NAPSNet Daily Report 27 November, 1998

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 27 November, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, November 27, 1998,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

I. United States


1. DPRK Underground Construction

The Associated Press (“REPORT: U.S. MAY AID NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 11/27/98) reported that the ROK’s Kukmin Daily on Friday cited an unidentified diplomatic source as saying that the US may provide the DPRK with economic aid through the UN Development Program if the DPRK allows inspection of a suspect underground construction site. The paper said that former US Defense Secretary William Perry discussed such an approach with other US government experts earlier this week. It added that the US would broach that idea with the DPRK when both sides meet in New York and Washington in early December to discuss the underground construction site. ROK Foreign Ministry officials were unable to confirm or deny the report. The source was quoted as saying, “The idea is emerging as a persuasive option. The aid will be nothing like the direct financial compensation that North Korea demands.”

US State Department Spokesman James P. Rubin (“DPRK TALKS ON SUSPECT UNDERGROUND CONSTRUCTION RESUME,” Washington, USIA Text, 11/25/98) announced that US-DPRK talks on the DPRK’s suspect underground construction will resume in New York December 4 and 5. He added, “After a break on December 6, the two sides will continue in Washington, DC December 7 and 8. The US delegation will be led by US Special Envoy for the Korean Peace Talks, Ambassador Charles Kartman. The DPRK delegation will be headed by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan.”


2. US Policy toward DPRK

Reuters (“U.S.-NORTH KOREAN TALKS TO RESUME DECEMBER 4,” Washington, 11/25/98) reported that an anonymous senior US said that former Defense Secretary William Perry would visit the ROK, the PRC, and Japan during the week starting December 7 as part of his comprehensive review of DPRK policy. The official said Perry’s aim was to complete the review by February or March, although there was no firm deadline.


3. Clinton’s Trip to ROK

Reuters (“PYONGYANG SLAMS CLINTON TRIP TO SOUTH KOREA,” Tokyo, 11/27/98) reported that an editorial newspaper carried by the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency on Thursday criticized US President Bill Clinton’s recent trip to the ROK as an anti-DPRK move. The report said, “During the recent trip the South Korean authorities showed a hearty response to the ‘tough policy against the North’ on the lips of Clinton, their master.” It added that Clinton and the ROK had “incited war fever” over the issue of US charges of a suspected DPRK underground nuclear facility. It warned, “The danger of war is increasing in the Korean peninsula and there is the same tense situation as before the adoption of the framework agreement. The provokers will be held responsible wholly for all the ensuing consequences.”


4. DPRK Military

The Los Angeles Times (Paul Richter, “N. KOREA CRISIS SEEN AS WEAKENING ITS MILITARY,” Washington, 11/26/98) reported that an unnamed senior US defense official said that the DPRK’s military strength is disintegrating due to the country’s prolonged economic crisis. He said that due to shortages of food and fuel, the DPRK’s ability to field and reinforce a mobile force of tanks and troops “has been largely undermined.” As a result, “any strategy they might have had to seize territory has been put in substantial jeopardy.” He added, however, that the DPRK could still inflict “devastating and unacceptable damage” to the ROK through artillery and missile bombardments. US officials said that the DPRK military has cut back on training exercises, including reducing air force training sorties near the Demilitarized Zone by as much as 75 percent because of the lack of imported fuel. The military also reportedly wants to avoid unnecessary wear on equipment due to the lack of spare parts. US military officers also pointed to reports that the military is suffering low morale due to lack of food. US officials appear to have come to the conclusion that the DPRK could not effectively break out of the border area if a war broke out, nor resupply its front line forces afterward. In addition, they believe that the US and ROK militaries have improved their ability to counter any attempted invasion. Nicholas Eberstadt, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, said that the DPRK’s declining ability to invade might become a political problem internally in the DPRK if the population realizes that the promise of eventual Korean reunification under the DPRK system is now only a faint possibility.


5. ROK Missile Development

The Associated Press (“S.KOREA DEVELOPS ANTI-SHIP MISSILE,” Seoul, 11/27/98) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said Friday that it will develop an anti-ship missile system by 2003. It said that the new guided missile, to be developed at a cost of US$78 million, will have a range of at least 62 miles. It added that the ROK has also started research on developing a portable shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile system with a range of 2 to 3 miles. The missile plans were included in an announcement Friday in which the government budgeted US$29 million in new weapons and military research.


