NAPSNet Daily Report
wednesday, february 23, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. People's Republic of China

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South Asian Nuclear Dialogue

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I. United States

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1. DPRK Energy Shortage

Agence France Presse ("NORTH KOREA HOBBLED BY WORST-EVER POWER SHORTAGE," Seoul, 2/23/00) and the Associated Press (Sang-hun Choe, "N. KOREA POWER SHORTAGE BLAMED ON US," Seoul, 2/23/00) reported that the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Wednesday that the DPRK had been ravaged by its worst-ever energy shortage. The DPRK blamed the problem on natural disasters and a US stranglehold on its nuclear industry. KCNA reported, "never before in the history of Korea has there been such power shortage as today. This is adversely affecting the overall economic life." KCNA said the power shortage had caused "a serious hindrance not only to production and construction but to the normal operation of major related processes. A regular railway transport, heating and lighting as well as agriculture are seriously affected by the shortage." The World Food Program (WFP) said in a recent report published on its website that the DPRK energy situation this winter was "particularly severe" and was caused by a low rainfall triggering "numerous power cuts" in Pyongyang. The WFP said DPRK Nationals in rural areas were "all in pursuit of fuel for cooking and warming their homes. Factories, offices and institutions -- including hospitals -- are not heated. Schools and kindergartens close during this very cold time of the year." KCNA attributed the DPRK's power shortage mainly to the hostile US policy. KCNA reported, "the DPRK's freezing of nuclear-power base construction has brought an enormous loss to it for which the US can hardly compensate with its heavy oil." KCNA also blamed the US for delaying the implementation of the 1994 KEDO project.

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2. US-ROK Policy Consultation

The Office of International Information Programs, US Department of State (James P. Rubin, "US STATE DEPARTMENT DAILY NOON BRIEFING," 2/22/00) reported that State Department Spokesman Jamie Rubin said that a US delegation led by Ambassador Kartman will meet with ROK counterparts in Honolulu, Hawaii from February 21-23 as part of a regular schedule of bilateral consultations. Rubin said, "they will review a wide range of Korean peninsula issues including the recent US-North Korean dialogue, ongoing preparations for a high-level visit and their respective approaches to the four-party talks." No public statements have been released regarding the first day of talks.

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3. Korean War Massacre

The Associated Press ("U.S., S. KOREA TO MEET AGAIN OVER NO GUN RI," Seoul, 2/22/00) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said on February 21 that ROK military officials will arrive in the US on February 22 for a five- day visit to investigate the Nogunri incident. Lieutenant General Kim Jong-hwan, the ROK assistant defense minister for policy and planning, will lead the six-member team. The ministry said the two sides plan to discuss progress in their investigations, share information and jointly interview some of the US veterans who were allegedly involved in the case. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for February 23, 2000.]

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4. PRC White Paper on Taiwan

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, "CHINA TELLS TAIWAN: TALK THE TALK," Beijing, 2/23/00) reported that the PRC's release of its white paper on Taiwan was portrayed in the PRC as a notice to Taiwan's next president that the PRC wants serious talks to take place soon, not as a harbinger of war. A senior PRC government official said, "we want Taiwan to start negotiations. It's that simple. This document was issued to get their attention." The official pointed out that in the section of the white paper that threatens war, the official Chinese version of the text says that the PRC could opt to use force only if Taiwan "indefinitely refuses to resolve the reunification issue by peaceful negotiations." The official said, "notice that there is no timetable in the document, so you shouldn't worry that we are about to invade. We simply are tired of the Taiwanese avoiding the issues." The official added that the white paper was also aimed at warning the US not to interfere in its "internal" business and not to sell weapons to Taiwan. [Ed. note: This article was included as a Top Story in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for February 23, 2000.]

Reuters ("CHINA'S ARMY PAPER HAILS TAIWAN THREAT," Beijing, 2/23/00) reported that the PRC's main army newspaper, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Daily, on Wednesday praised the PRC's call to Taiwan to start reunification talks. The paper quoted military specialists as urging the PRC's 2.5 million soldiers to "contribute to protecting the unity of the motherland." It added, "the 'Three If's' clearly showed the preconditions under which we would be forced to take resolute measures, including use of military force. You could call it showing our hand. We will absolutely not compromise or back down."

