NAPSNet Daily Report 05 February, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 05 February, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, February 05, 1999,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

I. United States

1. Remains of US Servicemen from Korean War

US Department of Defense (“DEFENSE DEPARTMENT REPORT, FEBRUARY 4,” 02/04/99) announced that a Department of Defense delegation led by Robert L. Jones, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs, has concluded a visit to the PRC to seek additional cooperation in resolving the fates of US servicemen missing from the Korean War. During his trip, Jones met with officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing to discuss ways in which the PRC government could be of assistance. Jones stated, “We believe Chinese records of the war may hold the key to resolving the fates of many of our missing servicemen from the Korean War. The Chinese have been very cooperative in our investigations of Southeast Asia and World War II losses. They have located sites where our World War II servicemen crashed and led us to remote areas where recovery teams have brought back remains. The Chinese have pledged continued cooperation. We are grateful for their continued assistance in this humanitarian mission.”

2. US Policy toward DPRK

The Chicago Tribune carried an editorial (“NORTH KOREA’S BRINKMANSHIP,” 02/04/99) which said that CIA Director George Tenet’s testimony to Congress on the DPRK’s missile development was “an embarrassing admission for the Clinton administration, which has consistently downplayed missile threats until now.” It added, “The Clinton administration may have come around to the Rumsfeld commission’s view of a more imminent North Korean threat and the desirability of a national missile defense, but the troubling fact remains that the technology is not available yet to ensure the success of such a defense.” It concluded, “For decades, America has relied on a strategy of deterrence to keep peace on the Korean Peninsula. That may not make Americans sleep more soundly, given that despotic North Korea is increasingly desperate, but deterrence will be the best bet until research finds a way to develop a viable missile defense system.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 5.]

3. ROK-Japan Fisheries Agreement

The Associated Press (“JAPAN, S. KOREA REACH FISHERIES AGREEMENT,” Seoul, 02/05/99) reported that ROK government officials said that Japan and the ROK completed a new fisheries treaty on Friday, agreeing on quotas and fishing methods in their respective waters. Chun In-bong, a ministry spokesman, stated, “By reaching the agreement, we removed a stumbling block in the Japan-South Korea relationship.” The ROK agreed to reduce its annual quota inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone to 149,800 tons, down from 207,000 tons last year. The annual crab and eel catches will be cut in half to 3,500 tons. The ROK also agreed to reduce the number of boats from 337 to 192 that place nets into deep waters over an extended period of time, a fishing method that Japan said depletes resources. Japan’s fishing quota in the ROK exclusive economic zone will decrease slightly to 93,700 tons, from 100,000 tons. Chun said that the talks were focused on reducing the ROK’s quota because fishing grounds near Japan are much more fertile than those near the ROK.

4. US Missile Defense

Defense Daily (Sheila Foote, “HOUSE MEMBERS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN NMD BILL,” 02/05/99, 2) reported that senior Republican and Democratic House of Representatives Armed Services Committee members on Thursday introduced a bill calling for deployment of a National Missile Defense system. The bill (H.R. 4) states, “That it is the policy of the United States to deploy a national missile defense system.” The bill has 58 cosponsors, 30 Republicans and 28 Democrats. Representative Curt Weldon, R-PA, said that “a deployment commitment will … send a clear message to countries like North Korea, Iran, and Iraq that their efforts to develop a long-range ballistic missile capability to strike the United States will not go unchallenged.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 5.]

Defense Daily (Sheila Foote, “WHITE HOUSE THREATENS VETO OF COCHRAN’S NMD BILL,” 02/05/99, 1) reported that, in a February 3 letter to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), US National Security Advisor Samuel Berger threatened a presidential veto of national missile defense (NMD) legislation (S. 257) sponsored by Senator Thad Cochran, R-Miss. Berger said that the administration objects to the legislation “because it suggests that our decision on deploying this system should be based solely on a determination that the system is ‘technologically possible.'” He added that a decision based only on technological feasibility “would ignore other critical factors that the administration believes must be addressed when it considers the deployment question in 2000, including those that must be evaluated by the president as commander-in-chief.” He stated, “We intend to base the deployment decision on an assessment of the technology (based on an initial series of rigorous flight tests) and the proposed system’s operational effectiveness. In addition, the president and his senior advisors will need to confirm whether the rogue state ballistic missile threat to the United States has developed as quickly as we now expect, as well as the cost to deploy.” Further, Berger said, “a decision regarding NMD deployment must also be addressed within the context of the ABM Treaty and our objectives for achieving future reductions in strategic offensive arms through START II and III.” Cochran said that he is “disappointed” by the letter from Berger, but does not intend to change the text of his bill. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 5.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Satellite

