NAPSNet Daily Report 10 March, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 10 March, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, March 10, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-10-march-1999/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. Perry’s Trip to Japan

The Associated Press (Chester Dawson, “US, JAPAN SHARE SAME N. KOREA GOALS,” Tokyo, 03/10/99) reported that former US Defense Secretary William Perry said Wednesday that the US and Japan will cooperate in their policy toward the DPRK. Perry briefed Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi on a preliminary version of his report on US policy toward the DPRK that was given to US President Bill Clinton last week. He also held talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka, and Hosei Norota, the head of Japan’s Defense Agency. Perry stated afterwards, “I found that they have a similar assessment of the situation and of the need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, as we devise a comprehensive approach to the threats posed by North Korea.” Muneo Suzuki, Deputy Chief of the Cabinet Secretariat, said that Obuchi expressed support for Perry’s proposals, but added that Japan still needs to study them before issuing any formal response. Suzuki also said that Japan reserves the right to make a preemptive military strike if threatened by the DPRK.

2. Alleged US Korean War Atrocities

The Associated Press (Edith M. Lederer, “N. KOREA: U.S. USED BANNED WEAPONS,” United Nations, 03/10/99) and Reuters (Anthony Goodman, “N. KOREA RAISES ALLEGED U.S. USE OF GERM WEAPONS, United Nations, 03/10/99) reported that DPRK Ambassador to the UN Li Hyong-chol, in a letter to the UN Security Council president on Tuesday, accused the US of using chemical and biological weapons during the Korean War. Li urged the Security Council to “make an issue of the United States’ use of biological and chemical weapons and large-scale massacres and abuse of the UN name in order to prevent their recurrence.” He added, “The Security Council should take measures to retrieve the UN flag and name from the U.S. troops in south Korea as early as possible to deter the United States from further abusing the United Nations name for its strategic purposes.” Li cited a recently published book called “The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea” by Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman, as evidence for the claim. He also attached extracts from a 1952 report by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers which concluded that “the US used the germ and chemical weapons and committed genocide” during the war. Li said in the letter that “the United States is attempting to isolate and stifle North Korea, distorting the image of it by linking it to biological and chemical weapons while driving the situation on the Korean peninsula to the extreme.” Asked why he was raising these issues more than 40 years after the end of the Korean war, an official at the DPRK UN mission who identified himself as Li said in a telephone interview, “I cannot tell you at this very moment. But we need to do it.” He added, however “It is not directly related to [the Kumchangri construction dispute]. It has been outstanding for decades… The timing has turned out in that way.” He also denied that the timing of the letter was related to the fact that the PRC holds the Security Council presidency this month. He said, “We hope that it would be brought to the attention of the council and they find the appropriate action in this regard… We should find that this was actually the fact … that there were biological and chemical weapons used during the Korean war.”

3. DPRK Famine

The Washington Post carried a letter by Judy Cheng-Hopkins, Regional Director of the UN World Food Program (“FOOD FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT,” Rome, 03/10/99, A22) which said that allegations that food aid to the DPRK is diverted are at odds with the World Food Program’s experience. The letter said, “The World Food Program closely monitors the distribution of its food aid in North Korea, both upon arrival in the ports and at the institutions through which assistance is provided. We premise our food aid upon access to North Korea’s counties for monitoring purposes; if we do not get access to a county, it does not get our food.” It added, “From the start of our food distributions in North Korea in 1995, we have worked consistently to put the food in the hands of the people who need it most. The food commodities we provide — chiefly maize and wheat — are of no interest to members of the army or ruling elite…. Rice is produced in sufficient quantities in North Korea for military needs.” It concluded, “Any humanitarian operation will always have some minor losses or diversions. But it is misleading to suggest that in North Korea significant amounts of food are going unaccounted for.”

