NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, september 15, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

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I. United States

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1. DPRK Leader's Visit to the ROK

Associated Press (Jae-Suk Yoo, "N. KOREA LEADER TO VISIT S. KOREA," Seoul, 9/15/00) reported that in a speech read by ROK's deputy chairman of the advisory group on national unification, ROK President Kim Dae-jung announced Friday that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il will visit Seoul next spring. Kim Dae-jung told Japan's Asahi newspaper on September 14 that he was almost certain that the visit will take place in March or April. The interview was published on Friday. Kim also said that defense ministers of the two Koreas will meet for the first time since the 1950-53 Korean War later this month. The ROK government said its defense minister recently exchanged letters with his DPRK counterpart to try to arrange their meeting.

US DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman (Richard Boucher, "DPRK LEADERS TO VISIT THE ROK," 9/14/00) released a statement which welcomed the announcement of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il's agreement to visit the ROK. The statement said, "The Department of State warmly welcomes this development. Inter-Korean dialogue is central to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Continued high-level meetings between the two Koreas will build on the achievements of the June 13-15 Inter-Korean summit, providing important opportunities for tension-reduction and confidence-building. We applaud Kim Dae-jung's leadership in pursuing his policy of engagement with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the positive efforts of Chairman Kim Jong Il and of President Kim Yong Nam. The United States has long worked in support of such dialogue, which was envisioned as part of the process outlined by Dr. William Perry in his review of U.S. policy. The United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan have consulted closely together to achieve a coordinated policy pursuing our common concerns regarding weapons of mass destruction and missiles. Our close consultation and coordination with our Korean and Japanese allies will continue."

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2. Inter-Korean Defense Minister Talks

Reuters ("SEOUL PROPOSES INTER-KOREAN TALKS IN HONG KONG," Seoul, 9/15/00) reported that the ROK said Friday it had proposed Hong Kong as the venue for the first talks between defense ministers of the two Koreas. An ROK Defense Ministry spokesman said the ROK had written to the DRPK proposing a meeting in Hong Kong on September 25-26. The spokesman said, "North Korea suggested Beijing or Hong Kong as a venue for the talks, and the South opted for Hong Kong, but we should get a formal confirmation on exact timing and the meeting place."

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3. US-DPRK Recovery of War Remains

The Associated Press ("NORTH KOREA RETURNS WAR REMAINS," Tokyo, 9/15/00) reported that remains believed to be those of nine US soldiers missing in action in the Korean War were returned to the US military on Friday. A US-DPRK team working in Unsan and Kujang counties, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang, recovered the remains. The recovery operation, the third this year, was the 15th in the DPRK since the program began four years ago. The US Air Force said in a statement that two more digs are scheduled this year, with the final operation to conclude on November 11.

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4. Search for Missing Korean POWs

The Chicago Tribune (Michael A. Lev, "NEW LEAD CITED IN KOREAN WAR MIA SEARCH," Beijing, 9/14/00) reported that the US government office responsible for the search for thousands of missing US servicemen from the Korean War is pursuing a significant new lead in the PRC. For the first time, investigators from the US Defense Department have been allowed to interview Chinese veterans who fought with DPRK soldiers and helped manage DPRK prisoner-of-war camps that held US soldiers. Robert L. Jones, the US Defense Department official in charge of the search, said about 2,300 US soldiers were captured by DPRK soldiers and then disappeared. Jones said he hoped the meeting with the Chinese veterans, which took place on September 12 with the cooperation of the PRC government, might lead to answers about how the US soldiers died and where their remains are located. At a press briefing, Jones did not detail what was learned in the interviews, but he said the meeting was significant because it represented a breakthrough in the difficult relationship with the PRC over missing service personnel from the Korean War. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for September 15, 2000.]

