NAPSNet Daily Report 07 June, 2001

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 07 June, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, June 07, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-07-june-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Talks
2. ROK Reaction to US-DPRK Talks
3. PRC Introduces Ban on Space Weapons
4. PRC Alliances in Asia
5. US-PRC Relations
6. US-PRC Spy Plane Incident
7. US Military Planning in Asia
II. Republic of Korea 1. Inter-Korean Summit Celebration
2. ROK Calls for Talks with DPRK
3. ROK to Ask UN to Take Part in Inter-Korean Relations
4. ROK Waters
5. DPRK -US on Missile Issue

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Talks

New York Times (Jane Perlez, “US WILL RESTART WIDE NEGOTIATIONS WITH NORTH KOREA,” Washington, 6/7/01) and The Washington Post (Steven Mufson, “US WILL RESUME TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA,” 6/7/01) reported that US President George W. Bush announced Wednesday that the US would restart negotiations with the DPRK on a broad range of issues, including DPRK production and exporting of missiles and its deployment of soldiers on the ROK border. In a statement released on June 6, Bush said he hoped that the renewed contacts would foster reconciliation between the DPRK government and the ROK. The Bush administration did not say when or where the talks would be held or at what level. There was no immediate response from the DPRK. Bush also said that he had directed his national security team to “undertake serious discussions with North Korea on a broad agenda” that included “verifiable constraints on North Korea’s missile programs and a ban on its missile exports, and a less threatening conventional military posture.” He said one of his goals was to allow the DPRK to “demonstrate the seriousness of its desire for improved relations.” A senior Bush administration official said the phrase intended to telegraph that the administration was not interested in rewarding “bad behavior.” Bush said that if the DPRK respond favorably to the offer and take “appropriate action,” the US will expand its humanitarian aid to the DPRK and ease sanctions. ROK ambassador to the US, Sung Chul Yang, said Wednesday that for the policy to help inject new life into the ROK conciliation effort, the US would have to make contact quickly with DPRK’s top leaders. Sung said, “Starting at a low level means delay. Starting at the bottom is not serious.” Sung also said that time was running out for ROK President Kim Dae-jung, whose term ends next year. He said, “In the last three years. There was phenomenal progress. But now it’s stalled, and we don’t like it. Six months have gone.” Another new element appeared to be an emphasis on seeking an “improved implementation” of the Agreed Framework of 1994. The decision to talk to the DPRK won praise from the new chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joseph R. Biden, Junior. Biden said he complimented the administration for deciding to proceed with a “comprehensive engagement strategy.” He said US Secretary Colin Powell had assured him Wednesday that the “dialogue with North Korea would start promptly and without preconditions.” However, among outside experts there were questions about how interested the DPRK would be in the proposal. Douglas H. Paal, president of the Asia Pacific Policy Center who worked in the first Bush administration, said, “It presents tougher criteria for North Korea, which they won’t want to accept.” [Ed. note: Both articles were included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for June 7, 2001.]

Agence France Presse (“NO PRECONDITIONS ON NORTH KOREA TALKS: US,” Washington, 6/7/01) reported that the US on Thursday said it had attached no preconditions to its offer to hold talks with the DPRK, and urged the state to make the next move towards resuming an “open dialogue.” US Secretary of State Colin Powell said US President George W. Bush’s administration was now ready to engage the DPRK over a wide-range of issues. Powell said after meeting ROK Foreign Minister Han Seung-Soo, “We are not setting any preconditions right now, I think its important for us to have an open dialogue on all the issues that are concerned.” US White House spokesman Ari Fleischer earlier said it was up to the DPRK to respond positively to the Bush administration’s overtures. He said, “The next step is up to North Korea, the President has made his determination about how to proceed and it will be interesting to see how the North Koreans react.” Powell said he assumed talks would start with contacts with DPRK officials at the United Nations in New York. Powell said, “We don’t have a date yet but I hope it will be in the very near future. We have to wait to hear from the North Koreans but we will be reaching out to them in the very near future.” Some analysts have questioned how DPRK will respond to the Bush desire to tackle a raft of issues at the same time, and warn that progress could come too slowly to save the “Sunshine policy” of engagement of ROK President Kim Dae-Jung.

