NAPSNet Daily Report 22 May, 1998

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 22 May, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 22, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-22-may-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

I. United States

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1. Nautilus Wind Power Project for DPRK

The San Francisco Chronicle (Lewis Dolinsky, “A HAT CAN WORK WONDERS IN NORTH KOREA,” 05/22/98, A14) reported that Peter Hayes, co-director of the Nautilus Institute in Berkeley, and three engineers from the US spent last week in the DPRK, helping to construct a 100-foot wind tower in a 600- household village in Onch’on County, a rural area where farmland was inundated by a 25-foot tidal wave last year. Hayes said that a gift of blue commemorative baseball caps helped break the tension during the visit. Everyone on the construction site, including the military police and farmers, wore the hats, which had “Nautilus” and “Korean Anti-Nuke Peace Committee” written on them, along with the words “wind power” in both English and Korean. Hayes said that the DPRK engineers adapted quickly to the requirements of the project. After raising the tower, the team installed wind-measuring meters and microelectronic readout equipment. The Nautilus group plans to return later this year to help install a turbine, build six more towers, and extend wire to provide power to a kindergarten and a medical clinic, and later to houses. The article pointed out that the Nautilus project may be the first in keeping with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act passed by Congress in 1978, which authorized the export of renewable energy technology to encourage nations to give up nuclear weapons programs. The W. Alton Jones Foundation contributed US$250,000 for this phase of the project. [Ed note: Click here for the Nautilus press release on the windpower team’s visit, including photos. ]

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2. Fuel Oil Deliveries for DPRK

Reuters (“KEDO CONTRACTS LG-CALTEX FOR N.KOREA OIL SUPPLY,” Seoul, 05/22/98) reported that the ROK’s LG-Caltex Oil Corp said in a statement on Friday that it had been awarded a bid from the Korea Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) to supply 22,000 tons of heavy residual fuel oil to the DPRK. The statement said that the fuel oil was loaded on a PRC-registered ship in the ROK port of Yosu on Thursday and was scheduled to arrive in the DPRK’s Nampo Port on Sunday.

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3. DPRK Election

The Washington Post (“WORLD IN BRIEF: N. KOREA TO HOLD 1ST ELECTION IN 8 YEARS,” Seoul, 05/22/98) reported that the DPRK’s official news agency said that elections to the Supreme People’s Assembly would be held on July 26. This would be the first election in eight years. Analysts said that the move could pave the way for Kim Jong-il to formally succeed his late father, Kim Il-sung, as state president.

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4. DPRK Defector

The Associated Press (“N. KOREAN DEFECTS THROUGH MINE FIELD,” Seoul, 05/22/98) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said that Sohn Chul-min, a corporal in the DPRK army, walked across a mine field Friday to defect to the ROK. ROK soldiers spotted Sohn when he reached within 300 yards of their guard post, and guided him through the mine field.

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5. ROK Financial Crisis

The Associated Press (“SOUTH KOREAN ECONOMY SHRINKS,” Seoul, 05/21/98) reported that the ROK’s central Bank of Korea said Thursday that the ROK gross domestic product contracted 3.8 percent in the first quarter of this year, the worst performance since late 1980. Cho Ki-june, a bank official, stated, “The economy is expected to remain extremely weak this year, and the GDP may fall more sharply than the government and the International Monetary Fund had forecast.”

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6. ROK-Japanese Cooperation on Nonproliferation

Dow Jones Newswires (“JAPAN, S. KOREA PLEDGE TO WORK AGAINST NUCLEAR TESTS – KYODO,” Tokyo, 05/22/98) reported that the Kyodo news agency said that Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Park Chung-soo agreed Friday to take concerted steps to pressure India and Pakistan not to engage in a nuclear weapons race. Japanese Foreign Ministry officials said that Hashimoto told Park that Japan and the ROK should cooperate in expressing strong concerns over India and Pakistan’s nuclear programs to dissuade the DPRK from developing nuclear weapons. Park was quoted as agreeing to Hashimoto’s proposal, saying that the ROK government is also strongly concerned over nuclear programs in India and Pakistan. Hashimoto also told Park that Japan is considering providing new loans to the ROK through the Export-Import Bank of Japan to help rebuild the ROK’s economy.

