IN TODAY’S REPORT:
2. US-PRC Summit
3. Japanese-Russian Relations
4. Russian “Seismic Event”
5. APEC Meeting
2. KEDO Inspection
3. ROK Presidential Elections
4. Japanese-Russian Relations
2. Situation on the Korean Peninsula
3. PRC-Japan Relations
4. Japanese-Russian Relations
5. ROK-Cambodia Relations
The AP-Dow Jones News Service (“N. KOREA SAYS U.S., CHINA PRESSURE RUINS PROSPECTS FOR TALKS,” Seoul, 11/04/97) reported that the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency quoted an unidentified spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry as saying on Tuesday that reports of joint US-PRC pressure on the DPRK to participate in Korean peace talks were ruining prospects for the talks. US President Bill Clinton and PRC President Jiang Zemin issued a joint statement last Wednesday, agreeing to urge the DPRK to join peace talks on the Korean Peninsula. [Ed. note: The text of this statement was distributed by NAPSNet as a Special Report on October 30.] The spokesman said, “Such reports only get on our nerves.” He added, “The rumors now spread by some mass media will only throw a wet blanket over the atmosphere that is getting favorable.”
The Associated Press (Charles Hutzler, “EXPERTS: JIANG TRIP EFFECTS LIMITED,” Beijing, 11/04/97) quoted Ronald Montaperto, a PRC specialist at National Defense University in Washington, as saying that, as a result of the recently concluded US-PRC summit, “We will have 18 months to 2 years of positive developments in Chinese-U.S. relations.” However, he cautioned that afterwards the same disputes over human rights, trade, and Taiwan will reemerge to the forefront of US-PRC relations. Wang Jisi, a US expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, added, “The question has always been whether China can construct a new foundation for the relationship.” Wang said that even if the peak that PRC-U.S. relations reached in the 1980s is gone, future lows might not be so damaging. PRC President Jiang Zemin, on returning from his US visit, termed it a “very good trip.”
Reuters (“JAPAN HAILS OUTCOME OF HASHIMOTO-YELTSIN SUMMIT,” Tokyo, 11/03/97) reported that Japanese government spokesman Kanezo Muraoka on Tuesday said that the agreement between Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and Russian President Boris Yeltsin to try to seal a peace treaty by the year 2000 “is an important step towards resolving a territorial issue.” Muraoka said Japan may send Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi to Moscow, although he gave no indication of the possible timing of such a visit.
Reuters (Steve Holland, “RUSSIA DID NOT SET OFF NUCLEAR TEST, U.S. CONCLUDES,” Washington, 11/04/97) reported that US officials said Tuesday that the US has dropped its charge that Russia may have secretly detonated a nuclear explosion near a Russian nuclear test site in the Arctic Circle on August 16. [Ed. note: See “Nuclear Test Ban” in the US Section of the October 21 Daily Report.] A nuclear test would have been in violation of Russia’s moratorium on nuclear tests. An unidentified White House official said, “We’re not exactly sure whether it was an earthquake or an underground volcano. It certainly was not a nuclear event. It was a seismic event.” He added, “The CIA actually made the determination that this was a non-nuclear event and we agreed with that finding.” There was no indication that the US planned to apologize to Russia over the accusation.
