NAPSNet Daily Report 31 August, 2000

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 31 August, 2000", NAPSNet Daily Report, August 31, 2000, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-31-august-2000/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. ROK-DPRK Talks
2. DPRK Missile Program
3. DPRK Famine
4. PRC View of US Missile Defense
5. PRC-US Relations
6. PRC-Japan Talks
II. Republic of Korea 1. Second Inter-Korean Talks
2. UN Millennium Forum
3. DPRK-ROK Cooperation Fund
4. Three Way Parliamentary Talks
5. Reunion of Separated Families
6. US Bombing Range in ROK

I. United States

1. ROK-DPRK Talks

The Associated Press (Jae-Suk Yoo, “KOREAS EXTEND NEGOTIATIONS ONE DAY,” Seoul, 8/31/00) reported that according to pool reports from ROK reporters in Pyongyang, ROK and DPRK negotiators on Thursday decided to extend talks in Pyongyang by one day after failing to reach an agreement on military cooperation. Both sides downplayed the extension, saying it was partly because of rainy weather that delayed the flight home of the ROK delegates. Chief ROK delegate Park Jae-kyu said, “Differences have been considerably sorted out.” Lee Chung-won, a ministry spokesman in the ROK, said that the extension was partly to adjust language of a joint announcement that was expected Friday. An anonymous ROK delegate said, “A joint statement to be issued will not specify any detailed measures to build confidence and ease tension in the military sector but will contain a phrase indicating that action will be taken to that effect.” The ROK pool reports said that detailed measures to ease military tension will be discussed at another round of talks in Seoul in a month.

Reuters (“TWO KOREAS FAIL TO AGREE ON MILITARY TALKS,” Seoul, 8/31/00) reported that ministerial talks between the ROK and the DPRK adjourned on Thursday without an agreement on the ROK’s call for top-level military meetings. A pool report from ROK reporters in Pyongyang said, “The release of a joint statement (on the ministerial talks) is being delayed as the two sides failed to see eye to eye on key issues such as a military hotline and top-level military talks.” It was unclear whether the ministerial talks, in their second and last scheduled day, would resume. However, the two sides did agree in principle to hold two more reunions this year for separated families. The timeframe for the reunions will be discussed in early September in a meeting of Red Cross officials from the two countries. The two sides also agreed to hold a working level meeting next month to set up a legal framework for economic projects, including treaties on double taxation and investment guarantees. The two sides also agreed to hold a working level meeting in September to discuss details on the proposed rail links.

2. DPRK Missile Program

Agence France Presse (“NORTH KOREA’S CONDITIONAL OFFER TO GIVE UP MISSILES ‘NOT JUST JOKE,’ ” Seoul, 8/31/00) reported that a senior ROK official said on Thursday that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il’s conditional proposal to give up the DPRK’s long-range missile programs was “not just a joke.” The official said, “Taking into consideration various channels of information, what (Defense Commission) Chairman Kim said was neither ‘just a joke’ nor ‘passing remarks.’ Instead, it should be viewed as an offer reviewed internally.” The remarks come as US State Department Counsellor Wendy Sherman was visiting the ROK for a series of meetings with ROK officials to discuss and coordinate DPRK policy. Sherman arrived on August 30 after her two-day visit to Moscow where she met Russian officials to enquire about the DPRK’s alleged offer. Sherman and ROK Deputy Foreign Minister Jang Jai-ryong held talks Thursday on the DPRK issues, including the offer.

3. DPRK Famine

Agence France Presse (Shingo Ito, “NORTH KOREA RECOVERING FROM SERIOUS FOOD SHORTAGE: UN AGENCY,” Yokohama, 8/31/00) reported that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) director-general Jacques Diouf told a news conference in Yokohama on Thursday that the DPRK is recovering from serious food shortages but still needs international support. Diouf said, “We still have serious problems of drought. Water levels in the different reservoirs are very low. Some of them are even dry. However, the situation has very seriously improved, compared to what it was in ’96 and ’97. The needs of North Korea are evaluated at 4.7 million tons of cereal of which 3.4 (million) have been produced. We therefore remain with another 500,000 that needs to be provided.” The head of DPRK’s FAO committee said that the state was doing its best to help itself this year. Yun Su-Chang said that the DPRK “has taken various new measures to increase grain production in accordance with the country’s actual reality. My people’s struggle to raise agricultural production to normal levels will produce good results with the support of international organizations such as the FAO.” Diouf added, “I think that the Japanese government is also considering the possibility of providing some support in the framework of discussion. That is going on.”

