NAPSNet Daily Report 10 September, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 10 September, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, September 10, 1999,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

I. United States

1. Kazakstan Fighter Sales to DPRK

The Associated Press (“US MAY CUT AID TO KAZAKSTAN OVER MIGS TO N. KOREA-AGENCY,” Moscow, 09/10/99) reported that Russia’s Interfax news agency on Friday cited the US Embassy in Kazakstan as saying that the US may cut US$75 million in annual aid to Kazakstan as punishment for its alleged sale of 30 MiG fighter jets to the DPRK. The report said that the US Embassy in Kazakstan will make a final decision on whether to cut aid after the US government completes an inquiry into the alleged sale.

2. Alleged DPRK Spy Network

The Associated Press (“NORTH KOREAN SPY NETWORK UNCOVERED,” Seoul, 09/09/99) reported that the ROK’s National Intelligence Service said Thursday that authorities have arrested four men on suspicion of belong to a DPRK spy ring. It said that those arrested include a college professor, a former news magazine journalist, Cho Yoo- shik, and two former student leaders, including Kim Young-hwan. Another journalist is under investigation. The four suspects allegedly worked for an underground support group founded in the late 1980s for the DPRK’s Workers’ Party that collected information on ROK politics. Officials said that Jin Woon-bang, a DPRK spy who was picked up by the DPKR speedboat sunk off the ROK coast in December, also worked for the group. Kim and Cho allegedly visited the DPRK for two weeks in 1991 to meet Kim Il-sung, and then returned home in a spy submarine. They later allegedly received US$400,000 in cash, pistols, and walkie-talkies from other DPRK spies. Prosecutors have yet to file charges against the suspects.

3. DPRK Economy

Agence France-Presse (“NORTH KOREA DENIES ‘FREE MARKETS’ IN STALINIST NATION,” Tokyo, 09/08/99) reported that the DPRK’s Korean Central New Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday denied reports that Kim Jong-Il had ordered the closure of free markets, saying that such markets had never existed. KCNA stated, “This is a wholly unfounded fabrication. It is a nonsense to assert that the DPRK ‘closed free markets’ which have never existed there.” KCNA admitted that there were “farmers’ markets” but argued that they “fundamentally differ from ‘free markets’ in concept.” It said, “Farmers sell at the markets some surplus agricultural products and live-stock products turned out at the joint economy of cooperative farms and supplementary husbandry of co-op farmers.”

4. Kim Dae-jung’s View of DPRK

Time Magazine carried an interview with ROK President Kim Dae-jung (Adi Ignatius, Donald Macintyre, and Stella Kim, “‘I AGONIZE FOR NORTH KOREANS’,” 09/13/99). Kim said that the possibility that the DPRK will not fire a missile has increased. He added that if the DPRK did launch a missile, “The consequences will be quite painful for North Korea. They will be denounced for damaging peace and stability in Northeast Asia. The pain will also come in terms of a halt or decrease in the various forms of economic assistance that our three countries have been giving.” He noted, “The [ROK] government finds it very difficult to go against public opinion, which will turn very sharply against North Korea if it goes ahead with the missile firing.” He stated, “I agonize over the suffering that the North Korean people must be experiencing…. I really do want to do more to help them, but again, with such negative public opinion in this country, it is very difficult to go ahead with assistance.” Kim stated, “If you ask the North Korean leadership why they are developing missiles when their people are suffering, the regime’s answer will be that they are doing this because of the threat from South Korea and the U.S. But that argument can no longer be justified in light of the proposal Mr. Perry took to North Korea.” He added, “I have three-and-a-half years remaining in my term and do not expect unification to take place during this period. But if we try very hard, we have a real possibility of ending the Cold War on the Korean peninsula and starting a period of peaceful exchanges between South and North Korea.” Kim argued, “The American military presence in Korea and in Japan is an integral part of the military balance in Northeast Asia. The American troops in South Korea are an issue between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea.”

