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Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

February 28, 2003

February 28, 2003





**  Chinese, others say "Powell's visit shows the importance the U.S. attaches to China."

**  Some concerned because new President Roh is an "untested political maverick."

**  "Provocative" missile test is confirmation that "North Korea will remain as inscrutable and uncooperative as in the past."

**  Many criticize U.S.' "double standard" in focusing on Iraq, not the DPRK. 



Beijing's top priority is to avoid a 'collapsed regime and chaos'--  Following Secretary Powell's trip to Asia, most agreed "Washington would like Beijing to exert more pressure on Pyongyang."  The moderately-conservative Bangkok Post backed China's position that "gentle persuasion may prove more fruitful" in reducing tensions with the North.  Hong Kong papers concluded Powell's mission "appears to have achieved little," with the pro-PRC Ta Kung Pao stating China "did not make any promises."  Several papers emphasized how Powell "particularly wanted to secure China's support" because it is "already a leading power in Asia." 


Some term ROK President Roh an 'untested political maverick'--  Conservative dailies in Europe and Asia were disconcerted that Roh's "position is quite different from President Bush's" regarding the DPRK, with Japan's Sankei concerned about his "nationalistic inclination and sympathetic stance towards the North."  South Korean outlets were divided:  independent Joongang Ilbo called for a "single unified strategy" with Washington, but pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun supported Roh's effort to "establish an equal and level relationship with the U.S."  Some papers were pleasantly surprised when Roh sent "his strongest message to the North to date" during his inauguration. 


'Provocative' missile test meant to 'send a message'--  Most observers saw Pyongyang's test-firing of a short-range missile simultaneously with Roh's inauguration as proof it will keep "trying blackmail to win concessions."  Though not as "strategically alarming" as the 1998 launch of a longer-range rocket, the event still signaled the North's "aggressiveness and unpredictability."  Leftist papers insisted "only dialogue and reconciliation" can improve the situation and demanded Bush "resume negotiations" with Pyongyang "before it is too late." 


Don't 'push DPRK nuclear proliferation to one side' while focusing on Iraq--  Many dailies cited differing U.S. "behavior towards Baghdad and Pyongyang" to prove an "American double standard."  India's centrist Hindu noted, "The one factor that starkly stands out is that Iraq has oil while North Korea does not."  Others, including Spain's centrist La Vanguardia, contended "Pyongyang wants to get its cut" of U.S. aid because it is "convinced that Washington does not want to open another front."

EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis was based on 48 reports from 17 countries over 22-28 February 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




FRANCE:  "Double Standards"


Charles Lambroschini judged in right-of-center Le Figaro (2/26):  “In spite of George Bush’s declarations, morality is definitely foreign to Washington’s foreign policy....  If the U.S. is showing so much understanding towards one of the pillars of the ‘Axis of Evil,’ Kim Jong-il, and so little towards the other, Saddam Hussein, it is because their geo-strategic analysis is guided by healthy caution.  First, they fear that North Korea might possess the bomb...while Baghdad has been deprived of its nuclear capabilities.… Second, the Americans are aware [that] behind Baghdad there is nobody, while behind North Korea there is Beijing....  Nothing must upset the status quo of this buffer zone....  The first reality is that China does not want nuclear weapons on the peninsula.  Hence, Kim Jong-il’s regular threats will remain empty threats.  Meanwhile China has managed to help North Korea up the ante with Washington by supplying ‘Silkworm’ cruise missiles while simultaneously exercising enough influence to keep Jong-il from going too far.  The second reality is that China, faithful to the old adage, ‘divide and conquer,’ does not want a unified peninsula....  The U.S. knows that China is the only nation that could, in 40 or 50 years, contest America’s superpower.  Standing on the steps of this future empire, Washington considers it is wise to handle North Korea with patience.  But with Iraq, why bother?”


“America’s Korean Paradox”


Right-of-center Les Echos opined (2/25):  “Washington’s policy towards Pyongyang has caused some unpleasantness in South Korea. The inauguration of its new President in the presence of Secretary Powell could well mark the beginning of a new era between Washington and its longstanding ally....  Roh, in spite of being a staunch defender of human rights, has asked Washington not to attack North Korea. For him it is a question of life and death....  He recently said that North Korea is slowly opening to the West and should not be treated like a rogue state. His position is quite different from President Bush’s towards a nation that has nuclear weapons and which could be tempted to sell them to terrorist groups. A scenario of catastrophic proportions.”


GERMANY:  “Autistic”


Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine observed (2/27):  “There are no indications that the United States is planning to attack North Korea anytime soon.  That is why Pyongyang’s urgent message that the population should prepare for at least premature.  It is also revealing about Kim Jong Il’s character.  No matter how much TV the North Korean leader may watch, a government that does not regularly participate in international exchange is bound to lose touch with reality....  Kim Jong Il is in the process of talking himself into war, playing with fire next to the Middle Eastern powder keg.”


“Nothing To Lose”


Right-of-center Neue Ruhr/Rhein-Zeitung of Essen stated in an editorial (2/27):  “The United States appears to believe that Kim Jong Il, unlike Saddam, is not really interested in a military showdown….  Washington believes that Kim is trying blackmail to win concessions for his famished people.  However, things are a bit more complicated....  The United States will negotiate with Kim because it knows about North Korea’s nuclear missiles and its artillery capable of targeting Seoul.  It is a bitter truth that ownership of nuclear missiles brings advantages.  The UN could impose sanctions on North Korea, but they would only work if the economically devastated country had anything to lose.”


