NAPSNet Daily Report 20 May, 1998

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 20 May, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 20, 1998,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States


1. ROK Food Aid for DPRK

The Associated Press (“NORTH, SOUTH KOREA FIGHT OVER COWS,” Seoul, 05/20/98) reported that ROK National Unification Minister Kang In-duk on Wednesday said that the DPRK has issued an alert against a possible spread of hoof-and-mouth disease from the PRC, and therefore warned that Hyundai founder Chung Ju-yung’s plan to travel to the DPRK with 1,000 cows may be in jeopardy. Kang said that the DPRK must take delivery of Chung’s cows at the border or buy the ROK trucks carrying the cattle to prevent the disease’s spread to the ROK. On Wednesday, a commentary by the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency accused Kang of spreading “downright lies” to block the delivery of the cows. The commentary said, “Kang’s allegation reveals a sinister intention to openly slander the North and prohibit even non-governmental exchange and cooperation. If the South Korean regime truly hopes for inter- Korean dialogue and exchange, it should … dismiss such confrontation maniacs as Kang.”

The Washington Post carried a letter to the editor by Chang Seok Yang, the First Secretary of the ROK Embassy in Washington (“INTRA-KOREAN COOPERATION,” 05/20/98, A24) responding to an earlier opinion piece by Per Pinstrup-Anderson and Marc Cohen regarding the ROK’s policy on food aid for the DPRK. [Ed. note: See DPRK Famine in the US Section of the April 30 Daily Report.] The author said that the ROK’s policy on providing fertilizer to the DPRK “was intended to help in the development of a fundamental solution to the North’s food crisis and to improve intra-Korean economic cooperation.” However, he argued, the issue of divided families is “no less urgent” than that of food aid. He stated that the ROK’s position was that the ROK and the DPRK should use the opportunity of their talks in Beijing to implement earlier agreements on the divided families issue. He stated, “If the North needs fertilizer, there is no reason why it cannot take a favorable step toward the solution of the divided-families issue, the most fundamental and humanitarian means for improving South-North relations. The South Korean government does not intend to press the North by utilizing fertilizer aid as leverage. Rather, its intent is to solve current issues based on the principle of reciprocity and to improve South-North relations through reconciliation and cooperation.” The author pointed out that, despite the breakup of the Beijing talks, the ROK has continued to provide both government and private sector humanitarian aid to the DPRK.


2. DPRK Delegation Visits US

The San Francisco edition of the Korean Central Daily News [Joongang Ilbo] (“NORTH KOREAN DELEGATION VISITS US,” 05/07/98, 2A) reported that a three-member delegation from the DPRK’s Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee arrived in Los Angeles on May 6 for discussions on food aid, separated Korean families, and the recent ROK-DPRK talks. According to sources informed about DPRK affairs, the delegation came to Washington on April 22 at the invitation of US non-governmental organizations. They also visited Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, and Portland, and were scheduled to leave on May 8. The delegation was headed by former deputy ambassador to the UN Kim Su-man, and included DPRK Foreign Ministry North American Affairs Bureau director An Song-nam, and Chi Man- bok, the ranking member of the Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee. The delegation was accompanied to Los Angeles by Kim Myong-gil, Counselor to the DPRK mission to the UN. While in Los Angeles, they discussed food aid issues with relief officials from the Korean-American Sharing Movement. They also met officials from an international economic institute to discuss solutions to the problem of inter- Korean economic cooperation.


3. Alleged Plot to Influence ROK Election

Jane’s News Briefs (“INTELLIGENCE WATCH REPORT,” 05/19/98) reported that Yonhap News Agency said on May 4 that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) is expected to present Park Chae-seo, an alleged double-agent, at a probe into potential DPRK influence in last December’s ROK presidential elections. Park allegedly worked as a spy for both the DPRK and the ROK and is reported to have information about DPRK intelligence activities within the agency for ROK’s Agency for National Security Planning (NSP), as the NIS was formerly known. Park also reportedly possesses knowledge about DPRK ties to some ROK politicians.


4. ROK President to Visit US

The Office of the White House Press Secretary released a statement (“STATE VISIT BY KOREAN PRESIDENT KIM DAE-JUNG,” USIA Text, Washington, 05/20/98) which said: “President Clinton has invited Kim Dae-jung, President of the Republic of Korea, for a State Visit to the United States on June 6- 13. President Kim has accepted, and will spend June 6-8 in New York City, June 8-11 in Washington, D.C., June 11-12 in San Francisco, and June 12-13 in Los Angeles. President Clinton looks forward to welcoming President Kim to the White House and reviewing with him a broad range of issues from our security alliance to the Korean economic recovery.”


