NAPSNet Daily Report
monday april 28, 2003

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. People's Republic of China

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I. United States

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1. DPRK Nuclear Weapons Offer

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA OFFERS PLAN TO ELIMINATE NUCLEAR WEAPONS: POWELL," 04/29/03) reported that the DPRK last week offered the US a plan to deal with both its nuclear weapons and missile programs, Secretary of State Colin Powell said. However, Powell said the DPRK wanted "something considerable" in exchange for giving up the programs and indicated it would take some time for the US to respond. The offer was made during talks in Beijing last week. "The North Koreans acknowledged a number of things that they were doing and, in effect, said that these are now up for further discussion," Powell told reporters at the State Department. "They did put forward a plan that would ultimately deal with their nuclear capability and their missile activities, but they, of course, expect something considerable in return," he said. "We are studying that plan, we are examining it with our friends and allies," Powell said, adding that talks were now underway with the South Korean, Japanese, Russian and Australian governments. "It was useful to get it all out on the table and see where we go from here," he said, referring to the April 23-25 discussions in Beijing between US, the DPRK and PRC officials. Powell's comments came after ROK newspapers reported that the DPRK had offered at the Beijing talks to scrap, not just suspend, its nuclear weapons in return for a package of US political and economic steps. The offer was part of "bold" measures DPRK tabled at the talks, the papers said.

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2. DPRK-ROK Relations

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA REJECTS DISCUSSION ON NUKE CRISIS AT TALKS WITH SOUTH," 04/28/03) reported that the DPRK rejected the ROK's call for the DPRK to clarify its alleged admission that it has nuclear weapons at inter-Korean ministerial talks. The DPRK instead called for national unity against US pressure at the three-day Korean talks, which began in Pyongyang on Sunday, according to state media. On the second day of negotiations, the DPRK chief negotiator Kim Ryong-Song was quoted by ROK pool reports as insisting that Seoul have no say in the issue. "The nuclear issue is a matter to be discussed only between North Korea and the US," Kim told his ROK counterpart Jeong Se-Hyun. Jeong hit back and said Seoul was "entitled to raise the issue" as the North's alleged nuclear arms would be violating a 1992 inter-Korean declaration for denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. An unnamed ROK delegate said Monday the ROK's team was warning the DPRK's that unless the nuclear issue is properly addressed by a statement to be announced at the end of talks, no accords will be made on other issues. The inter-Korean talks had already hit a snag with the ROK pressing hard to clarify the alleged atomic bombs and the DPRK turning a deaf ear to the appeals, the pool reports said.

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3. ASEAN SARS Summit

Agence France-Presse ("ALL EYES ON BANGKOK FOR EMERGENCY SARS SUMMIT," 04/28/03) reported that ASEAN's 10 leaders plus the PRC's Premier Wen Jiabao will seek to present a united front to a worried world at their summit here on the SARS virus, which continues to claim lives. Wen was to join leaders of the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok for the unprecedented half-day emergency gathering to address Asia's worst crisis since the financial meltdown of 1997-1998. The Tuesday summit is considered crucial as "it will be a forum for making a commitment by leaders" to a common approach against the spread of SARS, Supamit Chunsuttiwat of Thailand's Department of Disease Control told AFP. ASEAN leaders hope to convince a spooked global community that they are taking efficient and drastic measures to contain the spread of the epidemic, and are also expected to announce new measures to coordinate their fight against the disease. "Practically, it will be a very important meeting. It will be a forum for endorsement for what was discussed in Malaysia," Supamit said. Health ministers from ASEAN and key partners the PRC, Japan and the ROK meeting in Kuala Lumpur called Saturday for strict screening measures at all airports and other exit points to prevent suspected SARS cases from travelling. "The rest of the world may be keeping an eye on it because the countries involved in the summit might represent more than 90 percent of the cases," Supamit said.

