NAPSNet Daily Report
tuesday, march 21, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. People's Republic of China IV. Russian Federation

Policy Forum Online:
Engaging North Korea

Week in Review

South Asian Nuclear Dialogue

Nuclear Policy Project Flash

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I. United States

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1. US-DPRK Relations

The US State Department's Office of International Affairs released the testimony of Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman, Counselor of the Department of State, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs (U.S. ADHERES TO "CONSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE" POLICY, 3/21/00). The testimony said that the US Clinton Administration continues to pursue "constructive dialogue" with the DPRK in the hope of ending the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula. Sherman said in her prepared remarks that the Administration is "attempting to pursue a constructive dialogue with the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) that addresses our central security concerns and leads us more rapidly down the path toward full normalization. The Cold War still exists on the Korean Peninsula. We hope that our dialogue will be the first step toward ending it. We are under no illusions that it will be an easy path. We recognize fully that everything we and our allies do in our diplomacy requires the maintenance of strong allied deterrent posture." Sherman noted that the 37,000 US troops in the ROK and 47,000 in Japan "demonstrate our commitment to stand with our allies against any threat of aggression." She also noted that coordination among the US, the ROK, and Japan "is stronger than at any time in the past. I believe this has been one of the most important achievements of the Administration's policy toward North Korea."

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2. Japan-DPRK Normalization Talks

Reuters ("JAPAN, N.KOREA SEEN RESUMING TALKS AFTER 7-YEAR GAP," Tokyo, 3/21/00) reported that Japanese diplomatic sources said on March 20 that Japan and the DPRK are set to hold full-scale normalization talks, which will likely take place in Pyongyang on April 4. A diplomatic source said Japan and the DPRK had struck a "basic agreement" to meet. However, the source said, it remained unclear how long the Pyongyang talks would last. But another diplomatic source said Japanese negotiators could stay in Pyongyang for more than two days, depending on progress in the scheduled talks. A Japanese government source said no major breakthrough was expected in initial rounds of the normalization talks. However, the source said, "we must deal with North Korea patiently. As regards normalization talks, we have no intention of using a simple formula in which we try to get something from North Korea in exchange for food aid." Analysts say Japan is keen to keep in step with the US and the ROK in gradually improving relations with the DPRK.

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3. PRC-DPRK Talks

Associated Press ("CHINA, NORTH KOREA DISCUSS VISITS," Beijing, 3/21/00) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi confirmed Tuesday that it was discussing with the DPRK an exchange of high-level visits that could reportedly include Kim Jong Il's first overseas trip since he took power almost six years ago. Sun said, "concerning the issue of leaders' exchange of visits, the two sides are in the process of consultation." There have also been reports that PRC legislative chairman Li Peng, who is second in the ruling Communist Party, might visit the DPRK.

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4. US-ROK Military Exchange

Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, "KOREA, U.S. AIR FORCE CHIEFS TO MEET TODAY," 3/21/00) reported that the US Air Force said on March 20 that ROK Air Force chief of staff Yi Ok-su will meet with his US counterpart, Michael E. Ryan, for talks on bilateral cooperation on Tuesday at Air Force Headquarters in Kyeryongdae, south of Taejon. A US Air Force spokesman said that Yi and Ryan are expected to exchange opinions on the current security situation on the Korean Peninsula and ways of boosting cooperative ties between the two air forces. He also said that "high on the agenda at the meeting will be the ongoing joint development of advanced training aircraft." The program, code-named "T-50" (formerly KTX-2), involves Lockheed Martin of the US and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), a joint venture launched last October by the ROK's three leading aircraft makers - Samsung Aerospace, Daewoo Heavy Industries and Hyundai Space & Aircraft. Under the project, six Golden Eagle prototypes will be produced by June 2002. Delivery of the advanced training jets will begin in October 2005. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for March 21, 2000.]