4. PRC View of US Missile Defense

Reuters (“CHINA TO USE UN FORUM TO OPPOSE MISSILE SHIELD,” Beijing, 8/31/00) reported that a senior PRC diplomat said on Thursday that PRC President Jiang Zemin will use a speech at the UN on September 7 to stress the PRC’s opposition to a US missile shield plan. The official said, “There are still certain countries which seek so-called absolute security for themselves and are speeding up the development and deployment of advanced anti-missile systems.” The official said that Jiang would probably repeat the PRC’s charge that the US was driven by “Cold War thinking.” The official also said that Jiang would probably also drive home PRC’s strident opposition to the US plans in his bilateral meetings with the leaders of Japan, Russia and the ROK on the summit sidelines.

5. PRC-US Relations

Agence France Presse (“CHINESE MINISTER BLAMES MEDIA FOR DISTORTING U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS,” Washington, 8/31/00) reported that Zhao Qizheng, PRC Minister of the State Council Information Office, accused sectors of the US media and political establishment of conspiring against the PRC on August 30, claiming that they were peddling distortions harmful to Sino-US relations. Zhao said, “Many people in the U.S. are misinformed about what is going on in China, some U.S. media overestimate China’s threat and capabilities. This helps people to perpetrate the China threat theory.” Zhao described some of the media coverage of the PRC from US publications and broadcasts as “inadequate and downright prejudicial.” He took aim particularly at the notion often voiced in the US Congress and the media that the PRC is an emerging threat to US security interests. Zhao said that the PRC had neither the capacity nor the inclination to “gobble up” other countries, adding “in the last 100 years it is China that has been nibbled.” Zhao argued that fevered debates on the PRC mask the country’s true nature causing candidates in the US presidential and congressional elections to “feel they have to saying something negative about China.”

6. PRC-Japan Talks

Agence France Presse (“JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER LEAVES AFTER FOUR-DAY VISIT TO CHINA,” Beijing, 8/31/00) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono ended a four-day visit to the PRC on Thursday, voicing satisfaction that the two sides could keep improving relations still troubled by Japan’s wartime record. Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Yasuhisa Kawamura said, “During the visit Foreign Minister Kono eloquently spoke about how he feels about China and Japanese-China relations. The point of his message was that frankness was necessary in order to maintain momentum for moving the bilateral relationship forward.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. Second Inter-Korean Talks

The Korea Herald (Joint Press Corps, “SOUTH PROPOSES MILITARY COOPERATION SEEKS ACCORDS ON INVESTMENT GUARANTEES, DOUBLE TAXATION,” Pyongyang, 08/31/00) and the Korea Times (Joint Press Corps, “ROUND AFTER ROUND, S-N NEGOTIATORS GET CLOSER,” Pyongyang, 08/31/00) reported that the ROK proposed on August 30 that the ROK and the DPRK open a military hot line and start military talks between generals. At another round of high-level negotiations that started its three-day schedule in the DPRK capital on August 29, the ROK delegation, led by Unification Minister Park Jae-kyu, also proposed to establish a legal framework for boosting economic cooperation by signing accords to guarantee investment and avoid double taxation. The DPRK’s responses were not immediately known. Park’s DPRK counterpart, Jon Kum-jin, however, hinted at possible progress, saying that the ROK’s suggestions had “much in common” with the DPRK’s position. In addition to the Kyungui Line construction, which was agreed at the first ministerial talks a month ago, Park also proposed to build a new highway running in parallel with the railroad. The DPRK’s chief delegate, Jon, raised issue with the ROK-US joint military drill, code-named Ulchi Focus Lens, which began its 12-day schedule August 21. Jon noted that the moves were “inappropriate given the efforts to implement the Joint Declaration.” [Ed. note: The Korea Times article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 31, 2000.]

2. UN Millennium Forum

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “GENERAL ASSEMBLY MAY SUPPORT SUMMIT; MOST U.N. MEMBERS FAVOR ADOPTION OF STATEMENT ON PYONGYANG MEETING,” Seoul, 08/31/00) reported that ROK officials said on August 30 that the United Nations will likely adopt a statement supporting the recent inter-Korean summit during its 55th session of the General Assembly, slated to open on September 5 in New York. Choi Young-jin, deputy minister for policy planning and international organizations at the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry, said, “Most of the member countries of the United Nations have agreed on the adoption of the statement.” The remaining problem, he said, is whether the United Nations will announce the statement in the form of a special declaration by the UN General Assembly president or a resolution by the assembly. “There is also a possibility that the statement could be adopted on both sides,” he said, adding that the declaration will be made at the end of the UN Millennium Summit, scheduled for September 6-8. The ROK and the DPRK have agreed to promote a UN statement in an attempt to draw world recognition to the outcome of the inter-Korean summit talks. The ministers from the two Koreas are scheduled to hold a second round of talks September 18 on the sidelines of the assembly session.

