NAPSNet Daily Report 30 October, 1998

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"NAPSNet Daily Report 30 October, 1998", NAPSNet Daily Report, October 30, 1998, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-30-october-1998/

IN TODAY’S REPORT:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Japan

IV. People’s Republic of China

I. United States

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1. Hyundai Founder’s Trip to DPRK

The Associated Press (“HYUNDAI CHIEF’S TRIP HOME FROM NORTH KOREA TO BE DELAYED,” Seoul, 10/29/98) reported that ROK Unification Ministry spokesman Hwang Ha-su said that the scheduled return home Friday of Hyundai founder Chung Ju-yung from a visit to the DPRK will be delayed “one or two days.” Hwang said that the DRPK abruptly asked Chung to extend his stay. The DPRK gave no reason for requesting the change, but there was speculation that the DPRK request may be related to possible plans to allow Chung to meet Kim Jong-il.

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2. DPRK Missile Development

The Washington Post carried an opinion article by University of Maryland Professor Ken Conca (“FALSE ALARMIST,” 10/24/98, A23) which disputed arguments that DPRK missiles would soon be able to hit Alaska and Hawaii. He stated that the DPRK satellite launch did not necessarily give it intercontinental ballistic capability. The author argued, “In fact it takes far less than intercontinental capability to put a satellite into a low-earth orbit. Nor does a satellite-launch vehicle need the sophisticated guidance technology that a ballistic missile requires to be effective.” He added, “The Korean peninsula is unstable, but raising the false specter of a direct threat to American security does nothing to help us to craft an effective, balanced approach to regional peace and disarmament.”

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3. Japanese Emperor’s Visit to ROK

Reuters (“MAJORITY OF JAPANESE BACK EMPEROR’S VISIT TO KOREA,” Tokyo, 10/29/98) reported that a poll released on Friday by Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun said that 53 percent of Japanese support the idea of Emperor Akihito making a visit to the ROK. Only 13 percent opposed the emperor going to the ROK.

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4. US Defense Secretary’s Asian Trip

Reuters (Charles Aldinger, “U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY DEPARTS FOR ASIA ON FRIDAY,” San Francisco, 10/30/98) reported that US Defense Secretary William Cohen was scheduled to fly to Hawaii Friday before a week-long trip to Hong Kong, the ROK, and Japan. Cohen will attend annual joint defense meetings with government and military leaders in Seoul next week and later discuss potential joint cooperation on ballistic missile defense with top officials in Tokyo. In Honolulu on Friday, Cohen was due to meet Navy Admiral Joseph Prueher, commander of US forces in the Asia-Pacific, to discuss the DPRK’s August 31 rocket launch. Cohen will meet Tung Chee-hwa, the PRC Chief Executive in the special economic enclave of Hong Kong, on Monday before flying to Seoul for the annual US- ROK security consultative meeting with Defense Minister Cheon Yong-taek and military leaders. He will also hold talks in Seoul with President Kim Dae-jung and later in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and Defense Minister Fukushiro Nukaga before returning to Washington on November 6.

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5. PRC-Taiwan Talks

The Associated Press (Annie Huang, “TAIWAN SEEKS CHINA TALKS RESUMPTION,” Taipei, 10/29/98) reported that Sheu Ke-sheng, vice chairman of Taiwan’s government Mainland Affairs Council, said Thursday that Wednesday’s hijacking of an Air China Flight to Taiwan highlights an urgent need to restart PRC-Taiwan talks on safety concerns. Sheu stated, “We should resume the talks and sign an agreement as soon as possible.”

Reuters (“TAIWANESE FIND BEIJING TOUGHER THAN EXPECTED,” Washington, 10/29/98) reported that Su Chi, deputy secretary general to Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, told a seminar in Washington that the Taiwanese delegation to this month’s dialogue with the PRC found the PRC government more inflexible than they expected in its position on Taiwan’s status. Su said that the delegation thought the PRC might be moving away from its view that Taiwan is just a renegade province. The head of the PRC delegation, Wang Daohan, had once said that the phrase “one China” referred to the future Chinese state after reunification. Su added, “We had also heard academics talking about confederation, changing the national flag and changing the national name. But now they have ruled out all of those options. So we’ve come to the conclusion that the leadership has become less flexible on this point.” Another Taiwanese delegate, Shi Hwei-yow, secretary general of the Straits Exchange Federation, said that the delegation asked PRC Vice Premier Qian Qichen whether there were different versions of the “one China” concept, but Qian denied it. Kang Ning-hsiang of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, who was excluded from a meeting with PRC President Jiang Zemin, stated, “How can we trust them, given their attitude and their past record? The mainland authority hasn’t shown any reciprocity, so how can we move on from here?”