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7. ROK-Japanese Fisheries Talks

The Associated Press (“JAPAN, S KOREA HOPE TO REACH COMPROMISE OVER FISHING ROW,” Tokyo, 05/22/98) reported that the Japanese foreign ministry said that Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and ROK foreign affairs and trade minister, Park Chung-soo vowed Friday to resolve the countries’ fishing dispute before ROK President Kim Dae-jung visits Tokyo in the fall.

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8. US Bases in Japan

The Associated Press (Laura Myers, “OKINAWA SEEKS REMOVAL OF U.S. BASES,” Washington, 05/22/98) reported that Okinawa Governor Masahide Ota and a delegation of Okinawan officials on Thursday made a personal plea to the Clinton administration to remove US military forces from the Japanese island. Ota said that the people and administrative government of Okinawa have rejected US and Japanese government plans to trim the US military presence. He added, “Guam and Hawaii should be considered as possible relocation sites” for the US bases on Okinawa. Ota met with officials at the State Department and the Pentagon to present his petition requesting relocation of the US bases. Major Bryan Salas, a Pentagon spokesman, stated, “Our door is always open to listen to the concerns of local representatives of Japan, but our policies are unchanged. Our business is done with the government of Japan.”

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9. US-Taiwan Relations

The Washington Times (Ben Barber, “TAIWAN FRETS ABOUT TALKS BETWEEN U.S. AND BEIJING,” 05/22/98) reported that Chien-jen Chen, director-general of the Taiwan Government Information Office, said Thursday that Taiwan should not be a topic of discussion at an upcoming summit between US President Bill Clinton and PRC President Jiang Zemin. Chen stated, “Our future and destiny should not be the topic of discussion by third parties.” He added, “The visit is a major concern.” Chen said that the Taiwanese government has been briefed on the visit by the Clinton administration, and was told that the purpose of the visit is to improve relations between the US and the PRC and to try and engage the PRC more in the international community and to maintain and stabilize peace in the region. Chen replied, “We have no objections. We are all for it. But not at the expense of our interests.” He said that Taiwan is worried that the summit “might affect military sales,” even though “we have been told this would not happen.” Chen added, “Not only India and Taiwan but all of Southeast Asia is concerned about the buildup of the PRC navy.” However, he argued that, were the PRC to attempt at an amphibious landing on Taiwan, “Their loss would be astronomical.” Chen maintained, “Each time [there is a US-PRC summit] it affects our interests adversely.”

Susan Shirk, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs (“DAS SUSAN SHIRK ON U.S.-TAIWAN RELATIONS,” Washington, USIA Text, 05/20/98) said in testimony before the House International Relations Committee on May 20 that progress in the US relationship with the PRC will not be achieved at Taiwan’s expense. Shirk stated, “this Administration remains firmly committed to fulfilling the security and arms transfer provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act.” She argued that US arms transfers to Taiwan, “undertaken without upsetting the cross-Strait military balance, have promoted stability in cross- Strait relations and given Taiwan the confidence to liberalize its policies and develop flourishing ties with the mainland.” She added that the US has supplied the Modified Air Defense System (MADS), which has limited anti-missile capabilities, to Taiwan. She also stated, “We believe that the preparedness of our forward deployed military forces in the Pacific enhances stability and dramatically reduces the prospect of a crisis occurring or escalating.” Shirk said that the consistent position of the Clinton Administration has been that cross-Strait issues are matters to be resolved by Taiwan and the PRC, adding that further US involvement “could well be counter-productive.” She stated, “Let me emphasize that this Administration does not consider the three relationships — U.S.-PRC, U.S.-Taiwan, and Taiwan-PRC — as a zero-sum game. Improvements in U.S.-PRC relations do not result in damage to U.S.-Taiwan or cross-Strait relations.” She pledged that there will be no “fourth communique” on Taiwan arms sales or Taiwan issues at the upcoming US-PRC summit. She reiterated that the US maintains a “one China” policy, adding, “Consistent with this policy, we do not support ‘two Chinas’ or ‘one China, one Taiwan,’ Taiwan independence, or Taiwan’s membership in the UN.” She added, “We believe that our engagement with the PRC adds to … regional stability — and is thus of direct benefit to the people of Taiwan.”

