NAPSNet Daily Report 25 March, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 25 March, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, March 25, 1999,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. People’s Republic of China

IV. Announcement

I. United States

1. Japanese Naval Engagement

Reuters Elaine Lies (“JAPAN EXAMINES ITS DEFENSE AS SHIPS REACH N.KOREA,” Tokyo, 03/25/99) and the Associated Press (“JAPAN: SUSPECTED SHIPS ENTER NKOREA,” Tokyo, 03/25/99) reported that Japanese Defense Agency chief Hosei Norota on Thursday said that that the agency had confirmed that the two ships that violated Japan’s territorial waters had entered the northern DPRK port of Chongjin at around 7 a.m. Thursday. Jiji news agency on Thursday quoted US officials as saying that it was extremely difficult to track disguised ships even when using spy satellites. An unnamed US military source was quoted as saying, “Even if you manage to grasp the general situation in surrounding waters, finding a specific ship and then following it is close to impossible.” NHK national television quoted unnamed sources as saying that the Japanese government planned to look closely at current defense laws with a view to possibly revising them. It added that regulations governing the seizure and search of ships as well as the use of arms were likely to come in for close scrutiny. The daily Yomiuri Shimbun said that the incident demonstrated the inadequacy of Japan’s defenses. It stated, “It is essential to revise the laws quickly.” The Mainichi Shimbun, however, asked, “Why has the point suddenly become strengthening all parts of Japan’s defense, rather than just beefing up its maritime patrols?”

2. Japanese Defense Posture

Reuters (Elaine Lies, “JAPAN EXAMINES ITS DEFENSE AS SHIPS REACH N.KOREA,” Tokyo, 03/25/99) reported that the daily Mainichi Shimbun said Thursday that the Japanese government by late Wednesday had completed the bills it plans to submit to the Diet on revising the guidelines for the Japanese Self-Defense forces. The article said that key among the revisions was limiting the need for Diet approval prior to any action to only those times in which Japan’s Self-Defense Forces are dispatched to back up US forces in “areas surrounding Japan.” The revisions also include specifying that such action would only take place within a framework specified by the US-Japan Security Treaty. The final point would allow Japanese ships to stop and search other ships even in cases where there was no UN regulation about such action if it fell within the context of cooperating with other nations to support an economic embargo.

The Washington Post (Mary Jordan, “JAPAN’S MILITARY EXERCISES ITS MUFFLED MIGHT,” Tokyo, 03/25/99, A28) reported that analysts said Wednesday that Japan’s assertive response to the discovery of two suspected DPRK spy ships in its waters on Tuesday may have signaled a new government effort to ease constraints on its use of military power. Tomohisa Sakanaka, president of the Research Institute for Peace and Security, said that in the past, “Japan has kept quiet” about such incidents. Sakanaka stated, “It never took a tough stance…. This looks like political use of the military.” Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi stated, “Although we could not stop or inspect the suspicious ships, [the incident] was significant in clarifying our nation’s commitment to security.” An unnamed military analyst in Washington stated, “This is a big deal. Nobody is paying attention to this in America, but the Japanese are using the [new US-Japan defense] guidelines to push the envelope on its military capability.” Keizo Takemi, parliamentary deputy minister of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, denied Wednesday that Japan was moving toward strengthening its military power. He added, however, that Japan did need to respond to new post-Cold War uncertainties. Takemi stated, “I cannot deny that the Taepodong and Rodong [missiles] can be a factor when we are thinking of our defense system for the future.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 25.]

