NAPSNet Daily Report
monday, april 3, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. DPRK-Japan Normalization Talks

Associated Press (Joji Sakurai, "SECURITY MAY HANG ON DIPLOMATIC TIES," Tokyo, 4/3/00) reported that Representatives from Japan and the DPRK will meet on April 4 in Pyongyang for five days of talks on establishing diplomatic ties. Toshio Miyashita, a DPRK expert at Yamanashi Gakuin University, said, "the North is in a weak position." Masao Okonogi, a professor of international relations at Keio University, said, "Japan feels that in order to bring about change in the North Korean regime, it must follow a policy of engagement. The real issue for Japan is peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula." Okonogi said DPRK leaders seem eager to create a secure framework for closer relations with major industrial countries in case of a Republican victory in the US presidential election. He also said, "the North is really on an overall diplomatic maneuver to prepare for a change of administration in the United States. They want guarantees in case of a Republican victory." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 3, 2000.]

Agence France Presse ("NORTH KOREA GROPES FOR CASH IN LANDMARK DIPLOMATIC TALKS WITH JAPAN," Tokyo, 4/2/00) reported that analysts said the DPRK will be groping for an economic lifeline when it launches landmark diplomatic talks with Japan this week. However, they said, despite the massive food shortages, the DPRK will not be holding out a begging bowl and the negotiations are likely to drag on for years. Japan's chief negotiator Kojiro Takano is due to arrive in Pyongyang on April 4 to resume the normalization talks. Japan's government has rejected the DPRK demands for compensation from its colonial rule, but has offered instead to discuss the DPRK's claims to assets usurped by Japanese colonizers. Experts estimated that the DPRK could have claims at US$5-10 billion, after accounting for inflation and interest. Masao Okonogi, a professor at Tokyo's Keio University, said, "North Korea may benefit from its talks with the United States in the field of security. But its dealing with Japan will contribute to its economic construction." Most analysts in Japan believe that the talks will be tough. There is also strong resistance to hasty overtures to the DPRK within Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Katsumi Sato, a leading Japanese analyst on DPRK affairs, said, "if the LDP loses in the general elections, which are widely expected after July, the foreign ministry will return to its orthodox ways and put the abduction issue up front."

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2. No Gun-ri Investigation

U.S. News & World Report (Paul Bedard, "WASHINGTON WHISPERS NO GUN YET," 4/10/00, P.8) reported that the US Army is applying unusual ingenuity in its probe of allegations that US soldiers massacred Korean refugees 50 years ago in the ROK hamlet of No Gun-ri. One key innovation in the investigation is a computerized virtual-reality model that lets investigators relive the July 1950 event as the soldiers might have, including lines of fire and simulations of the type of US Air Force jet strafing some think may have been responsible for the deaths of refugees and US soldiers. Still, one investigator said, "the mystery gets bigger as we go along." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 3, 2000.]

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3. ROK-DPRK relations

Associated Press ("NORTH, SOUTH KOREA HOLD TALKS THAT MAY LEAD TO A SUMMIT, Seoul, 4/3/00) reported that ROK national security adviser Hwang Won Tak said Monday the DPRK and the ROK are holding productive talks that may lead to the first ever summit between the two states. Hwang said, "the two Koreas are having talks through various channels, and there is a good chance that the two would hold a summit. It would be hard for North Korea to open up completely right now. But we believe that they have already chosen the direction of opening and reforms."

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4. Cross-Strait Relations

The New York Times (Joseph Kahn, "CHINA INDICATING CAUTION ON TAIWAN," Washington, 4/2/00) reported that a senior US administration official said on April 2 that PRC leaders told the US that they plan to stick with a "wait and see" attitude toward Taiwan's new president, Chen Shui-bian, and that they are open to resuming a dialogue with the island. The official said that the PRC has decided, at least for the time being, to try to reach an accommodation with Chen's new government. He said, "they don't quite know what to make of the situation, but they are not inclined to act in a precipitous way and they want to find a way to reach an accommodation consistent with their principles. There is an important national security argument for going forward with permanent normal trade relations, which is if anything intensified by developments related to Taiwan. It not only creates a degree of interdependence between China and the world community but also to the economic integration of China and Taiwan." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 3, 2000.]

