NAPSNet Daily Report 11 May, 2001

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 11 May, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 11, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-11-may-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. Alleged PRC Nuclear Test
2. PRC-Japan Relations
3. Australian Views of Missile Defense
4. Russian Views of Missile Defense
II. Republic of Korea 1. ROK Views of US Missile Defense Plan
2. DPRK-US Talks
3. Inter-Korean Railway Project
4. Dutch Envoy Visit’s to DPRK
5. DPRK Nuclear Warheads
6. DPRK-France Relations
III. Japan 1. Kim Jong-nam’s Deportation
3. Japanese-US Summit Talks
4. Japanese-US Defense Talk
5. Japanese-Russian Relations
6. Japanese History Textbook
7. Lee Teng Hui’s Visit to Japan
8. Taiwanese View on US Policy Toward Cross-Strait Relations

I. United States

1. Alleged PRC Nuclear Test

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “CHINESE BELIEVED PREPARING FOR A NUCLEAR WEAPONS TEST,” 5/11/01) reported that according to US intelligence officials, the PRC is stepping up preparations for an underground test at its Lop Nor nuclear weapons testing facility that could be carried out in the next several days. Officials said that vehicle activity at the test site in the western province of Xinjiang was detected by spy satellites last week. The officials said that they did not know if the RC-135 Rivet Joint flight on May 7 was looking for electronic signals in eastern PRC that may be related to the test. Asked about the upcoming test, US Senator Richard C. Shelby, Alabama Republican and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, would not comment directly. Test preparations at Lop Nor were first reported by The Washington Times on April 9, after US intelligence agencies detected the first signs of an impending nuclear test in March. Officials said that the upcoming test, which could take place before the end of the month, may be a “subcritical” nuclear test, while other officials suspect that the PRC will carry out a small nuclear test despite their pledge to have stopped all nuclear testing in 1996. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 11, 2001.]

2. PRC-Japan Relations

Reuters (“JAPAN’S FIERY FOREIGN MINISTER SET FOR CHINA VISIT,” Tokyo, 5/11/01) reported that the Japanese Foreign Ministry said on Friday that Japanese Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka will likely visit the PRC at the end of this month as her first trip after taking office. Tanaka will attend a meeting of her counterparts from Asia and Europe in Beijing on May 24 and 25 if her parliamentary duties permit. The Japanese media have reported that she is likely to meet her PRC counterpart, Tang Jiaxuan, on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting to discuss bilateral relations.

3. Australian Views of Missile Defense

Agence France Presse (“US MISSILE DEFENCE PLANS REVIVES COLD WAR DEBATE IN AUSTRALIA,” Canberra, 5/11/01) reported that US presidential envoy James Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, met with Australian opposition Labour Party leader Kim Beazley in Melbourne on Friday to explain US President George W. Bush’s decision to deploy a missile shield. The US delegation is also scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on May 12, before departing for Singapore. Although Kelly has not yet spoken publicly, his visit has opened stark foreign policy divisions between the political left and right in Australia during an election year. The conservative coalition government led by Prime Minister John Howard has been among the new Bush administration’s most vocal supporters, while the Labour opposition opposes plans to develop the missile system, warning that it could spark a new nuclear arms race in Asia.

4. Russian Views of Missile Defense

Reuters (Martin Nesirky, “RUSSIA UNCONVINCED ON MISSILES BUT TALKS TO GO ON,” Moscow, 5/11/01) reported that Russia remained unconvinced about US anti-missile defense plans after initial talks Friday, but both sides pledged to keep talking. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz held two hours of talks at the Russian Foreign Ministry and also met Russia’s chief of the General Staff before leaving Moscow. The diplomatic language on both sides suggested that there had been much detailed talking but little if any change in positions. Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said that talks had been substantive, but left more questions than answers. He said, “The United States has been unable to give us arguments to convince us that they see clearly how to solve the problems of international security without damaging disarmament agreements which have stood for 30 years.” Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov reinforced this during a visit to Finland, saying at a news conference that it was Russia’s goal to preserve the strategic balance and international stability. U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters outside the Foreign Ministry in Moscow, “The fact that we are meeting and opening this dialogue is a sign of progress. It is a first step in a consultation process which will continue over the weeks ahead and include discussions and consultations between our two presidents.” He said that the US side had answered some Russian questions and given them much thought, but there was more thinking to do.

