NAPSNet Daily Report 20 September, 1999

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

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Agreement

Reuters (Jim Wolf, “BERGER SAYS U.S. GAVE LITTLE TO KOREA FOR MISSILE BAN,” Washington, 09/20/99) reported that Samuel Berger, US national security adviser, on Sunday defended the US decision to lift trade sanctions on the DPRK in exchange for a suspension of missile tests. Berger stated, “in effect, they get Coca-Cola and we get a temporary ban on their missile program” while talks continue on a long-term ban. Berger said that the DPRK was close to triggering an Asian missile race “which could be very damaging to our interests.” He added that the US was giving the DPRK a chance to build “a more normal relationship with South Korea, Japan and the United States.” Berger said that if the DPRK continued “provocative” missile and nuclear weapons programs, “our response will be one of containing the threat and being prepared to deal with any provocation.”

The Associated Press (George Gedda, “CRITICS SAY N.KOREA BULLIED U.S.,” Washington, 09/18/99) reported that critics of the Berlin agreement said that the DPRK has bullied the US into making concessions with military threats. Robert Oakley, a retired diplomat who once headed the State Department’s counterterrorism office, stated, “I’m filled with admiration for [the DPRK’s] negotiating style. They threaten us and we keep paying them off.” James Przystup, an analyst at the National Defense University, stated, “They’re extortionists. That’s the way they operate.” He added, however, “This is an imperfect world and you have to make imperfect deals.” He noted that, as the DPRK lacks a trade agreement with the US and low tariff access to US markets, it is not likely to attract US investors despite the easing of sanctions. He warned that once the DPRK becomes aware that the US concessions are yielding few economic benefits, it will again resort to military threats to obtain further concessions. Don Oberdorfer, an East Asia expert at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said that the agreement was “very positive.” He said that the alternative was a renewed crisis with the DPRK similar to 1994.

The Asian Wall Street Journal carried an editorial (“ENCOURAGING PYONGYANG,” 09/20/99) which said that the recent US-DPRK agreement amounts to a case of DPRK blackmail. The article stated, “Trading rights and recognition are a significant step beyond the donations of light- water reactors, food and fuel of the past. They form an implicit admission that America is unable to stick to a policy of containment against an enemy that fields a million-man army and routinely makes bellicose threats.” It added, “instead of hastening the day Kim Jong Il falls from power, and responding to his provocations with firm measures like cutting off the flow of money from Korean residents in Japan, now we are supposed to hope he is the second coming of Deng Xiaoping.” The article warned, “The outcome, entirely skewed in favor of North Korea’s interests, serves as further encouragement to Pyongyang to go on secretly developing such weapons. North Korean leaders will note the palpable sense of relief and gratitude in Washington that they have pulled back from the brink, and seek to capitalize on it again.” It concluded, “By allowing itself to become invested in the survival of the Kim Jong Il regime, the Clinton administration has apparently lost sight of the central truth of the Korean Peninsula — only when this Stalinist relic of a regime crumbles into dust can there be true peace and stability.”

2. US Sanctions on DPRK

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, “SANCTIONS EASE MAY NOT HELP N.KOREA,” Seoul, 09/18/99) reported that military analysts said that the US decision to ease sanctions probably will not benefit the DPRK much any time soon. Kensuke Ebata, a Japanese military analyst, stated, “It’s a big victory for North Korea, a country long isolated internationally.” He added that the relaxation of sanctions will help the DPRK “rebuild its economy and raise its international status.”

