NAPSNet Daily Report 15 May, 1998

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 15 May, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 15, 1998,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

I. United States


1. DPRK Nuclear Program

Reuters (Justin Jin, “NORTH KOREA DELIVERS NUCLEAR WARNING,” Beijing, 05/14/98) and the Washington Post (Kevin Sullivan “N. KOREA THREATENS REVIVAL OF ITS NUCLEAR PROGRAM,” Tokyo,05/15/98, A33) reported that Chu Chang-jun, DPRK ambassador to the PRC, said Friday that some DPRK officials are calling for reopening the Yongbyon nuclear power plant. Chu stated, “Since the United States is delaying its promises and commitments, some of our officials are saying that it is rather difficult to believe the United States, so we should continue with the construction.” He added, “The present situation makes us doubt whether the light-water reactors can be completed by the year 2003.” Chu said that the heavy water reactors “were not for plutonium or for nuclear weapons, but for electricity.” PRC foreign ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao responded to the DPRK statements by saying, “We hope the relevant parties will treasure the achievements, carry out in earnest the agreements, continue dialogues and consultations, and handle the relevant issues with a constructive attitude, so as to seek a final settlement of the nuclear issue.” In Seoul on Friday, an ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the government does not believe the DPRK will reopen the reactor. Officials privately said that the DPRK is trying to push for oil shipments by using its nuclear threat as leverage. Katsumi Sato, head of the Modern Korea Institute in Tokyo, likewise said that he doubted the DPRK had the money or the technological know-how to restart the reactor. He added that international sanctions against any DPRK move toward nuclear weapons would be swift, and that the DPRK cannot afford to lose emergency food aid from the outside world. Sato stated, “I cannot believe [the North Korean government] does not understand that, so I say that this is a bluff.”


2. Remains of US MIAs from Korean War

The Associated Press (Y. J. Ahn, “U.S. ACCUSES N. KOREA ABOUT MIAS,” Panmunjom, 04/15/98) and Reuters (“N.KOREA FAILS TO SHOW FOR HANDOVER OF REMAINS,” Seoul, 04/15/98) reported that US military officials on Friday accused the DPRK of reneging on a promise to return remains believed to belong to two US soldiers killed in the Korean War by failing to show up for an appointed meeting. US officials waited at Panmunjom for about one hour to accept the remains. US Air Force Major General Michael V. Hayden said in a statement, ” Given recent DPRK emphasis on humanitarian questions, their failure to comply with this humanitarian agreement is all the more disappointing.” He added, “efforts will be undertaken through a variety of channels to address the situation.” Hayden said that the DPRK had “refused” to discuss why it had failed to show up. UN Command spokesman Jim Coles later said that there would be “communications at high levels” with the DPRK government on the matter. This is the first time that the DPRK has failed to adhere to a prior agreement for handing over the remains of soldiers.


3. ROK Nuclear Crisis

The Wall Street Journal (Michael Schuman, “SOUTH KOREA’S ECONOMY, BANKS ARE SEEN HEADED FOR NEW CRISIS,” Seoul, 04/15/98) reported that Stephen Marvin, research director at Ssangyong Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul, warned that large-scale bankruptcies and rising unemployment could lead to the collapse of the ROK banking system. Marvin stated, “We’re headed for the full meltdown of the financial sector. There will be nationalization of the banking system.” The current problem centers around the heavily indebted corporate sector, with total domestic debt estimated at 600 trillion won. James Han, a banking analyst at Jardine Fleming Securities in Seoul, estimated that nonperforming loans at the ROK’s 13 largest commercial banks reached 15.6 percent of total loans at the end of 1997. Meanwhile, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions said that it will hold a rally this Saturday to protest rising layoffs.


4. PRC Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, “CHINA’S RESPONSE TO INDIA COULD BOOST ITS REPUTATION,” Beijing, 05/15/98, A33) reported that some analysts said that India’s nuclear tests have presented the PRC with an opportunity to improve its international influence and reputation on nonproliferation issues. Bates Gill, a PRC security specialist at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, stated, “China comes out a winner in this no matter what, but it could become an even greater winner if it is prepared to step up to the plate and accept some of the responsibilities of a great power.” He added, “This is a really interesting test case for China. It is going to be a signal to the rest of the world of how China is going to carry out the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the rest of its other security agreements.” Shen Jiru, the author of the recent book, “China Won’t Become Mr. No,” that advocates a more internationalist stance for the PRC, stated, “We realize that nuclear proliferation is a great danger.” He added, “This indeed is an opportunity for us to show the world that we are a responsible power…. We have to begin to look at the world from a new perspective.” Chas Freeman, a former Defense Department official and expert on PRC security issues, argued, “China’s adherence to the [test ban treaty] and steadily improving behavior on nonproliferation may look pretty good to Americans by contrast with Indian arrogance and recklessness,” adding that India’s tests could result in closer Sino-US ties.