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5. Cross-Strait Relations

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, "TREADING SOFTLY IN TAIWAN," Taipei, 3/20/00) reported that Chen Shui-bian's vice presidential running mate, Annette Lu, had planned to criticize PRC leaders on March 18 for attempting to interfere "in our democratic process" and to declare that the modern PRC was founded on "enormous bloodshed" while change in Taiwan came "through the ballot." However, Chen's advisers persuaded her to scrap the statement and leave the talking to Chen, who voiced restraint and promised to travel to the PRC for conciliation talks. An anonymous leading adviser to the Chen said, "we've got to face reality. No matter what people want, we cannot afford to anger the mainland. We have got to be very, very careful." In recent days, the dominant pragmatists and a group that party officials call fundamentalists have struggled over what stance the new ruling Democratic Progressive Party should take. Among the pragmatists are Chiou I-jen, Chen's campaign manager, and Bi-Khim Hsiao, head of the party's international relations section. It was Hsiao who ensured that Lu did not make her agitating statement. On the fundamentalist side are Lu, a firm backer of independence who is close to Tibetan activists and conservative US congressmen, and Parris Chang, the party's former representative in the US who has argued that Taiwan should consider acquiring nuclear weapons if the US refuses to supply enough conventional arms. The author noted that, in a sign that the pragmatists won another round, three senior Chen advisers held a news conference on March 20 in which they stressed that Taiwan's connections to the PRC are more complex than common cultural roots - another modification of party policy. One of the three, Chiou, even said the party was open to a concept that there is only one-China but that the PRC and Taiwan have different definitions of what that China is. Michael Pillsbury, a security expert at the Atlantic Council in Washington, said, "I am extremely relieved at this press conference, which I see as a victory for the pragmatists. But much depends on Beijing's reaction." [Ed. note: This article was included as a Top Story in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for March 21, 2000.]

Knight Ridder News Service (Michael Dorgan, "CHINESE MILITARY PAPER WARNS TAIWAN AND U.S.," Beijing, 3/21/00) reported that one of the reports in a 16-page special issue of Haowangjiao Weekly, a PRC newspaper sponsored by the People's Liberation Army, laid out plans on how the PRC could conquer Taiwan by force. The report said the PRC's tactics might include a neutron-bomb attack on Taiwan and a nuclear showdown with the US. One article said, "the United States will not sacrifice 200 million Americans for 20 million Taiwanese. They will finally acknowledge the difficulty and withdraw." Haowangjiao, an arm of the PRC State Commission of Science Technology and National Defense, an agency of the PLA, did not set a deadline for reunification but said the PRC "will announce a timetable for reunification at the proper time this year." The publication described in detail how Taiwan might be harmed, saying the PRC has developed multiple-warhead long-range missiles, outlining a strategy for increasing the pressure on Taiwan and the US to capitulate, and threatening to attack US satellites and military bases in the Pacific. If that was insufficient, the article said, the PRC would fire a nuclear warning shot in the Taiwan Strait and threaten the US with a nuclear attack if it did not withdraw. However, several US analysts said the threats could be rhetorical nonsense, reckoning that the US would quickly win any military conflict with the PRC. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for March 21, 2000.]

New York Times (Erik Eckholm, "BEIJING AND TAIPEI BOTH WILLING TO TALK, BUT ONLY ON THEIR OWN TERMS," Taipei, 3/20/00) reported that Taiwan's president-elect Chen Shui-bian said on March 20 that Taiwan could not talk about 'one-China' as long as it was not a principle. Chen said, "as long as we are treated as equals, there is nothing we cannot discuss." Chen's advisers regard the statement as a creative concession that may entice the PRC into talks. Meanwhile, PRC President Jiang Zemin repeated the PRC's stance: "the one-China principle must first be recognized. Under this precondition, anything can be discussed." Chen and his advisers are optimistic that they will not only avoid provoking a PRC attack, but may also be able to coax the PRC into a friendly dialogue as well as new agreements to deepen economic ties and perhaps even a peace treaty. Chiou I-jen, a top adviser to Chen, said, "I'm optimistic. If both sides can maintain a certain vagueness, then negotiations could carry on." Chiou will be going to Washington next week to discuss Chen's strategy with US officials who are worried about possible tensions across the strait. However, Andrew Nathan, an expert on East Asian politics at Columbia University, said, "I think the optimism from the Chen people and the American government, this idea that they have a new beginning, is extremely dangerous. The Chinese simply don't trust Chen Shui-bian. They think his ultimate goal is to cheat China." In interviews and speeches in the last two days, Chen and key advisers have described a strategy that they think may be more attractive to the PRC than what Taiwanese president Lee Tung-wei had to offer. Essentially, it involves being willing, as Lee never was, to take up the PRC's offer to discuss Taiwan's status under the principle of 'one-China.' The author noted that the problem was that Chen does not even talk about a future political link, although he says he will discuss anything including reunification. That general willingness is made possible by Chen's final condition that any important change in Taiwan's status that is proposed must be decided by the democratic will of Taiwan's people. Chiou said, "we insist on parity and that any ultimate resolution must have the consent of the people." However, the PRC has already rejected that condition. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for March 21, 2000.]

