NAPSNet Daily Report 25 June, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 25 June, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, June 25, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-25-june-1999/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

I. United States

1. DPRK Missile Test

The Associated Press (George Gedda, “U.S. WARNS N. KOREA ABOUT MISSILES,” Washington, 06/24/99) and Reuters (“US WARNS OF CONSEQUENCES IF N.KOREA TESTS MISSILE,” Washington, 06/24/99) reported that, according to US Assistant Secretary of State Stanley Roth, the DPRK will suffer “very serious consequences” if it test- fires another long-range ballistic missile this year. Roth said that any such test would have a negative impact on relations with the US, Japan, and the ROK and could alienate the PRC. Roth said that the PRC is believed to oppose the DPRK’s missile development program because it could encourage nearby countries, presumably Japan and the ROK, to develop missile defense systems.

The Associated Press (“S. KOREA WARNS N. KOREA VS. TEST,” Seoul, 06/25/99) and Reuters (“STOPPING N.KOREA MISSILE TEST TOP PRIORITY,” Seoul, 06/25/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung warned on Friday that another missile test by the DPRK would seriously hurt its relations with the US, Japan and the ROK. Kim stated, “Blocking another North Korean missile launch test is a top policy priority of the three countries. If the North test fires a new missile, it will seriously hurt its relations with them.”

2. Detained ROK Tourist

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA RELEASES S. KOREAN TOURIST,” Seoul, 06/25/99) and Reuters (Jean Yoon, “N.KOREA FREES DETAINED S.KOREAN TOURIST,” Seoul, 06/25/99) reported that the DPRK on Friday released the detained ROK tourist Min Young-mi. Hyundai Groups spokesman Lee Young-kyu said that Min was handed over to officials of Hyundai Group. Lee stated, “She appears to be in good health.” According to Shin Eun-sang, ROK Unification Ministry spokesman, Min was on her way to the ROK aboard a Hyundai tugboat. Shin said that although the ROK welcomed the release, Hyundai’s DPRK tour will not resume until the DPRK guarantees the safety of the ROK tourists.

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA RELEASES S. KOREAN TOURIST,” Seoul, 06/25/99) reported that, according to the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the detained ROK tourist Min Young-mi had been released as “our magnanimous compatriotic measure.” KCNA said that Min had admitted she had “preached defection” to a DPRK tour guide and “begged for lenient forgiveness for her criminal act.” Hyundai officials who met Min said she denied trying to persuade the female DPRK guide to defect.

3. US Warships in Pacific

The Associated Press (“US SENDS MISSILE-MONITORING SHIP TO JAPAN’S SOUTH COAST,” Tokyo, 06/25/99) reported that US Navy Spokesman Lieutenant Jeff Davis said on Friday that it has dispatched a monitoring ship, USNS Observation Island, to Japan’s southern coast. Davis said that USNS Observation Island has been operating in the western Pacific since earlier this week to monitor “foreign missile launches.” Davis also said the ship’s visit was part of a routine. He refused to disclose the exact location and details of its activity.

The Associated Press (George Gedda, “U.S. WARNS N. KOREA ABOUT MISSILES,” Washington, 06/24/99) reported that, according to Ri Tcheul, DPRK Ambassador to Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, the US is building an “armada” off the Korean peninsula in the aftermath of its victory in the Balkans. Ri stated, “The current situation in the Korean peninsula is very worrying. The aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk has finished its mission in Yugoslavia and is steaming toward the Korean Peninsula.”

