NAPSNet Daily Report 08 May, 1998

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 08 May, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 08, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-08-may-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

IV. Nautilus Press Release

I. United States

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1. DPRK Nuclear Program

Voice of America (John Larkin, “NORTH KOREA IS THREATENING TO RESUME ITS SUSPECT NUCLEAR PROGRAM,” Seoul, 05/08/98), United Press International (“N.KOREA WARNS MAY RESTART NUKE PROGRAM,” Tokyo, 05/08/98), and the Associated Press (“N. KOREA MAY SCRAP NUCLEAR ACCORD,” Seoul, 05/08/98) reported that the DPRK on Friday accused the US of reneging on a 1994 agreement to supply it with energy in exchange for freezing its nuclear program. A DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman, in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, said, “All facts show that the DPRK has gone farther in implementing the agreement, whereas the U.S. side is not sincerely fulfilling its obligations.” The spokesman complained about the delay in promised fuel oil shipments, adding that the US is one year behind schedule in inaugurating the project to build two light- water reactors in the DPRK. He expressed doubts that one reactor will be finished by 2003, as agreed. He argued, “The DPRK should no longer lend an ear to the empty promise of the U.S. side, but open and readjust the frozen nuclear facilities and do everything our own way.” Analysts said that the DPRK’s threats were nothing new, but agreed that the deadlock over funding for the shipments could pose problems if not addressed. One unnamed diplomat said that the situation could escalate if the DPRK decided to break the seals on cans in which the spent fuel rods are stored. US undersecretary of state Thomas Pickering said in London on Friday that it would be “regrettable and lamentable” if anything should interfere with the 1994 accord. He stated that the 1994 Geneva accord was “an extremely important document, because clearly it provides a way ahead for nonproliferation in the area of North Korea.”

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2. ROK Fishermen Mistaken for DPRK Spies

The Associated Press (“SOUTH KOREAN FISHERMAN KILLED AFTER BEING MISTAKEN FOR COMMUNIST SPY,” Seoul, 05/07/98) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said Thursday that one ROK fisherman was killed and two others wounded when soldiers mistook their ship for a DPRK spy vessel. The ministry said that the boat ignored the soldiers’ pre-dawn flashlight signal to halt, leading the troops to pursue the boat and open fire. The incident occurred in an area about 30 miles from the DPRK border where the DPRK has previously tried to land spies to infiltrate the ROK. The army has applied strict regulations on fishing in the area since a 1968 incident where 100 armed DPRK agents managed to reach shore.

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3. Arrest of Former ROK Finance Minister

Dow Jones Newswires (“S KOREA PRES SEEKS PARLIAMENT’S NOD FOR ARREST OF EX-FIN MIN,” Seoul, 05/08/98) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on Friday said that he supported prosecutors’ move to arrest former Finance Minister Kang Kyong-shik and called on the National Assembly to approve the arrest. Kim signed a written request by prosecutors asking the National Assembly to allow them to arrest Kang, and the Justice Ministry was to deliver the request on Saturday. To arrest a legislator while the Assembly is in session, prosecutors must get approval from the president and then the Assembly before seeking a court-issued arrest warrant. Prosecutors said that if the request is not approved, they will arrest Kang with a court-issued arrest warrant after the Assembly adjourns next week.

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4. US Security Interests in Asia-Pacific

Admiral Joseph W. Prueher, Commander In Chief of the United States Pacific Command (“EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF CINCPAC TESTIMONY ON PACIFIC SECURITY,” Washington, USIA Text, 05/07/98) told the House Of Representatives Committee on International Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific that US involvement in the Asia-Pacific region is more critical than ever. Prueher argued that it is important that the Asian financial crisis also be understood in security terms, since economic issues affect stability in the region. He added, “Our military presence and our military-to-military contacts throughout the region undergird overall security and stability in the region.” Prueher said that the US alliance with Japan “continues to be the most important U.S. security relationship in the region,” and that the signing of the revised Guidelines for US-Japan Defense Cooperation in 1997 enhances this relationship. He added that the PRC’s growing economic and military power “is a major issue for regional leaders.” He argued that the past year brought improvements in US-PRC relations, citing an improved military-to-military relationship between US Pacific Command and the People’s Liberation Army. Prueher added, “On the subject of Taiwan, we recognize from China’s perspective this is a core sovereignty issue, while China recognizes that the United States is committed to the peaceful resolution of Taiwan issues.” Prueher warned that the Korean peninsula “remains a volatile flashpoint,” but he stated that US forces on the Peninsula, coupled with US reinforcement capabilities and ROK forces, are adequate to the task of defending against DPRK aggression. He added, “We must stay the course of deterring conflict, providing food aid, engaging in four-party talks, and supporting the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, particularly in light of North Korea’s continued economic deterioration.” He warned, however, that significant deficiencies exist in US Pacific Command’s forward-deployed forces under a “two major theater wars” scenario. He concluded, “Any reduction in personnel, equipment, or funding would significantly erode our capabilities in the Pacific.”

