NAPSNet Daily Report 31 January, 2001

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 31 January, 2001", NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-31-january-2001/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US Policy toward DPRK
2. US-Japan Relations
3. South China Seas Dispute
II. Republic of Korea 1. Kim Jong-il’s Visit to ROK
2. Kim Jong Il’s Visit to Moscow
3. ROK View on DPRK
4. Red Cross Talks
5. US Policy towards DPRK
6. US-ROK Security Consultation
III. Russian Federation 1. ROK-DPRK Family Reunions
2. RF-Japan Summit Postponed
3. RF Media on South Kurils
4. PRC Domestic Dissent
5. RF-US Fishing Agreement

I. United States

1. US Policy toward DPRK

Reuters (“NEW BUSH TEAM TO SUPPORT S.KOREA ‘SUNSHINE POLICY’,” Seoul, 1/31/01) reported that US ambassador to the ROK Stephen Bosworth said on Wednesday that the administration of President George W. Bush will support ROK President Kim Dae-jung’s “sunshine policy” of engagement with the DPRK. Bosworth stated, “U.S. support will continue to be strong notwithstanding the change of administration. I’m confident those policies are very compatible with those of South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.” Bosworth said that the fledgling business ties between the DPRK and the ROK require hefty investment from the ROK. Bosworth said, “We’re not contemplating rapid reunification, but reconciliation over a long period of time. South Korea is paying for reunification on the installment plan. This means the South Korean economy itself must be strong, transparent and market based. The costs of reconciliation and eventual reunification cannot come from national savings, but must come from the balance sheets of government and companies and rely on international capital.” Bosworth said that the DPRK’s current course of engagement is “not irreversible,” but the longer the engagement process goes on, the harder it will be for the DPRK to turn back. He noted that a key test case is a planned industrial complex in Kaesong near the DMZ.

The Asian Wall Street Journal published an editorial (“SHOCKED PYONGYANG,” 1/31/01) which said that the DPRK’s reactions to remarks made by US Secretary of State Colin Powell reflect its defensiveness toward the tougher stance it’s likely to encounter from the George W. Bush administration. The article stated, “Among true statesmen words mean something, and with Bill Clinton’s exit, the days when Kim Jong Il could make and break agreements with impunity are likely over. So while many of Mr. Kim’s appeasers are taking heart that the new administration has affirmed its support of existing U.S. policy, that in itself would be a significant departure from Mr. Clinton’s practice of caving to Pyongyang’s extortion.” The article quoted ROK Representative Lee Bu-young, a vice president of the opposition Grand National Party, as saying, “[US Secretary of Defense] Richard Armitage told me that the Bush administration will never give a ‘penny’ of economic aid to North Korea if Pyongyang does not secure transparency in its production and export of missiles.” It also cited an unnamed ROK government official as saying that Armitage urged the ROK to use the term “engagement policy” rather than “Sunshine Policy” in its dealings with the DPRK. The editorial argued, “the former implies reciprocity and consistency; the latter, indulgence and leniency. One relies on concrete actions; the other, symbolic gestures.” Pointing to the reunion of separated families as an example of such gestures, the article stated, “It does nothing to alleviate the crippling deprivation visited upon North Koreans by their own government; nor does it speak to Pyongyang’s seriousness in getting out of the drug- and weapons-peddling business.” It concluded, “Until the North takes concrete steps to address these concerns, we have a feeling Pyongyang is in store for even greater shocks from Mr. Powell.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for January 31, 2001.]

2. US-Japan Relations

The Christian Science Monitor (Ilene R. Prusher, “BUSH DRAWS US CLOSER TO JAPAN,” Tokyo, 1/31/01) reported that the new administration of U.S. President George W. Bush largely sees the world in terms of threats posed to US interests and opportunities to minimize those threats while strengthening alliances. Yasuhisa Kawamura, the director of the international press division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the administration’s decision to make Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono the first foreign minister to visit the new State Department “signifies the Bush administration’s decision to place priority on Japan-US relations. Mr. [Secretary of State Colin] Powell said the alliance with Japan is the cornerstone of US-East Asian policy, and this is really substantiated.” However, even experts in Japan expressed concern that the Bush administration not appear overly tough on the PRC and favorable to Japan. Masahi Nishihara, the president of the National Defense Academy in Yokosuka said, “Bush is nominating many pro- Japanese men, and we get the impression that the new administration will be looking favorably at Japan. They should appoint some China experts as well.” Nishihara added, however, “Perhaps Bush will be a little harsher toward China than Japan, but they will also expect Japan to do more. And in our surrounding area, I think we should play a much larger, much more important role.” Regarding the DPRK, Japanese officials said that Powell suggested that he would proceed more cautiously with the DPRK than the Clinton administration had. Kyongsoo Lho, professor of international politics at Seoul National University said, “We’ve had three years of offering the benefit of the doubt to North Korea, and after exploring positions and building political confidence, now it’s time for North Korea to start implementing.” [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for January 31, 2001.]

