NAPSNet Daily Report 18 August, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 18 August, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, August 18, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-18-august-1999/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. People’s Republic of China

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Missile Talks

The Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, “N. KOREA READY FOR MISSILE TALKS,” Seoul, 08/18/99) and Reuters (“N.KOREA SAYS READY TO TALK ABOUT MISSILE FEARS,” Tokyo, 08/18/99) reported that the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted an unidentified spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry as saying Wednesday that the DPRK was ready for negotiations over its reported plan to test-launch a Taepodong-2 long- range ballistic missile. The spokesman stated, “We are always ready for negotiation if the hostile nations honestly ask for it out of an intention to alleviate our concern.” He said that the DPRK has been compelled to develop missiles because the US keeps large numbers of weapons and troops in the ROK and still harbors intentions to invade the DPRK. He stated, “This is a self-defensive measure we have adopted unavoidably. On behalf of the dignity of the nation, we will resolutely counter any unfair attempt to discriminate against us.” He added, “There would be no reason for us to fire missiles at the United States if they are not a warring party and if they do nothing harmful to us, even if our missiles can reach the U.S. mainland.”

2. DPRK Missile Test

Reuters (“NO N.KOREA LAUNCH SEEN IN NEXT 2 MTHS-JAPAN OFFICIAL,” Tokyo, 08/16/99) reported that an anonymous Japanese Defense Agency official said on Tuesday that Japan has detected no signs to suggest that the DPRK will test-fire a Taepodong-2 missile in the next two months.

US Defense Department Spokesman Kenneth Bacon (“PENTAGON REGULAR BRIEFING, TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 1999,” USIA Transcript, 08/17/99) said that the US is deploying “significant assets” to the Pacific to monitor a potential DPRK missile test. Bacon said that General Harry Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “felt that the collection [of] assets we either have or will have on scene are perfectly adequate to meet our needs. And THAAD (Theater High-Altitude Area Defense) had not been integrated into the collection plan…. Second, there would have been a cost to deploying the THAAD radar that he didn’t think was worth spending…. Third, it would have interfered with other plans for the THAAD radar.” Bacon added, “This was discussed in the policy area, and in the military area, but it was finally General Shelton’s decision. The reason he made the decision was the request had been made by the Commander in Chief of the Space Command, General [Richard] Myers.” Bacon also said that arms control considerations were not a factor in the decision. He added, “We do not have anything to suggest that North Korea is closer to a test today than it was last week.”

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “PENTAGON CITES COST IN REFUSAL TO TRACK MISSILE WITH TOP RADAR,” 08/18/99) reported that Senator Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, has organized a letter of protest to US Defense Secretary William S. Cohen regarding the military’s decision not to use Theater High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) radar to monitor a possible DPRK missile test. The letter said, “The administration’s continued adherence to the moribund ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty should not be allowed to continue to interfere with prudent military and intelligence actions that are needed to defend our nation against the growing threat of missile attack from countries like North Korea.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 18.]

3. DPRK Missile Capabilities

Time Magazine (Barry Hillenbrand, “THERE’S A REASON THEY CALL IT ROCKET SCIENCE,” 08/23/99, 39) carried an interview with John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists, who said that the DPRK’s achievement in missile technology is impressive considering its poverty. Pike stated, “Unlike anything they have flown before, the Taepo Dong-2 apparently has four motors in the first stage…. And since it has a longer range than anything they have used before, it is a big challenge to get it remotely close to the target.” Pike said that the DPRK’s missile program is “roughly where America and Russia were in the late 1950s. But the ICBMs we were developing then were significantly bigger and more complex–and far more accurate.” He added, “It’s difficult to get a missile to work once on a test range, but it is even more difficult to get it to work if you have a war one afternoon. The Taepo Dong-1 has flown only once, whereas in an American program you’d fly a missile 20 times before it’s put into service. But this limited testing may be enough for the North Koreans, because they know how incredibly allergic we are to missiles and that it doesn’t take much to get us scared.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird News service for August 18.]

