NAPSNet Daily Report
monday, february 28, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

Week in Review

South Asian Nuclear Dialogue

Nuclear Policy Project Flash

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I. United States

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1. DPRK High-Level Visit to US

Agence France Presse ("HIGH-LEVEL NORTH KOREAN VISIT TO US TO BE DELAYED: SEOUL," Seoul, 2/28/00) reported that a top ROK government official said Monday that the first scheduled visit by a high-ranking DPRK official to the US will likely be delayed. The anonymous official said, "it's unlikely the visit will go ahead in March given the delays in preparatory talks, maybe it will now happen in April." The official said that the DPRK has so far failed to respond to the invitation by US special envoy to the Korean peace talks Charles Kartman to meet DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan in New York to discuss details on the planned visit.

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2. DPRK Missile Tests

Agence France Presse ("NORTH KOREA THREATENS TO RESUME MISSILE TESTS," Seoul, 2/28/00) reported that the DPRK's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Monday renewed its threat that the DPRK will resume its suspended long-range missile tests to counter US development of missile defense systems. KCNA said, "the US moves to establish the 'missile defense' system compel the DPRK to reconsider the moratorium on missile testfires. Its military experts stubbornly insist on this. The US attitude only hardens the DPRK's will to develop, test and deploy missiles." KCNA said that the DPRK needed to cope with "the missile threat" from the US. KCNA had said last week that "it is an inviolable right pertaining to the DPRK's sovereignty for it to have a corresponding option against the US which is blatantly challenging it under the pretext of 'threat from it.' An option does not reside with the US only."

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3. ROK-DPRK Fishing Accord

Agence France Presse ("SOUTH-NORTH KOREAN FISHERMEN'S ACCORD IN TROUBLED WATERS," Seoul, 2/28/00) reported that a landmark fisheries accord between ROK and DPRK fishermen signed in Beijing on February 26 which would allow ROK vessels to fish in waters off the DPRK's east coast for the first time in 50 years starting next month, ran into a problem on Monday. Kim Yun-ho, an official at the ROK ministry of maritime affairs, said, "the (ROK) fisheries negotiators were not permitted to do (this agreement)." Kim said the ROK ministry of maritime affairs had yet to approve the "unauthorized" pact, adding that the practical aspects and ramifications of the agreement had not been explored. Kim said, "the review on the technical feasibility of the South and the North Korean fisheries cooperation project is possible only after analyzing the agreement." Kim also said that the ROK ministries of maritime affairs, unification and defense would discuss the issue soon. The ROK unification ministry refrained from taking a clear stance on the pact, saying, "no final decision has been made yet as we have not received any formal request for approval from the negotiators." Under the accord, the DPRK would open a rich fishing ground 300 kilometers (188 miles) off its eastern port of Wonsan and profits from fishing operations in the area would be shared equally with between DPRK and ROK fishermen. Park Dae-won of the Korean Movement Federation for Fisheries Associations, said, "over the next five years, the North will be given 50 percent of the profits from South Korean vessels fishing there." However, the maritime ministry admitted that there was a feasibility "problem" in fishing in areas off the DPRK coast.

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4. US-PRC Military Talks

The Associated Press ("U.S. PACIFIC COMMANDER EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER THREATS TO TAIWAN," Beijing, 2/28/00) reported that Admiral Dennis Blair, the commander of US forces in the Pacific, met senior Chinese military leaders Monday for a five-day visit. The official PRC Xinhua News Agency said that Blair and Lieutenant General Xiong Guangkai, a deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, "had a wide exchange of views on international and regional security." Xinhua said that Blair also met Shi Yunsheng, commander in chief of the PRC naval forces. An anonymous US official said that the PRC appeared keen to reopen military ties with the US. The official said, "it was a chance for everyone to get to know each other. The atmosphere was very cordial. I think the Chinese want to succeed in re-establishing a military-to-military relationship." The official said that Taiwan was discussed along other Asian security concerns and "the U.S. expressed its concern about the white paper." Blair is due to hold more talks in the PRC on February 29, and then to head to the eastern city of Nanjing.

