The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Tuesday, July 1, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. Four-Party Peace Talks Agreement

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, in Hong Kong to attend the transition of sovereignty from Britain to the PRC, on Monday issued a press release welcoming the DPRK's commitment to participate in the proposed four-party peace talks. Following is the official text of the Secretary Albright's statement ("ALBRIGHT 6/30 STATEMENT ON FOUR-PARTY KOREA PEACE TALKS," USIA Transcript, 7/01/97): "STATEMENT BY SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT. NORTH KOREA: FOUR PARTY TALKS. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea today accepted the proposal by the United States and the Republic of Korea for Four Party peace negotiations. We welcome the DPRK's commitment to participate in this historic process. Presidents Clinton and Kim Young Sam first proposed these peace negotiations at their summit on Cheju Island in the Republic of Korea on April 16, 1996. The purpose of the Four Party talks is to reduce tensions and build confidence on the Korean Peninsula with the aim of putting a formal end to the hostilities of the Korean War. The successful conclusion of a peace agreement would bring lasting peace and stability to the Korean Peninsula and contribute greatly to the peace and stability of the entire region. The three delegations agreed that the four parties involved -- the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, the People's Republic of China, and the United States -- will meet for preparatory talks on August 5 in New York. At that meeting, the four parties will decide the date, venue, agenda, and procedures for the formal start of Four Party peace talks."

Reuters ("U.S., S.KOREA BRACE FOR LONG PEACE PROCESS," Seoul, 7/01/97) reported that on Tuesday the US and the ROK, while welcoming the DPRK's acceptance of the proposed four-party peace talks, began bracing themselves for long negotiations. On Monday, the DPRK formally agreed to a meeting on August 5 of senior officials from the two Koreas, the US and the PRC to set an agenda and other procedural details for peace talks. Deputy US National Security Adviser James Steinberg, accompanying Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at ceremonies in Hong Kong marking the July 1 transfer of the territory from British to Chinese sovereignty, said, "We're very pleased with this agreement and we look forward to having this go forward." ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman Lee Kyu-hyung said in a statement, "The government of the Republic of Korea welcomes that the DPRK ... has accepted the proposal for the four-party talks." Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said in Tokyo that he hoped the peace talks would be held "at the earliest possible time." However, US and ROK officials cautioned against expecting quick results. Steinberg said, "we take it one step at a time because it's been ... (a) difficult road to go forward and we hope finally this will represent a serious engagement on the four-party process." Lee said Seoul did not expect to achieve detente with the North soon. "It is important to keep North Korea engaged in dialogue and take gradual steps to build up confidence." Park Sung-hoon, senior analyst on the DPRK at Seoul's unification ministry, said Pyongyang's main purpose was to get Washington to take steps to promote investment. "The North has insisted the four-nation talks be held in New York where they keep their experts on the US," Park said.

The Los Angeles Times (Tyler Marshall, "N. KOREA OKS STEP TOWARD PEACE TALKS DIPLOMACY," New York, 7/01/97) reported that the DPRK's agreement to join negotiations leading to commencement of the proposed four-party peace talks came after seven hours of talks among senior US, ROK and DPRK officials at the New York Palace Hotel. In addition to a possible treaty replacing the armistice that followed the 1950-1953 Korean War with a permanent peace, negotiations would address a series of "confidence-building measures" aimed at bringing stability to the DPRK's economy and guiding the isolated country back into the community of nations. Monday's diplomatic breakthrough came against the backdrop of the DPRK's collapsed economy and reports of serious food shortages and widespread famine there. US officials said the DPRK Monday raised the issue of food aid, as it has in previous negotiations, but then dropped any link between aid and the talks. "The North Koreans always raise food, and they did this again today," said one senior US official. "We answered as we always do: 'We don't accept the link, but watch what we do.'" Why the DPRK gave up its demands Monday was unclear, although US officials who participated in the talks and analysts said they believe it was more than just food. "Food was a part of it, but this was also about trust," commented one US official. "We had to develop a degree of trust, to show them that this wasn't some kind of trap." Scott Snyder, a Korea specialist at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, noted that the US had given the DPRK a face-saving way to enter the talks: the Clinton administration had kept a careful tally of international food donations, which had reached a level of 600,000 tons -- exactly what the DPRK had requested in January. Snyder also noted, however, that the DPRK really had no other choice. "It was a political necessity from their standpoint to go forward," he commented. "It's a major failure of a brinkmanship strategy when you find yourself having to cave in on your own extreme demands."

2. DPRK Food Aid

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("FIRST SHIP CARRYING FOOD AID ARRIVES IN N. KOREA - U.N.," Rome, 7/01/97) reported that the Rome-based UN World Food Program said Tuesday that a first shipload of food aid has reached DPRK, days after the country agreed to fully cooperate with UN relief workers in distributing the aid. The US-flag bulk carrier Judy Litrico on Sunday docked at the port of Nampo, near Pyongyang, with 24,953 metric tons of cereals, the agency said. The shipment was the first food aid delivered directly to the northeast of the country, where aid agencies have previously not been allowed to operate. The agency said another 1,300 tons of food would arrive within the next six weeks. The DPRK has also allowed the UN agency to open three offices in the area to monitor food distribution, it said. [Ed. note: See also "DPRK to Allow UN Aid Personnel Access" in the ROK section, below.]

