The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Tuesday, July 22, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. DPRK Grain Exports to Japan Disproved

The Associated Press ("N. KOREA DENIES RESELLING FOOD AID," Beijing, 7/22/97) reported that both the DPRK and the ROK now say that the DPRK did not export food aid to Japan as had been earlier reported in the Japanese and ROK media. On Tuesday, the DPRK angrily denied that it had re-sold donated corn meant for its hunger-stricken people. Meanwhile, the ROK confirmed the DPRK's version of the incident behind the media reports. [Ed. note: See "Alleged DPRK Grain Exports to Japan Disproved" in the ROK section of the July 21 Daily Report.] The story originated when a DPRK ship on July 14 unloaded 1,030 tons of feed corn at the Japanese port of Aomori, which was then reported by the right-wing newspaper Sankei Shimbun, and later by other Japanese media. [Ed. note: See "Alleged DPRK Grain Shipments to Japan" in the Japan section of the July 18 Daily Report. The story was also reported by the ROK's Chosun Ilbo; see "Alleged DPRK Grain Shipments to Japan" in the ROK section of the July 18 Daily Report.] Choe Han Chun, a counselor at the DPRK Embassy in Beijing, said the grain originated in the PRC and that the seller shipped it to Japan through the DPRK for commercial reasons. Choe criticized the Sankei Shimbun for portraying the shipment "as if we exported the maize out of relief supplies." "This is a dirty trick to mock our people and check the aid given out of an international humanitarian spirit," Choe said in an interview. "We have never exported maize to Japan, and it is not the time to do it."

2. Former US Officials Conclude Visit to DPRK

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("S. KOREA: RETIRED U.S. OFFICIALS ARRIVE AFTER N. KOREA VISIT," Seoul, 7/22/97) reported that former US Senator Sam Nunn and former US Ambassador to the ROK James Laney arrived in Seoul after concluding their visit to the DPRK from July 20 to 22. Laney and Nunn were scheduled to brief ROK Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha and other officials on their visit. The DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency said in a statement that the two former US officials met with First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok Ju and agreed on "some important problems," and also met with Lt. Gen. Ri Chan Bok, chief of the DPRK's military mission in Panmunjom, the neutral border village between the two Koreas. [Ed. note: See also "Former US Officials to Visit DPRK" in the July 14 Daily Report.]

Reuters ("U.S. ENVOYS OFFER BENEFITS OF TALKS TO NORTH," Seoul, 7/22/97) reported that former US Senator Sam Nunn and former US Ambassador to the ROK James Laney told a news conference in Seoul that they held "frank -- sometimes tough -- but useful discussions with key officials" from the DPRK's foreign ministry and military during their two day visit there, and told them that the DPRK could break out of isolation and economic ruin if it took sincere steps toward detente. "DPRK officials expressed appreciation for the international community's response to their food shortage, and appealed for continued humanitarian aid," they said in a joint statement read by Laney. "They also asked for the removal of U.S. economic sanctions and for increased economic cooperation," the statement said. Nunn and Laney, who were accompanied by US government experts for talks in the North, said their visit was unofficial, but US and ROK officials said the two conveyed US and ROK policies toward four-party peace talks, for which the first preparatory meeting will be held in New York August 5. Nunn, past head of the US Senate Armed Services Committee and a respected US voice on national security issues, said they told DPRK officials they stood at an important juncture between isolation and cooperation. "There's a new road that could be taken and that road would be based on cooperation and not on threats. That road would be based on a sincere, substantive four-party talks," he said. Asked if they saw signs that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il would take over as state president and general secretary of the ruling Workers Party soon, Laney said: "We could infer and this was just our surmise that it might well come this fall. There were certain indications but nothing conclusive and they did not mention that."

3. DPRK-Japan Relations

United Press International ("JAPAN HOPES FOR PROGRESS N. KOREA TALKS," Tokyo, 7/22/97) reported that Seiroku Kajiyama, chief cabinet secretary in the Japanese government, said Tuesday that Japan hopes to upgrade diplomatic contacts with the DPRK as it seeks a breakthrough on visitation rights by Japanese women married to North Koreans. Speaking in the wake of two days of unofficial talks between DPRK and Japanese officials in Beijing, Kajiyama said, "We will upgrade working level-talks in hopes of seeing positive moves." Kajiyama declined to reveal the contents of the talks, but hinted that they are developing well, saying, "We wish to consolidate this direction." The Japanese government estimates that some 1,800 Japanese women traveled to the DPRK with their Korean husbands from 1959 to 1982. The DPRK does not permit the women to visit Japan, and a majority of relatives have not heard from the women. Japan has expressed reluctance to extend food aid to the DPRK due to this and other outstanding issues, including the DPRK's alleged involvement in the abduction of at least 10 Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.

