NAPSNet Daily Report 31 August, 1999

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 31 August, 1999", NAPSNet Daily Report, August 31, 1999, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-31-august-1999/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

III. Announcements

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Talks

US State Department Deputy Spokesman James Foley (“STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, AUGUST 30,” 08/31/99) said that the US is going to use the upcoming Berlin talks to stress the advantages to the DPRK of taking steps to improve its relations with the US and the international community. Rubin stated, “I think [ROK] President Kim [Dae-jung]’s article, that appeared in an American newspaper today, clearly spells out the benefits that could flow from North Korean willingness to follow this positive path.” He added that while the US has made clear the negative consequences that would result from another DPRK missile test “we … prefer to focus on the possibility that we can have a different kind of relationship with North Korea, that meets our concerns and that opens the door to a better kind of relationship.” Rubin stated, “We regard it as positive that the U.S. and North Korea are going to meet, and want to continue these discussions. I wouldn’t rule out future meetings as well. I wouldn’t want to attach a specific expectation to that meeting, though, at least in advance of the meeting.” He noted, “I think we’ve had enough experience in this particular area to know that it’s slogging, progress is slow. But we are hopeful that we can achieve progress in defining a different relationship between North Korea and the United States and the international community, and one which improves the prospects for the people of North Korea, and which allays our serious concerns about security issues.”

Agence France-Presse (“NORTH KOREA PLANS TO SEND SENIOR OFFICIAL TO US: REPORT,” Tokyo, 08/31/99) reported that Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun on Tuesday quoted anonymous sources in Seoul as saying that the DPRK plans to send First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju to the US as soon as late September for talks with US policy coordinator William Perry. The report said that if the Kang-Perry meeting was realized, it could halt the DPRK’s expected test-firing of a new ballistic missile. It added that the meeting would raise hopes for new negotiations between the DPRK and the US to improve relations. Kang headed the DPRK delegation that negotiated the 1994 Agreed Framework with the US.

2. US Sanctions on DPRK

Agence France-Presse (“SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT URGES US TO LIFT SANCTIONS ON NORTH,” Seoul, 08/30/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on Monday met with US Congressman Tony Hall. ROK officials quoted Kim as saying, “It is hard for anyone to stand hunger. We have to help (the DPRK) like this and let North Korea become a responsible member of the international community.” Kim added that it would be difficult for the DPRK to survive unless it changes. He added, “To firmly secure North Korea’s stability, the United States should lift economic sanctions and allow US and Japanese people to invest (there) to help North Koreans also make a living.” Kim urged the US Congress to “support with patience” the opening of the DPRK and the ROK’s efforts to persuade the DPRK to end its military threat. He stressed that the DPRK never said that it would launch a missile.

3. DPRK-Japan Relations

Reuters (George Nishiyama, “ON MISSILE ANNIVERSARY, N.KOREA SEEN READY TO TALK,” Tokyo, 08/31/99) reported that recent visitors to the DPRK said that DPRK officials have hinted that they are ready to forgo a missile text. Mamoru Kitahara, an assemblyman from Kyushu in Western Japan who visited Pyongyang earlier this week, stated, “I asked them if there would be a missile launch in the near future and they said ‘no’. They said all the speculation about possible (launch) dates was fabricated by the United States.” Kitahara said that DPRK officials stressed that Japan must first “liquidate its past,” but did not rule out negotiations on normalization of relations with Japan. He added, however, that the officials insisted that it would be wrong to interpret their stance now as a “concession.” Masao Okonogi, a professor at Japan’s Keio University, said that the DPRK wants to get relations with Japan “moving again.” Noriyuki Suzuki, director at Radiopress, said that the DPRK is “trying to make it easier for Japan to come to the negotiating table.” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said on Monday that Japan was ready to “respond in a positive manner” should the DPRK refrain from firing a missile. On Tuesday, the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency reiterated its argument that Japanese “reactionaries” had fabricated the “fear of missile.” It stated, “This frantic row of the Japanese reactionaries will only compel us to more fully exercise our inviolable sovereign right. If they dare provoke a war, we will not miss the opportunity to revenge upon the sworn enemy a hundred, nay thousand times.”

