NAPSNet Daily Report 30 March, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 30 March, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, March 30, 1999,


I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Russian Federation

IV. Announcements

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Missile Talks

Reuters (“U.S., N.KOREA BEGIN MISSILE TALKS,” Washington, 03/29/99) and Agence France-Presse (Lim Yun-suk, “U.S., N. KOREA MEET ON MISSILES DESPITE DEPLOYMENT REPORTS,” Seoul, 03/30/99) reported that State Department spokesman James Rubin said Monday that the US and the DPRK began talks in Pyongyang about the DPRK’s missile program. Rubin stated, “We continue to have serious concerns about North Korea’s development, testing and export of missiles and missile technology. We will use the talks to press these concerns and to seek tight constraints on North Korea’s missile activities.” An anonymous ROK government official stated, “It is unlikely there will be any progress. These talks are much more difficult than the discussions over North Korea’s suspected nuclear site.” He added that the DPRK’s demands for compensation for halting its missile development “are not expected to change.” An unnamed ROK Foreign Ministry official stated, “Since the United States has said it is willing to ease economic sanctions, this offer will likely again be proposed at the missile talks.” However, he ruled out the possibility that the US would offer to pay cash. ROK officials said that the US and the DPRK also expect to discuss details of US inspections of an underground construction site. US delegation chief Robert Einhorn was expected to return to Seoul late Tuesday to brief ROK officials on the talks. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for March 30.]

2. Japanese Naval Engagement

The Associated Press (Chisaki Watanabe, “JAPAN: SPY SHIPS WERE NORTH KOREAN,” Tokyo, 03/30/99) reported that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said Tuesday that the government will lodge a formal protest with the DPRK over the incursion of a pair of ships into Japanese territorial waters last week. Nonaka stated, “The government has determined that the vessels were North Korean spy ships.” Akitaka Saiki, a spokesman for Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, stated, “We are seeking a response through different channels, but the reaction from North Korea has been far from sincere, far from satisfactory.” Saiki said that the government had no intention of letting the incident affect the current debate over US-Japan defense guidelines, but he added that “this incident certainly elevated the awareness for national security among Japanese people.”

3. DPRK Tourism

Dow Jones Newswires (“N. KOREA TO OPEN 3 TOURIST SITES TO FOREIGNERS – KYODO,” Tokyo, 03/30/99) reported that Kyodo News said Tuesday in a dispatch from Beijing that the DPRK has decided to open up three sites to foreign tourists this year. Japan’s Chugai Travel Co., a travel agency affiliated with the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryun) said that the three areas are Mt. Chilbo in North Hamgyong Province, Mt. Kuwol in South Hwanghae Province, and Ryongmun Taegul, a limestone cave in North Pyongan Province. The article said that tourism experts from the PRC, Taiwan, Switzerland, and Germany have already inspected the sites. Unnamed sources said that the DPRK State General Bureau of Tourism is opening Mt. Chilbo to develop ties with companies other than Hyundai, with particular interest in attracting tourists from the inner PRC.

4. Indian Nuclear Export Controls

The Associated Press (“U.S., INDIA DISCUSS NUCLEAR KNOW-HOW CONTROL REGIMES,” New Delhi, 03/30/99) reported that India and the US on Tuesday ended a two-day discussion on steps to control export of nuclear technology by India. An Indian foreign ministry statement said, “The talks were useful and positive and hold the prospect of continued cooperation in this area.” The Press Trust of India news agency said that India was unhappy with the continuation of US restrictions on export of dual technology to India.

