NAPSNet Daily Report 04 June, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 04 June, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, June 04, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-04-june-1999/

IN TODAY’S REPORT

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

IV. Announcements

I. United States

1. DPRK Delegation in PRC

The Associated Press (“CHINA OFFERS AID TO N. KOREA,” Beijing, 06/04/99) reported that, according to the PRC’s official Xinhua News Agency, PRC Premier Zhu Rongji promised on Friday to give the DPRK 150,000 tons of grain and 40,000 tons of coal. Kim, who also heads the DPRK’s national legislature, told Zhu that the DPRK would “unswervingly adhere” to friendship with the PRC. In meeting with Kim, PRC President Jiang Zemin said, “Under a complex and changing international situation, further developing the two countries’ traditional friendly relations not only suits the wishes and interests of our peoples but benefits regional and world peace and stability.” Jiang added that the PRC supported the DPRK in improving relations with the ROK and the US. PRC Defense Minister Chi Haotian, political commissar of a battalion in the Korean War, told his DPRK counterpart, Kim Il-chol, that the bonds forged fighting together made both sides “cherish deep friendship.”

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, “HIGH-LEVEL N. KOREANS VISIT CHINA,” Beijing, 06/03/99, A27) reported that the PRC’s state-run television quoted Kim Young-nam, head of the presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, as saying that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il did not travel to the PRC because he is still mourning for his father Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994. Kim Young-nam also met with the head of the PRC’s parliament, Li Peng. Li recalled that the DPRK and the PRC “bled together to fight imperialism,” a reference to the Korean War.

2. DPRK Consulate in Hong Kong

The Associated Press (“CHINA OFFERS AID TO N. KOREA,” Beijing, 06/04/99) reported that the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the PRC agreed to let the DPRK open a consulate in Hong Kong.

3. Alleged Technology Transfers to PRC

The New York Times (Jeff Gerth, “JUSTICE OFFICIALS SAID TO BE CLOSE TO A DECISION ON INDICTING A CHINESE COMPANY,” Washington, 06/04/99) reported that the US Justice Department is nearing a decision on whether to indict one of the PRC’s state-owned corporations, China National Aero-Technology Import Export Corporation (Catic), on charges of buying US machining equipment for civilian use in 1994, and then diverting some of it to a military plant. The equipment was sold to Catic by McDonnell Douglas, now part of the Boeing Company, which has also been under criminal investigation for possible violations of US export laws. Catic agreed with the Justice Department last month to extend the deadline for filing charges. Since the extension, the parties have been in a “continuing dialogue,” and Catic has discussed the possibility of paying a civil penalty to resolve the case. Barbara Van Gelder, Catic’s lawyer in Washington, said on Friday, “We are exploring a settlement with the Justice Department and the Commerce Department.” Larry McCracken, a spokesman for Boeing said, “We’re cooperating but we don’t want to get into the details at this point.” A Justice Department spokesman had no comment on the investigation. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for June 4.]

4. US-PRC Relations

Reuters (Andrew Browne, “CHINA CHANGES TACK,” Beijing, 06/04/99) reported that the PRC’s state-run newspaper People’s Daily on Thursday urged “friendly cooperation” with the US. The editorial in the People’s Daily said, “Upholding the independent foreign policy of peace also covers promoting friendly cooperation with Western countries, including the United States. Though the improvement and development of the Sino-U.S. ties has experienced ups and downs, and there are anti-China forces in the United States, the vast number of the American people believe in having friendly ties with China.” The PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao echoed the positive tone, calling for an end to the contentious annual congressional review for normal trade relations. He said, “We hope the U.S. can create favorable conditions for long-term, stable and mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation.” One Western diplomat in Beijing said that the comments were “positive and encouraging,” but he also pointed out that there were still many issues to be resolved.

