NAPSNet Daily Report 17 August, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 17 August, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, August 17, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-17-august-1999/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Russian Federation

I. United States

1. US Policy toward DPRK

The Los Angeles Times (Jim Mann, “U.S. MAY DROP TRADE BAN FOR N. KOREA DEAL,” Washington, 08/13/99) reported that US officials and DPRK experts said that the US is offering to remove the DPRK from the provisions of the Trading With the Enemy Act if the DPRK agrees not to test its Taepodong 2 missile. [Ed. note: See http://www.nautilus.org/library/security/references/sanctions.html for a fact sheet on US sanctions against the DPRK.] An unnamed US official stated, “For regional peace and stability, the first thing we’ve got to do is to stop a launch.” Asked whether the DPRK has confirmed that it would test its missile, an unnamed senior US official said, “They never give an answer on anything. They are continuous hagglers.” The US proposal only involves the lifting of the trade embargo, and not the other elements in former US Defense Secretary William Perry’s “package deal,” such as moves toward establishing diplomatic relations. The DPRK has not yet accepted the new offer. The senior US official stated, “We’ll be laying things out publicly [including the Perry report] when the Congress reconvenes [next month].” US officials argued that avoiding the missile test is an important objective in itself because it would calm growing anxieties in other Asian countries. However, Robert Manning of the Council on Foreign Relations stated, “The possibility of a [missile] test has been hyped up too much. The big issue is whether these missiles are operational or deployed.” Douglas Paal of the Asia Pacific Policy Center argued, “Weapons systems can be deployed without testing. With computer simulation, less and less has to be tested…. The administration is taking on the immediate problem without dealing with the long-term problem.” [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service on August 13.]

US State Department Spokesman Jamie Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, AUGUST 16, 1999,” USIA Transcript, 08/16/99) said that the US is aware of DPRK Secretary of the Workers’ Party Kim Yong-son’s statement on CNN on Monday that the DPRK is willing to defuse the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. Rubin stated, “There is a window of opportunity to improve relations…. We certainly hope that this statement indicates that North Korea is prepared to seize the opportunity for improved relations with the United States. But we will have to continue our bilateral discussions.” He added, “We do certainly hope that the North Koreans choose the benefits that would accrue to their people, their country and their relations with the United States, from forgoing [missile] testing and working with us through the missile talks that we hope to schedule later this year.”

2. US Troops in ROK

The Los Angeles Times carried a commentary by Hwal Woong Lee, Fellow at Korea 2000 in Los Angeles, (“NORTH WON’T DEAL WHILE U.S. TROOPS STAY,” 08/16/99) which said the main problem between the US and the DPRK is the presence of US forces in the ROK. The author stated, “To North Korea, U.S. forces in South Korea are foreign intruders on their homeland. These are the same military forces that invaded and tried to exterminate them in 1950. The U.S. then sabotaged the 1954 Geneva Conference in order to stymie Article IV of the Korean Armistice Agreement, which envisioned the withdrawal of foreign troops from Korea. Moreover, the U.S. had, in breach of the armistice agreement, brought and kept in South Korea a substantial amount of nuclear weapons until it removed them in 1991.” The author argued, “If the U.S. cannot live with a North Korea armed with weapons of mass destruction, and still wants to have its forces stationed in East Asia, it needs to come up with a new comprehensive policy designed to realize the following: withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea to be implemented concurrently with substantial arms reductions on the Korean peninsula, including North Korea’s renunciation of missile programs; creation of a neutralized, disarmed and unified Korea; and arrangement for a regional security mechanism where U.S. forces can play a leading role for safeguarding peace in East Asia in cooperation with other countries of the region.”

3. DPRK Missile Test

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “HIGH-TECH RADAR WILL NOT TRACK N. KOREA MISSILE,” 08/17/99, 1) reported that US Defense Department officials said that chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Henry H. Shelton decided on Friday to reject an appeal from the commander of the US Space Command in Colorado to use Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) radar to monitor the DPRK’s expected Taepodong missile launch. Shelton rejected the request because of costs and because using the radar now might slow its development. An anonymous senior defense official stated, “By and large, you don’t get enough benefit to justify the costs.” However, some unnamed military officials said that monitoring the Taepodong with the THAAD radar would be an important test against a “real world threat.” They added that the monitoring could also test the radar’s capability of providing early warning of a missile launch against the US and provide field training for the Army units that will eventually be deployed with the completed THAAD system. Unnamed critics said that US arms-control officials opposed sending the radar because it might upset Russia. The article quoted Kim Yong-sun, secretary of the DPRK Workers Party, as saying, “If the visitor comes and offers us a cake, we’ll respond with a cake. But if somebody comes with a sword or a knife, we’ll respond with a knife.” Scott Snyder, a Korea analyst at the US Institute of Peace, stated, “This could mean North Korea is ready to pursue diplomacy but also still plans to carry out the missile test. This is a regime that needs crises, that relies on crises, to carry out its diplomatic strategy.” [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service on August 17.]

