NAPSNet Daily Report 14 September, 1998

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

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Press Release

I. United States

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1. Alleged DPRK Satellite Launch

The Associated Press (“SKOREA LEADER: NKOREA FIRED MISSILE,” Seoul, 09/14/98) reported that ROK Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek said Monday that he saw no reason to change his ministry’s original conclusion that the DPRK test-fired a two-stage Taepodong 1 ballistic missile over Japan on August 31. Chun stated, “There is a high possibility that the projectile fired by North Korea was a missile, not a satellite.” He added that the US military in the ROK shares his view. Chun argued, “Whatever North Korea did, it proved its capability to develop a medium- range ballistic missile.”

Reuters (“SEOUL TV SAYS NORTH KOREA ROCKET WAS SATELLITE LAUNCH,” Seoul, 09/13/98) reported that the ROK’s state-run Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) quoted an anonymous top ROK government official as saying on Sunday that the rocket launched by the DPRK was a satellite launcher, not a missile. According to the official, the DPRK failed to put the satellite into orbit due to the rocket’s lack of “propulsive force,” and it fell into Japanese waters. He added that there was no DPRK satellite orbiting the earth.

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA DEMANDS APOLOGY FROM JAPAN,” Tokyo, 09/12/98) reported that the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency on Saturday accused Japan of “slander” and demanded it apologize for criticizing the DPRK’s rocket launch. The report stated, “There is no reason why only a few particular countries can launch artificial satellites in an effort to use space for peaceful purposes.” It added, “Japanese politicians ignorant of this internationally recognized common sense still slander the DPRK.”

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2. US-ROK-Japan Policy toward DPRK

Reuters (“S.KOREA, US, JAPAN TO DISCUSS N.KOREA,” Seoul, 09/14/98) reported that a statement by the ROK foreign ministry said Wednesday that the ROK, the US, and Japan plan to meet Monday in Washington to discuss DPRK issues. The statement said that Kwon Jong-rak, ROK director general for North American affairs, Anami Koreshige, Japan’s Asian affairs bureau director general, and Charles Kartman, US special envoy for Korea, were scheduled to attend the meeting.

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3. US Policy toward DPRK

The Los Angeles Times carried an opinion article by Robert A. Manning, Senior Fellow and Director of Asian Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, (“NORTH KOREA: THE UNTHINKABLE MAY TURN INTO REALITY,” Washington, 09/13/98) which said that recent events suggest that the situation on the Korean peninsula may be drifting toward “nightmare scenarios” that cannot be prevented through diplomacy. The author argued, “If it is revealed that North Korea has continued a secret effort to develop nuclear weapons even as it claimed to have frozen its known facilities, all bets are off.” He said that the DPRK’s response to attempts at engagement “calls into question the logic of the 1994 nuclear accord and, indeed, whether it is possible to do business with North Korea at all.” He also pointed out that the US has not fulfilled its commitments under the agreement to move toward normalizing relations and to ease restrictions on trade and investment. He said that while some have interpreted the DPRK recent moves as a “bargaining tactic” to get the US to move ahead with these commitments, “there is reason to wonder if a much darker interpretation is warranted…. What if the North’s ultimate trump card is not trading military threats for economic gifts but, rather, nuclear blackmail to force Korean reunification on terms acceptable to it? This is a possibility that cannot be ruled out.” However, he said that “it is too soon to conclude that military conflict is the unavoidable outcome. The next step must be to hold higher-level talks to gain access to the suspicious newly discovered sites.” He argued, “If Pyongyang demonstrably cooperated, the U.S., South Korea and Japan should make one last good-faith effort to put a grand bargain on the table.” He concluded, “The tragedy of U.S. policy, so far, is that we are drifting toward conflict without having honestly tested Pyongyang’s intentions by offering North Koreans a road map for a soft landing that meets their legitimate interests if they meet ours. But if Pyongyang failed to respond credibly to such an offer, it would be time to begin thinking the unthinkable.”

