NAPSNet Daily Report
august 15, 2000

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. DPRK Missile Program

Washington Post (Doug Struck and Joohee Cho, "N. KOREAN MISSILE OFFER NOT SERIOUS," Tokyo, 8/14/00) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il's remarks to a group of ROK media executives he met in Pyongyang last week have deepened the mystery over whether the DPRK leader was sincere in the proposal to stop rocket development, as reported by Russian President Vladimir Putin after the two leaders met July 19. Kim did not repudiate the offer outright in the remarks reported by the ROK media executives, but Kim's comments suggested he was surprised that Putin announced the idea after their meeting. Kim reportedly said, "We were talking about such a subject laughingly, and I said [it] to President Putin as just a laughing subject, but President Putin didn't say anything." The executives said Kim added that later, Putin "grabbed my words" and reported the offer publicly. The opaqueness of the DPRK position is compounded by the ROK media's attempt to manage news from the DPRK. The ROK news media have agreed to limit their coverage and have developed a plan of mutual coverage, including a pledge to "avoid confrontation . . . and stop slander." They also agreed not to say anything beyond their jointly agreed-to notes of the conversation. Kim reportedly said the US makes "a ridiculous claim that North Korea will be able to [defeat] the U.S. by developing intercontinental ballistic missiles and firing two or three at the U.S." He suggested that the US proposal for a national missile defense system was aimed at Russia, not the DPRK. [Ed. note: This article was included as a Top Story in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for August 15, 2000.]

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2. DPRK Military Power

Korea Times (Son Key-young, "KIM JONG-IL VOWS TO KEEP MILITARY POWER," 8/15/00) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il told ROK media executives last week that his authority comes from military power. Kim said, "My power comes from the military power. In relations with foreign countries, power comes from military power and, although we are close to foreign countries, we should possess the military power." By saying so, the report said Kim meant that the DPRK had no intention of slashing its military power, at least for the time being. The report added that Kim's perception on power can be also regarded as a guiding principle of DPRK's controversial efforts to develop long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for August 15, 2000.]

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3. US-DPRK Relations

Associated Press (Barry Schweid, "US WARMS TO N. KOREA RELATIONS BID," Washington, 8/15/00) reported that the US Clinton administration said it was willing to upgrade relations with the DPRK if the country ends its support for terrorism. US State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said on August 14, "We hope they will be prepared to take the necessary steps to allow us to then remove them from the [terrorism sponsoring nations] list." Reeker said further talks with the DPRK on terrorism are planned, but no date has been set. US officials reportedly are demanding that the DPRK publicly renounce terrorism and expel all terrorism suspects before it can be considered for removal from their list. Reeker said, "We are prepared to improve relations with Pyongyang as North Korea addresses the areas of concern that we've had."

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4. Reunion of Separated Families

Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, "KOREAN FAMILIES ARE REUNITED," Seoul, 8/15/00) and Associated Press (Jae-Suk Yoo, "KOREAN FAMILIES ARE REUNITED," Seoul, 8/15/00) reported that DPRK Nationals arrived in Seoul on Tuesday for a four-day reunion with relatives. A DPRK passenger jet ferried a group of 100 from Pyongyang on a 50-minute flight to ROK's Kimpo airport. The airliner then picked up 100 ROK residents and took off for similar exchanges in the DPRK. The reunions in Seoul were televised live in the ROK and the reunions in Pyongyang were aired with a slight delay. ROK critics said loyalty to the communist system appeared to be the most important criterion for the DPRK in selecting 100 family members for reunions. Many of the DPRK Nationals visiting Seoul wore pins with the image of their late leader, Kim Il-sung. The head of the DPRK delegation, 78-year-old Yoo Mi Young, said the reunions this week were not an isolated event and that more would follow.

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5. Inter-Korean Talks

Korea Times (Lee Chang-sup, "KIM PROPOSES MEETING OF S-N DEFENSE MINISTERS," 8/15/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung on August 14 proposed a meeting of ROK and DPRK defense ministers to seek ways of easing tension on the Korean peninsula. In a speech made on the occasion of the ROK's 55th National Liberation Day, which was released on August 14, Kim suggested an installation of a hotline between the military authorities of the two Koreas. He also expressed hope that the two Koreas would set up three inter-Korean committees, in charge of military, economic and socio-cultural cooperation and exchanges, in the forthcoming inter-Korean ministerial meeting, slated for August 29-31 in Pyongyang. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for August 15, 2000.]

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6. ROK Policy Towards DPRK

Associated Press ("S. KOREA PLANS TO REVISE SECURITY LAW," Seoul, 8/15/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said on August 14 that the ROK aims to revise a law that defined the DPRK as an enemy state. The law bars activities that may assist the DPRK - for example, making it a crime punishable by long prison terms to possess Marxist literature. In recent years, the US State Department has joined human rights groups in demanding revision of the law, calling it "undemocratic and anti-human rights." The DPRK has also demanded revision of the law, saying it hinders exchanges between the two Koreas. Kim's previous efforts to change the law failed in the face of strong conservative opposition, but with a conciliatory mood since the historic meeting in June, Kim said, "With a public consensus, I want to revise the national security law to conform with the changing reality." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for August 15, 2000.]

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7. Recovery of US Remains in DPRK

USA Today (Bill Nichols, "NORTH KOREA HELPS RECOVER U.S. REMAINS," Washington, 8/14/00) reported that US veterans groups said they have just completed their most successful field operation ever in the DPRK, where they recovered 14 sets of remains of US troops killed in the Korean War with full cooperation from the DPRK government. Frank Meterski of The Chosin Few, a veterans organization, said, "It's been a tremendous year for us with recovery of remains ... with total cooperation from the North Koreans." He said that a total of 26 sets of remains have been recovered this year, and three more field missions are scheduled. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for August 15, 2000.]

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8. Taiwan President's US Visit

Associated Press ("STATE DEPARTMENT ADMONITION FOR TAIWAN LEADER," Washington, 8/14/00) and Reuters ("DEFYING BEIJING, U.S. LAWMAKER MEETS TAIWAN'S CHEN," Los Angeles, 8/15/00) reported that the US State Department on August 12 reminded Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian that he can make brief stops in the US only if they are totally private. Responding to the US State Department's disapproval, Chen canceled a meeting with several members of the US Congress, but US Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who was part of the group, called on Chen at his hotel on August 13. Rohrabacher said, "It is a pretty sad day when we have a democratically elected president in town, even if only in transit, who has been cut off from talking to elected officials here in order to prevent gangsters in a dictatorship from getting mad at us." However, she said, "I would have to catalogue it not as an official meeting. It was a greeting from a friend. I went to wish him luck and to tell him that he has in the United States a great deal of support and that he should be strong." US State Department spokesman Phil Reeker said on August 14 that Chen had not asked Rohrabacher to visit and had made clear that his limited time precluded meetings with lawmakers. He said Chen then returned to a dinner he was having with local Taiwan business leaders. A spokesman for the PRC Embassy in Washington had a relatively mild reaction to the meeting, saying he was not surprised "certain politicians" in the US would jump at the chance to meet Chen. He said, "We have taken note that the U.S. administration set conditions on the so-called 'stop-over'. It was a transit, and not a visit, and they made an effort to keep it that way. But we still oppose allowing this opportunity in the first place." [Ed. note: The Associated Press article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for August 15, 2000.]

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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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

Yunxia Cao:
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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