Joongang Ilbo (“SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH OF NK SATELLITE IMMINENT,” 02/05/99) reported that the DPRK will probably bring about the successful launch of the Kwang Myong Sung 2 Satellite into orbit by the end of this year. A government source said on February 5 that the satellite launched aboard a Taepodong-One missile by the DPRK last year had been close to gaining orbit before it failed, according to the US intelligence agencies that had closely followed the path of the missile. The source also added that the level of development of the DPRK’s program is considerably higher than expected. The US sees the previous failure as evidence of the DPRK’s lack of advanced technology for launching a rocket into space. Meanwhile, the report by William Perry, the US coordinator for DPRK policy, concerning the present situation is nearing completion. Perry’s report is expected to warn the DPRK that this will be the last chance for negotiation with the US.

2. DPRK-ROK Talks

Joongang Ilbo (“NK PURSUES MORE CONTACT WITH THE SOUTH,” 02/05/99) reported that the DPRK announced on February 5 through media that it would pursue more contact with the ROK this year in the fields of politics, academics, media, and religion. It also demanded that the ROK must abolish its National Security Act for the sake of the “independence” of the ROK people to act as they wish.

3. DPRK Refugees in PRC

Chosun Ilbo (“CHINA BARS STARVING KOREANS: THE TIMES,” 02/05/99) reported that the Times of London said on Friday the PRC government said that the DPRK nationals who have fled their famine-hit homeland are not considered as refugees and would be pushed back across the border to face the possibility of death either by execution or starvation. The PRC police in the border town of Tumen are fining anyone harboring DPRK citizens 5,000 yuan, which is a year’s income in the area, according to the paper. The article said that there is also a shoot-to-kill policy by the DPRK guards along the border, and the DPRK regards repatriated refugees as “traitors,” who are either executed or sent to jail and labor camps.

III. Japan

1. DPRK-US Nuclear Agreement

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Akihiro Ito, “US-DPRK MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING STATES THAT DPRK PLEDGES TO ABANDON ITS GRAPHITE REACTOR,” Seoul, 02/05/99) reported that it was revealed on February 4 that the DPRK pledged to abandon its graphite nuclear reactor and related facilities in the future in a clandestine memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed with the US at the time of signing of the Agreed Framework in 1994. The report said that the US has been trying to draw the DPRK’s compromise on inspection into the suspected underground nuclear facilities based on the MOU. According to a diplomatic source, the MOU states that the DPRK would not construct any new graphite reactor or related facilities and that the US and the DPRK would sign an agreement of cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear power prior to the supply of the core part of the light-water reactors. The MOU also reportedly included the specifics of the procedures regarding freezing of the graphite reactor, canning of spent fuel rod, stoppage of fuel rod manufacturing and radiation research facilities, the schedule for heavy oil supply to the DPRK, and inspection procedures.

2. Kim Jong-il’s Visit to PRC

The Asahi Shimbun (Shiro Nakamura, “KIM JONG-IL MAY VISIT PRC THIS YEAR FOR 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF DPRK-PRC DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS,” Beijing, 02/05/99) reported that, according to a Beijing observation, DPRK leader Kim Jong-il may visit the PRC in October because October 1 is the 50th anniversary of the PRC’s national establishment and October 6 is also the 50th anniversary of the establishment of DPRK-PRC diplomatic relations. The PRC has repeatedly expressed its expectations of Kim’s visit since last year. An ROK governmental source in Beijing said, “Kim’s visit to the PRC later this year has a 50 percent chance of happening.” The source added that the DPRK foreign minister’s visit to the PRC or the PRC foreign minister’s visit to the DPRK may precede Kim’s visit to the PRC. The Sankei Shimbun observed that DPRK-PRC relations have not necessarily been in good shape since 1992, when the PRC and the ROK established diplomatic relations, but that this year may provide a good opportunity for Kim’s visit to the PRC. The article added that Kim’s visit to the PRC was rumored last autumn as well, but that it was not realized because of ROK President Kim Dae-jung’s visit to the PRC at that time.

