NAPSNet Daily Report 02 September, 1998

Recommended Citation

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

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

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1a. DPRK Missile Test: DPRK Statements

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA KNOCKS JAPAN MISSILE FLAP,” Seoul, 09/02/98) and Reuters (“N.KOREA BREAKS SILENCE OVER MISSILE FIRING,” Tokyo, 08/02/98) reported that the Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, a high-level organ of the DPRK’s ruling Workers’ Party, in a statement Wednesday criticized Japan for making a “fuss” over Monday’s missile test. The statement, carried by the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency, said, “We bitterly denounce Japan for making a fuss over the matter that belongs to our sovereignty while being unaware of its background. It is imprudent for Japan to say this or that, unaware of what the DPRK did, a missile test or anything else.” It added, “Japan’s behavior is ridiculous, indeed, in view of the fact that Japan is zealously developing long-distance vehicles and other up-to-date weapons and paving the way for overseas aggression.” It also said that is was unfair of Japan to single out the DPRK when “many countries around Japan possess or have developed missiles.” The statement also demanded that Japan compensate the DPRK for sufferings inflicted during its colonial rule of Korea.

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1b. DPRK Missile Test: Japanese Reaction

The Associated Press (Yuri Kageyama, “JAPAN ENDS FLIGHTS TO N. KOREA,” Tokyo, 09/02/98) and Reuters (Teruaki Ueno, “N. KOREA ENDS MISSILE SILENCE, JAPAN CANCELS FLIGHTS,” Tokyo, 09/02/98) reported that Japan on Wednesday banned all flights between Japan and the DPRK in protest over Monday’s missile test. Top government spokesman Hiromu Nonaka told reporters that nine flights scheduled to leave Nagoya in central Japan for the DPRK from now until the end of this year were all canceled. He added that 14 additional flights currently under discussion for the same period were also canceled. There are about 30 chartered flights a year between the two countries, all involving DPRK aircraft. Nonaka stated, “Further measures against North Korea are still open to debate, and we must cautiously consider various options, including whether it is legally possible to inspect or freeze financial transactions of institutions in Japan over this incident.” Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura told the Diet, “We will take measures that will not result in North Korea somehow benefiting from firing a missile, that enables North Korea to understand it will be to their disadvantage when it does something internationally unacceptable.”

The Associated Press (Yuri Kageyama, “JAPAN PROTESTS N. KOREAN MISSILE,” Tokyo, 09/01/98) reported that the Japanese government said Tuesday that Japan has no independent monitoring system to warn of missile launchings and is reliant on the US for such information. Meanwhile, outside the Defense Agency in Tokyo, right-wing sound trucks denounced the DPRK missile test, saying, “If the missile had landed on Japan, what a disaster it would have been!”

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1c. DPRK Missile Test: US Reaction

The United States Information Agency (Judy Aita, “CONGRESS WILL REASSESS NORTH KOREA AID, GILMAN SAYS,” New York, 09/02/98) reported that US Representative Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), chairman of the House International Relations Committee, said that the Congress would reassess US aid to the DPRK in the wake of Monday’s missile test. Gilman earlier had a scheduled appointment with senior DPRK negotiators canceled for the second time in a week. He stated, “If the missile test was a negotiating tactic, it surely backfired.” He added, “The test clearly damages the political atmosphere between our two nations and prospects for maintaining peace and stability in the region. How long will it be before this new missile finds its way around the world to some other rogue nation?” Gilman said that when Congress returns from vacation it would consider “withholding further funding until there is a successful negotiation and to show our dissatisfaction with the manner in which the North Koreans reacted to our attempt to resolve these problems.” Gilman said that he is not advocating that the US “walk away” from talks with the DPRK, but he added, “it is time for the Administration to reappraise our policy toward North Korea. It’s evident our current policies have been ineffective in engaging the North Korean machine and reducing military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.” He called for “an intensive round of consultations” with Japan and the ROK “about missile defense to counter the North Korean threat.” Gilman stated, “Food aid is already on the high seas and that food aid should continue to North Korea,” but he added that “talk of any new assistance should be suspended until we are certain that North Korea is going to become a responsible international actor.” He said he and Senator Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have “a hold on” appropriations for aid to the DPRK for the coming year as well as for additional emergency food aid for this year. He argued, “We supported food aid to North Korea in the past to save lives — that kind of assistance cannot continue without some basic reform in the North Korean economy.”

