NAPSNet Daily Report 11 October, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 11 October, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, October 11, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-11-october-1999/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. DPRK Reunification Policy

Agence France-Presse (“NORTH KOREA LOOKS TO HONG KONG MODEL TO REUNITE PENINSULA: REPORT,” Hong Kong, 10/10/99) reported that Hong Kong’s Sunday Morning Post said that DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun, at a private meeting at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York during last month’s UN General Assembly, said that the DPRK would consider the PRC’s “one country, two systems” formula for Hong Kong as a model for reunifying the Korean peninsula. An unnamed diplomatic source was quoted as saying, “It was a remarkable statement in many ways. No one had expected it.” One unnamed US observer stated, “It might not amount to a hill of beans in the long term, but it is a significant start.” DPRK diplomats said that the DPRK had been impressed by the smooth running of Hong Kong since its return to PRC rule on July 1, 1997. One official was quoted as saying that “one country, two systems” had come to crystallize their own thinking. He added that ROK officials had been made aware of the remarks but had yet to respond.

2. ROK-DPRK Economic Cooperation

The Associated Press (“HYUNDAI MAY BUILD PLANT IN N.KOREA,” Seoul, 10/10/99) reported that Hyundai group officials said Sunday that a 20-member Hyundai delegation will arrive in the DPRK on Saturday for a 10-day visit to conduct field research on several candidate towns for a large-scale industrial park.

3. US-DPRK Economic Relations

Reuters (“U.S. BUSINESSES PLAN FIRST TRIP TO NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 10/08/99) reported that Jeffrey Jones, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in the ROK, said on Friday that the association was planning to send a delegation of 10 to 15 representatives of US businesses to the DPRK in mid-November. Jones stated, “We’re going to limit it to those who have a real interest in doing business, as opposed to those who have an intellectual interest in knowing what’s going on in North Korea.” He added, however, that the DPRK has not issued an invitation to the group or agreed to give visas as yet. He stated, “We’re awaiting, at this point, what their response is. We don’t even know if we would be welcome. I suspect we would be.” He said that the US State Department has forwarded the request to the DPRK delegation at the UN. Jones said it had not been decided which companies would join the proposed trip, and that the chamber would hold a meeting on October 19 to take applications for the trip and work out logistics. He noted, “One of the issues of concern is that we don’t have much information about North Korea — the investment environment, the regulatory schemes, etc. There are basic concerns about infrastructure requirements, water, electricity and other energy sources, the ability to move goods, roads and transportation, basic needs like banking, importing raw materials, how the exports of any product would be handled, distribution systems. So we have some very basic issues, but we have no information at this point.”

4. Alleged DPRK Aid Diversions

The Washington Post (Steven Mufson, “GAO: N. KOREA AID HARD TO TRACK,” 10/09/99, A12) reported that two reports to be released next week by the US Congress’s General Accounting Office (GAO) said that the DPRK has obstructed the monitoring of foreign food aid and fuel oil assistance. The GAO said that power outages had affected monitoring equipment at the seven sites consuming fuel assistance. In Pyongyang, the monitoring system was “inoperative” for 46 percent of 1998, and in Chongjin it did not work at all. In April, monitoring equipment installed at the Pyongyang thermal power plant was destroyed by a fire. In a separate report on food aid, GAO auditors said that the DPRK’s failure to provide required reports meant that the UN World Food Program “cannot be sure that the food aid is being shipped, stored or used as planned.” US Representative Tony P. Hall, Democrat-Ohio, said that there was “bias shot through” the GAO food report and charged that the investigators set out to “serve a partisan agenda” and undermine support for food aid. He noted that the GAO investigators never went to the DPRK. Both reports were done at the request of US Representative Benjamin A. Gilman, Republican-New York, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on International Relations. US State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said Friday, “We have no evidence of significant diversion of food assistance to non-target populations. Indeed there is ample evidence that U.S. food assistance to North Korea continues to reach those for whom it is intended.”

5. US Policy toward DPRK

US State Department Spokesman Jamie Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8, 1999,” USIA Transcript, 10/08/99) said that he expects that former US Defense Secretary William Perry’s report on DPRK will be made available “very, very shortly.”

