The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Monday, February 24, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan IV. Text of Albright-Yoo Joint Press Conference

I. United States

1. DPRK To Attend Four-Party Talks Briefing

The Associated Press ("N. KOREA TO JOIN PEACE TALKS," Seoul, 2/21/97) and Reuters ("N.KOREA TO ATTEND BRIEFING ON PEACE TALKS," Seoul, 2/21/97) reported that on Friday the DPRK agreed to attend a joint US-ROK briefing on the four-party peace talks proposal. The DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency, quoting an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that the briefing session is scheduled to take place March 5 in New York. According to officials in Seoul, the delegations to the briefing will be led by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charles Kartman, ROK Assistant Foreign Minister Song Young-shik, and DPRK Assistant Foreign Minister Kim Kye-kwan. Attendance of the briefing would mark the first time DPRK officials have sat down for direct negotiations with ROK officials. The briefing is intended to explain to the DPRK the four-party Korean peace talks proposal first put forward by US President Bill Clinton and ROK President Kim Young-sam in April, 1996. The peace talks, aimed at achieving a permanent peace treaty to replace the armistice that ended the 1950-1953 Korean War, would be attended by the DPRK, the ROK, the US, and the PRC. The DPRK's agreement to attend the briefing came after the US and the ROK announced earlier in the week that they would provide a combined US$16 million in food aid. The DPRK previously backed out of an agreement to attend the briefing in January after negotiations for a grain purchase by the DPRK from the US grain distributor Cargill Inc. broke down. The DPRK's decision to attend the briefing now is seen as particularly promising, coming amidst the recent strains generated by the apparent defection of DPRK ideologue Hwang Jang-yop to the ROK embassy in Beijing.

2. KEDO Survey Team Set to Visit DPRK

The Korean Peninsula Energy Organization (KEDO) on February 24 issued a press release ("KEDO TO SEND SEVENTH SITE SURVEY TEAM TO THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA") stating the following: "The Korean Peninsula Energy Organization (KEDO) will send a seventh site survey team to the Kumho area near Sinpo city, South Hamgyong Province, Democratic People's Republic Of Korea (DPRK) on Saturday, March 1, 1997. The purpose of the seventh site survey, which will last approximately five months, is to perform a detailed geological investigation and detailed surveys of the site boundaries in connection with the light-water reactor project through which KEDO will supply two nuclear reactors to the DPRK. Members of the seventh site survey team, which will be comprised of persons from South Korea, Japan and the United States, will rotate during the survey, depending on their expertise. Approximately 30 persons will arrive in Pyongyang on March 1st." [Ed. note: See also the related item in the ROK section, below.]

3. US Secretary of State Visit to ROK

[Ed. note: The full text of the February 22 Press Conference by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and ROK Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha is included as Section IV of today's Daily Report.]

The Associated Press ("ALBRIGHT MULLS KOREA PEACE," Seoul, 2/22/97) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said during her visit to the ROK that peace on the Korean peninsula could depend on how much food shortages put pressure on the DPRK government to compromise. Speaking to troops on Saturday in the commissary at Camp Bonifas, near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Korean states, Albright said how far peace talks go "basically depends on how much the North Koreans are hurting and whether they are willing to realize that a peaceful solution to this division is the best way to go." "We have to look forward into the 21st century and think about a time when we will all be partners together in creating a more peaceful, stable world," Albright told the soldiers. "Here, you actually do still see a divided world between those who are free and those who are forced to live under a communist dictatorship," she added. Albright wore a baseball cap with "United Nations Command" and, in smaller letters, "Albright," printed on the front, and used naval glasses to examine DPRK soldiers on the other side of the DMZ. Also on Saturday, Albright and ROK foreign minister Yoo Chong-ha held a joint press conference, at which Yoo stressed that food aid to the DPRK was not an inducement to it to join the proposed peace talks. "We are not going to provide food aid just because they say they are not going to the talks unless we do," Yoo said. "This is a matter of principle." A senior US official, insisting on anonymity, said Albright's and Yoo's statements were not conflicting. "She was referring to the rapidly deteriorating situation in the North, and the famine is just a part of it," he said. After talks with Yoo and ROK President Kim Young-sam, Albright said the agreement to provide the DPRK with new light-water nuclear reactors in exchange for its freeze on its nuclear weapons program must be observed on schedule. The remark was interpreted as a tactful warning to Seoul, which has hesitated in carrying through its part of the agreement. The ROK and Japan are providing most of the US$5 billion cost of the reactors and interim oil shipments.

