NAPSNet Daily Report 16 September, 1998

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 16 September, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, September 16, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-16-september-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Correction

I. United States

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1. DPRK Satellite Launch

US Defense Department Spokesman Kenneth Bacon (“PENTAGON REGULAR BRIEFING, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15,” USIA Transcript, 09/15/98) said that, while the US is still analyzing the information regarding the DPRK’s August 31 rocket launch, it now believes that the DPRK attempted to launch a satellite and failed. He said that the significant revelations from this effort were that the DPRK launched a multi-stage missile and was able to get the stages to separate, and that the third stage of the missile apparently was a solid fuel missile. Bacon stated, “When you add those two factors up, it means that they are experimenting with missiles, they have gone some way down toward developing a missile with a much longer range capability.” He added, “Having said all of that, it’s necessary to stress again what I started with, that their effort to launch a satellite failed and the launch did not work as planned so they clearly have some problems they have to overcome. We will be watching their efforts, if any, to overcome those problems very carefully.” He noted, “We’re talking about quite a small third stage without a lot of propellant capacity or capability.” He noted that the rocket launch demonstrated a potential for future missile developments “that could be approaching intercontinental ballistic missile range.” He added that the launch was “not a third missile under development that we weren’t aware of. I think the important point here is this missile was derivative of missiles they’ve had for some time.” He said that the US expected the DPRK to test a longer-range missile, but that the launch “failed to achieve what they set out to achieve.” He added that while an attempt to launch a satellite is “less worrisome than a point to point test … the fact of the matter is that it does display some enhanced capability or an intent to develop an enhanced capability on the part of the North Koreans.” Bacon pointed out that the 1994 Agreed Framework does not cover missiles, and that the US believes that the DPRK is adhering to the agreement.

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, SEPTEMBER 15,” USIA Transcript, 09/15/98) said that the US has been monitoring the DPRK’s efforts to develop longer- range missiles since the 1980s. He stated, “This is a development that worries us, that concerns us, given North Korea’s behavior in the past. Given their proclivity to sell such equipment to the highest bidder, we have concerns and we regard it [as] dangerous, as does Japan.” He added, “In the early 1990s we identified a two-stage missile under development that we called the Taepodong I. On August 31st the North Koreans attempted to place a very small satellite into orbit with what appeared to be a Taepodong I with a third stage. Although the launch of the missile was expected for some time, its use with the third stage and the attempt to orbit a very small satellite was not.” Rubin said, “Regardless of the range that this missile could fly or the question of whether it had a third stage for the purpose of satellite, the fact that that are working on such a long-range missile capability — in the range of over 1500 kilometers — is a worry to us…. On the other hand, some of the suggestion that this means that they have a long-range missile capable of attacking the United States we think is significantly overstated.” He argued, “To show that they would have a capability able to threaten the United States, they would have to demonstrate two things to us that they have not yet done: one, that they’ve mastered the problems of a third stage bearing in mind that this third stage broke up during the test; and two, that they’ve mastered the unique, daunting challenges of a re-entry vehicle launched to ranges in the 5,000-kilometer range, re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere and hitting a target without burning up, all of which is an extremely difficult exercise, which they didn’t even try to do.” Rubin added, “To the extent that North Korea is spending its scarce resources on these dangerous missile programs, we want to sit down at the table and talk to them about restraints not only on their indigenous missiles, but on those they would be prepared to sell as part of our goal to do what we reasonably can do to stop the spread of dangerous missiles and weaponry around the world.”

White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry (“WHITE HOUSE DAILY BRIEFING, SEPTEMBER 15, 1998,” USIA Transcript, 09/15/98) said that the DPRK’s recent attempted satellite launch is a serious matter, and the US intends to pursue it in its discussions with the DPRK regarding missile technology. McCurry added, however, “I think that for us to see a proximate threat about the military capacity of the missile that would be launched, the North Koreans would have had to demonstrate two things that are not yet evidenced to us. First, they would have had to master the problems of dealing with third-stage technology, and there is some evidence that this third stage broke up. Two, they would have to master the unique and fairly daunting challenges of returning a re-entry vehicle back to land, re-entering the Earth atmosphere to hit a target without burning up. And given what they attempted to do, we don’t think that that’s something that was in the scope or parameters of the current program.”