Forbes Magazine carried a commentary by former US Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, (“REWARDING NORTH KOREA,” 10/11/99) which said that the recent Berlin agreement is a meaningless accord. The article argued, “Only an Administration bent on announcing another diplomatic victory could offer this pallid little ‘agreement’ as an excuse for further rewarding the North Korean government.” It added, “How can we think the North is bettering relations with the rest of the world when it is carrying out human rights abuses?” It concluded, “We have now given North Korea the formula for extracting money from the U.S. Treasury: The North makes threats of missile tests; the U.S. begs the North not to test; the North utters a few platitudes too vague to be written down; and we reward it with what is called a ‘step-by-step process.'”

6. Remains of US Soldiers from Korean War

The Associated Press (“U.S., N. KOREA TO MEET IN BEIJING,” Seoul, 10/11/99) reported that ROK military officials said Monday that the US and the DPRK will meet in Beijing this weekend to discuss resumed searches for the remains of US soldiers killed during the Korean War. It will be the first meeting called to discuss the issue since the US and the DPRK agreed last week on new arrangements for repatriation of remains.

7. DPRK View of US Missile Defense

The Associated Press (“N.KOREA DENOUNCES U.S. MISSILE TEST,” Seoul, 10/10/99) reported that the Rodong Sinmun, a newspaper for the DPRK’s ruling Workers’ Party, on Sunday denounced the US for testing a defense missile system over the Pacific. The commentary said, “This (test) shows that the U.S. policy to stifle North Korea has not in the least changed.” It added, “We will build our defense capabilities with high vigilance against the perfidious acts of the U.S.” It said that the DPRK was only trying to defend itself, whereas the US was “the aggressive force trying to hurt North Korea.”

8. PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Associated Press (William Foreman, “TAIWAN BACKS CHINA REFORMS,” Taipei, 10/09/99) reported that Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui said in the text of a National Day speech released Saturday that the PRC should push through democratic reforms using Taiwan as a model. Lee stated, “On Taiwan, we have created a democracy unprecedented in Chinese history, a model for the Chinese mainland on its way toward modernization.”

9. PRC View of US Defense Budget

Reuters (“CHINA ‘HIGHLY DISPLEASED’ WITH U.S. DEFENSE BUDGET,” Beijing, 10/08/99) reported that the PRC’s Xinhua news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue as saying on Friday that the PRC was strongly displeased with the US fiscal year 2000 defense bill. Zhang stated, “The Chinese are demanding that the United States proceed from the overall situation of bilateral relations and adopt effective measures to prevent the anti- Chinese articles in the law from damaging the improvement and development of Sino-U.S. relations.”

10. US-PRC Scientific Exchanges

The Washington Post (Walter Pincus, “EXPERTS CITE U.S. INTELLIGENCE GAINS FROM CHINA PROGRAMS,” 10/11/99, A02) reported that US intelligence officials said that the US has gained a great deal of information on the PRC’s nuclear weapons program through exchange visits between US and PRC scientists. Richard Kerr, a former deputy director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, stated, “We got more out of those Chinese visits than they got.” One unnamed US government official said that the document given to the CIA by a PRC intelligence officer that was the basis of allegations of PRC espionage also included details of the PRC’s Dongfeng-31 missile. The official said that the document “described the internal configuration and dimensions of their road-mobile ICBM.” The official added that “It had lots of precise details” on the PRC’s existing weapons and planning for future ones. He said, “It talked about their own limits on ability to miniaturize” warheads, questioned why the proposed DF-31 warhead “is longer and heavier” than the US W-88, and provided the dimensions of key components. He added that on the whole, “It contained more details [on PRC weaponry] than on the W-88.”

11. Japanese Nuclear Accident

The Associated Press (Shigeyoshi Kimura, “MORE RADIOACTIVE LEAKAGE IN JAPAN,” Tokyo, 10/11/99) reported that Shinji Saeki, an official with JCO Company, said Monday that a ventilator at the Tokaimura reprocessing plant spewed small amounts of radioactive particles into the air for 12 days before it was turned off. Saeki said that radioactive iodine 131, measuring twice the safety limit, was detected last week in the opening of the exhaust vent. A monitor 50 yards away from the plant, however, detected iodine 131 at just 0.01 the safety level. Officials said that the ventilator leak was discovered Friday, but the operator waited until Monday to turn off the exhaust fan and seal over the opening.

