NAPSNet Daily Report 27 July, 1999

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

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. US-Japan-ROK Meeting

The US Department of State (“TRILATERAL MEETING JOINT PRESS STATEMENT,” Washington, USIA Text, 07/27/99) issued the following press statement: “US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, ROK Foreign Minister Hong Soon-Young, and Japanese Foreign Minister Koumura Masahiko met trilaterally on Tuesday in Singapore to coordinate their respective policies on the DPRK. The three Ministers reviewed the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the status of their various contacts with the DPRK, including upcoming Four Party Talks in Geneva. They called on North Korea to seize the opportunity, presented in May by Dr. William Perry in Pyongyang, to build a new and positive relationship with its neighbors and potential partners, and to accept the comprehensive and integrated approach, which builds on the engagement policy. They agreed that the key to stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula is South-North reconciliation and the easing of tensions between the DPRK and those countries with which it can build a more positive and constructive relationship. The ministers confirmed the significance of the 1994 Agreed Framework. The Framework serves as an integral part of their joint approach as they seek improved relations with the DPRK. They expressed their deep concern over the possibility of a DPRK missile or satellite launch, and agreed that this action would adversely affect peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and beyond, and would have serious negative consequences for the DPRK. They urged the DPRK rather to choose to build a positive relationship with its neighbors by foregoing such testing. The three delegations affirmed that close cooperation and coordination on North Korea policy remains essential and pledged to continue their regular trilateral consultation.”

The Associated Press (Tom Raum, “N. KOREA URGED NOT TO TEST MISSILE,” Singapore, 07/26/99) and Reuters (Carol Giacomo, “US, JAPAN, S.KOREA INCREASE PRESSURE ON N.KOREA,” Singapore, 07/27/99) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, ROK Foreign Minister Hong Soon-young, and Japanese Foreign Minister Koumura Masahiko issued a statement appealing to the DPRK to abandon plans for another long-range missile launch. Albright said she hoped the DPRK “is listening to messages that are being delivered loud and clear.” Hong said that if the DPRK launches another multistage missile, “there should be penalties. They should have to pay the price. I hope Pyongyang gets the right message.” Koumura said there would be “clear benefits” to the DPRK in demonstrating restraint. He added that it would be difficult for Japan to maintain its current assistance to the project to build two light-water nuclear reactors in the DPRK if the missile test goes forward.

2. DPRK Missile Test

The International Herald Tribune (Michael Richardson, “FORUM IN ASIA RAISES THE HEAT ON NORTH KOREA OVER MISSILES,” Singapore, 07/27/99, 1) reported that 22 foreign ministers from Asia, the Pacific, and Europe warned Monday that the DPRK ballistic missile program was a threat to regional stability in Northeast Asia. The ministers issued a joint statement at the end of the annual security meeting of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Regional Forum (ARF). In the statement, the ministers expressed concern that the DPRK’s missile testing and development could “heighten tensions and have serious consequences for stability in the Korean Peninsula and the region.” [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for July 27.]

The Associated Press (“JAPAN WORRIED ABOUT N KOREAN MISSILE TEST ON SPECIAL DAYS,” Tokyo, 07/27/99) reported that, according to Japanese Defense Minister Hosei Norota on Friday, Japan is worried that the DPRK may test launch a ballistic missile on one of three days of special importance to the DPRK. Norota said that the days were August 15, the anniversary of liberation from Japanese rule; August 31, the day the DPRK launched a missile last year; and September 9, the anniversary of DPRK’s foundation. He added that Japan would pay special attention to the DPRK’s movements on those days.

3. Agreed Framework

Reuters (“N.KOREA CALLS FOR U.S. ‘GOOD FAITH’ ON KEDO,” Tokyo, 07/26/99) reported that the DPRK threatened on Monday to pull out of the 1994 Agreed Framework unless the US begins to show “good faith” by removing economic sanctions. The DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted a DPRK Foreign Ministry Spokesman as saying that the US moves to link the DPRK’s missile development program to the provision of funds for the Korea Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) were threatening the entire agreement. KCNA quoted the official as saying, “We, who are exposed to constant threat due to the U.S. policy of isolating and stifling the DPRK are left with no option but to increase our own defense capabilities and develop missiles as its means.” He said that a solution to the missile issue depended on the attitude of the US. He added that the DPRK had met its obligations under Agreement Framework while the US had not only neglected implementation of the pact, but had also staged joint military drills in a bid “to mount a preemptive strike on the DPRK.”

