The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Thursday, June 26, 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. US Prepares for DPRK Collapse

The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition (Thomas E. Ricks and Steve Glain, "U.S. PLANS FOR FALL OF PYONGYANG; MILITARY DISCUSSES RELIEF EFFORT," 6/26/97) reported that the US military, increasingly convinced that the DPRK ruling regime is likely to collapse, has begun long-term planning for a massive international relief effort. Planners now regard a "soft landing" as improbable, the report said. An unnamed US Defense Department official was quoted as saying that preliminary talks already have been held with the ROK and Japan, and some "very general discussions" have been held with the PRC, on how best to get large amounts of food and medicine into DPRK quickly and what to do if large numbers of hungry refugees begin leaving. A top US priority is to limit the involvement of the US military on the ground in the DPRK, in part from fear of being seen as an imperial force, the report said. The US would concentrate on long-range transportation, large-scale communications and international coordination, and leave relief operations to one or more international organizations supported by military personnel from the ROK and other countries. Nonetheless, planners still fear disastrous misunderstandings, such as uninformed DPRK troops firing on US relief aircraft, and the presence of throughout the population of saboteurs or others not reconciled to the regime's demise. Military officials also emphasize that huge questions remain, with many parts of the potential relief operation essentially undecided.

2. Japan-DPRK Relations

Reuters ("JAPAN TO UPGRADE CONTACTS WITH NORTH KOREA," Bergen, Norway, 6/26/97) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said on Thursday that Japan planned to upgrade talks with the DPRK in order to address allegations that Japanese nationals were kidnapped by DPRK agents in the late 1970s and 1980s, as well as other bilateral issues. Hashimoto, visiting Norway for a summit with the leaders of five Nordic countries, said that he mentioned Japan's intention of upgrading the DPRK talks to ROK President Kim Young-sam when they met in New York on Monday. Japanese government officials have said Tokyo's policy on food aid to the DPRK depends on the results of the current talks. Japan currently sends officials from the Foreign Ministry's section in charge of North East Asian affairs, led by the section chief. "We will now have more senior officials at talks with North Korea. ... We want to make Japan's position clear and we want a clear reply from North Korea," Hashimoto said.

3. UN Representative Visits DPRK

The Associated Press ("U.N. VISITS N. KOREA FLOOD-DAMAGE," Seoul, 6/26/97) and Reuters ("UN'S AKASHI SAYS N.KOREA NEEDS MORE FOOD AID," Tokyo, 6/20/97) reported that the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Thursday that Yasushi Akashi, UN Under-Secretary General and the head of its Department of Humanitarian Affairs, on Wednesday toured flood-damaged areas in the district of Unpha south of Pyongyang. Akashi visited farmers' houses, nurseries and fields, and inspected the progress of recovery work, the report said. "He felt an urgent need for the international community to redouble humanitarian support to people in the flood-hit areas who are scarcely living on a little food," KCNA said. Akashi arrived in the DPRK on Tuesday on an inspection tour due to last until Saturday, when he will travel to the ROK and then Japan.

4. Russia Allegedly Violating ABM

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, "DEFECTOR DISCLOSED FURTHER VIOLATIONS OF '72 ABM TREATY," Washington, 6/26/97) reported that US intelligence agencies received detailed information from a KGB defector in 1991 indicating that Russia is violating a key provision of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, according to a CIA report and US officials. The defector, who was not identified by name, disclosed to the CIA that the ABM system built by the Soviet Union around Moscow contains mobile interceptor missiles that are moved to new locations each week. Article 5 of the treaty prohibits mobile land-based ABM components. A Clinton administration arms-control official in charge of checking Russian compliance, cited anonymously, said the Soviet Union was cited for three violations of the ABM treaty in a 1993 report to Congress, but that the Russians have never been challenged on mobile ABM components. A second official said US negotiators never received any intelligence related to the underground missile movements in numerous briefings prior to negotiating sessions on the ABM in Geneva. To declare a violation requires "incontrovertible evidence" and the defector's testimony may not have been enough to raise the matter in the Geneva Standing Consultative Commission, the official said. The Clinton administration has called the ABM treaty the "cornerstone" of strategic relations between the United States and Russia. Republican critics in Congress have labeled the pact a Cold War anachronism that is hindering US missile-defense efforts. The disclosure of a new Russian ABM treaty violation is likely to renew congressional opposition to the treaty.

