NAPSNet Daily Report 28 March, 2000

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 28 March, 2000", NAPSNet Daily Report, March 28, 2000, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-28-march-2000/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. DPRK High-Level Visit to US
2. Cross-Straits Relations
3. PRC Missile Threat to Taiwan
4. PRC Policy toward Taiwan
5. Taiwan National Assembly
6. US-PRC Relations
7. Shanghai Five Meeting
8. Spratly Islands Dispute
II. Republic of Korea 1. DPRK-ROK Talks
2. Construction of Light Water Reactors
3. Italy-DPRK Relations
4. ROK-Japan Talks
5. DPRK-ROK Cultural Exchange
III. Announcement 1. Seminar on DPRK Famine

I. United States

1. DPRK High-Level Visit to US

The Associated Press (“N.KOREA WARNS ON U.S. VISIT,” Beijing, 03/28/00) reported that Chu Chang-jun, DPRK Ambassador to the PRC, on Tuesday urged the US to “create favorable conditions for talks” on a high-level DPRK visit to the US. He said that the US should stick to the Agreed Framework. He added, “The United States is branding our country a terrorist country. We cannot visit the United States with the cap of terrorists.” US State Department spokesman James P. Foley stated, “We do not have, to my understanding, a reason to believe that the North Koreans have changed their position in regard to a high-level visit. It’s something that we still expect will happen.” Unnamed US officials said privately that Chu has not always reflected official thinking in the DPRK.

2. Cross-Straits Relations

Agence France Presse (“TAIWAN PRESIDENT-ELECT SENDS EMISSARIES TO CHINA: LEGISLATOR,” Taipei, 3/28/00) reported that Taiwan’s Central News Agency on March 27 quoted Taiwan legislator Feng Hu-hsiang, who is in Beijing at a closed-door seminar seeking reconciliation between the PRC and Taiwan, as saying that “quite a few envoys” were secretly dispatched to the PRC to try to contact or hold discussions with PRC authorities, but were all turned away. Feng said the overtures were not accepted “because Beijing has not got [Taiwan President-elect] Chen’s [Shui-bian] commitment to the ‘one China’ principle.” Feng said that he would listen to views on ways to clear doubts and misunderstanding between the PRC and Taiwan at the seminar, organized by the PRC’s quasi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait. (ARATS).

3. PRC Missile Threat to Taiwan

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “CHINESE BASES NEAR TAIWAN SPORT DEFENSE MISSILES,” 3/28/00, P.1) reported that US intelligence officials said that the PRC is fielding new advanced air-defense missiles opposite Taiwan that will increase the danger of a military confrontation along the Taiwan Strait. The US Defense Department is closely monitoring the construction of two new surface-to-air missile bases which, when completed, will bolster a base at Longtian, near Fuzhou, where several batteries of Russian-made S-300 missiles already are deployed. Anonymous US officials said that along with the Longtian missiles, additional S-300s will be set up near the coastal cities of Xiamen and Shantou in the next several weeks. The official said the S-300 missiles, although used for air defense, could enhance the PRC’s ability to attack Taiwan because the systems provide protection for PRC offensive missile forces and aircraft. One US Defense Department official said, “the S-300s have a much greater range, are faster and carry bigger warheads” than the SA-2 missiles now deployed along the coast. The official added, “they are much harder to avoid for pilots.” However, according to defense sources, the US Clinton administration has decided against allowing Taiwan to purchase high-speed anti-radiation missiles called HARMs that Taiwan included in its annual request for arms. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 28, 2000.]

4. PRC Policy toward Taiwan

South China Morning Post (Willy Wo-Lap Lam, “ACT SOON IF FORCE IS NEEDED, SAYS JIANG,” 3/28/00) reported that a Beijing source said on March 27 that the PRC would make a final decision later this year on whether to use military means against Taiwan. PRC President Jiang Zemin indicated that if the mainland has to take military action against Taiwan, the sooner the better. The source said, “to satisfy world opinion, Beijing is giving the Chen administration a grace period of a few months. This is despite the cadres’ basic distrust of Chen and his party. The decision on whether to apply more pressure will be made after China’s entry to the World Trade Organization.” Meanwhile, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Cao Gangchuan has been put in charge of coordinating Taiwan- related policy. A PLA source said, “one of General Cao’s key responsibilities in the coming few years is to expedite reunification using the PLA as backup.” [Ed. note: This article was included as one of the Top Stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 28, 2000.]

