NAPSNet Daily Report 10 January, 2000

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 10 January, 2000", NAPSNet Daily Report, January 10, 2000, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-10-january-2000/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. No Gun Ri Incident
2. Kazakhstan MiG Sales to DPRK
3. Japanese Views on DPRK Normalization
4. ROK Military Purchases
5. Japan and the G-8
6. US-Japan Relations
II. Republic of Korea 1. No Gun Ri Incident
2. DPRK-US Relations
3. DPRK Electricity Shortage
4. KEDO Construction
5. ROK Expectations of PRC
6. PRC Continues Missile Shipments to DPRK
7. DPRK Gross National Income
8. DPRK Military Expenditures
9. ROK Aid to DPRK
10. ROK Computer Aid to DPRK Prohibited
11. DPRK-ROK Economic Cooperation
12. DPRK-ROK Talks
13. ROK NGO Representatives to Visit DPRK
14. ROK Policy on Inter-Korean Cooperation
15. DPRK Defectors in Russia

I. United States

1. No Gun Ri Incident

Agence France Presse (“US ARMY SECRETARY MEETS SURVIVORS OF WAR-TIME MASSACRE IN S.KOREA,” Seoul, 1/10/00) and the Associated Press (Kyong-hwa Seok, “U.S. ARMY HEAD VOWS NO GUN RI PROBE,” No Gun Ri, 1/10/00) reported that an official at the local ROK county office in Yongdong, 214 kilometers (133 miles) south of Seoul, told AFP in a telephone interview that US Army Secretary Louis Caldera today met No Gun Ri survivors as part of a US Defense Department probe into the case. The official said that the survivors showed the US Defense Department officials a five-minute video tape showing a nearby railway bridge under which they said innocent civilians had been shot to death by US machine guns, and that “the video film shows bullet marks on the walls of the bridge.” ROK defense ministry spokesman Yoon Il-Young quoted Caldera today as saying “the investigation may take longer than expected.” Yoon reported that Caldera said the US needed more time to look into more of the survivors’ testimonies as well as air force and army documents for the case. ROK officials said Caldera met with ROK Defense Minister Cho Seong-Tae and other defense officials in Seoul earlier today and was briefed on the results of the ROK investigation into the incident. Caldera arrived in the ROK on January 9 and is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on ROK President Kim Dae-Jung and meet with ROK Foreign Minister Hong Soon-Yong before he leaves on January 13.

2. Kazakhstan MiG Sales to DPRK

Reuters (“KAZAKHSTAN OPENS TRIAL FOR NORTH KOREA MIG SALE,” Alamaty, 1/10/00) reported that a Kazakhstan military tribunal today opened court hearings in Almaty against the head of the armed forces’ general staff Bakhitzhan Yertayev and businessman Alexander Petrenko, charged with the illegal sale of several MiG-21 fighter aircraft to the DPRK last year. Petrenko’s lawyer Vladimir Abiyev told reporters, “Petrenko is being tried under Article 250 for smuggling army property while Yertayev is being tried under Article 380, that is, for misusing his official position and overstepping his commission.” Kazakhstan has admitted that the MiGs were sold to the DPRK but denied government knowledge of the sale. Yertayev, however, said that the sale had taken place with the knowledge of his superiors at the Defense Ministry. “(A)s chief of general headquarters, I was carrying out a government resolution. If I had not fulfilled it, they would have done (to me) what they want to do now. There were no violations.”

3. Japanese Views on DPRK Normalization

Reuters (“ITALY’S N.KOREA MOVE COULD HELP JAPAN,” Rome, 1/10/00) reported that Chikahito Harada, spokesman for Japan’s Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, said today that Italy’s move to forge diplomatic ties with the DPRK could indirectly help Japan’s talks to normalize its relations with the DPRK. Kono said, “I don’t think there will be a direct effect on our negotiations because we have a different context of relations with North Korea. But in more general terms … the general environment surrounding North Korea is hopefully improved, so very indirectly it might have an effect.” Harada reported that Kono told Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema and Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini. that Japan hoped Italy would “take initiatives so North Korea will become more constructive.” Harada also quoted D’Alema as saying: “Italy would like to take initiatives so North Korea will move toward democracy, and from that point of view Italy established diplomatic relations with North Korea.”

4. ROK Military Purchases

Associated Press (“S. KOREA TO BUY 100 ISRAELI PLANES,” Seoul, 1/09/00) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said today that the ROK will buy 100 Israeli-made planes this year to beef up its defense against the DPRK. Colonel Chung Won-mo, a senior budget officer in ROK Defense Ministry, said the Israel-made “Harpy” drones can pinpoint enemy artillery, radar and missile systems and attack them. The ROK is also pushing to purchase Israeli-made “Popeye” air-to-ground and US-made “Harpoon” ship-to-ship missiles.

