NAPSNet Daily Report
tuesday, july 22, 2003

I. United States

II. Japan III. People's Republic of China

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I. United States

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1. DPRK Second Plutonium Production Plant

The New York Times (David Sanger and Thom Shanker, "NORTH KOREA HIDES NEW NUCLEAR SITE, EVIDENCE SUGGESTS SUN," Washington, 07/20/03) and Agence France-Presse ("SOUTH KOREA PLAYS DOWN REPORTS ON NORTH KOREA'S NEW NUCLEAR PLANT," Seoul, 07/21/03) reported that US and Asian officials with access to the latest intelligence on the DPRK say strong evidence has emerged in recent weeks that the country has built a second, secret plant for producing weapons-grade plutonium, complicating both the diplomatic strategy for ending the program and the military options if that diplomacy fails. The discovery of the new evidence, which one senior administration official cautioned was "very worrisome, but still not conclusive," came just as the DPRK declared to the US 11 days ago that it had completed reprocessing 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods, enough to make a half dozen or so nuclear weapons. US officials have said they cannot verify that claim, though they confirm that sensors set up on the DPRK's borders have begun to detect elevated levels of krypton 85, a gas emitted as spent fuel is converted into plutonium. What concerns US, ROK and Japanese analysts, however, is not simply the presence of the hard-to-detect gas but its source. While US satellites have been focused for years on the DPRK's main nuclear plant, at Yongbyon, the computer analyses that track the gases as they are blown across the Korean Peninsula appeared to rule out the Yongbyon reprocessing plant as their origin. Instead, the analysis strongly suggests that the gas originated from a second, secret plant, perhaps buried in the mountains. US officials have long suspected that the DPRK would try to build a second plant to protect itself against a pre-emptive strike by the US. The US even demanded an inspection of one underground site five years ago, only to find it empty, but this is the first time evidence has emerged that a second plant may be in operation. "This takes a very hard problem and makes it infinitely more complicated," said one Asian official who has been briefed on the US intelligence. "How can you verify that they have stopped a program like this if you don't know where everything is?" Indeed, there may now be at least two hidden facilities with the capacity to produce material for nuclear weapons.

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2. Powell on 'Permanent' solution for DPRK

Agence France-Presse ("POWELL SAYS US SEEKS "PERMANENT" SOLUTION FOR NORTH KOREA," Washington, 07/22/03) reported that US Secretary of State Colin Powell said that Washington is searching for a "permanent" solution to address the DPRK's nuclear weapons program. "We want a permanent solution that is irrevocable," the chief US diplomat said during a press conference here with the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert. Powell underlined, however, that the US government is not seeking an accord like the one agreed with Pyongyang in 1994, which he said had contributed to current rifts. "Some would suggest that we should just go back to the way it was done 10 years ago. But the way it was done 10 years ago left that (nuclear) capability in place and also allowed the DPRK to think they might be able to sell this again, allow them to go and find another way of developing nuclear weapons through enriched uranium technology," Powell said. Powell reaffirmed the US government will continue to address the matter within a multilateral framework, Washington wants the DPRK's neighbors to participate in negotiations on the issue. Earlier Tuesday, the White House denied press reports that it would offer North Korea a non-aggression guarantee if the northeast Asian nation stops its nuclear weapons programs.

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3. US on DPRK Non-Aggression Pledge

Agence France-Presse ("WHITE HOUSE SAYS NO NON-AGGRESSION PLEDGE GIVEN TO NORTH KOREA," Washington, 07/22/03) reported that the US has not offered the DPRK a non-aggression guarantee in exchange for the northeast Asian nation abandoning its nuclear arms programs, the White House said. "Our position remains the same," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said in a press briefing adding that it was "correct" to describe such claims as inaccurate. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the PRC's deputy foreign affairs minister, Dai Bingguo, had received such an indication from the US during his visit to North Korea last week. According to US sources quoted by the newspaper, the Bush administration is pushing for a multilateral meeting with the ROK, Japan and probably Russia to follow a bilateral meeting between US and DPRK officials, a date for which has yet to be established. "We still continue to seek a diplomatic solution working with the countries in the neighborhood," McClellan said, stressing that "all options of course remain on the table." He said the White House remains committed to "multilateral talks" and that Washington is confident progress on "key issues" can be made if talks are conducted on this basis.

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4. DPRK Nuclear Prediction

Reuters ("NORTH KOREA PREDICTED TO HAVE EIGHT NUKES BY YEAR'S END," 07/22/03) reported that the DPRK may have as many as eight nuclear weapons by the end of the year, if its nuclear program goes unchecked, a former US defense secretary predicted. "If North Korea continues on its present course, by the end of the year, I think we'll have about eight nuclear weapons, and next year will be in serial production of about five to ten nuclear weapon as year," said William Perry. Perry, who caused a stir here last week by warning that Washington and Pyongyang could be at war as early as this year, said the DPRK might soon have enough nuclear weapons to target Japan and the ROK while offering leftover plutonium for sale to the highest bidder. "I consider that this poses an unacceptable risk to our security," the former defense secretary argued in an interview with PBS television's "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" program Monday. "There are plenty of bidders out there willing to bid for it," he continued. "And if any of the terror groups are willing to get nuclear weapons or are able to get that plutonium, then we could see it end up in an US city." Perry also took an implicit swipe at President George W. Bush's national missile defense program that calls for deploying missile interceptors around the world to shoot down hostile missiles fired at the US and its allies by rogue nations like the DPRK and Iran. He said he did not see a danger coming from DPRK missiles fired at the US but rather from possible DPRK sales of fissile materials. The former defense secretary also questioned the effectiveness of trying to defuse the the DPRK crisis with the help of neighboring countries, although he said participation of nations like the ROK, Japan and PRC was important. "But I also believe that to solve this problem we have to deal directly with the DPRKs," Perry said. "We cannot outsource the problem this serious to other countries to solve."

