NAPSNet Daily Report 22 September, 2000

Recommended Citation

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

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. Continuing DPRK Threat
2. DPRK-ROK Red Cross Talks
3. US-DRPK Relations
4. US Weapons Sales to ROK
5. Japanese Military Policy
II. Republic of Korea 1. Red Cross Talks
2. ROK to Discuss Peace Regime with DPRK
III. Japan 1. Japanese Rice Aid to the DPRK
2. PRC Naval Activities
3. Suffrage of Korean Residents in Japan
4. Japanese-US Defense Relations

I. United States

1. Continuing DPRK Threat

New York Times (Steven Lee Myers, “PENTAGON SAYS NORTH KOREA IS STILL A DANGEROUS MILITARY THREAT,” Washington, 9/22/00) and the Associated Press (Robert Burns, “N. KOREA SAID BEEFING UP MILITARY,” Washington, 9/22/00) reported that the US Department of Defense released a report to the US House and Senate armed services committees which said DPRK has made major improvements in its military over the past year, including the placement of large numbers of artillery and rocket launchers near the Demilitarized Zone. The report described DPRK President Kim Jong-il as bent on bolstering his nation’s preparedness for war. The report said the DPRK is in position to mount a major attack against the outnumbered army of the ROK “with minimal additional preparation, although at great risk.” However, it did not predict renewed war between the Koreas, but stressed that “the Korean Peninsula remains a dangerous theater.” In assessing signs of change, 50 years after the start of the Korean War, the report said the June summit meeting between Kim and ROK President Kim Dae-jung holds the promise of reconciliation but added that there are no firm indicators that the DPRK is ready to turn away from its long-standing goal of reunifying the Koreas by force, or that it is undertaking true economic reforms. The report continued, “A decade of steep economic decline has not deterred the North’s leaders from allocating precious resources to improving their military forces.” The report also said that fully 70 percent of the DPRK’s active-duty force is situated within 100 miles of the Demilitarized Zone and large numbers of long-range 240 mm multiple rocker launcher systems and 170 mm self-propelled artillery guns have been moved to sheltered sites near the DMZ within the last year. [Ed. note: The New York Times article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for September 22, 2000.]

Associated Press (“COHEN: PEACE PROCESS MUST NOT BE ‘ONE-WAY STREET,’ ” Tokyo, 9/22/00) and Agence France Presse (“COHEN URGES NORTH KOREA TO EASE MILITARY TENSION,” Tokyo, 9/22/00) reported that US Defense Secretary William Cohen warned Friday that the Korean peace process must not become a “one-way street” of economic aid flowing into the DPRK. Instead, Cohen said, the DPRK must reciprocate by reducing military tensions with the ROK through confidence-building measures such as pulling back forces and eliminating weapons of mass destruction. He said, “Even though there are possible signs of peace and intentions, there are still many dangers.” [Ed. note: The Associated Press article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for September 22, 2000.]

2. DPRK-ROK Red Cross Talks

Reuters (“KOREAN RED CROSS TALKS MAY BE EXTENDED, NO PROGRESS,” Seoul, 9/22/00) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry said Friday that talks between the DPRK and the ROK Red Crosses have stalled over differences on plans to hold more reunions of separated families. A spokesman for the ministry said, “Nothing has been decided (at the meeting) and (the talks) could be extended for one or more days. We have made no progress yet.” The ROK wants to hold similar reunions in October or November, but the DPRK, saying it needs more time to prepare, is insisting on November and December. The ROK also wants to immediately start exchanging names of all the people in the DPRK and the ROK who are trying to contact each other and have that process completed by year’s end. The DPRK says it does not have the resources to handle that mammoth undertaking and has reportedly asked the ROK to give it a thousand computers to help with the checking.