US Representative Tony Hall, Democrat-Ohio, issued the following press release: (“SANCTIONS RELIEF IS OVERDUE, HALL SAYS,” Washington, 09/17/99). “President Clinton’s executive order lifting sanctions against North Korea is an historic, but overdue, step – one he promised to take five years ago, and one our closest allies long have urged. It comes at a time of real opportunity in US-DPRK relations, and it makes a lasting peace in Korea more likely than it has been in 50 years. This step stands a better chance than any other in helping the people of North Korea, and I expect the long-term result [to] be more freedom and less poverty — as we have seen in other communist states that open up to market forces. In the short term, this will help maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula…. It removes an obstacle to our ally’s bold and innovative initiative to improve relations with North Korea, and lends support to those and other efforts to encourage ‘the Hermit Kingdom’ to become a responsible member of the international community. Since my first visit to North Korea in 1996, its leaders have said its people want trade – not aid. I have rarely seen any people who work as hard as Koreans, and I am confident that North Korea’s people can quickly work their way out of the terrible difficulties of recent years and end their reliance on international aid. I remain concerned, however, that this first step not be the last one. It makes sense for the President to maintain some sanctions, and there is not yet support in Congress for lifting others. But 1999 ought to be the last time we allow a situation on the Korean Peninsula to reach a crisis point before we act to defuse it. Therefore, I hope the President will move quickly on other recommendations made by the Perry report, including the nomination of a senior-level envoy and normalization of diplomatic relations. That will help prevent our policy from careening from crisis to crisis and it will provide Americans with consular protection.”

3. Prospects for US-DPRK Trade

Reuters (“N. KOREA SEEN AS POSSIBLE BIG MARKET FOR US GRAIN,” Washington, 09/17/99) reported that Whit Cornman, a spokesman for the US Grains Council, said Friday that the DPRK has the potential to become a substantial market for US grains. Cornman said that the DPRK is a “grain deficit country and could have the need for up to 1 million metric tons of feed grains.” Dawn Forsythe, a spokeswoman for the US Wheat Associates, said that the DPRK would probably remain a food aid market for the foreseeable future because of its severe economic problems.

4. US Policy toward DPRK

The PBS NewsHour carried an interview with US North Korea Policy Coordinator Dr. William Perry (Washington, 09/17/99). Perry said that the US believes that deterrence of the DPRK is stable unless nuclear weapons and missiles are introduced. He stated, “Therefore, we’re trying to focus on not having the nuclear and nuclear weapons and missiles upsetting that deterrence.” He added, “while we have in mind a comprehensive agreement, … we did not want to negotiate a package deal; but we’re doing it a step at a time, and each time we take a partial step and they take a partial step, maybe we build trust enough that we can start moving farther down.” He stated that in the future “we envision North Korea becoming compliant with the so-called ‘missile technology control regime,’ … and that would put restrictions not just on testing, but on development, production and export of missiles.” Perry argued, “It is the presence of the threat which holds us back from normalization of relations. We’ve told them, if you remove this threat, we can proceed and you can proceed towards more normal relations, and both countries will be safe and both countries would benefit.” He stated, “I do not condone or admire the regime, but I do recognize that it is very much in control in that country. And I think it would imprudent on our part to assume that this regime is going to collapse. We have to deal with the North Korean government not as we wish they would be, but as in fact they are.” He said that during his talks with DPRK officials, “They were straightforward, they were in depth, they were non-polemic and they were constructive. We disagreed on many, many issues, but the discussions were serious and straightforward.” He noted, “I believe that while they have many reasons for wanting this missile program, I believe their primary reason is security, is deterrence…. We do not think of ourselves as a threat to North Korea, but I fully believe that they consider us a threat to them and, therefore, they see this missile as a means of deterrence.” He added, “I think they have a very clear logic and a very clear rationale for what they are doing. We don’t always understand that rationale; we don’t always understand that logic, and therefore we consider it illogical.” He concluded, “for the last more than 40 years, we have lived with the threat of a war on the Korean Peninsula hanging over our head like a dark cloud. That cloud has not gone away yet, but it’s starting to drift away.”

5. ROK-DPRK Relations

Reuters (“S.KOREA’S KIM VOWS TO END COLD WAR WITH N.KOREA,” Seoul, 09/19/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said Saturday that he would end the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula within his tenure. Kim stated, “Through negotiations, we can guarantee security to the north, help them reform their economy and help them advance into the international community. In exchange, we can draw promises that they abandon their provocation and projects to develop nuclear weapons and missiles.”

