NAPSNet Daily Report 27 September, 1999

Recommended Citation

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

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Relations

The Associated Press (“Nicole Winfield, “NORTH KOREA SAYS U.S. MUST DO MORE,” United Nations, 09/25/99), Reuters (Anthony Goodman, “NORTH KOREA SAYS PENINSULA BECOMING NEW BALKANS,” United Nations, 09/25/99) and the New York Times (Christopher S. Wren, “NORTH KOREAN, AT U.N., URGES U.S. TO LIFT ECONOMIC EMBARGO,” United Nations, 09/26/99) reported that DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam- sun said Saturday that the US must do more to improve relations with the DPRK. Paek called on the US to lift all sanctions and remove all its troops from the ROK before there will be true peace and stability. He stated, “We want the United States to respect the sovereign rights of my country.” In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Paek said, “If the United States stops pursuing its hostile policy against the DPRK and moves towards improved relations, we will also respond with good faith. For the present, we will have high-level talks for the settlement of pending issues between the DPRK and the U.S. in response to the U.S. requests and suspend missile launches while the talks are under way.” He warned that if the US tries to test the DPRK’s offer in any way, “Such reckless acts will surely be inviting our strong self-defense measures, causing catastrophic consequences after all.” Paek added that the DPRK had a right to defend itself against the “hostile power politics of the United States and its subordinating forces.” He said that, in the Balkans “the ‘humanitarian crisis’ served as a pretext of war,” while on the Korean peninsula, “the so-called ‘missile issue’ is likely to be used as the pretext.” Paek stated, “It is becoming almost a reality, not simply an assumption, that the Korean peninsula will be the second Balkan region.” He argued, “We have no other alternative but to strengthen our national defense capabilities only by ourselves though it requires us to tighten our belts.” [Ed. note: This article appeared in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for September 27.]

2. US-DPRK-Japan Policy Coordination

Dow Jones Newswires (“US, JAPAN, S KOREA TO MEET AHEAD OF US-N KOREA MTG -KYODO,” Tokyo, 09/27/99) reported that Kyodo news agency on Monday cited a Japanese Foreign Ministry source as saying that Japan, the ROK, and the US will hold a high-level meeting in mid-October to coordinate policies toward the DPRK. The meeting will be held prior to DPRK First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju’s scheduled October 26 visit to Washington.

3. Japan-DPRK Relations

Dow Jones Newswires (“US, JAPAN, S KOREA TO MEET AHEAD OF US-N KOREA MTG -KYODO,” Tokyo, 09/27/99) reported that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said that Japan expects the rescheduling of a postponed visit to the DPRK by a mission led by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama to be the first step in improving ties with the DPRK following the suspension of missile tests. On Monday, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Yutaka Kawashima welcomed the DPRK’s announcement of its decision to suspend test-launches as an “important movement in a good direction.” He added that Japan still intends to determine what DPRK’s “real intentions” are before it lifts its sanctions. He noted, however, “The U.S. had suspended all economic activities … but our measures have kept intact almost all economic transactions with North Korea.”

4. US-Japan Military Exercises

The Los Angeles Times (Matt Surman, “MUGU HOSTS 250 SOLDIERS FROM JAPAN,” Point Mugu, 09/25/99) reported that about 250 Japanese soldiers are undergoing testing and training at the Point Mugu Naval Air Station in California this month. The soldiers are engaging in missile launching exercises there because Japan lacks the room to test long-range missiles due to heavy fishing activity and the proximity of the DPRK and the PRC.

5. PRC-Taiwan Relations

Reuters (“CHINA’S JIANG CONSOLES TAIWAN BUT REPEATS THREAT,” Shanghai, 09/27/99) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin on Monday extended condolences to Taiwanese earthquake victims. He warned, however, “No country will allow its own territory to be split off, nor will it allow any foreign force to create or support such a split.” Jiang said that eventual resolution of the Taiwan issue was “certain” and that the PRC aimed to reunify with the island peacefully. He added, “We will not undertake to renounce the use of force precisely for the purpose of bringing about a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan question.”

