NAPSNet Daily Report 07 June, 1999

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

IN TODAY’S REPORT

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. Inspection of Underground Site

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA DENIES NUCLEAR DEVELOPMENT,” Seoul, 06/07/99) and Reuters (“N. KOREA SAYS SITE INSPECTION DISPELS NUCLEAR FEARS,” Seoul, 06/07/99) reported that the DPRK’s official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Monday that the recent US inspection of the Kumchang-ri site has cleared all suspicion of nuclear weapons development in the DPRK. KCNA stated, “The visit to the Kumchang-ri underground structure, which is nothing but an empty tunnel, dismissed conservative hard-line congressmen’s loud-mouthed nuclear suspicion as totally unfounded. And this transparency has put the United States in an embarrassing position.”

2. DPRK Nuclear Weapons

Reuters (“N KOREA SAYS IT NEEDS NO OUTSIDE HELP FOR MISSILES,” Tokyo, 06/07/99) reported that the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) stated that the DPRK has no plans or capability to develop nuclear weapons. KCNA added that unnamed Republican members of the US Congress were floating a “strange rumor” about the DPRK’s possible nuclear and missile development through technology transfers from a third country. KCNA said, “This is nothing but a groundless fabrication as it is a cock- and-bull story that can be made only by those who are suffering from mental derangement. Their talk about ‘missile development’ through ‘transfer of technology’ is also a sheer lie, which does not deserve even a passing note. We make it clear again that the launching of missile and satellite is the shining result of our highly developed ‘juche’ (self- reliance) oriented science and technology.”

3. Alleged ROK Warships in DPRK

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA ACCUSES SOUTH OVER SHIPS,” Seoul, 06/06/99) and Reuters (“S.KOREA DENIES WARSHIP INTRUDED IN N.KOREAN WATERS,” Seoul, 06/06/99) reported that the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that three ROK warships entered waters off Kangryong on the DPRK’s west coast on Saturday. KCNA said that the warships were chased away by patrol boats and stated that the ROK “committed a grave military provocation of illegally intruding warships deep into the territorial waters of the North side.” KCNA added that it was a premeditated move to lead the inter-Korean confrontation to its extreme pitch by artificially aggravating the situation on the Korean peninsula. Captain Shin Han-woo, spokesman for ROK’s Ministry of National Defense, denied the report and said, “It is not true our ships intruded into the North. There is the possibility of misunderstanding because of the complicated border line in the sea.”

4. DPRK-ROK Talks

The Associated Press (“SEPARATED KOREANS MAY BE REUNITED,” Seoul, 06/06/99) reported that Lim Dong-won, the ROK’s Minister of Unification, said that he is confident that the ROK and the DPRK will be able to reach a full agreement on the issue of reunions of separated families at vice- ministerial talks in Beijing on June 21. Lim said that the agreement will allow a large number of family members from the two Koreas to meet their relatives beginning this fall.

5. DPRK-PRC Talks

The Associated Press (“N. KOREANS SEEK AID FROM CHINESE,” Beijing, 06/05/99) reported that PRC’s state-run Xinhua News Agency on Friday said that the PRC President Jiang Zemin told Kim Yong-nam, head of the DPRK delegation visiting the PRC, that countries need to grow economically and that development is an absolute necessity. Jiang also told Kim that the PRC, like the DPRK, has experienced natural disasters and financial turmoil, and said, “only when a nation is powerful can it remain invincible.” Kim noted that the PRC was able to achieve “the great achievements brought about by the reforms and economic construction.” But he also pointed out that these achievements only “show that the PRC’s socialism with Chinese characteristics is suited to its own circumstances.”

6. DPRK Participation in Women’s World Cup

The New York Times (Jere, Longman, “FOR NORTH KOREANS, PARADISE AND LUNCH,” Liffside Park, New Jersey, 06/07/99) reported that the DPRK’s women’s soccer team arrived in the US to participate in the Women’s World Cup. The DPRK team’s matches will be televised on state television in the DPRK. Kim Jong-il, the DPRK leader, is said to be a fan of soccer and basketball and follows international matches with a satellite dish. Albert Kwak, president of the Korean Businessmen’s Federation in the US, who is accompanying the soccer team and has made 50 visits to the DPRK, said, “President Kim Jong Il pays special attention to the team and supplies good things to them.” According to Ryu Song-il, secretary general of the DPRK Olympic Committee, the DPRK will play against the US on June 27 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

7. ROK-Philippine Military Cooperation

The Associated Press (“PHILIPPINE, S. KOREAN PRESIDENTS DISCUSS TRADE ISSUES,” Seoul, 06/07/99) reported that Philippine President Joseph Estrada visited the ROK on Sunday. During a meeting with ROK President Kim Dae-jung, Estrada asked Kim to lower tariffs for imports from the Philippines to boost trade between the two countries. Kim, in return, expressed hope for ROK participation in the planned modernization of the Philippine navy. The Philippines has recently resumed a program to modernize its military with an initial US$158 million after suspending it for one year because of economic difficulties.

