NAPSNet Daily Report
 
wednesday, october 8, 2003
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CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Japan III. People's Republic of China
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I. United States


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1. DPRK on Japan at Nuclear Talks

The Associated Press ("N KOREA, AT UN, ACCUSES JAPAN OF ADOPTING HOSTILE POLICY," United Nations, 10/08/03) reported the DPRK accused Japan of adopting a hostile policy that is aimed at a military clash -an allegation Japan vehemently denied. The exchange took place Tuesday at the end of a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly's Disarmament Committee, according to a U.N. report of the session. It came on a day that the DPRK said it will not allow Japan to participate in any new multilateral talks aimed at curbing Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programs because it considers Tokyo untrustworthy. Stressing that Japan had a role to play in any discussions on the nuclear issue, Japanese government spokesman Jiro Okuyama said at a regional summit in Bali, Indonesia: "We simply cannot accept such a statement." At Tuesday's U.N. meeting, Kuniko Inoguchi, the Japanese representative to the U.N. Commission on Disarmament, expressed concern about North Korea's withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and urged the country to immediately dismantle its nuclear program in a transparent, verifiable manner. The DPRK did not speak at the session, but at the end, its representative exercised the "right of reply" and said Japan's policy of stifling Pyongyang was now becoming more pronounced, according to the U.N. report which did not identify the representative. Consequently, the DPRK diplomat said relations between the two countries were "inching close" to a clash, according to the U.N. report.


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2. Japan on DPRK Nuclear Talks

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA THREAT TO JAPAN 'RIDICULOUS': ANALYSTS," 10/08/03) reported that the DPRK's "ridiculous" demand that Japan be thrown out of future nuclear talks is pure gamesmanship, analysts said Wednesday, predicting a next round will go ahead in November as planned. "It's basically gamesmanship. They know they have to let Japan in and that will be the eventual outcome," said Stuart Harris, a North Asia expert from the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University. "If they still want a multinational security guarantee then Japan has to be a signatory. The DPRK is looking for economic support and they will also want Japan involved in that. "I think they are just a bit irritated with Japan for bringing up bilateral issues and this is their usual unsubtle way of telling Tokyo to back off."


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3. Japan-Russia Oil Pipeline

Dow Jones ("JAPAN HOPES RUSSIA DECIDES ON OIL PIPELINE BY DEC," New York, 10/08/03) reported that Japan hopes the Russian government will make up its mind whether it will choose China or Japan as the primary buyer of Siberian oil by the time of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov's planned visit to Japan in December, the Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday, citing Japan's Assistant Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shotaro Yachi. The decision involves building an overland oil pipeline across Siberia for oil shipments. Japan wants the Russians to build a pipeline that links Siberian oil fields to the nearest Russian port to Japan, while the PRC want the pipeline to go to China. Yachi, in Moscow for talks with Russian officials on long-term overall ties between the two countries, told Kyodo he raised the pipeline issue in separate meetings with Russian presidential aide Sergey Jastrgzemsky and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov. Japan has proposed building a 3,700-kilometer pipeline to carry crude oil from Angarsk near Lake Baikal in Siberia to the Russian port city of Nakhodka on the Sea of Japan. China proposed linking Angarsk and Daqing, an inland city in Heilongjiang Province, about halfway between Angarsk and Nakhodka. Yachi, speaking to reporters after meeting with Losyukov and others, said he has "a feeling" that the Russian government is considering first building an oil pipeline to Nakhodka, Kyodo reported. Moscow had indicated it was leaning toward the PRC position, but recent Russian media reports said the Russian government will put off the route decision until August next year, according to Kyodo.


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4. Japan Domestic Economics

The Associated Press ("JAPAN ALARMED AT RATE OF RISING YEN," Tokyo, 10/08/03) reported that Japanese leaders warned Wednesday that the yen's sudden spike against the US dollar is bad for the world's second biggest economy and hinted at a government intervention to halt its rise. The dollar, which was trading at 109.60 yen here late Wednesday, briefly sank to a three-year low 109.35 yen in trading Tuesday in New York on worries about expanding US trade and current account deficits. The yen's appreciation against the dollar worries Japanese business leaders and politicians because it makes the nation's exports more expensive overseas, thus hampering Japan's fledgling economic comeback. Japan's top government spokesman said the rise wouldn't be tolerated. "The yen's recent gains have been too sharp. It's bad for the economy," chief cabinet secretary Yasuo Fukuda told a news conference. "We will respond to excessive moves. We will take decisive steps." To stem the yen's rise, Japan has repeatedly sold yen on the foreign exchange market this year, including a colossal 4.46 trillion yen outlay in September.


