NAPSNet Daily Report
tuesday, october 31, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. People's Republic of China

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I. United States

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1. Japan-DPRK Talks

Agence France Presse ("JAPAN AND NORTH KOREA END TWO DAYS OF TALKS WITHOUT REACHING DEAL," Beijing, 10/31/00) and Reuters ("JAPAN, NORTH KOREA IN 'HEATED' TALKS IN BEIJING, PROGRESS SLOW," Beijing, 10/31/00) reported that Japan and the DPRK Tuesday concluded two days of talks in Beijing on normalizing their relations without reaching an agreement. Both sides said they would meet again when they were both ready. A Japanese foreign ministry official said that the next round of talks could take place late this year or early next, and will probably be held in Beijing again. The official said, "Both sides have come to the conclusion that this time we have exhausted what we have in our pockets for this particular round. We thought it would be better if we go back and then make further preparations for another round." The official added that "the central element in the negotiations" was how to deal with the Japanese colonization of the Korean Peninsula. According to the Japanese delegation, the question of whether Japan would apologize for its past by providing economic aid or war compensation was one of the trickiest issues on the agenda. The official said, "This normalization negotiation is a long process dealing with very difficult, tough issues, and we had not expected we would come up with any tangible results." Another item on the agenda was Japan's demand for news of 10 missing Japanese it believes were abducted by DPRK agents. Food aid that was agreed to in principle at the last round of talks in Tokyo in August was formally offered to the DPRK during these talks.

The Washington Post (Doug Struck, "TALKS WITH JAPAN KEY TO N. KOREA'S REVIVAL," Tokyo, 10/31/00) reported that the DPRK resumed negotiations with Japan on October 30 in Beijing. Hajime Izumi, a professor of Korean Studies at the University of Shizuoka in Japan, said, "I don't expect much progress from the talks. North Korea is very much eager to get what it calls compensation. But I think the Japanese public doesn't want to be too hasty." A Japanese Foreign Ministry source said, "We're not really afraid of missing the bus [on relations with the DPRK], because we are one of the drivers." Shigeru Yokota, who represents families of the Japanese who were allegedly kidnapped by DPRK agents, stated, "The money is important to North Korea. But North Korea has not yet admitted they have taken them." Some analysts see this as an intractable problem, concluding that the DPRK can never admit to having kidnapped foreign citizens, even if it did do so. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for October 31, 2000.]

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2. US-DPRK Relations

The New York Times (Howard W. French, "NORTH KOREA IS ALL SMILES, AND BEWILDERED BY IT ALL," Seoul, 10/31/00) reported that US Secretary of State Madeline Albright's visit to the DPRK was merely the latest instance in a gradually accelerating transformation of the DPRK's relations with the outside world that has been under way for at least a year. Although the shift away from brinkmanship has been most visible at the top, diplomats and international aid workers who have had intense exposure to the DPK said that the changes are even more impressive at the level of contacts with diplomats and middle-level bureaucrats. A diplomat from a European country said, "Meeting with North Korean officials used to be like watching a man try to cross a river by feeling the rocks under his feet one by one. The only thing is that whenever the North Koreans reached a rock, you could never be sure they wanted to proceed any further. Nowadays, you walk into a meeting with them for the first time, and before you can even get acquainted, they are saying, 'Great, how quickly can we establish relations?'" One Western diplomat whose country is planning to open relations soon said, "Why are people suddenly so cooperative? Because they know the instructions have come from the chairman to smile and get as much help from the outside as possible, and they know they'd better not fail. But boy, are they confused." Peter Hayes, executive director of the Nautilus Institute, said, "Decisions in a pyramidal society like this are so centralized, so political and so personal, that it is hard for Americans to understand that kind of pressure. Many people are confused. They don't know what the new edicts from the top mean. Those at the top might not even know. They are striking out in a completely new direction, and they are going to have to make it up as they go along." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for October 31, 2000.]