4. Japanese Defense Report

The Associated Press (Ginny Parker, “JAPAN RELEASES DEFENSE REPORT,” Tokyo, 07/27/99) and Reuters (Elaine Lies, “JAPAN WARNS N.KOREA POSES WORLD SECURITY THREAT,” Tokyo, 07/27/99) reported that the Japanese Defense Agency released a Defense Report that said that the DPRK’s missile program and suspected nuclear weapons development posed a grave security threat to the world. In its annual review of international security concerns, the Japanese Defense Agency said that the DPRK’s rocket launch last year had become an “even greater destabilizing factor” for the region. The agency also stressed that it has a right to defend itself from attack, even by launching a preemptive strike if necessary. Japanese Defense Agency Deputy Director General Nobumasa Ohta, said, “Japan has never seen itself as being under a military threat. Militarily speaking, North Korea is attracting our utmost attention right now. If pressed, my response would be that North Korea is attracting the utmost attention militarily — nothing more, nothing less.” Ohta also noted that the report contains a section examining the question of how far Japan’s right to defend itself in the event of a missile attack extends. He said this reflected a similar debate in parliament and did not suggest that Japan could launch a preemptive strike on the DPRK.

5. Taiwan Policy toward PRC

The Washington Times (“CHINA WARNS ASIAN NATIONS ON TAIWAN AID,” Singapore, 07/27/99) reported that Taiwan’s President Lee Teng-hui renewed his criticism of the PRC. Lee said that the PRC’s response has been “regrettable” and its threat to use military force against Taiwan reveals a “hegemonic” attitude. Lee said, “I can’t support the Chinese communist’s overemphasis on nationalism and hegemonism. This is unacceptable to us.”

The Associated Press (Tom Raum, “N. KOREA URGED NOT TO TEST MISSILE,” Singapore, 07/26/99) reported that US President Clinton’s National Security Advisor Sandy Berger said that Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui indicated that he accepted the US view that there was only one China. However, Berger also said that he hopes for great clarification from the Taiwanese leader on how he intends to proceed.

6. PRC Policy toward Taiwan

The Washington Times (“CHINA WARNS ASIAN NATIONS ON TAIWAN AID,” Singapore, 07/27/99) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan on Monday warned his Southeast Asian neighbors not to interfere in the PRC’s dealings with Taiwan. Tang said, “China’s territory and sovereignty are indivisible and brook no violation or interference. If there occur any action for Taiwan independence and any attempt by foreign forces to separate Taiwan from the motherland, the Chinese people and government will not sit back.”

7. Cross-Straits Military Situation

London Daily Telegraph (David Rennie, “CHINA CLAIMS IT CAN FIRE SUBMARINE MISSILES,” Beijing, 07/27/99) reported that, according to the PRC’s state-run Xinhua News agency, the PRC claimed on Monday that it can fire ballistic missiles from nuclear submarines. According to experts, the PRC has one nuclear submarine capable of firing ballistic missiles and four other nuclear submarines. However, experts said that the PRC could still not invade or blockade Taiwan. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for July 27.]

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, “TAIWAN’S ARMY ILL-PREPARED FOR CHINESE THREAT,” 07/27/99, Pg. 13) reported that, according to defense analysts, both military readiness and public morale in Taiwan fall short of what could be needed to repel a determined campaign of intimidation by the PRC. Andrew Yang, a leading security analyst in Taipei said, “What makes us vulnerable or strong is not F-16s or the lack of them, it’s our vulnerability to psychological warfare from Beijing. Right now, we are weak in civil defense. We are weak in a sense of forthcoming danger. Unlike Israel, we are totally oblivious to these things. We’ve got to realize that we have to defend ourselves. Short of a full-blown amphibious attack, the Americans won’t necessarily be coming.” Taiwan’s Defense Minister Tang Fei said, “This issue has become too hot. Many people don’t understand the situation.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for July 27.]

8. Alleged PRC Spying in Taiwan

The Associated Press (“TAIWAN DETAINS SUSPECTED CHINA SPY,” Taipei, 07/27/99) reported that, according to Taiwanese police, a former secretary to a Taiwanese government minister has been detained on suspicion of giving the PRC confidential information, including airport blueprints. Chou Chih-jung, a spokesman for the Taipei District Prosecutor’s Office, said that Luo Chih-hao, now an employee at Taiwan’s Economics Ministry, is suspected of passing on information that could be used by the RPC to sabotage Taiwan’s infrastructure. Luo allegedly passed on the information while he was a secretary to former Taiwanese Transport Minister Tsay Jaw-yang, who left office last year. Chou said that the case is being handled by the National Security Bureau, Taiwan’s highest-level spy agency, and other details remain classified. Press reports said Luo was detained Monday. According to Taiwan’s United Daily News, Luo traveled frequently to the PRC and introduced Taiwanese lawmakers to contacts there during an earlier term as a legislative assistant. Investigators are looking into those earlier contacts between Luo’s friends in the PRC and Taiwanese elected officials for evidence of information exchanges or activities compromising national security, the paper said.

