NAPSNet Daily Report 23 October, 2000

Recommended Citation

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

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. Albright’s Visit to DPRK
2. US Congressional View of Albright Visit
3. US-DPRK Hotline
4. DPRK Famine
5. DPRK-EU Relations
6. DPRK-Japan Relations
7. DPRK-PRC Defense Talks
8. PRC Military Preparedness
9. PRC Missile Deployment
10. US-Japan Arms Control Meeting
II. Republic of Korea 1. Albright’s Visit to DPRK
2. Inter-Korean Exchanges
3. DPRK Relations with EU
4. DPRK Dam Construction
5. DPRK Communications Sector

I. United States

1. Albright’s Visit to DPRK

The Washington Post (Steven Mufson and Doug Struck, “ALBRIGHT ARRIVES IN N. KOREA,” Pyongyang, 10/23/00), Agence France Presse (Matthew Lee, “ALBRIGHT TO MEET KIM JONG-IL AS HISTORIC NKOREA TRIP BEGINS,” Pyongyang, 10/23/00), the Associated Press (“US ALBRIGHT REACHES OUT TO N KOREA IN GROUNDBREAKING TRIP,” Pyongyang, 10/23/00), and Reuters (Jonathan Wright, “ALBRIGHT TELLS NORTH KOREA TO COOPERATE WITH WORLD,” Pyongyang, 10/23/00) reported that upon arrival in Pyongyang, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made a courtesy call to Vice Marshall Jo Myong-rok at the palace honoring the late Kim Il-sung. The meeting was closed to the press and a senior US official stressed that Albright had only “stopped briefly” in front of the bier where Kim Il-sung’s body lies and did not place flowers before it. The official said that Jo was most interested in ensuring the success of Albright’s trip to clear the way for US President Bill Clinton to visit, while the secretary stressed the importance of the DPRK addressing US concerns before such a trip could be possible. US officials said that Albright was set to meet DPRK Kim Jong-il at 3:00 p.m. (0600 GMT). Later, Kim was to host a dinner for Albright. Last minute re-scheduling forced the cancellation of much of the rest of Albright’s events on her first day in the DPRK, including a working meeting with Jo, talks with nominal head of state Kim Young-nam, and a visit to an acrobatic circus. In her meetings with Kim Jong-il, Albright was expected to focus on his purported offer to abandon the DPRK’s missile program in exchange for commercial satellite launches. She was also expected to press Kim on US concerns about the DPRK’s suspect nuclear programs and terrorism. One senior US official said, “We have reason to believe, because of the discussions that we have had, that North Korea may be prepared to take some very serious steps. Based on the discussions that we have had … we believe there is the possibility of some serious progress on issues of major concern to us.” [Ed. note: The Washington Post article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 23, 2000.]

Japan Economic Newswire (“ALBRIGHT, KIM DISCUSS U.S.-N. KOREA RELATIONS,” Pyongyang, 10/23/00) reported that according to a US State Department official, DPRK leader Kim Jong-il on Monday expressed satisfaction with the current state of affairs between the DPRK and the US in his meeting with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Kim thanked Albright for arranging a meeting between US President Bill Clinton and DPRK Vice Marshal Jo Myong-rok in Washington. Kim was quoted as telling Albright in reference to Jo’s Washington trip, “There was no dispute between us … everything went smoothly.” The talks at the Paekhwawon state guesthouse in Pyongyang continued for more than three hours, much longer than anticipated. Japanese officials said that Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono spoke to Albright by telephone while she was on her way to Pyongyang and conveyed Japan’s concerns about the DPRK, including the alleged abduction of Japanese nationals by DPRK agents and the DPRK’s missile development program. Albright said she would keep those concerns in mind in her talks with DPRK officials.

Agence France Presse (“ALBRIGHT MEETS KIM JONG-IL ON HISTORIC TRIP, PRESENTS CLINTON LETTER,” Pyongyang, 10/23/00) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with DPRK Korean leader Kim Jong-il on Monday. US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that Albright also presented Kim with a letter from US President Bill Clinton that “generally dealt with the exploration of how to further develop relations with North Korea.” He declined to comment on the substance of the letter, but made clear that one topic of conversation between Albright and the DPRK officials she met on Monday had been Kim Jong-il’s invitation to the president to visit the DPRK before the end of his term. Boucher said, “They were discussing issues of concern to the United States and being able to deal with these issues is the key to having a visit by the president.”