8. Alleged Technology Transfers to PRC

Reuters (“CHINA AEROSPACE FIRM SAYS COX REPORT ‘DESPICABLE’,” Beijing, 06/06/99) reported that, according to the PRC’s China Daily, Zhang Lihui, spokeswoman for the PRC’s top aerospace firm China Aerospace Corporation (CASC), on Monday condemned the Cox Committee Report as a “despicable attack” on the CASC. Zhang said, “CASC authorities and the corporation’s scientists and engineers feel insulted by the despicable attack.” Zhang also said that the Cox Report severely damaged the image and commercial reputation of the CASC, and that the CASC will publish evidence that the allegations in Cox Report are false. According to Zhang, the PRC already has decades of experience developing its own satellite and missile technology. Zhang added that CASC had abided by agreements to protect technology during satellite launches and had not obtained technical secrets during the investigation of failed satellite launches as the Cox report alleged.

9. US-PRC Relations

The Associated Press (George Gedda, “CHINA, US RELATIONS AT ALL-TIME LOW,” Washington, 06/05/99) reported that PRC analysts in the US argued that the US-PRC relations are at the lowest point since the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989. William Triplett, a PRC analyst and the former chief Republican counsel of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the PRC embassy bombing in Belgrade and the espionage allegations “were useful in lifting the blinders on some people’s eyes as to what we’re dealing with.” Triplett, who contends that the PRC is the world’s leading weapons proliferator, said that PRC’s sales of weapons and missile technology to Iran, Syria and other countries proves the PRC’s unwillingness to take US interests into account. Triplett also opposes sales to the PRC of US technology, which, he says, helps the PRC to develop militarily. US State Department spokesman, James Rubin said, “This is a two-way relationship. We believe that engagement serves our national interest in a number of ways. We believe that China is not doing us any favor over the years in working with the United States because they believe it serves their national interests.” Nicholas Lardy of the Brookings Institution disagreed, and said that the US-PRC relations “will be shaped by forces that go far beyond” recent events. Garret Gong, director of Asian Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says there is a tendency among some the PRC experts to be overly optimistic or overly pessimistic. Gong said, “The pendulum has to take the right balance between a realistic view of the opportunities and a realistic view of the challenges.”

10. India-Pakistan Relations

Dow Jones Newswires (Ed Lane, “WON’T TOLERATE ARMED INCURSION BY PAKISTAN,” New Delhi, 06/07/99) reported that India’s Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Monday accused Pakistan of seeking to occupy Kashmir and said the country will not tolerate Pakistan’s decision to send its “men and materials to occupy our territory.” Vajpayee said, “Moreover, both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. Our responsibilities in this regard are all the greater.” Pakistan denied that it is sending regular armed troops, saying it offers non-military support to insurgents operating in Kashmir trying to gain independence.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Army

Chosun Ilbo (Yoo Yong-won, “KIM CHANGES 70% OF NK ARMY LEADERSHIP,” Seoul, 06/07/99) reported that an analysis issued by the ROK Army states that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il has developed support from more than 70 percent of the armed forces leadership. According to the analysis, Kim, who is also the chief commander and defense chairman of DPRK’s Army, has taken complete control of the DPRK Army.

2. ROK-DPRK Talks

Joongang Ilbo (Shang-bok Shim, “NO LIMITATION ON BEIJING TALKS AGENDA,” Seoul, 06/07/99) reported that Unification Minister Lim Dong-won stated, “There will be no limits on the agenda of the vice-ministerial talks between the two Koreas which are scheduled for June 21 in Beijing, China.” Lim expressed a positive approach to the talks, and said, “The separated families issue, one of the key debates, is likely to be resolved, because the two Koreas really want to cooperate on a humanitarian basis.” Lim noted that the ROK and the DPRK would discuss the verification of life or death, and the possible exchange of letters between separated family members. He added that visiting homeland events by each side would also be considered.

