NAPSNet Daily Report 31 January, 2000

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

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Talks
2. US Policy toward DPRK
3. Remains of US Soldiers from Korean War
4. DPRK-Japan Normalization Talks
5. ROK-DPRK Talks
6. Taiwan Military Purchases
7. Cross-Straits Relations
8. Taiwan Election
9. PRC-US Military Relations
10. Alleged PRC Nuclear Espionage
II. Republic of Korea 1. DPRK-US Talks
2. DPRK-Japan Relations
3. DPRK-France Relations
4. ROK POWs in DPRK
5. ROK-DPRK Economic Cooperation
6. ROK-Russia on DPRK Defectors
7. Book on DPRK Human Rights

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Talks

The US Department of State’s Office of International Information Programs released a statement (James P. Rubin, “U.S., DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA AGREE TO HIGH-LEVEL VISIT,” 01/31/00) which said: “Delegations from the U.S. and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), led respectively by Ambassador Charles Kartman and Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, met in Berlin from January 22-28. The two sides exchanged views on issues of common concern in a constructive, businesslike environment. Vice Foreign Minister Kim formally conveyed the acceptance by his government of a U.S. invitation for a high-level DPRK delegation to visit Washington, reciprocating the May 1999 visit by U.S. Presidential Special Envoy William Perry to Pyongyang. The two sides agreed to meet again toward the end of next month to finalize preparations for the high- level DPRK visit, which will occur about one month later. The two sides agreed that this visit would provide the best opportunity for serious talks and progress on issues central to peace and stability in Northeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, including improving U.S.-DPRK relations.”

Agence France Presse (“N.KOREA SAYS AGREES TO NEW TALKS WITH US IN FEB,” Seoul, 1/30/00) reported that the DPRK said on January 30 that it had agreed to resume talks with the US in late February. The talks would include discussion of the proposed removal of the DPRK from the US list of terrorist nations. The DPRK Foreign Ministry said in an official statement, “they agreed to reopen the vice ministerial-level negotiations in New York toward the end of February to continue debates on pending issues.” The proposal to remove the DPRK from the list of countries supporting terrorism was “for the purpose of creating favorable conditions and (an) atmosphere for the Washington higher-level talks before anything else.” The statements were the DPRK’s first official response to talks between US and DPRK officials in Berlin last week.

2. US Policy toward DPRK

The International Herald Tribune (Don Kirk, “NORTH KOREA MAY LOSE TERRORISM LABEL,” Seoul, 1/31/00) reported that analysts said on January 30 that the US appears likely to remove the DPRK from its list of terrorist nations as a result of the latest round of talks in Berlin. Han Sung-joo, a former ROK foreign minister said, “my hunch is the terrorist label will be removed first” when the DPRK official comes to the US for talks with former US defense secretary William Perry. Han said that the DPRK “feels it has to get something done before the U.S. presidential election” because of fears that US policy towards the DPRK might harden with the election of a new US president in November. Aidan Foster-Carter, a DPRK expert at Leeds University in England, said, “if there isn’t any progress, then there’s the risk that support for the sunshine policy will be undermined. Part of the difficulty is keeping Washington and Japan and South Korea in line.” Pursuing that goal, Wendy Sherman, a US State Department counselor, arrived in Seoul for talks with ROK and Japanese officials. Sherman said that the meetings were to promote “a comprehensive approach toward North Korea.” Choi Jang-jip, former chairman of the ROK presidential commission on policy planning, said, “until now the Korean economic relationship has been seriously distracted by sanctions against North Korea.” Choi said he saw an agreement on sanctions as “very positive assurance for North Korea’s survival” and predicted, “This measure will soften North Korean policy toward the outside world, including South Korea.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for January 31, 2000.]

3. Remains of US Soldiers from Korean War

The Associated Press (Robert Burns, “N. KOREA OFFERS BODIES OF 400 GIS,” Washington, 1/29/00) reported that deputy DPRK representative to the UN Li Gun said on January 29 that the DPRK has discovered 415 remains of people likely to be US servicemen killed in the Korean War. Li said that the DPRK has offered to return the remains, without conditions. In a telephone interview from his New York office, Li said that his government believes it will find many more remains in an area of north Pyongan province where land is being moved to create cropland. Larry Greer, spokesman for the US Defense Department office in charge of POW-MIA affairs, said that the DPRK notified the US Defense Department of the discovery this week. Greer said, “we’ve asked for more details,” but added that the US is leery of unilateral returns of war remains, because in the past they have lacked the anthropological detail needed for individual identifications. Frank Metersky of the Chosin Few, a group of Korean War veterans, said on January 29 that he doubts the DPRK’s sincerity. Metersky said, “we all agree this is a political ploy. We do not want our government to pay ransom.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for January 31, 2000.]

