The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Thursday, August 21, 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. DPRK Food Aid Monitoring

Reuters ("N. KOREA SAYS IT ALLOWS MONITORING OF FOOD AID," Tokyo, 8/21/97) reported that the DPRK state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Thursday denied accusations that it refuses to allow monitoring of food aid from the international community. The DPRK statement said, "We are grateful for their assistance and have shown sincerity in ensuring monitoring of the distribution. This is an undeniable fact the international community has admitted." The statement added that the accusations originated in the ROK and were "despicable false propaganda aimed at halting food assistance." Last week, members of the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence returning from the DPRK said they believed some foreign food aid might have been diverted to the DPRK military, and that they would seek measures to ensure future US aid to the DPRK would go directly to hunger-stricken people. [Ed. note: See "US Congressional Representatives Visit to DPRK" in the August 13 Daily Report.]

2. DPRK Famine Conditions

Reuters ("N.KOREA SEEN FACING FURTHER FOOD SHORTAGE," Seoul, 8/21/97) reported that the ROK Unification Ministry said on Thursday that it expects the DPRK to face more continuing famine conditions in 1998 because the drought this year will seriously affect its crops. A ministry statement estimated that the DPRK will fall 2.6 million tons short of the 5.5 million tons of grain it will require next year, an increase from the two million ton shortfall this year. The DPRK lost 480,000 tons of grains last year due to flood damage. The DPRK's own state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the bottoms of reservoirs were visible and thousands of rivers and streams had dried up.

3. Japan-DPRK Relations

The Associated Press ("JAPAN, N. KOREA TRY AGAIN IN TALKS," Beijing, 8/21/97) reported that representatives from Japan and the DPRK met Thursday in Beijing in a renewed effort to establish diplomatic relations, a move that could lead to Japanese food aid. Tokyo and Pyongyang, whose last talks on relations ended in failure five years ago, are divided by highly emotional issues, including Korean anger at former colonial domination by Japan, the status of Japanese women living in the DPRK, and allegations that DPRK agents have kidnapped Japanese citizens in Japan.

United Press International ("JAPAN, N. KOREA OPEN TALKS IN BEIJING," Beijing, 8/21/97) reported that the Japanese Embassy in Beijing said Thursday that the DPRK-Japan talks on normalizing relations began at the Pyongyang embassy Thursday morning and continued after a lunch break at the Tokyo mission.

The AP-DOW JONES NEWS SERVICE ("JAPAN OFFICIAL: MORE TALKS WITH N. KOREA POSSIBLE FRIDAY," Beijing, 8/21/97) reported that a Japanese official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said late Thursday that DPRK and Japanese officials agreed to hold a second day of talks aimed at establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. The official said the delegations would meet Friday to decide the scheduling of those talks. The delegations were led by deputy director-general Kunihiko Makita of the Asian bureau of the Japanese Foreign Ministry and Kim Yon-gil, his counterpart in the DPRK Foreign Ministry. [Ed. note: See also "Japan-DPRK Relations" in the ROK and Japan sections, below.]

4. US View of Global Landmine Ban

US State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin ("STATE DEPARTMENT NOON BRIEFING, AUGUST 21, 1997," USIA Transcript, 8/21/97) sought to clarify his announcement Monday that the US now would support a global ban on anti-personnel landmines if it included certain exceptions, including one for the Korean peninsula. [Ed. note: See "US View of Global Landmine Ban" in the August 18 Daily Report.] Rubin stated, "Yes, during the discussion of this earlier in the week, I made clear that we had adopted a new policy; and the new policy was to seek agreement through the Ottawa Process where a smaller number of countries are trying to negotiate a comprehensive ban on land mines. I indicated that ... we were going to seek to reconcile our humanitarian concerns and desire for a ban with our national security interests and try to reflect those interests by making an exception for the Korean Peninsula, where our military and our experts believe that land mines are necessary -- anti-personnel land mines." Rubin added that the US would also seek an exception for "a system whose primary purpose was not an anti-personnel mine, whose primary purpose might be to defend against a tank or a jeep [and] which therefore had a very high pressure trigger." In reference to media reports of the earlier announcement, Rubin stated, "I do think there was a misperception that somehow we thought -- the United States -- that any mine that we created that would self-destruct for any purpose ought to be exempted, and that is not the case." Asked if the US would accept a treaty in which the exception for Korea was eventually phased out, Rubin replied, "I think what we have said in the past is that, for now and for the foreseeable future, we believe anti-personnel mines are necessary to defend our forces and South Korea from the possibility of a North Korean attack. ... For now, we don't see the alternative."