12. Japanese Energy Industry

The Associated Press (“JAPANESE POLLED ON NUCLEAR POWER,” Tokyo, 10/11/99) reported that a poll conducted by Japan’s Asahi newspaper showed that 42 percent of respondents opposed further development of the nation’s nuclear power industry, while 35 percent supported it. Among those opposed, 30 percent attributed their stance to the recent radiation leak at the Tokaimura uranium processing plant. Twenty-four percent of people surveyed said the number of reactors should be decreased, while 8 percent wanted an increase. Nearly half of respondents said that they had not imagined a serious nuclear accident could occur at a Japanese facility.

The Associated Press (Naomi Okada, “JAPAN SEEKS DIFFERENT ENERGY SOURCES,” Hachijo Island, 10/09/99) reported that experts said that nuclear energy will likely remain a major part of any solution to Japan’s energy needs. Ryo Kikuchi, a planner for a renewable energy projected at Japan’s Hachijo island, stated, “Right now, our geothermal plant can supply the needs for about 30 percent of the island at night, when use is at its lowest. I doubt if we will ever really increase that share very much.” The Japanese Agency of Natural Resources and Energy said that generating electricity from wind costs from two to three times as much as producing it with nuclear reactors. Yoshimi Hitosugi of Tokyo Electric Company noted, “The share of energy generated by alternative sources is virtually zero.” However, Sanae Shida of Greenpeace Japan argued, “It’s time to make a political decision to convert from nuclear to natural energy.”

13. Asian Space Race

The Associated Press (Ginny Parker, “ASIANS CAUGHT UP IN SPACE RACE,” Tokyo, 10/10/99) reported that Asian nations such as Japan, the PRC, and the DPRK have recently increased their emphasis on satellite launching and space exploration. Fujio Nakano, author of a newly published book on the Japan’s space industry, stated, “Until now, Japan’s just been honing its space technology. From here on out, we have to get into mass production, commercial development.” Hideshi Takesada of Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies argued, “Without that (DPRK) missile, none of this would have happened.”

14. US Ratification of CTBT

Reuters (“CLINTON’S CABINET PRESSES FOR DELAYED TREATY VOTE,” Washington, 10/11/99) and (The Associated Press (Cassandra Burrell, “DELAY OF TEST BAN TREATY VOTE SOUGHT,” Washington, 10/11/99) reported that US President Bill Clinton sent some of his top cabinet officials out Sunday to push the US Senate to delay a vote on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). US Secretary of Defense William Cohen urged the Senate to delay its vote, arguing, “To just have a couple of days of hearings and then vote is not a responsible solution.” Army General Henry Shelton, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated, “If the national security were in any way going to be damaged, the joint chiefs would never in any way recommend that we ratify this treaty.” Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl stated, “I’m not positive there will be a vote, but if there is, it will be defeated … It will be overwhelmingly defeated.” Arizona Republican Senator John McCain argued, “There’s no reason for us to make a political issue out of it, and there’s a lot of suspicion on the Republican side that that’s exactly what the president is doing.” He added, “I would not like to see this treaty voted down because of the message that would send concerning our president’s lack of power in how he conducts the foreign policy of the United States.”

Reuters (Christopher Wilson, “SENATE BEGINS CRUCIAL DEBATE ON TEST BAN TREATY,” Washington, 10/08/99) reported that the US Senate on Friday began a debate on ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). US President Bill Clinton stated, “It is clear now that the level of opposition to the treaty and the time it would take to craft the necessary safeguards to get the necessary votes are simply not there. So I hope that the Senate will reach an agreement to delay the vote.” Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel warned, “Do not allow us to get into a box that we can’t get out of. It is irresponsible. (The treaty) will surely go down. Don’t rush something that has dire consequences for the world that is driven by a political dynamic.”

