NAPSNet Daily Report 09 February, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 09 February, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, February 09, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-09-february-1999/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Russian Federation

I. United States

1. ROK-US-Japan Talks

The Associated Press (“U.S., JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA DISCUSS MILITARY THREAT FROM NORTH,” Seoul, 02/09/99) reported that ROK officials said that the US, Japan, and the ROK agreed Tuesday to continue to press for outside inspections of a suspect DPRK underground site. They added that the US demand for multiple inspections of the site was a key issue taken up at the one-day meeting Tuesday of senior policymakers of the three allies in Seoul. Kwon Jong-rak, head of the US affairs division in the ROK Foreign Ministry, stated, “The three countries agreed that they must have satisfying access to the site to clear all suspicions. There will be no compensation for the access.” An anonymous high-ranking ministry official, however, said that although there will be no official reward for the inspections, the three countries discussed the amount of humanitarian food aid they may offer to the DPRK. ROK officials said that the DPRK and the US are expected to meet in New York in late February to resolve the dispute.

2. ROK-DPRK Talks

Pacific Stars And Stripes (Jim Lea, “NK WELCOMES ROK RESPONSE,” Seoul, 02/10/99, 3) reported that, in a statement carried by the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency on Monday, the DPRK Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland welcomed the ROK’s response to the DPRK proposal for dialogue. However, it added that whether or not dialogue is realized “depends entirely on whether the [DPRK’s] conditions are met or not.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 9.]

3. DPRK Missile Tests

The Washington Post (“NO SIGN OF SECOND N. KOREAN MISSILE LAUNCH,” Seoul, 02/09/99, 10) reported that Robert Einhorn, deputy assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation, said that the US has not detected any sign that the DPRK was preparing a second launch of a Taepodong missile. Einhorn stated, “The U.S. has not detected any sign that North Korea is getting ready to launch another missile. But we’re keeping a close eye on the situation.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 9.]

4. DPRK Famine

The International Herald Tribune (James Pringle, “STARVING NORTH KOREANS NEED THE WORLD TO HELP,” Tumen, 02/09/99) reported that DPRK refugees along the border with the PRC said that famine is devastating the country, but the government is trying to keep the extent of the disaster hidden. The refugees said there are official ruses to prevent Pyongyang-based diplomats and aid workers from seeing the real situation. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 9.]

Dow Jones Newswire (“EU SEEKS ACCESS TO FOOD AID DISTRIBUTION IN N. KOREA,” Brussels, 02/09/99) reported that Japan’s Kyodo News said that the European Union (EU) sources said Monday that the EU has asked the DPRK for a written commitment aimed at widening its access in monitoring the distribution of food aid. The sources said that the DPRK must make such a commitment before the EU decides on its aid program for 1999, but the DPRK has yet to accept the conditions set by the EU. The sources said the EU wants a “quick response,” hopefully within a few weeks, to allow time for the European Commission to take steps in formally deciding on the food aid. The European Commission offered an aid package worth 30 million euros (US$34 million) to the DPRK in 1998. The two sides had agreed on a similar letter of understanding on access to, and monitoring of last year’s aid program. The sources said that that agreement gave the EU more access than before, but there are still difficulties in gaining access to certain areas. They added that the EU and the DPRK failed to agree on the issue when three EU officials visited Pyongyang last month.

Dow Jones Newswire (“N. KOREA’S FERTILIZER SHORTAGE ESTIMATED AT 1 MIL. TONS,” Seoul, 02/08/99) reported that Kyodo News said that the ROK Unification Ministry said Monday that the DPRK’s fertilizer shortage last year has been estimated at 1.06 million tons. The ministry said that the DPRK produced 625,600 tons of fertilizer last year, falling far short of its annual requirement of 1.69 million tons. It added that while the DPRK was capable of producing 3.68 million tons of fertilizer last year, actual production stood at only 17 percent of capacity because of shortages of materials and equipment. An unnamed ministry official was quoted as saying, “To make up for the shortages, North Korea has produced about 50,000 tons of organic fertilizer a year, using materials such as mineral residue products and industrial byproducts.”

