NAPSNet Daily Report 11 November, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 11 November, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, November 11, 1999,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. PRC Remarks on CTBT

The Washington Post (John Pomfret “CHINA WARNS OF NEW ARMS RACE,” Beijing, 11/11/99, A01) reported that the PRC Foreign Ministry’s arms control director Sha Zukang said in an interview that the US Senate’s refusal to pass the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) last month could make countries like the PRC reluctant to enter into arms control agreements with the United States. Sha added, “any amendment, or abolishing of the treaty, will lead to disastrous consequences. This will bring a halt to nuclear disarmament now between the Russians and Americans, and in the future will halt multilateral disarmament as well.” He continued, “it’s the national missile defense that’s really the most important. We are not rejecting the concept of missile defense completely, such as air defense to protect troops. But it is the advanced systems, in space and elsewhere, that are the problem. These are a violation of the ABM treaty. These may disturb or destroy the strategic balance.” Sha said that the PRC is particularly worried that US researchers have begun working with Japan to develop a missile defense system for US allies in Asia. Sha added that the PRC plans to stick to the terms of the treaty and press for its early ratification by the National People’s Congress.

2. Israeli Arms Sales to the PRC

Agence France Presse (Steven Lee Myers, “U.S. SEEKS TO CURB ISRAELI ARMS SALES TO CHINA,” Washington, 11/11/99) reported that the US President Bill Clinton administration and US Defense Department officials said on November 10 that Israel’s sale of a sophisticated US$250 million airborne radar system to the PRC has raised serious concerns. They added that the US has quietly urged Israeli officials to cancel delivery of additional radar planes and to curb other weapons sales to the PRC military. A US Defense Department officials said, “it is a significant capability and it will improve significantly China’s ability to conduct operations in and around the Taiwan Strait. That obviously is our major security interest in the region.” The Israeli government has assured the US that the sale does not involve US technology, but a US Defense Department official said that given the amount of weaponry that the US shared with Israel, it was difficult to separate US military technology from Israel’s. The official said, “given the very close relationship that we have, there is always the danger that some of this technology could pass from Israel to China.” A recent report by Kenneth W. Allen and Eric A. McVadon of the Henry L. Stimson Center, a research organization in Washington, said that Israel had provided the PRC with a range of weapons during a relationship that began at least two decades ago, including electronic components for tanks, communications and optical equipment, aircraft, and missiles. The report stated, “both China and Israel appear to gain military and political benefits from the arms and technology transfer relationship. Besides seeking money from China, some Israeli officials claim the sale of military technology to China will secure Beijing’s agreement not to sell specific weapons to Israel’s enemies in the Middle East.”

3. PRC-WTO Talks

The New York Times (Erik Eckholm, “CHINA AND U.S. RESUME TALKS ON TRADE IN A HOPEFUL SPIRIT,” Beijing, 11/11/99) reported that senior US and PRC trade officials met on November 10 in renewed negotiations over the PRC’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). The PRC was represented by Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng, and officials from the central bank and affected ministries. Opening the session this morning, Shi said the PRC was “positive and earnest” in its desire to join WTO.

4. US Ambassador to the PRC

Reuters (“US SENATE APPROVES AMBASSADOR TO CHINA,” Washington, 11/11/99) reported that the US Senate on November 10 approved the nomination of retired Admiral Joseph Prueher as the new US ambassador to the PRC.

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK-US-Japan Talks

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “KOREA, US, JAPAN URGE P’YANG TO TAKE STEPS TO IMPROVE RELATIONS,” Seoul, 11/11/99) and The Korea Times (“US READY TO TAKE TANGIBLE STEPS FOR NORTH KOREA TIES,” Seoul, 11/10/99) reported that the US, the ROK and Japan on November 10 urged the DPRK to continue to take steps to further ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and improve its relationship with them. A joint statement said, “the delegations expressed the hope that North Korea would also continue to take positive steps to improve the overall atmosphere, and that further improvements would be made in their respective relationships with the North.” The joint statement came after two days of senior officials’ talks in Washington to fine-tune the three countries’ DPRK policy ahead of the Berlin meeting between the US and the DPRK slated for November 15. ROK Deputy Foreign Minister Jang Jai-ryong, US State Department Counselor Ambassador Wendy Sherman, and Japanese Deputy Vice Minister for Foreign Policy Yukio Takeuchi attended the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG) meeting. They did not specify what additional steps the DPRK should take to improve relations, but an official at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that they include a DPRK promise not to develop and export weapons of mass destruction, such as missiles and nuclear bombs, or to support terrorism. US officials hope to fix the schedules of two sets of talks aimed at dealing with the DPRK’s missile and nuclear issues, respectively, during the upcoming new round of bilateral talks in Berlin. In the TCOG meeting, the three delegations also agreed that cooperation and reconciliation between the ROK and the DPRK and tension reduction on the Korean Peninsula were the keys to stability and peace in the region.