II. Republic of Korea

1. KEDO Groundbreaking

The 80-member delegation from the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), led by KEDO's executive director Stephen Bosworth, arrived at the ROK port of Tonghae Wednesday night, concluding a two-day visit to the DPRK to attend the historic groundbreaking ceremony for construction of two 1,000-megawatt light-water nuclear reactors in Sinpo, DPRK. The delegation's departure from the DPRK was delayed by about four hours as the poor road conditions, leading from Sinpo to the nearby Yanghwa port, held up delivery of satellite news gathering equipment used for the coverage of the ceremony. In transit, Stephen Bosworth, ROK Ambassador Chang Sun-sup, US Ambassador Paul Cleveland and Akio Suda, the Japanese representative, held a meeting concerning the next stage of the light-water reactor project. The looming question is how to divide the estimated US$5 billion cost of building the two reactors. Several Seoul government officials and officials from KEDO's prime contractor, the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), are staying behind in Sinpo for ongoing negotiations over the wages of skilled DPRK labor. (Korea Herald, "KEDO DELEGATION RETURNS HOME," 08/21/97)

2. Japan-DPRK Relations

Mainichi Shimbun of Japan reported that Japan may provide the DPRK with a US$20 million emergency aid if the resumed Japan-DPRK talks show positive progress. During the high-level official Japan-DPRK talks resumed after 5 years, Japan is expecting to resolve the problems relating to the Japanese wives' visiting rights to Japan while the DPRK is hoping to negotiate for further aid. (Chosun Ilbo, "JAPAN TO GIVE US$20 MILLION AID TO DPRK," 08/21/97)

III. Japan

1. Four-Party Peace Talks

The Nikkei Shimbun ("DPRK DEMANDS THAT US FORCES WITHDRAWAL FROM JAPAN BE INCLUDED IN FOUR-PARTY PEACE TALKS AGENDA," Washington, Evening Edition 1, 8/20/97) reported that Li Gun, Deputy Chief of the DPRK Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, revealed to the Kyodo News Agency August 19 that the DPRK demanded that the withdrawal of the US forces not only from the ROK but also from Japan be included on the agenda for the four-party peace talks. "Withdrawal of the US troops from the ROK alone would be meaningless if the troops move to Japan. The US troops in Japan also pose a threat to the DPRK, and their withdrawal should also be discussed," Li said. The DPRK also demanded that the PRC represent the DPRK's interests more clearly, according to Li. With regard to the Japan-DPRK preliminary talks for official normalization negotiations, Li said, "It is now irresistible that the DPRK normalizes its diplomatic ties with Japan as well as other countries. There is no reason for both the DPRK and Japan not to be able to go forward."

2. Japan's Defense Policy

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("JAPANESE DEFENSE AGENCY TO STRENGTHEN INTELLIGNECE-GATHERING AND ANALYSIS CAPABILITIES," Evening Edition 1, 8/12/97) reported that Japanese Defense Agency officials revealed August 12 that the agency plans to strengthen its intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region as part of its efforts to strengthen Japan-US defense cooperation. The agency will seek funding in the next budget to add about 30 more members to the Defense Intelligence Headquarters (DIH), which was launched January to integrate all the defense intelligence sectors -- the Joint Staff Council, the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense forces. The plan reflects a heightened concern for security intelligence now that the situations in many parts of Asia, including the Korean Peninsula and Cambodia, have become more unpredictable. The plan also will pay more attention to Taiwan and the PRC in the wake of the handover of Hong Kong. The government may cut defense budget, but the agency will plead for an exception by requiring more funding for DIH.

