NAPSNet Daily Report 05 November, 1997

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 05 November, 1997", NAPSNet Daily Report, November 05, 1997,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Russian Federation

I. United States

1. DPRK Food Aid

The Washington Times carried an article from the London Guardian (Andrew Higgins, “IS NORTH KOREN FOOD AID BEING DIVERTED FROM THE PEOPLE TO THE MILITARY?” Seoul, 11/05/97) which reported that remains of a label from a can of donated US beef found in the DPRK submarine that ran aground off the ROK in September 1996 appears to indicate that the DPRK is diverting food aid to its military. Choi Jin-wook, a research fellow at the ROK Institute for National Reunification, said that the discovery of the label “raises many questions.” Choi pointed out that the label was not revealed until more than a year after the submarine ran aground. The article quoted unnamed diplomats as saying that US authorities sought to keep the discovery secret because they were worried that it would hurt US efforts to improve relations with the DPRK. The ROK subsequently decided to reveal the discovery for its own reasons. Commenting on the discovery, Ray Brubacher of the Mennonite Central Committee, the group which donated the food, said that suggestions that its donations had been diverted were “highly speculative.” Brubacher stated that the discovery “could mean that persons on the submarine were in communities where food was being distributed and took a can with them.” The article also reported that the ROK National Security Planning Agency claimed last week that 1,000 tons of corn donated by Buddhists to a DPRK border zone had been seized by DPRK soldiers.

2. ROK National Security Law

The AP-Dow Jones News Service (“S. KOREA HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST ARRESTED FOR SHOWING FILM,” Seoul, 11/05/97) reported that Suh Jun-sik, an ROK human rights activist, was arrested Tuesday for showing a documentary film about a 1948 police massacre of between 30,000 and 80,000 ROK citizens accused of being communists or communist sympathizers. Authorities described the film as procommunist and said its showing without government approval apparently violated the national security law, which prohibits any activity that “praises or benefits” the DPRK. Amnesty International, an international human rights group, on Wednesday said in a statement, “Suh Jun-sik was arrested for organizing a human rights festival and should be released immediately. The government cannot continue to deny the existence of prisoners of conscience.” Amnesty added, “This type of action flies in the face of South Korea’s pretensions to be an open, democratic and developed state.” The documentary was one of 24 films shown at the Second Seoul Human Rights Film Festival in October. The festival was sponsored by Sarangbang, a leading human rights group led by Suh. The festival’s organizers said that they refused to submit any of the films to government censorship “because the censorship system itself is a violation of the freedom of expression.”

3. Russian Ratification of Chemical Weapons Convention

The White House (“CLINTON STATEMENT ON RUSSIAN RATIFICATION OF CWC NOV. 5,” USIA Text, 11/5/97) released a statement by US President Bill Clinton regarding the recent Russian ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention: “I warmly welcome the action by the Russian Government today in ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). This landmark agreement, which the United States ratified last April, is already proving its value in enhancing international security. To date, 104 countries have ratified the CWC, which outlaws the development, production, possession and use of chemical weapons. Russia’s ratification makes it possible for Russia to join the United States in playing a leadership role in ensuring that all of the Convention’s benefits are realized. I congratulate President Yeltsin, the Russian Duma and the Federation Council on successfully completing CWC ratification. Russia’s action today is an important step forward in achieving our mutual arms control objectives. I look forward to further progress in the months to come.”