The Korea Herald (“U.N. SUMMIT OFFERS N.K. OPPORTUNITIES,” Seoul, 08/31/00) and The Korea Herald (“NK LEADER TO MEET 10 COUNTERPARTS AT UN SUMMIT,” Seoul, 08/30/00) reported that the DPRK is pushing for bilateral summit talks with Japan, Sweden and some other countries during the UN Millennium Summit slated to open September 6 in New York. DPRK ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam is scheduled to take part in the three-day meeting, which will draw about 160 heads of state and government. An ROK Foreign Ministry official said, “Kim’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori is certain to take place as Japan has been active in holding highest-level-ever talks between the two countries.” Kim, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, plans to hold bilateral talks with Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson during the UN session. Diplomatic observers said that the DPRK might have chosen Sweden because it believes that the Scandinavian country could play a key role in improving its relations with major European countries. Sweden will hold the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU) during the first half of next year. Speculation has it that US President Bill Clinton may briefly meet Kim during a reception the US president will host for the participants of the Millennium Summit.

3. DPRK-ROK Cooperation Fund

The Korea Herald (Lee Joon-seung, “RULING PARTY TO RAISE W500 BIL. ANNUALLY FOR S-N COOPERATION,” Seoul, 08/31/00) and Chosun Ilbo (Kim Min-chul, “W470 BILLION-A-YEAR INTER-KOREA FUND PROPOSED,” Seoul, 08/30/00) reported that the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) decided on August 29 to move ahead with a proposal to earmark about 470 billion won annually from the state budget for the Inter-Korea Economic Cooperation Fund (IKECF). Chair of the MDP policy committee Lee Hae-chan said on August 29 that public opinion polls show that Koreans are willing to share 10,000 won per head to contribute to foster reunification through the fund. Lee said the MDP would propose the plan at the upcoming fall session of the National Assembly. The ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) said that it would raise about 500 billion won (US$448 million), or 10,000 won per person, to help carry out inter-Korean cooperative projects. It also will push for “regularizing” the reunions of family members separated for five decades as well as confirm the whereabouts of lost relatives and allow them to exchange letters.

4. Three Way Parliamentary Talks

The Korea Herald (“LEE, SELEZNEV PROPOSE 3-WAY TALKS WITH NK,” New York, 08/30/00) reported that ROK and Russian parliamentary speakers on August 30 agreed to hold a three-way meeting of parliamentarians including those from the DPRK to foster peace in Northeast Asia. In a meeting held at a hotel in New York, ROK National Assembly Speaker Lee Man-sup and Russian House Speaker Guennadi N. Seleznev also agreed to begin working-level officials’ meetings to arrange the tripartite parliamentary talks soon. Seleznev proposed the meeting and Lee instantly accepted it. Both agreed to immediately solicit the cooperation of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly.

5. Reunion of Separated Families

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, “MORE FAMILY REUNIONS TO TAKE PLACE THIS YEAR,” Seoul, 08/31/00) reported that the DPRK and the ROK agreed on August 30 to hold exchanges of separated families at least two more times before the end of the year. Both sides also agreed to exchange a group of about 100 tourists from each side to visit Mount Paektu in the DPRK and Mount Halla in the ROK. Park Jae-kyu, the head of the ROK delegation, and Jon Kum-jin, his DPRK counterpart, held a series of ministerial meetings in Pyongyang and agreed on those points.

6. US Bombing Range in ROK

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, “ACTIVISTS DEMAND PARLIAMENTARY PROBE INTO U.S. STRAFING RANGE,” 8/31/00) reported that several ROK environmental and civic groups on Wednesday demanded a parliamentary probe into the US Air Force’s Koon-ni bombing and strafing range. The groups also called on the ROK Defense Ministry to make public all of its investigation results related to the issue and the full contents of the written agreement reached between the ministry and the US Forces Korea on August 18. Park Hang-ju, a coordinator of the Korean Federation for the Environmental Movement (KFEM), one of the groups heading the protest, said, “What we demand is not a partial closure of the U.S. facility, as recently announced by the Defense Ministry, but a complete one. We also demand the immediate return of all the land covered by the U.S. strafing range to local villagers for agricultural or other purposes,” adding that the ministry’s plan to maintain the area as a safety zone counters the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). He also urged the ministry to adopt a more sincere and cooperative attitude in dealing with the issue, while publicizing all facts and findings related to the US facility. Park concluded, “Without those efforts, the Maehyang-ri issue will not be solved in the near future. If our demands are not met, we will join forces with other local labor and civic groups to hold a mass rally at Maehyang-ri this Saturday.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for August 31, 2000.]

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