NAPSNet Daily Report 17 November, 1998

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 17 November, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, November 17, 1998,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Russian Federation

I. United States


1. US War Plan for DPRK

The Global Beat (Richard Halloran, “NEW WARPLAN CALLS FOR INVASION OF NORTH KOREA,” 11/14/98) reported that an unnamed senior US official said that US and ROK military commanders are completing a new war plan that, if hostilities broke out on the Korean peninsula, would abolish the DPRK as a functioning state and reorganize the country under ROK control. The official stated, “When we’re done, they will not be able to mount any military activity of any kind. We will kill them all.” The article said that previous US and ROK war plans called only for stopping a DPRK invasion. US officials said that the new war plan was being devised because of fear that deteriorating conditions in the DPRK military might cause it to strike out in desperation. One US officer stated, “They may figure ‘use it or lose it.'” The new war plan must be presented to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington and the ROK Ministry of Defense here for approval before it goes into effect. The article pointed out that most US reinforcements for such an action would pass through Japan, which would test new US-Japan defense guidelines. Even without the defense guidelines, however, the US has the right to move troops, weapons, and supplies through Japan to Korea because US forces in the ROK are under the UN Command. The UN Rear Command has remained stationed at Camp Zama, southwest of Tokyo, since the Korean War. US officials declined to say whether the US and the ROK would seek to deter the DPRK by presenting the outlines of the plan in the general officer talks in Panmunjom. [Full text]


2. DPRK Underground Construction

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, NOVEMBER 16, 1998,” USIA Transcript, 11/16/98) said that a failure to resolve the issue of the DPRK’s underground construction would call into question the viability of the 1994 Agreed Framework. He stated, “[US] Secretary [of State Madeleine] Albright from the beginning has taken the view that this is a major problem, and that if we don’t get access to this underground facility — that means verbal assurances are not sufficient — that it will call into question the viability of the agreement.” Rubin added, “at the known declared facilities, the North Koreans are doing what they need to do to ensure that they’re not using that facility to develop a nuclear weapon material capability; [but we are] concerned about what they might do in the future at this other facility.”


3. Japanese Satellite Development

The Associated Press (“NKOREA: JAPAN MAKING SPY SATELLITES,” Tokyo, 11/17/98) reported that the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted the DPRK Foreign Ministry as saying on Tuesday that Japan is developing spy satellites as a first step towards launching a military conquest of Asia. The report said, “This is one more dangerous military action intended to legalize the policy of turning Japan into a military power and perfect preparations for overseas aggression.” It added, “We will not remain a passive onlooker to its military challenge, but take a powerful self-defensive measure.”


4. Korean War Biological Warfare Allegations

The Associated Press (Mike Feinsilber, “PROOF SOVIETS LIED ABOUT US WARFARE,” Washington, 11/16/98) reported that US scholars Milton Leitenberg and Kathryn Weathersby said that newly released Soviet documents disprove charges that the US used biological weapons during the Korean War. Leitenberg, a biological warfare specialist at the University of Maryland, said that the 12 documents from the Presidential Archive in Moscow “provide explicit and detailed evidence that the charges were contrived and fraudulent.” He said that the allegations made by the Soviet Union, the PRC, and the DPRK were given credibility by Joseph Needham, a British biochemist who headed a communist-backed “International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China” which issued a 669-page report in 1952 that affirmed the charges. Leitenberg, however, said that the commission conducted no on-site investigation, relying entirely on witnesses and slides of infected tissue. He pointed to a memo by the Soviet ambassador to the DPRK that said, “Two false regions of infection were simulated for the purpose of accusing the Americans of using bacteriological weapons.” On May 2, 1953, the presidium of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. adopted a resolution that said, “The Soviet Government and the Central Committee of the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) were misled. The spread in the press of information about the use by the Americans of bacteriological weapons in Korea was based on false information. The accusations against the Americans were fictitious.” The study will be published in the Bulletin of the Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson Center.


5. Missing US Servicemen from Korean War

The Associated Press (Joe McDonald, “RUSSIA OFFERS COLD WAR CAPTIVE HELP,” Kuala Lumpur, 11/17/98) reported that Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov on Tuesday promised US Vice President Al Gore that he would look into whether Soviet spy agencies plotted to take US prisoners from the Korean War to the USSR. US officials stressed that they had no evidence to support the claim, made in the memoirs of Russian military historian General Dmitri A. Volkogonov. A joint US-Russian panel on prisoners of war said in 1997 that it could not confirm such suspicions. An anonymous US official said that a former KGB director has told US officials he knew of no such plan but it may have been discussed in KGB documents.