The Wall Street Journal published an editorial by Deputy Editor George Melloan, ("WHAT TO MAKE OF KIM JONG IL'S UNEXPECTED CHARM OFFENSIVE," 10/31/00) which noted that US Secretary of State Madeline Albright refused to compare her trip to the DPRK with US President Richard Nixon's trip to the PRC in 1972. Melloan wrote, "Opening up a country with only 22 million people isn't quite on a par with helping a truly historic tyrant, Mao, unlock the doors for hundreds of millions of poor Chinese souls. The 58-year-old Kim Jong-il doesn't even measure up to his late father, Kim Il Sung, let alone Mao. But you take what you can get when you are badly in need of a 'legacy.'" Melloan noted that Kim Jong-il's reasons for opening are simpler than Mao's were. The article stated, "The North Korean economy literally doesn't function, so the only way he can get money to pay for the comforts of the ruling elite and stave off famine among the masses is through blackmailing the US, South Korea and Japan." Melloan wrote that the 1994 Agreed Framework was the initial blackmail payment and the deal being proposed by Kim now is that he would give up missile-building in return for a US$3 billion payoff. He continued, "Word is that he told Ms. Albright that since his missiles are really for launching peaceful satellites, he could use some US help for that purpose if he gives up his own missiles. Apparently he has noticed how much U.S. technology the Chinese have been able to gather up by cooperating with the U.S. on satellite launches." Melloan said that the DPRK is just "a huge wasteland whose people long ago were bent to the will of Kim Il Sung and his mad dream of communist self-sufficiency." He concluded, "The younger Kim doesn't sound very repentant. Last summer he boasted to a group of South Korean businessmen that he doesn't have to travel abroad. Why should he, he asked, when I can sit in Pyongyang and everyone comes to me? The self-confidence of a blackmailer can be enormous. As for Mr. Clinton, he would be well advised to think of Kim Jong Il as Yasser Arafat, treacherous behind the false charm. Successful blackmailers seldom get tired of the game." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for October 31, 2000.]

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3. PRC View on US-DPRK Talks

Reuters ("CHINA URGES U.S., NORTH KOREA ON IN MISSILE TALKS," Beijing, 10/31/00) reported that the PRC suggested on Tuesday that it was hoping for progress in talks between the US and the DPRK on the DPRK's missile capability. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said, "The DPRK and the U.S. side have already made progress in negotiations on this issue. We hope that both sides can handle this issue properly." Zhu also said that the PRC was opposed to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and hoped the situation on the Korean peninsula would stabilize further. He added, "We also hope that parties concerned should clearly appraise the missile capability and intent of the DPRK. We are not willing to see an arms race in the region."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK-Japan Talks

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "LITTLE PROGRESS EXPECTED IN N.K.-JAPAN TALKS," Seoul, 10/31/00) reported that after exchanging basic positions in their last two meetings, the DPRK and Japan sat for another round of talks in Beijing on Monday, which ROK analysts said would open substantive negotiations for normalizing relations. To boost the chances of a breakthrough, Japan is planning to ship 500,000 tons of rice to the DPRK. Despite such a positive atmosphere, however, officials and analysts expressed doubts about the possibility of the two countries making progress, as the two sides are still uncompromising over the DPRK's demand for compensation and apology for Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula and Japan's demand for an explanation of 10 missing Japanese who it believes were abducted by DPRK agents. "The North would not easily accept Japan's call for an explanation of the alleged kidnappings because to do so means it would be confessing that it is a terrorist country," said Professor Suh Dong-man of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS).

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2. US Policy toward ROK

The Korea Herald (Lee Chang-sup, "US WILL NOT SHIFT TO NEUTRAL STANCE ON SOUTH, NORTH," Seoul, 10/31/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung Monday said that the US would not shift to a neutral position in its policy toward the ROK and the DPRK, even after the US and the DPRK open diplomatic relations. Kim added that the US and Japan would continue to maintain close alliance following the normalization of diplomatic ties between the US and the DPRK. In the meeting, Kim also emphasized that the ROK government fully supported the progress in the US-DPRK ties, saying, "The government has consistently advised the U.S. to better its relations with the North." Kim, meanwhile, denied any immediate plan to conduct a national referendum on the unification formula. "My earlier remark about it was only to touch upon the basic principle, merely that the nation should reach a consensus on the unification issue," Chong Wa Dae spokesman Park Joon-young quoted Kim as saying.

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3. UNC-DPRK Hotline

Chosun Ilbo (Yoo Yong-won, "UN PROPOSES HOT-LINE TO NK," Seoul, 10/30/00) reported that the UN Command Headquarters was learned Monday to have proposed to the DPRK the establishment of a "hot-line" between high-level (colonel and above) military personnel, in order to prevent accidental military confrontations at the de-militarized zone (DMZ). According to an announcement made by the military authorities and the US forces in Korea (USFK), the UN headquarters proposed replacing the current direct lines with a hot-line. The proposal was made during discussions with DPRK representatives over the incident of two US combat planes crossing the western edge of the demarcation line. The USFK said, "the proposal aims to prevent potential military confrontation as there has been frequent violations by the North, crossing the DMZ, and as the US also accidentally intruded into the North."

