NAPSNet Daily Report 10 July, 1997

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 10 July, 1997", NAPSNet Daily Report, July 10, 1997, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-10-july-1997/

In today’s Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Russian Federation

I. United States

1. New US Food Aid to DPRK

Reuters (“US TO DECIDE SOON ON MORE FOOD AID FOR NORTH KOREA,” Washington, 7/10/97) reported that Lynn Rogers, acting assistant administrator of the US Agency for International Development (AID) said Thursday that the US will decide “fairly soon” whether to provide more food aid for the DPRK in response to the UN World Food Program’s latest appeal for an additional US$46 million in aid. Rogers declined to say what type of food aid the US could provide. In response to an earlier WFP appeal this year for US$96 million of food aid for the DPRK, the US donated 50,000 tons of corn valued at nearly US$15 million. The US has donated US$33.4 million over the past two years. Rogers said that although rice is a good food for children — the main target of the WFP appeal — it is more expensive than corn. “The reason we chose corn is because we wanted a bulk commodity to provide as much food as possible,” Rogers said. Rogers added that a fairly quick decision is required because of the six to eight weeks it takes to ship food to the DPRK from the US. “You’d probably need to have it there before mid-October” to have the greatest impact, Rogers said. The last shipment of US corn arrived in the DPRK at the end of June.

US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns (“STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JULY 10, 1997,” USIA Transcript, 7/10/97) stated that the US has made no decision on new food aid to the DPRK. “We are addressing that question urgently, but we’ve only had the information from the World Food Program for 24 hours. So we’ll need some more time to look through the request before the Secretary can make a decision.”

US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns (“STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JULY 9, 1997,” USIA Transcript, 7/09/97) on the previous day stated, “I would just note that having received this appeal just this morning, we are now going to take it under consideration. I can tell you that I believe we have responded positively to every food appeal from the World Food Program over the last several years. We are the largest contributor, and I would argue, the strongest supporter of the World Food Program’s activities in North Korea. So we are going to give this very serious consideration.” Asked if he expected the US to announce a decision “within the next few weeks, specifically before the meetings in New York in August,” Burns replied, “Without wanting to create any artificial deadlines here, I think, given the fact that this is an emergency appeal to a situation that — to a country that has very severe food deficiencies, I think that we would obviously look at this with some degree of urgency and probably arrive at a decision fairly quickly.”

2. Hwang Statements, US Reactions on DPRK War Intentions

The Associated Press (“DEFECTOR: NKOREA MAY INVADE SKOREA,” Seoul, 7/10/97) and Reuters (“DEFECTOR ISSUES NEW WARNINGS OF WAR IN N.KOREA,” Seoul, 7/10/97) reported Thursday that Hwang Jang-yop, the high-ranking DPRK official who defected to the ROK earlier in the year, told a news conference on that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il had rejected reform as a means to head off economic collapse and famine, and was plotting a lightning war against the ROK as the only means to save his regime. However, Hwang also admitted that he had no proof for an earlier claim that the DPRK could launch a nuclear attack. Hwang’s comments came during his second news conference since arriving on April 20 via the PRC and the Philippines, and his first public appearance following 80 days of interrogation by ROK and US intelligence officials. Hwang, while touted as a potential gold mine of data on one of the world’s most secretive regimes, did not provide any startling new information in the appearance. “The North’s war preparation is beyond imagination,” Hwang said, describing networks of tunnels and stockpiled weapons. Hwang added that the DPRK is confident it can win a war against ROK and US forces, but did not disclose any details on the DPRK’s war plans. When pressed regarding his earlier assertion that the DPRK could “scorch” the ROK, and even Japan, with nuclear arms, Hwang conceded: “I don’t really know.” “It is common knowledge they do have these weapons, but there is no means to verify that.” Hwang dismissed suggestions of a split in the DPRK regime between hard-liners and moderates, saying: “It is a country of one-man dictatorship.” But when asked if all North Koreans supported Kim, Hwang replied, “Why are hundreds of thousands of people dying in off-limit areas?,” hinting at the existence of dissent and perhaps internal exile, or concentration camps. The news conference was carried live by all major ROK TV stations.

