NAPSNet Daily Report 23 April, 2001

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 23 April, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, April 23, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-23-april-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US Policy toward DPRK
2. DPRK View of US-ROK Exercises
3. US Policy toward PRC
4. US-PRC Relations
5. US Arms Sales to Taiwan
6. Alleged Israeli Arms Transfers to PRC
7. Japanese Prime Minister
II. Republic of Korea 1. DPRK Criticize Japan
2. Aid to DPRK
3. DPRK Agriculture
4. DPRK Military Purchases
5. DPRK-PRC Relations

I. United States

1. US Policy toward DPRK

The Wall Street Journal carried an analytical article (Jay Solomon, “BUSH’S REBUKE OF NORTH KOREA FUELS DETERIORATION OF SEOUL PEACE INITIATIVE,” Seoul, 4/23/01) which said that frustration is mounting inside ROK President Kim Dae Jung’s government that US President George W. Bush’s Asia policies are undercutting ties between the DPRK and the ROK. Because Bush’s advisers say they are still reviewing the merits of engaging the DPRK, a number of Kim’s aides fear time is running out, since Kim’s term ends next year. Fueling this unease among some in Kim’s government is a belief that the Bush administration views peace on the Korean Peninsula as working against its principal security interests. Central to this is Bush’s plans to build a national missile-defense shield, for which the DPRK missile program is among its primary justifications. US military and intelligence officials in recent weeks have also played up both the conventional and nuclear threats posed by the DPRK’s military, re-emphasizing the US Defense Department’s need to maintain troops in the ROK. The recent US-PRC standoff over a US surveillance plane is fanning fears that a renewed Cold War could grip North Asia. Jang Sung-min, a legislator with the Millennium Democratic Party and an aide to Kim Dae-Jung, stated, “The U.S.’s dependence upon a Cold War strategy … is causing the detente mood [on the Korean Peninsula] to collapse.” He fears that the US pursuit of missile defense could only exacerbate this tension by leading to a renewed arms race between regional powers the PRC, Japan, and Russia. An ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman, Kim Euy-taek, stated, “We hope that the Bush administration will rethink its skepticism” toward the DPRK after completing its review of the former US President Bill Clinton administration’s policies toward the DPRK. An unnamed US State Department spokesman stated, “We continue to strongly support President Kim’s policy of engagement with North Korea. We share a common concern about the nature and level of the military threat from North Korea, and we continue to discuss ways to deal with that.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 23, 2001.]

2. DPRK View of US-ROK Exercises

Agence France Presse (“NORTH KOREA ATTACKS SOUTH KOREA FOR JOINING IN MILITARY DRILLS WITH US,” Seoul, 4/21/01) reported that the DPRK denounced the ROK for staging a joint military exercise with the US, accusing the ROK of betraying the inter-Korean declaration. In a commentary aired on late April 20, Chosun Chung-Ang TV, one of the major TV stations in Pyongyang, called the annual military exercises “provocative war games intended to prepare for a war of aggression” against the DPRK. The ROK’s Yonhap News Agency quoted the station as saying, “It is intolerable that the South takes part in the war games. We cannot but say that the participation by the South in the exercises is tentamount to betrayal of the June 15 declaration.” The station urged the US to withdraw its troops from the ROK and to abandon its “plan to invade” the DPRK.

3. US Policy toward PRC

The Washington Post (Steven Mufson, “PLANE CLASH STRENGTHENS CHINA HARD-LINERS,” 4/23/01) reported that the US-PRC spy plane controversy has bolstered the position of US policymakers advocating a tougher stance toward the PRC. Many conservatives fear that US President George W. Bush will acquiesce to business groups, whose top objective is trade with the PRC, and moderate advisers from his father’s administration, who put a premium on continued dialogue with the PRC government. One advocate of a harder line outside the administration called the incident “a gift.” Many US administration officials have spoken recently of making the PRC “pay a price” for the standoff over the US crew. Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who helped normalize relations with the PRC under US President Jimmy Carter, said that the extra days the PRC took to extract the words “very sorry” from the Bush administration before freeing the crew were not well spent. He said, “Very sorry twice could turn out to be very costly two words.” The new PRC ambassador in the US, Yang Jiechi, and other embassy officials have been inviting people who helped establish Sino-US ties during the Nixon and Carter administrations to discuss the downward trend in relations. Though appointed because of his earlier contacts with former president George Bush, Yang suddenly finds himself without US allies who can act as dependable channels for expressing PRC concerns. The current Bush administration has few PRC experts in key positions. The top Asia posts at the National Security Council and State Department are held by people who are primarily Japan experts. The top Asia post at the US Defense Department is still unfilled, as are the top PRC slots at the National Security Council (NSC) and State Department. A longtime expert on PRC policy said, “This is an administration riven by deep divisions in the Republican camp about how to deal with China. Do we do business with China or confront it? I don’t know of any China expert who would pass muster with both sides.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 23, 2001.]

