NAPSNet Daily Report 26 February, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 26 February, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, February 26, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-26-february-1999/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

I. United States

1. DPRK Defectors

Reuters (“FORMER N.KOREAN AGENT DEFECTS TO S.KOREA,” Seoul, 02/26/99) reported that the Korea Herald on Saturday quoted an unidentified source in the ROK National Intelligence Service as saying that Yun Dae-il, a former senior DPRK intelligence agent, and his son defected to the ROK in December last year via a third country. The report said that Yun defected to the ROK amid a purge of northern security agents handling foreign affairs. Meanwhile, two DPRK defectors arrived in Seoul on Thursday to seek political asylum, bringing the number of such defectors this month to 17.

2. US-Japan Security Relationship

The Associated Press (“JAPANESE OFFICIAL SAYS U.S. WANTS NEW JOINT DECLARATION,” Tokyo, 02/26/99, 8) reported that Taku Yamasaki, chairman of a special legislative committee on Japan-US defense cooperation, said Thursday that Franklin Kramer, US assistant secretary of defense, informed him of US hopes to issue a new joint declaration to reaffirm security ties between the two nations. Yamasaki quoted Kramer as saying that now is the time to reaffirm the defense relationship, as three years have passed since the last joint security declaration. Yamasaki said Kramer told him that the US hopes the new declaration will be issued following a meeting between US President Bill Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi planned for May in Washington. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka, however, denied that the two nations were discussing a new declaration, Kyodo News agency reported. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 26.]

3. PRC Military Posture

The Washington Post (Thomas W. Lippman, “CHINESE MISSILE BUILDUP IS THREAT TO TAIWAN, REPORT SAYS,” 02/26/99, 20), the Los Angeles Times (Bob Drogin, “PENTAGON, SENATE CRITICIZE CHINA ON ARMS, RIGHTS,” Washington 02/26/99), and the Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “CHINA STRENGTHENS POSITION NEAR TAIWAN,” 02/26/99) reported that a US Defense Department report released Thursday by Congress said that the PRC’s buildup of new missiles and other high-technology weapons in areas near Taiwan is shifting the balance of power in favor of the PRC. The report said that PRC military strategy is now focusing on “preparing for military contingencies along its southeastern flank, especially in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.” It added, “By 2005, [the People’s Liberation Army] will possess the capability to attack Taiwan with air and missile strikes which would degrade key military facilities and damage the island’s economic infrastructure.” It also said, “China will retain the capability to interdict Taiwan’s [sea lanes of communication] and blockade the island’s principle maritime ports.” However, it added, “Should China invade Taiwan, such an operation would require a major commitment of civilian air and maritime transport assets, would be prolonged in duration, and would not be automatically guaranteed to succeed.” The report also noted, “the security situation in the Taiwan Strait remains calm, with no threat of imminent hostilities.” Michael Pillsbury, a former Reagan and Bush administration defense official who specializes in the PRC, stated, “This report is a wake-up call to Congress that the military balance is shifting away from Taiwan and in favor of China.” Senator Frank H. Murkowski, Alaska Republican, stated, “I am especially troubled by the finding that Taiwan’s most significant vulnerability is its limited capacity to defend against the growing arsenal of Chinese ballistic missiles.” Senator Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat, said that the report “proves that the People’s Republic of China’s refusal to renounce force against Taiwan continues a pattern of intimidation undermining security in the region.” An unnamed Defense official said that State Department and White House officials watered down the report from the original draft. [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 26.]

4. PRC-Taiwan Diplomatic Rivalry

The Washington Post (John M. Goshko, “TO PUNISH MACEDONIA, CHINA VETOES U.N. MISSION,” United Nations, 02/26/99, A20), the Associated Press (“CHINA SEEN UNLIKELY TO REVERSE U.N. VETO OVER MACEDONIA,” United Nations, 02/26/99), and the New York Times (Paul Lewis, “CHINA VOTES A U.N. FORCE OUT OF BALKANS,” United Nations, 02/26/99) reported that the PRC on Friday vetoed an extension of a 1,100-member UN peacekeeping force in Macedonia. Macedonian Foreign Minister Aleksandar Dimitrov stated, “It is hard to believe that Beijing could block a successful peace mission in the region only because of its bilateral problems with one small country, such as Macedonia.” Ambassadors from several countries, including Canada, Slovenia, and Germany speaking on behalf of the European Union, accused the PRC of putting its domestic agenda ahead of international peace. PRC UN Ambassador Qin Huasun dismissed the allegations as “totally groundless.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 26.]

