The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Wednesday, June 25, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Russian Federation

I. United States

1. DPRK Reported To Accept Four-Party Peace Talks

The Associated Press ("NORTH KOREA AGREES TO PEACE TALKS," Seoul, 6/25/97) and Reuters ("PYONGYANG AGREES TO LAUNCH KOREA PEACE PROCESS," Seoul, 6/25/97) reported that the DPRK has agreed to join the proposed four-party talks aimed at a creating permanent peace treaty to end the 1950-53 Korean War. An ROK Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying, "North Korea has accepted a proposal that senior officials of the United States, China and both Koreas meet in early August to set an agenda and other details of the peace talks." The official said vice foreign ministers of the US and the two Koreas will meet in New York on Monday, June 30, to set the date of preliminary talks to arrange for full-fledged four- party talks. ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman Lee Kyu-hyung said there would be a simultaneous announcement of the agreement in Seoul and Washington later on Wednesday. The four-party talks concept emerged in April 1996, when US President Bill Clinton and ROK President Kim Young-sam jointly proposed that the two Koreas meet to discuss a peace treaty, with the US and the PRC mediating. DPRK watchers said acceptance of this formula represented a reversal of the DPRK's previous stand that any treaty to secure peace on the Korean peninsula must be signed directly by Washington and Pyongyang, excluding the ROK. The DPRK's acceptance also indicated that it had dropped its demand that it be guaranteed food aid in exchange for joining the talks. That demand held up a pending agreement in two months ago to begin the talks. The US and the ROK have given millions of dollars of free food in response to UN appeals, but maintained that large-scale government aid could be considered only after the DPRK agreed to join the peace talks. The agreement was made public on the 47th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, and comes just as DPRK leader Kim Jong-il prepares to assume full powers after the third anniversary of the July 8 death of his father, Kim Il-sung.

Reuters also reported that on Wednesday the DPRK's official Rodong Shinmun, in a commentary monitored in Tokyo, said that the DPRK would be ready for peace discussions "as long as the enemies do not provoke a war..." The commentary said Pyongyang would pursue peace through negotiations, but it added: "The Korean People's keeping a sharp eye on every move of the warmongers who are outwardly calling for 'four-way talks' to secure peace and security while waiting for a chance to trigger a war of aggression against the North." The report also quoted Lee Ki-won, vice president at the independent Institute of North Korea Studies, as saying, "North Korea's acceptance of the peace talks underlines how serious its food problem is. The North needs to ease its food shortage to allow its leader Kim Jong-il to formally take over power." Paik Hak-soon, research fellow at the Sejong Institute, a private think-tank, said the conciliatory gesture by the DPRK was "an inevitable choice" to ease economic stress and the threat of famine, but predicted a long, painful process before the two Koreas could achieve detente or implement steps to ease tensions. "The North will seek bilateral deals with the U.S. to overcome its economic woes and guarantee its survival before considering cooperation with the South," he added.

United Press International ("N.KOREA SIGNALS ACCEPTANCE OF PEACE TALKS," Washington, 6/25/97) reported that both US and ROK officials, speaking under conditions of anonymity, said that representatives of the US, the ROK and the DPRK will meet in New York Monday to begin "planning the venue and agenda" for the commencement of the proposed four-party peace talks. The report noted that the US officials were far more guarded than their ROK counterparts that the full-scale negotiations would soon begin. A senior aide to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright described the mood in Washington as "cautiously optimistic." The Clinton administration has been burned recently after predicting imminent breakthroughs with the DPRK on the peace talks and on acquiring Pyongyang's pledge to stop exporting ballistic missiles and related technology. The US on at least two occasions this spring has announced the DPRK's agreement to begin the preparatory talks, only to have Pyongyang back out at the last minute.

US Acting State Department Spokesman John Dinger ("STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JUNE 25," USIA Transcript, 6/25/97) confirmed that senior US, DPRK and ROK officials will begin talks June 30 in New York City to discuss the four-party peace talks proposal. Dinger stated: "We have agreed that Acting Assistant Secretary Charles Kartman will meet with Republic of Korea Deputy Foreign Minister Son Yong Shik and DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan on Monday, June 30th, at the New York Palace Hotel. The three have met twice previously to discuss the four-party proposal. The first meeting, you will remember, was on March 5th at the joint briefing on our four-party proposal. The second meeting was April 16th through the 21st ,when the North Koreans provided their initial formal response to the four- party proposal. Monday's meeting has been called for further discussions in which we hope to make further progress in realizing the four-party proposal. The latest meeting was scheduled as a result of a series of working level trilateral meetings following the April meeting. We certainly hope that North Korea will accept our proposal. When or if that happens, we will make a public announcement." Dinger declined to comment on specific issues that might be discussed, including food aid, or why ROK officials appeared to be much more optimistic about the development than US officials. "I think what I would say is that we have felt that the talks were headed in the right direction. We have said that after every round of the working-level talks. Clearly, we would not be going to a more senior level if we didn't think that the talks were headed in the right direction. But I don't have anything beyond that," Dinger said. [Ed. note: DPRK-related excerpts from Dinger's comments will be distributed in a separate Special Report.]