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4. Reunion of Separated Families

Joongang Ilbo (Lee Soo-jeong, "REUNION PROPOSAL IS MET BY DOUBTS," Seoul, 10/31/00) reported that an senior official at the ROK Unification Ministry cast doubt Sunday on a Red Cross proposal that both Koreas stick to their schedule for the third reunion of divided families. Earlier, a Red Cross official reported that the ROK is looking into proposing to North Korea that they arrange the third reunion of separated families in December, immediately after the second reunion, November 30 to December 2. The DPRK and the ROK agreed on Friday to exchange 200 separated families on November 30, some four weeks after the previously scheduled date. The third reunion is scheduled for December 5-7, and the Red Cross official said that this should be kept in order to abide by the agreement reached in June. However, a senior Unification Ministry official told the JoongAng Ilbo English Edition that the Red Cross official's remarks has not yet been officially looked into by the government. "At the moment, it looks very unlikely that the two sides will be able to arrange the third meeting just after the second reunion. Although it may be easy for us to track down these people, it is a different matter for the North," said Hong Yang-ho, a director-general of the ministry's humanitarian affairs section. Inter-Korean Workers Symposium

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5. Inter-Korean Talks

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "INTER-KOREAN DIALOGUES STILL REMAIN IN QUESTION," Seoul, 10/31/00) reported that ROK officials said on Monday that although the DPRK has agreed to resume family reunions and working-level economic talks, it is still delaying on most other scheduled contacts. Since the third round of inter- Korean talks held in Cheju Island late last month, the DPRK has been shunning dialogue with the ROK, which most observers here attribute to the hectic diplomatic schedule between the DPRK and the US. Analysts pointed out that the DPRK has been cooperating with the ROK only on projects it regards as beneficial, while neglecting those desired by the ROK. The opposition Grand National Party (GNP) has persistently maintained that the ROK should stick to the principle of reciprocity in dealing with the DPRK, but the government said that the ongoing slack in the inter-Korean relationship does not reflect the DPRK's shift of strategy but rather its lack of manpower.

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6. DPRK Diplomacy

The Korea Herald (Kil Byung-ok, "NOV. TO BE BUSIEST MONTH IN N.K.'S DIPLOMATIC HISTORY," Seoul, 10/31/00) reported that ROK observers said Monday that beginning with the diplomatic normalization with Japan and followed by missile talks with the US, the coming month will likely go down as the busiest month in the history of DPRK diplomacy. "The U.S.-North Korea missile talks in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow by far would be the most important event since their results are expected to determine U.S. President Bill Clinton's possible visit to Pyongyang," said a government source, speaking on condition of anonymity. Officials and experts indicated that the missile talks between experts from the two countries would deal with the permanent freezing of the DPRK's missile development and exports in return for US compensation and help to launch satellites. The most difficult part of it will be the compensation issue, they said. The DPRK is demanding US$1 billion annually for the next three years in exchange for halting the missile program, but the US has rejected the offer. The outcome of the missile talks would also have a direct impact on the issues of the removal of the DPRK from the US list of terrorist-supporting countries and the establishment of full diplomatic ties, said the official. Concerning the Japan-DPRK diplomatic normalization talks, which opened in Beijing on Monday, Japan has shown its willingness to provide economic assistance to the DPRK. The Japanese government also announced that it is considering extending financial assistance worth US$9 billion, of which about US$5 billion would be granted in aid and US$4 billion in the form of loans, Tokyo Shimbun reported last week. Diplomatic negotiations between European countries and the DPRK will start right after the DPRK's talks with Japan and the US, the officials added. "It is tremendously important how North Korea will fare in dealing with its Western partners in the rapprochement process," said Kim Chang-nam, a professor of Kyunghee University. "North Korea is at a crossroads - whether to return to its traditional brinkmanship or open up its society to the outside world."

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7. Inter-Korean Workers' Seminar

The Korea Herald ("WORKERS FROM 2 KOREAS TO HOLD UNIFICATION SEMINAR," Seoul, 10/31/00) reported that an ROK organizer said on Monday that ROK and DPRK laborers will hold their first symposium on national reunification in Beijing late next month. The proposed symposium will be jointly organized by ROK's two umbrella labor groups--the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU)--and the DPRK's General Federation of Korean Trade Unions. Woo Tae-hyun, assistant director in charge of political affairs at the FKTU, stated, "In meetings between FKTU and KCTU officials, we decided to hold the seminar between November 30 and December 2 in Beijing and will soon notify the North of the dates and venue for the meeting." Woo said that the two ROK labor groups would send a combined 40 representatives, including four speakers, to Beijing for the seminar. "If the North Korean side accepts our proposal, then the seminar will take place as we suggested," Woo said. He added that the date for the meeting could be changed but will not be delayed past next January. While in Pyongyang to commemorate the 55th founding of the DPRK Workers' Party October 9-14, representatives of the ROK and the DPRK umbrella labor groups agreed to hold the symposium within this year.

