NAPSNet Daily Report 07 October, 1999

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

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

I. United States

1. US Policy toward DPRK

The Los Angeles Times carried an opinion article (Jim Mann, “CONGRESS IS MIA IN N. KOREA POLICY,” Washington, 10/06/99) which said that despite Republican congressional leaders’ continuing criticism of US President Bill Clinton’s policy toward the DPRK, they have done nothing. The article said, “They claim they hate the U.S. policy and say it amounts to rewarding extortion. Yet they back away from threats to cut off the funds for it, and fail even to raise very many questions about it.” It added, “Now, in the wake of the Clinton administration’s most recent bargain with North Korea, Congress has what is probably its best chance to review, change or reverse the direction of U.S. policy. Yet so far, the Republicans, while voicing their usual gripes, don’t seem to understand the implications of this deal or even to know what questions to ask.” It concluded, “If the Republicans in Congress … don’t like the administration’s North Korea policy, they have the power–indeed, the legislative duty–to act on their beliefs. Otherwise we can assume that, despite all their denunciations and campaign speeches, it is their policy too.”

2. DPRK-Japan Relations

The Wall Street Journal carried an analytical article (Masayoshi Kanabayashi, “PYONGYANG, TOKYO WILL PLAY OUT DIPLOMATIC DRAMA KABUKI STYLE,” 10/07/99) which said that negative Japanese public opinion toward the DPRK is likely to slow Japan’s movement toward normalizing relations with the DPRK. Masao Okonogi, a professor of political science at Keio University, said that Japan must move toward normalization because it has agreed to support the Perry Report, but will likely take small steps so as “not to stimulate Japan’s public opinion.” Okonogi said that Japan may use the technique of “gaiatsu,” in which the government relies on foreign governments to call for unpopular policy, and then uses those calls to help overcome resistance from domestic groups. According to a spokesman for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, most participants in a joint meeting of two committees in charge of defense and diplomacy last week were against any immediate easing of sanctions on the DPRK. A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said that it will take into consideration the outcome of talks between the US and the DPRK scheduled for this month. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun recently argued, “North Korea’s announcement is just for a temporary freezing of a missile launch, and isn’t for the abandonment of the missile development itself … and there hasn’t been any progress at all on the issue of the suspected kidnappings.” It called for the passage of bills that would allow the government to stop the remittance of money to the DPRK from Korean residents of Japan. In a recent survey by the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Gallup Organization, only 2.1 percent of the people polled said they have a good impression of the DPRK, while 93.4 percent said they view the country negatively. A poll five years ago showed that 9.6 percent of Japanese felt friendly toward the DPRK.

3. Six-Party Korean Talks

Reuters (“SEOUL SAYS NO PLAN TO PROPOSE SIX-WAY KOREA TALKS,” Seoul, 10/07/99) reported that the Korea Times newspaper on Thursday quoted an unnamed government official as saying that the ROK plans to propose six-way talks early next year among the foreign ministers of the ROK, DPRK, US, Russia, Japan, and the PRC to discuss Korean peninsula security. The article said that the proposal would be made at an ROK-Japan prime ministerial meeting scheduled for October 23-24 on Cheju island. Han Kwang-sup, director of the ROK foreign ministry’s security policy division, on Thursday denied the report, saying, “The South Korean government has no plan to propose such a meeting. But I don’t rule out the possibility that the idea could be discussed during the ministerial meeting with Japan.”

4. DPRK Refugees in PRC

Reuters (“SEOUL SAYS UP TO 30,000 N.KOREA REFUGEES IN CHINA,” Seoul, 10/06/99) reported that ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman Lee Kwang-ho on Thursday quoted Foreign Minister Hong Soon-young as telling the National Assembly on Wednesday that 10,000 to 30,000 DPRK refugees are in the PRC. Lee stated, “We arrived at the estimate after reviewing data from the Chinese government, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and our own research.” He quoted Hong as saying that the ministry was attempting to start a dialogue with relevant PRC authorities on the issue of the DPRK refugees but that no specific negotiations were taking place. Hong said that the PRC’s estimate of the number of DPRK refugees was about 10,000. He declined to discuss what measures the ministry had suggested to the PRC in dealing with the issue. Lee quoted Hong as saying, “The ministry is placing high priority on the issue. At the same time, we prefer to adopt a quiet diplomacy in dealing with the issue.”