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2. Implementation of Agreed Framework

The Associated Press (Tom Raum, “GOP TURNS UP HEAT ON FOREIGN POLICY,” Washington, 09/16/98) reported that the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee voted to drop US$35 million in funding for fuel oil for the DPRK from a foreign aid bill. Representative David Obey, D- Wis., said of the vote, “This is mindbogglingly reckless.”

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, SEPTEMBER 15,” USIA Transcript, 09/15/98) said that the US and the DPRK plan to hold a meeting, which has yet to be scheduled, regarding the implementation of the 1994 Agreed Framework. Rubin added, “The purpose of the meeting on implementation of the Agreed Framework is to discuss our insistence on getting access to potential, suspicious nuclear well, definitely suspicious nuclear facilities. We want to get access to those sites and they understand what we want. The meeting, when it is scheduled, would be designed to set a process in train by which we could get such access.” Rubin also said that the US, the ROK, and Japan met Monday to discuss the continued funding of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and other issues relating to the DPRK. Rubin stated that there was no outcome from the talks, adding, “What they are doing is talking through the issues in preparation for this trilateral meeting of Secretary Albright and the South Korean and Japanese Foreign Ministers.” He said that the US has made a commitment to try to put KEDO back on track. Rubin stated, “It’s up to the Japanese to describe their position on this; but we fully expect that everyone will get together and get this project implemented, provided the North Koreans abide by the agreement, because we all share the same goal. The same goal is to make sure that North Korea doesn’t become a nuclear threat to East Asia or the world.”

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3. UN Response to DPRK Rocket Launch

The Associated Press (Sau Chan, “U.N. URGES AGAINST N.KOREA LAUNCHES,” United Nations, 09/15/98) and Reuters (Anthony Goodman, “U.N. COUNCIL REGRETS N.KOREA’S RECENT TEST LAUNCH,” United Nations, 09/15/98) reported that the UN Security Council on Tuesday expressed regret that the DPRK carried out its recent launch without notifying the countries of the region. A statement read by council President Hans Dahlgren of Sweden said, “The Security Council members consider that such an activity on the part of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea poses harm to the fishing and shipping activities in the region and runs counter to the promotion of confidence among the countries in the region.” The statement appealed to the DPRK “to refrain from such activities.” It also called on all countries concerned in the region to show restraint and refrain from any action that might lead to increased tension. It also recognized “the legitimate right of any state to develop space programs for peaceful purposes, provided that they are transparent and compatible with” international safety norms. Japanese UN ambassador Hisashi Owada said that Japan had “no intention whatsoever to take any confrontational position” regarding the DPRK. He stated, “The purpose of bringing this matter to the Security Council is for the Security Council to take a firm and clear position on the issues involved in a correct way, so that there is not going to be a recurrence of events which could exacerbate the situation.”

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4. DPRK-Japan Relations

Reuters (“JAPAN WILL NOT REVIEW MEASURES AGAINST N.KOREA,” Tokyo, 09/16/98) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said on Wednesday that Japan had no plans to review the measures it has taken against the DPRK for its recent rocket launch. Komura stated, “Whether or not a satellite was attached to it, the rocket was launched and flew over Japan. What’s more, they did it without advance warning and notice.”

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA WARNS JAPAN ON ROCKETS,” Tokyo, 09/16/98) reported that the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday carried a statement by the Foreign Ministry warning Japan that any attempt to use the DPRK’s recent rocket launch as a pretext to revive militarism will have “catastrophic” consequences. The statement said that relations between the countries have deteriorated to the point of placing them “on the verge of war.” A radio broadcast monitored in Japan said that the DPRK intends to develop a commercial satellite for sale abroad. It stated, “Starting with the food problem, we must solve our economic problems alone … by aggressively progressing in the global advanced technology market which includes commercial satellite launches.”

