NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, february 4, 2000

I. United States

II. Japan

South Asian Nuclear Dialogue

Nuclear Policy Project Flash

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I. United States

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1. DPRK Energy Shortage

The Washington Times (David Jones, "NORTH KOREA MAY REOPEN NUKE REACTOR," Pyongyang, 02/04/00, 1) reported that DPRK Vice Premier Jo Chang-dok said Thursday that the DPRK is undergoing an unprecedented electricity shortage, due to the delay in the building of two light-water reactors. Jo said that the shortages kept the government "from meeting the growing need in all sectors of the economy, heavily hampering production and construction." The article cited unnamed visitors to Pyongyang this week as noticing frequent power outages lasting as long as four hours. It quoted "regular visitors" as saying that the blackouts were worse than they have seen in the past. An unnamed foreign resident in Pyongyang said that the blackouts have been continuing at least since early January and might be even worse in the countryside. The resident added, "the number of power cuts during January, February and March last year was very few indeed." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of State's Early Bird news service for February 4.]

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2. Remains of US Soldiers from Korean War

The Associated Press (Robert Burns, "COHEN: N. KOREA OKS REMAINS TALKS," Munich, 2/4/00) reported that US Defense Secretary William Cohen said Friday that the DPRK has tentatively agreed to meet with US officials to talk about whether the remains found in the DPRK's land-reclamation project were those of US soldiers killed in the Korean War. Cohen said "they apparently have agreed to discuss the number of remains and the conflict in the accounting, and we would assume there would be a full discussion of returning those remains." Cohen's spokesman Kenneth Bacon said that DPRK officials this week admitted to the US Defense Department that they only had two sets of remains in their possession. Bacon said their reference to 400 bodies apparently reflects an earlier US estimate of how many US soldiers were killed on the battlefields in the area of the DPRK near Unsan, where the two remains were found. Li Gun, a deputy representative at North Korean's mission to the United Nations, told the Associated Press Friday that the actual number of war remains in the possession of the Korean People's Army is 405. Li said in a telephone interview that the number was revised to 405 from an earlier estimate of 415 due to a "technical mistake" which he did not explain. Li insisted that the US Defense Department was wrong in saying that the DPRK had admitted to having only two remains.

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3. Kazakhstan Fighter Sales to DPRK

Reuters ("TOP KAZAKH OFFICER CLEARED IN NORTH KOREA MIG CASE," Almaty, 2/4/00) reported that a Kazakh court acquitted top military official Bakhytzhan Yertayev on Friday from the charge of the illegal sale of MiG- 21 fighter aircraft to the DPRK last year. However, analysts and politicians said that the court's decision to acquit Yertayev leaves the question of responsibility open. Kazakh Deputy Serik Abrakhmanov told Reuters that he would be raising the issue of the MiG sales in parliament next week. Abrakhmanov said, "we want to get to the truth about where the MiGs went, where the money went and why this happened."

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4. US-ROK Missile Talks

US State Department Deputy Spokesman James Foley ("US STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING," 02/04/00) said that the US and the ROK will meet in Hawaii on February 8-9 to discuss issues related to the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. The US delegation will be led by Assistant Secretary Robert Einhorn and the ROK delegation will be lead by Director General Song Min-sun of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foley said, "we expect the two sides will discuss a full range of nonproliferation issues including technical missile issues following on from the last round of nonproliferation talks in November. I can tell you that in the context of our very close relationship with the Republic of Korea, we regularly consult on the best means of insuring adequate deterrent capabilities on the Korean peninsula. In this connection, we share the Republic of Korea's concerns about the threat posed by North Korea's missile activities."

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5. Japan-Taiwan Relations

The Strait Times ("CHINA TELLS JAPAN NOT TO ALLOW A LEE VISIT," Beijing, 2/4/00) reported that the PRC on February 3 warned Japan that it would strongly object to any visit by Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui to Japan. PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said, "in whatever capacity and in whatever form, Lee Teng-hui's visit to Japan would constitute a serious political situation and the Chinese government is strongly opposed to that." Press reports in Japan had speculated that Lee could visit Japan after the March 18 presidential election.

