Friday, February 11, 2005

Europe urges North Korea back to six-party talks

European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Javier Solana
on Thursday called on the Democratic People's Republic
of Korea (DPRK) to come back to the six-party talks on
the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula.

"The EU strongly regrets the statement on the suspension
of North Korea's participation in the six-party talks
for an indefinite period," said a written statement
issued by Solana's office.

"The EU is not a participant in the talks, but we fully
supportthem as the best instrument to deal with the
nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula," said Solana.

"Dialogue is the only way forward," said Solana, urging
the DPRK to "rethink its decision" and to "return to

North Korea advertises its nuclear weapons arsenal : comments from the ICG

North Korea says it has manufactured nuclear weapons for
its self-defence and is suspending participation in
six-way talks on its atomic arms programme for an
"indefinite period". Here is the comment of a well known
expert : Timothy L. Savage, of the International Crisis
Group based in Seoul. Tim commented this announcement for
my blog and news media Corp.

Quotes :

"Well, everyone’s known for awhile that they’ve had the
capacity to build nuclear weapons. Saying that they have
it amps up the tension a bit, but doesn’t “prove�
anything; only an actual nuclear test would do that. So
it sounds like they’re just trying to strengthen their
position and take away any thoughts the Bush
administration might be harboring of a pre-emptive

The ICG published a very interesting report in november
2004 in Seoul and Brussels that Tim introduced to a
panel of Japan Korea US watchers (academics,
journalists, diplomats, defense officers, analysts)
based in Tokyo, panel held by CFR fellow Robert

Asia report no: 87 "North Korea : Where next for the
nuclear talks?"

Timothy L. Savage, Senior Analyst
ICG - International Crisis Group, Northeast Asia Office
King's Garden #3 Officetel, Suite 802
Naesu-dong 72, Chongro-gu
Seoul, 110-040 Republic of Korea
P: 82-2-730-2914
F: 82-2-730-2915
C: 82-17-212-1253

Press quotes on the issue :

"North Korea yesterday declared it had manufactured
nuclear weapons and announced it was withdrawing from
multilateral negotiations on its disarmament.

The statement is Pyongyang's first public claim to have
crossed the nuclear threshold, and its most brazen
challenge to the US.

"We had already taken the resolute action of pulling out
of the NPT [nuclear non-proliferation treaty] and have
manufactured nukes for self- defence to cope with the
Bush administration's ever-more undisguised policy to
isolate and stifle [North Korea]," North Korea's foreign
ministry said in a statement published by the official
Korean Central News Agency.

Pyongyang told the US it possessed nuclear weapons in
Beijing in April 2003 when the two sides resumed
contacts. According to senior US officials, Li Gun, the
foreign ministry negotiator for North Korea, threatened
at the time that North Korea would test and export
nuclear weapons.

Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, cast doubt on
the latest claim, saying that while US intelligence
reports have estimated Pyongyang could create nuclear
weapons, he has not seen proof that they possess such
arms. "One has to be concerned about it form a
proliferation standpoint, if you believe them," he said
at a meeting of Nato defence ministers in Nice. "They've
indicated other things from time to time that haven't
proved out."

Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, said: "This is
an unfortunate move . . . because it deepens North
Korea's isolation from the international community." Her
remarks were echoed by Junichiro Koizumi, the Japanese
prime minister, and Kofi Annan, the United Nations

The North Korean statement comes just weeks after the
country described the US as "a friend", and amid
optimism of a resumption of the stalled six-party talks
with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the US. .

"This is really serious. North Korea is now stepping
over the red line," said Kim Tae-woo, a nuclear expert
at the Korean Institute for Defence Analysis in Seoul.

But some analysts pointed out that North Korea, with its
fondness for belligerent outbursts, had a history of
strengthening its threats just before agreeing to talks,
a tactic aimed at increasing its bargaining power.

Pyongyang said it was pulling out of the six-party talks
until "there is justification for us to attend". But the
statement also said: "The DPRK's principled stand to
solve the issue through dialogue and negotiations and
its ultimate goal to denuclearise the Korean peninsular
remain unchanged."

North Korea's declaration poses a potentially serious
challenge to China's efforts to avoid further escalation
of the crisis surrounding the impoverished Stalinist
state on its north-eastern border.

