NAPSNet Daily Report 27 July, 1998

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 27 July, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, July 27, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-27-july-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

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1. US Ship Deployment near Korean Peninsula

Reuters (“NKOREA WARNS U.S. AGAINST WARSHIP DEPLOYMENT,” Seoul, 07/27/98) and the Associated Press (“NKOREA CRITICIZES US SHIP MOVEMENT,” Seoul, 07/25/98) reported that the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency on Monday denounced US plans to deploy warships closer to the Korean peninsula to counter DPRK spy infiltrations. The agency said, “Such dangerous military moves, which can be seen only on the eve of war, are an undisguised military provocation against the DPRK. They are tantamount to a declaration of war. If the United States threatens us, its dialogue partner, with reckless military moves, we will be left with no other choice but to take powerful self-defensive steps unhesitatingly. If so, the United States will have much more to lose than to win.” The news agency said that the US was sending the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and “some 20 nuclear-powered attack submarines, various types of warplanes and troops” near to the peninsula. US officials have declined to say which types of navy ships are being deployed.

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2. DPRK Elections

The Associated Press (Kyong-hwa Seok, “NORTH KOREANS ELECT NEW PARLIAMENT,” Seoul, 07/26/98) and United Press International (“N KOREANS ELECT KIM JONG-IL TO ASSEMBLY,” Seoul, 07/27/98) reported that the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency announced Sunday that Kim Jong-il was elected to the Supreme People’s Assembly. The Agency said that all officers and men in constituency No. 666 voted for Kim. The DPRK reported a nearly 100 percent voter turnout, with only registered voters abroad or at sea not voting. Other details of the assembly elections, including the exact number of deputies elected, were not announced. In the last elections in 1990, 678 legislators were chosen for five-year terms. ROK officials said that only one candidate is allowed in each constituency and voters are told to mark “X” on their ballot sheets only when they oppose their candidates. Kim Kwang-in, an analyst at the ROK’s government-owned Naewoe Press, stated, “Kim [Jong-il] had, has and will continue to have absolute power in North Korea. [His ascension to the presidency] would not much affect North Korean policies.”

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3. Land Mines on Korean Peninsula

Reuters (“CANADIAN MINISTER VISITS KOREAN LANDMINE FIELD,” Seoul, 07/25/98) reported that Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy on Saturday visited the Demilitarized Zone on the Korean Peninsula to push for a global ban on landmines. Axworthy said that, while he understood the special military considerations on the Korean peninsula, “Alternatives have to be found to replace the existing landmines.” He added that Canada has set aside US$100 million for research and development “on alternative systems that don’t have a horrific and random effect on people.” Axworthy discussed the landmines issue in meetings on Friday with ROK President Kim Dae-jung and Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Park Chung-soo. Axworthy said that 127 countries have signed the Ottawa Convention to ban landmines and 30 have ratified it so far.

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4. ROK-Russian Spy Row

The Associated Press (“RUSSIA, S. KOREA REMAIN IN STANDOFF,” Seoul, 07/26/98) and Agence France Presse (“SOUTH KOREA AND RUSSIA FAIL TO SOLVE DISPUTE OVER EXPULSIONS,” Seoul, 07/26/98) reported that ROK Foreign Ministry officials said that Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov and ROK Foreign Minister Park Chung-soo met for 75 minutes in Manila on Sunday but failed to resolve a diplomatic row on spy charges. Russia reportedly asked the ROK to retract its earlier decision to expel a Russian diplomat in Seoul. An anonymous ROK Foreign Ministry official stated, “Both sides spent most of the time exchanging views on the issue. There was no time to discuss other issues, including a proposed summit between the two countries.”