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5. US Senator Levin on DPRK Negotiations

Senator Carl Levin, "Statement of Senator Carl Levin on Need for Negotiations with North Korea," Washington, 10/03/03) issued the following statement today: Yesterday North Korea announced for the third time that it had finished reprocessing its 8,000 spent plutonium fuel rods, which is enough to make about six nuclear weapons. The reaction from the White House was dismissive. Secretary of State Colin Powell said, "Well, first of all, I would say that this is the third time they have told us they'd just finished reprocessing the rods. We have no evidence to confirm that, and so they say, once again, they have reprocessed the rods and they say, once again, that they are going to go forward with their program. I believe that this is a matter of the most serious concern for the international community, and I think North Korea's neighbors should also be delivering a message to Kim Jong-Il that the solution to the problem is for them to stop moving in this direction, continue to participate in the diplomacy that is underway. The US is reviewing the results of the six-party meeting that we held in Beijing not too long ago, and we are examining ways, in cooperation with our colleagues in the area, to provide the kinds of security assurances that might help to move the process further along." I continue to be concerned that the administration is not moving aggressively enough to engage the North Koreans in negotiations to completely and verifiably eliminate their nuclear weapons program. Despite urging from our allies in South Korea and Japan, and the PRC government, the President has not indicated that he is ready to place a serious negotiating package before the North Korean. Reviewing the results of the August meeting should not take long, because there was no concrete outcome. Indeed, that meeting even failed to result in agreement to meet again. Time is not on our side. This is not just a matter of serious concern, but -- plain and simple -- a crisis. While the administration "reviews results" the North Korean get closer to developing a serious nuclear weapons capability.


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6. PRC Space Flight

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA'S MANNED SPACE FLIGHT TO LAST JUST 90 MINUTES ON OCTOBER 15," 10/08/03) reported that the PRC's first manned space mission will make a single orbit of the earth in a flight that lasts just 90 minutes on October 15, reports and television officials said Wednesday. "We have been told our live broadcast of the launch will be on the 15th. But we do not know the exact time of the launch on the day," a China Central Television news centre official told AFP. Several analysts had tipped October 15 as the date and state-run Phoenix TV, broadcast from Hong Kong, also Wednesday quoted reliable sources as confirming this was the preliminary timeframe. "Relevant sources said that upon close examination of the weather and other important elements, the preliminary launch date of the Shenzhou V has been set for October 15," Phoenix said. The date is a day after the end of a key communist party meeting in Beijing attended by the country's top leaders, allowing the PRC's leaders the opportunity to make their way to the launch site in the country's northwest. Xie Guangxuan, an engineer who headed the unmanned Shenzhou III mission, and who now works for the China Academy of Sciences, was quoted as saying the Shenzhou V flight would last around 90 mintues. "As far as I know concerning the testing and check ups, all preparations for the launch of the Shenzhou at present are going smoothly," said Xie. If the mission succeeds, China will become only the third country to send a man into space. Experts believe just one astronaut will make the trip, selected from a team of 14. Four unmanned Shenzhou capsules have so far been been launched since 1999 in preparation. The CCTV official said the spacecraft will blast off from a launch pad in Inner Mongolia. The Jiuquan Space Launch Center in northwestern Gansu province will coordinate the historic flight.


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7. ASEAN Security, Trade Pacts

Agence France-Presse ("ASEAN TO SIGN SECURITY, TRADE PACTS WITH ASEAN GIANTS," 10/08/03) reported that Southeast Asian leaders were to sign a series of far-reaching security or trade deals with giant neighbors the PRC, India and Japan as part of efforts to invigorate their economies and keep regional peace. Nuclear-armed China signed a non-aggression pact with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the first country outside the region to do so. Another nuclear state, India, was to follow suit later in the day. With that signing, said Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda, "we (will) have almost three billion people grouped under the same rules of good conduct." He said he hoped Japan and South Korea would also soon sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, which already binds all ASEAN members and which renounces the threat or use of force to settle disputes. "It will certainly help to develop not only peace and stability, but prosperity in the region," Wirayuda said. "It shows the element of trust between China and ASEAN. That's a very important statement by both sides," said Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. "It basically would try to stop problems, if there are any, through dialogue and negotiations," he told AFP.