4. Taiwan Nuclear Power

Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN’S PARLIAMENT VOTES DOWN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT,” Taipei, 11/5/97) reported that opposition lawmakers in Taiwan voted Wednesday to block a controversial project to build a nuclear power plant on the northern part of the island. Environmentalist Kao Cheng-yen said, “Opposing the fourth nuclear power plant is a topic closely linked to the lives of people here.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. Russian Food Aid to DPRK

The Russian embassy in Seoul announced Monday that Russia has delivered 370 tons of food relief to the DPRK. “In accordance with the Russian government’s decree, the humanitarian aid, totaling 370 tons of food, has been delivered to North Koreans who have suffered from natural calamities,” the embassy press release said. The aid included canned meat, milk and sugar. (Korea Herald, “RUSSIA SENDS SECOND AID SHIPMENT TO THE DPRK,” 11/05/97)

2. US Intelligence Official Visits ROK

An ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) official said October 4 that Lieutenant General Patrick N. Hughes, chief of the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), paid an unusual visit to the ROK Sunday to meet with his ROK counterpart. Hughes also paid a courtesy call on JCS Chairman General Yoon Yong-nam to exchange views on the DPRK’s military and political situation, the official added. He said it was not often that a DIA chief came to the ROK, but refused to provide details about the conversations between Yoon and Hughes. Hughes has also met with other ROK intelligence officials and military leaders. Those talks included trading ideas about military threats from the DPRK and agreeing to further strengthen military intelligence cooperation, an ROK Defense Ministry official said. (Korea Herald, “US INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL PAYS RARE VISIT TO KOREA,” 11/05/97)

III. Russian Federation

1. RF Food Aid to DPRK

Segodnya (“RUSSIA SENT HUMANITARIAN CARGO TO THE DPRK,” Moscow, 4, 11/1/97) reported that the RF government Friday sent about 4 billion rubles [roughly US$700,000] worth of humanitarian aid from Vladivostok to Pyongyang for the DPRK population affected by floods. The shipment included sugar, meat, fish, and milk products totaling 250 tons.

2. RF Communists Honor Kim Jong-il

Segodnya (“KIM JONG-IL IS DECORATED WITH AN ORDER OF A NON-EXISTENT COUNTRY,” Moscow, 1, 10/14/97) reported that a number of Communists parties operating in the RF and striving to restore the USSR decided to decorate DPRK Workers’ Party General Secretary Kim Jong-il with the Soviet Order of the October Revolution for his “outstanding contribution to the world Communist movement and on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the October Revolution” of 1917. The Communist opposition emphasized that the order is not among the six types of orders registered in the RF, and that therefore Kim Jong-il is to be awarded on behalf of the former Soviet Union. He is to receive the order via the DPRK Ambassador to Moscow.

3. DPRK Armed Forces

Nezavisimye voyennoye obozreniye (“IN BRIEF …. NORTH KOREA,” Moscow, 3, 10/10-16/97, #38, 65) reported data in the “White Book on Defense for 1997-1998” concerning the armed forces of the DPRK. Those are presently 1.147 million strong, having increased by 92 thousand over a one-year period. The probability of the DPRK possessing combat- ready nuclear weapons is low, but in the future they might produce 1-2 primitive nuclear devices, the report said. The DPRK started its chemical and bacteriological weapons development in the 1960s, and there are now chemical defense companies in its armed forces. Rodong-1 missiles with nuclear of chemical warhead carrying capability have a tested range of over 1000 kilometers. The DPRK armed forces also have SA-5 tactical and air defense missiles to intercept air targets beyond the 250 kilometer range.

4. ROK President’s Son Sentenced

Izvestia’s Boris Vinogradov (“SON OF THE HEAD OF STATE IS IMPRISONED,” Moscow, 3, 10/14/97) reported that Kim Hyun-chul, the son of ROK President Kim Young-sam, was sentenced by the Seoul court to 3 years imprisonment and a US$1.5 million fine. He was found guilty of taking bribes from ROK businessmen. The ROK political opposition has been using the court proceedings to attack President Kim, and its doubtful that he will be able to restore his reputation in the month and a half left before the December 18 ROK presidential elections.

5. Chemical Weapons Ban Convention

Izvestia (“CONVENTION RATIFIED,” Moscow, 1, 11/01/97) reported that the RF State Duma on October 31ratified the international Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) with 288 votes in favor, 75 against and 2 abstentions.

