NAPSNet Daily Report 28 May, 1998

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 28 May, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, May 28, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-28-may-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Clarification

I. United States

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1. Military Armistice Commission

Reuters (“NORTH KOREA AGREES TO REOPEN CHANNEL WITH UNC – PAPER,” Seoul, 05/27/98) reported that Thursday’s edition of the ROK’s Chosun Ilbo said that the DPRK has agreed in principle to reopen direct general-officer-level talks with the UN Command (UNC) for the first time in seven years. The paper added that, if dialogue were to resume, the UNC side would be composed of representatives of four nations, including the US, Great Britain, and the ROK.

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2. ROK Food Aid for DPRK

The Washington Post (Kevin Sullivan, “KOREAN TRAILBLAZER’S ‘OPERATION RAWHIDE’,” Seoul, 05/28/98, A25) reported that Chung Ju-yung, founder and honorary chairman of Hyundai, hopes to load 1,000 head of cattle onto 45 trucks and run convoys through Panmunjom across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to the DPRK. Chung stated, “I will drive the cattle into the North through Panmunjom within a month. North Koreans can use the cattle as they please.” So far, neither the DPRK nor the ROK government has officially approved Chung’s plan, although unofficial reports say the first 500 cattle may be transported on June 9. ROK Minister of National Unification Kang In-duk said that as long as the plan is approved by the DPRK and the UN Command (UNC), “I personally would have no objections.” UNC spokesman Jim Coles said that so far no one has made a formal request to drive the cattle through the DMZ. He added that, as far as he knew, the last time any vehicle drove across the DMZ was in 1976. Since then, any delegations that have passed through Panmunjom have had to drive to the border, get out, and walk across to the other side. UN soldiers assigned to the DMZ said that neither of the two bridges connecting the DPRK and the ROK are sturdy enough to withstand the kind of traffic in Chung’s plan. Officials at the ROK National Unification Ministry said that, while the cattle qualify as humanitarian aid, the trucks do not, so that the trucks would not be allowed to stay in the DPRK. However, ROK officials also said that they fear that bringing the trucks back could introduce hoof-and-mouth disease to the ROK.

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3. DPRK Famine

Reuters (“U.N.: FAMINE AVERTED BUT NORTH KOREAN CHILDREN STILL DIE,” Geneva, 05/27/98) reported that Omawale Omawale, UNICEF mission chief in the DPRK, said Wednesday that a “horrendous famine” has been averted in North Korea because of foreign aid but that many children were still dying from malnutrition and disease. He stated, “We have managed through international assistance with the delivery of food aid to avert what would have been a horrendous famine … but it needs to continue because the government does not yet have the capacity to feed the population.” He added that while more food aid was essential, there was also “dire need” for help in health, water, and sanitation. Omawale said, “A lot of the children who are dying and malnourished are in that situation not simply because of food but sometimes despite food.”

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4. PRC Arrests Alleged Taiwanese Spies

Reuters (“CHINA NABS FOUR TAIWAN BUSINESSMEN FOR ESPIONAGE,” Beijing, 05/28/98) reported that the PRC’s Xinhua news agency said on Thursday that PRC security authorities had arrested four Taiwan businessmen in March for spying. The agency said that the four admitted to joining the Intelligence Bureau under Taiwan’s Defense Ministry and to accepting missions to gather political, economic, and military intelligence on the PRC. The PRC’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait informed its Taiwan counterpart of the arrests on Thursday. Taiwan said on Tuesday that it was pressing the PRC for details about 18 Taiwan businessmen reported to have been detained in the PRC on suspicion of spying.

