NAPSNet Daily Report 02 April, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 02 April, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, April 02, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-02-april-1999/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. DPRK Missile Development

Dow Jones Newswires (“RUSSIA ASKS N. KOREA TO REVEAL INFO ON MISSILE PROGRAM-KYODO,” Tokyo, 04/02/99) reported that Kyodo news quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin as saying on Friday during his visit to Japan that Russia has requested that the DPRK disclose information on its missile program. Karasin said that he made the request during a visit to Pyongyang in mid-March. He added that Russia considers last year’s rocket launch as a threat to stability in Northeast Asia. He proposed that Russia, the US, the PRC, Japan, and other countries cooperate in convincing the DPRK to disclose information on its missiles. He warned that steps need to be taken before the situation goes too far. Karasin also reiterated Russian calls for a six-party negotiating framework on the Korean Peninsula. He added that Russia is prepared to exercise some sort of influence to help Japan improve its relations with the DPRK. Karasin also reconfirmed that the new Russian- DPRK friendship treaty will not oblige Russia to provide military support to the DPRK if the country is attacked.

The Washington Times (“NORTH KOREA RECEIVES MILLIONS FOR MISSILES,” Seoul, 04/02/99, 15) reported that the Korea Times on Friday quoted senior US officials as saying that the DPRK earns around US$100 million a year from exporting missiles, missile technology, and parts to countries such as Iran and Pakistan. Officials and diplomats said it was “very difficult” to put an accurate figure on the DPRK’s missile revenues as not all its markets were known.

2. US-DPRK Missile Talks

The United States Information Agency (“DAS EINHORN 4/2 REMARKS ON NORTH KOREA MISSILE TALKS,” Tokyo, USIA Text, 04/02/99) reported that US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation Robert Einhorn made the following remarks in an April 2 press briefing in Tokyo. “As you know, the U.S. held missile talks with the DPRK earlier this week, March 29th and 30th, in Pyongyang. We pressed for tight constraints on the full range of North Korean missile activities: exports, production, deployment and flight-testing. We also saw the meetings as an opportunity to reinforce a message we have previously provided, that any further flight testing of long range missiles, or any further exports of long range missiles or equipment and technology for long range missiles, would have very serious negative consequences for the evolution of U.S.-DPRK relations. The talks this week were very substantive, candid, and detailed. But in the eleven hours of time we spent with our DPRK counterparts, I can’t say we made any breakthroughs in the negotiations. We did agree to meet again at a time and a place that will be determined through our diplomats in New York. Yesterday afternoon and today, the U.S. team held meetings here in Tokyo with Japanese government officials and Diet members. Our purpose was to debrief them on the Pyongyang talks as well as to consult with them on the road ahead in the negotiations. The U.S. and Japan share a strong common interest in persuading the DPRK to limit its missile capabilities. Indeed, I believe our two governments see eye to eye on all critical issues. We will continue to stay in close touch with one another as the process unfolds.”

