NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, november 7, 2003

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Power Plant Tactics

The Associated Press (Jae-suk Yoo, "S. KOREA: NORTH USING PLANTS AS LEVERAGE," Seoul, 11/07/03) reported that the DPRK's threat to seize equipment and technical data from two nuclear power plants being built there is aimed at gaining leverage in future six-nation talks on its nuclear weapons development, a ROK official said Friday. The DPRK made the threat Thursday, days after a US-led group tentatively agreed to suspend the $4.6 billion project in retaliation for the North's atomic weapons programs. "I don't think this will affect the six-nation talks," the ROK's Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun said at a briefing. "I think it is part of developing a negotiating card for future six-nation talks." The DPRK said it will block the US and its allies from removing equipment and technical data from the two nuclear power plants. It also demanded full compensation for the project.

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2. ROK on DPRK Nuclear Deterrent

Reuters (Paul Eckert, "S.KOREA PLAYS DOWN NORTH'S LATEST NUCLEAR REMARKS," Seoul, 11/07/03) reported that the DPRK's envoy in Britain said Pyongyang had a nuclear deterrent ready to use, but the ROK played down the assertion Friday and said there was no sign the DPRK would walk away from international talks. The DPRK's envoy in Britain, Ri Yong Ho, told Reuters in London Thursday Pyongyang had a nuclear deterrent that was not only ready but powerful enough to deter any US attack. Asked about Ri's remarks, ROK Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun told reporters: "It's hard to see any consistency in various DPRK remarks, and it's more important to consider the overall trend than any one particular outburst." He did not elaborate on what he meant by an overall trend, but said he believed recent statements by Pyongyang were part of its negotiating posture before six-country nuclear talks on a year-old crisis over the DPRK's nuclear arms ambitions.

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3. US Nuclear Security

Agence France-Presse ("TWELVE KEYS MISSING AT US NUCLEAR WEAPONS LABORATORY, INSPECTOR SAYS," Washington, 11/07/03) reported that a dozen keys that enable scientists to enter off-limits buildings at a top-secret US nuclear weapons laboratory have been lost presenting a potential security breach, a government inspector said. The critical report, dated Tuesday, by the Department of Energy's Inspector General Gregory Friedman found a total of twelve keys are missing from the department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Livermore officials had initially estimated it would cost the taxpayer 1.7 million dollars to replace and upgrade 100,000 locks in 526 buildings at the site, but government officials have yet to validate these costs. "The loss of the master keys and the Tesa card, and the delay in reporting these losses, raised the possibility of security vulnerabilities at the laboratory," Friedman's report warns. Officials at the top-secret nuclear research facility reported one set of master keys missing on May 5th, although the keys were discovered missing on April 17. Due to the national security nature of the laboratory's work, officials are meant to report a loss of such keys within twenty-four hours, and master keys are only carried by a small number of personnel at the site. Friedman's probe also discovered that security officers had known about some of the missing keys, but had not reported their loss to the department. The loss for some of the keys only came to light when a locksmith employee at the site reported that security officers had tried to get a duplicate set of keys made to replace lost keys. "We concluded that Livermore did not have adequate internal controls to ensure that security incidents involving missing master keys and Tesa cards were reported within required timeframes," the report found. Tesa cards are plastic card-like keys with a magnetic strip that are also used at the site. The nuclear weapons laboratory is managed for the energy department by the University of California.

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4. US Surveillance of DPRK Nuclear Threat

USA Today (Barbara Slavin and John Diamond, "N. KOREAN NUCLEAR EFFORTS LOOKING LESS THREATENING," Washington, 11/05/03) reported that a year after the DPRK provoked a crisis with the US by admitting a secret effort to make weapons-grade uranium, US officials say the program appears to be far less advanced than diplomats had feared. Intensive international monitoring and DPRK ineptitude have significantly slowed efforts to build a plant to produce highly enriched uranium, says a State Department official involved in US attempts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. A US intelligence official says the CIA, which has conducted extensive surveillance of the DPRK, is "not certain there even is" a uranium-enrichment plant. He says the DPRK may have overstated its capability as part of a strategy of "bluff and bluster to extract concessions from the US." If it turns out that the DPRK's uranium production is not advanced, it could be much easier to work out a new deal to end the DPRK's bombmaking efforts. Though the DPRK is believed to have enough fuel for two to eight nuclear weapons, those weapons would use plutonium derived from a long-acknowledged nuclear complex at Yongbyon. The reason it's still unclear whether there is a uranium program is that such efforts are difficult to monitor. Plutonium programs, however, emit krypton gas that can be measured from the atmosphere. "I would find this report encouraging" because it would indicate the DPRK's nuclear threat is less grave than portrayed, says Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Experts say it is possible some US officials exaggerated the extent of the uranium program to torpedo a 1994 US agreement with the DPRK that traded energy aid for a freeze on nuclear development.

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5. PRC-US DPRK Diplomatic Talks

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA ENVOY IN WASHINGTON FOR NORTH KOREA TALKS," 11/07/03) reported that PRC Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi has briefed senior US officials on Beijing's behind-the-scenes drive to convene a new round of six-nation talks on the DPRK nuclear crisis. Wang met Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, but neither side gave any indication when they expected the dialogue, the last round of which ended inconclusively in August, to resume. "We had in depth discussions -- this is a good opportunity to resume the six-party talks," Wang said through a translator as he left the State Department after the talks. Kelly said: "We are happy to work with the other partners towards resolution of this serious issue." Wang briefed Kelly on his recent trip to Pyongyang with parliamentary chief Wu Bangguo.

