NAPSNet Daily Report 30 April, 1998

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 30 April, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, April 30, 1998,


I. United States

I. United States


1. ROK-DPRK Talks

Reuters (Bill Tarrant, “N.KOREAN LEADER MAKES PEACE OVERTURE IN LETTER,” Seoul, 04/29/98) and the Associated Press (“N KOREA LEADER URGES DIALOGUE WITH SOUTH, WITH CONDITIONS,” Seoul, 04/29/98) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday, called for improving ties with the ROK. Kim told a political meeting Tuesday, “We must improve the relations between the North and the South in order to achieve the great unity of our nation.” He added, “All the Koreans in the North, South and abroad must visit one another, hold contacts, promote dialogue and strengthen solidarity.” He also stated, “Bilateral and multilateral dialogues and negotiations of various forms must be promoted.” However, he insisted that the ROK first abolish its national security laws and disband its intelligence agency. ROK officials said that Kim’s statement was significant in its timing, coming after ROK President Kim Dae-jung openly expressed willingness to improve ties with the DPRK. Kim Kwang-in, an analyst at semiofficial Naewoe Press, stated, “The North is just repeating what it has been saying. But we can find significance in its timing.” Shinya Kato, an analyst in Tokyo with Radiopress, stated, “It’s highly unusual for a North Korean leader to make these kind of statements on unification. This letter is the most significant political statement Kim has made on the subject since he took the reigns in North Korea about four years ago.” Meanwhile, ROK President Kim Dae-jung said Wednesday he was willing to have a summit with Kim Jong-pil. He stated, “I know as much about Kim Jong-il as anyone else does.” He added, “I’m sure a summit will be discussed during North-South talks. If a summit is realized, I’ll have the opportunity to judge myself what sort of person Kim Jong-il is.”


2. Search for Remains of US MIAs

The Office of the US Assistant Secretary Of Defense for Public Affairs issued a press release on Wednesday (“AMERICAN TEAM TO RECOVER REMAINS IN NORTH KOREA,” Washington, USIA Text, 04/29/98) which said that a 10-man Department of Defense team has arrived in the DPRK to begin the first of five scheduled operations for 1998 to recover the remains of servicemen unaccounted-for from the Korean War. The team is operating in an area about 60 miles north of Pyongyang in Kujiang County, at the site of a November 1950 battle between US and PRC forces. Two members of the team will remain in Pyongyang to maintain communications linkage between the site and the US. The operations include archival reviews of DPRK military documents, including a review in the Fatherland Liberation Museum scheduled for next month. The last of the five operations this year will conclude in October, and US personnel will conduct recovery operations in the DPRK almost continuously for the next seven months.


3. DPRK Famine

The Washington Post carried an opinion article from Per Pinstrup-Anderson, Director General, and Marc Cohen, Special Assistant to the Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (“NORTH KOREA’S FOOD NEEDS,” Washington, 04/29/98, A20) which argued that the ROK’s decision to link fertilizer aid to the DPRK with the problem of divided Korean families “makes exceedingly poor policy sense, from either a humanitarian or a food-security point of view.” The authors argued, “Delaying vital agricultural assistance will only compound the family-unification tragedy by sentencing Korean children to death by starvation.” They also stated, “Long-run food security in North Korea depends on new policies that offer the country’s farm families incentives to grow food.” They concluded, “North Korea needs access to policy advice, farm inputs and agricultural technology from aid donors to overcome chronic food shortages. Finding a way to end more than five decades of family division is no less urgent, but linking the two issues is a bad idea that helps no one.”


3. DPRK-Japanese Relations

Dow Jones Newswires (“HASHIMOTO PRESSES N. KOREA ON ALLEGED KIDNAPPINGS – KYODO,” 04/30/98) reported that Japan’s Kyodo news service said that Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto on Thursday called on the DPRK to account for missing Japanese citizens allegedly kidnapped by DPRK agents in the 1970s and 1980s. He made the plea in response to a question from Shingo Nishimura, a lower house member of the opposition Liberal Party, during a plenary session of the House of Representatives. Government sources said that Hashimoto’s remarks represent an unusual appeal to DPRK leader Kim Jong-il and that the Japanese government is closely watching how the DPRK would respond.