3. US-DRPK Relations

Economist published an unattributed opinion article (“MORE BRIBES FOR NORTH KOREA?” September 23-29, 2000) which said that the new openness of the DPRK does not decrease its threat to the world. Despite DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s new attitude toward the outside world, the writer wrote, the US, the ROK and Japan are in danger of falling for the latest trap set by his recent offer, made through Russia, to abandon his missile program if others will provide the means for him to launch satellites into space. The author continues, “Rather than exploring the nature of the bribe he is demanding, America and its allies surely ought to be asking themselves whether the huge new sums in aid and investment already being talked about – for new railroads, bridges, harbors and factories – should actually flow if North Korea continues its roguish behaviour. It is an awkward question. The newly jovial Mr Kim has chosen his moment well.” However, the writer continues, “The truth is, the belligerent Mr Kim and his smiling double are still the same person. The damage his missile sales have already done cannot be bought off, even if he could be trusted to keep his word. And leaving aside the obscenity of helping the space ambitions of a regime that lets its own people starve and keeps its troops and artillery massed near South Korea’s borders, buying off bad behaviour only encourages more. Mr Kim still has plenty to auction off in the family armoury: his chemical and biological weapons next? Even if he doesn’t pick up the bribe he wants this time, Mr Kim is no doubt calculating he can drive wedges between America, South Korea and Japan over the missile issue. He can, if they let him.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for September 22, 2000.]

4. US Weapons Sales to ROK

Korea Times (“US VOWS TO RESTRICT WEAPONS SALE TO KOREA,” 9/21/00) reported that sources in the ROK government and industry said on September 20 that the US has imposed a selective ban on the export of its weapons to the ROK. According to the sources, the US Congress has decided not to receive notification for weapons exports bound for the ROK by the executive branch since late last year. The US Congress is supposed to act on such notifications within 30 days and no key US weaponry may be exported without this notification procedure. A defense contractor said, “No U.S. export items bound for Korea are to be up for congressional notification between now and April of next year. Should this issue continue after that, it could cause problems.” A senior government official commented, “The U.S. Congress would not maintain its policy for much longer due to enormous pressures exerted by U.S. defense contractors who sell their ware to Korea that could potentially be affected.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for September 22, 2000.]

5. Japanese Military Policy

Washington Times (“JAPAN MAY ALTER COURSE ON MILITARY POLICIES,” Tokyo, 9/22/00) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori said on September 21 that Japan will consider revising and creating laws to deal with the possibility of armed attack on the country. Mori said in a speech at the opening of the national Diet, “Politics is charged with the noble mission of protecting the lives and assets of the people. In order to fulfill this mission and ensure proper defense planning, I will make considerations toward drafting a new defense program.” Japan enacted a law in August to deal with military crises in areas surrounding the country, but has made no progress in revising and creating laws to cope with a military attack.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Red Cross Talks

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “NO AGREEMENT REACHED IN RED CROSS TALKS; SEOUL PUSHES FOR SPEEDIER FAMILY REUNIONS, BUT PYONGYANG LOOKS TO SLOW PROCESS,” Seoul, 09/22/00) reported that Red Cross officials from two Koreas resumed their negotiations on September 21 to arrange more reunions for long-separated families, but failed to reach an agreement over differences in details, including the timetable. The ongoing Red Cross talks are intended to build upon the agreement reached at their first meeting, which called for setting up a permanent “reunion station,” confirming the fates and whereabouts of split relatives, allowing the exchange of letters and arranging two more temporary-reunion events this year. At their second-day negotiation, ROK delegates pushed for launching all the processes by next month at the latest, but their DPRK counterparts wanted to slow down the pace of inter-Korean humanitarian events. Pool reports said, “North Korea cited the need for more time to make better preparations as a reason for delays.”

2. ROK to Discuss Peace Regime with DPRK

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “KIMS TO DISCUSS ‘PEACE REGIME’ WHEN N.K. LEADER VISITS SEOUL,” Seoul, 09/22/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said on September 21 that he would discuss the establishment of a new peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula when DPRK leader Kim Jong-il visits Seoul next spring. Kim Dae-jung said, “How to form a peace system between the South and North will be discussed in a serious manner.” Kim repeated his position that the Koreas should reach an accord on a peace system, with the US and the PRC supporting and guaranteeing it.