5. Japan and the G-8

Reuters (“OBUCHI SET TO PUSH JAPAN’S ROLE IN ASIA,” Tokyo, 1/10/00) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi embarks on a visit today to Cambodia, Laos and Thailand from January 10-15 in a sign of Japan’s growing determination to take a leadership role in Asia. Akitaka Saiki, a spokesman for Obuchi, said, “Japan is the only Asian member of the G8 and would like to have the voices and concerns of as many Asian countries as possible reflected in the discussions of the G8 leaders.” Saiki also said, “Japan of course wants to be more closely associated with the countries of the Asian region. And if there is a common call on the part of the Asian countries that Japan play a major political role in the region, I think we will have to pay great attention.” Some doubt whether Japan is ready for a wider political leadership role. Tsutomu Ono, a Japanese political commentator, said, “economic leadership is something Japan can definitely provide and they are building the connections to do so. Otherwise, they are just trying to garner support to bolster their own position in the international community. They are not ready for political leadership yet.”

6. US-Japan Relations

The Los Angeles Times (Sonni Efron, “PURSUIT OF WWII REDRESS HITS JAPANESE BOARDROOMS, COURTS,” Tokyo, 1/10/00) reported that Japanese corporations have been confronted with a barrage of lawsuits filed in US courts by Allied prisoners of war and others who say they were used as forced laborers during World War II. At least 14 lawsuits have been filed on behalf of victims and perhaps two dozen more are expected soon. There is growing anxiety and resentment in Japan over the lawsuits. Some see US lawyers as greedy and plotting to mug “deep-pocket” Japanese companies. A source close to the Japanese government said, “this is really a form of extortion,” because even if the businesses prevailed, they would be faced with bad publicity and high legal fees. Takashi Inoguchi, a political scientist at Tokyo University, predicted that “anti-American sentiment will increase in a visible way,” if that part of Japan’s past was visited in US courts and media. Inoguchi also feared that a backlash could strengthen Japan’s ultraconservatives, increase suspicions of the US Jews who some perceive as masterminding the legal attack, and potentially strain US-Japanese relations.

II. Republic of Korea

1. No Gun Ri Incident

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “U.S. DELEGATION ARRIVES TO COORDINATE PROBE OF ALLEGED MASSACRE IN NOGUN-RI,” Seoul, 01/10/00) reported that a 19-person US delegation arrived in the ROK on January 9 to discuss with their Korean counterparts how to coordinate a probe into the alleged Korean War massacre at No Gun Ri. US Army Secretary Louis Caldera lead the team comprised of seven “high-level” civilian experts and military investigators. ROK officials said today that the US investigators will visit No Gun Ri and meet with ROK Defense Minister Cho Sung-tae. The US delegation is scheduled to hold a meeting on January 11 with its ROK counterpart, headed by the minister of government policy coordination, for a briefing on the latter’s own probe into the mass killing. An ROK government official said that the US delegation’s visit to the ROK is in line with efforts by the two governments to conclude investigations into the No Gun Ri case by late May.

2. DPRK-US Relations

Joongang Ilbo (“U.S. AND NK LIKELY TO ESTABLISH LIAISON OFFICES SHORTLY,” Seoul, 01/06/00) reported that the US and the DPRK will reportedly seek to establish liaison offices shortly. US ambassador to the ROK Stephen Bosworth said on January 6 in an interview with Yonhap News Agency, “we have been prepared to establish liaison offices with North Korea for five years. The U.S. will move rapidly to establish an office, if North Korea shows that it is willing to make an agreement on the establishment of the offices.” Bosworth added, “The U.S. is considering the gradual easing of sanctions against North Korea in order to normalize relations between the two countries.”

3. DPRK Electricity Shortage

Joongang Ilbo (“NK FACES SEASONAL ELECTRICITY SHORTAGE,” Seoul, 01/07/00) reported that the DPRK is suffering from an electricity shortage. DPRK newspaper Rodong Shinmun recently reported that the electric power supply is insufficient due to the small amount of rainfall, while demands for electricity have increased. The newspaper added that the operation of factories and corporations has been normalized in 1999, increasing the demand for electricity. However, the electricity shortage has occurred every winter in the DPRK, as hydroelectric power generation supplies about half of the DPRK’s electricity, while thermal power generation provides the other half. As a consequence, the DPRK government is encouraging coal production to cope with the current power shortage. The DPRK’s investment in the power sector last year climbed by fifteen percent over the previous year.

