino-US constructive co-operation relations. Tang also offered the condolences of the Chinese government over the deaths of the seven astronauts on board the space shuttle Columbia and conveyed sympathy to their families. Powell praised the great importance PRC attached to and its constructive role in the Iraq issue, citing Tang and his delegation coming to the Security Council meeting during the Chinese lunar New Year.


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4. DPRK-ROK Relations

China Daily ("BUSES CROSSING DMZ," 02/06/03, P4) carried a photo report displaying a convoy of buses crossing into the ROK territory to carry a ROK's delegation at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) city of Kosung on February 5. The opening of the overland route from the ROK through the heavily fortified DMZ to the DPRK scenic Mount Kumgang is a centerpiece project of President Kim Dae-jung's "sunshine policy" of economic co-operation with DPRK, said the report.


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5. ROK-US Relations on DPRK Nuke Issue

People's Daily ("ROK PRESIDENT-ELECT ENVOY SENT TO US," Beijing, 02/04/03, P4) reported that the ROK President-elect Roh Moo-hyun's envoy left Seoul for US on February 2, aiming to promote the peaceful resolution of DPRK nuclear issue. The report said that the envoy will meet US President George W. Bush and other US officials during the 5 days' visit. From February 6, the envoy will set to visit Japan, said the report.

People's Daily (Gao Haorong, "ROK URGES US TO TALK WITH DPRK UNCONDITIONALLY," 02/10/03, P3) reported that the ROK President-elect Roh Moo-hyun's envoy, who just finished visit to US and Japan, told media on February 9 that ROK urges US to talk with DPRK unconditionally as soon as possible so as to resolve the nuclear issue. The envoy said that the nuclear crisis is so pressing that US should talk with DPRK directly and flexibly without any conditions. He also said that ROK should play an active role in such an issue that concerned with its own security. The report said that the delegation led by the envoy has expressed hope for Japan-ROK cooperation in DPRK's nuclear crisis when meeting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, said the report.


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6. PRC's Security Policy

China Daily ("PLA CHIEF OUTLINES ANTI-TERROR POLICY," Munich, 02/10/03, P1) reported that deputy chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of PRC, Xiong Guangkai outlined on Febrary 8 PRC's basic anti-terror policies based on the new security concept. In his speech entitled "Global anti-terror situation and future prospects" at the 39th Munich Conference on Security Policy, Xiong said the new security concept featuring "mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and co-operation" is the guideline of the Chinese Government for drawing up its anti-terror policies and co-operating with others in the fight against terrorism. In view of the new security concept, PRC has defined its basic anti-terror policies as: Condemn terrorism in any form; seek both a temporary solution and a permanent solution in the process of anti-terrorism; fight terrorism in a comprehensive way and ensure the UN play a leading role in the war, Xiong said. He also pointed out that as one of the victims of terrorism, PRC actively supports and takes part in international anti-terrorism co-operation. Of the 12 international anti-terror conventions, PRC has joined 10 and signed one. Furthermore, PRC has held consultations with the US, Russia, Britain, France, Pakistan and India on anti-terrorism, and conducted an anti-terror military exercise in 2002 with Kyrgyzstan. As a responsible member of the international community, PRC is willing to take active steps to maintain long-lasting peace and common prosperity in the world, he noted in the report.


III. Japan


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1. Japan's Position to Iraq's Issue