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5. Bush on DPRK International Alienation

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA WILL "ALIENATE" ITSELF: BUSH," Crawford, Texas, 07/21/03) reported that US President George W. Bush warned DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il that developing nuclear weapons would "alienate" him from the world, after new revelations on Pyongyang's program. Bush said he still believed the nuclear crisis could be solved diplomatically. The US would work with regional powers including the PRC, the ROK, and Japan to convince Kim Jong-Il that a "decision develop a nuclear arsenal is one that will alienate you from the rest of the world," Bush said. But Bush shrugged off reports that Pyongyang had opened a second plant to process plutonium, concealed to avoid detection by US satellites. "The desire by the DPRK to convince the world that they are in the process of developing a nuclear arsenal is nothing new, we have known that for a while." The New York Times reported Sunday that sensors set up on North Korea's borders have begun detecting elevated levels of krypton 85. But in Washington on Monday, the State Department dismissed the Times report as unverifiable. "We receive a steady stream of information on various types of activity in North Korea, much of which is unsubstantiated and can't be confirmed and I would put certainly the one report over the weekend into that category," deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said. ROK officials also played down the report

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6. Bolton Asia DPRK Talks

Reuters ("US ARMS OFFICIAL TO VISIT ASIA FOR N.KOREA TALKS," Beijing, 07/22/03) reported that the top US arms control official will visit Asia next week to discuss the DPRK nuclear crisis and other weapons-related issues with the PRC, the ROK, and Japan, the US embassy said Tuesday. Undersecretary of State John Bolton was expected to arrive in Beijing on July 27 and would meet Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui the next day for talks billed as the second session of a US-China security dialogue, a spokeswoman with the embassy in Beijing said. "They will discuss global and regional security concerns including North Korea and Iran, the US-China strategic relationship and strategic stability and non-proliferation issues," she said. The PRC brokered talks on the nuclear crisis between the US and the DPRK in April, but momentum fizzled and Beijing has made a diplomatic push in recent weeks to get them back to the negotiating table for a second round. The ROK's unification minister Jeong Se-hyun said on Tuesday that efforts by the PRC and others had made the possibility of talks the DPRK "more tangible than ever." From Beijing, Bolton was scheduled to fly to Seoul for talks focused on the DPRK nuclear issue on July 30-31. "These discussions continue our close consultations with South Korea on eliminating North Korea's nuclear weapons program and countering North Korea's proliferative behavior," the spokeswoman said. Bolton was due in Tokyo on August 1, she said. "The focus in Tokyo will also be on North Korea, which continues to defy the international community, violate its obligations under the NPT and threaten regional security," she said.

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7. DPRK US Troop Repositioning Accusation

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA ACCUSES US OF REPOSITIONING TROOPS IN PREPARATION FOR ATTACK," 07/19/03) reported that the DPRK accused the US of preparing for a pre-emptive attack against the DPRK by repositioning its military resources in the ROK and the region. The DPRK's news media said the US demands for multilateral talks to resolve the stand-off over the DPRK's nuclear weapons programme were a disguise for its military ambitions. "Finding it hard to settle the nuclear issue as Washington intends and implement its policy to stifle the DPRK, the US seeks to attain its criminal aim... at any cost by mounting a preemptive attack on it," said Minju Joson, the DPRK's official government daily, on Saturday. The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the planned repositioning of US troops stationed in the ROK was aimed at occupying "positions favorable for mounting a preemptive attack on the North." The US and ROK agreed in June to gradually reposition US forces away from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The main force affected by the move is the US Army's 2nd Infantry Division, about 15,000 troops now scattered among dozens of camps and bases near the DMZ. KCNA said two dozen long-range US bombers were deployed in Guam in the West Pacific in March and F-117 Stealth fighters which were sent to South Korea in March for an annual drill have remained there. "It is quite clear that these dangerous military moves being staged by the US behind the scene of 'multilateral talks' are aimed to mount a surprise attack on the DPRK," KCNA said. "The US should not misjudge the DPRK. In case the US mounts a preemptive attack on it, the DPRK will take self-defensive measures involving all means equivalent to what the US will use," it added.

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8. DPRK Artillery Movement

The Associated Press (Christopher Torchia, "NKOREA SAID TO DEPLOY ARTILLERY, MISSILES," Seoul, 07/19/03) and Reuters (Martin Nesirky, "N. KOREA DEPLOYS MORE MISSILES, US WANTS WIDE TALKS," Seoul, 07/19/03) reported that the DPRK has moved heavy artillery closer to the tense border with the ROK, and last year deployed more missiles that are capable of reaching Japan, ROK said. For decades, the DPRK has deployed much of its conventional military force close to the border, and would be capable of inflicting devastation on Seoul in the early stages of any conflict. US and UN officials are now watching for signs that Pyongyang has begun reprocessing plutonium, a process that emits a kind of krypton gas that US sensors can detect. The New York Times said on its Web site Saturday that US officials confirmed that sensors on the DPRK border have detected elevated levels of krypton 85. The ROK military did not alter its alert posture in response to the report on the DPRK artillery and missiles, indicating that a major escalation of tension was not imminent. Armies on both sides of the border have been in a high state of vigilance since the 1950-53 Korean War. North Korea "has increased the threat on South Korea's capital by moving forward 170mm and 240mm long-range artillery," the ROK Defense Ministry said in a policy report Friday. It did not say when the redeployment occurred, nor how many guns were shifted.

