The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Monday, April 28, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan IV. People's Republic of China V. Russian Federation

I. United States

1. DPRK Famine Situation

Reuters ("CANNIBALISM FEARS IN HUNGRY NORTH KOREA," Beijing, 4/28/97) reported that hunger in the DPRK has become so severe that some peasants now keep their dead in their homes until the corpses began to putrefy before burying them, for fear the bodies would be dug up and eaten by other hungry farmers, according to several Chinese residents. Visitors to the PRC's border with the DPRK said Monday that peasants were selling clothes for food and were sneaking into the PRC to steal animal feed. "The situation in North Korea is very bad. There is only corn to eat and very little of that," said one woman who recently visited her sister in the border town of Yanji. But many North Koreans are so terrified of official retribution they dare not cross into the PRC even though the shallow river that marks the border in part of northern Jilin province can be waded easily. Chinese and ethnic Koreans told recent visitors that DPRK spies based in the PRC round up those desperate enough to sneak across the border and force them to return, where punishment can be brutal and swift. "The North Korean police put a metal wire through the nose of some people who escape," one Yanji resident was quoted as saying. "It's like a brand that marks them out." "We can hear the screams of children when they put the metal wire through their nose because they do it as soon as they cross into North Korea and the border is very close," the Yanji resident added.

Reuters ("CANNIBALISM FEARS IN HUNGRY NORTH KOREA," Beijing, 4/28/97) reported that Catherine Bertini, executive director of the UN World Food Program (WFP), issued a statement in Rome calling for emergency help for the DPRK to prevent "one of the biggest humanitarian disasters of our lifetime." "The countdown to famine has begun. The window of opportunity to avert famine is rapidly closing and could already have closed. The real issue facing us is not whether there will be famine but how many people will actually die," Bertini said. "Clearly the suffering has already begun in some parts of the country where we have already detected serious malnourishment among children," she added. The WFP launched a US$95.5 million appeal this month to buy 203,000 tons of emergency food for the DPRK, but said a week ago that it has received just one-third of the money requested and that the DPRK needs 1.3 million tons of additional food to meet its basic needs in 1997. The WFP estimated there was only enough food to feed the country until June. DPRK authorities have said their food supplies will run out at the end of April. Yet, on Monday, the DPRK Red Cross again rejected a proposal by its ROK counterpart for talks on speeding up food aid.

Reuters ("U.S. WOULD TAKE N.KOREA FOOD APPEAL SERIOUSLY," Washington, 4/28/97) reported that US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said Monday that the US would consider "very, very seriously" any new UN food appeal for the DPRK. Burns said the US has not been asked for any more food aid by the UN World Food Program (WFP) beyond the US$25 million donated in response to two previous appeals. Two ships carrying US grain in response to an earlier appeal are due to arrive in the DPRK port of Nampo May 4 and 12, Burns noted. Asked about reports that Japan and the ROK, among other countries, have not responded to a WFP appeal several weeks ago for US$95.5 million in food aid, Burns said: "We do hope that other countries will respond favorably ... we think that one ought to separate politics from humanitarian need." Burns did not interpret WFP director Catherine Bertini's statement Monday calling for large scale emergency aid to the DPRK as a formal new appeal.

2. DPRK Seen Undermining Food Aid Appeals

Thomas Wagner wrote for the Associated Press ("N. KOREA JEOPARDIZING FAMINE AID," Tokyo, 4/27/97) that the DPRK "appears to be its own worst enemy" in its efforts to gain international assistance to cope with its increasingly severe two-year-old food shortage. In addition to continuing to spend large amounts of money on its military, the report noted that, just since the most recent UN World Food Program appeal for US$95 million in food aid on April 2, the DPRK has snubbed the US and the ROK by adding new conditions to acceptance of the four-party peace talks proposal; enraged Japan by sending a ship loaded with illegal drugs into one of its ports, apparently in search of money; and spent millions of dollars to renovate a mausoleum of the late President Kim Il-sung and hold elaborate celebrations in the capital. Dean R. Hirsch, president of World Vision International, a relief agency based in California, said that on his recent visit to the DPRK he was surprised by preparations in Pyongyang for a celebration to mark the anniversary of the founding of its military. "I could not help but wonder how this major event would be seen by the people in light of the scarcity of food in the country," he said.

