NAPSNet Daily Report 01 September, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 01 September, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, September 01, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-01-september-1999/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. People’s Republic of China

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Relations

US State Department Deputy Spokesman James Foley (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, TUESDAY, AUGUST 31, 1999,” 08/31/99) on Tuesday described US Representative Tony Hall’s report of his meetings with DPRK officials as “hopeful.” Foley added, “as we’ve said in the last few weeks, some of the public statements issued by the North Koreans have given us hope that North Korea is … taking seriously the path to better relations with the U.S. and the international community that former [Defense] Secretary [William] Perry laid out in his visit to Pyongyang.”

2. US-ROK-Japan Talks

Reuters (“JAPAN, US, S.KOREA TO DISCUSS N.KOREA MISSILE AT APEC,” Tokyo, 09/01/99) reported that Akitaka Saiki, spokesman for Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, said on Wednesday that ROK President Kim Dae-jung and US President Bill Clinton will meet on September 12 or 13 on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Auckland, New Zealand to discuss the DPRK’s missile threat. Saiki stated, “The three leaders will meet specifically to discuss North Korea.” He added, “We want to make sure [the DPRK] will behave as a responsible member of the international community and listen to voices from the outside.” Saiki said that intelligence information did not show that the DPRK was set to launch a long-range missile in the imminent future, but the DPRK has made it clear that it has not abandoned the plan.

3. ROK-Japan Relations

The Associated Press (“S KOREAN PM KIM IN TOKYO FOR TALKS WITH JAPANESE LEADERS,” Tokyo, 09/01/99) reported that ROK Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday for talks with Japanese officials. Kim and Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi will meet Thursday and are expected to reconfirm cooperation in dissuading the DPRK from launching a missile. Kim is also scheduled to meet with Emperor Akihito on Friday and business leaders in Osaka on Saturday before returning home.

4. ROK-DPRK Maritime Border

The Associated Press (“N KOREA THREATENS ‘DECISIVE STEP’ IN DISPUTED WATERS,” Seoul, 09/01/99) reported that DPRK representative to the Military Armistice Commission Lieutenant General Ri Chan-bok said Wednesday that the DPRK military would defend its sovereignty over contested waters in the Yellow Sea. Ri said that the DPRK “will take a resolute and determined measure to defend waters under our military control according to the armistice agreement.” Ri added, “Now that the stand of the U.S. forces has been clearly confirmed …, we will also make our own option.” He warned that the DPRK military “will never pardon the misbehavior of the U.S. forces side in infringing upon our sovereignty after setting a line deep inside our territorial waters at random.”

5. DPRK Defectors

The Associated Press (“FOUR NORTH KOREANS DEFECT TO SOUTH,” Seoul, 08/31/99) reported that the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that four DPRK defectors arrived in the ROK on Tuesday to seek asylum. It said that the four escaped the DPRK between June 1997 and December 1998 and have lived in hiding in a third country.

6. Taiwanese Air Force

The Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “TAIWAN MILITARY A MESSAGE TO CHINA,” Kangshan Air Force Base, 09/01/99) reported that Taiwan on Wednesday displayed advanced fighter jets in a ceremony celebrating the founding of the air force academy. The jets displayed included Mirage 2000 fighters purchased from France and IDF fighters developed in Taiwan with US technical help. Air Force officials said that the jets will ensure Taiwan’s superiority for at least another five years over the PRC air force. Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui stated, “The air force’s successful front line is the secure shield of our nation’s defense.”

7. Russian Military Sales to PRC

The Associated Press (“RUSSIA MAY SELL NUKE SUBS TO CHINA,” Hong Kong, 09/01/99) reported that two Hong Kong newspapers said Wednesday the PRC has reached a tentative agreement to buy two Russian Typhoon-class nuclear-powered submarines. The Hong Kong Standard said that PRC President Jiang Zemin and Russian President Boris Yeltsin endorsed the US$1 billion deal during a five-nation summit in the Central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan last week. The Typhoon-class submarines are equipped with SSN-20 ballistic missiles with a maximum range of 5,100 miles. Vladimir Zakharov, an official in the Russian Embassy in Beijing, said that he had no information on any submarine sales to the PRC. The PRC Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong declined comment.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK-UNC Talks

