NAPSNet Daily Report 22 May, 2000

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 22 May, 2000", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 22, 2000, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-22-may-2000/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US Inspection of DPRK Underground Site
2. Korean War Massacre
3. ROK Political Developments
4. Taiwan Presidential Inauguration
5. PRC Reaction to Inaugural Speech
6. Cross-Straits Relations
7. Alleged PRC Nuclear Spying
8. Nuclear Disarmament
II. Republic of Korea 1. Inter-Korean Summit
2. PRC Official to Visit ROK
3. Korean War
4. DPRK in WHO

I. United States

1. US Inspection of DPRK Underground Site

The Associated Press (Christopher Torchia, “U.S. TEAM TO INSPECT NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 5/22/00) reported that the DPRK media said on Monday that the DPRK has allowed US nuclear inspectors to inspect an underground site in Kumchang-ri this week. The report said a US State Department team was to arrive on May 23. The inspectors’ visit is a significant step in relations between the DPRK and the US.

2. Korean War Massacre

The New York Times (Felicity Barringer, “A PRESS DIVIDED: DISPUTED ACCOUNTS OF A KOREAN WAR MASSACRE,” 5/22/00) reported that despite the disputed accounts about the alleged Korean War massacre at No Gun Ri, Seymour Topping, the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, said on May 19 that the Pulitzer board had re-examined and reaffirmed its award to the Associated Press for its reporting on the incident. Topping said, “the board has reviewed all the documentation and is up to date on all that has been published. The board is taking no further action. There has been no expression of concern by any member of the board.” The article said that while skeptical reports have left confusion about key questions in the case, in the end, the central conclusion that US soldiers killed at least 100 Korean civilians has been “chipped but hardly shattered.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 22, 2000.]

3. ROK Political Developments

The Associated Press (Paul Shin, “SOUTH KOREA NAMES NEW PRIME MINISTER,” Seoul, 5/22/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung Monday named Lee Han-dong, the 65-year-old head of the United Liberal Democrats, as Prime Minister. The appointment is subject to approval by the 273-member ROK National Assembly. The main opposition Grand National Party has a plurality of 133 seats, but the assembly is expected to approve the appointment. Lee’s appointment signaled the renewal of a partnership between Kim’s ruling party and the United Liberal Democrats.

4. Taiwan Presidential Inauguration

The New York Times (Erik Eckholm, “CHANGE OF POWER IN TAIWAN IS MEETING A MODERATE RESPONSE FROM BEIJING,” Taipei, 5/21/00) reported that Taiwan’s new president Chen Shui-bian promised in his inauguration speech on May 20 that unless the PRC attacked Taiwan, he would not declare independence, change the country’s official name of Republic of China, or take other overt steps to establish Taiwan’s formal independence. However, Chen did not say Taiwan was a part of “One China.” Chen also did not discuss reunification, but rather the need to build “conditions for cooperation through good will.” He stated, “we believe that the leaders on both sides possess enough wisdom and creativity to jointly deal with the question of a future ‘one China.” Yang Kai-huang, an expert on cross-strait relations at Soochow University, stated, “China’s response was more moderate and gentle than we expected. I think that China prefers to talk rather than go to war.” The PRC’s official response, issued by the Communist Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office, called Chen “insincere” on the central issue of unity and said, “the new leader adopted an evasive and ambiguous attitude. Since the new leader of the Taiwan authorities expressed that he would not go in for ‘Taiwan independence,’ he should have attached no condition to it. Still less should he have refuted the reality that there is but one China and that Taiwan is part of China by saying that one China is something in the ‘future’.” The PRC statement said on May 21 that suspended negotiations between the Association for Relations Across the Strait and its Taiwanese counterpart could begin again if the two sides “will express in their own way orally that both sides across the straight stick to the ‘one China’ principle’ as the PRC said the two sides did in 1992. A second condition the PRC laid out for the new talks was that “the Taiwan authorities make a clear-cut commitment that they will not advocate the ‘two-states theory’.” Bau Tzong-ho, a political scientist at the National Taiwan University, said that before Chen can make any bold moves on policy toward the PRC, he will need to build more of a consensus in his party and the society. Andrew Yang, head of a defense research institute in the US, said, “the speech carried heavy symbolism that Taiwan is an independent country already.”

