NAPSNet Daily Report 13 November, 1998

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 13 November, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, November 13, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-13-november-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

III. Japan

III. People’s Republic of China

I. United States

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1. US DPRK Policy Coordinator

US State Department Spokesman James P. Rubin (“STATE DEPT. 11/12 ON NEW NORTH KOREA POLICY COORDINATOR,” Washington, USIA Text, 11/12/98) announced Thursday that US President Bill Clinton has named former Secretary of Defense William Perry to be the administration’s DPRK Policy Coordinator. Rubin said in a press release, “Dr. Perry will take up his duties immediately pursuant to section 582 (e) of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Act. As North Korea Policy Coordinator, Dr. Perry will participate in a full and complete interagency review of U.S. policy and objectives toward North Korea. He will be joined in this review by the Counselor of the Department of State, Ambassador Wendy Sherman. Officials of other U.S. agencies will also contribute to the review. As Dr. Perry undertakes his role, he will consult with U.S. allies, notably the Republic of Korea and Japan and with other interested governments such as the People’s Republic of China. U.S. Special Envoy for the Korean Peace Talks Charles Kartman will continue to represent the United States in nuclear talks with the DPRK, as well as in the Four Party process.”

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2. ROK-PRC Summit

The Associated Press (“S. KOREAN PRES: CHINA PLEDGES ASSISTANCE ON KOREAN PENINSULA,” Beijing, 11/13/98) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said Friday that the PRC has pledged to help rivals the DPRK and ROK resolve their differences. Kim said he and PRC President Jiang Zemin held broad-ranging talks on the DPRK, adding that the chief accomplishment of his trip was a pledge by Jiang that “China will further play a constructive role for the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.” Kim also said that the PRC would not support any armed provocations or conflicts on the peninsula and backed the ROK’s insistence that disputes be resolved in direct talks between the ROK and the DPRK. Asked his assessment of the DPRK, Kim said that the country appeared to be making tentative steps to opening up its economy and noted recent deals with the ROK’s Hyundai conglomerate. He stated, “While North and South Korean relations have these kinds of good signs, there are also some things we do not want to see,” such as recent submarine incursions rocket launches. He added, “These kinds of incitements produce an extremely bad effect in our country.” Kim said that PRC President Jiang Zemin also agreed that a Northeast Asia-wide security forum between their two governments, the DPRK, Russia, Japan and the US was worth looking into, although Kim added that such talks would not happen soon. Kim also said that the ROK and the PRC agreed to step up military-to-military consultations. Kim was scheduled to meet PRC Premier Zhu Rongji and three other senior Communist Party members Friday before touring Shanghai. A joint statement released Friday committed both sides to working together to fight terrorism and drugs, halt environmental degradation, remove impediments to business, and resolve their trade imbalance. The statement also noted the PRC’s wish for a peaceful reunification of Korea and both sides’ support for continuing the four-party peace talks. The two sides also promised to enhance cooperation in industry, science and technology, information and telecommunications, environment, energy, natural resources, agriculture, forestry, nuclear energy, infrastructure and railways. They also signed a fisheries agreement and a railway cooperation pact.

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3. DPRK Famine

The Associated Press (“UN SAYS N. KOREA MUST IMPORT FOOD,” Rome, 11/13/98) reported that Saeed Malik, a senior World Food Program (WFP) official, said Friday that DPRK citizens risk malnourishment unless the government imports at least 1 million tons of food. Malik stated, “Despite favorable weather this year, food production has not recovered sufficiently enough to avert serious food shortages. The food crisis has been compounded by a complete run-down of the country’s economy.” A report issued by the WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that the DPRK needs 1.35 million tons of extra food to meet the population’s “minimal nutritional requirements.” The report recommended allotting about half the food to children, hospital patients, and pregnant women. It added that the DPRK’s agricultural production was further hampered by a major shortage of fertilizer.

