NAPSNet Daily Report 10 May, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 10 May, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 10, 1999,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. DPRK Famine

The Washington Post (“MORE PEOPLE ARE STARVING, N. KOREA SAYS,” Komusan, 05/10/99, 16) and the Associated Press (“N. KOREA ADMITS FAMINE KILLED MANY,” Komusan, DPRK, 05/10/99) reported that Jon In-chen, acting director of external affairs for the DPRK Food Damage Rehabilitation Committee, said that the mortality rate in the DPRK had risen from “6.8 per 1,000 people in 1995 to 9.3 per 1,000” in 1998. The increase would translate to an additional 2,500 deaths per million people, resulting in 55,000 more deaths per year. If the higher death rate was constant over four years, it would mean up to 220,000 people had died from the DPRK famine. An unnamed World Food Program representative said it was believed to be the first time the government had made such figures public. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 10.]

2. DPRK Defectors

The Associated Press (“TWO N. KOREANS FLEE TO SOUTH KOREA,” Seoul, 05/08/99) reported that the ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry said that two men who said they were defectors from the DPRK arrived in Seoul on Saturday from a third country. The ministry said that one defector was 27 years old and the other 19, but did not release their names and motives for leaving the DPRK.

3. DPRK Archeological Sites

Reuters (“HIROSHIMA SURVIVOR FIGHTS TO PROTECT N.KOREA TOMBS,” Tokyo, 05/09/99) reported that Ikuo Hirayama, a Hiroshima native who works for the UN Educational and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) on preserving cultural treasures, has begun a campaign to preserve some 80 ancient tombs in the DPRK. The walls of the tombs, which date from around the late first century BC to AD 668, are covered with paintings that resemble paintings on the walls of a tomb found near the Japanese city of Nara. UNESCO hopes to get the tombs registered as World Historic sites. Hirayama stated, “Even if a country is poor — and poverty is often the root of conflict — repairing its cultural treasures can give a people back their pride. This is not only about restoring things but, through them, restoring people’s hearts.” He visited the DPRK last month and said he found officials eager to do whatever is needed to get the sites registered, including moving military facilities away from the site of the tombs to abide by UNESCO regulations requiring a buffer zone. He stated, “If things were carried out logically, everyone would quickly realize these tombs are an incredible treasure. But talk changes when politics enters the picture and everyone said that it all depends on the top.” He added, “Japan actually wants to see relations [with the DPRK] improve, but as things are, the politicians can’t really extend their hands for peace. But if I go in there as a goodwill ambassador they’ll do whatever they can to help. Dealing with things through cultural means allows both sides to save face.”

4a. NATO Bombing of PRC Embassy

US Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director George Tenet (“U.S. DEEPLY REGRETS BOMBING OF CHINESE EMBASSY,” USIA Text, 05/10/99) issued the following joint statement on May 8. “We deeply regret the loss of life and injuries from the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade last night. The bombing was an error. Those involved in targeting mistakenly believed that the Federal Directorate of Supply and Procurement was at the location that was hit. That military supply facility was the intended target, certainly not the Chinese Embassy. NATO has conducted thousands of strikes against specific aim points in this air campaign to date, with a degree of precision and professionalism unparalleled in military history. We regret any loss of civilian life or other unintended damage, but there is no such thing as risk free military operations. We have been jointly examining this mistake over the intervening hours. It was the result of neither pilot nor mechanical error. Clearly, faulty information led to a mistake in the initial targeting of this facility. In addition, the extensive process in place used to select and validate targets did not correct this original error. A review of our procedures has convinced us that this was an anomaly that is unlikely to occur again. Therefore, NATO authorities intend to continue and intensify the air campaign.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 10.]

Reuters (“TEXT-CHINA ISSUES FOUR DEMANDS FROM NATO,” Beijing, 05/10/99) reported that the PRC’s official Xinhua news agency published the following text of the demands issued to NATO on Monday by PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan. “1. To make an open and official apology to the Chinese government, the Chinese people, and relatives of the Chinese victims; 2. To carry out a complete and thorough investigation of the NATO missile attack on China’s embassy in Yugoslavia; 3. To promptly publicize the detailed results of the investigation; 4. To severely punish those responsible for the attack.”

