NAPSNet Daily Report 23 August, 2000

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 23 August, 2000", NAPSNet Daily Report, August 23, 2000, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-23-august-2000/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. ROK-DPRK Military Exercises
2. Landmine Clearing
3. Japanese War Crimes
II. Republic of Korea 1. Investment in DPRK
2. ROK-US-PRC-Russia Talks
3. US Bombing Range
II. People’s Republic of China 1. ROK-US Joint Military Exercise
2. DPRK Orchestra Visits ROK
3. PRC View of DPRK-ROK Relations
4. ROK View of DPRK-US Relations
5. DPRK-Japanese Relations
6. PRC-Japanese Relations
7. PRC-Russian Relations
IV. Russian Federation 1. RF President’s Statements on DPRK Missiles
2. DPRK-ROK Family Reunion
3. DPRK-Japan Diplomatic Relations
4. US-ROK Military Exercises
5. US Troops in ROK
6. RF-PRC Outer Space Cooperation
7. RF-Japan Territorial Issue

I. United States

1. ROK-DPRK Military Exercises

The International Herald Tribune (“SEOUL AND US TRIM MILITARY EXERCISE IN NOD TO NORTH,” Seoul, 8/22/00) reported that the ROK and the US started an annual computer-simulation military exercise on August 21, but officials in the ROK said that the maneuvers would be reduced in scale from the original plan. ROK president Kim Dae-jung told cabinet ministers on August 21 that the exercise should not disrupt the recent improvement in ties with the DPRK. Authorities said that the events would be scaled back with some change from a military character to disaster prevention. Kim said the exercises are intended to bolster peace, which should be based on strong security. Kim’s spokesman, Park Joon Young, said, “We should not undermine the conciliatory mood on the peninsula which has come around at last.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 22, 2000.]

2. Landmine Clearing

BBC Monitoring (“CHINA OFFERS TO HELP KOREAS CLEAR BORDER MINES,” Seoul, 8/23/00) reported that the ROK’s Yonhap news agency said that the PRC is known to have proposed assisting the ROK and the DPRK to clear land mines in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) near Panmunjom. Quoting a government official, the ROK daily Chosun Ilbo reported on Wednesday, “China recently expressed to the Seoul government, through the South Korean representative office in Geneva, its will to help remove land mines in the DMZ to reconnect the severed Kyongui Line. And, as far as I know, China delivered the same position to North Korea.” The daily said that PRC Defense Ministry officials are believed to have given the go ahead to lending technical and personnel support for removing land mines to both Koreas. The ROK government reportedly expects the PRC to direct the aid to the DPRK side of the DMZ. On the other hand, the ROK Defense Ministry is considering a “scorched earth policy” to remove the mines in the ROK part of the DMZ.

3. Japanese War Crimes

Agence France Presse (“CHINESE TURN TO US COURTS TO SUE JAPANESE OVER WAR CRIMES,” Beijing, 8/23/00) reported that elderly Chinese victims of Japanese World War II aggression said on Wednesday that they are suing Japanese companies in US courts because they have no faith in the legal systems of Japan or the PRC. Four Chinese-Americans and five PRC nationals sued Japanese conglomerates Mitsubishi and Mitsui on August 22 in Los Angeles, claiming the companies enslaved thousands of PRC citizens during World War II. Wang Xuan, a Chinese activist seeking war compensation in a wide range of cases, said that over 40,000 Chinese are believed to have been enslaved into Japanese work camps during the war, with 5,782 documented cases of workers forced into slavery by Mitsui and some 2,100 by Mitsubishi.

Agence France Presse (“JAPAN DOWNPLAYS CHINESE WAR ENSLAVEMENT LAWSUIT IN US,” Tokyo, 8/23/00) reported that Japan on Wednesday downplayed a lawsuit filed in the US alleging that two Japanese conglomerates forced thousands of Chinese citizens into slave labor during World War II. A Japanese foreign ministry official said, “This lawsuit is reported to be a private case in which the Japanese government does not seem to be involved. But personally, I have some doubt over whether a Californian state court can have jurisdiction over matters already resolved by both the Japanese and Chinese governments.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. Investment in DPRK

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “PRESIDENT URGES MINISTERS TO ENCOURAGE LOCAL, FOREIGN BUSINESSES TO INVEST IN N.K.,” Seoul, 08/23/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung called on economic ministers on Tuesday to encourage ROK and foreign companies to invest in the DPRK. Kim also urged the ministers to conclude inter-Korean cooperation agreements on investment guarantee and double taxation avoidance, as well as to open accounts to facilitate ROK and foreign investment in the DPRK. The President said that the ROK government should pave the way for foreign businesses to invest in the DPRK. “In addition, we should devise ways for foreigners to invest in North Korea in joint ventures with South Koreans,” he said. Kim said that recovery of the DPRK economy is essential to easing tension on the Korean Peninsula and reducing the ROK’s burden when the Koreas achieve reunification.

