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day, month 2003

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. US DPRK Reinforcements

The Associated Press (Matt Kelley, "US REPOSITIONING BOMBERS NEAR NORTH KOREA, MAY SEND FIGHTER ESCORTS WITH SURVEILLANCE PLANES," Washington, 3/05/03), the New York Times (David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker, "US SENDING 2 DOZEN BOMBERS IN EASY RANGE OF NORTH KOREANS," Washington, 3/05/03) and the Agence France-Presse ("US BEEFS UP FORCES AGAINST "RECKLESS" NORTH KOREA," 3/05/03) reported that the US is to send 24 long range bombers to the western Pacific to deter the DPRK, officials said, as the US made plans to formally protest the DPRK's "reckless" interception of a US spy plane. The White House called on the DPRK's neighbors to ramp up diplomatic pressure on the regime over its nuclear weapons, even as US President George W. Bush looked head to the possibility that military action might someday be needed. A day after the US said DPRK fighters had intercepted one of its surveillance aircraft, US defense officials said the US was sending a dozen B-52s bombers and a dozen B-1 bombers to the the western Pacific to counter the DPRK threat. About 2,000 US airmen were expected to deploy with the bombers. "These moves are not aggressive in nature," insisted a Pentagon spokesman. "It is a prudent measure to bolster our defensive posture as a deterrent." Bush, who has been pushing for war to disarm Iraq, said he favored peaceful means to defuse the mounting nuclear dispute with the DPRK, but warned: "If they don't work diplomatically, they'll have to work militarily." "Military option is our last choice. Options are on the table, but I believe we can deal with this diplomatically. I truly do," he was quoted as telling a dozen US newspapers in an interview on Monday. "The president continues to believe that the solution is a diplomatic one," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. "This kind of reckless behavior by North Korea will only lead to further international isolation of North Korea."

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2. ROK on US DPRK Reinforcements

The Associated Press (Jae-Suk Yoo, "SOUTH KOREA DISMISSES POSSIBILITY OF UNILATERAL US ATTACK ON NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 3/05/03) and the Agence France-Presse ("US WON'T STRIKE NORTH KOREA'S SUSPECTED NUKE SITE: SOUTH KOREA," 3/05/03) and BBC News ("ROH URGES US CAUTION ON NORTH," 3/05/03) reported that the ROK has ruled out the possibility of a US military strike to take out the DPRK's suspected nuclear site, as the US beefed up forces in the area after a spy plane was intercepted by DPRK fighters. In an interview with SBS radio and MBC radio in Seoul, Unification Minister Jeong Se-Hyun brushed aside concerns over a feared US attack against the DPRK as "groundless," stressing that the crisis must be defused peacefully. He also downplayed the interception of a US spy plane by DPRK fighter jets in international air space on Sunday, dismissing it as part of the North's campaign to press the US for one-on-one talks. "That kind of a scenario is nothing more than groundless imagination," Jeong said, responding to a question whether the US would choose a military option to end the nuclear standoff. "How could the US ignore South Korea's position and go against it while pursuing its North Korea policy?" Jeong made the remarks after US defense officials responded to the spy plane interception by announcing they were sending a dozen B-52s bombers and a dozen B-1 bombers to the the western Pacific to counter the North Korean threat.

The New York Times (Don Kirk, "SEOUL REASSURED BY US AFTER BOMBERS ARE DEPLOYED IN GUAM," Seoul, 3/05/03) reported that ROK officials said today that they were reassured by US pledges not to stage a surprise attack against the DPRK, amid conflicting signs of USintentions and rising fears that the nuclear crisis may devastate the prospering Korean economy. The unification minister, Jeong Se Hyun, told Koreans that the US "would never launch a pre-emptive strike without consulting South Korea" after two dozen heavy US bombers were ordered to the US territory of Guam to buttress defenses against the DPRK. ROK officials were equally confident that the country's new foreign minister, Yoon Young Kwan, had either been misquoted or quoted out of context at a Washington dinner last month in which he reportedly said he would prefer a nuclear DPRK to the collapse of the DPRK regime. Yoon's remark, made at an off-the-record dinner and widely cited here without specifically mentioning his name, provided the background for reports here and in Washington that the US was prepared to live with a nuclear DPRK and focus on preventing the DPRK from exporting nuclear weapons to other countries. Foreign ministry officials went to great lengths today to explain that Yoon had either been not only been quoted out of context but also misquoted, even though his name had not been previously linked to the remark. Park Ro Byu, the foreign ministry spokesman, said that Yoon, talking at a gathering that included American officials and Korea experts, had noted that "among young people, there are views that if North Korea collapsed, there is a serious problem." Yoon, a former professor at Seoul National University, "did not mean to say that a nuclear North Korea was better," said Park. "That's the key point he tried to clarify later." Two Koreans who attended the dinner said Yoon had been trying to be "helpful" in conveying attitudes here to people in Washington who might not otherwise grasp the significance of anti-US outbursts.