The Washington Post (Steven Pearlstein, “NATO: BOMBS AIMED IN ERROR CHINA’S EMBASSY HIT INSTEAD OF SUPPLY BUILDING,” Brussels, 05/08/99, Page A01), Reuters (Steve Holland, “CLINTON REGRETS CHINA EMBASSY HIT, NATO TO PERSIST,” Tinker Air Force Base, 05/09/99), and the New York Times (Michael R. Gordon, “NATO SAYS IT THOUGHT EMBASSY WAS ARMS AGENCY,” Brussels, 05/09/99) reported that US President Clinton expressed his “regrets and profound condolences” to the PRC for the tragic mistake of the PRC embassy bombing. He said that NATO aircraft have made more than 10,000 bombing runs since March 24 and that there have been relatively few casualties. Clinton stated, “We need some sense of proportion here.” NATO Secretary General Javier Solana apologized for what he called a “deeply regrettable mistake,” but vowed that NATO would intensify its airstrikes. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed “shock and concern” over the bombing. Annan also said in a statement that the UN Security Council was awaiting the results of a NATO investigation. US State Department chief spokesman James Rubin said in a statement that the US government delivered an official apology to the PRC government through Beijing ambassador James Sasser. He added, “We look forward to continuing to work with China on matters of mutual and global concern, including resolution of the situation in Kosovo.”

The Washington Post (Bradley Graham and Steven Pearlstein, “BELGRADE TARGET NEVER VERIFIED ON OUTDATED MAP,” 05/10/99, Pg. 1), the New York Times (Eric Schmitt, “AIM, NOT ARMS, AT THE ROOT OF MISTAKEN STRIKE ON EMBASSY,” Washington, 05/10/99, Pg. 1) and the Washington Times (Joyce Howard Price, “INTELLIGENCE FAILURE BLAMED FOR ERRANT EMBASSY BOMBING,” Washington, 05/10/99) reported that US officials on Sunday said that faulty intelligence was responsible for the bombing of the PRC Embassy in Belgrade. An anonymous US official stated, “This went through all these hoops, but for whatever reason, it was not detected.” An unnamed senior retired US officer stated, “I’m absolutely dumbfounded. They should have known long before this conflict where that agency was located.” An unnamed senior NATO official stated, “The tragic and embarrassing truth is that our maps simply did not show the Chinese Embassy anywhere in that vicinity.” However, General Wesley K. Clark, NATO’s top military commander, on Sunday reaffirmed his confidence in the target selection process, terming the bombing “an anomaly.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 10.]

4b. NATO Bombing: Security Council

The New York Times (Judith Miller, “SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES ‘SHOCK AND CONCERN’ AT BOMBING,” United Nations, 05/09/99, 10) and the Associated Press (Nicole Winfield, REGRET EXPRESSED OVER CHINA BLAST,” United Nations 05/08/99) reported that the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss the NATO bombing of the PRC Embassy in Belgrade. PRC Representative Qin Huasun called the attack “a crime of war that should be punished.” Qin dropped his demand for a UN investigation, however, after a senior UN official told the Council that the UN lacked the resources to conduct it. A statement read by council president Denis Dangue Rewaka of Gabon said, “Members of the Security Council expressed their sympathy and condolences to the Chinese government and the families of the victims.” The council noted that NATO had already launched an investigation into the incident, and that NATO and the US had expressed regret.

Reuters (Paul Eckert, “BOMBING AN OBSTACLE TO KOSOVO PEACE-CHINA,” Beijing, 05/10/99) reported that the PRC’s Xinhua news agency quoted President Jiang Zemin as telling Russian President Boris Yeltsin by telephone on Monday that there could be no UN solution of the Kosovo crisis as long as NATO was bombing Yugoslavia. Jiang said that continued NATO bombing would make it “impossible for the UN Security Council to discuss any plan to solve the problem.” He added, “US-led NATO should bear all responsibilities arising therefrom.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 10.]

The New York Times (Jane Perlez, “U.S. STRUGGLES TO CONTAIN DAMAGE TO DIPLOMACY AND AIR CAMPAIGN,” Washington, 05/09/99) reported that US officials do not believe that the NATO bombing of the PRC Embassy in Belgrade will derail efforts at a UN-sponsored solution to the Kosovo situation. The officials pointed out that a UN resolution on a security force for Kosovo was several weeks away, and argued that it would be unlikely that the PRC would veto such a resolution if Russia supports it. David Leavy, spokesman for the US National Security Council, stated, “We believe there is broad agreement to the contours of a settlement and that the Chinese would not block it.”