The Associated Press (Ginny Parker, “NORTH KOREA MARKS MISSILE LAUNCH,” Tokyo, 08/31/99) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said Tuesday that Japan is ready to resume dialogue with the DPRK. He added, however, “Regrettably there is yet no clear information that North Korea has given up launching a missile again.” The Asahi newspaper urged Japan to lift sanctions and restart normalization talks with DPRK. It stated, “We must consider how to encourage and hasten, in cooperation with the international community, needed changes in North Korea’s policy.”

4. DPRK Scientific Developments

The Associated Press (Ginny Parker, “NORTH KOREA MARKS MISSILE LAUNCH,” Tokyo, 08/31/99) reported that the DPRK’s Korean Central Radio said that the DPRK has made significant scientific and technological advances since its launch of a rocket one year ago. The broadcast stated, “Over the course of the year, our scientists and engineers have seen the successful results of over 50 meaningful research and development projects.” The report said that the projects included a voice recognition system for the Korean language, a program to refine lead, and the development of an electron microscope. It added that the satellite launched last year was still in orbit.

5. DPRK Famine

Reuters (“300,000 HUNGRY N.KOREANS HAVE FLED TO CHINA -GROUP,” Seoul, 08/30/99) reported that Good Friends, a civic group in Seoul organized to help DPRK refugees and protect their human rights, on Monday estimated that 300,000 DPRK citizens have fled to the PRC since 1995. The group stated, “Analyzing all 1,694 testimonies from the food refugees, since 1995 the death toll has risen up to 3.5 million of people who have died of starvation.” The group said it had conducted research on the human rights conditions and daily lives of DPRK food refugees who were staying in three Northeastern PRC provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning between November 16, 1998 and April 3, 1999. The group quoted a refugee as saying, “There has been no food distribution during the past four years. The old people like me all died. All of the children have also died.” Another refugee was quoted as saying, “Until 1991 and 1992, the meager distribution of food continued, but it was cut off completely in 1993… At last, I drifted into China, for I couldn’t survive in North Korea.” The statement said female refugees comprised 75.5 percent of the total. It added that the female refugees were suffering from confinement, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and unwanted pregnancies, and that the majority were forced into marriage to Chinese men either through the bridal trade or through introductions via acquaintances or relatives to conceal identity. [Ed. note: The report is available at the Good Friends website.]

The Los Angeles Times (Sonni Efron, “U.S. CONGRESSMAN URGES AID FOR NORTH KOREA,” Seoul, 08/31/99) reported that US Representative Tony P. Hall, Democrat-Ohio, said that US food aid is helping to change DPRK attitudes toward the US. Hall stated, “They want us to continue not only our food aid but also to lift sanctions. I think if we do that, we will get a very favorable reaction. They said it just about that plainly.” He added, “When I first went to North Korea and I’d go into villages, people would run. They were scared. Now people want to talk to us, to be our friend. They thank us profusely.” Hall argued, “Up until three years ago, they didn’t talk to anyone. This is the last closed society on Earth, and they are starting to open up. We have a tremendous opportunity to help people who for 50 years have been convinced that we are the enemy, and we can do it for a tiny percentage of the cost of maintaining our military deterrent.” Randall Ireson of the American Friends Service Committee said that the DPRK’s civilian population should not be held hostage to the policies of its leadership, which is providing agricultural aid to DPRK collective farms.

6. DPRK Defectors

The Associated Press (“TWO N. KOREANS DEFECT TO S. KOREA,” Seoul, 08/30/99) reported that the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that two DPRK defectors arrived in the ROK Monday to seek asylum. The ministry said that the two escaped the DPRK early this year and have lived in hiding in an unidentified former Soviet republic, and they came to the ROK with the help of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

7. ROK-DPRK Cultural Exchanges

The Associated Press (Christopher Torchia, “SKOREA PAINTERS VISIT NKOREA,” Seoul, 08/27/99) reported that a dozen ROK artists left Tuesday for the DPRK to join DPRK artists in drawings of Kumgang Mountain. Lee Chong-sang, an art professor at Seoul National University who will lead the delegation, stated, “We are not traveling to the North to compete or compare or see what differences we have. We are going there to see what similarities we share.” David Yoon, a deputy director at the KumGangSan International Group, which is organizing the trip, stated, “North Korea likes the natural: mountains, beautiful scenery. Only fact. Sea, sky, mountains, rock, portraits.” The group is run by Reverend Sun Myung- moon, founder of the Unification Church.