6. PRC-US Military Relations

The Associated Press (“CHINESE GENERAL BACKS U.S. MILITARY CONTACTS,” Beijing, 09/26/99, 4) reported that PRC Defense Minister Chi Haotian on Friday called military exchanges with the US important. Chi told the Xinhua News Agency, “Sino-U.S. military exchange is an important part of bilateral relations and has trod a rocky road. As President Jiang Zemin has indicated, China and the U.S., both influential countries worldwide, have major responsibilities for maintain peace and stability in the region and the rest of the world.” [Ed. note: This article appeared in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for September 27.]

7. Russia-PRC Naval Exercises

The Associated Press (“RUSSIA, CHINA PLAN NAVAL EXERCISES,” Moscow, 09/27/99) reported that Russia’s ITAR-Tass news agency on Monday quoted Russian Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo as saying that the Russian Pacific Fleet destroyer Burny and missile cruiser Varyag will visit the port of Shanghai on October 2-6 to mark the PRC’s 50th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of Russian-PRC diplomatic relations. During the visit, the two Russian vessels will hold joint exercises with ships from the PRC’s Eastern Fleet. Dygalo said that the maneuvers are “another step towards strengthening cooperation and mutual understanding between the military sailors of the two countries.” ITAR- Tass said that they would be the first joint maneuvers between the two fleets.

8. PRC-Russia-India Axis

The Los Angeles Times (Tyler Marshall, “ANTI-NATO AXIS COULD POSE THREAT, EXPERTS SAY,” Washington, 09/27/99) reported that US foreign affairs specialists are concerned about the potential for increased cooperation between Russia, the PRC, and India to check US power. Charles Williams Maynes, president of the Eurasia Foundation, stated, “Right now, you have flirting. I don’t know where this is going to go. If we play our cards right, it’s going to go nowhere.” He added that if the relationships progress, “then you basically have the world’s heartland–2 billion people in China and India–allied with a formidable technological power in Russia. That would be a disaster for the United States.” Jonathan Pollack, at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica stated, “Kosovo marks something of a divide that I believe is likely to accelerate the collaboration that they pursue. It all has more logic in the aftermath of Kosovo.” He added, “If you were to see a new [US] administration less committed to these relations, with less of a stake in better relations with Russia and China, there might be more reason for the two to collaborate. Developments have highlighted [that] they have mutually reinforcing needs, and this is further stimulated by the concerns of American dominance.” Peter Rodman, a former Republican presidential advisor and currently an analyst at the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom in Washington, argued, “Russia and China have a real military cooperation and converging interests on a range of international issues, and that’s what a partnership is about. They call it a strategic partnership, and in this case, it’s real.” One unnamed senior Clinton administration official stated, “Policymakers never admit to being worried, but we do see trends, some of which are cause for concern.”

9. US Nuclear Weapons Agency

The Associated Press (“RICHARDSON BACKS DEFENSE BILL,” Washington, 09/26/99) reported that US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said Sunday that he will recommend that President Bill Clinton sign a US$288.9 billion defense bill, despite concerns over the bill’s creation of a new agency to oversee nuclear weapons. Richardson stated, “I believe we can interpret the provisions so there are clear lines of responsibility and the secretary is in charge and we protect our national security.”

10. Nuclear Disarmament

The Associated Press (“US RICHARDSON: REDUCTION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRESSING,” Vienna, 09/27/99) reported that US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said Monday at the opening of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) annual conference that reducing atomic weapons arsenals is a key concern for the start of the new century. Richardson stated, “The Cold War’s end revealed new dangers, including vast quantities of nuclear materials that are surplus to any conceivable military need – and vulnerable to theft. Our aim is to secure, consolidate, monitor and dispose of these materials.” The process will be verified by the IAEA, “confirming our mutual pledges never again to use these materials in nuclear arms.” Erkki Tuomioja, Finland’s minister of trade and industry, called on the DPRK to cooperate with the IAEA.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Missile Test

Joongang Ilbo (“N.KOREA TO HALT MISSILE TESTS DURING TALKS WITH US,” Seoul, 09/25/99) and The Korea Times (“NK TO PUBLICLY ANNOUNCE MORATORIUM ON MISSILE TESTS,” Seoul, 09/21/99) reported that the DPRK will halt test-launches of long-range missiles during talks with US negotiators, the ROK government said on Friday. A DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the decision was made “in order to create a more favorable atmosphere” for the high-level talks, according to the country’s official Korean Central News Agency. It was the first time since the US agreed last week to ease sanctions against the DPRK that the DPRK formally announced that it would halt the missile testing. The ROK welcomed the DPRK’s decision. The Japanese Foreign Ministry said that it had no comment until it had studied the DPRK report. In another development on Friday, William Perry said in Tokyo that the US hopes the DPRK will one day comply with the Missile Technology Control Regime. Perry did not say when the US hopes to reach such an agreement with the DPRK. He was speaking to reporters after having met with Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi to discuss the two countries’ DPRK policy.