 "Message Through Missiles"


Stefan Kornelius noted in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (2/26):  "On the day of President Roh Moo Hyun’s inauguration, the dictator from the North is sending greetings per missile, but it did not reach the provocative level of the missile fired in 1998.  That missile test was considered a clear demonstration of the strategic significance of North Korea’s missile technology....  But once the relaxed attitude toward such tests is gone, the region will be faced with an arms race that can result in a dangerous instability between the regional powers and the Russian and Chinese giants.  That is why a relaxed attitude is almost the only strategy that can be applied.  North Korea provokes others, mixes up facts, and raises absurd accusations for one goal only:  to get attention.  But it is now mainly up to Washington to show this attention without creating the impression of being blackmailed.  Because the North Korean dictator is threatening with his nuclear weapons, the blackmail attempt will make an impression among other harakiri nations--as relaxed one pretends to be.”


"North Korean Provocations"


Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (2/26) had this to say:  “It was a small missile that North Korea fired into the Japanese Sea but it had considerable consequences.  The exchange rates and stock markets in Japan and South Korea crashed and a shadow was cast on the inauguration of South Korea’s new President Roh Moo Hyun....  Now Secretary Powell announced that the United States will again ship food to North Korea.  This is a signal that the Bush administration does not want to escalate the conflict.  At the same time, the global U.S. role requires the United States to remain tough.  A violent breach of a treaty like North Korea’s must have consequences, since otherwise international agreements on the control of weapons of mass destruction are not worth the paper they are written on.”


"Korean Gestures"


Sophie Muehlmann argued in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (2/26):  “Again, the North Korean regime gives a damn about diplomacy.  Its most recent missile test only a few hours before the inauguration of the new South Korean president, is a slap into the face of the indulgent brother state in the South.  Pyongyang again sent a signal of its aggressiveness and unpredictability....  How long can the international community tolerate the madness of a country that pushes aside friendly gestures in such a contemptuous way and arbitrarily increase its demands like threats?...  With its test, North Korea has offended the nation that is the most interested in a rapprochement with the North.  This is a threat that must be taken seriously.  With this missile Pyongyang warns its neighbors:  Those who are not for us, are against us.”


“Mild Warning From The Far East”


Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich noted (2/25):  “Beijing is coolly calculating its options: Blocking U.S. plans is not worth the cost.  China will not risk its partnership with the United States for Iraq; no other country is as important for China’s economy as the United States.  Who knows--maybe the United States will soon control Iraqi oil, which is one more reason to groom the relationship....  It is not without irony that China’s restraint with respect to Iraq is less welcome in another area.  While Secretary of State Powell praised China’s helpful role in the North Korean nuclear crisis, it is no secret that Washington would like Beijing to exert more pressure on Pyongyang....  China will not fulfill Washington’s wish.  It is concerned about North Korea’s missiles, but it also does not want a collapsed regime and chaos along its borders.”


“Rival And Partner”


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger judged in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/25):  “China’s role appears to have changed once again, from rival to sought-after coalition partner....  Washington wants Beijing to be a stabilizing influence on an unpredictable Pyongyang, whose nuclear armament it cannot handle by itself.  If China acts accordingly and refrains from opposing U.S. Iraq policy, Beijing’s credit in Washington will go up significantly.  The Chinese leaders are fully aware of their own value.  They will not be ‘bought,’ but will make the type and degree of their assistance largely dependent on their own interests.”


ITALY:  "North Korea, The False Patience Of The United States"


Gabriel Bertinetto maintained in pro-Democratic Left party (DS) L’Unita’ (2/26):  “At a first glance, the way the Americans are dealing with the Korean crisis is totally inconsistent.  They move heaven and earth against Iraq....  But as far as North Korea is concerned, which expels the inspectors, reactivates nuclear reactors, abandons the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and resumes missile tests, the United States declares that it has no intention of resolving the matter by resorting to weapons....  But the American double standard does not emerge only from the comparison between its behavior towards Baghdad and Pyongyang.  One can see it also within Bush’s Korean policy, given that the United States is going as far as denying its intention of resorting to weapons against Pyongyang only at the end of an escalation of initiatives that have led relations with Pyongyang on the verge of war.  While Seoul for the last four years has clearly aimed at playing the card of dialogue (and has achieved important results that now risk being vanished), the White House, since Bush’s arrival, has done nothing else but create problems for its South Korean allies.”


“For Powell A ‘Yes’ From Tokyo And A ‘No’ From Paris”


Washington correspondent Alberto Pasolini Zanelli wrote in leading center-right Il Giornale (2/24):  “He is the youngest ‘hawk’ in Washington’s scaring flock, but has already learned how to fly.  In only a few hours, Secretary Powell ‘presented’ the arguments in favor of the war to three interlocutors that could not be more diverse among themselves: Japan, China and Syria.   The best results, of course, were achieved with Tokyo....  The music was different in Beijing...and the outcome with Syria was even less successful....  In sum, the road is still uphill for Washington, even though the U.N. chief inspector, Hans Blix, intervened once again to give a little support to Washington.   While saying that the process of inspections will take months and that defining a short-term date would not be realistic, Blix also used  tough language against Baghdad.”


