NAPSNet Daily Report 28 September, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 28 September, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, September 28, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-28-september-1999/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Announcements

I. United States

1. Light-Water Reactor Project

Reuters (“KEDO MEETS IN NKOREA TO CLEAR WAY FOR REACTORS,” Seoul, 09/28/99) reported that officials from the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) met with DPRK officials in Pyongyang on Tuesday to clear the way for construction of two light-water nuclear reactors. ROK Administrator for the Light Water Reactor Project Chang Sung-sup said that the negotiators were trying to clear up technical issues such as setting up communication lines and evacuation procedures. Chang stated, “It’s a difficult negotiation. There are a number of issues involved.” He added that if the talks in Pyongyang conclude successfully this week, the KEDO board would meet next week to review the construction schedule and the contract with the Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO). He stated, “They’re working on it. If everything is done we’re reasonably sure the contract could be signed by next month. The logical conclusion is that once the contract is signed then construction would begin immediately.”

2. DPRK Weapons Purchases

The Associated Press (“N. KOREA BUYS WEAPONS DESPITE FAMINE,” Seoul, 09/28/99) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said in a report Tuesday to the National Assembly that the DPRK has imported US$156 million worth of weapons since 1995. The report said that most of the weapons came from Kazakstan and other former Soviet republics and from the PRC. It added that the DPRK spent US$12 million this year to buy 40 Soviet-designed MiG-21 fighter planes and eight helicopters from Kazakstan and Russia. The DPRK spent US$51.8 million on foreign weapons last year, according to the report.

3. DPRK Weapons Sales

Reuters (“N.KOREA SELLS $800 MLN IN MILITARY HARDWARE-YONHAP,” Seoul, 09/28/99) reported that the ROK’s state-run Yonhap news agency on Tuesday quoted an ROK Defense Ministry report to the National Assembly as saying that the DPRK sold US$800 million worth of military hardware, including Scud-B and Scud-C missiles, to Middle East and Southeast Asian countries between 1991 and 1998. Yonhap said that the DPRK exported weapons worth US$50 million during the past three years, making up 7.1 percent of the country’s total exports. It added that the DPRK had reduced missile exports and increased shipments of anti-tank guns and mini-submarines since 1997, due to international pressure concerning the sale of missiles and economic sanctions. The DPRK also bought 6,000 diving suits from Japan in 1996, the kind that were found on the bodies of DPRK agents that have washed ashore on ROK coasts. The DPRK also sent a total of 442 military personnel overseas to regions such as Africa, Southwest Asia and the Middle East, possibly to earn foreign currency.

4. ROK-DPRK Exchanges

The Associated Press (Kyong-Hwa Seok, “RIVAL KOREAS MIX IN GOODWILL GAMES,” Seoul, 09/28/99) reported that the ROK and the DPRK held basketball matches in the Pyongyang on Tuesday. Hyundai’s men’s and women’s teams mixed their players with DPRK players in what were dubbed as “unification matches.” Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung watched Tuesday’s matches played before 11,000 spectators at a Pyongyang gym. While in the DPRK, Chung hopes to meet Kim Jong-il to brief him on plans to build a car assembly in an industrial park in the DPRK. Chung also plans to attend a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for a US$57 million gymnasium that Hyundai will build in Pyongyang.

5. PRC-Taiwan Relations

The San Jose Mercury News (Michael Dorgan, “AFTER HINT OF OPTIMISM, CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS MORE OF THE SAME,” Taipei, 09/28/99) reported that Taiwanese newspapers have alleged that the PRC is trying to exploit Taiwan’s earthquake for political gain. An editorial in Taiwan’s China Times said that PRC officials “coat a thick layer of political motives around a tiny bit of condolences and sympathy.” The Taipei Times on Sunday ran a lead editorial that compared the PRC’s conduct to “looting a house while it is on fire.” Taiwan Foreign Minister Jason Hu said that the PRC government’s “words and deeds violate international humanitarian principles.” James Chang, a spokesman for the Taiwan government’s Mainland Affairs Council, on Monday denied that politics was a factor in rejecting an offer of aid from the PRC, saying that Taiwan already had plenty of foreign rescue teams and relief supplies at the time. Chang added, “We welcome the condolences and the concern paid by the mainland authorities. But we think it was inappropriate (for them) to say they represent the Republic of China.”