The Los Angeles Times carried a commentary by Leon V. Sigal, a Consultant at the Social Science Research Council, (“HOW TO HALT THE NORTH’S MISSILE TEST,” 08/16/99) which said that the DPRK threat to test a new long- range missile is a result of US failure to follow through with its promise to ease sanctions. The author stated, “North Korea has been trying to improve relations with the United States by mutual accommodation, but the U.S. has been unwilling to reciprocate.” He added, “Last May’s visit to Pyongyang by William Perry, former secretary of Defense, has opened the way to a deal that could bring an end to North Korean missile testing and mark the start of reconciliation between former foes, but only if we keep our end of the nuclear bargain by relaxing sanctions.” The author argued, “If North Korea was determined to develop, deploy and export longer-range ballistic missiles, as some believe, it should have been testing its No Dong, Taepodong 1 and Taepodong 2 missiles for several years. Yet the North did not conduct any tests from May 1993 until August 1998. That suggests that North Korea is restraining itself in the hopes of concluding a missile deal with the U.S.” He continued, “Unfortunately, Pyongyang has learned that threats are the only way to get Washington to negotiate in earnest–a lesson Washington keeps reinforcing by its own inaction, absent such threats…. The United States is now offering to end sanctions, but it has yet to take the modest steps that the North was long led to expect: unfreezing assets seized in the Korean War, allowing commercial loans from American banks and licensing private investment projects in mining and agriculture.” He concluded, “North Korea’s expressed interest in a missile deal is a sign of its larger purpose: to end its enmity with the United States…. Without meaningful political and economic engagement, the North is unlikely to agree to meaningful military disengagement.”

4. DPRK-UNC Talks

Reuters (“N.KOREA PROPOSES TALKS TO SETTLE BORDER DISPUTE,” Seoul, 08/17/99), the Associated Press (“N KOREA, UN GENLS MEET ON BORDER DISPUTE; NO AGREEMENT,” Seoul, 08/17/99), and Agence France-Presse (“NORTH KOREA, UN GENERALS HOLD MEETING AMID MISSILE THREAT,” Seoul, 08/17/99) reported that the DPRK on Tuesday proposed working-level talks to settle a border dispute between the two Koreas in the Yellow Sea, but the UN Command (UNC) rejected the proposal. The DPRK’s Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) stated, “At the meeting held today, the U.S. forces side insisted on its unreasonable argument, turning its back on our realistic and reasonable proposal.” It added, “Out of the nature of the issue, South Korean army personnel may participate in the contact.” The DPRK also proposed the meetings be held every 10 days and be recorded on camera. KCNA quoted a senior DPRK army delegate as saying, “There is a limit to our efforts to settle the issue through dialogue…. An option does not always belong to the U.S. forces side only.” The official added, “The KPA (Korean People’s Army) intends to settle the issue … through negotiations. But it will take its legitimate options if the U.S. forces side turns to military adventure, ignoring its efforts.” The UNC said in a statement that it had repeated its contention that the border was an issue for the two Koreas to discuss under the Joint Military Committee established in 1991. It stated, “The primary objectives of the meeting were to reduce tensions in the West (Yellow) Sea and encourage South-North negotiations in keeping with the 1991 South-North accord.” The UNC said that both sides agreed to exchange an ROK barge washed up near the DPRK side of the Han River estuary, and the remains of a DPRK soldier washed down to the ROK during recent floods. Before the meeting, Yonhap News Agency said that the UNC was expected to propose a signal system be arranged between the two Koreas so that their navies could avoid unnecessary clashes. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service on August 17.]

5. ROK-Japan Talks

The Associated Press (“S KOREAN MINISTER TO VISIT JAPAN OVER N KOREAN MISSILE,” Seoul, 08/17/99) reported that ROK government officials said Tuesday that ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Hong Soon-young will visit Japan from Sunday to Tuesday next week to discuss joint strategies to counter missile threats from the DPRK. During his visit, Hong will meet Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka. Hong will also pay a courtesy call to Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. The ROK Foreign Ministry said in a news release, “The two countries will consult on ways of preventing North Korea from launching a missile and (on) countermeasures when and if North Korea goes ahead with its missile launch.”

6. Japanese Nuclear Development

Nucleonics Week (Mark Hibbs, “TOKYO WON’T REACT TO DPRK THREAT BY LEAVING NPT, OFFICIALS ASSERT,” Bonn, 08/12/99) reported that Japanese officials denied recent allegations that Japan is shifting toward development or possession of nuclear weapons. The article noted that former US State Department official Morton Halperin said in a recent article, “Japanese governments … quietly put Japan into the position to be able to quickly develop nuclear weapons and sophisticated missile delivery systems. No one should take for granted the Japanese commitment over the long run to refrain from developing nuclear weapons.” [Ed. note: This article is available at: http://www.nautilus.org/nukepolicy/Halperin/index.html ] At a press conference on August 9, researchers for the National Security News Service claimed they had evidence that Japan had done development work related to a nuclear weapon capability. They added, “If Japan does deploy nuclear weapons, they will be built with U.S.-origin materials very likely refined in France or the United Kingdom.” On August 10, Atsuyuki Suzuki, an advisor to the Japanese Atomic Energy Commission, attributed such concerns to the recent downturn in negotiations between the US and the DPRK. Suzuki said that there has been no domestic media interest in Japan’s nuclear posture in recent weeks, and suggested that “foreign speculation” about Japanese policy had prompted recent concern. Suzuki said that Japan would adhere to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) “if the world’s nuclear weapons states treat Japan as a virtual nuclear weapons state.” He said that, during G-7 summit conferences, both Japan and Germany have asserted that they “should be treated as equal partners in security affairs” with nuclear weapons states. However, one unnamed US diplomatic source said that if “better or more equal treatment” of Japan by the US and other nuclear weapons states would strengthen Japan’s nonproliferation commitment, “that would strongly imply that (Japan’s) commitment right now is not as firm as it should or could be.” He stated, “For Japan, the only document that stands in the way of nuclear weapons is the NPT.” On August 10, Hiroyoshi Kurihara, executive director of Japan’s Nuclear Material Control Center, the organization responsible for keeping track of Japan’s nuclear materials inventories, stated, “Japan is not hoarding any plutonium, we are not producing any weapons-grade plutonium in our reactors.” He added that there is “not even the theoretical possibility to produce weapons-grade plutonium in Japan as long as the Monju breeder is off- line.” He stated, “Even if the situation in North Korea were to deteriorate, if they were to test another missile and get (nuclear) weapons, the risks for Japan” to develop nuclear weapons “would just be too great.”

