NAPSNet Daily Report
wednesday, may 24, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. People's Republic of China

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I. United States

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1. ROK Role in 1994 Nuclear Crisis

Agence France Presse ("SOUTH KOREA STOPPED US STRIKE ON NORTH KOREA: FORMER PRESIDENT," Seoul, 5/24/00) reported that in an interview with ROK's independent Hankyoreh Daily, former ROK president Kim Young-sam said that a last-minute phone conversation he had with US President Bill Clinton stopped the US from launching an air strike against the DPRK's nuclear facilities in June 1994. Kim said, "at that time, the situation was really dangerous. The Clinton government was preparing a war." According to Kim, the US deployed an aircraft carrier off the eastern coast at a distance close enough for its warplanes to hit the DPRK's nuclear facilities in Yongbyon. He added that US warships were also ready for a naval bombardment of the nuclear facilities, some 90 kilometers (56 miles) north of Pyongyang. Kim continued, "one day, I heard (then US Ambassador James) Laney was about to hold a press conference the following day and announce the withdrawal of relatives of US embassy staff. This is a step the United States usually takes on the eve of a war. So, I called in Laney. I told him that I would not move even a single soldier of our 650,000 troops (in case a war broke out because of the bombing of Yongbyon)." According to Kim he argued with Clinton for 32 minutes on the phone. Kim said, "I told him there would be no inter-Korean war while I was the president. Clinton tried to persuade me to change my mind, but I criticized the United States for planning to stage a war with the North on our land." The paper went on to say that Clinton then relented and proposed to set up a secret telephone line linking the US White House and the ROK presidential Blue House for close consultation on the DPRK nuclear issue. Kim said that three days later, a team from the White House arrived, and at around the same time former US president Jimmy Carter arrived in the ROK on his way to the DPRK in a bid to defuse the tense situation. Kim said he asked Carter to warn then-DPRK President Kim Il-Sung of the seriousness of the situation and to convey his wish to avoid a war.

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2. US-DPRK Talks

The Associated Press ("N. KOREA-U.S. TALKS RESUME IN ROME," Rome, 5/24/00) reported that the US and the DPRK resumed talks Wednesday on a wide range of issues intended to improve relations, including an agreement to defuse a nuclear crisis. The US delegation was led by US State Department official Charles Kartman while the DPRK side was led by deputy foreign minister Kim Gye-gwan. The talks could last several days.

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3. ROK-DPRK Cultural Exchanges

Agence France Presse ("VISITING NORTH KOREAN CHILDREN GREETED WITH SONGS AND SMILES," Seoul, 5/24/00) reported that a DPRK student performing troupe from the Mangyongdae School Children's Palace visited the ROK, as part of a series of expanded cultural exchanges between the two Koreas. Hundreds of ROK residents, holding flags and a slogan reading "the reunification of the motherland," welcomed the DPRK youngsters amid a musical fanfare at the airport. The visit by the 102-strong student troupe was organized by the ROK-based Pyonghwa Motor Company, which is building a joint venture car assembly plant in the DPRK. The cultural event will be followed by a series of similar functions in the ROK, with a 100-strong DPRK circus group scheduled to visit on May 29 and to perform from June 3 till 10.

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4. US-Taiwan Relations

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, "RENO CALLS TAIWAN AN INTELLIGENCE THREAT," 5/24/00) reported that the US Clinton administration placed Taiwan on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) secret list of hostile intelligence threats. According to a classified memorandum from US Attorney General Janet Reno, Taiwan joins the PRC and Russia among 13 nations designated as priorities for FBI intelligence and counterespionage activities. Based on FBI, Justice and State Department reports, Reno listed, in order of priority, Russia, the PRC, the DPRK, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbian-controlled Bosnia, Vietnam, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Taiwan. Asked about the inclusion of Taiwan on the list, US Senator Jon Kyl, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said "What threat? It's very strange to me that Taiwan would be on this list, especially since other countries that spy on us are not. This is just for political purposes. The Taiwanese are not in the same league as the other threats and they are the one country on the list that is not a mortal enemy of the United States." A current US government official involved in PRC issues said that putting Taiwan on the threat list reflects the administration's pro- PRC and anti-Taiwan stance. He said, "the administration clearly sees Taiwan as the problem, as a provocateur and troublemaker." [Ed. note: This article was included as a Top Story in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for May 24, 2000.]

