NAPSNet Daily Report
wednesday october 22, 2003

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. US Bush on Multilateral DPRK Security Guarantee

Agence France-Presse ("BUSH SAYS HE'S SERIOUS ABOUT NORTH KOREA," Kuta, 10/22/03) reported that US President George W. Bush said that Washington and its partners were serious about offering the DPRK security guarantees -- a move that Pyongyang has dismissed as "laughable." "We're all willing to sign some sort of document, not a treaty, that says 'we won't attack you,' but he (DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il) needs to abandon his nuclear program, and do so in a verifiable way," Bush said. His comments, delivered to reporters aboard his Canberra-bound Air Force One airplane, came after the DPRK rejected a US offer of a multilateral security guarantee in exchange for dismantling its nuclear weapons program. The US is working with the PRC, Japan, Russia and the ROK on the format for any such guarantees. Pyongyang is "trying to stand up to the five nations that are now united in convincing North Korea to disarm, and my only reaction is we'll continue to send a very clear message to the North Koreans," Bush said. "This requires a degree of patience," the president said. "He wanted to have dialogue, we're having dialogue." "He wanted a security agreement, and we're willing to advance a multiparty security agreement, assuming that he is willing to abandon his nuclear weapons designs and programs. And we'll just stay the course," he said. On Wednesday, the DPRK rejected as "laughable" a US offer to provide multilateral security guarantees aimed at bringing the DPRK back into a new round of six-nation talks on its nuclear weapons programs. Bush said the US had done everything possible to engage Kim and address his country's concerns about the new offer.

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2. DPRK Response to US Security Offer

Reuters (Martin Nesirky, "NORTH KOREA SAYS US SECURITY OFFER LAUGHABLE," Seoul, 10/22/03) reported that the DPRK dismissed as laughable a US offer to provide multilateral security guarantees in exchange for Pyongyang ending its nuclear weapons program, saying it was not worth even considering. In a commentary published late on Tuesday, the DPRK's official KCNA news agency said Pyongyang wanted a bilateral treaty with the US -- a reference to its desire for a non-aggression pact that Washington has ruled out. During a Bangkok summit of Asia-Pacific leaders that ended on Tuesday, President Bush significantly shifted policy by saying he was sharing ideas on how to give the DPRK security guarantees short of a non-aggression treaty. All 20 other summit leaders backed this stance. The DPRK was not present because it is not a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. But it lost little time in shooting down the idea and taking some shine off the summit. "We have asked for the US to stop its hostile policy and a bilateral treaty between North Korea and the US, and not for some sort of security guarantee," said KCNA in a Korean-language commentary. "It's laughable and doesn't deserve even any consideration that the US gives a security guarantee on the condition that we drop our nuclear development."

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3. DPRK 2nd Missile Firing?

Reuters (Kim Yeon-hee, "NEW N.KOREAN MISSILE TEST REPORTED, NOT CONFIRMED," Seoul, 10/21/03) reported that Japan's state broadcaster said the DPRK test-fired another missile Tuesday, but the ROK said it had no evidence of a second attention-grabbing launch by Pyongyang to coincide with a meeting of Pacific Rim leaders. NHK television said the DPRK had apparently launched a short-range surface-to-ship missile, following a test-firing Monday that US officials described as an attempt to steal the limelight from the Bangkok summit. But the ROK said it had no immediate proof of a second launch, although there were conflicting signals about the likelihood. "Our system didn't spot any missile launch today," said Kim Hyung-kyu, a spokesman at the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A spokesman for the ROK Defense Ministry also said it had been unable to confirm the report, but added: "But we cannot say the NHK report is not true for sure." In Tokyo, Japan's Defense Agency said it had received a report that "North Korea may have fired a surface-to-ship missile."

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4. DPRK Gulag Camps Report

Agence France-Presse ("UP TO 200,000 KEPT IN NORTH KOREA'S 'GULAG' CAMPS," 10/22/03) reported that the DPRK detains up to 200,000 people in "slave" camps where torture and executions are routine and starvation is widespread, according to a report on the DPRK. The study by the US Committee for Human Rights in the DPRK told how pregnant women among thousands of North Koreans repatriated from the PRC are forced to abort their infants or watch their babies killed after birth, in case the fathers are foreign. "The Hidden Gulag - Exposing North Korea's Prison Camps" was compiled by David Hawk, a former UN human rights investigator, who has in the past reported on the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia and the ethnic massacres in Rwanda in the mid-1990s. The DPRK denies it has political prisoners. But the study, based on interviews with former inmates and guards who escaped the DPRK, estimated there were between 150,000 and 200,000 people in dozens of camps. It produced satellite photographs of the camps, and mines and industrial complexes where inmates are forced into "slave labour". Political inmates are detained for their perceived opposition to DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il or his father Kim Il-Sung. Some were imprisoned for tipping ink on a picture of one of the two Kims or not taking care of photographs of the two that every household in the nation of 22 million people must prominently display. One woman's crime was singing an ROK pop song. Others were ethnic Koreans who returned from Japan but were considered to have been "spoiled by their exposure to Japanese liberalism and capitalist prosperity." Up to three generations of the family of each offender is also detained to ensure political purification. The study said there was "a DPRK gulag of forced-labor colonies, camps and prisons where scores of thousands of prisoners -- some political, some convicted felons -- are worked, many to their deaths." The report said each camp has between 5,000 and 50,000 detainees and that "prisoners live under brutal conditions in permanent situations of deliberately contrived semi-starvation."