5. PRC Reaction to Inaugural Speech

The New York Times (Erik Eckholm, “TAIWAN’S NEW LEADER AND BEIJING TESTING EACH OTHER,” Taipei, 5/22/00) reported that the PRC on Monday restated that its “one China” principle was an absolute precondition of strengthening ties. A commentary by PRC’s official New China News Agency, issued in response to the inaugural speech on May 20 by Chen said, “acceptance or rejection of the one-China principle is the touchstone to test whether one sincerely wants to improve cross-straits relations. Anybody who dares insist on splitting Taiwan from China, must bear responsibility for all the serious consequences.” Also for the first time since Chen’s election in March, the PRC said negotiations could start under two conditions: if both sides “express in their own way orally” that they adhere to the one-China principle, as the PRC said both did in 1992, and if Taiwan does not call itself an equal state. Political experts in the PRC and Taiwan said that the varying statements during the last two days were predictable as the sides continued to test each other as Chen assumed power. In particular, the PRC is probing to see how far Chen has moved from his advocacy of formal independence for Taiwan. Shen Dingli, a PRC specialist in foreign policy from Fudan University in Shanghai, said, “I think Chen Shui-bian’s speech offered something positive, and we should catch the opportunity. But Beijing will continue to put pressure on him over ‘one China’ to keep him moving in the right direction.” Julian Kuo, a political scientist at Soochow University in Taiwan and an adviser to Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry, said it was “a good sign” that the PRC had mentioned reviving the 1992 political formula and its desire to strengthen economic ties. Kuo warned that rapid progress was unlikely, especially before the PRC’s leaders make decisions about Taiwan at their annual seaside retreat in August. However, he also said that membership of the PRC and Taiwan in the trade organization could provide an opportunity to “sort out economic issues” and end the ban on direct commerce.

Agence France Presse (“CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM CHARACTERIZES BEIJING REACTION TO CHEN SPEECH,” Beijing, 5/22/00) reported that analysts greeted the PRC’s reaction to the inauguration speech of Taiwan President Chen Shui- bian with optimism, but predicted that there was still a long way to go before cross-strait tensions significantly diminished. Joseph Cheng, a professor at the City University of Hong Kong, said, “it’s a significant statement. It’s what we might say is the best scenario compromise possible given the current circumstances. China’s intention with the statement is to say it is making a large effort and working hard to accommodate the views of the Taiwanese people so that the international community cannot blame China for whatever actions it takes subsequently.” Cheng viewed the statement as a softening of the PRC’s view on the “One China” principle. Jean-Pierre Cabestan, director of the Hong Kong-based Center of French Studies on Contemporary China, said, “the good thing about this statement is it confirms the Chinese are ready to accept a vaguer definition of the ‘One-China’ principle and go back to the negotiating table.” Cabestan said any eventual cross strait dialogue would also be dependent on Chen making a “clear-cut commitment” to denounce the “two states” theory put forward by outgoing Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui last summer. He added, “Chen will get pressure from the United States which would like Taiwan to go back to the 1992 compromise.” He also called the PRC statement a “skillful move” that will serve to appease the US Congress, which votes this week on whether to grant the PRC permanent normal trading relations (PNTR). Jia Qingguo, a professor at the School of International Studies at Beijing University, said that the PRC should be “somewhat relieved” that Chen’s speech was “conciliatory” and “not provocative,” but added that Chen’s statement on a “future One China” was “very ambiguous and could mean that now there are two Chinas. Beijing is not satisfied with this kind of semantic and will be waiting to see if he makes further progress towards accepting the ‘One-China’ principle.” He said, “if Taiwan accepts the ‘One China’ principle and moves towards peaceful reunification, I think the use of force would be out of the question, but we cannot rule out an eruption of conflict in the coming months (due to activities of Taiwan splittists).”

Agence France Presse (“NEW TAIWAN PRESIDENT SHRUGS OFF BEIJING ACCUSATION OVER SPEECH,” Taipei, 5/22/00) reported that Taiwan President Chen Shui- bian Monday shrugged off the PRC’s dismissal of his weekend inauguration speech, which held out the possibility a “future One China.” Chen said that it seemed that his speech was widely accepted by the Taiwanese, the US and the rest of the international community except for the PRC. Chen said, “they would feel satisfied only if Taiwan, like Hong Kong and Macau, were given to them. Even if we had done so, they might not be happy with it.” Chen said Monday that the Taiwanese had used their ballots to rewrite history, but warned that his burden has increased since the March 18 polls because “the Chinese communists are not going to ease their pressure on us.” The first PRC government statement also warned Chen about elements in his government that it said were still pushing Taiwanese independence. It said, “this cannot prevent the damage to peace and stability in Taiwanese society, Taiwan’s economic development and it cannot prevent confrontation across the Taiwan Straits.”