5. US-ROK Military Exercises

The Washington Times (“S. KOREA-U.S. EXERCISE WILL START OCT. 26,” Seoul, 10/07/99, 16) reported that the ROK and the US will hold their annual “Foal Eagle” military exercise from October 26 to November 5. The US Forces Korea (USFK) said in a statement Thursday that the rear area field training exercise will be held at a variety of locations and involve the majority of US and ROK forces on the Korean peninsula. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 7.]

6. Remains of US Soldiers from Korean War

USA Today (Barbara Slavin, “MIA REMAINS,” 10/07/99, 13) reported that the US has agreed to the direct transfer from the DPRK of remains of four US soldiers missing in action in the Korean War. Bob Jones, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for POW/MIA affairs, said he would fly to Pyongyang later this month to accept the four caskets. The DPRK suspended transfer of remains in June because it objected to handing over the remains to the UN Command. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 7.]

7. Korean War Massacre

The Associated Press (“S. KOREA BEGINS NO GUN RI INQUIRY,” Seoul, 10/07/99) reported that the ROK government began a field investigation Thursday to look into allegations that hundreds of Korean refugees were killed by US soldiers at the beginning of the Korean War. Government investigators interviewed the survivors and visited the railroad bridge where the massacre allegedly took place. Park Chul-gon, leader of the investigation team, stated, “On behalf of the government, we offer a sincere apology for coming to this scene so late, nearly 50 years after the incident happened.”

8. PRC Boats Detained in ROK

The Associated Press (“CHINESE BOATS DETAINED IN S. KOREA,” Seoul, 10/07/99) reported that ROK maritime police detained two Chinese fishing boats on Thursday for allegedly fishing in ROK waters near the disputed Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea. Officials of the ROK Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said that the boats were fishing off the ROK’s northwest coast when they were spotted by patrol boats early in the morning.

9. ROK Participation in Russia-PRC Pipeline

Reuters (“KOREA TO JOIN RUSSIA-CHINA GAS PIPELINE PROJECT,” Moscow, 10/07/99) reported that Russian Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister Yelena Telegina said Wednesday that the ROK next month will join a Russian-PRC study on the prospects of a gas pipeline from Eastern Siberia to the PRC. Telegina stated, “In November an additional protocol to the trilateral agreement is expected to be signed stating that South Korea would be joining in as a fourth party.” Telegina said that the ROK was interested in getting 10 billion cubic meters of Russian gas per year.

10. US Weapons Sales to Taiwan

The Associated Press (“TAIWAN RECEIVES FRIGATES FROM U.S.,” Taipei, 10/06/99) reported that the Taiwan navy said Wednesday that it has received two retired frigates from the US. The Knox class ships will primarily be assigned to track PRC submarines and sink them during war. The vessels also carry ship-to-air missiles as a defense against any attack from warplanes. Taiwan now has a total of eight of the warships on lease. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 7.]

11. PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Associated Press (William Foreman, “NO RETREAT FOR TAIWAN LEADER,” Taipei, 10/06/99) reported that Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui in his news conference on Tuesday refused to respond to statements from the PRC about earthquake relief. Lu Ya-li, a political science professor at National Taiwan University, said that Lee did not want to provoke the PRC because increased tensions would only further upset a public that is trying to recover from the recent earthquake. Lu stated, “It’s not that Lee is trying to change his stance with China or meet Beijing’s demands.” Dennis Hickey, a political science professor at Southwest Missouri State University, stated, “To Taipei, it appears that Beijing, rather than sincerely working to help alleviate the suffering of Taiwan, is trying to score points in its five- decade-old struggle against Taiwan.” Juan Ming, a professor at Tamkang University’s Institute of China Studies in Taipei, stated, “I think at this stage, Taiwanese would appreciate the fewer words the better in regards to China.” Andrew Yang, a senior analyst at the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies, said Lee has already been criticized for his recent comments about the PRC and is thus acting more cautiously.