3. US President Makes New DPRK Overture

Robert Burns wrote for the Associated Press ("N. KOREA JEOPARDIZING FAMINE AID," Washington, 4/25/97) that on Friday US President Bill Clinton implored the DPRK to agree to enter peace talks with the ROK. At a White House news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, Clinton said the DPRK was benefiting from the 1994 agreement to scrap its nuclear weapons program in exchange for energy assistance from the West. "They ought to go the next step now and resolve all their differences with South Korea in a way that will permit the rest of us not only to give emergency food aid -- because people are terribly hungry -- but to work with them in restructuring their entire economy and helping to make it more functional again, and giving a brighter and better future to the people of North Korea," he said. Clinton said the DPRK's refusal to agree to the four-party peace talks proposal last week was a "big disappointment" to him. "I implore the North Koreans to return to the talks," he said. "We have given them every opportunity to come with honor and to be treated with fairness," he added. "And it is time to bring this long divide to an end, as well as to alleviate the misery of so many of their people."

4. Hwang Report Given to ROK Legislators

The Associated Press ("REPORT RELEASED ON DEFECTOR," Seoul, 4/26/97) reported that Kwon Young-hae, head of the ROK's Agency for National Security Planning, briefed ROK legislators Saturday on its interrogation of DPRK defector Hwang Jang-yop. The ROK's Yonhap news agency said that Kwon told the legislators that the ROK government is quizzing Hwang about his claim that the DPRK already has nuclear weapons. Hwang, the highest-ranking person to flee the DPRK since the 1950-53 Korean War, reportedly wrote in a secret report in August that the DPRK already has nuclear and chemical weapons capable of "scorching" the ROK and Japan. "Because Mr. Hwang wrote the report after deciding to defect, we need to verify its contents," Kwon told the legislators. The US State Department has doubted Hwang's claim, saying the DPRK's nuclear program was frozen and monitored under its 1994 agreement with the US, although it was believed to have had enough plutonium to put together a nuclear device before the freeze. However, US officials have indicated Hwang may nonetheless have important information about North Korea's nuclear activities. The DPRK says its nuclear program has nothing to do with weapons development, and has called Hwang "a crazy man sick with paranoia."

5. DPRK Ex-Premier Reemerges

The Associated Press ("NKOREA PREMIER, THOUGHT DEAD, ISN'T," Tokyo, 4/25/97) reported that DPRK Premier Kang Song-san, who was reported dead last month, viewed a military parade in Pyongyang on Friday, according to the DPRK's official Korean Central Radio. The reported appearance was Kang's first in public since Jan. 1, 1996, according to Tokyo's Radiopress agency, which monitored the DPRK broadcast. Kang was among several officials who attended the parade in Pyongyang marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of North Korea's military, according to the report. No title was attached to his name, however, so it remains unclear if he still holds his post as premier. In February the DPRK named Deputy Premier Hong Song-nam as acting premier, and Seoul's national daily Dong-A Ilbo, quoting government sources, reported in early March that Kang died Feb. 22.

6. New DPRK Defection

The Associated Press ("N. KOREA CIVILIAN DEFECTS TO SOUTH," Seoul, 4/26/97) reported that a DPRK civilian defected to the ROK on Sunday through the heavily guarded demilitarized zone, according to the ROK Defense Ministry. Chang Young-kwan, 38, was found by soldiers who were patrolling the border near Kosung in the east coast, 105 miles northeast of Seoul, at 4 a.m. Chang is being held for questioning, the ministry said.

7. PRC-Russia Relations

The Associated Press ("CHINA PRESIDENT HEADS HOME," Moscow, 4/26/97) reported that PRC President Jiang Zemin flew home Saturday after a five-day visit to Russia during which he cemented ties and signed a joint agreement on reducing troops along the PRC's northern border. Both sides hailed the trip as another stride forward in the warming relations between the neighboring countries after decades of friction during the Soviet era. A highlight of Jiang's trip was Thursday, when he joined Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the presidents of three former Soviet republics in Central Asia -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan -- in signing an agreement that limits the number of troops and weapons the sides can keep along their 4,000-mile border. In a move seen as something of a slap at NATO and the US, Jiang and Yeltsin also signed a declaration earlier in the week pledging to seek a "multipolar world" with no dominant single force. Washington and the West assessed the agreement with caution, wary of an emerging partnership between two giant nations. "As long as they are not making an agreement that is designed to somehow undermine the security or the prosperity or the integrity and freedom of any of their neighbors, I think it is a positive thing," President Clinton said Friday.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Ex-Premier Reemerges