The full report can be found here:

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5. PRC-Australia Relations

Agence France-Presse ("PRC PRESIDENT HU JINTAO ARRIVES IN AUSTRALIA FOR FOUR-DAY TRIP," 10/22/03) reported that PRC President Hu Jintao began a four-day trip to Australia focused on trade but it is expected to be marked by protests over Tibet and the banned Falun Gong religious movement. During his historic visit, Hu will become the first Asian leader to address the Australian parliament, a day after a similar honour is accorded to US President George W. Bush. Australia is seeking to reinforce its ties to the emerging economic superpower, and there has been intense speculation that a new free trade agreement with the PRC will be pursued during the visit. Earlier this week, Australia and Thailand announced a free trade deal and Canberra is negotiating a similar arrangement with the US. The Australian newspaper reported Wednesday that the PRC had agreed to a broad-ranging Trade and Economic Framework, which Canberra hopes will generate substantial spin-offs for Australian companies in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Two-way trade with the PRC has already reached 21 billion dollars a year (14.5 billion US), the paper said. However, the PRC's human rights record will inevitably come under the spotlight as well, with Tibetan and Falun Gong activists planning to use the visit to promote their causes. Australia-Tibet Council spokesman Liam Phelan said prominent Australians had signed up to support a national newspaper advertising campaign that will appear Friday to coincide with Hu's address to parliament. The council will also hold protests in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. "We want to get the message directly to President Hu," Phelan said.

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6. ROK Opposition Party Scandal

Agence France-Presse ("SOUTH KOREA'S OPPOSITION PARTY APOLOGIZES OVER FUND-RAISING SCANDAL," 10/22/03) reported that the ROK's opposition Grand National Party (GNP) has issued a public apology after one of its senior legislators admitted accepting millions of dollars from a business conglomerate in a major political fund-raising scandal. The apology followed the admission by Choi Don-Woong, a GNP lawmaker, that he had received 10 billion won (8.5 million dollars) from the nation's third-largest business conglomerate SK Group prior to presidential elections last year. Choi, who served as chief financial officer for then-GNP presidential candidate Lee Hoi-Chang, refused to say where the 10 billion won went but insisted that he put none of the money to private use. "We sincerely apologize to the people for causing concern over the acceptance of SK money, to which our lawmaker, Choi Don-Woong, has admitted," GNP head Choe Byung-Yul said in a statement. "We will wait for the results of the ongoing probe by prosecutors and we hope the investigation will be fair." The funding scandal has rocked the political establishment here and embroiled ROK President Roh Moo-Hyun, who won December elections on a pledge of honest government. Roh has said he will step down if he loses a referendum he plans to stage soon after one of his top former aides was embroiled in the SK fund-raising scandal. Prosecutors have charged Choi Do-Sul, a long-time Roh loyalist and a former presidential secretary, with receiving 1.1 billion won (940,000 dollars) from SK following Roh's December presidential election victory. Choi denies the charges.

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7. Russia Missile Development

The Associated Press (Vladimir Isachenkov, "RUSSIA TO BUILD NEW BALLISTIC MISSILE," Moscow, 10/22/03) reported that Russia will need another 10 to 15 years to build a next-generation land-based ballistic missile, so Soviet-era weapons will remain the core of the nation's nuclear forces during that period, a top general said in remarks published Wednesday. The head of Russia's Strategic Missile Forces, Col.-Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, told the military daily Krasnaya Zvezda that most Soviet-built ballistic missiles had already served their designated lifetime. But he added that test launches and modern diagnostics are allowing them to remain on duty for years to come. "The lifetime of these missiles isn't over yet, and they will continue serving the Fatherland until 2015," Solovtsov said. "The development of a new missile will take from 10 to 15 years, and we have this time in reserve." Solovtsov pointed at last year's successful test launch of an SS-18 missile that had served for 25 years and March's test-firing of a Topol missile following its 18-year service as proof of the Soviet-built missiles' capability. He said his forces will also continue to receive the new Topol-M missiles, with another batch expected to go to a unit based near the Volga River city of Saratov. Their deployment, however, has lagged far behind earlier plans, and some analysts have warned that their numbers aren't sufficient to replace the aging weapons.

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8. Japan Domestic Politics

The Associated Press (Audrey McAvoy, "TANAKA RESIGNS FROM JAPAN'S RULING PARTY," Tokyo, 10/22/03) reported that Makiko Tanaka, political firebrand and fierce critic of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, submitted her resignation from Japan's ruling party Wednesday, enabling her to run as an independent in national elections next month. Tanaka, whom Koizumi appointed as Japan's first female foreign minister in 2001 when the two were on friendlier terms, is preparing to run for the lower house in the Nov. 9 election. She has accused Koizumi of being a failure at reform and of being manipulated by party heavyweights such as former prime minister Yoshiro Mori. Tanaka's letter of resignation was submitted to Liberal Democratic Party headquarters Wednesday, a party official said on condition of anonymity. The LDP won't be able to make a decision on whether to accept it until the party's ethics committee meets - and this is unlikely to happen until after the election, the official said. The delay is not expected to prevent Tanaka from running as an independent.

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Shanghai, People's Republic of China

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