US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns (“STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JULY 10, 1997,” USIA Transcript, 7/10/97) replied to the statements by Hwang Jang-yop at his news conference that the DPRK is prepared to launch an all-out attack on the ROK. “There’s no doubt that the Korean Peninsula remains a potentially destabilizing place. That is why the United States has a defensive alliance with South Korean and why we have stationed 37,000 troops along the demilitarized zone. We are absolutely prepared to defend our ally, the Republic of Korea, should that be necessary. Now, we hope that will not be necessary because we hope that the recent steps by North Korea to agree to the four-party talks — the meeting on August 5th in New York — that that will go forward. The agreed framework which has frozen North Korea’s nuclear program in place now for two and a half years — going on three years this Autumn — that program is in place, the commitments of North Korea are being maintained. We don’t know that because we trust North Korea. We know that because we are able to verify North Korea’s actions.”

US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns (“STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JULY 9, 1997,” USIA Transcript, 7/09/97) on the previous day stated, “One of the great things about living in a democracy like South Korea is that you get to do things like that. You can speak out in public, and you ought not to be criticized by anyone for having done so. So we congratulate him for having left the communist North and gone to the Korea that is free. We wish him well. … One couldn’t possibly question his right to have press conference. I don’t want to associate ourselves with everything he is saying because I wouldn’t want to do that. But he is certainly free to say what he wants to say.”

3. Hwang Statements, US Reactions on Food Aid Effects

US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns (“STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JULY 10, 1997,” USIA Transcript, 7/10/97), asked about DPRK defector Hwang Jong-yap’s remarks at his news conference that the DPRK agreed to attend the four-party talks only to more food aid, Burns said, “Well, we have never joined the issue of four-party talks with food aid. … We will know if North Korea is serious sooner rather than later, once we get to the table with China, the Republic of Korea and North Korea in the four-party talks. If they are not serious, it will be evident very early on.” Subsequently asked about Hwang’s remarks that the DPRK government is using food shortages as a means to oppress opposition groups, and whether he was “sure” US food aid does not do more to bolster the DPRK regime than feed its people, Burns said, “I am sure. I am sure. We have no interest in propping up that decrepit regime in North Korea — the communist system. It’s a failed system; it’s a dinosaur. Marx and Lenin and Stalin and all of them have been proven wrong about how societies ought to be ordered. We do have an interest in helping four- and five- and six-year-old North Koreans who are suffering from famine. We can account for all of our food aid. None of it goes to the North Korean military. None of it goes to the government in Pyongyang. All of it goes to the World Food Program, which distributes food directly through its subsidiaries to individuals in North Korea, civilians in North Korea. We would never give food aid directly to the government because the Army would get the food aid.”

4. US Statements on US Access to Hwang

US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns (“STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JULY 10, 1997,” USIA Transcript, 7/10/97) confirmed that the US has had “a series of discussions” with DPRK defector Hwang Jong-yap, but added, “I am not in a position to go into the content because that was a private series of discussions that we had with him.” [Ed. note: See also “US Gains Access to Defector Hwang” in the US section of the June 20 Daily Report.]

US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns (“STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JULY 9, 1997,” USIA Transcript, 7/09/97) on the previous day stated, “At some point, as you know, the United States is interested in talking to him. But I couldn’t possibly go into whether or not we have done that, or the contents of that conversation.”

5. US Statements on ROK-Japan Fishing Conflict

US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns (“STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JULY 9, 1997,” USIA Transcript, 7/09/97) replied to a question regarding the recent incident in which Japan seized ROK fishing vessels in a dispute over the stipulating territorial waters between the two countries. Burns stated, “I would just note that Japan and the Republic of Korea are both major and important allies of the United States. We do not wish to take sides in this disagreement. We urge and hope that both will resolve these differences peacefully.” Asked if the US intended to help mediate a compromise, Burns said, “I am not aware that we have been asked to do so, and a successful ingredient of any mediation is that you need to be asked by both sides. I am not aware that we have. These are both responsible governments who we believe should be able to work this problem out amicable.

