NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, september 28, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. Inter-Korean Economic Body

Agence France Presse (Jun Kwan-Woo, "NORTH, SOUTH KOREA AGREE TO SET UP JOINT ECONOMIC BODY," Seoul, 9/28/00) reported that ROK officials said the ROK and the DPRK agreed Thursday to set up a joint economic consultation body after the ROK announced 500,000 tons of food aid in a loan to the DPRK. The new economic body will act as the main channel for the two countries to work out concrete measures for various business projects. An ROK official said, "The South and North have agreed to form the body which will deal with various economic issues in general." However, it was not immediately known whether the new body was the same as a joint economic committee suggested by the ROK chief delegate Park Jae-Kyu.

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2. DPRK Food Aid

Agence France Presse ("SOUTH KOREA TO OFFER 500,000 TONNES OF FOOD AID TO NKOREA," Seoul, 9/28/00), Reuters ("S.KOREA TO SEND FOOD TO NORTH," Cheju, 9/28/00), and the Associated Press (J.H. Yun, "S. KOREA TO LOAN N. KOREA GRAIN," Cheju, 9/28/00)reported that ROK officials said Thursday that the ROK will offer 500,000 tons of food aid to the DPRK in the form of a long-term loan. The food aid will include 300,000 tons of Thai rice and 200,000 tons of Chinese corn. Officials in the ROK Unification Ministry said the ROK will start shipping the food possibly by early October. The food loan will carry an annual interest rate of one percent and will be repaid over 20 years with a 10-year grace period.

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3. Reunion of Separated Families

Agence France Presse ("SKOREA URGES NKOREA TO MOVE FASTER IN ARRANGING FAMILY REUNIONS," Seoul, 9/28/00) reported that the ROK officials said Thursday that the ROK urged the DPRK to move faster in helping separated families reunite with their long- lost relatives. ROK chief delegate, Unification Minister Park Jae-Kyu, said in his keynote speech that the recent Red Cross talks had "fallen short of expectations" in the ROK. The DPRK cited the lack of staff and computerized networks, rejecting ROK demand that the two sides should help tens of thousands of listed separated families locate their relatives and exchange mail with them. The two side have also yet to agree on details for opening a permanent center to be used for family reunions and mail exchange. Park also suggested that the two Koreas launch at the earliest possible date a joint committee to handle economic cooperation including the agreed-upon signing of an investment guarantee agreement.

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4. Analysis of DPRK-ROK Rapprochement

Yonhap ("KOREAN RAPPROCHEMENT SEEN TO STRATEGICALLY SHIFT US FORCES IN ASIA," Seoul, 9/21/00) reported that Thomas Hirschfeld, a senior researcher at the Center for Naval Analysis, said reconciliation between the ROK and the DRPK would represent a major strategic shift, one likely to force the reassessment of the roles and missions of US troops in Asia. His analysis appears in a paper submitted to an international seminar on Korean affairs opening Thursday for a four-day run on Cheju. Hirschfeld and 50 other experts on Korean affairs from the ROK, the US, and Japan are attending the seminar co-hosted by the Sejong Institute and the Asia Foundation under the theme "Practical Steps from War to Peace on the Korean Peninsula." Hirschfeld said, "No command structure can be foreshadowed with confidence, until the roles and missions of residual US forces have been agreed on between US and Allied authorities. The necessary precondition for US force reductions is military security. Changes in the political atmosphere, greater confidence in the goodwill of contiguous neighbors, and confidence-building measures all help set the stage for more peaceful times, but are insufficient even in combination, unless the behavior, location or composition of DPRK forces warrants a judgment that the threat has actually declined. Until the Korean Peninsula is peaceful, prosperous, nuclear-free and reunified, the US-ROK security alliance remains essential for continued peace and stability. The American security blanket provided through a continued alliance relationship will make it possible for Seoul, both now and after reunification, to pursue close, cordial relations simultaneously with its three giant neighbors: Japan, China and Russia." However, he said, the desire and ability of both sides to continue a close security alliance after unification cannot and should not be presumed. He added, "If US and Korean officials and strategic planners are convinced that a continued US military presence is necessary or desirable even after North-South reconciliation or reunification, they must begin serious discussions now in order to develop the strategic rationale." Moon Chung-in, a professor from ROK's Yonsei University, said in his paper that negotiations over military, social and economic cooperation and exchanges are not likely to be as smooth as in the early phase of inter-Korean rapprochement, while positively assessing the June inter-Korean summit. Moon said, "It is so because of built-in vulnerabilities in both Koreas. No matter how effective it is, the concentration of political power and authority in the hands of chairman Kim Jong-il could turn out to be a major liability in inter-Korean relations. Because his failure could lead to the demise of all inter-Korean negotiations." Moon went on to say that the fragmented political structure and divided national consensus in the ROK can also undercut the smooth working of inter-Korean negotiations. He added, "In addition, an external milieu could abruptly turn against rapprochement between the two Koreas."

