NAPSNet Daily Report
tuesday, december 19, 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. Clinton's Trip to DPRK

Reuters ("CLINTON NEARS DECISION ON POSSIBLE N. KOREA VISIT," Washington, 12/18/00) reported that White House officials said that an announcement could be made as early as next week on whether US President Bill Clinton will visit the DPRK. US National Security spokesman P.J. Crowley said Monday, "The president has not made a decision on travel to North Korea," but he added, "I expect the president to make a decision soon." Crowley stated, "We are consulting with the president-elect's team on North Korea. But it will be President Clinton's decision how to advance this issue between now and Jan 20." Other White House officials said that a decision was expected before December 25.

The Wall Street Journal (Carla Anne Robbins, "BUSH SAYS HE WON'T INTERFERE WITH CLINTON TRIP TO NORTH KOREA," Washington, 12/19/00) reported that Ari Fleischer, transition spokesman for US President-elect George W. Bush, said Monday that Bush would not oppose a trip by US President Bill Clinton to the DPRK. Fleischer stated, "We won't weigh in on decisions the administration has to make between now and January 20." Clinton administration officials, however, warned that there may not be enough time to work out all the details, especially given the competing demand of the Middle East peace process. The administration is now considering whether to send a delegation to meet with the DPRK to assess its sincerity about a missile deal. On Sunday night, US State Department Counselor Wendy Sherman and White House Asia expert Jack Pritchard briefed Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell and National Security Adviser-designate Condoleezza Rice on the status of the talks. One administration official described the meeting "as a good discussion ... [but] they were very clear that they had not yet had a discussion within their circle with the president-elect." In a letter to Clinton last week, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Republican-Mississippi, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Republican-Illinois, and other Republican lawmakers warned that providing space-launch services to the DPRK would entail "very serious risks of technology transfer" and could end up strengthening the DPRK's missile program. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for June 28, 2000.]

The Associated Press ("TEXT OF CLINTON-BUSH STATEMENTS," 12/19/00) reported that, prior to meeting with President-elect George W. Bush in the White House on Tuesday, US President Bill Clinton said that no decision has been made on a trip to the DPRK. Clinton stated, "It's interesting, when I had this meeting eight years ago with the president-elect's father, he told me the biggest problem we were facing was the nuclear program in North Korea, and we were able to build on the work they had done and put an end to that. And now the big problem there is the missile program. We may have a chance to put an end to it. And if we can, I think we should. But this is something that I want to consult with the president-elect and his team about, and we'll see what the facts are. And I'll try to do what's best for the country."

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2. DPRK Jet Collision

The Associated Press ("REPORT: 2 FIGHTER JETS COLLIDE," Seoul, 12/18/00) reported that the ROK newspapers Dong-A Ilbo and JoongAng Ilbo on Tuesday cited an unidentified ROK government official as saying that two DPRK fighter jets collided during a nighttime training exercise last week. The official did not comment on the fate of the pilots. He said that the DPRK suspended such flights, but it was not immediately known if the training had resumed. The office of the ROK chairman of joint chiefs of staff said it could neither confirm nor deny the report. The reports speculated that a lack of training by DPRK military pilots led to the collision, citing ROK defense officials as saying that DPRK pilots log only a few dozen hours flying time annually due to fuel shortages.

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3. ROK-Vietnam Military Relations

The Associated Press ("VIETNAM, S KOREA PLEDGE TO EXPAND MILITARY TIES," Hanoi, 12/19/00) reported that ROK Defense Minister Cho Sung-tae held talks Monday with his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Van Tra. The Vietnam News Agency reported that the two countries agreed to increase bilateral cooperation through exchanges on military education and the defense industry. They also agreed to have senior defense officials exchange annual visits. Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Van Cam, who hosted a reception for Cho, said that he believed that "wide-ranging cooperative relations would continue to develop." Cho was to leaves for Bangkok later Tuesday and will also visit Indonesia later this week. Cho's visit was the first by an ROK defense minister to Vietnam since the Vietnam War.

