NAPSNet Daily Report 20 July, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 20 July, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, July 20, 1999,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. Four Party Talks

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“FOUR PARTY TALKS: SIXTH PLENARY TO CONVENE AUGUST 5,” USIA Text, Washington, 07/19/99) announced that the US, the PRC, the ROK, and the DPRK have agreed to convene the Sixth Plenary of the Four Party Talks in Geneva beginning August 5, 1999. Rubin stated, “US Special Envoy for the Korean Peace Talks, Ambassador Charles Kartman, will lead the US delegation. China will chair the Sixth Plenary, per the agreed rotation. US goals in the Four Party Talks continue to be the reduction of tension on the Korean Peninsula and replacing the Armistice by the achievement of a permanent peace arrangement there. Two subcommittees respectively addressed these goals in previous rounds and will continue their work at the Sixth Plenary. As in the past, the Swiss government is providing facilitative assistance for the talks, and we are grateful for its support.”

2. UNC-DPRK Meeting

The Associated Press (“U.N., NORTH KOREAN OFFICIALS TO MEET,” Seoul, 07/20/99) reported that the United Nations Command (UNC) said on Tuesday that it has accepted an invitation from the DPRK to hold a fourth round of talks on last month’s naval clash between the two Koreas. The UNC said that the talks are scheduled to start on Wednesday at Panmunjom. The UNC also said it intends to discuss with the DPRK the failed repatriation of remains of US soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.

3. Detained US Citizen in DPRK

The Associated Press (“N.KOREA DEPORTS DETAINED U.S. WOMAN,” Beijing, 07/20/99) reported that, according to US officials, Karen Han, a US citizen taken into custody a month ago in the DPRK, was deported to the PRC on Tuesday.

4. Bombing of PRC Embassy in Belgrade

The Associated Press (“CHINA TO BUILD NEW EMBASSY,” Belgrade, 07/19/99) reported that, according to the private Beta news agency in Yugoslavia, PRC and Yugoslavia officials agreed on Monday to build a new PRC Embassy to replace the one destroyed by NATO bombing. Yugoslav authorities said that the new embassy should be moved from its current location in the new part of Belgrade to “the best location” in the Yugoslav capital. PRC officials said that the old embassy building reminds them of “the tragedy in which three people were killed and seven were injured.”

5. PRC Military Exercises

Reuters (“SOUTHERN CHINA PLANS MARITIME POLICE EXERCISES,” Beijing, 07/20/99) reported that, according to PRC state television, maritime police from the PRC’s southern province of Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau will hold joint exercises on October 8. The state television said the drills would improve cooperation among the PRC, Hong Kong, and Macau during maritime emergencies and include exercises on stopping illegal immigration.

Reuters (Benjamin Kang Lim, “CHINA DENIES MILITARY ALERT OVER TAIWAN,” Beijing, 07/20/99) reported that the spokesmen for the Jinan and Guangzhou military regions in eastern and southern PRC denied a Hong Kong newspaper report that it had been placed on high alert over a row between the PRC and Taiwan. A Guangzhou military region spokesman said, “Troops are not on alert,” adding that troops were undergoing “normal training.” A Jinan military region spokesman said, “We have not received any notice. Our top task is to fight floods.”

6. Taiwanese Stand on PRC Policy

The Associated Press (Annie Huang, “TAIWAN PRESIDENT STANDS BY STATEHOOD,” Taipei, 07/20/99) reported that Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui on Tuesday stood behind his claim that Taiwan and the PRC are two states. Lee said that his declaration that the PRC must deal with Taiwan “on a state-to-state basis” was intended to establish an equal political status for the two that could allow real negotiations on an amicable future. Lee asked for public support and stated, “One China is not now. Only after we have democratic reunification shall there be the possibility of one China. The notion that Taiwan is a local government, a rebel province, was the reason why there couldn’t be a fundamental improvement in relations. We will foster dialogue and negotiations with the Chinese communists on an equal footing.” PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said Lee’s statehood claim posed “a serious challenge to the one-China principle,” which she said was recognized internationally. Zhang said that the PRC was awaiting a formal explanation from Koo Chen-fu, head of Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF). Zhang also warned that trying to modify Taiwan’s constitution to make the island independent would represent an “even more serious and dangerous separatist step” that, if successful, would make the peaceful reunification of the PRC and Taiwan impossible.

7. US Views on PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Associated Press (“CLINTON CAUTIONS CHINA ON TAIWAN,” Washington, 07/20/99) reported that US President Bill Clinton said on Tuesday that the US “would take very seriously” any attempt by the PRC to use force against Taiwan. Referring to his phone conversation with PRC President Jiang Zemin, Clinton said, “China knows very well what our policy is, and we know quite well what their policy is. I believe the action of the United States in affirming our support of the one-China policy … will be helpful in easing some of the tensions, and that was the context in which our conversation occurred. I made it clear our policy had not changed, including our view under the Taiwan Relations Act that we would take very seriously any abridgment of the peaceful dialogue” between the PRC and Taiwan.