12. US Bases on Okinawa

The Christian Science Monitor (Takehiko Nomura, “OKINAWANS REV UP AGAINST US BASE,” Nago, 10/07/99, 8) reported that anti-base activists in Okinawa argued that the decision to hold the 2000 Group of Eight summit in Nago is designed to deflect opposition to US bases on the island. Atsuko Koki, a critic of the bases, argued, “It’s another carrot and stick policy of the government.” She said that the US and Japan “ridicule Nago citizens. They treat us like animals in the cage and think if they feed us, we will shut up.” Kiyoko Miyagi, a local activist in the Henoko district of Nago, stated, “Everyone used to be against the US military presence. But the government is trying to bait with money.” In Ginowan, where the US Futenma Air Station is located, more than 800 people gathered last week for an inaugural rally to form an island-wide group to protest any relocation of military bases within Okinawa. US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Foley said recently during a visit to Okinawa, “Okinawa is the vital element of our alliance with Japan and key to our presence in the region. We are pleased and encouraged by recent signs of progress on Futenma’s relocation.” However, Sheila Smith, assistant professor of international relations at Boston University, argued, “I don’t think trying to build a new military base is a wise policy for the US-Japan alliance in the long run … given the impact building a new base will have on the island.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 7.]

The Associated Press (“OKINAWA CURFEW ENDS,” 10/07/99) reported that the US military lifted a four-year old curfew that barred service members from the center of the city of Okinawa from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The curfew was imposed in October 1995, a month after three servicemen raped an Okinawan schoolgirl. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 7.]

13. Japanese Nuclear Accident

The Associated Press (Joseph Coleman, “JAPAN MAY CLOSE NUCLEAR REACTOR,” Tokyo, 10/07/99) reported that Japanese officials said Thursday that the Fugen thermal reactor in Tsuruga may be shut down because last week’s accident at the Tokaimura reprocessing facility means there is no place to store its spent fuel. The reactor has been storing spent fuel on-site since a fire and explosion closed another fuel reprocessing plant in 1997. The environmental group Greenpeace said Thursday that its own analysis of the radiation surrounding the Tokaimura plant showed that the number of people exposed was probably higher than officials said.

14. Indian Elections

The Associated Press (Hema Shukla, “HINDU ALLIANCE WINS IN INDIA,” New Delhi, 10/07/99) reported that, with winners declared for 536 seats in the Indian Parliament, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s alliance had won 286 while the main Congress party and its allies had 129. The Congress party projected to 113 of the 543 elected seats in the lower house of parliament, its lowest total ever. Results were expected to be counted Thursday and officially announced Friday for all but five constituencies. Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh told STAR television network the new government would quickly take up the issue of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

15. US Ratification of CTBT

Dow Jones Newswires (Alex Keto, “CLINTON SAYS DELAY OF NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY VOTE LIKELY,” Washington, 10/07/99) reported that US President Bill Clinton said Thursday that he believes it is likely that a Senate vote on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) will be delayed. Clinton stated, “There seems to be among thoughtful people who really care about this an overwhelming consensus not enough time has been allocated to deal with he substantive issues that have to be discussed.”

Reuters (Rolf Soderlind, “U.N. MEETING ASKS U.S. SENATE TO RATIFY NUKE TREATY,” Vienna, 10/06/99) reported that German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, at the conference on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), urged the US Senate to ratify the treaty. Fischer stated, “Ratification in Washington would send a strong signal in favor of the treaty, which is just what we are trying to do in Vienna.” Fischer and Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura also called on Russia and the PRC to ratify the treaty. Komura stated, “It is imperative to issue a strong message that urges non-signatories and non-ratifiers to sign and ratify the treaty at the earliest possible date.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Fighter Purchase

The Korea Herald (“N. KOREA MOVES TO BUY RUSSIAN SU-30 FIGHTERS,” Seoul, 10/07/99) and Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “NORTH KOREA TO BUY NEW FIGHTER PLANES,” Seoul, 10/06/99) reported that the ROK Air Force said on Wednesday that the DPRK is trying to purchase Russian-made SU-30 state-of-the-art fighter jets to enforce its air power. In a report to the ROK National Assembly, the Air Force said the DPRK is also attempting to obtain more advanced Russian MiG-29 fighters, but it did not say how many. The DPRK has deployed more than 30 MiG-21 fighters that it recently bought from Kazakhstan in the frontline area, the Air Force said.

