NAPSNet Daily Report 15 October, 1997

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 15 October, 1997", NAPSNet Daily Report, October 15, 1997, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-15-october-1997/

In today’s Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Extended Excerpts

I. United States

1. Food Aid for DPRK

The Associated Press (“U.S. OFFERS FRESH HELP TO N KOREANS,” Washington, 10/14/97) and United Press International (“N.KOREA TO GET $5 MILLION IN U.S. AID,” Washington, 10/14/97) reported that US State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said Tuesday that the US will give the United Nations Children’s Fund with US$5 million to provide medicines and other supplies to help needy people in the DPRK. “We expect the food crisis to deepen. This grant is designed to help clinics deal with vulnerable groups,” Rubin said. He predicted that the current harvest in North Korea may alleviate the famine conditions there, but only temporarily. He said the US expects the UN World Food Program to issue a new appeal for food relief from donor countries in November.

The Washington Times (Willis Witter, “FOOD AID STAVES OFF NORTH KOREAN FAMINE,” Tokyo, 10/15/97) reported that Trevor Rowe, a spokesman for the UN World Food Program, said on Tuesday that the DPRK’s food needs are currently being met. The “bad news,” Rowe said, “is that the harvest is going to produce enough food for only four months, and then it will be winter.” Young Namkoong, a professor at Korea University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, speculated that the availability of food may have had a role in Kim Jong-il’s decision last week to assume the formal leadership of the country as general secretary of the Workers’ Party. “At the moment he became general secretary [Kim] could release some food from the harvest,” Young said.

State Department spokesman James P. Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING,” USIA Transcript, 10/14/97) stated that “there has been no change in our policy regarding food aid to North Korea — all of which is provided on a humanitarian basis.” Rubin added, “we are sending a needs assessment team to work with the World Food Program and the DPRK to enhance its effectiveness.” However, he said, the US has “confidence that there is no significant diversion [of food aid], using the monitoring system we have in place.”

2. US-ROK Relations

State Department spokesman James P. Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING,” USIA Transcript, 10/14/97) stated that “the US policy on the South Korean election is clear, firm and consistent. It is up to the people of South Korea to select their president. We don’t favor any candidate over any other.” Rubin added, “The premise that we have a problem with the South Koreans in pursuing the four-party talks is incorrect.” Rubin said that while there are no new developments regarding the four-party talks, “that doesn’t mean we’re pessimistic. … We believe there will be progress, because that is in the interest of all the parties concerned.” He added that “questions about the present hiatus in the talks should be directed at Pyongyang, not Seoul. The timing of the election of Kim Jung-Il as General Secretary may have been a factor.” [Ed. note: See “Four-Party Peace Talks,” in the US Section of

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In today’s Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Extended Excerpts

I. United States

1. Food Aid for DPRK

The Associated Press (“U.S. OFFERS FRESH HELP TO N KOREANS,” Washington, 10/14/97) and United Press International (“N.KOREA TO GET $5 MILLION IN U.S. AID,” Washington, 10/14/97) reported that US State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said Tuesday that the US will give the United Nations Children’s Fund with US$5 million to provide medicines and other supplies to help needy people in the DPRK. “We expect the food crisis to deepen. This grant is designed to help clinics deal with vulnerable groups,” Rubin said. He predicted that the current harvest in North Korea may alleviate the famine conditions there, but only temporarily. He said the US expects the UN World Food Program to issue a new appeal for food relief from donor countries in November.

The Washington Times (Willis Witter,

In today’s Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Extended Excerpts

I. United States

1. Food Aid for DPRK

The Associated Press (“U.S. OFFERS FRESH HELP TO N KOREANS,” Washington, 10/14/97) and United Press International (“N.KOREA TO GET $5 MILLION IN U.S. AID,” Washington, 10/14/97) reported that US State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said Tuesday that the US will give the United Nations Children’s Fund with US$5 million to provide medicines and other supplies to help needy people in the DPRK. “We expect the food crisis to deepen. This grant is designed to help clinics deal with vulnerable groups,” Rubin said. He predicted that the current harvest in North Korea may alleviate the famine conditions there, but only temporarily. He said the US expects the UN World Food Program to issue a new appeal for food relief from donor countries in November.