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9. ROK Southeast Asia Tour

Asia Pulse ("S KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER LEAVES ON TOUR OF SOUTHEAST ASIA," Seoul, 07/21/03) reported that ROK Foreign Minister, Yoon Young-kwan, today left on a trip to Malaysia and Indonesia for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Yoon will arrive in Malaysia this afternoon for a two-day official visit, where he will discuss ways to promote bilateral ties between Seoul and Kuala Lumpur with Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir. The minister will then head for the Indonesian resort island of Bali for a meeting with foreign ministers from countries belonging to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), an intercontinental forum comprising 25 nations. After the meetings end on Thursday, the ASEM foreign ministers are scheduled to adopt a presidential statement calling for a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula, a peaceful resolution to the ongoing nuclear standoff, and continuation of the dialogue created in the first round of nuclear talks in Beijing in April, officials said. The ministers are also expected to adopt a separate statement against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. However, the statement will not mention any nation by name, officials said. On the sidelines of the multilateral meetings, Yoon will hold bilateral talks with his PRC counterpart Li Zhaoxing on Wednesday to discuss the nuclear issue.

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10. UK-ROK on DPRK Resolution

Asia Pulse ("UK, ROK LEADERS AGREE ON PEACEFUL PATH ON DPRK," Seoul, 07/21/03) reported that ROK President Roh Moo-hyun and British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed Sunday to resolve the standoff over North Korea's nuclear development program through peaceful means. During summit talks at Cheong Wa Dae, the two leaders agreed that North Korea should accept multilateral talks that include South Korea and Japan. Roh and Blair also concurred on the need to prevent Pyongyang from acquiring nuclear weapons or having the capability to export them to a third party. At a press conference held on the grounds of the presidential compound after the summit meeting, Roh made it clear that the North must dismantle its nuclear program in a definite and irreversible manner. Despite some people calling the DPRK issue a "crisis," he added, the overall situation has eased in the last six months. The ROK president, who took office in February, said the US handling of the nuclear standoff was balanced, with Washington using the "stick-and-carrot" approach to prod Pyongyang into accepting a peaceful solution. This view was seconded by Blair, who said although the handling of the DPRK issue differed from the way the world dealt with Iraq, everyone concerned was giving the matter serious consideration. He also pointed out that the international community was committed to trying to deal with the matter at hand through diplomatic methods. However, the two presidents said if the DPRK gave up its nuclear development ambitions, the two countries would take a leading role in persuading the international community and help Pyongyang make the transition into a more responsible member of the international community.

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11. Asia Europe Meeting

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA, SARS AND TRADE TALKS TO DOMINATE ASEM ECONOMIC MINISTERS MEET," 07/20/03) reported that the aftermath of the SARS epidemic, North Korea and a new global round of trade talks are likely to top the agenda at the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) of economic ministers in the PRC next week, observers said. "They will probably discuss political issues such as the Korea question," said Wang Yi, an expert on Europe at the China Institute of International Studies, a think tank run by the foreign ministry. "But since they're not foreign ministers, they are likely to be speaking only in fairly vague and general terms, expressing their concern," he said. To focus the minds of the 300 delegates, Pyongyang's port of Nampo is only a night's sea journey away from Dalian, where the three-day gathering will start on Tuesday. The ASEM Economic Ministers meeting is responsible for coordinating and directing trade and economic cooperation between Asia and Europe. Participants will include officials at the ministerial level from the PRC, Japan, the ROK, seven Southeast Asian nations and the 15 countries of the European Union. Given the economic nature of the meeting, the negative fallout from the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is likely to be one of the top agenda items. "China and some other Asian economies saw a serious impact from the epidemic, and they may discuss measures to achieve recovery in industries such as aviation and tourism," said Wang. Debate on a new round of global trade talks under the World Trade Organization, of critical importance to Asia's and Europe's export-dependent economies, is widely expected. "The new round of trade talks is a common topic for all economic ministers," Yi Xiaozhun, director of the PRC commerce ministry's Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs, told a recent briefing in Beijing. "Talks on all issues have not proceeded as expected. We believe that this occasion for Asia and European economic ministers to sit down together will be an important opportunity to reach consensus on certain issues," Yi said.

