NAPSNet Daily Report 03 November, 1998

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 03 November, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, November 03, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-03-november-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Russian Federation

I. United States

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1. Tumen River Treaty

The Associated Press (“RUSSIA, CHINA, N. KOREA SIGN PACT,” Moscow, 11/03/98) reported that Russia’s Interfax news agency said Tuesday that Russia, the PRC, and the DPRK have signed an agreement that will partly settle border disputes along the Tumen River. The agreement, which clarifies a section of border between Russia and the PRC near the river, was the result of six rounds of talks between the three sides. Agreements on other segments along the river, shared by Russia and the DPRK, will be signed soon. Genrikh Kireyev, head of the Russian delegation to the talks, said Tuesday, “The agreement is of vital importance,” as it would lead to greater stability in the region and cut down on misunderstandings.

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2. ROK Student Movement

The Associated Press (“MILITANT S. KOREAN STUDENT ARRESTED,” Seoul, 11/03/98) reported that Hwang Son, a senior at Seoul’s Duksong Women’s University, was arrested on Tuesday at Panmunjom by ROK intelligence agents after returning home from an illegal visit to the DPRK. Hwang faced charges of violating the ROK’s national security law. The ROK Agency for National Security Planning did not allow the ROK news media to cover Hwang’s return. The DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency said that DPRK officials “exchanged warm farewells with Hwang and hugged her” before she crossed the border. It added that tens of thousands of people turned out in Pyongyang to see Hwang off. Hwang visited the DPRK in August along with a male student leader to promote national unification. It was not known whether or when the male student would return home.

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3. PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Associated Press (“TAIWAN CALLS FOR CLOSER CHINA TIES,” Taipei, 11/02/98) reported that Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui on Monday called for closer ties with the PRC. Lee stated, “We’ll keep questing for mutual trust and increase friendly interaction.” Following Lee’s remark, Taiwan Vice Foreign Minister David Lee stated, “In future, our government will continue high-level visits to exchange views with foreign leaders and high officials raising our international visibility and combating China’s plot to isolate us.”

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4. Taiwanese Theater Missile Defense

The Associated Press (“TAIWAN CHIEF OF STAFF DISCUSSES MISSILE SYSTEM WITH COHEN,” Taipei, 11/03/98) reported that the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said Tuesday that Taiwan’s Chief of the General Staff Tang Fei discussed missile defense and other security issues in talks with US Defense Secretary William Cohen in Washington from October 17 to 31. Ministry spokesman General Kung Fan-ding said that US officials discussed with Tang factors involved in including Taiwan in the Theater Missile Defense. Kung did not say whether the discussions resulted in any conclusions. He added that the two sides also discussed “issues of concern to U.S. and Taiwanese defense,” and that US officials reiterated their commitment to the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act. Kung said that other officials at the meetings included Kurt Campbell, deputy assistant defense secretary for the Asia-Pacific region, and General Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said that news of Tang’s visit was suppressed to prevent protests from the PRC.

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5. PRC Laser Development

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “CHINESE ARMY IS BUILDING LASER WEAPONS,” 11/03/98) reported that a US Defense Department report said that the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is building lasers to destroy satellites and already has weapons capable of damaging sensors on space-based reconnaissance and intelligence systems. The report said that the PLA has acquired a variety of technologies “that could be used to develop an anti-satellite weapon.” The report, which was mandated under a provision of last year’s defense bill, was released recently by the US House of Representatives National Security Committee. It stated, “China already may possess the capability to damage, under specific conditions, optical sensors on satellites that are very vulnerable to lasers. Given China’s current level of interest in laser technology, it is reasonable to assume that Beijing would develop a weapon that could destroy satellites in the future.” US intelligence officials said the systems most vulnerable to laser attack are satellites run by the National Reconnaissance Office, which takes photographs from space, and the National Security Agency, which intercepts communications. Richard Fisher, a defense specialist with the Heritage Foundation, said that the disclosure “is an extremely important revelation.” He said that the report shows that the PRC is preparing its forces to wage not only a regional conflict but a 21st-century high-tech war. The report also said that the PLA is using US Global Positioning Satellite and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (Glonass) in developing advanced weapons and may use these satellites “to improve the accuracy of its missiles.”