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, “S.KOREA WELCOMES SANCTIONS EASING,” Seoul, 09/18/99) reported that the ROK National Security Council called on the DPRK to respond to the US lifting of sanction through positive actions of its own. The Council said in a statement, “We urge North Korea to dispel South Korean, U.S. and Japanese concerns by taking a reciprocal action and ultimately join the efforts to end the Cold War and promote peace on the Korean Peninsula.” ROK Unification Minister Lim Dong-won said on Friday, “The U.S. move involves both benefits and risks for North Korea. If things don’t improve, public discontent may backfire against their own government.”

6. 1994 DPRK Nuclear Crisis

Reuters (“PERRY: U.S. N.KOREA ON BRINK OF MILITARY CRISIS IN ’94,” Washington, 09/18/99) reported that former US Defense Secretary William Perry said Friday that the 1994 nuclear crisis with the DPRK came within one day of escalating to a dangerous point. Perry stated, “We were literally within a day of imposing severe sanctions on North Korea, sanctions which they said would be equivalent to an act of war. We were within a day of making major additions to our troop deployments to Korea, and we were about to undertake an evacuation of American civilians from Korea.”

7. Japanese View of US-DPRK Deal

Reuters (“S.KOREA, JAPAN WELCOME U.S. N.KOREA SANCTIONS MOVE,” Seoul, 09/18/99) reported that Japan on Saturday welcomed the US decision to ease economic sanctions against the DPRK. The Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the decision was part of the “comprehensive and integrated approach” developed jointly by the US, Japan, and the ROK. It added, “This action represents a step towards improved relations between the U.S. and North Korea.”

8. DPRK Economy

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, “SANCTIONS EASE MAY NOT HELP N.KOREA,” Seoul, 09/18/99) reported that the PRC’s Xinhua news agency quoted DPRK Premier Hong Song-nam as saying on Saturday that the DPRK’s industrial output has grown 20 percent in the first half of this year. Hong told a visiting PRC delegation that some 4,000 firms have resumed operation and the overall situation of agriculture is better than last year.

9. ROK-DPRK Economic Cooperation

The Associated Press (“HYUNDAI TO BUILD GYM IN NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 09/20/99) reported that the ROK on Monday approved plans by Hyundai group to build a US$57 million gymnasium in Pyongyang as part of a joint venture with the DPRK’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee. Hyundai said it will provide money, technology, and construction materials, while the DPRK will supply labor. Government officials said that the project will require a considerable number of Hyundai engineers to be stationed in the DPRK.

10. ROK-Japan Relations

The New York Times carried an analytical article (Howard W. French, “SEOUL DRAWING CLOSER TO TOKYO AS ANGER FADES,” Tokyo, 09/20/99) which said that the governments of the ROK and Japan are moving closer together. Hyuk Lee, director of Japanese affairs at the ROK Foreign Ministry, stated, “The relations between us have never been better, and we feel that we have laid the basis for even closer relations in the future. At every level and in every area, the pace of our contacts has become quite brisk.” An unnamed senior Japanese diplomat stated, “All this takes place against the backdrop of our shared concern about North Korea. Against that background, all of us have come to realize the importance of solidarity with the Republic of Korea and with the United States, as well.” An unnamed adviser to ROK President Kim Dae-jung stated, “The Japanese Prime Minister has done his best to try to reassure Korean people by apologies and various gestures. But there are still many problems, like the difficulties of Koreans living in Japan, that do not receive any attention from the Japanese Government.” In preparation for the co-hosting of the 2002 World Cup soccer tournament, the ROK Government will declare 2002 the Year of Japan, and the Japanese Government will pronounce it the Year of Korea. Choy Sang-yong, director of the Asiatic Research Center at Korea University, expressed hope that the Japanese Emperor’s visit to the ROK next year would be a success, but he noted that many Koreans were wary of Japanese nationalism. Kwan O- kie, a professor of Japanese affairs at the University of Ulsan, stated, “The people are more cautious toward Japan than the Government. But we look at them and we admire their way of doing things, and the long-term tendency will be for us to move closer together.”