III. Japan

1. Japanese Rice Aid to the DPRK

The Asahi Shimbun (“JAPANESE GOVERNMENT DECIDED TO PROVIDE MORE RICE TO DPRK THAN REQUESTED BY UNITED NATIONS,” 09/22/2000) reported that the Japanese government decided on September 21 to provide the DPRK with more rice than requested by the United Nations’ World Food Planning (WFP). The report said that the government may provide approximately to 4 to 500, 000 tons of rice to the DPRK this time. According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, the reason for this policy shift lies with the fact that the previous 100,000 tons of rice was not effective in drawing concessions from the DPRK in terms of the issue of the DPRK’s abduction of Japanese civilians. The report also said this policy shift signifies the change from “humanitarian aid” to “strategic aid” in Japan’s rice aid to the DPRK. However, that while New Komeito is in favor of the decision, there is still strong opposition to the decision within the Liberal Democratic Party.

2. PRC Naval Activities

The Sankei Shimbun (Yoshihisa Komori, “JAPAN AND PRC AGREED TO SWIFTLY PROMOTE COOPERATION IN DEALING WITH MARITIME ACTIVITIES,” Beijing, 09/15/2000) reported that Japan and PRC held the first working-level meeting in Beijing on September 15 to discuss setting up a framework to deal with PRC naval activities in the Japanese exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Japan proposed that the area which Japan claims as Japan’s EEZ be the middle dividing line between Japan and the PRC, but the PRC did not accept the proposal. After the meeting, the Japanese Foreign Ministry announced, “The problem is that it is unclear what the PRC is trying to do in our EEZ by these activities.” The PRC, on the other hand, said, “The problem is that there has not yet been limiting line in terms of continental shelves and EEZs in this area. We cannot accept Japan’s proposal.” However, the PRC agreed to continue to discuss how to inform beforehand Japan of PRC maritime research activities. The next meeting is slated for September 27 and 28 and will cover the issue from the maritime legal point of view.

3. Suffrage of Korean Residents in Japan

The Daily Yomiuri (Kohei Kobayashi, “KIM URGES JAPAN TO ACT QUICKLY ON SUFFARAGE BILL,” Seoul, 09/20/2000) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung told visiting leaders of Japan’s ruling coalition on September 19 that he strongly hoped to see the passage of a bill giving permanent foreign residents in Japan – many of whom are Korean – the right to vote in local elections. Kim said, “I am aware of different opinions on the matter within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). But I sincerely hope that things will be solved by the end of the year.” Kim stressed that the legislation of the bill would be admired worldwide as an advanced policy, on Japan’s part, in terms of ethics and human rights. In response to Kim’s remarks, Nonaka said that efforts would be redoubled to legislate the bill. He said, “There are some LDP members who are against the bill simply because they lack understanding of the idea. I would like to do my utmost to cultivate understanding within the LDP, while setting up a tripartite team to smooth deliberations on the bill.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Yoshikazu Shirakawa, “PREMIRE IS OPEN- MINDED TOWARD SUFFERAGE OF FOREIGN RESIDENTS IN JAPAN,” Seoul, 09/22/2000) reported that during an interview with the ROK’s Korean Broadcasting on September 21, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori made a positive statement about the legislation of suffrage of foreign residents in Japan. Mori said, “There are both pros and cons over the foreign residents’ suffrage bill, and I cannot force Diet members to do this or do that. However, you can see my stance on the bill by remembering that I was Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party when the bill was first submitted to the Diet.”

4. Japanese-US Defense Relations

The Daily Yomiuri (“NEW PATROL PLANE TO BE FITTED WITH JAPAN-US TECHNOLOGY,” 09/18/2000) reported that the Japanese Defense Agency (JDA) plans to cooperate with the US in a joint study to select technology for installation on a Self-Defense Forces (SDF) next-generation patrol plane to be developed in the midterm defense buildup program from fiscal 2001 to 2005. The JDA plans in fiscal 2001 to start talks on technological cooperation with US that could include joint development of the systems for SDF. JDA will develop the patrol plane entirely from a Japanese blueprint and using a domestically developed structure and engineering, but will incorporate US electronics technology into its information processing system. The plane’s development is projected to take about 10 years, and part of the cost has already been requested in the fiscal 2001 budget. Through the technological cooperation, JDA aims to equip the planes with a computer system capable of recognizing and differentiating between suspicious and friendly ships among different kinds of vessel, including submersibles, even in crowded high-traffic areas. The report said the technological cooperation will also include development of new radar and communication systems.

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Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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