NAPSNet Daily Report 10 October, 1997

Recommended Citation

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

In today’s Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

I. United States

1. Kim Jong-il’s Ascension

Reuters (“NKOREA’S KIM MAKES 1ST POST-ELECTION APPEARANCE,” Tokyo, 10/10/97) and the Associated Press (“NORTH KOREAN LEADER HONORS FATHER,” Tokyo, 10/10/97) said that the DPRK’s official Korean Central Broadcasting Station reported that Kim Jong-il on Friday visited the tomb of his father, Kim Il-sung, during ceremonies marking the 52nd anniversary of the founding of the WPK. It was his first public appearance since his election on Wednesday as head of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), DPRK analysts said that the country’s official media had made no changes in listing the names of dignitaries attending functions since Kim took control of the party, indicating he had so far made no changes in the country’s power structure. In Moscow, Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency reported that sources close to the DPRK Embassy said that Kim Jong-il will also become president of the country this year, “possibly in one week’s time.” Also, an unnamed DPRK diplomat was quoted as saying, “So far we don’t know when Comrade Kim Jong-il will be named president but of course we want this to happen.”

The New York Times said in an editorial (“DYNASTIC POLITICS IN NORTH KOREA,” 10/10/97) that while the appointment of Kim Jong-il as General Secretary of the Workers’ Party “suggests there has been orderly passage of power to Mr. Kim,” and “may also mean that the country’s dogmatic military leaders will take orders from civilian authorities,” nonetheless, “neither development augurs any great change in North Korea’s self-imposed isolation.” Speculating that Kim will continue to cooperate with the US-DPRK Agreed Framework on nuclear weapons and seek to improve relations with the US and Japan, the editorial argued that “Washington should encourage these diplomatic feelers, while insisting that progress not come at South Korea’s expense. America should also do what it can to prevent a sudden and dangerous collapse of authority in North Korea. And it should be generous in providing food aid, with careful monitoring to make sure the aid goes to civilians in need rather than the military and the party elite. ” The editorial concluded that “Mr. Kim’s two overriding challenges will be to establish a regional role for his country that does not depend on military might, and to begin opening up the economy.”

2. DPRK Food Aid

Reuters (“USAID SEES NEW WFP FOOD APPEAL FOR N. KOREA IN NOV,” Washington, 10/9/97) reported that an anonymous official from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said Thursday that the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) will likely issue a new food aid appeal for the DPRK in mid to late November, after it completes its assessment of the DPRK harvest. Based on a preliminary estimate, North Korea faces a shortfall of about 2.0 million to 2.5 million tons of food in 1997-98. Current expectations are that the WFP will ask donors for enough food assistance to cover the upcoming year, the o

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In today’s Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

I. United States

1. Kim Jong-il’s Ascension

Reuters (“NKOREA’S KIM MAKES 1ST POST-ELECTION APPEARANCE,” Tokyo, 10/10/97) and the Associated Press (“NORTH KOREAN LEADER HONORS FATHER,” Tokyo, 10/10/97) said that the DPRK’s official Korean Central Broadcasting Station reported that Kim Jong-il on Friday visited the tomb of his father, Kim Il-sung, during ceremonies marking the 52nd anniversary of the founding of the WPK. It was his first public appearance since his election on Wednesday as head of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), DPRK analysts said that the country’s official med

In today’s Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

I. United States

1. Kim Jong-il’s Ascension

Reuters (“NKOREA’S KIM MAKES 1ST POST-ELECTION APPEARANCE,” Tokyo, 10/10/97) and the Associated Press (“NORTH KOREAN LEADER HONORS FATHER,” Tokyo, 10/10/97) said that the DPRK’s official Korean Central Broadcasting Station reported that Kim Jong-il on Friday visited the tomb of his father, Kim Il-sung, during ceremonies marking the 52nd anniversary of the founding of the WPK. It was his first public appearance since his election on Wednesday as head of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), DPRK analysts said that the country’s official media had made no changes in listing the names of dignitaries attending functions since Kim took control of the party, indicating he had so far made no changes in the country’s power structure. In Moscow, Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency reported that sources close to the DPRK Embassy said that Kim Jong-il will also become president of the country this year, “possibly in one week’s time.” Also, an unnamed DPRK diplomat was quoted as saying, “So far we don’t know when Comrade Kim Jong-il will be named president but of course we want this to happen.”

