NAPSNet Daily Report 04 May, 1999

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

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

I. United States

1. Light Water Reactor Construction

Reuters (“JAPAN TO LOAN $1 BLN TO KEDO FOR NKOREA REACTORS,” Tokyo, 05/04/99) reported that the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Japan signed a contract to lend US$1 billion to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). Construction of the two light water reactors in the DPRK was scheduled to start by June 15, but ROK KEDO deputy director Chang Sun-sop said earlier this year that the actual start-up date would depend on whether the countries involved received parliamentary approval for their allotments.

2. DPRK Reaction to US Airstrikes on Yugoslavia

Reuters (“N. KOREA SLAMS U.S. OVER YUGOSLAVIA AIR STRIKES,” Tokyo, 05/04/99) reported that the DPRK Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun on Tuesday criticized the US for its continuing attacks on Yugoslavia. The paper said in a commentary, “Military strikes against Yugoslavia are part of the vicious and crafty moves of the United States to materialize its ambition for world supremacy.” It added, “(The) military attack on Yugoslavia is also related to the political and economic crisis that has become worsened in the United States with each passing day.” The commentary said that the US was wholly to blame for the attack, and that Yugoslavia and Iraq were the victims of the US quest for global dominance.

3. DPRK on US Terrorism List

Reuters (Carol Giacomo, “IRAN, CUBA AMONG STATES BACKING TERRORISM – U.S.,” Washington, 04/30/99) reported that the US State Department on Friday released its 1998 report on worldwide terrorism, which once again designated the DPRK as a state that sponsors terrorism. US officials, however, said that the DPRK states had not directly sponsored terrorist acts for some years, and the report did not cite any DPRK involvement in terrorism since the downing of a Korean Air passenger plane in 1987. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in a statement, “Governments on the list that would like to see their names removed know exactly what they must do.” She added that they must “stop planning, financing and supporting terrorist acts and stop sheltering or interfering with the apprehension and prosecution of those who commit them.”

4. Theater Missile Defense

Pacific Stars And Stripes (Jim Lea, “ROK WON’T JOIN MISSILE PROGRAM,” Seoul, 05/05/99, 3) reported that an ROK Defense Ministry spokesman reiterated comments made in March by Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek that the ROK has no plans to join a US-Japan theater missile defense (TMD) program because it lacks the necessary funding and technology. An ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry spokesman said that there has been no indication that the US will try to prod the ROK into joining TMD, despite speculation in the media to that affect.

5. Japanese Prime Minister’s US Visit

Reuters (Arshad Mohammed, “OBUCHI WINS RARE U.S. PRAISE ON JAPANESE ECONOMY,” Washington, 05/04/99) reported that US President Clinton on Monday met with Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. Although the meeting focused on Japanese efforts to revive the economy, Clinton and Obuchi also reviewed the US-Japan military relationship, the DPRK, and the Kosovo conflict. Clinton expressed pleasure that the Japanese Diet last week approved bills for implementation of the US-Japan defense guidelines.

The Los Angeles Times (James Flanigan, “PREMIER’S VISIT AT CRITICAL TIME FOR JAPAN, U.S.,” 05/02/99) carried an analytical article which said that the immediate fate of the US and world economies and the long-term fate of Asia depend on the course of US-Japan relations. The article said that, despite the “diplomatic pleasantries” during Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s visit to the US, the relationship is in a state of tension over such issues as Japan’s development of spy satellites, Japanese doubts about the US commitment to defend it, and calls for closure of US bases in Japan. The author argued, “The danger is that distrust and arguments will disrupt US-Japan unity just when the two countries’ leadership is needed most.” He pointed to the unresolved status of the Korean Peninsula and the PRC’s emergence as a world power as potential flash points for Asian peace. He also argued that defense cannot be separated from questions of Japan’s economic health. The article argued, “US officials fear that the economic difficulty is both stark and strategic: If Japan limits its economy to slow growth, the economies of Asia, and probably the rest of the world, will be doomed to recession. They know, too, that renewed recession in an ominously unsettled Asia threatens Japan’s security.”

