NAPSNet Daily Report
tuesday, april 17, 2001

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. US-PRC Talks

The Associated Press (Martin Fackler, "US TEAM ARRIVES IN CHINA FOR TALKS," Beijing, 4/17/01) reported that US negotiators arrived Tuesday for talks aimed at winning the return of a spy plane held by the PRC after a collision with a PRC fighter jet. The US Embassy said that six of the eight members of the US delegation are military officers or Defense Department officials. The head of the delegation, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Peter F. Verga, declined to give specifics of the US agenda for talks. The team includes an expert on the EP-3E and Army Brigadier General Neal Sealock, the US Embassy military attache. PRC ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said that the PRC delegation will be led by Lu Shimin, director general of the Foreign Ministry's North American and Oceanic Affairs Department. She said that military officials would also be in the delegation, but provided no details.

The Wall Street Journal (Greg Jaffe and Peter Wonacott, "US PLANS TO DEMAND THAT CHINA MANEUVER ITS PLANES AT DISTANCE," 4/16/01) reported that US officials acknowledged that only a handful of PRC pilots from one air base seem to be using dangerous interception tactics regarding US surveillance flights. US defense officials said that the delegation of US officials who will meet on April 18 with PRC officials in Beijing will tell the PRC that most intercepts of US surveillance planes patrolling the PRC coast are conducted professionally. By stating that dangerous tactics are the exception rather than the rule, US officials may be able to give the PRC some room to reach an agreement with the US over how such intercepts will be conducted in the future. A senior defense official said, "We're going to assert that they have every right to conduct the intercepts as long as they do them in a safe manner." In particular, defense officials said that intercepts of US surveillance flights along northern coastal regions of the PRC are conducted in an acceptable manner and that it is only the flights in the south, which draw fighter jets from a different air base, that have become perilous. The US delegation will not try to establish any written rules for intercepting flights, largely because US officials do not believe that they can get such an agreement without making some concessions. One US official said, "We're going to say to the Chinese here is what happened; here is what we are permitted to do in international air space and over international waters, and here is what we expect from them in the future. The feeling is that if you get into a negotiation with the Chinese they will try to restrict us." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 17, 2001.]

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2. US Surveillance Flights

The New York Times (David E. Sanger, "BUSH TO TACKLE DELICATE ISSUE OF RESUMING CHINA SPY FLIGHTS," Washington, 4/17/01) reported that the White House said on Monday that US President George W. Bush would personally decide when to resume reconnaissance flights along the PRC coast and whether the planes, which have previously flown unescorted, should be protected by US fighter aircraft. Aides said that Bush is not likely to come to any conclusions until after US military officials meet with PRC officials in Beijing on April 18. US Defense Department officials said that it will probably be too risky to send the slow- moving EP-3E's with a fighter escort. Moreover, US military officials warn that sending an escort along could result in a clash, even an inadvertent one, with PRC fighters chasing the reconnaissance plane. However, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said no decision had been made. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 17, 2001.]

Reuters ("NO PLANS TO PUT U.S. CARRIER OFF CHINA, SAY OFFICIALS," Washington, 4/17/01) reported that a US aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk was sailing away from the PRC in the western Pacific on Monday and defense officials said that there were no plans to move it where it could launch fighter jets to protect reconnaissance flights off the PRC coast. US defense officials said that the Kitty Hawk, which recently made a port visit in Thailand, had already bypassed the South China Sea on Monday and was headed eastward away from the Philippines toward the area around Guam for a previously scheduled air defense exercise. One of the defense officials stated, "I know of nobody who is considering sending her (the Kitty Hawk) into the South China Sea to do anything." Another official added that it would be "very impractical" to station the carrier, which is based in Yokosuka, Japan, east of the Philippines and use its fighters to protect any future reconnaissance flights from the PRC.

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3. US Arms Sales to Taiwan

Agence France Presse ("BUSH NOT YET DECIDED ON TAIWAN ARMS SALES, SAYS SPOKESMAN," Washington, 4/17/01) reported that US President George W. Bush's spokesman said Monday that he has not yet decided whether to offer ships with Aegis anti-missile radars to Taiwan. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the president "has made no determination at this time. There is no hard and fast deadline for when the decision will be made." Administration officials say that Bush's decision will be made only with Taiwan's defense needs in mind, and will not be influenced by the spy plane crisis.

