NAPSNet Daily Report 10 July, 1998

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 10 July, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, July 10, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-10-july-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Japan

I. United States

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1. US Sanctions against DPRK

The Wall Street Journal (Eduardo Lachica, “U.S., AHEAD OF MEETING, WEIGHS EASING CURBS ON NORTH KOREA,” Washington, 07/10/98) reported that US and ROK officials will meet in Hawaii next week to discuss the possibility of easing US sanctions against the DPRK. While some of the sanctions invoked for terrorism or arms proliferation can not be rescinded without action by the US Congress, US President Bill Clinton has the authority to make case-by-case exemptions to sanctions imposed under the Trading with the Enemy Act. A recent Council on Foreign Relations report said that providing waivers to allow the DPRK to trade minerals for food, farm machinery, and other US products would “force North Korea to feed itself based on commercial terms rather than begging.” An unnamed US State Department official said that the Honolulu meeting would focus on possible conditions that would justify changes in the status of the sanctions. Charles Kartman, a deputy assistant secretary of state, will head the US delegation, and his counterpart will be Kwon Jong-rak, the director general for North American affairs at the ROK foreign ministry. Legislative aides said that DPRK officials appear to be convinced that their country can not attract foreign investment from any other country unless the US first removes sanctions.

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2. DPRK Missile Development

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “COHEN SAYS NORTH KOREAN MISSILE IS BIG THREAT,” Washington, 07/10/98) reported that US Defense Secretary William S. Cohen said Thursday, in a press conference with ROK Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek, that the Defense Department is worried about the DPRK’s new medium-range Nodong missile. Cohen stated, “North Korea has completed its development of the Nodong missile, but I am not in a position to comment in terms of when or where or how there has been a deployment of the missile itself.” He added, “It’s of concern, obviously, should it be deployed, and we will watch it very closely.” Cohen also said, “We are working aggressively to develop theater missile defenses” to counter the DPRK missile threat. Chun said that the Nodong is ready to be used and that the DPRK is “able to field these weapons when necessary.” Military officials said that the DPRK’s military strategy in a war would be to inflict the maximum damage on ROK and US forces on the Korean peninsula and in Japan as quickly as possible, using missile attacks as a key component.

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3. Light-Water Reactor Project

The Associated Press (“SKOREA SURE OF FUEL DEAL WITH NORTH,” Washington, 07/09/98) reported that Chun Yong-Taek, ROK minister of national defense, said Thursday that he believes that the heavy fuel oil deal with the DPRK will be resolved without a crisis. Chun said that his meetings with US Defense Secretary William Cohen were successful in dealing with the two countries’ military cooperation and the ROK’s financial support for US forces based on the peninsula. Cohen stated, “We also discussed the threat that North Korea poses, despite the collapse of its economy, and the importance of keeping the United States and South Korean forces strong and ready as we pursue reconciliation talks about the Korean Peninsula.”

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4. DPRK Food Crisis

The Associated Press (“SKOREA SURE OF FUEL DEAL WITH NORTH,” Washington, 07/09/98) reported that Erich Weingartner, a Canadian citizen who works as DPRK liaison with the World Food Program (WFP) said Thursday that the nutritional needs of DPRK children under age 7 are being met to a far greater degree than a year ago as a result of increased access to remote areas by the WFP. Weingartner said that the more liberal attitude of DPRK authorities toward allowing the WFP access to the interior of the country was “phenomenal” and “remarkable.” However, he added that while young children have benefited, the situation of DPRK citizens age 7 and older remains extremely difficult. People unable to rely on the national food distribution program have been foraging for edible grass, mushrooms, bark, and seaweed. He said that the government’s daily rations have been reduced in recent years from 31.5 ounces a day for adults to a “barely survivable” 14 ounces. He added that DPRK officials consider it an embarrassment that the country is so dependent on outside aid.

The Associated Press (“WEATHER HURTING N. KOREA CROPS,” Seoul, 07/09/98) reported that the DPRK’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said Thursday that weather conditions have diminished the potato, barley, and wheat crops. The agency said that the early planting season was marked by drought, while tidal waves and a cold spell in June damaged crops along the eastern coast and in the interior. The report stated, “So the harvest of early crops, including potato, barley and wheat, cannot be expected…. An increasing number of households are running short of food.” The agency also said that the PRC has completed shipping a donation of 100,000 tons of food and 20,000 tons of fertilizer.

