NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, august 7, 2003

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. DPRK Multilateral Talk Developments

Reuters (Andrei Shukshin, "RUSSIA: NORTH KOREA SETS NO CONDITIONS ON TALKS," Moscow, 08/07/03) reported that the DPRK has put forward no conditions for taking part in six-country talks on its nuclear arms program, a senior Russian diplomat said in remarks released by the Foreign Ministry Thursday. The talks, intended to end a nuclear standoff between the US and the DPRK, are to take place soon in Beijing and bring together the DPRK, the ROK, Russia, the US, the PRC and Japan. "The DPRK side has put forward no conditions and to my understanding Pyongyang is interested exactly in six-way talks," Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov said in comments to Japan's NHK television, posted on the ministry's Web site. "As far as bilateral issues are concerned, which some countries may discuss, the multi-side format is suitable for it," Fedotov said. "But I repeat, there have been no conditions made by DPRK (North Korea)." Fedotov refused to rate chances of success of the forthcoming meeting, expected to take place this or next month, saying the toughest part had not begun yet. "The most difficult stage will come when these talks begin. And it is hard to expect any quick success. All parties will apparently need to be extremely patient, display constructive approaches and readiness to listen to the other side," he said. Sketching out Russia's views, Fedotov said the main task of the talks should be to guarantee that the DPRK's nuclear program is totally peaceful at the same time as making sure that it receives economic aid it is likely to be promised. He said the DPRK should be given security guarantees it is seeking and suggested the Korean peninsula might need a "roadmap" -- like the one worked out for the Middle East -- to make sure all parties involved stick to their obligations.

Agence France-Presse ("NKOREA WANTS TO HOLD NUCLEAR TALKS IN FIRST WEEK OF SEPTEMBER," 08/07/03) reported that the DPRK wants to hold six-nation talks aimed at ending the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula in the first week of September while host PRC has proposed an August 21 or 25 start. The US, which will join the talks expected to take place in Beijing, wants to hold them in August ahead of a UN general assembly meeting in New York in September, Japan's top-selling daily Yomiuri Shimbun said in a dispatch from Washington, quoting government sources. Apart from the PRC, the DPRK and the US, the six-way talks will include officials from Japan, ROK and Russia. The Yomiuri said the DPRK has been contacting participating nations directly without consulting the PRC. A rift between the PRC and the DPRK became apparent after the three-way nuclear talks held in April in the PRC capital involving Beijing, Pyongyang and Washington, the daily said.

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2. PRC Anti-Terror Military Exercises

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA FLEXES MILITARY MUSCLE IN ANTI-TERROR EXERCISES," 08/07/03) reported that the PRC vowed to stamp out separatism and extremism Thursday as it flexed its military muscle in its largest ever joint anti-terrorism operations. Members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) that groups the PRC and five former Soviet republics in Central Asia began joint military exercises in Kazakhstan Wednesday aimed at averting terrorist strikes from land and air. The drill is also seen as the PRC's bid to counterbalance the growing US military presence in the strategic and resource-rich Central Asia region. Lieutenant General Li Qianyuan, head of the PRC military delegation and Commander of the Lanzhou Military Command, said the show of strength would help guarantee security and stability in the region. "The military exercise... showed that the SCO member states take the same stand and hold the same determination to fight terrorism, separatism and extremism," Li was quoted as saying by the Xinhua news agency. "It is an important step for the SCO states to step up military cooperation and mutual trust among their armed forces, and boost regional cooperation against terrorism. "The PRC government stands firmly against terrorism of all kinds, calls for closer international cooperation and removing the roots of terrorism."

