NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, november 30, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. Reunion of Separated Families

The Associated Press (Kyong-Hwa Seok, "KOREAS EXCHANGE PEOPLE FOR REUNIONS," Seoul, 11/30/00) reported that the second reunion of separated Korean families took place Thursday in Seoul and Pyongyang. A Korean Air plane carrying the 100 ROK visitors, most of them in their 70s, landed at Sunan Airport outside Pyongyang and then returned to Seoul with an equal number of DPRK Nationals for similar reunions. Pong Du-wan, leader of the ROK delegation, said before departing Seoul, "I hope this humanitarian move will be further expanded for more separated families and broaden understanding between the peoples of the two sides." The ROK delegation includes 15 men who were hoping to meet their first wives. Organizers said that the reunions would last for three days, one day less than last August's, in order to save costs.

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2. US-PRC Relations

Agence France Presse ("CHINA WRONG TO VIEW US AS ENEMY: US DEFENSE OFFICIAL," Beijing, 11/30/00) and Reuters ("CHINA CHIDED FOR VIEWING U.S. AS ADVERSARY," Beijing, 11/30/00) reported that Walter Slocombe, the US undersecretary of defense for policy, told the PRC on Thursday that it is wrong for the PRC to view the US as its biggest potential enemy. Slocombe said, "I noted that references to the United States ... as a would-be hegemon in the Asia-Pacific region were without foundation and unhelpful in building a positive relationship." Slocombe was referring to the PRC's recent white paper on military priorities. He added, "The point that we made is it's not US policy to regard China as an enemy. There's no question the United states and China have real differences about issues and some of those are quite important differences. There's a difference between that and regarding each other as potential enemies." Slocombe said that he assured the PRC military officials that the US does not seek confrontation with the PRC and does not follow a policy of containment, but added that he did say that the US would defend its interests and those of its allies in the region. He also said that despite the white paper's portrayal of the US as the PRC's biggest threat in coming years, during his talks he did not detect a change for the worse in the PRC's views about the US. Slocombe said, "I believe it's true that the trend in US-China relations has been pretty positive over the last year." PRC foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said Thursday, "It is our belief that this consultation has increased the mutual understanding and thrust and has narrowed differences and expanded common understanding and it is useful for the promotion of development of military-to-military relations."

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3. US-PRC Military Exchanges

The Associated Press (Charles Hutzler, "CHINA, U.S. OK MILITARY EXCHANGES," Beijing, 11/30/00) reported that the PRC and the US tentatively agreed Thursday to more exchanges between their militaries. Two days of talks between US Undersecretary of Defense Walter Slocombe and a number of PRC generals resulted in the agreement. Slocombe said that the PRC's pledge last week not to help Pakistan, Iran and others build nuclear-capable missiles brightened the atmosphere. He told the PRC that US military alliances with Japan, the ROK, Australia and others provide the region with stability for economic growth. Slocombe said that both sides mapped out plans, subject to final approval, for more high-level visits between their militaries next year, the PRC's participation in international defense forums, and possible discussions on the military's role in disaster relief. He said that both sides even compared notes on the different receptions that the DPRK gave PRC Defense Minister Chi Haotian and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, on separate but overlapping visits last month, but declined to elaborate.

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4. Cross-Straits Exchanges

Agence France Presse ("CHINA BLASTS TAIWAN 'GOODWILL' GESTURE," Beijing, 11/30/00) reported that Zhang Mingqing, spokesman of the PRC's Taiwan Affairs Office, said that by preparing limited exchanges with the PRC from the Taiwan controlled islands of Kinmen and Matsu, Taiwan is seeking to avoid the larger issue of establishing full-blown direct links in the "three fields"--transportation, commerce and postal links. Zhang said, "They use the three mini-links to resist the three big links. The three mini-links do not represent a gesture of goodwill from Taiwan." However, Taiwan's transportation and communications ministry said earlier this month it would begin to accept applications for direct shipping between Kinmen and Matsu and the PRC by December. Zhang said, "The entry of mainland China and Taiwan into the WTO will help promote economic and trade ties, and will also contribute to the implementation of the three links."

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5. Taiwan "One-China" Policy

Reuters ("CHINA FLATLY REJECTS TAIWAN'S ICE-BREAKING BID," Beijing, 11/30/00) reported that the PRC flatly rejected on Thursday as "word games" a Taiwan bid to set the stage for reconciliation talks and told Taiwan not to be optimistic about cross-Strait relations. It was the first explicit official PRC reaction to a Taiwan advisory panel's recommendation that Taiwan's constitution could allow President Chen Shui-bian to meet the PRC's demand. Zhang Mingqing, spokesman for the PRC's Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said, "I don't understand what exactly this body is and I have no interest in making a comment. What they are doing is playing games with words. Those suggestions are neither here nor there, neither fish nor fowl. We are resolutely opposed to any person or any so-called committee refusing to recognize 'one China'. If this goes on, we feel it is very dangerous." Zhang also dismissed as "excessively optimistic" Chen's comment to visiting former US Vice President Dan Quayle on November 27 that he was confident that Taiwan's relations with the PRC would not worsen in the next year. Zhang said, "No one who proceeds with reality as his starting point could talk of 'security' or 'cross-Strait policy success'." Analysts in Taiwan said that the 25-member body's consensus on a fresh but ambiguous formulation of "one China" was merely an attempt to allow Chen to fudge the issue. Opposition parties have criticized the formulation as inconclusive. Shen Fu-hsiung, a legislator in Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who sits on the advisory group, said that the PRC's condemnation was "milder than my expectations" and did not aggravate cross-Strait ties.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Hall's Visit to DPRK

