NAPSNet Daily Report 17 May, 2000

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 17 May, 2000", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 17, 2000, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-17-may-2000/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. DPRK-Japan Talks
2. Alleged PRC Blockade Plans for Taiwan
3. Cross-Straits Relations
4. Taiwan-US Military Relations
5. PRC Missile Exports to Pakistan
6. Spratly Islands
7. US Role in Asia-Pacific
II. Republic of Korea 1. Inter-Korean Summit
2. British Delegation to DPRK
3. Aid to DPRK
4. Korean War Massacre
5. DPRK-ROK Cultural Exchange
III. People’s Republic of China 1. ROK-DPRK Talks
2. PRC View on the DPRK Opening
3. PRC-ROK Relations
4. PRC-US Relations
5. The Taiwan Issue
6. The South China Sea Issue

I. United States

1. DPRK-Japan Talks

Agence France Presse (“NORTH KOREA AND JAPAN DELAY LANDMARK NEGOTIATIONS,” Tokyo, 5/17/00) reported that a Japanese foreign ministry official said on Wednesday that Japan and the DPRK postponed negotiations scheduled for this month on establishing diplomatic relations. The official said, “North Korea asked us to delay the Japan-North Korea normalization talks for a while. Thus, the normalization talks are delayed.” He declined to state the reason. Japanese press speculated that Japan and the DPRK were deadlocked over the negotiation agenda and the ROK also wanted the negotiations delayed until after the June inter-Korean summit.

2. Alleged PRC Blockade Plans for Taiwan

Agence France Presse (“CHINA PLANNING TAIWAN BLOCKADE: REPORT,” Sydney, 5/17/00) reported that the Sydney Morning Herald quoted an Australian intelligence source on Wednesday as saying that the PRC plans to blockade Kaohsiung, a key port in Taiwan which carries 66 percent of the island’s trade, later this year in a bid to force the island into talks on reunification with the PRC. The Herald said that it understood that US intelligence analysts believed it was relatively easy to blockade Kaohsiung because there are only two narrow channels deep enough for ships to enter and leave the harbor. The blockade is reportedly scheduled for around September. However, Taiwan’s defense ministry dismissed the report as “meaningless,” although it said it was keeping a close eye on any military movement in the mainland. A Western military expert in the PRC said that the theory of launching a blockade on Kaohsiung had been around for some time and that it was an obvious option for the PRC military, but added that he thought it was unlikely as it could lead to some kind of military conflict which could have wider ramifications. He explained, “China would probably not try to launch any kind of blockade on Taiwan as that may well allow the United States to interfere, and that is something it is keen to avoid.” The expert said he did not expect any PRC military action on Taiwan in the near future, but he also warned that Taiwan was an extremely emotive issue for the PRC and could lead to unpredictable actions. He quoted a senior PRC general as telling him, “Better to have a broken piece of jade than a complete brick.” He believed that if the PRC was to launch any kind of military action, it was more likely that the PRC would carry out a surprise layered attack starting with missiles against airbases in a bid to knock out Taiwan’s air superiority before launching a ground invasion.

Reuters (“TAIWAN MILITARY DISMISSES PORT BLOCKADE REPORT,” Taipei, 5/17/00) reported that Taiwan’s defense ministry spokesman Major-General Kung Fan-ding dismissed an Australian newspaper report on Wednesday that the PRC is planning to blockade Taiwan’s port of Kaohsiung in September. Kung said, “right now there is no information on this at all. We urge people not to listen to rumors.” Analysts said that the PRC was capable of such blockade as it demonstrated in 1996, when it lobbed missiles into waters near Taiwan, but that the PRC was unlikely to resort to such a move. Taiwan military expert Andrew Yang said, “it’s not a very accurate report. It’s a trial balloon of poor quality. It would be very unprofessional of them to leak the report months before action because this will only irritate the international community and draw protests.” In Hong Kong, Bob Broadfoot, managing director of Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, said, “I think that China would look at other options first. I think that this is just speculation that people have been doing now for a long time saying ‘If China can’t invade because it would be too costly, what are the other alternatives?’ There are other priorities that Beijing has to address.”

