Morning Report: December 17, 2004

Roh, Koizumi meet. Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi met with South Korea's Roh Moo Hyun Friday on the Japanese island of Kyushu. The leaders discussed North Korean issues including still-missing Japanese citizens kidnapped by the DPRK in the 1970s and 1980s, and North Korea's nuclear program. Reuters reports that the leaders agreed that it was too early to impose sanctions: '"I am not saying I am opposed to sanctions or that they are impossible. But even if they are to be carried out, the decision should be made cautiously and calmly," said Roh, speaking through an interpreter. Roh added that it was his hope that such measures would not have a detrimental effect on the six-party talks or Japan's efforts to normalize ties with North Korea. ' (Reuters)

Bug found at United Nations. A bugging device was discovered at the United Nations in a room used by officials for conferences concerning the Iraq situation. The device is said to be of apparent East European or Russian origin and at least 3 - 4 years old. The Scotsman reports that 'The art deco room [known as the Salon Francais] in the UN’s European headquarters hosts a teleconference meeting between UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the head of the Geneva office, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, every Wednesday. ' (The Scotsman)

Tehran likely to try to foil Iraqi elections. The Iranian regime, frustrated by recent setbacks to its nuclear program, will likely stage an all-out offensive to try to sabotage upcoming Palestinian and Iraqi elections, some analysts believe. An important article available from Debka discloses that 'US agents foil Iran’s import of smuggled “laser guns” for uranium enrichment. They blew up components crated for shipment in source country'. Amir Taheri writes that Iran 'wants to bleed the United States as much as possible en route to eventual success in Iraq. The cost of success should be so high as to make it impossible for the Bush administration, or its successors, to win popular support at home for any similar venture, for example, in targeting Iran itself.' Michael Ledeen argues that Iran is 'the keystone of the terrorist edifice, and that we are doomed to confront it sooner or later, nuclear or not.'