4. US-ROK Military Exercises

The Associated Press (Kyong-Hwa Seok, “S.KOREA CONDUCTS MILITARY EXERCISES,” Seoul, 08/18/99) reported that the ROK held military exercises on Wednesday involving dozens of ROK tanks and armored vehicles crossing Seoul’s Han River over a pontoon bridge. The exercise, involving 1,500 soldiers and police, was held to practice for a possible attack on bridges over the Han River. The DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency denounced the exercise, saying, “There is no guarantee that the joint military exercises, which are big enough to ignite a war, will not lead to a war against the North.” It added, “If the South Korean warhawks unleash a war against the North … despite our repeated warnings, they will certainly be destroyed by our powerful self-defense step.”

5. Taiwanese Theater Missile Defense

The Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “TAIWAN LEADER BACKS MISSILE DEFENSE,” Taipei, 08/18/99) reported that Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui on Wednesday called for an island-wide antimissile defense system. Lee said that such a system “not only responds to current needs, but even more, fulfills the nation’s long-term development interests.” Lee’s comments were prompted by a confidential report to a ruling Nationalist Party meeting by Defense Minister Tang Fei, who recommended a system to intercept missiles at low-altitude. Tang said that that system would cover about 70 percent of Taiwan’s territory and cost about US$928 million. Tang said that technology now being developed to stop missiles at a greater range could be integrated later.

Dow Jones Newswires (Alex Keto, “WHITE HOUSE UNAWARE TAIWAN WANTS MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM,” Washington, 08/18/99) reported that David Leavy, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, said Wednesday that he was unaware of any request from Taiwan to help it build a missile defense system. Leavy added that the Taiwan Relations Act “spells out very clearly” what the US response would be to any PRC military action. He stated, “Any effort to resolve the issue of the cross-strait other than peaceful means would be of grave concern to the United States. And I’ll leave it at that.”

6. Taiwan Air Force

Reuters (Dan Martin, “TAIWAN, THREATENED BY CHINA, GROUNDS F-16S,” Taipei, 08/18/99) reported that a US-made F-16 fighter plane crash in southern Taiwan on Wednesday, causing Taiwan to halt training of its F-16 fleet. The crash occurred only shortly after the air force had ended an earlier grounding prompted by three other F-16 crashes since March 1998. An unnamed air force official stated, “Even with the temporary suspension of F-16 training, the current fleet can still maintain a normal level of readiness with the rest of our fleet.” However, Andrew Yang, an expert on Taiwan-China military affairs, stated, “I think these incidents show that we are probably in our most vulnerable stage of air defense. This will delay making these aircraft operational.”

7. PRC Threat to Taiwan

US Defense Department Spokesman Kenneth Bacon (“PENTAGON REGULAR BRIEFING, TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 1999,” USIA Transcript, 08/17/99) said that the PRC does not have the capacity for an amphibious assault on Taiwan. Bacon stated, “China has about 5,000 Marines, an extremely small force. It has a very small fleet of amphibious vehicles, amphibious craft. The Marines are based generally down in the south in a place called Zhanjiang and they have standard training. We’re not aware that there’s anything extraordinary going on with the marines, aside from their normal training.”

The Asian Wall Street Journal carried a commentary by Gerald Segal, director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London (“CHINA’S OPTIONS AGAINST TAIWAN ARE LIMITED,” 08/18/99) which said that while the PRC military could cause great damage to Taiwan, the PRC must consider the possible US response. The author argued, “As long as the U.S. remains firm, China is a weak power even on its own maritime frontier.” He added that, while the PRC has no credible capability for a full-scale invasion of Taiwan, even an attempt to seize offshore islands would involve “considerable cost.” He stated, “If China should seize the islands, the U.S., the wider world and certainly East Asia would abandon the notion of China as a peaceful international partner and would place more emphasis on effective military deterrence.” The author pointed out, “the U.S. military has worked hard to ensure that it has credible deterrence and offensive power for a wide range of contingencies. Unlike China, the U.S. with its modern technology, especially for maritime and air warfare, has what in the jargon is known as ‘escalation dominance’ over China.” He stated, “As recently as 1996, Chinese military men were stunned by how little control they had of a modern naval and air battlefield, and if anything the gap in favor of U.S. capacities has grown larger in the intervening years.” While he acknowledged that the PRC could use missiles against Taiwan, he argued that “unless China decided to take its missile ‘downtown’ into Taipei and knock out power and water, the Taiwanese public’s morale would hold long enough for the U.S. to threaten retaliatory strikes against China.” He added, “The most powerful political argument for a non-military response is the damage that military threats could do to candidate James Soong in the Taiwanese presidential campaign. Mr. Soong is the most pro-Beijing candidate and leads the polls, but his rivals in the pro-independence DPP, Chen Shui-bian, and the KMT’s (Kuomintang) Lien Chan would benefit if Mr. Soong were seen to be passive in the face of Chinese threats. It should be blindingly obvious to China that by letting Mr. Soong win in March they will have their best prospects for striking a deal with Taiwan since the beginning of the Lee Teng- hui era.” He concluded, “Unfortunately, precisely because this reality is so frustrating to Chinese military and civilian nationalists, the logic of a relatively peaceful Taiwan Strait may not hold. Wars have started elsewhere where the narrow military and nationalist logic seemed even weaker.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 18.]