Reuters (Paul Taylor, “ANALYSIS-CHINA EMBASSY HIT IS MAJOR NATO SETBACK,” London, 05/08/99) reported that analysts said on Saturday that the NATO bombing of the PRC embassy in Belgrade would complicate efforts to find a political settlement to the Kosovo war. Terence Taylor of the International Institute for Strategic Studies argued, “Clearly, this will encourage Russia and China to demand greater UN control on future events in Kosovo and will increase pressure for a pause in the bombing. Things were just beginning to go better for NATO, with Russia signing on to a set of principles including acceptance of an international armed force in Kosovo, in which NATO would clearly have a big role, and a UN interim administration for the province. All this is now put in jeopardy.”

4c. NATO Bombing: Russian Reaction

The New York Times (Celestine Bohlen, “AN OUTRAGE, YELTSIN DECLARES, AND WARNS OF ‘CONSEQUENCES’,” Moscow, 05/09/99, 11) and Reuters (Patrick Lannin, “RUSSIA SLAMS CHINA EMBASSY HIT, SEEKS PEACE,” Moscow, 05/08/99) reported that Russian President Boris Yeltsin on Saturday condemned the NATO bombing of the PRC Embassy in Belgrade as a “flagrant violation of international law.” Yeltsin said in a statement, “This is a blatant outrage, and there can be no justification for it.” Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said that the bombing “must be punished appropriately.” Itar-Tass news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin as saying that Ivanov had spoken to British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook by telephone and reiterated that the bombings of Yugoslavia should stop. Leonid Ivashov, head of the Defense Ministry’s international liaison department, stated, “By attacking the Chinese Embassy, the United Stated demonstrates the drive for a unilateral dictatorship of force to meet its interests. The United States sent a strategic challenge to the world community which can result in a global apocalypse.”

4d. NATO Bombing: Other Asian Reactions

Reuters (“ASIA MEDIA LAMENT NATO ATTACK ON CHINA EMBASSY,” Singapore, 05/09/99) reported that Japanese daily newspapers on Sunday urged NATO to consider ending its air strikes on Yugoslavia. The Mainichi Shimbun said in an editorial, “The time has come to make a decision about ending the air campaign.” The Asahi Shimbun argued, “It has been 50 days since the air campaign started. It has come to a state where the appropriate officials should reevaluate the air campaign.” Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post stated, “There may have been a more effective way for NATO to damage its own cause than by striking the Chinese embassy in Belgrade … but it is difficult to imagine what.” Hong Kong’s Wen Wei Po said, “NATO’s atrocities cannot be condoned. We most strongly protest against NATO’s warcrimes.” Taiwan’s China Post concentrated on the protests in the PRC, arguing, “If mainland authorities aren’t careful, these sentiments could ultimately end up turning against them.” The Pakistan Foreign Ministry said that the bombing underscored the need for the UN to get more involved. Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh said on Saturday, “This is certainly time for the United Nations now to assert itself. NATO cannot become or pretend to become a global gendarme.” A Philippine presidential spokesman said in a statement on Sunday, “We believe that this is a matter for the United Nations Security Council to discuss.” Philippine columnist Maximo Soliven warned, “If the NATO and the West miscalculate, there may be hell to pay.”

5. Anti-US Protests in PRC

Reuters (Matt Pottinger, “STUDENTS MOB U.S. EMBASSY IN BEIJING,” Beijing, 05/09/99), the New York Times (Elisabeth Rosenthal, “CHINA PROTESTERS RAGE AT AMERICA,” Beijing, 05/09/99, 1) and the Los Angeles Times (Henry Chu, Maggie Farley, Anthony Kuhn, “CHINESE ATTACK U.S. MISSIONS AS PROTESTS INTENSIFY,” Beijing, 05/10/99) reported that Chinese students broke into the US embassy compound in Beijing on Sunday on the second day of nationwide protests at NATO’s bombing of the PRC embassy in Belgrade. The People’s Daily newspaper said that NATO had deliberately “spilled Chinese blood.” A statement issued by the US embassy said that US Ambassador James Sasser and his entire staff “express their profound sorrow to the people of China over the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade and offer deepest condolences to the families of the innocent victims of that deplorable accident.” The statement added, “We must not let this mistake impede further progress in developing stronger U.S.-China relations that are so fundamentally in the interest of both our countries.” On Saturday night, protesters climbed over the walls of the US diplomatic compound in Chengdu and broke through the front door of the main consulate building before police chased them out. The consul-general’s house was damaged by fire. Unnamed Western diplomats said that PRC officials were worried about mass street protests close to the tenth anniversary on June 4 of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, but wanted to direct public anger at NATO instead of themselves. One unnamed Asian diplomat stated, “They fear demonstrators might turn around and say, ‘what are you doing about it’.”