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “SEOUL EXPECTS SEPARATED FAMILIES TO MEET ON KOREAN PENINSULA,” Seoul, 06/08/99) reported that the ROK government is urging the DPRK to allow the reunion of separated families to occur on Korean soil. Unification Minister Lim Dong-won said, “We hope North Korea will agree at the upcoming vice ministers’ talks to allow the family members to meet on this soil — whether in the South or the North — instead of in some foreign country.” If the exchange of visits proves to be difficult, the ROK will propose the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom as a neutral meeting place. Lim said, “So far, the family members, separated in the South and North, have had clandestine meetings in third countries – usually China. Not only have they been difficult to arrange, but they have also cost too much.” Unification Ministry officials, however, refused to confirm any details concerning the venue of reunion discussed between the two sides. An unnamed official said, “The two sides will try to nail down key points of this issue, including the place and time schedule of the reunion of separated families in the vice minister-level talks slated for June 21.”

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “VICE UNIFICATION MINISTER YANG TAPPED TO LEAD INTER-KOREAN TALKS IN BEIJING,” Seoul, 06/08/99) reported that the government has selected Vice Unification Minister Yang Young-shik as the chief delegate to the high-level talks between the ROK and the DPRK in Beijing on June 21. Yang, former head of the government-funded Korea Institute for National Unification, was promoted to vice minister in last month’s cabinet reshuffle. Some observers, however, said that the appointment of Yang might weaken the ROK’s bargaining capacity, citing Yang’s relative lack of experience in dialogue with DPRK officials. An unnamed Unification Ministry official stated, “We need a person who can talk with the North in a reasonable manner as the Beijing talks are the first meeting to discuss dissolution of the Cold War structure on the Korean Peninsula in a comprehensive manner.” The official also said that considering the fact that Yang has little experience in negotiating with DPRK counterparts, the government is planning to fill the other two delegate seats with inter-Korean “dialogue experts.”

3. Inspection of Underground Site

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yeol, “SUSPICIOUS SOCCER FIELD AT KUMCHANG-RI,” Seoul, 06/06/99) reported that, according to an unnamed Foreign Affairs official, Kumchang-ri site inspected by US officials between May 20-24 have been found to have included a soccer field. The official said that US inspectors said that the field appeared to be a recent addition to the site, with signs that the soil was laid close to the date of the inspection, leading the US inspectors to suspect illicit activities. According to the official, there was a soccer match in progress while the US inspectors were examining the site and prevented the team from conducting a closer examination. The soccer field will be included in a second inspection. The official also said that the inspection team had to use lanterns to conduct their inspection of the underground tunnel at the facility. Although the team was permitted to take photographs while in the tunnel, DPRK officials forbade them from taking any soil samples. The dirt and dust remaining on their clothing and shoes of the US inspectors will be used to conduct tests. The US will announce the complete results of its investigation later this week.

4. Mt. Kumkang Tour

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwashik, “FOREIGNERS TO JOIN MT. KUMGANG TOURS,” Seoul, 06/06/99) reported that foreigners will be able to join Mt. Kumgang tour program beginning late this month. Hyundai Asan’s spokesman said, “We have arranged with the North Korean authorities that foreigners may be allowed to enjoy our tours as long as correct procedures are followed. We shall now begin to prepare our tours for the event of foreign participation.” Kim Yoon Kyu, president of Hyundai Asan, will fly to Beijing next week to conclude the details of the agreement and for the final signing ceremony. Hyundai is also expecting to obtain exclusive rights for the development of the Mt. Kumgang site.

5. ROK-DPRK Trade

Joongang Ilbo (Seo Jangsoo, “SAMSUNG DELEGATION HEADS TO NK JUNE 15,” Seoul, 06/07/99) reported that the Ministry of Unification said on Monday that sixteen representatives from Samsung’s three subsidiaries and from two other firms with industrial ties with Samsung were granted permission to visit the DPRK for seven days starting June 15. The delegation, which will be headed by Yoon Jong Yong, president of Samsung Electronics, will negotiate with DPRK authorities during their stay on transferring production lines of 20-inch color TVs and facsimiles to the DPRK. They will also discuss Samsung’s participation in the trade of marine products with the DPRK.