5. PRC Views of US-Japan Defense Cooperation

South China Morning Post (Oliver Chou, “BEIJING TARGETS US-JAPAN PACT,” 02/09/99) reported that the PRC’s Liberation Army Daily on Monday warned against the resurgence of militarism in Japan. It said that Japan’s inclusion of Taiwan in official documents on the “defense cooperation principles” and “peripheral affairs” is “an attempt to use Taiwan to contain China.” It added, “Such a move is an outright challenge to China’s sovereignty which will be resolutely rejected by the Chinese Government, the army and the people.” The magazine Banyuetan criticized Theater Missile Defense (TMD) as “a major potential threat to the security of Asia, especially China.” It also described the US-Japan defense cooperation guidelines as “a specific measure by which the United States projected the establishment of a minor NATO in Asia.” It added, “If our Taiwan were to be fetched into the system, that would be an even more serious matter, which would mean an enormous threat toward China’s state security and its military strength.” It warned that the TMD system would seriously weaken the PRC’s missile defense capability by deploying weapons in the ROK, Japan, and Taiwan, which would be able to reach the east China region and southeastern coastal areas. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 9.]

6. Alleged Technology Transfers to PRC

The Associated Press (“CHINA DISMISSES ALLEGATIONS IT BOUGHT JAPANESE NUCLEAR EQUIP,” Beijing, 02/09/99) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue on Tuesday dismissed allegations that the PRC tried to buy Japanese equipment that could be used to build nuclear weapons. Zhang stated, “The Chinese government is a responsible government. Normal trade and technological exchanges between China and other countries are fully compatible with the common interests of the countries concerned.” Zhang was responding to the arrest in Japan of a former trading company executive on suspicion of selling the PRC equipment made by Hitachi Electronics Ltd. that could be used to build nuclear weapons. Japanese investigators said that Isao Sasaki, former managing director of Ryokosha KK, a Tokyo-based wholesaler, was arrested Saturday for allegedly exporting 18 precision measuring devices to the PRC in December 1996 without permission from the trade ministry.

7. PRC-Taiwan Diplomatic Rivalry

The Associated Press (“CHINA BREAKS DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH MACEDONIA OVER TAIWAN,” Beijing, 02/09/99) reported that the PRC broke its diplomatic relations with Macedonia on Tuesday in retaliation for the former Yugoslav republic’s recognition of Taiwan. Before the severing of relations was announced Tuesday night, PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said earlier in the day that the PRC may consider vetoing the extension of a UN peacekeeping force in Macedonia. Zhang stated, “China has all along engaged in the security of former Yugoslavia,” but Macedonia’s decision to establish ties with Taiwan “seriously infringes” on the PRC’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. She added that the PRC “cannot but reconsider” its position on the extension of the mandate of the UN Preventative Deployment Force.

8. PRC Environment

The Associated Press (“BEIJING PROMISES BATTLE TO IMPROVE ENVIRONMENT,” Beijing, 02/08/99) reported that Beijing Vice Mayor Wang Taoguang said Tuesday that the city will fight smog by scrapping old cars. Wang said that Beijing does not plan to limit the number of cars on its roads, but authorities will strictly enforce laws requiring cars that do not meet new emissions standards to be scrapped. He added that levels of some types of air pollution have begun to drop as a result of environmental regulations adopted by the city last fall. He stated, “We believe in the end our measures will succeed.” Another vice mayor, Liu Jingmin, said that the city also plans to demolish nearly 27 million square feet of illegally constructed buildings this year, which are mostly rentals used by migrants who come from the countryside looking for work. Liu stated, “Beijing depends on the help of workers from outside the city,” but the illegal housing causes traffic and pollution problems. The city recently bulldozed an entire neighborhood of buildings that had been home to one of the city’s largest communities of Uighurs, a Muslim minority from northwestern Xinjiang province.