6. Japanese Defense Posture

Reuters (“JAPAN NOT READY TO EXPAND GLOBAL MILITARY ROLE -PM,” Chicago, 05/01/99) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said on Saturday that Japan was not ready to expand its military role in resolving international conflicts. Obuchi stated, “Under the post-war constitution, it is stipulated that Japan shall not exercise military force to resolve international conflicts.” He added, “I believe in Japan currently it is impossible to revise these provisions immediately.” He said that there was not yet a consensus in Japan regarding the use of military force to resolve international conflicts. He noted, “On the one hand, there may be a growing awareness that Japan should play its role in military efforts to resolve international conflicts, but on the other hand, there are Asian countries with harsh criticism of Japan because Japan invaded many of them in World War Two. Therefore, at present, rather than a military role, I believe it is important that we are playing an economic role.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. Perry Visit to DPRK

The Korea Times (Key-young Son, “PERRY TO VISIT NK ‘RELATIVELY SOON’: US OFFICIAL,” Seoul, 05/04/99) reported that a senior US diplomat in the ROK said Monday that US DPRK policy coordinator William Perry would likely visit the DPRK. The unnamed official said, “I think Dr. Perry may well visit the DPRK. I am not prepared today to say definitely when. He may well, and it should be relatively soon.” He stressed that the US had completed consultations with the ROK and Japan regarding the subjects Perry will discuss with DPRK officials during his stay in Pyongyang. “I think Mr. Perry hopes to launch a comprehensive effort to lower tension and threats on the Korean peninsula. I think the word ‘comprehensive’ is important because it is designed to deal with the concerns of all sides,” he said. Asked whether the DPRK would accept Perry’s initiative, the official said that it is hard to predict. “We hope they will participate in this comprehensive dialogue but in the end, it is their decision. We cannot force them to improve relations, but we can induce and encourage them,” he said.

2. US Missile Defense in the ROK

The Korea Herald (Kwan-woo Jun, “SEOUL REAFFIRMS NO PLAN TO JOIN U.S.-LED THEATER MISSILE DEFENSE PLAN,” Seoul, 05/04/99) reported that the ROK government on Monday reaffirmed that it has no plans to join the US- initiated theater missile defense (TMD) program. “At this stage, we have neither an intention nor ability to take part in the TMD plan, which requires a huge sum of investment and up-to-date technology,” said an unnamed official. His remarks were a reiteration of Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek’s position. At a meeting with foreign journalists in Seoul in March, Chun said that the plan is “not an effective measure to counter Pyongyang’s missile threats in consideration of Seoul’s finances and technology.” An unnamed defense analyst said, “Skepticism is also arising whether the TMD plan would be able to effectively intercept a barrage of North Korea’s short-range missiles flying into us.” The renewed skepticism of the TMD plan came in the wake of some local news reports speculating that US may persuade Seoul to join the TMD plan. An ROK official denied such a move on the part of the US government. “There was no official request from the United States,” said an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Diplomatic analysts in the ROK, however, said that the ROK government needs to pay attention to a US Defense report submitted to the US Congress on April 29 in which the US clearly included the ROK and Taiwan as well as Japan in the TMD plan. The US defense report recommended that the ROK deploy at least 25 sets of US made PAC-3 modified anti-missile Patriots in its territory to counter the DPRK’s missile attacks.

3. DPRK Military Training

Chosun Ilbo (Yong-won Yoo, “NK INCREASES SEA ASSAULT TRAINING,” Seoul, 04/30/99) reported that a report presented to ROK Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek by the Combined Forces Korea (CFK) revealed that the DPRK has been reinforcing its training near major port bases. CFK said that there has been a noticeable rise in training and in the amount of communication exchanged from these bases, and so the possibility of the DPRK attacking by sea has increased. However, CFK also reported that this year’s winter training, conducted from December ’98 to March ’99, was half the size of last year’s training. CFK said the causes of this reduction were lack of fuel, reductions in food provisions, and also increase in the number of soldiers involved in rebuilding the economy.

4. ROK-US Military Exercises

Joongang Ilbo (Jangsoo Seo, “TEAM SPIRIT MILITARY EXERCISE COULD BE RESUMED AT ANY TIME,” 05/03/99) reported that the ROK and the US are likely to resume the annual “Team Spirit” ROK-US military exercise whenever they feel it is necessary. The ROK Ministry of Defense said in a written statement recently submitted to the defense committee of the National Assembly that the ROK and the US will resume Team Spirit whenever they want because it has not been permanently halted. The ministry also announced that Daewoo Heavy Industries’ defense industry division, related to national security, will be exempted from being sold off even if Daewoo is sold. This move was announced to appease the National Assembly Defense Committee’s concerns that ROK military secrets might be leaked in the event that Daewoo Heavy Industries is sold to a foreign company.

5. ROK-Japan Military Cooperation

Joongang Ilbo (Jooan Kang, “HOT-LINE BETWEEN KOREA AND JAPAN TO BE ESTABLISHED,” Seoul, 05/04/99) reported that three military hot lines between the ROK and Japan will be operated from May 6. The three hot lines are for cooperative resolution of emergency situations such as the DPRK firing missiles or spy ship incursions. An unnamed source in the Ministry of National Defense announced on May 4, “The urgent communication system between the two countries’ military administrations and mutual assistance while dealing with the DPRK is prepared.” The lines connect ROK and Japan’s policy planning bureaus, the navy and the air-forces headquarters and are being built under the agreement between the ROK Minister of National Defense Cheon Yong-taek and Japanese Minister Norota Howsei signed last January in Seoul.