The Asahi Shinbun ("POLITICKING ON IRAQ WAR COMES DOWN TO TIMING," 02/08/03) reported that while no one seriously expects Japan to do anything but express support for the US, the emphasis among those in government concerns when to make the announcement and explain why Tokyo backs the conflict. Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had an opportunity Thursday to state unequivocally Japan's position on the looming war since US Secretary of State Colin Powell had laid out the Bush administration's case against Iraq to the UN Security Council the day before. The hesitancy stems partly from a lack of consensus in the ruling coalition over the wisdom of military conflict, especially since France, Germany and Russia are pushing for a delay in the start of hostilities. Within the government, the Foreign Ministry unquestionably maintains the most pro-American stance. Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi herself clearly blames Baghdad for failing to abide by UN Security Council resolutions on weapons inspections. "Some may say that because nothing indicating a major suspicion has been unearthed there is no suspicion about Iraq's program," Kawaguchi said Thursday at the Lower House Budget Committee. "However, the fact that nothing has been uncovered is the major problem." Foreign Ministry officials are feverishly trying to set the stage so the government can immediately express its support for the US as soon as an attack begins. Political reality shows there is little else Japan can do. Any dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces to support American troops is out of the question. The most visible means of support would be helping refugees and Iraq's neighbors deal with fallout from any military attack. "About the only thing Japan can do is express its support for the United States," said a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official. "If we did not express support, the US could accuse Japan of taking the same line as China and Russia." Aides to Koizumi are expected to stick to a cautious stance toward any such announcement until the very last moment. Any backlash, aides noted, would translate into a further decline in support ratings for the Koizumi Cabinet. Also, the government is determined that Diet deliberations on the fiscal 2003 budget will not be held up because of debate on the Iraq issue. Officials also fear a backlash from Iraq's neighbors, who provide most of this country's petroleum imports.

The Asahi Shinbun ("FUKUDA: JAPAN SIDING WITH US ON IRAQ WAR," 02/07/03) reported that Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda dropped strong hints Thursday that Japan sides firmly with the US on the issue of war with Iraq. "It is obvious which side Japan stands with," said Fukuda, without clearly stating that the government is behind Washington all the way. He was commenting in a news conference on US Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech to the UN Security Council the day before. In the presentation, Powell offered evidence that Baghdad has defied international calls to disarm. Based on the U.S. case, a U.S.-led war against Iraq would appear inevitable and imminent. Officials said Tokyo will make a final decision after reviewing French, German and Russian opposition. Fukuda said the government will convey to Iraq in the "strongest terms" its desire for Baghdad to fully cooperate with U.N. inspections of weapons of mass destruction. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi also said Thursday that Powell's presentation had further cemented Japan's position on Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. He made the remark in a Lower House Budget Committee meeting in response to questions from lawmakers about Tokyo's stand on the looming war. Koizumi noted the window of opportunity is closing for Iraq to respond to fears among world leaders that Baghdad is brazenly defying UNSC Resolution 1441 that obliges Iraq to declare its development plans on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons as well as ballistic missiles. Koizumi said Iraq had not obeyed past UN resolutions, testing the ability of the world organization itself. The prime minister, echoing the views of other world leaders, said another UN resolution would be needed before war against Iraq could be condoned. "As a member of the world community and an ally of the US, Japan has to take a responsible attitude," Koizumi stated. In the same budget committee, Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi voiced her appreciation of US efforts to explain its case against Iraq. She said Powell's presentation left no doubt that Iraq had not complied with U.N.-mandated inspections.


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2. ROK's View on IAEA's Position Against DPRK Nuclear Issue

Kyodo ("IAEA ALMOST CERTAIN TO SEEK UN ACTION ON N.KOREA NUKE ISSUE," Seoul, 02/10/03) reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will almost certainly seek UN action on DPRK's nuclear development program, Yonhap News Agency reported Monday. "Negotiations among key members of the governing board over how to draft the resolution have almost come to an end," Yonhap quoted a ROK source as saying. "It's almost certain that the issue will be sent to the UNSC at Wednesday's meeting," the source was quoted as saying. The source also added the ROK government would respect any decision the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog makes on the nuclear issue if international consensus is reached. The IAEA board plans to hold an emergency meeting of its 35 member countries on Wednesday to discuss escalating tensions sparked by DPRK's defiance of international calls to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Meanwhile, other sources, quoted by Yonhap, said Russia still opposes bringing the nuclear issue before the Security Council, where possible imposition of sanctions may be discussed, and is expected to demand a vote on the issue. But Russian opposition is not expected to delay the referral, the sources said.



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