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6. Indian-France Nuclear Talks

Reuters (“INDIA AND FRANCE DISCUSS NUCLEAR AND OTHER ISSUES,” New Delhi, 10/29/98) reported that India and France ended two days of talks on Thursday on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. An Indian Foreign Ministry statement said “The issues which were covered included non- proliferation and disarmament … bilateral cooperation and developments in Europe and South Asia.” It added, “There was convergence of views on many issues.” Indian media reports said on Thursday that the dialogue with France included the possibility of transfer of civilian nuclear technology to India, but an Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman refused to comment on whether civilian nuclear technology was discussed with the French delegation.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. The Controversial Views Of Professor Choi

Chosun Ilbo (“CRITICISM ON PROFESSOR CHOI’S VIEW,” Seoul, 10/30/98) reported that Professor Choi Jang-jip of Korea University, concurrently head of the presidential policy planning committee, was criticized harshly for his controversial views on the Korean War at a seminar of the Sungwoo-Hoe, a veterans’ organization of former generals. Retired Brigadier General Park Kyung-suk, president of the military commentators’ association, stated that Professor Choi had gone overboard when he wrote that the Korean War was a war of national liberation, that Kim Il-sung’s decision regarding the War was a “historic” one, and that Kim Il-sung was a nationalist dedicated to national unification. He also criticized Professor Choi for his remark that “the crossing of the 38th parallel by the US and South Korean forces during the war could not be understood except as a manifestation of aggressive expansionism. Lieutenant General (retired) Chang Joon-ik, former dean of the Korean Military Academy, commented that “Professor Choi’s writings shake the foundations of the Republic. It is incomprehensible that such a person was appointed to a key advisory position to the President. The government has to make its position clear on this issue.” The seminar, held on October 29, was attended by some 300 retired and active generals.

Chosun Ilbo (“THE CONTROVERSIAL VIEWS OF PROFESSOR CHOI,” 10/25/98) noted that in Professor Choi Jang-jip’s books “An Understanding of the Korean War” (Tae-am, 1990), and “The Conditions and the Prospects of Korean Democracy” (1993), he made the following controversial arguments. Choi cites US Professor Bruce Cumings’ “Child of Conflict” as evidence that Kim Il-sung was “a fervent nationalist, rather than a communist” who sought to unify the two Koreas. Choi also said that the traditional view of the Korean War is “a justification for U.S. hegemony and the raison d’etat of South Korea,” and that it failed to take into account the national liberation movement. He attributed the deluge of refugees from the DPRK during the war to the US Navy’s siege of Wonsan. He argued that the Korean War began as a fight for national liberation, “but ceased to be a civil war between revolutionary nationalistic forces and separatists with the explosion of internal contradiction within the country.” He maintained that Kim Il-sung likely expected a limited war, and argued that the DPRK forces were welcomed by many in the ROK during the early stages of the war. He also said that the swiftness of the US decision to intervene suggested that “they had been waiting for the North to give them an excuse to act.” Choi argued that the US “crossing of the 38th parallel together with the South Korean army and subsequent advance deep into the North can only be interpreted as aggressive expansionism.” He questioned whether the source of the US bombing campaign was “the result of the advance of western science and civilization or from U.S. imperialism?” He also argued that while then-ROK President Syngman Rhee may be described as a nationalist, “he must also be branded as a fascist.”

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2. Hyundai Founder’s Trip to DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (“CHUNG EXTENDS STAY IN DPRK,” Seoul, 10/30/98) reported that the Hyundai Group said Friday that its honorary chairman Chung Ju-yung, who was due to come back that day, had postponed his return from the DPRK for a few days. A group spokesperson said that officials accompanying Chung on his trip to the DPRK called Hyundai’s Beijing office to pass on the message that Chung’s date of return would be delayed for a day or two. No reasons were given for the sudden postponement, but the officials in the PRC said there were more things Chung wanted to do in DPRK, according to Hyundai. Sources at the company could not be sure of the reason for the extension of Chung’s stay, but suggested several possible developments, including the granting of a meeting with DPRK head of state Kim Jong-il, or a disruption in negotiations for the Mt. Kumgang tour project.

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3. Asian Economic Crisis

Korea Times (“KIM ACCENTS GREATER US, JAPAN ROLE TO HELP SOLVE ASIAN CRISIS,” Seoul, 10/30/98) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung has called on the US and Japan to play more active roles in helping Asian countries overcome their economic crisis. The President said he will put forth the request to the respective country’s leaders when he meets them at the sixth annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia November 17-18. Kim made this and other remarks during an exclusive interview with the Korea Times Thursday at his Chong Wa Dae office to mark the newspaper’s 48th anniversary on Friday. “I think the U.S. and Japanese role in the Asian crisis will dominate the Kuala Lumpur summit which will gather the leaders of the 22 Asia-Pacific countries,” said Kim.

