NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, october 9, 2003

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. ROK on US DPRK Stance

Agence France-Presse ("SOUTH KOREA URGES US TO EASE TOUGH LINE AGAINST NORTH KOREA," 10/09/03) reported that the ROK urged the US to ease its tough line towards the DPRK, saying that the DPRK was still interested in dialogue. "North Korea is not a counterpart which has no possibility of changing its attitude through dialogue, although it is understandable that the US distrusts it," the ROK's Unification Minister Jeong Se-Hyun said Thursday. "Therefore, the US will be able to lead (negotiations) at its own pace if it opens its mind slightly." The remarks came ahead of inter-Korean ministerial talks to be held next week in Pyongyang. Jeong said he would urge the DPRK to be more "faithful and positive" in order to achieve an early resolution of the year-long crisis over its nuclear weapons program. He said there was no need for skepticism about prospects for new six-party talks, although he admitted the situation had become changeable due to the DPRK's rhetoric.

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2. ROK on Six-Way DPRK Talks

Reuters ("SOUTH KOREA HAS HIGH HOPES FOR TALKS," Seoul, 10/09/03) reported that the ROK hopes to use high-level inter-Korean talks next week to persuade the DPRK to ease tensions over its nuclear weapons programs, an official said Thursday. The Cabinet-level talks, scheduled to take place on Oct. 14-17 in Pyongyang, will likely be overshadowed by the DPRK's announcement that it has completed reprocessing 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods and is using plutonium extracted from them to make atomic bombs. We will try to "persuade North Korea to make a more diligent and progressive attitude so that the DPRK nuclear issue can be resolved soon," the ROK's Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun told reporters. The Cabinet-level talks continue contacts started by a historic inter-Korean summit in 2000. They are the highest-level regular contacts between the two countries.

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3. PRC on DPRK Six-Way Talks

Reuters ("CHINA SAYS SIX-WAY TALKS OVER NORTH KOREA STILL KEY," Beijing, 10/09/03) reported that the PRC Thursday rejected the DPRK's call for Japan to be dropped from talks on the DPRK's nuclear standoff with the US and said six-party talks were the key to a resolution of the year-old crisis. The PRC has been active in trying to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis this year, exerting subtle pressure on the DPRKto come to the table. "We think that the best way to solve these disputes and these different opinions is within the six-party mechanism," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told a news conference. "We think the process of six-party talks should continue." Zhang expressed concern at the ROK's shutting of its Beijing consulate after scores of DPRK asylum seekers took refuge on its premises, rendering normal operations impossible. "We don't think this action is conducive to developing consulate relations between China and South Korea," she said.

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4. PRC-DPRK Economic Relations

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA PLAYS GREATER ROLE IN NORTH KOREA'S ECONOMY," Seoul, 10/09/03) reported that isolation caused by a prolonged stand-off over the DPRK's nuclear weapons drive has forced the DPRK to rely further on trade with the PRC, ROK goverment data showed. The DPRK's trade with the PRC rose 16 percent from a year ago to 378 million dollars in the first six months of this year, according to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency in Seoul Thursday. In the first half, the DPRK's exports to the PRC increased four percent year-on-year to 108 million dollars while imports surged 22 percent to 270 million dollars. The DPRK's oil imports from the PRC also increased sharply this year, it said. North Korea imported 472,167 tonnes of crude oil from China last year, compared to 389,000 tonnes in 2000 and 579,000 tonnes in 2001, the South's foreign ministry said in a report to parliament. The North's energy shortage has deepened after Washington and its allies stopped an annual shipment of 500,000 tonnes of fuel oil in November last year after accusing Pyongyang of running a nuclear weapons program. The North has relied heavily on outside donations to feed its 23 million population after failures in its centralized economy and natural disasters. Limited economic reforms introduced last year have failed to bring about increased output because of chronic shortages of materials and the nuclear crisis. The Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun reported last week that North Korea sharply devalued its currency recently, apparently hoping to boost exports in a bid to revive the battered economy

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5. PRC Hu and US Bush Sr on DPRK and Taiwan

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA'S HU DISCUSSES TAIWAN, NORTH KOREA WITH FORMER US PRESIDENT," Beijing, 10/09/03) reported that the PRC's president Hu Jintao discussed the DPRK, Taiwan and Sino-US ties with former US president, George Bush Senior, it was reported. During his visit Bush, father of the present US president, also met with PRC Premier Wen Jiabao and former PRC leader Jiang Zemin, who still holds his post as head of the PRC military, according to the state media Xinhua news agency. Hu said that "China is ready to make joint efforts with the US to maintain and carry forward the good momentum of the Sino-US ties," the agency reported. Stressing the cordial relations between the two countries Hu expressed the hope the US would continue to adhere to "the one China policy and oppose the independence of Taiwan," the report added. Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian is scheduled to make a two-day stopover in New York en route to Latin America at the end of this month in a flexing of diplomatic muscle which has riled Beijing. "The proper handling of the Taiwan issue was crucial to the steady growth of the Sino-US ties," Hu stressed Hu also talked about the DPRK nuclear issue with Bush and said a peaceful resolution of the ongoing crisis would be beneficial to all parties. "The continuation of the Beijing six-party talks was most essential," Hu said, according to the agency. The former US leader thanked the PRC for the leading role it had played in resolving the Korean nuclear issue in a peaceful way, the report added.