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4. PRC SARS Domestic Politics

Agence France-Presse ("SIXTEEN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS SACKED FOR NEGLECTING SARS DUTIES," 04/28/03) reported that Sixteen government officials in two PRC provinces have been sacked for neglecting their duties in fighting Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), state media said Monday. Seven cadres in Changsha city, in northern Hunan province, were dismissed, including the director of the city's center for disease control and prevention, the center's party secretary and head of the center's disinfecting office, the Legal Daily said. Those sacked also included other employees from the city's health department as well as two officials from the city's price control department. Changsha has not reported any SARS cases, but is paying close attention to SARS prevention work and the officials were dismissed when loopholes were found in their work, the report said. In addition, two people who manned the city's SARS hotline were fired for playing video games during work. In northern the PRC's Inner Mongolia province, nine officials were temporarily laid off, most of them for abandoning their work to go to Beijing to see doctors because they suspected they had SARS, the PRC News Service website said.

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5. Japan-DPRK Relations

Agence France-Presse ("JAPAN'S KOIZUMI URGES CALM OVER N KOREA IN TALKS WITH BRITAIN'S BLAIR," 04/28/03) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has urged a calm response to the escalating the DPRK nuclear crisis during talks with British counterpart Tony Blair, officials said. Koizumi, who met Blair for three hours in the British prime minister's private apartment at 10 Downing Street, stressed that the DPRK's sometimes bellicose public utterances should not always be taken at face value. "He said that sometimes there are discrepancies between what North Korea told us and what it intended to do, and that we think further analysis is needed," a Japanese official from Koizumi's delegation told reporters. "He said that one should not be agitated by North Korea's provocations, and that the countries concerned must respond calmly." Koizumi met Blair late on Saturday after arriving in London at the start of a week-long whistlestop tour of Europe. He was due to fly out at around 3:00 pm (1400 GMT) for Spain, after which he will head to France, Germany and Greece.

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6. Canada US Missile Defense

Reuters (David Ljunggren, "CANADA TO STUDY JOINING US MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM," Ottawa, 04/28/03) reported that Canada, ending years of inaction, said on Monday it would study whether to sign up to a controversial US missile defense system amid signs that long-standing resistance to the idea in Ottawa is fading. The government, deeply split in the past over the concept, has consistently declined to express an opinion about missile defense on the grounds it has not been asked to take part. But ministers and officials now say that sitting on the fence is no longer an option given new security threats in the post-Sept. 11 world and Washington's decision last December to press ahead with the system. "We'll be discussing it and preparing a government approach to it and obviously the primary concern will be how we can enhance security for Canada and Canadians," Foreign Minister Bill Graham told reporters. "Circumstances are quite different from what they were before...I think we obviously have to look at it in a serious way," he said, adding that the cabinet discussions would take place "in the near future." Graham has in the past been one of the major skeptics over missile defense, saying it could trigger an arms race and lead to the weaponization of space. But Ottawa infuriated Washington by refusing to commit troops to the Iraq war and whether it can afford to anger Canada's closest ally once again on a matter dear to the White House is open to question.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK-US-PRC Talks in Beijing

Joongang Ilbo (Oh Young-hwan, "SEOUL SEES HOPE IN TALKS," Beijing, 04/28/03) reported that ROK government sources in Seoul described to the JoongAng Ilbo Sunday what they said were some of the details of the "bold new proposals" DPRK delegation reportedly offered in Beijing last week. On Friday, DPRK media had said its delegation had given US negotiators such a proposal to end the tense standoff over DPRK's nuclear program. One official said the proposal had enough "positive aspects" to warrant consideration. The sources said DPRK proposed, on the first day of the talks, a package of exchanges with US, offering to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in exchange for steps by US to move toward normal relations with DPRK. ROK senior official said DPRK delegation appeared to drop its demand for a nonaggression treaty with US, speaking only of a guarantee of no first use of US nuclear weapons. But US response, from the senior US representative James Kelly, the assistant secretary of state for Asia, was a reiteration of the US position that DPRK nuclear program must be verifiably dismantled before discussions of a US response could take place. That evening, the sources said, the chief North Korean delegate Ri Gun, called Mr. Kelly aside for a private conversation in which he said his country had nuclear weapons that could not be dismantled. Following meetings here with Mr. Kelly on Friday and Saturday, South Korean officials said Mr. Kelly had conveyed the North Korean assertions that they have nuclear weapons and have completed much of the reprocessing of 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods that had until early this year been in storage at its nuclear facility in Yeongbyeon.