According to an official DPRK report monitored in the ROK, Kang Song-san, believed to have been sacked as the DPRK's premier, on Friday made his first public appearance in nearly 16 months. Kang, 66, attended a massive military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of the DPRK's armed forces and the 85th birthday of the late president Kim Il-sung. The report did not specify Kang's title, however, making it impossible to confirm whether he remained premier. DPRK leader Kim Jong-il has yet to formally take over top state posts from his father, but appeared at the parade as the supreme military commander. Kang, whose last reported public activity was on Jan. 1, 1996, was widely believed to have been dismissed as premier in late February when the DPRK's official media referred to Hong Song-nam as acting premier. Kang's name was also absent from a list of members commissioned to prepare for the funeral of the then armed forces minister, Choe Kwang, who died in February. The mystery surrounding Kang's status, the defection of the DPRK's top ideologue Hwang Jang-yop, and the deaths of Choe and first vice armed forces minister Kim Kwang-jin, have combined to fuel speculation about the DPRK's top hierarchy. But there has been little concrete evidence to suggest a power struggle in the famine-hit country as it continued wooing international food aid while engaging the US and the ROK in a tense duel over peace on the divided Korean peninsula. (Korea Times, "N.KOREAN PREMIER KANG MAKES 1ST PUBLIC APPERANCE IN 16 MONTHS," 04/27/97)

2. Japan Prime Minister's View of DPRK Situation

Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto ruled out more emergency food aid Friday for the DPRK despite suggestions it could lure the starving country into peace talks with the ROK. Japan gave 150,000 tons of emergency food aid to the DPRK last year but has recently resisted calls to release its own surplus rice to the famine-stricken country. "We certainly are aware of the situation in North Korea that requires humanitarian food aid," he said in a joint press conference with US President Bill Clinton. "At the same time, if we speak of humanitarian circumstances, there are certain things we would like the North Koreans to do for us," he said. He cited Japanese-born women married to DPRK men who he said are barred from contacting their families and noted "a high possibility" that Japanese who mysteriously disappeared "were abducted by the North Koreans." Earlier this year in Japan, a DPRK agent who defected to the ROK reportedly testified in the case of a 13-year-old girl who went missing in 1977. Both Clinton and Hashimoto urged the DPRK to accept a plan for historic four-party peace talks aimed at replacing the fraying armistice that ended the 1950-53 shooting war between the two Koreas. Clinton said "it was a big disappointment" when the DPRK failed to commit to peace talks after preliminary discussions in New York last week. US officials have tacitly urged Japan to offer more food aid to the DPRK, and Clinton was expected to enlist Hashimoto in efforts to get the talks going. But Clinton said Japan had already contributed greatly to security in Korea by joining the Korea Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). (Korea Times, "US, JAPAN URGE NK TO ACCEPT 4-WAY PEACE TALKS," 04/27/97)

3. US Defense Department View of DPRK Situation

Kurt Campbell, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia and the Pacific, stated last Wednesday that Hwang Jang-yop's statement that Kim Jong-il has sided with the DPRK's military in pursuing a "war option" has concerned the Pentagon, which wants to know more about his assertion. US intelligence, however, has detected no change in the posture of the DPRK army, which already has more than half of its 1.1 million-man army massed along the border with the south. Campbell said the US has received initial debriefings from the ROK on its talks with Hwang and expects soon to directly question him. "The statements that there still are individuals and groups in North Korea, particularly the military, that still believe that the best and only way out for North Korea is war, is the issue that probably we have looked at most carefully and that concerns us most," Campbell stated. Campbell also stated that the defector would be questioned about nuclear weapons but that Hwang's knowledge of its nuclear capabilities was likely to based on hearsay. Campbell also noted that Hwang's statements on every issue were "almost precisely identical" to the positions the ROK government takes. Because of Hwang's status within the Korean Workers' Party, the US was most interested in learning from him about the DPRK's secretive court politics, and particularly the relationship between Kim Jong-il and the military. According to Campbell, two written statements made by Hwang "contain no new or startling information in them except to the extent that he suggests that there is a schism at the top of the Korean leadership and that Kim, the Dear Leader, has sided more with the military and still contemplates the so-called war option." Hwang's statements come on top of other evidence of Kim backing the generals in a split between the party and the military, including a speech by Kim in December in which he reportedly upbraided the party for losing its revolutionary vigor and held up the military as a model. US State Department officials in contact with DPRK officials at the working level in New York also report that there are tensions between the military and the Foreign Ministry, Campbell said. "They've said that occasionally the tensions are quite acute, and they believe they are not practiced, and they are not for show," he said. However, he said that, except for Hwang's defection, Washington has seen no signs of political turmoil in the DPRK. (Korea Times, "PENTAGON CONCERNED ABOUT NK WAR OPTION," 04/25/97)