2. ROK Reaction to US-DPRK Talks

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, “S. KOREA WELCOMES U.S. INTERVENTION,” Seoul, 6/7/01) reported that the ROK government said Thursday it hopes that stalled inter-Korea reconciliation efforts will be revived now that the US has decided to resume talks with the DPRK. Park Joon-young, a spokesman for ROK Presidential Blue House said, we “hope that North Korea will engage in dialogue with the United States with sincerity and make meaningful progress, thereby bringing peace and stability to the Korean Peninsula.” There was no immediate reaction from DPRK government, however, Kim Myong Chol, a DPRK official in Japan who has long been regarded as the DPRK’s unofficial spokesman, praised the breakthrough. Kim said, “North Korea is ready for talks with the United States. North Korea is ready to discuss the missile issue.” However, he added that the DPRK may be less conciliatory on other issues. Kim said the DPRK would be willing to discuss its troop deployment along the Demilitarized Zone, “but only when the U.S. withdraws its troops from South Korea.” Kim also said DPRK officials would use the talks to remind the US that it must comply with the nuclear accord that it signed with the DPRK in 1994.

3. PRC Introduces Ban on Space Weapons

The Associate Press (Alexander G. Higgins, “CHINA URGES WORK TO BAN SPACE ARMS,” Geneva, 6/7/01) and Reuters (“CHINA PRESENTS TREATY TO BAN SPACE WEAPONS,” Geneva, 6/7/01) reported that the PRC proposed a treaty Thursday to ban weapons in outer space because of the imminent “danger” stemming from US missile defense plans. PRC Ambassador Hu Xiaodi made the proposal at the 66-nation Conference on Disarmament, the world’s only multinational forum for negotiating arms-control treaties. Hu said, “All space-based weapons and all weapons attacking outer space targets from the earth are to be prohibited once and for all.” There was no immediate US reaction, but Western diplomats said Hu’s comments only added detail to the PRC’s known position on the issue. A US congressionally appointed panel in January urged the US to pay more attention to defending the country’s assets in space. Now US Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld was a member of the panel. Hu noted that the panel urged steps be taken to protect against the danger of a “space Pearl Harbor” and said the report and US plans “clearly demonstrate that the weaponization of outer space is by no means a remote issue. The danger is imminent.” Following diplomatic practice Hu never named the US, but his direct reference to US plans left no doubt that he was talking about the Bush administration.

4. PRC Alliances in Asia

Wall Street Journal (Karby Leggett, “CHINA FORGES ALLIANCES IN EFFORT TO GAIN MORE INFLUENCE IN ASIA,” Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 6/7/01) reported that the PRC is working at building a stronger alliance throughout Asia. The PRC is forging tight military, political and economic alliances with most of the dozen countries on its borders. The goal is to redraw geopolitical boundaries and win the regional footholds it has long coveted to project its influence around the region. For the US, the PRC drive represents something new and as the world’s lone superpower for the past decade, the US now faces an expansive rival in Asia. In Burma, the PRC is building power stations and highways and running a large timber operation. In Vietnam and Laos, it holds mining concessions and is helping build roads. In Kazakstan, it operates a multibillion-dollar oil-drilling facility. The PRC dominates Mongolia’s cashmere trade and has become one of Nepal’s largest investors, especially in the tourist industry. However, the PRC’s strongest push has been in Cambodia, where the PRC has held many visits from top-level government officials and been given generous aid packages. However, the PRC’s rising influence is abetted by US qualms about Cambodia’s top rulers. Major-General Bun Song of the Cambodian army said, “The US helped us open the door to democracy, but then they flew away. So we have no choice now but to rely on China.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for June 7, 2001.]

