NAPSNet Daily Report 04 March, 1999

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

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Russian Federation

I. United States

1. Perry’s Trip to Asia

US State Department Deputy Spokesman (James Foley, “STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, MARCH 3, 1999,” Transcript, 03/03/99) said that US coordinator for DPRK policy William Perry will not travel to the DPRK during his upcoming trip to Asia. Foley stated, “he’s still in the middle of his comprehensive review of U.S. policy toward North Korea. He deemed it helpful to go out to the region to consult with our treaty allies — South Korea and Japan — and also to consult with the Chinese authorities as he’s elaborating his review and thinking about the various options that we face, and the various policy factors he’s going to take into consideration.”

2. US-Japan Fisheries Agreement

Dow Jones Newswires (“SOUTH KOREA CALLS FOR NEW FISHERIES TALKS WITH JAPAN,” Seoul, 03/04/99) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Hong Soon-young met with Japanese ambassador Kazuo Ogura on Thursday and asked for new fisheries negotiations to respond to ROK fishermen’s complaints about the treaty recently negotiated between the ROK and Japan. ROK officials discovered after the treaty was completed that it does not cover hundreds of ROK “pair trawlers” operating in Japanese waters. ROK Maritime and Fisheries Minister Kim Sun-kil offered this week to resign in order to take responsibility for the mistake.

3. PRC Defense Spending

Reuters (Alice Hung, “TAIWAN SAYS CHINA UNDERREPORTS DEFENCE SPENDING,” Taipei, 03/04/99) reported that Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post said that the PRC’s military spending would rise 12.7 percent in 1999 to 104.6 billion yuan (US$12.6 billion). A spokesman for Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said that the figure was underreported. He stated, “It’s no secret the defense budget revealed by the Chinese communists only reflects part of their actual spending so as to avoid international criticism. Based on our long-term observations, they normally spend three times as much.” He added, “They are upgrading their defense technology both through their own research and development as well as through overseas procurement. It’s reasonable that they need lots of money to achieve this aim.” He warned, “As the Chinese communists modernize their armed forces, the threat is growing. For our part, we can only try use our limited budget to achieve maximum purposes.”

4. PRC Military Modernization

The South China Morning Post (Oliver Chou, “PRESIDENT CALLS FOR HI-TECH PUSH BY AIR FORCE,” 03/03/99) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin called on the air force to step up its offensive and defensive capabilities through high-technology development. Jiang stated, “We should build an air force capable of both offensive and defensive operations with Chinese characteristics.” Jiang reiterated the need to “revitalize the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) through science and technology,” adding that “speedier development of hi-tech weapons is needed while preparing to fight a battle with present weapons.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 4.]

5. US-PRC Strategic Relations

The Christian Science Monitor carried an analytical article (Ann Scott Tyson, “US, CHINA AT ODDS OVER THEIR ROLES IN ASIA,” Washington, 03/04/99) which said that the debate over the inclusion of Taiwan in a Theater Missile Defense (TMD) system is framed by competing PRC and US visions of their strategic roles in Asia. Alex Lennon, deputy director of studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, stated, “[The PRC’s] long-term goal is to become the preeminent power in Asia, which would include excluding the United States as a major regional presence.” Lennon cited official sources as saying that the number of PRC missiles targeting Taiwan has increased from several dozen in 1996 to some 150-200 today, and is projected to reach 650 by 2005. Bates Gill, an Asian expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington, argued, “At this time, the buildup is the only passably credible military deterrent which China has against independent-minded factions on Taiwan.” He added that missile defenses are “the single most important development likely to … drive Chinese proliferation trends in the near to medium future.” Liu Xiaoming, a PRC Embassy official in Washington, warned, “We are strongly opposed to [TMD] because we think it will trigger an arms race in the region.” David Shambaugh, a China expert at George Washington University, said that the development of missile-defense systems for Asia “would trigger a crash course in Chinese ballistic missile delivery systems.”

6. US Sanctions on South Asia

The Associated Press (David Briscoe, “U.S. LOOKS TO RESTORE PAKISTAN TIES,” Washington, 03/03/99) reported that US Assistant Secretary of State Karl F. Inderfurth told Congress on Wednesday that the President Bill Clinton administration hopes to resume training programs for the Pakistani military and eventually to end all sanctions against both Pakistan and India. Inderfurth stated, “The goal is a sanction-free relationship with both countries.” He added, however, that a lifting of all sanctions will require more commitment to a non-nuclear future by India and Pakistan. He stated, “Recognizing that progress so far has been largely promissory, we look forward to the next few months to concrete steps by both parties that will enable us to reassess the sanctions regimes.”