5. Situation on Korean Peninsula

Oxford Analytica carried an analytical article (“NORTH/SOUTH KOREA: DIPLOMATIC INITIATIVES,” 09/08/99) which said that the recent diplomatic activity regarding the DPRK highlights how the patterns of alliance have evolved since the Cold War from the “two triangles” structure, where the US and Japan supported the ROK and Russia and China supported the DPRK. The article said that while US officials may fear Republican criticism of any new deal with the DPRK, “congressional interest in North Korea has generally waned since the backlash which sparked Perry’s appointment last November.” It added, “Moreover, while it is not yet clear that North Korea is willing to reach a deal, there have been signs recently that a change is being contemplated. In June, North Korea’s ambassadors were recalled to Pyongyang for two months, prompting speculation that a change of line is being mulled.” It argued, “In any case, negotiations are unlikely to proceed swiftly and will be subject to constant threat of reversal or complication.” Regarding recent PRC-ROK meetings, the article stated, “As Beijing’s ultimate goal is to displace the United States and resume its traditional hegemonic role in the peninsula, … it is keen to cultivate the south. From Seoul’s viewpoint, military contacts further diminish the already remote likelihood that China would ever again support North Korea in war.” Regarding DPRK-Japan relations, the article said, “The latest indications are that Pyongyang may once again be considering talks. It has strong incentives to do so, as the principle is already agreed that diplomatic relations would be accompanied by an aid package in compensation for colonial rule.” It added, “It remains hard to discern a coherent Russian policy towards the peninsula. A revised friendship treaty (excluding military support) with North Korea was initialed in March but has yet to be formally signed, perhaps because Pyongyang is angry at Russia’s sales and offers of advanced weapons to Seoul in settlement of debt.”

6. PRC Military Exercises

Reuters (Paul Eckert, “CHINA FLAUNTS MILITARY MIGHT AMID TAIWAN DISPUTE,” Beijing, 09/10/99) and The Associated Press (Joe Mcdonald, “CHINA HOLDS EXERCISES NEAR TAIWAN,” Beijing, 09/10/99) reported that the PRC state television on Friday showed footage of military attack drills in the coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Guangdong. The broadcast included a denunciation of Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui for his declaration that ties with the PRC should be considered on a “special state to state” basis. Xinhua news agency said that the drills showed that the People’s Liberation Army was “ready to defend the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and to crack down on any separatist acts.” It stated, “The military exercise provided a spectacular sight of a straits-crossing and landing operation by Chinese forces armed with high-tech weapons.” Xinhua also issued a commentary saying that the PRC’s refusal to renounce the right to use force against Taiwan was a “strategic consideration and a dependable guarantee of the completion of the task of national reunification. If we pledge not to use force, peaceful reunification will become impossible.” It quoted General Zhang Wannian, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, as saying, “The PLA is keeping a close eye on developments in cross-Straits relations and is ready to crush any evil attempts to separate the motherland.”

7. PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Associated Press (“TAIWAN LEADER CONFIDENT OF SAFETY,” Taipei, 09/09/99) reported that Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui said Thursday that the PRC will not attack Taiwan because it is preoccupied with economic problems. Lee said that the PRC’s economy is “so unstable, problems are so many, where is the means to willy-nilly take action against Taiwan?” Su Chi, chairman of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, said that as Lee’s recent statement on PRC-Taiwan relations did not mark a change in policy, there was no reason for the PRC to cancel a visit to Taiwan for top PRC envoy Wang Daohan. Lee’s spokesman, Ting Yuean-chao, said setting that setting preconditions on the visit was “inappropriate.”