The Korea Times ("CLINTON LIKELY TO BE PLEASED WITH NK VISIT," Seoul, 11/29/00) and Chosun Ilbo ("US REP SAYS NK SEES WORST ECONOMY EVER," Seoul, 11/29/00) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il is prepared to make some concessions if US President Bill Clinton visits Pyongyang, a US Congressman said Tuesday. Representative Tony Hall, an Ohio Democrat, at a news conference at the US Embassy in Seoul quoted DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan as saying, "he (Clinton) will be pleased with the result if President Clinton comes to North Korea." Hall said that, on his return to Washington, he would urge President Clinton to go ahead with a visit to the DPRK to improve the security situation on the Korean peninsula and support humanitarian efforts. Despite some reports on the improvement of DPRK's overall economic food and economic situation, Hall said that food and power shortages remain as dire as ever in the DPRK, except for the capital city Pyongyang. "You need to travel outside the capital and into the countryside and you'll discover that things are very bleak and very cold," he said.

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2. Russia's View on Korean Peninsula

The Korea Times (Sohn Key-young, "RUSSIA EXPECTS EMERGENCE OF POWERFUL, UNIFIED KOREA," Seoul, 11/29/00) reported that Russia wants to see Korea emerge as a powerful state in this region through the process of unification, a Russian parliamentary leader said Tuesday. "Some neighboring countries are worried over the possibility that the Korean unification could create a powerful state on the peninsula both politically and economically," said Dmitri Rogozin, chairman of the State Duma's foreign affairs committee during a press conference at the Central Government Complex. "However, Russia doesn't have any suspicion about this. The emergence of a powerful unified Korea will serve Russia's national interests," he added. Rogozin, who arrived in Seoul on Sunday for a four-day visit, said that the unification issue should be resolved directly between the ROK and the DPRK. With regard to Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Seoul, Rogozin said that he is scheduled to visit here early next spring.

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3. ROK-US SOFA Talks

Korea Times (Sohn Key-young, "US REJECTS ENVIRONMENTAL PROVISIONS IN SOFA," 11/30/00) reported that a US official said on November 29 that the US cannot embrace the ROK's proposal to include regulations on environmental protection in the SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement). The official said, "We want to produce a separate agreement, which is not a part of the SOFA." The US official declined to comment on whether the separate agreement would be legally binding. Besides environmental issues, the two countries will hold expert-level talks on criminal jurisdiction, granting and returning of areas and facilities, quarantine procedures for animals and plants, and labor conditions for ROK employees of US Forces Korea. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for November 30, 2000.]

Korea Herald published an editorial ("A FAIR TREATY FOR ALLIES," 11/30/00) which said that it would be a desirable approach for the US negotiators of the Status of Forces Agreement to make more effort to understand the sentiment of the majority of the ROK people. The editorial said, "The Koreans believe their society has advanced considerably since the 1960s, when the agreement was signed. It is true that not only society as a whole, but also the overall security situation on the peninsula, has changed over the last three decades." After the Korean War, the ROK was in no position to assert equality in the legal status of its citizens and members of the US military and it was of the foremost importance that the ROK protect itself from the threat of a militarily and economically stronger DPRK. Therefore, "Few South Korean officials bothered to speak up about the unfairness of the treaty even when they realized that it favored the U.S. military. Now, the officials face enormous pressure from the civil society, which has acquired a greater awareness of national sovereignty and civil rights." The report said, "This is indeed a crucial opportunity for the governments of the United States and South Korea to forge a solid legal framework to maintain the friendly ties between the two nations and contribute to their mutual benefit. Such a framework is also necessary to cope with the possible redefining of the role of the U.S. military in the changing regional environment in the future. What is needed now for the proper handling of the matter is the true spirit of allies. The growing anti-American sentiment in a certain segment of Korean society may be a wake-up call for the United States to reconsider the elements that undermine its leadership in the global community. It will serve nobody's interest to exacerbate the budding anti-Americanism among the Korean public by dismissing its repeated calls to amend the biased agreement." Therefore, it concluded, the US "is urged to accept the Korean position regarding jurisdiction over crimes committed by U.S. servicemen. The US negotiators are also urged to review their earlier argument that they cannot insert in the treaty the clauses about Track II issues, including environmental pollution, labor rights of Korean workers at U.S. military facilities and quarantine regulations." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for November 30, 2000.]

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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

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