NAPSNet Daily Report 23 July, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 23 July, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, July 23, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-23-july-1999/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

I. United States

1. Perry’s Report

The Washington Times (“NORTH KOREA REVIEW DUE IN EARLY AUGUST,” 07/23/99, 16) reported that, according to an unnamed source, US policy coordinator William Perry will submit his review of DPRK policy to the US Congress and US President Clinton after the scheduled four-party talks end on August 9. The source said that the Clinton administration has informed Congress of the schedule.

2. US Policy toward DPRK

The Los Angeles Times carried an editorial (“A FAILURE OF POLICY,” 07/23/99, 14) which argued that if the DPRK test-fires a new long-range missile it would underline the failure of the “accommodationist policies” adopted by the US, the ROK and Japan. The editorial said, “North Korea must be told, unambiguously and forcefully, that U.S. and allied aid will end if it tests its new missile. It’s time this blackmail was identified for what it is, and it’s time to admit the futility of appeasement. The challenge from North Korea requires a new form of response.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for July 23.]

3. DPRK Famine

USA Today (Barbara Slavin, “N.K. FAMINE POSSIBLY AMONG WORLD’S WORST,” 07/23/99) and Business Wire (“DEATH RATES RISE FOR NORTH KOREAN MIGRANTS,” Baltimore, 07/22/99) reported that Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Center for Refugee and Disaster Studies, conducted a study on the DPRK famine, which will be published in the British medical journal The Lancet. The study’s goal was to gather information about household births, deaths, family size, migration patterns, and food sources in the DPRK from migrants living at fifteen sites in the PRC. The researchers looked at these trends for the time period from the middle of 1994 to the time when the migrant left for the PRC and interviewed 440 DPRK citizens. Most of the migrants came from the province of North Hamkyong. The study also found that, in 1994, more than 60 percent of the migrant households reported that government rations were their primary source of food. By 1998, however, only 6 percent said the government was their primary food source, while 40 percent of families were foraging for alternative foods as their principal source of food. Lead author Courtland Robinson, an Associate at the Center for Refugee and Disaster Studies, said, “The most significant findings were the rising mortality and declining household size among those households that included a migrant in China. We also asked respondents in China to tell us about the households of siblings that did not include a migrant and we found similar patterns of rising mortality and declining household size.” US Representative Tony Hall, a Democrat in Ohio who has visited the DPRK four times, said, “We ought to take this evidence very seriously. It may be that conditions are worse in the northeast because it’s harder to grow food there, but they may also be better because there is more access to China.”

4. DPRK Views on PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA SUPPORTS CHINESE POLICY,” Seoul, 07/22/99) reported that, according to the DPRK’s state-run Rodong Shinmun, the DPRK communist party expressed support for the PRC and accused Taiwan of following a separatist policy. The DPRK’s communist party compared Taiwan to the ROK and said that both countries talk about unification while pursuing a separatist policy. Rodong Shinmun said, “The ‘separatist policy’ of Taiwan cuts right across the Chinese people’s desire for reunification and the reunification principles.”

5. Taiwan Policy toward PRC

The Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “U.S. ENVOY OPENS TALKS WITH TAIWAN,” Taipei, 07/23/99) and Reuters (Alice Hung, “TAIWAN REASSURES U.S. ON CHINA FRICTIONS,” Taipei, 07/23/99) reported that Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui reassured US Envoy Richard Bush on Friday that Taiwan had no plans to pursue independence and never meant to cause a row with the PRC by asserting itself as a “state.” Lee said, “(Our) mainland policy of promoting constructive dialogue and genuine exchange has not changed. This demonstrates the respect of public will in a democracy.” Lee, however, said that contacts between the PRC and Taiwan must be conducted on a “special state-to-state” basis, saying this reflected the voice of his people. He urged the PRC to “calm down and contemplate” the meaning of his remarks. Bush was also scheduled meet with Su Chi chairman of the Taiwan government’s Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwanese Defense Minister Tang Fei, Taiwanese Premier Vincent Siew, and Taiwanese Vice President Lien Chan.

The Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, “TAIWAN SEEKS TALKS WITH CHINA,” Taipei, 07/23/99) reported that Su Chi, chairman of the Taiwan government’s Mainland Affairs Council, said on Wednesday that the Taiwanese government invited the PRC to talk over Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui’s statement on statehood. Su said that the PRC should send a representative to discuss its differences with Taiwan over President Lee Teng-hui’s recent description of relations between them as “state-to-state.” Su also renewed Taiwan’s invitation for the PRC to send top envoy Wang Daohan for talks this fall. Su said that Lee’s new take on relations was aimed only at attaining parity with the PRC ahead of sensitive talks that the PRC is demanding.