Reuters (“BUSH, DOLE BACK CLINTON ON TRADE WITH CHINA,” Washington, 06/03/99) reported that top two Republican presidential contenders, George W. Bush and Elizabeth Dole, backed US President Clinton’s request on Thursday to renew normal trade relations with the PRC. Despite recent allegations of Chinese nuclear espionage, Bush and Dole believe the US must seek to expand trade with the PRC. David Beckwith, a spokesman for Texas Governor George Bush, said, “He (Bush) is in favor of that (normal trade relations) for China. He believes we must constructively work with China.” Elizabeth Dole’s spokesman Ari Fleischer said, “She supports allowing China to maintain normal trade relations (and) not pulling the rug out from American companies trading with China.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK-DPRK Relations

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “SEOUL SEEKS REUNION OF 200 FAMILY MEMBERS,” Seoul, 06/05/99) reported that an unnamed official from the Ministry of Unification said that the government plans to reunite up to 200 separated families by the Chusok holiday [Korean Thanksgiving Day]. The official said, “Although the two sides will have a comprehensive discussion of all pending issues at the talks, we will give foremost priority to setting up meeting places and materializing exchanges of visits between dispersed families at least on an experimental level.” He stressed that the ROK will push to enable some ROK nationals to visit their family members in the DPRK, and vice versa, by Chusok. Kim Hyung-ki, assistant minister for unification policy on Friday said, “We received scores of phone calls inquiring about the details of the reunion with eight people having already applied for the meeting this morning. The response to the agreement is overwhelming.”

2. DPRK Tumen River Project

The Korea Times (Oh Young-jin, “S-N VICE ECONOMIC MINISTERS TO MEET,” Seoul, 06/04/99) and Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwashik, “TWO KOREAS TO DISCUSS TUMEN RIVER PROJECT,” Seoul, 06/04/99) reported that Um Nak-yong, vice-minister of the ROK Ministry of Finance and the Economy, said that the ROK will send a delegation to the fourth Tumen River development project committee meeting next week in Mongolia. Last month, there was a working-level meeting of officials from the five countries–the ROK, the DPRK, Russia, the PRC, and Mongolia–in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, to check on the outstanding issues to be discussed in the forthcoming meeting. The participating officials agreed to conduct a survey on the investment environment in four areas of the DPRK, and also to hold a workshop on the outcome of the surveys in September. As a follow-up measure, it was also agreed that information centers for foreign investors in those areas would be set up and electronically interconnected so as to enable the gathering of overall information resources at one center in a joint effort to attract foreign investment.

3. DPRK Delegation in PRC

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “KIM JONG-IL TO VISIT BEIJING,” Seoul, 06/04/99) reported that PRC Ambassador to the ROK Wu Dawei on Thursday said that the DPRK delegation visiting the PRC is currently negotiating with the PRC leaders about DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s future visit to Beijing. Wu said, “I believe that chairman Kim Yong-nam’s visit to China is designed to lay the foundation for Kim Jong-il’s visit to China. However, I cannot predict when he would visit China.” Wu did not rule out the possibility that a high-level PRC official would visit the DPRK late this year to improve PRC-DPRK relations. Wu dismissed as “faulty” the presumption by scholars and government analysts that Kim Jong-il would not visit the PRC because Kim Young-nam visited. Wu said, “If we look into the size and level of representation of the North Korean delegation, we can think that North Korea has a strong desire to improve its external relations. Kim Yong-nam’s visit to China is a big incident in the relationship between China and North Korea, since the death of Kim Il-sung.” Wu added that Kim Young-nam expressed his support for the PRC’s policies of opening up its economy and reform. Wu said that the PRC also offered some on-the-spot training sessions to DPRK officials on the reform of agricultural industry, illuminating them on the changes made before and after economic opening. Wu said, “The exchange of high-level officials between China and North Korea would also serve the interests of South Korea, while helping ensure peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.” Wu also noted that that the PRC started to consider improving its relations with the DPRK from the beginning of this year, and denied that the restoration of PRC-DPRK relations is linked to the recent frictions between the PRC and the US.

Chosun Ilbo (Jee Hee-bom, “CHINA AGREES ON LEADERSHIP VISIT TO NK,” Seoul, 06/04/99) reported that Kim Young-nam, head of the presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, met with PRC Premier Jiang Zemin and PRC Prime Minister Zhu Rongji on Friday and agreed to further their ties. Kim also invited the PRC’s leaders to visit Pyongyang at their convenience and received a cordial response, indicating a possible exchange visit would be possible at the end of this year or early next year.

