NAPSNet Daily Report 08 July, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 08 July, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, July 08, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-08-july-1999/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. DPRK Missile Base

The Washington Post (Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan, “NORTH KOREA BUILDING NEW MISSILE SITE, SOUTH SAYS,” Tokyo, 07/08/99, A17) reported that, according to ROK Presidential Spokesman Chung Eun-sung, the DPRK is building what appears to be an underground missile-launching base within a dozen miles of the PRC border. Chun stated, “Something is being built in that location, and the South Korean and American military are very concerned about it.” US military officials in Seoul and a spokesman for the US Embassy in Seoul declined to comment on Thursday on reports of the suspected missile site. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for July 8.]

2. Anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s Death

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA MARKS EX-LEADER’S DEATH,” Seoul, 07/08/99) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il led memorial services on Friday for his late father, Kim Il-sung. According to the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) the service was held at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, where Kim Il-sung’s embalmed body lies in state. KCNA said that after the outdoor memorial service, Kim Jong-il, accompanied by party, state, and military officials, entered the palace and paid homage to his father, whose body is kept in a glass case. General Jo Myong-rok, first vice-chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party, eulogized the late leader and said, “The past five years have been marked by rigorous and grim ordeals unprecedented in the history of the Korean revolutionary struggle. But Kim Jong Il, taking the heavy burden of the country and revolution on his shoulders, has led the party and the army, thus providing the surest guarantee for certain victory in the struggle to accomplish the revolutionary cause of juche.”

The New York Times (Nicholas D. Kristof, “NORTH KOREA PRAISES ITS DEAD LEADER,” Tokyo, 07/08/99) reported that DPRK newspapers and radio broadcasts hailed the anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s death on Thursday. The DPRK newspapers are also using the occasion to assert the authority of Kim Jong-il. An epic poem published in the DPRK’s leading newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said, “It is Kim Jong Il, identical with Kim Il Sung, who filled an aching void in the hearts of the people left by the demise of the president. He is the dear father who offered the same love and affection to the people in the five years as the president did.” The newspapers have also reported that white rhododendrons have blossomed out of season on Mount Paektu and a pear tree grew next to Kim Il-sung’s “Tower of Immortality.” The DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted a statement issued by Madagascar’s National Vice-chairman of the Militant Action Party for Sovereignty as saying, “His [Kim Il-sung’s] history as a peerlessly great man, veteran politician and great military strategist is now being creditably carried forward by the leader Kim Jong Il.”

3. DPRK-Japan Normalization Talks

South China Morning Post (Sally Fisher, “DEFENCE GUIDELINES RAISE FRESH FEARS OF CONFLICT,” Tokyo, 07/08/99) reported that Japanese negotiator General Yasushi Akashi returned from Pyongyang early this week after holding diplomatic normalization talks with the DPRK. Akashi said that the DPRK was “a little too optimistic” about Japan’s stance. Akashi stated, “Pyongyang’s attitude to Tokyo is determined and timid – North Korea seems to want to seek a solution by exchanging ideas with Japan and at the same time seems determined not to give up its sovereignty for the sake of establishing normal relations.” He said while they understood the launch of another missile would be a problem for improving relations, the DPRK saw it as a sovereignty issue.

4. US-Japan Military Cooperation

South China Morning Post (Sally Fisher, “DEFENCE GUIDELINES RAISE FRESH FEARS OF CONFLICT,” Tokyo, 07/08/99) reported that the Japanese Government said it would distribute a new manual at the end of the month decreeing that municipal authorities and private businesses had a “general duty” to cooperate with the US during military crises. According to the new manual, when there is an emergency surrounding Japan, Japanese ports, hospitals and airports would have to be made available to US troops, as would almost any form of transport. Japanese transport companies and hospitals may be expected to carry live ammunition and add more beds for the US services if needed. Property could be sold or loaned to the Japanese government for use by the US. These details represent the first explanation of how Japan would support the US since the Japanese Diet approved the new defense cooperation guidelines in May. While Japanese local governments would not have to legally comply with demands on their resources, the central Japanese Government would judge each request on its merit. One Okinawan mayor has already said he would not cooperate with the US military under any circumstances.