Agence France Presse ("TAIWAN'S PRESIDENT-ELECT HOLDS FIRST MEETING ON CHINA ISSUES," Taipei, 4/3/00) reported that Taiwan's president-elect Chen Shui-bian confirmed on Monday that a closed-door meeting to discuss Taiwan's relationship with the PRC was chaired by Lee Yuan-tseh, Taiwan-born Nobel Prize winner and a top advisor to Chen. Chen said the results of the meeting would be used as a reference in dealing with the PRC in the future. In a separate speech on Monday, Chen said cross-straits ties were at a "critical juncture." Chen added, "if the issues could be properly handled, permanent peace and stability would be brought to the straits and security be brought to the Asia Pacific region. But if the issues could not be solved and the cross-straits ties could not be normalised, the crisis might further escalate."

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5. PRC Missile Threat to Taiwan

The New York Times (Elizabeth Becker, "PROBLEMS SEEN IN TAIWAN'S DEFENSES," Washington, 4/1/00) reported that senior US administration officials said on March 31 that a team of US military officials were scheduled to travel to Taiwan April 1-2 to present government officials there with a secret US Defense Department study showing how problems in Taiwan's air defense system make it vulnerable to attack from the PRC. However, US Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen said on March 31 that despite the conclusion of the report, "I'm satisfied that Taiwan is still very capable and has a very capable military." US Defense Department officials said they will discuss the report with the US Congress after the military team returns from Taiwan. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 3, 2000.]

Agence France Presse ("CHINA'S MISSILES THREATEN TAIWAN'S SAFETY: OFFICIAL," Taipei, 4/1/00) reported that Taiwan military officials admitted on April 1 that the PRC's missile deployment poses a threat to the island's security. The admission came after a US Defense Department report was released by the Washington Post on March 31. Taiwan's defense minister Tang Fei declined to comment on the report, but military officials admitted the island needed to heighten its anti-missile capability. A Taiwanese military official said, "China's air threat against Taiwan does exist." He added that in recent years, the PRC has expanded its military spending and developed sophisticated weapons. He continued, "building an anti-ballistic and anti-cruise missiles system is the most pressing issue for Taiwan. They (missiles) have posted increasing physical and psychological threats to us." He concurred with the US Defense Department's analysis that within five years the PRC will have air superiority over Taiwan and be capable of blockading the island. He also admitted that Taiwan lacked military exchanges with other countries because of the PRC military's isolation of the island.

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6. Taiwan Envoy to the PRC

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, "ENVOY REACHES OUT TO BEIJING FOR TAIWANESE," Beijing, 4/1/00, P.A13) reported that Jeremy J. Stone, president of the Federation of American Scientists, went to the PRC on March 31 on a sensitive and unannounced trip to talk to PRC leaders about Taiwan. Before his visit, Stone had met with Taiwan President-elect Chen Shui-bian and Lee Yuan-tzu, Chen's advisor on cross-strait policy. Noting this, a Chinese source called Stone an "unofficial representative" of the Taiwanese government-in-waiting. However, Bi-khim Hsiao, chief of the international department of Chen's Democratic Progressive Party, said Stone is representing only himself. Hsiao said, "it's not like we've asked him to carry a message for us...What we're trying to do is to find ways to communicate." Sources in the PRC said Lee played a role in encouraging Stone to take this trip. Sources said Stone is scheduled be in the PRC for four days and will meet with PRC Deputy Prime Minister Qian Qichen, the chief architect of the PRC's Taiwan policy; General Xiong Guangkai, a top policymaker with the People's Liberation Army; and officials at the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, the PRC's cabinet. Contacted in a small Beijing hotel, Stone declined comment, saying, "please allow me to fade back into the woodwork."

Agence France Presse ("TAIWAN PRESIDENT-ELECT DENIES SENDING EMISSARY TO BEIJING," Taipei, 4/2/00) reported that Taiwan's president-elect Chen Shui-bian denied on April 1 a report by the Washington Post that he had asked US scientist Jeremy Stone to visit the PRC to help improve relations. Chen said, "here I want to solemnly clarify the report that Mr. Stone is acting as our emissary or special envoy. It is groundless." However, Chen continued, "the cross-strait relationship must improve and be normalized. We must show our greatest sincerity and goodwill in engaging in a detente between the two sides of the strait. There may be people shuttling between Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei, or the other way round. I realize these people hope to dedicate themselves to peace in the Taiwan Strait as well as security and stability in the Asia Pacific region. To these people we have to thank them for their efforts and sincerity. We must not cast any doubts over their motivation."