3. DPRK Missile Development

Agence France-Press (“NORTH KOREA REPORTEDLY HAS AT LEAST FOUR MISSILE FACTORIES,” Seoul, 03/24/99) reported that the Yonhap news agency on Thursday quoted an unidentified ranking ROK government official as saying that the DPRK has at least four missile factories and 10 missile bases. The official added, “There are even reports that there are eight factories and over 12 bases.” The official gave detailed information of where the factories are located in the DPRK and where certain parts are made and which factory produces explosive compounds. The official said that the DPRK has been fostering missile development experts since the establishment of its national defense university in 1965. ROK officials also said that the DPRK exported 250 missiles worth US$580 million to countries including Iran and the United Arab Emirates between 1987 and 1992. They added that the DPRK has the capacity to produce about 100 short-range Scud missiles a year, and that the US$580 million earned from the missile trade up to 1992 equaled more than half the DPRK entire exports for 1997.

Dow Jones Newswires (“JAPAN URGES SYRIA TO CUT MISSILE TIES WITH N KOREA -KYODO,” Tokyo, 03/25/99) reported that Kyodo news service quoted an unnamed Japanese Foreign Ministry official as saying that Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura urged visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara on Thursday to stop missile cooperation with the DPRK. The official said that Komura urged Syria to address “our concerns over missile cooperation between North Korea and foreign countries and about North Korea’s development of weapons of mass destruction and missiles that poses a security threat to Japan.” The official said that Shara did not comment directly on the DPRK issue, but told Komura that Syria “is unlikely to undertake a policy harming Japan’s security interests.”

4. ROK-DPRK Relations

Reuters (“N.KOREA CALLS WARNING BY SOUTH’S KIM ‘PROVOCATIVE’,” Tokyo, 03/25/99) reported that the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Thursday denounced statements made by ROK President Kim Dae-jung at a weekend summit in Seoul with Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. KCNA stated, “In an attempt to curry favor with the Japanese master, the South Korean chief executive contended that the North must resolve the ‘missile issue’ and repatriate ‘those abducted by it’. To make matters worse, he unhesitatingly made provocative remarks that a ‘strong warning message’ must be sent to the North on the basis of maintaining a ‘resolute security posture’.” KCNA said South Korea was joining forces with Japan in an anti-North Korea campaign that it said Tokyo had started following the launch in August of what Japan believes was a ballistic missile. It added, “We cannot but take a serious view of his provocative remarks because they prove that the South Korean chief executive is actively involved in the anti-DPRK campaign launched by the Japanese reactionaries to impinge on the national dignity and sovereignty of the Korean people.” It also stated, “The South Korean authorities welcomed the Japanese prime minister with ‘hinomaru’ flag displayed in different places of South Korea, the flag which is symbolic of imperialist Japan and which is stained with blood shed by Korean and other Asian peoples. As well-known to the world, Japan has neither apologized for nor reflected on the indelible unethical crimes committed against the Korean people in the past.”

5. ROK Defectors

The Associated Press (“REPORT: S. KOREANS DEFECT TO NORTH,” Seoul, 03/25/99) reported that the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Thursday that an ROK man has defected to the DPRK along with his children. KCNA identified the man as Shin Sang-jae, 43, and said he had worked at a “visual education development agency” in Ulsan. The agency said Shin defected while on an overseas trip with his children, but did not say how many children came with him or whether he has a wife in the ROK.