5. US-PRC Relations

Reuters (“TOUGH U.S. STANCE SEEN HELPING CHINA HARD-LINERS,” Philadelphia, 6/7/01) reported that some experts believe US President George W. Bush could be the best friend a PRC hard-liner ever had because the PRC’s steady economic gains and renewed prestige on the world stage have bred a nation of people who are increasingly conservative in outlook and nationalistic when it comes to dealing with the US. Ming Wan, an international affairs expert who teaches at George Mason University, said, “The most striking trend in China today is strong political conservatism combined with nationalist emotions. Even among college students, the most potent sentiment … (is) nationalist rather than liberal.” So, Wan said, when Bush talks tough about defending Taiwan, or scrapping the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to pursue a national missile defense, he risks stirring up a hornets’ nest of anti-US sentiment that could aid hard-liners as the PRC moves toward a transition of power next year. Wan said, “Sino- U.S. relations are a minefield to begin with. Words and tone matter, and in a real sense we have a vicious cycle dynamic here. Bush has helped give ammunition to the side of China that feeds hard-line rhetoric, while what the Chinese government has been doing certainly gives ammunition to US critics of China.”

6. US-PRC Spy Plane Incident

The Associated Press (John Leicester, “CHINA, U.S. SETTLE SPY PLANE DETAILS,” Beijing, 6/7/01) reported that the PRC Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the PRC and US negotiators have agreed on the details for dismantling and flying home the downed US spy plane in Hainan Island, PRC. The agreement, reached Wednesday in Beijing, paves the way for the plane to be transported off Hainan. Sun Yuxi, a ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman, said, “China and the U.S. have solved the plane incident. The crew members have returned, and now the disassembling and transportation of the plane also is solved. So we hope bilateral relations can come back to a normal track.” Sun would not give details of the agreement, although he said all outstanding issues blocking the return of the US Navy EP-3 Aries II surveillance plane had been cleared up. He said the US would charter an aircraft to transport the spy plane back. Both sides appeared to have compromised. Sun said, “Both sides are now preparing for the disassembling and transportation of the plane. Problems that are foreseeable have already been settled.”

7. US Military Planning in Asia

Defense Daily (Frank Wolfe, “ASIA STRATEGY MAY PRESAGE MORE THAN 210 C-17S,” 6/7/01) reported that US Air Force Secretary Jim Roche and Air Force Chief of Staff General Michael Ryan told the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense panel (SAC-D) on June 6 that airlift will probably not be shorted in the ongoing defense review, and US congressional sources said that Capitol Hill would likely support funding a long-term goal of more than 210 Boeing [BA] C-17s, if the US Defense Department shifts to a more Asia- oriented defense posture. A congressional source said Wednesday that 210 C-17s is “well below the target level” for an Asia- oriented defense strategy. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is likely to recommend that the US focus more on Asia as an area of possible conflict. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for June 7, 2001.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. Inter-Korean Summit Celebration

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “BOTH KOREAS’ CIVIC, RELIGIOUS GROUPS TO CELEBRATE SUMMIT ANNIVERSARY AT MT. GEUMGANG,” Seoul, 06/07/01) reported that the two Koreas’ civic and religious groups will celebrate the June 15 anniversary of the first-ever summit between their leaders together, with a forum on unification and cultural performances, ROK representatives said Wednesday. About 400 ROK citizens will travel to Mt. Kumgang June 14 for the joint celebration, which was proposed by the DPRK. The ROK citizens, who represent a coalition of pro-unification groups, civic organizations and religious groups, said about 200 people from each side will participate in a “grand symposium on unification.” The forum’s theme will be “June 15 Joint Declaration and Korean People’s Tasks” and another 200 ROK citizens will be invited as guests.

