NAPSNet Daily Report 06 January, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 06 January, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, January 06, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-06-january-1999/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. ROK Policy toward DPRK

Reuters (Bill Tarrant, “S.KOREA’S KIM SEES OPPORTUNITY IN N.KOREA CRISIS,” Seoul, 01/06/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung told a National Security Council meeting this week that now is the time to press ahead with his “sunshine policy” toward the DPRK. Kim stated, “Let’s make an opportunity out of this crisis.” The article said that Kim’s proposed “package” deal with the DPRK could be discussed at the next round of four-party talks in Geneva starting January 18th.

2. DPRK Refugees in PRC

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (“CHINA TIGHTENS CONTROL ON ILLEGAL NORTH KOREANS,” 01/04/99) reported that Cable Television Channel Two in Hong Kong quoted an unnamed humanitarian group as saying that the PRC government has tightened control over DPRK citizens who cross into the PRC looking for food. The group, which visited DPRK refugees at the border in the PRC, said that the government had taken measures to stop locals from aiding the refugees. A spokesman for the group said that previously young refugees were given food and shelter. The group estimated that more than 30,000 DPRK refugees are living in the PRC, and more than 100,000 have slipped across the border to find food or work illegally.

3. DPRK Missile Deployment

Reuters (Elaine Lies, “POLITICS SEEN IN JAPAN’S N.KOREA FURORE,” Tokyo, 01/06/99) reported that some analysts believe that Japan may be using reports of DPRK missile deployment to bolster its own defense posture. Analysts pointed out that a Japanese Self-Defense Forces report on Rodong-1 missile deployment drew a great deal of attention despite the fact that analysts in the ROK said that the missiles were assumed to have been deployed soon after their development in around 1993. The article pointed out that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has been seeking a coalition with the Liberal Party, which is led by Ichiro Ozawa, a proponent of a greater military role for Japan. An anonymous analyst argued, “Ozawa’s views on security have been known for years. But the climate created by last year’s Taepodong launch has certainly proven to be a good opportunity.” John Neuffer, a political analyst at the Mitsui Marine Research Institute, stated, “There’s a lot of things at work that are putting security on the front burner and it would not surprise me at all if people are working behind the scenes to make something out of this.” Defense analyst Kazuhisa Ogawa noted that all of the DPRK is within range weapons held by US Forces based in Japan. He stated, “[The DPRK] know that if they shot off anything they’d be hit really hard in response. The issue must be viewed as a threat but little more – there’s no real danger from the Rodong.” Noriyuki Suzuki, chief analyst at the Radiopress, which monitors DPRK broadcasts, stated, “There’s no question that people in government who have been in favor of systems such as TMD (Theater Missile Defense) have been handed quite a chance, and they are using it.” Suzuki said the real concern is whether another Taepodong will be launched, adding, “The Rodong is really not an issue.” Political analyst Kichiya Kobayashi said that defense issues are likely to be prominent in the upcoming session of the Diet. Kobayashi stated, “Certainly there is the problem of the defense guidelines, and there also will be debate about the constitution. Given these circumstances, I believe there could well be some voices emerging to fan this sort of fear.” A spokesman at Japan’s Defense Agency said that the reports on DPRK missile deployment “are not something we have published. The newspapers obtained this information themselves.” Meanwhile, the latest edition of the weekly Shukan Shincho carried a report alleging that DPRK soldiers may already have infiltrated Japan.

4. ROK-Japan Defense Talks

The Associated Press (“JAPAN’S DEFENSE MIN ARRIVES IN S. KOREA FOR SECURITY TALKS,” Seoul, 01/06/99) reported that Japanese Defense Minister Hosei Norota arrived in Seoul Wednesday to discuss cooperation against the DPRK military threat. The ROK Ministry of Defense said that, during his three-day visit, Norota will meet ROK Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek and pay a courtesy call on President Kim Dae-jung. It said that topics for the discussion will include the DPRK rocket launch last August.