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4. Alleged DPRK Involvement in Vietnam War

The Associated Press (“NKOREA PILOTS FOUGHT IN VIETNAM WAR,” Seoul, 09/14/98) reported that Lee Chul-soo, a DPRK air force captain who defected to the ROK in his jet fighter in 1996, told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper Monday that more than 800 DPRK military pilots flew Soviet- provided MiG jets against US fighters during the Vietnam War. The newspaper said it was the first confirmation that DPRK air force pilots participated in the Vietnam War. Lee said that between 1967 and 1972, 70 DPRK pilots were sent to Vietnam at a time on a six-month rotation to fly MiG-17 and MiG-21 jets provided by the Soviet Union. He added, “It’s known in the North Korean air force that 80 North Korean pilots were killed in action, in which over 100 U.S. planes were shot down.” Lee also said that 30 DPRK air force pilots flew MiG jets for Egypt in the 1973 Mideast War with Israel. He stated, “They were first sent to Moscow, disguised as students going to school there, and then to Egypt.”

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5. DPRK-Pakistan Missile Cooperation

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “PAKISTAN’S MISSILE PROGRAM AIDED BY NORTH KOREA,” 09/14/98) reported that unnamed US officials said that the DPRK delivered several shipments of weapons material, including warhead canisters for the new Ghauri medium-range missile, to Pakistan’s Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in mid-June. The article said that other US intelligence reports indicate that Pakistan is moving ahead rapidly with plans to develop weapons-grade fuel for nuclear weapons from several facilities. According to one intelligence report, satellite spy photographs revealed increased activity at the KRL’s missile production and assembly plant, indicating that “Pakistan is currently producing more Ghauri missiles.” The article said that, according to a US intelligence report, the DPRK’s Changgwang Sinyong Corp., also known as the DPRK Mining Development Trading Corporation, obtained special “maraging steel” from Russia last year for Pakistan’s missile program. The report identified Kang Tae-yun, the DPRK economic counselor in Pakistan and local representative of Changgwang Sinyong, as a key figure in the deal with an unidentified Russian company. Joseph Bermudez, a specialist on the DPRK missile program, stated, “North Korean-Pakistani missile cooperation dates to the early 1990s, and it is continuing, it is significant and it does pose a threat to stability in South Asia.” Bermudez said that a senior general in the DPRK defense commission, Choe Kwang, visited Pakistan in November 1995, when arrangements for missile cooperation between the two countries were reportedly made.

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6. US-India Nuclear Talks

The Washington Post carried an analytical article (Pamela Constable, “INDIA PLAYS NUCLEAR WAITING GAME,” New Delhi, 09/14/98, A15) which said that India appears to be delaying the development of detailed plans for the control, size, and composition of its nuclear arsenal in the interest of retaining bargaining power in its negotiations with the US. Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes, asked why the government has not moved to set up a formal command-and-control structure for its nuclear arsenal, stated, “There is no need to be rushed. One can work at one’s own pace.” He added that India’s only concern in its nuclear negotiation is “what is best to ensure our security.” Jasjit Singh, a key government adviser on nuclear issues, stated, “Pardon me if I sound quite relaxed about this. This is not just something we blundered into; we have given it a great deal of thought. Our policy will be one of responsibility and restraint.” However, P. R. Chari, a defense expert who directs the Center for Policy Research, argued, “What is a credible minimum deterrent? Nobody has a clue. Some say it could be three to six [warheads]…. Others say 150. I have never come across a military establishment that believes enough is enough, and I believe the entire concept is a hoax.” He added that civilian control over nuclear policy already has been weakened by India’s “scientific-military lobby.” He argued, “They feel that with the bomb, they become important.” He predicted that once India’s nuclear devices are developed into usable weapons, “India will start climbing the nuclear escalator.”

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7. US South Asian Policy

The Washington Post carried an opinion article by Richard Haass of the Brookings Institution and Morton Halperin of the Century Foundation (“OUR MISGUIDED SOUTH ASIA NUCLEAR POLICY,” 09/13/98, C05) which called on the US to dispense with ineffective sanctions and face reality regarding the South Asian nuclear arms race. The authors argued, “Intense U.S. diplomatic contacts with India and Pakistan have approached a decisive point. Congress will be in session for only a few more weeks; the president must decide soon whether to go ahead with his planned trip to India and Pakistan in November.” Pointing out that the US has important interests in both India and Pakistan beyond the nuclear issue, they stated, “U.S. policy should not sacrifice its many interests in South Asia to promote unrealistic aims in the nuclear realm. Particularly quixotic is any hope of a complete rollback to a non-nuclear South Asia.” They argued that present US policy, which requires the introduction of economic sanctions for an indefinite period, is likely to complicate the challenge of promoting the full range of US interests in South Asia. They warned that “Sanctions could actually weaken political authority in Pakistan…. A stable Pakistan in possession of nuclear weapons is reason enough to worry; an unstable Pakistan would be that much worse.” They added, “Although it is important that India and Pakistan be seen as paying a price (and certainly not be seen as being rewarded) for their decision to test, reliance on economic sanctions for this purpose makes for questionable policy.” They argued that Congress should provide the president with broad sanctions waiver authority. They concluded, “The United States can use other tools on a case-by-case basis to frustrate nuclear proliferation. These include security commitments, sales of conventional arms, diplomacy that abates the source of conflict, sanctions, economic incentives, export controls, a stronger International Atomic Energy Agency, covert operations, preventive military strikes, and arms control agreements.”