4. Missing DPRK Diplomat

Reuters (“THAI POLICE SAY FIND, LOSE NORTH KOREAN DIPLOMAT,” Bangkok, 03/09/99) reported that police in northeastern Thailand said on Wednesday that they had found and then lost a missing DPRK diplomat. Local police chief Lieutenant Colonel Samart Chainarong said that a DPRK embassy van carrying the diplomat turned over in Nakorn Ratchasima province on Tuesday afternoon. He said that when he arrived at the scene, he discovered seven people who said they had come from the DPRK embassy and carried diplomatic passports. One of them was Hong Sun-gyong, a DPRK diplomat whose status was revoked last month amid allegations that he was involved in the misappropriation of money intended to buy rice. Deputy provincial police chief Colonel Cherd Choovej said he went to collect Hong and his wife and brought them back to the police station, but he discovered on Wednesday morning that they had disappeared. He stated, “I don’t know where they are now. We are checking the hotels. They told officers they wanted to rest in a hotel and we allowed them to do that because they are diplomats.” The Nation newspaper quoted Thai officials as saying they believed the DPRK officials were trying to take Hong to the DPRK via Laos.

5. Alleged PRC Nuclear Espionage

Reuters (Tabassum Zakaria, “US REP. SAYS LOS ALAMOS NEWS PART OF LARGER PATTERN,” Washington, 03/10/99) reported that Representative Chris Cox, who chaired a special committee that conducted an inquiry into spying allegations, said Tuesday that the alleged PRC theft of secrets from a US nuclear weapons facility is part of a wide pattern of spying by the PRC in the past two decades. Cox, a California Republican, stated, “The topic the energy secretary dealt with publicly yesterday … it is a part of a much larger pattern that our report addresses.” He added, “There has been a multi-decade effort that continues today targeting America’s most sensitive military technology by the People’s Republic of China. There is a much broader context of the events of the last 24 hours.” The committee’s report is expected to be made public by the end of this month.

The Washington Post carried an opinion article by Senator Dick Lugar, R-Indiana, (“THREATS FROM CHINA,” 03/10/99, A23) which said that, due to alleged PRC nuclear espionage, “the United States may now be at significantly greater risk from a Chinese ballistic missile attack. This recognition must inform the continuing debates about the efficacy of a strategic partnership with China.” The article added, “if we determine that the Chinese missile threat will expand rapidly, we will have to rethink the premises on which our missile defense strategy is based, too.” It argued, “We must have an open debate on China, and the development of a policy must be achieved in close consultation with Congress.” [Ed. note: This article appeared in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 10.]

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “U.S. MISSILE TECHNOLOGY GIVES CHINA ADVANTAGE,” 03/10/99) reported that US military analysts said that the PRC’s alleged acquisition of US nuclear warhead technology will give the PRC a major boost in its strategic capability. James Lilley, a former US ambassador to the PRC, stated, “What you have to do now is think more clearly about how to deter a more sophisticated, dangerous nuclear missile force.” John Hillen of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said, “It certainly gives them a boost. We really don’t know what they have, but the effect is exactly the same: It adds a layer of complexity to China’s diplomacy and especially its coercive diplomacy.” Michael Pillsbury, a senior defense official in the Reagan and Bush administrations, said, “Strategically, where this makes a difference is if the U.S. and China go eyeball to eyeball in a crisis over Taiwan.” He argued that the ratio of about 100 US nuclear weapons to each PRC warhead could change to 50 to one or better. Robert S. Norris, an analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that obtaining design information on the US W-88 nuclear warhead “could help them achieve what we know they want: a lighter, smaller, more compact re- entry vehicle to fit atop future ballistic missiles.” [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 10.]

