NAPSNet Daily Report 21 June, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 21 June, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, June 21, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-21-june-1999/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. DPRK-ROK Talks

The Associated Press (Tara Suilen Duffy, “KOREAN TALKS SNAGGED ON FERTILIZER DEAL,” Beijing, 06/21/99) reported that, according to ROK Vice Unification Minister Yang Young-shik, the DPRK on Monday postponed talks with the ROK because the ROK government did not complete a pledged shipment of fertilizer. Yang said that the delivery of 22,000 tons of fertilizer had been delayed because of rain and would arrive at the DPRK port of Nampo on Tuesday. Yang added that the ROK delegation would stay in Beijing in hopes of meeting on Tuesday. Yang stated, “It’s very regrettable that they are using the fertilizer aid as an excuse to delay the talks.”

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA DELAYS TALKS WITH S. KOREA,” Beijing, 06/21/99), Reuters (Matt Pottinger, “NORTH, SOUTH KOREA TALKS DELAYED,” Beijing, 06/21/99), and Pacific Stars And Stripes (S. KOREA DOWNGRADES ALERT,” Seoul, 06/22/99, 1) reported that the DPRK on Monday called for a five-hour delay in the start of the vice-ministerial talks between the two Koreas in Beijing. Hong Myun-ki, a spokesman for the ROK Unification Ministry, said that the DPRK officials in Beijing had asked that the meeting be delayed until 3 p.m. on Monday from the original schedule of 10 a.m. Hong said that the DPRK gave no reason for the delay and stated, “They just said they weren’t ready.” Another ROK Unification Ministry stated, “They didn’t mention a reason, but we accepted. It’s not that surprising given the events of the past few days.” Diplomats contacted at the DPRK Embassy in Beijing said they knew nothing about the delay but canceled a news conference to discuss political relations with the ROK. [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for June 21.]

The Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA TO JOIN IN ON TALKS,” Seoul, 06/19/99) reported that, according to ROK Unification Ministry, the DPRK on Saturday assured ROK officials that it would send a delegation to Monday’s meeting in Beijing. The message was sent through ROK Red Cross office in Panmunjom.

2. DPRK-ROK Naval Confrontation

The Associated Press (Tara Suilen Duffy, “KOREAN TALKS SNAGGED ON FERTILIZER DEAL,” Beijing, 06/21/99) reported that the DPRK Embassy in Beijing called a press conference and accused the ROK over the naval dispute. DPRK Embassy counselor Li Gi-po accused the ROK of sending warships into DPRK territorial waters in a “reckless provocation.”

The Associated Press (“KOREAN WATERS SPARK ACCUSATIONS,” Seoul, 06/20/99) and Reuters (“NORTH KOREA BLAMES SOUTH FOR ‘PROVOKING WAR’,” Tokyo, 06/19/99) reported that the DPRK said that ROK warships have been intruding into its territorial waters since last week’s naval confrontation. The DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency quoted a DPRK Navy Command spokesman as saying, “The exchange of fire was an adventurous act for provocation of war which the South Korean puppets had planned, prepared in secrecy and promoted. They must stop acting rashly, mindful that every movement of theirs is within the gunsights of our sailors thirsting for revenge. This grave provocation, leading the situation to the brink of war, is an unpardonable challenge to the Korean People’s Army soldiers who are restraining themselves with high patience.” KCNA added that more than ten ROK battleships were either burned or severely damaged “and they (ROK) had no alternative but to flee, taking many dead bodies and remnants with them.” KCNA also demanded that the ROK stop its “smear campaign” of blaming the showdown on the DPRK.

Reuters (“S. KOREA DENIES ITS SHIPS ENTERED NORTHERN WATERS,” Seoul, 06/21/99) reported that the ROK on Monday denied the DPRK’s charges that several of its warships intruded into northern territorial waters off the west coast. ROK Defense Ministry spokesman stated, “That is totally untrue.”