6. Japan-DPRK Relations

Reuters (“JAPAN PM OBUCHI EMPHASISES NORTH KOREA IN SPEECH,” Tokyo, 11/27/98) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi in a speech on Friday emphasized his concern about the DPRK. Obuchi stated, “The missile test by North Korea created considerable concern, and the suspicion over secret nuclear facilities only increases this concern.” Obuchi said Japan will cooperate with the US and the ROK to promote stability in the region and said he would also strive to create a constructive dialogue between Japan and the DPRK. Regarding Japan’s plan to launch four spy satellites by 2001, he stated, “In order to do this, it is necessary that we work to collect the appropriate information and establish measures to collect, analyze and disseminate information which has a bearing on regional security and crisis management.”


7. Japan-PRC Summit

The Associated Press (Martin Fackler, “JAPAN LEADER APOLOGIZES TO CHINA,” Tokyo, 11/26/98), the Washington Post (Kevin Sullivan, “JAPAN’S WAR APOLOGY DISAPPOINTS CHINESE Tokyo, 11/27/98, A01), the New York Times (Nicholas D. Kristof, “HISTORY HAUNTS JAPAN-CHINA SUMMIT,” Tokyo, 11/27/98), and the Los Angeles Times (Valerie Reitman, “JAPAN, CHINA RENEW TIES,” Tokyo 11/27/98) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi apologized Thursday for his country’s wartime aggression against China, but did not go beyond what his predecessors had said. A written statement after the summit said, “Painfully feeling its responsibility for inflicting grave suffering and damage on the people of China by invading China at one period of history, the Japanese side expressed deep remorse for this.” Obuchi also offered new loans of 390 billion yen (US$3.2 billion) for 28 environmental, farming, and other development projects in the PRC for 1999-2000. Obuchi also reiterated a 1972 statement that pledged to “respect” the PRC’s position on Taiwan. He added, “There is no change in our policy on Taiwan that Japan will not support Taiwan’s independence.” Obuchi also told Jiang that Japan’s security treaty with the US is purely “defensive” and does not refer to any specific nation. Japanese Foreign Ministry officials said that, in a meeting with Obuchi, PRC President Jiang Zemin made clear that Japan’s need to face up to history was crucial in Japan-PRC relations, calling it an emotional issue for the Chinese people. Foreign Ministry officials quoted Jiang as saying that one way to look at history was that enough had been said. He added, however, “I don’t agree with this view. The more we discuss this issue, the future will open up for us.” He was also quoted as saying that he welcomed Japan’s continued commitment to reject the militarism of the past and that the Japanese people were also victims of their nation’s past militarism. One unnamed PRC official said afterward, “We have to say there remains a mistaken view among some Japanese on Taiwan.” However, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Tang Guoqiang said in Beijing, “With regard to Sino-Japan relations, the most important issues are how to face up to history, how to have correct perspective with regard to history and how to open up the future for bilateral relations.”

Reuters (Elaine Lies, “JAPAN SPOKESMAN ADDS FUEL TO CHINA APOLOGY FLAP,” Tokyo, 11/27/98) reported that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka on Friday said that Japan had apologized enough to the PRC for its actions in World War II. Nonaka stated, “There is a school of thought that Japan has already reflected on its past and apologized to China any number of times before.” He added, “A small group of militarists were responsible for the war in China, and we cannot erase the fact that this created many victims on both sides.” Nonaka also said he did not believe that PRC Prime Minister Jiang Zemin and Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi “were in discord” on the question of history. Jiang, in a breakfast speech to Japanese parliamentary leaders, stated, “In China, there is an old saying, ‘History is a mirror. More important is the future’.” Obuchi, in a policy speech to a special session of parliament Friday afternoon, hailed the “new turn in Japanese-Chinese relations” achieved through the visit. He stated, “Japan and China have to work toward the achievement of peace in the whole Asia-Pacific region, so our relationship should be (focused) not only on bilateral issues but also we should turn our attention to international society, promoting further dialogue.”