The New York Times said in an editorial (“DYNASTIC POLITICS IN NORTH KOREA,” 10/10/97) that while the appointment of Kim Jong-il as General Secretary of the Workers’ Party “suggests there has been orderly passage of power to Mr. Kim,” and “may also mean that the country’s dogmatic military leaders will take orders from civilian authorities,” nonetheless, “neither development augurs any great change in North Korea’s self-imposed isolation.” Speculating that Kim will continue to cooperate with the US-DPRK Agreed Framework on nuclear weapons and seek to improve relations with the US and Japan, the editorial argued that “Washington should encourage these diplomatic feelers, while insisting that progress not come at South Korea’s expense. America should also do what it can to prevent a sudden and dangerous collapse of authority in North Korea. And it should be generous in providing food aid, with careful monitoring to make sure the aid goes to civilians in need rather than the military and the party elite. ” The editorial concluded that “Mr. Kim’s two overriding challenges will be to establish a regional role for his country that does not depend on military might, and to begin opening up the economy.”

2. DPRK Food Aid

Reuters (“USAID SEES NEW WFP FOOD APPEAL FOR N. KOREA IN NOV,” Washington, 10/9/97) reported that an anonymous official from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said Thursday that the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) will likely issue a new food aid appeal for the DPRK in mid to late November, after it completes its assessment of the DPRK harvest. Based on a preliminary estimate, North Korea faces a shortfall of about 2.0 million to 2.5 million tons of food in 1997-98. Current expectations are that the WFP will ask donors for enough food assistance to cover the upcoming year, the o

I. United States

1. Kim Jong-il’s Ascension

Reuters (“NKOREA’S KIM MAKES 1ST POST-ELECTION APPEARANCE,” Tokyo, 10/10/97) and the Associated Press (“NORTH KOREAN LEADER HONORS FATHER,” Tokyo, 10/10/97) said that the DPRK’s official Korean Central Broadcasting Station reported that Kim Jong-il on Friday visited the tomb of his father, Kim Il-sung, during ceremonies marking the 52nd anniversary of the founding of the WPK. It was his first public appearance since his election on Wednesday as head of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), DPRK analysts said that the country’s official media had made no changes in listing the names of dignitaries attending functions since Kim took control of the party, indicating he had so far made no changes in the country’s power structure. In Moscow, Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency reported that sources close to the DPRK Embassy said that Kim Jong-il will also become president of the country this year, “possibly in one week’s time.” Also, an unnamed DPRK diplomat was quoted as saying, “So far we don’t know when Comrade Kim Jong-il will be named president but of course we want this to happen.”

The New York Times said in an editorial (“DYNASTIC POLITICS IN NORTH KOREA,” 10/10/97) that while the appointment of Kim Jong-il as General Secretary of the Workers’ Party “suggests there has been orderly passage of power to Mr. Kim,” and “may also mean that the country’s dogmatic military leaders will take orders from civilian authorities,” nonetheless, “neither development augurs any great change in North Korea’s self-imposed isolation.” Speculating that Kim will continue to cooperate with the US-DPRK Agreed Framework on nuclear weapons and seek to improve relations with the US and Japan, the editorial argued that “Washington should encourage these diplomatic feelers, while insisting that progress not come at South Korea’s expense. America should also do what it can to prevent a sudden and dangerous collapse of authority in North Korea. And it should be generous in providing food aid, with careful monitoring to make sure the aid goes to civilians in need rather than the military and the party elite. ” The editorial concluded that “Mr. Kim’s two overriding challenges will be to establish a regional role for his country that does not depend on military might, and to begin opening up the economy.”

2. DPRK Food Aid

Reuters (“USAID SEES NEW WFP FOOD APPEAL FOR N. KOREA IN NOV,” Washington, 10/9/97) reported that an anonymous official from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said Thursday that the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) will likely issue a new food aid appeal for the DPRK in mid to late November, after it completes its assessment of the DPRK harvest. Based on a preliminary estimate, North Korea faces a shortfall of about 2.0 million to 2.5 million tons of food in 1997-98. Current expectations are that the WFP will ask donors for enough food assistance to cover the upcoming year, the official said. The US will decide whether to contribute additional food aid once the WFP makes its actual appeal, the official said. The US will insist “much more firmly” on the need for comprehensive monitoring of food aid distribution than it has in the past, although “we have seen no evidence of diversion [of US food aid] to the military in North Korea,” the official said. Nevertheless, the DPRK has been slow to implement some food aid monitoring agreements, the official said. In particular, the DPRK had agreed to let the WFP have 17 monitors but in fact only seven are currently in the country, he said.

