The Nautilus Institute

Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network
For Wednesday, September 3, 1997, from Berkeley, California, USA

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In today's Report:

I. United States

II. Russian Federation

I. United States

1. DPRK UN Ambassador's Illness

The New York Times (Barbara Corssette, "KOREAN-AMERICANS ASSIST AILING ENVOY FROM NORTH," United Nations, 9/3/97) reported that the DPRK representative to the United Nations, Kim Hyong-u, who has been hospitalized in New York since August 12 without medical insurance or financial help from the DPRK, has received pledges of aid from Korean-Americans of varying political views who apparently fear that he might be recalled by Pyongyang and sent home without treatment. Korean-American newspapers first reported last Friday that Kim, 62, whom they described as a diabetic, had developed lung problems and had been admitted to New York University Medical Center in Manhattan with the help of a Korean-American clergyman and Korean-speaking US doctors. The Korea Times, a Korean-language paper published in New York, reported that there were also rumors Kim was on the point of defection and being watched closely by the DPRK government. The Korean Central Daily, another New York Korean-language paper, reported that Kim faced medical bills that could range as high as US$40,000 to US$50,000. The DPRK reportedly has no hard currency to support its missions abroad, and its diplomats do not have health insurance.

The Associated Press ("REPORT: N.KOREA FEARS NEW DEFECTION," United Nations, 9/3/97) reported that, according to the Korea Times and the Korean Central Daily News in New York, the DPRK government is worried that Kim Hyong-u, the DPRK UN ambassador, may try to defect to the US if he is recalled home to undergo lung surgery. The Korean-language Korea Times reported that the DPRK wants to bring Kim home for the surgery, where treatment would be less expensive, but is concerned that if it does so, Kim will defect so he can receive the better medical care available in the US. Lynn O'Dell, spokeswoman for the New York University Medical Center, confirmed that Kim was at the hospital and said he was undergoing tests, but declined to elaborate. A diplomat at the DPRK mission, who would not identify himself, told a reporter Wednesday, "It's not your concern," and declined further comment. Kim has been the DPRK's UN ambassador since July 1996.

2. ROK Defector to DPRK Awarded

The Associated Press ("NKOREA GIVES AWARD TO DEFECTOR," Seoul, 9/2/97) reported that the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday that the DPRK has awarded its highest honor, the "order of the national flag first class," to Oh Ik-jae, the ROK religious leader who defected last month. Oh, 68, was former head of the indigenous religious group Chondokyo, and had also served as adviser to the ROK's largest opposition political party and was a member of a presidential advisory group, but was not a well-known leader in the ROK. The ROK's intelligence agency has said that Oh was a spy, but offered no proof.

3. US Defends Korean Landmines

The Associated Press (Susanne M. Schafer, "GENERAL SAYS MINES NEEDED FOR KOREA," Washington, 9/3/97) reported that US General John Tilelli, the commander in charge of US and ROK troops on the Korean peninsula, argued Wednesday that there is no alternative to the use of land mines along the dangerous demilitarized zone between the two Koreas. "As the commander on the ground, I think protecting the lives of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines -- and the civilians -- on the southern side ... is a humanitarian issue," he said during an interview with a small group of reporters. Tilelli said he is pleased with the Clinton administration's stand to seek an exemption for mines on the Korean peninsula and for certain types of mines at the international conference on banning land mines currently underway in Norway. Activists for the land mine ban have argued that the U.S. demand for exemptions is a threat to the overall aim of the treaty talks.

The New York Times (Nicholas D. Kristof, "FOR SOUTH KOREA, LAND MINES HELP PRESERVE THE PEACE," Unsan, ROK, 9/3/97) reported that the US desire for a Korean exemption to any ban on landmines has a basis in the unique situation on the Korean peninsula. In particular, while the US and the ROK have deployed countless landmines, they are in restricted areas, such as the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, where, unlike in Angola or Cambodia, they cause few casualties. Many US troops and ROK civilians feel safer because of the minefields, and some supporters of landmines view them as virtually a symbol of peace and security. "Many people talk about the humanitarian aspects of land mines," said Lt. Gen. Park Yong-ok, the ROK deputy defense minister and a fervent defender of the mines. "Deterrence of war is more humanitarian than anything. If we fail to deter war, a tremendous number of civilians will be killed. And the use of land mines is a very effective way of deterring war."