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4. DPRK Underground Construction

Yonhap (“KARTMAN TO VISIT SEOUL BEFORE FLYING TO PYONGYANG ON NUKES,” Seoul, 10/30/98) reported that Charles Kartman, US Special Envoy for Korean Affairs, will visit Seoul just before he flies to Pyongyang on November 16. He will discuss possible inspection of the DPRK’s suspected underground nuclear facility, an official of the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Friday.

III. Japan

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1. PRC-Taiwan Relations

The Sankei Shimbun (“TAIWAN’S CONCERN ABOUT PRC PRESSURE ON POLITICAL DIALOGUE,” 10/30/98) reported that the Taiwanese President’s Policy Adviser, Zen Yong-xian, told the Sankei Shimbun that the statement by PRC Vice Premier Qian Qichen in a series of unofficial meetings that “since 1949, the ROC (Republic of China) has not existed” is putting Taiwan under heavy pressure to agree to political dialogue for unification. Zen said that the recent meetings between Koo Chen-fu, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), and PRC officials have: 1) provided a new step to political dialogue between the PRC and the ROC; 2) clarified both sides’ stance; and 3) especially clarified Taiwan’s stance that political dialogue toward unification requires the PRC’s democratization. However, Zen pointed out that despite Qian’s statement that both sides should maintain contact without the fear of separation, institutionalization of dialogue has still a long way to go. Regarding PRC President Jiang Zemin’s visit to Japan slated for late next month, Zen said, “Although the Mainland says that the Taiwan issue is a domestic one, the Mainland is urging Japan to state in a written form that Taiwan belongs to the Mainland. This indicates that the Mainland is trying to internationalize the issue and that the Mainland is contradicting itself.” The Sankei Shimbun also cited Chang Rong-gong, Director of the Kuomintang Committee on Mainland Affairs, as saying that Qian’s statement that despite disagreements both sides should continue dialogue indicates a fundamental disagreement between the two sides. Chang also expressed concern about Qian’s statement, “The continuation of diplomatic bashing against Taiwan is a trend of the international community, and Taiwan will lose its friends over time.”

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2. Japanese Information Satellite

The Asahi Shimbun (“LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (LDP) PROJECT TEAM PROPOSES ALLOCATION OF BUDGET FOR INTRODUCTION OF INFORMATION SATELLITE,” 10/29/98) reported that the LDP project team on information satellite, led by former Foreign Minister Taro Nakayama, proposed on October 29 to the LDP Policy Research Council to immediately select a ministry or governmental agency to deal with information satellites and to allocate a budget for an information satellite in this or next fiscal year. The proposal points out, “To prevent threats and crises, to promote positive peaceful diplomacy, and to contribute to a defense-oriented security policy, it is necessary to introduce an information satellite as soon as possible. It is also necessary to self-develop and produce within four to five years an information satellite that is capable of identifying even small things that are less than 1m.” As for the 1969 Diet decision on the peaceful use of space, the proposal sates, “Satellites are used for civilian purposes including prediction of and dealing with large- scale disasters and accidents. Therefore, introduction of a satellite will not contradict ‘peaceful purposes.'”

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3. Japanese-Russian Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (“GOVERNMENT DECIDES TO PROVIDE MEDICAL AID AND VISALESS TRIP PROCEDURE TO FOUR NORTHERN TERRITORIAL ISLANDS,” 10/29/98) reported that the Japanese government decided on October 28 to provide emergency medical aid to the four northern territorial islands (Kurils). The aid includes visaless trips by medical personnel between Japan and these islands in the times of emergencies, including disasters. The decision will be announced at the time of Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s official visit to Russia slated for November 10. According to the report, the existing procedures for humanitarian aid from Japan to the northern territorial islands have been restricted to the earthquake that hit the eastern coast of Hokkaido in 1994 and the procedures have been complicated. The decision aims to clarify and simplify the procedures between Japan and Russia.

IV. People’s Republic of China

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1. DPRK Underground Construction

Jie Fang Daily (“US MISSION TO DPRK,” 10/30/98, A3) reported that the US State Department announced on October 28 that a diplomatic mission, led by Charles Kartman, will visit the DPRK on November 16-18. The mission will hold talks with its DPRK counterparts on access to an underground construction site. The US suspected that the construction is related to a nuclear weapon program. To dispel US suspicion, the DPRK agreed to a US inspection. The two sides agreed to hold negotiation on this issue.