3. South China Seas Dispute

Agence France Presse (“PHILIPPINE MILITARY, CHINESE FISHING BOATS IN SOUTH CHINA SEA STANDOFF,” Manila, 1/31/01) reported that the Philippine foreign department said on Wednesday that Philippine navy ships and aircraft are engaged in a tense standoff with a group of PRC fishing vessels near the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. The PRC embassy in Manila has asked the Philippine government to withdraw the military vessels and reconnaissance aircraft, but acting Foreign Secretary Lauro Baja said he refused. Baja said that the navy has agreed not to board the ships or arrest the crewmen but warned that this could change depending on “further developments.” Philippine patrol craft saw four PRC vessels anchored on the shoal on January 15. Baja said the sighting prompted the Philippine military to dispatch air force planes and naval vessels to try to scare them away. However, he continued, the Chinese refused to move and instead complained to their authorities that the Philippine military was harassing them. PRC embassy spokeswoman Ingrid Wang said that mission officials were aware of the situation and were “paying attention to our fishermen” but would not confirm that the embassy asked Manila to withdraw its ships.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Kim Jong-il’s Visit to ROK

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, “N. KOREAN LEADER TO VISIT SEOUL IN MARCH OR APRIL,” Seoul, 01/31/01) reported that the ROK expects that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il will visit Seoul in late March or early April, Vice Minister of Unification Yang Young-shik said Tuesday. A senior presidential aide said recently that Kim Jong-il’s visit to the PRC is an indication that he would come to Seoul in the near future. Kim Jong-il wants to accelerate the change to the path of reform with an early visit to the ROK, the official said.

2. Kim Jong Il’s Visit to Moscow

Chosun Ilbo (“KIM JONG IL RUMORED TO VISIT MOSCOW,” Seoul, 01/31/01) reported that rumors began to circulate in diplomatic circles in Moscow on Tuesday that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin there prior to the latter’s visit to Seoul. These started on January 18 when a high-ranking Russian official announced that Kim was not going to Russia directly after his visit to the PRC, but would almost definitely visit in February. Kremlin sources said that Putin wants to confer with Kim before the Russian president holds summit talks with ROK President Kim Dae-jung in Seoul. In related news, Putin is going to visit Seoul on February 27 and 28 although no official announcement has been made.

3. ROK View on DPRK

The Korea Herald (“AMB. HONG QUESTIONS N.K.’S ADOPTION OF CHINESE-STYLE REFORM,” Seoul, 01/31/01) reported that ROK Ambassador to the PRC Hong Soon-young on Tuesday cast doubt over whether the DPRK will promote a PRC-style economic reform to revive its economy. “North Korea will go their own way in pursuing reform and openness,” Hong said in a meeting with the press. The DPRK government is expected to set the direction of its reform and openness program soon, the ambassador added. Hong indirectly dismissed some news reports that Kim had consulted with PRC leaders on establishing special economic zones in Shinuiju and Kaesong. “China did not recommend that North Korea implement reforms during Kim’s visit in accordance with its principle of noninterference of internal affairs of foreign countries and respect for their sovereignty,” Hong said. He also stressed the need to maintain close relations between the ROK and the PRC, saying that the PRC’s support for the ROK engagement policy toward the DPRK is crucial for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

