NAPSNet Daily Report 07 July, 1999

Recommended Citation

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

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. People’s Republic of China

I. United States

1. DPRK Missile Base

The Associated Press (“N.KOREA SAID TO BUILD MISSILE BASE,” Seoul, 07/06/99) and Reuters (“N. KOREA BUILDING MISSILE BASE NEAR CHINA,” Seoul, 07/07/99) reported that, according to the ROK newspaper Chosun Ilbo, the DPRK is building an underground missile base in Youngjeo-dong in Yanggang province near the border with the PRC. Chosun Ilbo quoted an unidentified government official as saying, “South Korea-U.S. forces are anxious to come up with countermeasures since an attack at a time of emergency is impossible because the base is about 20 km (12.5 miles) from China.” He said that it would be difficult to attack the base since its entrance faces the PRC. Chosun Ilbo also quoted a military source as saying that missiles fired from the new base could reach all of the ROK and most parts of Japan.

2. DPRK Missile Test

Reuters (“NORTH KOREA SAYS MISSILE TEST IS ‘SOVEREIGN RIGHT’,” Tokyo, 07/07/99) reported that the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday said that testing ballistic missiles is a “sovereign right” and criticized the US for suggesting that a launch would threaten agreements with the DPRK. KCNA stated, “We have already repeatedly declared that such things as missile development, production and test launch belong to our sovereignty and no one has the right to take issue with the rights of a sovereign state…. We warn once again that we will punish any provocateurs encroaching upon our national sovereignty, whoever they may be.”

3. Anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s Death

The Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA TO MARK KIM ANNIVERSARY,” Seoul, 06/07/99) reported that the DPRK will mark the fifth anniversary of the death of DPRK President Kim Il-sung with rallies and seminars on Thursday and oaths of loyalty to Kim Jong-il. Kim Jong-il invited the DPRK’s old allies, including Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk, for this year’s events. The DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted DPRK students at a seminar as saying, “To become an absolute worshipper, resolute defender and perfect embodier [sic] of the Great Kim Jong Il’s ideas is a basic guarantee for glorifying the idea of the President.” In the past week, KCNA has reported mysterious phenomena, such as trees blossoming early this year to mark the anniversary.

4. ROK Missile Development

Reuters (“S.KOREA SAYS U.S. AGREES TALKS ON 500-KM MISSILES,” Seoul, 07/07/99) reported that, according to ROK President Kim Dae-jung, although the US will discuss the ROK proposal to develop longer-range missiles, the US is withholding immediate backing for the project. Kim stated, “The United States expressed concerns that the development of such missiles could provoke our neighboring nations. But our purpose does not lie there, but in deterring aggression from North Korea. So it was agreed that the issue would be handled by specialists of both nations.” Kim added that the US agreed to help block any DPRK attempt to test-launch the Taepodong II.

5. Arms Race in Asia

The Los Angeles Times carried a commentary by Tom Plate (“EAST ASIA, INFECTED BY A NEW ARMS RACE, RISKS DEADLY MISCALCULATIONS,” 07/07/99) which argued that the attempt of East Asian nations to bolster their military security is creating a rash of strategic insecurities. Plate pointed out that not only the DPRK, but also the ROK are trying to develop longer-range missiles. Plate noted that Japan is working with the US to develop Theater Missile Defense, and that the PRC also has been improving its rocket arsenal. Plate said, “China finds the prospect of a rearmed Japan especially unnerving–and any missile defense umbrella among the United States, Japan and Taiwan completely unacceptable.” Taiwan-based regional military expert Chin Chu-Kwang was quoted as saying, “If the concerns that motivated the initial stride toward a Sino-Russian strategic alliance escalate, then the stage may well be set for another Cold War.” Plate argued, “With all this going on, the U.S. Congress would make an idiotic contribution to the arms-buildup frenzy by requiring, in legislation, the Pentagon to cooperate with Taiwan directly.” Plate concluded, “What the United States needs to do is to convene a well-prepared series of high-profile Asian arms- reduction conferences in Washington–and soon. For the net effect of the rush to attain new levels of security is to make East Asia all the more insecure.”

