NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, march 24, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

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I. United States

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1. ROK-DPRK Territorial Dispute

Agence France Presse ("S.KOREA WILL NOT TOLERATE N.KOREAN PROVOCATION IN DISRUPTED WATERS," Seoul, 3/24/00) and the Associated Press (Sang-hun Choe, "KOREAN SEAS CALM DESPITE THREATS," Seoul, 3/24/00) reported that the ROK navy warned Friday that it would not tolerate any provocative action by the DPRK in the disputed waters off islands in the Yellow Sea. Park Chung-hwa, spokesman for the ROK navy, said, "if the North ... illegally crosses into the (sea border of the) Northern Limit Line, our armed forces will regard it as a provocation and will never tolerate it." Another ROK navy spokesman said, "we are closely monitoring the North Korean navy's moves in the waters with strengthened vigilance. But no North Korean ship has been found crossing into the waters." Lee In-hwan, an official of the ROK maritime affairs ministry, said, "the North's recent warning has no impact on the operation of our ships." Lee said that some fishing boats and ferries temporarily suspended operations in the area because of bad weather, not because of the DPRK threat. The ROK maritime affairs ministry has requested that the marine police and the navy protect ROK ships from possible DPRK attacks.

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2. Cross-Straits Relations

Agence France Presse ("CHINA CONCEDES REUNIFICATION WITH TAIWAN WILL TAKE TIME," Beijing, 3/24/00) reported that Li Jiaquan, a scholar at the PRC government sponsored Institute of Taiwan Studies, said in a commentary in Friday's state-run China Daily that the Taiwan reunification will be complicated and could take some time. Li said, "with Hong Kong and Macau reunited with the motherland, the Taiwan issue has to be solved. However, the Taiwan issue is rather complicated and may not be solved instantly." Li also said the "timetable [is] without time limit." He continued, "if the reunification is achieved through peaceful negotiations, it may be a prolonged process since there will be many technical problems to be discussed." He also warned, "if force is adopted, in contrast, it may be just a matter of hours." Li said that reunification should begin with increased personal exchanges between the PRC and Taiwan and the complete lifting of Taiwan's ban on direct cross-strait trade, communication and postal delivery. He added, "this process, however, should not go beyond 15 or 20 years since the de facto separation will jeopardize the reunification cause." Wang Zaibang, of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said that the chances of Taiwan President-elect Chen Shui-bian not agreeing with the PRC's "one-China" policy were slim. Beijing University professor Li Yihu said the US would dissuade Chen from declaring independence, but agreed that the US "will certainly interfere if China resorts to force to take Taiwan on its declaration of independence."

Reuters ("CHINA SAYS NO COMPROMISE ON TAIWAN TALKS," Beijing, 3/24/00) and the Associated Press ("CHINA SAYS IT WILL MEET WITH TAIWAN NEGOTIATORS - ON ONE CONDITION," Beijing, 3/24/00) reported that PRC's official Xinhua news agency quoted PRC Vice Premier Qian Qichen saying that the PRC's official line is to hold talks with Taiwan's president-elect Chen Shui-bian only if he accepted that Taiwan was part of 'one united China.' Qian told a meeting of Taiwan affairs officials, "if the one-China principle is recognized, Taiwan's leaders can come to the mainland any time for talks and we can go to Taiwan. Otherwise, we will make no compromises. If someone were to disregard the lives and safety of 23 million Taiwan compatriots by pursuing so- called 'Taiwan independence', they will come to no good." The PRC's Defense News warned Taiwan on Friday not to follow the "three roads to death" - resisting reunification by force, indefinitely postponing talks with the PRC or seeking help overseas. However, it continued, reunification did not necessarily need to be under the "one country, two systems" formula adopted in Hong Kong and Macao. The paper said, "the Chinese government is absolutely clear and has often expressed that it is willing through equal political talks with Taiwan authorities under the one-China principle to seek a unification model that both sides can accept." The China Daily quoted a Taiwan expert who said that Taiwan should increase economic and cultural exchanges and expand direct trade and transport links with the mainland "as a transitional means to bring then to the negotiating table."