8. ROK-Japan Talks

Dow Jones Newswires (“JAPAN’S PM SEEN READY TO VISIT S. KOREA FOR TALKS – KYODO,” Tokyo, 08/31/99) reported that Japan’s Kyodo news service on Tuesday cited Japanese government sources as saying that Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi is expected to agree when he meets ROK Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil on Thursday to attend a second round of Japan-ROK ministerial talks in October. The sources said that Kim and Obuchi will reconfirm in their talks their cooperation in efforts to stop the DPRK from test-firing a new ballistic missile. They will also discuss economic issues and matters related to the co-hosting of the 2002 World Cup soccer finals. The sources added that the ROK side is expected to reiterate its invitation to Japanese Emperor Akihito to pay his first state visit to the ROK.

9. Japanese Defense Budget

Reuters (Teruaki Ueno, “JAPAN, FEARING N.KOREA, SEEKS BIGGER DEFENCE BUDGET,” Tokyo, 08/31/99) reported that the Japanese Defence Agency on Tuesday submitted a 4.99 trillion yen (US$45 billion) budget request for the fiscal year beginning next April, a rise of 1.6 percent from this year and the first increase since 1997/98. The request would need to be approved by the government as part of its budget bill in December and then enacted by the Diet by the end of March. Agency officials said that Japanese concerns about a military threat from the DPRK played a key role in determining the content of the budget requests. The agency said it needed at least 31 billion yen (US$270 million) in the next fiscal year to deal with “suspicious ships” intruding into Japanese territorial waters. The budget request included proposed purchases of two 200-ton high-speed patrol ships equipped with guided missiles, one 4,600-ton destroyer, one 2,700-ton diesel submarine, four auxiliary ships, and mobile night-vision equipment. The navy also wants funds to form a 60- man special squad to patrol and inspect unidentified ships in Japan’s territorial waters. The Defense Agency also asked for 2.7 billion yen (US$23.5 million) to improve “combat” simulation facilities to train soldiers so they can respond to attacks by guerrillas or commandos. Officials said the agency planned to hold military exercises next year simulating a guerrilla attack by DPRK infiltrators. The agency also asked for 2.4 billion yen (US$20 million) to set up special units within the Ground Self-Defense Force to develop equipment and explore how to deal with attacks involving nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. The agency said it plans to send military officials to the US Army Chemical School and other US institutes next year to study techniques to detect and guard against biological and chemical weapons. The agency also requested that 2.1 billion yen (US$18 million) be designated for joint research with the US on Theater Missile Defense (TMD). The Agency also proposed 3.8 billion yen (US$33 million) be used in the next fiscal year to build a security system to prevent computer hackers from stealing military secrets or destroying the agency’s computer system.

10. Japanese Atrocities from World War II

The Associated Press (Eric Prideaux, “ASIAN WOMEN HAIL UN SEX-SLAVE RULING,” Tokyo, 08/28/99) reported that in a 15-2 resolution Thursday, the UN Subcommission on Human Rights urged Japan to provide compensation to Asian women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army during World War II. The resolution stated that under international law, governments are responsible for war crimes and other rights violations committed by their soldiers. It rejected Japanese claims that it has already compensated war victims sufficiently, and is under no obligation to give more money. Former comfort women and groups that represent them said the UN resolution will help them obtain restitution from the Japanese government. Former comfort woman Kim Soon-duk stated, “Apparently, Japan wants to wait until one by one, all the aging women die away, hoping that will solve its problem.” Nelia Sancho, head of the Lila Pilipina, a group supporting Filipino wartime sex slaves, stated, “It means the international community has clearly noted that the Japanese government has an obligation.” Etsuro Totsuka, a Japanese lawyer who has represented former sex slaves, said the UN resolution rejected Japan’s “only substantial legal defense” against paying compensation.