11. US Military in Japan

The Associated Press (“US MILITARY HAS Y2K DRILL IN JAPAN,” Tokyo, 09/17/99) reported that the US Navy and Marines in Japan on Friday held exercises to test their readiness for the Year 2000 (Y2K) computer glitch. The US Seventh Fleet said in a press release that the forces will advance the dates inside computers running military equipment to right before the turnover from December 31, 1999 to January 1. Marines will besiege beaches in Okinawa during the turnover, to test against system failures. Fleet spokesman Lieutenant Jeff Davis said that nuclear weapons will not be involved.

12. Taiwan Elections

The Associated Press (William Foreman, “TAIWAN NATIONALISTS DISCUSS OUSTER,” Taipei, 09/20/99) reported that Chien Wei-chang, head of Taiwan’s ruling Nationalist Party’s disciplinary committee, said Monday that the committee plans to announce Tuesday whether presidential candidate James Soong should be removed from the party. Chien stated, “Sooner or later a clear line has to be drawn between Soong and the party.”

13. Alleged Pakistan Nuclear Espionage

The Associated Press (“INDIA ARRESTS 8 ALLEGED SPIES,” New Delhi, 09/17/99) reported that Indian National Security Advisor Brajesh Misra announced Saturday that India arrested of eight alleged spies for Pakistan’s intelligence services. Misra stated, “This is a major success for us, that we’ve been able to break up this gang of spies.” said in a television interview. Star Plus television identified one of the accused as a Bangladeshi, Ahmed Ali, who was accused of passing secrets about an Indian nuclear weapons test-firing range to Pakistan.

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK-DPRK Relations

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “KIM VOWS TO REMOVE COLD WAR LEGACIES BEFORE LEAVING OFFICE,” Seoul, 09/20/99), Chosun Ilbo (Hong Joon-ho, “PRESIDENT KIM RETURNS FROM OCEANIA TRIP,” Seoul, 09/18/99) and The Korea Times (“KIM VOWS TO REMOVE COLD WAR LEGACY HERE DURING HIS TENURE,” Seoul, 09/19/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung has vowed to abolish the Cold War legacy from the Korean Peninsula during his tenure, which ends in 2003. “I will thaw Cold War tensions on the peninsula that have lasted for 54 years by achieving peace and promoting inter-Korean cooperation and exchanges while I’m in office,” Kim said upon his return home on Saturday from a nine-day trip to New Zealand and Australia. “The settlement of the U.S.-North Korea high-level missile talks (in Berlin) is an important start,” he said, adding that it helped open the door for peace. Kim also stressed the need for the US, the ROK and Japan to adopt a “win-win” strategy in dealing with the DPRK, in which all would benefit from each other. To this end, Kim said, the three countries should provide economic aid to the DPRK, help it to join international organizations, and recognize the DPRK as a legitimate nation in return for the DPRK’s promise to stop provoking its neighbors by freezing nuclear weapons programs and giving up missile development.

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “EASED U.S. SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA TO SPEED UP INTER-KOREAN BUSINESS,” Seoul, 09/20/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yeol, “U.S. INVESTORS IN NK WOULD SEEK SOUTH KOREAN PARTNERS,” Seoul, 09/19/99) reported that the ROK government is moving to improve relations between the two Koreas, particularly through revitalizing inter-Korean economic programs. The ROK Unification Ministry is restarting its support program for inter-Korean economic cooperation, which calls for, among other things, increasing soft-term loans from the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund for small- and medium-sized companies to do business in the DPRK and subsidizing the transfer of idle facilities from the ROK. The ministry also plans to invest in improving facilities at the DPRK port of Nampo to make it more convenient for ROK vessels to dock there, while providing financial support for intermediaries in inter-Korean business and the reunion of separated families in the ROK and the DPRK. Encouraged by the latest development, private firms, particularly large conglomerates, will also likely speed up their existing or planned projects in the DPRK. To prepare against possible risks, foreign firms will likely try to form joint ventures with ROK businesses rather than going there by themselves, providing more business opportunities for ROK firms.

