NAPSNet Daily Report
wednesday, august 27 2003

I. United States

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

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I. United States

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1. DPRK Multilateral Nuclear Talks

Agence France-Presse ("NUCLEAR TALKS UNDERWAY IN CHINA AS NKOREA RENEWS NON-AGGRESSION DEMAND," 08/27/03) reported that six-nation talks to defuse the crisis over the DPRK's nuclear weapons programs began in Beijing as Pyongyang renewed its central demand for a non-aggression pact from Washington. The PRC called the resumption of dialogue a "big step" toward a resolution of the 11-month crisis, although few analysts expect a major breakthrough with the DPRK sticking to its rigid negotiating position. The US wants the DPRK's nuclear programs dismantled before it considers economic assistance and diplomatic normalization, but the DPRK's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said the country would not back down unless it was first given US security guarantees. "The US should not attempt to force the DPRK (North Korea) to dismantle its nuclear deterrent force by making an empty promise or giving written 'security assurances' without any legal binding," said the paper. "The six-party talks indicate a big step toward the resolution of the Korean nuclear issue," the PRC's chief delegate Wang Yi said in his opening speech, according to the Xinhua news agency. The talks started at 9.03 am (0103 GMT) at the Diaoyutai state guest house in western Beijing, a Japanese official told AFP. At the prompting of Wang, smiling envoys from each country clasped hands together for a symbolic photograph, witnesses said. US diplomat James Kelly stood next to the DPRK's chief negotiator Kim Yong-Il and at one point looked directly at him, smiling before bowing slightly to the other representatives. On Wednesday, officials will make speeches outlining their basic positions, starting with the US, whose three-man team is seated with North Korea on one side at the table and Russia on the other. Next to the DPRK in a clockwise direction are Japan, the PRC and then the ROK.

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2. DPRK-US Side Meeting

The New York Times (Joseph Kahn, "US AND NORTH KOREA HOLD SIDE MEETING AT 6-NATION TALKS," Beijing, 08/27/03) and Agence France-Presse ("US DOWNPLAYS CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH NORTH KOREA AT BEIJING TALKS," Washington, 08/27/03) reported that the US and the DPRK had their first face-to-face meeting in four months today as part of broader six-nation negotiations on ending the DPRK's nuclear program, but diplomats downplayed prospects for an early breakthrough. James A. Kelly, an assistant secretary of state, and Kim Yong-Il, the DPRK's deputy foreign minister, met on the sidelines of formal discussions, helping set a businesslike tone for the Beijing talks, Asian diplomats said. Their meeting also broke a freeze on direct dialogue between the US and DPRK after a stormy encounter in April in which the DPRK warned that it was moving quickly to develop and deploy nuclear arms. The PRC placed the American and the DPRK participants in adjacent corners, which could have facilitated the one-on-one discussion between Kelly and Kim during a break in the afternoon session. The two men talked for 30 minutes, two Asian diplomats confirmed. The US has insisted on including the ROK, Japan and the PRC in the talks and ruled out bilateral meetings, arguing that only multilateral pressure was likely to convince the DPRK that it had no choice but to dismantle its nuclear facilities. The fact that Kelly met Kim on the first day was seen by some participants as a sign of modest flexibility by Kelly.

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3. DPRK Nuclear Weapon Possession

Agence France-Presse ("JAPAN JOINS SKOREA IN DENYING NKOREA SAYS IT HAS NO NUKE WEAPONS," Beijing, 08/27/03) reported that a top ROK official denied Russian reports that the DPRK told six-way nuclear talks that it had no nuclear weapons. "I do not think I heard that," Wi Sung-Lac, director general of North American affairs at the ROK foreign ministry said when asked whether North Korea had made the comments. Wi is a member of the ROK delegation at the talks and was in the conference venue for the duration of the discussions Wednesday. A senior Japanese official also denied Wednesday Russian reports that the DPRK told six-way nuclear talks that it had no nuclear weapons.

