In today’s Report:
I. United States
II. Republic of Korea 03/24/97
III. Russian Federation
1. Hwang Defection
Seth Mydans reported in the New York Times (“REPORTERS HUNT FOR NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR IN PHILIPPINES”, Baguio, Philippines, 3/24/97) that since DPRK defector Hwang Jang-yop arrived in the Philippines Tuesday, the media has been “scrambling in packs” among various cities following “new clues and hunches” in an attempt to locate him and fellow DPRK defector Kim Duk-hong. Officials have refrained from comment given the Philippines’ “delicate” diplomatic role in Hwang’s transfer. Officials appear amused by the press hunt, with Major General Benjamin Libarnes advising reporters that “maybe you are not looking hard enough.”
2. Gore Arrival in China
John King of the Associated Press reported in the Washington Post (“GORE ARRIVES IN CHINA”, Beijing, 3/24/97) and Reuters (“GORE ARRIVES IN CHINA TO DISCUSS HUMAN RIGHTS”, Beijing, 3/24/97) reported on US Vice President Al Gore’s arrival in Beijing Monday. Gore noted his desire “to affirm the vital importance of relations between our nations and to continue building a lasting peace between China and the United States.” He added that “the landscape of US-China relations is filled with many rivers, some flowing together, others apart. Such variety befits the interaction of two great nations and civilizations.” Before departing Tokyo for Beijing, Gore noted that human rights will figure prominently on his agenda as an issue “important to us as Americans.” Gore is the highest-ranking US official to visit China since 1989. He hopes to lay the framework for a Clinton-Jiang summit in Washington later this year.
3. Gingrich Arrival in South Korea
Reuters (“GINGRICH KICKS OFF ASIAN TOUR IN SOUTH KOREA”, Seoul, 3/24/97) reported that US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and eleven other Congressmen arrived in the ROK Monday for a three-day visit. The delegation will focus on bilateral trade issue and the situation in the DPRK. Yonsei University Professor Moon Chung-in noted that Gingrich “has picked the wrong time to come to Korea” given that the ROK “is embroiled in a domestic battle and President Kim Young-sam is entering a lame-duck stage. It’s not a good time to pressure South Korea to open its markets.” The Congressional delegation also will visit China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
4. US Cancellation of Okinawa Drill
The Washington Post carried an Associated Press report (“US DRILL CANCELED IN OKINAWA”, Tokyo, 3/24/97) that US Marines today canceled an “unpopular” four-day live ammunition drill in Okinawa while Vice President Gore met with senior Japanese officials. However, Gore and PM Ryutaro Hashimoto offered “little in statement…to encourage Okinawans” of a reduction in the US presence. Gore noted that the United States “will continue to maintain deployed force levels in East Asia.”
5. China War Games Report
The Washington Post carried an Associated Press report (“REPORT: CHINA PLANNING WAR GAMES”, Taipei, 3/24/97) that the PRC “is threatening to stage a new round of war games” near Taiwan, according to Taiwan’s United Daily News. The Taiwan military reportedly has obtained information that the PRC is planning maneuvers for April, but is waiting to make a final decision while monitoring Taiwan behavior during the visit of the Dalai Lama. Reuters (“DALAI LAMA SAYS TAIWAN TOUR AIDS CHINA TIES”, Taipei, 3/24/97) reported that the Dalai Lama expressed hope that his visit ultimately would generate “positive indications” from the PRC.
1. Hwang Defection
An official with the Philippines’ Intelligence Agency (ISAFP), the agency responsible for Hwang Jang-yop’s security, denied reports of his having to move quarters (Joong Ang Ilbo, “SECRETARY HWANG SPENDS TIME WATCHING CABLE TV,”03/24/97”). He added the provision of security services for Hwang are not especially strenuous: “We are not going out of the way to hide Secretary Hwang, but have about 20 security agents guarding him.” The official also declared that Secretary Hwang’s stay in the Philippines will not exceed a month and added there have been no terrorist threats against Hwang so far. However, the Filipino press reported ISAFP is beefing up coastal area security in preparation for the possible incursion of a submarine from the DPRK. According to the ISAFP, Hwang is mainly spending his time watching cable TV and eating Korean food prepared by a skilled chef. A medical team is on stand-by at all hours for the 74-year-old secretary.
2. US Delegation Arrives in ROK
A US congressional delegation including House Speaker Newt Gingrich arrived here yesterday, while two more major US delegations are due to visit the ROK within the week. (Korea Times, “SPEAKER GINGRICH ARRIVES HERE FOR SECURITY TALKS,” 03/24/97) The DPRK’s volatile situation, caused by food shortages and a prolonged delay in the power succession, will be a key topic of discussion. A second group of six US Congressmen is scheduled to make an inter-Korean visit tomorrow to get information on the North’s current food shortages and discuss ways to step up the U.S. alliance with Seoul. On Friday, U.S. Vice President Al Gore arrives in Seoul along with a 124-member entourage. With a top DPRK communist party officia
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