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3. US on Foreign Airport Missile Threats

Agence France-Presse ("US SEEKS TOUGHER SECURITY AT FOREIGN AIRPORTS OVER MISSILE THREAT," Washington, 08/07/03) reported that the US has sent aviation security experts to Iraq, Europe and Asia amidst fears that terrorists could use shoulder-fired missiles to shoot down passenger jets, officials said. Brian Roehrkasse, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman, said US experts have been sent to help improve security in Basra and Baghdad in Iraq, as well as in a number of Asian and European airports, which he declined to specify. The Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of State and other US agencies are working on the effort to improve security at the airports, he said. "We are going to countries that want to work with us," Roehrkasse said. "They are airports that have US-flagged aircraft flying in and out of them." Efforts to improve defenses against portable missile attacks are already underway at US airports, Roehrkasse said. The move is part of the government's response to recent intelligence reports warning of a possible terrorist attack using small heat-seeking missiles. Roehrkasse said that while "the US intelligence community does not have any specific intelligence that al-Qaeda intends to use these weapons for a major attack against US commercial aviation," officials felt concerned there is a growing possibility of an attack. The best-known portable missiles are the American-made Stinger and the Russian-made SA-7. The Stinger was once widely used by Afghan groups close to al-Qaeda. Aviation officials have said the missiles, which can be bought on the black market for as little as 5,000 dollars apiece, can hit jets from as far as 30 miles (50 kilometers) from an airport and can reach altitudes of about 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) for older systems and 18,000 feet (5500 meters) feet for newer weapons.

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4. Powell on US DPRK Non-Aggression Pact

Agence France-Presse ("POWELL STANDS FIRM ON NO NON-AGGRESSION PACT FOR NORTH KOREA," Washington, 08/07/03) reported that US Secretary of State Colin Powell reinforced US opposition to the DPRK's demands for a non-aggression pact, but hinted that Congress could endorse a less formal guarantee if it emerged from nuclear-crisis talks. Powell restated the consistent US refusal to offer the DPRK such a formal pact as a way out of the crisis, noting that President George W. Bush has repeatedly said he has no plans to invade the DPRK. But he suggested during a session with foreign reporters that Washington could provide some kind of security assurance to the DPRK, especially if it eventually emerged from six-party talks on the showdown expected within the next two months. "What we have said is there should be ways to capture assurances to the DPRKs from not only the US, but we believe from other parties in the region that there is no hostile intent among the parties that might be participating in such a discussion," Powell said. "When one comes up with such a document, such a written assurance, there are ways that Congress can take note of it without it being a treaty or some kind of pact," he said. "A resolution taking note of something," Powell said, suggesting a form of action Congress could pursue, short of ratifying a treaty. Some observers have suggested that one way out of the DPRK crisis might be to frame a new set of East-Asia security guarantees, encompassing not only the DPRK and the US, but the PRC, Japan and other powers.

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5. Criticism of US Nuclear Arms Policy

The Inter Press Service (Katrin Dauenhauer, "CRITICS: US NUCLEAR PLANS COULD FUEL ARMS RACE," Washington, 08/07/03) reported that critics of the Bush administration's nuclear arms policies say this week's closed-door STRATCOM meeting to discuss new weapons and an eventual resumption of nuclear testing could lead to a new arms race that would severely threaten world security. "In my view, proposals for new nuclear weapons provide no military value for the US and would result in enormous political, diplomatic and proliferation costs," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based nongovernmental research organization. "To pursue the development of new types of nuclear weapons would make the task of banning the spread of nuclear weapons even more difficult," he told IPS Wednesday. "There is a 'do as I say, not as I do' philosophy implied. In order to develop and produce them, testing would be required that by itself could trigger a global reaction cycle that would harm international security. The PRC might resume testing, or Russia." This week's Strategic Command (STRATCOM) meeting in Omaha, Nebraska will involve some 150 people from weapons labs, the Energy, Defence and State departments, and the White House. Since President George W. Bush announced plans last year to deploy a limited missile defense system at several sites in the US, "counter-proliferation" has moved center-stage, experts say. "The 2002 National Security Strategy is radical in its prescription for preventive or pre-emptive use of force in halting NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) weapons proliferation," says a 112-page report by Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), an advocacy group based in Washington. "Missile defense will encourage the US to pursue pre-emptive attacks, possibly with tactical nuclear weapons," said Martha Clar, author of another PSR report, 'A False Sense of Security: The Role of Missile Defense in Counter- Proliferation Doctrine,' at the Tuesday conference. "Missile defense deployment will actually encourage proliferation, as rogue states attempt to develop the number of weapons necessary to overwhelm a US missile defense," she added.