4. DPRK-Australia Talks

The Associated Press (“AUSTRALIA, N. KOREA OFFICIALS MEET TO DISCUSS LINKS,” Bangkok, 06/25/99) and Stratfor’s Global Intelligence Update (“AUSTRALIA SHIFT TO A MORE AGGRESSIVE ASIAN FOREIGN POLICY,” 06/25/99) reported that according to Australian Ambassador to Thailand William Fisher, DPRK officials held exploratory talks on Friday with Australian officials. The Australians were led by Colin Heseltine, head of the Australian Foreign Ministry’s North Asia division, and the DPRK was led by Ma Chul-sol, head of the DPRK Foreign Ministry’s Asian-Pacific section. Fisher stated, “We didn’t have an agenda, we’re just going to have exploratory talks with them. If it turns out that we feel that we can get along together, then there may be some new options opened, or maybe not. This is purely a bilateral effort between ourselves and North Korea.” Fisher added that Australia presented a series of “hopes” for the DPRK, including direct dealings with the ROK, less confrontation and “responsible behavior on missile launching.” The meeting, being held at the request of the DPRK, reportedly covered regional security issues, aid, and visas for DPRK athletes to attend the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. An Australian government official said of the meeting, “This is actually the first time we’ve had talks with officials from capitals attending, rather than embassy officials.”

5. Analysts Views of DPRK

The Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA GIVING MIXED MESSAGES,” Seoul, 06/24/99) reported that, according to analysts, the DPRK appears to be trying to send the world a message. Gordon Flake, executive director of the Mansfield Center for Pacific Affairs, stated, “It was clearly a premeditated North Korean decision to provoke some kind of confrontation. One way or another, North Korea wanted to send a message. I find myself growing increasingly skeptical on the question of can this regime make the turn.” However, Donald Gregg, former US ambassador to the ROK, stated, “North Korea is opening up as never before to South Korean diplomats, tourists and businessmen. The openings appear minor, but together, they indicate that North Korea is willing to consider change, when it sees change working to its benefit.”

6. US Policy toward DPRK

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“U.S. SUPPORTS ROK PRESIDENT KIM’S POLICY TOWARDS NORTH KOREA,” 06/24/99, Washington, USIA Text, 06/24/99) said that the US strongly supports ROK President Kim Dae-jung’s policy of engaging in a direct dialogue with the DPRK. Rubin stated, “As we have observed many times in the past, dialogue between North and South Korea is key to achieving progress on the Korean peninsula.”

7. US-ROK Talks

Reuters (Robin Bulman, “US ENVOY TO BRIEF S.KOREA ON TALKS WITH NORTH,” Seoul, 06/25/99) reported that US envoy Charles Kartman was headed to Seoul on Friday to brief ROK officials on his talks with the DPRK. Kartman is to meet ROK Foreign Minister Hong Soon-young on Saturday and ROK Unification Minister Lim Dong- won and ROK senior Presidential Secretary for Foreign Policy and National Security Hwang Won-tak on Monday.

8. Bombing of PRC Embassy

The New York Times (Eric Schmitt, “TWO VICTIMS IN U.S. RAID REPORTEDLY WERE SPIES,” Washington, 06/25/99) reported that, according to unnamed US officials and western diplomats, two of the three PRC citizens killed in the bombing of the PRC embassy in Belgrade were not journalists but intelligence officers. According to an unnamed US Defense Department official, the highly sensitive nature of the parts of the PRC embassy that were bombed suggests why the PRC insists that the bombing was no accident. The official stated, “That’s exactly why they don’t buy our explanation.”

US Defense Department Spokesman Ken Bacon (“PENTAGON SPOKESMAN’S REGULAR BRIEFING, JUNE 24, 1999,” USIA Transcript, 06/25/99) said that the US Defense Department has not yet completed an independent, formal review of the bombing of the PRC Embassy in Belgrade, but participated in a review by the Director of Central Intelligence. Bacon said that a mid-level CIA analyst on May 4 discussed the target with a military officer in Naples, Italy questioning whether the target was labeled correctly. The analyst made a second call to another military officer on May 7 questioning whether the selected target was the headquarters of the Federal Directorate of Supply and Procurement. Bacon stated, “Based on what the CIA analyst said, the officer concluded that the building was a legitimate military target, although perhaps not as valuable a target as the headquarters. The military officer recalls asking the CIA analyst if there was any reason to cancel the strike and being told that there was no reason to call off the attack.”