5. US Theater Missile Defense

The New York Times (Elizabeth Becker, “SYSTEM BUILT TO WARD OFF MISSILE ATTACK FAILS A TEST,” Washington, 03/30/99) reported that analysts believe that the failure of the latest test of the Theater High Altitude Anti-Missile Defense System may lessen tensions with the PRC over the planned US theater missile defense system. Gerrit Gong of the Center for Strategic and International Studies stated, “There is no question about the political sensitivity of China. Analysts in Beijing and elsewhere who follow this should be somewhat relieved that this is a very complicated set of issues and technologies being developed that have to be worked out over time.” John Pike, a defense analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, stated, “I think they’ll eventually hit something, but the odds are pretty slim that they are going to be able to consistently and reliably hit every missile and that’s what is required when you’re defending against a nuclear armed missile.” He added, “Part of what’s going on here is simply bad luck. But with six consecutive failures another problem has to be that there is no margin for error so that if even the smallest thing goes wrong it fails.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. Alleged Vandalism in DPRK

Korea Times (“KIM IL-SUNG STATUES IN NK VANDALIZED: REPORTS,” Seoul, 03/30/99) reported that rumors are spreading that statues of the late DPRK leader Kim Il-sung were recently vandalized in the DPRK. The rumors have been attracting the interest of the intelligence agencies of the ROK and the US, as the reported willful damaging of these monuments is interpreted as a direct challenge to DPRK leader Kim Jong-il and his government. According to testimony given by DPRK defectors to the National Intelligence Service (NIS), stories of the vandalism of the late leader’s image began to circulate throughout the DPRK in the wake of the election last year of representatives to the Supreme People’s Assembly. “The defectors testified that the rumors of the destruction of statues of Kim first broke out in Hyesan City, Yanggang province, around late August last year,” said an NIS official. The rumors immediately spread to nearby Chongjin City, prompting the DPRK government to tighten security around statues in the city and mobilize covert agents, he said. “Rumors appear to have been exaggerated to some extent but it appears likely that some statues have been damaged by North Korean residents,” said another NIS official.

2. Defection of DPRK Diplomat

Korea Herald (“SEOUL CONFIRMS NK ENVOY’S SON WILL NOT RETURN TO PYONGYANG,” Seoul, 03/31/99) reported that contrary to earlier reports, the son of a DPRK diplomat in Thailand seeking asylum would not go back to the DPRK, according to ROK officials. “What we can say for sure at this stage is that the North Korean diplomat and his wife would not return home,” a ranking ROK official said on condition of anonymity. “Neither would the diplomat’s son.” At a news conference in Bangkok last Tuesday, Hong Won-myong, 20, who had been kept apart from his asylum-seeking parents for about two weeks, said he would either persuade his father and mother to return to the DPRK or do so by himself. ROK officials had long suspected that the younger Hong might have been brainwashed or forced to speak against his will during his long detention under DPRK officials’ supervision. After the news conference, he joined his parents. Government sources acknowledged that it is still unknown where the DPRK family would finally head for asylum, but they added it appears to be certain that they will be “in the same boat” wherever they go.

3. ROK Fertilizer Aid to DPRK

Korea Herald (“KNRC SENDS 5,000 TONS OF FERTILIZER TO NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 03/31/99) reported that the Korean National Red Cross (KNRC) sent 5,000 tons of fertilizer worth 1.6 billion won (about US$1.3 million) to the DPRK on Monday. An ROK vessel carrying the fertilizer, which left the port of Yosu in South Cholla Province, will arrive at Nampo on the DPRK’s western coast tomorrow, KNRC officials said. Three KNRC officials were aboard the ship to supervise the unloading of the fertilizer. They will return home on April 7. The DPRK is expected to distribute the fertilizer to collective farms across the DPRK in time for the rice-transplanting season, the KNRC officials said. The shipment is the first since the KNRC had promised March 18 to donate up to 100,000 tons of fertilizer to the DPRK. The (ROK) Korean Red Cross society, which is conducting a nationwide fund-raising campaign to finance the fertilizer aid, plans to complete the delivery in early June. Hoping that the fertilizer aid will lead the DPRK to government-level talks, the ROK government has joined the KNRC campaign and decided to pay for half of the 100,000 tons, worth some 36 billion won. It is the first time that the Kim Dae-jung government has participated in KNRC-sponsored aid to the DPRK, instead of donating through international relief agencies.

