NAPSNet Daily Report 19 April, 2000

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 19 April, 2000", NAPSNet Daily Report, April 19, 2000,


I. United States

1. ROK-DPRK Summit
2. US Arms Sales to Taiwan
3. Taiwanese View of Weapons Sales
4. PRC View of Weapons Sales
II. Republic of Korea 1. DPRK-ROK Summit

I. United States

1. ROK-DPRK Summit

Agence France Presse (“PYONGYANG AGREES TO WEEKEND TALKS ON INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT,” Seoul, 4/19/00) reported that ROK officials said that the DPRK on Wednesday agreed to an ROK request for a border meeting this weekend to discuss preparations for the inter-Korean summit in June. DPRK Red Cross head Jang Jae-un said in a message telephoned to the ROK, “we agree to have the preparatory contact on Saturday at Panmunjom to discuss details for the historic summit in Pyongyang.” The message was released to the press by the ROK Unification Ministry. The ministry said that the two sides will send three-member teams, each to be headed by a deputy minister.

2. US Arms Sales to Taiwan

The Wall Street Journal (Greg Jaffe and Russell Flannery, “U.S. RADAR SALE TO TAIWAN STIRS MILD REACTIONS IN CHINA, CONGRESS,” 4/19/00), Reuters (“UNITED STATES, TAIWAN MEET ON WEAPONS PACKAGE,” Washington, 4/19/00) and Agence France Presse (“US WALKING HIGH WIRE IN SECURITY BALANCING ACT WITH TAIWAN AND CHINA,” Washington, 4/19/00) reported that the US Clinton administration’s decision to sell Taiwan long-range radar, but no Aegis destroyers, has drawn mild reactions from both the PRC and the US Congress. US Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina criticized the Clinton administration weapons proposal as too weak, but other senators took a wait-and-see approach. It is still unclear whether the sale of the long-range radar is enough to win over US Republicans who have been unsure about the PRC trade bill and the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act. One Senate staffer who has followed the issue closely said, “several senators I have talked to still feel we need to do something to reaffirm our commitment to Taiwan.” However, the staffer said, that desire to do something does not necessarily translate into support for the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act. Andrew Yang, secretary-general of the Chinese Council for Advanced Policy Studies, said that the delay in selling the Aegis warships meant that the US was holding out hope that the PRC and Taiwan can still resolve their dispute through peaceful means instead of force. Yang noted, “the moderates [in the PRC] need something to ease domestic pressure” from hard-liners who want military action to force Taiwan to reunify. He continued that in exchange, the US will try to persuade the PRC to slow deployment of missiles aimed at Taiwan and take a more-flexible approach on ties with Taiwan.

Reuters (“U.S. SAYS TAIWAN COULD GET HI-TECH ARMS LATER,” Washington, 4/19/00) reported that Taiwanese defense and economic officials responsible for arms procurement met with US officials at the National Defense University on April 18 to discuss the annual arms purchase package. US Defense Department spokesman Ken Bacon described the arms package to Taiwan as “good, strong and fair.” He added, “if something wasn’t in it this year, it could well be in it in some future year and [the package was] a recognition that the threat seems to have increased.” US Undersecretary of Defense Walter Slocombe said that the package would give Taiwan a “greatly improved radar early warning system. They will have very substantially enhanced capability in all the areas that are most important to them.”

The Washington Post published an editorial (“ARMING TAIWAN,” 4/19/00) which said that US policymakers were seriously considering urging the US Clinton Administration to supply Aegis destroyers to Taiwan, but decided otherwise only when it became clear that such sales would be overly provocative to the PRC. The article said that this is a cause for concern because “it is hard to view this decision in isolation from such recent occurrences as National security adviser Sandy Berger’s trip to Beijing, during which China’s leaders apparently demanded no advanced weapons sales to Taiwan. Nor can it be viewed separately from yesterday’s defeat of a proposal for a formal United Nations Human Rights Commission expression of concern about political repression in China–a measure that was, commendably enough, proposed by the Clinton administration, but which then died without much of a fight by Washington on its behalf.” The article continued that US Congressional Republicans are already criticizing the president and that it is up to the US Congress “to ask hard questions about whether the administration’s proposed sales to Taiwan are really enough to help deter a PRC move against the island or whether more support is necessary.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 19, 2000.]

3. Taiwanese View of Weapons Sales

Reuters (“TAIWAN SAYS WON’T START ARMS RACE WITH CHINA,” Taipei, 4/19/00) reported that Taiwan on April 18 defended its US weapons purchases. Taiwan military spokesman Kung Fan-ding said, “it’s our consistent position not to comment on arms sales. Such actions are for own defense and for the protection of the life and property of the people here as well as the national security. They have nothing to do with arms race with the mainland.” A Taiwan military source said that the deal with the US was not yet closed and that the island would not give up its plan to buy Aegis-equipped destroyers. The source said, “with the Chinese Communists expanding their military buildup, there is a real need for us to obtain the Aegis-equipped destroyers to help defend ourselves. We will not give up. The Pentagon understands very well such destroyers are necessary for Taiwan’s own defense, and they may reconsider our request when political pressure is not that strong.”

4. PRC View of Weapons Sales

The Washington Post (Ted Plafker, “CHINESE PROTEST U.S. SALE OF WEAPONS, RADAR TO TAIWAN,” Beijing, 4/19/00) reported that the PRC issued a firm protest on April 18 over the US Clinton administration’s decision to sell long-range radar and air-launched missiles to Taiwan. PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said, “the Chinese government demands that the United States government prohibit all sales of advanced weapons to Taiwan, including the Aegis-armed destroyer and long-range radar. Supplying weapons inflates the arrogance of Taiwan independence forces, destroys cross-strait relations and creates further tensions.” Sun added that the PRC had “taken note” of the decision not to sell Taiwan the US$1.1 billion destroyers. Taiwanese military spokesman Kung Fan-ding declined to discuss the island’s weapons request in detail but said that Taiwan urgently needs a better anti-missile system. Kung stated, “the military has always done its best to acquire any weapons that would help build up its anti- missile defenses.” David Shambaugh, a specialist on the Chinese military at George Washington University and the Brookings Institution, said that the administration concluded rightly that selling the Aegis system to Taiwan now would likely heighten tension with the PRC. He said, “the Chinese should be very pleased that the sale of things like the submarines and the Aegis didn’t go through, but their principled stand is that the sale of even one bullet to Taiwan is too much.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 19, 2000.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK-ROK Summit

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “SOUTH KOREA PROPOSES PRE-SUMMIT TALKS AT TRUCE VILLAGE SAT.,” Seoul, 04/19/00) reported that the ROK proposed on April 18 in a letter to the DPRK sent through Red Cross hotlines that two delegations consisting of five members led by vice minister-level officials meet at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 22 to prepare for the inter-Korean summit in June. The letter called for the DPRK’s “positive response.” There was no immediate DPRK reaction to the proposal. Officials at the Unification Ministry said that the DPRK might promote the PRC as the venue for the preliminary talks in a counterproposal. The ROK prefers the border village as a venue for discussing inter-Korean matters due to its convenience and the symbolic value of holding talks there. An ROK ministry official, however, said that the ROK government would not “stubbornly adhere to this choice. What matters most is holding the preparatory meetings as soon and as often as possible.”

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
International Policy Studies Institute Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Gee Gee Wong:
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun:
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

John McKay:
Clayton, Australia


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