6. Keizo Obuchi’s Visit to PRC

Dow Jones Newswires (“JAPAN TO ASK CHINA TO QUICKLY END WTO TALKS,” Tokyo, 07/07/99) reported that, according to Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s spokesman Akitaka Saiki, when he visits the PRC this week Obuchi will encourage the PRC to complete talks on its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) with all nations as soon as possible. Saiki also said that Japan will discuss the issue of missile development by the DPRK and issues concerning the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). Saiki said, “It’s natural for the Japanese side to seek some cooperation from the Chinese side in our attempt to have a better, stable dialogue with Pyongyang.” Regarding the issue of an apology for Japanese World War II aggression in the PRC, Saiki said that this issue was settled during Jiang’s visit to Japan last year. He added that he thought that this would not be a “focal point” of discussion during this visit.

7. US Ambassador to PRC

The Associated Press (“CHINA MIFFED OVER CLINTON CANDIDATE FOR NEW AMBASSADOR,” Washington, 07/07/99) reported that, according to congressional and diplomatic officials, PRC officials reportedly have registered displeasure at the delay in the notification of the proposed nomination of retired US Admiral Joseph W. Prueher as ambassador to the PRC. Yu Shuning, a spokesman for the PRC Embassy in the US, stated, “We’ve gotten information only from the media. We have not been officially notified yet…. We’re waiting for the official notification from the U.S. side.” David Leavy, US White House National Security Council spokesman, said on Tuesday that the proposed nomination was still being “vetted” by the office of White House counsel and was not ready for submission. He said that no snub of the PRC was intended, but that the identity of the nominee leaked out early in the selection process, before the US administration had a chance to notify the PRC.

8. Australian Views of PRC-Taiwan Rivalry

The Wall Street Journal (Russell Flannery, “TAIWAN’S CORDIAL RELATIONS WITH AUSTRALIA TURN TENSE,” Taipei, 07/07/99) reported that Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on Tuesday said that Papua New Guinea’s recognition of Taiwan might harm the country’s exports to the PRC, which buys more of its goods than Taiwan does. Downer said, “Our concern would be that there will be some negative economic implications for Papua New Guinea.” The Associated Press quoted Australia Defense Minister John Moore on Sunday as saying, “We recognize one China, and I don’t believe that an action such as that [recognition of Taiwan] would be in our interests, or Papua New Guinea’s interests.” Henry Chen, the acting spokesman for Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry, stated, “This is between the Republic of China and Papua New Guinea. Other countries don’t comment publicly like this. We don’t understand.”

9. US-Philippines Military Cooperation

The Associated Press (George Gedda, “FEARING CHINA, MANILA TURNS TO US,” Washington, 07/06/99) reported that Filipino concern over PRC actions in the South China Sea is leading to a partial revitalization of US- Philippines military ties. Filipino Ambassador to the US Raul Rabe said that, before a vote by the Philippines Senate in May to approve a Visiting Forces Agreement with the US, the US pledged to extend its defense perimeter into the South China Sea. Unnamed US officials said that the US administration has merely reaffirmed its long-standing policy of pledging to consult with the Philippines if either party’s territory is attacked, which is consistent with the defense treaty’s language. An unnamed official stated, “We’re not going to give them (the Philippines) a blank check.” He also noted that the US has made clear its neutrality in the South China Sea dispute and he cited approvingly the PRC’s assertion that it will not interfere with freedom of navigation there. He added that no significant US weapons sales to the Philippines are contemplated. The Far Eastern Economic Review quoted PRC Ambassador to Manila Fu Ying as saying, “We see the proposed Visiting Forces Agreement as a matter between the Philippines and the U.S.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for July 7.]

10. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

The Associated Press (Tom Raum, “SENATE URGED ON TEST BAN TREATY,” Washington, 07/06/99) reported that some US Senators are calling for a Senate hearing to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. US Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat-North Dakota, stated, “The Senate is dragging its feet on this issue and it’s unforgivable.” He said that he and other test-ban supporters will get “more aggressive” in the coming weeks. Thomas Graham, president of the Lawyers Alliance for World Security and a former director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, stated, “Russia is waiting for us, China is waiting for Russia. The delay in ratification is exclusively that there haven’t been hearings. There is no other reason.”