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6. US Legislation on Taiwan

The Associated Press ("CHINA'S MILITARY WARNS U.S. NOT TO CONFUSE TAIWAN WITH KOSOVO," Beijing, 2/4/00) reported that in response to the US House of Representatives' passage of the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA), a commentary in the newspaper of the People's Liberation Army on Friday warned the US not to confuse the PRC with Yugoslavia and Taiwan with Kosovo. The commentary said that the House's approval of the bill sends "an extremely dangerous signal. [The bill] has exposed a plot by some American forces to use military force to thwart China's ambitions for unification. This doubtlessly is playing with fire. On major principals such as defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Chinese government has never compromised. Its words have always counted. China is not Yugoslavia and Taiwan is not Kosovo."

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7. US Missile Defense

The Associated Press (Robert Burns, "COHEN: MOSCOW MAY EXPLOIT DISPUTE," Munich, 02/04/00) reported that US Defense Secretary William Cohen on Thursday predicted Russia and the PRC are likely to use European doubts about US missile defense a way of dividing the US from its NATO allies. Cohen stated, "I would anticipate that the Russians and Chinese will try to dissuade our European allies from endorsing or embracing the project, to try to find weaknesses and differences of opinion and try to exploit those." He noted, "There is a fear that somehow, if we have a limited system, that might 'decouple' our relationship with Europe." He added that he nonetheless remained hopeful of getting Russia to agree to amend the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of State's Early Bird news service for February 4.]

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8. Spratly Islands Dispute

The Associated Press ("PHILIPPINE NAVY FIRES WARNING SHOTS," Manila, 2/4/00) and Agence France Presse ("CHINA-PHILIPPINE NAVY FIRES WARNING SHOTS TO WARD OFF CHINESE VESSEL," Manila, 2/4/00) reported that officials said Friday that a Philippine navy patrol ship fired three warning shots near two Chinese fishing boats to warn them to leave the Scarborough Shoal. Philippine Vice Admiral Luisito Fernandez said in a report that the two Chinese boats attempted to evade the Philippine patrol ship after they were spotted near late afternoon on February 2. The patrol ship had attempted to contact the boats by radio and signals with lights and a sound system, but received no response. Fernandez said about an hour after the initial sighting, the commanding officer on the Philippine ship "decided to fire a warning shot of three rounds in the opposite direction of the fishing vessels." Fernandez said the fishing boats halted after the shots were fired, and left the area after men on a rubber boat sent from the patrol ship instructed them to leave.

II. Japan

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1. Light-Water Reactor Project

The Asahi Shimbun ("KEDO DIRECTOR GENERAL SAYS THAT KEDO'S RELATIONS WITH DPRK ARE STABLE," 02/03/2000) reported that Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Ichita Yamamoto met with Desaix Anderson, Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) Executive Director, on February 1. Anderson told Yamamoto, "there have been businesslike relations with the DPRK, and they are stable. (The DPRK) once felt threatened by the US and the ROK, but they are more forward-looking because Japan, the US and the ROK have cooperated to promote the light-water reactor project." As for the DPRK's recent diplomatic normalization with Italy and the DPRK's efforts to improve relations with Australia and Philippines, Anderson said, "there may have been some foreign policy decision (on the part of the DPRK) toward openness." Asked about the DPRK's request that the per capita salary of DPRK workers at the light-water reactor construction site be raised, Anderson said, "it is difficult for KEDO (to meet their request), but we will continue to discuss (the issue) with the DPRK."