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10. Missile Technology Transfer to PRC

The Associated Press (John Diamond, “FILES REVEAL CHINA WAIVER CONCERNS,” Washington, 05/22/98) reported that national security documents showed that, before approving a waiver for Loral Space and Communications’ to launch a satellite in the PRC, US President Bill Clinton was cautioned that Justice Department prosecutors feared that such a decision would jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation of the company. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger wrote the president on February 12, “The criminal division of the Justice Department has cautioned that a national interest waiver in this case could have a significant adverse impact on any prosecution that might take place based on a pending investigation of export violation.” However, the documents also show that the President’s security advisers concluded that Loral’s satellite project “will not contribute to Chinese military capabilities.”

The Associated Press (John Diamond, “CHINA’S LAUNCHERS, MISSILES SIMILAR,” Washington, 05/21/98) and the New York Times (Eric Schmitt, “SENATE MAY CURB EXPORT OF SATELLITES TO CHINA,” Washington, 05/22/98) reported that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) gave Congress information Thursday that showed some similarities between PRC satellite launchers and intercontinental ballistic missiles. The CIA said that staging mechanisms, guidance systems, re-entry vehicles, and rocket motors all involve identical or similar technology. Senator Thad Cochran, R-Miss., argued, “It is important to understand how foreign countries can apply information and technology gained from launching U.S. satellites to their own ICBM and satellite programs, and whether the administration’s current policy is sufficient to prevent this.” William Graham, former deputy administrator of NASA and science adviser to Presidents Reagan and Bush, stated, “The essential elements of an ICBM are the same with the exception of the payload. Put another way, if you have a space-launch vehicle, you also have an ICBM.” However, John Pike, director of space policy for the Federation of American Scientists, said that the PRC has had missiles that could reach the US since 1981, and newly acquired information would make only a marginal difference.

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11. Missile Defense System

The Washington Post carried an opinion article (Charles Krauthammer, “DEFENSELESS AMERICA,” 05/22/98, A25) which argued that the recent Indian nuclear tests demonstrate the inability of nonproliferation efforts to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The author argued, “The obvious answer is to build anti-missile defenses.” He maintained that the Anti-ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty has become obsolete with the demise of the Soviet Union. He criticized the Clinton administration for extending the ABM treaty to Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus, thus “making it virtually impossible for any future administration to revise the treaty to allow us to build the defenses we need.” He added, “The Clinton extension of the ABM treaty … also constrains “theater” ABM systems — those we are now developing to defend our troops in the field.” The author argued, “The greatest travesty is that all this is being done unconstitutionally. The Senate has not ratified this treaty extension, yet the administration is already implementing it — for instance, exchanging information with the four countries about the capabilities of our theater missile systems.”

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12. Global Land Mine Ban

The New York Times (Steven Lee Myers, “CLINTON AGREES TO LAND-MINE BAN, BUT NOT YET,” Washington, 05/22/98) reported that Clinton administration officials said Thursday that by 2006 the US will sign the international treaty banning anti-personnel land mines, but only if the Defense Department develops an alternative weapon. The pledge was made in a May 15 letter from the president’s national security adviser, Sandy Berger, to Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. Leahy welcomed the letter, saying, “Now it becomes a question not of if we’ll sign it, but when.” He added that, in exchange for the pledge, he would agree to support an amendment to a moratorium on land mine use which will allow the administration to waive the moratorium on national security grounds. However, on Thursday, Defense Department officials said that finding such an alternative by the deadline is optimistic. One official stated, “Right now no one can tell you what an alternative would even look like.” Bobby Muller, the president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, argued that many military experts already believe that alternatives to the anti-personnel land mines exist. He stated, “The pledge shifts the debates from the treaty to the alternatives. And with that we’re going to put this over the goal line.”

II. Republic of Korea

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1. ROK-Japan Relations

The ROK, bowing to Japanese pressure, has expressed its intention to positively consider returning to an ROK-Japan agreement on self-controlled fishing in specific water zones between the two countries in an effort to create an atmosphere for an early settlement of bilateral negotiations to sign a new fishing agreement. ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Park Chung-soo delivered the message to his Japanese counterpart Keizo Obuchi during a meeting in Tokyo on Thursday, ROK officials said. Park, now on his first visit to Japan as foreign affairs-trade minister, also met Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. Park and Obuchi agreed to hold a “security dialogue,” attended by Foreign Affairs-Trade and Defense Ministry officials, late next month in Seoul. (Korea Times, “SEOUL BOWS TO TOKYO’S STANCE ON FISHING PACT,” 05/22/98)