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, in a television interview ("ALBRIGHT INTERVIEW ON ABC-TV'S 'THIS WEEK,'" USIA Transcript, 2/24/97), commented on the DPRK's decision to attend the briefing on the four-party peace talks proposal. "I think that we are encouraged by the fact that these talks that have been in the air are now actually scheduled for March 5th in New York," Albright said. Albright also commented on implications for the DPRK's ruling regime of the apparent defection of Hwang Jang-yop: "First of all, I think that the situation in North Korea -- it's a very complicated place. It's very opaque. They clearly have been experiencing problems. This defector is but one sign of it. I think the important thing here is for us to be watching the whole situation very closely, working and staying very close to our ally, the Republic of Korea; encouraging there to be a North-South dialogue; using the various forms that we have, such as these briefing talks that we're going to have, and just being very attentive to what is going on in North Korea."

4. DPRK Defense Minister Reported Dead

The Associated Press ("REPORT: N. KOREA MINISTER DEAD," Tokyo, 2/21/97) reported that the DPRK's official Korean Central radio announced that Choe Kwang, the DPRK's defense minister, is dead of a heart attack. The broadcast, monitored by Tokyo's Radio Press, said Choe died Friday morning. Choe was considered to be the DPRK's second ranking military official behind the country's leader, Kim Jong-il. Choe was a member of the revolutionary army that fought against Japanese colonial rule under the DPRK's late leader and founder, Kim Il-sung, until Japan's defeat in World War II led to Korean independence. What impact Choe's death would have on the country's defense and security policies was not immediately clear. However, it comes at a sensitive time, following Hwang Jong-yap's apparent defection to the ROK earlier in the month and the DPRK's announcement on Friday that Premier Kang Song-san, the sixth-ranked official in the DPRK power structure, had been replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Hong Song-nam. Kang, 66, had not been seen in public in over a year and is also suspected of suffering health problems. Nevertheless, the news set off new speculation about turmoil in DPRK's leadership

The Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, "POLITICAL SHAKE-UP EYED IN NKOREA," Seoul, 2/23/97) reported that analysts in the ROK believe that the death of DPRK defense minister Choe Kwang has given leader Kim Jong-il the opportunity to strengthen his power with crucial military backing. In particular, arrangements for Choe's funeral, scheduled for Tuesday, indicated that a shake-up is in progress. The composition of the 85-member state committee arranging Choe's funeral indicated that Kim has begun maneuvering to elevate military officers loyal to him -- and replace aging members of the guerrilla army that fought Japanese colonial rule under his father, Kim Il-sung. Three Kim Jong-il loyalists -- Marshal Ri Ul-sol and Vice Marshals Jo Myong-rok and Kim Yong-chun -- were among the top 10 members by rank on the funeral committee, ahead of ruling Workers Party secretaries. The order of names on funeral committees usually indicates ranking in the power structure. "Kim Jong Il seems to be running his country on an emergency footing with the military at the center," said Yonhap, the South Korean national news agency. "The military will likely increase its say under the junior Kim." "Kim's trust of non-military officials further weakened because of Hwang's defection," said Chun Hyun-joon, an analyst at Seoul's Research Institute for National Unification. "More than ever, Kim may realize that he needs loyal support from the military to keep power."

5. Hwang Defection

The Associated Press ("S.KOREA, CHINA TO RESUME TALKS," Seoul, 2/24/97) reported that the ROK Foreign Ministry said Monday that the ROK and the PRC are set to resume talks Tuesday on arrangements for Hwang Jang-yop, currently in refuge in the ROK consulate in Beijing, to depart for asylum in the ROK. Hwang, 74, the highest-ranking DPRK defector ever, has been in the consulate since February 12. The ministry said that negotiations, which had been suspended because of the death of PRC leader Deng Xiaoping last week, will resume after Tuesday's memorial service.

