NAPSNet Daily Report 28 January, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 28 January, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, January 28, 1999,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. People’s Republic of China

I. United States

1. ROK Food Aid to DPRK

Agence France-Presse (“SOUTH KOREA’S RED CROSS SENDS FOOD TO HELP EASE FAMINE IN NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 01/22/99) reported that an ROK Red Cross official said that the Red Cross on Friday sent food and clothes to the DPRK. The official stated, “The food aid is part of the humanitarian aid being offered to North Korea.” The aid included 2,000 tons of flour, 1,700 boxes of biscuits for children, and also some clothes.

2. Russian Reaction to US Missile Defense

The Chicago Tribune (“ALBRIGHT UNABLE TO SOLVE MISSILE DISPUTE,” Moscow, 01/27/99) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ended two days of talks in Russia with Russian officials expressing disagreement over US moves to build a national missile defense system. In a phone conversation from his hospital room, Russian President Boris Yeltsin expressed concern to Albright on the missile defense issue. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov warned that “further cuts in strategic offensive weapons can be done only if there is a clear vision that preserving and observing” the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty is a priority. Albright urged Russia to consider a missile defense itself, but offered assurances that there has been no final US decision and that the Clinton administration remains committed to the ABM treaty.

3. US-Indian Nuclear Talks

The Associated Press (Neelesh Misra, “INDIA WON’T GIVE UP NUKES,” New Delhi, 01/28/99) reported that Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh told The Indian Express newspaper on Thursday that India will not negotiate away its nuclear weapons capability in talks with the US. Singh stated, “I am not engaging in any dialogue seeking quid pro quos, because we believe that a nation as great as India, when it takes steps in the consideration of its vital, national interest, can scarcely do so.” However, he said that the eight months of talks with the US have been helpful. He added, “There exists today a much clearer and a much better understanding of India’s position. It is evident to any observer, that the strident prescriptive tones of the early days when India was told to ‘do this, do that,’ are no longer there.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. Mt. Kumgang Tour

JoongAng Ilbo (“CHONG WA DAE SPOKESPERSON TO VISIT MT. KUMGANG,” Seoul, 02/28/99) reported that Park Jie-won, Chong Wa Dae’s chief spokesperson and public information aide, will visit Mt. Kumgang, DPRK from January 30 to February 2. He will be the highest-ranking official to visit Mt. Kumgang since the Mt. Kumgang tour project began last year. A total of 61 Chong Wa Dae correspondents from newspapers and broadcasters and two secretary officials will accompany him. Regarding the rumor that he will carry a personal message from President Kim to the DPRK, Park stated, “This kind of thing will not happen.” However, some experts believe that this is a distinct possibility because the ROK has persistently asked for a ministerial meeting, and the exchange of special envoys and a summit meeting between the two Koreas. Park will also visit Hyundai’s Changjon Harbor Office, which is in charge of Mt. Kumgang construction projects. The DPRK is reported to be showing special concern about his visit. Park’s visit to Mt. Kumgang is predicted to trigger a series of high- ranking officials’ visits to Mt. Kumgang.

2. DPRK-English Dictionary

Chosun Ilbo (“DPRK-ENGLISH DICTIONARY DUE SOON,” Seoul, 01/28/99) reported that the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) will soon publish a DPRK-English dictionary for English-speaking DPRK specialists. The dictionary will contain terminology unique to the DPRK and its English correlatives. NIS said it developed the dictionary by collecting English expressions being used in various statements, agreements and propaganda materials issued by the DPRK government. The latter part of the dictionary includes names of DPRK VIPs in English. Although previous NIS publications are available free of charge, NIS officials said the dictionary will be sold for a fee. The dictionary will be at local bookstores after the price and publisher are determined.

3. US-ROK Trade Relations

Korea Times (“GOVERNMENT EXPRESS REGRET OVER US SUPER 301,” Seoul, 01/28/99) reported that ROK authorities expressed Wednesday that the US government decision to re-institute two measures intended to open markets overseas–the so-called “Super 301” and Title VII–should not serve as means to revive US protectionism in the world trade environment. A source in the Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry indicated that Super 301 and Title VII measures are likely to bring excessive regulation of ROK export items, which may lead to disarray in fair international trade. He said that if the decision from the Office of the US Trade Representatives (USTR) gets in the way of fair trade activities, the government will seriously consider filing a lawsuit against the US side through the World Trade Organization (WTO). “At the moment we do not foresee any imminent problem in trade negotiations with the US counterpart. Nevertheless, there is a concern that the USTR may make some unfair decisions toward the ROK’s iron products, in particular,” he said. “If that happens, we will have no other options but to seek legal means through WTO,” the official continued. Regarding the controversial trade issue, Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Hong Soon-young is believed to have sent a letter to the US government addressing his concern.

III. People’s Republic of China

1. Four-Party Talks

China Daily (“PROGRESS IN PEACE TALKS, DIFFERENCES REMAIN: QIAN,” 1/25/99, A2) reported that PRC delegation Ambassador Qian Yongnian said that the fourth session of the four-party talks on the Korean Peninsula was a mixture of progress and continued differences. “Reaching agreements on the operational procedures for the two subcommittees was a significant progress,” he said on January 22. “This has made necessary the preparation for the discussion of substantive issues in future rounds of talks,” according to Qian. The PRC is pleased with the agreements, Qian said. However, he cautioned that wide differences remain among relevant parties over the issues of establishing a peace mechanism on the peninsula and reducing tensions. The PRC believes that searching for feasible ways to narrow the differences, and solving existing problems, are important parts of the next step, Qian said.