8. PRC Military Threat to Taiwan

The Wall Street Journal (Matt Forney, “WITH A BARK FAR WORSE THAN ITS BITE, CHINA LACKS SHIPS, JETS TO TAKE TAIWAN,” Beijing, 09/08/99) reported that military and political experts said that the PRC would likely fail if it tried invading Taiwan. Andrew Yang, head of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies in Taiwan, stated, “A strike would have to be quick, but they just can’t project force across a hundred miles of water. A slower approach would not do any good to Beijing because Taiwan would be a victim, and the international response would be very strong.” The article noted that most estimates say that the PRC can effectively move one reinforced infantry division of 15,000 to 20,000 troops to the shore, and another division of paratroopers, but 300,000 troops would be necessary to take a beach. Retired US Rear Admiral Eric McVadon, in a study published this year by Rand, reported that when the US sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to the Taiwan straits in 1996, the PRC military didn’t was never able to gauge exactly where the ships were.

9. PRC Missile Development

The New York Times (James Risen, “REPORT PREDICTS CHINA WILL AIM NUCLEAR MISSILES AT U.S. BY 2015,” Washington, 09/10/99) and the Los Angeles Times (Bob Drogin, “MISSILE THREAT TO U.S. ‘SERIOUS,’ REPORT WARNS BY TIMES STAFF WRITER,” Washington, 09/10/99) reported that a US National Intelligence Estimate released Thursday predicted that within 15 years, the PRC will be aiming missiles at the US. The report concluded that “by 2015, China will likely have tens of missiles targeted against the United States, having added a few tens of more survivable land- and sea-based mobile missiles with smaller nuclear warheads — in part influenced by U.S. technology gained through espionage.” The report represents a consensus within the US intelligence community. An unnamed senior intelligence official said that the report marks the first time the intelligence community has explicitly stated that PRC warheads developed through espionage would be aimed at the US. The official stated, “They didn’t copy our systems, as much as the stolen U.S. technology has guided their efforts for their work on their own weapons.” The report also said that the PRC is “significantly improving” its short-range missile systems and is increasing the size of its missile forces deployed opposite Taiwan, though they may not be larger than has been reported in the news media. Joseph Cirincione, director of the nonproliferation project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, stated, “After the Rumsfeld report, all the intelligence officials are hedging their bets. They’re now telling us of the threats that conceivably may appear, rather than threats they honestly think will appear. So they’re less useful to policymakers, although they’re more useful for political campaigns.”

10. US-PRC Relations

The Los Angeles Times carried an opinion article by Benjamin Schwarz, Former Executive Editor of World Policy Journal (“THE U.S. FINDS A NEW BOOGEYMAN,” 09/08/99) which said that the US foreign policy community has been playing up the “China threat” to fulfill the need for a new enemy with the end of the Cold War. The article stated, “‘Hard-liners’ and ‘moderates’ argue about China’s capabilities and about whether U.S. aims will be best served by ‘containing’ or ‘engaging’ Beijing, but both groups agree on the underlying goals of American strategy. Both focus on Chinese, rather than American, ambitions; for all their differences, there is no fundamental debate.” It added, “while moderates and hard-liners disagree about how soon, or even if, China may emerge as a threat, they agree on what would constitute a threat to the U.S. in East Asia: anything that would challenge American dominance there. The moderates repeatedly assert, echoing the hard-liners and the entire U.S. foreign policy community, that America must maintain the balance of power in the region. But this begs the question: What balance?” The author argued, “The notion that balance can be achieved through domination is the contradiction at the heart of American policy. Obviously, what America defines as balance can easily be seen by another state as hegemony.” He concluded, “That the American foreign policy community would regard as a ‘threat’ the efforts of the largest and potentially most powerful state in a region to remedy its weak position reveals more about our ambitions than about China’s.”

11. Japanese Military Development

The Associated Press carried an analytical article (Ginny Parker, “JAPAN STRENGTHENING ITS FORCES,” Tokyo, 09/10/99) which said that Japanese decisions on its military could have a major impact on the balance of power in Asia. Isaku Okabe, a Japanese commentator on military affairs, stated, “It’s not so much about making the defense forces bigger. It’s about changing strategy.” Takamasa Moriya, deputy vice minister of Japan’s Defense Agency, said in a recent interview, “The need has arisen for a more effective defense system.” Socialist lawmaker Kiyomi Tsujimoto stated, “I feel like we’re going backward. The military is beginning to gain power.” Gen. Nakatani, a legislator for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and former army lieutenant, argued, “Japan can’t do what a country should be able to do. The constitution is an obstacle.”

