NAPSNet Daily Report 14 May, 1998

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

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

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1. DPRK Nuclear Program

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, MAY 13, 1998,” USIA Transcript, Washington, 05/14/98) said Wednesday that suggestions in news accounts that the DPRK is unsealing the Yongbyon nuclear reactor are “inaccurate.” Rubin said that the US has confirmed with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that its seals remain in place and that the freeze at Yongbyon remains in place. He added, “Under the arrangements established by the Agreed Framework, North Korea is able to conduct regular maintenance activities at the reactor under the observation of IAEA inspectors. We are confident that North Korea has not violated the across-the-board freeze on its nuclear activities in this regard, and the Agreed Framework is alive and well.” Rubin said that the canning of the spent nuclear fuel was “essentially” completed in mid-March and that only clean up, involving recovery of whatever material remains in the spent fuel storage pool, remains. He added, “It is true the DPRK criticized US compliance with the Agreed Framework, and in late April, temporarily suspended some clean up operations. But let me emphasize the United States has fulfilled its part of the Agreed Framework and will continue to do so.” Rubin said that the DPRK charge that the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and the US are not meeting their obligations to deliver the heavy fuel oil “is not correct; we do not accept this.” Rubin pointed out that with the next delivery later this month, KEDO will have delivered 130,000 metric tons of heavy fuel oil this year. An additional 500 metric tons are due by the end of the year. He added that the US is working on the finances for the light-water reactor.

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2. Remains of US MIAs for Korean War

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA TO REPATRIATE REMAINS,” Seoul, 05/14/98) reported that the UN Command said Thursday that the DPRK will return remains on Friday believed to be those of two US soldiers killed in the Korean War. The command said that the remains will be handed over at the truce village of Panmunjom. The remains were found by US forensic experts in the northern county of Kujang and are believed to be those of soldiers of the 2nd US Infantry and other divisions who died in November 1950.

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3. DPRK Aid for Pakistan Missiles

Reuters (“PAKISTAN REPORTEDLY OWES NEW MISSILE TO NORTH KOREA,” London, 05/13/98) reported that Jane’s Missiles and Rockets publication said Wednesday that the DPRK’s Nodong missile development program had been identified as the origin of the Ghauri missile tested by Pakistan in April. It said that, while the exact size of the payload Pakistan’s new missile could carry was unknown, it is believed to be up to 700 kilos. The report added that the DPRK’s Nodong-1 can carry a single 1,000-kilogram (2,200 pound) warhead which can be either nuclear, chemical, or high explosive. Jane’s cited unnamed sources as saying that there had been large-scale monitoring of DPRK military flights outside of the country since early autumn. The number of flights had increased threefold since January, and mostly consisted of transport aircraft now understood to have been carrying DPRK technical experts.

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4. US Missile Sales to ROK

United Press International (“U.S. TO SELL MISSILES TO S. KOREA,” Washington, 05/14/98) reported that the US Defense Department said Thursday that it plans to sell more than 500 TOW 2A air-to-surface missiles to the ROK for US$19 million. It added that an undetermined number of the missiles will be loaded onto helicopter gunships, where they will be used as anti-tank weapons. In addition to the missiles, the deal includes spare and repair parts, test equipment, technical support, and related equipment. Congress has 60 days to object to the sale.

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5. PRC-Taiwan Relations

Agence France-Presse (“TAIWAN TURNS DOWN BEIJING’S REUNIFICATION OFFER,” Taipei, 05/14/98) reported that the PRC Communist party’s central committee on Wednesday concluded its first working conference on Taiwan affairs since 1990 with a renewed call for reunification based on the “one country, two systems” principle used in Hong Kong. The committee said, “To achieve peaceful reunification in accordance with the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ meets Taiwan people’s aspiration for peace, stability and maintaining the current situation.” It also called on “Taiwan authorities to give up its separatist advocacy and enter political talks as soon as possible by proceeding from the overall interests of the Chinese nation and the long-term interests of compatriots in Taiwan.” However, Sheu Ke-sheng, vice chairman of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), on Thursday rejected the call, saying it was “unacceptable.” Instead, Sheu appealed to PRC authorities to “improve bilateral relations from a more pragmatic approach.” Chang Jung-kung, the ruling Kuomintang’s mainland affairs director, stated, “Taiwanese have taken more than 12 million visits to the mainland, and the Beijing authorities have been given enough time to sell their ‘one country, two systems.’ But so far it is still not accepted by the public here.” Chang added that the government’s bid to enhance Taiwan’s international profile meets the Taiwanese public’s aspiration for a greater role in the global community as Taiwan’s economic power increases.