4. ROK Plants Nuclear Plants

The AP-Dow Jones News Service ("S. KOREA TO BUILD 16 NEW NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS BY 2010," Seoul, 9/3/97) reported that ROK Prime Minister Koh Kun said Wednesday that the ROK will build sixteen new nuclear power plants by 2010 to meet rising energy needs. Koh revealed the plan during a ceremony inaugurating the nation's 12th nuclear plant, a US$1.5 billion Canadian-designed 700-megawatt plant built in a nuclear complex in Wolsung on the east coast, 300 kilometers southeast of the capital Seoul. The ROK has no oil and natural gas production, and depends upon its indigenously developed nuclear energy industry for 36 percent of its total electricity supply. Six more nuclear plants are under construction.

5. Taiwan Leader Receives US Visa

The Associated Press ("U.S. APPROVES TAIWAN LEADER'S VISA," Washington, 9/3/97) reported that the US has granted a visa to Taiwan President Lee Teng-Hui for an overnight stop in Hawaii on Thursday while en route to Central and South America, and a stop there on his return trip September 17. The US State Department granted the visa over objections from the PRC. The trip, which will Lee to Panama, Honduras, El Salvador and Paraguay, will be Lee's first abroad since a private visit to his alma mater in New York state in June 1995. The PRC reacted angrily to that visit, partly because the Clinton administration, under pressure from Congress, abrogated previous assurances to Beijing that the visa request would not be approved. US State Department spokesman James Foley said the PRC has objected to Hawaii transit stops for Lee, but that such stopovers "should not have a negative affect" on US-PRC relations.

II. Russian Federation

1. Chang Defection

Nezavisimaia gazeta ("DPRK AMBASSADOR IN CAIRO DEFECTED," Moscow, 2, 8/26/97), Segodnya's Ivan Shomov ("COMMUNIST'S TRACES LOST IN CAIRO," Moscow, 4, 8/27/97) and Izvestia's Yuriy Savenkov ("DPRK ELITE DEFECTS TO THE WEST IN WHOLE FAMILIES," Moscow, 3, 8/26/97) reported the apparent defections of Chang Sung-kil, DPRK Ambassador to Egypt, together with his family, including his brother, Chang Sung-ho. Segodnya's author noted media reports that about a year ago Chang Sung-kil's 19-year-old son "disappeared" and some time later emerged in Canada, and that some believe that defection triggered the two diplomat brothers' final decision.

Segodnya's Ivan Shomov ("THE CIA HAS GOT INTERESTING PARTNERS FOR TALKS," Moscow, 4, 8/28/97) reported that Chang Sung-kil, DPRK Ambassador to Egypt, and his brother, DPRK Trade Representative in Paris, appeared in the US. Segodnya's author speculated on the value of the possible DPRK-Middle East missile transfer information possessed by Chang Sung-kil.

Nezavisimaia gazeta's Aleksandr Reutov ("DPRK DIPLOMAT ASKED FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM IN THE USA," Moscow, 1, 8/28/97) reported that Chang Sung-kil, DPRK Ambassador to Egypt, who recently defected, asked together with his family and brother for political asylum in the US. Pointing at the facts that the defectors acted simultaneously and flew to the US with US documents, Nezavisimaia gazeta's author speculated that they had a lot of assistance, particularly from US Embassy officials in Cairo. The value of Chang Sung-kil's knowledge of possible DPRK deliveries of Scud-C missiles to Iran, Syria and some other Arab countries will become clear later. Officially the DPRK admits its exports of missile components to Iran, but it denies any delivery of complete missiles or missile technologies to the region.

Yuriy Savenkov of Izvestia ("NORTH KOREAN DIPLOMATS GOT POLITICAL ASYLUM IN THE USA," Moscow, 3, 8/28/97) reported that the US granted political asylum to DPRK Ambassador in Egypt, and his brother, DPRK Trade Representative in Paris. The DPRK demanded that those "criminals" must be returned to it in order to be punished for embezzlement, moral corruption and leaking secrets abroad.

