NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, november 9, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. Clinton's Visit to DPRK

The U.S. Department of State's Office of International Information Programs (Kerri DiZoglio, "BROOKINGS SCHOLARS SEE CLINTON ASIA VISIT AS HIGHLY SYMBOLIC," Washington, 11/9/00) reported that Joel Witt, guest scholar at the Brookings Institute and former coordinator of the US-DPRK Agreed Framework, said that although a visit to the DPRK is not on the president's agenda for this trip, such a visit is still not out of the question at a later date. Witt said that Clinton might visit the DPRK by the end of the year provided that US allies approve and that there are prospects for productive negotiations on the DPRK missile program. Although human rights is an important issue, Witt said the initial focus of the dialogue should be on the security threat. Kongdan Oh, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, disagreed with Witt. According to Oh, a visit by Clinton would not likely result in a positive outcome and the DPRK needs to show greater commitment towards economic and social change before the US engages in greater dialogue with the country.

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2. Reunion of Separated Families

The Associated Press (Kyong-Hwa Seok, "N. KOREA MAY OK FAMILY REUNIONS," Seoul, 11/9/00) reported that a week after threatening to suspend planned reunions of separated families, the DPRK appeared to indicate Thursday that it will go ahead with the November 30 to December 2 reunions. ROK officials said that the DPRK's Red Cross sent a letter to its ROK office Thursday that proposed new regulations allowing gifts to be exchanged by the reunited families. The letter suggested that the new rules be applied to all reunions, which some ROK officials took as a hopeful sign. Park Hyong-joon, a spokesman for the ROK Red Cross said, "We cannot be sure if the North Korean letter really means to say that the scheduled reunion will go ahead. But the nuance of the wording strongly suggested that." He added that the DPRK intention might become clearer on Friday when it was to exchange lists of candidates for the reunion.

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3. Effect of Election on US Asian Policy

The Wall Street Journal (Michael Williams, "CHINESE GOVERNMENT FEARS INITIAL FRICTION WITH BUSH," 11/9/00) reported that Japanese leaders expect the status quo to continue under either George W. Bush or Al Gore, while the PRC are more apprehensive about initial friction if Bush wins the US presidential elections. A commentator in the International Financial Daily wrote, "On Chinese affairs, a Gore administration wouldn't have the inconsistencies' of a Bush White House." Many PRC academics say that both parties' policies are largely similar but that "outsiders" like Bush tend to be, at least initially, more critical of the PRC. A scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said, "We might have to start over again with Bush." Andrew Yang, secretary-general of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies, said that Bush is also seen "as more clearly defining what is the U.S. interest in managing the Taiwan Strait." ROK analysts and political observers are concerned that a Bush victory would stall peace overtures on the Korean peninsula by disrupting current talks. Some officials in the ROK noted that the US Republican Party has traditionally taken a hard-line stance in dealing with the DPRK, and that they believe a Bush administration would be more conservative and cautious than US President Bill Clinton in dealing with the DPRK. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for November 9, 2000.]

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4. PRC Military Spending

Agence France Presse ("CHINA'S LEADERSHIP DEMANDS NO LET-UP IN MILITARY SPENDING," Beijing, 11/9/00) reported that the PRC's official People's Daily said Thursday that during a meeting on the PRC's air defenses on November 8, both PRC President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji said that there must be no let-up in efforts to strengthen the military. The paper said that Jiang also made an "important speech" during the meeting which made clear that the PRC government attached huge importance to the "great goal of unification" with Taiwan. Jiang said, "We must support efforts to strengthen national defense construction while maintaining the central task of economic construction and developing socialist production forces." Zhu lined up squarely behind Jiang on military spending. He said, "We must adapt the market economic system and deepen the reform of the work on the People's Air Defense, and following the lead of science and technology completely raise the capabilities of the People's Air Defense." The PRC keeps its full military budget secret, but the International Institute for Strategic Studies estimated that the PRC spent US$40 billion on defense last year in a country where per capita income is US$750.