The Korea Times (“UNC, NK GENERALS MEET TODAY AT PANMUNJOM,” Seoul, 08/31/99) and The Korea Herald (Lee Sung-yul, “GENERALS FROM U.N. COMMAND, N.K. TO DISCUSS KOREAN SEA BORDER TODAY,” Seoul, 09/01/99) reported that generals from the United Nations Command (UNC) and the DPRK were scheduled to hold a meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom on Tuesday to discuss the easing of military tensions following a naval clash in the West Sea on June 15. The ROK Defense Ministry said that the DPRK is expected to renew its demand to draw a new sea border in the West Sea by extending the on-land military demarcation line. UNC officials, however, intend to reject the DPRK request, standing by their earlier position that the Northern Limit Line has served as a practical border for more than four decades and should be respected. The border meeting will be the 11th general officer-level talks since the forum was created in June last year. Representing the UNC will be Major General Michael Dunn of the US Air Force, ROK Air Force Brigadier General Keum Ki-yuen, British General John Baker and French Colonel Francois Torres.

2. DPRK View of TMD

The Korea Herald (“NORTH KOREA PROMISES ARMS BUILDUP TO COPE WITH TMD MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM,” Seoul, 09/01/99) reported that ROK monitors said on Tuesday that the DPRK has warned that it will increase its arms build-up to cope with a US regional missile defense system. “We will continue to increase the country’s national defense capabilities in every way to cope with any military offensive of the enemy,” the spokesman was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). He said the DPRK was made “the first target” of the TMD system. “Some time ago, French President [Jacques] Chirac declared that he rejected the U.S. TMD plan as it would spark a new strategic nuclear arms race in East Asia. And the French foreign minister in his letter to the US (Secretary of State) also expressed his deep apprehension that the plan would bring only instability to the Far East as it was a ‘ghost of a new Cold War.’ This fully shows that the TMD plan pursued by the United States together with Japan is denounced and rejected by European countries as well as Asian countries for its great danger,” he said. He further stated that the US moves to develop and deploy TMD in Northeast Asia are “very reckless, dangerous criminal acts which may seriously upset the balance of forces and revive a new arms race and a second Cold War in this region and thus drive world peace and security to a grave crisis.”

3. US-DPRK Talks

The Korea Times (“U.S. TRIES TO LOWER EXPECTATIONS FOR UPCOMING TALKS WITH N.KOREA,” Seoul, 08/31/99) reported that the US State Department on Monday sought to lower expectations for next week’s Berlin talks with the DPRK. Spokesman James Foley reiterated that the US would use the meeting to impress the DPRK on “the advantages of taking steps to improve its relations with the U.S. and the international community” based on ideas put forward by US envoy William Perry. “The idea for such a meeting was discussed in August in Geneva … and we regard it as positive that the U.S. and North Korea are going to meet and want to continue these discussions,” Foley said. “I wouldn’t want to attach a specific expectation to that meeting,” he noted, adding that he would not rule out future meetings. “We’ve had enough experience in this particular area to know that it’s tough slugging. Progress is slow,” the spokesman said. “But we are hopeful that we can achieve progress in defining a different relationship, and one which improves the prospects for the people of North Korea and which allays our serious concerns about security issues.” On press reports that the US might offer food aid and ministerial level talks in exchange for the DPRK’s pledge to forgo the launch of a new long-range missile, Foley replied: “food aid is something that we have provided upon appeal by the World Food Program. We regard it as a humanitarian issue.”

4. ROK-Japan Talks

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “P.M. KIM BEGINS JAPAN VISIT TODAY,” Seoul, 09/01/99) reported that ROK Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil left for Japan on Wednesday for a four-day official visit amid concerns in the ROK over the alleged resurgence of the right wing in Japan. Officials in Seoul said on Tuesday that the issue of resurgent nationalistic sentiment in Japan will not be on the agenda at talks between Kim and Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi on Thursday. “But Kim may indirectly mention the matter during the talks given concerns among Koreans,” said an official at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. At talks with Obuchi, the official said, Kim will discuss a variety of issues, ranging from the DPRK’s missile threat to bilateral cooperation in economic and other areas.