5. PRC International Stature

The Associated Press (“CHINA’S JIANG CALLS FOR INCREASED INTL STATURE FOR CHINA,” Beijing, 02/26/99) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin said Friday that favorable international opinion is important for the PRC to achieve its goal of becoming a modern country in the next century. Jiang stated, “China should have an influence on world opinion which must be as strong as its international standing and prestige.” He added that the PRC’s job of explaining itself to the world “must be done better.” He suggested clarifying the PRC’s policies and principles and introducing its history and current situation. He called for “massive publicity efforts” that he said would raise the PRC’s international stature and help it modernize.

6. PRC-US Relations

The San Jose Mercury News carried an analytical article (Michael Dorgan and Jennifer Lin, “U.S.-CHINA RELATIONSHIP FACES DIFFICULT TIMES,” 02/25/99) which said that US-PRC relations have fallen into what one China expert called “one of these valleys of disappointment.” Jia Qingguo, a professor of international relations at Beijing University, said that a US missile-defense system would provoke a regional arms race and send the “wrong message” to people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. He said that those in Taiwan who advocate declaring independence from the PRC would view it as a guarantee of protection from the US and take “more radical action,” while PRC citizens would feel that the US was siding with Taiwan and against the PRC. The New York Times reported this week that at least a half-dozen candidates for the post of US ambassador to the PRC have rejected the post because of the current state of US-PRC relations. Orville Schell, dean of the graduate school of journalism at the University of California-Berkeley, stated, “China is a monumental and confusing contradiction. Depending on which side you look at at any moment, it’s either a new and cheerful and open-marketized society, or a gloomy, dark, autocratic, Leninist state.” Robert Scalapino, a professor emeritus at UC-Berkeley, said that the US-PRC relationship “has a bearing on every issue in Asia.” Li Zhaoxing, PRC ambassador to the US, said in a speech last month, “While deepening its economic structural reform and opening wider to the world, China is actively carrying out political reform step by step, expanding democracy, improving the legal system and running the country according to law…. Unfortunately, while the Chinese people are going all out to modernize the country, some people in the United States are busy spreading the ‘China threat’ fallacy and trying to find a new enemy for the United States.” Representative Christopher Cox, California Republican, said in an interview that the US “extraordinary overtures” to the PRC have been answered “fulsomely and negatively.” He added, however, that a policy of attempting to isolate the PRC is “unthinkable and surely unsupportable.” Kenneth Lieberthal, an administration senior adviser on Asia, stated, “The relationship had a lot of momentum coming out of the two summits. I think over the course of this winter, clearly the atmosphere in the U.S. has become tougher for reasons that we’re all aware of. We’re all looking to the [PRC Premier] Zhu [Rongji] visit to see whether that imparts some new momentum to the relationship and increases that momentum.”

7. US-Russian Nuclear Disarmament

The New York Times (Steven Lee Myers, “U.S. URGED TO REDUCE NUCLEAR ARSENAL TO REVIVE RUSSIAN TALKS,” Washington, 02/26/99) reported that the Committee on Nuclear Policy, which represents a variety of arms-control organizations and research groups, called on the US on Thursday to revive arms-control negotiations with Russia by making a series of gestures to reduce nuclear stockpiles and build confidence. The Committee said that the US was losing the initiative by waiting indefinitely for the Russian Duma to ratify START II before taking new steps to reduce nuclear weapons. It recommended that the US and Russia should each begin to reduce total stockpiles to 1,000 nuclear weapons, including strategic and battlefield warheads. It also said that both sides should take more missiles off alert and remove from their war plans options that call for massive nuclear strikes. The committee’s report concluded, “To continue to rely solely on the stalemated START process is to needlessly increase the costs and risks of maintaining U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals at levels well in excess of what is needed to deter an attack.” Robert Bell, special assistant to the president for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council, said the recommendations were “well intentioned” but went too far. Bell stated, “At the end of the day, the proposals are too ambitious and too idealistic.” Michael Krepon, president of the Stimson Center, said that the US administration and Congress have not paid enough attention to the extent of the deterioration of Russia’s nuclear forces. He warned, “They’ll become very focused on this problem after something terrible happens.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 26.]