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1d. DPRK Missile Test: Russian Reaction

The Associated Press (Yuri Kageyama, “JAPAN ENDS FLIGHTS TO N. KOREA,” Tokyo, 09/02/98) reported that Russian officials said Wednesday that they had asked the DPRK for an explanation of its missile test. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin told the Interfax news agency, “It is our principled stance that we want a normal, neighborly relationship with North Korea.”

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1e. DPRK Missile Test: Israeli Reaction

Reuters (“ISRAEL SAYS N. KOREA TEST ‘DANGEROUS DEVELOPMENT’,” Beijing, 09/01/98) reported that Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai said on Wednesday that the DPRK’s test-firing of a ballistic missile was a “dangerous development” in light of its close ties with Iran and Syria. Mordechai, after a 90-minute meeting with PRC President Jiang Zemin, stated, “I think there are two dangers here — one that North Korea has this capability and the other that it has ties and relations with countries like Iran and Syria.”

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1f. DPRK Missile Test: Military Implications

The Associated Press (Susanne M. Schafer, “NKOREAN MISSILE SEEN AS STRATEGIC,” Washington, 09/01/98) (AP) reported that an anonymous senior US military official said Tuesday that the DPRK’s missile test demonstrates its ability to attack US military bases in Japan. He stated, “There’s no reason to believe it didn’t go exactly where they intended it to go.” The official, who works with US military forces in the ROK, said that the launch also confirms that the DPRK is continuing to develop missiles despite international pressure. He said that the DPRK does not appear to be readying another missile test. He argued that the DPRK’s leadership intended the test-firing as a show of power in advance of the expected ascension of Kim Jong-il to the presidency. He added that, despite such provocative actions as the missile test and a recent submarine infiltration of the ROK, some positive developments have occurred recently with the DPRK, including a recent series of talks between high-level military officers.

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1g. DPRK Missile Test: Commentary

The Los Angeles Times carried an opinion article by Bruce Cumings of the University of Chicago (“MISSILE LAUNCH IS A SHOT OVER U.S BOW,” 09/02/98) which said that the DPRK’s missile test was designed to gain international attention on the eve of the nation’s 50th anniversary. The author argued that the US “policy of nonrecognition and embargo has done little to help peace and stability.” He added, “In spite of many predictions, the regime has not collapsed.” He stated that “U.S. inertia has persisted in spite of far-reaching changes in the South’s policy toward the North in the past nine months, as part of President Kim Dae Jung’s ‘sunshine policy.'” Noting that “The North has sought better relations with the U.S. since 1992,” the author argued “As long as the American embargo persists, elder hard-liners in the North have an impregnable argument to use against younger people–many of them close to Kim Jong Il–who support a modest program of reform and opening.” He concluded, “The choice for Washington is whether it wants to spend a relatively small amount to build relations with Pyongyang and effectively buy out its missile program, or let threatening regimes in the Middle East buy them instead, and whether finally to recognize a regime that does not seem to be going away soon and lift the embargo, or to continue a 50-year policy that has not achieved its goals.”