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2. Respective Countries' Response to Talks

Joongang Ilbo (Oh Young-hwan, "BEIJING TALKS MAY YIELD MORE THAN FIRST EXPECTED," Seoul, 04/28/03) reported that DPRK's "new bold offer" has put ROK and US down to a review of last week's three-nation talks in Beijing over DPRK's nuclear problem, awakening them from the initial shock of DPRK's claim that it possesses nuclear weapons and has reprocessed a significant stock of its spent nuclear fuel rods. US President George W. Bush agreed with PRC President Hu Jintao in a weekend telephone conversation that diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue should continue. US officials in US said the talks would be reviewed carefully to decide on a future course of action. A Japanese diplomatic source said the Beijing talks should not be judged solely on DPRK admission; it is difficult to comprehend the importance of the talks by solely looking at the admission. There are sufficient elements in what DPRK said in Beijing to suggest that the admission was part of a proposal, he said. The National Security Council met over the weekend after Assistant US Secretary of State James Kelly consulted with ROK officials. Without conclusively accepting DPRK's admission, the council agreed that DPRK's possession of nuclear weapons would be a grave violation of the North-South Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and other international agreements.

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3. Issues of Inter Korean Ministerial Talks

Chosun Ilbo (Joint Reporting Team, "NUKE STRESSED IN NORTH-SOUTH TALKS," Pyongyang, 04/28/03) reported that DPRK and ROK held the first general minister-level talks at Pyongyang's Koryo Hotel on Sunday, beginning at 4 p.m., and discussed issues regarding the Korean peninsula, including the nuclear crisis. In its keynote speech, ROK's delegation pointed out that DPRK's nuclear weapons development violated the two countries' denuclearization agreement of 1991. ROK strongly urged that DPRK abandon its manufacture of nuclear weapons and observe the denuclearization pact to ensure the peace and stability of the peninsula. The head of ROK's negotiating team, Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun, held a press conference prior to leaving Seoul and said, "Basically, we will definitely express that North Korea must not have nuclear weapons, and that if they do, it is a grave violation of the joint declaration we made before." ROK did not even mention economic cooperation in the keynote speech; one delegate said the team would concentrate on the nuclear issue until Monday. ROK representatives left on an Asiana Airlines jet from Incheon International Airport at 10:07 a.m., and arrived in Pyongyang at 11:06 a.m.

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4. Inter Korean Ministerial Talks

Chosun Ilbo (Kim Min-cheol, "NORTH SAYS NUKES OFF-LIMITS IN MINISTRIAL TALKS," Seoul, 04/28/03) reported that delegations from ROK and DPRK failed to reach agreements at the second day of the 10th ministerial-level talks in Pyongyang on Monday. Still, the two sides discussed whether to include in the post-meeting joint press release the measures presented during the meeting to solve the nuclear crisis. DPRK and ROK each presented press releases by Monday, but the two seemed to hold conflicting opinions. Unification minister and head of ROK delegation, Jeong Se-hyun, has clearly articulated in the talks ROK's stance that DPRK should not hold nuclear weapons, ROK's spokesman, Shin Un-sang, reported in ROK's press release. Jeong quoted DPRK delegates as saying that DPRK did not want to develop nuclear weapons - and is "incapable" of developing them. DPRK said that DPRK's nuclear development is merely aimed at producing energy, Jeong reported. ROK's press release reported that Kim Ryong-song, DPRK's chief negotiator, has been repeating that the nuclear problem is an issue between DPRK and US and should be settled peacefully through communication. Jeong retorted, saying that ROK had the right to question DPRK's nuclear development because ROK and DPRK had agreed to the 1991 denuclearization pact. Mr. Shin said the delegates from the South said that social, cultural exchanges and cooperation would be maintained. The South also requested that the seventh family reunion and questions of war prisoners and those kidnapped to the North be discussed during the talks. But details have not been specified.

