NAPSNet Daily Report 25 October, 1999

Recommended Citation

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

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. DPRK Missile Deployment

The Associated Press (“REPORT: N. KOREA DEPLOYS MISSILES,” Seoul, 10/25/99) and Pacific Stars and Stripes (Jim Lea, “REPORT: NK RODONG-1 MISSILE BATTALIONS IN PLACE,” Osan, 10/26/99, 3) reported that the ROK’s Chosun Ilbo on Monday cited an unidentified government official as saying that the DPRK recently enhanced its missile capabilities by deploying four long-range Taepodong-1 missile units. The paper said that the deployment anticipated by ROK officials, who rely heavily on US intelligence. It said that the DPRK deployed one Taepodong-1 battalion at Sinori north of Pyongyang, and three others at Tugol near the western border with the ROK. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 25.]

2. Remains of US Soldiers from Korean War

The Associated Press (“N.KOREA RETURNS U.S. SOLDIERS,” Tokyo, 10/25/99) and Reuters (“N.KOREA HANDS OVER REMAINS OF FOUR SOLDIERS TO US,” Tokyo, 10/25/99) reported that the DPRK on Monday handed over to US officials the bodies of four US soldiers missing since the Korean War. The DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency said that US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert Jones accepted the remains in Pyongyang. It added, “All remains to be unearthed during the DPRK-U.S. joint excavation of U.S. soldiers’ remains will be handed over to the U.S. military, not to the ‘U.N. Forces’ side.” The US later held a repatriation ceremony at Yokota Air Base in Japan.

3. ROK Policy toward DPRK

Reuters (“S.KOREA KIM VOWS TO END KOREA COLD WAR BEFORE TERM,” Seoul, 10/25/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung in a keynote speech to a meeting of the Forum of Democratic Leaders in the Asia-Pacific on Monday vowed to end the Cold War on the Korean peninsula before his term ends in 2003. Kim stated, “The cold and bitter winds of the Cold War that blows between our two countries must be stopped and replaced by warm rays of sunshine. Let us stop regarding each other as enemies and start embracing one another as brothers.” He added that the slight changes that the ROK has been observing in the DPRK are “encouraging.” Kim stated, “The North has kept its promise of a moratorium on its nuclear program and is withholding the second launch of its missiles. Soon there will be the U.S.-North Korea talks, in which the United States will be carrying out negotiations with North Korea in consultation with South Korea and Japan.”

4. ROK Returns Boats to DPRK

Reuters (“SOUTH KOREA RETURNS DETAINED NORTH KOREAN BOATS,” Seoul, 10/22/99) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said on Saturday that it had returned to the DPRK a tug and barge its navy had detained for crossing into ROK waters the previous day. The ministry said that the 14 crewmen on the vessels had told investigators that they strayed into ROK waters after their compass broke amid thick fog.

5. DPRK Satellite Broadcasts in ROK

The Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, “SOUTH KOREA OPENS TV TO CITIZENS,” Seoul, 10/22/99) reported that the ROK Ministry of National Unification on Friday that ROK citizens would be allowed to watch DPRK satellite TV programs. Unification Ministry spokesman Shin Eun-sang stated, “We based our decision on the firm confidence that our system is superior to the impoverished, communist system.”

6. ROK National Security Law

The Associated Press (“SKOREA SECURITY LAW CHANGE URGED,” Seoul, 10/23/99) reported that ROK government officials said Saturday that President Kim Dae-jung has urged his ruling coalition to revise the National Security Law. Kim was quoted as saying Friday, “It is inappropriate to term North Korea as an anti-state entity while proposing inter-Korean reconciliation and exchange.” He added, “Communism collapsed not by containment but through openness.” The ROK National Assembly plans to open debate on the law’s revision later this year.

7. DPRK-EU Talks

The Associated Press (“EU, N. KOREAN OFFICIALS TO MEET,” Brussels, 10/25/99) reported that European Union (EU) officials said Monday that they will hold talks with DPRK officials November 24 at EU headquarters in Brussels. Officials said that the meeting will focus on building contacts, but added that it was too early to give details of the agenda.