Segodnya’s Yevgeniy Yuryev (“FINALLY THE ‘GAS ATTACK!’ COMMAND WORKED AT THE DUMA,” Moscow, 3, 11/1/97) reported that the RF State Duma’s decision to ratify the CWC came rather late, as the Convention came into force on April 29. By failing to timely ratify the Convention the RF lost much politically and can not share the key positions in the Chemical Weapons Ban Organization (CWBO). As a result, the RF has no representatives in the ruling bodies of the CWBO and therefore cannot influence it, although the RF chemical weapon stockpile of 40 thousand tons officially is the largest in the world. Experts believe that the RF will fail to eliminate them in 10 years, but the Convention allows for an additional 5 years. The RF Government is ready to allocate only a fraction of funds necessary for the elimination, and foreign assistance is not assured. But international sanctions for the failure would be much costlier.

Kommersant-Daily’s Nikolai Goulko (“CHEMICAL WEAPONS BAN CONVENTION RATIFIED,” Moscow, 3, 11/1/97) reported that the implementation of the CWC is sure to pose problems. US$5 billion is required for RF chemical weapons until 2005, yet last year the RF Government allocated just 1 percent of the funds sought by the Federal Program for Elimination of Chemical Weapons Stockpiles. According to Stanislav Petrov, Chief of Chemical, Radiation and Bacteriological Defense Forces, only some 3-3.5 percent of the total required might be provided by the West. Work is underway to create elimination facilities, with 7.5 thousand tons of skin inflammatory substances produced in the 1940s and 1950s to be eliminated first.

6. RF View of Land Mines Convention

Nezavisimye voyennoye obozreniye’s Andrey Korbut (“A PRECOCIOUS TABOO,” Moscow, 6 , 10/17-23/97, #39, p. 66) reported that RF President Boris Yeltsin’s recent statement at the Council of Europe (CE) Summit in Strasbourg that the RF plans to sign the international Anti-Personnel Mines Ban Convention caused “a real ruckus” at the RF Armed Forces General Staff. “It is a populism of an extreme kind and it is at odds with Russia’s national interests,” an anonymous high ranking military official said. As recently as October 1 RF Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov said that the RF is against an immediate signing of the Convention and prefers a step-by-step solution instead. The Convention allows 4 years to eliminate mines stockpiles and 4 years to eliminate mine fields. But the RF lacks financial and material resources sufficient to eliminate the 60 million mines it has produced during the last 50 years. Also in view of large scale reductions of the RF Armed Forces, the elimination of mine fields is highly problematic. Finally, a signing of the Convention by the RF would not necessarily mean that its neighbors would do likewise. RF military experts stress that the RF should be interested in more strict control and storage of the mines first, and RF negotiators now should hold talks primarily about elimination of unidentified and unmarked mine fields where civilian casualties occur most frequently.

7. RF Asian Policies

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Dmitriy Gornostayev (Moscow, 1, 2, 10/15/97) interviewed Grigoriy Karasin, RF Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for Asian policies. Karasin said: “Popular opinion is that we are actively working in Asia to counterbalance the NATO expansion in Europe. In fact we should be active both places.” Karasin stated, “The times of self-negating build-up of axes and blocks are over. Neither in Moscow , nor in Beijing they want to talk about any military political alliance.” He added, “Relations with Japan have been successfully re-directed from a dead-end.” Karasin concluded, “It’s interesting to note that the unique nature of our new role in the Asia-Pacific region is that nobody there is afraid of us.” Asked if the RF-PRC border problem would be finally resolved during RF President Boris Yeltsin’s visit to the PRC, he replied: “Let’s say, the work to that end is underway.”