12. Japanese Nuclear Development

Nucleonics Week (Mark Hibbs, “TOKYO RESEARCHERS ASK JAPAN’S NUCLEAR EXPERTS FOR NPT ‘PLEDGE’,” Bonn, 09/02/99) reported that Tatsujiro Suzuki, Assistant Professor at the University of Tokyo Department of Quantum Engineering and System Sciences, and Susan Pickett, a research associate there, plan to circulate a petition at the end of October requesting Japanese nuclear scientists to pledge not to work on the development of nuclear arms. The idea came out of a Pugwash disarmament conference in Hawaii earlier this year. The researchers posted documents about their “pledge” idea on the internet at . Suzuki said on August 31 that the website is soliciting an “international dialogue” from experts in Japan and outside Japan about the form, wording, and target circulation of the pledge. However, Pugwash officials warned that if the pledge call was not heeded by Japanese scientists, that might be interpreted as a sign that they were ready to work on a Japanese nuclear weapons program at some time in the future. One unnamed Japanese source stated, “If this fails, that could incur still more suspicion of Japan abroad and turn out to be counterproductive.”

13. Japanese Response to East Timor

The Los Angeles Times carried an interview with Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi (Tom Plate, “PACIFIC PROSPECT INDONESIA TESTS OBUCHI ON JAPAN’S WORLD ROLE, Tokyo, 09/10/99). Obuchi criticized the Western news media for underplaying Indonesia’s achievement in holding relatively fair elections in East Timor. Obuchi added, “I think the U.N. should once again play the role of settling the situation, and Japan intends to provide all possible support to that end. The responsibility for public safety in Indonesia lies with Indonesia itself. But if the Indonesian measures do not result in an improvement in public safety, then I think Japan will have to take the position of supporting an international military force.” He stated, “we are abiding by the Japanese constitution, and thus we are forbidden to contribute to world peace by any military presence. We are trying hard to contribute to world peace by pursuing human security–that is, to achieve security for human beings.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. US-DPRK Talks

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “NO N.K. COMMENT ON NLL ISSUE RAISES HOPES FOR SUCCESS IN BERLIN NEGOTIATIONS,” Seoul, 09/10/99), Chosun Ilbo (Park Doo-shik, “US AND NK HOLD SECOND DAY OF TALKS,” Seoul, 09/09/99) and The Korea Times (“US, N.KOREA PURSUE TALKS IN BERLIN,” Seoul, 09/09/99) reported that ROK observers said that contrary to widespread predictions, the DPRK appeared not to have raised the issue of redrawing the inter-Korean maritime border in the first two days of missile talks with the US in Berlin. The DPRK’s chief delegate, Kim Gye-gwan, has been silent as to whether he brought up the redefinition of the sea border since the talks began on Tuesday, they said. Instead, Kim, DPRK Vice Foreign Minister, has said that the talks were conducted in a sincere manner and the atmosphere was good. ROK officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also indicated that the DPRK may have refrained from raising the NLL issue. “I believe that the NLL problem is not an important factor to the missile talks…. It is not an issue,” said a ranking ministry official. It is speculated that the DPRK is determined not to talk about the border issue during the missile talks to focus on its demands that the US lift economic sanctions on the DPRK. “But we cannot rule out the possibility that the North may bring up the issue if the missile talks make little progress,” said an ROK analyst. According to a news report in Seoul, delegations from the DPRK and the US, each led by Kim and US special envoy on Korean affairs Charles Kartman, made some headway in their intensive negotiations on Wednesday. It said that the US arranged a compromise proposal, which is expected to be conveyed to the DPRK on the third day of talks today. The two sides took Thursday off apparently because of the DPRK government’s celebration of the 51st anniversary of its founding.

