The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Tuesday, August 12, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Russian Federation III. Analysis Response

I. United States

1. US Congressional Representatives Visit DPRK

A statement issued by the bipartisan delegation from the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that visited the DPRK August 9-11 ("STATEMENT OF HOUSE INTELLIGENCE CODEL ON N. KOREA VISIT," USIA Transcript, 8/12/97) concluded that there exists opportunity for further constructive dialogue between the US and the DPRK. The statement said the delegation, in its meetings with DPRK officials, stressed a number of points on issues such as reducing tensions, controlling arms proliferation, the US commitment to the ROK, and DPRK commitment to current agreements. The statement said, "The delegation believes talks were constructive in demonstrating bipartisan support for United States policy to encourage North Korea to engage in honest and good faith negotiations to lessen tensions in the region." The statement continued, "The North Koreans were focused on seeing United States sanctions lifted and the need for additional food assistance. In addition, the North Koreans stated their refusal to abandon their centralized political and economic systems. The delegation emphasized that Americans are a compassionate people, generous in their willingness to alleviate suffering, but who seek assurance that food relief is used to feed those North Korean people most in need. The delegation stressed that sanctions must be negotiated as part of a larger political package involving proliferation and other security matters."

Reuters ("US DELEGATION SAYS PYONGYANG REFUSES TO CHANGE," Seoul, 8/12/97) reported that US officials said Tuesday that the DPRK told the US Congressional delegation that visited August 9-11 that the US must lift economic sanctions against it and not try to change the DPRK's centralized economic system. "The North Koreans stressed the need for the lifting of U.S. sanctions and for additional food aid," a US embassy official said. "The North Koreans also made clear they will refuse to abandon their centralized political and economic systems," he added. Shortly before flying to Seoul, delegation head Porter Goss, chairman of the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told a news conference in Tokyo that the DPRK also was unwilling to deal with the ROK until President Kim Young-sam ended his five-year term next February. "They absolutely want nothing to do with the present leadership," Goss said. The ROK president has been a daily target of abuse from the DPRK official media since he refused to mourn the death of DPRK "Great Leader" Kim Il-sung in 1994. Seoul foreign ministry officials said the visit by the congressmen was the largest yet by U.S. officials. Wednesday, the delegation is due to meet ROK Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha and General John Tilelli, commander of the 37,000 US troops stationed in the ROK.

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("U.S. GROUP SAYS NORTH KOREA TOO SECRETIVE ABOUT FOOD AID," Tokyo, 8/12/97) reported that the US Congressional delegation returning from the DPRK complained Tuesday that the country is too secretive about how it is distributing emergency food aid. The report quoted US delegation head Porter Goss as saying, "North Korea must make its food distribution to the civilian population fully transparent and verifiable in order to facilitate the United States' consideration of additional assistance." The US delegation was not able to travel to the famine-stricken countryside or see food being distributed during its three-day visit. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refuted suggestions from a DPRK official over the weekend that the US might use food aid as a political weapon. Several members of the group said DPRK officials were embarrassed by their country's inability to feed its people and reluctant to ask foreign nations for help. "It was very painful for them to admit that they have a problem," said Representative Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-Ga.). "They don't want to violate their independence by having to ask for anything, and in many instances they feel that they would rather die than have to do that."

2. Analysis of Korean Situation

The Washington Times carried an analysis by Richard Halloran ("N. KOREA POISED TO EMERGE FROM 4-PARTY TALKS A WINNER," Honolulu, 8/12/97) arguing that the DPRK's insistence at the four-party preliminary talks in New York that US withdrawal from the ROK be on the agenda of formal peace talks is "a clever proposal that, from their point of view, can only have win-win consequences." Halloran posited that the DPRK could use the demand either as a bargaining chip for US concessions or as a pretext to abandon negotiations at any time; either way, he wrote, "there is no immediately evident downside to their negotiating stance." Halloran asserted that the DPRK proposal caught the US and ROK by surprise, and cited K.A. Namkung, who he described as a Korean-American with DPRK contacts, as saying at a briefing for journalists prior to commencement of the talks, "North Korea is very focused. ... [The North] is probably better prepared for the talks than the other three." [Ed. note: A report on this briefing was distributed as a NAPSNet Special Report earlier today.] Halloran then cited Ralph Cossa, executive director of the Pacific Forum, as asserting that the DPRK proposal "should be seen as nonnegotiable within the context of the four-party talks," and urging the US and the ROK "forcibly to dismiss" it. [Ed. note: For the text of Cossa's comments, see "Four-Party Peace Talks Preliminary Meeting" in the Analysis section of the August 4 Daily Report; see also the response to this analysis, below.] Halloran then argued that both the PRC and Russia will back the DPRK position, while even some in Japan and the US will sympathize with the idea of withdrawing US troops from the region. Halloran cited several sources, including Admiral William A. Owens, former vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, as maintaining that the US should shift its emphasis from ground-based troops to naval forces capable of greater flexibility and power projection.