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4. PRC-Hong Kong Anti-Smuggling

Agence France-Presse ("PRC AUTHORITIES BLOCK SMUGGLERS' TUNNEL SET TO LINK WITH HONG KONG," 08/27/03) reported that PRC authorities have blocked a tunnel suspected of being built by smugglers to link a border town in the southern city of Shenzhen with neighboring Hong Kong, it was reported Wednesday. Police in Shenzhen had filled in the 25-meter (82.5-foot) long tunnel with cement and gravel after contacting the owner of an apartment unit in the town of Sha Tau Kok earlier this month, Wen Wei Po newspaper reported. The report said the tunnel was first discovered at the end of 2001, and it was sealed off again in November last year after police found works were being carried out in the tunnel. The tunnel was still some 500 meters (1,650 feet) away from Hong Kong when discovered, the report said. Authorities were carrying out investigations into the matter but there were no reports of any arrests, the paper reported.

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5. PRC Central Asia Influence

Agence France-Presse ("AGILE CHINA MAKING INROADS IN CENTRAL ASIA: US REPORT," 08/27/03) reported that the PRC has shown surprising "agility and creativity" in building influence in Central Asia, and the US and Russia must engage leaders in Beijing to head off future clashes in the region, a US think tank said. In a major new report, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) examined the PRC's post-Cold War drive to expand its weight in the energy-rich region and issued recommendations to US policymakers on how best to deal with its emergence. "China's interest in building relations with Central Asia is not startling given its long history in the region, but the agility and creativity it has exercised in doing so has taken many by surprise," the report said. CSIS, a non-partisan think tank, warned that although Central Asia is a "second-tier" priority for the great powers, leaders should take steps to ensure that their respective grab for influence does not spark clashes. "Increased tension is avoidable. There is great room for cooperation in Central Asia and no need for restrictive alliances," said the report. Central Asia's role in great power politics has sharply increased in recent years, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The region has taken on added strategic importance, owing to its vast, largely untapped energy reserves, and since the September 11 attacks exposed the breeding grounds of terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere. CSIS scholars called for a continued US commitment to Central Asia, including to political reform.

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6. ROK on Anti-DPRK Protests

Agence France-Presse ("SOUTH KOREA DEPLORES ANTI-NORTH PROTESTS," 08/27/03) reported that the ROK said it would take action to prevent any further anti-DPRK protests during the World Student Games in Daegu after the DPRK repeated its threat to pull out of the games. Minister of Culture and Tourism, Lee Chang-Dong, said at a press conference that the government would "strongly cope with" protests by right wing groups which he said had undermined the spirit of the games. "We deplore a series of acts by some groups which have got on the nerves of athletes participating in the games," Lee said on Wednesday. The North Koreans had said they would withdraw from the games unless the ROK took action over the protests, which have continued since a demonstration erupted in violence between DPRK journalists and protestors over the weekend. The protestors on Wednesday said they were filing a complaint with the Seoul prosecution office against the seven DPRK journalists who were engaged in a scuffle in which a German activist, Nobert Vollertsen, was injured. Right wing groups, including war veterans and religious groups, unfurled banners calling for the death of the DPRK's leader Kim Jong-Il and broadcast anti-DPRK messages from loudspeakers, disrupting a training session by North Koreans. "We strongly urge them to restrain themselves from these actions in respect of sportsmanship," said the minister, who is also in charge of sports affairs. As to the North's demand for an official apology, Lee said: "We don't have to be bound by the word 'apology.' But it is our side that has initiated the incident as political acts which irritate athletes are prohibited." He attacked conservative local news media for inflaming the situation by turning the episodes into a wider political confrontation between the two Koreas. "This is a sporting event and new media must not describe it with a political angle," he said.

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7. World Student Games

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA STRIKES GOLD AT STUDENT GAMES, BACKS DOWN FROM BOYCOTT THREAT," 08/27/03) reported that the DPRK claimed its first gold medal of the World Student Games as it backed down from repeated threats to walk out of the event on security grounds. Nineteen-year-old Hong Ok-Song crowned a positive day for the North Koreans with her victory in the women's 57kg judo, while compatriot An Gum Ae was overpowered by Audrey La Rizza of France in the 52kg final. The DPRK agreed to stay in the tournament after the ROK promised to crack down on anti-Pyongyang protests. "The ROK government expressed their regret and promised not to let this kind of incident happen again," said delegation head Jeon Kuk-Man. "So for the citizens of Daegu and to reward the love they have shown us, and to respect the spirit of the games, we declare that the DPRK delegation will continue to participate in the Daegu Universiade."