9. US Technology Transfers

The New York Times (Mark Landler, “U.S. MOVE HAS HONG KONG WORRIED IT WILL LOSE TRADE,” Hong Kong, 06/25/99) reported that the US Senate on Tuesday approved legislation that would impose more-stringent controls on the export of equipment and technology with military uses to Hong Kong and Macao. US Senator John Ashcroft, Republican-Missouri, who sponsored the bill, stated, “Prudence demands that if China diverts sensitive U.S. technology, we impose on Hong Kong and Macao the same export controls that govern sales to China itself.” Victor Fung, chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, stated, “This is an extremely serious issue. It would affect a major area of development for us, which is moving up the food chain into high technology.” Fung added, “It is manifestly unjust not to honor Hong Kong’s status. You don’t do that to a member of the WTO.” Yvonne Choi, Hong Kong’s acting secretary for Trade and Industry, stated, “We consider it unfair to treat our successful enforcement actions as a cause for concern.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for June 25.]

10. PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Wall Street Journal (Karen Elliott House and Russell Flannery, “ARMS RACE IS BEIJING’S CALL,” Taipei, 06/25/99) reported that, according to Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui, it is the PRC and not Taiwan that will determine whether the two sides are on the verge of a new arms race. Lee said that Taiwan wants the option of participating in a US led regional missile-defense system for East Asia. Lee said that if the PRC wants to reduce Taiwan’s interest in the system, it should withdraw missiles deployed in southeastern PRC provinces near Taiwan. Lee also said that he is “not fully satisfied” with the US support for Taiwan, and appealed for more exchanges among senior political leaders from the two sides. He also acknowledged, however, that the two sides are moving “closer and closer.” Lee stated that Taiwan “feels good that NATO countries place human-rights and humanitarian concerns above sovereignty.” Lee added that economic developments in the PRC are leading to both military modernization and political liberalization, but the military buildup will outpace political openness, thus heightening Taiwan’s security problem. Lee concluded, “I urge that the thinking of China’s leaders should be changed. If they continue to use old thinking, I see a threat not only to the people of Taiwan, but to the people of mainland China.”

The Wall Street Journal (Karen Elliott House and Russell Flannery, “ARMS RACE IS BEIJING’S CALL,” Taipei, 06/25/99) reported that, according to Taiwan Vice President Lien Chan, Taiwan is geared to having defensive weapons because it believes that the problem of the Taiwan straits is one of different political and social systems rather than a military problem. Lien stated, “We certainly should reserve the right to join this defensive military system. But reserving the right doesn’t mean we will be participating. We have to make a right decision at a right moment. We’re not excluding any possibilities.” Lien added that Taiwan’s decision will be based in part on the number of PRC missile deployments, though it will take into account other factors. Lien also noted that Taiwan seeks better ties with Beijing, stating, “What we need to do is patiently deal with Beijing. Dialogue, consultation, communication, exchanges — I think all those things will contribute to the eventual transformation of a very closed … system.” Lien said that it is also inevitable that economic liberalization will promote that kind of political transformation in the PRC, adding, “Time is on our side.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for June 25.]

11. Kashmir Conflict

Reuters (John Chalmers, “PAKISTAN SQUEEZED, INDIA STRIKES IN KASHMIR,” New Delhi, India, 06/25/99) reported that Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Friday said that there can be no reconciliation in Kashmir until the Pakistani infiltrators retreat behind the Line of Control. Vajpayee said that peace talks would only take place after the “last intruders are killed or driven out.”

The Washington Post (Nora Boustany, “PAKISTANIS TALKING TOUGH OVER KASHMIR,” 06/25/99, A22) reported that, according to Shahid Hamid, the governor of the Pakistani province of Punjab who is visiting the US this week, Pakistan would like to force the agenda of addressing the fate of Kashmir as a “substantive and core issue” in Pakistani-Indian relations. Hamid claimed that India had failed to live up to what it committed to in February when it signed the Lahore Declaration, which pledged to boost ties between the countries. As a result, he said, “if there is going to be any give, there has to be some outside pressure.” Hamid added, “If the Indians want to make a fight of this, the onus is on them.” Pakistani Ambassador Riaz Khokhar also accused India of quietly “nibbling and gobbling” along their border since 1972. Khokhar added that there is no reason for the conflict to escalate into a nuclear confrontation. He stated, “It is a containable thing, and avoidable. There is [room] for dialogue, and so far India has been shunning that.”

