NAPSNet Daily Report
thursday, december 14, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. ROK-DPRK Talks

Reuters ("N.KOREA WORRIES ABOUT S.KOREAN ECONOMY, US ELECTION," Seoul, 12/14/00) reported that concerns over a possible change in US policies under a Republican administration and an economic slowdown in the ROK emerged as key issues in the second day of talks between the DPRK and the ROK on Thursday. DPRK officials asked the ROK delegation whether they expect the US to change its DPRK policy drastically after George W. Bush becomes US president. The ROK's Unification Minister Park Jae-kyu and DPRK's chief negotiator Jon Kum-jin, a senior cabinet counselor, are meeting for the fourth time since the June inter-Korean summit. Park on Thursday asked the DPRK about ROK prisoners of war and abductees believed still held in the DPRK. The DPRK responded to the request, which the ROK lawmakers have urged, by asking the ROK to clarify its stance on a defense policy that still depicts the DPRK as the country's principle enemy. ROK officials said the stance reflected the reality of national division and was something to be resolved once confidence-building measures progress further. The ROK on Thursday also suggested a new timetable for reunions of separated families. Talks are scheduled to last until December 15, when the two sides are expected to announce a joint statement.

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2. Nogunri Incident

The Associated Press (Robert Burns, "ARMY LEADER REPORTS ON NO GUN RI," Washington, 12/14/00) reported that in his first public comments on the as-yet unpublished results of a yearlong US Army investigation into the killings in No Gun Ri, US Army Secretary Louis Caldera said Thursday that the passage of time since the incident in July 1950 made it impossible to determine with certainty what happened at No Gun Ri. Caldera said, "We looked at more than a million documents and interviewed several hundred individuals who were likely to have first-hand kind of information, so I think we know with much more clarity ... what didn't happen. We have been unable to establish any connection between any orders given and any soldiers who were at No Gun Ri." Pressed to say whether he believes it is clear that US soldiers killed civilians at No Gun Ri, Caldera said, "I think there was loss of life there and that was very regrettable." Caldera also disputed the ROK claim that the shootings were intentional. He said, "What really made this unique was the allegation that it was intentional killing of civilian noncombatants who were known to be unarmed. More than a million Koreans lost their lives in the Korean War. There were a lot of civilian casualties and it is likely that some of those civilian casualties were at the hands of American soldiers. Reaching that conclusion is very different from the allegation that was made that this was a massacre in the classic sense that we lined up innocent people and gunned them down." Caldera said that it would be up to US President Bill Clinton to determine whether to apologize or offer compensation.

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3. PRC-Taiwan Trade

Reuters ("CHINA SAYS SUPPORTIVE OF DIRECT TRADE WITH TAIWAN," Beijing, 12/14/00) reported that the PRC said on Thursday that it supports opening direct trade and travel with Taiwan, but declined to respond specifically to a decision by Taiwan to open limited transport links between two sides. PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said the PRC has long supported and prepared for establishing direct transport, trade and postal service (the "three links"). Zhang said, "For many years various departments on the mainland have devoted great effort towards realising the three links and made preparations for direct cross-strait links." Zhang avoided commenting specifically on the Taiwan proposal. She said, "We have seen that the Taiwan authorities have recently made various kinds of statements about realizing the three links across the strait. Overall, we believe we ought to achieve direct, truly meaningful three links--only then can we meet the needs of trade and personal contacts increasing daily."

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4. US President Elect's PRC Policy

Agence France Presse ("BUSH LOOKS TO REJIG US ASIAN STRATEGY," Washington, 12/14/00) reported that US President-elect George W. Bush has pledged to take a tough new line on the PRC, reinforce US support for Taiwan and breathe new life into what he claims is a seriously neglected relationship with Japan. Bush has said repeatedly in the past, "China is a competitor, not a strategic partner. We must deal with China without ill-will--but without illusions." He said in a foreign policy address that the PRC "will be unthreatened but not unchecked." However, divisions in the almost evenly-divided US Congress could also frustrate any efforts by Bush to forge a consensus on issues of concern to Asia.

Agence France Presse ("CHINA HOPEFUL BUSH WILL CHOOSE PRAGMATISM OVER CONFRONTATION: ANALYSTS," Beijing, 12/14/00) reported that analysts said Thursday that the PRC is confident that US President-elect George W. Bush will emulate predecessor Bill Clinton by toning down his campaign rhetoric on the PRC once he becomes the president. Analysts believe that Bush will take a pragmatic approach to the relationship with the PRC. Guo Xiangang, an expert on Sino-US relations at the government-backed China Institute of International Affairs, said, "Bush may not actually use the word 'engagement,' but in actual practical terms he will be carrying on US engagement with China. Clinton in his campaign was vehemently anti-Chinese, but once he became president he started representing US national interests and moderated his views." PRC President Jiang Zemin congratulated Bush on Thursday, saying "During your presidency, I am ready to work together with you to promote a sound and stable development of China-US relations." Paul Harris, a US foreign policy researcher at Lingnan College in Hong Kong, said, "The only thing that is really dangerous, that could lead to a conflict of some kind, is the Taiwan Straits. These are not stupid people, and they won't find a direct confrontation with China in the Taiwan Straits is in US interests." Sino-US ties could also be strained if Bush were to decide to go ahead with plans to develop a ballistic missile defense system. However, Guo said, "The threat from North Korea has been diminished, so if the Republican administration decides to go ahead with the system, it will clearly be aimed at China. And if they deploy it against China, it's not going to help bilateral relations."