5. ROK-Japan Fisheries Accord

The Associated Press (“S. KOREA RATIFIES FISHERIES ACCORD WITH JAPAN,” Seoul, 01/06/99) reported that ROK ruling party legislators on Wednesday passed 66 bills, including a fisheries accord with Japan, during an opposition boycott of the National Assembly. Opposition members have been boycotting the legislative session after accusing the government intelligence agency of spying on them. Ruling party lawmakers had to shove their way through opposition legislators who blocked entrances to the Assembly floor. The opposition party has criticized the fisheries treaty for not dealing with the issue of sovereignty over the Tokto islets.

6. ROK Intelligence Agency Scandal

The Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, “S. KOREA PROBES OPPOSITION MEMBERS,” Seoul, 01/06/99) reported that ROK prosecutors on Wednesday barred 11 opposition legislators from leaving the country, saying they are being investigated in connection with the theft of classified government documents. The opposition party accused prosecutors of political oppression and said it would convene a special session this week. It also asked prosecutors to investigate Lee Jong-chan, head of the Agency for National Security Planning, on charges that his agency violated a law banning political surveillance.

7. US-PRC Relations

The International Herald Tribune carried an opinion article by Robert A. Manning of the Council on Foreign Relations (“THE PENTAGON SEEMS STUCK IN A RUT IN EAST ASIA,” Washington, 01/05/99) which said that the US Defense Department’s East Asian Strategy Report “signals a case of bureaucratic inertia.” The author argued that “The U.S. network of bilateral alliances remains the de facto security framework in a region in which all powers are hedging against uncertainty.” He noted, however, that the PRC’s recent defense white paper argued that “U.S. alliances are not the foundation of stability … but a threat to stability.” He asked, “If China says alliances with the United States threaten peace stability, while the Pentagon asserts that the United States is the source of stability, how can there be a ‘strategic partnership’? The idea is a debasing of language to camouflage a less attractive reality – a more ambiguous relationship, with elements of both cooperation and conflict.” He argued, “The most important test of China’s intentions may be how it manages change on the Korean Peninsula. The same may be true for the United States. As Korean crisis builds, Beijing’s intentions and U.S. ‘comprehensive engagement’ will both be tested.” Arguing that the course of events on the Korean peninsula would have profound affects on both PRC and US plans for the region, he concluded, “It would have been more reassuring if the Pentagon’s strategy report included some suggestion as to how Washington plans to adapt to such change.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for January 5.]

8. Spratly Islands Dispute

Agence France Presse (“CHINA COMPLETES SPRATLY ISLAND STRUCTURES,” Manila, 01/05/99) reported that Philippine military chief General Joselin Nazareno said Tuesday that the PRC has completed what appears to be military structures on Mischief Reef in the Spratlys chain. Nazareno stated, “There’s a concrete building but the use of the building is not yet known.” He added that the structures are similar to what the PRC has erected on Fiery Cross, a Spratlys reef garrisoned by PRC troops. Philippines Foreign Undersecretary Lauro Baja said Monday that the Philippines would invite PRC Foreign Ministry officials for a meeting this month on the use of Mischief Reef facilities.

9. PRC Military Reforms

The South China Morning Post (“COMMUNIST PARTY LEADERSHIP VOWS TO HELP BRUISED PLA,” 01/04/99) reported that an unnamed PRC Communist Party politburo member said that the party leadership was unhappy with the pace of reform in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). An army source quoted the politburo member as saying that PRC President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji were determined to root out “negative factors” affecting the PLA. He stated, “Since Army Day last August, party leaders have shown their displeasure by sometimes not attending important army ceremonies.” He added, “President Jiang has indicated he will restore the PLA’s prestige through means including firing or retiring generals who are opposed to reform.” Diplomatic analysts said that Jiang had a vested interest in boosting the PLA’s reputation and morale, as the party leadership still relied on the PLA to maintain political stability.

