NAPSNet Daily Report 03 May, 2001

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 03 May, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 03, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-03-may-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. DPRK Missile Freeze
2. EU Visit to DPRK
3. Alleged Trip to Japan of Kim Jong-il’s Son
4. ROK, Japan Reactions to US Missile Defense
5. Japanese Constitutional Revision
6. US-PRC Military Exchanges
II. Republic of Korea 1. EU Delegation in DPRK
2. DPRK-EU Relations
3. ROK View of US Missile Defense
III. Discussion 1. DPRK Missile Freeze

I. United States

1. DPRK Missile Freeze

Washington Post (Doug Struck, “N. KOREA EXTENDS MISSILE TEST MORATORIUM,” Seoul, 5/3/01) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il told European officials on Thursday that the DPRK will launch no ballistic missiles until at least 2003. Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said after their meeting that Kim said he would “wait and see” if the Bush administration wants to resume progress toward better relations before resuming the missile tests. According to Persson, Kim also said that his pending visit to the ROK will similarly depend on the next move by Bush. Persson said, “We have a clear message that Kim Jong Il is committed to a second summit.” However, he quoted the DPRK leader as saying he first wanted “to see what the [Bush] policy review ended up with.” ROK Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo acknowledged Thursday, “South-North relations are at a standstill. We are waiting for the early conclusion of the U.S. government policy review toward North Korea. Until that is done, the uncertainty overhanging this issue will not be cleared. On our part, we are trying, but North Korea is waiting for the end of the policy review. One cannot go alone. We hope when [America] concludes its policy review, it will resume negotiations” with the DPRK. Han said, “We welcome [the EU] visit. The EU has been trying to encourage North Korea to be a responsible member of the international community. They know they are not the major players in the peace effort in this part of the world. Their role will be complementary.” Persson said that the EU-DPRK dialogue “must not be seen as something that can replace the American dialogue. Both are needed.”

2. EU Visit to DPRK

Reuters (Paul Eckert, “EU ENVOY HAILS TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA’S KIM,” Pyongyang, 5/3/01) reported that Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said that an EU delegation held successful discussions with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il on Thursday in an effort to maintain diplomatic momentum on the Korean peninsula. Persson, European Union (EU) foreign policy and security chief Javier Solana, and Commissioner for External Affairs Chris Patten joined Kim and DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju for substantive talks at Paekhuawon Guesthouse. Discussions began at 9:00 AM local time and continued over an EU lunch banquet for Kim. Persson opened the banquet with a toast to the “successful discussions.” After the toast, DPRK parliament chief Kim Young-nam stated, “We believe it was good judgment, a good decision for the European Union to normalize relations with our country and to improve relations with our country. It is also in the interest of our country and the European Union.” The EU team was due to fly to the ROK on Thursday evening and hold talks on Friday with ROK President Kim Dae-jung. Regarding food aid to the DPRK, Patten said the EU had provided around 280 million euros (US$248.7 million) in aid to the DPRK over the past five years. He said that the EU would press the DPRK to allow aid workers better access and more thorough monitoring of food distribution.

3. Alleged Trip to Japan of Kim Jong-il’s Son

Reuters (Teruaki Ueno, “SUSPECTED SON OF N. KOREA LEADER TO BE SENT TO CHINA,” Tokyo, 05/03/01) reported that a Japanese government source said that the suspected eldest son of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il will be expelled to the PRC on Friday after he was caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport from the Dominican Republic. The source said that the man was “highly likely” to be Kim Jong-nam. The source added that he would be flown to either Beijing or Shanghai after the PRC had agreed to accept him and the two women and four-year-old boy accompanying him. The source said that the group would be expelled from the country without any formal recognition of his identity to avoid a diplomatic scandal over his attempt to enter Japan on Tuesday. Japanese media had said that when stopped by investigators, the man identified himself as Kim Jong-nam and said that he wanted to go to Disneyland. The group already had tickets to leave on May 7 for Beijing, according to Japan’s Kyodo News Agency. Various unnamed reports said that Kim has studied in Japan and has traveled there and to other countries frequently, often with forged passports. Koh Yu-hwan, an expert on the DPRK at the ROK’s Dongguk University, said that Kim Jong-nam accompanied his father to the PRC in January. Koh stated, “He is known to be very interested in the Internet and hi-tech industry, as well as the latest trends in advanced countries.”

