NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, february 25, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

Week in Review

South Asian Nuclear Dialogue

Nuclear Policy Project Flash

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I. United States

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1. Kazakhstan Fighter Sales to DPRK

Inside the Air Force (Adam J. Hebert, "TWO COMPANIES SANCTIONED FOR ILLEGAL SALE OF MIG-21S TO NORTH KOREA," 2/25/00, P.1) reported that the US State Department determined that two European companies helped sell and deliver about 40 MiG-21 fighter jets to the DPRK late last year. The department has issued a sanction to prohibit federal entities and US companies from conducting defense-related business with either firm. Anonymous State Department officials said that sanctions originally imposed on the Kazakhstan government, the origin of the MiGs, were waived because that government cooperated closely with the investigation. State Department officials said that 38 or 40 disassembled but complete MiGs were delivered to the DPRK, possibly by rail. DPRK officials have denied receiving the fighters, but the US State Department is confident that the aircraft did indeed arrive. The MiGs were originally suppose to go to a Czech company called Agroplast, which has a license to import spare parts for the MiG-21 to the Czech Republic. Agroplast denied any involvement in the transfer of the MiGs to the DPRK. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for February 25, 2000.]

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2. Taiwan Military Posture

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, "TAIWAN DISPLAYS ITS FEEBLE FLEET AS CHINA THREATENS," Tsoying Naval Base, 2/25/00) reported that Taiwanese Vice Admiral Fei Hrong-po, commander of the Taiwan's main naval base at Tsoying, said that Taiwan lacks an advanced radar system to warn of a missile attack from the PRC. Fei said that Taiwan's navy and the rest of its military are in danger of losing an arms race with the PRC. He warned, "If we don't do something about it now, it will be too late." Some Taiwanese naval officers and military experts said that Taiwan is in serious need of submarines because in five years, the PRC will expand its force of 96 submarines by at least 23 vessels (including a nuclear submarine now being developed) while Taiwan only has four. Captain Lee Chao- peng, commander of Taiwan's submarine task force, said, "it is very urgent for us to obtain more submarines, to train for surface and anti-submarine warfare." Admiral Lee Jye, chief of Taiwan's navy, said that Taiwan wants the four 8,000-ton Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers equipped with Aegis over-the-horizon radar requested from the US to defend against the PRC's superiority in missiles by aiding in battlefield management, giving early warning of a PRC missile launch, and then coordinating defensive fire by Taiwan's land-based Patriot-3 antimissile batteries or by sea-based antimissile guns produced in Taiwan. Lee said that by 2005, the PRC will have 800 M9 ballistic missiles and a large but unknown number of M11 missiles, both of which will be able to cross the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait in minutes. Lee said that he expects that if the PRC attacks, it will saturate Taiwan with 400 missiles at once, striking at airfields, ports, electrical power stations, telecommunications centers and military command centers. He continued, "In the end, Communist China wants to become a superpower. We don't. We just want to exist." Fei said that the idea is for Taiwan to be able to survive the first round so that US forces can have time to come to its aid. However, Michael Swaine, an expert on Asian security at the US-based RAND Corporation, said that the Aegis system is more than Taiwan "can handle at present from a technical/training point of view." Swaine noted that it would "eat up enormous defense revenues ... and many in [Taiwan's] navy place a higher value on the acquisition of submarines." Taiwan's annual defense budget is about US$10 billion. Swaine and other analysts worry that Taiwan is seeking the Aegis purchase more for political than military reasons. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for February 25, 2000.]

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3. PRC Threat to US

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, "INSIDE THE RING," 2/25/00) reported that US Defense Department officials recently rejected a proposal drawn up by Ronald Montaperto, chief PRC expert at the National Defense University (NDU), for a congressionally mandated center to study the threat posed by the PRC. Officials familiar with the plan said that Montaperto's proposal lost because it would have produced the exact opposite of what was called for in legislation that authorized the center - it would downplay the threat of the PRC's military moves such as missile deployments and new weapons purchases.

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4. PRC Human Rights

Reuters ("UN RIGHTS CHIEF HOPES TO SIGN ACCORD IN CHINA," Geneva, 2/25/00) reported that Jose Diaz, spokesman for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, said on Friday that Robinson hopes to sign an accord in Beijing next week that could help the PRC revise legislation before ratifying key international rights pacts. Diaz said that Robinson will raise various human rights concerns with PRC officials. Diaz said, "she will hold further talks with the Chinese government on the establishment of a program of technical cooperation and also discuss a number of human rights issues. This time around the High Commissioner hopes to finalize this memorandum of intent with a memorandum of understanding that will formally establish a program of technical cooperation. Among the measures which could be taken within the context of this program of technical cooperation could be providing assistance to China in adapting legislation in view of the ratification -- as they have committed themselves to do -- of the two covenants which they have signed."

