NAPSNet Daily Report 12 May, 1998

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 12 May, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 12, 1998,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States


1. DPRK Nuclear Program

State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, MONDAY, MAY 11, 1998,” USIA Transcript, 05/12/98) said that the US and its allies have not resolved all of the nuances of financing for the light-water reactor and the heavy oil to be provided to the DPRK under the 1994 Geneva accord. He stated that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has discussed the modalities of ensuring that both portions of the agreement are fulfilled with the European Union, the ROK, and Japan, “and we are going to be doing what we can in the coming days to make that happen.” He added that, while the US has been fulfilling its obligations under the accord, “There is a problem of short-term debt that KEDO is experiencing that is making it urgent for us to get some early financing.”


2. Food Aid for DPRK

United Press International (“RED CROSS TO SHIP FOOD AID TO N.KOREA,” Seoul, 05/12/98) reported that the ROK National Red Cross (RKNRC) said in a statement that 3,000 tons of flour and 1,000 tons of salt is scheduled to leave Saturday from Pusan, to arrive in the DPRK port city of Chongjin on May 18. RKNRC President Chung Won-shik said in a telephone message to his DPRK counterpart, Lee Sung- ho, “We will be designating two specific areas for the Red Cross aid and hope you will comply to our March agreement to allow inspection of the distribution process in two cities and provinces.” The RKNRC earlier sent 3,000 tons of corn on a freight car from the PRC’s Tumen city, which arrived on May 4 at Namyang city.


3. ROK Financial Crisis

The Associated Press (“FORMER KIA MOTORS CHAIRMAN ARRESTED,” Seoul, 05/12/98) reported that Kim Sun-hong, former chairman of the Kia Motors Corp., was arrested Tuesday on charges of embezzling US$37 million and other financial wrongdoing. Prosecutors have said that the ROK financial crisis spun out of control when the government, which owns a 30 percent stake in Kia, failed to unload the company quickly after it collapsed last July under the weight of US$10.7 billion in debt. A government investigation launched in April found that Kim embezzled US$31 million in company funds that prosecutors said he may have used to bribe and lobby politicians to take out bank loans and keep the company afloat. Kim also was accused of illegally arranging for Kia to guarantee US$2.7 billion in debt incurred by several of its subsidiaries. If convicted, Kim could face up to life in prison.


4. Japanese Movie on Tokyo War Crimes Trial

Reuters (“TOKYO: TOJO MOVIE DOES NOT REFLECT ITS VIEWS,” Tokyo, 05/12/98) reported that Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sadaaki Numata said on Tuesday that a controversial new movie that portrays World War Two leader Hideki Tojo as a heroic warrior did not represent the official Japanese government position. He stated, “Whatever message might be contained in the film in no way reflects the position of the Japanese government. Our position is that the film has been produced by a private individual or private company in Japan.”


5. US Missile Technology Transfer to the PRC

The Washington Post (Juliet Eilperin, “GOP LEADERS DEMAND SATELLITE EXPORT DATA,” 05/12/98, A05) reported that Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) wrote to US President Bill Clinton on Friday demanding that the White House provide documents on whether the PRC’s nuclear missile capability was aided by an administration policy on exporting commercial satellites. The letter stated, “To date, the administration has refused to provide so much as one document to refute the evidence put forward in press accounts.” However, White House press secretary Michael McCurry stated, “We’re willing to make available whatever information they need to satisfy themselves that these decisions have been made on sound national security grounds.” An unnamed White House official said that the administration has dispatched an “interagency team” to Congress to discuss with investigators what documents they want and that lawyers are already at work trying to retrieve materials in response to the congressional requests.


6. US Missile Defense

The Associated Press (“MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM TEST FAILS,” Washington, 05/12/98) reported that the US Theater High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system failed to intercept a target for the fifth consecutive time when a booster rocket misfired during a flight test on Tuesday. The test was the eighth overall for the THAAD and the fifth involving an actual missile flight and attempted intercept.