3. Japan-DPRK Talks

Dow Jones Newswires (“JAPANESE LAWMAKERS’ VISIT TO N. KOREA COULD BE DELAYED-KYODO,” Tokyo, 04/02/99) reported that Japan’s Kyodo news on Friday quoted senior officials of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and other sources as saying that a planned visit to the DPRK by a group of Japanese lawmakers led by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama could be delayed because of reluctance by certain opposition parties to join the mission. The report said that the other parties see the visit as coming at a bad time, especially after last week’s ship incursion incident. It added that Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s remarks at the Diet on Thursday expressing hope for “major new developments” from the mission did not raise enthusiasm for the trip. Also on Friday, Naoto Kan, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), expressed understanding for the mission but criticized the Japanese government’s involvement. Kan stated, “If the government gets involved, the mission’s character will turn into ‘nonpartisan delegation plus government proxy.'” Kan added that he was closely watching actions by the Japanese and DPRK governments. Murayama has agreed to postpone the visit from mid-April due to the ship incident, but is trying to reschedule it to early May. Party sources said that Murayama has approached Obuchi’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), DPJ, and the New Komeito, but only the LDP has shown any interest. The sources added that Murayama is holding talks with Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka and other senior LDP leaders to finalize plans. At present, House of Representatives members Masaaki Nakayama, Shin Sakurai and Toiichiro Kuno from the LDP, and House of Councilors member Masako Owaki from the SDP are reportedly in the delegation. Murayama is also inviting Hiroyuki Sonoda, an independent Lower House member, to participate. A senior SDP official, however, argued, “A delegation composed only of the LDP and SDP will largely miss the objective of a nonpartisan mission aiming to engender a wide-ranging exchange among the political parties.” SDP sources said that Murayama would meet with DPJ Secretary General Tsutomu Haneda and New Komei Secretary General Tetsuzo Fuyushiba after the first round of local elections April 11 to ask find out whether they plan to join in the visit.

4. Alleged DPRK Spy Boat

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA REFUSES BODIES FROM BOAT,” Seoul, 04/02/99) reported that ROK Defense Ministry officials said Friday that the DPRK has refused to accept six bodies found in a suspected DPRK spy boat that sunk in a gun battle off the ROK’s south coast. The officials said that the ministry will cremate the bodies and keep the ashes in a cemetery near the border with the DPRK designated for that purpose.

5. Reported DPRK Population Relocation

The Associated Press (“N.KOREA RELOCATING 2 MILLION PEOPLE,” Seoul, 04/02/99) reported that Lee Jong-chan, head of the ROK’s National Intelligence Service, said that the DPRK is relocating 2 million people from Pyongyang and other cities to the countryside in an apparent attempt to add agricultural workers. He said that eventually more than 8 percent of the country’s population would be forced to migrate under a five-year program begun last year. Lee said that half of those to be relocated are residents of Pyongyang, with another 1 million to be moved from provincial cities. He said the latest migration was the largest ever monitored by ROK intelligence. He added that most of the migrants are jobless people, ex-convicts, reprimanded government officials, and people who have relatives in the countryside. Agency officials said that, in addition to providing agricultural labor, the relocation also lessens the potential for urban unrest. They added that, despite tight government control on travel, up to 200,000 DPRK citizens have deserted rural villages in recent years to find food in cities. In a separate news release, the agency said that many DPRK citizens have moved to the north to look for chances to escape to the PRC, and that the DPRK has established camps to hold these people.

6. DPRK Famine

Reuters (Paul Eckert, “WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME IN FRESH APPEAL FOR N.KOREA,” Beijing, 04/02/99), Agence France-Presse (Kwan Chooi Tow, “NORTH KOREAN FAMINE WORSENED BY LACK OF FERTILISERS, FUEL,” Beijing, 04/02/99), and the Associated Press (“UN AGENCY SAYS NORTH KOREA WILL RUN OUT OF FOOD THIS MONTH,” Beijing, 02/04/99) reported that David Morton, the UN humanitarian coordinator and World Food Program (WFP) representative in the DPRK, said Friday that the WFP plans to launch an appeal for US$280 million worth of food aid for the DPRK. Morton stated, “We are now entering the most difficult months of the year for people in North Korea.” He said that May and June would put “stress” on the population because food from last year’s harvest would run out by early April and new planting would have only just started. He added that urban areas along the eastern coast, with large populations but little farmland, would be most vulnerable to hunger. Morton said that hungry people would turn to wild plants and substitute food that “has very little nutritional value and in fact it can cause a lot of problems for digestion — particularly for the very old and the very young.” Morton said that the WFP had not seen evidence that food aid was being diverted to government officials or the military. Morton noted, “The humanitarian aid is purely a holding action. It is not solving the problems. It is keeping alive the children.” He added, “I think the causes of this situation of food shortage is the lack of inputs in herbicides and fertilizers which they used to get in the past when the factories which produced were working.” He also said that the lack of fuel meant that land could not be plowed by tractor before the winter months when the frost could have killed germs and diseases in the soil. He concluded, “The long term solution is economic revival in which they can use their competitive advantages such as a hard-working, highly-educated, low wage workforce in light industries or mineral production.”