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK Views of US Missile Defense Plan

The Korea Herald (Hwang Jang-jin, “SEOUL REMAINS NONCOMMITTAL ON U.S. MISSILE DEFENSE INITIATIVE,” Seoul, 05/11/01) reported that senior ROK officials expressed their “understanding” of the US missile shield plan Thursday, but avoided offering a clear position on the issue, fearing they could further complicate inter-Korean relations. ROK Defense Minister Kim Dong-shin and Unification Minister Lim Dong-won met with US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who left later in the day after a two-day trip. Minister Kim was quoted as telling Armitage that the ROK understands the US plans to tackle the proliferation of ballistic missiles and wants the US to keep consulting with its allies. Minister Lim was quoted as saying that both inter-Korean relations and US-DPRK ties should move ahead in parallel and complement each other.

The Korea Herald (Hwang Jang-jin, “ACTIVISTS PROTEST WASHINGTON’S MISSILE DEFENSE PLAN,” Seoul, 05/11/01) reported that a group of ROK activists, including college students, held rallies in Seoul on Thursday to protest the visit by senior US officials, who are seeking support from the ROK government for the US missile defense plan. Carrying banners and chanting slogans, about 50 people, all members of an alliance of civic and social groups opposed to the project, clashed with riot police during a protest rally in front of the Defense Ministry. There were no reports of injuries from the scuffle, which took place early in the day when US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was meeting with Defense Minister Kim Dong-shin. Armitage, head of the US delegation, was spared the egg-hurling attack, as he was jogging around the hotel when the incident occurred. During the rallies, the demonstrators voiced their opposition to the missile defense program, saying that Armitage’s visit to Seoul is aimed at forcing the ROK government’s to participate in the US missile plan.

2. DPRK-US Talks

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “PLANNED U.S.-N.K. TALKS LIFT HOPES FOR PEACE PROCESS,” Seoul, 05/11/01) reported that the US plan to resume dialogue with the DPRK is improving prospects for positive relations between the ROK and the DPRK and their second summit talks, officials and analysts said Thursday. “The resumption of Washington-Pyongyang talks will have a positive effect on the revival of the stalled peace process on the Korean Peninsula,” said a top government official, speaking on condition of anonymity. His comments relieved ROK officials, who had worried that the tense state of relations between the US and the DPRK could negatively affect their efforts to improve ties with the DPRK. The ROK official said that the completion of the US policy review and launching of negotiations with the DPRK will encourage the DPRK to resume talks with the ROK. “This will enable us to anticipate the realization of the return visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to Seoul,” he said.

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Ji-soo, “MESSAGE TO U.S. IN NORTH’S PAUSE,” Seoul, 05/10/01) reported that visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said that the US “took positive note” of DPRK leader Kim Jong- il’s statement that he will maintain the missile test moratorium until 2003. “I think it was a good common sense by Chairman Kim Jong-il. We thought it was a message to us and others,” Mr. Armitage said in an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo. The US administration is “about to start” talks with the DPRK on the reduction of missiles and weapons of mass destruction, he said.

3. Inter-Korean Railway Project

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “NORTH KOREA PULLS OUT OF RAIL RECONNECTION SITE,” Seoul, 05/11/01) reported that the DPRK recently withdrew the workforce and construction equipment from where it had been preparing for the reconnection of severed inter-Korean rail line, ROK officials said Thursday. The move dashed the already fading hopes among ROK officials that the construction of the Kyongui Line would be completed by September or by the end of this year at the latest, they said. “The North pulled out most military forces, their camps and dump trucks it deployed to the Kaesong area last September for Kyongui Line construction,” a Defense Ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

4. Dutch Envoy Visit’s to DPRK

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “DUTCH ENVOY IN SEOUL VISITS P’YANG,” Seoul, 05/11/01) reported that Dutch Ambassador to the ROK Henry de Vries arrived in Pyongyang on Monday, marking the first time that a top foreign envoy assigned to both Koreas has visited the DPRK capital, ROK officials said Thursday. During his five-day stay in the DPRK, the envoy is expected to receive an agreement from the DPRK government and will discuss ways to enhance relations between the Netherlands and the DPRK, they said. On Wednesday, DPRK’s official Radio Pyongyang reported that the Dutch envoy arrived in its capital, along with the ambassador from Spain.

