NAPSNet Daily Report 05 April, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 05 April, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, April 05, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-05-april-1999/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Talks

The Associated Press (“REPORT: U.S., N. KOREA TALKED NUKES,” Seoul, 04/05/99) reported that the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Monday that US technical experts visited Pyongyang from Wednesday through Saturday last week to discuss “technical matters” related to a planned inspection of the underground construction site in Kumchangri. KCNA said that the discussions included “details and method of the on-site visit to the facility in Kumchangri” and equipment the US inspectors will be allowed to carry. The report said that both sides agreed to continue discussions. KCNA also repeated its earlier claim that US officials will “visit,” not inspect, the site, as a US inspection of the facility would violate the DPRK’s sovereignty.

2. Japanese Naval Engagement

The Associated Press (“JAPAN SAYS N.KOREA SENT SPY SHIPS,” Tokyo, 04/04/99) reported that the Tokyo Shimbun on Sunday quoted unidentified Japanese defense officials as saying that the two ships chased by the Japanese navy recently were part of a group of seven vessels first detected by Japanese radar on March 21. Five of the ships left Japanese waters for the DPRK within a day, but the other two remained behind because one of them had engine trouble. The report said that the Japanese government believes that the DPRK intended the ships to be spotted and wanted to provoke Japan.

3. ROK-DPRK Ship Collision

The Associated Press (“SEAMEN HANDED OVER TO NORTH KOREA,” Colombo, 04/04/99) reported that M.N. Riyal, an official from the local Sri Lankan agents of the DPRK ship that sank after colliding with a DPRK vessel, said that the ROK crewmen handed the only two survivors over to DPRK diplomats on Sunday.

The Associated Press (“37 MISSING SEAMEN LIKELY DEAD,” Colombo, 04/02/99) said that Sri Lankan officials said Saturday that the 37 DPRK crewmen missing from the collision with an ROK ship probably did not survive. S. Sigamany, the chief officer of the Colombo Radio, which relays distress calls and coordinates port-related services, stated, “We now believe that the worst has happened.” He added, “It is very difficult to believe that there are any more survivors. However, all the ships moving in the area have been requested to look for any sign of life…. We have not given up hope.” Mahinda Gunnatissa, another Colombo Radio official, said that the two survivors were on duty on the freighter’s bridge, while the remaining 37 were believed trapped inside their cabins and the engine room when the ship sank. Gunnatissa added that the ROK crewmen “are not telling us anything about how the accident took place and what really happened.”

4. DPRK Political Structure

Dow Jones Newswires (“N. KOREA LEADER KIM JONG IL GIVEN SUPREME POWER – KYODO,” Seoul, 04/05/99) reported that Japan’s Kyodo News cited the Tuesday edition of the ROK’s Joong-ang Ilbo as saying that a document for senior officials of the DPRK’s ruling Workers Party of Korea said that Kim Jong-il holds supreme power as chairman of the National Defense Commission (NDC). The document called the NDC chairmanship the highest state post and said it conferred command of the nation’s politics, military, and economy. The document was compiled after the Supreme People’s Assembly reelected Kim chairman of the NDC last September. The document also emphasized that while the power of representing the state to foreign nations had been passed on to the chairman of the SPA under the revised Constitution, that power was only delegated to the chairman by “the great general” (Kim).

5. DPRK Famine

The Associated Press (Martin Fackler, “N. KOREAN KIDS SAID IN A BAD WAY,” Beijing, 04/05/99) reported that Bernard Krisher, who runs the Internet Appeal for North Korean Children, said Monday that children in the DPRK are stunted and malnourished. Krisher added that as many as 2 million children under age 5 are not getting shots for measles and other illnesses. He said that shortages of fuel, electricity and money have forced the closure of factories that produce vaccines. Krisher stated, “They just don’t have the equipment and the material.” Krisher said that UNICEF needs US$2.8 million to immunize all DPRK children but only has about US$450,000.