2. DPRK Defectors in PRC

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “NORTH KOREAN DEFECTORS IN CHINA NUMBER 10,000-30,000, HONG SAYS,” Seoul, 10/07/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yeol, “FOREIGN MINISTER ASKS RESTRAINT ON NK REFUGEE PROBLEM,” Seoul, 10/06/99) reported that ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Hong Soon-young said on Wednesday that the estimated number of DPRK defectors in the PRC is 10,000-30,000. Some ROK civic groups have estimated the number of DPRK defectors in the PRC at as high as 300,000, while the PRC authorities see the figure at about 7,000-8,000. “The government is trying to resolve the issue of North Korean defectors in China through quiet diplomacy,” Minister Hong told reporters. Hong also reaffirmed the ROK government’s position that the DPRK defectors should be treated as refugees from a humanitarian viewpoint. Minister Hong said the government has refrained from officially raising the human rights of DPRK defectors because the sensitivity of the issue. “But actually, the two parties have been trying to resolve (the issue) in a quiet manner,” the minister said. If the ROK government publicly takes issue with the DPRK defector problem, he said, it will trigger diplomatic friction with the PRC, and it will be the defectors themselves that will become the biggest victims of such a diplomatic row. Hong stressed the need for the ROK to be cautious in handling the issue of DPRK defectors, given that the ROK needs support from the PRC in promoting its DPRK policy.

3. DPRK-Japan Relations

Chosun Ilbo (Park Jung-hoon, “JAPAN MAY EASE AIRLINE SANCTIONS ON NK,” Seoul, 10/06/99) reported that Japan’s new Foreign Minister, Yohei Kono, announced at a press conference on Wednesday that he would consider lifting the suspension of direct airline flights to the DPRK that was imposed in August last year due to the DPRK’s missile test. Kono said that he would review reopening the direct route between the two countries, although this should be considered carefully. He also called US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and said that he would try his best for talks with the DPRK, Japanese news reported. Albright reconfirmed her determination to cooperate closely with Japan on DPRK policy and agreed to hold US-Japan talks between the two ministers within this year.

4. Implementation of Agreed Framework

Chosun Ilbo (Lee Chul-min, “KEDO CONSTRUCTION ON SCHEDULE,” Seoul, 10/06/99) reported that the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) held its monthly meeting in New York on Tuesday and announced that the official light water reactor at the Kumho site in the DPRK will be under construction “in the very near future.” KEDO also reported that it had delivered 420,000 tons of the 500,000 tons of heavy oil scheduled to be delivered to the DPRK between October 22, 1998 and October 21, 1999. Attending as chairman of the meeting, US Representative Charles Kartman said that the environment between the US and the DPRK had improved and he was receiving positive responses from the DPRK. Therefore, KEDO expects the total quantity of heavy oil would be delivered by October 21 without delay. A KEDO report stated that the top priority of construction would be nuclear safety and that this would not be negotiable for any reason.

5. Four-Party Peace Talks

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “JANG APPOINTED AS CHIEF DELEGATE TO FOUR-WAY TALKS,” Seoul, 10/07/99) reported that an ROK ministry spokesman said on Wednesday that the government appointed Jang Jai-ryong, deputy foreign affairs and trade minister, as chief ROK delegate to the four-party peace talks. Jang replaced Park Kun- woo, who had served for one year as chief delegate to the talks. The replacement is seen as an effort by the ROK government to further strengthen cooperation with the US in the talks. Jang, who once served as director general of the North American Affairs Bureau, was deeply involved in ROK-US cooperation during the 1994 Geneva nuclear talks. “Jang’s career experience will help South Korea maintain close cooperation with the United States and China in the four-party talks,” said a ministry official. Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Hong Soon-young told reporters that since the four-way talks have been put on a normal track, the government judged it appropriate to appoint a deputy minister-level official like Jang. Minister Hong added that the government had appointed Park, a heavyweight diplomat, as chief delegate in consideration of the importance of the talks. Park had served as vice foreign minister and ambassador to the US.