III. People's Republic of China

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1. PRC-DPRK Relations

People's Daily (Yang Guoqiang, "CHINESE PRESIDENT MEETS DPRK GUESTS", Beijing, 04/22/03, P1) reported that during a meeting with Jo Myongrok, first deputy chairman of the DPRK Defense Commission and director general of the Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army, Chinese President Hu Jintao said on April 22 that in recent years, PRC and the DPRK have enhanced understanding, trust, friendship and cooperation by maintaining the tradition of high-level visit exchanges and timely communication on major issues. The two nations, their leading parties and their peoples have established a profound friendship in the long-term revolutionary struggle and socialist construction. The CPC and Chinese government treasure the traditional friendship with the DPRK and are willing to further the good-neighborly and friendly cooperative relations with the DPRK comrades, said Hu. Jo Myongrok said the DPRK and PRC enjoy a traditional friendship, which has withstood the test of blood and fire. The DPRK is determined to enhance the friendly bilateral relations, said Jo Myongrok, according to the report.

People's Daily (Huang Fuhui and Dong Lixi, "CHINESE SENIOR MILITARY AND DEFENSE OFFICER MEET DPRK GUESTS", Beijing, 04/22/03, P4) reported that vice-chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong and Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan met with Jo Myongrok, first deputy chairman of the Defense Commission of DPRK and direct general of the Political Bureau of Korean People's Army on April 21. Guo said PRC always supported the non-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the improvement of relations between DPRK and ROK, which aims to realize the independent peaceful reunification of the peninsula. PRC always advocated a resolution of the Korean issue through dialogue and by peaceful means, he added. Jo Myongrok said under the current international situation, the DPRK would make unremitting efforts to consistently develop friendly relations between the two states and the armed forces. Cao said PRC was willing to make joint efforts with the DPRK to strengthen exchanges and cooperation and maintain regional peace and stability. According to the report, Jo also said the development of friendly relations between the two armies was vital to friendly relations between the two countries, he said, adding Korea would make efforts to strengthen those relations.

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2. US-PRC Relations

China Daily ("CHINESE AND US PRESIDENTS TALKS", 04/28/03, P1) reported that Chinese President Hu Jintao talked over the phone with US President George W. Bush on April 26 at the request of the US, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry sources. During the conversation, Bush said he appreciated PRC's contribution to the Korean Peninsular issue. He also agreed to continue negotiations to end the stand-off between the US and the DPRK. Hu said the Beijing talks were a good start and it is important to regional peace and stability to keep nuclear weapons off the Korean Peninsula. The security concerns of the DPRK should also be addressed, he said. While the issue of the DPRK's alleged nuclear program is complicated, Hu said it could be solved, if all involved continue to negotiate in good faith. PRC will continue to push for a peaceful resolution to the stalemate, Hu noted in the report.

People's Daily ("CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER TALKS WITH US COUNTERPART", Beijing, 04/24/03, P4) reported that Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing talked with his US counterpart Colin Powell through telephone on April 23, exchanging views on issues of how to resolve the DPRK nuke issue successfully. Both sides said the currently ongoing Beijing Talk will be beneficial.