8. ROK-Japan Talks

Reuters (Elaine Lies, “JAPAN-KOREA TALKS POSITIVE ON NORTH KOREA,” Cheju, 10/23/99) reported that ROK Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil and Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said after talks on Saturday that their united stand on the DPRK was showing positive results. Kim stated, “This was a very successful and wide-ranging meeting.” Obuchi stated, “We verified that our comprehensive approach to North Korea, along with the United States, appears to be making headway. We had very productive talks on how to further this process while maintaining close contact between each other and the U.S.” Obuchi said later in a separate briefing that Japan would “wait and see how we lift sanctions while watching developments between the United States and North Korea.” He added that he hoped multilateral talks on North Asian security could be held “as soon as possible.” He stated, “We, South Korea, and the United States can talk about security issues. It would be nice if these others [the DPRK, the PRC, and Russia] could join.”

9. Japanese Emperor’s ROK Visit

Reuters (“NO TIMETABLE FOR JAPAN EMPEROR TO VISIT S. KOREA,” Cheju, 10/23/99) and the Associated Press (Kyong-Hwa Seok, “S.KOREA, JAPAN PLEDGE COOPERATION,” Cheju, 10/23/99) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said on Saturday that no clear timetable has been set for Japanese Emperor Akihito to visit the ROK. He added, “We want to continue to work with South Korea to create an environment in which the Emperor can visit.” Masao Okonogi, a professor of international relations at Keio University in Tokyo, stated, “The Emperor is still a very potent symbol. If he went, and the visit was a success, it would be a very great thing for relations between the two countries.” He added, “Japan can’t not reply to the invitation but they also can’t say no. If the government doesn’t handle it well, things could get rather difficult.”

10. Korean War Massacre

The Los Angeles Times (Paul Richter, “DEAL WEIGHED IN KOREAN WAR SLAYING PROBE,” Washington, 10/23/99, 1) reported that US Department of Defense officials probing the alleged massacre of civilians during the Korean War are considering granting immunity for all US soldiers connected to that incident. The officials said that such immunity would encourage witness cooperation and would address concerns over the fairness of punishing veterans for an incident that occurred half a century ago. Some legal experts warned, however, that the immunity could attract criticism if the investigation ultimately turns up evidence of egregious crimes committed by US soldiers. A senior US military officer said last week, “Just because a number of years have gone by shouldn’t mean that, if war crimes were committed, we shouldn’t take action against those that did it.” Gary D. Solis, an associate law professor at the US Military Academy at West Point, said that giving immunity before facts are gathered “would present troubling issues in an international context. It would suggest an unwillingness on our part to fully explore the possibilities of criminal misconduct.” Donald P. Gregg, former US ambassador to the ROK and now chairman of the Korea Society in New York, said that he believes that ROK citizens would not object to an immunity “as long as it is not perceived as sheltering anybody from retribution.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 25.]

The Associated Press (“STUDENTS PROTEST ALLEGED KILLINGS,” Seoul, 10/23/99) reported that about 200 students in Seoul on Saturday protested the alleged killing of civilians by US forces during the Korean War. The students chanted, “Let’s drive out American troops who committed the No Gun Ri massacre!” Police did not intervene and no clashes were reported during the two-hour protest. The protest was organized by the ROK’s largest student group, Hanchongryon.

11. PRC-Taiwan Relations

Taiwan’s Central News Agency (“TAIPEI STILL WANTING FOR BEIJING’S RESPONSE TO KOO’S OFFER,” Taipei, 10/22/99) reported that Lin Chung-pin, vice chairman of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Friday that Taiwan is still waiting for the PRC’s response to Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Koo Chen-fu’s recent offer that he go to the PRC to invite his counterpart, Association for Relation Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) head Wang Daohan, to visit Taiwan. ARATS Secretary-General Zhang Jincheng had said on Thursday that it would be inconvenient for Koo to go to the PRC again if Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui’s “two states” theory is not retracted.

12. US Policy toward Taiwan

Taiwan’s Central News Agency (“POLL SHOWS LUKEWARM SUPPORT FOR US SECURITY ASSISTANCE TO TAIWAN,” Washington, 10/19/99) reported that an opinion poll released by the Henry Luce Foundation showed that only 26 percent of US citizens think that the US should continue to help Taiwan defend itself through arms sales and other means, even if it hurts US relations with the PRC. Forty-seven percent of respondents said that the US should keep a low profile and let Taiwan and the PRC deal with the problem. Twenty-one percent favored improving US-PRC relations in order to increase US leverage in influencing both sides to find a peaceful solution. Susan Shirk, US deputy assistant secretary of state for Asia and the Pacific, said she was “struck” by “a very small percentage of the public” supporting continued security assistance to Taiwan. She stated, “Yet our policy is to continue to transfer defensive articles to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act, and the administration remains very strongly committed to that.”

