NAPSNet Daily Report 23 September, 1999

Recommended Citation

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

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Australia

III. Announcements

I. United States

1. DPRK Missile Test

Reuters (“CLINTON THINKS NKOREA WILL STICK TO MISSILE PLEDGE,” Washington, 09/22/99) reported that US President Bill Clinton said on Wednesday that he believes that the DPRK will fulfill its pledge not to test long-range missiles. Clinton added, “And of course, if the future proves otherwise, there are always other options open to us.” He said that the Berlin agreement “offers the most promising opportunity to lift the cloud of uncertainty and insecurity and danger that otherwise would hang over that entire region, including the American servicemen and women who are there.”

2. DPRK Leader Dies

The Associated Press (“NORTH KOREAN LEADER RI JONG OK DIES,” Seoul, 09/23/99) reported that Ri Jong-ok, a senior member of the DPRK Workers’ Party who once served as premier, died Thursday at the age of 83. The DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency said that Ri will be buried Saturday after a state funeral. The report did not give a cause of death. Ri had served in various government and party posts under DPRK founder Kim Il- sung, including premier for six years. He was also vice president from 1984-1998. In 1998, Ri was elected as vice president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly.

3. Cross-Taiwan Straits Relations

The Associated Press (Charles Hutzler, “CHINA: TAIWAN MUST MAKE CONCESSIONS,” Beijing, 09/23/99) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue on Thursday said that Taiwan President Lee Teng- hui’s “two states” policy remained an obstacle to improving cross-Straits relations. Zhang stated, “So long as Lee Teng-hui openly retracts the ‘two-states theory’ and returns to a ‘one-China principle,’ the mainland is ready to resume all kinds of extensive negotiations and dialogue with Taiwan.”

4. Taiwan Earthquake

Reuters (Jeffrey Parker, “TAIWAN ON CHINA AID: THANKS, BUT NO THANKS,” Taipei, 09/23/99) reported that Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) sent a letter to its PRC counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, rejecting the PRC’s offer to send medical teams to help cope with the recent earthquake. The letter stated, “We appreciate your heartfelt concern. If there is a need in the future we will draw on your expertise.” SEF’s lead negotiator, Jan Jyh-horng, said that Taiwan was not treating the PRC’s offer any differently from than anyone else’s and that its gesture was appreciated. Regarding whether the PRC’s offer would lead to a warming of relations, Jan stated, “Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. It’s up to them.” Taiwan said that it was prepared to accept the PRC’s offer of US$100,000 in cash but saw no need for the US$60,000 worth of relief goods that the PRC had offered.

5. Bombing of PRC Embassy

The Associated Press (Barry Schweid, “CHINA REJECTS U.S. EXPLANATION,” New York, 09/23/99) and Reuters (Carol Giacomo, “CHINA: U.S. BOMBING OF BEIJING’S EMBASSY STILL ISSUE,” United Nations, 09/23/99) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan on Thursday rejected a US explanation that NATO’s bombing of the PRC Embassy in Yugoslavia. Tang welcomed moves by the US to compensate the families of the people killed and injured in the attack, but added, “The United States is obligated to offer a more satisfactory explanation.” US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright responded, “It is difficult when one is giving the true explanation and the other side is rejecting it.” She added, “I can only repeat it was a mistake.”

6. Alleged PRC Espionage

Reuters (Tabassum Zakaria, “FBI TO BROADEN INVESTIGATION OF CHINA SPYING,” Washington, 09/22/99), the Los Angeles Times (Bob Drogin, “FBI TO OPEN NEW, EXPANDED PROBE OF CHINA SPY CASE,” Washington, 09/23/99) and the New York Times (James Risen and David Johnston, “U.S. WILL BROADEN INVESTIGATION OF CHINA NUCLEAR SECRETS CASE,” Washington, 09/23/99) reported that an anonymous US government official said on Wednesday that US Attorney General Janet Reno and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Louis Freeh agreed that the FBI will broaden its investigation into allegations of PRC espionage at US nuclear weapons laboratories. Another unnamed source said there would be a “top-to-bottom review” of the case. Officials said that the expanded inquiry will start by screening all individuals who had access to design secrets about the W-88 nuclear warhead. One official said that the original allegation that a Chinese spy had penetrated Los Alamos and stolen W-88 secrets for the PRC has effectively been abandoned. [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for September 23.]