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8. Japan Domestic Politics

Agence France-Presse ("JAPANESE AMBASSADOR FIRED AFTER VOICING DISSENT OVER US-LED WAR ON IRAQ," 10/09/03) reported that a veteran Japanese diplomat, who was the country's ambassador to Lebanon until August, said he was fired after expressing his opposition to the US-led war on Iraq in two official telegrams. Naoto Amaki, 56, sent the first telegram directly addressed to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi six days before the US-led forces launched their attack on Iraq on March 20. "In that telegram, I said we should continue to exhaust all our diplomatic efforts so as to avoid the war...We must oppose the unilateral military action by the US," Amaki told a news conference in Tokyo. But Koizumi's announcement of Japan's support for the war came just hours after the beginning of US airstrikes in Baghdad and Amaki, feeling angry at what he called "arrogant and inhuman" US military action, sent another telegram to Tokyo, urging Koizumi to do something to end the war. "I felt incredibly sad when I heard Koizumi saying Japan would give its support for post-war reconstruction efforts in Iraq at the very moment when people were really being killed," the former ambassador said Wednesday. "So I sent another telegram, saying the war should be stopped by diplomatic means and told Koizumi that his repeated remarks on Japan's support for the war were like rubbing salt into the wounds," he said. The foreign ministry's most senior bureaucrat, vice foreign minister Yukio Takeuchi sent Amaki a one-page letter, saying the ministry was going to undertake revitalization reforms to rejuvenate its diplomatic corps and it was time for him to take early retirement. "Takeuchi said to me I had overstepped the organization's bounds and I would be unhappy if I stayed with the foreign ministry," said Amaki, who returned to Tokyo in the summer after completing his tour in Lebanon. The foreign ministry, for its part, has said Amaki's departure was part of the ministry's routine personnel reshuffle to promote younger diplomats.

The Associated Press (Audrey McAvoy, "RIVAL TO JAPAN PM TO RUN AGAINST HIM," Tokyo, 10/08/03) reported that one of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's most outspoken rivals - former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka - announced Wednesday she will attempt a political comeback in elections expected next month. Tanaka will run as an independent in the parliamentary elections, said her aide Takamitsu Ishibashi. Her decision to seek her old lower house seat will pit her against her former party, the ruling Liberal Democrats. It comes a week after prosecutors said they would not pursue allegations of fraud and that she misappropriated staff salaries. The accusations led to her resignation from Parliament last summer. Koizumi has hinted for months he will dissolve Parliament as soon as an anti-terror bill is passed. If he does, campaigning will likely kick off Oct. 28 for the lower house's 480 seats and the vote will be held Nov. 9. Koizumi is eager to have voters confirm the mandate he received to carry out reforms when he was re-elected Liberal Democratic Party president by a wide margin last month. He is in a strong position - with approval ratings above 60 percent and pundits predicting a solid victory for the LDP-led ruling coalition.


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9. PRC-Hong Kong Relations

Agence France-Presse ("PRC PREMIER 'HAPPY' WITH HONG KONG'S STABILITY," 10/08/03) reported that PRC premier Wen Jiabao said he was pleased to see Hong Kong had gradually stabilized following a political crisis which arose from mass protests earlier this year. Wen Wednesday told Hong Kong media while attending the Association of South East Asian Nations meeting on Indonesia's island of Bali that he was also happy to see the territory's economy heading towards recovery. "Hong Kong has a bright future as long as we are united," he said, adding he was "full of confidence" in the territory. Wen also reiterated the central government's "firm belief" that the people of Hong Kong could rule the region better under the "one country, two systems" policy which has allowed it to retain high autonomy since its 1997 handover from British rule. However, Wen said Hong Kong must "go through gradual democratization" so that the basic rights of the people guaranteed under the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini constitution, could be safeguarded.


