NAPSNet Daily Report 08 February, 2000

Recommended Citation

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

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. Russia-DPRK Talks
2. ROK-US Missile Talks
3. Taiwan Missile Defense
4. US Missile Defense
5. Missile Defense Test
6. US-Russian Nuclear Cooperation
II. Republic of Korea 1. ROK-PRC Talks on DPRK Defectors
2. Alleged DPRK Nuclear Facility
3. Celebration of DPRK Leader’s Birthday
4. DPRK Diplomatic Relations
5. ROK on Perry Proposal
III. People’s Republic of China 1. PRC Response to TSEA
2. Reactions to TSEA
3. PRC Policy on Taiwan
4. PRC Opposes Lee Teng-hui Visiting Japan

I. United States

1. Russia-DPRK Talks

Agence France Presse (“RUSSIAN VISIT TO NKOREA TO OPEN NEW ERA OF RELATIONS,” Moscow, 2/8/00) reported that Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov will arrive in the DPRK on February 9 for a two-day visit during which he will meet with DPRK leaders, including Kim Yong-Nam, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly. The ITAR-TASS news agency said on Tuesday that Ivanov will carry a message from acting Russian President Vladimir Putin to DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. Georgii Toloraya, deputy head of the foreign ministry’s Asian department, stated, “the visit starting on Wednesday will be a symbolic commitment and a significant start of a new stage of relations based on the recognition of new realities.” The report said that Ivanov hopes his visit will restore cooperation between Russia and the DPRK with the signing of a new friendship treaty, which will replace a 1961 defense pact. The ITAR-TASS said that the treaty is aimed at strengthening peace and stability in Asia, regulating relations between the two countries for the next quarter century, and supporting the union of the Korean peninsula with the agreement of the ROK and the DPRK. The news agency also said the two sides will discuss the political situation on the Korean peninsula and Russia’s fears about the spread of nuclear weapons. Toloraya said that Ivanov will seek the DPRK’s support for a global system of control over missiles and weapons technology. Toloraya stated, “we will propose that North Korea participate in this project. Both countries have come out against the creation of an anti- missile defense system of military operations in the Asian theater.” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said on February 7 that the DPRK-Russia treaty “is not aimed against a third country.”

2. ROK-US Missile Talks

Agence France Presse (“NORTH KOREA LAMBASTS SOUTH KOREA’S MISSILE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM,” Seoul, 2/8/00) reported that the DPRK on Tuesday criticized the ROK’s missile program just hours ahead of US-ROK missile talks. The official DPRK news agency said that the ROK was “imploring the US to allow the increase of missile range. This clearly shows how recklessly they are running amok in their preparations for a war of aggression against the north from the beginning of the year.” ROK Foreign Minister Lee Joung-Binn told the ROK daily Munhwa that “the missile talks will be going in the direction of satisfying our security needs and lifting all restrictions on developing space programs in the private sector. I do not expect an agreement this time. But there will be a compromise in the near future.” However, Lee said that the ROK would try to honor a US-led campaign aimed at curbing global missile proliferation.

3. Taiwan Missile Defense

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “TAIWAN ASKS FOR RADAR, SHIPS,” 2/8/00, P.3) reported that US Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican-California, who met in January with senior Taiwanese officials, including President Lee Teng-hui and Defense Minister Tang Fei, said that Taiwan urgently needed long-range radar and Aegis ships to counter the PRC’s growing force of short-range missiles. Rohrabacher said, “the greatest danger to peace and to the people of Taiwan is the possibility of a surprise attack from the mainland. Taiwan desperately needs radar to detect a missile launch or an aircraft attack, and they’re willing to pay for it, so we should sell it to them.” Rohrabacher said, “the ultimate items that will permit deterrence to work in the Taiwan Strait are early-warning radar and sophisticated antimissile and anti-aircraft technology. By their very nature, we’re talking defense systems that are permitted by the Taiwan Relations Act.”