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5. US-Russian Naval Exercises

Reuters (“COMMUNISTS VOW TO BLOCK US-RUSSIA NAVAL MOVES,” Vladivostok, 07/27/98) reported that the Vladivostok branch of the Communist-led National Patriotic Forces Union (NPSR) vowed Monday to block joint Russian naval exercises with the US planned for next week. As a part of joint maneuvers held every two years since 1994, US Marines were scheduled to land in Ussury Bay on the fringes of Vladivostok on August 6. The NPSR said that the plans were humiliating to national pride and threatened the country’s security. NPSR spokesman Alexander Reznichenko stated, “The NPSR believes reactionary circles in the United States and NATO are working out plans to establish military control over Russia and its people.” Reznichenko said that protesters would picket the US consulate and the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet in Vladivostok on Wednesday and Thursday calling for the exercises to be scrapped. He added, “If this does not work about 500 supporters of the NPSR will form a human chain on August 6 between Ketovaya and Desantnaya Bays to prevent the Americans from landing.” He also said that small boats were expected to float in the bays to block US ships from nearing the coast. A spokesman for the Pacific Fleet said the command was aware of the planned protest but that the maneuvers would go ahead as planned.

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6. PRC-US Detargeting Agreement

Reuters (Carol Giacomo, “CHINA’S TANG REASSURES U.S. ON WEAPONS,” Manila, 07/27/98) and the Associated Press (Tom Raum, “CHINA PROMISES TO DETARGET MISSILES,” Manila, 07/27/98) reported that the PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, during a meeting with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Monday, promised that the PRC will follow through on its pledge to detarget the 13 nuclear missiles it has aimed at US cities. Tang stated, “This has already been decided upon by the two presidents. According to the ancient Chinese philosophy, the Chinese people are a people who always honor our promises with real actions.” An anonymous senior US official said that the US did not know yet whether the PRC had followed through on the promise, but added, “We expect it will be done.”

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7. PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Associated Press (Charles Hutzler, “CHINA THREATENS TAIWAN AGAIN,” Beijing, 07/27/98) and Reuters (Scott Hillis, “CHINA REPORT MAINTAINS TOUGH TAIWAN POLICY,” Beijing, 07/27/98) reported that a defense policy report issued by the PRC State Council on Monday reiterated the PRC’s right to use military force against Taiwan. The Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying that the PRC “seeks to achieve the reunification of the country by peaceful means, but will not commit itself not to resort to force.” It added that the PRC opposed arms sales to Taiwan, claiming such sales threatened the PRC’s security as well as regional peace. The report also said, “Directly or indirectly incorporating the Taiwan Straits into the security and cooperation sphere of any country or any military alliance is an infringement upon and interference in China’s sovereignty.” It stated, “China does not seek hegemonism, nor does it seek military blocs or military expansion.” The report said that nearly 36 percent of PRC military spending went to personnel expenses last year, almost 33 percent to activities, and some 31 percent to equipment purchases. The PRC’s military spending is budgeted to grow to US$10.9 billion this year compared with US$9.79 billion last year.

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8. ASEAN Regional Forum

Dow Jones Newswires (Cris Larano, “ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM OPENS TO DISCUSS REGIONAL SECURITY,” Manila, 07/26/98) and Reuters (“NUCLEAR ARMS, JAPAN’S WOES DOMINATE MANILA MEETING,” Manila, 07/26/98) reported that the Fifth Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) opened Monday to discuss a number of political and security issues in the region. Foreign ministers from 21 countries will review developments in the region since last year’s ARF in Kuala Lumpur in the one-day meeting. According to Philippine Foreign Assistant Secretary Ernesto Llamas, the delegates will approve some recommendations on disaster relief and confidence-building measures and discuss nuclear non-proliferation, peacekeeping, maritime security, preventive diplomacy, and the security implications of Asia’s financial crisis.

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9. South Asian Nuclear Tests

The Associated Press (Laurinda Keys, “END TO INDIA, PAKISTAN NUKES SOUGHT,” Manila, 07/27/98) reported that delegates to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum (ARF) on Monday urged India and Pakistan to halt their nuclear weapons programs. Ministers from 19 countries plus the European Union said in a statement that they “strongly deplored” the recent nuclear tests, although they did not specifically name India and Pakistan.