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6. PRC-US Space Arms Talks

Reuters (Robert Evans, "CHINA MOVES TO DRAW US INTO SPACE ARMS TALKS," Geneva, 08/07/03) reported that the PRC, in a clear move to draw in a reluctant US, announced on Thursday it was ready for talks on preventing an arms race in space even if they were not specifically aimed at a binding treaty. The surprise announcement, following what diplomats said was a high-level decision in Beijing this week, was billed by a PRC envoy as a major compromise aimed at injecting life into the long-stalled Geneva Conference on Disarmament (CD). Russia, which like the PRC had earlier argued -- in the face of US refusal -- for formal negotiations on a global agreement barring weaponry from space, hailed the PRC shift and told the 65-nation forum it would be ready to join in. Both powers, known to be deeply concerned over US plans for a "Star Wars Mark II" National Missile Defense system (NMD), said they hoped the move would clear the way for talks on space arms and other disarmament issues to get under way soon. Just a week ago in an obvious reference to NMD they told the CD, currently holding a three-months summer session, that the danger of "weaponization" of outer space was growing and had to be tackled promptly. There was no immediate response from the US. Its envoy did not take the floor at Thursday's session of the United Nations-sponsored CD.

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7. ROK Domestic Politics Corruption

Agence France-Presse ("HEAD OF SOUTH KOREA'S RULING PARTY QUESTIONED OVER CORRUPTION," Seoul, 08/04/03) reported that the head of the ROK's ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) appeared before prosecutors probing his alleged involvement in a major corruption scandal, witnesses said. Party chairman Chyung Dai-Chul, the second most powerful man within the MDP next to President Roh Moo-Hyun, has been charged with receiving 400 million won (334,000 dollars) in bribes from a real estate developer. "I have already said it all. I don't have anything further to say," a grim-looking Chyung told journalists as he arrived for questioning at the Seoul district prosecution office, the witnesses said. Prosecution authorities have accused Chyung of receiving the money from real estate developer Goodmorning City in return for helping the firm obtain a government license for a construction project. Chyung, who led Roh's election campaign at last year's presidential poll, has admitted taking the money but maintained it was a regular political donation with no strings attached.

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8. Japan Oil Crisis

Reuters ("JAPAN'S OIL NEEDS RESULT IN SLIPPERY RELATIONS WITH US," Tokyo, 08/07/03) reported that the sudden concern about energy rationing follows safety scares at Japan's nuclear reactors, which have led to some being switched off. But even when the nuclear industry is working at full throttle, Japan is vulnerable to any prolonged interruption in supplies of imported oil, 85 per cent of which comes from the Middle East. So keenly aware is Tokyo of its dependence that since the 1973 oil shock, it has put oil diplomacy ahead even of relations with Washington, its chief ally. Ken Koyama, of the Institute of Energy Economics Japan, said: "After 1973, Japan changed its foreign policy from pro-Israel to pro-Arab, putting Japan's national interest in defiance of the US." Today that stance risks putting Japan's foreign policy on a collision course with Washington. The potential flash-point is Iran, branded as part of an axis of evil by the US, where Japanese companies are intent on winning oil contracts. Until a few weeks ago, years of diplomatic efforts by Tokyo seemed close to paying off as Japanese companies prepared to clinch a $2bn deal for rights to the important Azadegan oil field. But the June 30 deadline for exclusive talks came and went. The reason appears to be US pressure. Washington has made clear Japan should not be investing in Iran. Japan's foreign ministry insists talks over Azadegan are still on track. But oil executives say, in reality, no deal can be struck in the light of Washington's attitude. Kazuo Takahashi, a Middle East expert at Hoso University, said: "With the US so publicly putting pressure on Japan, it's unlikely Japan will sign anything right now." That is a tremendous blow for Japanese diplomats who have spent years wooing Iran. Already Japan's third-biggest supplier of oil after the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, Iran's importance grew substantially when Japan lost a large Saudi oil concession three years ago. From then, as well as seeking to diversify supply, Japan stepped up efforts to win exclusive rights to develop part of Azadegan, agreeing in return to provide $3bn in credits. The deal was seen as a diplomatic coup in Japan. Tokyo hoped to establish its reputation in the Middle East by defying US policy. It felt emboldened to do so partly because several European oil companies were operating in Iran without prompting US sanctions. The stand-off is forcing Tokyo to weigh the risks of antagonising the US against throwing away its diplomatic victories in the Middle East. "Suppose Japan obeys the US and gives up its good relations with Iran," says one Japanese oil industry insider. "What would happen to Japan's reputation in the Middle East? It would be in tatters." However, the Bush administration is so grateful for the support of Junichiro Koizumi, Japan's prime minister, for its war on terror that it has all-but abandoned any criticism of Tokyo's economic policy.

