NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, september 14, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. US-Japan Defense Relations

Japan Times ("JAPAN, U.S. DEFENSE CHIEFS MULL MUTUAL CAPABILITY BOOST," Kyodo, 9/14/00) reported that Japanese officials said that Japanese Defense Agency Director General Kazuo Torashima and US Secretary of Defense William Cohen agreed on September 12 to set up a regular consultative body to improve the defense capabilities of the two countries. Torashima said that close cooperation between the two countries would be helpful in improving mutual defense capabilities, especially given that both countries are planning to launch parallel midterm defense programs in 2001. Cohen said that the US wants to upgrade its defense equipment and other capabilities and will consult with Japan over its plans. He also said that the US wants to promote dialogue with Japan especially regarding the fight against simultaneous terrorist attacks involving chemical and biological weapons. Torashima was quoted as saying that the Japanese Defense Agency has been studying the possible impact on the defense front of advanced information technology, and Japan wants close cooperation with the US in this area. The two defense chiefs agreed that Japan and the US will cooperate in developing electronic systems to be installed in a successor to the P-3C antisubmarine patrol plane in order to ensure the two nations' systems are compatible. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for September 14, 2000.]

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2. PRC Opposition to US NMD

The Associated Press (Geir Moulson, "CHINA BLASTS U.S. MISSILE PROPOSAL," Geneva, 9/14/00) reported that PRC Ambassador Hu Xiaodi urged disarmament negotiators at the 66-nation Conference on Disarmament on Thursday to consider the "grave consequences" of US plans for a national missile defense system. Hu said that US President Bill Clinton's deferral on whether to deploy the US national missile defense (NMD) "does not mean at all that the NMD plan has been given up." He said, "The U.S. president has instructed the continued development and testing of NMD. The international community should be clear about this fact." However, US diplomats rejected the PRC's comments, suggesting that the PRC and others are using objections to the NMD as a smoke screen to create "utter paralysis" blocking disarmament negotiations. The US maintained that the NMD would be land-based and would have no impact on armaments in space. US Ambassador Robert T. Grey said Thursday, "I'm puzzled at the intensity of the concerns that have been expressed." Grey said that the US believes that proposed amendments to the ABM treaty would update rather than destroy it. He added, "If the ABM regime were to fail, the responsibility for that and for all the results that might ensue would rest with those who were insisting the regime had to remain static and could not be adapted to meet current realities."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK Visit to ROK

The Korea Times (Son Key-young "KIM YONG-SUN'S TRIP REVIVES MOMENTUM FOR DETENTE," Seoul, 09/14/00), Joongang Ilbo (Kim Jung-wook, "SOUTH AND NORTH KOREA TO HOLD FIRST MILITARY TALKS THIS MONTH," Seoul, 09/13/00), Chosun Ilbo ("NK SECRETARY TOURS REGIONAL CITIES," Seoul, 09/13/00) and Chosun Ilbo ("NK GENERAL DASHES HIGH HOPES," Seoul, 09/13/00) reported that the widely-speculated trip to Seoul by the DPRK Workers' Party secretary Kim Yong-sun, who arrived in Seoul, Monday with 300 gift boxes of pine tree mushroom, has helped revive the momentum for the implementation of the June 15 inter-Korean summit agreement. On the third day of his trip to the ROK, Kim left the southern island of Cheju to tour the Pohang Iron and Steel Company and returned to Seoul later in the day. On Thursday, Kim was scheduled to pay a courtesy call on President Kim Dae-jung at Chong Wa Dae and deliver a letter from Kim Jong-il before returning to Pyongyang. Kim led an eight-member delegation that included Pak Jae-gyong, vice director of the General Political Bureau of the DPRK's Korean People's Army and Rim Dong-ok, first vice minister of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party. Asked about the purpose of his trip, Kim said, "By implementing the Joint Declaration produced after a meeting of the leaders from both sides in Pyongyang, we hope to brighten the prospects of unification for the 70 million Koreans." The trip of four-star general Pak, who showed up at the airport in military uniform, gained notice as a rare scene, and prompted speculation that senior military officers from the two Koreas might hold dialogue to discuss tension reduction on the peninsula. However Pak returned to Pyongyang at around 3 p.m. Monday right after attending a ceremony at the Shilla Hotel to deliver 300 boxes of mushrooms, worth 900 million won, to ROK officials and media heads, who visited Pyongyang respectively in June and August.

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2. Kim Jong-il's ROK Visit

Chosun Ilbo ("KIM JONG-IL LIKELY TO VISIT SOUTH NEXT SPRING," Seoul, 09/13/00) reported that according to a high-ranking ROK government official on Wednesday, DPRK leader Kim Jong-il could make an official visit to the ROK as early as next spring, reciprocating the visit of ROK President Kim Dae-jung to Pyongyang. The official said that the date for Kim's visit was one of the political agenda items upon which the officials of the two governments had agreed, subject to final approval, in a meeting on Cheju Island in the ROK on Tuesday. According to the same government official, the two delegations also agreed that their respective ministers of defense would meet in Hong Kong around September 26. The delegations also agreed to convene the third meeting of their Red Cross societies in the Mount Kumgang region on September 18 to move ahead with arrangements for additional family reunions.

