NAPSNet Daily Report 13 February, 2001

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 13 February, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, February 13, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-13-february-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. DPRK Human Rights
2. PRC View of US Missile Defense
II. Republic of Korea 1. WFP Aid to DPRK
2. ROK-DPRK DMZ Accord
3. Inter-Korean Railway Project
4. DPRK Human Rights Report
5. Kim Jong Il’s Birthday
III. People’s Republic of China 1. DPRK IT Development
2. DPRK-ROK Relations
3. PRC-DPRK Relations
4. DPRK-Russian Relations
5. US NMD Development
6. PRC Position on NMD
7. PRC Position on UN Peace-building
8. US-British Relations
9. PRC-Vietnam Army Relations

I. United States

1. DPRK Human Rights

The Associated Press (Naomi Koppel, “N. KOREA INSISTS IT MEETS STANDARDS,” Geneva, 2/13/01) reported that in its first report to the world body’s Human Rights Committee in 16 years, the DPRK said that it believed it was meeting the requirements of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it signed in 1981. The DPRK report stated, “Citizens are ensured all the rights recognized in the covenant without any distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” It also said it had changed its laws to reduce the number of offenses which could result in the death penalty from 33 to five. The maximum sentence of “reform through labor” was reduced to 15 years from 20 years. The report, prepared in May, said that the DPRK planned to protect its population’s “right to life” by pursuing reunification. The report also said the country’s efforts had been undermined by famine, noting that a series of natural disasters since 1995 has diminished supplies of food and medicine, and “undernourishment has appeared among children.”

2. PRC View of US Missile Defense

The Associated Press (“CHINA ATTACKS U.S. MISSILE PLANS,” Beijing, 2/13/01) reported that PRC newspaper China Daily wrote on Tuesday that US plans to build a missile defense system would set off an arms race in space. The paper suggested that attempts to build such a system are linked to what it said was a computer simulation on January 22 by the US military of a battle between satellites in which the PRC was the presumed enemy. Yao Yunzhu, an analyst at the Chinese army’s Academy of Military Science, said, “The consequence will be a dangerous arms race in space.” The newspaper also said that if the US continued with its plans, other countries would be forced to compete, leading to the “militarization of space.” US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on February 11 that he expected Russia to relent and eventually accept the system, leaving the PRC diplomatically isolated on the issue.

II. Republic of Korea

1. WFP Aid to DPRK

The Korea Herald (“WFP TO PROVIDE 810,000 TONS OF FOOD TO N.K.,” Seoul, 02/13/01) reported that the World Food Program (WFP) will provide 810,000 tons of food and US$93 million in aid to the DPRK this year, a WFP report said Monday. The report said, “Food aid in the amount of 810,000 tons will be delivered at the request of the United Nations for humanitarian reasons. It will be distributed to 7.6 million North Koreans who are suffering from food shortages, and 125,000 tons will be spent on job-producing projects.” The US$93 million in special aid will include vitamin-enriched grains, crackers and noodles. The report said, “The enriched grains will be fed to hunger- stricken children in orphanages and pediatrics clinics. It will be served with a mixture of milk and rice produced in Pyongyang by the North’s authorities and the U.N. International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

2. ROK-DPRK DMZ Accord

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, “N.K. DELAYS IMPLEMENTATION OF DMZ ACCORD,” Seoul, 02/13/01) reported that the DPRK has unilaterally put off the implementation of an agreement on joint regulation that it reached last week with the ROK for the proposed inter-Korean railway and road projects across the border, the Defense Ministry said Monday. In a telephone message Sunday, DPRK’s chief delegate to working-level military talks notified the ROK that it would postpone the delivery of a signed copy of the accord. “The message came one day after we sent a telephone message to the North, in which we offered to meet Monday and Wednesday at Panmunjom for the exchange of the signed documents, as the North proposed at previous military talks,” said Yoon Il-young, spokesman for the ministry. Military experts here see the latest DPRK move as a negotiating tactic rather than an effort to scrap the agreement itself.

3. Inter-Korean Railway Project

The Korea Herald (Kim Min-hee, “RUSSIA ANTICIPATES RAILWAY TALKS WITH 2 KOREAS,” Seoul, 02/12/01) reported that Russia is anticipating holding railway talks with the two Koreas to discuss the restoration of severed inter-Korean railways, after Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Seoul late this month, a visiting Russian official said Monday. First Vice Minister of Railways Alexander Tselko said that Russia has received a green light from both Koreas for holding a three-way meeting on the railway. “We got an affirmative answer from North Korea last year during our visit. We got a similar response from the South later when we made a visit here. The three-way talks are likely to be held following President Putin’s visit to Seoul. We are likely to discuss on measures to facilitate the connection of inter-Korean railways and (Russia’s) possible investment in the project,” Tselko said. Tselko is here to attend a two-day presentation on Trans-Russian Railways (TSR), which opened Monday at Plaza Hotel in downtown Seoul. He’s heading a 53-member delegation.