Agence France Presse ("TAIWAN OPENS ISLANDS TRADE WITH CHINA, REINSTATES MILITARY ALERT," Taipei, 3/21/00) reported that Taiwan on Tuesday approved direct links between its three frontline islands and the PRC for the first time in more than 50 years. However, Taiwan also placed the military back on alert without explanation. Lawmakers said the parliament's approval of direct trade, transport and mail between the PRC and the outposts of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu, which are separated by a sliver of the Taiwan strait, could eventually be extended across all Taiwan. As for the military alert, defense ministry spokesman Kung Fan-ding said Tuesday that the military was ordered back onto a state of "heightened alertness" less than 24 hours after it was lifted after the election weekend. Kung refused to say why it had been restored but said, "heightened alertness can come and go depending on our situation. It is a flexible measure." The alert level increases the number of troops on duty but Kung stressed it did not mean combat readiness.

The Wall Street Journal (Russell Flannery and Matt Forney, "TAIWAN'S RULING PARTY MAY CHANGE STANCE ON INDEPENDENCE FROM CHINA," 3/21/00) reported that the US said Tuesday that its top representative on Taiwan affairs, Richard Bush, and the former ranking Democrat on the House foreign affairs committee, Lee Hamilton, would visit Taiwan March 22-24. The two are scheduled to meet Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui and president-elect Chen Shui-bian.

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, "US SEES CHINESE AMPHIBIOUS EXERCISE AS ROUTINE," 3/21/00) reported that US defense officials said that military amphibious landing exercises on the coast of southern PRC are routine and do not appear aimed at Taiwan. An anonymous official said the operations are an annual exercise involving several hundred marines and do not include large warship exercises. Officials said about five PRC navy landing craft were spotted during one recent portion of the amphibious exercise near the port of Shanghai. The exercises were not announced publicly by the PRC military and have been under way for about a week. The official said other military activities observed by US intelligence agencies include some People's Liberation Army (PLA) troop rotations and lower-than-usual sorties by PRC aircraft along the demarcation line separating Taiwan from the mainland. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for March 21, 2000.]

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6. US-PRC Relations

Reuters ("HOLBROOKE SAYS TALKS WITH CHINA ON TAIWAN USEFUL," Beijing, 3/21/00) reported that US ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke said on Tuesday that he held constructive talks with PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan on several issues, including Taiwan. Holbrooke said, "the Chinese position this morning was very constructive. The talks were excellent. There is no other word for this morning's talks but constructive." Holbrooke said he had repeated the US' commitment to the concept of 'one-China', but declined to reveal what Tang had said.

Agence France Presse ("CHINA WILL FIGHT US IF IT WANTS CONFRONTATION: FM," Beijing, 3/21/00) reported that the PRC's official Xinhua news agency said PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan warned the US on Tuesday that the PRC would "fight to the finish" if the US was bent on confrontation. Tang told US ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke in a meeting, "if the US side is bent on confrontation, China will oblige it and fight to the finish. This practice of the US side to go against the tide of history cannot attain the support of the vast majority of member nations of the United Nations."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. EU on Berlin Proposal

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "SEOUL WELCOMES EU'S CALL FOR N.K. TO POSITIVELY RESPOND TO KIM'S PROPOSAL," Seoul, 03/20/00) reported that the European Union (EU) officially welcomed ROK President Kim Dae-jung's 'Berlin declaration' on March 16. A statement issued by Portugal, which currently holds the rotating presidency, said, "Kim's Berlin declaration offers clear ways to move forward, and the EU calls on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to respond positively, constructively, and without pre-conditions. A constructive approach by the DPRK on these two issues is crucial also to the development of its relations with EU countries and with the EU as a whole." The statement said that the Central and Eastern European countries associated with the EU, as well as Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, and member countries of the European Economic Area, joined in the declaration. An anonymous official said, "support from the EU, which has emerged as another key pillar in our diplomacy focused on the for powers surrounding the Korean Peninsula, will be conducive to our efforts to expand international approval for our North Korea policy." Another official said that the EU's statement could also increase the pressure on the DPRK, which is currently seeking to improve relations with major European countries.