15. Asian Ratification of CTBT

The Associated Press (“ASIAN COUNTRIES URGED ON TEST BAN,” Vienna, 10/08/99) reported an international conference on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) on Friday urged India, Pakistan and the DPRK to sign and ratify the treaty. Delegates also appealed to the US to ratify the CTBT next week.

16. Biological Arms Inspections

Reuters (“BIOLOGICAL ARMS INSPECTIONS PACT SEEN IN MID-2000,” Geneva, 10/08/99) reported that arms control experts expect to conclude negotiations by mid-2000 on an inspection regime for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. Tibor Toth, a Hungarian diplomat who chaired a four-week session of talks ending in Geneva on Friday, said that the delegations from some 70 countries had made progress on “core issues” including the question of investigations. Diplomats said, however, that countries remained divided over how many military and biotechnological facilities would be opened to international inspectors under the new protocol. Western diplomats added that the PRC and Russia are among countries resisting intrusive inspections at military sites. They also noted that negotiators from the US and other industrialized countries are under pressure from industry to demand provisions to protect commercial secrets, while non-aligned countries including India and South Africa are lobbying for removal of export controls.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Spies in ROK

The Korea Herald (Lee Sung-yul, “2 FORMER PRO-N.K. ACTIVISTS CONDEMN PYONGYANG REGIME,” Seoul, 10/11/99) reported that two former spies for the DPRK have openly renounced their advocacy of the DPRK’s juche, or self-reliance, ideology and condemned the DPRK in written statements sent to the prosecution. Kim Young- whan and Cho Yoo-shik, in their statement of repentance that the prosecution released on Saturday, blasted the DPRK and apologized for their past ideological mistakes and for misleading many ROK students. Kim and Cho, who were nabbed in August for their past pro-DPRK activities, were released last Thursday because they abandoned the juche ideology and promised to make efforts for democracy in the DPRK, according to the Seoul District Prosecutor’s Office. Two others who were arrested were indicted because they were unrepentant. Kim and Cho said that they agreed to make public their statements of repentance because they wanted to prevent more people from falling victim to the anachronistic juche ideology and the DPRK’s propaganda. They said that they have recognized the fallacies of the juche ideology and the anti-democratic and dictatorial Kim Jong-il regime in the course of witnessing the real situation in the DPRK via various contacts with and visits to the DPRK. “People in the North are dying of hunger, and are escaping to China and South Korea. But the North Korean regime executes its people for just crossing the border. What kind of regime is that? It has nothing to do with the damn juche,” Kim wrote in part. Kim said, “I wrote the statement to officially repent the wrongs I did in the past and to mark my ideological conversion. I want to help my old colleagues make the right judgement.” Kim also said that he will spearhead efforts to topple the DPRK and save the DPRK people from the country’s dictatorship.

2. Reunions of Separated Families

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “PRESIDENT REAFFIRMS RESOLVE TO ACHIEVE FAMILY REUNIONS BETWEEN SOUTH, NORTH,” Seoul, 10/11/99) and The Korea Times (“SEOUL WILL NEVER GIVE UP FAMILY REUNION,” Seoul, 10/10/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung reaffirmed his commitment on Sunday to push for reunions of families separated between the ROK and the DPRK. “The government has not given up the family reunion issue,” Kim said in a speech at an annual sports event for ROK citizens whose hometowns are in the DPRK. ROK officials said that there are about 8 million ROK citizens who hail from or whose ancestors came from the DPRK. Kim said that since his inauguration, the government has put top priority in its DPRK policy on exchanges of displaced families. He said that the DPRK did not keep its promise to agree to family reunions if they received the first 100,000 tons of 200,000 tons of fertilizer the ROK committed. “Therefore, the government did not give the remaining 100,000 tons,” Kim said. The ROK government will strive to at least help the separated families meet their relatives or exchange greetings, he said.