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2. US-ROK Military Exercises

China Daily (“’98 US-ROK WAR GAMES ON DESPITE PEACE TALKS,” 10/27/98, A11) reported that the DPRK warned on October 26 that it will not stand by passively during major US-ROK war games scheduled to start this week. The DPRK said that the exercises prove the allies are not serious about peace. The DPRK, in a signed commentary in its Rodong Sinmun newspaper, accused the allies of honing their preparations to attack Pyongyang instead of promoting peace. It noted that the Foal-Eagle ’98 maneuvers– aimed at thwarting a possible attack from the north–were due to start immediately after the Geneva Four-Party peace talks ended on Saturday.

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3. Four-Party Talks

Jie Fang Daily (“FOUR-PARTY TALKS REACH AGREEMENT,” Geneva, 10/26/98, A3) reported that the third plenary session of the four-party talks ended on October 24, achieving concrete accomplishments. In the session, the four parties agreed to establish two sub-committees where they will respectively discuss the establishment of a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and tension reduction. The joint statement issued after the meeting said that the PRC, the US, the DPRK, and the ROK held beneficial and constructive discussions in the four-day meeting and approved a memorandum on the establishment and operation of the subcommittees.

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4. PRC-US Relations

People’s Daily (“FM OPPOSES ANTI-CHINA US BILLS,” 10/30/98, A4) reported that the PRC Government expressed strong resentment and firm opposition to the anti-China contents in two recent bills passed by the US Congress. The report said that the Omnibus Appropriation Act and the 1999 Fiscal Year Department of Defense Authorization Act serve to interfere in China’s internal affairs by supporting Tibetan separatist elements, putting Taiwan into the theater missile defense (TMD) system, and allowing the sale of arms to Taiwan, and obstruct normal Sino-US cooperation in major sectors. PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Tang Guoqiang said on October 29 that the US Congress’s act has gravely violated the fundamental norms of international relations and the principles set out in the three Sino-US Joint Communiques, interfered in the PRC’s internal affairs, and created obstacles to the PRC’s course of peaceful reunification, and also to normal bilateral exchanges. Also, Tang said, the PRC wishes the US would loosen control on high-tech exports to the PRC, adding that more bilateral trade will be beneficial to both sides now that huge US investments in the PRC are earning high profits.

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5. Hijacking of PRC Airliner

China Daily (“TAIWAN URGED TO REPATRIATE HIJACKERS,” 10/30/98, A2) reported that the Taiwan authorities are being urged to repatriate to the mainland those responsible for hijacking Air China flight CA 905 on October 28, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Tang Guoqiang said in Beijing on October 29. Repatriation of the hijackers will help safeguard the safety of passengers and planes across the Taiwan Straits, Tang said. The Boeing 737 was hijacked by flight co-commander Yuan Bin and his wife between Beijing and Kunming, Yunnan Province. Sources from the local prosecuting office in Taoyuan near Taipei said the hijacking is under investigation. The two hijackers will be “tried” in Taiwan and should serve at least part of their sentences there before they can be repatriated, according to Liu Dezhen, the office’s spokesman. Taiwan repatriated two hijackers in July last year after long negotiations between the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation.

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6. PRC-Russian Relations

People’s Daily (“JIANG MEETS SELEZNEV,” 10/28/98, A1) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin met with Gennady Seleznev, chairman of the Russian Duma, in Beijing on October 27. During the meeting, Jiang said that the PRC and Russia should maintain and develop long-term good-neighborly friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation. Jiang said that friendship and cooperation are not only based on a consensus reached by Russian and Chinese leaders, but represent the aspirations of people in both nations. Seleznev said the Russian Duma is willing actively to advance the overall development of the Sino-Russian strategic partnership. Seleznev also briefed Jiang on Russia’s domestic situation. Jiang expressed his confidence that the Russian people will overcome their temporary difficulties and embark on the road to revitalization as soon as possible.

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7. PRC-Japanese Relations

China Daily (“JIANG: TREATY STABILIZES JAPAN TIES,” 10/23/98, A1) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin met with former Japanese prime minister Hashimoto Ryutaro and Murayrama Tomiichi and former Japanese House of Representatives Speaker Sakurauchi Yoshio. Jiang said that the PRC and Japan should adhere to principles enshrined in the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship to ensure long-term stable ties in the 21st century. The Japanese delegation is in the PRC to participate in activities marking the 20th anniversary of the signing of the peace and friendship treaty.

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8. Russian-Japanese Relations

China Daily (“OBUCHI’S TRIP OPPORTUNITY TO WORK FOR PEACE PACE,” 10/28/98, A11) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s official visit to Russia next month is still on, despite reports of Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s failing health, chief spokesman Hiromu Nonaka said on October 27. Tokyo believes the visit, the first official to Russia by a Japanese prime minister since 1973, is a key opportunity for progress towards a peace treaty to end World War II hostilities. The two sides are working to complete the treaty by 2000.

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

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

Lee Dong-young: leedy112@unitel.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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