4. US-PRC Relations

Reuters (“CHINA-U.S. CHILL SETS IN, BUT COLD WAR RULED OUT,” Beijing, 4/23/01) reported that analysts said that Sino-US relations look set for a difficult year with the spy plane showdown and US arms sales to Taiwan, but deep trade ties and interests in regional stability argue against a new Cold War. Wu Xinbo, a professor at the Fudan University’s Center for American Studies in Shanghai, said, “I don’t think individual incidents will cause a new cold war. In the larger picture of U.S.-China relations, the basic interests have not changed.” Wu’s writings assert that despite rhetoric to the contrary, the PRC could be persuaded to accept the stabilizing role of a US presence in Asia and become a status quo power if its fears about Taiwan independence were addressed. While that kind of accommodation remains a long-term challenge for the two countries, some analysts are hoping the latest round of US arms sales to Taiwan can be followed by serious discussions on the PRC-Taiwan military balance. Jia Qingguo, associate dean of Beijing University’s School of International Studies, said, “With the air collision, the relationship is under a lot of pressure and we are still living in the shadow of that incident. But common interests outweigh differences, especially in the long run, so we should not be misled by our immediate differences.” Jia said that the US should proceed with more respect for a PRC trying to fit into the world order. He added that the US should not read anti-Americanism into what are often harsh PRC rhetorical reactions to US pressure. Jia said, “China respects the U.S. in a lot of areas, but some Americans have taken the approach of moral superiority in dealing with China. These pressures, rightly or wrongly, undermine the political legitimacy here. They overstretch the political fiber and that makes the relationship very difficult.” Economist Andy Xie of Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong said that the Sino-US spy plane showdown was “unnerving” but less threatening when viewed against the backdrop of burgeoning economic ties. Xie wrote in a recent analysis of the growing stake that US multinationals have in PRC trade, “China and the U.S. are intractably intertwined through trade and investment.”

Reuters (“FOREIGN MINISTER TANG TELLS U.S. TO STICK TO JOINT AGREEMENTS,” Prague, 4/23/01) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told reporters during an official visit to Prague that the three Sino-US joint communiques should be used to solve outstanding disputes. Tang said, “As long as the American side exactly adheres to the concept and principles stemming from these three joint communiques … I think that we could solve all problems, including that of Taiwan, and Chinese-American relations could continue to develop fluently and healthily.”

5. US Arms Sales to Taiwan

Agence France Presse (“BUSH MAKES UP MIND ON TAIWAN ARMS PACKAGE,” Washington, 4/23/01) reported that US President George W. Bush said Monday that he had made a decision on which weapons to include in an arms package for Taiwan. Asked by reporters at an event in the White House Rose Garden if he had made up his mind, Bush replied “Yes,” but refused to divulge his decision. He added, “I haven’t made it clear yet. Will let you know soon.” White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that Bush had received a recommendation from his national security team on the package. Taiwan will be notified of the decision on Tuesday, when a team of senior US military officers from Taiwan is due to attend a meeting at the US Defense Department. Fleischer said that current tensions did not factor much into Bush’s decision. He said, “This is an annual occurrence that took place last year, it’ll take place next year. It’s a part of an ongoing obligation of the United States government to help Taiwan secure its defensive needs.” A US Defense Department official said that there is “now a consensus on a recommendation” that would effectively defer the sale of the Aegis missile tracking system this year. According to a leak to the Taiwan press, the arms request also includes submarines, Patriot anti-missile missiles, and other hi-tech weaponry.

6. Alleged Israeli Arms Transfers to PRC

The Washington Times (Rowan Scarborough, “CHINESE ARSENAL BORN IN AMERICA,” 04/23/01) reported that US military analysts said that PRC fighter jets are equipped with weapons rooted in US technology and sent to the PRC via Israel. US weapons specialists said that a study of PRC air-and land-based missiles reveal that their missile capabilities could not have reached full potential without US know-how. Former intelligence officials said that PRC fighters carry Israel’s Python 3 heat-seeking missile, a weapon developed by Israel based on the Sidewinder missile that the US sold to Israel decades ago. The PRC has bought the rights to domestically produce the Python 3, an early 1990s transaction that the US Defense Department said it learned of only after the fact. Larry M. Wortzel, a former US military attache in the PRC and now an analyst at the Heritage Foundation, said that the Israel-PRC arms channel has flowed for more than 50 years. Wortzel said, “It grew and grew, and the United States just winked at a number of serious transfers. China is benefiting from reverse-engineering American technology provided to Israel.” The most serious allegations were from a 1992 US intelligence report which said that Israel, in the immediate aftermath of the Persian Gulf war, transferred Patriot anti-missile data to the PRC. The US State Department said that it could find no evidence that Israel sold Patriot secrets to the PRC, but the article said that unnamed US intelligence analysts in and out of government continue to stress that the transfer occurred. Wortzel said that the Reagan administration approved limited arms sales to the PRC during the Cold War to offset Soviet military buildups. However, he said, successive US administrations never have condoned the illegal transfer of high-technology items meant for Israel’s use only. Wortzel said, “It didn’t upset the security balance in the region. But now it does. I think China´s behavior has changed. China now has the advantage of some of the best American-provided technology that it may use against the United States or certainly against Taiwan.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 23, 2001.]

