The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Friday, May 23, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III Japan

I. United States

1. US Secretary of State on Four-Party Talks

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ("ALBRIGHT PRESS CONFERENCE AT STATE DEPT. MAY 23," USIA Transcript, 5/23/97) replied to a question as to whether the US intends to introduce any "new ideas" to "kick-start" the proposed four-party Korean peace talks. Albright stated, "Well, first of all, I think that while maybe our proposal per se has not changed, I do think that in the last months there has been some positive reaction to them -- that in the talks that took place in New York there had been agreement in principle to have these talks and now there has been a delay in finding the time. I would say that we are very much on the right track and that it is a matter of seeing what the conditions are to make sure that those talks do, in fact, take place." Referring to her upcoming meeting with ROK Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha, Albright continued, "Obviously, we are going to be talking about this. This is an issue of concern both to the South Koreans and to us because, ultimately, what both countries are looking for is stability in the Korean Peninsula. So we are just going to be, I think, discussing specifically how one can take advantage of the agreement in principle to have the talks."

2. US Secretary of State Calls for KEDO Support

AP-Dow Jones News Service ("ALBRIGHT ASKS CONGRESS TO PAY 1997 DUES TO KEDO," Washington, 5/23/97) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee on Thursday, asked the US Congress to appropriate the US$30 million dues it owes to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) for 1997. KEDO, formed in 1995 to implement the plan to freeze and ultimately dismantle the DPRK nuclear weapons program, said recently it is on the brink of bankruptcy. In spoken testimony, Albright described KEDO as a "national security bargain." "Last February I had the opportunity to visit (South) Korea. ... I returned from that visit more convinced than ever that KEDO is a national security bargain for the United States. Our contributions are helping to generate support from others that will ultimately dwarf our own," she said. The US$30 million request is part of the administration's overall foreign aid budget request for fiscal 1998. [Ed. note: for other references to KEDO from Albright's prepared statement for the subcommittee, see "US Secretary of State on Foreign Policy Needs" in the May 22 Daily Report.]

3. US Secretary of State to Visit Southeast Asia

Reuters ("ALBRIGHT TO VISIT VIETNAM AND CAMBODIA," Washington, 5/23/97) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also said Thursday during her testimony that she would visit Vietnam and Cambodia at the end of next month on her way to Hong Kong for ceremonies marking its handover from British to PRC rule on July 1. Albright said she was deeply concerned about an upsurge of violence in Cambodia, including a grenade attack in Phnom Penh on March 30, adding: "We have warned Cambodia's leaders that political violence would jeopardize international support." On her visit, she said, "I will make very clear that it is important for them to proceed down the democratic path." Her predecessor, Warren Christopher, went to Phnom Penh and Hanoi in August 1995. He opened the U.S. embassy in the Vietnamese capital and was the most senior US official to visit Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War. The first post-war US ambassador to Vietnam, Douglas "Pete" Peterson, took up his post on May 9.

4. ROK Food Aid to DPRK

The Associated Press ("KOREAS DISCUSS 40,000 TONS OF FOOD," Beijing, 5/23/97) reported that the ROK Red Cross, in talks Friday in Beijing with its DPRK counterpart, offered to send 40,000 tons of grain to the DPRK, an amount twice as large as what it has sent in the previous two years. ROK Red Cross secretary general Lee Byung-woong said that after two hours of talks the DPRK accepted the aid, and that negotiations will resume Saturday to resolve disputes on how the food will be sent and who will get it. Although Lee played down remaining disagreements as "procedural matters," the ROK is still seeking terms Pyongyang has previously rejected, including shipment of some aid through the Panmunjom crossing of the demilitarized zone and inclusion of donors' names on aid packaging. Aid sent across the demilitarized zone in marked packages would make it harder for the DPRK government, founded on an ideology of self-reliance, to conceal from its citizens that it can no longer provide for them. Friday's session opened in a friendly atmosphere, with Lee and his DPRK counterpart, Paek Yong-ho, exchanging pleasantries and shaking hands across the table for reporters. An agreement would conclude the first successful negotiations in five years between the Red Cross groups, which are both closely aligned with their hostile governments. The 40,000 tons of grains, worth US$8 million, would feed 500,000 people for half a year. UN aid organizations estimate that 4.7 million DPRK residents -- about one-fifth of the population -- are in desperate need of food, and that massive deliveries are needed now to prevent widespread famine in the months before the fall harvest.