8. PRC-Taiwan Hackers

Reuters (“CHINA TAKES TAIWAN FUROR INTO CYBERSPACE,” Beijing, 08/18/99) reported that the PRC’s official Yangcheng Evening News said on Wednesday that the Communist Party, government institutions, and key state firms had been barred from connecting to the Internet to thwart Taiwanese hackers. The PRC Ministry of Information Industry, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of State Security issued a circular stressing the importance of keeping computer-stored information safe. The newspaper said that hackers identifying themselves as being from Taiwan have left pro-independence comments on various sites, including that of the China Securities Regulatory Commission. It added that the Ministry of Information Industry had developed software that could thwart hackers and it would be widely used soon.

9. PRC Anti-Taiwan Rhetoric

Reuters (Benjamin Kang Lim, “CHINA KEEPS UP WAR OF WORDS AGAINST TAIWAN,” Beijing, 08/18/99) and the London Times (Oliver August, “BEIJING’S WAR DRILLS TAUNT TAIWAN,” Beijing 08/18/99) reported that the PRC’s Liberation Army Daily said Wednesday in a front-page commentary that the PRC would prevent Taiwan independence regardless of the cost. The article stated, “Military strength cannot save [Taiwan President] Lee Teng- hui.” The paper said that the morale of Taiwan troops was low because Lee’s statement on PRC-Taiwan relations was unpopular, while Chinese soldiers have always put national interest above their own lives. The paper stated, “We would rather lose a thousand soldiers than lose an inch of land.” It also said the Lanzhou military region in the PRC’s northwest conducted joint military exercises involving the air force and artillery in mid-August. On Tuesday the China Daily newspaper reported, “The Marine Corps is improving its landing skills in the South China Sea during drills there.” It added, “The air forces and artillery troops are … striving to sharpen their combat skills.” The official People’s Daily stated, “The soldiers said they will ensure that the military forces can be ready for any action at any moment and win. All actions attempting to split the motherland and block reunification of the nation will surely end in bloodshed as it smashes its head into an indestructible great wall of steel.” PRC Vice-Premier Qian Qichen accused Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui of being “inherently” a separatist. Qian stated, “Whenever the critical moment for further developing cross-strait relations emerges, Lee Teng-hui would come out to create trouble, out of his inherent nature of splitting the motherland.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird News service for August 18.]

The Wall Street Journal (Ian Johnson, “BEIJING THREATENS TAIPEI ABROAD, BUT IS WARY OF INCITING ITS CITIZENS,” Beijing, 08/16/99) reported that while the PRC has hinted abroad of military action against Taiwan, domestically the government has taken a less aggressive posture. The article noted that the PRC’s state media have focused their anger on Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui, rather than Taiwan as a whole. An unnamed Hong Kong-based military analyst stated, “Their propaganda campaign is focused on the external audience — Taiwan, Hong Kong and the U.S. They are careful not to whip up too much excitement at home.” An unnamed Asian diplomat based in Beijing said that PRC “Leaders are being forced to juggle many competing claims right now. Taiwan may be the most important but it’s not the only one.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 16.]

10. PRC Company in Panama Canal

The Washington Times (Rowan Scarborough, “U.S. WOULDN’T LET CHINA CLOSE PANAMA CANAL,” 08/13/99) reported that White House Deputy Press Secretary David J. Leavy said Thursday that the US does not regard the control of Panama Canal ports by a PRC company as a threat. Leavy stated, “Our team looked into this, analyzed it and made a judgment … that we are satisfied that our interests will be protected, both in terms of national security and commercial.” He added, “We see no capability, on the part of [the PRC], which is a heavy user of the canal, to disrupt its operation. So I would caution people not to get too alarmist over this issue.” US Defense Department spokesman Kenneth Bacon said that the PRC company “does not have any ability to stop or impede traffic through the canal…. The United States has a unilateral right to maintain the neutrality of the canal and to reopen it, if there would be any military threat.” [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 13.]