7. PRC Entrance to WTO

The Associated Press (Martin Crutsinger, “U.S., CHINA TO RESUME TRADE TALKS,” Washington, 09/23/99) and the Wall Street Journal (Ian Johnson and Helene Cooper, “U.S. TRADE OFFICIALS INVITE CHINESE TO WASHINGTON FOR TALKS ON WTO,” 09/23/99) reported that Helaine Klaskey, a spokeswoman for US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, said Thursday that the US and the PRC will resume negotiations next week on a trade agreement which could clear the way for the PRC’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). The talks will take place Monday and Tuesday in Washington and will involve delegations led by Barshefsky and PRC Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng. Klaskey stated, “We think it is quite premature to say when we may conclude a deal.”

8. Remains of US Servicemen from World War II

The Associated Press (Robert Burns, “CHINA HANDS OVER U.S. WWII REMAINS,” Washington, 09/23/99) reported that US officials in the PRC on Thursday took possession of a case of human remains believed to be those of two crew members of a US bomber plane that crashed in southern China during World War II. US Defense Department spokesman Larry Greer said that the remains were found this summer during an unpublicized joint US-PRC recovery operation on Mao’er Mountain in Guangxi province.

9. PRC View of UN Military Role

The New York Times (Barbara Crossette, “CHINA AND OTHERS REJECT PLEAS THAT THE U.N. HALT CIVIL WARS,” United Nations, 09/23/99) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan on Wednesday rejected UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s call for more active intervention by the UN to protect civilian populations. Tang stated, “Such arguments as ‘human rights taking precedence over sovereignty’ and ‘humanitarian intervention’ seem to be in vogue these days.” However, he argued, respect for national sovereignty and noninterference in another country’s affairs are “the basic principles governing international relations,” and any deviation would lead to a new form of gunboat diplomacy that would “wreak havoc.”

10. PRC Military Commission

The Washington Post (“CHINESE VICE PRESIDENT HU IS POSITIONED TO TAKE OVER,” Beijing, 09/23/99, A26) reported that PRC Vice President Hu Jintao was appointed Thursday as vice chairman of the Communist Party’s Central Military Commission. Hu becomes the second civilian on the body, chaired by PRC President Jiang Zemin, that oversees the People’s Liberation Army. Political analysts said that Jiang is readying Hu to replace him as president in 2002 when Jiang’s term ends.

11. PRC Tourism in Japan

The Wall Street Journal (Masayoshi Kanabayashi, “JAPAN, CHINA CONTINUE TO REFINE DETAILS OF TOURIST QUALIFICATIONS,” Tokyo, 09/23/99) reported that a Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Japan is still studying “mechanisms” by which to accept tourists from the PRC, and has yet to discuss visa-issuing procedures with PRC officials. The spokesman added that “formal” negotiations between the two countries have not begun. The daily Sankei Shimbun reported recently that the PRC government has agreed to accept limiting visa applicants to people in certain regions, as well as making Chinese travel agents responsible for the return of their clients. The article added that the PRC has yet to agree to the condition of limiting visas to people aged 40 or older.

12. South Asian Nuclear Arms Race

The Associated Press (Kathy Gannon, “NUKE ARMS RACE LOOMS FOR PAKISTAN,” Islamabad, 09/23/99) reported that the annual UN-sponsored report Development in South Asia was released Thursday. The report stated, “When the most basic social services are missing in both India and Pakistan, the rising defense burdens in these countries continue to impose prohibitive social and economic costs on their people.” It added, “If the immense costs of conventional weapons and large armies are not already enough, new estimates for maintaining full-scale nuclear arsenals … are expected to run India and Pakistan each – at a bare minimum – $750 million a year.”

