NAPSNet Daily Report 08 August, 2001

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 08 August, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, August 08, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-08-august-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Talks
2. Alleged PRC Missile Sales
3. Cross-Straits Relations
II. Republic of Korea 1. DPRK on Inter-Korean Talks
III. Australia 1. Australia-US Talks
2. PRC, Japanese Reactions to Security Proposal
3. Commentary on US-Australia Talks
IV. Announcements 1. Hayes Interviewed on National Public Radio

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Talks

Reuters (“NORTH KOREA BLAMES U.S. FOR STALLED RELATIONS,” Tokyo, 8/8/01) reported that the DPRK pointed to the US on Wednesday as the reason that relations between the two nations remained at an impasse. A DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman told the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), that the US attitude and agenda for the talks were unacceptable. The spokesman said, “We can never accept the agenda items of the talks unilaterally raised by the US out of its intention to disarm the DPRK and stifle it, and will not respond to the talks with the US before it withdraws the items. We make it clear once again that the DPRK-U.S. dialogue has not yet been resumed entirely because the US side has not cleared the DPRK, the dialogue partner, of its worries. The resumption of the DPRK-U.S. dialogue will be possible when the present U.S. administration drops its anachronistic mode of thinking that belonged to the Cold War era and its stand is, at least, identical to the stand taken by the Clinton administration in its last period.” In response, the US defended its position on the agenda for proposed talks – that both sides should be able to see what they want to talk about. US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, asked to clarify the US position on the agenda, said: “We have made quite clear a number of subjects that we do wish to discuss, such as implementation of the Agreed Framework, verifiable constraints on the missile programs, and a less-threatening conventional military posture on the peninsula. So those remain topics that we want to discuss. I’m sure the North Koreans have topics they would like to discuss and we’re prepared to meet any time, any place and without preconditions.”

The New York Times published an opinion article by Robert A. Manning, senior fellow and director of Asian studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, (“NORTH KOREA OVERTURE,” 8/8/01) in response to Selig S. Harrison’s Op-Ed on August 2 in which he dismisses US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s offer to the DPRK to meet anywhere at any time. Manning wrote, “What could be clearer? Mr. Harrison says the United States should make an ‘agreement to discuss non-nuclear energy assistance.’ In fact, the United States has been providing North Korea with 500,000 tons a year of heavy fuel oil as pledged in the 1994 nuclear deal. That’s not chopped liver. In the end, it is North Korea that is blocking diplomatic progress, with both Seoul and Washington. It remains a military-centered regime ruling by terror and afraid to make the changes that China and Vietnam have made to reform their economies. Instead, it has chosen to muddle through on the kindness of strangers–food, fuel and hard currency–while its people suffer. Until Pyongyang decides to change in earnest, progress is likely to be limited.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 8, 2001.]

2. Alleged PRC Missile Sales

The Associated Press (Joe McDonald, “CHINA DEFENDS ITSELF ON MISSILES,” Beijing, 8/8/01) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin told visiting US senators Wednesday that the PRC has “kept to the letter” of promises not to export missile technology to Pakistan and other countries. US Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that Jiang said that the PRC does not want to see the DPRK develop a long-range missile capability. Biden said that missile proliferation was one of many issues raised in a two-hour meeting with Jiang. He said they also discussed Taiwan, religious freedom, legal reform and the PRC’s recent detention of PRC-born scholars and writers with US ties. Biden said that the senators asked Jiang about new allegations that the PRC has sold missile technology to Pakistan. Biden stated, “He was very formal in saying that China has kept to the letter of all its agreements, and we agreed to disagree. He made the point that he didn’t want to see an arms race.” The PRC’s official Xinhua News Agency said that China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corp, the PRC company identified by a US newspaper as the seller of missile components to Pakistan, denied the allegation on Wednesday. Xinhua said that the company described the reports as “groundless and a sheer fabrication.”