Beijing played a leading role in setting up the six-way
talks and in persuading Pyongyang to take part, seeing
the multilateral forum as a way of reducing the
potential for US military action against North Korea." (FT)

Quotes :

"Accusing the United States of seeking to topple its
political system and threatening it with a nuclear
stick, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)
said on Thursday it is suspending its participation in
the six-party talks on the nuclear issue for an
"indefinite period".

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs carried
by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said "
We have wanted the six-party talks but we are compelled
to suspend our participation in the talks for an
indefinite period."

The DPRK said it would not resume its participation in
the six-party talks until it has recognized that there
is justification for it to attend the talks and there
are ample conditions and atmosphere to expect positive
results from the talks.

"The present deadlock of the six-party talks is
attributable tothe U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK,"
the statement said.

There is no justification for the DPRK to participate in
the six-party talks again given that the Bush
administration termed the DPRK, a dialogue partner, an
"outpost of tyranny", it said.

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice branded last month
the DPRK, along with some other countries, as an
"outpost tyranny" that needed to be liberated.

"The U.S. disclosed its attempt to topple the political
system in the DPRK at any cost, threatening it with a
nuclear stick. This compels us to take a measure to
bolster its unclear weapons arsenal in order to protect
the ideology, system, freedom and democracy chosen by
its people," said the statement.

"We had already taken the resolute action of pulling out
of theNPT and have manufactured nukes for self-defense
to cope with the Bush administration's undisguised
policy to isolate and stifle theDPRK," it said.

"The DPRK's principled stand to solve the issue through
dialogue and negotiations and its ultimate goal to
denuclearize the Korean Peninsula remain unchanged," the
statement added. Three rounds of six-party talks,
participated by representatives from the DPRK, the
United States, China, South Korea, Russia and Japan,
have taken place in Beijing since August 2003.

Although some practical progress has been made,
especially during the third round talks held last June,
which was praised by all the parties as "constructive",
no breakthrough emerged on substantial issues."

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Diaoyu - Senkaku islands : Japan Takes Control of Lighthouse

Japan on Wednesday took over a lighthouse built by a
right-wing political group on a disputed island also
claimed by China and Taiwan in a move that could be seen
as an attempt by Tokyo to strengthen its claim to the

Cabinet Office official Hiroshi Inomata said the move
was not politically motivated. The islands, called
Senkaku by Japanese and Diaoyu by the Chinese, are
controlled by Japan.

"The government understands the usefulness of the
lighthouse," Inomata said. "Landing on the island has
been banned, and it would be best if the structure
becomes publicly owned."

Beijing criticized Tokyo's move in a statement
distributed by the official Xinhua New Agency.

"The Diaoyu islands and surrounding islands are
sovereign Chinese territory," said Kong Kuan, chief
spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry. "The actions
taken by Japan are all illegal and invalid."

The islands — ceded to Japan by China in an 1895 war —
lie in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan. They
are surrounded by rich fishing waters, and are a
frequent source of friction between the nations.

China and Taiwan say their claims to the islands date
back centuries — assertions that have long riled
Japanese right-wing extremists. Chinese and Japanese
nationalist groups have both made trips to the islands
to protest the claims by the other side.

The Tokyo-based group Nihon Seinen Sha built the
lighthouse on Uotsuri island in 1988 as a symbol of
Japan's stake in the territory.

The ownership of the structure, which had since been
transferred to a group of local fishermen, was passed to
the government without charge, Inomata said. He said the
Coast Guard would now be in charge of maintaining the

Taiwan saw the change in ownership as potentially

"If the Japanese government takes over management of the
lighthouse, that means there is more hope for a
reasonable attitude in (eventual) talks," Foreign
Ministry spokesman Michel Ching-long Lu told The
Associated Press.

Lu said Taiwan still maintained its claims of
sovereignty over the islands and saw talks as the only
way to solve the dispute.

Japanese activists had regularly traveled to the remote
islands to change light bulbs and maintain the
structure, but each expedition prompted criticism from
China and Taiwan.

Chinese activists have also traveled to the islands to
claim what they consider their territorial rights, but
Japan arrested and deported them.

In April 2004, the Japanese government barred access to
the islands, including to Japanese citizens, to avoid
further clashes.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Condi Rice in Paris : voluntarist and peaceful with France

The United States and France declared they had opened a
"new chapter" in their relations, drawing a line on two
years of feuding over Iraq with pledges to cooperate in
bringing stability to the Middle East.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in France for
her fence-mending tour of eight European nations made a
forceful appeal for improved transatlantic relations and
met with French President Jacques Chirac, who said he
wanted "constructive dialogue" with Washington.