HUNGARY:  “China, The Reluctant Power”


Laszlo Szentesi Zoldi argued in conservative Hungarian-language Magyar Nemzet (2/25):  “It is probably not an exaggeration to call Secretary Powell’s visit a crucial strategic visit in Beijing.  The political analysts though don’t expect any breakthrough from Secretary Powell’s visit.  It is already obvious that the Washington ‘hawks’ have not reached their objective of squeezing out additional specifics from the new Chinese leader.  Beijing’s stance is firm: a political solution has to be found to the Iraqi crisis.  The bilateral American-Chinese talks about the North-Korean issue have not been successful either.  China is already a leading power in Asia.  One reason that China does not stand out openly against the U.S.’s hegemonic ambitions is that China needs oil.  But China will stick to its current stance in the Iraq issue, even if a crusade is launched against Saddam Hussein for his oil reserves or for any other reason.”


SPAIN:  "North Korean Blackmail"


Centrist La Vanguardia observed (2/26):  "The circumstances under which... Roh Moo Hyun took office yesterday are considerably worse [than that of his predecessor]...because of the increasingly belligerent attitude of its uncomfortable, nuclearized and impoverished northern neighbor....  What does North Korea want?  It is not a wild leap to suppose that in the context of the Iraqi crisis, Pyongyang wants to get its cut, convinced that Washington does not want to open another front at this time.  It is North Korea's way of saying 'pay me.'"




AUSTRALIA: “More Than One Catch-22 For West When It Comes To North Korea”


Hugh White, director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, commented in the liberal Sydney Morning Herald (2/27): “The chances of a conflict on the Korean Peninsula, though still serious, are not as high as they seem. And the prospects for a settlement leading to a lasting reduction in tension in the area may be quite good. But some of the longer-term strategic implications of these developments could be very serious for Australia and the region....  Washington must be anxious about the implications of normalization for the future of the U.S. strategic footprint in North-East Asia. If tensions with North Korea reduce, Seoul will expect U.S. military deployments in their country to be cut substantially, especially in light of growing anti-U.S. sentiment....  America's interests in the long-term strategic future of the Korean Peninsula are different from those of all the other key players. They all want normalization, while the US is deeply ambivalent...we have a lot to loose from a weakened U.S. strategic posture in the Western Pacific. So this is a real strategic and foreign policy challenge for us.”


 "Pyongyang Puts Rocket Under Diplomacy"


Foreign affairs writer Geoffrey Barker had this analysis in the business-oriented Australian Financial Review (2/26):  “Whether North Korea fired a short-range Silkworm missile or a longer-range weapon is beside the point.  What matters is that North Korea, at the height of the Iraq crisis, fired a missile in violation of its self-imposed moratorium as South Korea prepared to swear in its new President with leading global figures in Seoul for the ceremony....  Pyongyang's bellicosity is a real and ongoing threat, and raises the question of whether there is any point in maintaining diplomatic relations with a country so contemptuous of world opinion and diplomatic norms....  Given the current mood of the U.S., and its pre-occupation with the Iraq crisis, North Korea may well only entrench U.S. resistance to bilateral talks, despite appeals from allies like Australia.”


"Korea: Talking with Mr Roh”


An editorial in the liberal Sydney Morning Herald stated (2/25):  “The inauguration today of South Korea's new President, Roh Moo-hyun, brings an untested political maverick to the tense nuclear stand-off on the Korean peninsula. Most nervous about Mr Roh's new administration is the United States....  Mr Roh may have little experience in national government--only seven months as a minister in the previous administration--and has never visited the U.S.  The label 'maverick,' derived from an American ranchers' term for an animal which has escaped branding, may also aptly describe his attitude towards Washington. Mr Roh also faces serious domestic challenges, including a sluggish economy and official corruption. But, with North Korea's missiles trained on Seoul, Mr Roh, with his policy of rapprochement, must have an important role to play.”


CHINA:  “Ball In U.S. Court Over DPRK Issue”


Hu Xuan commented in the official English-language China Daily (2/27):  “Due to the huge gap in military strength between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the attitude of the stronger side--namely, the United States - plays a decisive role in the current nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.  In this sense, the United States could be regarded as the side that should ‘untie the bell’ since Washington’s rigid policy towards Pyongyang has helped escalate the tension.”


"The DPRK’s Missile Fell Into Japan’s Waters"


Liu Jinhong reported in the official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (2/26):  “Why did the U.S. announce resuming the aid program immediately after the missile incident?  Some people think that in order to make all efforts to deal with Iraq, the U.S. has started to adopt a policy of pacification towards the DPRK.”


“Why Does Powell Visit China?”


Yuan Tiecheng declared in official Communist Youth League China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (2/24):  "Analysts think that Powell’s visit to China this time symbolizes a new climax of the China visits by U.S. high level officials during the recent period.”


CHINA (HONG KONG & MACAU SARS):  "Roh Moo-hyun Has Little Room For Maneuver"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (2/26):  "Up until now, Washington has not agreed to have a direct dialogue with Pyongyang.  Instead, Secretary of State Powell has suggested a '5 plus 5' (the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Japan, the DPRK, South Korea, Australia and the European Union) discussion mechanism to resolve the DPRK crisis after his meetings in Japan.  Pyongyang will definitely be vexed and will continue the nuclear brinkmanship policy.  The day before yesterday, the DPRK shot a missile toward the Sea of Japan.  This is obviously a carefully-planned diplomatic move.  By choosing to launch a short-range anti-ship cruise missile, it will, on the one hand, keep from irritating the international community.  On the other hand, it can remind its rival that the DPRK can resume launching missiles at any time, and the range can be longer than that of the ballistic missile which was sent over Japan in 1998.  In the future, if such moves continue or even escalate, South Korea, stuck in the middle, may face the emergence of a great power pressing for readjustment of the 'peace and prosperity' policy toward the North.  The authority of Roh Moo-hyun will be challenged.  In fact, the party now in opposition attempted to do this during the election.  The votes it got drew close to the ruling party.  Therefore, how could the new administration lower its guard?....  The U.S., Japan and South Korea all say they have to strengthen discussions and to coordinate their stances on the DPRK crisis.  Everyone, nevertheless, has his own plan.  The  U.S. and the DPRK have the initiative.  Roh Moo-hyun does not have much room for maneuver.  His tightrope-walking diplomacy really entails a strenuous effort."