11. Japan-Iran Talks

Reuters (Ali Raiss-Tousi, “JAPAN LENDS TO IRAN, BUT LESS THAN PLANNED,” Tehran, 08/17/99) reported that Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Yasuhisa Kawamura said on Tuesday that Japan has agreed to lift a six-year freeze on loans to Iran and to expand its political dialogue with the Iranian government. Kawamura added that Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi were likely to discuss Iran’s relations with the DPRK at a meeting late on Tuesday.

12. Japanese Defense Policy

Dow Jones Newswires (“JAPAN LDP PRES CANDIDATE KATO’S FACTION RELEASES PLATFORM,” Tokyo, 08/18/99) reported that former Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary-General Koichi Kato’s faction released its policy platform on Wednesday. The platform said that if Korea re-unified, and China and Taiwan “settled their relationship,” there would be a need for a regional security organization like NATO or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In such a case, a faction official said that Japan might have to reconsider the Constitution’s Article IX, which renounces war, so Japan could participate in a regional security arrangement.

13. Japanese War Atrocities

The Los Angeles Times (Teresa Watanabe, “JAPAN’S WAR VICTIMS IN NEW BATTLE,” 08/16/99) reported that former US World War II prisoners of war have filed lawsuits in California and New York seeking compensation from Mitsui Mining Co. and other Japanese firms for allegedly forcing them to perform slave labor. US Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat-California, is researching whether the US government still possesses documents on Japan’s biological and chemical warfare research program, and has said she will seek their declassification. California Assemblyman Mike Honda was expected to push the state Legislature to vote on a nonbinding resolution urging Japan to make a “clear and unambiguous” apology for its war misdeeds and offer individual reparations to victims. The resolution also urges the US Congress to adopt a similar measure and asks the president to seek an apology from Japan. Honda stated, “The atrocities and acts committed during World War II need to be on record. Once they are on record, the likelihood of them happening again is slimmer.” According to a 1993 study by the Japanese National Parliament Library, Japan has paid out more than US$27 billion in war compensation to at least 27 nations under the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty and state-to-state settlements. Takahito Narumiya, a Japanese Consulate official in San Francisco, stated, “All Japanese people are sincerely sorry about the Japanese military’s actions during the war and its inhumane behavior to foreigners, in particular to Asian people.”

The New York Times (Howard W. French, “JAPANESE MARK WAR ANNIVERSARY WITH LESS RETICENCE,” Tokyo, 08/16/99) reported that eight Japanese government ministers attended a World War II memorial ceremony at the Yasukuni shrine Sunday. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka repeated his call to have Class-A war criminals enshrined elsewhere than Yasukuni. Nonaka stated, “Somebody has to assume responsibility for the last war. We want to have the Class A war criminals take the responsibility and have them enshrined somewhere else.” World War II veteran Taro Yamada, however, stated, “Nonaka is a cheater for playing around with such issues. Government officials should not be worrying about the feelings of other countries. They should simply come to the shrine to pay their respects like everyone else does.” Kanjio Suzuki, also a veteran, stated, “They say that we attacked, but the truth is that we were forced into war. If you look at Taiwan or South Korea, they have become good countries because of our good administration. We educated those people.” Veteran Takashi Matsui argued, “As a result of our efforts, Indonesia, Burma, and Malaysia were liberated. If not for us, they would still be colonized.” An unnamed veteran stated, “The idea was to prosper together with the other Asian nations. It was natural for us to take a leadership role, even if our military sometimes went too far.”

14. Indian Nuclear Doctrine

US State Department spokesman James P. Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 1999,” USIA Transcript, 08/18/99) said that the Indian government had been saying for some time that it would produce a nuclear doctrine. Rubin stated, “We will continue to make the case to both India and Pakistan that possession of nuclear weapons in this form or similar forms doesn’t enhance their security. Clearly, they’re moving in the wrong direction by trying to create such a capability.” He added, “In light of the fact that India now has a caretaker government, we haven’t scheduled any formal discussions, but we do hope to have a session sometime in the next several weeks.” Rubin said that the US “would want to see India develop an export control system that deals effectively with sensitive technologies and material; a multilateral moratorium on production of fissile material, pending negotiation of a treaty banning the production of such material; and we also, obviously, would want to see them have direct talks with Pakistan on the underlying issues.”