3. Cross-Straits Relations

Agence France Presse (“TAIWAN MILITARY CHIEF CAUTIONS AGAINST CHINA’S ‘TWO-PRONGED’ STRATEGY,” Taipei, 8/8/01) reported that Taiwan General Tang Yao-ming, chief of the General Staff, cautioned on August 7 against the PRC’s “two-pronged” strategy in dealing with the island. Tang said that the PRC had never dropped its hostility towards Taiwan since the end of civil war in 1949. Tang said, “At the moment the Taiwan Straits looks stable, but the reality is the Chinese communists keep using their two-pronged strategy aimed to undermine our morale.” On the one hand, he said, the PRC was wooing Taiwan businesses to the mainland with promises of tax incentives, and would use these corporations “to force their own government” to adopt PRC-friendly policies. However, he added, it was amassing a major war chest to buy more arms which could be used against the island.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK on Inter-Korean Talks

The Korea Herald (Hwang Jang-jin, “N. KOREAN LEADER MENTIONS ‘CONDITIONS’ FOR SEOUL VISIT,” Moscow, 08/08/01) and Chosun Ilbo (Hwang Seong-joon, “KIM JONG IL UNLIKELY TO VISIT SEOUL SOON,” Moscow, 08/07/01) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il told Russian President Vladimir Putin that “certain conditions” should be met before he visits Seoul for a second inter-Korean summit, an ROK diplomatic source said Tuesday. Kim mentioned these conditions when Putin stressed to Kim the importance of a reciprocal visit to Seoul and the resumption of ROK-DPRK talks during their summit talks in Moscow Saturday, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. DPRK watchers said that Kim’s statement is seen as a hint that a second inter-Korean summit will depend on future developments in the DPRK’s relations with the US. They also noted that the DPRK is asking the ROK to provide economic aid, including electricity. “North Korea wants the United States to renounce its antagonistic policy towards it,” said Kim Yon-chul, a DPRK expert at the Samsung Economic Research Institute.

III. Australia

1. Australia-US Talks

The Australian (Robert Garran, “NEW SECURITY GROUPING,” Sydney, 7/31/01) reported that the US has backed an Australian plan for three-way talks to encourage Japan to do more to maintain security in the Asia Pacific. The plan reflects Australia’s interest in keeping the US militarily engaged in East Asia and prompting Japan to be more active in maintaining regional security, but in a way that does not antagonize China. It also reflects concerns over the ineffectiveness of existing arrangements, highlighted in Hanoi by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum’s latest failure to agree on methods for resolving disputes between its member countries. US Secretary of State Colin Powell backed the plan during Australia-US Ministerial talks in Canberra. “Since we have such common interests it might be wise to find ways to explore that on a regular basis,” General Powell said. However, the plan discussed in the meeting does not involve the ROK. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that the informal dialogue might involve ministers but would not constitute a formal grouping like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. As it develops, the grouping could have an important long-term bearing on regional security relationships. A review of US defense policy is under way under which US Defense Secretary Robert Rumsfeld is expected to urge greater focus on the Asia Pacific, which the US administration considers a more likely source of military conflict than Europe. Mr. Rumsfeld attended talks with his Australian counterpart Peter Reith. The four ministers, along with US Pacific Commander in Chief Admiral Denis Blair and Australian Chief of Defense Force Admiral Chris Barrie, agreed to review the way that US and Australian military forces work together.

The Age (Tony Parkinson, “CLOSER US MILITARY TIES MOOTED,” Melbourne, 7/31/01) reported that the US and Australia revealed on July 30 that they were looking to extend the network of military alliances in the Asia-Pacific region to include four-way talks on regional security with Japan and the ROK. After spending a day in talks with the Australian Government in Canberra, US Secretary of State Colin Powell described Australia, Japan and the ROK as “principal actors” in this part of the world. The ministerial talks marked the 50th anniversary of the ANZUS alliance. Powell delivered a forceful commitment that the US had no intention of retreating from its role as an economic and military power in the region. He rejected the characterization of Australia as a servant of US interests in the region. “I don’t really understand this ‘deputy sheriff’ line. We are partners with Australia and Australia plays a leading role in this part of the world.” The talks were not without disagreement, however, with the US and Australia clashing over the Bush administration’s refusal to ratify additions to the Biological Weapons Convention.

