NAPSNet Daily Report 06 October, 1999

Recommended Citation

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

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. People’s Republic of China

I. United States

1. Light-Water Reactor Project

Reuters (Grant McCool, “KEDO WANTS MORE BACKING FOR NK NUCLEAR PROJECT,” New York, 10/05/99) reported that Korean Peninsula Energy Development Cooperation (KEDO) executive director Desaix Anderson said in KEDO’s annual report released Tuesday that KEDO needed more political support and money for its project to succeed. The report said that KEDO was in the final stage of preparation of the construction site for two light-water nuclear reactors at Kumho on the east coast of the DPRK. Anderson said in his statement, “KEDO has created a new division for public and external promotion and support, and will continue to ensure that it is armed with such backing so that it can fulfill its promise of replacing North Korea’s existing nuclear facilities and promoting peace and security on a nuclear-weapons free Korean peninsula.” Charles Kartman, head of the US delegation to the KEDO conference, read a statement that the Czech Republic had become a new member of KEDO this year and new contributors included France, Italy, and Mexico. He stated, “Growing international support is not only necessary for KEDO’s operations, it also reflects broadening support within the international community for the agreement on which KEDO is founded.”

2. US Sanctions on DPRK

Pacific Stars and Stripes (Jim Lea, “LIFTING U.S. SANCTIONS NOT A BENEFIT, N. KOREA SAYS,” 10/07/99, Osan, 4) reported that the DPRK’s Rodong Shinmun said in a commentary on Tuesday that the US recent lifting of economic sanctions is “neither a benefit nor a gift.” It stated, “Describing the (lifting of sanctions) as a ‘concession’ and claiming ‘a complete stop in missile development’ can be done only by those who do not know the essence of the point at issue or by political swindlers who have insidious political purpose.” It added that if the US wants to improve relations with the DPRK, it “should totally lift economic sanctions, sign a peace treaty with the DPRK and withdraw its troops from South Korea.” It said that if the US does those things, “the DPRK will reply with trust.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 6.]

3. Japanese Sanctions on DPRK

The Associated Press (“JAPAN CONSIDERING LIFTING NORTH KOREAN SANCTIONS,” Tokyo, 10/06/99) reported that Yohei Kono, who was appointed Japanese foreign minister on Tuesday, said Wednesday that Japan is considering lifting sanctions on the DPRK, such as those freezing food aid and charter flights.

4. DPRK-PRC Relations

The Associated Press (“CHINA, NORTH KOREA CELEBRATE TIES,” Beijing, 10/05/99) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan held talks on Tuesday in Pyongyang with his DPRK counterpart, Paek Nam-sun. The DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency said that the talks “took place in a friendly atmosphere,” with both sides discussing their relations and “a series of matters of common concern.” The PRC’s state-run Xinhua news agency said that in a message Tuesday celebrating 50 years of ties, PRC President Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji, and legislative head Li Peng promised to work for stronger relations with the DPRK. The message stated, “The traditional friendship between China and North Korea has a deep historical basis. Developing friendly, cooperative relations completely accords with the basic interests of our two people and nations.”

The Washington Times (Gus Constantine, “CHINA – NORTH KOREA TALKS FUEL SPECULATION AMONG ASIA WATCHERS,” 10/06/99) reported that US experts disagree on the motivations behind PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan’s visit to the DPRK. An anonymous US official stated, “We continue to expect China to play a constructive role on the Korean peninsula, as it has during the four-party talks.” Daryl Plunk, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, stated, “My guess is that Beijing is trying to get a handle on the changed situation growing out of North Korea’s alleged missile restraint and the U.S. promise of a limited lifting of sanctions.” Scott Snyder, an analyst at the US Institute of Peace, said that the PRC is “clearly seeking to expand its influence with its neighbor. Whether it succeeds or not depends largely on what kind of gifts Mr. Tang is bringing, things like food aid, energy assistance, etc.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 6.]