5. ROK Soldiers Killed by Mine

The Associated Press (“MINE BLAST KILLS 3 S.KOREA SOLDIERS,” Seoul, 05/20/98) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said that a land mine explosion on Wednesday killed three ROK soldiers and seriously injured another. The soldiers were training in a minefield in the ROK sector of the Demilitarized Zone.


6. International De-Mining Conference

Agence France-Presse (Carole Landry, “21 COUNTRIES AGREE TO WORK FOR END TO LANDMINES,” Washington, 05/20/98) reported that delegates from 21 countries and some 30 private and non-governmental organizations on Wednesday opened a three-day conference to try to coordinate de- mining efforts and assistance to victims of landmines. US President Bill Clinton said in a statement to the delegates, “The Washington conference is an opportunity for us to set a course for the future together, and move toward a goal we all share: to eliminate as quickly as possible the scourge of anti-personnel landmines.” US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl Inderfurth stated, “We are working very hard to be able to be in a position to sign the Ottawa treaty” banning the use of land mines. He added that lack of US adherence to the treaty does not preclude a US role to step up the effort to remove existing landmines. Delegates to the conference were scheduled to try to determine the scope of the problem and agree on an estimate of the number of landmines that pose a threat. They also plan to establish a list of priorities for de-mining tasks in the 12 most afflicted countries. The conference will also serve to develop a strategy for reaching out to those countries that have not yet joined the effort, such as Russia, the PRC, India, and Pakistan.


7. Taiwan-US Relations

The Wall Street Journal carried an analytical article (Leslie Chang, “TIES THAT FRAY: TAIWAN DREADS SELLOUT AS U.S.-CHINA TALKS NEAR,” Taipei, 05/20/98) which said that the roughest unresolved issue in US-PRC relations is now Taiwan. The article quoted Lin Chong-pin, vice chairman of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, as saying, “Beijing woke up to the fact that in order to contain Taiwan, the shortest route is through Washington. I think they have been successful in this.” It stated that the PRC hopes to elicit from the US a pledge to reduce weapons sales to Taiwan, and a written statement that the US opposes the island’s independence or its participation in international organizations. Yang Kai-huang, a Soochow University professor who believes that such a statement is likely to come out of the summit, said that the summit “will hurt Taiwan’s foreign-policy efforts, and it will hurt Taiwanese psychologically.” He added, “I worry about what sort of evaluation Clinton will have of Hong Kong. If he sees this [one country, two systems] policy can enhance security in Asia, then it could bring great harm to Taiwan.” Andrew Yang, a China expert who runs a Taiwan think tank, said that recent statements by US officials “indicate that the U.S. is receiving a continuous education from Beijing. That worries me.”


8. Missile Technology Transfer to PRC

The Associated Press (Tom Raum, “GINGRICH TO SEEK CHINA DEAL INQUIRY,” Washington, 05/20/98) and the Washington Post (Juliet Eilperin, “GINGRICH TO CREATE SPECIAL PANEL TO PROBE CHINA TECHNOLOGY DEAL,” 05/20/98, A04) reported that US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich is moving to establish a special committee to investigate high-technology exports to the PRC. The House will vote early next month on creating the panel. The inquiry would supersede present overlapping investigations by as many as four different House panels.

The Associated Press (John Diamond, “CHINA SALE WORRIED PENTAGON WORKERS,” Washington, 05/20/98) reported that the US Defense Department’s Defense Technology Security Administration concluded in a classified assessment a year ago that a report on a failed commercial satellite launch submitted to the PRC by Loral Space and Communications and Hughes Technology could be used to improve the PRC’s ballistic missiles. However, the agency earlier this year supported a license for Loral Space to export another commercial satellite to the PRC. Republican congressional committee staffers charged that agency workers who were reviewing the export license for security risks were kept from voicing opposition to the plan by agency head David Tarbell. Tarbell responded, “I have no recollection of telling anybody on my staff not to oppose the license or the waiver in this case. I had no idea in advance whether or not the president was going to grant the waiver. Any report that I asked people to eliminate or destroy documents of any kind on this matter is absolutely wrong.” The Defense Department said that the transfer was approved after officials were satisfied that sensitive missile technology would not be leaked to the PRC.

State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, MAY 19,” USIA Transcript, 05/19/98) stated that the US government’s licensing system allowed it to provide a second license to one of the companies involved in an alleged missile technology transfer to the PRC, because the licenses in the second case eliminated any uncertainty on the question of whether the exports aided PRC missile capabilities. Rubin stated, “We push very hard to make sure that while advancing America’s interest in allowing American companies to compete in the global marketplace by placing satellites in space in an efficient way, we are not undermining our determination to prevent unauthorized technology from going to China.” He added that “in no circumstance do we believe that the policy of allowing China to launch American satellites is ipso facto providing China technology that will enhance their capabilities.”


