“China Asks N. Korea to Admit Uranium Program,” by Jung Gwon-hyeon, Digital Chosunilbo, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200501/200501240020.html, 24 January 2005.
“Opposition Pushes for NK Rights Act,” by Reuben Staines, The Korea Times, http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200501/kt2005012517072410220.htm, 25 January 2005.
Good news from Korea, via One Free Korea.
The Chinese are stepping up pressure on Pyongyang to tell the truth
The paper, quoting multiple officials connected with the six-party talks about North Koreaâ€™s nuclear issue, said the change in the Chinese position was the result of the U.S. presenting Beijing with persuasive evidence of the uranium program. China is asking the U.S. for energy assistance to North Korea conditional on Pyongyang admitting to and abandoning its nuclear programs.
With the second Bush administration signaling that it wants to tackle the nuclear issue through dialogue, Beijing has been keen to restart the six-party talks, the Nihon Keizai reported. China mediated the U.S.-North Korea contacts in New York last November and December.
While in South Korea, the Grand National Party (South Korea’s center-right party) is getting on the human rights bandwagon
The opposition Grand National Party (GNP) is pushing ahead with a South Korean version of the controversial North Korean Human Rights Act enacted by the United States late last year.
The bill, which calls for Seoul to take a leading role in assisting North Korean defectors, was put forward by Rep. Hwang Woo-yea and is cosponsored by all 120 lawmakers from the conservative GNP, party officials said Tuesday.
Hwang said the party will seek to pass the legislation by the end of the year, but it will need first to win the backing of at least 30 other lawmakers in the 299-seat National Assembly.
A GNP policy analyst said the legislation is designed to complement the U.S. human rights act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush in October.
“The bill starts from a premise that our country has the most interest in North Korean issues,” a GNP policy advisor said. “Some elements overlap with certain provisions of the U.S. law, but our country should have enacted the law first,” the policy expert said.
The legislation would make it easier for North Koreans who have fled their homeland to seek asylum and safe passage to South Korea, other GNP officials said
If enacted, it would allow defectors to apply for refugee status by contacting officials at any South Korean diplomatic missions worldwide, they said.
Under the bill, the South Korean government would issue passports to defectors upon request, the party officials said, arguing that this is in line with the Constitution which recognizes North Koreans as citizens of the South.
Japanese lawmakers are also reportedly moving to introduce legislation targeting Pyongyang’s human rights. Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has begun drafting a bill in the same mold as the U.S. act that would ban aid to the North until it improves its human rights record, including the dispute over Japanese kidnapped by North Korean agents during the Cold War.
What’s the thread in these two stories, besides the good news? That both rely on U.S. diploamcy. In the debates Senator Kerry advocated unilateral talks with the North. Fortunately, President Bush’s wise multilateralism is laying the groundwork for an Asian NATO.
President Bush is a master at great-power diplomacy. I doubt that our country has ever had relations as good with India, China, Japan, and Russia as we do now. This, at least as much as Bush’s “unilateralism” in the Iraq War, is the cause of Old Europe’s hostility.
Bush works with great powers — the world capitals that shape the future. Any future worth creating begins in Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, New Delhi, and Washington. Cities like Paris and Berlin, while having something to contribute, are not world powers (if even regional powers for long). Paris and Berlin are in the same category as Warsaw, not Washington