The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Friday, March 7, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Russian Federation

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Relations

The Associated Press ("U.S., NORTH KOREANS HOLD TALKS," Seoul, 3/7/97) reported that US and DPRK officials met at the US mission to the UN in New York on Friday. With the DPRK delegation led by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, and the US side led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs Charles Kartman, the meeting represented the highest-level contact between the two countries in a year. US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the two sides were to discuss whether to resume negotiations on the DPRK's missile program, the joint search for US service members missing in the Korean War, and the opening of offices in each other's countries. The DPRK also was expected to press for more help in overcoming its critical food shortages. The talks took place two days after Wednesday's landmark joint US/ROK briefing of the DPRK on the four-party peace talks proposal. The US-DPRK talks appeared to be an allowance to the DPRK, which itself conceded in joining the earlier talks involving direct DPRK-ROK contacts on security issues. The DPRK for years has sought diplomatic contacts with Washington to the exclusion of its rivals in Seoul, and last week the DPRK's official media reported that its delegation would meet with the US but made no mention of the earlier talks that included the ROK.

2. Hwang Defection

Reuters ("CHINA CALLS FOR COOL HEADS IN KOREA CRISIS," Seoul, 3/7/97) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Qian Qichen on Friday appealed to the DPRK and the ROK to stay calm during attempts to end the three-week diplomatic standoff around the defection of Hwang Jang-yop, the DPRK's most influential ideological theoretician and the most senior official ever to break from the regime. Hwang has been isolated behind a tight police guard at the ROK consulate in Beijing since he sparked a crisis by seeking asylum there on February 12. Qian told a news conference in Beijing's Great Hall of the People that the PRC is still investigating Hwang's case. "We hope all sides can take a cool-headed attitude so as to solve this problem as soon as possible," Qian said, but gave no details of the issues blocking a resolution. Hwang's case was essentially a matter between the two Koreas, but since it had taken place in Beijing it came under Chinese jurisdiction, Qian said. "China right now is conducting its investigation. We will follow international law and common international practice to solve this problem," he said. ROK officials have voiced disappointment at the lack of progress in ending the crisis, but said Friday that it appeared more likely than before that Hwang would be allowed to travel to Seoul. "The negotiations for Hwang Jang-yop are not progressing as fast as we hoped, but overall the situation is not pessimistic," ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman Lee Kyu-hyung said in Seoul. Analysts expect Hwang to end up in Seoul, but note that Beijing is anxious to help the DPRK save face by being seen to give due consideration to its concerns.

3. Cancellation of US-ROK Joint Military Exercise

US Navy Captain Mike Doubleday, acting Defense Department public affairs spokesman, at a briefing on March 6 ("DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 3/6 BRIEFING," USIA Transcript, 3/7/97) commented on the previous day's announcement of the cancellation of the US-ROK "Team Spirit" joint military exercise for 1997, noting in particular that the canceled exercise is only one of many joint military exercises between the US and the ROK. Doubleday also said that he had no information concerning media reports that there will be confidence-building measures initiated between the military forces posed on either side of the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

4. ROK Anticipation of Reunification

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("S. KOREA'S TOP N. KOREA POLICYMAKER URGES UNIFICATION FUND," Seoul, 3/7/97) reported that Kwon O-kie, ROK deputy prime minister and head of the Unification Ministry, which oversees Seoul's policy toward the DPRK, on Friday urged the creation of a special fund to finance the unification of the two countries. "We cannot indefinitely delay the question of the cost of unification," Kwon said. "We will begin a concrete study of the issue and when the time comes, bring it forward for parliamentary inspection," Kwon told legislators at a National Assembly hearing. Until now, the government has refrained from talking about such a fund publicly, afraid the DPRK will interpret its remarks to mean that the ROK is working for its collapse. Estimates of the cost that the ROK will have to bear in the 10 years following unification range from US$20 billion to as much as US$1.2 trillion. The ROK's economy, measured by its gross domestic product, was US$302 billion in 1995. Kwon's statement follows Seoul's November announcement that it will train 35,000 civil administration specialists to help handle anticipated problems in the event the North suddenly collapses.

