NAPSNet Daily Report
wednesday, november 19, 2003

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. US Kelly in PRC for DPRK Talks

Agence France-Presse ("US ENVOY HEADS INTO TALKS WITH CHINA OVER NORTH KOREA," 11/19/03) reported that US envoy James Kelly has headed into talks with the PRC's leaders as he seeks consensus on a second round of six-party negotiations on the DPRK's nuclear program. The US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs arrived in Beijing late Tuesday after a three-day visit to Japan and is scheduled to move on to Seoul later Wednesday. Washington's lead official on the DPRK made no comment as he left his hotel and the US embassy declined to go into detail about his agenda. "He is meeting members of the PRC's foreign ministry before heading to Seoul. They are discussing issues relevant to the DPRK's nuclear weapons program and other bilateral issues," said an embassy spokeswoman. It appears that another round of talks aimed at resolving the standoff which erupted in October last year will take place in the middle of next month.

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2. US Congress Nuclear Weapons Funds Approval

Reuters (Andrew Clark, "CONGRESS APPROVES BUSH NUCLEAR WEAPONS FUNDS," Washington, 11/18/03) reported that the US Congress on Tuesday granted President Bush much of the money he had sought to study new types of nuclear weapons as Republican leaders worked toward a deal that would let them wrap up the rest of Congress' unfinished budget work this week. The House of Representatives voted 387-36 to pass the funds as part of a $27.3 billion spending bill for energy and water programs in 2004. The Senate later unanimously followed suit, sending the bill to Bush to be signed into law. Meanwhile, Republicans were negotiating with the White House to try to craft a catch-all measure grouping most of the remaining spending bills -- which could then be cleared all at once before Congress is set to adjourn at the end of the week. The energy spending bill would give Bush half of the $15 million he had sought to develop an earth-penetrating nuclear warhead for use against deeply buried bunkers. It also has the full $6 million he wanted to research small, low-yield nuclear weapons -- although $4 million of that would be contingent on a report to Congress detailing the administration's future plans for the US nuclear stockpile.

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3. ROK on DPRK Six-Way Talks

Yonhap ("ROK MINISTER SAYS TOPICS OF SIX-WAY TALKS HAVE 'BECOME VERY CLEAR,'" Seoul, 11/18/03) reported that the ROK's foreign minister expressed optimism on Tuesday 18 November that progress will be able to be made in a new round of six-nation talks aimed at resolving the standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. In a meeting with ROK correspondents here, Yoon Young-kwan said there was a lot of "uncertainty" at the time of the first round of six-way talks, but now, the focus of discussions among involved countries is converging and the forum's mission is getting clearer. "It has become very clear what should be discussed at the next round of six-party talks expected for next month," Yoon said. "North Korea's abandonment of its nuclear weapons program and a multilateral security guarantee for the North are the focus of talks." Recently, the DPRK also agreed in principle to attend a new round of talks with Japan, Russia, ROK, the US and the PRC. The first round in Beijing in August failed to produce a breakthrough.

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4. ROK on US Troop Relocation

Yonhap ("ROK TO ACCEPT RELOCATION OF 'ALL' US TROOPS IN SEOUL," Seoul, 11/19/03) reported that the government decided to accept a US proposal to remove all forces in its military command in central Seoul without any residual presence, a senior Seoul government official said Wednesday (November 19). South Korea and the US had agreed to relocate the Yongsan garrison to locations south of Seoul by 2006, leaving 700-1,000 troops in the capital. But the two sides differed over how large a tract of land the US remaining forces would keep. Early this week, ROK and US defence chiefs attempted to resolve differences on the relocation and other pending issues, but failed to do so. According to ROK negotiators who attended the annual Security Consultative Meeting, Seoul offered 17m pyeong of the 81m pyong-Yongsan base, while the US side requested 28m pyong. One pyeong equals 3.3 square meters. The government official, requesting anonymity, said the ROK concluded the relocation of all garrison forces would not weaken the combined deterrence against the DPRK in view of the US military's high-tech weaponry systems. Also, the decision appeared to reflect concern over possible public criticism in the event that Seoul accedes to a US demand for a bigger tract of land, the official said.