3. UNC-DPRK Talks

The Associated Press (“GENERALS OF N KOREA, U.N. COMMAND TO HOLD TALKS TUE,” Seoul, 06/21/99) reported that generals of the DPRK and the United Nations Command (UNC) have agreed to meet on Tuesday to discuss a recent naval clash between the two Koreas. Another possible issue at the generals’ meeting will be the DPRK’s failure last week to return remains of US soldiers from the Korean War unearthed in the DPRK by a US forensic team.

4. ROK-DPRK Relations

The New York Times (Sheryl WuDunn, “KOREAS ARE HOSTILE, YET HELPFUL, NEIGHBORS” Seoul, 06/19/99) carried an analytical article which said that the ROK-DPRK relations seem increasingly fraught with contradiction, as engagement and confrontation play out simultaneously. Lee Sei-ki, a former ROK Minister of Unification, told the National Assembly this week, “In the West Sea, there was an exchange of fire, while in the East Sea, there was a luxury cruiser going back and forth to the DPRK. This is the most bizarre situation since the division of this country. And the public is confused.” Lee Shin-bom, an opposition lawmaker, stated, “We don’t want war. We have to do something humanitarian to help North Korea feed its children, so there is no opposition to that. But the sunshine policy is one of the tools we may use. It cannot be an unchangeable principle.” Some said that as officials in the ROK were playing down the episode, the US was doing the opposite, and that this could create misunderstandings in the future. Paik Jin-hyun, a professor of international relations at Seoul National University, stated, “The ROK Government is betting on the sunshine policy as a kind of adventure, and experiment. There is likely to be a further perception gap between South Korea and the US.” Some experts said that the ROK may become the target of more violence as the DPRK leaders try to redirect anger against themselves toward a common enemy in the ROK. Kim Joung-won, a professor of international politics at Sejong University, stated, “For North Koreans, psychologically they are depressed. They can say that South Korea attacked North Korea and therefore we must solidify and unite against the enemy.” Park Shin-il, the opposition Grand National Party’s spokesman, stated, “The Government is almost obsessed with the sunshine policy. And therein lies a question: Why are we doing it? For whom? North Korea? South Korea? Kim Dae-jung?”

5. ROK Tourist Detained in DPRK

The Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA HOLDS SOUTH KOREAN,” Seoul, 06/21/99) reported that according to Hyundai Group Spokesman Lee Young-kyu, the DPRK is holding Min Young-mi, an ROK tourist, in the port of Changjon for allegedly trying to persuade a guard to defect to the ROK. Lee said that Min, who was visiting the DPRK’s Mt. Kumkang as part of a Hyundai Group tour-boat trip, apparently told a DPRK guard that the DPRK defectors were living comfortably in the ROK but did not try to persuade the woman to defect. According to Lee, Hyundai is trying to resolve the matter with the DPRK officials. There was no comment from the DPRK.

6. ROK-DPRK Sports Exchanges

The Associated Press (“IOC TO SEND SPORTS ENVOY TO KOREA,” Seoul, 06/20/99) reported that International Olympics Committee (IOC) chief Juan Antonio Samaranch plans to send a senior IOC official to the DPRK later this year to try to promote sports exchanges between the two Koreas. Samaranch stated, “We are not happy. North Korea said ‘yes’ to the proposal first but there has been no further response. IOC has just been waiting.” Samaranch added that the IOC delegation will also deliver some relief aid to the DPRK when it visits Pyongyang.

The Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA TO JOIN IN ON TALKS,” Seoul, 06/19/99) reported that, according to Kim Yoon-kyu, a senior official at Hyundai Group, basketball teams from the two Koreas will compete in games in Pyongyang next month. Kim said that Hyundai will send its men’s and women’s basketball teams for four matches with their DPRK counterparts on July 12-15. Kim added that the games will be broadcast by ROK TV stations.

7. Taiwan-PRC Diplomatic Rivalry

The Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “TAIWAN HEAD REAFFIRMS POLICY ON CHINA,” Taipei, 06/21/99) reported that Taiwan’s president Lee Teng-hui on Monday, in his address to the Taiwan National Assembly, demanded that the PRC acknowledge Taiwan as an equal. Lee stated, “Our diplomacy has long encountered problems and challenges resulting from communist Chinese pressure. But with pioneering thinking and practical action, we will maintain the nation’s security and dignity.” Lee added that Taiwan will continue seeking entry to the United Nations and other international organizations, despite the PRC’s objections. Lee’s speech drew a mostly negative response from opposition assembly deputies. Lee Chin-i, a leader of the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan, stated, “What we want is constitutional reform. Without the vision for constitutional reform, what use is his speech?”

