NAPSNet Daily Report 20 January, 1999

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

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. DPRK Defector

Reuters (Brian Williams, “N.KOREA SAYS DIPLOMAT ‘KIDNAPPED’ AND HELD IN U.S.,” Tokyo, 01/20/99) reported that the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Wednesday that Kim Kyong-pil, a second secretary in the economic department of the DPRK mission in Berlin, was blackmailed and kidnapped by ROK agents before being turned over to the US. It stated, “The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland issued a statement on Tuesday over the kidnapping of a secretary of the DPRK Interest Section in Berlin and his wife in broad daylight by the South Korean puppet Agency for National Security Planning (ANSP).” It added, “Now that the U.S. still keeps our secretary abducted by the ‘ANSP’, we cannot but consider the U.S. to be an accomplice of the abduction. It also will be held responsible entirely for all the consequences.” KCNA stated, “The ANSP infiltrated its agent Choe Chang-dong into the European Headquarters of the National Alliance for the country’s reunification in the early period of the 1990s. Choe pretended to be a South Korean resident in Germany and had contact with the DPRK mission in Berlin to hurt DPRK diplomats and commit espionage.” It said that at 10 a.m. on January 13, another ROK agent, Han Hyong-su, posing as a businessman, and three other agents waited in a car outside the Hilton Hotel to kidnap Kim, but their plan was thwarted when Kim appeared with other members of the DPRK mission. Instead the ROK agents handed Kim an envelope pretending it was a business proposal. KCNA said, “Contained in the envelope were a slip reading ‘0172-3123375. ‘Han Hyong-su,’ a catalog of computer files already stolen, a letter of blackmail and $1,000. In the afternoon, the Han Hyong-su group lured the secretary and his wife again before the Hilton Hotel by the same dastardly and wicked means and kidnapped them.” It added, “It is reported that the South Korean abductors interned our secretary for three days for the purpose of taking him to South Korea and that upset by our stern warning, they hurriedly delivered him to the U.S. If the South Korean authorities and the U.S. want the relaxation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the improvement of inter-Korean relations, they should stop … using our secretary as a scapegoat for an anti-North campaign and unconditionally reinstate the couple at once.”

Reuters (“SEOUL SAYS N.KOREA KIDNAP CLAIM ‘ABSURD SLANDER’,” Seoul, 01/20/99) reported that the ROK branded the DPRK’s accusation that ROK agents had kidnapped a DPRK diplomat in Berlin as “an absurd slander.” Berlin police spokesman Hans-Joerg Draeger stated, “We opened an investigation into their disappearance. The result was that we could find no grounds for suspicion that a crime had been committed.” He added, “The man is an adult and has the freedom to move around as he likes. This is not a matter for the police.” US State Department spokesman James Rubin said on Tuesday, “We don’t comment on alleged asylum requests.”

2. Four-Party Peace Talks

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA: PEACE TALKS MAY GO SOUR,” Geneva, 01/20/99) reported that Li Gun, deputy leader of the DPRK delegation to the four-party peace talks, said Wednesday that the controversy over the fate of a DPRK diplomat in Berlin could affect the outcome of the talks. The other delegations made no comment after the Wednesday morning meeting. Li stated, “Another session will go on tomorrow morning.” He added, “I think this is a good opportunity for the United States and the South to show … if they are willing to go on with the peace talks.”

The Associated Press (Geir Moulson, “KOREA TALKS MOVE FORWARD,” Geneva, 01/19/99) and Reuters (“KOREA TALKS BEGIN,” Geneva 01/20/99) reported that delegates to the four-party peace talks on Tuesday assigned two groups to start debating key issues on Wednesday. US delegation head Charles Kartman stated, “We’re going to have subcommittee meetings from tomorrow. So far, so good.” ROK delegation head Park Kun-woo described Tuesday’s session as “rather businesslike.”

3. DPRK Submarine Infiltrations

The Associated Press (“SOUTH KOREAN NAVY LOCATES SUNKEN NORTH KOREAN SPY BOAT,” Seoul, 01/20/99) reported that the ROK navy on Tuesday located the wreck of a DPRK spy boat that it sunk about a month ago. However, the navy said Wednesday that it would take four to five months to recover the boat, which was 400 feet underwater with its engine room severely damaged.