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Inter-Korean Summit

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "SEOUL ANNOUNCES 30-MEMBER ADVANCE TEAM FOR SUMMIT," Seoul, 05/24/00) and The Korea Times ("SOHN NAMED TO HEAD CONTINGENT TO PYONGYANG," Seoul, 05/23/00) reported that the ROK government on Tuesday announced the 30 members of the advance contingent that will visit Pyongyang May 31 to prepare for the inter-Korean summit June 12-14. Sohn In-kyo, director-general for the Unification Ministry's Office of ROK-DPRK Dialogue, will head the advance team. Sohn was one of the three delegates to the month-long vice ministerial-level preparatory talks. The advance contingent will hammer out the remaining details for the summit, including protocols, security, communications and media coverage, with its DPRK counterpart, ministry officials said. The delegation will enter the DPRK through the truce village of Panmunjom. Some of the officials will likely stay in the DPRK to join the main contingent when President Kim Dae-jung arrives in Pyongyang.

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2. DPRK Summit Preparations

Chosun Ilbo ("NK STAGES MASSIVE CLEAN UP OF PYONGYANG," Seoul, 05/23/00) reported that it was learned from officials and visitors to the DPRK recently that since the beginning of April, DPRK citizens have been observed staging a massive clean up operation in the capital of Pyongyang. Citizens were seen cleaning the banks of the Taedong river and apartment buildings, and repainting old pavilions and the gates to the city. Authorities in Pyongyang are also preparing for the talks and have even gone to the extent of learning President Kim Dae-jung's taste in food and music from pro-DPRK groups in Japan. Many events have also been arranged for after the summit talks, including the visit of the PRC's Li Peng, social, culture and religious delegations from the ROK, and the Seoul-Kumkang motor rally. ROK Minister of Unification (MOU) Park Jae-kyu recently said that DPRK citizens are looking at the talks as a means for unification and better living.

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3. ROK-DPRK Cultural Exchange

The Korea Times ("PYONGYANG CIRCUS TROUPE TO OFFICIALLY DEBUT IN SEOUL JUNE 3," Seoul, 05/24/00) reported that a "world-renowned" DPRK circus troupe will debut in Seoul on June 3 with a variety of acts, a spokesman for the Committee for the Invitation of the Pyongyang Circus Troupe said on Tuesday. The troupe will fly into Seoul on Monday via Beijing to attend a welcoming dinner at the Sheraton-Walker Hill Hotel in eastern Seoul. It will perform in a preliminary event in a Seoul hotel May 31 and June 1. The troupe will rest June 2 and then make its official debut at Chamsil Gymnasium at 7 p.m. on June 3. It will give 13 performances through June 10 before leaving Seoul the next day.

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, "METHODISTS TO TEAM UP WITH NK CHRISTIAN UNION," Seoul, 05/23/00) reported that the ROK Ministry of Unification reported on Tuesday that the western division of the Korean Methodist Church has been accepted as the "corporate business partner" by the Chosun Christian Union in the DPRK to reopen a theological institute in Pyongyang. The division will donate US$100,000 per semester in operating fees for three years from this August, and will send six people to the DPRK to consult on operation of the institute. The two sides will sign an agreement in July regarding the partnership, and reopen the institute by September. The Pyongyang Theology Institute has had 80 graduates since its establishment in 1972 and 20 among them are serving as ministers.

III. People's Republic of China

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1. ROK New Prime Minister

China Daily ("PRESIDENT NOMINATES NEW PM," Seoul, 5/23/00, P11) reported that ROK President Kim Dae- jung on the morning of May 22 nominated Lee Han-dong, a 66-year-old leader of the minor opposition party the United Liberal Democrats (ULD), as the new prime minister to succeed Park Tai-jung, who resigned last weekend over a tax evasion scandal. The nomination, which was announced by Presidential Chief of Staff Han Kwang-ok, is subject to approval by the National Assembly of the ROK, the report said.

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2. ROK Nuclear Incident

China Daily ("NUKE PLANT LEAK NOT SERIOUS," Seoul, 5/23/00, P11) reported that one worker was exposed to radiation when a small amount of radioactive water leaked at an ROK nuclear power plant on May 22, ROK government officials said. Twenty liters of radioactive water leaked inside a reactor at Wolsung on the republic's southeast coast, the report said, but none of it leaked into the environment and the water was collected before it caused damage to the plant.