Reuters ("TRAVELERS SAY N. KOREANS UNAWARE OF DEFECTION," Niigata, Japan, 2/24/97) reported that travelers just back from the DPRK said on Monday that ordinary North Koreans appear still to be unaware of Hwang Jang-yop's apparent defection two weeks ago. The report cited testimonies of passengers on the DPRK ferry Mangyongbong 92, which docked on Monday in the Japanese port of Niigata after carrying 113 passengers on a 28-hour voyage from the DPRK port of Wonsan. The ferry passengers, mainly ethnic Koreans from Japan with relatives in the DPRK, also said they saw no sign of significant food shortages or turmoil over leadership changes during their visits, mostly to the capital Pyongyang. The passengers, all carrying Japanese passports, had been in the DPRK since February 10, two days before Hwang sought asylum at the ROK's Beijing consulate. "There has been no news on the defection," said a 58-year-old woman who visited Pyongyang to attend events to celebrate the 55th birthday of top leader Kim Jong-il on February 16. A 25-year-old dancer who took part in Kim's official birthday events said, "My relatives there were doing fine. I didn't get even the faintest idea of food shortages," "I did not feel anything strange in Pyongyang," said a 20-year-old singer from the 55-member Korean Art Troupe. "People there, including my relatives, are alive and well." The comments conflicted with statements by international aid agencies that the DPRK is on the brink of a disastrous famine.

6. DPRK Leader Sends Regrets to PRC

The Associated Press ("N. KOREA LEADER MOURNS DENG," Seoul, 2/21/97) reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il on Friday sent a funeral wreath to the PRC and offered condolences for the death of Deng Xiaoping, despite the controversy over Hwang Jang-yop, the top DPRK ideologue who has sought asylum in the ROK consulate in Beijing. In a message to PRC leaders, Kim called Deng an "intimate friend and comrade-in-arms" of the Korean people, the DPRK's official news agency reported Friday.

7. ROK Leader To Apologize for Scandal

The Associated Press ("SKOREAN PRESIDENT TO APOLOGIZE," Seoul, 2/24/97) reported that aides to ROK President Kim Young-sam said Monday that Kim has agreed to apologize on national television for the bribery scandal in which some of his closest aides have been implicated. "The speech will touch on the scandal and include an apology for it and a pledge to lead a clean government during the remainder of his term," said a governing party official, speaking on condition of anonymity. The television address is scheduled for Tuesday, the fourth anniversary of Kim's inauguration. The move would be the first time an incumbent ROK president has apologized to the nation for wrongdoing while he was in office. Ten people -- a Cabinet minister, three legislators, two bankers, the head of the steel company and three of his executives -- were indicted last week on charges of taking or giving millions of dollars in bribes to arrange loans to the Hanbo Steel Industry Co., the ROK's second-largest steel maker, which collapsed December 26 under the weight of US$6 billion in debt, 22 times the value of its collateral.

II. Republic of Korea

1. US Secretary of State Visit to ROK

During her recent visit, Madeline Albright requested that the ROK adhere to the US policy of engagement with the DPRK. After two rounds of talks with her ROK counterpart Yoo Chong-ha, Albright told a news conference Saturday that "our relationship is very close and will continue to be so because our objectives are the same; that of maintaining a peaceful Korean peninsula." At the same time, Albright stressed the importance of the light-water reactor project and relief aid for the DPRK. She noted that the 1994 framework agreement between the US and the DPRK, which includes the construction of light-water reactor power plants, has made the Northeast Asian region safer. The top US diplomat also stated that the US and the ROK agreed on the importance of responding in a humanitarian manner to the suffering of famine-stricken North Koreans. Foreign Minister Yoo echoed Albright's remarks by stating that they reaffirmed a US-ROK commitment to pursue the reactor project in accordance with the 1994 framework agreement signed in Geneva. Last week, the ROK also joined international appeals for more food aid for the DPRK and agreed to send a team to the North for the reactor-site survey. Such measures were followed by the DPRK announcing on Friday that it will attend a briefing by the ROK and the US on their proposal for four-party peace talks in New York early next month. Yoo and Albright welcomed the DPRK decision, reiterating that the proposed four-party talks among the two Koreas, the US, and the PRC would be the best way to secure a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. During the news conference with Albright, Minister Yoo also reaffirmed Seoul's position that the DPRK will not receive massive official food aid merely by coming to the three-member briefing or attending the four-party talks. He reiterated that large-scale food assistance for the DPRK will come only after it agrees on measures to ease tensions and build confidence between the two Koreas. Yoo also stated that he and Albright agreed to continue maintaining a strong U.S.-ROK combined defense posture in view of the uncertain and volatile situation in the DPRK. (Korea Herald, "ALBRIGHT AFFIRMS US-KOREA TIES; STRESSES COMMITMENT TO REACTOR PROJECT, HUMANITARIAN AID FOR NORTH," Seoul, 02/27/97)