8. US-PRC Relations

The Associated Press (“CLINTON HOPEFUL ABOUT CHINA TIES,” Bonn, 06/21/99) reported that US President Bill Clinton said Monday that he believes the PRC ultimately will accept that the NATO bombing of its Belgrade embassy was an accident. Clinton stated, “I think as they have time to review the information we gave them and they reflect on it, I think they will conclude that it was a truly tragic accident, that a series of very bad mistakes were made and a tragic accident occurred.” Clinton acknowledged that the embassy bombing had created “a difficult, painful period” for the Chinese people and US-PRC relations. He added, however, that he remains optimistic that the difficulties will be smoothed out, and negotiations could resume soon on bringing the PRC into the World Trade Organization (WTO) by the end of the year.

9. Japan at G-8 Summit

The Associated Press (Eric Talmadge, “JAPAN NUDGES OTHER LEADERS ON ASIA,” Cologne, 06/18/99) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi at the Group of 8 (G-8) meeting in Cologne, Germany stressed Asian issues, such as the PRC entry to the World Trade Organization, India-Pakistan tensions in Kashmir, and DPRK missile development. Japanese spokesman Sadaaki Numata stated, “We do feel we have an important role to play in making the concerns of Asian countries better known to the G-8 partners.” In a meeting with US President Bill Clinton on Friday, Obuchi said that when he visits the PRC next month he will urge the PRC to put aside its anger over the NATO bombing of its embassy and work more closely with the United States.

10. US Bases in Okinawa

The Associated Press (Eric Talmadge, “US-JAPAN TIES ON NEXT SUMMIT VENUE,” Cologne, 06/21/99) reported that Okinawans are already preparing to use the July 2000 Group of 8 (G-8) summit in Okinawa to publicize their complaints about US military bases. Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine stated, “There is a great worldwide interest in the summit. It is a very important fact that it will be held in Okinawa.” Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi reportedly pushed for Okinawa to be chosen for the summit as a show of support for Inamine. Ryoshu Henzan, who was part of the Okinawan delegation to this year’s summit, stated, “It’s hard to say how it will come out. But we hope the ultimate result will be the gradual removal of the troops.” Okinawan representatives distributed welcome pamphlets at the summit that noted the importance of the US bases to regional security, but also noted that Okinawans want the troops removed. The pamphlets stated, “This concentration of bases has various influences on the daily lives of the prefecture’s residents. Consequently, Okinawans are seeking the planned and phased reduction and realignment of the bases.”

11. US Forces in Pacific

Pacific Stars And Stripes (Adam Johnston, “COHEN: KITTY HAWK BACK SOON,” Tokyo, 06/22/99, 1) reported that Mike Chase, a spokesman at Yokosuka Naval Base, on Monday denied published reports that the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk will depart the Arabian Sea and return early to its homeport in Japan. Chase stated, “As far as we know there are no indications or no mention as of Monday that the Kitty Hawk is returning home.” Chase said that base officials have not received a logistics requirement to support the return of the carrier, one of the first “official” signs of a ship’s return. On Sunday, US Defense Secretary William Cohen said that the Defense Department may call the Kitty Hawk back soon to the Western Pacific. Cohen told sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt that they will head toward the Gulf, allowing the Kitty Hawk to return to the Pacific. Rear Admiral Winston “Mad Dog” Copeland, commander of the Theodore Roosevelt battle group, said his ships were sailing back to the Adriatic Sea on Monday and were expected to move on to the Persian Gulf to relieve the Kitty Hawk. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for June 21.]

12. Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

Reuters (Steve Holland, “RUSSIA AGREES TO TALK ABOUT ABM PACT CHANGES,” Cologne, 06/21/99), the Washington Times (Bill Sammon, “RUSSIA EASES RESISTANCE TO MISSILE DEFENSE,” Cologne, 06/21/99), the Los Angeles Times (James Gerstenzang, “CLINTON, YELTSIN OK NEW LOOK AT ARMS TREATIES,” 06/21/99, 1) and the Associated Press (Terence Hunt, “YELTSIN MULLS REVISING MISSILE PACT,” Cologne, 06/20/99) reported that US President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin agreed on Sunday to hold nuclear arms control talks later this summer. US National Security Adviser Sandy Berger stated, “For the first time, Russia has agreed to discuss changes in the ABM treaty that may be necessitated by a national missile defense system were we to decide to deploy one.” In exchange, the US agreed to a resumption of negotiations on a START III ballistic missile reduction treaty. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov called the agreement “a very important declaration.” A joint statement said that the two countries agreed to “consider possible changes in the strategic situation that have a bearing on the ABM treaty and, as appropriate, possible proposals for further increasing the viability of this treaty.” [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for June 21.]

The Washington Post (Thomas W. Lippman, “HELMS FACES OFF WITH WHITE HOUSE ON MISSED ABM TREATY DEADLINE,” 06/21/99, A05) reported that US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina) has drafted legislative language to make future treaty ratifications conditional upon US President Bill Clinton’s submission of amendments to the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. The language would prohibit the White House from putting any new treaty into effect until the ABM amendments go to the Senate. The Clinton administration missed a deadline of June 1 for submitting the amendments. An unnamed senior US official said that it will not do so until the Russian parliament ratifies the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty. Joseph Cirincione, chairman of the Nonproliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, stated, “It’s amazing how much power a chairman can wield. The outcome of a vote would be very time-sensitive. It depends on what’s happening internationally. If Helms were to force it today, I think the [Comprehensive Test Ban] treaty would lose.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for June 21.]

13. Russian Ratification of START II

The Associated Press (“RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT TO CONSIDER START II TREATY IN AUTUMN,” Moscow, 06/21/99) reported that Russian State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov said Monday that the Duma will reconsider ratifying the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty this autumn. Seleznyov said conditions were not right to consider the treaty right away, but the Duma had not given up on it.

14. India-Pakistan Kashmir Dispute

The Associated Press (Hema Shukla, “INDIA NIXES MEDIATION WITH PAKISTAN,” Batalik, 06/19/99) reported that Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Saturday ruled out mediation with Pakistan on the disputed Kashmir region. Vajpayee stated, “There is no need for any mediation. This is a bilateral issue and we will resolve it.” Pakistani President Rafiq Tarar on Saturday accused India of being “inflexible and rigid.” Colonel Bikram Singh, an Indian military spokesman, said that Indian troops destroyed four rebel fortifications made of stone and mud and killed eight rebels in fighting from Friday to Saturday evening. He added that India lost six soldiers and another seven were wounded in the operations, raising the total death toll to 112 killed, 249 wounded and eight missing.

The Associated Press carried an analytical article (Arthur Max, “KASHMIR CONFLICT MIGHT WIDEN WAR,” New Delhi, 06/21/99) which said that the beginning of winter could be India’s deadline for forcing Kashmir rebels from the northern frontier. The article pointed out that a military victory could provide a boost for Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during September’s parliamentary elections. Rahul Bedi, correspondent for Jane’s Defense Weekly, said that for India to dislodge the guerrillas, “Either you take six or 10 times the number of casualties so far” or you cross the cease-fire line and attack supply bases in Pakistan. Defense analyst Praful Bakshi, a retired air force officer, said that India could open other fronts in Pakistan to relieve the pressure on Kargil. Bakshi denied, however, that the widening of the war would lead to nuclear confrontation, saying, “It will be another three or four years before we are ready to mount a nuclear weapon on a missile.” The article noted that both the Indian and Pakistan armies have moved into forward positions, and their navies are on alert in the Arabian Sea. Indian security advisor Brijesh Misra said Sunday that if the infiltrators are not withdrawn, “obviously the fighting will escalate because we will get them out of our territory.” Misra added, “We really don’t want to talk about nuclear status of the two countries in this context.” He said that while India remains committed to its no-first use policy, “if any attempt is made against us, God forbid, we will go all out.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK-ROK Talks