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7. US Weapons Sales to Taiwan

The Wall Street Journal (Russell Flannery, "TAIWAN'S CHEN SEEKS NO DELAY FROM U.S. IN ARMS-SALE DECISION," Taipei, 4/3/00) reported that a Taiwan spokeswoman said on April 1 that Taiwan's president-elect Chen Shui-bian wants the US to move forward with a decision on the sale of advanced US weapons to Taiwan. Bi-khim Hsiao, director of the department of international affairs for Chen's Democratic Progressive Party, said on April 1 that there was "no need to change" the timing of the US decision and the incoming administration sees a "need for continuity" in relations between the two sides. Lin Chi-lang, a military specialist at Taiwan's Armed Forces University, said, "relations between the two sides are in a state of protracted conflict that haven't changed with the election. It's a long-term problem, and conflict is difficult to avoid." Shih-Min Chen, a research fellow and specialist in military law at Academia Sinica, Taiwan's top research organization, said, "Chen Shui-bian was elected mainly on domestic issues and doesn't want to be seen as a trouble-maker in foreign affairs. What's more, the president-elect also wants to be seen as a supporter of Taiwan's military in the face of tension with China."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK-ROK Talks

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "RANKING OFFICIALS PREDICT S-N SUMMIT WITHIN YEAR," Seoul, 04/03/00) and Joongang Ilbo (Kim Kyo-jun, "SOUTH AND NORTH KOREA MAY HOLD SUMMIT TALK THIS YEAR," Seoul, 04/02/00) reported that ranking officials in the ROK ruling party strongly indicated on April 2 that government-to-government talks between the ROK and the DPRK, including a summit of their top leaders, could take place after the April 13 parliamentary elections. "I think it is possible for the South and North to hold a summit meeting within this year," Suh Young-hoon, chairman of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party, told reporters. Suh said he heard "from a most authoritative source" that there had been considerable progress made through inter-Korean contacts in Beijing and other channels. "The atmosphere is ripe for such a meeting," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It almost seems that the two sides could hold the summit right now."

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Jin-kook, "SOUTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT IS MAKING INFORMAL CONTACT WITH NK," Seoul, 03/31/00) and Chosun Ilbo (Kim Min-bai, "PRESIDENT PREDICTS HUGE NK BOOM," 03/31/00) reported that on March 31, ROK President Kim Dae-jung stated that he is going to tell the opposition parties and the Korean people that he is driving to hold summit talks between the two Koreas. He added that the government has informally contacted the DPRK through many channels. In the interview, Kim also said that a special business boom with the DPRK is expected after the national election, and small firms will find boundless opportunities for investment.

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2. DPRK Conditions for Inter-Korea Talks

The Korea Herald ("N.K. CITES U.S. TROOP WITHDRAWAL, NSL ABOLITION AS CONDITIONS FOR TALKS," Seoul, 04/03/00) and The Korea Times (Son Key-young, "NK SHRUGS OFF ITALY'S CALL FOR ECONOMIC REFORM," Seoul, 04/02/00) reported that the DPRK recently agreed in principle to engage in inter-Korean dialogue, but reiterated that the abolition of the National Security Law and the withdrawal of US forces from the Korean Peninsula were preconditions to any talks. Quoting an Italian official who accompanied Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini on his recent trip to Pyongyang, an ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry official said that the DPRK was reluctant to implement PRC- or Vietnamese-style reform and was trying to adhere to its current system. The Italian official predicted that it would therefore take some time for it to open itself to the international community.

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3. APEC Forum

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, "KIM CALLS ON APEC TO ENGAGE N.K. BY GRANTING 'GUEST' STATUS: ALSO PROPOSES REGIONAL SOCIAL SAFETY NET, HEDGE-FUND MONITORING," Seoul, 04/01/00) and The Korea Times (Lee Chang-sup, "KIM CALLS FOR NK'S ENTRY TO APEC," Seoul, 03/31/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung made an appeal at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on March 31 to engage the DPRK in order to help the DPRK end its era of isolation and overcome its current economic hardships. Kim said, "I hope that North Korea will be able to participate in APEC activities as a guest if it so wishes, upon consultation with APEC members."

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4. DPRK-ROK Cultural Exchange

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, "NORTH KOREA CANCELS PERFORMANCE IN SEOUL," Seoul, 04/02/00) reported that the ROK performance of the 'Year 2000 International Concert for Peace' was canceled by the DPRK without mutual consent. A spokesman from the ROK Ministry of Unification announced on April 2 that "the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee has been notified of the nullification of the planned concert at the Sejong Cultural Center (SCC) on April 8." He added that, "CnA Korea, which had promoted the project, also canceled its reservation of the SCC concert hall." However, the performance in Pyongyang will be held as arranged at the Moranbong Theater on April 5. Conductor Kum Nan-Sae and 28 other performers left for the DPRK via Beijing on April 1. The remaining performers and 62 audience members will arrive in Pyongyang on April 3.