US Defense Department Spokesman Kenneth Bacon (“PENTAGON REGULAR BRIEFING, TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 1999,” USIA Transcript, 08/17/99) said that the US has urged both India and Pakistan to show restraint in developing nuclear weapons. Bacon stated, “We feel that this is an area where a nuclear war is possible if people don’t show restraint. It’s an area where the damage would be extraordinary because of the large populations of these two countries. We have urged both Pakistan and India not to take irrevocable steps and not to take steps that further provoke the tensions between the two countries.”

The Washington Post (Pamela Constable, “INDIA DRAFTS DOCTRINE ON NUCLEAR ARMS POLICY,” New Delhi, 08/18/99, A01) reported that Joseph Cirincione, director of the Nonproliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that the Indian announcement of its nuclear doctrine was part of a movement toward eventual deployment of nuclear weapons in South Asia. Cirincione stated, “That is what is dangerous and what the United States has tried unsuccessfully to stop.” He added, however, “This says the weapons are not something that regional commanders will have unrestricted access to, which is a concern in a country with a history of poor communications between troops in the field and headquarters.” Praful Bidwai, head of India’s leading anti-nuclear organization, stated, “Last year, our government presented its doctrine in the garb of restraint and responsibility; now they are disclosing the nasty side of no first use. The language is menacing. I think it will be seen by people in Pakistan, especially the military hawks, as a provocation, and that’s how nuclear races are ignited.” Brajesh Mishra, India’s national security adviser, insisted that India intends to develop a cautious, carefully controlled nuclear policy. Mishra stated, “The cardinal principle is that of civilian control.” He added that India’s handling of last month’s clash in Kashmir “showed that we behaved with restraint and responsibility. That will also guide our actions in the use of nuclear weapons.” Michael Krepon, president of the Henry L. Stimson Center, said that the draft doctrine failed to say whether India would keep its missiles launch-ready and whether such missiles will be fitted with warheads. Krepon stated, “Based on this document, it will be hard for other countries to believe in India’s assurance of no first use. To other countries it will look like readiness to use.” [Ed. note: This article was the top story in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 18.]

The Associated Press (“INDIA’S CONGRESS PARTY CRITICIZES GOVT’S NUCLEAR DOCTRINE,” New Delhi, 08/18/99) reported that India’s main opposition Congress party said Wednesday that the government’s draft nuclear doctrine would start an arms race with Pakistan. The Communist Party of India (CPI) also rejected the draft, saying it advocated full-fledged nuclear weaponization. Prakash Karat, a member of the CPI politburo, said in a statement, “This is the real meaning of the credible minimum nuclear deterrence.” Karat added, “This illegitimate nuclear doctrine by an unaccountable government must be rejected for what it is: nuclear sabre-rattling to garner votes for an irresponsible and jingoistic party.”

15. Pakistan Neutron Bomb

The Associated Press (“PAKISTANI SCIENTIST SAYS PAKISTAN CAN BUILD NEUTRON BOMB,” Islamabad, 08/18/99) reported that Dr. N.M. Butt, a Pakistani nuclear scientist, said Wednesday that Pakistan has enough expertise and material to make a neutron bomb. Butt said that Pakistan has “well trained, specialized and capable nuclear scientists who can design and build a nuclear weapon of any type or size, including neutron bomb.”

16. US-Russian Nuclear Talks

Reuters (Peter Graff, “RUSSIA, U.S. HOLD TALKS ON NEW ARMS CONTROL TREATY,” Moscow, 08/18/99) reported that John Holum, US designate undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said that Russia and the US concluded opening arms control talks in Moscow on Wednesday. Holum added the results would be announced Thursday. He stated, “As expected, the atmosphere was businesslike and productive.” Russian State Duma foreign affairs committee chief Vladimir Lukin said that Russia does not want to change significantly the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty. Lukin stated, “If we really want to ratify START-2 in the Duma, first and foremost we need some clarification on the American position on ABM. It is possible to modernize this treaty somewhat, but for us it is indispensable to stick to it.” He added that it would also be easier to persuade the Duma to ratify START-2 if it knows how deep further missile cuts would be in START-3, which could then also be signed by the two countries’ presidents right away.