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2. DPRK-Japan Trade Volume

The Korea Herald ("TRADE VOLUME BETWEEN N. KOREA, JAPAN DROPS 11% LAST YEAR," Seoul, 03/20/00) reported that DPRK-Japan trade totaled US$350.4 million last year, down 11.65 percent from 1998. Quoting data from Japan, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) said that the DPRK exported goods worth US$202.56 million to Japan, down 7.71 percent from 1998, and imported US$147.8 million, down 15.59 percent. The DPRK's main export item was fish, at US$72.42 million. Japan exported cars and related components worth US$29.6 million to the DPRK last year, a 10.2 percent drop from 1998.

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3. DPRK-PRC Relations

Joongang Ilbo (You Sang-chul, "BAEK MEETS PRIME MINISTER ZHU," Seoul, 03/20/00) reported that DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun met with PRC Prime Minister Zhu Rongji on March 20. The two discussed inter-Korean talks and issues that concern the two countries. Baek delivered a written greeting from DPRK leader Kim Jong-il and Kim Young-nam, head of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, to PRC President Jiang Zemin and Li Peng, chairman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress. Zhu said that the two countries would continue their long-standing friendship and emphasized the importance of peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula.

Joongang Ilbo (Yoo Sang-chul, "KIM JUNG-IL INVITED TO VISIT CHINA," Seoul, 03/19/00) and Chosun Ilbo (Jee Hae-bom, "NK FOREIGN MINISTER TO MEET CHINESE PREMIER FROM BEIJING," Seoul, 03/17/00) reported that DPRK Foreign Affairs Minister Paek Nam-sun met with PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan on March 18. Paek and Tang discussed the Korean Peninsula problem, an upcoming visit by DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, and ROK President Kim Dae-jung's 'Berlin Declaration.' Tang invited Kim Jong-il to visit the PRC. Both governments agreed that Kim's recent visit to the PRC embassy in the DPRK showed the great alliance between the people of the two countries and set the stage for Kim's visit to the PRC. Paek is scheduled to meet PRC Prime Minister Zhu Rongji on March 20.

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Kyo-jun "NK MINISTER TO VISIT CHINA & SOUTHEAST ASIA," Seoul, 03/17/00) reported that DPRK Minister of State Baek Nam-jun is going to visit the PRC from March 18 to 22. Following his visit to the PRC, he will continue onto Malaysia, Laos and then to Vietnam.

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4. ROK-DPRK Relations

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, "NSC DISCUSSES WAYS TO PROMOTE S-N TALKS," Seoul, 03/17/00) reported that the ROK government held a standing committee of the National Security Council (NSC) on March 17, led by Unification Minister Park Jae-kyu, to discuss follow-up measures to ROK President Kim Dae-jung's 'Berlin Declaration' and the US-DPRK talks which ended on March 16. The participants reportedly discussed ways to coax the DPRK to the conference table.

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5. DPRK-France Economic Cooperation

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Kwang-gi, "FRENCH MANUFACTURERS MAKE INROADS INTO NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 03/17/00) reported that ROK Blue House (ChongWaDae) Chief of Economy Lee Ki-ho announced on March 16 that two French manufacturing companies will make inroads into the DPRK. The two French companies are also considering engaging in joint investments with the ROK.

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6. DPRK-US Talks

Joongang Ilbo ("NORTH KOREA-US TALKS END," Seoul, 03/16/00), The Korea Times (Sah Dong-seok, "ROK-US DEFENSE TALKS TODAY; N.KOREA ISSUE TOPS AGENDA," Seoul, 03/17/00) and Chosun Ilbo (Lee Chul-min, "US-NK TALKS ADJOURN," Seoul, 03/17/00) reported that after a week of discussion in New York, the DPRK and the US finished working-level preliminary talks on March 15 without obvious achievements. The two sides agreed that they would meet again for further discussion. While the US hoped to set the agenda for the high-level talks, the DPRK demanded that it be removed from the list of terrorist-sponsoring countries, economic sanctions be relaxed, and food and heavy fuel be supplied soon, claiming that without those goals, high-level talks were meaningless. US Senior Representative Charles Kartman said that he and DPRK Vice Minister Kim will be fully utilized, and new talks will begin soon. US State Department spokesman James Rubin said in an official statement that the two sides had discussed pending issues, including a visit by a high-level DPRK delegation, in a constructive and efficient atmosphere. The statement said the DPRK had agreed on an additional visit by the US to the Kumchang-ri underground facilities. Diplomatic sources in New York believe that talks have not been broken and that differences in opinion will be narrowed down through future negotiations.