The Associated Press (“CHINESE ATOMIC BOMB VICTIM SUES JAPANESE GOVERNMENT,” Tokyo, 08/31/99) reported that Zhang Wenbin, a Chinese man who was in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945, on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government and a trucking company, demanding the equivalent of US$226,000 in compensation. Zhang was among tens of thousands of Chinese who were captured by the Japanese military during World War II and forced to work as laborers in Japanese mines and other businesses. Zhang, who now lives in Hunan province in the PRC, suffers from various ailments believed to be caused by the bombing. Zhang’s lawyer, Osamu Kaneko, stated, “This lawsuit attempts to bring to light what Japan has denied responsibility for 50 years and tried to bury in darkness. It also represents the voice of other Chinese who were forcibly brought here.”

11. PRC Military Exercises

The Associated Press (“CHINA THREATENS TAIWAN AGAIN,” Beijing, 08/31/99) reported that the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily said Tuesday that the PLA recently conducted submarine warfare exercises in the East China Sea, to the north of Taiwan. The report did not say when the exercises took place. In a separate report, the newspaper said that the Air Force had conducted tests of a new medium-range, surface-to-air missile on an unidentified “high plateau.”

12. Bombing of PRC Embassy

Reuters (Matt Pottinger, “U.S. COMPENSATES CHINESE BOMB VICTIMS,” Beijing, 08/31/99) and the Associated Press (“SETTLEMENT ELUSIVE IN U.S.- CHINESE TALKS OVER EMBASSY BOMBING,” Beijing, 08/31/99) reported that the US Embassy in Beijing said Tuesday that the US has paid US$4.5 million to victims of NATO’s bombing of the PRC embassy in Belgrade. The embassy added that US State Department legal adviser David Andrews concluded two days of talks with the PRC Foreign Ministry over compensation for damage to each other’s diplomatic missions. It said in a statement, “The U.S. side presented a detailed explanation of the damages to its embassy and consulate properties and asked a series of questions regarding the Chinese claims.” It added, “Andrews described the talks as ‘useful and productive’ and said that he would return to Beijing in the near future to resume the discussions.”

13. US-Russian Nuclear Talks

The Associated Press (“RUSSIA, U.S. SAID TO DISCUSS Y2K,” Moscow, 08/30/99) reported that Russian Colonel General Leonid Ivashov said Monday that the US Defense Secretary William Cohen and Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev will meet in Moscow on September 13 to discuss the Y2K computer glitch and nuclear weapons treaties. Ivashov said that the talks will address the START II and START III nuclear weapons treaties and US wishes to modify the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

The Associated Press (Jim Abrams, “Y2K EXPERT WARNS OF MINOR PROBLEMS,” Washington, 08/30/99) reported that John Koskinen, US President Bill Clinton’s chief Y2K adviser, said Sunday that the US government is satisfied that only humans, not computers, could launch nuclear weapons. He added that the concern that Russia’s early warning systems would fail and increase anxiety in Russia was being addressed.

14. Russian Nuclear Weapons Policy

Reuters (“RUSSIA PM SAYS NUCLEAR WEAPONS STILL IMPORTANT,” Moscow, 08/30/99) reported that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday said that Russia would maintain its nuclear arsenal. Putin stated, “(Nuclear weapons) remain fundamental for the country’s security, a guarantee for keeping peace in modern geopolitical conditions.” He added, “The development and improvement of the nuclear arsenal is one of the most important demands for our government … if we do not keep them over the coming five to seven years, then the situation in our country will change in a radical way.” He stated, “(The development of) nuclear weapons was never an aim in itself … the development was always in response to the challenges of the times.”

The Washington Post (David Hoffman, “RUSSIA’S NUCLEAR FUTURE UNCERTAIN,” Sarov, 08/31/99, 1) reported that Viktor Mikhailov, former Russian minister of atomic energy and now first deputy minister and chairman of the Science Council, said that Russia is developing a “new generation” of low-yield nuclear weapons. Mikhailov said that there should be no doubt that “this weapon can really be used in case of any large-scale military conflict.” He added, “Nuclear weapons are devaluing any conventional weapons, including the weapons that were used in Yugoslavia, the new ones. Nuclear weapons are much more powerful, a deciding factor — thousands of times higher than any other.” However, Vladimir Rogachev, deputy director of the Nuclear Center for International Relations, said that a new generation of tactical nuclear warheads was not immanent. Rogachev stated, “It is not a key goal for Russia right now.” Radi Ilkayev, director of the center, said that due to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, “these works, even if they could be conducted in the calculation phase, their practical realization and putting them on duty will be complicated and impossible, because there is no nuclear testing.” Ilkayev added, however, “Tactical nuclear weapons — operative tactical nuclear weapons — are required for Russia. Our borders are enormous. Tactical nuclear weapons should not be seen as a field weapon, but as a weapon of deterrence of major international conflicts.” [Ed. note: This article was one of the top stories in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 31.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. US-ROK Talks