7. US-Japan Theater Missile Defense

Reuters (Charles Aldinger, “U.S., JAPAN TO BEGIN MISSILE DEFENSE EFFORT,” Washington, 08/17/99) and the New York Times (Calvin Sims, “U.S. AND JAPAN AGREE TO JOINT RESEARCH ON MISSILE DEFENSE,” Tokyo, 08/17/99) reported that the US Defense Department said that the US-Japan memorandum signed in Tokyo on Monday provided for the two countries to share technology to speed development of the US Navy’s new SM-3 Standard Missile. One anonymous senior US defense official stated, “It’s a modest but formal first step — not an agreement to build or deploy a joint missile defense, but a way to begin sharing technology right away.” US officials said Monday that the agreement became classified immediately on its signing at Japan’s insistence. US officials said that Japan could provide key input in the area of electronics, while the US was more advanced in areas such as rocket propulsion and “hit-to-kill” warheads. A spokesman for Japan’s Foreign Ministry stated, “It would be difficult to say that this agreement has no relation to the very tense situation that is unfolding with North Korea.” He added, “We expect this joint effort to yield something fruitful and improve our capability, but we cannot discuss issues of deployment as we are still in the very early stages.” An unnamed US government researcher in military technology stated, “Having a technological giant like Japan involved makes the project more convincing to the American people. It will be difficult to terminate the program, no matter how unpromising it is, if other countries have committed so much money to it.” The researcher added, however, “Technologically it can’t work, and it has been proved to be a failure. The reason is that if your opponent launches one missile, the system can destroy it, but only one missile. What happens if you launch 10 or 20 missiles?” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service on August 17.]

8. US-ROK Military Exercise

The Associated Press (Christopher Torchia, “SOUTH KOREA CONDUCTS AIR RAID DRILL,” Seoul, 08/17/99) and Reuters (“SEOUL BUSINESS DISTRICT MADE WAR ZONE IN EXERCISES,” Seoul, 08/17/99) reported that the ROK military on Tuesday simulated a chemical attack on Seoul as part of annual US-ROK joint military exercises. An editorial in the DPRK’s Workers Daily stated, “The warmongers are asserting that the joint military exercises are for ‘defense’ purpose, but they are mobilizing huge aggression armed forces, enough to undertake a war, timed to coincide with their anti-DPRK campaign over its non-existent ‘missile threat’.”

The Associated Press (“MILITARY EXERCISE CONCERNS CHINA,” Beijing, 08/17/99) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao on Tuesday expressed concern about the joint US-ROK military exercise. Zhu stated, “We hope relevant parties will do more to ease tensions on the Peninsula and refrain from exacerbating the situation.”

9. PRC 50th Anniversary

Reuters (Andrew Browne, “CHINA SHOWS OFF MIGHT AMID TAIWAN CRISIS,” Beijing, 08/17/99), The Wall Street Journal (Ian Johnson, “BEIJING PARADE GIVES NEW MEANING TO FOLLOWING CHINA’S PARTY LINE,” 08/17/99) and The Washington Post (Michael Laris, “CHINA SHOWS OFF ITS MILITARY MIGHT,” Beijing, 08/17/99, A10) reported that the PRC sent a parade of tanks, missiles, and artillery through Beijing on Monday in a rehearsal for a parade to mark the PRC’s 50th anniversary on October 1. One unnamed Western diplomat said of the parade, “They are saying ‘nobody kicks sand in China’s face’.” The diplomat added, however, that the practice “didn’t appear to be very well organized. There was quite a lot of what looked like almost traffic accidents.” An unnamed Asian diplomat commented, “It could be a signal to Taiwan because the mainland’s options are limited.” Another Western diplomat said that the PRC was “most likely working on parade logistics now and saving the big guns for October 1.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service on August 17.]

10. Taiwan Military Drills

The Associated Press (“AMID TENSION WITH CHINA, TAIWAN ROLLS OUT UPGRADED TANKS,” Chi Chi Township, 08/17/99) reported that Taiwan on Tuesday tested four upgraded M-41D tanks at the Army Readiness Ordinance Center. Lei Yuan-chiao, deputy army commander in chief, stated afterwards, “We can now be assured of the effectiveness of the upgrade.” The demonstration also included M-113 armored personnel carriers and various anti- tank rocket launchers. Taiwanese military officials said that the tank drills had been planned for months and were not related to increased tension with the PRC. Officials said that the tanks will be sent to the island groups of Kinmen and Matsu near the PRC coast.

11. PRC Threat to Taiwan

The Wall Street Journal (Russell Flannery, “TAIWAN CONCEDES CHINA HAS POWER TO SEIZE ISLANDS,” Taipei, 08/17/99) reported that Taiwan military analysts said that if the PRC would probably be able to seize one or more of the islands along its southeastern shore that are controlled by Taiwan. Parris Chang, a Taiwan opposition party legislator, stated, “From a purely military point of view, they are indefensible. If China wanted to take them, they could do so.” Joseph J. Collins, a senior fellow in political-military studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, stated, “The islands within five miles [eight kilometers] of the Chinese shores are relatively easy targets for military operations.” Andrew Yang, secretary general of Taiwan’s Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies, stated, “I don’t think we have the capability to defend the islands and resist the attacks if China goes all out.” He added that the US would not be likely to directly get involved in fighting unless Taiwan island itself was attacked. US Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, governor of Texas, suggested that he would support the use of force to protect Taiwan. Bush said that US President Bill Clinton “sent bad signals to China that say, ‘Well, if you decide to move aggressively against Taiwan, we won’t act, necessarily’.” Shu Chiu Chiang, director of the Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies at Nanhua University in Taipei, said that rather than a full-scale attack, the PRC could also try to seize one of the offshore islands with a relatively small number of forces, take prisoners, and use them to try to weaken Taiwan’s resolve. He said that the result “would be a limited war, but it could be very effective.” Tyson Fu, director of the Strategic Studies Institute at Taiwan’s Armed Forces University, stated, “We’ve looked at” hostage situations and “We’re very confident.”