4. DPRK Consulate in Hong Kong

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yol, “NK OPENS CONSULATE IN HONG KONG,” Seoul, 06/04/99) reported that the DPRK’s Central Radio announced on Friday that an agreement had been signed in Beijing on June 1, which will allow for the establishment of a consulate general in Hong Kong. The new diplomatic entity will take charge of traders, workers and their families in Macao, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

5. ROK Arms Purchases

Chosun Ilbo (You Young-won, “FX PROGRAM TO GO AHEAD,” Seoul, 06/04/99) and The Korea Times (Sah Dong-seok, “NEW FIGHTER PROGRAM STARTS,” Seoul, 06/04/99) reported that the Ministry of National Defense (MOD) announced on Friday that it will proceed with the purchase of next generation fighter planes, dubbed the FX program, as scheduled. Procurement officials at the Defense Ministry will host an open briefing session at the MND Club Tuesday, inviting the US Boeing, Spain’s Casa, France’s Dassault, and Rosvooruzhnie from Russia on June 8. The companies are to submit proposals by September this year for appraisal by the ministry, which will issue a decision in June 2001. The FX project is to supply the ROKAF with a strategic aircraft with all weather capability and longer range. At a cost of W4.3 trillion, 40 aircraft will be bought at first from 2004-2007. The FX project, first proposed in 1987, initially envisaged 120 aircraft, but budget problems reduced the numbers available.

6. ROK Intelligence Agency

The Korea Herald (“THREE TOP POSTS AT SPY AGENCY RESHUFFLED,” Seoul, 06/05/99) reported that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) replaced three top officials on Friday, naming Kwon Jin-ho, a former three-star Army general, as the new first deputy director in charge of the NIS’s overseas operations. The reshuffle follows the appointment of former Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek as the new director of the NIS. Kwon, who replaces Ra Jong-yil, graduated from the Korea Military Academy as a member of the 19th class and held such posts as commander of the 32nd Army Division and the Defense Intelligence Command. The post of the second deputy director for domestic operations went to Om Ik-joon, former senior official of the Agency for National Security Planning (NSP), the NIS’s predecessor. Om replaces Shin Khun, a former prosecutor. Choi Kyu-baek, the chief of the NIS’s North Korea office, was promoted to chief planning and coordination officer. Choi succeeds Moon Hee-sang.

7. Comfort Women

The Korea Times (Park Yoon-bae, “JAPAN CALLED UPON TO ACKNOWLEDGE WAR-TIME SEX SLAVERY CRIMES,” Seoul, 06/04/99) reported that UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) special investigator Gay J. McDougall on Thursday called on Japan to acknowledge that its sex slavery system during World War II constituted a violation of international human rights and humanitarian law. In a keynote speech to a two-day international symposium on the issue of Japanese military sex slavery, organized by the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, McDougall, said, “What the government of Japan can actually do for the former comfort women is to acknowledge its legal liability. Japan is also liable for failing to prevent, investigate and redress the violations committed against the comfort women.” She pointed out that fifty years of denial and cover-ups by the Japanese government cannot be easily corrected and noted that no single member of the Japanese military has been prosecuted for their involvement in the comfort women system. McDougall also said that the former comfort women are entitled to full criminal and civil redress, including compensation. Mentioning compensation by Japan’s private sector, she said that the Asian Women Fund does not satisfy the legal responsibility of the Japanese government toward the survivors of Japanese military sex slavery.

III. Japan

1. Japanese-DPRK Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“MURAYAMA DELEGATION TO MEET WITH KIM YONG NAM,” 06/04/99) and the Daily Yomiuri (“MURAYAMA SET TO HEAD GROUP ON N. KOREA VISIT,” 06/04/99) reported that Masaaki Nakayama, a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) member and chairman of the House of Representatives’ Budget Committee, announced on June 4 that a nonpartisan group of Diet members led by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama of the Social Democratic Party will visit the DPRK later this month to meet Kim Yong-nam, second-in-command in the DPRK. According to sources close to the delegation, the group intends to make the trip on about June 20, and Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi plans to give the group a letter for Kim Jong-il, general secretary of the Worker’s Party of Korea, asking Pyongyang to agree to start talks aimed at the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two nations. The Yomiuri Shimbun added that because there are no formal diplomatic relations between Japan and the DPRK, Obuchi may be called “LDP President” instead of “Prime Minister” in the letter.

