NAPSNet Daily Report 07 April, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 07 April, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, April 07, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-07-april-1999/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Announcements

I. United States

1. DPRK Defectors

The Associated Press (“FIVE ESCAPE NORTH KOREA FAMINE,” 04/07/99, Seoul) reported that the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) said Wednesday that five DPRK refugees have arrived in Seoul. NIS said that one of the refugees was Sohn Jae-sool, a former ROK army private who was captured by Chinese troops during the Korean War. Sohn worked at a coal mine in the DPRK until escaping to a third country in October with his wife and daughter. NIS added that, in unrelated defections, two other DPRK citizens, including a former army captain, arrived in Seoul from a third country where they had lived in hiding since leaving the DPRK between 1995 and 1997.

2. PRC Premier’s US Visit

Reuters (Scott Hillis, “CHINESE PREMIER ARRIVES IN U.S. FOR NINE-DAY VISIT,” 04/06/99, Los Angeles) and The Associated Press (P.H. Ferguson, “CHINESE PREMIER BEGINS U.S. VISIT,” 04/07/99, Los Angeles) reported that PRC Premier Zhu Rongji arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday for a nine-day US visit. About 100 people waving PRC flags greeted Zhu at the Los Angeles International Airport. At the Century Plaza Hotel, where he attended private meetings with local business officials and a luncheon in his honor, about 50 protesters called for the PRC to withdraw from Tibet and stop threatening Taiwan. In his speech to the gathering Zhu, jokingly warned, “Please remember when you return to China, don’t bring any materials so you can avoid being investigated.” He added that at the 50th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, the country might consider parading its military equipment with signs saying, “Made in China and Developed with Chinese Technology.” Zhu also stated, “All the questions and problems between China and the United States … are no more than an episode in the longer history of the friendly relations and the cooperation between China and the United States.”

The Washington Post (Steven Mufson, “CHINESE PREMIER ZHU ARRIVES IN U.S. AS ‘PARTNERSHIP’ IS FRAYED,” 04/07/99, A02) reported that 48 members of the US Congress signed a letter to US President Bill Clinton criticizing the policy of engagement with the PRC on the eve of PRC Premier Zhu’s arrival. Representative John E. Sweeney (R-N.Y.), argued, “In response to our gestures of engagement, the communist Chinese have denied U.S. goods access to their markets, stolen our military secrets and supplied our rogue enemies with arms. It is time to reexamine our policy toward Communist China.” The deputy chief of the PRC mission in Washington, Liu Xiaoming, said that Zhu’s visit is timely, arguing, “when relations are good, we need high-level visits. When there are difficulties, we need them all the more. We need leaders to provide leadership.” He added, “We need a leader from China to tell his story and say what kind of changes people can expect from China. Zhu will bring the message that the door to China will be opened further.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 7.]

3. US Policy toward PRC

The Associated Press (Terence Hunt, “CLINTON WARNS VS. ISOLATING CHINA,” Washington, 04/07/99) reported that US President Clinton, in an address to members of the United States Institute for Peace, the diplomatic corps, and business leaders, said Wednesday that the US must avoid a new cold war with the PRC. Clinton stated, “We will not change our policy in a way that isolates China from the global forces that have begun to empower the Chinese people to change their society and build a better future. For that would leave the people of China with less access to information, less contact to the democratic world and more resistance from their government to outside influence and ideas.” He added, “As the next presidential election approaches, we cannot allow a healthy argument to lead us toward a campaign-driven cold war with China, for that would have tragic consequences: an America riven by mistrust and bitter accusation. An end to diplomatic contacts that have produced tangible gains for our people. A climate of mistrust that hurts Chinese-Americans and undermines the exchanges that are opening China to the world. No one could possibly gain from that except for the most rigid backward-looking elements in China itself.” Clinton argued, “I believe we should not look at China through rose-colored glasses, nor should we look through a glass darkly to see an image that distorts China’s strength and ignores its complexities.”

4. PRC Reaction to NATO Airstrikes

Reuters (“CHINA’S ZHU SPELLS OUT FEARS OVER NATO BOMBINGS,” 04/07/99, Beijing) reported that PRC Premier Zhu Rongji said that the PRC is opposed to NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia because it is against foreign intervention in ethnic conflicts. In an interview with the Toronto Globe and Mail published on Wednesday, Zhu stated, “The Kosovo question is an ethnic problem, which of course is an internal matter. Questions like this exist in many countries. You in Canada have the question of Quebec; the U.K. has the Northern Ireland question; and for China, there is the question of Tibet.” Zhu added, “If military intervention is used against a country for a human rights issue, that will create a very bad precedent in the world.” Zhu argued, “If we should refuse to recognize a country’s sovereignty, I am afraid that would lead to war, even a world war.”