6. ROK Labor Delegation Visit to DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (Hong-su Kim, “KCTU DELEGATES BACK FROM NK,” Seoul, 05/04/99) reported that the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) delegates who had visited DPRK counterparts in Pyongyang returned to Seoul Tuesday by way of Beijing. Lee Kyu-jae and Cho Joon-ho told reporters at Kimpo International Airport that they had had positive meetings regarding a soccer match between the ROK and the DPRK and would disclose the details at a Wednesday news conference.

Joongang Ilbo (Shang-bog Shim, “S.KOREAN LABOR DELEGATION OVERSTAYS NK TRIP,” Seoul, 05/02/99) reported that it was confirmed on Sunday that two representatives of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions had overstayed their government-approved visit to the DPRK. An official at the Unification Ministry said that the delegation had failed to return to Seoul, although their visit was only allowed until April 30. The official noted that things might become complicated if the delegation had violated the National Security Law by attending May Day celebrations or other political events in the DPRK.

7. DPRK Food Aid

The Korea Herald (“NGOS TO PROVIDE $25-MILLION AID TO NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 05/04/99) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry said Monday that ten international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will provide a total of US$25 million in assistance to the DPRK within this year. The ten include the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Action by Churches Together, German Agro-Action, and World Vision International (WVI). The aid will consist of medicine and medical service, fertilizer, seed potatoes and others. Aid is expected to rise significantly as the figure does not include the 1,000 tons of seed potatoes that eight US private voluntary organizations (PVOs) will ship to the DPRK this year. About 30 NGOs around the world are sending aid to the DPRK. Meanwhile, some 60 delegates from 40 NGOs began a three-day international conference in Beijing on Monday morning to discuss large-scale aid to the DPRK. The event is the largest NGO meeting ever and will attract numerous representatives from international organizations and agencies, such as the World Food Program and UN Development Program.

The Korea Herald (“U.S. TO ANNOUNCE 400,000 TONS OF FOOD AID TO N.K. THROUGH WFP,” Seoul, 05/04/99) reported that an official of the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that the US will soon announce provision of 400,000 tons of wheat to the DPRK through the World Food Program (WFP). The assistance will be in response to an additional appeal by the WFP to be made later this month, the official said. The US Agriculture Department has already purchased surplus wheat and 300 tons of dry milk for dispatch to the DPRK. The aid will be made in line with the agreement made with the DPRK in March in return for US access to a suspected nuclear underground site in Kumchang-ni.

8. Australian Foreign Minister’s Trip to DPRK, ROK

The Korea Herald (“FORMER AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN N.K. ON FOOD AID,” Seoul, 05/04/99) reported that former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans is in Pyongyang to discuss the DPRK’s food shortage and other bilateral issues of concern, an official of the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Monday. Evans flew into the DPRK capital Saturday and will stay through Tuesday. He will come to the ROK Wednesday via Beijing to attend the 27th Williamsburg Conference on Cheju Island. While in the ROK, the Australian lawmaker will meet Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Hong Soon-young, Vice Minister Sun Jun-yung and Senior Presidential Secretary for Foreign Affairs and National Security Lim Dong-won to discuss the situation in the DPRK. A lawmaker of the Labor Party, Evans served as Australia’s foreign minister from 1988 to 1996.

9. Sunken DPRK Submarine

The Korea Herald (Kwan-woo Jun, “N.K. SPY BOAT CONTAINS JAPANESE PARTS,” Seoul, 05/05/99) reported that a group of visiting Japanese lawmakers said Monday that Japanese parts and components constitute about one fifth of the DPRK spy boat sunk off the ROK coast last December. “I was shocked to find that some 20 percent of the submersible spy ship’s parts were Japanese-made,” Ichita Yamamoto of Japan’s House of Councilors said. Yamamoto, a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker, is now visiting the ROK along with other Japanese lawmakers to exchange views on the DPRK with ROK experts and officials. He said that he and his colleagues received the information after they visited a ROK naval base in Chinhae on Monday to take a look at the spy boat. The Japanese lawmakers, including Masataka Suzuki of the LDP and Keiichiro Asao of the Democratic Party, belong to a voluntary task force on DPRK affairs in the Japanese parliament. Suzuki, one of the LDP’s DPRK experts, said that the task force of eight ruling and opposition Japanese lawmakers was formed in late November to better deal with the DPRK. Suzuki stated, “Different views exist among Japanese lawmakers on how to deal with North Korea. Our aim is to seek concrete resolutions through exchanging and discussing opinions.” He said that Japan is still stunned by the DPRK’s test-firing of a missile last August, adding, “We want to work out a ‘cool-headed’ North Korea strategy.” Suzuki said that it is important for the ROK, the US, and Japan to closely cooperate on the DPRK policy, “But it does not necessarily mean that the three countries will have to take an identical approach.” He added that each state is allowed to make its own independent policy. The visiting lawmakers were scheduled to meet with officials at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry of Defense and DPRK experts in Seoul on Tuesday.