8. US Missile Defense

The Washington Post (“HOUSE PANEL APPROVES MISSILE DEFENSE PLAN,” 02/26/99, 17) reported that the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee by a 50 to 3 vote approved legislation Thursday that declared a national goal to deploy a nationwide defense system against ballistic missiles. The bill did not set a timetable for deployment. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for February 26.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. US Policy toward DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (“PERRY TO VISIT PYONGYANG,” Seoul, 02/26/99) reported that the DPRK government has expressed its willingness to host a visit by US DPRK policy coordinator William Perry. The announcement was made Friday by a high-ranking official of CNN who is currently visiting the DPRK. Speaking in a telephone interview with the news organization, the official said that DPRK government leaders seemed to be a little perplexed that Perry has been conducting his review of US DPRK policy without consulting directly with the government in Pyongyang. Diplomatic sources in Washington believe there is a high possibility that Perry will visit the DPRK right after submitting his report on DPRK affairs to the US Congress, with the aim of communicating US policy to the DPRK. This is the first time that the DPRK has ever indicated that it would welcome a visit from Perry. The CNN official is on his ninth visit to the DPRK and is currently on an assignment to discuss the possibility of opening up a CNN office in Pyongyang.

JoongAng Ilbo (“PERRY’S REPORT DEMANDS END OF DPRK PROVOCATION,” Seoul, 02/26/99) reported that William Perry, the US special envoy for DPRK, made a report in which the US government will require the DPRK to abandon its nuclear and missile development and cease all provocations against the ROK. The unnamed source added that Steven Bosworth, US ambassador to the ROK, sent a portion of the report to the ROK government. He added that very different opinions still remain between the US and the ROK, and the two sides will discuss the matter directly the day after Perry visits Seoul next on March 8.

2. ROK-US-Japan Security Meeting

Korea Herald (“ROK, U.S., JAPAN TO DISCUSS SECURITY ISSUES,” Seoul, 02/27/99) reported that high ranking defense officials from the ROK, the US, and Japan were scheduled to meet Friday in Seoul for talks on security issues of mutual concern, including the DPRK’s suspected nuclear missile development project. In the trilateral meeting, officials from the three countries were also to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in exchanges of military intelligence among their countries. Participants include Lieutenant General Kim In-jong, policy counselor to the defense minister, Franklin D. Kramer, a US assistant defense secretary, and Ken Sato, director-general of the Japanese Defense Agency’s Bureau of Defense Policy. The trilateral meeting is the seventh since its inauguration in 1994.

3. DPRK Electricity Shortage

Korea Herald (“KIM SAYS ROK WILL HELP DPRK RESOLVE ELECTRICITY SHORTAGE,” Seoul, 02/27/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said Thursday that the ROK will help the DPRK resolve its electricity shortage. “We will give them whatever help we can give,” Kim said in a roundtable discussion held on the sidelines of an international conference. Kim suggested that the ROK provide new food aid and help the DPRK improve its farm productivity and electricity situation. Some ROK officials have suggested that the ROK send electricity to the DPRK, but it is the first time for the president to mention the plan. President Kim made the statement after opening the two-day high-profile conference to mark his first year in office Thursday. The conference is a highlight of the first anniversary celebrations of the Kim presidency.

