NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, august 21, 2003

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. DPRK on US Role in Multi-lateral Talks

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA ACCUSES US OF PLOTTING COLLAPSE OF SIX-WAY NUCLEAR TALKS," Seoul, 08/21/03) reported that the DPRK accused the US of plotting to scupper next week's six-nation nuclear crisis talks in an attempt to force a settlement of the nuclear stand-off at the United Nations. The DPRK's government newspaper Minju Joson said unless Washington's "hostile policy" on Pyongyang changed, there would be no success at the three-day talks due to open in Beijing on August 27. "The US makes the breakdown of the six-party talks an established fact when the talks are yet to open, and sets forth its next action program," it said. It blasted as a "crazy claim" American statements that the issue could be taken to the UN Security Council if the multilateral talks end in failure. "This is an intolerable mockery of, and challenge to, the expectation of the international community which desires so ardently a positive settlement of the nuclear issue," it said.

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2. US on DPRK-PRC Refugee Situation

Agence France-Presse ("US ASKING CHINA TO LET UNHCR DEAL WITH N KOREA REFUGEES: REPORT," Tokyo, 08/21/03) reported that the US is asking the PRC to allow the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to become involved in an "orderly process" that would allow DPRK asylum seekers who have fled to the PRC to leave for a third country, a senior US official said in an interview. US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Lorne Craner made the comments in an interview with Kyodo News agency conducted Wednesday in Washington. "The point is that they (the PRC) have been willing to live with a lot of people coming in from North Korea," Kyodo quoted Craner as saying. "We would like them to go further and to have an orderly process for people who want to continue their journey." US diplomats, members of Congress and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have long urged the PRC to do more to help the thousands of North Koreans fleeing the country. The PRC refuses to grant them asylum and often sends them back to the DPRK where they are usually punished harshly, often with torture and forced labor at prison camps. In July the US Senate approved legislation that would make it easier for some of the estimated 300,000 DPRK refugees hiding in the PRC after fleeing their homeland to resettle in the US. A few days later US Secretary of State Colin Powell said administration officials were considering admitting thousands of DPRK refugees as a means of applying pressure to Pyongyang over the standoff triggered by its nuclear weapons program, but no firm proposal had yet been made. "Any very serious proposal from Capitol Hill gets serious consideration here in the (State) department as to what our position ought to be," Craner told Kyodo. "It is a testament to how strongly people here feel that congressmen are willing to say that we want people to come to our districts from a very dark situation in North Korea," he told Kyodo. Earlier this month, Assistant Secretary of State Arthur Dewey held one-day talks with PRC officials on Beijing's policies on illegal DPRK immigrants but US diplomats in Beijing refused to say whether the talks included the possible transfer of North Koreans in China.

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3. PRC on DPRK Multilateral Talks Reuters ("CHINA ANNOUNCES N.KOREA NEGOTIATING TABLE LINE-UP," Beijing, 08/21/03/) reported that the PRC announced the line-up for next week's talks on the DPRK's nuclear program on Thursday, saying DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Yong-il would lead Pyongyang's negotiating team. The ROK Yonhap news agency said Kim was relatively junior among eight DPRK vice foreign ministers, but had worked closely with the PRC in arranging the six-party talks. His selection instead of a colleague better known to US officials, the agency added, could signal Pyongyang's intention to coordinate its stance with its traditional ally the PRC. The PRC's Foreign Ministry said US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly would represent Washington while Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Beijing's point man on the DPRK, would lead the PRC delegation. Russia's envoy would be Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov, Japan's would be Foreign Ministry official Mitoji Yabunaka and South Korea's Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck, spokesman Kong Quan said in a statement on the Foreign Ministry Web site, Yonhap said Kim took on his post in 2000, and had been working on Asian affairs for two years. The other negotiators have all been key players in the diplomatic shuttling aimed at ending the 10-month crisis over North Korea's suspected nuclear program. The three days of talks begin in Beijing on Wednesday.