United Press International ("S.KOREA ASKS CHANGES TO BOOST NORTH AID," Seoul, 5/23/97) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry said that ROK Red Cross officials have asked the DPRK to allow the ROK Red Cross to take part in monitoring the distribution of food aid in the DPRK, as well as to ship the aid through Panmunjom and identify aid donors on the packaging. Meanwhile, George Weber, secretary general of the International Federation of the Red Cross, advocated the route through Panmunjom as cheaper than other means of shipping, but also called on the ROK Red Cross to loosen its rules barring aid groups in the South from openly canvassing for money to finance aid for the North.

5. ROK Approves DPRK Business Venture

The Associated Press ("KOREAS ARE IN JOINT VENTURE," Seoul, 5/23/97) reported that the ROK government Friday authorized a ROK firm to enter into the first joint venture in the DPRK in two years. The ROK Ministry of National Unification said Taechang Co., the ROK's leading textile maker, will spend US$5.8 million for a plant producing 76,000 tons of bottled water a year in the DPRK. A DPRK state-run company will put up US$3.9 million for the joint venture. The Taechang deal will be the second joint venture between the two Koreas. The ROK allowed the Daewoo conglomerate to produce clothes in North Korea in 1995. The ROK government also said it would relax its ban on investment in the North enough to allow other firms to explore four other potential business deals there. The ROK lifted its half-century-old trade embargo on the DPRK after the North promised to freeze its suspected nuclear weapons program under an accord with the US in 1994. However, the ROK has since suspended major business deals, accusing the DPRK of failing to reciprocate. The move to lift this suspension was seen as an attempt by Seoul to induce Pyongyang to agree to join proposed four-party peace talks.

6. New PRC Missile Threat

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, "CHINESE MISSILE TO THREATEN U.S. BY 2000," 5/23/97), in a feature subsequently carried by the Associated Press ("PAPER: CHINA DEVELOPING NEW MISSILE," Washington, 5/23/97), reported that the PRC will soon deploy a new mobile strategic missile, with multiple warheads, capable of significantly threatening parts of the continental United States. The Washington Times said it drew the information from a US Air Force report, produced last fall by the National Air Intelligence Agency and classified as "secret," that had been "made available" to the paper. The paper quoted the Air Force report as saying that the newest generation of PRC strategic missile, known as the Dong Feng-31, "will narrow the gap between current Chinese, US and Russian ballistic missile designs." According to the Air Force report, the DF-31 missile program, after delays, is in the "late stage" of development and is expected to be deployed "about the turn of the century." The missile will have a range of about 4,960 miles, sufficient to hit targets along the entire US West Coast and in several northern Rocky Mountain states. The report also says that the missile is believed to incorporate "design aspects similar to those of current generation Russian missiles," including "use of penetration aids such as decoys or chaff" that are used to defeat missile defenses. Experts say this a sign the PRC is seeking the capability to counter a limited US national missile-defense system, should one be deployed. The Air Force report concluded: "The DF-31 ICBM will give China a major strike capability that will be difficult to counterattack at any stage of its operation, from pre-flight mobile operations through terminal flight phases."

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK Food Aid to DPRK

Seoul will reveal the size of its aid packages to Pyongyang in today's Red Cross talks in Beijing, but the aid size will not exceed 50,000 tons of grain, a ROK National Unification Ministry official said yesterday. Recently, the ROK's Korea National Red Cross (KNRC) received donation commitments from religious and civic organizations, enabling it to determine how much it can offer to the DPRK. The DPRK Red Cross society had insisted that its ROK counterpart specify the "items, size and timetable of assistance" in their next meeting. Meanwhile, at the meeting Seoul is expected to demand that procedural matters on aid deliveries be streamlined to ensure the "economical, timely transportation of aid packages." How the DPRK will react to the level of assistance the ROK will pledge, which is not likely to meet its expectations, is uncertain. ROK delegates are expected to note that if the North agrees to a ground transportation route passing by the truce village of Panmunjom and ensures "transparency in aid distribution," more South Koreans are expected to join the fund-raising drive, which will in turn boost the level of aid significantly. (Korea Times, "SEOUL WILL NOT PLEDGE MORE THAN 50,000 TONS OF GRAIN IN AID," 05/23/97)

