NAPSNet Daily Report 02 June, 1998

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

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

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1. Light-Water Reactor Project

The Associated Press (“NATIONS PUSH FOR N. KOREA REACTOR,” New York, 06/01/98) reported that the executive board of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) met Monday to try to narrow differences among the US, the ROK, and Japan on cost-sharing for light-water reactor construction in the DPRK. The board said that it was unlikely any major announcement would be made when the session ends Tuesday.

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2. Sanctions on DPRK

The New York Times (Nicholas D. Kristof, “SOUTH KOREA PRESIDENT URGES CLOSER TIES WITH NORTH,” Seoul, 06/02/98) and Reuters (“SOUTH KOREA’S PRES URGES EASING SANCTIONS-REPORTS,” New York, 06/02/98) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on Monday said that, when he makes a state visit to Washington next week, he will urge the US to end its economic sanctions against the DPRK. Kim stated, “I think this would be more effective in efforts to get North Korea to open up and liberalize.” Kim made clear that he preferred that the US lift sanctions, not just amend them, and that it do so without setting conditions. He added, “I would like to see improvement in relations between Japan and North Korea and in fact between the rest of the Western world and North Korea. I believe these improved relations will lead to changes in North Korea and to North Korea opening up.” He said that his government hopes to lift all restrictions on economic cooperation with the DPRK, arguing, “This benefits not only the North Korean economy but our economy as well.” He admitted that he was a bit “disappointed” by the lack of response from the DPRK to his overtures. However, he stated, “As we stick to this tolerance on our part, with such a flexible approach, then perhaps not in the near term but in the long run we’ll be able to see changes in North Korea’s attitude.” Stephen Bosworth, the US ambassador to the ROK, said that Kim’s upcoming trip to the US is “an opportunity for him and for us to publicly show support for his efforts to bring Korea out of this morass, to solidify the security relationship and to commend Kim Dae Jung for embracing democracy and making the tough choices to repair the economy.” In Washington, an anonymous official said Monday evening that had hinted at a softening in his stance to the DPRK in recent remarks. According to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, Kim’s policy has “drawn a mixed response from the North, but contributed to the recent staging of the first high- level official meeting between the two nations for four years.”

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3. US Arms Sales to Taiwan

The Los Angeles Times (“PENTAGON APPROVES SALE OF F/16 PODS,” Washington, 06/02/98) reported that the US Defense Department said Tuesday that it has informed Congress that it approves of the sale of 28 F/16 fighter jet navigation and targeting pods to Taiwan. The Department said in a statement, “The possible sale of this equipment and support will not affect the basic military balance in the region.” The statement said that the pods “will provide low altitude navigation and targeting capability.” Congress has 30 days to object to the sale if it wishes.

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4. PRC Naval Development

The Associated Press (“CHINA PLANNING AIRCRAFT CARRIER,” London, 06/02/98) reported that Jane’s Defense Weekly on Tuesday quoted senior Chinese naval sources as saying that the PRC’s plans to build an aircraft carrier were approved at last year’s 15th Communist Party Congress in Beijing. However, Jane’s added that the PRC appears to have moved the program from a 1996-2000 five-year plan to the 2001-2005 five-year plan. Getting the carrier sea-ready would take about 18 years in all. Jane’s also said that the PRC apparently has yet to secure funding for the project.

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5. PRC-US Summit

Reuters (“U.S. SECURITY ADVISER MEETS CHINA’S JIANG,” Beijing, 06/02/98) reported that the PRC’s Xinhua news agency said that US national security adviser Sandy Berger met PRC President Jiang Zemin Tuesday for talks on the upcoming US-PRC summit this month. The agency stated, “President Jiang conferred with Berger on Sino-U.S. relations and matters related to President Clinton’s upcoming state visit to China.” Berger earlier met PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and Vice-Premier Qian Qichen on Tuesday.

