NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, april 6, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Press Release

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I. United States

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1. Japan-DPRK Talks

Associated Press (Joji Sakurai, "JAPAN, N. KOREA MOVE CLOSER," Mount Myohyang, 4/6/00) and Agence France Presse ("JAPAN, N.KOREA LOOK TO BUILD ON BUDDING TRUST," Mount Myohyang, 4/6/00) reported that negotiators from Japan and the DPRK reaffirmed Thursday their determination to establish diplomatic ties after a rocky start to their normalization talks. Japan's chief negotiator, Kojiro Takano, and his DPRK counterpart, Jong Thae-hwa, held informal talks at the scenic Mount Myohyang, north of Pyongyang, on Thursday. Jong said, "the air is very clear up here. The Korea-Japan relations should be brought into this kind of fine atmosphere." Takano replied that the two sides should work hard to overcome differences. The state-run Korean Central News Agency carried an unusually long 1,000 word article on Jong's grievances, and although Jong did not back down from his demands, he said on Thursday that the two sides may still be able to build trust.

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2. US View of DPRK

The Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State (ADMIRAL BLAIR BRIEFING ON KOREA, INDIA-PAKISTAN, CHINA-TAIWAN, 4/4/00) reported that Admiral Dennis Blair, commander-in-chief of US forces in the Pacific (CINCPAC) said at an April 3 press briefing in Jakarta that the greatest potential as a flashpoint in the Asia-Pacific region was the DPRK. Blair said, "you have two million people facing each other across a demilitarized boundary. You have a history of some provocative incidents by one side, and that's really where the flashpoint is the greatest. However, the North Korean leaders also know that if a major conflict starts, they know that not only will they lose the conflict, but it will be the end of their regime. So there is a very strong deterrent capability which I think will be successful. So the fact that it's the most dangerous--I'm not saying that I think war will break out tomorrow--I think deterrence will work and that there is a very low probability. But when you just look at the amount of military force that's there, the possibilities for destruction should fighting start, that's really the single most dangerous place."

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3. US Strategy in Asia-Pacific

Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State (ADMIRAL BLAIR BRIEFING ON KOREA, INDIA-PAKISTAN, CHINA-TAIWAN, 4/4/00) reported that Admiral Dennis Blair, commander-in-chief of US forces in the Pacific (CINCPAC) said at an April 3 press briefing in Jakarta that tensions concerning the DPRK, India-Pakistan and the PRC-Taiwan are priority concerns for the US. Blair said that, from a military viewpoint, he did not think the relationship between the PRC and Taiwan was going to worsen. Instead, Blair said, "I think there is going to be less tension than there is now. I think the election in Taiwan, as it did back in 1996, tends to raise the level of rhetoric on both sides of the strait. I'm looking for progress on the non-military, non-rhetorical front, in the future, which I think is the only way we're going to achieve a peaceful resolution which is in the interest of everybody."

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4. Taiwan Diplomacy

Agence France Presse ("TAIWAN'S PRESIDENT-ELECT VOWS TO SEEK GREATER DIPLOMATIC RECOGNITION," Taipei, 4/6/00) reported that Taiwan's president-elect Chen Shui-bian said in his first meeting Thursday with foreign ambassadors stationed in Taipei that he would continue Taiwan's campaign for greater international recognition, but would also seek to mend relations with the PRC. Chen said, "the new government would give top priority to consolidating ties with the countries maintaining diplomatic ties with the Republic of China. We would continue to broaden international space in our comprehensive diplomatic drives. Consistency and stability would be the foundation of our diplomacy.... The ROC government would keep observing the ongoing treaties and agreements ... and would go ahead with the cooperative projects." Chen added that Taiwan, once a beneficiary of international aid, would shoulder a greater burden in the international community.

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5. US View of Cross-Straits Tensions

The Washington Times ("ALBRIGHT HAILS TAIWAN ON MODERATE STANCE," 4/6/00) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright praised Taiwanese President-elect Chen Shui-bian on April 5 for a reduction of tensions between Taiwan and the PRC. Albright said that the new leader's "language has moderated from the way it was earlier. . . I think that some of the tension has reduced. There needs to be a peaceful dialogue.... This is the only way this can be resolved." Regarding PRC threats against Taiwan, Albright said, "Obviously, China is an increasingly strong and powerful and important country and we watch very carefully and listen very carefully. But it's important not to overreact." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 6, 2000.]