6. 2nd Anniversary of Kim Jong-il’s Rule

The Korea Herald (“KIM J.I. MARKS 2ND ANNIV. AS WORKERS’ PARTY HEAD,” Seoul, 10/07/99) reported that the DPRK on Friday will celebrate the two-year anniversary of its top leader Kim Jong-il as the general secretary of its ruling Workers’ Party. By taking over the post on October 8, 1997, Kim put an end to the three-year mourning period over his late father and the country’s founder Kim Il-sung, during which the DPRK was ruled according to the will of the deceased leader.

7. Corn Production in DPRK

The Korea Herald (Seoul, 10/07/99) reported that DPRK top leader Kim Jong-il has directed mass production of the “super sweet corn,” a corn breed developed and test-grown in the DPRK by an ROK expert. Kim Soon-kwon, widely known as “Dr. Corn,” who leads the International Corn Foundation (ICF), has tested 6,000 kinds of corn seeds in the DPRK to select the most suitable and productive ones for the DPRK’s soil. According to the ICF, Kim Jong-il ordered the cultivation of the super sweet corn, one of the seeds tested with big grains and rich sweetness, supplying it to children last month, while the ROK corn expert was visiting the country. The corn specialist plans to plant more of the seeds next year, by developing it further on his ROK farm, it said.

8. DPRK’s View of Korean War Massacre

The Korea Herald (“N. KOREA CRITICIZES SEOUL OVER NOGUN-RI MASSACRE,” Seoul, 10/07/99) reported that the DPRK on Tuesday denounced the ROK government for trying to cover up the alleged massacre of Korean civilians by US troops during the Korean War, dubbing it a “treasonous act against the nation.” “The latest revelation of the barbarian massacre committed in the summer of 1950 at Nogun-ri by U.S. invaders has made our people at home and abroad shudder,” said an editorial of the DPRK’s state-run radio station KCBS. “Nevertheless, the South Korean puppets are plotting to conceal the truth of the mass slaughter.” The editorial particularly attacked the ROK government’s stance which stressed caution in dealing with the incident based on such grounds as hidden DPRK soldiers among civilians, the expiration of statutory limitations, and the possible adverse effects of any hasty conclusion on the ROK-US relationship. “The (ROK) puppets have just moved to uncover facts as the anti-American sentiments escalate in South Korea. However, it will be no more than a ploy to bury the truth more deeply with the help of their master,” it added.

9. DPRK’s View of ROK Development Plan

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, “NK’S KIM PRAISES PARK CHUNG-HEE’S SAEMAUL MOVEMENT,” Seoul, 10/06/99) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, in talks with honorary chairman of Hyundai Chung Ju-yung, positively evaluated the ROK’s saemaul (new village) movement and the economic development policy of late president Park Chung-hee. ROK government officials said that Kim’s statement is related to the DPRK’s current economic conditions, as a rationale for attempting to apply Park’s economic development program. DPRK specialist Lee Hang-goo pointed out that the DPRK could apply the saemaul movement to its economy as a kind of second chonlima (excellent horse) and “Red Flag” movement. According to defectors to the ROK, high-ranking officials and scholars have evaluated former ROK President Park Chung-hee positively. One defector said that DPRK professors had said that President Park created a basic economic foundation from which the ROK achieved successful economic development in the 1980s and thought that his heavy-industry-first policy could be applied to the DPRK.