The Associated Press (“INDIAN ARMY POUNDS INTRUDERS IN KASHMIR,” Kargil, 06/25/99) reported that, according to US State Department James Rubin, US Army General Anthony Zinni, chief of the US Central Command, met on Friday with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to express US “concerns about ending the fighting in the Kargil area of Kashmir.” Sharif issued a statement which stated, “If a peaceful solution is not found quickly to the dispute over territory both nations have claimed since 1947 situations like Kargil would continue to erupt, threatening peace and endangering the stability of the region.”

The Washington Post (Pamela Constable, “INDIA, PAKISTAN MAKE WAR, NOT PEACE,” Srinagar, India) reported that, according to analysts, Indian and Pakistan are not concentrating on making peace but war. An editorial in Pakistani News said, “The reality is that Pakistan faces daunting challenges … to reverse the perceptions of much of the international community about how the latest flare-up started over Kashmir and what should be done to address this. Any flight from reality or delusions at this critical juncture will inevitably set back the country’s case.” P.R. Chari, director of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in Srinagar, stated, “The Pakistani army’s chief aim is to maintain political primacy. I can’t imagine them just going back to the barracks and saying, ‘Sorry, we misfired.’ If they get desperate and see they are losing power … could they indulge in a final madness and stage a coup in order to preempt being called to account for their failure?” Raminder Jassal, a spokesman for India’s Foreign Ministry, stated, “As far as India is concerned, as soon as the aggression is reversed, we want to go back to normal and reconsider starting a dialogue again. There is no need for us to get hysterical or inflict punishment on Pakistan. We have a larger vision to ensure an improved relationship and a less hostile neighborhood.” Asfir Karim, a retired general who edits a journal on regional conflict and serves as an adviser to India’s National Security Council, stated, “Peace in South Asia has been set back, there is no doubt. They are playing a dangerous game, and the sooner it is undone … the better.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK-US Talks

The Korea Herald (Jun Kwan-woo, “WITH NUCLEAR SUSPICION ON N.K. CLEARING, U.S. EXPECTED TO FOCUS ON MISSILE ISSUE,” Seoul, 06/25/99) reported that analysts said on Thursday that with the US dropping much of its initial nuclear suspicions stemming from the DPRK’s underground site, the focus of the US-DPRK nonproliferation talks will likely move fast from nuclear to missile issues. Kim Song-han, a professor at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, said that the nuclear issue, which is seemingly subsiding, could be seen as an “introductory stage” for the US and the DPRK to get into the missile talks. “In fact, Pyongyang knows that its bargaining power regarding the nuclear issue is significantly weakening,” said another IFANS researcher asking for anonymity. “To maintain momentum, it tries to rely on a missile card.” US and DPRK officials already began discussing the missile issue in Beijing, where they had initially planned to focus on the outcome of the US inspection into DPRK’s suspected nuclear site last month. Reports in Beijing said that Charles Kartman, US special envoy for Korean affairs, strongly warned the DPRK officials, led by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-kwan, against a second missile test by the DPRK. The US has said that if the DPRK conducted another missile test, it would inflict “irrecoverable” damage on US-DPRK relations, implying that US economic and humanitarian aid could be suspended.

