The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Friday, July 11, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

I. United States

1. Hwang Statements, US Reactions

US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns ("STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JULY 11, 1997," USIA Transcript, 7/11/97) was asked, in the context of recent statements by DPRK defector Hwang Jang-yop, whether there is "any possible attack or strategy that the North Koreans could use that would succeed in keeping the US from defending the South?" Burns replied, "We will defend South Korea and Japan, and no one is going to blackmail us. We are the greatest power in the Pacific. Little North Korea -- North Korea, a failing communist regime, is not going to blackmail the United States on the question of our defensive commitments, our alliance commitments to Japan and South Korea, which have been in place for going on five decades now." Asked if the US believes Hwang's statements regarding the DPRK threat to the extent that many in the ROK appear to, Burns replied, "Mr. Hwang is a free man now, and thank goodness for that. He is free to say what he wishes. We have debriefed him. We have interviewed him over the course of several days, and I am not at liberty to tell you our conclusions from that, except to say that he is free to say what he wishes."

US Defense Department Spokesman Mike Doubleday ("PENTAGON SPOKESMAN'S REGULAR," USIA Transcript, 7/11/97), asked if the US believes Hwang's statements regarding the DPRK threat to the extent that many in the ROK appear to, replied, "Well, I think you're aware that the United States has had some direct access to Mr. Hwang, and we've also been debriefed by the government of the Republic of Korea on their discussions with him. I'm not going to get into any characterization of anything that we have learned from those since they are intelligence matters, but I think basically we feel that he has some very important insights into the senior leadership of North Korea. We have said in the past that we do not believe that he is an expert on military or technical issues." Asked about Hwang's claim that DPRK missile threats against Japan would deter the US from involving itself in any Korean conflict, Doubleday replied, "Well, I'm not going to comment on the strategy. I just would point out that his insights are probably best into the leadership and not so much into military matters." Asked if it concerns the US that Hwang characterized DPRK leader Kim Jong-il as surrounded by "sycophants" and interested only in "trivial details rather than the larger objectives," Doubleday replied, "I'm not in a position to characterize in any way the leader of North Korea other than to point out that, for a long time, we have been very interested in this closed society and we certainly pursue every possible avenue to learn as much as we can about the leadership there and the intentions of the leadership there."

The Washington Post (Kevin Sullivan, "N. KOREAN DEFECTOR TAKES QUESTIONS, RAISES THEM," Tokyo, 7/11/97) reported that a senior Clinton administration official who is privy to what DPRK defector Hwang Jang-yop has told US intelligence experts said Hwang did not have "as much knowledge as we had hoped" about decision-making in the DPRK, and that Hwang had "no direct knowledge of military matters." "A lot of the information is old and dated," and some of it "we know is not true," the official said, adding that Hwang's most alarming assertions are hard to evaluate because they cannot be confirmed from other sources. The official said that the US believes that the DPRK has formulated a war plan, as Hwang claimed, but added that there is no evidence the DPRK has decided to carry out its plan in lieu of pursuing other options. In his comments at his Thursday news conference, and in an 80-page report issued concurrently by the ROK's Agency for National Security Planning (NSP), Hwang offered little information that was not already known. Some critics have said Hwang's defection seems almost too good to be true, that he may be a plant by the DPRK government. Others have suggested, instead, that Hwang's public statements so precisely mirror ROK government thinking that Hwang may be a tool of the government, coached in his statements by the NSP. Some analysts observed that, in two hours of questioning by reporters, Hwang never mentioned DPRK leader Kim Jong-il by name, suggesting how careful Hwang and his ROK handlers were being not to antagonize the Stalinist ruler. Analysts also noted that, if Hwang has provided valuable intelligence to the ROK and US governments, the public is unlikely to know anytime soon, since releasing sensitive data about DPRK decision-making could neutralize its value, and could also give the DPRK regime a new excuse for backing out of Korean peninsula peace talks.

2. US Food Aid to DPRK

US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns ("STATE DEPT. NOON BRIEFING, JULY 11, 1997," USIA Transcript, 7/11/97) stated that the US has made no decision in response to the latest appeal for food aid for the DPRK by the UN World Food Program. Burns stated: "No decision, yet; but I think we are speeding along in our analysis of this request. I think we would like to make a decision shortly, but nothing at this hour. ... I don't know if it will be today, but I think it will be shortly given the urgency of the situation."