5. Russian Defense Minister’s Visit to ROK

Chosun Ilbo (Yoo Yong-won, “RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTER DUE THURSDAY,” Seoul, 08/31/99) and The Korea Herald (Lee Sung-yul, “RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER EXPECTED TO PITCH SUBMARINE SALES TO SEOUL,” Seoul, 09/01/99) reported that Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev will visit the ROK on Thursday to meet his counterpart Cho Song-tae and discuss expanded military cooperation. While in Seoul, Sergeyev and Cho will sign the ROK-Russia Prevention of Dangerous Military Action Treaty. An ROK Ministry of National Defense official said that the talks will include the introduction of Russian submarines to the ROK Navy, joint search and rescue exercises, the implementation of regular defense policy coordination meetings, exchange of high-ranking military personnel, and cooperation between the countries’ defense industries. In addition to the introduction of the ‘Kilo’ class submarines, Sergeyev is expected to discuss the purchase of ‘Amor’ class vessels by the ROK government. The Amor is a new 2,000-ton submarine with six torpedo/missile tubes and a cruising range of 6,000km. Also up for discussion will be the sale by Russia of the S-300 anti-aircraft/missile close air defense system and the advanced SU35 fighter aircraft for the ROK FX program.

6. USS Pueblo

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “USS PUEBLO DISPLAYED ON TAEDONG RIVER,” Seoul, 09/01/99) reported that a captured US intelligence ship has now become a tourist attraction in the DPRK. The USS Pueblo, which was captured by the DPRK on charges of spying off the coast of Wonsan on January 23, 1968, is now being “displayed” beside a bridge on the Taedong River, according to officials of the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions who recently visited the DPRK capital for soccer matches. The river runs through Pyongyang. “During our visit to an islet on the Taedong River, a North Korean tour guide pointed to a far-away vessel, saying it was the Pueblo,” said a union official. “Although it was beyond eyeshot for identification, there was a gray ship moored along the riverside.” A Korean- American journalist who took part in the “Pan-national Unification Festival” in Pyongyang on August 14 also confirmed the fact. In his Pyongyang-datelined story on the Internet, he wrote, “The Pueblo is tied to the riverside as a sideshow for North Koreans.” DPRK watchers in Seoul said that back in 1995 the DPRK started displaying the US navy intelligence ship for foreign tourists. On July 12, US Congressman Robert Torichelli said that he saw the ship in Nampo Port, a western port of Pyongyang. Interest was immediately triggered here on how the DPRK transported the bulky ship from the East to West Coast, as it was impossible to take it by sea unless it sailed by ROK’s southern coast. According to defectors, the DPRK government might have moved the US intelligence ship – regarded by Pyongyang as the “sacred monument of victory over the US imperialists” – to instill anti-US sentiments among its residents as well as increase income from foreign tourists. A defector, while citing the difficulties in transporting the 54 meter-long, 10 meter-wide vessel with displacement of about 906 tons, said that the ship on the Taedong River might be a replica made in Nampo Shipyard.

7. ROK-DPRK Economic Cooperation

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, “JOINT CAR PROJECT AUTHORIZED WITH NK,” Seoul, 08/31/99) and The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “MOONIES SEEKS TO BUILD CAR ASSEMBLY LINE IN NK,” Seoul, 08/31/99) reported that an ROK Unification Ministry official said on Monday that a Unification Church-affiliated company is seeking to build an automobile assembly line in the DPRK city of Nampo. The ROK government on Tuesday authorized a joint project between Pyonghwa Autos of the Tongil group and the DPRK, naming the ROK company the official manager of the project. Pyonghwa Autos was created in April to establish a manufacturing site in the DPRK, following Tongil owner Moon Sun-myong’s 1991 visit to the DPRK. According to an agreement with the DPRK, Pyonghwa will invest US$300 million to build a 10,000 annual capacity car plant in Nampo.