17. US-Russian Nuclear Alert Posture

Reuters (Jim Wolf, “U.S., RUSSIA URGED TO LOWER MISSILE ALERT FOR Y2K,” Washington, 08/13/99) reported that a network of international groups last week announced a campaign to try to persuade US President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin to “stand down” their nuclear-armed missiles on New Year’s Day 2000 to prevent possible complications from the Y2K computer bug. Friends of the Earth, an Australian environmental group, is leading an effort to send a letter to Clinton and Yeltsin that was signed by 271 groups, including Greenpeace International. The letter stated, “If Y2K breakdowns produce inaccurate early-warning data, or if communications and command channels are compromised, the combination of hair-trigger force postures and Y2K failures could be disastrous.” US Representative Ed Markey, Democrat Massachusetts, introduced a sense of the Congress resolution last week calling for the “de-alerting” of as many US nuclear weapons “as is feasible and consistent with national security.” Markey stated, “Today the Russian command-and-control system is decaying.” Alice Slater, president of the New York-based Global Resource Action Center for the Environment, stated, “In a sense, Y2K is a crisis and an opportunity.” She called the temporary de-alerting campaign a “first step” in a larger effort to ban nuclear weapons. Bruce Blair of the Brookings Institution said that the Y2K glitch itself could not cause accidental missile firings because the ultimate decisions would be made by people, but he said that permanently de-alerting all or most nuclear missiles made sense in the post-cold War world as a safety precaution. The US Defense Department has invited Russia to send military officers to a proposed temporary joint “early-warning center” in Colorado Springs to avoid any possible Y2K problems, but Russia has not responded.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Missile Test

Joongang Ilbo (Shim Shang-bok, “NK SHOWS A LITTLE FLEXIBILITY OVER MISSILE ISSUE,” Seoul, 08/17/99) reported that the DPRK is reportedly showing a more flexible stance over the missile issue. According to a Cable News Network report, Kim Yong-sun, secretary of the DPRK’s ruling Korean Workers’ Party and a close adviser to DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, said in an interview that, “If things related to the missile issue are discussed in a reasonable manner, then they will turn out well.” Kim stated, “I’m optimistic about it. If a visitor brings us cake, we will also give cakes. But if they bring a sword, we will respond with a sword.” US State Department spokesman James Rubin welcomed Kim’s statement and said that the DPRK would benefit if it decided not to launch a missile. “We certainly hope that this statement indicates that North Korea is prepared to seize the opportunity for improved relations with the United States,” Rubin said.

2. ROK Bomb Observatory

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “NEW OBSERVATORY CAN DETECT NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR TESTS,” Seoul, 08/17/99) reported that a source from the ROK government revealed on Tuesday that the ROK has set up an observatory that can detect bomb development and underground nuclear tests using sound waves. It was established last July in Kangwon province near the border with the DPRK. It is able to detect the sound of a test explosion within a 1,000-kilometer radius, which reaches across the DPRK, and can also identify the size and type of the bomb. The ROK government is also known to be negotiating with the US to reclaim another detector in Kangwon province which the US installed in the 1960s to monitor nuclear developments in the PRC and Russia.

3. DPRK-UNC Talks

The Korea Times (“UNC, N. KOREAN GENERALS MEET TO DISCUSS WAYS OF EASING TENSION,” Seoul, 08/17/99) and The Korea Herald (Chang Jae-soon, “GENERAL-LEVEL MEETING BETWEEN UNC, N.KOREA HELD AT PANMUNJOM,” Seoul, 08/18/99) reported that generals from the United Nations Command (UNC) and the DPRK met at the truce village of Panmunjom on Monday to discuss ways of easing tensions in the wake of a naval clash in June. The DPRK generals, led by Lieutenant General Li Chan-bok, renewed their demand that a new sea border be drawn, based on the extension of the armistice military demarcation line on land. The DPRK also demanded an apology for the naval skirmish and the punishment of those responsible. The UNC generals, however, insisted that the Northern Limit Line has served as a practical border for more than four decades and should be respected. Officials said that the meeting unusually continued in the afternoon to discuss the return of a ROK dredger that had been washed into DPRK territorial waters owing to the floods. Representing the UNC were US Air Force Major General Michael Dunn; ROK Air Force Brigade General Keum Ki-yuen; British General John Baker; and French Colonel Francois Torres. The UNC generals proposed that a signal system be arranged between the two Koreas so that their navies could avoid unnecessary clashes and that military hotlines be established between the US-led UNC and the DPRK.