6. Cross-Straits Relations

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, “TAIWAN LEADER SUGGESTS DIRECT LINKS TO CHINA,” Kinmen, 5/22/00) reported that Taiwan’s new president, Chen Shui-bian, pledged on Monday to reexamine what he called an “outdated, rigid and inflexible” ban on direct ties with the PRC. However, he continued to speak within the context of preserving Taiwan’s separate identity. While visiting front-line troops at Kinmen, a Taiwanese island 1.2 miles from the PRC, Chen said that his commitment to Taiwan’s defense was “under the precondition that national security can be assured.” Chen’s comments on the “three links”–direct postal, trade, and transportation links between the PRC and Taiwan–are seen as the first sign of movement since the PRC pulled out of talks with Taiwan last year. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 22, 2000.]

Agence France Presse (“CHEN MUST ACCEPT TAIWAN IS PART OF CHINA: BEIJING,” Beijing, 5/22/00) reported that the PRC said on Monday that Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian must clearly and unequivocally recognize that Taiwan is part of the PRC for cross-straits talks to get off the ground. PRC officials said that anything less would signal his intention to take Taiwan down the road towards independence. One official said, “if Taiwan does not recognize that Taiwan is a part of Chinese territory, then the only conclusion you can draw from that is that they want to split Taiwan from China.” One anonymous official said, “if people cannot understand the ‘One China’ principle … it is because they would like to stick to the separatist position.” PRC officials viewed Chen’s speech “as a key index” for any eventual judgment on Chen, adding that “we will continue to watch his deeds after May 20 to see in what directions he will lead Taiwan. As for how much time we should give to him and wait for him, this will be decided by Mr. Chen Shui-bian himself.” The Hong Kong Ming Pao daily, citing unidentified sources, reported on Monday that the PRC’s top policymakers were viewing the Taiwan issue with “great urgency” and have set a five-to-seven year time frame to resolve the issue. The sources said, “the mainland firmly believes that only the use of force can eventually resolve China’s reunification.” The report said the PRC has put the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into “substantive preparation” for launching a military invasion of Taiwan. Sources said that top PRC policymakers concluded that Taiwan was trying “to delay peaceful negotiations indefinitely” in order to make its mainland policy “more and more blurred” with the aim of distancing relations across the Taiwan Strait. One source said, “if there is no definite time frame in resolving the Taiwan issue, the idea of a unified China will not be seen within the foreseeable future.”

7. Alleged PRC Nuclear Spying

The Associated Press (John Solomon, “US GAVE SPY A PLEA BARGAIN PRIOR TO DAMAGE REPORT,” Washington, 5/21/00) reported that a US Senate probe found that miscommunication resulted in the 1997 deal for Peter H. Lee, a nuclear scientist who aided the PRC. US Senate investigators gathered documents which disclosed that the US government struck a plea bargain that resulted in no prison time for a nuclear scientist who confessed to passing secrets to the PRC, rather than await an analysis that ultimately concluded that he “directly enhanced” the PRC’s weapons program documents. The documents detailed weeks of miscommunication among prosecutors, defense officials, and the FBI that led up to Lee’s December 1997 plea bargain and no prison time for Lee. A draft US Senate report stated that since the plea bargain, which required Lee’s cooperation, the scientist failed an FBI lie-detector test and left US officials convinced he had not disclosed the full extent of his activities on behalf of the PRC. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for May 22, 2000.]

8. Nuclear Disarmament

Reuters (“NUKE POWERS GIVE ‘UNEQUIVOCAL’ PLEDGE TO DISARM,” United Nations, 5/22/00) reported that the five recognized nuclear powers on May 20 at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference approved an arms agenda for the next five years which gave a new “unequivocal” commitment to scrap their nuclear arsenals. However, they avoided any timetable for disarmament. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the agreement “marks a significant step forward in humanity’s pursuit of a more peaceful world, a world free of nuclear dangers.” The conference also agreed to further reductions of tactical nuclear weapons, increased transparency by the nuclear powers on reporting information about their nuclear arsenals, and reducing the number of warheads on hair-trigger alert. The final statement from the conference called for diminishing the role of nuclear weapons in national security policies in an effort to minimize their possible use, and committed the US and Russia to implement fully the START II treaty that would cut long-range nuclear warheads from 6,000 to 3,500 on each side.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Inter-Korean Summit