2. DPRK Officials Visit US Arms Control Center

US Acting State Department Spokesman John Dinger ("STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JUNE 25," USIA Transcript, 6/25/97) confirmed the veracity of press reports that six DPRK officials visited the Sandia National Laboratories Cooperative Monitoring Center in New Mexico on June 16. [Ed. note: See "DPRK Officials Visit US Arms Control Center" in the US section of the June 24 Daily Report.] Dinger "absolutely" denied that the delegation visited a US military control center. "They had a one-day workshop on general arms control principles. Another private organization -- the Atlantic Council -- organized the workshop. The Atlantic Council is based in Washington; it's a research organization. Sandia National Laboratory is not a United States Government entity. It does have a relationship with the Department of Energy," Dinger said. Dinger emphasized that the facility is "completely unclassified." "At no time did the North Koreans have access to any classified information nor to any sensitive U.S. technology. All items displayed at the Cooperative Monitoring Center are commercially available technologies," Dinger said. Dinger said the visit "was part of an effort on our part to bring the North Koreans into the global arms control community, ... to show them some of the confidence-building measures that are used elsewhere in the world to try to avoid proliferation of weapons." [Ed. note: DPRK-related excerpts from Dinger's comments will be distributed in a separate Special Report.]

3. Russian Communists' Food Aid to DPRK

Reuters ("RUSSIAN COMMUNISTS COLLECT FOOD FOR NORTH KOREA," Moscow, 6/25/97) reported that a spokesman for the hardline communist group Working Russia said Wednesday that his organization and a handful of others, including the pro-communist Officers' Union, plan to collect food for the DPRK under the slogan, "A kilo of rice for a Korean friend." "There is such an initiative and several other organizations are with us," the spokesman said. The spokesman gave no details, saying that the "act of solidarity" with North Korean people had just started. The DPRK was a long-time ally of the now-disintegrated Soviet Union, but ties with Russia are less solid because Moscow has turned its attentions increasingly to other countries, including the ROK. Many North Koreans have come to Russia as "guest workers." Earlier this week, Reuters Television filmed a collective farm on the outskirts of Moscow where about 100 North Korean "guest workers" who grow cabbages for a pittance live in a tiny rusty wagon under portraits of their communist leaders. The workers still manage to send some money back home, the report said.

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Reported To Accept Four-Party Peace Talks

On Tuesday, a diplomatic source in New York revealed that the DPRK has notified the ROK and the US of its formal acceptance of the four-party peace talks. Accordingly, a tripartite deputy- minister level meeting will be held in New York next Monday to discuss the opening of the four-party talks. At the meeting, the ROK will be represented by First Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye- gwan, and the US by Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Charles Kartman. Pyongyang has also concurred on opening a preliminary meeting to negotiate the timing, venue, and agenda of the four-way talks by early August. (Korea Times, "NK FORMALLY ACCEPTS 4-WAY TALKS," 06/25/97)

2. France Urges ROK to Buy Rocket Launchers

French President Jacques Chirac asked ROK President Kim Young-sam on Monday to ensure that the ROK purchase French-made "Mistral" portable ground-to-air missiles. Kim did not give any commitment to the French leader, only saying that the ROK will make its choice in a fair and objective way, according to ROK officials who attended the two leaders' summit talks at the UN. The ROK, which has bought US$160 million worth of Mistral missiles on two occasions since 1992, plans to purchase another US$300 million worth of shoulder-launched missiles. Officials said US-made Stingers, which are used by US troops stationed in the ROK, and British-made Starburst missiles are also other possibilities for the ROK contract. Although the issue did not come up in Kim's summit talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair held on Monday, ROK officials said they will make a decision in August at the latest. (Korea Herald, Chon Shi-yong, "CHIRAC ASKS KOREA TO BUY MISTRAL MISSILES," New York, 06/25/97)