3. DPRK-ROK Economic Cooperation

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “RUSH OF SOUTH KOREANS EXPECTED TO VISIT NORTH AMID EASED TENSION,” Seoul, 10/11/99) reported that ROK officials said on Sunday that, apparently encouraged by the recently eased tension on the Korean Peninsula, a rush of ROK citizens will likely visit the DPRK. “A working-level inspection team comprising staff members from Hyundai and the Korea Land Corp. are expected to visit North Korea this weekend,” said an ROK Unification Ministry official. “They will conduct a survey to pick out the best site for construction.” If the project materializes as planned, it would be DPRK’s second special economic zone open to the outside world, following the Rajin-Sonbong area. Hyundai plans to relocate up to 900 garment and other labor- intensive light industrial plants to the proposed industrial park. Following Hyundai’s footsteps will be non-business cooperation project, such as a joint program on prevention of damage to pine forests due to blight and harmful insects, particularly in the scenic Mt. Kumgang area, the officials said.

4. DPRK View of ROK Economic Development

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “KIM JONG-IL RECOGNIZES PROSPERITY OF SOUTH,” Seoul, 10/10/99) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il seems to have recognized the ROK’s prosperity, at least in terms of economic power. According to Hyundai and ROK government sources on Sunday, Kim told Hyundai’s honorary chairman Chung Ju-yung last week in Pyongyang, “Seoul looked better than Tokyo in the movies, like an international city.” Kim added, “I think the economy in the South has developed since the 1988 Seoul Olympiad, although it seems to have become rather polluted and the metropolitan areas are very built up. The growth is indebted to former president Park Chung-hee’s New Village Movement.” These are the first such remarks ever known to have been made by Kim on the ROK’s economic progress.

5. DPRK Economy

Joongang Ilbo (Seo Jang-soo, “NK ECONOMY PREDICTED TO GROW THIS YEAR,” Seoul, 10/08/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Jung Kwon-hyun, “NK ECONOMY SHOWS MARGINAL GROWTH,” Seoul, 10/08/99) reported that the DPRK is expected to show an economic upturn this year. In its report entitled “The Possibility of North Korean Economic Recovery,” the ROK Unification Ministry forecast that the DPRK economy might grow slightly owing to the substantial aid which foreign countries have offered the DPRK. The report estimated that the production of grains by the DPRK might expand considerably thanks to the good weather and improvement of agricultural structure.

6. DPRK Defectors in PRC

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “DEFECTORS IN SOUTH KOREA ASK FOR ACTIVE MEASURES,” Seoul, 10/08/99) reported that fugitives in the ROK who defected from the DPRK on Friday asked the ROK foreign minister to take measures to admit more refugees. They stated, “According to Chinese sources, at least 6,300 North Koreans who escaped there were eventually forcibly returned to North Korea, but the South Korean government has been purposely ignoring the miserable situation under the excuse of refusing to intervene in domestic affairs.” ROK Minister Hong Soon-young last week emphasized a peaceful resolution of the issue.

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yul, “CHINA MAINTAINS POSITION ON NK REFUGEES,” Seoul, 10/08/99) reported that the ROK government conveyed its concerns to the PRC on Friday regarding the issue of DPRK refugees fleeing into the PRC’s three northeastern provinces. The PRC was learned, however to be sticking to its previously stated position that the matter concerns the PRC and the DPRK, not the ROK. Cho Joong-pyo, director of the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (MoFAT) Asia-Pacific Department, spoke with PRC Charge d’ Affaires Tien Baojun at the ministry and asked for close consultation and discussion on the matter between the two governments, and as much leniency as possible under the law for the refugees and ROK civic groups trying to help them. A MoFAT source said that Tien promised to convey the ROK’s request to the PRC, but reiterated the PRC’s previously stated stance, while expressing understanding for the ROK’s concerns. Tien said that the PRC government’s actions are within international law and that a substantial blind eye is being turned in the majority of cases. He added that he thought the ROK media was exaggerating the problem, stirring up public opinion, and that these days the DPRK did not treat returnees harshly.