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8. Op-Ed: DPRK Nuclear Stalemate

The Financial Times (Susan Shirk, "A NUCLEAR STALEMATE THAT COULD PRODUCE A DEAL," London, 08/27/03) carried an Op-Ed that read diplomats from the US, the DPRK, the PRC, Russia, the ROK and Japan sit down together in Beijing today to try to solve the DPRK nuclear crisis. There is widespread scepticism about the chances of success, and for good reason. The DPRK, churning out bomb material, seems determined to acquire a nuclear deterrent no matter what. On the US side, the Bush administration's call for multilateral talks has sounded more like an excuse not to deal directly with the DPRK than a serious policy. And at least some in the administration see talks as a diplomatic box to tick before moving on to more coercive measures. Yet the talks may surprise everyone by succeeding. For the presence of the ROK, the PRC, Russia and Japan will push Washington as well as Pyongyang to compromise. The Bush administration favored a multilateral approach to help it form a common front with the DPRK's neighbors against the country's nuclear program. But in a multilateral format the pressure will go both ways. The north-east Asians will press the US to show more flexibility. The DPRK's neighbors recognize the dangers of a nuclear DPRK. But they are even more fearful of the spillovers from a violent conflict between the US and the DPRK provoked by either side. Hence the unprecedented Asian shuttle diplomacy to ensure the talks do not fail. And they are pushing Washington to give up its rhetoric about never succumbing to "nuclear blackmail". As long as the DPRK feels threatened by the US, it will cling to its nuclear security blanket. The US will have to reassure the DPRK about its intentions in a manner that Pyongyang finds credible. Perhaps a letter from President George W. Bush - or a reiteration of the pledge made at the end of the Clinton administration that "neither government would have hostile intent toward the other" - would do. A non-aggression agreement, like the one the US gave Ukraine in return for giving up the nuclear weapons the Soviet Union had based there, might be required. As back-up to US pledges, the PRC and Russia are willing to offer security guarantees of their own. The north-east Asians will also press the Bush administration to offer to exchange embassies with a non-nuclear North Korea. The promise of diplomatic recognition if the DPRK dismantles its nuclear program could be the most tangible and thus the most convincing expression of goodwill Washington can offer. As for economic incentives, the ROK and Japan are prepared to provide aid and investment so that Washington can say it is not being duped into paying the DPRK to comply. These governments will, however, press the US to allow a DPRK that drops its nuclear program to obtain technical assistance and loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which will be essential if North Korea's nascent market reforms are to succeed. One of the stickiest issues on the agenda will be the task of verifying that Pyongyang abandons nuclear production and gets rid of all nuclear material. No matter how intrusive and thorough-going the international inspections, US purists will always assert that there is no way to prove definitively that the North Koreans retain no nuclear material. The ROK, Japan, the PRC and Russia will rightly urge the US to adopt a reasonable standard of verification, even if it means living without absolute certainty. In Beijing, the Bush administration will have to listen to the other governments. The PRC is the largest source of DPRK food and fuel aid and the ROK and Japan are providers of essential investment and aid. Their economic roles give them leverage on the US as well as the DPRK. All of them, even the PRC, would probably join the US in a United Nations-based sanctions regime against the DPRK if they were convinced that Washington had genuinely tried to negotiate but had been rebuffed by the DPRK. Multilateralism in north-east Asia is unprecedented. The north-east Asians will work hard to ensure it succeeds in bringing the US and North Korea out of their corners and in pushing them into a serious negotiating process. The writer is professor in the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at University of California, San Diego, and was deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, 1997-2000.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. PRC's Hope to Progress in 6-way talks

JOONGANG ILBO ("ROK envoy to talks: 'China wants progress'" 08/27/03) reported that the head of ROK's delegation to the talks here on DPRK's nuclear ambitions said last night that on the eve of the negotiations PRC expressed hope that progress could be made to end the crisis. Lee Soo-hyuck of ROK, following a dinner at which delegations to the six-party talks gathered, quoted Wang Yi, PRC's head delegate, as saying, "We should not let this opportunity slip away." The two Koreas, PRC, Japan, the U.S and Russia begin three days of discussions today hoping to defuse the standoff over DPRK's clandestine nuclear arms development program. The meeting is the second attempt to resolve the crisis. DPRK's chief delegate, Kim Yong-il, briefly stopped by at the DPRK Embassy after his arrival and headed directly to PRC's Foreign Ministry. Though the DPRK delegates remained silent yesterday, Kim gestured enthusiastically for photographers.