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3. PRC-US Relations

China Daily (Shao Zongwei, "11TH-HOUR CALL FOR CHINA-US TRADE BILL," 5/24/00, P1) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said on May 23 that the PRC hopes that the US Government will grant it clear-cut and unconditional trade status, also called permanent normal trade relations (PNTR), as soon as possible. Zhang said, "PNTR has nothing to do with human rights." "The Chinese Government is opposed to interference in its internal affairs by the US side in any name or in any way. We hope the question of PNTR can be solved without attaching any conditions," the spokeswoman said.

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4. PRC-Japanese Relations

People's Daily (Yu Qing, "JAPANESE PM: WAR AGAINST CHINA WAS AGGRESSIVE WAR," Tokyo, 5/24/00, P6) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori said on May 22 that Japan's 1937-45 war against China was an act of aggression. "To reflect on this unfortunate history, I clearly acknowledge that the past war against China was an aggressive war," Mori told a session of the Settlement Administrative Supervisory Committee of the House of Representatives.

People's Daily (Zhang Xuping and Wang Gang, "JIANG ZEMIN MAKES SPEECH ON CHINESE-JAPANESE RELATIONS," 5/21/00, P1) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin met with Japanese Transport Minister Toshihiro Nikai and President of the Japan-China Friendship Association Hirayama Ikuo on the afternoon of May 20. The two Japanese guests, along with some 5000 other Japanese visitors, are in Beijing to foster better relations between the two countries, the report said. Extending his welcome to the delegation, Jiang said that this visit is unprecedented in the history of exchanges between the two countries in terms of number and scope. It reflects the Japanese Government's positive attitude towards developing better ties with the PRC, the president said. Jiang said he believes that the visit will play an important role in promoting mutual understanding and friendship between the people of the two countries.

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5. The Taiwan Issue

China Daily (Shao Zongwei, "11TH-HOUR CALL FOR CHINA-US TRADE BILL," 5/24/00, P1) reported that when commenting May 20's inaugural address by new Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian, PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue reiterated on May 23 that the one-China principle is a basis for steady, peaceful development of cross- Straits relations. "Accepting the one-China principle or not is a touchstone to test whether the new Taiwan leader will safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity or continue to advocate Taiwan independence," said Zhang. She said that there should not be any international interference. Concerning former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui's wish to visit Japan, Zhang said that she hopes the country involved will not let Lee engage in any separatist activities.

People's Daily ("OFFICIAL STATEMENT RELEASED IN BEIJING," Beijing, 5/21/00, P1) reported that the Taiwan Work Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the state Council issued an official statement in Beijing on May 20. The statement said that on the key issue of accepting the one-China principle, the new leader of Taiwan had adopted an evasive and ambiguous attitude. It said the "goodwill reconciliation" mentioned by Chen Shui-bian in his speech delivered on May 20 lacks sincerity. According to the statement, the one-China principle is the basis for the peaceful, steady development of cross-Straits relations. Accepting the one-China principle or not is the touchstone to test whether the Taiwan leader will safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity or continue to stubbornly pursue the separatist policy of "Taiwan independence," the statement said. The struggle against Taiwan separatist forces is one for either reunification or separation, absolutely not a battle over which political system is better, the statement said. "At present," the statement said, "we would like to authorize the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) to contact or hold dialogues with organizations or persons entrusted by the Taiwan authorities, provided that the Taiwan authorities make a clear-cut commitment that they will not advocate the 'two states theory' and that they will adhere to the consensus reached between ARATS and the Taiwan's Strait Exchange Foundation in 1992 that the two sides will express, in their own way, orally, that 'both sides across the Straits stick to the one-China principle.'" The statement reiterated that high-level visits between the two sides will be realized on the basis of the one-China principle, and that on this principle, all issues can be discussed.

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6. PRC View on NPT Review Conference

China Daily (Shao Zongwei, "11TH-HOUR CALL FOR CHINA-US TRADE BILL," 5/24/00, P1) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue commented on May 23 on this year's review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, saying that the PRC is satisfied with the final document. However, she pointed out that the treaty does not fully cover the world nuclear situation and asked for a resolution of issues that threaten strategic relations or impose barriers to non-proliferation and disarmament.

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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

Leanne Payton:
Clayton, Australia

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