4. ROK-Japan Talks

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “FOREIGN MINISTER HONG TO VISIT JAPAN FOR TALKS ON N. KOREA MISSILE THREAT,” Seoul, 08/18/99) reported that ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Hong Soon-young will visit Japan next week to coordinate the two governments’ DPRK policy, ROK officials said on Tuesday. During the August 22-24 visit, Hong will meet with his Japanese counterpart, Masahiko Komura, on Monday to discuss joint steps concerning the DPRK’s missile threat, they said. “Ministers Hong and Komura are expected to discuss not only measures for deterring Pyongyang from test-firing another ballistic missile but also steps to be taken in case it actually is fired,” said Lee Hyuk, director at the ministry’s North-East Asia Division. Also on the agenda will be the improvement of the Japan-DPRK relationship should the DPRK abandon its missile bid, the ministry official said.

5. Food Aid to DPRK

The Korea Herald (“SEOUL WILL CONTINUE AID TO PYONGYANG, HONG SAYS,” Seoul, 08/18/99) reported that ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Hong Soon-young said on Monday that the ROK would continue humanitarian aid to the DPRK in line with the policy of engaging the DPRK. He made the remarks when he received visiting World Food Program (WFP) Executive Director Catherine Bertini at his office, a spokesman of the ministry said. The ROK government fully supports the WFP’s humanitarian aid programs, Hong added. Bertini told Hong that the DPRK’s food situation has somewhat improved and the recent flood damage did not have devastating effects, but the country’s food shortages are estimated at one million tons and it still has to rely on international aid for overcoming the shortages.

6. ROK Opposition Leader Visits US and Germany

The Korea Herald (“OPPOSITION LEADER LEE TO VISIT U.S., GERMANY,” Seoul, 08/18/99) reported that Lee Hoi-chang, president of the ROK opposition Grand National Party (GNP), will visit the US September 10-15 and Germany September 16-17, GNP Spokesman Lee Sa-churl said. During his trip to Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, Lee will meet congressional leaders, government officials and scholars to exchange opinions on the ROK’s future. In Berlin, Lee will attend the 1999 International Democratic Union conference to be attended by conservative party leaders from 23 nations. He will return to Seoul September 18.

III. People’s Republic of China

1. DPRK-US Talks

People’s Daily (Zhao Jiaming, “DPRK, US HOLD GENERAL-LEVEL TALKS,” Pyongyang, 8/18/99, A6) reported that Lieutenant General Ri Chan-Bok from the DPRK’s People’s Army and Major General Michael Dunn from the US Forces-ROK held talks in Panmunjom on August 16 to continue the negotiations on the DPRK-ROK clashes in the West Sea of the Korean Peninsula in June. The talks did not make progress, however. According to a report from the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the DPRK side argued that to prevent armed clashes from breaking out again, the demarcation line between the DPRK and ROK sides in the West Sea should be fixed as early as possible. To this end, KCNA said, the DPRK put forward a detailed proposal about the working-level talks between the DPRK and US militaries. The DPRK side suggested beginning a working-level contact from the second half of August, the report said. The contact would be attended by DPRK and US delegations composed of 5-7 officers from each side and led by colonels. “Out of the nature of the issue, South Korean army personnel may participate in the contact,” the DPRK proposal said, according to KCNA. The venue of the contact would be Panmunjom and the contact would be made every ten days in principle, the proposal said. It added that the contact would be held on camera. Responding to the above-mentioned proposal, the US side insisted that the issue of delimiting the demarcation line in the West Sea should be settled by the DPRK and ROK under the Joint Military Committee. It was reported that Lieutenant General Ri Chan-Bok warned at the talks that there was a limit to the DPRK’s efforts to settle the issue through dialogue. “An option does not reside with the US forces side only,” the general said. According to him, the DPRK “will take its legitimate options if the US forces side resorts to a military adventure, turning down the DPRK’s efforts.” During the talks, the DPRK side also demanded that the US and the ROK end the “Ulchi Focus Lens” joint military exercise immediately and accept the DPRK’s proposal.