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2. Intense diplomatic pressure on DPRK

The New York Times (Joseph Kahn, "Stage set for North Korea arms talks: Bush administration faces hurdle as 6 parties gather in China," 08/27/03) reported that DPRK will come under intense diplomatic pressure Wednesday to scrap its nuclear weapons program as U.S begins six-party negotiations on how to resolve the Korean arms crisis with DPRK and its four neighbors. The talks, scheduled to take place over three days in the PRC capital, are the most concerted diplomatic push on the DPRK issue since President George W. Bush took office in January 2001. They pose a difficult challenge to the U.S administration as it seeks to persuade DPRK to abandon its nuclear ambitions without directly rewarding it for doing so, which Bush has described as submitting to blackmail. ROK, Japan, Russia and PRC will participate, meeting the Bush administration's longstanding condition that talks involve the regional players. Diplomats and analysts say the four countries are likely to support U.S demands that DPRK dismantle its arms program and submit to international inspections. But DPRK's negotiators are known for seeking to exploit minor differences between the U.S and the other countries involved, and the talks are expected to be difficult and prolonged. On the eve of the discussions, which were arranged after extensive shuttle diplomacy by Beijing diplomats, PRC officials called on all sides to come prepared to make concessions. That means ending DPRK's nuclear program but also offering the country a firm security guarantee, the officials said. "PRC holds that the Korean Peninsula should be nuclear-free and reasonable security concerns of the DPRK should be addressed," Zeng Qinghong, PRC's vice president, said Tuesday, using the formal name for DPRK. The fact that talks are taking place at all, following a stormy bargaining session in April and DPRK's repeated assertions in recent weeks that it is moving expeditiously to reprocess plutonium for nuclear bombs, has prompted cautious optimism that the discussions could be constructive, though almost certainly inconclusive. "There is real pressure on DPRK to make concessions, but also on the U.S to be reasonable," said Susan Shirk, a former State Department official in the Clinton administration. "I'd be surprised if we see a real breakthrough, but also if the talks collapse."

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3. Long way to solve the conflict between U.S and DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Kyung-bok, "U.S., North Begin Far Apart in Beijing" 08/27/03) reported that each of the countries participating in the six-way talks to resolve the DPRK nuclear problem stated their positions on Wednesday, the first day of the talks. Unsurprisingly, the U.S and DPRK showed a wide difference of opinion during the keynote speeches, presaging difficulty in reaching common ground at the talks. The other participants are ROK, Japan, PRC and Russia. U.S Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James Kelly stressed that a verifiable and irrevocable abandonment of DPRK's nuclear program was the first step to solving the problem. Kelly confirmed that Washington had no intention to attack DPRK, but did not talk specifics about a possible nonaggression treaty, Beijing's diplomatic sources said. DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Yong-il repeated DPRK's basic stance on a nonaggression treaty with Washington. Kim argued that the nuclear problem was triggered by Washington's hostile DPRK policy, and insisted that nuclear inspections and restrictions would be possible only when the U.S abandons the hostile policy.

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4. PRC preparing for DPRK's collapse.

Chosun Ilbo (Joo Yong-jung, "Optimism in Beijing About Regime Change" 08/27/03) reported that the PRC People's Liberation Army has elaborate plans to deal with DPRK in case of its collapse, the Washington Times reported Wednesday, quoting its PRC military sources. "Government-backed scholars in Beijing now speak of regime change in DPRK in hopeful terms," the report said, and "some PRC academics have started arguing that DPRK's collapse would actually not be harmful to PRC's long-term interests." The newspaper also said that Shi Yinhong, a specialist on PRC security, wrote in an unpublished paper that "PRC could benefit in the long-term from DPRK's collapse. ROK, which would take over, would naturally gravitate toward PRC and away from Japan and the U.S. U.S. troops would leave the peninsula and PRC's influence over Northeast Asia would rise." The Post's report continued: "Beijing increasingly views DPRK and its apparent desire to develop a nuclear weapon as a risk, and officials have all but pleaded with the government of Kim Jong Il to begin reforming the country's moribund economy."