The Associated Press (Barry Schweid, “US THREATENS TO CUT OFF KOREA AID,” Washington, 10/10/97) reported that Leonard Rogers, an administrator with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said Thursday that the US will stop providing food to the DPRK unless it permits broader monitoring of aid distribution to nursery schools, kindergartens and hospitals. While there is no evidence US corn, rice and other food aid is being diverted to the DPRK’s military or stolen, international relief monitors do not have access to areas in the north and the center of the country, officials said. “We still feel our food is adequately being overseen,” Rogers added. Meanwhile, Representative Tony Hall said he would go to the DPRK next Tuesday to examine conditions. Hall said he also intended to make inquiries about US servicemen missing since the Korea War.

The AP-Dow Jones News Service (Jonathan Stearns, “E.U. CORN, RICE AID FOR N. KOREA SEEN DELIVERED BY END-NOV,” Brussels, 10/10/97) reported that European Union (EU) spokesman Joao Vale de Almeida said Friday that a total of 145,000 metric tons of corn, rice, vegetable oil and vegetables will have been delivered to the DPRK before the end of next month as part of an EU food-aid package announced in May.

3. ROK-Japan Fishery Talks

The AP-Dow Jones News Service (“JAPAN, S. KOREA MAKE PROGRESS TOWARD FISHERIES PACT,” Tokyo, 10/10/97) said that Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported that, during ROK-Japan fishery talks ending Friday, the ROK proposed that the two countries jointly control the fishing area around the disputed islands known as Takeshima in Japan and Tokto in the ROK. The agency quoted an unidentified Japanese Foreign Ministry official as saying that Japan is seriously considering the idea and that it represents progress toward a new fisheries agreement.

4. Japanese Wives of DPRK Citizens to Visit Japan

The Los Angeles Times (“N. KOREA LISTS EMIGRES TO VISIT JAPAN,” Tokyo, 10/10/97) reported that the DPRK on Thursday gave Japan a list of 10 to 15 Japanese wives of DPRK citizens who will be allowed to visit their native land for the first time since emigrating to the DPRK decades ago. Chief Japanese Cabinet Secretary Kanezo Muraoka, asked when the visits would take place, replied, “Soon.” [Ed. note: See related item in Japan section below.]

5. US MIAs from Korean War

The Associated Press (Robert Burns, “DAUGHTER OF MIA RETURNS TO WAR ZONE,” Washington, 10/10/97) reported that representatives of the Korean War-Cold War Family Association of the Missing, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Chosin Few left for the DPRK Friday to meet with DPRK officials regarding the fate of US servicemen still listed as missing from the Korean War. “We think this is an opportunity to gain a commitment from them to resolve this issue,” said Ken Steadman, executive director of the VFW’s Washington office. A DPRK diplomat in New York told a US official earlier this year that as many as seven US nationals are in the DPRK in addition to four US Army defectors from the 1960s. The DPRK Foreign Ministry denied anyone is there besides the four. The representatives from the veterans’ organizations said they intend to seek permission to talk to the defectors.

6. ROK Presidential Elections

The AP-Dow Jones News Service (“S. KOREA RULING PARTY ACCUSES OPPOSITION CANDIDATE OF BRIBERY,” Seoul, 10/10/97) and Reuters (Jane Lee, SEOUL PARTIES TRADE CHARGES OVER FUND SCANDAL,” Seoul, 10/10/97) reported that Lee Sa-chul, spokesman for the ROK’s ruling New Korea Party (NKP), on Friday accused opposition presidential candidate Kim Dae-jung of taking US$15 million in bribes from 10 businessmen to finance his unsuccessful 1992 presidential campaign. “Kim Dae-jung has turned out to be no better than Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo,” Lee said in a statement. Kim Dae-jung and the businesses involved immediately denied the accusation. On Thursday, the NKP released bank account details and check numbers it said belonged to Kim’s slush fund and again demanded that state prosecutors investigate. Meanwhile, Kim’s National Congress for New Politics said it was looking into the possibility the NKP had fabricated the evidence with outside cooperation. Local media reported that the state prosecutor’s office said it would not probe the issue until a formal complaint was made and solid evidence submitted. [Ed. note: See the related item in ROK section below.]