Reuters (Benjamin Kang Lim, “BEIJING DIRECTS ANTI-U.S. PROTESTS,” Beijing, 05/10/99) and the New York Times (Elisabeth Rosenthal, “ANTI-U.S. PROTESTS MOUNT IN CHINA AS OFFICIALS STUDY BOMBING ERROR,” Beijing, 05/10/99) reported that civil servants and retirees joined students protesting for a third day Monday outside the US and British embassies in Beijing. Witnesses said that police set up a registration point for people wanting to join a chanting procession. Groups of 200 or so protesters marched along an approved route which took them past the British embassy and the ambassador’s residence, and then to the US compound. On Sunday night, Bill Palmer, an embassy spokesman, said, “We feel like we’re hostages. We cannot come and go safely because of inadequate Chinese security.” US Ambassador James Sasser stated, “We’re taking all the necessary precautions to protect any sensitive equipment or sensitive documents.” He added, “I think that clearly there’s a very strong anti-U.S., even anti-Western, sentiment on the streets here in Beijing. The government has appeared to have condoned and even supported the demonstrations.” Foreign schools in Beijing were closed for the day and NATO embassies were shut. The German consulate in Guangzhou had its front windows shattered and was covered with eggs from an attack on Sunday. German sources said that demonstrators broke into the consulate, smashing through one security door but failing to break through a second. Police stopped US tourists from leaving a hotel in Guangzhou because of the threat from hostile crowds in the surrounding diplomatic quarter. An anonymous PRC government official stated, “The government wants the people to calm down. But they are very angry and difficult to control.” Jonathan Pollack, a senior analyst at the Rand Corporation, stated, “The embassy bombing simply cuts too deeply into nationalistic sentiments…. The Chinese are greatly aggrieved and for good reason.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 10.]

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, “A PROTEST BEIJING CAN ENDORSE,” Beijing, 05/09/99, Page A18), the Wall Street Journal (Matt Forney, Ian Johnson and Marcus W. Brauchli, “PARTY USES BELGRADE BOMBING TO UNIFY RESTIVE CHINESE PUBLIC,” 05/10/99), and the New York Times (Erik Eckholm, “CHINA’S LEADERS STOKE ANGER AT U.S. AT THEIR PERIL,” Beijing, 05/10/99) reported that the PRC is helping to organize the demonstrations against the US bombing of the PRC Embassy in Belgrade. The article said that government buses transported students protesters to avenues near the US Embassy in Beijing and to US missions in four other PRC cities. Li Wei, a student at Beijing Clothing Institute, said that she and her friends probably would have demonstrated even without the ride. Li stated, “We have to protest the murder of Chinese. America killed innocent Chinese.” An unnamed Chinese social scientist said that the bombing gave the government a perfect excuse for permitting demonstrations with an anti-Western theme and the aim of “burying Tiananmen Square.” PRC Vice President Hu Jintao called the protests evidence of the students’ “patriotic fervor.” He added, “The Chinese government will resolutely support all protest activities that follow the law,” and that he expects the protesters to “prevent the appearance of extremist behavior and be vigilant against people attempting to take advantage of the situation to disturb social order.” Unnamed Chinese and Western sources warned that there is a possibility that the protesters could begin shouting anti-government slogans. Xiao Gongqin, a historian at Shanghai University, argued, “Chinese nationalism is a very emotional and explosive sentiment that, once aroused, can lead to all sorts of unexpected consequences.” He warned, “it could encourage China to attempt to return to the past, and it will put Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji under great pressure.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 10.]