7. Biological Weapons Proliferation

The Associated Press (John Diamond, “CIA: BIO WEAPONS THREAT INCREASING,” Washington, 03/04/99) reported that US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) counterproliferation official John Lauder told the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that the threat of biological warfare and terrorism is rising. Lauder said that about a dozen nations, including the DPRK, are developing or already possess offensive biological weapons. He said that, in many cases, they see biological weapons as a key to waging “asymmetric warfare” on much more powerful adversaries such as the US. He added, however, “The preparation and effective use of biological weapons by both potentially hostile states and by non-state actors, including terrorists, is harder than some popular literature seems to suggest.” Princeton University biophysicist Stephen Block said that biological weapons are “the weapon for David- and-Goliath warfare. You can take down the giant.” Ken Alibek, a former senior official in the Soviet Union’s offensive biological weapons program, said that despite a 1992 decree by Russian President Boris Yeltsin banning all biological weapons activity, “there still remains doubt that Russia has completely dismantled the old Soviet program.” Alibek said that biological weapons should be considered “mass casualty weapons” rather than weapons of mass destruction because they kill people without causing widespread destruction.

II. Republic of Korea

1. US-DPRK Nuclear Talks

JoongAng Ilbo (“NUCLEAR TALKS BOGGED DOWN,” Seoul, 03/04/99) reported that the US and the DPRK held their fourth meeting in New York on March 4, on how to resolve the suspicion of nuclear facilities in the Kumchangri area; however, the discussions had no fruitful results. The ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, “The North Korean delegation canceled a proposed visit to the Iowa-based Stanley Foundation, and decided to continue talks on the next day.” The two sides have basically agreed to an inspection of the area, but not on the quantity of food and medical provisions the DPRK would receive in return for granting an inspection. The DPRK is asking for at least 1 million tons of food while the US is insisting on half of that amount.

2. DPRK Delegation in US

Korea Times (“NORTH KOREAN DELEGATION CANCELS IOWA VISIT,” Seoul, 03/04/99) reported that DPRK officials on Wednesday canceled a visit to Iowa that had been planned at the invitation of a private group specializing in conflict resolution. A statement from the Iowa-based Stanley Foundation said the visit to Muscatine, Iowa, had been canceled, but no reason was given. Earlier, a US official said the DPRK officials, including delegation chief Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan, were to remain in New York for further talks Thursday on access to a suspect DPRK nuclear site. Both sides had initially aimed to conclude the nuclear negotiations in time for the trip, though they apparently failed to meet that goal. For the past two months, the foundation has been trying to engage the DPRK in its Emerging from Conflict program, in which the organization works with states in conflict with the US. The foundation, which in the 1960s brokered talks between US and Soviet officials, also works with the PRC, Cuba, Iran, and Vietnam.

3. DPRK Military Power

JoongAng Ilbo (“NORTH KOREA MOST LIKELY CANDIDATE TO CONDUCT TOTAL WAR,” Seoul, 03/04/99) reported that John H. Tilelli, the commander of US armed forces in the ROK, told a congressional military committee in the US on March 3, “North Korea is the state that is most likely to conduct a total war against the United States in the future.” General Tilelli stressed that when the present build up of DPRK military power, currently approaching its zenith, is finished, the DPRK’s military power, if left unchecked, may sweep over the Korean Peninsula. He pointed out that if the DPRK were to attack the combined forces of the ROK and the US, it might not be easy to repel it, and that in the course of repulsion, a large number of human lives would be lost. He also added, “I expect that the Korean government’s ‘Sunshine Policy’ towards North Korea will help to ease tension on the Korean Peninsula.”

4. ROK-DPRK Banking Cooperation

JoongAng Ilbo (“BOK SEEKS TO ASSIST NK’S CENTRAL BANK,” Seoul, 03/04/99) reported that the ROK’s Bank of Korea (BOK) is trying to establish relations with the DPRK’s central bank. Chun Chul-hwan, president of BOK, said on March 4, “Now North Korea is trying to receive training and education on the principles of a free market economy from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). Accordingly, the BOK is trying to participate in their economic education through its substructure in Washington DC.” He added that the BOK included a plan on exchanges with the DPRK’s central bank into its concrete working plans for the year, and the Ministry of Unification intends to positively support the BOK’s plan. The education program will feature the IBRD teaching principles of a free market economy to senior economic officials at Pyongyang University in the DPRK’s capital. A source at the BOK commented, “The BOK had already participated in free market economic education for China’s central bank. Accordingly, the BOK will try to positively take part in the education for the North.”

