NAPSNet Daily Report
 
thursday, june 1, 2000
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CONTENTS

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Discussion
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I. United States


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1. Kim Jong-il's PRC Visit

Agence France Presse ("CHINA BELATEDLY CONFIRMS NORTH KOREAN LEADER'S VISIT," Seoul, 6/1/00) reported that an ROK foreign ministry official said on Thursday that the PRC government has confirmed that DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il made a secret visit to Beijing this week. The official said, "the Chinese foreign ministry called in and briefed (ROK) Ambassador to China Kwon Byong-hyun on it today." He said that PRC officials had explained they were not able to confirm the visit earlier "because of a promise with North Korea" to keep it secret for a while. He added, "the Chinese foreign ministry plans to make an announcement on Kim's visit later this afternoon."

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, "N. KOREA'S KIM MEETS QUIETLY WITH CHINESE," Beijing, 6/1/00) reported that DPRK Leader Kim Jong-il left Beijing by train around 9 AM and arrived in Dandong, a PRC town near the border with the DPRK, early in the evening of May 31. Kim was expected to spend the night in the PRC and to return to the DPRK on Thursday. One PRC government source said that the PRC's state-run media will be allowed to report the events on Thursday evening after Kim is safely back in the DPRK. Details of Kim's visit to Beijing were not available, but he was believed to have arrived by train on the morning of May 29 and, accompanied by a delegation of at least 50 senior officials, met with PRC President Jiang Zemin. It was not immediately clear how many other senior PRC officials met with Kim.


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2. PRC-DPRK Relations

The Associated Press (Charles Hutzler, "N. KOREA WINS PLEDGE OF CHINA AID," Beijing, 6/1/00) reported that the PRC government announced Thursday that DRPK leader Kim Jong-il won new pledges of PRC aid, consulted PRC leaders about his summit with the ROK. Kim toured a PRC computer maker and visited Tiananmen Square. Kim met PRC President Jiang Zemin and the six other members of the ruling Communist Party's inner circle. PRC state television showed Jiang and Kim embracing. Both governments described the talks as friendly and important. The DPRK's Xinhua news agency said that the PRC and the DPRK cemented the friendship "sealed in blood," a reference to their alliance in the Korean War, but few details were offered. PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said that Jiang told Kim that the PRC "welcomes and supports the North Korean and South Korean summit and hopes to see positive progress." Zhang said that Kim received a PRC promise for food aid and other material assistance, but refused to specify the amount. Zhang said that Kim noted the "great achievements" the PRC has made and said the DPRK "supports the reform policy pursued by the Chinese side." When asked if Kim's trip heralded a return to closer ties, Zhang said, "a philosopher once said, 'No man can step into the same river twice' Ė which means that things are always changing." The PRC's official Xinhua News Agency said that Kim added that the DPRK "is building a Korean- style socialism according to its specific national conditions." Marcus Noland of the Institute for International Economics in Washington, said, "this could be seen as further evidence that Kim's trying to make some real significant reorientation in North Korean foreign policy." Noland said that Kim's "position is strengthening, and the material gains that he could expect to pick up in China and then in South Korea he could further use to consolidate his power at home." He added that during the months that the PRC and the DPRK negotiated Kim's visit, the DPRK was rumored to be seeking US$800 million worth of PRC food, fuel and forgiveness of DPRK debts. Shinya Kato, a Japanese expert on DPRK said the stop showed that Kim "is very interested in computer technology," not that the DPRK would follow PRC reforms.


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3. Jiang Zemin's DPRK Visit

Reuters ("CHINA'S JIANG ZEMIN TO VISIT N.KOREA THIS YEAR-PAPERS," Seoul, 6/1/00) reported that local ROK papers said on Thursday that PRC President Jiang Zemin is likely to visit the DPRK within this year to reciprocate the recent visit to Beijing by DRPK leader Kim Jong-il. Quoting a senior PRC Communist Party official, the Hankook Ilbo said Jiang would likely visit the DPRK in October in time for the anniversary of the DPRK's Labour Party. The PRC's official Xinhua news agency said that Kim arrived on May 29 for a three-day "unofficial" visit at the invitation of Jiang.