6. PRC-US Relations

The Associated Press (“CHINA SAYS US BILL WILL POISON TIES,” Beijing, 09/28/99) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue appealed to US President Bill Clinton on Tuesday to veto parts of a defense budget. Zhang said that members of Congress had laced the defense bill with “many anti-China clauses” that sought to “interfere in China’s internal affairs and disrupt U.S.-China relations.” She said that the PRC “expresses strong indignation and firm opposition” to the clauses. She said that a “small number” of members of Congress who proposed the clauses had focused on sensitive issues such as Taiwan, weapons proliferation, and allegations of PRC espionage. She said that if enacted, these parts of the bill “can only do serious damage to the exchanges and cooperation between China and the United in various fields and poison bilateral relations.”

7. PRC Activity in Panama Canal

The Washington Times (Rowan Scarborough, “LOTT SEEKS HEARINGS ON PANAMA CANAL, CHINA,” 09/28/99, 1) reported that US Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Republican-Mississippi, has asked the Senate Armed Services Committee to conduct hearings on PRC companies’ activities around the Panama Canal. [Ed note: See “PRC Company in the Panama Canal” in the US Section of the Daily Report for August 12, 1999.] Lott stated, “It is the perception of some of my colleagues and I that the Chinese involvement in Panama may not be straightforward and could, in fact, be a threat to our national security.” A spokesman for Senate Armed Services Chairman John W. Warner, Republican-Virginia, said that a hearing on the Panama Canal would be held in early October. White House Deputy Press Secretary David J. Leavy stated, “Our team looked into this, analyzed it and made a judgment … that we are satisfied that our interests will be protected, both in terms of national security and commercial.” He added, “We see no capability, on the part of China, which is a heavy user of the canal, to disrupt its operation. So I would caution people not to get too alarmist over this issue.” Robert Eisenmann, economic adviser to Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso, stated, “This is simply internal U.S. politics.” [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Defense Department’s Early Bird news service for September 28.]

8. PRC Entry to World Trade Organization

The Associated Press (Martin Crutsinger, “US, CHINA BREAK TRADE TALKS,” Washington, 09/28/99) reported that US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky met with her counterpart, PRC Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng, for two hours Monday morning to discuss PRC entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Both sides had lower level officials go over specific details in various sectors in an afternoon session. However, a planned meeting on Tuesday was canceled because Shi had to return to Beijing earlier than expected. Barshefsky said Monday, “There will be another meeting. We just haven’t figured out the logistics of when.”

Reuters (Bill Savadove, “CHINA OFFERS GLIMMER OF HOPE FOR WTO DEAL,” Shanghai, 09/28/99) reported that PRC top trade negotiator Long Yongtu told CNN television on Tuesday that the PRC and the US were “very close” to a deal on PRC entrance to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Long stated, “It is basically a political decision. Both sides already know the negotiating positions of the other side and now we have to make some difficult … decisions and I think we are very close.”

9. Clinton Trip to South Asia

The Associated Press (Tom Raum, “CLINTON TO VISIT INDIA, PAKISTAN,” New York, 09/27/99) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh on Monday that US President Bill Clinton plans to visit India and Pakistan after the Indians elect and install a new government. Clinton also will stop in Bangladesh.

10. Russian Nuclear Arsenal

Reuters (“RUSSIAN GENERAL GIVES NUCLEAR ARSENAL EIGHT YEARS,” Moscow, 09/28/99) reported that Colonel-General Anatoly Sitnov, who is in charge of procurement for the Russian Defense Ministry, said on Tuesday that Russia had at the most eight years to replace its nuclear arsenal before it becomes obsolete. Sitnov stated, “The resources of Russia’s nuclear weapons are strictly limited and run out in 2007. By then, we will need a full replacement of ground and naval components of the strategic nuclear forces. The air component (strategic bombers) can last until 2015.” Sitnov said that Russia had to switch to new nuclear weapons by 2007 if it wanted to maintain its nuclear shield and meet the terms of the START-2 arms reduction pact.