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7. Myanmar Demands Apology to DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Chul-hui, "MYANMAR SAYS PYONGYANG MUST APOLOGIZE FOR 1983 YANGON BOMBING," Seoul, 03/16/00) reported that Myanmar (Burma) Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Khin Maung Win announced on March 16 that Myanmar could resume diplomatic ties with the DPRK only when it acknowledges its responsibility for the 1983 terrorist bombing in Yangon. Win's statement suggests that an official DPRK apology for the Yangon (formerly Rangoon) bombing by its agents in an attempt to assassinate former ROK President Chun Doo Hwan will be the prerequisite for improving bilateral relationship.

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8. ROK on Human Rights in DPRK

The Korea Times ("SEOUL TO TAKE ISSUE WITH NK HUMAN RIGHTS," Seoul, 03/19/00) reported that a ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry official said on March 18 that the ROK is poised to take up the issue of DPRK refugees and families separated between the two Koreas at sessions of the UN Commission on Human Rights on March 19. During a speech scheduled for March 30, ROK Ambassador to Geneva Chang Man-soon will raise the issue with the aim of protecting the human rights of DPRK refugees and urging the DPRK to help separated families meet after their decades-long separation. The official said that because the meeting is set to deal with human rights issues in an overall manner, not specifically with the refugee issue, Chang will discuss the issue of DPRK refugees within the scope of human rights.

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9. Philippine Senate to Visit DPRK

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, "PHILIPPINE SENATE PRESIDENT TO VISIT NK IN MAY," Seoul, 03/17/00) reported that Philippine Ambassador to the ROK Juanito Jarasa said on March 16 that Philippine Senate president Blas Ople has accepted an invitation to visit the DPRK in May. Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Benjamin Domingo said the Philippine Congress has opened a committee hearing as part of the final stage of endorsing the administration's plan to normalize diplomatic ties with the DPRK. Domingo said the hearing is set to focus on "what people will think if we open diplomatic relations with North Korea." However, the Philippines does not expect any immediate benefits from its diplomatic normalization with Pyongyang.

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10. DPRK and ARF

The Korea Times ("NK EXPRESSES WISH TO JOIN ARF," Seoul, 03/16/00) reported that an ROK government source said that the DPRK has intensified diplomatic activities aimed at forming better ties with many countries since last year, improving its chances of joining a regional security dialogue body this year. The source said, "in case progress is made in diplomatic normalization talks with the Philippines, North Korea has expressed its desire to apply for ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) membership." The ARF will hold a foreign ministers meeting in Thailand in July. An ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry official said, "as a senior officials meeting (SOM) is set for May, the North's membership will be decided then." However, the official said that it was still early to predict whether the DPRK would join the meeting because it was still in doubt whether the Philippines and the DPRK could reach a breakthrough in their normalization talks.

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11. DPRK Electricity Shortage

Joongang Ilbo ("NORTH KOREAN WORKERS' PARTY MEMBERS HEAD FOR COAL MINES," Seoul, 03/20/00) reported that according to a report from the PRC Central News Agency (CNA) on March 19, DPRK Workers' Party members have volunteered to work at the country's coal mines to boost production. An ROK government official explained that the electricity shortage in the DPRK has highlighted the need for more fuel. The workers are reportedly being allocated to mines in Anju, Pukchang, and Sunchon in South Pyongan province, the Kujang mine in North Pyongan province, and other coal-fields and coal mines in the Western and Northern areas.

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12. DPRK Requests Clothes

Joongang Ilbo ("NORTH KOREA'S REQUESTS FOR CLOTHING," Seoul, 03/20/00) reported that the DPRK government has made repeated requests for children's clothing in diplomatic negotiations with western countries. A ROK diplomat said, "one North Korean representative asked for a considerable amount of clothing." Another western diplomat was solicited for over 2 million gym suits. DPRK refugees believe the clothing is being distributed to children for political purposes. Kim Sun-gil, a DPRK refugee since 1997, said, "its possible that the clothing was handed out on Kim Il-sung's birthday on Aril 15, or on Inauguration Day on October 10."