2. US Congressional View of Albright Visit

The US Department of State, Office of International Information Programs (“BIDEN SAYS U.S. SHOULD TEST PYONGYANG’S COMMITMENT TO PEACE,” 10/20/00) reported that US Senator Joseph Biden (Democrat, Delaware) said in an October 19 speech to fellow lawmakers that the US is engaged in a high-stakes effort to see if the DPRK is sincere in seeking better relations with the US and its allies in the region. Biden, the ranking minority member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said, “The stakes on the peninsula are high,” adding that events there “will not only shape the security environment of Northeast Asia, but also affect our decision whether to deploy a limited national missile defense, and if so, what kind of defense.” He added that from his perspective, “it would be a great accomplishment if we could neutralize the North Korean missile threat through diplomacy rather than spend billions of dollars to construct a missile defense system which might do more harm to our national security than good.” Biden also praised Albright and Counselor for the Department of State Wendy Sherman as the two diplomats sought to “build on the momentum generated over the past few months. It is a tough job, but it is incumbent on us to test North Korea’s commitment to peace.”

3. US-DPRK Hotline

U.S. News and World Report (Paul Bedard, “WASHINGTON WHISPERS: HOTLINE, HOTLINE” 10/30/00) reported that a hotline is being constructed between the US and the DPRK. Its use for now is to help in the preparations for US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s trip and a possible visit by US President Bill Clinton next month, but if all goes well, the hotline will remain. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 23, 2000.]

4. DPRK Famine

Japan Economic Newswire (“ALBRIGHT VISITS WFP FOOD DISTRIBUTION SITE IN PYONGYANG,” Pyongyang, 10/23/00) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Monday visited a Pyongyang kindergarten designated as a World Food Program (WFP) food-distribution site. In a speech before the kindergartners and their parents, Albright praised WFP workers’ efforts to free children from hunger. Albright went to the kindergarten in Pyongyang’s Rangnang district before meeting DPRK leader Kim Jong-il.

Agence France Presse (“FOOD SHORTAGES IN NORTH KOREA STILL PERILOUS, WFP SAYS,” Pyongyang, 10/23/00) reported that World Food Programme officials in the DPRK said Monday that a five-year mission in the DPRK will last at least another year. WFP’s DPRK director Douglas Broderick said, “I wouldn’t use the word famine, but the food security situation is generally not good, it is pretty perilous and obviously we are concerned that if there is a large deficit this year then there will be problems later. There are growing indications that this year’s harvest may be less than previously expected and that the country may need even greater amounts of food aid than it has received last year.” Broderick denied that aid was being misused, but admitted that the WFP had supplied between one third to a half of the country’s “cereal deficit” in recent years, making it easier for the government to ensure that the social “elites” and the military got food from other sources. He added, “The elites and the military want to eat rice and they are eating rice from unattached aid stocks from places like China, while most of the American aid is wheat and corn.” David Morton, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, expressed hopes the nation would soon be turning the corner towards self-sufficiency but said it would take more time to see recent agricultural reforms take effect. Morton said, “Our agricultural experts tell us that the level of productivity they have is pretty good, considering the constraints in arable land, fuel and fertilizer, as well as the natural disasters.” However, he doubted that the DPRK was becoming increasingly dependent on WFP handouts. He said, “Right now we don’t worry that they will become dependent on the aid because we feel that they are so keen on becoming self-sufficient, while we are seeing a lot of efforts out there to improve the situation.”