5. ROK-DPRK Economic Cooperation

The Associated Press (“S KOREA’S HYUNDAI GETS GOVT OK TO EXPORT TVS TO NORTH,” Seoul, 10/06/99) reported that the ROK government on Wednesday approved a plan by the Hyundai group to sell 30,000 television sets worth 5.56 billion won to the DPRK on a deferred payment arrangement. At the DPRK’s request, the 20-inch TV sets will carry the trademark “Kumgangsan.” Hyundai officials said that the first shipment of 4,000 TV sets will leave for the DPRK later this week. Another 11,000 sets will be shipped next week and 15,000 more by the end of this month. The DPRK will pay for the shipment over five years starting in 2001.

6. Korean War Massacre

Pacific Stars and Stripes Jim Lea, (“ANOTHER KOREAN WAR MASSACRE REPORT SURFACES,” Osan, 10/07/99, 4) reported that the ROK’s Yonhap News Agency said Tuesday that residents of the village of Kokan Ri in Masan, 240 miles south of Seoul, said that US troops and aircraft fired on 100 villagers who were hiding in a house at the village on August 11, 1950. Yonhap quoted a woman identified as Lee Man-sun as saying that 74 people were killed immediately and nine others died later of wounds suffered in the incident. Lee said that ROK police had told residents to evacuate the village the night of August 10, but about 100 villagers, all members of her family clan, refused to flee and took refuge in a house on the village outskirts. A spokesman for the Masan city office said Wednesday that city officials are establishing a team to investigate the report. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 6.]

7. Remains of US Soldiers from Korean War

The US Department of Defense (“CHINESE COOPERATION ON KOREAN WAR POW/MIAs CONTINUES,” 10/01/99) issued the following news release. “A Department of Defense delegation has concluded its second visit to China to seek additional cooperation in resolving Korean War POW and MIA cases. Robert L. Jones, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs, led a four-man team to China last week to continue discussions there on U.S. servicemen missing in action from the Korean War. Jones had earlier presented 44 case inquiries to the Chinese. He requested specific information relating to Americans missing from four areas: Korean War POW camps; ground battles (Chosin Reservoir, Chongchon River, Demilitarized Zone); air losses; and POW names appearing in Chinese publications during the war. ‘I am pleased that the Chinese government is taking seriously our efforts to resolve these POW and MIA cases,’ he said. ‘We all know the difficulties in locating or reconstructing records that may be 45 years old, but the Chinese have told me they will do everything they can to help us move forward on this humanitarian issue.'”

8. ROK Nuclear Accident

Reuters (Jean Yoon, “S.KOREA LAUNCHES PROBE INTO NUCLEAR ACCIDENT,” Seoul, 10/06/99) reported that a spokesman for the ROK Ministry of Science and Technology said Wednesday that it had launched an investigation into the accident at Wolsung nuclear power plant. The spokesman said that it was the eighth such accident in the ROK from a leak of heavy water since 1984. Local environmental groups protested outside the government complex in Seoul on Wednesday, blaming authorities for lax safety management of nuclear plants. The groups also demanded that the government allow a public inquiry into the accident and remove all nuclear reactors from the ROK.

9. Japanese Nuclear Accident

The Associated Press (Eric Talmadge, “OBUCHI VISITS NUCLEAR ACCIDENT SITE,” Tokaimura, 10/06/99) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi on Wednesday admitted that Japan’s safety system had been inadequate to prevent the radiation leak at Tokaimura processing plant. Obuchi stated, “This accident has become a concern not only to Japan but to the whole world.” He said that he intended to review laws related to nuclear accidents and, if necessary, present changes during the next parliamentary session.

