IN TODAY’S REPORT:
2. DPRK Famine
3. US-ROK Military Exercise
4. Inter-Korean Aviation Talks
5. PRC Nuclear Sales
6. PRC-Taiwan Relations
7. US-Russia Computer Sale Conflict
8. Russian Nuclear Weapons Safety
2. DPRK-PRC Relations
3. Reunion of Divided Families
4. ROK Presidential Elections
Reuters (“KOREA WANTS TO GET PEACE TALKS BACK ON TRACK,” Washington, 10/28/97) reported that, according to US officials, the DPRK Foreign Minister, during a recent meeting in Pyongyang with US Representative Tony Hall (D-Ohio), signaled his country’s strong desire for resuming peace talks with the US, the PRC, and the ROK. This interest was confirmed to the US through diplomatic channels, “and there are now consultations among the four parties on how to move this forward,” an unnamed official said Monday. US officials also said that Mark Minton, the US State Department’s Korea desk officer, attended a conference October 20 and 21 at Stanford University at which he was able to have side conversations with Li Gun, the DPRK deputy UN ambassador. However, a US official denied that dates had been decided either for resuming the planning talks or for launching the actual peace negotiations.
State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, OCTOBER 27,” USIA Transcript, 10/28/97) would not confirm that US State Department official Mark Minton had met with DPRK deputy UN ambassador Li Gun. However, he added, “We are always hopeful that the North Koreans will be willing to get back to the discussions on a serious effort to get to the four-party peace talks. I suspect this is a subject that is going to have some prominence during the next couple of days, as one of the other parties, in addition to the United States, is China. We will be working with the Chinese Government to try to see what we can both do to promote an early activation of this proposal.”
Reuters (Justin Jin, “U.N.: FOR N.KOREANS, WORST IS STILL TO COME,” Beijing, 10/28/97) reported that Christian Lemaire, resident representative of the UN Development Program (UNDP) in the DPRK, said Tuesday that the worst of the DPRK food crisis “has not even started.” Food shortages are expected to hit the nation next March when domestically produced rice and maize run out, he warned. “For the moment the situation is a little better because it is harvest time,” he said, but cautioned, “There is still a major danger of widespread famine.” He said that disasters have destroyed some 70 percent of this year’s maize crop, one of the country’s two major staples. The DPRK faces a shortfall of up to three million tons of food in the year following the latest harvest, Lemaire stated. He added that urban residents, who constitute some 62 percent of the country’s total population, will be worst affected in the coming year because they can not grow their own food. However, he dismissed newspaper reports that people in the countryside had resorted to cannibalism, saying DPRK citizens “certainly do not eat human flesh.” The UNDP is rehabilitating farmland destroyed by floods, repairing damaged irrigation systems and helping to diversify crops, Lemaire said, adding, “We need to do something that is sustainable.”
United Press International (“U.S. FORCES START S.KOREA WAR EXERCISES,” Seoul, 10/28/97) reported that thousands of US forces on Monday began 10 days of combat and defense training in tandem with more than half a million ROK enlisted troops and reserves. Jim Coles, spokesman for the United Nations Command in the ROK, said that thousands of US personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines will come from Japan, Guam, Hawaii and the US West Coast to join about 33,000 US troops currently stationed in the ROK. Coles said that the Foal Eagle exercises with ROK troops will focus on “rear area defense, reinforcement, reserve mobilization and civil defense.”
The Associated Press (“KOREAS TO OK INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS,” Seoul, 10/28/97) reported that the ROK Transportation Ministry said Tuesday that the ROK and the DPRK have signed an agreement to open the sky over the DPRK to commercial aviation next February. Under the agreement, the ROK will cooperate with the DPRK on air traffic communications and other issues related to the safe passage of commercial flights over DPRK territory and across their joint border. The agreement was negotiated by the two Koreas under the mediation of the International Civil Aviation Organization and signed Monday by the ROK. The DPRK had signed it earlier.
