NAPSNet Daily Report 14 July, 1998

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 14 July, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, July 14, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-14-july-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

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1. DPRK Infiltrator

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, MONDAY, JULY 13,” USIA Transcript, 07/13/98) said that the issue of the apparent DPRK infiltrator whose body was found in the ROK on Sunday was raised at a previously scheduled colonel-level meeting held July 12 at Panmunjom. Rubin said that the DPRK’s Korean People’s Army representatives at that meeting claimed to know nothing about the incident. He added, “This incident is still under investigation, but it does appear to be a very serious matter and yet another violation of the armistice. We strongly urge the DPRK to immediately cease such provocative acts.” Rubin said that “it is very hard to know what motivates [the DPRK] leadership to take some of these unjustified and provocative and serious violations that they’ve taken in the past.” He added that the four-party talks would “go forward in a much improved climate in the absence of these provocative actions.” Regarding the 1994 Agreed Framework, Rubin stated, “We will continue to pursue and provide, pursuant to the agreement, the necessary heavy fuel oil and arrangements for financing the light water reactor … because we think it’s in our national interest to do so. We fully expect the North Koreans to live up to their share of the bargain.”

Reuters (“S.KOREA, U.S. SET PLAN VS N.KOREAN SPIES,” Seoul, 07/13/98) reported that the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff said statement on Monday that it had agreed with the US on joint operations against any future limited provocation from the DPRK. The statement said, “In all future operations against limited provocation, both sides will consult closely regarding timely and appropriate support by U.S. forces.” It added that the UN Command (UNC) would protest against the latest intrusion as a violation of the armistice at a meeting of military officials between the DPRK and the UNC later this week. A Chong Wa Dae spokesman said that ROK Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek was cutting short his US visit because of the incident and that the National Security Council would likely meet on Monday.

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, “S. KOREA SEEKS N. KOREAN INTRUDERS,” Seoul, 07/13/98) reported that Colonel Hwang Dong-kyu, a spokesman for the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that security forces expanded a search for possible DPRK intruders on Tuesday. Hwang stated, “All measures are being taken to expand the dragnet and block the likely escape routes on the east coast.” In addition to tens of thousands of soldiers deployed for the search, government officials said they were considering mobilizing tens of thousands of reservists.

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2. Alleged DPRK Purges

Agence-France Presse (“S. KOREAN AGENT REPORTS NORTH HAS EXECUTED AT LEAST 50 OFFICIALS IN PURGE,” Seoul, 07/13/98) reported that Lee Jong- chan, head of the ROK’s National Intelligence Service, told the National Assembly on Monday that the DPRK has publicly executed more than 50 high- ranking officials, including a military general. Lee stated, “North Korea has been stemming any resentment at its source through merciless purges and a tight thought control.” He confirmed earlier press reports that Ri Bong-won, a four-star general in charge of personnel movements in the Korean People’s Army, was executed for allegedly spying for the ROK. Lee added that So Kwan-hi, agriculture secretary of the Korean Workers Party (KWP), was eliminated on charges of sabotaging agriculture. He said that Ri and So were executed last September along with seven members of an umbrella youth organization, the Kim Il-Sung Socialist Youth League. Choe Ryong-hae, head of the Youth League, was dismissed for corruption, Lee said. Jang Song-thaek, one of nine first vice directors of the party’s central committee and Kim Jong-il’s brother-in-law, was put through a “revolutionary education” course for corruption, but informed sources in Seoul said that Jang had since made a political comeback.

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3. ROK-Russian Spying Row

The Associated Press (“RUSSIAN DIPLOMAT NABBED FOR TREASON,” Moscow, 07/13/98) reported that Russia’s ITAR-Tass news agency quoted officials in the Federal Security Service as saying that Valentin Moiseyev, a deputy chief of the Foreign Ministry’s First Asian Department, was charged with high treason on Monday for allegedly turning over secrets to ROK diplomat Cho Sung-woo.

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4. Compensation for Wartime Forced Labor

The Associated Press (“JAPAN WAR LABORERS GET PUNY PENSION,” Tokyo, 07/14/98) reported that Japan’s Kyodo News agency said that the Japanese government on Tuesday granted Yang Chun-ki and Kwon Byong-suk, two Korean women forced to work in a Japanese factory during World War II, 12 cents apiece in pension. Officials at the Toyama Social Insurance Agency, which calculated the payout, were quoted as saying that the pension is the equivalent of 15 days of the women’s 1941 wages. Hiroshi Yamada, a lawyer representing the women, said the government deserves credit for making the payment after half a century, but he said the amount should have been more in line with current prices.