The Washington Times (Willis Witter, “FOOD AID STAVES OFF NORTH KOREAN FAMINE,” Tokyo, 10/15/97) reported that Trevor Rowe, a spokesman for the UN World Food Program, said on Tuesday that the DPRK’s food needs are currently being met. The “bad news,” Rowe said, “is that the harvest is going to produce enough food for only four months, and then it will be winter.” Young Namkoong, a professor at Korea University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, speculated that the availability of food may have had a role in Kim Jong-il’s decision last week to assume the formal leadership of the country as general secretary of the Workers’ Party. “At the moment he became general secretary [Kim] could release some food from the harvest,” Young said.

State Department spokesman James P. Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING,” USIA Transcript, 10/14/97) stated that “there has been no change in our policy regarding food aid to North Korea — all of which is provided on a humanitarian basis.” Rubin added, “we are sending a needs assessment team to work with the World Food Program and the DPRK to enhance its effectiveness.” However, he said, the US has “confidence that there is no significant diversion [of food aid], using the monitoring system we have in place.”

2. US-ROK Relations

State Department spokesman James P. Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING,” USIA Transcript, 10/14/97) stated that “the US policy on the South Korean election is clear, firm and consistent. It is up to the people of South Korea to select their president. We don’t favor any candidate over any other.” Rubin added, “The premise that we have a problem with the South Koreans in pursuing the four-party talks is incorrect.” Rubin said that while there are no new developments regarding the four-party talks, “that doesn’t mean we’re pessimistic. … We believe there will be progress, because that is in the interest of all the parties concerned.” He added that “questions about the present hiatus in the talks should be directed at Pyongyang, not Seoul. The timing of the election of Kim Jung-Il as General Secretary may have been a factor.” [Ed. note: See “Four-Party Peace Talks,” in the US Section of

I. United States

1. Food Aid for DPRK

The Associated Press (“U.S. OFFERS FRESH HELP TO N KOREANS,” Washington, 10/14/97) and United Press International (“N.KOREA TO GET $5 MILLION IN U.S. AID,” Washington, 10/14/97) reported that US State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said Tuesday that the US will give the United Nations Children’s Fund with US$5 million to provide medicines and other supplies to help needy people in the DPRK. “We expect the food crisis to deepen. This grant is designed to help clinics deal with vulnerable groups,” Rubin said. He predicted that the current harvest in North Korea may alleviate the famine conditions there, but only temporarily. He said the US expects the UN World Food Program to issue a new appeal for food relief from donor countries in November.

The Washington Times (Willis Witter, “FOOD AID STAVES OFF NORTH KOREAN FAMINE,” Tokyo, 10/15/97) reported that Trevor Rowe, a spokesman for the UN World Food Program, said on Tuesday that the DPRK’s food needs are currently being met. The “bad news,” Rowe said, “is that the harvest is going to produce enough food for only four months, and then it will be winter.” Young Namkoong, a professor at Korea University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, speculated that the availability of food may have had a role in Kim Jong-il’s decision last week to assume the formal leadership of the country as general secretary of the Workers’ Party. “At the moment he became general secretary [Kim] could release some food from the harvest,” Young said.

State Department spokesman James P. Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING,” USIA Transcript, 10/14/97) stated that “there has been no change in our policy regarding food aid to North Korea — all of which is provided on a humanitarian basis.” Rubin added, “we are sending a needs assessment team to work with the World Food Program and the DPRK to enhance its effectiveness.” However, he said, the US has “confidence that there is no significant diversion [of food aid], using the monitoring system we have in place.”

2. US-ROK Relations

State Department spokesman James P. Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING,” USIA Transcript, 10/14/97) stated that “the US policy on the South Korean election is clear, firm and consistent. It is up to the people of South Korea to select their president. We don’t favor any candidate over any other.” Rubin added, “The premise that we have a problem with the South Koreans in pursuing the four-party talks is incorrect.” Rubin said that while there are no new developments regarding the four-party talks, “that doesn’t mean we’re pessimistic. … We believe there will be progress, because that is in the interest of all the parties concerned.” He added that “questions about the present hiatus in the talks should be directed at Pyongyang, not Seoul. The timing of the election of Kim Jung-Il as General Secretary may have been a factor.” [Ed. note: See “Four-Party Peace Talks,” in the US Section of the October 13 Daily Report].

