NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, march 21, 2003

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

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I. United States

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1. DPRK on US-Led War on Iraq

CNN News ("NORTH KOREA: US WANTS WORLD CONTROL," Pyongyang, 03/21/03) and The Agence France-Presse ("US, SOUTH KOREA IN MASSIVE LANDING DRILL AGAINST NORTH KOREA," 03/21/03) and BBC News ("PYONGYANG SAYS US IS PLANNING ATTACK," 03/21/03) reported that the DPRK accused the US of preparing a pre-emptive strike on its nuclear facilities, as US-led forces continued to attack Iraq. The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said large US-ROK military exercises were clear signs that the US was preparing for war. The DPRK also warned the ROK to stop loudspeaker broadcasts across their heavily fortified border. Earlier on Friday, in the DPRK's first comment on the start of US-led military action in Iraq, KCNA said that newspapers had reported the start of the war, and predicted the conflict would have "disastrous consequences." It did not elaborate. The US army has said drills on the Korean peninsula were planned nine months ago, but they come amid tension over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. But KCNA said the US-ROK annual military drills were "timed to coincide with the US attack on Iraq" and showed the US had a "win-win" strategy towards Iraq and the DPRK - two countries which US President George Bush has named as being part of an "axis of evil."

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2. World-wide Anti-War Protests

The Associated Press (Gary Schaefer, "THOUSANDS MARCH IN AUSTRALIA, JAPAN AS ANTI-WAR PROTESTS ENTER SECOND DAY," Tokyo, 03/21/03) reported that thousands of anti-war demonstrators marched through Tokyo on Friday after US President George W. Bush thanked the prime minister of pacifist Japan for joining the "coalition of the willing" against Saddam Hussein. In a second straight day of global peace protests, activists blockaded a key US military headquarters in Germany. More than 5,000 rallied in the streets of Melbourne after the Australian military confirmed its special forces were in Iraq with British and US forces identifying targets for coalition aircraft and monitoring enemy troop movements. Dozens of activists converged on the American Embassy in Buddhist Thailand. About 7,000 Muslims in Kota Baharu city in eastern Malaysia burned British and US flags as well as effigies of Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, protesters threw eggs and vegetables at the British Embassy in the capital, Jakarta. Demonstrators in the second largest city Surabaya rallied outside the US Consulate. Elsewhere groups besieged US fast food restaurants and banks. President Megawati Sukarnoputri has condemned the war as a violation of international law and Indonesian Muslim leaders have called Bush a terrorist. Police in Indian-controlled Kashmir dispersed about 50 protesters with tear gas. In the PRC, police watched as two dozen foreigners carried protest placards in a Beijing park. In Stuttgart, German police broke up a peaceful sit-down protest by about 80 activists outside the US military's European Command - responsible for operations in 93 countries in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East. In Tokyo, at least 11,000 people marched in warm spring weather after Bush briefed Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and thanked him for backing the war. In Pakistan, the nation's religious right called for peaceful protests against the war but withdrew demands for a nationwide strike, saying it would hurt ordinary Pakistanis.

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3. US-Japan Iraq War Relations

The Japan Times (Junko Tahakashi, "BUSH GIVES KOIZUMI BIG PAT ON BACK," 03/21/03) reported that US President George W. Bush expressed his gratitude for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's "courage and friendship" in supporting the war on Iraq during a telephone call Friday. In a 10-minute conversation, Bush said he is "always moved" by Koizumi's firm support for the US and that he highly values Japan's package of humanitarian aid measures announced immediately after the war began. The Foreign Ministry also quoted Bush as saying the military operations in Iraq have been "going well." The president added that he believes the U.S-led forces will win with a minimum of innocent casualties. Bush's word of thanks have great importance for Koizumi, who has suffered a public bashing over his siding with Washington. Opinion polls show 80 percent of the public opposes the war on Iraq.