The Associated Press (Ranjan Roy, “PAKISTAN WARNS OF NUCLEAR DOOMSDAY,” United Nations, 09/22/99) reported that Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz South Asian warned of nuclear “doomsday” in South Asia unless world leaders and the UN stop India from developing a massive nuclear arsenal. Aziz told the UN General Assembly, “Pakistan believes that it is now essential to convene a conference, with the participation of all permanent members of the Security Council … to promote the goals of strategic restraint and stability in South Asia.” He proposed a six- point program to get India to reduce its nuclear weapons. Otherwise, “Pakistan will be compelled to enhance its nuclear and missile capabilities and operational readiness to preserve deterrence.” Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh said that Pakistan was responsible for tension in the region, as it had spurned India’s peace proposals and attacked Kashmir. Singh added that India had been obliged to acquire nuclear weapons because Pakistan and the PRC possess them.

II. Australia

1. East Timor

Monday, September 20, 1999

David Jenkins (The Age “US PROMISES TO BACK ALLIED FORCE”) reports that the US has unambiguously signaled that the Americans and their allies are prepared to use overwhelming force if threatened by the Indonesian army (TNI), whilst still being optimistic about cooperation with them, according to commander-in-chief of the US forces in the Pacific, Admiral Dennis Blair. Meanwhile, an East Timorese government-in-exile will operate in Darwin. The resistance leader Mr. Jose “Xanana” Gusmao left Jakarta on Saturday, following threats to his life (The Age, Craig Skehan, “AFTER YEARS IN THE FURNACE A NEW LEADER IS FORGED”). In the interests of achieving statehood, Xanana Gusmao suppressed desire for revenge, calling for reconciliation, and successfully controlled the Falantil independence guerillas, saying “Let bygones be bygones. We should all now move forward and I would like to inform our Indonesian brothers and sisters that the East Timorese will still respect Indonesia as a great nation.”

Tuesday, September 21, 1999

With the arrival of 1500 heavily armed Australian soldiers at Dili airport, up to 20,000 Indonesian troops began to withdraw, with the roads from Dili to West Timor packed with trucks of looted goods (The Age, Lindsay Murdoch, “20,000 INDONESIAN TROOPS START PULLOUT”). Australian troops and commanders are confident in their training and eager to begin their work in East Timor, despite the threats of militia leaders who have promised to take the blood of Australian soldiers (The Age, Gary Tippet, “ADD TO PROUD TRADITION, PM URGES TROOPS”).

Australian Indonesia expert Harold Crouch (Geoffrey Barker, The Australian Financial Review) has warned that any Australian Army build-up would be seen by Indonesia as preparation for intervention in other parts of Indonesia (such as Aceh). The current complementary and mutually non- threatening balance of the two countries’ militaries should not be upset by a large increase in the size of the Australian Army. Rawdon Dalrymple (The Australian Financial Review, “GUARDIANSHIP OF VALUES SHOULD BE A SHARED ENTERPRISE”) argues that a change in direction of Australian foreign policy to an active promotion of human rights, democratisation and good governance marks Australia as the “odd man out” in the region. The end of Australia’s policy of “enmeshment” in East Asia (i.e. Australia adopting itself to Asia, not the other way around) is signalled by Australia’s attempts to take a leadership role in promoting human rights and political change.