2. DPRK Military Threat

The Korea Times (“TOP DEFENSE OFFICIAL WARNS OF ANOTHER NK PROVOCATION,” Seoul, 06/25/99) reported that ROK Defense Minister Cho Seong-tae on Thursday warned of another DPRK armed provocation and urged the Armed Forces to heighten their defense readiness. In a meeting of top Army, Navy and Air Force leaders at the Defense Ministry, Cho said that the DPRK may launch another provocation against the ROK to keep its fragile system running, regardless of the ROK’s engagement policy. An ROK Defense Ministry spokesman quoted Cho as saying, “the Armed Forces are required to keep their defense posture thoroughly to thwart various types of provocative acts by the North.” Cho dismissed allegations that the ROK and the DPRK had plotted to incite the latest naval clash for political purposes. Intelligence reports presented during the meeting said that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il has been devoting most of his official activities to visiting military bases and attending military-related functions, an indication that the DPRK is proceeding with a policy that gives top priority to the military. The ROK military meeting was due to be held during the naval standoff in the West Sea, but was postponed in an effort not to provoke the DPRK, which has been vowing to hit back after its defeat during the June 15 naval shoot-out.

3. DPRK-Australia Relations

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Jee-hyun, “NK, AUSTRALIA TO MEET FOR REBUILDING DIPLOMACY,” Seoul, 06/25/99) reported that the DPRK and Australia are going to meet to discuss resumption of diplomatic relations after 24 years. On June 24, a source in the government said, “North Korea’s and Australia’s foreign affairs ministries are thinking about meeting on June 25 in Bangkok to talk about rebuilding their diplomacy which was severed by DPRK Korea in November 1975.” The DPRK and Australia established a diplomatic relationship on July 30, 1974, only to have the DPRK simultaneously withdraw its embassy from Canberra and expel the Australian embassy from Pyongyang 16 months later. At the meeting, Australia will also discuss easier access for DPRK athletes coming to Australia for the Sidney Olympics in 2000. The source said, “The importance of this meeting is that it is their first time meeting with public officials face to face instead of just communicating through their respective embassies in Bangkok.” For their meeting, Ma Chul-soo from the DPRK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one of the bureau heads of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will lead the delegates.

4. Developmental Aid for DPRK

Joongang Ilbo, (Bong Hwa-shik, “OPEC OFFERS LOAN TO NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 06/25/99) reported that the International Development Fund (IDF) of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recently decided to offer a US$10 million loan for the restoration of the DPRK’s reservoirs in South Pyongan Province. The IDF confirmed its loan distribution for eight nations including the DPRK at the 87th board of directors conference held in Innsbruck, Austria last week. According to the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) on Thursday, the conditions for the DPRK’s loan call for repayment in 12 years with a 5-year grace period at a 1-2.75 percent interest rate. The loan to the DPRK will in part come from the Arab Economic Development Fund, Japan’s Foreign Economic Development Fund, and the Spanish government, it added. The DPRK’s Pyongan Province has a number of reservoirs that are used for irrigation, most of which are in a state of disrepair.

5. US Policy toward DPRK

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “US TO GET TOUGH WITH NK PROVOCATIONS,” Seoul, 06/25/99) reported that Robert Warne, president of the Korea Economic Institute of America, said on Thursday that the DPRK’s recent provocative acts might lead to the strengthening of US policies. “In Washington, there is a growing feeling that we have to be tougher toward North Korea,” Warne said at a roundtable meeting with the members of Korea-America Friendship Society, headed by former Seoul mayor Kim Sang-chul. In particular, US Republicans, including US House of Representatives International Relations Committee Chairman Benjamin Gilman, are seeking to draft stiff legislation meant to curb assistance to the DPRK or to tighten trade embargoes, he said.

6. Detained Tourist in DPRK

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “SOUTH KOREAN DETAINEE LIKELY TO BE FREED SOON,” Seoul, 06/25/99), The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “NK MOVES TO RELEASE DETAINEE TOURIST SOON,” Seoul, 06/25/99), and Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “HOSTAGE MIGHT BE RELEASED SOON,” Seoul, 06/25/99) reported that detained ROK tourist Min Young-mi may soon be released by DPRK authorities, presumably at the end of the week. Negotiations between Hyundai and the DPRK’s Asia-Pacific Committee are at present working on the deal in Beijing, and reportedly progress has been made. The Hyundai group sent President Kim Yoon-kyu to the PRC to ask for Min’s immediate release. Hyundai is linking this issue to compensation stemming from a previous incident in which its cargo ship, the Duke, collided with a DPRK vessel that then sank in the Indian Ocean. A source from Hyundai stated on Thursday, “Most points are on the verge of reaching an agreement. As soon as the result from the insurance company comes out, the two sides will conclude the deal.” As Hyundai is only responsible for the material damages of the DPRK ship, the international maritime insurance company P and I will compensate for DPRK sailors who died in the incident, he added.