The New York Times carried an opinion article (A.M. Rosenthal, “CLINTON’S NUCLEAR DECEPTION,” 10/28/97) which argued that “President Clinton is deceiving the American public about a critical danger to world security: China’s international sales of the materiel and technology of nuclear warfare.” The article stated that “the US knew that despite Beijing’s denials and pledges, for more than a decade China has made important nuclear sales to countries intent on achieving capability to make nuclear bombs. ” Citing CIA reports of PRC nuclear sales, the article stated that Clinton’s remarks about the PRC development of export controls “is cynical acceptance of Beijing’s cynical pretense that any illicit nuclear exporting was the fault of sleepy customs officials.”
The AP-Dow Jones News Service (“CHINA FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYS OPPOSED TO NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION,” Beijing, 10/28/97) reported that the PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Tang Guoqiang said Tuesday that the PRC has “never engaged in the sale of nuclear weapons or the relevant technologies.” He added, “We never advocate, encourage or engage in the proliferation of nuclear weapons nor do we assist other countries to develop nuclear weapons.” However, Tang said, “The prevention of nuclear proliferation should not affect international cooperation on peaceful use of nuclear energy. The American side is well aware of the Chinese position on that.” Meanwhile, Jesse Helms, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote in a letter to US President Bill Clinton on Monday, “Implementation of [the US-PRC nuclear] agreement, now or in the immediate future, would be premature at a time when China continues its destabilizing transfers of nuclear, missile, chemical and biological weapons technology, and advanced conventional weapons.”
The Associated Press (Laura Myers, “TAIWAN EYES ONE CHINA ON ITS TERMS,” Washington, 10/27/97) reported that Stephen Chen, the new Taiwan representative to the US, predicts a unified China on the nationalist government’s terms. “Communism is waning, or at least dying. … Nobody in the world can still say that communism is the future wave,” Chen said. He added that his government views PRC President Jiang Zemin’s visit to the US “with concern, but not worry,” because of consistent US support for Taiwan’s defense. Chen predicted that reunification might come about in 20-30 years. He argued that the PRC’s US$528 per capita income must first increase enough “to solve the problem of the empty stomach,” and that “you have to wait until the old generation [of PRC leaders] passes away.” However, Jonathan Pollack, a senior Asia Pacific expert at Rand Corporation, said Monday that he does not see reunification as likely. “Maybe there’s some kind of face-saving formula that can accommodate the interests of both sides, but I’m not putting any credence in what either side says right now. It’s an elaborate game,” Pollack stated.
The Los Angeles Times (Tom Plate, “CALIFORNIA PROSPECT,” Taipei, 10/28/97) quoted Jason Hu, the new Taiwan Foreign Minister, as saying, “Not that we don’t trust the U.S., but people become paranoid because giants like the U.S. and China never try to understand us. How can we know for sure that we will even be heard by them?” Hu said that he had “very mixed feelings” about the US-PRC summit. “On the one hand it could bring [the PRC] into society and help it behave like the rest of us. On the other hand, you should never misunderstand Beijing’s motivation or underestimate its persistence. They want everything their way, and they will seek every opportunity to undercut our relationship with the U.S.” He warned, “It’s just possible that this summit could be the start of the process of U.S. realignment away from Taiwan and towards Beijing.” He added, “We don’t have the right to ask the U.S. to protect us. But we do have the right to ask the U.S. not to help the Chinese against us.” Hu maintained that Taiwan is “not pushing the independence envelope.” He stated, however, that “If the U.S. grand design is working, then after the summit the relationship between Beijing and Taiwan should be better. So let’s see if those in Beijing can turn towards us with more reason, with more moderation, and with a genuine desire to understand us.”