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5. Criticism on ROK's stance toward Radio Plan

Chosun Ilbo (Park Hae-hyun, "Suppression of Radio Plan Criticized" 08/27/03) reported that the Paris-based Group Reporters Without Borders criticized the ROK government Tuesday for stopping local activists from using balloons to float radios to DPRK. The press-freedom advocate group also sent a letter to Government Administration and Home Affairs Minister Kim Doo-kwan asking how floating radios to DPRK threatened the security of ROK. The group pointed out that ROK had at first supported the idea to send radios to DPRK, and stressed that it should reauthorize the plan. It cited that DPRK people can only listen to government-generated broadcasts, and it affirmed that it supported the ROK human rights organizations for trying to send mini-radios to DPRK. It also pointed out that Norbert Vollertsen, a German doctor who led the movement, was treated harshly by police and was hospitalized with bruises on one leg.

III. People's Republic of China

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1. PRC-ROK Relations

People's Daily ("HU AND ROH EXCHANGE VIEWS ON PHONE," Beijing, 08/22/03, P1) reported that Chinese President Hu Jintao and President of ROK Roh Moo-hyun on August 21 exchanged views via phone conversation on the nuclear issue of the Korean peninsula and the six-party talks to be held in Beijing next week. Roh expressed appreciation and gratitude for PRC's unremitting efforts to make the six-party talks possible. Hu said the six-party talks represent an important step towards a peaceful solution to the Korean nuclear issue. Hu said all relevant parties should avail themselves of the opportunity to exchange views and reach more consensus so as to maintain the dialogue for a peaceful solution.

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2. DPRK-PRC Relations

People's Daily (Zhao Jiaming, "DPRK LEADER MEETS CHINESE MILITARY DELEGATION," 08/21/03, P3) reported that the leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong Il, expressed his hope on August 20 that the relations between his country and PRC and the two armies will keep developing smoothly. Kim Jong Il made the remarks while meeting with a Chinese high-level military delegation led by Xu Caihou, a member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and a member of the Central Military Commission and director of the PLA General Political Department. In spite of the complicated situation around the Korean Peninsula, the DPRK and PRC have maintained a friendly relationship, said Kim Jong Il. He also reiterated the DPRK's principled stand on the nuclear issue. Xu Caihou, on his part, said PRC will make unremitting efforts to consolidate the traditional DPRK-PRC relationship based on the common understanding reached by leaders of the two countries, according to the report.

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3. PRC-Russian Ties

People's Daily (Dong Longjiang, "CHINESE, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT CALL FOR STRENGTHENED CULTURAL TIES," St. Petersburg, 08/21/03, P1) reported that Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Vladimir Putin have called for more efforts to strengthen cultural ties between the two countries. In a message to the "Week of China" which opened Wednesday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Hu said that strengthening Sino-Russian cultural exchanges is conducive to enhancing the understandings between the two peoples and promoting the enrichment and development of the two cultures. Putin, in his message, said that cultural exchanges are a way leading to better understandings, which, in turn, help expand common grounds for friendly cooperation between the two sides. Hu's message was read at the opening ceremony by Zhao Qizheng, director of the Information Office of the Chinese government, while Putin's message was delivered by the acting mayor of St. Petersburg, said the report.

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4. DPRK-Japan Relations

People's Daily (Ji Xinlong, "DPRK BLASTS JAPANESE OFFICIALS FOR VISIT TO WAR SHRINE," Pyongyang, 08/20/03, P3) reported that the DPRK warned on August 17 it will not tolerate Japan's moves for militarization, including the visit to Yasukuni war shrine. The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a commentary that the visit to Yasukuni shrine Friday by Japanese high-ranking officials indicates that the "Japanese reactionaries" still seek to realize their ambition for the re-invasion of Asia at any cost by "calling back the departed souls of militarists, oblivious of a lesson taught by history." The visit to the shrine can not but be a "criminal move to revive militarism," which arouses the doubt of the Asian people about the Japanese politicians' political intention to redeem Japan's aggression of Asia and all other crimes it committed against Korean and other Asian people in the past century, the commentary said. The continuing visits to the shrine by the "Japanese reactionaries" can not but be a "perfidy" to the DPRK-Japan Declaration signed by top leaders of the two countries, whereby the DPRK and Japan committed themselves to liquidating the unhappy past and establish new good neighborly and friendly relations, it said. "The Korean people will never tolerate the Japanese reactionaries' criminal act of escalating their moves for militarization and overseas expansion while evading the issue of redeeming Japan's past and laying an ideological and moral foundation for militarization in wanton violation of the spirit of the Pyongyang declaration," the KCNA said.