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5. PRC, Russian Views of Missile Defense

Agence France Presse ("MOSCOW AND BEIJING OPPOSED TO US SPACE-BASED ABM PROJECT," Geneva, 2/25/00) reported that Russia and the PRC on February 24 criticized US plans to deploy anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs) in space as a violation of the 1972 ABM Treaty. Vasily Sidorov, Russian ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, said, "if the United States implemented its unilateral plans on national missile defense, the ABM Treaty would be destroyed." Sidorov also said that Russia supported the PRC's proposal to create a special committee within the disarmament conference to address the problem. PRC ambassador Hu Xiado said that a violation of the ABM Treaty by the US would "not only undermine global and regional strategic balance and stability, obstruct or even reverse the nuclear disarmament process, but also open the door to the weaponization of outer space."

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6. US Policy toward Asia

Singapore Straits Times published an article by Asad Latif, a senior writer with The Straits Times, ("US IS HERE TO STAY IN ASIA," 2/25/00) which said that Vice-Admiral Walter Doran, the Commander of the US Seventh Fleet, said on February 15 that imperial overstretch was not causing a retrenchment of the US military presence in Asia. Doran spoke at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies where he said US forward presence would remain a constant in Asia because "Asia is tied to the seas" because they are filled with navigational choke points and strategic lanes of communication "that carry the lifeblood this region needs." Doran also pointed to Asia's economic importance to the US and the continued importance of the US in maintaining regional security and stability. Latif noted that one participant wondered whether the level of the US presence would be sustainable while another noted that the US presence was focused on Northeast Asia, not the Southeast. Latif wrote that Doran's main point was that "the US would remain in Asia this century, and remain not as an observer but as a participant." Latif also wrote that for the US presence to be meaningful, "it must have teeth. And it is teeth that the Seventh Fleet represents. Vice-Admiral Doran's repeated references to his fleet's readiness left no one in any doubt about its role of providing credible deterrence. Asia can do with that." [Ed. note: This opinion article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for February 25, 2000.]

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK Missile Research

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Min-suk and Lee Young-jong, "NORTH KOREA RESUMES MISSILE TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH," Seoul, 02/24/00) reported that the DPRK has resumed its missile program, testing missile engine combustion systems on several different occasions in December and January. Excavations have also been carried out at the Kumchangri underground facility, where suspicions of nuclear-related activities have not yet been confirmed. On February 23, a high-ranking ROK official said, "during December 1999 and January 2000, North Korea has tested its Taepodong missile engine combustion system three to four times at the Musudan base in north Hamkyong province." Another related official said, "a U.S research group visited Kumchangri in May 1999, suspecting it to be a nuclear installation. It has now been discovered that North Korea has again been excavating and installing nuclear linked equipment."

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2. DPRK Energy Shortage

Joongang Ilbo ("NORTH KOREA'S ELECTRICITY WOES WORSEN," Seoul, 02/24/00) reported that the DPRK said on February 23 that its unprecedented shortage of electricity and ensuing economic instability was largely due to the US. According to the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), the DPRK has never before experienced such a severe shortage in its supply of electricity. KCNA said that the shortage is one of the primary reasons for the nation's worsened economic condition. It also maintained that the malfunctions in railroad services, heating, lighting and agriculture are serious, and directly linked to the US stance. KCNA went on to note that if the light-water reactor that the two sides agreed to build had been completed, the current energy crisis would not have occurred.

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3. ROK Four-way Diplomacy

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "FOREIGN MINISTER TO KICK OFF 'FOUR-WAY' DIPLOMATIC DRIVE," Seoul, 02/25/00) reported that ROK officials said on February 24 that as the tensions in the Korean Peninsula are dissipating, the ROK government will soon launch an aggressive diplomatic drive focusing on the four major powers. The ROK ministry officials said that Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Lee Joung-binn is scheduled to visit the US next month to hold talks with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on pending issues, and will follow a meeting in the ROK with his Japanese counterpart, Yohei Kono. Minister Lee is also slated to visit the PRC and Russia in March and April, respectively, to wrap up his four-way diplomatic push. The official said the two ministers at the Lee-Albright talks are expected to focus their discussions on maintaining close cooperation in dealing with the DPRK, as the US will soon hold a series of talks with the DPRK.

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4. DPRK-ROK Relations

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "SEOUL EXPECTING LITTLE CHANGE IN INTER-KOREAN TIES BEFORE ELECTIONS," Seoul, 02/25/00) reported that ROK Unification Minister Park Jae-kyu said on February 24 that the government will avoid promoting any radical changes in the inter-Korean relationship before the April 13 general elections. Park said, "we will not let (inter-Korean) issues influence the elections, nor let them be exploited politically. Even if we have secret contacts (with the DPRK), they will be revealed only after the general polls." Park was responding to a question on the ROK's intentions to effect a breakthrough in DPRK-ROK governmental dialogue before the upcoming election race. Park said, "North Korea has conveyed their hopes for additional aid in return for improved ties before the general elections through various channels." He added that he expects ROK-DPRK relations will soon significantly improve, as the DPRK is now anxious to talk with the ROK.

