NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, july 20, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. DPRK Missile Program

The New York Times (Michael R. Gordon, "NORTH KOREA REPORTED OPEN TO HALTING MISSILE PROGRAM," Moscow, 7/20/00) and Agence France Presse ("US SKEPTICAL OF NORTH KOREAN PROMISE TO GIVE UP MISSILE PROGRAM," Thurmont, 7/20/00) reported that the US responded to Russian president Vladimir V. Putin's announcement on July 19 that the DPRK had offered to abandon its missile program by saying that it hoped to get clarification when Putin meets Western leaders at the Group of Eight (G8) meetings on July 21. A senior US official said that the US could not agree to the offer if it meant putting Western missile technology in DPRK's hands, but that the US would be willing to explore an arrangement by which the DPRK's satellites would be brought to other nations to be launched into space. One official said, "I would remind you that the North Koreans demonstrated ballistic missile capability with what they called a space or satellite launch." US White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said that a detailed US reaction to the pledge would have to wait until it could be fully analyzed. He said, "Obviously, we have done a lot of work on that front -- on the North Korean missile program, but let me get a chance to look at that report, before I comment any further." Leon V. Sigal, a specialist on northeast Asia at the Social Science Research Council in New York, said that the DPRK offer signaled a willingness to reach an accommodation with the US. Sigal said, "North Korea's basic strategy is to use its missile program to move its relationship with the United States away from one of hostility." He added that the DPRK missile offer appeared to be an echo of the nuclear deal DPRK had struck previously with the US Clinton administration. However, Kurt Campbell, a former senior US Defense Department official with responsibility for Asia and the Pacific, said, "The technology would be transferable. Japan would be anxious, and there is still much that we don't understand about what is going on in North Korea."

Agence France Presse ("PUTIN SCORES DIPLOMATIC COUP WITH EMPTY NKOREAN MISSILE OFFER: ANALYSTS," Moscow, 7/20/00) reported that analysts said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has scored a diplomatic coup by securing a pledge from DPRK to halt its missile program. Russian newspapers said that the timing, ahead of a Group of Eight (G8) Summit in Okinawa, will boost Putin's stature on the world stage. Mark Galeotti, a expert on Russian affairs from Britain's Keele University, said, "Putin is helping the North Koreans to basically get one over the Americans. It gives Putin a chance to tell the G8 look, here I am trying to make peace on the Korean peninsula." However, Galeotti and other analysts said that the DPRK offer could not be taken seriously. He stated, "I can't see that they would be genuinely prepared to wind up such a significant program without very good reasons." Alexander Golts, a defense expert from Russia's Itogi weekly said, "The experience of relations with North Korean leaders has shown it is risky to take such declarations at face value." Paul Beaver from the Jane's Defence publishers in London said, "It is highly unlikely that the North Koreans will give up their missile program unless they have substantial guarantees and they will want to be bribed to do it. They will want American money to do it." US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said that "concrete action" was needed to prove that the DPRK was serious about ceasing missile production.

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2. Russia-DPRK View of US Missile Defense

The Associated Press ("RUSSIA, NORTH KOREA OPPOSE U.S. ANTI-MISSILE SHIELD," Seoul, 7/20/00) reported that the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il on Thursday urged the US to scrap its proposed anti-missile shields. KCNA released a Kim-Putin statement that promised close relations between the two countries. The statement also focused on the missile issue. The DPRK "stated that its missile program does not pose any threat to anybody but is purely peaceful in its nature." However, analysts said that they did not take the statement to mean that the DPRK would abandon its entire missile program. The joint statement and Putin comments later Thursday did not mention anything about the offer. In Washington, US officials said that they were not certain how to interpret Putin's remarks on July 19. A senior US official said that if Putin was talking about a partnership with other countries to provide the DPRK with the capability of launching satellites from boosters in Kazakstan or some other country, it would be worth exploring. However, the official said, if Putin had in mind providing technology or other hardware to an existing missile program, that would aggravate the threat the DPRK poses. ROK government officials and experts on the DPRK doubted the DPRK's intentions to give up its long-range missile technology. Chung Kyong-man, an analyst at the state Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, said, "It is the biggest diplomatic card North Korea can play in high-stake dealings with the United States."

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3. US-DPRK Missile Talks

Agence France Presse ("US SKEPTICAL OF NORTH KOREAN PROMISE TO GIVE UP MISSILE PROGRAM," Thurmont, 7/20/00) reported that the US expressed skepticism on July 19 over the DPRK's reported pledge to give up its missile program in exchange for access to space rocket technology. A US State Department official said that US and DPRK officials sat down for a new round of talks in Berlin on July 19, focusing on a wide range of issues. The official said that US Ambassador Charles Kartman met a delegation headed by Kim Gye-gwan of DPRK for two days of talks.

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4. Japan-DPRK Relations

Agence France Presse ("JAPAN HAILS NORTH KOREA'S DIPLOMACY DRIVE," Tokyo, 7/20/00) reported that an official said that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori hailed the DPRK's diplomatic rapprochement drive on Thursday and called for a fresh effort to normalize Japan-DRPK ties. Mori told Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who had arrived for the Group of Eight (G8) summit, "I welcome North Korea's recent active moves." The Japanese foreign ministry official said that Mori said he wanted Putin to brief him on his two-day visit to the DPRK when the G8 leaders gather on July 19. Mori reportedly told Chretien, "North Korea's activity in the international community is favorable for the world. I would like to strongly push normalization talks [between Japan and the DPRK.] I want to resume the suspended dialogue as soon as possible."