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5. DPRK-ROK Relations

China Daily (Seoul, 08/20/03, P1) reported that the DPRK withdrew on August 19 its threat to skip the world student games in the ROK, a boycott prompted by Pyongyang's anger at the burning of a DPRK flag at protests in Seoul last week, ROK media said.

China Daily ("DPRK URGES US TO ALTER POLICY," Seoul, 08/19/03, P1) reported that on August 18, ROK navy speedboats fired warning shots at a DPRK ship which briefly violated southern territorial waters, said the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The 10-ton DPRK ship crossed the northern limit line (NLL) in the Yellow Sea between the two countries about 9.5 kilometers southeast off Bangnyeong Island shortly before noon. The DPRK ship moved 800 meters into southern waters but returned to the DPRK side six minutes later as a fleet of ROK patrol boats gave it five warning shots. The JCS said the DPRK navy showed no particular movement, adding the DPRK ship was believed to have violated ROK waters due to poor visibility.

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6. DPRK-US Relations on Nuke Issue

China Daily ("DPRK URGES US TO ALTER POLICY," Seoul, 08/19/03, P1) reported that the DPRK said on August 18 unless the US changes its policy towards Pyongyang, it will use next week's six-party talks in Beijing to declare it cannot dismantle its nuclear weapons. The DPRK's official KCNA news agency said it will consider Washington has altered its stance only if it agrees to sign a non-aggression pact, establish diplomatic ties and make clear it will not hinder Pyongyang's foreign trade. "If the US does not express its will to make a change in its policy towards the DPRK, the DPRK will have no option but to declare that it cannot dismantle its nuclear deterrent force at the talks," KCNA said.

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7. PRC's Commentary on Japan's Distortion of History

China Daily (Wu Yixue, "'MANCHUKUO' LIES HURT RELATIONS," 08/19/03, P4) carried a commentary saying that Japan's constant distortion of history has proven to be one of the major factors affecting Sino-Japanese bilateral relations. In late July, Japanese lawyers pleading for the Japanese Government against a compensation case started by three orphans left in Northeast China at the end of World War II made the surprising assertion that "Manchukuo" region was "an independent state." The lawyers claimed Japan therefore need not compensate the parties for any hardship they suffered there. It is a well-known fact that the Japanese Government has the habit of shirking responsibility for its wrongdoings perpetrated during the war in front of either its own people or its Asian neighbors, the article said. The so-called "Manchukuo" refers to the puppet regime illegally established in Northeast China (also known as Manchuria) in early 1932 under the aegis of the Japanese Kanto Army, the spearhead force in Japan's invasion of China during the 1930s and 1940s. Although the absurd opinion was not officially put forward by the Japanese Government, it hurt Chinese people all the same. A careful probe into historical facts must prove that "Manchukuo" was no more than a result of Japan's aggression in PRC and its then military strategy. From the perspective of international law, it was illegal for Japan to make use of PRC's overthrown emperor and set up a "state." The Japanese lawyers should not stain the image of their own country further with wild talk, said the article.

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8. Japan's Security Measures

China Daily ("JAPAN POISED TO LAUNCH MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM," Tokyo, 08/23-24/03, P8) reported that prompted by alleged threats from the DPRK, Japan's Defense Ministry is set to make a budget request of more than US$1 billion for the next fiscal year to introduce a missile defense system. The ministry also plans to boost its air-to-surface attack capability by ordering a GPS guidance system from the US to convert its air force's existing bombs into "smart bombs," the report said. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun financial daily said the ministry is expected to make a budget request for the fiscal year, a large part of which would be for a new US-made missile defense system. A Defense Ministry spokesman declined to comment on the report. The report said that the report comes just days before crucial six-country talks on the Korean nuclear issue are due to begin in Beijing on August 27.

