NAPSNet Daily Report
tuesday, december 23, 2003

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. Libya on DPRK Nuclear Weapons

Agence France-Presse ("KADHAFI SAYS NORTH KOREA, IRAN AND SYRIA SHOULD FOLLOW LIBYA'S LEAD," Washington, 12/23/03) reported that Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi said that his government had taken "corrective" action in renouncing weapons of mass destruction and that nations such as the DPRK, Iran and Syria, suspected of having nuclear arms, should follow its lead. "In my opinion I should believe that they should follow the steps of Libya, take an example from Libya, so that they prevent any tragedy being inflicted upon their own people," Kadhafi said in an exclusive interview with CNN late Monday. Kadhafi reasoned that such a step would "tighten the noose around the Israelis, so they would expose their programs of" weapons of mass destruction. Libya on Friday took the world by surprise admitting after years of denial that it had weapons of mass destruction and vowing to renounce them. Kadhafi, however, stated that Libya did not possess nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. "We have not these weapons," he told CNN's Andrea Koppel during his interview in a tent a half an hour's drive outside the Libyan capital Tripoli. The programs to be dismantled, Kadhafi said, "would have been for peaceful purposes -- but nevertheless we decided to get rid of them completely." In its official statement, Libya on Friday said it had "formally decided of its own free will to renounce all these substances, equipment and programs, to become a country free of weapons of mass destruction." US officials on Saturday said that during secret visits to Libya in October, US intelligence agents found a more advanced uranium enrichment program than publicly disclosed but no evidence of actual production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. Asked if US sanctions had impacted his decision to renounce weapons of mass destruction, Kadhafi replied: "The important thing is what we have done. It is the correct -- corrective action. Kadhafi denied Saddam's fall had anything to do with the timing of his decision.

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2. Taiwan on PRC Relations

Reuters ("TAIWAN SEEKS TO REASSURE US OVER CHINA," 12/23/03) reported that Taiwan sought to reassure the US Tuesday that a planned referendum coinciding with the presidential election is March was not aimed at upsetting the status quo with the PRC. President Bush told Beijing this month the US opposed any unilateral decision by either the PRC or Taiwan to change the status quo. It was seen as a blunt warning against Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's referendum plan. "We want the world, especially the US, to know we favor peace and stability in the region," Taiwan Foreign Minister Eugene Chien told a news conference. "The referendum is not aimed at provoking the opposite side or changing the status quo. "We still have differences with the US over the referendum and there have been some difficulties in our communication. But we are trying very hard." Chien declined to confirm or deny media reports that the government would send delegations to the US and Europe to explain the island's position ahead of the 2004 election. Chen has said he will use the new power by holding a referendum calling on the PRC to dismantle nearly 500 missiles pointed at the island. Facing a tough re-election battle, Chen has made his provocative claim that the PRC and Taiwan are separate countries a cornerstone of his campaign, aiming to shore up support from pro-independence voters.

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3. PRC Taiwan Espionage Arrests

Agence France-Presse ("PRC STATE MEDIA REPORTS ARRESTS OF TAIWAN SPY RING," 12/24/03) reported PRC state-run media claimed that the country had broken up a Taiwanese spy ring as a row over the reported arrests of intelligence agents triggered a political row in Taiwan. Xinhua reported that 24 Taiwanese agents had been arrested along with 19 PRC, quoting a spokesman for the state security authorities. The alleged offences was not made clear but the spokesman was quoted by Xinhua as saying that what the spies did "may bring catastrophes and bitterness to the people of Taiwan." Xinhua said the spies had confessed to their crimes. The report is likely to stoke an already inflamed political atmosphere in Taiwan after the government rejected an earlier newspaper report about the uncovering of the ring, and the ruling party claimed it was an opposition electioneering ploy. The Hong Kong-based Ming Pao newspaper reported Monday that PRC intelligence officers had arrested 21 Taiwanese and 15 PRC whom they said had made up one of the biggest Taiwan spy rings Beijing had cracked in years. Taiwan's Military Information Bureau Tuesday dismissed the Ming Pao report as "untrue."