6. ROK Economic Crisis

Dow Jones Newswires (Chang Woo-hyuk, “S. KOREA WARNS OF TIGHTER PROBES ON INTER-SUBSIDIARY DEALS,” Seoul, 11/17/98) reported that Chun Yoon-chull, head of the ROK government Fair Trade Commission, warned Tuesday that his agency will launch probes into the country’s largest conglomerates when they are suspected of helping their units through illegal means. Chun stated, “The restructuring by the five groups haven’t been satisfactory in view of capital concentration … and the commission will start investigations anytime when they are suspected of illegal inter- subsidiary deals.” On Monday, the government said the five largest chaebol must eliminate all cross debt guarantees among their subsidiaries by March 31, 2000.


7. Alleged Technology Transfers to PRC

Reuters (Matt Pottinger, “CHINA DENIES OBTAINING U.S. SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY,” Beijing, 11/17/98) reported that Xu Fuxiang, director of the technology wing of China Aerospace Corp (CAC), was quoted as saying in the official English-language China Daily newspaper on Tuesday that the PRC has not obtained sensitive satellite technology from US firms. CAC vice-president Wang Liheng was quoted as saying, “We hope the United States will conclude the investigation as soon as possible to benefit satellite manufacturers and operators in the U.S., as well as launch- service providers on our part.” Meanwhile Zhang Xinxia, president of Great Wall Industry Corp, said that because of a US probe into the allegations, “We may lose several billion U.S. dollars but it is difficult to specify the total amount.” He added, “The things under investigation have all been imagined by one side, and they are not true – – I would like to make this clear. It is just several people in Congress who have taken advantage of this for internal political reasons.”


8. Russian Ratification of START II

The Associated Press (“FORMER DEFENSE MINISTER URGES RUSSIA TO REJECT NUCLEAR TREATY,” Moscow, 11/16/98) reported that former Russian Defense Minister Igor Rodionov on Monday urged the Duma to reject the START II nuclear reduction treaty. Rodionov stated, “It is a treacherous treaty that is strategically disarming us.” He added that reducing nuclear weapons would leave Russia with few defenses left.

II. Republic of Korea


1. Kim Jong-il’s Health

Korea Herald (“KIM JONG-IL IN GOOD HEALTH,” Seoul, 11/17/98) reported that a PRC medical doctor, who is known to have treated DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s diabetes, said Monday that Kim is in good health. “In my opinion, Kim will stay healthy. He has no problems at all physically or mentally,” Feng Shiliang told reporters upon arriving at Kimpo International Airport. Feng, who is the head of a medical center on diabetes in Liaoning, came to Seoul for a six-day visit at the invitation of the Institute for ROK-PRC Security Studies. Feng, who received a doctor of medicine degree from Pyongyang Medical College in 1996, is said to have contributed to curing Kim’s disease. Rumors about the reclusive leader’s health have been rampant since the 1980s. Reports said that Kim hurt his head after falling from a horse. He also reportedly suffers from diabetes and heart disease. After meeting with Kim in Pyongyang early this month, ROK business tycoon Chung Ju-yung also said the DPRK leader looked healthy.


2. DPRK Tourism Project

JoongAng Ilbo (“$3.80 PER MINUTE TO CALL FROM MT. KUMGANG TOUR CRUISE SHIPS,” Seoul, 11/17/98) reported that Mt. Kumgang tourists will have to pay 4,920 won (US$3.80) per minute to call the ROK, while if one wants to call the cruise ship from the ROK the price will be 1,428 won per minute. The Ministry of Information and Communications (MOIC) decided on the price in consultation with Onse Communications and plans to provide this telephone service on the inaugural cruise on November 18. Tourists will use a telephone booth installed aboard the ships to place a call to the ROK. A tourist would first have to dial 0082008 before an operator could connect them. The telephone charge has to be paid in US dollars to a cashier beside the booth. If somebody wants to call from the ROK to the ship, they would dial 008850 and press a designated four-digit number. The MOIC chose the Onse Communications as the exclusive telephone server but will approve Korea Telecom for this service next year. The telephone service aboard cruise ships will be performed via the IDC, a Japanese international telephone company.