10. ROK-Japan Fisheries Accord

The Korea Herald (Chang Jae-soon, “KOREAN FISHERMEN STAGE PROTEST AGAINST SEOUL-TOKYO FISHERIES ACCORD,” Pusan, 10/07/99) reported that ROK fishermen aboard some 100 fishing boats staged a maritime rally on Wednesday in seas off Pusan’s coast to call for the nullification of the ROK-Japan fisheries pact. The fishermen began laying siege to four maritime police patrol boats at around midnight on Tuesday, when they tied the vessels together to keep them from fleeing. Three of the boats were from Japan and one was from the ROK. The Japanese boats were at the time docked near ROK Maritime University to attend the first-ever joint sea-bound rescue exercise between the maritime police of the two countries. The fishermen, belonging to the National Fishermen’s Association, demanded that the ROK-Japan fisheries accord be nullified and that the Exclusive Economic Zone system be abolished. Due to the protest, the rescue drill, which was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, could not be held. Seventeen patrol boats from the two countries had planned to participate in the drill.

11. ROK Nuclear Accident

Chosun Ilbo (Mo Tai-joon, “22 EXPOSED TO RADIATION LEAK AT WOLSUNG PLANT,” Seoul, 10/06/99) reported that the ROK Ministry of Science and Technology reported on Tuesday that 22 workers at the Wolsung nuclear power plant in north Kyongsang Province were exposed to radioactivity on Monday, but none of them were seriously affected. The accident occurred at 7:00pm during maintenance work on a water-cooling pump of reactor no. 3. A spokesman for the power plant said that about 45 liters of radioactive heavy water leaked from the pump system, pushing the level of radiation to a maximum 440 milligrams, about 9 percent of the allowable exposure limit. He said that all of the workers were allowed to return home, but two who received more than 300 milligrams were relieved from work for the time being. He also explained that it was not the sort of accident that needed to be announced immediately and so was posted on the Internet on Tuesday afternoon in accordance with ministry guidelines.

Chosun Ilbo (Mo Tai-joon, “MECHANICAL FAILURE BLAMED FOR RADIATION LEAK,” Seoul, 10/06/99) reported that the radiation leak at the Wolsung nuclear power plant in North Kyongsang Province on October 4 was caused by a broken water mains seal, according to vice president of Korea Electric Power Corporation Park Yong-taek on Wednesday. Radioactive heavy water leaked from a pipe between the pump and motor when workers tried to change motor lubricant in the pump when an O ring used to seal the connection between the pump and motor was broken. He speculated that a worker may have inadvertently broken the ring and pump. After a detailed probe on the radioactive heavy water volume in the nuclear pile, it was calculated that a total of 50 liters of heavy water leaked from the containment vessel. The ROK Ministry of Science and Technology, an advisory institute of the plant, sent a five man investigation team, led by Kim Yong-hwan, in charge of nuclear power safety, to Wolsung to uncover the reason for the accident. Concerning the accident, Prime Minister of Japan Obuchi Keizo said on Wednesday that he would cooperate if the ROK asked for help.

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, “CIVIC GROUPS EXPRESS ANGER OVER NUCLEAR RADIATION LEAK,” Seoul, 10/07/99) reported that following Monday’s radioactive leak at a nuclear reactor, dozens of environmental and civic groups across the nation joined forces on Wednesday to protest against the ROK government’s lax safety controls at atomic power plants. Some 30 environmental groups, led by the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement, staged a joint rally at the Government Complex in downtown Seoul in the afternoon, demanding a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident. The federation called for the formation of a joint government-civilian investigation team to look into the accident. It demanded harsh punishments for those trying to cover up the accident and an immediate halt to plans for building new nuclear power plants.