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5. US Reaction to PRC White Paper

The Office of International Information Programs, US Department of State (James P. Rubin, "US STATE DEPARTMENT DAILY NOON BRIEFING," 2/22/00) reported that US State Department Spokesman Jamie Rubin said that the US communicated to the PRC government in Beijing and the PRC representative in Washington on February 22 that the US does not condone the PRC's views expressed in its White Paper on Taiwan. Rubin said that the US urged the PRC and Taiwan to "refrain from actions or statements that increase tensions, make dialogue more difficult to achieve and, instead, to take steps that would foster dialogue, reduce tensions and promote mutual understanding. Obviously, it is up to China and Taiwan to determine what is the basis for dialogue, but we certainly have an abiding interest in the peaceful resolution of differences between China and Taiwan." Rubin also said that the US believed that the statements made in the White Paper represented a new formulation of a variety of elements in the PRC's policy, including "their stated interest in peaceful reunification and cross-strait dialogue."

The New York Times (Eric Schmitt, "U.S. REJECTS CHINA'S TAIWAN VIEWS," Washington, 2/23/00) reported that the US Clinton administration and US Congress criticized the PRC on Wednesday for the threat to Taiwan stated in the "The One-China Principal and the Taiwan Issue" White Paper. Senior lawmakers said the PRC statement could increase chances that the US Congress would approve the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act, despite US President Bill Clinton's threat to veto of the bill. US Senator John W. Warner, a Virginia Republican who heads the Armed Services Committee, said he has summoned top US Defense Department experts to testify about the PRC in a closed session on Wednesday. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for February 23, 2000.]

The Washington Post (Steven Mufson and Helen Dewar, "PENTAGON ISSUES WARNING TO CHINA," 2/23/00) reported that Walter B. Slocombe, US undersecretary of defense, said on February 22 that the PRC would face "incalculable consequences" if it followed through on threats to use force against Taiwan. Slocombe said, "it is important for China not to do anything that will add to tension in the Taiwan Strait, and to allow [Taiwan's] elections to go forward and a new government to form its own policy." However, Slocombe said that future US arms sales to Taiwan, would depend on Taiwan's defensive needs. Slocombe said, "we're committed by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself. That relates to what kind of threat Taiwan is facing. The ability of China's military is an important factor in what we decide to sell." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for February 23, 2000.]

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6. Taiwan Reaction to PRC White Paper

The New York Times (Erik Eckholm, "TAIWAN, BRUSHING OFF THREATS, TELLS CHINESE TO BE PRACTICAL," Taipei, 2/22/00) reported that Taiwan responded to the PRC's release of its White Paper by asking the PRC on February 22 to set aside debates over sovereignty and resume talks on economic and political ties to improve relations. Su Chi, chairman of the cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council said, "we call ourselves a sovereign country and if they don't like it, they'll have to live with it. They call us a province and we don't like it, but we live with it. The Taiwan problem is not solvable by force or the threat of force." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for February 23, 2000.]

Agence France Presse ("TAIWAN REFUSES TO BOW TO CHINA'S ULTIMATUM," Taipei, 2/23/00) reported that the Taiwan government on Wednesday refused to respond to threats from the PRC to begin reunification talks. Taiwanese Vice President Lien Chan said that Taiwan should continue to engage in peaceful exchanges with the PRC but would decline to talk under pressure. Lien said, "the two sides have come up with different interpretations of the 'one-China policy'. In the future we can continue negotiations ... but at this point we can only go on in our own way (defining the policy). [However,] the two sides must not stop interactions on a peaceful and mutual benefit basis."

Reuters ("TAIWAN PAPER SAYS CHINA FANS INDEPENDENCE SENTIMENT," Tapei, 2/23/00) reported that Taiwan's United Daily News said on Wednesday that the PRC threat of force against Taiwan has helped fan independence sentiment on the island. The report said, "(Beijing) thinks Taiwan will surrender to its power. It does not understand such threat will be counter-productive. Pressing unification will only push Taiwan toward independence. The Chinese Communists' war of words is the same mistake it made in 1996 when it intended to intimidate Taiwan voters with missiles." The report said the PRC thought it could discourage the Taiwan people from electing pro-independence candidates in the March presidential election by using threats.

