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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Six-Party Talks

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UNCLAS TOKYO 004653

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR I/RF, PA/PR/FPC/W, IIP/G/EA, EAP/PD, R/MR,
EAP/J, EAP/P, PM;
USTR FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
TREASURY FOR OASIA/IMI;
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA;
CP BUTLER OKINAWA FOR AREA FIELD OFFICE;
PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO JA
SUBJECT: TOKYO MEDIA REACTION - SIX-PARTY TALKS


LEAD STORIES: Most Japanese dailies led with the
Chinese release of the recent six-party agreement on
the disablement of North Korean nuclear facilities, as
well as the planned issuance today of a joint
declaration by South Korean President Roh and his DPRK
counterpart Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang concerning the
creation of a "permanent peace regime" on the Korean
Peninsula.

1. "Step Forward toward Denuclearization" The liberal
Asahi editorialized (10/4): "... US experts have come
to the view that the level of uranium enrichment by
North Korea has not yet reached a stage where it can
manufacture weapons-grade uranium. This being the case,
the disablement of three facilities in Yongbyon can be
called a realistic decision. North Korea reportedly
plans to build a larger nuclear reactor, but it appears
that little progress has been made on the initiative.
It seems a minimum level of agreement was forged,
because North Korea under the accord can no longer
produce nuclear weapons materials... It is true that
the latest six-party agreement is insufficient,
including on how to deal with nuclear weapons that have
already been assembled. But, the accord, perhaps, gave
priority to the settlement of a pressing agenda item
over an across-the-board, perfect solution. It is
important to implement the deal as is."

2. "Problems Remain for Japan" The top-circulation,
moderate Yomiuri wrote in an editorial (10/4): "The six-
party agreement is problematic for Japan, which has
called for the complete denuclearization of North
Korea.... Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura welcomed
the accord, but it contains no clear guarantees
regarding North Korea's implementation of the deal.
There are many ambiguities in it ... such as whether
the plutonium that the DPRK has already produced and
its nuclear weapons are included in the 'complete and
accurate declaration' of the nuclear programs that
Pyongyang is obligated to provide. The six-party
document also avoids the issue of uranium enrichment,
and its failure to specify verification measures for
the declaration is troubling. If loopholes and
omissions are permitted in the declaration, the goal of
complete denuclearization cannot be accomplished."

3. "Will DPRK Keep Its Promises?" The liberal Tokyo
Shimbun wrote (10/4): "...The September 2005 six-party
agreement stated that North Korea promised to give up
all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.
A retreat from this basic line would make the ultimate
goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula
unattainable. The key to preventing this lies in the
issue of delisting North Korea as a state sponsor of
terror. The DPRK has long dwelled on this issue, as it
constitutes the core of sanctions against the
country.... Delisting should occur only after North
Korean nuclear dismantlement, as well as after
clarification of Pyongyang's involvement in acts of
terrorism and the release of Japanese abductees. Of
late, the six-party talks have been driven forward by
the US and DPRK. If the Bush administration makes one
concession after another in a rush to secure diplomatic
success by the end of the year, that could create
problems for the future. The US has a heavy
responsibility."

DONOVAN

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