11. US-Russian Nuclear Cooperation

The US Department of Energy issued a press release (“ENERGY SECRETARY TO VISIT CLOSED RUSSIAN CITIES, INSPECT PLUTONIUM DISPOSITION, MATERIAL SAFEGUARDS AND NAVAL STORAGE SITES,” Washington, 09/24/99) which said that US Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson would be in Russia September 28 to October 2 to review a number of joint US-Russian nuclear nonproliferation programs. The release stated, “While in Russia, Secretary Richardson will inspect U.S./Russian programs to secure nuclear weapons material, review a new Russian method for disposing of plutonium taken from dismantled nuclear weapons, dedicate an ‘open computing center’ that offers high-technology job opportunities for Russian nuclear scientists as they transition away from nuclear weapons work, and open the Ministry of Atomic Energy’s ‘Situation Crisis Center,’ which will allow U.S. and Russian officials to communicate by voice and video in emergency situations.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. US-DPRK Talks

The Korea Herald (“KARTMAN, KIM GYE-GWAN LIKELY TO MEET NEXT WEEK,” Seoul, 09/28/99) reported that ROK officials said on Monday that the US will likely hold another round of talks with the DPRK on improving bilateral relations next week. “The two sides are currently discussing the date and the place for the talks,” said an official at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The new round of talks is likely to take place between DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan and US special envoy on Korea Charles Kartman, the official said. At the expected talks, the two officials will likely discuss preparations to open higher-level talks between the two countries and further lifting US sanctions on the DPRK, the ministry official said. The DPRK is reportedly planning to dispatch First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju to the US in late October to discuss measures to normalize bilateral relations, including the long-delayed opening of liaison offices in both capitals.

2. DPRK-US Medical Exchange

Joongang Ilbo (Seo Jang-soo, “NK TO EXCHANGE MEDICAL DOCTORS WITH U.S.,” Seoul, 09/27/99) reported that the DPRK will likely support a medical exchange with the US. The Eugene Bell Foundation, a US group supporting medical services to the DPRK, announced on its Internet homepage on Monday that it has pushed for DPRK doctors to carry out research and studies in the US. The foundation said that five US doctors will visit the DPRK for two weeks this autumn, while it plans to invite several DPRK doctors next year in return. The DPRK Red Cross has reportedly received approval for the doctors’ visit to the US from the DPRK authorities and asked for participation in research studies connected with heart disease from the US. [Ed. note: See the “” Section below.]

3. ROK Policy toward DPRK

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, “‘SUNSHINE POLICY’ MAY ENCOURAGE PYONGYANG TO BYPASS SEOUL, EXPERTS SAY,” Seoul, 09/28/99) reported that, despite their official welcome of the rapid thaw in US-DPRK ties, there are concerns among some ROK unification officials and DPRK watchers that the DPRK may bypass the ROK in dealing with inter-Korean affairs. While ROK officials ask for more patience, many DPRK watchers doubt if such patience can bring about the desired results in the inter-Korean relationship. Some of them call on the ROK government to revise its reconciliatory policy toward the DPRK. “North Korea has made it clear that it would deal not with South Korea but with the United States to solve inter-Korean matters, while opening its door to economic assistance from any countries,” said Paik Jin-hyun, international relations professor at Seoul National University. “To cope with such a strategy, our government should also review the current sunshine policy.” Another analyst warned the ROK against letting US-DPRK relations become “too close” while seeking to build bilateral trust between the two Koreas. “Under any circumstances, even amid a quite friendly environment with the United States, North Korea would not abandon its anti-South Korean stance before firm trust is built between South and North,” said Kim Young-yoon, a research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification.

4. ROK Aid to DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, “NK ASKS SOUTH FOR REFORESTATION AID,” Seoul, 09/27/99) reported that the ROK Ministry of Unification announced on Monday that the DPRK had asked for assistance for reforestation at a private meeting of forestry experts held on September 22 in Beijing. The DPRK is known to have placed a request for pine seeds, fertilizer and spraying equipment. Four members of the private Forests for Peace organization attended the meeting and met with the same number of officials from the DPRK. The DPRK needs the aid to diversify its tree species and change the landscape, and the tree experts from the ROK proposed a model tree planting exercise with materials sent through Panmunjom.

5. DPRK Defectors in PRC

The Korea Times (“SEOUL TO PROVIDE HELPING HAND TO NK REFUGEES IN CHINA,” Seoul, 09/27/99) reported that the ROK government plans to aid DPRK citizens who crossed the DPRK-PRC borders in search of food. A government official said on Sunday that it is the government’s basic policy to devise ways of providing relief to starving refugees. He noted that the government will be careful that its assistance will not meddle with the PRC’s internal matters or sovereign rights. To notify the PRC of the fact that the ROK’s intention is sheerly humanitarian, the ROK government has contacted PRC authorities, he noted. PRC Ambassador to the ROK Wu Dawei reportedly said that foreign involvement in the handling of DPRK refugees in the PRC, is “neo-interventionism.” ROK officials however said that his remark was misquoted and taken out of context. Wu meant that as long as foreign support is made out of a humanitarian point of view, the PRC does not regard it as infringement of its sovereign rights, a close aide to ROK President Kim Dae-jung said. According to the official, the PRC, like the ROK, is very interested in helping the refugees for the sake of humanitarianism. ROK President Kim has already instructed the Foreign Affairs- Trade Ministry to consult with the PRC government on providing aid to DPRK refugees in the PRC.

