NAPSNet Daily Report
wednesday, july 26, 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-DPRK Talks

Agence France Presse ("TWO KOREAS VOW TO COOPERATE MORE CLOSELY AT LANDMARK MEETING," Bangkok, 7/26/00) reported that in a meeting between DPRK foreign minister Paek Nam-sun and his ROK counterpart Lee Joung-binn in Bangkok on Wednesday, the ROK and the DPRK pledged to cooperate more closely and push ahead with reconciliation. ROK Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and Coordination Choi Young-jin called the meeting "a precious mechanism for us and we have to cherish it." Choi added, "We can sense a remarkably friendly and cooperative attitude on the part of North Korea." Thailand's Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan said after his meeting with Paek that "we expect some diplomatic breakthroughs" in the week's meetings. He said, "This is the first time in any place anywhere that all protagonists, all players of tensions, of problems, of lack of confidence, of lack of security and stability, in Northeast Asia and the Korean peninsula will be here together." The Korean ministers agreed in a joint statement to cooperate "on matters of external relations and in the international arena so as to enhance inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation." Choi said that the ROK hoped that the DRPK would step up its activities in other international groupings, including the UN and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. He added, "It would be helpful if North Korea could improve its relations with the United States and Japan."

The Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, "KOREAN MINISTERS EXTEND COOPERATION," Bangkok, 7/26/00) reported that the foreign ministers of the DPRK and the ROK on Wednesday pledged to extend their newfound cooperation to the world arena. In a statement, DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun and ROK Foreign Minister Lee Jong-binn pledged "to cooperate ... in the international arena so as to enhance the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation" of the June summit, which they praised as a historic step in bringing peace and possible unification to the divided peninsula. An ROK spokeswoman said that in another sign of thawing relations, the ROK's ambassador to the PRC paid a highly symbolic courtesy call on his counterpart at the DPRK Embassy in Beijing.

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2. DPRK-Japan Talks

Agence France Presse ("TWO KOREAS VOW TO COOPERATE MORE CLOSELY AT LANDMARK MEETING," Bangkok, 7/26/00) reported that DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun and Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono on Wednesday announced that normalization talks which collapsed in 1992 would resume on August 21 in Tokyo. Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Chikahito Harada said that the two agreed to work together to establish "a new, good-neighborly, friendly relationship" during their meeting. Harada said, "There is a common desire to improve the bilateral relationship and develop mutual understanding and friendship."

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3. DPRK-US Talks

Agence France Presse ("US CONFIRMS ALBRIGHT MEETING WITH NKOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER," Honolulu, 7/27/00) reported that the US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Wednesday that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will meet this week with her DRPK counterpart Paek Nam-sun in the highest level meeting ever between the two countries. Boucher said that the meeting would take place on July 28 on the sidelines of an Asian regional security forum in Bangkok. He added, "This is an introductory meeting but an historic one." US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that a re-scheduled meeting with Paek "is one of the reasons I am very glad I can go (to the ARF), but I don't know, given our kind of erratic schedule, whether it's possible. That is our hope: that this will be a first meeting." However, she added that, while she looked forward to seeing Paek, she did not expect much concrete to emerge from it. She added that she would not hesitate to raise all of the US concerns about the DPRK's policies, which in the past several months has begun a slow crawl out of its decades of isolation. Albright said, "We will make very clear our concerns about missiles and nuclear issues and how to have them meet our concerns, so I think (the meeting) would be useful if we could have it."

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4. DPRK Participation in ARF

Agence France Presse ("NKOREA'S TRIP TO ASIAN SECURITY MEETING A LANDMARK: ANALYSTS," Bangkok, 7/26/00) reported that analysts said that the DPRK's entrance into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) is a crucial first step towards easing tension on the Korean peninsula. Analysts and diplomats said that it was likely that DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun's meetings this week would steer clear of such sensitive topics as the DPRK's nuclear weapons development and stick to more general, relationship-building discussion. A Japanese foreign ministry official said, "We are really more interested in establishing a friendly relationship with North Korea," adding that it would welcome an agreement to re-open talks on establishing diplomatic ties. The director of Thailand's Institute of Security and International Studies, Pranee Tsipparat, said that ASEAN should "not expect too much" from the DPRK's presence at the meetings. Tsipparat said, "It's a practical move on their side. They have nothing to lose, they can get some help in their economy." However, she added that even if no concrete progress were made, the visit would still be extremely beneficial. She said, "It's a positive sign because we are bringing in a country which could be a potential flashpoint in the region instead of leaving it out."

