NAPSNet Daily Report 09 March, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 09 March, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, March 09, 1999,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. Perry’s Trip to ROK

US DPRK Policy Coordinator William Perry (“N. KOREA POLICY COORDINATOR 3/8 ARRIVAL STATEMENT,” Seoul, USIA Transcript, 03/08/99) issued the following statement upon his arrival in the ROK on Monday. “I have come to Korea to continue the process of consultation with the Government of the Republic of Korea on the North Korea policy review I am undertaking. This is my third meeting with Republic of Korea officials since I began the review. I met with President Kim Dae-jung and other officials in Seoul in December. Then I met with National Security Advisor Lim in Washington, D.C. in January, and I am looking forward to meeting with President Kim Dae-jung and other officials tomorrow. I requested these meetings because I believe that the views of the Korean government are an essential input into the policy review. Let me stress that our review is still underway. I have not made final recommendations to President Clinton, who will want to hear the views of President Kim Dae-jung before he reaches his conclusions. But it is clear that there are two factors which will guide me to my final recommendations. First, I believe that President Kim’s engagement policy is a very positive factor on which we should build. Indeed President Clinton has affirmed U.S. support for the engagement policy in two summit meetings with President Kim Dae-jung. Second, North Korea has created real problems and serious problems with their nuclear and missile programs. The U.S. and the Republic of Korea are in agreement that we must stand together to resolve problems in these areas even as we look for possibilities for engagement in other areas. Finally, let me comment on the book that Dr. Carter and I have just written about which there has been some confused reporting. The epilogue to that book, which was the subject of reporting, was written just as this policy review began. It raises issues relevant to our policy review but it does not present any conclusions. It frames problems, but it does not reach conclusions about how to resolve those problems. Those conclusions are still ahead of us, and will be reached in full harmony with the government of the Republic of Korea. I look forward to very close and productive consultations on this trip. Thank you.”

Reuters (Bill Tarrant, “US ENVOY SEEKS FRESH APPROACH TO N.KOREA -SEOUL,” Seoul, 03/09/99) and the Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, “NEW APPROACH FOR US IN N. KOREA,” Seoul, 03/09/99) reported that the ROK Presidential Blue House (Chongwadae) said in a statement on Tuesday that the US and the ROK will cooperate closely in taking a fresh approach to break a Cold War stalemate on the Korean peninsula. The statement said that US DPRK policy coordinator William Perry and ROK President Kim Dae-jung “agreed a comprehensive approach is needed to settle problems arising from the North’s nuclear and missile development programs. And they also agreed to closely cooperate in the process.” It added, “Such an approach would be based on the South Korean government’s gradual engagement policy.”

The International Herald Tribune (Don Kirk, “U.S. ENVOY IN ASIA SEEKS UNIFIED APPROACH TO PYONGYANG,” Seoul, 03/09/99) reported that ROK officials acknowledged that there are “differences in emphasis” between the US and the ROK on policy toward the DPRK. An unnamed former senior ROK diplomat said that the PRC could be useful in helping to bridge the gap between ROK and US positions. The official stated, “China is very much in line with the views of South Korea. China thinks it’s dangerous to provoke North Korea because you don’t know what North Korea will do.” ROK officials said that they believe that Perry wants ROK leaders to define just how far they want to pursue engagement with the DPRK. An unnamed ROK diplomat stated, “The Americans are concerned because there is no red line. They want to know, ‘What’s the limit of your patience and what will it take to prove that the sunshine policy doesn’t work?'” Perry and his aide, Ashton Carter, concluded in an epilogue to their new book, “Preventive Defense,” that “it might not be safe to follow Kim Dae Jung’s advice and wait for change to come to North Korea.” They argued that the DPRK’s missile program “would rob us of the time needed for Kim Dae Jung’s engagement policy to work.” [Ed. note: This article appeared in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 9.]

