NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, december 22, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea II. Japan

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PLEASE NOTE: There will be no Daily Report issued from Monday, December 25, to Monday, January 1, as the Nautilus office will be closed for the holidays. The Daily Report will return on Tuesday, January 2, 2001.

I. United States

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1. Clinton Visit to DPRK

The Los Angeles Times published an editorial ("DON'T PLAY NORTH KOREA'S GAME," 12/21/00) which said that a US presidential trip to the DPRK would be an enormous propaganda coup for DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, and that it is no surprise that Kim has made it a condition for reaching a missile agreement. The report said, "It's time for the United States to stop being a player in this game of political extortion. Clinton should pass up the chance to become the first American president to journey to Pyongyang and leave to the incoming Bush administration the task of dealing with North Korea." The editor noted that US diplomats still do not know how seriously to take the DPRK's willingness to end missile development if the United States and other countries provide it with free satellite launching services. It said, "There has been no sign that North Korea would accept such terms." Despite the DPRK's gestures in other areas, "it has significantly failed to follow through with any tangible steps to otherwise reduce tensions, refusing, for example, to thin out its massive concentration of troops and weapons along the demilitarized zone separating the two countries." It added that domestically, it has done nothing to improve its human rights record, and even though the DPRK may be eager to be accepted into the community of nations, "it is far from ready to be legitimized by a visit from an American president." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for December 22, 2000.]

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2. ROK-DPRK Talks

BBC World Service ("KOREAS END LATEST TRANSPORT LINK TALKS," 12/21/00) reported that military officials from the DPRK and the ROK have ended their latest round of talks on reopening transport links. Reports say the two sides exchanged revised draft accords in Panmunjom detailing contingency plans for averting a possible border clash by troops in the demilitarized zone during the construction phase of the proposed road and rail links. A further meeting was proposed for next week. The first stage of construction will be the removal of thousands of land mines from the demilitarized zone.

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3. Nongunri Incident

The Associated Press ("NO FORMAL APOLOGY BY THE U.S. FOR KOREAN WAR CIVILIAN DEATHS," Washington, 12/21/00) and Agence France Presse ("PENTAGON REPORT ON NO GUN RI TO BE COMPLETED IN JANUARY," Washington, 12/22/00) reported that three senior US administration officials said that the US has decided not to issue a formal apology to the ROK for the US Army's role in the shooting of civilians at Nogunri, nor will it offer financial compensation to the survivors or families of the victims. However, the officials said, the administration is considering putting up a monument--presumably in the ROK--in honor of all civilians killed in the Korean war and establishing a scholarship fund in memory of the Nogunri victims. On December 21, US Defense Department spokesman Kenneth H. Bacon said that it was too early to say what actions the administration would take in response to the findings of the recently completed army investigation. He noted that US Defense Department officials were meeting with an ROK government delegation that day. Later, an administration official said that the meeting ended with "broad agreement" on "follow-on measures" to be taken by the US and the ROK in response to the investigation's findings. He said the findings and the US measures in response will probably be announced in early January. [Ed. note: The Associated Press article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for December 22, 2000.]

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Clinton's Visit to DPRK

The Korean Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "UNCERTAINTY OVER OUTCOME MAKES CLINTON HESITANT ON N. KOREA VISIT," 12/23/00) reported that an ROK official said on Friday that US President Bill Clinton remains undecided about his visit to the DPRK as the DPRK has yet to show a willingness to accept US demands. US officials indicated that Clinton's decision will be delayed until next week. A source said, "If he fails to make up his mind before the Christmas holidays, chances are very slim that he will go to Pyongyang before he ends his presidency January 20." The source said the uncertainty over whether he will be able to return home with a DPRK agreement to freeze its missile program has made Clinton hesitant about his trip. Some ROK officials pointed to the ongoing talks between Israel and Palestine in the US to produce a peace agreement in the Middle East as a possible reason for Clinton's hesitance. An ROK official said, "Their final efforts to reach an agreement will make it more difficult for Clinton to leave for the North, given Washington has placed its top foreign policy priority on the Middle East issue."