13. PRC Nuclear Capabilities

Reuters (Benjamin Kang Lim, “CHINA EARMARKS BILLIONS TO COUNTER NUCLEAR ATTACK,” Beijing, 10/24/99) reported that PRC General Zhang Wannian announced that the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the State Council have decided to budget 80 billion yuan (US$9.7 billion) to boost the PRC’s second strike capabilities in response to any nuclear attack. Zhang said that the proposal calls for “making a vigorous counterattack once hegemonists and their military alliance use nuclear weapons to make a surprise attack on China.” Robert Karniol, Asia correspondent of Jane’s Defence Weekly, stated, “The program for China to develop effective second strike capabilities has been under way for a long time.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 25.]

14. PRC Policy toward CTBT

Reuters (“JIANG SAYS CHINA WANTS TO RATIFY NUCLEAR PACT,” Sarran, France, 10/24/99) and the International Herald Tribune (Barry James, “CHINA VOWS TO JOIN BAN ON NUCLEAR ARMS TESTS,” Paris, 10/25/99, 1) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin reiterated Sunday that the PRC intended to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Jiang stated, “Our aim is to get the ratification of the treaty.” [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for October 25.]

15. Japanese Nuclear Accident

The New York Times (Matthew L. Wald, “EXPERTS SAY LAPSES LED TO JAPAN’S A-PLANT FAILURE,” Washington, 10/23/99, A4) reported that three US Energy Department experts said Friday that the nuclear accident at Japan’s Tokaimura reprocessing plant occurred because managers did not explain to the workers the reasons behind the safety procedures. They added that the managers should have concentrated on providing equipment that would have made such accidents impossible. One of the experts, Frank McCoy, said that Japanese officials had performed a safety evaluation of the Tokaimura plant and concluded that an accidental nuclear reaction was impossible, and therefore had no emergency plan in place when the accident occurred.

16. Japanese Sanctions on India

The Associated Press (“JAPAN MAY END SANCTIONS IF INDIA SIGNS ATOM PACT – AGENCY,” New Delhi, 10/25/99) reported that Ichita Yamamoto, Japanese state secretary for foreign affairs, told United News of India news agency on Monday that Japan may lift sanctions against India if India signs the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Yamamoto added, “Japan understands India’s security concerns and appreciates India’s voluntary moratorium on nuclear tests.”

17. Indian-Japanese Relations

Reuters (Sanjeev Miglani, “INDIA CONCERNED OVER PAKISTAN MILITARY TAKEOVER,” New Delhi, 10/25/99) reported that Indian President K.R. Narayanan said on Monday that the military takeover of Pakistan was a matter of serious concern to India. Narayanan stated, “Democracy alone can guarantee peace, understanding and cooperation among countries and people.” He added, “The Kargil conflict has … underlined the need for modernization of our defense forces. Government will ensure that our defense forces are fully equipped to meet any challenge to our national security.” He added that while India was committed to global nuclear disarmament, “This will be done in a way that India’s legitimate security concerns are suitably addressed, in keeping with our own assessment of the evolving international security environment.”

18. US Missile Defense

The Associated Press (“RUSSIA ABLE TO OVERPOWER ANY US MISSILE DEFENSE -OFFICIAL,” Moscow, 10/25/99) reported that Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Mikhailov said Monday that Russia will be able to overcome any anti-ballistic missile defense system the U.S. can build. Mikhailov stated, “This technology can realistically be used and will be used if the United States pushes us toward it.” He added, “If the United States violates the 1972 ABM treaty …Russia can unequivocally defend itself by improving its weaponry. Increasing the efficiency of delivery systems largely exceeds the possibility of improving the countering capabilities of anti-missile systems.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Missile Deployment

Chosun Ilbo (Jung Kwon-hyun, “NK DEPLOYS RODONG-1 MISSILES,” Seoul, 10/24/99) reported that the DPRK was confirmed to have deployed 4 battalions equipped with Rodong-1 missiles, which have a range of 1,300 km, into battle-ready positions. These battalions belong to a missile division which the DPRK army recently established. Three of the 4 battalions have been stationed in Pyungsan-gun, North Hwang-hoe province, a few miles from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). A high-ranking ROK government official said on Sunday that the DPRK has been operating a fourth battalion in Woonjun-kun in North Pyongan province, adding that one battalion possesses 9 Rodong- 1 missile launching pads. Cheju Island, as well as most of Japan, falls within the range of the Rodong-1 missile. The DPRK army’s deployment of the Rodong-1 missile in North Pyongan province was previously reported, but deployment of the missile by the other 3 battalions has been confirmed for the first time.