4. Red Cross Talks

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, “REUNION SITE NOT YET AGREED,” Seoul, 01/31/01) reported that chief delegates to the third inter-Korean Red Cross talks on Tuesday could not reach an agreement on the location of a reunion center. The ROK wants to set up the center at Panmunjom, but the DPRK is adamant about establishing it at Mt. Kumgang. Lee Byung-woong, chief delegate for the ROK Red Cross, proposed, “If the North agrees to Panmunjom, we could then build a second meeting place at Mt. Kumgang.” DPRK’s chief delegate Kim Kyong-rak said, however, “The permanent meeting place should be built at Mt. Kumgang.” Some experts said that the DPRK is insisting on Mt. Kumgang because it would then be easier to control the families and would boost Hyundai’s tourism project there. The DPRK asked that the two sides discuss the expansion of the search for members of divided families sometime after the first correspondence exchanges take place in March. The ROK wants the search expanded to enable more people to exchange mail and to speed up the process of holding temporary reunions. The DPRK also reportedly requested the return of more unconverted long-term DPRK prisoners still held in the ROK. The delegations will wrap up the talks on Wednesday, presenting the agenda agreed to for the third temporary reunion of split families, to be held from February 26-28, and the exchange of mail to take place on March 15. Some observers said the talks may be extended because of the reunion center issue.

5. US Policy towards DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (Ju Yong-jung, “BUSH EXPECTED TO DRAFT NEW NK POLICY,” Seoul, 01/30/01) reported that US President George W Bush has initiated action to establish a new DPRK policy and is re-examining that made by the former Clinton Administration. The US Council on Foreign Relations announced Monday (EST) that it will summon its DPRK Task Force Team within the week to begin the compilation of information for a Policy Report that will be submitted to the Bush Administration. The task force team is co-chaired by former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Morton Abramowitz and former US Ambassador to Korea James Laney, and is formed of about twenty experts on Korea. A CFR source said that the team will visit Seoul in March to conduct field investigations for the report and that officials of the US Department of State, Department of Defense, and National Security Council members will participate as observers. The Korean experts from Washington’s various think thanks have started writing a report on DPRK policy for the Bush Administration and it is estimated the new US government will soon reveal a concrete policy underlying the strict mutualism based on a realistic approach that Secretary of State Colin Powell stated at a recent Senate hearing.

6. US-ROK Security Consultation

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, “KOREA, U.S. TO CONSULT REGULARLY ON SECURITY,” 1/31/01) reported that a ranking ROK Defense Ministry official said on January 30 that the ROK and the US have agreed to hold their security consultative meetings more frequently starting next month. He said, “We have agreed to hold the four-party security consultative meeting every month starting next month to maintain close contact in exchanging security and military information with the newly inaugurated Bush administration.” The four-way meetings between ROK Foreign Minister Lee Joung-binn, Defense Minister Cho Seung-tae, US Ambassador to the ROK Stephen Bosworth and commander of US Forces Korea (USFK) Thomas Schwartz have been held on an irregular basis until now. The official also said that the inauguration of the US President George W. Bush Administration necessitated more regular contact between the two sides for closer coordination and cooperation. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for January 31, 2001.]

III. Russian Federation

1. ROK-DPRK Family Reunions

Nezavisimaya gazeta’s Ye.Sh. (“DPRK AND ROK HOLD TALKS ON RE- UNIFICATION OF FAMILIES,” Moscow, 6, 01/30/01) reported that talks began in the DPRK’s Mt. Kumgang between Red Cross societies of the DPRK and the ROK to ensure meetings without obstacles during 2001 between members of divided families. The delegations are to discuss the venue for the reunions in some near-border area and solve the issue of correspondence between relatives.

2. RF-Japan Summit Postponed

Segodnya’s Aleksandr Chudodeyev (“MOSCOW HAS GOT NOTHING TO TELL TOKYO,” Moscow, 2, 01/31/01) reported that, according to all leading Japanese news agencies, Japan decided “to postpone for the time being” the summit between RF President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Premier Yoshiro Mori in Irkutsk due to discords concerning the South Kurils issue. Now Japan is suggesting to hold the summit in late May, although the RF suggested late March.

Vasiliy Golovnin of Izvestia (“ALL OF A SUDDEN,” Tokyo, 7, 01/31/01) reported that Japan’s decision to postpone the RF-Japan summit till late spring, if not later, had as its pretext the failure of Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono’s visit to RF on January 15-17. Kono returned to Tokyo, as a witness said, obviously “beyond himself,” because he “lost his face” due to the fact that RF officials refused to confirm his statement concerning the date of the summit. Knowledgeable people at the Japanese Foreign Ministry admit that the matter concerns cultural differences, as “Russians always take the date arrangements very lightly and postpone planned meeting with no remorse, without thinking of insulting somebody.” Some experts believe that Kono was also guilty of “too actively attacking” RF Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on the territorial issue, while the latter had “neither desire, nor, evidently, authority” to discuss it. Besides, Kono is suffering the implications of an unprecedented scandal in Japan’s Foreign Ministry, as it has become known that for many years millions of US dollars intended for trips and representation activities have been stolen from there. The Japanese parliamentary opposition already is calling for his resignation, which makes Kono show his toughness toward the RF, which “dared to humiliate Japan.”