The Los Angeles Times (Carol J. Williams, “SO FAR, JAPAN REBUFFS ATOMIC AGENCY’S OFFER OF PROBE,” Vienna, 10/05/99) reported that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) spokesman David Kyd said Monday that Japan has thus far rejected the IAEA’s offer to send inspectors to investigate the cause of last week’s nuclear accident. Kyd stated, “We think this is a classic case where the international community needs to learn from what happened. But that’s the Japanese’s call.” He added, “Everyone worldwide needs to be reassured. We need to find out why it happened, what happened and how we can prevent it from happening again in the future.” He noted, “They’ve had a number of incidents this decade that have not just troubled experts but have troubled the population.” He said that no IAEA assistance was sought or accepted after the previous incidents, but the potentially fatal injuries and the release of radiation into the atmosphere made the latest accident “a qualitatively different situation.” He noted that the practice of hand-processing uranium, instead of using robotic methods, is highly unusual. He stated, “This seems to us rather strange, having so much human involvement…. The risks are clear, and that’s why you now have three workers in life-threatening condition.”

10. PRC Satellites

Agence France-Presse (“SPY SATELLITES SAID TO TRACK US WARSHIPS,” 10/06/99) reported that the PRC’s the Sichuan Youth Daily said that the PRC has 17 spy satellites that continuously monitor the movements of the US military. It stated, “If the US seeks to intervene militarily into the internal affairs of China and Taiwan, they will find that the entirety of their global movements are seen by Chinese spy satellites.” Military expert Zhou Guanwu was quoted as saying that the PRC has the capability to rapidly determine the number and location of US aircraft carriers should the US decide to send its ships to the region. He added, “China has a lot of anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles that can be guided by satellites and adjusted for a saturated attack in local waters. Enemy troops, either American or Taiwanese, will have difficulty withstanding this.” He also said that the PRC, like the US, has the capability to destroy satellites’ optical technology with lasers. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 6.]

11. Indian Elections

Dow Jones Newswires (“VOTE MARGIN IS LESS THAN EXPECTED AS INDIA’S RULING PARTY TAKES LEAD,” New Delhi, 10/06/99) reported that Star News Television said that partial election returns on Wednesday showed Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s National Democratic Alliance leading in 107 constituencies, compared to 72 for the main opposition Congress party. Of the 19 seats where winners had been declared, Vajpayee’s Bharatiya Janata Party had 11, while Congress had five.

12. US Ratification of CTBT

The Associated Press (“US SENATE CLOSE TO DELAYING NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY VOTE,” Washington, 10/06/99), the Washington Post (Roberto Suro and Helen Dewar, “TEST BAN VOTE MAY BE SET ASIDE,” 10/06/99, A01), and the New York Times (Eric Schmitt, “BOTH PARTIES SEEK GRACEFUL WAY TO PUT OFF NUCLEAR TREATY VOTE,” Washington, 10/06/99) reported that US Senate leaders were working Wednesday toward an agreement to postpone a vote on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). However, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, said that Democrats were not ready to go along with a Republican demand that the vote be put off until after the 2000 presidential election. Daschle said many Democrats want to reserve the option that the treaty could be considered next year. He added, “There is a desire on the part of many not to have a vote…. I’m hopeful that we can find some solution.” Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Republican-Mississippi, said Tuesday that “the timing is not right” for a vote on the treaty. [Ed. note: This article was the top story in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 6.]

Reuters (Arshad Mohammed, “CLINTON PRESSES SENATE TO RATIFY NUCLEAR PACT,” Washington, 10/06/99) reported that US President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that he would keep pushing the Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) until the Senate decides to postpone the vote. Clinton stated, “After two long years of inaction, one week is very little time for considered action. For now the vote is scheduled for Tuesday, and I will continue to aggressively argue to the Senate and to the American people that this is in our national interest.”