The White House (“CLINTON TO ATTEND APEC LEADERS’ MEETING IN VANCOUVER,” Washington, USIA Text, 11/03/97) announced that US President Bill Clinton will attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 5th Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, to be held November 24-25. Discussions at the meeting are expected to focus on strengthening growth and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
An ROK Foreign ministry official said Monday that US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott will arrive in Seoul November 13 for a two-day visit. A twenty-five member entourage including Jan Lodal, principal deputy undersecretary of defense, and Stanley Roth, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, will accompany Talbott. During his stay in Seoul, Talbott will meet with ROK Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha and Vice Foreign Minister Lee Ki-choo. Talbott is also scheduled to pay a courtesy call on ROK President Kim Young-sam. The US and ROK officials will evaluate the situation in the DPRK, including the food shortage, since Kim Jong-il’s formal ascension to power last month. The officials will also discuss concerted steps to realize the four-way talks and implement the US-DPRK nuclear accord signed in Geneva in 1994. Talbott is expected to reaffirm Washington’s position that it will pay no money for the construction of light-water reactors in the DPRK as it is already contributing heavy fuel oil to the DPRK. The agenda for Talbott’s talks with ROK officials will also encompass environmental and trade issues between the ROK and the US, the official added. (Korea Herald, “US OFFICIAL DUE HERE TO DISCUSS DPRK ISSUES,” 11/04/97)
ROK government officials said Monday that the new executive director of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), Desaix Anderson, will visit the two Koreas November 12-22. Anderson, former US ambassador to Vietnam, took over from the outgoing Stephen Bosworth at an executive board meeting held last week in Tokyo. Anderson will visit the ROK November 12-16 and meet ROK Deputy Prime Minister Kwon O-kie, Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha and Chang Sun-sop, chief of the ROK Office of the Light-Water Nuclear Project. He is also scheduled to visit the DPRK November 18-22 to meet with Lee Jae-sik of the General Bureau of Atomic Energy, Ho Jong, ambassador-at-large, and Kim Byong-gi, head of the DPRK Bureau of the Light-Water Nuclear Project. (Korea Herald, “NEW KEDO DIRECTOR TO VISIT TWO KOREAS,” 11/04/97)
The ROK presidential race is narrowing down to a three-way competition among Kim Dae-jung (National Congress for New Politics: NCNP), Lee Hoi-chang (New Korea Party: NKP) and Rhee In-je (People’s New Party: PNP). The Minju faction, followers of President Kim Young-sam within the NKP, is drawing keen attention, as it is apparently inching toward supporting its former colleague Rhee In-je. The Minju group’s organ, “People’s Alliance,” yesterday renewed its calls for an anti-Kim Dae-jung alliance, in a preparatory step for pressuring Lee Hoi-chang to yield his candidacy to Rhee, who leads Lee in opinion polls. The Minju faction are also making moves to detach themselves from the NKP and join with Rhee’s PNP. The Minju faction’s rival in the NKP, the Minjung faction, is disregarding such moves as they consider a split by the Minju faction as advantageous for the NKP. Rhee’s PNP welcomes the “detached” Minju faction’s integration in principal but is concerned about the negative effect to its slogan of “good-bye, old politics.” Ostensibly, the NKP and PNP share the view that the political era of the three Kims (Dae-jung, Young-sam and Jong-pil) should end, but they are sharply pitted against each other in what seems to be a “proxy” confrontation between President Kim and NKP candidate Lee. (Korea Times, Kim Yong-bom, “PRESIDENTIAL RACE NARROWING DOWN TO 3-WAY COMPETITION,” 11/04/97)
Russia and Japan will do everything they can to resolve their half-century territorial dispute over the Kuril islands and sign a peace treaty by 2000, leaders of the respective states said Sunday. “We agreed that we will make all efforts to reach a peace accord by 2000,” Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said at a joint press conference with Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Tokyo. “We have set a concrete deadline for solving the Russian-Japanese problem and reaching a peace accord by 2000,” Yeltsin stated. The decision was announced at the end of two days of informal talks outside the central Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. The two leaders said peace negotiations would be based on the 1993 Tokyo Declaration, signed by Yeltsin and then premier Morihiro Hosokawa, which stated the need for continuing negotiations and settling the Kurils dispute on a legal basis. A Japanese foreign ministry official told reporters that the timetable for reaching the peace treaty would extend to the end of 2000. The two leaders also agreed to tell negotiators working on Japanese fishing rights around the Kuril islands to reach an accord by the end of 1997. Japan promised to support Russia’s bid to enter the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the two neighbors also agreed to begin an exchange of high-level military visits. (Korea Times, “RUSSIA, JAPAN PLEDGE FOR PEACE TREATY BY 2000,” 11/04/97)
Jie Fang Daily (“PUTTING EMPHASIS ON COOPERATION AND REDUCING DIFFERENCES — COMMENTS ON CHINESE-US RELATIONS IN NEW ERA,” 10/31/97, p. 3) reported that experts in Beijing on international affairs highly praised PRC President Jiang Zemin’s visit to the US. Experts participating in a seminar sponsored by Jie Fang Daily said that President Jiang’s visit to the US was fruitful. The two countries increased mutual understanding, expanded common ground and pushed cooperation forward. The participants pointed out that, due to the differences in historical and cultural backgrounds, China and the US still have different opinions on some issues, such as human rights. They hoped that these problems could be resolved through official and unofficial dialogues between the two countries. They also hoped that the US would abide by the principles established by the three Sino-US joint communiques.