5. US Nuclear Laboratories

The New York Times (James Risen, “ENERGY DEPARTMENT HALTS COMPUTER WORK AT THREE NUCLEAR WEAPON LABS,” 04/07/99, Washington) reported that the US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said Tuesday that that the Energy Department had suspended all scientific work on computers at Los Alamos, Sandia, and Lawrence-Livermore National Laboratories that contain sensitive secrets. Richardson said he ordered the suspension on Friday as part of a new effort to improve security following allegations of PRC espionage. Richardson said that he will not allow computer operations, except those needed to insure safety, to resume until he is satisfied that security has improved. Energy Department officials said that thousands of scientists and other researchers have been forced to stop their work and instead attend training sessions on computer security. John C. Browne, director at Los Alamos, stated, “We have to look at threats to information security from a risk-benefit standpoint and put in place additional procedures that make sense. We can’t raise the bar so high we can’t get any work done. That affects national security too.” [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 7.]

6. Alleged US Technology Transfer to PRC

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “CHINA GAINS FROM U.S. NUKE SALES,” 04/07/99, pg.1) reported that, in a report set for release on Wednesday, the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control said that the US government has approved US$15 billion worth of strategic exports to the PRC since 1988. The report, “U.S. Exports to China, 1988-1998: Fueling Proliferation,” stated, “Some of this dual-use equipment was licensed directly to leading Chinese nuclear, missile and military sites — the main vertebrae of China’s strategic backbone. Several of the Chinese buyers later supplied nuclear, missile and military equipment to Iran and Pakistan.” The report concluded that the damage to US national security from these legal sales was greater than the PRC’s alleged nuclear espionage at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project, stated, “The report shows without a doubt that American products have gone directly into the hands of Chinese nuclear, missile and military sites.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 7.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Views of US Forces in Korea

Chosun Ilbo (“NK CHANGES STANCE ON USFK,” Seoul, 04/06/99) reported an unnamed high-ranking ROK government official said Tuesday that the DPRK has changed its stance on the US Forces Korea (USFK) and now wants them to remain in the ROK. The DPRK apparently wants a change in status to make USFK a peacekeeping force between the opposing armies on the peninsula. The official said that delegates from the DPRK had discussed this with the US government previously, but it had been kept secret. There have been unofficial rumors that the DPRK desired a change of status, but this is the first time that an official has confirmed that this was a topic raised at the four-party talks. However, Kwon Jung-lak, the director of North American Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade who attended the four party talks, said that the DPRK has not changed its position. Kwon said that the government’s position was that the status of USFK could only be discussed as part of arms reduction talks after a comprehensive peace plan had been established. At a ceremony for newly promoted generals, ROK President Kim Dae-jung said that although he had no details, the DPRK has recently expressed a willingness to recognize the USFK as a peacekeeping force.

Korea Herald (“SEOUL TO EXCULDE U.S. FORCES FROM AGENDA AT 4-PARTY TALKS,” Seoul, 04/07/99) reported that the ROK is not considering discussing the status of US troops at the four-party talks to be held in Geneva later this month. “We don’t have any plan to include the issue of U.S. forces in Korea in the official agenda items at the forthcoming negotiation,” said an unnamed senior ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry official responsible for the four-party talks. “The issue of US forces stationed in Korea can be discussed only after the four-party talks make significant progress in establishing a peace regime on the peninsula,” the official said. “Only then could we discuss how to readjust the size and deployment of all armed forces–not only the US troops but ROK and DPRK ones as well–on this peninsula.” According to other sources, however, opinions are split within the ministry over how to respond to the DPRK’s call to discuss a change of roles for the US forces.

2. DPRK’s Parliamentary Session

Korea Times (“NORTH KOREAN PARLIAMENT TO WORK OUT STARVING NATION’S BUDGET,” Seoul, 04/07/99) reported that the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), was scheduled to start meeting Wednesday for to try to set a budget. The meeting will be the first full SPA session since Kim Jong-il was confirmed as de-facto head of state. Analysts said the session could reveal crucial details of the financial status of the DPRK as it attempts to regain control of the economy by reaffirming its doctrine of central planning. “It could be very interesting indeed as this is a forum at which reports on the economy will be presented and budgets will be set which may give us some insight into the true state of the economy,” said an unnamed senior expert on the DPRK. “If you are setting budgets and working out economic plans, you have to base them on past figures, which may prove very revealing,” he added. The SPA is expected to debate last year’s budget expenditure and set a budget for 1999, ROK officials said. Delegates to the Pyongyang meeting will also likely approve bills passed by the SPA’s standing committee since September, as well as government personnel changes and a “new economic plan,” the ROK Yonhap News Agency said.