4. ROK Domestic Presidential Election

Reuters ("FORMER JUDGE IS FRONT-RUNNER FOR SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENCY," Seoul, 7/21/97) reported that Lee Hoi-chang, nominated Monday by the ROK's ruling New Korea Party for presidential elections December 18, is the leading candidate in public opinion polls published Tuesday. All the public polls in local newspapers surveyed after Lee's nomination showed more than 30 percent of South Koreans supported him against the two opposition leaders, Kim Dae-jung of the main National Congress for New Politics and arch-conservative Kim Jong-pil of the smaller United Liberal Democrats. Ruling party candidates have always emerged victorious in such circumstances, and political analysts said that as long as Lee held the party together he would be the next president. The Dong-a Ilbo showed Lee Hoi-chang leading with 40.4 percent, while Kim Dae-jung had 26.6 percent and Kim Jong-pil 7.1 percent. Asked to choose between Lee and Kim Dae-jung, Lee led by only 34.2 percent to 33.3 percent, well within the poll's margin of error of three percent on a 95 percent accuracy level. However, another poll by Kookmin Ilbo showed Lee leading Kim Dae-jung 42.7 percent to 29.7 percent, a much larger difference. The two opposition parties have been negotiating to produce a single candidate to increase their chances for victory, but many political analysts said that even with a unified opposition Lee Hoi-chang would win. "The opposition has no chance without or with a unified candidate," said Moon Chung-in, a political science professor at Yonsei University. "People want new politics and a fresh leader, and Lee is who they want."

II. Republic of Korea

1. Four-Party Peace Talks

Working-level officials from the US, the PRC, and the two Koreas are scheduled to meet in New York early next week to discuss details of the preparatory meeting for the proposed four-party peace talks scheduled for August 5, an ROK Foreign Ministry official said yesterday. The working level meetings are to settle logistics for the preparatory talks, including venue, interpretation, order of speech, and agenda items. Though the ROK and the US had planned to hold the working-level meeting before the end of this week, it was delayed because of procedural matters. Participants from the ROK, the DPRK, and the US have already been announced, while the PRC is expected to name its representatives to the working-level meeting and the preparatory peace talks sometime this week. The Foreign Ministry official said assistant minister-level officials from various ROK ministries will hold meetings to discuss Seoul's position ahead of the peace talks. Ban Ki-moon, the ROK's senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security, will preside. (Korea Herald, "FOUR-WAY WORKING-LEVEL TALKS BEGIN NEXT WEEK," 07/22/97)

2. ROK-DPRK Mail Service for Reactor Project

Mail service has been established for ROK officials sent to the DPRK nuclear reactor construction project, the ROK Ministry of Information and Communication said yesterday. The service is provided in accordance with the July 2 agreement in New York between the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and the DPRK. "The service allows an exchange of letters and parcels between the officials and their companies or family members in the ROK," said a ministry official. Under the agreement, the mail exchange is limited to the construction site located in the Kumho area of South Hamkyong Province. Only KEDO's contractors and subcontractors, employees of these firms, KEDO officials, and others who stay at the construction site can send mail to the ROK. However, outgoing mail from the ROK is not limited, and anyone can send mail to the construction site from any national post office. As agreed by KEDO and the DPRK, the inter-Korea mail exchange is an air international mail service relayed through the PRC. Those who send mail do not use postage, but instead pay the service charges of 420 won for letters weighing 10 grams or less and 15,500 won for parcels weighing less than 5 kg. (Korea Herald, "INTER-KOREA MAIL SERVICE OPENS FOR REACTOR PROJECT," 07/22/97)

3. DPRK Drought

The ROK's Korean Meteorological Office (KMO) announced Monday that the amount of precipitation in the DPRK, measured by analysis of data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), reached between 70mm and 72mm as of June 15, approximately 80 percent of the common average rainfall for that time of year. The KMO said that, with the exception of Kaisong, Haegu and Soopung, all areas in the DPRK have fallen below seasonal averages for precipitation. The DPRK recently announced through its central radio station that due to the serious lack of rain, rice paddies and other arable land were short of necessary water for a good harvest. Moreover, the DPRK revealed that the extraordinarily high temperatures experienced by some parts of the country in June are expanding, increasing the damage from the drought. (Chosun Ilbo, "THE DPRK NOW FACES DROUGHT," 07/22/97) [Ed. note: See also "DPRK Drought" in the US section of the July 21 Daily Report.]

4. ROK to Import US Supercomputer

The ROK will import a top-of-the-line "super computer" for development of military tactics and cutting-edge weaponry. The ROK's Agency for Defense Development (ADD) recently finalized a contract with the Cray Corporation to purchase a high-performance super computer. This latest T-916 model computer is capable of processing 1.6 billion operations per second. Its tremendous calculating power surpasses all of the civilian and military supercomputers that have been imported to the ROK. A source well informed in national defense issues said, "to my knowledge, the US government finally gave a green light last week on the T-916 deal after a lot of deliberations." The super computer will be brought to the ROK by the end of August when supplementary processes are expected to be completed. (Joong-ang Ilbo, "SUPER COMPUTER FOR MILITARY USE TO BE IMPORTED FROM THE US," 07/22/97)

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Produced by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development.

Wade Huntley:
Berkeley, California, United States

Shin Dong-bom:
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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