3. DPRK Economic Development

The Associated Press (Kathy Wilhelm, “N. KOREA OFFERS INVESTORS TAX BREAKS,” Hong Kong, 10/15/97) reported that Kim Mun-song, vice chairman of the DPRK’s State Commission of Economic Affairs, told a conference of the World Economic Forum that “The entire Korean people will consolidate and develop our unique socialism that was left with us by the great leader, Comrade Kim Il-sung.” Kim Mun-song announced plans to open two processing and trade zones in Wonsan and Nampo, in addition to the Rajin-Sonbong Free Trade Zone which opened in 1991. He said that US$900 million worth of contracts have been signed for investment in Rajin-Sonbong, and promised that international air and sea links with the zone will open soon. Kim also promised an enterprise income tax of 14 percent, discounted from the 25 percent rate elsewhere in the country. Asked if the DPRK will allow private enterprise and other elements of capitalism to stimulate growth along the lines of the PRC, Kim replied, “We have our own way.” Kim said that foreign access to the DPRK’s domestic market would have to be negotiated case by case.

4. US Policy toward East Asia

Reuters (Peter Humphrey, “U.S. TO TACKLE JIANG ON HUMAN RIGHTS,” Hong Kong, 10/15/97) reported that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Stanley Roth, in Hong Kong for a conference of the World Economic Forum, said Wednesday that the US will bring up the issue of human rights with PRC President Jiang Zemin when he arrives for a Washington summit with President Clinton this month. Roth also urged the DPRK to return to peace talks without imposing onerous conditions. “We remain committed, as do our allies the South Koreans, and our friends the Chinese, remain committed to this four-party process,” Roth said. “As far as we’re concerned the ball is in the North Korean court. It is up to them to come back to the table.” However, he said that the US is not “willing to have a very detailed and provocative agenda that prejudges the outcome.” Roth said, “Now that Kim Jong-il has assumed the formal position as General Secretary we are hopeful that in this post-succession period it will be easier for North Korea to resume the negotiations.” [Ed. note: See Section III below for excerpts from Roth’s speech.]

5. ROK Elections

The Los Angeles Times (Sonni Efron, SOUTH KOREA’S PERENNIAL CANDIDATE TAKES THE LEAD PRESIDENCY,” Seoul, 10/15/97) reported that ROK opposition leader Kim Dae-jung’s popularity rating has actually risen slightly, to about 36 percent since the ruling New Korea Party accused him of accepting millions of dollars in secret slush-fund contributions during his 1992 presidential campaign. Kim said in an interview Tuesday, “Our people know that if Kim Dae-jung received 1 million won, the ruling party received 50 to 100 times that.” Accepting political contributions was perfectly legal, he said, adding, “I have never committed any illegal action.” Nevertheless, the ruling party announced Tuesday that it is calling for prosecutors to investigate roughly $40 million deposited in the bank accounts of Kim’s relatives. Asked what he would do as president, Kim explained how he believes that President Nixon’s detente policy could be applied to the DPRK, arguing that his views on how to handle the DPRK are closer to the Clinton administration’s thinking than the hard line taken by President Kim Young-sam. “I am not 100% optimistic, but I am never pessimistic about this problem,” Kim Dae-jung said. “I believe we can manage the North Korean situation with close cooperation with the U.S. and Japan.” Kim hinted that if he became president he might pardon Kim Young-sam’s son Kim Hyun-chol. Kim’s campaign promises include a three-stage plan for Korean reunification and prohibiting the intelligence services from spying on ROK citizens

6. ROK President’s Son Convicted

The Associated Press (“SOUTH KOREAN LEADER’S SON APPEALS,” Seoul, 10/15/97) reported that ROK President Kim Young-sam’s son, Kim Hyun-chul, on Wednesday asked an appellate court to reverse the ruling sentencing him to three years in prison for bribery and tax evasion.

7. US-PRC Nuclear Cooperation

The Associated Press (Barry Schweid, “US WANTS PLEDGE OF NO NUKES TO IRAN,” 10/14/97) reported that US State Department spokesman James Rubin stated that the Clinton administration is insisting on “clear and unequivocal assurances” that the PRC will provide no nuclear weapons technology to Iran or any other country trying to develop such weapons. “But we are not there yet,” he said. Meanwhile, three Democratic Congressmen released a letter that they had sent to Speaker Newt Gingrich, asking him to clear the way for consideration of legislation before the summit is held. The letter said that Congress “must be allowed to speak out on China’s religious persecution, trade violations, weapons proliferation, human rights abuses and other important issues.”