3. RF Media on South Kurils

Zavtra’s Igor Latyshev (“THE SILENCE OF HAKAMADAS,” Moscow, 6, January, 2001, 4(373)) made a half-page commentary to “a voluminous book” titled “The Landmarks on the Road toward Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Japan and Russia: 88 questions from Russia’ citizens.” Zavtra’s author reported that “a whole number of publishing agencies specially created by the Japanese to render constant ideological pressure on our public have been active in Moscow and other cities.” As for “The Landmarks,” its authors claim that before the Second World War the four isles “have never been incorporated to the Russian territories,” that “Yalta agreements cannot be legally valid from the viewpoint of international law … being just an exchange of opinions between the leaders of the US, Great Britain and the USSR” in 1945, moreover, that the decisions made in Yalta were “unlawful,” because there was no Japanese representative present and that by occupying the isles “Russia could not but drop down the banner of justice,” therefore it lacks the qualities required of a member of the [anti-Axis] coalition member countries.” Zavtra’s author, on the contrary, recalled that “Russian explorers” studied the isles in detail in 1738-1739, 40 years before the first Japanese arrived there, and official maps of the Russian Empire indicated all four isles as its own in 1796. Only several years later “Samurai detachments … forcefully pushed our compatriots from there.” Zavtra’s author argued that up till the early 1950s “all Japanese maps indicated the whole chain of Kuril Islands with a word ‘Tisima’,” and only later did Japan started claiming that the four isles geographically belonged not to the Kurils, but to Hokkaido. Zavtra’s author sharply criticized former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev and former RF President Boris Yeltsin who, as “The Landmarks… ” put it, “step by step were going to meet Japan’s demands,” and even former RF Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov whose program was a most important step toward the departure of South Kurils, because, also in the words of “The Landmarks…,” “as a result of joint economic development under Japan’s leadership and in connection with the growth of its economic might the Northern islands of Habomai, Shikotan, Kunashir and Iturup gradually will cease to be different from Japan’s territory. Then at a certain moment those islands become a territory of Japan” (p.101). Zavtra’s author concluded that the book was “just a single most illustrious example of how our compatriots paid with Japanese money disseminate knowingly anti- Russian propaganda.”

4. PRC Domestic Dissent

Segodnya’s Natalia Roslova (“A SELF-BURN ATTEMPT IN THE CENTER OF BEIJING,” Moscow, 4, 01/25/01) reported that five followers of the “Falun Gong” religious sect that was officially banned in 1999 attempted a collective self-immolation in Tianganmen Square in Beijing. One of those died, the others got burns of various severity. Falun Gong representatives in Hong Kong and New York, where its headquarters is situated, doubted that those belonged to their organization, as its tenets forbid both homicide and suicide.

5. RF-US Fishing Agreement

Nils Iogansen of Izvestia (“LEFT SHORE, RIGHT SHORE,” Moscow, 6, 01/25/01) reported that that negotiations within the framework of the RF-US Commission on Fish Resources in the Bering Sea was a success. At its session in Seattle, the US agreed to grant RF fishermen a free-of-charge quota to catch a large amount of pollock in the US coastal area. That “to some extent solved the problem of discrimination against Russian fishermen who have been fishing in those waters for over two centuries” and “to a large degree will remove the acuteness of the problem of demarcation line dividing the Bering Sea into RF and US zones.” The agreement concerning the latter has been “suspended in the air for 13 years, as the RF parliament still has not ratified it.” In Seattle, the RF delegation used the argument of “a possibility to dispute the treaty.” In the RF, the most radical public figures believe that in 1988 “America was given the best maritime areas and the situation should be re-played ‘to the contrary’.”

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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin: icipu@glas.apc.org
Moscow, Russian Federation

Yunxia Cao: yule111@sina.com
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

John McKay: John.McKay@adm.monash.edu.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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