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6. Russian Ratification of START II

The Associated Press (“SENIOR RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT OFFICIAL WARNS GOVT OVER START-II,” Moscow, 11/03/98) reported that Viktor Ilyukhin, chairman of the Russian Duma’s Security Commission, said Tuesday that the Duma will not ratify the START-II nuclear treaty unless the government promises to build a new generation of nuclear missiles. Ilyukhin said that the government must guarantee it will replace the RS-18 and RS-20 with the new Topol-M within two years.

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7. US-Russian Nuclear Cooperation

The Washington Post (Walter Pincus, “$525 MILLION FOR RUSSIAN NONPROLIFERATION DEALS,” 11/01/98, A12) reported that the year-end spending bill approved by the US Congress includes US$525 million to support two nonproliferation programs designed to reduce Russian stocks of plutonium and highly enriched uranium taken from the dismantling of nuclear weapons. US$200 million is designed to help implement an agreement reached last July to reduce Russian and US plutonium stocks by 50 tons. The remaining US$325 million is to pay for the US purchase of natural uranium reprocessed from the highly enriched uranium taken from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons. The funding is contingent, however, on Russia arranging with a consortium of French, Canadian, and German companies to buy the reprocessed uranium output for the following 10 years.

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8. Book on Russian Nuclear Forces

Reuters (Martin Nesirky, “SCHOLARS PUSH ENVELOPE WITH NEW BOOK ON STRATEGIC FORCES, Moscow, 11/3/98) reported that a group of Russian academics on Tuesday published a book entitled, “Russia’s Strategic Nuclear Forces,” which provides detailed information on the country’s nuclear arsenal. Pavel Podvig, the editor and one of the seven authors, stated, “We made a special effort to ensure the information we published did not contain any secret details. We took a long time to check everything very carefully.” Podvig noted that none of the authors had secrets security clearance. Podvig said that two US charitable organizations–the W. Alton Jones Foundation and the Ploughshares Fund– had financed the book but not interfered in the authors’ work. Another of the new book’s authors, Boris Zhelezov said that the book had been completed a year and a half ago but had then gone through the difficult process of being vetted, even though all the information was gleaned from public sources. He stated, “It tests the limits of what it is possible to publish.”

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Hyundai DPRK Projects

JoongAng Ilbo (“PRESIDENT KIM URGES NO MISTAKES WITH THE DPRK PROJECTS,” Seoul, 11/03/98) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung urged at the State Council (cabinet meeting) on November 3, “The Ministry of Unification should never make any mistakes in dealing with the DPRK projects which will be mainly carried out by Hyundai Group.” President Kim stressed, “Even if the civil sector makes a mistake, the ultimate responsibility lies with the government. In the relationship with the DPRK, avoiding even one mistake is more important than achieving five successes.” Kim said, “The economic cooperation between the ROK and the DPRK has just begun, and it is rare and very important that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il himself engaged in this cooperation. But this should be carefully carried out without any illusions or too many expectations to promote both DPRK and ROK interests.” He also pointed out that the press has somewhat exaggerated the results of Chung Ju-yung’s recent visit to the DPRK. He added, “It is still unclear whether the proposed oil production in the DPRK is economically viable or not, so I gave some advice to Mr. Chung yesterday to take good care.” A government source said that the government would not allow the oil development project because of the slim possibilities of commercial success.