III. People's Republic of China

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1. DPRK-US Talks

People's Daily ("DPRK: TALKS WITH US TO BE CONTINUED," 3/20/00, P6) reported that DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman said on March 18 that DPRK-US vice-ministerial talks were held in New York on March 8-15. The two sides agreed to continue holding talks at different kinds of levels, the spokesman said. The details of the DPRK's requests to remove it from the list of 'terrorist states' and to compensate its electricity loss because of the delay of the construction of light-water reactions were discussed extensively. The US admitted that the DPRK's compensation request was reasonable and the two sides discussed how to resolve the problem.

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2. ROK-Japanese Relations

China Daily ("MILITARY BOND: JAPAN, S. KOREA," Seoul, 3/16/00, P11) reported that a spokesman for the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff said that Japan and the ROK on March 15 agreed to step up military cooperation and exchanges to help maintain stability in Northeast Asia. The spokesman said the agreement was reached at a meeting between the chairman of Japan's Joint Staff Council Yuji Fujinawa and his ROK counterpart Cho Yung-kil in Seoul. The spokesman said, "they shared the view that close bilateral ties between the two countries are important for maintaining stability in Northeast Asian region and agreed to increase military exchange and cooperation."

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3. DPRK-PRC Relations

China Daily ("MINISTERS COMMEND SINO-DPRK RELATIONS," 3/20/00, P1) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and visiting DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sum on March 18 expressed satisfaction with talks and with the continuous growth of bilateral relations during the past few years. Tang said that the growth of bilateral relations was good for both countries and has contributed positively to peace, stability and security in the Korean Peninsula and the region. Tang stressed that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the PRC government are consistent in their determination to develop traditional friendship between the two countries. Paek agreed that bilateral friendship is progressing well under the great care of the leaders of the two countries. Paek said that it was Kim Jong-il's adamant wish and will to develop the traditional DPRK-China friendship, regardless of changes in the international situation. Both sides also agreed that Kim Jong-il's recent visit to the PRC Embassy in Pyongyang fully demonstrated the great goodwill between the two peoples. Both sides also pledged to enhance contacts and cooperation on relevant issues, and to contribute jointly to maintaining peace and stability in the peninsula, in Northeast Asia and in the world. Paek said the DPRK supported the PRC government's stand on the Taiwan issue, as stated in its recent white paper.

China Daily ("TRIP TO DPRK," Beijing, 3/20/00, P2) reported that, at the invitation of the DPRK's Labor Party, a delegation from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) left Beijing on March 19 on a goodwill visit to the DPRK. The delegation is headed by Chen Jiping, deputy secretary of the Political Science and Law Committee under the CCP Central Committee.

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4. ROK-PRC Relations

People's Daily ("WU BANGGUO MEETS WITH ROK PRESIDENT ENVOY," Beijing, 3/19/00, P4) reported that PRC Vice-Premier Wu Bangguo met a special envoy of ROK President Kim Dae-jung in Beijing on March 17. During the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on increasing cooperation in information and communication fields. The ROK envoy conveyed Kim's wishes for the two countries to carry out bilateral cooperation in these areas.

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5. Cross-Strait Relations

China Daily (Hu Qihua and Shao Zongwei, "TIMELINE, VOTERS DECIDE WHEN," 3/17/00, P2) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi commented on US Defense Secretary William Cohen's remarks on March 16 regarding the Taiwan issue. Sun said, "we hope that the US will not interfere in China's internal affairs. We hope China-US relations can develop in a healthy and stable manner."

China Daily ("STRAITS TRADE PROGRESSING," 3/17/00, P5) reported that trial direct shipments across the Taiwan Straits saw rapid progress during the first two months of 2000. The shipments are utilizing Xiamen, a port located in East China's Fujian Province. The report said that the city handled 49,453 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) of containers destined to Kaohsiung Port during the period, an increase of 46 percent from the same period last year.

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6. PRC-Indian Relations

People's Liberation Army Daily (Zhang Xiaozheng, "CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO INDIA ON BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP," New Delhi, 3/17/00, P4) reported that PRC Ambassador to India Zhou Gang said on March 17 that the PRC attached importance to its relations with India and is ready to establish a cooperative and constructive partnership in the future with India on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. Zhou said, "it is China's consistent and firm aspiration, not an expedient." Zhou said that since the beginning of last year, the Sino-Indian relationship has overcome contemporary frustration and gradually stepped back onto the track of improvement and recovery, which is what the PRC is pleased to see. Zhu said the PRC was looking forward to Indian President's state visit.