4. ROK, Japan Reactions to US Missile Defense

The Washington Post (Doug Struck, “ASIAN ALLIES SEE HAZARDS AHEAD BUSH PLAN RAISES SENSITIVE DEFENSE ISSUES FOR JAPAN, S. KOREA,” Seoul, 5/3/01) reported that according to political and military analysts in the ROK, US President George W. Bush’s missile defense plan risks undermining peace initiatives on the Korean peninsula and embroiling Japan in a debate over its military role. While Japan and the ROK reacted with official diplomatic politeness to Bush’s speech proposing a broad new military system, experts in both countries said that Bush’s proposal raises alarms on sensitive issues and thrusts them unwillingly into a big-power dispute between the US and the PRC. Jang Sung-min, an ROK lawmaker predicted, “This will begin a new cold war in northeast Asia.” The PRC and the DPRK were officially silent about Bush’s speech. Japan said that it may have to raise its concerns with the US. Kazuhisa Ogawa, a military analyst in Japan, said, “If Japan takes part in this proposed system, that means Japan is taking part in the United States’ nuclear strategies. That would mean Japan would violate our own national principles and our own non-nuclear policy.” Seiji Maehara, a Japanese lawmaker who was surprised by the Bush speech as he led a delegation of opposition Japanese legislators to Washington to lobby on the issue, said, “For now, it’s important to cooperate with our ally. But gradually, when it comes to the deployment of the system, Japan has reservations.” Maehara noted that the missile defense plan is “very costly.” He said, “Secondly, there is a diplomatic problem; we want to keep good relations with our neighbors. And thirdly, this arguably is part of a military expansion, which may be contrary to public opinion.” Han Yong-sup, an analyst at the National Defense College in the ROK said, “There’s no advantage to it.” He said that US pressure on the ROK to participate in the system over PRC objections “will put South Korea in a difficult situation. In 1999, we made a clear statement we are not participating. This would mean a reversal of our policy.”

5. Japanese Constitutional Revision

The Associated Press (Chikako Mogi, “JAPAN SEEKS CHANGE IN CONSTITUTION,” Tokyo, 05/03/01) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has proposed amending the Japanese constitution for the first time to allow the prime minister to be chosen by direct popular vote rather than by the Diet. He also hinted at changing Article 9, under which Japan renounces war as a means of settling disputes and renounces any offensive military capability. Takako Doi, head of the opposition Social Democrats, told a rally of 5,000 that changes could be used to revive the militarism that led Japan into World War II. Doi stated, “We should not be fooled. Once revision is made, there is no guarantee that reckless actions would not follow.” However, opposition Democratic Party member Satoshi Shima stated, “The military’s role in the global arena is changing.” He cited the example of Germany’s increased participation in European regional military affairs. The Asahi newspaper published a poll on Wednesday in which 74 percent of the 2,069 people surveyed said they saw no reason to revise the pacifist provision. About 61 percent said the military’s existence was constitutional, and 66 percent said the Self-Defense Forces should keep its current strength, while 12 percent who favored a stronger military.

6. US-PRC Military Exchanges

The Washington Post (Thomas E. Ricks, “U.S. TO LIMIT MILITARY TIES WITH CHINA PENTAGON SUSPENSION IS ANNOUNCED, THEN RECANTED,” 5/3/01), The Associated Press (Robert Burns, “PENTAGON CORRECTS CHINA STATEMENT,” Washington, 5/3/01), The Washington Times (Rowan Scarborough, “RUMSFELD TO REVIEW CHINA LINKS,” 5/3/01), and Reuters (“WHITE HOUSE STEPPED IN TO CORRECT RUMSFELD ORDER,” Washington, 5/3/01) reported that on Wednesday the US Defense Department retracted an earlier statement that it was suspending all contacts between the US and PRC militaries. Instead of a complete suspension, it said, all contacts between the US and PRC militaries would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. US officials said that the initial memorandum, written by Christopher Williams, an aide to US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, had misrepresented the secretary’s intentions. Admiral Craig Quigley, the US Defense Department spokesman, called it an “honest misinterpretation by a member of” Rumsfeld’s staff. However, others in government said that some officials outside the Defense Department had been informed about the planned suspension earlier in the week. Quigley on Wednesday characterized Rumsfeld’s closer scrutiny of military exchanges as “a more cautious approach.” Quigley said that in the past, an entire year’s worth of visits between the militaries of the two nations would be examined and approved in advance; but now each visit will be looked at individually.

II. Republic of Korea

1. EU Delegation in DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Hee-sung, “PERSSON FINALLY MEETS NORTH KOREAN LEADER,” Seoul, 05/03/01) reported that the CNN World News reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il met with Swedish Prime Minister Persson in Baekhwawon Guest House. The two figures shared opinions of mutual interest that covered wide range of subjects from that of bilateral relations to matters that concern the overall situation in Northeast Asia. Persson reportedly stressed to Kim the need to resolve inter- Korean issues through peaceful means, including a dialogue with US, Kim’s state visit to Seoul, and upholding provisions in inter-Korean Joint Declaration.

