The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Thursday, March 20, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. People's Republic of China IV. Official Documents

I. United States

1. US Presidential Determination on KEDO Contribution

US President William Clinton ("PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION ON U.S. CONTRIBUTION TO KEDO," USIA Transcript, 2/30/97) has certified to the US Congress that the United States is taking steps to assure that progress is made on the implementation of the January 1, 1992, Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the implementation of the North-South dialogue. Clinton has also certified that the DPRK is complying with the other provisions of the Agreed Framework between the DPRK and the United States. The presidential determination, dated March 18, is required under the legislation that authorizes the US contribution to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). The determination states that the DPRK is cooperating fully in the canning and safe storage of spent nuclear fuel and has not significantly diverted assistance provided by the United States for purposes for which it was not intended. [Ed. note: The official text of this presidential determination is included in this Daily Report in the "Official Documents" section, below.]

2. Hwang Defection

Reuters ("KOREA DEFECTOR TO STAY IN PHILIPPINES IN MARCH," Seoul, 3/20/97) reported that a senior official of the ROK Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that DPRK defector Hwang Jang-yop will stay in the Philippines at least until the start of next month. "China and South Korea have agreed on how long Hwang will have to stay in the Philippines. He will not be able to travel to South Korea within this month," the official said. "The Philippine government has agreed to accommodate the Seoul-Beijing agreement on the length of Hwang's stay in the Philippines," the official said. He declined to elaborate further. President Fidel Ramos said on Wednesday that Hwang could stay in the Philippines "only for as long as necessary and as short as possible." Hwang, the most senior DPRK official ever to defect, sought political asylum in the ROK's consulate in Beijing on Feb. 12 and stayed there until the PRC agreed to let him go to Seoul via Manila. Hwang's defection in Beijing placed PRC authorities in a delicate diplomatic position, forcing it to balance interests in good relations with both Korean governments. Hwang's detour through the Philippines is intended to help Pyongyang save face while enabling Seoul to bring Hwang to the ROK in the end. ROK President Kim Young-sam has sent letters thanking PRC President Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng for letting Hwang leave Beijing, Kim's spokesman said on Thursday.

The Associated Press ("SECURITY TIGHT FOR DEFECTOR," Manila, 3/20/97) reported that Philippine authorities, guarding against any attempt to assassinate Hwang, on Thursday posted at Manila's airport pictures of 22 members of the Japanese Red Army, a radical pro-DPRK group now based outside Japan. Philippine authorities also have put security forces on heightened alert, according to immigration officials who spoke on customary condition of anonymity. The Philippine government has clamped an information blackout on Hwang's stay, refusing to say where he is or when he will leave. Hwang reportedly was first taken by helicopter to the northern mountain resort of Baguio, but then was moved to an undisclosed site in Manila after numerous journalists converged on Baguio.

3. Japanese Nuclear Accident

The Associated Press ("JAPAN NUCLEAR ACCIDENT A MYSTERY," Tokyo, 3/20/97) reported that Japanese officials said Thursday that, more than a week after two fires and an explosion heavily damaged the Tokaimura nuclear reprocessing plant 70 miles northeast of Tokyo, they did not know what caused the accident or when the plant would reopen. Thirty-seven workers were exposed to low-level radiation during the March 11 accident, the worst incident at a nuclear facility in Japan's history. The plant reprocesses nuclear waste to extract plutonium and treat radioactive waste for disposal, but has no reactor. Fumitaka Watanabe, a spokesman for the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corp.(Donen), said Thursday the plant would remain shuttered for now. The government-financed facility, which has been accused of failing to report the damage promptly, has not said how much radiation was released during the accident. But officials have assured residents there was no health danger. However, on Tuesday, officials said a sudden increase in radiation has been observed southwest of the plant, halfway to Tokyo, suggesting the accident spread dangerous fumes over a larger area than previously thought. The latest accident follows one in December 1995 in which a sodium leak in a secondary cooling system forced an emergency shutdown at the fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, 220 miles west of Tokyo. The reactor's operator tried to cover up the extent of the accident, which later tests indicated could have resulted in an explosion.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Hwang Defection