5. DPRK Nuclear Warheads

Chosun Ilbo (Kang Hyo-sang, “PERRY SAYS NK HAS ONE OR TWO NUCLEAR WARHEADS,” California, 05/10/01) reported that William J. Perry, former US Defense Secretary, said that, “It is likely that the North has one or two nuclear weapons at most, although it is uncertain at the moment.” The former defense secretary said in an exclusive interview with Chosun Ilbo that, “If it were not for the Geneva Agreement in 1994, the North would have dozens of nuclear weapons by now.” He added that the Bush administration should follow the framework outlined in his report. Perry welcomed the announcement made by the DPRK after the summit with Sweden that it would freeze all missile testing until 2003. He said, “this will allow us more time to work on missile issues with the North.”

6. DPRK-France Relations

Chosun Ilbo (“FRANCE SAYS NO PLANS TO NORMALIZE TIES WITH NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 05/10/01) reported that France on Thursday denied a recent news report on its normalization of diplomatic ties with the DPRK. An official from the French embassy in the ROK said that France judges that the DPRK has not yet met the conditions for rapprochement, such as improvement of its human rights situation and a commitment to nuclear and missile non-proliferation. However, France is not opposed to the EU’s normalization of relations with the DPRK.

III. Japan

1. Kim Jong-nam’s Deportation

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVERNMENT DECIDED NOT TO THREATEN TIES WITH N. KOREA,” 05/05/2001) reported that according to officials on May 4, the Japanese government’s decision to deport a man believed to be the eldest son of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il reflected its desire to prevent the case from adversely affecting Japan’s relations with that country. On Tuesday night, when the man was detained by immigration authorities at Narita airport, officials from the Justice Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the National Police Agency joined Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Teijiro Furukawa at the prime minister’s official residence to discuss what the government should do with the man. The National Police Agency insisted on arresting and thoroughly questioning him, but the Foreign Ministry disagreed with this approach, arguing that the DPRK was not expected to confirm the man as the eldest son of its leader and that the case would therefore only be prolonged. The officials continued their discussion on Wednesday. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and other government leaders became inclined to support the Foreign Ministry’s solution to avert a “worst case scenario” whereby the detention of the man would emerge as a political issue not only between Japan and the DPRK, but within Japan as well, and would consequently become an obstacle to resuming negotiations on normalizing relations. The government thus reached the conclusion that the detainee should be deported. As one option, it was thinking of sending him back to the DPRK. However, the detention of the man became public knowledge Thursday, compelling the government to settle the case as soon as possible as any delay could generate public opposition to deportation. As a result, the government quickly went ahead with its original plan, deporting the man on the morning of May 4. A government source said, “What we did was get rid of a burden as quickly as possible. We had no other choice.” Taku Yamasaki, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, praised the government for calmly and wisely dealing with a difficult case. One government official said, “We managed to avoid what might have developed into an impediment to Japanese-DPRK relations. Now that we have saved face for North Korea, there may be some positive reaction from the North.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“SON OF KIM JONG IL DEPROTED,” 05/05/2001) reported that the Japanese government deported a man believed to be Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, from Narita airport to the PRC on May 5, the day after his attempted illegal entry into Japan was reported. Two women and a 4-year-old boy who accompanied him were deported together with him for violation of the immigration control law. The four had been detained by immigration authorities since Tuesday, when they were held at the Narita immigration counter for carrying forged Dominican Republic passports. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters that deportation was an “appropriate step” taken by a democratic state in line with an optimal legal procedure. Referring to a statement against the deportation issued by a private group calling for a solution to the alleged abduction of Japanese by DPRK agents, Koizumi said, “The illegal entry was one thing and the abduction issue was another, although I think it is necessary for the government to take sufficient measures toward families of the abducted people.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVERNMENT DECIDED NOT TO THREATEN TIES WITH N. KOREA,” 05/05/2001) reported that some Diet members questioned the advisability of the government’s decision to deport the man believed to be Kim Jong-nam to Beijing. A suprapartisan group of 10 Diet members, including Katsuei Hirasawa of the Liberal Democratic Party, released an urgent statement, blasting the government for ignoring Japan’s rules and duties as a sovereign country by deporting the man without arresting him. Yuriko Koike of Hoshuto (New Conservative Party) said, “The government could have gained the most desirable card to break the impasse between Japan and North Korea.” Keio University Professor Masao Okonogi said that the government apparently dealt with the case cautiously because the man could be the future leader of the DPRK.