The New York Times (William J. Broad, “32 NOBEL LAUREATES IN PHYSICS BACK ATOMIC TEST BAN,” 10/06/99) reported that a group of 32 Nobel laureates in physics on Tuesday urged the US Senate to approve the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The scientists said that US ratification would mark “an important advance in uniting the world in an effort to contain and reduce the dangers of nuclear arms.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK-US Talks

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “U.S.-N.K. HIGH-LEVEL TALKS DUE IN OCT.,” Seoul, 10/06/99) reported that ROK officials said on Tuesday that the US and the DPRK are expected to hold a high-level meeting by the end of this month. To arrange the meeting, Charles Kartman of the US and Kim Gye-gwan of the DPRK are scheduled to hold another round of talks in Washington early next week, said officials at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. “Washington and Pyongyang had originally planned to hold the meeting between Kartman and Kim today but delayed it probably because of problems related to administrative procedures for Kim’s visit,” said a ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity. At their new round of meetings, Kartman and Kim will discuss preparations to open higher-level talks between the two countries and the further lifting of US sanctions on the DPRK, the official added. The DPRK is reportedly planning to dispatch First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju to Washington late this month to discuss measures to normalize bilateral relations, including the long-delayed opening of liaison offices at both capitals. Kang’s US counterpart will likely be US policy coordinator William Perry. “The U.S. Congress decided to hold a hearing on the so-called Perry report Oct. 13 after a visit by a ranking North Korean official,” Ambassador Lee Hong- koo was quoted as telling visiting ROK lawmakers. After the DPRK-US talks early next week, the ROK, the US and Japan plan to hold a meeting of the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group. The three countries are expected to discuss improvement in relations between the US and the DPRK and joint action aimed at inducing the DPRK to give up its programs to develop and export weapons of mass destruction.

2. PRC-DPRK Talks

The Korea Times (“CHINA SEEKING TO PLAY ROLE IN OPENING UP OF NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 10/05/99) reported that PRC’s Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan was heading to the DPRK on Tuesday in a visit that could be crucial to bringing the DPRK out of its shell, ROK analysts and diplomats said. “This is a very important visit, especially at this time, as China hopes to use its position as a go-between and seek to improve North Korea’s understanding of the outside world,” said Jia Qingguo, a leading scholar at the School of International Studies at Beijing University. The PRC welcomed the DPRK’s September 24 moratorium on new missile launches not only because it greatly reduced tensions in the region, but also for its potential role in cooling enthusiasm for a US-Japan joint Theater Missile Defense, Jia said. “I believe Tang Jiaxuan’s main purpose is to exchange information with North Korea on the external situation, but of course if the opportunity arises he could begin making arrangements for a summit-level visit,” Jia said. East Asian diplomats in Beijing said that an agreement for a DPRK-PRC summit during Tang’s visit would further underscore the PRC’s commitment to maintain a peaceful and stable Korean Peninsula. “Recently many Chinese high- level leaders have visited South Korea … so a triangular relationship between China, North Korea and South Korea will only improve understanding between the North and the South,” one East Asian diplomat said.

3. ROK Policy toward DPRK

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “PRESIDENT REITERATES CALL ON PYONGYANG TO RESPOND TO SEOUL’S ENGAGEMENT POLICY,” Seoul, 10/06/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on Tuesday called for the DPRK to trust in the ROK’s engagement policy toward the DPRK. “Our ‘sunshine policy’ is neither aimed at plotting North Korea’s collapse nor shedding its clothes, but stopping the Cold War that brought such a chill to each side and exchanging the warmth of sunshine,” Kim told the general meeting of a presidential advisory group on unification. “By all means, I will put an end to the Cold War by the end of my tenure. I hope North Korea would dissolve misunderstandings and unfounded concerns and understand our genuine intentions, and call for Pyongyang to positively respond to our efforts for reconciliation and cooperation,” Kim said. The president emphasized that the ROK is taking the lead in inter-Korean affairs, saying, “It is only natural for us to take the initiative in our destiny.”