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5. US Response to PRC White Paper

The New York Times (Jane Perlez, "WARNING BY CHINA TO TAIWAN POSES CHALLENGE TO US," Washington, 2/27/00, P.1) reported that US Congressional and administration officials said that the PRC's shift to a more aggressive stance on Taiwan took the Clinton administration by surprise. Administration officials said that PRC officials gave them no hint of the shift during US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott's delegation to Beijing on February 17 and 18. The PRC's release of the white paper has bolstered support in the US Senate for legislation on arms sales to Taiwan and threatens to unravel the administration's effort in help the PRC join the World Trade Organization. A senior US Defense Department official said on February 26 that the PRC statement was "unfortunate and very, very unhelpful," particularly from the "point of view of arms sales" to Taiwan. Another administration official said that there is now "incalculable pressure to sell more [and] do more," for Taiwan. Officials said that the way the policy shift was announced by the PRC was taken as a slap against the administration. A US Defense Department official said that the administration had to consider two factors when deciding what to sell Taiwan: the "objective" conditions called for under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 and the "broader, overall" context of the state of relations among and within the PRC, Taiwan and the US. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for February 28, 2000.]

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6. PRC View of US Intervention in Taiwan

Agence France Presse ("CHINA WARNS US AGAINST ANY MILITARY ATTACK OVER TAIWAN," Beijing, 2/28/00) reported that the PRC army newspaper, People's Liberation Army (PLA) Daily, warned the US on Monday that it would pay a high price for any military intervention over Taiwan and that the PRC had the weapons to launch a long-range counter-attack. Professor Zhu Chenghu, deputy director of the army university's institute of strategic studies, said in the PLA Daily that the US should steer clear of the conflict over Taiwan. Zhu said, "if they get involved, the American policy makers will have to consider the great pressure they will shoulder and the high costs they will pay. China is not Iraq, nor Yugoslavia ... she is a country with certain strategic attack capabilities and far distance attacking capabilities. So it would not be wise to fight against a country like China." Zhu also warned that US intervention over Taiwan would "seriously damage its economic interests. And if the United States got involved in the conflict, the war could not be ended according to the timetable set by the US. US security interests in East Asia will be seriously damaged, and American forces may be forced to withdraw, like they did from Vietnam."

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7. Military Balance in Taiwan Straits

The International Herald Tribune (Thomas Crampton, "HIGH-TECH CHINA UPSETS POWER BALANCE," Taipei, 2/26-27/00, P.1) reported that military analysts said that high-tech weaponry is rapidly shifting the balance of power between Taiwan and the PRC and is forcing a re-evaluation of strategies. Andrew Yang, secretary-general of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies, a private think tank based in Taipei, said, "missiles have brought the biggest fundamental change to the cross-strait military situation. Beijing studied very closely the use of 'smart' weapons during the Gulf War." Cheung Tai-ming, a senior director at Kroll Associates Limited, a risk analysis company based in Hong Kong, said that PRC analysis of the Gulf War inspired a new strategy for military planners that focused on employing high technology to fight small-scale, geographically confined conflicts with limited political and military objectives. Many military analysts now predict that an invasion of Taiwan would start with a preemptive missile strike followed by an airborne landing, in a central part of the island, of rapid-reaction troops armed with state- of-the art weapons. After disabling major airfields, PRC troops ferried in by aircraft could help secure a harbor and open the way for rapid delivery of logistical support by sea. Photographs of a mock beach invasion by PRC armed forces late last year revealed new equipment made in the PRC, including small hovercraft for high-speed delivery of up to 25 soldiers and large helicopters capable of carrying 36 soldiers. Despite the new missiles and technology, most analysts believe that the PRC's limited logistical ability will make it impossible for its army to mount a successful invasion of Taiwan for at least the next five years. Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said, "the missiles don't make Taiwan easier to conquer. But they do make it easier for China to punish and intimidate." O'Hanlon and other analysts said that short of an invasion, new technologies can be used for intimidation in many forms, including missile tests to disrupt commercial shipping, aggressive computer hacking, and destruction of communications equipment. Yang and other analysts said that Taiwan's current military configuration would have trouble confronting the newly high-tech PRC Army. Tactics on the Taiwan side have been changing, with the size of the military cut by 10 percent from the current 400,000 in the next five years and a new concentration on developing ways to disrupt invading forces' communications. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for February 28, 2000.]