4. US Missile Defense

The San Francisco Examiner (Eric Rosenberg, “CLINTON ADDS TO FUNDING FOR MISSILE SYSTEM,” Washington, 2/7/00) reported that the Clinton administration’s US$291 billion defense budget which will be announced on February 14 will boost funds for a National Missile Defense (NMD) system that will link radars, space sensors and rockets to protect the US from a missile attack. A senior defense official said that the additional money will be used to increase the number of rocket interceptors from 20 to 100. The additional funds also allow the US Defense Department to upgrade the early warning facilities and build a new radar complex in Alaska. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 8, 2000.]

5. Missile Defense Test

Washington Post (Bradley Graham, “LEAK FOILED MISSILE TEST,” Washington, 2/8/00, P.1) reported that investigators have concluded that a simple plumbing leak caused last month failed test of an experimental missile interceptor. US Defense Department officials said the conclusion suggested that no fundamental scientific flaw caused the interceptor to miss its target, but the failure of the test has forced a delay of at least several weeks. Officials said that aside from the plumbing leak, almost everything else went right during the January test, including the first-time use of satellites and ground-based tracking radar to guide the interceptor. Investigators said that the leak occurred in a small metal tube that conveys nitrogen gas to refrigerate a pair of infrared sensor panels in the interceptor. The sensors serve as the interceptor’s eyes, spotting enemy warheads by detecting heat signatures and other features. Investigators said that with the sensors not working, the interceptor or “kill vehicle” ended up essentially blind in the final seconds of its flight and shot past its target. Officials said that the next test is tentatively scheduled for the second half of May. White House officials said on February 7 that there has been no change in US President Clinton’s self-imposed deadline for a decision in mid-summer on whether to proceed from development to deployment. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 8, 2000.]

6. US-Russian Nuclear Cooperation

The Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State released a statement by US President Bill Clinton (“ADVANCING UNITED STATES LEADERSHIP IN THE WORLD,” Washington, 2/7/00) announcing his plan to continue the Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative (ETRI), which was launched seven years ago to contain the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from the former Soviet Union and promote stability. Clinton said that ETRI will “continue to require substantial external support to sustain the necessary infrastructure to protect against the diversion of WMD nuclear, biological, and chemical — and related technology.” The budget will be US$974 million, a US$85 million increase from the 2000 level of US$889 million. Clinton said, “the ETRI programs address nuclear security for existing weapons and delivery systems, protection and disposition of fissile materials, destruction of chemical weapons, military relocation and regional stabilization. The proposed DOE request for ETRI includes a $100 million initiative in Russia to expand protection of fissile material; accelerate closure of nuclear weapons production facilities; and, provide an alternative to continued plutonium reprocessing in Russia.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK-PRC Talks on DPRK Defectors

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “NEW SEOUL-BEIJING CHANNEL SEEN TO EXERT LITTLE INFLUENCE ON N.K. DEFECTOR ISSUE,” Seoul, 02/08/00) reported that the ROK and the PRC agreed last week to establish a high- level diplomatic channel aimed at swiftly ironing out the two nation’s differences in certain areas. However, ROK officials and analysts appear to be skeptical that the channel can deal adequately with sensitive issues like the repatriation of DPRK defectors. ROK Deputy Foreign Minister Jang Jai-ryong insisted upon his return that the bilateral dialogue channel would not be a “hotline” designed to resolve the growing problem of DPRK refugees seeking refuge in the PRC. Foreign Ministry officials said that although the PRC regards the DPRK defectors as a significant diplomatic issue, it is very difficult to secure a pledge from the PRC to treat them consistently in accordance with the ROK’s wishes.