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12. PRC-Hong Kong Relations

Agence France-Presse ("BEIJING URGES TUNG TO PASS SUBVERSION BILL, STIFLE SOCIAL INSTABILITY," 07/20/03) reported that reported that Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa got a dressing down from the PRC's top leaders Saturday and was told the key to Hong Kong's economic recovery was to maintain social stability and win the hearts of the people. Tung was on his first visit to Beijing since more than 500,000 Hong Kong citizens took to the streets of Hong Kong on July 1 demanding the shelving of a controversial subversion bill and calling for his resignation. He met with President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other top leaders to report on the political crisis that has also led to the resignation of the territory's financial and security ministers this week. "The central goverment is very concerned with the situation in Hong Kong," Hu was quoted by Xinhua news agency as telling Tung. "Only by maintaining Hong Kong's social stability, can a good commercial environment be safeguarded and can Hong Kong's advantages as an international finance, trade and transport center be maintained." Hu urged Tung to pass the subversion law, saying it was the responsibility of Tung's government to pass the bill, which was shelved after the protests. "I have noted that the Hong Kong SAR government has again placed the draft law in question before public consultations," he said. Through "earnest and wide ranging consultations" the law will have the support of the Hong Kong people, he added according to Xinhua. Although Hu said autonomy for Hong Kong would be ensured, he also reiterated earlier pledges by the PRC that Hong Kong would never be allowed to become a base of subversion. "Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong, it is Hong Kong's Hong Kong, any foreign forces or other outside forces that interfere with the internal affairs of Hong Kong will be resolutely opposed," Hu said. PRC premier Wen expressed confidence in Tung's government but also urged him to take measures to win the political support of the people. "I believe Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa can lead residents out of their current difficulties. I believe Hong Kong people will help to safeguard its interests to maintain its stability," Wen said in remarks carried on Hong Kong television.

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13. Japan Flash Floods

Agence France-Presse ("DEATH TOLL RISES TO 15 IN LANDSLIDES, FLOODS IN SOUTHWESTERN JAPAN," 07/22/03) reported that the death toll from the weekend landslides and flash floods in southwestern Japan climbed to 15 as the search continued for seven others missing, officials said. Fifteen bodies have been recovered from several sites on the island of Kyushu, where torrential rain triggered landslides and flooded houses on Sunday. In Minamata, hit hardest by the downpour, a 460-strong rescue team, including troops and firefighters, continued their search for six of the seven people missing in the region. Yoshitada Konoike, minister for disaster management and special zones for structural reform visited the area Tuesday, officials said. The search was also continuing for a missing person in Nagasaki, west of Minamata.

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14. Japan Public Opinion on Troops to Iraq

Agence France-Presse ("MAJORITY OF JAPANESE OPPOSE SENDING TROOPS TO IRAQ: SURVEY," 07/22/03) reported that a majority of Japanese oppose sending troops to Iraq to help with reconstruction efforts, as public support for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi slid, according to a survey released. Fifty-five percent of those responding said they were against dispatching the Self-Defence Forces (SDF) to the war-torn country, compared with 43 percent in a similar poll in June, the Asahi Shimbun said. The latest survey showed 33 percent of the respondents voiced support, down from 46 percent in the previous poll. The daily conducted the latest survey by phone on Sunday and Monday. Valid responses came to 1,946 or 53 percent. When asked why they oppose sending SDF personnel, 25 percent of the respondents said Iraq is still dangerous. The survey also showed that support for Koizumi's cabinet declined to 42 percent from 47 percent in June, while the disapproval rate inched up to 36 percent from 34 percent. Koizumi's ruling coalition reportedly agreed last week to go ahead with enactment of a controversial bill on Wednesday that would allow the government to send the SDF to Iraq. The lower house of parliament has already passed the bill on July 4. It would be the first time since World War II that Japanese troops are approved to enter a country where deadly battles are still raging. Although Japanese troops will limit their activities to "non-combat areas" under the bill, they will be able to use force to defend themselves or others with them if attacked and when they have no other option. The bill paves the way for a reconnaissance mission expected by August, followed by a 1,000-strong contingent in October.

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15. Inter-Korean Relations

Reuters ("S.KOREA SAYS POSSIBILITY OF NORTH TALKS TANGIBLE," Seoul, 07/22/03) reported that the ROK's unification minister said Tuesday recent diplomatic efforts by the PRC and others had made the possibility of nuclear talks with the DPRK "more tangible than ever." Jeong Se-hyun said at a business lunch he had told North Korea's delegation chief in an unprecedented three-hour session at recent ministerial talks Pyongyang had a small window of opportunity to re-enter multilateral talks rather than bilateral talks it favors with the US alone. He said he told the delegation chief it could be the North's last chance. Jeong said the PRC's diplomatic efforts were crucial. "As a result, the possibility of reopening the dialogue and holding multilateral talks as soon as possible has become more tangible than ever," he said through an interpreter. Asked when he thought talks would restart, he said he shared British Prime Minister Tony Blair's assessment of a few weeks from now. Jeong said Seoul's assessment was recent DPRK comments to US officials and others about the state of their nuclear weapons program were aimed at gaining leverage over the US and not necessarily actually true. "North Korea should not miss this window of opportunity," the minister said, referring to the chance for talks to solve the standoff over the DPRK's nuclear weapons ambitions. "Should they miss this window they might not have another chance. So we urged them to be decisive and not to postpone."