3. ROK Missile Deployment

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("S. KOREA TO DEPLOY MULTIPLE LAUNCH ROCKET SYSTEMS NEXT YEAR," Seoul, 8/12/97) reported that the ROK Defense Ministry said Tuesday that the ROK will begin deploying US-made multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) next year. MLRS are surface-to-surface missile systems that the ROK military hopes to use to attack the DPRK's long-range artillery and rocket systems amassed near the two countries' border, should war occur. On Tuesday, the ROK Defense Ministry said it has approved the first payment of US$56 million for the MLRS purchase program that will cost the country a total of US$337 million. The deployment will be completed by the end of 1999, ministry officials said. In December, the US Defense Department said it planned to sell the ROK 29 MLRS launchers, 271 rocket pods, 168 reduced range practice rocket pods, 29 vehicles to carry the launchers, 11 Army tactical missiles and launch assemblies.

4. US-PRC Relations

The Associated Press ("U.S., CHINA PLEDGE COOPERATION," Beidaihe, PRC, 8/12/97) reported that on Tuesday US National Security Adviser Samuel Berger visited PRC President Jiang Zemin in Beidaihe, a seaside resort where PRC leaders have gathered to prepare for a congress of the Communist Party this fall. Berger told Jiang the Clinton administration was looking forward to his October visit to Washington, which both sides have hailed as evidence of improving relations despite tensions over human rights and trade, and recent rough exchanges of rhetoric. Berger also met Premier Li Peng and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, who described Berger's visit as "a very important moment in Sino-U.S. relations." The PRC's official Xinhua News Agency reported that on Monday Berger and PRC officials agreed to coordinate work on environmental protection, preventing nuclear proliferation and other strategic issues.

II. Russian Federation

1. RF President To Visit PRC

Segodnya ("BORIS YELTSIN'S VISIT TO CHINA PLANNED FOR NOVEMBER," Moscow, 1, 7/28/97) reported that RF President Boris Yeltsin's official visit to the PRC will start on 11/10/97 and will last for "at least" 3-4 days, according to preliminary information from diplomatic sources. Also, RF Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov was reported as telling to PRC Foreign Minister Quian Quichen at their meeting in Kuala Lumpur that "practically everything is ready for the trip and even its dates have already been approved."

2. RF-Japan Relations

Aleksandr Kopnov in Izvestia ("JAPANESE PREMIER DECLARED A NEW POLICY TOWARD RUSSIA," Moscow, 3, 7/26/97) reported that Japan's Premier Ryutaro Hashimoto, addressing the Society of Economically Like-Minded Persons in Tokyo, said Japan will base its relations with the RF on three principles: confidence, mutual benefit and long term prospects. In his words, the territorial issue which is of the greatest complexity in Japan-RF relations should be solved by the present generation in such a way as not to create winners and losers. Hashimoto pointed out Japan's interest in joint Japan-RF development of oil and gas resources in the Sakhalin shelf area and gas resources in Irkutsk Region and Yakutia. A senior Japanese diplomat commented that it was the first ever case of a Japanese prime minister personally speaking in favor of a radical improvement in bilateral relations and that informal Japan-RF summits, the first one being planned to be held later this year, would serve to implement the new policy.

Nezavisimaia gazeta ("HASHIMOTO TO COME TO RUSSIA IN OCTOBER," Moscow, 1, 8/2/97) reported that, according to Japanese press, Japan's Premier Ryutaro Hashimoto is to visit the RF in October. In conformity with his own wish, his meeting with RF President Boris Yeltsin is to be an informal one and most probably will take place outside of Moscow.

3. RF Media on RF-Japan Relations

Nezavisimaia Gazeta's Anatoliy Shmyryov ("THREE PRINCIPLES OF TOKYO," Moscow, 4, 7/30/97) commented on news about Japan's proclaimed new principles of policy toward the RF. In his opinion, RF diplomacy has got "enough time to prepare Moscow's reciprocal step toward rapprochement." A major issue in this respect is the issue of confidence. Nezavisimaia Gazeta's author criticized the former Soviet approach the "Northern territories" problem, approved of Mikhail Gorbachev's admission of the existence of the problem in 1991, and criticized the present RF position for ignoring the 1956 joint Soviet-Japanese declaration wherein the USSR promised to return the territories upon conclusion of a peace treaty. Commenting on cases of RF border guards opening fire against Japanese "poachers" in the South Kurils area, Nezavisimaia Gazeta's author stressed that although Japanese authorities do not encourage their fishermen to go there, still "the extreme measures easily taken by Russian border guards are not admissible." Finally, he argued that "Russia's population does not fully perceive .... the territorial problem" and "open debate on the territorial problem, involving both Russian and Japanese authors, is needed." In his opinion, the final decision should not be left to future generations.