5. DPRK Famine

JoongAng Ilbo (“GOVERNMENT REPORT MORE THAN 500,000 HAVE DIED FROM STARVATION IN NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 03/04/99) reported that the DPRK has had 500-800,000 people die directly from lack of food over the past two or three years, due to the serious food shortage, according to the Book of Human Rights in 1998 issued by the Korea Institute of National Unification. It is the first time that the government has concretely revealed the number of deaths incurred from starvation in the DPRK. The book pointed out that because the food distribution system in the DPRK has collapsed, the average person, not including the special upper class, has to procure around 70 percent of their necessary food intake from the black market.

6. ROK-Japan Fishery Talks

Chosun Ilbo (“RENEGOTIATION OF JAPAN FISHERIES ACCORD DUE,” Seoul, 03/04/99) reported that a meeting between ROK and Japanese fishery officials will be held from March 16 to 17 in Seoul to renegotiate key issues in the recent Fisheries Accord. The exclusion of trawler fishing and the catch of blowfish in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone had caused uproar when it was discovered that ROK officials had mistakenly omitted these provisions in the agreement. The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has sent a tentative schedule to its Japanese counterpart and vows it will successfully renegotiate the issues in dispute. The ministry plans to dispatch two high-ranking officials to Tokyo to discuss the Seoul meeting in advance.

III. Russian Federation

1. ROK Political Prisoners

Segodnya’s Natalya Roslova (“ALMOST 9 THOUSAND PRISONERS AMNESTIED IN SOUTH KOREA,” Moscow, 3, 2/26/99) reported that an amnesty law came into force in the ROK marking the first anniversary of Kim Dae-jung’s Presidency. 8,812 prisoners have been set free, including 17 political prisoners. The DPRK said the latter should be repatriated to the DPRK, but the ROK President replied those could go there only if 234 ROK citizens imprisoned in the DPRK were returned home.

2. Kim Jong-il’s Troop Inspection

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s (“KIM JONG-IL IS STRENGTHENING THE ARMY’ COMBAT MORALE,” Moscow, 6, 2/16/99) reported that on the eve of his birthday, DPRK leader Kim Jong-il made another inspection of Korean People’s Army units stationed close to the DPRK-ROK border. He thanked the commanders for their turning of the possible hostility line into “a invincible fortress” in view of the continuing pumping up of aggravation there by the US and its allies. Also, he granted gifts to the units, including binoculars, a machine-gun, and an automatic rifle.

3. Kim Jong-il’s Birthday

Izvestia’s Yuriy Savenkov (“‘WITHOUT US YOU WILL NOT EXIST AS WELL’,” Moscow, 3, 2/17/99) reported that the whole of the DPRK celebrated Kim Jong-il’s 57th birthday. According to Japanese media, a secret ROK report said that over US$90 million was spent on the celebration. Some 500,000 tons of corn could have been bought with that money.

4. PRC Premier’s Trip to RF

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Yuriy Tavrovskiy (“NEW HIEROGLYPHS FOR MOSCOW AND BEIJING,” Moscow, 6, 2/24/99) reported in connection to PRC Premier Zhu Rongji’s visit to the RF that “the last year bankruptcy of zavlab’s and zavkhos’s [derogatory for “lab chiefs” and “institution economic management chiefs” in Russian] opens new opportunities for development of relations with China. The ‘under-reformers’ by all means possible slowed down a widening of Russo-Chinese ties and reduced them to just trade, not only because of their pro-American orientation. In the efficiency of ‘the Chinese model,’ they justly saw a threat to their concept of an overall weakening of the role of the state in the economy and the policy, and because of that muted down or discredited China’s achievements, and they deterred the enthusiasm for foreign political and economic bodies and business toward China.” Now “Moscow and Beijing are able to speak in unison on the issue of the rivalry between the dollar and the euro, the yuan and yen, and on the most important problem of preservation of multipolarity in the world political arena. But all that will become a reality only if Russia ceases to be ‘a sick man of Eurasia’.”