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “KIM-KARTMAN TALKS TO LEAD TO HIGH-LEVEL MEET,” Seoul, 08/30/99) reported that a senior ROK Unification Ministry official said on Sunday that the forthcoming talks between the US and the DPRK in Berlin would pave the way for subsequent high-level talks. The official said on condition of anonymity that Kim and Kartman are expected to exchange views on “conditions” for such high-level talks. An ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry official did not rule out the possibility that Kim and Kartman might launch discussions on details of DPRK First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju’s proposed visit to the US. Kang’s proposed visit to the US is expected to mark a turning point in US-DPRK relations, which have been volatile, he added. In fact, Kim and Kartman are expected to launch discussions on what kind of steps the US should take in return for the DPRK’s agreement to place a moratorium on missile tests.

2. ROK Policy toward DPRK

The Korea Times (“SEOUL WILLING TO REWARD PYONGYANG FOR NOT FIRING MISSILE: KIM,” Seoul, 08/30/99) and The Korea Herald (“SEEKING TO PREVENT A NORTH KOREAN MISSILE TEST,” Seoul, 08/31/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung contributed an opinion article to The Los Angeles News Syndicate on Monday. President Kim promised the following to the DPRK. First, when and if the DPRK decides to take a course toward peace, there will be a guarantee of the DPRK’s security. Second, its economic reconstruction will be actively supported. Third, it will be treated as a respected member of the international community. He added, “We will not give up under any circumstances. I am firmly convinced that the two Koreas will eventually be reconciled, grow together and contribute to world peace.”

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “PRESIDENT SAYS P’YANG RESPONDED FAVORABLY TO SEOUL’S OFFER OF TALKS,” Seoul, 08/31/99) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung has said that the DPRK has favorably responded to ROK’s proposal to hold dialogue. “Recently, North Korea has responded positively to South Korea’s offer to have talks, and that is a very desirable change,” Kim said in an article he contributed to the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. The President said that despite the ROK’s friendly gestures, the DPRK has not indicated that it is fundamentally changing its hostile ways. He reaffirmed recent reports that the DPRK is about to give up its plan to launch a missile. “There is no solid evidence that a test-firing is imminent, but there is no denying that Pyongyang is equipped with the technology and capability to launch a long-range missile,” Kim said. He said that the PRC has expressed opposition to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction on the Korean Peninsula. The PRC also has said publicly that it would play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in the region. “Russia, too, supports Seoul’s gradual engagement policy toward Pyongyang,” Kim said. “For North Korea, the heat generated by the international outcry will be unbearable and the pain of being further isolated from the outside world will be deeply felt.”

3. DPRK Missile Test

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “N.K. IN DILEMMA OVER WHETHER OR NOT TO GIVE UP MISSILE TEST,” Seoul, 08/31/99) reported that ROK analysts said on Monday that the DPRK was coming up on its first anniversary of the test-launch of a ballistic missile on Tuesday, facing a dilemma over whether or not to give up its second missile test plan. Though there has been a positive sign from the DPRK, however, it still remains to be seen whether or not the DPRK will accept the possible US proposals to lift some economic sanctions during talks in Berlin September 7-11. “At the forthcoming talks, the North is expected not to give a clear-cut answer in connection with the suspension of a missile test to gain more concessions from Washington,” a DPRK analyst said. At the same time, he said, the DPRK will most likely not test-fire its second missile as the three allied countries have strongly warned that it would have serious consequences for the DPRK. The DPRK may think that it can do profitable business if it earns the US lifting of economic sanctions and more foreign aid in exchange for its stoppage of a missile test. In this vein, the analyst said, the coming Berlin talks will surely be an indicator of the DPRK’s future course of action.