4. KEDO Construction

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-gu, “NK DEMANDS WAGE HIKE FOR NUCLEAR WORKERS,” Seoul, 01/07/00) reported that the DPRK has demanded that salaries of some two hundred laborers working at the construction site of nuclear reactors being built by the Korean Energy Development Organization (KEDO) be raised from the current US$110 to US$600 monthly. Sources said that the DPRK has been threatening to demobilize their laborers if the wage raise is not accepted. One ROK official in charge of the project in Keumho in South Hamgyung province said that the DPRK has been clamoring for the wage hike since last fall. At the time, KEDO executive director Dusaix Anderson sent a letter to DPRK authorities refusing the raise, citing a written agreement confirming the wages. KEDO and the DPRK had agreed in 1997 that KEDO pay US$110 a month to unskilled laborers and US$130 to US$220 for skilled laborers. Currently, all DPRK laborers are classified as unskilled. The ROK official said the current wage is still high in comparison to wages in Southeast Asia and the PRC, but added that the dispute could linger since the basic wage was set in 1997 while construction could continue into 2006.

5. ROK Expectations of PRC

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “SEOUL EXPECTS CHINA TO PLAY HONEST BROKER ROLE IN S-N PEACE,” Seoul, 01/09/00) reported that the ROK expects the PRC to ask the DPRK to scrap its weapons of mass destruction development program. A senior official of the Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry said that the ROK government expects the PRC to act as an honest broker for inter-Korean peace and provide advice to the DPRK so that it would become a responsible member of the international community. It is the first time the ROK government has encouraged the PRC to provide open and frank suggestions to the DPRK when it is deemed necessary to ensure peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

6. PRC Continues Missile Shipments to DPRK

The Korea Times (“CHINA CONTINUES MISSILE SHIPMENTS TO N.KOREA,” Seoul, 01/07/00) reported that the Washington Times cited a US Defense Department intelligence report on January 6 that showed the PRC is continuing to supply materials for the DPRK’s long-range missile program. The Times said the PRC sent missile-related goods to the DPRK two weeks ago through a Hong Kong company. The US Defense Department declined to comment on the newspaper report, which showed that the PRC was breaking a commitment to curb such sales, which are covered by the 29-nation Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Officials declined to provide further details about the shipment, citing sensitive intelligence concerns.

7. DPRK Gross National Income

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “N. KOREA’S GNI CUT BY HALF OVER PAST 10 YEARS,” Seoul, 01/10/00) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry said in a recent publication that the DPRK’s gross national income (GNI) last year was estimated at about US$130 billion, almost half of the US$240 billion recorded 10 years ago. According to the “DPRK Summary 2000,” the DPRK governmental budget, estimated at about US$9.4 billion, dropped by 37.3 percent over the 10-year period. The report said that, “in addition, the North’s energy production reduced by more than 40 percent, while its labor productivity has halved over the past 10 years.” The report also said that the DPRK’s population was estimated at 22 million – 10.8 million men and 11.2 million women – noting the rate of increase dropped in the 1990s due to a severe food crisis and lack of medical treatments.

8. DPRK Military Expenditures

Joongang Ilbo (“NK SPENDS ESTIMATED $4.78 BILLION ON NATIONAL DEFENSE LAST YEAR,” Seoul, 01/09/00) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry announced on January 9 that in 1999 the DPRK government spent an estimated US$4.78 billion, 52 percent of its total budget, on defense. That figure is 3.5 times more than the US$1.36 billion officially claimed by DPRK authorities. According to a report titled ‘North Korea Outline 2000’ which analyzed information from the DPRK, the DPRK has concealed much of its real national defense expenditure in other categories such as welfare spending. A source from the ministry said, “N.Korea has expanded its national defense expenditure despite the economic depression that has gripped the nation since the early 1990s.” The source said the country is estimated to put 45 to 50 percent of its defense budget into the build-up of its military force.

9. ROK Aid to DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (Jung Kwon-hyun, “GOV’T AID TO NK US$46 MIL. IN 1999,” Seoul, 01/09/00) reported that the ROK government and private civic groups in the country provided aid to the DPRK worth US$46.88 million last year, representing a 1.5 times increase over the US$31.85 million from the preceding year. According to the Ministry of Unification’s report issued on January 9, supplies of fertilizer to the DPRK by the Korean National Red Cross (KNRC) occupied the largest donation, at US$38.8 million. This was followed by grains worth US$3.72 million; farming equipment of US$1.96 million; medical items of US$1.82 million; clothing of US$1.17 million; livestock items of US$1.73 million; seed of US$330,000; and other aid items of US$170,000.