4. ROK-Japan Fisheries Talks

Dow Jones Newswires (“JAPAN, S. KOREA END FISHERIES TALK WITHOUT ACCORD – KYODO,” Tokyo, 04/30/98) reported that Japan’s Kyodo news service cited Japanese government officials as saying that Japan and the ROK ended two days of talks Thursday without tangible progress toward achieving a proposed new fisheries pact. However, the officials said that the two countries agreed to conclude the pact soon in light of ROK President Kim Dae-jung’s visit to Japan scheduled for October.


5. Alleged Korean War Massacre

The Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, “KOREAN WAR SURVIVORS’ CLAIM NIXED,” Seoul, 04/30/98) reported that the ROK Compensation Committee rejected a demand for compensation today by ROK citizens who claim that US warplanes bombed and strafed hundreds of unarmed civilians in and around their villages near Yongdong in the last week of June 1950, killing about 100. They also claim that US soldiers later herded the survivors into two railroad underpasses and shot and killed about 300. The committee ruled that a five-year statute of limitations on such claims had expired long ago, but did not try to determine whether the massacre had actually taken place. Jim Coles, spokesman for the US military command in Seoul, refused comment on the ruling. Chung Eun-yong, a representative of the villagers, stated, “We cannot accept the committee’s ruling. We will continue to fight to get compensation and an apology from the American government.” He accused the ROK government of trying to cover up the alleged massacre to avoid embarrassing the US.


6. US-Japan Military Relationship

The New York Times (Sheryl WuDunn, “JAPANESE MOVE TO BROADEN MILITARY LINKS TO THE U.S.,” Tokyo, 04/29/98) reported that the Japanese Government submitted legislation to the Diet on Tuesday to broaden military ties with the US and allow Japan to offer logistical support to US forces in the event of a crisis. Japanese Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi stated, “It is indispensable for Japan and the United States to coordinate and develop active diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region for the peace and stability in the region.” Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Obuchi signed a related agreement that underscores the expanded support from Japan. Masashi Nishihara, professor of international relations at National Defense Academy, said of the legislation submitted Tuesday, “It does raise new questions about the role Japan should play in the region.” He added that the more immediate issue is exactly what Japan’s military relationship with the US should be. He argued, “Sometimes Japan should be able to say no. And sometimes it might like to say how American forces should be operated here, but today it just tends to blindly follow the U.S.” Akio Watanabe, professor of international relations at Aoyama Gakuin University, stated, “The main purpose is not fighting a war but preventing a war. If we’re very careless, we may unnecessarily provoke Beijing.” Kanezo Muraoka, the Japanese chief Cabinet Secretary, said that a decision on the area covered by the legislation would be deferred until an emergency arises.

The US Department of Defense (“DEFENSE DEPT. RELEASE ON U.S.-JAPAN LOGISTICS AGREEMENT,” Washington, USIA Text, 04/28/98) announced that US Secretary of State Albright and Japanese Foreign Minister Obuchi on April 28 in Tokyo signed an amendment to the existing agreement governing reciprocal provision of logistics support, supplies, and services between the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the US armed forces (Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA)). The original version of the ACSA, signed in April 1996, established terms and conditions for exchange of logistics support for bilateral training and exercises, UN peacekeeping operations, and humanitarian international relief operations. This amendment builds upon the existing ACSA to include reciprocal provision of logistics support during situations in areas surrounding Japan that have “an important influence” on Japan’s peace and security. The statement said that the ACSA “provides a framework for exchange of supplies and services but does not require provision of such support, or authorize new military roles or missions for U.S. or Japanese forces.” The agreement expressly prohibits the provision of weapons systems or ammunition.


7. Albright’s Japan Visit

Reuters (Carol Giacomo, “ALBRIGHT SEEKS BALANCE IN U.S.-JAPAN TIES,” Tokyo, 04/28/98) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, at a press conference following her meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi, emphasized Japan’s role as a key US ally and stressed that improved US-PRC ties would not be a “zero-sum game” in which Japan loses. Regarding a recently announced Japanese economic stimulus package, Albright stated, “Generally, we see this as a bold and important step forward by the government.”