Reuters (“U.S. SENATE DEMOCRATS TRY TO BLOCK MISSILE BILL,” Washington, 05/11/98) reported that US Senate Democrats said on Monday that they would try to kill a bill sponsored by Sen. Thad Cochran, R.-Miss, that would make it national policy to deploy a missile defense system for the country as soon as technically possible. Critics, led by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said the bill would undermine the current development and acquisition program for a missile defense system by making a deployment decision before development is completed. Levin also argued that the bill ignored the possible impact on existing and future arms control agreements. The White House has said that President Bill Clinton would veto the bill in its current form. A White House policy statement said, “Commitment to deployment now would result in deployment of a technological option that may be outdated if a threat does emerge.” Debate on the bill opened briefly on Monday in the Senate, with Democratic opponents vowing a filibuster to block it. A vote is expected on Wednesday to try to end debate.


7. Russian Ratification of START II

The Associated Press (“RUSSIAN LAWMAKERS URGED TO RATIFY START II NUCLEAR TREATY,” Moscow, 05/12/98) reported that Colonel General Vladimir Yakovlev, the chief of Russia’s strategic missile troops, said Tuesday that Russia has no alternative but to ratify the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty. Yakovlev stated, “Regardless of whether Russia ratifies START II, heavy RS-20 and RS- 18 missiles are to be deactivated by the year 2007, when they reach the admissible limits of operation.” 2007 is the deadline under the treaty for Russia and the US to halve their nuclear arsenals. Russian President Boris Yeltsin also reiterated his support for ratification of the treaty Tuesday, saying that he and US President Bill Clinton would then immediately begin negotiating START III. Yeltsin stated, “Even deeper cuts – of two or three times – can then be made to strategic nuclear weapons, which is extremely important.”


8a. Indian Nuclear Tests: US Reaction

Reuters (“CLINTON URGES END TO INDIAN NUCLEAR TESTS,” Washington, 05/12/98) reported that US President Bill Clinton said on Tuesday that India’s nuclear tests threatened regional stability and urged New Delhi to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Clinton stated, “This action by India not only threatens the stability of the region, it directly challenges the firm international consensus to stop nuclear proliferation.” He urged India to renounce all nuclear tests and India’s neighbors not to follow suit with tests of their own. Clinton said that the US had tough laws on how to respond to nuclear tests by newly nuclear states, adding, “I intend to implement them fully.”

The United States Information Agency (Wendy S. Ross, “US IS ‘DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED’ BY INDIA’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS TESTS,” Washington, 05/11/98) reported that US National Security Advisor Samuel “Sandy” Berger said Monday that the US is “deeply disappointed” by India’s decision to test nuclear weapons. Berger stated, “Our position has been very clear. We have urged countries to exercise restraint in the testing of nuclear weapons, either countries that are declared nuclear powers, or countries that are not. We, ourselves along with the other five declared nuclear states, have stopped nuclear testing … and we think this is an unfortunate development.” While he said that the US had “no independent confirmation” that India conducted three nuclear weapons tests as they claimed, he added, “We have no reason to believe they haven’t.” He called on India and Pakistan to exercise restraint “both with respect to [their] nuclear weapons programs and with respect to [their] ballistic weapons programs.” Berger said that the US will examine its laws applying to non-declared nuclear states in the context of India’s reported actions, “and we will obviously enforce the laws.” Berger confirmed that President Bill Clinton still plans to visit India this autumn, arguing, “We have a better chance at slowing these kinds of actions if we remain engaged, than if we don’t.”

White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry (“WHITE HOUSE DAILY BRIEFING, MONDAY, MAY 11, 1998,” USIA Transcript, 05/11/98) stated that US President Bill Clinton was “deeply distressed” by India’s announcement of three nuclear tests. McCurry said that India’s action “flies in the face of an international consensus about the need to promulgate and nurture the new regime on a comprehensive test ban.” He added that the US government is looking into which sanctions might apply to India’s actions under existing US laws. [Ed. note: NAPSNet is issuing extended excerpt of State Department spokesman James Rubin’s remarks on the Indian nuclear test today as a Special Report.]