6. ASEAN Stand on Taiwan’s PRC Policy

The Associated Press (Dean Visser, “ASEAN WANTS RESTRAINT IN TAIWAN,” Singapore, 07/22/99) reported that, according to diplomats, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will tell the PRC that the region wants to see caution and restraint exercised in the dispute over Taiwan. Singapore’s foreign minister, Shanmugam Jayakumar said, “The ministers feel that, at a time when the whole region is poised on economic recovery, naturally any potential flare-up of tension is something that is a source of concern.” Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan said, “I don’t think we should miss this opportunity” to discuss the issue.

7. Analysts View on PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Wall Street Journal (Jesse Wong, “TAIWAN’S LEE MAY SOFTEN STATEHOOD CALL AMID TALKS,” Taipei, 07/23/99) reported that, according to Taiwanese analysts, Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui is expected to soften his statehood claim for Taiwan in the face of diplomatic pressure, but not enough to satisfy the PRC or the US. Andrew Yang of the Chinese Council on Advanced Policy Studies, an independent Taipei think tank, said that Lee will not reverse himself and quickly end the dispute. Yang said, “There will be improvisations and elaborations, but President Lee will maintain his position.” Referring to the strong support for Taiwan in the US Congress, Wu Yi-shan, a political scientist at National Taiwan University, said, “that’s what political brinkmanship is all about. President Lee doesn’t worry about what Beijing thinks. He only has to worry about what America thinks. But there’s a limit to how much pressure America could place on him.”

The International Herald Tribune carried a commentary by Ellis Joffe, professor of Chinese studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (“CHINA’S MILITARY ASSESSES KOSOVO,” Jerusalem, 07/23/99) which argued that lessons drawn from the Kosovo conflict might influence the PRC’s Taiwan policy. According to Joffe, through the Kosovo conflict the PRC learned that it lacks the US’s technological capabilities and is unprepared for wars of the future. Joffe said that such realization could lead the PRC to the conclusion that it should avoid any confrontation with the US until the capabilities gap has been narrowed. However, Joffe said, “The lessons from Kosovo that might lead to Chinese inaction over Taiwan are partially offset by other features which point to limited Yugoslav achievements in the bombing campaign.” Joffe noted that if, despite the risk of US intervention, the PRC were to use force against Taiwan, its position would be incomparably better than that of Yugoslavia. Joffe concluded, “The result is a paradox. The lessons of the Kosovo conflict might deter Beijing from risky action, but they could also embolden it to adopt a more robust policy, despite its military inferiority.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for July 23.]

8. Japanese Nationalism

The Los Angeles Times (Sonni Efron, “JAPAN MOVE TO HOIST FLAG’S STATUS REKINDLES DEBATE,” Tokyo, 07/23/99) reported that approval to grant legal status to Japan’s national flag and anthem by the Japanese lower house has rekindled debate in Northeast Asia over Japanese nationalism. Media in the ROK, the DPRK, and Singapore have weighed in with reports that the Japanese flag and anthem are evidence that Japan intends to remilitarize. Norihiko Narita, political science professor at Surugadai University in Saitama prefecture, said, “Japan is becoming more nationalistic. It’s partly the Taepodong effect, partly the sense that Japan’s position in the world economy is slightly declining, and partly the perception that the U.S. is bypassing Japan and tilting toward China.” However, Kenichi Matsumoto at Reitaku University in Chiba prefecture argued that the definition of nationalism and national interest is changing and that is what the renewed debate over the Japanese flag and anthem is really about. Matsumoto said, “Precisely because this is an era in which things, money, people and information can easily transcend national borders, only countries with strong and united national identities will survive.”

9. Spratly Islands Dispute

The Associated Press (“MALAYSIA SEEKS TO CONTAIN DISPUTE OVER SPRATLY ISLANDS,” Singapore, 07/23/99) reported that, according to Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, parties who are not directly concerned about the Spratly Islands dispute in the South China Sea should be left out of the discussions. Addressing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) annual ministerial meeting, Syed Hamid said, “We should resolve this regional issue by ourselves, either bilaterally or with others in the region who are directly concerned. Freedom of navigation, which is of interest also to those outside the region, has never, at any point, been threatened.” Syed Hamid said a regional code of conduct in the South China Sea should be drawn up among the parties concerned to ensure peace and stability in the region.

