NAPSNet Daily Report 20 April, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 20 April, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, April 20, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-20-april-1999/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. Four-Party Peace Talks

Dow Jones Newswires (“JAPAN LDP PROPOSES 6-WAY KOREA PEACE TALKS TO US – KYODO,” Tokyo, 04/20/99) reported that, according to a Kyodo news report, the secretary general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Yoshiro Mori, proposed to a senior US official Tuesday that Japan and Russia be allowed to participate in the four-party Korean peace talks. The talks currently involve the US, the PRC, the ROK and the DPRK. In a meeting at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo, Mori was quoted as telling Rust Deming, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, “Many people say they do not have access to the four-way peace talks. I am wondering if we could hold six-way talks with the participation of Japan and Russia.” Deming responded that he will relay Mori’s proposal to the White House. Also, in a reference to Japan’s financial commitment to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), Mori told Deming that supporting KEDO “is a better option in stopping DPRK from developing nuclear weapons.”

2. US-Russia Cooperation on Nuclear Waste Storage

The Wall Street Journal (John J. Fialka, “OFFICIALS ARE CONSIDERING PLAN TO STORE NUCLEAR POWER-PLANT WASTE IN RUSSIA,” Washington, 04/20/99) reported that US and Russian officials have been conferring on a plan under which Russia would store nuclear power plant waste from Taiwan, the ROK, and other countries in Asia. Under the proposal, which would require regulatory approval and legislative action in both the US and Russia, the waste storage would be managed by a private US company, Non Proliferation Trust Inc., which is forming for that purpose. The plan would raise at least US$6 billion, of which at least US$4 billion would be devoted to nonproliferation causes, including increasing security for the 50 metric tons of plutonium removed from Russian nuclear warheads and cleaning Russian nuclear-weapons facilities believed to be leaking radioactive materials. Thomas B. Cochran, a senior scientist with Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said that the New York-based environmental organization is serving as an adviser to the project. Cochran stated, “We believe the benefits from cleaning up these sites outweigh the risks involved in storing the spent fuel.” However, he stressed that the NRDC would not be involved in the commercial side of the transaction. Cochran also acknowledged that Russian environmental groups are likely to oppose the project. “We are looking for a new paradigm for cooperation,” he said. Cochran added that the storage facility would be located at one of the secret cities in Russia formerly used by the Soviet Union to manufacture nuclear weapons. Non Proliferation Trust Inc., which is registered in Delaware but still has no headquarters, will be headed by two retired US Navy admirals who know Russia’s aging nuclear-weapons complex and its many problems. The private deal would supplement an existing contract under which US power plants will burn uranium fuel made from Soviet warheads. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 20.]

3. US-Russia Cooperation on Y2K Bug

Reuters (“PENTAGON OFFICIAL: RUSSIA STILL COOPERATING ON Y2K,” Moscow, 04/19/99) reported that a US Defense Department official said Monday that Russia and the US are still cooperating closely on the “Y2K” millennium computer bug problem. Last month, the Russian news agency Interfax reported that Russia, outraged by NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia, had called off cooperation on the Y2K problem. Reuters quoted Rosanne Hynes, head of the Defense Department’s Year 2000 committee, as saying at a Moscow conference on the problem, “Nothing relative to the Y2K has been formally called off or suspended or anything.”

4. Russia-Pakistan Relations

The Associated Press (“RUSSIA URGES PAKISTAN TO BOW TO INTL NUCLEAR CONTROLS,” Moscow, 04/20/99) reported that Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov urged visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday to join an international nuclear test ban as well as nuclear non- proliferation agreements. After the talks with Sharif, Primakov said at a news conference, “Russia is strongly interested in all nations that tested nuclear weapons joining agreements banning proliferation of nuclear weapons and stopping nuclear tests.” According to Primakov, Sharif suggested that Russia play a more active role in the South Asia peace process. “We shall certainly meet this request,” Primakov said. Sharif’s visit was the first by a Pakistani head of government to Russia since 1974. Apart from the situation in South Asia, Primakov and Sharif also discussed other international issues as well as bilateral relations. After the talks, Sharif and Russian officials signed an agreement intended to boost mutual trade. Meanwhile, the Russian news agency Interfax quoted Russian Trade Minister Georgya Gabunia as saying that the two nations may carry out a joint space research program.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Four Party Peace Talks

