The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Thursday, May 29, 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

I. United States

1. DPRK Naval Vessel Enters ROK Waters

Reuters ("NORTH KOREAN NAVY BOAT SPARKS DEFENSE SCARE," Seoul, 5/29/97) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said a DPRK navy patrol boat intruded into ROK waters Thursday, apparently by mistake as it shadowed a PRC cargo ship. "The ship was first spotted at 2:05 p.m. and returned by 3:00 p.m.," a ministry official said. "It seems that the ship mistakenly entered our waters." It was spotted just south of a nautical demarcation line separating the two Koreas. Four ROK navy vessels were immediately dispatched to the area, but there was no contact with the DPRK boat. The ministry official said it was the first such incursion since May 1996, but gave no further details.

2. DPRK Food Aid

Reuters ("HASHIMOTO SAYS JAPAN MAY GIVE FOOD TO PYONGYANG," Tokyo, 5/29/97) reported that, according to Japan's Kyodo news agency, Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto hinted Thursday that Japan may reverse its policy on food aid to the DPRK and agree to provide help if the ROK formally asks it to do so. "If the South Korean government asks us for assistance to compatriots in North Korea, there is room for the Japanese side to change its stance (on giving food aid)," Kyodo quoted Hashimoto as telling a group of visiting ROK newspaper editors. "We are ready to think about that (food aid) if we are asked to render aid by the South Korean government. Anyhow, we will have inter-governmental consultation," Kyodo quoted Hashimoto as saying. Officials at the Prime Minister's Office and at the Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the Kyodo report. Japan has been refusing to bend to pressure to give food aid to the DPRK, because it says the Pyongyang government was behind a string of kidnappings of Japanese citizens in the 1970s, and has also been involved in drug smuggling. The DPRK has denied involvement in the kidnappings, and has not formally commented on a recent drug smuggling case.

Nicholas D. Kristof, in an analysis article in The New York Times ("A HUNGRY NORTH KOREA SWALLOWS A BIT OF PRIDE," Tokyo, 5/29/97, A7(N)), wrote that one of the central obstacles to getting attention and assistance to the serious famine spreading in the DPRK has been the unwillingness of the DPRK government leadership to accept direct aid from the ROK or to allow journalists to visit hard-hit areas and publicize the suffering. Vast numbers of the DPRK's 23 million people may be starving, but the Kim Jong-il government has feared that direct aid and wrenching news coverage would be humiliating for the nation and would allow the ROK to score propaganda points. However, the recent agreement between the two countries' Red Cross organizations, which will allow the ROK to send food aid directly to the DPRK and to mark the sacks so that it is clear where the aid is coming from, is a sign that greater openness may be in the offing, Kristof wrote. "I think this is a major breakthrough," the article quoted Lee Yoon-gu, the co-chairman of a ROK coalition of organizations trying to send food to the North, as saying. "Whether or not it will work out, we'll have to see. But I'm optimistic." The new arrangement will allow organizations in the South that contribute 1,000 tons of food to designate the DPRK town that will get the aid, but there will be no on-site monitoring and it will not be possible for South Koreans to send food directly to particular people or families. The article quoted Bernard Krisher, an American in Tokyo who recently delivered aid to the DPRK, as saying, "The North Koreans are very suspicious of anything from the South. As desperate as they may be, there is a lot of pride there. They don't want to look like beggars, and they are suspicious of South Korean motives." ROK authorities have insisted that they cannot send large-scale assistance until the DPRK agrees to join the proposed four-party peace talks. An unidentified ROK official was quoted as saying that this week's agreement was intended to encourage the North to accept the proposal.

The Washington Post carried an editorial ("A PARTIAL RESCUE FOR NORTH KOREA," 5/29/97, A22) that portrayed the problem of assisting the DPRK as that of saving "a drowning man who doesn't appear eager for rescue -- and who may want to take you down with him if he sinks." The editorial noted that the DPRK, despite its growing famine and increasing requests for international aid, "continues to find money to support the world's fourth-largest standing army and a huge, if backward, arsenal -- aimed largely at its would-be benefactors in the South." The editorial then supported what it described as the ROK's position of providing enough food aid "to stave off the worst part of the current crisis among at least some of North Korea's most vulnerable residents," while refusing greater aid "as long as North Korea refuses to reform its own failed system." The editorial concluded: "South Korea, the European Union, China and the United States are right to give food without conditions, and other countries should pitch in. ... But the South Koreans also are correct when they argue that no amount of charity can compensate for North Korea's structural problem. South Korea and its allies can try to coax North Korea into a more conciliatory position, and they can restate the obvious: that even a slight shift toward reform and away from bellicosity could open the gates to private investment worth more than governments will ever deliver in free corn or rice. But only North Korea can decide whether it wants that life-line."