6. PRC Missile Deployment

The Associated Press (“CHINA UPGRADES SHORT-RANGE MISSILE SYSTEMS,” Washington, 7/10/97) reported that a classified report by the US Defense Department’s National Air Intelligence Center says that the PRC is installing new mobile, intermediate-range missile systems intended to target Russia, India, Taiwan, Japan and other parts of East Asia. The CSS-5 Mod 1, a mobile, solid-fuel missile with a range of 1,333 miles, is replacing the liquid-fuel CSS-2, with a range of 1,922 miles, in some deployment areas. Solid-fuel missiles can be launched more quickly, and most modern missiles use that kind of propellant. The PRC has about 40 CSS-2 refire-capable launchers at six field garrisons and launch complexes, and is converting many of those launchers to handle the new CSS-5 launchers and missiles, according to the report. The Air Force believes the number of CSS-2 sites probably will drop because the United States no longer operates bases in the Philippines and because China’s M-9 short-range missiles deployed along the eastern coast can be used to attack Taiwan instead, the Center’s report said.

7. US Statements on Cambodia Coup

US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns (“STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JULY 10, 1997,” USIA Transcript, 7/10/97) stated that the US has decided to suspend all aid to Cambodia for the next 30 days to conduct an extensive review of the aid programs and limit any renewed aid to programs supporting humanitarian, people-to-people support. Burns said it would be unlikely that the US would cut its support for demining programs in Cambodia. Burns said the suspension of aid signals to Second Prime Minister Hun Sen the US displeasure at his having ousted First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, breaking the coalition government, and rupturing the 1991 peace accords. Ranariddh meets with Acting Secretary of State Thomas Pickering on July 11. US Ambassador to Cambodia Kenneth Quinn so far has not been successful in arranging a meeting with Hun Sen, Burns said. Burns added that the US is very pleased with the decision by the current members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to postpone consideration of Cambodia for membership in ASEAN. The decision signals to Hun Sen that “it’s not going to be business as usual between the international community and the current government of Cambodia,” Burns said. Burns said that the US also supports ASEAN’s decision to send the foreign ministers of Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia to consult with King Sihanouk, who is currently in Beijing. The King, according to Burns, has “an important role to play in this conflict.”

US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns (“STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JULY 9, 1997,” USIA Transcript, 7/09/97) stated that the US is ordering the departure of 41 nonessential US Embassy personnel and 28 dependents from the US Embassy in Phnom Penh. Twenty official US personnel will be left to man the embassy, he said. Burns said the US is encouraging private US citizens not to travel to Cambodia, and those that are there — an estimated 1,000 to 1,300 — are being encouraged to leave via commercial aircraft. Burns continued to decline to describe the government takeover by Second Prime Minister Hun Sen as a “coup.” But he did condemn the killing of Interior Minister Ho Sok, an opponent of Hun Sen, who had been in the custody of Hun Sen’s soldiers. US Ambassador to Cambodia Kenneth Quinn has warned Hun Sen and his political supporters that political murders “will not be tolerated or supported in any way by the international community,” Burns said. The US is calling for the international community to speak out against the political violence in Cambodia, Burns said, adding, “We are also watching now for actions by some of our friends in Southeast Asia.” Burns urged all the parties involved to “drop the swords and the guns and get back to the negotiating table. The Paris Peace Accords of 1991 are the only hope for Cambodia, a country with a tortured and tragic past.” All sides, Burns said, should commit themselves to the elections promised for 1998.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Hwang Jang-yop Press Conference