Reuters (Janet Snyder, “FAILURE TO SIGN JAPAN-CHINA PACT TO HAMPER TIES,” Tokyo, 11/26/98) reported that analysts said that the failure by Japan and the PRC to sign a joint declaration on their ties will have some effect, but that overall economic interests will prevail. Rei Shiratori, professor of political science at Tokai University, stated, “The real state of China’s economy is, like other Asian countries, very bad at the moment, and China definitely needs foreign investment and assistance which — of all Asian nations — only Japan or Taiwan could afford.” However, David Roche, president of the London-based think tank Independent Strategy, said that the failure to sign a joint resolution might make it easier for the PRC to blame Japan if the PRC devalues its currency. Strategic affairs analyst Jane Skanderup argued, “It’s going to slow down the whole chain of cooperation. It points up China’s inability to talk about a common vision of security in Northeast Asia. Japan had the opportunity to sign something and go beyond (the war), but instead it gave the Chinese an excuse to interpret Japanese enhancement of its defensive capabilities, like TMD (Theater Missile Defense), as an expansion and a remilitarization.”


8. Taiwanese Response to PRC-Japan Summit

Reuters (Jeffrey Parker, “WARY TAIWAN TIGHT-LIPPED ON JAPAN-CHINA DISCORD,” Taipei, 11/27/98) reported that Taiwan Foreign Minister Jason Hu on Friday said that the PRC was using “big-power diplomacy” to isolate Taiwan diplomatically. Hu stated, “The Chinese communists evidently feel their international image has improved since the visit by U.S. President Clinton. They are wooing influential countries with the aim of establishing superpower status and becoming the region’s next overlord.” Hu said the Republic of China government on Taiwan would not be bound by “any agreements or declarations” between the PRC and Japan. However, Andrew Yang, an expert on military strategies, stated, “I think Taiwan must be relieved about the outcome. Tokyo is very much in line with current U.S. policy — no support for Taiwan’s independence but no real support either for its reunification with the mainland.” The China Post newspaper said in a commentary, “The unwillingness of Tokyo to officially state the ‘three nos’ … can be read as the Japanese government’s reluctance to go along with Beijing in its intensified efforts to isolate Taiwan internationally.” However, Taiwan political analyst Tim Ting warned, “This will give Taiwanese diplomatic policy a very difficult environment to continue to struggle against Chinese pressure.”


9. Japanese Compensation for World War II

The Associated Press (Joseph Coleman, “TOKYO COURT NIXES WWII COMPENSATION,” Tokyo, 11/26/98) reported that a Tokyo court on Thursday rejected a demand for compensation by soldiers and civilians from the US, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand who were held prisoner by Japanese troops during World War II. The plaintiffs had demanded US$22,000 each for what they claimed were violations of their rights under international treaties and conventions on the treatment of war prisoners. The total claim was for US$440 million. The court ruled that the issue was resolved in 1951 with the signing of the San Francisco peace treaty. The plaintiffs said they would appeal the ruling. A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Martin Day, said that they were willing to take the case to the Japanese Supreme Court. Gilbert Hair, representing the US former prisoners, said his group was also considering suing for compensation for slave labor under an international labor treaty signed by the Japanese in the 1930s.


10. US Arms Sales

The Washington Post (Tim Smart, “CUTBACKS IN ASIA TAKE TOLL ON U.S. ARMS INDUSTRY,” 11/26/98, B21) reported that the Asian economic crisis is causing many countries to delay or cancel weapons purchases from US defense contractors. Digby Waller, an economist with the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, stated, “I think 1998 sales will be down from 1997,” when worldwide arms orders rose 21 percent to US$42.6 billion. Waller said that 1999 sales will depend on how quickly Asian economies recover. Brett Lambert, a military analyst with DFI International, said that US companies have been “placing greater dependence on foreign sales.” Deliveries to East Asian countries nearly doubled from 1994 to US$14.7 billion in 1997. The ROK has delayed a decision on a purchase of AWACS planes, and also is expected to delay a purchase of an air-defense missile system.