4. New ROK Food Aid to DPRK

The ROK government has decided to give an additional US$10 million to the DPRK despite the failure of the recent New York talks. The decision was made in a closed policy consultative meeting on unification and security measures presided over by Deputy Prime Minister Kwon O-kie. The ROK, the DPRK, and the US met in New York last week to set definitive dates for the proposed four- party talks to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula, but did not reach any conclusion. Officials who attended the New York meeting said that the DPRK continued to push for considerable developments in its relations with the US before they will attend the four-party talks. The DPRK also requested assurances for additional food aid before the preliminary talks begin. The latest aid package of US$10 million is the ROK 's second major offering to the DPRK in response to the United Nations' third appeal. International relief organizations have predicted famine in the Communist country if aid does not arrive within the next month. The ROK sent US$6 million early this month to the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs to purchase a corn-soybean mix for DPRK children. The latest aid will reportedly be used to purchase corn, for adults as well as children. (Korea Herald, "GOVERNMENT DECIDES TO EXTEND FURTHER $10 MILLION IN AID NORTH," 04/26/97)

5. DPRK-Taiwan Nuclear Waste Deal

The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), composed of 27 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members, expressed understanding for the ROK's efforts to stop the shipment of nuclear waste from Taiwan to the DPRK. The step was taken in the agency's 94th steering committee meeting at the OECD headquarters in Paris on April 24-25. The state-run Taiwan Power Company signed a deal with the DPRK in January to transfer up to 200,000 drums of radioactive waste, an action which provoked strong criticism from the ROK. Earlier, the US, Japan, and European countries called on Taiwan to shelve the plan, responding to the ROK's diplomatic efforts. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a world nuclear watchdog, and the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) also took similar positions against Taiwan's plan, which runs counter to international practices. Noting that the Korean peninsula belongs to a "single ecosystem," the ROK claimed that it is inappropriate for a rich country like Taiwan to transfer nuclear waste to the DPRK, a densely populated country suffering from economic hardships. Upon facing international pressure, Taiwan apparently faltered in pushing ahead with its plan, but has not yet withdrawn it. (Korea Times, "NEA CONCERNED ABOUT TAIWAN'S N-WASTE SHIPMENT," 04/27/97)

6. New DPRK Defection

A DPRK fisherman defected to the ROK through the heavily guarded Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Sunday morning, the ROK Defense Ministry announced. Identified as Chang Young-kwan, 38, the man was found at 4:00am by ROK soldiers patrolling the eastern section of the DMZ near Kosong in Kangwon Province. Now under protective custody, Chang is being questioned over the motives and circumstances of his defection. He was the first defector to the South since the DPRK's top ideologue, Hwang Jang-yop, arrived in Seoul on April 20, 67 days after he sought asylum at a ROK mission in Beijing. A Yonhap report from Kosong, in the meantime, quoted military sources as saying that Chang told investigators that he became disgusted with the hard-line regime in Pyongyang, adding that his family suffered hardships because of his father's former career, according to the report. He also mentioned widespread discontent among DPRK residents over food shortages. He reportedly told investigators that the hardline regime in Pyongyang had launched an ideological campaign to defame and slander Hwang, calling him a spy. (Korea Herald, "NORTH KOREAN FISHERMAN DEFECTS THROUGH DMZ," 04/28/97)

7. ROK-Japan Fishery Pact

Working-level officials from the ROK and Japan will hold a two-day meeting on revising a bilateral fishery agreement in Tokyo beginning Wednesday. During the second round of fishery talks with Japan this year, the ROK will reiterate that a revised accord should respect current fishing practices as much as possible and be in line with pacts to be signed with the PRC. The ROK delegation will also repeat its stance that the revision of a fishery accord should be preceded by an agreement on the boundaries of the two countries' exclusive economic zones (EEZs). The Japanese side, however, is expected to call for the work to rewrite the fishery pact to be completed by the end of this year, separate from progress in EEZ talks. (Korea Herald, "KOREA, JAPAN TO MEET ON REVISING FISHERY PACT," 04/28/97)

III. Japan

1. Japan's Food Aid to the DPRK

The Sankei Shimbun ("JAPAN MAINTAINS CAREFUL STANCE TOWARD DPRK," 3, 4/21/97) reported that LDP Director General Kouichi Kato said in a TV news program on April 21 that Japan's decision on food aid to the DPRK should be made according to the status of the four-party peace proposal and in consultation with the ROK through the United Nations.

2. Japan Prime Minister's View of DPRK Situation

The Sankei Shimbun ("PRIME MINISTER HASHIMOTO TO KEEP CAREFUL EYE ON DPRK," 4, 4/21/97) reported that on April 20 Japan's Prime Minister Ryutaro said that given that the DPRK is calm and that the ROK is not overreacting to the PRC's involvement, the Hwang defection will not adversely affect the situation on the Korean Peninsula. He also said that the defection was on schedule, suggesting that the ROK notified Hashimoto of the date of the defection in advance. The report quoted Japanese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hiroshi Hashimoto as saying that the Japanese government recognizes that the concerned parties have been dealing carefully with the situation according to international convention. The report quoted an unidentified government source as saying that the Japanese government expects the ROK to provide important information on how long the DPRK regime may survive, on the status of the development of the DPRK's Rodong missile, on the DPRK's covert action against Japan, and on the status of Japanese civilians suspected of having been abducted by the DPRK.