The New York Times (Tim Weiner, “INDIA’S NUCLEAR TESTS COULD PROVOKE U.S. SANCTIONS, OFFICIALS SAY,” Washington, 05/12/98) reported that the 1994 Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act imposes severe penalties on non-declared nuclear states that conduct nuclear tests or sell nuclear weapons. The law requires the president to cut off almost all government aid to India, bar US banks from making loans to its government, stop exports of US products with military uses such as machine tools and computers, and oppose aid to India by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Senator John Glenn, D-Ohio, the author of the law, stated, “Those sanctions are mandatory.” An unnamed senior State Department official added, “It would be hard to avoid the possibility of sanctions. There is no wiggle room in the law.” A World Bank official said on Monday that, because of the size of World Bank loans to India, their cutoff as a result of US pressure “would have serious implications for their budget, serious detrimental effects.” Henry Sokolski, head of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, stated, “India has just dug a big hole for itself by doing this test — a military, political and economic hole…. This is not just a nuclear test for India. It’s a political test for the United States.” An unnamed senior administration official stated, “There are two scenarios.” Either, “the Indians will say that now that they’ve secured confidence in their nuclear weapons stockpile, they are prepared to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,” or, “now have decided they’re going to be an open nuclear power.”


8b. Indian Nuclear Tests: Pakistani Reaction

The Associated Press (“PAKISTAN VOWS TO MATCH NUCLEAR TEST MOVE,” New Delhi, 05/12/98) reported that Pakistani Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub on Tuesday blamed the Indian government for igniting nationalist passions and fueling the military rivalry between the two neighbors. Ayub stated, “We in Pakistan will maintain a balance with India in all fields. We are in a headlong arms race on the subcontinent.” Abdul Qadeer Khan, the architect of Pakistan’s nuclear program, said that his country was ready to explode a device of its own whenever the government decides.


8c. Indian Nuclear Tests: PRC Reaction

The Associated Press (“CHINA WARNS NUCLEAR TESTS HURT ASIA,” Beijing, 05/12/98) reported that the PRC’s state-run Xinhua News Agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao as saying Tuesday that the PRC is “seriously concerned” about India’s nuclear tests, and warned that the tests will harm peace and stability in South Asia.


8d. Indian Nuclear Tests: Russian Reaction

Reuters (“PRIMAKOV SAYS RUSSIAN SANCTIONS ON INDIA UNLIKELY,” Moscow, 05/12/98) reported that Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov on Tuesday criticized India for carrying out nuclear tests, but said that Russia was unlikely to back any sanctions against India. Saying that Russia has a “special” relationship with India, Primakov stated that Russia would put pressure on India not to rush into developing nuclear weapons, and would also urge Pakistan not to follow suit by developing nuclear arms. He said, “Of course we do not like it. Of course we are against it.” However, he added, “We are very cautious about sanctions. Sanctions are a very extreme measure which are not always productive. Sanctions are often counter-productive.”


8e. Indian Nuclear Tests: Japanese Reaction

Dow Jones Newswires (“JAPAN ATOMIC PANEL CRITICIZES NUCLEAR TESTS FOR FIRST TIME,” Tokyo, 05/12/98) reported that Japan’s Kyodo news service said that Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission on Tuesday criticized nuclear testing for the first time in a statement directed at underground nuclear explosions conducted by India. Sadakazu Tanigaki, head of the commission and director general of the Science and Technology Agency, said in the statement that nuclear testing “runs against the wishes of the citizens who seek an ultimate ban on nuclear weapons, and it is extremely regrettable.” He urged the Japanese government to take appropriate measures against India aimed at stopping its development of nuclear weapons. The statement also said that the agency had not issued statements on subcritical nuclear tests conducted by the US and Russia because there is no international consensus that such tests are considered nuclear.