2. PRC on DPRK refugees

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “CHINA STEPS UP CRACKDOWN ON N.K. REFUGEES ILLEGALLY CROSSING BORDER,” Seoul, 10/25/99) reported that the PRC has recently intensified a crackdown on DPRK defectors illegally crossing into its territory after the ROK government vowed to accept any DPRK refugee who wished to settle in the ROK. According to officials at private groups here supporting refugees from the DPRK, PRC police and DPRK secret agents are stepping up searches of spots where DPRK defectors are believed to be hiding. “To avoid arrest, some North Korean defectors are escaping to Mongolia or joining Chinese criminal organizations,” an official was quoted as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity. PRC police have indicated that the crackdown was prompted by the ROK’s recent involvement in the human rights issues of DPRK defectors in the PRC, the official added. At the 1999 International Conference of NGOs in Seoul, participants agreed to establish an International Commission to Help DPRK Refugees in their efforts to improve the defectors’ human rights conditions. In response, however, the DPRK charged in its official media last week that the group’s demands were tantamount to a provocation of its regime. Some observers said that ROK Unification Minister Lim Dong-won’s recent remarks on DPRK defectors may have angered PRC authorities.

3. DPRK on Agreed Framework

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “N.K. ATTACKS U.S. FOR FAILURE TO KEEP 1994 ACCORD,” Seoul, 10/25/99) reported that on the fifth anniversary of the 1994 Agreed Framework, the DPRK has stepped up its attack on US failures to keep promises inherent in the deal. Saying that the Framework is based on “simultaneous action,” Radio Pyongyang said, “Given the U.S. attitude in implementing the promise over the past five years, the principle has been violated, driving the agreement to a collapse.” DPRK media faulted the US for delaying construction of the light water reactors and failing to send the heavy oil promised. “Even though the complete lifting of economic sanctions is America’s obligation under the agreement, they have only partially eased their embargo on us last month almost five years after it was promised,” said editorials in the DPRK’s official daily Rodong Shinmun and on Radio Pyongyang on Saturday. Claiming that US negotiators must have agreed to the framework agreement in 1994 based on the assumption that the DPRK would soon collapse, the editorials asserted that the US had shifted its policy “from carrots to sticks” as indicators began to point to a long-lasting DPRK regime “These and other points are showing that the US has just continued to betray us for the past five years, while pursuing military confrontations and nuclear conflicts behind its ostensible gesture of dialogue,” they said.

4. ROK Aid to DPRK

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “PRESIDENT SAYS SKEPTICISM OVER AID TO NORTH KOREA GROWING IN SOUTH,” Seoul, 10/25/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung has again urged the DPRK to come to the table for direct talks with the ROK. While reaffirming the ROK’s commitment to the continued provision of food aid to the DPRK, the President said that skepticism is growing in the ROK over the DPRK’s failure to respond to the ROK’s generosity. Kim made the point in a meeting with Maurice Strong, special adviser to the UN Secretary General, at Chong Wa Dae on Saturday. Strong came to Seoul for a conference of international advisers of the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI). Chong Wa Dae spokesman Park Joon-young said that Kim noted that the ROK government offers US$6 million to US$7 million worth of food aid each year, and that civilian contributions push the amount considerably higher. “But opposition is growing (among ROK citizens) because the DPRK does not appreciate the aid, does not change its attitude, and continues to build up the military,” Kim said. Park said that while urging the DPRK to respond to the ROK’s peace overtures, the President committed himself to providing economic and food assistance to the DPRK. “We will have to continue helping improve North Korea’s economic situation and the quality of life of its citizens,” Kim said. The spokesman quoted Strong as saying that DPRK officials in New York said that they had solved the basic food problems in the country.