"A Rude Welcome, And A Shaft Of Realism"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post editorialized (2/26):  "Talk about a rude welcome.  Hours before South Korea's new president, Roh Moo-hyun, was to be sworn in, North Korea test-fired a missile into the Sea of Japan.  Although the weapon was a short-range conventional missile which no one saw as strategically alarming, the incident was timed to be as provocative as possible....  In his presidential campaign, Mr. Roh played down the danger posed by North Korea's nuclear brinkmanship.  Instead, he and his supporters seemed to blame their country's chief ally, the U.S., for the crisis rather than the North's incendiary behavior, as most other nations do.  Fortunately, the weight of office has already rendered Mr. Roh's views more realistic.  Before an audience which included the prime minister of Japan and diplomatic representatives from the U.S., China and Russia, Mr. Roh delivered his strongest message to the North to date.  He said North Korea's nuclear weapons program poses a grave threat to world peace.  And while he called for a more reciprocal and equitable relationship with the U.S., Mr. Roh pledged to work with it to resolve the crisis through dialogue.  These are overdue but encouraging statements from the new president of South Korea.  Now the world will be watching to see how this untested, but bright and self-assured, leader will tame the North Korean menace.  As the latest missile episode demonstrates, the more clear-eyed Mr. Roh can be about the suspect intentions of the North, the better served he will be."


"Powell's Three-Country Visit Has Two Objectives"


The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked in an editorial (2/25):  "On his visits to Japan, China and South Korea, Powell undertook a very difficult double duty.  On the one hand, he needed to secure these countries' support for U.S. action against Iraq.  On the other hand, he needed to coordinate with the three countries to defuse the North Korea crisis.  Powell particularly wanted to secure China's support as a permanent member of the Security Council that has maintained friendly relations with North Korea....  Both before and after the visit, Powell has avoided Pyongyang's request for direct negotiations with the U.S. by insisting that 'the North Korea issue should be resolved in cooperation among the U.S., Japan and South Korea, following the UN and multilateral frameworks to include these countries.'  North Korea has strongly objected to a multilateral approach and, given its doubts about  the U.S., will continue to use its policy of 'brinkmanship'."


"The New Dimension In Sino-U.S. Relations"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post said in an editorial (2/25):  "On the surface, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's mission to Beijing appears to have achieved little, for all the usual diplomatic bluster....  However, those who, with jaded eyes, dismiss the visit because of the lack of visible progress would be missing a valuable point:  China and the U.S. are increasingly able to talk--regularly and deeply--about a range of issues without the sticking points which inevitably arise, detracting from the wider benefits of the enterprise.  That can only be positive and will undoubtedly help foster workable solutions.  For whatever reason, we are finally seeing a relationship which is not only broadening and deepening but possibly maturing as well.  The developing Sino-U.S. ties may be driven by the changing imperatives of the war on terrorism.  Nonetheless, they represent an opportunity which should not be squandered.  Mr. Powell hinted at this when he said relations with China were moving into a new dimension.  That is not mere rhetoric.  Presidents Jiang and Bush have been speaking more frequently by telephone, as have Mr. Tang and Mr. Powell....  Likewise, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick was able to make progress during his mission last week, despite America's trade deficit with China reaching record proportions.  Vice-Premier Wen Jiabao could have been speaking for both capitals when he said:  Both China and the U.S. should treat and handle their relations from a strategic viewpoint by proceeding from the fundamental interests of the two countries and the overall interests of safeguarding world peace."


"China Makes Last-ditch Effort For Peace"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Ta Kung Pao commented (2/25):  "As the situations in the two hottest security issues--Iraq and North Korea--escalate, Secretary Powell made a special trip to China.  Powell's visit shows the importance the U.S. attaches to China on these two issues, given China's permanent seat on the UN Security Council.  Amid the heated debate over Iraq and the introduction of North Korea as a topic for discussion by the Security Council, China--with veto power on the Security Council--plays an important role.  Moreover, China's influence over developing countries and the Non-Aligned Movement should not be underestimated.  All of this has prompted the U.S. to pay special attention to China when dealing with the crises over Iraq and North Korea....  In Powell's meeting with Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Tang Jiaxuan, the Chinese side did not make any promises.  China does not approve of U.S. plans for a new Security Council resolution.  Given the attitude of the Security Council on the present situation in Iraq, however, China is not expected to wield its veto power as long as the U.S. resolution does not include language specifically authorizing U.S. military action.  China has made a great effort to resolve the Iraq crisis peacefully."


