NAPSNet Daily Report
tuesday, april 1, 2004

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. DPRK WMD Transfers

Voice of America ("ASIA PACIFIC US MILITARY OFFICIALS CONCERNED NORTH KOREA COULD TRANSFER WMDS TO TERRORISTS," 03/31/04) reported that Senior US military officials say they are concerned about possible DPRK transfers of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups. However, in testimony Wednesday to a congressional committee, they say US and ROK forces are well-prepared to deal with any threats arising from the DPRK. Admiral Thomas Fargo, head of the US Pacific Command, and General Leon LaPorte, commander of US forces in the ROK say that the DPRK's nuclear programs, ballistic missile production and illicit narcotics-related activities pose a threat to the region and the world. The possibility of DPRK weapons or nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists is, said Admiral Fargo, "perhaps our biggest fear." "I think our largest concern would be if nuclear material was sold to al-Qaida, clearly. They have the will and the skill obviously to carry out a devastating terrorist attack so that is kind of a nightmare scenario and that is why we feel so strongly about a non-nuclear Korean peninsula," he added. Admiral Fargo says the US force structure in the Pacific is well-prepared to respond to any threats and ensure diplomacy is backed by a strong military capability. For his part, General LaPorte says all signs point to the DPRK continuing to build its nuclear deterrent.

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2. US-Japan-ROK DPRK Talks

Kyodo News ("US, JAPAN, S KOREA SET INFORMAL TALKS ON N KOREA," New York, 03/31/04) reported that senior officials of the US, Japan, and ROK plan to hold unofficial talks on the DPRK nuclear issue on April 7 and 8 in the US. Mitoji Yabunaka, director of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of Japan's Foreign Ministry, ROK Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo Hyuck and James Kelly, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, are likely to meet in San Francisco. The three, who each led their countries' delegations in the six-party talks on the issue held in February in Beijing, are expected to discuss the agenda for sessions of a working group under the six-party talks as they hope to hold the first session in April.

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3. ROK Parliamentary Elections

Agence France-Presse ("ROH'S PARTY DOMINATING RIVALS IN PRE-ELECTION OPINION POLLS," 04/01/04) reported that opinion polls suggested the minority Uri Party backed by President Roh Moo-Hyun might win a landslide victory at parliamentary elections this month, hours before official campaigning kicks off. The National Assembly elections are crucial for Roh, who has been suspended from office by the outgoing parliament controlled by his opponents. He vowed to step down should the Uri Party perform poorly in the elections. The Constitutional Court has 180 days to rule on whether to uphold the impeachment or restore Roh's executive powers. The impeachment opposed by 70 percent of South Koreans, according to media polls, has become a key issue in the run-up to the April 15 parliamentary elections. Surveys showed the Uri Party was leading its closest rival, the Grand National Party (GNP), with a 2-1 margin. But the GNP has been catching up fast after Park Keun-Hye, daughter of late president Park Chung-Hee, became its head last month.

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4. ROK-DPRK Family Reunions

Agence France-Presse ("ANOTHER GROUP OF S KOREANS HEADS NORTH FOR FAMILY REUNIONS," Sokcho, 04/01/04) reported that a group of 491 elderly South Koreans left for the DPRK by bus Thursday for temporary reunions with their Northern relatives whom they have not seen for more than a half century. The trip marked the second stage of an inter-Korean Red Cross program to help reunite separated family members. Earlier this week, 100 South Koreans were allowed to meet several hundred of their Northern relatives at Mt Kumgang. The reunions, scheduled for Thursday through Saturday at Mt Kumgang, are the ninth since the historic inter-Korean summit in 2000.

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5. ROK-US Relations

The Associated Press ("S KOREA ACTING PRES TOP PRIORITY IS BOOSTING PACT WITH US," Seoul, 04/01/04) reported that the ROK's acting President Goh Kun on Thursday called for strengthening an alliance with the US as "No. 1 priority" in the country's foreign policy. Prime Minister Goh, known as "Mr. Stability," has pledged to boost the ROK's alliance with the US since he took over the government as an interim head of state following the March 12 parliamentary impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun. On Thursday, he instructed the Foreign Ministry to engage in "omnidirectional diplomacy" to boost relations with the US in government, parliamentary, social and cultural exchanges, Goh's office said in a news release. "The No. 1 priority in our foreign affairs and security policy is to develop the ROK-US alliance. The government needs to make more efforts to develop a comprehensive and dynamic ROK-US alliance," Goh was quoted as saying. Goh said that Roh came to power amid "a lot of uneasiness in relations between South Korea and the US," and reminded the Foreign Ministry of the Roh government's efforts to rebuild the alliance with its most important ally. Goh gave his instructions during a regular policy briefing from the ministry.