2. DPRK Defense Minister Reported Dead

The death of 78-year-old Choe Kwang, DPRK defense minister and one of the few remaining members of the first-generation revolutionary group, will likely accelerate the power shift within the regime leadership. On Saturday, the DPRK announced that Choe, the Minister of the People's Armed Forces, died of heart failure on Friday. Choe was ranked second in the DPRK military hierarchy, following only Kim Jong-il, the de-facto leader. He was also ranked fifth or sixth in the political hierarchy. According to a ROK analyst, Kim may fill the post of defense minister with his own man, not an aide of his deceased father as he no longer wants members of the older generation to serve for him. A member of the guerrilla Japanese colonial rule under Kim Il-sung, Choe steadily rose through the ranks of the People's Army before being purged in 1969. He was reinstated in 1978 and was promoted to general and made chief of the General Staff of the People's Army in 1988. He was promoted to marshal in 1995 when he was made minister of the People's Armed Forces, replacing O Jin-u, who died of cancer. Choe was a member of the Politburo, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, and a member of the party Central Military Commission. An obituary issued by North Korea described Choe as a "faithful revolutionary soldier" of Kim Il-sung, a "close revolutionary comrade-in-arms" of Kim Jong-il and a "loyal son" of the party and people. (Korea Herald, DEATH OF NORTH KOREA DEFENSE MINISTER LIKELY TO ACCERLERATE POWER SHIFT," 02/27/97)

3. KEDO Survey Team Set to Visit DPRK

The seventh and final reactor site survey team of the Korean Peninsula Energy Organization (KEDO) is scheduled to arrive in the DPRK on March 1 via Beijing, about a week later than originally scheduled. The delay was due to steps taken to ensure the personal safety of the survey team among rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, heightened by DPRK official Hwang Jang-sop's defection bid in Beijing. According to an unnamed ROK official, the survey team will be comprised of over 30 experts from ROK, the US and Japan and will be headed by Mitchell Reiss, special legal assistant to the KEDO secretary general. The seventh survey team will be the last of its size dispatched to the DPRK to prepare for the reactor project. Following a wide-range geological survey of the Sinpo area, in South Hamgyong province of the DPRK's eastern coast, the survey team will prepare a report evaluating geological safety. Concerned over the personal safety of the team in the wake of Hwang's defection bid, KEDO requested that the DPRK strictly comply with the immunities, privileges, and consular protection protocol signed last year. Under the protocol, KEDO is accorded privileges and immunities similar to those extended to international agencies like the United Nations and government representatives of its member countries. The protocol also stipulates that KEDO contractors, subcontractors, and their employees are exempt from arrest, detention, judicial control, and legal prosecution by DPRK authorities. (Korea Times, "KEDO'S FINAL SITE SURVEY TEAM TO ARRIVE IN NORTH," 02/21/97)

4. Hwang Defection

The ROK and the PRC agreed in principle that Hwang Jang-yop, secretary of the DPRK Worker's Party who is currently in refuge at the ROK Embassy in Beijing, has defected. The PRC government will dispatch officials from related organizations to the consular section of the ROK Embassy in the near future to confirm that secretary Hwang is freely seeking asylum in the ROK. This signifies that concrete actions are being taken by the PRC to handle Hwang's defection. According to a high-ranking Beijing source, "The ROK and the PRC agreed in principle to secretary Hwang's defection in contacts between ROK Ambassador to the PRC Chung Jong-wook and the PRC's Vice Foreign Minister on Wednesday." The source also added that, "Accordingly, the Chinese authorities will soon dispatch officials from related agencies to the consular department of the Embassy of ROK where secretary Hwang is staying in order directly confirm Hwang's intention to defect." (Joong Ang Ilbo, "SOUTH KOREA, CHINA AGREE IN PRINCIPLE TO HWANG'S DEFECTION," Seoul, 02/21/97)

5. ROK and PRC Talks on EEZ Border

The ROK on Monday was set to host the first round of talks with the PRC to draw the their 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) boundary. The ROK has been engaged in similar talks with Japan regarding the EEZ border. The ROK, the PRC, and Japan ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea last year, allowing member states to establish an exclusive zone off their coast. The ROK and Japan also proclaimed laws on putting their EEZs into practice while the PRC is in the process of legislative implementation. During today's talks, delegates from the ROK and the PRC will discuss the principles for drawing the EEZ boundaries and will determine whether to observe the ROK's EEZ rules. (Korea Herald, "KOREA, CHINA ENTER TALKS ON SEA BOUNDARIES," 02/27/97)