4. DPRK-Japan Normalization Talks

Agence France Presse (“JAPAN TO OFFER FOOD AID TO NKOREA, RESUME TALKS,” 1/30/00) reported that the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun said that Japan plans to resume food aid to the DPRK and send 100,000 tons of rice in March through the UN World Food Program, ahead of their first formal talks in April. The paper said that some members of Japan’s ruling coalition parties have expressed opposition to the aid, but the sources said it could have a favorable effect on negotiations. The daily also said that Japan and the DPRK planned to resume diplomatic normalization talks in April in Pyongyang following a series of unofficial preparatory meetings. The paper said that the planned meetings are likely to be headed by Kojiro Takano, Japan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and Jong Thae- hwa, who was recently appointed DPRK ambassador for normalization of ties with Japan. Japan’s Kyodo News quoted government sources on January 30 as saying that Japan will separately extend six million yen (US$57,000) in aid to the DPRK to help it preserve ancient tombs on the outskirts of Pyongyang.

Associated Press (“N.KOREA MAY SUSPEND JAPAN TALKS,” Seoul, 1/31/00) reported that the DPRK’s Rodong Sinmun warned on Monday that the DPRK might suspend planned talks with Japan on opening diplomatic ties if Japan continues to make allegations of DPRK kidnapping of Japanese citizens. The newspaper said in a commentary, “Japan should know well the unabated anti-North Korea smear campaign over the ‘issue of kidnapping’ may block the channel of dialogue arranged with so much effort. This is nothing but their ulterior political intrigue to isolate and stifle North Korea.”

5. ROK-DPRK Talks

Reuters (Jean Yoon, “SEOUL EYEING N.KOREA SUMMIT AS U.S. BACKS TRIP,” Seoul, 1/31/00) reported that analysts said on Monday that the ROK is expected to step up its pursuit of a summit with the DPRK after US plans to host a visit by a high-ranking official from the DPRK. Analysts said that more details on ROK plans were likely after talks with emissaries from the US and Japan met in Seoul on February 1. A ministry spokesman said that a joint statement is scheduled after ROK Deputy Foreign Minister Jang Jai-ryong meets US State Department counselor Wendy Sherman and Japan’s Deputy Vice-Foreign Minister Yukio Takeuchi. Chang Dal-jung, professor of political science at Seoul National University, said, “with the upcoming talks in Washington, Seoul is likely to pursue a more aggressive engagement policy with Pyongyang with a presidential summit as their ultimate goal. Seoul will offer carrots such as economic assistance to the impoverished North, hoping to set the stage for the summit.” Analysts said that the ROK’s bid for better relations with the DPRK would get a further boost from Japan’s efforts to start normalization talks with the DPRK. The Korea Herald newspaper said in its editorial on Monday, “all these positive developments are sure to contribute to the sustaining of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. They also are in lock step with the policy of our government to actively engage Pyongyang through reconciliatory policies.”

6. Taiwan Military Purchases

Agence France Presse (“TAIWAN SEEKING LONG-RANGE RADAR,” Taipei, 1/31/00) and Reuters (“TAIWAN SEEKS LONG-RANGE U.S. RADAR SYSTEM,” Taipei, 1/31/00) reported that the China Times said that Taiwan hopes to buy long-range warning radar systems, three more batteries of anti-missile Patriot systems, and Aegis-class guided missile destroyers from the US to boost its air defenses. The paper said that millions of dollars have been budgeted for the radar systems, but Taiwan was still waiting for the final agreement on the proposed purchases. The report also said that the US was expected to authorize the sales of the radar along with the Patriot systems in April’s bilateral military meeting, but the US may reduce the radar’s search range of 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) under pressure from the PRC. The paper said US authorities were still debating whether to sell the Aegis destroyers, which are capable of blocking missiles launched from the PRC. The paper cited military sources as saying that if the US rejects the purchase, it would mean that Taiwan would be shut out of the regional security mechanism.

