NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, november 17, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

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I. United States

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1. Australia Foreign Minister's DPRK Visit

Agence France Presse ("AUSTRALIA WANTS TO TRAIN NORTH KOREA IN NUCLEAR SAFETY," Sydney, 11/17/00) reported that Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on Friday that Australia has offered to provide training and technical assistance on nuclear safeguards to the DPRK as part of a bid to reduce security tensions in the region. Downer said in a statement that during his meeting in DPRK, "I urged the North to continue deepening its engagement with the South to further reduce tensions in the region. I encouraged my interlocutors to take positive steps on nuclear concerns. In this context I indicated that Australia was willing to provide training and technical assistance on nuclear safeguards. I also encouraged further North Korean restraint on the development, production and export of missiles." Downer also offered to help train the DPRK officials in economics and governance and invited his counterpart, Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun, to pay a return trip to Australia.

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2. Inter-Korean Railway

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, "UNC, N. KOREA AGREE ON TRANSFER OF DMZ ADMINISTRATION TO S. KOREA," 11/17/00) and Reuters ("NKOREA, UN FORCES CLEAR WAY FOR INTER-KOREA RAILWAY," Seoul, 11/17/00) reported that sources at the ROK Defense Ministry said that the UN Command (UNC) and the DPRK on November 16 tentatively agreed to transfer the administrative rights over a section of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to the ROK military for the planned inter-Korean railway and highway projects. The tentative agreement came in talks attended by colonel-level officers of the UNC and the DPRK at Panmumjom. An anonymous ministry official said, "The two sides neared a consensus on the administration issue at today's meeting and are scheduled to meet again tomorrow to sign an agreement." He said that the agreement would help speed up inter-Korean military contacts to discuss matters concerning the cross-border railway and highway ventures and other confidence-building steps. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for November 17, 2000.]

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3. ROK-DPRK Naval Incident

The Los Angeles Times (Valerie Reitman, "NAVAL 'PROVOCATION' RILES N. KOREA," Seoul, 11/16/00) reported that the DPRK accused the ROK of committing a "serious military provocation" by sending ships into its waters this week. The DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), warned that its army was "highly alerted" and that "South Korean military authorities will be wholly responsible for the consequences to be entailed by the military provocations in the Yellow Sea." The naval incident took place near the ROK island of Paekryong. According to the KCNA, four ROK naval ships sailing among fishing boats intruded "deep into the territorial waters of the North" about 8:30 AM, November 14. The confrontation lasted a couple of hours, with vessels from each side converging, but neither side crossed the navigational boundary known as the Northern Limit Line. According to the ROK's Yonhap news agency, a Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman said, "We are trying to analyze the North's intentions in making allegations that we have intruded on their waters, especially in consideration of reconciliation between the two." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for November 17, 2000.]

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4. US-PRC Nonproliferation Talks

Reuters (Randall Mikkelsen, "CHINESE LEADER, CLINTON PROGRESS WITH MISSILE TALKS," Bandar Seri Begawan, 11/17/00) reported that Stanley Roth, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said that US President Bill Clinton and PRC President Jiang Zemin reached an agreement in principle on November 16 to resume human rights talks and made some unspecified progress on missile proliferation. Roth also said that Clinton and Jiang had made "some progress" on weapons nonproliferation issues, but declined to detail the progress that was made and added that there would be "more to say in the days to come." Roth said, "[Clinton] indicated that it would be helpful if the human rights dialogue could be resumed so that we could try to channel our discussion and make progress in a useful way, and interestingly, President Jiang responded by saying that he agreed, that he thought that dialogue would be a useful way to go." He described the understanding as an agreement in principle and said that issues such as a date for a resumption of the talks would be worked out later. PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said that the PRC was satisfied by assurances by US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and other US officials that there would be continuity in the PRC policy no matter who succeeded Clinton. He quoted PRC Vice Premier Qian Qichen as praising Clinton's role in building ties and saying he believed that "after Clinton leaves office the next president will build on his past achievements and continue developing relations." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for November 17, 2000.]

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5. Cross-Straits Dialogue

Agence France Presse ("TAIWAN'S KUOMINTANG VICE CHAIRMAN VISITS CHINA," Taipei, 11/17/00) reported that Wu Po-hsiung, vice chairman of Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) party, left for a visit to the PRC on Friday, saying he hoped to meet PRC President Jiang Zemin. Wu said, "If we have the chance to express (our thoughts to Jiang), we will do so. We hope to have benign interaction, ease tension and foster exchanges (between the two sides)." Wu leads a delegation that includes former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Hsu Hsin-liang. The group will visit Beijing, Nanjing, and Shanghai before they finish the trip on November 28. Taiwan's state-funded Central News Agency on November 14 said that Wu, "is expected to meet with vice premier Qian Qichen, vice chairmen Ye Xuanping and Zhang Kehui of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference." It said that Wu might also visit Jiang and Hu Jintao, vice chairman of the Chinese Communist Party.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. PRC View of US Troops in ROK