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4. PRC-Vietnam Border Agreement

The Associated Press ("CHINA, VIETNAM TO SIGN AGREEMENT ON TONKIN GULF BORDER," Beijing, 12/19/00) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said Tuesday that Vietnam and the PRC will sign agreements affirming relations and setting their sea border in the Tonkin Gulf when Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong visits Beijing December 25-29. Zhang said that the PRC will discuss "strengthening good neighborly friendly relations, overall cooperation and other issues of common interest," and that the two sides would issue a "joint statement on overall cooperation in the new century."

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5. US Military Sales to Taiwan

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, "PENTAGON SUPPORTS ARMS SALES TO TAIWAN," 12/19/00) and the Associated Press ("PENTAGON: UNSURE HOW CHINA, TAIWAN VIEW MILITARY STRENGTH," Washington, 12/18/00) reported that the US Defense Department said in a report to Congress on Monday that it is unable to gauge the outcome of a military conflict between the PRC and Taiwan because of intelligence "gaps." The report also stated, "The United States takes its obligation to assist Taiwan in maintaining a self-defense capability very seriously. This is not only because it is mandated by U.S. law in the [Taiwan Relations Act] but also because it is in our own national interest. As long as Taiwan has a capable defense, the environment will be more conducive to peaceful dialogue, and thus the whole region will be more stable." It added that PRC use of force to determine Taiwan's future would be a "grave concern" to the US. The report was based on assessments provided by the US Pacific Command and the office of the secretary of defense. Defense officials said that Admiral Dennis Blair, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Command, resisted providing details of command shortcomings regarding a defense of Taiwan. The report was required under a provision of the Defense Appropriations Act for fiscal 2000 under an amendment put forth by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

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6. PRC Accession to WTO

Dow Jones Newswires ("CHINA WTO NEGOTIATOR SEES FORMAL US APPROVAL BY JAN 20," Hong Kong, 12/19/00) reported that Long Yongtu, the chief representative for trade negotiations of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation said Tuesday that he expects the PRC to secure formal US approval for its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) by or before US President-elect George W. Bush's inauguration on January 20. Long said that the PRC and the US will resume talks from January 10 to January 17 on the PRC's entry. Long also said he is optimistic about Sino-U.S. relations under the future George W. Bush administration, saying, "If there is any change, it would a change for the better."

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7. George W. Bush's China Policy

The Associated Press ("ASIA WELCOMES BUSH NOMINATIONS; WORRY ABOUT CHINA TIES," Tokyo, 12/18/00) reported that Taiwanese and PRC analysts differed in their views of the likely policy of a new George W. Bush administration. Taiwanese military expert Chung Chien applauded the appointment of retired General Colin Powell as Secretary of State, saying that his experience as former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman will help him handle the cross-Straits issue. However, Yan Xuetong, an international security expert at Tsinghua University in Beijing, warned, "There are too many people with a military background" in the Bush administration for it to forgo deploying a missile defense system. The Sydney Morning Herald argued in an editorial that Australian support to a US missile defense system could put Australia at odds with the PRC.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Inter-Korean Ministerial Talks

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "PYONGYANG WANTS SURPLUS POWER, NOT NEW PLANT, SAYS SEOUL OFFICIAL," Seoul, 12/19/00), The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "EARLY ELECTRICITY SUPPLY TO N. KOREA DIFFICULT DUE TO COST, TIME," Seoul, 12/19/00) and The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "KOREAS AGREE ON ECONOMIC PANEL, FAMILY REUNIONS," Seoul, 12/19/00) reported that during last week's ministerial talks, the DPRK asked Seoul to send surplus electricity instead of building a new power plant or sending fuel, ROK officials said. "The North talked about the transmission of electricity, without commenting on new plants or coal provision," said Assistant Unification Minister Kim Hyung-ki, who visited Pyongyang Tuesday through Saturday as a delegate to the high-level talks. At the talks, the DPRK asked the ROK to send 500,000 kilowatts of electricity immediately, but the ROK refused. As a compromise, the two sides agreed to discuss the issue at the inaugural meeting of their joint economic panel in Pyongyang on December 26. The accord, however, was criticized by ROK opposition parties, who said it was another example of unilateral aid for the DPRK. Kim said that the government would not be able to decide whether to provide electricity until it gets full consent from the people as well as the opposition party.

