NAPSNet Daily Report 08 December, 2000

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 08 December, 2000", NAPSNet Daily Report, December 08, 2000, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-08-december-2000/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. Clinton Visit to DPRK
2. Light-Water Reactor Project
3. Four-Party Peace Talks
4. ROK Detainees in DPRK
5. DPRK Medical Situation
6. Nogunri Incident
7. Mock Japanese War Crimes Trial
8. US Navy in Asia-Pacific
II. Japan 1. Japanese-DPRK Normalization Talks
2. Former Prime Minister’s Visit To DPRK
3. Light-Water Reactor Project
4. DPRK Food Situation
5. Japanese-Russian Relations
6. Japanese-US Base Issue
7. Japanese Cabinet

I. United States

1. Clinton Visit to DPRK

Reuters (“CLINTON ACTIVELY CONSIDERING N. KOREA VISIT,” Kearney, 12/08/00) reported that an unnamed US administration official said on Friday that US President Bill Clinton was actively considering a visit to the DPRK before leaving office in January. The official stated, “He will base his decision on advancing our interests in national security, not on an arbitrary timeline.” The official added, “We continue to review the results of Secretary Albright’s trip, as well as the missile talks in Malaysia.”

The Wall Street Journal (Carla Anne Robbins, “CLINTON MAY VISIT NORTH KOREA AT LAST MINUTE FOR MISSILE DEAL,” Washington, 12/08/00) reported that US officials said that they believe they have made enough progress on a deal to halt the DPRK’s missile program to complete the agreement during a presidential visit, but that the opportunity could slip away if left to the next administration. The DPRK is reportedly asking for financial compensation for lost missile exports and a commitment from the US to have as many as three civilian satellites launched each year without charge. Officials admitted that uncertainty over the outcome of the US election has complicated the issue. One official stated, “The normal thing would be to let the president-elect know of our plans. We’ll be gone, and someone else is going to have to implement this.” The official added, “There’s a kind of Catch-22 situation here. We tell them the president can’t come unless we have a very clear picture of what’s achievable. [They say] the problem in their system is that important decisions only get made at the very top.” Henry Sokolski, of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, warned that providing the DPRK with launch services would entail a serious risk of transferring militarily useful technology. Sokolski stated, “If they really need this for peaceful purposes … we can give them the end products, whether imagery or communications, at no risk.” Another US official stated, “None of this can be done on trust; there has to be strict monitoring,” noting that keeping track of DPRK’s exports could be done from outside the country, while monitoring missile production could only be accomplished with the DPRK’s active cooperation. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for December 8.]

2. Light-Water Reactor Project

Nucleonics Week (Mark Hibbs, “GE WALKAWAY FROM KEDO WOULD THREATEN COSTLY BOP REDESIGN,” Seoul, 11/30/00) reported that nuclear engineering executives warned that a decision by General Electric (GE) not to supply the turbine generator for the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization’s (KEDO) project to build two light-water reactors in the DPRK would be highly costly. They said that using equipment from another supplier would require a redesign of the entire balance of plant (BOP) at a cost of perhaps several hundred million US dollars. Using a different turbine would also likely cause delays due to needs for new safety regulations. GE Chief Operating Officer Jack Welch has reportedly made clear to KEDO officials that GE will not supply equipment to the DPRK without a firm liability agreement. The US government has reportedly refused GE’s demand to supply it with a formal indemnification from the US Congress. GE sources said that the company is particularly concerned with liability because the fragile state of the DPRK’s power grid could damage the turbine. One executive stated, “There could be fires, blackouts, and in the worst case, a severe accident.” One political consultant for another Western company stated, “This cannot be a good situation for GE to be in. Selling power equipment is a business, and the liabilities for a nuclear accident are in the billions. They don’t want the company’s bottom line hostage to what some arms controller in Washington or Seoul wants to do.”