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2. Landmines in ROK

The Korean Herald (Kang Seok-jae, "ARMY TO CLEAR THOUSANDS OF LANDMINES PLANTED IN REAR AREAS NEXT YEAR," 12/23/00) reported that the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said on Friday that the ROK Army will clear some 1,700 antipersonnel landmines presumed to have been laid in and around a former US missile base at Hadong County, South Kyongsang Province, starting next spring. The official said, "The former U.S. missile base, which moved to the front area decades ago, is one of the five areas where we plan to remove about 10,000 antipersonnel landmines laid in the rear areas south of the Han River next year." In a report to the ROK National Assembly, the ROK Defense Ministry said that as of June there were an estimated 1.2 million landmines planted in the ROK. Of the total, it said some 1.05 million mines, including about 400,000 antipersonnel mines, are thought to have been buried in the 4 km-wide Demilitarized Zone.

II. Japan

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1. Japanese-DPRK Relations

The Sankei Shimbun ("DPRK CALLS JAPAN ENEMY," 12/19/2000) reported that the DPRK's state-run Central News Agency criticized Japan as the DPRK's enemy on December 19. The news agency published a paper titled "The 20 Century Accuses Japan." In the paper, the DPRK termed Japan as a war-crime nation.

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2. DPRK Population

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("DPRK POPULATION WAS 22,350,000 IN 1997," Seoul, 12/17/2000) reported that according to the Japanese-based pro-DPRK News Agency on December 16, this year's DPRK Yearbook estimated the DPRK's population in 1997 to be 22,350,000. The report said that the figure increased by 241,000 from the 1996 estimate.

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3. DPRK Defectors

The Asahi Shimbun ("DPRK DEFECTORS EXCEED 300 FOR FIRST TIME," 12/22/2000) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry revealed on December 21 that DPRK defectors to the ROK exceeded 300 this year for the very first time in history. The ministry said that the last year marked 148, exceeding 100 for the first time, but this year the numbers have reached 303. The ministry stated, "More families (rather than individuals) defected, and information exchange among the defectors increased in third countries." The report said that at the end of November, the number was 273, but for the last week it rose to 303. As for the occupation of the 273 defectors, 136 of them are general workers and farmers, 100 are students, jobless, or others, 21 are overseas-stationed diplomats and businessmen, and 3 are military-related personnel, said the report.

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4. Japanese-Russian Relations

The Daily Yomiuri ("KONO RULES OUT PACT WITH RUSSIA BEFORE YEAR-END," 12/21/2000) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono formally announced on December 19 that the Japanese government has given up hope of concluding a peace treaty with Russia before the end of the year. Kono, however, confirmed that negotiations between the two countries over various issues, including a dispute over the Russian-held northern territories, would be carried over to the next century, despite expectations for a resolution of the issues that grew in the 1990s during the administration of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Kono told reporters after a regular Cabinet meeting that the government is pressing Russia to set a new time limit to replace the one that was set in a 1997 agreement between Yeltsin and former Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, which states that the two governments should try to resolve territorial disputes and conclude a peace treaty by the end of 2000. The report said, however, that according to Japanese governmental sources, Russia is reluctant to set another time limit. Kono stated, "I had hoped very much to visit Russia this year, but the two governments failed to work out a schedule agreeable to both parties. In the end, we agreed that I will visit Russia on January 16 and 17."

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5. Japanese Development Aid to PRC

The Japan Times ("SWITCH CHINA'S ODA TERMS TO PROJECTS BASIS, PANEL URGES," 12/19/2000) reported that a Foreign Ministry advisory panel, led by Isamu Miyazaki, a special counselor at the Daiwa Institute of Research and former director general of the Economic Planning Agency, concluded that Japan should start providing official development assistance to the PRC on a project basis and terminate its habit of multiyear disbursement programs. The panel's report, submitted to Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, suggested that the amount of official development aid (ODA) to the PRC could be reduced in light of severe fiscal conditions. Japan has been giving the PRC approximately 200 billion yen annually through bilateral agreements brokered every few years. In the latest program, which covers fiscal 1999 and 2000, Japan has promised a total of 390 billion yen, said the report. ODA programs for the PRC began in 1979, and Japan's cumulative contributions totaled 2.68 trillion yen as of the end of March 2000. The article also said that calls in Japan have been growing to review ODA policy toward the PRC amid the country's rapid economic growth and steep increases in military spending. Miyazaki said that ODA for the PRC is still necessary, despite such criticism. The panel also said that providing economic support to the PRC would help engage it internationally, which will lead to peace and security in East Asia. The panel's report emphasizes that the focus of Japan's economic aid to the PRC should shift from infrastructure development on the east coast to "social development projects," including human resource development, environmental protection and cultural and youth exchanges and that Japanese aid should also be used to narrow the gap between the PRC's poor inland regions and rich eastern coastal areas. The article added that last week, a project team from the ruling coalition agreed to cut the ODA budget for next fiscal year by up to 3 percent and also suggested a reduction in PRC-bound ODA. It added that after considering the panel's report and the recommendation of the ruling parties, the Foreign Ministry would map out an ODA project plan for the PRC in March for the next fiscal year.