3. EU to Help Fund DPRK Nuclear Deal

The Associated Press ("U.S., EU REACH TENTATIVE DEAL," The Hague, Netherlands, 5/29/97) reported that US President Bill Clinton and European Union leaders, overcoming simmering divisions, reached a tentative agreement Wednesday aimed at boosting trade by nearly $50 billion. Both sides also agreed to help fund the dismantling of the DPRK's nuclear program. [Ed. note: This report provided no further details on the DPRK agreement.]

4. Korean Unification Costs Estimated

AP-Dow Jones News Service ("COST OF KOREAN UNIFICATION COULD EXCEED $718 BILLION," Seoul, 5/29/97) reported that, according to a provisional assessment by the ROK government-funded Korea Institute of National Unification, the cost of an ROK takeover of the DPRK economy in the event of a sudden unification could run as high as US$718 billion over 10 years. "The cost of upgrading the North's shattered economy is so staggering that we'd have to raise a lot of money from the multilateral institutions such as World Bank as well as from international money markets," said Dr. Kim Young-yoon, an Institute research fellow. Mr. Kim, a leading authority on the cost of unification, added that even sustained investments of US$718 billion from government and private sectors would not raise per capita income of average North Koreans beyond 60 percent of that of average South Koreans. Mr. Kim based his estimate on the need for the ROK to set aside a certain portion of its gross domestic product each year for a total of 10 years for upgrading infrastructure and relocating production facilities from the South to create jobs in the North. He based his calculation on a number of factors, including the DPRK's population growth and projection that the ROK economy would grow by 5 percent each year over the next 10 years.

5. PRC Views on Taiwan-DPRK Nuclear Waste Deal

AP-Dow Jones News Service ("CHINA ACCUSES TAIWAN OF USING NUCLEAR ISSUE TO WOO N. KOREA," Beijing, 5/29/97) reported that PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Cui Tiankai said on Thursday that Taiwan is trying to win over the DPRK by paying Beijing's once-close Communist ally to store nuclear waste, as part of its attempt to pursue independence instead of reunification with the mainland. Asked his view on the deal by Taiwan's national power company to send 200,000 barrels of nuclear waste to the DPRK, Cui said: "They want to undermine our relations with the relevant country and block their continued improvement and development." Because Taiwan "is an indivisible part of Chinese territory," Beijing is "willing to provide help" on the island's nuclear waste problem, Cui said, but he did not detail what help is on offer.

Reuters ("CHINA SAYS IT WANTS TO HELP TAIWAN OVER NUCLEAR WASTE," Beijing, 5/29/97) reported that the PRC on Wednesday offered to help Taiwan dispose of its nuclear waste. [Ed. note: The Reuters report added no further details to the information in the item "PRC Offers Taiwan Nuclear Waste Aid" in the US section of the May 28 Daily Report.]

II. Republic of Korea

1. Food Aid to DPRK

A spokesman for the DPRK Red Cross, in an interview with the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency, said Tuesday that the DPRK Red Cross expects that the ROK Red Cross will faithfully comply to the items agreed on at the recent talks in Beijing. The spokesman said that the Red Cross societies had two meetings in Beijing from May 3 through 6, at which agreement was reached on the issue of providing food aid and other materials to the North. Under the agreement, he said, the ROK Red Cross will, as part of the first phase, furnish 50,000 tons of corn to the North by mid July. (Korea Times, "NK RED CROSS EXPECTS S. KOREA TO FULFILL AGREED ITEMS," 05/29/97)