III. People's Republic of China

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1. DPRK's View of ROK-US Military Exercises

People's Daily (Zhang Xinghua, "DPRK CRITICIZED ROK-US JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES," Pyongyang, 10/27/00, P6) reported that a spokesperson of the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on October 26 that the joint military exercises between the ROK and the US have greatly undermined the process of seeking improved relations with the DPRK, which is termed as a provocation to DPRK. In the moment of improved relations between the US and DPRK, the spokesperson said, the Foal Eagle 2000, the largest annual military exercises, disclosed completely the US power policy, and the ROK's inclination to follow US strategy rather than sticking to principles written in the North- South Joint Declaration.

China Daily ("TIES THAW FURTHER DESPITE AIR INCIDENT," Seoul, 10/28/00, P8) reported that the DPRK offered on Friday to restart economic talks with the ROK despite what it called a deliberate and premeditated invasion into its airspace by US military aircraft a day earlier. Earlier the DPRK said that the infiltration would aggravate the improving situation on the Korean Peninsula. Despite the incident, the ROK Unification Ministry said that it had received and agreed to the DPRK's invitation for deputy minister-level economic talks aimed at building business ties with the ROK. The Ministry said that the DPRK also took action on the reunion issue Friday as the two sides exchanged lists of names of relatives hoping to meet family members unseen for 50 years. It said that the ROK had also responded favorably to a telegram from the DPRK's Red Cross proposing that 100 elderly people from each side meet in Pyongyang and Seoul from November 30 to December 2.

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2. PRC View of DPRK-US Relations

People's Daily (Xu Baokang, "DPRK, US CONSTRUCT NEW RELATIONSHIP," 10/27/00, P6) carried an article on the implications of US Secretary of State Albright's visit to DPRK. The writer started the article by stating the fact of Albright's 2-day visit to DPRK, commenting that it is encouraging to see the bilateral relations are shifting from confrontation to dialogue, and the two countries are striving to establish "new relationship free from the past antagonistic situation." The article said that since this year, the DPRK has actively adjusted its foreign policies. Especially after the June inter-Korean summit, many countries have also been adjusting their policies toward DPRK. However, without normalized relations with the US, it is hard for the DPRK to really get involved into the international community and safeguard its national security and economic interest. For the US, facing the changing situation on the Korean Peninsula, it has to talk face to face with DPRK in order to fulfill its strategic interests in this region. Albright's visit had three goals. One was "bridging"--to convey US President Bill Clinton's proposal to DPRK leader Kim Jong-il and also to report Kim's idea to Clinton for the final decision of whether he will visit the DPRK. The second goal was "removing obstacles"---to negotiate with the DPRK on hard issues like missile defense, nuclear issues and the like. The third one was "exploring the way"--to consult with the DPRK on the issues of establishing a liaison office and normalizing official relations. The article pointed out that there is still a long way to go for the normalization of DPRK-US relations.

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3. DPRK-Japan Talks

China Daily ("JAPAN AND DPRK END FIRST DAY OF TIES TALKS," 10/31/00, P12) reported that representatives from the DPRK and Japan ended their first day of talks on normalizing relations on Monday without saying whether they made real progress. Negotiators from DPRK and Japan met in Beijing to discuss ways to improve bilateral ties under the shadow of a diplomatic gaffe by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori which could scupper a solution on a key issue. While welcoming warming ties between DPRK and the ROK and between DPRK and US, the two sides agreed to make efforts to normalize diplomatic relations at an early date, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said. The official said Japan and DPRK agreed not to reveal details of the talks as the two sides had entered into "substantive" discussions. Japanese officials earlier said they had not expected any major breakthrough.