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6. Russian Nuclear Exports

United Press International (“RUSSIA TIGHTENS NUCLEAR EXPORT CONTROL,” Moscow, 05/14/98) reported that Russian presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said that the government plans to further tighten controls over the export of nuclear and missile technology following the series of nuclear tests made by India. Yastrzhembsky stated, “The proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction, production technologies and delivery means, especially in countries bordering Russia and neighboring areas, are seen as a serious threat to Russia’s security.”

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7. Pakistan Planning Nuclear Tests

Reuters (“PAKISTAN SAID PREPARING FOR NUCLEAR TEST,” Washington, 05/14/98) and the New York Times (Tim Weiner, “PAKISTAN APPEARS PREPARED TO TEST ITS OWN BOMB,” Washington, 05/14/98) reported that US officials said Thursday that Pakistan is preparing to conduct an underground nuclear test as early as Sunday. Two unnamed officials said that they had seen evidence that, despite intense domestic pressure on Pakistan to follow India in detonating nuclear explosions, Pakistani leaders in Islamabad were taking a “measured” approach and giving serious thought to the consequences of their actions. However, US officials said they remained pessimistic about the possibility of being successful in preventing a Pakistani test. On Thursday, a Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the cabinet decided at a meeting on Thursday “not to yield to any unilateral, selective and discriminatory pressure” from outside in responding to the threat from India. He added that the Indian nuclear tests rendered the Non-Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty irrelevant and that Pakistan would take a fresh look at the whole situation. US President Bill Clinton urged Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a telephone conversation on Wednesday morning “to resist the temptation to respond to an irresponsible act.” However, Sharif told Clinton that he was under tremendous pressure to respond to the Indian tests. US Defense Secretary William Cohen stated, “We need to bring to bear all of the political will, not only of this country but certainly of all of our allies, to come down very hard on India and to discourage Pakistan from following suit.”

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8a. Indian Nuclear Tests: Indian Justification

The Associated Press (Ashok Sharma, “INDIA PLANS NO MORE NUCLEAR TESTS,” New Delhi, 05/14/98) reported that India said Thursday that it plans no more nuclear tests, even if Pakistan conducts its own test. Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee stated, “Some countries think only of their own security and that they alone can take steps using nuclear technology to protect their borders and that others cannot do so. We cannot accept this.” Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama, during a visit to the US, stated, “We have to make every effort for the elimination of nuclear weapons. However, the assumption of the concept that few nations are OK to possess nuclear weapons and the rest of the world should not — that’s undemocratic.”

Reuters (Sanjeev Miglani, “INDIA WORKS ON AN ARSENAL OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS,” New Delhi, 05/13/98) reported that Indian scientists and experts said on Wednesday that India has ended a battery of tests on a full range of nuclear weapons. The Indian government said that the tests had been carried out to generate additional data for improved computer simulation and to attain the capability to carry out sub- critical experiments. Vijay Nair, executive director of the Forum for Strategic Studies, said that the tests “have validated the nuclear arsenal … from the thermonuclear fusion to the subcritical.” However, an anonymous nuclear scientist stated, “We are not home yet, these are experiments aimed at generating data for computer simulation. A lot more needs to be done before we can think of weaponisation.” Savita Pande, an analyst at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses table, argued, “After today’s micro nuke tests, you are on par with the weapon states. We should now be ready to renegotiate the [Comprehensive Test Ban] treaty.”

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8b: Indian Nuclear Tests: Subcontinental Arms Race

United Press International (“EXPERTS: NUKE TESTS ONLY THE BEGINNING,” Washington, 05/13/98) reported that Karl Inderfurth, US assistant secretary of state for south Asian affairs, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday that the situation on the Indian subcontinent could get worse before it gets better. He said that Pakistan has so far resisted pleas to refrain from conducting its own nuclear tests. Inderfurth was to join a US delegation led by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott which was set to leave for Pakistan Wednesday night to try to prevent a nuclear arms race.