The Australian (Greg Sheridan, “MILITARY ALLIANCE RISKS CHINESE IRE,” Sydney, 7/31/01) reported that US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on July 30 foreshadowed a new process of military consultation and coordination between the US, Japan South Korea and Australia. Notably, the US’s Southeast Asian allies, Thailand and the Philippines, are excluded. When asked why, Powell responded that while these alliances were “good” and “strong” he was talking about “the principal actors in the region.” This is a sign of the decline of Southeast Asia in US eyes. It also seems to cement what has been a growing tendency to a two-tiered US alliance system. “While it’s good that we are in the first tier, the marginalisation of South-East Asia is a bad development for us.” The idea of much greater coordination among the US’s principal Asian allies has been a big topic of debate in security circles for the past couple of years. It worried some Australian strategic planners because they feared it could produce a furious reaction from the PRC. The process is obviously further along than we have previously realized. Downer has already discussed it with his Japanese counterpart Makiko Tanaka.

2. PRC, Japanese Reactions to Security Proposal

The Australian (Stephen Lunn, Lynne O’Donnell and Robert Garran, “CHINA CRYPTIC ON TALKS PLAN”, Sydney, 8/1/01) reported that Japan on July 31 broadly endorsed a plan for three-way talks on regional security with the US and Australia, but the PRC cautioned that the talks had to take place in the “correct” manner. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the talks would not proceed if the PRC or others were upset. Interest in the plan has been tempered by the potential negative reaction it might generate in the PRC, and Sino-Japanese relations have been strained in recent months. The PRC on July 31 issued a statement warning the countries involved that they could only contribute to peace in the region by cooperating in a “correct’ manner. It is understood that the Japanese would have preferred the concept were developed further before being made public.

3. Commentary on US-Australia Talks

The Australian (Paul Kelly, “ALLIANCE BASED ON SELF-RELIANCE,” Sydney, 8/1/01) commented that the Australian-US alliance is undergoing a period of transition in which new expectations will be levied on Australia. Secretary of State Colin Powell stressed that “we are partners with Australia, and Australia plays a leading role in this part of the world. Australia lives here, it’s their neighbourhood and we’re proud to be partners with them.” Partnership is based on mutual obligation, and that’s what the alliance is about, but these obligations are being transformed. The 2000 Australian Defence White Paper tells us that American combat troops aren’t expected to be called upon to defend Australia from attack. Australia’s aim is defense self-reliance. The White Paper makes it clear that the growth area for the alliance is US military technology. Australia and Japan, as allies, will join the technological dominance which flows from access to the advanced US information and strike technologies. This will maximize the ability of Australia’s small armed forces to defend their landmass. The US alliance, once seen as a combat guarantee, has evolved to the stage where it is essential to realize our policy of defense self-reliance. The alliance also helps to anchor the US to security role in the Asia-Pacific. The key strategic issue in Asia today and for decades is how the US manages the rise of the PRC. Australia is involved in this process as an ally of the US and a friend of the PRC.

The Australian (Roy Eccleston, “US SEES A BRIDGE FROM WEST TO ASIA,” Sydney, 7/31/01) commented that as George W. Bush continues to refocus America’s foreign and military policies, one thing is clear: Asia is becoming more important in US thinking, and that means that Australia’s value as an ally of the US also increases. Australia’s proximity to Asia and its political and historical links with the West give it a unique perspective. “That is one reason Mr. Bush is continuing the practice of recent presidents by sending two of his most senior cabinet members, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, halfway round the world to talk with Australian ministers. No doubt Washington is grateful for Canberra’s public sympathy for Mr. Bush’s decision to abandon the Kyoto global warming pact and his insistence on a missile shield. But it’s not out of gratitude that the Americans bothered going to Australia – it’s to pick Canberra’s brains.” The US is looking for Australia to continue taking a leadership role on Indonesia. Australia is taken seriously and is seen by the US as prepared to shoulder its share of the burden, but the US focus on Asia, especially the potential for strife with the PRC, may have all kinds of consequences for Australia that are still being worked through. Australia is having to think carefully about how its evolving interests, and those of the US, might mesh or conflict in Asia.