The Los Angeles Times carried an opinion article by William J. Taylor Jr., Senior Vice President of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, (“THE BEST STRATEGY IS DO NOTHING,” 09/02/98) which said that the DPRK’s missile launch must be put into context of the DPRK’s ability to inflict severe damage on the ROK and Japan “in any given two-to-three-day period.” The author argued, “That context is the basis for North Korea’s well-documented traditional pattern of ‘brinksmanship’ diplomacy to wring concessions from the United States and its allies in South Korea and Japan. Brinkmanship has worked in the past and there is no reason for the leadership in Pyongyang to abandon it now. In fact, there is every reason to push harder, given the economic crises in South Korea and Japan and the leadership vacuum in America.” He stated, “The trouble is that, in the absence of strategy based on power politics by the U.S. and its allies, North Korea’s pattern of brinkmanship and periods of high tension will continue.” He called for the US to “Do nothing to either harm or help North Korea, while letting the Stalinist government in Pyongyang go down under the weight of its own economic mismanagement, horribly repressive political system and the forces of nature. Meanwhile, put a missile defense around Seoul and upgrade Japan’s missile defenses now to remove the primary factor allowing North Korean brinksmanship.”

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2. US-DPRK Talks

The New York Times (Barbara Crossette, “NORTH KOREA DRAWS ANGER WITH TEST OF A MISSILE,” United Nations, 09/02/98) and the Washington Post (“Sandra Sugawara, “JAPAN SUSPENDS TALKS AFTER N. KOREA TEST FIRING,” Tokyo, 09/02/98, A19) reported that US-DPRK talks were halted Tuesday when the DPRK delegation failed to show up for a meeting. Sources familiar with the talks expressed surprise at the move, saying that the two sides appeared to be close to agreement on such issues as inspection of DPRK nuclear research facilities. The DPRK delegates to the talks said that they were awaiting new instructions from their government. US officials said that the DPRK officials were surprised and embarrassed by the missile test on Monday.

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3. US-DPRK Agreed Framework

The United States Information Agency (Jane A. Morse, “DESPITE NORTH KOREAN MISSILE TESTS, US SUPPORTS AGREED FRAMEWORK,” Washington, 09/01/98) reported that an unnamed State Department official said during a background briefing on September 1 that, despite Monday’s missile test, the DPRK remains in compliance with the Agreed Framework. He stated, “We think KEDO is a good deal for the United States. It’s a good deal for the DPRK, and it’s a good deal for South Korea and Japan.” The official said that KEDO members had been set to finalize plans to share costs for the light water reactor project but postponed these decisions in order to weigh the security ramifications of the missile launch. He said, “The KEDO members will remain in consultation to determine an appropriate time to finalize any agreement.” He added, “no member government has withdrawn its support for the LWR (light water reactor) project. We simply halted finalization of the burdensharing agreement.” He said that the US believes “it’s important to go forward with the Agreed Framework … just as it’s important to hold the North Koreans to the commitments they’ve made within the Agreed Framework.”

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4. Japanese Theater Missile Defense

The Christian Science Monitor (Cameron W. Barr, “MISSILE TEST REMINDS JAPANESE OF THEIR VULNERABILITY,” 09/02/98) reported that Japanese analysts said that the DPRK’s missile test could give momentum to the development of a Theater Missile Defense (TMD) system. Akira Kato, a defense specialist at Obirin University in Tokyo, stated, “The North Korean testing will create a favorable wind for the pro-TMD thinkers in the Defense Agency.” He added, however, that he remains skeptical that the project will ever work as envisioned. He argued that regardless, “Japan should definitely go ahead with the TMD project.” He also said that the project would have the added benefit “of keeping Japan’s defense industry going.” A senior government official said that the government’s delay in budgeting for TMD development is due to the need for continued study of US proposals for Japan’s participation.