2. Defectors Describe DPRK War Rumors

Kim Won-hyong, one of the 14 North Koreans who escaped to the South by boat May 13, said in a press conference Thursday that rumors are rampant in the DPRK that the country will invade the ROK sometime between July and October, following the official installation of the communist country's de facto leader Kim Jong-il as head of state after the third anniversary of the death of his father, the late president Kim Il-sung. Despite prospects of widespread hunger due to massive food shortages, the country conducted a nationwide "command post exercise" (CPX) in March involving its armed forces, police, and all branches of government, an effort DPRK authorities said was intended to check the country's overall war preparedness. The participation of medical personnel in the March CPX lent credibility to the rumors of an imminent attack. Kim said that the North has extended the term of service for its soldiers and begun drafting 18 to 19 year-old young men of "dubious backgrounds," which usually means those whose loyalty to leader Kim Jong-il is in question. "North Korea television airs footage of leader Kim inspecting military units and carries messages encouraging people to keep up with their war preparations every day," Kim said. An Son-guk, another escapee, told the journalists that the CPX conducted throughout the North in March lasted for three weeks and was staged in order to check how ready the entire country for an attack on the South. "Kim Jong-il ordered the exercise," An said. DPRK watchers say that the remarks assume importance as they present rare firsthand accounts of the North's recent war preparations. Kim Won-hyong also said that the DPRK people barely manage to get by day by day with food supplies at rock bottom. "People go to the extreme of stealing phone or electric lines for the copper in them, which they sell to smugglers from China," he said. "And those who are caught are shot to death in public executions." Kim's wife, Kim Ui-jun, said over the past three years she witnessed the public executions of seven people, including two soldiers, after they were caught stealing phone lines. An also said that the DPRK military has taken responsibility from police for security along the DPRK-PRC border, and has stepped up patrols in an attempt to stamp out the increasing number of smugglers crossing the border. (Korea Times, "RUMORS OF WAR RAMPANT IN N. KOREA," 05/23/97) [Ed. note: See also the related items in the US section of the May 22 Daily Report.]

3. ROK Foreign Minister Speaks in UN

A unified Korea will develop into a nation that makes significant contributions to building a stable and more prosperous Pacific century, ROK Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha said yesterday in New York. Yoo, currently on a three-day visit to the United Nations, made the speech at a meeting of the Korea Society at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, attended by US government officials, scholars, journalists and UN officials. "The 21st century is just 953 days away. I have no doubt that early in the next century Korea will take its place as a unified country," Yoo said. Yoo added, "The U.S. forward deployment strategy and the web of current US-led bilateral security arrangements will remain vital to regional security. I am convinced that the strong ROK-US alliance will serve as a bedrock of peace and stability in East Asia in the course of the next century," he said. With his statement, the foreign minister expressed a favorable stance to US servicemen continuing to stay on the Korean peninsula well into the next century. "It certainly is ironic that we offer food assistance and provide a light water reactor (LWR) to North Korea while its military threat remains unabated. Far from getting a peace dividend from the end of the Cold War, the ROK has to increase spending for economic and humanitarian assistance for North Korea while maintaining an effective deterrence," Yoo said. The foreign minister stressed that Seoul and Washington closely coordinate their policies toward the DPRK. "The three main pillars of our common policy toward North Korea can be defined as the maintenance of a strong joint defense posture, the smooth implementation of the Geneva Framework, and the continued pursuit of four-party talks," he said. Yoo said that the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) had been undertaking its seventh site survey, including drilling work in the DPRK candidate reactor site at Sinpo. "If preparations go smoothly, we expect the ground-breaking to take place by summer," he said. The foreign minister said that it is regrettable that the trilateral meeting between the ROK, the DPRK and the US, held last April in New York, ended without an agreement to begin the four-party peace talks aimed at building a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. (Korea Times, "UNIFIED KOREA WILL CONTRIBUTE TO PEACE IN ASIA-PACIFIC:YOO JH SAYS," 05/23/97)

4. Poland Ex-President's Views on DPRK

Lech Walesa, former president of Poland, said yesterday that the DPRK has no choice but to have dialogue with the ROK. During a meeting with ROK opposition leader Kim Dae-jung, Walesa said that DPRK communism would eventually end and that inter-Korean problems should be solved through dialogue. The former labor union leader of Poland was also quoted as saying, "It is difficult to have dialogue with communists. Currently, North Korea has no choice but to have dialogue (with the South)." Kim replied that the South-North dialogue has been deadlocked due to confrontation between doves and hawks in the North. DPRK leaders are also fearful of the ROK and the outer world, Kim said. (Korea Times, "WALESEA SAY NK HAS NO CHOICE BUT DIALOGUE," 05/23/97)

