The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Friday, May 30, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan IV. Announcement

I. United States

1. US-DPRK-ROK Meeting

The Associated Press ("U.S., KOREA ENVOYS PLAN PEACE TALKS," Washington, 5/30/97) reported that officials from the US, the DPRK and the ROK met Friday in New York, and that US State Department Spokesman John Dinger said the US was hopeful that the effort to gain the DPRK's acceptance of the proposed four-party peace talks "is moving in the right direction." The meeting in New York was the first trilateral discussion since the US and the ROK failed in a similar effort more than a month ago to induce the DPRK to agree to the talks proposal. The DPRK's desire for promises of large-scale food aid in exchange for their participation in the peace talks has been a major obstacle. Dinger said the discussions in New York are part of a "process." "One step in that process is today. Hopefully, another step will be four-party talks. Hopefully, the ultimate conclusion will be a peace treaty," he said.

2. DPRK Famine Situation

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("S. KOREA SAYS N. KOREA EXPECTED TO WITHSTAND FAMINE," Seoul, 5/30/97) reported that ROK Unification Minister Kwon O-kie, the ROK's top DPRK policy maker, told a seminar Friday that foreign aid will enable the DPRK to overcome its current food crisis. "North Korea will have enough grain from its own stocks and imports to sustain itself until the summer harvest in August," Kwon said. The UN's World Food Program has said that the DPRK food supply will run out in June, leaving people dependent on imports, outside aid, and whatever weeds, roots and other food-substitutes they can scavenge. The DPRK has cut its food rations from 600 grams (21 ounces) of grain a day to 100 grams (3.5 ounces), equivalent to about half a cup of rice or corn. Last week, the ROK Red Cross pledged 50,000 tons of grain, while the European Union promised 155,000 tons. The WFP is trying to raise 200,000 tons of food, the maximum it believes it can distribute effectively. However, large-scale aid has been slow in coming because of the DPRK's unwillingness to allow a large number of aid workers into the country, and donor uncertainties over whether the food will really reach the needy.

3. ROK Financial Scandals

Reuters ("SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT APOLOGIZES FOR ABUSES," Seoul, 5/30/97; and "SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT'S APOLOGY SPARKS MORE ANGER," Seoul, 5/30/97) reported that ROK President Kim Young-sam, fighting to save his administration, on Friday apologized for 1992 presidential election spending abuses, but defiantly refused to offer any details of his finances. Instead, Kim suggested opponents who accuse him are just as guilty, and challenged them to help clean up the system. Kim's televised remarks, part contrite and part combative, threatened to bring about open war between the opposition and the head of state, who is already wounded by a corruption scandal that has led to the arrest of his son. Opposition parties, which allege that Kim's 1992 election was partly bankrolled by the scandal-ridden Hanbo Group and his disgraced predecessor, Roh Tae-woo, were unmollified by Kim's speech. Kim Dae-jung, the leader of the National Congress for New Politics, the largest opposition party, blasted the speech as "pompous and confrontational," while Park Sun-suck, a spokeswoman for the party, said that "President Kim's speech ended by avoiding and shifting all responsibility." Kim Dae-jung, a candidate in the presidential elections in December, reiterated the charges and vowed a head-on fight with the president. "I have evidence and witnesses," he told reporters, adding, "We cannot tolerate this any longer. We have decided to fight the president directly." "We will try to call President Kim Young-sam to a National Assembly hearing as a witness," Park said, adding that her party would join hands with the smaller United Liberal Democrats in their battle against the head of state.

