NAPSNet Daily Report 15 September, 1998

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 15 September, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, September 15, 1998,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

II. Russian Federation

I. United States


1. DPRK Satellite Launch

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, SEPTEMBER 14,” USIA Transcript, 09/14/98) said that, while US analysis regarding the DPRK’s August 31 launch continues, the US has concluded that the DPRK did attempt to launch a very small satellite, but that the satellite failed to achieve orbit. He added, “Nevertheless, the North Koreans have demonstrated in this launch a capability to deliver a weapons payload against surface targets at increasing ranges, confirming the inherent capability to threaten its neighbors. So we regard this missile as a threat to US allies, friends and forces in the region.” He added that, regardless of whether or not the launch was technically a violation of Japanese airspace, “we do not want to see it happen again.”

The New York Times (Steven Lee Myers, “U.S. CALLS NORTH KOREAN ROCKET A FAILED SATELLITE,” Washington, 09/15/98), the Associated Press (George Gedda, “U.S.: N. KOREA SATELLITE FAILED,” Washington, 09/14/98), Reuters, “U.S. CONCLUDES N. KOREA TRIED TO LAUNCH SATELLITE,” Washington, 09/14/98), and the Chicago Tribune (Michael A. Lev, “N. KOREA ROCKET DETERMINED TO BE A FAILED SATELLITE LAUNCH,” Tokyo, 09/15/98) reported that US administration and defense officials said Monday that, although the DPRK’s August 31 rocket launch was apparently a failed attempt to launch a satellite, it still demonstrates the DPRK’s advance missile capabilities. The officials said that the rocket had three stages, not two, and that the final stage used solid fuel. They added that the third stage of the rocket, which carried a small satellite, broke up somewhere over the Pacific Ocean before reaching orbit. They said that the failure of the satellite indicated that the DPRK has not yet mastered solid-fuel technology, but the effort alone suggests that the DPRK’s program might be more ambitious and advanced than was widely believed. One anonymous government official said Monday that if the DPRK perfected a third stage in future tests, its missiles would have a range of 3,500 miles. Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, said that the disclosures suggest that the DPRK is intent on building intercontinental ballistic missiles. Milhollin stated, “I don’t want to sound alarmist, but that’s where we are heading.” Evan Medeiros, a senior research assistant at the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Affairs, said that the DPRK is “trying to change the perception of what this is, but the hard-core reality is it demonstrates a more significant missile capability than previously understood.” Meanwhile in Tokyo, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shunji Yanai said that “whether it was a missile or a satellite, our concerns remain unchanged from the standpoints of peace and stability in Northeast Asia.”

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA’S LAUNCH MAY HAVE BEEN A SATELLITE – RUSSIAN OFFCL,” Moscow, 09/15/98) reported that the Interfax news agency quoted Gennady Khromov, a senior expert with Russia’s Space Agency, as saying on Tuesday that Russian experts are still not sure if the DPRK launched a ballistic missile or a satellite as it claimed. Khromov said that the object did not emit any signals, and its weight of only 28.6 pounds complicated identification. Meanwhile Alexander Pikayev, an analyst at the Moscow office of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, called for improving ties with the DPRK to prevent unexpected actions on its part. Pikayev stated, “A number of countries, including Russia, the United States, Japan and China, have found themselves in a zone controlled by missiles launched by a half-starved nation.”


2. DPRK Missile Development

The Wall Street Journal (Robert S. Greenberger and Carla Anne Robbins, “U.S. ANALYSIS SUGGESTS NORTH KOREA IS CLOSE TO HAVING A LONG-RANGE MISSILE,” Washington, 09/15/98) reported that unnamed senior US officials said that US analysis of the DPRK’s recent launch suggests that the DPRK is closer to developing a longer-range missile that could reach as far as Alaska than expected. However, the officials said that the immediate impact would be slight as the DPRK’s missile program is plagued with technical problems. They added that any payload that the DPRK could send over that distance would be far too small to pose any military threat to the US. One senior official stated, “Because of the crude nature of the technology … they couldn’t launch a real payload that far.” He added that the third stage of the DPRK rocket blew up. Another senior official stated, “If the third stage hadn’t broken apart and if they tried to use it as a missile … it could perhaps reach Alaska. That’s a lot of ifs, but it’s also a lot longer than we expected.”

US Secretary of Defense William Cohen (“SEC. COHEN MEETS WITH JAPAN DIET MEMBERS,” Washington, USIA Transcript, 09/14/98) told visiting Japanese Diet members on Monday that the US has been disturbed by the recent missile tests on part of the DPRK. Cohen stated, “Any threat to Japan’s security is also a threat to America. So, we intend to work very closely with our strong allies in dealing with this particular issue. We hope that we can cooperate on theater missile defense issues, exchange information and perhaps cooperate in other ways.”