The Australian Financial Review (Geoffrey Barker, “AUSTRALIA’S ROLE IN THE UNEASY ALLIANCE,” Sydney, 8/4/01) commented that there was “a decidedly post-coital glow about the joint communique from Monday’s 50th anniversary Australia-US ministerial consultations. Two old lovers, warm in each other’s arms, sated by hours of intimacy, welcomed this and underlined that and underscored the importance of something else while expressing their common resolve on just about everything else…. And so it was – until the hare started to run, despite Alexander Downer’s efforts to keep it caged. Colin Powell set the hare running when he was asked whether there would be any advantage in seeking greater coordination between the US bilateral alliances with Japan, South Korea and Australia. ‘We were talking about this subject earlier in the day,’ he said. ‘There might be a need for us to seek greater opportunities to come together and talk more often….’ he said. The Australian Foreign Minister tried to grab the rabbit. ‘So as not to let the hare rush away here,’ Downer said, ‘we obviously wouldn’t want a new architecture in East Asia which would attempt to replicate NATO or something like that.’ Then he announced he had discussed ‘some sort of sub-ministerial dialogue,’ and at this point the hare headed to the front pages. Official US and Australian interest in the proposal reflects their mutual dissatisfaction with the failure of the ASEAN Regional Forum to develop into anything more than a talk-shop as China has emerged as an assertive regional power. Obviously a four-way dialogue would add to the weak security architecture and help allies to follow China’s actions very carefully. The proposal is consistent with a ‘contagement’ strategy – a mixture of containment and engagement. But the idea is unlikely to be realised. Japan will not touch anything that is likely to spook China. Also, China has condemned Australia’s role in moving to promote the new security links. These questions will ensure Australia’s extreme caution.”

The Australian (Greg Sheridan, “DOWNER MUDDIES ASIAN WATERS,” Sydney, 8/4/01) argued that Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has mishandled the sensible suggestion of intensified security dialogue between Australia, Japan, the ROK and the US. “It’s not an Asian NATO,” Downer declared, thus ensuring that the word NATO figured heavily in the next day’s coverage. The bitter PRC reaction was predictable. But then Downer conceded the right of veto to the PRC. “This kind of flip-flop and pusillanimity is the very worst way to deal with the Chinese. It gives them a positive incentive to be bullies because it shows how weakly we’ll cave in as soon as the bullying starts. To give Beijing a veto over how we talk to our closest allies and friends, the Americans and the Japanese is bizarre indeed. A lot of American Thinking has gone into this dialogue. It is designed to encourage the Japanese to play a broader role in regional security…. It is also driven by the US desire for more burden-sharing among its allies. It is also related to technology, the need to develop the closest co-ordination in expensive high-tech tasks such as technical intelligence gathering and sharing.”

IV. Announcements

1. Hayes Interviewed on National Public Radio

National Public Radio’s Weekend All Things Considered interviewed Peter Hayes on August 4, 2001 () on the talks between the DPRK’s Kim Jong-il and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Hayes said that Kim was playing the DPRK’s Russian card to show that the DPRK has geopolitical options if the United States refuses to engage with it in coming months. He also pointed out that the reaffirmation of the DPRK’s long range missile test moratorium was significant. He suggested that the announced re-entry of Russian technicians into DPRK power plants built with Russian aid would make it harder for KEDO to not find a role for Russia in the light water reactor project.

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Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

John McKay: John.McKay@adm.monash.edu.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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