11. Russian Ratification of START II

The Associated Press (“YELTSIN URGES START II RATIFICATION,” Moscow, 07/02/99) reported that, according to Interfax news agency, Russian President Boris Yeltsin urged the Russian parliament on Friday to approve the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty. Yeltsin told a meeting of top defense officials that START II must be ratified, and a follow-on agreement, START III, must be prepared.

12. Kashmir Conflict

The Associated Press (“KASHMIR FIGHTERS VOW TO RESIST PAKISTAN’S PEACE OVERTURES,” Islamabad, 07/07/99) reported that the United Jehad Council, an umbrella organization that represents 14 Islamic guerrilla groups fighting in Indian-held Kashmir, vowed on Wednesday to defy attempts by Pakistan to withdraw their forces from the Kargil battlefield. Council Chairman Syed Salauddin stated, “Our mujahedeen will fight until the last drop of blood … we will not leave our positions at this decisive phase.” Salauddin called Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s weekend summit with US President Bill Clinton a “stab in the back of the Kashmiri freedom struggle.”

The Associated Press (“KASHMIR FIGHTING ESCALATES WITH NO WITHDRAWAL IN SIGHT,” Kargil, 07/07/99) reported that India’s Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said that military operations will continue until all Pakistan-based forces that infiltrated across the Line of Control have been driven out. He added that India will not accept any third party mediation. Vajpayee, however, stated, “At the same time, we are willing to give diplomacy a chance if that will enable us to achieve our objective. For this reason we’ve had some contact with Pakistan in recent weeks.”

13. US-Pakistan Talks

The Washington Times (Ben Barber, “INDIA, PAKISTAN ‘CLOSE TO THE EDGE’,” 07/07/99) reported that analysts said that the peacemaking effort of US President Bill Clinton may have served only to destabilize the Pakistani government. Stephen Cohen, a former US White House official and expert on Pakistan’s military who is currently with the Brookings Institution, stated, “The crisis has only just begun. Pakistan’s army thinks that having nuclear weapons equalizes its relations and therefore they can push and poke the Indians without a full war breaking out. They are dancing close to the edge.” Pakistani Embassy spokesman Malik Zahoor Ahmad said that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the US had been intended to “eliminate the risk of a fourth war between India and Pakistan.” Ahmad stated, “As nuclear powers, both [India and Pakistan] have a responsibility to resolve all disputes and not slide into a conflict that could have dangerous consequences for both countries.” US Secretary of Defense William Cohen said that the US efforts to defuse the situation have been “too little, too late.” Cohen stated, “It’s crisis diplomacy. We should have been involved earlier. Instead we were too involved in treaties and the [Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty] while President Clinton was distracted with other events.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Missile Base

Chosun Ilbo (Yoo Yong-won, “NK BUILDS NEW UNDERGROUND MISSILE BASE,” Seoul, 07/07/99) reported on Tuesday that, according to an informed ROK government source, a new DPRK underground missile base was detected at Youngjodong, Yanggang province, only 20km from the PRC border. The source said that ROK and US military authorities have been paying keen attention to the facility as its position is difficult to attack even with precision guided missiles. The source said that the new base is comprised of 10 or so missile sites and presumed to be about 70 percent complete. The source added that the DPRK will likely deploy Taepodong-1 or Nodong-1 missiles at the base. The DPRK is now operating 10 or so missile bases throughout its territory and three more have been under construction.

2. DPRK Missile Test

Joongang Ilbo (Shim Shang-bok, “‘NK UNLIKELY TO FIRE ANOTHER MISSILE SOON,’ JAPAN SAYS,” Seoul, 07/06/99) reported that according to a top Japanese official, recent reports that the DPRK is likely to test-fire another missile anytime soon may not be accurate. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka was quoted by the Kyodo News Agency as saying on July 6, “Based on the information we have, we don’t think the launch of a Taepodong missile is imminent.” The comments came after Kyodo quoted former UN Undersecretary Yasushi Akashi as saying in Beijing on Saturday that a DPRK official told him the DPRK is “ready” to fire a missile.