6. Chinese Dissident Blocked in ROK

The Associated Press (“S. KOREA BLOCKS CHINA DISSIDENT FROM RETURNING TO BEIJING,” Beijing, 04/05/99) reported that on Monday the ROK’s Asiana Airlines stopped Chinese dissident Wang Xizhe from boarding a flight to Beijing. Asiana representatives said they checked with PRC authorities because Wang had a “refugee travel document” issued by the US government but no passport. One anonymous Asiana official said that PRC authorities told Asiana that Wang could not enter the PRC. Meanwhile, the Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China, a Hong Kong-based rights group, said that police in Beijing arrested four members of a banned opposition party who knew of Wang’s plans. One of those arrested, Gao Hongming, stated, “They were scared I was going to meet Wang Xizhe at the airport.”

7. Taiwan-PRC Relations

The Associated Press (“TAIWAN EX-PREMIER VISITS CHINA,” Taipei, 04/03/99) reported that former Taiwanese Premier Hau Pei-tsun premier left for the PRC on Saturday to visit his ancestral home in Yencheng in eastern Jiangsu province. Hau said that he last saw his home 61 years ago after graduating from a military academy and joining the war against Japan. Hau, also a former defense chief, has been criticized over whether he might leak state and military secrets during the trip. He stated, however, “There will be no political ramifications.”

8. PRC Premier’s Trip to US

Reuters (“CHINA ENVOY BLASTS U.S. CRITICS BEFORE ZHU VISIT,” Beijing, 04/05/99) reported that PRC Ambassador to the US Li Zhaoxing said on Sunday that critics of PRC Premier Zhu Rongji’s visit are seeking to damage bilateral ties. Li stated, “It has almost become a rule that whenever Sino-U.S. relations go smoothly, some forces in the United States will be unhappy and try to stand in the way.” He added, “Some U.S. politicians try to interfere in China’s internal affairs, infringe on China’s sovereignty and destabilize China by supporting the Dalai Lama’s activities aimed at splitting China.” Li cited positive results of the US-PRC relationship such as trying to prevent a nuclear showdown in South Asia, close consultations on the Asian financial crisis, and working to stabilize the situation on the Korean peninsula.

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, “ZHU READY TO FACE CRITICS ON U.S. TRIP,” Beijing, 04/05/99, A08) reported that US Senator Gordon Smith, R-Oregon, said that PRC Premier Zhu Rongji’s trip to the US will help resolve US-PRC differences. Smith stated, “I actually believe he would be a wonderful face for China in America. I found him a very warm and friendly human being that brings a charisma that Americans would warm to, like we have with few other Chinese leaders.” He added, “I told him that while it is a time of peril, it’s also one of real opportunity to roll back some of the criticisms and make some changes in the policies that will help us make progress between our countries.” An unnamed US diplomat stated, “Zhu’s a very impressive guy, but he’s not a closet capitalist, he’s not China’s Gorbachev or anything like that. He’s a Soviet-trained engineer. He’s a central planner. He believes in a state- run economy. He’s very clearly not a capitalist.” David Shambaugh, an expert on Chinese security issues at George Washington University and the Brookings Institution, said that a US-PRC “disagreements don’t add up to strategic partnership, they add up to strategic competition.” An unnamed Asian diplomat stated, “Zhu is in a box right now. His instincts tell him to open up to the United States. But the hard-liners would be able to use that to damage him at home.”

Dow Jones Newswires (Peter Wonacott, “CHINA’S ZHU HEADS TO U.S. TO RETURN TIES TO STABLE TRACK,” Beijing, 04/05/99) reported that analysts said that both the US and the PRC see PRC Premier Zhu Rongji’s upcoming US visit as a way to improve damaged bilateral relations. Chen Baosen, a senior research fellow at the Development Center of the PRC State Council, stated, “There is a kind of consensus between the two governments for the need to improve relations. The relationship between the two continues to be so important.” David Shambaugh, a professor of political science at George Washington University, stated, “This has been an inherently fragile relationship. He added that PRC-US ties have “been characterized by radical fluctuation, not stability.” One unnamed US diplomat said that in the US, “There’s tremendous respect for [Zhu] – a belief that he’s committed to what is best for China.” He added, however, “charisma in itself isn’t enough to pull off the visit.” Michele Mack Liedeker, director of China operations at the US-China Business Council, argued, “It’s good for Zhu to be going to the US to help explain recent events. And it’s good for the US business community that he recognizes the problems and talks about the deficit.”