The Korea Times (Lee Chang-sup, “KIM THREATENS TO HALT MT. KUMGANG TOURS, ASSISTANCE TO N.KOREA,” Seoul, 06/25/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on Thursday warned that the ROK will suspend Mt. Kumgang tours and aid to the DPRK unless the DPRK releases an ROK tourist detained since Sunday. In a meeting with key postholders of the ROK ruling National Congress for New Politics (NCNP) at Chong Wa Dae, Kim voiced the expectation that Min Young-mi will return safely to the ROK. “Unless Pyongyang frees her, Seoul will send neither cruise ships nor dollars to the North,” Kim said. “We (the ROK government) are not so weak (as to be swayed by such provocative acts).” Kim added, however, that his warning does not mean that he would make a major shift from his “Sunshine Policy.” Kim stated, “So far, I believe the engagement policy toward the Stalinist country has been successful.” Noting that the prime objective of the inter-Korean policy is the prevention of war, Kim added, “We should never be swayed by North Korea’s activities.”

III. Japan

1. Japanese-DPRK Relations

The Japan Times (“MURAYAMA’S PYONGYANG VISIT CANCELLED,” 06/23/99) reported that former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama announced on June 23 that a non-partisan Diet group that he heads will cancel its planned trip to the DPRK. According to the report, the visit was postponed due to political developments, including US presidential envoy William Perry’s visit there in late May, the DPRK’s recent mission to the PRC, naval disputes between the two Koreas in the Yellow Sea earlier this month, and resumption of high-level DPRK-ROK government talks on June 22, and some reports that the DPRK is preparing to launch another Taepodong missile in the near future. The report cited Murayama as saying, “Due to these rapidly changing political movements, we cannot set a date for our visit. We also cannot iron out the differences of opinions (with Pyongyang) over some issues. We want to wait and see what happens.” The report also pointed out that Murayama hinted that his delegation received some requests from the DPRK, such as for resumption of food aid, but that Murayama’s delegation has been arguing that its role is to pave the way for normalization talks. The report added that the delegation had been holding study meetings since March and that its plans have been hampered from the start, first by the intrusion of two DPRK spy ships later that month and then by heated discussions about the DPRK during Diet debate over bills concerning the New Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation.

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“CANCELLATION OF MURAYAMA DELEGATION OBSCURES PROSPECT FOR RESUMPTION OF JAPAN-DPRK DIALOGUE,” 06/23/99) reported that the cancellation of the Murayama delegation to the DPRK on June 23 highlighted a distance between Japan and the DPRK, suggesting that the prospect for resumption of Japan-DPRK dialogue is becoming more unclear with the question of how Japan should deal with the DPRK’s repeated provocations unanswered. According to the report, the delegation’s plan was originally proposed by the Social Democratic Party, to which Murayama belongs, but the Japanese government also expected the delegation to provide a good opportunity for resumption of dialogue between Japan and the DPRK. The report added that according to diplomatic sources, the DPRK was not happy about the delegation’s proposal to discuss the DPRK’s launch of Taepodong missiles and the DPRK’s suspected abduction of Japanese civilians as a condition for the delegation’s visit.

2. Japanese-ROK Defense Relations

The Sankei Shimbun (“ROK NAVY AND JAPANESE MARITIME SELF-DEFENSE FORCE TO CONDUCT FIRST JOINT SEARCH AND RESCUE EXERCISE IN AUGUST,” 06/21/99) reported that the ROK Navy announced on June 21 that it will conduct a joint search and rescue exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) on the high seas east of Cheju Island in early August. The report said that the exercise is part of Japan-ROK defense exchange and that the schedule has been determined at the working level. The ROK Navy will provide one destroyer, one escort ship, one surveillance aircraft and one helicopter, while JMSDF will provide three escort ships, one surveillance aircraft, two or three helicopters. The report added that according to the schedule, both sides will discuss the details in Pusan, ROK, on August 2, begin the exercise on August 4 and 5, and assess the exercise in Sasebo, Japan, on August 6.