Top DPRK defector Hwang Jang-yop was reported ready to hold a press conference at the ROK’s Agency for National Security Planning (NSP) in Seoul Thursday. At the conference, he was expected to talk about the inner workings of the reclusive regime in Pyongyang and the motives for his defection, said an official of the nation’s top intelligence agency. Hwang, who arrived in Seoul on April 20 after a 67-day journey through the PRC and the Philippines, has since been questioned by ROK intelligence officials. US officials have also joined ROK investigators in questioning Hwang, who entered the ROK consulate in Beijing February to ask for asylum in the ROK. Hwang, a former secretary of DPRK’s ruling Workers’ Party and architect of the DPRK’s guiding principle of juche, has been seen as a major source of information about the secretive DPRK leadership. Political analysts in Seoul, however, did not expect any bombshell announcements from Hwang, recalling that the ROK has promised the PRC not to make use of his case for its political purposes. Moreover, Washington is said not to want Hwang to create a new controversy with the first preliminary meeting for the four-way peace talks less than a month away. In fact, the US reportedly requested the ROK to delay Hwang’s news conference until after the preliminary meeting in New York, but Seoul turned down the request. (Korea Herald, “DEFECTOR HWANG TO HOLD NEWS CONFERENCE TODAY,” 07/10/97)

2. DPRK Leadership Hierarchy

The DPRK’s top leadership remains much the same as last year, with Vice Marshals Cho Myong-rok and Li Ul-sol having moved up one notch each under the military-first policy of Kim Jong-il, the ROK Ministry of National Unification said yesterday. Its analysis is based on the list of DPRK officials who attended the third memorial service for the late Kim Il-sung held Tuesday. The list has Kim Jong-il at the top, followed by three vice presidents, Li Jong-ok, Pak Song-chol and Kim Yong-ju, and Kim Byung-shik of the Central People’s Committee (CPC). The 14-member CPC is an all powerful entity, created in 1972 to boost one-man rule. Premier Kang Song-san of the State Administrative Council, who was rumored to have fallen ill, appeared ranking sixth. Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Kim Yong-nam ranked seventh. Secretaries Kye Ung-tae and Chon Byong-ho of the Workers’ Party took the next slots, followed by vice marshals of the People’s Armed Forces, Cho Myong-rok and Li Ul-sol. Analysts, however, are cautiously predicting that a massive reshuffle will take place once Kim Jong-il officially assumes the posts of party general secretary and state president.(Korea Herald, “LIST OF OFFICIALS INDICATES DPRK LEADERSHIP UNCHANGED,” 07/10/97)

3. DPRK Economy

The DPRK recorded a negative 3.7 percent rate of growth in its real gross national product (GNP) last year, the ROK’s Bank of Korea (BOK) said yesterday. It marks the seventh consecutive year of minus growth for the DPRK. The DPRK registered negative GNP growth rates of 5.1 percent in 1991, 7.7 percent in 1992, 4.2 percent in 1993, 1.8 percent in 1994 and 4.6 percent in 1995. BOK officials attributed the DPRK’s poor economic performance to dampened morale caused by the serious food shortage, as well as to insufficient energy and raw materials. The DPRK’s nominal GNP dropped 4 percent from US$22.3 billion in 1995 to US$21.4 billion last year, and its per capita GNP declined by US$47 to US$910. In 1996, the DPRK’s real GNP represented just 1/22nd of the US$480.4 billion recorded by the ROK, and the DPRK’s per capita GNP was 1/12th the ROK’s US$10,548. The comparable gap between the DPRK and the ROK widened from 10.9 fold in 1990 to 22.4 fold last year in terms of real GNP, and from 6.5-fold to 11.6-fold in terms of per capita GNP, the central bank said. The DPRK ranked 60th in the world in terms of GNP and 110th in terms of per capita GNP in 1996, compared with the ROK’s 11th and 34th positions, respectively, in the same year. Since the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the socialist countries of Eastern Europe in 1991, the DPRK has seen its trade volume decrease substantially. The DPRK’s exports amounted to US$0.73 billion, while its imports came to US$1.25 billion in 1996, representing 1/178th and 1/120th of the respective levels recorded by the ROK. The ratio of exports and imports to real GNP stood at 9.3 percent in the DPRK last year, compared with 58.3 percent in the ROK. The impoverished DPRK produced 3.69 million tons of grain last year, 450,000 tons short of its annual average output, the central bank said. The DPRK saw its production in the mining sector fall 11.8 percent in 1996 from a year ago, largely owing to old-fashioned mining equipment and the lowered morale of miners. The DPRK’s production in the manufacturing, construction and service sectors also dropped 8.9 percent, 11.8 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, in 1996. (Korea Herald, Lee Kap-soo, “DPRK’S ECONOMY SHRINKS FOR 7TH YEAR,” 07/10/97)