2. ROK-US Talks

The Korea Herald (“HONG, ALBRIGHT REAFFIRM CLOSE COOPERATION ON N.K.,” Seoul, 09/10/99) reported that ROK officials said on Thursday that ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Hong Soon-young and the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Thursday reaffirmed the two countries’ close cooperation in handling DPRK issues. The confirmation came at a meeting held on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, they said. “They agreed to maintain close cooperation in promoting their North Korea policies,” said an ROK foreign ministry official in Seoul. Hong and Albright also exchanged views on how to respond to the DPRK’s alleged demand for the lifting US’s economic sanctions on the DPRK, the official added.

3. DPRK Spies

The Korea Herald (Lee Sung-yul, “FIVE NABBED ON CHARGES OF SPYING FOR N.K.,” Seoul, 09/10/99), Joongang Ilbo (Kang Joo-an, “‘CYBER SPY’ WHO COMMUNICATED WITH NK VIA E-MAIL ARRESTED,” Seoul, 09/09/99), Chosun Ilbo (Choi Won-kyu, “NIS UNCOVERS NK SPY RING,” Seoul, 09/09/99) and The Korea Times (“FOUR ARRESTED ON CHARGES OF SPYING FOR NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 09/09/99) reported that the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced on Thursday that it caught five people who allegedly established a pro-DPRK underground revolutionary group in the ROK. The five former student activists were given secret names by the DPRK, and were ordered by the DPRK to spread the DPRK’s juche, or self-reliance, ideology among ROK citizens in preparation for a “revolution in the South,” the NIS said. They sent reports to the DPRK and received orders from the DPRK through the Hotmail Web-based e-mail service, the NIS said. Four of them were arrested and sent to the prosecution. They were Kim Young-hwan, 36; Cho Yu-shik, 35, a reporter for monthly magazine “Mal;” Ha Young- ok, 36; and Shim Jae-chun, 29, a college lecturer. Kim Kyung-hwan, 35, also a “Mal” reporter, is still being questioned. Kim Young-hwan was known for years as the leader of a handful of ROK student activists who held the DPRK’s juche ideology in high esteem. After a DPRK agent cultivated their support, Kim and Cho, secretly visited the DPRK by submarine and met Kim Il-sung in May 1991. Kim Young-hwan received US$400,000, communication equipment, a handgun and other items useful for spying from the DPRK authorities, the NIS said. The NIS plans to use these items, found buried near Mt. Kwanak in Seoul, as evidence. Kim, after returning to the ROK aboard a DPRK submarine, formed an underground pro-DPRK group, the “Revolutionary Party for People and Democracy,” the NIS said. Kim recruited three others into the underground group. In 1995 however, Kim and Cho lost faith in the juche ideology and cut their secret relations with the DPRK, the NIS said, adding that they actively cooperated in the investigation. The NIS quoted the two as saying they will make efforts for the “democratization of North Korea.” After Kim left the underground group he formed, the DPRK sent an agent to the ROK, who named Ha its new leader in 1997, the NIS said.

4. ROK-Japan Relations

The Korea Herald (“KOREA, JAPAN AGREE TO SIGN BILATERAL INVESTMENT TREATY,” Seoul, 09/10/99) reported that the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that the ROK and Japan agreed on Wednesday to expedite efforts to sign a bilateral investment treaty. ROK Minister for Trade Han Duck-soo and his Japanese counterpart Kaoru Yosano also agreed to hold talks on the signing of a mutual recognition agreement on common industrial standards, ROK spokesman Chang Chul-kyoon said. Han and Yosano met in Auckland on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

