NAPSNet Daily Report 20 April, 2001

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 20 April, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, April 20, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-20-april-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US Policy toward DPRK
2. DPRK Nuclear Program
3. US-ROK Military Exercises
4. Remains of US Soldiers from Korean War
5. ROK Aid to DPRK
6. ROK Role in US-PRC Spy Plane Incident
7. US-PRC Talks
8. Detentions of Chinese-Americans in PRC
9. US Weapons Sales to Taiwan
10. Taiwan Military Exercises
11. US Visits by Taiwan Officials
12. Lee Teng-hui’s Japan Visit
II. Japan 1. DPRK Weapons Development
2. Japanese-ROK Relations
3. US Food Aid to DPRK
4. Korean A-Bomb Victims
5. Lee Teng Hui’s Visa

I. United States

1. US Policy toward DPRK

Reuters (Bill Tarrant, “SEOUL URGES U.S. TO RESUME TALKS WITH N.KOREA,” Seoul, 04/19/01) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo on Thursday urged the US to resume talks soon with the DPRK, saying that ROK-DPRK ties were suffering from the “uncertainties” of the US policy review. Han stated, “So we hope that review is concluded as soon as possible.” He added, “When that review is concluded then the uncertainties hanging over this issue will go away and we will see a more transparent policy of the United States toward North Korea.” Han stated, “Our policy with North Korea should go hand-in-hand with U.S. policy and therefore we are waiting for the U.S. government to conclude its policy review as early as possible.” [Ed. Note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 20.]

2. DPRK Nuclear Program

Reuters (“CIA OFFICIAL: N. KOREA PROBABLY HAS NUCLEAR ARMS,” Washington, 04/18/01) reported that Deputy US Central Intelligence Agency Director John McLaughlin said in a speech released on Wednesday that the DPRK probably has one or two nuclear bombs and may also have biological weapons in addition to chemical weapons. McLaughlin said that while activity at the DPRK’s nuclear plant at Yongbyon remains frozen, “we still cannot account for all of North Korea’s plutonium.” He added, “And, with an opaque regime in which the practice of denial and deception is embedded in national strategy, we still cannot say for sure that nuclear weapons-related work is not going on somewhere else.” McLaughlin said that the DPRK’s Nodong missiles and variants have shown up in Iran and Pakistan, “And it is busy at work on new models that could reach the United States itself with nuclear-sized payloads.” He argued that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il so far has held to his father’s legacy including the goal of “northern pre- eminence in a reunified Korea.” McLaughlin added, “Like his father, he has been shrewd enough to make bad behavior the keystone of his foreign policy. He knows that proliferation is something we want to stop. Thus, Kim Jong-il has tried to drum up outside assistance by trading off international concerns about his missile programs and sales.” Pointing to Kim Il-sung’s tendency to play the Soviet Union against the PRC, McLaughlin predicted that Kim Jong-il “will seek to exploit any daylight he can find between the United States, South Korea, Japan, the European Union, or anyone else who might be inclined to offer him economic help.”

3. US-ROK Military Exercises

Reuters (Bill Tarrant, “S.KOREAN MILITARY EXERCISE DRAWS FIRE FROM NORTH,” Seoul, 04/17) reported that the ROK and the US began a week-long military exercise Friday. The US Forces Korea said in a statement last week that the “Reception, Onward Movement and Integration” exercise, set to run from April 20 to 26, is used by US and ROK forces to train and evaluate command capabilities to receive US forces from bases outside the country. The DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying, “If the South Korean authorities defiantly take part in the projected war exercise in pursuance of the U.S. war moves against the DPRK, their behavior cannot be construed otherwise than a downright betrayal to the North-South joint declaration.” The spokesman said, “The U.S. plan to stage a military game under the simulated condition of an ‘actual war’ by hurling even its forces in the Pacific proves that it completely reversed a DPRK-US agreement on not threatening the dialogue partner by military force and is more openly pursuing the hostile policy to stifle the DPRK with ‘strength’.” He added, however, “we are prepared both for dialogue and war.”