4. US Intentions for the DPRK

The US wants to move forward “as soon as possible” with historic four-party talks toward a Korean peace treaty, a senior US official said Tuesday. Acting Assistant Secretary of State Charles Kartman also told a Senate panel that the Clinton administration is prepared to send more emergency food aid to the reclusive communist country. “Every time there has been an international appeal we’ve been the first country to step up to it … generously and promptly,” he said. “We’ve stated publicly that we’ll continue to do that as they come.” The UN World Food Program (WFP) is expected to expand its aid appeal for the DPRK soon, with a substantial US contribution likely to follow. To date, US$25 million of the US$33.4 million in aid that Washington has contributed through the WFP is from 1997. The DPRK’s agreement on June 30 to join four-party talks was “clearly reluctant but driven by necessity,” Kartman said. “In terms of timing, we … have discussed extensively with all parties that we would like these talks to take place as soon as possible, perhaps within a month. Whether it can be done or not remains to be seen,” he said. (Korea Times, “US WANTS TO MOVE QUICKLY ON KOREAN PEACE TALKS,” 07/10/97)

5. ROK President Welcomes DPRK’s Decision

ROK President Kim Young-sam yesterday welcomed the DPRK’s decision to join the four-party Korean peace talks with the ROK, the US, and the PRC. “It is inspiring that an agreement to open a preliminary meeting (to the four-way talks) has been made after several rounds of contacts between South and North Korean authorities,” Kim said in a speech to a unification conference. The inaugural meeting of the eighth Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification was held at the Sejong Cultural Center in downtown Seoul. The president said he hopes that the four-party talks will be opened as soon as possible and that the meeting will enable the two Koreas to begin sincere discussion on ways to permanent establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula. “Ensuring solid peace on the peninsula is an urgent task not only for the future of our people but also for the stability of Northeast Asia as a whole,” Kim said. (Korea Herald, “KIM WELCOMES NORTH’S DECISION TO JOIN 4-WAY TALKS,” 07/10/97)

III. Russian Federation

1. RF Nuclear Weapons Safety

Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye (SAFETY OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS,” Moscow, 6, 7/5-11/97, #24(51)) published a half page article on the problems of nuclear weapons safety. Considering the modern role of nuclear weapons and the crisis state of RF Armed Forces, the authors dwelled on possible threats to nuclear weapons safety and nuclear safety in general, including the RF-produced plutonium issue. They proposed a wide range of measures intended to enhance its safety.

2. RF Considers Accepting Foreign Nuclear Waste

Segodnya (“RUSSIA MIGHT BECOME A RADIOACTIVE ‘GRAVEYARD’,” Moscow, 1, 7/4/97) reported that Viktor Mourogov, a Deputy Director General of the IAEA, remarked that burying radioactive waste materials from foreign nuclear power plants may be profitable for the RF for three reasons: (1) the research has shown “the diffusion of the radioactive materials and the surrounding rocks to be a very slow process”; (2) “in Russia there are regions with a low population density”; and (3) the country possess special R&D works concerning geological burying of waste materials from nuclear power plants.”

3. New SMF Commander-in-Chief

Izvestia (“GENERAL YAKOVLEV HAS BECOME RUSSIA’S YOUNGEST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF,” Moscow, 1, 5, 7/3/97) reported that RF President Boris Yeltsin appointed former Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) Main Staff Chief Vladimir Yakovlev as the Commander-in-Chief of the group. In an interview with Izvestia, General Yakovlev revealed that the reform of SMF would mean a gradual reduction in personnel by 10-15%.