3. Four-Party Peace Talks

Agence France-Presse (“SOUTH KOREA PROPOSES RESUMPTION OF FOUR-WAY PEACE TALKS,” Seoul, 12/08/00) reported that ROK officials said Friday that the ROK has proposed to the DPRK that they resume four-party talks on a peace treaty to replace the Armistice Agreement. The proposal was made immediately after ROK President Kim Dae-Jung secured support from US President Bill Clinton and PRC Prime Minister Zhu Rongji during discussions in Singapore last month. ROK Minister for Foreign Affairs Lee Joung-Binn stated, “North Korea is in a position that it will consider resuming the talks.”

4. ROK Detainees in DPRK

The Associated Press Jae-Suk Yoo, (“S. KOREANS SEEK RETURN OF FISHERMAN,” Seoul, 12/08/00) reported that the wives and mothers of ROK fishermen believed to have been abducted by the DPRK decades ago held a protest Friday to demand their return in. About 20 elderly women scuffled with riot police who stopped them from marching through downtown Seoul to ROK President Kim Dae-jung’s office, and shouted slogans such as “Die, Kim Jong Il!” During the recent family reunions, an ROK mother and met her son, Kang Hee-keun, whose fishing boat strayed into DPRK waters in 1987. Although Kang said that he was voluntarily living in the DPRK, ROK critics said that the DPRK engineered his response for political propaganda. Lee Kan-shim, who said that her son, Chung An-sang, was abducted by the DPRK in 1972 at the age of 19, stated, “We sent North Koreans back. Why can’t we get our people back. What is the government doing?”

5. DPRK Medical Situation

Agence France-Presse (“NORTH KOREAN DOCTORS SKIMPING ON VITAL MEDICINE FOR SICK: RED CROSS,” Beijing, 12/08/00) and the Associated Press (“N. KOREAN DOCS SAID HOARDING DRUGS,” Beijing, 12/08/2000) reported that Tomas Liew, head of the DPRK program for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said Friday that doctors in the DPRK are under-prescribing medicine because of fears that donations will run out. Liew stated, “Instead of treating one patient with the drugs they should, they treat two.” He added that hospitals lack heating and are so cold that sick DPRK prefer to stay at home. Liew said that other than the drugs given to them by Red Cross and other international aid groups, the DPRK has no source of effective medicine.

6. Nogunri Incident

The Associated Press (“DISAGREEMENTS ON MASSACRE NARROWING,” Seoul, 12/07/00) reported that Kim Byong-ho, chief policy coordinator at the ROK prime minister’s office, said Thursday that US and ROK investigators moved closer to resolving disagreements over the killing of refugees by US troops at Nogunri. Kim stated, “We have narrowed differences, and we will continue talks to finish the negotiations.” US Assistant Secretary of the Army Patrick T. Henry, who led the US delegation to talks in Seoul, said, “We have no statement to make.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for December 8.]

US Defense Department Spokesman Ken Bacon (“PENTAGON SPOKESMAN’S REGULAR BRIEFING,” USIA Transcript, 12/07/00) said that the US is not prepared yet to announce the results of the Army investigation into the massacre of Korean civilians at Nogunri. Bacon stated, “We, I hope, will be able to do that relatively soon, I would hope by early next year if not before. And at that time we will also be able to talk about our discussions with the Koreans.” He added, “The study is in the final stages of review. We have coordinated from the very beginning with the Koreans. This was part of that coordination, and it’s premature to talk about those particular meetings until we’ve wrapped the entire project up.”

7. Mock Japanese War Crimes Trial

The Washington Post (Doug Struck, “WWII ‘COMFORT WOMEN’ PUT JAPAN, HIROHITO ON TRIAL,” Tokyo, 12/07/00, A26) and the Associated Press (“MOCK TRIBUNAL FOR SEX SLAVES OPENS,” Tokyo, 12/08/00) reported that a five-day mock trial opened Friday accusing the Japanese government of war crimes for forcing thousands of women into sexual slavery to serve Japanese women during World War II. The trial lists the late Emperor Hirohito as one of the defendants, and is being held next to Yasukuni Shrine, a monument to Japan’s war dead. About 80 former comfort women from eight countries are expected to testify, along with two former Japanese soldiers. Organizers said they invited Japanese government officials to put together their own team, but got no response. A body of about 30 legal experts was to reach a verdict next week. Japanese historian Hideaki Kase stated, “This mock trial is a subculture, a sideshow. It is certainly not pleasant.” Kase said, “I don’t believe the comfort women were forcibly abducted or forced into this profession. Most of them were prostitutes or young girls who were tricked into serving as prostitutes by Korean brokers and pimps.” Yayori Matsui, a women’s activist who is helping organize the event, stated, “Right-wingers, including many younger generation politicians, are on the attack. If you go into bookstores, you see piles of books written by them, justifying an aggressive war. Many young people are affected.” She added, “Germany has prosecuted more than 6,000 war criminals, but the Japanese government has not done anything. Japan has not punished one single war criminal. Instead, they are enshrined at Yasukuni.”