III Japan

1. Japan-DPRK Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("DPRK DEMANDS JAPAN PROVIDE ONE HALF MILLION TONS OF RICE IN EXCHANGE FOR JAPANESE WIVES' VISITS TO JAPAN," 2, 5/22/97) reported that several ruling party sources knowledgeable on Japan-DPRK relations revealed May 21 that the DPRK demanded Japan supply one half million tons of rice to the DPRK in exchange for temporary visits to Japan by Japanese wives living in the DPRK. According to the report, the DPRK conveyed the demand to high-ranking members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), not directly to the Japanese government. An unidentified Japanese Foreign Ministry official emphasized that the Japanese and DPRK governments must negotiate directly, and that the ruling party should not take the initiative in the negotiations. The report suggested future difficulties in policy coordination between the LDP and the Japanese Foreign Ministry. In addition, the report said that given the suspected abductions of Japanese civilians by the DPRK, suspected illegal drug exports to Japan, and the DPRK's undecided stance on the four-party peace talks, the Japanese government will not provide food aid to the DPRK in return for Japanese wives' visits to Japan. [Note: See the Japan section of the May 16 Daily Report for related information.]

2. DPRK Chemical Weapon Threat

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("US DEFENSE SECRETARY REVEALS STRONG DPRK CHEMICAL ATTACK CAPABILITY," Washington, Evening Edition 2, 5/20/97) reported that US Defense Secretary William Cohen stated that the US had previously underestimated the DPRK's chemical weapons threat, stressing the need for research and development of chemical weapons defense systems.

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("ROK BELIEVES DPRK CAPABLE OF PRODUCING 1,000 TONS OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS ANNUALLY," Seoul, Evening Edition 2, 5/20/97) also reported that ROK Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha said at a foreign commission on unification May 6 that statements by defectors from the DPRK suggest that the DPRK is capable of producing approximately 1,000 tons of chemical weapons annually in six to eight plants, and that the DPRK may now have approximately 5 thousand tons of chemical weapons.

3. Japan-Russia Relations

The Asahi Shimbun ("RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SUPPORTS JAPAN-US SECURITY POSTURE, 1, 5/17/97) reported that visiting RF Defense Minister Igor Rodionov met his counterpart Fumio Kyuma May 17 in Tokyo and said that he is not concerned about the close Japan-US security relations, and that he supports the review of guidelines for Japan-US defense cooperation. The report quoted a source from the Japanese side as saying that Kyuma and Rodionov agreed that improvement of Japan-Russia relations will contribute to stability in the Asia-Pacific region. With regard to defense exchanges, Rodionov said that Japan-US-Russia defense exchanges may benefit both Japan and Russia, and suggested that there should eventually be a mechanism of defense cooperation that includes all three countries, while Kyuma said that he will consider the idea of such a mechanism.

4. ROK Vice Prime Minister Interviewed

ROK Vice Prime Minister Kwon O-kie told the Nikkei Shimbun ("ROK VICE PRIME MINISTER UNDERSTANDS JAPAN'S CAREFUL STANCE ON FOOD AID TO DPRK," 8, 5/19/97) that Japan should be more strict about food aid to the DPRK. Kwon said that Japan providing food aid to the DPRK for humanitarian reasons would be odd in light of the suspected abductions of Japanese civilians by the DPRK. With regard to the ROK's food aid policy, Kwon criticized a view that the ROK is reluctant to give food aid as unfair, saying that the ROK government supplied US$230 million worth of rice in 1995, is still continuing the donations through international institutions, and that the ROK Red Cross is also supplying food aid. He also criticized the DPRK for spending US$60 billion annually on defense and US$890 million annually on memorial towers and celebrations, contributing to the country's food shortage. With regard to security in Northeast Asia, he proposed a Northeast Asian version of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as a multilateral security institution, and suggested that Japan's and Russia's participation in the four-party peace talks could provide such a mechanism.

5. Japan-US Defense Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("SECOND INTERIM REPORT ON REVIEW OF JAPAN-US DEFENSE COOPERATION GUIDELINES DRAFTED," 1, 5/23/97) reported that on May 22 the Yomiuri Shimbun obtained a draft of a second interim report on the review of Japan-US defense cooperation guidelines. According to the report, the draft lists up to 40 areas of possible defense cooperation, including the transportation of personnel and the supply of materials to the site of an emergency, joint operations to investigate ships that try to break naval blockages, and search and rescue operations in Japanese territorial waters and open seas. With regard to possible contingencies in Japan, the draft has three sections and a preamble, including cooperation under normal circumstances, cooperation in the event of Japan being attacked by an external force and cooperation in the face of a contingency near Japan. The report pointed out that the review of cooperation with respect to contingencies in Japan will likely be particularly difficult because such cooperation may touch upon the sensitive constitutional question of Japan's right to join other countries in collective security operations. In addition, the report said that Japanese and US defense officials will meet later this month in Washington to discuss the details.

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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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