3. Perry Report

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “PERRY REPORT TO BE REVEALED SOON,” Seoul, 07/06/99), The Korea Times (Lee Chang-sup, “US POISED TO UNVEIL ‘PERRY REPORT’,” Ottawa, 07/06/99) and The Korea Herald (Chon Shi- yong, “SEOUL, WASHINGTON TO MAKE PUBLIC DETAILS OF ‘PERRY REPORT’,” Ottawa, 07/07/99) reported that both the ROK and the US governments are expected to reveal the elements of former US Defense Secretary William Perry’s report on DPRK policy this month. A source from the ROK administration said on Tuesday, “We stated our case to the US, that it is about time to decide what should have taken place by now with North Korea. The US agreed on the scaling of time and details.” He added, “President Kim Dae-jung and Bill Clinton reached this conclusion through the summit meeting. At first, both countries agreed to postpone a public report review until the North had responded, but as we have received no reaction, we think the international community should know the views that were expressed.”

4. DPRK-ROK Talks

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “SEOUL WILL WAIT FOR N.K. TO SORT OUT INTERNAL DISCORD, RETURN TO TALKS,” Seoul, 07/07/99) reported that a top ROK unification official said on Tuesday that Seoul would wait until the DPRK solves internal conflicts and voluntarily comes back to the inter-Korean talks. The official indicated that the DPRK needs more time to coordinate opinions among different sectors of its leadership. The official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, “Considering the shock North Korea may have felt by the June 15 naval skirmish, the North must be in need of some time to cool down the rage among its people and sort out internal discord.” He continued, “In fact, we did not even expect the North to show up in the talks after undergoing such a grave accident. Therefore, we can do nothing but wait until North Koreans recover from the trauma and decide to discuss reuniting separated families, as they promised earlier, in further inter-Korean talks.”

5. ROK-DPRK Military Comparison

The Korea Herald (Lee Sung-yul, “ANTIQUE NORTH KOREAN NAVAL BOATS NO MATCH FOR SOUTH’S NEW WARSHIPS,” Seoul, 07/07/99) reported that during the recent naval skirmish between the ROK and the DPRK, DPRK patrol ships abruptly began shooting 25-mm guns, wounding nine ROK sailors on a 150-ton patrol boat. The ROK ships fired back. The DPRK ships, however, could not fire their larger cannons; they could not even aim at a fast moving ROK ships because their guns, like WW II-era ground artillery, were manually operated, compared with the radar-targeted, computer-operated guns of the ROK naval ships. ROK Navy Lieutenant Commander Kim Man-soo said, “You could see many North Korean sailors exposed on the deck, because they had to handle the guns manually, while our sailors were inside watching radar screens and computer monitors.” The shoot-out put the vintage DPRK arsenal to the test in a fight against the ROK weaponry for the first time since the Korean War. The DPRK has a standing army of 1.16 million troops, compared with 670,000 of the ROK. Its 440 surface combatant ships and 40 submarines outnumber ROK’s 170 and 6, respectively. However, economic collapse has brought erosion of the military, not only of the navy but also of the air force and the army. An intelligence source in Seoul said, “Maybe the North doesn’t even have the money to repair the damaged patrol boats.” He added that many of the DPRK air force fighters, for lack of fuel, are grounded, while pilots conduct training through simulators. Nevertheless, the DPRK can still rain artillery shells on Seoul, just 50km south of the land border. Its self-propelled artillery and multiple launch rocket system can hit targets in the capital.

6. DPRK Defectors to ROK

Joongang Ilbo (Seo Jang-soo, “NK DEFECTORS TO S.KOREA REACH 1,000,” Seoul, 07/06/99) reported that the number of DPRK citizens who have defected to the ROK since the ROK government was reinstated in 1948 hit 1,000 on July 6. A source from the ROK Ministry of Unification said that DPRK defectors fleeing to the ROK amounted to 1,001 as 53 people from the DPRK have arrived in Seoul this year. Out of the 1,000 defectors, 792 are still in the ROK and the remaining 209 have died or emigrated. The fifty-three defectors received by the ROK in 1999 indicate an increase in DPRK defectors. The largest number recorded since 1948 was in 1997, when 86 defected. The Ministry will hold a ceremony for the completion of the Hanawon, an office supporting the settlement of the defectors in Ansung, Kyonggi Province, on July 8.