3. ROK Defenses Against DPRK Threats

The Associated Press ("S. KOREA BOLSTERS DEFENSE VS. NORTH," Seoul, 7/11/97) reported that, in the wake of DPRK defector Hwang Jang-yop's renewed warnings of the prospects of a DPRK desperation attack on the ROK, the ROK Defense Ministry said Friday it will enhance preparations for a possible DPRK attack on Seoul. The Ministry provided few details beyond saying that the government will create a new agency to check civil defense capabilities in the Seoul area, where one-fourth of the country's 44 million people live. The ROK already conducts four or five nationwide civil defense drills a year, during which streets are cleared, cars are stopped and people rush to underground shelters as sirens blare to warn of mock DPRK attacks. Following Hwang's nationally televised news conference Thursday, ROK intelligence officials said he told them the DPRK would start a war with an artillery bombardment of the capital, "turning Seoul into ashes within five or six minutes," and attempt to occupy the ROK within a week. Although Hwang only repeated what has been said for years by other defectors and ROK authorities, virtually all ROK news media carried banner headlines on the warning and urged the government to prepare for war. The DPRK's official Radio Pyongyang denounced Hwang's remarks as "rhetoric by a schizophrenic."

4. Russia Plans Arms for ROK Debt Payment

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("RUSSIA TO PAY $1.8 BLN S. KOREA DEBT OVER 10 YRS - REPORT," Moscow, 7/11/97) reported that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Sysuyev told the Interfax news agency Friday that Russia is hoping to pay off its entire US$1.8 billion debt to the ROK within 10 years, in part by markedly stepping up its exports of military equipment. Sysuyev said the two sides have already agreed on a schedule for paying US$380 million, and that next year Russia will supply the ROK with helicopters, enriched uranium, aluminum, copper and ferrous metals worth about US$120 million. The Soviet Union ran up about US$1.3 billion in debts to the ROK prior to 1989. The debt has expanded since then mostly due to debt service.

5. ROK Spy in US Sentenced

The Associated Press ("EX-NAVY WORKER SENTENCED FOR SPYING," Alexandria, Va., 7/11/97) reported that Robert C. Kim, 57, a former Navy computer specialist who said he passed classified documents to the ROK merely to help his native country, was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison. US District Judge Leonie Brinkema also ordered Kim to serve three years probation and banned him from working as a computer specialist for any foreign government during that time. Reading from a prepared statement, a teary Kim apologized for the "horrible mistake I made" and apologized to all Korean-American citizens. Kim, who became a US citizen in 1974, insisted that his actions did not constitute espionage. However, Assistant US Attorney Robert Chesnut told Brinkema that Kim's claiming he is not a spy "falls flat" in light of the audio and video tapes authorities made of Kim negotiating with ROK officials.

6. Cambodian Coup

The Associated Press ("E HUN SEN CONSOLIDATES CAMBODIA COUP," Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 7/11/97) reported that Cambodian coup leader Hun Sen defied world pressure and pushed ahead Friday with his takeover of Cambodia, undeterred by a cutoff of foreign aid that could cost the desperately poor country half of its national budget. The United States, Japan and Germany have all halted aid to Cambodia, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) decided Thursday to postpone Cambodia's entry as a full member, which had been scheduled for July 24. However, Hun Sen, apparently undeterred by the actions seeking to punish him for shattering the government created in 1993 elections that culminated the most costly United Nations peacekeeping mission in history, gave interviews to Western media during which he made little effort to disguise his pleasure at resuming full control over the country he had ruled from 1985 to 1993. Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen shared power as co-prime ministers in an uneasy coalition after the elections, until Saturday's violent coup. Two prominent royalists have since died in Hun Sen's custody and others, including Ranariddh, are abroad in fear for their lives. However, threats of full-blown civil war by Ranariddh's supporters receded after former Khmer Rouge guerrillas denied him crucial help in battling Hun Sen's forces. On Thursday, Ranariddh emotionally urged the UN Security Council to deny recognition to Hun Sen's new regime and impose economic sanctions, a move that appeared unlikely, and the prince was reportedly meeting US State Department officials Friday in Washington. Despite an oppressive air of sadness, battle-scarred Phnom Penh returned to life Friday, with many shops reopening after closing Monday during widespread looting. Still, foreigners continued to flee the Cambodian capital, with Australian military transports ferrying out about 500 people.