8. US Navy in Asia-Pacific

The Associated Press (“US ADMIRAL SAYS NAVY FLEET READY TO DETER TROUBLE IN ASIA,” Hong Kong, 12/08/00) reported that US Vice Admiral James Metzger said Friday that the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet is a “911 force” ready to respond to trouble, though its role is primarily to promote cooperation and deter trouble. Metzger said that he did not expect tensions between the PRC and Taiwan to deteriorate into open conflict. Metzger also stressed that the US is not seeking to contain the PRC, citing US Navy Secretary Richard Danzig’s October visit to Beijing as an example of how the Navy is engaging the PRC in constructive dialogue. Metzger also said that he hoped to see a faster reduction in the number of troops the DPRK deploys along the Demilitarized Zone, but added that he was heartened but inter-Korean rapprochement.

II. Japan

1. Japanese-DPRK Normalization Talks

The Japan Times (Junko Takahashi, “KONO WARNS AGAINST TURNING INWARD,” 12/07/2000) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, who was reappointed on December 5 to the post that he has held since October 1999, told reporters that talks with the DPRK over normalizing diplomatic relations are “not deadlocked.” Kono stated, “We have agreed to hold the next talks when both sides have made necessary preparations. The situation is that we are not up to the point where we can decide on when we will meet again.” The report added that Japan and the DPRK held the 11th round of normalization talks in Beijing in October, but that both sides made little progress and failed to agree on the timing of the next round.

2. Former Prime Minister’s Visit To DPRK

The Asahi Shimbun (“MURAYAMA DELEGATION MEETS KIM YONG-NAM IN PYONGYANG,” 12/05/2000) and the Asahi Shimbun (“DPRK FOOD PRODUCTION DECREASES,” 12/06/2000) reported that according to the New China News Agency in Pyongyang, Former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama and his delegation met with DPRK Supreme People’s Committee Chair Kim Yong-nam on December 4. Murayama stated, “The Japanese government should improve relations with the DPRK based on Japan’s own principle.” Kim emphasized, “In midst of temporal changes, the improvement of DPRK-Japanese relations has been delayed. That is because of the Japanese government’s insincere attitude toward the issue of the past. Normalization cannot be achieved without the Japanese government’s sincere apology and compensation for the past.”

3. Light-Water Reactor Project

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“JAPANESE GOVERNMENT DECIDES TO ASK EU TO INCREASE FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR KEDO,” 12/03/2000) reported that the Japanese government decided on December 2 to ask the European Union (EU) to significantly increase their financial contribution to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) at a KEDO ambassadorial- level meeting on December 6. Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono said to reporters, “The cost (for the light-water reactor and heavy fuel oil projects) would be more expensive,” if the construction of the light- water reactors were not completed by 2003. The report, however, pointed out that it is unclear whether EU will respond positively to Japan’s request because of opposition to the construction of nuclear reactors within EU countries.

4. DPRK Food Situation

The Asahi Shimbun (“DPRK FOOD PRODUCTION DECREASES,” 12/06/2000) reported that a high-ranking official from the DPRK food policy authority revealed to visiting Japanese former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama and his delegation that the DPRK’s food production decreased this year by 1,000,000 tons from the previous year. This year’s production has marked 3,262,000 tons, said the report. The Murayama delegation also told reporters at the Beijing Airport on December 5 that the DPRK still needs 2,200,000 tons of food and that the official expressed gratitude for the 500,000 tons of rice aid from the Japanese government. The report added that although the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency announced the prospect for the DPRK’s decreasing food amount in November, the specific amount of necessary food that the high-ranking official requested from the delegation is the first-ever specific amount revealed by the DPRK.