5. ROK President leaves for APEC

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “KIM LEAVES FOR N.Z. APEC SUMMIT TODAY,” Seoul, 09/10/99) and Chosun Ilbo (“PRESIDENT TO LEAVE FOR NEW ZEALAND,” Seoul, 09/09/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung and First Lady Lee Hee-ho embarked on a nine-day trip to New Zealand and Australia Friday. Kim will participate in the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Auckland, New Zealand, September 12-13. The regional meeting will draw leaders from 21 Pacific Rim nations. “President Kim will make a lead statement in the discussion on the lessons of the economic crisis,” ROK Foreign Minister Hong Soon-young said. Hong said that Kim is expected to spell out his vision of a new Asia-Pacific taking the lead in shaping a new global economic order and bridging disparities in the region. In addition to the APEC conferences, Kim is scheduled to hold separate summit talks with the leaders of six nations. 6. ROK Opposition Leader Visits US

The Korea Herald (“OPPOSITION LEADER TO EMBARK ON VISIT TO U.S., GERMANY,” Seoul, 09/10/99) and Chosun Ilbo (“OPPOSITION LEADER LEAVES FOR US AND GERMANY,” Seoul, 09/09/99) reported that ROK Representative Lee Hoi-chang, president of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP), left Seoul Friday for a 10-day tour of the US and Germany, a party spokesman said. In the US, Lee will deliver speeches at the Heritage Foundation and the Asian Society on regional security in Northeast Asia. He will also meet US dignitaries and congressmen, including Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Stanley Roth and Charles Kartman, US special envoy for Korean affairs, to exchange views on pending issues surrounding the Korean Peninsula. While in Berlin, Lee will attend a meeting of the International Democrat Union (IDU) and visit the city hall and chamber of commerce there.

7. DPRK Rejects 6-Way Talks

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “NORTH KOREA AGAINST 6-WAY TALKS,” Seoul, 09/09/99) reported that the DPRK has rejected moves for 6-way talks for the peace of the Korean peninsula, which propose the inclusion of Russia and Japan, preferring to maintain the current 4-way talk system. The DPRK’s Korean Central Broadcasting on Thursday commented after ROK Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil’s recent visit to Japan, “Kim supported the proposal for 6-way talks first suggested by Japan which would include strong countries in debates on the Korean issue, leading to a permanent division of Korea.” The statement continued, “They are eager to invite more foreign powers to resolve the Korean problem, as the clock keeps ticking away wasted time.” It asked that the US army retreat from the ROK and for a treaty to be agreed between the DPRK and the US to secure a peaceful atmosphere.

8. DPRK Anniversary

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “N. KOREA CELEBRATES ANNIVERSARY AMID PRAISE OF MILITARY, WARNINGS FOR ENEMIES,” Seoul, 09/10/99) and Joongang Ilbo (“N.KOREA MARKS ITS 51ST ANNIVERSARY,” Seoul, 09/10/99) reported that the DPRK celebrated its 51st anniversary on Thursday, praising its leadership and military while issuing warnings against its enemies, as it did last year. Unlike a year ago, however, the DPRK stopped short of angering the region by launching another ballistic missile this year. Also gone in this year’s commemoration were the military parades and other events, which were replaced with “simple, frugal” ceremonies, ROK officials said. DPRK watchers in the ROK said, “As a means of combating the economic crisis, Pyongyang puts stress on the military’s role, while encouraging civilians to arm themselves with military spirit,” said Park Young-ho, a research fellow at the ROK Institute for National Unification.

9. DPRK Defectors

The Korea Herald (“TWO N.K. DEFECTORS ARRIVE IN SEOUL,” Seoul, 09/10/99) reported that two DPRK women illegally entered the country on Wednesday via a third country and asked for refuge, the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) said. The NIS is questioning them, identified by the pseudonyms of Kim Ok-sun, 43, and Kim Min-suk, 27, as to why they defected from the DPRK and how they were able to come to the ROK. Kim Ok-sun, born and raised in Haeju, South Hwanghae Province, escaped from the DPRK in August 1996. She is married to Kim Chol-man, 52, who defected to the ROK last April, the NIS said. Kim Min-suk had lived in Kilju, North Hamgyong Province, until September 1997 when she defected from the DPRK.