4. ROK Human Rights Act

Korea Times (“KIM SAYS HUMAN RIGHTS ACT ‘EPOCH-MAKING’ EVENT,” Seoul, 03/30/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on Monday described the Cabinet-approved Human Rights Act as an epoch-making event that will entitle the ROK to take its place among advanced countries in terms of its advocacy and protection of the basic rights of mankind. Following the passage of the human rights law in the Cabinet, Kim called upon the Justice Ministry to consult with the non-governmental human rights organizations so that the law can be passed through the National Assembly with the blessing of the people. Legislation of the Human Rights Act was one of President Kim’s key election campaign pledges. The act includes provisions on redressing human rights abuses. Kim said that the act would improve the image of the ROK as a nation that protects human rights, adding that it was formulated in accordance with recommendations from the UN and existing practices in industrialized countries. Kim argued that human rights has become the most important criterion for evaluating the extent of a nation’s development. Following passage of the act by the National Assembly, a National Human Rights Commission would be launched to monitor for human rights violations by judicial and law enforcement authorities, he said.

5. UN Command’s Position on DPRK

Korea Herald (“U.N. KEEPING EYE ON NORTH KOREA DESPITE DIPLOMATIC PROGRESS,” Seoul, 03/31/99) reported that US General John H. Tilelli, the commander-in-chief of the UN Command (UNC) in the ROK, said that the UNC will sustain its policy of vigilance against the DPRK, despite the ROK’s agreement to allow access to a suspected nuclear site and the commencement of talks on the cessation of its missile development. In a speech on the defense readiness of US and ROK forces, Tilelli told a group of retired ROK military officials at the Korean Veterans Association in Seoul that the nuclear inspections and missile talks are “positive” developments, and should be viewed as such. However, referring to the DPRK’s surprise launch of a Taepodong missile that flew over Japan August 31, Tilelli emphasized the continued need for a state of readiness against a possible attack. “I see the missile threat as a very viable threat against our forces in the event of a crisis,” the general said. Bolstering his arguments for continued vigilance, Tilelli cited the continued forward deployment of DPRK troops and equipment to areas that increase the DPRK’s ability to launch an attack. In response to this threat, the general urged that UN forces strengthen their “forward presence,” while placing a priority on deterrence.

6. ROK-US Extradition Pact

Korea Herald (“KOREA-US EXTRADITION PACT MAY HERALD POLITICAL STORM,” Seoul, 03/31/99) reported that with the US Senate expected to soon ratify the ROK-US extradition treaty, both ROK criminals and opposition politicians have something to be worried about. The most “famous” ROK fugitive hiding in the US is Lee Suk-hee, a former tax official who left the country seven months ago. He is charged with taking billions of won in campaign funds from giant business conglomerates to help finance opposition leader Lee Hoi-chang’s unsuccessful presidential campaign against Kim Dae-jung in 1997. The possible extradition of the former tax official is expected to provide state prosecutors with decisive evidence for punishing Representative Suh Sang-mok, who allegedly masterminded the so-called “tax wind” scandal. An unnamed political commentator said that this would disrupt the relatively cooperative relationship between rival parties.

III. Russian Federation

1. Japanese Naval Engagement

Segodnya (“JAPANESE NAVY FIRED ITS FIRST LIVE AMMO SHOTS,” Moscow, 3, 3/25/99) reported that two Japanese destroyers fired several warning shots at unidentified ships which intruded into Japanese territorial waters. A Japanese Navy spokesman said that the intruders were equipped with strange aerials and lacked any fishing equipment. Japanese authorities believe them to be DPRK spy ships. The Japanese Cabinet of Ministers considered the incident and demanded explanations from the DPRK. Japanese media noted also that it was the first case of Japanese Navy firing live ammo since World War II, although there was no intention to hit the targets.