II. Republic of Korea


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1. Inter-Korean Summit

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "SUMMIT ADVANCE TEAM IN PYONGYANG, REOPENS INTER-KOREAN HOT LINES," Panmunjom, 06/01/00) and The Korea Times (Lee Soo-jeong, "SEOUL'S ADVANCE TEAM ARRIVES IN PYONGYANG," Seoul, 05/31/00) reported that thirty ROK officials embarked on a 12-day mission to the DPRK on May 31 to make the last preparations for the inter-Korean summit on June 12-14. As soon as they arrived at an ad hoc headquarters in Pyongyang's state guesthouse, Paekhwawon, the officials reopened telephone hot lines linking the two Koreas' capitals that have remained dormant for eight years. The channels will enable them to effectively communicate with their seniors in the ROK. While in the DPRK capital, the ROK officials and their DPRK counterparts will fix a detailed itinerary for ROK President Kim Dae-jung's three-day trip to Pyongyang. A 130-strong delegation and a 50- member press corps will accompany the ROK leader. ROK Assistant Unification Minister Sohn In-kyo, head of the delegation, said, "when we finish all of these preparations, some of our team members will return to the ROK to be replaced by personnel that will install equipment and fixtures." According to ministry officials, the second contingent will visit Pyongyang around June 4. Among the issues to be settled by the forward group are the size of ROK Kim's security team and the scope of its activities. The two sides must also decide whether the force will be allowed to bear weapons and if so, what kind. Detailed protocol matters will also be discussed. ROK officials are also expected to demand that as many key scenes of the event be broadcast live by ROK TV staff using their own equipment.


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2. DPRK Leaderís Visit to PRC

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "N.K. LEADER KIM SAID TO HAVE VISITED BEIJING," Seoul, 06/01/00) reported that ROK officials said on Wednesday that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il is rumored to have secretly visited Beijing and held talks with PRC leaders. An ROK senior Foreign Ministry official said, "It appears that Kim is currently in Beijing given the various circumstances involved." He added that the PRC government was expected to announce its official position on the issue on Thursday or Friday. An ROK newspaper said that Kim and Jiang discussed the PRC's position on the inter-Korean summit as well as exchange visits of DPRK high-level and PRC officials.

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "KIM JONG-IL'S ALLEGED VISIT TO CHINA COULD HAVE POSITIVE IMPACT ON INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT," Seoul, 06/01/00) reported that ROK analysts and officials said on May 31 that the reported trip to the PRC by DPRK leader Kim Jong-il is likely aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation in the lead up to the inter-Korean summit. A diplomatic observer monitoring DPRK affairs said, "if the rumors of Kim's visit to Beijing prove to be true, the trip must have been made as part of an attempt to coordinate North Korea's position on the summit with China's." The observer said that Kim's alleged secret diplomacy in the PRC is a response to the ROK's attempts to step up its cooperation with the US and Japan ahead of the summit talks. ROK officials were upbeat about the visit, with one senior government official saying, "if Kim did indeed hold a meeting with Jiang on inter- Korean affairs, it will have a positive impact on the June summit." The official added that this is because the PRC, which has supported ROK's engagement policy towards the DPRL, hopes for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula more than any other country, as it believes the stability would contribute to its own economic growth.


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3. DPRK-PRC Border

The Korea Herald ("NORTH KOREA TO SHUT DOWN BORDER WITH CHINA TODAY," Seoul, 06/01/00) reported that an ROK government source said on May 31 that the DPRK has notified the PRC that it will completely close their shared border June 1-25. "The North seems to have taken this step as part of its efforts to prepare for the June 12-14 inter-Korean summit talks," the source said, adding that it was apparently a security measure. The border routes of Dandong-Shinuiju, Tumen-Namyang and Jian-Manpo will close during the period, and civilian movement between the two nations will be restricted. The DPRK previously closed its border for one or two days during the anniversary of former leader Kim Il-sung's death.