2. US Policy toward DPRK

The Associated Press (“LAWMAKERS SEEK TOUGH N.KOREA POLICY,” Washington, 03/08/99) reported that five Republican members of the US House of Representatives appealed in a letter to former US Defense Secretary William Perry on Monday that he recommend a tougher US policy toward the DPRK. The letter stated, “North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, chemical-biological capability and its burgeoning missile capability present a clear and present danger to the security of the United States.” It urged an overhaul in policy “from the ground floor up.” It added that an end to the development, testing, and proliferation of long-range ballistic missiles must be part of any new US policy toward the DPRK. It also called for stronger enforcement of a 1991 agreement banning both sides on the Korean peninsula from developing weapons of mass destruction and for “an end to state-sponsored illegal narcotics production and trafficking.” Signing the letter were House International Committee Chairman Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y., Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill.; House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas; Christopher Cox, R- Calif., chairman of the House Policy Committee; and Joe Knollenberg, R-Mich., a member of the House Appropriations Committee. US State Department Spokesman James Rubin responded, “I cannot speculate on the outcome of [Perry’s policy] review, still a work in progress, but I am certain it will carefully evaluate the views expressed in Congressman Gilman’s letter.”

3. ROK Policy toward DPRK

The International Herald Tribune (Bernard Krisher, “SEOUL STUDIES NORTH’S REACTION,” 03/09/99) carried an interview with ROK President Kim Dae-jung. Kim pointed to the Mt. Kumgang project, the DPRK offer of government-level dialogue, and the resumption of general-level talks as evidence that his “sunshine policy” toward the DPRK is bearing fruit. Kim said that he hopes DPRK leader Kim Jong-il would “Realize complete reunification isn’t possible imminently so we should put that issue aside.” He added that, “At present I feel the issues [the DPRK] are interested in are maintaining peace, holding exchanges, and cooperation.” Kim stated, “On my recent visit to China I told Premier Zhu Rongji that people are saying the Korean Peninsula is the area in the world which is the most vulnerable to have a conflict. Yet if we have the will we can very easily resolve this issue…. As we are determined not to resolve any issue through war or military power, and if North Korea has the same commitment, while the four major countries around the Korean Peninsula can also guarantee they will not intervene, then we won’t have any war ever in the Korean Peninsula.” Asked under what conditions he would be willing to remove the US troops from the ROK, Kim replied, “As you know very well in 1949 the American troops did leave South Korea and only a year later, in 1950, we had the war. So the precondition has to be that we have to have a solid guarantee of not having any kind of invasion.” [Ed. note: This article appeared in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 9.]

Pacific Stars And Stripes (Jim Lea, “KIM: U.S., ROK STRATEGIES ON N. KOREA NOT IN CONFLICT,” Seoul, 03/10/99, 3) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said Monday that there is no conflict between the US and the ROK on policy toward the DPRK. Kim said that security arrangements between the countries have strengthened since he took office a year ago and have “become a safety valve for the deterrence of war on the Korean Peninsula.” He added, “We must resolutely and thoroughly prepare against military threats from the North, but we should also actively embrace any positive change on Pyongyang’s part and give them cause for hope.” He said that his aim is to build a “firm framework for coexistence and co-prosperity” that will free the people of both Koreas “from the fear of war that has hung over us for a half century.” [Ed. note: This article appeared in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 9.]

4. ROK Citizens in DPRK

The Associated Press (“SEOUL: S. KOREANS STILL BEING HELD,” Seoul, 03/09/99) and Reuters (“NORTH KOREA HOLDS 231 SKOREAN POWS,” Seoul, 03/09/99) reported that the ROK’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) said Tuesday that the DPRK is believed to be holding 685 ROK citizens who were either kidnapped or taken as prisoners of war. NIS stated, “We decided to submit the list of the kidnapped to international human rights organizations and nongovernmental organizations and urge them to help repatriate those people.” It quoted DPRK defectors as saying that about 231 ROK prisoners of war are still held in the DPRK since the Korean War. It added that the DPRK has kidnapped 3,756 ROK citizens, most of them fishermen, of whom 3,302 returned home, while 454 are still being held in the DPRK. It said that most of those fishermen were kidnapped while fishing near the sea border with the DPRK.