10. ROK Computer Aid to DPRK Prohibited

Joongang Ilbo (“GOVERNMENT PROHIBITS 486 COMPUTER SUPPORT TO NK,” Seoul, 01/07/00) and Chosun Ilbo (Jung Kwon-hyun, “BAN ON SENDING 486 CPU TYPE COMPUTERS TO NK IMPOSED,” Seoul, 01/06/00) reported that the ROK government has decided to prohibit delivery to the DPRK of personal computers fitted with CPU chips better than the 386 model. An ROK government source said on January 7, “This decision was made to fall into step with the U.S. and Japan, and in consideration of the Wassenar Arrangement. The U.S. and Japan have prohibited the exports of over-386-level computers to North Korea.” The DPRK has reportedly requested personal computer support from firms and civil organizations in the ROK, which has sent the DPRK a total of 450 computers.

11. DPRK-ROK Economic Cooperation

The Korea Herald (“HYUNDAI TO DISCUSS INDUSTRIAL PARK WITH N.K. THIS MONTH,” Seoul, 01/10/00) reported that the Hyundai Group will hold working-level talks with the DPRK’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee this month in the PRC on the conglomerate’s future business projects in the DPRK, including an industrial complex on the west coast. An ROK Unification Ministry official said on January 8 that a Hyundai delegation led by Kim Koh-jung will discuss the construction of a large gym and an industrial complex, and the renting of a motel in Mount Kumgang. The group wants to settle the issues of sending a mission to the site for the complex on the west coast and setting prices for renting the motel, he added.

12. DPRK-ROK Talks

The Korea Times (“U.S. ANNOUNCES TALKS WITH N.KOREA TO RESUME JAN. 22 IN BERLIN,” Seoul, 01/07/99) reported that the Clinton administration announced on January 7 that talks between US and DPRK officials will resume in Berlin later in January. The State Department said in a statement that a US delegation led by Charles Kartman will meet with a DPRK delegation headed by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan. US State Department spokesman James Rubin said preparations for a forthcoming visit to the US by a high-level DPRK official were on the agenda. US National Security Adviser Sandy Berger said the administration puts a high priority on the talks because it remains concerned about DPRK’s missile program. Berger stated, “we want to pursue that very actively. North Korea has a choice. It can either pursue more normal relations…. or it can continue with its threatening nuclear and missile programs and continue to be isolated and continue to be contained by the rest of the world. We’re prepared to go down either path.”

13. ROK NGO Representatives to Visit DPRK

The Korea Herald (“4 MEMBERS OF CIVIC GROUP TO VISIT NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 01/10/00) reported that four members of a civic group committed to helping the DPRK overcome its food shortage entered the DPRK on January 8 to oversee the distribution of 5 million eggs that it sent to the DPRK at the end of last year. An official of “Our Nation’s Mutual Assistance Movement” said, “The four members entered the North via Beijing Saturday and will stay through Tuesday.”

14. ROK Policy on Inter-Korean Cooperation

The Korea Herald (“UNIFICATION MINISTER VOWS TO SEEK DIVERSE SOLUTIONS,” Seoul, 01/10/00) reported that ROK Unification Minister Park Jae-kyu said on Saturday that he will explore diverse paths for inter-Korean cooperation, based on the current civil-level exchanges. In a welcoming party in Masan hosted by dignitaries of ROK Kyongsang Province, Park said, “During my tenure, I will make an all-out effort to enhance substantial economic cooperation and exchanges between North and South Korea and reunite Korean families separated since 1948.”

15. DPRK Defectors in Russia

The Korea Herald (“KOREA RED CROSS APPEALS FOR PROTECTION OF 7 N.K. ESCAPEES ,” Seoul, 01/10/00), Chosun Ilbo (Jung Kwon-hyun, “NK REFUGEES IN RUSSIA FACE DEPORTATION,” Seoul, 01/06/00), The Korea Times (“RED CROSS SOCIETY APPEALS TO INT’L ORGANIZATIONS TO PROTECT NK REFUGEES,” Seoul, 01/09/00) and The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “SEOUL PROTESTS MOSCOW’S ACTION TO SEND 7 NK ESCAPEES TO CHINA,” Seoul, 01/07/00) reported that the Korea National Red Cross (KNRC) sent letters of appeal to international human rights organizations for the protection of seven DPRK refugees in the PRC who will likely be deported back to the DPRK. The letter was sent to the International Committee of Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross, PRC National Red Cross and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

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

Gee Gee Wong: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun: khs688@hotmail.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

Leanne Paton: anjlcake@webtime.com.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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