3. Ruling Parties Agree on Security Matters

The Nikkei Shimbun ("JAPANESE RULING PARTIES AGREE ON OKINAWA ISSUE AND DELEGATION TO DPRK FOR SECURITY TALKS," Evening Edition 1, 4/17/97) reported that the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the New Party Sakigake agreed April 17 to promote Japan-US consultations on rearrangement of the US bases in Okinawa and redeployment the US forces in the Asia-Pacific region. The three ruling parties also agreed to send a delegation to the DPRK, the ROK, the PRC and Russia to promote security dialogue. With regard to the Okinawa issue, although the SDP had insisted on US troop cuts in Okinawa while the LDP opposed such cuts, in the three-party talks, the SDP only demanded that the government promote Japan-US consultations on US forces in the region according to the Japan-US Joint Statement on Security. With regard to sending a delegation to the DPRK, the ruling parties will decide on the timing of a meeting according to how the DPRK responds to the four-party peace proposal.

4. Editorial Calls for DPRK Domestic Reform

A Nikkei Shimbun editorial ("NIKKEI EDITORIAL CALLS ON DPRK LEADERS TO REFORM REGIME," 2, 4/18/97) called on DPRK leaders to reform their regime to solve their food shortage problem. First, the editorial suggested that the DPRK reveal more information on the methods of distributing food aid. The editorial pointed out that foreign food aid may still go only to the military, and suggested that food distribution be checked by international organizations or donor countries. Second, the editorial pointed out that the DPRK food shortage is due not only to the climate, but also to the regime's failed agricultural policy, and suggested that the DPRK reform its economic policies to win more support from foreign countries. Third, the editorial stated that despite their recognition of the importance of humanitarian aid, Japanese are especially critical of the DPRK's suspected abduction of Japanese civilians, and suggested that the DPRK strive to clear the suspicion.

5. Nuclear Accident Repercussions

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("JAPANESE GOVERNMENT CONSIDERING ABOLISHMENT OF POWER REACTOR AND NUCLEAR FUEL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (DONEN)," 1, 4/22/97) and the Daily Yomiuri ("GOVERNMENT MULLS PLAN TO ABOLISH DONEN," 1, 4/22/97) reported that government sources revealed April 21 that the government is now considering abolishing it's state-sponsored nuclear development corporation, Donen, by privatizing almost all operations. Operational control of Monju, Japan's first experimental fast breeder reactor, would be shifted to a new public corporation that would operate on a much smaller scale than Donen. Monju will be closed after a plant that extracts and reprocesses plutonium from the spent fuel of light-water reactors begins operation in Rokkashomura in 2003. According to the plan, Fugen, an advanced thermal converter reactor in Tsuruga and the site of last week's tritium leakage, would be permanently shut down. In addition, the government would continue to only finance research into nuclear energy production and sell other rights and interests to private companies.

IV. People's Republic of China

1. DPRK Refugees

On April 22, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Cui Tiankai refuted media reports that claimed refugees from the DPRK were pouring into the PRC. He said such reports are "groundless." He added that the PRC was very concerned about the DPRK's grain shortages and expressed his deepest sympathies. "The PRC and the DPRK are good friends and neighbors, and the PRC has been providing various kinds of aid to DPRK in recent years," Cui said. The PRC provided 120,000 tons of food to the DPRK last year and recently decided to send another 70,000 tons of food to the country. China Daily ("NO DPRK REFUGEES, SAY FM," A1, 4/23/97)

2. PRC-Russian Relations

A new style of state-to-state relationship between the PRC and Russia will serve the fundamental interests of both countries and peoples and is conducive to peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world, PRC President Jiang Zemin said upon his arrival in Moscow on April 22 for a five-day visit. The new relationship, high-lighted by friendship, equality, trust, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development, and instilled with good neighborliness, is a positive contribution to building a new international order, Jiang said. During his visit, Jiang said, he will participate in a full exchange of views with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on bilateral relations and major international issues of common concern. Jiang and Yeltsin and the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will also sign the Agreement on Mutual Reduction of Military Forces in the Border Areas. Wen Hui Daily ("JIANG BEGINS HIS VISIT TO RUSSIA," Moscow, A1 and A4, 4/23/97)

