NAPSNet Daily Report
monday, june 25, 2001

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. US-ROK Talks

The Korea Times (Kim Kwang-tae, "SEOUL SET TO TAKE UP CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS ISSUE AFTER KIM'S RETURN," 6/25/01) reported that ROK Defense Minister Kim Dong-shin returned to the ROK on June 24 after winding up his weeklong trip to the US. Kim's trip to the US is seen by many in the ROK as meaningful in that it has paved the way for an agreement between the ROK and the US in resolving the issue of the DPRK's conventional weapons. During talks with Cheney and Rumsfeld, Kim explained the importance of the ROK initiative in resolving the matter as the Basic Agreement suggests a step-by-step approach, ranging from the building of military confidence to arms reduction and the establishment of a peace regime. Based on the agreement, Kim said, the ROK and the US could map out a joint strategy for talks with the DPRK through consultations. Cheney and Rumsfeld expressed their agreement with Kim's proposal. Given these developments, the Bush administration is believed to have accommodated the ROK government's "division of roles," under which the US government will settle the missile issue, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will deal with the nuclear situation and the ROK will focus on conventional weapons. An ROK Defense Ministry official said, "The Bush administration's focus on the conventional weapons issue has not changed. The U.S. bought Kim's proposal because it came at a time when Washington was struggling to find a method of reducing the conventional arms threat from the North after fixing the issue on the agenda for future talks with Pyongyang." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for June 25, 2001.]

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2. ROK-DPRK Naval Incident

The New York Times ("NORTH AND SOUTH KOREAN VESSELS CLASH AT SEA," Seoul, 6/25/01) and the Associated Press (Jae-suk Yoo, "WARNING SHOTS FIRED AT N. KOREA VESSEL," Seoul, 6/24/01) reported that the ROK government said that two ROK navy gunboats fired nine warning shots at a DPRK fishing vessel that briefly violated the ROK's western sea border early June 24. The episode was the most serious since skirmishes in the same area two years ago that culminated in the ROK Navy sinking a DPRK Navy torpedo boat. [Ed. note: The New York Times article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for June 25, 2001.]

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3. US-Japan Security Talks

The Daily Yominuri (Gaku Shibata, "JAPAN-U.S. TALKS SET ON DIPLOMACY, SECURITY," 6/25/01) reported that senior officials from Japan and the US will discuss diplomatic and security issues at two separate meetings. The format and schedule of the proposed talks will be decided upon at the June 30 summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and US President George W. Bush. Talks between the two nations on diplomatic and security issues reportedly have been divided into two separate meetings because the Japanese Foreign Ministry wishes to discuss international issues other than security issues at the vice-ministerial level meetings. Sources said that US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Japanese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Ryozo Kato will be the central figures at the proposed meeting on diplomatic issues. Meanwhile, a separate meeting on security and defense cooperation will be held between the vice ministers and bureau chiefs of the Japanese Foreign Ministry and Defense Agency and the US State Department and Defense Department. Vice-ministerial level talks likely will be agreed upon at the June 30 summit to cover four different areas--security, foreign affairs, economy and trade and global issues.

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4. Spratly Islands Dispute

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, "CHINESE NAVY DEPLOYS WARSHIPS TO DISPUTED SPRATLY ISLAND CHAIN," 6/25/01) reported that PRC military forces are stepping up naval activity at in the South China Sea near the Philippines with the deployment of more than a dozen warships over the past several weeks. According to classified intelligence reports sent to US officials last week, some 12 PRC ships were spotted in the Spratly island chain in the South China Sea. US intelligence believes that the PRC is following the same pattern used in occupying Mischief Reef. First, fishing vessels are sent to the area, and later warships are deployed. An unnamed Asian diplomat said that the PRC military's South China Sea forces have a reputation for being among the most aggressive in the PRC military and are pushing to expand PRC power in the region. [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for June 25, 2001.]