The Korea Herald ("N.K. RETURNED NATIONAL ASSEMBLY'S RESOLUTION ON POWS," Seoul, 12/19/00) reported that DPRK delegates at the fourth round of inter-Korean ministerial talks in Pyongyang last week returned the ROK National Assembly's resolution asking the DPRK to repatriate prisoners of war (POWs) from the Korean conflict and ROK citizens that it has allegedly abducted. An ROK government official said, "The South's chief delegate Park Jae-kyu at the ministerial talks had intended to deliver the resolution under the name of National Assembly speaker Lee Man-sup on Friday night to the North's delegates, but they returned it later on Saturday, saying they cannot officially accept the writ." "The North's refusal seems to be a reflection of its previous stance that there are no South Korean POWs and abductees in its territory," the official added.

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2. DPRK-UK Relations

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "BRITISH ENVOY CALLS ON EU NATIONS TO ESTABLISH TIES WITH PYONGYANG," Seoul, 12/19/00) reported that a top British envoy said Monday that Britain has decided to establish diplomatic relations with the DPRK to help facilitate the ongoing peace process on the Korean Peninsula, while hoping that other European nations will follow suit. British Ambassador to the ROK Humfrey said that Britain's normalization of ties with the DPRK will help open up "another window" of the DPRK. "The more windows to the world to open up isolation around the North, the better the chance we have of getting it to accept obligations to its neighbors and the rest of the world." He also said that the London talks covered wide-ranging issues, including the DPRK's human rights conditions and the international concerns of nuclear and missile proliferation. "We have already raised those issues and we will continue to raise them," he said, adding that the DPRK showed a willingness to discuss those issues.

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3. Remains of US Soldiers from Korean War

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, "U.S., NORTH KOREA AGREE TO EXPAND JOINT SEARCH OPERATIONS FOR MIAS," Seoul, 12/19/00) reported that the US and the DPRK have agreed to expand their joint search operations next year for the remains of the US servicemen killed in the Korean War (1950-53) to include for the first time the areas around the Changjin Reservoir, a US official said Monday. "There will be 10 operations by 28-person teams between April and November next year, and each will last 32 days for a total of 160 days," said Alan Liotta, deputy director of the US Department of Defense in charge of prisoner of war and missing persons affairs. Liotta made the remarks at the conference room of the UN Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) in Yongsan. He came to Seoul Sunday to report to the UNC on the outcome of the US-DPRK talks on the joint discovery operations for next year, which ended Saturday after four days of negotiations in Kuala Lumpur. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for June 28, 2000.]

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4. DPRK Cargo Ship Returns to DPRK

The Korea Herald ("N. KOREAN CARGO SHIP RETURNS," Inchon, 12/19/00) reported that a DPRK cargo ship safely returned to the DPRK without actually taking the refuge requested at an ROK port, the National Maritime Police Agency (NMPA) said Monday. The NMPA said the 364-ton "Songjinsan-ho" turned back into DPRK territorial waters at about 9:55 p.m. Friday, when weather conditions improved. The vessel previously asked that the NMPA provide shelter at the ROK's Ullung Island at 8:40 a.m. that day after encountering rough seas during a voyage from the Japanese island of Mishima to the DPRK port of Rajin.

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5. US Troops in ROK

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "SEOUL UNLIKELY TO BECOME TARGET OF BUSH GOVERNMENT'S REVIEW ON MILITARY DEPLOYMENTS," 12/19/00) reported that ROK officials and analysts said Monday that, despite a pledge by US Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell to review US military deployments in foreign countries, the US is expected to maintain the current number of troops in the ROK. Lee Jong-sok, an analyst at the private Sejong Institute, stated, "There will be no drastic change in the U.S. policy on military presence here given Washington has deployed troops in accordance with its interest." ROK officials also said that Powell's remarks are targeted more at troops that have served as part of UN peacekeeping forces. An anonymous Foreign Ministry official stated, "His remarks demonstrate that Washington would focus its military deployments on certain regions it regard as important." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for June 28, 2000.]