The Associated Press (“IBM SAYS COOPERATING IN US PROBE OF COMPUTER SALE TO RUSSIA,” Washington, 10/28/97) reported that IBM spokesman Fred McNeese said Monday that the company is trying to retrieve advanced computers that the US State Department says were sold to Russia without US government permission. “IBM has earned an excellent reputation for its efforts to comply with US export controls and intends to maintain that hard-earned reputation,” McNeese said.
State Department Spokesman James Rubin (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, OCTOBER 27,” USIA Transcript, 10/28/97) said that the US is undertaking an investigation of the transfer of computer technology to Russia. Rubin said that the US did not approve the requests for sales of high performance IBM computers to Russia “because of the risk of diversion to nuclear weapons programs at these facilities, and because Minister Mikhailov, the relevant minister in Russia, stated that the purpose of the computers included work on the safety and reliability of Russian nuclear weapons. Assisting Russia to maintain the reliability of its nuclear weapons is contrary to US policy.” He added that, in late September, Russian officials informally broached the idea of having the computers transferred to other Russian facilities with US monitoring. “We view this idea with interest and hope the Russian Government makes a formal proposal that we can evaluate, including details on what the alternative facilities might be and how the end use would be different,” Rubin said.
Reuters (“RUSSIAN NUCLEAR TEAMS COMING TO U.S.,” Vnukovo, Russia, 10/28/97) reported that General Eugene Habiger, commander in chief of the US Strategic Command, said Tuesday that he and Colonel-General Vladimir Yakovlev, head of Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces, have agreed to send Russian nuclear missile teams to “shadow” their opposite numbers in the US as a way to study security. “He (Yakovlev) is going to reciprocate, and we will send comparable people to Russia,” Habiger added. Sources familiar with his talks said the Russians had also agreed in principle to send security experts “to view first hand in detail our security procedures” and to return the gesture. He also said that he had found striking similarities between the problems facing Russia’s nuclear forces and the post-Cold War US experience. Following a week in Russia touring nuclear missile bases and meeting senior officers, Habiger stated, “One of the major objectives of me coming over here was to dispel the perceptions going around that [Russian] safety and security of nuclear weapons had been compromised or were at some risk.” Sources familiar with his intended report to Defense Secretary William Cohen said Habiger was confident that Russian nuclear facilities are in order.
The ROK on Monday afternoon test-fired its first domestically-developed short-range, surface-to-air missile, the “Chunma” (Pegasus). Developed by the Agency for Defense Development, twelve domestic defense companies and one foreign company, the missile has a ten kilometer range, and 8 missile launchers can be loaded on one armored vehicle. The Ministry for Defense will deploy the missile next year. The ROK in 1978 released the NHK-1, a modified version of the US surface-to-air missile Nike Hercules. In the 1980s the NHK-2 was completed, a still further modification. (Chosun Ilbo, “CHUNMA SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILE TEST FIRED,” 10/28/97)
An ROK Foreign Ministry official said Monday that the PRC recently dispatched a friendship delegation to the DPRK, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Chen Jian, who also heads the PRC delegation to the four-party peace talks. Chen flew into Pyongyang last Saturday, possibly to meet with DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan, who led the DPRK delegation at the preliminary meeting for the four-party talks. (Korea Times, “PRC’S CHEN JIAN LEADS FRIENDSHIP DELEGATION TO NK,” 10/28/97)
The ROK National Red Cross (KNRC) yesterday proposed setting up a reunion center in the truce village of Panmunjom or any other place on the Korean Peninsula, including the DPRK, for the 10 million-plus divided families. “Panmunjom would be the ideal site for reuniting the families, but we would not object to the center being established in the North,” said KNRC President Chung Won-shik. DPRK observers forecast that the DPRK will accept the proposal, opening the door to more active working-level talks between the two Koreas. The ROK Red Cross Society is expected to enter a third round of food aid talks with the DPRK sometime early next month. (Korea Herald, “KNRC WILLING TO ACCEPT REUNION CENTER IN NORTH,” 10/28/97)