8. DPRK Defectors in ROK

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In, “NK DEFECTORS FACE DIFFICULTY ADAPTING TO SOUTH,” Seoul, 08/31/99) reported that “Hanawon,” an institute that opened in early July to help DPRK defectors to settle in the ROK, is experiencing difficulties in psychologically adapting people to life in the ROK. To make matters worse, people in the ROK speak a different dialect (with much unfamiliar vocabulary), have a different culture, and follow different habits. The favorite subjects that the defectors pay heed to are driving and computer classes, since they believe these two skills are essential to surviving in the ROK. As of Wednesday, 25 DPRK defectors were receiving settlement education. Since it first opened, Hanawon graduated 29 students during the last two months; however one died and three left before finishing their rehabilitation course.

III. People’s Republic of China

1. DPRK-UNC Talks

China Daily (“UN ACCEPTS DPRK CALL FOR TALKS,” Seoul, 9/1/99, A11) reported that the UN Command said on August 31 that it had accepted a proposal by the DPRK for high-level talks in the truce village of Panmunjom. The DPRK was expected again to raise the issue of the location of the demarcation line in the Yellow Sea, the UN Command (UNC) said in a statement. The UNC said that at the meeting on September 1 it would also raise the return of the remains of four of its soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. “The UNC hopes that by accepting the DPRK People’s Army’s request for a general officer-level meeting, this will build confidence, reaffirm both sides’ commitment to the general officer forum and reduce tension on the Korean Peninsula,” it said. The DPRK said on August 31 that the withdrawal of the 37,000 US troops from the ROK was a key precondition for improving ties with the US, according to the report. The official Rodong Shinmun also said that the US should “give up its moves to stifle the DPRK and lift economic sanctions against it.” The newspaper also criticized the US for “casting a darker shadow over DPRK-US relations on the pretext of the DPRK’s non-existent ‘missile threat’.”

2. DPRK-US Talks

People’s Daily (“DPRK, US TO HOLD HIGH-LEVEL TALKS IN BERLIN,” Pyongyang, 8/30/99, A6) reported that, according to a report from the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency, a DPRK delegation headed by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan will have talks on September 7 with a US delegation in Berlin. They will discuss the relief of US economic sanctions on the DPRK and other issues of common concern, the report said. Sources from Seoul said that a spokesman for the ROK Foreign Trade ministry had expressed that the resumption of the DPRK-US high-level talks is welcome. The spokesman said that this meeting will mainly discuss the improvement of DPRK-US relations and the missile issue.

3. DPRK View of TMD

People’s Daily (Zhao Jiaming, “DPRK OPPOSES US-JAPAN TMD PROGRAM,” Pyongyang, 8/31/99, A6) reported that when answering a question from a reporter from the Korean Central News Agency, the DPRK’s Foreign Ministry spokesman pointed out that the development and establishment of theater missile defense (TMD) systems by the US and Japan in Northeast Asia will result in a new round of arms race in this region and the development of the second cold war. The US-Japan action will be an extremely erroneous and dangerous crime, which will lead peace and security of the world to a serious crisis, the spokesman said. He emphasized at the same time that the so-called “DPRK missile threat” played up by the US is only an excuse trying to justify the establishment of the TMD. The spokesman warned that under the circumstances that the DPRK is regarded as the first attack goal of the US TMD system, the DPRK will continuously enhance its national defense capability by every possible way in order to deal with any attack from hostile forces.

4. ROK-PRC Relations

China Daily (“CPPCC LEADER MEETS ROK GUEST,” 8/30/99, A2) reported that Li Ruihuan, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said on August 29 in Beijing that the PRC is highly concerned with the situation on the Korean Peninsula, as both sides of the Peninsula are good neighbors of the PRC. Li made this statement while meeting with Lee Soo-sung, former prime minister of the ROK. The DPRK and the ROK are the parties directly concerned with the Peninsula issue, and the issue should be settled independently without outside interference through such political means as peaceful dialogue, added Li.