II. Japan


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1. Japan Cabinet Reshuffle

The Japan Times (Reiji Yoshida, "KOIZUMI SHAKES UP LDP LEADERSHIP," 09/22/03) reported that in a bold and surprising bid to ward off a party rebellion, Prime Minister Junichio Koizumi appointed Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe as the No. 2 man in his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Abe's appointment as secretary general, one of the top positions in the LDP, came fresh off Koizumi's re-election as party president. In another move at the top, LDP Deputy Secretary General Fukushiro Nukaga was appointed chairman of the Policy Affairs Research Council. Mitsuo Horiuchi was kept in his current job as Executive Council chairman. Since Abe was elected to the House of Representatives in 1993, he has won only three times in national elections. This is usually too short a political career to hold the party's No. 2 position, considering the strict seniority promotion system that has dominated the LDP for decades. Abe, a close aide to Koizumi, is highly popular with voters thanks to his tough diplomatic stance against the DPRK. Depending on Abe's solid public support, Koizumi appears to be trying to contain a possible rebellion of party executives who have long called for removal of some of Koizumi's close aides. A sticking point in the shakeup of the LDP executive lineup was whether Abe's predecessor, Taku Yamasaki -- Koizumi's closest ally -- would retain his post. Koizumi appointed Yamasaki as vice president of the LDP. The position, which had been vacant, is considered a honorary post with little power. It is often given to a heavyweight lawmaker who has come out on the short end of a power struggle within the LDP. Some influential LDP executives, including Koizumi opponents who nevertheless voted for him in the presidential election, have vocally called for Yamasaki's removal as secretary general to reduce Koizumi's power and thereby bleed momentum from Koizumi's austere reform drive. It is believed that Abe's appointment as secretary general will offset at least some of the impact of Yamasaki's removal, and possibly further strengthen Koizumi's power. But some LDP members doubt whether the junior Diet member can handle the difficult task of mediating between Koizumi and the anti-Koizumi forces within the party.


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2. Japan Iraq Troop Deployment

The Japan Times (Kanako Takahara, "KAWAGUCHI EYES BIGGER SDF ROLE," 09/24/03) reported that the Japanese government should pursue a more flexible interpretation of the Constitution's war-renouncing Article 9 and allow the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to make a greater contribution to global peacekeeping efforts, according to Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi. "I think we should continue to place importance on Article 9. But perhaps there are other ways to interpret it," Kawaguchi told journalists shortly after her reappointment. The peacekeeping operations law sets tight parameters on Japan's engagement in UN-led military activities on foreign soil. Despite pressure from the US for a prompt dispatch of SDF troops to Iraq, Kawaguchi said Japan would consider the timing and nature of support activities following the return of a government fact-finding team that left for Iraq on Sept. 14. On the issue of Japanese abducted by the DPRK's agents, Kawaguchi said the government still plans to do its utmost to resolve the matter, despite the replacement of Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe. Meanwhile, Kawaguchi brushed aside accusations that her lack of leadership has allowed staff within the Prime Minister's Official Residence -- led by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda -- to take the initiative in terms of Japan's diplomacy.


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3. A-Bomb Survivors' International Conference Plan

The Japan Times ("HIDANKYO MEET TO SEEK END TO NUKES," 09/22/03) reported that the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Hidankyo) plans to organize an international meeting aimed at scrapping nuclear arms to mark the 60th anniversary in 2005 of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. The meeting is to be called "No more Hiroshimas and Nagasakis," the group said. Participants will discuss ways to eliminate nuclear weapons and re-examine the damage caused by the two atomic bombs the US dropped at the end of World War II. Hidankyo said it plans to call on numerous foreign peace organizations to take part. The meeting is expected to be held in July or August 2005 in Hiroshima, Nagasaki or Tokyo, and will probably run for about three days.