5. Keizo Obuchi’s Visit to PRC

The Associated Press (Joji Sakurai, “JAPAN LEADER ARRIVES IN CHINA,” Beijing, 07/08/99) and Reuters (Teruaki Ueno, “JAPAN PRIME MINISTER OBUCHI BEGINS CHINA VISIT,” Beijing, 07/08/99) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi arrived in the PRC on Thursday for an official visit. Obuchi stated, “It is meaningful to have frank talks with Chinese leaders.” Shortly after Obuchi’s arrival, Japan and the PRC reached a basic agreement on PRC entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). A Japanese government official said that a formal agreement was expected to be reached when Obuchi holds talks with PRC Premier Zhu Rongji on Friday. While in the PRC, Obuchi will hold separate meetings with PRC President Jiang Zemin, PRC Premier Zhu Rongji and PRC legislative chairman Li Peng.

6. US Policy toward PRC

The Wall Street Journal carried a commentary by Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (“‘ENGAGEMENT’ WITH CHINA DOESN’T WORK. NOW WHAT?” 07/08/99) which argued that after the release of the Cox Committee Report, the US administration can no longer avoid a fundamental reassessment of its PRC policy. Helms, Republican-North Carolina, said that the PRC is not interested in a “strategic partnership” with the US and its “goal is to displace US influence in the Asia-Pacific region. China’s aim is to undermine US relations with its Asian allies and prevent America from defending its vital interests in Asia–particularly our ability, and willingness, to defend Taiwan against forced reunification with the mainland.” Helms argued that the US should first bolster its defenses and those of US allies in the region. Helms said, “The most urgent priority is Taiwan…. That is why the U.S. Senate must approve the bipartisan Taiwan Security Enhancement Act. This will deter Chinese threats against the island.” According to Helms, secondly, the US must bring Taiwan under a regional missile-defense umbrella that will protect the Taiwanese, and all US allies in the region, from ballistic missile attack by the PRC or the DPRK. Helms argued that thirdly, the US must move quickly to build a national missile defense to protect the US people from ballistic-missile attack. He concluded, “The leaders in Beijing must be made to know, in no uncertain terms, that they will never be able to use that technology to intimidate the U.S. Then, and only then, can we have any sort of constructive ‘engagement’ with them.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for July 8.]

7. US Military Sales to Taiwan

Reuters (“CHINA PARLIAMENT BLASTS CONGRESS ON TAIWAN,” Beijing, 07/08/99) reported that, according to the PRC’s state-run Xinhua news agency, a spokesman for the PRC National People’s Congress (NPC) criticized a proposed US law advocating increased arms sales to Taiwan. The spokesman said that the bill would “add frost on top of snow” to PRC-US relations. The spokesman stated, “The perverse moves of some U.S. legislators constitute a grave provocation to Chinese sovereignty and gross interference in China’s internal affairs.” He added that the US government and Congress were obligated to “faithfully carry out their promise to support the ‘one China’ policy. Practice proves that whenever these principles are observed, Sino-U.S. relations grow smoothly.”

8. Papua New Guinea Recognition of Taiwan

The Associated Press (“PAPUA NEW GUINEA PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS,” Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 07/07/99) reported that Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Bill Skate announced his resignation on Wednesday, days before a parliamentary vote was expected to unseat him. The announcement came hours after Papa New Guinea established diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Skate said that his resignation was unrelated to the decision to recognize Taiwan.

9. US Security Report

Reuters (“U.S. UNPREPARED FOR GROWING WEAPONS THREAT,” Baltimore, 07/08/99) and the Associated Press (“PANEL RELEASES U.S. SECURITY REPORT,” Baltimore, 07/08/99) reported that, according to the Baltimore Sun, a US government commission has concluded that the US is not prepared to combat the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons spreading around the world. The panel headed by John Deutch, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, studied potential disasters and how various agencies would respond. According to the panel, particularly alarming are threats from economic problems in Russia. An unidentified commission member stated, “The No. 1 threat that needs attention is the continual disintegration of Russia as a civil society.” Other dangers are posed by PRC’s export of missiles, the DPRK’s ability to manufacture weapons, instability in the Middle East and Asia, and terrorist efforts to obtain weapons. The US Congress created the panel 18 months ago to assess how the government is dealing with the threats and to offer recommendations. The panel also urged the US President to name a National Director for Combating Proliferation.