II. Republic of Korea

1. Hwang Jang-yop Press Conference

Hwang Jang-yop, the highest-ranking DPRK defector ever, said yesterday that the DPRK is fully prepared to launch a war against the ROK and that he is sure that the DPRK will attack the ROK. In his first news conference since arriving in Seoul on April 20, Hwang said that the DPRK's war preparations are "beyond imagination" and that its leadership firmly believes that war must be waged. "The DPRK will never let the ROK enjoy continuing prosperity alone," Hwang said. He noted that the DPRK is fully self-sufficient in the production of weapons, and that equipment is hidden in tunnels and underground facilities. The ROK's Agency for National Security Planning (NSP) which has been interrogating Hwang and his aide, Kim Duk-hong, said Hwang told investigators that the DPRK had previously worked out an attack plan scheduled for 1992. According to Hwang, the late DRPK leader, Kim Il-sung, postponed the plan in order to first solve the nation's livelihood problems. The NSP report also disclosed that Kim's son and heir apparent, Kim Jong-il, believes that he can win a war against the ROK and that he dreams of becoming the president of a unified motherland. Hwang also said that Kim Jong-il can order the DPRK military to attack the ROK at his will due to the direct chain of command in the military without any check and balance. Although he had not seen any firsthand, Hwang emphasized "it is common knowledge in the DPRK that it has nuclear weapons...[T]he ROK should work with the assumption that the DPRK has nuclear weapons." At yesterday's news conference, Hwang said the DPRK leaders envisage an all-out war instead of regional conflicts, using the threat of an attack on Japan as a way to discourage US involvement in case of war in the Korean Peninsula. Hwang reaffirmed that he came to the ROK to warn against the DPRK's ambitions to launch a military attack against the ROK. The NSP, in response to suspicions of Hwang's intentions by some ROK conservatives, announced that they believed Hwang's motives of defection to be bona fide. Although Hwang did not provide a list of DPRK spies in the ROK during his interrogation, the report revealed that he provided some information pertaining to the DPRK's espionage operations in the ROK and verified some South Koreans he had contacted in Pyongyang or abroad. The NSP said it is checking the information given by Hwang "as part of anti-communist investigation" and will take appropriate legal actions against those who are found to have been engaged in Communist activities. The NSP move is expected to stir the ROK political community again because conservative groups have demanded that pro-DPRK figures in the ROK as well as DPRK spies be ferreted out. The NSP indicated that it is keeping some sensitive information from the public. (Korea Herald, Chon Shi-yong, "DEFECTOR SAYS DPRK READY FOR WAR; HINTS AT EXISTENCE OF KOREAN COLLABORATORS WORKING FOR DPRK," 07/11/97)

2. DPRK Glorification of Kim Il-sung

The DPRK announced Wednesday that it is introducing a juche calendar year based on the year of Kim Il-sung's birth. Thus, 1912 will be the first year of juche, and this year will be the 85th. At the same time, Kim Il-sung's birthday, April 15, was designated as the Day of the Sun (Taeyangjol). A DPRK radio announcement said the decision was intended to "eternally glorify Comrade Kim Il-sung's revolution and immortal achievements." (KPS, "DPRK IMPLEMENTS THE CALENDAR YEAR OF JUCHE," 07/11/97)

3. ROK-Japan Territorial Waters Dispute

Kim Hyang-soo, Chairman of the Constitutional Government Assembly, stated on Thursday that in response to the forceful abduction of a ROK fishing boat and the subsequent brutal mistreatment of the crew, the Japanese government should take strong actions to ensure it will not happen again. Kim also demanded an apology from Japan, and urged that monetary compensation be provided to the fishermen for their boat. The Constitutional Government Assembly noted that, in 1977, when the ROK made a strong baseline around the West and Korea Seas, Japan's request that a modification of the line be made was accepted and a compromise was reached. However, Japan has set their base-line and is using it forcefully, which is against international custom and will harm the fishing businesses and good relations between the ROK and Japan. (Chosun Ilbo, "CHAIRMAN CRITICIZES JAPAN OVER FISHING BOATS," 07/11/97)

III. Japan

1. Japanese Reaction to US Nuclear Test

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI ARE ANGRY," 18, 7/3/97) and the Daily Yomiuri ("US CONDUCTS 'SUBCRITICAL' N-TEST, 4, 07/04/97) reported that Hiroshima and Nagasaki expressed anger over the US underground "subcritical" nuclear test conducted in Nevada. The report said that anti-nuclear groups had gathered at both cities on July 3 to protest the test and push for total abolishment of nuclear weapons. Hiroshima Mayor Takashi Hiraoka said, "The US says it aims to secure the safety of nuclear weapons, but this represents their strong intention to continue possessing nuclear arms." Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito added that, "Efforts of people concerned have been bearing fruit toward a nuclear test ban, but the experiment may make them meaningless." [Ed. note: See "US Underground Nuclear Tests" in the US section of the July 3 Daily Report.]

2. Japan-Russia Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("JAPAN AND RUSSIA REACHED AGREEMENT ON FISHING OFFSHORE NORTHERN TERRITORIES," 5, 07/06/97) reported that after two years and four months of talks, Japan and Russia finally reached an agreement on fishing around the Northern Territories. The report pointed out that although the two countries have been in disagreement on control of illegal fishing around the territories for a long time, the Denver Summit helped strengthen their resolve to improve their relations concerning the territories and that they agreed to cooperate in patrolling the offshore territories. However, Japanese foreign ministry officials remain wary about the territorial agreement which is scheduled to be completed within the year.