Reuters (“U.S. CONGRESSMAN SAYS NORTH KOREANS EATING TWIGS AND LEAVES,” Seoul, 11/12/98) reported that US Representative Tony Hall, D-Ohio, said on Friday after visiting the DPRK that people there are eating leaves and twigs. Hall stated, “North Korean people were relying more and more on substitute food.” He added, “They grind them into powder and make noodles out of it.” Hall said that many patients in hospitals were walking around holding their stomachs because their digestive tracts could not handle the alternative foods. He added that 30 percent of DPRK children between one and two years of age were acutely malnourished and 65 to 67 percent of children surveyed were stunted. Hall stated, “Our food is getting through and it’s keeping a number of people alive. But when you scratch the surface, the country is in a very, very critical situation.” He warned, “The hospitals don’t have medicine, clean water or heat. Disease control is non-existent.” He added, “There is no power in the country, no heat in buildings and hospitals, but you can see a lot of graves.”

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4. Alleged PRC Missile Technology Transfers

The Washington Post (Michael Laris, “U.S. TEAM IN CHINA SAID TO RAISE ISSUE OF MISSILE TRADING,” Beijing, 12/13/98, A36) reported that US officials said that a US delegation headed by Acting Undersecretary of State John Holum raised concerns Friday with PRC arms control and military officials that the PRC is continuing to transfer missile technology. An unnamed US official traveling with the delegation stated, “We have concerns about possible technology transfers from Chinese entities to Iran and Pakistan. We continue to discuss those with China and believe they are taking steps to address those problems.” Holum stated, “We are working with them on a road map and a set of steps” necessary for the PRC to join the Missile Technology Control Regime.

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5. PRC Missile Development

US State Dept. Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING NOVEMBER 12, 1998,” USIA Transcript, 11/13/98) said that the test of a new PRC Intercontinental Ballistic Missile described in the Washington Times would not involve the missile in question going anywhere. Rubin stated, “It would land within a few feet of the launcher, which seemed [sic] a poor way to send a message to anyone. Despite some recent modernization, China’s nuclear forces remain far smaller in number than those of the United States or Russia.” He added, “China’s strategic missile force has had the capability to reach parts of the United States for many years.”

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6. Taiwan WTO Entry

Dow Jones Newswires (Peter Wonacott, “TAIWAN’S WANG SAYS U.S., AUSTRALIA SUPPORT WTO ENTRY,” Kuala Lumpur, 12/13/98) reported that Taiwanese Economics Minister Wang Chih-kang said Friday that US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and Australian Trade Minister Tim Fischer had offered strong support for Taiwan’s membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Wang said that Barshefsky said Taiwan’s entry would be based on market–rather than political–considerations, while Fischer said that the WTO would not be a “complete organization” without Taiwan.

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7. Taiwanese Aid to Asia

Reuters (Jeffrey Parker, “TAIWAN OFFERS AID TO OTHER ASIAN NATIONS,” Taipei, 11/13/98) reported that P.K. Chiang, who will represent Taiwan at Monday’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Malaysia, said that Taiwan will offer billions of dollars in aid to Asian countries hurt by the economic crisis. Chiang stated, “We are among the members of APEC and we are also a member of the region. When any crisis comes, we also suffer.” Chiang said that he expected to exchange handshakes and small talk with PRC President Jiang Zemin, but the tight summit schedule left no time for bilateral discussions and no talks were planned. He added that he hoped the PRC would ease what he called its unrelenting pressure on Taiwan and instead realize how much Taiwan, the PRC and Hong Kong could accomplish in Asia if they worked together. Chiang stated, “If put together, we have US$300 billion in foreign reserves and could play a very important role in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia’s financial stability. But they reject the idea. We do want to fully contribute to APEC, to the region, but politically there is kind of intervention. They are not willing to cooperate.”

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8. Japan-Russia Summit

The Washington Post (Daniel Williams, “RUSSIA, JAPAN MOVE TOWARD COMPROMISE ON ISLANDS,” Moscow, 11/13/98, A36) reported that Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi on Thursday made arrangements for talks over the disputed Kuril islands. The two agreed to set up a committee to study joint economic development of the Kurils, and a second committee to study territorial issues. Obuchi offered US$100 million in development money to supplement US$800 million in loans already pledged to Russia this year, while Yeltsin granted permission for aging former residents of the islands to return for tourism. Obuchi’s spokesman stated, “I think we are solidly on the way to a peace treaty by the year 2000.”