4. DPRK Human Rights Report

The Korea Times (“NK PRESENTS 1ST UN HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT IN 16 YEARS,” Geneva, 02/12/01) reported that the United Nations Human Rights Committee on Monday released the DPRK’s first report on its human rights situation in 16 years. However, the 39-page report, which Pyongyang presented to the committee in July last year, just described the DPRK’s human rights-related laws, without explaining how it implemented measures recommended by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to improve human rights in the DPRK. The report said that the DPRK revised its criminal law in 1987 and 1995, reducing the number of criminal charges that can lead to capital punishment from 33 to 5. The DPRK also insisted that Article 29 of its Constitution bans people from engaging in forced or obligatory labor, permits the freedom of travel and residence and allows is citizens to leave and return to the country freely. The report, however, admitted that the DPRK government has had difficulty in guaranteeing people’s right to live in recent years, presenting statistics that showed children suffering from malnutrition due mainly to a lack of food and medical supplies. The report attributed the difficulties to a series of natural disasters and international factors that have not been favorable to the DPRK. According to the report, in 1998, the infant mortality rate reached 23.5 percent, and 15.6 percent of DPRK children suffered from malnutrition. The report, however, said that the average life expectancy reached 74.5 in 1994, compared with 38 in 1944.

5. Kim Jong Il’s Birthday

The Korea Times (Seo Soo-min, “NK GEARING UP FOR ‘DEAR LEADER’S’ BIRTHDAY,” Seoul, 02/12/01) reported that one of the biggest holidays celebrated by the DPRK, the 59th birthday of DPRK’s National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong-il, is just a few days away. In preparation for the event, various “celebration committees” have sprung up, both in the DPRK and abroad. “The number of birthday events is similar to that of last year, and their contents are almost identical,” said an ROK Unification Ministry report released last week. Writers in the DPRK have produced works that laud Chairman Kim’s politics of “building a strong and powerful country” and “putting the military at the forefront.”

III. People’s Republic of China

1. DPRK IT Development

Global Times (Zhang Xinghua, “DPRK WILL GO ON INTERNET,” 02/13/01, P2) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il attaches great importance to the Information Technology (IT) industry. He visited Legend Group and Shanghai Software Park during his PRC trip in last May and this January. The news story said that Kim, proficient in computer and networks knowledge himself, made many instructions in recent years, ordering DPRK citizens to devote efforts to the IT industry to realize production automation and computerization of the national economy. According to local news agency, the DPRK will not only go on internet, but also set up mobile phones services in some areas of DPRK, which is likely to be realized within 2001.

2. DPRK-ROK Relations

China Daily (“KOREAS HOLD FURTHER TALIKS,” Seoul, 02/09/01, P11) reported that officials of the DPRK and ROK met in two separate rounds of talks on February 8, one in Panmunjom and the other in Pyongyang, hoping to wrap up deals to build a cross-border railway and ease the DPRK’s energy shortages. Breakthrough came during talks between top officers at Panmunjom where the two sides agreed on guidelines to avoid accidental clashes during reconstruction of a railroad and highway across the border, officials said, but they added that negotiations in Pyongyang for the supply of free electricity to the DPRK hit obstacles. Last December, the DPRK requested that the ROK provide it with 500,000 kilowatts of electricity, but the ROK insisted that it would consider the request only after both sides conduct a joint survey of the DPRK’s energy shortages. At Thursday’s meeting, ROK officials proposed that both sides jointly survey the ROK’s energy situation as well as that of the DPRK.

3. PRC-DPRK Relations

People’s Daily (Zhang Xinghua, “KIM JONG-IL MEETS WITH PRC CILD DELEGATION,” Pyongyang, 02/10/01, P3) reported that on February 9, DPRK leader Kim Jong-il met with a PRC delegation led by Wang Jiarui, Deputy Minister of the PRC Central International Liaison Department (CILD). The delegation came at the invitation of the International Affairs Department of the Central Committee of the DPRK Worker’s Party. They exchanged sincere greetings from and to PRC leaders. Reviewing his recent visit to PRC, Kim Jong-il commented that both sides had exchanged views on bilateral relations and international issues of common concern and achieved great consensus. He said that the DPRK believes that bilateral relations will, in the new century, develop further. Kim extended his invitation to Jiang Zemin and other PRC leaders to visit the DPRK again.

4. DPRK-Russian Relations

People’s Daily (Zhang Jinfang, Li Zhengyu, “DPRK: HOPE TO DEVELOP ALL-AROUND RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA,” Pyongyang, 02/10/01, P3) reported that in a banquet celebrating the anniversary of the conclusion of the “DPRK-Russian Good Neighbor Cooperation Treaty” on February 8, the Chairman of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly said that the DPRK wishes to develop an all-around relations with Russia in the new century. Chairman Choi said that the conclusion of the Treaty in the last February reflected the good wish of the two countries to further develop bilateral relations, which also paved the way for equal and mutual beneficial future relations. He added that the DPRK is satisfied to the cooperation between the two countries in all fields. He also expressed his optimism on the overall bilateral relations in the new century because it is not only beneficial to common prosperity, but also to world peace.