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4. DPRK-US Talks

The Korea Times ("CLINTON TO MEET NK OFFICIALS IN KUALA LUMPUR," Seoul, 05/31/00) reported that US President Bill Clinton announced on May 31 that he will meet DPRK officials next week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to resume talks about US soldiers missing in action recovery operations. At the National Memorial Day observance, he pledged "wherever it takes as long as it takes," to seek the fullest possible accountability of all service members who are missing in action. The president honored US service members, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, with an Armed Forces Full Honor Wreath Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery May 29.

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Jin, "ROME TALKS BETWEEN THE U.S. AND NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 05/31/00) reported that the US State Department announced on May 30 that there was a lot of progress at the meetings held in Rome, which began on May 24 between the US and the DPRK. They discussed the fulfillment of the 1994 Agreed Framework. They also agreed to hold preparatory talks for a conference on missiles between the US and the DPRK. These significant results from the meeting set the stage for the beginning of new negotiations on the executing of the Geneva agreement and an agreement to hold preparatory talks for a following missile conference, said US State Department spokesman Philip Reeker. Instead of Charles Kartman, the special envoy to the DPRK and the representative of the US in the meeting in Rome, it was Joseph Dethomas, the deputy assistance secretary of Non- Proliferation Bureau, and DPRK's deputy foreign minister Kim Gye-gwan, who led their respective delegations to the meeting on May 31.


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5. ROK-US Talks

The Korea Herald ("PRESIDENT KIM HIGHLY LIKELY TO MEET CLINTON AT OBUCHI'S FUNERAL IN TOKYO," Seoul, 06/01/00) reported that ROK administration sources said on May 31 that ROK President Kim Dae- jung is highly likely to meet US President Bill Clinton in Tokyo on June 8 when both men attend the funeral of late Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. The sources said that Kim and Clinton would likely discuss the upcoming inter-Korean summit talks if they meet after the ceremony. Kim will make a one-day trip to Japan for the funeral and Clinton will visit after his trip to Russia. Other officials did not rule out the possibility of Kim and Clinton meeting separately outside of the reception. ROK officials said that Kim would brief Clinton on what he intended to discuss with the DPRK leader and seek the US support for his efforts to make the unprecedented summit a success. Other issues included the ongoing US-DPRK negotiations on the DPRK's nuclear and missile programs and a high-ranking DPRK official's visit to Washington. The officials said that Kim and Clinton were unlikely to hold tripartite talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori.


III. Discussion


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1. Kim Jong-il's Beijing Trip

[The following piece by K.A. Namkung, Resident Scholar of the Atlantic Council of the United States, on General Secretary Kim Jong Il's recent visit to Beijing appeared in the Asahi Shimbun on June 2, 2000. It is based on an interview conducted by Akihito Fujii, Staff Writer of Asahi's Foreign News Department, in Japanese in Tokyo the day before.]

"General Secretary Kim Jong Il's visit to China is another in a series of lively diplomatic moves on North Korea's part that began in January with the normalization of ties with Italy, the restoration of relations with Australia in May, and its admission into the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) recently. All were totally unexpected and came as huge surprises.

This series of movements cannot be understood apart from the 'Perry Process' which recommended a concerted U.S.- South Korea-Japan policy of improving relations through dialogue and economic assistance while freezing the development of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. Including its decision to open summit talks with South Korea, North Korea's various diplomatic initiatives should be seen as attempts to pressure United States into moving more rapidly towards normal relations and are directed at South Korea and Japan as well.

The China visit is not an attempt to garner Chinese support for North Korea's position in the North-South Korean summit talks so much as it is a strategic move embodied in a much larger framework. In the post-Cold War period, China is no longer in any position to support North Korea only, a reality of which North Korea is fully aware.

The U.S. must have been taken aback by news of the visit. It places pressure upon the Clinton Administration to make progress on negotiations on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs during its waning days. The President seeks a diplomatic accomplishment during his term and will likely take steps towards a dialogue that will ensure a high-level North Korean official visit to Washington, D.C. this fall. The results will not be dramatic, but they should lead to significant progress.

Similarly, South Korea must be extremely anxious about what the General Secretary's visit to China is all about, but if taken positively as a sign of North Korea's 'turning outward,' it can be considered a plus for stability on the Korean peninsula."


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