2. ROK Calls for Talks with DPRK

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “KIM REITERATES CALL FOR N.K. LEADER’S RETURN VISIT TO SEOUL,” Seoul, 06/07/01) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung Wednesday reiterated his call for DPRK leader Kim Jong-il to clarify the date of his planned visit to the ROK for a second inter-Korean summit. “I believe that Chairman Kim Jong-il’s promise to make a reciprocal visit to the South should and will be fulfilled,” Kim said in a Memorial Day ceremony at the National Cemetery. The President recalled his earlier proposal that the DPRK leader disclose specifically when he would visit Seoul.

3. ROK to Ask UN to Take Part in Inter-Korean Relations

The Korea Herald (Hwang Jang-jin, “HAN ASKS U.N. LEADER TO VISIT BOTH KOREAS,” NY, 06/07/01) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo requested to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Wednesday that he visit both Koreas as soon as possible to help promote inter-Korean reconciliation. Han also expressed his gratitude for the UN chief’s support for Seoul’s engagement policy toward the DPRK, Han’s aides said. Han arrived here Tuesday for an eight-day US trip and met with Annan at the UN headquarters. The foreign minister will meet Secretary of State Colin Powell and other senior US foreign and security policy officials to discuss Washington’s US policy toward Pyongyang.

4. ROK Waters

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, “GOV’T CREATING MEASURE AGAINST N.K. JEJU VIOLATIONS,” Seoul, 06/07/01) reported that with tensions over the incursions by DPRK cargo vessels into ROK waters easing, the Seoul government is working out countermeasures against further potential violations, officials said Wednesday. The government is now considering a multi-stage measure which calls for the separate handling of passages by DPRK commercial vessels through the channel between ROK’s mainland and its southernmost island of Jeju, and the Northern Limit Line, a de- facto maritime border in the West and East seas. “Under the plan, the government will deal sternly with any unauthorized crossings by North Korean civilian vessels over the NLL,” said a government official. He said the government, however, will positively consider allowing unhindered passage through the Jeju channel for DPRK commercial ships carrying rice aid from Japan on a humanitarian basis, pending the DPRK’s advance request for approval.

Chosun Ilbo (Yoo Yong-won, “NK FAILS TO RESPOND TO PANMUNJOM TALKS ON FREIGHTERS,” Seoul, 06/06/01) reported that the United Nations Command announced Wednesday that the DPRK had not responded to its proposal to hold a chief secretarial meeting of the Armistice Committee at Panmunjom over the DPRK’s freighters entering ROK territorial waters. A government official said that Pyongyang may have no reason to respond as it had already obtained the conditional opening up of passage through the Northern Limit Line and Jeju Straits.

5. DPRK -US on Missile Issue

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Hee-sung, “PYONGYANG AND WASHINGTON WARNS EACH OTHER OVER MISSILES,” Seoul, 06/05/01) reported that the DPRK would break its promise on missile moratorium unless US shows signs of normalizing ties with its DPRK according to the words of American scholar Selig Harrison a senior fellow at the Washington- based Century Foundation who made seven visits to the DPRK. He added that DPRK would also return back to its nuclear program if the US’s side continues to delay the construction of building the two light water reactors in the DPRK as stipulated in the 1994 Agreed Framework. Mr. Harrison last week met with four senior DPRK officials, including Foreign Minister Paik Nam Soon and Colonel General Ri Chan Bok, the DPRK representative at Panmunjom. It was unclear whether the statements reported by the scholar represented a hardening of DPRK’s policies or were rather a tactical maneuver. Mr. Harrison contended that the tough Bush policy was playing into the hands of “hawks” in the DPRK who oppose an opening to the West. “What I sensed in this visit is that the hard-liners in North Korea have gotten a new lease on life as a result of the Bush administration,” Mr. Harrison said. “They have put North-South progress on hold, and I am afraid they will continue to gain strength unless the tone of the administration changes and the Bush administration reiterates its commitment to pursue normalization.” But Mr. Harrison quoted Foreign Minister Paik as saying that Mr. Kim’s commitment was predicated on signs from the Bush administration that it was interested in better ties.

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