NAPSNet Daily Report 27 April, 1999

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 27 April, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, April 27, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-27-april-1999/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Russian Federation

I. United States

1. DPRK Famine

The Associated Press (“UN AGENCY: NORTH KOREA RUNS OUT OF FOOD,” Beijing, 04/27/99) reported that the World Food Program (WFP) said Tuesday that the DPRK has depleted its food stocks. David Morton, the WFP representative in Pyongyang, said that the DPRK government distributed the last of the fall harvest with early April’s monthly food ration of 3 1/2 pounds of grain. He added that most DPRK citizens can now expect little food until the first vegetable and potato crops are harvested in June. Morton said in a statement, “These are the most difficult months of the year for the people of North Korea. Most people try to survive by whatever coping mechanisms they have.” He said that to deal with the shortage, the government mills will produce substitute foods such as edible roots, grasses, seaweed, and corn stalks mixed with cereals and enzymes and cooked into noodles or buns. Morton noted that such foods are “basically a stomach filler” with little nutrition, and that eating them causes digestive problems, especially for children and the elderly. He added that the worst food shortages were believed to be occurring in the northeast.

2. DPRK Reaction to Japan-US Defense Guidelines

Dow Jones Newswires (“N. KOREA SILENT ON JAPAN DEFENSE GUIDELINES – KYODO,” Beijing, 04/27/99) reported that Japan’s Kyodo News reported that the DPRK on Tuesday did not react to the Japanese Diet’s passage of a set of bills for implementing the new US-Japan defense guidelines. Kyodo pointed out that on April 6, the DPRK’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted an article in the Rodong Shinmun claiming that the guidelines were designed to strengthen military ties between Japan and the US to “provoke a war of aggression” against the DPRK. The article said that Japan was prepared to hand over its sovereignty to “US imperialist aggression forces” for waging war against the DPRK.

3. Concert at Panmunjom

Reuters (“BEETHOVEN SOOTHES NERVES ON TENSE KOREAN FRONTIER,” Panmunjom, 04/27/99) reported that Czech pianist Hana Dvorakova on Tuesday played a recital at Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone. The concert was organized by the Swedish, Swiss and Polish Delegations to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC) and the Czech Embassy. Swedish Major General Sven Julin of the NNSC stated, “We believe bringing culture to this place of confrontation and tension is a way of confidence building. We hope this (concert) may contribute to gradually change the frosty atmosphere still prevailing here.” Tuesday’s recital was the first to be staged in the Joint Security Area patrolled by both DPRK and UN soldiers.

4. ROK Draft Scandal

The Associated Press (“100 PEOPLE ARRESTED IN S.KOREA SCAM,” Seoul, 04/27/99) reported that 100 ROK citizens, including 16 army doctors, have been arrested in an investigation of a scheme to evade compulsory military service. Police and army investigators said that 80 more people were booked for investigation and 27 others were still being sought. Most of those arrested are members of rich families or brokers on their behalf accused of giving bribes of up to US$66,000 to 16 army doctors from 1995-98. If convicted, the accused could receive up to five years in prison and a fine of up to US$16,000. The nationwide probe began late last year after some politicians alleged that as many as 10,000 medical discharges were granted each year in 1996 and 1997, about twice the annual average. The investigation found that 133 eligible draftees, most of them from wealthy families, were exempted from military service for medical reasons after bribing army doctors. Studies have shown that sons of national legislators or heads of chaebol received exemptions up to six times more often than the national average.

5. Computer Virus in ROK

Reuters (“CHERNOBYL VIRUS DAMAGES 240,000 PCS IN S.KOREA,” Seoul, 04/27/99) reported that the ROK Information and Communication Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the CIH, or Chernobyl, computer virus infected an estimated 240,000 personal computers in the ROK when it activated on Monday. However, media reports quoted officials at local anti-virus program development companies as estimating that as many as 600,000 computers might have been infected. The ministry said that anti- virus program developers received reports of infection from about 1,000 private companies, 200 government and public organizations and 300 universities.