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5. Taiwan View of US Election

Reuters ("TAIWAN CONGRATULATES BUSH, EYES STRONGER TIES," Taipei, 12/14/00) reported that Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian congratulated US president-elect George W. Bush on Thursday, saying that future bilateral ties could be stronger on the basis of common respect for democracy. Analysts say that Taiwan stands to benefit more from a Bush victory because he takes a harder line towards relations with the PRC. A statement by Chen said, "Our two countries have a long history, and have common principles in pursuing democracy and respecting human rights. This year, the people of our two countries elected a new leadership through democratic means, and future bilateral relations can become stronger on the basis of democracy." Taiwan's foreign ministry also congratulated Bush, hailing improvements in US-Taiwan ties under President Bill Clinton's administration. In a statement, the ministry recalled the US "firm action" during the 1996 missile test crisis. The ministry statement said, "We hope the new U.S. government deeply recognizes developments in cross-strait relations after Taiwan's democratization."

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6. Japanese Military Posture

The Los Angeles Times published an opinion article by Jim Mann ("U.S., ASIA PONDER A 'NORMAL' JAPAN," Japan, 12/14/00) which said that Japan's gradual ending of the limits on the use of military power that were adopted after World War II is probably the most important change in East Asia over the next decade. Mann noted that Japan "is becoming what is commonly called a 'normal' nation once again. It is slowly reducing its dependence on the United States in matters of security and foreign policy." He also wrote that the movement to ease the restraints on Japanese military power can be detected across the political spectrum. Mann pointed to Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, who said two weeks ago that Article 9 of their constitution, in which Japan renounced the sovereign right to wage war, was "not what we wanted" and should be thrown out. Yukio Hatoyama, the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, the main opposition party, also indicated that he favored amending the Japanese Constitution at least a little bit. Hatoyama said he thought that in the future, Japanese troops ought to be able to use their weapons to help restore peace. Mann also noted that Japan's evolution has considerable support in the US. Earlier this year, a bipartisan study group that included two former US Defense Department officials, Richard L. Armitage and Joseph S. Nye Jr., concluded that Japan's restrictions on the use of military power are "a constraint" on the US-Japan security alliance. Mann continued, "No one knows where the changes in Japan will lead. One way or another, Japan's attitude toward its armed forces is in flux. The old postwar restrictions are coming off. That's inevitable. But for Asians and Americans alike, it's also a very big deal." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for December 14, 2000.]

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Inter-Korean Ministerial Talks

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "SEOUL PROPOSES TO ESTABLISH REUNION FACILITIES NEXT MARCH," Pyongyang, 12/14/00) and The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "KOREAS OPEN ROUND OF TALKS WITH AN EXCHANGE OF CHARGES," Pyongyang, 12/14/00) reported that the ROK on Wednesday proposed to the DPRK that they establish permanent reunion facilities by next March at the latest so that separated family members can meet their long-lost relatives regularly, officials said. On the second day of the four-day inter-Korean ministerial talks, the ROK also suggested arranging the third round of temporary family reunions before the lunar New Year's Day on January 24, while making joint efforts to realize the exchange of mails between families separated for five decades before this year passes, they said. ROK Unification Minister Park Jae-kyu led the ROK delegation at the fourth high- level talks, while their DPRK counterparts were headed by Jon Kum-jin, a senior cabinet councilor. "We also proposed adjusting schedules for the unimplemented joint projects," said a member of 38-member ROK delegation, which arrived in this DPRK capital on Tuesday. In a move to speed up cultural and social exchanges next year, Minister Park also suggested a joint panel be set up to ensure continuous cooperation in sports, tourism and academic fields. During the 100-minute, full-dress session, both sides also touched on a set of sensitive issues, the officials said. Jon particularly criticized the Defense Ministry's white paper that called the DPRK the ROK's "main enemy," claiming that such moves were an infringement of the spirit of the peace accords made during the June summit. Park refuted Jon's protest, however, saying, "I believe the issue will be resolved as long as the two Koreas build military confidence based on cooperation and reconciliation."

