NAPSNet Daily Report 19 November, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 19 November, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, November 19, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-19-november-1999/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. US-ROK Talks Agence France Presse (“US, SOUTH KOREA IN TUG-OF-WAR OVER SEOUL’S MISSILE RANGE,” Seoul, 11/19/99) and Associated Press (Kyong-Hwa-seok, “S. KOREA EYES MISSILE DEVELOPMENT,” Seoul, 11/19/99) reported that the US and the ROK continued their missile talks on Friday. An anonymous ROK foreign ministry official stated, “both sides may need more time to narrow down their differences.” He also hinted that another round of talks would be necessary in the future and the main dispute was the US demand that the ROK make its missile development programs transparent to the US. Another ministry official said, “negotiators from both sides discussed tens of technical issues closely related to transparency.” ROK military officials privately said the demand violated ROK national security. One ROK foreign official said, “The talks could be extended until Saturday.” He also said the US chief negotiator Robert Einhorn was due to leave for Japan on Sunday morning.

2. US-DPRK Talks

Agence France Presse (“US-NORTH KOREA TALKS SUSPENDED IN BERLIN,” Berlin, 11/18/99) reported that US embassy spokeswoman Anne Chermak said the US-DPRK talks were suspended on November 18 as both sides wait for instructions from their government and no meetings were planned for Friday.

Reuters (Clifford Coonan, “N.KOREA SAYS U.S. TALKS END ‘CONSTRUCTIVELY’,” Berlin, 11/19/99) reported that North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said that the US and the DPRK had “very constructive and business-like” talks in Berlin. Kim stated, ?We talked about improving relations and about nuclear weapons. We talked about preparations for a high-level meeting between our countries.” Kim also said that the two sides would now return to their respective capitals and resume discussions at a later date. No comment was immediately available from the US Embassy.

3. US Businesses to Visit DPRK

Agence France Presse (“US-NORTH KOREA TALKS SUSPENDED IN BERLIN,” Berlin, 11/18/99) reported that in the ROK on November 18, Jeffrey Jones, president of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), said that the DPRK has informed AMCHAM that it would welcome a visit from the group. Jones added, “They also said it would be just ‘a matter of time’.” Jones said of the visit, “I hope both sides will be able to fix the detailed schedules for the proposed visit by the end of this month.” He did not say exactly when the AMCHAM team would visit the DPRK or which areas they would tour.

4. US Defoliant Use in the ROK Associated Press (Kyong-Hwa-seok,”HEARING ENDS IN KOREAN AGENT ORANGE VICTIMS’ SUIT,” Seoul, 11/19/99) reported that hearings ended Friday in a lawsuit by about 2,000 ROK veterans of the Vietnam War seeking US$321 million from Dow Chemical and Monsanto, the companies that produces Agent Orange. A ruling is expected within two months. Legal officials said that if the veterans win and the US companies refuse to compensate them, the patent rights can be disposed of. The suit is part of a broader legal battle waged by 17,000 Korean Vietnam War veterans seeking US$4.3 billion from the two companies. Hearings on that suit have yet to start. ROK veterans are also seeking US$1 billion in compensation from the US government and have been in court since 1984.

5. Cross Strait Relations

Associated Press (“TAIWAN PULLOUT IS GESTURE TO CHINA,” Taipei, 11/19/99) reported that Vice Chairman of Taiwan?s Mainland Affairs Council Lin Chong-pin said on Friday that Taiwan’s planned troop withdrawal from disputed islands in the South China Sea should be seen as a goodwill gesture to the PRC. Lin also said that by pulling Taiwanese marines off the Pratas and Taiping islands, Taiwan hopes to avoid a military standoff with the PRC, which also claims the islands. Lin added, however, that Taiwan will not back off from its claims of sovereignty over the islands.