Segodnya (“INTRUDERS LEFT JAPAN’S TERRITORIAL WATERS,” Moscow, 3, 3/26/99) reported that according to Hosei Norota, Chief of the National Defense Agency of Japan, the two ships that intruded into Japanese territorial waters a day before returned to a naval port in the DPRK. The intruders spent 24 hours in Japanese waters despite warning shots fired by Japanese destroyers. More serious consequences were avoided only thanks to the fact that the destroyers did not pursue the spy ships beyond the territorial waters of Japan. Possibly by chance, the incident occurred right at the time when Japanese Parliament started debates on Japan’s military cooperation with the US.

2. DPRK Missile Production

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“DPRK’S MISSILES FRIGHTEN ITS NEIGHBORS,” Moscow, 6, 3/27/99) quoted Korea Herald’s report that the DPRK presently possesses at least 10 missile launch pads, 3 of which are deployed around Pyongyang. Its productive capacities can produce annually about 100 missiles that are modernized versions of Soviet Scuds. According to ROK intelligence services, about 10,000 workers produce the missile engines at an underground enterprise in Kechon, 75 kilometers north of Pyongyang. Missile components are produced in Kangae, 200 kilometers northeast of Pyongyang, and missile fuel is produced in Pyongyang itself.

3. Russian Views of Korean Peninsula Situation

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“OUR CONCEPT IS ‘SECURITY THROUGH ECONOMY,” Moscow, 6, 3/26/99) published an article by Grigory Karasin, Deputy Foreign Minister of the RF, in which he said, “As experience shows, a solution of the existing problems, especially in as grave a case as the DPRK’s missile program, can be found only at the negotiation table…. The sunshine policy proposed by ROK President Kim Dae-Jung and consistently promoted by his Cabinet is of obvious interest…. Personally I am an adherent of such approach.” He added, “Russia can play a big role…. Why not think about inviting the DPRK and its representatives to discuss separate issues within the frameworks of the ASEAN Regional Security Forum and other forums?” Karasin argued, “Lately positive trends have been emerging in North Koreans’ attitudes…. The initialing of the Russia-DPRK Friendship, Good-Neighborhood and Cooperation on March 17 in Pyongyang also testifies to that…. The treaty does not contain anything that could be interpreted as being against third parties. On the contrary, it will be an important factor of stability.” Karasin argued, “The world community could make a more tangible contribution to the inter-Korean rapprochement process…. We thoroughly monitor the process of talks on Korea with the participation of the US, China, the DPRK and the ROK and wish them success. But we … believe that the interests of a positive development of the Korean Peninsula situation could possibly be served by an integration of its problems into a wider context of regional security to which a different, wider range of participants and a complex agenda would be adequate.” He concluded, “At the present stage emphasis could be made on issues ‘less conflict-fraught’ in terms of ‘comprehensive security’: subregional trade and economic cooperation, rational use of natural resources, prevention of catastrophes and fighting the consequences of natural disasters with a follow-up on the problems of security in Northeast Asia, including the Korean situation.”

4. RF-ROK Forum

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“FIRST RUSSIAN-KOREAN FORUM,” Moscow, 1, 3/23/99) reported that Yury Maslyukov, First Deputy Premier of the RF, and some other high-ranking RF officials and representatives took part in the first-day session of the First Russian-Korean Forum held on March 22-23 at the Diplomatic Academy of the RF Foreign Ministry. Foreign Ministers of the RF and the ROK in 1997 agreed to hold the event annually. On the first day foreign and domestic policies, Northeast Asian security, and bilateral economic and scientific cooperation issues were discussed, while the second day was devoted to bilateral cooperation in mass media, culture, and tourism.