5. US NMD Development

People’s Liberation Army Daily (Tang Shuifu, “BUSH DEMANDS TO REEVALUATE NUCLEAR ARSENAL,” 02/11/01, P4) reported that US White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said in a press release on February 9 that US President George W. Bush will demand an overall inspection and evaluation of the US nuclear arsenal, which will be the first step of US unilateral nuclear reductions. He said that Bush will sign three orders concerning the inspection of military policy, including US nuclear deterrence, improvement of living standards in the military and the management structure. These inspections, he noted, are to be finished by the end of this summer. According to New York Times, in the inspection orders, Bush emphasized the US commitment to the National Missile Defense (NMD) system. The Department of Defense will be required to take into considerations such factors as diplomacy, technology and finance when implementing this project. The NY Times also pointed out that this policy review shows that a new strategic thinking and a new method to cope with arms control problems are developing in the US.

People’s Liberation Army Daily (Tang Shuifu, “POWELL: US IS UNSWERVING ON NMD DEVELOPMENT,” 02/11/01, P4) reported that US Secretary of State Colin Powell said at a press conference held on February 9 that the US position on its NMD development is unswerving in spite of objections from the international community. He stressed that the US will continue to adopt measures to eliminate strong objections from the PRC and Russia and the widespread concern among its European allies and Canada. The US is not in a position to be arrogant by developing the NMD system, and does not intend to impose this system upon other countries, he declared. He added that although the US will negotiate with PRC and Russia, its stance on NMD development is unswerving.

6. PRC Position on NMD

China Daily (Hu Qihua, “US ANTI-MISSILE PLANS COULD DAMAGE STABILITY,” 02/07/01, P1) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sun Yuxi February 6 said that US plans to deploy an anti-missile system would undermine world stability and lead to a new arms race in outer space. He stressed that the destruction of the ABM Treaty will result in the annihilation of the whole structure of strategic stability and create prerequisites for a new arms race, including one in outer space. Sun was referring to a recent US simulated space confrontation exercise in Colorado. “China is seriously concerned about this large-scale space confrontation exercise,” said Sun, citing that the militarization of outer space is a pressing and real problem. The alternative is a dangerous arms race into space, Sun said, urging an international conference on preventing the militarization of outer space.

7. PRC Position on UN Peace-building

China Daily (“PEACE MEASURES MUST RESPECT NATIONS’ RIGHTS,” United Nations, 02/01/01, P1) reported that the PRC stressed on February 5 that all peace-building and peace-consolidating measures should conform with the purposes and the principles of the UN Charter. Addressing an open debate of the UN Security Council on peace- building, PRC Deputy Representative to the UN Shen Guofang said that the purposes and principles are respect for the political independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries concerned as well as for the will of their governments and people. The work of peace-building involves the countries concerned, the UN, the international community and other relevant players, and there is no doubt that the countries concerned should be at the core of all peace-building efforts, Shen noted. Either during the preventive peace-building process before the conflict or in the post-conflict peace-building period, the UN and the international community at large are always external contributing factors, and their roles lie in helping and supporting the governments and people of the post-conflict countries in their reconstruction efforts, he said. Stressing that the internal matters of a country should eventually be handled by the people of the country itself, Shen said that while participating in peace-building efforts, the international community should focus on helping the people realize their independence and self-reliance so that their dependence on external assistance will gradually decrease. The people in the countries concerned should be encouraged to play leading roles during the peace-building process, Shen added.

8. US-British Relations

China Daily (“POWELL: US, BRITAIN TO BE STAUNCH ALLIES FOREVER,” Washington, 02/08/01) reported that the US and Britain said on Tuesday they would stay the strongest of allies under new President George W. Bush and vowed to consult closely to narrow differences over security plans on both sides of the Atlantic. “Based on what I know and what I have heard in our discussions today, the US and Britain will remain strong friends, staunch allies, forever into the future,” Secretary of State Colin Powell told a news conference after meeting British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook for 105 minutes. Cook also welcomed Powell’s pledge to consult his allies and Russia and PRC on US plans for NMD. The two men played down fears that Europe’s plans for a rapid reaction force might weaken NATO. “There is no reason to see this as destabilizing of NATO. In fact I think it is our common belief that it will strengthen NATO,” Powell said.

9. PRC-Vietnam Army Relations

Xinhua News Agency (“NATIONS STRESS ARMY RELATIONS,” Hanoi, 02/08/01) reported that during talks with visiting PRC Defense Minister Chi Haotian, Vietnamese Defense Minister Pham Van Tra said that his country will strengthen its military ties with the PRC. Pham spoke highly of Chi’s visit, which he said is important to bilateral relations, including military ties. Chi echoed rapid development between the two countries. He stressed the “stable, future-oriented and cooperative” bilateral relations defined by the Party leaders from the two countries.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Seoul, Republic of Korea

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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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