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4. Japan's Nuclear Reactor Inspection

The Japan Times ("12 TEPCO STAFF TO WORK FOR NUCLEAR SAFETY ENTITY," 09/23/03) reported that twelve Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) employees will begin working from October for an independent administrative entity that will take on some government nuclear plant inspection duties, according to officials. The 12 employees, who have worked at nuclear plants run by the scandal-tainted TEPCO, will be working for an entity tasked with supervising TEPCO and other nuclear power utilities -- a move likely to raise serious doubts about its independence. They will be on loan to the new entity beginning Oct. 1, the day it will be launched with about 420 employees, the officials said. In addition to the 12 from TEPCO, nine other utilities will dispatch a combined 25 employees to the new entity, including eight from Kansai Electric Power Co. A TEPCO official told Kyodo News that it received a request from the government to dispatch employees knowledgeable in nuclear engineering. Apart from being responsible for some reactor facility inspections previously handled by the state, the new body will also monitor checks carried out by companies.


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5. US on Japan's Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing in 1977

Kyodo ("U.S. WITHDREW OPPOSITION TO TOKAI PLANT," Washington, 09/24/03) reported that in the interests of bilateral ties, the US in 1977 decided against telling Japan to refrain from operating a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, according to declassified US government documents. Then President Jimmy Carter had previously advocated halting the launch of operations at the plant in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture. But Mike Mansfield, who had just assumed the post of ambassador to Japan, convinced him to reverse this decision. Mansfield told Carter that halting operations at the plant, operated by the now-defunct Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corp., would have a detrimental impact on future Japan-US relations, the documents indicate. The ambassador said it would not look good for the US to allow Britain, France and West Germany to reprocess nuclear fuel but to show a lack of trust in Japan in this regard. He said that the US government should consider that the energy situation was a vital matter for resource-poor Japan. A memo handwritten by Carter on the margins of the telegram instructed then Secretary of State Cyrus Vance to tell Mansfield that the president would decide quickly on a compromise plan and that it was all right to ask then Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda to present alternatives.


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6. Japan Domestic Politics

The Japan Times (Reiji Yoshida, "ABE DECLARES LDP WILL SEEK MAJORITY IN NEXT HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES POLL," 09/25/03) reported that the Liberal Democratic Party's goal for the next House of Representatives election is to secure a single-party majority, LDP Secretary General Shinzo Abe said. The remark by Abe, appointed the LDP's No. 2 man, indicates that the party's new executive lineup will bear responsibility if it fails to achieve this goal. In fact, this target, unveiled during an interview with several media organizations, is rather conservative, given that the LDP already holds 244 of the 480 seats in the House of Representatives. The LDP currently is in a coalition with New Komeito, which has 31 seats in the Lower House, and the New Conservative Party, which has 10. The LDP is eight seats short of a single-party majority in the House of Councilors. During the interview, Abe said he remains an advocate of the theory that Japan should be allowed to exercise its right to collective self-defense and revise the pacifist Constitution. Although the party will follow the current government policy of maintaining the war-renouncing Constitution, he will play an active role at the party level in reviewing the country's security policies, Abe added. He has long been regarded as hawk, given his tough stance against the DPRK and his calls for constitutional revisions, as well as other proactive security policies. He argued, however, that terms such as "hawk" or "dove" no longer have significant meaning.

The Japan Times ("DPJ, LIBERAL PARTY SIGN DEAL ON BOLD OPPOSITION MERGER," 09/25/03) reported that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the smaller Liberal Party formally signed a merger deal after managing to agree on candidates for the next House of Representatives general election. The merger, which will see the absorption of the Liberal Party by the DPJ, creates an opposition party large enough to pose a challenge to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Commenting on the merger, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said the expanded DPJ is "not a force to be taken lightly." At the same time, however, he showed confidence that his LDP can win the upcoming general election, saying: "The next election will one in which the people choose whether they want Koizumi or (DPJ head Naoto) Kan as prime minister. . . . I believe people will support the LDP if they judge that it has become a party for reform." The DPJ and the Liberal Party have a combined 136 members in the 480-member House of Representatives and 66 seats in the 247-member House of Councilors. The LDP has 244 and 113 members, respectively.


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7. US Bases in Japan

Associated Press ("F-14 SQUADRON FLIES OUT OF ATSUGI TO RETIRE IN U.S.," Atsugi, 09/25/03) reported that a squadron of 11 US F-14 fighters flew out of Atsugi base just south of Tokyo for the last time, ending a 12-year deployment to Japan. Fighter Squadron VF-154, known as the Black Knights, is being relocated to Naval Air Station Lemoore in California in keeping with the US Navy's policy of retiring its aging F-14 Tomcat fleet. According to a navy statement, the squadron was initially deployed to Atsugi in August 1981 to join Carrier Air Wing Five. This year, flying off the deck of the USS Kitty Hawk, it joined coalition forces in the Iraq War, flying nearly 300 combat sorties and dropping more than 350 bombs. It returned to Japan in May.