6. DPRK Situation

The Washington Post carried an analytical article (Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan, “U.S. WRESTLES WITH POLICY ON N. KOREA FAMINE,” Seoul 03/13/99, A01) which said that the formulation of US policy toward the DPRK has been complicated by the lack of information about the country. Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute stated, “The world may be in the midst of an information explosion,” but the DPRK is a “statistical blackout. We have no idea precisely how bad it is inside North Korea. It is somewhere between terrible and catastrophic.” Numerous allegations have surfaced of the DPRK trying to raise money through the smuggling of illicit drugs. One unnamed US official said that international observers visiting the Yongbyon nuclear reactor in 1994 noticed a three-acre poppy field growing “not 10 feet from the front door.” Katsumi Sato, head of the Tokyo-based Modern Korea Institute, stated, “The scariest part about North Korea is that any means justifies the end.” He added, “The Clinton policy has been a disaster. It’s disastrous not just because the U.S. has given millions in food and oil and gotten nothing back, but because the U.S. has given money and support to a country that is killing its own people and is developing weapons of mass destruction to kill even more people.” However, Indian Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen said that distaste for the DPRK regime should not lead to a cutoff of food aid. Sen argued, “You might as well send food — it does some good for the poor people who are suffering. Any idea that stopping it will weaken the regime is not true. Dictatorial regimes are not strengthened by sending food or weakened by not sending it…. They are quite willing to make sacrifices — just not their own.” US Air Force General Michael V. Hayden, deputy chief of staff of US Forces in the ROK, said that while the DPRK’s economic difficulties have probably eroded the overall readiness of its military, it is still capable of a massive strike against the ROK involving chemical weapons that would cause at least 1 million casualties. One unnamed US official stated, “If they couldn’t scare or coerce people into dealing with them, then they would cease to be significant. The only way they have managed to make themselves important is by threatening world peace.”

7. Taiwanese Missile Defense

The Associated Press (“TAIWAN TO IMPROVE MISSILE DEFENSE,” Taipei, 03/25/99) reported that the Taiwan Defense Ministry said Thursday that it plans to spend about US$9 billion in the next decade to develop a low-altitude missile defense shield against attacks from the PRC. The ministry said that it would construct radar warning systems, command centers, and missile launch bases net that could provide missile protection for 70 percent of Taiwan.

8. US-Taiwan Military Cooperation

Reuters (“U.S. SENATORS SEEK BILL TO BOLSTER TAIWAN DEFENSE,” Washington, 03/24/99) reported that US Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jesse Helms, Republican-North Carolina, and Senator Robert Torricelli, Democrat-New Jersey, on Wednesday introduced the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act. The bill would authorize the sale to Taiwan of military goods such as missile defense systems and advanced air-to-air missiles. It would require the president to report to Congress annually on Taiwan’s defense requests and to justify any rejections of arms sales to Taiwan. Helms stated, “Many of the things called for in this legislation must be done at the earliest possible time. China’s behavior is a clear warning, and it is time for the United States to be much more serious about maintaining a posture of deterrence in the western Pacific.” The bill’s introduction follows a 429-1 vote on Tuesday by the House of Representatives calling on the president to urge the PRC to officially renounce the use of force against Taiwan and to restate the US commitment to the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act.

9. PRC Reaction to Airstrikes in Balkans

Reuters (“STOP NATO AIR STRIKES NOW, SAYS CHINA,” Beijing, 03/25/99) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin on Thursday demanded an immediate halt to NATO’s air attacks on Yugoslavia. The PRC’s People’s Daily newspaper in a front-page commentary accused NATO of “brazenly and brutally trampling” on the UN charter, pointing out that Yugoslavia was neither a member of NATO nor did it pose a threat to the alliance. PRC Foreign Ministry Spokesman Sun Yuxi said in a statement, “The Chinese government strongly demands an immediate halt to the surprise military action against Yugoslavia.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK-US Talks on DPRK Missile Issue

Korea Times (“US TEAM IN SEOUL FOR NK MISSILE CONSULTATIONS,” Seoul, 03/25/99) reported that with US-DPRK talks on missile non-proliferation set for March 29-30 in Pyongyang, a US delegation was scheduled to arrive in Seoul on Thursday for prior consultations with ROK authorities. Following their stay in Seoul, the eight- member US delegation is scheduled to travel to the DPRK, probably on a military flight, for talks with a DPRK delegation headed by Han Chang-on, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s American Affairs Bureau. The US team, led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation Robert Einhorn, is expected to hold talks tomorrow with the ROK delegation, represented by Kwon Jong-rak, director-general of the Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry’s North American Affairs Bureau. “The South Korean and US officials will launch consultations on how to persuade North Korea to stop its missile exports,” the official said. He added that the US delegation will return to Seoul for a debriefing following their visit to the DPRK.