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3. US View of Cross-Straits Relations

Reuters ("COHEN PRAISES LOWER RHETORIC LEVELS," Washington, 3/24/00) reported that US Defense Secretary William Cohen said Friday on a US public television program that the PRC and Taiwan appeared to have toned down their rhetoric after Chen Shui-bian's victory in Taiwan's presidential elections last week. Cohen said, "I think that there could be a potential for armed conflict, but both sides appear to have stepped back." He also said he had urged the PRC leaders while in Hong Kong to "lower their rhetoric, to step back from this abyss that both sides seem to be heading toward." Cohen cited positive signs from Chen, including his pledge to try to remove his party's platform that called for independence. Cohen continued, "the Taiwanese have to drop their statements about claiming independence because we don't support that, and the Chinese have to step talking about taking military action, or threatening to take military action." He also added that the US had 100,000 US troops stationed in Asia and had contingency plans if the tensions between the PRC and Taiwan should escalate. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for March 23, 2000.]

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4. US-Taiwan Relations

Agence France Presse ("UNOFFICIAL US ENVOY BACKS NEW TAIWAN PRESIDENT'S APPROACH ON CHINA," Taipei, 3/24/00) reported that former US congressman Lee Hamilton, an unofficial US envoy to Taiwan, said on Friday that he endorsed Taiwan's president-elect Chen Shui-bian. Hamilton said he was reassured by what he had heard after meeting with Chen, his top advisers and outgoing president Lee Teng-hui. Reports have quoted unnamed White House officials that said Hamilton would "carry out a special diplomatic mission." They also said Clinton had asked Hamilton "to express Washington's hopes for a re-opening of cross-strait talks and exercise restraint to lower tension in the region."

Office of International Information Programs, US Department of State, released the transcript of former US Congressman Lee Hamilton at the American Institute in Taiwan, (DEPARTURE STATEMENT FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN LEE HAMILTON, 3/24/00) which said: "It has been my great honor to be in Taiwan just a few days after last Saturday's presidential election. I came in a private capacity and leave both impressed with the vitality of your democratic system and also alerted to the challenges that face Taiwan, the United States, and the PRC in preserving peace, stability, and prosperity in this region. I would like to thank President Lee, President-elect Chen, and the others who took time out from their very busy schedule to meet with me. I had very productive discussions with President-elect Chen and his key advisors. I emphasized my admiration for what the people of Taiwan have achieved and my sense of the United States' fundamental interest in the preservation of peace, stability, and prosperity in the Taiwan Strait region. I have been impressed by President-elect Chen's prudent, positive statements on cross-strait relations since the election. After I return to Washington, I will share my views and what I have learned with the President and his senior advisors as well as my friends in Congress."

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5. US Missile Sales to Taiwan

The Wall Street Journal (Eduardo Lachica, "U.S. OFFICIALS FIND ENCOURAGEMENT IN RESPONSES TO TAIWAN ELECTION," Washington, 3/24/00) reported that Douglas Paal, a Republican adviser on Asian policy, urged Taiwan's new president-elect Chen Shui-bian and his transition team to put off a request for advanced missile defenses from the US until his new government is in place. Paal said, "this isn't the time for Taiwan to make new purchases. A big arms sale could cause complications during this transition period, and it would be inappropriate for the Clinton administration to make a big decision like this." Paal and other Republican analysts believe it may be more appropriate for the next US administration to handle the transfer because it could be many years more before a suitable defense could be in place in the Taiwan Strait. Larry Wortzel, a regional-security expert at the Heritage Foundation, said that the Clinton administration should consult more extensively with the US Congress before it can be trusted to make decisions like this. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for March 24, 2000.]

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6. Taiwan Political Developments

Agence France Presse ("LEE STEPS DOWN AS KUOMINTANG LEADER AFTER 12 YEARS AT TAIWAN'S HELM," Taipei, 3/24/00) and the Associated Press (William Foreman, "TAIWAN PRESIDENT LEAVES PARTY POST," Taipei, 3/24/00) reported that current Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui resigned as Kuomintang (KMT or Nationalist) leader on Friday. Lee said that he took full responsibility for the party's defeat in Taiwan's March 18 presidential elections. During a meeting of top party members, Lee said, "the reasons behind this setback are various but as KMT chairman I have to take full responsibility." He added that the 106-year-old party could be proud of creating a democratic, stable and prosperous Taiwan, "however, as a party with a long history we also have accumulated some flaws. And this failure provides us with the best opportunity to do some serious retrospection." Lee's departure is expected to mollify the protesters who had maintained a non-stop vigil since the election results were announced. Demonstration leader Wang Chao-tseng, said, "this protest is going to end because Lee has announced he will step down. We have achieved our goals."