Mary Jordan wrote in an analysis in The Washington Post ("SECOND-GUESSING KOREAN UNIFICATION," Seoul, 3/4/97, A01) that although reunification of the Korean Peninsula is the official goal of the ROK government, the idea of reuniting with an economically impoverished state is far more attractive as a wish than as a reality for many ROK citizens who have grown accustomed to a First World standard of living. The prospect of a united Korea is growing in the ROK, along with increasingly urgent reports of the DPRK's economic meltdown. As the prospect grows, more ROK citizens are worried that their own lives may soon change for the worse, that the high times that have accompanied their "economic miracle" could dissolve into hard times. The most daunting task facing the Seoul government is the anticipated eventual fusion of two completely different nations, and reluctance on its citizens' part will only add to the burden. Ho Yang-kang, spokesman for the National Unification Ministry, said that while most ROK citizens share the "firm basic philosophy that we must be united, there are many different ideas about how and when." Many ROK officials say the government would prefer that some kind of division remain between the DPRK and the ROK even after reunification, until the economic level of the DPRK is raised. Despite the general fear of reunification among ROK citizens, some here say they have a responsibility to tackle the problem themselves, rather than leaving the burden to future generations.

Jonathan Clarke wrote in an analysis for The Los Angeles Times ("KOREA'S BIGGEST WORRY IS INTERNAL," 3/7/97) that the US should be more concerned about political stability in the ROK, and whether the ROK can handle reunification, than with the prospects for DPRK collapse. Many ROK leaders, once they have "delivered themselves of their ritual panic warning about North Korea," will reveal that their real concern is the ROK economy and its susceptibility to changing world conditions and "anonymous accountants in New York" with the power to downgrade the ROK's credit ratings. Independently of the problem of relations with the DPRK, ROK leaders "are desperately worried about whether Seoul can manage its own transition from Third World upstart to self-confident membership in the developed world," Clarke wrote. Moreover, the need for economic modernization comes at a time in which the ROK government is suffering "grave political weakness," with ROK President Kim Young-sam suffering daily erosion of already minimal public support with mounting revelations concerning the Hanbo financial collapse scandal. The crucial implication for the US is that the ROK currently is unable either economically or politically to absorb the potentially enormous costs of reunification. Should the US choose to quicken the pace toward that end, it would have to be prepared to underwrite these costs. "Given the patent US unwillingness to accept this burden," Clarke wrote, "the most sensible US course is to wait until South Korean political and economic recovery allows a solid US-South Korean partnership to reemerge." [Ed. note: Jonathan Clarke is a foreign policy analyst affiliated with the Cato Institute.]

5. US Concerns over Weapons Proliferation

US Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy Franklin C. Miller on March 5 testified to the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee ("ASST. DEFENSE SEC. MILLER 3/5 TESTIMONY ON PROLIFERATION," USIA Transcript, 3/7/97) that the US "faces growing threats to its security and other national interests due to the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and their means of delivery." Miller expressed concern over the security of Russia's still substantial arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, including its huge nuclear arsenal, its retained supplies of chemical weapons, and its still "vast" stockpile of fissile material. Miller pointed out in the wrong hands, these materials could potentially harm the US and its allies "whether by unauthorized use or by illicit transfer to other parties." Miller cited the DPRK, as well as Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria, as "countries of concern" for the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. However, Miller also cited the DPRK, as well as Ukraine, Kazakstan, Belarus, South Africa and Iraq, "that might have been nuclear powers [but] have been turned away from that path" due to US efforts in recent years.

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK, US Cancel Military Exercise

The ROK Defense Ministry announced yesterday that the ROK and the US will not hold their massive annual joint "Team Spirit" military exercise this year. A Defense Ministry official said, "North Korea is at the moment faithfully abiding by the nuclear freeze measures called for in the Geneva accord," and added, "We agreed not to conduct the joint ROK-US military exercise in order to build a positive atmosphere for relieving tension on the Korean peninsula." This will be the fourth consecutive yearn that the annual joint military exercise will not take place. (Joong Ang Ilbo, "TEAM SPIRIT EXERCISE NOT TO TAKE PLACE THIS YEAR," 03/07/97)

2. Briefing on Four-Party Peace Talks Proposal

As the DPRK and the US held semi-high level talks in New York yesterday, the ROK expressed optimism that the proposed four-party talks would be held. "The North has said that they would work optimistically toward holding the talks, and that they would need time to study agenda debriefed," Deputy Prime Minister Kwon O-kie told lawmakers in a session of the Unification and Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly yesterday. The ROK government's optimism was buoyed by a number of new and forward-looking measures toward the DPRK, including the setting up of a "unification fund" to prepare for the pending unification. The Seoul government would not release what was discussed at the briefing for the proposed talks to establish a peace treaty between the two Koreas, saying only that a wide range of food aid and economic exchange can be expected. Kwon said that due to the DPRK's economic woes, it may continue to deal with the ROK for economic gains. He added that the government was working on details on policy against imminent dangers from the DPRK, like the 1,500 North Korean escapees and the export of Taiwanese nuclear waste to the DPRK. (Korea Herald, "SEOUL EXPRESSES OPTIMISM 4-PARTY TALKS WOULD BE HELD," 03/07/97)