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5. Japan Koizumi Prime Minister Re-election

Agence France-Presse ("JAPAN'S PARLIAMENT RE-ELECTS KOIZUMI PRIME MINISTER," 11/19/03) reported that Japan's all-important lower house of parliament has re-elected Junichiro Koizumi prime minister following the November 9 general election that returned his coalition to power with a trimmed majority. "Our house decided to name Mr. Junichiro Koizumi as prime minister," said lower house speaker Yohei Kono after the vote was counted in the 480-seat chamber at the start of a nine-day special session. Koizumi, who leads the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), stood and repeatedly bowed to applause from supporters upon hearing he had been reappointed after garnering 281 votes out a total of 479 votes cast. The LDP controls 245 seats in the chamber and its coalition partner, New Komei Party, has 34. His nearest rival, opposition Democratic Party of Japan leader Naoto Kan, picked up 186 votes. Kazuo Shii, who heads the Japan Communist Party, won nine votes. Three votes were invalid. The upper house of parliament also confirmed Koizumi as prime minister in a rubber-stamp vote, with Koizumi winning 136 votes out of the total cast of 240 in the 247-seat chamber. Shortly before his re-election, Koizumi vowed to push with his reform agenda, which covers a range of issues from the overhaul of the economy to welfare and pension schemes. "We face a difficult situation with tasks piling up, but I will do my utmost efforts to promote reforms," he told a gathering of LDP lawmakers. Koizumi is likely to have a rocky ride with declining public support for him and growing controversy over a government plan to send troops to help rebuild Iraq.

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6. Taiwan AIM-120 Missile Test-Fire

Agence France-Presse ("TAIWAN SUCCESSFULLY TEST-FIRES AIM-120 MISSILES IN US," Taipei, 11/19/03) reported that Taiwan has successfully test-fired advanced air-to-air AIM-120 missiles in the US last week while taking delivery of the US-made weapons, it was reported here. A pilot from Taiwan's air force test-fired the medium-range missiles at the Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida on November 10, the China Times here reported, quoting the on-line Taiwan Defense Review. Taiwan bought 120 AIM-120s from the US in 2000 on condition they would be delivered when the PRC acquired weaponry of similar capabilities. The defense ministry Tuesday confirmed delivery of the missiles had been completed. It did not give more details. Air force officials earlier said Taiwan would not test-fire the missiles locally due to the PRC's constant spying across the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan air force officials have said the US-built missile, which has a range of 50 kilometres (31 miles) and is equipped with advanced guidance systems, would be used to arm part of Taiwan's 150 F-16 fighter jet fleet. The US remains the leading arms supplier to Taiwan despite shifting its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

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7. PRC on US Textile Quotas

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA PROTESTS US PLANS TO IMPOSE QUOTAS ON TEXTILE IMPORTS," 11/19/03) reported that the PRC has strongly protested plans by the US to slap quotas on PRC textile imports of dressing gowns and bras, accusing Washington of violating WTO principles of free trade. "The PRC government expresses deep regret over this decision," the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. "The American government ignored the strong opposition from the PRC side, made such a recommendation, violating the World Trade Organization's principles of free trade, transparency and non-discrimination." The PRC threatened to take the issue to the rules-based global trade body. "The PRC side retains the right to appeal to relevant agencies of WTO to protect the rights and interests of PRC industries," the ministry said. A ministry spokesman told AFP PRC officials had cancelled a trip scheduled Wednesday to the US to meet soybean sellers. The spat adds to a rising number of disputes between the two trading giants, as the US seeks to balance a 103 billion dollar trade deficit with the PRC blamed on Beijing boosting its competitiveness by deliberately undervaluing its currency. The new row erupted Tuesday as Washington announced quotas on PRC textiles after finding a flood of subsidized imports has hurt US textile makers. A US trade panel examining a complaint from the US textile industry called for "safeguard" relief against PRC-made knit fabrics, dressing gowns and bras, the US Commerce Department said.

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8. PRC Taiwan Independence Warning

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA WARNS TAIWAN MOVE TOWARDS INDEPENDENCE MAY TRIGGER WAR," 11/19/03) reported that the PRC has launched a broadside ahead of Taiwan's presidential elections next year, warning President Chen Shui-bian that his drive for independence risked triggering war. Curbing the independence push was the bottom line of Beijing's Taiwan policy and war would erupt if the island moved in that direction, Wang Zaixi, vice minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office, was quoted as saying in the China Daily. "If the Taiwan authorities collude with all splittist forces to openly engage in pro-independence activities and challenge the mainland and the one-China principle, the use of force may become unavoidable," Wang said. "(The separatist forces) are set to pay a high cost if they think we will not use force against their conspiracy to promote formal independence." Chen, from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, has launched an aggressive re-election campaign based on the assertion that Taiwan is a separate country from the PRC. His campaign pledge to amend Taiwan's constitution if he is re-elected in March has drawn the ire of Beijing which has called such a move the first step toward eventual Taiwan independence. With tension rising in the Taiwan Strait, the US Wednesday called for restraint from both sides. "Our primary interests remain in maintaining stability in the Taiwan Strait," US embassy spokeswoman Sheila Paskman said, commenting on Chen's constitutional reform plan. "The US continues to urge Taiwan as well as the People's Republic of China to refrain from actions or statements that increase tensions or make dialogue more difficult to achieve. "The US does not support Taiwan independence."