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2. Separated Korean Families

Korea Herald (“GOVERNMENT TO DEFRAY COSTS OF SEARCH FOR RELATIVES IN DPRK,” Seoul, 11/03/98) reported that the ROK government plans to underwrite some of the costs incurred in confirming the whereabouts of ROK’s family members in the DPRK. “The government is trying to do so because it is a matter to be desired,” an official at the Ministry of Unification said Monday. But the official said beneficiaries would be limited to those aged 60 years or older among the so-called “first- generation” separated families. “First generation” refers to those who were born in the DPRK and have their spouse or other relatives still there. They number some 1.25 million. Confirmation of whether or not a family member in the DPRK is still alive has been a key demand of families in the ROK, but the DPRK has always refused to make such confirmations. Postal services and telephone links between the ROK and the DPRK have been banned since the division of the two Koreas in 1945. Some divided families in the ROK, however, have taken advantage of private agencies, based mainly in the PRC, which can confirm the whereabouts of the separated family member. The price of this service is about 400,000 won per case. The Unification Ministry is planning to increase its budget allocation for exchanges of separated families from 120 million won to about 300 million won next year to support the effort. The ministry is also considering tapping into the inter-Korean cooperation fund if the budget fails to meet the demand. The fund, which was created by the government in 1991 with the aim of helping inter- Korean exchanges and cooperation, amounts to about 350 billion won.

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3. UN Censure of DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (“UN CENSURES DPRK FOR NUCLEAR ACTIVITES,” Seoul, 11/03/98) reported that the UN General Assembly passed a resolution Tuesday by a vote of 113 to 1 with 8 abstentions, expressing its deep concern over the DPRK’s repeated violations of the nuclear non-proliferation agreement of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The UN urged the DPRK, which cast the only vote against the resolution, to live up to its obligations under the treaty.

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4. ROK Spy Satellite

Chosun Ilbo (“ADD TO DEVELOP SPY SATELLITE,” Seoul, 11/03/98) reported that it was disclosed Tuesday that the Agency for Defense Development is working on the development of a highly specialized surveillance satellite by the year 2005. Agency director Bae Moon-han admitted the existence of the project during questioning before the National Defense Committee (NDC) of the National Assembly. This is the first time an ROK government official has openly discussed the development of a surveillance satellite, and is especially noteworthy in light of the DPRK’s attempt to launch a satellite and Japan’s admission that it too is developing similar technology. According to Bae, who emphasized at length that the satellite technology will also be able to be used in the launching of ROK made satellites for non-military use as well, the surveillance satellite currently being developed will be capable of monitoring DPRK military activity from 680 kilometers in orbit and will have a lifespan of five years.

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5. The Controversial Views of Professor Choi

Chosun Ilbo (“PROGRESSIVE GROUPS ATTACK CHOSUN ILBO,” Seoul, 11/03/98) reported that thirty members of the People’s Victory 21 Committee for a New Progressive Party, led by former presidential candidate Kwon Young- kil, held a demonstration in front of the Chosun Ilbo building in Seoul on Tuesday in response to the “Editor’s Message” in the November edition of The Monthly Chosun. Demonstrators carried placards demanding that the Chosun Ilbo apologize for allegedly libeling progressive forces in ROK society and those involved in the June Struggle of 1987. Some shouted slogans accusing the media group of commercializing anti-communism as they demonstrated for approximately fifty minutes. According to the demonstrators, the “Editor’s Message” libels democratic organizations and citizens’ movements, because it said that “the democratization movement of the last ten years brought much freedom to those in the press and politics, but especially to unions, farmers, citizens groups, and other interest groups. However, these groups used this ‘freedom’ for their own partisan, regional, and group interest instead of for the advancement of the interests of the state.” In a related story, a forum was held by the Citizen’s Solidarity for Media Reform, the National Professors Association, the Academic Groups Association and the Solidarity for Participatory Democracy groups, to condemn the newspaper and also call for an apology. In contrast to these protests, the 300 for Freedom of Intellectuals issued a statement calling for Professor Choi Jang-jip to resign his post at Chongwadae.