8. Russian-Japanese Relations

Agence France-Presse (“THAW IN RELATIONS BETWEEN RUSSIA, JAPAN,” Moscow, 10/15/97) reported that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told the Nezavisimaya Gazeta that Russia has “succeeded in taking relations with Japan out of a territorial deadlock” by opening negotiations over fishing rights in the disputed Kuril Island group. “Now that emotions have calmed down the issue is discussed in a serious, statesman-like manner,” he added.

II. Republic of Korea

1. US Representative to Visit DPRK

US Congressman Tony Hall embarked on a four-day trip to the DPRK on a fact-finding mission regarding the DPRK’s food situation. He will also discuss bilateral issues of concern, including the DPRK’s suspected transfer of missile technology to the Middle East, repatriation of the remains of US servicemen listed as missing in action during the Korean War, and the opening of liaison offices in each other’s capital. (Korea Herald, “U.S. REP. HALL TO VISIT NORTH,” 10/15/97)

2. US Reaction to ROK Missile Purchase

The ROK Defense Ministry, denying media reports that the ROK’s decision to purchase French-made Mistral surface-to-air missiles was a reaction against US pressure on trade or political matters, stated that the Mistral was chosen because it proved to be superior to the other two candidates in a cost to capability evaluation. A US official said, “We are disappointed but respect Korea’s decision,” adding that the Stinger sale was not a top US priority. He said that the top priority is the sale of big ticket items such as anti-missile systems and air warning and surveillance systems which the ROK is planning to buy in coming years. He said that the joint defense posture between the two allies would be greatly compromised if the ROK buys non-US products, as it would hurt the inter-operability of the two countries’ weapons systems. (Korea Times, “KOREA’S DECISION TO BUY FRENCH SAMS KEY DEFEAT FOR US,” 10/15/97)

3. ROK-DPRK Trade Relations

The ROK government on Tuesday endorsed a project for the Korea Land Corporation to build an industrial complex in the DPRK’s Rajin-Sonbong free trade zone in cooperation with the DPRK’s External Economic Commission, the ROK National Unification Ministry said. The corporation will develop land as large as 400,000 pyong (13,200,000 square meters) in the free trade zone to prepare lots for industrial use and will also construct roads, parks and electric facilities, starting next year. An executive of the “physical distribution” company said the Rajin-Sonbong area will emerge as a link between Japan, the PRC, Russia, and even Europe. It was the first time for the ROK government to approve economic cooperation with the DPRK on such a scale. (Korea Times, “SEOUL ENDORSES INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT IN RAJIN-SONBONG,” 10/15/97) [Ed. note: See the related item in the US Section of the October 14 Daily Report.]

4. DPRK Military Strategy

Kwon Yong-hae, chief of the Agency for National Security Planning, told the Intelligence Committee of the National Assembly on Wednesday that the DPRK, despite severe economic problems, has doubled the number of its long range artillery and subs, and shortened its “5-7 day war scenario” to a “three day operation,” or a “seven day operation in three stages.” He said that 120 DPRK airplanes have been moved to forward areas, shortening their attack time on Seoul from eight to six minutes. The DPRK has also built three more missile bases, increased the strength of its special forces from 100,000 to 120,000, and maintains the capacity to infiltrate 20,000 soldiers from the frontline and southern rear area simultaneously. Kwon added that the DPRK will soon make appointments to the vacant positions of Prime Minister and Defense Minister, and will carry out a generational change of leadership in the military. The DPRK is likely to introduce economic reforms on a limited basis, such as semi-autonomous management of factories and businesses, introduction of a bonus system, and additional construction of special economic districts. (Chosun Ilbo, “NORTH STRENGTHENS BLITZKREIG STRATEGY: ANSP,” 10/15/97)

III. Extended Excerpts

1. US Policy toward East Asia

[Ed. note: The following are excerpts from a speech given by Stanley Roth, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, at an October 15 plenary session of the World Economic Forum in Hong Kong. (“ROTH 10/15 ON ‘ENSURING GROWTH AND STABILITY IN EAST ASIA’,” USIA Text, 10/15/97)]