The Associated Press (Donna Abu-Nasr, “US WATCHES CHINA’S NUCLEAR ABILITY,” Washington, 05/15/98) reported that Stanley Roth, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday that the PRC has lived up to its commitments on nuclear issues. He added that the US has made “significant, if uneven, progress” with the PRC on several other fronts, including economic cooperation and human rights. Roth stated that while everything is not perfect in US-PRC relations, “What we are emphasizing is very significant progress and what might work to get more progress.” He added, “Of course we must be vigilant in monitoring to ensure China’s adherence to its commitments.” However, Senator Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., said that as long as more than 150 activists remain in jail for their role in the Tiananmen Square protests, Clinton should not make his planned trip to the PRC. Meanwhile, the Senate approved two measures aimed at halting the US sale of products made by PRC prison and slave labor and at punishing US companies that do business with PRC military-owned companies that sell missile parts to hostile regimes such as Iran.


5. PRC-Indian Relations

The Wall Street Journal (Jonathan Karp and Ian Johnson, “INDIA’S NUCLEAR TESTS LIFT VEIL OF ‘UNREASONABLE’ FEAR OF CHINA,” 05/15/98) reported that a PRC Foreign Ministry statement said Thursday that India’s claims that it needs nuclear bombs to counter the PRC are “totally unreasonable.” The statement said, “This gratuitous accusation by India against China is solely for the purpose of finding excuses for the development of its nuclear weapons.” Pan Wei, an international relations professor at Beijing University, stated, “Nobody can figure out what the Indians are talking about. The overall reaction has been ‘who cares?'” Pan argued that the PRC’s lack of a deep-water navy and a modern air force make it incapable of threatening India, except through nuclear weapons. He stated, “We can’t even take Taiwan, let alone India.” Tai Min-cheung, a Hong Kong-based researcher with the International Institute of Strategic Studies, said that no credible evidence exists that the PRC has stationed nuclear missiles in Tibet. He argued, “China is building its military capabilities, but it’s pretty defense-oriented. The Chinese don’t have sufficient need to present India with a problem. The Chinese posture hasn’t changed much in the last couple of decades.” However, Jasjit Singh, director of the independent Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, argued, “With China’s growth in power, prudence calls for an insurance policy.” Singh added that, during a trip to the PRC last year, he and his colleagues were told by a former Chinese official that the PRC has no objections to India’s nuclear program. The official added, “Just don’t make China the excuse for it.”


6. US Missile Defense

Reuters (Jonathan Wright, “ANTI-MISSILE PROJECTS COMPETE FOR ATTENTION,” Huntsville, 05/15/98) reported that Colonel Jeff Schrepple of US National Missile Defense said that the US needs a missile defense system to deal with the threats from growing proliferation. Schrepple stated, “We’ve got missiles everywhere. The genie is out of the bottle and Russia and China are some of the guilty parties in transferring some of this technology. The people who have the intent don’t have the technology yet but at some point they will come together.” He added, “It’s not a question of whether we deploy a National Missile Defense (NMD) system, it’s a matter of when. It’s not the same threat as before the Berlin Wall came down.” Lieutenant General Edward Anderson, commander of the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command, said that 72 countries now have some kind of cruise missiles including anti-ship versions, 19 countries are producing them, and 12 countries are exporters. However, National Security Adviser Sandy Berger recently warned Congress that Russia would not carry out agreed strategic arms cuts unless the US adheres to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.


7. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

The Washington Post carried an opinion article (Stephen S. Rosenfeld, “TRASHING OF THE TEST-BAN TREATY,” 05/15/98, A27) which argued that current US nonproliferation policies which declare certain states eligible to hold nuclear weapons and others not may at first appear “arbitrary and more than a bit arrogant.” It also said that the US has not refrained from “flashing of a nuclear capability” when it has found its interests challenged. The author argued, “From the start, these tensions between the declared haves and the undeclared partial haves have burdened American efforts to freeze the Indian and Pakistani warhead and missile programs.” However, he continued, “there is overwhelming reason to sustain an imbalance of nuclear rights and privileges that favors some countries over others,” because “change is more disruptive than continuity.” He added, “The stability serves all countries, regardless of their place in the nuclear scheme of things.”


8. Possibility of Pakistani Nuclear Tests

Reuters (Raja Asghar, “U.S. ENVOY MEETS ANGRY PAKISTAN ON N-TESTS,” Islamabad, 05/15/98), the Associated Press (“PAKISTAN UNMOVED BY FIRST U.S. EFFORT TO PREVENT A NUCLEAR RETORT TO INDIA,” Islamabad, 05/15/98) and the New York Times (Stephen Kinzer, “PAKISTAN UNDER WORLD PRESSURE TO REFRAIN FROM NUCLEAR TESTS,” Islamabad, 05/15/98) reported that US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott on Friday held 90 minutes of talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan to try to dissuade Pakistan from holding a nuclear test. A spokesman for Khan described the talks as a “listening session” in which both sides spelled out their differences over India’s recent nuclear tests. Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Tariq Altaf said at the end of the meeting, “Our position is quite clear … our response will be in keeping with the threats we are facing and with our national security interests.” Talbott was due to hold talks later with the Chief of Army Staff General Jehangir Karamat and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. An unnamed European diplomat said that Talbott will employ the “carrot and stick approach” to try to convince Pakistan not to hold a test. However, he warned, “I fear that he may find that national pride does not have a price.” Meanwhile, Pakistan’s English-language daily Nation said that the cabinet, “barring a few meek voices,” wanted a test explosion and had established a special six-man committee to study options. However, Sajjad Akther, an economist with the Canadian- funded Social Policy and Development Center, warned, “If Pakistan conducts a nuclear test it will have serious repercussions on our economy,” due to sanctions.

Dow Jones Newswires (“U.S. OFFICIAL: NO ASSURANCES YET PAKISTAN WON’T TEST BOMB,” Islamabad, 05/15/98) reported that General Anthony Zinni, commander of the US forces in the Middle East and Southwestern Asia, said late Friday that US officials have not received any assurances from Pakistan that it will not conduct a nuclear test in response to India’s recent actions.

Reuters (“JAPAN ASKS PAKISTAN TO REFRAIN FROM NUCLEAR TESTS,” Tokyo, 05/15/98) and Dow Jones Newswires (David Pearson, “G-8: JAPAN WARNS PAKISTAN NOT TO EMULATE INDIAN BLASTS,” Birmingham, 05/15/98) reported that Kyodo news agency said that Japanese Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi on Friday sent a message to his Pakistani counterpart, Gohar Ayub Khan, asking Pakistan to refrain from conducting nuclear tests in retaliation for India’s test. Earlier in the week, Nobuyasu Abe, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Arms Control and Scientific Affairs section, urged the Pakistani government to exercise restraint during a meeting with its charge d’affaires in Tokyo, Durray Shahwar Kureshi. and political weapon as well as a military one. Sadaaki Numata, spokesman for Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, said Friday that Japan warned Pakistan that it may face similar sanctions to on India if it tries to carry out its own nuclear tests.

The New York Times (Steven Lee Myers, “LAW TO REPEAL PAKISTANI ARMS BAN IS PROPOSED,” Washington, 05/15/98) reported that senators Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Tom Harkin, D- Iowa, on Thursday proposed repealing the Pressler Amendment, which prohibits US military assistance to Pakistan, as an incentive to Pakistan’s government not to conduct a nuclear test. However an anonymous official said that Clinton administration officials debated into Thursday evening as to whether the delegation currently visiting Pakistan should raise this issue, since it could not guarantee how Congress would vote. Another unnamed administration official said that the White House had signaled support of the proposal by calling it “an intriguing proposition.”

