NAPSNet Daily Report
monday, october 9, 2000

I. United States


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I. United States

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1. DPRK's 50th Workers Party Anniversary

Associated Press (Jae-Suk Yoo, "S.KOREANS TO GO TO NORTH ANNIVERSARY," Seoul, 10/9/00) reported that despite domestic criticism, forty representatives of religious, labor, arts and civic groups and scholars left Monday for the DPRK to attend the 55th anniversary of the founding of the DPRK's ruling Workers' Party on October 10. ROK government officials and opposition leaders, however, turned down invitations to the event. Conservative groups in the ROK have said attending the anniversary would amount to paying tribute to the totalitarian system of the DPRK. ROK officials required those traveling to the anniversary to sign a statement promising that they will not make any political comments while in the DPRK.

Reuters ("JIANG ZEMIN HAILS NORTH KOREAN RULING PARTY," Beijing, 10/9/00) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin sent an effusive message to DPRK leader Kim Jong-il and visited Pyongyang's embassy in Beijing on Monday, the eve of the anniversary of the founding of the DPRK's Workers Party. PRC's official Xinhua news agency said Jiang praised Kim for "remarkable achievements", including DPRK's recent diplomacy toward other countries. In a reference to the fast-changing diplomatic environment around the Korean peninsula, Jiang's message said maintaining PRC-DPRK ties was important for regional and world peace at this "important historical moment." He said, "China is confident that the Workers' Party under the leadership of Kim Jong-il will definitely lead the people of North Korea into the new century in high spirits."

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2. DPRK Military Shake-up

Agence France Presse ("NORTH KOREAN LEADER ORDERS MILITARY SHAKE-UP," Seoul, 10/8/00) reported that DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said DPRK leader Kim Jong-il has ordered a military shake-up, promoting 44 generals ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Worker's Party. It was the second military reshuffle since Kim was officially named supreme leader of the state two years ago. Experts in the ROK said it was part of a generational change with older officers being eased out. Kim made a new call for loyalty with the announcement. KCNA said he urged the military to "ever faithfully uphold the party's army- first revolutionary leadership as the backbone of our revolutionary armed forces and firmly guarantee the accomplishment of the revolutionary cause of juche (self-reliance) with arms and bear the brunt of the building of a powerful socialist nation." In a part meeting speech made on October 7, Vice Marshall Jo Myong-rok, Kim's number two who left for a key mission to the US, said the military would remain loyal to Kim Jong-il. He also said, "Kim Jong-Il has successfully provided army-first revolutionary leadership, a unique political mode of Korean style, thereby firmly defending the socialist cause of juche and remarkably increasing the overall national power including the country's defence capability."

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3. DPRK Criticizes ROK Arms Buildup

Agence France Presse ("NORTH KOREAN LEADER ORDERS MILITARY SHAKE-UP," Seoul, 10/8/00) reported that the DPRK's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland accused the ROK of stepping up an arms buildup behind the curtain of reconciliation and peace. The accusation came after the ROK decided to increase defense spending for next year 6.5 percent from 2000 to 15.3 trillion won (US$13.7 billion). The committee said, "If the South Korean authorities persist in their war moves despite our repeated warnings, (North Korea) will have no option but to take a corresponding self-defensive measure." The committee also charged the ROK's arms buildup as a "blatant challenge to the North- South joint declaration and intolerable anti-national and anti- reunification criminal acts."

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4. US-DPRK Talks

Agence France Presse ("KIM JONG-IL ENVOY HEADS FOR US TALKS," Seoul, 10/8/00) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il on October 8 dispatched Vice-Marshall Jo Myong-rok, his second in command, to the US for key talks. Jo is to meet US President Bill Clinton and other top US officials during his four-day stay. He will be the most senior DPRK official ever to visit the US. Clinton said on October 6, "What I want to do is just explore the possibilities. We're very concerned about a reconciliation between our two countries. First, I'm going to listen and I'm going to tell them that I am encouraged by the work done by President Kim (Dae-jung) in South Korea and by Kim Jong-il in North Korea. I want to encourage that development." Jo is vice chairman of the powerful national defense commission and director of the army's general political department. Officially, Kim Yong-nam, head of the supreme people's assembly, is deputy to Kim Jong-il, but Jo is considered Kim Jong-il's political right hand man.

Agence France Presse ("US LOOKS FOR GLIMPSE INSIDE NORTH KOREA WITH VISIT," Washington, 10/8/00) reported that top US officials hope for a glimpse inside the mind of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il during talks with ROK Vice Marshall Jo Myong-Rok this week. A senior US official said, "Now, and really for the first time, we are going to be hearing the voice, one step removed of Kim Jong-Il himself." US officials consider Jo as an authentic conduit for Kim. The official said Lee is a "senior figure in the part of the establishment that we have had very little -- almost no -- contact with." US State Department DPRK policy coordinator Wendy Sherman said, "The very fact of the visit is a very important step forward in our relationship." US analysts downplayed hopes for a breakthrough with the DPRK and many regard the visit as a purely symbolic affair. L. Gordon Flake, of the Mansfield Center for Public Affairs in Washington, said, "I would doubt very much that there will be a breakthrough." He said that while the DPRK recently forged new links with its southern neighbor and Russia, as well as the PRC and some western states, it has been keenly aware that the US electoral clock is ticking down. Flake added, "Their tactic is to keep tensions low. The way to do that is to hold meetings, and to see whether they can figure out what will happen in the next administration."