Reuters (Benjamin Kang Lim, “CHINA’S JIANG WALKS TIGHTROPE OVER TAIWAN,” Beijing, 08/17/99) reported that Western and Chinese analysts said on Tuesday that elements in the PRC military are urging PRC President Jiang Zemin to use force to prevent Taiwan from moving towards independence, but such military action would harm relations with the US and other Western nations. One unnamed Western envoy stated, “Doing nothing is risky. But everything they could do — lobbing missiles or a blockade — is risky too.” An unnamed Asian diplomat stated, “If Jiang waits until after Taiwan gets a new president next May to make his move, he would have to put up with a year of criticism for not doing anything.” The diplomat added, however, that talk of military action in PRC and Hong Kong newspapers is “psychological warfare. Once military action is started, there’s uncertainty where it would lead.” Military and diplomatic sources said that the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army is due to hold maneuvers, including a beach landing, in the coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian later this month. Chinese sources said that hundreds of generals had written to the Communist Party leadership demanding a tougher stand against Taiwan. One unnamed military source said, “Jiang Zemin is not the most popular person in the military right now.”

12. US Ship Visits to Hong Kong

The Associated Press (Tara Suilen Duffy, “US NAVY VESSEL ALLOWED IN HONG KONG,” Hong Kong, 08/16/99) reported that Barbara Zigli, spokeswoman for the US Consulate General in Hong Kong, said Monday that the PRC had granted permission for a US Navy vessel to visit Hong Kong for the first time since the NATO bombing of the PRC Embassy in Yugoslavia. The PRC government granted permission for the USNS Tippecanoe, a support ship staffed mostly by civilians who deliver fuel to warships at sea, to make a routine port call September 7-10, but it rejected requests for port calls by a US Navy amphibious landing ship and a frigate. Earlier Monday, an Italian warship docked in the territory’s harbor in what was apparently the first Hong Kong port call by a naval vessel from a NATO member country since the embassy bombing.

13. Alleged PRC Espionage

The Washington Post (Vernon Loeb, “EX-OFFICIAL: BOMB LAB CASE LACKS EVIDENCE,” 08/17/99, A01) reported that Robert S. Vrooman, the former chief of counterintelligence at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said Monday that he does not believe that the PRC obtained top-secret information about US nuclear warheads from Los Alamos or any other laboratory belonging to the Department of Energy. Vrooman said that the stolen data could have come from documents distributed to “hundreds of locations throughout the U.S. government” as well as to private defense contractors. Vrooman, who was recently targeted by US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson for disciplinary action, stated, “This case was screwed up because there was nothing there — it was built on thin air.” He added that Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee “was identified by the Department of Energy’s Office of Counterintelligence as the prime suspect based on an, at best, cursory investigation at only two facilities, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.” Vrooman stated that while “details of this investigation are still classified, it can be said at this time that Mr. Lee’s ethnicity was a major factor.” Vrooman also said he disagreed when US Energy Department intelligence official Notra Trulock concluded in 1995 that the PRC had stolen the design of the W-88 nuclear warhead based on a document obtained from a Chinese intelligence agent showing the warhead’s explosive yield and external dimensions. He stated, “I do not agree with Mr. Trulock or with the secretary of energy that the information obtained by the Chinese came from the Department of Energy. I consider disciplinary action against me to be retaliation for opposing them on this issue.” [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service on August 17.]

14. Indian Nuclear Policy

The Associated Press (Ashok Sharma, “INDIA OUTLINES NUCLEAR DOCTRINE,” New Delhi, 08/17/99) and Reuters (“INDIA OUTLINES ‘MINIMUM DETERRENCE’ NUCLEAR PLAN,” New Delhi, 08/17/99) reported that India’s National Security Advisory Board on Tuesday released a draft doctrine that said that India will pursue a policy of credible nuclear deterrence. The draft stated, “Any nuclear attack on India and its forces shall result in punitive retaliation with nuclear weapons to inflict damage unacceptable to the aggressor.” It added, “India’s peacetime posture aims at convincing any potential aggressor that any threat of use of nuclear weapons against India shall invoke measures to counter the threat.” The draft also said that India would not use nuclear weapons against a state that does not have them or is not aligned with a nuclear-armed power. It said that nuclear weapons would be tightly controlled and launched only with the authorization of the prime minister, or a designated successor. The draft said that the size, components, deployment, and employment of nuclear forces would be decided in light of the strategic environment, economic imperatives, and the needs of national security. It added that India also will maintain highly effective conventional warfare capabilities. The draft criticized the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty for legitimizing the possession of nuclear weapons by states that already had them. Brajesh Mishra, national security adviser to Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, said that the policy can be adopted only after a new government is seated following fall elections. Mishra, stated, “The question of signing the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) is being discussed by the government and various political parties.”

Reuters (“INDIA CONGRESS SAYS WILL REBUILD NUCLEAR CONSENSUS,” New Delhi, 08/13/99) reported that India’s main opposition Congress party said on Friday that it would rebuild a domestic consensus on nuclear issues which it said had been destroyed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In its platform for next month’s national elections, the Congress Party stated, “Our approach to the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty), the FMCT (Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty) and other global regimes of nuclear non-proliferation must be integrally linked to the over- arching goal of the time-bound elimination of nuclear weapons.” Asked whether a Congress government would sign the CTBT, party spokesman Jairam Ramesh stated, “We will decide our position when we come to power.”