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4. PRC on US-Led War on Iraq

BBC News (Francis Markus, "CHINA'S MUSLIMS CONCERN AT WAR," Jinan, China, 03/21/03) reported that the PRC has called for the attack on Iraq to be halted, reiterating its demand for the peaceful disarmament of the country. Most PRC citizens feel remote from the conflict. But the PRC's Muslims are among those who feel more strongly about the issues, even though many of them are highly assimilated into mainstream society. The PRC's millions of Muslims are concentrated mainly in the far west of the country, where many belong to the Turkic Uighur ethnic group. But there are scattered Muslim communities all over the country. In the Muslim quarter of Jinan, capital of the PRC's eastern Shandong province, one middle-aged Muslim man says he regards the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as a brave man for standing up to the US-led attack. A schoolboy of 11 or 12 says everybody in the community is paying close attention to the war and hoping that Saddam can manage to fend off the attack. Two Uighur men, far from their western home region, selling their distinctive flat bread, say - in broken Chinese - that Saddam is very good because he is a Muslim. Among those in the majority Han ethnic group who are against the war, one man says that if the PRC's current leaders had any military experience, they would have taken a much tougher stance against the US.

The Agence France-Presse ("CHINESE PRESS LAMBASTS US-LED WAR, WARNS IT HAS SET A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT," 03/21/03) reported that the PRC's state-run press has lambasted the US for going to war without international approval, saying it has set a dangerous precedent. "Mark the day: March 20, 2003. History will record it when bombs, instead of international laws, started to count in regional or world conflicts," an editorial in the leading English-language newspaper, the China Daily, said. "It was a day when the US bombing of Iraq began. It set a precedent that a country could, at will, go to war, flying in the face of the international community which, for the most part, wanted to continue to pursue a peaceful solution. "Yesterday's opening salvo shattered confidence in justice and international law," said the editorial, which was accompanied by a cartoon of George W. Bush dressed as a cowboy with a finger in his ear firing a gun at the microphone on the dais he has been using to deliver his recent addresses to the nation. The PRC, Thursday demanded Washington immediately halt the assault in Iraq, saying it violated the United Nations Charter and endangered the peace of the whole world.

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5. ROK-US Military Exercise

The Associated Press (Sang-Huh Choe, "NORTH KOREA ACCUSES US OF STOKING WAR JITTERS ON KOREAN PENINSULA," Seoul, 03/21/03) and The Agence France-Presse ("US, SOUTH KOREA IN MASSIVE LANDING DRILL AGAINST NORTH KOREA," 03/21/03) reported that thousands of US and ROK troops backed by warships and planes have launched a massive amphibious landing drill at a beachhead near here as part of what the DPRK denounces as preparations for nuclear war. In a signal to the DPRK that Washington will not drop its guard despite its preoccupation with the war on Iraq, US and ROK troops are engaged in major war games this month. Amphibious tanks roared ashore and sent camouflaged marines fanning across a smoke-filled beach as gunships hovered and fighter jets screamed overhead. One lone anti-war protestor, who ran onto the beach before the landing started, was escorted away by police, witnesses said. The joint landing drill at Hwajin Beach in Pohang, 350 kilometers (220 miles) south of Seoul, involves around 3,000 troops -- including 1,000 US marines, Captain Son Kang-Ho from the ROK Marine Corps said. Visible out to sea were six navy ships, including the USS Juneau amphibious transport vessel, from whose decks tanks and armored landing vehicles took to sea.

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6. PRC-US Relations

The Washington File ("TEXT: SCHRIVER SAYS US, CHINA HAVE STRONG MUTUAL INTERESTS," Washington, 03/21/03) reported that the US wants to see a PRC that is a responsible member of the world community, according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Randall G. Schriver. Schriver, whose portfolio covers East Asia and the Pacific, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee March 19 that a PRC living by global trade and financial rules would be in both countries' interests. The PRC's "ongoing focus on market-oriented economic development holds promise that it will increasingly contribute positively to economic growth in the region," Schriver said. "We view China's integration into regional and global organizations and arrangements as a positive development," he told senators.