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6. Japanese Defense Policy

The Japan Times ("25 TRILLION YEN BUDGETED FOR SDF EXPENDITURES DISASTER UNIT, NEW ARMS IN FIVE-YEAR PLAN," 12/16/2000) reported that the Japanese government's Security Council on December 15 approved a new five-year procurement plan for the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) totaling 25.16 trillion yen. The proposed defense outlay, which covers fiscal 2001 through fiscal 2005, shows an increase of 930 billion yen over the current five-year program, with an average annual growth rate of 0.7 percent. The program, prepared by the Japanese Defense Agency (JDA), earmarks 4 trillion yen for the acquisition of big-ticket weapons on roughly the same scale as the current plan. Among other features, the program calls for the establishment of a special unit within the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) to deal with guerrilla attacks, strengthening JSDF's capacity to cope with natural disasters, and upgrading information technology systems and control-and-command systems in the JSDF. For disaster-relief operations, the program calls for formation of a 2,700-member quick-response force. Major equipment outlays include the acquisition of four aerial tankers, two 13,500-ton class helicopter-carrying warships, and two destroyers equipped with the Aegis battle control system. In addition, the plan allows for acquisition of 10 helicopter gunships equipped with night-vision capabilities and two helicopters for cargo transport and mine-sweeping operations. Research projects planned for the next five years include development of a new generation of aircraft to replace the P-3C antisubmarine patrol plane and the C-1 cargo plane, and a new battle tank with advanced command- and-control capabilities. The defense plan is subject to review after three years to take into account any future changes in the international scene or the nation's fiscal situation. The projected five-year defense outlay includes a 150 billion yen reserve fund for natural disaster-relief operations subject to approval by the Security Council. The plan also supports efforts to restructure and streamline JSDF in accordance with the government's overall defense policy and provides for the introduction of a public recruitment system for JSDF reservists. JDA said restructuring would trim the size of the GSDF to 156,000 service members by the end of the five-year program. For the Japanese Maritime Self- Defense Force, JDA plans to take one MSDF destroyer group out of commission, while the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force would also pare down the Western Air Defense Force and the Southwestern Composite Air Division. The defense plan also mentions the need to improve JSDF capacity to deal with possible attacks involving nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, the importance of promoting exchanges with nonprofit organizations, and continuing cooperation with the US to develop a theater missile defense system.

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7. US View of Japanese Future

The Daily Yomiuri (Michio Hayashi, "US PREDICTS JAPAN MAY LOSE TOP 3 STATUS BY 2015") reported that according to a report "Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts", released by US Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet on December 18, by 2015 Japan may have difficulty maintaining its status as the third-largest economy in the world after the US and the European Union. The report was jointly compiled by the US National Intelligence Council, a US government body that supervises all domestic intelligence institutions, and private-sector experts specializing in international issues. The report says, "Over the next 15 years, the international system will have to adjust to changing power relationships in key regions." Specifically, the report stresses that attention needs to be paid to issues, including the PRC's and India's increasing economic and military potential, Russia's decline, and Japan's uncertain future. Regarding Japan's economy, the report implies that the nation may be outpaced by the PRC in gross domestic product. The report says, "Although Japan's economic performance in the next 15 years will be stronger than that of the 1990s, its relative importance in the global economy will decrease." The report attributes the nation's predicted decline to demographic changes, specifically the aging of the population and a shortage of workers. The Yomiuri article pointed out, however, that the report does not paint a rosy picture of PRC's future either, saying, "If the country's economic expansion policy is pushed forward under the current political order, the legitimacy of the Communist Party's administration will be weakened. The privatization of state-run corporations and the modernization of the financial system will not happen quickly. Regional gaps will widen as a result of water shortages and persistent poverty in the western regions."

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

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