9. PRC-US Trade Talks

The Associated Press (Elaine Kurtenbach, “CHINA, U.S. RESUME TRADE TALKS,” Beijing, 07/27/99) and The Washington Post (Michael Laris, “RESUMPTION OF U.S.-CHINA TRADE TALKS SIGNALS THAW,” Beijing, 07/26/99, E01) reported that US Deputy Secretary of Commerce David Aaron met on Tuesday with PRC Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng and other PRC officials to work on bringing the two countries back to the table on trade issues. Aaron said that Shi agreed to co-chair with US Commerce Secretary William Daley a meeting of a Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade forum later this year in Beijing. Aaron said that the agreement “puts our commercial discussions firmly back on track.” Aaron added that the forum will include working groups to meet on information technology, aviation, environmental technology and other areas. Aaron said he did not discuss the PRC’s bid to join the WTO in depth. He repeated the US offer to restart the talks any time, but the PRC officials did not disclose any timetable. Aaron was scheduled to fly to the ROK for talks on market access in such industries as steel, pharmaceuticals and autos and to assess ROK’s economic reforms.

The Associated Press (“NATO BOMBING BARRIER TO BETTER TIES,” Beijing, 07/27/99) reported that Sun Zhenyu, a vice minister for foreign trade and economic development, said that the NATO bombing of the PRC Embassy in Yugoslavia is a barrier to better economic ties. Sun said that the PRC hopes the US takes “concrete actions” to make a satisfactory explanation.

10. PRC Normal Trade Status

The Associated Press (Jim Abrams, “HOUSE TO VOTE ON CHINA TRADE STATUS,” Washington, 07/27/99) reported that the US administration joined Republican leaders on Tuesday in appealing to US House members to support engagement with the PRC. According to a statement issued by the US administration, revoking normal trade would “significantly damage America’s relationship with a fifth of the world’s population.” US House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer, Republican-Texas, said that the relationship “is very fragile now.” Archer added that using trade to punish the PRC “risks far greater consequences for America, for China and for the entire world.” However, US Representative Sherrod Brown, Democrat-Ohio, with US Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican-California, said, “Before we grant China special trade privileges, let’s condition their behavior on something other than promises. We can’t tolerate continued Chinese Communist promises that they will behave, that they will play fair.” US President Bill Clinton, in his June 3 decision for another year’s extension of normal trade status, said, “A policy of disengagement and confrontation would only strengthen those in China who oppose greater openness and freedom.” The US Congress has 60 days after the actual extension date, July 3, to reject Clinton’s decision.

11. Southeast Asia Nuclear-Free Zone

The Associated Press (“CHINA AGREES TO SIGN SE ASIAN NUCLEAR-FREE ZONE PROTOCOL,” Singapore, 07/27/99) reported that the PRC agreed on Tuesday to sign a protocol for a nuclear weapons-free zone in Southeast Asia when the treaty comes into effect. According to Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan made the pledge in a meeting with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Syed Hamid also said that Tang agreed to accede to ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, a treaty governing relations in the region. India also offered Monday to sign the nuclear weapons-free zone protocol. On Saturday, ASEAN foreign ministers established a commission to create a Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone under a treaty ratified in 1997. Adherents to the treaty, which was signed in Bangkok on December 15, 1995, agreed not to develop, manufacture or control nuclear weapons in the zone.

12. Spratly Islands Dispute

Reuters (“U.S. ENDORSES REGIONAL TALKS ON SPRATLY ISLANDS,” Singapore, 07/26/99) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Monday endorsed regional talks on the disputed Spratly Islands. Albright said, “The stakes are too high to permit a cycle to emerge in which each incident leads to another with potentially greater crisis and graver consequences. Incidents at sea have multiplied. Unresolved territorial disputes can spark violence that leaves no one better off.” Albright also said the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Asia’s only formal grouping on security issues, was the appropriate forum for discussing the issue. A senior US official said that the US does not call the situation a crisis, but added, “common sense suggests that when you have construction, you have greater risk of confrontation. There is a need not simply to have a policy of benign neglect, waiting for something bad to happen, (but) rather to talk about this issue.”

The Wall Street Journal (Lelie Lopez, “CHINA TO DISCUSS SPRATLYS IN TALKS WITH ASEAN,” Singapore, 07/27/99) reported that, according to PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue, the PRC has agreed to discuss overlapping territorial claims to parts of the Spratly Islands with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Tuesday. Zhang said that the PRC’s offer would be made by PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan on Tuesday.

