NAPSNet Daily Report 23 October, 1997

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 23 October, 1997", NAPSNet Daily Report, October 23, 1997,


I. United States

I. United States

1. DPRK-Japan Relations

The AP-Dow Jones News Service (“JAPAN: U.N. TO EXAMINE ALLEGED NORTH KOREA KIDNAPPINGS,” Tokyo, 10/23/97) reported that an anonymous Japanese foreign ministry official said that UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Yasushi Akashi on Thursday reiterated a pledge to investigate allegations that the DPRK has kidnapped Japanese citizens. Akashi made the remark in a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi during a five-day visit to Japan, the ministry official said. Akashi first agreed to probe the abduction allegations in a meeting with Obuchi last month in New York. Separately, Japan’s Kyodo News reported Thursday that the DPRK said that its moves to permit Japanese wives of DPRK citizens to visit Japan could provide an opportunity for the two countries to improve relations.

2. ROK Blocks DPRK Website

Wired Magazine (Dan Brekke, “NORTH KOREA PAGE GETS GEOCITIES BOUNCED FROM SOUTH,” San Francisco, 10/22/97) reported that the ROK Ministry of Information and Communications ordered the blocking of the GeoCities online server after discovering a page ( celebrating Kim Il-sung’s doctrine of juche, or self-reliance. The page is attributed to the Australian Association for the Study of the Juche Idea. Bennett Kleinberg, a vice president with GeoCities’s media firm, Edelman Communications, confirmed that the ROK government has blocked access to GeoCities, and said that the company’s lawyers have contacted the ROK government through the ROK consulate in Los Angeles to get the ban reversed. He added that GeoCities has not considered removing the site.

3. ROK Presidential Election

Reuters (Jane Lee, “SOUTH KOREA’S RULING PARTY BREAKING APART,” Seoul, 10/23/97) reported that Kang Sam-jae, known to political analysts as a link between ROK President Kim Young-sam and ruling party presidential candidate Lee Hoi-chang, resigned from a key post in the ruling New Korea Party Thursday along with a handful of senior colleagues. The resignation came a day after Lee demanded that President Kim leave the party to ensure fair presidential elections on December 18. Kang’s departure signaled the seriousness of the rift between the ruling party candidate and President Kim’s core of party supporters, analysts said. “This incident seems to confirm the ruling party is splitting up,” said Shin Myung-soon, political science professor at Yonsei University, adding, “The faction dissatisfied with Lee could form an anti-Kim Dae-jung coalition and choose a new candidate.” Kang attributed his resignation to his failure to improve Lee’s standing in the polls.

4. PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Washington Post (Steven Mufson, “CHINA EASES STANCE ON TAIWAN,” Beijing, 10/23/97, A25) reported that the PRC is taking a more conciliatory stance toward Taiwan on the eve of PRC President Jiang Zemin’s visit to the US. Tang Shubei, head of the PRC Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, said in an interview last week, “We don’t have any time frame for solving this problem.” Tang also expressed satisfaction with US efforts to defuse the issue. Speaking of the March, 1996 PRC military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, Tang said, “Our assessment is still that the exercises were necessary. Since then, the United States has … realized the importance of the Taiwan matter.” Tang said. He added, “For the next two years, while [Taiwan President] Lee Teng-hui is in office, it won’t be possible to solve this Taiwan problem.” Chu Shulong, director of the North America affairs division of the PRC Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said that “China and the United States would like to maintain the status quo. But the problem is Taiwan. A lot of people say that Lee Teng-hui can destroy U.S.-China relations any time he wants.” Chu said the PRC would like a pledge from the US to avoid another extended private visit by a Taiwanese leader and a commitment to make no new major arms sales to Taiwan. He added, “The United States can play a big role and has a big responsibility [for preventing Taiwanese moves toward independence]. That doesn’t prevent Taiwan from doing something crazy, but it can prevent Taiwan from succeeding.” Meanwhile the Beijing monthly magazine, Cross-Straits Relations, on Thursday called for early political negotiations between the mainland and Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency (Lilian Wu, “TALKS ON DIRECT CROSS-STRAIT LINKS PREMATURE: MAC,” Taipei, 10/23/97) reported that Sheu Ke-sheng, vice chairman of the cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), said Thursday that it is still too early to discuss direct trade, postal, and transportation links with the PRC. Sheu was responding to local media reports that MAC is now discussing the timing for opening the “three links.” He said that the biggest hurdle for the opening of the direct links lies in the PRC’s continued denial of the fact of separate rule on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and its efforts to isolate Taiwan internationally. In addition, the PRC also refuses to forswear the use of force against Taiwan, he said. However, opposition New Party Legislator Lee Ching-hua and National Taiwan University Professor Chang Ling-cheng argued that the government is dragging its feet on opening transportation links under the pretext of national security.

5. US Policy Toward Taiwan

Taiwan’s Central News Agency (Eva Chen, “BEIJING MAY SEEK CONCRETE US COMMITMENTS DURING SUMMI: KMT,” Taipei, 10/23/97) reported that sources from Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang (KMT) said that PRC President Jiang Zemin may ask the US for concrete commitments on opposing Taiwan independence and participation in the UN, as well as on a halt of arms sales to the island. The latest issue of Mainland Affairs Biweekly, a periodical of the KMT Mainland Operations Department, said Wednesday that the outcome of the Clinton-Jiang summit should be closely scrutinized, although its substance and conclusions are hard to predict. The report suggested that the PRC may ask the US to freeze arms sales to Taiwan in exchange for a pledge to halt PRC exports of nuclear technology to Iran. The publication stated that any PRC gains from the Jiang-Clinton summit will most probably emerge during the course of a planned national PRC conference on Taiwan affairs. It added that the PRC’s policy toward Taiwan is also likely to be clearly outlined at that time, which will have a significant bearing upon the future direction of relations between the PRC and Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency (Han Nai-kuo, “OFFICIAL ASSERTS NO CHANGE IN US POLICY TOWARD TAIWAN,” Washington, 10/22/97) reported that Jeffrey Bader, the director for Asian affairs at the US National Security Council, said Wednesday that the US does not intend to seek improved relations with the PRC at the expense of Taiwan. Bader said that US policy on Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which requires the US to provide sufficient weapons of a defensive nature to Taiwan for its own security. However, he added that the 1982 joint communique between the US and the PRC, which declared that the US would gradually reduce its arms sales to Taiwan both qualitatively and quantitatively, also applies. “We have not changed, nor are we changing, our policy on arms sales to Taiwan,” he said, adding, “We do not accept linkage to other extraneous subjects,” such as PRC pledges on nuclear nonproliferation. Bader also gave assurances that the US will not change its policy of allowing Taiwan leaders to enter the US for private visits or transit stops. “We have a ‘one China’ policy, and we encourage resumption of cross-strait exchanges in a constructive way between the PRC and Taiwan,” he said, adding that the Clinton administration has made it very clear that these basic elements of US policy “are not going to be changed in the lead up to or during or as a consequence of (Jiang’s) visit.”

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development.

Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Shin Dong-bom:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Choi Chung-moon:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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