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16. PRC-Japan Relations

Reuters ("JAPAN SEEKS DEFENSE CHIEF VISIT TO REASSURE CHINA," Tokyo, 07/22/03) reported that Japan is trying to arrange a visit to Beijing by its defense minister which it hopes will help ease the PRC's concerns over its efforts to boost its security role, officials said Tuesday. "We are working on a schedule for his visit to China. But we have not finalized any specific plan," a Japanese Defense Ministry official said. It would be the first visit by a Japanese defense chief to the PRC in five years. Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said Tuesday that Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba's PRC trip was set for September 1-4. Defense Ministry officials were unable to confirm the report but they said they would not rule out the possibility. "It depends on domestic political schedules, but we do not rule out his visit in September," another Defense Ministry official said. A planned visit by Ishiba's predecessor, Gen Nakatani, in April last year was canceled as the PRC responded angrily to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to a controversial shrine honoring Japan's war dead. What would have been a historic visit to Japan by PRC naval vessels was also suspended due to Koizumi's visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine. Since taking office in April 2001, Koizumi has visited the shrine three times, sparking anger in the PRC and ROK. Japan hopes Ishiba's trip would help alleviate the PRC's worries over its attempt to boost the role of its military, including a possible tie-up with Washington on missile defense, the officials said.

II. Japan

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1. US Base in Japan

The Asahi Shinbun ("US TO SWAP YOKOHAMA BASE LAND FOR HOUSING, " 07/19/03) reported that US government officials have agreed to return about 300 hectares of land to Yokohama in exchange for the construction of about 800 military housing units at Ikego. The agreement was reached Friday by Japanese and U.S. officials. It would be the largest turnover of base property outside Okinawa Prefecture since about 1,000 hectares of land in the Kanto region was handed back between 1973 and 1977. The new housing would nearly double the number of units for US military families at Ikego. The Ikego housing area straddles Yokohama's Kanazawa Ward and the city of Zushi. Yokohama officials were generally pleased with the agreement, but said the construction of new housing would require careful consideration. Zushi city officials have said they would oppose any plan to put more military housing units in their jurisdiction. A final decision on the swap will follow acceptance by Kanagawa Prefecture and Yokohama officials. The four Yokohama properties to be returned are 43 hectares in the prized Negishi residential district, about 77 hectares at the Fukaya communications station, about 3 hectares at the Tomioka warehouse district, and much of the Kamiseya communications facility, which now covers about 242 hectares. The 800 proposed new housing units would replace 400 aging units at Negishi and offset a shortage of housing for US military personnel in Kanagawa Prefecture. Officials of both governments agreed the housing should be at Ikego, since it is about 10 kilometers from Yokosuka Naval Base and having it all there would make it easier to provide security. The Ikego area was used as a US ammunition storage area after World War II. Zushi residents objected to earlier relocation of U.S. military housing to a wooded area in Ikego. About 854 military housing units were built there between 1992 and 1998 after about a dozen years of protests.

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2. DPRK Attitude to Multilateral Talks

The Asahi Shinbun ("ANOTHER ROUND TO START:N.KOREA TALKS STUCK IN A 3-WAY PROCESS," 07/19/03) reported that Japan's hopes of being brought aboard talks with DPRK on the nuclear issue have been dashed with word that a new round of trilateral discussions involving the US and PRC may start soon. During a visit to DPRK earlier in the week, Pyongyang reiterated its stand to PRC Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo that it is ready to accept multilateral negotiations if the process leads to direct dialogue with Washington. DPRK officials made clear they do not envisage a five-way deal including PRC, Japan and ROK, sources said. Since Pyongyang did not object to another meeting with Washington and Beijing, PRC officials felt DPRK was willing to join another round of trilateral talks, sources said. Dai was scheduled to visit the US on Friday to brief the Bush administration on his visit to the North and to discuss strategy. Washington, after conferring with PRC, is to talk to Tokyo and Seoul about holding a three-way meeting with Pyongyang. Tokyo had asked to be included, along with Seoul, in any talks with Pyongyang, Washington and Beijing. But a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official said Thursday that Tokyo likely would not protest too loudly if the trilateral talks pave the way for a five-way meeting that later includes Japan. In Seoul, meanwhile, officials were reported to be agreeable to Pyongyang first meeting with Washington and Beijing if it is later allowed to join the process. It was reported that Pyongyang was strongly against Tokyo participating in this round of talks. On the other hand, "China fully understands the need for multilateral negotiations that include Japan and South Korea." A senior officer of Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented.

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3. SDF's Roles in Iraqi Reconstruction

The Asahi Shinbun ("U.S ASKS TO SEND SDF INTO HARM'S WAY IN IRAQ," 07/18/03) reported that US asked Tokyo to deploy the Self-Defense Forces to a city north of Baghdad, Balad, that has seen recent hostile activity. Japanese government will likely reject the US request unless the situation changes on the ground, several government sources said Thursday. The sources said officers at the US Central Command in Tampa, Florida, asked if Tokyo could dispatch SDF troops to Balad to help purify and provide drinking water for US forces in the area. The dispatch of SDF troops would come under the special measures bill for providing support to Iraq's reconstruction, now in the final stages of Upper House deliberation. However, because of a difference of opinion over where the SDF troops should be sent, Japanese government officials are now considering delaying any dispatch until after November. This would give officials more time to select safe areas in Iraq. Also, speculation the Lower House could be dissolved in October and a snap election called has led some officials to push for a dispatch when there is less political uncertainty. Japanese government officials said SDF troops could not be sent to Balad because it has been the scene of sporadic attacks against US troops. In the ongoing Diet debate over the bill, government officials have repeatedly said SDF troops would not be sent to "combat areas." Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda all but ruled out the U.S. request Thursday, saying, "Balad is not a safe area. It would be difficult under the present circumstances to send SDF troops to that area." A high-ranking Defense Agency official said, "While a dispatch might be possible if law and order were restored in the area, it would be difficult under the current situation." Gen. John Abizaid, who recently assumed command of Central Command, told a news conference at the Pentagon on Wednesday that US troops in Iraq were facing a "classical guerrilla-type campaign." A proposal to send SDF troops to the relatively safe area surrounding Baghdad International Airport to provide water to U.S. troops was turned down. U.S. officials said there was already plenty of drinking water in the area, Government sources also said