8. Albright’s PRC Visit

Reuters (Carol Giacomo, “ALBRIGHT EYES FORWARD-LOOKING SINO-US SUMMIT,” Beijing, 04/29/98) and the Associated Press (Barry Schweid, “ALBRIGHT SEEKS STRONGER CHINA TIES,” Beijing, 04/29/98) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Wednesday signed an agreement with PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan for a “hot line” to link the US and PRC. Speaking of the upcoming US-PRC summit in June, Albright stated, “We are looking towards the 21st century in terms of our relationship with China and that is the focus of the summit to try to look forward.” Tang expressed satisfaction that US-PRC ties have “maintained the momentum of continued improvement and growth” created at the last summit, although he highlighted some “uncertain factors.” Tang stated, “The issue we attach greatest importance to is the question of Taiwan, for this is the most important and the most sensitive core issue in the relations between China and the United States.” Meanwhile, an anonymous senior US official said that the PRC has halted delivery of medium-range missiles to other countries, but still exports dangerous technology.


9. PRC Military Purchases

The Associated Press (Laura Myers, “CHINA’S BUYING BILLIONS IN WEAPONS,” Washington, 04/29/98) reported that Harold Johnson of the US General Accounting Office told Congress Tuesday that military sales to the PRC are expected to increase as European nations consider lifting the embargo on arms sales imposed after the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Currently, Russia and Israel are the top suppliers of weapons to the PRC. An anonymous administration official said that Europe was watching closely “to see if there’s a chink or loophole” that might open in US policy to allow weapons sales.


10. PRC Missile Development

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “SPACE DEAL MAY ENHANCE CHINA’S MISSILE PROGRAM,” 04/29/98) reported that the Clinton administration has drawn up a space cooperation agreement with the PRC for the upcoming Beijing summit that permits the transfer of technology that also could enhance PRC strategic nuclear missiles. Administration officials said that the plan would set up “scientific cooperation” in the areas of earth observation, climate change, and the environment, and is aimed at enticing the PRC to halt missile cooperation with Iran and Pakistan. A copy of the draft agreement was given to PRC officials in Beijing last month during the visit by John Holum, director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and Assistant Secretary of State Robert Einhorn. The pact would be signed by representatives of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the State Science and Technology Commission of China (SSTCC). An unnamed Senate Republican aide said the SSTCC is the same organization that concluded a 10-year agreement with Iran in 1990 to share military technology. He stated, “Under this agreement, American space technology would pass automatically to the Iranian missile program.” A State Department spokesman said Tuesday that the proposal “is still under discussion” and that it is not clear that the pact will be concluded in time. The deal would include speeding up consideration of US exports to the PRC of goods controlled by the Missile Technology Control Regime. Henry Sokolski, director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, said that the proposed agreement appears to be an effort by the White House to coax the PRC into ending missile sales to rogue states. However, he warned, “What it is going to do is increase the number of folks with access to our space industry, and it could make it easier for them to get at military-related technology.”


11. Russian Ratification of START II

Dow Jones Newswires (“RUSSIAN COMMUNISTS CRITICIZE NEW GOVT, VOW TO BLOCK START II,” Moscow, 04/30/98) reported that Russian Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov on Thursday threatened to block ratification of the START II arms control agreement. Zyuganov stated, “It makes no sense to consider this treaty now when we have zero national security.”


12. Accidental Nuclear Launch Threat

Reuters (Leslie Gevirtz, “RISK OF ACCIDENTAL NUCLEAR ATTACK SAID RISING,” Boston, 04/30/98) and the New York Times (Tim Weiner, “RUSSIA’S DISARRAY BRINGS A NUCLEAR RISK TO THE U.S., STUDY SAYS,” Washington, 04/30/98) reported that, according to a study by the Physicians for Social Responsibility in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine, the steadily deteriorating condition of Russia’s nuclear command system increase the probability of a single Russian nuclear submarine launching its weapons against the US. The study’s co-author, Theodore Postol of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that the Russians “have had a lot of trouble with their submarine force historically.” Postol and the study’s lead author, Dr. Lachlan Forrow of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said authorities believe that a launch based on a false warning of a nuclear attack would be the most plausible scenario for an accidental attack, noting that several false alarms had already occurred in both the US and Russia. Forrow called on US President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin “to remove the nuclear weapons from high-alert status and remove from them the capacity to be rapidly launched.” He said that a much larger group of researchers from around the world will gather in Geneva, Switzerland, on Saturday to present the first 13 million signatures collected on Abolition 2000 petitions in connection with the 1998 UN Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty conference.

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Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Shin Dong-bom:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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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