II. Republic of Korea

1. US-Japan-ROK Talks

Joongang Ilbo (“TRIPARTITE MEETING AMONG THE U.S., JAPAN, AND KOREA,” 02/09/99) reported that the US, Japan, and the ROK agreed on making efforts to solve the problems surrounding the underground facilities in Kumchangri, DPRK. The three parties agreed that it is imperative to identify the underground facilities and solve all suspicions. The US repeatedly expressed its stance that there will not be any compensation for access to the facilities, and Japan and the ROK are reported to have agreed. An ROK government source said, “However, the US will continue to support food aid to the DPRK through the World Food Plan.” They also concluded that the DPRK’s development and export of long range missiles threatened regional stability and peace. The three parties expressed a hard-line stance to the DPRK by saying that no food aid will be provided until the nuclear issue has been settled.

2. DPRK Underground Construction

Korea Times (“US TO OFFER 500,000 TONS OF GRAIN TO NK THIS YR,” 02/09/99) reported that the US is set to persuade the DPRK to accept the inspection of its suspected underground nuclear site by offering up to 500,000 tons of grain to the DPRK, including the 300,000 tons of surplus wheat pledged late last year. The US delegates, including Charles Kartman, revealed the plan in a three-way meeting with the ROK and Japanese officials in the ROK on Tuesday, a government official said. “The US said that it would make almost the same level of assistance to the DPRK this year, compared with last year’s,” he said. However, there is a discrepancy between the DPRK and the US on how to categorize the 300,000 tons of surplus wheat the US pledged to offer late last year. Last year, the US pledged to offer a total of 500,000 tons of grain to the DPRK, including the 300,000 tons of surplus wheat. The US sought to categorize the wheat assistance as that belonging to this year’s total sum of assistance, while the DPRK insists that the surplus wheat assistance should belong to last year’s assistance.

Korea Times (“‘INDEPENDENT’ PROBE OF NK UNDERGROUND SITE NEEDED’,” 02/09/99) reported that Kazakhstan Ambassador to the ROK Tulegen Zhukeyev said in an interview that the most appropriate way to verify the nature of the DPRK’s suspected underground nuclear site is to dispatch a team of “independent experts” through a deal between the US and the DPRK. He advised the ROK not to directly confront the DPRK regarding this issue, and instead urged the ROK to help the US and concerned international organizations tackle the issue. Regarding the security situation on the Korean peninsula, Zhukeyev said, “Reinforcement of the role of Russia and Japan in the process of normalization of the Korean peninsula can bring positive results, and the present leadership of the ROK clearly realizes it.”

3. DPRK Agricultural Development

Joongang Ilbo (“NK PROPOSED A SISTER AFFILIATION IN AGRICULTURAL FIELD,” 02/09/99) reported that the DPRK proposed to Kim Sun-kwon, the chairman of International Corn Foundation, to make a sister affiliation between ROK farmers and DPRK rural villages. The Ministry of Unification (MOU) revealed that the DPRK requested 10,000 tons of fertilizer and 50 tons of corn seeds with this proposal. The DPRK expressed its definite intention to realize this “sister affiliation,” and did not request additional conditions of the participants. However, the DPRK did not mention any details on proceedings and funding.