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5. US List of Terrorism Supporting States

Agence France Presse ("NORTH KOREA SAYS US READY TO TAKE IT OFF TERRORISM LIST," Soul, 10/7/00) reported that the DPRK said on October 7 that the US had expressed willingness to take the state off a list of nations supporting terrorism following a joint anti-terrorism statement. DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the US had "unreasonably" linked the DPRK with terrorism. However, it added, a joint statement in which the DPRK and the US agreed that terrorism "poses an unacceptable threat to global security and peace" released on October 6 would boost attempts to strengthen relations. KCNA said, "In particular, the US side in the statement expressed its willingness to delist the DPRK (North Korea) as a 'state sponsor of terrorism,' the leftover of the Cold War era." US officials said the joint statement did not signify that the conditions had been met to be taken off the terrorism list. The statement made clear however that when the DPRK "satisfactorily addresses" those requirements, the US government would work to remove its name from the list. However, KCNA added, "This proves that the US policy, whereby it has unreasonably linked the DPRK with terrorism, does not work any longer. This position will have a positive impact on terminating the confrontation between the DPRK and the US and building the bilateral relations in the 21st century." US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that although the joint US-DPRK declaration was a "step forward" it did not signify the conditions for being taken off the US terrorism list had been met. Boucher said, "This statement, in and of itself, does not resolve the issues of terrorism, does not resolve the issues for which they're on the list. They know what they have to do, they've always known, they still know."

US Department of Defense, Office of International ("U.S. AND NORTH KOREA MOVE CLOSER ON ANTI-TERRORISM STANCE,") reported a statement from US State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher on October 6 said that the US and the DPRK will work to resolve "outstanding issues" regarding terrorism. According to a joint US-DPRKstatement on international terrorism, if the DPRK lives up to its word, and the requirements of US law, that could mean the US would remove the DPRK from the list of states that sponsor terrorism. Boucher said both countries declared in the joint statement, "their commitment to support the international legal regime combating international terrorism and to cooperate with each other in taking effective measures to fight against terrorism." He also said the two sides declared that they "intend to exchange information regarding international terrorism and to resolve outstanding issues in this regard between the two sides." He said that the DPRK opposed international terrorism and that the DPRK "satisfactorily addresses the requirements of U.S. law, the U.S. will work in cooperation with the DPRK with the aim of removing the DPRK from the list of state sponsors of terrorism."

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6. ROK-Russian Relations

Agence France Presse ("RUSSIA CAN AID REUNIFICATION: SOUTH KOREAN PM AHEAD OF MOSCOW VISIT," Moscow, 10/9/00) reported that ROK Prime Minister Lee Han-Dong said in an interview with Russian daily Izvestia on Monday that Russia can help in Korean reunification but ending the division of the divided peninsular could take decades. Lee is scheduled in Russia later Monday for a four-day working visit. He also said the ROK wanted to develop humanitarian, economic and trade ties with the DPRK. Lee added, "Russia can help us with this." However, he said, it was "difficult to make forecasts" on when the two states would be united.

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7. ROK's Internal Politics

Agence France Presse ("SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT SEEKS POLITIAL TRUCE WITH OPPOSITION," Seoul, 10/9/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung ended a four month political battle with ROK opposition leader Lee Hoi- Chang on Monday. Kim and Lee met for the first time since June to discuss disputed medical reforms after a prolonged deadlock in parliament between the ruling and opposition parties. Kim's spokesman said, "They will focus on the economy, North Korea and the medical row." The opposition has demanded a more transparent use of public funds to restructure ailing banks and for Kim to take a cautious approach toward the DPRK. Some critics say the deadlock is part of a campaign by Lee Hoi-Chang to undermine support for Kim Dae-jung.

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8. TCOG Joint Statement

The US State Department released a Joint Statement following the 12th meetings of the US, ROK, Japan Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group Meeting issued on October 7 in Washington which said: "The delegations of the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Japan, headed respectively by State Department Counselor Ambassador Wendy Sherman, ROK Deputy Foreign Minister Ambassador Jang Jai-ryong, and Japan Deputy Vice Minister for Foreign Policy Yukio Takeuchi, held a Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG) meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 7. The three delegations reviewed the situation on the Korean Peninsula and their contacts with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) since their last meeting. The ROK delegation explained the outcome of its talks with the DPRK at various levels. The Japanese delegation provided details on the recent decision to provide food aid to the DPRK and other issues. The U.S. delegation provided an account of its recent meetings with the DPRK in New York, during which the DPRK informed the United States of its intent to send the Special Envoy of Chairman Kim Jong Il of the DPRK National Defense Commission, First Vice Chairman Jo Myong Rok, to Washington, D.C. The delegations exchanged views on the upcoming visit of Vice Marshal Jo. The delegations shared the view that the continued progress in their bilateral relations with the DPRK has been fostered by the inter-Korean Summit and the positive developments on the Korean Peninsula since then. They expressed the shared hope that the DPRK would continue to make positive steps to improve that atmosphere and continue making concrete progress in its bilateral relations with all three countries. They agreed that South-North reconciliation, cooperation and tension reduction, coupled with improved U.S.-DPRK and Japan-DPRK relations, were the keys to stability and peace on the Peninsula. Finally, the delegations renewed their determination to continue close coordination of their policy approaches to the DPRK.

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Monash Asia Institute,
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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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