2. PRC Ballistic Missile Development

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Hiroyuki Sugiyama, “PRC MAY TEST-LAUNCH NEW SLMB IN A FEW MONTHS,” Beijing, 06/03/99) and the Daily Yomiuri (Hiroyuki Sugiyama, “CHINA REPORTEDLY PREPARING TO TEST NEW BALLISTIC MISSILE,” Beijing, 06/04/99) reported that Huanshengbao–an Internet broadcast run by a PRC government agency–quoted sources as saying that the PRC has begun preparing to test its new submarine-launched ballistic missile within a few months. Other media specializing in military affairs have not reported the information carried by the online journal. The missile in question is the Julang II (JL II), which has a range of about 8,000 kilometers and is currently being developed by the PRC government. According to sources, the land-launched Donfeng 31 missile, from which the JL II has been developed, is almost complete. The papers quoted observers as saying that the Donfeng 31 would be displayed at a military parade to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the nation, which is slated for October 1. According to military analysts, the PRC has not yet deployed the type of nuclear submarine on which the JL II would be mounted and the nuclear submarine would be completed about five years later than initially planned, in about 2010. Given such a delay, according to diplomatic sources, it is unclear at this stage whether China will actually carry out the test launch of the JL II. The Daily Yomiuri added that the JL II, which is to carry a nuclear warhead, will have the longest range of any sea-launched missile in the PRC’s armory.

3. PRC Naval Activities

The Sankei Shimbun (“PRC NAVAL SHIPS’ ACTIVITIES,” Beijing, 06/02/99) reported that western sources revealed on June 1 that PRC naval activities frequently seen in Japanese exclusive economic zones (EEZs) in mid-May were intended to put pressure on the US regarding the bombing of the PRC embassy in Yugoslavia and the Japanese Diet’s passage of the New Defense Guidelines bill. According to the sources, it is unusual that more than ten naval ships–mainly high-speed destroyers–were seen. These activities may have been intended to demonstrate the PRC’s criticism of the US for its bombing of the PRC embassy in Yugoslavia and resistance to the Diet passage of the New Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation, and the PRC may have felt the need to undertake such activities to deter the strengthening Japan-US alliance from becoming “a mini NATO.” The report added that other sources also indicate that concern is rising in the PRC that the Japan-US alliance will become “a mini NATO.”

4. Japanese Northeast Asian Policy

The Nikkei Shimbun (“FOREIGN MINISTER KOMURA PROPOSES EXPANSION OF SECURITY DIALOGUE IN NORTHEAST ASIA,” 06/03/99) reported that during his lecture at a Tokyo hotel on June 3, Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura called for a dialogue framework for Northeast Asian security. Komura stated, “Establishment of a forum among Japan, the US, the PRC, Russia, the ROK and the DPRK and also a network of dialogues among Japan, the PRC and the ROK, and among Japan, the US and the PRC, and linking these frameworks with the existing ones, would contribute to peace and stability in Asia.” The paper said that this indicates that Komura sees the need for another framework in addition to the existing Japan-US-ROK policy cooperative framework to deal with the DPRK. Komura also pointed out the prime importance of dealing with Indonesia’s political stability and economic development, aid to those in need, Japan’s increased cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, globalization in finance and trade/investment, and Japan’s own economic recovery.

5. Japanese Reconnaissance Satellites

The Asahi Shimbun (“AMBASSADOR SAITO REJECTS WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE,” 06/02/99) reported that Japanese Ambassador to the US Kunihiko Saito criticized a column in Washington the Post on May 30 regarding Japan’s decision to launch reconnaissance satellites. Saito stated, “It is mistaken to think that Japan is beginning to go its own way.” The column argued that Japan’s decision to launch its own satellites indicates a move toward its independence in military, security, and international politics. According to the report, the column also implicitly suggested that in the future, if a unified Korea developed nuclear weapons, Japan also would develop nuclear weapons.

IV. Announcements

1. Visit of Kwangju Environmental Delegation

On Wednesday, June 2, a 10-member South Korean environmental delegation visited Nautilus to find out about the Institute’s work on environmental issues. The delegation was made up of city council members, government officials, and representatives of citizen watchdog groups from the city of Kwangju in South Cholla Province. They were led by Reverend Dae-Soo Lee, director of the Korean Network for Waste Free. The group was on a tour of the Western United States learn more about efforts underway to deal with environmental and waste disposal problems, to help in opposing a proposal to build a waste incinerator and landfill on the outskirts of Kwangju. Ken Wilkening, Program Director for Energy, Security, and Environment in Northeast Asia, gave a presentation on transboundary air pollution, explaining how new scientific studies are showing that pollution generated in Asia is reaching the west coast of North America. Lyuba Zarsky, Nautilus Co-Executive Director, introduced the Institute’s global governance and corporate accountability projects, which are aimed at getting multinational corporations to adhere to environmental and human rights standards. Finally, Co-Executive Director Peter Hayes gave a slide-show presentation on the DPRK Renewable Energy Project, including the wind turbines installed last year at Unhari.


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