The New York Times (Erik Eckholm, “VOLATILE ISSUES AWAIT CHINA’S PREMIER IN U.S.,” Beijing, 04/04/99, 4) reported that analysts said that PRC Premier Zhu Rongji is well suited to address the problems in US-PRC relations during his upcoming trip. Zhang Xiaojin, professor of international politics at People’s University in Bejing, stated, “He’s a smart leader with great personal charisma, and very adept at using it to sell his messages. This trip comes at a critical time, and what he does could have an important impact on the long-term development of the Chinese-American relationship.” Xiong Zhiyong, dean of the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing, predicted, “Zhu Rongji will try to get the American people to understand the real situation in China.” However, David Shambaugh of the Brookings Institution said that PRC officials tend to underestimate the depth of US concerns over human rights, trade, and foreign policy. He stated, “They don’t understand that the broad masses [in the US] see China through suspicious eyes.”

9. PRC-US Relations

The Washington Times (Barbara J. Saffir, “EVENTS, POLITICS PUSH CLINTON TO ADAPT WITH POLICY CHANGES,” 04/05/99) reported that critics said that US President Bill Clinton’s policy toward the PRC has shifted drastically since he took office. James Lilley, former US ambassador to the PRC who is now a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, stated, “They have moved from a sort of endless emotional confrontation during his first term where they insulted the Chinese on human rights” to “military exchanges way beyond anything that made any sense.” However, Christine Bliss of the Emergency Committee for American Trade argued, “Overall, the policy has remained one of engagement. Engagement has promoted change in China and is our best hope of producing further change.”

10. 1972 US-PRC Talks

The Los Angeles Times (Jim Mann, “CHINA IS OLD HAND AT ELECTION-WATCHING DIPLOMACY,” Washington, 05/04/99) reported that newly declassified documents show that, during US President Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to Beijing, PRC Premier Chou En-lai expressed his hope for Nixon’s reelection. Chou stated, “It is our hope that you will be able to continue in office…. It is also our hope that Dr. [National Security Advisor Henry A.] Kissinger, too, will remain with you to help, Mr. President, in your work.” Chou also stated, “It would be good if the liberation of Taiwan could be realized in your next term of office.” He added, “We are not asking you to remove Chiang Kai-shek. We will take care of that ourselves.” Nixon responded, “Peacefully.” Nixon promised Chou, “We will, to the extent we are able, use our influence to discourage Japan from moving into Taiwan as our presence becomes less.” The handwritten notes that Nixon made before the meeting show that he planned to suggest that the US would attempt to restrict Japan’s influence in other Asian countries, such as the ROK and Indonesia. Nixon said that his goal was to normalize relations between the US and the PRC, adding, “If I should win the election, I have five years to achieve it. I cannot … now make a secret deal and shake hands and say that within the second term, it will be done. If I did that, I would be at the mercy of the press if they asked the question. I don’t want to say that.” The transcripts of the Nixon-Chou conversations were declassified and released to the National Security Archive.

11. PRC, Soviet Biological Weapons

The New York Times (William J. Broad and Judith Miller, “DEFECTOR TELLS OF SOVIET AND CHINESE GERM WEAPONS,” 04/05/99) reported that former Soviet defector Kanatjan Alibekov (now known as Alibek) said in a new book that Soviet officials concluded that the PRC had suffered a serious accident at one of its secret plants for developing biological weapons, causing two major epidemics. The book also said that Soviet researchers tried to develop a weapon using HIV. It added that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev ordered a major expansion of biological weapons research. The book stated, “Gorbachev’s Five-Year Plan — and his generous funding, which would amount to over $1 billion by the end of the decade — allowed us to catch up” with the US biological weapons program. The book, “Biohazard,” written with journalist Stephen Handelman, is being published by Random House this week. US intelligence officials have called Alibek highly believable about the subjects he knows firsthand, like the Soviet biological-weapons program from 1975 to 1992. They added that he is less reliable on political and military issues.

12. Pakistani Nuclear Weapons

The Associated Press (“PAKISTAN CELEBRATES NUKE ANNIVERSARY,” Islamabad, 04/05/99) reported that Pakistan is planning a one-week celebration to mark the anniversary of last year’s nuclear tests. State media reported Monday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Cabinet decided to devote the week before May 28 to the celebrations, and a Cabinet committee has been formed to plan the festival.