2. DPRK Missile Development

Korea Herald (“NORTH KOREA OPERATES AT LEAST 4 MISSILE FACTORIES, 10 LAUNCH SITES, OFFICIAL SAYS,” Seoul, 03/26/99) reported that at least four missile-producing factories have been confirmed to be in operation in DPRK and the country is building two additional missile launch sites to add to the 10 it already has, according to a reliable government source in Seoul. The DPRK is believed to be capable of churning out more than 100 Scud-type missiles a year, said the source, who demanded anonymity. The figure may be much higher, the source added, because reports of other missile-making sites have not yet been confirmed. DPRK defectors have testified that the DPRK has up to eight missile-producing factories. In one of the missile manufacturing sites, Factory No. 118, in Kaechon, South Pyongan Province, more than 10,000 workers are engaged in producing missile launch engines in underground facilities. Factory No. 26 in Kanggye, Chagang Province, is producing missile parts, Factory No. 125 at Mt. Hyongje in Pyongyang is assembling missile parts, and a factory in Pyongyang is producing explosive compounds, he said.

3. DPRK Human Rights

JoongAng Ilbo (“GOVERNMENT TO ASK FOR SUPPORT ON SEPARATED FAMILIES MATTER,” Seoul, 03/25/99) reported that ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Hong Soon-young asked for increased attention and support from the international community to resolve the problem of DPRK human rights. Hong delivered a special address at the 55th Meeting of the Human Rights Commission of the UN, held in Geneva, Switzerland on March 25. It was the first time that a top-ranking official in the ROK government spoke publicly on DPRK human rights. Minister Hong stated that because the right to eat and the freedom to choose where to live are inviolable rights prescribed in the UN’s charter of human rights, the DPRK should take fundamental and imminent steps to guarantee the basic human rights of DPRK citizens. He asked for support in assisting the 10 million separated family members, adding that it can not be resolved only by the ROK’s efforts. He also stated that the government is readily prepared to return security offenders who were set free last month to the DPRK, including DPRK spies.

4. US Troops in ROK

Korea Times (“US TO REASSESS TROOP PRESENCE IN EVENT OF LESS [sic] NK THREATS,” Seoul, 03/25/99) reported that US Ambassador to the ROK Stephen Bosworth on Wednesday said that the US can “reassess” the US troop presence in the ROK if threats posed by the DPRK are reduced. The ambassador made the remarks in a speech to the Korean Regional Policy Institute titled, “Real Security for the Korean Peninsula.” Bosworth said that the US keeps 37,000 US troops in the ROK because of the threats from the DPRK, dismissing the allegation that “the threat exists because our troops are here.” “So, if there is the prospect for reducing threat over a period of time, obviously all the things we do in response to a threat can be reassessed, but the fundamental requirement is that there must be a reduction of the threat,” he said.

5. ROK New Military Units

Korea Times (“ANTI-SUB UNIT WORKING TO WARD OFF NK INCURSION,” Seoul, 03/24/99) reported that ROK Defense Minister Chun Yong-taek said the military is operating an anti-submarine unit to head off the DPRK’s limited provocation. In a report to President Kim Dae-jung, Chun also said a computer hacker unit will be established to keep military computers from being invaded by outside hackers. “The anti-sub unit was established last August as part of the military’s efforts to counter North Korea’s incursions through sea. Simultaneously, the country’s coast guard forces have been reinforced significantly since the North’s recent submarine incursions,” the defense minister said. The computer hacker unit will be inaugurated by the end of this year and the military’s integrated computer systems will be refurbished by 2003 in preparation for “futuristic” warfare in the 21st century, Chun said. “North Korea stands ready to launch a war at any time and we expect the reclusive Stalinist country to continue to threaten South Korea with weapons of mass destruction. Nonetheless, the country’s military remains fully prepared to counter all types of provocation,” he reported.