4. ROK Aid to DPRK

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “GROUPS AIDING N.K. EXPECTED TO RECEIVE FINANCIAL SUBSIDIES,” Seoul, 10/06/99) and The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “GOV’T TO FINANCE NK AID IN HEALTH, AGRICULTURE, ENVIRONMENT,” Seoul, 10/05/99) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry said on Tuesday that the ROK government is considering providing financial support for private groups providing humanitarian aid to the DPRK, including health and medical projects for children, the elderly and pregnant women. “It would be desirable for the government to subsidize South Korean firms building pharmaceutical plants and medical facilities in North Korea from its Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund,” said a ministry official. The ministry will soon work out objective criteria for selecting would-be beneficiaries from the government subsidies through consultation with related agencies, he said. When finalized, the criteria will serve as a ministry decree to be applied on other inter-Korean projects eligible for financial support, in such areas as agriculture and environmental protection, the official added. The ministry is determined to work out the criteria in as early as two to three weeks, the official said, adding that there will be no need to delay financial assistance once the guidelines are completed.

5. DPRK Health Conditions

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “NORTH KOREA’S TB DEATH RATE TOPS WORLD,” Seoul, 10/05/99) and The Korea Times (Shim Jae-yun, “NORTH KOREANS TOP LIST OF TUBERCULOSIS VICTIMS,” Seoul, 10/05/99) reported that DPRK citizens are suffering from widespread tuberculosis, which is killing 80 people of every 100,000, marking the world’s highest death rate from the disease. The ROK citizens’ rate was 10.5 deaths for men and 3.7 for women, with 430,000 TB patients in total, the most of the Organization of Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) member nations. Kim Myong-sop, ROK legislator in the ruling National Congress for New Politics (NCNP), pinpointed this problem in the national policy evaluation on Tuesday and asked the administration to seek its resolution. According to government statistics, about 46,000 new cases of TB patients are registered in the DPRK every year and 18,400 have so far died, with 4-8 million infected persons. It launched an all-out TB extermination drive in 1968, but the recent lack of provisions has caused the renewed spread of the disease.

6. Website on Inter-Korean Talks

The Korea Times (“GOV’T OPENS INTERNET HOMEPAGE ON INTER-KOREAN TALKS,” Seoul, 10/05/99) reported that the ROK government on Monday opened an Internet homepage designed to give a comprehensive look at inter-Korean dialogues during the past several decades. The address of the Internet homepage run by the Office for ROK-DPRK Dialogue in Samchong-dong is http://dialogue.unikorea.go.kr . It is also available on the homepage of the ROK Unification Ministry. The homepage contains the equivalent of about 145,000 pages of information, some also available in English. “Once citizens get access to the homepage, they can acquire information on the results of various inter-Korean dialogues, the list of delegations, the texts of various agreements and photographs,” an official said.

7. Alleged DPRK Tunnels

Chosun Ilbo (Yoo Yong-won, “GNP CLAIM NK DIGGING 26 TUNNELS ON DMZ,” Seoul, 10/05/99) reported that at the ROK National Assembly inspection of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Headquarters on Tuesday, Grand National Party (GNP) lawmaker Lee Dong-bok claimed that to his knowledge the DPRK had dug or was digging 26 tunnels under the Demilitarized Zone and that the army was exploring five suspicious ones. He asked for the results of the search and Army Chief of Staff Kim Dong-shin answered that no suspicious signs have been found so far in the four tunnels that have been uncovered, dismissing Lee’s claim of a fifth.

8. Korean War Massacre

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-soo, “MASAN VILLAGERS CLAIM GIS COMMITTED ANOTHER MASSACRE,” Seoul, 10/06/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Choi Byong-shik, “SURVIVORS DETAIL ALLEGED MASSACRE,” Seoul, 10/05/99) reported that as the ROK and the US prepare to investigate the alleged massacre of about 400 civilians by US soldiers in Nogun-ri in 1950, residents of a village in South Kyongsang Province claim that their town’s civilians faced a similar fate in the early days of the Korean War. A group of villagers in Kokan-ri in Masan, some 400 km south of Seoul, alleged on Monday that US soldiers shot to death more than 80 residents who were hiding in a house of ancestral worship on the outskirts of the village on August 11, 1950. Lee Man-sun, 66, who claims to be a survivor of the incident, said, “American air force and infantry soldiers fired on a hundred residents who were hiding out in the house. Seventy-four were killed right away. Nine more died from their injuries a few days later.” Yonhap News reported that Lee sustained bullet wounds to her thigh, where a shell possibly fired from an M1 rifle still remains. Authorities in Masan have opened an office to catalogue the victims of the alleged massacre there and seek out residents who can explain the events of that August day.