9. PRC-Indian Relations

Reuters (John Chalmers, “INDIA REBUFFS CHINA, COOL ON SANCTIONS,” New Delhi, 05/19/98) reported that a spokesman for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday said that India’s ambassador to the PRC had been called back for consultations over the strain in bilateral relations following last week’s nuclear tests, but stressed that the move was in no way a diplomatic gesture. The spokesman said, “The Indian ambassador is coming back for consultation. He has not been recalled.”


10. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Reuters (Carol Giacomo, “INDIA WANTS QUICK ACTION ON N-TEST BAN,” Washington, 05/19/98) and the Washington Post (“FOR THE RECORD,”05/20/98, A24) reported that Indian Ambassador to the US Naresh Chandra told a National Press Club news conference Tuesday that the latest series of nuclear tests conducted by India are a result of “very considered study over a long period of time.” He added, “India is willing to engage with key interlocutors from the nuclear weapons states and other countries to reach as soon as possible a position where we undertake the substantive undertakings contained in the [Comprehensive Test Ban] treaty.” While he insisted that India has not “laid down conditions” for signing the treaty, he added, “We feel that considering the pros and cons, there is a lot of room for showing flexibility.” He criticized two elements of the treaty; one requiring that the pact cannot take effect without the signature of 44 specific countries with a nuclear capacity, including India and Pakistan, and one requiring signatory countries to hold a review conference in 1999 to decide what to do about putting the treaty into force if any of the key states have not signed. He also pointed out that the US Senate has not yet moved to ratify the treaty. Chandra said that, despite India’s tests, there was no clear decision to produce and deploy nuclear weapons. He stated, “The present policy is not to do so unless forced to do so. India was “not interested in an arms race.” At the same news conference, Zamir Akram, the deputy chief of mission at Pakistan’s embassy in Washington, declined to say if his government would embrace the CTBT if India did so. Akram stated, “I don’t know what they really want… We have to look at it carefully.” He added that Pakistan had not decided whether to reply with a test of its own and was “in no hurry to make that decision.”


11. Possibility of Pakistan Nuclear Tests

The Associated Press (“PAKISTAN SAFE FROM CHINA SANCTIONS,” Islamabad, 05/20/98) reported that Pakistan Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed said Wednesday that the PRC has promised not to retaliate with economic sanctions against Pakistan should it explode a nuclear device. Ahmed said, “The two countries have a complete identity of views on the grave impact that India’s test explosions have on world peace.”

The Washington Post (Thomas W. Lippman, “TO AVERT NUCLEAR TEST, U.S. WEIGHS PAKISTAN’S SECURITY ISSUES,” 05/20/98, A20) reported that senior US officials said that Pakistan may demand more security guarantees than the US is willing to offer to refrain from carrying out a nuclear test. They said that, thus far, Pakistan has not made specific security requests and the US has not made any offer.

The Los Angeles Times carried an opinion article (Mansoor Ijaz and James A. Abrahamson, “GIVE PAKISTAN A REASON FOR RESTRAINT,” 05/20/98) which argued that the Clinton administration must develop a new vision for South Asian security based on a strategic shield of defense systems “much as the U.S. provides NATO members and Japan.” The authors argued, “The need for such a security arrangement is compelling because while Pakistani nuclear tests may rebalance the overall (nuclear plus conventional) regional security equation with India, crossing the weapons threshold in Islamabad and New Delhi may yet deeply disturb the delicate global equilibrium achieved for the rest of the world’s current and aspirant nuclear states.” They added that “Pakistan’s security could be enhanced in part by Western powers guaranteeing that India be given no favorable treatment … under provisions of global test ban or nonproliferation treaties, should India sign on in the aftermath of its tests.” The article suggested that the US might consider initially assisting Pakistan with technological and logistical support to set up sophisticated surveillance systems. “Longer term, such early warning systems could be buttressed by a defensive anti-missile capability to counter potential attacks.”

Reuters (“PAKISTAN URGES N-TALKS PAUSE AFTER INDIAN TESTS,” Geneva, 05/19/98) reported that Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram on Tuesday urged the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament to call a pause in its work to reflect on the “nuclear crisis” provoked by India’s underground tests last week. Akram said that launching negotiations to halt production of nuclear bomb-making fissile material would be a “waste of time” and mere “tokenism” in the new context.