10. US Ship Visits to Philippines

Philippine Star (Paolo Romero, “US NAVY WARSHIP IN HISTORIC TRIP TO RP,” 07/23/99) reported that the US warship USS Blue Ridge, carrying 1,000 US troops, docked at Manila’s South Harbor on Thursday for a four-day visit. US 7th Fleet commander Vice Admiral Walter Doran said, “They are well-behaved and are the real ambassadors of goodwill.” The visit of the Blue Ridge, the flagship of the 7th Fleet, follows the Philippine Senate’s ratification of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which allows the US to resume large-scale war exercises and ship visits in the country. Philippine Presidential Spokesman Fernando Barican said the visit signaled the resumption of normal defense cooperation between the two countries. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for July 23.]

11. START II Treaty

The Associated Press (Vladimir Isachenkov, “YELTSIN OKS NUCLEAR TALKS WITH U.S,” Moscow, 07/22/99) reported that Russian President Boris Yeltsin on Friday authorized Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin to discuss with the US nuclear arms reductions, including a review of the START II treaty. Stepashin did not elaborate on what Yeltsin said about arms reduction. Stepashin was scheduled to leave on Sunday for the US.

12. Kashmir Conflict

The Associated Press (Neelesh Misra, “INDIANS ADVANCE ON ISLAMIC REBELS,” Mushkoh Valley, 07/23/99) reported that, according to Indian officials, Indian soldiers began advancing toward two remaining pockets of Islamic guerrillas after retaking some of the last intruder strongholds in the Indian-held part of Kashmir. Officials said that Indian troops fought to recapture two icy peaks in the Batalik and Mushkoh Valley battle zones. Officials added that the Pakistani guerillas wounded 20 Indian infantrymen in a gunbattle before abandoning the conical peak in Batalik on Thursday night.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Four-Party Talks

The Korea Herald (Jun Kwan-woo, “MISSILE ISSUE TO DOMINATE PRELIMINARIES OF 4-WAY TALKS,” Seoul, 07/23/99) and The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “NK, US TO HOLD TALKS ON MISSILE THREAT IN GENEVA,” Seoul, 07/22/99) reported that ROK officials said on Thursday that the DPRK’s missile threat will likely dominate a US-DPRK bilateral meeting to be held before the four-party peace talks in Geneva early next month. “The U.S. side is expected to express its concerns over a possible missile test by the North during the preliminary talks,” said a senior ROK government official who refused to be named. US envoy Charles Kartman is scheduled to meet DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-kwan in Geneva August 4, a day before the four-party talks opens, he said. “The planned Kartman-Kim talks in Geneva can be viewed as the extension of their earlier talks in Beijing in June,” the official added. Foreign ministers of the three countries will get together in Singapore next Tuesday to coordinate their DPRK policy while attending an Association of South East Asian Nations’ Regional Forum (ARF). “Based on the outcomes of the trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the ARF in Singapore, Kartman will send a strong joint warning message to Kim,” said a high-ranking ROK Foreign Ministry official. He added, however, that the DPRK’s missile issue would not be tabled at the main session of the four-party talks for discussion. He admitted that the ROK’s expectations are not high for the forthcoming four-way talks to produce any “satisfactory, tangible results” to set up a permanent peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula. “It is a long-term process,” he said. “You cannot bring a peace regime to the Korean Peninsula overnight given that the current confrontation has lasted for nearly half a decade since the 1950-53 Korean War.”

2. UNICEF Report

Chosun Ilbo (Lee Chul-min, “NK MOST DANGEROUS FOR CHILDREN: UNICEF,” Seoul, 07/22/99) and The Korea Herald (Shin Hye-son, “N.K. CHILDREN FACE MANY MORE DANGERS TO LIFE THAN THOSE IN SOUTH, REPORT SHOWS,” Seoul, 07/23/99) reported that UNICEF’s Korean committee said that a white paper on children’s rights and well-being, entitled “the Progress of Nations,” has introduced the concept of child risk measure (CRM) this year in an attempt to capture in numbers some of the risks children face before reaching adolescence. The CRM was calculated based on five factors that have great impact on a child’s well-being until the age of 18. They include under-five mortality rate; percent of children moderately or severely underweight; percent of primary-school- age children not attending school; the likelihood of risk from armed conflicts; and HIV/AIDS prevalence rate for 15- to 49-year-olds. The index used a 0 to 100 scale, higher numbers representing greater risks. The report showed that the DPRK index was 50, while the ROK’s was 5. ROK officials said that this means that DPRK children face ten-times- higher risks to their lives than their peers in the ROK. The DPRK CRM was the third highest among eastern and southern Asian and Pacific countries, following Cambodia at 60 and Papua New Guinea at 55.

