The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Tuesday, July 29, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Corrections

I. United States

1. Four Party Talks Preliminary Meeting

The US State Department issued a press release July 29 on the four-party preparatory meeting in New York on August 5 to discuss and decide procedural matters to begin the four-party Korean peace talks ("STATE DEPT. 7/29 ON KOREA FOUR PARTY PREPARATORY MEETING," USIA Transcript, 7/29/97). The press release, titled "Statement By James B. Foley/Deputy Spokesman Korea -- Four Party Preparatory Meeting," read as follows: "A Four Party preparatory meeting for peace talks among the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, the United States, and the People's Republic of China will be held in New York City on August 5, 1997. The preparatory meeting will discuss and decide procedural matters for the Four Party plenary session, including the earliest agreeable date, venue, and agenda. The U.S. delegation at the August 5 Four Party preparatory meeting will be led by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Charles Kartman. Other delegation heads are: ROK Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Song Young Shik, DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, and PRC Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Jian. The August 5 meeting will be held at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. We wish to express our appreciation to Columbia University for its generosity in making these facilities available."

2. US Secretary of State on ASEAN Role in KEDO

Reuters ("ALBRIGHT SEES JAPAN HELPING NORTH KOREA," Singapore, 7/29/97) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Tuesday that she expected that ASEAN countries will help fund the US$4.5 billion Korean Energy Development Organization (KEDO) project to construct light-water nuclear reactors in the DPRK. Although US officials said foreign ministers at the ASEAN regional meeting this week gave no specific commitment on her appeal for millions of dollars in funds to help underwrite the project, Albright told reporters she expected "more support for KEDO financially than previously ... I thought there was quite a lot of receptivity but we'll see if the check's in the mail." "People really focused a lot on the fact that the major strategic disruption that could come from the region could come from Korea, so there was a lot of focus on it," she added, noting that a result of the extensive discussion of the DPRK at the ASEAN meeting was a greater understanding of KEDO's financial difficulties and how support for this body is integral to stability on the Korean peninsula. US State Department officials said Albright asked ASEAN to make a one-time contribution in the range of US$10 million and then provide smaller contributions on an annual basis thereafter, but refused to specify the exact amount of the US request, saying it would be easier for ASEAN countries to give it serious consideration if the total was kept secret. The US believes Southeast Asian countries, with some of the world's fastest-growing economies, can afford the request, and should recognize that the success of the project helps ensure their security. Albright's predecessor Warren Christopher made a similar request at last year's ASEAN meeting, but officials said this year's appeal was more aggressive and more direct.

3. US Secretary of State on Japanese Food Aid to DPRK

Reuters ("ALBRIGHT SEES JAPAN HELPING NORTH KOREA," Singapore, 7/29/97) reported that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Tuesday that Japan is now ready to provide food aid to the DPRK. Albright attributed Japan's new willingness to extend food aid to the DPRK's recent announcement that Japanese women who moved there in 1959-60 -- and have not been heard from since -- may return home. Albright held talks with Japan's foreign minister while attending the ASEAN meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

4. DPRK Famine Seen Widening

Reuters ("5 MILLION SAID FACING STARVATION IN N. KOREA," Seoul, 7/29/97) reported that Ted Yamamori, president of Food for the Hungry International, returning from a visit to the DPRK July 22-26, said in Seoul Tuesday that the crisis of starvation in the DPRK is reaching "the level of the notorious Somalia and Ethiopia famines," the only difference being that "in North Korea, they are suffering in silence out of the view of the world's media." Yamamori said signs of malnutrition were widespread and many could die if the country did not get immediate foreign help. "About 30 to 50 percent of children I saw in kindergartens had signs of serious malnutrition. I saw thin legs and arms, hair turned brown, sagging skins, lethargic faces and glaring eyes," he said. Yamamori's comments echoed recent concerns expressed by the UN World Food Program that famine has definitely hit the DPRK. "The consensus of aid workers operating in North Korea is that at least 5 million people are badly affected by famine," he said. "It is a disaster in the making." Up to a million people were estimated to have died in the Ethiopian famine of 1984-85, and some 300,000 were believed to have died as a result of famine fueled by civil war in Somalia in 1992. Yamamori, in the DPRK to monitor the distribution of 120 tons of wheat flour donated by his group, quoted DPRK officials as saying about one-fifth of the country's arable land was seriously affected by drought.

5. DPRK Policies Seen Improving

The Associated Press ("ANALYSTS: PEACE IN N.KOREA POSSIBLE," Washington, 7/29/97) reported that many US analysts believe that the DPRK, driven by desperation from its economic collapse and encroaching famine, is gradually opening up to the US in ways that offer new hope for lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. "The regime is changing a lot of its policies," said Bruce Cumings, a history professor at Northwestern University and author of several books on the DPRK. Most notable is the DPRK's recent agreement to meet for the first time with US, ROK, and PRC officials to discuss beginning four-party talks to bring an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War. "You're not going to have sudden progress toward a peace treaty," predicted Selig Harrison, a Korea expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. But he and other US analysts see an opportunity to ease tensions and lessen the chance of a new Korean war breaking out. Other signs of new DPRK openness in the past year include its acceptance of food aid from the US and even the ROK, its issuance of an unprecedented apology for the submarine intrusion incident, its agreement to hold talks on missile proliferation, and its permission to US officials to search for remains of servicemen killed in the Korean War. However, many believe that the DPRK's supreme leader, Kim Jong-il, is still convinced his country can survive its current crisis without fundamental changes. "The North Koreans ... want the U.S. to relax its economic sanctions -- that's what they're all about," said Harrison. Alexander Mansourov, a former Soviet diplomat in the DPRK now at Columbia University preparing a doctoral dissertation on the DPRK regime, cited similarly instrumental motives. "This new relationship they are seeking with the United States is intended to guarantee that the South not swallow them up" in reunification, he said. Echoing views widespread in the US government, US Defense Secretary William Cohen said in an interview on Monday that "it's all a matter of speculation" whether the DPRK's recent cooperative approach with the US is genuine or a ruse. "Whatever their reason, it's still in our overall interest ... to explore whether or not they are serious about trying to restructure their society ... or whether it's simply a delaying tactic," Cohen said.