4. Remains of US Soldiers from Korean War

The Washington Times (“U.S. PAYS NORTH KOREA MILLIONS FOR MIA HELP,” Seoul, 04/20/01, 15) reported that the US paid the DPRK US$2.25 million last week for this year’s joint search for remains of US servicemen killed during the Korean War. A US Forces spokesman said that the amount, half the US$4.5 million that the US promised in December, was paid by the UN Command at Panmunjom on April 11. He added that the other half will be paid at the next round of talks due this fall. The spokesman stated, “It will soon lead to a joint excavation in North Korea of U.S. soldiers missing in action (MIA).” [Ed. Note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 20.]

5. ROK Aid to DPRK

The Associated Press (Jae-Suk Yoo, “PAINT A CONCERN IN INTER-KOREA TIES,” Seoul, 04/18/01) reported that when an ROK aid group, Good Neighbors Inc., requested to send paint to a DPRK hospital, the ROK Unification Ministry ordered the group to photograph the hospital before and after its paint job to prove that the paint went to the building. Ministry official Kwon Tae-won said Wednesday, “We don’t think the North will use it for other reasons, but we just want to make sure.” Good Neighbors had requested Unification Ministry approval to send 110 tons of paint to the DPRK, but the ROK only allowed 19 tons of white, yellow, red and blue paint worth US$22,000.

6. ROK Role in US-PRC Spy Plane Incident

Reuters (Bill Tarrant, “SEOUL SAYS IT HELPED SMOOTH CHINA-U.S. PLANE DISPUTE,” Seoul, 04/19/01) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo said on Thursday that the ROK played a behind-the-scenes role in the spy plane row between the US and the PRC. Han stated, “I’m not in a position to say what we have done. But I can tell you both governments were very appreciative.” He added, “The maintenance of good relations between the United States and China is crucial to the maintenance of peace in the world in general and East Asia in particular. Our position was to see the issues resolved in the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation between the United States and China and therefore we were very glad the crew members were released before Easter.” Han stated, “We hope negotiations on the aircraft will proceed in the spirit of respect and cooperation and I hope this incident will not have a lasting negative impact on the future of U.S.- China relations.”

7. US-PRC Talks

Reuters (Andrew Browne, “U.S. NEGOTIATORS LEAVE CHINA, NEW STRAINS LOOM,” Beijing, 04/20/01) reported that US officials left China on Friday after three days of talks on the spy plane row. Peter Verga, Acting US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, said that no date had been set for further talks. He added, however, “We had a professional discussion and meeting from a very professional angle.” Verga said that the two sides made no progress on the question of the return of the US plane, but argued, “We didn’t have negotiations, we had a meeting and we’ve got some work to do.” PRC President Jiang Zemin reiterated the PRC’s demand that the US take responsibility for the collision, adding, “The only way to prevent a future occurrence of such an incident is for the United States to stop sending surveillance over China’s coastal waters.”

The Los Angeles Times (Henry Chu, Paul Richter, “SPY FLIGHT TALKS YIELD NO BREAKTHROUGH,” Beijing, 04/20/01) and the Associated Press (Robert Burns, “PENTAGON SAYS CHINESE SPY PLANE VIDEO IS MISLEADING,” Washington, 04/20/01) reported that during US-PRC talks on Thursday, PRC officials offered video clips that they said offered “very convincing” proof that the US plane was at fault for the mid-air collision. The PRC Foreign Ministry produced video images of previous encounters between what appeared to be US and PRC fighter jets, saying that the footage was evidence of aggressive flying tactics by the US. The video was put forward to counter the US Defense Department’s release last week of footage showing a Chinese airman purportedly engaging in reckless flying behavior. US Defense Department spokesman Rear Admiral Craig Quigley said that the US fighters shown in the clips were “prudent” in their flights, noting that they “are roughly on the same altitude, easily seen and well to the side” of the PRC jets.

8. Detentions of Chinese-Americans in PRC

The Washington Post (Steven Mufson, “U.S. ISSUES WARNING ON TRAVEL TO CHINA,” 04/20/01, A16) and the Washington Times (Tom Carter and David Sands, “U.S. WARNS AMERICANS ON TRIPS TO CHINA,” 04/20/01) reported that the US State Department on Thursday issued a warning for US citizens traveling to the PRC. The State Department said that it “cautions Americans, especially Americans originally from China, that there may be a risk of being detained upon returning to China, if they have at any time engaged in activities or published writings critical of Chinese government policies.” It added that “in some cases, travel to Taiwan or involvement with Taiwan media organizations has apparently also been regarded as the equivalent of espionage by the [PRC] Ministry of State Security.” Jerome Cohen, a law professor at New York University, stated, “This is a fairly drastic action. This will have ramifications for tourism, academic exchanges and business contacts, and on people who for whatever reason are thinking of going to China.” [Ed. Note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 20.]

The Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “U.S. CITIZEN DETAINED IN CHINA,” Beijing, 04/20/01) reported that the PRC protested a US State Department travel advisory on Friday. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue demanded that the US “correct the mistake and take measures to eliminate the negative effects created by the so-called warning.” She added, “The announcement of the so-called ‘risk’ is an attempt to sow discord in relations between Chinese-Americans and others and China. This is extremely wrong and irresponsible.” Her statement followed reports of the detention of Wu Jianmin, a US citizen, on April 8 on suspicion of spying on behalf of Taiwan. Frank Lu, a former dissident who runs a human rights monitoring group in Hong Kong, said that authorities suspect that Wu was involved in the publication of “The Tiananmen Papers.”

9. US Weapons Sales to Taiwan

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, “TAIWAN FACES DIVIDE OVER POSSIBLE U.S. RADAR DEAL,” Taipei, 04/20/01, A14) reported that Taiwan Foreign Minister Tien Hung-mao said that his government’s desire to purchase the Aegis radar system from the US has become “incredibly politicized” in Taiwan. Sources said that a former defense minister has opposed the purchase, saying that the US$3.2 billion cost for four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers equipped with the radar would constitute a “money pit” that Taiwan cannot afford. Taiwanese officials said that there is no agreement within the navy, as one side supports the Aegis purchase while another seeks submarines and anti-submarine warfare equipment instead. Yuan I, a strategist at the Institute of International Relations at National Chengchi University, argued, “The Aegis is too expensive and it implies an unnecessary reliance on the United States. The submarines give us more flexibility.” A former US military officer in the region said that the fact that the US is considering the sale of submarines, which can be used as offensive weapons, is viewed as a breakthrough of sorts. Taiwanese government officials said that they fear that the confusion over how to proceed with Taiwan’s defenses could tempt the US to reject certain weapons. [Ed. Note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 20.]

The Washington Times (Marc Lerner, “TAIWANESE NOT WORRIED ABOUT U.S. DELAY ON DESTROYERS,” Taipei, 04/20/01) reported that Taiwanese officials emphasized that ties between the US and Taiwan should not be judged solely based on the sale of the Aegis radar system. Lo Chih-chin, director of planning and research at the Taiwan Foreign Ministry, stated, “It’s inconceivable that the U.S. won’t have to consider reaction in the mainland. We only hope the arms-sales issue is decided on its merit.” He added that the PRC “has increased its military spending at an amazing rate in recent years. If we don’t modernize, there will be an imbalance of forces by the year 2005.” Lieutenant General Sun Tao-yu, the vice minister of defense, complained that “the U.S. and China seem to be complicating the simple matter of arms sales to Taiwan.” Yung Wei, a political science professor at National Chiao- Tung University, argued, “If Bush decides against selling Aegis, it won’t be a crushing blow. As long as other systems are provided that meet Taiwan’s needs and demonstrate America’s commitment to Taiwan, people can’t be disappointed.” Andrew Yang, chairman of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies, stated, “If they defer the sale, perhaps they approve it later. They need to determine whether the Aegis will be good for stability in the region.” An unnamed Western observer stated, “What these advanced weapons do is give Taiwan the ability to extract an unacceptable price, should the mainland decide to invade.” [Ed. Note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 20.]

10. Taiwan Military Exercises

The Associated Press (William Foreman, “TAIWAN SHOWS OFF FIREPOWER,” Pingtung, 04/20/01) reported that Taiwan staged live-fire war games on the southern coast Friday. An anonymous Taiwanese military spokesman said that Friday’s drills were routine and planned far in advance, adding that there was no reason to cancel the exercises despite the recent increase in tensions caused by the US-PRC spy plane incident. The spokesman stated, “We already discussed the drills with the Americans and they understand that the maneuvers are routine and frequently conducted by all militaries.”