4. DPRK Defectors

Korea Herald (“EX-DPRK AGENT DEFECTS TO ROK,” Seoul, 02/26/99) reported that a former senior DPRK intelligence agent, accompanied by his son, defected to the ROK via a third country in December last year, according to ROK officials. The defector, Yun Dae-il, 44, once worked at the DPRK’s powerful National Security Agency, according to the an official at the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS). He said that Yun appeared to have defected to the ROK as the DPRK had conducted a campaign to purge security agents handling foreign affairs. Yun is being questioned by ROK authorities about the motives behind his defection and his activities in the DPRK, said the NIS official. It is rare for a DPRK security agent to defect to the ROK. Yun is said to have worked mainly in the border region between the DPRK and the PRC. The ROK’s semi-official Yonhap News Agency reported that Yun had told the NIS that the DPRK has stepped up border guards, at the direction of its leader Kim Jong-il, by reinforcing security agents in the region since 1993. DPRK watchers said the DPRK’s intelligence agency is under the direct control of the National Defense Commission headed by Kim.

Korea Herald (“NEW GROUP OF DPRK DEFECTORS INAUGURATED,” Seoul, 02/26/99) reported that about 200 DPRK defectors on Thursday inaugurated an interest group called the Association of DPRK Defectors. Hwang Jang-yop, a former secretary of the DPRK ruling Workers’ Party, has joined the association as honorary president. The association is headed by Kim Duk- hong, an aide to Hwang. In a prepared statement, the group said it had organized to help DPRK defectors adapt themselves to ROK society. It also said it is planning to financially and mentally support DPRK people suffering from starvation and DPRK defectors in foreign countries. “We will expand the association by recruiting all DPRK defectors supporting our cause,” said the statement. The group also plans to promote a campaign to donate daily necessities to DPRK defectors in the PRC and Russia. It said it would raise funds by holding various cultural events and asking for contributions from defectors in the ROK.

5. DPRK Tourism Project

Korea Herald (“HYUNDAI’S DPRK TOURISM PROJECT TO EXPAND TO MOUTAIN PAEKDU,” Seoul, 02/27/99) reported that the Hyundai Group’s tourism project to Mt. Kumgang on the DPRK’s east coast will likely to expand to Mt. Paekdu and Chilbo in the near future, a senior Hyundai official said Thursday. Meeting with Hyundai officials in Pyongyang recently, DPRK officials proposed joint development of the DPRK’s Mt. Paekdu and Chilbo regions into international travel destinations, he said. The DPRK proposed that Hyundai construct an international airport near Mt. Kumgang and a beach near Haekeum River on the DPRK’s east coast in the near future, he said. Considering the DPRK’s positive attitude, opening the DPRK’s scenic mountains to ROK tourists is expected to be realized soon, he said.

6. ROK Sovereign Rating

Korea Times (“ROK’S SOVEREIGN RATING AFFECTED BY DPRK,” Seoul, 02/26/99) reported that Fitch IBCA, an international rating agency, has pointed to the unpredictable DPRK situation as a major factor affecting the sovereign rating of the ROK. In a recent report in which the ROK’s sovereign ratings were upgraded to investment grade, the agency noted that the ROK’s economic confidence in the international community depends on the degree of stability in the DPRK. “The DPRK poses two main risks for the ROK,” the agency said. “The first is a straightforward military invasion, similar to that launched in 1950, and the second is an abrupt economic collapse which would pose a heavy burden on the other side,” it added. The two scenarios are potentially linked, Fitch IBCA said, since any DPRK invasion of the ROK would come out of economic desperation and a need to reassert control at home by launching a foreign adventure. The rating agency attached a very low probability to these outcomes, and yet, either case would disrupt economic activity in the ROK and might pose a threat to external debt service.

III. Japan

1. DPRK Missile Threat

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“DETERRING DPRK MISSILE LAUNCH BY ANNOUNCING DETECTION OF MISSILE,” 02/26/99) reported that the Japanese government decided on February 25 that it will deter the DPRK from launching another ballistic missile by announcing if the government detects a probability of a DPRK missile launch. According to the report, after such an announcement, there may follow other specific defense actions, including diplomatic persuasion by the US to talk the DPRK out of launching missiles and defense mobilization of the Self-Defense Forces in case the missiles hit Japan. The government plans to move on to policy coordination with the US and the ROK on this issue. The decision was made to raise public opposition to such missile launches and to meet the existing public expectation on the government to facilitate its ability to collect information and analyze it for crisis management. However, a governmental source expressed some concern that an announcement of this kind of information may raise unnecessary public fear. For this reason, there are some remaining questions to be further discussed, including when and to what extent information should be disclosed and how to deal with public response to the disclosure.