Agence France Presse ("CHINESE WARSHIPS IN SPRATLYS ARE 'MAJOR DEVELOPMENT', PHILIPPINE OFFICIAL SAYS," Manila, 6/25/01) reported that the Philippine government Monday was checking reports that the PRC had deployed warships near the disputed Spratly islands chain. Philippine President Gloria Arroyo's spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao did not rule out that a diplomatic protest could be filed. Tiglao said, "If that report is true, it's a major development. (It would be) a major disturbance to the implicit agreement that we maintain that we don't disturb the status quo of the Spratlys." Tiglao would not directly answer whether the Philippines would lodge an official protest, saying the report from the Washington Times still had to be verified.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. ROK-US Talks

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Hee-sung, "SEOUL TO TAKE INITIATIVE ON NK CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS," Seoul, 06/22/01) reported that ROK Defense Minister Kim Dong Shin and his US counterpart Donald Rumsfeld agreed Thursday (ROK time) that the ROK should take the initiative in negotiations with the DPRK on the reduction of conventional weapons. Kim met with Rumsfeld at the Pentagon to discuss a wide range of issues dealing with the DPRK. Both urged the DPRK to confidence-building steps on the issue of conventional forces based on the spirit of the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement signed in 1992. The US Secretary of Defense expressed his support for the ROK's engagement policy toward the DPRK and hoped for an early opening of inter-Korean defense ministerial talks. Agreements were made by the two to draw up future plans for conventional arms reduction and the need for continued US troop presence for peace and stability in the peninsula.

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2. DPRK-ROK Naval Incident

The Korea Herald (Kang Seok-jae, "NAVY FIRES WARNING SHOTS AT INTRUDING N.K. FISHING BOAT," Seoul, 06/25/01) reported that the ROK Navy ships fired warning shots Saturday at a DPRK fishing boat which intruded into ROK waters off Baengnyeong Island in the West Sea, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. The DPRK boat was driven back to the northern side of the West Sea Northern Limit Line (NLL) after staying two and a half hours on the southern side of the NLL, the JCS said. "Our Navy spotted the nine-ton North Korean fishing boat with five fishermen aboard crossing into the southern part of the NLL about 4.5 miles northwest of Baengnyeong Island around 2:50 a.m.," said a spokesman for the JCS. The spokesman said that the Navy immediately dispatched two patrol boats to the scene and attempted to inspect the fishing boat while continuously sending warning signals. "But the North Korean fishermen, wielding torches and sticks, rejected our repeated orders to stop for an inspection, prompting our patrol boats to fire nine warning shots," he said. After receiving the warning shots, the spokesman said, the DPRK ship headed to the north around 5:27 a.m. The DPRK made no military moves during the incident, he said.

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3. DPRK-Turkey Relations

The Korea Herald ("NORTH KOREA, TURKEY TO ESTABLISH TIES WEDNESDAY," Seoul, 06/25/01) reported that the DPRK and Turkey will establish official ties Wednesday, ROK officials said Saturday. Turkey will be the 12th country that the DPRK has set up full diplomatic relations with this year. The DPRK and Turkey exchanged a memorandum of understanding on the opening of official ties last January. "Our government has already informed Turkey that we welcome the decision," an official said. "We hope that opening of the North Korea-Turkey ties will not only improve their bilateral relations but also contribute to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula through inter- Korean cooperation and exchanges," said the official, who asked that his name not be used. He said that the DPRK and Turkey are unlikely to appoint resident ambassadors to each other's capital.

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4. DPRK Food Distribution

Joongang Ilbo (Kim Hee-sung, "N.K. PROHIBIT INTERNATIONAL FOOD AID TO PROTESTING REGIONS," Seoul, 06/24/01) reported that the DPRK government has been denying food supplies to regions that held anti- government demonstrations and riots, according to the Hong Kong based South China Morning Post on Friday June 22, which quoted DPRK defectors hiding in the PRC. Action Contre le Faim, one of the non-governmental humanitarian groups from France that had withdrawn from the DPRK, revealed that DPRK authorities officially divided its people into two categories--the useful and the non-useful--and have forbid food aid to those they deem unworthy. The newspaper also cited Kathi Zellwiger of the Catholic NGO aid group Caritas as saying that the people in East Sea regions have especially been ignored by the authorities in distribution of food aid, which is the reason for the NGO groups to put in more efforts.

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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

Gee Gee Wong:
Berkeley, California, United States

Timothy L. Savage:
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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