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6. PRC-India Naval Joint Operations

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA, INDIA TO TAKE SMALL STEP TO NORMAL TIES WITH JOINT NAVAL MOVES," 11/07/03) reported that first-of-a-kind military exercises between China and India due next week show the Asian giants' desire to move past decades of mistrust and could herald a more active role in South Asia for Beijing, a traditional ally of Pakistan. The Indian and PRC navies will hold a day of search and rescue drills November 14 off the Shanghai coast. The joint operations come after President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, India's rival neighbor, finished a visit to the PRC Wednesday in which Beijing pledged to support Islamabad on territorial disputes and strengthen defence cooperation. An Indian diplomat here said the manoeuvres were another "confidence building measure" after Atal Behari Vajpayee made the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Beijing in a decade. Since Vajpayee's trip in June, the PRC and India have redoubled efforts to finally demarcate their borders including between the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet, the scene of their war. "These issues are very complicated," the diplomat told AFP. "But various steps are being taken and the exercises are one of them."

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7. ROK-DPRK Kaesong Industrial Park

Asia Pulse ("S KOREA TO OPEN MODEL INDUSTRIAL PARK IN N KOREA IN 2004," Seoul, 11/07/03) reported that the ROK is planning to build a model industrial park in the DPRK's border city of Kaesong during the first half of next year, the state-run Korea Land Corp. said today. The model industrial complex, which will be pushed as part of Korea Land Corp.'s bid to build a 3.3 million square-meter industrial park just north of the inter-Korean border, will be open to ROK manufacturers and investors from the second half of 2004, company officials said. The model complex is to be 33,000 square meters in size. To this end, representatives from Korea Land Corp. are scheduled to visit the DPRK Nov. 11-12 for discussions on the establishment of a liaison office in the DPRK city. The state-run corporation and the DPRK authorities in charge of the Kaesong project will also sign a written agreement to guarantee free travel, business activities and communications for ROK workers to be stationed in Kaesong, about 60 km north of Seoul. The signing of a written agreement will mark another important step in the inter-Korean industrial park project, inaugurated in a ceremony on June 30. Following the agreement, Korea Land Corp. is scheduled to begin construction of its liaison office in Kaesong in December.

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8. PRC on Taiwan-US Relations

Agence France-Presse ("TAIWAN'S CHEN OUT TO SABOTAGE SINO-US RELATIONS: CHINA," 11/08/03) reported that the PRC said Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's recent stopovers in the US were aimed at "splitting China" and sabotaging improving Sino-US relations. "The goal of Chen Shui-bian's 'stopovers' in the US is to carry out separatist activities on the international stage and sabotage the improvement and development of Sino-US ties," foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said. "China has many times made serious representations to the US on this issue and expressed strong dissatisfaction to the US side for allowing Chen Shui-bian to make stopovers and spread messages of splitting China," she said in a statement on the ministry's website. Chen stopped off in the US twice on his way to Panama to attend the Latin American country's 100th anniversary celebrations earlier this week. On Monday, he held a brief meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell who was also in Panama. The PRC earlier this week also slammed the meeting. The official Xinhua news agency also attacked Chen in a commentary Friday, accusing him of "political fraud" and "deceitful tricks". It said Chen was secretly pushing an agenda of independence for Taiwan under the guise of calling for democracy and human rights and through his plans to introduce a referendum on a new constitution for Taiwan. Chen's behavior has damaged cross-Strait ties seriously, and would bring "disastrous results" to the Taiwanese compatriots, Xinhua said.

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9. Kiribati Taiwan Diplomatic Ties

Agence France-Presse ("KIRIBATI SWITCHES DIPLOMATIC TIES FROM CHINA TO TAIWAN," 11/07/03) reported that the central Pacific nation of Kiribati has switched its diplomatic ties from the PRC to Taiwan, a statement from its capital Tarawa said. The switch by Kiribati, which hosts a key tracking facility for the PRC's space programme, is the first major foreign policy move of new President Anote Tong, who has been in office less than six months. Kiribati becomes the 27th nation to recognise Taiwan. In the Pacific, Kiribati joins with the Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands in maintaining ties with Taiwan. In the statement the Kiribati Foreign Ministry said that it will "continue to recognize the government of (China)" and expressed hope that relations with the PRC "will continue to prosper in the future". Kiribati has maintained diplomatic links with the PRC since the 1980s. Kiribati said that it will support recognition of Taiwan, which is not a member of the United Nations and many international organizations because of opposition from the PRC. Tong and Taiwan Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Chou-seng Tou held talks over the past week that led to an agreement, the ministry said. The two nations have agreed to cooperate over development in Kiribati, agriculture, fisheries, education and health. Taiwan will encourage its fishing vessels to use Kiribati ports to boost the local economy, the Foreign Ministry statement said.

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International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
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Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Young-soo:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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Tokyo, Japan

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Tokyo, Japan

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Moscow, Russian Federation

Wu Chunsi:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

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