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Pavel Spirin (“PRC PREMIER ARRIVED AT MOSCOW,” Moscow, 1, 2/25/99) reported in connection with the PRC premier Zhu Rongji’s visit to the RF that “it is no secret that in Beijing they consider the candidacy of our Premier for the RF Presidency after 2000 the most beneficial to China. Therefore, the answer to whether a long-awaited breakthrough in Russia-China relations will take place will depend to a large extent on what Zhu Rongji hears and sees in Moscow.”

Izvestia’s Yuriy Savenkov (“THE LEADERS OF RUSSIA AND CHINA SEARCH FOR A ROAD TO THE 21ST CENTURY,” Moscow, 3, 2/26/99) reported on the PRC Premier Zhu Rongji’s visit to the RF. In his opinion, “Moscow and Beijing, while standing against a hegemony of one power, have found a formula for their relations: neither confrontation, nor alliance, nor threat to a third party.” RF Premier Yevgeny Primakov in his interview with the PRC’s Zingzi Ribao newspaper recently pointed out that “a parallel development and strengthening of relations on a bilateral basis between Russia and China, Russia and India, and China and India would be of great importance.” This way he obviously clarified his previously voiced idea about “the Moscow-Beijing-Delhi triangle.” Meanwhile Roman Popkovich, Chairman, Defense Committee, RF State Duma, said that the RF-PRC strategic partnership “should be enriched with a military alliance.” Nezavisimaia gazeta’s author countered: “we were allies before and nothing worthwhile came out of it.”

5. PRC-Taiwan Diplomatic Rivalry

Izvestia’s Yulia Berezovskaya (“THE CHINESE LEFT MACEDONIA WITHOUT ‘THE BLUE HELMETS’,” Moscow, 3, 3/3/99) reported that the PRC blocked the UN Security Council resolution to prolong the stay of UN peacekeeping troops in the Republic of Macedonia, thus punishing the Republic for establishing diplomatic relations with Taiwan. During the vote the RF Representative abstained.

6. Alleged PRC Espionage in US

Segodnya (“CHINESE SPIES ARRESTED IN THE USA,” Moscow, 3, 3/3/99) reported that a PRC citizen, Yao Yi, was arrested by police in California, USA. It was found that he had conducted talks with a US firm to buy gyroscopes, allegedly for a high-speed railway. It is believed the technology could be used for PRC missile systems.

7. RF Policy toward Asia

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“RUSSIA MUST BE ACTIVE IN THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION,” Moscow, 6, 2/23/99) took an interview with RF Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on the eve of his official visit to Japan. Today, Ivanov stated, “we see our main task not only in alleviating the negative consequences of the Asian crisis and preserving peace and stability in the region, but also preventing a weakening of our positions and a roll-back in our relations with the regional states.” Concerning the PRC, “we actively use the whole might of the United Nations Organization and form our approaches in order to totally exclude a dictated policy…. That’s why it was so important to fix together with the China this principled position concerning the future world order.” He added, “Relations with the US also have been developing not badly. A coinciding of fundamental goals and interests of our states in this region is at their basis…. On the one hand, in recent years we have seriously progressed in a whole number of principal directions…. But we in principle diverge as concerns the tactics, as how to solve those questions…. Considering local conflicts, … those can be solved only by political means…. The United States frequently strives to impose a solution by force…. We strive to make it so that Russia’s voice is also heard in a settlement of the most explosion-prone problem of the Asia Pacific, that is the Korean problem, first of all by means of pursuing of a balanced policy toward both Korean states.”

8. RF Foreign Minister in Japan

Izvestia’s Vasiliy Golovnin (“RUSSIA AND JAPAN: A DEAD-END AT THE TALKS?” Tokyo, 2/23/99) reported that RF Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov’s visit to Tokyo and his 4-hour talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura on Sunday and with Japanese Premier Keizo Obuchi and Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Yusiro Mori on Monday seemed to herald another dead-end in RF-Japanese relations. For the first time, the RF Foreign Minister clearly stated that it is not possible presently to make a final decision concerning the South Kurils and to sign a peace treaty on that basis before the year 2000 is over. Though at a press conference he said he had not said that, he seemed to back away from specific wording, rather than from the substance of his position. Obviously the Japanese will not agree to sign a peace treaty without solving the issue of the isles and the border, and Komura told that to Ivanov as his “personal opinion.” Yet he promised to give an official reply later, when RF President Yeltsin comes to Japan. Also while in Japan, the RF Foreign Minister voiced concern about a widening of the sphere of applicability of the US-Japanese military alliance. Considering the stated fact that the allies would activate their defense arrangements not only in case of Japan being attacked, but also in case of “emergencies” in “areas adjacent” to Japan, the RF wishes to get guaranties that the South Kurils, Sakhalin and RF Far East will ever not be considered such “areas adjacent.” In Tokyo, the RF Foreign Minster got some assuring words to that effect, but those were rather dim and therefore require further talks.