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5. Pakistan Conducts Nuclear Tests

Reuters (Tahir Ikram, “PAKISTAN CONDUCTS UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR TESTS,” Islamabad, 05/28/98) and the Associated Press (“PAKISTAN EXPLODES NUCLEAR DEVICES,” Islamabad, 05/28/98) reported that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced Thursday that Pakistan conducted five underground nuclear tests. Sharif stated, “Today, we have settled the score with India.” He added, “India is an expansionist power. The world should have sanctioned India fully … but they didn’t.” Sharif also thanked the PRC for its help, but did not specify what that entailed. An official government statement said, “The long-range Ghauri missile is already being capped with the nuclear warheads to give a befitting reply to any misadventure by the enemy.” US President Bill Clinton criticized the move, saying, “By failing to exercise restraint and responding to the Indian tests, Pakistan lost a truly priceless opportunity to strengthen its own security, to improve its political standing in the eyes of the world.” Clinton stated that the US had “no choice but to impose sanctions.” US intelligence officials in Washington confirmed that Pakistan had conducted at least two nuclear tests. According to the US National Earthquake Information Center, the strongest test registered a preliminary magnitude of 4.9. Japanese government spokesman Kanezo Muraoka said that the tests were “totally unforgivable,” and that Japan would consider imposing stiff economic sanctions against Pakistan. Jahanzeb Naseer, head of research at Jardine Fleming Pakistan, stated, “If the sanctions are similar to those on India, the impact (on the economy) will be around two billion dollars.”

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6. Indian Reaction to Pakistani Tests

Reuters (Chaitanya Kalbag, “INDIA REACTS TO PAKISTAN’S NUCLEAR TESTS,” New Delhi, 05/28/98) and Dow Jones Newswires (“INDIA PRIME MINISTER:WILL RECONSIDER NUKE TEST MORATORIUM,” New Delhi, 05/28/98) reported that Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said Thursday that Pakistan’s nuclear tests vindicated India’s decision to hold its tests earlier. He added, “India is ready to meet any challenge.” Asked if India would review its moratorium on further tests, Vajpayee replied, “A new situation has been created and it will be taken into account in formulating our policy.” However, a senior Indian official said that if Pakistan makes an offer to resume peace talks, “it will not be spurned.” The Indian foreign ministry said in a statement, “Pakistan’s nuclear tests have confirmed what has been known all along — that the country has been in possession of nuclear weapons.” An Indian Foreign Ministry denied Pakistani charges that it had received “credible information” of an Indian plan to attack its nuclear installations. India’s Army chief, General Ved Prakash Malik, stated “[Pakistan] wanted to carry out the nuclear test and they were trying to find an excuse to justify their action by raising a hue and cry over a possible attack.”

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7. History of Indian and Pakistani Nuclear Programs

The Associated Press (Laura Myers, “NUKE RIVALRY FUELS PAKISTAN, INDIA,” Washington, 05/28/98) distributed an article detailing the histories of India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programs. The article said that India established an Atomic Energy Commission in 1948, and that in 1956, the US and Canada agreed to help India build a nuclear research reactor for power generation, although India rejected oversight by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The US also supplied heavy water, used to control nuclear fission. In 1958, India began designing and buying equipment for a plutonium reprocessing plant at Trombay, and the following year, the US trained Indian scientists in reprocessing and handling plutonium. Joe Cirincione, a South Asia nuclear expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, stated, “We basically gave it to them. This is an example of the nuclear chickens coming home to roost.” After its 1974 test, India received US nuclear fuel and reactor exports by promising to accept international monitoring by 1980, but President Jimmy Carter waived the requirement, and India never accepted monitoring. Pakistan secretly decided to develop a nuclear weapons program in the early 1970s, after its defeat by India in the 1971 Bangladesh war. Pakistan built a uranium-enrichment program starting in 1975 under the guidance of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, a German-trained metallurgist. The PRC was reported to have supplied Pakistan with highly enriched uranium and a nuclear bomb design, but Peter Saracino, an analyst with the Monterey Institute for Nonproliferation Studies, said that Pakistan “didn’t turn to China until the door closed” on US nuclear imports. In 1981, the US lifted sanctions imposed in the 1970s after Pakistan was caught smuggling uranium enrichment technology, as payment for Pakistan’s aid to Afghan rebels fighting the Soviet Union.

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8. PRC Reaction to Pakistani Nuclear Tests

The Associated Press (“CHINA ‘DEEPLY CONCERNED’ OVER PAKISTAN NUCLEAR TESTS,” Beijing, 05/28/98) reported that the PRC Foreign Ministry, in a statement read on state-run TV Thursday, expressed regret over Pakistan’s nuclear tests. It urged India and Pakistan to show “utmost restrain” and to “immediately give up nuclear weapons development programs to stop the situation from getting any worse.” It added that the PRC has consistently advocated the total abolition and destruction of nuclear weapons and was “opposed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons in any form.”