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5. ROK Labor Unrest

The Associated Press (“THOUSANDS WALK OFF JOB IN S. KOREA ,” Seoul, 07/14/98) reported that about 55,000 ROK auto, shipbuilding, and other metal workers walked off their jobs Tuesday to protest layoffs. Organizers said that the strikers would be joined Wednesday by 50,000 more workers, mostly from banks and state-run companies being offered for sale. Labor Ministry spokesman Lee Soo-young said that the strike was not expected to seriously hurt the affected industries, noting that most of them already have large inventories of unsold goods. He added, “What we are worried about is its psychological impact on foreign investors.”

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6. ROK Prime Minister

(“KOREAN COURT DISMISSES SUIT OPPOSING PRIME MINISTER APPOINTMENT,” Seoul, 07/14/98) reported that the ROK Constitutional Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition from the main opposition Grand National Party to nullify the appointment of Kim Jong-pil as acting prime minister. The court ruled that the opposition party did not have the legal standing to submit such a petition, which would have to come from the National Assembly.

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7. PRC-Taiwan Relations

Reuters (Alice Hung, “CHINESE CABINET MINISTER ARRIVES IN TAIWAN FOR HISTORIC VISIT,” Taipei, 07/14/98) reported that PRC Science and Technology Minister Zhu Lilan became the first PRC cabinet minister to visit Taiwan on Tuesday. Zhu was leading a 14-member delegation to a seminar on cross-straits science and technology exchanges. She stated, “I am very pleased to visit the motherland’s precious island.” She added that she hoped the trip would help promote cooperation and exchanges across the Taiwan straits.

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8. PRC-Russian Relations

Dow Jones Newswires (“RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER TO VISIT CHINA JULY 22- 26,” Beijing, 07/14/98) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Tang Guoqiang announced Tuesday that Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov will visit July 22 to 26. Tang said that Primakov would meet with various officials to discuss improving bilateral relations and make preparations for September’s Sino-Russian presidential summit. Also, Russian Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko will arrive in Beijing Tuesday afternoon to meet with PRC Premier Zhu Rongji and President Jiang Zemin.

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9. Alleged Technology Transfers to PRC

The Associated Press (Tom Raum, “SENATE SAYS SATELLITE HELPED CHINA,” Washington, 07/14/98) reported that US Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said Tuesday that investigators have determined that the PRC received sensitive technology and military benefits from US satellite exports. Lott stated, “The Clinton administration’s export controls for satellites are wholly inadequate.” However, Democratic Senators disputed Lott’s conclusions, arguing that the “interim report” summarizing the Senate investigation had no input from Democrats.

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10. US Sanctions on India and Pakistan

The Associated Press (“CLINTON SEEKS MORE FLEXIBILITY IN SANCTIONS FOR INDIA, PAKISTAN,” Washington, 07/14/98) reported that Karl F. Inderfurth, assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, asked Congress on Monday to give the Clinton administration authority to waive the economic sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan. Inderfurth said that the sanctions are too rigid and that the US would have more leverage for slowing the South Asian arms race if it also had the power to waive them. Inderfurth stated, “Our purpose is not to punish for punishment’s sake, but to influence the behavior of both governments.” He added that the sanctions would not be waived unless “substantial progress” is made by India and Pakistan toward nuclear nonproliferation goals. The US Senate voted last week to exempt agricultural exports from the sanctions. It is expected to take up legislation soon that would waive all the current sanctions for nine months, followed by a graduated waiver based on presidential certification that India and Pakistan were making progress in reducing nuclear tensions.

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11. South Asian Arms Race

United Press International (Anwar Iqbal, “PAKISTAN INVITES UN SECRETARY- GENERAL,” Islamabad, 07/13/98) reported that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif invited UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to visit Islamabad “as soon as possible.” Sharif said in a letter to Annan, “Pakistan favors a substantive and sustained engagement by the United Nations to help overcome the grave security crisis in South Asia.”

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12. Non-Aligned Summit

Reuters (“NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION TOPIC FOR SUMMIT OF NON-ALIGNED STATES,” Cairo, 07/14/98) reported that South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said on Monday that a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in September would discuss the issue of nuclear proliferation. Pahad said that South Africa would try to convince other NAM members to sign an initiative calling on India, Pakistan, and Israel to give up their nuclear weapons. In addition to South Africa, Egypt, Sweden, Ireland, New Zealand, Slovenia, Brazil, and Mexico have signed the petition. Pahad stated, “The whole issue of non-proliferation will be a topic and whether members can subscribe to it. We think it goes across ideological divides.”

