NAPSNet Daily Report 09 February, 2001

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 09 February, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, February 09, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-09-february-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. Russia-DPRK Relations
2. Cross-Straits Relations
3. PRC Foreign Minister’s US Visit
II. Republic of Korea 1. DPRK Electricity Supply
2. Inter-Korean Railway
3. US Policy toward DPRK
4. ROK-US Talks
5. US Aid to DPRK
6. Human Rights in DPRK
III. Japan 1. DPRK Reform
2. Japanese-PRC Maritime Agreement
3. Japanese-Russian Territorial Issue
4. Military Contingency Legislation

I. United States

1. Russia-DPRK Relations

Agence France Presse (“PUTIN TO CROWN ASIAN DIPLOMATIC PUSH WITH NORTH KOREAN SUMMIT,” Moscow, 2/9/01) reported that ITAR-TASS news agency quoted an informed source in the Russian foreign ministry on Friday as saying that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il will visit Moscow in April for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A Russian government spokeswoman confirmed that talks were under way with the DPRK on a summit but that the “timing is still being discussed” and that no announcement could yet be made. Dmitry Trenin from the Carnegie Moscow Center think-tank said, “When Putin talks to the northern Kim he is clearly sending a message to Seoul, the United States and whoever in Asia is watching the Korean situation that Russia is a player, that there are certain things that Russia can do that no one else can do. Putin is after economic benefits and wants to put Russia back on the political and strategic map of Asia. Russia is seeking to expand its ties with South Korea while at the same time becoming active in the north.” According to the Russian foreign ministry source, Kim and Putin will discuss the situation in the Korean peninsula, the rapprochement between the DPRK and the ROK, and developing ties between Russia and the DPRK. The source said that an advance team from the DPRK is expected in Moscow soon to prepare the summit. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 9, 2001.]

2. Cross-Straits Relations

The Associated Press (William Foreman, “TAIWAN WARY OF CHINA’S APPROACH,” Taipei, 2/9/01) reported that on Thursday a pair of journalists with the PRC’s official Xinhua News Agency became the first PRC reporters stationed on Taiwan. Despite the progress, one of Taiwan’s top PRC policy-makers, Lin Chong-pin, warned that cross-strait relations are regressing in some vital areas. Lin said, “You have to use a wide-angle lens rather than a magnifying glass to look at the situation.” He said that since last summer, the PRC has made a “new tactical adjustment” that includes a hard and soft approach in dealing with Taiwan. Lin said that although the PRC has toned down its rhetoric, it has stepped up its campaign to steal away Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and to block the island from buying weapons from the US. He said, “You see the continuation of military exercises, the frequency and magnitude of which have not been reduced. In fact, some of them have gone up.” Eric McVadon, a retired US Navy rear admiral and an expert on the PRC military, expressed concern about the 200 or so short-range ballistic missiles that the PRC has placed across from Taiwan. McVadon said, “Many believe the number (of missiles) is going up 50 a year, and some say it could reach 600 to 800. This is a very daunting thing.”

3. PRC Foreign Minister’s US Visit

Ta Kung Pao (“FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN SAYS THAT QIAN QICHEN’S U.S. VISIT IS STILL UNDER DISCUSSION,” Hong Kong, 2/9/01) reported that according to well-informed sources in Hong Kong, PRC Vice Premier Qian Qichen’s visit to the US is being further arranged, and the details are being discussed. While answering a reporter’s questions, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said that maintaining high-level contacts and exchanges between the PRC and the US is of major significance to promoting the healthy and stable development of their bilateral ties.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Electricity Supply

Chosun Ilbo (“NO AGREEMENT ON ELECTRICITY SUPPLY,” Seoul, 02/08/01) reported that from the beginning of the 1st Inter-Korean working level conference on electricity cooperation, both parties faced stumbling blocks due to clear differences in their stances. Delegations of the two Koreas met Thursday at the Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang to discuss how to jointly carry out the inspection of power supplies. In a keynote speech, the ROK delegation proposed implementing a spot-survey on power supplies of the two Koreas by launching a joint inspection team with 7-10 members each as prerequisite to figure out power line conditions before cooperating with each other for better power supplies. The ROK delegation also suggested carrying out a parallel inspection on field and information of power generation as well as transmission and distribution. In response to such proposals, meanwhile, the DPRK delegation insisted on its initial position that it wants 500,000 KW power to be promptly supplied to the DPRK through a transmission line.