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2. Alleged Plot to Influence ROK Election

The “northern wind” case, triggered by a series of allegations during last year’s presidential election that Kim Dae-jung had connections with the DPRK, turned out to be an “unintended” combination of anti-DJ operations by espionage officials of the rival Koreas. In a press conference wrapping up two months of investigations, the Seoul District Prosecutors’ Office (SDPO) concluded as such, saying that the DPRK did not want to see Kim elected for fear of losing its initiative in future inter-Korean relations. The SDPO said that the Agency for National Security Planning (NSP), the ROK intelligence agency, used this in the hopes of helping the candidate of the then-ruling Grand National Party beat Kim. Kwon Young-hae, then NSP director, is facing trial for his leading role in the affair, while 13 other NSP bureaucrats and politicians are charged with an extensive operation of illegal interference in politics. The prosecution said that in Beijing in July last year, the DPRK put together a team of agents charged with preventing Kim from being elected. The DPRK anti-Kim team arranged for an ROK religious leader who earlier defected to the DPRK to send a letter to Kim Dae-jung giving regards on behalf of DPRK leaders, the prosecution said. The prosecution said that the NSP, knowing that the letter was part of the DPRK’s anti-DJ operations, intentionally leaked it to the press in order to raise questions over the then-presidential candidate’s ideology. (Korea Times, “NORTHERN WIND BUNGLED NSP ATTEMPT TO THWART DJ’S PRESIDENTIAL BID,” 05/22/98)

III. Japan

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1. DPRK Election

The Asahi Shimbun (“DPRK DECIDES TO HOLD SUPREME PEOPLE’S COMMITTEE ELECTION IN JULY: KIM JONG IL MAY BECOME HEAD OF STATE AFTER ELECTION,” Seoul, 05/21/98) reported that, according to the DPRK Central Broadcasting Agency on May 21, the DPRK decided to hold the 10th Supreme People’s Committee in July for the first time in eight years, and that some observers in Seoul and Tokyo say that Kim Jong-il may subsequently be elected head of state. The report pointed out that the reason for the delay of the election was the death of Kim Il-sung, but that further irregular state activities have prevented the election of the head of state and budget allocations from proceeding. The report added that the date of the election of head of state may be planned for around September 9, when the DPRK’s 50th anniversary will be celebrated.

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2. Japanese-Russia Fishery Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“JAPANESE-RUSSIA FISHERY AGREEMENT WENT INTO EFFECT,” 05/22/98) reported that the Japan-Russia Fishery Agreement went into effect on May 21 after both the Japanese and Russian governments finalized their ratification procedures and signed a mutual agreement of understanding in Moscow on the same day. The report added that, although the negotiations that began in 1995 were kept from progressing because of the issue of scope of control in relation to the Northern Territorial issue, the negotiations resumed in 1997 when both sides agreed to shelve the issue of scope of control.

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3. US Bases in Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“OKINAWA GOVERNOR VISITS JAPANESE AMBASSADOR TO WASHINGTON IN US TO DISCUSS BASE ISSUE IN OKINAWA,” Washington, 05/20/98) reported that Okinawa Prefecture Governor Masahide Ota met with Japanese Ambassador Kunihiko Saito in Washington on May 19 to discuss the issue of construction of a heliport as an alternative to the US Futenma Base, but that their talks got nowhere. Saito asked Ota to cooperate with the Japanese government by softening his stance, saying, “If you accept the heliport, the return of the Futenma Base to Okinawa will also go smoothly. I expect you to exercise your leadership in favor of implementation of the Japan-US agreement for the sake of the benefit to your prefecture as a whole.” In response, Ota said, “I, as the Governor of the Okinawa Prefecture, have to take into account the will of the citizens of Okinawa. It is difficult for me to accept the heliport.”

The NAPSNet Daily Report aims to serve as a forum for dialogue and exchange among peace and security specialists. Conventions for readers and a list of acronyms and abbreviations are available to all recipients. For descriptions of the world wide web sites used to gather information for this report, or for more information on web sites with related information, see the collection of other NAPSNet resources.
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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
The Center for International Studies,
Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Wade L. Huntley: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Shin Dong-bom: dongbom_shin@wisenet.co.kr
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Choi Chung-moon: cily@star.elim.co.kr
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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