2. ROK-US-PRC-Russia Talks

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “KIM TO MEET U.S., CHINESE, RUSSIAN LEADERS IN NEW YORK,” Seoul, 08/23/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung will hold a series of one-on-one talks with US, PRC and Russian leaders when they stay in New York for the UN millennium summit slated for September 6-8, ROK officials said on Tuesday. The latest developments on the Korean Peninsula will be the top agenda item to be discussed by the leaders, the officials said. Kim is also scheduled to meet DPRK Foreign Minister Kim Yong-nam on the sidelines of the UN conference. President Kim and the DPRK official are expected to discuss follow-up steps to the inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang, including Kim Jong-il’s plan to visit Seoul and ROK-DPRK cooperation programs.

3. US Bombing Range

The Korea Herald (“USFK DENIES ALLEGATION KOON-NI RANGE USED AS LOCKHEED MARTIN TEST SITE,” 8/23/00) reported that US Forces Korea (USFK) denied on August 22 an ROK activist’s allegation that the Koon-ni firing range has been used as a test site for Lockheed Martin’s new weapons. The denial came one day after Kim Yong-han, a co-chairman of the People’s Action for Reform of the Unjust ROK-US SOFA Agreement, made the allegation during a trial at the Suwon District Court. Kim Yong-kyu, a USFK public affairs officer, said, “It is quite common in the United States for defense firms to operate or manage firing ranges or other military facilities under contracts. The U.S. military’s practice was applied to the Koon-ni range, the U.S. Air Force’s only bombing and strafing range in South Korea.” He added that it was therefore ridiculous to assert that Lockheed Martin has used the facility as a test site for its own weapons. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 23, 2000.]

II. People’s Republic of China

1. ROK-US Joint Military Exercise

People’s Liberation Army Daily (Li Zhenyu, “DPRK ASKS ROK TO CANCEL JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES WITH U.S.,” Pyongyang, 08/20/00, P4) reported that a DPRK National Peaceful Unification Committee spokesman warned on August 19 that if the ROK does not cancel its joint military exercises with the US, the bilateral exchange and cooperation on the Peninsula will be stalled. He said that if ROK authorities truly want improvement of DPRK- ROK relations and peace on the Peninsula, they should cancel the large-scale joint military drill, the purpose of which is to make preparations for a possible fight with the DPRK. The joint military exercises, he further warned, will bring DPRK-ROK relations to the state that existed prior to the Common Declaration.

China Daily (“ROK SCALES DOWN JOINT WAR GAMES WITH U.S.,” Seoul, 08/22/00, P12) reported that according to ROK officials, the annual computer simulation of military exercises between the ROK and the US, which started on August 21, would be scaled down in the wake of a recent thaw in relations with the DPRK. ROK spokesman Park Joon-young quoted ROK President Kim Dae-jung as saying, “the exercises are for peace, which need to be based on strong security. But we should not undermine the conciliatory mood on the Peninsula, which has been long awaited.” Lee Yoo-soo, chief of the ROK’s Emergency Planning Committee, told Yonhap News Agency that “we will conduct this year’s drill in a way that is appropriate on the Korean Peninsula after the inter-Korean summit.” An ROK Ministry of National Defense spokesman said that this means fewer participants and a change in some events from a military theme to disaster prevention. He added, “Large-scale outdoor exercises will be cancelled and civil servants will not participate.”

2. DPRK Orchestra Visits ROK

People’s Daily (Wang Linchang, “DPRK ORCHESTRA VISITS ROK,” Seoul, 08/19/00, P3) reported that the DPRK National Orchestra arrived in Seoul on August 18 to attend the North-South Grand Joint Concert. The Concert is to celebrate the issuing of the DPRK-ROK Common Declaration. It is the first time that such a large-scale DPRK Orchestra ever visited ROK, which received warm welcome from ROK people. The DPRK delegation leader said that he believes this visiting performance is sure to contribute to the national reconciliation and unification.