6. US-Japan Defense Guidelines

The Associated Press (“JAPAN OKS U.S. SECURITY AGREEMENTS,” Tokyo, 04/27/99) reported that the lower house of the Japanese Diet on Tuesday passed a package of bills for implementing the US-Japan defense guidelines. PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi responded, “We express our deep concern over this. Japan has ignored the strong concerns of its neighbor countries, including China.” Hundreds of demonstrators from pacifist organizations and leftist political groups in Japan held protests outside the Diet building opposing the bills.

7. US Radar Sales to Taiwan

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “HOUSE MEMBER URGES RADAR SALES TO TAIWAN,” 04/27/99, 6) reported that US Representative Benjamin A. Gilman, Republican-New York, the chairman of the House of Representatives’ International Relations Committee, sent a letter to US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright saying that he will seek legislation to circumvent the decision if the State Department denies long-range early warning radar to Taiwan. Gilman said that the State Department “is advocating a policy that is not merely wrongheaded, but also dangerous to the people of Taiwan and the personnel of our U.S. armed forces who may one day be called on to help defend Taiwan.” He added, “I will not accept a decision by the administration to deny early warning radar systems to Taiwan. I have directed my staff to prepare legislation to rescind the president’s legal authority to restrict the transfer of such systems to Taiwan.” Gilman said that the legislation would be introduced immediately after the rejection of the radar, predicting that the measure “will command broad, bipartisan support in the Congress.” He argued, “we have to recognize that Taiwan’s need for early warning radar is the direct result of menacing policies that have been deliberately pursued by the Chinese government, and I cannot abide a decision by the [US President Bill] Clinton administration to leave Taiwan vulnerable to the growing threat.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for April 27.]

8. PRC-Taiwan Diplomatic Rivalry

Dow Jones Newswires (Tracy Withers, “CHINESE DELEGATION ABRUPTLY LEAVES APEC MINISTERS MEETING,” Christchurch, 04/27/99) reported that on Tuesday a seven member delegation representing the PRC government abruptly left a meeting of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum ministers. The meeting was discussing issues related to small- and medium-sized businesses. Meeting chairman Max Bradford stated, “While we would have preferred them to have remained they decided for reasons no doubt they can explain they couldn’t sit at the same table as the Taiwan delegation.” He added that the PRC had “difficulties with the representation levels in the Taiwan delegation.” Taiwan was represented by Minister for Economic Affairs Chih-kang Wang, while the PRC delegation was headed by Vice Chairman of China’s State Economic and Trade Commission Zheng Silin. The PRC delegation issued no formal statements explaining their departure.

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK Missile Development

Chosun Ilbo (Yong-won Yoo, “NO LIMIT TO COMMERCIAL ROCKET RANGES,” Seoul, 04/27/99) and the Korea Times (“KOREA ALLOWED TO DEVELOP PRIVATE SPACE PROJECTILES, Seoul, 04/27/99) reported that ROK Deputy Minister of Defense Ahn Byong-kil announced on Tuesday that the US and the ROK governments have agreed to nullify the limit on range and loading weight of commercial launch vehicles produced in the ROK. Ahn also said that under the agreement, the US will also help the ROK join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) after the two countries complete negotiations on missiles. The range of military missiles is to be increased to 300km. However, the US has insisted that an official Memorandum of Understanding be signed before the agreement is implemented. The ROK government wants to conclude the agreement through a letter of intent. The announcement was made in an answer to questions from lawmakers at a meeting of the Defense Committee of the National Assembly. Ahn also denied reports that the US had protested the ROK’s April 10 test-firing of a missile without prior notice.

2. DPRK’s View of ROK Missile Development

Joongang Ilbo (Jangsoo Seo, “N.K. ALLEGEDLY CRITICIZED S.K.’S MISSILE DEVELOPMENT,” Seoul, 04/27/99) reported that the spokesman of the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized the US on April 26 for supporting the ROK’s missile development program. According to the DPRK’s Central Broadcasting, the ROK test-fired a Hyeonmoo missile with a 300 km range on April 10. The spokesman claimed that this test-fire violated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the US and the ROK in 1979 that restricts missile development to within a 180 km range. The spokesman said that the DPRK will continue to strengthen its defensive capability, adding that US tolerance of the ROK’s test program is a hostile act toward the DPRK and could harm US-DPRK missile talks.