4. DPRK-Japanese Relations

Dow Jones Newswires (“N. KOREA ACCUSES JAPAN OF STIFLING NUCLEAR PROJECTS – KYODO,” Tokyo, 01/20/99) reported that Japan’s Kyodo news service said that a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman on Wednesday accused Japan of adopting a policy of isolating and stifling the DPRK. The spokesman criticized Japan for describing the launch of a DPRK rocket last August as a missile test, instead of the launch of an artificial satellite as the DPRK claims. He stated, “This campaign of the Japanese reactionaries is an overt expression of their policy of isolating and stifling the DPRK with the backing of the United States and in concert with the South Korean puppets.” He added, “Japan must know that it is mistaken if it intends to use the payment of its share of expenses for light-water reactors as a bait for any deal in its relations with the DPRK.” He warned, “If Japan continues its anti-DPRK campaign in cooperation with those who are hostile toward the DPRK, the Korean people’s anti-Japanese sentiments and fighting spirit will grow stronger and Japan will get nothing but the most catastrophic result.”

5. ROK Comfort Women

The Associated Press (Kyong-hwa Seok, “SEX SLAVERY MUSEUM IN SOUTH KOREA,” Wangju County, 01/20/99) reported that the Historical Museum of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery opened last August in the ROK. The museum has thus far had about 4,000 people, a quarter of them from Japan. The museum was built with private donations by the ROK’s largest Buddhist order. Kim Soon-duk, a former sex slave, stated, “I feel anger over Japan’s refusal to take responsibility, but I would like to thank all individual Japanese who come all the way here to listen to our stories.” However, Shin Hyun-soon, another former comfort woman, said that she was unwilling to meet Japanese visitors. Shin stated, “I feel bad when I see them.” She also said that she does not like to visit the museum, saying, “The pictures and all, especially the room, give me the creeps. But we know that this museum will keep telling people what happened, even after we all die. And we hope it will help prevent a horrible thing like that from happening again in the future.”

6. PRC-Taiwan Talks

The Associated Press (“TAIWAN WON’T SEEK NEW DIPLOMATIC ALLIES BEFORE CHINA MEETING,” Taipei. 01/20/99) reported that the United Daily News on Wednesday quoted Taiwanese Foreign Minister Jason Hu as saying that Taiwan would not try to secure diplomatic relations with any new nations ahead of an upcoming visit by the PRC’s top negotiator, Wang Daohan. However, Hu added that such a halt would be temporary, and that Taiwan would not end its efforts to maintain an independent international profile.

7. Spratly Islands Dispute

The Asian Wall Street Journal carried an editorial (“MEANWHILE IN THE SPRATLYS,” 01/20/99) which said that, in the absence of direct aid from the US, the Philippines should take measures to strengthen its ability to respond to PRC moves regarding the Spratly Islands. The article stated, “the Philippines should ratify the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that will give U.S. troops the right to visit Manila and conduct routine maneuvers with the Filipino military.” It argued, “The only people who benefit from the absence of a VFA are the men in Beijing and those members of the U.S. policy establishment looking for excuses to ignore what’s going on in the Spratlys. If the situation there ever turns truly ugly, sympathizers in the U.S. Congress will have a difficult time enlisting American public opinion behind helping a country that wouldn’t extend a brief welcome to U.S. troops when times were good.” It also said that, by calling for US intervention that was not forthcoming, the Philippines was inadvertently strengthening the PRC’s claim. It called on the Philippines to take up the PRC on its offer for joint development of disputed territory and resources, if only to call the PRC’s “bluff.” The article concluded, “one always hopes that even a diplomatic showdown can be avoided. Yet if one has to come, better now than later, we say, when the time for reasoned decisions will have passed and looking away will no longer be such an easy option for anyone concerned.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for January 20.]