7. DPRK Satellite Broadcasts in ROK

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “NORTH KOREA STARTS SATELLITE BROADCASTING,” Seoul, 10/11/99) reported that the ROK Ministry of Unification revealed on Monday that the DPRK’s Chosun Central TV Broadcasting commenced satellite broadcasting on October 10. According to the ministry, the station stated on Sunday, “Today is the 54th anniversary of the organization of the Korea Workers’ Party and in honor of this auspicious day the first satellite broadcasting by North Korea to the world as well. The program time will be between 4:30 pm to 11:30 pm everyday.” It also added, “Our TV in the future will therefore reflect the workers’ ideas, culture and emotions much better than before.”

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “SEOUL SHELVES PLAN TO OPEN UP TO N.K. SATELLITE BROADCAST,” Seoul, 10/09/99) reported that the ROK government has decided to delay its plan to make uncensored DPRK satellite broadcasts widely available to ROK citizens. The decision was made at an ROK National Security Council (NSC)’s standing committee Thursday, chaired by Unification Minister Lim Dong-won. “As North Korea is still in the stage of pilot broadcasting, the NSC decided to make a final decision on whether to allow the complete opening to Pyongyang’s satellite broadcast after it begins full operation and carefully analyzing its programs,” said a Unification Ministry official on Friday. The ministry has pushed for full opening of DPRK broadcasts, but some other government agencies, including the National Intelligence Service, voiced reservations about immediate opening, raising the possibility that the DPRK could halt broadcasts after pilot programming or fill their main programs with excessively provocative propaganda, ministry sources said. ROK officials said that the current partial opening, limited to the satellite broadcasts, should be regarded as a start toward the full opening of the DPRK media. “The government will continue to open wider for North Korean media, as it is all but certain that few South Koreans would be influenced by the North’s propaganda,” said another ministry official, requesting anonymity.

8. Remains of US Soldiers from Korean War

Chosun Ilbo (Park Du-shik, “US AGREES TO DIRECT TRANSFER OF REMAINS IN PYONGYANG,” Seoul, 10/08/99) reported that the US Department of Defense announced on Friday that it agreed to the direct transfer of the remains of US soldiers killed during the Korean War. Larry Greer, spokesman for the Defense Department’s Office of POW/MIA Affairs, said that the remains of four bodies “appearing to be American soldiers” would be “turned over to a Department of Defense civilian in Pyongyang” instead of through the UN Command in Panmunjom as has been customary. Greer said, “The United States’ first interest is to recommence on joint searches for American remains and the return of those remains.”

9. DPRK View of Japanese Uranium Imports

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “NORTH KOREA CRITICIZES JAPAN FOR URANIUM IMPORT,” Seoul, 10/08/99) reported that the DPRK Foreign Ministry on Friday requested that Japan stop importing mixed oxide plutonium and uranium from Europe. A spokesperson from the DPRK ministry claimed that Japan’s strategy to attain nuclear war capability has been causing international concern and it should immediately reconsider its actions. The quantity of the material received by Japan is equivalent to 70 of the atomic bombs with which Nagasaki was hit, it stated. It added that the Japanese government is going against international condemnation to accept nuclear material for future military purposes. The DPRK also suggested that even the ROK has a plan to import plutonium “to eradicate their own race on the Korean peninsula, even if it means national suicide.” It emphasized that England and France should not support Japan’s aspiration to be a nuclear country if they want to see peace in Northeast Asia.

10. ROK-US Status of Forces Agreement

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “KOREA, U.S. TO RESUME SOFA REVISION TALKS,” Seoul, 10/11/99) reported that the ROK and the US are expected to soon resume talks on the revision of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). To discuss the resumption of the talks and other matters, Stanley Roth, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, is scheduled to visit Seoul this week. The resumption of ROK-US talks comes on the heels of an agreement made between ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Hong Soon-young and US Ambassador Stephen Bosworth last Friday, in which the two officials also discussed a joint probe into the “Nogun-ri” massacre case. “Both countries have shared the view that the SOFA’s revision should not be an obstacle to maintaining stable relations between Seoul and Washington,” said Song Min-soon, director general of North American Affairs Bureau at the ministry. At the forthcoming meeting, the ROK is expected to call for strengthening of its criminal jurisdiction over US servicemen. Other issues of contention include the labor conditions of ROK employees working at US military bases and the environmental obligations of US military units. Hong said earlier that the government will try to resolve various pending issues related to the SOFA revision one by one, not in blanket form, in future negotiations. Unlike his predecessors, who had refrained from raising the revision of SOFA publicly out of fear that it would undermine ROK- US relations, Hong has repeatedly stressed the need for SOFA to be overhauled. “The vitality of friendship will be better sustained in the continued process of review and renewal,” Hong told reporters last week. The ROK government has been under increasing fire from civic and labor groups to revise what has been called the “unfair” SOFA.