"Strained Relations"


Frank Ching wrote in the independent English-language South China Morning Post (2/25):  "While calling the North's attempt to develop nuclear weapons intolerable, Mr. Roh insisted that a resolution should come from peaceful measures such as dialogue and diplomacy, and added:  We don't want war or a collapse of the North.  This, in effect, ties the hands of the U.S.  While it is, no doubt, desirable for the nuclear issue to be resolved peacefully, it may not be wise to eliminate all sticks from one's arsenal and replace them with carrots.  Again, you would expect Mr. Roh to know that North Korea had, for decades, attempted to weaken the U.S.-South Korea alliance by driving a wedge between them.  Now, it looks like North Korea has largely succeeded.  And South Korea does not seem to be the least bit concerned.  It would not be wise for South Korea to put all its eggs in the North Korean basket before the North demonstrates that it has fundamentally changed.  And, judging from its recent behavior, North Korea is still far from being a respectable and responsible member of the international community....  It is understandable that Mr. Roh wants a rebalancing of the bilateral relationship with America.  So far, the U.S. has shown a willingness to accommodate him.  In the words of the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, General Leon LaPorte, the U.S. is willing to develop options for modernizing, strengthening and transforming the alliance.  Mr. Roh must get his priorities right if he is to lead his country in the next five years."


"A Golden Opportunity Arises For Mr. Powell"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post noted (2/22):  "Try as it might, the U.S. cannot push the issue of North Korean nuclear proliferation to one side so energies can be devoted to waging war on Iraq.  Pyongyang has cleverly ensured Washington keeps one eye on Northeast Asia and the other on the Persian Gulf....  Since the start of the crisis, Mr. Bush and his top officials have stubbornly refused to talk to North Korea, saying that first it must scrap its nuclear ambitions.  The more obstinate the U.S. has been, the more North Korea has pushed its advantage, expelling international inspectors, withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and threatening to restart a reactor....  For the countries on Mr. Powell's schedule, the answer has always been simple--dialogue.  Ignoring this, the U.S. has spoken of United Nations sanctions and other isolationist moves that are meaningless to a country that has survived embargoes for half a century.  Regional stability is at stake.  Mr. Powell and other members of the U.S. government must heed the advice and end the standoff before it escalates beyond their control."


TAIWAN:  "Keeping An Eye On Beijing"


Pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times editorialized (2/25):  "Beijing is an important provider of weapons to North Korea and Iraq.  It has maintained diplomatic and geopolitical influence in those countries via arms sales and economic aid.  In fact, as China's rise to the status of an Asian regional power becomes more obvious, it will inevitably become a strategic competitor of the U.S., both in the region and globally....  Powell should be very clear about the long and short benefits of any offer from Beijing.  Others in the U.S. should also understand the contention between U.S. short-term and long-term strategic interests.  The way the U.S. handles North Korea and Iraq issues will mold the future international order.  Even if the U.S. attack on Iraq and its handling of the North Korea issue may not have a direct impact on this country, an early response from the government is still necessary to cope with the strategic changes in Northeast Asia."  


JAPAN:  "DPRK's Provocations Must Be Contained"


 An editorial in top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri observed (2/28):  "The DPRK has reactivated its graphite-moderated nuclear reactor in blatant disregard of repeated warnings from the international community. The threat posed by the North is growing even greater.  Japan cannot allow Pyongyang's nuclear development that threatens the peace and security of this nation. The world community must take concerted action to stop the North from developing nuclear arms.  If the North continues to take provocative actions, sanctions against Pyongyang will become inevitable.  Japan, the U.S. and South Korea as well as China, Russia and other neighboring nations need to discuss what kind of coordinated policy to deal with the possible North Korean nuclear crisis.  The U.S. is determined to consider all possible options, including sanctions.  This would run counter to South Korea's 'sunshine' policy toward the North.  South Korean President Roh should take to heart the grave concern harbored by the U.S. and Japan."


"Risk Of U.S. 'Indifference' To DPRK Brinkmanship"


Liberal Asahi declared (2/28):  "Both the U.S. and Japan are trying to react to North Korea's nuclear reactor reactivation calmly as a 'well-predicted' act of provocation to bring the U.S. to the negotiation table. To be sure, the reactivation will not lead directly to the development of nuclear weapons. But it should be taken as another risky attempt by the North to intensify a reckless game of nuclear brinkmanship.  The Bush administration is reluctant to resume dialogue with the North because of its 'preoccupation' with Iraq.  As things stand, the DPRK nuclear standoff is becoming more critical.  We should not leave this crisis unresolved. Brinkmanship often results in a point of no return. The U.S. should resume negotiations with the North Koreans before it is too late. Prime Minister Koizumi should also work on the U.S. to resume dialogue."  


"Nuclear Standoff Becomes More Critical"


Business-oriented Nihon Keizai opined (2/28):  "The DPRK's resumption of its experimental graphite-moderated nuclear reactor is extremely regrettable. It is now time for members of the international community to join hands to suspend the North's nuclear development. The UNSC needs to take up the issue at an early date.  Russia and China, both of which have close ties with the North, should also apply pressure on it to suspend its nuclear ambition.  South Korea's 'sunshine' policy is said to be 'accelerating' the North's nuclear development.  New South Korean President Roh should take a more resolute stance toward the North."