2. US Sanctions Against DPRK

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “WASHINGTON, SEOUL, TOKYO MOVING FAST TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH PYONGYANG,” Seoul, 09/20/99) and The Korea Times (“SEOUL SUPPORTS NK’S IMPROVEMENT OF TIES WITH US, JAPAN,” Seoul, 09/19/99) reported that the US on Friday opened the way for exchanges of goods and people with the DPRK by announcing a partial lifting of its decades-old embargo. “The U.S. announcement on lifting sanctions is a strong message toward the North, meaning that it will push for normalization of bilateral relations,” said an ROK government official. Expressing support for the US lifting of sanctions, Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said that Japan would follow suit if the DPRK proves it is serious about halting missile tests. The ROK also welcomed the US initiative and urged the DPRK to respond by abandoning its nuclear weapons and long-range missile programs. The ROK government is expected to be more aggressive in promoting its “sunshine policy” toward the DPRK. “The government will actively support the North’s admission into various international organizations, such as the Asian Development Bank, in an effort to thaw frozen bilateral relations,” said an official at the ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry.

Joongang Ilbo (“US LIFTS RESTRICTIONS ON TRADE, TRAVEL AND BANKING AGAINST NK,” Seoul, 09/18/99) reported that US President Bill Clinton lifted restrictions on trade, travel and banking against the DPRK on Friday, rewarding the DPRK for agreeing not to test missiles. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that the US and the DPRK were starting “down a new and more hopeful road. It is a road that holds out the possibility of long-term stability and even eventual reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula.” Republican leaders sharply criticized Clinton’s move and accused the White House of bowing to pressure. “We are once again entering a cycle of extortion with North Korea,” said Republican Benjamin Gilman, Republican-New York, chairman of the House International Relations Committee. “Ultimately, we have no assurances that North Korea has halted missile development or its program for weapons of mass destruction.” Republican presidential hopeful Elizabeth Dole called Clinton’s decision “outrageous.” She said the president “is giving up too much too soon. It is simply irresponsible to ease sanctions without meaningful assurances that North Korea is not selling missiles and technology-related mass destruction to rogue states.”

3. US Policy toward DPRK

The Korea Herald (Yoo Jae-suk, “U.S. ENVOY STRESSES RECIPROCITY PRINCIPLE TOWARD NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 09/18/99) reported that US Ambassador to the ROK Stephen Bosworth on Friday reemphasized the principle of reciprocity in dealing with the DPRK. Explaining the prospects of US DPRK policy to a group of opposition lawmakers, Bosworth described the US-DPRK agreement as a “structure. Pull out one block and the whole structure comes crashing down,” Bosworth said, when asked by a lawmaker what countermeasures the US would take if the DPRK breached a promise. A senior ROK Unification Ministry official said that Bosworth’s remarks meant that the US government might reapply the economic sanctions it plans to remove if the DPRK does not freeze its missile development program, as reportedly agreed in the US-DPRK missile talks in Berlin. Bosworth, however, said he is rather optimistic about the DPRK complying with agreements reached with the US. Citing the ongoing light reactor project undertaken by the Korea Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) project, the former KEDO secretary general said that the DPRK has been complying fully with the framework of the 1994 Geneva Agreement. Nonetheless, he said, “No policy towards North Korea must be based on only trust.” Quoting a remark by former US President Ronald Reagan, “Trust, but verify,” Bosworth stressed that the question is not trust, but verifying whether the DPRK is keeping its commitment. He also downplayed concerns that the ROK may be left out of the US-DPRK talks, stressing that the ROK’s views are central to the US position in bilateral discussions with the DPRK.

4. Perry’s Visit to ROK

The Korea Times (“PERRY TO MEET PRES. KIM WEDNESDAY,” Seoul, 09/19/99) reported that former US Defense Secretary William Perry will visit the ROK on Wednesday to meet President Kim Dae-jung and Cabinet ministers. Perry will also meet Unification Minister Lim Dong-won and Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Hong Soon-young. In his meeting with President Kim and the ROK Cabinet members, he is expected to exchange opinions on ways of terminating the legacy of the Cold War era on the Korean peninsula and follow-up measures following the conclusion of the missile talks between the US and the DPRK in Berlin.

5. Implementation of Agreed Framework

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ki, “NK COMPLETES SPENT FUEL ROD SEALING,” Seoul, 09/19/99) reported that an ROK government official announced on Sunday that the DPRK has effectively completed the sealing up of 8,000 spent fuel rods at a reactor in Yongbyon and the removal of radioactive residue in the water in holding tanks. The official continued that the spent rods are no longer a threat with regard to conversion to weapons use.