7. ROK Consulate in PRC

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yeol, “CONSULATE TO OPEN IN SHENYANG,” Seoul, 07/07/99) reported that the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade announced on Tuesday that the ROK Embassy in the PRC will open a ROK Consulate in the city of Shenyang this Thursday. The ROK Consulate will be opened as part of the embassy’s branch office and will issue passports and visas for the residents of the three northeast provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang. The consular office will also assist ROK businessmen and residents in the PRC. Currently, there are about 23,000 ROK students, businessmen, and families living in the northeast provinces of the PRC. The ROK government signed an agreement with the PRC government last January for the establishment of the consulate.

III. People’s Republic of China

1. DPRK Missile Test

China Daily (“DPRK MIGHT SCRAP MISSILE PLAN,” Seoul, 7/6/99, A11) said that the ROK newspaper Dong-A Ilbo reported on July 5 that the DPRK showed signs during US-DPRK talks in Beijing late last month of abandoning plans to conduct a second missile launch. The article quoted an unidentified ROK government official accompanying President Kim Dae-jung on a visit to the US as saying that he heard the news from a senior US official at the summit between Kim and US President Bill Clinton on July 3. “There were positive signs, during the recent US-DPRK talks in Beijing, that the DPRK may suspend its plans to test-launch a missile,” the ROK official quoted the US official as saying.

2. DPRK-ROK Talks

People’s Daily (“SECOND ROUND TALKS BETWEEN DPRK, ROK VICE MINISTERS HELD,” Xu Baokang, Beijing, 7/2/99, A4) reported that DPRK and ROK vice ministers held their second round talks in Beijing on July 1. However, due to their divergence on the issues of the reunion of separated family members, the conflicts on the sea and the fertilizer supply, the talks did not show any progress, the report said.

3. Kim Dae-jung’s Visit to the US

People’s Daily (“US, ROK PRESIDENTS DISCUSS SITUATION ON KOREAN PENINSULA,” Fu Quansheng, Washington, 7/4/99, A2) reported that US President Bill Clinton met with visiting ROK President Kim Dae-jung on July 2. They exchanged their views on the Korean Peninsula situation. According to a spokesman for the US State Department, Clinton expressed his support to Kim’s “engagement policy” toward the DPRK. It was believed that the main purpose of Kim’s visit to Washington was to seek the Clinton administration’s support of Kim’s “engagement policy,” the report said.

4. US Arms Sales to Taiwan

People’s Daily (“SPOKESWOMAN COMMENTS ON US ACTIONS ON TAIWAN,” Beijing, 7/7/99, A4) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said at a routine news briefing on July 6 that since earlier this year, a few members of the US Senate and the House of Representatives have tabled the so-called Taiwan Security Enhancement Act, seeking to enhance the military capacities of the island by “flagrantly” demanding sales of sophisticated weapons, including the Theater Missile Defense (TMD) system and submarines, to Taiwan. The congressmen even demanded the establishment of direct links between the militaries of the US and Taiwan to expand their cooperation, according to Zhang. She told the news briefing that the US Government, in a serious violation of the three Sino-US joint communiques and other commitments, has strove to improve the quality and quantity of weapons to be sold to Taiwan. It even plans to sell Taiwan advanced weapons, including early warning radar systems. “China hereby expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to this,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the PRC Foreign Ministry and its embassy in Washington have already made “solemn representations” to the US Government. The US should stop selling advanced weapons to Taiwan and “commit explicitly” to not selling the proposed TMD system and related technologies and equipment to the island, she said.

5. US Ambassador to PRC

China Daily (“SASSER LEAVES CHINA POST,” 7/2/99, A2) reported that US Ambassador to the PRC James Sasser left Beijing on July 1 after three and a half years in the posting. The White House has chosen retired Admiral Joseph W. Prueher to replace Sasser. The US, however, has yet to ask the PRC whether it approves of the selection, as is customary, or forward his nomination to the US Senate for Confirmation, according to Western diplomats.