4. US Congressman’s Trip to DPRK

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “N.K. AWAITS U.S. INITIATIVE: REP. HALL,” Seoul, 08/31/99) reported that a US congressman said on Monday that the DPRK appears to be ready to respond “in good faith” if the US lifts economic sanctions on the DPRK. “I want to remain cautiously optimistic,” Representative Tony Hall told reporters in the ROK after his four-day trip to the DPRK, during which he met with DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan. Hall quoted Kim as saying, “If the United States lifts sanctions, we will certainly respond with good faith. Sanctions drive our country into a corner … and we will not sit and idle and starve.” The ranking DPRK official’s remarks came ahead of missile talks he will hold with his US counterpart Charles Kartman in the coming Berlin talks. “I am hopeful that we will resolve this issue as we have resolved other difficulties. And I am convinced that we would be foolish if we lose this moment,” said the US lawmaker. “This is the best opportunity we’ve had in years to ease tensions in this region,” Hall said. As to the DPRK’s food situation, Hall said the DPRK’s food crisis was stabilized thanks to foreign aid but hunger still plagues the overwhelming majority of its people. He said that birth weight has plummeted in the DPRK, quoting aid workers as telling him that the average weight of newborn babies has fallen from 3.3 kg to 2.2 kg, and that infants weighing less than 2 kg are not uncommon. Hall urged the ROK and Japan to take a greater role in assisting humanitarian relief efforts, saying there is a clear health crisis in the DPRK because of insufficient medicine to cure disease and energy to heat homes and hospitals. “I heard from aid workers that tuberculosis is at epidemic proportions and diarrhea is another plague that is especially dangerous for children,” he said. “The world needs to be more generous, but as the region’s leaders, South Korea and Japan in particular need to do more,” he said.

5. DPRK Refugees in PRC

Chosun Ilbo (Chung Song-jin, “DISPLACED NORTH KOREANS PREDOMINANTLY WOMEN,” Seoul, 08/30/99) reported that it was reported on Monday that investigations show that 75.5 percent of displaced DPRK citizens who fled from the DPRK to the PRC are women. The displaced women had either been sold as slaves or forced into prostitution and moved far away from the border in order to escape from being deported back to the DPRK. At a press conference, Pomnyon, a buddhist priest of “Choun Buddeul” read out the association’s “Report on the Reality of North Korean Food Refugees and Human Rights,” which was based on interviews conducted with 872 DPRK refugees living in the 3 Northeastern provinces from November 1998 to April 1999. The “Choun Buddeul” or “Good Friends” started a relief program for DPRK refugees in 1997. The Buddhist priest stated that there used to be only brokers who organized DPRK women to marry Korean-Chinese men and received commissions; however, nowadays organizations that sell DPRK women to even Chinese men have appeared. The priest added that there are criminal organizations that kidnap any woman if she looks Korean.

6. DPRK Food Situation

Joongang Ilbo (Bong Hwa-shik, “NORTH KOREA RESTRICTS LOG EXPORTS,” Seoul, 08/30/99) reported that the DPRK has recently restricted exports of wood logs timbered in major logging areas such as Mt. Paekdu to the PRC, sparking speculation that its serious food shortage crisis has been mitigated. It had been exchanging the wood for maize and wheat from the PRC. A source from the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) said on Monday, “North Korea sent $12-million-worth of logs to China last year but tentatively prohibited the exports this year.” He predicted that the food crisis in the DPRK had been somewhat relieved due to international aid, and that some of the wood exports had been replaced by exports of value-added goods including cork, charcoal, and plywood.