8. US-PRC Relations

Pacific Stars And Stripes (Donovan Brooks, “CHINA SEES MISSILE SYSTEMS AS THREAT,” Finegayan, 01/21/99, 4) reported that Robert A. Underwood, the Guam representative to the US Congress, said that PRC officials told him during a visit to Beijing last week that they see the development of US missile-defense systems as a threat to the PRC. Underwood, a Democrat, said Wednesday, “The Chinese are under a strategy to interpret missile-defense capacity of the U.S. as an invitation to a new arms race.” He added, “They want to discourage the Japanese from developing missile-defense systems, and they feel it’s an insult for Taiwan to (develop them).” Underwood said that he told the Institute of Strategic Studies that, if the PRC does not want to see future development of such systems, “they need to discourage rogue states from developing their missile technology.” Underwood said that he made the trip on behalf of the Armed Services Committee because of what he termed “changing dynamics” in the PRC military structure, particularly in the development of its “blue-water navy.” He stated, “It looks like they’re branching out. Some people in Washington say they’re trying to project power into India from [PRC port facilities near Burma.]” He argued for a policy of engagement, rather than containment, of the PRC, adding, “It’s a more difficult road. It requires pressure on human-rights issues, monitoring of China’s democratic processes and making sure it adheres to fair and equitable business practices.” Underwood said that the PRC wants acknowledgment as a power contributing to international stability, and the US should give it such acknowledgment. He added, however, “we need more military- to-military contacts,” especially to discern the capability of the PRC’s naval forces, because much can be drawn about their intent from how they develop “deliberately underplayed military capabilities” that would allow them to project power into the region. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for January 20.]

The Christian Science Monitor carried an opinion article by Bates Gill, director of the Brookings Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies (“A CLEARER US-CHINA PICTURE,” 01/20/99) which said that the US and the PRC differ significantly on a number of bilateral issues. The author said that the US and the PRC can be expected to disagree over issues such as trade, human rights, security, and Taiwan in the coming year. He added that “the two sides will remain divided over more fundamental issues,” such as globalization, good governance, sovereignty, use of force, and the role of the UN. He argued, “Finding common ground on such elemental issues will take years of substantive interaction, and even then China and the US will have pointedly divergent views.” He concluded, “The leaders on both sides need to stabilize popular support for better US-China ties, and marginalize the extremes that exaggerate the inevitable ups and downs of the engagement process. By devoting renewed energies to expanding their areas of common ground and building realistic expectations at home, the two sides can avert the dangers of false sentimentalities on the one hand, and insecure pessimism on the other.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for January 20.]

9. US Missile Defense

Inside The Pentagon (Daniel G. Dupont, “PENTAGON SET TO ANNOUNCE MAJOR MISSILE DEFENSE PROGRAM CHANGES TODAY,” 01/20/99) reported that top US Defense Department officials were scheduled to announce on Wednesday a major reorganization of the national and theater defense programs managed by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. A draft Defense Department statement said that the announcement would include details on US President Bill Clinton’s decision to add the funds “necessary to develop and deploy an NMD (National Missile Defense) system.” The NMD program would remain on track for a deployment decision in 2000, after which a system could be deployed by 2003 at the earliest. The statement also said, “Due to the lack of success with the THAAD (Theater High Altitude Area Defense) system, the acquisition strategy will be revised to prioritize both THAAD and NTW (Navy Theater Wide) based on their future performance in order to field an upper-tier (high- altitude) system as soon as possible.” Both programs will conduct flight testing through the beginning of fiscal year 2001, after which the Department will “evaluate the progress of these programs and make a decision for further funding of one or both.” The statement added, “Preservation of the ‘losing program’ will likely require additional funding after a lead program is selected.” The Department is also expected to announce that it will not commit funds to the design and development phase of the Medium Extended Air Defense System and will pursue “technology development only.” The statement said, “This will allow us to explore less costly program options and continue the prospect for international armaments cooperation in this important mission area.” [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for January 20.]

10. Russian Nuclear Safety

The Philadelphia Inquirer (Steve Goldstein, “NEW AID SOUGHT TO BATTLE THREAT OF RUSSIAN NUCLEAR MATERIAL,” Washington, 01/20/99) reported that US President Bill Clinton, in his State of the Union message on Tuesday, called for spending US$4.2 billion over the next five years on programs to help assure the safety of Russian nuclear weapons materials and expertise. The proposal represents an increase of nearly 70 percent over the US$2.5 billion already budgeted. The money would finance programs designed to dismantle Russian nuclear warheads; fund civilian programs for 8,000 Russian scientists and their nuclear research institutes; help Russia develop more effective export controls; tighten security at sites where nuclear materials are stored; assist in the housing and relocation of Russian troops now stationed outside the country; and tighten protection mechanisms for chemical and biological weapons and help Russia reduce its stockpiles in accordance with international agreements. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for January 20.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Defector

