The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Monday, August 11, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

The Daily Report is distributed to e-mail participants of the Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network (NAPSNet). For more information on the Daily Report, visit the NAPSNet Daily Report Page.

A plain text version of the most recent Daily Report may be obtained automatically by sending an email message in any form to: Other recent hypertext (web) version Daily Reports may be found in the Recent Reports Folder. Plain text versions of all previous Daily Reports may be accessed (using either web browsers or ftp software) in the Daily Report Archive.

Please send news items, discussion contributions, subscription requests, or other comments to the Daily Report Editor at:

In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

I. United States

1. Four-Party Peace Talks Preliminary Meeting Aftermath

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("U.S. REJECTS LINKAGE BETWEEN FOOD AID, KOREA PEACE TALKS," Washington, 8/11/97) reported that the US State Department on Monday rejected the DPRK's appeal on Sunday for more food aid before taking part in a Korea peace conference. [Ed. note: See following item.] US State Department spokesman James P. Rubin was quoted as saying, "We do not believe that these talks should be conditioned on anything." "These talks are designed to improve stability on the Korean Peninsula. They're designed to improve the situation for the people in both sides of the divide in Korea. So we don't think they ought to be linked to other issues," he said. Rubin noted that the US has an excellent record of responding to appeals for food aid from the UN's World Food Program, and promised a "good hard look" by the US if the WFP issues another appeal for food. Rubin said that, in the talks, the US wants a "general" agenda that focuses on stability, security and confidence-building measures.

The Associated Press ("NKOREA DEMAND FOOD AID BEFORE TALKS," Seoul, 8/10/97) reported that on Sunday the DPRK Foreign Ministry said the DPRK wants to discuss obtaining more food aid before joining a Korean peace conference, and that its negotiators at the four-party peace talks preliminary meeting in New York were disappointed by a US insistence that food aid could be discussed only after the peace talks open. "With serious food problems, we guard against possible use of food assistance to [the DPRK] as a political weapon at the four-way talks," a ministry spokesman told the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency. The US also resisted DPRK demands to discuss the withdrawal of US troops from the ROK and a separate US-DPRK bilateral peace treaty at the New York talks, whose results the DPRK spokesman described as "below our expectations."

Reuters (Carol Giacomo, "U.S. OPTIMISTIC ON FUTURE OF KOREA TALKS," Washington, 8/9/97) reported that following the failure of the four-party preliminary meeting to reach agreement to begin formal Korean peace talks, US officials remained optimistic about prospects for launching the talks eventually, but also ruled out negotiating the DPRK's demand for a withdrawal of US forces from the Korean peninsula. "We've deployed our troops there for a very good reason. It's a very dangerous place. And we see no reason now to speculate on what would change in an area this dangerous," US State Department spokesman James Rubin said Friday. [Ed. note: See the following item.] Another senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, commented, "We are not going to negotiate with the North about our troop presence." [Ed. note: See the full text of the unnamed US official's briefing issued as a Special Report on August 8.] However, Rubin did not foreclose a possible change in the US deployment if conditions on the Korean peninsula improved. "I'm not going to speculate on what would lead us to change our deployment," he said. An unnamed US official, asked if he thought the US forces issue would dominate any future formal negotiations, commented, "at bottom, we're talking about reassuring all parties on security ... U.S. troops are not the problem on the Korean peninsula."

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin ("STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING, FRIDAY, AUGUST 8," USIA Transcript, 8/8/97) indicated that, although the US rejects including withdrawal of US troops from the Korean peninsula as a specific agenda item for future negotiations on Korean peace and security, the US does not object to discussing the US troop deployment once the negotiations begin. Rubin stated, "What I'm saying is that if the agenda item gets too specific on proposals that we deem as a non-starter, you're setting yourself up for getting bogged down later. If the question is, will we be prepared to discuss the reasons why we deploy our troops in South Korea, no, we have no trouble with talking about that in the context of the four-party talks, so long as it is part of a general agenda item along the lines that I suggested." Rubin also stated that US negotiators were undeterred by the failure of the four-party preliminary meeting to complete arrangements for formal negotiations. "The people who work on North Korea have developed a strong stomach and a thick skin," he said, adding later, "we were not surprised by the developments in New York." Rubin noted that the negotiations "produced agreement on most of the items we were seeking. There's a date for a plenary meeting six weeks after the agreement on the details at the prep meeting, which will occur in September. The venue will be Geneva. ... We agreed on delegations being represented by senior officials under the direction of ministers, foreign ministers; and so those ministers will participate when they deem it appropriate. We agreed that the U.S. would chair the first meeting, and that the chairmanship would then rotate by random drawing to the other three and that would be the pattern. They also agreed on the languages. ... Now, there was not agreement on the agenda, and there was a significant difference over whether the agenda should be general or whether the agenda should be specific. Rather than get bogged down on that subject, I think there was a feeling that if people went back to capitals and talked about that a little more, that one might have an opportunity to make some progress in September when we resume."