6. US-PRC Relations

The Associated Press (Renee Schoof, “CHINA BREAKS OFF ARMS TALKS WITH US,” Beijing, 05/10/99), the San Jose Mercury News (Jennifer Lin, “ANGRY CHINA COOLS TIES WITH U.S.,”Beijing, 05/10/99) and the New York Times (Jane Perlez, “BOMBING ADDS NEW STRAINS TO ALREADY TENSE TIES BETWEEN U.S. AND CHINA,” Washington, 05/10/99) reported that the PRC’s Xinhua news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao as saying that the PRC on Monday suspended diplomatic relations regarding human rights, arms control and international security with the US in protest over the NATO bombing of the PRC Embassy in Belgrade. US President Bill Clinton on Sunday sent a letter to PRC President Jiang Zemin expressing condolences and pledging to continue to work on improving US-PRC relations. A US State Department spokesman said that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering went to the PRC Embassy on Saturday to express regret to Ambassador Li Zhaoxing. Li on Sunday said that the bombing was a “horrifying atrocity, something rarely seen in the entire history of the worst diplomacy.” Li said that the PRC was demanding an investigation of the bombing by NATO and after the results of the inquiry would determine what “further actions” to take. Former US Ambassador to the PRC Winston Lord stated, “There has been a debate in China mirroring that in the United States in which the military and the hard-liners have accused Prime Minister Zhu [Rongji] of being too soft. There is the danger that in the coming weeks that those who want to be constructive will be on the defensive. This is going to give ammunition to the hard- liners.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 10.]

7. Alleged PRC Espionage

The New York Times (Jeff Gerth and James Risen, “REPORTS SHOW SCIENTIST GAVE U.S. RADAR SECRETS TO CHINA,” Washington, 05/10/99) reported that court records and government documents show that US scientist Peter Lee in 1997 provided the PRC with information about advanced US radar technology being developed to track submarines. Lee was then working for TRW Inc., which had been hired by the US Defense Department to develop the radar. Law-enforcement officials said that federal prosecutors in Los Angeles wanted to charge Lee with espionage but were unable to because US Navy officials would not permit testimony about the technology in open court. The Justice Department would not approve the prosecution either. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 10.]

Reuters (“RICHARDSON: CHINA STOLE SECRETS ON CLINTON WATCH,” Washington, 05/10/99) and Bloomberg News (“CHINA’S SPYING AT NUCLEAR LABS CALLED ‘DAMAGING’,” Washington, 05/10/99) reported that US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said Sunday that the PRC government had obtained nuclear secrets during the presidency of Bill Clinton. Richardson stated, “The Chinese have obtained damaging information … during past administrations and (the) present administration.” Senator Bob Kerrey, the ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee, stated, “I have no doubt there has been Chinese espionage at these nuclear labs.” He added, “This is a very serious case of espionage, a very serious breach of security at the labs, but its very important for us not to overestimate the threat.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 10.]

8. PRC Nuclear Arsenal

The Wall Street Journal (John J. Fialka and Matt Forney, “HOW MUCH OF A NUCLEAR LIFT COULD SPYING GIVE CHINA?” 05/10/99) and the Los Angeles Times (Bob Drogin, “ANEMIC ARSENAL CLOUDS CHINA’S NUCLEAR THREAT,” Washington, 05/10/99) reported that, despite allegations of spying on the US, analysts do not expect rapid improvement in the PRC’s nuclear arsenal. Yale University Professor Paul Bracken argued, “The image of them having these 18 rickety missiles, compared to the thousands in the U.S., is really misleading, because there’s now momentum behind the Chinese program.” In his forthcoming book, “Fire in the East,” Bracken predicted that such nuclear proliferation means that “the costs of staying a dominant military power are going up.” Ken Allen, a former US military-intelligence officer, said that the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army, is focusing on “slowly building an offensive capability.” Chas. W. Freeman Jr., a former Defense Department official, said that on a recent trip to Beijing, Chinese military officials openly talked about both modernization and increasing the size of the nuclear forces. Freeman argued that espionage would explain the PRC’s willingness to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996. He stated, “They obviously hadn’t any way to accumulate that mass of data. So if in fact they got that data for free out of US labs, that would make it a lot easier to understand.” However, Ming Zhang, a consultant to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that with or without the US codes, the PRC will continue to slowly modernize, keeping its nuclear arsenal small. Representative Norman D. Dicks (D-Washington), noted that the PRC has “18 single warheads, they’re not on missiles and the missiles aren’t fueled. I don’t go home at night worrying about Chinese nukes.” Robert Norris of the Natural Resources Defense Council said that the PRC has not begun any effort to suggest a massive build- up of its nuclear forces. Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argued, “It would take decades upon decades for China to catch up to the quantity and the quality of the nuclear arsenals that Russia and the US have deployed.” Evan Medeiros, senior research associate at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, said that the PRC’s nuclear program is focused on creating “a more survivable and more reliable strategic deterrent. If China has a more survivable second-strike capability, then their security is enhanced.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 10.]