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5. Cross-Strait Relations

Reuters ("TAIWAN PREMIER URGES CHINA TO SEIZE GOODWILL," Taipei, 9/15/00) reported that Taiwan Premier Tang Fei urged the PRC on Friday to seize the island's goodwill and resume reconciliation talks and establish military confidence-building mechanisms to avoid conflict. Tang said goodwill demonstrated by his government since assuming office in May has had "a positive effect on easing the situation and stabilizing ties" between Taiwan and the PRC. Tang said, "We hope the mainland authorities can return to the right path of building mechanisms for dialogue with a positive and friendly attitude and way of doing things." Tang also said the two sides need to establish military confidence-building mechanisms. He noted, "To reduce Communist China's military threat and avoid the two sides heading for an arms race, the establishment of military confidence-building mechanisms is really necessary." He said the 400,000-strong Taiwan armed forces must implement "defense-oriented strategic thinking" to prevent war.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. ROK-DPRK Defense Ministers' Talks

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, "ATTENTION FOCUSED ON AGENDA ITEMS FOR S-N DEFENSE MINISTERS' TALKS," Seoul, 09/15/00) and Chosun Ilbo ("NK DEFENSE MINISTER PROPOSES MILITARY TALKS," Seoul, 09/14/00) reported that with the two Koreas agreeing to hold their first defense ministers' talks late this month, public attention is focused on the nature and background of the meeting as well major items on the agenda. As the first step toward mutual confidence building and tension reduction in the military field, experts predicted that the talks would deal with the establishment of military hot lines, prior notification of military drills, troop movements, and military exchanges. Also expected to be on the agenda are the regular staging of defense ministers' talks and other action plans for the implementation of the Basic Agreement reached by the two Koreas in 1992. The ROK Defense Ministry still refused to speculate on the date and venue for the defense ministers' talks, but a government source indicated that Hong Kong was the most probable place for the meeting. The anonymous source said the dates for the meeting could be September 26-28.

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, "TWO KOREAS TO BEGIN DIALOGUE ON PROMOTING TRADE, INVESTMENT," Seoul, 09/15/00) reported that ROK officials said on September 14 that the ROK and the DPRK will open economic talks on September 25 to negotiate bilateral pacts aimed at facilitating trade, investment and commercial ties between the two sides. The officials said vice ministerial officials will head the negotiations, which will be held either in Seoul or at Mount Kumgang. Kim Yong-sun, a key aide to DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, also met ROK President Kim Dae-jung at Chong Wa Dae before returning to Pyongyang after a four-day visit. During the envoy's visit, the Koreas agreed to push the DPRK leader's visit to the ROK next spring, open defense ministers' talks this month and take further steps toward the reunions of separated families.

III. Japan

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1. Kim Jong-il's ROK Visit

The Asahi Shimbun ("KIM JONG IL TO VISIT ROK IN MARCH OR APRIL NEXT YEAR," 09/15/2000) reported that during an interview with the Asahi Shimbun's chief editor at Chong Wa Dae in Seoul on September 14, ROK President Kim Dae-jung said, "It is now almost certain that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il will visit Seoul in March or April next year." A press report after DPRK Workers' Party Secretary Kim Yong- sun's visit to Seoul on September 14 only reported that Kim Jong-il's visit to Seoul would take place in the near future, but Kim Dae-jung made a more specific statement during the interview.

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2. DPRK View on US Troops in ROK

The Asahi Shimbun ("KIM JONG IL TO VISIT ROK IN MARCH OR APRIL NEXT YEAR," 09/15/2000) reported that during an interview with the Asahi Shimbun's chief editor at the presidential palace in Seoul on September 14, ROK President Kim Dae-jung stated, "I obtained a certain agreement from DPRK leader Kim Jong-il on the US continued military presence even after the unification of North and South Korea. Furthermore, improved relations between the North and the South should also lead to improved relations between Japan and the DPRK and between the US and the DPRK. Close cooperation among the ROK, Japan and the US is an effective way to improve the relationship between the North and the South."

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3. Japanese Rice Aid to DPRK

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("JAPANESE RICE AID TO DPRK WOULD NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT REQUESTED BY WORLD FOOD PLANNING," 09/14/2000) reported that Japanese planned rice aid to the DPRK would not exceed the amount requested by the World Food Planning (WFP). Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hidenao Nakagawa announced on September 14, "(Regarding the possibility of adding to the WFP's requested amount of rice to provide to the DPRK,) we are not considering (increasing the amount) for the time being."