IV. Japan

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1. Japan Permanent Security Panel

The Japan Times ("PERMANENT PANEL EYED TO OVERSEE SECURITY ISSUES," 08/13/03) reported that the Japanese government decided to set up a permanent panel that will study emergency situations and hold strategic discussions on security issues to reinforce national security. The government will request funds from fiscal 2004 budget allocations to establish the secretariat, and intends to launch the body during that fiscal year, government officials said. One official said he hopes the secretariat will boost the role and functions of the Security Council of Japan to make it the "Japanese version of the United States' National Security Council." The body will function within a committee of the Security Council of Japan that deals with emergencies, the officials said. The secretariat, which will be comprised of Cabinet councilors, is intended to advise the prime minister over national defense policies. The body will look into important security-related data captured by Japan's spy satellite, they said. It will also analyze and consider information from the government's ministries and agencies about the DPRK's nuclear and missile development. Meanwhile, the Security Council's 22-member committee for dealing with emergencies, established in June, held its first meeting last week. Members agreed to meet regularly. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda heads the committee and senior government officials are members.

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2. Japan Iraq Troop Deployment

The Japan Times (Nao Shimoyachi, "LET IRAQIS RESTORE SECURITY: AID OFFICER," 08/14/03) reported that security in Iraq can only be restored by its people, not by a foreign military, so the international community should instead provide technical assistance, according to a UNICEF officer based in Baghdad. Yuji Taketomo, 37, oversees the purchase of goods and services as a UNICEF logistics officer under the UN-administered Oil for Food Program in Iraq, which started in 1996 as a means to ease the hardships of ordinary Iraqis caused by economic sanctions. Taketomo evacuated from Baghdad along with four other fellow international aid workers to Amman on the morning of March 18 when US President George W. Bush delivered a speech giving former President Saddam Hussein a 48-hour ultimatum. Four months later, upon returning to the Iraqi capital, Taketomo found a pile of requests waiting at his office, including some for repairs of broken water mains and utility poles. UNICEF's policy is to let only Iraqi companies carry out its projects there. Before allowing a company to participate in bidding, the UN body sends officers to check its status, according to Taketomo, who said that when he made the rounds in July he found that out of the 20 companies registered with the UNICEF office, only five were operating. Taketomo does not think foreign troops should lead the effort to restore security, because the Iraqis are a proud people who have a high level of education and a nation rich in natural resources. He thus believes it is unwise for Japan, the No. 2 donor for UNICEF's emergency relief efforts in Iraq, to send the SDF. To publicize Japan's presence in the reconstruction effort, Taketomo has urged that a Japan logo be printed on some 5 million bags, paid for out of Japan's contributions, that UNICEF plans to distribute among all Iraqi schoolchildren.

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3. Japan Nuclear Reactor Restart

Kyodo ("TEPCO REACTOR IDLE FOR A YEAR RESTARTED AFTER DEFECT REPAIRS," Fukushima, 08/14/03) reported that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) reactivated the Fukushima Unit 1 nuclear power plant's No. 3 reactor, which was shut down a year ago during a routine safety check and before revelations that TEPCO had falsified safety reports to cover up faults. The restart of the repaired reactor followed an endorsement by Fukushima Gov. Eisaku Sato during a meeting with TEPCO President Tsunehisa Katsumata. After the scandal broke last August, TEPCO was forced to shut down all 17 of its reactors in Niigata and Fukushima prefectures by the end of April. The restart of the No. 3 reactor comes after one in Fukushima and three in Niigata have been brought back online. The Fukushima Prefectural Government performed an independent check even after the assurance due to concerns by local residents.

Kyodo ("GLOBAL ENERGY BODY TO INSPECT NIIGATA REACTOR," Niigata, 08/15/03) reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will send inspectors to Japan next year to assess safety measures at a nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture, the government's own nuclear safety agency said. A team of more than 10 IAEA officials and nuclear experts will examine the pertinence of safety measures implemented at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), according to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, an organization that operates under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The team representing the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog will help the utility enhance safety measures at its nuclear reactors during its three-week stay, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said. In November, TEPCO asked the IAEA -- via the Japanese agency -- if it was ready to send a team of this kind to help it bolster safety measures. In July, TEPCO officially asked the IAEA to dispatch an inspection team. TEPCO wants the inspectors to assess the safety measures it has implemented since it revealed in August 2002 that it had falsified safety reports submitted to the government.