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5. Pending Congressional Action on PRC

The Associated Press (Jim Abrams, “SWIFT ACTION URGED ON CHINA BILLS,” Washington, 05/07/98) reported that four Senate Republicans–Tim Hutchinson, R-Ark., Spencer Abraham, R-Mich., Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Lauch Faircloth, R-NC–urged Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss, on Thursday to move forward a package of bills on the PRC before President Bill Clinton’s scheduled visit there in late June. The senators said in a letter to Lott, “We feel that it is imperative for this House-passed package of China legislation to be debated and voted on before President Clinton’s visit. We must stand for freedom and liberty and again ask your assistance in scheduling this House-passed package.” The House passed eight PRC-related bills last November, including measures to expand US human rights monitoring in the PRC, a bill requiring a US study of providing a missile defense system for Taiwan, and a bill calling for expanded Radio Free Asia broadcasts to the PRC. The administration supported the Radio Free Asia bill, but is expected to veto the others. The bills are now being considered in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK Nuclear Program

Accusing the US of failing to keep a 1994 agreement, the DPRK says it may refuse to safely store 8,000 plutonium-laced nuclear fuel rods. The DPRK’s threatened action would be a serious breach of a pact in which the communist country agreed to freeze and eventually dismantle its suspect nuclear weapons program. US experts have been working in the DPRK since 1996 to encase the spent fuel rods for safe storage. The work was completed late last year, but work on storing plutonium rich sludge is still underway. The fuel rods were removed from the DPRK’s only operational 5-megawatt nuclear reactor in the early 1990s and temporarily stored in a cooling pond. In a statement issued late Thursday night, the DPRK’s Foreign Ministry said the country may be forced to renege on its part of the deal because of the US failure to meet its obligations. “All facts show that the DPRK has gone farther in implementing the agreement whereas the US side is not sincerely fulfilling its obligation,” said the statement, carried by the Korean Central News Agency. The DPRK statement also complained that the US has not provided the promised fuel oil in time this year. The DPRK, the statement said, has warned the US of the seriousness of the matter several times, but the US has made an “empty promise” each time. “Therefore, our competent organ says that the DPRK should no longer lend an ear to the empty promises of the US side, but open and readjust the frozen nuclear facilities and do everything our own way,” it said. (Korea Times, “NORTH KOREA THREATENS TO REACTIVATE ITS SUSPECT NUCLEAR PROGRAM,” 05/08/98)

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2. DPRK-ROK Education Exchange

The president of Kim Il-sung University, the foremost school of higher learning in the DPRK, has been invited to visit Seoul this coming September to participate in an international meeting of the world’s university heads. Sungkyunkwan University will host the conference in celebration of the 600th year of its foundation as the Choson Kingdom’s equivalent of a national college. According to the university and the National Unification Ministry, Chong Pom-jin, president of Sungkyunkwan University, delivered the letter of invitation to Park Kwan-o, president of the Pyongyang-based university, during his trip to the DPRK from April 28-May 5. Park is said to have given a favorable response to the invitation. (Korea Times, “KIM IL-SUNG UNIVERSITY HEAD MAY COME TO SEOUL FOR CONFERENCE IN SEPTEMBER,” 05/08/98)

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3. DPRK Aid

Hwang Jang-yop, the most senior DPRK official to defect to the ROK, on Thursday called for food aid to stop DPRK aggression and to induce opening and reform. “In the past year I have spent in Seoul, I have thought of two ways to achieve what we want. First, we should provide food and medicine in order not to drive the DPRK into a corner. Second, we have to weaken their military strength,” Hwang, a former DPRK Workers’ Party secretary who defected to Seoul via the PRC last April, said. In a rare press conference held at the Agency for National Security Planning to mark their first year in Seoul, Hwang and his aide, Kim Duk-hong, emphasized that the ROK government needs to differentiate between the DPRK people and Kim Jong-il’s leadership as it pursues a policy of dialogue and the stepping up of economic exchanges. Hwang advised against giving fertilizer or any other assistance which will only prop up the Kim Jong-il regime. “When you are giving food, you are reaching the DPRK people. But when you give fertilizer, even if it is not diverted, you are strengthening Kim Jong-il’s rule,” Hwang said. Kim Duk- hong added that the ROK’s food policy toward the DPRK should not follow in the direction being taken by the international relief organizations. Both Hwang and Kim reiterated that all the recent signals from the DPRK demonstrate the strong and isolated one-man rule of Kim Jong-il. (Korea Herald, “HWANG SAYS SEOUL SHOULD GIVE FOOD, NOT FERTILIZER,” 05/09/98)

III. Japan

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1. Japanese-Russian Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Tetsuya Harada, “JAPAN AND RUSSIA AGREE TO QUICKEN PEACE TREATY NEGOTIATIONS,” Moscow, 05/08/98) reported that Japan and Russia ended their vice ministerial meeting at the joint committee on peace negotiations on May 6, agreeing to promote further the joint committee’s work toward Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s official visit to Russia slated for this autumn. The content of the negotiations was not revealed, according to the report. The report added that both sides also agreed to discuss a peace treaty in the next meeting based on their agreement at the Kawana meeting that a peace treaty should solve the issue of the nationality of the four islands and that it should include principles for Japanese-Russian amiable cooperation in the 21st century.