The quarterly International Studies (Yu Zhongzhou, “DEVELOPMENT OF SITUATION ON KOREAN PENINSULA AND ITS PROSPECT,” No. 4, 1997, pp. 11-16) carried an article which discussed how tensions have still become aggravated from time to time on the Korean Peninsula since the signing of the agreed framework on nuclear issues between the US and DPRK. The article said that the major reason for these tensions is the confrontation and mutual distrust between the ROK and the DPRK, which are still serious. However, efforts to ease the tension have never stopped: The person-to-person exchanges and economic and trade ties between the two sides have further developed, greater attention has been paid by various parties to dialogue and consultation, and the factors for peace and stability have further increased. The changes in the surrounding environment and the policy readjustment by big powers are positive conditions for the relaxation of tension, and each side’s own interests provide an important impetus to continued contacts between the ROK and the DPRK. In the future, according to the article, the process of the “four-party talks” will determine the changes in the situation and the formation of the structure on the Korean Peninsula. However, the related parties still have differences on their concrete principles regarding the “four-party talks.” Firstly, the US and DPRK have not completely eliminated their hostility towards each other. Secondly, the DPRK is rather reluctant to accept the ROK as a partner in the negotiations. Thirdly, the ROK obviously opposes the resolution of the Korean issue without its participation. Finally, some concrete problems, such as the US military presence on Korean Peninsula, will influence the process of the “four-party talks.” In conclusion, the author expressed hope that the two Koreas can seize the opportunity and bring the course of peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula into a new era.
An article in World Outlook (“THE STATUS QUO AND PROSPECT OF PRC- JAPAN RELATIONS,” No. 17, 1997, pp. 2-5) analyzed the obstacles in PRC-Japan relations. Besides the four main problems of Japan’s refusal to recognize its aggressive history, the Japanese-US military alliance, the Taiwan issue and territorial disputes, there are three other unfavorable elements. The first is that the conservatives have got the upper hand in Japan’s political arena. Their relatively harsh policies on foreign and defense issues are not beneficial to the improvement of PRC-Japan relations. Secondly, both in Japan and in the PRC, public feelings toward the other country are not as positive as before, thus eroding the foundation of bilateral relations. Finally, PRC-Japan relations are largely influenced by the relations between the PRC and the US, and therefore Sino-Japanese relations will fluctuate with the variations in Sino-US relations. Considering the economic interdependence and the strategic coordination among the major powers, the author believed that the PRC-Japan relationship will maintain a normal development in the 21st century. However, the author also warned that frequent friction between the PRC and Japan will be inevitable in the future.