3. US-Japan-ROK Policy toward DPRK

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, SEPTEMBER 14,” USIA Transcript, 09/14/98) said that US, ROK, and Japanese officials met in Washington Monday to continue coordinating policy discussions on the DPRK. Rubin stated, “We will coordinate on all North Korean issues, including its recent missile test, which is a priority concern for all three governments.” He added that the US would not object to a Japanese decision to launch a spy satellite to more closely monitor the DPRK. He stated, “Given that they’re allies, I wouldn’t expect us to have a problem.” Rubin said that the US believes it is important to fund the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization to prevent the “very sobering prospect” of a nuclear-armed DPRK.


4. Alleged DPRK-Pakistan Missile Cooperation

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, SEPTEMBER 14,” USIA Transcript, 09/14/98) said that it is known that the DPRK has marketed its missile technology and equipment worldwide, including to Pakistan. He stated, “The United States takes this matter very seriously and has been addressing it.” He added, “In April of this year, we imposed sanctions on North Korean and Pakistani entities for their involvement in transferring from North Korea to Pakistan items controlled under Category I of the Missile Technology Control Regime related specifically to the Ghauri missile. The sanctioned entities are the Changgwang Sinyoung Corporation of North Korea and the Khan Research laboratories of Pakistan.” Rubin also noted that “Pakistan has announced that the Ghauri has a payload of some 700 kilograms and a range of 1500 kilometers … and the parameters, therefore, described by Pakistan are consistent with our understanding of the parameters of North Korea’s No Dong missile.”


5. ROK Economic Crisis

Dow Jones Newswires (Cecilia M. Kang, “IMF’S NEISS SAYS KOREA GDP MAY CONTRACT BY 6% THIS YEAR,” Seoul, 09/15/98) reported that International Monetary Fund Asia-Pacific Director Hubert Neiss said Tuesday that the ROK economy will contract this year by as much as 6 percent before turning around next year and resuming “normal growth” by the year 2000. Neiss said that the ROK has overcome the first stage of its crisis, evidenced in the country’s higher foreign currency reserves and lower inflation, but that it now has to focus on corporate and financial reforms to draw itself out of its recession.


6. PRC-Taiwan Talks

The Associated Press (“CHINA TO DISCUSS TAIWAN TALKS,” Taipei, 09/15/98) reported that the PRC’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits said in a letter on Tuesday that it will host Taiwan’s Koo Chen- fun when he visits Beijing and Shanghai October 14-19. The letter said that Koo, chairman of the semiofficial Straits Exchange Foundation, may hold a news conference and meet with Taiwanese investors. The PRC also announced it has agreed to allow lower-level officials from each side to meet and discuss details of Koo’s visit. Taiwanese Premier Vincent Siew praised the letter, saying, “I hope this meeting will point the two sides’ dialogue in the right direction and lend it substantive significance.”


7. Taiwan Entry into UN

The Associated Press (“TAIWAN FAILS TO GET ON U.N. AGENDA,” United Nations, 09/14/98) reported that UN spokeswoman Jadranka Mihalic said Monday that a UN General Assembly committee decided on Friday not to include the issue of Taiwan’s status on the UN agenda. Eleven countries, led by Nicaragua, had asked that the status of Taiwan be considered on the General Assembly’s agenda.


8. PRC Human Rights

Reuters (Scott Hillis, “CHINA TO SIGN POLITICAL RIGHTS PACT,” Beijing, 09/15/98) and the Washington Post (Michael Laris, “U.N. OFFICIAL HEARTENED BY CHINA VISIT,” Beijing, 09/15/98, A16) reported that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson said Tuesday that PRC Vice- Premier Qian Qichen pledged Monday to sign the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights next month. While Robinson declared her mission to the PRC “successful,” she added that the PRC had “very serious” human rights problems. PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao also termed Robinson’s visit a success and said that the PRC had reacted “positively” to her suggestions. However, pro-democracy campaigner Xu Wenli called Robinson’s visit a failure, citing the detention of the wife of a jailed labor activist and the harassment of dissidents as proof that she failed to make an impact.