Recently, Jie Fang Daily published a series of comments written by Li Wen on Sino-Russian cooperation. In an article titled "Strengthening Cooperation to Improve International Status," (Jie Fang Daily, A4, 4/19/97), the author said that the unjust treatment that the PRC and Russia received in the international arena prompted their cooperation, despite rancor in their history. On April 20 (Jie Fang Daily, "ESTABLISHING STRATEGIC COOPERATION BETWEEN THE PRC AND RUSSIA CONDUCIVE TO STABILIZE RELATIONS AMONG MAJOR POWERS," A4), Li said that with the strengthening of Chinese-Russian cooperation, western countries will pay more attention to their relations with the PRC and Russia. The author said strategic coordination between the PRC and Russia is conducive to a stable international situation and the formation of a multilateral structure. He especially pointed out that following Russia, Europe may become the second power which will establish a "partnership" with the PRC. However, in his third article of the series (Jie Fang Daily, "SINO-RUSSIAN COOPERATION NOT TO SEEK CONFRONTATION WITH WEST," A4, 4/22/97), the author said that, given their fundamental strategies and the international environment, the PRC and Russia are not forming an alliance and do not intend to confront the West.

3. Qian Qichen to Visit the US

At the invitation of the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, PRC Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen will pay an official visit to the US April 28-30, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Cui Tiankai announced on April 22 at a news briefing. During Qian's visit in the US, he will meet with US President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, and hold talks with Secretary Albright, the spokesman said. Jie Fang Daily ("QIAN QICHEN WILL VISIT THE US," Beijing, A4, 4/23/97)

4. US Sales of F-16 to Taiwan

On April 16, the PRC called on the US not to sell its F-16 fighter planes to Taiwan. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang said at a press briefing in Beijing that the PRC requires the US Government to take effective measures immediately to rectify its wrongful decision to sell F-16 fighter planes to Taiwan, and to return to the correct track of the three Sino-US joint communiques so as not to create any new damage to Sino-US relations. Shen said the US, disregarding the PRC's protests and representations, proceeded to put into effect its wrongful decision made in 1992 to sell 150 F-16 fighter planes to the Taiwan authorities. People's Daily ("US URGED TO SCRAP F-16 FIGHTER SALES," Beijing, A1, 4/17/97)

5. US Military Base in Okinawa

The Japanese Upper House passed a bill into law on April 17 which will enable the Hashimoto Government to extend military base contracts with the US. Commenting on this event, an article in People's Liberation Army Daily ("WHY JAPAN PASSES BASE LAW SO HURRY," A4, 4/19/97) said that it is the pressure from the US that forced Japan to approve the bill. According to the article, visits by important American military and political officials to Japan recently played a key role on the approval of the bill.

V. Russian Federation

1. RF Defense Minister's Visit to PRC

Nezavisimaia Gazeta's Vadim Solovyov ("RODIONOV'S CHINESE METAMORPHOSIS," Moscow, 1, 4/17/97) reported on RF Defense Minister Igor Rodionov's visit to the PRC. In the author's opinion, the scandal caused earlier this year by Igor Rodionov's statements about a "potential threat from China" can be now considered forgotten because in Beijing he spoke "exclusively about 'strategic partnership' with China as opposed .... to the NATO march to the East." Such partnership is expected to be paid for by RF support to the PRC in its human rights confrontation with the West. "Actually, on behalf of democratic Russia the shooting down of students in the center of the Chinese capital in 1989 .... has been approved, the attack against dissenters, the oppression of multimillion non-indigenous nationalities .... have been supported .... The 1950s-1970s phraseology came afresh to one's mind upon learning about the high-ranking Russian official's commitments to take the side of China and North Korea in case of an 'armed conflict emerging' on the Korean Peninsula. A hint at a nuclear confrontation with the USA also sounded unequivocally." The visit "can be seen as a deep range reconnaissance mission prior to CPC CC General Secretary Jiang Zemin's forthcoming visit to Moscow."

Nezavisimaia Gazeta ("RODIONOV'S VISIT OVER," Moscow, 2, 4/19/97) reported that RF Defense Minister Igor Rodionov returned to Moscow after his visit to the PRC where he met with PRC Central Military Council Chairman Liu Huazing, Defense Minister Chi Haotian and other political and military leaders. An understanding on the necessity of partnership oriented towards strategic interaction in the 21st century was reached and some specific problems of military technical cooperation were discussed.