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4. Japanese-US Talks on DPRK Missile

The Nikkei Shimbun ("JAPANESE AND US FOREIGN POLICY HEADS EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT DPRK MISSILE DEVELOPMENT," New York, 09/12/2000) reported that Japanese and US foreign and defense policy heads expressed their concern about the DPRK's missile development during the Japanese- US security consultation on September 11. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that while she sees a hopeful sign that the DPRK is coming out of isolation, she is strongly concerned about the DPRK's ballistic missile development. Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono said, "(Regarding the DPRK's missile development,) I cannot confirm North Koreans' real intention." Japanese Defense Agency Director General Kazuo Torashima also said, "I hail the recent inter-Korean summit meeting, but in reality, the DPRK has deployed a Nodong missile with Japan within the missile's target range."

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5. Japanese-US Defense Talks

The Asahi Shimbun ("JAPAN AND US AGREED TO ESTABLISH FRAMEWORK FOR STRATEGIC DIALUGUE," 09/14/2000) reported that Japanese Defense Agency Director General Kazuo Torashima and US Secretary of Defense William Cohen agreed on September 12 to set up a framework to mutually discuss Japanese mid-term defense planning for 2001 and US quadrennial defense review. The report said that the two sides agreed to promote interoperability between Japan and the US and to cooperation specifically in developing post-P3C surveillance plans. They also agreed to use the proposed strategic framework to deal with disaster relief operations and biological weapons.

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6. Japanese Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy

The Nikkei Shimbun (Kyodo, "FOREIGN MINISTER KONO IS DETERMINED TO PROPOSE NUCLEAR ABOLITION RESOLUTION," New York, 09/14/2000) reported that Japanese Foreign Minster Yohei Kono called for wide support for his proposal of a resolution to abolish nuclear weapons during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on September 13. The report said that this proposal includes significant reduction of nuclear weapons even after US-Russian negotiations on a third strategic weapons reduction treaty (START 3). Kono emphasized that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and negotiations for a treaty on reduction of weapon-grade nuclear fissile material (Cutoff Treaty) should be swiftly concluded.

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7. Japanese Stance on US NMD

The Nikkei Shimbun The Nikkei Shimbun (Kyodo, "FOREIGN MINISTER KONO IS DETERMINED TO PROPOSE NUCLEAR ABOLITION RESOLUTION," New York, 09/14/2000) reported that Japanese Foreign Minster Yohei Kono hailed the US government's decision to postpone the decision to deploy a national missile defense (NMD) system. Kono said, "I hope that the US decision will give a chance for countries to avoid the vicious circle of military build-up and to move toward nuclear disarmament."

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8. Japanese Bid for UNSC Seat

The Kyodo New Agency ("KONO REITERATES JAPAN'S BID FOR PERMANENT UNSC SEAT," New York, 09/13/2000) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono pressed Japan's case for a permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) by outlining Japan's global diplomacy at the UN Millennium General Assembly on September 13. Kono devoted most of his 25-minute speech from the podium of the General Assembly to the UNSC bid, saying Japan has been playing a growing role in global affairs outside the military field, such as nuclear disarmament, economic development and "human security."

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9. Japanese-Russian Spy Issue

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Kiyohisa Yoshida, "KONO EXPRESSED REGRET OVER SPY ISSUE," New York, 09/15/2000) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono and Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov met at the Russian governmental representative office in New York on September 14 and exchanged views on the recent spy issue between the two countries in which a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force official was arrested for providing sensitive defense information to a Russian attache in Tokyo. Kono said, "It is my deep regret that a Japanese defense official behaved improperly. Such a behavior should not be repeated." Ivanov responded, "It is important to solve the issue in a low-key manner so as not to harm our relations."

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10. DPRK Nuclear Inspection

Stratfor ("NORTH KOREA IS BLOCKING IAEA INSTPECTION," 09/12/2000) reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on September 11 that the DPRK was not allowing inspectors enough access to its nuclear sites. The agency said the DPRK's stance could jeopardize the US-backed construction of two nuclear reactors in the country, which is tied to the DPRK's agreement to halt its nuclear- development 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
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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