6. DPRK Investment Representative to Visit US

Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) stated yesterday that a DPRK representative of the Rajin-Sonbong free-trade zone will visit Los Angeles, California next month to promote investment in the DPRK's Tumen region. According to KOTRA's North Korean Division, the six-member delegation will visit the US city March 10-17 at the invitation of the Virginia-based Center for American North Korean Understanding (CANKU). The delegation will comprise four North Korean officials and two members from the Beijing-based United Nations Development Program's Tumen River bureau. According to a KOTRA spokesman, the delegation is expected to call on local businessmen and members of the American Chamber of Commerce to promote investment in the free-trade zone. He added that the delegation is also planning a separate seminar for ROK firms and trade organizations in Los Angeles on March 15. KOTRA pointed out that the delegation's visit to the United States had been scheduled long before the defection of the DPRK's top ideologue Hwang Jang-yop. The ROK trade body added that the results of the delegation's visit will be of considerable interest to the US and the two Koreas. However, KOTRA projected that the visit will not be overly influenced by the issue of Hwang's defection. It pointed out that Washington had already announced that it would send further food aid to Pyongyang despite tensions between the two Koreas over Hwang's defection and the murder attempt of Lee Han-young, a nephew of Kim Jong-il's estranged first wife. KOTRA concluded that US-DPRK relations seem to be developing despite the tensions in the Korean Peninsula. (Korea Herald, "NORTH KOREA MISSION TO GO TO LA TO DRAW INVESTMENT TO RAJIN-SONBONG ZONE," 02/27/97)

III. Japan

1a. Deng's Death: Japanese Government Reaction

Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto expressed deep sadness over Deng Xiaoping's death and stated that Deng contributed not only to modernizing the PRC but also to promoting Japan-PRC ties. He suggested that Deng's death will not diminish Japan-PRC relations and said that he will work hard to strengthen ties in cooperation with PRC leaders. (The Yomiuri Shimbun, "PRIME MINISTER HASHIMOTO SAYS DENG MADE GREAT CONTRIBUTION TO JAPAN-PRC FRIENDSHIP," Evening Edition, 1, 2/20/97)

1b. Deng's Death: Editorials

A Yomiuri Shimbun editorial ("HOW SHOULD WE DEAL WITH POST-DENG CHINA?," 3, 2/21/97) argued that Deng Xiaoping was the greatest epoch-making figure with no official title in modern Chinese history. The editorial gave credit to Deng's pragmatic and reform-minded approach to opening the Chinese market, which was symbolic of his famous statement, "Whether they are white or black, the cats that catch mice are good cats." However, the editorial continued, Deng was also a realist who guarded the stability of the PRC under the communist party and maintained a hard-line stance toward Taiwan. It argued that the major difference between the late Chinese paramount leader Mao and Deng was that Deng cared about his successor more than Mao. According to the editorial, the important question was "What will the post-Deng PRC be like?" The editorial saw no major change in the PRC's reform-minded position on the economy, but suggested that its mishandling of Hong Kong, Taiwan, the income gap between cities and villages, and minority issues may affect not only the PRC but also the international community. The editorial called for Japan to make a careful approach towards Japan-PRC relations and emphasized the importance of the Japan-US alliance and US-PRC relations in maintaining stable Japan-PRC relations.

A Nikkei Shimbun editorial ("DEATH OF HISTORIC LEADER," 2, 2/21/97) concluded that the PRC's present economic development is definitely due to Deng's policies. However, the editorial argued that Deng never accepted the natural course of economic development in which economic growth leads to political democratization. The editorial saw Deng as a pragmatist when he stated, "Whether white or black, the cats that catch mice are good cats," but suggested that he was similar to Mao in his adherence to one-party dictatorship. The editorial also argued that the PRC's economic reform will continue but expressed concern about a shift from Deng's "welcome any foreign investments" policy to President Jiang Zemin's "selective foreign investments" policy. The editorial also expressed concern that the PRC's tardy political reform left democracy immature and that corruption is becoming a major obstacle to democracy in the PRC. The editorial proposed that President Jiang Zemin needs not only to use Deng's methods but to improve them in order to institute upcoming political and economic reforms.