15. Indian Missile Deployment

Reuters (“INDIA PM SAYS TO INCLUDE AGNI MISSILE IN ARSENAL,” New Delhi, 08/15/99) reported that Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said on Sunday that India would add the long-range, nuclear-capable Agni ballistic missile to its arsenal after successful tests. Vajpayee said that last year’s nuclear tests “gave us strength which in turn gave us self-confidence. Against pressures we also successfully tested Agni-II which will be included in our weapons program.”

16. Indian Neutron Bomb

The Associated Press (“INDIA SAID CAN BUILD NEUTRON BOMB,” New Delhi, 08/16/99), and The Wall Street Journal (Jonathan Karp, “INDIA DISCLOSES IT IS ABLE TO BUILD A NEUTRON BOMB,” New Delhi, 08/17/99) reported that Rajagopal Chidambaram, chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission, said that it would not be difficult for India to build neutron bombs. Chidambaram added that last year’s nuclear tests have enabled India’s nuclear scientists to design and build nuclear weapons of “any type or size.” C. Uday Bhaskar, deputy director of the government-sponsored Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, stated, “Though it’s technologically feasible, a neutron bomb isn’t anything that the military is excited about. The priority is building a certain degree of credibility in our minimum nuclear deterrent.” Anil Kakodkar, director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Center, said that India had declared a moratorium on nuclear tests after its five tests in May 1998, but had not stopped its nuclear weapons research. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service on August 17.]

17. Pakistan Nuclear Deterrent

Reuters (Andrew Hill, “PAKISTAN, GLAD OF N-BOMB, ARGUES WITH INDIA,” Islamabad, 08/13/99) reported that Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz said on Friday that Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent had prevented war with India over Kashmir. Aziz stated, “It was our nuclear deterrence which kept India at bay and deterred it from violating the international boundary between the two countries as it had previously done in 1948, 1965 and 1971.”

18. US-Russian Nuclear Talks

The Associated Press (“US, RUSSIA BEGIN 3 DAYS OF NUCLEAR ARMS TALKS,” Moscow, 08/17/99) reported that the US and Russia began initial talks Tuesday on a possible START III treaty to cut each country’s nuclear arsenal to 2,000 to 2,500 warheads each. The US team was led by Undersecretary of State John D. Holum, and the Russian by Grigory Berdennikov, head of the Foreign Ministry’s department for security and disarmament. Russia has also agreed to listen to US proposals on amending the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty. Andrei Nikolayev, a former general who is now a member of the Russian Duma, stated, “Such actions, far from helping to cut nuclear arsenals, can trigger their buildup and draw new participants into this process.” Military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said that the Russian military and diplomatic elite see President Boris Yeltsin’s decision to discuss the ABM treaty as a “betrayal of national interests.” The current talks are expected to be continued in Washington at a session of the Russian-US Strategic Stability Group in September. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright would take up those talks when the two meet at the UN General Assembly’s session later in September.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Light-Water Reactor Project

The Korea Herald (“CONSTRUCTION OF REACTORS IN NORTH DELAYED,” Seoul, 08/17/99) reported that the ROK government bureau responsible for building light-water reactors in the DPRK will extend the construction period for basic site formation by four months to December 15, officials said on Monday. The prolongation of preliminary works, the fifth of such delays, is due to the stalling of negotiations among the major sponsors of the project over the timetable and amount of contributions, a bureau official said. As soon as the main contract is signed, however, the bureau can start the main construction, said the ROK Unification Ministry official.

The Korea Times (“MORE S. KOREAN WORKERS TO ENGAGE IN LWR WORK IN NK,” Seoul, 08/16/99) reported that an ROK government official said on Sunday that with an ROK firm preparing to launch full-fledged efforts to construct a nuclear power plant in the DPRK, the number of ROK workers based there will rise to about 500 by the end of this year from the current 200. The Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), prime contractor of the US$4.6-billion project, is planning to increase the scope of construction work in Kumho, the DPRK, in a phased manner. Before the launch of full-fledged construction work on December 15, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) plans to continue conducting ground-leveling work and the construction of roads, restaurants, lodging, and docking facilities. The official said that KEDO and KEPCO would soon establish a “turn-key contract as an initial step ahead of the start of main construction work.”

2. ROK-US Military Exercise

Joongang Ilbo (Shim Shang-bok, “NK CRITICIZES ULJI FOCUS EXERCISE, AS EXPECTED,” Seoul, 08/16/99), The Korea Times (“ROK, US BEGIN JOINT MILITARY EXERCISE AMID MISSILE FEARS,” Seoul, 08/16/99), and The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “PYONGYANG BLASTS U.S.-S. K. MILITARY DRILL,” Seoul, 08/17/99) reported that the “Ulchi Focus Lens” joint military exercise between the ROK and the US began on Monday. The exercise, largely using computer simulations designed to evaluate and improve joint operations, is one of the largest conducted annually by the armed forces of ROK and the US. The 12-day training involves 14,000 of the 37,000 US troops stationed in the ROK and 5,400 others brought from the US mainland, Japan, and Guam, along with 56,000 ROK troops. Lee Ferguson, spokeswoman for the US military command in Seoul, said the drill, which has been conducted every year since 1974, is “no more than a routine, defensive training exercise.” However, the DPRK warned that the joint drill would damage its relations with the ROK and adversely affect talks currently underway between the DPRK and the US. The DRPK said in a statement on Sunday, “The joint war drill, a war gamble, shows that no one can predict when they will unleash total war onto the Korean peninsula.”