"It is time to turn away from the disagreements of the
past. It is time to open a new chapter in our
relationship, and a new chapter in our alliance," she
said in a speech to a prestigious political sciences
institute in the capital before seeing Chirac.

Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said he fully agreed
that the time had come for Europe and the United States
to "start a new phase, a new chapter".

The issues central to Rice's visit focused on the US and
EU approach to the Middle East, with particular
attention given to Iraq, Iran and the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict.

Her Paris visit was the seventh stop of an eight-day
tour that had taken her to London, Berlin, Warsaw,
Ankara, Jerusalem and the West Bank, and Rome. On
Wednesday she was scheduled to go to Brussels and
Luxembourg before heading back to Washington.

Rice Speaks at Elite French University

The prestigious French political science university
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice chose as the stage
for advancing the healing process between the United
States and France is considered by some the "Oxford of
France" — and produces many of the country's diplomats
and public servants.

Still, students said Tuesday it will take more than a
speech and Rice's declaration that "it is time to turn
away from the disagreements of the past" for bygones to
be bygones.

"There is a certain amount of anti-American feeling in
France," said Estelle Delie, a 22-year-old student of
political sociology at Paris' Institute of Political
Sciences — known simply as "Sciences Po."

The speech was closed to all but a tiny fraction of the
student body, with most seats going to the U.S. Embassy.
That generated doubts about how well Rice would be able
to reach out to the French people.

In an ultra-chic pocket of the Left Bank, Sciences Po
lacks the international fame of the Sorbonne. But for
many French, the school packs more prestige, being the
path by which many students pass to careers in public

Those who studied there include French President Jacques
Chirac and his interior minister, Dominique de Villepin,
and opposition Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande,
his predecessor Lionel Jospin and the former Prime
Minister Laurent Fabius. Chirac's prime minister,
Jean-Pierre Raffarin, also taught there.

The school also takes in international students — with
1,600 foreigners among its 5,500 students. Former United
Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali is a
former Sciences Po student.

Sciences Po "is basically the Oxford of France," said
Daniel Lee (news - web sites), a history and politics
student from London. He called Rice "an intelligent
woman ... trying to make an effort, unlike Mr. Bush who
has a reputation of not being an internationalist."

Delie said Rice sought "to reach the elite ... to assure
American prestige within the future political elite of

Sciences Po has been used as a forum for other speakers
of note, such as former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
In that case, however, students were given wide access,
with his remarks relayed on huge video screens.

Security was tight, with the street leading to the
school's main entrance blocked and guards at all the
doors. Many students expressed dismay that they had no
access to Rice.

"There is not an enormous amount of people at Sciences
Po who support Bush," said Sebastien Arnoult, 24, a
media student. "But," he added, "the priority is

Rice's speech "is definitely a signal that she is coming
here to repair relations," said Jonathan DeFaveri, 20,
of Atlanta, an exchange student from Boston University.

Condolezza Rice Urges New Chapter in US-Europe Relations

USA Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on
Tuesday for a new chapter in relations with Europe after
a rift over the Iraq war and began repairing ties with
France, one of the biggest critics of the conflict.

Rice pointedly made the appeal in Paris during an
eight-nation tour, underlining the message that
President Bush wants Europe to be a partner and not a

Calling each other Michel and Condi at a joint news
conference, Rice and French Foreign Minister Michel
Barnier pledged to give U.S.-French relations a new
start and emphasized areas of cooperation rather than

"It is time to turn away from the disagreements of the
past. It is time to open a new chapter in our
relationship and a new chapter in our alliance," Rice
said in a speech to students and academics at Paris's
prestigious Sciences Politiques university.

"America stands ready to work with Europe on our common
agenda and Europe must stand ready to work with
America," said Rice, a former university provost.

She made Paris the venue for the main speech of her tour
to show Europe that the Bush administration has ended an
internal debate about whether to view a united Europe as
a rival or as a partner, a senior U.S. official said.

She chose to make the speech at the university because
it has been at the center of intellectual and political
debate over transatlantic ties.

Rice was greeted by warm applause and, although she
appeared nervous and delivered the speech with little
flair, she did not face a grilling in questions after
the speech.