10. New Commander of USFK

The Korea Herald (“NEW 7TH AIR FORCE COMMANDER NAMED,” Seoul, 09/10/99) reported that Lieutenant General Charles R. Heflebower has been named the new commander of the 7th US Air Force and deputy commander of US Forces Korea (USFK), succeeding Lieutenant General Joseph Hurd who will retire in November, USFK said on Thursday. Heflebower comes to Osan from Kickam air base, Hawaii, where he was the vice commander of Pacific Air Forces. He will concurrently serve as commander of the Air Component Command of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command. A change of command ceremony will be held Monday.

III. Japan

1. Japanese-PRC Defense Dialogue

The Daily Yomiuri (“JAPAN-CHINA DEFENSE DIALOGUE TO RESUME,” 09/04/99) reported that Japan and the PRC agreed in principle on September 4 to resume regular security dialogue between bureau chief-level foreign affairs officials and defense authorities in October at the earliest. According to the report, the new round of discussions will be the first since the fifth round of talks were held in Beijing in December 1997. The resumption of regular dialogue, which started in 1994, will mark the revival of defense exchanges between the two nations that have been stalled because Japan has taken a firm stance on defense issues. The PRC has expressed concern over Japan’s position and actions, such as the passage of laws related to the Japan-US defense cooperation guidelines. Specifically, Beijing was opposed to the deliberations and passing in the Diet of bills to accommodate the revised Japan-US defense cooperation guidelines and to the Japan-US Theater Missile Defense (TMD) scheme. However, according to the report, strained relations between Japan and the PRC began to improve since August 30, when a PRC delegation headed by Lieutenant General Wang Tailan, deputy director of the People’s Liberation Army’s General Logistics Department, visited Japan and held talks with high-ranking Japanese defense officials, including Defense Agency Administrative Vice Minister Seiji Ema and Yuji Fujinawa, chairman of the Joint Staff Council of the Self-Defense Forces. The report also said that the Japanese delegation regarded the visit by the PRC officials as “a sign that the PRC started showing a positive stance on improving bilateral relations.” The report added that Japan will dispatch Ema to Beijing by the end of this year to discuss the resumption of vice minister-level defense talks between the two countries, which have been suspended since the autumn of last year.

2. ROK Policy toward DPRK

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“TIME RUNNING OUT FOR N. KOREA,” 09/07/99) and the Daily Yomiuri (“INSIGHTS INTO THE WORLD/TIME RUNNING OUT FOR N. KOREAN GOVT,” 09/07/99) carried an analysis of the DPRK’s current situation by Gong Ro-myung, former ROK foreign minister. Gong said that in the ROK, the sunshine policy has come under heavy fire from some opposition party members, conservatives, news organizations and sections of the public. According to Gong, in the beginning, most criticism attacked the sunshine policy as being too idealistic, because it included the unconditional separation of politics and economics and abandoned the principle of reciprocity that had allowed the ROK to keep the DPRK in check. However, it was the DPRK that was the most hostile to the policy, denouncing it as yet another anti-DPRK policy in disguise and saying that it was designed to destroy the DPRK regime, Gong argued. However, Gong also said that although ROK President Kim Dae-jung has determinedly pushed through the sunshine policy against a series of DPRK provocations, it is hoped that the principle of reciprocity will be used flexibly in line with Kim’s new guideline. As for William Perry’s comprehensive approach to the DPRK, Gong suggested that the problem is how, and how quickly, the DPRK will respond. If the DPRK launches a missile before responding to Perry’s proposal, the comprehensive approach will be undermined from the outset, said Gong. Gong observed that that is why the ROK asked the US to release the report as soon as possible, but the release has now been postponed until Congress reconvenes following the summer recess. The postponement likely has resulted from concerns that the DPRK may not respond in the way they would like, added Gong. Gong also observed that the DPRK has pursued a policy of keeping in check the US, which it sees as the most serious threat, by seeking to attain deterrent capabilities similar to those of the US and the former Soviet Union during the Cold War, and that it is therefore highly likely that the DPRK will launch a Taepodong missile regardless of international pressure. For the DPRK to enter into a system of peaceful coexistence on the Korean Peninsula, the persuasive powers and strong influence of Russia and the PRC are needed, in addition to efforts by the ROK, the US, and Japan, said Gong. Gong also proposed that the bottom line is that the purpose of the incentives have to be fully explained to the DPRK, saying that sanctions and the suspension of remittances would be one of the most effective sticks the ROK and Japan could brandish at the DPRK. The third method Gong proposed was theater missile defense (TMD), adding that he hopes that the ROK government will consider both the development of a 500-kilometer missile proposed by Kim Dae-jung during his recent visit to Washington, as well as the TMD project. Lastly, Gong proposed that the ROK stand firm in negotiating with the DPRK by refusing to come to the negotiating table unless the DPRK displays a sincere desire for talks. He concluded by saying that the DPRK should realize that it is running out of time and that it should make all-out efforts to implement reform and open-door policies for peace and coexistence as soon as possible.

