NAPSNet Daily Report 19 November, 1998

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 19 November, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, November 19, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-19-november-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. People’s Republic of China

III. Announcements

I. United States

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1. DPRK Underground Construction

Reuters (“PLUTONIUM FOUND AT SUSPECTED N KOREA SITES-PAPER,” Seoul, 11/19/98) reported that the ROK’s Joong Ang Ilbo in its Friday edition quoted an unnamed military source as saying that US and ROK scientists have found traces of plutonium in soil and water samples taken from the DPRK’s suspected underground sites in Kumchang-ri and Yongbyon. The source was quoted as saying, “To my knowledge, a conclusion was reached that the sites contained or produced plutonium (after studying) the samples received last year through various channels.” The paper also quoted another government source as saying that Patrick Hughes, director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, had been secretly briefed on the study results.

The Associated Press (Pauline Jelinek, “NORTH KOREA DENIES U.S. ACCESS,” Seoul, 11/19/98) reported that US Ambassador Charles Kartman said Thursday that the US has “absolutely rejected” the idea of paying for the right to view a suspected nuclear weapons site in the DPRK. Kartman stated, “There is still a rather wide gap between our positions and I have to say that we are not yet satisfied that we have a solution at hand.” Kartman said that he stopped in Seoul to brief ROK officials on his recent talks with DPRK officials in Pyongyang. He said that the DPRK once again denied that the facility was nuclear related and demanded compensation if no nuclear activity is found. Kartman said that he asked DPRK officials to schedule further talks on inspection of the site “as soon as possible.” The ROK news agency Yonhap said Thursday that the figure demanded by the DPRK is believed to be US$300 million.

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2. DPRK Tourism Project

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, “S. KOREA CRUISE SHIP DOCKS IN NORTH,” Changjon, 11/19/98) and Reuters (“S.KOREAN TOURISTS BEGIN TREK IN CHILLY N.KOREA,” Changjon, 11/19/98) reported that an ROK cruise ship docked in the DPRK on Thursday carrying 780 ROK tourists. Bae Han-il, a spokesman for the Hyundai group in Seoul, stated, “The tour has begun without any problems. It’s a little cold there, but otherwise it’s perfect weather. No North Korean civilians were allowed near the port.” Accompanying the tour group were 200 ROK reporters, photographers and TV camera operators. However, DPRK authorities told Hyundai that it would not allow news coverage of the trip from its territory. Five journalists from the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, 15 from the state-run Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), and four ROK unification ministry officials were not allowed to disembark by DPRK officials. The DPRK in the past has expressed anger over a Chosun editorial that called for Kim Jong-il’s resignation and a KBS television drama on life inside the DPRK. Analysts said that the DPRK probably suspected the unification ministry officials of being spies. A Hyundai spokesman said that the company was currently negotiating with DPRK authorities to allow the journalists and officials to join the tour. Hyundai said that a second cruise ship is scheduled to depart for the DPRK Friday with another 670 passengers on board. The first ship is scheduled to return to the ROK at dawn Sunday.

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3. Clinton’s Asian Trip

Reuters (Brian Williams, “CLINTON GIVES JAPAN HOPE AND VOTE OF CONFIDENCE,” Tokyo, 11/19/98) reported that US President Bill Clinton on Thursday began his visit to Asia by saying that Japan was moving in the right direction to get out of its recession. Clinton stated, “I think that the big things that have been done here are essentially moving in the right direction — the banking reform, stimulating the economy.” He added, “I think Japan can get a lot of economic benefit in terms of new jobs, in terms of greater openness. Our country is strengthened if Japan is very strong. If Japan is strong that brings back Asia.” Clinton also said the crisis over Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction should not mask equal worries over the DPRK.

Reuters Bill Tarrant (“CLINTON TO DISCUSS N.KOREA DURING SEOUL VISIT,” Seoul, 11/19/98) reported that US and ROK officials said that US President Bill Clinton’s talks with ROK President Kim Dae-jung on Saturday will focus on their engagement policy with the DPRK. The two leaders will also discuss Kim’s programs to rebuild the ROK economy. Clinton will also meet ROK community leaders Saturday for a round-table discussion on the economy. Clinton will spend much of Sunday visiting US and ROK troops at the Yongsan military base in Seoul and an airforce base in Osan.