"When we disagreed, we still disagreed as friends," she
said of relations with France. Later, standing beside
Barnier at their news conference, she said: "When the
United States and France work together there's a great
deal we can achieve."

Trying out his English, which he is brushing up, Barnier
said: "Chere Condi, it's time for a fresh start."

Underlining the desire for reconciliation, French
President Jacques Chirac -- who met Rice but did not
speak to reporters -- is due to meet Bush for dinner in
Brussels on Feb. 21 and will soon visit Washington.

A French government source also said Washington had
agreed to hand over to France its last three citizens
held by U.S. forces at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. This
would remove one obstacle to better ties, but French
officials did not confirm the deal.

Barnier and Rice underlined cooperation in regional
conflicts such as Afghanistan (news - web sites) and
Kosovo before starting talks, and avoided mention of
their differences over Iraq.

Barnier did, however, call for U.S. support in trying to
persuade Iran to give up its nuclear program, which
Washington says is aimed at developing nuclear arms.
Iran denies this.

Rice took a tough line against Iran, saying it must not
be allowed to dictate terms for proving it is meeting
pledges not to produce a nuclear arsenal. A trio of
European countries are holding talks with Iran but
Washington is not taking part.

Rice has chosen mainly to underline shared values with
Europe rather than potentially divisive issues on her
first trip as the top U.S. diplomat.

Earlier on Tuesday, Rice had no difficulty in winning
backing from Italy, a U.S. ally with 3,000 troops in
Iraq -- the fourth largest foreign contingent there
after U.S., British and South Korean forces.

Italy's support has stood in stark contrast to German
and French opposition to the war. But diplomats across
Europe have welcomed U.S. overtures to mend the
partnership, especially after the Jan. 30 election in

They have also praised Rice for leading the renewed U.S.
peacemaking role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Israeli and Palestinian leaders proclaimed a formal
end to bloodshed at a summit in Egypt on Tuesday.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Japan talks with the US on developing missile defense system

This telex of local press agency Kyodo does not mention
or refuses to mention or reject the journalistic need to
clarify for the readers that there still is a ban on
export of defense equipments imposed by the Japanese
laws, neither the pressure on Japanese authorities by US
administration asking major financial contributions from

Quotes :

"Japan and the United States have started talks to move
the ongoing joint research on a missile defense system
to the development stage, a U.S. Defense Department
official said Monday.

The talks came after the Pentagon decided to embark on
the development in fiscal 2007 of an enhanced version of
its independently developed Standard Missile 3
interceptor, the official said. The two nations have
been jointly researching the enhanced version.

If the two nations agree on joint development, they are
likely to step up their moves toward production and
actual deployment, making the bilateral missile defense
cooperation the centerpiece of the security alliance.

Japan eased its arms export ban in December to enable
sales of missile components to the United States ahead
of a planned upgrading of the joint research.

The research involves a sea-based SM3 interceptor with a
diameter of 53 centimeters, an upgraded version of the
34-cm type developed by the United States. It focuses on
four key components, including nosecones and kinetic

The two nations are planning to conduct the first flight
test sometime in the second half of this year, and if
successful the second test in early next year.

Despite doubts expressed by some experts about the
effectiveness of the bigger SM3 interceptor, the U.S.
Navy has pressed for building it, citing its longer
range and higher interception capability.

Japan and the United States launched the joint research
in 1999 after North Korea fired a long-range rocket in
August 1998 that flew over Japan into the Pacific.

The two nations maintain the rocket was a multistage
missile, but the North insists it was for sending a
satellite into orbit.

In his budget plan unveiled Monday for fiscal 2006, U.S.
President George W. Bush reduced spending for
developing, testing and fielding missile defense systems
to $9.9 billion from $8.8 billion in fiscal 2005.

But the Pentagon plans to add 16 interceptors for
ballistic missiles -- five ground-based interceptors for
a total of 21 and 11 SM3 interceptors for a total of 22,
according to the budget plan.

The United States also plans to deploy 18 Aegis
destroyers and guided missile cruisers with SM3
interceptors in the Pacific and the Sea of Japan."

Monday, February 07, 2005

Pentagon plans to do PR on the Internet sites

This article is set to distinguish the narrow border
between information and propaganda in today's
american journalism.

Quotes :

"The U.S. Department of Defense plans to add more sites
on the Internet to provide information to a global
audience -- but critics question whether the Pentagon is
violating President Bush's pledge not to pay journalists
to promote his policies.