III. Japan

1. US Policy Toward DPRK

The Daily Yomiuri (“KEYNOTE SPEECH/STEP-BY-STEP PATH TO TIES BEST STRATEGY,” 10/06/99) carried the keynote speech by William Perry, US Policy Coordinator for the DPRK, delivered at a meeting of the Yomiuri International Forum in Tokyo on September 24. In the speech, Perry reviewed that after a few crises in the post- Agreed Framework process, a major turnaround came one year ago when the DPRK flew a Taepodong-1 over Japan in a failed attempt to launch a satellite. Perry said, “This test-firing provoked a strong reaction both in the US and Japan, leading to calls for an end to funding to the Agreed Framework.” As for the conclusion of his review, he said, “The first conclusion of the study is that military coloration of forces on the Korean Peninsula strongly favors the Allied forces even more than during the 1994 crisis. I believe this is understood by North Korea. Our second conclusion is that there has been no production of fissile material in North Korea since the Agreed Framework came into force. However, production at Yongbyon could restart in a few months if the Agreed Framework were aborted. Our third conclusion is that the security strategy based on the Agreed Framework has worked for these past five years. But it will be unsustainable if North Korea continues to test-fire long-range missiles, since these firings undermine the necessary support for the Agreed Framework. Finally, we have concluded that North Korea is undergoing terrible economic hardships. These hardships are unlikely to cause the regime to be undermined.” He suggested that the US must deal with the DPRK regime as it is, not as we wish it would be. As for the primary recommendation of his review, it “is that the Allies should establish two alternative strategies, including 1) if the DPRK is willing to forgo its long-range missile program and its nuclear weapons program, we should be willing to move in a step-by-step path to a comprehensive normalization of relations, including the establishment of permanent peace and 2) if the DPRK does not demonstrate through action that it is willing to remove its own threat, we must take actions to contain the threat.” Whichever strategy is employed, the US, Japanese and ROK governments will be called on to fully participate in the process. In conclusion, he said that the recent Berlin agreement “is the beginning of our path to normalization of relations, which will end decades of insecurity and finally lead to a secure, stable and prosperous Korean Peninsula.”

2. DPRK Chemical Weapons Development

The Nikkei Shimbun (Atsushi Ijuin, “ROK DEFENSE WHITE PAPER POINTS OUT THAT DPRK IS DEVELOPING CHEMICAL WEAPONS,” 10/05/99) reported that the 1999 ROK Defense White Paper points out that the DPRK has developed as much as 2500 to 5000 tons of chemical weapons. The report also said that according to the white paper, the weapons can be multipurpose and can already be utilized for missiles. The report is concerned that the DPRK’s deployed Nodong missiles may carry these weapons and threaten Japan’s security.

3. PRC-DPRK Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“PRC AND DPRK MUTUALLY CONGRATULATE ON 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF DIPLOMATIC ESTABLISHMENT,” Beijing, 10/05/99) reported that according to the Shinhwa News Agency, PRC and DPRK leaders mutually congratulated each other on October 5 on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of friendly relations between the PRC and the DPRK. The PRC leaders who gave congratulations included Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, and Prime Minister Zhu Rongi. In a joint statement, the three leaders said, “The PRC-DPRK friendship, developed by the hands of the revolutionary generation, will further develop in the 21st century.” As for the DPRK side, a statement was issued under the name of Kim Jong-il, Kim Yong-nam, and DPRK People’s Supreme Committee Chairman Hong Sung-nam, saying, “The DPRK-PRC friendship has overcome a number of historical events and has been developing smoothly despite the complicated current international situation.”

4. Japanese Nuclear Accident

The Asahi Shimbun (“DEFENSE HEAD CALLS FOR HELP FROM US FORCES FOR NUCLEAR CRITICALITY ACCIDENT,” 10/04/99) reported that Japanese Defense Agency Director General Hosei Norota on October 4 officially requested cooperation of the US forces stationed in Japan in dealing with the nuclear accident at Tokaimura. The report said that Norota met with US Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Henry Shelton. Shelton, in response to Norota’s request, revealed that he consulted the US Department of Energy and promised to Norota, “We will cooperate as much as possible.”

The Asahi Shimbun (“NUKE WORKERS WANTED TO FINISH EARLY,” 10/04/99) and the Yomiuri Shimbun (“THREE WORKERS ADMIT THAT THEY DECIDED TO SKIP PROPER PROCESS,” 10/05/99) reported that according to police sources, one of the three JCO workers who were exposed to high levels of radiation in the criticality accident in Tokaimura on September 30 said that he had instructed the other two to pour uranium exceeding the normal limit to speed up the process. The reports cited the worker as saying, “I wanted to finish the job as early as possible so I instructed the other two to skip normal procedures.” The reports also said that investigators are beginning to question JCO’s executives on suspicions that the accident had resulted from lack of proper supervision over the uranium processing procedures at the plant. The Asahi article said that the company officials have also admitted that JCO had drawn up “hidden” processing manuals, which were simplified versions of government-approved procedural manuals and given JCO’s executive approval. According to the article, police are trying to establish whether superiors had instructed the workers to conduct the dangerous work that could cause critical mass.