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8. PRC-Japan Economic Talks

The Associated Press (Elaine Kurtenbach, “CHINA, JAPAN TO HOLD ECONOMIC TALKS,” Beijing, 09/13/98) and Reuters (“CHINA, JAPAN SEEK JOINT APPROACH TO ASIAN CRISIS,” Beijing, 09/13/98) reported that senior PRC and Japanese officials opened day-long talks on Monday designed to develop cooperative efforts to deal with the Asian economic crisis. Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Koichi Haraguchi and PRC Vice Foreign Trade Minister Sun Zhenyu led their respective delegations of trade and finance officials.

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9. Japanese Defense Procurement Scandal

The Associated Press (“JAPANESE DEFENSE AGENCY SEARCHED,” Tokyo, 09/14/98) reported that the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office raided Japan’s Defense Agency headquarters Monday on suspicion that officials destroyed documents to cover up relations between military officials and defense contractors. The investigators also questioned two top agency officials in charge of procurement. The probe has revolved around allegations that defense officials conspired with Toyo Communication Equipment Co. to allow the company to keep part of profits it made by overcharging the government for supplies in exchange for securing jobs for retiring agency officials.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. US-DPRK Liaison Offices

The US and the DPRK are known to have agreed at high level meetings that ended in New York on Saturday to establish temporary liaison offices in hotels in Pyongyang and Washington. An informed source in the ROK government said that the DPRK has notified the US of its intention to discuss this issue but no date or venue had been fixed. The idea of setting up temporary liaison offices in hotels was apparently offered by the DPRK. The topic was initially brought up in 1994 but the DPRK was slow to react, causing negotiations to become bogged down by minor details such as whether diplomatic pouches would be allowed to pass through the DMZ at Panmunjom. (Chosun Ilbo, “US AND NK AGREE ON TEMPORARY LIASON OFFICE,” 09/14/98)

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2. Alleged DPRK Satellite Launch

The ROK government believes that the DPRK’s firing of a rocket August 31 was an unsuccessful attempt to put a satellite into orbit, a top ROK administration official said Sunday. “It is our interim conclusion that the North tried in vain to launch a satellite into orbit,” said the ROK official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said that the US shares the ROK government’s judgment, adding that the US has not found any satellite that could have been launched by the DPRK. The first booster of the rocket fell in the East Sea between Korea and Japan and the second booster, which overflew Japan, landed off the Pacific coast of northern Japan. The ROK official said that US intelligence may have lost track of the third booster, as it had originally believed the rocket was a two-stage Taepodong ballistic missile. However, he said the third- stage booster is believed to have landed somewhere 27 seconds after being separated from the rocket. He said that despite its failure to put a satellite into orbit, the DPRK, by firing a three-stage rocket, proved its potential for developing an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM). The ROK official said that the government is maintaining close cooperation with Russian authorities regarding the DPRK satellite issue. Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency first confirmed the DPRK claims that it launched a scientific satellite into orbit. (Korea Herald, “GOVERNMENT CONCLUDES NORTH KOREAN MISSILE WAS FAILED SATELLITE ATTEMPT,” 09/14/98)

III. Press Release

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1. DPRK Food Aid

[Ed. note: The following is a press release from the Institute for Strategic Reconciliation (“‘THE AMERICAN COUNCIL ON WHEAT FOR RECONCILIATION’ ADVOCATES THE EXPEDITIOUS DELIVERY OF AMERICAN WHEAT SURPLUS TO NORTH KOREA,” Washington, 09/11/98). NAPSNet presents it as received.]