2. Japanese-ROK Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“FORMER PRIME MINISTER NAKASONE EXPRESSES CONCERN WITH SUNSHINE POLICY,” Seoul, 02/26/99) reported that visiting former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone met with ROK President Kim Dae- jung in Seoul on February 25 and expressed concern with Kim’s sunshine policy. Nakasone stated, “Japan is concerned with the DPRK’s Taepodong missiles and abduction of Japanese civilians.” Kim, in response to this, said, “The sunshine policy is designed not only to strengthen security but to have the DPRK open its window at the same time,” asking for Nakasone’s understanding. Regarding the ROK’s recent decision to release a long-held DPRK prisoner, Kim said, “The decision also has a meaning as a message to the North.”

3. Japanese-Russian Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“RUSSIAN PROPOSAL ON NORTHERN TERRITORIES SUGGEST DIFFICULTY OF RETURN,” 02/26/99) reported that the content of the Russian proposal over solution of the territorial issue between Japan and Russia that was put forward last November was revealed. According to the report, the proposal states, “It is necessary to consider historical legacies and reality for delimitation of the territories between Japan and Russia,” stressing that it is difficult for Russia to return the four islands that are under Russia’s de facto control. The Russian proposal also states, “(The Russian Federation proposes to) enter into negotiations for specific treaties on delimitation of national border,” clarifying that Russia would not include a solution to the territorial issue in the signing of a peace treaty by 2000. It was also revealed that for this reason, Russia would not request Japan’s immediate return of the two islands, as it did in the 1956 Japan-USSR Communique, even if a peace treaty is reached. Russia also wants to maintain its position that joint economic development should be kept from the territorial issue.

4. Japanese-PRC Disarmament Talks

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“Hiroyuki Sugiyama, “JAPAN WOULD NOT TRANSFER TMD TECHNOLOGY TO TAIWAN,” Beijing, 02/26/99) reported that talks on disarmament and nonproliferation were held between Japanese and PRC arms control officials on February 25 in Beijing. At the talks, the PRC expressed strong opposition to the transfer of theater missile defense (TMD) technology to Taiwan by Japan. In response, Japanese foreign ministry arms control official Nobuyasu Abe said, “(TMD) research is designed for Japan’s defense, and TMD technology transfer to Taiwan is unthinkable.”

5. Japanese Defense Policy

The Daily Yomiuri (“DEFENSE AGENCY SET TO BUY TANKER PLANES,” 02/26/99) carried a Yomiuri Shimbun article reporting that the Japanese Defense Agency (DA) revealed on February 24 that it plans to purchase tanker planes that can be refueled while in flight for Air Self-Defense Force aircraft to strengthen the nation’s air defense capabilities. According to the article, DA wants to buy the planes within the framework of the five-year defense program from fiscal 2001 to fiscal 2005. The introduction of tanker planes, fighter planes, and aircraft equipped with the Aircraft Warning and Control System will enable the Air Self-Defense force to stay airborne for longer periods of time. The current five-year defense program, effective until the end of fiscal 2000, has obliged the government to study and decide on the introduction of tanker planes during the next defense program. However, debate on the issue was shelved during the coalition government of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and New Party Sakigake (Pioneers) because of the SDP’s strong opposition to any military buildup. DA believes that the introduction of tanker planes would help strengthen the nation’s ability to participate in UN peacekeeping operations because the planes could facilitate the long-distance transportation of equipment and people. The article quoted Defense Agency (administrative) Vice Minister Seiji Ema as saying, “Tanker planes are needed to allow us to carry out new operations. They will enable combat air patrol planes to stay airborne longer, and they will also allow other planes to fly nonstop over long distances.”

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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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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