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5. Kim Jong-il's Russia Visit

The New York Times (Michael R. Gordon, " NORTH KOREAN LEADER REPORTED TO BE PLANNING TRIP TO RUSSIA," Moscow, 7/26/00) reported that Russian officials said on Wednesday that DRPK leader Kim Jong-il is planning to visit Vladivostok in the Russian Far East in September. Arrangements for the visit were confirmed Wednesday by aides to Yevgeny Nazdratenko, the governor of Russia's Primorsky region, which borders the DPRK. The trip is being billed as an "unofficial" visit to the region, not a negotiating session with Russian leaders, but the agenda includes trade, economic cooperation and other measures to expand ties between Russia and the DPRK. The invitation to visit Vladivostok was made by Nazdratenko, who accompanied Russian President Vladimir Putin on his recent trip to Pyongyang. The DPRK consulate in the Primorsky region declined to comment on the visit. Natalya V. Vstovskaya, a spokeswoman for Nazdratenko, said on Wednesday that she and Nazdratenko had proposed several agricultural projects to Kim during the Russians' visit to Pyongyang and hoped to encourage new business, including the use of Russian railroads for trade with the DPRK. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for July 26, 2000.]

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6. US Troops in ROK

Agence France Presse ("NORTH KOREA COULD ACCEPT LONG-TERM US MILITARY PRESENCE: CHINESE REPORT," Beijing, 7/26/00) reported that an analysis in the English-language Beijing Review, an official PRC publication, said on Wednesday that the DPRK will accept the long-term presence of US troops in the ROK and move ahead with normalization with the ROK if US forces are transformed into neutral peacekeepers. The report said, "In view of (the) improved relations with the United States, it is possible that North Korea will make concessions regarding the US troops in South Korea." The article cited numerous DPRK officials as saying that the DPRK could accept the long-term presence of US troops in the ROK as long as the US sought a mutual peace treaty with the DPRK and agreed that its troops play a neutral role on the peninsula. The article said that the DPRK could agree to two options - the neutralization of US troops in the ROK or the establishment of a peacekeeping force made up of northeast Asian countries and the US. The article continued, "In the (first) option the United States would alleviate its intense military relations on the peninsula, return wartime military commanding power to South Korea, change the troops' status and role and transform the non-military zone into a peaceful one. The troops would then become a peacekeeping force." The article said that such a solution would fulfill the US desire to continue to maintain a forward presence in East Asia in the post-Cold War world, but would likely be protested by "countries surrounding the peninsula." It said that the second option would require a joint peace treaty between northeast Asian nations and the US, which would allow for a multinational peacekeeping force and transformation of the existing demilitarized zone into a "peace zone."

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7. Reunions of Separated Families

The Associated Press ("S.KOREA DELAYS REUNION SELECTION," Seoul, 7/26/00) reported that Red Cross officials said on Wednesday that the ROK delayed the selection of the final 100 people to be reunited with their families in DPRK. The Red Cross said that the selection, originally planned for July 21, was delayed by a week because the DPRK needed more time to check on the whereabouts of families there, but that the names will be released to the public immediately after a Red Cross committee selects them from among 200 candidates on August 4.

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8. ROK Military Purchases

The Dallas Morning News (Katie Fairbank, "LOCKHEED SELLS JETS TO S. KOREA," Farnborough, 7/26/00) reported that Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company announced on July 25 that it will sell its T-50 trainer jet to the ROK before offering it to the US military. The deal will make Lockheed the first US company to sell a military jet overseas before making a sale at home. The ROK had the inside track on the T-50, known as the Golden Eagle, because Lockheed and Korean Aerospace Industries are developing it. The ROK has committed to buy 94 of the trainers with an option to purchase 200 more. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for July 26, 2000.]

II. Republic of Korea

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1. World Bank Aid to DPRK

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "WORLD BANK PROPOSES AID FOR N. KOREA," Seoul, 07/26/00) and (The Korea Times, "WORLD BANK READY TO SUPPORT INTER-KOREAN COOPERATION: WOLFENSOHN," Seoul, 07/25/00) reported that ROK presidential spokesman Park Joon-young said on July 25 that in a letter sent to ROK President Kim Dae-jung, the head of the World Bank expressed a willingness to provide financial assistance to the DPRK. World Bank president James Wolfensohn said, "We at the World Bank stand ready to support inter-Korean economic cooperation. We hope to assist in the development of North Korea, within our capacity and mandate, whenever the North Korean authorities are ready to work with us."

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2. Inter-Korean Talks

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "TWO KOREAS HOLD FIRST-EVER FOREIGN MINISTERS' TALKS IN BANGKOK TODAY," Seoul, 07/26/00) reported that the ROK and the DPRK would hold their first-ever foreign ministers' talks in Bangkok Wednesday. ROK Foreign Minister Lee Joung-binn and his DPRK counterpart, Paek Nam-sun, arrived in the Bangkok on July 24 to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), slated to open on July 27. It was considered unlikely that the two ministers will tackle pending inter- Korean issues or reach an agreement during the talks, but chances were that they would promise to meet regularly. A diplomatic observer said, "If such a pledge comes at the talks, it will be a milestone in establishing a peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula." During his talks with Paek, officials said, Lee was to discuss ways that the two Koreas can cooperate in the international arena.