According to ROK officials, Red Cross officials agreed in Beijing to allow donations from the ROK to be sent to designated beneficiaries in the DPRK, but it is virtually impossible to send aid to specific DPRK residents. When the inter-Korean agreement hit the newsstands, dozens of South Koreans made phone calls to the ROK National Red Cross (KNRC) to look into the possibility of sending aid to their separated family members and relatives in the DPRK, only to hear discouraging responses from the agency. Presently, ROK individuals and organizations can only specify a particular province as the destination of their donations. Direct donations are further complicated because additional meetings between Red Cross officials are necessary to identify each of the DPRK beneficiaries' addresses unknown to ROK relatives in the South. The aid agreement is fortuitous, however, as it will help expand distribution areas as well as allow Red Cross officials to travel across the DPRK to monitor the distribution process, which will in turn help policy makers from the ROK and other countries to have a more accurate view of the North's food situation. (Korea Times, "SEPARATED FAMILIES DISAPPOINTED BY INTER-KOREAN ACCORD ON DESIGNATED AID," 05/29/97)

2. EU Supports Four-Party Talks

The European Union (EU) on Tuesday urged the DPRK to participate in the proposed four-party peace talks, renewing its support for meeting to discuss permanent peace on the Korean peninsula. The ROK Foreign Ministry reported that in a statement by the Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands, the EU's chairman country, the European Union expressed the strong desire for the DPRK to participate in the four-way meeting as soon as possible. The statement also emphasized that dialogue between the ROK and the DPRK is a prerequisite to easing tension on the Korean peninsula. It noted that the EU has contributed a substantial amount of humanitarian aid in the past several years to help reduce the DPRK's food shortages. The EU statement apparently came as a means of making its projected contribution of US$53 million worth of food aid to the DPRK helpful to fostering a climate for the North's participation in the four-way meeting, a Foreign Ministry official said. (Korea Times, "EU URGES NK TO TAKE PARK IN 4-WAY TALKS," 05/29/97)

3. US-DPRK Missile Talks

DPRK and US officials will meet in New York June 11-13 to discuss Pyongyang's suspected missile exports to the Middle East, the US State Department said Tuesday. The missile talks follow a first session in Berlin last year where US officials asked the DPRK to stop the production, testing, and selling of missiles, particularly to Syria and Iran. US officials have remained steadfast in telling the DPRK that it must curtail missile exports if it hopes eventually to normalize relations with the US. ROK analysts expect the two sides to discuss media reports that Pyongyang may soon deploy long-range Rodong I missiles capable of striking much of Japan. (Korea Times, "US, NK TO HOLD MISSILE TALKS IN MID-JUNE," 05/29/97) [Ed. note: For more information see "US-DPRK Missile Talks" in the May 27 Daily Report.]

4. KEDO Delegation's Visit to DPRK

A 44-man delegation from the Korea Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) will leave for the DPRK Saturday for a second round of working-level negotiations on groundbreaking for the two 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactor projects. The delegation will hold discussions with DPRK officials until June 7 at the Hyangsan Hotel near Mt. Myohyang. From among the 25 points raised in the first round of negotiations last month, topics in the current talks will include the terms for KEDO mail, communications, employment of DPRK workers, and sea and land ports of entries for KEDO workers and officials. Lastly, the delegation will tour hospitals and other regional medical facilities. (Korea Herald, "KEDO DELEGATION TO LEAVE FOR NORTH KOREA," 05/29/97)

5. ROK Weapon Exports to Brazil

The ROK Defense Ministry announced yesterday that it is currently negotiating with Brazil to export a military package worth US$160 million which is to include 72 domestically produced 155mm self-propelled artillery pieces and four ammunition transportation vehicles. The deal, reportedly set to be finalized in the near future, will be the ROK's largest export deal of domestically produced military equipment. The ROK has exported a total of US$990 million of military weapons since 1985. At the Security Cooperation Committee (SCC) meeting between the ROK and the US, which began in Washington on Tuesday, the two countries have been negotiating the revision of their bilateral memorandum of understanding to allow the ROK to increase its production of the 155 mm self-propelled artillery pieces and to export defensive weapons. (Joong Ang Ilbo, "KOREA NEGOTIATING $160-MILLION-DEAL TO EXPORT WEAPONS TO BRAZIL," 05/29/97)

III. People's Republic of China

1. ROK-DPRK Relations

Jie Fang Daily ("ROK WILL PROVIDE FOOD AID TO DPRK THROUGH THE RED CROSS," A4, 5/27/97) said that representatives from the DPRK and ROK Red Crosses signed a food aid agreement in Beijing on May 26. According to the agreement, the report said, the ROK will deliver 50,000 tons of food to the DPRK by the end of July. This agreement will play a positive role in improving South-North relations and re-starting dialogues between the two Koreas, the Daily said.

