Meanwhile, in Northeast Asia . . .
Is Kim about to remake his image? Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | North Korea's Kim cult begins to fade from view North Korea denies removal of leader's pictures Also: ------------------------------ Miami Herald November 15, 2004 U.S. Plans To Sneak Radios To N. Korea The U.S. government, as outlined in the North Korean Human Rights Act, plans to sneak tiny radios to the country's information-starved citizens By Tim Johnson, Knight Ridder News Service SEOUL, South Korea - The U.S. government is preparing to smuggle tiny radios into North Korea as part of a newly financed program to break down the country's isolation. For the next four years, Washington will spend up to $2 million annually to boost radio broadcasts toward North Korea and infiltrate mini-radios across its borders. North Korea, probably the most isolated country in the world, has radios that are rigged to capture only broadcasts lionizing the nation's Stalinist leadership. The broadcasts also blare from outdoor loudspeakers. The American plan to smuggle small radios into North Korea is outlined in the North Korean Human Rights Act, which President Bush signed into law on Oct. 18. The sweeping act provides money to private humanitarian groups to assist defectors, extends refugee status to fleeing North Koreans and sets in motion a plan to boost broadcasts to North Korea and get receivers into the country. North Korea's Kim Jong Il regime says the tiny radios will air ''rotten imperialist reactionary culture'' to undermine the country. The human rights act, in its broad scope, also has encountered opposition from President Roh Moo-hyun, South Korea's center-left leader. Officials under Roh say the act will stiffen Pyongyang's resistance to the outside world and hinder already-stalled talks to get North Korea to abandon its efforts to build a nuclear arsenal. They scoff at the U.S. plan to smuggle in radios, saying it's a good-hearted idea but one that will worsen the plight of North Koreans. Anyone captured with a radio, they said, might face imprisonment. Supporters of the tactic argue that it offers a ray of hope to a populace that's hungry for news amid food shortages and an acute humanitarian crisis. ''There's an incredible desire among North Korean people to know what's going on,'' said Suzanne Scholte, the head of the Defense Forum Foundation, a nonprofit group in Falls Church, Va., that focuses on American policy toward North Korea. Small numbers of clandestine radios are already in the country, sent in by helium-filled balloons deployed by South Korean religious groups or brought in by traders across North Korea's Chinese border. ''Some people listen to South Korean broadcasts under their blankets,'' said Lee Gui-ok, a young North Korean mother who fled to China in 1999 and later moved to Seoul. Lee said the plan was worth carrying out -- even if it endangered some people -- because it would offer hope to North Koreans that the outside world cared about them. The plan takes a cue from previous U.S. efforts in other parts of the world. In 2001 and 2002, American diplomats in Havana passed out more than 1,000 shortwave radios so Cubans could tune in to the Florida-based anti-Castro radio station Radio Martí. The radios were taken to Havana in diplomatic pouches. That wouldn't work in Pyongyang, because the United States and North Korea have diplomatic ties. How to smuggle the radios in remains to be worked out. Legislators may keep operational details of the program classified to prevent North Korea from countering them, said a Capitol Hill staff aide who's active in shaping U.S. policy on North Korea, speaking on condition of anonymity. ''I don't see radios in balloons as particularly tenable,'' the staff aide said. During most of the 1990s, the South Korean military deployed balloons to send propaganda leaflets, rice and radios into North Korea but suspended the practice in late 1999 under former President Kim Dae-jung's ''sunshine policy'' of opening contacts with Pyongyang. Since then, Seoul has sought to stop even private groups from airlifting radios with balloons. In March 2003, police blocked a Korean-American pastor from Artesia, Calif., Douglas E. Shin, as he and colleagues prepared to send 700 radios across the border slung from 22 helium-filled balloons. ''Everybody wants the radios,'' Shin said. ``If a regular farmer or worker gets caught, they get slapped on the hand, and the guy who confiscates it keeps it because he wants to listen to it.' ------------------------------ Wall Street Journal November 15, 2004 Japanese Pursuit Of Chinese Sub Raises Tensions Incident Was Most Serious Since World War as Two Vie For Sites in East China Sea By Martin Fackler, Staff Reporter Of The Wall Street Journal TOKYO -- The three-day chase by Japanese warships and planes of a Chinese submarine discovered in Japan's waters marks an escalation of tensions between the two Asian powers over competing claims to the strategically important East China Sea, experts say. Last week's military confrontation is the most serious between the two Asian giants since World War II. It began Wednesday, when the submarine was detected cruising underwater just off Japan's Miyako island, about 1,100 miles southwest of Tokyo, Japanese officials said. Japan responded with an unusual display of strength, pursuing the intruder with two destroyers and sub-hunting P-3C aircraft. Japanese forces followed the submarine hundreds of miles as it fled apparently toward the northern Chinese navy base of Qingdao, before ending the chase Friday. On Friday, Japanese officials lodged a protest with the Chinese Embassy about the entry of the submarine into Japan's territorial waters -- an incident Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi called "extremely regrettable." A Japanese official said the sound of the submarine's propellers, picked up by microphone-carrying buoys, showed it was a Chinese Han-class nuclear attack sub. Each type of submarine emits a unique sound that can be used to identify it. As of yesterday, Beijing had refused to confirm or deny the sub was Chinese. In recent years, Tokyo repeatedly has accused Chinese warships and research vessels of violating waters it claims in the East China Sea, which lies between the two countries. China has disputed some of Japan's claims, saying these areas are open ocean. Waters claimed by Japan sit between some of China's biggest ports and the open Pacific Ocean, frustrating China's ambitions to become a full-fledged naval power. The dispute also extends to huge natural-gas deposits locked beneath the East China Sea. China already has begun building drilling platforms to tap these deposits, a move Tokyo has protested. Talks last month in Beijing failed to reach a compromise. But last week's sub chase was the first time the tensions have taken an overtly military turn. In the past, Japan had shunned such confrontations for fear of reviving memories of its brutal World War II march through Asia. Experts said Japan's new willingness to show force reflects a growing public consensus that the country has to stand up to its increasingly powerful neighbor. "The Japanese are sending a warning shot across the bow that they will not be ignored," said Michael Auslin, a professor at Yale University specializing in Japanese diplomacy. "They're worried about China's longer-term dominance in the region."