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5. Russian Arms Sales to PRC

Agence France Presse ("SINO-RUSSIAN MILITARY COOPERATION BOOMS, AMID DISTRUST," Zhuhai, 11/9/00) reported that Russia was the biggest foreign exhibitor at the PRC airshow, held every two years in the special economic zone of Zhuhai. The show's official publication, Show News, said, "Russia supports one of its biggest and best arms buyers." Russian President Vladimir Putin sent around 20 planes to Zhuhai. Vitali Zelenkov, an official from Irkout, one of the principal Russian fighter jet manufacturers, said, "We've had excellent contacts with China's air force, which allowed us to make huge progress in Zhuhai, even though we have not signed any contracts." Russian officials said last week in Beijing that during a visit to the PRC capital, Russian Deputy Premier Ilya Klebanov discussed the sale of the A-50, an advanced Russian airborne radar system, with General Zhang Wannian, vice chairman of the PRC's Central Military Commission. According to other Russian sources interviewed in Zhuhai, negotiations were held on the sale of four A-50 Beriev advance radar systems, which can detect activity up to 300 kilometers (180 miles) compared to 1,000 kilometers for the Israeli AWACS. However, an anonymous Western military expert said that he doubted whether Russia would cede its technology to the PRC for fear that one day it might be used against it. The expert said, "China and Russia have a huge border in common. They are both aware of the need to develop their bilateral cooperation, but they still detest each other's guts."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. US Policy towards DPRK

The Korea Herald ("ANALYSTS HAIL DELAY OF CLINTON'S N. KOREA VISIT, VOA SAYS," Seoul, 11/09/00) reported that a US radio news report said Wednesday that US experts on the Korean Peninsula praised as "wise" US President Bill Clinton's decision not to visit the DPRK during his Asian tour next week. According to the Voice of America (VOA) monitored in Seoul, the experts claimed that Clinton has no reason at present to visit Pyongyang, given that the DPRK has yet to disclose its plans for the development of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and missiles. They also pointed out that the DPRK has not shown any moves to reduce its troops deployed along the Demilitarized Zone, the VOA said. The analysts also pointed out that Clinton's visit would further burden the next US president, adding that the US should not provide economic aid to the DPRK as long as it continues to divert food and energy aid to enhance its military power, it said.

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, "U.S. POLICY ON NORTH KOREA WILL NOT CHANGE," Kwangju, 11/09/00) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said Wednesday that US policy on the DPRK will not change under a George W. Bush administration and that the ROK will maintain cooperation with the US and Japan in dealing with the DPRK. Kim said that the basic US policy pursues peace on the Korean Peninsula and the inducement of the DPRK to become a responsible member of the international community. Chong Wa Dae spokesman Park Joon-young said that the new US administration may take a "new approach" toward the DPRK. "But the basic framework of the US policy will not change," Park said.

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2. Inter-Korean Defense Talks

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, "SEOUL, PYONGYANG LIKELY TO POSTPONE INTER-KOREAN DEFENSE MINISTERS' TALKS," Kwangju, 11/09/00) reported that ROK officials and analysts said Wednesday that the ROK and the DPRK may not be able to hold their next round of defense ministers' talks by November 30 as scheduled due to insufficient time left for preparations. These timetables, however, appear increasingly difficult to adhere to. As if to support the growing possibility of a delay, Defense Minister Cho Seong-tae said in a parliamentary inspection Tuesday that he believed that the second round of talks would take place, though they may be postponed. "We are still preparing to negotiate the schedule of the proposed defense ministers' talks with North Korea, but we have yet to decide on whether we have to make the proposal first or wait for the North to take the lead," Cho was quoted as saying. His remarks counter local papers' allegations that the ROK has tried to contact the DPRK on the new defense ministers' talks. On the prospects for the planned working-level joint military council meeting, Cho also said that ROK and DPRK military officials would meet only after the UN Command and the DPRK complete their ongoing talks on the opening of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) for the inter-Korean construction projects. "We will not rush to hold the working-level military meeting as the land mine removal work inside the DMZ can resume next spring," Cho said, implying that the working-level talks would be put off until after next spring.

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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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