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9. UN Reaction to Pakistani Nuclear Tests

The Associated Press (“U.N. CHIEF URGES INDIA, PAKISTAN TO SIGN TEST BAN TREATY,” United Nations, 05/28/98) and the United States Information Agency (Judy Aita, “UN MEMBERS DEPLORE PAKISTAN’S NUCLEAR TESTS,” United Nations, 05/28/98) reported that UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan on Thursday denounced Pakistan’s nuclear test explosions. Annan said in a statement, “I deplore both the Indian and the Pakistani tests. They exacerbate tensions in an already difficult relationship.” He called on the two countries to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and suggested “they might also sign a ‘no first-use’ pledge with each other.” He added, “Finally, both nations should freeze their nuclear weapons development programs. The number of nuclear weapons should decrease, not increase.” Some UN diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Pakistani tests have in effect established a three-way nuclear balance in Asia between the PRC, India, and Pakistan. They added that the best approach would be to urge India and Pakistan to sign the test ban treaty and the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty in an effort to discourage other countries such as Iran, Iraq, and the DPRK from building such weapons. UN spokesman Fred Eckhard added that Annan has also offered to mediate between the two countries. He added, “The secretary general strongly appealed to both India and Pakistan to make every effort to reduce increasing tensions in the region especially in Kashmir.” US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson said that the US is “concerned about developments in South Asia and we urge restraint on all sides.” He added, “We will be seeking appropriate Security Council action. We think there should be a multilateral, multinational response to reduce tensions in South Asia.” He added that both countries should also sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Security Council President Njuguna Mahugu of Kenya said that the council is working on a formal reaction in the form of a presidential statement late in the day. Alex Taukatch, the spokesman for General Assembly President Hennadiy Udovenko of Ukraine said the president was “gravely concerned” about Pakistan’s nuclear tests.

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10. US-Russian Nuclear Security Cooperation

The Department of Energy (“U.S. AND RUSSIA WORK JOINTLY TO SECURE NUCLEAR MATERIALS,” USIA Text, 05/27/98) announced on May 26 that four more Russian nuclear facilities upgrades have been completed under the nuclear material protection, control, and accounting program. The program is a joint undertaking by the DOE and the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM). DOE and MINATOM have been cooperating since 1994 to improve security systems throughout Russia which involve weapons-usable material. The program was originally part of the Department of Defense’s Cooperative Threat Reduction program, but was assumed by DOE in 1995. DOE Under Secretary Ernest Moniz stated, “We look forward to building upon this important success in future cooperation between our governments to ensure that all weapons-usable material in both of our countries remains out of reach of terrorists and rogue states. These upgrades significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized use, theft, or diversion.”

II. Clarification

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1. DPRK Participation in ARF

[Ed. note: The following comments were provided to NAPSNet by Aidan Foster-Carter, Hon. Senior Research Fellow in Sociology and Modern Korea, Leeds University, Great Britain. Dr. Foster-Carter responded to the item DPRK Participation in ARF in the PRC section of the May 27 Daily Report.]

“The statement attributed to a Philippine official, that the DPRK has no diplomatic relations with most ASEAN countries, is untrue. In fact it has relations with two-thirds of ASEAN member states; the exceptions being Brunei, Philippines, and Myanmar (which broke off ties after the 1983 Rangoon bombing). Nor are these ties merely formal. The DPRK has substantial and active embassies in Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, as well as in Hanoi and Vientiane.

Moving from the realm of fact to comment, it would be unfortunate if the Philippines’ own reluctance to entertain bilateral relations with the DPRK (which Pyongyang has been seeking for some time) were to bias ASEAN’s response. The more North Korea can be persuaded to join and participate in international society and organizations, the better. As in the case of the Asian Development Bank, one is puzzled as to the motives and reasoning of those who would rather see the DPRK remain isolated. What good does that do?”

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Wade L. Huntley: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

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

Shin Dong-bom: dongbom_shin@wisenet.co.kr
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Choi Chung-moon: cily@star.elim.co.kr
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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

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

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

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


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