4. Four-Party Peace Talks Preliminary Meeting

Nezavisimaia Gazeta's Stanislav Petrov ("KOREAN ISSUE ON NEGOTIATION TABLE," Moscow, 4, 8/6/97), Izvestia's Yuriy Savenkov ("THE END OF HALF A CENTURY VENDETTA?," Moscow, 3, 8/6/97) and Segodnya ("TALKS ON INTERKOREAN PROBLEM HAVE BEGUN," Moscow, 4, 8/7/97) reported that on 8/5/97 the Four-Party talks started in New York between the DPRK, the ROK, the US and the PRC. The purpose of the talks was to decide how to replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement with a more substantial document to serve as a basis for DPRK-ROK mutual recognition. These "negotiations about negotiations" are expected to be difficult. According to Izvestia's author, "Pyongyang intends to raise the issue of the presence of 37 thousand US troops in South Korea," but Nezavisimaia Gazeta's author quoted an anonymous US diplomat in Beijing as saying that "to bury" the talks the DPRK has to demand the withdrawal as a precondition for their continuation. From the point of view of Ch'e Song-ho of the National Reunification Institute in Seoul, the DPRK agreed to participate only to get more foreign food aid and to establish diplomatic relations with the US without recognizing the ROK. Nezavisimaia Gazeta's author argued that even if the negotiations fail "Russia shouldn't deceive itself with false hopes." On the other hand, "the failure of the four-party meeting obviously expected by Russia is not inevitable at all. It's enough to recall that in 1994 despite Americans' serious doubts North Korea finally signed the agreement freezing its nuclear programs."

5. RF Media on US Lobbying for ROK Patriots

Nezavisimaia Gazeta's Igor Korotchenko ("WASHINGTON EXERTS PRESSURE ON SEOUL," Moscow, 1, 2, 7/30/97) reported that an anonymous source provided Nezavisimaia gazeta with a document titled "The Patriot Air Defense System for the Republic of Korea (Competition vs. Russian SA-12)," dated March 1997 and prepared by Raytheon Electronic Systems. The document set a strategic goal the essence of which is that the ROK's consent to buy Patriots must be obtained before the ROK presidential elections in December this year, because otherwise the results might "substantially postpone the taking of the decision on US equipment deliveries under the SAM-X program," thus placing the Patriot "under even more unfavorable competition conditions." A set of measures to that end ranges from setting a "symbolic" 5 percent price for initial deliveries of some Patriot-related items to stressing technical and financial inadequacies of S-300s. The document recommended looking for approaches to the ROK President's son, whose name is mentioned several times and who recently was arrested on corruption charges. Nezavisimaia Gazeta's author then dwelled in detail on advantages of the S-300 over the Patriot.

6. PRC Nuclear Technology Export

Finansoviye Izvestia ("CHINA MAKES NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGIES EXPORTS CONTROL MORE STRICT," Moscow, I, 8/5/97) reported that PRC State Council adopted new rules for nuclear technology export. Specifying rules defining what export items are under control is intended to solve the problems caused by recent accusations that the PRC had transferred its nuclear technologies to Pakistan and Iran. [Ed. note: See also "US-PRC Nuclear Technology Sharing" in the ROK section of the August 11 Daily Report.]

III. Analysis Response

1. Four-Party Peace Talks

[The following commentary was received from John H. Kim, Esq., General Secretary, The National Association of Korean Americans (NAKA). Mr. Kim's commentary responds to the analysis by Ralph A. Cossa, executive director of the Pacific Forum CSIS, issued under the heading "Four-Party Peace Talks Preliminary Meeting" in the Analysis section of the August 4 Daily Report. The claims and opinions expressed below are those of the author, and have not been edited for this NAPSNet redistribution.]

Mr. Cossa's conclusion that "the continued presence of US troops in South Korea is for Washington and Seoul alone to decide; it should be seen as non-negotiable within the context of the Four-Party Talks" sounds like a hawkish position which will certainly block any progress in the Talks. Furthermore, such fixed position is negating the past position of the US administration that everything can be discussed at the table.

Such a jaundiced view also lacks a proper historical perspective on the division of Korea and the stationing of US troops in Korea. It ignores the profound conviction of Koreans at home and abroad that Korea is one and the continuing presence of US troops in Korea is a matter of great concern for all Koreans.

In fact, a peace treaty, without a reduction in arms and troops on both sides either before or soon after the treaty, will be meaningless. A mutual reduction of military forces on both sides in connection with the treaty is necessary and desirable. For the talks to succeed, both sides need to be sincere, flexible and open-minded.

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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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