II. Republic of Korea

1. KEDO Opens Operations in DPRK

The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) on Monday opened its liaison office in Sinpo, DPRK, marking the official start of the international consortium's construction of the two 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactors. "The opening of the KEDO liaison office signifies the beginning of the work on the nuclear reactors in earnest," an official at the Seoul Office of the Light-Water Nuclear Reactor Project said. Ground-breaking for the Sinpo nuclear plant will take place in mid-August. Dubbed the "KEDO Kumho Office," the liaison office will carry out various liaison functions between the DPRK and the international consortium's New York Secretariat and members of the consortium, including the ROK, the US and Japan. The office, located at the reactor construction site, is also charged with providing counselor service for foreign workers, mostly from the ROK, and KEDO officials during their stay in the DPRK. Five officials from the three main members will be stationed at the liaison office. The KEDO liaison staff members are Lee Hyon-joo and Seo Hoon from the ROK Foreign Ministry, John Hogg and Dennis Droney from the US State Department, and Takane Kazumasa from the Japanese Foreign Ministry. The official opening of the Sinpo liaison office Monday coincided with the departure from the ROK port of Masan of two barges carrying the first KEDO shipment of heavy machinery and equipment for the construction project. KOREX Champ and KOREX Pusan, both loaded with about 9,000 tons of equipment, including dump trucks, oil, construction material and other necessities, are sailing through the East Sea and are scheduled to dock in the DPRK Wednesday. (Korea Herald, Kim Ji-soo, "KEDO OPENS LIAISON OFFICE ON REACTOR SITE IN SINPO IN NORTH," 07/29/97)

2. ROK View on DPRK Issues

ROK Foreign Minister Yu Jong-hwa, following a meeting Monday with US Secretary of State Madeline Albright in Kuala Lumpur, said that the ROK government intends for the ground-breaking for the DPRK light water reactor construction project to occur on August 12. Yu also stated that both the ROK and the US agreed that the preliminary four-party talks protocol meeting, set to open on August 5, should be finished as soon as possible. Yu added that no large scale aid or easing of trade sanctions would occur until the start of the actual talks. The two allies also shared the opinion that the recent exchange of fire on the DMZ was caused by DPRK troops crossing the border, a clear violation of the armistice agreement, and that they would send a message to the DPRK cautioning against any further incursions. (Chosun Ilbo, "NK REACTOR CONSTRUCTION TO START AUGUST 12," 07/29/97)

2. ROK-Japan Fishing Jurisdiction Talks

The ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the ROK and Japan will hold a professional level meeting to discuss the Japanese unilateral imposition of a straight base-line demarcation of their maritime economic exclusion zone (EEZ) that has caused an escalating fishing dispute between the two sides. Both countries' foreign ministers, Yu Jong-hwa and Yukehiko Ikeda, have expressed regret over the dispute and the seizing of ROK fishing boats by the Japanese coast guard, and have pledged to try to avoid any repetition of the incidents while also investigating allegations of ill-treatment of ROK fishermen. This agreement between the two countries has defused what had been a tense dispute over fishing rights and paves the way for the re-opening of official discussions over mutual EEZs around August 10 in Tokyo. Ikeda reportedly said that Japan on Monday will release detained Captain Kim Pil-gun of the fishing vessel "Daeyangho." (Chosun Ilbo, "KOREA AND JAPAN TO DISCUSS MARITIME BORDERS," 0 7/29/97)

III. Corrections

[Ed. note: The following two items in the Japan section of the July 25 Daily Report inadvertently appeared without the names of the media citations included.]

2. Japan-DPRK Relations

Sources in the Japanese government and the LDP revealed that the Japanese government will urge the DPRK to allow Japanese women married to North Koreans to visit Japan as soon as possible. Given the DPRK's positive stance toward Japan's request during unofficial talks in Beijing, the first group of approximately 10 wives may visit Japan in August. In addition, both Japan and the DPRK already agreed to realize the visit through Red Cross channels and also agreed that Japan is financially responsible for the visit. Japanese Prime Minister Hashimoto told reporters that he will upgrade the present section chief-level discussions to deputy vice ministerial level talks. (The Yomiuri Shimbun, "JAPANESE GOVERNMENT TO ASK DPRK TO ALLOW JAPANESE WIVES' VISITS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE," 2, 7/24/97)

3. Japan-US Defense Relations

LDP Secretary General Koichi Kato revealed during his July 22 meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Pickering that both Japan and the US should confirm with the PRC that "the areas surrounding Japan" stated in the recent interim report on the review of Japan-US defense guidelines does not include the Taiwan Strait. Kato also told reporters that the PRC is not yet persuaded that Japan and the US do not support Taiwan's independence from the PRC. Prior to his meeting with Pickering, Kato also told US Secretary of Defense William Cohen that if the three ruling parties fail to agree on the issue of emergency legislation, the LDP may ask for opposition parties' cooperation. (The Yomiuri Shimbun, "LDP SECRETARY GENERAL EMPHASIZES THAT TAIWAN STRAIT IS NOT INCLUDED IN ON-GOING REVIEW OF JAPAN-US DEFENSE COOPERATION GUIDELINES," 2, 7/23/97) [Ed. note: See also "US, Japan Seek to Assuage PRC on Expanded Defense" in the July 24 Daily Report.]

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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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