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3. DPRK Non-Aggression Pact

The Agence France-Presse ("PYONGYANG DEMANDS PEACE TREATY, SEOUL REJECTS MILITARY STRIKE AT NUKE SITE," 3/05/03) reported that the DPRK made a fresh call for a non-aggression pact with the US as the ROK rejected fears the US might launch a military strike on the DPRK's nuclear facilities. The pro-peace statements from both Koreas came amid mounting fears that the crisis over the DPRK's nuclear programs might spin out of control following the interception of a US spy plane by DPRK jet fighters on Sunday. The Pentagon on Tuesday said it was deploying 24 long-range bombers in the Pacific to deter the DPRK's threats, further raising the temperature. "What we need is a legal guarantee to be provided by a treaty as valid as international law," said Rodong Sinmun, the official daily of the North's ruling Korean Workers Party. "The US should not flee from its heavy responsibility for spawning the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula but promptly opt for direct talks with the DPRK (North Korea) to conclude a non-aggression treaty with the DPRK." The US has refused to initiate direct talks with the DPRK and recently said it will only address how the DPRK can stand down its twin nuclear weapons and power programs in a multilateral forum.

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4. US Domestic Politics on DPRK

The Associated Press (Matt Kelley, "DEMOCRATS CRITICIZE BUSH ON NORTH KOREA, URGE DIRECT TALKS," Washington, 3/05/03) reported that leading US Democratic senators Wednesday urged President Bush to begin direct talks with the DPRK as the US began basing more heavy bombers near that country. The Democrats said the White House has been paralyzed by divisions within the administration on what to do about the DPRK and by the distraction of a likely war with Iraq. Meanwhile the DPRK is moving ahead so rapidly in developing nuclear weapons, it could have enough not only for its own use, but also to sell to terrorists, the senators said. "The White House continues to sit back and watch, playing down the threat and apparently playing for time," said Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. "But time is not on our side." Daschle and other senators spoke at a news conference with members a newly formed group advising Senate Democrats, headed by former Defense Secretary William Perry. Other members include former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and former national security adviser Samuel R. Berger. Perry described the Koreas as "the most dangerous spot in the world today." The group urged Bush to work closely with US allies in the region to pursue direct talks with the DPRK, with the goal of reaching a verifiable agreement to stop its nuclear and missile programs.

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5. PRC National People's Congress

The Associated Press (Ted Anthony, "CHINA LEGISLATURE TO NAME NEW PRESIDENT," Beijing, 3/05/03), BBC News ("CHINA BEGINS LEADERSHIP CHANGE," 3/05/03) and The New York Times (Elisabeth Rosenthal, "CHINESE LEGISLATURE MEETS TO APPOINT LEADERS," Beijing, 3/05/03) reported that the PRC's annual legislative session opened today, with personalities eclipsing policies for now as the country moved to formalize its first sweeping leadership transition in a decade. At the end of the session of the National People's Congress, in two weeks, a new group of men will officially rule the PRC, led by the incoming president, Hu Jintao. This morning the outgoing prime minister, Zhu Rongji, opened the Congress with a report praising the PRC's economic progress and future plans, But it is the behind-the-scenes dance of power between Hu, 60, and the man he will replace, Jiang Zemin, 76, that will determine this fast-changing country's future. Although Jiang is giving up his presidential duties, his broad power base assures that he will remain a potent unofficial policy maker for many years. He is also expected to retain his post as chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission. The PRC faces a host of public policy challenges, including thorny diplomatic issues with the Koreas and Taiwan, a restructuring of its banks and plans to create a social welfare system that will care for its peasants and urban poor. But as Hu juggles these problems, his first challenge in each case will be negotiating the approval of Jiang, who may have different priorities. "Hu Jintao is the nominal leader, but Jiang Zemin is the effective power," said Kang Xiaoguang, a research fellow at the PRC Academy of Sciences. "That may create dangers in the future, especially in times of crises, although it is not a danger right now." Friction between the old and new leaders is almost certain to crop up in the next two to three years, academics here say, because of the PRC's percolating social problems.

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6. Cross-Straits Relations

The Agence France-Presse ("CHINA URGES PEACEFUL REUNIFICATION WITH TAIWAN," 3/05/03) reported that PRC Premier Zhu Rongji told has lawmakers that the PRC must chart a course that will lead to peaceful reunification with Taiwan. "We must implement principles of 'peaceful reunification' and 'one country, two systems,'" said Zhu, the outgoing premier, in his annual work report. Zhu told lawmakers that China must reject any talk that could promote Taiwan's independence. "We must ... strongly oppose any statements or actions aimed at creating 'Taiwan independence', or 'two Chinas' or 'one China, one Taiwan'."