9. Taiwanese Independence Movement

The Wall Street Journal (Russell Flannery, “TAIWAN OPPOSITION SOFTENS PRO-INDEPENDENCE STANCE,” Taipei, 05/10/99) reported that Taiwan’s main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), at its annual congress in Kaohsiung on Saturday, endorsed the position of the ruling Nationalist Party that Taiwan is already a sovereign state with the name “Republic of China.” The party, however, rejected the idea that Taiwan is part of “one China.” The DPP said that the change from its previous call for a national plebiscite to create a “Republic of Taiwan” reflects constitutional reforms that have affirmed the island as an independent state. DPP legislator Parris Chang stated, “The mainstream of our party really feels we need to tone down our independence” stance. He said that the change of platform is aimed at showing that under a DPP-led government, “foreign policy will remain the same.” Tim Ting, the chief consultant to the Gallup Organization in Taiwan, stated, “China will consider this a good thing, but may not react.” He added that the decision also is likely to be welcomed by the US and Japan. Chong-Pin Lin, vice chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, argued, “The two extremes are converging toward the center. Now the government’s policy has a broader base of support.”

10. Japanese Prime Minister’s US Visit

The Los Angeles Times carried an analytical article (Tom Plate, “JAPAN’S FUNDAMENTAL SHIFT, BY INCHES,” 05/05/99) which said that last August’s DPRK rocket launch has galvanized support for Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s reform of Japan’s diplomatic stance. Yoichi Funabashi, diplomatic columnist for the Asahi Shimbun, said that the launch “was like Japan’s Sputnik shot.” He added, “Obuchi is frighteningly common. But people are comfortable with him. He doesn’t intimidate. Obuchi will probably last two more years.” When asked whether Japan would be willing to act as a forward supply base for US forces in a conflict in Asia, an unnamed senior Japanese official stated, “It’s an absolute; you can count on it. We would be absolutely on board.” Rachel Swanger, acting director of Rand’s Center for Asia-Pacific Policy, responded, “That could be a significant shift.” The article concluded that the PRC should “reexamine its current emphasis on a brand of bilateral diplomacy that tilts toward Washington, sometimes pointedly at Tokyo’s expense. And Washington, with its frequent Japan-bashing, also sometimes behaves as if it can best move forward in Asia by leaving Japan out. Both strategies are misconceived.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. Remains of US Soldiers from Korean War

The Korea Herald (“SECOND U.S.-N.K. JOINT EXCAVATION TO START MAY 25,” Seoul, 05/10/99) reported that the second US-DPRK joint excavation of US servicemen’s remains this year will start on May 25. An ROK government official said, “Under the agreement between Washington and Pyongyang, each party’s experts will begin the second excavation for twenty-four days starting May 25 through June 17 in Kujang and Unsan, North Pyongan Province.” The official added that the US and the DPRK will decide whether to expand the scope from the third excavation, based on the outcome of research from the first and second excavations. Both countries have dug in the Kujang and Unsan area since April 20, but reportedly have found no remains yet as of this Sunday. The first excavation is to end on May 13.

2. ROK Policy towards the DPRK

The Korea Times (Lee Chang-sup, “PRES. KIM WON’T PUSH FOR HASTY REALIZATION OF INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT,” Seoul, 05/10/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said Sunday that he will not push for hasty realization of an inter-Korean summit. In an apparent response to opposition criticism that his administration is using DPRK policy for political motives, Kim indicated that he would not make any move for a summit with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. Kim stressed, “What is important is to prevent a war on the Korean peninsula and find ways to promote inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation amid peaceful coexistence, not the summit itself.” Kim said that he does not think an inter-Korean summit is a prerequisite for realizing DPRK-ROK cooperation and exchanges. Chong Wa Dae spokesman Park Jie-won, in a background briefing, said that Kim’s remarks are intended to rectify the media view that the President is desperate to hold a summit with Kim Jong-il. Park said he does not agree with the media’s contention that the Kim’s DPRK policy is aimed solely at securing such a meeting. A Chong Wa Dae secretary said that the ROK’s “sunshine policy” has “no deadline,” adding that ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Hong Soon-young’s remarks on the subject were taken out of context.