6. PRC Views of Cox Report

China Daily (“COX REPORT HINDERS COSCO’S BUSINESS,” Xiao Ma, 7/2/99, A2) reported that Sun Jiakang, a spokesman for the China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO), the PRC’s biggest shipping firm, said on July 1 that unfair and inaccurate remarks in the US Congress’ Cox Report have greatly harmed the company’s international business operations. The report was wrong in asserting that COSCO is an arm of the PRC military, because the firm operates under the PRC Ministry of Communications, the spokesman said. Sun said that the report’s references to an aborted agreement between COSCO and Long Beach port authorities in California last year and an AK47 rifle case in 1996 “wantonly distorted” facts. He said that the case involving AK47 rifles arose when a Taiwan-born US businessman shipped 2,000 rifles to the US via a COSCO ship. That was the limit of COSCO’s involvement in the case, but the Cox Report seized on the issue to incorrectly assert there was a connection between COSCO and the PRC military in an attempt to defame COSCO, Sun said.

7. PRC Entry into the WTO

China Daily (“WTO MUST HEED OTHER COUNTRIES,” Auckland, New Zealand, 7/1/99, A1) reported that the PRC’s chief trade negotiator said on June 30 that the interests of developing countries must be taken into consideration during the coming WTO negotiations about global trade. Long Yongtu, vice-minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation, said that the PRC hopes the contents and outcomes of the new round of WTO negotiations, which are scheduled to begin in Seattle, Washington in December, will facilitate the setting up of a fairer and more open trade system. He made the remarks to the trade ministers’ meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which concluded on June 30. According to the report, after informal talks with Long on June 28, Deputy US Trade Representative Richard Fisher said that it was up to the PRC to restart the talks on the PRC’s entry into the WTO, saying “the ball’s in China’s court.” Long rejected this, saying that the PRC needed “a convincing explanation” from the US about the bombing of the PRC Embassy in Yugoslavia. “Until that, I do not see an appropriate atmosphere to resume talks,” Long said.

China Daily (“STANCE ON WTO ENTRY UNCHANGED,” Zhao Huanxin, 7/2/99, A1) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said on July 1 that the PRC’s position on the World Trade Organization (WTO) issue has not changed. However, she added that the atmosphere surrounding the WTO accession talks has been spoiled by NATO’s bombing of the PRC Embassy in Belgrade. The success of the new round of global trade negotiations hinged largely on the participation and support of the developing countries, Zhang said. She was commenting on the trade ministers’ meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which concluded in Auckland, New Zealand on June 30.

8. Keizo Obuchi’s PRC Visit

China Daily (“OBUCHI’S VISIT TO PROMOTE TIES,” Zhao Shijun, 7/7/99, A1) reported that Japanese Ambassador to the PRC Sakutaro Tanino said that “the understandings between China and Japan” are expected to be promoted during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi to the PRC starting on July 8. The ambassador said that Obuchi’s visit is expected to touch on the issue of the PRC’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). The enhanced role that the PRC plays in the international economy will be helpful to the prosperity of the world. Japan strongly supports the PRC’s entry into the WTO, said Tanino. During Obuchi’s visit, he is expected to talk with leaders about the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation, as well as some international issues such as Kosovo and the Korean Peninsula, Tanino said. The ambassador noted that the PRC and Japan maintain a close relationship. Economic cooperation plays a vital role in the relationship between the two countries, Tanino said.

9. Across-Taiwan Straits Relations

China Daily (“FISHING BOAT KILLINGS AN OUTRAGE,” 7/6/99, A1) reported that a senior official said in Beijing on July 5 that a Taiwanese sea-captain, who killed 11 PRC contract fishing laborers and caused the deaths of four others in Mauritius waters last February, must be strictly punished by law. Wang Hui, director of the Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC), said the mainland side was astonished at the incident and has closely followed the matter. A joint investigation by mainland officials has brought to light that during the February incident, 11 mainland crew members of the Taiwan fishing boat Chin Ching 12 were shot dead by the captain Kung Tai-an. Four others jumped into the sea and were drowned. MOFTEC will notify all cross-Straits contract fishing labor service companies to stop cooperating with the Taiwanese companies involved, Wang said. He pointed out however that in general terms, normal cooperation should not be affected by the incident as the business has become important and beneficial to both sides.

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