In an interview by Nezavisimaia gazeta (“REFORM OF THE STRATEGIC FORCES WILL YIELD SUBSTANTIAL EFFECT,” Moscow, 1, 2, 7/4/97) with the newly-appointed Commander-in-Chief of RF Strategic Missile Forces (SMF), Col. Gen. Vladimir Yakovlev, the general stressed the deterrence role of SMF and the necessity to preserve their capacity in the future. Yakovlev said “there are absolutely no grounds for the statements” made by some US and other foreign media concerning an alleged inadequacy in RF nuclear weapons controls and a possibility of their accidental firing. Asked whether the budgetary deficits hurt the process of development of the Topol-M missile complex, Yakovlev said the lack of funds “obviously affected” it, but the developers are doing their best. As a result, he said, all three experimental Topol-M launchings have been successful, with the fourth one in the planning stages. The general expressed the long-standing need for reform within the SMF, and said that a merging of the Military Space Forces, the Space Missile Defense Forces, and the SMF would be “a natural and logical step that would not result in a lowering of troop control reliability and combat readiness, but would yield tangible effect in shortest time possible.” Lastly, General Yakovlev stated his belief that “START-2 treaty is undoubtedly beneficial to Russia. There are no alternatives to its ratification from both military strategic and economic points of view.” Although “it has a number of deficiencies …. those have already been neutralized by the Helsinki arrangements,” he said.

4. RF Armed Forces Reform

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“DEFENSE MINISTER BRIEFED THE COUNCIL OF FEDERATION ON ARMY REFORM PROGRAM,” Moscow, 1, 7/5/97) reported that RF Defense Minister General Igor Sergeyev attended a session of RF Council of Federation (the upper chamber of RF parliament) and briefed its members on the state of reform prospects within the RF Armed Forces. He described the situation as “critical,” with only the Strategic Missile Forces, the Airborne Troops, and some of the Ground Forces at the required preparedness level. According to Sergeyev, there has been practically no funding for routine training activities in the Army and the Navy, delays in servicemen wage payments have become a common practice, 97,000 families of officers and warrant-officers are without homes, prestige of military service has “catastrophically” fallen, and the suicide rate among the officer corps has gone up. In his opinion, those facts call for an urgent reform aimed at the creation of a “compact …. professional army.” If the nucleus of the strategic nuclear forces is preserved, Sergeyev said, a large-scale armed aggression against the RF will hardly be possible.

5. RF Deputy Premier Visit to ROK

Izvestia (“SYSUYEV HAS TO ELIMINATE RUSSIA’S ‘DEBT PIT’,” Moscow, 1, 7/5/97) and Kommersant-Daily (“OLEG SYSUYEV LEFT FOR SOUTH KOREA,” Moscow, 3, 7/4/97) reported that RF Deputy Premier Oleg Sysuyev left for the ROK on June 3. He is expected to meet ROK President Kim Young-sam and co-chair the first session of RF-ROK trade-economic and science-technology cooperation commission which has not convened since being created five years ago. Izvestia added that because Sysuyev’s major task will be a search for “Russia’s escape from US$2 billion deep Korean debt pit,” his expected meeting with ROK Defense Minister Kim Don-chin might bring interesting results. Possible solutions include large-scale deliveries of arms including its S-300 anti-aircraft missile complexes, though the US is not supportive of such an idea. [Ed note: See also “ROK-Russia Economic Agreement” in the July 8 Daily Report.]

6. RF Foreign Minister’s Meetings in Hong Kong

Kommersant-Daily (“YEVGENIY PRIMAKOV CELEBRATES HONG KONG TRANSFER TO CHINA,” Moscow, 3, 7/1/97) reported that RF Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov had talks with US State Secretary Madeleine Albright on June 3. He disclosed that they discussed such international issues as an adaptation of the Agreement on conventional armed forces in Europe. Their next meeting is scheduled for later this month in Saint Petersburg, RF. Yevgeniy Primakov also metwith PRC Foreign Minister Quian Quichen and Japan’s Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda.

