NAPSNet Daily Report 23 June, 1998

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 23 June, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, June 23, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-23-june-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

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1. Capture of DPRK Submarine

Reuters (Nick Yon, “S.KOREA SAYS SUB FROM NORTH SINKS,” Seoul, 06/23/98) and the Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, “CAPTURED N. KOREAN SUBMARINE SINKS,” Donghae, 06/23/98) reported that the DPRK submarine captured by the ROK sank Tuesday while being towed into an ROK naval base. ROK naval salvage crews were attempting to raise the vessel. Hwang Dong-kyu, a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “We still do not know if there are any crew in the sub or whether they are still alive.” He added, “For the sake of extra security our forces did not open the hatch of the submarine while escorting it to shore.” Navy Captain Bang Kuk- joon stated, “It will take quite awhile to bring it back to the surface … then things will become clearer.” Li Gwang-su, the only sailor captured alive from the DPRK submarine that ran aground off the ROK in 1996, stated, “I believe the North Koreans have already killed themselves.” The ROK Defense Ministry called the incursion “a clear armed provocation.” However, an unnamed analyst in Seoul stated, “This was not a provocation. Certainly, North Korea did not want this sub to be discovered, just as they didn’t want that sub to be found in 1996. It’s just business as usual.” An anonymous aide to President Kim Dae- jung was quoted as saying, “The submarine incident will not shake our … policy. The government will try even harder to embrace the North to prevent the repetition of similar incidents…. We will deal with the North with patience.” The Joong Ang daily newspaper said that Kim’s handling of the situation would be a “litmus test” of his DPRK policy. It stated, “Today, we realized again how difficult it is to deal with North Korean threats and seek economic cooperation at the same time.” The DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday reported that one of its submarines was missing on a training mission after experiencing mechanical problems. The UN Command on Tuesday questioned the DPRK about the intrusion during the first armistice meeting in seven years.

Dow Jones Newswires (“SCANS OF NORTH KOREAN SUB SHOW NO SIGN OF LIFE – YONHAP,” Donghae, 06/23/98) reported that the ROK’s national Yonhap news agency reported that sonar scans of the hull of the captured DPRK submarine showed no signs of life inside. Major General Lim Jong-chun, operations officer for the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that the ship was listing about 60 degrees while being towed. He stated, “It probably means that the inside is filled with water and that the crew perhaps drowned or suffocated due to lack of oxygen.” He added, “However, it cannot be excluded that the crew may have escaped before the navy was called to the scene.”

Reuters (Yoo Choon-sik, “S.KOREA SAYS N.KOREA SUBMARINE VIOLATES TRUCE,” Seoul, 06/22/98) reported that ROK Colonel Park In-yong of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday that the ROK had confirmed that the submarine captured on Monday belonged to the DPRK. Park stated, “It was confirmed the submarine was North Korean and we believe it’s a clear violation of the armistice agreement.” An unnamed presidential spokesman said that ROK President Kim Dae-jung told Defense Minister Cheon Yong- taek and the government to “react calmly” to the incident. He added, “The president said he would come out with an overall assessment following the general officers meeting scheduled for today in Panmunjom.”

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2. Hyundai Founder’s Trip to DPRK

Reuters (“KOREAN TYCOON RETURNS FROM MERCY TRIP TO NORTH,” Seoul, 06/23/98) and Dow Jones Newswires (Park Kyung-hee, “S. KOREA HYUNDAI CHMN: TO MEET N. KOREAN LEADER KIM IN SEP,” Seoul, 06/23/98) reported that Chung Ju-yung, honorary chairman and founder of the Hyundai Group, returned to the ROK across the Demilitarized Zone on Tuesday following his trip to the DPRK. Chung announced, “I have reached an agreement with North Korea after having talks about allowing travels to Mount Kumkang.” He said that during his visit, “I couldn’t meet Kim Jong-il because he was very busy and [DPRK officials] assured me I would be able to meet him if I visited again in September.” Hyundai Group Chairman Chung Mong-hun said Tuesday, “The honorary chairman will visit the north again at the invitation of Kim Jong Il and the two are expected to discuss specifics on economic cooperation.” Chung Mong-hun also said that Hyundai Group expects to launch five tourist ships to the DPRK’s Mt. Kumkang before October. He added, “Around $120 million to $150 million is expected to be needed for the tour project in the North which includes purchase of ships.” He said that Hyundai Group is also planning to set up hotels and other facilities at the mountain. Hyundai Group also agreed to discuss further details with the DPRK on other projects such as car assembly, a 70,000 ton-steel wire plant, and joint construction projects in third countries. Chung stated, “Hyundai Group plans to join hands with other local and overseas companies who are interested in the North Korean business projects, including the development of the mountain.”