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5. DPRK-Indonesia Economic Cooperation

Joongang Ilbo ("INDONESIA SIGNS INVESTMENT TREATY WITH NK," Seoul, 02/24/00) reported that the DPRK's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on February 24 that the DPRK and Indonesia have concluded a treaty promoting trade and investment between the two countries. According to the KCNA, Kang Jung-mo, Minister of Trade for the DPRK, and Yousub Calor, Minister of Industry and Trade for Indonesia, signed the treaty on February 21. KCNA also reported that Indonesian President Abdulaman Wahid met with Kang and his staff earlier in the day. Wahid reportedly stressed his desire that relations between the two countries continue to develop.

III. Japan

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1. Japanese-DPRK Relations

The Nikkei Shimbun ("JAPANESE-DPRK POLITICIANS' ASSOCIATION ESTABLISHED: MURAYAMA BECOMES PRESIDENT," 02/24/2000) and the Asahi Shimbun ("NONPARTISAN JAPANESE-DPRK POLITICIANS' ASSOCIATION ESTABLISHED: MURAYAMA BECOMES PRESIDENT," 02/24/2000) reported that fifteen Japanese Diet members who visited the DPRK in December 1999 formally established the Japanese-DPRK Friendship Association of Politicians on February 23. Former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama became the association's first president. 169 Diet members, including those from the Japanese Communist Party, joined the association. Murayama said, "(Given that the US, the ROK and the PRC are moving toward improving relations with the DPRK,) Japan should not be isolated from this move. We have to normalize Japanese-DPRK relations and strive to make the relations even closer. I also want to continue to strive to make good environments where smooth inter- governmental talks can be done by promoting relations between both countries' politicians as well as sports and cultural exchanges." Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Yozo Azuma, who was invited to the association's commencement ceremony as a guest, said, "we are now coordinating with the DPRK to resume normalization talks as soon as possible. We will seriously discuss such humanitarian issues as the DPRK's abduction of Japanese civilians and such security issues as the issue of the DPRK's missile development." Some Diet members urged the solution to the abduction issue, but Murayama said, "I will strive to put the issue on the negotiation table."

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2. Dalai Lama's Visit to Japan

The Asahi Shimbun ("PRC OPPOSES DALAI LAMA'S VISIT TO JAPAN," 02/25/2000) reported that a PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman said on February 24 that the PRC has been asking the Japanese government not to allow Tibetan leader Dalai Lama to visit Japan on April 14. A spokesman said, "(We) formally request that the Japanese government keep the existing promise, not allow Dalai Lama to enter Japan, and avoid new obstacles to our bilateral relations from occurring." The university in Kyoto had invited the Dalai Lama to participate in seminars, give lectures, and meet Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara during his stay in Japan.

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3. Nuclear Nonproliferation Symposium

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("SYMPOSIUM TO SEEK POSSIBILITY OF NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION REGIME," 02/25/2000) and the Daily Yomiuri ("INTL EXPERTS MEET TO DISCUSS NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION," 02/25/2000) reported that experts from Japan, the US, Russia, the PRC, and other countries gathered in Tokyo on February 24 to discuss nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament issues at "The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime--in the Face of a Possible Renewed Nuclear Arms Race" symposium. The symposium was sponsored by the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) Center for the Promotion of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, with the support of the Foreign Ministry and the Yomiuri Shimbun. Michael Krepon, president of the US-based Henry L. Stimson Center, gave the keynote speech about the shift in the nuclear strategic balance from a bipolar format to a trilateral structure comprising the US, the PRC and Russia. JIIA President Hisashi Owada chaired the afternoon session, and three panelists presented reports on the feasibility of nuclear disarmament and the nonproliferation process, as well as the possibility of a successful conclusion to the review conference. Other issues included Japan's acceptance of the nuclear umbrella and research into theater missile defense systems, the PRC-Taiwan problem, and Middle East peace talks. Owada said, "the end of the Cold War invalidated the premise of mutual assured destruction (MAD). From now on, we should build a new framework, namely mutual assured security (MAS), instead."

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4. India's Policy toward CTBT

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("INDIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS FORMER PRIME MINISTER HASHIMOTO," 02/23/2000) reported that during a meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh on February 22, Senior Foreign Affairs Advisor Ryutaro Hashimoto said that he "heard that India is striving for consensus-building in terms of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. I would like to ask you to continue this." Singh responded, "India is striving for disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation and is ready to promote that direction."

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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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