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6. Nogunri Incident

The Korea Times (Son Key-young, SEOUL HITS CALDERA'S REMARKS AS 'INAPPROPRIATE'," 12/19/00) reported that the ROK warned the US against making "inappropriate" statements on the Nogunri incident before the two countries make a joint announcement on the results of their probe late this month or early next month. An ROK government official said "We have conveyed the message that Army Secretary (Louis) Caldera's remarks were inappropriate, as they were made before we could jointly announce the results of the probe." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for June 28, 2000.]

III. People's Republic of China

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1. DPRK-ROK Relations

China Daily ("KOREANS AGREE TO FORM CO-OP PANEL," Seoul, 12/18/00, P11) reported that ROK and DPRK agreed on December 16 to press on with family reunions and to form an inter-Korean economic cooperation panel to discuss pending issues, including ROK electricity aid to the DPRK. In a joint statement, the two sides said they would establish an economic cooperation panel at an early date and hold the first working-level meeting in Pyongyang on December 26. The panel members, to be led by a vice-minister level official from each side, would discuss a set of issues ranging from the construction of an industrial complex in the DPRK to a build-up of rail and road links. The eleventh hour agreement at the fourth ministerial talks came after the two sides had hit an impasse over the request for electricity. The two sides agreed to hold a third round of family reunions in February 2001. The two sides also agreed to work on the DPRK's proposal to share its fishing zone near the border. Negotiators said in a statement that the fifth minister-level talks would be held in March 2001, with the venue to be decided later.

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2. ROK View of Four-Party Talks

Jiefang Daily ("KIM DAE-JUNG HOPES TO HOLD 'FOUR-PARTY TALKS' AT AN EARLY DATE," Seoul, 12/19/00, P4) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung expressed his hope to re-start the "Four-Party Talks" at an early date. He said that the ROK Government is making great efforts to facilitate the concerned parties to negotiate substantially on the peace mechanism on the Peninsula. Since the ROK-DPRK summit, Kim said, many positive factors occurred on the Peninsula, which have paved the way for the establishment of a peace mechanism. Based on this, he added, another round of "Four-Party Talks" will bring a more constructive outcome. He said that he hopes that the US Government can play an active role on the Peninsula. He also expressed his wish to have in-depth talks with the new US Administration on its DPRK policy during his visit to the US next March.

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3. PRC-US Relations

China Daily (Hu Qihua, "CHINA HOPES BUSH EXTENDS GOOD TIES," 12/16/00, P1) reported that during a meeting with former US Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger on December 15, PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan commented that the PRC believes that the US policy towards the PRC previously followed by the two major political parties will continue after George W. Bush assumes the presidency. Tang said that PRC-US relations are currently at an important juncture. "Developing relations with China is a common theme between Republicans and Democrats in the US. Administrations of each party all adhere to the one China policy," Tang was quoted as saying by a Foreign Ministry spokesperson. He noted, "We believe that after Bush's election as president, the US bipartisan China policy will continue." Stressing that the Taiwan question has always been the most important and sensitive question in PRC-US relations, he said that the US Government should honor its previous commitments. It should support the peaceful reunification of China, which is of vital importance to overall PRC-US relations and for stability in the Taiwan Straits, Tang added. Eagleberger said that the US-PRC relationship is now the key and most important of all its bilateral relations. He said that he would make every effort to improve and develop Sino-US relations.

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4. PRC View of New US President

People Daily ("JIANG CONGRATULATES BUSH ON VICTORY," 12/15/00, P1) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin sent a message of congratulations to George W. Bush on December 14 for his election as the US President. In the message, Jiang said that the PRC and the US shoulder important common responsibilities in many areas that bear heavily on social development and prosperity in the two countries. Jiang said that a stable and growing China-US relationship is not only in the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples, but also conducive to the maintenance and promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large. "During your presidency, I am ready to work together with you to promote the sound and stable development of China-US ties in the new century on the basis of the principles enshrined in the three Sino-US joint communiques," Jiang said.