6. DPRK-ROK Maritime Border

The Korea Herald (“N.K. AGAIN WARNS AGAINST INTRUSION INTO WEST SEA BORDER,” Seoul, 09/18/99) reported that the DPRK has warned against any intrusion into its unilaterally declared military demarcation line in the West (Yellow) Sea. A commentary aired by the official Central Broadcasting Station claimed that the US avoidance of discussion of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) issue with the DPRK is tantamount to renouncing its obligation as a party to the Korean War Armistice Agreement. The military demarcation line in the West Sea, declared by the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army on September 2, was based on the armistice agreement and in agreement with the related international law, it added. “Our people and the People’s Army will never tolerate the scheme of the U.S. imperialists and the South Korean puppets to intrude on our sovereign rights and into our territorial waters. Our people and the People’s Army would mercilessly exercise the right of self-defense in various ways,” should the ROK and the US intrude “even 0.001 millimeter into the military demarcation line in the West Sea,” the commentary said.

7. DPRK Foreign Minister’s Speech at CFR

The Korea Herald (“NORTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER TO ADDRESS CFR IN NEW YORK,” Seoul, 09/20/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Park Doo-shik, “NK FOREIGN MINISTER TO SPEAK AT CFR,” Seoul, 09/19/99) reported that ROK government sources said on Sunday that DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun may have scheduled a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York on the sidelines of his official visit to the United Nations this fall. Paek would be the first DPRK official ever to deliver a speech at the CFR in its history. The sources said that the DPRK minister is scheduled to hold meetings with over 10 foreign ministers of European countries at the UN, and then make a speech at the CFR. Paek’s speech is expected to draw tremendous attention since he will probably touch on US-DPRK relations – and how to improve them – following the Berlin meeting. The sources said that the fact that Paek has been invited to speak at the CFR itself is symbolic of a recent thaw in US-DPRK relations.

8. DPRK-PRC Diplomatic Relations

The Korea Herald (“N. KOREA NAMES NEW CONSUL-GENERAL IN SHENYANG, CHINA,” Seoul, 09/18/99) reported that ROK government sources said that the DPRK appointed Mun Young-kun as consul-general in Shenyang, PRC in July, replacing Han Chol, 68. The ROK opened a consulate in the city in July, a move that may have caused concern in the DPRK that sentiment among ethnic Koreans in the PRC might sway towards the ROK, the sources said. A total of 1.8 million ethnic Koreans live in the three provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang, nearby Shenyang. Mun served as a counselor in the DPRK’s embassy in Switzerland. He is known to have been named to his post in Shenyang due to his experience in earning foreign currency.

9. ROK Opposition Leader visits Germany

The Korea Herald (“OPPOSITION HEAD CALLS FOR NONPROLIFERATION OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION,” Seoul, 09/18/99) reported that ROK Grand National Party President Lee Hoi-chang on Friday called for the international community to make efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. “International society must hold a firm stance against North Korea’s development of such weaponry,” said Lee at a plenary meeting of the International Democrat Union (IDU) in Berlin. The DPRK should not refuse the shift toward the peaceful unification of the two Koreas, Lee stressed. “Nor, should it threaten the peace on the Korean Peninsula through weapons of mass destruction,” he added. In response to the ROK political leader’s call, the IDU adopted a statement demanding countries like the DPRK to relinquish their plans to develop destructive weapons. Lee also met with many social and political figures of Germany in Berlin, including Wolfgang Thierse, the head of the Federal Diet, and Joschka Fischer, foreign affairs minister and deputy prime minister.

10. ROK Detainees in PRC

Chosun Ilbo (Gee Hae-bom, “TWO KOREAN MISSIONARIES RELEASED BY CHINA,” Seoul, 09/18/99) reported that the ROK embassy in Beijing reported on Saturday that two ROK missionaries arrested by PRC authorities on August 21 were released on Friday and ordered to leave the PRC within five days. A businessman identified as Kang who was arrested with the two was released earlier on bail. An embassy official said that the reverends Park and Chun had been detained for engaging in espionage activities, which included gathering material on religion in the PRC, sheltering DPRK defectors, and proselytizing.