III. Russian Federation

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1. Alleged DPRK Smuggling from RF

Izvestia’s Boris Reznik (“HOW A COMBAT SQUADRON WAS STOLEN,” Khabarovsk Area, 1, 2, 10/30/98) published a half page long investigation report concerning a recent failed attempt to smuggle 5 Mi-8T combat helicopters from the RF to the DPRK and DPRK representatives’ illegal activities in the RF Far East. Izvestia’s author described some details of the affair as “a vivid example … of how crudely and primitively the rascals act.” He pointed out that many relevant high-ranking military actively avoided meetings and interviews with him. He learned, in particular, that a year ago two DPRK specialists were brought to a regiment stationed in a village of Garovka near Khabarovsk by a Deputy Commander, Army Aviation, Far Eastern Military District. Those two “without a watch authorization thoroughly inspected the equipment and liked the helicopters that were later sold.” Prior to the sale, extensive repair work was done, with no documents filled. RF pilots “cannot even dream about having their own helicopters repaired in such way.” Although the DPRK economic representative office personnel in Khabarovsk are not allowed to engage in any personal business, its staff officers have been implicated in deals ranging from wholesale drug traffic to “American vodka” smuggling to other fishy “commercial deals.” “The soldiers of the North Korean invisible front, working under the cover of those representative offices, find partners exclusively among crime oriented groups.” Recently the RF police detained Han Il, a cook of the DPRK representative office in Khabarovsk, known to them as a DPRK security servicemen, who tried to sell 5 kilograms of opium. He is the 14th person from the representative office caught on drug trafficking. Over 40 kilograms of industrially made opium and heroin were confiscated.

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2. Hyundai Founder’s Trip to DPRK

Segodnya (“SOUTH KOREAN OLIGARCHES HELP COMMUNIST NORTH,” Moscow, 3, 10/28/98) reported that Chung Ju-yung, founder of the Hyundai industrial group, brought another herd of cows from the ROK to the DPRK across the Demarcation Line. In June he had brought 500 cows along the same route. Chung hoped to have a meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il to argue in favor of bilateral economic contacts and development of tourism in the DPRK.

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3. RF-ROK Military Sales

Kommersant-Daily’s Ilya Bulavinov (“RUSSIAN FIGHTERS WON’T FLY OVER KOREA,” Moscow, 7, 11/3/98) reported that, despite very favorable arrangements made by the hosts of Seoul Aeroshow 98, the RF Sukhoi Aviation Military Industrial Complex (AMIC) did not allow Su-35 heavy fighters to be displayed there, thus destroying any chances for the RF to sell some of those aircraft to the ROK. According to some ROK military officials, “Russia has undermined its authority as a reliable partner.” In Moscow, the decision not to send Su-35s to the aeroshow was explained by a power struggle going on within the AMIC, which incorporates Sukhoi Engineering Bureau and a number of industrial plants. Mikhail Pogosyan, appointed the AMIC Director in March, has been trying to put all foreign business activities of RF fighter-makers under his control. In particular, AMIC was to represent them in the Seoul Aeroshow 98, but they declined to comply. As a countermeasure, Pogosyan sent a letter to Yevgeniy Ananyev, General Director of “Rosvo’oruzhenie,” arguing that the participation was unfeasible due to allegedly low chances of winning the future tender in the ROK. The letter went through the relevant governmental channels, and though Pogosyan possibly wished just to intimidate Su-35-makers, the “bureaucratic machine” had already blocked the fighters from going to the aeroshow. It is estimated that the RF possibly lost US$500 million.

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4. Hijacking of PRC Plane

Segodnya’s (“SMALL SALARY AS A PRETEXT TO HIJACK A PLANE,” Moscow, 3, 10/19/98) reported that Captain Yuan Bin, the pilot of a Boeing 737 in the PRC’s Air China company, hijacked the plane to Taiwan. He was immediately arrested and taken to an unknown destination. Later, Taiwanese officials said that the act took place “not from political motives,” but due to the hijacker’s dissatisfaction with the company’s policies and his small salary. The peak in hijacking was reached in the early 1990s, but now the time when hijackers from the PRC were welcome as heroes in Taiwan is past. Last year, Taiwan returned 2 hijackers to the PRC. In reciprocity, the PRC returned to Taiwan a Taiwanese journalist who hijacked a Boeing 757 of Far Eastern Airlines. The recently hijacked Boeing 737 has already been returned to the PRC and its captain is evidently to follow some time later. Strange as it may seem, such incidents work for PRC-Taiwan rapprochement, as they provide opportunities for contacts between the relevant authorities, so far impossible officially.