3. Cross-Straits Relations

The Associated Press (“CHINA THREATENS WAR, STEPPING UP PRESSURE ON TAIWANESE LEADER,” Beijing, 5/17/00) reported that the China Business Times on Wednesday threatened war if Taiwan’s president-elect Chen Shui-bian refuses to recognize that the island is part of China during his inauguration on May 20. The paper said in a front-page article, “if Taiwan’s new leader refuses in his inaugural speech to recognize the one China principle and even makes a speech that inclines toward Taiwan independence, then relations between the two sides will certainly take a turn. War in the Taiwan Strait will be difficult to avoid.”

Agence France Presse (“CHINA WARNS CHEN HE IS COURTING ‘CATASTROPHE’ OVER ‘ONE CHINA,'” Beijing, 5/17/00) and Reuters (“CHINA SAYS TAIWAN FACING ‘ABYSS OF DISASTER’,” Beijing, 5/17/00) reported that a commentary by the PRC’s official Xinhua news agency, carried by all major PRC dailies on Wednesday, called on Taiwan President-elect Chen Shui-bian to accept the “One-China” priniciple. The commentary said, “Without the recognition of the One China principle, cross-straits negotiations are pointless. If the new leader of Taiwan is truly concerned about the fate of the 23 million people in Taiwan, he should recognize the One China principle, because denial of the principle and advocacy for Taiwan independence will end in catastrophe.” It called the “One China” principle “the force behind the decades-long peace across the straits, (and) the booming cross-straits exchanges in the past 10 years.” The commentary warned Chen not to side with “separatists” like outgoing Kuomintang President Lee Teng-hui and vice president-elect Annette Lu, who have had a “venomous reaction” to the “One China” principle. Also on Wednesday, a PRC military affairs supplement of the southern Chinese Coastal Times said that Chen’s overtures to the PRC and his invitations for PRC leaders to visit Taiwan were empty words aimed at covering up Chen’s political goal of Taiwan independence. The paper said that a proposal by Chen that Taiwan and the PRC could form a “federation” to fulfill the idea of “One China” smacked of splittism and was a “political plot” aimed at creating a separate Taiwan. The paper also said that Chen’s “federation proposal” was an attempt to fulfill “the political goal of Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian, Annette Lu and the Democratic Progressive Party to establish two Chinese states across the strait with two separately administered political bodies.”

4. Taiwan-US Military Relations

Agence France Presse (“UNTIL TAIWAN GETS SPY SATELLITES, IT STILL NEEDS US: ANALYSTS,” Taipei, 5/17/00) reported that analysts said that even with billions of dollars in military modernizations, Taiwan’s ability to defend itself against the PRC remains dependent on the US because it lacks spy satellites. Former Taiwanese parliamentarian Lin Yu-fang said that the timing of the release of photos last week by the Federation of American Scientists was not a coincidence. Lin said, “the purpose was to tell the two sides of the strait that the US is in full control of the delicate situation, and neither Beijing nor Taipei should act imprudently.” Taiwanese military experts said that Taiwan, which has only one satellite for scientific research in orbit, needs the US to help it secure real-time satellite information on the PRC’s anti-missile weaponry. Taiwan is not altogether happy relying on the US. It has long wanted to wean its dependence on the US military, including getting its own spy satellite information, but the efforts have been blocked. Lin said, “Washington wants to put Taipei under tight control to use the island as a leverage to deal with the mainland’s growing military power.”

5. PRC Missile Exports to Pakistan

Agence France Presse (“CHINA WARNS AGAINST U.S. SANCTIONS OVER MISSILE EXPORT TO PAKISTAN,” Beijing, 5/17/00) reported that the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) reported this week that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has concluded that the PRC exported M-11 missiles and a launcher in 1991 and 1992. The report said that under US law the US administration is required to slap wide-ranging sanctions on the PRC for the sale. However, the PRC warned the US on May 16 that any sanctions imposed over reports that it exported missiles to Pakistan nearly 10 years ago would be “unreasonable.” PRC foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue refused to confirm or deny whether the PRC had sold the missiles, saying only “China has a very strict policy regarding non-proliferation. According to our non-proliferation policy and the obligations that China has undertaken under various treaties and regimes, we have always been very prudent in the export of this kind of thing. We have also exercised the effective and strict control over the export of missiles. If any side imposes sanctions on China on the pretext of this issue that is totally unreasonable.”