The Wall Street Journal (Jason Dean and Erik Guyot, "TAIPEI APPEARS AMBIVALENT ABOUT AEGIS DEFENSE SYSTEM," Taipei, 4/17/01) reported that analysts and officials in Taiwan are showing ambivalence about the Aegis defense system. While backing for the Aegis remains strong among many of Taiwan's advocates, others in and out of government are playing down its significance among a long list of weapons Taiwan has asked the US for this year. Philip Yang, a regional security specialist at National Taiwan University, said that the sale of Aegis-equipped ships "will probably make cross-strait relations more difficult and further complicate the U.S.-China relationship, which will not be good for us." Some analysts and policymakers in Taiwan suggested that the benefits of winning the Aegis this year may not be worth the considerable costs - in terms of both dollars and the likely impact on regional stability. In an interview published on April 13, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Tien Hung-mao gave the clearest sign yet that at least some in Taiwan's government would be willing to accept an arms package that did not include Aegis. On Monday, a Taiwanese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that Tien's comments in the interview were intended for background and were not meant to be published. However, the spokeswoman also said that, although the decision on which weapons to request rests with the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, the foreign minister did hope to de- emphasize the Aegis, which he thinks some observers have focused on too narrowly. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 17, 2001.]

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4. US Policy toward Taiwan

The Chicago Tribune published an editorial ("CREATIVE AMBIGUITY OVER TAIWAN," 4/16/01) which said that the confrontation between the US and the PRC over the US surveillance plane was a "jarring" introduction to Sino-US relations for the US President George W. Bush administration. The editorial wrote that the spy plane episode could be seen as a scaled-down version of the central issue of Taiwan, with the US and the PRC "pitted against each other in a showdown that could lead to military conflict--and both looking for a way to protect what they see as their fundamental interests without coming to blows." Fortunately, each has an interest not in altering the current status of Taiwan but in preserving it. The editorial added that selling Taiwan the Aegis anti- missile system and other advanced equipment "would do little to improve Taiwan's security, since China could be expected to respond by building enough missiles to overwhelm any defense." It quoted Harvard scholar Robert Ross as saying that Taiwan's security ultimately depends primarily on the US commitment to assist it in a crisis. Ross stated, "Our credibility on that issue is better than it has been since the 1960s. Domestic support for Taiwan is greater, and domestic opposition to China is greater." Therefore, the editorial concluded, while US President George W. Bush needs to support Taiwan, it also needs "to make it clear that the US will not countenance any step by Taiwan to upset the status quo by moving toward independence." It added, "China is prepared to live with a Taiwan that is independent in practice as long as it doesn't make that status explicit. And the U.S. has no reason to demand more. Through creative ambiguity, the three interested parties have maintained both peace and the island's autonomy for more than 50 years. With a little imagination and restraint, they should be able to keep doing so indefinitely. As Bush should realize, it's vital that they succeed." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 17, 2001.]

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5. US-PRC Relations

The New York Times published an opinion article by Thomas L. Friedman ("FOREIGN AFFAIRS: MYTH-MATCHED NATIONS," 4/17/01) which said that as much as the US likes to assume that a democratic PRC would be pro-US, that could be a huge illusion. Friedman wrote, "A more democratic China is likely to be a more nationalistic China. The notion that all Chinese are building replicas of the Statue of Liberty in their basements is not the case." That notion, he continued, misses the "deep well of popular nationalism among Chinese," many of whom believe that the US is a hegemonic power that is trying to block the growth of the PRC. He continued that the notion also discounts the degree of public support that the PRC still has because of the stability and prosperity it has brought to a generation of Chinese who grew up during the instability of Mao's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. He added that the spy-plane affair is shocking because the government had to dampen resentment of the US, not stoke it. Therefore, Friedman wrote, US must read the message carefully and develop a public information strategy to persuade the PRC public that the US is not out to keep them down, but only to ensure that as the PRC moves into the world system it does so by the rules. The biggest mistake that the US could make would be "to believe our own myths - that as soon as China becomes a democracy it will embrace America." He added that the biggest mistake that PRC leaders could make is "to believe their own myths - that China represents such a big, lucrative market the US will always bend their way." In the end, Friedman said, there will be a reaction to the spy- plane incident, but "it should be a restrained one, because it's in our interest to keep engaging with China. But there are red lines of international law that China has crossed, and the US-China relationship can't be sustained without maintaining both the bridges and the red lines." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for April 17, 2001.]