7. PRC Premier’s US Visit

The Associated Press (“CHINA PREMIER’S VISIT STILL ON,” Washington, 04/02/99) reported that Liu Xiaoming, deputy chief of mission at the PRC embassy in Washington, said Thursday that PRC Premier Zhu Rongji will go ahead next week with a planned US visit. Liu stated, “I know that the climate and atmosphere right now is not that good, but I think it is all the more important, all the more necessary for the leadership to meet.” Liu said that Zhu is ready to face the good and the bad of the US-PRC relationship, and that the Chinese are used to “storms” with the US.

The New York Times (Erik Eckholm, “CHINA HESITATES, THEN CONFIRMS PREMIER’S VISIT,” Beijing, 04/02/99) reported an unnamed Chinese person with knowledge of the debate said that senior PRC officials decided around midnight Thursday that Prime Minister Zhu Rongji should proceed with his visit to the US. An unnamed senior US official said that US Embassy officials in Beijing had sent a cable to Washington reporting that the PRC appeared to reconsidering the visit.

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, “CHINESE DEBATE WISDOM OF PREMIER ZHU’S U.S. VISIT,” Beijing, 04/02/99, A30) reported that an unnamed Chinese source said that PRC Premier Zhu Rongji wants to make his scheduled trip to the US next week, but other elements in the government are using the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia as an excuse to question the visit. An unnamed Chinese academic stated, “The language in the press is very, very Cold War. I mean, even if we oppose the bombing, we should not be equating the United States with Nazi Germany right before a major leader goes to Washington.” David Shambaugh, an expert on China at George Washington University and the Brookings Institution, said that the PRC is “seriously reevaluating” Zhu’s trip. Shambaugh listed said that the trip could be canceled because of the NATO attacks on Yugoslavia, the unlikelihood of concrete results from his meetings with top US officials, and a Cold War mentality in the US. However, several Chinese sources said that they believed Zhu would make the trip.

8. Taiwan-PRC Economic Cooperation

The Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “TAIWAN KEEPS CHINA INVESTMENT LIMIT,” Taipei, 04/02/99) reported that Taiwanese Premier Vincent Siew said Friday that Taiwan will maintain limits on business investments in the PRC to check the PRC’s influence on Taiwan’s economy. Siew said that Taiwan is keeping particularly close watch over the flow of investment to the PRC by high-tech businesses and will continue to bar them from moving manufacturing of products like laptop computers entirely to the PRC. He stated, “We will continue to make our investment climate favorable for them to keep their high-end products here.” He added, “In the past decade … most of the opening-up policies have been initiated from our side. I hope the other side will respond more openly to facilitate frequent exchanges of both sides.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK-DPRK Ship Collision

Korea Times (“SEARCH FINDS NO SURVIVORS FROM SUNKEN NK FREIGHTER,” Seoul, 04/02/99) reported that neither survivors nor bodies of the 37 missing DPRK sailors from the sunken DPRK freighter Manpok-ho were found in the overnight search on Thursday. Chances are very slim that the missing crewmen are still alive because the 7,000 ton-class vessel sank right after it collided with the ROK container carrier “Hyundai Duke” in the Indian Ocean Wednesday evening, Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. said on Thursday. Hyundai has dispatched its 25,000 ton-class bulk carrier “Pacific Master” to the scene for search operations, and was joined by Beritas, an Indian rescue boat, a company spokesman said. The Duke, carrying two rescued DPRK crewmen, arrived in the port city of Colombo, Sri Lanka for repairs of damage it suffered in the collision. Hyundai dispatched an investigative team to Colombo to find out the cause of the accident. Compensation will be discussed only after probes into the accident’s cause are completed, the Hyundai spokesman said. Hyundai has thus far made no contact with the DPRK government about the crash. The two rescued DPRK sailors were handed over to the Sri Lankan authorities for transfer to DPRK diplomats dispatched there from New Delhi, India.