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9. ROK on Al Qaeda Threats

Reuters ("SOUTH KOREA PROBES AL QAEDA THREAT REPORTS," Seoul, 11/18/03) reported that the ROK's intelligence agency said on Wednesday it was investigating a case in which a suspected member of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network had entered and left the country earlier this year, undetected by authorities. The National Intelligence Service official confirmed a report in the national daily newspaper JoongAng Ilbo that the suspected al Qaeda member -- who was later arrested in another unnamed country and is now in US custody -- had entered theROK. "The NIS is now investigating details of the al Qaeda member's infiltration," said the official, who requested anonymity. The JoongAng Ilbo, which said the ROK had received a tip from US intelligence authorities, reported that a key concern was whether al Qaeda obtained information on the US diplomatic or military facilities in the ROK.

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10. DPRK-PRC Military Relations

Central Broadcasting Station ("DPRK MILITARY DELEGATION LEAVES FOR CHINA," Pyongyang, 11/18/03) reported that the Korean People's Army KPA goodwill visiting delegation led by Col-Gen Yi Tae-il name as heard, which will be visiting PRC, departs Pyongyang on November 8. KPA generals, officers and men, the ambassador and the military attache of the People's Republic of China to our country saw the visiting delegation off at the airport.

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11. DPRK on Japan-US Security Alliance

Korean Central News Agency ("MINJU JOSON ATTACKS PROPOSED JAPAN-US SECURITY ALLIANCE," Pyongyang, 11/18/03) reported that the Japanese rightist conservatives are these days raising terrific outcries for "Japan-US security alliance" under the pretext of the DPRK Democratic People's Republic of Korea's military threat. Commenting on this, Minju joson today terms this one of their frantic acts to justify the continued presence of US force in Japan at any cost. The author of the commentary says: Now loud voices urging the withdrawal of US forces from Okinawa are coming from Japan. This growing demand in Japan is entirely justifiable either in view of the trend of the times or the realities of Japan. It is the realities of Japan that an unending chain of GIs' crimes have left a great many people in the grip of uneasiness and fear. Nevertheless, the Japanese rightist conservatives are vociferating about the fictitious "threat" of the DPRK to keep the US forces in Japan, worshipping them more than their own forefathers. This disgraceful behavior is a direct expression of their deep-rooted pro-US flunkeyist and submissive consciousness and an open manifestation of their sinister intention to attain a foul goal. In the current hectic jawbone campaign for the maintenance of the US forces in Japan, the Japanese reactionaries seek to realize their invariable re-invasion designs, come what may, with the US backing. It is the Japanese reactionaries' heinous intention to make military preparations for overseas expansion by actively taking advantage of the US continuous war moves and launch into re-invasion of the continent on this basis. It is nothing but a stupid illusion which stands no chance of success for the Japanese rightist conservatives to try to realize their invariable ambition of re-invasion with the US backing. They should behave with discretion, looking straight into the trend of the times.

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12. DPRK Marketization

New York Times (James Brooke, "QUIETLY, NORTH KOREA OPENS MARKETS," 11/19/03) reported that the DPRK's tentative turn at opening markets is best captured in snapshots of happy South Koreans touring Pyongyang, a long forbidden city lampooned as "a Stalinist theme park." This fall, a ROK travel agency started flying the first regular tour groups to the DPRK's showcase capital. Charging $2,000 a head, the tours put a human face to South Korea's quietly swelling trade and investment with its isolated northern sibling. In the first 10 months of this year, ROK's trade with the DPRK jumped 40 percent. Pushing private enterprise in the DPRK, ROK companies are now building cars, roads, railroads and a huge industrial park. The US, in contrast, is tightening the economic screws on the DPRK, believing that economic pain will force the DPRK to give up its program to build nuclear bombs. Rebuilding the DPRK is expected to fall largely to the ROK because it has the deepest pockets and the greatest interest in a united Korea. The PRC and Russia, the cold war patrons of the DPRK's government, have less interest in paying for extensive redevelopment. Japan has promised to pay billions of dollars in compensation for its colonization of northern Korea during the first half of the 20th century. But instead of pushing for a collapse, the ROK is quietly pursuing the kind of market-oriented development that could one day ease a transition in the DPRK from Communism to capitalism. During the first half of this year, 427 ROK companies took part in 557 projects producing $340 million in bilateral trade, according to South Korea's Unification Ministry, a government agency. That figure climbs to $587 million with the addition of ROK humanitarian aid projects, including two sets of cross-border railways and roads, an industrial park and a mammoth meeting center for divided families. Foreign visitors increasingly see evidence of a grass-roots market economy. This year, large market halls have been built in Pyongyang and in most of the major cities and towns. There, people buy and sell vegetables, grain, shoes, clothes and cosmetics at largely free-floating prices. The markets legalize what was a flourishing black market and make up for the state's inability to maintain its food and clothing rationing system.

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Center for American Studies,
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International Peace Research Institute (PRIME),
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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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