13. Kashmir Conflict

The Associated Press (“PAKISTAN PM CALLS AGAIN FOR TALKS WITH INDIA,” Islamabad, 07/27/99) reported that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday repeated his call for direct talks with India to resolve the lingering dispute over divided Kashmir. Sharif said, “The talks must be without any precondition and be result- oriented if India is sincere about resolving the Kashmir issue. The ball is now in India’s court and they must respond.” Sharif was quoted by domestic news agencies as saying that fighting in Kashmir is too expensive to continue for two countries that are suffering economically. Sharif said that finding a lasting solution also would improve relations between the two countries.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Missile Test

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yul, “ARF COMMENCES IN SINGAPORE,” Seoul, 07/26/99), The Korea Times (Son Key- young, “HONG, ALBRIGHT DISCUSS WAYS TO STOP NK MISSILE TEST,” Seoul, 07/26/99) and Joongang Ilbo (Shim Shang-bok, “‘NK’S MISSILE TESTING WILL HURT REGIONAL SECURITY,’ FMS SAY,” Seoul, 07/26/99) reported that the 6th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) ministerial meeting opened on Monday at Singapore’s Mandarin Hotel and was attended by foreign ministers of 22 countries. The participating countries decided to concentrate efforts on restricting the creation of weapons of mass destruction and showed much concern regarding the DPRK’s long-range missile developments and test launches. The ARF stressed the importance of continuing with the KEDO program for the safety of the peninsula. Meanwhile, ROK Minister Hong Soon-young had talks with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and discussed both countries’ mutual interest in dealing with certain problems, most notably the missile launches. Both officials agreed that if the DPRK continues to conduct missile launches, strong measures would be taken against the DPRK, such as ending food support and economic cooperation. Both countries agreed to continue with the KEDO policy so that the DPRK will not be tempted to start developing nuclear weapons again.

The Korea Times (“FOREIGN MINISTERS CONSIDER WARNING TO N.KOREA ON MISSILE TESTING,” Seoul, 07/26/99) reported that foreign ministers from Asia, North America and Europe discussed on Monday the final wording of a statement they plan to issue warning the DPRK not to conduct any new missile tests. The US, Japan, and Australia were among the countries seeking a strong statement from an annual security forum in Singapore sponsored by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In a breakfast meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum, Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komoura asked his PRC counterpart, Tang Jiaxuan, for the PRC’s support for the statement directed at the DPRK. Tang replied that the PRC would not oppose the statement but would like to discuss the exact wording, Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Yasuhisa Kawamura told reporters. “Komoura explained that the anxiety of people in Japan has been heightened since the last missile test,” Kawamura said. Tang replied that he understood the Japanese people’s feelings, he said. On Sunday, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that it was important for the security forum to indicate to the DPRK the repercussions of any new missile tests. “The real point that I think has to come out of this ARF meeting is the need for there to be a view expressed by the ARF that any further missile testing by the DPRK would be a very serious development in regional security,” he told reporters. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also expressed concern about the possible missile test. “No region of the world is of greater importance to U.S. interests or to the future of world stability and peace than the Asia Pacific,” she said.

2. Bosworth Remarks on DPRK Missile Test

The Korea Herald (Jun Kwan-woo, “U.S. ENVOY UNDER FIRE FOR REMARKS ON ‘SOVEREIGN’ N.K’S MISSILE RIGHTS,” Seoul, 07/27/99) reported that US Ambassador to the ROK Stephen Bosworth has come under criticism for his remarks on the DPRK’s “sovereign right” to conduct missile tests. [Ed note: See “DPRK Missile Test” in the ROK Section of the Daily Report for July 26.] ROK diplomatic analysts said that Bosworth’s comment came at the wrong time and the wrong place as the US and the ROK are desperately trying to deter the DPRK from engaging in another missile test. “Bosworth’s remarks could be misunderstood by the North,” said a diplomatic analyst at a private research institute, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The remarks, whether intended or not by the ambassador, are identical to the Pyongyang regime’s insistence.” Another anonymous diplomatic observer stated, “The U.S. envoy was too naive, acting like an academician. He, who should represent the U.S. government’s official stance here, should have avoided making such a straightforward comment.” Asked if the envoy’s comment on the DPRK’s missile-test sovereignty was the US government’s official position, the US Embassy in Seoul refused to clarify. “It is not about sovereignty,” Gerald McLouchlin, US Embassy spokesman, stated, “but about whether or not such a (missile) test would be wise.” McLouchlin said that the ambassador was trying to urge the DPRK not to test. “The U.S. policy remains unchanged,” he said. “We believe, as South Korea and Japan, that the missile launch would be destabilizing and increase tension within the region.”