7. US Policy toward PRC

The Washington Post carried an opinion article (Stephen S. Rosenfeld, “THE MOST-FAVORED CHINA POLICY,” 10/10/97, A25) which said that the Clinton administration “has won a substantial indication of bipartisan support that it hopes will sustain its chosen China policy through the ups and downs sure to come.” The article quoted White House national security adviser Samuel Berger as saying that the US debate on whether to pursue engagement with the PRC is over, though argument continues on “priorities.” Berger argued that the US cannot treat the PRC like an enemy, or it will become an enemy, and thus the administration is seeking a “strategic dialogue” with the PRC. The article said that while “the administration’s quiet maintenance of the traditional American forward military position on the Pacific Rim … may feed Chinese anxieties about the United States’ post-Cold War purpose in the Pacific … [it] constitutes the essential strategic underpinnings of a diplomatic policy that otherwise invites the Chinese to integrate into the global system.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK Reaction to Kim Jong-il’s Ascension

The ROK government on Thursday convened a “coordination meeting” of key DPRK policymakers to exchange views on Kim Jong-il’s official succession. ROK Deputy Premier-National Unification Minister Kwon O-kie presided over the meeting, which was also attended by ROK Defense Minister Kim Dong-jing, Vice Foreign Minister Lee Ki-choo, senior presidential secretary Ban Ki-moon, and Kwon Young-hae, director of the Agency for National Security Planning. The officials shared the view that no apparent changes in inter-Korean relations will emerge as a consequence of Kim’s ascension. The officials also exchanged views on the government’s future humanitarian aid to the DPRK, including the possible resumption of inter-Korean Red Cross talks late this month. (Korea Times, Son Key-Young, “SEOUL TO MAINTAIN EXISTING POLICIES TOWARDS NK,” 10/10/97)

2. Russian Reaction to Kim Jong-il’s Ascension

The appointment of Kim Jong-il as leader of the ruling party of the DPRK is a “purely internal affair,” the Russian foreign ministry stated October 9. Russia’s Communist Party official, Oleg Shenin, told ITAR-Tass, “this event is aimed at stabilizing the situation on the Korean peninsula.” Shenin recently returned from a visit to the DPRK, where he met the reclusive leader Kim. “I’m sure that this is a big step forward towards the building of normal relations between two Far Eastern neighbors — Russia and the DPRK,” he added. (Korea Times, “KIM’S ELECTION `INTERIOR AFFAIR’ FOR DPRK: RUSSIA,” 10/10/97) [Ed. note: See the related item in the Japan section below.]

3. Naval Powers in Asia

The ROK Navy, in a report submitted to the National Assembly on Thursday, said that Japan is expected to deploy three Aegis destroyers in the East Sea by the end of next year. The report said that such expansion of Japanese naval influence in the East Sea raises concerns about the territorial dispute between the ROK and Japan over the small rocky islet of Tokto. The report also contained other general information on naval capabilities of neighboring nations in Northeast Asia and called for a stronger ROK navy. The PRC is seeking to build a deep-sea fleet over the next few years, including two aircraft carriers by 2005. The PRC navy has 113 submarines, including seven that are nuclear- powered, and plans to procure a Clemenceau-class aircraft carrier from France and Russian-made submarines and destroyers, according to the report. Russia is reducing its naval forces, but is seeking to improve their quality. Thailand has already obtained a Spanish-made aircraft carrier, and Malaysia is expected to deploy four missile frigates, said the report. The US navy, which already has eight nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, plans to procure two more by 2002 and build new attack submarines by 2004, the report said. (Korea Herald, “JAPAN TO DEPLOY THREE AEGIS DESTROYERS IN EAST SEA: REPORT,” 10/10/97)

4. ROK Presidential Elections

The ROK’s ruling New Korea Party (NKP) on Friday released a list of contributors to National Congress for New Politics (NCNP) leader Kim Dae-jung’s slush fund and urged a detailed investigation. The NKP is planning to convince prosecutors to undertake a full scale investigation at the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office parliamentary inspection, scheduled for October 14. Meanwhile, the NCNP plans to investigate whether Kang Sam-jae, secretary-general of the NKP, has violated the financial real name system in acquiring the evidence he has put forward. (Joongang Ilbo, “NKP AND NCNP’S SLUSH FUND BATTLE,” 10/10/97)

