IN TODAY’S REPORT:
I. United States
1. ROK-DPRK Joint Festival
Reuters (Nick Yon, “S. KOREA TO DISCUSS JOINT FESTIVAL WITH NORTH,” Seoul, 06/19/98) reported that an official spokesman of the ROK Unification Ministry quoted Unification Minister Kang In-duk as saying on Friday that the government had decided to pursue the DPRK proposal for holding a joint festival in the border village of Panmunjom. The spokesman said, “The government will propose to North Korea next week on holding civilian-based talks for the festival. The government deemed that this proposal did not contain a political purpose and decided to approve it.” However, Park Young-ho, senior research fellow at the ministry’s think-tank, the Korea Institute for National Unification, stated, “North Korea may not accept the South’s proposal for civilian-based talks, or it may ask for the participation of outlawed groups such as the [student group] Hanchongnyon.” He added, “Even if the festival were to be held, it would not likely mean an about-face in the state of relations between the two Koreas, but perhaps the start of a gradual thaw.” Yu Suk-ryol, a professor at the government’s Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, warned, “Up until now North Korea has manipulated such events for their own purpose. The situation requires a fundamental change in the North’s stance which can be reflected in issues such as four-party talks, exchange of separated family members or North-South talks.”
2. ROK Press Freedom
The Associated Press (“S.KOREAN MEDIA WATCHDOG ACCUSES GOVT AGENCY OF MEDIA CONTROL,” Seoul, 06/19/98) reported that Media Today, a weekly organ of a press union federation, said on Friday that the Agency for National Security Planning continues to run a “media task team,” with agents assigned to gather information from each newspaper and television station. The magazine stated, “The existence of the media team shows that the government, under Kim Dae-jung, still targets the media for controlling.” An anonymous agency spokesman acknowledged that its agents were gathering information from journalists but said its activity had nothing to do with media control. The spokesman stated, “As the supreme government intelligence organization, our agency should have no limit to its information gathering activities. The media is no sanctuary.” He added that the agency was especially concerned about what he alleged were increasing attempts by the DPRK to infiltrate the ROK news media. Last week, the agency admitted for the first time that it runs Naewoe Press, the only ROK news agency allowed to monitor the DPRK news media.
3. Alleged US Missile Technology Transfer to PRC
The Washington Post (Walter Pincus and John Mintz, “CHINESE LAUNCHES IN U.S. INTEREST, OFFICIALS TELL SKEPTICAL CONGRESS,” 06/19/98, A04) and the New York Times (Eric Schmitt, “ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS DEFEND SATELLITE EXPORT POLICY,” Washington, 06/19/98) reported that US Central Intelligence Agency officials, in testimony before congressional intelligence committees this week, said that they do not believe US technological aid for the PRC’s Long March rocket launches helped to improve the PRC ballistic missile program. The officials said that the guidance system on PRC nuclear missiles is older than that employed on the Long March rocket that exploded in February 1996. One unnamed source summarized the CIA’s view by stating, “The component that failed and its technology are not used in existing or in planned Chinese nuclear missiles.” However, Air Force intelligence has concluded that the technological data supplied by Loral Space and Communications to the PRC “could” help the PRC in future space launches and could be detrimental to U.S. interests. One unnamed government official familiar with the various agencies’ reports stated, “They [the PRC] were given some stuff, but there is a question of whether they have used it or will use it.”
II. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
1. DPRK Missile Program
The official Korean Central News Agency (“NOBODY CAN SLANDER DPRK’S MISSILE POLICY,” Pyongyang, 06/16/98) said in commentary: “There has been a rumor that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has ‘completed the development of missiles of a new type and deployed them for actual war.’ The rumor is apparently aimed at impairing the DPRK’s prestige and justifying the continued hostile policy towards it by making impressions that it has done what it should not do. Some people of the United States are alleging that the DPRK is a leading ‘missile power’ in the world and the ‘world’s biggest missile exporter.’ They have raised the missile issue as a precondition for the easing of economic sanctions against the DPRK, the embargo which should be lifted under the DPRK-U.S. framework agreement. They have also contended that ‘frozen’ development and export of missiles is vital to the improvement of the bilateral relations. The missile issue is related to the sovereignty and existence of our people. We are militarily confronted with the United States, which has the largest quantities of nuclear weapons, inter-continental ballistic missiles and other mass destruction weapons in the world. What it really seeks in the efforts for preventing our missile development is to disarm and attack us any moment. It is the consistent principle maintained by the DPRK government in national defense that as long as it remains subjected to military threat from outside, it should produce by itself and deploy military equipment to safeguard the security of the country and the people. On this principle, we will continue developing, testing and deploying missiles. With missiles of the United States, which is at war with the DPRK technically, aiming at our territory, we find no reason to refrain from developing and deploying missiles to counter them. The discontinuation of our missile development is a matter which can be discussed after a peace agreement is signed between the DPRK and the United States and the U.S. military threat completely removed. If the U.S. ‘concern’ over our missiles is truly related to the peace and security of northeast Asia, the United States should immediately accept the DPRK-proposed peace agreement for the establishment of a durable peace mechanism on the Korean peninsula.
“Our missile export is aimed at obtaining foreign money we need at present. As the United States has pursued economic isolation of the DPRK for more than half a century, our resources of foreign money have been circumscribed. So, missile export is the option we could not but take. If the United States really wants to prevent our missile export, it should lift the economic embargo as early as possible and make a compensation for the losses to be caused by discontinued missile export. We will as ever put the interests of our state and the well-being of our people above anything else and never allow others to slander such a policy.”
1. Forum on DPRK Food Crisis
The Institute for Strategic Reconciliation, Inc., The Korea Society, and World Vision Relief and Development, Inc, will hold a half-day, off-the-record forum addressing the current crisis in the DPRK and assessing prospects for food, public health, and agricultural rehabilitation. The forum, entitled “North Korea Roundtable: Prospects for Relief and Development,” will be held on Monday, June 22, from 8:30am-1:00pm, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, located at 1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC. Specialists on the DPRK will join with governmental and non-governmental aid practitioners working with and in the DPRK to provide updates on the scope of the chronic crisis, and will address rehabilitation challenges and opportunities, and assess strategic policy implications. Forum participants will include congressional staff, government representatives, representatives from the NGO community, and area specialists. The off-the-record forum will be followed by a press briefing scheduled for 12:30 PM. To register for this forum, please contact David Kim, the Korea Society, fax: 202-293-2184. For information contact: Kathleen Brown, World Vision 202-608-1842, or Jeeyoung Eun, The Institute for Strategic Reconciliation, Inc., 301-570-3948.
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