3. DPRK Agricultural Development Project

Joongang Ilbo (Jooan Kang, “3,000 TONS OF SEED POTATOES TO NK,” Seoul, 04/27/99) reported that International agencies are likely to send a minimum of 3,000 tons of seed potatoes to the DPRK this spring. According to the Ministry of Unification and other civil aid groups, the seeds supplied to the DPRK since March 15 are 1,414 tons of potatoes and 3,000 tons of barley. ACF, a French organization for hunger relief, sent 114 tons of potatoes to two collective farms in Hoeryong, North Hamgyong province and GAA, a German organization, provided 400 tons and an international charity organization “CONCERN WW” delivered 900 tons to 14 collective farms in South Pyongan province. The Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) sent 7,155 tons of urea fertilizer and 2,318 tons of composite fertilizer as well. Following the result of the negotiations between the DPRK and the US on investigating the nuclear suspected facilities in Kumchangri, the US Agency for International Development plans to provide 1,000 tons of potatoes through NGOs in May. The DPRK is enlarging the potato farms throughout the country, designating the year 1999 as “the year of potato farming revolution.”

4. ROK Draft Scandal

Chosun Ilbo (Hang-su Lee, “ARRESTS MADE IN MILITARY SERVICE SCANDAL,” Seoul, 04/27/99) reported that the Joint Investigation Headquarters announced Tuesday that it had uncovered 207 cases of bribery concerning military service exemptions committed between 1995 and 1998. As a result 180 people have been arrested, 87 without custody, and 27 have been placed on a wanted list. Those arrested include 135 civilians who allegedly paid bribes, 56 intermediaries and 16 current or former army doctors. To date the army has canceled 133 exemptions and ordered repeat physical examinations. The bribes paid to intermediaries ranged from 7 million won to 800 million won, and the intermediaries then paid doctors anywhere between 2 million won and 150.5 million won. One of those arrested was Shin Yong-hwan, chairman of the Shinsong group, who is suspected of having paid 40 million won to a doctor through a broker in order to gain an exemption for his son. The headquarters are continuing the investigation, targeting entertainers and sportsmen.

5. Computer Virus in ROK

Joongang Ilbo (Jangsoo Seo, “SERIOUS DAMAGE CAUSED BY CIH COMPUTER VIRUS SPREADING,” Seoul, 04/27/99) reported that the CIH computer virus has done fatal damage both economically and socially in the ROK by destroying data stored on computer hard disks. The total damage caused by CIH is estimated to amount to several trillion won, including the cost of repair of computers infected with the virus. The National Medical Center in Seoul lost their outpatients’ data because 10 personal computers in its reception area were infected with the CIH virus on April 26. CIH attacked 5 personal computers in a Seoul Station bank branch and destroyed all data about letters of credit (LC) stored in them. A middle school in Seoul postponed mid-term exams that were scheduled for the coming weekend after its computers containing the exam questions broke down. Vaccine development companies such as Ahn Chul-soo’s Institute and Hauri were flooded with calls from companies and educational organizations that are suffering from serious attacks by the CIH virus.