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “ACCORD ON SUMMIT DETAILS REACHED, BUT TWO KOREAS STILL DIFFER ON AGENDA,” Seoul, 05/22/00) reported that although the DPRK and the ROK agreed last week on a broad agenda for the inter- Korean summit, DPRK watchers in the ROK are focusing on what specific items the two leaders will discuss when they meet June 12-14. The agreement on summit procedures stipulates that ROK President Kim Dae-jung and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il “will reconfirm the three principles of national unification proclaimed in the July 4 (1972) South-North Joint Communique.” They will also discuss “ways to realize national reconciliation, unity, exchanges and cooperation, peace and reunification.” ROK Vice Unification Minister Yang Young-shik said after winding up talks with his DPRK counterpart on May 18, “when a South Korean advance contingent arrives in North Korea, more discussions (on the agenda) should take place in an appropriate manner.” ROK observers, however, said that further talks were unlikely to result in more specific summit topics, noting that DPRK officials flatly dismissed such a possibility. The ROK remains concerned that if the two sides fail to set a framework for the agenda before the summit, the DPRK could abruptly renew its long-standing, unilateral demands, citing the May 18 agreement. The DPRK’s “three principles” are independence (from foreign forces), peace, and grand national unity. The DPRK has used the independence clause to demand the full withdrawal of US troops from the ROK, while national unity means the ROK should repeal its anti-Communist National Security Law and guarantee the freedom of pro-DPRK activists. The ministry, however, downplayed the DPRK’s insistence on the three principles, saying, “this might be just more propaganda to appease the hard-liners in North Korea who still prefer causes to practical gains. In reality, North Korea will probably want to discuss maximizing its practical and financial benefits once the summit opens.” Many DPRK watchers said that the DPRK has been forced to come to the summit table to ease its extreme economic difficulties, and hoped to get as much ROK aid as possible. There is also increased speculation on whether Kim Dae- jung will take issue with the DPRK’s development of nuclear weapons and missiles, which both the US and Japan put forth as an important topic for the summit talks. Kim Dae-jung reiterated that he would start with “simple” and “feasible” matters, indicating he would shun politically sensitive topics that could provoke the DPRK.

2. PRC Official to Visit ROK

The Korea Herald (“CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY OFFICIAL TO VISIT SEOUL JUNE 3-8,” Seoul, 05/22/00) reported that a spokesman from the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on May 21 that Huang Ju, a member of the PRC Communist Party Political Bureau, will visit the ROK June 3-8 to discuss Sino-Korean ties and security issues in Northeast Asia. Huang, secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the PRC Communist Party, will meet with ROK Chairman Suh Young-hoon of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party, ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Lee Joung-binn, and other government officials and political leaders. Huang is a member of the so-called “Shanghai Clan,” led by PRC President Jiang Zemin. He was named one of the 50 “young Chinese leaders” by Asia Week last year for successfully developing an industrial complex in Shanghai.

3. Korean War

The Korea Herald (Kim Min-hee “EX-VICE MINISTER SAYS KOREA NARROWLY AVOIDED WAR IN 1994,” Seoul, 05/20/00) reported that a former ROK vice unification minister said on May 19 that the DPRK and the ROK came close to engaging in a full-scale war in the summer of 1994. Speaking to a group of Pusan-based entrepreneurs on prospects for further inter-Korean economic cooperation after the planned June summit, Song Young-dae said that in the summer of 1994, the US Defense Ministry had plans to bomb Yongbyon, where the DPRK was suspected of developing nuclear weapons. Song, who served as ROK’s vice unification minister from 1993 to 1996, said, “the U.S. ordered its pacific fleet to the Korean Peninsula, intending to launch a missile attack on Yongbyon. Hundreds of combat planes situated in Okinawa, Japan, were also preparing to bomb Yongbyon.” Song said that the planned attack was called off after former US president Jimmy Carter met with the late DPRK leader Kim Il-sung and warned him of the consequences of developing nuclear arms. Song said that Kim took the warning and said he would meet with then-ROK president Kim Young-sam to discuss inter-Korean issues.

4. DPRK in WHO

The Korea Times (“NK BECOMES WHO EXECUTIVE MEMBER,” Seoul, 05/21/00) reported that the DPRK became one of 10 countries elected by the World Health Assembly to serve on the executive board of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the next three years. The DPRK secured the board seat for the second time since 1989. The ROK is in the Western Pacific category and served three times in the past as an executive member. The executive board consists of 32 persons highly qualified in the field of health and designated by WHO member states and are chosen by the World Health Assembly on the basis of equitable geographic distribution, the WHO said in a statement in Geneva.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
International Policy Studies Institute Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
Monash Asia Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

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

Gee Gee Wong: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun: khs688@hotmail.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu: akutsu@glocomnet.or.jp
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin: icipu@glas.apc.org
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu: cswu@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

John McKay: John.McKay@adm.monash.edu.au
Clayton, Australia

Leanne Payton: lbpat1@smtp.monash.edu.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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