The Los Angeles Times carried an analytical article (Tom Plate, “CHINA SPY: NOT THE FIRST OR LAST TIME,” 03/09/99) which said that the allegations of PRC nuclear espionage should not be blown up into a “Red scare.” The article quoted Admiral Dennis C. Blair, the new US Pacific commander in chief, as saying, “China is not a military threat to U.S. interests. It will be many years before the People’s Liberation Army presents a major challenge to U.S. forces.” University of California, Los Angeles China scholar Richard Baum argued, “What is extraordinary is not the fact that some Chinese nationals snoop around American research labs trying to pick up technical information on the cheap, but that some American journalists, politicians and congressional aides seek to portray such activity as a massive, coordinated Chinese government assault on American security. They whip up a Red scare that is far out of proportion to the problem’s actual dimensions and then use the resulting, self-generated hysteria as a club with which to attack the Clinton presidency.” China expert Stan Rosen stated, “The point needs to be made is that China, the U.S. and everyone else is constantly engaged in such activities. The issue is how serious this case is and how we should protect those military research labs while still maintaining an open society.”

6. Alleged PRC Missile Espionage

The Associated Press (“TWO CHARGED IN ARMS EXPORT ATTEMPT,” Boston, 03/10/99) reported that a US federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted Yi Yao of Beijing and Collin Xu, a naturalized Canadian citizen who lives in Montreal, on charges that they tried to illegally export missile-guidance equipment to the PRC. The two men allegedly conspired to buy fiberoptic gyroscopes from a Massachusetts manufacturer and ship them to a Beijing firm by way of Xu’s Canadian company, Lion Photonics Canada of Montreal, without notifying the State Department.

7. Pakistan Adherence to Nuclear Test Ban

Dow Jones Newswires (“PAKISTAN OPPOSITION CALLS FOR SIGNING NUCLEAR TEST BAN,” Islamabad, 03/09/99) reported that Ghinwa Bhutto, the sister-in-law of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto and a member of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party, on Tuesday called on Pakistan to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Bhutto stated, “For heavens sake go and sign the CTBT.” She argued that “nuclear deterrence is an illusion.” She added, “economic and social development, and not the nuclear weapons, are the better safe guards of national security.” Naveed Qamar, a legislator of Benazir Bhutto’s party, said that Pakistan should act independent of India and sign the treaty unilaterally. Qamar stated, “Pakistan should not drag its feet in singing the treaty as a delay will not be beneficial.” However, Akram Zaki, a Senator with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, said the nuclear tests have been good for the region. Zaki stated, “In the past, the choice was between dialogue and deadlock. Now the choice is between dialogue and disaster.”

8. Kashmir Dispute

Dow Jones Newswires (“PAKISTAN FOREIGN MIN: SETTLEMENT OF KASHMIR DISPUTE URGENT,” Islamabad, 03/08/99) reported that Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartij Aziz said Monday that the settlement of the Kashmir dispute is urgent to prevent a nuclear war in South Asia. Aziz stated, “In the prevailing nuclear environment, war is no longer an option. The only avenue available to both countries is that of dialogue and negotiations.”

9. India-Pakistan Talks

Dow Jones Newswires (“INDIA, PAKISTAN FOREIGN MINISTERS TO MEET IN SRI LANKA,” Colombo, 03/08/99) reported that Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh and Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz will meet later this month in Sri Lanka. The two will be attending a two-day meeting of foreign ministers of the seven-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation beginning March 17.

II. Republic of Korea

1. US Sanctions on DPRK

JoongAng Ilbo (“U.S. AMBASSADOR HINTS AT LIFTING SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 03/10/99) reported that the US ambassador to the ROK, Steven W. Bosworth, stated, “The United States is seriously considering lifting sanctions on North Korea.” He gave an address titled “The International Situation and Korea’s Future Prospect” to CEOs at the headquarters of the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) in Yoido on March 10. The ambassador was asked if there is a possibility that US companies will enter the DPRK. He replied, “Yesterday, President Kim Dae-jung and special envoy William Perry had a fruitful discussion on a comprehensive and inclusive approach to North Korea, and the lifting of sanctions is under consideration. Naturally this will be discussed further between Korea and the U.S. government.” The ambassador, however, added that his opinion did not mean a change of US policy on the DPRK.