III. Russian Federation

1. RF Nuclear Strategy Izvestia’s Yury Golotyuk (“RUSSIA REVISES ITS ‘NUCLEAR ARGUMENTS'”,” Moscow, 1, 04/27/99) reported that a session of the RF Security Council (SC) would be held later this week to consider “the issues of development of nuclear weapon complex” of the RF. Meanwhile, RF President Boris Yeltsin has already received a report from the Commanders-in-Chief on the RF “nuclear triad.” “Judging from our sources’ evidence, the essence of the innovations proposed by the military in general is a sharp, to a maximum extent possible under the present conditions, increase of combat- readiness of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces,” reported Izvestia’s author. That change is connected with “the events of the recent months,” including the continued and planned NATO membership expansion, its new doctrine adopted in Washington last weekend, a possibility of the US abandonment of the fundamentals of the ABM Treaty, and the bombing of Yugoslavia. All those have made the RF try to update its Strategic Nuclear Forces Development Program adopted last July to cover the period till 2010. At that time the Security Council did not see the reduction of RF’s nuclear might as fatal, and its Secretary Andrey Kokoshin was talking about the end of the Cold War and lack of a need to maintain strict strategic parity with the US. Now the program is to be seriously corrected, as in a new hostile environment, “Russia sees the only way out for itself in resuming anew preparations for ‘a big war.'” Nuclear Commanders-in-Chief prepared their proposals to the SC based as well on the results of large-scale exercises this April. The RF Navy decided to prolong the service of submarines made in 1976-1981 till 2005, instead of decommissioning them next year as planned. Vladimir Nikitin, Deputy Commander-in-Chief, SPMF, reported that the service term of the RS-20s’ heavy ICBM will be prolonged for “2 years and maybe more.” The RF Air Force is prolonging the service terms of Tu-160 and Tu-95 strategic missile carrier bombers, while simultaneously trying to reach an agreement with Ukraine on the transfer to the RF of some bombers left in its territory after the collapse of the USSR.

2. US Submarine Near RF Coasts Izvestia (“AMERICAN SUBMARINE COLLECTED INTELLIGENCE NEAR KAMCHATKA COASTS,” Moscow, 3, 04/24/99) reported that the analysis of sounds produced by a US submarine detected by an Il-38 plane of the Russian Pacific Naval Aviation proved that the Los Angeles-type sub was collecting intelligence data 100 miles Northwest of Patropavlovsk Kamchatsky. Now it is established that the sub was spying “within Russia’s territorial waters, within its exclusive economic zone.”

3. RF Conference on Asia Pacific Security

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Vladimir Kalinin and Yury Kolosov (“THROUGH DIALOGUE AND INTERACTION TO PACIFIC ACCORD,” Moscow, 6, 04/22/99) reported that, on the RF’s initiative, an international conference within the ASEAN Security Forum framework will be held in late April in Vladivostok. The conference is cosponsored by the RF Far Eastern State University, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), the Foreign Ministry of the RF, and the Administration of the Primorsky Area of the RF. Primorsky Area Governor Yevgeny Nazdratenko, RF Foreign Ministry Secretary General Aleksandr Losyukov, RF Pacific Navy Commander Admiral Zakharenko, and MGIMO Vice President Zagorsky, as well as experts from ARF member countries and the European Union, will participate. The conference is perceived as a successor to the informal opinion exchange started at a seminar in Moscow in 1996.

4. US Assessment of PRC Nuclear Espionage

Segodnya (“AMERICAN SPECIAL SERVICES HAVE ASSESSED THE CONSEQUENCES OF CHINESE ESPIONAGE,” Moscow, 3, 04/23/99) reported that the US Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) presented the US Congress with their “long-awaited report on Chinese espionage,” as a result of which “Beijing got data on the W-88 type warheads, the neutron bomb and the latest MIRV type missiles.” Consequently, the PRC obtained data allowing it “to upgrade its nuclear stockpiles within several years.” Many US Senators believe that the US Administration did not pay due attention to an FBI report on the matter prepared as early as 1995.

5. PRC Still Not Admitted to WTO

Segodnya (“ACCESS TO THE WTO IS CLOSED TO CHINA SO FAR,” Moscow, 3, 04/22/99) reported that Zhu Rongji, PRC State Council Premier, returned from his official visit to the US without “a sanction in favor of its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).” Observers argued that the US Trade Representative will follow him to Beijing to find a compromise. In the US, President Bill Clinton was not willing to agree to the PRC’s accession to the WTO due to the obvious anti-PRC mood in the US Congress. In the US Administration as well “there are some who believe the US should be more tough with Beijing on security issues and on protection of [US] domestic producers of steel and textiles.” Negotiations on WTO membership for the PRC are expected to be completed by June, when the US Congress will debate on trade privileges.

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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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