As much a Pacific nation as an Atlantic one, we maintain a forward presence of 100,000 troops here as we keep an equal and complementary number in Europe. In this context, our defensive security relationship with Japan remains a central pillar of our policy. We have worked with the Japanese to keep the alliance relevant to the post-Cold War world. The new ‘Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation’ build upon the basic alliance structure. They do not change the 1960 Mutual Security Treaty. They do provide a general framework and policy direction to clarify the roles and mission of the two countries. The guidelines respect the present Japanese constitution and do not contemplate Japanese involvement in combat operations outside of Japan. I want to stress that our security relationship with Japan, like our relationships with all of our regional allies, is not aimed at any other country. It is defensive and designed to bolster the security of the partners and the stability of the area as a whole. …

The modern age has brought modern horrors. Weapons of mass destruction have become cheaper, easier to construct, and more threatening to us all. Chemical weapons have long been a concern and we need to increase our efforts to control trade in precursor chemicals. The illicit spread and proliferation of delivery systems, including missiles, must be stopped. We are concerned by reports of possible Chinese cooperation with Iran on missile-related issues. Nevertheless, the Chinese have taken some positive steps. Beijing has already indicated its adherence to some of the guidelines and parameters of the Missile Technology Control Regime, and voluntarily limited other sales. We are encouraging China’s full adherence to the MTCR. Unfortunately, the DPRK has not agreed to any controls. The U.S. has engaged the North in negotiations on missile issues, and we are awaiting the North’s response to our proposed dates for the next round of talks.

However, perhaps the most pressing need is to control nuclear arms, weapons unique to our age. We support, in principle, the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. We, along with other nuclear weapons states, continue to work with the ASEAN countries to find solutions to our concerns which will allow us to sign the protocol to the Zone. In concert with other Asian and non-Asian nations, we have taken measures against the most immediate nuclear threat, the North Korean nuclear program. As a result of the Agreed Framework and the establishment of KEDO (the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization), that program is frozen in its tracks. The benefits have flowed to all; the responsibilities are being borne by too few. The Agreed Framework and KEDO need the material support of us all if it is to succeed.

Unfortunately, Korea remains a potentially dangerous place. We have roughly 37,000 troops there, ready to fight and win with our ROK allies should that become necessary. However, we and the ROK seek a permanent peace and lasting stability on the peninsula. The Four Party talks proposed by Presidents Kim and Clinton are the only practical way to replace the armistice and achieve a durable peace. They also offer the North its best chance to move away from fruitless confrontation. We hope that the official election as General Secretary of Kim Jong-il, who has wielded the real authority in the DPRK since his father’s death, will encourage North Korea to fully engage in the peace process. I cannot conclude without mentioning perhaps the single, most important factor affecting peace and stability in Asia. It may also be one of the most hopeful developments of our time. I refer, of course, to the rise of China. The emergence of China as a rapidly developing, open, and nonaggressive state that embraces the international rules of the road would be profoundly important for Asia and the world. Most of all, of course, this development is in China’s interest. It is in America’s interests as it is in the interest of other countries. … If China is to take its rightful place in the modern world, it must choose constructive engagement with that world. Those systems that opened to the world evolved and thrived, adding their unique qualities to the global perspective. Those that did not have fallen behind in every sphere.

Whether China becomes isolated or not is in its own hands. We have neither the desire nor the ability to ‘contain’ China. We have every desire to see a stable, prosperous, peaceful China. This can only happen, as the Chinese people know, if China is integrated into the emerging world system and helps shape that system. For this reason, we seek opportunities for strategic dialogue with Chinese officials on policy issues of common concern, such as Korea, Cambodia, South Asia and the Persian Gulf. As the upcoming visit of President Jiang will demonstrate, we are committed to a regular and high-level dialogue with China. Our long-range goal is to see a China which is never again the object of others’ manipulation and its own fears, but is a constructive participant of the world community. In short, our security goals in Asia remain the objectives of our friends and neighbors in the region, maintaining and expanding peace and stability in the region. This is what has allowed the area to develop so rapidly. It is essential that we never forget this basic fact.

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.
We invite you to reply to today’s report, and we welcome commentary or papers for distribution to the network.

Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development.

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@anu.edu.au
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

Return to the top of this Daily Report

Go to the Daily Report Archive

Return to the Nautilus Institute Home Page

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.
We invite you to reply to today’s report, and we welcome commentary or papers for distribution to the network.

Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development.

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@anu.edu.au
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

Return to the top of this Daily Report

Go to the Daily Report Archive

Return to the Nautilus Institute Home Page


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