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5. US Theater Missile Defense

Reuters (Charles Aldinger, “U.S. MISSILE DEFENSE COST WILL BE ‘HUGE’ – GENERAL,” Washington, 09/02/98) and Dow Jones Newswires (Thomas E. Ricks, “PENTAGON MAY DISCARD INVENTORY OF TROUBLED THAAD MISSILES,” Washington, 09/02/98) reported that US Air Force Lieutenant General Lester Lyles, head of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, said Wednesday that the cost of developing a missile defense system will be enormous. Lyles said that costs were growing and technical troubles could force the US to stop testing its Theater High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system after five successive failures. He stressed that he was not asking for more money for anti-missile development, but noted that the US military is operating within tight budgets even as many in Congress are pressing for development of US national missile defense. He added that the military expects the results of studies this month on whether to conduct a new test of the Theater High-Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) later in the year. He predicted that there was a better-than-even chance that such a test would succeed, although he conceded that others in the Defense Department disagreed. He warned that a further failure could result in discarding the current inventory and allowing Lockheed-Martin or Raytheon Co. to develop a new THAAD missile, a move that could delay the program for up to two years.

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6. US-Russian Summit Agreements

The White House issued a fact sheet (“THE EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION ON MISSILE LAUNCHES,” 09/02/98) on the agreement signed between the US and Russia on Wednesday for the exchange of information on missile launches and early warning. The sheet said that the agreement “will significantly reduce the danger that ballistic missiles could be launched inadvertently on the basis of false warning of attack. It will also promote increased mutual confidence in the capabilities of the ballistic missile early warning systems of both sides.” Under the agreement, “The US and Russia will develop arrangements for providing each other with continuous information on the launches of strategic and theater ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles detected by their respective early warning systems. Missile launch information could be sent to each side’s national early warning centers, and possibly to a center operated by US and Russian personnel working together, side-by-side. The US and Russia will also work towards establishing a multilateral ballistic missile and space launch vehicle pre-launch notification regime in which other states would be invited to participate.”

The White House issued a fact sheet (“PLUTONIUM DISPOSITION,” Moscow, 09/02/98) on the agreement signed Wednesday between US President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin on the disposition of plutonium from decommissioned nuclear arms. The sheet stated, “The US and Russia each pledged to remove from their weapons programs some 50 metric tons of plutonium each.” It added, “The Presidents agreed on principles to guide implementation of this conversion by building industrial-scale facilities in both countries. The disposition of the plutonium will be carried out either by consuming the plutonium as fuel in existing civil nuclear reactors or through mixing the plutonium with high-level radioactive waste and storing it in a long-term spent fuel repository. Appropriate transparency and international verification measures will apply to this program, as will stringent standards of safety, environmental protection, and material protection, control and accounting.” It stated, “US-Russian cooperation on plutonium disposition will be carried out in close cooperation and coordination with parallel efforts involving Russia and other G-8 countries. The Presidents directed their experts to initiate negotiations to transform these agreed principles into bilateral agreement that will lay out the concrete steps for plutonium disposition and govern their future cooperation in this area. President Clinton and President Yeltsin agreed to begin negotiations for this bilateral agreement promptly, with the intention of completing the agreement by the end of this year.”

The White House issued a fact sheet (“U.S.-RUSSIAN EXPORT CONTROL COOPERATION,” Moscow, 09/02/98) on the agreement Wednesday between US President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin to expand cooperation on export controls to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The sheet stated, “The two presidents agreed to regularize and develop a series of interagency subgroups to enhance export control cooperation in seven principal areas: missile technology, nuclear weapons and material, implementation of so- called ‘catch-all’ legislation, conventional arms transfers, law enforcement, customs and licensing. The subgroups will begin meeting this month to share information, experience and expertise on export control issues and practices.” It added, “To facilitate rapid and reliable means of communication when faced with fast-breaking cases of export control concern, the United States and Russia have agreed to establish a protected communications capability channel between senior officials of both countries. This communications capability channel ensures the immediate and confidential exchange of information on a broad range of nonproliferation matters.”

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7. PRC Economic Aid to Russia

The Wall Street Journal (Ian Johnson, “CHINA, SEEKING IMAGE OF STABILITY, TO GIVE $540 MILLION TO AID RUSSIA,” Beijing, 09/02/98) reported that a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday that the PRC would give US$540 million to aid Russia. He said that the aid would be channeled through the International Monetary Fund. Fred Hu, China economist at Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C. in Hong Kong, stated, “The image [the PRC] want to project is of a government that is proactive and forceful. The contrast they have in mind is with Japan, where political paralysis has left the government unable to take action.”