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4. DPRK Diplomacy

China Daily ("TIES THAW FURTHER DESPITE AIR INCIDENT," Seoul, 10/28/00, P8) reported that Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is planning a trip to the DPRK, his spokesperson said on October 27. The spokesperson confirmed that planning was underway for the visit, which would be the first by an Australian minister, but said that the government had no firm arrangements yet to announce. Meanwhile, German Junior Foreign Minister Ludger Volmer said on Friday that Germany could exchange ambassadors with DPRK in the next few months after deciding last week to establish diplomatic relations with the DPRK. He said that German officials were working on the technical details of setting up ties in coordination with their European Union counterparts.

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5. PRC-US Relations

China Daily ("OFFICIALS VOW TO FURTHER RELATIONS," Washington, 10/26/00, P1) reported that the PRC and the US concluded a vice-ministerial-level political consultation on Tuesday, with both sides vowing to further improve relations between the two countries. During the two-day dialogue, Yang Jiechi, vice Minister of the PRC Foreign Ministry, met with Assistant to the President on National Security Affairs Samuel R. Berger, Acting Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, Under Secretary of State Thomas R. Pickering, Under Secretary of Defense Walter B. Slocombe, and Assistant to the Vice President on National Security Affairs Leon S. Fuerth. The two sides reviewed the progress made in bilateral relations since the beginning of this year. They said that they believed that the meeting between PRC President Jiang Zemin and US President Bill Clinton during the UN Millennium Summit in New York City last month has yielded positive results. The two sides pledged to prepare another summit for the two leaders during the upcoming annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, to be held in Brunei in November. They hope another summit will further develop PRC-US relations. The PRC said that the handling of the Taiwan question on the basis of three PRC-US joint communiques is vital to the PRC-US relationship. The US side reaffirmed its position, saying that the US government will continue to adhere to the one-China policy.

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6. PRC-Japanese Relations

People's Daily (Che Yuming, "JIANG ZEMIN MEETS WITH JAPANESE EX-PM," Beijing, 10/28/00, P1) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin held friendly talks with a Japanese delegation led by former Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto on October 27 in Beijing. Jiang Zemin reviewed the development of PRC-Japanese relations during the past 2 years, commenting that all these exchanges and visits by top leaders of the two countries have improved the bilateral understanding and trust, deepened the cooperation of mutual interest, and facilitated the comprehensive development of bilateral relations. He stressed that as long as the two countries can learn from the history and stick to principles regulated in a series of bilateral treaties, healthy, friendly, stable, mutually trusting relations will be carried onto the 21st century. Jiang said that non-governmental exchanges have been playing a positive role in promoting bilateral relations. He added that this good tradition should be carried forward by expanding and strengthening people-to-people exchanges, exchanges between teenagers in particular. Hashimoto thought highly of Jiang's speech on May 20th when meeting Japanese 5000-people delegation, which he said has received positive reaction in Japan. He said that history is objective and cannot be erased. Friendly relations between PRC and Japan should be carried forward forever.

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7. Cross-Straits Relations

China Daily (Zhu Wei, "HU REAFFIRMS FLEXIBILITY WITH TAIWAN," 10/30/00, P1) reported that when meeting the participants in the Second Cross-Straits Symposium on the Development of Women, PRC Vice-President Hu Jintao said on Saturday in Beijing that the PRC will adopt a more flexible approach as it seeks to reconcile Taiwan with the idea of "one country, two systems," in recognition of the differences that exist between Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao. Hu said that this flexibility does not means the government will allow Taiwan to split from the mainland for any reason. However, he did reiterate that peaceful reunification is still the goal. Hu added that, as long as the Taiwan authority accepts the one-China principle, discussions on any issue can be conducted across the Taiwan Straits.

China Daily ("CHINA OPPOSES US RESOLUTION ON TAIWAN," 10/27/00, P4) reported that the Foreign Affairs Committee of the PRC National People's Congress (NPC) on Wednesday issued a statement expressing its utmost indignation and strong opposition to a resolution by the US Congress supporting "Taiwan's participation in the UN and other international organizations." The statement criticizes the Congress for disregarding the PRC's sovereignty and severely violating the basic norms of international relations and the three Sino-US joint communiques. The statement said that the House of Representatives and the Senate of the US Congress successively passed concurrent resolutions, "expressing the sense of Congress," brazenly supporting "Taiwan's participation in the UN and other international organizations." The statement said that the US Congress resolution is a severe infringement on PRC sovereignty and a wanton interference in China's internal affairs, adding that it attempts to boost the morale of the "Taiwan independence" forces that seek to split China and obstruct the great cause of China's unification by creating "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan." The statement said that US members of Congress should be reminded that given the fact that the Taiwan question has always been the single most important and most sensitive issue at the core of China-US relations, management of it will have an immense impact on bilateral relations.

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