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4. ROK on Iraq Troop Dispatch

Agence France-Presse ("SOUTH KOREA SET TO PRESENT MOTION ON DISPATCH OF TROOPS TO IRAQ," 12/23/03) reported that ROK President Roh Moo-Hyun's cabinet was set to present a motion on the dispatch of 3,000 troops to Iraq after a phone conversation between Roh and US President George W. Bush. "Following its cabinet deliberation today, the motion will be signed by President Roh and sent to the parliament for approval," presidential spokesman Yoon Tae-Young said on Tuesday. The cabinet meeting followed an 18-minute phone conversation late Monday in which Bush thanked Roh for the ROK's decision to send around 3,000 new troops to Iraq at Washington's request to help rebuild the war-torn state. Details on the motion were not immediately available, as the defense ministry refused to confirm a news report that the ROK will deploy new troops in Iraq from April 1 through December 31 in 2004. South Korea has already stationed some 400 non-combat troops in Iraq. The government motion must be endorsed by parliament. Despite months of protests by anti-war activists, ROK officials expect to win approval from the legislature controlled by the main opposition Grand National Party, which has already publicly backed the deployment.

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5. DPRK Military Technology Development

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA PINS HOPES ON COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY," Seoul, 12/23/03) reported that computer technology has been given top priority in the DPRK, with the eldest son of the country's ruler leading the campaign to bring the military into the hi-tech age, a defector claims. Your Annual PC Tune-up Rev up your PC for 2004 with our annual tune-up guide, plus must-have free utilities and maintenance tips to keep your PC purring. The DPRK's supremo Kim Jong-Il, who is known to be well versed in computers and enjoys web surfing, has issued a special directive to elevate the information technology (IT) sector in the impoverished communist state to the level of strategic industry, said defector Tak Eun-Hyuk. The former corporal of the DPRK's People's Army said the fact that Kim Jong-Il's eldest son, Kim Jong-Nam, is in charge of developing the DPRK's IT industry shows the importance Pyongyang attaches to the sector. "North Koreans accept as a matter of fact that Kim Jong-Nam is an heir to the throne," Tak said. Tak, 22, who fled to the ROK in February by crawling his way through the heavily mined buffer zone that divides the two Koreas, said DPRK-assembled computers had been provided to battalions of the 1.1-million-strong army. Each battalion currently has 15 computers and by the end of next year machines were expected to be provided to the level of army companies. The capacity of these computers is limited, however, and their use is confined to exchanging documents between command posts and military units and searching archives of Kim Jong-Il's directives and Communist Party dailies.

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6. DPRK Kim Leadership Anniversary

The Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, "N. KOREA MARKS KIM LEADERSHIP ANNIVERSARY," Seoul, 12/23/03) reported that the DPRK marked Kim Jong Il's anniversary as top military commander by vowing Tuesday to increase its readiness to fight a war with the US over its nuclear weapons program. Kim became supreme commander of the 1.1 million-strong Korean People's Army, the world's fifth largest, 12 years ago Wednesday. On the eve of the anniversary, military officers and communist party cadets gathered in Pyongyang and celebrated with anti-American bravado. "If the US imperialists ignite a war at any cost despite our repeated warnings, the army and people of the DPRK will mobilize ... and destroy the enemy's bulwark by merciless crushing blows," said Kim Yong Chun, chief of the KPA General Staff, during a national meeting. Kim Yong Chun said the "situation of the Korean revolution still remains complicated and tense," and urged the country to "increase the war deterrent force in every way," according to the North's official news agency, KCNA.

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7. US-PRC-Russia Wetwork Link

The Associated Press (Jim Paul, "NEW WETWORK TO LINK US, RUSSIA," Champaign, 12/23/03) reported that soon scientists in the US, the PRC and Russia will be able to collaborate in cyberspace over a new high-speed computer network that includes the first direct computer link across the Russia-PRC border, developers say. The network, expected to go online next month, will ring the Northern Hemisphere, connecting computers in Chicago with machines in Amsterdam, Moscow, Siberia, Beijing and Hong Kong before hooking up with Chicago again, said Greg Cole of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, one of the leaders of the Little GLORIAD project. Data will flow at 155 million bytes per second. "This new network permits us to learn more from each other in areas where we have not worked together in the past," Cole said Monday. The NCSA, based at the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus, received $2.8 million from the National Science Foundation to fund the US portion of the network for the next three years. Russia and the PRC are spending similar amounts, Cole said. "As we aim to strengthen our nations' capabilities in research, we also aim to contribute to the cumulative knowledge that lifts the prospects of people everywhere," NSF director Rita Colwell said in a statement announcing the plans. The fiber optic connection between China and Russia that makes the network possible was completed a few months ago, Cole said. Final touches are being put on the China-Russia link, and the global network should see its first traffic on Jan. 5. A formal launching ceremony is planned for Jan. 12 in Beijing, he said.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:

Ilmin Internationl Relations Institute
BK21 The Education and Research Corps for East Asian Studies
Department of Political Science, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

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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