"Sunshine Policy Will Not Work As Long As Kim Jong Il Is In Power"


An editorial in the conservative Sankei observed (2/26):  "South Korean President Roh formally assumed office and met with foreign leaders (including Secretary of State Powell and Prime Minister Koizumi), as tension prevailed a day after the DPRK's test-firing of a short-range 'Silkworm' missile into the Sea of Japan.  Roh and Koizumi agreed on the need to coordinate polices (among the U.S., Japan and South Korea) to deal with the North's nuclear brinkmanship.  Policy coordination should be strengthened further until the North gives up on its nuclear programs.  We do not believe the 'sunshine' policy that Mr. Roh took over from former President Kim Dae Jung will work wonders as long as Kim Jong Il is in power.  If Japan tries to act as go-between for the U.S. and South Korea, Tokyo should have Seoul fall into line with Washington (along with Tokyo) to send an unwavering strong message to Pyongyang."


"Challenges For Mr. Roh Moo Hyun"


The leftist, English-language Japan Times editorialized (2/26):  "South Korea continues its impressive transition to genuine democracy this week with the inauguration of Mr. Roh Moo Hyun as the country's 16th president.... The new president faces equally formidable international challenges, the first being relations with North Korea. Mr. Roh has pledged to continue the "sunshine policy," which endorses engagement with the North, under the new name "peace and prosperity policy."  He has repeated his belief that only dialogue and reconciliation can move Korean relations forward. Unfortunately, progress depends on cooperation from the North and the news that Pyongyang greeted the new president's inauguration with a missile test is confirmation that North Korea will remain as inscrutable and uncooperative as in the past.  The second key challenge, which is related to the first, is relations with the United States. U.S-South Korea relations are at a low point....  Roh wants a more balanced relationship with Washington, and has pledged not to kowtow to the U.S. conscience....  It will take considerably more to calm fears of a widening U.S.-South Korea gap. North Korea will do its best to exploit any differences in opinion and will certainly take advantage of the new administration's inexperience. Mr. Roh and his team face a steep learning curve with little allowance for error.  Equally important for the new president will be forging stronger relations with Korea's neighbors....  The new president will continue the "forward-looking" relationship with Japan, sought by his predecessor. Similarly, Mr. Roh will have to work closely with China to help stabilize the Korean Peninsula and try to exert pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear-weapons program."


"Powell's Visit Is Also Aimed At Checking DPRK"


Business-oriented Nihon Keizai declared (2/25):  "As the Iraq standoff is reaching an even more critical stage, Secretary of State Powell is visiting Northeast Asia. The Secretary's visit to Japan, China and South Korea is apparently aimed at coordinating policies and getting support for dealing with the Iraq and DPRK issues. Secretary Powell's attendance at the inauguration on Tuesday of South Korean President-elect Roh, who was elected in part by anti-US feelings among South Korea's younger generation, is designed to reaffirm the closeness of the U.S.-South Korea alliance, while trying to restrain the DPRK from taking advantage of the Iraq standoff to intensity its nuclear brinkmanship.  The Bush administration appears to be prioritizing the Iraq crisis, while trying to resolve the DPRK's nuclear standoff peacefully. There is a strong likelihood that North Korea will take advantage of the U.S.'s preoccupation with Iraq to create a new source of tension on the Korean Peninsula. The Bush administration is employing a stick-and-carrot policy to restrain the North's nuclear adventurism. In fact, President Bush has referred to a military option against the North, if necessary, while Secretary Powell has hinted at possible food supplies to the North. Under these present circumstances, the reconfirmation of a close and strong U.S.-South Korea alliance will be indispensable to making this U.S. stick-and-carrot policy more effective in dealing with the North."


"Concern Over Roh's Policies Toward DPRK, U.S. And Japan"


An editorial in conservative Sankei observed (2/24):  "The inauguration of South Korean President Roh on Tuesday not only marks an end to South Korean gerontocracy but also indicates a major change in the South's domestic and foreign policies. Over the DPRK's nuclear brinkmanship, Seoul's foreign policy under the incoming Roh government has become a matter of great interest and concern in the international community.  Of the South's relations with other countries, Seoul's ties with Washington are extremely important. President-elect Roh insists on an equal partnership by, if necessary, saying 'no' to the U.S. His nationalistic inclination and sympathetic stance toward the North may draw strong public support, but Mr. Roh should be aware that the North would mostly likely take advantage of his continuing "sunshine" policy. Anti-U.S. feelings and calls for the withdrawal of U.S. troops are emerging in the South on an unprecedented scale. It is apparent that the North is trying to drive a wedge between South Korea, the U.S. and Japan. Mr. Roh should not send the wrong message to Kim Jong Il."


INDONESIA:  "Even New South Korean President Differs With U.S"


Leading independent Kompas commented (2/26):  “Since Kim Dae-Jung, the awareness of brotherhood ties between North and South have grown stronger.  As Kim’s successor, Roh also has reiterated his opposition to imposition of sanctions and definitely ruled out the use of force against the North on the grounds that if war breaks out with the North, or North Korea collapses, South Korea will be subject to the most serious consequences.”


PHILIPPINES:  "North Korean Message"


Publisher Max Soliven wrote in his column in the independent Philippine Star (2/26):  "The North Koreans acted, on cue, to send a message to U. S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who had arrived in Seoul, South Korea, last Monday to attend the inauguration yesterday of Mr. Roh Moo Hyun as the new President of the Republic of Korea.  Pyongyang fired a missile, which plopped into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan--which, of course, attracted worldwide notice, and provoked the Japanese into a tizzy.  Message delivered....  Powell, reports said, was dismayed (but didn't say so publicly) at the new president's strong opposition to any U.S. military action against North Korea for any reason.  Powell...therefore confirmed that the U.S. definitely contemplated no attack against the North, but added that the Americans...would not take a 'military option' in the future off the table."