2. Implementation of Agreed Framework

Joongang Ilbo (Seo Jang-soo, “U.S. SENDS 500,000 TONS OF HEAVY OIL TO NK THIS YEAR,” Seoul, 11/11/99) reported that government-controlled DPRK media reported on November 11 that the US on November 6 completed the transportation of 500,000 tons of heavy oil that it had agreed to deliver by the end of the year to the DPRK. The DPRK said that the total amount of heavy oil sent by the US since the 1994 Agreed Framework comes to 2.15 million tons, adding that the oil has been utilized for the generation of electricity and heat-production.

3. DPRK relations with Mongolia

The Korea Herald (“N. KOREA SHUTS DOWN EMBASSY IN MONGOLIA,” Seoul, 11/11/99) and The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “NK LEADERS WANT DIRECT DIALOG WITH SEOUL,” Seoul, 11/10/99) reported that ROK government sources said on November 10 that the DPRK reportedly shut down its embassy in Mongolia in August due to economic difficulties. Visiting Mongolian Prime Minister Rinchinniiam Amarjargal said that Chairman of the standing committee of the DPRK’s Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Yong-nam and DPRK Premier Hong Song- nam explained the closure of the embassy during Amarjargal’s visit to the DPRK on November 4-5. Earlier, the DPRK was thought to have closed the embassy because Mongolian President Natsagiyn Bagabandi expressed support for the ROK’s engagement policy toward the DPRK during ROK President Kim Dae-jung’s state visit to Mongolia in late May. High-ranking DPRK officials said that Amarjargal’s visit to the DPRK served as an important opportunity to improve bilateral relations and that it would be positive towards enhancing friendly ties

4. Mongolia in DPRK-ROK relations

Chosun Ilbo (Hong Joon-ho, “MONGOLIA READY TO MEDIATE WITH NK,” Seoul, 11/10/99) reported that Mongolian Prime Minister Rinchinnyamiin Amarjargal, who is visiting the ROK, said on Wednesday that he would like Mongolia to cooperate with the ROK because the two countries had many similarities in culture, customs, and history. In an interview with the Chosun Ilbo, Amarjargal stated that there were many fields to cooperate in to improve the future and that he hoped his visit will help actualize such a vision. Prior to his ROK trip, Amarjargal visited the DPRK and emphasized that the DPRK was a traditional ally of Mongolia for half a decade and that such a relationship will remain. He said that Mongolia was greatly interested in peace and security on the Korean peninsula, since it had direct connections with Mongolia’s national interests. Furthermore, he said that his country will actively try to reinforce the relationship between the ROK and the DPRK. Upon meeting ROK President Kim Dae-jung, Prime Minister Amarjargal said that during his visit to the DPRK last week, he had the impression that DPRK leaders were moving towards reform and a more open society. The prime minister told Kim that Mongolia was interested in DPRK’s development of the Najin-Sunbong Free Trade Zone. A government official, however, said that the DPRK has continuously stated openly that it wishes to conduct talks with the ROK but that it added many pre-conditions, and therefore the ROK government considers the recent statement to be no different from prior ones.

5. ROK View on Northeast Asia Security

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “PRESIDENT KIM REITERATES CALL FOR NORTHEAST ASIA SECURITY FORUM,” Seoul, 11/11/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on November 10 reiterated his proposal to establish a security forum in Northeast Asia. Kim called for the regional security and cooperation forum in an interview published by the Handelsblatt, a German economic daily newspaper on November 9. Kim said that the first stage of the proposal is for the six nations–the ROK and the DPRK, the US, Japan, the PRC and Russia–to create a forum. Kim said that the forum could then be linked to Southeast Asian nations. Kim, along with PRC President Jiang Zemin and Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, is scheduled to attend the annual summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Manila, the Philippines, later this month. Kim said that the proposal for a regional forum in East Asia should be supported by the US and the PRC. The PRC is still hesitant to accept the proposal and the DPRK opposes it, he said. In regard to the DPRK’s relations with the European Union, he added that European countries should ensure that DPRK offers “reasonable terms” when they invest in or trade with the DPRK. Kim said they should also make it clear to the DPRK that it should hold direct talks with the ROK and accept the ROK’s peace proposals.

