NAPSNet Daily Report 28 July, 1998

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 28 July, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, July 28, 1998,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States


1. Light-Water Reactor Project

The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) distributed the following press release (“KEDO EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING,” 07/28/98): “The Executive Board members of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) ­ the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States ­ reached agreement, ad referendum, today on cost sharing arrangements for the Light Water Reactor Project which KEDO is carrying out in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). During the meeting, the Executive Board members also agreed to revise the budget estimate for the project to $4.6 billion to reflect exchange rate changes and discussed other issues. The original budget estimate agreed in November 1997 was $5.18 billion. These agreements will be adopted by the Executive Board following approval by respective capitals.”


2. US Naval Deployment near Korean Peninsula

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, JULY 27, 1998,” USIA Transcript, 07/27/98) said that the US announced last week that it would dispatch naval assets to waters off the coast of the Korean Peninsula to support ROK efforts to detect infiltrators, in response to recent incidents of DPRK infiltration. Rubin stated, “We have raised these incidents through the Military Armistice Commission, and we urge the DPRK to refrain from actions that violate the armistice. We wouldn’t be in this situation if they hadn’t taken actions that did violate the armistice.”


3. DPRK Diplomacy

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA TO REPLACE AMBASSADOR TO THAILAND -NEWS AGENCY,” Seoul, 07/28/98) reported that the DPRK’s official Pyongyang Radio said Tuesday that the government has decided to replace its ambassador to Thailand, Ri Sam-ro. Pyongyang Radio did not say who would replace Ri.


4. ROK-Russian Spy Row

The Associated Press (Laurinda Keys, “RUSSIA, SKOREA SETTLE SPY DISPUTE,” Manila, 07/28/98) reported that Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov and ROK Foreign Minister Park Chung-soo on Tuesday settled a diplomatic row over spying. Primakov said that the ROK agreed to allow the return of a Russian diplomat who had been expelled from the ROK until “his replacement arrives in the near future.” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin said that the ROK diplomat charged with spying will not return to Moscow “because he was caught red-handed.” Primakov said the two nations would now arrange a visit to Moscow by Park, with dates and the agenda to be determined later.


5. ROK Political Prisoners

The Associated Press (“S. KOREAN PARTY ASKS GOVT TO FREE MORE POLITICAL PRISONERS,” Seoul, 07/28/98) reported that the ROK Justice Ministry said Tuesday that government officials have begun screening hundreds of political prisoners for possible release in a planned amnesty in August. However, human rights groups criticized the plan for requiring prisoners to first sign a statement acknowledging past crimes and promising not to violate ROK laws again. Nam Kyu-sun, secretary-general of the ROK human rights group Minkahyup, stated, “The statement violates the freedom of conscience and the freedom of silence.” The ruling National Congress for New Politics said Tuesday that it has submitted a list of 300 political prisoners to be considered for release. The party also said it was asking the government to free 900 ordinary prisoners and drop criminal charges against 400 student activists and other dissidents being sought by police.


6. ROK-PRC Trade

The Associated Press (“CHINA-S. KOREAN TRADE GROWS,” Seoul, 07/28/98) reported that the ROK’s state-run Korea International Trade Association said Tuesday that the PRC replaced Japan as the ROK’s second largest export market in the first half of the year. The US remained the top market for ROK exports, with the ROK shipping US$11 billion worth of goods to the US in the first six months of the year. ROK exports to the PRC fell by 3.6 percent to US$6.28 billion, while shipments to Japan dropped by 16.6 percent to US$6.16 billion. ROK exports to the three major trading partners accounted for 34.7 percent of its total US$67.63 billion in exports in the six-month period.


7. PRC Military

The New York Times (Seth Faison, “CHINA’S MILITARY FORCE STILL PUNY BY WORLD STANDARDS,” Beijing, 07/28/98) reported that, according to a PRC defense report issued Monday, the PRC’s military budget was officially less than US$10 billion in 1998. The figure is less than 4 percent of the US budget and less than half of the ROK’s. However, the figure did not include the estimated 15,000 businesses controlled by the army or how much they earn. Tai Ming-cheung, an expert on the PRC military who works for the Hong Kong office of Kroll Associates, stated, “The Chinese don’t give very much away here. The real issue is that it’s a symbolic breakthrough just to release this kind of report.”


8. US Military in Philippines

The Associated Press (“PHILIPPINE PROTESTORS CHALLENGE ACCORD WITH U.S. MILITARY,” Manila, 07/28/98) reported that about 50 people rallied Monday in front of a hotel where US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was holding talks with Southeast Asian countries, to protest a military agreement between the Philippines and the US. The protesters accused Albright of pressuring the Philippine government to allow the resumption of joint military exercises. Earlier this year, US and Philippine officials signed a visiting forces agreement allowing a resumption of joint military exercises and providing certain legal protections to US soldiers while in the Philippines. Critics say the agreement, which requires ratification by the Philippine Senate, could shield US soldiers from prosecution because of various loopholes. Albright said that she discussed the agreement in a meeting with Philippines President Joseph Estrada. She stated, “It is my understanding the government supports this agreement and it is one that is viewed as mutually beneficial to both countries.” She added, “I think we have made statements all along that our surface ships do not carry nuclear weapons.”