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “EU DELEGATION NOT RECEIVED BY ‘DEAR LEADER’ AT AIRPORT,” Pyongyang, 05/03/01) and Joongang Ilbo (John Leicester, “N. KOREA FLIGHT TO HIDDEN WORLD,” Pyongyang, 05/03/01) reported that the European Union (EU) delegation led by Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson on Wednesday was greeted not by Kim Jong-il but by Kim Yong-nam, the DPRK’s ceremonial head of state, at Sunan Airport in Pyongyang. Besides a group of ranking officials, the visiting delegation was greeted by hundreds of well-wishers clad in traditional Korean clothes who waved pink floral arrangements and repeatedly chanted “Welcome” in Korean. Also waiting to welcome the delegation were an honor guard and a military band, which played three songs, including the anthem of the EU.

2. DPRK-EU Relations

Joongang Ilbo (Hisane Masaki, “EU LIKELY TO NORMALIZE TIES WITH NORTH KOREA SOON,” Seoul, 05/03/01) reported that the European Union (EU) is likely to announce its normalization of ties with the DPRK during Assembly talks held in Brussels, Belgium slated to be held from May 14- 15. The EU state official in Seoul stated, “Even France and Ireland which have yet to forge ties with the North agreed passively to the decision.” Prior to the announcement, the foreign ministers of 15- member EU nations would gather in Sweden to fully conclude the issue of normalization during talks from May 5-6. The EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) stipulates that the issue must win the consent of all member nations.

3. ROK View of US Missile Defense

The Korea Herald (Hwang Jang-jin, “SEOUL CAUTIOUS OVER U.S. MISSILE DEFENSE,” Seoul, 05/03/01) and Chosun Ilbo (“KIM EXPRESSES UNDERSTANDING ON BUSH’S MD POLICY,” Seoul, 05/02/01) reported that the ROK government and lawmakers remained cautious in their response to the US Government’s plans to build a new missile defense system, while welcoming George Bush’s pledge to consult closely with its allies. President Kim Dae- jung praised the US for its commitment to cooperate in the missile defense issue during a 15-minute phone conversation with Bush on Wednesday morning, Chong Wa Dae officials said. Bush phoned Kim to brief the ROK leader on his position concerning the new missile shield plan, which he says would protect the US and its allies from attack from “rogue nations” or accidental launches of nuclear warheads. Kim was quoted as saying that he understands that Bush is exerting leadership in forging a new shield against threats to international security. “We appreciate that the U.S. government is consulting closely with allies and expect that the new missile defense plan will proceed in a way that promotes international peace and stability,” Chong Wa Dae spokesman Park quoted Kim as saying. Park said that Kim urged Bush to resume talks with the DPRK as early as possible after Washington completes its review of policy toward the DPRK. Bush did not comment about whether the US is willing to reopen dialogue with the DPRK. He just replied that his government would wrap up its policy review in cooperation with the ROK as soon as possible.

III. Discussion

1. DPRK Missile Freeze

Brent Choi, editor/researcher of the Joongang Daily, contributed the following commentary (“WHY YEAR 2003 TO FREEZE MISSILES?”).

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il revealed that the North will continue with the suspension of its test firing of ballistic missile till the year 2003 during his talks with EU delegation on Thursday May 3. Beneath his remark lies the North’s attempt to make a breakthrough in its relations with U.S. In other words, he has just challenged US President Bush to make a choice between a dialogue and missile launch.

And what about the year 2003? According to the Geneva Agreement made back in October 1994, that’s the year the United States would deliver the North the second-stage light water reactor. Not any more. Due to various complications that have arisen for the past few years–North Korean submarine’s sneaking up on South Korean shore for example–and the rising price of heavy oil, it is estimated North would have to wait till year 2007 for the completion of the first stage reactor.

Therefore, year 2003 is an ultimatum from Pyongyang to Washington that notifies that the North might do something radical if the U.S. continues to shun it till that particular year. Such ‘radical efforts’ could include undoing all the existing peace efforts of the two nations, including nullifying of Geneva Agreement.

Fortunately this latest remark has put more weight on opening dialogue than fist fighting. The North has said that it would respond with faith if the U.S. abandons its hostility in DPRK-US conference held back in Berlin, September 1999. In accordance, the North has kept up with freezing its missiles. Such effort was again reflected in the North’s adopting of DPRK-US Communique when Jo Myong-rok, the first deputy chairman of the National Defense Commission, visited the U.S. in October last year. In the view of this, the Chairman has provided the best possible benefit to the Bush administration, all to re-open the bilateral dialogue.

Here’s the real message: “Come up and talk to us if you wish to continue freeze the missile program.” Who would have guessed–an invitation on the other side of a worrisome ultimatum?

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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Gee Gee Wong: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Robert Brown: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Kim Hee-sun: khs688@hotmail.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu: akutsu@glocomnet.or.jp
Tokyo, Japan

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

Yunxia Cao: yule111@sina.com
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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

John McKay: John.McKay@adm.monash.edu.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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