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3. PRC Calling for Trilateral Nuke Talks

China Daily (Shao Zongwei, "NUKE TALKS NEED EFFORTS FROM ALL", 04/25/03, P1) reported that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao on April 24 called on all parties concerned to play "constructive roles" in peacefully resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. "The nuclear question of the Korean Peninsula has a complicated background and requires a process and unremitting efforts from various parties to resolve it," Liu told a regular briefing. "We hope that the parties concerned will continue to show sincerity and play constructive roles." He added that PRC remains willing to work with the international community to peacefully resolve the issue. PRC, the DPRK and the US started talks in Beijing on April 23, the report said. Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Yi chaired the opening session and welcomed the participation of the DPRK and the US, according to Liu. Declining to give any details of the talks, Liu told the press that the parties have fully expounded their positions on the nuclear question and the situation on the Korean Peninsula and expressed their concerns. This will enhance mutual understanding as well as seeking ways for resolving the nuclear issue peacefully through dialogues, Liu said.

China Daily (Shao Zongwei, "FM CONFIRMS 3-PARTY KOREAN TALKS", 04/23/03, P1) reported that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao on April 22 confirmed that PRC has invited the US and the DPRK to Beijing to discuss the DPRK nuclear issue. "We hope the talks will help the parties to understand each other's positions more clearly and ease the current tension," said Liu at the regular briefing. Liu said the Chinese delegation will be headed by Fu Ying, director of the Department of Asian Affairs under the Foreign Ministry. The meeting will be the first of its kind after tension escalated last autumn on the Korean Peninsula over the DPRK's nuclear program, Liu said. PRC is very concerned about the issue and has made great efforts to promote peace and encourage talks between the two countries. PRC has all along insisted the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula be resolved peacefully through dialogue. Liu also reiterated that PRC supports peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as well as its non-nuclearization, adding the security concerns of the DPRK should also be acted upon.

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4. Beijing Talks

People's Daily ("TALKS ON DPRK NUCLEAR ISSUE ENDS IN BEIJING", 04/26/03, P1) reported that Delegations from the DPRK, the US and PRC concluded the Beijing talks on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula on April 25. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Vice-Minister Wang Yi met and talked cordially with heads of the delegations. Li said the Beijing talks signifies a good beginning, and have received attention and welcome from the international community. He expressed the hope that the parties will continue to exert their efforts for a peaceful settlement of the issue. Both the DPRK and the US sides voiced their endorsement with Li Zhaoxing, saying that during the talks, the parties have enunciated their stances, fully exchanged their views and thus enhanced mutual understanding. The heads of the delegations clasped their hands together, signaling the conclusion of the talks. The parties agreed that they would continue to maintain contact on procedures of further talks through diplomatic channels. Prior to the end of the talks, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing had separate meetings with head of the US delegation, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, and head of the DPRK delegation, Ri Gun, deputy director of American affairs for DPRK's Foreign Ministry. Acknowledging that the nuclear issue was very complex and sensitive, he cited human effort as a decisive factor. The top priority task at present was to insist on resolving the issue through peaceful talks by proceeding from the overall situation of maintaining peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and realizing non-nuclearization of the peninsula. This was the sole choice that was beneficial to all parties concerned, Li added. Both the DPRK and the US sides gave a high appraisal to PRC for its proposal for holding the Beijing talks and expressed their thanks to the country for its considerate arrangements for the talks.

China Daily (Chong Zi, "BEIJING TALKS A GOOD START", 04/25/03, P4) carried a commentary on the ongoing Beijing trilateral talks. The article said that the US has put the Korea issue on its agenda with the war in Iraq drawing to an end. The launch of talks this week in Beijing between the US and the DPRK signals a very important milestone in the ongoing effort to deal with the complex issues on the Korean Peninsula, which was the first time that US and DPRK has sat down for face-to-face talks since the nuclear issue on the peninsula developed last October, the article said. If they keep with their minds open, solutions to issues on the Korean Peninsula may become possible. This initial set of meetings is necessary and important as it heralds a good beginning for the two sides to sit down at the negotiating table, it commented. PRC has been playing a co-operative role in handling the Korean crisis, forming part of the international community's effort to make the peninsula nuclear free. Hopefully, the discussions in Beijing will pave the way for further negotiations. This standoff between the two sides can be peacefully negotiated as long as both sides show flexibility and sincerity. In this process, the DPRK's concerns for its security should be respected, the article stressed. It is unrealistic to expect this single set of meetings to solve all of the problems as mutual suspicions being so deep. All in all, however, with new negotiations kicking off, there is the hope that they will keep going for good results, said the article.