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5. Cross-Straits Relations

Agence France Presse ("TAIWAN'S NEW GOVERNMENT WON'T HOLD SECRET TALKS WITH CHINA," Taipei, 7/20/00) reported that Taiwanese officials said on Thursday that Taiwan's new government was cautiously positive towards five years of secret talks between Taiwan's former ruling Kuomintang (KMT) government and the PRC. Commenting on the recent visit by a KMT delegation to the PRC, Taiwan Premier Tang Fei said, "The secret channel should receive positive credit. It was supposed to help realize the missions targeted at that stage." In a statement released on July 19, Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's chief secretary Chang Chun-hsiung guaranteed that Chen would not hold secret talks with the PRC, news of which sparked mixed reactions.

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6. PRC-Russian Relations

Reuters ("NEW CHINA-RUSSIA AXIS SEEN LIMITED IN SCOPE," Beijing, 7/20/00) reported that analysts said that, like any partnership founded more on a common adversary than on shared values, the PRC's "new type of cooperative relationship" with Russia is vulnerable to their diverging interests. A Beijing-based Western diplomat said, "A lot of it is just hype and it's worth keeping in perceptive their bottom-line interests." Yan Xuetong, an international security expert at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said the "new Sino-Russian relationship falls between neutrality and mutual alliance." He noted that the PRC and Russia could be virtual allies on US missile shield plans but differ on NATO's expansion, trade and regional disputes. Diplomats noted that the joint statement between the PRC and Russia did not rule out Russia's eventual acceptance of the amendments to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty (ABM). One envoy called it a "difference between Russia's more pragmatic diplomacy and a Chinese one that is full of lofty principles but short on practical solutions." Yan said, "America's hegemonic policy is a major factor bringing the two sides closer together. If the U.S. tries to exclude China and Russia from the international community and not give them equal status and membership in international society, these two other countries have no other choice but to become closer and closer."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. ROK Journalists' Visit to DPRK

The Korea Herald ("SOUTH KOREAN MEDIA CHIEFS TO VISIT P'YANG AUGUST 5-12," Seoul, 07/20/00) reported that ROK sources said on July 19 that the presidents of major ROK news organizations are expected to visit Pyongyang from August 5-12 at the invitation of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. An anonymous ROK official stated, "Presidents of about 45 media outlets, including national and provincial newspapers and broadcasting companies, will likely visit North Korea. They are scheduled to meet Chairman Kim Jong-il and travel to Mount Paektu." Another official said that in yet another example of the rapid rapprochement between the two Koreas, a DPRK symphony orchestra would visit Seoul to celebrate the August 15-18 reunions between separated family members.

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2. Inter-Korean Talks

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "SEOUL PROPOSES TALKS JULY 27-29 ON INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT ACCORD," Seoul, 07/20/00) and The Korea Times (Lee Soo-jeong, "SEOUL PROPOSES SOUTH-NORTH HIGH- LEVEL TALKS," Seoul, 07/19/00) reported that the ROK on July 19 proposed that high-level talks between the two Koreas be held in Seoul July 27-29, to discuss how to implement the agreement reached in the June summit. ROK Unification Ministry officials said that the proposed talks aim at discussing how to put various points of the accord into action. After the ministers agree on the broad framework for implementing the accord, the two Koreas will hold working-level meetings in such specific areas as economic, military, and cultural exchanges, said a senior ministry official. Kim Hyung-ki, an assistant minister for unification policy, said, "Among the five points, the upcoming talks will focus particularly on economic cooperation and other exchanges in social and cultural fields." He added that the five ROK delegates, therefore, will comprise an economic official, a representative from a social-cultural field, a military expert and one responsible for overall inter-Korean relations. The ROK delegation will likely be led either by Unification Minister Park Jae-kyu or National Intelligence Service chief Lim Dong-won, while the DPRK delegation will likely be headed by Kim Yong-sun, chairman of the DPRK's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee.

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3. DPRK Participation in APEC

The Korea Times (Lee Chang-sup, "BRUNEI NOT CONSIDERING INVITING NK LEADER TO APEC," Brunei, 07/19/00) reported that Hamid Jaafar, director of the Brunei Foreign Ministry, said that Brunei has no plan to invite DPRK leader Kim Jong-il to the annual meeting of the twenty-one leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in November because it is not a member of the organization. However, Jaafar said that if there is any formal suggestion by some members to bring the DPRK leader to the November meeting, APEC would consider the issue on the basis of consensus.

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4. DPRK-Russia Relations

Chosun Ilbo ("RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VISITS NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 07/19/00) reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in the DPRK on July 19 for a two day official state visit to the DPRK. During the visit, Putin will have both private and open summit meetings with Kim Jong-il on cooperation between the two countries, and also discuss collaboration on international issues. Both Putin and Kim have expressed strong opposition against the proposed US National Missile Defense System (NMD) and Theater Missile Defense System (TMD). They will produce a DPRK-Russia joint statement based upon the ten elements which they will agreed upon. Joining Putin on the visit is Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev. and Education Minister Vladimir Filippov.

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5. POWs in DPRK

Chosun Ilbo (Yoon Jong-ho, "343 POWS IN NORTH KOREA CONFIRMED," Seoul, 07/19/00) reported that ROK Deputy Minister of National Defense Park Young-ok revealed to a Grand National Party (GNP) committee on July 19 that an estimated 19,000 POWs were not returned at the end of the Korean War, of which 343 were confirmed to be still alive. Of these, 58 had relatives in the ROK.

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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

Robert Brown:
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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