9. Indian Adherence to CTBT

The Associated Press (“INDIA SLOWLY MOVING TOWARD SIGNING TEST BAN TREATY,” New Delhi, 09/15/98) reported that Indian officials said that they are trying to build a national consensus before the country signs the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Political observer K. Subrahmanyan, writing in the Times of India on Monday, said that, in return for signing the treaty, India must get access to nuclear technology it can use for its energy programs. However, Achin Vanaik of the Movement in India for Nuclear Disarmament stated, “India is not joining the CTBT out of some deep commitment to joining the forces of disarmament, but because it sees that as the only way of legitimizing what it has done.” He added that whatever its reasons for doing so, signing the CTBT will subject India to international checks to ensure it moves no closer to developing a nuclear arsenal.


10. Pakistani Adherence to CTBT

Reuters (Tahir Ikram, “OPPOSITION DEFIES PAKISTAN’S GOVERNMENT ABOUT NUCLEAR TREATY,” Islamabad, 09/15/98) reported that Pakistan’s opposition parties on Tuesday refused to take part in a parliamentary debate on whether Pakistan should sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), saying the government had already made up its mind to do so. Senator Ajmal Khattak, leader of the regional Awami National Party, stated, “We are not willing to become part of the government drama on CTBT.” He argued, “The government is not forthcoming in telling us what kind of deal it has been offered to sign the treaty.” Aitezaz Ahsan, former interior minister and leader of the opposition in the upper house, added, “Nor has it confided in the opposition about the implications of the treaty.” Ajmal Dehlvi from the opposition Muttahida National Movement stated, “Not a single patriotic member of this house will be willing to sign the treaty. [Prime Minister Nawaz] Sharif should not sign it or else the beginning of his end will start.” However, Senator Iqbal Haider stated, “In principle, we are not against signing the CTBT but it is the terms and conditions of signing the treaty that we are opposed to.”

The Associated Press (Kathy Gannon, “PAKISTAN SCHOOL RESISTS NUKE TREATY,” Islamabad, 09/15/98) reported that Dar-ul-Aloom Haqqania University, a leading religious university in Pakistan, warned in a decree Tuesday that it would launch a holy war against the government if it signs the CTBT. The decree stated, “All Muslims were bound to struggle against and resist those willing to support the treaty.” The university said that signing the treaty would leave Pakistan at a military disadvantage against India. Pakistan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Siddiq Kanju said that no decision had been made on whether to sign the treaty.


11. Global Land Mine Ban

The Associated Press (“TREATY BANNING LAND MINES LIKELY TO BE RATIFIED, U.N. SAYS,” United Nations, 09/14/98) reported that UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said Monday that the international treaty banning anti-personnel land mines is expected to go into effect this week if it has the necessary 40 countries ratifying the accord. Eckhard said that Macedonia became the 38th nation to ratify the treaty, “so we’re expecting that event to happen some day this week.” A UNICEF spokeswoman said that Namibia, Spain, and Sao Tome and Principe were expected to be the 39th, 40th and 41st countries. Their governments have ratified the accord, but the paperwork has yet to be formally turned over to the UN.


12. US Military Exercises in the Philippines

The Associated Press (Jim Gomez, “PHILIPPINE-U.S. ACCORD PROTESTED,” Manila, 09/15/98) reported that hundreds of activists held marches Tuesday to protest the Visiting Forces Agreement, which would allow large-scale US and Philippine military exercises and provide legal protection for US soldiers on duty in the country. US and Philippine officials have signed the accord, but the Philippine Senate has yet to ratify it. Sonia Soto, a leader of the protesters, stated, “The pullout of American troops should be irreversible. We’re warning the public that the government is laying the ground for their return.”

II. Republic of Korea


1. ROK Missile Defense

ROK Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek on Monday expressed his preference for US made Patriot anti-aircraft missiles as replacements for the ROK’s aging Nike missiles. Minister Chun said, “If we select a replacement for the Nikes, the first thing we have to consider is ‘inter-operability’ with our existing weaponry. In addition, we have to ensure that we are guaranteed emergency supplies of parts in a time of conflict.” Chun made the remarks when asked about the viability of the nation’s anti-missile defense system against the increasing threat posed by DPRK missiles. The Patriot’s main competitor in the contest to be adopted as the ROK’s new surface-to-air missile is Russia’s S-300. Both types of missile are capable of hitting incoming targets. However, Chun added that it will not be possible for the ROK to initiate the SAM-X project until next year due to budgetary constraints. The ROK minister also admitted that the ROK is in the early stages of developing a missile interceptor. Chun denied, however, that the ROK is seeking Russia’s help in developing a missile that will replace its existing Hawks, which have a striking range of 40 to 60 kilometers. Asked whether the DPRK conducted a satellite launch or missile test-firing on August 31, Chun stated tersely that it was a missile. His remarks were in contrast to senior government officials’ assertions that the projectile was more likely a rocket launch that went awry. As for the threat the DPRK’s missiles pose to the rest of the world, Chun downplayed the threat, claiming that the DPRK’s missiles have poor accuracy. (Korea Times, “SAM-X PROGRAM TO BE DELAYED UNTIL 2000,” 09/15/98)