The Washington Post carried an editorial (“TEST TIME FOR PAKISTAN,” 05/15/98, A26) which suggested that the US pursue three options to prevent Pakistan from carrying out nuclear tests. The first is to contain the damage by trying to ensure that new testing does not lead to deployment of nuclear weapons. The second is to consider the security requirements of Pakistan. The editorial advocated immediate release of US warplanes that Pakistan bought but was not allowed to take possession of because of its nuclear activities. The third is to demonstrate the consequences of nuclear testing “by imposing severe sanctions on India.” The article also said that the PRC holds an important position in dissuading Pakistan from nuclear testing, due to its own close relationship with that country. It called on the declared nuclear powers to revive the cause of nuclear disarmament, and to “lead by example rather than by exhortation.” It also called on the US Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.


9. India Declares Itself a Nuclear State

Reuters (“INDIA A NUCLEAR WEAPONS STATE-VAJPAYEE,” New Delhi, 05/15/98) and the Associated Press (“INDIA DECLARES SELF NUCLEAR STATE,” New Delhi, 05/15/98) reported that Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said in the India Today weekly that India has become a nuclear arms state capable of making a “big bomb.” However, he added, “Ours will never be weapons of aggression.” Vajpayee stated, “Sanctions cannot and will not hurt us. India will not be cowed down by any such threats and punitive steps… No price is high enough when it comes to securing national interests.” Regarding the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Vajpayee said that there was no question of India signing a treaty which was discriminatory in nature.


10. Sanctions Against India

Reuters (John Chalmers, “INDIA LAUNCHES OFFENSIVE TO BEAT N-TEST SANCTIONS,” New Delhi, 05/15/98) reported that the Indian government on Friday took steps to offset the economic cost of sanctions imposed in response to its nuclear tests. An unnamed senior government official said that foreign investment and infrastructure proposals would be rushed through the approval process. Officials said they believed that US sanctions could cost the Indian economy barely more than US$1.0 billion. Meanwhile, about two dozen students demonstrated against the sanctions outside the US embassy in New Delhi. In a counter-protest elsewhere in the capital, more than 30 people shouted anti-government slogans and carried placards saying, “We want peace not war.”

The Associated Press (Martin Crutsinger, “CLINTON PUSHES FOR INDIA REBUKE,” Birmingham, 05/15/98) reported that US President Bill Clinton said Friday that he would seek a “strong and unambiguous” denunciation of India’s nuclear ambitions from Group of Eight leaders at a three-day summit. Canada and Japan also gave notice that they would push for concerted action. Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy said Thursday, “It has got to be a totally integrated approach. Otherwise, the Indian government will think they have got away with it.” However, Alistair Campbell, spokesman for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, stated, “We don’t envisage G-8 economic sanctions along the lines of what the Americans have been discussing.” Britain has said it wants the summit instead to express only dismay with India.

Dow Jones Newswires (Chikako Mogi, “HASHIMOTO CRITICIZES INDIA, CALLS ON SUPPORT FOR INDONESIA,” Birmingham, 05/15/98) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, in meetings with the US, UK, and Germany on Friday, called for sending a strong message against India’s nuclear tests. Japanese officials said that German Chancellor Helmut Kohl agreed with Hashimoto on the need for a statement against India, while British Prime Minister Willie Blair did not directly make comments but listened attentively. The Japanese government also announced late Friday in Tokyo that it is sending an envoy to Pakistan on Sunday for high-level consultations.

II. Republic of Korea


1. Remains of US MIAs from Korean War

The UN Command on Thursday accused the DPRK of reneging on a promise to return two sets of remains believed to be those of US soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War. US military officials were waiting for an hour at the truce village of Panmunjom, where the remains had been scheduled to be delivered to them at 11 a.m. The DPRK officials did show up, said reports, but then pulled back. “Their failure to comply with this humanitarian agreement is very disappointing,” US Air Force Major General Michael Haydan said in a statement. (Korea Herald, “NORTH KOREA FAILS TO RETURN REMAINS OF US SOLDIERS,” 05/15/98)


2. Light-Water Reactor Project

Charles Kartman, US deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, arrived in Seoul for talks with officials of the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry. The supply of oil to the DPRK and the cost-sharing for the light-water nuclear reactor project are expected to be discussed. Kartman, a specialist on Asia who previously served as minister-counselor for political affairs at the US Embassy in Seoul from 1987 to 1990, will leave Seoul next Tuesday. (Korea Herald, “KARTMAN ARRIVES IN SEOUL FOR REACTOR TALKS,” 05/15/98)

III. Japan


1. Japanese Sanction against India

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVERNMENT TO FREEZE YEN LOAN AND FINANCIAL AID TO INDIA,” 05/15/98) reported that, in addition to stoppage on May 13 of official development aid to India, excluding urgent and humanitarian aid, the Japanese government decided on May 14 to freeze Japan’s yen loans and financial aid through international financial institutions to India in order to strengthen the sanctions against India’s nuclear tests. Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto also will withdraw Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Hirabayasi from India and will call for India’s participation in the nuclear nonproliferation regime at an upcoming summit meeting. The report added that Japan only froze its untied financial aid to the PRC when the PRC conducted a nuclear test in 1995.