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4. Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) Talks

The Asahi Shinbun ("JAPAN, OTHERS MOVE FORWARD TO HINDER WMD SMUGGLING," 07/18/03) reported that Japan basically is in agreement with a US initiative to involve 11 nations in a global crackdown on the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), say government officials. Under the proposal, participating nations would implement existing domestic laws to prevent smuggling WMD and related materials out of suspect countries as well as stopping passage of prohibited items through their territorial waters and air space. Officials said they are in basic agreement with the proposal put before the 11 nations taking part in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). A second round of talks was held July 9-10 in Brisbane, Australia. Because DPRK is a target of the PSI, Japanese government officials plan to lobby Asian neighbors, especially PRC and ROK, to support the initiative. At the first PSI meeting held June 12 in Madrid, Washington proposed prevention of illegal exports of WMD and related materials by air or sea; the prevention of passage of WMD through territorial airspace and waters; and the interdiction of suspected ships on the open seas. Because a number of nations expressed reservations about interdiction in international waters, that element was dropped from the U.S. proposal at the July meeting. John Bolton, undersecretary of state in charge of arms control and international security, asked the other 10 nations at the Australia meeting for cooperation within the limits of existing domestic laws. Since there is no strong opposition to the two remaining elements of the US proposal, a September meeting scheduled for Paris is expected to approve a joint document centered on those two points. Japanese officials said current laws would allow participation in the initiative. The Japan Coast Guard is expected to take part in joint training exercises set for September. Other measures expected to be implemented are the gathering and sharing of information about suspected smuggling ships and bolstering ship inspections in Japanese territorial waters. The 11 nations in the PSI are Japan, the United States, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Britain.

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5. DPRK Nuclear Program

New York Times and Kyodo ("N.KOREA MAY HAVE 2ND NUCLEAR FACILITY," New York, 06/20/03) reported that strong evidence has emerged in recent weeks that DPRK has built a second secret nuclear plant for producing weapons-grade plutonium. The article cited several American and Asian officials with access to the latest intelligence. "American officials have said they cannot verify the claim, though they confirm that sensors set up on DPRK's borders have begun to detect elevated levels of krypton 85, a gas emitted as spent fuel is converted into plutonium," it said. Meanwhile, White House spokesman Scott McClellan on Saturday insisted that Washington would continue to work with its allies in the region to press Pyongyang to reverse course. Speaking to reporters traveling with President George W. Bush in Texas, McClellan said, "We do not discuss intelligence matters so I'm not going to get into specifics about the report." But he cited a series of "escalatory steps" by DPRK since it stated publicly last year that it had a covert nuclear weapons program, from the expulsion of international inspectors to its assertion that it had begun reprocessing spent fuel rods, a move he singled out as "a particular concern." McClellan said DPRK has no legitimate use for plutonium harvested during this procedure. "And reprocessing to recover plutonium is a clear indication that North Korea is intent on enlarging its nuclear arsenal despite repeated calls from the international community for North Korea to reverse the provocative steps it has taken and end its nuclear weapons program," he added. According to the paper, the officials said recent computer analyses of the gas ruled out DPRK's Yongbyon nuclear complex as its origin, and instead, strongly suggest that the gas originated from a "secret plant, perhaps buried in the mountains." Earlier this month, Pyongyang told Washington during informal talks that it had completed reprocessing 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods and that it would go ahead with making nuclear weapons as soon as possible. The New York Times quoted a senior US administration official as saying that the new evidence is "very worrisome, but still not conclusive." But the paper said, if a second plant exists, "President Bush may not even have the option that President Bill Clinton briefly considered in 1994: using a military strike or sabotage to prevent North Korea from producing significant amounts of weapons-grade material."

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6. Japan-UK Summit

Kyodo ("BLAIR LEAVES JAPAN AFTER TALKS WITH KOIZUMI, HEADS TO S.KOREA," Hakone, 07/20/03) reported that British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrapped up his three-day visit to Japan on Sunday at the hot-spring resort town of Hakone near Mt. Fuji, before he departed for ROK. Blair and his wife Cherie met briefly with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi over Japanese tea at a hotel before leaving to catch a plane at Tokyo's Haneda airport for the next leg of his trip. During their summit on Saturday, the two leaders agreed on the importance of launching five-way talks involving Japan and ROK to peacefully resolve the standoff over DPRK's nuclear program. Blair's visit to Japan came amid a firestorm of criticism at home that was sparked when a British defense adviser -- at the center of a recent controversy over government intelligence -- was found dead Friday in a wooded area in Britain after he was reported missing by his family. Koizumi threw his full support behind Blair, saying his decision to take part with US President George W. Bush in the war against Iraq was correct and courageous.