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5. ROK-Japan Relations

The Associated Press (“S. KOREA LEADER SEEKS JAPAN APOLOGY,” Tokyo, 09/16/98) reported that Kim Suk-kyu, ROK ambassador to Japan, said that the ROK is hoping for an apology for Japan’s colonial rule of Korea when ROK President Kim Dae-jung visits Japan next month. Ambassador Kim stated, “To put it simply, the South Korean people were victims. He added that President Kim “is hoping Japan will offer a heartfelt apology and reflect on its history.”

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6. US-Japan Talks

US Defense Department Spokesman Kenneth Bacon (“PENTAGON REGULAR BRIEFING, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15,” USIA Transcript, 09/15/98) said that US Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will meet their Japanese counterparts on Saturday in New York. Bacon said that the two sides “will talk about general security issues. They will certainly talk about regional issues. They’ll talk about the importance of moving forward with work in Japan on the defense guidelines, full implementation of the defense guidelines which have been negotiated and agreed to by the two sides.” He added, “I’m sure they’ll also talk about theater missile defense and some of the challenges posed by developments on the Korean Peninsula.”

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7. US-PRC Military Talks

US Defense Department Spokesman Kenneth Bacon (“PENTAGON REGULAR BRIEFING, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15,” USIA Transcript, 09/15/98) said that US Secretary of Defense William Cohen and PRC Defense Minister Zhang Wannian met Tuesday to discuss the DPRK’s missile development, among other issues. He added, “They also talked about the importance of maintaining the framework agreement which is designed to stop the North Koreans from restarting a nuclear program. General Zhang said that China had a strong commitment to stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region as a whole. He repeated his earlier statement that China is adamantly opposed to nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.” Regarding Taiwan, Bacon said that General Zhang said that the US-PRC relationship hinges on the proper handling of the Taiwan situation. He added, “Secretary Cohen pointed out that the United States has a one China policy and that part of that policy calls for the peaceful resolution of differences about Taiwan.”

The New York Times (“U.S., CHINA SOLIDIFY PLANS FOR MILITARY EXERCISES,” Washington, 09/16/98) reported that US Secretary of Defense William Cohen and his PRC Defense Minister Zhang Wannian agreed Tuesday that the PRC would move ahead with modest joint military exercises and exchanges with the US next year. Cohen announced that PRC officers would take part in exercises in 1999 simulating military responses to natural disasters or humanitarian crises and would send a naval ship to visit the US. The two men also agreed to a series of exchanges of military students and officers.

US Secretary of Defense William Cohen and PRC Defense Minister Zhang Wannian (“JOINT STATEMENT ON MILITARY ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION,” USIA Text, Washington, 09/15/98) issued a joint statement which said that the US Department of Defense (DOD) and the PRC Ministry of National Defense (MND) have agreed to cooperate on military environmental protection. The statement said, “The US DOD and China’s MND intend to exchange technical representative groups to study military environmental protection, and intend to discuss signing a technical document on exchange of information on military environmental protection.”

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8. ROK-DPRK Sports Exchanges

Reuters (Mark Dake, “IOC TO SEND ENVOY TO NORTH KOREA TO SPUR TIES,” Seoul, 09/16/98) reported that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it would send IOC executive board member Thomas Bach of Germany to the DPRK on Friday to initiate friendly sports exchanges between the ROK and the DPRK. Bach will hold talks until September 21 with the DPRK’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) in Pyongyang. Bach said at an IOC meeting in Seoul Wednesday that the trip had been planned for some time under the framework of the Olympic Solidarity movement, but the idea to discuss inter-Korean sports exchanges was a recent one, urged by IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch. He stated, “Mr. Samaranch thought it would be a good idea to follow up the invitation with talks to get the two Koreas together in friendly sports.” He added, “We are open, we are ready to organize the competition at any place in the world. Lausanne would be an ideal place. We’ll see if we can get an agreement in principle.” Kim Un-yong, ROK Olympic Committee president and IOC executive board member, said he was surprised and pleased that Bach would be talking with the DPRK’s NOC. He added that the two Korean Olympic committees had had good ties for years.