8. Analysts View on PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Wall Street Journal (“TAIPEI’S STRESS WITH BEIJING MAY LAST UNTIL LEE RETIRES,” 07/20/99) reported that, according to analysts, the tension between the PRC and Taiwan will prevail until Taiwan’s election. Wu Yu-shan, a political scientist at National Taiwan University, stated, “Most people think the tension will last at least until the presidential election next March. The most fundamental issue now is the legal and constitutional change. Everything is reversible, as long as it doesn’t reach that stage.” However, Lin I-hsiung, chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party, noting the 70 percent public support for Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui’s PRC policy, said, “If we enjoyed good and peaceful relations, by consent, then Taiwan could follow in China’s footsteps. They fire these missiles, but don’t explain the benefits of unifying to the Taiwanese people. If the US or Japan wanted to make Taiwan part of their countries, I don’t think the Taiwanese people would be so afraid.”

The Los Angeles Times (Henry Chu, “TAIWAN GAMBIT A SEEMING BOON TO U.S.-CHINA TIES,” Beijing, 07/20/99) reported that the current crisis between the PRC and Taiwan is helping to restore US-PRC ties. Jin, an expert on US-PRC relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, “Because the U.S. stated its position very clearly, the Beijing [leadership] has the patience and confidence to let [some] time pass. The dominant opinion is that the origin of the [new rhetoric] is from Taiwan, not from the U.S.” Jonathan Pollack, a senior analyst at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, said, “There’s another party who has no stomach for big confrontation right here, and that’s the U.S. In a funny kind of way, the U.S. and China are driven toward some kind of accommodation or exercise of restraint that the Taiwan agenda may somewhat differ [from]. In a personal and direct way, Clinton is trying to send a signal to Jiang that there’s no hidden American hand behind this, that the U.S. was as blindsided as anyone else by Lee’s comments.”

9. Spratly Islands Dispute

The Associated Press (“CHINA FISHING BOAT SINKS IN MANILA,” Manila, 07/20/99) reported that, according to Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Domingo Siazon, a PRC fishing boat has sunk in a confrontation with a Philippine naval ship in disputed waters in the South China Sea. Siazon said that the Philippine government was investigating Monday’s confrontation, which involved two PRC fishing boats and a Philippine navy patrol ship in an area between two of the Spratly Islands, Likas and Panata. Siazon said, “We express our regret at the incident. We are treating this incident very seriously.” Siazon said that he was told all the crewmembers aboard the PRC boat were believed to have been rescued by the other PRC boat. Siazon denied that the Philippine navy intentionally sank the boat. He said, “It’s not our policy to use the Philippine navy to sink the vessels of friendly countries regardless of where they are located. We will seriously look into this incident because we value our relations with China.” However, Philippine Defense Secretary Orlando Mercado defended the navy ship’s handling of the incident and said, “As a matter of responsibility, (the navy) should challenge those who are fishing in the area.” He added that the incident should be reviewed carefully because “these accidents may be misinterpreted.” PRC Embassy spokesman Chen Dehai said that the Philippine vessel fired some shots at the PRC fishing boats. Another PRC Embassy official, Ma Jie, said that the Philippine ship chased the PRC boats for three hours before ramming into them, sinking one as a result.

10. PRC Nuclear Accident

The Associated Press (“CHINA AIMS TO RESTART QINSHAN NUCLEAR PLANT BY YR’S END”, Beijing, 07/20/99) reported that, according to PRC and US officials, US engineers have repaired damage to the PRC’s Qinshan nuclear power plant, and operators hope to restart the reactor by the end of the year. According to a US official, the problems at the Qinshan nuclear plant, one of two in the PRC, was detected after operators shut the reactor down a year ago for refueling. The official denied news reports that radioactive materials seeped into water used to cool the reactor and said the problem could not have led to a major accident. PRC officials also said that no radiation leaked out and described Japanese news reports of the incident as overblown. Qinshan, which went into operation two years behind schedule in 1991, is the PRC’s first domestically designed and built nuclear power plant.

11. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

The Associated Press (Terence Hunt, “CLINTON URGES ACTION ON TEST BAN,” Washington, 07/20/99) reported that US President Bill Clinton urged the US Senate on Tuesday to act on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Clinton said, “At a minimum, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should hold hearings this fall. Hearings would allow each side to make its case for and against the treaty, and allow the Senate to decide this matter on the merits. We have a chance right now to end nuclear testing forever. It would be a tragedy for our security and for our children’s future to let this opportunity slip away.”

12. Kashmir Conflict

The Associated Press (Neelesh Misra, “INDIAN MILITARY FIRES AT FIGHTERS,” Mushkoh Valley, 07/20/99) reported that Indian soldiers fired rocket launchers on Tuesday at a pocket of Pakistan-based fighters on India’s side of the Line of Control. Indian officers said that about a dozen Islamic fighters remained in Indian territory near the northern town of Dras. The officers said that India blasted the area with multi-barrel rocket launchers, unleashing heavy fire for the first time since Friday.