Dow Jones Newswires (“JAPAN’S OBUCHI OFFERS TO MEDIATE INDIA-PAKISTAN TALKS-KYODO,” Tokyo, 07/27/98) reported that Kyodo News said that Japanese Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi expressed willingness Monday to mediate talks between India and Pakistan. Obuchi stated, “The Pakistani foreign minister (Gohar Ayub Khan) has said he does not mind coming to Japan. If an Indian (minister) will also come to Japan, India and Pakistan could discuss the nuclear issue through Japan’s mediation.” Meanwhile, Vice Foreign Minister Shunji Yanai told a news conference that Japan is considering urging India to hold talks with Japan at the vice foreign ministerial level on security issues, possibly in Tokyo within this year.

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10. Indian Nuclear Deployment

The Associated Press (“INDIAN STRATEGISTS URGE GOVT NOT TO DEPLOY NUCLEAR WEAPONS,” New Delhi, 07/27/98) reported that K. Subrahmanyam, a syndicated writer on defense affairs, argued Monday against India deploying nuclear weapons on the battlefield, in order to avoid the potential for accidents. Subrahmanyam stated, “The Cuban missile crisis will not happen here.” Jasjit Singh, director of the government-funded Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis, said that the emerging Indian strategy invokes a doctrine of “recessed deterrent,” by which India stays one step short of assembling nuclear weapons.

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11. President Clinton’s South Asian Trip

Reuters (“CLINTON’S INDIA, PAKISTAN TRIP STILL UNDER REVIEW,” Aspen, 07/26/98) reported that White House spokesman Barry Toiv said Sunday that President Bill Clinton’s planned visits to India and Pakistan later this year were still under review. Toiv stated, “There is no decision and the president is not suggesting in any way that a decision had been made.”

US President Bill Clinton (“CLINTON COMMENTS ON INDIA, PAKISTAN JULY 26,” USIA Excerpts, Aspen, 07/27/98) said that he had planned to take a trip to South Asia in the fall, but did not elaborate on the status of those plans. Clinton stated, “One big problem is India steadfastly resists having any third party … try to mediate on Kashmir.” He added, “What I think we have to do is to go back to find a series of confidence-building measures which will enable these two nations to work together and trust each other more and to move back from the brink of military confrontation and from nuclear confrontation. And we have to find a way to involve the Russians and the Chinese because the Indians always say they’re building nuclear power because of China being a nuclear power and the border disputes they’ve had with China.” Clinton said that it would be “a terrible tragedy if Hindu nationalism led to both estrangement with the Muslim countries on the border and the minorities — Muslim and otherwise — within the borders of India.” Regarding Pakistan, Clinton stated, “If they could somehow ease their concerns which are leading to such enormous military expenditures and put it into people expenditures, we could build a different future there.”

II. Republic of Korea

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1. ROK-Russian Spy Row

Russia wanted to put pressure on the ROK to make concessions when it recently ousted an ROK diplomat on spy charges, an intelligence officer said Sunday. “Moscow understands the ROK is desperately seeking to collect information on the DPRK in Russia,” he said, adding that Russia was taking advantage of this need when it expelled an ROK diplomat earlier this month. He said that Russia might demand that the ROK purchase weaponry from Russia in return for permission to bring its intelligence activities in Russia back to the previous level. In the wake of the spy dispute, he said, the number of ROK intelligence officers given diplomatic status in Russia has been reduced from eight to two. (Korea Herald, “RUSSIA’S SPY CHARGES ALLEGEDLY CALCULATED,” 07/27/98)

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2. Allegations on DPRK Tunnels

The ROK Defense Ministry Sunday denied a Yonhap New Agency report on Saturday that said the ROK Army will be able to locate and confirm within the year two suspected tunnels which were dug by the DPRK in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). “It is not true that we have concluded that the Communist North is digging 21 tunnels, or that we might have found the general location of seven of them and will be able to locate two of the seven within the year,” an ROK ministry spokesman said. ROK Army sources, however, admitted that efforts to detect suspected DPRK tunnels continue, with engineers conducting drill tests in the DMZ. However, the sources refused to confirm whether any signs of a new DPRK tunnel have been detected recently. (Korea Herald, “DEFENSE MINISTRY DENIES REPORT ON NORTH KOREA TUNNELS,” 07/27/98)

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

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

Choi Chung-moon: cily@star.elim.co.kr
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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