5. Taiwan National Assembly

Agence France Presse (“TAIWAN CONTINUES TO ALTER POLITICAL LANDSCAPE, BUT BEIJING UNIMPRESSED,” Taipei, 3/28/00) reported that Taiwan president-elect Chen Shui-bian’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has announced that it will abolish Taiwan’s National Assembly in a bid to strengthen the parliamentary system. The DPP struck a deal on the evening of March 27 with the Kuomintang (KMT) to dissolve the 334-seat assembly, whose major function is amending the constitution. DPP Assembly caucus leader Chen Chin-the stated, “abolishing the assembly is the consensus of the people. We will try to accomplish this as soon as possible – before May 6.” KMT caucus head Tsai Cheng-yuan said, “both the DPP and KMT have reached consensus on scraping the assembly. The exact date and related measures will be discussed in bipartisan negotiations.”

6. US-PRC Relations

Agence France Presse (“US NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR DUE IN BEIJING ON TUESDAY,” Beijing, 3/28/00) reported that US National Security Advisor Samuel Berger is due in Beijing late Tuesday as part of exchanges centered on the March 18 Taiwan presidential elections. PRC foreign ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi stated, “during his visit, many Chinese leaders will meet with him, including Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan. The topics of the meeting will be China-US relations and issues of common interest.” Berger said last week that he was sure he would “discuss a wide range of issues, including the questions involving, hopefully, a resumption of dialogue across the Taiwan Straits.” He characterized the visit as part of the regular dialogue between the US and the PRC that aims to “look at issues ahead for the year.”

7. Shanghai Five Meeting

Agence France Presse (“CHINESE DEFENSE CHIEF TO MEET RUSSIAN, CENTRAL ASIAN COUNTERPARTS,” Beijing, 3/28/00) reported that the official PRC Xinhua news agency said that PRC Defense Minister Chi Haotian left the PRC on Tuesday for an annual meeting with his counterparts from Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan called the “Shanghai-Five.” Chi was accompanied by Kui Fulin, deputy chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for the meeting in Kazakhstan. The five central Asian military leaders have held annual meetings since a series of border troop reduction agreements were reached at a 1996 summit in Shanghai. The military meeting precedes a presidential summit of the Shanghai-Five to be held in Tajikistan in May.

8. Spratly Islands Dispute

Agence France Presse (“PHILIPPINES SENDS GUNBOAT TO ‘PERSUADE’ CHINESE SHIPS TO LEAVE OUTCROP,” Manila, 3/27/00) reported that an official said on March 26 that the Philippine navy deployed two gunships to convince eight PRC fishing vessels still moored near Scaborough Shoal to leave the area. Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Luisito Fernandez said that an interpreter went with the ships to help “persuade” the PRC vessels to leave. He did not say what the gunships would do if the Chinese refuse to leave the area. The navy said that the PRC vessels dropped anchor on March 8 and were allowed to stay there to avoid “turbulent weather conditions” in the area. Fernandez said that the navy will also start looking into allegations that the vessels were being used by the PRC government to spy on other claimants of the disputed island. Fernandez said, “there’s room for suspicion and this gives us a reason to suspect.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK-ROK Talks

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “U.S. EXPERT: N.K. POSITIVE TO KIM’S BERLIN DECLARATION,” 03/28/00) reported that former US official Kenneth Quinones said on March 27 that the DPRK appears to regard ROK President Kim Dae-jung’s recent proposal for government-level inter-Korean dialogue as a step in the right direction, and may make an official response after the ROK’s general elections on April 13. Quinones, who returned from a 10-day visit to the DPRK on March 25, said, “their reaction to the Berlin proposal was careful but positive. They think it’s better to wait, as the situation in Seoul is somewhat complicated due to the upcoming elections.” Quinones, who once headed the DPRK desk at the US State Department, quoted DPRK Foreign Ministry officials as saying, “President Kim’s North Korea policy is consistent and sincere.” He also said that among the measures outlined in Kim’s “Berlin declaration,” the DPRK officials showed particular interest in the proposal for ROK aid to boost the DPRK’s electricity capacity.