3. IMF, IBRD Forecast Fall of DPRK

An internal policy paper circulated within the IMF and the IBRD anticipates the fall of the DPRK government in the mid to long term, and its likely integration into the ROK economy to include heavy costs. The June 19th paper, entitled "A Scenario for the Fall of the DPRK," emphasized that the country's on-going negative growth since the early 1990s was not due to its economic reform policies, but rather results from the DPRK's industrial dependence and the subsequent lack of investment, foreign currency, and energy, which has left some 70-80 percent of its capacity idle. The paper also mentioned that in the event of the DPRK's fall, influential states in the East-Asian region (i.e. the ROK, the PRC, the US, Russia and Japan) will be severely affected, yet no coherent cooperative agenda has been put forward due to the different interests of these states. (Chosun Ilbo, "IBRD, IMF POLICY PAPERS PREDICT DPRK ABSORBTION TO THE ROK," 06/25/97)

4. ROK-DPRK Trade

ROK imports of DPRK scrap steel jumped more than twofold in May to US$3.4 million, a 269.7 percent increase over US$932,000 in the previous month, the ROK Ministry of National Unification said yesterday. Ministry analysts said the scrap steel that the DPRK is exporting is made up of parts from decommissioned ships and machinery from factories that have stopped operation due to the lack of fuel. According to DPRK analysts, less than 30 percent of the factories in the country are now operating. Inter-Korean trade done on a processing-on-commission basis also marked an increase, surging 22 percent to reach US$8 million from US$6.5 in April. Overall inter-Korean trade in May, however, dropped 30.9 percent to about US$26 million from US$37 million in April. (Korea Herald, "DPRK SCRAP IMPORTS RISE AS TRADE DROPS," 06/25/97)

III. Russian Federation

1. RF-DPRK Treaty Preparation

Kommersant-Daily ("DPRK WANTS TO BUILD COMMUNISM JOINTLY WITH RUSSIA," Moscow, 5, 6/19/97) reported that RF Foreign Ministry sources believe the new RF-DPRK treaty is 95 percent ready and will be ready to be signed by the end of 1997. Nonetheless, because of differences in opinions between the two nations on certain issues, the newspaper suggested that it is premature to expect the treaty to be signed soon. According to RF Foreign Ministry Information and Press Department Deputy Director Valeriy Nesterushkin, the RF opposes the DPRK's desire to transfer some ideological assessments points "inconsistent with modern realities" from the previous USSR-DPRK treaty of 1961 to the updated draft. Secondly, the RF does not want to again undertake alliance commitments, preferring a treaty "on good-neighborhood and cooperation." Experts are continuing work on the document with the next round of negotiations to be held in Pyongyang. Although RF Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov reportedly received an invitation to visit the DPRK from Foreign Minister Kim Yong-nam to sign the treaty, Nesterushkin acknowledged that the visit is due to take place, "but not in nearest forthcoming months."

2. RF Chemical Weapons Elimination

At a June 20 briefing at the RF Defense Ministry, Colonel General Stanislav Petrov, Chief of Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops, stated that a solid legal basis has been created in the RF for chemical weapons elimination, according to Nezavisimaia gazeta ("DEFENSE MINISTRY IS READY TO ELIMINATE CHEMICAL WEAPONS," Moscow, 2, 6/21/97). He referred to three major documents: the International Chemical Weapons Ban Convention, the RF Federal Law on Chemical Weapons Elimination, and the Program on Elimination of Chemical Weapons Stockpiles. Petrov emphasized that the RF Government established the RF Defense Ministry as the only contractor possessing the necessary institutions and trained personnel to carry out the program.

According to Kommersant-Daily ("THE WEST DOESN'T HURRY TO BURY RUSSIAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS," Moscow, 3, 6/21/97), Colonel General Stanislav Petrov said that the international community has been slow in assisting the RF in its elimination of its chemical weapons. According to his claims, the elimination of 40,000 tons of chemical warfare substances will cost about US$5 billion, yet foreign assistance will cover, at most, 3.5 percent of it. Moreover, the 1996 national funding of the RF chemical weapons elimination program was only 1 percent of the planned allocations. The RF State Duma's delay in ratifying the International Chemical Weapons Ban Convention might critically hurt RF chemical exports and imports due to possibly international sanctions, Petrov said.