Korea Herald (“US CONFIRMS NK COUPLE SEEKING ASYLUM,” 01/20/99) reported that an ROK official confirmed Tuesday that a DPRK diplomat and his wife who had disappeared in Berlin are now seeking political asylum in the US. “The US notified the ROK that the DPRK couple sought asylum in the US last weekend,” the official said on condition of anonymity. He said that Kim Kyong-pil and his wife are close to being granted asylum. Although he implied that the couple are currently under the protection of the US authorities, he refused to comment on their whereabouts. Some observers said that the asylum seekers may be in a “safe” third country to prepare for their flight to the US. The DPRK couple’s defection came while the US and the DPRK were engaged in negotiations in Geneva on January 16-17 regarding the DPRK’s suspect underground facility. Officials at the ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry forecast that the defection would not affect current inter-Korean relations.

2. Light-Water Reactor Project

Korea Herald (“NK, KEDO START TALKS ON PROTOCOL FOR TRAINING,” 01/20/99) reported that the DPRK and the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) on Tuesday started the first round of talks on concluding a protocol for the training of DPRK nuclear technicians. During the five-day talks in Hyangsan, North Pyongyan Province in the DPRK, the two sides will discuss the signing of a letter of intent on the training of technicians who will operate the two light-water reactors. “At the talks, both sides are expected to develop a general plan on how to train the DPRK technicians for the operation and maintenance of the two light-water reactors,” said an official at the Office of Planning for the Light Water Reactors Project in the ROK. The two parties may also discuss other matters, including the possible training of some 500 DPRK nationals at the Kori Nuclear Power Plant in the ROK, the official said.

3. DPRK Food Aid

Chosun Ilbo (“NO PROBLEM SEEN IN NK FOOD SUPPLY,” 01/20/99) reported that an ROK government official commented concerning the demand that the DPRK made to the US for one million tons of food in exchange for an inspection tour of the suspect facility at Kumchangri. The official said that the DPRK food situation was not as bad as the DPRK claims it to be. He said that the ROK government estimated that on a normal distribution system, the DPRK has a deficit of 2.61 million tons, but on an emergency rationing system the DPRK lacks 1.62 million tons. International organizations such as the World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization estimated a shortfall of 1.35 million tons. To make up for the deficiency, the DPRK can import 300,000 tons and has already received 325,000 tons in international aid, with 210,000 tons to be delivered in the future. Last year the DPRK also received individual aid packages from the PRC (500,000 tons), the European Union (80,000 tons), and the ROK (50,000 tons). If that aid were repeated this year, the DPRK would have no food shortage this year on an emergency rationing basis.

4. US Asian Policy

Chosun Ilbo (“CLINTON HIGHLIGHTS US ALLIANCE WITH KOREA, JAPAN,” 01/20/99) reported that, in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, US President Bill Clinton emphasized the importance of the US maintaining a strategic alliance with countries such as the ROK and Japan in order to preserve security and stability in Asia. He added that the US must make all efforts to restrain the spread of nuclear weapons and missiles in the DPRK, as well as in India and Pakistan. Clinton stated that the defense budget would be increased by US$6 billion this year, which would be the first increase since 1985. In the next six years, the US government intends to increase the defense budget by US$100 billion. Clinton also called for efforts to reinforce a global financial system for the next century which “promotes prosperity and tames the cycles of boom and bust” that have engulfed Asia. President Clinton proposed a new global trading pact in the address, asking for the nation to support a “freer and fairer” trading system.

5. ROK-France Defense Cooperation

Korea Herald (“FRANCE AGREES TO COOPERATE IN KOREAN DEFENSE INDUSTRY,” 01/20/99) reported that the ROK and France agreed Tuesday to sign a treaty on protection of military secrets at an early date to further strengthen mutual cooperation in the defense industry and to exchange military intelligence. The agreement was reached at a meeting between Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek and his French counterpart, Alain Richard. Chun requested that France transfer technology in the defense industry to the ROK and that French firms participate in mergers and acquisitions of some ROK defense companies. Richard promised to positively consider Chun’s suggestions. Chun and Richard also agreed on the possible joint production of certain defense items by ROK and French companies. The spokesman said Richard hoped that French Rafale jet fighters will be selected as the ROK’s next-generation of fighter jets. He also expressed hopes that French firms could join the ROK Navy’s submarine project.

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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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