5. DPRK-EU Relations

Agence France Presse (“NORTH KOREA HAILS ‘END OF COLD WAR’ AS WEST COSIES UP TO PYONGYANG,” Seoul, 10/21/00) reported that the DPRK on October 21 welcomed this week’s rush by European Union (EU) countries to open diplomatic relations with it. A spokesman for the DPRK foreign ministry told the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA): “We welcome the decision of those countries, considering that this conforms with the trend of the situation today when radical changes are taking place in international relations after the end of the Cold War.” The spokesman added that the decision whether to open an embassy in the DPRK was an “individual” one for each nation. He said that the DPRK had an “invariable” stand to establish and develop relations with all nations “on the basis of mutual respect and sovereignty, non-interference in other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefits in accordance with the noble idea of foreign policy — independence, peace and friendship. To establish diplomatic relations between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and EU countries will help expand and develop the bilateral relations in various fields and preserve peace and security in northeast Asia and the rest of the world.”

6. DPRK-Japan Relations

Agence France Presse (“JAPAN UNDER FIRE OVER NORTH KOREA PEACE MOVES,” Seoul, 10/21/00) reported that the DPRK state media criticized Japan for what it called moves to rewrite its constitution so its armed forces can play a greater international role. The ruling party’s newspaper, Rodung Sinmun, highlighted Japan’s wartime role and said Japan was “paving a wide avenue for aggression.” Japanese analysts warned that Japan must take “drastic” action to get relations on track with the DPRK. Masao Okonogi, a professor of Korean affairs at Tokyo’s Keio University, said, “If Japan sticks to the pending issues too much, it will be eventually isolated just like North Korea used to be in the past. Japan has to take decisive action in the very near future.” Analysts said that pressure on Japan will grow if US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright can arrange a visit by US President Bill Clinton. Hideshi Takesada, professor at Tokyo’s National Institute for Defense Studies, said, “If the United States and North Korea can agree on Cinton’s visit, it will be a real shock to Japan. As Japan cannot reach a breakthrough in bilateral talks, it needs to propose alternative pictures of a dialogue framework such as new four-way talks among Japan, the United States, South and North Korea.” Mori told reporters he was looking for a chance to hold a summit with Kim Jong-il. He said, “I think it is good to hold summit talks. I don’t think I can meet him immediately, but I am ready to talk if there is a chance.”

7. DPRK-PRC Defense Talks

The New York Times (Elisabeth Rosenthal, “CHINESE OFFICIAL BEATS ALBRIGHT TO NORTH KOREA,” Beijing, 10/23/00) and Reuters (“TOP CHINESE MILITARY OFFICIAL VISITS NORTH KOREA,” Beijing, 10/22/00) reported that Vice Chairman of the PRC Central Military Commission Chi Haotian flew to the DPRK on October 22 for “friendly talks,” just hours before US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright was due to arrive in Pyongyang. According to the official New China News Agency, Chi was accompanied by deputy chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Xiong Guangkai, deputy director of the PLA General Political Department Zhang Shutian, and other senior officers, and will spend five days in the DPRK. The visit’s official purpose is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the PRC’s entry into the Korean War, but the sudden departure this weekend was unexpected and perhaps related to Albright’s impending arrival. The news agency said that the visit is “intended to improve the existing friendship and cooperation between the two countries.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 23, 2000.]

8. PRC Military Preparedness

The Associated Press (John Leicester, “CHINESE PREPARE FOR WAR WITH US,” Beijing, 10/23/00) reported that the PRC state media said that the military displays at four land and sea sites in northern PRC earlier this month proved new capabilities to attack stealth warplanes and cruise missiles. PRC generals are also planning against expected US military intervention should PRC leaders order the People’s Liberation Army to recover Taiwan. Yan Xuetong, an expert in international security at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, said, “Do they prepare against the United States? My answer is very clear: Yes.” Yan said that he believes war with Taiwan is inevitable. Yan said the US Defense Department was moving more submarines to the Pacific and stockpiling cruise missiles on the Pacific island of Guam. Yan said the PRC leaders are sure to conclude “that the U.S. military has prepared for war against China.” An October 18 report released by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies said that the PRC is preoccupied this year with domestic issues, among them preparing to enter the World Trade Organization. It forecast only “a remote possibility” of confrontation over Taiwan. The paper noted that Sino-US relations have improved this year, and their militaries have expanded contact through reciprocal ship visits and trips by PRC officers to the US. However, PRC suspicions have been heightened by US efforts to develop anti-missile shields, by congressional attempts to expand military ties with Taiwan, and by continued US arms sales to the island. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 23, 2000.]