4. Nuclear Nonproliferation

The Washington Post carried an editorial ("THE CONTINUING NUCLEAR PERIL, 5/30/97, A24) commenting that Russian President Boris Yeltsin's recent misstatement that Russia would remove nuclear warheads from missiles aimed at NATO members, when he meant Russia would retarget the warheads, has served to remind observers that retargeting is "mainly for show" and that, with the Cold War receding in history, "the world's two greatest nuclear powers have to do better." The editorial cited a new Stanford University paper by experts James Goodby and Harold Feiveson, entitled "Ending the Threat of Nuclear Attack," as indicating the way back to active arms control efforts. The editorial notes that the paper calls for not only deep cuts in the two powers' nuclear arsenals -- "down from the thousands to the hundreds" -- but also a shift away from strategies of rapid launch justified by "the standard 'use-them-or-lose-them' doctrine." The paper insists upon the need for Russia to ratify the START II strategic arms reduction treaty, and advises the US to review its policy of hedging against ratification failure. The editorial quoted the paper as saying, "In the short term, the hedging policy jeopardizes Start II and heightens risks of miscalculation and safety. In the longer run, it increases the chances of a renewed arms race between the United States and Russia if political relationships worsen." The editorial concluded that any effort short of this "ambitious agenda" risks a new nuclear arms race and encourages proliferation elsewhere.

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK-US Military Meeting on DPRK Issues

ROK and US military policymakers have agreed that food shortages in the DPRK are serious but "not serious enough to threaten its leadership." During last week's meeting in Washington, the two sides agreed that the DPRK's food situation has been somewhat exaggerated, said a senior official at the ROK Defense Ministry. The Washington meeting was aimed at laying the groundwork for an annual ROK-US Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) between defense ministers of both countries. This shared view of ROK and US military planners is ironic as it came amid a bleak picture portrayed by the media about serious food shortages that are pushing the North to the brink of massive famine. With regards to the missile talks between the North and the US, the ROK conveyed to the US its hopes that the DPRK would stop exporting its missiles to third world countries. "At the same time, we asked the US to persuade the North to abandon its thousands of long range field guns threatening the South," the ROK official said. The two sides agreed that the North should be persuaded to join the Chemical Weapons Convention. The US and the ROK also briefly discussed the defense guideline between the US and Japan that will be completed by September this year, and Korea requested a limit on Japan's role in rear guard support in the case of a crisis on the Korean peninsula, the ministry said. (Korea Times, "KOREA, US AGREE NK LEADERSHIP NOT THREATENED BY FOOD CRISIS," 05/30/97)

2. ROK Forecast on DPRK

The Korea Development Institute (KDI), a ROK state-funded think tank, has predicted that the DPRK will find it difficult to press ahead with full blown reform and an open door policy under the leadership of Kim Jong-il. In a report on the state of the DPRK economy and the outlook on its reform, the Institute argues that the country's latest economic crisis is systematic. "While it's true the North's economic woes have been triggered by the severance of economic ties with other socialist countries, its real problems lie in the shortage of food and other materials inherent in the socialist system," the report said. To resolve its chronic economic woes, the DPRK has been implementing reform since 1990, focusing on developing agriculture and light industry at home and promoting the attraction of foreign investors. But the reforms have been limited, being implemented within the framework of the centralized economic system and modeled after the PRC's open door policy, the KDI said. "North Korea's full-blown push for reform and openness is tantamount to declaring economic policies espoused by Kim Il-sung and his successor Kim Jong-il wrong and therefore, it would be all but impossible to imagine such circumstances," the report said. According to the report, the North has recorded negative economic growth for six years in a row since 1990. As a result, the size of the DPRK economy in 1995 was only three fourths that in 1989. (Korea Times, "NK FORECAST TO FACE DIFFICULTY IN PUSHING FOR FULL BLOWN REFORM," 05/30/97)