5. UN Conference on Disarmament Developments

Reuters ("WEST WINS ON LANDMINES AT UN," Geneva, 6/26/97) reported that Western countries on Thursday won a decision at the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament to appoint a special coordinator who will try to launch negotiations on a global ban on the use, storage, production and transfer of landmines. Diplomats said that the decision was made possible after Syria's delegate left the conference room to pave the way for consensus. The United States and Britain welcomed the breakthrough, while non-aligned countries including India and Cuba said the precedent was dangerous. "My delegation and government welcome the decision to appoint a special coordinator to conduct consultations on a possible mandate on the question of landmines," said Katharine Crittenberger, acting head of the US delegation. India's ambassador Arundhati Ghose, in brief remarks, said: "We have no problem with the decision. But we are very concerned that one delegation had to absent itself in order to see that the CD can take a decision. I hope it is not a precedent." The Geneva talks had been deadlocked all year due to a row between Western states eager to negotiate global bans on landmines and production of bomb-making fissile material, and non-aligned states seeking greater elimination of nuclear arms. The decision came a day before the Geneva body ends its second session of 1997 and begins a summer recess. A final seven-week session begins on July 28.

6. India To Allow Chemical Weapons Inspections

Reuters ("INDIA ALLOWS INSPECTION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS," New Delhi, 6/26/97) reported that India on Thursday opened its chemical weapons to international inspection for the first time, saying the monitoring would not compromise its security or hurt its chemicals industry. India became one of the original signatories of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1993, and ratified the treaty last September. "Now that the convention has come into force ..., India has declared without any reservation all such materials in stock, production and storage facilities which will be open to international expert inspection at any time," the Defense Ministry said. The pact requires all signatories to destroy their chemical weapons within ten years and also open their chemicals complexes for both regular and short-notice inspections. India currently chairs the convention's executive council and has hailed the treaty as a model disarmament pact. However, there has been speculation that India, considered a threshold nuclear power, will rely more heavily on a potential nuclear weapons deterrent after relinquishing its chemical arms. Neither India nor Pakistan has signed the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, negotiated in Geneva last year. India says the pacts are discriminatory and do not oblige declared nuclear powers to disarm, and Pakistan says it will not sign them until India does.

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK-Hong Kong Relations

Although the ROK government predicts little change in the existing bilateral relations between the ROK and Hong Kong after it is returned to the PRC, officials are bracing for possible DPRK diplomatic inroads into the soon-to-be PRC possession. "The DPRK will naturally push to establish a diplomatic mission in Hong Kong under the sovereignty of the PRC, its traditional ally," said a ROK Foreign Ministry official. The PRC takeover of Hong Kong may also lead to the closing of a main defection route for North Koreans seeking asylum in the ROK, he said. The DPRK has operated a trade mission in the southern PRC city of Guangzhou near Hong Kong and a trade firm in the nearby Portuguese colony of Macau, which is itself scheduled to be returned to the PRC rule in 1999. Although the ROK has maintained a consulate general in Hong Kong since 1949, the DPRK is expected to set up a consulate general or a trade mission in Hong Kong after Britain hands over control of the territory to the PRC, said a ROK Embassy official in Beijing said. With 500 ROK companies operating in Hong Kong and almost 7,000 South Koreans living there, the British colony is the fourth largest export market for the ROK, which, in turn, is the sixth biggest importer for Hong Kong. In April, the two countries exchanged a memorandum for the conclusion of an agreement on the maintenance of the ROK Consulate General in Hong Kong. Last month, the ROK and the PRC also signed an agreement to allow South Korean travelers to continue to visit Hong Kong visa-free for up to 15 days. The PRC is certain to try to ensure that the "one country, two systems" mechanism will work in Hong Kong in order to convince Taiwan of the validity of the concept. (Korea Herald, "SEOUL SEES LITTLE CHANGE IN HONG KONG TIES; BRACING FOR DPRK'S DIPLOMATIC OFFENSIVE," 06/26/97)