Reuters (“TAIWAN PLANS TO BUY MORE PATRIOT MISSILES,” Taipei, 1/30/00) reported that the Taiwanese defense ministry said on January 29 that Taiwan plans to expand its US-made Patriot missile arsenal to protect the island’s central and southern regions from the PRC. A ministry spokesman said that the Taiwanese Cabinet is expected to seek approval for the proposal in the next session of the Legislative Yuan, due to begin from February 18. The spokesman said, “Chinese communists’ biggest threat to us is their missile attack, so we urgently need more Patriot missile systems to protect us. But it’s only a proposal, which still needs parliament’s approval. Moreover, whether the United States will agree to sell them to us remains unknown.” The spokesman added that the ministry’s research unit also plans to speed up development of a new anti-missile system.

7. Cross-Straits Relations

Agence France Presse (“AFTER THREATS OF WAR, CHINA URGES PEACEFUL REUNIFICATION WITH TAIWAN,” Beijing, 1/30/00) reported that an editorial in the PRC’s official People’s Daily on January 30 called on Taiwan to strengthen cooperation and trade with the PRC and urged for peaceful reunification. The editorial said, “the sincerity of China’s government and Communist Party in striving for the peaceful unification of the country has been constant and has not changed. We can continue discussions and talk about any problem. We can talk about formally ending the state of (cross-strait) opposition.” The paper said that the smooth return of Hong Kong in 1997 and Macao last year under the “One Country, Two Systems” formula proved that Taiwan could also successfully rejoin the mainland under the formula. The editorial also called for increased exchanges of personnel and trade.

8. Taiwan Election

Agence France Presse (“TAIWAN PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL GUARANTEES NO INDEPENDENCE,” Taipei, 1/30/00) reported that Taiwan presidential hopeful Chen Shui-bian promised on January 30 not to push for Taiwanese independence. Chen said, “unless Beijing uses force, the Democratic Progressive Party, if elected to rule the country, would by no means unilaterally announce independence. Nor would we press for any referendum on unification or independence of Taiwan as long as China shuns using force.” Chen’s statement altered the opposition party’s official line. Unlike the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), Chen said, “as long as the principles of parity and peaceful means are ensured, the two sides could negotiate on any agenda. We would like to keep the negotiation agenda open; for instance what is the content of ‘one-China’?”

9. PRC-US Military Relations

The Los Angeles Times (Tyler Marshall, “U.S., CHINESE MILITARIES TO RESUME HIGH-LEVEL CONTACTS,” Washington, 1/29/00) reported that in response to an invitation from PRC Lieutenant General Xiong Guangkai, the US will send Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and the commander in chief of the US Pacific Command, Admiral Dennis Cutler Blair, to the PRC in coming months. Regarding the US-PRC military exchanges last week, an anonymous senior US Defense Department official said, “in terms of toughness, we had our most intense moments on TMD and Taiwan in general.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for January 31, 2000.]

10. Alleged PRC Nuclear Espionage

Reuters (“CHINA DENIES CANADA NUCLEAR THEFT ALLEGATION,” Beijing, 1/31/00) reported that the PRC on Monday dismissed a Canadian newspaper report that PRC spies stole Canada’s nuclear secrets to build an illegal copy of a research reactor that the PRC is now marketing around the world. The China Daily accused the Toronto Globe and Mail of “rumor-mongering and having a lack of respect for facts” in its January 24 report that the PRC used Canadian nuclear secrets stolen over a 20-year period to create a knock-off of the reactor. The paper quoted Chinese scientists as denying that the PRC’s Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) was a clone of the Canadian Slowpoke reactor. Chen Shuping, director of the Reactor Engineering and Technology Department of the China Atomic Energy Institute, said, “MNSR is the achievement of Chinese scientists.” Chen dismissed the similarities between the two reactors cited in the article, saying, “every car has four wheels. The similar looks of reactors demonstrate nothing.” Chen told the China Daily that the PRC never sent anyone to observe the Slowpoke reactor during the development of the MNSR.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK-US Talks

Chosun Ilbo (Lee Ha-won, “US-NK AGREE ON HIGH LEVEL TALKS,” Berlin, 01/31/00) and The Korea Times (“HIGH-LEVEL TALKS BETWEEN US, N.KOREA ANNOUNCED,” Seoul, 01/31/00) reported that diplomats from the US and the DPRK agreed on January 29 in Berlin to start high-level talks in Washington in March. Han Seong-yul of the DPRK delegation said that there had been discussion on bilateral issues, including a DPRK high-level representatives’ visit to the US, and that substantial progress was made at the sixth working-level contacts. A US official at the meeting backed Han’s statement by saying that the meeting was constructive and substantial progress was made. An official announcement is expected to be made soon after each delegation reports the result of the meeting to its government.