3. Review of Japan-US Defense Cooperation Guidelines

According to the Nikkei Shimbun ("GOVERNMENT DECIDES TO COMPLETE MEASURES FOR RESCUE OF JAPANESE OUTSIDE JAPAN AND FOR REFUGEES PRIOR TO OTHER THREE MEASURES," 2, 07/06/97), the Japanese government decided that it would, in times of crises, prioritize first completing measures for the rescue of refugees and Japanese citizens living outside of Japan. The report said that late last year, Prime Minister Hashimoto instructed the Cabinet's security office to study all four emergency measures--these two measures, and those for patrolling important coastal facilities and providing assistance to the US military. However, the terrorist attack on the Japanese ambassadorial residence in Peru and the Russian tanker accident significantly delayed the completion of the study. The report revealed that the measure for rescue of Japanese civilians outside Japan is important because it centers in the discussion on emergency legislation and that the measure for masses of refugees is relatively easy to work out. The report added that the government still wants to complete working out all four measures, in addition to a new measure for securing sea lanes, by this fall.

4. Japan's Food Aid Policy Toward DPRK

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN RULING PARTIES AND GOVERNMENT OVER FOOD AID TO DPRK," 5, 07/08/97) reported that last week's talks between the US government and representatives from the Japanese ruling parties -- the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the New Party Sakigage -- raised hopes for clearing the way for Japan's food aid to the DPRK and for resolving the issue of the DPRK's suspected abductions of Japanese civilians. However, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, also the LDP President, emphasized at a ruling party meeting July 8 that Japan-DPRK negotiations should be done at the inter-governmental level, rather than at the inter-party level. At the meeting, LDP Director General Koichi Kato said, "the ruling parties will actively strive to solve bilateral problems including humanitarian aid to the DPRK, visits by Japanese wives residing in the DPRK and the DPRK's suspected abduction of Japanese civilians." Hashimoto responded that "the inter-governmental negotiations are now underway, and I will talk to the ruling parties after the negotiations are over." Foreign Ministry sources were quoted as saying, "the government sees the inter-ruling parties' decision on food aid to the DPRK as another policy option," but the report pointed out that the government is cautious about the ruling parties' initiative in food aid. The report also suggested that the government's vigilance may primarily stem from the inter-ruling party's decision to provide 500,000 tons of rice to the DPRK in 1995 which was criticized by the ROK, and also failed to change the DPRK's anti-Japanese attitude.

5. Assessment of Hwang's Statement

The Nikkei Shimbun ("HWANG JANG YOP WARNS ROK THAT DPRK IS PREPARING FOR WAR," 8, 07/11/97) carried Hajime Izumi's analysis of Hwang Jang-yop's statement. Izumi, a professor and a specialist of Korean peninsula issues at Shizuoka Kenritsu University, said that it is impressive that Hwang repeatedly warned the ROK of the DPRK's war preparations. Izumi said that this indicates Hwang's frustration over the ROK's lack of gravity with regards to the DPRK, but that it also evinces his lack of knowledge of the details about the DPRK's preparation for war. With regard to Kim Jong-il's formal succession of power, although Hwang said the formal succession will surely come within this year, Professor Izumi said that it while it may be relatively easy for the Party's Central Committee to select the general secretary, it is procedurally difficult for the Supreme People's Assembly to select the head of state. Izumi added that forecasting the succession of power will be easier to predict when the ongoing food crisis is solved.

6. Japan-ROK Territorial Waters Dispute

The Nikkei Shimbun ("HASHIMOTO SAYS CAPTURE OF ROK FISHING BOAT BY JAPANESE MARITIME SAFETY AGENCY IS LEGITIMATE," 2, 07/11/97) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Hashimoto discussed the ROK fishing boats seizures by the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency with reporters at his official residence on July 10. He said, "It is legitimate for the Agency to capture foreign fishing boats that do not follow the Agency's warning." With regards to the ROK's increasing frustration about the newly drawn territorial borderline, Hashimoto added that the captures were legitimate in light of internationally accepted standards.

7. Japanese Prime Minister on NATO Expansion

The Nikkei Shimbun ("HASHIMOTO SEES EFFECT OF NATO EXPANSION ON ASIA," 2, 07/11/97) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Hashimoto told reporters that the entry of Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary into the NATO is another instance of how changes in the European region influence Asia. He stated, "The PRC-Russia border issue would be an example. It is not that whether or not I welcome the NATO expansion, but that I'm watching it with great interest."

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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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