Joongang Ilbo (“NK CRITICIZES NOKUNRI MASS KILLING BY U.S. SOLDIERS,” Seoul, 10/05/99) reported that the DPRK on Monday criticized the alleged mass killing of civilian refugees by US soldiers in the early days of the Korean War and demanded that the US apologize. It was the first official reaction from the DPRK on last week’s news report on the alleged killings in No Gun Ri village. “The truth of history cannot be distorted and covered,” said Pyongyang’s Rodong Sinmun. It said the US forces committed massacres not only in No Gun Ri but also in other areas during the 1950-53 war. In its commentary, Rodong criticized the US and ROK governments for dismissing repeated requests for an investigation by the ROK survivors.

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “US SHOWS NO RESPONSE TO KOREA’S CALL FOR JOINT PROBE,” Seoul, 10/05/99) reported that the US has shown no definite response to the ROK’s proposal that a joint investigation team be formed as soon as possible to shed light on the massacre of civilian refugees by US troops during the Korean War. As the US possesses a lion’s share of documents regarding the incident, the ROK government has no option but to strive to form a joint investigation team with the US, a Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry spokesman said.

9. ROK-Uzbekistan Relations

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “SOUTH KOREA, UZBEKISTAN TO EXPAND BILATERAL COOPERATION,” Seoul, 10/06/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung and Uzbek President Islam Karimov agreed on Tuesday to expand economic cooperation between their two countries. Kim and Karimov, who held summit talks at Chong Wa Dae, issued a 12-point statement that outlined their agreement to boost bilateral ties in the economy and other areas. Karimov arrived in Seoul on Monday for a three-day state visit, his third as leader of the Central Asian nation. The Uzbek president expressed support for ROK’s policy of engaging the DPRK. Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic, maintains official ties with both the DPRK and the ROK. “The leaders share the view that the Korean issue continues to be a potential source of instability in Northeast Asia and that establishing lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula is crucial to the peace and security of the region and beyond,” the statement said.

10. Landmines in ROK

Chosun Ilbo (Joo Young-joon, “MILITARY UNITS FAIL TO RECOVER LANDMINES,” Seoul, 10/05/99) reported that ROK Representative Kim Sang-hyun and Ahn Dong-sun of the National Congress for New Politics (NCNP) claimed on Monday at the National Assembly audit of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs Headquarters, that only 570 of the 3,400 landmines buried to protect five army bases were removed when the units were relocated. Kim and Ahn said that the sections were located at Uijongbu, Kwangchun, Kachang, Ahnhung and Hadong. Grand National Party (GNP) member Representative Seo Chung-won added that since the 1980s a total of 1, 430 mines had been washed away from 15 bases and only 10 percent had been recovered.

III. People’s Republic of China

1. DPRK-ROK Economic Cooperation

China Daily (“DPRK LEADER MEETS ROK TYCOON,” Seoul, 10/02/99, A7) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong- il on October 1 met the founding chairman of the ROK’s largest conglomerate in the latest sign of a thaw between the two regions. The DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said “the Great Leader Kim Jong-il, chairman of the (DPRK) National Defense Commission” met Hyundai Group’s 83-year-old Honorary Chairman Chung Ju-yong and his son, Hyundai Chairman Jong Mong-hun. “Kim Jong-il welcomed Chong Ju-yong’s visit to Pyongyang and conversed with him in a cordial atmosphere,” KCNA said, adding that Kim hosted a lunch for his visitors. “Chung Ju-yong and Chung Mong-hun expressed their heartfelt thanks to him for having received them,” KCNA said.