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3. Taiwan Issue in US-PRC Relations

The Associated Press (Elaine Kurtenbach, “CHINA WANTS STATEMENT FROM CLINTON,” Beijing, 06/23/98) and Reuters (Benjamin Kang Lim, “CHINA HAILS TIES, WARNS US AGAINST TAIWAN,” Beijing, 06/22/98) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said Tuesday that the PRC wants US President Bill Clinton to reaffirm publicly that the US will abide by commitments not to sell Taiwan advanced weapons. Tang stated, “The president should, at an appropriate occasion, make a public statement reiterating what the U.S. has already promised on the Taiwan question. The U.S. side should also indicate it will take concrete actions to match the commitment it has made with deeds.” He added, “The United States should not sell advanced weapons or equipment to Taiwan and it should gradually reduce and eventually phase out arms sales to Taiwan.” He said that the PRC also would like to see the US lift sanctions imposed after the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident, arguing that attempts by the US and other Western countries to penalize the PRC had not influenced its policies. Tang said, “Sanctions are not a good thing. They merely are a reflection of power politics.” Tang stated, “On the whole, despite twists and turns in recent years, Sino-U.S. relations have improved and are moving in a positive direction.” He warned, however, “History tells us that properly handling the Taiwan question will ensure the relatively smooth development of Sino-U.S. relations. On the other hand, improperly handling the question will lead to setbacks and quite possibly retrogression in bilateral relations.”

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4. Pending Congressional Action on PRC

The Associated Press (Tom Raum, “DEMOCRATS BLOCK ANTI-CHINA BILL,” Washington, 06/23/98) reported that Democrats in the US Senate on Tuesday shut down debate on a defense bill as a way of blocking votes on US President Bill Clinton’s PRC policy. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., stated, “I’m not going to allow one single vote on China this week. We’re not going to embarrass this president.” He threatened to continue to tie up the Senate until Clinton returns from his 10-day visit to the PRC. Daschle was reacting to a package of defense bill amendments by Senator Tim Hutchinson, R-Ark., that would deny travel visa to PRC officials involved in religious persecution or forced-abortion policies, ban further US-backed loans to the PRC, and modify US policy on satellite exports.

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5. Commemoration of Okinawa Battle

Agence France Presse (“THOUSANDS OF JAPANESE COMMEMORATE OKINAWA BATTLE,” Tokyo, 06/23/98) reported that 5,000 people held a memorial in Okinawa Tuesday for the 53rd anniversary of the World War II battle for the island. Organizers said that some 15 people from the ROK participated in the memorial service, the first time relatives of Koreans who died in the battle have attended. The Okinawa government announced the carving of 663 new names on stone monuments for those confirmed to have died from the battle, bringing the total to 237,318 people. The battle claimed an estimated 12,500 US lives, 37,000 US wounded, and about one third of Okinawa’s population, along with soldiers from the former Japanese colonies of Korea and Taiwan. Okinawa Governor Masahide Ota stated, “We want to renew our endless effort to achieve the creation of peace.” He added, “Our wish for the return of the [US military] bases is still unfulfilled.” He called on the Japanese government to cancel the new Japan-US defense guidelines announced earlier this year.

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6. PRC Reaction to South Asian Nuclear Tests

Reuters (“CHINA URGES INDIA, PAKISTAN TO STOP NUKE PROGRAMME,” Beijing, 06/22/98) reported that the PRC’s Xinhua news agency said on Monday that President Jiang Zemin has urged India and Pakistan to give up their nuclear weapons programs and unconditionally sign the Nuclear Non- proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Jiang stated, “I wish to point out that nuclear testing is against international trends, no matter whether the test is conducted by India or Pakistan.” However, he added, “We must not fail to note that it was India who started the South Asia crisis.”

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, JUNE 22, 1998,” Washington, USIA Transcript, 06/23/98) said that the US is seeking greater cooperation from the PRC in accepting international norms for missile nonproliferation. Rubin stated, “China has been constructive and has worked with us and has been a part of our process to send a very strong signal to India and Pakistan that its decisions to test were a mistake.” He added, “China has played a responsible role since these tests, and that is better for the security of the United States than being in a position where we don’t talk to the Chinese because people somehow think that sticking our head in the sand is a better way to advance the national interests of the United States.”