II. Republic of Korea

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1. ROK Response to DPRK Missile Test

The ROK Ministry of National Defense (MOND) concluded Tuesday that the DPRK test of its Taepodong-1 missile was successful. MOND is preparing multilateral measures to deal with the test, including close cooperation with the US and Japan. A MOND official said it would take a month for a complete analysis of the test but said the range of the missile’s flight indicates initial success. ROK defense minister Chun Yong-taek flew to Tokyo Tuesday and met his Japanese counterpart, Fukushiro Nukaga, for discussions on the test. The Japanese government convened an emergency National Security Council meeting headed by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who said that the incident was extremely serious and ordered the cabinet to strengthen intelligence gathering and to take sanction measures, including suspending food assistance. Japan also decided to propose an international meeting to limit mid-range missiles at the UN session commencing at the end of the month. Additionally, it is to seek sanctions on the DPRK through international organizations. Foreign minister Masahika Komura said that there had been many attempts to normalize relations with the DPRK, but the situation is now deteriorating, and he sees difficulty in supplying aid in the future. The US government, at a high-level meeting in New York, expressed strong concerns and called for an early resumption to missile talks on freezing the development of long-range missiles. (Chosun Ilbo, “GOVERNMENT STUDIES MEASURES ON NK TEST,” 09/02/98)

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2. Japanese Response to DPRK Missile Test

The Japanese government decided Wednesday to suspend all direct flights between Japan and the DPRK if the DPRK does not show any noticeable change in its attitude and fails to acknowledge any wrongdoing in conducting Monday’s missile test over Japan. Flights between Japan and the DPRK began in 1982, peaking at about 80 flights annually connecting Japan’s Niigata and Nagoya Airports to Pyongyang. Last year, 21 passenger flights and 8 cargo flights departed the DPRK for Japan. The Japanese government and its ruling party are known to be considering sanctions against DPRK citizens residing in Japan by freezing assets as well as banning the remittance of funds from Japan to the DPRK. (Chosun Ilbo, “JAPAN CONSIDERS SANCTIONS AGAINST NK,” 09/02/98)

Japan’s government vowed Wednesday to bolster defense technology, possibly with a spy satellite. “We have been given a new sense of urgency,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka told a news conference. He added, “We felt powerless as we strove for our security based only on occasional information provided to us.” He said that the DPRK missile test “made us realize the fear of not being able to obtain security information from our own satellite.” The DPRK’s unannounced missile test triggered alarm Monday in Japan after evading its surveillance systems. The headquarters of US forces in Japan tipped off Japanese defense authorities about the launch. The US monitored the firing on a spy satellite, according to a Japanese report. Nonaka said that Japan would press forward with consideration of launching its own surveillance satellite and bolstering cooperation with the US-led development of theater and ballistic missile defense. (Korea Times, “NK MISSILE GOADS JAPAN INTO DEFENSE ACTION,” 09/02/98)

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3. US Response to DPRK Missile Test

An influential US congressman on Tuesday threatened to cut off new food aid to the DPRK after the DPRK fired a missile across Japan. Benjamin Gilman, chairman of the House of Representatives’ International Relations Committee, issued the threat after DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye- gwan failed to show up for a meeting at the US mission to the UN. Though food aid should continue to the famine-threatened DPRK, “talks of any new assistance should be suspended until we are certain that the DPRK is going to become a responsible international actor,” Gilman said. He described the latest developments as “provocative acts” by the DPRK. “If it is a negotiation tactic it surely backfired,” he said about the missile test. (Korea Times, “US THREAT TO NORTH KOREAN FOOD AID AFTER MISSILE FIRING,” 09/02/98)

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

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

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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