3. President Kim’s Proposal in APEC

Chosun Ilbo (“KIM PROPOSES MAJOR AGENDA FOR APEC,” Seoul, 11/16/98) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said that advanced nations, including the US and Japan, will have to strengthen their financial support to developing economies in the region in order to cope with the economic crisis in Asia. The developing countries, in return, need to remove their protectionism to reactivate regional trade, Kim maintained. He also suggested that the member countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) expand budget spending to revive domestic demand. Kim’s remarks were repeated in summit meetings with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, New Zealand Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, and Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. Kim plans to urge the participating nations to include his economic revival proposals in the so-called “Concerted Asia Recovery Program” in the joint communique which is to be issued at the closure of the APEC summit meeting Wednesday. Kim is also expected to raise three major issues: expansion of government spending, reduction of interest rates, and financial support for the summit communique. President Kim and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir also agreed upon the necessity of a global information exchange organization to monitor the movements of hedge funds, said Park Jie-won, the presidential spokesman. Mahathir also agreed with Kim’s belief that the G7 economies must provide support to developing countries undergoing financial crisis due to the invasion of the hedge funds.


4. ROK Economy

JoongAng Ilbo (“ECONOMY SHOULD BE BETTER NEXT YEAR,” Seoul, 11/17/98) reported that automobiles, semi-conductor exports, and shipbuilding have recently been on the rise while steel and oil refinery production has been decreasing. In general, economic indices on the whole will be back on track next year, the government predicted. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy on November 17 announced that automobile production this year will reach 2.1 million units, which is 25.5 percent less than that of last year, but by 1999 it will rise a further 16.7 percent to 2.45 million units. Semi-conductor production will see an increase of 10 percent in exports to reach US$18 billion in 1999. Shipbuilding next year will total 85 million tons in new vessels, up 11.8 percent over 1998. General machine production will rise by 2.9 percent next year.

III. Russian Federation


1. APEC Forum

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Dmitriy Kosyrev (“RUSSIA BECAME APEC MEMBER,” Kuala Lumpur, 6, 11/17/98) reported that on 11/14/98 RF Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who had spent 3 days at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in Kuala Lumpur, signed a document on RF membership in APEC. He said that the fact that the RF presented its plan for interaction with APEC was welcome at the Forum. 40 RF ministries and other institutions participated in drafting the plan. RF Trade Minister Georgiy Gabunia, also present at the Forum, said that the RF–similar to Japan, the PRC and other APEC members–is not ready as of now to lower its trade tariffs, which is one of the major goals of APEC, but it is interested in participation in APEC working groups on energy, communications and some other areas. The RF delegation is one of the biggest in Kuala Lumpur. RF Premier Yevgeniy Primakov was expected to arrive Saturday for the APEC Summit to be held on Wednesday. Primakov’s first meeting is to be with US Vice President Albert Gore, acting on behalf of US President William Clinton.


2. RF Ratification of START II

Segodnya’s Pavel Felgengauer (“START-2: BARGAINING ANNOUNCED. 50:50 PROBABILITY OF RATIFICATION,” Moscow, 2, 11/17/98) reported that RF Premier Yevgeniy Primakov and his First Deputy Yuriy Maslyukov urged the RF State Duma to urgently ratify the 2nd RF-US Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II) signed by the Presidents of the RF and US in 1993. They insisted that its ratification would help restore the West’s confidence in the RF and overcome the financial crisis. The Duma agreed to hold the relevant hearings this December. Aleksey Arbatov, Deputy Chairman, Duma Committee on Defense, said that today about 70 percent of Duma members are against the ratification. Yet he said at the same time “irreconcilable opponents” constitute only 10 percent of those, while the rest can be made to change their opinion if the appropriate work is done quietly behind the scenes, convincing the factional leaders that otherwise they would jeopardize the present coalition Government they have so persistently fought for. Even if the treaty is not ratified in December, technically it will still be considered as non-ratified, rather then rejected. Presently there are already over 30 such yet non-ratified international agreements on the Duma’s record.


3. RF-PRC Summit

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“IN BRIEF …. PRC FOREIGN POLICY PREPARES JIANG’S VISIT TO MOSCOW,” Beijing, 6, 11/13/98) reported the Xinhua News Agency’s information that PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiasuan told RF correspondents in Beijing that the 6th RF-PRC summit will be the first one “with no ties on.” Talking about bilateral economic relations, he noted that the Asian financial crisis affected both countries. To expand their cooperation they should strive for implementation of the existing agreements in order to change the structure of trade and to diversify relations.

Segodnya (“MOSCOW AND BEIJING MIGHT PREFER INFORMAL SUMMITS,” Moscow, 2, 11/17/98) reported that, according to “sources in the RF Foreign Ministry,” the RF and the PRC are inclined to completely abandon the practice of official summit visits in favor of informal summits, because “both in Moscow and Beijing there is a consensus that official visits entailing a mass of protocol events have become too narrow for the level of Russia-China relations reached.” Therefore the first RF-PRC unofficial summit to take place on November 22-23 will most probably serve as a model for future contacts. At the forthcoming summit, it is planned to adopt an extensive political document summing up the results of the two and a half year long cooperation of the two countries in establishing their partnership aimed at strategic interaction in the 21st century, as well as a political summing up the RF-PRC Eastern and Western border demarcation process. In recent years, RF President Boris Yeltsin and PRC Chairman Jiang Zemin have had 5 official summits.