3. PRC Views of Korean Peninsula

The Sankei Shimbun (Hideya Yamamoto, “PRC BACKS DPRK: PRC PROVIDES ‘PLACE’ (FOR MEETING),” Beijing, 06/23/99) reported that as evident from the PRC’s provision of the venue for talks between the ROK and the DPRK and between the US and the DPRK, the PRC is willing to support the DPRK from the viewpoint of regional security. PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhang Qiyue said on June 22 that the PRC’s regional policy toward the Korean Peninsula is termed “maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula” and that providing places for DPRK-ROK talks and US-DPRK talks is part of the policy. Zhang also expressed the PRC’s expectation on the progress of the ROK-DPRK talks, saying, “The PRC will continue to play a role in easing tensions and (securing) stability on the Peninsula.” The report noted, however, that at the press conference at the DPRK embassy in Beijing on June 21 held after the DPRK-ROK confrontation on the Yellow Sea, ROK reporters were not invited while Japanese, US, PRC, and Russian reporters were. Reportedly, an ROK reporter shouted at the embassy, complaining, “(We) have nothing to do with (the incident). We are same Koreans!” The report pointed out that this indicates a sensitive situation the PRC is now faced with. The report also pointed out that the PRC’s main objective concerning Korean Peninsula issues is to maintain the DPRK as a strategic buffer area, citing a PRC Foreign Ministry high-ranking official as saying, “We have to avoid the US force from directly approaching Aprokgang (PRC-DPRK border).” The report added that according to sources close to PRC leaders, PRC leaders have been becoming more cautious about US strategy toward the DPRK since the Kosovo crisis.

4. DPRK Missile Test

The Asahi Shimbun (“MONITORING DPRK MISSILE TEST?: US NAVY SHIP AT YOKOSUKA BAY,” 06/25/99) reported that the US Navy ship Observation Island will visit Yokosuka on June 26. The report said that the ship will likely be involved in monitoring the DPRK’s expected launch of a Taepodong II missile in seas close to Japan. However, the report cited a statement from the US Navy Base in Yokosuka as saying, “This visit is just a normal one.” The report added that the ship is equipped with phased array radar to detect and monitor missiles and has been collecting data on ballistic missile tests by other countries since 1981.

The Daily Yomiuri (“N. KOREA MISSILE BASE ACTIVITY EYED,” 06/19/99) reported that the DPRK’s project to enlarge a launch site at its long-range missile base is being carefully monitored in Japan, amid fears that the DPRK may launch another Taepodong missile as it did last August. The report said that if intelligence indicates that the DPRK is assembling missile components, the government will immediately lodge a protest with the DPRK. Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi was to discuss cooperation with the US on the DPRK situation during his meeting with US President Bill Clinton at the Group of 8 summit meeting in Cologne, Germany. The government suspects that another missile launch is planned because there is a possibility that the DPRK believes it can guarantee its security by demonstrating the deployment of a missile capable of reaching the US, because the DPRK aims to draw in foreign currency by demonstrating its munitions production capability to missile-importing countries such as those in the Middle East, and because the DPRK wants to confirm whether technical defects encountered during the last launch have been rectified, according to the report. However, a Foreign Ministry official conceded, “We cannot clearly conclude that Pyongyang would use the construction work as its trump card in negotiations with Japan and the United States for the relaxation of economic sanctions and resumption of food aid, or whether the construction will lead to another missile launch.” The report also pointed out that if another launch is planned, traffic at the base would become heavier as fuel and components were transported in, while missile assembly work would be finalized on the launch pad before fueling and that all these events could be detected by US observation satellites. The report cited a Foreign Ministry source as saying, “It would take about 10 days to assemble missile components, and the missile would be launched within three days of fueling.” The source added that current progress on construction work suggests little possibility of a missile launch within one month. The source stated, “If a missile is to be launched, it will possibly be timed for anniversaries or important (commemorative) events such as August 15, when the Korean Peninsula was liberated at the end of the World War II.” The report added that Japan has been actively seeking the establishment of a timetable for resumption of the humanitarian aid, but that another launch would likely prompt the government to change its stance.