7. RF Premier’s Visit to PRC

Kommersant-Daily (“VIKTOR CHERNOMYRDIN’S SPECIAL PRIVILEGE,” Moscow, 4, 7/1/97) commented on the recent visit to the PRC by RF Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin who “was the sole foreign statesmen received in the PRC on the eve of the reunification” of Hong Kong with the PRC. As a result of Chernomyrdin’s negotiations with PRC leaders, a number of important economic cooperation agreements were signed, particularly those on energy production and transportation. It was also reported that “Beijing’s position…is that Russia will participate in the majority of the enumerated projects on a basis common to all and is to sign the contracts not thanks to its special relations with Beijing, but only if it proposes cooperation term more advantageous than the others do.” By sending its Foreign Minister, instead of its head of state to Hong Kong ceremonies, the RF joined many foreign countries in expressing concerns over the democratic future of the territory.

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“RUSSIA IS STILL SEARCHING FOR AN EXAMPLE TO IMITATE,” Moscow, 4, 7/3/97) commented that RF Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin’s recent visit to the PRC was “a promising start for closer mutual relations.” However, the appointment of RF First Deputy Premier Boris Nemtsov “cannot at all be seen as a success of Russian diplomacy,” because of his embarassingly poor conduct during the visit. The author pointed out the PRC hopes of catching up with the economically successful “four Asian tigers,” and stressed that the regime in Singapore, for instance, “hardly meets all the criteria of American democracy…One cannot rule out that authoritarian government is the most applicable to the specifics” of the region.

8. Japan-RF Relations

Sovetskaya Rossia (“THESE DAYS …. TOKYO,” Moscow, 7, 7/3/97) reported that Suiji Yanai, recently appointed as Japan’s Deputy Foreign Minister, speaking to Japanese media in particular on Japan-RF relations, said that in comparison to the past, “relations between the two countries have become more favorable as a result of efforts undertaken in the recent years to establish measures building confidence and mutual understanding.” He spoke in favor of developing bilateral dialogue that could provide a key to resolving territorial issues.

9. Tenth Round of RF-Japan Maritime Talks Ends

Segodnya (“FISHING ASPECT OF THE KURILS PROBLEM,” Moscow, 4, 7/8/97) reported that the tenth round of RF-Japan talks held in Moscow on the issue of fishing around the South Kuril Isles ended with virtually no results. The Japanese party sought to provide its fishermen with access to the area, whereas the RF party was ready to reciprocate on a “commercial basis” taking primarily into account the interests of the local RF fishermen. The RF party also expressed disappointment with the Japanese way of considering a purely economic situation from a political point of view. Japan has been wary of signing an agreement on paid fishing quotas for its citizens in the area because such an agreement would be tantamount to an actual recognition of RF sovereignty over the disputed isles.

10. Agreement on Four-Party Talks

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“INTERKOREAN DIALOGUE RESUMED,” Moscow, 4, 7/4/97) reported that representatives of the DPRK and the ROK, with US mediation, reached an agreement in New York to resume talks on a Korean peace treaty. The DPRK agreed to resume the dialogue within the four-party negotiations framework including the two Korean states, the US and the PRC. The first four-party meeting is to be held in New York on August 3 to establish procedural issues and a permanent location for further meetings. The idea of four-party talks to replace the forty-four year old armistice agreement with a peace treaty was first initiated by ROK President Kim Yong-sam in April 1996.

11. ROK on Alleged DPRK Cruise Missile Test

Sovetskaya Rossia (“THESE DAYS …. SEOUL,” Moscow, 7, 7/3/97) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry has “no data” concerning the “testing of a new cruise missile in the DPRK,” as alleged by the Washington Times. According to the Ministry spokesman, there is only evidence of the “launching of an ordinary tactical missile intended to destroy enemy surface ships.”


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