The text of the full transcript can be found:

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7. US-Led War on Iraq and PRC Oil

The Associated Press (William Foreman, "IRAQ WAR WORRIES OIL-THIRSTY CHINA," Beijing, 03/21/03) reported that a long war against Iraq that causes a spike in oil prices could pose a threat to the PRC - a key economy with a growing thirst for fuel and increasingly tighter ties to global markets, analysts said. The conflict also puts additional pressure on the new leaders who took over the PRC this week, pledging to keep stoking economic growth. If the economy sputters, the communist rulers might be unable to calm the mounting unrest among impoverished farmers and legions of laid off workers in the northern rustbelt. "Stability is crucial to China's economic development. The problem of energy supplies will certainly bring fluctuation," Wang Zhengzhong, deputy director of the Economic Institute at the China Academy of Social Sciences, said Thursday. Adding to the PRC's worries, the nation doesn't have strategic oil reserves - an emergency supply that countries like the US and Japan use as a cushion against wild swings in fuel prices. "China could take a hit because it doesn't have a buffer," said Fred Hu, managing director at Goldman Sachs China. But other economists have said that the PRC should be able to avoid a crisis as long as OPEC honors its pledge to increase oil production during the conflict. The country is also starting to build strategic reserves, and its major oil companies are buying stakes in foreign producers.

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8. Japan Anti-Terror Measures

The Japan Times (Kanako Takahara, "MINISTRIES GEAR UP TO COUNTER TERROR THREAT," 03/21/03) reported that Japan's government ministries agreed Friday to prepare for possible terrorist attacks and offer security information to the public as things continue to heat up in Iraq. Senior officials of 17 ministries and agencies, including Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, met to discuss possible security and economic problems in the wake of the US-led war on Iraq. The National Police Agency stepped up security at 650 key facilities, including 70 US bases and 170 embassies. Police units armed with submachine guns are guarding nuclear power plants, the NPA said. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry cataloged stocks of medicinal supplies in preparation for a possible biological and chemical attacks, and is maintaining close contact with hospitals. Government jets and chartered planes are ready to be dispatched to nations neighboring Iraq if Japanese nationals need to be evacuated. The government said it will release oil stocks if there is a shortage. It has enough reserves to cover 171 days of regular consumption, and tankers carrying another 24 days worth of crude oil are on their way, officials said.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Heightening Tension based on Iraq War

Chosun Ilbo (Lee Wi-jae, "SECURITY HEIGHTENED NATIONWIDE," Seoul, 03/20/03) reported that with the start of hostilities in Iraq on Thursday, security forces here were mobilized to protect facilities such as the US Embassy, the American Chamber of Commerce and those of other nations that support the war. Five units comprising 600 riot police were guarding the US Embassy on shifts, twice the usual number. Also, US forces in ROK took precautionary measures, including stricter curfews. The police increased their numbers at about 50 US-related facilities, from 13 squads and 1,500 men to 26 squads and 3,200 men. The police also enforced security at more than 600 other facilities related to foreign countries, to guard against terrorist activities. It placed bomb-sniffing dogs and armed policemen in front of 38 major facilities of nations supporting the war, such as Britain, Japan, and Israel. The police are on alert for possible terrorist activities, and are confirming the whereabouts of about 2,800 people residing here who are nationals of terrorist-supporting nations. The police will be enforcing patrols in Itaewon, the foreigner district, and will be preparing countermeasures against surprise anti-war rallies by the radical student group Hanchongryun. The tanks of the Korea Police Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT team were stationed at Incheon International Airport, and airport police expanded the areas of patrol and added 19 extra policemen. The Korea Airport Corp. added more checkpoints and more guards. Also, checks of shoes and coats will be conducted on almost 90 percent of passengers, and the bomb squad will be on 24-hour alert.

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2. US Perspective toward US-ROK Relations

Chosun Ilbo (Joo Yong-joong, "U.S. SAY NO MORE 'TRIPWIRE'," Washington, 03/20/03) reported that a high-level official at US Defense Department said this week that the tripwire function of US forces near the Demilitarized Zone was outdated. The official, who requested anonymity, told Korean correspondents that the expression applied to the situation 10-30 years ago, and that Americans wanted such expressions done away with. The official said that if a war broke out here in this age of missiles, DPRK would target American air bases from the beginning. The official also said that US wanted to relocate the Yongsan base in central Seoul as soon as possible, maybe within months, and that the two big bases north of the Han River should be relocated south of the river within years. Osan and Pyeongtaek were mentioned as possible relocation areas. He stressed that the American defense treaty was stronger than ever but that if the Koreans wished, US troops in ROK could leave tomorrow. US wants a new blueprint for the next 50 years of US-ROK relations to be made before October, when the alliance turns 50, he said. Washington wants talks on how to make the relationship more balanced, as President Roh Moo-hyun has requested, but wants Seoul to take on added roles and responsibilities, the official said.