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7. Taiwan's Presidential Elections

[see the NAPSNet Special Report issued on March 21, 2000]

IV. Russian Federation

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1. DPRK's Foreign Activities

The Izvestia (Evgeny Artemov, "GREAT LEADER TURNS FACE TO THE WORLD", Washington, 5, 03/15/00) reported that US-DPRK talks were held in Washington between US Special Envoy on DPRK Charles Kartman, US Anti-Terrorism Coordinator Michael Sheehan, and Deputy Foreign Minister of the DPRK Kim Gai Gwang. An agreement was reached that a DPRK delegation headed by a DPRK deputy Foreign Minister would visit. The DPRK is among the seven terrorist-sponsoring states on the US State Department list, but the US said that there was no evidence of its terrorist involvement since 1987. Prior to the talks, four men from a DPRK delegation "secretly" visited Canada. More visits to Western Europe were expected this spring. Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini will be the first G8 foreign minister to pay an official visit to the DPRK soon. The Red Cross Society of Japan and the DPRK signed an agreement to let Japanese women married in the past to DPRK citizens visit Japan this April. The DPRK agreed to facilitate the "search for missing Japanese" in its territory as a prelude to April's normalization talks.

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2. RF Presidential Elections and RF-PRC Relations

The Izvestia ("BEIJING AND OUR ELECTIONS", Moscow, 6, 03/11/00) reported that PRC authorities said acting RF President Vladimir Putin would visit the PRC "this year." PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said the visit would be "of great importance." The report said the PRC seemed to have no doubt that Vladimir Putin will win the RF presidential elections on March 26 and hoped for continuity in bilateral relations.

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3. RF-PRC Relations Forecasts in RF Pre-Election Campaign

Nezavisimaia Gazeta-Stsenarii published an editorial article by Denis Muller ("RED AND YELLOW", Moscow, 5, 03/15/00) which said that if RF Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov wins the RF presidential elections later this month, RF relations with the PRC will surely change. According to Muller, if the RF Communist Party wins, there will be a sharp rise in RF foreign debt after 2003 and Zyuganov's government will face two options: ether a national default followed by international economic isolation and economic collapse, or a totally "Draconian" domestic economic measures. Muller wrote that both options would lead to a sharp political crisis and therefore RF Communist leaders will have to look for a "non- standard" way of salvation. Muller continued, "and they will find it. Almost surely Zyuganov's ideologically like-minded persons from the fraternal Communist Party of China will not deny assistance. In exchange for their loans helping Russian Communist leaders to hold their power somehow, Chinese comrades will ask for just little - a more or less free access to undeveloped resources of Siberia and the Far East. Capitals from various countries will be attracted with Beijing's guarantees, and the necessary multimillion-strong work force will come chiefly from China. A strategic alliance along the Beijing-Moscow axis will become the last and most reliable basis of the Russian Communists' power. And the wise rulers in Junnanghai will not speed up the natural processes predetermined by the logic of history, that is practically inevitable."

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5. RF-PRC Arms Trade and Taiwan Defenses

Nezavisimaia Gazeta (Sergey Sokut, "'MOSKIT' VERSUS 'AEGIS'", Moscow, 6, 03/15/00) reported that RF Vice Premier Ilya Klebanov said that "China is interested in purchasing not just two, but even a greater number of Russian destroyers equipped with 'Moskit' missiles." Talks on that subject are to be held August-September 2000, but experts say PRC leaders have already made a principal decision to buy two destroyers. The PRC Navy has already received one RF-made "Sovremenny - class" destroyer from the two agreed upon in the 1997. The second will be delivered in November. Inclusive to the deal are six Ka-28 deck-based helicopters which have already been delivered, and anti-ship 3M-80E "Moskit" missiles which will be delivered in April and November. "Moskit" missiles are the main strike force of the destroyers. Four destroyers can fire 32 missiles simultaneously flying at supersonic speed which make them very hard to hit by anti-missile defenses. The US are in the process of purchasing an additional 100 MA-31 supersonic missile targets imitating "Moskit" flight, but success in counteraction is still limited.

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6. Taiwan's Presidential Elections

[see the NAPSNet Special Report issued on March 21, 2000]

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Kim Hee-sun:
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Hiroyasu Akutsu:
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Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
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