Joongang Ilbo (Hwag-shik Bong, “JP EMPHASIZES APPEASEMENT WITH NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 05/08/99) reported that ROK Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil on May 8 emphasized that the world must recognize the DPRK for the peace of the Korean Peninsula. Kim said, “The purpose of better South and North Korean relationship demands that North Korea be an active member of the world through the installation of American and Japanese representative offices in Pyongyang.” Kim met with Mei Zaorong, chairman of PRC People’s Academy, and remarked, “There will be no restriction on personnel exchange as long as North Korea approves.”

3. ROK Foreign Minister’s US Visit

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “FOREIGN MIN. HONG TO VISIT US TO DISCUSS ‘POST-PERRY ISSUES’,” Seoul, 05/10/99) reported that ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Hong Soon-young said Sunday that his forthcoming trip to the US is designed to allow him to consult with US officials on how to convey a “comprehensive” package of initiatives to the DPRK. Hong is scheduled to make a five-day visit to the US from May 13 to hold talks with US officials about the message that the US will deliver to the DPRK late this month via former Defense Secretary William Perry. Commenting on press reports about his recent speech at the Williamsburg Conference, Hong that said he had stressed the importance of the DPRK’s timely acceptance of the “comprehensive approach” by the ROK, Japan and the US, but that there is no time limit for the implementation of the “sunshine policy.” He added, “During the campaign season, foreign policy issues run the risk of being politicized or polarized. In this event, it would be hard for the government to pursue an engagement policy in a consistent manner.”

4. DPRK Communication System

Joongang Ilbo (Shang-bok Shin, “E-MAIL SERVICE REPORTEDLY POSSIBLE IN NK,” Seoul, 05/10/99) reported that a computer network is now in service in the DPRK. The article pointed to a DPRK magazine entitled “Science and Technology,” which said that it is possible to communicate electronically in the DPRK, since the computer communication network recently started service. According to the magazine, government officials can use e-mail when they want to deliver information and materials to other departments. The publisher of the science magazine advised those who wish to utilize the computer communication service, to equip themselves with a computer with more than 16 megabytes of memory, a modem, color monitor, and a telephone line. An unnamed ROK Unification Ministry official said, “We think the introduction of the computer communication service in NK was triggered by fears that NK could be far behind in the information age, but easy access to the service by common people will take a long time.”

Joongang Ilbo (Hwashik Bong, “NORTH KOREA HAS ONLY 70,000 PHONE LINES,” Seoul, 05/08/99) reported that the DPRK’s communication standard has remained at a 1970s’ level due to sluggish modernization. The DPRK has only 70,000 hand-operated telephone lines. Korea Telecom researcher Chang Dae-kyu, who analyzed the DPRK’s communications market, asserted that the DPRK regards communication as a method of delivering its revolutionary ideology, not as an information tool. As Europe’s communist bloc collapsed in the early 1990s, all assistance for the DPRK stopped, leaving just 1.54 percent of the US$34 million budget for communication investment.

5. Alleged DPRK Drug Manufacturing

The Korea Herald (Shin Hye-son, “AUTHORITIES BUST INT’L DRUG TRIANGLE INVOLVING TWO KOREAS, JAPAN,” Seoul, 05/10/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Bang Seong-su, “NK SUSPECTED PHILOPON SEIZED,” Seoul, 05/10/99) reported that a shipment of 100 kilograms of philopon apparently produced in the DPRK has been seized by a joint team of ROK and Japanese investigators at an ROK port. The shipment bound for Japan was part of a cooperative operation between ROK organized crime and the Japanese crime group Yakuza. ROK prosecutors said that the philopon was enough for 3.3 million people and that the street value of the drug could be up to about 500 billion won. “This is the first case uncovered, in which Korean criminal organizations and Japanese Yakuza joined hands to smuggle illegal drugs. It also proves that North Korea has secretly made philopon and is exporting it,” said a prosecution official. “In cooperation with Japanese authorities, we will continue investigations to make certain the drugs were manufactured in North Korea while tightening drug control.” The joint team of ROK and Japanese investigators believe that the Yakuza, who control fifty percent of Japan’s illegal drug market, are looking to the DPRK for cheap production facilities.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Lee Dong-young:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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