The Washington Post (R. Jeffrey Smith, “A FEARED SCENARIO AROUND THE CORNER,” 05/14/98, A29) reported that acting undersecretary of state John D. Holum said Wednesday that the Indian nuclear tests are the latest development in an ongoing arms race between India and Pakistan. Holum stated that the two countries for years “have been inching along toward a nuclear and missile capability. Now India has just taken a big leap along that path.” Other US officials said that India’s nuclear blasts mean that long- standing US efforts to contain proliferation in the region have been mostly for naught. Pakistan has circumvented US complaints by importing key nuclear technology from the PRC and complete, medium- range ballistic missiles from both the PRC and the DPRK. India has used Canadian-made reactors to produce plutonium for its nuclear bombs and made its own missiles with technology acquired from the US and Russia. Pakistan’s recently tested Ghauri was purchased by Khan Research Laboratories from a DPRK firm called the Changwang Sinyong Corporation. An unnamed senior US official stated that the DPRK “will sell virtually anything for cash.” Several officials said that US officials had approached Pakistan to complain about suspicious contacts with the DPRK, but the Pakistani officials denied anything untoward. The missile transfer escaped US detection until after it was completed. US intelligence officials said that Pakistan also acquired several dozen nuclear-capable missiles from the PRC, in a deal concluded shortly after the US 1992 sale of F-16 fighter planes to Taiwan. For its part, India developed the Agni missile based on the US-made Scout space rocket, which the US sold to India many years ago. India also has abundant fissile nuclear material on hand for use in nuclear warheads, and this week endorsed a global treaty to end new production of fissile material. Pakistan has resisted the treaty on the grounds that it would effectively allow India to retain a permanent advantage. US intelligence officials said that they believe Pakistan has not kept its earlier pledge not to enrich uranium to ideal weapons grades.

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8c: Indian Nuclear Tests: US Reaction

Dow Jones Newswires (Alex Keto, “U.S. DOESN’T BELIEVE INDIA STATEMENT NUCLEAR TESTS ARE OVER,” Eisenach, 05/14/98) reported that Jim Steinberg, US deputy National Security Advisor, said that the US does not believe India’s statement that it has conducted its final nuclear test. He stated, “As you know, the Indians have claimed this is the end of this series, but whether there are other series or whether they have other intentions is something we don’t care to speculate on. It is something we are going to watch closely given the lack of forthcomingness of the Indian government. I don’t think we take what they say as the gospel truth.”

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, MAY 13, 1998,” USIA Transcript, Washington, 05/14/98) said that the scope of sanctions against India announced by US President Bill Clinton is “very significant.” Rubin stated, “The sanctions that are now in place are going to pose very stiff penalties on the government — they’re going to involve very stiff penalties on the government of India, including development assistance, military sales and exchanges, trade and dual-use technology, US loan guarantees.” He added, “clearly, India has made a grave mistake that will redound to its disadvantage for a long, long time to come.” He said that Clinton had a “very constructive discussion” with Prime Minister Sharif of Pakistan. He warned that if Pakistan were to take similar steps as India, the US reaction “would be much the same.” Regarding the possibility of altering the Non-Proliferation Treaty to include India as a declared nuclear state, Rubin said, “At this point, I don’t think we are interested in any kind of nuclear embrace with India.” He pointed out, “It has been true for some time that with regard to both India and Pakistan, we have said that we believe that they have an ability to put together a limited number of nuclear weapons in a relatively short amount of time. So I think it would also behoove those talking about this and explaining it to the American public to not get into high drama about the sudden danger that didn’t exist yesterday.” Rubin said that the sanctions against India “will clearly have a profound impact on a number of American businesses that have been operating there.” He stated, “I think the [Clinton] Administration has done what it can, given the fact that the Indian Government made such a deplorable decision,” adding that the US made nonproliferation the “highest priority” in its discussions with the Indian and Pakistani Governments.