5. Japan-DPRK Relations

Dow Jones Newswires (“JAPAN TRYING TO EXPAND CONTACT WITH NORTH KOREA – REPORT,” Tokyo, 03/09/99) reported that Kyodo News agency quoted Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura as saying that Japan is seeking to expand its contacts with the DPRK. Komura stated, “We need to widen the channel of mutual contact, and it’s not that we don’t have any contact now.” Kyodo also reported that unnamed Japanese officials said that the two countries had informal contact in New York in late December to sound each other out on improving ties, but those contacts are unlikely to lead to resuming negotiations on establishing diplomatic relations.

6. DPRK-UNC Generals’ Meeting

Dow Jones Newswires (“GENERALS MEET AT KOREAN BORDER TO DISCUSS Y2K PROBLEM,” Seoul, 03/09/99) and Pacific Stars And Stripes (Jim Lea, “UNC, NK GENERALS MEET AT PANMUNJOM,” Seoul, 03/10/99, 4) reported that the DPRK and the UN Command (UNC) held a generals’ level meeting at Panmunjom on Tuesday to discuss preparedness for Y2K computer problems. A statement from the UNC said that the three-hour talks “were conducted in a businesslike manner, with each side gaining an increased understanding of the other’s views.” UNC also called for regular military contact at Panmunjom to reduce tension on the Korean peninsula. [Ed. note: This article appeared in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 9.]

7. DPRK Military Threat

The Australian Financial Review (Geoffrey Barker, “NORTH KOREA ‘DANGEROUS, UNPREDICTABLE’,” 03/09/99) reported that Vice-Admiral Walter F. Doran, the US Seventh Fleet Commander, warned Monday that the DPRK remained dangerous and unpredictable. Doran stated, “It’s so difficult to figure out what’s going on. Every time I think I have it right, something happens that makes no sense at all.” He said that he spent about 50 per cent of his time in and around the ROK. He stated, “I have to be sure that if something were to happen in Korea I would be able to interact, fold into, the US forces plan for conflict in Korea.” [Ed. note: This article appeared in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 9.]

8. US Intelligence Gathering on DPRK

Aviation Week & Space Technology (James R. Asker, “WASHINGTON OUTLOOK,” 03/08/99, 25) reported that US Army General John Tilelli, commander of US forces in the ROK, said that the US is having difficulties collecting intelligence on the DPRK because it can not generate enough U-2 sorties to meet the demands of intelligence officials. Tilelli said that US forces “truly have a shortfall in the continual ‘deep look'” mission. An unnamed intelligence officer added that the problem is that U-2s are not flying often enough to continuously monitor what’s going on more than 100 miles inside the DPRK. US military officials in the ROK would like to either add U-2s or increase the number of pilots and maintenance personnel to get more use out of the aircraft in theater. The US Air Force currently has deployed one of its E8C Joint-STARS to the ROK to provide additional intelligence on moving targets during the DPRK’s military’s winter training cycle. Asked by US Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) whether the US should take preemptive action against the DPRK’s suspected nuclear program, Tilelli said he does not want to use the term “preemptive.” He added, however, “I do not believe that we should allow North Korea’s nuclear weapon program to come to fruition.” He added that former US Defense Secretary William Perry is expected to unveil a plan next month to “incentivize” the DPRK regime to suspend its alleged nuclear weapons program. [Ed. note: This article appeared in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 8.]