Kim Dae-jung will be the joint candidate of the two major opposition parties, which agreed to form an alliance for the December presidential election, Kim’s aides said yesterday. They said the parties will also launch a joint campaign team for Kim, currently presidential candidate of the main opposition National Congress for New Politics (NCNP). Kim’s counterpart, Kim Jong-pil of the No. 2 opposition United Liberal Democrats (ULD), is likely to head the campaign team, which will be headquartered at a place other than the offices of the two parties. An NCNP official said negotiators from the two parties have almost completed their talks on how to field a joint presidential candidate and how to form a coalition government if they win the Dec. 18 presidential race. Some daily newspapers say that if they win the election, Kim Jong-pil will assume a strengthened premiership in the coalition government, whose cabinet posts will be evenly shared between the two parties. The reports also said that Kim Dae-jung would cut short his term to pave the way for a constitutional change in favor of a parliamentary system of government, a condition the ULD has attached to its alliance with the NCNP. ULD presidential candidate Kim Jong-pil, however, denied the report, saying, “Nothing has yet been clearly decided.” He also called on his party members to be restrained when talking about the single candidacy and power sharing. (Korea Herald, “KIM DAE-JUNG TO REPRESENT OPPOSITION ALLIANCE; KIM JONG-PIL TO TAKE STRENGTHENED PREMIERSHIP IN COALITION,” 10/28/97; Chosun Ilbo, “KIM DAE-JUNG KIM JONG-PIL ALLIANCE AGREED,” 10/28/97)
The last several months have seen a strong push in the US and the PRC toward an agreement that would allow US companies to develop nuclear power in the PRC. High-level negotiators are now working to prepare such an agreement for the summit meeting of US President Bill Clinton and PRC President Jiang Zemin in Washington on October 29. [See “US-PRC Nuclear Cooperation” in the October 27 Daily Report.] Critics of the potential agreement, however, argue that the PRC has not developed strong enough policies to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons-related materials and technology. To support coverage of this debate, the Center for War, Peace, and the News Media has prepared an Issue Brief reviewing the controversy and a special collection of background materials. These materials are posted on the “US-China Nuclear Relations” page of the Center’s web site: http://www.nyu.edu/globalbeat/USChina.html. The initial contents of the collection is listed below. For more information, contact the Center’s Boston office by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (617-497-7377), or fax (617-491-5344).
– Global Beat Issue Brief 22: October 1997 Atomic Diplomacy at the Clinton-Jiang Summit, by Jennifer Weeks
– Sino-U.S. Nuclear Cooperation at a Crossroads Arms Control Today, June-July 1997, by Jennifer Weeks
– Implementation of the U.S.-China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement Testimonies before the U.S. House International Relations Committee October 7, 1997 – Statement of Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman – Statement of Marvin S. Fertel, Nuclear Energy Institute – Statement of Jennifer Weeks, Harvard University – Statement of Paul Leventhal, Nuclear Control Institute
– U.S., China Should Cooperate on Nuclear Power: CSIS Task Force Cites Safety, Environmental, Trade, Nonproliferation Benefits Center for Strategic and International Studies Press Release, September 30, 1997
– U.S.-China Commercial Nuclear Commerce Nonproliferation and Trade Issues Summary of Center for Strategic and International Studies Report, September, 1997
– China’s Record Of Proliferation Misbehavior Nuclear Control Institute Issue Brief, Updated September 29, 1997
– US-China Nuclear Trade Now? Nuclear Control Institute Special Section
– Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century By Hans Blix, International Atomic Energy Agency, May 23, 1997
– U.S. Department of State Fact Sheet: U.S.-China Relations, June 20, 1997
– U.S. State Department’s China Home Page
– U.S. Commerce Department’s Page on Chinese Market Potential
– International Status of Nuclear Power Uranium Information Centre Nuclear Issues Briefing Paper #7, May 1997
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