4. RF-PRC Relations

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Pavel Spirin (“CRISIS IN THE GULF WILL MAKE RUSSIA AND CHINA CLOSER TO EACH OTHER,” Moscow, 6, 11/13/98) reported that PRC diplomats strictly confidentially held consultations with their Iraqi colleagues in Beijing in order to make Iraq fully honor its commitments and resume cooperation with the UN inspectors. A Western source commented that “if China fails to convince Iraq to demonstrate a balanced and reasonable approach and the US in its turn moves from escalation of the conflict in the Persian Gulf to specific military actions, Beijing in order not to find itself in isolation will have to stretch its hand to Moscow.” PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told journalists in Beijing that he would discuss the Persian Gulf situation with RF Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, whom he would meet at the APEC Forum in Kuala Lumpur. There were no rigid formulas mentioned implying any RF-PRC “quasi-alliance.” However, the RF and the PRC are the only UN Security Council permanent members trying by any means to prevent a military solution to the crisis. The PRC lately has been very active in the Middle East, and its economic interests, including a multibillion dollar Ahdaba oil field exploitation agreement signed with Iraq, are not the only reasons for that. In the author’s opinion, considering the fact that “three years ago the PRC already succeeded in making the RF abstain from supporting an anti-PRC UN human rights resolution, the prospect for a Russian-Chinese quasi alliance does not seem too illusory.”


5. RF Military Sales to PRC

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s (“AIRSHOW IN JUHAI TAKES A START,” Moscow, 2, 11/17/98) reported that Airshow China 98, the second international airshow in Juhai Special Economic Zone in Southern PRC, opened Tuesday. The show is held every two years and is intended to become the largest in Asia. The first one, Airshow China 96, “became a triumph” of RF aircraft. Following it the PRC bought a number of Su-27 fighters for its Air Force and a license to produce 200 of those under the local name of F-11 at an aircraft plant in Shenyang. Due to the present crisis “Russia’s participation in the second airshow will be more than modest.” 30 enterprises will advertise their planes and Mi-8 helicopters. Only Su-family aircraft, though, are to be physically exhibited. The PRC is still interested in civilian RF-made aircraft as well, as 25 percent of its airplane pool is of Soviet origin. Yet, comparing RF representation and that of the US and Europe, it seems that RF producers might be pushed out of the PRC market.


6. RF-Japan Summit

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Natalia Konstantinova and Dmitriy Kosyrev (“MOSCOW GAVE A SECRET REPLY TO TOKYO’S SECRET PROPOSAL,” Moscow, 1, 2, 11/13/98) reported that on November 12 a meeting was held in Moscow between Japanese Premier Keizo Obuchi and RF President Boris Yeltsin, “a man on whom in Tokyo they lay big, possibly excessive, hopes concerning a solution of the problem most critical to Russian-Japanese relations, that is the sovereignty or, to put in more mildly, the future of the four Southern-most Kuril isles.” In April in Kawana, Boris Yeltsin revealed that then Premier Ryutaro Hashimoto had made him a proposal on the territorial issue. Its essence has remained secret since then. Now in Moscow, following Thursday’s Yeltsin-Obuchi meeting, RF Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov “with a severe face” reported that the essence of proposals given by the RF President in response is “‘to create such conditions which, without bringing harm to state interests and political positions of the parties, would assist in creating an atmosphere favorable to joint economic and other activities.'” Wednesday evening an RF-Japan Moscow declaration was signed as well. It contains no disputable points and its text is final except the part concerning a bilateral peace treaty yet to be signed. In particular, the Declaration provides for bilateral cooperation for peace and stability in the Asian Pacific region and removal of bureaucratic blocks that make its difficult for Japanese medical doctors to go to South Kurils and for patients to go from there to Japan. The Declaration also contains a commitment made by the RF to support Japan’s aspiration for UN Security Council permanent membership.