9. PRC Reaction to Theater Missile Defense

Reuters (Benjamin Kang Lim, “CHINA TELLS U.S. TO STAY OUT OF TAIWAN DISPUTE,” Beijing, 03/09/99) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao told the US on Tuesday not to interfere in Taiwan. Zhu stated, “The Taiwan issue is purely an internal affair of China. No foreign country has the right to interfere.” He urged the US to keep its promise to reduce arms sale to Taiwan. Zhu also dismissed reports that the PRC was deploying missiles in its coastal provinces as an “excuse” to bring the Theater Missile Defense (TMD) system to Asia and an attempt to include Taiwan. Zhu said that the PRC was “resolutely opposed” to including Taiwan under the TMD system because it would “delay” reunification. Zhu also criticized Taiwan for “relying on foreigners to protect itself.” He said that the PRC hoped a planned visit to Taiwan by Wang Daohan, the PRC’s top negotiator with Taiwan, later this year could bring the two sides closer. He stated, “We hope the two sides can seek common ground while reserving differences and expand their consensus.”

The Associated Press (“U.S. NIXES CHINA WARNING ON TAIWAN,” Washington, 03/08/99) reported that US State Department spokesman James P. Rubin on Monday criticized the PRC for warning the US against helping Taiwan develop a defense against missile attacks. Rubin stated, “Instead of worrying about a decision that has not been made to deploy defensive technologies that do not yet exist, the Chinese should focus on the regional and global proliferation of missiles.” He noted that the Taiwanese are assessing their own capabilities and needs, and therefore it is too early to comment about their intentions. Rubin said that the US will fulfill its security commitments to Taiwan and will continue to assist the island in meeting legitimate defensive needs. He said that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made the same points to Chinese authorities last week during a visit to Beijing.

10. Alleged PRC Nuclear Espionage

The Washington Post (Walter Pincus, “SPY SUSPECT FIRED AT LOS ALAMOS LAB,” 03/09/99, A01), the New York Times (James Risen, “U.S. FIRES NUCLEAR SCIENTIST SUSPECTED OF SPYING FOR CHINA,” Washington, 03/09/99), the Wall Street Journal (John J. Fialka, “ATOMIC-ARMS SCIENTIST IS FIRED IN CHINESE ESPIONAGE INVESTIGATION,” Washington, 03/09/99), and the Los Angeles Times (Bob Drogin, “UC SCIENTIST CONNECTED TO CHINA LEAKS IS FIRED,” Washington, 03/09/99) reported that US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson on Monday fired Wen Ho Lee, a Los Alamos National Laboratory weapons scientist who was under suspicion of handing nuclear secrets to the PRC in the late 1980s. Richardson said that Lee was dismissed for “failure to properly notify Energy Department and laboratory officials about contacts with people from a sensitive country, specific instances of failing to properly safeguard classified material, and apparently attempting to deceive lab officials about security matters.” Lee reportedly failed an FBI polygraph test last month and refused to cooperate with an investigation into how the PRC might have gained information about the W-88 warhead. According to US government sources, Lee has been under FBI investigation since late 1997, but the inquiry has been unable to develop specific evidence against him because the alleged espionage took place almost 10 years ago. In addition, investigators could not uncover indications of any activity by Lee on behalf of the PRC in the last decade. One former senior FBI agent said Monday that Lee was allowed to remain at his job while under investigation since it is difficult to get an arrest or a conviction without “catching someone in the act.” The source said, “We had to take the risk.” [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 9.]

Reuters (Benjamin Kang Lim, “CHINA DISMISSES U.S. NUCLEAR THEFT CHARGE,” Beijing, 03/09/99) and Dow Jones Newswires (“CHINA AGAIN DENIES IT STOLE U.S. NUCLEAR SECRETS,” Beijing, 03/09/99) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao on Tuesday dismissed charges that the PRC stole nuclear secrets from the US. Zhu said the allegations are “baseless, with vested interests and irresponsible.” He stated, “Some people want to obstruct the United States from exporting normal high technology to China or some people want to impede Sino-U.S. ties from improving and developing.” He added, “We are paying attention to these reports. We are still looking into the situation.” He urged the US to seize on a planned visit to the US by PRC Premier Zhu Rongji in April to push ties forward. He stated, “We hope and believe that through the endeavors of both China and the United States, Premier Zhu’s US visit will further improve understanding and expand wide-ranging cooperation between the two sides and push forward development of healthy and stable bilateral relations.”