III. People's Republic of China


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1. ROK's President Quits

China Daily ("ROK PRESIDENT QUITS RULING PARTY," Seoul, 09/30/03, P1) reported that ROK President Roh Moo-hyun quit the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) on September 29 ahead of April's parliamentary elections. The decision was widely expected after 37 lawmakers considered allies of Roh broke away from the party earlier this month and launched a new political group. Roh did not want his party membership to become a political issue and wants to focus on state affairs, presidential spokesman Yoon Tai-young said. Roh didn't say whether he would join the new political group, Yoon said, according to the report.


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2. Trio Talks on DPRK

People's Daily ("MOSCOW ASKS PYONGYANG TO CHANGE NEGATIVE ATTITUDE ON SIX-PARTY TALKS," 10/04/03, P3) reported that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov on October 3 expressed the hope that Pyongyang would change its negative view on continuing the six-party talks on the nuclear issue, the Interfax reported. Russia has received from Pyongyang a statement indicating that the DPRK "does not see any use in this process," said Losyukov, who held consultations here October 2 with a senior Japanese official on the situation on the Korean peninsula. Although the DPRK has not shown readiness for this second round of six-party talks, the senior Russian official believes that it is still possible to continue such negotiations because there is no alternative. The only alternative would be "a deterioration of the situation, a significant increase of danger on the Korean Peninsula and a threat to security in that region," Losyukov pointed out. He called on the parties involved to actively participate in the anticipated negotiating process so as to solve a wide range of issues, said the report.

China Daily ("TRIO TO DISCUSS STRATEGY ON DPRK," Tokyo, 09/30/03, P1) reported that diplomats from the US, Japan and the ROK gathered in Tokyo on September 29 to discuss a joint strategy to deal with Pyongyang's nuclear program, including how to reassure the DPRK over its security concerns. The talks are the first among senior diplomats from US and its two key Asian allies since six-way negotiations held in Beijing in August. Taking part in the Tokyo talks were US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, Mitoji Yabunaka, director-general of the Japanese foreign ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and Republic of Korea Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck. Asked by reporters what he expected, Kelly would say only: "A good exchange of views." ROK Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan said on September 29 it seemed that Pyongyang was not opposed to more talks but would cling to its nuclear program under outside threats. Yoon said last week US was working out a detailed plan to deal with the nuclear issue, including ways to ease Pyongyang's security concerns and ease its economic hardship. Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun daily said the same day that Japan would press the US at the Tokyo talks to state specific terms under which it would provide security guarantees. The three countries are also likely to discuss creating an international inspection system to verify that Pyongyang is dismantling its nuclear arms program once it says it is willing to do so, Kyodo news agency said.


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3. PRC's Commentary on Sino-US Relations

China Daily (Jin Canrong, "WORKING FOR BETTER SINO-US TIES," 09/29/03, P4) carried a commentary saying that currently government officials from both PRC and the US have made positive remarks about the current status of relations between the two countries. Of course, for all the positive comments on bilateral relations, both sides have different perspectives on their relationship and what it means, the article commented. For the US side, PRC has provided valuable co-operation on anti-terrorism and the Korean nuclear issue, along with preventing an escalation of tensions in South Asia; offered responses that are restrained and constructive on the Iraq issue, even though differences exist; and has shown the greatest possible restraint in an effort to maintain cross-Straits stability. For the Chinese side, the US has been meddling less in PRC's internal affairs, thus allowing PRC to concentrate on domestic problems; and the Bush administration has made a not-improper response on Taiwan's referendum. For the present and foreseeable future, the Sino-US relationship will, by and large, continue to be candid, constructive and co-operative. The fundamental reasons for this are many. First of all, with the US focusing on its fight against terrorism and nuclear proliferation, it has a greater need of PRC's support and less time to concern itself with PRC's internal affairs. While acknowledging positive developments as the main focus, the dissonance that permeates the relationship should not be ignored. The US Government has continued to bludgeon PRC on a variety of issues including human rights and Tibet question. In addition, conflicting interests and divergent positions between the two countries still exist, and the past can still return to haunt them. Even with all these difficulties, future relations between PRC and the US are manageable. In the final analysis, it is up to both countries to nurture the relationship. Both governments should make this a priority, especially the US Government. Both sides should make an effort to manage differences and expand common interests. Decision-makers and opinion-creators on both sides should keep a dialogue going in order to reduce the chances for misunderstanding and antipathy. On the part of PRC, clarifications about the use of its ever-increasing economic forces would be helpful, while the US should notify PRC of its policies and explain how they will affect PRC.