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5. Japanese Development Aid to PRC

China Daily (Cui Ning, "SINO-JAPANESE CO-OP IN SCIENCE SECTOR BLOSSOMS," 12/14/00, P2) reported that Japan lent 27 billion Japanese yen (US$250 million) to Chongqing, the PRC's largest municipality, to improve its transport system. Sources from the Ministry of Science and Technology said that a traffic artery crossing the city from east to the west of Chongqing is expected to open in June 2004, which will boost its economic and social development. According to the Ministry's Department for International Cooperation, the project is just one of the cooperative programs between the PRC and Japan. The two countries boast 20 years of friendly cooperation in science and technology. Since 1980, the two countries have conducted more than 100 joint projects in areas such as information technology, biology, agriculture, the ecosystem, medicine, geology and astronomy.

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6. PRC-Japanese Relations

China Daily (Hu Qihua, "JIANG: TIES WITH JAPAN GROWING STRONGER," 12/13/00, P1) reported that Japan should think long and hard about China's War of Resistance against Japan (1937-1945), said Hatoyama Yukio, visiting head of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), when meeting PRC President Jiang Zemin. During the meeting on December 12, Yokio said that the war waged by Japan caused Chinese people pain, suffering and sacrifice, and noted that Japan should have the courage to face up to reality and history. To improve bilateral relations is the common responsibility of statesmen, especially the young generation of statesmen of the two nations, Jiang said, noting that the two sides should "draw lessons from history and look to the future." Highly valuing the frequent exchanges between the Chinese Communist Party and the major Japanese political parties, Jiang said that he hoped Japanese political parties and leaders can draw up a long-term plan on how to further cooperation in all fields.

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7. PRC Role in the UN

China Daily (Liang Chao, "CHINA, UN TO FORGE STRONGER TIES IN PROTECTION OF REFUGEES," 12/15/00, P2) reported that at the 50th anniversary commemorative reception of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees), PRC Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Yesui made a statement on December 14 that the PRC will continue to strengthen close ties with the UNHCR and make its best efforts to help settle the world's refugees. According to Colin G. Mitchell, the UNHCR regional representative for Beijing, the PRC is making a vital contribution to the safe return of refugees in East Timor through its Civilian Police Contingent. The PRC Government provided asylum and a safe future for Vietnamese refugees, an official statement released on December 14 by the UNHCR confirmed, adding that the organization is proud of its long and successful partnership with the PRC. Zhang said that this was a significant contribution to the resettlement of people fleeing racial, religious, territorial and other wars in the last five decades.

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8. PRC View of Conventional Weapons Ban

Xinhua News Agency ("NATION SUPPORTS WEAPONS BAN," Geneva, 12/11/00) reported that the PRC supports the international treaty that bans and restricts the use of inhumane conventional weapons and is encouraging more countries to accept it, Sha Zukang, a senior PRC disarmament official said on December 11 at the Second Annual Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects. Sha said, "The Chinese delegation has noted that, since the last annual conference, the number of countries that have acceded to the amended protocol has increased from 45 to 58. This shows that more and more countries attach importance to the protocol, which is the first international legal instrument to address this issue of humanitarian concern." However, Sha stressed, "Fifty-eight states are too few. Lack of universality will undercut the protocol's significance." He urged the states to follow the protocol in earnest. Sha announced that the PRC delegation is strongly opposed to any proposal for further amending the protocol at present. However, he said, states could, on a voluntary basis, take the lead in implementing technical specifications as outlined in the proposed amendments and provide technical assistance, equipment and training to developing countries. On the humanitarian removal of land mines, Sha said that the PRC Government is continuing to cooperate with the Mine Action Service of the UN Department of Peace-Keeping Operations.

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