2. Alleged DPRK Nuclear Facility

The Korea Herald (“N.K. MAINTAINS UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR WEAPONS FACILITY, SCHOLAR CLAIMS,” Seoul, 02/08/00) reported that Han Ho-sok, president of the Center for Korean Affairs, claimed in a report released on the center’s website (http://www.onekorea.org) on February 6 that the DPRK has built an underground nuclear facility for military purposes which US spy satellites and reconnaissance planes cannot easily detect. Han said that the DPRK’s Yongbyon facility was a nuclear complex constructed only for civilian purposes. Han said that since the mid-1980s, when the DPRK signed an agreement on nuclear energy development with the former Soviet Union and several other East European countries, the DPRK has increased its efforts to develop nuclear energy technology. He said that the DPRK also dispatched over 200 scientists to the former Soviet Union between 1956 and 1991 to be trained at a nuclear energy institute.

3. Celebration of DPRK Leader’s Birthday

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, “PYONGYANG BUSY PREPARING FOR KIM JONG-IL’S 58TH BIRTHDAY PARTY,” Seoul, 02/07/00) reported that the DPRK is preparing events to commemorate its leader, Kim Jong-il’s, 58th birthday on February 16. A source within the ROK government said that the Rodong Shinmun, or the Worker’s Newspaper, and broadcasting companies in the DPRK have expanded the airing of reports praising Kim as his birthday nears. An official at the ROK Unification Ministry said on February 7 that, “Mr. Kim plans to announce key promotions for the North’s military on his birthday.” The official also said that the DPRK trading agencies in the PRC are very busy procuring birthday presents to be given to the leader as an act of devotion. The official said that special goods, including edible oil and sugar, will be distributed to DPRK residents.

4. DPRK Diplomatic Relations

Chosun Ilbo (Lee Hyuk-jae, “COUNTRIES WILLING TO NORMALIZE TIES WITH NK,” Seoul, 02/07/00) reported that a high-ranking Australian official will visit the DPRK for the first time in 15 years. France, Taiwan, Israel and the Philippines have also shown their willingness to improve relations with the DPRK. US Assistant Secretary of State Stanley Roth said that many countries wish to build better relations with the DPRK. During the national defense forum of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) held in Munich, Germany, on February 6, Japan and the PRC strongly suggested that NATO member countries get in contact with the DPRK. The two countries also advised NATO to send the DPRK government a positive sign (of good will). Japan emphasized that the member countries should bring the DPRK into the international community so that stability in East Asia can be assured.

5. ROK on Perry Proposal

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “SEOUL FIRMLY BACKS ‘PERRY PROCESS’,” Seoul, 02/07/00) reported that new ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Lee Joung-binn on February 6 reaffirmed the ROK’s “full and unswerving” support for the “Perry process.” Lee said, “we believe the so-called Perry report or process is based on our engagement policy toward North Korea. Therefore, we fully and firmly support the Perry process.” Lee stressed that the ROK is in favor of increased contact between the DPRK and the US because a higher-level dialogue is part of the Perry process. Lee also said that improved US-DPRK relations are conducive to inter-Korean rapprochement. He continued, “before the high-level talks between North Korea and the United States, I plan to meet Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to reaffirm our strong coordination in the policymaking process.” Lee also said the visit to the US by a senior DPRK official will serve as momentum to jump-start the Perry process, whose implementation has been delayed partly because of the DPRK’s indecisiveness on the idea of dramatically improving ties with the US.

III. People’s Republic of China

1. PRC Response to TSEA

China Daily (Hu Qihua, “CHINA CONDEMNS US BILL ON TAIWAN,” 2/3/00, P1) reported that the PRC expressed strong opposition on February 2 to the US House of Representatives’ passage of the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA). PRC Vice-Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi summoned US ambassador to the PRC Joseph Prueher on February 2 to lodge a serious complaint. Yang said that the passage of the TSEA violates the three Sino-US joint communiques and other commitments by the US and hurts PRC-US relations. The report said that the Taiwan issue is of concern to all Chinese people and always the stickiest point in Sino-US relations. Yang also said that the PRC government and people will not endure any attempt to block China’s efforts to unify the country. He added that the government and the people have the determination, confidence and ability to unify the entire country. Yang said that the PRC had urged the US government to prevent Congress from passing the act and if the act became law, it would pose a “serious threat” to the “relationship across the Taiwan Straits, the peace and stability in Asia-Pacific region and Sino-US ties.”

