I. United States
1. DPRK Missile Development
The Associated Press (Tom Raum, “CIA WARNS OF NORTH KOREAN MISSILES,” Washington, 2/10/00) reported that Robert Walpole, the CIA official in charge of strategic and nuclear issues, told the US Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee on February 9 that the DPRK is still developing its long-range ballistic missile program. Walpole said that the DPRK’s continued willingness to sell its missiles and technology to other nations poses a major threat to US troops and to allies in the Middle East and Asia. Walpole said that even if the DPRK is sticking by its promise not to test missiles in the atmosphere, ground testing of various components is believed to still be taking place. Walpole’s testimony was based on an unclassified update completed in September which found that the DPRK and Iran are likely over the next 15 years to develop missiles potentially capable of hitting the US. Walpole said that if the DPRK ends its freeze on testing, it could test its long-range Taepodong-2 ballistic missile later this year, adding that a three-stage Taepodong-2 would be capable of delivering a several-hundred-ton nuclear payload anywhere in the US. Walpole said that the proliferation of shorter-range ballistic missiles, “driven primarily by North Korean No Dong sales, has created an immediate, serious and growing threat to U.S. forces, interests and allies in the Middle East and Asia.” Walpole also said that not all of the US intelligence community analysts shared the view that the DPRK is continuing to develop its long-range ballistic missile program, but that a majority did.
2. ROK Policy toward DPRK
Agence France Presse (“N. KOREA URGED TO ABANDON NUCLEAR, MISSILE AMBITIONS TO SAVE ECONOMY,” Seoul, 2/10/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on Thursday urged the DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons and missiles programs. Kim said, “like China and Vietnam, even if (the DPRK) is able to maintain its political system, without full-fledged reforms it will not be able to maintain its economic system. The key message of my Sunshine policy is that North Korea must stop engaging in provocations towards the South and discard any ambitions it has regarding nuclear weapons and missiles. In return, it will be given the help it needs and will be able to come out of its isolation and back into the international community. North Korea knows this, everyone knows this. Engagement is the only viable policy. It’s a win-win situation for it.” Kim stated, “I want to emphasize that during the remaining three years of my term, I do not think that reunification will take place and this is not my goal now, my goal is to end the Cold War and bring about peaceful exchanges. I do believe that if we stay with the (Sunshine) policy with consistency … we will be able to end the Cold War on the Korean peninsula during my term.”
3. Russia-DPRK Treaty
Agence France Presse (“END OF RUSSIAN PACT TO DEFEND NORTH KOREA REDUCES TENSION: MINISTERS,” Seoul, 2/10/00), the New York Times (“WITH NEW TREATY, RUSSIA AND NORTH KOREA TRY TO MEND RELATIONS,” Tokyo, 2/10/00) and the Associated Press (“IVANOV VOWS TO IMPROVE N.KOREA TIES,” Seoul, 2/10/00) reported that the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov stated on Thursday that the new friendship pact with the DPRK will help ease tensions on the Korean peninsula. Ivanov said, “the treaty provides a good legal basis for the development of friendly relations and it will contribute to stability on the Korean peninsula and in the region. Russia will cooperate in the work to defuse tensions and ensure lasting stability on the Korean peninsula.” Robert Dujarric, a senior research fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, said, “the Russians wanted and want to maintain some sort of tie with North Korea, but are not willing to go very far. It was pretty clear since the collapse of the Soviet Union they would never back North Korea militarily.”
4. Russia-Japan Talks
The Associated Press (“RUSSIA, JAPAN SEEK ISLANDS TREATY,” Tokyo, 2/10/00) reported that the Japanese Kyodo News agency said that Japan’s Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov pledged Thursday to continue seeking their territorial dispute resolution and sign a peace treaty by the end of the year. Kyodo said that Ivanov held talks with Obuchi shortly after arriving in Tokyo for a four-day visit. The news agency also said that Ivanov and Obuchi reaffirmed their commitment to a plan to normalize relations this year. Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono also met with Ivanov and asked him to help persuade the DPRK to halt its suspected missile and nuclear weapons program.