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8. PRC Military Alert

Agence France Presse ("CHINA ORDERS MILITARY ALERT AHEAD OF TAIWAN ELECTIONS," Hong Kong, 2/28/00) reported that a PRC daily, The Sun, citing unnamed "insiders" in Beijing who said that PRC President Jiang Zemin signed decrees ordering the military regions of Nanjing, Jinan, Beijing and other units, including the East China Fleet, to go on alert from February 23. The report said the orders follow Jiang's visit to various military sites in Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Guangdong provinces that began on February 17. The paper said Jiang told the forces to be prepared mentally, economically and militarily in the war against Taiwan's moves toward independence even though "we want peace, and not war, but we are not afraid of war."

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9. PRC White Paper on Taiwan

Agence France Presse ("BEIJING TIMED NEW THREAT AHEAD OF TAIWAN PRESIDENTIAL POLLS," Taipei, 2/28/00) reported that Zhang Mingqing, the information bureau director of the PRC's Taiwan Affairs Office, told the United Daily News on February 27 that the PRC's White Paper on Taiwan was a clear signal aimed at safeguarding its official "one China policy." The United Daily said, "Zhang did not deny the move was an attempt to influence the elections." Zhang said, "[The PRC] did try to avoid expressing any comment towards the Taiwan elections," but felt it had to publish the White Paper before the polls "in order to display its determination against Taiwan independence." Zhang warned, "cross-strait links might be influenced" if a candidate calling for independence was elected to the presidency, but he declined to specify what actions the PRC might take.

The New York Times published an analytical article by Erik Eckholm ("CHINA'S OWN WITCH HUNT," Beijing, 2/27/00) which said that that the PRC's White Paper was intended to influence Taiwan's March 18 presidential elections and that despite its belligerence, the report contained generous terms for talks between the PRC and Taiwan. Steven M. Goldstein, a political scientist at Smith College, said, "there is a growing sense of urgency in Beijing that Taiwan independence will not be the result of a dramatic declaration, but of a gradual drift towards that goal as the island plays for time. Thus, in a collective leadership it has become imperative not only not to be the leader who lost Taiwan, but not to be the leader who allows this slow drift to continue." Eckholm said he did not know if the PRC leaders are willing to risk a war, but "they certainly don't want to be forced into a conflict that could destroy all they have built on the mainland." The article noted that that neither PRC President Jiang Zimen nor the white paper set an actual deadline and "the day that China feels compelled to box itself in with a concrete deadline may be the day for really serious worry." It added, "the new report does not even mention Taiwan's elections or the prospective new presidents. Rather, it demonizes the outgoing Lee [Teng-hui]. By presenting him as the chief culprit, the Chinese are making room for a fresh start -- but also putting the would-be successors on notice that they would repeat Lee's performance at Taiwan's peril." Eckholm predicted, "any negotiations will be plagued by agonizing wordplay and status issues, but Taiwan needs to find creative ways to keep the Chinese talking, it seems clear from last week's report. So long as they are talking, they will not be shooting." [Ed. note: This opinion article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for February 28, 2000.]

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10. Taiwan Election

Agence France Presse ("TAIWANESE VOTERS URGED TO BACK BEST NEGOTIATOR ON CROSS-STRAIT TIES," Taipei, 2/28/00) reported that Chen Li-an, a former defense minister who ran against incumbent President Lee Teng-hui in 1996, urged voters on Monday to choose a leader capable of securing peaceful cross-straits ties with the PRC. Chen said, "dialogue with Communist China is inevitable given the heightened tensions following the release of the White Paper last week. We should do careful thinking and elect a person who can bring us peace and stability and ensure our interest in future talks with Beijing with sufficient support from a political party." Social psychology professor Huang Kuang-kuo of National Taiwan University agreed with Chen, saying, "although the general public also are concerned about various domestic issues, seeking peaceful ties with Beijing indeed should be the priority wish as our lives and property are at immediate stake."