2. Reactions to TSEA

People’s Daily (Liu Jiang, “CLINTON CRITICIZES BILL ON TAIWAN SECURITY,” Washington, 2/6/00, P1) reported that US President Bill Clinton on February 4 reiterated his opposition to the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA), saying that it would have a “boomerang effect” and diminish the island’s security. Clinton said in an interview on US television, “they (the Chinese) don’t like it, but I don’t support the bill either. I don’t think it’s in Taiwan’s best interest. Passing a big, new, sweeping bill like this is not well-advised and will complicate our long-term task and may well have the boomerang effect of putting Taiwan under greater pressure.” Clinton also re-affirmed the US adherence to a “one-China” policy.

People’s Liberation Army Daily (“RUSSIA OPPOSES US PRO-TAIWAN BILL,” Moscow, 2/7/00, P4) reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry published a statement on February 4 saying that Russia opposed the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA) passed by the US House of Representatives. The statement said that the passage of the TSEA did not contribute to better relations between the two sides of the Taiwan straits and to the overall situation in the Asia-Pacific region. The statement also said that Russia recognized Taiwan as an inalienable part of the PRC, and that the PRC government was the sole legitimate government of that country.

3. PRC Policy on Taiwan

People’s Daily (“PREMIER’S SPRING FESTIVAL MESSAGE,” 2/5/00, P1) reported that PRC Premier Zhu Rongji reiterated the determination of the PRC government to resolve the Taiwan issue as soon as possible following the successful return of Hong Kong and Macao to the PRC. Zhu said at the Spring Festival gathering held in the Great Hall of the People on February 4, “at this occasion of reunion for millions of families, we miss our Taiwan compatriots more than ever. After Hong Kong and Macao returned to the motherland, the sacred mission to resolve the Taiwan issue and completely reunite the motherland has become even more prominent for all the Chinese people. We will continue to do well all the work to develop the cross-strait relations and promote the peaceful reunification of the motherland in line with the principles of ‘one country, two systems’ and the eight-point proposition put forward by President Jiang Zemin on the Taiwan issue.” Zhu also reiterated that the PRC government will continue to support the governments of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region in governance according to law and maintain long-term prosperity and stability of the two regions.

China Daily (“CHINA’S FOREIGN, SECURITY POLICY DETAILED,” Berlin, 2/8/00, P1) reported that PRC Vice- Foreign Minister Wang Guangya expounded on the PRC’s Foreign Policy at the 36th Munich Security Conference on February 6. Wang stressed that Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. He said the PRC government would settle the issue strictly in accordance with the basic principle of “peaceful reunification and one country, two systems.” Wang also said the PRC firmly opposes any “Taiwan independence,” “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan” policy. He continued to say that the Taiwan question is strictly the PRC’s internal affair and if any country or military alliance attempted to include the Taiwan Straits into their security cooperation program, directly or indirectly, would be considered an encroachment on and interference in the PRC’s sovereignty. Wang also said that the PRC government is firmly opposed to arms sales to Taiwan by any country and such sales would not only violate the basic principles of international law, but also directly threaten the PRC’s security and regional peace and stability.

4. PRC Opposes Lee Teng-hui Visiting Japan

China Daily (Meng Yan, “NATION REITERATES ITS POSITIONS,” 2/4/00, P1) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said on February 3 that if reports are accurate that Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui will be travelling to Japan, the visit will have a serious political impact on Sino-Japanese relations. Zhu stressed that the PRC opposed the visit no matter what purpose Lee might have for making it.

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Asian Institute,
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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Gee Gee Wong: 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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