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK-DPRK Ship Collision

Chosun Ilbo (“NK BLAMES SOUTH FOR COLLISION,” Seoul, 04/05/99) reported that the DPRK issued a statement through Pyongyang Radio on Sunday blaming the ROK for sinking its ship in the collision that occurred in the Indian Ocean recently. The statement said “the ‘Manpok’ left Singapore on March 26 steaming at 11 knots and the ‘Hyundai Drake’ left the same port on March 26 at 16 knots and followed the same route, so it is clear who is the victim.” It continued that ROK officials had prevented DPRK officials from seeing the survivors.

2. DPRK-Japan Diplomatic Normalization

JoongAng Ilbo (“JAPAN LIKELY OFFER $4 BILLION PLUS TO NORMALIZE RELATIONS WITH N.K.,” Seoul, 04/05/99) reported that Kim Young-chun, a researcher at the ROK’s Unification Research Institute, on April 5 released a report entitled, “A study on Japan’s foreign aid policy: normalization of North Korea and Japan, and the relationship of the two Koreas.” His report’s analysis states that Japan is considering offering US$4 billion of economic development aid to the DPRK in return for establishing official foreign relations with the DPRK, which in turn is expecting US$10 billion in economic support from Japan. He stated, therefore, that Japan will probably give US$4-10 billion to the DPRK to normalize its relationship with DPRK. He added that if foreign relations between Japan and DPRK were normalized, various exchanges between the two countries, which Japan would finance, would markedly increase.

3. Reported New Tax System in DPRK

JoongAng Ilbo (“NK IMPOSING A QUASI-TAX ON WORKERS,” Seoul, 04/05/99) reported that the DPRK has reportedly started to collect a kind of quasi-tax from its workers, called the 8.3 expense. The National Intelligence Service said on April 5, quoting defectors’ testimony, that companies and factories in the DPRK are levying 500 to 600 won taxes on each worker per month. The 8.3 expense is allegedly used to purchase raw materials for the production of necessary consumer products and to pay the salaries of employees at state-owned businesses. The DPRK has boasted to the world that it is the only country in the world without taxes after the complete abolition of their tax system in 1973. Imposing the quasi-tax on their people can only mean that the financial situation in the DPRK has worsened beyond their endurance, an official at the National Intelligence Service explained. Reportedly, the DPRK people are accepting the 8.3 expense without complaint.

4. US Forces in ROK

Chosun Ilbo (“US FORCES KOREA GET TWO AC-130HS,” Seoul, 04/05/99) reported that the US military command in the ROK is receiving augmentation equipment in the wake of the departure of the USS Kittyhawk, based in Yokohama, for the Mediterranean. The new equipment is to fill a fighting capability vacuum following the carrier’s departure and includes two AC-130H ‘gunships’ according to a military source. In addition, F-15Es, EA-6Bs and B-52s based in the US are reportedly on a state of alert. The heavily armed, four-engine AC-130H was deployed in the ROK last year when the 7th fleet was detoured to the Gulf. Independent of the Kosovo crisis, the US army plans a new weapons deployment this year including UAV reconnaissance drones and laser guided “smart” bombs. The number of A-10 “tank killers” will also be increased to 24 from 18.

5. ROK-Russia Relation

Korea Herald (“SEOUL, MOSCOW TO SIGN CRIMINAL, JUDICIAL COOPERATION AGREEMENT,” Seoul, 04/06/99) reported that the ROK and Russia will sign a treaty on mutual assistance in criminal and judicial affairs during ROK President Kim Dae-jung’s state visit to Moscow next month. “Both sides have now completed all procedures necessary to sign the treaty,” a ministry spokesman said, adding that Kim and Russian President Boris Yeltsin will likely sign the treaty themselves. The treaty covers cooperation in identifying and locating criminals, temporarily transferring detained criminal suspects and exchanging information and documents on crimes. The two countries have agreed to sign the treaty to better cope with a growing number of international crimes involving their nationals, another ministry official said. Since 1990, when ROK and Russia set up diplomatic relations, human exchanges have sharply increased, with some 200,000 Russians visiting ROK annually, he said. The official said that the ROK and Russia will soon start new negotiations on a criminal extradition treaty, which he said usually follows a judicial cooperation treaty.

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Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
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