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6. PRC Alleged Weapons Aid to Pakistan

United Press International (“CHINA DENIES WEAPONS AID TO PAKISTAN,” Beijing, 06/02/98) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao denied that the PRC has aided Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. Zhu said that the PRC is a “responsible nation” with a serious commitment to non-proliferation. He added that the PRC has not “transferred missile or related technology or equipment” to Pakistan. Zhu also reiterated the PRC’s long-standing call for a nuclear-free world.

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7. Russian Ratification of START II

The Associated Press (“START II HEARINGS BEGIN NEXT WEEK IN RUSSIA,” Moscow, 06/02/98) reported that Russian Duma Deputy Speaker Vladimir Ryzhkov announced Tuesday that hearings on the START II nuclear reduction treaty will be moved up to June 9. However, Gennady Seleznyov, speaker of the Duma, warned that the closed-door discussions would be postponed if US President Bill Clinton keeps insisting that he will not visit Russia until the treaty is ratified.

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, JUNE 1, 1998,” 06/01/98) said that the US does not believe that the ratification of START II by the Russian Duma has been stymied. He stated, “We believe that as President Yeltsin and his team make the case for START II ratification, and if the Duma puts its national interest first, as we would expect all parliaments to do, START II will be ratified and we can move quickly on with negotiations and hopefully agreement on a START III package.”

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8. Nuclear Nonproliferation Meeting

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, JUNE 1, 1998,” 06/01/98) said that on June 4 in Geneva, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will join Foreign Ministers of the Security Council’s five permanent members to discuss the nuclear tests in South Asia. Rubin said that the immediate focus of the meeting will be to consider ways to reduce tensions between India and Pakistan. He added, “the international community is going to, we hope, start by reinforcing the goals of the global non-proliferation regime that have served the American people and the security of the world so well.” Rubin said that the long term goal of the meeting is to try to avoid a regional nuclear and missile arms race and to deal with the underlying political issues between India and Pakistan, including Kashmir. He added, “let’s all bear in mind that as bad as it is in the Subcontinent, as bad as it is in South Asia, as serious as the decisions by India and Pakistan were, in recent years the trend has been the other way [toward nonproliferation].” Rubin said that US sanctions have sent a “profound” message to other countries in the world who might be considering holding nuclear tests. However, he added, “the prospect of the sanctions overwhelmingly did not have the desired effect because of the overwhelming political pressure, at least in the case of Pakistan, that Prime Minister Sharif faced.” He emphasized that the Geneva meeting is “not an attempt to gather support from China, France, Russia and the UK for the draconian sanctions the United States has imposed.”

United Press International (“ATOMIC POWERS SEEK S. ASIA STRATEGY,” Washington, 06/01/98) and Reuters (“U.S. WILL NOT SEEK SANCTIONS AT NUKE MEETING,” Washington, 06/01/98) reported that US and European officials said that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are considering how to provide India and Pakistan with technologies and safeguard systems to prevent an atomic war. They added that, at the upcoming meeting in Geneva, the five powers will likely encourage India and Pakistan to establish a military hot line between Islamabad and New Delhi, to launch negotiations to end the territorial conflict over Kashmir, to not place nuclear warheads atop recently tested ballistic missiles, and to not conduct further detonations. They are also likely to call on India and Pakistan to sign international treaties that ban nuclear tests and to open atomic facilities to UN inspection. US and European officials also said that they want to be careful not to send mixed signals to the two nations that could be misinterpreted as Security Council acceptance of them as full-blown nuclear-weapons states. An anonymous senior US official stated, “We have to deal with this situation; there’s too much riding on it. But we can’t do it in a way that seems to endorse their concept of themselves as nuclear powers.” The one- day meeting in Geneva will be followed by a second one in London on June 12 of the foreign ministers of those five nations plus those of Japan and Italy. Pakistani Senator Akram Zaki, currently visiting the US, said international diplomatic action like the Geneva meeting was essential to settle disputes between India and Pakistan, “as we don’t trust each other.” He said that Pakistan wanted the international community to address the issue of proliferation in a way that did not discriminate against Pakistan and to tackle the underlying problems between the countries, including Kashmir.