3. Food Aid to DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yul, “WFP TO CONTINUE NK AID,” Seoul, 08/16/99) and The Korea Herald (Michael Kiernan, “FOOD AID MUST CONTINUE IN EVENT OF N.K. MISSILE LAUNCH, SAYS WFP CHIEF,” Seoul, 08/17/99) reported that Catherine Bertini, Executive Director of the World Food Program (WFP) announced at a press conference held at the Seoul Press Center on Monday that the organization would continue to provide humanitarian food aid to the DPRK even if the DPRK conducts missile tests. Director Bertini, who arrived in Seoul after visiting the DPRK from August 5 to August 10, said that reducing humanitarian support would be like a death sentence to the DPRK people. Bertini stated that 65 percent of DPRK children were suffering from malnutrition and other difficulties such as poor physical growth. However, she added that food conditions seemed to have improved since 1997 as students were getting school meals everyday. In addition, the severity of damage in many flooded areas seemed lighter than that of 1997.

4. DPRK Flood Victims

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yul, “KNRC RETURNS 3 NK FLOOD VICTIMS,” Seoul, 08/16/99) and The Korea Times (“SEOUL HANDS OVER BODIES OF NK FLOOD VICTIMS IN PANMUNJOM,” Seoul, 08/16/99) reported that the Korean National Red Cross (KNRC) on Monday returned to authorities in the DPRK through Panmunjom three DPRK corpses found in the Imjin River after the recent torrential rains. Prior to handing over the corpses, liaison officers of both the DPRK and ROK Red Cross met and checked possessions and photographs of the place the corpses were found. A KNRC official said that the DPRK officials seemed to be extremely cautious this year by refusing to personally come to the ROK and check the bodies.

5. DPRK Defectors

Joongang Ilbo (Kang Joo-an, “POW’S FAMILY ESCAPES FROM NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 08/16/99) reported that the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced on August 16 that five DPRK residents, including four family members of Park Dong-il, an ROK prisoner of war from the Korean War, escaped the DPRK and entered the ROK via another country last December. The NIS is investigating the motives for their escape. Park’s wife, son, daughter-in- law, and grandson, who were part of an eight-member family in the DPRK, fled the DPRK last November, the NIS reported. Mr. Choi Chul-kyu, who came to the ROK with Park’s family, said that he was working at a sports training committee in South Hwanghae Province.

6. DPRK-Japan Trade

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “TRADE CURTAILED BETWEEN NORTH KOREA AND JAPAN,” Seoul, 08/16/99) reported that trade between the DPRK and Japan during the first half of this year fell 24 percent compared to the same period of 1998. According to the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) on Monday, the commerce between the two countries as of June marked US$151 million, with exports from Japan at US$87 million, and imports at US$64 million. The DPRK sent Japan more fish, electrical mechanical goods, leather items, and musical instruments.

7. ROK Unification Rally

The Korea Herald (“486 STUDENTS DETAINED FOR ILLEGAL RALLY,” Seoul, 08/17/99) reported that ROK police said on Monday that they took 486 student activists into custody for attempting to participate in an outlawed pro- DPRK rally at Panmunjom on Liberation Day Sunday. The detentions came overnight after riot police blocked thousands of students and dissidents from marching from the Seoul National University campus to Panmunjom for the banned rally.

III. Russian Federation

1. DPRK Missile Test

Segodnya (“NORTH KOREA IS GOING TO LAUNCH A NEW LONG RANGE MISSILE,” Moscow, 3, 8/12/99) reported that the DPRK announced that it was going to test its next long-range missile. Its official spokesman said that Japan’s “threats” could not stop the test launch, while DPRK-ROK talks could be canceled. A DPRK newspaper said that because of US pressure, “another war can start on the Korean Peninsula.”

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“KOREAN MISSILE CAN REACH THE U.S.A.,” Moscow, 6, 8/12/99) reported that ROK National Intelligence Service chairman Chung Yeong-taek said the DPRK was ready to test its new Taepodong 2 missile in a month. On Tuesday, however, Kenneth Bacon, spokesman for US Defense Department, said that the US had no information of the test launch being prepared and was continuing its dialogue with the DPRK. He said that such a launch could negatively affect the DPRK’s relations with the US, the ROK, and Japan.

2. Ethnic Koreans in RF Far East

Noviye Izvestia’s Andrey Kalachinsky (“VLADIVOSTOK RESPECTS THE MEMORY OF ITS OLD-TIMERS,” Moscow, 2, 8/17/99) reported that last Sunday a stone memorial dedicated to the former Korean inhabitants of Vladivostok created with ROK assistance was opened in the central part of the city. Until 1937, a Korean settlement called Sinanchen was situated there. Koreans were settling in the Far Eastern land controlled by the Russian Empire since as early as mid-19th century, and during the Korean liberation struggle against Japanese occupation some Korean guerilla units also found sanctuary there. In 1937, Josef Stalin decided “to clean the area from the potentially hostile element on the eve of a possible war with Japan,” and 30,000 Koreans were deported from Primorye and Sakhalin to Central Asia. Presently their return continues with difficulties, in particular because the newly independent Central Asian states are foreign to the RF, and thus the migrants need to obtain RF citizenship. Officially the number of Koreans in the RF Far East now is half as many as before the 1937 deportation. Last year only 100 families returned.

3. Japan-ROK Naval Training

Segodnya’s Anna Apostolova (“JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA IMPROVE RELATIONS,” Moscow, 3, 8/7/99) reported that Japan and the ROK held joint exercises in the East China Sea. That was the first event of that kind since 1945. A Japanese representative said, “We prefer to call it not military exercises, but rescue and salvation work training.” Japan provided 630 soldiers, 3 ships, 3 helicopters and 1 reconnaissance plane. The ROK provided 500 soldiers, 2 ships and 2 aircraft. The DPRK sharply criticized the exercises and accused Japan of “a new attempt to conquer the Peninsula.”