2. PRC View on ROK-US Military Exercises

People’s Daily (“CHINA CONCERNS OVER US-ROK JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES,” Beijing, 8/18/99, A4) reported that when answering reporters’ questions in Beijing on August 17, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said that the PRC is concerned about the joint military exercise conducted by the US and ROK. The joint military exercise code-named “Ulchi Focus Lens” started on August 16, the report said. Zhu said that safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is congruent with the interests of the people of the countries in the region and is the PRC’s consistent stance. The PRC hopes relevant parties will do more to ease tensions on the peninsula and refrain from exacerbating the situation, the spokesman noted.

3. Light-Water Reactor Project

People’s Daily (Gao Haorong, “ROK NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OKS N. KOREAN REACTORS FUNDS,” Seoul, 8/14/99, A3) reported that the ROK National Assembly ratified on August 12 the agreement signed by the ROK government with the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) on the provision of loans to build light-water nuclear reactors in the DPRK. According to the agreement signed on July 2, the ROK should provide US$3.2 billion to the KEDO. It was estimated that the total budget is about US$4.6 billion. Besides the ROK, Japan will contribute US$1 billion and the rest will be raised by the US.

4. DPRK-Japanese Relations

People’s Daily (Zhao Jiaming, “DPRK SET FORTH THREE PRINCIPLES ON RELATIONS TO JAPAN,” Pyongyang, 8/12/99, A6) reported that on the occasion of marking the 54th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan on August 15, 1945, the DPRK Government issued a statement on August 10, making a comprehensive exposition of its principles on relations with Japan. The three principles are: first, that Japan must stop pursuing the policy of stifling the DPRK; second, that Japan must make a sincere apology and full compensation to the Korean people for all its past crimes; and third, if Japan “dare turn to showdown of strength in a bid to find a pretext to realize the wild ambition for re-invasion,” the DPRK will have no option but to take a corresponding countermeasure. The DPRK statement pointed out that the improvement of bilateral relations means, in essence, liquidating the crimes Japan committed against the Korean people in the past and on this basis developing new good-neighborly relations in the interests of the peoples of the two countries and in conformity with the requirements of the times. At a news conference on August 11 in connection with the release of the statement, DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Pak Tong-chun said that Japan should give up its policy hostile to the DPRK and that that would be the basis for the DPRK and Japan to re-start their official talks, which have been suspended for 7 years. Pak also condemned Japan’s argument about the DPRK’s rocket launch. He reiterated that launching satellites or missiles is an issue totally belonging to the DPRK’s sovereignty.

5. PLA Position on Taiwan Issue

People’s Daily (“PLA AND ARMED POLICE STRONGLY CONDEMN LEE TENG-HUI’S SEPARATIST ACTIVITIES,” Beijing, 8/17/99, A1) and China Daily (“PLA BACKS REUNIFICATION OF COUNTRY,” 8/17/99, A1) reported that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the armed police of the PRC have refuted Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui’s separatist remarks and vowed to safeguard the PRC’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The officers and men of the PLA and the armed police vowed to firmly support the peaceful reunification of the motherland, and pay close attention to the movement and development of events on the other side of the Taiwan Straits, the two newspapers said. The Marine Corps is improving its landing skills on the South China Sea during drills there. The air forces and artillery troops are showing the same resolution by striving to sharpen their combat skills, the reports said.

6. US-Japan Missile Defense

China Daily (“US, JAPAN OK ANTI-MISSILE DEAL,” Tokyo, 8/17/99, A11) reported that Japan and the US agreed on August 16 to research an anti-ballistic missile system. US Defense Department and Japanese Defense Agency officials signed a memorandum of understanding on research for a sea-based system that uses satellites to pinpoint incoming missiles and then shoots them down. A “basic outline” of the research had already been established, a foreign ministry statement said. “The joint research on ballistic missile defense will involve conducting required design and prototype experiments for navy theater-wide defense” against missiles, it said.

China Daily (“US-JAPAN MISSILE RESEARCH,” Tokyo, 8/16/99, A11) reported that Japan and the US are ready to contribute US$36 million each for joint research on a ballistic missile defense system, a Japanese daily reported on August 15. The money would cover about two years’ research, but that could be extended to five years, the Asahi Shimbun reported, citing Japanese Government sources.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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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

 


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