6. Spratly Islands

Agence France Presse (“SPRATLY AGREEMENT WITH CHINA A MILESTONE: FILIPINO LEADER,” Beijing, 5/17/00) reported that Philippines President Joseph Estrada on Wednesday hailed a new PRC-Philippines agreement to settle territorial disputes peacefully. Estrada said, “this is a milestone and a historic document for the blueprint of future Sino-Philippines relations. In my meeting with President Jiang Zemin yesterday, he assured me that China does not pose a threat to the Philippines. He also agreed that it is important for both sides to build mutual trust and confidence. What needs to be done now is to work towards the adoption of the regional Code of Conduct. President Jiang and I share the same view, so I think we will have no problem.” The agreement was part of a joint statement by the PRC and the Philippines on the framework for cooperation in the 21st century. Asked if he believed that the PRC was sincere in its agreement, Estrada said, “I believe so … I also received reassurance from the Chinese leaders that the matter should be solved peacefully and in accordance with international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. We agreed not to take actions that might complicate or escalate the situation in the area.” Jiang said that both sides should expand cooperation in the economic and trade sector and settle disputes through negotiations in accordance with international laws. The two countries also signed agreements to enhance cooperation in the areas of trade and economic development, science and technology, culture, and agriculture.

7. US Role in Asia-Pacific

The Office of International Information Programs, US Department of State (“PACIFIC FLEET COMMANDER FARGO ON ROLE OF U.S. FORCES IN ASIA,” 5/16/00) reported that Admiral Thomas Fargo, Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet, spoke to the International Asia Society in Hong Kong on May 16. Fargo said that US naval forces will remain engaged in the Pacific region to “facilitate development of security communities” and to act as an “enabler” of collective prosperity. He added that naval forces are often “the enabling vehicle to building better relationships among nations.” Navy-to-navy exercises promote cooperation, dialogue, peaceful development and recognize shared interest. Fargo said that the US “is sincere in its hope for a closer and more cooperative relationship with China.” He noted that navy-to-navy relations have been reestablished between the US and the PRC and successful talks were recently completed by the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement working group. Fargo noted that the US Navy plans to conduct a ship visit to the PRC some time later this year. He said, “such opportunities provide us with a better understanding of each other and allow us to focus on those issues we have most in common — building a stable and prosperous Asia Pacific Region.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. Inter-Korean Summit

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “TWO KOREAS TO RESUME SUMMIT PREPARATORY TALKS TOMORROW,” Seoul, 05/17/00), The Korea Times (Lee Soo-jeong, “SOUTH, NORTH TO RESUME PREP TALKS THURSDAY,” Seoul, 05/16/00) and Joongang Ilbo (Lee Yong-jong, “FIFTH PREPARATORY TALKS ON MAY 18,” Seoul, 05/16/00) reported that ROK officials said on May 15 that the ROK and the DPRK will resume their vice ministerial- level talks on procedural matters for the inter-Korean summit on May 18, and will likely reach an agreement by compromising on the contentious issue of media coverage of the event. ROK Unification Ministry spokesman Lee Kwan-se said that the two sides have narrowed their differences “considerably” over the final remaining issue. Lee said, “at Thursday’s talks, South and North Korea will make a last-ditch consultation on the press corps issue to reach a full accord on the 16 procedural matters for the summit.” Lee did not elaborate on how the two sides would hammer out a deal on the size of the press delegation. ROK government sources, however, hinted that the two Koreas could meet each other halfway. Officials cited the use of state-of-the-art ROK equipment to broadcast the summit live, including the satellite news-gathering (SNG) system, as another major stumbling block in summit preparations. Experts from the two sides were to meet at Panmunjom on Wednesday to wrap up their negotiations on the SNG issue and other details related to communications and media coverage for the summit.

The Korea Herald (“SUMMIT TALKS COULD USE 25 INTER-KOREAN TELEPHONE LINES,” Seoul, 05/17/00) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry said on May 16 that inter-Korean communications can take place on a total of 25 direct phone lines. Eighteen of the ROK-DPRK lines are used for inter-Korean talks, one is devoted to inter- Korean economic meetings, and the other two are for the use of the ROK and DPRK National Red Cross headquarters. The ROK and the DPRK are expected to discuss activating and expanding the 23 direct lines in working-level talks on communication and media protocol for the June inter-Korean summit. Seventeen indirect inter-Korean phone lines that pass through third countries are also being used. Eight are for the nuclear reactor project in the DPRK, another eight for Mount Kumgang tour matters, and the Taegu and Pyongyang aerial control offices use the others.