6. PRC Military Development

Reuters (“CHINA SAID TO BE BUILDING ANTI-MISSILE,” Beijing, 11/19/99) reported that a front-page story in The Press Digest (published by the Shanghai-based Liberation Daily in the PRC) said in its November 18 edition that a new surface-to-air missile the PRC test-fired recently was capable of simultaneously meeting several enemy missiles head-on.” The report did not elaborate, but its description suggested a missile with multiple warheads. It also said the PRC had also developed a mobile surface-to-air missile able to counter electronic interference from Taiwan and the island’s airborne radar aircraft. One foreign diplomat in Taiwan said he did not believe the report and that an anti-missile defense system could not be developed in a short period of time. An Asian diplomat said he also had reservations about the report because the main components that go into an anti-missile defense system had not been seen in the developed in the PRC. He said, “if China indeed has the capability, it is untested and unseen by the rest of the world. It would worry the Americans.”

South China Morning Post (Oliver Chou, “PLA GAINS KNOW-HOW IN HI-TECH WARFARE,” 11/19/99) reported that The Hong Kong China News Agency said that the People’s Liberation Army’s development of the anti-radiation missile system (codenamed KDI) used to counter enemy electronic and electromagnetic jamming had boosted PRC defenses and had been successfully tested in hilly regions. The semi-official agency said KDI is a ground-to-air missile that uses radar to intercept incoming missiles and can knock out several missiles at a time. Meanwhile, the PRC’s Liberation Army Daily reported that PLA missile and airborne units took part in a simulated nuclear counter-attack exercise on an unidentified plateau. The paper also said that vehicle launchers fired guided missiles in clandestine settings such as mountains and forests, and made a successful counterattack. It also hinted that miniature warheads had been used in the computerized exercise. The paper said that the strategic missile force claimed 100 percent success in all-weather launching exercises in the past five years. It also reported on a major airborne exercise featuring new transport aircraft and new parachutes that were aimed at raising rapid-reaction capability under difficult situations. The airborne unit flew 3,000km from central PRC to a plateau in Sichuan province, where members had to parachute in winds of more than 100km/h. The paper said the airborne exercise featured tactical air raids, anti-jamming operations, artillery and ground missile firing, and armed helicopter maneuvers.

USA Today (Barbara Slavin and Steven Komarow “CHINA’S MILITARY UPGRADE MAY RAISE STAKES IN TAIWAN,” Washington, 11/19/99) reported that arms experts said that sometime around Christmas, the PRC is expected to take delivery of a 7,300-ton Russian Sovremenny destroyer. The ship is equipped with cruise missiles that can carry nuclear warheads designed for use against other ships. Experts said that coupled with the anticipated delivery next year of anti-submarine helicopters and a hybrid Israeli-Russian airborne early-warning system, the destroyer could begin to alter the strategic equation in the Taiwan Strait. Retired admiral Eric McVadon said, “The scariest scenario is the first-shot theory. If Beijing decided to take a potshot at a (U.S. aircraft) carrier, this missile would give us something to worry about.” US Defense Department spokesman Rear Admiral Craig Quigley said, “The two ships are capable. The missile systems are very good.” but it is unclear how well PRC crews would be trained and how well the ships have been maintained. The US Office of Naval Intelligence released a statement saying that the missile, code-named “Sunburn,” travels at twice the speed of sound and can be equipped with nuclear or 500-pound high-explosive warheads and “provides more of everything: greater speed, more range, better accuracy, greater punch and higher maneuverability.”

7. Spratly Island Dispute

Agence France Presse (“SPRATLYS ISSUE HANGS OVER SUMMIT OF ASEAN AND CHINA LEADERS,” Manila, 11/19/99) reported that although the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have already agreed to a declaration in 1992 to refrain from actions that could heighten conflict in the Spratly Islands, Philippine Foreign Secretary Domingo Siazon admitted that such an accord will be meaningless without the participation of the PRC. Siazon said, “A code of conduct is stronger in terms of moral suasion than a declaration. China said that the 1992 ASEAN declaration, they were not really a party to it. If China accedes to that, then the moral force would be stronger. Foreign undersecretary Lauro Baja said the draft code has been revised so that it now says that “the parties concerned shall refrain from taking action that establishes presence” in unoccupied reefs, shoals, islands and other rock formations in the area. Baja said that the revision substitutes the words “taking action” to the original wording of “more presence,”