2. DPRK-Japan Relations

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, “IMPROVING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN N.K., U.S., JAPAN GAINS MOMENTUM,” Seoul, 01/31/00) and The Korea Times (Son Key-young, “NK, JAPAN TO HOLD NORMALIZATION TALKS IN MARCH,” Seoul, 01/31/00) reported that Japan and the DPRK are moving to resume normalization talks in Pyongyang in April. A Japanese newspaper said on January 30 that the Japanese government is planning to provide 100,000 tons of food aid to the DPRK in March to create a favorable atmosphere ahead of the normalization talks.

3. DPRK-France Relations

The Korea Herald (“FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRY GROUP TO VISIT N. KOREA TOMORROW,” Seoul, 01/31/00) and The Korea Times (“FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRY DELEGATION TO VISIT PYONGYANG TOMORROW, Seoul, 01/30/00) reported that an ROK government official said on January 30 that a working delegation from the French Foreign Ministry would fly to the DPRK Tuesday to discuss ways to improve bilateral relations. The official said, “four French officials, including a ministry official in charge of North Korean affairs and an official at the French Embassy in Seoul, will make a five-day trip to the North beginning Tuesday.” The delegation will meet with DPRK officials, including Kim Chun-guk, director of the Foreign Ministry’s European Affairs Department, to exchange opinions on issues of mutual interest such as the improvement of bilateral ties and food aid.

4. ROK POWs in DPRK

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, “GOV’T SAYS 268 SOUTH KOREAN POWS PRESUMED ALIVE IN NORTH,” Seoul, 01/29/00) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said on January 29 that the government has secured a list of 268 ROK soldiers captured during the 1950-53 Korean War and presumed still alive in the DPRK. The list, compiled from the testimony of returned prisoners or defectors from the DPRK, contains 24 more names than appeared on a list released by the ministry last April. Kim Jeong-gi, chief of the ministry’s inter-Korean negotiations division, said, “the hike in the number of prisoners of war (POWs) is a result of the testimony of former POW Park Hong-kil, who escaped from the Stalinist North and returned to the South last November.” Since 1994, eight ROK POWs have escaped from the DPRK and made their way back to the ROK, the ministry said. Kim continued, “we are now in the process of determining the whereabouts of the listed POWs’ relatives in the South and seeking various ways of bringing them home.” To discuss concrete measures related to repatriation, Kim said that the government convened a meeting of the intergovernmental POW Committee on January 29.

5. ROK-DPRK Economic Cooperation

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Si-rae, “HYUNDAI HONORARY CHAIRMAN SEEKS ANOTHER MEETING WITH NK LEADER,” Seoul, 01/31/00) reported that Hyundai Group Honorary Chairman Chung Ju-young has requested a meeting with Kim Jong-il, leader of the DPRK. A high-ranking official at the conglomerate said that Chung’s visit to DPRK could smooth the way for the realization of the conglomerate’s project to build a West Sea Industrial Complex in DPRK, which has so far made no progress.

6. ROK-Russia on DPRK Defectors

Chosun Ilbo (Lee Ha-won, “FOREIGN MINISTER ASKS RUSSIA ON SAFETY OF 7 DEFECTORS,” Seoul, 01/31/00) reported that ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) Lee Joung-binn asked Russian ambassador Evgeny V. Afanasiev to inquire on the safety of seven DPRK refugees deported back to the DPRK. While expressing regret at the incident, Lee said that it would not affect relations between the ROK and Russia.

7. Book on DPRK Human Rights

Chosun Ilbo (Jung Kwon-hyun, “BOOK ON LACK OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN NK PUBLISHED,” Seoul, 01/30/00) and The Korea Times (“HWANG JANG-YOP ISSUES BOOK ON NK HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE,” 01/30/00) reported that Hwang Jang-yop, the former secretary of the DPRK Workers’ Party who defected to the ROK in February 1997, has published a book dealing with human rights issues in the DPRK. In the book, Hwang says that over 1.5 million have died of starvation from 1995 to the end of 1996, and 1 million deaths occurred due to famines each year in 1997 and 1998. Hwang also stated that in 1996 he heard rumors of human flesh being sold for consumption and that he personally confirmed one such case. He stressed the seriousness of the food shortages by pointing out that over 100,000 people have crossed the DPRK-PRC border.

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

Kim Hee-sun: khs688@hotmail.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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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

Leanne Paton: anjlcake@webtime.com.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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