5. Medical Aid to DPRK

The Korea Herald (“BELL FOUNDATION TO SEND $525,000 IN MEDICAL AID TO N.K.,” Seoul, 10/25/99) reported that an ROK Unification Ministry official said that the Eugene Bell Foundation of the US will send 630 million won (US$525,000) worth of medicine and medical supplies to the DPRK at the beginning of next month. “The medicines include anti-tuberculosis drugs, tonics, X-ray film, bandages and medical equipment to treat tuberculosis; some anti-tuberculosis drugs were donated by the Korea National Tuberculosis Association Monday worth 260 million won,” the official said. The foundation has been active in trying to rid the DPRK of tuberculosis and has provided medicine and medical equipment worth US$1.1 billion to the DPRK this year. It has also invited DPRK doctors to the US for training on first aid for heart disease.

6. DPRK-US Relations

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “NORTH KOREA SUGGESTS ADADEMIC EXCHANGE WITH US,” Seoul, 10/24/99) reported that DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-soon suggested a mutual academic exchange with the US when he visited the UN late last month. A source from the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Sunday, “Paek announced last month that he would encourage academic cooperation with the US on political and peace issues around the Korean Peninsula.” Paek emphasized in his address that “The United States has maintained a South Korea-oriented policy while being hostile toward North Korea, preventing a mutual relationship with us. It should listen to our opinion too.” The source stated that there is a strong possibility that this suggestion will come to fruition.

7. DPRK-ROK Meeting

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “SOUTH-NORTH KOREA RED CROSS LEADERS TO MEET,” Seoul, 10/22/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Jung Kwon-hyun, “KNRC HEAD MAY MEET NK COUNTERPART,” Seoul, 10/22/99) reported that the ROK and DPRK Red Cross presidents will meet on October 29 in Geneva, Switzerland. A governmental source stated on Friday, “Our Red Cross president Chung Won-sik will participate in the International Red Cross conference from October 23, where he will meet his North Korean counterpart Chang Jae-un to discuss issues of separated families and North Korean support.” It is not an official event, but the first meeting in 10 years, he added.

8. ROK Returns DPRK Boat

Chosun Ilbo (Chung Byung-sun, “NAVY TOWS NK TUG & BARGE TO NLL,” Seoul, 10/22/99) reported that the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff announced on Friday that naval units had towed a drifting DPRK tug boat and barge with 14 DPRK crew members to Paeknyong island for repairs after they had crossed the Northern Limit Line (NLL). A spokesman said that radar detected the 35-ton tugboat and a barge in the southern sea area 7.2Km inside the NLL at 7:30am. Two patrol boats sped to the site and towed them to Paeknyong island at 10:27am where after repairs were completed they were escorted back into DPRK waters at 5:00PM. The DPRK sailors parted from their original course due to poor visibility caused by the bad weather, a broken compass and a minor engine failure, it was reported. They were originally en-route to the port of Shinuiju, delivering sand from Koomi port.

9. Mt. Kumgang Tour

Chosun Ilbo (Chung Kwon-hyun, “FIRST FOREIGNERS GO ON MT. KUMKANG TOUR,” Seoul, 10/22/99) reported that seventeen foreigners living in the ROK will go on the Mt. Kumkang tour in the DPRK on Saturday by taking the Pungak cruise boat. This is the first experimental tour for foreigners conducted at Hyundai’s invitation. The party includes former president of the British Chamber of Commerce in the ROK Alan Timblick, Kodak’s Seoul branch manager John Bay, and United Airline’s Seoul Office director Peter Toralbas. Hyundai will conduct three more tours for foreigners on October 26-29, and November 1.

10. DPRK Satellite Broadcast

Chosun Ilbo (Chung Kwon-hyun, “VIEWING NK SATELLITE BROADCASTS ALLOWED,” Seoul, 10/22/99) and The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “NK SATELLITE BROADCASTS OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEW,” Seoul, 10/22/99) reported that the ROK government announced on Friday that it will allow DPRK satellite television broadcasts to be viewed in the ROK and that ROK media companies will be able to individually receive them and make use of the content. The general public will also be able to see the DPRK satellite program if they install a converter and a dish antenna. In addition, people will be able to see the broadcasts at two Ministry of Unification umbrella organizations: the Education Institute and the Information Center on the DPRK. However, recording the content of DPRK broadcasts with the purpose of conducting an act “advantageous to the enemy,” will be punished under the National Security Law. Media Companies will be able to use DPRK satellite broadcasting following a government guidebook to be issued to them.