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6. Japan Domestic Politics

The Associated Press ("JAPAN'S KOIZUMI DISSOLVES LOWER HOUSE," Tokyo, 10/09/03) reported that Japan Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Friday ordered the lower house of Japan's Parliament be dissolved, paving the way for national elections that he's counting on to strengthen his party. The dissolution would put the 480 seats of the powerful lower house up for grabs. Koizumi is expected to set Nov. 9 as the date for the balloting. The order was issued after a morning Cabinet meeting, Japan's public broadcaster NHK and the Kyodo news service said. It will formally take effect after it's read to the lower chamber Friday afternoon. Koizumi's ruling Liberal Democratic Party already controls a majority in the chamber, with 244 seats. The largest opposition bloc, the Democratic Party of Japan, has 137 seats.

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7. PRC Third Plenum of the 16th Party Central Committee

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA'S COMMUNIST PARTY TO SHOW UNITED FACE DURING HIGH LEVEL MEETING," 10/09/03) reported a key meeting of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that opens Saturday will portray a united front under the leadership of President Hu Jintao, while issuing an economic policy blueprint to guide China in the coming years, analysts say. The meeting of up to 500 top PRC leaders is expected to culminate with the launch of PRC's first-ever manned space flight. Besides setting out economic policy, the four-day Third Plenum of the 16th Party Central Committee will also approve amendments to the state constitution and debate "intra-party democracy," experts told AFP. "During the third plenum they will discuss economic reforms, specifically the economic development strategy of northeast China," said Wu Guoguang, a former editor of the People's Daily and now a China scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Reforms will aim at narrowing the gap between the PRC's rich and impoverished regions, while pushing forward ongoing reforms to the banking and finance sectors and the state-run enterprise system. "The new leadership will also use this occasion to show that its power is consolidated, or at least they will want to give this kind of impression," Wu said. When the party opened the debate on the private property amendment last winter, reformist elements began attacking the present constitution and its long-time failure to protect the constitutional freedoms of speech, assembly and press. "People were saying that it's good to write these things into the constitution, but the problem is the constitution doesn't work," said Wu. The constitutional debate has appeared to further divide the party between Hu and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and another group of top leaders loyal to former president Jiang Zemin and his leading protege Vice President Zeng Qinghong. To this end, Hu is expected to seek to push forward "intra-party democracy" by giving the 140-member Central Committee limited powers over the 20-odd members of the Politburo and the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee.

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8. PRC Manned Space Flight

Agence France-Presse ("SAFETY, WEATHER BEHIND SECRECY OF MANNED CHINESE SPACE FLIGHT," 10/09/03) reported that safety concerns, the possibility of failure and a determined culture of secrecy have contributed to the lack of transparency from the PRC on exactly when it will blast a man into space. The Shenzhou V is expected to lift off next week with October 15 firming up as the most likely date, according to reports, although politicians and space officials have remained stubbornly tight-lipped. "Chinese space authorities have appeared to acknowledge that there is a one week launch window that begins from October 10," said Dr. Morris Jones, an Australian space flight analyst at University of Wollongong. The PRC's refusal to be more open on the issue, despite intense interest, mainly stems from the complete military involvement in the Shenzhou program and the "cult of secrecy" that surrounds China's military and hi-tech industries, Jones said. "They could be partially concerned about a failure of the mission, but more than that they are just obsessed with secrecy," he said.

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9. ASEAN-PRC Strategic Partnership

Asia Pulse ("ASEAN, CHINA ISSUE JOINT DECLARATION ON STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP," Nusa Dua, 10/09/03) reported that ASEAN and the PRC yesterday issued a joint declaration outlining a strategic partnership between them to maintain peace and attain prosperity by enhancing mutually-beneficial relations, cooperation and upholding the principle of good neighborliness. The declaration was neutral, non-military, non-exclusive in tone and did not preclude either side from developing relations or cooperation with other parties, a press release said. It said ASEAN-China cooperation would be comprehensive and concentrated on political, economic, social, security and international as well as regional issues. In the political sector, it said ASEAN and the PRC had agreed on the PRC's accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) and continuing consultations on the PRC's intention to also accede to the protocol on keeping Southeast Asia a nuclear-free area. In the economic sector, ASEAN and the PRC had agreed to accelerate negotiations on the formation of an ASEAN-China Free Trade Area and guarantee the smooth implementation of the scheme starting in 2010, including the deepening of cooperation in such areas as agriculture, information and telecommunications and human resources development.

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International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
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Seoul, Republic of Korea

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Moscow, Russian Federation

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Shanghai, People's Republic of China

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Shanghai, People's Republic of China

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