The Los Angeles Times (“COUNTRIES WANT END TO NUKE TESTING,” Geneva, 06/02/98) reported that on Tuesday, forty-six countries, in an emergency meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, voted to demand that India and Pakistan immediately cease testing nuclear arms and join in global efforts at disarmament. The countries said in a joint statement that the tests “blatantly undermine” attempts to halt nuclear proliferation and threaten to undermine efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons. The statement said, “It is now crucial that India and Pakistan announce immediately a cessation to all further testing of these weapons, renounce their nuclear weapons programs and sign and ratify unconditionally the comprehensive test ban treaty.”

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9. Nuclear Arms Reductions

The Associated Press (Krishnan Guruswamy, “INDIA RESPONDS TO NUCLEAR POWERS,” New Delhi, 06/02/98) reported that Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Tuesday called on the five traditional nuclear powers to eliminate their own nuclear arsenals, rather than just criticizing India’s nuclear tests. Vajpayee noted that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had said there is need to rethink disarmament issues.

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, JUNE 1, 1998,” 06/01/98) said that the US rejects “categorically” the argument that the failure of the declared nuclear powers to proceed more quickly with nuclear disarmament led to India and Pakistan’s decision to hold nuclear tests. Rubin stated, “the nuclear arms race between the United States and Russia has been stopped, turned around, and there have been dramatic reductions in the numbers of nuclear weapons deployed, the number of delivery vehicles deployed.” He concluded, “So therefore, the speeding up of our disarmament process is not going to change the mind of India and Pakistan any more than sanctions changed their mind.”

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10. Regional Security Threats and Proliferation

The Los Angeles Times carried an opinion article (Muhammad Sahimi, “TO END TESTS, END REGIONAL THREATS,” 05/31/98) which said that the driving force behind nuclear proliferation is the threat, “perceived or real,” to the national security of the proliferating countries. The author argued, “If the U.S. and the world community want to control and stop this dangerous spiral, this issue must be addressed.” He added, “Security in all of these countries is a national problem that transcends the type of government that they have…. Therefore, the U.S. practice of blaming a particular type of regime in these countries … for its nuclear ambitions is meaningless, counterproductive and biased.” He called on the US to address regional security issues as a means to counter continued proliferation. He argued, “Nuclear disarmament makes sense only if it is comprehensive. One cannot ask Pakistan to give up nuclear arms if India does not agree to it.”

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11. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, JUNE 1, 1998,” 06/01/98) said that the eagerness of Pakistan and India to test the nuclear weapons that they had been working on demonstrates the importance of testing to developing a nuclear program. He added, “And so therefore, a ban on testing puts a powerful crimp in anybody’s nuclear style…. Therefore, if you want to prevent countries from going nuclear in any serious way, you want to have them commit not to test.” He added that US nonproliferation efforts would be strengthened if the Senate ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

The New York Times carried an opinion article (Sidney D. Drell, “REASONS TO RATIFY, NOT TO STALL,” Stanford, 06/02/98) which said that ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by the US Senate is “an essential response” to the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan. The author argued that the treaty’s international monitoring system used in combination with US own intelligence resources “provides the means to verify the test ban effectively.” He stated that, while US intelligence failed to provide “imminent warning” of India’s first three nuclear tests, the US was aware that the technical preparations had been made for testing. He added, “Furthermore, the global network of seismic sensors that will form the core of the treaty’s verification system did detect, locate and identify the main nuclear blast that day.” He also pointed out that the treaty would allow a country to request a short-notice, on-site inspection if it had evidence suggesting that a nuclear weapons test might have occurred. He argued that, while subkiloton tests might be difficult to detect, “very low yield tests are of questionable value in designing new nuclear weapons or confirming that a new design will work as intended.” He stated that “The test ban treaty … provides the legal framework for a long-term solution to the problem of nuclear testing in India and Pakistan.”