Segodnya's Aleksandr Koretskiy ("RUSSIAN POLITICIANS NEGOTIATE BETTER WITH THE CHINESE THAN WITH EACH OTHER," Moscow, 1, 4/21/97) reported that during his PRC visit RF Defense Minister Igor Rodionov successfully negotiated the text of the multilateral agreement between the PRC and the RF, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on troop reduction in the areas adjacent to their common 7 thousand kilometers long border. The agreement is to be signed during PRC Chairman Jiang Zemin's visit to the RF starting on 4/22/97. Also it is believed that in Beijing Igor Rodionov negotiated the second document to be signed at the Moscow summit, namely a political declaration "on the common views and positions regarding the development of the future structure of the world" which, although possibly without mentioning the NATO expansion, is to carry a quite clear message. In his direct line of duty RF Defense Minister did not sign any bilateral documents, but the density of his meeting schedule was unprecedented. Making for the first time a lengthy presentation at the PRC PLA Academy of Military Sciences he voiced "obviously his personal thoughts" criticizing in particular a double- standards of the UN peace-keeping operations and the Western policies towards the PRC, especially those concerning human rights. New arms delivery contracts were neither planned nor concluded. Igor Rodionov said RF arms deliveries to the PRC are of purely defensive nature and beneficial to strengthening of the regional security. He made a proposal to consider a feasibility of multilateral consultations on confidence building measures between all Asia Pacific countries concerned, but PRC top military regarded the initiative "rather neutrally."

2. RF Views of PRC Policies

Segodnya ("RUSSIAN POPULAR TALES ABOUT THE MIDDLE EMPIRE," Moscow, 2, 4/7/97) published a half page article by Evgeniy Bajanov, Director, Institute of Contemporary International Problems, on relations between Russia and the PRC. Topics of the article included: "Pluses and Minuses of Chinese Reforms," "A Partner, Not An Ally" and "'Chinese Menace'." First, the author analyzed the Chinese reforms experience, and concluded that future prospects are still unclear for the PRC, where the capitalist social relations, if they continue to develop rapidly, are bound to collide with the authoritarian Communist system. He also questioned the applicability of the model to conditions in the RF. Secondly, noting that "some patriots" wish for an anti-Western alliance between the RF and the PRC, the author considered a Moscow-Beijing "axis" unreal and harmful both because the PRC doesn't welcome this idea and because the RF in that case will be globally isolated and will have to go into a senseless confrontation together with the PRC against all the developed countries. Instead, the author argued in favor of rapprochement with the PRC as a means of promoting multipolarity. Finally, the author also noted that "other patriots" perceive the PRC as the "major menace to our future" due to its "quite expansion" into the RF Far East. Those anti-PRC sentiments are further strengthened by "radical democrats" who criticize its "reactionary" regime and put forward an idea of an RF alliance with the West and Japan versus the PRC. This "absurd idea," the author said, is fraught with calamities for the RF. The author downplayed RF-PRC border problems and, while admitting a hypothetical threat as a result of various scenarios presented in the article, urged that the RF exploit further the positive results already accumulated in relations between the two "giants attracted to each other by the economic interest" and "united by the aspiration to prevent a boundless United States' domination in the world."

Segodnya's Aleksandr Chudodeyev ("THUNDER IS LOUD, BUT STILL NO RAIN," Moscow, 4, 4/12/97) analyzed the present relations of the PRC with the US and other Western countries, and concluded that the PRC has managed to avoid being subjected to a US-led "diplomatic blockade." The PRC pursues a two-prong policy: to "play European and Russian cards against the US" and to "lobby among US policy- makers" through US business interests. Comparing that approach with RF political rhetoric devoid of any economic incentives, the author quoted a PRC journalist as saying: "The thunder is loud, but there's still no rain." Moreover, in its enthusiasm about a "mythical axis of Minsk-Moscow-Beijing and possibly Paris," the RF doesn't notice some "double-dealing" on the part of its Eastern "strategic partner" which, in the author's opinion, includes its recent support to Ukraine's sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula and Sebastopol and its expressed intention to buy US$3 billion worth of French armament. The author argued that the PRC skillfully traded as yet unsubstantiated support of RF anti-NATO sentiments for many benefits it has already obtained, primarily in the PRC-RF border area.

3. Japan-US Defense Arrangements

Segodnya ("TAIWAN ISLAND AND SPRATLY REEFS UNDER WASHINGTON'S PROTECTION," Moscow, 4, 4/12/97) reported that Japan's Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto on Thursday made it clear that the renewed US-Japan defense agreement is to cover the regional tension spots including Taiwan and Spratly Isles. Taiwan Foreign Minister John Chang welcomed the agreement, under which he said Taiwan's "strategic position becomes the international community's concern."

4. RF-Japan Official Visits

Segodnya's Vasiliy Golovnin ("SO FAR THEY DECIDED NOT TO SEND 'VARYAG' TO JAPAN," Moscow, 4, 4/8/97) commented on recent visits to Japan made by RF parliamentarians from different political factions and on the upcoming visit there by Minister Without Portfolio Yevgeniy Yasin. All those visits being on invitations from Japan's Foreign Ministry, Japan "seems to make its range of contacts in Moscow as wide as possible," notwithstanding even the recent incident of "neglectful attitude" on the part of the now dismissed RF First Vice Premier Viktor Ilyushin. Early this May Japan's Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda will visit Moscow to talk with RF Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov and RF President Boris Yeltsin, to discuss RF Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin's visit to Japan this summer and to discuss as yet unrevealed RF proposals on joint economic development of the Southern Kuril Islands. In June Japan is to be visited by RF Defense Minister Igor Rodionov and a ship of RF Navy, the first one since the end of the 19th century.

