NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, may 18, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Australia IV. Announcements

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I. United States

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1. ROK-DPRK Summit

Agence France Presse ("TWO KOREAS SIGN ACCORD ON INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT," Panmunjom, 5/18/00), the Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, "KOREAS AGREE ON SUMMIT TALKS AGENDA," Panmunjom, 5/18/00), and Reuters ("NORTH, SOUTH KOREA REACH FULL AGREEMENT ON SUMMIT," Seoul, 5/18/00) reported that officials from ROK and the DPRK on Thursday signed an agreement on the agenda and other procedural details for June's inter-Korean summit. An official of the ROK Unification Ministry said, "officials of the two sides signed the agreement." The official said that the 14-point agreement was signed by ROK's chief delegate, Vice Unification Minister Yang Young-shik, and his DPRK counterpart Kim Ryung-sung. DPRK delegate Choi Sung-ik told journalists before officials of the two sides started putting finish touches on the agreement, "the South accepted our proposal and we also made concessions and the talks proceeded in a friendly atmosphere." Choi said that the agreement would endorse a 1974 inter-Korean joint communique that called for national unity and reconciliation. DPRK chief delegate Kim said that the DPRK had agreed that the summit meeting would be telecast live in the ROK. However, long-time observers in the ROK cautioned that the DPRK has a different concept of live broadcasts, which often means a delayed relay.

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2. DPRK-Japan Talks

The Associated Press ("JAPAN POSTPONES TALKS SET WITH NORTH KOREA," Tokyo, 5/18/00) reported that the Japanese Kyodo news agency quoted unidentified sources in the PRC as saying that the Japan-DPRK normalization talks were delayed indefinitely because the DPRK opposed Japan's insistence that it investigate the alleged kidnapping of 10 Japanese by DPRK spies 20 years ago. The report said that the DPRK's weapons program is another sticking point. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for May 18, 2000.]

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3. DPRK Participation in ARF

Agence France Presse ("ARF MEMBERS UNITED ON NORTH KOREA ENTRY: THAILAND," Bangkok, 5/18/00) reported that Thai officials said on Thursday that members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) are in agreement that the DPRK should be admitted. Thailand's foreign ministry permanent secretary Nitya Pibulsonggam said, "we hope North Korea will sit in the July meeting as a full member." Thai foreign ministry officials said that all members of the security forum were unanimous in their support of the DPRK's entry. A senior Thai foreign ministry official said, "every member has said they agreed in principle to allow North Korea to join the ARF. The first countries to agree were China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the US."

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4. DPRK Diplomatic Opening

The Washington Post (Doug Struck, "KOREAS PREPARE FOR HISTORIC SUMMIT," Seoul, 5/18/00) reported that a poll by the ROK newspaper Munhwa Ilbo indicated that nearly 70 percent of ROK residents expect the DPRK to open its doors to the world sometime after the June inter-Korean summit. However, Park Jong-chul, a director of the Korea Institute for National Unification, a government-supported think tank, said, "North Korea wants the investment, but they don't want to open their society to get it." Kim Byung-kook, a professor of political science at Korea University in Seoul, said that businesses expecting to lead the charge to open the DPRK underestimate the difficulties. He said, "There's no reason for sound-headed, cool-minded businessmen to look at North Korea as a business site. There are more attractive alternatives." ROK President Kim Dae-jung has been trying to lower expectations for his meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, but the effort is not entirely successful. Kim Young-gyu, of the ROK Ministry of Unification, said, "there is a lot of enthusiasm among private industry to look for investment in the north. There is competition between the big South Korean conglomerates, and North Korea is undeveloped territory for them. Their goal is to conquer that territory for their business, and in the long run, make it an outpost to move into China and Far East Russia." Ahn Byung-joon, a Yonsei University professor and adviser to the ROK Unification and Defense ministries, said of the summit, "I would not expect anything spectacular to come out of it. There is a fair amount of skepticism and wariness about whether North Korea is willing to strike the Big Deal." Veteran ROK National Assembly member Chung Jey-moon said, "North Korea may be changing gradually, but it's not changing suddenly." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for May 18, 2000.]