5. PRC-Japanese Economic Relations

Business Weekly (Zhang Yan, “SINO-JAPANESE TRADE REBOUNDS,” 8/29-9/4/99, A1) reported that Sino- Japanese trade rebounded during the second quarter of this year. Statistics from the General Administration of Customs indicated that during the first half of this year, two-way trade between the PRC and Japan grew by 9.5 percent from a year earlier to US$29.1 billion, while the growth rate for the PRC’s total foreign trade was 4.4 per cent for the same period. Customs statistics also indicate that the product mix of the PRC’s exports to Japan is experiencing a favorable change, the report said. Exports of raw materials to Japan declined during the first half of this year, in stark contrast to the steady growth in exports of finished industrial products. In comparison with the growth of exports, the report said, the PRC’s imports from Japan increased by 16.3 per cent during the first half of this year to US$15.1 billion.

6. Across-Taiwan Straits Relations

People’s Daily (“TAIWAN’S SPLITTIST RESOLUTION CONDEMNED,” Beijing, 9/1/99, A1) reported that under Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui’s control, the congress of the Kuomintang party held in Taipei on August 28-29 passed a resolution to designate cross-Straits relations as “special state-to-state relations.” An official from the Office for Taiwan Affairs under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China pointed out that since Lee made his original “two states” remarks on July 9, he has been strongly criticized by the Chinese people. The international community has also repeated its adherence to the “one China” policy. However, Lee stubbornly sticks to his “two states” remarks, and even went as for as putting it into a Kuomintang resolution, a very dangerous step aimed at separating China, said the office. “As Lee travels further down the splittist road, the Chinese people including Taiwanese compatriots will fight firmly against him, and Lee’s splittist attempts are doomed to failure,” he said. His move to insert his “two states” remarks into party documents will signal the beginning of the end of the Kuomintang, and push the Taiwanese people to the abyss of war, he added. He expressed his hope that astute members of the Kuomintang will see through the dangerous nature of Lee’s splittist policy and act responsibly on behalf of the 22 million Taiwanese compatriots.

People’s Liberation Army Daily (“PLA HAS THE CAPABILITY TO SAFEGUARD TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY,” Bi Yongnian, 8/27/99, A2) reported that a top Chinese missile expert has said that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has the resolution, confidence and capability to accomplish the great cause of unifying the motherland. In an interview with a reporter from the People’s Liberation Army Daily, Xiao Longxu, a senior engineer at an unidentified research institute of the Second Artillery Corps, said that after more than 30 years of development, the PLA’s missile-fighting capability has improved substantially. Comprehensively judging military priorities from three aspects — weapons, personnel and the environment, Xiao said, he does not think Taiwan side has any military advantages. When asked to comment on the “Patriot” missiles imported by Taiwan from the US, Xiao said these missiles cannot protect Lee Teng- hui. Although “Patriot” missiles did intercept many “Scud” missiles in the Gulf War, their function is not as effective as reported by the media, Xiao said. When asked whether he has means to deal with the Patriot, Xiao expressed he has full confidence in the PLA’s capability.

7. PRC View of Arms Sales to Taiwan

People’s Daily (Ma Shikun and Zhang Yong, “US ARMS SALES FEED ARROGANCE OF ‘TAIWAN INDEPENDENCE’,” Washington, 8/23/99, A3) carried a commentary saying that selling a large number of advanced weapons by the US to Taiwan is an important element to encourage Lee Teng-hui to travel further down the splittist road and even to make “two states remarks.” In recent years, the US has hastened its steps to sell weapons to Taiwan, the commentary said. The arms sales not only increase the quantity and the quality of Taiwanese weapons, but are also becoming more and more open, it said. US arms sales have emboldened Lee Teng-hui to promote “Taiwan independence,” the article said. The facts in the past ten years showed that, the more the US sold weapons to Taiwan, the more rampantly Lee Teng-hui engaged in “Taiwan independence.” The reason for the US to sell a large number of weapons to Taiwan, according to the commentary, is for economic benefits. However, the article also listed the arms sales’ harmful effects on US interests.

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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Seoul, Republic of Korea

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Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin: icipu@glas.apc.org
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

 


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