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4. DPRK Economic Liberalization

The New York Times (James Brooke, "TALKS COULD PUSH NORTH KOREA FORWARD OR BACK," Seoul, 08/20/03) carried an analytical essay that asked will billions of dollars in aid in exchange for the DPRK ending its nuclear weapons program accelerate or reverse grudging free market moves by the DPRK? As envoys from the US and Japan, the world's two largest economies, prepare for talks next week with the DPRK over its nuclear weapons program, economists debate the depth of commitment to market reform in a country that once planned to ban cash. A year ago, the DPRK's leaders, their backs to an economic wall, abandoned a 50-year-old system of ration books and fixed prices. Now, the DPRK has village markets and largely free prices. The free-market changes came after the government gave up trying to subsidize many government-owned companies to distribute food, clothing and housing to its population of 22 million. In the nuclear talks, North Korea hopes to win as much as $1 billion a year in promised war reparations from Japan, the colonial power here from 1910 to 1945. The DPRK also hopes to win Western economic aid and membership in the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The ROK has been most encouraging of this trade-off, with its president, Roh Moo-Hyun, saying last week, "When the North gives up its nuclear programs, the South is willing to take the lead in helping develop its economy." But the Bush administration is publicly noncommittal about offering assistance to a disastrously failed economic system. "A diplomatic deal, where they will be rewarded, where we will buy peace, will have the effect of retarding economic change," predicted Marcus Noland, North Korea expert for the Institute for International Economics in Washington. "These boys make Cuba look like something out of Adam Smith." But Alexander Mansourov, a former Soviet economic officer in Pyongyang, said, "They are making this transition to a marketized economy." The economic reforms, he said, will be reinforced by a new generation of representatives to the Supreme People's Assembly, the nation's parliament, that opens Sept. 3. Hazel Smith, a British aid worker and frequent visitor to North Korea, said: "The political decisions reflect a grudging acknowledgement that they can't go back to the old ways. But if you dump a load of money into that country, you are going to have the Albania of Northeast Asia." The nuclear talks start against the economic backdrop that nearly 60 years of Communism and Kim family rule have left the DPRK rivaling Mongolia as Northeast Asia's poorest country. The ROK's per capita income of $10,000 is 13 times that of North the DPRK's $770. The ROK, once the poorer of the two Koreas, now exports in two days what the DPRK exports in a year. Over the last decade, the DPRK's exports have fallen to $730 million, from $1.7 billion. In the decade since the DPRK was cut adrift from Soviet subsidies, its per capita income has dropped in half, electricity shortages became chronic, and about 5 percent of the population starved to death.

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5. ROK Domestic Politics

Asia Pulse ("KOREAN FINANCE MINISTRY RESHUFFLES DIRECTOR GENERAL POSTS," Seoul, 08/21/02) reported that the ROK's Ministry of Finance and Economy reshuffled some of its director general posts today that included the appointment of a new public information officer. Kim Sung-jin, the director general of the ministry's Economic Cooperation Bureau, was the new chief spokesman, succeeding Lee Jung-hwan who moved to the Office of Government Policy Coordination. Lim Young-rok, a policy coordinator, took over the spokesman's old post at the cooperation bureau, while Cho In-kang, a secretary at presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, was made head of the economic free trade zone planning panel.

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6. WHO PRC SARS Training

Agence France-Presse ("WHO TO TRAIN THOUSANDS OF PRC MEDICAL WORKERS AS SARS FEARS LINGER," 08/12/03) reported that the World Health Organization (WHO) said it would train thousands of medical workers in the PRC as fears linger the SARS virus may return later this year once cold weather sets in. The training program is meant to make health workers better equipped to prevent infectious diseases from spreading in hospitals, said Alan Schnur, a WHO communicable diseases expert. The first part of the training program will be in Beijing, where 193 people died from the epidemic earlier this year, and will gradually be expanded to other parts of the PRC. At the height of the SARS outbreak, many people in the PRC were scared of going to hospitals because of fears, in some cases well-founded, that sub-standard facilities made them breeding-grounds for the virus. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) emerged in south China's Guangdong province late last year, and quickly spread to become a global menace. It struck down more than 8,000 people and left more than 800 dead in 32 countries, with some 349 of the fatalities and 5,327 of the infections recorded in the PRC. Although the PRC has formally declared victory over SARS and the last patients have been discharged from hospital, many in the world's most populous country remain wary that the epidemic could bounce back. A survey made public this week suggested 30 percent of all urban PRC were worried SARS might return later this year. Schnur said it was unknown whether SARS would reappear in late autumn as temperatures start plunging, advising steps be taken to prevent the disease. While health officials prepare efforts to curb the disease if it were to reemerge, they are still at a loss to explain its origins. A 14-member team of United Nations and PRC experts have just ended a week-long trip to Guangdong, examining whether SARS was initially passed on to humans from animals. But after seven days in the southern province, the search for an animal carrier remains "a work in progress," the China Daily said, quoting health officials. There is no evidence to confirm what animal could be the source of the virus, Schnur said. However, the experts came away convinced that measures should be put into place regarding animal hygiene.