9. Indian-Pakistani Talks

Reuters (John Chalmers, “NUCLEAR TESTS OVERSHADOW SOUTH ASIAN SUMMIT,” Colombo, 07/28/98) and the Associated Press (“FORUM PROVIDES PLATFORM TO ARCH-RIVALS INDIA, PAKISTAN,” Colombo, 07/28/98) reported that Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said that nuclearization of South Asia would not be discussed during a regional meeting which began on Tuesday. Kadirgamar stated, “I think wisdom lies in … not having too much political discussion in the region in this kind of body because certain discussions of a political nature can be very divisive.” However, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said that he was hopeful that his talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the summit would be fruitful. For his part, Sharif stated, “It is time for the international community to encourage Pakistan’s efforts to defuse the security crisis in South Asia and promote a just settlement of the Kashmir issue.”


10. Detection of Nuclear Tests

Reuters (“NEW DEVICES WILL BETTER DETECT NUCLEAR TESTS,” Washington, 07/28/98) reported that the US Department of Energy said Monday that US government scientists have developed two devices that better detect nuclear bomb blasts in other countries by searching the atmosphere for traces of radioactive material. The devices will be placed around the world and used to monitor adherence to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The department added that their development should encourage the US Senate to ratify the treaty because nuclear explosions will be more difficult to hide. It stated, “The two new detonation identification devices represent a quantum leap beyond existing monitoring devices, with greater sensitivity, full automation, near real-time reporting and novel nuclear radiation detectors.” One of the devices will analyze air samples for radioactive particles that seep from underground nuclear explosions, while the other device would detect aboveground nuclear explosions. Information collected by the two devices and other monitoring systems around the world will be sent to an international data center temporarily located in Arlington, Virginia. A permanent center will be built in Vienna, Austria as part of the test ban treaty.


11. Theater Missile Defense System

United Press International (Mike Billington, “LMMS TO PAY FOR FAILED THAAD TESTS,” Washington, 07/27/98) and the Associated Press (Laura Myers, “CO. TO PAY $75M IF MISSILE FAILS,” Washington, 07/28/98) reported that Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space on Monday announced a cost- sharing deal with the US Army under which the company must achieve three direct missile-to-missile hits in the next five tests of its Theater High Altitude Area Defense system or pay US$75 million. The next test, which had been scheduled for August, will instead take place in November or December, according to the Army. Air Force Lieutenant General Lester Lyles, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, said that the Army hoped to deploy a working system by 2006. Keith Bickel, a defense spending expert with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, stated, “Lockheed, in its rush to deployment, did not do the quality control and testing it ordinarily would have done. This haste is causing many of the problems.” Bickel called the US$75 million a “token amount” of money compared with the US$3.2 billion the government has paid Lockheed for developing the system.

The New York Times carried an opinion article by Richard L. Garwin, a physicist and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (KEEPING ENEMY MISSILES AT BAY,” La Jolla, 07/28/98). Garwin stated that, as one of the nine members of the commission that assessed the ballistic missile threat to the US, “I am alarmed that some have interpreted our findings as providing support for a new national missile defense system.” He said, “Should Iran or North Korea embark on a well-financed program and make good use of technology and advice from Russia, China and from each other, both these countries could build a few ICBM’s within five years. In the case of Iraq, it might take 10 years.” However, he added, “No defensive system under consideration can neutralize these threats. The defense that is now being developed would not even detect, let alone counter, ship-launched short-range missiles. Nor could the proposed defense work against ICBM’s that employ simple countermeasures.” Garwin argued, “The best way to defend against possible attack is to prevent countries like North Korea, Iran and Iraq from getting these missiles in the first place. If they obtain them anyway, they will be vulnerable to a pre-emptive strike. Above all, they can be deterred from using these weapons by the threat of major destruction in return.” He concluded, “In our concern with these emerging powers, we must remember that the only real threat to our survival comes from Russia, which has thousands of long-range nuclear warheads. We should try to eliminate this arsenal by proposing the third stage in strategic arms reduction to encourage Russia to ratify Start 2 and move on to Start 3.”

II. Republic of Korea


1. DPRK Elections

DPRK leader Kim Jong-il has been elected to the country’s parliament, an announcement said Monday, setting the stage for him to become president of the state. He was unanimously picked by voters in polls held Sunday for deputies of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), the official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a dispatch monitored in Seoul. “On the basis of the results of the voting at constituency No. 666, the central election committee announced that Kim Jong-il, the great leader of the Korean Party and People and Supreme Commander of the Revolutionary armed forces, was elected as deputy to the SPA,” KCNA said. “By electing him as deputy to the SPA, all the people and servicemen demonstrated their unanimous desire and strong determination to accomplish the social cause, undaunted by any adversity, under the wise guidance of the party and the leader.” (Korea Times, “NK REPORTS ELECTION OF KIM JONG-IL TO PARLIAMENT,” 07/28/98)

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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Center for American Studies,
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Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Choi Chung-moon:
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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