3. ROK Resolution Against DPRK-Taiwan Nuclear Waste Deal

The ROK National Assembly's Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee yesterday adopted a resolution urging Taiwan to scrap its plan to send nuclear waste to the DPRK. The parliamentary committee also called on the DPRK not to import any nuclear waste from Taiwan or any other foreign countries. The committee members warned that the North's move to accept the nuclear waste shipment will have a negative impact on ongoing inter-Korean cooperative programs. (Korea Herald, "ASSEMBLY PANEL ADOPTS RESOLUTION AGAINST TAIWAN OVER NUCLEAR WASTE," 03/07/97)

4. Hwang Defection

The prospects for DPRK Workers' Party secretary Hwang Jang-yop's trip to Seoul have brightened although it is impossible to predict when he will arrive here, a Foreign Ministry official said yesterday. Ryu Kwang-sok, director general of the ministry's Asia and Pacific Affairs Bureau, hinted that Seoul and Beijing had made some progress in on-going negotiations on how to deal with Hwang, who is holed up in a ROK consulate in Beijing since taking asylum on February 12. However, he said that the ROK and the PRC had not yet reached any agreement over Hwang's defection. Ryu, meanwhile, denied press reports that Hwang allegedly said that the late DPRK leader, Kim Il-sung, died of a stroke right after a quarrel with his son and de facto leader Jong-il. "These press reports, which have made the DPRK infuriated, have been hampering our negotiations with China," the official said. (Korea Herald, "TALKS ON HWANG'S TRIP TO SEOUL MAKE PROGRESS," 03/07/97)

III. Russian Federation

1. Hwang Defection

Izvestia's Aleksandr Platkovskiy ("FORMER CENTRAL COMMITTEE SECRETARY CHOSE FREEDOM, BUT FELL INTO A TRAP," Moscow, 3, 3/1/97) reported on the developments regarding Hwang Jang-yop. Izvestia's author mentioned rumors originating from the US Embassy in Beijing that "US special services prepare a plan for Hwang's deportation ... across the ocean, rather than to the ROK, as he himself had planned." Izvestia's author considered the option as the most satisfying to all parties concerned.

2. PRC Preparations for DPRK Exodus

Segodnya ("CONCENTRATION CAMPS BOOM IN THE HEAVENLY EMPIRE," Moscow, 4, 3/1/97) reported that refugee camps are under construction in the PRC along its border with the DPRK. The camps would be able to accommodate 50-100 thousand people who, PRC authorities fear, might escape from the DPRK when grain reserves there are exhausted.

3. DPRK-Taiwan Nuclear Waste Deal

Finansoviye izvestia ("SEOUL TRIES TO BLOCK NUCLEAR WASTE DISPOSAL IN DPRK TERRITORY," Moscow, VI, 2/25/97) reported that, from the point of view of the European Union, the delivery of 60 thousand tons of Taiwanese nuclear waste to the DPRK can take place only if it is executed according to IAEA safety rules, despite the fact that both countries are not IAEA members. The EU expressed its understanding of the ROK's concern over the ROC-DPRK nuclear waste disposal deal.

4. New DPRK Premier

Segodnya's Ivan Shomov ("NORTH KOREANS WILL BE THE LAST TO LEARN THE NEW PREMIER'S NAME," Moscow, 4, 2/22/97) and Nezavisimaia gazeta ("A NEW PREMIER IN NORTH KOREA," Moscow, 4, 3/5/97) reported that retired DPRK Premier Kang Song-san, 66, has been succeeded by his deputy Hong Sen-nam, 73, the "number 19 man in the party and state elite hierarchy" of the DPRK. Segodnya's author speculated that Hong Song-nam has been the real head of government since May 1996 when he successfully negotiated PRC food assistance to his country, and that Hwang Jang-yop's defection and subsequent revelations about disloyalty among the top DPRK officials might have been the reason for his present official appointment.