8f. Indian Nuclear Tests: India Tests Missile

United Press International (“INDIA TEST-FIRES SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILE,” New Delhi, 05/11/98) reported that, following three underground nuclear tests, India also test-fired its most sophisticated surface- to-air missile Monday. Indian Officials said that the indigenously built Trishul or Trident missile with a 50-kilometer (31-mile) range was test-fired at the eastern Chandipur range.

II. Republic of Korea


1. Affects on Japan of Possible Korean Conflict

The Japanese government estimates that Japan could be flooded with 2.7 million refugees if hostilities were to flare between the DPRK and the ROK, a news report said Monday. The estimate is part of a 1993 Defense Agency report written up following the DPRK’s refusal to allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities, the Tokyo Shimbun daily reported. A Defense Agency spokesman refused to comment on the report. The agency report estimated that 270,000 refugees would flee to Japan immediately after an emergency broke out in Korea, with the total number eventually rising to 2.7 million, the newspaper said. The refugees heading to Japan would be part of 690,000 Koreans–450,000 from the ROK and 240,000 from the North–fleeing the peninsula immediately after an emergency broke out. Of the initial 270,000 coming to Japan, 220,000 would be ROK citizens and 50,000 DPRK citizens, the newspaper said. The report said Japan’s Self-Defense Forces would have to be called out to deal with the refugees since Japanese police are only capable of handling up to 35,000 of them. Under a plan mapped out in the report, the Ground Self-Defense Force would play the main role in helping the refugees by providing temporary shelters at training fields adjoining defense force posts. The Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Air Self- Defense Force would be in charge of collecting information and surveillance of the Koreans, the report said. (Korea Times, “JAPAN ESTIMATES 2.7 MILLION REFUGEES IN KOREAN WAR,” 05/12/98)


2. ROK Military Relations

Seoul has become a hub of military diplomacy with more than the usual number of foreign defense officials showing up here. This latest trend is partly due to the ROK Defense Ministry’s new policy of minimizing its officials’ overseas trips to save the expenses in tandem with the government’s overall effort to beef up military ties with its allies and neighbors. One example is a visit by Kurt Campbell, a US Defense Department assistant secretary in charge of the Asia/Pacific region, who will be in Seoul for the policy review subcommittee meeting with his ROK counterpart Lieutenant General Kim In-jong, the Defense Minister’s policy advisor. (Korea Times, “FOREIGN DEFENSE OFFICIALS VISITING MORE FREQUENTLY,” 05/12/98)


3. DPRK Famine

Around 3 million DPRK citizens are believed to have died of famine-related causes since August 1995 when food shortages started hitting the northern part of the Korean peninsula, a Buddhist association said yesterday. The Korean Buddhist Sharing Movement conducted a survey of 770 DPRK refugees who had been temporarily staying or wandering at the PRC-DPRK border areas, mainly to secure food and medicine for their families left behind in the DPRK. The survey, conducted by 22 experts and staff of the non- governmental organization, was done from September 30, 1997 to March 26 this year in PRC border cities like Yanbian. An estimated 27 percent of the interviewees’ family members died during the period of two years and eight months and, especially, the death rate of infants and children reached 37 percent, said the Venerable Pomnyun, executive director of the movement, in a meeting with reporters covering the ROK Unification Ministry. He compared the DPRK situation to the “silent famine” which resulted in the death of around 50 million in the PRC in the 1950s. “In particular, the death rate of infants, aged three or less, exceeded 50 percent,” the monk said. Hamgyong-namdo, located at the PRC-DPRK border, is regarded as the hardest hit province, while the near-famine situation is spreading from urban to rural areas. Except for the privileged classes such as the military and Workers’ Party members, the entire DPRK population are in a state of massive starvation, he said. He urged the ROK government to play an active role in settling their compatriots’ problems through diplomatic efforts. In particular, he asked the government to persuade the US to lift its economic embargo against the DPRK. He also asked Japan to offer surplus grain reserves to the DPRK. (Korea Times, “3 MILLION NORTH KOREANS DIE OF STARVATION,” 05/12/98)

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

Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Shin Dong-bom:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Choi Chung-moon:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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