2. Inter-Korean Railway

Chosun Ilbo (“MILITARY MEETING AGREES ON DMZ PROTOCOL,” Seoul, 02/08/01) reported that the ROK and the DPRK held their 5th military working-level talks in Panmunjom on Thursday and agreed on regulations for initiating construction of the railway and road linking Seoul and Shinuiju. They agreed to set up two checkpoints on either side of the military demarcation line (MDL) but no military facilities will be allowed in the area. Also, the removal of landmines and explosives in the area will be discussed a week before the de-mining work starts and the two sides will jointly take part in it. Also, to protect the ecosystem within the Demilitarized Zone, the two sides agreed to construct an eco-bridge. A hotline between the military authorities will be set up to promote cooperation in construction and address any emergencies. Minister of National Defense Jo Seong-tae and Kim Il-chul, his DPRK counterpart, were to have signed the agreement during the 2nd Defense Minister’s Meeting, slated to be held in late February or early March, but when the DPRK suggested the two sides exchange the agreement next week, they failed to agree on the signature procedure.

3. US Policy toward DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (“NK OFFICIAL CALLS FOR US TO CONTINUE ENGAGEMENT,” Seoul, 02/06/01) reported that Lee Guen, DPRK deputy ambassador to the UN, said Wednesday in a meeting of specialists on the Korean Peninsula held in Washington “During the last 8 years, there have been many discussions between Pyongyang and Washington, but now it is time to move onto action. We hope the Bush administration maintains the US engagement policy toward North Korea.” This remark is regarded as unprecedented, since the DPRK’s high level official hardly ever makes public statements on its policy toward the US. Lee disclosed “The North has already begun to talk to the Bush administration.” He added, “Seoul and Pyongyang will have to get along and we are willing to have a good relationship with the South.” With regard to this, State Department Spokesperson Richard Boucher stated, “The U.S. government has been contacting North Korean diplomats through New York channels. Yet, as of now, there is neither new developments nor policies to announce.”

4. ROK-US Talks

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “LEE AND POWELL REACH CONSENSUS ON N. KOREA,” Seoul, 02/09/01) reported that the foreign ministers’ talks between the ROK and the US on Wednesday helped ease ROK concerns about a possible conflict between the two sides over the ROK engagement policy toward the DPRK, ROK officials and analysts said on Thursday. In the first high-level contacts between under the US President George W. Bush administration, US Secretary of State Colin Powell welcomed rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula and supported the ROK government’s policy of reconciliation and cooperation with the DPRK. “This confirmation of the Bush administration’s support for our North Korea policy will dispel worries that Seoul and Washington may differ over their positions on the North,” said an ROK Foreign Ministry official, who requested anonymity. Emerging from the breakfast meeting with Powell, ROK Foreign Minister Lee Joung-binn said to reporters, “There were no differences over the matter.”

5. US Aid to DPRK

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “US AID UNIT SENDS MEDICINE TO NK,” Seoul, 02/09/01) reported that a US-based international aid organization has recently sent 2.78 billion won (US$2.18 million) worth of medication to the DPRK, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Thursday. The report said that a cargo ship carrying medication for 430,000 DPRK children, pregnant women and disabled persons left San Francisco on Tuesday for the DPRK. The medication supplied by the Institute for Strategic Reconciliation (ISR) includes 25,000 doses of antibiotics, 30,000 doses of vermicide and 15,000 doses of antifebriles, the report added.

6. Human Rights in DPRK

The Korea Times (Sohn Suk-joo, “GERMAN DOCTOR MAKES URGENT CALL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NK,” Seoul, 02/08/01) reported that the ROK opposition party should voice more concern about the dire human rights situation in the DPRK, a German doctor said Thursday. At a forum organized by a parliamentary study group, Norbert Vollertsen, a volunteer for German Emergency Doctors, a non-profit medical aid group, said that the forces in the ROK opposed to the “Sunshine Policy” toward the DPRK have to speak up to make the DPRK regime improve its human rights record. “The existence of the strong opposition party in West Germany, which called for the enhancement of the human rights situation in East Germany, helped expedite the process of unification,” Vollertsen said. “Without strong outside pressure from South Korea and the international community, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il will not initiate political or social changes though he may undertake Chinese-style economic reform.” Though he initially believed that ROK President Kim Dae-jung’s Sunshine Policy would be a solution to the DPRK’s hunger in June 1999, when he entered the DPRK, his 18-month tour in Pyongyang and the countryside caused a change of heart to such an extent that he has been working closely with the international media to put pressure on the DPRK to open up toward the outside world, which will in turn save DPRK citizens from poverty, he added. “From my experience in Pyongyang, I can tell you that North Korean officials do not listen to the weak. They paid attention only when I protested strongly. To improve human rights in North Korea, we have to speak out against the current North Korean regime,” Vollertsen said. He said that since food aid began in 1995, there have arisen glaring inequalities between the elite in Pyongyang and the people in the countryside. “We can’t prove whether international aid to North Korea was diverted or not. But given that children die of hunger in the countryside not far away from Pyongyang, the affluent lifestyle of the elite in Pyongyang makes me believe that the average North Koreans haven’t benefited from the aid.”