6. ROK National Security Law

Chosun Ilbo (“NATIONAL SECURITY LAW TO BE REVISED,” Seoul, 03/25/99) reported that ROK Minister of Justice Park Sang-chun reported to President Kim Dae-jung on Thursday that the National Security Law will be revised so that people will be liable for prosecution only if they “engage in activity damaging to the security of South Korea.” Prior to this the clause had read “engage in activity benefiting North Korea.” Park said that under the current law, people were liable for prosecution for activity unrelated to national security, which is considered an infringement of human rights. The ministry explained that the change was to flexibly adjust to the “sunshine policy” and emphasize human rights protection, but that it will not completely scrap the law. Accordingly, phrases related to “praising and encouraging North Korea” are expected to be deleted. Additionally, clearer definitions will be made as the vagueness of some areas of the law has been used to protect the government.

7. Foreigners’ Rights in ROK

Chosun Ilbo (“CHANCE OF VOTING RIGHTS FOR FOREIGN RESIDENTS,” Seoul, 03/25/99) reported that foreigners residing in the country on a long-term basis are likely to be given the right to vote in provincial elections. ROK President Kim Dae-jung asked the Ministry of Justice on Thursday to work out a system that would allow foreigners who establish their status as long-time ROK residents to participate in the election of provincial governments across the nation. Observers say that Kim’s move is a necessary step in the ROK’s efforts to convince Japan to give ethnic Korean residents in Japan the right to vote.

III. People’s Republic of China

1. PRC’s View of DPRK-US Agreement

People’s Daily (“SITUATION ON KOREAN PENINSULA RELAXING,” 3/23/99, A6) carried a commentary written by Xu Baokang saying that the agreement reached by the DPRK and the US on inspection of the underground construction site at Kumchangri breaks a deadlock on that matter, and will be conducive to the relaxation of tension on the Korean Peninsula and the improvement of DPRK-US relations. However, some experts warn the possibility of new crises still exists despite the agreement. This argument is based on two observations. First, the US may not leave the so-called “missile” problem at that. Secondly, since the US and Japan have decided to establish a theater missile defense, they will not give up any chance to find an excuse to set up an “enemy” for themselves and will continue to spread all kinds of “threat” theory. The commentary urged the countries concerned to give up their “Cold War mentality,” arguing that that is the key for keeping the Korean Peninsula peaceful.

2. Japan’s Concern over Nuclear Inspection

People’s Daily (“JAPAN WANTS TO JOIN NUCLEAR INSPECTION IN DPRK,” Tokyo, 3/19/99, A6) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said at a news conference on March 18 that Japan wants to join the inspection of the underground construction site in the DPRK. That morning, Obuchi told the Japanese Diet that if Japan can check the site itself, it will be easier for Japan to solicit cooperation from the Japanese people. [Ed. note: see the ROK section of the Daily Report for March 19.]

3. Alleged PRC Nuclear Espionage

China Daily (“SCIENTIST REFUTE LAB THEFT REPORT,” 3/22/99, A1) reported that Chinese scientists and scholars refuted on March 21 an investigative report drawn up by a committee headed by Christopher Cox, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives from California, which accuses the PRC of stealing US advanced military technologies through bilateral economic exchanges during the past two decades. In interviews with Xinhua News Agency, Chinese scientists said these accusations are totally groundless and irresponsible. As for the case of Peter Lee releasing US simulated nuclear explosion technology to the PRC during his stay in the country, the Chinese scientists said that Lee’s academic activities in the PRC were purely “basic.” Part of the content of Lee’s work was released in international academic magazines. “The case of Wen Ho Lee, who is accused of revealing W88 technology to China by the US side, is no more than a fabrication,” said Professor Li Deyuan with the Institute of Applied Physics and Computational Mathematics. According to Li, Wen Ho Lee’s lecture and report delivered in 1986 and 1988 did not involve any confidential information.

