NAPSNet Daily Report 02 December, 1998

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 02 December, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, December 02, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-02-december-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Announcements

I. United States

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1. DPRK Underground Construction

Reuters (Teruaki Ueno, “N.KOREA SLAMS U.S. OVER SUSPECTED NUCLEAR SITE,” Tokyo, 12/02/98) and the Associated Press (“N. KOREAN MILITARY THREATENS U.S.,” Seoul, 12/02/98) reported that a spokesman for the General Staff of the DPRK People’s Army (KPA) on Wednesday accused the US of taking a hard-line stance toward the DPRK’s suspected nuclear site as an excuse to start a war. The spokesman stated, “Now that the U.S. imperialists, having thrown off the mask of ‘dialogue’ and ‘negotiation’, are bringing the situation to the brink of war, we solemnly declare … that our revolutionary armed forces will never pardon the challenge of the U.S. imperialist aggression forces but answer it with an annihilating blow.” He added, “We have our own operation plan. It must be clearly known that there is no limit to the strike of our People’s Army and that on this planet there is no room for escaping the strike.” He also warned, “It must also be realized that the target of our strike in the war is not only the U.S. imperialist aggression forces … but also the South Korean puppets who are willing to serve as their bullet-shield and Japan and all others that offer bases or act as servants behind the scenes.” The spokesman argued, “We neither want nor avoid a war. If a war is imposed, we will never miss the opportunity. To answer fire with fire is a character of our revolutionary army and its unique mode of counteraction.” ROK officials said that while the rhetoric used was nothing new, it was unusual for the DPRK military to make a public statement.

Reuters (“IAEA TO APPROACH NORTH KOREA ON LATEST NUCLEAR PROBLEM,” Seoul, 12/02/98) reported that the ROK Foreign Ministry quoted Mohamad el-Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as saying Wednesday that the agency would take action at the appropriate time over the DPRK’s suspected nuclear program. El-Baradei stated, “The IAEA would have to make a verification of its undeclared nuclear facilities at some future date.” He added that the underground facilities in the DPRK “are not an immediate threat, but transparency must be secured.” He also urged the DPRK to reinstate its membership in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it suspended in 1993.

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2. DPRK Missile Launch

The Associated Press (“REPORT: N.KOREA PREPARING TO LAUNCH,” Tokyo, 12/01/98) and Reuters (Teruaki Ueno, “JAPAN SAYS N.KOREA MAY LAUNCH ANOTHER MISSILE,” Tokyo, 12/02/98) reported that the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri said Wednesday that US spy satellites have detected preparations in the DPRK for launching another missile. The report cited Japanese government sources that received information from the US that the DPRK has been moving parts of a Taepodong missile from storage to the launch pad since about November 20. It added that Japan has requested the US to ask the DPRK to call off the launch at bilateral meetings scheduled to start on Friday, and the US has agreed to raise the subject. Japanese government spokesman Hiromu Nonaka acknowledged Wednesday that Japan was aware of “some kind of movement” in the DPRK, but he would not elaborate. Japan’s Kyodo News agency quoted Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi as saying that Japan had received information about a possible DPRK launch, but added, “I have not heard that it has been confirmed.” Obuchi’s deputy spokesman, Akitaka Saiki, stated, “We do have some intelligence reports about such movements on that part of the Korean peninsula.” He added, however, “We do not have detailed, elaborated information as to the timing of a possible launching…. We are still at the information gathering stage.”

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3. US DPRK Policy Coordinator

US State Department Spokesman James P. Rubin (“N. KOREA POLICY COORDINATOR PERRY TO TRAVEL TO REGION,” USIA Text, 12/01/98) made the following announcement: “Dr. William Perry, U.S. North Korea Policy Coordinator and Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State, will travel to Seoul, Tokyo, and Beijing December 6-10. Dr. Perry will be accompanied by Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Counselor of the State Department; Dr. Ashton Carter, advisor to Dr. Perry and several other support staff. Dr. Perry intends to obtain, first-hand, views of the South Korean, Japanese, and Chinese governments and informed individuals as he conducts his review of U.S. policy on North Korea.”