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5. DPRK-ROK Relations

Reuters ("NORTH KOREA REBUKES SOUTH FOR STAND ON TIES," Cheju, 9/28/00) reported that the DRPK criticized the ROK on Thursday for what it said were the ROK's attempts to take all of the credit for the recent warming of relations between the two countries. Visiting DPRK senior cabinet counsellor Jon Kum-jin said a ROK claim that its policy was responsible for the recent thaw in relations with the DPRK was regrettable and should be corrected. Jon said, "At a recent U.N. meeting, the South's foreign minister said the recent achievement in improving inter- Korean relations, including the family reunions, was a result of the South's engagement policy. That's not right. Such comments from the South are regrettable just as things are going smoothly. This must be corrected. The June achievement is the result of our common efforts. It's not one-sided."

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6. DPRK-Italy Relations

Reuters (Steve Pagani, "N.KOREA MINISTER ON FIRST OFFICIAL EUROPEAN VISIT," Rome, 9/27/00) reported that DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun arrived in Italy on September 27 for two days of talks with Italian and United Nations officials. Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini told reporters after Paek's plane landed in Rome, "Italy's relations with North Korea...have helped bring about a greater opening up with the international community. In this more constructive climate of dialogue, North Korea could receive economic aid and investment." Italian diplomatic sources said, "Our considered by the North Koreans as a privileged partner..." Paek will also visit Thursday will also visit the headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and its sister agency, the World Food Programme (WFP) on Thursday.

Japan Economic Newswire ("ITALY PROPOSES NONAGGRESSION PACT BETWEEN 2 KOREAS," Rome, 9/28/00) reported that Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini proposed to DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun on September 27 that the DPRK and the ROK consider concluding a nonaggression treaty. According to a statement released by the Italian Foreign Ministry, Dini brought up "the possibility of reaching a nonaggression pact supported by the international guarantees of several of the major countries aimed at eliminating reciprocal fears between the North and South," according to a statement released by the ministry. The two ministers also signed three agreements - on the protection and promotion of investment, economic cooperation, and cultural and scientific cooperation.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK-ROK Talks

The Korea Herald ("GOV'T TO BUILD CARGO DEPOT INSIDE DMZ," Seoul, 09/28/00) reported that the ROK will build a large cargo depot in the southern part of a joint inter-Korean management area in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) for the smooth transportation of inter-Korean cargo. The ROK will also propose that the DPRK use the depot. At the first inter-Korean defense ministers' talks in Cheju on September 26, the ROK and DPRK defense ministers agreed to install a joint management area in the section of the DMZ where the railway and highway projects will be carried out.

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "3RD HIGH-LEVEL TALKS TO OPEN TODAY FOR REVIEW OF INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS," Cheju, 09/28/00), Joongang Ilbo (Lee Young-jong, "SOUTH, NORTH TO HOLD CABINET- LEVEL REVIEW TALKS," Seoul, 09/27/00) and Chosun Ilbo (Choi Byong-mook, "NK MINISTERS ARRIVE ON CHEJU FOR 3RD ROUND OF TALKS," Seoul, 09/27/00) reported that the ROK and the DPRK will open another round of high-level talks in Cheju aimed at coordinating the progress of inter-Korean rapprochement. A 22- member DPRK delegation, led by a senior cabinet councilor, Jon Kum-jin, flew into this southern resort island September 27, via Beijing and Seoul. Jon and his ROK counterpart, Unification Minister Park Jae-kyu, will open official talks September 27 and 28, along with four other delegates from each side. ROK officials said that the meeting is aimed atreviewing the implementation of previous accords between the two Koreas and modifying the pace of their rapprochement, instead of working out new agreements. Park said the topics for the talks include detailed measures to boost economic cooperation between the two Koreas.

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2. DPRK Calls for USFK Withdrawal

Chosun Ilbo (Yoon Jong-ho, "NK PARTY ORGAN AGAIN CALLS FOR USFK WITHDRAWAL," Seoul, 09/27/00) reported that the DPRK's official Rodung Shinmun called for the withdrawal of the US Forces in Korea (USFK) on September 27 saying that the US desire to maintain troops on the peninsula "immoral and sly," given the atmosphere of reconciliation. The paper's call is seen as a response to Defense Secretary William Cohen agreeing with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and Defense Minister Kazuo Torashima that the USFK was needed in the region for military balance. It is the first time in three months that the previously often used demand has been leveled. The newspaper called the USFK, "the main force of disturbance of peace and safety on the Korean peninsula and created the danger of war," adding that "it was the main source of unhappiness and pain among the South Korea people." The paper also said that as the two Koreas have decided to solve unification issues independently, there is now no justification for the USFK to remain 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

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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