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9. US Policy toward South Asia

Reuters (“U.S. SPELLS OUT STAND ON SOUTH ASIAN NUCLEAR ARMS,” New Delhi, 11/13/98) reported that US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott on Friday spelled out US policy on nuclear arms control in South Asia in the Times of India. Talbott said that India and Pakistan must sign the nuclear test ban treaty, curb their nuclear and missile programs, and make peace. Talbott said that many Indians and Pakistanis had argued that their nuclear tests would usher in an extended period of nuclear stability in South Asia comparable with the one that preserved the peace between the US and the Soviet Union. He stated, “It is almost as though they see Cold War brinksmanship between the superpowers as something to be emulated. We hope they will look at the record again, not from the vantage point of having seen the Cold War end peacefully but rather from the hard-headed perspective of what it took to manage the rivalry.” One Western diplomat said the article might be designed to restart reasoned debate on the issue in India.

The Associated Press (“U.S. TALBOTT: U.S. NOT RELYING ON INDIA’S NUCLEAR VOW,” New Delhi, 11/13/98) reported that US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott said Friday that the US does not feel comfortable with assurances by India that it will not be the first nation to use nuclear weapons in case of war with Pakistan. Talbott stated, “We feel it’s is not as important as the kind of weapons they have or the kind of rivalry in hardware.”

III. Japan

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1. US-ROK-Japanese Policy toward the DPRK

The Sankei Shimbun (Masahiro Tanaka, “US PRESIDENT WILL REAFFIRM TO MAINTAIN ALLIANCE,” Washington, 11/13/98) reported that US President Bill Clinton will likely discuss security issues in addition to economic issues with Japanese and ROK leaders when he visits them. According to the report, the White House told both Japanese and ROK authorities on November 11 that Clinton will discuss resumption of dialogue with the DPRK through the US-DPRK talks and the Four Party Peace Talks and ask Japan to continue its aid to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization and humanitarian aid to the DPRK. The report also said that, according to ROK sources, the talks between Clinton and ROK President Kim Dae-jung on November 21 and 22 will focus on the DPRK’s threat and reaffirm a strong security alliance between the US and the ROK by maintaining the present number of the US forces in the ROK. However, the US will ask the ROK to continue to pay the same amount of the cost of maintaining the US forces as last year. The ROK paid 75 percent of the total cost of US$399 million last year. The report quoted an ROK source as saying, “Because the economic crisis is calming down, the same amount will be maintained.” However, depending on the outcome of the talks between US Peace Talks Ambassador Charles Kartman and the DPRK slated for November 16, “Clinton’s message to the ROK may become stronger,” according to the same ROK source. The report added that Kartman would ask again the DPRK to allow inspections in the suspected nuclear construction sites. The DPRK has been criticizing the US demand as “infringing on a sovereignty.” As for Clinton’s visit to Japan, Clinton will ask Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi to ease the sanctions on the DPRK which Japan imposed in the wake of the DPRK’s missile test, including the banning of chartered flights between Japan and the DPRK.

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2. Anti-Korean Violence in Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“CHOSENSOREN ASK CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FOR PREVENTIVE MEASURE AGAINST HARASSMENT TO DPRK RESIDENTS IN JAPAN,” 11/11/98) reported that Kim Tae-hi, deputy chairman of Chosensoren, visited Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka at the Prime Ministerial official residence on November 11 and asked Nonaka to strengthen preventive measures against harassment of pro-DPRK Korean residents in Japan. The harassment includes the bullying of Korean students and the recent petrol bomb attack on the Chosensoren headquarters. In response to Kim’s demand, Nonaka said, “My heart aches (because of these incidents). These incidents should have not happened and should not happen again. Based on your demand, I will instruct the related authorities.”