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“OUR CONCEPT IS ‘SECURITY THROUGH ECONOMY,” Moscow, 6, 3/26/99) published an article by Grigory Karasin, Deputy Foreign Minister of the RF. Grigory Karasin pointed out that “a multipolar world structure model is very much justified in a region as complicated as Northeast Asia (NEA)…. In our view, realization of the concept of ‘security through economy’ gives a chance to provide for an economic consolidation of the region and to gradually transform military and political realities in the direction of creation of zones of trust and transparency here, and that in its turn will become a trampoline for long-term joint economic growth.” He added, however, “Sadly, the situation in Northeast Asia is still complicated and contradictory…. The intentions of the US and Japan to expand the sphere of competence of their alliance and the plans to create a Theater Missile Defense in Northeast Asia cannot but raise questions.” Concerning the ROK, Karasin said, “the officials in Seoul hold a prudent position. In South Korean political circles, they believe that an engagement of the Republic of Korea in such programs could have military-political and economic consequences undesirable to the country.”

Izvestia’s Yury Savenkov (“KIM DEOG-RYONG: RELATIONS BETWEEN RUSSIA AND SOUTH KOREA SHOULD DEVELOP MORE ENERGETICALLY,” Moscow, 4, 3/27/99) reported on an interview in Moscow with Kim Deog-Ryong, Vice President of the ROK’s Grand National Party. Kim highly evaluated the First Russian-Korean Forum, where its high-ranking participants could talk in an informal manner. Concerning the four-partite negotiations on Korea, he pointed out that those “two-plus-two” talks were held by the countries directly engaged in 1950-1953 hostilities and presently seeking ways to an ROK-DPRK peace treaty. A large-scale settlement on the Korean Peninsula is another matter and would be impossible without a participation of the RF and Japan, he said. After President Kim Dae-Jung’s retirement in 2002, Kim Deog-Ryong is expected to be one of the main contenders for the ROK presidency.

5. RF-ROK Financial Relations

Segodnya (“RUSSIA ASKS KOREA TO RESTRUCTURE THE DEBTS,” Moscow, 4, 3/30/99) reported that the RF made a proposal to the ROK to restructure its debt amounting to US$1.7 billion by prolonging the payments for the 25-year period and partially writing the debt off. The initial term was 8 years. The RF proposed to build submarines for the ROK Navy to partially pay the debt.

6. RF Nuclear Force Structure

Izvestia’s Yury Golotyuk (“MOSCOW IS TIGHTENING ITS NUCLEAR FIST,” Moscow, 3, 3/23/99) reported that RF Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, during his visit to India, said that “in the nearest future” RF President Boris Yeltsin would receive a report on ways of enhancing the efficiency of the RF Strategic Nuclear Forces. This reportedly will include plans to amalgamate all three elements of the RF nuclear triad into a single Joint Chief Command of the Strategic Deterrence Forces. Izvestia’s author pointed out that “these days Moscow and Washington has been showing an enviable unanimity – both parties in rapid leaps move toward the threshold behind which a new Cold war and another arms race spiral coil will become a sad inevitable reality.” The article cited NATO expansion and US development of missile defense as reasons for this. With the US defense budget increasing, the RF State Duma approved a draft law on financing the RF Strategic Nuclear Forces until 2010. Simultaneously with changes in NATO nuclear doctrine, Yeltsin signed the “Main Positions of RF Policy in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence,” which permits nuclear weapon use “as a forced extreme measure to suppress critical threats to the national security of Russia and its allies.” Roman Popkovich, Chairman, Committee on Defense, RF State Duma, said: “A position must be included into Russia’s new military doctrine that if a threat of the use of conventional forces of some state against the RF significantly exceeds the ability to defend it by conventional forces, then it has the right to deliver a preventive nuclear strike, not just a counter strike or a counter meeting strike.” Also, Izvestia’s author added, the RF is ready to counter US anti-missile defense system deployment by creation of new aircraft-based cruise missiles and a possibility of equipping its newest Topol-M ICBMs with MIRV warheads.