II. Russian Federation


1. Repercussions of DPRK Missile Test

Segodnya’s Pavel Felgengauer (“KOREAN SATELLITE CHANGES THE GLOBAL POWER SITUATION,” Moscow, 3, 09/08/98) commented on the DPRK satellite launching. In his opinion, the US knew about the medium range two-stage missile being created in the DPRK, but was not aware of its outer space capabilities, unable to believe that a half-starved nation might become another outer space power. Thus the US has forgotten the lessons of history, exemplified by their unpreparedness to the first Soviet satellite in 1957 and first Soviet man in space in 1961. This past May, with India and Pakistan having conducted their tests, the world nuclear weapons “non-proliferation regime collapsed. Now the same fate has befallen the missile technologies non-proliferation regime.” Segodnya’s author stressed that “it is North Korea, not Russia, that earnestly helps Iran to create missile weapons. Soon Iran and any Third World country will be able to buy an intercontinental missile capable of ‘reaching’ any city in Europe and North America. The matter is that Pyongyang has to feed its population somehow.” Segodnya’s author suggested a possible future scenario: The US no doubt would start deploying their own national anti-missile defense (AMD) and quit the AMD Treaty of 1972. The RF would then never ratify the Treaty on strategic weapons and would continue deployment of its “Topol-M” missile complexes specifically designed to break AMD systems. If a government comes to power in the RF again unable to feed its population, then the RF might start selling abroad some previously secret weapon technologies. Then the RF could well outstrip both the DPRK and even the PRC in the emerging market by putting on sale its systems capable of dealing with any AMD systems.

Izvestia’s Ivan Denisov (“PYONGYANG HAS BROKEN THROUGH INTO THE OUTER SPACE,” Moscow, 3, 09/08/98) reported that the Outer Space Objects Monitoring System of the RF officially confirmed the launching of a satellite by the DPRK on 08/31/98. The US, Japan, and the ROK are skeptical, but US officials “do not rule out a possibility that the task of the missile test was to launch a satellite into orbit.”

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Mikhail Paison (“A SUCCESS OF THE NORTH KOREAN MISSILE PROGRAM,” Moscow, 2, 09/08/98) commented on the DPRK satellite launching by saying, in particular, that DPRK missiles are “descendants” of Soviet “Scud” missiles. It added that the prevention of emigration of over 60 Russian missile engineers at the Moscow international airport in October of 1992 and the consequent expelling of a DPRK diplomat with the rank of general from Moscow are a good illustration of the present-day DPRK statements about the “one hundred percent domestic” nature of its missile efforts.

Izvestia’s Viktor Litovkin (“PYONGYANG LAUNCHED A ‘DUCK’, NOT A SATELLITE,” Moscow, 3, 09/10/98) reported that one of the commanders of the RF Strategic Purpose Missile Forces, who preferred to stay anonymous, told Izvestia that “there is no North Korean satellite in outer space above the planet Earth.” The SPMF is the only body in the RF capable of monitoring outer space, and it daily monitors over 7,000 natural and artificial objects with reflective space over 10 square centimeters. In general there are about 30,000 such objects. Only the US and the RF possess full catalogues of those and appropriate identification technologies. The commander said that among those 30,000 there is not a single one transmitting such songs as “Marshal Kim Il-sung” or “General Kim Jong-il.” He said that his colleagues and he kept silent for some time because they were confused by mass media referring to diplomatic sources and even the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration. RF military consultations with their US counterparts took time and now “our generals feel uncomfortable” to make official statements. In the commander’s words, the DPRK, by testing its missile without prior notification, broke international rules and therefore decided to resort to a “propaganda trick” with its alleged outer space satellite launching. “Hysteria” in neighboring countries also played up to the “panic rumors.” The developments also should be seen in the context of international military commercial rivalries regarding Japan’s and the ROK’s future choice of equipment for their anti-aircraft and anti-missile defenses, in which the RF arms-makers also participate with their S-300PMU-2 and S- 300V systems.


2. Kim Jong-il’s Ascension

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Fyodor Ivanov (“KIM JONG IL BECAME THE HEAD OF THE DPRK,” Moscow, 6, 09/08/98) reported that, according to a September 5 press release from the DPRK Embassy in Moscow, the deputies at the first session of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK elected Kim Jong-il as Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Committee, which is the supreme official position of leadership over political, military, and economic affairs of the country in general.