2. Analysis of Korean Situation

The Washington Post issued an editorial ("ENGAGING NORTH KOREA," 8/9/97, A18) asserting that the onset of the four-party Korean peace talks "marks a new phase in the post-Cold War effort to settle down the dangerously divided Korean peninsula." The editorial noted that, in returning the remains of four US soldiers from the Korean War just before the preliminary talks opened, "the North Koreans made an evident effort to put on their best face." However, it also noted that "the handful [in the DPRK] who make the decisions have an iron priority -- their own maintenance in power. This is what inclines them to base their bargaining strategy finally on the threat of their country's collapse and aggressiveness. Their message is not only that others should feed their people but that others should also confirm their authority." The editorial concluded: "The going will be tough. But a compelling national interest requires the United States to stay warily but constructively engaged with the North Koreans in order to reap what benefits can be gained."

3. US Congressional Representatives Visit DPRK

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("N. KOREA: SEVEN U.S. CONGRESSMEN MEET WITH VICE FOREIGN MIN," Seoul, 8/11/97) reported that the DPRK's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Monday that seven representatives from the US Congress met with DPRK vice foreign minister Kang Sok-ju on Sunday in Pyongyang. The KCNA's one-sentence report gave no details of the meeting. The representatives are members of the US House Intelligence Committee, and arrived in the DPRK Sunday for a two-day visit. Kang also serves as vice chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the DPRK's Supreme People's Assembly, or Parliament. The US delegation is scheduled to visit Seoul Tuesday and Wednesday to brief ROK officials on their DPRK visit.

4. DPRK Famine Situation

Reuters ("UN SAYS N.KOREA FOOD NEEDS COME BEFORE POLITICS," United Nations, 8/9/97) and The New York Times (Barbara Crossette, "80,000 CHILDREN MAY DIE IN NORTH KOREA, U.N. SAYS," United Nations, 8/9/97) reported that UNICEF director Carol Bellamy said on Friday that 800,000 children in the DPRK need immediate aid that should not be held hostage to the politics. Bellamy, who just returned from the DPRK, also said that the government has now given humanitarian agencies access to all parts of the country except its northeast corner. "People are dying and people are going to die," said Bellamy, who recently tripled UNICEF aid appeals to US$14.3 million. "It is very important that the immediate significant humanitarian crisis not find itself hostage to what is also a political crisis. Humanitarian needs can't wait," Bellamy said. Bellamy said her UNICEF was working closer with the larger World Food Program operation in the DPRK and was concentrating on high-energy milk, medicines and equipment to treat hunger-related diseases. Bellamy also noted that long term solutions of agricultural diversification and basic economic organization are "not being confronted to the extent that they need to be at this point."

5. New DPRK Food Aid

United Press International ("CANADA TO SEND MORE FOOD TO NORTH KOREA," Ottawa, 8/11/97) reported that the Canadian government announced it will send an extra US$3.2 million (C$4.5 million) in food aid to the DPRK. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy was quoted as saying, "Even though North Korea continues to isolate itself, there is no doubt this serious humanitarian situation deserves our response." International Cooperation Minister Diane Marleau, who is responsible for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) that will administer the aid, was quoted as saying, "North Korea is experiencing a famine unprecedented in its history. We want to do our part to ensure North Koreans, especially the children most severely affected, have enough to eat." The additional contribution brings Canadian aid to the DPRK to more than US$7.2 million (C$10 million).