III. People's Republic of China

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1. PRC's Response to Japanese Insult

China Daily ("FM REBUFFS JAPANESE INSULT", 07/19-20/03, P1) reported that the Chinese Foreign Ministry on July 18 criticized a senior Japanese politician for insulting the Chinese people. Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara suggested in a lecture on July 17 that Chinese in Tokyo be arrested and deported, reportedly claiming that most crimes in Tokyo were committed by "Zhina" people and that local police worry these people will kidnap children of high-profile Japanese. The Chinese Government is indignant over Ishihara's remarks, said ministry spokesman Kong Quan. Any attempts to mar Sino-Japanese relations will not be supported by the public and are doomed to failure, he said.

China Daily (Zheng Lifei, "DENIAL OF FACTS EARNS DISDAIN", 07/16/03, P4) carried a commentary saying that facts can be distorted and history remade if political interests demand it, which is often true with some right-wing Japanese politicians. The article referred to the fact that Takami Eto tried to rewrite the history of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. There is a mountain of ironclad evidence about the Nanjing Massacre, an atrocity committed by the Japanese military during its war of aggression in PRC. However, a string of denials or distortions of history and facts about their country's militaristic past by right-wing Japanese politicians has not only hurt people's feelings in the victimized countries but also cast doubt on the sincerity of the remorse expressed by the Japanese Government towards the past wrongdoings. If Japan is really committed to have a role in world affairs commensurate with its economic clout, it first should win the trust and respect of the international community, the article commented.

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2. ROK-DPRK Relations

China Daily ("ROK: EXCHANGE OF GUNFIRE WITH DPRK AN ACCIDENT", Seoul, 07/19-20/03, P8) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said on July 18 it believes that a border shootout between its soldiers and troops from the DPRK on July 17 started accidentally. According to reports from national news agency Yonhap News, Hwang Young-soo, the ministry's spokesman, said it was likely that DPRK soldiers accidentally opened fire while checking their firearms in preparation for night shift, since there were no additional movements by the DPRK following the clash. On July 17, DPRK soldiers opened fire on a ROK guard post inside the demilitarized zone, the buffer area between the two sides, and ROK soldiers immediately returned fire. The ROK said it suffered no casualties during the one- minute exchange, but it is unknown whether there were injuries among the DPRK soldiers. However, the spokesman did not rule out the possibility that the clash was intentional. The exchange of fire occurred on a ROK holiday, "Constitution Day." In related news, the ROK will still give the DPRK economic aid and even boost the amount it spends despite the border shooting incident, the ROK budget and planning minister Park Bong-heum said on July 18. The minister said the government would increase its humanitarian aid and help close the gap between the two countries, according to the report.

People's Daily (Zhang Jinfang, "ROK, DPRK EXCHANGE FIRE AT DMZ", Seoul, 07/18/03, P3) reported that security guards of ROK and the DPRK briefly exchanged fire in the demilitarized zone between the two countries on July 17, but there were no casualties on the ROK side, according to ROK's military. DPRK soldiers on the central part of the 483-kilometer long border opened what appeared to be machine gun rounds at about 6:10a.m. (2100 GMT) and South Korean soldiers immediately returned fire, said South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff. ROK national news agency Yonhap News quoted South Korean military officials as saying that they later confirmed that a guard post in the DPRK side of the 4 kilometer-wide DMZ fired four machine gun rounds which ricocheted off a concrete barrier around a South Korean guard post. South Korean soldiers shot back 17 rifle rounds, then. The DPRK's military showed "no special movements" following the shooting, said the report.

China Daily ("ROK: DPRK REPROCESSING OF SPENT RODS NOT CONFIRMED", Seoul, 07/15/03, P1) reported that the ROK has "no scientific evidence" that the DPRK has reprocessed all its spent nuclear fuel rods, ROK President Roh Moo-hyun's foreign policy adviser said on July 14. "We're not at the stage of being able to confirm anything," foreign adviser Ban Ki-moon told a meeting of presidential secretaries, according to minutes released by the president's office. On Sunday, the ROK's Yonhap news agency quoted a former Seoul intelligence official as saying DPRK diplomats based at the United Nations had told US officials the reprocessing had been completed in June at the DPRK's Yongbyon nuclear complex. Reprocessing the 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods would enable the DPRK to add to an atomic arsenal that Western intelligence agencies estimate already includes one or two such weapons. The Yonhap report was based on an account of a US-DPRK meeting provided by Chang Sung-min, a top intelligence aide to former ROKpresident Kim Dae-jung, Roh's predecessor.

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3. PRC, Rok Relations with Japan

China Daily ("WHITEWASH OF HISTORY INTOLERABLE", 07/15/03, P1) reported that PRC and the ROK have rebuked a senior Japanese politician for playing down the Nanjing Massacre and Japan's annexation of the Korean Peninsula. Takami Eto, a 78-year-old three-time Cabinet minister who leads the third-largest faction in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, dismissed as "a big lie" estimates that the Japanese army killed as many as 300,000 civilians during the 1937-38 occupation of Nanjing, called the Nanjing Massacre. Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said there was "ironclad evidence" that the Nanjing Massacre was "an atrocity committed by Japanese militarism during the war of aggression in China." A ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters on Sunday that the ROK was "disappointed" with the politician for falsely claiming the annexation of the Korean Peninsula in 1910 was lawful as it had been approved by the League of Nations. "The ROK thinks that such incorrect remarks will not do Seoul-Tokyo ties any good," a ministry statement said.