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8d. Indian Nuclear Tests: PRC Reaction

The Associated Press (Charles Hutzler, “CHINA ACCUSES INDIA ON NUKE TESTS,” Beijing, 05/13/98) and Reuters (Benjamin Kang Lim, “CHINA STRONGLY CONDEMNS INDIA NUCLEAR TESTS,” Beijing, 05/14/98) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said in a statement on Thursday that he was shocked by India’s latest nuclear tests and strongly condemned them. The statement added, “The international community should adopt a unified stand and strongly demand that India immediately stop development of nuclear weapons.” Tang termed Indian allegations that the PRC posed a nuclear threat, “totally unreasonable,” adding, “India finding fault with China for no reason at all is a mere excuse to develop nuclear weapons.” Tang stated, “The Chinese government will continue to closely watch the development of the situation.” Meanwhile, India’s ambassador to the PRC, Vijay Kunhianandan Nambiar, said on Thursday that the PRC government had not summoned or contacted him.

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8e: Indian Nuclear Tests: Japanese Sanctions

Kyodo News Agency (“JAPAN’S SUSPENSION OF YEN LOANS MAY DEAL BLOW TO INDIAN ECON,” Tokyo, 05/14/98) reported that analysts said Thursday that Japan’s suspension of new yen loans to India is expected to deal a blow to the Indian economy. According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, the amount of low-interest loans Japan offered to India in fiscal 1997 was 132.7 billion yen, making India the fourth largest recipient of Japanese government loans, after Indonesia, the PRC, and Thailand. However, Osamu Watanabe, vice minister for international trade and industry, said Thursday that Japan will not suspend the extension of governmental trade insurance for exports to India.

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8f: Indian Nuclear Tests: UN Reaction

Reuters (Stephanie Nebehay, “MAJOR POWERS BLAST INDIA AT UN WEAPONS BODY,” Geneva, 05/14/98) reported that several countries at the UN Conference on Disarmament criticized India’s nuclear tests and urged the government to both cease testing and sign a the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Pakistani ambassador Munir Akram stated, “Indian actions, which pose an immediate and grave threat to Pakistan’s security, will not go unanswered.” He also criticized Canada, the US, and France for having helped India develop its nuclear and missile programs. Indian envoy Savitri Kunadi responded, “These tests were conducted after voluntary restraint was maintained for 24 years. In undertaking these tests, India has not violated any international obligations or undertakings. The decision was taken after due consideration of our national security requirements.” She added that India remained “fully committed” to the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons and was ready to join efforts for “universal and non- discriminatory” accords. US ambassador John Grey said that the tests “flout the international norm” against explosions embodied in the 1996 CTBT. PRC ambassador Li Changhe stated, “This nuclear test is a heavy blow to international endeavors for non-proliferation. It will have a very serious impact on international security, peace and stability.” Australian ambassador John Campbell said, “India’s nuclear tests make a mockery of its claimed desire to remove forever the threat of nuclear war.”

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK Nuclear Program

James Rubin, spokesmen for the US State Department, said Wednesday that the nuclear reactor in Yongbyon is still inoperative. He said that the New York Times reported that the rumor that the packing of fuel rods had been suspended is incorrect, and that the US Government confirmed this with the International Atomic Energy Agency. He added that the packing of the used fuel rods of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor was completed in mid-March, and the only work to be done is some final clean-up. The DPRK temporarily suspended cleaning operations at the end of April, claiming the US Government is not following the Geneva Accord, but the DPRK is still respecting the accord. The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization will send 130,000 tons of heavy oil to the DPRK at the end of the month. The ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also said it had confirmed the IAEA’s findings. (Chosun Ilbo, “US DENIES NORTH KOREA’S NUCLEAR REPORT,” 05/14/98)

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2. Blacklisting of Korean-Americans

The Chosun Ilbo on Thursday published the names of eight Korean-Americans, who had been intermediaries between ROK businesses and the DPRK under Kim Young-sam’s government, who have reportedly been blacklisted by the authorities concerned. According to a business official, the authorities circulated this list to the approximately 20 relevant companies that have dealings with the DPRK, saying that the people in question are pro-communists and unreliable, and should not be contacted. (Chosun Ilbo, “8 KOREAN AMERICANS BLACKLISTED FOR NORTH AGENTS,” 05/14/98)

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Wade L. Huntley: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Shin Dong-bom: dongbom_shin@wisenet.co.kr
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Choi Chung-moon: cily@star.elim.co.kr
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu: akutsu@glocomnet.or.jp
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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