6. US-PRC Relations

Reuters ("US OFFICIAL VOWS NEW PROGRESS IN CHINA TIES," Beijing, 8/11/97) reported that the PRC's Xinhua news agency said Monday that US National Security Adviser Sandy Berger pledged to cooperate with the PRC to make new progress in bilateral ties. "The U.S. side is willing to collaborate with the Chinese in making new progress in the bilateral relationship," Xinhua quoted Berger as telling Liu Huaqiu, director of the Foreign Affairs Office under the PRC's State Council, during talks in Beijing. The US Embassy in Beijing declined to give details of Berger's talks, which were expected to focus on plans for PRC president and Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin to visit the US in late October for a summit with President Clinton.

The Associated Press ("CHINA SEEKS BETTER U.S. TIES," Beijing, 8/11/97) reported that the PRC's Xinhua news agency said Monday that PRC President Jiang Zemin on Sunday asked US Senator Strom Thurmond to use his influence to drum up support in the US Congress for improved US-PRC relations. Thurmond is the first US Senate president pro tempore to visit the PRC. In his meeting with Thurmond, Jiang said the PRC was willing to work together with the US in seizing the "favorable opportunity" to improve ties, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported, and that he hoped Thurmond, who also chairs the US Senate Armed Services Committee, "can continue to use his influence in Congress to encourage more members to work for the smooth and healthy development of China-U.S. ties." Thurmond also met General Chi Haotian, the PRC's defense minister, who said he was "delighted to see some relatively big progress" in relations between the two countries, Xinhua said.

II. Republic of Korea

1. ROK-Japan Fisheries Talks

The ROK and Japan will resume discussions in Tokyo tomorrow on revising their bilateral fishing agreement, the ROK Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The two sides, which are currently engaged in testy negotiations on how to reestablish their territorial fishing rights, will meet for a fourth round of working-level talks Wednesday and Thursday. The ROK and Japan have been trying to define fishery usage where their rights overlap under the 200-nautical mile zone established by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Japan has unilaterally declared a straight water baseline in the East Sea, part of which is overlapped by ROK-claimed territorial waters. Seoul does not recognize the Japanese water line. The negotiations were resumed after Japan seized five ROK fishing boats, citing recent violations of their newly expanded waters. The seizure stalled the talks, and the situation was compounded by allegations that Japanese maritime authorities manhandled the ROK fishing crew. The fishery negotiations will be preceded by a bilateral meeting scheduled for tomorrow to investigate the manhandling allegations. The joint investigation is being conducted in accordance with a meeting last month between ROK Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha and his Japanese counterpart Yukihiko Ikeda. The two ministers met on the sidelines of the foreign ministers' meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The end of the month is expected to bring the two sides together in an experts' forum, where they will discuss the validity of Japan's unilaterally declared straight water baseline. (Korea Herald, "KOREA, JAPAN TO RESUME FISHERY TALKS," 08/11/97)

2. DPRK Human Rights

The United Nations (UN) raised the issue of human rights in the DPRK at the 49th annual sub-committee on human rights in Geneva on Friday, and urged the international community to maintain interest in this issue, a spokesman from the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday. The spokesman said that the US and France raised the matter of unusually harsh punishments meted out in the country, such as the execution of "anti-revolutionaries" and the treatment of would-be defectors. Officials from the ministry said that in the past human rights issues in the DPRK were mentioned indirectly in conjunction with other countries, and that this was the first time the committee was addressing the case directly. (Chosun Ilbo, "UN DISCUSSES DPRKN HUMAN RIGHTS," 08/11/97)

3. US-PRC Nuclear Technology Sharing

The US is positively reviewing the PRC's proposal for treaty to establish common nuclear technology, reported Hong Kong's South China Morning Post. The PRC is said to have proposed that such a treaty be signed during the US-PRC summit meeting in October. According to US officials, reaching such an agreement is likely as long as the PRC can substantiate that it is not transferring nuclear and missile technology to countries such as Iran and Pakistan. The US has been suspending implementation of a 1985 nuclear technology transfer agreement in order to deter the PRC from exporting nuclear technology to Iran and Pakistan. (Kyunghyang Shinmun, "US MAY SHARE NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY WITH THE PRC," 08/11/97)

The NAPSNet Daily Report aims to serve as a forum for dialogue and exchange among peace and security specialists. Conventions for readers and a list of acronyms and abbreviations are available to all recipients. For descriptions of the world wide web sites used to gather information for this report, or for more information on web sites with related information, see the collection of other NAPSNet resources.
We invite you to reply to today's report, and we welcome commentary or papers for distribution to the network.

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

Return to the top of this Daily Report

Go to the Daily Report Archive

Return to the Nautilus Institute Home Page