The Washington Post carried an analytical article (Kevin Sullivan, “CLINTON’S TOKYO VISIT KINDLES TENSIONS,” Tokyo, 11/19/98, A44) which said that US President Bill Clinton’s trip to Japan and the ROK comes at a time of Japanese anger with the US and overall concern about US policy toward the DPRK. Donald P. Gregg, a former US ambassador to the ROK who is now chairman of the Korea Society in New York, stated, “U.S. policy toward North Korea is in as great a state of disarray as anything I’ve seen since the Vietnam War.” ROK analysts said that Clinton must try to reassure ROK President Kim Dae-jung that the administration’s DPRK policies are still credible, despite heavy congressional opposition. Lho Kyong-soo, a political science professor at Seoul National University, stated, “We’re sort of out of kilter again,” as Kim is pursuing his “sunshine policy” while the US is growing colder toward the DPRK. The article said that many Japanese are irritated at continued US criticism of Japan’s economic policies and an apparent US tilt toward the PRC. Japanese political analyst Minoru Morita stated, “The public’s feeling toward Clinton’s visit is very cold. Japanese people are beginning to dislike America, and something should be done about it before it turns into a real anti-American feeling.” Morita added that many Japanese believe that the economic remedies the US has been pushing have led Japan deeper into economic trouble. Yasunori Sone, a Keio University political science professor, argued, “The Japanese people have felt some sort of inferiority complex recently, so this would probably be a good time for Clinton to reassure us that the U.S.-Japan relationship is the most important.” Sone added that continued US criticism of Japan’s economic policies could cause further deterioration of relations. Ezra Vogel, a leading Asian scholar who has served as a top adviser on the region to the US government, warned, “The relationship is more tenuous than it has been for many years.”

The Washington Times (Sean Scully, “CLINTON LOOKS TO NUDGE JAPAN, RESTRAIN KOREA, Washington, 11/19/98) reported that Asia analyst Daryl Plunk, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said that the DPRK security issue is the most pressing issue that US President Bill Clinton will face during his Asian trip. Plunk stated, “The timing [of the trip] is quite good … the administration is just beginning to admit that the policy needs to be changed.”

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4. US Military on Okinawa

The Associated Press (“MARINE PLEADS GUILTY IN JAPAN,” Tokyo, 11/19/98) reported that US Marine Corporal Randall M. Eskridge pleaded guilty Wednesday at Naha District Court to drunken driving and negligence in the death of an 18 -year-old Japanese woman. Eskridge’s next court session is set for December 11.

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5. Taiwanese Elections

The Associated Press (Annie Huang, “TAIWAN MAYORAL CAMPAIGN GETS NASTY,” Taipei, 11/19/98) reported that Taipei Mayor Chen Shui-bian of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party will face ruling Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-Jeou in the December 5 Taipei mayoral election. The article said that fear of PRC retaliation has prevented either candidate from discussing cross-straits issues during the campaign. Taiwanese legislative elections will also be held the same day.

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6. Taiwan-PRC Relations

The Wall Street Journal carried an analytical article (Russell Flannery, “NEW TAIWAN MINDSET COMPLICATES RELATIONS WITH MAINLAND,” Taipei, 11/19/98) which said that many young people in Taiwan feel more distant from China than their parents, who grew up in the time of Kuomintang dominance. More than half Taiwan’s 21.7 million people are under 40, having been born since the Chinese Civil War. Yu Ching-hsin, an associate research fellow in the Election Research Center of National Chengchi University, stated, “Overall, it tends to make unification more difficult.” A poll by television station TVBS last month found that more than half of respondents aged 20 to 29 backed the status quo in PRC-Taiwan relations, compared with 43 percent of all people questioned. A poll conducted for the government by National Chengchi University that was published in September found that almost nine out of 10 people aged 18 to 44 said they considered their country to be Taiwan, rather than China, or China and Taiwan combined. Chung Shao-yan, student body president at Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei, stated, “Students these days don’t pay that much attention to mainland affairs and politics, and the whole concept of unification for most of us is getting fuzzier and fuzzier.” Chu Kuang-fu, president of a monthly student magazine at National Taiwan University, argued, “Basically, reunification today isn’t advantageous for Taiwan. But that doesn’t mean we have to be enemies.”