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11. US Missile Defense

The Washington Post ("TOP ADMIRAL DIFFERS ON MISSILE-SHIELD PLANS," Washington, 2/28/00) reported that in a confidential memo to US Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, Admiral Jay Johnson challenged the US Defense Department plans to rely solely on land-based interceptors to shield the US against a missile attack. Johnson argued that ship-launched interceptors would make the proposed antimissile system more effective. The appeal marked the first time a Navy leader formally pushed for a role in missile defense.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK-US Relations

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "UNIFICATION MINISTER PREDICTS U.S., N.K. SETTING UP LIAISON OFFICES THIS YEAR," Seoul, 02/28/00) and The Korea Times ("NK, US LIKELY TO OPEN LIAISON OFFICES THIS YEAR: MIN. PARK," Seoul, 02/27/00) reported that ROK Unification Minister Park Jae-kyu said on February 27 that the US and the DPRK may be able to open liaison offices in each other's capitals this year. Park said there is also a chance that the DPRK and Japan will advance their relationship enough to exchange representative offices. Park noted that these improvements in the relationship between the DPRK and the ROK's two major allies are expected to positively influence the inter-Korean relationship. Park also expressed his optimism on the resumption of inter-Korean governmental talks, which have been suspended since last July, and about chances for a summit between top leaders of the two Koreas.

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2. US-ROK Policy Consultations

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, "US TO OFFER ABOUT 500,000 TONS OF GRAIN TO NK THIS YEAR," Seoul, 02/27/00) reported that ROK officials said on February 26 that the US will likely offer 500,000-600,000 tons of grain to the DPRK this year via international bodies. The ROK and the US held two-way strategy talks in Hawaii to discuss this and other issues with the aim of attracting the DPRK to the negotiating table. An anonymous official said, "with bilateral dialogue underway, the United States is unlikely to downgrade the level of assistance to North Korea. Therefore, the size of this year's aid would reach that of last year." Another official said that the two countries exchanged views on how to phase out US economic embargoes against the DPRK, but added that it is not desirable to reveal joint ROK-US strategies prior to the forthcoming talks with the DPRK. Even though the DPRK has strongly called for the lifting of sanctions imposed under terrorism-related US laws, ROK officials believe it is unlikely that the US would drop the DPRK from a list of countries sponsoring terrorism, to be announced in April.

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3. DPRK-Italy Relations

The Korea Herald ("ITALY'S PRO-P'YANG PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION TO VISIT N. KOREA," Seoul, 02/27/00) reported that an Italian parliamentary delegation will visit the DPRK for five-days from February 28 to March 3. The National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced on its website on February 27 that the friendly visit is the first of its kinds since the two countries established diplomatic ties on January 4. The NIS, however, failed to say anything about the composition of the delegation or give background on the visit to the DPRK.

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4. DPRK-UK Relations

The Korea Herald ("LONDON TO SEND WORKING-LEVEL MISSION TO PYONGYANG IN APRIL," Seoul, 02/27/00) reported that an ROK diplomatic source said that the British government will send a working-level mission of four to five foreign service officials to the DPRK in April to seek improved relations between the two countries. The official said that Britain has decided to dispatch its first mission to the DPRK in three years, and the two governments are discussing details of the mission's itinerary. In the DPRK, the British officials will meet with Kim Chun-guk, chief of the Foreign Ministry's European Affairs Department, and other government officials to discuss strengthening the DPRK's representative office at the International Maritime Organization in London, an invitation to the DPRK to subscribe to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, and Britain's provision of humanitarian aid. They will also discuss sending two British English instructors to the DPRK within the year in a bid to further improve relations between the two countries.

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5. DPRK-ROK Fishing Agreement

Chosun Ilbo (Jee Hae-bom, "NK SIGNS FISHING AGREEMENT WITH SOUTH KOREAN GROUP," Seoul, 02/27/00) reported that representatives of the Whole Nation's Fishermen's Federation (WNFF) of the ROK met with DPRK officials from the National Economic Cooperation Association (NECA) and announced a fisheries agreement on February 27. According to the agreement, the DPRK will provide fishing grounds off Wonsan, and ROK fishermen using it will pay the DPRK 50 percent of net profits after deducting operating costs. The area under consideration is inside the DPRK's economic exclusion zone (EEZ) and will be for a five-year renewable period. It is unclear, however, whether the agreement will be endorsed by the ROK government, because the government did not sanction the visit and the agreement stipulates payment in US dollars. An official said that the administration would study the agreement. Kim Dae-kwon of the WNFF said that he hoped to start fishing in March after consultation with the government and that he represented 40 percent of ROK fishermen. NECA's Hoh Hyok-pil said that the agreement was made as Kim Jong-il accepted requests from ROK fishermen who lost their jobs due to the ROK-Japan fisheries agreement.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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Asian Institute,
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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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