By arranging for a top DPRK defector to come to Seoul via a third country, the PRC seems to have strengthened its voice over inter-Korean matters. The five-week standoff in Beijing over the defection of Hwang Jang-yop forced the PRC to take its first major mediating role between the ROK and the DPRK, indicating that the PRC may play a more prominent role in the proposed four way talks. The PRC has walked a diplomatic tightrope between the two rivals since it normalized ties with the ROK in 1992. After its initial bewilderment in trying to resolve the defection issue, the PRC worked out a framework for resolving the case (passage to Seoul via a third country) and pushed it through conflicting demands from the ROK and the DPRK, without causing repercussions from either side. A ROK Foreign Ministry official conceded that Seoul needs to have further consultations with the PRC when Hwang, who is reportedly staying in the northern Philippine resort city of Baguio, arrives in Seoul. He said his impression was that the PRC did not seek consent from the DPRK but reached a unilateral decision on Hwang's case that the DPRK had no choice but to accept. But in a possible indication that the defection crisis is over, DPRK diplomats in Beijing reportedly said Hwang was no longer their concern. During the process of solving Hwang's case, which progressed more quickly than PRC experts expected, the PRC wore out the DPRK's anger and blocked the US and Japan from assuming a role. Although it may have been safer to send Hwang to the US, the PRC feared losing leverage over the ROK and the DPRK, and wanted to avoid contentious issues like human rights. The DPRK's participation in the briefing for the four party talks earlier this month indicate that Hwang's defection has not affected its ongoing diplomatic contacts with the ROK and the US. (Korea Herald, "CHINA GETS VOICE ON KOREA AFTER HWANG CASE," Kim Kyung-ho, 03/20/97)

ROK President Kim Young-sam yesterday sent personal letters to PRC President Jiang Zemin and Prime Minister Li Peng thanking them for their cooperation for the safe passage of Hwang Jang-yop from Beijing to a stopover point in the Philippines. Kim appreciated the PRC leaders' acceptance of Hwang's political asylum which was facilitated by close consultation with the ROK government in the spirit of friendly relations between Seoul and Beijing, Chong Wa Dae said. (Korea Times, "PRES. KIM THANKS CHINESE LEADERS FOR SAFE PASSAGE OF HWANG," 03/20/97)

Hwang Jang-yop will stay in the Philippines as briefly as possible before traveling on to Seoul, President Fidel Ramos said Wednesday. Ramos refused to say where the defector, Hwang Jang-yop, was staying in the Philippines or when he would leave for the ROK. However, Sen. Blas Ople, who heads the Senate foreign relations committee, said he was told by intelligence sources that Hwang would remain for two weeks. (Korea Times, "HWANG TO STAY IN PHILIPPINES FOR TWO WEEKS," 03/20/97)

2. DPRK Concerned over Food Crisis

A transcript of a speech by DPRK leader Kim Jong-il addressing the food problems in the country has been made public by a monthly in Seoul. The speech, reportedly made on Dec. 17, 1996, lambasted the cadres of the DPRK Workers' Party for slacking in their thought and work and deferred the responsibility for dire economic condition to party officials. "We are facing a near anarchic state where food-begging people line the streets and fill train stations and trains. I do not know what the cadres are doing," Kim said. Kim went on to call for cadres to induce collective farm workers to contribute more to the military. "We were not sure whether Kim Jong-il had it under his belt about the food crisis or whether he was kept in the dark by party officials. Now we know that he knows but has no countermeasures," Park Sung-hoon, a director of Information Analysis Office at the ROK Ministry of National Unification said. Park said, above all, the document also confirms the junior Kim's heavy reliance on the military. DPRK watchers had repeatedly suggested Kim's tilting toward the armed forces in the past several years, citing his numerous on-site visits to the military. (Korea Herald, "KIM JONG-IL WARNS OF FOOD CRISIS: REPORT," 03/20/97)

3. DPRK Trade Drops

The DPRK's external trade volume was US$1.9 billion last year, a drop of 7.3 percent from US$2.05 billion in 1995, the ROK Ministry of National Unification announced yesterday. The Ministry said the DPRK exported US$640 million and imported US$1.26 billion in 1996, down 14 percent and 4 percent respectively from 1995. This marks the sixth consecutive year that the DPRK has recorded a decline in its foreign trade volume. (Joong Ang Ilbo, "NORTH KOREA'S EXTERNAL TRADE VOLUME DROPPED FOR THE 6TH CONSECUTIVE YEAR TO $1.9 BILLION IN '96, 03/20/97)

4. Taiwan Warns ROK

Taiwan threatened retaliatory action on Wednesday after the ROK failed to honor a fruit trading pact because of Taipei's plans to ship nuclear waste to the DPRK for treatment, the state-funded news agency said. Seoul last week refused to import 7,000 tons of garlic from Taiwan as set out in a 1995 fruit exchange accord, according to the Central News Agency. Taiwanese Board of Foreign Trade Director-General Lin Yi-fu charged that the ROK was "seriously breaching a principle of faith," and threatened to stop issuing permits for the imports of Korean apples and pears if Seoul decided to unilaterally suspend imports of Taiwan fruits. The ROK did not spell out the reason for the unexpected move, but sources said it was part of Seoul's overall plan to stop Taiwan from shipping low-radiation nuclear waste to the DPRK. Seoul and Taipei have been at odds since Taiwan signed an agreement last month with Pyongyang to dispose of 60,000 barrels of low-radiation nuclear waste in two years with a provision to increase the volume to 200,000 barrels. The ROK in 1992 switched its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, the bitter rival of the nationalist Taiwan. (Korea Times, "TAIPEI WARNS SEOUL OF RETALIATION OVER REJECTION OF FRUIT IMPORT," 03/20/97)