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9. South Asian Nuclear Tests

The Los Angeles Times (Robert Lee Hotz, “PAKISTAN, INDIA NUCLEAR CLAIMS CALLED INFLATED BY TIMES SCIENCE WRITER,” 09/16/98) reported that Terry Wallace, an expert at the University of Arizona on the use of seismology to analyze nuclear explosions, published a paper in Seismological Research Letters which claims that both India and Pakistan exaggerated the number and size of their nuclear tests earlier this year. Wallace’s study concluded that two of the five nuclear explosions announced by the Indian government may never have taken place, while only two in the series of nuclear tests that the Pakistan government announced actually involved real nuclear explosions. Based on his analysis of data from 22 seismic monitoring stations around the world, Wallace determined that the May 11 explosions in India had a combined force of no more than 15 kilotons. He noted, “Conventional wisdom states that 10 to 15 kilotons would be too small to have been a full test of a thermonuclear weapon.” He added that there is no seismic evidence that the May 13 nuclear explosions announced by India took place at all. He calculated that the Pakistani explosions involved bombs that totaled only 9 to 12 kilotons in the first round of tests on May 28 and 4 to 6 kilotons in the second on May 30. Wallace stated, “This is quite clearly a case where governments tested for a political reason rather than scientific reasons, so we have to be suspicious of what they say.” One anonymous US State Department official responded, “We were suspicious from the beginning about the claims by both countries.” He added, however, “We won’t argue with experts like these about the number of tests. What is important to us is that there were tests by both sides. That’s the issue we’re trying to deal with.” Geophysicist Hans Hartse at Los Alamos in New Mexico said of the study, “Essentially my view and the view of my colleagues here is that it is well-grounded work. We find it all perfectly acceptable and tend to be in agreement.” Princeton University physicist Frank von Hippel said that the study “seems pretty convincing to me.” However, Los Alamos geophysicist Alan Cogbill stated, “Seismologically, all we can make is a statement about the yield of an explosion and its location. We can’t make an inference about the type of explosion it might have been.” Similarly, Physicist Ray E. Kidder, a former weapons designer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said that despite the relatively small yield of the Indian blast, it could have been the product of a thermonuclear device.

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10. Indian Adherence to CTBT

The Associated Press (“INDIA WANTS NUCLEAR-ENERGY TECH FOR SIGNING TEST- BAN TREATY,” Madras, 09/16/98) and Reuters (Suresh Seshadri, “INDIA’S VAJPAYEE SEEKS ACCOMMODATION OVER CTBT,” Madras, 09/16/98) reported that Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said Wednesday that, in exchange for signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, India wants greater access to dual-use nuclear-energy technology. Vajpayee stated, “I know the treaty is not going to be changed. But certain other arrangements will be made to facilitate our work … particularly with regard to transfer of high technology. We are having talks [with the US] on this and other fronts.” He added, “Whatever data we required we have collected; there is no need for any further tests. That is one of the reasons why our attitude (toward the treaty) has changed.”

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11. India-PRC Spying Row

The Associated Press (Kishore Pathania, “SUSPECTED SPIES ARRESTED IN INDIA,” Chandigarh, 09/16/98) reported that Indian Superintendent of Police K.C. Sadyal said Wednesday that two men believed to be PRC spies were arrested late Tuesday at the seat of the Dalai Lama’s government-in- exile in northern India. The men had maps, sketches, and other documents relating to the security ring around the Tibetan leader at the time of his arrest. The Dalai Lama’s security is provided by Indian troops. In Beijing, the PRC Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment on the arrests.