6. DPRK-ROK Cultural Exchange

Joongang Ilbo (Kang Joo-an, “CAR RACE FROM SOUTH KOREA TO NORTH TO BE HELD,” Seoul, 11/11/99) and The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “INT’L CAR RALLY PLANNED AT MT. KUMGANG,” Seoul, 11/11/99) reported that a car rally connecting the ROK and the DPRK will be held from December 30, 1999 to January 2, 2000. The ROK Ministry of Unification announced on Thursday that it has approved the “99 Mount Kumgang International Rally for Unification”, which will run from Seoul to Mount Kumgang in the DPRK via Sokcho, Kangwon Province. The ministry said that the Korea Automobile Racing Association (KARI) and Woo In Bang Communications plan to hold the race from Seoul to Sokcho on December 30 and 31 and then transfer cars to the Jangjun Port of the DPRK by ship. The participants will then race around the Mount Kumgang area on January 1 and 2. They will have 50 racers in the 23 teams, including 10 foreign drivers. ROK journalists will report on the race, while broadcasters plan to air it. The rally organizers will pay US$1 million to the DPRK.

7. Mt. Kumgang Tour

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “MT. KUMGANG TOUR TO BRING CHANGES IN NK,” Seoul, 11/11/99) reported that an ROK researcher said on November 10 that Hyundai’s development projects, underway at Mount Kumgang, have the potential to bring about societal changes in the DPRK by breaking down the DPRK’s traditional value system. Kim Byung-ro, research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), made the remarks in a presentation at a symposium hosted by the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University. The symposium was held on the occasion of the first anniversary of the inauguration of Hyundai’s cruise ship operations to the scenic mountain. Hyundai’s ambitious business projects at Mount Kumgang made DPRK residents in the region witness a group of ROK engineers and tourists whose equipment and clothes are of a quality beyond their imagination, Kim argued.

8. DPRK Food Shortages

The Korea Times (“UN: NORTH KOREA INCAPABLE OF PULLING OUT OF CHRONIC FOOD SHORTAGES,” Seoul, 11/11/99) reported that after a rare mission to the DPRK, the UN food agencies warned on November 10 that the DPRK has become trapped in a vicious cycle of hunger, with chronic food shortages weakening the rural workers who produce the food. Ajay Markanday, an economist with the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), said that the malnourished workforce is no longer able to keep up with the workload of the country’s labor-intensive agricultural system. The FAO and UN World Food Program said in a report that the weakened population, the lingering effects of repeated natural disasters, and continued isolation from the global economy means that the DPRK will stay dependent on aid pending major changes. A team from the FAO and the World Food Program (WFP) visited the DPRK in October to assess the country’s crops and food supplies. The FAO and WFP said that now, “widespread starvation has only been averted by concerted national efforts and the unprecedented volume of humanitarian food assistance provided by the international community.” The two agencies estimate that the DPRK needs an extra 1.29 million metric tons (1.42 million tons) of grain to make up for food shortages in 1999-2000, an amount of aid similar to what was needed in 1998-1999. While rice production improved this year–mainly due to increased fertilizer use, adequate irrigation and the absence of serious pest and disease attacks–falling maize production still leaves the DPRK with an inadequate food supply, they said. The government is expected to import 300,000 metric tons (330,000 tons) of grain, and foreign food aid is set to account for a further 370,000 metric tons (407,000 tons). But the DPRK still needs more than 620,000 metric tons (682,000 tons) to ensure that its population had enough food, according to FAO and WFP forecasts. The U.N. food agencies said that a further easing of economic sanctions on the DPRK by leading industrialized countries would have “a significant and positive impact on sustainable food security.”

9. DPRK Ship Sunk in Russia

The Korea Times (“N. KOREAN SHIP RUNS AGROUND OFF RUSSIA WITH 241 ABOARD,” Seoul, 11/10/99) reported that the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported that a DPRK vessel with 241 people on board ran aground late November 9 off the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far east during a storm. A rescue ship was sent to the scene, but the crew was to be taken off by helicopter for safety reasons, the regional sea rescue center said. The 136-meter (450-foot) ship ran aground on rocks on the north side of the peninsula. Rescuers said that the vessel had been holed, but the crew managed to bail out.

10. Korean War Massacre

The Korea Herald (“NOGUN-RI ADVISORY GROUP HOLDS FIRST MEETING,” Seoul, 11/11/99) reported that an ROK civilian advisory group that will work alongside the US and ROK governments to investigate the Nogun-ri massacre met for the first time on November 10 and elected a chairman to confirm its role as objective observers and advisors. The meeting of the six civilian advisors, which was attended by ROK Minister for Government Policy Coordination Chung Hae-joo and other officials from related ministries, received a briefing about the background of the incident by the government, including the petitions and testaments of the surviving victims. The six advisors elected retired army General Paik Sun-yup as their chief and discussed their role in the probe. An official for the Office of Administrative Coordination stated, “we expect that the neutral makeup and professional credentials of the advisors should provide transparency and credibility to the investigation.” The official also said that the advisory group would hold consultative meetings with the group of civilian experts from the US who are scheduled to visit the ROK next month and discuss how best to offer advice to the government investigators.

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Asian Institute,
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Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Gee Gee Wong:
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

Leanne Paton:
Clayton, Australia


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