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4. PRC-US Relations on Korean Issue

China Daily (Hu Xiao, "DAI LEAVES FOR US ON KOREAN ISSUE", 07/18/03, P1) reported that Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo has left for the US to discuss the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Foreign Ministry revealed on July 17. Foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan announced the trip on July 17 at a regular news conference and said Dai will stay in the US for about two days. After his Russian visit earlier this month, Dai ended a four-day visit to Pyongyang this week during which he met the DPRK leader, Kim Jong-il, and presented a letter from Chinese President Hu Jintao. On the nuclear issue, PRC will continue to "make unwavering, active, responsible and constructive efforts," Kong said, noting the latest US trip was agreed upon during a telephone discussion between Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Powell on July 16. PRC stands for dialogue to solve the nuclear issue and maintains that "Beijing talks" should be continued, Kong said. For the US and the DPRK, the key obstacle has been disagreement over the format for new talks. Pyongyang wants direct talks with US, while the US is after multilateral talks. Kong stressed yesterday that it is more important to resume dialogue rather than focusing on disagreements.

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5. PRC's Stance on ROK-DPRK Frontier Clash

China Daily ("NATION CALLS FOR RESTRAINT AFTER CLASHES", 07/18/03, P1) reported that PRC urged the DPRK and the ROK to show restraint after their frontier clash to avoid escalation of the conflict. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan said PRC hopes the two sides can stay calm and stop the situation from deteriorating further.

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6. PRC's Commentary on US's Security Strategy

China Daily (Wu Yixue, "US DREAMS OF ASIAN NATO", 07/18/03, P4) reported that with the US stepping up its largest military strategic redeployment since World War II, the voices in that country backing the establishment of an Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have become particularly loud. Under the Pentagon's military program, the US is preparing major shifts in the deployment of its forces in the Asia-Pacific region, and plans to withdraw some US troops from the Demilitarized Zone within the ROK. The moves are aimed at calming down the public anger in the ROK and Japan at the US army bases in their countries and at forming a more mobile, smaller-scale chain of bases in the Asia-Pacific region. The US is designing a NATO-like multilateral military mechanism for Asia to better serve its own strategic interests, the article commented. Some US scholars hold that the absence of a multilateral security system in Asia has been one of US's major strategic mistakes. Having been dormant for several decades, the concept of collective security has obviously been revived by the global and Asia-Pacific strategic readjustment that the Bush administration and some US think-tanks have always attempted to pursue. The Pentagon's Asia-Pacific military strategy has put India in a prominent position compared to other Asian countries. By strengthening its ties with the South Asian country, the US can not only consolidate and expand its strategic presence in South Asia but also further squeeze Russia's and PRC's strategic clout out of the region. US's basic purpose for closer ties with India and an Asian version of NATO is to extend its status as the world's sole superpower. In his State of the Union address in January, Bush said the US has absolutely dominant power over other countries. That is true, the article said. US's economic and military power should not necessarily mean that it is easy for the US to establish lasting hegemony in the world by strengthening its military ties with other countries, which was a popular way of operating during the Cold War. Without a definite enemy, it will be very difficult for the idea of an Asian version of NATO to gain extensive support from the international community and even within the US itself, commented the article.

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7. DPRK-PRC Relations

People's Daily (Ji Xinlong, "KIM JONG IL MEETS CHINESE SPECIAL ENVOY", Pyongyang, 07/15/03, P3) reported that Kim Jong Il, the leader of the DPRK on July 14 met Dai Bingguo, the visiting Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister, who is also a special envoy of the Chinese government. They had "in-depth discussion on issues of mutual concern", a Chinese delegate told Xinhua. Dai had talks with Kim Yong Nam, the president of Supreme People's Assembly, and Paek Nam Sun, the foreign minister of DPRK, before he met Kim Jong Il, said the report.

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8. Russian Attitude toward DPRK Nuke Issue

People's Daily ("NO EVIDENCE DPRK HAS NUCLEAR BOMB: RUSSIAN MINISTER", Moscow, 07/15/03, P3) reported that Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev said on July 14 that "There is no objective evidence" that the DPRK has a nuclear bomb.

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9. DPRK-US Relations

People's Daily ("DPRK WARNS US AGAINST STAGING PREEMPTIVE ATTACK", 07/20/03, P3) reported that Pyongyang warned on July 19 that if the US launched a preemptive attack against the DPRK, it would take defensive measures involving all means. The US is reportedly contemplating deploying a carrier flotilla and one task brigade equipped with new transport aircraft and other strategic means in Pearl Harbor under the pretext of "threat" from the DPRK, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a commentary broadcast. Also, a provocative anti-DPRK war scenario dubbed "5030" was said to be in the making by the US Defense Department, the commentary said. The US had massively bolstered its troops in and around South Korea, including the publication of an "arms buildup plan" for its forces present in South Korea, and in the deployment of weapons and armies around the Korean Peninsula, it added. "It is quite clear that these dangerous military moves being staged by the US, behind the scene of 'multilateral talks', are aimed at mounting a surprise attack on the DPRK", the commentary said.

The NAPSNet Daily Report aims to serve as a forum for dialogue and exchange among peace and security specialists. Conventions for readers and a list of acronyms and abbreviations are available to all recipients. For descriptions of the world wide web sites used to gather information for this report, or for more information on web sites with related information, see the collection of other NAPSNet resources.
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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:

Ilmin Internationl Relations Institute
BK21 The Education and Research Corps for East Asian Studies
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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