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3. DPRK Cancellation of UN Visit

Chosun Ilbo ("NK FOREIGN MINISTER CANCELS UN VISIT," Seoul, 09/13/00) reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) reported on Thursday that DPRK Foreign Minister Baek Nam-soon had cancelled his trip to attend the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York. It added that a scheduled meeting with his ROK counterpart on September 18 was also put off. An official said that the ministry was notified by the DPRK UN representative of the cancellation of both the UN visit and a trip to Sweden that Baek was supposed to make prior to going on to New York.

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4. US-ROK Talks

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, "S. KOREA, U.S. MAY DISCUSS FUTURE OF U.S. TROOPS IN KOREA AT SCM," Seoul, 09/14/00) reported that an ROK government source said on Tuesday that the US and the ROK are expected to discuss the future of US troops on the Korean Peninsula at the forthcoming Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) in Seoul next week. The anonymous source said the two sides would talk about possible changes in the role and status of US Forces Korea (USFK) at the annual SCM talks on September 21. However, the official added, the discussions would take place on the understanding that US troops will remain on the Korean Peninsula even after the reunification of the two Koreas. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for September 14, 2000.]

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5. DMZ Control Talks

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, "MILITARY TALKING WITH UNC ON JOINT DMZ CONTROL FOR INTER- KOREAN WORKS," Seoul, 09/10/00) reported that a high-ranking ROK military official said on Saturday that negotiations are under way with the United Nations Command (UNC) on the joint control and management of areas in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) where the planned inter-Korean railway and highway projects would be carried out. An anonymous official said that under the plan, the two sides would set up a joint control and management area inside the DMZ. The official said that the joint area could have functions similar to those of the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom. The two sides are also negotiating a plan not to establish any facilities like railroad stations inside the DMZ.

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6. Aid to DPRK

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "SEOUL TO IMPORT RICE, CORN TO GIVE TO NORTH AS FOOD LOANS," Seoul, 09/10/00) reported that a top ROK official said that the government will import rice and corn from Southeast Asian countries to provide grain loans for the DPRK as soon as possible to help ease food shortages. ROK Unification Minister Park Jae-kyu said on September 9 that at the second inter-Korean ministerial talks last month, the DPRK asked for a million tons of food in loan. Park made the remarks during separate briefings about recent inter-Korean relations to leaders of the three major political parties. He said, "This time, however, we are planning to send much more grain so that we can help solve the North's food shortage in a more substantive way, while not exceeding the total prices of five years ago." Park added that for this, the ROK would import rice from Thailand and corn from the PRC, which are much cheaper than locally produced rice. Although the exact timetable for the shipments should be decided after consultations with the DPRK, it will start as soon as possible.

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7. ROK Policy toward Unification

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "2-PLUS-2 FORMAT NO DEPARTURE FROM 4-PARTY TALKS," Seoul, 09/10/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung has mapped out a new plan to establish a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. The plan calls for the ROK and the DPRK to first reach an agreement and for the US and the PRC to endorse it later. Although the two-plus-two formula was crowded out of the agenda at during Kim's talks with US President Bill Clinton at the UN Millennium Summit in New York, analysts said it would undoubtedly become the ROK's new initiative in turning the armistice into a peace treaty. ROK officials and analysts said that the "two-plus- two" proposal does not represent a shift in Kim's approach toward the Korean peace problem. Official said, "The government had originally pushed for the four-party talks in the form of the 'two-plus-two' method. But the plan did not go smoothly due to the North's opposition." In fact, interaction within the four-way talks had taken place largely in a two-in-four form, in which the ROK and the US represented the "two" because the DPRK's policy focused on building a bilateral link with the US.

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8. USFK Chemical Dumping

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, "USFK TO PUNISH 2 U.S. OFFICIALS FOR ILLEGAL DUMPING OF FORMALDEHYDE," Seoul, 09/9/00) reported that conceding that it "clearly" violated US and ROK environmental laws, US Forces Korea (USFK) said on September 8 that it would punish two US civilian employees involved in the illegal dumping of toxic chemicals into a sewer that leads to the Han River. In an announcement of the results of its probe into the illegal dumping case, the USFK said that it once drained 91 liters of embalming fluid containing formaldehyde into the Han River from the Yongsan Mortuary early this year. However, it denied that the dumping caused any damage to public health or the environment. The announcement drew strong criticism from local civic groups, which called for the immediate creation of a joint team involving the ROK government, the US military and civic groups to investigate the case. The civic groups, led by Green Korea United, which first exposed the illegal release, also called for the resignation of USFK Commander-in-Chief Thomas Schwartz, holding him responsible for the incident. In a news conference at the Defense Ministry, the USFK said it had initiated a series of corrective measures to help prevent the recurrence of similar incidents, while conducting a comprehensive review of the entire USFK environmental program.

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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
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Center for American Studies,
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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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