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Dmitriy Gornostayev (“INSTEAD OF YELTSIN, PRIMAKOV COMPLETED RUSSIAN-JAPANESE SUMMIT,” Moscow, 1, 11/14/98) reported that the RF President and Japanese Premier on Friday signed the Moscow declaration “On establishment of Constructive Partnership between the Russian Federation and Japan.” However, there was no joint ceremony, as both of them signed the document separately, and after that the exchange of copies took place not in the Kremlin, but in the RF Government Building, with the RF represented not by its President, but Premier Yevgeniy Primakov. Considering Yeltsin’s absence at the official banquet on November 12 as well, “one should assume that Japanese protocol … was hurt by the display of insufficient respect to its Prime Minister.” The RF President’s absence on both occasions, in Nezavisimaia gazeta’s author’s opinion, “might be interpreted in Japan as caused by political reasons, particularly Yeltsin’s wish to show his not quite positive attitude to the results fixed in the document.” In general the Declaration “can be assessed as one accelerating the peace treaty signing. But in that there are hidden threats to RF territorial integrity…. For Moscow a so-called postponed solution option is most favorable. But with the Moscow Declaration signed, this option, fought for by many Russian institutions directly related to the disputed territories problem, somewhat loses its chances for success. In particular fears are caused by a phrase in the text … about creation of ‘a Subcommission on border delimitation within the framework of the existing Joint Russian-Japanese Commission on the issues of peace treaty conclusion.’… Thus, Moscow presently in a preliminary way admits a possibility of change of the border line in the area of South Kurils.” At the same time, though, the Declaration provides for creation of “a Subcommission on joint economic activities which, working in parallel with the Subcommission on border delimitation, would determine the types of joint economic activities not causing harm to juridical interests of both parties.” If interpreted as preserving the status quo indefinitely, that clause is favorable to the RF. In general the Declaration causes hope for both Japan and the RF to win and, in Primakov’s words, is “a great step forward.”

Izvestia’s Yuriy Savenkov (“MOSCOW AND TOKYO CHOSE CONSTRUCTIVE PARTNERSHIP,” Moscow, 3, 11/14/98) reported that, following the RF-Japan summit in Moscow, Hiromu Nonaka, Secretary General of the Japanese Cabinet of Ministers, commented on its results: “That’s more than we expected initially.” In addition to the Moscow Declaration, the parties signed agreements on promotion and protection of investments, a concept of RF-Japanese investment company, memoranda on cooperation in tourism, environmental protection, post service and communications. Japan also proposed to allocate US$100 million to create youth exchange centers, obviously planning to “build relations with the future Russia today.”

Sovetskaya Rossia’s Vasiliy Safronchuk (“SECRET DIPLOMACY,” Moscow, 1, 11/17/98) reported on the RF-Japan Moscow summit results. Listing all those, he specifically noted that “the idea of joint economic activities on the South Kuril islands cannot but cause alarm, as it might lead to a “creeping” surrender of the islands to Japan. It was about that, in particular, that a group of veteran-ambassadors warned in their letter to the State Duma, published in Sovetskaya Rossia on November 5. The authors of the letter were given audience with S. Baburin, Deputy Chairman of the Duma, on November 10 and rendered their views on this problem in full detail.”

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“RUSSIAN-JAPANESE RELATIONS AND SOUTH KURILS,” Moscow, 6, 11/11/98) on the eve of Japanese Premier Keizo Obuchi’s official visit to Moscow, published an article by Oleg Khlestov, Vice President of the Russian Association of International Law, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary. Judging from the media reports, the author writes, at their April 1998 Kawana summit Premier Ryutaro Hashimoto made President Boris Yeltsin a proposal to delimit the territories of both countries in such a way that the four South Kuril islands would go under Japan’s sovereignty, while their practical transfer would take place later. “If that is so, Japan repeats its old position which is totally unrealistic” due to four reasons described in detail by the author. First, it is wrong in terms of international law, as the USSR incorporated the islands with a full consent of its allies in 1945, and the incorporation was validated by the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty ratified by Japan. The sanctions against Japan were confirmed by the UN Charter. Second, such attempts to revise the post-war territorial settlement might entail a chain reaction internationally. Third, RF executive authority cannot change RF territory without the consent of RF parliament and RF Far Eastern subjects. All those are against the transfer. Four, the economic role of the islands and their 100-mile economic zone is such that they constitute a single complex with the other Kuril Islands, Sakhalin, and Kamchatka. The author insists that there should be a search for a reasonable compromise, rather then total fulfilling of the claims, and admitted some progress reached in this respect. The most realistic approach is to sign a large-scale treaty on friendship, cooperation and good-neighborliness, providing for Japan’s extensive activities there without touching upon the sovereignty issue, the way it was done under the 1959 Treaty on the Antarctic. Finally, the author notes, Japan’s population itself is not unanimous in this respect. In September, 1992, a public opinion poll in Japan showed that 61.2 percent of the respondents believed the Japanese Government could be more flexible on that issue, 29.9 percent insisted on the return of the islands, and 22.1 percent said the RF could abstain from returning them.

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Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Lee Dong-young:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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