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Light-Water Reactor Project

With cost-sharing talks making progress, the ROK, Japan, and the US are likely to agree on the start of full-fledged construction works in August to build two light-water reactors in the DPRK, ROK officials said. The three countries on Monday began a two-day executive council meeting of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) in New York to discuss how to share financial burdens and other issues of mutual concern. “The current groundbreaking works in Kumho, North Korea, are expected to end in early August. The bottom line between South Korea, Japan and the United States is to continue the LWR construction works without a halt,” an ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry official said. Another official said that the recent nuclear tests by India and Pakistan helped change the atmosphere in the US Congress, which had opposed Clinton administration moves to finance the LWR project. So far, the US has taken charge of the provision of heavy oil to the DPRK as an alternative energy source in exchange for the DPRK’s freeze of nuclear activities. However, the three countries still have differences over how to exactly share the construction costs, which have shrunken from the originally-estimated sum of US$5.2 billion to around US$4 billion. So far, the ROK pledged to shoulder 70 percent of the total construction costs while Japan expressed its determination to pay US$1 billion. However, the US said that it can only offer around US$50 million, thus hampering an early conclusion of the burden-sharing talks. In addition, Japan and the ROK believe that the US should play a proper financial role to ensure the smooth implementation of the project because the LWR construction is one of the steps stipulated by the “Agreed Framework,” which was created through bilateral negotiations between the US and the DPRK. (Korea Times, “KEY KEDO MEMBERS TO AGREE ON FULL SCALE LWR CONSTRUCTION IN AUGUST,” 06/02/98)

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2. ROK Citizens in DPRK

The ROK government is drawing up a bill which will give financial support to ROK POWs and civilians who have make it back from the DPRK. The law would be the first of its kind, with the only related law being one that provides support to DPRK defectors. The bill, to be submitted to the ROK National Assembly in September, will cover comprehensive measures of support to ROK citizens and soldiers now in the DPRK, once they find a way to escape or return from there. The measure is aimed at helping the recipients get settled and earn a living, said one official. Details of the bill are still under consideration among related government ministries, but financial support and resettlement expenses have been guaranteed. Officials said the scope of compensation for the returnees will be much wider than those for DPRK defectors. The ROK Defense Ministry said that at least 1,900 ROK POWs from the Korean War are believed to be still alive in the DPRK. More than 19,300 ROK soldiers listed missing during and after the war were actually taken prisoner and were not repatriated by the DPRK, an official said. More than 7,000 civilians were forcibly taken to the DPRK during the war, and about 450 ROK citizens have been abducted to the DPRK since the war. Among those abducted after the truce were 407 fishermen, 12 passengers and crew members of a KAL aircraft, 20 crew members of a Navy patrol boat, a high school teacher, and a Christian preacher, said the ministry. (Korea Herald, “NEW BILL TO FINANCIALLY HELP ESCAPEES FROM NORTH,” 06/02/98)

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3. ROK-Canada Nuclear Cooperation

The ROK and Canada on Monday opened a three-day joint coordinating committee on nuclear energy to discuss ways to promote the two countries’ joint nuclear power plant projects in third countries and other issues of mutual concern, a Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry official said yesterday. Kim Kwang-dong, director general of the ministry’s International Economic Affairs Bureau, headed the ROK delegation, while the Canadian team was led by Ambassador to Seoul Michel Perrault. The officials exchanged opinions on their governments’ nuclear energy-related policies, recent international trends, their joint projects in third countries, nuclear non-proliferation, and nuclear safety and joint cooperation in world bodies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (Korea Times, “KOREA, CANADA OPEN NUKE COMMITTEE,” 06/02/98)

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Wade L. Huntley: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Shin Dong-bom: dongbom_shin@wisenet.co.kr
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Choi Chung-moon: cily@star.elim.co.kr
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu: akutsu@glocomnet.or.jp
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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