3. RF President at Summit of the Eight

A commentary on RF President Boris Yeltsin's arrival in Denver to participate in the Summit of the Eight Segodnya ("FAT CATS AND CORNERED MICE," Moscow, 3, 6/21/97) ventured that the invitation extended, despite Japan's opposition to it, was more of a "personal one" to Yeltsin, rather than to "Russia as a power." Regardless, it went on, the invitation was belated in view of the fact that while past summits were the major coordinating forums to meet Soviet and/or OPEC challenges, they have become "a mixture of dullest political bureaucracy and political show." Therefore, the commentary concluded that Yeltsin's partners in Denver are more interested in taxation reform, social policies and other practical aspects of the RF realities than in Yeltsin's expected geopolitical initiatives on further meetings and conferences.

The report in Izvestia on President Yeltsin's participation in the Denver Summit ('GRAND MANEUVERS IN DENVER," Moscow, 1, 3, 6/21/97) focused on US-Japan trade negotiations the strained relations between RF and Japan.

Nezavisimaia gazeta ("RUSSIA BECOMES A FULLY EQUAL BUT NOT A FULL-FLEDGED MEMBER OF THE 'BIG EIGHT'," Moscow, 1, 2, 6/20/97), commenting on the Denver Summit, noted that while the other participants base their power on their economic might, "Russia has to expand its body like a balloon fish" to save its prestige. At the same time, the article continues, Western leaders consider it mutually beneficial to help the RF maintain its outwardly prestigious look because, by doing so, it helps promote "Boris Yeltsin's prestige in Russia."

A Sovetskaya Rossia article on the Denver Summit ("THE COLORADO 'EIGHT'," Moscow, 3, 6/21/97) emphasized Japan's long opposition to the RF's admittance to the group because of the RF-Japan territorial dispute. Although Japan finally agreed to let the RF join, Japan's Premier Hashimoto said the RF should be excluded from the discussion of financial and macroeconomic issues. US President Clinton assured Hashimoto in Denver that on some issues, the G8 would be still the G7.

4. RF Arms Exports to Southeast Asia

The RF Presidential Representative on military-technical cooperation with foreign countries visited the Philippines and communicated a message from President Yeltsin to the Philippines' President Fidel Ramos, reported Segodnya ("THIRTY THOUSND MESSENGERS AND ALL OF THEM CARRYING ARMS," Moscow, 4, 6/11/97). Yeltsin proposed RF participation in the large-scale, US$12 billion modernization of the Philippines' armed forces over which intense international bidding is sure to begin. The RF is expected to propose sales of its fighter planes and other military equipment to the Philippines. The article also mentioned Indonesia's recent refusal to purchase US fighter planes over certain human rights controversies.

According to Kommersant-Daily ("INDONESIA POSSIBLY WILL BUY RUSSIAN PLANES," Moscow, 3, 6/21/97), a military delegation headed by Indonesian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Gen. Feisal Tandjung is expected soon in Moscow. According to Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas the RF is among the countries perceived as his country's possible aircraft suppliers. Indonesian specialists who worked recently in the RF presented a report according to which RF-made weapons meet the requirements and can be used for Indonesia's defense. They referred to RF-made fighter-bombers, notably MiG-29 and Su-27, missile systems and radar.

5. DPRK Famine Situation

An Izvestia report ("HOPE IS THE FIRST TO BE BORN," Moscow, 3, 6/11/97) said that there are increasing signs that the DPRK population is not doomed to starvation. While 4.7 million DPRK citizens still suffer from malnutrition, foreign food aid and domestic resource mobilization will be able to prevent this summer's predicted disaster. The food aid includes 50,000 tons of corn from the ROK Red Cross, which for the first time will indicate the ROK as the country of origin. US readiness to render food aid was supported by Andrew Natsios, president of US- based World Vision, who, after his visit to the DPRK, said "no political motives can justify children's death from hunger." A total mobilization to plant new rice on a huge scale has begun in the DPRK.

6. Japan-PRC-Taiwan Island Dispute

Segodnya ("NOMAN'S ARCHIPELAGO OPEN FOR WATER AND AIR GAMES," Moscow, 4, 6/18/97) reported that a group of "Japanese nationalists" promised to begin construction of a "fisherman's hut" on the Senkaku/Diaoyu Isles in the South China Sea, over which there has been a long dispute between Japan and the countries of Taiwan and the PRC.

7. Japanese Participation in Peacekeeping

This fall, the Japanese Parliament will consider a bill which would permit Japanese armed forces to take part in peace-keeping operations in the Far East, reported Kommersant-Daily ("JAPAN IS TO JOIN THE RANKS OF PEACEKEEPERS," Moscow, 4, 6/20/97). Until now, Japan's Constitution has been interpreted as forbidding any use of military force outside of Japan's territory. In a recent joint US-Japan report, forty situations were listed in which Japan's military could assist US troops in the region. An increasing number of Japanese politicians believe that Japan's participation in regional peace-keeping operations would strengthen the country's diplomatic influence and help it to someday become Permanent Member of the UN Security Council.