2. DPRK-PRC Relations

People’s Daily (“CHINA, DPRK CONGRATULATE ON ANNIVERSARY OF DIPLOMATIC TIES”, Beijing, 10/06/99, A1) reported that leaders of the PRC and the DPRK on October 5 exchanged messages of congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between their two countries. In a message sent to top DPRK leaders, PRC President Jiang Zemin, Chairman of the National People’s Congress Li Peng, and Premier Zhu Rongji said that the friendly relations between China and the DPRK are deeply rooted and that the establishment of diplomatic ties shortly after the founding of the People’s Republic of China opened a new historic chapter in their bilateral relations and a broad prospect for the development of such relations. “The past 50 years have convincingly proved that developing friendly relations and cooperation is fully in the fundamental interests of our two countries and peoples,” the Chinese leaders said. The leaders pledged that the PRC will continue to consolidate and develop its relations with the DPRK and believed that the PRC-DPRK friendship will grow further in the 21st century. In a reciprocal message sent to their PRC counterparts, top DPRK leaders described the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries as a historic event that has brought the traditional Korean-Chinese friendship into a new phase of all-round development. Thanks to mutual support and cooperation, the friendly relations have been growing in the past 50 years and have effectively promoted the socialist construction in both countries, said the DPRK leaders. “We believe that the traditional friendly Korean-Chinese relations of cooperation, under common efforts made by the peoples of both countries, will inevitably pass on from generation to generation, and will be further consolidated and will further develop,” the DPRK leaders said in the message. The DPRK message was co-signed by Kim Jong-il, General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Chairman of the National Defense Commission of the DPRK and Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army; Kim Yong-nam, President of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK; and Hong Song-nam, Premier of the DPRK.

3. Korean War Massacre

China Daily (“STUDENTS PROTEST REPORTED US KILLINGS,” Seoul, 10/04/99, A7) reported that a student group held a rally in downtown Seoul on October 3, demanding that the US punish those responsible for alleged mass killings of civilians by US forces at the start of the Korean War. It was the first time the ROK’s largest student group, called Hanchongryon and known for its anti-US views, had reacted to last week’s news report on the alleged slaughter in July 1950. “The US Government must punish people responsible for the massacre!” a group of 40 students chanted, pumping clenched fists in the air.

4. ROK Nuclear Accident

China Daily (“22 EXPOSED IN S. KOREAN NUCLEAR LEAK,” Seoul, 10/06/99, A7) reported that twenty-two workers at an ROK nuclear plant were exposed to radiation after a coolant leak accident, the ROK government announced on October 5. The heavy water leak occurred on the night of October 4 during maintenance and safety checks at Wolsong, southeast of Seoul, the ROK Science and Technology Ministry said. The nuclear reactors were not in operation at the time. The ministry officials were quick to downplay the accident, saying the exposure, the first ever case of group contamination in the ROK, “was not that severe.” “All those exposed to radiation have escaped harm,” a ministry spokesman told reporters. “No one was hospitalized,” the spokesman added.

5. Japanese Nuclear Accident

China Daily (“JAPAN PROBES IN NUCLEAR ACCIDENT,” Tokyo, 10/04/99, A7) reported that four days after Japan’s worst-ever nuclear accident, investigators launched a full-scale investigation into the cause of the disaster on October 3. The inquiry is now focused on whether the accident was caused by human error, as has been suggested by the plant operators, or whether the plant is guilty of systematic violations of regulations that led to the release of radioactive materials, the report said. A local police spokesman said that a 100-strong task force was formed on October 3 to investigate why a “criticality accident,” or a nuclear chain reaction, occurred at a uranium processing plant in Tokaimura. Separately, investigators from the Science and Technology Agency, which supervises Japan’s nuclear program, were preparing on October 3 to raid the offices of JCO Co Ltd, the operator of the uranium processing facility. JCO Co, a wholly owned unit of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd, acknowledged on October 2 that it had illegally revised a government-approved manual to allow its workers to use stainless steel buckets to transfer uranium solution to a mixing tank. Because the plant workers were doing the job by hand instead of using the required apparatus, this practice was not directly linked to the accident, but the workers mistakenly loaded 16 kilograms, nearly eight times the normal amount of condensed uranium, into a container. This likely created the “flash criticality” that was not brought under control until the morning of October 1, nuclear experts said.