3. DPRK Missile Exports

JoongAng Ilbo (“ISRAEL CONSIDERED OFFERING ONE BILLION DOLLARS TO N.K.,” Seoul, 04/06/99) reported that it was recently acknowledged that Israel offered a package deal worth approximately US$1 billion to the DPRK in exchange for an agreement to stop exporting missiles. This deal was recently revealed by a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). According to the report, in September of 1992 Israel dispatched the deputy director of foreign affairs to the DPRK to discuss concerns about DPRK exports of medium-range Rodong-1 missiles to Iran and Syria. The Israeli official suggested compensation, including buying the Woonsan gold mine and providing thousands of trucks to the DPRK, in return for the cessation of missile exports to the Middle East. The US, however, urged Israel not to contact the DPRK as soon as DPRK withdrew from the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in March 1993. In March 1994, Israel was reportedly still negotiating with the DPRK. This later proposal would have Israel collecting US$1 billion dollars from US Jewish businessmen and investing the money in a private development project in the DPRK in return for which the DPRK would stop offering Rodong missiles to Iran. However, this negotiation did not result in an agreement because of US intervention in the DPRK-Israel contacts. [Ed. note: Please see The Case for Engaging North Korea by David Wright of UCS, available on the Global Beat website.]

4. ROK Fertilizer Aid to DPRK

Korea Herald (“SECOND BATCH OF FERTILIZER TO BE SENT TO N.K. TODAY,” Seoul, 04/07/99) reported that ROK Korean National Red Cross (KNRC) officials said that the KNRC was scheduled to send a second donation of 5,000 tons of fertilizer worth 1.6 billion won (US$1.3 million) to the DPRK on Wednesday. The KNRC sent the first fertilizer shipment, also totaling 5,000 tons, to DPRK at the end of last month. The ROK ship which carried the fertilizer returned home earlier Wednesday. KNRC notified its DPRK counterpart on Saturday of the dates of the second and third shipments. “A South Korean ship carrying the fertilizer, the Kwangyang No. 33, is due to depart from the port of Yosu in the South today and arrive at Nampo on North Korea’s western coast two days later,” a KNRC official said. Another ROK ship, the Dooyang Opal, will carry the same quantity of fertilizer from the southeastern port of Ulsan April 10 and reach Chongjin on the DPRK’s northeastern coast on April 12, according to the schedule. The KNRC has promised to donate fertilizer to the DPRK through a nationwide fund-raising campaign to help the DPRK boost farm production. It plans to complete the deliveries by early June.

5. ROK Insecticide Aid to DPRK

Korea Herald (“SOUTH KOREA PUSHES FOR CONTROL OF PINE NEEDLE GALL MIDGE IN MT. KUMGANG,” Seoul, 04/07/99) reported that ROK Agriculture and Forestry Minister Kim Sung-hoon said that the government plans to send insecticide and exterminators to the DPRK, probably in June, to help the DPRK prevent the spread of pine needle gall midge in the Mt. Kumgang area. Kim stated, “Our government is seeking to contact with DPRK April 9-10 to discuss the matter.” Minister Kim made the remarks during a cabinet meeting presided over by ROK President Kim Dae-jung. The minister also said that the DPRK had reacted favorably to the ROK’s offer to jointly exterminate the insect, which sucks the nutrients out of pine needles.

6. DPRK Defectors

JoongAng Ilbo (“PRISONER OF KOREAN WAR RETURNED TO SOUTH KOREA, Seoul, 04/07/99) reported that the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced on April 7 that Sohn Jae-sul, who had been captured during the Korean War, defected from the DPRK and returned to the ROK via a third country, accompanied by his 64-year-old wife and 30-year-old daughter. He was known to have been captured by PRC armed forces. Sohn defected from the DPRK last November. He had been detained in a prisoner of war camp by the DPRK, and then had worked in an Ohnsung coal mine in North Hamgyung Province. He said that he has an elder sister and many other relatives in the ROK. Sohn also told NIS officials that his elder brother had been taken prisoner in the DPRK and died in 1995. It is confirmed that he had been presumed dead by the ROK government and accordingly his mortuary tablet has been kept in the National Cemetery.

III. Announcements

1. Film Benefit for DPRK Famine

The University of Maryland Department of Asian and East European Languages and Culture, the Join Together Society of New York, and the Institute for Strategic Reconciliation, Inc. (ISR) will co-sponsor the Gala Benefit Film Presentation of the English-subtitled “Spring in My Hometown,” an ROK film about the suffering and hope of families who survived the Korean war. The entire ticket proceeds will go for shipping medicines and medical supplies to the DPRK under a US government license. The presentation will be Sunday, April 18, 7 pm, at the University of Maryland Hoff Theater in College Park. General admission fee is US$15.00. For tickets, contact the Korean YMCA of Washington (703-379- 1141), AM 1310 Radio (703-218-1310) or ISR (301-570-3948 or by email.

2. ROK Nuclear Control Cooperation

The Technology Center for Nuclear Control (TCNC) in the ROK announced that it is awaiting a response to a proposal for a cooperation agreement with the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control. The objective of this arrangement would be to promote cooperation in the field of nuclear material accounting and control. Send email for more information. TCNC also announced that its director, B.K. Kim, replied to the “Questionnaire on Anxieties about Plutonium Utilization in Japan and at the Japanese Nuclear Corporation (JNC) from the Point of View of Nuclear Proliferation.” The survey was conducted by PESCO Company under a contract with JNC, which is seeking to re-establish the Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute. For more information, please send email.

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Shanghai, People’s Republic of China


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