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3. Japan-Russia Summit

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“JAPAN AND RUSSIA DECIDE TO PUT NORTHERN TERRITORIES UNDER JOINT CONTROL,” Moscow, 11/13/98) reported that, during the summit talks between Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and Russian President Boris Yeltsin on November 12, in response to the Japanese proposal of delimitation of the northern territories put forward in Moscow in last April, Yeltsin proposed to designate the territories as special areas which would make Japanese economic activities free of tax and to put the territories under joint control. Obuchi announced that he would officially respond to the proposal during Yeltsin’s visit to Japan slated for next spring. Also, Yeltsin agreed to Obuchi’s proposal to establish a committee on delimitation of the territories. They also agreed to establish a committee on joint economic activities and to permit free visits to the four islands by the former residents of these islands. However, the report pointed out that there is opposition to Yeltsin’s proposal within the Japanese government. Regarding the Russian proposals, a Japanese government spokesman said, “They signify that Russia is interested in substantial negotiations and the former residents’ visits may lead to obtaining the right of partial control of these territories.” However, there is concern within the Japanese government that Russia’s proposal aims to conclude a peace treaty by shelving the territorial issue.

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4. Japanese Defense Agency Head’s Resignation

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“DEFENSE AGENCY DIRECTOR GENERAL NUKAGA WILL RESIGN ON NOVEMBER 24,” 11/12/98) reported that Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro Nukaga, whom the previous extraordinary Diet session held responsible for the Defense Agency’s scandal, decided on November 11 to resign on November 24, when the final report on the agency’s suspected hiding of evidence related to the scandal will be announced. Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi will accept Nukaga’s decision because it would be difficult to conduct the next extraordinary Diet session slated for November 27 while keeping Nukaga in the cabinet. The report added that at this stage, the most likely candidate successor to Nukaga is Kosuke Hori, who has good connections with opposition parties.

III. People’s Republic of China

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1. ROK-PRC Summit

People’s Daily (“PRESIDENT JIANG AND KIM HAVE A MEETING,” Beijing, 11/13/98, A1) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin met with visiting ROK President Kim Dae-jung on November 12. They exchanged their views on bilateral relations and issues of common concern, and reached a comprehensive consensus. The presidents agreed to establish Sino-ROK cooperative relations geared towards the next century. Such a relationship is significant because it lays the framework, and outlines the direction, for the development of cross-century bilateral ties, they agreed. During the meeting, President Kim acknowledged that Taiwan is part of China and that the ROK will continue observing the “one China” principle outlined in the Sino-ROK Joint Communique. As to the Korean issue, Kim said that the ROK is devoted to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and is willing to alleviate tensions through discussions and strengthening mutual trust with the DPRK. Relations on the Peninsula are improving gradually, and becoming more relaxed, which is gratifying to the PRC, Jiang said. According to him, safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is the PRC’s guiding principle when dealing with Peninsula-related affairs. The PRC hopes the two parties on the Korean Peninsula will gradually strengthen mutual trust and improve relations through dialogues and contacts. The PRC welcomes the improved relations between the DPRK and the US, as well as relations between the DPRK and Japan. The PRC hopes the four-party talks, involving the US, the PRC, the ROK, and the DPRK, will lead to peace on the Peninsula, Jiang said.

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2. Hyundai Founder’s Trip to DPRK

People’s Liberation Army Daily (“CHUNG’S VISIT TO N. KOREA CREATES FAVORABLE ATMOSPHERE,” 11/07/98, A4) carried a commentary saying that the visit by Chung Ju-yung, the honorary chairman of Hyundai, to the DPRK is conducive to alleviating tensions on Korean Peninsula. It is common knowledge that the two countries on Korean Peninsula are still in political and military confrontation, the commentary said, and it is necessary to take measures to push forward bilateral relations, which are in a deadlock. At present, the four-party talks among the ROK, the DPRK, the US, and the PRC have made some positive impact on the relaxation of the tensions on Korean Peninsula. However, Chung Ju-yung’s visit to the DPRK probably will produce special results because it pushes forward bilateral relations in a non-governmental way.