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2. Comfort Women Issue

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“ROK PAYS FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO 120 EX-COMFORT WOMEN,” Seoul, 05/08/98) reported that the ROK Ministry of Health and Welfare provided one hundred and twenty ex-comfort women for Japanese soldiers with 35,608,000 won (about 3,560,000 yen) per person.

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3. Japanese-PRC Defense Exchange

The Asahi Shimbun (“DEFENSE AGENCY HEAD SAYS DEFENSE EXCHANGE CONTRIBUTES TO ECONOMIC RELATIONS AS WELL,” 05/06/98) reported that visiting Japanese Defense Agency Director General Fumio Kyuma, during his lecture at the National Defense College in Beijing on May 5, suggested that Japan-PRC defense exchanges will be useful to security in the whole region of East Asia. He stated, “Japanese-PRC defense exchange means not only promotion of confidence-building between the two countries, but also contribution to peace and stability in the region by the defense authority of the two countries.” Regarding the economic issue, Kyuma said, “There are many economic problems that Japan and the PRC have to tackle. Promoting defense exchange may also be meaningful in that sense.”

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4. Japanese-US-ROK-PRC Defense Relations

The Asahi Shimbun (Takaaki Mizuno, “JAPAN, US AND ROK ASK PRC TO JOIN DEFENSE MEETING,” Seoul, 04/26/98) reported that it was revealed on April 26 that Japan, the US, and the ROK asked the PRC defense authority to join their meeting on defense cooperation in situations on the Korean Peninsula, which started last year, but that the PRC refused the offer. An ROK representative, based on an agreement from Japan and the US, asked the PRC to join the third meeting, which was held on April 23, either as a full member or an observer. The PRC promised to consider the matter, but eventually refused to join the meeting. The report also said that although the DPRK criticized the meeting among Japan, the US, and the ROK as “a product of Cold War thinking,” the DPRK has not given any comment on the PRC, which has been cautious about the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation. In addition, according to a source, the ROK found asking the PRC to join the meeting useful for making the PRC less cautious, and expressed willingness to ask for the PRC’s involvement in future meetings.

IV. Nautilus Press Release

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1. Nautilus DPRK Windpower Project

“US WINDPOWER TEAM LEAVING BEIJING FOR NORTH KOREA,” Beijing, 05/08/98

A team of US windpower experts is flying from Beijing to the DPRK on Saturday, May 9, the Berkeley- based Nautilus Institute announced today. The mission will deliver a windpower turbine and other equipment to Onchin, a flood-affected rural area about 60 miles northwest of Pyongyang. “This is the first time that American non-governmental experts will work side by side with North Koreans in a rural development project to fulfill urgent humanitarian needs,” said Dr. Peter Hayes, Director of the Nautilus Institute and head of the mission. “This pilot windpower project will power a medical clinic and school lights in a rural area hit hard by the floods,” he said. “On this visit, we will erect a tower to measure the wind resource at the site, and complete the system design after inspecting the site,” he added. “We will return in September to install the seven wind turbines and end-use equipment to be shipped to North Korea in June.” The other US windpower experts on the mission are Nautilus Associates, Dr. Jim Williams, Mr. Chris Greacen, an expert on rural energy systems in developing countries; and Mr. Mick Sagrillo, one of the most experienced wind power engineers in the United States. In addition to delivering the first shipment of equipment, the Nautilus team will train North Koreans in conducting rural energy use surveys and socioeconomic studies, using standard international methods. This will be the first such survey in North Korea. “It is time to engage North Korea in cooperative development assistance projects, not just give them food aid,” asserted Dr. Hayes. “Meeting humanitarian energy needs will make it easier to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation in the Korean Peninsula,” he said. “This pilot project will enable North Korea to demonstrate that it is willing to conform to international standards for development assistance. It is a stepping stone from which North Korea can enter the international development community,” he concluded. The Nautilus team will depart from North Korea on May 16 and return to the United States on May 17 via Beijing.

In December 1997, the Nautilus Institute hosted a visit to the United States of five North Korean windpower technicians. During that time, the delegation visited California renewable energy projects and, for the first time, the World Bank and the US Department of Energy in Washington, DC. For more information contact: Ms. Lyuba Zarsky, Dr. Wade Huntley, or Mr. Steve Freedkin, at 510-204-9296, or Click here

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
The Center for International Studies,
Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Wade L. Huntley: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

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

Shin Dong-bom: dongbom_shin@wisenet.co.kr
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Choi Chung-moon: cily@star.elim.co.kr
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


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