People’s Daily (“CHINESE DIPLOMAT REFUTES THE RUMOUR OF ‘NUCLEAR THEFT’,” Washington, 3/20/99, A3) reported that the PRC has rejected allegations it stole nuclear weapon designs from a US laboratory, and accused the US of clinging to a “Cold War” mentality in dealing with the PRC. Speaking at a press conference on March 18, He Yafei, minister-counselor at the PRC Embassy in Washington, said the espionage charges were “completely groundless and irresponsible.” “Sino-US relations have become the victim of party politics in the US,” he said, adding that this was increasingly evident as the 2000 presidential election nears.

4. Across-Taiwan Straits Relations

China Daily (“ARATS HEAD PLANS TRIP TO TAIPEI THIS FALL,” Taipei, 3/19/99, A1) reported that Wang Daohan, president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), will visit Taiwan this fall, ARATS announced on March 18. Wang is expected to travel with his wife to Taipei and the southern port city of Kiaosung during his five- or six-day visit. Word of the trip came after Li Yafei, ARATS deputy secretary-general, met Jan Jyh-horng, deputy secretary-general of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), regarding Wang’s visit and ARATS-SEF dialogue. ARATS believes Wang’s visit is a continuation and development of high-level talks between ARATS and SEF that began last year. Wang will discuss political and economic issues, and other aspects of cross- Straits relations, with Koo. Wang will also meet a number of officials.

5. Chemical Weapon Left in PRC

People’s Daily (“JAPAN SETS OUTLINES FOR DEALING WITH ABANDONED CHEMICAL WEAPONS,” 3/20/99, A3) reported that the Japanese Government decided at a cabinet meeting on March 19 that it will set up an office for dealing with abandoned chemical weapons under the Office of the Prime Minister to hasten the process of disposing of the chemical weapons left by Japanese army in China. This office, which will be subordinate to the Councilor’s Office on External Affairs for the Cabinet, will be composed of about 20 officials respectively from the Japanese Foreign Ministry, the International Trade and Industry Ministry, the Defense Agency, the Environmental Agency, and other departments. The major task of the office at present is to determine which technology to be used to dispose of the abandoned chemical weapons. The cabinet will take the responsibility for the coordination among different departments. It is estimated that Japan will establish a disposition factory in 2000 in the PRC’s Jilin Province, where the larger part of the abandoned chemical weapons were left, and finish the disposition work before 2007. However, up to now, the chemical weapons unearthed are only 0.1 percent of the total left behind.

IV. Announcement

1. AFSC Call to Advocacy

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has issued a call for advocacy for DPRK policy. AFSC is urging its supporters to write letters to editors of their local papers and their Congresspersons calling on the US to continue food aid to the DPRK, lift economic sanctions, and support a consistent policy of engagement. For more information, please contact the AFSC at: (215) 241-7149 or by e-mail at

2. Environmental Security Webcast

The Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict will conduct a global Web cast event, featuring commentary from leading practitioners and scholars in the environment and security field, during the period April 5-12. The program feature video presentations addressing the intersection between environmental degradation and conflict. The Web cast highlights issues raised by Donald Kennedy, president emeritus and Bing Professor of Environmental Science of Stanford University, in his newly released monograph Environmental Quality and Regional Conflict. David Hamburg, president emeritus of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and Tim Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation will give introductory remarks. In addition to Kennedy, presenters include John Steinbruner, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution; Jessica Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Allen Hammond, director of strategic analysis at the World Resources Institute. All participants will have an opportunity to contribute through moderated questions and answers and posting commentary to the site. For more information please email or visit the web site at

The NAPSNet Daily Report aims to serve as a forum for dialogue and exchange among peace and security specialists. Conventions for readers and a list of acronyms and abbreviations are available to all recipients. For descriptions of the world wide web sites used to gather information for this report, or for more information on web sites with related information, see the collection of other NAPSNet resources.
We invite you to reply to today’s report, and we welcome commentary or papers for distribution to the network.

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

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Lee Dong-young:
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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