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5. DPRK-ROK Relations

People's Daily (Xu Baokang, "INTER-KOREAN MINISTERIAL TALKS START", Seoul, 04/28/03, P3) reported that the 10th inter-Korean ministerial talks started on April 27 in Pyongyang. In the first round of the talks of keynote speech, DPRK called on ROK to realize the basic spirit of the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration, finish the railway and highway connection and other important issues. ROK introduced to DPRK the policy of peace and prosperity of ROK new government, stressing the bilateral relations should be based on mutual respect and trust. On the nuke issue, the ROK side stressed two points: firstly, DPRK is forbidden from developing nuclear weapons; secondly, DPRK should consult with other countries to resolve the issue peacefully. DPRK side stressed that it has already raised a bold and new resolutions to the nuke issue. As for the ROK-US joint military drill, the DPRK delegation said the drill blocked the bilateral relations development. Both sides will continue to talk following the schedules that confirmed this day, said the report.

China Daily ("ROK TAKES TOUGHER LINE ON NUKE ISSUE", Seoul, 04/28/03, P12) reported that officials of the ROK flew to the DPRK on April 27 to press Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions. The head of ROK's delegation said DPRK's revelations to US officials in talks in Beijing last week that DPRK had nuclear weapons were "a turning point that took the nearly seven-month-old nuclear issue to a more complex stage". Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun said he would use the talks in Pyongyang to "convey our firm stance that it is unacceptable for the DPRK to have nuclear weapons" and urge the North to "shift its policies" on the dispute. But the DPRK's ruling party newspaper said it was "childish and illogical" for the US to demand an end to the nuclear program without offering to sign a non-aggression pact in return. ROK newspaper also said if US pressed demands on DPRK without addressing DPRK concerns, "the nuclear problem can hardly be resolved". DPRK's Foreign Ministry said on April 25 it had put forward a bold new proposal at the Beijing talks but had heard nothing new from US. The ministry did not mention nuclear weapons or spell out Pyongyang's proposal. The first North-South ministerial meeting followed negotiations in Beijing that ended on April 25 after US officials said the DPRK disclosed it had nuclear bombs, said the report. Jeong said the ROK would cite that pact to counter the DPRK's expected insistence that the nuclear issue is a matter solely for DPRK and US to discuss. In conclusion, the report commented that a DPRK armed with nuclear weapons would increase the threat to neighboring Japan, PRC and ROK and to the US troops based in ROK. It would also make it trickier to craft a solution to the six-month nuclear stand-off.

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6. PRC-Japan Relations

China Daily ("CHEMICAL WEAPONS TO BE DESTROYED", 04/28/03, P2) reported that PRC and Japan have agreed on the methods and sites to be employed to destroy chemical weapons abandoned in PRC by Japanese invaders. A Chinese Foreign Ministry official said after Friday's seventh meeting on the issue that Japan should shoulder responsibility for the weapons they used to attack PRC. He said the weapons, which threatened the Chinese people and their environment, should be disposed of as soon as possible. The report said that in July 1999, following several years of negotiations, the two governments signed a memorandum on the destruction of the chemical weapons. The official said that relevant departments will consult on details following the signing of the memorandum, adding that the two countries have made great progress in selecting technologies, sites and relevant environmental standards. The Chinese Government has also provided the legal basis for the destruction of the weapons by setting new standards for environmental protection, he said. Until now, work on the project had been confined to research, but Friday's meeting would allow the process of weapons disposal to begin, he noted in the report.

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