NAPSNet Daily Report 12 July, 2001

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 12 July, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, July 12, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-12-july-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US View of DPRK Threat
2. Japanese Textbook Issue
3. PRC Reaction to Japanese White Paper
4. Cross-Straits Political Dialogue
5. PRC Military Exercises
II. Republic of Korea 1. US-DPRK Talks
2. DPRK-EU Talks
3. DPRK Defector’s Visit to US
4. DPRK-PRC Relations

I. United States

1. US View of DPRK Threat

Agence France Presse (“NORTH KOREA THREAT GROWS DESPITE NEAR COLLAPSE, SAYS US COMMANDER,” 7/12/01) reported that the head of the UN Command in Korea, General Thomas Schwarz, said in an article released Thursday that the DPRK’s insistence on devoting nearly all its resources to its army makes it “the major security threat in northeast Asia.” He wrote, “Their dogged adherence to a ‘military first’ policy when viewed against the backdrop of a nation on the brink of complete economic and social collapse is problematic.” Schwarz added that despite changes on the Korean peninsula over the past 18 months “uncertainty still exists: the North Korean military threat remains real and dangerous.” Schwarz wrote, “The problem is that the ‘military first’ policy provides the only conceivable means by which the regime can survive. In the meantime the military continues to grow in both conventional and asymmetric (non-conventional) forces. Today the North has the world’s fifth largest military, with the third largest army and world’s largest special operations force. North Korea also possesses weapons of mass destruction and continues to develop asymmetric threats.”

2. Japanese Textbook Issue

Agence France Presse (“SOUTH KOREA ORDERS SANCTIONS OVER JAPANESE BOOKS,” Seoul, 7/12/01) reported that the ROK on Thursday adopted sanctions over Japanese history textbooks accused of whitewashing wartime atrocities. ROK President Kim Dae-jung urged Japan to learn from Germany in dealing with its past as the government froze military exchanges and blocked new imports of Japanese music and culture. The sanctions were the first since Japan told the ROK and the PRC this week that it would not revise eight schoolbooks. The ROK Defense Ministry said that General Cho Yong-gil, chairman of the ROK joint chiefs of staff, cancelled a visit to Japan planned for the next few days. Two Japanese navy ships were refused permission to dock in the port of Inchon as part of a goodwill visit in September. ROK Defense Ministry spokesman Yoon Won-jae said, “No high-level military exchanges between South Korea and Japan will take place for the time being.” The ROK foreign ministry said the ROK would seek to embarrass Japan over the books at international events.

3. PRC Reaction to Japanese White Paper

Agence France Presse (“CHINA OBJECTS TO JAPANESE WHITE PAPER ON DEFENSE,” Beijing, 7/12/01) reported that the PRC expressed “regret and dissatisfaction” Thursday at Japan’s criticism of the PRC military build-up in a Japanese white paper on defense issued earlier this month. In the white paper, Japan criticized the PRC’s growing military strength as surpassing its defensive needs but also noted that the PRC military capabilities were well below those of Taiwan despite the growing strength of its navy and airforce. PRC foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said, “This is irrational and not conducive to confidence building between the two countries in the military and security fields. China expresses regret and dissatisfaction.” Zhang said the PRC had no history of military expansionism and its military spending was still well below the level of other large world powers. She added, “The limited military capacity of China is purely defensive without posing any threat to any other country, so the Japanese in official publications like the white paper have made wanton remarks.”

4. Cross-Straits Political Dialogue

Agence France Presse (“CHINESE COMMUNISTS, TAIWAN OPPOSITION PARTY VOW MORE DIALOGUE,” Beijing, 7/12/01) reported that the PRC’s official China Daily said Thursday that the PRC has set up a mechanism for dialogue with Taiwan’s New Party which it hopes can also further contacts with other political groups on the island. The paper said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Taiwan’s New Party agreed at a “historic” meeting on July 11 in Beijing to engage in occasional talks and exchanges in the future. The meeting’s main significance was to set a precedent for other party-to-party contacts, such as between the CCP and Taiwan’s Kuomintang. Wang Zaixi, deputy director of the Taiwan Work Office, said, “If they feel the need (to establish a mechanism for dialogue), we are ready to give a positive response any time.” Observers believe the PRC drive for contacts with Taiwanese opposition groups is also aimed at undermining the position of Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian.