China Daily (“VALUE OF RMB WILL NOT CHANGE THIS YEAR,” 1/27/99, A1) reported that, while reaffirming that the PRC will not devalue its currency, the renminbi, this year, PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said on January 26 that recently concluded four-party talks in Geneva concerning the Korean Peninsula achieved “positive progress.” The PRC believes the talks were of “major significance,” and has made necessary preparations for future discussions. “The major outcome of the talks was the creation of two working groups and the beginning of concrete discussions. A common understanding has been reached on operational procedures for the future,” Zhang noted. She said that the PRC hopes the parties concerned will take advantage of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and continue talks based on the achieved results.

2. PRC-ROK Relations

People’s Daily (“LI PENG MEETS WITH ROK GUESTS,” 1/26/99, A1) reported that the PRC’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee Chairman Li Peng met with former prime minister of the ROK Lee Soo-sung and his delegation on January 25. Li praised Sino-ROK cooperation, saying that ROK President Kim Dae-jung’s visit to China last year played an important role in promoting Sino-ROK ties. The PRC is paying a lot of attention to the situation on the Korean peninsula, Li said, and hopes that peace and stability will endure. The ROK guest expressed appreciation for the PRC’s contributions to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Lee stressed that during President Kim Dae-jung’s visit to China last year, Kim and PRC President Jiang Zemin agreed to establish a Sino-ROK cooperative partnership for the 21st century, which is conducive to the further development of bilateral ties.

3. PRC View of Theater Missile Defense

People’s Liberation Army Daily (“A DANGEROUS ACT,” 1/24/99, A4) carried an article, written by Gao Junmin and Lu Dehong, in reaction to US Defense Secretary William Cohen’s January 20 announcement that the US army will adjust National Missile Defense (NMD) and Theater Missile Defense (TMD) plans by injecting an additional US$6.6 billion into NMD research and tripling expenditure on these projects to US$10.5 billion over the next six years. According to the article, the US act runs counter to the trend for peace and development, harms global arms control and disarmament efforts, and will have a far-reaching negative influence on global and regional strategic balance and stability in the forthcoming century. The reason the US takes risks and perseveres in developing a costly high-tech, low-efficiency missile defense system lies in its pursuit of strategic superiority and hegemony, the article said. The article quoted Chinese experts as saying the US move to seek strategic superiority by developing assorted missile defense systems is “unwise.” The article also sounds the alarm that “some Americans are attempting to include Taiwan in the US TMD in East Asia,” adding, “this move is definitely unacceptable to the Chinese Government, people and army.”

China Daily (“TMD ISSUE DETRIMENTAL TO SINO-US RELATIONS,” 1/27/99, A4) reported that international affairs analysts in Beijing warned that should the US bring Taiwan into its proposed anti-missile scheme, Sino-US relations would suffer a setback unprecedented since the normalization of bilateral ties. “If there is action, there must be reaction,” said Ouyang Liping, an expert on global arms control with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. “By bringing Taiwan in, the US would forge a de facto military alliance with Taiwan,” said Ouyang. Once Taiwan becomes a key player in the Theater Missile Defense (TMD) system, it would naturally acquire more advanced weapons, according to Ouyang. The TMD system will add fuel to separatist attempts for “Taiwan independence” and will also encourage Japan’s ambitions for military expansion, said Sa Benwang, a senior analyst on Sino-US relations with the China Institute for International Strategic Studies. Selling TMD equipment, which includes Patriot-3 missiles, radar and other early- warning facilities, to Taiwan is the beginning of bringing Taiwan into the development and deployment of the system, Sa said. Regardless how Taiwan obtains the new anti-missile system, it would be a serious violation of the PRC’s sovereignty and a heavy blow to the “strategic partnership” the PRC and the US have pledged to build, Sa said.

4. Japan-US Defense Cooperation

People’s Daily (“JAPANESE PM: ‘NEIGHBORING SITUATION’ DOES NOT GO BEYOND THE SCOPE OF JAPAN-US SAFEGUARD TREATY,” Tokyo, 1/28/99, A6) reported that when answering questions at the Diet, Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said that the scope of the “neighboring situation” spelled out in the new US-Japanese defense cooperation guidelines does not go beyond the framework of the Japan-US safeguard treaty. According to the report, what is called the scope of the Japan-US safeguard treaty refers to the “Far East” region defined in the treaty. Previous Japanese governments believed that the Far East region covers the areas from the north of the Philippines to Japan and its neighboring region, including the ROK and Taiwan area.

5. PRC-Russian Relations

China Daily (“NORTHEAST BORDER TRADE FAVOURED,” 1/27/99, A1) reported that the PRC, trying to reduce the effects of the persistent Asian financial crisis, will enhance border trade with Russia. “We will allow more domestic companies to register for trade with Russia this year,” Wang Zhenchuan, deputy governor of Heilongjiang Province, told China Daily on January 26. The PRC’s trade with Russia, primarily involving Heilongjiang-based companies, rebounded in 1997 after a decline in 1993. “We expect our border trade with Russia to exceed the 1998 level of US$1.3 billion, as more local companies acquire foreign trade rights,” Wang said.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Wade L. Huntley:
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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