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4. PRC-US Relations on Taiwan Issue

China Daily (Hu Xuan, "US HOTLINE PLAN HURTS COUNTRY'S INTERESTS," 09/30/03, P4) carried a commentary saying that the upgrading of US-Taiwan military relations seriously threatens China's sovereignty. Taiwan-based newspaper United Daily News recently revealed that a so-called "hotline" for dealing with "military crises," proposed by the US as early as 1996, was eventually established between the Taiwan military and the US Department of Defence in the second half of last year. This mirrored the fact that US-Taiwan military co-operation has gradually been transferring from US arms sales to Taiwan towards tactical co-operation and a strategic alliance, the article commented. The establishment of the "military hotline" is but one of a string of moves by US to upgrade its military relations with Taiwan. It sends the wrong signal to the island's pro-independence forces and jeopardizes the one-China policy as well as the political foundation of Sino-US relations. Despite its explicit commitment made in three Sino-US communiques, the US never severed its military connections with Taipei over the past decades. It has gone even further at a time when the island's separatist forces, led by Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian, have been seeking "gradual independence" more boldly and overtly than ever before. Neither its claims to adhere to the one-China policy nor its upgrading of military co-operation with the island have gone beyond US's traditional strategic thinking regarding the Taiwan question. Neither a united China nor a war across the Taiwan Straits fits in with the US's perception of its own interests in the Asia-Pacific region. The mainland has made it crystal clear it would not use force unless the island declares independence or foreign military intervention takes place. It is fully justifiable for a country to defend itself when its territorial integrity is threatened.


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5. PRC-Japan Relations

China Daily (Guo Nei, "WEAPONS VICTIMS WIN CASE TOKYO COURT AWARDS COMPENSATION IN LAWSUIT OVER TOXIC CHEMICALS," 09/30/03, P4) reported that a Tokyo court ordered the Japanese Government on September 29 to pay compensation to 13 Chinese citizens for harm caused by chemical weapons left in PRC by Japanese troops in World War II. The lawsuits, initiated in 1996, involved the leaking of toxic chemical agents and shell explosions between 1974 and 1995. The court ruled the Japanese Government had been neglectful in dealing with chemical weapons abandoned in PRC. Presiding judge Yoshihiro Katayama said it would be "against the notion of justice and fairness" to reject the compensation claim even though some of the claims were raised after the 20-year limit for filing a lawsuit. A Japanese government official called the ruling "harsh." Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Masaaki Yamazaki said: "I think it is a very severe ruling for our country. There is nothing more to say because we haven't sufficiently considered the contents." He declined to say if the government would appeal. Li Chen, a 59-year-old plaintiff, said the ruling "got justice for the Chinese, got justice for the victims."


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6. DPRK Nuke Deterrence Force

People's Daily ("US EXPRESSES (r)SERIOUS CONCERN' OVER DPRK STATEMENT," 10/03/03, P3) reported that the US on October 2 expressed "serious concern" over a statement issued on the same day by the foreign ministry of the DPRK, saying that it had successfully completed the reprocessing of 8,000 spent fuel rods. "I believe that this is a matter of serious concern for the international community, "Secretary of State Colin Powell said at a press conference here. "This is the third time they have told us they have finished reprocessing the rods," the secretary added. Powell said the US will not react to each and every statement from the DPRK while continue to pursue diplomacy in resolving the DPRK nuclear issue, said the report.