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6. Alleged Technology Transfers to PRC

The Washington Post (Vernon Loeb, "LOCKHEED GAVE ROCKET DATA TO CHINA, U.S. SAYS," 4/6/00) reported that the US State Department's Office of Defense Trade Controls charged the Lockheed Martin Corporation with violating the Arms Export Control Act by providing a scientific assessment of a PRC-made satellite motor to a state-owned PRC conglomerate. The State Department informed Lockheed Martin of its findings in a letter dated April 4 and gave them 30 days to respond to the civil charges, which could result in a fine of as much as US$15 million and bar the company from exporting satellites or satellite technology for up to three years. US State Department spokesman James P. Rubin called the case "a serious matter" and said export control officials decided to take action "based on the facts and the gravity of the charges. In our view, any assistance to China that enhances its capabilities in space launch has the potential to be applied to missile development." A spokesman for Lockheed Martin, James L. Fetig, denied that the company had violated export laws and said that it obtained a US Commerce Department license before its scientists assessed the PRC-made satellite motor. Fetig said, "national security was not harmed, and it is our understanding that there is no criminal violation involved and no criminal charges pending." [Ed. note: This article was included as a Top Story in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 6, 2000.]

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK-Japan Talks

Chosun Ilbo (Park Jong-hoon, "JAPAN RESUMES NORMALIZATION TALKS WITH NK," Seoul, 04/06/00) reported that negotiations for the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and the DPRK resumed on April 5 at the Peoples Cultural Palace in Pyongyang. Both sides agreed to the necessity of ambassadorial exchange and stated basic positions on compensation claims and economic and international issues. Koziro Takano, the senior Japanese representative stated that problematic areas needed to be discussed openly to arrive at mutual understanding. His DPRK counterpart, Chung Tae-hwa said that he did not expect easy solutions, but that with determination, agreements would be achieved. Japanese media in Pyongyang said that Takano requested the DPRK to refrain from developing and exporting missiles and to give a sincere response to the issue of the kidnappings of Japanese residents. In turn Chung asked for an apology and compensation for the years of colonial rule. The Japanese delegation will tour the Myohyang mountains on Thursday and return to Tokyo on April 8 following an additional session of talks. The second round of talks will take place in Japan in June.

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2. DPRK-ROK Talks

Joongang Ilbo (Jung Sun-gu, "NORTH KOREAN MINISTER POSITIVE ON BERLIN DECLARATION," Seoul, 04/05/00) and Chosun Ilbo (Lee Ha-won, "NK NEGATIVE ON BERLIN DECLARATION," Seoul, 04/05/00) reported that on April 4, DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun, who is currently in Germany, welcomed ROK President Kim Dae-jung's Berlin Declaration. Paek said, "we welcome the proposal, which reiterates many of our own sentiments, but present conditions do not allow for talks." For the DPRK to join inter-Korean talks, the ROK must first meet certain demands, including the end of joint military cooperation with the US and Japan. In the ROK, Paek's remarks were met with mixed responses. A high-level government official said, "Foreign Minister Paek is positive toward the Berlin Declaration. This is the first time that North Korea has been flexible to the idea of inter-Korean talks. Unfortunately, they continue to use the same excuses to avoid a direct answer."

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3. DPRK Budget

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "NORTH KOREA ASSEMBLY ADOPTS NEW BUDGET TO COMBAT ENERGY PROBLEMS," Seoul, 04/06/00) reported that the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that the DPRK on Tuesday adopted a new state budget for the year 2000, which focuses on resolving the country's chronic energy shortage problems by boosting spending on electricity and coal. The DPRK's spending plan was about US$9.66 billion, up 0.1 percent from 1999. The plan passed the third session of the 10th Supreme People's Assembly. An ROK government official said, "although the budget indicates the North Korean economy has bottomed out, North Korea will find it very difficult to overcome its nine-year recession alone." One official predicted that the DPRK would focus on improving relations with foreign countries to garner further aid. The official added that the 2000 budget is aimed at improving the people's lives by sharply bolstering the country's energy capacity as well expanding the social infrastructure. The FY 2000 budget calls for increasing spending on the electricity and coal industries by 15.4 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively. The DPRK kept its defense spending close to last year's level, setting it at US$1.36 billion or 4.5 percent of the total budget, up only 1.9 percent from 1999. The ROK Unification Ministry, however, estimated that actual arms spending exceeded US$4.5 billion when funds spent on military ventures "concealed as other expenses" were considered.