8. RF-Japan Summit

Izvestia’s Vasiliy Golovnin (“YELTSIN WAITS FOR THE JAPANESE DRAGON,” Moscow, 1, 3, 10/28/97) reported on the preparations for the informal summit in Krasnoyarsk between RF President Boris Yeltsin and Japanese Premier Ryutaro Hashimoto. The article pointed out that Japan’s “territorial disputes with the PRC and South Korea now have assumed a much more hysterical nature than a nearly venerable conflict with Moscow over the Southern Kurils.” Yet, according to reliable sources, Japan hopes to regain the isles by the end of the century, not so much by means of a head-long attack, but rather with the RF making concessions as if on its own volition in the atmosphere of friendship, visits, economic and even military contacts. Sources close to Japanese Foreign Ministry reported that of all dispute settlement proposals the one made by the Moscow Institute of World Economy and International Relations Institute looks most attractive. The idea is to administratively exclude the isles from the Sakhalin Region and put them under direct RF Presidential rule, granting the Japanese exclusive legal and economic rights to do business there, thus gradually moving toward a dual authority over the isles. The proposal has been severely attacked by the Sakhalin Region Administration.

Segodnya’s Georgiy Bovt and Aleksandr Chudodeyev (“PROMISES TAKE THREE YEARS TO BE FULFILLED,” Moscow, 4, 11/04/97), Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Yekaterina Grigoryeva and Konstantin Katanyan (“MOSCOW AND TOKYO WILL TRY TO CONCLUDE PEACE TREATY BY 2000,” Moscow, 1, 2, 11/04/97), Izvestia’s Yuriy Savenkov (“THE FATE OF SOUTHERN KURILS REMAINED SECRET,” Moscow, 1, 11/04/97), Izvestia’s Vera Kuznetsova (“CASCADE OF IMPROMPTUS ON THE YENISEY RIVER BANKS,” Moscow, 2, 11/04/97), Izvestia’s Vasiliy Golovnin (“YELTSIN AMAZED THE JAPANESE,” Moscow, 3, 11/04/97), Kommersant-Daily’s Pavel Kuibyshev (“HASHIMOTO CAUGHT YELTSIN’S FISH,” Moscow, 1, 11/04/97) and Sovetskaya Rossia’s Vasiliy Safronchuk (“WILL BORIS GIVE THE KURIL ISLES TO FRIEND RYU?,” Moscow, 1, 11/04/97) reported that the RF-Japan summit in Krasnoyarsk resulted in the emergence of the so-called “Yeltsin-Hashimoto” plan defining the priority cooperation areas and the decision to exert “maximum efforts” to solve the main bilateral problem of concluding an RF-Japan peace treaty, which implies a solution of the territorial dispute over the Southern Kurils. Segodnya reported that an RF Foreign Ministry official declined to comment on whether the decision to conclude the treaty by 2000 would mean a reanimation of the 1956 Soviet- Japanese “formula”; that is, the return of the isles. Izvestia stressed that Japan would never agree to a peace treaty without the isles returned, despite the precedent of its treaty with the PRC 20 years ago. In addition, Segodnya said that future Japanese investments and technology might help in overcoming the depression in the RF Far East and Siberia and thus in neutralizing the otherwise inevitable “Chinese expansion” there. Under such circumstances “‘sacrificing’ the two Southern Kuril isles to Japan might become a far ‘lesser evil’ than having to deal single-handedly with the billion-strong neighbor already too big for its borders.” Sovetskaya Rossia also stressed that prior to the summit Boris Yeltsin was “strongly advised by the Western mass media” that a Southern Kuril settlement is of great importance in view of “China’s growing might and [of] instability on the Korean Peninsula,” and thus the Southern Kuril problem is seen in the West “as a means of pitting Russia against China as well.”

Segodnya’s Aleksandr Chudodeyev (“‘SUDDEN REMINISCENCES’ BY EDUARD SHEVARDNADZE,” Moscow, 3, 10/28/97), Sovetskaya Rossia (“SHEVARDNADZE ADMITTED,” Moscow, 3, 10/28/97) and Kommersant- Daily (“SHEVARDNADZE WANTED TO GIVE KURILS TO JAPAN,” Moscow, 5, 10/28/97) reported that Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze admitted to former Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Nakayama, who visited him this August, that as USSR Foreign Minister he had wanted to give the disputed Southern Kuril Isles to Japan. However, he “couldn’t solve the issue alone” and failed to reach unanimity of opinion with Mikhail Gorbachev and other Soviet leaders of the time.