2. Construction of Light Water Reactors

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, “TALKS START ON TRAINING NORTH KOREAN WORKERS,” Seoul, 03/27/00) reported that talks between the Korea Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and DPRK officials will soon convene to discuss the training of DPRK employees who will work at the two light-water reactors. The Office of Planning for the Light-Water Reactor Project said that the meetings will be held for four days from the beginning of next month at the Hyangsan Hotel in North Pyongan Province. They will focus on discussing where the DPRK workers will be trained. KEDO wants the training to be held in the ROK, because the light-water reactors were designed there. However, the DPRK and the US want the training to be held in a third country.

3. Italy-DPRK Relations

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Chul-hee, “ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LAMBERTO DINI VISITS NK,” Seoul, 03/27/00) reported that a high-level ROK official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on March 27 that Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini will be visiting the DPRK from March 28 to 29. Dini will be visiting Pyongyang with about 13 people, including reporters and an official from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He plans to pay a courtesy call on DPRK Prime Minister Hong Sung-nam and hold a conference with Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun. In the conference, they will discuss the necessity of resuming the dialogue between the ROK and the DPRK and the support needed for the DPRK. Meanwhile, Mario Sica, director of the Asia Bureau within the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is planning to stop by the ROK afterwards and give his thoughts regarding his DPRK visit to the ROK government.

4. ROK-Japan Talks

The Korea Times (“PRES. KIM INFORMED OF JAPAN’S PROGRESS IN OPENING TIES WITH NK,” Seoul, 03/27/00) reported that visiting Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Yohei Kono briefed ROK President Kim Dae-jung on March 26 during a courtesy call at Chong Wa Dae on the progress of Japan’s negotiations with the DPRK to open diplomatic relations. Presidential spokesman Park Joon-young said that Kim was fully informed of Japan’s ongoing talks with the DPRK. Park said that Kim noted that ROK-Japanese ties had been improving greatly since his inauguration.

5. DPRK-ROK Cultural Exchange

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, “‘THE TALE OF CHUN-HYANG’ TO BE STAGED IN PYONGYANG,” Seoul, 03/27/00) reported that the Korean Traditional Musical, “The Tale of Chun-hyang,” will be jointly produced by a team of artists from the ROK and the DPRK, and performed in Pyongyang. The ROK Ministry of Unification on March 26 announced that it had reached an agreement with the DPRK to hold the performance. The musical will be a joint production between the Namwon Municipal Korean Classical Music Team, based in Chollabuk-do, and the National Art Team from the DPRK. It will be held in the Moranbong theatre in Pyongyang on April 28. After the successful completion of the performance, the Chunhyang Culture Enhancement Association and the Producers’ Federation will pay US$1 million to the DPRK’s Asian-Pacific Peace Committee, with US$400,000 of the total paid in clothing.

III. Announcement

1. Seminar on DPRK Famine

The Committee for Korea Studies (CKS) of the University of California, Berkeley will hold a seminar on “The Prolonged Famine in North Korea” on Saturday, April 8th, 6:30pm, at Barrows Hall, Lipman Room, 8th Floor, UC Berkeley. Speakers will include Randall Ireson, the DPRK Development Assistance Coordinator of American Friends Service Committee; Myong Chol Kim, the Executive Director for Korean-American Peace, Tokyo; and Kenneth Quinones, the Director of Northeast Asia Project, Mercy Corps International. The presentations will be followed by a round table discussion among the presenters, and the program will conclude with a question and answer session with the audience. This seminar is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit the Committee for Korea Studies (CKS) Seminar Page at http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~cks/

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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Gee Gee Wong: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun: khs688@hotmail.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu: akutsu@glocomnet.or.jp
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin: icipu@glas.apc.org
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu: cswu@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

John McKay: John.McKay@adm.monash.edu.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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