3. Japanese-US Summit Talks

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“KOIZUMI PLANS TO VISIT US IN JUNE,” 05/10/2001) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi plans to visit the US in June to hold his first summit with US President George W. Bush, according to government sources. Officials are coordinating the schedule of the visit with their US counterparts, the sources said. Koizumi chose the US as his first foreign port of call as prime minister because he believes the Japan-US relationship is the nation’s most important foreign partnership, they said. Koizumi is expected to confirm his desire to strengthen the Japan-US alliance during the summit.

4. Japanese-US Defense Talk

The Japan Times (Kyodo, “US, JAPAN DEFENSE CHIEFS MAY MEET,” Washington, 05/11/2001) reported that US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Japanese Defense Agency Director General Gen Nakatani may meet in Washington on May 25. The Pentagon has already sounded out the Japanese government on the plan. The meeting would be the first between the defense chiefs of the two countries since the administration of President George W. Bush was launched in January. Rumsfeld and Nakatani are expected to confirm the importance of promoting technical interchanges between the two countries in military equipment, especially that related to information technology, such as communications systems for command control and prevention of cyber attacks. The two defense chiefs are also expected to agree to cooperate in the “revolution in military affairs (RMA),” a field initiated by the US military after the 1991 Gulf War and pursued by the militaries of other countries. A Japanese Defense Agency source said, “It is indispensable for Japan and the US to cooperate in promoting RMA from a viewpoint of increasing interoperability of their militaries.” Technological exchange between the two countries should be seen in the context of their overall defense strategy, a source at the Pentagon said. The Defense Agency defines RMA as reforms in military equipment and strategy accompanying applications of advanced IT to the battlefield to improve the rate of success in achieving military goals. Japan and the US have held talks on military equipment and technology on a regular basis since 1992. Based on the talks, the two countries have conducted joint study on nine projects. But all of them, excluding joint research on a theater missile defense system, are about conventional military equipment and systems.

5. Japanese-Russian Relations

The Nihonkeizai Shimbun (“PMIME MINISTER CONVERSED WITH PUTIN ON PHONE,” 05/08/2001) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 7 discussed over the phone a peace treaty between Japan and Russia and other issues. Putin said, “It is important to simultaneously promote strategic cooperation, trade and economic negotiations, and the continuation of peace treaty negotiations.” Koizumi responded, “Based on the achievements (former Prime Minster Yoshiro Mori) and you have made, I would like to make unshakable the course of development of Japanese-Russian relations in a wide range of areas including trade and economic relations and the peace treaty negotiations.” The report added that the phone conversation aimed mainly for Putin’s greetings for Koizumi’s inauguration.