State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, MAY 19,” USIA Transcript, 05/19/98) stated that Pakistan would benefit in its relationship, “military and otherwise,” with the US if it refrains from holding a nuclear test. He added, “National Security Advisor [Sandy] Berger has made clear that the climate in Congress, in his view, would change dramatically.” However, he warned that Pakistan will not make its decision “based on a few million dollars here or a few tens of million dollars there in military equipment. This is an existential decision for them, and will be made based on whether they think they will be safer or less safe, on whether they think that India will be moved out of the mainstream or not, and not so much based on what they think would happen in their relations with the United States.” He said that the inclusion of Pakistan’ in the “US nuclear umbrella” did not come up during bilateral talks. Rubin stated, “I grant you that a security alliance of some major proportion might have an impact on them; but I’ve just not heard anybody talking about that other than journalists and commentators.”

II. Republic of Korea


1. ROK-DPRK Relations

ROK President Kim Dae-jung yesterday warned that the DPRK will face destruction if it decides to attack the ROK. In a luncheon meeting with advisors on unification at Chong Wa Dae, Kim added that the DPRK would, in fact, be unable to attack the ROK because neighboring countries surrounding the Korean Peninsula would not tolerate the DPRK’s invasion. If the DPRK attacks, “we will sustain damage but the DPRK will completely crumble.” Kim also mentioned two other paths that the DPRK could pursue. One is for the Kim Jong-il regime to maintain the status quo, although this would lead to the regime facing even further difficulties. Kim said the other option the DPRK can adopt is to pursue reform and open itself to the outside world. However, it may be hesitant to take the liberal approach out of fear of the threat this would pose to the survival of the regime. Kim emphasized that the ROK will patiently encourage the DPRK to open and reform the country. He vowed that the ROK government would stick to its previously announced principles in dealing with the DPRK–humanitarian aid with no conditions, the active exchange of economic cooperation under the principle of separating politics from economics, and a reciprocity principle with respect to government-to-government contacts and dealings. The President cited the PRC and Taiwan as two nations which have been successful in carrying out economic exchanges. If the two Koreas had been actively engaged in economic exchanges, the DPRK would not have been exposed to food shortages and ROK small-and medium-sized firms would not have gone bankrupt en masse, he argued. Kim said that the government will never use private and secret channels in dealing with the DPRK. When necessary, government officials, rather than non-government personnel, will contact DPRK authorities in secret. Kim expressed the hope that private organizations on both sides of the De-Militarized Zone would beef up exchanges and contacts. He said unification will be realized only when “we make efforts and preparations.” (Korea Herald, “NK WILL FACE DESTRUCTION IF IT ATTACKS SOUTH,” 05/20/98)


2. DPRK Food Aid

A UN agency said Monday it will cut back relief aid to hundreds of thousands of DPRK citizens after the DPRK reneged on its promise to provide access to the entire country. Last month, the World Food Program’s (WFP) top official, Catherine Bertini, said that the DPRK had assured UN relief officials it would let representatives of the Rome-based agency into all 210 counties, including areas that had been off-limits for security reasons. The WFP said, however, that it has only been granted partial access and has been refused entry to 39 counties it specifically sought to enter. For now, WFP will scale back its operations by 55,000 metric tons of food, valued at about US$33 million, Bertini said in a statement. “We take this action very reluctantly,” said Bertini, who met with authorities in the DPRK last month. “It means that about 765,000 people, mostly women and children, won’t receive urgently needed food from the international community.” The WFP is insisting on complete access so distribution of the food can be monitored. If entry to more areas is eventually granted, the operations can be expanded, she said, adding “we are continuing our talks with the DPRK authorities and we are hopeful that we will gain access in the upcoming months.” (Korea Herald, “REBUFFED ON ACCESS, UN AGENCY TO CUT BACK AID TO NORTH KOREA,” 05/20/98)


3. ROK Local Elections

The sixteen day official campaign for the June 4 local elections got underway Tuesday with candidate registration. In the election, people will vote for sixteen mayors or governors, 232 county or ward chiefs, 690 provincial or city council members, and 3,490 local officials. The central election management committee said that the ratio of candidates to positions was around three to one. Two of the most contested events will be the mayoral race in Seoul between National Congress for New Politics (NCNP) candidate Koh Kun and Choi Byong-yol of the Grand National Party (GNP), and the gubernatorial contest in Kyonggi province between Lim Chang-yuel, former deputy prime minister and now on the NCNP ticket, and the GNP’s Son Hak-kyu. (Chosun Ilbo, “CAMPAIGNING IN LOCAL ELECTIONS GETS UNDERWAY,” 05/20/98)

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Wade L. Huntley:
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Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Shin Dong-bom:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Choi Chung-moon:
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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