6. DPRK-ROK Economic Cooperation

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “CHUNG STADIUM TO BE BUILT IN PYONGYANG,” Seoul, 09/27/99) reported that the new stadium to be constructed in the DPRK could be named after Chung Ju-yung, the DPRK-born honorary chairman of Hyundai Group. Chung said on Sunday, “North Korea has recently suggested naming the new stadium in Pyongyang in my honor. I’ll try to send the necessary personnel and equipment to North Korea for the stadium’s construction and hope they do not oppose this goodwill gesture.”

7. DPRK-ROK Cultural Exchange

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “HYUNDAI BASKETBALL TEAMS IN NK,” Seoul, 09/27/99) reported that an ROK basketball delegation on Sunday flew into Pyongyang to play in a basketball tournament with DPRK citizens. The 80-strong Hyundai delegation, including 25 basketball players from ROK professional teams like Hyundai and Kia, arrived in Pyongyang through Beijing. Hyundai’s founder Chung Ju-yung and other Hyundai executives are also scheduled to arrive in the DPRK capital today via the truce village of Panmunjom for a three-day visit to watch the inter-Korean matches and attend a ground-breaking ceremony for an indoor stadium in Pyongyang. During the trip, Chung wishes to meet DPRK leader Kim Jong-il amid news reports that Kim might show up at a Pyongyang stadium to watch one of the matches. Chung’s motive in meeting the DPRK leader is to seek his endorsement for Hyundai’s project in building a large-scale industrial complex in the DPRK’s western coast. The Hyundai team will play the first inter-Korean friendly basketball matches, dubbed the “unification basketball tournament,” against DPRK counterparts in Pyongyang on Monday and Tuesday.

8. DPRK Ivory Smuggling

The Korea Herald (“CITES TO RAISE ISSUE OF IVORY SMUGGLING BY N. KOREAN ENVOYS,” Seoul, 09/28/99) and Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-yeol, “NK IVORY SMUGGLING NOW A GLOBAL ISSUE,” Seoul, 09/27/99) reported that an ROK official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Monday that an international convention on wildlife protection recently decided to officially raise the issue of ivory smuggling by DPRK diplomats. The standing committee meeting of the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) decided to discuss the issue at its 42nd meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, the official said. The CITES secretariat recently sent a letter to the DPRK embassy in Switzerland to express concern over the issue, the official said. DPRK diplomats have been apprehended smuggling ivory in Paris, Moscow, Nairobi and Kenya over the past few years. In one instance, a person carrying the passport of a DPRK diplomat was caught at Nairobi airport on August 30 carrying an iron suitcase containing 689 kilograms of ivory.

III. Announcements

1. US-DPRK Medical Exchange

The Eugene Bell Foundation issued the following press release: “For the past month, a four-person medical delegation from the DPR of Korea Red Cross Hospital has been training in Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. This program, called the ‘People-to-People Project,’ is the first academic exchange between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). The delegation is headed by Dr. Pyong Guk Kim (age 69) , the Director of the Red Cross Hospital’s Emergency Medicine Department. Dr. Kim is known as North Korea’s ‘Founder of Emergency Medicine.’ The delegation includes Dr. Se Won Ri (age 57), one of North Korea’s most well known cardiologists. Dr. Ri is also a specialist in traditional East Asian medicine, called Koryo medicine in North Korea. Also included is Dr. Tu Yong Pak, (age 30) a cardiologist and perfusionist. The fourth member, Mr. Song Nam An (age 48) is from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee. Mr. An is acting as the delegation’s coordinator. The ‘People-to-People Project’ is sponsored by Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Emergency Medicine Department, Yonsei University’s Severance Hospital and the Eugene Bell Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation that specializes in humanitarian and medical projects in North Korea. Samaritan’s Purse has provided emergency medicine equipment in conjunction with this historic exchange.”

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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Kim Hee-sun: khs688@hotmail.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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Tokyo, Japan

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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

Leanne Paton: anjlcake@webtime.com.au
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