The Far Eastern Economic Review (Lorien Holland, "NORTH KOREA: NO PARADISE," Shanghai, May 25, 2000) reported that while the DPRK's recent diplomatic overtures would seem to indicate a willingness to end decades of isolation and begin to cooperate with the outside world, its relations with those foreign organizations that are already in the country are deteriorating. A UN aid worker in the DPRK said, "if anything, the North Korean authorities are becoming more hostile." Despite the new rhetoric in the DPRK that commends DPRK leader Kim Jong-il for having secured "victory" over the flood, famine, and economic decline, aid workers noted that foreign food aid has saved the lives of many DPRK Nationals and tensions are such that some of the groups that provide this support are starting to pull out of the country because the DPRK government continues to severely restrict foreign monitoring of aid. A consensus statement from foreign agencies still operating in the DPRK, including the UN, warns that programs "continue to suffer from difficult operating conditions that limit and constrain implementation, accountability, verification and access to the most vulnerable" populations. Spot checks of aid centers and rehabilitation facilities are still not permitted, and all requests must be made in writing the week before a visit. However, Tom McCarthy, an agricultural consultant who has worked on a series of aid projects in the DPRK, noted that in one potato-growing project last year, DPRK officials took a chance by granting significant access to farms, but because of agency staffing difficulties the project essentially collapsed. Had there been better management by the aid agencies, DPRK "officials who went out on a shaky limb for the project would not now see their judgment called into question" by the DPRK government. The article also noted that the DPRK media remains vitriolic. According to Russian and PRC diplomats, mid-level cadres in the DPRK are explaining the forthcoming summit with ROK President Kim Dae-jung as that of an errant son wanting forgiveness from the DPRK. However, Aidan Foster-Carter, a Korea scholar at Leeds University in England, stated, "There is a chance that the summit will bring things forward. I don't believe that North Korea can't ever change."

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5. Cross-Straits Relations

Agence France Presse ("CHEN TELLS CHINA TO BEHAVE REASONABLY AS INAGURATION NEARS," Taipei, 5/18/00) reported that Taiwanese president-elect Chen Shui-bian on Thursday urged the PRC not to use its size and strength to overshadow the "truth" in Taiwan. Chen said, "Taiwan may be small, but the truth is with us. Although the territory the Chinese communists govern is huge, they must behave reasonably. We the Republic of China own the truth, but we would like to talk with the mainland reasonably as well." Chen's appeal to the PRC came as the Taiwanese military planned for a state of "heightened alertness" from May 19-21. Senior officers will be required to be standing by at their barracks at all times. The Taiwanese defense ministry and intelligence authorities briefed the parliament's defense committee Thursday on national security and countermeasures that Taiwan would adopt for the inauguration. After the closed-door meeting, KMT parliamentarian Chang Shih-liang told the press the military "has come up with Ku An (Intensified Security) war plan for the period."

The International Herald Tribune published an opinion article by Steve Tsang, director of the Asian Studies Center at Saint Antony's College, Oxford University ("WHAT CHINA AND TAIWAN SHOULD DO," Oxford, 5/18/00) which said that there could be a formula for maintaining peace in the Taiwan Straits if the PRC and Taiwan are pragmatic. Tsang wrote that the PRC needed to realize that its demand for Taiwan to accept the "one China principle" before any negotiations is politically a nonstarter in Taiwan. He noted that the spread of democracy on the island has imposed major constraints on what its government can concede in any negotiation with the PRC, particularly over the acceptance of the precondition for negotiations. Tsang wrote, "China's real concern should be to ensure that Taiwan will not become independent and to prevent a drift to military confrontation. If Beijing adopts such an approach, a way could be found to defuse the time bomb across the Taiwan Strait. Beijing should accept a formal commitment by Taipei not to seek independence as long as the two sides are engaged in negotiations." And thus, Tsang continued, the substance of what "one-China" would mean should be based on the result of the talks.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Inter-Korean Summit

The Korea Times (Lee Soo-jeong, "SOUTH, NORTH AGREE TO BROADCAST SUMMIT," Seoul, 05/18/00) reported that ROK officials said that ROK and DPRK officials on May 16 agreed to broadcast the major events of the summit in June. ROK Unification Ministry spokesman Lee Kwan-se told reporters, "both sides have agreed on basic issues of communications and media coverage and will discuss the details when Seoul's advancement team visits Pyongyang." During the second round of talks, expert-level officials discussed the ROK's earlier proposal that television crews carry its own satellite news-gathering (SNG) system, which is necessary for live broadcasts. The DPRK, however, insisted that the ROK use the DPRK's facilities and equipment, adding that the technicians will also be employed by the DPRK.

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "SEOUL, PYONGYANG SAID TO AGREE ON SUMMIT PROCEDURES TODAY," Seoul, 05/18/00) reported that a top ROK diplomatic policymaker said that the ROK and the DPRK would strike a deal on the agenda and procedures for the June inter-Korean summit Thursday. At Thursday's round of vice ministerial talks, the two sides were expected to meet each other halfway on the issue of the size of the ROK press delegation. As to the agenda for the summit, the two Koreas were thought likely to decide on a broadly worded list of topics that would include the wishes of both sides.