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5. Japanese Poaching near Kurils

Izvestia’s Yuriy Golotyuk (Moscow, 2, 11/3/98) reported that last weekend RF sea border guards of the Pacific Regional Directorate of the RF Federal Border Guard Service (FBGS) “had to repel two massive ‘attacks’ of Japanese poachers at once” in the vicinity of the South Kurils. On Saturday, 3 Japanese schooners intruded into RF territorial waters there and started fishing. All three were captured, brought to the RF coast, fined US$15,000 each, and expelled. On Monday night, 8 Japanese schooners used new tactics and intruded barely an hour before 20 “legal” Japanese fishing vessels were to come there under an RF-Japanese official agreement. As a result, confused RF border guards realized their mistake only after both the “legal” vessels and the poachers left the area. RF guards did not open fire. Their superiors at the FBGS HQ felt “the provocations … possess not just an economic shade, but a political one as well.” Right before the RF-Japanese summit in Kawana in April, the area was intruded by 12 poaching Japanese vessels, and now the pattern is repeated, as another summit is to take place in Moscow on November 12.

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6. RF Far Eastern Problems

Segodnya’s Oleg Kryuchek and Aleksandr Koretskiy (“SOUTH KURILS DECIDED TO GIVE THEMSELVES UP … FOR A RENT,” Khabarovsk-Moscow, 1, 2, 10/29/98) reported that South Kuril residents have started to gather signatures for a petition in favor of a long-term rent of the islands to the Japanese government and other Japanese investors. South Kuril District Administration Head Vladimir Zema said the action was prompted by the “total indifference of federal authorities to the problems of this province and unwillingness of domestic investors to invest in development of the South Kurils.” As a result, he said, “everybody who is not lazy” makes profit from exploitation of local bioresources, while the population has been put “on the verge of survival.” The islanders in the past already made an attempt to give themselves up for a rent, and in 1994 and 1996 about 70 percent of them voted in favor of seceding to Japan, according to the local administration’s estimates. Neither the RF Presidential Administration nor the RF Ministry of Justice have commented on the events so far, although RF Foreign Ministry sources voiced an opinion that it might make the preparations for the forthcoming RF-Japan summit in Moscow more difficult. Meanwhile in the RF Far East, the Regional Council of Kamchatka adopted a resolution to appeal to the UN for humanitarian fuel assistance, obviously expecting none from RF federal authorities.

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7. Former Japanese Residents of South Kurils

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Dmitriy Kosyrev (“A VIEW OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORIES FROM THE SOUTH,” Nemuro-Tokyo-Moscow, 6, 10/31/98) published an over half-page long article describing life in Nemuro, Northeastern Hokkaido, “the epicenter of what in Japan they call ‘the problem of Northern territories’; that is, the South Kurils occupied by Soviet troops in 1945.” While for the majority of Japanese the problem is a national issue, for many Nemuro residents it is a very private thing, as the majority of Japanese relocated from the South Kurils settled in Nemuro.

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8. RF Strategic Missiles

Segodnya (“‘TOPOL-M’ MISSILES GIVEN TO MISSILE FORCES,” Moscow, 2, 10/30/98) reported that 5 “Topol-M” Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles were brought to Saratov Region on Volga River and put into silos of the RF Strategic Purpose Missile Forces. 2 such missiles were brought there in December 1997, and put on test-combat duty. Despite financial difficulties, 5 more will be brought by this year’s end and the first “Topol-M” regiment consisting of 10 missiles is to be deployed.

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

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

Lee Dong-young: leedy112@unitel.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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