10. US Nuclear Weapons Program

The Associated Press (“RICHARDSON AGREES TO CONSOLIDATE NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAMS,” Washington, 07/08/99) and the Washington Post (Walter Pincus, “RICHARDSON ACCEPTS PLAN FOR NUCLEAR ARMS AGENCY,” 07/08/99, 1) reported that US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson has agreed to a Republican proposal to consolidate nuclear weapons programs under a semiautonomous agency within his department. According to an unnamed US official, the agency, which would remain under Richardson’s control, would run the department’s complex of nuclear weapons laboratories and other facilities that assemble and maintain the weapons stockpile. [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for July 8.]

11. Kashmir Conflict

The Washington Post (Pamela Constable, “PAKISTANI MILITANTS VOW TO CONTINUE FIGHT IN KASHMIR,” Islamabad, 07/07/99, A19) reported that Pakistani militants, the mujaheddins, made clear that they feel betrayed by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and have no intention of honoring his request to pull back from the Line of Control. Rifaat Hussain, a political analyst at Quaid-I-Azam University in Pakistan said, “This will obviously make it much more difficult for Sharif to make this Washington agreement domestically acceptable.” Hussain also noted that some major Islamic groups and military hard-liners have sharply criticized Sharif’s agreement with US President Bill Clinton, and that many Pakistanis feel their prime minister looked weak and undignified in seeking US help. Pakistan’s minister of information Mushahid Hussain said, “We didn’t start this uprising and we can’t stop it. This is a legitimate, indigenous, independent movement of Kashmiris over which we have only limited leverage. We can apply friendly persuasion, but we can’t switch them on and off at will.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for July 8.]

Reuters (“U.S. WAITS TO SEE IF SHARIF CAN DELIVER ON KASHMIR,” Washington, 07/07/99) reported that three days after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told President Bill Clinton that guerrillas who infiltrated Indian- held areas of Kashmir would withdraw, the US remains unsure if that will happen. If Sharif fails, US officials said that the Kahmir conflict could expand into a larger scale war. An unnamed senior US official said that the bottom line remains that “we haven’t seen what we need to see, which is (troop) withdrawal.” Another official said, “The potential is there… and the time scenario for disaster is measured in very few weeks if the conflict is not resolved quickly.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Missile Test

Joongang Ilbo (“‘NK’S PREPARATIONS FOR MISSILE FIRE UNCHANGED’, U.S. SAYS,” Seoul, 07/07/99) reported that the US Defense Department said on Tuesday that the DPRK shows no sign of backing off from preparations for a missile test despite warnings of serious consequences for its relations with the US, the ROK and Japan. Defense Department spokesman Kenneth Bacon said, “We have the same evidence last week that we had this week, which is signs of preparations.” Bacon said, however, that the US Defense Department has not received any “formal” notification from the DPRK that it intends to conduct a test. Japanese envoy Yasushi Akashi, returning from a five day visit to the DPRK last week, told reporters in Beijing on Saturday that he conveyed Japan’s concerns about the launch preparations but was told that the DPRK had every right to launch a satellite if the PRC and Japan could.

The Korea Herald (Jun Kwan-woo, “SEOUL-WASHINGTON-TOKYO FRONT MAY FACE CHALLENGE IF N.K. CONDUCTS MISSILE TEST,” Seoul, 07/08/99) reported that analysts in Seoul said on Wednesday that the ROK, the US, and Japan may experience difficulties maintaining their close cooperation if the DPRK test-launches a Taepondong II missile. In contrast to the ROK’s repeated pledges to maintain its engagement policy towards the DPRK, policymakers in the US and Japan have vowed to cut off ties with the DPRK if another missile is tested, they said. In comparison, ROK officials are insisting that the DPRK’s second missile test should not affect the 1994 Geneva nuclear accord. Officials in Japan have recently reiterated that Japan would not pay its promised contribution of US$1 billion to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization if the DPRK launches another missile. Observers in Seoul said that given that the conservative US Congress is still critical of the engagement policy towards the DPRK, the US government might be driven to abandon its present engagement policy if the DPRK were to test another missile. One observer said, “It is going to be an uphill battle for Seoul to persuade Washington and Tokyo to stay on the same policy course even after Pyongyang presses the button for test-firing another missile.”