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7. ROK DPRK Dollar Diplomacy

CNN News ("SECRET TALKS WITH NORTH: REPORT," Seoul, 3/05/03) reported that a top ROK presidential aide held secret talks with the DPRK in Beijing last month, offering large-scale aid and urging it to drop its nuclear ambitions, a Seoul daily newspaper has reported. The JoongAng Ilbo said that President Roh Moo-hyun's national security adviser, Ra Jong-yil, met a senior DPRK official in Beijing on February 20, five days before Roh took office amid a deepening nuclear impasse with the DPRK. Ra urged Kim Jong Il to visit the ROK as soon as possible to secure support for the ROK's policy of extending aid to the DPRK the daily said, quoting government sources. The Roh adviser, who was previously Seoul's ambassador to Britain, said US support for ROK aid for the DPRK could be obtained if Kim renounced nuclear arms and visited Seoul before Roh's expected trip to Washington in May, the daily said. Asked about the report, an official at Ra's office in the presidential Blue House said: "The China visit is true, but parts in the JoongAng Ilbo article regarding North Korea's nuclear issue and a summit are different from the facts." The official said Ra had declined to comment further on the trip. The newspaper report said that Ra met Jon Kum chol, the vice chairman of the DPRK Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, but there was no word on how Jon responded to the ROK proposal.

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8. DPRK on Foal Eagle Exercise

The Korean Central News Agency of DPRK ("MINJU JOSON ON "FOAL EAGLE" EXERCISE," Pyongyang, 3/05/03) carried a story that reported that the danger of armed conflict is growing owing to the "Foal Eagle" exercise which will continue for nearly one month, involving over 200,000-strong forces including the US troops stationed in the ROK, US reinforcements from overseas, and the ROK army as well as latest military equipment. Minju Joson today says this in a signed commentary. The "Foal Eagle" exercise, which begins today, is a war rehearsal to invade the north to all intents and purposes. The US imperialists' launching of the exercise is an open challenge to the Korean nation and the world peace-loving people the commentary says, and goes on: No one can vouch that the US imperialists will not make a preemptive attack on the DPRK while launching the exercise involving huge forces enough to go to war. It is as clear as noonday that in case the "Foal Eagle" exercise leads to a war against the DPRK a nuclear war breaks out and all the Korean people in the north and the south can not escape nuclear holocaust. At this critical juncture the entire Korean nation in the north and the south and abroad should turn out in the anti-US, anti-war and anti-nuclear struggle to save the destiny of the country and the nation from the crisis. The ROK warlike forces should stop at once their treacherous moves to have recourse to the outside forces to make a showdown with the fellow countrymen, mindful that joining in the US moves to provoke a war against the north is an unpardonable crime of inflicting nuclear disaster upon the nation. It is a miscalculation for the US imperialists to try to invade the north with the exercise as a momentum. The US imperialists and the ROK warhawks should stop the "Foal Eagle" exercise at once, mindful of the consequences to be entailed by their moves to provoke a war against the north.

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9. DPRK ROK Film Director Abduction

BBC News (Mike Thomson, "KIDNAPPED BY NORTH KOREA," 3/05/03) reported that not many people can claim to have spent much time with the DPRK leader, Kim Jong-il. But ROK film director Shin Sang-ok and his wife, Choe Eun-hui, have that dubious distinction. They not only knew him well but spent several years living in his summerhouse. Choe Eun-hui, an actress now in her late 60s, was the first to arrive after being kidnapped in Hong Kong by Kim Jong-il's secret agents in 1978. "I was really terrified. It was so frightening," she said. "I was in such a worried state I couldn't eat or drink anything for ages. Finally I fainted and later learnt that they had injected me with some sort of sedative." She was taken to Hong Kong's docks, bundled aboard and taken on an eight-day trip to Pyongyang. Her husband immediately flew from Seoul to Hong Kong to look for his wife, and was himself kidnapped soon after. "Someone suddenly pulled a sack over my head and I couldn't see anything or breathe properly," he said. It was not long before the reason for their kidnapping was made clear. "Kim Jong-il later confessed to me that the reason he kidnapped my wife first was because he wanted me to come and make films for him," Shin Sang-ok said. Kim Jong-il is film mad. Soon after the couple arrived in Pyongyang he took them for a private tour of his film library, which holds more than 15,000 movies. Keen to add to them, he placed $2.5m into an Austrian bank account and told Shin that the money would be available for him to make "good" films. Initially the director was not sure what the DPRK leader meant by a "good" film, until he took note of what he watched most often. Top of the list was Rambo, followed by Friday the Thirteenth and all the James Bond movies. Over the next two years Shin made more than 20 films, many of them propaganda tales commissioned by the man himself. In 1986, the couple were given permission to travel abroad together for the first time since their arrival in the DPRK eight years earlier. They went to a film festival in Vienna heavily chaperoned by a team of DPRK minders, but managed to persuade their guards to travel in a taxi behind as they headed for the festival hall. "We got to a crossroads where we were supposed to turn left for the festival. Our minders' car was following us about 30 metres behind, but several other cars had got in between them and us. So we told our driver to turn right instead, towards the US Embassy," said Choe Eun-hui. Seconds later the car behind realised that something was wrong and radioed the taxi that the Shins were in and asked their driver to tell them which way he had gone. The couple quickly handed him a sizeable tip and lied that they had gone in the opposite direction. Soon they arrived at the US embassy but could not find anywhere to stop outside, and the couple had to get out down the road. "We tried to run as fast as we could, but it felt like we were in some sort of slow motion movie," Shin said. "Finally we burst through the embassy's doors and asked for asylum." On hearing the news, Kim Jong-il became convinced that the couple had been kidnapped by the US, and sent them a message offering to help them get them back to Pyongyang.

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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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