The Sankei Shimbun (“LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (LDP) ANNOUNCED NEED FOR PARTIAL FREEZE OF JAPAN’S YEN LOAN TO INDIA,” 05/14/98) reported that the ruling LDP’s diplomacy- related conference announced on May 13 the need for a partial freeze of Japan’s yen loan to India as a sanction against its nuclear tests. The announcement stated, “The tests are impermissible because they are a grave challenge to the international community which is trying to realize the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty regimes.”


2. US Bases in Okinawa

The Asahi Shimbun (“OKINAWA PREFECTURE FINDS US DEFENSE DEPARTMENT REPORT CONTRADICTING JAPANESE GOVERNMENT’S EXPLANATION,” 05/15/98) reported that the Okinawa Prefecture attained a US Defense Department report that called for building an off-shore heliport as an addition to the Futenma Base in Okinawa, based on the decision to introduce four MV 22 transport planes, not as an alternative to Futenma. The report points out that the return of the base will require nine to ten years from December, 1996, as opposed to the “five to seven years” allotted by the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) in 1996. The report also points out that the scale of the base would be “800m to 1000m in width,” as opposed to the “600 in width and 1,500 in length” decided on by the SACO. The Okinawa Prefecture sees this report as contradicting the Japanese government’s explanation and as leading to reinforcement of the US base. Okinawa Governor Masahide, who is going to visit the US on May 15, will insist that the US return Futenma Base to Okinawa and transfer the US bases to US territory.


3. Japanese-ROK Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Chiharu Mori, “ROK FOREIGN MINISTER’S CONTROVERSIAL STATEMENT ON HOW TO CALL JAPANESE EMPEROR,” Seoul, 05/15/98) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Park Chung-su’s calling the Japanese Emperor “Tenno/chonhwang (Emperor)” instead of “Ilwang (Japanese King)” while speaking about ROK President Kim Dae-jung’s policy toward Japan on May 13 became controversial. In response to the question by a reporter why Park used the word “Tenno” despite the fact that “Ilwang” is more commonly used in ROK papers, Park said, “In light of the fact that the Japanese people use ‘Tenno,’ it is natural to use ‘Tenno.'” Chongham News Agency published a critical article saying, “Given the uniqueness of Japanese-ROK relations, it is questionable whether it is proper to use ‘Tenno’ just because the Japanese use ‘Tenno.'” Chosun Ilbo also reported Park’s statement on May 14. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, on the other hand, “His statement does not represent the ministry’s official view.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“ROK ESTABLISHED COMMITTEE ON LIBERALIZATION OF JAPANESE CULTURE,” Seoul, 05/14/98) reported, that based on Kim Dae-jung’s announcement on promoting the liberalization of laws regarding Japanese culture in the ROK, the Ministry of Culture and Sightseeing on May 13 established a committee on ROK-Japanese cultural exchange policy. Twenty-three experts of Japan have already been selected as committee members, and the Ministry announced, “Given the unfortunate past history and our people’s emotions, the principle of this policy is to proceed steadily…. Regarding specific programs of liberalization, we will carefully promote them by taking into account public sentiment.”


4. Japanese-Russian Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER TO VISIT JAPAN IN JUNE,” 05/14/98) reported that Russian Ambassador to Japan Alexander Panov revealed during his speech at a hotel in Naha on May 13 that Russian Prime Minister Sergey Kirienko will visit Japan in June or July. He also stated, regarding Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s visit to Russia this autumn, “A new joint statement must be announced at the time of his visit. We should facilitate each issue area as quick as possible, and insert our agreement in the announcement.” Regarding Hashimoto’s proposal for delimiting the Northern Territories, he only said, “We will carefully discuss the proposal. That’s what President Yeltsin also says.”

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Shin Dong-bom:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Choi Chung-moon:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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