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK-US Talks

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “N.K. DEMANDS FULL-SCALE LIFTING OF U.S. ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AT BERLIN TALKS,” Seoul, 11/19/99) and The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “NK STILL WEIGHS SENDING HIGH-LEVEL ENVOY TO US,” Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that ROK officials said on Thursday that the DPRK demanded on Wednesday during talks in Berlin that the US lift all economic sanctions imposed on it. “The North Korean delegation raised the need for the U.S. to take sweeping measures to lift its restrictions as a way of reducing mutual threats,” said an official at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, speaking on condition of anonymity. The DPRK made the proposal at the third day of the bilateral talks. In response, the official said, the US officials stressed that the DPRK should first take action to address its missile and nuclear threats so that the US can further lift sanctions against the DPRK. The official added, however, that the DPRK is not seen to be demanding full-scale lifting of the US sanctions as a precondition to the visit by a high-level DPRK official to the US. During the Berlin talks, the ministry official also said that both delegations had in-depth discussions on issues of mutual concern, particularly the agenda to be discussed at the high-level talks. “But the two sides have not reached any agreements since the talks began,” the official said, responding to reports that they agreed to hold the high-level talks as soon as possible after this set of talks end. The two sides plan to resume the fourth day of talks on Friday.

2. ROK-US Missile Talks

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “S. KOREA, U.S. BEGIN TWO-DAY MISSILE TALKS,” Seoul, 11/19/99), The Korea Times (“US, KOREA OPEN MISSILE NONPROLIFERATION TALKS,” Seoul, 11/18/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yol, “US-KOREA MISSILE NEGOTIATIONS IN FINAL STAGES,” Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that the ROK and the US on Thursday began two days of talks on the ROK’s bid to extend the range of its missiles as well as DPRK’s missile proliferation. The two sides discussed “technical” issues related to the extension of ROK’s missile range to 300 km from the present 180 km during the first day of talks, said an ROK official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Robert Einhorn, US assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation, and Song Min-sun, director general of the ministry’s North American Affairs Bureau, also discussed ROKs admission into the 21-member Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which bans the transfer of technology for making missiles with a range of up to 300 km among member countries, according to the ministry official. Diplomatic observers said that the two sides are expected to iron out many of their differences during these talks as they had already agreed on the ROK’s desire to develop missiles with a longer range. The US, however, is unlikely to accept a recent proposal by the ROK that it be allowed to do research and development on missiles that can fly up to 500 km. “The U.S. seems reluctant to agree on the South Korean overture out of concerns that it may throw cold water on the recent progress in its relations with the North by angering Pyongyang,” said an analyst. During the talks, Song and Einhorn also reportedly discussed joint strategies to prevent the DPRK from developing and exporting long-range missiles.

3. Repatriated DPRK Defectors

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “REPATRIATED NORTH KOREAN DEFECTORS UNDERGO BARBARIC TREATMENT, REPORT SAYS,” Seoul, 11/19/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, “80% OF NK REFUGEES WANT TO COME TO SOUTH KOREA,” Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that a considerable portion of DPRK defectors repatriated by PRC authorities are subject to severe torture or even execution, said an ROK civic group. About 400 of 1,383 refugees in the PRC surveyed by the group had been repatriated to the DPRK once or more, said the report of the Commission to Help North Korean Refugees (CHNKR). Almost one third of the 400 deported people became physically paralyzed after being tortured by DPRK authorities, it added. “In addition, another 22 percent were sent to labor camps in the Communist country, widely known as ‘mass death camps’ among North Koreans,” said a commission official. About 30 percent of those surveyed believed that they would be executed if deported once again, he said, citing the poll conducted between October 2 and November 12 in northeast PRC. Estimating the number of DPRK refugees hiding in the PRC at between 100,000 and 200,000, the commission report also said that 90 percent of the escapees refused to go back to their homeland, with 82.4 percent choosing the ROK as the best place for asylum, followed by 3.1 percent who opted for the US. The remaining 10 percent of the respondents positively considered returning to the DPRK, but only because of concerns about family, the report said.