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3. US and Japan's Comments on DPRK Nuclear Programme

Joongang Ilbo (Ser Myo-ja, "POWELL WARNS THE NORTH ON MISSILES, REPROCESSING," Seoul, 03/20/03) reported that on the day after US President George W. Bush issued an ultimatum to Iraq, Secretary of State Colin Powell warned DPRK against any new provocations. Mr. Powell said DPRK has not yet restarted its spent fuel reprocessing facility, but said that "it would make political dialogue and finding a diplomatic way forward much more difficult" if DPRK did so. He said such provocations would not change US government's determination to engage in multilateral diplomacy with DPRK rather than the bilateral negotiations DPRK has demanded. DPRK's Foreign Ministry spokesman justified DPRK's missile testing program by noting that Japan has also been developing them and plans to launch a surveillance satellite. The spokesman said its missile program was benign, and recalled the statement issued by Japan and DPRK in Pyeongyang last September that said the two governments had agreed not to take any actions that may threaten the other. But in Tokyo, a senior government official said Japan may disavow that statement, issued by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo told the Diet's budget committee that concern is rising about DPRK's missile tests and nuclear aspirations.

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4. DPRK's Turndown to Talk to UN

Joongang Ilbo ("NORTH REFECTS PROPOSAL TO DISCUSS WAR GAMES," Seoul, 03/20/03) reported that DPRK declined a proposal by the United Nations Command for a meeting of general officers. The purpose of the meeting was to have been a briefing about military exercises now under way in ROK. At a meeting of colonels Wednesday at the truce village of Panmunjeom, Korean People's Army officials said DPRK was not interested. The exercises have been used by DPRK to bolster its case that US is preparing to invade or attack DPRK. The UN Command said it wanted to lay out its case for DPRK that the war games are defensive preparations. "The KPA has turned down an excellent opportunity to discuss important events affecting the Korean Peninsula," said Colonel Martin Glasser, the secretary of the UN Command Military Armistice Commission

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5. Appointment of Key Ambassadors of New Government

Joongang Ilbo ("ROH LIKELY TO REPLACE FOUR KEY AMBASSADORS," Seoul, 03/20/03) reported that the Blue House is expected to name new ambassadors to US, Japan, PRC and Russia. "The war against Iraq and North Korea's nuclear ambitions are changing things on the Korean Peninsula greatly," a senior Blue House official said Wednesday. "It is appropriate to replace the four ambassadors to reflect the new government's views." President Roh Moo-hyun and Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan will soon discuss the names of possible new appointments, said Jeong Chan-yong, the Blue House aide for personnel affairs. The ambassador to the United States, Yang Sung-chul, was appointed in May 2000; he is the longest-serving of the four envoys who will probably be returning to Korea soon. The official also said changes were likely at other Korean chanceries abroad.

III. Japan

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1. Japan on War against Iraq

The Japan Times (Reiji Yoshida, "OPPOSITION LAMBASTES KOIZUMI OVER EMPHATIC SUPPORT FOR U.S. LINE," 03/19/03) reported that opposition parties on Tuesday slammed Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's emphatic support for the US ultimatum to Iraq, saying a peaceful solution to the crisis should be achieved through more UN inspections. Naoto Kan, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), said Koizumi has failed to provide a convincing explanation for why he supports a US military attack on Iraq in the absence of a new UN resolution. He also pointed out the suddenness with which the government has begun to argue that previous UN resolutions provide sufficient cover for the US to wage war against the regime of Saddam Hussein. Earlier Tuesday, the DPJ submitted a resolution to the Diet calling for more inspections, as opposed to the use of force, to resolve the standoff. The move is designed to drive a wedge between the ruling parties; coalition partner New Komeito had previously claimed a new UN resolution was necessary to justify any attack against Iraq. Liberal Party Secretary General Hirohisa Fujii weighed into the debate by saying that supporting the war runs counter to efforts the world has made to increase international peace and security since World War II. In another meeting, Kazuo Shii, leader of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), said, "President (George W.) Bush could not even come up with a single reason to justify war, and Japan is about to become an accomplice to damaging world peace." Takako Doi, leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), said, "It is clear that (Bush's) decision violates the UN Charter and international law." Later in the day, a group of 91 Diet members, comprising 85 opposition lawmakers and six independents, jointly drew up a letter urging Bush not to wage war and handed it over to officials at the US Embassy in Tokyo. They urged lawmakers from the ruling camp -- including New Komeito members -- to participate, but none responded, said an aide to SDP lawmaker Mizuho Fukushima, who organized the petition.