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7. Taiwan Military Purchases

South China Morning Post ("ISLAND TO GO AHEAD WITH MILITARY UPGRADE," 2/23/00) reported that the Taiwanese state radio said on February 22 that Taiwan will press ahead with plans to build up its military. The report said Taiwan still planned to take delivery of 728 US-made Avenger missiles and 61 launchers in the next week. The arms shipment was agreed in 1998 and is worth an estimated US$180 million. The report also said Taiwan would add 460 Stinger shoulder-launched missiles before the end of the year. Taiwan Defense Ministry spokesman Kung Fan- ding said Taiwan would "keep beefing up" its military capability regardless of developments in cross-strait relations. Kung said, "the military promises to guarantee national security by strength." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for February 23, 2000.]

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8. PRC View of US Missile Defense

Agence France Presse ("CHINA URGES U.S. NOT TO DEPLOY MISSILE DEFENSE," Washington, 2/23/00) reported that the PRC called on the US to halt anti-ballistic missile tests and to end plans for national or regional missile defense systems during two day talks with US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said on February 22 that the PRC asked the US not to "conduct tests or deploy the National Missile Defense plan (NMD), which would destroy stability." Zhu said that PRC foreign ministry officials said that the PRC rejected US arguments for an NMD and told the visiting US officials that the systems would harm the global strategic balance and threaten regional security. Zhu said, "such an excuse stands on no ground. We hope the U.S. side will give more consideration to the political and strategic price of the NMD plan."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK-KEDO Meeting

The Korea Herald ("KEDO, N.K. TO HOLD EXPERT MEETING ON REACTOR CONSTRUCTION," Seoul, 02/23/00) reported that the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and the DPRK on February 22 opened a four-day, high-level expert meeting on the light-water reactor project. The Office of Planning for the Light-Water Reactor Project said that a delegation including the deputy director general of the office entered the DPRK via Beijing earlier in the day to attend the meeting, which was held at a hotel in Hyangsan, North Pyongan Province. An official said, "in the meeting, participants will consult one another on potential problems in the light-water reactor construction process, as this is the first meeting since construction began."

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2. DPRK Defectors

Chosun Ilbo (Park Jong-hoon, "ONE OF SEVEN NK REFUGEES ESCAPES: DAILY," Tokyo, 02/22/00) reported that a Korean language newspaper published in Japan, the Unification Daily, reported on Tuesday that one of the seven DPRK refugees deported from the PRC back to the DPRK on January 12 has escaped and is in hiding in Yanbian. It added that the PRC had arrested several ethnic Korean-Chinese citizens and a missionary who had helped the fugitive. Citing testimony from people who aid DPRK defectors in the PRC, the newspaper said that the refugee successfully evaded DPRK guards during a prisoner transfer and was now under protection in the PRC. The PRC is said to have mobilized 1,000 security personnel, alongside DPRK agents, to look for defectors. Aid for defectors has been temporarily paralyzed by the move. An official from the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade refused to comment on the report.

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3. Abduction of ROK Pastor in 1995

The Korea Herald ("N.K. AGENTS BEHIND 1995 ABDUCTION OF CHRISTIAN PASTOR IN JILIN," Seoul, 02/23/00) reported that the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported that DPRK agents and pro-DPRK ethnic Koreans were behind the abduction of Reverend An Sung-woon in Jilin, PRC, in July 1995. A DPRK agent operating in the PRC who recently expressed his desire to defect to the ROK, identified only as Mr. H, 31, said that Reverend An was abducted by DPRK agents. Mr. H said the DPRK considered Reverend An "a dangerous person" because of his missionary activities. Mr. H said that the DPRK employed three agents and two pro-DPRK ethnic Koreans in Jilin Province to bring An back to the DPRK.

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4. Attempted Defection of ROK Tourist

The Korea Herald ("MT. KUMGANG TOURIST FREE AFTER QUESTIONING ON DEFECTION ATTEMPT," Seoul, 02/23/00) reported that the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) returned a woman to her family on February 21 after her attempt to defect to the DPRK while touring Mount Kumgang. She was diagnosed as mentally ill. The NIS arrested Cho Byong-suk, 53, from Kimpo, Kyonggi Province, immediately upon her arrival at the port of Tonghae on February 20, on suspicion of violating the National Security Law by attempting to defect to the DPRK. The NIS said on February 21 that Cho told a DPRK guide during her tour of Mount Kumgang that she would like to live there and got on a DPRK bus at Onjong-ri. DPRK officials handed her over to Hyundai who sent her back to Tonghae by boat.