The American Council on Wheat for Reconciliation, which on August 15 initiated the Wheat for Reconciliation advocacy grassroots campaign, seems to have influenced the recent U.S. decision to provide 300,000 tons of wheat surplus to North Korea. The Council and its group or individual constituents advocating the expeditious donation of 500,000 tons of American wheat surplus to North Korea on humanitarian grounds alone, have sent the appeal letter to each of 540 U.S. congressmen and key cabinet members of President Clinton since August 15.

Young Chun, National Coordinator of the American Council on Wheat for Reconciliation and Executive director of the Institute for Strategic Reconciliation (ISR), estimates that about 50,000 to 100,000 Korean- Americans have been mobilized in the past 3 weeks to write or call to US Senators and Representatives and key cabinet members of the Clinton administration, appealing for 500,000 tons of American wheat surplus donation to North Korea.

About 30 national or local groups have joined the Council and endorsed the appeal letter. Over 20 mega-Korean churches with memberships of 2,000 to 5,000 each in the United States have joined the campaign as of today. The ISR, the campaign developer, has targeted Christian Korean constituents as a primary group to mobilize, as the ISR’s foundational value of the Christian philosophy of reconciliation appeals to the Christian public, and has expanded the campaign by appealing to all other religious or non-religious national or local groups over time. The wheat advocacy campaign continues in September mobilizing: national networks of 2nd-generation Korean-Americans and their partnership with first generation ethnic Koreans; ordinary Korean-Americans; and American NGOs and the general public.

“President Clinton included N. Korea in his radio address on July 18 as one of the recipients of 2.5 million tons of U.S. wheat. Yet, administrator Brian Atwood of the US Agency for International Development announced on August 5 that North Korea is not on the aid list,” noted the Council in its advocacy appeal letter. The current grain shortfall in the North will be 500,000 to 1 million tons by this October, according to the WFP, FAO, and NGOs. The US has wheat surplus enough to meet this shortage. No other tangible aid sources are available. In response, the Council initiated the nationwide campaign on August 15, and is continuing the appeal campaign through the end of September.

The wheat advocacy campaign material is accessible at the website. The website includes the wheat appeal letter along with the list of about 30 currently endorsing organizations, including: Association of Korean Churches in Greater New York, NY; Association of Korean Churches in Greater Washington, VA; Association of Korean Americans Separated from North Korea’s Home Provinces, NY; Boston Campaign for North Korea Famine Relief, MA; Center for Promotion of Permanent Neutral Korea, Inc., CA; Chicago Buddhist Practice, IL; Coalition for Sharing with People of North Korea, NY; Council of Greater New York, “Help My People”, NY; Dallas Korean-American Sharing Movement, TX; Global Mission Church – English Service, MD; Institute for Strategic Reconciliation, Inc., MD; Jun Deung Sa Buddhist Temple, NY; Join Together Society of USA, Inc., NY; Korean Association of Greater New York, NY; Korean Merchant Association of the Village, NY; Kum Kang Kyung Dok Song Hoe, NY; Kwan Eum Sa Buddhist Temple, PA; Los Angeles Campaign to Stop Famine in North Korea, CA; Martial Art Academy, NJ; Mun Su Sa Buddhist Temple, Boston, MA; National Association of Korean Americans, CA; New York Association of Buddhist Temples, NY; One Buddhist of New York, NY; St. Paul Chong Ha-Sang Roman Catholic Chapel and Center, NY; Tae-Kwon-Do Association of New Jersey, NJ; Tae-Kwon-Do Association of Philadelphia, PA; Virginia Presbyterian Church, VA; Washington Christian Radio System, MD.

The Institute for Strategic Reconciliation (ISR), the organization coordinating the Wheat for Reconciliation grassroots advocacy campaign, is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit think tank seeking to restore reconciliation where conflict exists by engaging in scientific, cultural, educational, humanitarian, and religious research. The ISR addresses policy challenges promoting international and national reconciliation, and facilitates conflict resolution policy developments in civilian and government programs. The ISR is incorporated in the state of Virginia.

For further information contact the Council, at ISR_usa@Yahoo.com or 301- 570-3948 by fax or voice, or at its website.

The NAPSNet Daily Report aims to serve as a forum for dialogue and exchange among peace and security specialists. Conventions for readers and a list of acronyms and abbreviations are available to all recipients. For descriptions of the world wide web sites used to gather information for this report, or for more information on web sites with related information, see the collection of other NAPSNet resources.
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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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

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

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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