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7. Japan on Role of Troops in Iraq

Agence France-Presse ("JAPAN SAYS TROOPS FOR IRAQ "DIFFICULT" THIS YEAR AFTER UN BOMB," 08/21/03) reported that the deployment of Japanese troops to Iraq appeared likely to be delayed after the defense minister said it would be "difficult" to go ahead this year because of the bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad. Shigeru Ishiba, the director general of the Defense Agency, said late Wednesday the truck bombing had shown Japan's planned humanitarian mission would carry real dangers. He said this month's planned reconnaissance mission for the deployment -- the first time since World War II that Japanese troops would arrive in an active warzone -- would probably be delayed. "It will take considerable time to restore security there under this situation," Ishiba told reporters, responding to Tuesday's attack which left 24 people dead including UN envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. "It may be possible this year, but it may be difficult (to do so) within the year," Ishiba said, responding to questions about the planned mission. The deployment of an expected 1,000 Japanese troops had been widely expected to take place as early as November. The reconnaissance mission had been expected to start this month. "If you look at the current situation, common sense says we cannot send them right away," Ishiba said. "Even the United Nations, which only provided humanitarian aid and did not use force, has been targeted for attack. "We now understand it no longer stands that if Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) provide humanitarian aid then they will be safe," he said. Japan's parliament enacted a law in July endorsing the deployment of SDF to Iraq to provide humanitarian aid and rearguard medical and supply assistance to security forces. The mass-circulation Asahi newspaper said Japan's scenario for taking a leading role in humanitarian assistance to rebuild Iraq was being derailed as a result of the blast. The paper said Wednesday the bombing had sent shockwaves through the government and that there was a growing view within the government that any troop deployment would be put off until next year.

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8. DPRK-ROK World Student Games

Agence France-Security ("TERROR ALERT FOR WORLD STUDENT GAMES, SECURITY BOOSTED," reported that security was tightened around thousands of athletes at the World Student Games in South Korea after the national intelligence agency issued an alert that Islamic extremists could be planning an attack. Athletes from the US and Britain were in particular being given added protection, police said. "We have received an intelligence report from abroad that the Universiade in Daegu is included in the list of possible attack targets by Islamic extremist groups," a National Intelligence Service (NIS) spokesman said. "Consequently, we have alerted all related government agents to the danger so that they take all necessary measures to ensure security at the games," he said. He did not say when the alert had been issued. A spokesman for the US delegation said plans were in place to deal with any emergency. He said the team travelled with a security expert who had heard the report but had decided not to take any extra precautions. "Different measures are in place so that if there are security threats our security plan will go into action at that moment. Our security director is on top of it," said the spokesman. The biannual event, billed as the junior Olympics, has drawn some 11,000 athletes and officials from 172 countries to the ROK's southeastern city of Daegu, 300 kilometers (190 miles) from Seoul. An official opening ceremony was due to take place Thursday evening. Police said they had stepped up security after receiving the NIS warning. "Following the warning from the NIS, we have stepped up vigilance and security checks at the games venues and related facilities," Lieutenant Kim Kwang-Soo stated.

Asia Pulse ("N KOREA DENOUNCES GNP FOR OBSTRUCTING PARTICIPATION IN UNIVERSIADE," Daegu, 08/20/03) reported that the DPRK delegation to the Daegu Summer Universiade denounced the ROK's conservative opposition Grand National Party (GNP) and other "impure forces" for obstructing its participation in the sports event for university students. In a statement released after arriving at their accommodation at the Daegu Bank training center, Chon Kug-man, head of the DPRK delegation, said, "The reason for our delayed arrival here is that the GNP and other impure forces blocked our participation in the Universiade games." Chon was apparently referring to the burning of a DPRK national flag and an image of the country's leader Kim Jong-il at a rally of right-wing groups in Seoul last week. "However, we decided to take part in the sporting event to let the world know the image of our nation, which is heading toward reconciliation, unity and unification," he said. Chon said North Korea's participation in the Daegu Summer Universiade, coming on the heels of its participation in last year's Busan Asian Games, will serve as a catalyst toward achieving national unification without interference from outside forces.

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Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China

International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
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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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