9. US-Japan Security Arrangements

Kommersant daily’s Andrey Ivanov (“ODZAWA MISFIRED,” Moscow, 4, 2/20/99) reported in connection with RF Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov’s visit to Japan that Ichiro Ozawa, the leader of the Japanese ruling coalition Liberal Party, said that the RF as well could fall within the sphere of the US-Japanese security alliance. The article stated, “Official Tokyo denounced the statement, but it was late: the RF Foreign Ministry asked the Japanese party for explanations. Yet it understands that all questions should be addressed to Washington and the answers will most likely be not too soothing.”

10. RF-Japan Territorial Issues

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Aleksey Leonov (“KURIL TANDEM IN ACTION,” Moscow, 6, 3/3/99) reported that the US has been supporting Japan’s claims on the Kuril Isles since February of 1952, while making no comments on similar Japanese claims on isles belonging to the PRC, Taiwan, the ROK, and the DPRK. US support of Japanese claims on the ROK’s and DPRK’s isles does not fit well with US relations with the ROK, its most staunch ally there. Support of Japanese claims on “Chinese” isles is fraught with “a united Chinese front.” So, only the RF’s South Kurils are left to serve as a means of supporting Japanese claims in the region. According to the US-Japanese Agreement on mutual logistic support signed last April, interaction of their armed forces is possible “in case of emergencies in areas adjacent to Japan.” The areas themselves are not defined, but according to some Japanese, PRC, ROK, and DPRK sources, Sakhalin, the Kurils, and seaports of the Primorskiy and Khabarovskiy areas, as well as the Korean Peninsula, the PRC, Taiwan, and the Philippines, are meant. Sakhalin Region Governor Igor Farkhutdinov was right to say last spring: that for a whole number of reasons the US believes “it is beneficial to support tension between Moscow and Tokyo.” He also firmly opposes the ideas promoted by the RF Regional Policy Ministry to make the South Kurils a special economic zone independent of the Sakhalin Region, as opposed to South Kuril Mayor Vladimir Zema’s support for establishment of a joint RF-Japanese economic zone there. Presently, though, “in Tokyo and Washington they mute the fact that in an number of instructions of the US occupation forces headquarters in Japan in 1945-1947 addressed to the Japanese Government, the whole of the Kurils were excluded from its jurisdiction. At that time Japan’s Government did not doubt American orders.”

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“RUSSIA MUST BE ACTIVE IN THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION,” Moscow, 6, 2/23/99) reported that RF Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov talked about Russian relations with Japan. Ivanov stated, “at the basis of our approach there is a thesis that after more than half a century after the end of the Second World War it would be an anachronism to talk about a conclusion of a merely ‘peace treaty’ on which the Japanese insist. That’s why we insist it should be a Treaty on peace, friendship and cooperation, that is a wide-format document opening … large-scale long- term prospects…. A possible solution … should be mutually acceptable, should not damage the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, meet our national interests, be based on the existing realities, get wide public support, and be approved in accordance to the established constitutional order.” He added, “The idea of creating a special economic zone in the Kuril isles is a step in the right direction…. The matter concerns purely economic issues, not some changes in the administrative status of the Kuril Isles as an unalienable part of the Sakhalin region.” He also said, “The RF Foreign Ministry will also render comprehensive assistance to the development of mutually beneficial relations of the Sakhalin region with the regions of the neighboring Japan, primarily with Hokkaido.” He concluded, “In general I’d like to emphasize: the residents of the South Kurils have no grounds to be concerned about the alleged indefinite nature of their destiny in connection to the on-going talks with Japan. The land they live upon is and will remain an unalienable part of Russia.”

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

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

Lee Dong-young: UNPOL@netsgo.com
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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