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2. Japanese Policy toward DRPK

The Sankei Shimbun ("SANKEI INTERVIEW WITH KUNIHIKO MAKITA, FOREIGN MINISTRY ASIAN DIRECTOR," 01/31/2000) reported that regarding Japan's policy toward diplomatic normalization with the DPRK, the Japanese Foreign Ministry's New Asian Director Kunihiko Makita noted that the DPRK is the only neighboring country not to have normal relations with Japan. Makita stated, "We will strive to normalize our diplomatic relations with the DPRK. At the same time, we should consider other issues related to the Korean Peninsula.... I fully understand the feelings of the families of those civilians who were abducted by the DPRK, and we should promote normalization in a way understandable to our people." Questioned whether the resumption of food aid to the DPRK was Japan's bargaining chip, Makita said, "we will consider various elements. We cannot discuss food aid and the abduction issue at the same level. Things are not that simple. We should also consider the visit to Japan by Japanese women married to DPRK men and the missile issue. The DPRK poses a security threat to Japan, and we cannot leave the DPRK in a (difficult) situation. On the other hand, we should also consider those people who are facing a food shortage (in the DPRK) from a humanitarian point of view. We need to consider comprehensively."

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3. Japanese-PRC Relations

The Sankei Shimbun ("SANKEI INTERVIEW WITH KUNIHIKO MAKITA, FOREIGN MINISTRY ASIAN DIRECTOR," 01/31/2000) reported that regarding Japan's relations with the PRC, Japanese Foreign Ministry's New Asian Director Kunihiko Makita said, "the issue of past history is not easy (to solve), but the question is how to keep the issue from becoming worse. I understand the criticism that China specialists at the (Japanese) Foreign Ministry are too soft to the PRC, but nearly 30 years of diplomatic normalization has created an atmosphere in which we (both countries) can say to each other whatever we want to say." Asked about Japan's official development aid (ODA) to the PRC, Makita said, "in the PRC, [the word] 'loan' has a dirty image, and the PRC people have felt it as symbolizing shameful history. That is why they did not say 'thank you' to us before, but nowadays, at the governmental level, they are becoming more aware that Japan is also contributing to their nation-building. However, public relations at the public level are still not enough. Given a concern that Japan's ODA might be used for military purposes, we will ask the PRC government to increase transparency in terms of the use of Japan's ODA."

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4. Japan-Taiwan Relations

The Asahi Shimbun (Hiroyuki Sugiyama, "PRC ASKS JAPAN NOT TO LET LEE TENG HUI VISIT JAPAN AFTER RETIREMENT," 02/04/2000) reported that the PRC government asked the Japanese government on February 3 not to allow Taiwan's leader Lee Teng-hui to privately visit Japan after his retirement from presidency. The PRC government said, "if President Lee entered Japan, PRC-Japanese relations would be destructively undermined. Lee Teng-hui is a dangerous person who is seriously conspiring Taiwan's independence, and even after his retirement, his political influence will remain. The ex-President's visit to Japan could facilitate improvement of Japanese-Taiwanese relations... Lee Teng-hui is popular among many Japanese, and his visit to Japan could create a kind of 'Lee boom.' This would antagonize the PRC." Another announcement from the PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman said on February 3, "we are firmly opposed to Lee's visit to Japan... Even under whatever name his visit to Japan may take place, (Lee's visit to Japan) will invite grave consequences."

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5. Japan's Policy toward India and Pakistan

The Sankei Shimbun ("SANKEI INTERVIEW WITH KUNIHIKO MAKITA, FOREIGN MINISTRY ASIAN DIRECTOR," 01/31/2000) reported that Japanese Foreign Ministry's New Asian Director Kunihiko Makita stated, "Japan will resume economic aid to (India and Pakistan) only when they have signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). We understand that these countries are seriously moving toward signing the treaty. We hope both India and Pakistan understand that signing the treaty will have an (positive) impact on those countries that have not signed the treaty yet."

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
International Policy Studies Institute Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Center for Global Communications, Tokyo, Japan
Center for American Studies,
Fudan University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China
Asian Institute,
Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Gee Gee Wong:
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Leanne Paton:
Clayton, Australia

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