5. Japanese-Russian Relations

The Japan Times (Junko Takahashi, “KONO WARNS AGAINST TURNING INWARD,” 12/07/2000) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, who was reappointed on December 5 to the post that he has held since October 1999, reiterated Japan’s stance that a bilateral peace treaty with Russia must be signed after resolving the territorial row over all of the four disputed islands off Hokkaido–not just the two islands that Moscow promised to return to Japan under a 1956 joint declaration. In a meeting of senior officials from the two countries in Moscow last week, the Russian side reportedly said the return of Shikotan and Habomai–the two mentioned in the 1956 declaration–would be the final resolution to the dispute. Japan however maintained that Kunashiri and Etorofu must also ultimately be returned, based on the 1993 agreement that a peace treaty would be signed after resolving the territorial row over all four islands. Kono said that the two countries will continue to work to find points of agreement in the little time left this year, a target for concluding a peace treaty that now appears impossible. Kono said, “I am now considering the timing of the visit to Russia–possibly this year.” Kono also said that Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori’s visit to Russia’s Irkutsk was agreed upon when the prime minister met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Brunei last month, but he emphasized that the timing of Mori’s visit must be “meaningful,” suggesting that it would not be this year.

6. Japanese-US Base Issue

The Japan Times (Junko Takahashi, “KONO WARNS AGAINST TURNING INWARD,” 12/07/2000) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono discussed the Japanese-US base issue in Okinawa. Kono said that with former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto entering the new Cabinet as a state minister in charge of Okinawa and northern territory affairs, he will seek the advice of Hashimoto in territorial talks with Russia and the planned return of the US Marine’s Futenma Air Station in Okinawa. Kono also stated, “We have to think of a balance between Japan’s security and the heavy burden placed on Okinawans.” The report added that Hashimoto also agreed with U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1996 that the Futenma base should be returned to Japan in five to seven years–on condition that an alternative heliport facility is built in the island prefecture. However, the return of Futenma has yet to be realized because of stalled negotiations with local governments for construction of the new facility to take over Futenma’s functions. The city of Nago–the candidate site for the new airfield–is demanding that the US military’s use of the facility be limited to 15 years.

7. Japanese Cabinet

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“75% HAVE LOW HOPES FOR MORI,” 12/08/2000) reported that seventy-five percent of respondents to an ad hoc telephone poll conducted on December 6 and 7 by The Yomiuri Shimbun said they have no expectations of Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, while 51 percent said that they hoped the Mori Cabinet would step down soon. The poll, which covered 1,500 voters nationwide, also found that 61 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the new Cabinet. Only 23 percent of respondents had expectations of Mori, 52 percentage points less than those who responded that they had no expectations of the prime minister. The report also said that in a telephone poll conducted in June, immediately after the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) suffered a setback in the House of Representatives election, 20 percent of respondents said they had no expectations of Mori. The approval rating of the Mori Cabinet stood at 30 percent, while the disapproval rating was 52 percent. In a nationwide survey conducted on November 18 and 19 in face-to-face interviews with 3,000 voters, the approval rating was 18.4 percent. Although the two surveys are different in terms of scale and method, the LDP approval rating increased from the November poll. The report pointed out that the increase may reflect the fact that Mori survived an intraparty rebellion led by former LDP Secretary General Koichi Kato and was able to form his second Cabinet. As for Kato’s failed no-confidence motion against Mori last month, 59 percent of respondents said that they had wanted Kato to support the motion in a plenary session, while 24 percent wanted Kato to oppose it. Asked how they felt that Kato did not attend the session, only 14 percent said they judged Kato favorably, while 75 percent said they had a negative opinion of his action. The poll also found that 59 percent of voters hope for future political realignment. The report added that asked about the increase in the approval rating, Mori told reporters on December 7, “When the approval rating is up, it is encouraging me. When it is falling, I think I must try harder.”

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