10. PRC-Taiwan Relations

Taiwan’s Central News Agency (“BEIJING URGED TO BUILD UP MILITARY TRUST MECHANISM WITH TAIPEI,” Taipei, 12/31/98) reported that Chang King-yuh, chairman of the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), said on Thursday that the PRC should seriously consider Taiwan’s proposal that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait establish a “military mutual trust” mechanism to facilitate eventual reunification. Chang said that the cultivation of military mutual trust is part of efforts to end hostility. He stated, “Some tasks in this domain can be done unilaterally, such as keeping military budget transparent and exempting each other from becoming the target of military exercises.” He also urged the PRC to consider other Taiwan proposals for bilateral cooperative programs, including agricultural cooperation, exchanges of experience in the grassroots democratic development, and cooperation in resolving many practical problems related to interests of people on both sides of the strait. He also said, “Taiwan has also offered to assist mainland China in reforming its bloated, money-losing state-owned enterprises,” adding that the two sides should cooperate in helping address the Asian financial crisis. Chang argued, “We believe that through all these Taiwan-initiated joint efforts the two sides will be able to forge a mutually beneficial, constructive relationship to ensure peaceful co-existence and co-prosperity.” He also stated, “We have sincerely invited Wang [Daohan], chairman of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait to visit Taiwan. We hope Wang’s visit can be realized before the end of August 1999.” He added, however, “If mainland China really imposes prerequisites for Wang’s Taiwan journey, it is erecting obstacles to the development of cross-strait relations.” Chang also said that the MAC has proposed that Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui and PRC President Jiang Zemin meet in an international setting, but the PRC has not agreed to such a proposal.

11. Indian-PRC Relations

Agence France-Presse (“CHINA RAPS INDIA OVER INDIAN MINISTER’S COMMENTS ON TAIWAN,” Beijing, 01/01/99) reported that the PRC’s official Xinhua news agency on Friday said that Indian Urban Development Minister Ram Jethmalani last Sunday said in an interview with The Week magazine that there was “a strong case” for diplomatic recognition of Taiwan because it was an “independent and democratic country.” The agency commented, “The utterance … was evil-minded and dangerous as it was preaching recognition of the island province of China.” It added, “Jethmalani, as a minister of India, should not be ignorant of the simple fact that there is only one China in the world.” The commentary said that India was no exception to the rule that countries which established diplomatic relations with the PRC must declare their commitment to the one-China policy. It argued, “Jethmalani’s yearnings reveal that there is a force in India that is opposing the improvement of Sino-Indian relations and attempting to split China.” It also criticized Jethmalani’s call for India to “make a serious departure from its present thinking to get back its land occupied in the 1962 Chinese aggression.” Xinhua stated, “Jethmalani’s remarks on the border issue represented nothing but a futile attempt to distort historical facts.”

12. Indian-Russian-PRC Strategic Triangle

The International Herald Tribune carried an opinion article (Sunanda K. Datta-Ray, “SUPPOSE RUSSIA, INDIA AND CHINA COULD REALLY GET TOGETHER,” Singapore, 01/05/99) which said that Russian Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov’s idea for a strategic triangle among Russia, India, and the PRC “deserves serious consideration.” The author argued, “First, it holds the promise of providing a counterweight in what is becoming … a dangerously unipolar world. Second, it might succeed in subsuming some of the region’s more sizzling tensions.” The article added, “Politicians of India’s governing party, who do not seem to realize that their spurts of anti-Chinese rhetoric sound suspiciously like an admission of weakness or an attempt to whip up national hysteria, would also learn to be more circumspect.” While noting that conventional wisdom favors an alliance between Japan and India, the author argued, “Japan is unlikely to be drawn into any Asian strategic arrangement. And Russia, China and India are all in far too great a need of American capital, markets and influence to adopt an adversarial posture [toward the US]…. The most that a trans-Himalayan partnership would do, therefore, would be compete with America without challenging it. By reducing tension in a fragile part of the globe, it would lessen America’s policing worries, which is additional reason why Washington should welcome the idea.” The article concluded, “If both China and India adjust for the future, they will discover that their common response to the U.S.-led strikes against Iraq indicated a shared Asian psychology.”