2. ROK Policy toward DPRK

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “KIM WARNS OF COUNTERMEASURES AGAINST PYONGYANG MISSILE TEST,” Ottawa, 07/08/99) and The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “N.KOREAN MISSILE TEST WILL NOT DERAIL ENGAGEMENT POLICY: KIM,” Seoul, 07/07/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung warned on Tuesday that the ROK and the US would take tough joint action against the DPRK if the DPRK pushes ahead with a second ballistic missile test. “At the current stage, however, we will do our best to deter the North from test-firing the missile,” Kim said before heading back to Seoul. He did not elaborate on what the countermeasures might be. Kim, however, made it clear that the DPRK light-water reactor project and the ROK effort to engage the DPRK based on a comprehensive approach should continue regardless of a possible missile launch.

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “NORTH KOREA’S RECENT BAD BEHAVIOR PUTS KIM’S ‘SUNSHINE POLICY’ IN CRISIS,” Seoul, 07/08/99) reported that analysts of inter-Korean relations agreed that ROK President Kim Dae-jung’s “sunshine policy” toward the DPRK is now confronted with its biggest crisis since his inauguration early last year. “The sunshine policy is in jeopardy,” said Cho Myung-chul, a DPRK defector who taught economics at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang. Cho said that the ROK government’s engagement policy could succeed only when the DPRK makes some sort of response. “But the North hasn’t come close to doing that,” he said. ROK Representative Lee Dong-bok, a member of the United Liberal Democrats, the junior ruling coalition party, blamed President Kim’s aides for the difficulties the sunshine policy has encountered. “The crisis of the sunshine policy stems from their misjudgment of North Korea,” said Lee, a former ROK delegate to inter-Korean prime ministerial talks in early 1990s. “Their assumption that the North would respond to the sunshine policy to obtain economic benefits from the South was wrong. The North considers the stabilization of its ruling system more important than economic gains,” he said. Lee said that because of this, relations between the ROK and the DPRK will remain in limbo for a considerable time.

3. ROK-Japan Talks

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “SEOUL, TOKYO TO HOLD SECURITY TALKS,” Seoul, 07/07/99) reported that the ROK and Japan will hold a security consultative meeting in Tokyo on July 14 to launch a brainstorming session on a series of security issues facing the two countries and Northeast Asia, including the DPRK’s projected missile test. The “mini two plus two” meeting will be attended by senior foreign and defense ministry officials from the two neighboring countries. It marks the second of its kind since last June, when the first meeting was held in Seoul. The ROK delegation will include chief delegate Cho Jung-pyo, director general of the Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry’s Asia and Pacific Affairs Bureau, and Lee Sang-hee, director general of the Defense Ministry’s Policy Planning Bureau. The Japanese team will comprise Koreshige Anami, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian Affairs Bureau, and Toru Kawajiri, deputy director general of the Defense Agency. The main items on the agenda at this meeting include the security environment surrounding the two countries, their security and defense policies, their security cooperation with the US, military exchanges, and coordination of DPRK policies. The two countries are also expected to launch a debate over the proposed establishment of multinational security forums in the region, including the so- called six-party talks, comprising the two Koreas, the US, Japan, the PRC, and Russia. They will also discuss how to step up military exchanges between the two countries. Already, there have been exchanges between military personnel and port calls of Navy ships. With a joint “search and rescue operation” between the two countries slated for August 2- 7, the two countries will also exchange views on how to step up joint military exercises.

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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Wade L. Huntley: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Lee Dong-young: UNPOL@netsgo.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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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

 


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