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “SEOUL WELCOMES NORTH’S MISSILE-TEST MORATORIUM,” Seoul, 09/27/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-gu, “GOVERNMENT WELCOMES NK SUSPENSION OF MISSILE TEST,” Seoul, 09/26/99) reported that the ROK government on Sunday welcomed the DPRK’s pledge not to test-fire a long- range missile during the current talks with the US. “We hope the North Korean pledge will lead to a complete stoppage of missile tests,” said Chang Chul-kyoon, spokesman for the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He also said that the ROK government expects the DPRK’s announcement to serve as an “important start” for easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula and promoting co-prosperity between the two Koreas. The US also welcomed the DPRK’s moratorium on its plan to test-fire a long-range ballistic missile. “We welcome the statement from North Korea. We hope to formalize the understanding that we have with North Korea on missile tests so that it would be a more formal commitment,” State Department spokesman James Rubin said on Saturday.

2. DPRK Response to US Sanctions Lifting

Joongang Ilbo (Kang Joo-an, “NK WELCOMES U.S. LIFTING SANCTIONS,” Seoul, 09/22/99) reported that the DPRK on September 21 praised the US decision to ease its economic sanctions on the DPRK. The DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency stated, “It’s a desirable decision, although we are sorry for the lateness of the decision and that the U.S. did not state it would totally lift the sanctions.” The report did not directly mention the DPRK’s suspension of long-range missile testing but said, “North Korea will respond cooperatively to the U.S.’s efforts to withdraw its hostile policies towards NK and to improve relations with us.” The DPRK urged, “The U.S. should honor its commitment by lifting all remaining sanctions on NK.”

Chosun Ilbo (Lee Chul-min, “NK MINISTER PAIK ADDRESSES UN,” New York, 09/26/99), The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “NK LIVES ON STEADY US ATTENTION,” Seoul, 09/26/99), and The Korea Times (“N.KOREA REPEATS MISSILE PLEDGE AT UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY,” Seoul, 09/26/99) reported that DPRK Foreign Minister Paik Nam-soon said on Saturday during a speech at the UN General Assembly Meeting that the DPRK would not test launch ballistic missiles for the duration of high level talks with the US. Paik said that he was pleased that the US recently decided to lift some economic sanctions, but added that sanctions should be lifted completely and in a practical manner. He emphasized that the DPRK would comply faithfully with any agreements with the US as long as the US abandoned its hostile policy and moved to improve relations with the DPRK. Regarding the ROK, the DPRK minister criticized the ROK government’s sunshine policy, saying that it would only bring about confrontation and clashes since it was nothing but “an attempt by one country that has had different ideologies and systems for half a century, suddenly ignoring the realistic conditions and chanting ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Embrace’ in the hope of changing another.

3. DPRK-US Relations

The Korea Times (“N.KOREA SAYS US MUST DO MORE TO BUILD GOOD WILL,” Seoul, 09/26/99) reported that DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun said on Saturday that despite an easing in sanctions against the DPRK, the US still has to do more to improve relations and end the “hostile power politics” it exerts on the peninsula. The US must comprehensively lift all sanctions and remove all its troops in the ROK before there will be true peace and stability, Paek said. “We want the United States to respect the sovereign rights of my country, as well as the right to choice of my country,” he said. Paek said that his country had a right to defend itself against what he called the “hostile power politics of the United States and its subordinating forces,” Japan and the ROK. “We have no other alternative but to strengthen our national defense capabilities only by ourselves though it requires us to tighten our belts,” he said.

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yul, “MINISTER HONG SPEAKS OUT ON EAST TIMOR,” Seoul, 09/22/99) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Hong Soon-young revealed in an interview with a Korean Daily Newspaper on Wednesday that advances in relations between the US and the DPRK will be in exchange for the peace of the Korean peninsula. Minister Hong added that the US should also participate in the ROK and DPRK Talks, saying that if the DPRK does not agree to this, it would be difficult to bring about peace.