11. Korean War Massacre

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “SEOUL MAKES 3-POINT REQUEST TO US FOR NOGUN-RI PROBE,” Seoul, 10/11/99) reported that an ROK government official said on Sunday that the ROK made a three-part request when it asked the US to launch a “joint investigation” of the Nogun-ri massacre. An official from the Office for Government Policy Coordination made the remarks in a press briefing following a meeting of vice ministers. The participants decided to form a high-level taskforce headed by Minister for Government Policy Coordination Chung Hae-joo to shed light on the incident. “The U.S. side will soon reach a conclusion on the scope of activities by its fact-finding team and Korea will also finalize its position this week, on the basis of the U.S. position,” the official said. Regarding the three- point request, the official stressed that the two countries will have to question key witnesses jointly. Second, the two countries will have to make a joint survey at the site of the massacre in Nogun-ri. Third, the two countries will have to reach the same conclusions based on the results of the joint investigations.

Chosun Ilbo (Park Doo-shik, “MORE MASSACRES BY U.S. FORCES FOUND: CBS,” Seoul, 10/08/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yul, “US TO EXCHANGE INFORMATION ON NOGEUN-RI, Seoul, 10/08/99) reported that in a news story quoting a US soldier who fought in the Korean War, CBS News recently reported that on top of the Nogeun-ri case, at least 2 more massacres of civilians by US soldiers occurred during the Korean War. CBS News reported on Friday that, according to statements made by US Korean War veteran Lester Todd, who was a private at the time, “Operation Killer” called for killing “everything that walked,” even if they were women and children, during an advance towards the DPRK in 1951. Todd recalled in a CBS interview that he was ordered to keep quiet when he reported the operation to command at that time. According to a 1953 military document CBS News uncovered, Todd’s report was deemed classified as it could “lead to the embarrassment” of the US. Todd said that he was ordered not to say anything about the operation to anybody except related government officials. Following reports of the new findings, US Secretary of Defense William Cohen said that he would first focus on the Nogeun-ri case and then review other cases if evidence warranted. CBS News commented that while all wars are “ugly,” the Korean War could prove to have been more so than had previously been thought.

12. ROK Nuclear Accident

Chosun Ilbo (Moon Gap-shik, “GREEN KOREA : RADIATION POSSIBLY STILL LEAKING AT WOLSUNG,” Seoul, 10/08/99) and The Korea Times (“ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP SUBMITS TO PROBE KEPCO STAFF,” Seoul, 10/11/99) reported that the umbrella environmental group Green Korea said on Friday that there is a possibility that radiation is still leaking from the Wolsung number three reactor, scene of a heavy water spill last Monday. The group was given a ten minute tour of the area wearing protective radiation monitors, but when these were examined one member’s monitor was showing a reading of 0.36 milliSieverts (mSv) compared to the rest of the group’s which read between 0.02 and 0.03mSv. While this was not serious for a single short visit, Green Korea pointed out that with an annual maximum permissible dose (mpd) for a worker set at 5.0mSv, since radioactive exposure is calculated on a cumulative basis, theoretically someone working in this environment would be exposed to a potentially lethal 6,000mSv over the course of a year.

Chosun Ilbo (Joo Young-joong, “HUMAN ERROR INVOLVED IN WOLSUNG NUCLEAR PLANT ACCIDENT,” Seoul, 10/08/99) reported that the Science, Technology, Information and Communications Committee of the ROK National Assembly announced on Friday the results of an investigation into reports of the leakage of heavy water at the Wolsung nuclear power plant. The head of the committee’s investigating team, Representative Lee Sang-hee of the Grand National Party (GNP), said on Thursday that 60 percent of the accident was due to human error. According to Lee, the accident could have been prevented if workers had replaced the O-rings used to seal off pipe joints after completing work on a heavy water pump. He also added that there are two types of O-rings, one with a 5,000-hour life and another with a 10,000-hour life, with the plant using the shorter-life rings. Lee recommended that the longer-life O-rings be used in the future for improved safety, as the 15-month inspection cycle amounts to 10,800 hours. He also said that the amount of radiation leaked from the plant after the accident was not critical, as the leak was contained within the building in which it occurred and was quickly patched up.