2. Chang Defection and Missile Talks

Melor Sturua of Izvestia ("RUNAWAY DIPLOMATS SUBVERTED THE TALKS," Moscow, Moscow, 8/29/97) and Nezavisimaia gazeta ("PYONGYANG INVESTIGATES THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF ITS AMBASSADOR'S DEFECTION," Moscow, 4, 8/29/97) reported that, as a result of recent DPRK senior diplomats' defections abroad and the US refusal to facilitate their return, the DPRK on principle refused to discuss its compliance to the missile technology regime. The DPRK seemingly was going to submit itself to some sort of international controls, "naturally in exchange for appropriate reward," but now the expected third round of talks will not take place. The DPRK statement on the defectors also contained a veiled threat to boycott the four-party talks. Nezavisimaia gazeta also reported that a special DPRK commission arrived in Cairo to investigate the circumstances of its Ambassador's defection, because the information in his possession might jeopardize future exports of DPRK-made Scud-C missiles to the Middle East. Such exports are believed to earn the DPRK about US$500 million, equivalent to one third of the DPRK's hard currency receipts.

3. DPRK Chemical Warfare Capacity

Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye ("IN BRIEF .... NORTH KOREA, Moscow, 3, 8/29/97-9/4/97, #32(59)) reported, with reference to the ROK Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff, that in the DPRK there are eight enterprises capable to produce up to 15 tons of toxic chemicals daily. The DPRK also possesses four research centers developing chemical weapons and six storage facilities. The total DPRK chemical weapons stockpiles exceed 1000 tons, of which it is believed to be capable of using about 70 tons in the initial stage of an armed conflict in the Korean Peninsula.

4. RF Scholar On RF Nuclear Safety Problems

Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye's ("NUCLEAR BLACKMAIL," Moscow, 1, 7, 8/29/97-9/4/97, #32(59)) published a large article by Vladimir Orlov, Director, Center for Political Studies in Russia, and Editor-in-Chief of "Yaderniy kontrol" [Nuclear control] magazine. The author dwells at length on the safety issues regarding nuclear weapons and facilities, including cases of fissionable materials theft and poor security arrangements, such as those discovered at the RF Northern Fleet in 1993. The author argued that "domestic enemies" in this field look more dangerous than foreign ones and concluded in particular that catastrophic risks increase in parallel with nuclear weapons reduction.

5. PRC-ROK Nuclear Power Plant Project

Sovetskaya Rossia ("THESE DAYS .... BEIJING," Moscow, 3, 8/26/97) reported that the PRC and the ROK plan to construct a large nuclear power plant in Shandong Province of the PRC.

6. RF-PRC Military Technical Cooperation

Nezavisimaia gazeta ("MILITARY TRADE TALKS IN MOSCOW," Moscow, 1, 8/28/97) reported that RF Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin had talks with PRC Central Military Council Vice Chairman Lu Huaqin on bilateral military technical cooperation. Chernomyrdin noted that the present RF-PRC relations "are of unprecedentedly positive nature." The talks focused on exports of spare parts for Su-class planes delivered to the PRC and the implementation of arrangements providing for transfer of licensed documents needed for production of Su-27 fighters in the PRC. Also discussed were the issues of the RF building "Sovremenniy"-class destroyers for the PRC Navy and using arms deliveries to cover debts to the PRC.

Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye ("VISITS, MILITARY COOPERATION," Moscow, 3, 8/29/97-9/4/97, #32(59)) reported that on August 25RF Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev met in Moscow with PRC Central Military Council Vice Chairman Lu Huaqin.

7. RF-Japan Informal Summit

Kommersant-Daily ("YELTSIN AND HASHIMOTO WILL MEET IN KRASNOYARSK AREA," Moscow, 3, 8/27/97) reported that, according to an "informed source in the Presidential entourage," the Japanese counterparts agreed to a RF proposal to hold the informal meeting between RF President Boris Yeltsin and Japanese Premier Ryutaro Hashimoto on November 1-2 in Krasnoyarsk Area, Siberia, RF. The Krasnoyarsk City Administration reported the meeting most probably is to take place either at the "Sosny" state country villa or the "Stolby" natural preserve.

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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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