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2. DPRK-UK Relations

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "U.K. AHEAD OF EU PARTNERS IN OPENING N.K. TIES," Seoul, 12/14/00) reported that Britain's decision to establish diplomatic ties with the DPRK demonstrates its hope for a leadership role in Europe in dealing with the Korean Peninsula, ROK analysts said Wednesday. Britain and the DPRK announced Tuesday they signed an agreement to establish ambassadorial-level relations at the end of their working-level normalization talks in London. "The accord shows Britain wants to become a front-runner among the big three European countries, which include France and Germany, in engaging the North," said Professor Kim Sung-han of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS), a government think tank. Unlike rival countries, Britain did not demand that the DPRK settle its human rights and missile problems before opening diplomatic ties. British officials indicated that London would raise these issues after establishing diplomatic relations with the DPRK. "Britain seems to feel that it can play a major role to sustain the current peace process on the peninsula that might be disrupted by a new U.S. government's expected bottom-up review of its policy on the North," Professor Kim said. ROK officials said that the normalization of relations between Britain and the DPRK will expedite moves by some other European Union (EU) member countries to open formal ties with the DPRK.

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3. Swedish-DPRK Relations

The Korea Herald (Chon Shi-yong, "SWEDISH LEADER PLANS NORTH KOREA VISIT," Stockholm, 12/14/00) reported that Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson is pushing for a plan to visit Pyongyang next year for summit talks with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, ROK officials said Tuesday. ROK President Kim Dae-jung and Persson discussed the plan and other issues concerning the DPRK during their summit talks at the Prime Minister's office Tuesday, the officials said. A visit by Persson would mark the first time that the DPRK has received the leader of a western country, the officials said. "Sweden, now the only western country that has resident embassies both in Pyongyang and Seoul, would play a significant role in the establishment of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula," a senior ROK official said.

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4. DPRK-Germany Relations

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, "NK TEAM HEADS FOR GERMANY TO START TIES AFTER WORK IN UK," Seoul, 12/14/00) reported that an ROK Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry official said Wednesday that the DPRK's sudden announcement to normalize ties with Britain has led to speculation that the DPRK might seek to normalize ties with European countries even at the cost of some of its long-held positions. During this European swing, the delegation is also set to visit the Netherlands and Belgium for negotiations on diplomatic normalization. Meanwhile, Germany proposed during diplomatic normalization talks that that DPRK ensure freedom of travel for German diplomats and non- governmental organizations, another sensitive issue for DPRK negotiators. "If North Korea made concessions on the issue, we cannot rule out the possibility that Germany would follow suit shortly," the official said. However, it is not easy for the DPRK to do so because it has not given such freedom even to diplomats from the PRC.

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5. ROK on DPRK Missile Program

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, "SEOUL MIGHT PAY TO STOP NK MISSILE PROGRAM," Seoul, 12/14/00) reported that an ROK government research institute said Wednesday that the US is apparently considering forming an international consortium similar to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development as part of its efforts to raise funds to compensate for the DPRK's suspension of its ballistic missile programs, and the ROK's financial contribution to it seems to be inevitable. The Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS), run by the Foreign Affairs- Trade Ministry, made the observation in its analysis of major international issues under the title "The Current Situation and Prospects for U.S.-North Korea Missile Negotiations."

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6. Inter-Korean Workers Forum

The Korea Times ("WORKERS HOLD UNIFICATION FORUM AT MT. KUMGANG," Seoul, 12/14/00) reported that the ROK's two labor federations on Wednesday sent 32 delegates to the December 11-14 unification forum of workers of the two Koreas, which took place at the DPRK's Mt. Kumgang. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) dispatched 18 representatives to the four-day forum, while the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) sent 14. At the forum, the ROK labor representatives were to discuss ways of expanding exchanges with DPRK workers and of easing tensions on the Korean peninsula to contribute to peace and unification. The forum was jointly organized by the two labor groups from the ROK and the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea (GFTUK) of the DPRK.

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7. Alleged DPRK Spy Contact

Chosun Ilbo (Kwon Dae-youl, "NK SPY LINKED TO SOUTH'S POLITICIANS," Seoul, 12/14/00) reported that it has been confirmed by the Japanese press that Kang Sung-hui, a former executive member of Chosonren, a pro DPRK organization of Koreans in Japan, has been contacting a dozen ROK leaders from the political and business circles. Kang has been allegedly involved in building an underground communist body in the ROK. The Yomiuri Shimbun announced on Wednesday that according to a memo confiscated by police, Kang has been keeping in touch with a dozen ROK citizens over the past two decades, trying to convert their ideology and get them to vow allegiance to the DPRK's intelligence agency. It reported that the investigation confirmed Kang's meetings with several ROK business leaders at hotels in Tokyo and Beijing. The Asahi Shimbun also reported that Kang maintained a close relationship with a CEO of a well-known ROK distribution company since 1991. Furthermore, The Mainichi Shimbun reported that Kang visited Pyongyang via Beijing, and that the ROK's National Intelligence Service has also been keeping an eye on Kang for some considerable time.

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in partnership with:
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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

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