SINGAPORE:  "Watch The Japan Factor"


The pro-government Straits Times editorialized (2/27):  "North Korea's test-firing of a short-range missile on Monday into the Sea of Japan was deflected as 'innocuous' by the visiting United States Secretary of State, who said advance warning had been given to maritime traffic. Mr. Colin Powell's calm reaction was of a piece with the tenor of his fact-finding trip to North-east Asia.... In the circumstances, it would be presumptuous of Mr. Powell to so much as give an impression of laying down the line on North Korea. Not only is the U.S. still searching for the golden mean to resolve the dispute, but North Asia's principals are also cautious not to add undue agitation to a fraught situation....  Being rational is commendable. But nations south of the Korea-Japan high-tension line are right to be concerned about what impact persistent North Korean missile shots can have on martial thinking among Japan's nationalist elite.... The cumulative psychosis induced by missile shots and Pyongyang's zeal in pushing nuclear brinkmanship is coming on top of Japan's rapid loss of economic pre-eminence and a sense of drift among the people. The dangers of this feeding the rise of a charismatic leadership should not be under-estimated....  In this darkening atmosphere, Japan's ongoing normalization process with North all but frozen again after a dozen years of fitful attempts. Unless the slide is arrested, and quickly, the deepening distrust between the two countries would be a nagging worry to most other Asian nations."


SOUTH KOREA:  "U.S.-North Korea Dialogue Cannot Be Put Off Any Longer"


Conservative Segye Ilbo opined (2/28):  "Despite warnings from the international community, North Korea has finally reactivated a five-megawatt reactor at its Yongbyon nuclear complex.  We worry about the possible negative consequences, including sanctions by the UN Security Council....  The U.S. is to blame for North Korea's brinkmanship tactics, given its two-faced attitude thus far.  The U.S. has shunned dialogue with the North while vowing to not reward North Korean blackmail and has refused to rule out military means despite its repeated assertions that it has no intention of invading the North.  Rather than wait for Pyongyang to raise the ante in its nuclear gamble and then respond with strong sanctions, the U.S. would do better to immediately engage the North in talks."


"Roh's North Korea And U.S. Policies"


Conservative Chosun Ilbo editorialized (2/26):  "In his inaugural address, President Roh Moo-hyun stressed transparency with regard to his 'Peace and Prosperity' approach to North Korea and noted that the North's nuclear development was a threat to world peace.  In addition, he urged the North to choose between nuclear development and peace, security, and economic assistance.  This is quite a positive and remarkable development.  It is also appropriate that President Roh pledged development of the ROK-U.S. alliance.  What is important now is that he put these policies into practice.  President Roh should know that if he deviates from these stated goals, he will lose the confidence of international society."


"The Need To Achieve National Unity"


The independent Joong-Ang Ilbo argued (2/26):  "Mr. Roh's position that North Korea must not possess nuclear weapons and that the nuclear crisis should be resolved peacefully might appear contradictory, but there is no other choice for us.  In this regard, it is appropriate for Mr. Roh to express his intent to enhance ROK cooperation with the U.S. and Japan.  It is also appropriate for him to vow to value the 50-year alliance between the U.S. and the ROK and to foster reciprocity in the alliance.  The differences and discord that surfaced between the two countries after his election should no longer be left unattended to.  A firm U.S.-ROK alliance is the foundation for the age of peace and prosperity Mr. Roh wants to open."


"Hopes For A Successful 'Peace-Prosperity Policy'"


Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun commented (2/26):  "The most attention-getting part of President Roh's inaugural speech was his proclamation of a policy of 'peace and prosperity' aimed at promoting peace and co-prosperity on the peninsula....  He stressed the need for a peaceful resolution of the North's nuclear issue, saying that military tensions should not be heightened in any way.  As of now, it is difficult to judge how effective Mr. Roh's North Korea policy will be in addressing the nuclear crisis, an inter-Korean issue which has developed into a global problem.  In particular, how Mr. Roh will coordinate his policy with President Bush's hard-line stance on the North will be of great interest."


"Will Peace And Prosperity Be Possible Without Change In North Korea?"


The independent Dong-a Ilbo maintained (2/26):  "If President Roh is to make his 'Peace and Prosperity Policy' feasible and gain the support of the majority, he should satisfy several preconditions.  First, it is urgent to assess and reflect on inter-Korean relations in a cool-headed manner.  Despite its vast achievements in North Korea policy, including inter-Korean summit talks, the ROKG has been criticized for being too generous or being dragged along [by the North].  It is important to analyze and correct the problems in this process....  Most important is that North Korea be the first to initiate change.  The North's nuclear issue has become an international issue involving the UN Security Council...  No matter how remarkable a policy we devise, we alone cannot bring peace and prosperity to the peninsula."


"U.S. Media's Dispute [Over President Roh]"


Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (2/26):  "Several U.S. media are expressing concern over President Roh Moo-hyun on the occasion of his inauguration.  They point out that as a relatively unknown figure, there is much 'uncertainty' associated with him, and that he does not agree with the Bush administration's hard-line policy on North Korea....  Such disputes and concerns, however, are based on a U.S.-centric perception that no one should dare oppose Washington's policy.  As long as this kind of thinking continues, U.S.-ROK relations can develop into a healthy relationship only if they are based on equality and mutual trust.  The ROK and the U.S. have different national interests and thus cannot have the same policy and strategy toward North Korea.  If there is recognition of this fact, it is rather natural for the two countries to have divergent views on extreme measures, such as use of force."