5. Japan's Nuclear Radiation Hazard

Segodnya ("REPENTANCE," Moscow, 4, 4/18/97) reported that Japan's nuclear energy development and nuclear fuel handling corporation revealed that the country's nuclear centers have withheld from the public eleven cases of nuclear material leakage. The disclosure came after eleven employees at the Fugen reactor, 350 kilometers from Tokyo, suffered from radiation emitted by a nuclear materials leakage. Segodnya drew a parallel between that "ostrich behavior" and the Chernobyl disaster in the USSR in 1986, calling it an "international disease."

6. RF-ROK-US Anti-Aircraft Missiles Controversy

Segodnya's Ivan Shomov ("'PATRIOTS GAMES: WHAT IS GOOD FOR US PRODUCERS, GOOD FOR SEOUL AS WELL," Moscow, 4, 4/8/97) commented on US Defense Secretary William Cohen's warning made in Hawaii against a possible ROK purchase of RF S-300 anti-aircraft missiles instead of US Patriots. The author emphasized that US officials used to object against RF arms deliveries to countries hostile to the US, but this particular case concerns RF arms "to Seoul rather than to aggressive Pyongyang." In the author's words, "the Hawaii revelations of William Cohen are of a purely political nature and serve the interests of US defense industry," while the Defense Secretary's statement that the US plan not to reduce its forces even after a Korean Peninsula settlement means that "sooner or later hot and cold wars end, but the interests of the US and Pentagon are forever."

Segodnya ("MOSCOW IS JEALOUS ABOUT ARMS TRADE," Moscow, 4, 4/16/97) reported that RF Foreign Ministry representative Gennadiy Tarasov responded to US Defense Secretary William Cohen's recent negative remarks about a possible delivery of RF anti-aircraft defense missiles to the ROK by saying: "Such US approach is unacceptable to us. The Russian party expects that in such cases US partners will adhere to the free trade principle they themselves proclaim. Customers should have the right to decide which AA defense system they need. The formula for such choice is simple -- more efficiency for less price."

7. DPRK Top Political Changes

Aleksandr Platkovskiy of Izvestia ("KIM JONG-IL'S MEN MYSTERIOUSLY LEAVE THE RANKS," Moscow, 3, 4/9/97) reported that Vice Marshal Li Ha-il has "disappeared" from public view since July last year. He was responsible for strategic issues in the Defense Committee. This February Defense Minister Choi Hwang, 78, died of heart attack, and several days later his deputy Kim Hwang-chin, 69, died of an "unknown disease." At about the same time Premier Kan Sen-san was dismissed with no reasons declared. He allegedly was a proponent of a "Chinese model" of reforms. All these followed the defection of KWP CC Secretary Hwang Jang-yop. Japanese analysts believe there was an abortive coup d'etat in the DPRK, but their ROK colleagues argue that the fact is that Kim Jong-il just does not trust anybody, and Li Ha-il happened to somehow displease the DPRK leader or fell victim to slander.

8. DPRK Commemorates Kim Il-Sung

Segodnya's Ivan Shomov ("CELEBRATION THAT IS INHERENT TO JUCHE," Moscow, 4/9/97) published an article on specific features of various official ceremonies in the DPRK on the occasion of late Kim Il-sung's 85th birthday. In particular, over 600 performers from 40 countries, including the RF, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and other CIS countries, were to take part in the celebrations. Also, the DPRK Embassy in Moscow jointly with "Yedinstvo," "an organization of Russian Koreans and indigenous local fans of the regime," arranged here a memory week with a reception at the Embassy. The author noted that in the past three years, about US$10 billion have been spent in the DPRK on statues and memorials "immortalizing" Kim Il-sung, the sums being sufficient to eliminate the famine there.

9. DPRK Abstained from Three-Party Meeting

Segodnya ("DPRK DISRUPTED THE TRILATERAL MEETING," Moscow, 2, 4/21/97) reported that on 4/19/21 representatives of the DPRK did not come to the meeting with their ROK and US counterparts and simultaneously requested to hold consultations at a lower level, thus frustrating the expectations for an agreement to begin formal negotiations to officially end the state of war on the Korean Peninsula. According to a ROK representative, such DPRK tactics are intended to put pressure on its counterparts and also to make the US supply additional food aid to the DPRK.

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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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