People's Daily ("DPRK TO BOOST NUCLEAR DETERRENCE FORCE," 10/03/03, P3) reported that the DPRK said on October 2 that it will consistently maintain and strengthen its nuclear deterrence force as the US has no intention to drop its hostile policy toward the DPRK. A spokesman for DPRK's foreign ministry said his country has successfully completed reprocessing 8,000 spent fuel rods. "As we have already declared, the DPRK resumed nuclear activities for a peaceful purpose," the spokesman said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The statement said the DPRK will reprocess more spent fuel rods from the 5-MW nuclear reactor in Nyongbyon without delay when it is necessary. On the resumption of the six-party talks on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, the statement said the DPRK did not make any promise with anyone at the Beijing talks and the same holds true even after the talks.

People's Daily ("DPRK FEELS SAFE WITH (r)STRONG NUCLEAR DETERRENCE': TOP DIPLOMAT," 10/02/03, P3) reported that a top diplomat of the DPRK said on October 1 that his country will not proliferate its nuclear capabilities. "We has no intention of transferring any means of that nuclear deterrence to other countries," Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon told a group of reporters at the DPRK mission to the UN. But Choe declined to reveal how large the DPRK's nuclear deterrence is. "One thing we can tell you is that we are in possession of nuclear deterrence and we're continuing to strengthen that deterrence," he emphasized. Choe said the DPRK has normalized the operation of "all parts of the nuclear power plant" after the US nullified its framework agreement with Pyongyang last November, under which the US would build a light-water nuclear power plant for the DPRK. Choe, who is here attending the annual high-level debate of the UN General Assembly, said that the DPRK "has no plan with regard to uranium enrichment." Choe also warned against raising the DPRK nuclear issue with the UN Security Council if the six-party talks fail to defuse the crisis. If the issue is put before the Security Council," there will be nothing conducive" to its settlement and the DPRK would "strongly correspond to that pressure," he said in the report.


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7. PRC-Russia Relations

People's Daily ("PRC, RUSSIA ENHANCE COOPERATION IN BORDER AREA," 10/03/03, P3) reported that PRC and Russia have enhanced bilateral cooperation to create a stable political and economic environment and promote prosperity in the border areas. Zhang Zhiqing, deputy head of the foreign affairs office of Heilongjiang Province, said that governor Zhang Zuoji would visit Amurskaya obl., Yevreyskaya ao, Khabarovskiy Kray and Primorskiy Kray at the end of the year and in the first half of next year. Governor Zhang will meet the heads of administrations of the four Russian regions for the first time since they signed the agreements in October and early November last year. They will discuss plans on bilateral exchanges and sign a series of agreements of cooperation during their scheduled meetings. This is the first regular governor-level meeting mechanism that a Chinese province has established with a foreign counterpart. The regular meetings are scheduled to be held at least once every year. Discussions will center on plans for bilateral cooperation, sum up bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields and solve major problems arising from exchanges and cooperation. The regular governor-level meeting mechanism has become an important part of the strategic partnership of cooperation and good neighborly cooperation between PRC and Russia, according to the report.


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8. Sino-US Relations

People's Daily ("FM SPOKESMAN REFUTES REPORT OF US CONGRESS COMMITTEE," 10/05/03, P3) reported that a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman expressed on October 4 strong displeasure and resolute opposition to the interference in PRC's internal affairs contained in a report of the so-called US Congress-executive Committee on PRC. In response to a request for comment on the committee's 2003 annual report, spokesman Kong Quan said the so-called US Congress-executive Committee on PRC's report distorted facts and attacked PRC by using the issues of human rights, religion and the Falun Gong cult in disregard of PRC's great achievements in the fields of human rights and legislation, which only shows the report drafter's arrogance and prejudices. The Chinese people have just celebrated the 54th anniversary of the founding of New China and the country has undergone great changes over the past 54 years, especially since the reform and opening-up drive began, he said. It was for the protection of basic human rights that the Chinese Government has banned the Falun Gong cult in accordance with the law, Kong said, adding that the move has been welcomed and supported by the broad masses of the people. Kong urged US Congress and relevant organizations to focus more on the affairs of their own country, contribute more to the mutual understanding and cooperation between PRC and the US and stop interfering in PRC's internal affairs. The US administrative authorities should take the solemn position of the Chinese side seriously, reject the so-called proposals set forth in the report and take effective measures to eliminate the negative impact of the report, the spokesman said.



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