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9. US-Japan Global Warming

Agence France-Presse ("US, JAPAN AGREE TO TACKLE GLOBAL WARMING, DESPITE KYOTO DIFFERENCES," Washington, 08/07/03) reported that the US and Japan held their third high-level meeting on climate change, pledging to work together, despite differing positions on the Kyoto global warming protocol. State Department deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said top officials from the two sides worked through a full range of issues related to climate change in the talks here. "Both countries reaffirmed their intention to effectively implement their respective approaches to address climate change," he said in a statement. The US, the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions, has rejected the protocol, which it says is defective as it does not require developing nations to cut their emissions. Japan last year ratified the protocol, under which it will have to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of six percent from 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. The two sides, led for the US by Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky and for Japan by Minister of the Environment Shunichi Suzuki, also pledged extra commitment to research and development of cleaner and efficient technologies. "Japan and the US welcomed the significant progress that has been made by the working level consultations," Reeker said.

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10. Japan Nagasaki Rememberance

Agence France-Presse ("APATHY OVERSHADOWS EFFORTS TO REVIVE NAGASAKI A-BOMB MEMORIES," 08/07/03) reported that lessons from the atomic bomb tragedy in the southwestern Japanese port city of Nagasaki are fading with time as apathy among young people is thwarting efforts to revive the bitter memories. Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims opened on July 6 just over a month ahead of the anniversary of the August 9, 1945 atomic bombing that effectively led to Japan's surrender at the end of World War II. "People well remember the name of Hiroshima, but some people don't even know about the fact that Nagasaki was also atomic-bombed," said Masato Koga, section chief of the hall built inside the Nagasaki Peace Memorial Park. The 4.4 billion yen (36 million dollar) underground hall, the latest facility in the memorial park, is topped by a flat, circular fountain at ground level, surrounded by a hedge and an emerald green glass wall. Visitors can look at pictures of the victims, listen to their voice messages and check references through computers in the two-storey structure located 250 meters (825 feet) away from ground zero. "We are happy a large number of people have been visiting the hall everyday since the opening, but most of them are in their 50s or older," Koga said. "I am a little bit disappointed at the increasing lack of concern of young people about the tragedy," he said. Meanwhile, only meters (yards) away from the hypocenter of the atomic bombing, young couples were relaxing on the benches and the lawn, while smiling families snapped photos as church bells rang out noon. "I don't have any particular awareness that Nagasaki is an atomic-bombed city," said Natsumi Kojima, 24, who works at a foodstore in central Nagasaki. "It's somehow a past story," said Kojima, who was born and raised in the city. Asked if she wanted to visit the new memorial hall, Kojima replied: "Well, I'll think about it."

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International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
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Brandon Yu:
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Timothy L. Savage:
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Kim Young-soo:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hibiki Yamaguchi:
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Saiko Iwata:
Tokyo, Japan

Hiroya Takagi:
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Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Wu Chunsi:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

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