6. Japanese History Textbook

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“TEXTBOOK TRIBULATIONS BEDEVIL GOVERNMENT,” 05/10/2001) reported that the ROK government’s official request on May 8 for revisions to an authorized Japanese middle school history textbooks put the Japanese government in a difficult position. While the government apparently is determined to reject the ROK request it has been at pains to work out a way to prevent the already strained relations from further deteriorating. After the ROK government delivered its request on Tuesday, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters that the government could not legally revise screened and authorized textbooks, thereby implying that Japan will not comply with the request. However, the prime minister expressed his desire for an improved relationship with the ROK, saying, “Both sides should make efforts to improve bilateral ties through (the assistance of) historians and experts because each side has its own interpretation of history.” The prime minister’s statement was reportedly later supported by other members of the government. The initial reaction by some Foreign Ministry officials to the ROK government’s request was that of bafflement, as evidenced in the remarks of an official who said, “I never would have imagined that the ROK would resort to such an extreme move. The situation is intense.” A majority of ministry officials expressed their opposition to accepting the ROK request. One official warned that the government would be criticized domestically if it made the changes demanded by the ROK as it could be interpreted as “interfering in the internal affairs of another country.” Officials close to the prime minister also voiced their opposition to the ROK request. “Should we comply with the requested changes, the government will have to listen to the ROK requests every time history textbooks are screened,” an official said. However, a high-ranking ministry official warned, “If the potential impact on the Japan-ROK relationship is taken into account, we can’t just reject the request and sit back, calling the case closed.” Consequently, the Foreign Ministry has begun to examine measures to limit the fallout if the ROK request is rejected, while the Education, Science and Technology Ministry is currently scrutinizing the proposed revisions. The main measure proposed to improve relations reportedly will be the conduct of joint research by historians from both countries into the relevant period of history. In 1997, the two governments inaugurated a joint commission, comprising specialists from relevant fields, to promote historical research. Although the commission was disbanded last year, it presented a set of proposals to both governments, including the establishment of a joint council on Japan-ROK historical research that would include historians from both countries.

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“OFFICIAL: DON’T SET PRECEDENT,” 05/10/2001) reported that a senior official from the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform urged the government not to set a precedent by complying with the ROK request. “The history textbook published by Fuso Publishing Inc. has passed the government panel’s screening, based on long-established criteria,” the official said. “We urge the government not to set a precedent of revising screened and authorized textbooks.” The official said that the writers involved in compiling the textbook had individually verified each particular section they worked on. The official said changes would only be made if factual errors were discovered.

7. Lee Teng Hui’s Visit to Japan

The Sankei Shimbun (“INTERVIEW WITH CHEN SHUI BIAN,” 05/10/2001) reported that during the paper’s interview with Taiwanese President Chen Shui Bian on May 8, Chen hailed Japan’s decision to issue a visa for former President Lee Teng Hui, but expressed puzzlement at Japan’s fear of the PRC’s interference. Chen stated, “There is no national border in humanitarianism, medicine, and health. I very much hail and appreciate the Japanese government’s final decision to issue the visa despite the PRC’s threat. However, I wonder why Japan, a sovereign and independent state, fears the PRC. Japan is a sovereign and independent state, not one of PRC provinces. I don’t understand the PRC’s interference, either.”

8. Taiwanese View on US Policy Toward Cross-Strait Relations

The Sankei Shimbun (“INTERVIEW WITH CHEN SHUI BIAN,” 05/10/2001) reported that during the paper’s interview with Taiwanese President Chen Shui Bian on May 8, Chen said that the US Bush administration places importance on the security of the Taiwan Strait. Chen stated, “The new Bush administration is different from the former Clinton administration. The Clinton administration saw the PRC as a partner in economic, trade and many other areas. The Bush administration, on the other hand, sees the PRC as a competitor. The Bush administration places importance on national and regional security. Regarding cross-strait relations, the administration’s priority is the security of the Taiwan Strait. The administration is concerned about the tipping of the military balance between the two sides of the strait in 2005. To maintain peace and stability in Asia-Pacific, the US decided to provide weapons to Taiwan that are sufficient to help Taiwan defend itself. The decision enables Taiwan to defense its democracy. The decision also gives the Taiwanese people confidence and enables a constructive dialogue with the PRC. However, the decision alone is not the only security Taiwan can resort to. What is desirable is the normalization of cross-strait relations…. Through economic, trade and cultural integration, confidence should be built, and I would like to achieve political integration over time.”

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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Robert Brown: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Kim Hee-sun: khs688@hotmail.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu: akutsu@glocomnet.or.jp
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin: icipu@glas.apc.org
Moscow, Russian Federation

Yunxia Cao: yule111@sina.com
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

John McKay: John.McKay@adm.monash.edu.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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