III. Russian Federation

1. Ethnic Koreans in RF Far East

Izvestia’s Vladimir Demchenko (“KOREANS TAKE OVER MILITARY SETTLEMENTS IN PRIMORYE,” Platonovka-Primorye-Moscow, 2, 2/03/99) reported that families of Soviet-born ethnic Koreans have settled in Platonovka, a former military “town” near the RF-PRC border in the Primorye Area in the RF Far East. There are many such formerly secret isolated “towns” in Primorye, as RF military units left them 4 years ago and moved farther away from the border under the terms of the RF-PRC treaty. Six “towns” have been taken over by Korean settlers from other parts of the RF and the Commonwealth of Independent States to which they and/or their parents were forcefully deported from the Soviet Far East in the late 1930s. In the 1990s they were rehabilitated and allowed to return back, but with no specific places indicated. Presently some 200 Koreans live there, but Telmir Kim, Chairman of the Korean “Revival” Foundation, forecast 25-30,000 Korean residents by the early 21st century. Natural conditions are hard, as the military houses are just empty boxes and neighboring collective farm bosses are afraid of agricultural competition and therefore hostile, but there is a lot of land to grow vegetables and hopefully even rice in the future.

2. Alleged PRC Espionage in US

Segodnya’s Aleksandr Chudodeyev (“WASHINGTON IS AFRAID OF CHINESE SPIES,” Moscow, 3, 2/03/99) reported that US President Bill Clinton ordered an estimate to be made of the damage to US national security as a result of PRC military intelligence activities. The decision was prompted by a US Congressional committee’s conclusion that PRC agents had been “aggressively” collecting secret information in the US. The PRC called the accusations “laughable” and not benefiting bilateral relations. Segodnya’s author stressed that not a single PRC spy had been identified in the US so far, just as no CIA agents had been caught in the PRC. In the author’s opinion, Clinton just “decided to please US lawmakers” by that act, as “international consequences of such a fight (to which one can add Washington’s recent sanctions against three Russian scientific centers for their cooperation with Iran) will hardly be too much negative, while in exchange … the President’s prestige inside the country can be increased.”

3. RF-Japanese Fishing Situation

Izvestia’s Dmitriy Koptev (“A JAPANESE ‘PRESERVE’ IN RUSSIAN WATERS,” Moscow, 2, 2/03/99) reported that RF fishermen operating in the area of Sakhalin island negatively regarded a telegram from the RF State Committee on Fisheries. The telegram said that “in order to ensure seafaring safety and prevent conflict situations from emerging” it is necessary to take measures to prevent RF vessels from fishing in the areas of RF territorial waters where Japanese fishing vessels operate under the RF-Japanese agreement of last year. Sakhalin fishermen claim that their superiors in Moscow, by actually blocking RF fishermen from entering RF waters, are overzealous in implementation of the agreement, and besides, in their opinion, the instruction might be interpreted by Japan as a signal that the RF is ready to make territorial concessions concerning the South Kurils.

4. Japanese Economy

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Dmitriy Kosyrev (“OLD-AGED JAPANESE MIRACLE,” “PESSIMISM AS AN ECONOMIC FACTOR” and “NATION IS GOING TO RETIRE?” Tokyo-Moscow, 6, 2/3-5/99) published a large three-part article on the Japanese economy of today. The final conclusion is that Japan “will not ‘retire’ soon. And possibly that will never happen.”

5. RF Foreign Policy Priorities

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“WE HAVE GOT NEITHER ALLIES, NOR ENEMIES,” Moscow, 6, 2/06/99) published an article by Ambassador Anatoliy Adamishin, former USSR deputy Foreign Minister, former RF Minister of CIS Affairs, Head of Russian Foreign Policy Department of the Russian State Service Academy, and Vice President of Sistema Corp., who analyzed the priorities of the present RF foreign policy. Favoring an increased integration of the RF into world affairs, he stressed: “I have little confidence in the talk about a multipolar world. Even if there are different poles, they are too much unequal to each other.” The author called for “a conscientious rejection of attempts to build anti-American blocks or coalitions.” He said, for example, “China as well as India will play their own game, their relations with the US and Western investment being of no less importance to them than their relations with us.” The RF three-pronged foreign policy strategy should include: consistent rejection of confrontation; maximum integration into international organizations; and support to RF domestic business.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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

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

Lee Dong-young: UNPOL@netsgo.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


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