2. British Delegation to DPRK

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “BRITISH DELEGATION ENCOURAGES NORTH TO FOLLOW THROUGH SUMMIT,” Seoul, 05/17/00) reported that ROK officials said on May 16 that a British delegation arrived in the DPRK for discussions to improve bilateral relations with the DPRK. An official at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, “the British officials’ visit to North Korea is seen as a field trip to explore the possibility of creating stronger ties.” The three-member delegation was led by Peter Carter, head of the Northeast Asia and Pacific section of the British Foreign Ministry. A spokeswoman at the British Embassy in Seoul said that during talks with the DPRK, the British delegation will encourage the DPRK to follow through with the June inter-Korean summit agreement. She also indicated that the delegation would discuss humanitarian and food conditions in the DPRK, nuclear and missile proliferation issues, and security on the Korean Peninsula. She added that the delegation would also touch on the DPRK’s economic reforms, including agricultural restructuring, and the dispatch of two English instructors to the DPRK.

3. Aid to DPRK

The Korea Herald (Kim, Ji-ho, “SEOUL TO BEGIN SHIPPING FERTILIZER AID TOMORROW,” Seoul, 05/17/00) and The Korea Times (“SEOUL TO SEND 5,000 TONS OF FERTILIZER TO NORTH TOMORROW,” Seoul, 05/16/00) reported that the ROK sent a shipment of 200,000 tons of fertilizer aid to the DPRK on May 16. The shipment was designed to boost DPRK agricultural production. ROK officials said that a total of 16,000 tons of farm chemicals will leave for DPRK ports this week, starting with 5,000 tons of mixed fertilizer tomorrow. The ROK plans to complete the shipments by June 30, and called for the DPRK to send information on how the fertilizers were used 20 days later.

4. Korean War Massacre

The Korea Times (“LAWYER TO FILE SUIT ON NOGUN-RI MASS KILLINGS WITH UN HR,” Washington, 05/16/00) reported that the lawyer for victims of the No Gun Ri massacre said on May 14 that he will file a lawsuit over the mass killings with the UN Human Rights Committee. The lawyer claimed that the US Defense Department’s decision to extend the investigation deadline of the alleged massacre is a conspiracy to pass the issue to the next government. He said that in order to prevent this, he will ask the ROK National Assembly to adopt a resolution for a thorough ROK-US joint investigation. He said, “the South Korean government should also closely cooperate with a lawyers’ group instead of trying to exclude them.” He said that he will decide whether to file the case with a court by the end of next month after watching the UN Human Rights Committee’s handling of the mass killing and US government responses.

5. DPRK-ROK Cultural Exchange

Chosun Ilbo (Kim Yong-woon, “NK PERFORMANCE GROUP TO APPEAR IN SEOUL,” Seoul, 05/16/00) reported that the DPRK’s Pyongyang Performance Group, a choir and dance ensemble, will perform at the Opera Theatre of the Seoul Arts Center from May 26-28. The government invited the members of the group on May 16 as part of a commemoration of the DPRK and ROK summit meeting. The group of top male and female vocalists and dancers will rehearse with the ROK’s “Little Angels” on May 25 and appear jointly from May 26.

III. People’s Republic of China

1. ROK-DPRK Talks

People’s Daily (Wang Linchang, “ROK, DPRK CONTINUE CONTACTS,” Seoul, 5/17/00, P6) reported that delegates from the ROK and the DPRK on May 16 made working-level contact about protocol and escort duties on the DPRK side of the Reunification Pavilion. The close-door contact went on for one hour and fifty minutes and the two sides agreed that they would continue the consultations on those issues when ROK advance agents visited the DPRK and then made a decision.

2. PRC View on the DPRK Opening

China Daily published an opinion article by Xin Zhimin (“WORLD SHOULD WELCOME DPRK,” 5/15/00, P4) which said that the DPRK and Australia resumed diplomatic relations on May 8, bringing new hope for peace on the Korean Peninsula. This step indicates that the DPRK and the West are making pragmatic diplomatic moves according to changing circumstances. Xin wrote that the West finds that its containment policy towards the DPRK can do little in holding the country down, so their tactics must change to keep their interests safe in the region. Xin noted that economic blockades and natural disasters have devastated the DPRK’s economy, so it urgently needs political reconciliation with the West to improve its economy. After the diplomatic ties become normalized, he continued, the DPRK would shoulder more obligations in world affairs, helping in the stability of Asia and the world. Xin wrote that the parties involved should treasure this opportunity and be pragmatic in pushing for their interests to promote peace.