11. US Visits by Taiwan Officials

Reuters (Elaine Monaghan, “U.S. GIVES TOURIST VISA TO EX-TAIWAN PRESIDENT,” Washington, 04/20/01) reported that the US State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said on Friday that the US had issued a visa to former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui. Reeker said that Lee’s office had submitted an application and the American Institute in Taiwan adjudicated it according to US regulations. He stated, “Based upon these guidelines they issued a tourist visa to Mr. Lee.” He added, “We consider (Lee) to be a private individual. Travel by private persons between Taiwan and the United States is a normal part of our unofficial relationship.” An anonymous US official said that Lee planned to travel on April 30 to May 6 and is due to visit Cornell University from May 2 to 4 to see his granddaughter. A PRC Embassy spokesman in Washington said on Thursday that the PRC was strongly opposed to Lee’s planned visit.

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, “TAIWAN’S PRESIDENT SEEKS U.S. TRANSIT VISA,” Taipei, 04/20/01, A17) reported that Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian on Thursday announced plans for a trip to Latin America which would include a hoped-for stopover in the US. Taiwanese newspapers reported that Chen wants to transit through New York and stop in Houston on his way back from his two-week trip.

12. Lee Teng-hui’s Japan Visit

Reuters (Teruaki Ueno, “JAPAN TO ALLOW VISIT BY TAIWAN EX-PRESIDENT,” Tokyo, 04/20/01) reported that following a meeting between Foreign Minister Yohei Kono and Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, Japan on Friday issued a visa to former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui to visit Japan for medical checkups. Kono stated, “The Japanese government has decided to proceed with issuing a visa for humanitarian reasons.” He added, however, “I believe that former president Lee Teng-hui has a very strong political influence. We will have a difficult period in Sino-Japanese relations.” Kono stated, “We presume Mr. Lee will not conduct any political activities.” Lee had earlier opposed signing an agreement to refrain from political activities during his trip, saying, “If (they want me) to sign, I might as well not go.” A Taiwan government spokesman said that Taiwan “believes this move will have a positive significance on friendly bilateral relations.” PRC state television reported that PRC Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Japanese Ambassador Koreshige Anami that Japan’s decision violated diplomatic agreements and “undermined the basis of bilateral relations.” Wang added, “China has stated many times through diplomatic channels the grave political nature of Lee Teng-hui’s visit to Japan and demanded that the Japanese government … prevent the visit.” Taiwan’s official Xinhua news agency said on Friday, “Lee, formerly a troublemaker in China-U.S. relations, is now coming out in the open as a troublemaker in China-Japan relations and a troublemaker for Asia-Pacific peace and stability.” It added, “He is the chief representative of Taiwan separatism and the saboteur of stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

II. Japan

1. DPRK Weapons Development

The Sankei Shimbun (Toru Maeda, “DPRK IS UPGRADING ITS TANKS FOR FIRST TIME IN 10 YEARS,” Washington, 04/19/2001) reported that according to US Defense Department officials, the DPRK is beginning to upgrade its tanks for the first time in nearly 10 years. The report said that the DPRK’s 3,500 tanks are older USSR and PRC made, but the DPRK is now extending the range of USSR-made T-62 guns and enabling the tanks to cross the river. The report suggested that US defense authorities are becoming sensitive to this development in light of the George W. Bush administration’s policy to halt missile technology development and reduce conventional forces in the ROK.

2. Japanese-ROK Relations

The Sankei Shimbun (Chiharu Mori, “ROK EXPRESSED REGRET OVER KAMAEI’S STATEMENT ON USE OF FORCE,” 04/16/2001) reported that the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade announced its regret on April 16 over the statement by Shizuka Kamei, Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Policy Research head and one of the four LDP presidential candidates, that Japan should use force (to support US-ROK forces) if they are attacked. The report said that Kamei made the statement during an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun regarding the issue of exercising Japan’s right to collective self-defense. In response to this statement, the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, “(The statement) ignores our sovereignty.”