11. East Asia Vision Group

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “KIM CALLS FOR MERGER OF EAST ASIA, ASEAN,” Seoul, 10/23/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung suggested on Friday that Southeast Asian nations and the three Northeast Asian nations – the ROK, the PRC and Japan – establish a new regional mechanism on economic and security cooperation. “East Asia should become the one to ensure peace, economic development and co-prosperity in the region,” Kim said in a meeting with members of the East Asian Vision Group at Chong Wa Dae on Friday. Chong Wa Dae spokesman Park Joon-young said that President Kim noted that the recent economic crisis in Asia and the situation in East Timor show that any political and economic developments in Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia affect all nations in the region. “I believe that the whole of East Asia should be developed into one block as in the cases of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the European Union,” Park quoted Kim as saying. The President asked the East Asian Vision Group members to study ways to develop ASEAN and the three Northeast Asian nations into a single group aimed at promoting peace and cooperation in the region, the spokesman said. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said that the Manila summit is likely to reach an agreement that the 13 nations should launch regular meetings of their leaders and ministers. The newspaper quoted Philippine Foreign Secretary Domingo Siazon as saying that the envisaged forum would be able to discuss security issues and conflicts in the region, including Korean problems. He said that the DPRK could be invited to the forum, according to the newspaper.

12. ROK Participation in East Timor Peacekeeping

The Korea Herald (“KOREAN PEACEKEEPERS COUNSEL RELEASE OF TIMORESE MILITIAMEN,” Seoul, 10/25/99) reported that ROK Defense Ministry officials said on Sunday that East Timorese independence fighters on Saturday released 49 anti-independence militia members captured in Lautem province after consulting with ROK peacekeepers. The release came after the leaders of the armed pro-independence Falintin group said that they intended to release the militia members to Colonel Park In-chul, chief of the ROK peacekeepers, the officials said. Officials said that Park approved the release, praising the Falintin leaders for their decision to let go of the militiamen. The Falintin’s decision to release the militia came following the return of their exiled leader, Jose Alexandre Gusmao, to Dili on Friday. The Defense Ministry said that order was quickly restored in Lautem after the ROK peace troops’ arrival there on October 16.

The Korea Herald (Lee Sung-yul, “SOLDIERS, SAILORS DONATE RELIEF GOODS FOR WAR-STRICKEN RESIDENTS IN E. TIMOR,” Seoul, 10/23/99) reported that Army soldiers and Navy sailors are donating daily necessities in a campaign to help East Timorese who are suffering from hunger and disease. The Army said on Friday that soldiers are donating food, bedding, clothes, kitchenware, stationery, tents, medicine and other items to the roughly 60,000 residents of Lautem province. The Army campaign, which started October 13, will last until November 30, said Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Song Kyu-myoung. The Army and the Navy announced the campaign as the main contingent of the 419-member ROK peace force arrived in Los Palos. Song said that the relief goods would be shipped to Lautem in early December when a second cargo ship for the ROK peace force is expected to leave Pusan. “People there have virtually nothing, because their houses were looted and burnt down in the recent violence that ravaged the whole territory. The relief items will be delivered to Lautem residents via our peace force there,” Song said. In a separate campaign that started October 5, Navy sailors and their families donated 66 million won (about $55,000) worth of relief goods. The Air Force also plans to launch a campaign to help the province’s residents in the near future.

13. Korean War Massacre

Chosun Ilbo (Kim Yeon-keuk, “US TO GRANT IMMUNITY NOGEUN-RI SOLDIERS: LA TIMES,” Seoul, 10/25/99) reported that the Los Angeles Times said on Saturday that the US Department of Defense is “considering granting an unprecedented blanket immunity for all Americans connected to [the Nogun-ri] incident that witnesses say left hundreds of Koreans dead.” The paper quoted the US Defense Department and said that granting such an immunity would “help the government assemble the fullest record of what happened [at Nogun-ri, and] would address veterans groups’ objections that it would be unfair to punish aging veterans for an incident that occurred half a century ago.” However, doubtful opinions were also raised by some legal experts that the decision could “attract criticism if the investigation ultimately turns up evidence of egregious crimes committed by GIs.” This included a comment by Gary D. Solis, an associate law professor at the US Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., who argued that giving immunity before facts are gathered “would present troubling issues in an international context. It would suggest an unwillingness on our part to fully explore the possibilities of criminal misconduct.”

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