II. People’s Republic of China

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1. Japanese Spy Satellite

People’s Daily (“DPRK CONDEMNS JAPANESE SPY SATELLITES PLAN,” Pyongyang, 11/18/98, A6) reported that a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman emphasized on November 17 that Japan’s plan to launch spy satellites is designed to legalize the policy of turning Japan into a military power. The spokesman said that Japan’s decision to launch spy satellites is a military threat and intimidation to the DPRK. The plan can only result in a new round of arms race in Asia, and intensify distrust, antagonism, and tension among countries in the region, the spokesman warned.

China Daily (“JAPAN’S MOVES,” 11/18/98, A4) excerpted an article in China Youth Daily as follows: “Seizing the DPRK rocket as an excuse, Japan is stepping up its spy satellite plan and has signed an agreement for developing cooperation on missile defense systems. Actually, Japan’s moves designed to intensify its military strength have been beyond the limitation imposed by the Peace Pact it inked with the international community after World War II, and thus have aroused great concern from its neighboring countries. Although it is clear that the arms race will not benefit any side but flare up the situation or trigger regional conflicts, Japan’s Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi is trying to cover up the fact and striving to obtain support from the international community for its satellite plan. While being criticized by its neighboring countries, Japan’s plan has met with the reproach of Japanese people in various circles. They said that Japan’s move has not only violated international conventions but also the regulations on peaceful utilization of space.”

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2. ROK-DPRK Relations

People’s Daily (“ROK TOURISTS GO TO DPRK,” Seoul, 11/19/98, A6) reported that the first group of ROK tourists who will go to Mt. Kumgang for sightseeing started their 5-day travel on November 18. This is the first time since 1948 that ROK residents have gone to the DPRK by sea for sightseeing. Chung Ju-yung, the honorary chairman of Hyundai, his brother, and his son joined in the tourist group. The ROK Unification Ministry said on November 18 that the ROK hopes that the Mt. Kumgang tourism project will become a juncture and be helpful to the strengthening of the exchanges and cooperation between the ROK and the DPRK.

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3. PRC-US Relations

People’s Daily (“PRESIDENT JIANG MEETS WITH US VICE PRESIDENT,” Kuala Lumpur, 11/17/98, A1) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin and US Vice President Al Gore exchanged their views on Sino-US relations and other international and regional issues of common interest in Kuala Lumpur on November 16. The meeting was positive and fruitful, according to the report. Jiang told Gore that the PRC and the US should seize the historical opportunity to accelerate the development of the Sino-US relationship and establish a constructive strategic partnership. Jiang reiterated the PRC’s stand over the Taiwan issue, stressing that dealing with the issue properly is the key factor to ensuring healthy and stable development of the Sino-US relationship. On the Tibet issue, Jiang said that the PRC Government’s policy regarding the Dalai Lama has remained consistent and clear. The Dalai Lama should really abandon his proposition of setting up an independent Tibet, put an end to activities to split the motherland, and make a public announcement recognizing that Tibet is an inseparable part of China, admit that Taiwan is a province of China and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing all of China. Gore said that the US policy over the Taiwan and Tibet issues is consistent and unchanged.

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4. Alleged US Technology Transfer to PRC

China Daily (“SATELLITE LAUNCHES BENEFIT ALL PARTIES,” Zhuhai, 11/19/98, A1) reported that the launch of US satellites on PRC rockets is a normal business activity beneficial to the companies and countries concerned. Zhang Xinxia, president of China Great Wall Industry Corp., said at a press briefing at Airshow China ’98 that in April 1990, China’s Long March 3 launch vehicle successfully sent Asia-Sat1, manufactured by the Hughes Space and Communications Co., into orbit, achieving the highest accuracy of all the US company’s 31 satellites. This indicated the advanced level of the PRC’s satellite launches. Last April, some US media outlets published a number of untrue and irresponsible reports on the PRC’s commercial satellite launches, Zhang said. These reports accused US companies, including Hughes Space and Communications, of helping the PRC improve its missile guidance and control systems in the process of using Chinese rockets to launch their satellite. The US Congress conducted a judicial investigation into the matter. This investigation has had a negative impact on normal business relations between the US and the PRC, and has harmed the interests of the two countries and the companies concerned, Zhang said. “Launching US satellites with Chinese rockets benefits China, the US and companies in both countries,” he said. “In fact, the US side has benefited more.”