5. ROK May Buy Russian Weapons

The ROK Defense Ministry has decided it will not commit itself to a request expected to be made by the US at a trilateral meeting asking the ROK not to buy Russian arms. The trilateral meeting in Seoul will have the three chief policy planners at the same table with the US, the ROK, and Japan to discuss security on the Korean peninsula and in the East Asian region in an informal atmosphere. The ROK is looking to buy sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles, with the leading candidates being the US Patriot and Russian S-300. The possibility of the ROK acquiring Russian weapons appears to have jolted the US. However, there are very few who believe that the ROK will choose the S-300 because the new weapons would lack "interoperability" with current weapons and weapons systems of the ROK's armed forces and because of the strong US-ROK military alliance. (Korea Times, "KOREA TO BE NONCOMMITTAL TO US REQUEST NOT TO BUY RUSSIAN WEAPONS," 03/20/97)

6. IAEA Criticism of DPRK Nuclear Information

Member countries of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) voiced concern Tuesday at the lack of progress in getting the DPRK to keep records on its past nuclear activities. Major participating nations, including the US, Japan, Russia and Canada, took issue with the DPRK's failure to comply with a safeguards agreement at the board of governors conference in Vienna. Their primary concern was the lack of progress in IAEA-DPRK negotiations in keeping track of information accurately showing the level of the DPRK's nuclear development and whether the communist state has complied with IAEA safeguards. Many member states also expressed concern over Taiwan's proposed shipment of its nuclear waste to the DPRK, warning of international unrest from such a shipment if Pyongyang's nuclear transparency is not confirmed. (Korea Times, "IAEA MEMBERS EXPRESS CONCERN AT LACK OF NK NUCLEAR TRANSPARENCY," 03/20/97)

III. People's Republic of China

1. Hwang Defection

Jie Fang Daily ("HWANG SENT FROM BEIJING TO 3RD NATION," A1, 3/19/97) reported that DPRK defector Hwang Jang-yop was sent out of PRC territory to a third country on March 18. The PRC did so with the intention of helping safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, in accordance with Hwang's own will and international law, the report said.

2. DPRK Food Aid

The head of the World Food Program wants the international community to quickly give food aid to the DPRK to help it stave off famine, China Daily ("FOOD AID FOR DPRK," A11, 3/18/97) reported from Tokyo. "It is awfully necessary to immediately supply 100,000 tons of food as the WFP appealed on Feb. 12," Catherine Bertini, who heads the Rome-based UN agency, was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

3. PRC-US Relations

Speaking about Sino-US relations at a press conference on March 14 after the conclusion of the annual session of the National People's Congress session, PRC Premier Li Peng vigorously denied rumors that the PRC Government had contributed to the US Democratic Party campaign. "China is a victim of outside interference in its domestic affairs. We will not interfere in others' affairs in any form," Li said. As to US Vice President Al Gore's visit to the PRC, Premier Li called it an important event in the history of Sino-US relations. According to Li, the PRC will extend a welcome to Mr. Gore later this month. China Daily ("LI PROMISES CONTINUITY IN POLICIES," A1, 3/15/97)

PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Cui Tiankai said on March 13 that some people in the US Congress, who know little about the reality of Hong Kong or about the PRC's Hong Kong policy, have recently approved a bill that gratuitously questions whether the PRC will comply with the Sino-British Joint Declaration after July 1. The bill incites suspicion about the PRC's sincerity and determination to implement relevant policies and implies that the US would take action in case Hong Kong's high level of autonomy and US political and economic interests are damaged after July 1. According to Cui, the PRC is opposed to and will by no means condone such a wrongful move or gross interference in the PRC's internal affairs. People's Daily ("CHINA OPPOSES US BILL ON HONG KONG ISSUE," Beijing, A4, 3/14/97)

4. PRC-Japanese Security Consultation

People's Liberation Army Daily ("CHINA AND JAPAN HOLD SECURITY CONSULTATION," Tokyo, A5, 3.17/97) reported that the PRC and Japan held consultations in Tokyo on March 15 regarding security in the Asia-Pacific region and the implications of the Japanese-US Security Treaty. Wang Yi, head of the PRC delegation and director of Asian Affairs Division of the Foreign Ministry, expressed the PRC's concern over the strengthening of military cooperation between Japan and the US. During talks described as frank and in-depth, Wang urged Japan to act with caution and to refrain from going against the tide of history. Kato Ryozo, head of the Japanese delegation and director-general of the Asian Affairs Division of the Foreign Ministry, said that in view of historical lessons, Japan will never seek to become a military power nor will it develop offensive armaments. He said Japan will abide by its "defensive only" policy and play an international role primarily in economic and cultural fields. He pledged that there will be no change in the scope of the application of the Japanese-US Security Treaty.