3. PRC View of DPRK-ROK Relations

Contemporary International Relations (Cheng Yujie, “THE KOREAN SUMMIT AND THE NORTH-SOUTH KOREAN RELATIONS,” No. 7, 2000, PP.37-40) published an article on DPRK-ROK relations. The writer defined the reasons for the success of the recent summit as the general tendency of the international situation, the requirement of interests of both sides, the political leaders’ will, the common dream of Korean people, and the efforts done in the past decades. She noted that the summit initiated the ROK-DPRK dialogue regime, awakened national self- determination for Koreans, began the movement toward the end of the Cold-War pattern on the Peninsula, and could foster the US-DPRK and Japan-DPRK normalization of relations. Many “seeking-peace” signs and activities have occurred between the two sides; however, Cheng concluded that there is still a long way to achieve real reconciliation. Many obstacles still exist in bilateral relations, and only one summit cannot solve all the problems. She argued that the closer the two Koreas get economically, the more conflicts are sure to arise; that the state of military confrontation did not change at all; that the summit intentionally avoided contentious issues, such as the US forces in ROK and the nuclear and missile questions; and that the US-Japan-ROK coordination regime will prevent the ROK-DPRK reconciliation steps from going too fast.

4. ROK View of DPRK-US Relations

People’s Daily (Wang Linchang, “KIM DAE-JUNG: DPRK-US RELATIONS,” Seoul, 08/19/00, P3) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung recently said that the key factor in improving DPRK-US relations and enlarging foreign investment in the DPRK is that the US should stop calling the DPRK a “rogue country.” When interviewed by a CNN journalist, Kim said that as soon as this problem is solved, US-DPRK relations will probably be normalized at any time.

5. DPRK-Japanese Relations

China Daily (“DPRK, JAPAN BACK AT TABLE,” Tokyo, 08/23/00, P12) reported that negotiators from Japan and DPRK resumed stalled talks on August 22 on establishing diplomatic ties, but no immediate breakthrough was in sight. On the first of the two-day talks in Tokyo, DPRK repeated its call for Japan to apologize and pay reparations for its hash 1910-45 rule of the Korean Peninsula, while Japan raise the sensitive issue of 10 Japanese citizens Japan believes were kidnapped by DPRK agents in the past. Jong Thae-hwa, head of the DPRK delegation, told Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono before the two sides began formal talks, “Japan has not settled its past. We need to remove this obstacle in order to establish friendly ties.” However, according to a Japanese official who attended the talks, despite DPRK’s tough stance, its negotiators seemed keener for talks than in the past. Kyodo News Agency quoted ruling party lawmaker Masaaki Nakayama, who chairs the Japan-DPRK Parliamentarians’ League, as saying that after meeting Jong and the other negotiators that he felt “they were more positive.”

6. PRC-Japanese Relations

Xinhua News Agency (“JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER WILL VISIT PRC,” Beijing, 08/22/00) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said that, in response to PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan’s invitation, Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono will extend an official visit to the PRC from August 28 to 31.

7. PRC-Russian Relations

Contemporary International Relations (Wang Lijiu, “NEW STARTING POINT & NEW TASKS: FURTHER ANALYSIS ON SINO-RUSSIAN RELATIONS IN THE NEW CENTURY,” No. 7, 2000, PP.1-5) published an article on PRC-Russian relations in the new century. The writer said that the PRC-Russian relationship is mature because it is one of the most important bilateral ones in contemporary international relations, and the strategic and cooperative relationship set up by both sides is unprecedented. Besides, he added, when dealing with many bilateral and critical international problems, the PRC and Russia can often agree with each other without prior consultation. Wang Liujiu said that at present, PRC-Russian relations are at a historically new starting point. On the Russian side, Putin’s Doctrine emphasizes domestic economic development and improving Russian international position, which need cooperation with its largest neighbors. On the PRC side, PRC economic reform will inject new vitality into Russia’s economic development. The dynamics in the international situation require the two powers to further enhance their cooperation on the premise of multi-polarization. In the third part of his article, Wang raised some proposals on future PRC-Russian relations. He said that as strategic cooperative partners, the PRC and Russia, in the international field, should devote themselves to the formation of a multi-polar world and a new world order. He also pointed out that in bilateral relations, they should enhance economic cooperation, and strive to overcome the obstacles for economic and trade exchange due to factors of both economic similarity and governmental management.

IV. Russian Federation

1. RF President’s Statements on DPRK Missiles

Segodnya (Aleksandr Chudodeyev, “CHUCHE COUNTRY HUMOR,” Moscow, 1, 08/15/00) and Izvestia (Maksim Yusin, “EVERY JOKE IS PARTLY A JOKE,” Moscow, 4, 08/15/00) reported that it seemed that RF President Vladimir Putin fell a victim of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s “practical joke.” On August 12, Kim told a group of ROK mass media representatives at a lunch in Pyongyang that his statement on a possibility of cancellation of DPRK missile program should not be considered seriously. He said: “I joked when I made a statement concerning scientific research in the field of missile technologies. Vladimir Putin did not react to it, but then grabbed it firmly.” He also said that DPRK was selling its missiles to Iran and Syria and was not going to give away that source of currency inflow. The RF Foreign Ministry said that there was no official reaction to Kim’s words, but that it was bound to come “from the very top.”