2. Japanese Reaction to Ship Incursion

Korea Herald (“PYONGYANG INADVERTENTLY HELPS TOKYO’S MILITARY BUILD-UP,” Seoul, 04/03/99) reported that the latest series of alleged provocation of Japan by the DPRK has ended up helping Japan accelerate its military build-up, which the DPRK has severely criticized, according to ROK officials and diplomatic observers. An anonymous ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry official said, “Japan’s strengthened security stance has all but been triggered by North Korea.” During a news briefing about the security situation in Northeast Asia, the official said the suspected DPRK spy boats’ invasion of Japan’s territorial waters last week helped the Japanese reach a quick consensus on revising their defense laws to enable them to use weapons more freely. “Summing it up, the DPRK has created a good environment for Japan to expedite its strengthened defense legislation,” he said. The official forecast that the Japanese parliament would be able to pass bills on its new defense guidelines by as early as April 30.

3. DPRK Population Relocation

Chosun Ilbo (“PYONGYANG RESIDENTS ORDERED TO RELOCATE,” Seoul, 04/02/99) reported that the DPRK government has been implementing a relocation plan for a total of 2 million residents in the capital of Pyongyang and other major cities, forcing them to move to rural areas since early last year, according to a report issued by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) on Friday. The report, which was submitted to the National Assembly, revealed that in 1998, the DPRK introduced a five-year plan to reduce the population in the capital city – estimated at 3.61 million – by 1 million. Another 1 million will be relocated from other major DPRK cities to rural areas, the report said. The NIS also said that various crimes such as contract killings, black marketeering, prostitution and bribery have been rampaging through DPRK in recent years, with the DPRK executing a total of 750 convicts over a four-year period, form 1995 to 1998.

4. ROK-DPRK Energy Cooperation

JoongAng Ilbo (“POWER PLANT TO BE INSTALLED IN PYONGYANG BY SOUTH KOREA,” Seoul, 04/02/99) reported that Korea Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) on April 2 announced that it wants to go forward with its plan to install a 100,000kw power generating plant in Pyongyang. KEPCO President Chang Young-sik asserted in a press conference, “Last year North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had requested Chung Ju-yung, honorary chairman of Hyundai Group, to build a steam power plant around the capital area, and we are negotiating this proposal with the government.” He added, “As soon as the government approves the project, we will re-route the 70,000kw power plant facility which the Korea Heavy Industries plans to install on Cheju Island to North Korea, after increasing its capacity.” Hyundai is going to take charge of all the funding for the project on behalf of KEPCO. It will be installing 150kms of electric line between Munsan and Haeju to supply the DPRK’s electricity. The DPRK at first wanted the facility in the western Haeju site, but because of a projected five-year completion time, a metropolitan Pyongyang venue became a more attractive site.

5. ROK-DPRK Economic Cooperation

Korea Herald (“SOUTH KOREAN FIRM TO TAP MINERAL WATER IN NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 04/03/99) reported that Taechang Co., an ROK underwear maker, plans to pump mineral water at the foot of Mt. Kumgang in the DPRK as early as June, according to a company official. The company will ship equipment needed to pump bottled mineral water today from Ulsan in the ROK to Changjon in the DPRK, the gateway to Mt. Kumgang. “We will introduce Kumgangsan saemmul (mineral water), produced in the DPRK, to the domestic market two months from now,” said the official. Officials at the ROK Ministry of Unification said that the government approved Taechang’s plan to send the equipment to DPRK in February.

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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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