5. DPRK Leadership Problems

Izvestia's Vladimir Solntsev, ("ESCAPE, DEATH AND RESHUFFLE," Moscow, 3, 2/25/97) using the DPRK's acknowledgment of Hwang Jang-yop's defection and Defense Minister Choi Gwang's funeral committee list as evidence, speculated that the DPRK is undergoing major leadership problems. He ventured that about a third of DPRK hierarchy numbers 1 to 30, including the "runaway ideologist," the "dead marshall" and the "deposed premier" and a number of reformist "technocrats," have been replaced. At the same time the thirty include 11 military men plus the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Kim Jong-il. Izvestia's author favored the view that "liberals in Pyongyang have been pressed down while conservatives, hard-liners and people in epaulettes gain still more in their power."

6. RF Nuclear Defense Strategy

Segodnya's Yuriy Golotyuk ("RUSSIAN MISSILES ARE COMBAT READY," Moscow, 1, 2/22/97) reported that RF Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin visited the Central Command Point (CCP) of the RF Strategic Purpose Missile Forces in Odintsovo, Moscow Region, where by order of President Boris Yeltsin he "personally tested the efficiency of performance of combat control systems." Signals for "a number of combat training tasks" were relayed via the control chain, enabling the system to be made combat ready. However, Segodnya's author also referred to information from anonymous sources at the RF Defense Ministry that the hostile missile attack warning system wasn't engaged, and interpreted the fact as an indication that the tests rehearsed "preemptive" rather than "retaliatory" nuclear strikes.

7. RF Missile Attack Warning System

Kommersant-DAILY's Ilya Boulavinov ("RUSSIA AND UKRAINE TIED TOGETHER BY KNOTS OF FRIENDSHIP," Moscow, 3, 3/5/97) reported that an agreement was signed on March 1 by which the RF will continue to rent the Missile Attack Warning System (MAWS) facilities in the Transcarpathian and Crimean regions of Ukraine. Those "knots" or "clusters" in the Ukraine are considered a part of the RF, as are three stations in RF territory in Irkutsk, Murmansk and Pechyora and three others in CIS countries.

8. RF Defense Minister's Admission

Izvestia ("A MILITARY SECRET," Moscow, 1, 2/25/97) reported that to commemorate Fatherland Defender Day, on February 23, RF Defense Minister Igor Rodionov met with the RF Armed Forces veterans. During his speech, Rodionov remarkably commented, "What kind of a Defense Minister I am? I am the Minister of the disintegrating Army and the dying Navy."

9. RF Anti-Aircraft Defense Exports to Asia/Pacific

Kommersant-DAILY ("RUSSIA EXPANDING ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILE EXPORTS," Moscow, 3, 2/25/97) reported that RF "Antey" Concern representatives said they will sell their "Tor-M1" anti-aircraft defense missile complexes to the PRC and are ready to export them to other Asia/Pacific countries, with some contracts having been concluded already. India, the ROK and some island nations are said to be among the importers. With a target detection range of 20 kilometers and its effective destruction range of 12 kilometers, "Tor-M1" is highly effective against precision weapons such as cruise missiles and guided bombs and can also be used against fire support helicopters and low altitude airplanes.

10. RF Media on US State Secretary Visit to Asia

Segodnya's Valeria Sychyova ("MADELEINE ALBRIGHT ACTIVATES WASHINGTON'S ASIAN POLICY," Moscow, 4, 2/25/97) reported on US State Secretary Madeleine Albright's visit to the ROK, Japan and the PRC. Albright managed to overcome a stalemate in ROK-DPRK relations caused by Hwang Jang-yop's defection and, as Segodnya's author speculated, possibly to make prospects for RF arms exports to the ROK less bright. She also managed to obtain "Japanese leaders' admission that they are interested in keeping status quo on the island" of Okinawa, where half of the total of 50 thousand US troops in Japan are stationed. Concerning her visit to the PRC, Segodnya's author speculated that Albright might promise support to "technocrats" in their post-Deng struggle against "old guards," but added that RF President Boris Yeltsin shouldn't worry about meeting an "entirely different Jiang Zemin in March" as a result of those developments.