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK Infiltrators

Military authorities tentatively have judged that there is a possibility that two more DPRK agents have infiltrated the ROK on the submersible unit found Friday and are strengthening the search operations that they announced Monday. Soldiers are combing the seashore area looking for evidence that the agents may have left behind and special divers are searching off the coast for signs of weapons. General Kim Jin-ho of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and John H. Tillery, commander of the US-Korean Combined Forces Command, met Monday and agreed to lodge an official protest and demand no recurrence at a meeting scheduled with the DPRK in Panmunjon. Additionally, they agreed that US forces could be used in the event of any further infiltration and to strengthen anti-submarine surveillance off the east coast. It is known that the ROK and the US are studying she use of OH-58D reconnaissance helicopters, which can operate at night. The UN Command delivered a protest at the morning meeting at Panmunjon, but the DPRK denied complicity in the incident. A civilian exclusion order is in force in the mountains around the area where it is thought the infiltrators would be heading. (Chosun Ilbo, “JOINT SEARCH BEGINS FOR INFILTRATORS.” 07/14/98)

The ROK government is seeking to take strong actions against the DPRK, including the postponement of a second shipment of cattle by the founder of the Hyundai Group, in its belief that the incursion of armed DPRK agents using a watercraft is “definitely” a provocative action, officials said Monday. The ROK will also intensify a dialogue with the US and neighboring countries as part of preparations to launch diplomatic action against the DPRK, they said. However, the administration will stick to the “sunshine policy.” This does not mean the ROK would revoke any means to punish the DPRK, presidential spokesman Park Jie-won said. He stated, “The government is convinced the sunshine policy can be implemented only when Seoul would take strong security policies.” A senior ROK Unification Ministry official characterized this incident as an attempt by the DPRK’s hard-line military officers to raise tension on the Korean peninsula, a situation that meets their factional interests. The ROK government convened a standing committee meeting of the National Security Council at the Office for South-North Dialogue in Samchong-doong, with ROK Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek returning home after cutting short his trip to the US. Another senior official said that President Kim Dae- jung also believes that “strong counteraction” is needed this time because Sunday’s discovery of the body of a DPRK spy is an “incident of a different nature,” than last month’s incursion of a DPRK mini-sub. At that time, the DPRK contended that the submarine had drifted into ROK territorial waters due to engine failure, but this time, the DPRK would find it difficult so make a similar explanation because the watercraft was found along with the body of a heavily-armed agent. (Korea Times, “SEOUL TO TAKE STRONG ACTION AGAINST PYONOYANG,” 07/14/98)

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2. Public Reaction to DPRK Submarine Incident

The ROK general public has shown signs of escalating anger toward both the provocative actions of the DPRK and the Kim Dae-jung administration, media reports said. The majority of people in the ROK were angry because the DPRK infiltrator’s corpse was found less than 20 days after the submarine. Even before the ROK received an apology from the DPRK, the DPRK dispatched an armed spy or possibly a group of agents. Further angering people was the fact that ordinary fishermen and village people, not soldiers or policemen, first spotted the submarine and the body of the infiltrator. Calls are rising for ousting ROK Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek for the series of alleged “blunders” committed by the military. However, a Defense Ministry official said that the former Kim Young-sam administration removed barbed wire from the eastern coastal lines for the convenience of fishermen and vacationers. The official added that it does not matter who first spotted the infiltrators. The bulk of soldiers guarding the coastlines were redeployed to the front lines and they may be dispatched to contain the infiltrators, he noted. At this time, public outcry against the military would demoralize the soldiers, he argued. Despite the public criticism, the Kim Dae-jung administration remains calm but serious, with a long-term goal of encouraging the DPRK to move toward openness and reform. (Korea Times, “SEOUL TO ADOPT COOL 2 TRACK APPROACH TOWARD NK,” 07/14/98)

The DPRK’s dispatch of armed agents to the ROK’s eastern coast has emerged as a key campaign issue in the July 21 parliamentary reelection and by-elections. The main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) on Monday criticized President Kim Dae-jung’s “sunshine policy” of engaging the DPRK, claiming that it is responsible for the latest intrusion. The GNP also accused the ruling coalition of mismanaging national security. “The latest infiltration by a DPRK agent has caused our party once again to question the government’s ability to address the DPRK threats effectively,” GNP spokesman Kim Chull said. While demanding that security-related ministers be reprimanded, Kim claimed that the ROK government is paying for what he called a “senseless sunshine policy.” The opposition spokesman also said that his party would demand that Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek hold himself responsible for creating worry about national security. He demanded that the government overhaul its DPRK policy. However, President Kim’s National Congress for New Politics (NCNP) warned the opposition against capitalizing on the incident to promote its chances of winning in the upcoming elections. The NCNP said that it would urge the government to strengthen its security posture. NCNP Secretary-General Chung Kyung-hwan said that the discovery of the dead DPRK commando would have little impact on electoral districts other than Kangnung, which is near the infiltration site. (Korea Herald, “NORTH KOREAN INFILTRATIONS MAY SWAY CONSERVATIVE VOTE,” 07/14/98)

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Shanghai, People’s Republic of China


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