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5. Chung to Visit DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (Choi Joon-ho, "HYUNDAI'S HONORARY PRESIDENT PLANS TO VISIT NORTH KOREA IN APRIL," Seoul, 03/31/00) reported that Chung Ju-yung, honorary president of the Hyundai Group, plans to visit the DPRK immediately after the completion of the general election in April. On March 31, Kim Yun-kyu, Hyundai Engineering & Construction president, announced the plan to "visit the DPRK with Chung Ju-yung to develop the tour plan for Kumkang Mountain and decide on the site for the west coast industrial park." A source from Hyundai said, "Chung planned to review the harbor and road systems in Hae-ju and Nampo area. He would hold discussions with DPRK authorities to decide on the areas which are prospects for the industrial park site." The discussions with DPRK authorities will include the integrated development of Kumkang Mountain areas to support 500,000 tourists per year.

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6. Japan to Apologize to DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (Nam Yoon-ho, "JAPAN TO APOLOGIZE TO NORTH KOREA FOR PAST COLONIAL RULE," Seoul, 03/31/00) reported that the Tokyo Shimbun said on March 31 that the Japanese government plans to express "remorse" in a document for its past colonial rule of the Korean peninsula during normalization negotiations with the DPRK. However, there is reportedly a deep-rooted conviction within the Japanese government that further apologies to the DPRK and other Asian countries for its wartime past are unnecessary they have already been repeatedly given.

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7. DPRK on West Sea

The Korea Times (Lee Soo-jeong, "NK HEIGHTENS THREATS OVER DISPUTED WEST SEA AREAS," Seoul, 03/31/00) reported that an ROK Unification Ministry official said on March 30 that the DPRK has intensified its threats to the ROK and the US in the West Sea. The DPRK warned the two countries last week of military attacks, saying, "if the maritime order is not kept, we will teach them a lesson by action. Pyongyang is clearly raising its tone, and we believe they are trying to induce Seoul and Washington to provide them with assistance." A senior ROK Unification Ministry analyst told reporters that the DPRK has already issued five warnings via the media. It has also increased attacks on Tokyo, calling it an "old enemy who is trying to resolve what it did in the past with a few pennies." The analyst said, "we think Pyongyang is pressuring Japan in order to gain the upper hand in the coming talks. They are trying to weaken the Japanese position on such sensitive issues as kidnappings and missiles."

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8. New PRC Ambassador to DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, "NEW CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO NORTH KOREA ARRIVED," Seoul, 03/31/00) reported that the Korean Central News Agency announced on April 1 that Wang Guozhang, the new PRC ambassador to the DPRK, has arrived to fill his position.

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9. PRC on DPRK Defectors

Chosun Ilbo (Jee Hae-bom, "CHINA REITERATES NK REFUGEE POSITION," Beijing, 03/31/00) reported that PRC foreign ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi reiterated on March 31 that seven DPRK citizens, forcefully deported back to the DPRK from the PRC last January, were not refugees. In a regular news briefing, spokesman Sun re-confirmed the PRC's position, in response to a statement made by UN Ambassador Chang Man-soon. The ambassador stated on March 29 that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had classed the seven as refugees, based on its Refugee Treaty. Sun emphasized that the seven DPRK residents had escaped the DPRK for economic reasons and not political ones.

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10. ROK POW Escaped DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-gu, "NIS REPORTS RETURN OF 11TH POW," Seoul, 03/31/00) reported that the National Intelligence Service (NSI) announced on March 31 that a 71-year-old ROK army prisoner of war, Kim Ki-ho, escaped the DPRK earlier this year and recently returned to the ROK through a third country. Kim fought as a rifleman of the First Infantry Regiment of the Capital Division during the Korean War but became a prisoner of the Chinese Army at the Keumhwa rift valley battle in Kangwon Province in July 1953. The NIS reported that since then, Kim lived working at the Aoji Coal Mine in North Hamkyong Province.

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11. DPRK Minister to Visit Germany

The Korea Times ("N.KOREAN MINISTER TO VISIT GERMANY," Seoul, 04/02/00) reported that the German foreign ministry said on April 1 that DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun will become the first member of his government to visit the reunited Germany. The ministry said Paek is due to arrive in Berlin on April 5 and meet with junior minister Ludger Volmer. There are currently no diplomatic relations between Berlin and Pyongyang. A German foreign ministry spokesman said there was no reason to oppose a meeting at this level, and that there had been no change in the official German stance towards the DPRK.

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Timothy L. Savage:
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Kim Hee-sun:
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