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6. US on ROK Anti-American Sentiments

Chosun Ilbo ("US MILITARY BRASS WORK TO SOOTHE CONGRESSIONAL NERVES OVER KOREA," Washington DC, 04/01/04) reported that USFK commander Gen. Leon J. Laporte and US Pacific fleet commander Admiral Thomas Fargo attended a US House Armed Forces Committee session Wednesday and take pains to calm nervous lawmakers who questioned the two about the steady increase in anti-Americanism in Korea and the impeachment of President Roh. Rep. Kurt Weldon (Rep., Pennsylvania) asked Laporte about public opinion surveys that revealed that most ROK citizens consider the US a bigger threat than the DPRK. The general replied that there are many such surveys being conducted, but if you actually talk with Korean citizens, they firmly support the US-Korea alliance. He also said Koreans want US troops to remain in Korea even after some form of reconciliation has been effected with the DPRK. He said that young Koreans, who have not experienced the horrors of war and have grown up in a time of peace and prosperity, have a different point of view from older, conservative Koreans. This is not necessarily a bad thing, he said. Rep. Ike Skelton (Dem., Missouri) cited public opinion polls that reveal that feelings of good will toward the US have fallen from 53 percent in 2002 to 46 percent last year. About this, Laporte said Korean citizens treat US military personnel with dignity and respect, the alliance under the Combines Forces Command is rock-solid, and the relationship receives much support from Korean leaders.

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7. US-Japan Nuclear Aircraft Carrier Deployment?

Kyodo ("US MUM ON POSSIBLE JAPAN DEPLOYMENT OF NUCLEAR AIRCRAFT CARRIER," Tokyo, 04/01/04) reported that the US has yet to comment on whether it will deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier for the first time in Japan as a replacement for the conventionally powered carrier Kitty Hawk, Japan's top government spokesman Yasuo Fukuda said Thursday. 'The US government told us that it has yet to make any decision' on the replacement of the Kitty Hawk, now deployed at the US naval base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, but slated to be replaced in 2008, the chief cabinet secretary told a press conference. Fukuda was referring to an indication made by Adm. Thomas Fargo, head of the US Pacific Command in Hawaii, on Wednesday that the 83,960-ton Kitty Hawk, which was commissioned in 1961, will be replaced by a nuclear-powered vessel. Fargo said in congressional testimony that the Kitty Hawk could be replaced with 'one of our most capable aircraft carriers.' There have been virtually no conventionally powered US aircraft carriers that can replace the Kitty Hawk. The US has never deployed a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in Japan.

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8. US on EU PRC Arms Embargo

Financial Times (Peter Spiegel, "US MOVES TO STOP EU LIFTING CHINA EMBARGO," London, 04/01/04) reported that the US has launched a diplomatic campaign against the European Union's move to lift its arms embargo on PRC. The US is demanding a series of formal meetings on the issue with European governments. State department officials said Colin Powell, secretary of state, had already raised the matter with a number of his European counterparts. "It isn't just confined to conversations in Brussels," said one state department official. "We're making representations in European capitals and in Washington." People familiar with the Bush administration's thinking say US officials see the move to lift the embargo as an attempt by Jacques Chirac, the French president, to re-open French commercial ties to Beijing. They also fear that Chirac, the main backer of the plan, is making a geopolitical play to open up a channel to the PRC while the US is making very public overtures to Taiwan. This week, the Pentagon announced it would sell Taiwan $1.8bn worth of long-range early-warning radars to strengthen Taipei's defenses.

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9. Taiwan Ballistic Missile Development

Agence France-Presse ("TAIWAN TO DEVELOP BALLISTIC, CRUISE MISSILES," 04/01/04) reported that Taiwan plans to develop surface-to-surface missiles capable of hitting rival China, according to a leading defense journal. Tentative plans include the production of 30 mid-range (2,000 kilometre, 1,250 mile) and 120 short-range (1,000 kilometre) surface-to-surface missiles capable of striking mainland China, London-based Jane's Missiles and Rockets magazine said. "These will be based on the Tien Kung surface-to-air missiles (SAM)," it said, citing a document obtained by Jane's. The missile development plan is part of Taiwan's missile procurement plans covering a 10-year period, it said. Taiwan's defense ministry plans to procure six batteries of Patriot PAC-3 missile-defence systems within that timeframe.