Wednesday, September 22, 1999

As thousands of InterFET troops enter East Timor, the shooting attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta is suspected to have been organised with TNI involvement, with Australian officials deeply concerned about the rising level of animosity towards Australia (The Age, Lindsay Murdoch and Paul Daly, “GUN ATTACK ON EMBASSY”). Although no shots have yet been fired in the first two days of the InterFET mission, and Indonesian troops are beginning their withdrawal, a clear and present danger remains to both troops and East Timorses civillians from the “nasties” – rogue elements of the TNI’s Kopassus special forces and the hardcore militiamen (The Age, Paul Daly, “THE NASTY REALITY IS YET TO COME”). Moves to seal the border between East and West Timor are likely to be the most dangerous, as militias are expected to strike quickly and then withdraw to the border. Sarah Crichton (The Age, “KUPANG VIOLENCE ALERT”) reports that there are fears of an outbreak of violence in West Timor, where resentment is increasing over the abusive behaviour of the armed militia groups that have been built up by the Indonesian military.

Greg Sheridan (The Australian, “CANBERRA’S TRIUMPH A SWEEPING FAILURE”) argues that rather than a diplomatic triumph, Australia’s initiatives in East Timor have so far produced perhaps tens of thousands dead, a shattered East Timor, a risky and costly exercise, and a worsening relationship with Indonesia. The Howard government’s central mistake has been to rely on the weak and eccentric Indonesian President, B.J Habibie, which has led to a unanimous dislike of Australian in Indonesia. It is not just Indonesia’s economy, but its political system and social structures that are in crisis (The Australian Financial Review, Tim Dodd, “OLD HAND RECOGNISES THE DEPTH OF A NATION’S CRISIS”), and any outburst of nationalism will only decrease the chances of reform of key institutions (such as the military) and cut Indonesia off from foreign aid and investment. Australia’s central challenge in its commitment to East Timor is to integrate an independent East Timor into a viable Australia-Indonesia relationship (The Australian, Paul Kelly, “PARTNERSHIPS THE CORNERSTONE OF DEFENCE”), which will require recognition that Australia relies on partnerships, alliances and UN deployments, not solo initiatives. Avoiding a military rivalry between Indonesia and Australia is crucial, given the strained relationship, however the gradual rundown of Australia’s defence capability must be speedily reversed.

Geoffrey Barker (The Australian Financial Review, “DEFENCE SPENDING TO JUMP: PM”) reports that Prime Minister John Howard has foreshadowed a significant increase in defence spending, and warned that Australian foreign policy could no longer be based on “the personal rapport of leaders, the sentiment of governments, or so-called special relationships.” Signalling a more critical emphasis in foreign policy, Mr Howard said, “Foreign policy needs to be based on national interest and our values. Our relationships are most productive when they are realistic, concentrating on mutual interest, building on those areas where cooperation is possible and openly recognising…differences in values and political systems.” Geoffrey Barker (The Australian Financial Review, “A TOUGHER BUT MORE HONEST TIME AHEAD”) argues that the change in Australia’s foreign policy is no bad thing, as desire to appease Jakarta and a relativistic view of human rights has been a blight on Australia’s foreign policy record.

III. Announcements

1. Luncheon Discussion on Korea

Educational Programs about Korea in Transition is sponsoring a luncheon discussion on recent developments in Korea. This program will be on the record. The discussion will be held on Thursday, 30 September, 1999 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at The Atlantic Council, 11th Floor Conference Room, 910 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC. The subject will be “Trust, Leadership, and Confidence in U.S.-Korea Relations 1979-1999.” It will feature an address by Dean Robert Gallucci, Georgetown University School of Foreign Studies, followed by a historical and contemporary commentary by Ambassador William Gleysteen, Former Ambassador to the ROK, and Don Oberdorfer, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Please RSVP by Tuesday, 28 September 1999 to PROGLOBAL, INC., Stephen Costello, President, 910 17th Street, NW, Suite 1107, Washington, DC, 20006. Phone: 202-293-6133; fax: 202-293-6146; email scostello@proglobalinc.com. Administered under a grant from the Korea Foundation.

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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Kim Hee-sun: khs688@hotmail.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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Tokyo, Japan

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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

Leanne Paton: anjlcake@webtime.com.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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