11. Indian Nuclear Tests

Nucleonics Week (Mark Hibbs, “INDIA MAY TEST AGAIN BECAUSE H-BOMB FAILED, U.S. BELIEVES,” Washington 11/26/98) reported that senior US nuclear intelligence analysts at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have concluded that one of India’s May nuclear tests, which was described by the government as a successful thermonuclear weapons test, was in fact a failure. As a result of the apparent failure, US official sources said, the Indian government is under pressure by the Department of Atomic Energy to test the H-bomb again. One US official stated, “If India really wants a thermonuclear capability, they will have to test again and hope they get it right.” Another US official said that, measured in terms of verified capabilities, apparent progress in delivery systems, and military control of the bomb program, “Pakistan may have pulled even or gone ahead” of India. Sources said that, while the US has not made any public comment about what it knows about the Indian H-bomb test, the Clinton administration has raised the subject with the Indian government in secretive, high-level talks. One source stated, “The Indians are hopping mad that we don’t believe their H-bomb worked.” According to an official at the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, “The U.S. has been preparing to let India climb down” from sanctions provided India agrees to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). If the H-bomb test did not work, however, the US “will have to give India a lot more in return.” One analyst said that “it would now be logical” for India to renew a 1997 request that the US provide test simulation data to permit India to accept the CTBT, but sources said that a US transfer of such data to India would violate article one of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

II. Republic of Korea


1. DPRK Human Rights Situation

JoongAng Ilbo (“HUMAN RIGHTS INDEX JUDGES DPRK AMONG THE WORST,” Seoul, 11/26/98) reported that the Freedom House, an international human rights organization, classified the human rights situation in the DPRK as one of the worst in the world along with Iraq, Cuba, Libya, and Sudan. The DPRK was designated as part of the “not- free countries” by recording only seven points in the organization’s criteria, including political rights and freedom. The organization cited the following facts: changes in government are impossible; the judiciary is completely dependent on political power; illegal executions are carried out; restrictions on both religious and travel freedom exist in the DPRK. This organization judged ROK to be one of the “free countries” and gave high marks to the sentencing of Kim Hyun- chul, the son of the former president.


2. Human Rights in Myanmar

Korea Times (“ROK RAISES VOICE ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN MYANMAR,” Seoul, 11/27/98) reported that the ROK has raised its voice for the first time on the international stage against the human rights situation in Myanmar by cosponsoring a draft UN resolution. The draft resolution, cosponsored by the ROK and many European countries, was passed at the 3rd committee of the UN General Assembly in New York on November 19 without a vote. The ROK has become the only Asian country that decided to cosponsor the resolution against an Asian neighbor. The resolution will be officially adopted at the UN General Assembly next month. Previously, the ROK had cosponsored UN resolutions addressing such remote countries as Cuba or Yugoslavia. According to ROK officials, the ROK’s decision to cosponsor the resolution reflects the opinion of President Kim Dae-jung, who suffered from atrocities by authoritarian governments in the past when he was an opposition leader. In particular, President Kim and Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest, hold close personal ties as champions of democracy and human rights, they said. The draft resolution expressed great concerns over the fact that “the Government of Myanmar still has not implemented its commitment to take all necessary steps toward democracy in light of the results of the elections held in 1990.”


3. ROK-Japan Free Trade Proposal

Chosun Ilbo (“ROK-JAPAN GEARING UP FOR FREE TRADE PROPOSAL,” Seoul, 11/27/98) reported that both the ROK and Japanese government have begun moving ahead with the proposed establishment of a bilateral free trade pact. A diplomatic source in Tokyo said Friday that Japan’s International Trade and Industry Minister Kaoru Yosano had proposed to Han Duck-soo, trade minister at the ROK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, that they accelerate working-level discussions on the free trade agreement. The two spoke together in Kuala Lumpur at the APEC meeting on November 23. One ROK official commented that although the government has not decided on any definitive direction for the free trade zone proposal, it is currently conducting a feasibility study. The Japanese government is known to be working on a concept for the pact patterned after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, the US and Mexico. Sources said that Japan is considering the PRC as a third member in the pact to make it a tripartite trade agreement aimed at eliminating custom duties and other trade restrictions.


4. ROK Missile Development

Chosun Ilbo (“SHIP TO SHIP CRUISE MISSILE TO BE DEVELOPED,” Seoul, 11/27/98) reported that the Ministry of National Defence (MOND) announced Friday that it plans to develop a ship-to-ship cruise missile scheduled for deployment by 2003 at a cost of W101.6 billion. The 100km range-missile will be modeled on the US Harpoon and will carry inertial guidance and radar systems for targeting. The DPRK currently deploys the Styx (40km range) ship- to-ship, and Silkworm (200km range) missiles, but these are not sea skimming weapons. The ministry also revealed that it has concluded the fourth defense augmentation project, costing US$37.3 billion, which involves the deployment of 155mm self propelled guns with a range of 40km and the development of next generation MBTs, the second KDX-II destroyer project, and a shoulder fired anti-aircraft missile.