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4. DPRK Defector

The Associated Press (“2 N. KOREANS DEFECT TO S. KOREA,” Seoul, 12/02/98) reported that ROK intelligence officials said that two stowaways claiming to be DPRK defectors arrived in the ROK on Wednesday aboard a ship from a third country and surrendered to authorities. The men, identifying themselves as Yoo Tae-joon, a coal storage worker, and his half-brother, Lee Keun-hyuk, a high school student, said that they fled the DPRK earlier this year and lived in hiding before sneaking aboard a ship sailing to the ROK.

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5. ROK Economic Crisis

Dow Jones Newswires (Chang Woo Hyuk, “SOUTH KOREA SHOWS SIGNS OF UPTURN AS TRADE SURPLUS, RESERVES INCREASE,” Seoul, 12/02/98) reported that analysts said that the ROK economy is beginning to show signs of recovery. Although the scope of economic recovery is being debated, most analysts agree that the nation will not slip deeper into recession. Ki-seok Hong, a research fellow at the state-run Korea Development Institute, stated, “When you look at the recent indicators, the worst for the Korean economy appears to be ending or have passed.” The government said that the ROK’s trade surplus in November expanded to US$3.67 billion from US$124 million in the same month a year earlier, while usable foreign-currency reserves rose to a record US$46.47 billion at the end of November from US$45.27 billion a month earlier. Gross Domestic Product contracted 6.8 percent in the third quarter after a similar contraction in the second quarter, whereas analysts had expected a larger drop in the third quarter. The unemployment rate also fell for the third straight month in October to 7.1 percent from 7.3 percent in September.

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6. Japanese Apology for World War II

Reuters (“REMARKS BY JAPANESE SPOKESMAN NONAKA,” Tokyo, 12/02/98) reported that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said on Wednesday that some news organizations mischaracterized comments he made last Friday on the issue of Japan’s responsibility for World War II. Nonaka said that his statement that Japan had apologized enough for its military actions in China was in fact an observation that some people held that view and did not reflect his personal opinion. He stated, “I am truly perplexed and regret the fact that the exact opposite of the gist of my statements was reported. There was, regrettably, a misunderstanding of my remarks.”

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7. US-PRC Military Exercise

The Associated Press (“CHINA, US FORCES IN RESCUE EXERCISE,” Hong Kong, 12/02/98) reported that US and Hong Kong officials said that the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army joined US forces Wednesday for the first time in a search and rescue exercise off Hong Kong’s outlying Lantau island. US Consulate Information Officer Barbara Zigli said that both the US and the PRC were invited by the Hong Kong government in “a humanitarian effort to create a climate of working together.” She added, “If the need for a rescue arises, we will all have a way of communicating with each other.”

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8. US-Pakistan Talks

The Washington Post (Kenneth J. Cooper, “CLINTON, SHARIF TO MEET TODAY,” New Delhi, 12/02/98, A36) reported that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was scheduled to hold talks with US President Bill Clinton on Wednesday. Sharif said Monday before his departure, “It will be my endeavor to restore the close and cooperative relations that have existed between the two countries in economic and defense fields.” He added, “We will definitely talk about restoration of military aid. In the face of a conventional military imbalance [with India], Pakistan will have to depend more on its nuclear capability. The … imbalance should be corrected.”

The Associated Press (Robert Burns, “WHITE HOUSE WORKS ON PAKISTAN DEAL,” Washington, 12/02/98) reported US officials said Wednesday that the Clinton administration is working out details of a new plan for returning some of the US$658 million that Pakistan paid for F-16 fighter planes it never received due to a law passed by Congress cutting off arms sales to Pakistan. Under the plan, New Zealand would lease 28 of the fighters, and some or all of the money would be transferred to Pakistan.

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9. US Sanctions on India, Pakistan

The Associated Press (“INDIA, PAKISTAN SANCTIONS EASED,” Washington, 12/02/98) reported that US President Bill Clinton signed papers Wednesday waiving until October 21, 1999 the sanctions the US imposed after India and Pakistan tested nuclear bombs last May. US National Security Council spokesman David Leavy meanwhile said that there was a possibility that Clinton next year would make the trip to South Asia that he canceled earlier this year.