The latest issue of the monthly Contemporary International Relations published an article on the readjustment of Japan’s policy toward Russia (“JAPAN: MAJOR READJUSTMENT OF ITS FOREIGN POLICY TOWARD RUSSIA,” No. 10, 1997, pp. 14-18). The article said that the administration of Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, after forming its second cabinet on January 3 this year, formally decided to readjust its policy toward Russia, shifting from the principle of “expanded equilibrium” to the new one of “multi-level engagement.” Whereas “expanded equilibrium” emphasized negotiations of territorial disputes, the new principle of “multi-level engagement” advocates de-linking economic cooperation from territorial negotiations. The reorientation of Japan’s foreign policy toward Russia is a pragmatic approach, the article said. It will be conducive for Japan’s bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council and to enlarge its economic interest in the Northeast Asian region, thus finally contributing to the improvement of Japan’s international status and influence.
An article in the semimonthly World Outlook (“ANALYSIS ON THE STATUS QUO OF RUSSIAN-JAPANESE RELATIONS,” No. 19, 1997, pp. 2-4) said that in recent years, especially since Ryutaro Hashimoto became the prime minister of Japan, the bilateral relations between Japan and Russia suddenly have entered into a period of rapid development. Japan and Russia not only held more dialogues in the political field, but also carried out frequent military exchanges. Japan’s economic aid and investment to Russia have increased as well. The article pointed out that the improvement of Russian-Japanese relations results from the two countries’ mutual interests. To Russia, Japan is an important source of help for revitalizing its economy, especially in the far-eastern area. Furthermore, from a geopolitical perspective, Russia hopes to use Japan’s influence in the Asia-Pacific area to offset US and PRC influence and to strengthen Russia’s status in this area. Besides economic considerations, Japan also wants to increase its international status by the improvement of its relations with Russia, and push the resolution of territorial disputes forward. However, the recent development of Russian-Japanese relations lacks substance, the article said, because it largely depends on the personal relations between the two leaders. The northern territory dispute is still the main obstacle to the development of Russian-Japanese relations. In addition, the US role in Japanese-Russian cooperation cannot be ignored. As the US is the most important partner of Japan, Japanese-Russian cooperation must be limited under the framework of the Japanese-US alliance.
Just before the summit between Russian President Boris Yelstin and Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, Jie Fang Daily published a commentary (“IS IT POSSIBLE FOR JAPAN AND RUSSIA TO ESTABLISH A `STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP?’,” 10/26/97, p.4) saying that the establishment of a strategic partnership between Japan and Russia lacks a foundation. The article pointed out that Japan and Russia have not signed a peace and friendship treaty, apparently because of their territorial disputes. But the real problem is that Russia and Japan lack mutual trust. To Russia, Japan is a dangerous enemy with aggressive potential. To Japan, Russia is a nation not worthy of being trusted. According to the article, Hashimoto is trying to use improvement of relations with Russia to increase his reputation in Japan. As to Russia, in addition to economic considerations, its urgency to improve relations with Japan stems from the improvement of PRC-US relations. In conclusion, the author said, even if Japan and Russia really establish some kind of strategic partnership, that relationship will be very fragile.
China Daily (“CAMBODIA, ROK TO ESTABLISH FULL TIES,” Phnom Penh, 10/30/97, p. 11) reported that Cambodia will soon establish full diplomatic relations with the ROK, after King Norodom Sihanouk dropped his long-time opposition to formal ties. Prak Sokhonn, a top aide to Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, said ambassador-level relations could be established if the ROK agrees. He said the ROK mission in Phnom Penh was awaiting instructions from Seoul on the matter. Sihanouk said earlier he was opposed to any contact with the ROK and wanted full relations postponed until after his death. But in response to a request last week from Hun Sen, Sihanouk apparently said the government could establish full ties after he left Cambodia on November 1 for medical treatment in the PRC. Hun Sen has said repeatedly that he hoped to upgrade ties with the ROK to boost ROK investors’ confidence in Cambodia. About 20 ROK companies have invested a total of US$300 million in Cambodia, according to the country’s commercial mission in Phnom Penh. Two-way trade was worth US$20 million last year, with Cambodia only accounting for US$2 million in exports to the ROK. [Ed. Note: See “ROK-Cambodia Relations” in the US Section of the October 30 Daily Report.]
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