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6. PRC in WTO

Agence France Presse ("US, CHINA HAVE REACHED WTO ADMISSION ACCORD," Berlin, 4/17/01) reported that the German daily Handelsblatt said on Tuesday that the US and the PRC have reached agreement on PRC admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO), but did not announce the accord because of the EP-3 spy plane standoff. The paper said that both sides agreed on issues concerning PRC agricultural subsidies. It added that the information had been confirmed by a spokesman for the US-China Business Council (USCBC) in Washington.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. ROK View on DPRK

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "U.S.-N.K. RELATIONS KEY TO KIM J.I.'S VISIT TO SEOUL: KIM DJ," Seoul, 04/17/01) reported that ROK President Kim Dae-jung said that relations between the DPRK and the US rate as a key factor in the certainty of DPRK leader Kim Jong-il's plan to visit the ROK. "We believe he will visit Seoul within this year. But the variable is North Korea-U.S. relations, and that remains uncertain," Kim said in a recent interview with Newsweek magazine. "If the United States and North Korea resume talks and begin negotiations on missiles and other issues, Kim Jong-il's visit will be more certain," the President added. Kim said that his government believes that future inter-Korean relations will depend "very much" on how the US sets its DPRK policy and how its relations with the DPRK develop. The President also said that the DPRK has to open up in order to get cooperation from the US or the ROK. "They are a difficult partner to have dialogue with but the North's economic situation forces them to talk to us," Kim said.

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2. DPRK-Russia Nuclear Waste Deal

The Korea Herald ("RUSSIA SEEKING CONTRACT WITH N.K. ON NUCLEAR WASTE," Seoul, 04/17/01) reported that Russia is reportedly seeking to make contracts on the reprocessing of nuclear waste with the DPRK and other countries to finance its long-term plan for the construction of nuclear reactors. A report recently posted on a web site of the ROK National Intelligence Service (NIS) said that other countries that Russia intended to make deals with included Japan, the PRC, India, Iran, Taiwan and Switzerland. "The Russian plan aims to get US$1.9 billion for construction of five nuclear reactors," the report added. "Russia seems to have drawn up the plan to secure a stable system of electricity supply for its recently recovering economy."

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3. US Policy towards DPRK

The Korea Herald (Oh Young-jin, "BUSH GOV'T IN FINAL STAGE OF N. KOREA POLICY REVIEW," Seoul, 04/17/01) reported that a senior ROK government official said Monday that the US administration, led by President George W. Bush, is in the final stage of forming its policy toward the DPRK. "I believe that one mission for U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on his May visit to Korea is to listen to what Seoul has to say and fine- tune North Korea policy with South Korean policymakers," the official said on condition of anonymity. "We believe, therefore, that Secretary Powell's visit could mean that the conclusion of the review on North Korea policy will be faster than expected," he said. However, when asked whether a US overture for the resumption of missile talks would follow the Bush administration's review, the official declined to elaborate. The ROK has believed that the US might take at least six months before it finishes its diplomatic policy review and finalizes its strategy.

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4. DPRK To Hold Conference in US

The Korea Times ("NK CONFERENCE TO OPEN IN TEXAS," Seoul, 04/16/01) reported that former US president George Bush, ex-defense secretary William Perry and the current ROK ambassador to the US will attend a major DPRK conference, which opened in the US Monday. The conference, titled "North Korea: Engagement or Confrontation," was to be held at Texas A&M University through Tuesday. Co-hosted by the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, the conference coincides with the school's "Korea Week" celebration of Korean culture. One official dispatched from the ROK's Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry, Kim Young-won, was to give a presentation on the ROK government's stance regarding inter-Korean and DPRK-US relations.

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5. DPRK Festival

Chosun Ilbo (Kim In-ku, "NORTH KOREA'S 'GREAT SUN FESTIVAL' ENDS," Seoul, 04/16/01) and Joongang Ilbo ("CHAIRMAN KIM VISITS MILITARY UNITS ON CELEBRATION DAY," Seoul, 04/16/01) reported that the DPRK's fifteen- day "Great Sun Festival" celebrating the birth date of founder Kim Il- sung officially ended on April 15, though some programs were to continue until April 18. According to the ROK Ministry of Unification, some 39 events were held during the period, similar to previous years, but the focus seemed to shift to a more international flavor than in the past. People from 46 countries participated in the "Spring of April Friendly Art Performances," while runners from 20 nations took part in the Pyongyang International Marathon. The preparation committee for the festival increased by 10 to 45 people. Chairman of the National Defense Commission Kim Jong-il visited military unit 2629 and the fishing ground of unit 580 for an on-site inspection on Sunday April 15, the 89th birthday of Kim Il-sung.

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6. ROK Policy towards DPRK

Joongang Ilbo ("SEOUL WILL REMAIN PATIENT, SAYS LIM," Seoul, 04/17/01) reported that, regarding the suspension of the fifth inter-Korea Cabinet meeting last month, ROK Unification Minister Lim Dong-won said that the ROK government would remain patient with the DPRK. In his report to the National Assembly, Lim said regarding the Kyongui Line project, "The construction process made a temporary halt due to the bitter winter season. However it's springtime and yet there's no sign of anyone returning back to the work. Likewise for the construction in demilitarized zone." "No specific detail has been yet given North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's state visit to Seoul as well," said Lim. "However the Seoul government means to handle the situation in a more calm manner."

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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
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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