5. PRC Military Exercises

The New York Times (Craig S. Smith, “BEIJING STAGES WAR GAMES, MOSTLY FOR TAIWAN,” Shanghai, 7/11/01) reported that articles in this month’s issue of International Outlook magazine, published by the Shanghai Institute for International Affairs and associated with Wang Daohan, the PRC official who oversees relations with Taiwan, depict various parts of the PRC military working together on an integrated battle plan in large-scale exercises for the first time. Bates Gill, a PRC military expert at the Brookings Institution, said that although he has some doubt that the exercises were as integrated as the magazine claimed, “what is notable is the size, duration and efforts to combine elements of navy, air force, army and artillery units.” Until now, major exercises had been carried out concurrently but not under a joint command. The magazine quoted an unidentified senior military officer as saying that the war games were meant to “plainly tell the Taiwan public that the stable outlook between the two sides of the strait, which Chen Shui-bian has proclaimed, simply does not exist.” It said that Chen has taken credit for apparently easing tensions with the PRC, but that the easing was actually a result of the PRC’s wait-and-see attitude toward his administration. The magazine said that the games involved “virtually all of China’s most advanced weaponry,” including nuclear-powered submarines and M-9 ballistic missiles, which are concentrated on the coast facing Taiwan. The games were overseen by the PRC’s top general, Zhang Wannian, and drew together units from the Nanjing Military Region, the Guangzhou Military Region, the East China Sea Fleet, the South China Sea Fleet, the air force and the Second Artillery Corps. Lieutenant General Liang Guanglie of the Nanjing Military Region acted as commander in chief. The games took place in three stages, beginning with “information warfare” intended to paralyze enemy communications and command systems electronically. The magazine said that, for the first time, a new electronic warfare unit was deployed over the strait, in coordination with surveillance satellites. The second stage involved a joint navy, infantry and air force landing on Dongshan island that included simulated missile attacks, aerial bombardments, nighttime parachute landings, rapid sea-based troop landings and commando attacks on ports and airports. The magazine said the exercise employed a Russian antiaircraft missile system similar to the American Patriot-1 system. The third stage simulated a “counterattack against an enemy fleet attempting to intervene in the war,” and apparently included at least one of the PRC’s two new Sovremenny-class guided-missile destroyers recently bought from Russia. That stage of the exercise also employed SU-27 fighter aircraft and Kilo-class submarines, also recently bought from Russia. Gill said the three stages conform to what most US military analysts would expect of a PRC invasion. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for July 12, 2001.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. US-DPRK Talks

The Korea Herald (“KIM STRESSES SUNSHINE POLICY,” Seoul, 07/12/01) reported that ROK President Kim Dae- jung said Wednesday that his “sunshine” policy toward the DPRK is the only means in which peace can be achieved on the Korean Peninsula. “The policy of reconciliation and cooperation is the most realistic option that can resolve inter- Korean matters peacefully,” Kim said during a luncheon meeting with 50 top military officers at Cheong Wa Dae. The President said that the government will push ahead with its efforts to improve inter-Korean relations in a calm and substantial manner based on what it has achieved so far as well as its strong defense posture.

2. DPRK-EU Talks

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “NORTH KOREA, EU TO HOLD MINISTERIAL TALKS IN HANOI,” Seoul, 07/12/01) reported that the DPRK and the European Union will hold foreign ministers’ talks in Hanoi later this month on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), slated for July 25, Belgian Ambassador to the ROK Koenraad Rouvroy said Wednesday. “The DPRK will attend the (foreign ministers’) meeting in Hanoi,” Rouvroy said, adding that DPRK officials informed him of their plan to go to the Vietnamese capital during his recent trip to the DPRK. Rouvroy, also accredited to the DPRK, met with ranking DPRK officials during his first visit to the DPRK June 18-23, including Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun. Although it has yet to be confirmed whether Paek will lead the DPRK’s delegation to the Hanoi meetings, the DPRK-EU talks will likely be held between Paek and his Belgian counterpart, Louis Michel, if the DPRK minister goes to Hanoi, ROK officials said. Rouvroy said that while Belgium holds its presidency, the EU will focus on expediting the inter-Korean rapprochement process.

3. DPRK Defector’s Visit to US

Chosun Ilbo (Joo Yong-joong, “HWANG LIKELY TO VISIT US IN OCTOBER,” Seoul, 07/11/01) reported that the ROK government is studying a plan to allow high-ranking DPRK defector, Hwang Jang-yop to visit the US in October according to a government source Wednesday. He said that it was impossible for Hwang to go to US at the end of this month because the Congressional invitation was delivered at short notice, but that negotiations would soon get underway between the US and the ROK to facilitate the trip.

4. DPRK-PRC Relations

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Hee-sung, “JIANG ZEMIN RECEIVES NORTH KOREAN DELEGATION,” Seoul, 07/11/01) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin on Tuesday received a delegation from the DPRK in Beijing, PRC media reported. President Jiang in his meeting with the delegation members expressed the PRC’s high regard toward its relations with the DPRK and continued that it is willing to consistently pursue traditional close ties with the DPRK for the brighter future. The DPRK delegation was expected to attend a ceremony on July 11 marking the 40th anniversary of the mutual treaty between the two countries. Meanwhile President Jiang and his top aides including Li Peng, chairman of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China and Premier Zhu Rongji also exchanged congratulatory telegrams with their counterparts in the DPRK; respectively Kim Jong-il the General Secretary, Kim Yong-nam, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Party and Hong Song-nam, Premier of the Workers’ Party Tuesday. The DPRK’s side in response too, stressed the importance of the mutual treaty aimed at the lofty achievement of national independence and socialism.

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Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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