3. Japan's Defense Area

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (LDP) POLICY RESEARCH COUNCIL CHAIRMAN SAYS THAT 'SURROUNDING AREAS' SHOULD NOT BE LIMITED," 5, 8/19/97) reported that LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Taku Yamazaki said during his lecture in Fukuoka August 18, "Whether or not situations in the Taiwan Strait influence Japan depends on Japan-PRC relations at the time of such situations and also on Japan-US relations. Discussing what Japan should do goes against 'strategic ambiguity' (that is necessary for the guidelines)." Yamazaki emphasized that the definition of "surrounding areas" should not be limited, and also said that representatives of all the three ruling parties will meet August 22 to reach some agreement on the definition of "surrounding areas."

The Nikkei Shimbun ("CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SAYS JAPAN-US DEFENSE COOPERATION GUIDELINES COVER TAIWAN AT LEAST THEORETICALLY," 2, 8/19/97) reported that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiroku Kajiyama discussed with reporters the controversial statement he made during his appearance in a TV program August 17 that the ongoing review of the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation covers Taiwan. "I only meant that 'surrounding areas' cover the Taiwan Strait at least theoretically. Doing is one thing, and interpreting is another," Kajiyama said. The Nikkei report pointed out that the statement indicates that whether Japan will actually cooperate with the US forces in a PRC-ROC confrontation is another question.

The Nikkei Shimbun ("CHINA CRITICIZES KAJIYAMA STATEMENT," 2, 8/19/97) reported that the PRC Communist Party's People's Daily carried a commentary, titled "Dangerous Statement," criticizing Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiroku Kajiyama's statement that the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation cover the Taiwan Strait. The commentary said, "The statement is a sign that Japan is trying to militarily intervene the PRC's domestic affairs."

4. Japan-PRC Defense Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("JAPANESE DEFENSE AGENCY TO STRENGTHEN DEFENSE EXCHANGE WITH PRC," Evening Edition 1, 8/14/97) reported that Japanese Defense Agency high-ranking officials revealed that the Japanese Defense Agency decided to strengthen defense exchanges with the PRC by setting up a task force next month. The article pointed out that the worsening Japan-PRC relations because of the ongoing review of the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation have delayed defense exchanges between both countries. The task force is expected to hold regular meetings that focus particularly on the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation, through which the Agency hopes to help ease PRC concerns over the Guidelines. In addition, the task force may invite officials from the Foreign Ministry and other ministries when necessary.

The Sankei Shimbun ("JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER TO VISIT PRC NEXT MONTH," 2, 8/21/97) reported that the schedule for Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's visit to the PRC was decided August 20. According to the schedule, Hashimoto will meet PRC President Jiang Zemin September 5 in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Japan-PRC normalized diplomatic relations. The report also said that the talks between Hashimoto and PRC leaders will most likely focus on the ongoing review of the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation.

5. Japan-DPRK Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("JAPANESE GOVERNMENT AIMS TO REALIZE JAPANESE WIVES' VISITS TO JAPAN IN SEPTEMBER," 5, 8/20/97) reported that government sources revealed that the Japanese government decided to propose at the next Japan-DPRK normalization preliminary talks slated for August 21 that the visits to Japan by Japanese women married to DPRK men be realized in September. The Japanese government wants to confirm that the Japanese wives can travel freely between Japan and the DPRK, and clarify the number of the wives coming home this time through Red Cress channels. The report added that the Japanese government also expects to hold the first Japan-DPRK Red Cross talks during this month in Beijing if the preliminary talks succeed.

The Asahi Shimbun ("JAPAN-DPRK OFFICIAL TALKS TO BEGIN," 1, 8/21/97) reported that Japan-DPRK preliminary talks for official negotiations will begin in Beijing today for the first time in five years. At the negotiations, the Japanese government hopes to solve the issues of Japanese wives' visits to Japan and the DPRK's suspected drug exports, which the government believes will be a step to enable Japan to send food aid to the DPRK. A majority of the Foreign Ministry officials expect that there will likely be some progress in the issue of Japanese wives' homecoming. The report pointed out, however, that it is uncertain how specific the talks can be on the date of the visits and the number of the women coming home. The report added that the government is also considering proposing establishment of an institution to deal with identification of the Japanese wives.

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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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