3. Taiwan Implications of Hong Kong Handover

The Associated Press (Joe Mcdonald, "CHINA NOW TURNS TO TAIWAN," Beijing, 7/01/97) reported that, with Hong Kong now under rule from Beijing, PRC leaders on Tuesday urged Taiwan to accept a similar sort of autonomy as a formula for reunification. PRC President Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng, who returned to Beijing from handover ceremonies in Hong Kong, appealed to Taiwan to see Hong Kong's return as both an example and a big step in the long-held goal of a unified China. Once Portugal relinquishes control over Macau in 1999, after 462 years, Taiwan will be the last territory of imperial China outside Beijing's control. "The prospects for complete national reunification and all-around rejuvenation of the Chinese nation now stands promisingly in sight," Jiang said at a nighttime rally at Workers Stadium. His comments were broadcast nationwide. Jiang urged Taiwanese leaders to accept Beijing's sovereignty and cautioned that its growing strength can't be ignored. "The Chinese nation will no longer allow itself to be bullied, oppressed and exploited by others," Jiang said. "China now enjoys a higher international status in the world. It is against this background and for this very reason that Hong Kong has come back to China." However, the PRC leaders' appeals drew no compromise from Taiwan. Chang King-yuh, one of Taiwan's top policy-making officials, said Tuesday in Taipei, "The Hong Kong model not only can't be applied to Taiwan for objective reasons, it also goes against the aspirations of Taiwan's 21.5 million people."

Reuters ("TAIWAN AGAIN REJECTS 'ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS'," Taipei, 7/01/97) reported that Taiwan on Tuesday reiterated that it can never accept reunion with the PRC under the "one country, two systems" local autonomy scheme being pioneered in Beijing-ruled Hong Kong. "The Republic of China government will never accept such a formula," government spokesman David Lee said. Earlier, PRC President Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng, in separate speeches, hailed the local autonomy concept as a model for Taiwan's eventual "reunification with the motherland." "The 'one country, two systems' formula works for Hong Kong and Macau. It can also work for Taiwan," Li told a reception in Beijing on the occasion of the PRC's resumption of sovereignty over Hong Kong. Taipei has consistently rejected the model, saying the Republic of China has never lost sovereignty despite losing the civil war in 1949 and fleeing to Taiwan. Lee said Taiwan can still defend itself and has 30 diplomatic alliances. "Besides, we are a democratic country. Any actions taken by us must be based on public opinion and I don't think the public will ever agree to accept such a formula," Lee added. Taiwan Vice President Lien Chan, speaking minutes after Hong Kong's midnight handover, said Taiwan could never accept rule by communists. Reunification was possible only if all China, like Taiwan itself, adopts multiparty democracy -- a scheme Lien dubbed "one country, one good system."

4. US Seeks POW Evidence in Russia

The Associated Press (Greg Myre, "US ENVOYS: KOREAN WAR POWS MISSING," Moscow, 7/01/97) reported that Malcolm Toon, co-chairman of the US-Russian commission on prisoners of war and those missing in action, said Tuesday that a US delegation has poured over thousands of documents and interviewed hundreds of Russians, but has been unable to confirm its suspicion that US prisoners of war were brought to Russia for questioning during the Cold War. However, Toon said the five-year-old search should continue because he believes the Soviets did handle US POWs during the 1950-53 Korean War. "Given the nature of the relationship between North Korea and the Soviet Union, the Soviets must have gotten their hands on some Americans," Toon said at the end of the latest commission meeting. "But, we can't find anything in the archives," he added. In 1992, a year after the Soviet Union collapsed, the US and Russia established the panel to determine the fate of thousands of military personnel from both countries missing in action since World War II. The US is particularly interested in the Korean War, when the Soviet Union and the DPRK had close ties. More than 8,000 US soldiers remain missing from that conflict. The US delegation has also sought information on US pilots who disappeared while on spying mission over the Soviet Union. Ten spy planes were shot down between 1950 and 1965, and about 90 crewmen have not been accounted for.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Four-Party Peace Talks Agreement

During a three-party meeting in New York yesterday, an agreement was reached to hold the preparatory session for the four-party peace talks on August 5. ROK Deputy Foreign Minister Ahn Young-shik said that the preparatory session, set to be held at a Deputy Ministerial level, will deal only with procedural matters of the four party talks in which practical negotiations on the DPRK's demands for more aid will be negotiated. (Kyunghyang Shinmun, "PREPARATORY SESSION FOR THE FOUR PARTY PEACE TALKS TO CONVENE IN NEW YORK AUGUST 5," 07/01/97)

2. DPRK to Allow UN Aid Personnel Access

The United Nations announced yesterday that the DPRK has agreed to allow unlimited access to UN personnel for aid purposes to their famine stricken state. The UN said that the agreement was reached during the visit to the DPRK by Yasushi Akashi, Undersecretary-General of the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs. UN personnel may be involved in monitoring the proper delivery of foreign food aid within the DPRK. (Hankyoreh Shinmun, "DPRK TO ALLOW UNLIMITED ACCESS TO UN PERSONNEL," 07/01/97)

3. DPRK Threatens ROK Newspaper

The DPRK has been threatening since Friday to destroy the Chosun Ilbo, that newspaper reported. The newspaper, which urged Kim Jong-il to step down in an earlier editorial, was the target of another threat by the DPRK's Social Democratic Party on Monday. The party's announcement, carried by Pyongyang radio, said the DPRK will retaliate mercilessly at any time and place, and will continue to do so until the day the Chosun Ilbo ceases to exist. (Chosun Ilbo, NORTH THREATS ON CHOSUN ILBO CONTINUE FOR 4 DAYS," Seoul, 07/01/97)

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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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