2. Perry’s Visit to Japan

Chosun Ilbo (“TOKYO LIKELY CONSONANT WITH PERRY’S REPORT,” Seoul, 03/10/99) reported that on the last leg of his trip to East Asia, William Perry, the US special envoy for DPRK policy, arrived in Japan on Tuesday night. He met individually with Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura, and Defense Agency director-general Hosei Norota, and briefed each of them on his report on DPRK policy that will soon be submitted to President Clinton. While the contents of the report remain confidential, a Japanese governmental spokesman said the Japanese government will likely support the general strategy of the report. The spokesman also said that the report incorporates Japan’s position and concerns about the DPRK’s development of missile weaponry.

3. ROK Aid to DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (“50,000 TONS OF FERTILIZER TO BE SHIPPED TO NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 03/10/99) reported that the ROK government has decided to donate a total of 50,000 tons of fertilizer which, including transport charges, is worth W18.5 billion. It plans to notify the DPRK government of the donation through non-governmental channels before the end of the month. A high-ranking official from the ROK Ministry of Unification said Wednesday that the approximate timeline for the procurement and delivery of the fertilizer is between 30 to 40 days. Since the DPRK needs the fertilizer at the end of April or early May, the donation process must begin by early next month. The official said that since direct inter-Korea arrangement for the fertilizer donation is not viable, the donation will be made through the Red Cross Societies of both countries. As a result of the donation, the government plans to drastically reduce or cease food aid to the DPRK through the World Food Program.

JoongAng Ilbo (“GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT FERTILIZER FOR THE NORTH,” Seoul, 03/10/99) reported that the ROK government held a consultation meeting with the ruling coalition parties on March 10 and agreed that it would support sending agricultural technology and fertilizer to the DPRK. Accordingly, the fertilizer support for the DPRK will be likely implemented sometime this coming April, a source at the ruling National Congress for New Politics (NCNP) forecast. He added that everyone agreed that it in order to be effective the fertilizer must be sent before the planting season. Regarding another sensitive DPRK issue, he said that the government intends to solve the matter of returning the recently released DPRK spies and political prisoners within a framework that addresses the dispersed family issue.

4. DPRK Human Rights

Korea Herald (“SOUTH, NORTH KOREA LIKELY TO CLASH OVER HUMAN RIGHTS IN GENEVA,” Seoul, 03/11/99) reported that, on the sidelines of its policy of greater engagement with the DPRK, the ROK government appears set to take issue with the DPRK in the international community over the latter’s human rights record. The first arena of confrontation between the ROK and the DPRK over human rights will likely be the UN conference on human rights in Geneva, Switzerland, the ROK officials said. At the meeting, the ROK is expected to call for the DPRK’s release of hundreds of ROK prisoners of war it believes are still being held in the DPRK. In rebuttal, the DPRK will also likely demand the repatriation of 17 long-serving DPRK political prisoners who were recently released from prison, they said. “Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Hong Soon-young will raise the issue at the coming conference of the UN Human Rights Commission,” said an official of the ruling coalition. Minister Hong is scheduled to deliver an address March 25 at the annual meeting of the UNHRC, which is set to be held from March 22 to April 30.

5. Alleged Illegal ROK Arms Deal

Chosun Ilbo (“ARMS DEALERS ARRESTED,” Seoul, 03/10/99) reported that the ROK Military Security Command announced Tuesday that five civilians, including a former army colonel, two former lieutenant colonels, and a former major, were arrested on suspicion of leaking classified military information to arms dealers. An official of the command said they were believed to have passed the information related to the military augmentation program to overseas arms dealers. He added that the investigation would be expanded to discover whether any currently serving military officers are involved. Those arrested had served for the Military Supply Office before retiring in 1996 and establishing a branch office for a trading company.

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

Lee Dong-young: UNPOL@netsgo.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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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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