The Korea Herald (“SEOUL TO DISCUSS HUMANITARIAN CORRIDOR FOR PANMUNJOM AT FOUR PARTY TALKS,” Seoul, 04/20/99) reported that, at the four-party peace talks convening in Geneva on Saturday, the ROK government hopes to discuss the issue of establishing of a “humanitarian corridor” at the inter-Korean border area. Park Kun-woo, the ROK’s chief delegate to the four-party talks, told reporters, “The idea, which had been proposed by the Swiss government, is worth discussion at the talks.” Last year, in the third round of four-party talks, the Swiss government suggested that the ROK and the DPRK set up a humanitarian corridor at the truce village of Panmunjom to deliver aid goods. Park, referring to the ROK’s current delivery of food aid to the DPRK through the PRC, said, “Why do we have to make a long detour to send humanitarian aid to the North?” In addition to saving time and money, Park said that the humanitarian corridor at the border village of Panmunjom would have a symbolic meaning of reconciliation. Park added that other major agenda items would be a military hot line between the two Koreas, prior notification of military drills, and exchange of military officers’ visits.

2. ROK Missile Test

The Korea Herald (“GOVERNMENT DENIES TEST-FIRING 300KM MISSILE,” Seoul, 04/20/99) reported that ROK Ministry of Defense (MOD) officials said yesterday that the test-firing of a short-range missile off the western coast April 10 was a “routine” measure to improve independent missile development capacity. The officials flatly denied a report by a local newspaper that the MOD has successfully test-fired a missile with a range of up to 300 km, thus violating its understanding with the US to limit the range of its missiles. [See “ROK Missile Project” in the ROK section of the April 19 Daily Report]. One of the unnamed officials stated, “The latest test missile flew at the height of 38km and the range of 40km, which was not in violation of Seoul’s self-restrictions on the development of longer-range missiles.” Officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also said that there had been no official complaint from the US over the missile test. Officials at the US Embassy in Seoul also denied that the US lodged a complaint with the ROK over the missile test. “I’ve never heard that,” James Whitlock, minister-counselor for political affairs, told The Korea Herald over the phone. MOD officials added that they had notified the US military authorities in the ROK of the missile test in advance.

3. ROK-DPRK Telecommunication Network

The Korea Herald (“GOVERNMENT PUSHES FOR INTER-KOREAN TELECOM NETWORK,” Seoul, 04/20/99) reported that ROK Minister of Unification, Kang In-duck, said Monday that the ROK will promote an inter-Korean telecommunication network using Koreasat, a broadcasting and telecommunication satellite. “The telecommunication network is necessary for the smooth construction of light-water reactors in the North,” Minister Kang told a National Assembly committee. Minister Kang also said that for effective implementation of the project, the ROK government would try to open a ROK bank at the construction site. He told the committee that he expects the ongoing ground-leveling work for the reactor site to be finished by the end of the first half of this year. “We will try to make it possible for the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) to launch the construction of main facilities during that period,” he said.

4. Mt. Kumgang Tour

Chosun Ilbo (“NK FINES TOURISTS,” Seoul, 04/20/99) reported that the DPRK is increasingly levying fines on ROK tourists in the Kumgang mountains. The DPRK is imposing fines of US$100 to those who lose passes, while those who use video cameras with high zoom capabilities or take unauthorized photographs are fined between US$10 and US$50. If tourists enter unauthorized areas, they are charged between US$30 to US$50. Littering is a fine of between US$15 to US$50. According to the Ministry of Unification, the DPRK has imposed fines since February 10, 1999, and in the past two months have levied 42 infractions resulting in payment of US$1,435 in fines.

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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

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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