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3. Reunion of Separated Families

The Korea Times (Lee Soo-jeong, "TWO KOREAS TO EXCHANGE CONFIRMED LIST OF REUNION CANDIDATES TODAY," Seoul, 07/25/00) reported that ROK officials said on July 24 that the ROK and the DPRK would exchange their findings on Wednesday concerning long-lost relatives of candidates for family reunions as part of the process to finalize the list of 100 people from each of the two Koreas to be allowed to cross the border next month. The ROK government said that it would seek to allow the reunited families to spend as much time together as possible. During the three-day visit, it is hoped that they would be allowed to meet each other at least three times.

III. People's Republic of China

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1. DPRK Diplomacy

China Daily ("DPRK, US TO HOLD HISTORIC MEETING," Seoul, 7/24/00, P12) reported that the DPRK and the US will hold their first foreign ministerial meeting this week in Bangkok. The DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency said the meeting between DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will be held on July 26 prior to the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori also said that he wanted to find a way to communicate better with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. However, Mori gave no firm sign of how Japan would achieve that goal. Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono is also set to meet Paek in Bangkok on July 26.

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2. Putin's Visit to DPRK: PRC View

China Daily (Shao Zongwei, "PUTIN'S KOREAN TRIP HAILED," 7/21/00, P12) reported that the PRC Foreign Ministry on July 20 hailed Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to the DPRK. PRC ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said, "This is an important exchange of visits between Russia and the DPRK. As a friendly neighbor of Russia as well as the DPRK, we are glad at the development of Russian-DPRK ties and also extend our congratulations on the outcome of the visit." Zhu said that the PRC had taken note of reports that Putin said on July 19 that the DPRK has agreed to freeze its missile program in exchange for access to space rocket technology. Zhu said that the PRC is waiting further details from both nations.

People's Daily (Zhang Xinghua, "DPRK, RUSSIA RENEW OLD FRIENDSHIP," Pyongyang, 7/22/00, P3) carried a report on Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to the DPRK. During the visit, Putin held talks with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il and the two countries signed a friendship treaty on July 20 allowing for reinforcement of bilateral relations. The two sides also announced that at the invitation of Putin, Kim will visit Russia at his convenience. Both the DPRK and Russia regard this visit as an important event in the history of bilateral relations, adding that it marked a new turning point in the DPRK-Russian relationship. Analysts believed that Putin's visit to the DPRK is an important step of Russia to adjust its Asia strategy and actively push forward a balanced relationship between the DPRK and the ROK so that Russia can play a more important role in the Korea issue. For their own strategic interests, the article said, the DPRK and Russia are approaching each other again and promoting the further improvement of their relations.

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3. PRC Policy toward Asia

People's Daily (Zhang Jingyu, "VICE-PRESIDENT MAKES A SPEECH IN INDONESIA," Jakarta, 7/25/00, P6) reported that PRC Vice-President Hu Jintao said on July 24 in Jakarta that the PRC government will stick to its policy of maintaining good neighborly relations with surrounding countries. Addressing the Indonesian Council on World Affairs, Hu said that the PRC cannot achieve development in isolation in Asia, and Asia cannot realize prosperity without the PRC. Hu said that as for the differences left over from history between the PRC and its neighboring countries, the PRC government has always proceeded from the overall interest of all parties concerned for a peaceful solution of these differences through consultations on an equal footing. He also said that the PRC has put forward the proposal of "shelving disputes and going for joint development" in relation to the Nansha question and has been actively participating in the making of code of conduct for preserving peace and stability in the South China Sea. Hu said, "Facts have proven that China is an important driving force for Asia's development as well as an important force for safeguarding stability in Asia. China's development will pose no threat to any country. Instead, it will only contribute to peace and prosperity in the region and the world at large. As a friendly neighbor and a trustworthy cooperation partner of ASEAN, China always attaches importance to ASEAN's positive role in regional affairs, respect their efforts in building a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality and support their economic integration process."

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4. PRC Defense Industry

China Daily ("DEFENSE INDUSTRY," Beijing, 7/24/00, P2) reported that PRC government officials announced on July 22 that the PRC's defense industry is still running in the red, but efficiency has improved. According to the announcement, the China Weaponry Equipment Group, which has 57 subsidiary companies, saw its output value reach 10.7 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) in the first half of this year, an increase of 4.3 percent over the same period a year ago.

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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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