7. Asian Repercussions of Serbian War

Nezavisimaia gazeta’s Dmitry Gornostayev (“MORE THAN HALF OF MANKIND CONDEMNED THE AGGRESSION,” Moscow, 1, 3/30/99) interviewed Sergey Lavrov, RF Permanent Representative at the UN, on the UN Security Council vote on the situation in Serbia. Lavrov said that although the draft resolution proposed by the RF to condemn “NATO aggression against Yugoslavia” was defeated by a 12-3 vote, the PRC and Namibia as Security Council members sided with the RF, and India and Belarus also firmly supported it. He quoted the Indian Permanent Representative as noting after the vote that India, the RF, and the PRC jointly represented more than half of the world’s population. Lavrov commented, “Therefore one should be more careful when talking about the world community’s support to NATO. Of course, it is a very substantial factor that such three key countries united not on some artificial basis, but on the basis of principled approach in defense of international law. Remember, there was a talk about a ‘Moscow-Delhi-Beijing’ triangle.”

Nezavisimaia gazeta (“THEY WAGE THE WAR. THEY ARE AGAINST WAR,” Moscow, 8, 3/30/99) published reference materials about major world leaders and their role concerning the war in Serbia. In particular, Jiang Zemin was reported as having been against NATO enlargement and RF-NATO rapprochement since RF Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev’s days. The PRC supported the RF-proposed draft resolution at the UN Security Council. The PRC Foreign Ministry made a statement emphasizing that “China is against the use of force and the threat of the use of force in international affairs” and that the PRC is “in particular” against arbitrary actions undertaken beyond the UN. Indian Premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee condemned the NATO action in Serbia and remarked that in the present situation it could be seen possible to return to discussion on the idea voiced by RF Premier Yevgeny Primakov on a visit to India last December that the emergence of an India-RF-PRC tripartite union could substantially change the world situation in favor of peace and justice.

8. RF-India Arms Trade

Segodnya (“INDIA WILL GET RUSSIAN WEAPONS,” Moscow, 2, 3/29/99) reported that RF Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev on a visit to India discussed bilateral military and military-technical cooperation issues with top Indian military officials on Monday. After talks with Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes, he stated, “the talks were a success.” In the near future the Indian Army will get “Russian T-90 tank, the most modern in the world.” Earlier sources in the RF defense establishment reported that India considered buying RF-made S-300PMU air defense missile systems, T-90S tanks, Smerch suface-to-surface salvo-fire missile systems and Mi-35 combat helicopters.

IV. Announcements

1. DPRK Forum

The Institute for Strategic Reconciliation (ISR) will sponsor the Washington North Korea Roundtable 4 on Thursday, April 15, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, at the US Capitol, 116 O’Neill Building, 300 New Jersey Ave, SE, Washington, DC. The topic will be “Measures Preventing the 21st Century Famine of North Korea and Strategies Empowering Reconciliation of the Two Koreas. Confirmed speakers include Len Rogers, Assistant Administrator, US Agency for International Development; Nick Eberstadt, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Mark Kirk, Counsel to the US House International Relations Committee; John Merrill, Foreign Affairs Analyst, US Department of State; M. Aslam Aziz, Minister Counselor of Development Affairs, European Union; Susan Thornton, Director of North Korea Affairs, US Department of State; Joseph Scalise, Director, World Food Program (WFP) Washington Office; Tom Shortley, North Korea Desk Officer, WFP; Deborah DeYoung, Assistant to Congressman Tony Hall; Chang Suk Yang, First Secretary, the Unification Ministry of the Republic of Korea; Victor Hsu, Director of Church World Service, National Council of Churches of Christ-USA; Syungman Rhee, former President of National Council of Churches of Christ-USA; Cynthia Choi, Executive Director, Join Together Society, NY; and Susan Soon-Keum Cox, Director of Public Policy, Holt International Children’s Services. The day-long conference registration fee including printed materials and a post-conference publication of key presentations is US$45 per ISR affiliate, or US$50 for all others, and must be paid in advance by mail. RSVPs are required. For more information, please call 301-570-3948; fax 301-570-0911; or e-mail.

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Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Wade L. Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Lee Dong-young:
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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