5. Light-Water Reactor

Korea Times (“EU TO PROVIDE $100 MILLION TO KEDO,” Seoul, 11/27/98) reported that the European Union is set to devote about 75 million ECU (European currency units), or some US$100 million, to the Korean Energy Development Organization (KEDO) project to construct energy facilities in the DPRK. In preparation for the financing, three delegates from the EU Parliament, including ex-Belgian premier Leo Tindemans, will survey the KEDO project by visiting the DPRK next month, said Dr. Gunter Rinsche, the official in charge of the European Parliament’s relations with Asian countries, in an interview with The Korea Times Thursday. The EU delegates will brief ROK authorities next January on the results of their visit to DPRK, he added. The German member of the European Parliament arrived in Seoul Friday before briefing President Kim Dae-jung about the EU’s proposal to subsidize the KEDO project in a meeting with Kim at Chong Wa Dae later that day. The EU has donated the equivalent of 15 million European Currency Units to the KEDO project since 1996. Dr. Rinsche said that the contribution of European taxpayers’ money to the energy project in the DPRK is meant to ensure peace on the Korean peninsula and around the world.

III. Japan


1. Japanese-ROK Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Chiharu Mori, “ROK PRIME MINISTER TO GIVE SPEECH IN JAPANESE,” Seoul, 11/25/98) reported that the ROK government told Kyushu University in Japan on November 24 that ROK Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil will give a speech in Japanese at the university on November 30. The speech is entitled, “The Way Korean-Japanese Relations Develop.” According to the report, although there was opposition within the ROK government to the Prime Minister giving a speech in Japanese, Kim himself insisted on giving a speech in Japanese so as to convey his message to Japanese students. The report also said that, given that it is common for ROK political leaders to avoid speaking Japanese in public, this event symbolizes improved relations between Japan and the ROK.

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Akihiro Ito, “ROK SAYS NO TO JAPANESE ‘SAMURAI’ TV COMMERCIAL,” Seoul, 11/27/98) reported that the ROK Broadcasting Committee decided on November 26 to forbid TV commercials in the ROK that show Japanese samurai, because it is too early for the ROK people to emotionally accept such an image. Although the ROK decided to release a Japanese film “Kagemusya,” directed by Akira Kurosawa, on December 12 in response to Kim Dae-jung’s liberalization of Japanese culture, the Committee forbade TV commercials for the film. The report added that the ROK domestic sentiment still rejects the samurai hairstyle and Japanese swords that are associated with Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s attack on Korea in the late 16th century.


2. Japanese-PRC Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“GAP OF RECOGNITION OF HISTORY REMAINS WIDE BETWEEN JAPANESE AND PRC SUMMITS,” 11/27/98) and the Nikkei Shimbun (“JAPAN-PRC JOINT STATEMENT STATES COOPERATION IN OVERCOMING ASIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS,” 11/27/98) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and PRC President Jiang Zemin announced on November 26 a joint statement regarding “Construction of Friendly and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Development.” During their talks, Jiang said regarding the issue of history, “I am opposed to the view that we discussed the issue enough and that we need no more talk on the issue.” The joint statement only stated “deep regret” on the part of Japan, but omitted an expression of apology. As for the Taiwan issue, although Jiang hailed Obuchi’s support of “one China,” Jiang said, “It is interference into domestic affairs to involve Taiwan in Japan-US security cooperation.” Both governments also announced a joint statement on a wide range of cooperation such as in environmental issues. The Yomiuri Shimbun concluded that their talks signify a new phase of Japanese-PRC relations, but it became clear that the remaining wide gap of recognition of history and the fact that both leaders did not sign the joint statement indicate a long way ahead for both countries to go. As for the Asian financial crisis, the Nikkei Shimbun said that the joint statement emphasizes, “We are sure that it is possible to overcome the crisis and to continue to develop.” Both leaders also agreed to “do their best to promote economic development.” At the same time, the statement said that Japan will continue to support the PRC to develop, that both countries will promote reform of the UN, including the UN Security Council, and that both countries will strengthen dialogue between the two by summit visit exchanges and creation of a hotline.

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Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Lee Dong-young:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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