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5. Mount Kumgang Tour

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "AWAITING N.K. APPROVAL, HYUNDAI MULLING EXPANSION OF KUMGANG TOUR," Seoul, 02/23/00) reported that ROK officials said the Hyundai Group wanted to drastically expand its tour business in the DPRK's Mount Kumgang by attempting to attract more foreigners, but the DPRK is less than enthusiastic about a sudden increase in the number of non-Korean visitors. Hyundai has been negotiating with DPRK authorities on renting a hotel in the mountain range, as well as launching a "floating hotel" at Changjon port near the tour site. An ROK Unification Ministry official said, "Hyundai has been trying to reach an agreement with North Korea on these plans, but the North has been hesitant to make a decision." Kim Yoon-kyu, president of the Hyundai Asan Company, was scheduled to meet his DPRK counterpart in Beijing on February 18 to discuss expansion plans for the Mount Kumgang tour and the group's other ventures in the DPRK. The ministry official said, "the North put off the meeting, saying it needed to make more preparations. Although the two sides have exchanged their positions several times, they have yet to iron out their differences and reach a final conclusion." The official said one of the thorniest issues in their discussions was whether to allow Japanese tourists to travel the mountain. Although foreigners joined the tour program early this month, the DPRK has not allowed Japanese nationals to participate.

III. People's Republic of China

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1. ROK-PRC Relations

People's Daily (Chen Te'an and Xu Baokang, "AN INTERVIEW WITH ROK PRESIDENT," 2/23/00, P6) carried an interview with ROK President Kim Dae-jung. Kim expressed his satisfaction with the comprehensive and healthy development of ROK-PRC relations. He said that the PRC government has consistently made efforts to promote peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and supported the dialogues between the DPRK and the ROK. Kim expressed his appreciation to the PRC government's position, which he said has made great contributions to the peace and stability on the Peninsula. Kim said that progress has been made on two important Korea issues: one, the possibility of the outbreak of a war on the Peninsula was reduced, and two, exchanges and cooperation between the ROK and the DPRK have increased. Kim added that the trade volume between the two countries reached US$330 million last year, a new record. Kim said that the ROK government's position on the Korean Peninsula issue was to continuously eliminate the possibility of the breakout of a war and further expand exchange and cooperation between the ROK and the DPRK.

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2. PRC-US Strategic and Security Consultation

China Daily (Hu Qihua, "BEIJING URGES EARLY REUNIFICATION," 2/23/00, P1) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said at a news briefing on February 22 that during the Sino-US strategic and security consultation, the Chinese side set force its views on the global security situation and new security issues. Zhu quoted the US side as saying that its development of national missile defense (NMD) and theater missile defense (TMD) systems is intended to be a counter-measure against "rogue states," and is in the interest of US security. The PRC side argued, according to Zhu, that such an excuse is untenable. The development of NMD and TMD is detrimental to both global strategic balance and stability, and regional peace and security, said Zhu. The PRC side urged the US side to consider the political and strategic price it would pay for the policy, and to carry out no tests nor deployment for the plan, Zhu said. The PRC also said that the Taiwan issue is the most important and most sensitive aspect of Sino-US relations, and wished the US side would abide by the three joint communiques previously agreed upon. The PRC urged the US to grant it normal trading relations (NTR) status, saying that NTR is the basis of bilateral trade. Zhu said that the PRC believes that the US should grant the PRC such status "completely and unconditionally."

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3. Alleged PRC Missile Imports

China Daily ("US, CHINA TALK ON SECURITY, TRADE," 2/23/00, P3) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said on February 22 that allegations that the PRC purchased and tried to smuggle a US made infra-red camera that could be used in missile guidance and early warning system was unfounded. Zhu said that the PRC company (Marine Engineer Company) held normal trade talks with the US company (Oriental Technology Service Company) on the import of an infrared camera from the US. He added that the infrared camera, manufactured by the Raytheon Company, can be found in the 1999-2000 Jane's Yearbook of Photo-Electrical Systems. Zhu said, "it can be used for all-weather monitoring of vessels in rivers, especially for the anti-smuggling boats of the Chinese Customs, but not for military purposes. Last year, the Chinese company provided the US company with the document containing the information on the end user and purpose of the camera."