III. Japan

1. DPRK Reform

The Sankei Shimbun (Katsuhiro Kuroda, Seoul, “KIM JONG-IL’S PRETENDED POLICY SHIFT AND ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENT,” 02/09/2001) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s “order” or “lessons” given to the Association of Pro-DPRK Residents in Japan in April 1999 led to questions of whether the DPRK’s recent shift to “new thinking” in economic opening and reform is only an outward pretension. The report said that Kim gave the “order” or “lessons” to the vice chairman of the association in 1999 to reform the organization to adjust to the changing outside world by taking a flexible method while continuing to accomplish their basic mission in Japan. According to the report, Kim stated, “In order to attract the younger generations, you have to make them believe that you are changing your (hard- line) stance. You have to use ‘perfume’ to do so…. While maintaining a reformist face, you have to accomplish your basic mission…. If your association changed your practice, our Rodong Shinmun might criticize you for becoming a capitalist, but you have to patiently put up with it because even if they don’t understand you, I understand you…. It does not matter, either, if the enemy (Japan) comes to think that I, General Kim Jong-il, have become a reformist because what matters is (not how we reform, but) that we achieve our final goals.” The report added that the complete text of Kim’s statement is available in the January-February 2001 issue of Gendai Koria (Contemporary Korea).

2. Japanese-PRC Maritime Agreement

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“JAPAN, CHINA AGREE TO SWAP SHIP INFO,” 02/08/2001) and the Daily Yomiuri (“JAPAN, CHINA AGREE TO SWAP SHIP INFO,” 02/09/2001) reported that the Japanese and PRC governments agreed to notify each other about their maritime research vessels. The reports said that under the agreement, each side will inform the other at least two months in advance of the commencement of planned maritime research activities. Notifications will include the organization carrying out the research and the names of the vessels employed in the activity, the purpose and details of the activity, and the duration and locations of such activities. However, the two sides failed to specifically define the waters covered by the new agreement. Activities of PRC maritime research vessels in international waters near Japan have increased in recent years. The reports added, however, that the main stumbling block in the discussions has been agreeing on the areas of ocean to be covered by the system. Because of differences of opinion between the two nations over the boundaries of economic zones, they have so far failed to define the ocean areas to be covered by the system.

3. Japanese-Russian Territorial Issue

The Sankei Shimbun (“DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND FOREIGN MINISTRY OVER TERRITORIAL ISSUE WITH RUSSIA,” 02/08/2001) reported that although the next round of the Japanese-Russian talks on the four disputed islands was postponed to late April, there is still disagreements between the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Foreign Ministry over the issue. According to the report, LDP General Affairs Bureau head Muneo Suzuki and some high-ranking Foreign Ministry officials related to European affairs support the return of two islands first, while others in the Foreign Ministry argue for the return of the all four islands at once. A senior LDP member was quoted as saying, “Not only former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and Foreign Minister Yohei Kono have their own communication channels with Russia, but Mr. Suzuki has his own channel. Russia may play off these different channels against one another.” The report suggested that the Japanese government needs to reach consensus before the next talks with Russia. The report also pointed out that the Russian side is also divided over the issue.

4. Military Contingency Legislation

The Asahi Shimbun (“GOVERNMENT DECIDED TO SET UP WORKING PANEL ON CONTINGENCY LEGISLATION,” 02/04/2001) reported that the Japanese government decided to establish a working panel on legislation for military contingencies, which was first proposed in 1977 but was urgently requested by the ruling parties in wake of the DPRK alleged Taepodong missile launch in 1998. The working panel would be included under the Cabinet’s national security council chaired by Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and would consist of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda and high-ranking representatives from the Foreign Ministry and other related agencies and ministries. The panel’s discussion would be based on the discussion conducted between the Defense Agency and the Cabinet security council. The government also plans to set up an additional working-level panel in the future. The report added Mori’s statement regarding contingency legislation in his new year policy speech, “(Legislation) is necessary for the Self Defence Forces to secure the security of the nation and people under civil control. We will begin (contingency legislation) by referring to the thoughts among the ruling parties last year.”

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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Seoul, Republic of Korea

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Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin: icipu@glas.apc.org
Moscow, Russian Federation

Yunxia Cao: yule111@sina.com
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

John McKay: John.McKay@adm.monash.edu.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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