3. ROK-US Missile Talks

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “US POISED TO UNVEIL POSITION ON SEOUL’S R AND D OF LONGER- RANGE MISSILES,” Seoul, 07/26/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yul, “KOREA, US TO HOLD MISSILE TALKS,” Seoul, 07/26/99) reported that the US will deliver its position tomorrow on the ROK’s proposal that it be allowed to develop ballistic missiles with a range of up to 500 kilometers. US Assistant Secretary of State for Non- proliferation Robert Einhorn, who will accompany Secretary of Defense William Cohen during his three-day visit to Seoul, will convey the message to Song Min-soon, director-general of the ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry’s North American Affairs Bureau. An ROK official said that the US had not altered its original stance that upgrading the ROK’s missile capability would undermine peace and stability in the region and even provoke an arms race. “Einhorn is likely to deliver a similar position in Wednesday’s meeting with Korean officials,” he added. Analysts said the issue requires considerable scrutiny from both sides, as it also relates to US efforts to halt the DPRK’s development of its long-range Taepodong missiles.

4. Rumor on DPRK Coup

The Korea Herald (“RUMOR ON N.K. COUP PROVES FALSE,” Seoul, 07/27/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Yoo Yong-won, “RUMORS OF NK COUP PROVE FALSE,” Seoul, 07/26/99) reported that Beijing-based rumors that a coup d’etat broke out in the DPRK briefly embarrassed ROK military officials on Sunday. When asked to confirm the rumor, ROK Defense Ministry spokesman Yoon Il-young appeared embarrassed and rushed to confirm it. Later, he confirmed that there was no coup in the DPRK. He said that DPRK troops were only conducting routine training. The rumor originated from a Beijing branch of an ROK conglomerate, whose officials reported to Seoul that something unusual seemed to be happening in the DPRK because DPRK trade officials in Beijing were returning to Pyongyang.

5. DPRK Trade

Joongang Ilbo (“NK’S TRADE SHRINKS SHARPLY TO $580 MILLION IN FIRST HALF,” Seoul, 07/27/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, “NK TRADE CONTINUES TO PLUNGE,” Seoul, 07/26/99) reported that the ROK said on July 26 that the DPRK’s external trade totaled US$580 million during the first half of this year, down sharply from the same period last year. The ROK Ministry of Unification said that the DPRK exported US$160 million dollars worth of goods, down 38.5 percent from the same period in 1998, while its imports fell 14.3 percent to US$420 million. The figures, based on customs clearance statistics compiled from about 80 countries and regions, reflected the DPRK’s worsening economic difficulties, the ministry said. The DPRK’s trade with other countries, mostly former communist nations, reached US$4.72 billion in 1990, but has gradually decreased since. The DPRK’s major export items include textiles, machinery, electric and electronic goods. About one-third of its imports are grains and fuel oil. The PRC, Japan, and the ROK remained the DPRK’s three major trading partners in the first half of this year, accounting for about 68 percent of total trade, the ministry said.

6. DPRK Famine

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “PYONGYANG MAY AIM AT MORE AID WITH EXAGGERATED REPORT ON FARM DAMAGE,” Seoul, 07/27/99) reported that ROK analysts said that the latest reports from the DPRK on how its disastrous droughts and high temperature have injured its farming system may be aimed at securing more international aid, while suppressing complaints from its starving population. The experts pointed out that most of the reports on farming damage were released early this month, when the World Food Program started its additional appeal plan for aid for the DPRK. In addition, these reports were aired mostly through the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency, they added. “In view of these and other signs, North Korea appears to have intended to maximize international sympathy to help it push through another year of bad crops by making it look like the result of bad weather rather than poor policy,” said an ROK Unification Ministry official responsible for analyzing the DPRK media. The KCNA has carried extensive coverage of the drought since the end of last month. The amount of precipitation in June was 27 percent of that of last year in Pyongyang; 25 to 34 percent in Pyongan, Hwanghae, and Kangwon Province; and 50 percent in Hamkyung Province, the news agency reported. It also said the abnormal weather was expected to drastically injure the DPRK’s farm produce, calling for its people to prepare for possible agricultural disaster. Most analysts in the ROK, however, said that they do not view the situation in the DPRK as grave – at least not as much as it was a year ago. Moreover, they said that the difference between the amount of rainfall reported in the DPRK and the ROK during the last six months was too wide for the same peninsula.

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