5. Japanese-PRC Relations

The Daily Yomiuri (“GOVERNMENT SEEKS CHINA’S HELP TO REDUCE SMUGGLING,” 06/20/99) reported that the Japanese government decided on June 19 to propose setting up a Japan-PRC consultative body to deal with a surge in the number of Chinese people smuggled into Japan and the smuggling of firearms and drugs into Japan. The report said that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi will present the proposals when he visits the PRC in early July. A panel made up of Foreign Ministry officials from the two governments studying immigration control has already discussed the issue of Chinese nationals being smuggled into Japan. The Japanese government was considering nominating officials from the Foreign and Justice ministries and the National Police Agency to work for the new body. The move is designed to bring about “exchanges relating to policing and the maintenance of public security,” one of the 33 items agreed upon by Obuchi and PRC President Jiang Zemin in November, 1998 at the time of Jiang’s official visit to Japan. Police said that about 90 percent of people entering Japan illegally come from the PRC. Until 1991, the number of Chinese nationals arrested for entering the country illegally remained in double figures, but it rose sharply to 1,209 in 1997 and 824 in 1998. The number of illegal immigrants arrested this year had reached 632 as of June 15. It is also suspected that four or five times that number may have actually been smuggled into Japan, according to the report. Most of the drugs confiscated in Japan are produced in the PRC. The report added that the first-ever talks on drugs and firearms smuggling between Japan and the PRC were held when former Home Affairs Minister Mitsuhiro Uesugi visited the PRC in May, 1998.

6. Japanese-Russian Relations

The Nikkei Shimbun (“RUSSIAN PRESIDENT SAYS HE PROPOSED DELIMITATION OF NATIONAL BORDERS,” Cologne, 06/20/99) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi met with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on June 20 for ten minutes at the Group 8 summit meeting in Germany. Obuchi invited Yeltsin to Japan, saying, “I would very much like you to come to Japan in autumn. Boris, (regarding the Northern Territory Issue,) let’s realize delimitation of national borders and tackle the historic task of reaching a peace treaty.” In response, Yeltsin said, “The Prime Minister made a very important point. I proposed the idea of delimitation of national borders.” However, the report pointed out that Yeltsin never mentioned any specific date for his visit to Japan and that Yeltsin thinks they can meet two times this year. The report added that Yeltsin repeated three times that he agrees to promotion of negotiations toward reaching a peace treaty by the year of 2000.

7. Japanese Nuclear Policy

The Daily Yomiuri (“N-PLANT GIVEN OK FOR PLUTONIUM USE,” 06/24/99) reported that the Nuclear Safety Commission’s (NSC) subcommittee on nuclear reactor safety on June 23 approved the use of plutonium in the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in Okumamachi, Fukushima Prefecture. The report said that following the subcommittee’s decision, the commission is expected to officially approve the use of plutonium at the nuclear reactor, which is operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., by the end of June. According to the report, the plutonium, which is extracted from spent nuclear fuel, is mixed with uranium to form an oxide (MOX) that will be burned at light-water nuclear reactors, and the Fukushima power station is the second to receive permission to use plutonium. Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama nuclear power station in Takahamacho, Fukui Prefecture, was already given permission to use plutonium in its No. 3 and No. 4 reactors by the Fukui Governor. Both power companies are expected to begin using plutonium by the end of fiscal 1999. The report added that the use of plutonium at nuclear power plants requires the permission of the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) and NSC, and the consent of the local governments concerned, that the Fukushima Governor gave consent for the use of plutonium at the plant last November, and that MITI approved the plan in March.

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

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

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

Lee Dong-young: UNPOL@netsgo.com
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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