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7. Russian-Indian Nuclear Cooperation

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, JUNE 22, 1998,” Washington, USIA Transcript, 06/23/98) said that Russia’s decision to proceed with a planned reactor sale to India is “not consistent” with its obligations as a member of the Nuclear Supplier’s Group not to sell reactors to countries that lack safeguards on all nuclear facilities. Rubin stated, “The most recent Russian announcement sends precisely the wrong signal at the wrong time. It undercuts the good work we have done together in the Permanent Five and the G-8 to get India to understand that nuclear testing does not bring rewards.” He said that the US view is “that you should not cooperate with a facility in a country where every facility is not under safeguards. The Russian view is that this particular program is not cooperating with an unsafeguarded facility; it’s cooperating with safeguarded facilities, even though there are unsafeguarded facilities in India.”

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Capture of DPRK Submarine

The ROK Ministry of National Defense (MOND) confirmed late Monday that an unidentified submarine had been spotted off the East Sea port of Sokcho. The vessel, apparently a seventy-ton class submarine, was seen on the surface at 4:33 p.m. entangled in fishing nets, 18 kilometers off the coast and well within ROK territorial waters. The MOND have yet to confirm whether the sub is a DPRK vessel or not, but most analysts believe that due to its small size, the DPRK is the only possible country of origin. The crew from an ROK fishing boat said that three people came out of the submarine to try to free it from the nets, but it immediately became entangled in more squid nets. ROK naval units had taken the submarine under tow after firing warning shots, and were expected to berth it at Sokcho. (Chosun Ilbo, “UNIDENTIFIED SUBMARINE SPOTTED IN EAST SEA,” 06/23/98)

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2. ROK Tycoon Returns from DPRK

Hyundai Business Group founder Chung Ju-yung will return home Tuesday afternoon, wrapping up an eight-visit to the DPRK amid expectations that his visit will help realize the reunion of separated family members and open a tour route to Mt. Kumgang. Chung is expected to hold a press conference after crossing the Military Demarcation Line via the truce village of Panmunjom. So far, the outcome of business consultations between Chung and DPRK officials remains undisclosed. It is also unknown whether he met Kim Jong-il, general secretary of the Workers’ Party. Observers here are skeptical over the possibility that such a meeting took place. Originally, Chung was expected to arrive in Panmunjom in the morning, but his arrival was postponed to 2 p.m. because of an Army general-level meeting between the UN Command (UNC) and the DPRK’s Korean People’s Army (KPA), slated at the truce village at 10 a.m. Tuesday. ROK Unification Minister Kang In-duk is also scheduled to give a lecture for foreign investors, organized by The Economist Group, at the Swiss compound in Panmunjom at 5 p.m. Tuesday to explain the ROK’s positions on foreign companies’ possible investment in the DPRK. (Korea Times, “CHUNG TO RETURN FROM NK,” 06/23/98)

Business tycoon Chung Ju-yung is planning to send a second batch of cattle to the DPRK through Panmunjom by the end of this month, an ROK government official said Monday. Chung said he would add one more cow to the 1,000 he had promised, which a government official said is a message that he could send more cattle in the future. The exact date of the second cattle delivery will be decided when ROK and DPRK liaison officers meet in Panmunjom after Chung’s return, the official said. (Korea Herald, “CHUNG PLANS TO SEND 501 MORE COWS,” 06/23/98)

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3. ROK National Security Strategy

The ROK government is drawing up a “National Security Strategy” to set guidelines for the nation’s security, unification, and foreign policies, a top ROK presidential official said Monday. The security blueprint will be adopted at a National Security Council (NSC) meeting to be held late next month or early August, said Lim Dong-won, President Kim Dae-jung’s top security and foreign policy advisor. Lim said that President Kim would preside over the planned NSC meeting. The Kim government has been trying to activate the NSC, which, unlike its US counterpart, existed only on paper and played only a small role in the formulation and execution of security and foreign affairs policies during the past governments. The Kim administration has already established a standing committee under the NSC. The panel consists of foreign policy and security-related ministers, Lim, and the chief of the Agency for National Security Planning (NSP). Lim heads the recently launched secretariat of the standing committee, which meets once a week to discuss the government’s dealings with the DPRK, as well as security and foreign policies. (Korea Herald, “GOVERNMENT SET TO ADOPT ‘NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY’,” 06/23/98)

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Wade L. Huntley: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

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

Shin Dong-bom: dongbom_shin@wisenet.co.kr
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Choi Chung-moon: cily@star.elim.co.kr
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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

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

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

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


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