The Defense Department runs two Web sites overseas, one
aimed at people in the Balkan region in Europe, the
other for the Maghreb area of North Africa.

It is preparing another site, even as the Pentagon
inspector general investigates whether the sites are

The Web sites carry stories on subjects such as
politics, sports and entertainment.

The sites are run by U.S. military troops trained in
"information warfare," a specialty that can include
battlefield deception.

Pentagon officials say the goal is to counter
"misinformation" about the United States in overseas

At first glance, the Web pages appear to be independent
news sites. To find out who is actually behind the
content, a visitor would have to click on a small link
-- at the bottom of the page -- to a disclaimer, which
says, in part, that the site is "sponsored by" the U.S.
Department of Defense.

"There is an element of deception," said Tom Rosenstiel,
director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
"The problem," he said, is that it looks like a news
site unless a visitor looks at the disclaimer, which is
"sort of oblique."

The Pentagon maintains that the information on the sites
is true and accurate. But in a recent memo, Deputy
Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz insisted that the
Web site contractor should only hire journalists who
"will not reflect discredit on the U.S. government."

The Defense Department has hired more than 50 freelance
writers for the sites.

Some senior military officers have told CNN the Web
sites may clash with President Bush's recent statements.
"We will not be paying commentators to advance our
agenda," Bush told reporters on January 26. "Our agenda
ought to be able to stand on its own two feet." (Full

Bush made those comments after it came to light that the
administration had paid several commentators to support
U.S. policies in the U.S. media.

Many Democrats have called for an end to what they call
administration propaganda within the United States.

But many lawmakers view the rules for handling
information overseas as a separate issue.

On Thursday, Lawrence Di Rita, the principal deputy
assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, asked
the Pentagon inspector general to examine Defense
Department activities, including the Web sites in
question, to see that they fall within the guidelines
Bush laid out.

Di Rita said the department wanted "to make sure that we
are staying well within the lines, and I believe we

Rosenstiel said there is a reason why rules exist to
separate journalism from government information.
"Anytime that the government has to assure you, 'Believe
me, take my word for it, I'm telling you nothing but the
truth,' you know you should be worried"."

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Women in Japan : the long and winding road of discrimination

In the quagmire of Japanese gender discrimination this
article of the JT attempts to justify its habit at home
and office.

Quotes :

"For the first time since such polls have been taken,
the percentage of respondents to a government survey who
say a woman's place is in the home was exceeded by those
who believe the opposite, it was learned Saturday.

According to results of the Cabinet Office's opinion
poll on the roles of the two sexes in society, 48.9
percent of some 3,500 respondents said they do not agree
with the idea that "a husband should work outside the
home while the wife protects the household," as opposed
to 45.2 percent who said they agree.

When the government started the survey in 1979, 72.5
percent of respondents agreed with the concept, compared
to 20.4 percent who disagreed.

When broken down by gender, the percentage of men who
agreed with the idea -- 49.8 percent -- was still higher
than the 43.3 percent who said they did not.
Nevertheless, the figure was 1.5 percentage points lower
than in the last survey conducted in 2002.

Meanwhile, among women, those who disagreed came to 53.8
percent, as compared to 41.3 percent who agreed.

"In addition to changes in views that have come about
with the increased social participation of women,
difficult economic conditions under which both husband
and wife need to work to make ends meet may be another
factor" behind the trend, a Cabinet Office official

When the survey, conducted in November and December,
asked married people who has greater authority in their
household, 48.5 percent replied that it was the husband,
down 7.1 percent from the previous survey and dropping
below 50 percent. There was a 5.8 point rise in the
number of respondents who said it was the wife, reaching
22.7 percent.

When asked who controlled the purse strings, 67.1
percent said it was the wife, while 14.1 percent said it
was the husband.

When asked their views about working women, 40.4 percent
of respondents said it is better for women to continue
working even after having children, the highest figure
on record. This was followed by 34.9 percent who said
they should resume working after the children get older
and 10.2 percent who said they should stop working when
they have children.

But while female participation in the workforce is
growing, the reality is that men have not been taking up
a bigger share of housework and the burden of household
chores still falls on the wives, according to the poll.

When asked about sharing housework, only 4 percent said
the husband is in charge of cleaning the house, 1.2
percent in preparing meals and 3.5 percent in washing