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12. Russian Missile Test

The Associated Press (“RUSSIA LAUNCHES TEST MISSILE,” Moscow, 09/16/98) reported that ITAR-Tass and Interfax news agencies cited Russia’s Strategic Missile Command as saying that it successfully launched an RS- 12M Topol intercontinental ballistic missile Wednesday in a military exercise. The reports said that the missile was launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia and hit a target in the Kamchatka area in the Russian Far East. Interfax quoted the command’s press service as saying, “This launch once again convincingly proved the high combat readiness of the force and the reliability and technical readiness of intercontinental ballistic missiles of this type.”

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13. US Military Exercises in Philippines

The Associated Press (Oliver Teves, “PHILIPPINES MARK US BASE REJECTION,” Manila, 09/16/98) reported that demonstrators in the Philippines marked the anniversary Wednesday of the rejection of US military bases seven years ago with rallies attacking an agreement to allow a resumption of US war exercises. Hundreds of protesters gathered at the US Embassy to protest the proposed Visiting Forces Agreement.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK Satellite Launch

Backing away from its initial assessment, the US State Department said Monday that the object launched by the DPRK in the Western Pacific two weeks ago was a satellite and not a missile. However, it said, the military implications could be ominous for the DPRK’s neighbors either way. “We have concluded that the DPRK did attempt to orbit a very small satellite. We also have concluded the satellite failed to achieve orbit,” US State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said. The administration had tended to ignore official DPRK statements that the August 31 launch involved a satellite. This was partly because US analysts had not observed any object orbiting the Earth that correlated to the orbital data the DPRK provided in its public statements. Rubin said that the military implications are similar whether the test involved a missile or a satellite. He also added that the US regards the test as “a threat to US allies, friends and forces in the region.” (Korea Times, “NORTH KOREAN LAUNCH WAS A SATELLITE, NOT A MISSILE: US,” 09/16/98)

The DPRK’s Pyongyang radio claimed Tuesday that its satellite, “Bright Star 1” is still in orbit and completed its one-hundredth circle of the earth between 8:20 am and 11:07 am on Sunday. The claim states that the satellite will be visible to the naked eye as it crosses the Korean peninsula in early October. ROK scientists at the Korean institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) dismiss the claim as propaganda, citing the fact that the DPRK only stated the satellites highest and lowest altitudes and not the orbital path. Additionally, they say that the DPRK has added eight minutes to the orbit time, making it 173 minutes, which is impossible as orbits decay and do not extend. (Chosun Ilbo, “NK CLAIMS SATELLITE STILL IN ORBIT,” 09/15/98)

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2. DPRK Tourism Project

Amid growing worries over the possible delay of the Mt. Kumgang tour, Kim Yoon-kyu, head of the Hyundai Group’s DPRK business team, left Seoul for Beijing Tuesday for talks with DPRK officials. While staying in Beijing, Kim will meet with representatives from the DPRK’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee to discuss pending issues, including the dispatch of construction workers and material to the DPRK and the launch of Hyundai’s first cruise to Mt. Kumgang. The DPRK asked Hyundai to delay sending equipment and construction workers for renovating pier facilities in Changjon Port, citing a lack of preparation. The exact date of when construction workers and material will be allowed to leave for the DPRK and of Chung’s visit will be revealed once Kim returns later this week, he said. Hyundai had planned to launch its first cruise to Mt. Kumgang on September 25, but the possibility that the unprecedented tour will be postponed is growing. Hyundai tentatively plans to charge about US$1,000 per person for the four-night-five-day tour, of which the DPRK will receive US$300. Hyundai anticipates that the DPRK would make up to US$150 million a year through the Mt. Kumgang tour project. (Korea Herald, “HYUNDAI TO RESUME TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA ON TOUR PROJECT,” 09/16/98)

III. Correction

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1. US-DPRK Liaison Offices

Well-informed sources in the US State Department have told the Nautilus Institute that there is no truth to recent report in the Chosun Ilbo that the US and the DPRK have agreed to establish temporary liaison offices in each other’s capitals. [See US-DPRK Liaison Offices, in the ROK Section of the September 14 Daily Report.] The sources said that no such agreement has been reached.

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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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