5. US Military Bases in Japan

Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto had called an emergency meeting with his parliamentary allies to discuss a looming row with Okinawa over the future of US military bases there, China Daily ("EMERGENCY MEETING ON US BASES IN OKINAWA," Tokyo, A11, 3/14/97) reported. It said, the Okinawa issue will figure in greatly during a flurry of Japanese diplomatic activity with the US over the next two months. As scheduled, US Vice President Al Gore will visit Japan on March 23-24 and Hashimoto will visit Washington in late April. It added that US Defense Secretary William Cohen is also likely to come to Tokyo this month.

6. US Military Force in East Asia

China Daily ("TIME FOR US MILITARY TO LEAVE E. ASIA," A4, 3/19/97) said that America's military presence in East Asia is one of the legacies of the Cold War. The article written by Dr. Wu Xinbo, an associate professor with the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, pointed out that with growing economies, countries in East Asia are confident of their abilities to safeguard their security. They are not willing to stake their own security and destiny on the US, a country that is notorious for power politics and its self-appointed role as a world policeman, Wu said. America's military presence should have been phased out with the end of the Cold War, the article concluded.

7. Security Regime in East Asia

Conditions to create a formal and complete security regime in East Asia have not been ripe, Qin Yongchun, a Research Professor with the Center for Peace and Development Studies, said. In his article "Security Situation in East Asia," which was published by Peace and Development (Quarterly) in its first issue of 1997, Qin placed East Asia's security situation in two contexts: the relative instability in Northeast Asia caused by the five US-led security alliances, and the relative stability in southeast Asia provided by the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Qin spoke highly of ARF as a means for ASEAN countries to balance and restrict greater powers. Meanwhile, he pointed out, it is not realistic to expect too much from the ARF because it still has many defects.

8. PRC Fast Neutron Reactor Power Plant

The PRC plans to complete its first fast neutron reactor power plant in Beijing by the end of the century, Jie Fang Daily ("BEIJING TO BUILD FAST NEUTRON REACTOR POWER," Beijing, A5, 3/7/97) reported. According to the report, the experimental fast reactor power plant will be built at a cost of 860 million PRC yuan. The reactor, said to be more efficient and safer than conventional nuclear plant, and with a higher utilization rate of uranium, will develop a thermal energy power output of 65 MWt and an electrical power of 20 MWe. Although the generating capacity is small, the plant will provide the technical basis for the country's first commercial fast reactor power plant, Yang Tianlu, vice-president of the China Institute of Atomic Energy and general director of the PRC's fast reactor project said. He said that it will sharply raise the utilization rate of uranium, from around 1 percent by the existing pressurized water reactors to 60 or 70 percent in the new fast reactors.

9. PRC Policy on Tibet

Tibet has a significant status in PRC efforts to protect national security and fight separatism, PRC Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen said when he met with all deputies from the Tibet Autonomous Region to the Eighth National People's Congress, which is in its fifth session in the PRC capital. "Traditional culture has been well protected in Tibet, which also enjoys social stability. The attacks and slanders hurled by some Western media are completely groundless," he said. Qian added that "Tibet, as an important frontier defense in Southwest China, has a significant role in the struggle of safeguarding the motherland and opposing separatism." China Daily ("TIBET VITAL TO DEFENSE OF COUNTRY," A1, 3/6/97)

IV. Official Documents

1. US Presidential Determination on KEDO Contribution

[Ed. note: Following is the official text of the presidential determination on the US contribution to KEDO financing reported in the first item of the US section, above.]

March 18, 1997 Presidential Determination No. 97-20


SUBJECT: U.S. Contribution to KEDO: Certification Under the Heading "Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining and Related Programs" in Title II of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1997 (as enacted in Public Law 104-208)

Pursuant to the requirements set forth under the heading "Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining and Related Programs" in title II of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1997 (as enacted in Public Law 104-208), I certify that:

(1)(A) the United States is taking steps to assure that progress is made on the implementation of the January 1, 1992, Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the implementation of the North-South dialogue, and (B) North Korea is complying with the other provisions of the Agreed Framework between North Korea and the United States and with the Confidential Minute;

(2) North Korea is cooperating fully in the canning and safe storage of all spent fuel from its graphite-moderated nuclear reactors and that such canning and safe storage is scheduled to be completed by the end of fiscal year 1997; and

(3) North Korea has not significantly diverted assistance provided by the United States for purposes for which it was not intended.

You are authorized and directed to report this determination to the Congress and to publish it in the Federal Register.


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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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