3. Japan-ROK Policy toward DPRK

The Sankei Shimbun (“ROK PRESIDENT’S CHIEF SECRETARY INSISTS ON IMPROVEMENT OF RELATIONS WITH DPRK,” 02/03/99) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and visiting ROK President’s Chief Secretary Lim Dong-won met at the Japanese Foreign Ministry on the evening of February 2. Lim said, “(We) want to solve the confrontational relations (on the Korean Peninsula) by improving Japan-US-ROK relations with the DPRK.” In response, Komura cited Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s New Year’s speech as asking the DPRK to improve Japan-DPRK relations and said, “The DPRK has reacted negatively for the time being. (We) will think (what to do) according to the DPRK’s behavior.” Regarding the DPRK’s missile issue, Lim said, “Japan, the US, and the ROK should cooperate to deter another launch (of the DPRK’s missile).” Komura agreed with Lim. The article added that Lim is close to ROK President Kim Dae-jung and already visited the US to discuss the DPRK issue with US officials in prior to his visit to Japan.

The Sankei Shimbun (“FORMER ROK PRESIDENT CALLS FOR STRENGTHENING JAPAN-US-ROK SECURITY,” 02/03/99) reported that, in response to former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone’s invitation, former ROK President Chun Doo-hwan gave a speech at a Tokyo hotel on February 3, calling for strengthening Japan- US-ROK security arrangements to deal with DPRK threats. Chun said, “The existence of the DPRK itself is a threat to security in East Asia…. Against outside expectations, there are no such things as soft-liners and hard-liners (in the DPRK). Even a constitution is meaningless (in the DPRK)…. (The DPRK) is a religious state, rather than a socialist state, with Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il as their leaders.” With regard to security in Northeast Asia, after emphasizing the importance of the Japan-US Security Treaty and the ROK-US Mutual Defense Treaty, Chun said, “Furthermore, it is important to construct a Japan-US-ROK triangle for security cooperation…. A series of political developments in East Asia indicates that the ROK and Japan should have new strategic options.”

4. US-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines

The Nikkei Shimbun (“LDP AND LP ARE URGED TO COORDINATE REVISION OF DEFENSE POLICY BILL,” 02/05/99) reported that the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Liberal Party (LP) are hurrying up to revise the bill related to the New Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation. The LDP, the LP, and Komeito already agreed to state in the bill, “Self-Defense Forces activities should be conducted within the framework of the Japan-US Security Treaty.” The three parties are already finalizing the revision of the requirement that the government provide a “report to the Diet” into a requirement that the government secure “the Diet’s approval” before rendering assistance to US forces. Given the pending Lower House Special Committee review of the defense policy bill on February 8, the inter- party coordination may go even faster. The article also pointed out that the LDP is especially eager not only to finalize the revision but also to pass the bill, because Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s visit to the US is slated for May. The article added that to do so may require the LDP to separate the Democratic Party from Komeito and to lay a groundwork for establishing an LDP-LP-Komeito framework in order to quicken the inter-party coordination before the approval of the 1999 budget.

The NAPSNet Daily Report aims to serve as a forum for dialogue and exchange among peace and security specialists. Conventions for readers and a list of acronyms and abbreviations are available to all recipients. For descriptions of the world wide web sites used to gather information for this report, or for more information on web sites with related information, see the collection of other NAPSNet resources.
We invite you to reply to today’s report, and we welcome commentary or papers for distribution to the network.

Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
International Policy Studies Institute Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Lee Dong-young:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.