3. ROK Development Aid to PRC

The ROK has decided to offer US$57 million in loans to Beijing to support the PRC's economic development and increase the ROK's exports to the PRC, a ROK Foreign Ministry official said yesterday. Chung Chong-wook, ROK Ambassador to Beijing and An Min, assistant minister at the PRC Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, will sign an "arrangement" on the extension of the loans in Beijing today. The loan extension was implemented as part of an agreement signed between the two countries in November 1995 regarding the extension of the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF). The loans will be spent on six projects: the construction of an airport in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, a container berth in the Dongdu Harbor, a water treatment plant in Pingdingshan City, an energy plant, a waste disposal facility, and the modernization of the agricultural sector. "The projects are designed to support the Chinese government's efforts to develop inland areas, modernize the agricultural sector and address environmental issues facing China," the official said. The loan will be repaid over 30 years with a 10 year grace period and an interest rate of 2.0 percent a year. According to the arrangement, the EDCF extension takes the form of a "tied loan" because the procurement of goods and services to implement the projects should be done in Korea, the official said. The PRC is the largest beneficiary of Korea's extension of EDCF loans, assuming 17.2 percent of an estimated US$1 billion which Seoul has offered to 67 projects in 24 countries. (Korea Times, "KOREA TO OFFER $57 MILLION IN LOANS TO CHINA," 05/30/97)

III. Japan

1. Japan's Stance on Food Aid to DPRK

The Nikkei Shimbun ("JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER TELLS ROK FOREIGN MINISTER THAT JAPAN WILL KEEP A CAUTIOUS STANCE TO FOOD AID TO DPRK," Paris, 2, 5/27/97) reported that Japan will continue a cautious stance on food aid to the DPRK. In response to ROK Foreign Minister Yu Chong Ha's call for Japan's cooperation with the US and the ROK on food aid to the DPRK at the Organization of Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris, Japanese Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda reaffirmed his country's position. Yu strengthened the ROK's stance by referring to his latest meeting with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In the meeting, the US and ROK agreed that the US sees the DPRK food situation worsening and that the dominant US public opinion also supports urgent food aid to the DPRK. They stressed the need for both Japan's and the ROK's food aid to the DPRK through international organizations. Ikeda responded by stating that low-level negotiations between Japan and the DPRK have begun on the following: temporal visits to Japan by Japanese wives living in the DPRK, the DPRK's suspected abductions of Japanese civilians, and the DRPK's suspected exports of illegal drug to Japan. The report pointed out that Ikeda indicated that Japan will not provide food aid to the DPRK unless these problems are resolved.

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER HINTS TO ROK REPORTERS THAT JAPAN MAY PROVIDE FOOD AID TO DPRK," 1, 5/30/97) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto hinted for the first time to ROK reporters on May 29 that Japan may end its adamant refusal to provide food aid to the DPRK if the ROK strongly requests that Japan do so. The report pointed out that Hashimoto's statement indicates that Japan wants to avoid being isolated from the US, the ROK and other European countries who already extended food aid to the DPRK. At the same time, however, Hashimoto cited several obstacles to Japan's immediate food aid to the DPRK, particularly temporal visits to Japan by Japanese wives residing in the DPRK. [Ed. Note: see above item] With about 1,800 Japanese wives in the DPRK, Hashimoto said "[w]e cannot accept a situation in which only 10 or 20 of those Japanese women are allowed to visit their home country while the rest are forbidden even to write letters home."

2. Japan-US Defense Relations

The Nikkei Shimbun ("INTERIM REPORT ON REVIEW OF JAPAN-US DEFENSE COOPERATION GUIDELINES TO BE SUBMITTED JUNE 6,"2, 5/27/97) reported that sources from the Japanese Defense Agency revealed on May 26 that the Japanese and US governments will announce on June 6 an interim report on the review of Japan-US defense cooperation guidelines. The report also said that a Japan-US high-level working meeting will be held in Tokyo June 3-4 and a defense cooperation subcommittee will meet in Washington on June 6 for the final drafting.