10. US House of Representatives DPRK Human Rights Statement

US State Department release the following text of Rep. James A. Leach to the House Panel on Full Committee Markup of H.R. 4011 (The DPRK Human Rights Act of 2004). The following is the text of Representative Leach's remarks on the act:

Mr. Chairman, at the outset I would like to thank the many Committee Members who have cosponsored this legislation, including Representatives Tom Lantos, Chris Smith, Howard Berman, Dan Burton, Gary Ackerman, Elton Gallegly, Eni Faleomavaega, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Donald Payne, Ed Royce, Earl Blumenauer, Steve Chabot, and Joseph Pitts. I would also like to register my high regard for the thoughtfulness of Senator Brownback who has provided such impressive leadership on this issue.

The people of North Korea have endured some of the great humanitarian traumas of our time. Inside North Korea, they suffer at the hands of a totalitarian dynasty that permits no dissent and maintains an inhumane system of prison camps that house an estimated 200,000 political inmates. The regime strictly curtails freedoms of speech, press, religion, assembly, and movement. Since the collapse of the centralized agricultural system in the 1990s, more than 2,000,000 North Koreans are estimated to have died of starvation.

On the human rights front, this bill underscores the importance of human rights issues in future negotiations with North Korea, and authorizes $2 million per year for programs to promote human rights, democracy, rule of law, and a market economy. It also authorizes a similar amount to increase the availability of information sources not controlled by the DPRK government. Finally, it urges additional North Korea-specific attention by appropriate UN human rights authorities.

On the humanitarian front, the bill authorizes increased funding ($20 million/year) for assistance to North Koreans outside of North Korea. It also attempts to secure greater transparency for aid delivered inside North Korea by authorizing a significant increase in such aid (to not less than $100 million/year), but tying increases to substantive improvements in monitoring. Finally, it conditions direct aid to the DPRK government on human rights and transparency benchmarks, but allows the President to waive those restrictions for national security purposes after reporting to Congress.

The full text can be found:

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11. OP-ED: US Missile Defense

New York Times ("Dream-Filled Missile Silos," 04/01/04) wrote an Op-Ed that read the Pentagon is foolishly racing to deliver on President Bush's grandiose 2000 campaign promise to have a still unproven, money-munching missile defense system deployed in time for the November election. It's supposed to provide protection against incoming ballistic missiles. But, so far, the rush into the old "Star Wars" dream amounts to an extravagant political shield. The administration's obstinate intent is to fill the first silos in Alaska as early as this summer, even though the complex project - a composite of 10 separate systems for high-tech defense - is years from being fully tested or built. Plagued with cost overruns and technical failures, the overall missile defense program's main feat of rocketry has been its price tag: roughly $130 billion already spent, and $53 billion planned for the next five years. Mr. Bush ought to pay attention to the powerful advice just offered by a group of 49 retired generals and admirals who say he should shelve his fantasy start-up plan. They urge that the money for that project be spent instead on bolstering antiterrorist defenses at American ports, borders and nuclear weapons depots. As things stand now, the administration is again looking for showy but questionable ways to reinforce Mr. Bush's identity as a wartime president, while ignoring sensible and effective low-tech strategies to reinforce homeland security. There is no denying the theoretical virtue of a missile shield, considering the threat that North Korea or some other rogue nation may eventually present to the US mainland. But the retired brass, who served in the highest precincts of the Pentagon, argue sensibly that the money for the project scheduled for early deployment, $3.7 billion of the $10.2 billion the president plans to spend next year for missile-shield projects, should be diverted to protecting parts of the American mainland that could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Making a show of rushing missile shield components into place before they are required, to complete a system that may not work anyway, is a Potemkin defense. It invites more of the cost overruns and test failures that have bedeviled the program. The Pentagon had to tell Congress last week of another round of setbacks in developing one piece of the Star Wars puzzle: an infrared satellite system crucial to the project. This will mean more lost time and higher costs for an oft-revamped plan that even Pentagon analysts have called a "case study" for how not to build a complex space project. Voters paying for this buy-now, fly-later dream deserve realistic planning and candor, not another slice of political pie in the sky.

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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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