4. Perry’s Visit to ROK

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “KIM, PERRY REAFFIRM CLOSE N.K. COOPERATION, Seoul, 09/23/99), The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “PERRY IN SEOUL FOR DEBATE OVER ‘BEYOND REPORT’,” Seoul, 09/22/99), and Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yol, “PERRY EXPLAINS REPORT ON NK,” Seoul, 09/22/99) reported that ROK officials said that ROK President Kim Dae-jung and William Perry on Wednesday reaffirmed close cooperation between the two countries in promoting a comprehensive engagement policy on the DPRK. “President Kim and Perry shared the need that Washington and Seoul should promote their North Korea policies under bilateral cooperation,” an ROK government official said. At the meeting, they said, Perry explained to President Kim the contents of the package peace proposal he submitted to the Congress last Wednesday. President Kim told Perry that the ROK government supports US easing of a half-century of restrictions, the officials said. Kim and Perry also discussed a series of talks between the US and the DPRK for improving ties, which are expected to take place in Washington next month, the officials added. Perry also met with Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Hong Soon-young and Unification Minister Lim Dong-won at the foreign minister’s official residence later in the day. The US point man on the DPRK and the two ROK ministers exchanged views on policy recommendations contained in the Perry report and the new US DPRK policy. Perry was to leave Thursday for Tokyo to attend a seminar and meet top Japanese officials to fine-tune their stance on DPRK issues.

5. Former DPRK Vice President Dies

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-Bae, “FORMER N.K. VICE PRESIDENT RI DIES AT 83,” Seoul, 09/27/99) and Joongang Ilbo (“N.KOREA’S RI JONG-OK DIES AT 83,” Seoul, 09/25/99) reported that the DPRK’s media announced that Ri Jong-ok, a former DPRK vice president and revolutionary colleague of the late President Kim Il- sung, died of an illness on Thursday at the age of 83. The DPRK’s media did not specify what caused the death, only saying that he was buried on Saturday in Patriots’ Cemetery in a suburb of Pyongyang. According to the DPRK’s Korean Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS), Kim Yong-nam, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), the number 2 man after leader Kim Jong-il; Premier Hong Song-nam and Defense Minister Kim Il- chol attended the state funeral. Ri had been one of the few remaining members of what the DPRK calls the first revolutionary generation, which helped the late Kim found the DPRK in 1948. With the confidence of the late Kim Il- sung, Ri had assumed major posts in the government and the ruling Workers’ Party. Having served as vice president for 14 years, he was forced to retreat from the center stage of politics, being named as honorary vice chairman of the Presidium of the SPA in 1998. He had been sidelined since Kim Jong-il took power after his father’s death in 1994.

6. DPRK Food Situation

Joongang Ilbo (Seo Jang-soo, “NORTH KOREANS SURVIVING ON 1,600 CAL PER DAY,” Seoul, 09/22/99) reported that DPRK citizen’s average calorie intake per day is estimated to have fallen to 1,600 calories due to the food shortage the DPRK has endured since 1995. The DPRK’s labor productivity was analyzed to have dropped by 13 percent because workers are malnourished. According to a report entitled “North Korea’s Food Shortage and Its Economic Effects,” released by the Korea Development Institute (KDI), the average amount of daily calorie intake by DPRK residents declined by 20 percent to 1,600 cal as of 1997 from that of 1994, before widespread famine hit the DPRK. KDI said that the calorie volume is the equivalent of about 410 grams of grain, less than the average 420 grams per day eaten by Korean people during the last years of Japanese colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. The institute pointed out that the ROK government should promptly offer food aid to the DPRK because the food shortage will probably hamper the balanced development of the two sides of the peninsula after the two Koreas are unified.