4. Japanese Plane Disappearance

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Dmitry Kosyrev (“JAPAN LOST A PLANE,” Moscow, 2, 8/17/99) reported that the Japanese media still had not provided clear information about the fate of one of two Japanese F-4 planes trying to intercept an unidentified aircraft that intruded the Japanese air space. The plane just disappeared from radar screens. The only working hypothesis is that it fell victim to lightning, considering the atmospheric phenomena over East Asia during recent weeks. The intruder still remains unknown, although it was reported to depart “toward the sea,” more precisely toward the Korean Peninsula. “The most remarkable thing in that story is that in Tokyo they considered it relatively calmly, although the geographic position of the events again points to the DPRK as a possible guilty party.” On the other hand, the unidentified plane could have been a participant in the 12-day long joint US-ROK military maneuvers which started on August 15. The article said, “A process has started … which in 10 years might bring about a revision of the Constitution, as well as the nature of the ‘too close’ relations with the USA.” On Monday in Tokyo, US Ambassador Thomas Foley and Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura signed documents to start joint research in the field of Theater Missile Defense

5. RF-Japan Talks

Segodnya’s Aleksandr Chudodeyev (“‘PROBLEM 2000’ EMERGED IN RELATIONS WITH JAPAN,” Moscow, 3, 8/7/99) reported that diplomatic consultations began in Moscow between RF Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Minoru Tamba. Preparations for RF President Boris Yeltsin’s official visit to Japan and prospects for a bilateral peace treaty were the main issues for discussion. Some RF diplomats, however, expressed doubts about the possibility of concluding the treaty before 2000.

6. Japanese Ambassador to RF

Izvestia’s Vasiliy Golovnin (“A SAKHALINESE BY BIRTH WILL BE JAPAN’S NEW AMBASSADOR IN MOSCOW,” Moscow, 4, 8/14/99) reported that Minoru Tamba was officially appointed Japanese Ambassador to the RF on August 13. Tamba was born in 1938 in Sakhalin and after World War II was forcibly repatriated together with other local Japanese to Japan. Presently he is considered the greatest Japanese expert on the RF and the informal leader of the so-called “Russian school” in the Japanese Foreign Ministry. During the Cold War he was perceived in the USSR as a staunch “anti-Sovietist,” but in recent years he became an active promoter of a new Japanese policy toward the RF, aimed at rapprochement in all areas. Tamba believes that such an approach has the best chance to solve the RF-Japanese territorial dispute over the South Kurils. Japan’s latest proposal, according to unofficial reports, is that the RF should recognize Japan’s right to the isles, but the territories should be left under RF administration until an agreement is reached about their actual transfer.

7. RF-Japan Military Contacts

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Aleksandr Alf (“TOKYO AND MOSCOW IMPROVE MILITARY LINKS,” Moscow, 2, 8/14/99) reported that Hosei Norota, Chief of the Japanese Self-Defense Agency, is to come on a visit to the RF. The article said that despite the increase in RF-Japan military contacts in recent years, “Tokyo still sees its contacts with Moscow from the position of Washington’s main ally in the Asia-Pacific.” During Norota’s visit, RF experts would like clarifications about the new US-Japan cooperation guidelines and whether they are aimed against the RF. Theater Missile Defense, perceived in the RF as an attempt to undermine the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972, will be another issue of interest. Norota himself is expected to touch upon Japan-RF naval interaction in view of the DPRK naval incursion to Japanese territorial waters this spring. Possibly he will express concern about RF-PRC military cooperation and in particular a protocol about to be signed on deliveries to the PRC of Su-30MKK modernized fighters capable of hitting targets on sea and land. Norota is to visit the elite Kantemirovskaya Division in the Moscow Region and to meet the commanders of the RF Pacific Fleet in Vladivostok.

Segodnya’s Aleksandr Chudodeyev (“JAPAN IS CONCERNED ABOUT NORTH KOREAN MISSILES,” Moscow, 3, 8/17/99) reported that 4 days talks between Japanese Self-Defense Agency (JSDA) Chief Hosei Norota and RF officials began on Sunday behind closed doors. It was learned that Norota in his talks with RF Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev raised the issue of the expected DPRK ballistic missile test. General Sergeyev in his turn wished Norota to clarify the issues related to the US-Japan defense cooperation guidelines and specifically the Japanese parliamentary decision authorizing Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to operate outside its national territory. Additionally, the RF’s concern was expressed about the US plans for a Theater Missile Defense to be deployed in Japan and Taiwan. “In reply the JSDA Chief tried as much as he could to convince his Russian colleague that Tokyo by no means poses a threat to Moscow, but instead intends to work jointly with it as regards the uncontrollable Pyongyang.”

Noviye Izvestia’s Oleg Getmanenko (‘MOSCOW DOES NOT LIKE THE JAPANESE ‘UMBRELLA’,” Moscow, 3, 8/17/99) reported that at his meeting with Japanese Self-Defense Agency Chief Hosei Norota, RF Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev called development of relations with Japan a highest priority of RF foreign policy. He also called Japan “an influential and responsible neighboring power.” Yet the RF hosts voiced their worries about the US-Japanese Theater Missile Defense (TMD) plans. The RF is known to insist on preliminary consultations of experts of all countries concerned to jointly decide if such measure is “adequate” to possible missile threats. Concerning Norota’s clarifications about the TMD, Chief of the Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation of the RF Defense Ministry Leonid Ivashov said, “So far one should not say that the Russian party has been satisfied with the explanations it received today.”