The Sankei Shimbun ("LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (LDP) NATIONAL SECURITY RESEARCH GROUP IS COMPLETING ITS EMERGENCY LEGISLATION PROPOSAL TO BE SUBMITTED IN JUNE,"1, 5/28/97) and the Nikkei Shimbun ("JAPANESE GOVERNMENT AND LDP BEGIN PREPARATION FOR EMERGENCY LEGISLATION," 1, 5/28/97) reported that an LDP security research group revealed the framework of its emergency legislation proposal. According to the group, the objectives of the proposal include expansion of the existing scope of emergency in the Japanese territories and the securing of the feasibility of Japan-US defense cooperation guidelines, whose review will be concluded this fall. With regard to the expansion, the proposal will extend the current scope to regions around Japan (including the Korean Peninsula), tackle the most difficult legislation concerning rescue of Japanese living abroad, and propose a more comprehensive emergency law. Secondly, with regard to securing the defense cooperation guidelines, the Sankei report pointed out that the group's work is crucial because the ongoing review of the guidelines may turn out without specific legislative steps, and the group aims to provide several scenarios of emergency and necessary legislative steps.

3. Japan-Russia Relations

The Sankei Shimbun ("RF FOREIGN MINISTER DENIES NEGATIVE IMPACT OF DISMISSAL OF RF DEFENSE MINISTER ON JAPAN-RF DEFENSE EXCHANGE," Moscow, 2, 5/24/97) reported that Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov discussed the dismissal of Russian Defense Minister Igor Rodionov with Japanese Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda, who visited Moscow on May 23. Primakov explained that the recent dismissal of Rodionov, who had visited Japan in mid-May, was based entirely on Russia's domestic problems and will not influence Japan-Russia defense exchange. The Defense Minister stressed that Russia will continue and develop the bilateral defense relations.

IV. Announcement

1. DPRK Food Aid Proposals

Bernard Krisher, as a result of a rice donation trip to the DPRK in April during which he met with DPRK officials, offers five proposals to speed food aid to the DPRK. Below is an edited version of these proposals. The full text can by obtained on Mr. Krisher's web site ( or by contacting Mr. Krisher by email (


No one doubts any longer the seriousness of the food problem in North Korea. The United States has already begun to ship emergency food to North Korea, aside from political considerations. South Korea has recently shifted its position and is now aiming to provide large quantities of food to the North if the delivery and marking problems can be agreed on. The European Union is also launching a food aid program. As governments quibble over political issues and delivery arrangements I suggest the following proposals which the private sector can undertake to avert a serious famine which may have serious consequences for all of us:

1. I would like to propose the Japanese government permit NGOs (volunteer non-profit organizations) to purchase at the international price (of around $250 per metric ton) some of the 3 to 4 million tons of surplus rice now being stored which the Japanese people will never be able to consume. Such rice should be sold up to a determined set limit, to NGOs who wish to purchase and then donate it to any country in the world where there is a shortage of food.

2. I would further like to suggest that a fund be created, or supplies be provided, to import fuel into North Korea to assist in the delivery of food to remote areas where deliveries have been severely cut because of the lack of fuel in the country. The best way to achieve this, is to also bring convoys of trucks in through the Dandong-Sinuiju frontier.

3. I further propose the mobilization of 50 to 100 Kubota-type bulldozers to clean the sand off the rice fields in the Sinuiju area. After the 1995 floods, sand poured in from the Yalu River and destroyed all the rice fields in the region. Such bulldozers could be brought in through China, across the Yalu River, and would be a dramatic, permanently remembered humanitarian effort, like the Berlin airlift.

4. A dramatic people-to-people effort might be galvanized to organize trains full of donations from Europe. The appeal would be for donations of medicine, medical equipment, farm equipment and food. Governmental organizations, the private sector and public in different European cities would be enlisted through media announcements to bring donations to central railway stations where they would be loaded on to freight cars that would leave for Pyongyang.

5. Millions of overseas Koreans hail from North Korea and many still have relatives there. They could "adopt" and target their native areas, designating them as locations where their donations should be provided. Committees could be established abroad to collect donations for specific cities and areas.

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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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