The Korea Herald (Shin Young-bae, “CYBER COMMERCE WITH NORTH KOREA PROPOSED,” Seoul, 06/08/99) reported that a ROK lawmaker suggested a way to increase inter-Korean trade without pressuring the DPRK to open up. Representative Lee Young-il of the ruling National Congress for New Politics (NCNP) said in a recent proposal at the National Assembly, “Transactions in the cyber market between the two Koreas would serve as a mutually beneficial method of exchange.” Lee said that the DPRK would probably respond favorably to the idea because there is no need for direct contact between the two sides. ROK government officials also welcomed the proposal for the electronic commerce. An unnamed Unification Ministry official said, “E-commerce will help save time and costs. It is a desirable way to boost inter-Korean trade.” The single biggest stumbling block, according to DPRK defectors, is DPRK a lack of on-line computer networks. Presently, ROK nationals who wish to start business deals with the DPRK must first obtain ROK government and also have to undergo the equally difficult process of searching for prospective DPRK buyers or sellers.

6. US Views of DPRK

The Korea Times (Shim Jae-yun, “ALL-OUT WAR TO INVITE HUGE US DEPLOYMENT,” Seoul, 06/07/99) reported that Stephen W. Bosworth, US Ambassador to the ROK, stated on Sunday that a large number of US troops, in addition to the 37,000 soldiers currently stationed in the ROK, would be mobilized in the event of an all-out war on the Korean peninsula. Bosworth asserted that, although the ROK and the US would undoubtedly win any war, “the cost would be tremendous, claiming huge numbers of lives and property damage.” Bosworth added that efforts should thus be made to resolve all inter-Korean issues through diplomatic channels. Bosworth underlined the need for the continued pursuit of President Kim Dae-jung’s “sunshine policy” of engagement with the DPRK, and noted the need for the ROK and the US to make every effort to prevent the DPRK from remaining isolated. However, Bosworth also stressed the need for the ROK and the US to maintain a strong alliance to deter the DPRK aggression. Concerning the current strains in US-PRC relations, Bosworth said that despite some difference in opinion on DPRK issues, the US and the PRC share common ground and thus “can maintain a harmonious attitude in dealing with the Korean peninsula issue.”

Chosun Ilbo (Kim Chang-kyun, “US AMBASSADOR CRITICAL OF NK ECONOMY,” Seoul, 06/07/99) reported that Stephen W. Bosworth, US Ambassador to the ROK, stated that the DPRK economy was “like a dog in its death throes.” Bosworth, speaking at a meeting organized by the Security Committee of the United Liberal Democrats (ULD), said that only the transition to market economy and active support from the outside world would improve the DPRK economy.

7. ROK-PRC Disarmament Conference

The Korea Herald (“KOREA, CHINA MEET ON DISARMAMENT IN NORTHEAST ASIA,” Seoul, 06/08/99) reported that, according to officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ROK and PRC arms control officials held talks on Monday in Seoul on Northeast Asia disarmament and nonproliferation issues. Lee Kyu-hyung, director general of the International Organization Bureau, led the ROK delegation to the talks, while Sha Zukang, director general for disarmament, headed the PRC delegation. During the talks, participants discussed ways to reduce weapons of mass destruction. An official who participated in the meeting said that the consultation helped the ROK government to understand the PRC’s stance on disarmament and nonproliferation issues. Participants said that while the ROK asked the PRC to play a constructive role in curbing the DPRK’s nuclear weapons and missile development, the PRC was more concerned about Japan’s theater missile defense (TMD) project. Foreign Ministry officials said both sides agreed to cooperate further in implementing the Nonproliferation Treaty, the Chemical and Biological Weapons Convention, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The ROK-PRC disarmament conference is a follow-up measure to promote high-level exchanges of officials agreed upon during President Kim Dae-jung’s state visit to the PRC last November. Foreign Ministry officials said that the ROK hopes to hold disarmament talks with the PRC once or twice a year.

8. ROK-Philippine Military Cooperation

The Korea Times (Lee Chang-sup, “KOREA, PHILIPPINES AGREE ON MILITARY TIES,” Seoul, 06/07/99), Chosun Ilbo (Lee Dong-han, “ESTRADA AND KIM AGREE ON COOPERATION,” Seoul, 06/07/99) and the Korea Herald (Chon Shi- yong, “KOREA, PHILIPPINES AGREE TO EXPAND COOPERATION IN MILITARY AFFAIRS, DEFENSE INDUSTRY,” Seoul, 06/08/99) reported that the Joseph Estrada, President of the Philippines, met with President Kim Dae-jung on Monday in Seoul. The two agreed to forge closer ties between their countries and to expand bilateral cooperation in military affairs and defense industries. The agreement called for the two countries to push for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at promoting military cooperation. Chong Wa Dae spokesman Park Joon-young said Estrada offered the proposal on the MOU, which Kim readily accepted. Kim also suggested that the proposed memorandum include personnel exchange programs and joint sea rescue operations.


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