13. ROK Diplomacy

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “VICE FOREIGN MINISTER SUN TO VISIT RUSSIA, FINLAND, CZECH REPUBLIC,” Seoul, 10/09/99) reported that ROK ministry officials said that ROK Vice Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Sun Joun-yung will leave for Moscow on Sunday to discuss follow-up measures to bilateral agreements made in talks in May with Russian Vice Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin. “Sun will discuss the establishment of a joint industrial estate in the Nakhodka free economic zone and other matters agreed upon at the summit meeting between President Kim Dae-jung and Russian President Boris Yeltsin,” said a ministry official. Sun will also discuss with Karasin ways of enhancing bilateral cooperation in securing peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, the ministry official said. In particular, the official said, Sun will brief Russia on the recent developments in relations between the US and the DPRK, including their missile talks in Berlin last month and US policy coordinator William Perry’s recommendations about DPRK policy. After visiting Russia, he will fly into Finland on October 13 to meet his Finnish counterpart, Jukka Robert Valtasaari. The two officials are expected to discuss issues of mutual concern including ways of boosting relations between the two countries during their policy consultative meeting. On his way home, Sun is scheduled to visit Prague to meet with Czech Vice Foreign Minister Hynek Kmonicek on increasing trade and investment and other matters.

The Korea Times (“LEE KUAN YEW TO VISIT KOREA,” Seoul, 10/11/99) reported that an ROK Foreign Affairs- Trade Ministry spokesman said on Sunday that Singapore Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew will make a six-day visit to the ROK from October 19 at the invitation of the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI). Lee is set to attend a meeting of the FKI-affiliated international advisory team, which was formed to offer advice on the ROK economy. Former US secretary state Henry Kissinger will also attend the meeting.

14. ROK Participation in East Timor Peacekeeping

The Korea Herald (“S. KOREAN PEACE TROOPS TO BE DEPLOYED TO TIMOR WED.,” Seoul, 10/11/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yul, “KOREAN UNITS TO BE DEPLOYED IN EASTERN E. TIMOR,” Seoul, 10/10/99) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said on Sunday that an ROK peace force of 419 soldiers, the last batch of which arrived in Townsville, Australia, on Sunday, will be deployed to East Timor on Wednesday. The area of operations for the ROK force will likely be the eastern part of East Timor, including Lospalos, sources said.

15. NGO Conference in ROK

The Korea Times (Lee Chang-sup, “KIM STRESSES ALLIANCE OF NGOS WITH GOVERNMENTS WORLDWIDE,” Seoul, 10/11/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on Sunday called for an alliance of nongovernment organizations with governments worldwide, saying that the 21st century will be the era of nongovernment organizations (NGOs). In a speech at the opening of the Seoul International Conference of NGOs at the Olympic Park in Chamsil, Kim noted that democratic governments, the markets and NGOs will become the three main pillars that will determine the development of countries and the world. He said that Autonomy of NGO civil society must be guaranteed and revitalized if mankind is to live prosperously and peacefully. Like the United Nations and sovereign government power, Kim said, the NGOs have become essential for furthering human rights and happiness. About 7,600 representatives from 1,115 NGOs in 108 countries attended the Seoul conference.

The NAPSNet Daily Report aims to serve as a forum for dialogue and exchange among peace and security specialists. Conventions for readers and a list of acronyms and abbreviations are available to all recipients. For descriptions of the world wide web sites used to gather information for this report, or for more information on web sites with related information, see the collection of other NAPSNet resources.
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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
Asian Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

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

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

Chunsi Wu: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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

Leanne Paton: anjlcake@webtime.com.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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