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "CHINESE ENVOY CALLS ON U.S. TO RECONSIDER FUTURE MILITARY PRESENCE IN KOREA," 11/17/00) reported that PRC Ambassador to the ROK Wu Dawei called on the US on November 16 to reconsider its policy on military presence in the ROK when the Korean Peninsula establishes a peace regime. Wu said, "China is consistently maintaining a policy opposing any foreign military presence in a country. The issue of should be resolved properly in step with a change on the peninsula. Personally, I expect the United States will adjust its military policy on the peninsula if a peace regime is built in the region." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for November 17, 2000.]

III. Japan

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1. Japanese-ROK Talks

The Japan Times (Kyodo, "MORI, SEOUL'S KIM RECONFIRM COOPERATION ON NORTH KOREA," Bandar Seri Begawan, 11/16/2000) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and ROK President Kim Dae-jung met shortly before the opening of this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on November 16 and reconfirmed that the two countries will cooperate with the US to urge the DPRK to improve ties with all the three countries. According to a Japanese official, Kim stated during the meeting, "It is necessary to maintain contacts and cooperation so that relations between the ROK and the DPRK, Japan and the DPRK, and the US and the DPRK make progress while giving each other positive effects." Mori briefed Kim on this year's third round of diplomatic normalization talks between Japan and the DPRK. Mori said, "We have begun work on searching for points on basic issues and economic matters. Japan will continue to hold negotiations in a steadfast manner."

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2. Japanese Rice Aid to DPRK

The Japan Times (Kyodo, "MORI, SEOUL'S KIM RECONFIRM COOPERATION ON NORTH KOREA," Bandar Seri Begawan, 11/16/2000) reported that during his meeting with ROK President Kim Dae-jung shortly before the opening of this year's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum on November 16, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori briefed ROK President Kim Dae-jung about Japan's decision last month to send 500,000 tons of rice as food aid to the DPRK. Mori revealed that the decision was at least partly due to Kim's advice. According to a Japanese official, Mori sated, "We decided on the food aid from the viewpoint of securing the existing positive trend."

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3. Japanese-US Talks

The Asahi Shimbun ("IT IS DIFFICULT TO DECIDE VISIT TO DPRK," Bandar Seri Begawan, 11/17/2000) and the Daily Yomiuri (Kazuomi Aida, "CLINTON TELLS MORI N. KOREA VISIT DIFFICULT," Bandar Seri Begawan, 11/17/2000) reported that during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshio Mori at the Jerudong Polo Club in the Brunei capital on November 16 on the sidelines of the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, US President Bill Clinton expressed a cautious stance toward his planned visit to the DPRK. Clinton stated, "It would be difficult to make a decision to visit the DPRK before my term expires." Mori said in response, "We would like to respect the decision you, as president of the US, reach after deliberation." Clinton also told Mori that it is imperative for the US, Japan and the ROK to maintain an alliance. In response, Mori stated, "The respective relations between Japan and North Korea, the United States and North Korea, and North and South Korea have to develop while keeping the balance between the pairs."

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4. Japanese-Russian Territorial Talks

The Nihonkeizai Shimbun/Nikkei Shimbun (Shigekazu Yoshino, "PRIME MINISTER TO VISIT RUSSIA FOR PEACE TREATY TALKS," Bandar Seri Begawan, 11/16/2000) reported that Japanese Prime Minister and Russian President Vladimir Putin met at a hotel in Bandar Seri Begawan on November 16 and agreed that Mori would visit Russia this year to settle the territorial issue between Japan and Russia. According to the report, Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono will visit Russia as soon as possible to lay a groundwork for Mori's visit. If Kono's visit to Russia turns out to be successful, Mori's visit would be realized, said the report. The report added that the sticking point between Japan and Russia regarding the territorial issue is whether a peace treaty between the two countries should be concluded after the return of Habomai Island and Shikotan Island or only after the return of all four of the islands. Vice Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said to reporters, "The summit meeting this time has seen some progress, but the Japanese government will continue to insist that all the four islands should be returned, while trying to realize the return of the two islands first."

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5. Japanese-Russian Defense Exchange

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("JAPANESE-RUSSIAN DEFENSE EXCHANGE TO BE RESUMED," 11/12/2000) reported that Japan and Russia will resume defense exchanges on November 28 after a tentative stoppage due to a spy incident between the two countries. The report said that Japanese Defense Agency (JDA) Director General Kazuo Torashima will meet with his counterpart in Tokyo and discuss the resumption of defense exchanges between the two countries. The report added that the decision was made because JDA settled the spy issue and is now ready for the resumption of defense exchanges with Russia.

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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
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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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