11. RF Rescue Team Accused of Spying in the Sea of Japan

Segodnya's Vasiliy Golovnin ("'NAKHODKA' LAUNDERED BY THE 'HAND OF MOSCOW'," Moscow, 1, 4, 3/1/5) reported that Fuji TV alleged the RF rescue team participating in the efforts to neutralize the "Nakhodka" oil tanker disaster of spying. RF "Neftegaz-5" auxiliary vessels that stayed in the area from mid-January through 2/10/97 are accused of "strange maneuvers in the vicinity of defense facilities" so that military secrets could be collected as well as the oil spillage. Japan's National Defense Agency commented it had no information to confirm the allegations, while the RF Embassy in Tokyo strongly protested the "spy mania" that could damage RF-Japan relations.

12. Conflicts in Asia Pacific

Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye ("THE WORLD IS STILL UNRESTFUL," Moscow, 2, #7, 2/22-28/97) printed an article by Sergey Samgin, political science post-graduate of the Moscow State University, saying that the states of the Asia Pacific region are worried by "China's aspiration to expand its influence in Eastern and Southern directions and its readiness to demonstrate its might." Samgin cited the acquisition of Russian Su-27 fighters, the firing of missiles at Taiwan, and the PRC's aggressive stance toward the Spratly Island dispute as significant potential sources of conflict. He believes, however, that the rapid economic development of the region will lower a probability of escalation of numerous claims to the armed struggle level and called the situation in the region a cold peace."

13. Post Cold War Geopolitics

Nezavisimaia gazeta ("THE WEST BEHAVES AS A VICTOR," Moscow, 4, 2/26/97) published an article by the Director of the Institute of US and Canadian Studies, Sergey Rogov. Dwelling on NATO enlargement implications for RF security, Rogov wrote that establishing partners in the "East" (the PRC) and the "South" (Iran or Iraq) may result in "a number of new conflict situations." He added that, "in a new continental alliance, if ever created, it will not be Russia that will determine the tune."

14. RF-US Competition

Kommersant-DAILY's Ignatiy Troubkin ("CHINESE LISTEN TO AMERICA'S VOICE," Moscow, 6, 2/26/96) reported the on "aggressiveness" displayed by US businesses competing with RF companies in the PRC, and cited the nuclear power plant in the northern part of the PRC and the oil and gas pipe line as the latest examples. In case of a break down in RF-NATO relations, the author ventured, a RF-PRC strategic might emerge, but with the RF as a "junior brother."

15. PRC Sinkiang Uighur Autonomous Region Problems

At least 2 persons were killed and over 50 wounded when two time-bombs exploded in overcrowded buses in the city of Urumchi, the administrative center of Sinkiang Uighur Autonomous Region (SUAR) of PRC on February 25th. Earlier in the month, from February 2nd to the 14th, mass riots in the city of Ining, SUAR, broke out resulting in 200 deaths. At their press conference the activists of the Uighur national movement said that their goal is to create an "independent Eastern Turkestan - an Islamic state" out of SUAR. (Segodnya, "A CHECHNYA IN SINKIANG," Moscow, 4, 2/26/97). (Segodnya, "MOSLEM SEPARATISTS MOURNED AFTER THE ARCHITECT OF CHINESE REFORMS IN THEIR OWN WAY," Moscow, 1, 2/26/97).

Kommersant-DAILY's Mikhail Zhagher ("CHINESE CHECHNYA THE SIZE OF UKRAINE," Moscow, 6, 3/5/97) published a half page article on recent riots in SUAR, PRC, containing also an ethnographic map of the region, a detailed historical analysis, a data box on 55 national minorities comprising 90 millions out of the 1.2 billion population of the PRC, and a data box on Uighur residents in the former USSR. In particular, out of about 300 thousand Uighurs living in the CIS some 180 thousand live in Kazakhstan, the rest chiefly living in Russia. Sargari Tarim, the most prominent leader of "Moscow Uighurs" said last week that, "Deng Xiaoping's death will lead to a new power struggle among Chinese elite. If it happens, the movement for Turkestan independence will be intensified."

16. PRC Mourning Deng Xiaoping

Obshchaya gazeta ("CHINA SAID FAREWELL TO DENG WITH NO TEARS SHED," Moscow, 4, 2/27-3/5/97) published an commentary by Prof. Evgeniy Bajanov, Director of the Institute of Contemporary International Studies, on Deng Xiaoping's death. The author analyzed the results of successful economic reforms in the PRC initiated and implemented by Deng Xiaoping, as well as the pragmatic changes in PRC foreign policy priorities undertaken by the late leader. He concluded that although there are still urgent social and economic problems including disparities of both social and geographic nature, as well as the problems of ethnic separatism's, the "PRC by 2020 will overtake USA and become the 'number one' economic power of the world."

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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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