5. Russia-PRC Military Cooperation
Washington Post (John Pomfret, “RUSSIANS HELP CHINA MODERNIZE ITS ARSENAL NEW MILITARY TIES RAISE U.S. CONCERNS,” Beijing, 2/10/00, P.A17) reported that Western experts and Asian diplomats said that over the last year, Russia-PRC security ties have surpassed simple cash-for-weapons transactions and are evolving into something more complex and potentially far-reaching. Major General Tyson Fu, director of the Institute of Strategic Studies at Taiwan’s Armed Forces University, said, “the weapons don’t concern us as much as the technology transfers do. That is where the Russians are making their biggest impact.” Western experts are split over whether the agreements recently signed between Russia and the PRC will turn into long-term cooperation. Diplomats and scholars with a variety of viewpoints agreed that the Sino-Russian relationship has acquired new energy since the Kosovo crisis. Stephen Blank, a professor at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, said, “to pretend that this trend toward greater strategic coordination will simply dissolve before our superior strength or wisdom, or because in the past China and Russia have been unable to forge an enduring partnership is to abdicate the requirements of statesmanship. In general, I think we have been far too complacent about this relationship, but I hope that will change.” A senior Western diplomat said that unlike the pressure placed on Israel, there has been no concerted pressure on Russia to stop sales and transfers of military technology to the PRC. John Frankenstein, an expert on the PRC military- industrial complex, said, “I think what the Chinese buy from the Russians or [other foreign sources] is a tacit admission that their defense industries cannot design and make the stuff that the [military] thinks it needs. The Chinese defense industries represent a worst-case example of the problems of the Chinese state-owned enterprises–under-capitalized, lagging technology, over-staffed and poorly managed.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 10, 2000.]
6. PRC, Russian Views of Space Weapons
Reuters (“CHINA AND RUSSIA BACK PACT TO BAN SPACE WEAPONS,” Geneva, 2/10/00) reported that PRC envoy Hu Xiaodi on Thursday at the Conference on Disarmament formally proposed negotiations to conclude a global treaty which would ban the testing, deployment and use of weapons in outer space. Russian Ambassador Vasily Sidorov immediately stepped up to support the proposal. Hu said that he submitted a proposal to set up a committee to start negotiations on preventing an arms race in outer space because it should be “one of the highest priorities” on the agenda of the United Nations forum. Hu said, “the negotiation and conclusion of an international legal instrument or instruments on the prevention of the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space should be set as the definite direction and ultimate goal of the work of the committee. China has always opposed arms races of any kind, including an arms race in outer space. This basic position remains unchanged.” Sidorov said that “events in recent times” should incite the Conference on Disarmament to act on outer space, adding, “it is urgent to tackle this problem.”
7. PRC Human Rights
Agence France Presse (“EU BEING SOFT ON CHINA: HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS” Beijing, 2/10/00) reported that six international human rights groups called on the European Union on Thursday to drop its policy of “quiet diplomacy” towards the PRC, and join the US in criticizing the PRC at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in March. The groups said in a statement: “the Chinese government is currently conducting the most ruthless repression of dissent since the 1989 crackdown.” They said that ongoing repression was “most vividly evidenced in the drive against the Falungong movement and the harsh sentencing of labor, political and spiritual activists and Tibetan religious leaders to prison terms of up to 18 years.” The human rights groups also stated that “dialogue without pressure in the face of persistent gross violations of human rights is simply appeasement and degrades the authority of international human rights standards. In the interest of upholding the universality of human rights, it is of utmost importance that the issue of human rights in China be taken up as a multilateral effort, and not be reduced to a topic of US-China politics.” The EU has not confirmed whether or not it will support the upcoming motion.
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