The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Monday, June 23, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. Summit of the Eight Statement on DPRK

The "Final Communique of the Denver Summit of the Eight" (USIA Transcript, 6/22/97) included the following passage: "We reaffirm the importance of implementing the U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework and full compliance by North Korea with its non-proliferation obligations. We therefore place great value on the continuing role of the IAEA in monitoring the freeze on North Korea's nuclear program, implementing safeguards, and helping preserve all information relating to the DPRK's past activity. We welcome the conclusion of negotiations for the EU to participate in the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and call for further international support for KEDO, including the provision of funds. We stress the importance of Four Party talks and the necessity of North-South dialogue. We call on North Korea to halt its development, deployment and export of ballistic missiles." [Ed. note: More extensive excerpts from the Final Communique will be distributed to NAPSNet subscribers in a subsequent Special Report.]

US President Bill Clinton ("PRESIDENT'S FINAL DENVER SUMMIT PRESS CONFERENCE," USIA Transcript, 6/22/97), during a press conference at the conclusion of the Denver Summit of the Eight on June 22, responded to a question as to why the Final Communique did not explicitly call on the DPRK to agree to participate in the proposed four-party peace talks, and what he felt were the prospects of the four-party meetings taking place. Clinton said: "I would say that it is an oversight and we should have, because I do every time I can. And secondly, I'm fairly optimistic now because North Korea has agreed to participate in a meeting to determine the conditions in which they would meet with the South Koreans and the Chinese and the United States to set out these four-party talks. So I'm fairly encouraged by that."

2. Four-Party Peace Talks Status

Reuters ("NORTH KOREAN CROSSES DMZ TO DEFECT," Seoul, 6/23/97) reported that ROK government officials said they expected the DPRK to reply by Tuesday to a suggestion that senior officials from the two Koreas, the United States and the PRC meet in early August to set an agenda and other details for four-party peace talks. Working-level officials from the two Koreas and the United States have been drafting an announcement in New York for the "preparatory talks." ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman Lee Kyu-hyung was quoted as saying, "They have reached an understanding that senior officials from the three sides meet late this month to announce an accord on the preparatory meeting. Pyongyang has to make a decision by early tomorrow on whether to accept the formula."

3. DPRK Food Situation

The Associated Press ("SOUTH KOREA SENDS FOOD TO NORTH," Seoul, 6/23/97) and reported that the ROK Red Cross Society said that a ship loaded with 1,000 tons of flour and 100,000 boxes of instant noodles left Monday for the DPRK. The shipment, the first food aid sent directly from the ROK, is expected to arrive at the DPRK port of Hungnam Wednesday. The shipment is part of a deal forged last month between the two Korean Red Cross organizations for 50,000 tons of food to be delivered by the end of next month. Previous food aid had been sent by rail from the PRC. [Ed. note: See also the related item in the ROK section, below.]

Reuters ("NORTH KOREA RICE PLANTING IN FULL SWING - VISITORS," Niigata, Japan, 6/21/97) reported that members of an ethnic Korean group that recently visited the DPRK said on Saturday that DPRK soldiers are filling the countryside sowing rice plants. "The farm areas I saw were about as green and as full of activity as here," an elderly Korean resident of Japan was quoted as saying. The group of 275 people, including 150 teenage students, was on a Pyongyang-sponsored family reunion tour. Another member of the group said his relatives were "struggling stoically" amid shortages. Passengers returning to Japan on Saturday aboard the Mangyongbong 92, whose two monthly visits serve as the DPRK's only steady contact with the outside world, refused to discuss the issue of food aid or politics.