8. RF Military Reform

Segodnya ("FAR EAST AND LYUBERTSY TO BE THE FIRST TO TASTE THE FRUIT OF MILITARY REFORM," Moscow, 1, 6/16/97) reported that RF Defense Minister General Igor Sergeyev revealed some plans for the transformation of RF's armed forces. Four mobile units are to be created in RF Far East, Northern Caucasus, Moscow and Urals military districts. Serving as the bulk of the "immediate response forces," they will be formed on the basis of the present-day airborne troops and will consist of four "heavy weight" army corps and one airborne army providing "air- mobility."

Nezavisimaia gazeta ("NEW DEFENSE MINISTER HAS BECOME THE PRESIDENTIAL TEAM MEMBER IN A MONTH," Moscow, 1, 6/21/97) reported that RF Defense Minister General Igor Sergeyev has managed to do more in his first month "than his predecessors did in five years." He has proposed a new two level structure for RF Armed Forces. The first is to be strategic, transforming the Strategic Missile Forces into a separate Command, in addition to nuclear delivery means of the Navy and the Air Force. The second level is in the Ground Forces, the Navy and the Air Force, with the Anti-Aircraft Defense to undergo substantial changes. Although President Yeltsin said RF Armed Forces should be reduced to 1.2 million personnel, Gen. Sergeyev is presently working on reducing the number to 840,000 by the end of 1998.

9. RF Far East in Administrative Crisis

RF President Boris Yeltsin, in a meeting with RF Presidential Administration Staff Head Valentin Yumashev and the two First Deputy RF Premiers, Anatoliy Chubais and Boris Nemtsov, approved a suggestion to hold simultaneous extraordinary elections of both the Primorskiy Area Governor and the Vladivostok Mayor, according to Segodnya ("PRESIDENT'S ADVISED TO RE-ELECT NAZDRATENKO"," Moscow, 1, 6/17/97).

Nezavisimaia gazeta ("A STALEMATE SITUATION," Moscow, 1, 6/18/97) reported that Primorskiy Area Governor Yevgeniy Nazdratenko, recently suspended by President Yeltsin from exercising some vital financial functions, agreed to run for the same post in extraordinary elections if his bitter opponent, Vladivostok Mayor Viktor Cherepkov, agreed to also retire and run for re-election. With Cherepkov refusing to do so, it may be inevitable that, in addition to the existing Moscow-Nazdratenko and Nazdratenko- Cherepkov conflicts, there will be greater friction between Cherepkov and Moscow.

According to Kommersant-Daily ("PRIMORIYE GOVERNOR VIOLATED PRESIDENTIAL DECREE," Moscow, 3, 6/21/97), Viktor Kondratov, RF President's Plenipotentiary Representative in the Primorskiy Area, claimed Area Governor Yevgeniy Nazdratenko who is under financial investigation, has violated the Presidential Decree under which he is to distribute all incoming federal funds with guidance by the Representative. However, Nazdratenko completely excluded the cities of Vladivostok and Nakhodka during his recent allocation of a 36 million ruble federal loan. Although Nazdratenko is quite eager to run for re-election, his opponent, Vladivostok Mayor Viktor Cherepkov, who is sure of the Governor's inevitable victory, emphatically refuses to run for the Mayor office again. While no feasible rivals to Mr. Kondratenko have been found, energy shortages and wage payment delays in the Area continue to become increase.

10. RF Media on the RF Global Position

Obshchaya gazeta ("A BRIDGE BETWEEN CHINA AND EUROPE," Moscow, 7, 6/11-18/97) reported that, in comparison with other world major power centers (i.e. Western and Central Europe, Islamic nations, the PRC, and the US), the RF is now at a dire disadvantage. By becoming Europe's "client" the RF would be able to resist more successfully the expansion of the "three giants" from the East - China, Japan, and the US. A proposed three-stage strategy would begin with the construction of a "Berlin-Moscow-Novosibirsk- Vladivostok autobahn" and the initiation of a large scale, joint RF-Europe long-distance truck production project. The second stage would involve creating a chain of European affiliate enterprises to process Siberian resources all along the "autobahn" for export to the PRC fast growing consumer production industries. The third and final stage would involve multi- faceted high technology cooperation with Europe.

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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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