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5. ROK-Russian Spying Row

Reuters (“EXPELLED RUSSIAN DIPLOMAT LEAVES SOUTH KOREA,” Seoul, 07/10/98) reported that an ROK foreign ministry official said Friday that Russian diplomat Oleg Abramkin left the ROK. He added, “The South Korean government is now watching how Moscow will respond. We will determine our next move according to theirs.” Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Syusev indefinitely canceled a trip to Seoul this week to discuss the payments of loans owed by Russia to the ROK and other issues. Russian foreign ministry officials said he canceled the trip to deal with a miners’ strike back home.

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6. ROK Labor Unrest

The Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, “PRESS S. KOREA WORKERS TO ORGANIZE STRIKE,” Seoul, 07/10/98) and Dow Jones Newswires (“UNIONS TO WITHDRAW FROM TALKS IN PROTEST OF ‘ILLEGAL’ LAYOFFS,” Seoul, 07/10/98) reported that the Federation of Korean Trade Unions and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions said Friday that they will withdraw from talks with the government and corporate leaders in protest of layoffs and government restructuring. Park In-sang, leader of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, demanded that the government and employers rehire workers who were “illegally” laid off and punish employers committing “illegal” labor misdeeds. He also demanded that the government discuss restructuring of state-run corporations and financial institutions within the three-way labor consultative talks. Meanwhile, Lee Kap-yong, head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, said that its 550,000 members would go ahead with a planned strike July 14-15. The Korean Confederation will seek joint strikes with the 1.2 million-member Federation of Korean Trade Unions after the two-day strike.

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7. US Policy toward Taiwan

United Press International (“SENATE APPROVES TAIWAN RESOLUTION,” Washington, 07/10/98), the Associated Press (Tom Raum, “SENATE REITERATES TAIWAN POLICY,” Washington, 07/10/98) and Reuters (“SENATE VOTES TO REAFFIRM U.S. SUPPORT FOR TAIWAN,” Washington, 07/10/98) reported that the US Senate voted 92-0 to reaffirm US support for Taiwan. The non- binding resolution urges US President Bill Clinton to seek the PRC’s renunciation of the use of force against Taiwan, to reaffirm the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, and to assure Taiwan there has been no date set for an end to arms sales. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., argued, “China refuses to take the use of force off the table. We should not unilaterally deny Taiwan membership to international organizations. And should not take action in concert with the dictatorship in Beijing.” Lott also said that the Senate would follow up the resolution with hearings “to try to understand the administration’s new policy on Taiwan.”

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8. PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, “CHINA TELLS TAIWAN TO ‘FACE REALITY’ REUNIFICATION TALKS URGED,” Beijing, 07/10/98, A28) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Tang Guoqiang on Thursday urged Taiwan to agree to talks on eventual reunification. Tang said that US President Bill Clinton’s statement on Taiwan has “positive implications for the resolution of the Taiwan question. He added, “We hope that Taiwan authorities will get a clear understanding of the situation, face reality and place importance on the national interest.” The official China Daily quoted Tang Shubei, vice president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), as saying that Clinton’s remarks had “provided favorable conditions for the development of cross-strait relations.” He added, however, that “cross-strait issues will ultimately be solved by the Chinese people.” Meanwhile, ARATS’ Taiwanese counterpart, the semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), announced that ARATS Deputy Secretary General Li Yafei could visit Taiwan July 24-31. Li’s visit is to be followed by a reciprocal trip to the PRC by the leader of SEF, Koo Chen-fu, in mid-September.

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9. Taiwanese Diplomacy

The Associated Press (Annie Huang, “TAIWAN STARTS DIPLOMATIC OFFENSIVE,” Taipei, 07/09/98) reported that the Taiwan Foreign Ministry said Thursday that 11 Latin American, African, and Caribbean countries have proposed that the UN reconsider its 1971 resolution to exclude Taiwan and admit the PRC. Hsia Li-yen, head of the Ministry’s Department of International Organizations, stated, “We don’t have any illusion of entering the United Nations in a short period of time. But we want to highlight the issue by bringing it up again.” Meanwhile, Taiwan Economics Minister Wang Chih- kang will lead a 65-member delegation to six European countries to promise investment and infrastructure contracts in exchange for a higher international profile.

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10. US Technology Exports

The Associated Press (Tom Raum, “TECHNOLOGY TRANSFERS CRITICIZED,” Washington, 07/10/98) and Reuters (“DEFENSE EXPERTS WARN CONGRESS ON EXPORT CONTROLS,” Washington, 07/10/98) reported that Stephen Bryen, former director of the Defense Technology Security Administration, said that the PRC has been able to obtain easily supercomputers and other sensitive US technology that can help it modernize its military to “shift the balance of power in the Pacific.” Bryen said that the computers allow the PRC to break military codes of other nations, design small nuclear weapons for cruise missiles, and develop new weapons systems “as good as anything anywhere.” He added, “This will enhance China’s ability to shift the balance of power in the Pacific.” Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, urged Congress to eliminate the Commerce Department’s role in strategic export licensing. He stated, “Commerce has a conflict of interest. Its main mission is to promote trade.”