US President Bill Clinton ("PRESIDENT'S FINAL DENVER SUMMIT PRESS CONFERENCE," USIA Transcript, 6/22/97), during a press conference at the conclusion of the Denver Summit of the Eight on June 22, responded to a question concerning whether the DPRK food crisis was discussed at the summit, and whether the US could do more to mobilize support from other countries to stave off catastrophe. Clinton said: "Yes, I discussed this actually personally, one on one, with a number of the leaders. And the United States has pledged more food aid to North Korea. I am very concerned about it as an humanitarian matter, and I believe you will see more action on this front. And I'm certainly committed to doing it; I'm deeply troubled. And I also would say that, in addition to that, we're hopeful that the latest statements by the North Koreans indicating that we can have a meeting to discuss how to get into the four-party talks with the Chinese and the South Koreans -- that's also very hopeful. But I'm profoundly troubled by the reports that I have read about the scope of human suffering in North Korea. And whenever we've been asked, we've come up with some more food, but I'd like for us to do more and I think you'll see these other countries willing to do more as well."

4. DPRK Missile Complaint Against US

The Associated Press ("N. KOREA UPSET OVER U.S. MISSILES," Seoul, 6/21/97) reported that the DPRK on Saturday criticized US efforts to sell Stinger missiles to the ROK. In a commentary by its communist party newspaper Rodong Shinmun, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, the DPRK said the sale was prompted by an "intention to stifle" the DPRK. "It cannot be construed otherwise but [as] an attempt to unleash a war against the DPRK at any cost," the commentary said. The US State Department urged the ROK last week to buy the missiles, while the ROK said it has not decided from among the Stinger, the French-made Mistral, and the British Starburst. [Ed. note: See also "ROK Stinger Missile Purchase from US" in the June 13 Daily Report.]

5. New DPRK Defection

The Associated Press ("NORTH KOREAN SOLDIER DEFECTS," Seoul, 6/23/97) and Reuters ("NORTH KOREAN CROSSES DMZ TO DEFECT," Seoul, 6/23/97) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said Monday that a DPRK army soldier swam across a river inside the demilitarized zone and defected to the ROK earlier in the day. ROK soldiers at the western side of the border spotted the soldier and detained him for questioning, the ministry said. A ROK defense ministry spokesman said that the soldier "must have been familiar with the area. He passed through minefields and barbed wire before swimming across a river to our side. Emerging from the Imjin river, he sought asylum at a guard post in the western sector of the frontier." One report identified the soldier as Pvt. Kim Hak Su, 22, while another identified him only as Chung, a 22-year-old sergeant. The soldier was the first to defect across the border this year. The mine-infested, 2.5-mile-wide demilitarized zone between the two Koreas is the world's most heavily armed border, with nearly 2 million soldiers on both sides.

6. ROK President Travels

The Associated Press ("S. KOREAN PRESIDENT BEGINS TRIP," Seoul, 6/22/97) reported that ROK President Kim Young-sam left the ROK Sunday to attend a UN special session on the environment and to visit Mexico. At the UN on Monday, Kim will make a keynote speech on the ROK's environmental preservation efforts. While in New York, Kim will meet the presidents or prime ministers of Japan, France, Britain, Italy, Hungary and Tanzania, who also will be at the UN session. Kim's office said that Kim also hoped to meet with US President Bill Clinton to discuss food shortages in DPRK and efforts to persuade the DPRK to accept the proposed four-party peace talks. On Thursday, Kim will fly to Mexico for a state visit until Saturday. He will meet Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo on Friday. Kim is scheduled to return to Seoul June 30.

7. ROK-PRC Diplomacy

The Associated Press ("SOUTH KOREA, CHINA TO HOLD TALKS," Seoul, 6/23/97) reported that the ROK Foreign Ministry said Monday that the ROK and the PRC will hold talks this week on drawing a border between their countries across the Yellow Sea. The two countries must work out an agreement to reconcile the overlaps in the 230-mile exclusive economic zones each country is allowed by UN convention. The Yellow Sea between them is as narrow as 200 miles. The ROK ministry said that, while the ROK wants a median line, the PRC wants the sea border to be drawn closer to the ROK.