7. Japanese Prime Minister

The Associated Press (Joseph Coleman, “REFORMER WINS JAPANESE ELECTION,” Tokyo, 4/23/01) reported that Japan’s reform candidate Junichiro Koizumi won a landslide victory on Monday in the first phase of the race for Japan’s prime ministership. Citing unidentified party sources, the Kyodo News agency reported later Monday that Japan’s ruling party power broker Shizuka Kamei said that he would withdraw from the race and support Koizumi, virtually assuring the latter’s victory on the eve of the final vote. The winner of the party presidential race is guaranteed election by Parliament as the replacement for Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, because Parliament is controlled by the LDP and its two coalition partners.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Criticize Japan

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “PYONGYANG INTENSIFIES CRITICISM OF JAPAN,” Seoul, 04/23/01) reported that the DPRK on Saturday accused Japan of delaying diplomatic normalization talks in what the DPRK sees as an attempt to avoid demands for financial compensation for Japan’s colonization of Korea. Radio Pyongyang, the DPRK’s official media, said that negotiations on the normalization of the DPRK-Japan relationship had been deadlocked since last October, after the DPRK officially demanded compensation from Japan. “Japan has been shunning a number of issues that should be resolved under the pretext of external affairs,” it said, in reference to Japan’s move to connect the normalization process with the DPRK’s relations with the ROK and the US. Radio Pyongyang claimed that Japan’s excessive consideration for the inter-Korean and DPRK-US relations was “an attempt to avoid due responsibilities and play for time by indefinitely delaying the talks.”

2. Aid to DPRK

The Korea Herald (“PRIVATE GROUPS SEND FERITLIZER TO N.K.,” Seoul, 04/23/01) reported that with the ROK government set to provide about 200,000 tons of fertilizer to the DPRK, private relief organizations in the ROK have begun fertilizer aid to help ease the famine there. The Join Together Society (JTS), which plans to send a total of 830 tons of fertilizer to the DPRK this year, shipped a batch of 138 tons on Saturday, a Unification Ministry official said. Other relief groups, including the Korean Sharing Movement and World Vision, also plan to contribute to the campaign. The amount of private-level fertilizer donated to the DPRK this year is expected to total some 3,000 tons, the official added

3. DPRK Agriculture

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “PYONGYANG’S DELEGATION FINDS OBSTACLES IN AGRICULTURAL COOPERATION WITH U.S.,” Seoul, 04/23/01) reported that during its 50-day visit to the US, the DPRK government delegation concluded that it is difficult to adopt US farm production systems to improve the DPRK’s agricultural industry, US organizers of the trip said Sunday. The five-member delegation, led by Ri Song-jo, a senior official at the DPRK Ministry of Agriculture, studied US agricultural universities and farms during its tour from February 26 to April 13. “It was an important opportunity for us to build avenues of cooperation between the U.S. and North Korean agricultural institutions,” the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) said.

4. DPRK Military Purchases

Chosun Ilbo (Yoo Young-won, “NK ACQUIRES AERIAL DRONE,” Seoul, 04/22/01) and Chosun Ilbo (Hwang Sung- jun, “RUSSIA MAY RESUME WEAPONS EXPORTS TO NK,” Seoul, 04/20/01) reported that the DPRK has acquired several Tupolev DR-3 REYS unmanned aerial vehicles, used for reconnaissance, from a military partner in the Middle East, according to a military source Sunday. The source said that the drone was produced in the Commonwealth of Independent States, is 7.3m long with a wingspan of 3m and is powered by a jet engine. He added that the DPRK has yet to deploy the drone, but was active in developing this equipment as it was shocked at the UAV’s effective use during the Gulf War.

5. DPRK-PRC Relations

Joongang Ilbo (“FRIENDLY CHAT BETWEEN N.K.’S PARTY SECRETARY AND CHINA’S VICE-PREMIER,” Seoul, 04/23/01) reported that during the 9th Communist Party convention in Vietnam, Choe Tae-bok, the secretary of the DPRK’s Worker’s Party Central Committee, and Hu Jintao, the PRC’s vice-premier, who attended the meeting as representatives of their respective nation, held a friendly conversation, the DPRK’s state media reported on Saturday April 21. “It is our consistent desire to strengthen the ties of bilateral communist parties,” vice-premier Hu reportedly said. “Under the great interests of our two leaders, President Jiang Zemin and Chairman Kim Jong-il, our ties will continue to build up.”

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