"Roh Moo-hyun Government's Inauguration And Its Tasks"


Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (2/25):  "If the hard-line stance of President Bush were to clash with the corresponding response of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the ROK would bear the brunt of it.  This is why the North Korean nuclear standoff must be resolved peacefully through dialogue.  The significance of President Roh carrying on and improving the 'Sunshine Policy' of former President Kim Dae-jung and naming it the 'peace and prosperity policy' can also be understood in this context.  With the U.S.-North feud reaching its climax, now is the most dangerous moment and the opportune time to establish a firm and permanent peace regime, if only a solution to the problem can be found.   Reestablishment of relations with the U.S.--in other words, how to wisely establish an equal and level relationship with the U.S.--is also a task for President Roh.  In order for peace to take root on the peninsula, it is important for the ROK to take the initiative while closely cooperating not only with the U.S. but also with other countries, including China, Russia, Japan and the EU."


"How to Resolve North Korea's Nuclear Issue Peacefully"


Kim Kyung-won, professor at Korea University and chairman of the Institute of Social Science, wrote in independent Joong-Ang Ilbo (2/24):  "Differences in position between the U.S. and the ROK will make it more difficult to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions....  Accordingly, the ROK and the U.S. should work out a single unified strategy and, more specifically, should accept each other's proposals, with the former agreeing to U.S. pressure tactics and the latter embarking on direct talks with the North....  In particular, in order to exercise its leverage on Pyongyang, the ROK needs to make clear to the communist regime that there will be positive and negative incentives depending on its choices....  Otherwise, the only way to resolve the nuclear issue is through military means."


THAILAND:  “U.S. On Right Path In Nuclear Standoff”


Top-circulation, moderately-conservative English-language Bangkok Post editorialized (2/28):  “In the end, the U.S. will have to deal with North Korea.  Both sides know this but are still posturing.  Pyongyang demands direct negotiation and a non-aggression pact with Washington, but the U.S. insists the North must give up its weapons program first.  However, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is right to involve America’s friends in Asia, and during his visit to Japan, China and South Korea this week, suggested the formation of an ‘ad-hoc multilateral’ forum to deal with the North.  Washington and Pyongyang could then talk directly to one another, without anyone losing face.  This is a positive step from the U.S., and hopefully North Korea will bite.  The U.S. should also continue to use North Korea’s traditional allies-Russia and China-to get through to Pyongyang....  During his visit to China, Mr. Powell also discussed with his Chinese counterpart, Tang Jiaxuan, and Communist party chief Hu Jintao some new ‘ideas’ on how to get the North to drop its nuclear program....  Mr. Powell is believed to have asked the Chinese to get North Korea to step away from the nuclear program.  Beijing, however, is understandably reluctant to use any strong measures such as economic sanctions, because gentle persuasion may prove more fruitful.”


INDIA:  "Non-Proliferation In East Asia" 


The centrist Hindu observed (2/25):  "The U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has the unenviable task of persuading East Asian allies to take a coordinated approach towards the goal of ending North Korea's efforts to acquire a nuclear weapons capability at a time when Washington itself has not been able to evolve a firm plan for achieving this objective. The reluctance of the East Asian Governments to commit themselves to a multilateral format is understandable in a context in which the U.S. administration, a necessary participant in such talks, is divided over the approach that should be taken. It is also doubtful whether the U. S. administration has seriously and consistently applied its mind to the North Korean issue given its preoccupation with the preparations for a campaign against Iraq.  It is indeed ironic that Washington should be preparing to attack Iraq, even though Baghdad's capabilities in the weapons of mass destruction field are unproven, while doing so much less to deal with the nuclear weapon capability that North Korea has itself declared it has. In comparing Washington's two antagonists while the two situations are different in many ways, the one factor that starkly stands out is that Iraq has oil while North Korea does not....  Mr. Powell's East Asian interlocutors must insist that Washington explore all creative options to achieve the nuclear non-proliferation goals that are pertinent to their region."




GHANA:  “Stop The War”


The avowedly socialist biweekly Insight stated (2/27): "President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe said it all when the challenged the United States of America to demonstrate its abhorrence of weapons of mass destruction by first destroying its own chemical, biological and nuclear weapons....  For us, it is strange that the country with the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction is threatening to bomb others whose capacity for war is insignificant. The irony of the situation is that while the U.S. threatens mayhem on Iraq, Iran and the Democratic People Republic of Korea, it is busily arming Israel and other rogue states to do its bidding. Today, there can be no doubt that the United States of America has become the world’s largest threat to peace and is openly subverting the social and economic well being of the people of the Third World....  We strongly object to war on the Iraqi people because its main purpose is to facilitate U.S. control over Middle East oil and the world dominationist agenda of the ruling class in North America. We urge the government and people of Ghana to do whatever is possible to stop the senseless war.”




BRAZIL:  "Change Of Image"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (2/27):  "The new South Korean president, Roh Moo-hyun, is known to be anti-American, a reputation that, according to analysts, was responsible for his victory over the conservative candidate [in recent elections]. Many South Koreans have attributed the deterioration in relations between the two Koreas to the U.S....  Despite the rising anti-U.S. sentiment of its population, South Korea cannot afford to cool its relations with Washington too much....  President Roh Moo-hyun will have to remodel his own image of anti-American leader without becoming a U.S. vassal." ##

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