The Japan Times (Reiji Yoshida, "IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION BILLS COULD BE IN DIET BY MAY," 03/20/03) reported that the Japanese government will submit a package of bills to help in the postwar reconstruction of Iraq to the Diet probably by early May, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Taku Yamasaki said Wednesday. Japan's role in the aftermath of the much-anticipated war is expected to include providing Self-Defense Forces (SDF) as part of multinational peacekeeping units in the event the UN dispatches such forces to Iraq, Yamasaki told reporters. Yamasaki also said that SDF missions in postwar Iraq will be nonmilitary operations involving transportation, medical care, dismantling of weapons of mass destruction and minesweeping in the Persian Gulf. Although Yamasaki was quick to add that nothing concrete has yet been discussed by the ruling parties or the government on the details of the bills, emphasizing that he "has only mentioned possible roles for Japan generally," this is the first time a high-ranking member of the ruling coalition or the government has revealed details and the possible timing of reconstruction assistance bills, which are expected to be necessary for Japan to play an active role in rebuilding Iraq. Yamasaki reiterated the government's position that Japan will not participate in missions against Iraq that involve the use of military force, emphasizing that the nation's role will be limited to postwar reconstruction. When the conflict ends, Japan will make diplomatic efforts to encourage the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution on the reconstruction of Iraq, as it is desirable that the package of bills is based on such a resolution, Yamasaki added.

Mainichi Daily News ("KOIZUMI STANDS FIRM THAT ATTACK ON IRAQ IS JUSTIFIED," 03/19/03) reported that the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi repeatedly claimed Wednesday that the imminent invasion of Iraq conforms to the UN charter. During a heated question and answer session at the House of Representatives, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader Naoto Kan pointed out that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan disagrees. Koizumi, however, remained unmoved and repeated his previous comments that the expected US-led war is justified because Iraq has ignored previous UN resolutions demanding disarmament. When Kan asked the prime minister why he changed his mind from his initial stance that it was "preferable" to have another UN resolution to authorize war, Koizumi replied that he hoped to receive UN backing. "I preferred to have a new resolution in place," Koizumi said. "However, it was not to be. So the best option for Japan is to support the US policy which has decided to respond to the weapons of mass destruction possessed by Iraq." Koizumi then accused the opposition party leader of having a hostile view toward the US. "In a newspaper article you were quoted as saying that the Bush administration is 'dangerous.' It sounds like you do not trust America, our reliable ally!" screamed Koizumi. Leaders of other opposition parties reminded Koizumi that he was responsible to explain to the pubic why war is the only option but the prime minister failed to comply. "We politicians have to tackle problems in a certain way which can be difficult to understand for members of the public," was Koizumi's response.

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2. Anti-war Movement in Japan

The Japan Times ("NGOS URGE DIPLOMACY TO PEACEFULLY RESOLVE IRAQ SITUATION," 03/18/03) reported that non-governmental organizations in Japan called Monday for continued diplomatic efforts to resolve Iraqi crisis. "Why are the US and Britain, and not the United Nations, paving the way for a war?" asked Cho Mi Su, an executive committee member of Peace Boat. "If the US ignores the United Nations and begins a foolish war, the United States itself will be labeled a rogue state," said Mitsuo Okamoto, a professor of peace studies at Hiroshima Shudo University. "Only civil movements can challenge the United States, the single remaining global superpower. I want to persistently raise my voice of opposition until the end." Tokushin Yamauchi, a former treasurer of the Okinawa Prefectural Government who organized an antiwar gathering in Naha over the weekend, said an attack on Iraq would be a crime. "What President Bush is about to do is an utmost tragedy and a criminal act," Yamauchi said.

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