2. DPRK-ROK Family Reunion

Segodnya (Natalia Roslova, “KOREAN FAMILIES REUNITED FOR FOUR DAYS,” Moscow, 4, 08/16/00) and Nezavisimaia Gazeta (M.O.,”KOREANS REUNITE FAMILIES,” Moscow, 6, 08/16/00) reported that on August 15, the Korean Peninsula saw festivities commemorating the 55th anniversary of liberation from Japan held in both the DPRK and the ROK. On the same day, according to the arrangements of the June 2000 Inter-Korean Summit, a reunion of 200 families (100 per each side) occurred in Seoul for four days. ROK President Kim Dae-jung proposed on August 15 to widen the cooperation frameworks and hold soon a meeting of respective defense ministers, and to establish permanent committees on interaction in military, economic, social and cultural spheres.

3. DPRK-Japan Diplomatic Relations

Nezavisimaia Gazeta (K.F., “DPRK HOLDS TALKS WITH JAPAN,” Moscow, 6, 08/23/00) reported that for the first since 1992, DPRK- Japanese diplomatic talks to discuss prospects for bilateral diplomatic relations opened on August 22 in Tokyo. Japanese Foreign Minister Iohei Kono asked DPRK leaders to provide information on 10 Japanese allegedly abducted by the DPRK since the early 1960s. The second Japanese condition is to obtain guarantees against the threat of DPRK nuclear missiles. In its turn, the DPRK wants Japan to apologize and compensate for its occupation of Korea in 1910-1945.

4. US-ROK Military Exercises

Nezavisimaia Gazeta (V.S., “PYONGYANG’S PROTESTS,” Moscow, 6, 08/22/00) reported that the DPRK through its official news agency demanded cessation of large-scale US-ROK “Focus Lens” military exercises. The exercises involving 58,000 ROK servicemen and 13,000 US troops are to coordinate their interaction in repelling of “an aggression from the North” or in coping with a big natural disaster. The exercises are to be completed by September 1. The DPRK threatened that the exercises might nullify all recent positive achievements in DPRK-ROK relations.

5. US Troops in ROK Izvestia (“KIM AMAZED KIM,” Moscow, 4, 08/19/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung told CNN that during the June 2000 Inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang he heard DPRK leader Kim Jong- il openly favoring US troop presence in the Korean Peninsula. Kim Dae-jung said, “I was just amazed when I understood that we had many common views on the same problems. Kim Jong-il, in particular, agreed that the US troops should be left for the sake of balance of military forces in the region.” However, the US believed it expedient to withdraw some troops and someday soon, a decision is expected to be made to close a US Air Force test site.

6. RF-PRC Outer Space Cooperation

Nezavisimaia Gazeta (“RUSSIA AND CHINA WILL CREATE INTERGOVERNMENTAL COMMISSIONS,” Moscow, 1, 08/23/00) reported that RF Premier Mikhail Kasyanov signed a resolution opening the way for signing an RF-PRC protocol to their agreement in order to hold regular premier-level meetings on cooperation in banking and outer space exploration cooperation.

7. RF-Japan Territorial Issue Izvestia (Vasiliy Golovnin, “KREMLIN’S PROMISES ARE WRITTEN OFF,” Tokyo, 4, 08/19/00) reported that Japan hopes to sign an agreement with the RF to preserve the rate of development of bilateral relations while channeling further talks in an acceptable direction. In exchange for promises of future economic cooperation, Japan wants the RF to give a written consent to intensive talks on the peace treaty, which is to be signed only on the basis of solution of the territorial issue. However, the Japanese are aware that RF President Vladimir Putin is unlikely to make generous promises, and do not intend to put too much pressure on him, believing he will stay in power for at least eight years. The document is to prevent a crisis in bilateral relations, to pacify Japanese public opinion toward the RF, and to stop a conflict inside the Liberal Democratic Party, where a number of influential politicians including secretary general Hiromu Nonaku stand for an immediate signing of “an intermediate treaty.” As for the RF, it could elevate the status of an intermediary agreement to the level of a treaty and also play with the wording in order not to make empty promises anymore. The issue is to be reviewed during Putin’s visit to Japan September 3-5.

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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

Robert Brown: 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

Yunxia Cao: yule111@sina.com
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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