6. Earthquake Relief Aid to Taiwan

People’s Daily (“SPOKESMAN COMMENTS ON INTERNATIONAL AID TO TAIWAN,” Beijing, 10/5/99, A1) reported that when asked by a report to comment on international relief aid to Taiwan, which suffered great loss in the earthquake on September 21, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said in Beijing on October 4 that “we welcome and thank rescue actions of the international community conducted through proper channels, and we have always offered to help as much as possible.” According to Zhu, the central government once considered launching an international rescue through the UN to speed Taiwan’s recovery. The UN, as an inter-governmental organization, can only do earthquake rescues with a sovereign nation’s permission, Zhu added. He said that the central government sent a letter to the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation, through the PRC-based Association for Relations Across the Straits, on September 24. The letter asked about Taiwan’s needs, but the PRC received a letter back saying there was no need for aid. The central government therefore told the UN that there was no need to start an international rescue, Zhu said, and the UN said it would respect the PRC’s wishes. The relief efforts and humanitarian aid provided by the international community have proven effective and unimpeded, Zhu said, adding that the PRC Government will continue to coordinate further relief with the international community.

7. PRC-Russian Relations

China Daily (“SINO-RUSSIAN DIPLOMATIC TIES CELEBRATED,” 10/04/99, A1) reported that PRC and Russian leaders emphasized the importance of Sino-Russian cooperation to promote development and world peace on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. PRC President Jiang Zemin and his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin shared this view in their respective messages to congratulate each other on the treaty, which was signed on the second day of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the report said. “We are pleased to see that Sino-Russian relations have not only been smoothly normalized, but are also bearing fruit,” Jiang said in his message, adding that the strategic partnership is being consistently reinforced and developed. In his message to Jiang, Yeltsin pointed out that Russian-PRC cooperation is crucial to the establishment of multipolar diplomacy to safeguard peace and development in Asia and the world. To mark the occasion, Li Peng, chairman of the Standing Committee of the PRC National People’s Congress, and PRC Premier Zhu Rongji also exchanged congratulation messages with their Russian counterparts. In another development, Zhang Wannian, vice- chairman of the Central Military Commission of China, at a meeting with Mihail Georgevich Zakharenko, commander of the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet, said that he is confident that Sino-Russian ties will improve in the new century.

8. PRC Entry into WTO

China Daily (Zheng Caixiong, “MINISTER OPTIMISTIC ON CHINA’S WTO ENTRY,” Shenzhen, 10/06/99, A1) reported that PRC Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC) Shi Guangsheng said that despite recent difficulties, he is still optimistic about the PRC’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) within the year. “Whether China can join the WTO has now become a political decision,” Shi said on October 5. “Both China and the US face political considerations on this issue,” Shi told reporters after attending a work conference on the promotion of the nation’s high-technology products. “Our negotiating position was made clear to the US during the APEC Forum in Auckland last month,” Shi said. What the US publicized after Premier Zhu Rongji’s visit to the US in April was an exaggeration, Shi claimed. Shi declined, however, to disclose the timetable for further negotiations, the report said. “Negotiation will be very difficult,” the MOFTEC chief admitted. “Now the key issue remains how we should balance our obligations and rights after China’s accession.” Some technical issues have yet to be resolve, he added.

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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
Asian Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun: khs688@hotmail.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

Leanne Paton: anjlcake@webtime.com.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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