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3. PRC-US Relations

China Daily (“US MOVES ON TAIWAN, DALAI LAMA DRAW PROTESTS,” 11/12/98, A1) reported that the PRC lodged an official protest on November 11 with the US Government for sending Energy Secretary Bill Richardson to visit Taiwan recently and allowing the Dalai Lama to visit the US and meet US leaders. In a statement in Beijing on November 11, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said that the PRC Government has expressed its serious concern and strong displeasure over these erroneous moves on the part of the US and has protested to the US Government. The PRC has consistently opposed any official contact between the US and Taiwan, especially any visits to Taiwan by US cabinet-level officials, he said. Richardson’s visit and his meeting with Lee Teng-hui and other senior political figures constituted a serious violation of the principles of the three Sino-US Joint Communiques and the US commitments not to have any official contact with Taiwan. Turning to the issue of the Dalai Lama, Zhu said he is a political exile engaged in splittist activities against China and a long-time advocate of “Tibetan independence.” By allowing the Dalai Lama to visit the US and arranging for him to meet Clinton and other US leaders and government officials, the US has seriously violated its oft-stated position of recognizing Tibet as part of Chinese territory and not supporting “Tibetan independence.” “We strongly oppose such acts, which are absolutely unacceptable to us,” Zhu said.

China Daily (“DIRECT INFLUENCE,” 11/13/98, A2) reported that General Zhang Wannian, vice chairman of the PRC Central Military Commission, met with former US Defense Secretary Harold Brown. Zhang noted hard-won achievements in Sino-US relations, and said that both sides should extend greater efforts to maintain and develop relations. History attests that properly handling of the Taiwan issue, the key point in Sino-US relations, has a direct influence on the development of bilateral relations, Zhang said.

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4. PRC-Japanese Relations

People’s Daily (“JIANG MEETS WITH PRESIDENT OF ASAHI SHIMBUN,” Beijing, 11/12/98, A1) reported that when meeting with Muneyuki Matsuhita, president of the Asahi Shimbun, in Beijing on November 11, PRC President Jiang Zemin said that the PRC and Japan will cooperate in shaping the framework for the future of friendly Sino-Japanese relations. The framework should be based on keeping the past in mind and looking to the future. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the PRC- Japan Peace and Friendship Treaty. President Jiang will go to visit Japan on November 25, and he said his forthcoming visit would be extremely important. Jiang stressed that Sino-Japanese relations will continue to grow in a stable and sound manner as long as the two nations adhere strictly to the spirit and the principles of the treaty and the PRC-Japan joint statement to resolve any differences of opinion.

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5. Japanese Defense Chief’s Resignation

China Daily (“OFFICIAL TO RESIGN,” 11/13/98, A11) reported that Japanese defense chief Fukushiro Nukaga is expected to resign later this month to take responsibility for a procurement scandal dogging his agency, Japanese media reported on November 12. Kyodo news agency, quoting unnamed sources, said Nukaga was to resign from his post after releasing a set of measures to reform the agency’s procurement system. Prosecutors are investigating allegations that contractors colluded with agency officials in overcharging the government for military equipment in return for agreeing to hire a retired agency official.

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6. Japan-Russia Summit

China Daily (“JAPAN, RUSSIA SEEKING FLEXIBILITY OVER ISLES,” Tokyo, 11/11/98, A11) reported that Japan indicated on November 10, the eve of Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s trip to Russia, that it is ready to be flexible on the territorial dispute over the Kuril islands. Up to now, the Japanese Government has taken an all-or-nothing stance on the return of what it calls the Northern Territories. Obuchi’s deputy spokesman, Akitaka Saiki, said negotiations in Moscow with Russian President Boris Yeltsin will be difficult, but a compromise is possible. His comments appear to be a departure from Japan’s stance that it will accept nothing less than the return of all four disputed islands, the report said. “One party can’t gain 100 per cent, nor can the other lose 100 per cent,” Saiki said. “There should be something in the middle that can satisfy both sides.” Asked by a reporter about the possibility Japan can accept a compromise of the return of two islands, Habomai and Shikotan, as proposed by Russia as far back as 1955, Saiki said it is possible. Japan will seriously consider a Russian counterproposal to a border demarcation proposal made by then Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto during summit talks in April with President Boris Yeltsin in Kawana, Saiki said.

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Wade L. Huntley: 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

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

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


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