3. PRC-ROK Relations

People’s Daily (Gong Wen, “CHINA RESUMES FOWLS EXPORT TO ROK,” Beijing, 5/14/00, P2) reported that sources from the PRC State Administration for Exit-Entry Inspection and Quarantine said that since May 2, the PRC has resumed its export of fowl products to the ROK. At the end of 1997, the ROK stopped importing PRC fowls due to the fowl disease in Hong Kong.

4. PRC-US Relations

People’s Daily (Qian Tong, “JIANG MEETS US GUESTS,” Beijing, 5/17/00, P1) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin met Alexander Meigs Haig Jr., former US secretary of state and now senior consultant of the US-based United Technologies Corporation (UTC), and George David, UTC’s chairman and chief executive officer, and other UTC executives on May 16. During the meeting, Jiang said “a healthy and stable China-US relationship is in the fundamental interests of the two peoples, and is conducive to the peace and stability not only of the Asia-Pacific region but also of the whole world.” He said that the early granting of permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status to the PRC “would be conducive to the healthy development of Sino-US relations, as well as to the growth of bilateral trade and increase of US investment in China.” Jiang also reiterated the PRC government’s stance on “peaceful reunification” and “one country, two systems” to resolve the Taiwan question. He hoped that the US will take concrete measures to abide by the three Sino-US joint communiques and relevant commitments of the US.

5. The Taiwan Issue

China Daily (Hu Qihua, “NATION: NO HELP NEEDED ON CROSS-STRAITS QUESTION,” 5/17/00, P1) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said on May 16 that the PRC does not need the US or any other nation to mediate the Taiwan question. Zhang directed a warning to Taiwan’s new leader, Chen Shui-bian, telling him that he should acknowledge that Taiwan is an integral part of China. Zhang said, “the Taiwan question is China’s internal affair,” Zhang said, adding that the Chinese people can solve their own problems. “The outside world has no right to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

People’s Daily (“TAIWAN NOT QUALIFIED TO PARTICIPATE IN WHO ACTIVITY,” Beijing, 5/17/00, P4) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said on May 16 that as a province of the PRC, Taiwan does not have the status to participant in any World Health Organization (WHO) or World Health Assembly activity in any fashion. The 53rd World Health Assembly on May 15 rejected a proposal to have Taiwan observe its proceedings and decided by consensus not to include the issue of Taiwan participation as an observer on the agenda of the week- long meeting of its ruling body, the World Health Organization (WHO). Commenting on this issue, Zhang said that the assembly’s decision once again foiled the attempt by Taiwan authorities to get into the WHO. He added that the attempt to get observer status for Taiwan at the health assembly violated UN General Assembly and World Health Assembly resolutions and basic norms governing international laws, and was strongly opposed by the Chinese Government and people.

6. The South China Sea Issue

China Daily (Shao Zongwei, “PRESIDENTS CALL FOR NEGOTIATIONS,” 5/17/00, P1) reported that the PRC and the Philippines on May 16 reaffirmed their commitment to settle territorial disputes in the South China Sea through dialogue. During talks with Philippine President Joseph Estrada, PRC President Jiang Zemin said that the most realistic approach now is to put aside disputes and cooperate in the exploration and development of the disputed area. Jiang said that the issue should be resolved through negotiation according to international law and the Law of Sea. According to PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhang Qiyue, Estrada said that the territorial dispute should not affect the development of bilateral relations. In a joint statement signed on May 16 by the foreign ministers of the PRC and the Philippines, the two sides agreed to promote a peaceful settlement and not to take actions that might complicate the situation or escalate disputes.

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

Gee Gee Wong: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun: khs688@hotmail.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu: akutsu@glocomnet.or.jp
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin: icipu@glas.apc.org
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu: cswu@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

John McKay: John.McKay@adm.monash.edu.au
Clayton, Australia

Leanne Payton: lbpat1@smtp.monash.edu.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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