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5. PRC-Japan Relations

China Daily (“JAPAN’S STANCE ON WAR, TAIWAN HARMS RELATIONS,” 11/18/98, A4) said that hopes are high in both countries for a new era of bilateral ties as PRC President Jiang Zemin prepares to go to Japan, the first visit there by a PRC head of state. The outcome, however, rests heavily upon whether Japan will address PRC concerns over the issues of Japanese war crimes during World War II and of Taiwan, according to the report.

China Daily (“SEX SLAVES DEMAND APOLOGY FROM JAPAN,” 11/16/98, A2) quoted a report from last Saturday’s Beijing Morning Post as saying that three “comfort women” from Shanxi Province recently demanded an apology and compensation from the Japanese Government for its role in sexual slavery during Japan’s military occupation of China between 1937 and 1945. The women filed a lawsuit in a Tokyo court and were set to testify about the crimes committed against Chinese women by Japanese intruders. The Japanese Government is being urged not to evade its legal and moral obligations, and to assume responsibility for Japan’s wartime atrocities and give due compensation to the victims, who have been living with pain and shame for more than 50 years.

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6. US President’s Trip to Asia

Jie Fang Daily (“CLINTON RESUMES THE PLAN TO VISIT JAPAN AND ROK,” Washington, 11/18/98, A3) reported that White House spokesman Joe Lockhart announced on November 16 that US President Bill Clinton would resume his trip to Asia this week. President Clinton probably would start his visit to Japan and the ROK on November 18, but details about the trip still needed to be fixed.

China Daily (“CLINTON TO VISIT JAPAN, RAISING ISSUES OF ECONOMY, SECURITY,” Tokyo, 11/19/98, A11) reported that US President Bill Clinton is expected to arrive in Japan on November 18 for a summit on Japan’s economy and military cooperation between the two countries. At a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi on November 19, the US leader will win yet another Japanese promise for action on the economy, according to Japan’s newspapers. They said Obuchi would repeat a promise made to Asia-Pacific leaders in Kuala Lumpur for a resumption of Japanese economic growth next year. Analysts said that the two leaders are to discuss plans to reduce the US military presence in the island of Okinawa, which hosts 75 per cent of the US forces in Japan.

III. Announcements

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1. Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies

The Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies was established in September 1995 by the US Department of Defense as a regional research, conference, and studies center in Honolulu, Hawaii. The mission of the Center is to enhance cooperation and build relationships through mutual understanding and study of comprehensive security issues among military and civilian representatives of the United States and other Asia-Pacific nations. The Center focuses on building broad multilateral relationships between the 45 Asia-Pacific nations by addressing regional security issues and concerns. The Center focuses on these relationships with three primary academic elements. The College of Security Studies, which provides a mutually beneficial learning environment for senior military and government officials from all nations in the region, conducts three, 12-week executive courses annually. The Center’s Conferencing Division hosts up to eight conferences/seminars annually, assembling current leaders, decision-makers and subject experts to discuss contemporary security concerns. The Research Division contributes significantly to the definition of relevant conference topics, while fellows also function as guest lecturers for the college. Scholars in the Research Division also provide conference reports, occasional papers, and prepare articles for media and academic journals throughout the region. For more information, please visit the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies website.

The NAPSNet Daily Report aims to serve as a forum for dialogue and exchange among peace and security specialists. Conventions for readers and a list of acronyms and abbreviations are available to all recipients. For descriptions of the world wide web sites used to gather information for this report, or for more information on web sites with related information, see the collection of other NAPSNet resources.
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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
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Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Wade L. Huntley: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage: 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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