An Asahi Shimbun editorial ("ONE-PARTY DICTATORSHIP HAS LIMITS: THE FUTURE OF POST-DENG CHINA," 5, 2/21/97) argued that Deng's death does not mean an immediate major change in the PRC because the PRC has been stable despite Deng's long illness. The editorial also gave credit to Deng's economic reforms and to his creative idea of "two systems in one state," which promoted the return of Hong Kong from the UK to the PRC. However, the editorial suggested that the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown exposed the limits of his separation from one-party dictatorial rule. While the editorial saw the PRC's reversion to old socialism as unrealistic in the post-Deng PRC, it was concerned that longer-term changes may cause to new regime of President Jiang to reevaluate Deng's achievements, just as Mao was reevaluated after his death. The editorial also expressed concern that differences in reform methods may lead to political conflicts within the PRC's one-party dictatorship and suggested that democracy be steadily promoted.

A Sankei Shimbun editorial ("WHAT "DENG'S CHINA" TAUGHT JAPAN," 2, 2/21/97) claimed that Deng's life was like that of a hero found in Chinese classical literature, characterized by change, betrayal, victory, defeat, and dismissal. The editorial also suggested that Deng's experiences with Japan-PRC relations were unusually shaky because of Japan-PRC differences in recognition of history, visits by Japanese cabinet members to Yasukuni Shrine, the Senkaku Islands issue, and other controversial matters. The editorial proposed that Deng's diplomatic strategy and skills in winning Japanese economic and financial aid during the course of economic development overwhelmed Japanese decision-makers. His strategic and pragmatic approach was also evident in his strengthening of the PRC's sea power while deflecting foreign suspicions of a growing PRC military threat. The editorial pointed out that Deng's strategic and pragmatic approach is a lesson Japan should learn and that the approach will be maintained by the post-Deng regime.

2. Japan-US Defense Relations

The Asahi Shimbun ("US PAPER REPORTS THAT JAPAN'S DECISION NOT TO JOIN THEATER MISSILE DEFENSE INITIATIVE (TMD) IS ALMOST CERTAIN," 2, 2/15/97) cited the New York Times as reporting on February 14th that Japan's decision not to participate in a joint TMD initiative with the US is almost certain. According to the New York Times, the US came to the conclusion that Japan is not ready for the initiative at the working-level meeting held by the two nations in Tokyo last week [note: see the Japan section of the February 14 Daily Report]. The New York Times also stated that the reasons for Japan's hesitation include its fear of resistance to participation in the initiative from Japanese citizens and neighboring countries and financial difficulties accompanied by ongoing economic recession.

Another Asahi Shimbun ("JAPAN'S FOREIGN MINISTRY AND DEFENSE AGENCY DENY NEW YORK TIMES REPORT," 2, 2/15/97) article reported that Japan's Foreign Ministry and Defense Agency denied on February 15 the New York Times' report that Japan had decided not to participate in the TMD. The Asahi Shimbun quoted a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official as saying that Japan had not yet decided whether or not to participate and that such an announcement in the near future is unlikely. The Asahi Shimbun also quoted a high-ranking Defense Agency official as saying that the decision will be political. The report added that Japan will make a decision by August at latest.

3. Hwang Defection: Tokyo Shimbun Editorial

A Tokyo Shimbun editorial ("HWANG'S DEFECTION EXPOSES SERIOUSNESS OF DPRK SITUATION," 6, 2/14/97) suggested that the defection of such a high-ranking figure as Hwang Jang-yop reveals not only the serious economic situation in the DPRK but also the fragility of the DPRK regime. The editorial pointed out that the DPRK's earlier denial of the news of the defection and its statement that Hwang was abducted by the ROK also showed that the defection was especially shocking for the DPRK. The editorial also argued that the shift of the meaning of "juche" from human beings to the dictatorial Kim Il-sung and his junior Kim Jong-il resulted in both political and economic crises. The editorial expressed concern that Hwang's defection may strengthen DPRK conservatives, which in turn may increase DPRK hostility toward the ROK and delay the four-nation talks. The editorial proposed that Japan, the US, the ROK, and the PRC should cooperate closely with one another and monitor the DPRK.

4. Japan-PRC Fishing Relations

The Nikkei Shimbun (Kenji Yuasa, "JAPAN AND PRC AGREE TO SEPARATE SENKAKU ISSUE FROM NEGOTIATIONS," Beijing, 5, 2/20/97) reported that the Japanese and PRC governments concluded on February 19 their sixth round of negotiations based on the UN Law of the Sea and agreed that the Senkaku Islands be co-managed and that the Senkaku Islands issue be separated from further negotiations. The two sides also agreed that fishing boats of either country be placed under the jurisdiction of the country owning the coastline being fished. The Nikkei Shimbun quoted a Japanese Foreign Ministry official as stating that a Japan-PRC Fishing Agreement, which had been deadlocked, is now expected to be concluded this year.