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7. Spratly Islands

Agence France Presse ("CHINA CALLS FOR COMMON DEVELOPMENT TO SOLVE SOUTH CHINA SEA DISPUTE," Beijing, 3/24/00) reported that the PRC told the Philippines on Friday that it would pursue common development in solving a sovereignty dispute in the South China Sea. Without referring to the dispute directly, PRC President Jiang Zemin said the PRC did not want to let the issue damage friendly ties, and welcomed Philippine President Joseph Estrada to visit the PRC in May. The PRC's official Xinhua News Agency reported, "as for the differences between the two countries, China still advocates solving the problem by friendly consultations in line with the principle of seeking common development while putting aside differences." Xinhua said that visiting Philippine Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo told Jiang that her country hoped that differences over the South China Sea could be resolved in a peaceful way. Jiang told Arroyo that he hoped the PRC and the Philippines could be "good friends, good neighbors and good partners."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK-ROK Territorial Dispute

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, "NK DESIGNATES WEST SEA NAVIGATION CHANNEL," Seoul, 03/23/00) reported that the DPRK Naval Command (NC) announced on March 23 that it had designated a navigation channel for access to five islands claimed by the DPRK as its territories. The move is seen as a follow up to the unilateral declaration of territorial water limits made in September 1999. The DPRK's Central News Agency said that the five islands, including Paikryong Island, which had been occupied by the US, were in fact DPRK territories. The navigation channel is two miles wide and is supposed to be used by all sea traffic, military or otherwise. NC also designated three areas around the islands and stated that any deviation from these or the channel, by boats and aircraft would be considered a violation of DPRK territory. The NC said that it had the will to attend to problems with negotiation, but that the US refused to entertain these and so had taken this action to prevent collisions.

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2. DPRK-ROK Talks

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Jin-kook, "PRESIDENT CONFIDENT INTER-KOREAN TALKS WILL SOON TAKE PLACE," Seoul, 03/23/00) and The Korea Times (Lee Chang-sup, "NK DIPLOMAT SAID TO HAVE DESCRIBED BERLIN DECLARATION IN POSITIVE WAY," Seoul, 03/23/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said at a luncheon with 152 retired generals on Wednesday that in the not too distant future, an inter-Korean dialogue with the DPRK would materialize. Kim said, "it seems that North Korea had initially harbored suspicions that Seoul's 'sunshine policy' was a plot to demolish the communist system in the North. But the Pyongyang leadership is leaning toward believing the true intention of the policy which is to remove the Cold War legacy on the Korean peninsula for inter- Korean exchanges, cooperation and reconciliation." He predicted that it might be very difficult for the DPRK to wage a war against the ROK as Russia and the PRC strongly oppose any military adventures.

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3. Russia-DPRK Relations

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "RUSSIA PROPOSES INTER-KOREAN RAILWAY," Seoul, 03/24/00) reported that ROK officials said on March 23 that Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov proposed during his visit to Pyongyang February 9-10 that the ROK and the DPRK build a railway network connecting that would connect the two countries and extend it to Siberia. Officials said, however, that DPRK leaders refused to give an immediate response to the proposition. They also said that the Russian proposal appeared to be aimed at increasing the profitability of its Siberian railroad by connecting it with an inter-Korean line. Despite the DPRK's lukewarm reaction, ROK and Russian experts will meet in Seoul March 30-31 to discuss concrete ways to help the plan materialize.

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4. Aid to DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, "FERTILIZER AND AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS TO NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 03/23/00) reported that the Citizen's Coalition for Agricultural Development Between the ROK and the DPRK announced on March 23 that it had recently sent agricultural supplies amounting to US$27,680 to the DPRK. Materials included 60 tons of composite fertilizer and 50 sprayers for crop dusting, as well as insecticides and herbicides. The supplies will be used to cultivate the 150 tons of potato seeds that were sent in October 1999.