11. ROK Participation in East Timor Peacekeeping

The Korea Herald (“SEOUL TO DISPATCH 420 TROOPS TO EAST TIMOR,” Seoul, 09/20/99), The Korea Times (“GOV’T CONSIDERS SPECIAL BILL ON PKO,” Seoul, 09/19/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Yoo Young-won, “MINISTRY DEFINES TROOPS’ ROLE,” Seoul, 09/19/99) reported that ROK officials said on Sunday that the ROK government has decided to dispatch 420 troops to East Timor as soon as it gets parliamentary approval. The 420 troops are divided into 250 well-trained infantry soldiers and a 170-man support unit, including medics, engineers and specialists in communications and transportation. The government previously planned to send 400 infantry soldiers, plus a small number of support troops. It decided, however, to decrease the number of infantry troops to 250, as the opposition Grand National Party strongly opposed the deployment of combat troops to East Timor, officials said. The 250 infantry troops have already been selected from among volunteers at the Special Warfare Command. In a related move, the government is planning to enact a special law to help the ROK respond quickly to future UN requests to join its peacekeeping operations. “Chances are that we will join U.N. peacekeeping operations with increasing frequency,” said an official who demanded anonymity. “But under the existing system, we cannot send our peacekeepers quickly. So we need a special law.” His remarks came following reports that the first wave of the 7,000-strong peace force, led by Australia, was arriving in East Timor.

12. ROK Views on Peacekeeping Force

The Korea Herald (“LAWMAKERS FROM RIVAL PARTIES GRILL GOV’T OVER SENDING COMBAT UNITS TO EAST TIMOR,” Seoul, 09/18/99) reported that ROK opposition lawmakers criticized the government for its decision to send in combat troops to East Timor. “We sympathize with our military joining the international peacekeeping force, but object to sending in combat troops,” said an opposition Grand National Party member. “Obsessed with moral duties, we are blinded to practical gains,” said Representative Lee Sei-kee from the GNP. Meanwhile, members of the ruling coalition – the National Congress for New Politics (NCNP) and United Liberal Democrats (ULD) – called on the government to enhance efforts to help ease safety concerns of those to be dispatched to East Timor.

Chosun Ilbo (Hong Young-lim, “50% FAVOR SENDING ARMED TROOPS TO E. TIMOR,” Seoul, 09/19/99) reported that polling firm Focus Research conducted a telephone interview with 504 ROK adults over the age of 20 and found that 50 percent said that they supported the government’s decision to send ROK troops to East Timor, 29 percent are opposed, and 21 percent uncommitted. Of the male respondents, 62 percent were in favor of the move, while just 38 percent of female respondents felt likewise. Out of those who were against the move, 56 percent approved sending non- combat personnel. This comes out to a total of 78 percent portion coming out in favor of sending armed or unarmed personnel to East Timor for peacekeeping activities. One out of 3 respondents said that the dispatch of ROK soldiers to East Timor would not necessarily enhance the ROK’s image abroad.

13. ROK Citizens in Indonesia

Chosun Ilbo (“KOREANS IN INDONESIA OPPOSE DEPLOYMENT OF ROK TROOPS,” Seoul, 09/19/99) reported that associations of Korean residents in Indonesia wrote an open letter published on the front page of Monday’s Chosun Ilbo, expressing their opposition to the dispatch of ROK troops to Indonesia. The letter warned of the likelihood of a bloody confrontation between ROK soldiers and East Timorese militia, saying that an ROK military presence would trigger the animosity of Indonesians towards ROK citizens and trigger actions against them. In the letter, the associations cited the violence against the Chinese community in Indonesia this past May. The letter said that ROK businesses operating in Indonesia would also face labor conflicts, with local employees likely to be hostile to their employers. There are currently about 400 ROK businesses with operations in Indonesia, with US$10 billion invested in the country, and the Korean community numbers about 20,000.

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