NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, october 31, 2003

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. PRC and DPRK Agree to New 6-Way Talks

Agence France-Presse ("DPRK TALKS BACK ON TRACK AS CHINA ENVOY HEADS HOME"), Beijing, 10/31/03) reported that PRC envoy Wu Bangguo is heading home after securing the DPRK's agreement "in principle" to continue the six-party negotiations, a move welcomed by the US and the UN. The PRC's major newspapers ran the breakthrough story prominently on their front pages accompanied by a color picture of Wu and reclusive DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il laughing and clasping hands. Spokesman Scott McClellan said President George W. Bush "has made it very clear that the multilateral or the multi-party process provides the best hope for achieving our shared objective of getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its nuclear weapons program." Asked about DPRK security demands, McClellan said that US officials "want to work through the multilateral framework on providing some sort of security assurance." Kim also dropped his demand that Japan be excluded from any further talks having failed to win support from any of the other participating nations.

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2. Kim Jong-il Hails DPRK-PRC Ties

Agence France-Presse ("N.KOREA LEADER HAILS TIES WITH CHINA," Beijing, 10/31/03) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il hailed his nation's ties with China at the end of a three-day official Chinese mission to Pyongyang to rejuvenate stalled nuclear talks. Kim, who emerged from more than 40 days of self-imposed media isolation last week, also vowed to deepen his state's links with its chief ally. At the end of Beijing's second ranked leader Wu Bangguo's trip to the DPRK capital, China's Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Yi quoted Kim as placing Chinese-DPRK ties above all others: "Kim Jong-Il had said that no matter what changes occurred in the international arena, the Workers' Party of Korea and the DPRK government would continue to be devoted to the consolidation and development of bilateral cooperation."

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3. ROK Hopeful of New Round of Talks

Reuters (Paul Eckert, "S.KOREA SEES PROSPECTS TO END NORTH NUCLEAR CRISIS," Soguipo, 10/31/03) reported that the ROK foreign minister said that the DPRK's agreement to new 6-party talks "greatly enhances the prospects for a diplomatic resolution of the nuclear issue." The ROK foreign minister acknowledged that there was skepticism about the North's reliability in negotiations and its willingness to disarm, but said he believed a multilateral offer could succeed: "If the ongoing talks can come up with a comprehensive solution dealing with security, economic and diplomatic dimensions, North Korea will feel secure enough to give up its nuclear ambitions." He added that the DPRK would now be under pressure to come to a deal: "If North Korea attempted to deceive the world again after reaching an agreement at the six-party talks, the entire international community, not to mention the participants of the talks, will turn their back on North Korea."

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4. US Cool to DPRK Demand

The Washington Post (Anthony Faiola, "N. KOREA AGREES TO RESUME NUCLEAR TALKS U.S. REACTS COOLLY TO DEMAND FOR 'SIMULTANEOUS ACTIONS'," Tokyo, 10/31/03) reported that, in response to the KCNA statement emphasizing a "package solution based on the principle of simultaneous actions," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher responded, "I would just point out 'simultaneity' is not a word that we have used." He continued, "That may be the way they have described the proposals they made at an earlier round of talks. We have also got ideas and put proposals on the table." He described the US' ideas as "a series of steps that would have to be taken in order to achieve a verifiable and irreversible end to North Korea's nuclear weapons program."

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5. DPRK-ROK Maritime Border Violation

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA DENIES MARITIME BORDER VIOLATION," Seoul, 10/31/03) reported that the DPRK dismissed claims that one of its patrol boats had violated ROK waters in the Yellow Sea. Thursday, a ROK navy ship fired warning shots at one DPRK boat, which crossed the Northern Limit Line (NLL). "This is a sheer fabrication," a spokesman for the Navy Command of the (North) Korean People's Army told the state-run KCNA. "We make it clear that no patrol boat of the KPA Navy was active in those waters at that time." The ROK said the patrol boat returned to the DPRK after 10 minutes in the ROK waters of Yeonpyeong Island.

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6. DPRK Business Report on Kaesong Exports

Korea Business Consultants, in the DPRK Business News Bulletin, ("KAESONG COMPLEX DIFFICULT TO DEVELOP AS EXPORT BASE: KCCI REPORT," Seoul, 10/15/03) reported that an industrial complex for ROK firms in the DPRK city of Kaesong is unlikely to serve as an export base, because under rules of origin practices, products manufactured in [the DPRK] face hefty tariffs when entering other countries. The ROK's Hyundai Asan Corp. is constructing the industrial park just north of the DMZ, to house over 1,000 small- and medium-sized garment, footwear and other labour-intensive factories. The project began under an agreement signed during the inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang in June 2000. "Goods from the Kaesong complex can be competitive owing to the low wages of workers there, but should their origin be printed as North Korea, they can no longer maintain price competitiveness," said Kim In-seok, a Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) official, in a report entitled, "Ways to Secure Investment Profitability in Kaesong Complex." Japan and European countries also impose high duties on DPRK-made goods as they don't deem the DPRK as a "normal" trading partner. Accordingly, investment in the Kaesong complex should focus on products intended mainly for use in the ROK or for exports to such countries as the PRC and Russia, which impose relatively low tariffs on DPRK-made goods.

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7. EU-China Summit

Agence France-Presse ("EU-CHINA AGREE ON GROWING IMPORTANCE OF STRATEGIC TIES," Beijing, 10/30/03) reported that PRC and European leaders agreed to pursue greater economic cooperation at their annual summit. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who currently holds the rotating EU presidency, is chairing the meeting with PRC Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. The PRC and Europe are to sign a 200 million euro (US $230 million) deal to allow the PRC to join the EU's Galileo satellite navigation system, which could rival the US-developed GPS system. The PRC wants to end a European arms embargo, which has been in place since the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989.

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8. PRC Convicts Eight of Unionizing

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA CONVICTS EIGHT OF SUBVERTING STATE POWER," Shanghai, 10/31/03) reported that a PRC court has convicted eight people accused of seeking to establish a labor union of incitement to subvert state power, according to a human rights group. Court officials refused to reveal the verdict handed down Thursday. Li Jianfeng, a former official of the Ningde city Intermediate People's Court, and seven others were arrested in April, and charged with counter-revolutionary crimes and setting up a subversive labor union in 2000. Police claimed they stockpiled firearms and trained group members by shooting at the windows of the office of a court official. Li Jianfeng and his co-defendants pressed counter-charges, accusing the police of framing them on trumped-up charges and torture during detention.

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9. Dalai Lama in Japan

Agence France-Presse ("DALAI LAMA IN JAPAN DESPITE CHINESE PROTEST," Tokyo, 10/31/03) reported that Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has arrived for a 12-day visit, which is likely to anger the PRC. Kyodo News said that a PRC diplomat in Tokyo visited a lawmaker from the Tibet group in August to urge him to scrap the invitation, saying it was undesirable for Japan-PRC relations to invite the Dalai Lama. The lawmaker rejected the request, Kyodo said.

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

International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan

Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Brandon Yu:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Young-soo:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hibiki Yamaguchi:
Tokyo, Japan

Saiko Iwata:
Tokyo, Japan

Hiroya Takagi:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Wu Chunsi:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

John McKay:
Clayton, Australia

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