4. DPRK Agricultural Production Growth

The Korea Herald (“N.K. INCREASES FARM OUTPUT 40% TO 4.28 MILLION TONS,” Seoul, 11/19/99) reported that the DPRK produced 4.28 million tons of food grains this year, up 40 percent from last year. This was made public by the DPRK’s Vice Agriculture Minister Kim Yong-suk in a keynote speech he delivered at a Food and Agriculture Organization meeting held in Rome on Wednesday. The farm output is comparable to the 4.27 million tons that the ROK’s Unification Ministry estimated for 1992 and a record high since 1995 by the figures the DPRK has officially announced for the past several years. This indicates that the DPRK’s farm production has recovered to the level before 1995.

5. DPRK-ROK Cultural Exchange

The Korea Herald (“SBS PLANNING TO HOLD INTER-KOREAN CONCERT IN N.K. NEXT MONTH,” Seoul, 11/19/99) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry said that the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) and a promoter in the ROK are jointly planning to hold an inter- Korean concert of young top-class singers in Pyongyang early next month. For this, SBS and the promotion company have had talks with the DPRK?s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee since August and recently applied for the government’s permit to visit the DPRK, without the DPRK’s invitation attached, ministry officials said. Bae Chol-ho, performing art director of SBS, said a contract has yet to be concluded with the DPRK and that the promotion company would announce the plan when it is finalized.

6. DPRK Nuclear Facility

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “N.KOREA SUSPECTED TO HOLD 40KG OF PLUTONIUM,” Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that the DPRK is suspected to have held 40 kilograms of plutonium, which can be manufactured into 10 small nuclear warheads, since 1994. Shin Sung-taek, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis (KIDA) voiced this supposition at the first Korea-Russia national defense conference meeting in Seoul on Thursday, quoting the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s recent findings. He stated, “As North Korea wants to pursue the most effective strategy, it may concentrate its efforts and available materials into a single warhead. Its nuclear program is related with an internal power shift, so only two or three people are in control of its management.” He added that the technical skills put to use in the DPRK’s missile production has made it one of the most advanced countries for missile capability in Northeast Asia. However, its “Rodong 1” missile has been estimated to have a 2,000-4,000-meter band of error in its 1,000 kilometer range.

7. Hungaryarian Embassy in DPRK Closed

Chosun Ilbo (“AFP REPORTS HUNGARY CLOSING EMBASSY IN NK,” Seoul, 11/18/99) reported that the Agence France-Presse reported on Thursday that Hungary has closed its embassy in Pyongyang. A spokesman for the Hungarian Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying that the mission was closed on November 6th for financial reasons, and that Hungarian embassy in Beijing would be representing Hungary to the DPRK until further notice. The DPRK has closed its embassy in Budapest as well. Its embassy in Austria will be serving the DPRK’s interests in both countries.

III. Japan

1. Japan-DPRK Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“MURAYAMA DELEGATION TO VISIT DPRK,” 11/18/99) reported that a suprapartisan Japanese delegation, led by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, will visit the DPRK from December 1 to 3. The date was set in the wake of the Japanese government’s decision on November 2 to lift sanctions on chartered flights between Japan and the DPRK, and the delegation will be on the first chartered flight from Haneda since the decision was made, according to the report. The delegation will meet with Kim Yong-nam, the DPRK’s second highest figure, during their visit. The delegation will have its first meeting on November 25 to finally decide on its members and schedule, added the report.

The Asahi Shimbun (“MURAYAMA DELEGATION RECEIVES INVITATION FROM DPRK,” 11/16/99) and the Yomiuri Shimbun (“MURAYAMA ASKS PARTIES TO JOIN HIS DELEGATION,” 11/16/99) reported that former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who had received an invitation from the DPRK, met with the heads of the Democratic Party, Komeito, the Communist Party, the Liberal Party and the Reform Club separately on November 16 and asked them to join his delegation. According to the Asahi Shimbun, the invitation was sent to Murayama through Chosensoren (the Association of Korean Residents in Japan) under the name of Kim Yong-soon, the Chairman of the DPRK’S Central Committee. The Asahi Shimbun also said that Kim stated that the date for the delegation’s visit to the DPRK is of Japan’s own decision.