2. ROK-US Defense Preparations

ROK and US forces are stepping up joint defense preparations in readiness for possible DPRK surprise attacks, a high-ranking official at the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC) said yesterday. Close monitoring by the CFC with satellite and surveillance aircraft revealed that DPRK troops recently conducted surprise attack exercises, despite serious food and oil shortages. Coincidentally, the CFC's upgrading of defense preparedness is occurring on the 47th anniversary of the Korean War. In fear that DPRK submarines are still infiltrating ROK waters, the ROK Navy, Air Force and Army began four-days of joint antisubmarine maneuvers on the East Sea yesterday. Participating forces included an undisclosed number of destroyers, frigates, P-3C antisubmarine aircraft and helicopters from the 1st Navy Fleet, Air Force fighters, electronic warfare aircraft and Army coast guard units. The ROK and the US forces conducted an amphibious landing exercise drill last week near Pohang, a move that brought fierce protest from the DPRK. (Korea Herald, "SEOUL, WASHINGTON READY AGAINST POSSIBLE DPRKN ATTACK," 06/26/97)

3. ROK Food Aid to DPRK

The ROK government decided on Wednesday to funnel all food aid to the DPRK through the International Red Cross. As a result of this decision, the ROK government will not respond to requests expected to be made by the World Food Program (WFP) next week. An official of the ROK Foreign Ministry said, "The food assistance between South and North Korea is an internal issue within the peninsula and different to that of multilateral assistance provided by international society. It was necessary to channel aid through the WFP when there was no communication between the South and the North, but now it is no longer necessary to rely solely on the WFP to give aid now that direct contact between both sides has been established." The official added, "The International Red Cross asked the ROK government to increase spending for expanding ration monitors from one to four or five as the volume of needed aid is rapidly increasing. The government is willing to comply. Since the ROK government will be working with the Red Cross, the indirect cost of aid, such as transportation and labor, will drop below the 15 percent mark spent compared to working with the WFP alone." (Chosun Ilbo, "GOVERNMENT TO SHIFT NORTH AID CHANNEL TO RED CROSS," 06/26/97)

The Korean National Red Cross (KNRC) announced yesterday that the ROK freight ship carrying food aid arrived in Hungnam on the eastern coast of the DPRK. Changyoung. 8, the ROK ship, was carrying 1,000 tons of wheat flour donated by Chung Ju-yung, honorary chairman of the Hyundai Group and 100,000 cases of ramen (instant noodles) contributed by Christian churches in Korea, a KNRC official explained. (Korea Herald, "KNRC FREIGHTER CARRYING FOOD AID ARRIVES IN NORTH," 06/26/97)

4. Southeast Asian Defense Budgets Surge

Research results showed that defense spending of South East Asian states has dramatically increased and that the US remains the world's largest arms exporter. According to an annual report by the World Peace Studies Institute (SIPRI), the Southeast Asian states of Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore increased their defense budgets by 23 percent, 15 percent, and 7 percent respectively last year. The report also pointed out that last year's international arms trade amounted to US$23 billion, similar to that of 1995. The US was found to remain the world's largest arms trader, accounting for US$12 billion, or 40 percent of the total world arms trade. (Kyung Hyang Shinmun, "SOUTH EAST ASIA'S DEFENSE SPENDING SHOW QUICK INCREASE," 06/26/97)

III. People's Republic of China

1. ROK Policy on Nuclear Power

The ROK's lack of natural resources and pollution concerns are forcing the country to boost its reliance on nuclear energy, China Daily ("ROK RELIES MORE ON NUCLEAR POWER," Seoul, A11, 6/24/97) reported. According to the report, a senior ROK Energy Ministry official said that the country's policy is to continue raising nuclear power generation capacity into the year 2010. The ROK government plans to expand its total installed nuclear power capacity to 13,716 megawatts by 2000 and 26,329 megawatts by 2010, which would constitute 38 percent and 46 percent, respectively, of total power production. Despite costly construction fees and possible environmental risks, the ROK government favors the nuclear power stations because of their cost efficiency and high energy production level. ROK analysts and government officials said that the ROK's policy was unlikely to be affected by domestic protests or crumbling nuclear policies in industrialized countries such as Japan and France.