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10. Indian Military Exercise

The Associated Press (Ashok Sharma, “INDIA HOLDING MILITARY EXERCISE,” Utarlai, 12/02/98) reported that India is holding its largest military exercise of the decade near its border with Pakistan. More than 60,000 soldiers, 300 tanks, and 160 aircraft are participating in the 10-day exercise in the state of Rajasthan. Indian military officers said that Pakistan had mobilized nearly 20,000 troops along the border in response to the exercises, but the claim was denied by an official in the Pakistan Defense Ministry. Lieutenant General H.M. Khanna, the Indian military commander, called the exercises “a review of our doctrine in the situation of nuclear balance.” Brigadier D.K. Babbar said soldiers were being trained in nuclear and chemical warfare but insisted the training was “not something new.”

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11. US Nuclear Arsenal

The Associated Press (Tom Raum, “LOOKING AT ARMS-REDUCTION OPTIONS,” Washington, 12/02/98) reported that anonymous US administration and congressional Democratic officials said that US President Bill Clinton may outline a series of initiatives to deal with reducing nuclear arsenals in next month’s State of the Union address and the budget that follows. They said that the proposals under consideration range from asking Congress to ease laws against unilateral reductions in nuclear weapons to providing more money to help Russia dismantle its missiles and to retrain its weapons scientists. Administration officials and lawmakers of both parties have expressed optimism that the Russian Duma will take up the START II treaty in early 1999. Senator Richard Lugar, R-Ind., stated, “For the moment, Prime Minister (Yevgeny) Primakov has majority support in the Russian Duma for prompt ratification” of START II. US Defense Secretary William Cohen said that it is premature to be discussing unilateral cuts while the START II treaty may be headed for ratification, but he added that the administration was “looking at a variety of positions” to cut costs while still complying with existing congressional mandates.

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12. US Missile Defense

US Defense Department Deputy Spokesman Mike Doubleday (“PENTAGON SPOKESMAN’S BRIEFING, DECEMBER 1,” USIA Transcript, 12/01/98) said that the next test of the Theater High-Altitude Anti-Missile Defense System (THAAD) is scheduled for the first quarter of next year. Doubleday stated, “Certainly we learn a lot, not only with every success, but also with those tests that are unsuccessful. Our goal, of course, is to develop a system which can hit to kill which is a very difficult proposition. We continue to work the very complex technology that is involved in that.”

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK Lightwater Reactor Project

Chosun Ilbo (“ELECTRICITY SURCHARGE TO PAY FOR DPRK REACTORS,” Seoul, 12/02/98) reported that it was learned Wednesday that the ROK government has decided to impose a surcharge of up to 4 percent on electricity bills to fund the lightwater reactor construction project in the DPRK. The government is expected to hold a meeting with the ruling party on Thursday to institute the measure. One government official involved in the proposal said that all possible ways to defray the cost of the reactors had been considered, including dipping into the government budget and issuing bonds, but the consensus was to secure the funds through electricity bill surcharges. He said that the additional amount would be less than 1,000 won a month on average. The ROK will cover 3.5 trillion won of the total construction cost of the reactors, spending about 400 billion won each year over the nine-year construction period. The government official said that the surcharge represented a minimal portion of the 15 trillion won monthly electricity-fee income of the Korea Electric Power Corporation.

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2. DPRK Underground Construction

Chosun Ilbo (“US PRESSES DPRK FOR ACCESS TO SUSPECTED NUKE SITES,” Seoul, 12/02/98) reported that the US State Department on Wednesday urged the DPRK to allow a site investigation of its Kumchangri underground facilities, which are widely suspected of housing a nuclear arms testing structure. Commenting on the forthcoming second round of US-DPRK talks regarding the facilities, the department’s spokesman, James Rubin, said that the US government plans to make it clear once again that a site investigation is inevitable. The US and the DPRK are due to meet twice for talks, once in New York from December 4-5 and again in Washington, DC from December 7-8.