8. PRC-Taiwan Tensions

Segodnya’s Aleksandr Chudodeyev (“WAR IN TAIWAN STRAITS CAN BEGIN ANY MOMENT,” Moscow, 3, 8/14/99) reported that representatives of the US National Security Council said they were verifying the information that the PRC had mobilized half a million reserve troops to prepare an attack against Taiwan. Some US officials believe that the PRC could seize a small island presently controlled by Taiwan. The information in question was provided by the South China Morning Post published in Hong Kong. Allegedly the PRC leaders decided “to teach a lesson” to Taiwan, but “conservatives” among them insisted that it should be done immediately after the 50th anniversary of the PRC, while “liberals” prefer a later date in order to prepare better. On Friday Yang Zao, Member of the Academy of Military Sciences in Beijing, a leading military expert of the PRC, said he did not rule out the possibility of a PRC- Taiwan war starting “any moment.” He said the situation now was much more serious than in 1996.

9. Taiwan Admission to UN

Segodnya’s Igor Devin (“TAIWAN TRIES TO GET BACK TO THE U.N.,” Moscow, 3, 8/12/99) reported that 6 Central American foreign ministers meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica supported Taiwan’s aspiration to return to the UN. Roberto Rojas, Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, told his Taiwanese colleague Jason Hu, “We recognize Taiwan as a democratic state.” Following the joint statement of the six, Taiwan allocated US$21 million in economic and humanitarian aid to Central America. Altogether, since 1992 Taiwan has invested US$180 million in the region. This September, 6 Central American presidents are to visit Taiwan.

10. PRC 50th Anniversary

Segodnya (“BEIJING GETS READY FOR THE OCTOBER CELEBRATIONS,” Moscow, 3, 8/17/99) reported that the PRC authorities’ preparations for the 50th anniversary of the PRC “are in full swing.” All monuments in Tiananmen are being brought to a due condition. As the first day of the celebrations is to be marked by “a huge military parade,” rehearsals are held daily in the city street.

11. Indian Neutron Bomb

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“DELHI PREPARES A NEUTRON BOMB?” Moscow, 6, 8/17/99) reported that Rajagopal Chidambaram, Director of the Nuclear Energy Commission of India, said India could create a neutron bomb, as well nuclear weapons of any type and size. Bhabha-Anila Kakodkar, Head of the Nuclear Research Center, said that India acceded to its nuclear tests moratorium, but would not abandon its research in that field.

12. RF-US Nuclear Cooperation

Izvestia (“AMERICA GIVES 15 MILLION DOLLARS TO UTILIZE RUSSIAN NUCLEAR SUBMARINES,” Moscow, 1, 8/17/99) reported that the USA allocated US$15 million to utilize RF strategic nuclear submarines in Murmansk Region under the RF-US Mutual Threat Reduction Program signed in June, 1992. According to the program, three discarded nuclear submarines of the RF Northern Fleet have been utilized at a ship-repair plant “Nerpa” in Snezhnogorsk.

13. RF Nuclear Safety

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Aleksandr Alf (“SOLDIERS MAKE ‘HOLES’ IN THE NUCLEAR SHIELD,” Moscow, 2, 8/7/99) reported that two sailors of the RF Northern Fleet who killed 3 fellow soldiers and then shot themselves served in a unit guarding storage capacities containing liquid and solid nuclear waste in the area of Gremikha. The fight with small arms went on in close proximity to the waste storage facilities. Also, more than 10 nuclear submarines decommissioned from the Northern Fleet are stationed in Gremikha. “In case of developments favorable to the criminals their actions could have been absolutely unpredictable. One could not rule out a possibility of their entry to a submarine, damage to nuclear reactors or disruption of nuclear waste storage system. Each variant would have put at a risk the lives of people living in the Northwest of the country, as well as render irreparable damage to the regional environment.” Last September some servicemen guarding the nuclear test site in Novaya Zemlya took local pupils and teachers as hostages, and the same month a sailor of the Northern Fleet shot dead some of his colleagues and barricaded himself in a compartment of a multi-purpose nuclear submarine. Obviously the above-mentioned facts “will be used by our Western ‘partners’ who doubt Russia’s ability to ensure the safety of its nuclear arsenals…. The USA have repeatedly spoken about the necessity for some multinational forces to guard Russian nuclear facilities.”

Izvestia’s Oleg Zhunusov and Sergey Leskov (“THE EAST TURNS RED,” Moscow, 1, 8//99) reported that the danger of an environmental disaster has emerged in Primorsky Area of the RF Far East. About 750 tons of radioactive waste on board the vessel “Pinega” accidentally flowed from its special protective container into its unprotected hold, threatening to leak further to the ocean. Viktor Glushchenko, Director, Chemistry Institute, Far Eastern Division, Russian Academy of Science, confirmed that the situation with “Pinega” is fraught with disaster and must be solved as soon as possible.

14. South Kurils

Segodnya (“SOUTH KURILS ARE LEFT WITHOUT AUTHORITY,” Moscow, 3, 8/7/99) reported that yesterday the Administration of the South Kuril District announced that it had terminated its activities and gone on vacation “in connection with the lack of financial means in the district budget and wage payments arrears since February of 1999.” Sakhalin Region Governor Igor Farkhutdinov said he had “no right to interfere, according to the statute of municipal entity.” Yet, he remarked that South Kuril District Administration Head Vladimir Zema’s act “belongs to the category of extreme, as a result of which the authority in South Kurils has been beheaded.”

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 in partnership with:
International Policy Studies Institute Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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

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

Lee Dong-young: UNPOL@netsgo.com
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

 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.