10. Proposed 1987 ROK-DPRK Summit

Joongang Ilbo (Jangsoo Seo, “SUMMIT MEETING BETWEEN TWO KOREAS ATTEMPTED,” Seoul, 05/04/99) and the Korea Times (Jae-yun Shim, “EX- PRESIDENT CHUN PUSHED FOR MEETING WITH KIM IL-SUNG,” Seoul, 05/04/99) reported that former ROK president Chun Doo-hwan said on May 3 that he sought to hold a summit meeting with the DPRK during his presidency. His effort failed, however, because the DPRK called for the ROK to jointly host the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Chun stated that Chang Se-dong, former director of the Agency for National Security Planning (NSP), visited the DPRK, while Ho Dam, former chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland, came to the ROK for talks with Chun. The idea to hold a summit meeting was first proposed after Chun accepted the DPRK’s offer to send rice and cement materials to the ROK in 1984, when the ROK suffered from flood disasters. “Following North Korea’s delivery of relief food to the South, Kim Il-sung sent an offer to meet me through Ho Dam, who conveyed the message to me during my meeting with the secret North Korean envoy,” Chun recalled. Chun replied that he would accept a formal invitation. Chun said his chief bodyguard Chang visited the DPRK a few times in a bid to realize the summit, but the DPRK suddenly insisted that the 1988 Summer Olympiad be co-hosted by Seoul and Pyongyang. The summit was thus aborted, he said, adding that “I told Ho to deliver to Kim Il-sung my message that the North should renounce any plans to launch a military invasion of the South, which I warned would destroy the Korean Peninsula, leaving no clear-cut winner or loser.”

11. DPRK-ROK World Cup Co-hosting

The Korea Herald (Seok-jae Kang, “KFA HEAD CHUNG PLANS TO VISIT PYONGYANG THIS FALL,” Seoul, 05/04/99) reported that Chung Mong-joon, president of the Korea Football Association, will visit the DPRK this fall with Joseph S. Blatter, head of FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) sources close to Chung said on Monday. Chung was quoted by the sources as saying that Blatter and he will meet with DPRK sports officials to discuss matters concerning sharing some of the 2002 World Cup finals in Pyongyang. Chung’s remarks came shortly after Peter Velappan, general secretary of the Asian Football Confederation, said that Blatter will visit the DPRK in September this year at the invitation of Chang Ung, chairman of the DPRK Olympic Committee. Velappan, a visiting FIFA delegate, also serves as coordination director for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Chung, who received an official invitation to visit the DPRK last December from the DPRK’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, has failed twice to visit the DPRK because of differing positions on the sharing issue between the two Koreas.

12. DPRK Business in the ROK

Chosun Ilbo (In-ku Kim, “OFFICIAL APPROVAL FOR NK RESTAURANT IN SEOUL,” Seoul, 05/03/99) reported that the ROK government plans to approve the establishment of a local branch of the DPRK restaurant, Okryu-gwan, as an ROK-DPRK economic cooperation project. Last year, a local restaurateur applied for the ROK government’s permission to open the DPRK’s famous cold buckwheat noodle restaurant. He was, however, turned down at the time because officials thought that the opening of a restaurant serving expensive naengmyon from the DPRK would meet with public disapproval due to the onset of the financial crisis. Along with a number of changes in circumstances, the initial request of the DPRK interests for a seven percent of sales has since been reduced to two percent of sales, leading the administration to view the proposal more favorably this time around.

13. ROK Status for Ethnic Koreans

Chosun Ilbo (Myoung-jin Kim, “SPECIAL STATUS FOR ETHNIC KOREANS FROM CHINA, RUSSIA,” Seoul, 05/02/99) reported that the ROK Ministry of Justice is planning to allow ethnic Koreans in the PRC and Russia with long-term resident visas to freely enter and exit the ROK for the duration of their visa. An earlier announcement that ethnic Koreans all over the world would be able to enjoy the same legal status as ROK citizens as of July 1999 was met with objections from the PRC. The PRC government said that ethnic Koreans living in the PRC were full Chinese citizens and should therefore not be treated differently from their ethnic Chinese compatriots. The ROK then decided to exclude the ethnic Koreans residing in the PRC from the measure, but this new allowance is designed as a replacement.

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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
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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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