3. Japanese-ROK Relations

The Asahi Shimbun (“ROK GOVERNMENT TO LIBERALIZE JAPANESE CULTURE FOR SECOND TIME,” 09/09/99) reported that in the wake of the release on September 7 of Kim Hee-ro, who was imprisoned in Japan on the charge of murdering two Japanese gang members, the ROK government is likely to announce liberalization of Japanese cultural imports into the ROK on September 10. The report said that the ROK government decided to announce liberalization earlier than scheduled to avoid the ROK people’s criticism against Japan stemming from Kim’s release. The report added that ROK President Kim Dae-jung announced his policy of liberalization during his inaugural speech in February, 1998, and that the first phase of liberalization was conducted last October. The second phase is likely to include further release of Japanese movies and publications, according to the report.

4. Japanese-Russian Relations

The Nikkei Shimbun (“JAPANESE AMBASSADOR TO MOSCOW PROPOSES SUMMIT MEETING ON KAWANA PROPOSAL,” 09/08/99) reported that during the Nikkei Shimbun’s interview with Japanese Ambasaddor to Moscow Minoru Tanba, Tanba proposed that Japanese Prime Minsiter Keizo Obuchi and Russia President Boris Yeltsin discuss the Kawana proposal. The Kawana proposal is a Japanese proposal, put forward in April, 1998, to include in a peace treaty between Japan and Russia the idea of drawing a borderline between the Etorofu island and the Urup island while separately discussing the actual date of the return of the northern territories to Japan. Tanba said, “The Kawana proposal reflects the most flexible idea Japan has ever proposed in the history of Japan-Russia negotiations (on the northern territories). (However,) because there have not been enough talks between the two summits on this issue, I would like Prime Minister Obuchi to further clarify (Japan’s stance) to President Yeltsin.”

5. Japanese View on UN Role in the Asia-Pacific

The Japan Times (“JAPAN PUSHES UN FOR HEAVIER ASIA-PACIFIC PRESENCE,” 09/09/99) reported that Nobutaka Machimura, state secretary for foreign affairs, said in his keynote speech at a UN regional hearing in Tokyo on September 9 that the presence of the Asia-Pacific region in the UN must be increased to reflect its weight as an economic powerhouse. Among other themes discussed at the Regional Hearing for Asia and the Pacific, held at the UN University, were eradication of poverty, disarmament, the Kashmir conflict and regional development. Machimura said that the hearing, which is the last of five preparatory meetings to be held worldwide, is an important opportunity to push ideas to reflect the region in the UN’s Millennium Assembly and Millennium Summit events next year. The report also said that a report underlining suggested changes in the UN makeup was presented by Yozo Yokota, secretary general of the Japan Association for UN Studies. The changes include increasing the number of permanent UN Security Council members from five to 10 and reinforcing the ban on biological and chemical weapons, according to the report.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
International Policy Studies Institute Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun:
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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