2. ROK-Russian Relations

China Daily ("FM TO VISIT SEOUL," Seoul, A11, 5/27/97) reported that Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov will visit the ROK late July at the invitation of his ROK counterpart, Yoo Chong-ha. The ROK Foreign Ministry declined to disclose Primakov's itinerary in Seoul, but Yonhap news agency said he would likely make a three-day visit from July 23. Outstanding issues between the two nations include Moscow's offer to provide weapons and raw materials as part of its repayment of US$1.47 billion in loans extended by Seoul. Of the outstanding debt, Russia has agreed to repay US$450.7 million in military hardware, the report said.

3. PRC-US Friction on Chemical Weapons

The PRC urged the US to refrain from imposing sanctions on two PRC companies and five citizens, People's Daily ("CHINA REFUTES US OF SANCTIONS ON CHEMICAL FIRMS," Beijing, A2, 5/24/97) reported. PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang said that the US, according to its own domestic law, is being unreasonable in imposing sanctions on PRC companies and citizens. The US accused the Nanjing Chemical Industries Group and Jiangsu Yongli Chemical Engineering and Technology Import-Export Corp. of proliferating chemical weapons materials. Shen said the PRC has always opposed the development of chemical weapons by any country, let alone helping others to create them. "China controls the export of sensitive chemicals, equipment and technology, since its participates in the Chemical Weapon Convention," Shen said. He said the business activities of the two PRC companies and five citizens were normal international trade activities, which have not violated the convention's principles or articles. The PRC could not accept any country placing its internal laws over and above international law, Shen added.

4. PRC-Japanese Relations

PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang urged Japan not to create new problems for bilateral relations, China Daily ("JAPAN URGED TO PREVENT INVASIONS OF ISLAND," A1, 5/28/97) reported. On Monday, a group of Hong Kong and Taiwan people were blocked by Japanese coast guard vessels from landing on Diaoyu Island. Shen said Japan should take effective measures to stop its rightists from invading the island, which is PRC territory. Japan is solely responsible for the present tensions related to the island, he said, adding that the determination of the PRC Government to safeguard its sovereignty is very firm.

5. US-Japan Military Alliance

Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's recent visits to the US and Australia joined the "northern anchor" and the "southern anchor." Some PRC experts on international affairs said in Beijing that through the joining of the two alliances, the two pincers become more powerful and it is reasonable to believe they're pointed against the PRC. Liu Jiangyong, director of the Department of Northeast Asian Studies of the Chinese Contemporary International Relations Institute, said that if the scope of defense extends beyond Japan's territory, the security structure Japan and the US are building is a thing forced on other Asian countries. It is sure to create tension among Asian countries, he added. The strengthened US-Japan and US-Australia alliances are intended to pin down the PRC, said Zhao Jieqi, a research fellow and former deputy director of the Japanese Studies Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He said, "The short-term goal of the alliances is to deal with the 'instability' in the Taiwan Straits, the South China Sea and on the Korean Peninsula. The long-term goal is to deal with the imaginary 'troubles' made by an economically and militarily stronger China." The US-Japan security accord justified the expansion of Japan's military strength in Asia and created more uncertainty over security, the experts concluded. China Daily ("US-JAPAN ALLIANCE NOT CONDUCIVE TO PEACE," A4, 5/26/97)

6. PRC-Philippine Relations

On May 22, the PRC government demanded that the Philippines stop any violation of the PRC's territory, Wen Hui Daily ("VIOLATIONS OF CHINESE ISLAND CRITICIZED," Beijing, A7, 5/23/97) reported. PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang said at a news briefing in Beijing that since the end of April, the Philippines has sent warships to harass a PRC radio venture in the Huangyan Island waters and several Filipino congressmen also landed on PRC soil. According to the spokesman, the PRC Government had lodged a formal protest against these actions.

China Daily ("PHILIPPINES URGED TO FACE HISTORY," A1, 5/27/97) reported that PRC Vice Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan discussed the Huangyan Island issue with Rodolfo Severino, under-secretary of the Foreign Ministry of the Philippines, in Beijing on May 26. During the meeting, Tang again stressed that the island is PRC territory. He urged the Philippines to respect history, fact and international laws including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

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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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