7. ROK Prime Minister’s Visit to Japan

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “JAPAN ROLLS OUT RED CARPET FOR PRIME MINISTER KIM J.P.,” Seoul, 08/31/99) reported that in terms of diplomatic protocol, the ROK counterpart of Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi is President Kim Dae-jung. Obuchi, however, sidestepped this convention and formally extended an invitation to ROK’s Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil when the two leaders met at the first ministerial talks in Japan last November. The Japanese government also arranged for Kim to pay a courtesy call on Emperor Akihito and to have lunch with the royal couple. Kim is scheduled to make a five-day official visit to Japan from Wednesday to Sunday. “It is unusual for Japan’s emperor to receive one who is not the head of a state, diplomatically,” said an official at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In extending such extraordinary courtesy to Kim, Japan may be taking Kim’s political status in the ROK into consideration. Kim, founder of the United Liberal Democrats and the de facto leader of the third largest political party, is the coalition partner of President Kim Dae-jung. Unlike his predecessors, who served as mere figureheads, Prime Minister Kim wields much influence in the government, having chosen as many cabinet post appointees as the President. Diplomatic observers here said that Japan’s cordiality may be related to Kim’s personal relationship with the country. Kim was a key player in concluding the Korea-Japan Basic Accord in 1965. In response to Japan’s hospitality, Prime Minister Kim appears determined to show his friendship to the Japanese public during his visit to the country. “By strengthening solidarity with them, Kim expects that they will play an active role in resolving the issue of granting voting rights to Korean residents in Japan,” said a government official, on condition of anonymity.

8. ROK Military Development

The Korea Herald (“NEW LOCALLY DEVELOPED DESTROYER TO JOIN NAVY’S FLEET TOMORROW,” Seoul, 08/31/99) reported that the ROK Navy will commission a destroyer at a Daewoo shipyard on the southern island of Koje tomorrow. The 3,200-ton ship, christened Ulchimunduk, the name of an ancient Korean general, is the second ship to come out of a destroyer program, code- named KDX-1, that requires the acquisition of three roughly 3,000-ton destroyers. Designed and built by ROK engineers, the destroyers are outfitted with Harpoon ship-to-ship missiles, Sea Sparrow ship-to-air missiles, a five-inch gun, torpedoes, and sonar. The Navy is planning to acquire six 4,500-ton destroyers within the next seven to eight years under a program code-named KDX-2. Those destroyers will replace old warships that the ROK purchased from the US.

The Korea Times (“MILITARY SURVEILLANCE DEVICES DUE,” Seoul, 08/30/99) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry announced on Sunday that the ROK will introduce two sets of sophisticated electro-optical surveillance devices by 2003 in an effort to facilitate early detection of DPRK armed provocation. The devices, code-named EO-X, will replace existing long- range oblique photographic machines. The new devices, to be affixed to the Air Force’s RF-4C planes, will permit the photographing of objects 100 kilometers north of the military demarcation line in mid-air. The ministry estimated the cost of the EO-X project at about 60 billion won. Four foreign contractors — Raytheon and R.O.I of the United States, Thomson of France and Elop of Israel — have been invited to attend a related briefing to be held by the Defense Ministry on Monday. The applicants will be requested to submit their respective proposals and the ministry will select the successful applicant by the end of March 2001 in consideration of performance, technology transfer and prices. “The new devices will show far superior capabilities in terms of gathering information on North Korea and contribute a great deal to detecting signs of provocation,” a ministry official said.

III. Announcements

1. CNAPS Fellows

The Brookings Institution Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies (CNAPS), now in its second year, is pleased to announce the arrival of the CNAPS Fellows Class of 1999-2000. Each year CNAPS hosts six mid- to senior-level specialists from Northeast Asia, drawn from the ranks of government, business, media, and policy analyst circles. They will spend 10 months with Brookings, and will conduct collaborative and individual research work around the topic of the “Security Architecture of Northeast Asia”. Persons interested in meeting with the CNAPS Fellows or learning more about their program should write . The new CNAPS Fellows and their affiliations are:· CHU Shulong (China): Senior Research Fellow, Security Studies Program, China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR); CHUNG Ok-nim (Korea): Member of the Working Advisory Group for the National Security Council, Chongwadae (The Blue House), and Research Fellow with the Sejong Institute;·KWAN Chi Hung (Hong Kong): Senior Economist with the Nomura Research Institute and Editor of Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy; Alexandre MANSOUROV (Russia): Former Russian Foreign Ministry official, Research Associate, Korea Institute, Harvard University;·SUGAWA Kiyoshi (Japan): Senior Researcher and Deputy General Manager of the Policy Research Committee of the Democratic Party of Japan;·and YUAN I (Taiwan): Associate Research Fellow, Institute of International Relations, National Chengchi University

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Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun: khs688@hotmail.com
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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