11. Canadian Views of US Missile Defense

Reuters (Randall Palmer, “CANADA CAUTIOUSLY EYES U.S. MISSILE SHIELD PLAN,” Ottawa, 03/08/99) reported that Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy said that the threat posed by countries like the DPRK have forced Canada to consider joining the proposed US ballistic missile defense system. Axworthy stated, “The concern that we would have is to what extent would such a system abrogate the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty or some of the other disarmament/arms control treaties that may be there. If on the other hand it provides an effective protection against missile attacks from untoward states — rogue states I guess they’re now called — and others, then it has to be looked at.” This Thursday Axworthy will visit the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) with other Canadian members of Parliament. Daniel Bon, director-general for policy planning in the Canadian Defense Department, stated, “Certainly we wouldn’t be looking at anything that isn’t ABM-compliant.” He added, “Why would North Korea want to hit Vancouver? In the United States there is a tendency to equate capability with intent, or capability with likelihood.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. Perry’s Visit to ROK

JoongAng Ilbo (“PRESIDENT MEETS WITH PERRY ON NORTH KOREA POLICY,” Seoul, 03/09/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on March 9 met with William Perry, who is currently serving as a special US envoy on DPRK policy. Kim provided Perry with details on the engagement policy towards the DPRK, which the government has been consistently executing. Kim was well aware that it would be the very last opportunity to highlight his DPRK policy before the influential “Perry Report” is completed, so he issued a joint communique that emphasizes the need for a continual engagement policy towards the DPRK. Kim accented that it is of the utmost importance to reduce the chance of war on the Korean Peninsula at all costs. Regardless of DPRK action, peace should be maintained, and this also will serve America’s interest as well. He added, “If the US maintains an aggressive attitude towards the North, it could cause NK provocation which eventually will not only threaten the peace but jeopardize the revival of the South Korean economy.” The US requested that the details of Perry’s meeting be kept secret, since some of his confidential statements were leaked to the press the last time he visited the ROK in December 1998.

Chosun Ilbo (“PERRY REAFFIRMS KIM’S ENGAGEMENT POLICY,” Seoul, 03/09/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung held a one-hour fifty-minute meeting with visiting US DPRK Policy Administrator William Perry Tuesday at Chongwadae to discuss matters relating to the two countries’ policies towards the DPRK. A written statement issued by the Presidential Office detailing the meeting said that the ROK and US governments both agree that a “package deal” approach is necessary to cope with various issues regarding the DPRK, including the development of nuclear arms and missiles. In the process, the two governments have also decided to closely coordinate their DPRK policies, with an approach based upon the ROK government’s engagement policy. Speaking at a luncheon meeting with high-ranking government officials, President Kim said that he will press on with an engagement policy based on security and mutual survival which would encourage the opening and reformation of the ROK regime and eliminate the chance of war on the Korean peninsula. An official commented that Perry clearly stated that while he has to consider second stage sanctions, this will not affect the ROK, and he does not foresee extreme measures being taken.

2. US-DPRK Nuclear Talks

Chosun Ilbo (“US-NK NUCLEAR TALKS STALL ON ACCESS ISSUE,” Seoul, 03/09/99) reported that the US and the DPRK concluded the eighth day of their 4th meeting of nuclear talks aimed at clearing suspicions about the underground facility at Kumchangri, but failed to narrow the differences between their positions. The DPRK delegation has been refusing to accept US demands for regular access to the site. Last Thursday, the two parties reportedly found common ground when the US side agreed to provide, on humanitarian grounds, 500,000 to 600,000 tons of grain aid to the famine-stricken country within the year. Since last week, however, the two parties have become diametrically opposed on ways to facilitate and allow site access. The two parties will resume their meeting early Wednesday morning.