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK-PRC Talks

The Korea Herald (Jun Kwan-woo, “SEOUL TO ASK FOR BEIJING’S ASSISTANCE AT ARF IN DETERRING N.K. MISSILE FIRING,” 07/20/99) reported that ROK officials said on Monday that the ROK will ask the PRC to help deter the DPRK from conducting another missile test when ROK Foreign Minister Hong Soon-young meets PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan. The two will hold bilateral talks on a variety of issues when they both attend the Association of South East Asian Nations Regional Forum (ARF) to be held in Singapore beginning July 24, the officials said. “Topping their agenda will be North Korea’s missile threat,” a Foreign Ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We still expect a constructive role to be played by the Beijing government in addressing the issue.” Expectations run high among the ROK officials that the PRC government will show a different stance from its previous posture marked by nonintervention in other national and sovereign affairs, but few appeared certain whether or not the PRC will side with the ROK over the DPRK’s missile issue this time. Still, some diplomatic analysts said that there are chances for the PRC to respond to ROK’s request during the talks more positively than before. “We may expect to see China show a changed and improved attitude in responding to South Korea’s request during the ministerial talks,” Park Doo-bok, a researcher of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS) said. Park said that the PRC is slowly changing in expressing its stance. “China is now in a better position to exert its influence on North Korea than ever before with the restoration of Beijing-Pyongyang ties,” he said, in reference to the visit to the PRC by a DPRK delegation in June.

2. DPRK View of Theater Missile Defense

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “NORTH KOREA BLASTS JAPAN’S DEFENSE PLAN,” Seoul, 07/19/99) reported that the DPRK on Monday blamed Japan for planning a Theater Missile Defense (TMD) strategy. The DPRK issued a statement saying, “Japan’s national defense report distorted the truth, and TMD must be canceled for it is threatening Asian peace. Japan is formulating another scheme to become a military great again, so the hostile TMD is the one that should be shelved.”

3. Detained US Citizen in DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (Shim Shang-bok, “KOREAN-AMERICAN WOMAN HELD BY NK TO BE FREED JULY 20,” Seoul, 07/19/99) reported that the DPRK’s official news agency said on Monday that a Korean-American woman detained by DPRK authorities a month ago will be released on July 20. Karen Han, who has homes in California and New Jersey, was detained near the DPRK’s border with Russia and the PRC on June 17. The 58-year-old US citizen was in the Rajin-Sunbong area in the DPRK on a trip related to an effort to build a hospital and a garment manufacturing business when she was arrested by DPRK intelligence agents on the charge of industrial spying. US Senator Robert Torricelli, D-New Jersey, had pressed for the release of Han during a visit to the DPRK last weekend. “I am sincerely gratified that North Korean leaders responded favorably to my request,” he said.

4. Mt. Kumgang Tour

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “GOV’T, HYUNDAI SEND DIFFERENT SIGNALS ON RESUMPTION OF MT. KUMGANG TOUR,” 07/20/99) reported that negotiations between the Hyundai Group and the DPRK on resuming the Mt. Kumgang tour are expected to gain momentum this week, the deadline for sending monthly tour fees, group officials said on Monday. Despite the nervousness on the part of the tour organizer, officials at the ROK Unification Ministry reaffirmed that the tour would not resume unless the DPRK clearly and concretely guaranteed the safety of tourists. The ROK conglomerate, stressing that talks with its DPRK counterpart would soon reach an agreement on tourist safety issue, has its cruise liners prepared for operation. Officials at Hyundai Asan Corporation were also upbeat about an impending resumption of the tour project. ROK government officials, however, appeared set not to give the permission for resuming the suspended tour. “As far as I was debriefed, the negotiation has not made any headway this week. Moreover, no one can predict the date for resumption,” said Hwang Ha-soo, director general at the Inter-Korean Exchanges and Cooperation Bureau at the ROK Unification Ministry. “Although the two sides may have failed to reach a detailed agreement, such as concrete contents of the security guarantees, they have had to agree on some key points at the very least,” he said, without elaborating on what those points might be.

5. ROK Envoy for DPRK

The Korea Herald (Yoo Jae-suk, “CHUN HOPES TO SERVE AS SEOUL’S SPECIAL ENVOY TO PYONGYANG,” 07/20/99) reported that his close aide said on Monday that ROK former President Chun Doo-hwan wants to serve as the government’s special envoy to the DPRK. Such a wish may have been conveyed to the government in one way or another, he said, while denying any direct contact with the government on the matter. The ruling camp, however, is not seriously considering Chun’s wish. “We can neither refuse Chun’s proposal, nor accept it,” a ranking official of the ruling ROK National Congress for New Politics was quoted as saying. Chun has been harboring the idea since the outbreak of the naval skirmish between the ROK and the DPRK in the West Sea last month, the aide said, adding that he believes the former president best fits the special envoy’s role. Noting that the DPRK both hates and fears the former president, the aide said that the DPRK had tried to assassinate Chun a number of times but failed, and has come to regard him with a certain sense of awe. He added that various sources say that the DPRK is still conscious of Chun’s activities. Other Chun aides stressed his accomplishments in office as qualification for the position. He had realized visits of separated families, received flood aid from the DPRK, and exchanged secret messengers. Chong Wa Dae officials declined to comment on the issue.

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Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Lee Dong-young:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China


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