9. PRC President’s US Visit

Segodnya’s Nikolai Zimin (“CHINA DOES NOT ATTACK THE U.S. CONSTITUTION,” Moscow, 4, 10/28/97), Izvestia’s Vladimir Nadeyin (“FIREWORKS AND ARRESTS TO HONOR THE CHINESE LEADER,” Moscow, 3, 10/28/97), Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Arkadiy Orlov and Stanislav Petrov (“JIANG ZEMIN CAME TO THE USA IN PEACE,” Moscow, 4, 10/29/97) and Kommersant-Daily’s Andrey Ivanov (“CHINA INCREASES THE NUMBER OF ‘STRATEGIC PARTNERS’,” Moscow, 5, 10/29/97) reported on PRC Chairman Jiang Zemin’s official visit to the US. The authors pointed out that a balance has to be struck between Tiananmen memories, PRC dissenters, Tibet, Taiwan, and alleged PRC missile and nuclear technology transfers to Iran, on the one hand, and huge mutual economic interests, including the prospects for nuclear energy cooperation, on the other hand. Kommersant-Daily’s author said US President Bill Clinton has “to maneuver between an idealism-ridden public … and pragmatic businessmen.” As Nezavisimaia gazeta’s author put it, “It is anybody’s guess what China’s chief priority would be: its economic partnership with the USA or its strategic one with Russia.”

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Arkadiy Orlov and Dmitriy Kosyrev (“JIANG AND CLINTON IN ‘A FULL MOVIE FRAME,” Moscow, 4, 10/31/97) reported that PRC Chairman Jiang Zemin’s visit to the US was crowned by the agreement to let US companies sell nuclear power equipment to the PRC in exchange for the PRC’s pledge not to transfer nuclear technologies to any third country, primarily to Iran. Arkadiy Orlov called the visit a success, while Dmitriy Kosyrev argued that “for several years Washington attempted to deal with China from the position of power, but lost to its own businessmen for whom an access to the Chinese market is a matter of life or death.”

Izvestia’s Vladimir Nadeyin (“THREE BILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT ELIMINATED U.S. DISCONTENT WITH CHINA,” Moscow, 3, 11/01/97) reported that neither the US nor the PRC attempted to play a “Russian card” at their just-concluded summit. The US seems not to be frightened by RF defense industries’ “timid attraction” to the PRC Armed Forces, and the PRC “doesn’t feel threatened by the fact that Mr. Clinton has had three times more meetings with Mr. Yeltsin than with Mr. Jiang Zemin.”

Sovetskaya Rossia’s Vasiliy Safronchuk (“WASHINGTON’S ATTEMPTS TO PUT PRESSURE ON CHINA FAILED,” Moscow, 1, 11/04/97) reported on Western media comments on PRC Chairman Jiang Zemin’s visit to the USA, focusing on the damage the visit inflicted to RF-PRC relations. First, according to the commentaries, the US- PRC rapprochement undermines the “Kremlin’s attempts to create a Eurasian bloc opposed to the United States.” While in the US, Jiang clearly hinted to his hosts that “in China they perceive a multipolar world concept somewhat differently from those in Russia.” Second, large scale US-PRC economic cooperation will substantially narrow the opportunities for the RF in PRC markets, and particularly in nuclear energy. Yet, although President Clinton told his guest that the issue of Taiwan is to be solved by “Chinese themselves,” still there are problems of human rights and the situation in Tibet that cast a shadow on US-PRC rapprochement.