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, "KIM, N.K. LEADER TO ISSUE JOINT SUMMIT STATEMENT," Seoul, 05/18/00) reported that an anonymous ROK senior administration official said on May 17 that ROK President Kim Dae-jung and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il will issue a joint statement after their June summit talks. The official also said that Kim Dae-jung wanted to hold all or at least one of the two planned meetings with the DPRK leader with only one secretary from each side present. The official said that an ROK advance team would visit Pyongyang "immediately after" the fifth round of preliminary talks at Panmunjom on Thursday to discuss these and other details. The official did not say what would be contained in the joint statement, but that there would certainly be a summit communique of some kind. The official ruled out the possibility that the two leaders would sign any other agreements, such as one on economic cooperation. He also dismissed chances that Kim Dae-jung's itinerary in the DPRK would include visits to places sensitive to inter-Korean relations, including the cemetery of late DPRK President Kim Il-sung and other "ideologically significant" locales.

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2. Future ROK-DPRK Summits

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, "PRESIDENT TO SEEK FURTHER NORTH-SOUTH SUMMIT TALKS," Seoul, 05/18/00) and The Korea Times (Lee Chang-sup, "KIM HOPES TO MEET NK LEADER AT LEAST THREE TIMES," Seoul, 05/17/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung made it clear on May 17 that he would promote further rounds of summit talks with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il after their June 12-14 summit meeting in Pyongyang. Kim said in a national breakfast prayer meeting that he would meet Kim Jong-il two or three times to continue dialogue on peaceful coexistence and exchanges and the eventual reunification of the two Koreas. Kim Dae-jung also indicated that he would try to make a second trip to the DPRK if the planned summit talks proceeded successfully, the aides said. Kim said that he would not be overly ambitious or try to reap major results in the planned summit, but would instead concentrate on resolving inter-Korean problems one by one.

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3. DPRK Military Development

Chosun Ilbo (Chung Kwon-hyun, "NK DEPLOYS MIG-21S FROM KAZAKHSTAN," Seoul, 05/18/00) reported that Park Yong-ok, the ROK Deputy Minister of Defense, told the National Assembly's National Defense Committee on May 16 that the DPRK has completed assembling 40 MIG-21 fighters that it had bought in parts from Kazakhstan in July 1999. The DPRK has also finished operational deployment of the fighters. Park added that besides the planes, the DPRK has built up the number of long-range artillery pieces and small submarines, while continuing to dig underground missile emplacements by the border area. Park also said that that the DPRK had reinforced its training in the West Coast area after the conflict in June 1999; conducted missile shooting drills from fleet-to-fleet, torpedo boats, warships, and coastal batteries; but decreased its activities after April this year and currently did not show any "particular movements" that indicated a military provocation.

III. Australia

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1. Australia-PRC Relations

The Australian (Matin Chulov and Andre Perrin, "TAIWAN TRIP RILES BEIJING", 5/17/00) reported that the visit of five Australian members of parliament (MPs) to Taiwan for the inauguration of new President Chen Shui-bian has angered the PRC. Three government and two opposition MPs will be guests of the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry, although they will attend the inauguration in an unofficial capacity. PRC embassy officials in Canberra have sought to dissuade the MPs from attending, although Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has said that the MPs attendance of the ceremony does not detract from Australia's long-standing One-China policy. However, trip leader and government MP Andrew Thomson said that there was large and bipartisan support for legitimate democracy in Taiwan, and that the trip "ought to be a clear message to people in military and political circles that there is overwhelming support for political democracy."

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2. Australia-Malaysia Relations

The Australian (Greg Sheridan, "MAHATHIR TO PM: STAY HOME", 5/17/00) reported that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has told Australian media that Australian Prime Minister John Howard is not welcome in Asia. In a forthcoming interview on Australian television, Dr. Mahathir accuses Australia of reversing its policy of engagement with Asia, and seeking to bully its regional neighbours. Accusing Howard of favouring the deposed and jailed former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, Mahathir stated, "If Australia wants to be a friend to Asia it should stop behaving as if it is there to teach us how to run our country. It is a small nation in terms of numbers and it should behave like a small nation and not be a teacher."

IV. Announcements

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1. New Book on Korea Post-Unification

Robert Dujarric, a research fellow in the national securities department at the Hudson Institutes Washington, DC office, has published a new book, "Korean Unification and After: The Challenge for U.S. Strategy." The book argues that although the DPRK has survived longer than many expected, its fate remains uncertain. The US and its allies thus need to be ready to adapt to a post-DPRK world. The critical question for the United States is the future of its military forces in Korea and Japan after unification. This book presents the arguments in favor and against a continued long-term US military presence in Korea and Asia and explores different possible force structures for US forces after unification. It concludes that after Korean unification the US military deployment in Korea and Japan, including a large ground component, is vital for the security of the region. The book is available on for US$16.95, Paperback - 106 pages (April 24, 2000) Hudson Institute, Inc.; ISBN: 1558130705.

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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

John McKay:
Clayton, Australia

Leanne Payton:
Clayton, Australia

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