2. Japanese-ROK Fishery Talks

The Asahi Shimbun (“JAPANESE-ROK FISHERY TALKS ENDED IN DEADLOCK,” 11/14/99) reported that Japanese-ROK fishery talks which had started on November 11 in Tokyo, ended in deadlock on November 13. The report said that both sides failed to agree on how to manage maritime resources in the tentatively-agreed zone both in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and within their respective exclusive economic zones. The ROK refuses to accept restrictions on the tentative zone and wants to maintain the current amount of catch, while Japan insists on such restrictions, according to the report.

3. Japanese-Taiwan Relations

The Nikkei Shimbun (Kyodo, “TOKYO GOVERNOR ISHIHARA WANTS TO MEET WITH TAIWAN LEADER LEE,” Taipei, 11/15/99) and the Daily Yomiuri (Takuji Kawamura, “TAIWAN HAILS TRIP BY TOKYO GOV. ISHIHARA: BEIJING ANGRY, Taipei, 11/15/99) reported that Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara visited Taiwan President Lee Teng Hui on November 15 to support the recovery work from the recent earthquake and to discuss Japanese- Taiwan relations. According to the Daily Yomiuri, Ishihara’s visit is the first official visit to Taiwan by a Tokyo governor since Japanese-PRC relations were normalized in 1972. The Nikkei Shimbun said that Lee hailed Japanese support for the recovery work by saying to Ishihara, “I am deeply impressed by Japanese official and provide support for us.” Ishihara, in response, said, “The Republic of China is Japan’s neighboring country, and it is natural for Japan to help its neighbor when the neighbor is in need.”

The Daily Yomiuri (“OBUCHI WELCOMES VISIT,” 11/15/99) reported that Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi welcomed Ishihara’s visit to Taiwan, saying, “It is a good thing that Tokyo and Taiwan can cooperate on a humanitarian basis… He went to earthquake-hit Taiwan to offer the disaster-prevention and rescue know-how of the Tokyo metropolitan government.” The report also said that Obuchi said that Ishihara’s visit should not affect Japanese-PRC relations.

The Daily Yomiuri (“BEIJING PULLS OUT OF EVENT MARKING TIES WITH TOKYO,” 11/17/99) reported that according to the Japanese embassy in Beijing, the PRC filed a protest with Japan concerning Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s visit to Taiwan. The report said that PRC Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Wi had summoned Japanese Ambassador to the PRC Sakutaro Tanino to the PRC Foreign Ministry and requested that such a visit not occur again.

4. Japanese-Russian Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“JAPANESE GOVERNMENT COMPLAINS ABOUT RUSSIAN PRESIDENT?S STATEMENT THAT HE WOULD NOT VISIT JAPAN THIS YEAR,” 11/19/99) reported that the Japanese government complained to reporters about Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s statement on November 17 that he would not visit Japan this year. According to the report, Yeltsin made the statement in Turkey after he talked on the phone with Japanese former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, who was visiting Russia, on November 15. The cabinet spokesman told reporters, “The (Japanese) government is now asking the Russian government for nature of the President?s statement.”

5. Japanese Contribution To East Timor

The Daily Yomiuri (“GOVT TO HOLD MEETING ON EAST TIMOR RECOVERY,” 11/19/99) reported that the Japanese government plans to hold an international meeting on December 16 in Tokyo to discuss measures to aid the recovery of East Timor, with the World Bank and the United Nations as the hosts of the meeting. Representatives will come from Southeast Asia, the US and Western Europe, according to the report. The report also said that the government hopes to use the meeting to highlight Japan’s willingness to support the rebuilding of East Timor. The report added that the meeting will discuss sharing the financial burden involved in rebuilding a social infrastructure, support for returning refugees, and ways to assist the UN Transnational Administration for East Timor (UNTAET). The report added that the meeting will be Japan’s third measure to support East Timor in addition to Japan’s decision to send Akira Takahashi, special technical adviser to the president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, to East Timor to serve as vice representative of UNTAET.

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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Gee Gee Wong: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun: khs688@hotmail.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

Leanne Paton: anjlcake@webtime.com.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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