Chosun Ilbo (Jee Hae-bom, “NK POSTPONES BEIJING TALKS,” Seoul, 06/21/99) reported on Monday that deputy- minister-level talks scheduled to be held in Beijing have been postponed as the DPRK delegation claimed that fertilizer promised it has not arrived yet. In a telephone call from the DPRK, Chon Keung-chul said that the DPRK had sent a delegation as promised, but that 22,000 tons of fertilizer had yet to be delivered as of 3:00pm, and so the talks would be postponed until it arrived. Yang Young-shik, head of the ROK delegation, said that he had already notified the DPRK of a delay due to the weather, and the eleventh and last shipment had left Yosu port and was expected to arrive in Nampo early Tuesday. The ROK delegation is staying in Beijing for the time being until the ship arrives and talks can commence.

2. DPRK Missile Launch

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “NK IMPROVING MISSILE RANGE FOR FUTURE LAUNCH,” Seoul, 06/21/99) reported that despite a series of warnings from the ROK, Japan, and the US, the DPRK is working to improve the range and other capabilities of its Taepodong ballistic missile. ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Hong Soon-young and other officials said that there is no indication that another missile launch is imminent, but it is true that a launching pad set up on the northeastern coast of the DPRK is under the process of repair and enlargement for another launch in the future. An ROK ministry official did not rule out the possibility that the DPRK had conducted a “static test” last month to determine whether its newly developed engine for the ballistic missile is working properly. “It appears that North Korea is developing a longer range missile than the one it launched on August 31 last year,” the official said. On Monday, a local newspaper reported that the DPRK had conducted an engine test as a preliminary step toward developing a longer-range missile. The New York Times, citing American intelligence sources, reported last Friday that the DPRK is making initial preparations to test the launch of a ballistic missile later this summer.

3. ROK-DPRK Naval Confrontation

The Korea Times (Kim Yong-bom, “GOV’T HAS NO INTENTION OF NEGOTIATING WITH NORTH ON NLL: MINISTER HONG,” Seoul, 06/21/99) reported that ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Hong Soon-young clarified his remarks last week on the Northern Limit Line (NLL), saying that the government has “no intention of offering to negotiate with the North on the NLL on Sunday.” In the standing committee session on foreign-unification affairs at the ROK National Assembly, Hong also said there is no change in the government’s determination never to tolerate DPRK provocation in the buffer zone below the NLL. In a meeting with the Foreign Correspondents’ Club last Friday, Hong said the government is “open to consultation” with the DPRK on the NLL, which led to criticism that his remarks could be interpreted as an offer to negotiate with the DPRK on the maritime border. “What I said about the NLL was improper, given the situation at that time,” Minister Hong said in a meeting with the press before attending the House panel. He went on to explain that he only intended to cite the contents of the ROK-DPRK basic agreement of 1991, which provided for further negotiations on the maritime border. At the standing committee session, lawmakers of both the ruling and opposition camps voiced serious concerns over Hong’s remarks, arguing that the minister had brought utter confusion to the national security situation. They also charged the government with a “lack of policy coordination” between the government agencies, citing the NLL controversy as a prime example.

4. US Forces in Pacific

The Korea Times (“US PLANS TO RETURN AIRCRAFT CARRIER TO PACIFIC,” Seoul, 06/21/99) reported that the US Defense Department intends to return an aircraft carrier to the western Pacific soon, reflecting concern about tensions between the DPRK and the ROK as well as a scaling back of air operations in the Balkans, US officials said. The USS Kitty Hawk, which left the Pacific in April to fill in for the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Persian Gulf, probably will go back soon, Defense Secretary William Cohen said Sunday. The Kitty Hawk’s home port is Yokosuka, Japan. Cohen said that the Roosevelt and its battle group will head toward the Gulf, allowing the Kitty Hawk to get back to the Pacific. Other defense officials, speaking privately, said that a final decision had not yet been made on the timing for a return of the Kitty Hawk to the Pacific. They said it had become a more urgent matter after the flare-up between the DPRK and the ROK.

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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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