2. DPRK Calls for Peace

People's Daily ("DPRK NEWSPAPERS CALL ON ELIMINATING RISKS OF WAR," Pyongyang, A6, 6/26/97) reported that on the 47th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War (June 25, 1950), major DPRK newspapers published commentaries on the need to eliminate existing risks of war and accelerate the establishment of peace safeguard mechanism on the Korean peninsula. Critiquing the US "power policy" on the Korean peninsula, Rodong Shinmun said if the US really hopes to achieve peace on the peninsula, it should faithfully carry out the framework agreement and clear up hostile relationship with the DPRK. Another commentary in Minju Choson (Democratic Korea) criticized the US for transporting new weapons to the ROK. It emphasized that these activities are harmful to peace and the reunification of Korea.

3. Russia De-targeting Missiles Aimed at Japan

China Daily ("MISSILE PLAN GETS MIXED REACTIONS," Tokyo, A11, 6/23/97) said that Japanese military experts expressed mixed views on the significance of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's announcement last week that Japan was no longer a target of Russian missiles. Japanese newspapers said that many experts saw Yeltsin's announcement to Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto in Denver as having only "symbolic" meaning, as missile targets can be shifted in a matter of a few minutes. "Russia probably used it as a tool to distract Prime Minister Hashimoto's attention from a bilateral territorial dispute," military commentator Kensuke Ebata told the Tokyo Shimbun. However, Manjo Kamiya, Assistant Professor at the National Defense Academy, argued that the Russian move cannot be underestimated: "At a time when no countries believe the use of nuclear weapons is realistic, something that looks symbolic can have a substantial meaning."

4. MFN Review

After nearly 4 hours of debate, the US House of Representatives voted 259 to 173 to reject a bill, sponsored by Representative Gerald Solomon, disapproving of US President Bill Clinton's decision to extend Most Favored Nation (MFN) trade status to China. A commentary in Wen Hui Daily said that this will probably be the last year that the US will discuss the annual review of China's MFN trade status, as many analysts believe that in 1998, the US will begin to consider China's permanent MFN status. ("US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE SUPPORTS RENEWAL OF CHINA'S MFN STATUS," Washington, A1 and A4, 06/26/97)

5. PRC-Russia Relations

Chinese Premier Li Peng met with Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov in Beijing on June 25. Nemtsov was in Beijing to make preparations for the visit by Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, who was scheduled to arrived in Beijing on June 26. During the meeting, Premier Li said that China would like to pursue a good relationship with Russia, adding that the 4,000-kilometer-long border between the two countries can become a friendly border. He said that the most important tasks facing the two countries are to expand and deepen cooperation, implement agreements already reached, and further discuss new joint projects. Jie Fang Daily ("PREMIER LI MEETS WITH RUSSIAN FIRST DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER," Beijing, A4, 6/26/97)

6. PRC Super Computer

People's Daily ("YINHE-III COMPUTER SPURS HIGH TECH EDGE," Beijing, A1, 6/20/97) reported that the PRC has developed a new super computer, the Yinhe-III, which is capable of performing 13 billion calculations per second. The state-of-the-art design by the Computer Institute under the National Defense Science and Technology University passed State appraisal in Beijing on June 19. According to the report, the Yinhe-III is 10 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Yinhe-II, which was developed in 1992, yet is only one-sixth of the size of the Yinhe-II. The appraisal committee, composed of prestigious scholars in the field of computer science, claimed that the Yinhe-III's overall functions are up to the world advanced level.

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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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