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4. White Paper on Taiwan Issue

People's Daily ("THE ONE-CHINA PRINCIPLE AND THE TAIWAN ISSUE," 2/22/00, P3) released a white paper on February 22 detailing the PRC's "one-China" policy on Taiwan and its view of how the international community should stand on the matter. The 11,000-world white paper, titled "The One-China Principle and the Taiwan Issue," was issued by the Taiwan Affairs Office and the Information Office of the State Council. The report said that facts prove that a serious crisis still exists in the situation of the Taiwan Straits. It said that to "safeguard the interests of the entire Chinese people including compatriots in Taiwan and maintain the peace and development of the Asia-Pacific region, the Chinese Government remains firm in adhering to a 'peaceful reunification' and the 'one country, two systems;' upholding the eight propositions put forward by President Jiang Zemin for the development of cross-Straits relations and the acceleration of the peaceful reunification of China; and doing its utmost to achieve the objective of peaceful reunification." However, the white paper said, "if a grave turn of events occurs leading to the separation of Taiwan from China in any name, or if Taiwan is invaded and occupied by foreign countries, or if the Taiwan authorities refuse, sine die, the peaceful settlement of cross-Straits reunification through negotiations, then the Chinese Government will only be forced to adopt all drastic use of force, to safeguard China' sovereignty and fulfill the great cause of reunification." The report said that the PRC territory and sovereignty has not been split, and the two sides of the Straits are not two states. It added, "we firmly oppose changing Taiwan' status as a part of China by referendum. The 'two German states formula' cannot be applied to the settlement of the Taiwan issue." It also said that any question can be discussed under the One-China Principle, but the so-called controversy about democracy and system is an excuse for obstructing the reunification of China. The paper said Taiwan was ineligible for membership in the UN and other international organizations whose membership is confined to sovereign states. It also said that no country maintaining diplomatic relations with the PRC should provide arms to Taiwan or enter into military alliance of any form with Taiwan. The paper concluded that as the PRC Government has successively resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macao, the people in the PRC are eager to resolve the Taiwan issue as early as possible and realize the total reunification of the country - they cannot allow the resolution of the Taiwan issue to be postponed indefinitely.

China Daily (Hu Qihua, "BEIJING URGES EARLY REUNIFICATION," 2/23/00, P1) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said on February 22 that the question of Taiwan cannot drag on indefinitely. Zhu said, "after the return of Hong Kong and Macao, it is natural that we have felt a certain urgency to solving the Taiwan problem." Zhu reiterated that the one-China principle is the basis and prerequisite for peaceful reunification and for any contacts or talks between the two sides. He said the central government will grant Taiwan even more autonomy than that practiced in Hong Kong and Macao. He also hoped that the two sides would establish directed mail, phone, air and shipping services as soon as possible and said that the entry of the PRC and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization should smooth the process.

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5. PLA Air Force Construction

China Daily ("AIR FORCE ABLE TO DEFEND TERRITORY," Singapore, 2/23/00, P1) reported that a senior PRC military official said on February 21 that the PRC is prepared to defend its sovereignty, marine rights and unity with high-tech national air force equipment. Lieutenant General Liu Shunyao, commander of the Air Force of the PRC People's Liberation Army (PLA), stressed that the PRC will never invade or threaten any sovereign state, but it will not allow any other country to invade the PRC. Liu made the remarks at the "Millennium Air Power Conference" hosted by Singapore and attended by more than 500 air force delegates from 36 countries and areas. Liu said that the PRC air force is shifting from national air defense to a defense plus offense in order to better implement the national military strategy of active defense. Liu also said the PRC's PLA Air Force is resolved to defend the country's territorial sovereignty in regard to land, airspace and sea as well as its maritime rights and to maintain the country's unity and security. Zhu also said the PRC will also remain committed to keeping world peace.

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6. PRC Participation in G8

People's Daily ("PRC HAS NO INTENTION TO JOIN IN G8," Beijing, 2/23/00, P4) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said on February 22 that the PRC has no intention of attending Group of Eight (G-8) summit or its related activities. He said that the PRC's position and viewpoints on Asia-Pacific affairs and other major international issues are well known. He emphasized that the importance of the UN and the UN Security Council in international affairs is irreplaceable.

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