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5. DPRK-ROK Economic Cooperation

Joongang Ilbo (Kim kwang-ki, "FIRST DELIVERY OF SOUTH-NORTH KOREA CIGARETTE ARRIVES IN INCHON," Seoul, 03/23/00) reported that the first delivery of a new cigarette jointly marketed between the DPRK and the ROK arrived on March 21 at the port of Inchon. The cigarette, to be sold under the brand name of "Hanmaum" (meaning one mind), will be produced in the DPRK but sold in both countries. The cigarettes were produced at the Yongsung Tobacco Factory, located in Pyongyang. Production began at the factory on February 2. The company plans to produce 100 million packs a year, with 80 million packs sold in the ROK and 20 million packs sold in the DPRK.

III. Japan

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1. Japanese-DPRK Relations

The Asahi Shimbun ("JAPANESE-DPRK NORMALIZATION TALKS TO BE RESUMED ON APRIL 4," 03/23/2000) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono announced on March 22 that the Japanese and DPRK governments would resume normalization talks in Pyongyang on April 4. The report said that the talks, if realized, would be the first of their kind in seven years since ambassadorial-level talks between the two countries were last held in November 1992. The report also said that the normalization talks this time aim to review the status of the investigations of Japanese civilians allegedly abducted by DPRK agents. The resumption of the investigations was already agreed on between the two sides at the most recent Red Cross meeting. However, according to the report, the Japanese Foreign Ministry sees the talks as consistent with the previous talks held between 1991-1992 and wants to discuss other issues, including the interpretation of the Japanese-Korean Annexation Treaty, the Korean people's right to demand their properties, and nuclear inspections. The report concluded that although Kono suggested that the Japanese government wanted to continue to discuss the abduction issue in future normalization talks, in light of the DPRK's refusal to discuss the matter in 1998, the DPRK may refuse again to discuss the issue.

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2. Japan's Reaction to the Taiwan Election

The Asahi Shimbun ("OBUCHI SAYS THERE IS NO CHANGE IN OUR STANCE," 03/19/2000) reported that regarding Chen Shuibian's victory in the presidential election in Taiwan, Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said on March 19 that Japan's diplomatic stance toward the PRC and Taiwan continues to be the same, based on the Japanese-PRC Communique. Obuchi added, "I expect that both sides of the (Taiwan) Strait will solve (their) problem peacefully through dialogue and that to achieve this they will resume talks as early as possible."

The Nikkei Shimbun ("CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY EXPECTS EARLY RESUMPTION OF PRC-ROC DIALOGUE," 03/21/2000) reported that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki said to reporters regarding the outcome of the Taiwanese Presidential election on March 21, "I expect that both sides of the (Taiwan) Strait will solve (their) problem peacefully through dialogue and that to achieve this they will resume talks as early as possible." As for Japan's stance to both the PRC and Taiwan, Aoki said, "While Japan develops its relations stable and cooperative relations with the PRC based on the Japanese-PRC Communique, Japan will continue to maintain nongovernmental and practical (working) relations with Taiwan." Yohei Kono, Japanese Foreign Minister, also said to reporters on March 21, "I don't see any urgent thing (for Japan) to do in the wake of this dramatic change (the election result). Any new government needs to take time to think about what to think (and do). We will just wait and see how (the new government in Taiwan) will do so."

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3. ROK President's Visit to Japan

The Asahi Shimbun ("KIM DAE-JUNG TO VISIT JAPAN IN MAY TO INCREASE UNDERSTANDING OF NORTH-SOUTH ISSUE," 03/12/2000) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung revealed on his way back from Europe on March 11 that he would visit Japan in May. The report quoted ROK governmental sources as saying that Kim Dae-jung wants to visit Japan before the Group of 8 Summit in Okinawa and expects Japan to convey to other participating countries the ROK's stance on the DPRK-ROK problem. However, the report also said that Kim Dae- jung told reporters that his main objective of visiting Japan is to ask Japan to increase its investment in the ROK. The report added that the Japanese-ROK talks at the time of Kim's visit to Japan may include the Japanese-DPRK normalization talks and the right of Korean residents in Japan to participate in politics in Japan.