The Sankei Shimbun (“DEFENSE AGENCY TO REVIEW NUCLEAR POLICY: DEVELOPMENT OF NUCLEAR- PROOF SUIT AND ANTI-TERRORISM POLICY,” 10/03/99) reported that in the wake of the recent nuclear criticality accident in Tokaimura, the Defense Agency decided to review its nuclear policy. According the report, although a special task force from the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force was able to swiftly reach the site of the accident an hour before the official request for assistance by the governor, the special task force suffered from the lack of nuclear-proof facilities, including cars and clothes, which delayed the team’s work. DA is also concerned that some nuclear terrorists may attack this weakness in the future and is now considering the development of such facilities.

The Asahi Shimbun (“SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AGENCY HEAD AND MITI MINISTER ANNOUNCE LEGALIZING ATOMIC DISASTER PREVENTION,” 10/06/99) reported that Science and Technology Agency Director General Hirofumi Nakasone and International Trade and Industry Minister Takashi Fukaya announced at their inaugural ceremony at the prime ministerial residence on October 5 the need for an atomic disaster prevention law. According to the report, both cabinet members felt the need for a law to make it more effective for the central government and local authorities to work together. They also expressed the need for a more advanced special task force with nuclear expertise.

5. Japanese Cabinet Reshuffle

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“NEW COALITION CABINET LAUNCHED,” 10/06/99) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi on October 5 launched a new coalition government combining the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Jiyuto (Liberal Party) and New Komeito. Obuchi described the cabinet as an administration for an “economic rebirth.” During a press conference at the prime minister’s official residence late in the day, Obuchi also revealed a plan to issue a 2,000 yen bill next year to “mark the start of the new millennium.” During the press conference following the Cabinet meeting, Obuchi said, “The LDP, Jiyuto and New Komeito want to share responsibility as parties in power, while at the same time carrying out better policies to serve the interests of the people and the state… I have sought to drastically reorganize the Cabinet to put together a powerful lineup of state ministers that can tackle various important tasks.” The report pointed out that a major focus is now on how soon–or even whether–the prime minister will choose to dissolve the House of Representatives for general elections, a move that would allow the public to assess the accomplishments of the LDP-Jiyuto-New Komeito coalition.

The Daily Yomiuri (“CABINET DIVIDED ON CONSTITUTION,” 10/06/99) reported that differences among Cabinet members have surfaced on the subject of revising the Japanese Constitution. According to the report, some cabinet ministers remarked at press conferences on October 5 on the need for full-scale discussions at Diet level regarding the issue. International Trade and Industry Minister Takashi Fukaya said, “There were times when any discussion on the Constitution was regarded as taboo. It is necessary to debate (the issue) at research councils on the Constitution that will be set up from next year’s ordinary Diet session.” Posts and Telecommunications Minister Eita Yashiro called for revision of the Constitution, saying: “The clothes we wore as children do not fit 50 or 60 years later. It is important to create a time-adjusted Constitution. I welcome the opportunity to discuss the issue, including the ninth article that stipulates renunciation of use of force as means of settling international disputes.” Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, on the other hand, said, “I believe there is no need to revise the Constitution.”

6. US-Russian CTBT Monitoring

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Ryuichi Otsuka, “US AND RUSSIA TO STRENGTHEN CTBT SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM,” Washington, 10/04/99) reported that according to an October 4 New York Times article, the US and Russia agreed to discuss strengthening the surveillance system for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). According to the report, the US Senate will discuss ratification of the treaty this week, but the Republicans are opposed to ratification because the measures, currently covered by the treaty, alone cannot detect more minor violation of the treaty. The report pointed out that the US administration wants to promote strengthening the surveillance system with Russia to avoid the Republicans’ criticism.

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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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