9. PRC Missile Deployment

Agence France Presse (“CHINA DEPLOYS GUIDED MISSILE FORCES AROUND HONG KONG,” Hong Kong, 10/23/00) reported that the Chinese-language daily The Sun said that the PRC has deployed specialist air-defense guided missile forces in Shenzhen and its surrounding islands to guard against attacks from Taiwan. The paper said that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has set up four PLA camps, including air-defense guided missile troops in nearby Daya Bay, where a joint venture nuclear power plant is located. The paper said that while these air-defense forces were not counted as part of the Hong Kong PLA garrison, they would be responsible for defending Hong Kong and Shenzhen against attacks from Taiwan. An unnamed informed source told the daily, “The central government has considered that to strengthen Hong Kong’s defense ability, with less social impact, it is best to set up the air-defense forces in Shenzhen.” The report said that at least nine advanced air-defense warning systems have been strategically set up in Shenzhen’s downtown area. The decision to set up an air defense zone was reportedly in preparation for a possible outbreak of war in the Taiwan Strait as the island may retaliate by directing its missiles at Shenzhen and Hong Kong. A former Taiwanese official under then president Lee Teng-hui had warned in Bangkok in July last year that Taiwan would direct its missiles at Hong Kong if war broke out across the Strait.

10. US-Japan Arms Control Meeting

The US Department of the State, Office of the Spokesman, released a statement by Spokesman Richard Boucher (“STATEMENT ON SECOND MEETING OF THE U.S.-JAPAN COMMISSION ON ARMS CONTROL, DISARMAMENT, NON-PROLIFERATION AND VERIFICATION,” 10/20/00) which said: “Continuing a process begun on March 8, 2000, the United States and Japan have concluded the second meeting of the U.S.-Japan Commission on Arms Control, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation, and Verification. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John D. Holum and Ambassador Norio Hattori, Director General for Arms Control and Scientific Affairs of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, chaired the Commission. Augmenting ongoing bilateral consultations, the Commission reflects both sides’ shared interest in consulting closely on arms control and non- proliferation-related concerns. At this meeting, senior U.S. and Japanese officials reviewed their respective positions on key issues under the Commission’s mandate, including missile defense, negotiations on a compliance protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention, Russian nuclear warhead dismantlement, and missile proliferation. Further, the United States and Japan reaffirmed their commitment to encourage non-governmental experts in both countries to enhance their collaboration in support of the Commission’s objectives. Separately, the Technical Cooperation Working Group met on October 19 in Washington. The Working Group reviewed the technical assessments undertaken over the last six months and agreed to undertake technical cooperation initiatives to explore larger, longer-term projects, particularly with regard to CTBT verification.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. Albright’s Visit to DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (“ALBRIGHT DEPARTS FOR PYONGYANG,” Seoul, 10/21/00) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her delegation left Washington at midnight October 21 (local time) to fly to the DPRK, in what is the highest level official contact between the two countries. During her three-day stay there, she was to hold talks with Kim Jong-il, the chairman of the National Defense Committee, Jo Myong-rok, the vice marshal, and Kim Young- nam, the titular leader of the DPRK. Although the exact itinerary has not been confirmed yet, Secretary Albright was expected to meet with Kim Jong Il on October 24. The two were to discuss pending issues related to US-DPRK relations and US President Bill Clinton’s possible visit to the DPRK next month. The New York Times, citing a US administration official, reported on Sunday that Secretary Albright would discuss removing the DPRK from a list of terrorist supporting nations, easing military tensions between the two Koreas, establishing a liaison office, and missile development. Albright will fly to Seoul on October 25 after wrapping up her visit to the DPRK and meet with President Kim Dae-jung. She will also attend a foreign ministers’ meeting with her counterparts from the ROK and Japan before leaving for the US the following day.