10. RF-PRC Summit

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“YELTSIN’S CHINA VISIT SCHEDULE IS TO BE TIGHT-PACKED,” Moscow, 1, 10/22/97) reported that RF Governmental officials responsible for RF President Boris Yeltsin’s visit to the PRC from November 9-11 said that there will be a wide range of issues discussed in Beijing, in particular joint nuclear power projects, fuel and energy trade, military and technical cooperation, inter-regional ties and cultural exchanges. For instance, the talks will concern the on-going construction of the second stage of the gas centrifuge plant for uranium enrichment in the city of Hanchun, to be completed in the second half of 1998.

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“CHINA IS READY TO MEET R.F. PRESIDENT,” Moscow, 1, 11/5/97) reported that a joint conference was held yesterday by Li Fang Lin, PRC Ambassador to the RF, and Sergey Yasrzhembskiy, RF Presidential Press Secretary, where they both noted that the implications of the forthcoming visit by RF President Boris Yeltsin to Beijing and Harbin would go well beyond the bilateral relations context and would become a new step in building a multipolar world. Yeltsin and PRC President Jiang Zemin are expected to adopt a joint document on the completion of the RF-PRC border demarcation, as well as to sign a number of agreements concerning the procedures for joint economic usage of some border isles and the principles of cooperation between RF regions and PRC provinces.

Izvestia’s Yuriy Savenkov (“WE WILL HAVE A BORDER WITH CHINA AT LAST,” Moscow, 1, 2, 10/29/97) reported that PRC Deputy Foreign Minister Chang Daehuang said that “a breakthrough is tangible” in the RF-PRC Eastern border demarcation process, so that when RF President Boris Yeltsin goes to the PRC this month the parties will make “an important statement on that matter.” The article pointed out that the territorial problem actually emerged due to RF Primorskiy Area Governor Yevgeniy Nazdratenko’s open opposition to “the waste of Russian lands”; that is, three disputed areas totaling 15 square kilometers. It is quite possible that a framework agreement will be signed in Beijing at the 5th RF-PRC summit to mutually allow local citizens of both countries to continue their agricultural and other economic activities unperturbed even in the respective areas transferred to the neighboring country.

11. Northeast Asia Regional Summits

Izvestia (“PERSONAL FRIENDSHIP ON THE SCALES OF GEOPOLITICS,” Moscow, 3, 11/5/97) published a commentary by Stanislav Kondrashov on the interrelationship between the recent US-PRC summit in Washington, the RF-Japan summit in Krasnoyarsk, and the forthcoming RF-PRC summit in Beijing. In his opinion, “all those meetings represent yet another attempt at a geopolitical ‘reshuffle’ on the eve of the XXI century. China grows and makes Japan, accustomed to the regional leadership role, feel uncomfortable. The American President has put peaceful coexistence and trade economic ties with the new superpower above the delicate human rights issue. The Russian electronic mass media, unlike the American (and world-wide) media, practically kept mute about the American trip of the Chinese Number One and paid all attention to Yeltsin and Hashimoto. No one can argue that a top level friendship is a good thing, but it does not determine a state’s real weight in the world . If friendly relations are presented as the biggest achievement, then something is wrong with the real weight In a nutshell, in the Asia Pacific region of the XXI century (at least at its beginning) Russia is fated to be an auxiliary player as compared with the USA, China and Japan. Such an auxiliary player, though, has advantages of its own, because the main players need its assistance. In general the three prominent intergovernmental contacts of the last two weeks in all their adjacent aspects promote cooperation, not confrontation between the four powers … giving some reasons for optimism.”

12. Taiwanese Diplomacy

Kommersant-Daily (“SPANIARDS PREFERRED CHINA TO TAIWAN”,” Moscow, 5, 10/14/97) reported that Spain decided not to admit Taiwanese Vice President Lian Chan, who had to cancel his planned European series of visits and return home. The PRC again warned all countries against admitting any visiting Taiwanese officials. [Ed. note: See “Taiwanese Diplomacy” in the US Section of the October 8 Daily Report.]

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Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Shin Dong-bom:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Choi Chung-moon:
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

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