3. US Troops in ROK

Korea Times (“ANY WITHDRAWAL OF US TROOPS TO UPSET POWER BALANCE IN NORTHEAST ASIA,” Seoul, 03/09/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said Monday that removing any US troops from the ROK would upset the balance of power in Northeast Asia. In an interview with journalist Bernard Krisher that was published in the International Herald Tribune on Tuesday, Kim said that US troops perform the function of checking the potential escalation of regional hegemony between the PRC and Japan and maintaining a balance of power in the region. The President voiced the hope that once peace is established, the four superpowers–the US, Japan, Russia and the PRC– would provide assurances that they would not engage in any kind of military conflict and agree not to take sides. By giving such assurances, they would guarantee peace in Northeast Asia, he said.

4. ROK Citizens in DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (“NIS RELEASES LIST OF 685 CAPTIVES IN NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 03/09/99) reported that the ROK National Information Service (NIS) said Tuesday that a total of 3,756 ROK citizens have been kidnapped by the DPRK since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Of these, 3,302 have been returned and 454 are still being held captive by DPRK. The NIS also said that 231 prisoners of war are being held in mining areas, including Hambuk province. The ROK government plans to request the help of the International Human Rights Commission and other non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International, in order to facilitate the return of the ROK citizens. The NIS made public a list of 454 names but the names of surviving POWs were blacked out to ensure their safety. Among the captured are 407 fishermen and also the passengers and crew from two Korean Airline planes hijacked decades ago.

5. Hyundai Founder’s Visit to DPRK

Korea Times (“HYUNDAI FOUNDER CHUNG VISITS NK TO FLESH OUT JOINT PROJECTS,” Seoul, 03/09/99) reported that Hyundai Group honorary chairman Chung Ju-yung visited the DPRK through Panmunjom on Monday. It was his second journey to the DPRK this year. In a brief interview before crossing over to the DPRK side of the Joint Security Area, the 84-year-old head of the country’s largest chaebol told reporters that his visit was aimed at ironing out details on the ongoing and future joint projects between his company and the DPRK. “I might have to visit the North every month to discuss the ongoing businesses on a continual basis,” Chung said. Asked whether he will meet DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, Chung said that a request was made to the DPRK authorities but no meeting has been fixed yet. “But a meeting will be possible either by the end of March or in early April,” Chung said.

6. DPRK Official’s Market Economy Training

Korea Herald (“UNDP TO TRAIN NORTH KOREAN OFFICIALS ON MARKET ECONOMY OVERSEAS,” Seoul, 03/09/99) reported that DPRK officials will be educated about the free market economy in foreign capitalist countries, the Seoul office of the UN Development Plan (UNDP) said Monday. The overseas training program will be preceded by courses on market economics to be provided in Pyongyang early next month. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) will sponsor the Pyongyang program to initiate senior DPRK officials into the basics of a free market economy. “The overseas training program will offer North Korean officials a chance to lift their gaze beyond its Stalinist economy and learn about capitalist economic systems,” an official of the ROK Ministry of Finance and Economy said. “They will also learn to look at the world from a fresh perspective.” The IBRD program in Pyongyang, entitled “economic management training” is to be managed by UNDP and will last for seven weeks, with about 30 DPRK officials attending, according to the UNDP Seoul office. Instructors will be PRC professors and IBRD consultants. The Bank of Korea is also moving to participate in the Pyongyang program.

7. Russian Arms Delivery to ROK

Chosun Ilbo (“MORE RUSSIAN ARMS ARRIVING,” Seoul, 03/09/99) reported that the Russian government will deliver a total of US$16.53 million in armored vehicles and ground-to-air missiles to the ROK as part of their in-kind payment for an economic cooperation fund provided by the ROK government in 1993. The government has already received five installments of Russian-made weaponry worth US$210 million over the last few years, which included T- 80U main battle tanks, BMP3 infantry fighting vehicles, and “Akula” anti-aircraft missiles. Government sources said that the most recent shipment is due to arrive at Chinhae port on Wednesday.

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Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

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Berkeley, California, United States

Lee Dong-young:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

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Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
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