IV. Text of Albright-Yoo Joint Press Conference

US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and ROK Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha appeared jointly at a press conference at the Minister's Official Residence in Seoul, ROK, on February 22, 1997. Following is the full text of the press conference, as released by the Office of the Spokesman, US Department of State, Seoul, February 23, 1997 ("ALBRIGHT/KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER 2/22 PRESS BRIEFING," USIA Transcript, 2/24/97):

FOREIGN MINISTER YOO: First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Secretary Albright once again on her assumption of office as Secretary of State, and I sincerely welcome her visit to Korea, scarcely a month after her swearing-in. When the North Korean nuclear issue was brought up to the U.N. Security Council in 1994, as Ambassadors to the U.N., Secretary Albright and I had the opportunity to work closely together. Hence, I believe her visit is very significant in more ways than one.

As I worked as Ambassador to the U.N. and worked closely with her when she was Ambassador to the U.N. on behalf of the United States, and I think it is very fortunate for me to have another opportunity to work with her as the Secretary of State for the United States together this time. It is something that I would like to encourage other ambassadors to look for a chance to have the same chance that I have now.

This morning, Secretary Albright and I had a broad and in-depth discussion regarding a variety of issues of mutual concern, including our concerted policy toward North Korea.

In view of the uncertainty and volatility of North Korea's present situation, we both agreed to continue to maintain the strong joint combined defensive posture based upon our sound relationship of alliance.

We also discussed the concerns of the ROK government regarding Taiwan's proposal to ship nuclear waste to North Korea.

Furthermore, we reaffirmed our commitment to pursue the light-water reactor project in accordance with the Geneva Agreed Framework, and also agreed to step up our effort to bring about the Four-Party Talks. In this regard, we welcome the North Korean decision to come to a joint briefing early in March.

In closing, Secretary Albright and I have mutually agreed that today's meeting was timely and fruitful. We have also agreed to establish an even closer working relationship between the two of us through frequent phone communications and exchanges of visits in the future.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much. Let me say what a great pleasure it is for me to be here in Seoul and to be here with my friend the Minister. We have, in fact, established a new kind of international networking. We have been colleagues and we will continue to be colleagues, and I think of the Minister as my "sun-bae."

Let me say that this is my first stop in Asia and I here want to stress American commitment to Asia. We have vital economic and security interests and five core bilateral alliances, including our alliance with the Republic of Korea. With our partners, we are building a new Pacific Community based on shared commitments to peace, stability, and prosperity.

Earlier today, I met with President Kim and now I have had these very productive meetings with Foreign Minister Yoo. And, a little later, we are traveling to the DMZ to pay tribute to our troops.

Preserving peace on the peninsula is at the top of our common agenda with the Republic of Korea. Our commitment is embodied by 37,000 U.S. troops here, a total of 100,000 in the region, and in our diplomatic efforts.

I am pleased to announce that we have agreed with North Korea on a joint Republic of Korea-U.S. briefing about our presidents' proposal to conduct Four-Party peace talks, which will take place on March 5 in New York.

Another product of our joint diplomacy is the Agreed Framework, which has made this region safer. The Foreign Minister and I discussed the need to keep the implementation of the agreement on schedule, including the light-water reactor construction, despite some of the frustrations of dealing with the North.

We discussed other issues related to the North, including the food crisis. We agree on the importance of responding in a humanitarian manner to the suffering, and both of our countries will contribute to the World Food Program initiative.

More broadly, we welcome the Republic of Korea's transformation from one of the world's developing nations into a major player on the world stage. We have a vigorous trade relationship, and we encourage the Republic of Korea to continue its transition to more open trading policies. This means knocking down trade barriers, treating imports and domestic products in the same manner, and following through on bilateral and multi-lateral trade agreements.

So I am very pleased with the meetings that we have had today; and the United States and the Republic of Korea will continue to consult regularly and on a variety of levels. As the Foreign Minister has said, we will reach out to each other and keep in touch.

QUESTION: This question is addressed to Secretary Albright. There is a lot of interest in what might happen since the defection of ranking North Korean, Hwang Chang Yop, and my question is whether you discussed this issue and if Secretary Albright has any views on how this issue will be resolved. I'd like to hear from you.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Yes, we did discuss the issue, obviously, because it is an issue of major import to the Peninsula. We believe that the issue is being handled properly and smoothly and that the Republic of Korea will be able to have a valuable discussion with Mr. Hwang.