3. US Food Aid to DPRK

The Daily Yomiuri (Michio Hayashi, “US TO EXTEND FOOD AID TO N. KOREA,” 04/14/2001) reported that in a move to launch its own DPRK policy, the administration of US President George W. Bush decided to shortly extend emergency food aid to the DPRK for the first time since Bush took office, US State Department and others sources said on April 13. The decision came in response to an emergency appeal from the UN World Food Program, and the amount of aid is expected to be about 100,000 tons.

4. Korean A-Bomb Victims

The Japan Times (Kyodo, “FORMER KOREAN FOES TO BUILD JOINT A-BOMB MEMORIAL,” 04/15/2001) reported that two groups of Korean residents, one loyal to the ROK and the other to the DPRK, have agreed with the Hiroshima City Government to jointly build a memorial for all the Koreans killed in the August 6, 1945, atomic bombing of the city. The pro-DPRK General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryun) and pro-ROK Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan) reached a basic accord with the city. According to officials of the groups, the new joint memorial for Korean victims of the atomic bombing is expected to be built inside the city’s Peace Memorial Park, near the Monument in Memory of the Korean Victims of the Atomic Bomb, erected in 1970 by Mindan. The existing monument was initially situated outside the park and seen as a symbol of discrimination against Koreans by the Japanese. It was moved inside the park in July 1999. The groups said that details concerning the construction work and inscription have yet to be discussed. For the past 10 years, Chongryun, Mindan and the Hiroshima municipal government had been discussing the possibility of erecting a unified monument for the Korean victims, they said, adding that initial plans considered changes in the design and inscription of the monument already in Hiroshima. However, last year’s June summit between ROK President Kim Dae-jung and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il prompted Mindan and Chongryun to accelerate talks for a new unified monument. The report added that an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 Koreans were affected by the atomic bombs after being forcibly transported to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the other city targeted by an atomic bomb at the end of World War II.

5. Lee Teng Hui’s Visa

The Daily Yomiuri (“GOVT SET TO ISSUE VISA FOR LEE,” 04/20/2001) reported that the government decided on April 19 to issue an entry visa to former Taiwan President Lee Teng Hui with certain restrictions, including one limiting the places he can visit and stay. The government was to make a formal announcement of the decision on April 20. Whether the government should issue an entry visa to Lee has been a major issue of discussion among government officials, with some expressing opposition to the issuing of a visa out of fear of damaging Japan-PRC relations. The government, however, has apparently reached the decision to issue a visa for Lee on humanitarian grounds, arguing that Lee asked for the visa to enable him to undergo medical treatment for his heart condition, a request that the government considered difficult to refuse. On Wednesday evening, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda talked over the phone with Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, conveying once again Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori’s opinion in favor of issuing the visa, the sources said. Kono, who is in charge of making decisions about issuing visas to foreign visitors, had earlier opposed issuing the visa to Lee. However, Lee reportedly approved the issuing of the visa under certain conditions. According to the sources, the government intends to seek Lee’s acceptance of the conditions that including Lee visits only the hospital in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, where he plans to undergo medical treatment for his heart problems, that Lee will stay in Japan only for the period needed for him to undergo medical treatment, and that during the stay, Lee will neither participate in any political activities nor meet with any Japanese VIPs. Lee is expected to accept these conditions. If the visa is granted, Lee is scheduled to enter Japan as early as Sunday via the Kansai International Airport in Osaka. The government’s decision in favor of granting the visa has also been made in light of the fact that Lee has retired from politics. The latest decision, however, is expected to draw strong protests from the PRC. PRC Ambassador to Japan Chen Jian, in his meeting with Fukuda on April 19, expressed the PRC’s “strong concern” over the issue, while lodging a formal request with Japan that it deny Lee a visa. The article added that on April 10, Lee submitted documents needed for a visa application through his proxies in Taiwan to the Interchange Association, Japan’s unofficial mission in Taiwan.

The Asahi Shimbun (“56 PERCENT OF TAIWANESE SUPPORT LEE’S VISIT TO JAPAN, WHILE 18 percent ARE AGAINST,” 04/19/2001) reported that according to an opinion survey conducted by TV TVBS, Taiwan’s satellite TV, on April 16 and 17, 56 percent of the respondents support former President Lee Teng Hui’s visit to Japan, while 18 percent are against the visit. The survey was conducted through the telephone among 983 respondents. The report also said that among those who support the visit, 77 percent are supporters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

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