8. Taiwan War Games

The Associated Press ("TAIWAN LAUNCHES WAR GAMES," Tainan, Taiwan, 6/23/97) reported that on Monday Taiwan launched large-scale air and sea war games, showcasing its military might a week before the PRC regains sovereignty over Hong Kong. The US had asked Taiwan to postpone the exercises, but Taiwanese military leaders said the annual war games had no connection to the handover of the British colony on July 1. The two-day games entail a live-fire exercise to practice defending the island from invasion, and will also incorporate various warships, including US-made and French-made missile frigates. President Lee Teng-hui Monday inspected Patriot missiles, US-made F-16s, and French Mirage fighter jets, along with homemade aircraft on display at Tainan Air Base in southern Taiwan. A Hong Kong newspaper reported this month that the PRC planned to hold exercises along its coastline opposite Taiwan around the time of Taiwan's games. The US has urged both sides not to hold exercises during Hong Kong's handover. Last year, a series of threatening PRC exercises near Taiwanese waters led Washington to deploy two aircraft carriers and other warships to the region. Taiwan suspended last year's exercise to cool the tensions.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Summit of the Eight Statement on DPRK

The G8 nations issued a collective statement at the Denver summit conference on Sunday, calling on the DPRK to cease "development, deployment and export" of ballistic missiles systems. The countries also expressed their support for efforts to hold four-party talks to produce a lasting peace settlement on the Korean peninsula. (Chosun Ilbo, "'G8' URGE NORTH TO HALT BALLISTIC MISSILE DEVELOPMENT," 06/23/97)

2. ROK Food Aid to the DPRK

A ROK cargo ship carrying 1,000 tons of wheat flour and 100,000 cases of ramen (instant noodles) is scheduled to leave Pusan today for the eastern DPRK port of Hungnam. The vessel, Changyoung 8, was to leave yesterday but was delayed by problems loading the food, said an official of the ROK Korean National Red Cross (KNRC). The official also said the amount of ramen to be shipped was reduced from the original 150,000 cases due to problems on the part of their donor, a group of Protestant churches. (Korea Herald, "SOUTH KOREAN AID SHIP TO LEAVE FOR NORTH TODAY," 06/23/97)

3. DPRK Opens "Free Markets"

According to the PRC's Yanbian Daily, the DPRK opened a joint market with the PRC at the border town of Wonjonglee, in the Naijing-Sonbon area. Open between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Wednesday, the market is limited to 50-100 merchants for barter or cash based trade. The Chinese merchants bought mainly grain, food, and clothing, while the North Koreans purchased fishery products, souvenirs, and ironwork. The exchange rate was set at NKW1 to 25 Chinese remibai, with the US dollar changing hands at the rate of NKW1 to US$3. A similar market is planned for the Russian-DPRK border in the area of the Tumen River. (Chosun Ilbo, "DPRK OPENS JOINT MARKETS IN BORDER AREAS," 06/23/97)

4. PRC Supercomputer Development

The PRC unveiled a state-of-the-art supercomputer developed by the military Thursday amid questions over whether US-made supercomputers had aided PRC weapons programs. The Yinhe-3, a black, refrigerator-size computer capable of performing 13 billion calculations per second, was heralded by the state-run Central Television as a breakthrough for the PRC's defense and computer industries. PRC Vice Premier Zou Jiahua personally congratulated the researchers at the computer institute of the National Defense Science and Technology University. Supercomputers can serve non-military functions such as weather forecasting, but may also be used to test nuclear weapons, build more accurate missiles, and develop code-breaking technology. Last week, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright informed Congress that officials were investigating whether any of the PRC's estimated 46 US-made supercomputers sold to private PRC companies may have been used for nuclear weapons testing. The US Justice Department was looking into one sale, to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the nation's top research institute, that may have violated US export rules; licenses are required for military-related sales of computers capable of at least 2 billion calculations per second. The PRC has denied any misuse of US supercomputers, saying they have only been used for civilian purposes. (Korea Times, "CHINA UNVEILS SUPERCOMPUTER DEVELOPED BY MILITARY," 06/23/97)

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development.

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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