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4. US Bases in Okinawa

Kyodo ("U.S. MARINE FACES FIVE YEARS IN NAHA RAPE, BATTERY TRIAL," Naha, 08/14/03) reported that prosecutors demanded five years in prison for a US Marine accused of raping and beating a woman in Okinawa Prefecture in May. The Naha District Court heard the demand in the case of Jose Torres, a 21-year-old lance corporal stationed at the Marine Corps' Camp Hansen in the town of Kin. Torres admitted to the charges during the first session of the trial last month. Torres is the third serviceman the US military has agreed to turn over to Japanese police prior to indictment in line with a request from Tokyo.

Kyodo ("FLARE UP OVER FLARES," Naha, 08/15/03) reported that the Okinawa Prefectural Government are asking officials at the US Kadena Air Base to probe an incident in which an F-15 fighter jet accidentally released flares onto a base runway on Aug. 13. Six flares used for training fell onto the runway immediately after the F-15 took off. There was no damage to the runway, according to the base, which said it is investigating the accident. In a written request to the base and related facilities, the prefecture said: "With one false step, the accident could have been serious and fatal. It is thus extremely regrettable that it has caused considerable unease among prefectural citizens." "In April last year, when a similar incident took place in the air over the Kadena base, we strongly urged steps to prevent a recurrence, but that request has not been heeded," the prefectural government wrote.

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5. Japan WWII War Memorial

The Japan Times ("LDP OPPOSITION MEANS NO FUNDS FOR PROPOSED SECULAR WAR MEMORIAL," 08/14/03) reported that the Japanese government has decided not to earmark funds in fiscal 2004 for a national facility to honor the war dead due to strong opposition from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), government sources said. The creation of a secular memorial was proposed in December by an advisory panel to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda. The plan was intended to quell the anger stirred in Asia by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Class-A war criminals along with the war dead. The proposal did not say whether Class-A war criminals should also be honored in a new facility. Koizumi voiced support for the plan. Soka Gakkai, the nation's biggest lay Buddhist organization and a backer of New Komeito in the ruling coalition, has also been calling for funding for such a facility. But a number of LDP lawmakers insisted that Yasukuni Shrine remain the key place for paying homage to the war dead. Among them is Makoto Koga, a former LDP secretary general.

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6. Japan War Contingency Plan in 1994

The Japan Times ("UP AGAINST WALL, DEFENSE AGENCY LOOKED TO U.N," 08/15/03) reported that the Japanese Defense Agency in 1994 compiled the draft of basic security legislation that stressed the need for the nation to have war-contingency plans and for Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to actively take part in UN-mandated peacekeeping operations, government sources said. The document was never submitted as a bill to the Diet. At the time, expectations were growing for the UN to address international conflicts. A team of officials within the agency began working on the draft in January 1994 under the instructions of then Vice Minister Shigeru Hatakeyama, the sources said. Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa was advocating a reorganization, or even curtailment, of the SDF following the end of the Cold War. The draft was apparently intended as a rebuttal to calls for the Defense Agency and SDF to be scaled down, the sources said. The document contains five chapters and 19 articles. As the basic policy, it says Japan "shall actively cooperate in activities of international organizations" and cites "peacekeeping operations led by the United Nations" as possible SDF missions. It says Japan's security is "founded on the Japan-US security arrangement" but says nothing about whether the SDF should expand its operations abroad on the grounds of the alliance. On mobilizing SDF personnel during emergencies, the draft says: "Necessary measures shall be taken to ensure smooth, effective actions for our country's defense." It also cites the need for a law authorizing a war-contingency plan and allows for peacetime measures to promote disaster preparedness, and rescue and evacuation operations.

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International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
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Monash Asia Institute,
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Brandon Yu:
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Kim Young-soo:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hibiki Yamaguchi:
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Saiko Iwata:
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Wu Chunsi:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

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