7. DPRK-ROK Cultural Exchange

Joongang Ilbo (“PYONGYANG CIRCUS VISITS SEOUL IN NOVEMBER,” Seoul, 09/22/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Kim In, “NK CIRCUS TROUPE TO PERFORM IN SOUTH,” Seoul, 09/22/99) reported that the DPRK’s Pyongyang Circus will give 40 performances in Seoul and other provinces between November 14 and December 14. The ROK Ministry of National Unification approved Kyemyung Production Incorporated as the promoter of this cooperative project under the DPRK-ROK Exchange Cooperation Law. Kyemyung Production signed the agreement with Chosun Art Exchange Association last April. It has also received written confirmation from the DPRK’s Ministry of Culture and Art, and in September contracted the attached agreement and date of performances. A source from the ROK ministry said, “The Pyongyang Circus presents 17 events in its 100-minute show. The 50 members of the troupe are expected to come through the Truce Village of Panmunjom.” He further noted that Kyemyung Production will pay US$500,000 to the DPRK for their performances. The historic event marks the first time that DPRK citizens will set foot in the ROK since six years ago when three citizens participated in the Tumen River Area Development Project Conference in November 1993 in Seoul.

8. ROK National Assembly Vote on East Timor Peacekeeping

The Korea Herald (Kim Kyung-ho, “ASSEMBLY TO ACT ON MOTION TO APPROVE DISPATCH OF KOREAN TROOPS TO E. TIMOR,” Seoul, 09/27/99) reported that the ROK National Assembly will act on a motion to approve the dispatch of ROK peacekeeping troops to East Timor on Tuesday. ROK parliamentary observers expressed concern that the sharp discord between the ruling coalition and opposition parties may lead to another clash on the Assembly floor. The opposition Grand National Party (GNP) has shown no sign of easing its stance against sending combat troops to East Timor. If the parliamentary motion is put to a vote, the two coalition parties, which together have 160 seats in the 299-member Assembly, are set to easily pass it. The passage of the motion requires support from a simple majority of lawmakers present. The coalition parties are concerned about the possibility that the opposition GNP, which has 134 parliamentary seats, will move to block voting on the motion.

The Korea Times (“HONG RESCHEDULES TRIP TO UN OVER TIMOR ISSUE,” Seoul, 09/22/99) reported that ROK Foreign Affairs Trade Minister Hong Soon-young last Tuesday decided to reschedule his itineraries during the forthcoming visit to the United Nations to devote himself to the passage of a motion on the dispatch of troops to East Timor at the ROK National Assembly. Originally, Hong was scheduled to leave for New York on Friday to attend the UN General Assembly for a 10-day trip which would also take him to Costa Rica and Los Angeles. However, Hong, in the face of the opposition party’s strong resistance over the troop dispatch to East Timor, changed his mind with the aim of winning bipartisan support. “I hope that the National Assembly would pass the motion through a consensus between the ruling and opposition parties,” Hong told reporters. Under a rescheduled visit program, Hong plans to leave for New York on September 29 and deliver a keynote speech at the General Assembly on September 30. Originally, his speech at the United Nations was slated for September 29. In the address, Hong is set to touch such issues as ROK’s engagement policy towards the DPRK, regional cooperation in Northeast Asia, globalization and human rights. “I am considering touching the issue of North Korean escapees in China from the standpoint of humanitarian affairs,” Hong told reporters.

9. ROK Participation in East Timor Peacekeeping

The Korea Herald (“DEFENSE MINISTRY SENDS 2 LIAISON OFFICERS TO SYDNEY,” Seoul, 09/27/99) reported that ROK officials said on Sunday that the ROK Defense Ministry sent two liaison officers to Sydney on Friday to consult with Australian forces on the role of ROK troops in the peace mission in East Timor. The two liaison officers, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, will discuss the details of the ROK’s mission, area of operations and logistics supply with the Australians, officials said. The two lieutenant colonels, specialists in operations and logistics, respectively, were not identified. Two other Defense Ministry officers, Brigadier General Kim Tae-young, deputy director for policy and planning, and Colonel Kim Young-hoo, chief of the ministry’s logistics cooperation department, returned on Saturday from a five-day trip to Australia and East Timor to collect basic information on preparations for ROK troop arrival in East Timor.

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yul, “MINISTER HONG SPEAKS OUT ON EAST TIMOR,” Seoul, 09/22/99) reported that ROK Foreign Minister Hong Soon-young on Wednesday dismissed the opposition of ROK residents in Indonesia to sending troops to East Timor, as seen in an announcement they took out on the front page of the Chosun Ilbo on September 20. Minister Hong replied that it was the Indonesian government that had requested peace keeping forces and that officially Indonesia welcomes them. Therefore, sending participants would work in ROK’s favor, not as a threatening factor.

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