5. ROK to Develop Mini-reactor

The ROK Korea Atomic Energy Institute announced October 10 it will develop a small size reactor and related technology by 2002 with a budget of 100 billion won. The institute said the capacity of the reactor is expected to be 100 thousand kilowatts or one-tenth of that of normal reactors for use in residential centers with a population of 100 thousand. The construction costs are estimated to be 200 million dollars. Project Chief Dr. Chang Mun-hee said this reactor will be constructed faster, produce less waste, and provide greater safety than ordinary reactors. (Chosun Ilbo, “KOREA ATOMIC ENERGY INSTITUTE TO DEVELOP MINI-REACTOR,” 10/10/97)

III. Japan

1. Japan-US-PRC Defense Relations

The Nikkei Shimbun (“JAPANESE GOVERNMENT TO PROPOSE JAPAN-US-PRC POLITICAL AND SECURITY DIALOGUE,” 1, 10/5/97) reported that the Japanese government plans to officially propose a Japan-US-PRC political and security dialogue in response to the PRC’s increasing concern about the New Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation. According to the proposal, the trilateral dialogue aims to discuss the international environment surrounding Asia-Pacific, the military doctrine and defense planning of each country, and global issues such as the environment and drug trafficking. The dialogue would begin with an exchange of views among non-governmental academic people and eventually develop into a political and security consultation among governmental officials. The report cited a governmental official as revealing that the reasons for beginning with non-governmental exchange of views include the PRC’s likely negative reaction to an official inter-governmental framework. [Ed. note: See also the Japan section of the October 6 Daily Report].

2. Japanese Reaction to Kim Jong-il’s Ascension

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“PRIME MINISTER SAYS HE ONLY WATCHES SITUATION IN DPRK,” 3, 10/9/97) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto on Wednesday commented on Kim Jong-il’s official ascension to General Secretary of the DPRK’s ruling party. Hashimoto stated: “[How Kim Jong-il’s succession] will influence Japan-DPRK relations is uncertain at this moment, but I expect the higher-level official negotiations between the two countries, which have just begun, to progress in a better direction. I will only watch the DPRK’s behavior as carefully as I have.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“POLITICAL PARTIES’S REACTION TO KIM JONG-IL’S Ascension,” 2, 10/9/97) reported that the Japanese political parties each released statements commenting on Kim Jong-il’s ascension. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) stated, “We hope that [the DPRK] will contribute to peace and stability in the world as a member of the international community.” The Social Democratic Party stated, “It is desirable that [Kim’s ascension] do good to resumption of Japan-DPRK normalization negotiations.” The New Party Sakigake said, “We hope that peace-building will be realized on the Korean Peninsula.” As for the opposition parties, the Democratic Socialist Party stated, “We hope that the Korean Peninsula will be more stable.” The Sun Party (Taiyoto) stated, “We expect the DPRK to be actively involved in the international community.” The New Frontier Party (Shinshinto) stated, “We should carefully watch how the DPRK’s attitude will change.”

3. Russian Reaction to Kim Jong-il’s Ascension

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“RUSSIA REGARDS ELECTION OF KIM JONG-IL,” Moscow, 7, 10/8/97) reported that, according to Russia’s Itar-Tass News Agency, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday stated, “[We] regard the election by the DPRK’s Workers’ Party of Kim Jong-il as its General Secretary” as purely a domestic affair of the DPRK, and that Russia-DPRK relations will not change.

4. Japanese Wives’ Visits

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“DPRK SUBMITS LIST OF FIRST GROUP OF JAPANESE WIVES TO VISIT JAPAN,” 1, 10/10/97) reported that the Japanese government announced on Thursday that the DPRK submitted to the Japanese Embassy in Beijing a list of Japanese wives of DPRK citizens who will be allowed to visit their relatives in Japan. Chief Cabinet Secretary Kenzo Muraoka told reporters that the number of women visiting Japan would be ten to fifteen, as agreed upon by the Red Cross societies of Japan and the DPRK in September in Beijing. A high-ranking Foreign Ministry official told reporters that the wives would visit later this month if all goes well. The official denied any link between the list and Japan’s decision to provide food aid to the DPRK.

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

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

Shin Dong-bom: dongbom.shin@anu.edu.au
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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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