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4. Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, "PEACE BELT PLAN TAKES SHAPE," Seoul, 04/05/00) reported that plans for a "peace belt" over an area north of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) have become more concrete. Industrial parks and social infrastructure, including a railway and seaport, would be built near the cease-fire line, in order to promote cooperation with the DPRK. On April 3, ROK Unification minister Park Jae-kyu said that the ROK government would build as many factories as possible around the DMZ. One goal of the peace belt plan is to establish environmental protection and scientific management of the environment in the area. The plan would involve the division of the region into three areas, each with a different developmental focus. One area would focus on protection of its ecosystems, the next cultivation of environmental tourism, and the third increased infrastructure. However, after ROK President Kim Dae-jung's Berlin Declaration, the ROK government has quickly shifted the focus of the plan to the establishment of an industrial park and investment in social infrastructure. The ROK Ministry of Unification and other ministries have endorsed the plan's feasibility in the medium to long term.

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5. DPRK-UK Relations

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, "BRITISH DELEGATION TO VISIT NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 04/04/00) reported that the British government will send a delegation to the DPRK in May, signaling improved ties between the two countries. On April 4, British Deputy Foreign Minister John Battle said, "the delegation team will discuss major global concerns, such as human rights and long-range missiles." He added that it was too early to discuss establishing formal diplomatic ties with the DPRK.

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6. DPRK Defectors in ROK

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, "FOUR NORTH KOREAN DEFECTORS ARRIVE IN SEOUL," Seoul, 04/04/00) reported that the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFAT) announced that DPRK defectors, Cho Sung-chul and his family, have entered the ROK. The Cho family fled from the DPRK two years ago, reaching Seoul via an unnamed foreign country.

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7. Inter-Korean Concert

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, "PYONGYANG JOINT CONCERT CANCELLED," Seoul, 04/06/00) reported that an ROK government official announced on April 5 that the joint concert scheduled to be held in Pyongyang the same day had been cancelled. The first group of ROK musicians, including conductor Kum Nan-se, arrived in the DPRK on April 1. However, a second group, including soprano Jo Su-mi and audience members, were refused entry on April 3, after the DPRK's demand for additional money for the Seoul performance prior to the Pyongyang concert, on top of the US$1 million already paid, was rejected. C and A Korea said that it would consider paying additional money after the completion of both the Pyongyang and Seoul concerts as agreed to in the initial agreement. The report said that the musicians and guests would be returning to Seoul.

III. Press Release

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1. DPRK Aid Consortium

CARE filed a press release ("CARE TO WITHDRAW FROM NORTH KOREA AID CONSORTIUM," 04/04/00) which stated: "In 1996 a consortium of US-based relief agencies, with CARE as one of the lead members, was formed to help combat a food crisis in North Korea that had reached famine proportions. By June 2000, when the current phase of relief operations is scheduled to end, 300,000 tons of food donated by the U.S. government will have been distributed by the consortium to more than 2.5 million unemployed agricultural and factory workers and their families through emergency food-for-work programs. In helping to deliver this lifesaving aid, CARE has fulfilled its original objective in responding to the humanitarian crisis.

Today, agricultural harvests in North Korea have improved and economic production has begun to recover. CARE believes now is the appropriate time for the organization to move in the direction of sustainable rehabilitation and development programs in North Korea, including programs in food-for-work, agriculture, health, and water and sanitation.

For such programs to be effectively and efficiently implemented, however, it is necessary for CARE to have significantly higher levels of access to people in need than it does currently. This means working more closely with families and communities to improve their skills and capacity so that they can create lasting solutions to their problems. It also means being able to identify the people in need, develop programs responsive to their needs, and monitor and evaluate the programs to ensure those needs are being met successfully.

Despite a nearly four-year dialogue with the North Korean government regarding the importance of access, transparency and accountability, however, the operational environment in North Korea has not progressed to a point where CARE feels it is possible to implement effective rehabilitation programs. For that reason, CARE will withdraw from the consortium by June 30, 2000.

CARE recognizes that life is still very difficult for many families in North Korea, and that humanitarian assistance is still needed. However, other organizations, such as the World Food Programme, are continuing to feed children and pregnant and nursing women who are particularly at risk of malnutrition.

Although CARE will withdraw from the consortium by June 30, 2000, the organization will maintain open lines of communication with the government, and will continue to monitor the humanitarian situation closely.

Peter D. Bell CARE USA President

The PVOC consortium comprises the following members: Adventist Development Relief Association, Amigos Internacionales, CARE, Carter Center, Catholic Relief Services, Church World Service, Korean-American Sharing Movement and Mercy Corps.

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

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Clayton, Australia

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