2. Inter-Korean Exchanges

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “STALEMATE IN S-N TALKS SEEN PROTRACTED AS PYONGYANG POSTPONES CONTACTS,” Seoul, 10/22/00) reported that ROK officials and analysts said on Saturday that with the DPRK ignoring the ROK’s latest calls for the implementation of their joint projects, the deadlock in inter-Korean relations may last several months. On Thursday, the ROK urged the DPRK to speed up preparations for reunions of separated families. It also criticized the DPRK for “breaking trust” with its partners. The DPRK, however, has yet to even comment on the request. If the DPRK-US relationship is the main reason for the delay, then prospects for further inter-Korean exchanges are even more gloomy, private analysts said. They pointed out that a series of diplomatic events are scheduled between the DPRK and the US for the next several months, and this will only lead to a prolonged stalemate in inter-Korean relations.

The Korea Times (“KOREAS AGREE TO STEPS ON CONFIDENCE BUILDING,” Seoul, 10/21/00) reported that the ROK and the DPRK agreed to study confidence-building measures during their first defense ministers’ talks on the southern resort island of Cheju in late September, it was reported belatedly. ROK Defense Minister Cho Seong-tae made the remarks during his testimony before the National Assembly on Friday. With the agreement, the two Koreas will be able to discuss substantial measures aimed at building confidence and easing military tensions during their second defense ministerial talks in the DPRK scheduled for next month, analysts said.

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, “NK DELAYS SECOND ROUND OF FAMILY VISITS,” Seoul, 10/21/00) reported that it was learned Sunday that the second round of displaced family visits, scheduled for November 2-4, will apparently be postponed as the DPRK has failed to submit its list of 200 candidates. In addition, the DPRK has failed to notify the ROK National Red Cross of the status of 100 people given to it in a list on September 30, without giving any reason for the delay. The exchange of letters due to be held in November is now almost certain to be delayed also. In addition, the DPRK has unilaterally abandoned the exchange of newspapers, after just five days; and the second round of economic cooperation talks that were supposed to take place in Pyongyang on October 18.

3. DPRK Relations with EU

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “WESTERN NATIONS IMPROVING RELATIONS WITH NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 10/21/00) and The Korea Times (“EU HAS NO COMMON NK POLICY: SCHROEDER,” Seoul, 10/21/00) reported that German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder disputed allegations of disharmony within European Union (EU) countries regarding the establishment of diplomatic ties with the DPRK. “For years, six European Union countries have had diplomatic relations with North Korea,” he noted, adding that there had been no controversies back then. “There has never been a joint policy among the European Union countries regarding the establishment of diplomatic ties with North Korea,” he stressed. On Thursday, Germany and Spain announced that they would seek to establish diplomatic ties with the DPRK, following a similar statement by Great Britain on Wednesday. However, the Belgian foreign ministry issued a statement saying that it should be left to the EU presidency (France) “to take the initiative in this matter.” France retains a cautious stand on the issue, saying that the formation of diplomatic relations depends on the DPRK’s progress in such areas as human rights and weapons nonproliferation. During the press conference, Schroeder also expressed Germany’s optimism and belief in rapprochement on the peninsula.

4. DPRK Dam Construction

Chosun Ilbo (Jee Hae-bom, “NK MILITARY COMPLETES DAM,” Beijing, 10/21/00) reported that according to a western source on Sunday, the DPRK’s Ahnbyon Chongyon (Kumgang Mountain) hydro-electric power station, which was completed on October 20, has the secondary military purpose of technically being able to flood the ROK. DPRK military units constructed a dam on the Imjin River halting flow southward, and built three 40km water conduits to funnel water east to the 400Kw hydroelectric station. Construction of the dam had been suspended due to a lack of funds, but was resumed on September 30 1999 after an influx of money from the Hyundai Kumgang Mountains project.

5. DPRK Communications Sector

The Korea Herald (“N. KOREANS HAVE 1.15 TV SETS PER 10 PERSONS,” Seoul, 10/21/00) reported that there are a total of 2.7 million TV sets in the DPRK based on statistics compiled in 1996, or 1.15 sets per 10 persons. According to material presented by the Information and Communication Ministry for parliamentary inspection, there are three TV stations in the DPRK–Chosun Central TV, Mansudae TV and Kaesung TV–and most of the TV sets are black and white. The DPRK successfully concluded an Internet exchange with Australia several years ago, but generally prohibits such exchanges with foreign countries. However, it maintains Chinese and Japanese-registered Web sites for propaganda purposes.

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