Izvestia’s Yuriy Savenkov (“KIM JONG IL DID NOT BECOME THE PRESIDENT, BUT RETAINS THE SUPREME AUTHORITY,” Moscow, 3, 09/09/98) reported that “Pyongyang … once again put to shame all analysts who forecast the naming of Kim Jong-il … as the President of the country.” Kim Jong-il last year became the General Secretary of the Korean Worker’s Party. By this September’s session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, he was already the Head of the DPRK Defense Committee, but the significant matter is that at the last session this position was proclaimed “the supreme position of the state.” Izvestia’s author wondered if that development meant a revocation of the Presidency in the DPRK, noting that there has been no confirmation regarding that. The lack of a presidential inauguration, in RF experts’ opinions, does not mean any attempt to undermine Kim Jong-il’s authority. On the contrary, the whole DPRK administrative system is adjusted to his personality. It is believed that psychologically he evidently prefers a hermit’s way of life, lacking his father’s charisma.


3. Political Opposition in the PRC

Izvestia’s Yuriy Savenkov (“CHINA MIGHT LEGALIZE OPPOSITION,” Moscow, 3, 09/12/98) reported that, according to Frank Lu, a representative of the Hong Kong Information Center of the Movement for Human Rights and Democracy in China, said that the PRC might let its dissenters form an opposition party. According to Lu, an official of the registration department in Zinan in the eastern part of the PRC told two dissenters trying to legalize the Chinese Democratic party that the PRC Government is considering the possibility of its registration. In general, however, no fundamental political changes are expected to take place soon in the PRC, as its leaders being too busy with structural economic reforms.


4. PRC-Japan Economic Talks

Izvestia’s Aleksandr Platkovskiy (“JAPAN HOPES FOR CHINA’S HELP,” Beijing, 3, 09/15/98) reported on talks in Beijing between Sun Zhenyu, PRC Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade, and Koichi Haraguchi, Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister. Izvestia’s author said that by sending Mr. Haraguchi to the PRC, Japan actually has admitted that “without China there could be no way out of the present financial crisis.” A devaluation of yuan resulting from the yen’s exchange rate fall would strike a devastating blow to Japan from which it would not recover, while the global financial system would disintegrate into autarchic parts.


5. RF Cabinet Changes

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Dmitriy Kosyrev (“AN OFFICIAL IN THE HIGHEST SENSE OF THE WORD,” Moscow, 1-2, 09/15/98) reported that “the lightning-fast appointment” of Igor Ivanov, First Deputy Foreign Minister of the RF till last Friday, as RF Foreign Minister testifies to at least to two things: new RF Premier Yevgeniy Primakov “obviously will for some time retain an increased control over foreign affairs, and his decisions in this sphere (even that of appointment of the RF Foreign Minister, which lies within RF President’s competence) are not contended by anybody. Secondly, Ivanov, the Foreign Ministry’s ‘shadow figure,’ will have to get acquainted with the unusual role as fast as possible.” From the very start it was clear that any “political appointment” (like Vladimir Lukin, for example) was out of question. For several years Igor Ivanov has actually been running “the whole diplomatic household.” No department heads at the Foreign Ministry have been appointed without his involvement. “One can say that all key diplomats are ‘his people’ presently.” Sometimes up to 900 documents a day passed through his hands.

Segodya’s Georgiy Bovt (“ONE’S OWN CADRES DETERMINE EVERYTHING,” Moscow, 2, 09/15/98) and Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Marina Volkova (“FIRST SESSION OF PRIMAKOV’S GOVERNMENT,” Moscow, 1, 09/15/98) reported that Yevgeniy Primakov, new Premier of the RF, held the first session of his Government in camera. Nothing was revealed about any decisions taken there. So far there’s been no key personnel changes in the Government, with two exceptions. Robert Markaryan, who worked together with Yevgeniy Primakov at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, the RF Foreign Intelligence Service, and the RF Foreign Ministry, now has become the head of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat. Yuriy Zubakov, Vice Admiral, who was a Deputy of Yevgeniy Primakov both at the FIS and the Foreign Ministry, where he ran the consulate and personnel affairs departments, now has become the Head of the Administrative Staff of the RF Cabinet of Ministers.


6. RF Pacific History Commemoration

Sovetskaya Rossiya (“350 YEARS AGO COSSACKS CAME TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN,” Vladivostok, 4, 09/10/98) reported that in Vladivostok, the Cossack Troops of Ussuriysk and Khabarovsk celebrated the 350th anniversary of Russian Cossacks coming to the Pacific shores for the first time. There are plans to establish a permanent museum dedicated to the subject in Vladivostok.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

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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