FOREIGN MINISTER YOO: We discussed the North Korean situation this morning, understanding that the future of North Korea might be very fluid, but we also agreed on this assessment of the North Korean situation being volatile. But the important thing we have agreed upon is that we have to avoid any clashes, armed clashes, between the two sides of the Korean Peninsula, and we discussed what actions we can take jointly to prevent any clashes of that nature. Our agreement, in this regard, was to bring about the Four-Party talks with the purpose and objective to reduce tension and eventually establish a peace structure through dialogue.

QUESTION: I would like to ask you one question, if that's possible. Why the United States is still, well, shows a kind of reluctance to accept Moscow's proposal about the international conference on Korea with wider participation than the two plus two formula. Thank you.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me say that our two presidents (U.S. and ROK) had met last summer and believe that the most appropriate way to pursue peace on the peninsula is to have these Four-Party talks. We believe that the briefing about them that is going to take place, as I announced, is a very important step forward. We obviously will be consulting with other countries about the results, and as these talks progress. But I think that the best track, as determined by our presidents, is to go forward with the Four-Party talks as the best venue.

QUESTION: Madam. Secretary, I wonder if you could discuss with us -- and Mr. Minister if you'd like, as well -- the erratic nature of North Korean behavior, and whether indeed they've succeeded in keeping the U.S. and South Korea particularly off balance. Aren't they pretty much calling the tune now? Aren't you forced to send food aid when they arrange for a response; aren't they keeping you off balance and sort of shaping your policies?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, let me take a crack at this first. I believe that no country actually plans a famine and to be there as a beggar on the international stage. I also think that the relationship between the United States and the Republic of Korea and our methods of consulting and a long-term policy are very useful and, frankly, exemplary in terms of a close-alliance relationship. So we have together with the Republic of Korea a plan; we are pursuing it and are quite clear on the direction in which we are going. Let me also say that it is a part of the direction in which we are going and an agreement that what both the United States and the Republic of Korea want is a North-South dialogue. That is a part of where we are going, and we both agree on that, and there is never a disagreement between us and the Republic of Korea on that particular agenda item.

FOREIGN MINISTER YOO: The issue of North Korea's food shortage is one of the important issues that we are dealing with. But we do apply a principle to this, and that principle is that when we have Four-Party talks to reduce tension, we can also discuss their food problem as well. But they wanted to hear what the Four-Party talks will be about, and we are providing a briefing for them, but that should not be a condition that we would provide food aid to them. That is against our principle and we're not going to do that and that's something we have agreed between the United States and ourselves. But once they come to the Four-Party talks, then we can also discuss the reduction of tension and building mutual confidence as well as the issue of the North Korean food shortage, and this is all open. But we are not going to provide food just because they want food by saying, "We'll come to the talks if you give us food." And that's something we do not prove as a principle.

QUESTION: I'd like to address two questions to the Secretary of State. The first question is, what will be the U.S. role in dealing with the issue of Taiwan's interest in exporting or transporting, shipping nuclear waste to North Korea? The second part of the question would be the prospects of opening up, exchanging liaison offices between North Korea and the United States.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, let me say on the first question, we obviously are concerned about the environmental prospects if such a shipment takes place, and we are urging the Taiwanese to abide by environmental safeguards. They are going to be dealing with the IAEA on the subject, and we are going to be pressing them to in fact to do everything they can to make sure that all environmental safeguards are met. We are concerned about the issue along with the Republic of Korea. We are interested in having a liaison office, and that will come at the appropriate time, but the issue here is that nothing that North Korea does can drive a wedge between the United States and the Republic of Korea. Our relationship is very close, and will continue to be so, because our objectives are the same, which is a peaceful peninsula.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, are you prepared to go forward with the human rights resolution on China? And more broadly, do you think that your discussions in Beijing are going to be circumscribed in any way because of the mourning period?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: We are consulting with the cosponsors at the EU about going forward with such a resolution, the possibility of it, and it is something that is on our minds as we go forward with assessing where the Chinese situation is on human rights. As far as my visit is concerned, I am going forward with it. Thus far there are only indications that it will be curtailed on the social side, not in terms of the business meetings. But obviously I will be respectful of the mourning period that the Chinese government has asked for. Thank you.

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Wade Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Choi Chung-moon:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Chunsi Wu:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

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