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11. Theater Missile Defense

United Press International (Mike Billington, “LYLES CONFIDENT THAAD WILL WORK,” Washington, 07/09/98) reported that Lieutenant General Lester Lyles, the head of the US Defense Department’s Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, said Thursday that he is confident the Theater High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) will overcome the problems that have plagued it so far and will be deployed on time. Lyles said that the launcher, radar, and the command and control systems all meet or exceed expectations. He added that the five failed missile tests were each due to a different problem, and that as problems are identified, they have been fixed.

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12. Indian-Pakistan Relations

The Associated Press (“INDIA’S PM SAYS KEEN TO MEET PAKISTANI COUNTERPART,” New Delhi, 07/10/98) reported that Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said Friday that he looks forward to meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif later this month to discuss bilateral issues. Vajpayee and Sharif will meet in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo during a regular summit of a seven-nation regional group. Vajpayee said that India is prepared for bilateral talks with Pakistan on Kashmir, and repeated his call on Pakistan to sign a no- first-use nuclear weapons agreement with India. He also said India is keen to resolve a border dispute with the PRC.

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13. Indian Adherence to CTBT

Reuters (“INDIA REJECTS UNCONDITIONAL N-TEST BAN PACT ENTRY,” New Delhi, 07/10/98) reported that Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said on Friday that India would not sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) unconditionally. However, he added that India was prepared to discuss the CTBT and join negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). He stated, “Nobody should think we are weakening. But we are ready to talk on the CTBT. We are ready to take part in the FMCT. We have a constructive approach.”

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14. Australian Ratification of CTBT

The Associated Press (“AUSTRALIA RATIFIES NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY,” Canberra, 07/10/98) reported that Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer announced that Australia on Friday became the 15th nation to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Downer stated, “It marks a watershed in international efforts to address the global threat posed by nuclear weapons proliferation and is an indispensable component of the international nuclear arms control regime.” He added, “I call again on both India and Pakistan to sign and ratify the CTBT without conditions or further delay.” Downer also said that Australia would now encourage other countries, especially those in the Asia-Pacific region, to ratify the treaty so that it could come into effect as soon as possible.

II. Japan

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1. DPRK Military Threat

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“ROK NATIONAL SECURITY PLANNING HEAD SAYS THAT DPRK HAS INCREASED ITS CAPABILITY OF INCURSION,” Seoul, 07/10/98) reported that the ROK National Security Planning Agency’s head stated at a security-related cabinet meeting on July 9 that, in addition to signs that Kim Jong-il will soon become head of state, the DRPK may be changing its strategy toward the ROK, in hopes of pushing the ROK into a hard-line position. The national security planning head also said that the DPRK sees the ROK’s policy of expanding exchanges with the DPRK as a strategy to make the DPRK collapse, and warned that the DPRK may strengthen its incursion operations, including terrorism, to disrupt the ROK. The article saw the statement as a warning that security should be considered in ROK President Kim Dae-jung’s ‘sunshine policy’ towards the DPRK. The article added that the head also reported on the DPRK’s expansion of a submarine base and building of eight additional submarines.

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2. DPRK Food Crisis

The Nikkei Shimbun (“UN WORLD FOOD PLANNING (WFP) SAYS JULY OR AUGUST WILL BE MOST DANGEROUS FOR DPRK,” Washington, 07/10/98) reported that Eric Weingartner, World Food Program (WFP) representative in the DPRK, told reporters in Washington on July 9 that the DPRK’s crop from last autumn has already depleted and that the country’s food situation will be the most difficult in July or August. Weingartner also appealed that, given the amount of food aid to the DPRK from international institutions so far this year, which is lower than last year’s, there is a need for urgent food aid to the country.

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3. Japanese-Russian Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“FOREIGN MINISTRY STRENGTHENS PERSONNEL FOR RUSSIA,” 07/08/98) reported that, with Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s official visit to Russia scheduled for October, the Japanese Foreign Ministry has reshuffled its Russia diplomatic personnel, promoting Kazuhiko Togo to treaty director. The article pointed out that this reflects Hashimoto’s and Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi’s strong determination for diplomacy with Russia after the coming upper house election. However, former director Yukio Takeuchi’s move to director of North America and former director of North America Norimoto Takano’s move to head of training shocked not only the Foreign Ministry but the Defense Agency as well, because they are involved in the matters related with the New Guidelines for Japan-US Security Cooperation.

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Wade L. Huntley: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

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

Choi Chung-moon: cily@star.elim.co.kr
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


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