III. Japan

1. Japanese Policy toward DPRK

The Daily Yomiuri (GOVERNMENT MAY ISSUE WARNING TO DPRK,” Yamaguchi, 07/19/99) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said in a hotel in Yamaguchi on July 17 that the government would issue a warning to the DPRK if the country shows indications of another Taepodong missile launch. Komura said, “If we find there is a clear intention to launch, Japan, the US, and the ROK will give a coordinated warning. We will tell them that a launch will damage the DPRK’s interests.” His remarks indicated that the government was considering new countermeasures, although he said that he was receiving daily updates and “does not believe a launch is imminent…. If North Korea acts constructively to allay the international community’s anxieties, we will be prepared to normalize ties. This may include humanitarian aid.”

2. Japanese Defense Policy

The Japan Times (“CRISIS LAWS NEEDED, OBUCHI TELLS SDF,” 07/15/99) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi pledged in an annual meeting with senior Japanese Defense Agency (JDA) officials on July 15 that efforts will be made to enact emergency defense laws. Obuchi said to some 150 JDA bureaucrats and Self-Defense Forces (SDF) officers, “I duly recognize that the issue of emergency defense legislation is an important one, and I will take appropriate action by taking into account Diet debate and the trend of public opinion.” He added, however, that because the issue is politically sensitive, he is not planning to push the legislation “right away.” JDA Director General Hosei Norota also expressed his support at the gathering. The emergency legislation envisioned aims to exempt the SDF from various domestic laws to give the forces greater flexibility should Japan come under direct military attack. JDA has studied such legislation for decades, but left-leaning politicians have pressured the agency in its study to merely list defects in the current legal system and not lay the foundation for proposals for new laws. Regarding the DPRK, Obuchi said the situation is assuming “serious dimensions,” citing the DPRK’s reported preparations for another missile launch test. Obuchi emphasized the significance of pushing joint research with the US for the theater missile defense (TMD) system. Obuchi also referred to legislation covering the updated Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation, saying the legislation is very significant because it will help deter a military attack against Japan and will greatly contribute to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

3. US Bases in Japan

The Daily Yomiuri (Akinori Uchida, “OFFICIAL SAYS US OPEN TO IDEA OF MILITARY-CIVILIAN AIRPORT,” Washington, 07/23/99) reported that in an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun on July 21, a senior US Defense Department official said, on condition of anonymity, that a proposal to build a military-civilian airport is worth considering as an alternative to the offshore US military heliport suggested previously. The official said, “We’re quite sure that the government of Japan and the people most affected will choose … an eventual plan that contributes most heavily to the improvement of their welfare…. There is no reason why, whatever the new Futenma is, it cannot be both a military and civilian facility, so that Japanese civilian aircraft can come in there, perhaps increasing commerce, increasing tourism.” The report said that he emphasized that it would be favorable to solve the problem by relocating the Futenma Air Station from its current location in Ginowan, a heavily populated area, to an area with fewer residents, which would promote the local economy around the new site. The official also said, “We favor any solution to the relocation of Futenma that meets our operational commitments…That’s an issue for your government to decide … if it happens to also become a dual civilian-military facility, that’s more than acceptable to us.” If a military-civilian airport were decided on, a civilian airport would likely be constructed adjacent to a US air station, and part of the facility would be used by both the US military and local residents. According to the report, Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine plans to narrow several proposals down to three, including a plan to construct a US military facility on the northeastern shore of the main island. The report added that according to the official, US Defense Secretary William Cohen plans to express US hopes that talks on the relocation of the air station be expedited when he visits Japan on July 26.

4. PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Daily Yomiuri (Takuji Kawata, “TAIWAN’S LEE CONSIDERED STANCE ON CHINA FOR YEAR, MAGAZINE SAYS,” Taipei, 07/19/99) reported that Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui had secretly worked for more than a year on his “state-to-state” definition of the island’s relationship with mainland China, according to a leading Taiwan weekly news magazine. The report said that Lee used a June 9 interview with Germany’s Deutsche Welle radio specifically as an opportunity to state the definition. According to the magazine, about one year ago, Lee instructed key government officials to study Taiwan’s international status. Experts, including those specializing in international law, took part in the process of hammering out a definition and leaders of the Mainland Affairs Council and the Foreign Ministry participated in discussions, the magazine said. The mission was classified top secret by the Taiwan government. The new definition and its explanation were almost complete around May or June, when the president approved the final report that contained the new definition, the magazine said. Since the new definition would have a great impact on the relationship with China, the president had waited for an appropriate opportunity to release it, the magazine said. When the German radio station applied for an interview in early June, high-ranking government officials advised the president that the interview would be an effective opportunity to appeal to the international community. Thus, the president said through an interpreter that Taiwan’s relationship with China was a “state-to-state relationship” and that Taiwan and China were two states of one country. The interpreter also explained that this was the first time the president had released the new definition. Lee had in the past often said that the key to playing a game as the underdog was to act unpredictably; thus, the new definition of Taiwan’s relationship with China is typical of Lee’s approach, said the report.

5. Japanese Nuclear Shipment

The Daily Yomiuri (GOVERNMENT REVEALS ROUTE TAKEN BY MOX SHIPS,” 07/23/99) reported that the Science and Technology Agency and the Natural Resources and Energy Agency of the International Trade and Industry Ministry revealed on July 22 the route of approach to Japan to be taken by two ships transporting recycled nuclear fuel in the form of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel. The report said that the vessels were expected to arrive in Japan in mid- or late September. The route was announced during a meeting of parliamentary vice ministers held at the prime minister’s official residence. The ships had embarked from ports in Britain and France, respectively, by July 21. They were later to rendezvous before heading south across the Atlantic Ocean. They would pass South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope and veer northward toward Japan via the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, the officials said. The agencies’ officials said that the ships were transporting the fuel for the Takahama power station of Kansai Electric Power Co. in Fukui Prefecture and the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Co. in Fukushima Prefecture.

6. Nuclear Disarmament Forum

The Asahi Shimbun (“LAST ROUND OF TOKYO FORUM ON NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION AND NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT BEGINS,” 07/23/99) reported that the final meeting of the Tokyo Forum on Nuclear nonproliferation and Nuclear Disarmament, which was initiated by the Japanese government in wake of nuclear tests by India and Pakistan last year, began on July 23. The meeting is co-sponsored by the Japan Institute of International Affairs and the Hiroshima Institute of Peace, and will continue until July 25. The forum will submit a final report written by twenty experts from sixteen countries to Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi on July 26 and to the UN Secretary General in August. The proposal will likely suggest reducing the number of US and Russian strategic warheads to one hundred and strengthening the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty regime. The report added that the forum was previously held in Tokyo, Hiroshima and New York since August last year, and discussed a variety of issues, including the DPRK’s missile launch and the NATO bombing in Yugoslavia.

7. Poll on Tokyo Governor

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“ISHIHARA SCORES HIGHLY IN OPINION POLL,” 07/21/99) and the Daily Yomiuri (“ISHIHARA SCORES HIGHLY IN OPINION POLL,” 07/21/99) reported that more than 70 percent of Tokyo residents approve of the governorship of Shintaro Ishihara, according to an opinion poll recently conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun. Eighty percent of the 1,200 eligible voters polled approved of Ishihara’s leadership, but respondents expressed both expectation and disappointment in his ability to bring about stability to the local administration, while only 32 percent of respondents think Ishihara will be able to revitalize the local economy. Those who approved of his governorship accounted for 70.1 percent, greatly surpassing the 17.2 percent who do not. A similar opinion poll on the governorship of former Tokyo Governor Yukio Aoshima, which was also conducted three months after his inauguration in July 1995, revealed a 73.8 percent approval rating and 18.6 percent disapproval. Ishihara was found to have the support of 66.9 percent voters who were not aligned with a particular party, about 12 percentage points fewer than Aoshima. The poll revealed 87.9 percent of those who support the Liberal Democratic Party and 78.8 percent of those who support Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) support Ishihara. Seventy one percent of respondents see potential in Ishihara to start something new. 40 percent said he would be able to bring about stable administration to the metropolitan government, while 36 percent replied otherwise. Regarding Ishihara’s stance on the PRC, 64 percent of respondents expressed criticism against Ishihara’s negative comments at an inaugural press conference. The report concluded that the figures reflect Tokyo residents’ opinions of the governor and that they would rather see him more actively involved in local issues than in national political issues.

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

 


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