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4. PLA's Unification Scenario

The Sankei Shimbun (Yoshihisa Komori, "PRC JOURNAL REVEALS STRATEGY TO DEAL WITH US IN CHINESE UNIFICATION," Beijing, 3/22/2000) reported that the PRC People's Liberation Army's (PLA) official journal "Haowangjian" revealed the PLA's scenario of unification with Taiwan by the use of force. The report said that the scenario is focused on how to deal with the US military intervention in PRC-Taiwan unification. The scenario is divided into three phases. In the first phase, termed "intimidation," the PRC initially would disrupt US carriers with PLA submarines and fighters, strengthen diplomatic ties with Russia, and warn Japan and the ROK not to support US forces. In the second phase, termed "limited armed aggression," if the US still would intervene militarily, the PLA would destroy US military satellite and operational information systems, intensively attack US carriers with PLA submarines and fighters, attack US bases in Guam, Japan and the ROK with PRC intermediary ballistic missiles, send PLA forces to the DPRK to pressure US-ROK forces, and make other US potential enemies--"Iran, Iraq, Cuba and Yugoslavia"--take obstructive measures against US forces. In the third phase, called "intimidation of nuclear war," in case the US still would go to a large-scale war against the PRC, the PRC would blast a nuclear bomb within the US theater as a warning after withdrawing the PRC's pledge not to use nuclear weapons first, order the PRC people to conduct evacuation exercises in preparation for nuclear war against the US, strike Taiwan with a nuclear bomb to quickly end the problem over the Taiwan Strait, freeze US assets in the PRC, begin espionage and destructive activities in the US, and sell nuclear weapons to Iran, Iraq and the DPRK. The scenario also asserts that the US knows better than getting involved in the third phase because the US always gives priority to its own interests and would not risk the lives of its own people for those of the Taiwanese, and that the US would eventually withdraw from defending Taiwan. The Sankei report added that the PRC spokesman only said, "No comment," when asked about the scenario on March 21.

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5. Japanese Maritime Security Policy

The Sankei Shimbun ("JAPANESE MARITIME SELF-DEFENSE FORCE TO HAVE HIGH-SPEED BOATS," 03/24/2000) reported that the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) has started establishing a special unit of 60 personnel in Edajima, Hiroshima Prefecture, to deal with unidentified ships entering Japanese territorial waters in wake of the incident in March last year in which suspected DPRK spy ships infiltrated into Japanese territorial waters. The report added that MSDF is also preparing four high-speed boats in Maizuru and Sasebo and machineguns to be carried on escort ships.

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6. PRC Officials' Visit to Japan

The Asahi Shimbun ("THOSE WHO ARE CLOSE TO JIANG ZEMIN TO VISIT JAPAN IN EARLY APRIL," 03/24/2000) reported that two high-ranking PRC officials would visit Japan in early April. The report said that according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Zeng Qinghong, Head of the PRC Communist Party Organization, would visit Japan from April 1 to 6, and PLA high-ranking official Zhoan Quanyou would visit Japan from April 4 to 8. The report said that Zeng is close to PRC President Jiang Zemin and that his statement about the Taiwan issue would be influential. The report quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying, "The fact that the exact dates of their visit has been determined indicates that the PRC is cautiously dealing with its relations with Taiwan." The Foreign Ministry official also said that the Foreign Ministry would ask the PRC government to remain careful about the inter-Strait relations and to try not to heighten the tensions. The report added that Zhoan would meet with Japanese Defense Agency Head Tsutomu Kawara and that Zeng would meet with Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and Foreign Minister Yohei Kono.

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7. Japanese-Taiwan Relations

The Asahi Shimbun ("CHEN SUIBIAN INVITES KOMEITO TO INAGURATION CEREMONY," 03/24/2000) reported that ROC President Elect Chen Shuibian invited the Japanese Komei Party on March 22 to his inauguration ceremony slated for May. According to the report, a delegation from Komei Party was visiting Taiwan for the groundbreaking ceremony of a Japanese school in Taipei, which was destroyed by the earthquake that hit Taiwan last year, and Chen took advantage of this opportunity to strengthen his relations with Japanese policy-makers. However, said the report, not only Komei Party but also other ruling and opposition parties are cautious about developing their relations with Chen because of the PRC's possible negative reaction.

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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
Monash Asia 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

John McKay:
Clayton, Australia

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