13. Pakistan Nuclear Development

The Associated Press (“PAKISTAN WON’T SELL NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY,” Islamabad, 01/04/99) reported that Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz said Monday that Pakistan not sell its nuclear technology. Aziz stated, “Pakistan is a sensible country that has never shown any irresponsibility in this manner.” He added that Pakistan opposes a nuclear arms race, but will not be left behind if India starts one. Aziz is scheduled to meet with US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott when he visits Pakistan later this month or early in February to discuss nuclear issues. Aziz said that the Kashmir dispute will figure prominently on the agenda during meetings with Talbott. He added that Pakistan is worried about a recent defense pact signed between India and Russia and is writing letters to the G-8 western leaders warning that the agreement “will increase tension in the region.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Missile Deployment

Chosun Ilbo (“JAPAN CONFIRMS 10 DPRK MISSILE SITES,” 01/06/99) reported that the Tokyo Shimbun said Wednesday that the Japanese government has confirmed that the DPRK has plans to deploy missiles at ten different sites, including those still under construction. Quoting sources from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Defense Agency in Japan, the newspaper said that the DPRK has spent funds on developing the technology of the Rodong missile, since test-firing the Taepodong missile in August last year. It was further revealed that missiles tested in Pakistan last April and in Iran last July were Rodong missiles, or modified versions of it. The range of Rodong missiles is 1,000-1,300 km, which covers Japan in its entirety.

2. Four-Party Talks

Chosun Ilbo (“4-PARTY PEACE TALKS PREP IN NYC,” 01/06/99) reported that the member countries of the four- party talks, including the ROK, the US, the PRC, and the DPRK, held a working-level meeting on Wednesday in New York, in preparation for the upcoming fourth main session. During the meeting, they discussed the agenda and procedure of the main session in detail, as well as issues for the sub-committees. They also confirmed plans to hold the main session in Geneva between January 18-22. Meanwhile, it was reported that the US and the DPRK would hold the third of bilateral meetings to clarify suspicion of underground nuclear facilities in Kumchangni. Two meetings are scheduled in Geneva on January 16-17 and 23-24.

3. DPRK Nuclear Program

Korea Herald (“ROK, US PREPARE FOR TALKS ON DPRK’S SUSPECT NUCLEAR PROGRAM,” 01/06/99) reported that the ROK and the US are busy preparing for negotiations on the suspect nuclear program of the DPRK and the four-way peace talks on the Korean Peninsula. On Monday, the US Ambassador to the ROK, Stephen Bosworth, flew to the US to consult on the DPRK nuclear issue. The US envoy will meet with “a broad range of people dealing with the Korean policy” in Washington and return to Seoul this coming Friday. ROK government sources said that in addition to State Department officials, Bosworth may meet with US lawmakers to explain the need to maintain the engagement policy toward the DPRK. The ROK and the US will have consultations in Washington next Monday and Tuesday to coordinate their policy toward the DPRK.

4. ROK-US Military Cooperation

Korea Herald (“ROK, US FORCES STRENGTHEN COOPERATION AGAINST COVERT WARFARE,” 01/06/99) reported that the ROK military and US Forces Korea (USFK) have begun to strengthen their ties in defense against possible irregular warfare carried out by the DPRK. In previous years the USFK did not get involved in such irregular warfare. However, since last year, the USFK has felt the need to assist the ROK in dealing with DPRK infiltration. Cooperative action has already been demonstrated between the two militaries in recent efforts to repel DPRK spy landings. For example, the USFK and ROK forces closely cooperated and exchanged information in December when a DPRK spy boat was sunk in the South Sea. General John H. Tilelli, the top US general in the ROK and the commander-in-chief of the Combined Forces Command, will take operational control of ROK forces and US troops here only in times of war, while the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman will have control of peacetime operational control of ROK forces. The ministry official said that security along the coastlines will be strengthened this year in expectation of continued DPRK attempts at infiltration.

5. DPRK Missiles

Korea Times (“ROK SEEKS CONSULTATION WITH ALLIES TO DISCOURGE DPRK FROM FIRING MISSILES,” 01/06/99) reported that the ROK began consultations with allies, including the US and Japan, to discourage the DPRK from firing a second missile. A second DPRK missile launch would derail the construction of the two light water atomic power plants and Japan, one of the big three contributors to the KEDO project, would suspend its funding. The worst scenario is that the Agreed Framework might be jeopardized. According to an unnamed government official, there are several reasons for the DPRK threatening to fire a missile, one of which is to get diplomatic recognition from the US, as well as to realize the lifting of the economic embargo the US has imposed on the country. By threatening to launch a missile, the DPRK is seeking to squeeze out material gains from neighboring countries, including food and money, he added.

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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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