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3. ROK-US Conference

JoongAng Ilbo (“ROK-U.S. MEET ON DPRK NUCLEAR SUSPICION IN WASHINGTON,” Seoul, 12/02/98) reported that the ROK and the US will meet in Washington, DC on December 4-8 concerning the recent allegations that the DPRK’s Kumchangri area is the site of an underground nuclear facility. At the conference, Charles Kartman, the special envoy for the Korean Peninsula Peace Talks, will be the main US representative while ROK diplomat Yoo Myong-hwan will speak on behalf of the ROK. The ROK will deliver its opinion that if the DPRK agrees to an investigation by the UN into the alleged facility, it will resume sending fertilizer and other provisions to the DPRK for the sake of East Asian peace. The two countries are expected to take firm action in the event the DPRK refuses access to the underground nuclear facilities. There will be a round of three-party talks between the ROK, the US, and Japan following this bilateral discussion.

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4. ROK-US Security Consultative Meeting

Korea Times (“ROK-US TO HOLD SCM JANUARY 21-22 IN SEOUL,” Seoul, 12/02/98) reported that ROK and the US will hold their annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) between defense chiefs of the two countries in Seoul on January 21-22. According to officials at the Defense Ministry on Monday, US Defense Secretary William Cohen and Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) chairman General Henry Shelton will come here for the annual meeting. Under the SCM schedule, the ministry officials said, ROK JCS chairman General Kim Jin-ho will hold the 20th Military Committee Meeting (MCM) on January 21. ROK Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek will meet with his US counterpart in the 30th SCM the next day. The 20th MCM and 30th SCM were originally scheduled to take place on November 2-3 but were canceled after a last minute request by the US was received on November 1. At the time, the US military’s top brass were tied up with new developments stemming from Iraq’s refusal to comply with UN-initiated inspections of suspected factories for the production of weapons of mass destruction. “We asked the US to consult and reschedule the SCM in Seoul as soon as possible,” a ministry official said. “They responded with a proposal to hold the SCM meeting on January 21-22.” The official added that the two countries will still hold the 31st SCM in Washington as planned, irrespective of the defense ministers’ meeting in January.

III. Announcements

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1. DPRK Benefit Concert

Korean Americans for Global Action (KAFGA) will presents “Hands of Hope,” a benefit concert for DPRK children, on December 14, 1998, at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York. The concert will be hosted by actress/comedian Margaret Cho, and will include Korean performers Eugene Park, the Ahn Trio, SamulNori, and Kim Duk Soo. This concert is primarily sponsored by Budweiser, Korean Airlines, Metlife, The Korea Society, Mercy Corps International, KTV, PALMCO, and Radio Seoul 1480, with the participation of over twenty Korean and other organizations and individuals. All proceeds will go to Mercy Corps International. Ells Culver, Senior Vice President of Mercy Corps, will speak at the concert. Tickets are $30, $65, $100, and $250. For further information call 1-888-355-7066. To charge tickets by phone, call (212) 721-6500 or purchase on line at www.lincolncenter.org.

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2. Job Announcement

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace seeks an Associate to join the Non-Proliferation Project, which conducts in-depth research and serves as an independent source of information on all aspects of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missile delivery vehicles. Candidates should have a Ph.D. or J.D., one to eight years experience in research or policy settings relating to non-proliferation issues, and preferably expertise in one of the following regions or topics: Russia, the Middle East, China, or biological and chemical weapons. Substantial experience may substitute for an advanced degree. The Associate will carry out research or writing in his or her own areas of expertise as well as assist with all aspects of the Project, including the survey publications, issue briefs, conferences, and seminars. Candidates should have outstanding research and writing skills, the desire and ability to work both independently and as part of a team, and a strong inclination toward policy-relevant work. Salary is commensurate with previous employment and experience. The Carnegie Endowment offers generous benefits, including vacation, health insurance, and retirement contributions. Please send a short letter of interest, a resume, and a writing sample to: Joseph Cirincione, Director, Non-Proliferation Project, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036, fax: 202-483-1840.

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Shanghai, People’s Republic of China


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