Colin Powell rejects Japan's Peace Package for North Korea

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at
Thu Aug 14 21:16:34 MDT 2003

      Tokyo eyes no-war pledge, aid
   The Asahi Shimbun

      Colin Powell has already shot down part of the package Tokyo wants to
offer N. Korea.

      While Japan is prepared to dangle energy assistance and a promise of
nonaggression in exchange for Pyongyang scrapping its nuclear program, Tokyo
may be pressed to scale back-at least on offering aid.

      While wording on the pledge of nonaggression was vague, it was assumed
to refer to the United States.

      U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters in Washington the
Bush administration had no plans to include economic assistance in any
proposal submitted to North Korea during six-way talks to be held in Beijing
this month. Although Powell was not referring specifically to Japan's
planned initiative, his comments reflect U.S. refusal to surrender to what
it considers blackmail by North Korea.

      Government sources in Tokyo said Japan's position would be conveyed to
U.S. and South Korean officials during talks in Washington from Wednesday to
finalize wording of the joint proposal to North Korea.

      Government sources said Tokyo was prepared to offer security
assurances to North Korea on nonaggression as well as a promise to resume
supplies of heavy fuel oil, totaling 500,000 tons annually, as part of a
deal by the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization.

      In exchange, Japan would seek North Korean assurances that its nuclear
weapons development program is being dismantled. In addition, Pyongyang
would have to retract its intention to leave the club of nations in the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and allow verifiable inspections of its
nuclear facilities by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.

      Tokyo also is seeking Pyongyang's commitment to abandoning the
development, test firing, export and deployment of ballistic missiles, in
particular, the Nodong intermediate-range series that can strike almost any
part of Japan.

      Officials will demand North Korea abandons efforts to develop
biological and chemical weapons, sources said.

      Japanese officials decided not to include mention of the abduction
issue in the joint proposal, to be submitted along with the United States
and South Korea, because the international community is far more concerned
about resolving the nuclear issue.

      The joint proposal to be submitted in Beijing is intended to serve as
a starting point for discussions that will include the abduction issue, but
not at the expense of distracting attention from the main issue at hand.

      While Japanese delegates intend to inform North Korea of the pressing
need to resolve the abduction issue, actual discussions on this will likely
be limited to a bilateral forum with North Korea on the sidelines of the
six-way talks.(IHT/Asahi: August 15,2003)

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